A Brilliant 199€ Hardware Sequencer with Jog Wheel: MTRX-8 Preview [Photos, Video, Interview]

Sleek and black, sporting a high-resolution jog wheel, the MTRX-8 is a futuristic sequencer the likes of which you probably haven’t seen in hardware before. Even though it’s the product of a boutique DIY maker – France’s Fyrd Instruments, aka designer Julien Fayard – it’s eschews the usual homebrewed, retro aesthetics. And it’s not expensive, either; the launch price has been lowered to 199€ based on early demand. It’s a MIDI sequencer, it’s a drum sequencer, it’s a performance-geared machine with quick access to presets, and it’s covered with quick access controls rather than confusing menus. At last, it’s sequencer …

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More Than Ever: Tour Dave Smith’s Monster Synth, the Prophet 12

The Prophet 12 from Dave Smith Instruments is a landmark synth: packed with polyphony and sound features, it’s the latest demonstration that “new” and “synth keyboard” can go together. So, for our first-look tour through the new Prophet, we get a special treat – writer, electronic musician, and mathematician Gina Collecchia got a hands-on look with the engineers who designed the instrument. Gina, who demystifies signal processing for all the rest of us in her book Numbers and Notes, get to talk with Chris, one technologist to another. -Ed. Meet the newest member of the Dave Smith Instruments family: the …

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Keys and Knobs and Such, New Gear, in Photos: Notes and Gallery from NAMM Day 1

From the Prophet 12 to Korg’s MS-20 Mini (and King Korg – more on that soon), iConnectMIDI interfaces for your iPad to Arturia ultra-portable keyboards, from analog to digital, from big releases to oddities, CDM has some roving reporters out on the floor of America’s biggest musical instrument trade show, NAMM. James Grahame, principal engineer behind the MeeBlip, kicks things off. Looking through his photos is a bit like seeing the show through his eyes. The flagship keyboards you’ve heard of (though Moog-branded water is a surprise). Some of the other good news: the iConnectMIDI4 Plus looks very versatile, indeed, …

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Sweet 12-Pack of Polyphony: Dave Smith Unveils All-New Prophet 12 [Video, Images]

Dave Smith has reason to celebrate this year. He’s been creating synths for 35 years. The MIDI protocol he helped create turned 30. And now, amidst a wave of new analog monosynths, he’s got a monster keyboard with – gasp – polyphony, and lots of it. Dave sent CDM some pics of his baby earlier this week. The Prophet 12 looks like a real titan, with 12-voice polyphony (of course) and what Dave says is an all-new design. That’s the surprise: whereas previous Dave Smith models have tended to build on the voice architecture of previous outings, Dave says that …

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The year we made contact: photo evidence now proves that the first public MIDI connection was made between a Sequential Circuits Prophet 600 and a Roland Jupiter 6. Now, get those instruments and an Instagram filter and recreate this shot, if you like. Courtesy Dave Smith (personal collection).

Grammy for MIDI Creators Dave Smith, Ikutaro Kakehashi; First Connection Mystery Solved

It’s been almost 30 years since MIDI was first demonstrated at the winter NAMM show, 1983. Marking the anniversary, The Recording Academy is giving a coveted Technical Grammy to the two people most associated with its creation – so-called “father of MIDI” Dave Smith (then founder of Sequential Circuits, now Dave Smith Instruments) and Roland founder and engineer Ikutaro Kakehashi. Actually, it’s a bit interesting to me that Mr. Kakehashi is being left out of some of the news; it was the fact that MIDI could connect between two pieces of gear that demonstrated its value. In other words, it …

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The Linn Tools That Never Were: Roger Linn Shares Shelved Designs [Gallery]

Designer Roger Linn is beloved by producers for drum machines like the MPC, beloved by guitarists for AdrenaLinn, and now newly respected for the Tempest with Dave Smith. But for anyone who imagines design is a direct line from idea to product, it’s not. Whether Roger Linn or Apple, the process leaves the way littered with discarded creations. Of course, that doesn’t mean these are bad ideas. Now that we live in a world of DIY, some intrepid musical souls will make products for an audience of one. And where designs are discarded, ideas often survive. Roger Linn writes CDM …

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Dave Smith Mopho x4: All Analog, 4-Voice Synth For Just Over a Grand

Dave Smith may have just created the analog keyboard to beat. The Mopho x4 is a new, bigger sibling to the Mopho keyboard – itself a nice, cute, yellow analog monosynth. The x4 takes that synth, quadruples the voices so that you get polyphony, and adds more-playable controls and functionality. You get a nice complement of hands-on controls, but you also don’t break the bank: US$1299 is the list. Dave Smith himself shows off the creation in a video — he, the father of MIDI and some of the best-loved synths over the years (from Sequential to his own DSI). …

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Pictures at an Exhibition: Essential New Gear and Reflections from NAMM

Dewanatron’s Brian and Leon were on-hand with their unique inventions. Photos by Marsha Vdovin for CDM. For the lover of musical instruments and technology, southern California’s NAMM show is a giant toy shop. It’s work for many of its attendees, of course, but we know many of our readers dream of the objects that will make their next creations. And sure, inspiring lust is not our aim; on the contrary, there is some love that goes into these things. In the ideal, that’s the relationship of creator and consumer. These are things not to be bought and discarded, but kept …

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Reader Mail: Another Demo of the Analog Drum Machine, Tempest

Can’t get enough of the upcoming drum machine, Tempest, by Roger Linn and Dave Smith? Reader Josh Decker sends in this video by Josh’s friend Rob Baker, aka Redivider, tearing up the machine as a performance instrument. Also, follow the comment thread on our previous post for some follow-up from Dave Smith Instruments to reader questions. Dave tells us there will be more to say on the machine, and that we can expect a release date that should come very close to “the end of summer.” (Watch your calendar.) The Tempest may not be for everyone – and some of …

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Tempest Analog Drum Machine, in Action: Roger Linn Quick Start Video

Roger Linn, he of the MPC and AdrenaLinn and Linnstrument, sends us his friendly walk-through video showing you how to get started actually using the upcoming Linn/Dave Smith Tempest analog drum machine. We’re awaiting details on when this unit is actually shipping; I’ll update this post once we hear. What you get instead, though, is nearly twenty minutes of Roger walking you through every single function – this is as much a video manual as it is a “quick start.” It’s nice to see some clever workflow features in action, and you get some very in-depth looks at how the …

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