shruthi1_wolf

Open Shruthi-1 Synth Evolves Deep Sound Capabilities, New 4-Pole Filter, Ice-White Case

Inside this compact white box lurks a lot of sonic power and technical prowess. Perhaps that explains why the newest version of the open source Shruthi-1 now sports a crazy-badass wolf dog cartoon with glowing eyes. Since its launch, the Shruthi-1 has gradually evolved new features, with a fairly sophisticated combination of hardware and extensive software. At its core, it’s a “hybrid” synth with digital/virtual analog oscillators and real-analog filter. The digital oscillators allow it to change character, for classic virtual analog subtractive, or wavetable, FM, phase distortion, and vowel synthesis. The big news with the filter is that the …

READ MORE →
meeblipse_angle

MeeBlip SE: Making Our Open Synth Hardware Better, More Available, Starting Now

The original vision of the MeeBlip was to make something affordable, something open and hackable, something anyone could get, something that could tell a story, and something we’d use to make some music. And since those are all goals of Create Digital Music, too, it’s a perfect physical compliment to what we do. For me, personally, it means putting my money where my (blogging) mouth is. It’s a chance to learn. So that makes this a really special week. It hasn’t been easy getting here, but now the MeeBlip begins its second chapter. This week, we’re announcing availability of the …

READ MORE →
Padshop

Steinberg Padshop, Coming Soon, Granular Synthesis for the Rest of Us? Handy Intro Video Explains

Let’s get straight to it: granular synthesis, and the various processes based on the principle, is one of the coolest things about making music with computers. With the ability to take sounds and stretch, mangle, and reshape them into new textures, it’s one of the fundamental techniques allowing sound software and lots of terrific timbral techniques to work. Of course, explaining it to lay people is a bit of a trick. So that’s why, even before we get into talking about Steinberg’s upcoming Padshop synth, it’s worth watching the first few minutes. Sound designer Matthias Klag explains that coolness really …

READ MORE →
ffdartwork148

Making Digital One-of-a-Kind: Inside Icarus’ Generative Album in 1000 Variations

Even the artwork changes. This is my personal copy – #148. Digital: disposable, identical, infinitely reproducible. Recordings: static, unchanging. Or … are they? Icarus’ Fake Fish Distribution (FFD), a self-described “album in 1000 variations,” generates a one-of-a-kind download for each purchaser. Generative, parametric software takes the composition, by London-based musicians-slash-software engineers Ollie Bown and Sam Britton, and tailors the output so that each file is distinct. If you’re the 437th purchaser of the limited-run of 1000, in other words, you get a composition that is different from 436 before you and 438 after you. The process breaks two commonly-understood notions …

READ MORE →
makenoise

Modular Mega-Roundup: Some of the Greatest New Stuff in Analog+Digital Eurorack for Musicians

In action, a Eurorack module by superb builder MakeNoise, with whom we caught up in March in a get-together in Austin, Texas. Photo (CC-BY-SA) Andreas Wetterberg. Modular music making is a throwback to the early days of electronic music, in which a spaghetti of patch cords is the price of open-ended sound creation. Fairly or unfairly, it has often been viewed as the domain of the eccentric wealthy musician. You needed cash, endless patience, and lots of space – well, unless you happened to be lucky enough to pick up a vintage modular as people were getting rid of them. …

READ MORE →
alphasyntauri

Good Listening: Chris Randall’s ‘Particulate’ Pulses with Obsessively-Constructed Sound, Apple II Nostalgia

Chris Randall’s Apple IIc display shows off the elementary beauty of alphaSyntauri. Photo (CC-BY-NC) Chris Randall, via Flickr. Global availability of music may not have silenced the usual gripes about musical quality and diversity, even if they should. But the Web is providing a place for people to share music with other music-making enthusiasts, sharing the craft of constructing it with the relish of chefs talking over drinks at the end of a long day. Anyway, that’s my excuse for mentioning fellow blogger, music software developer and musician Chris Randall, again. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the meticulously-concocted sounds of his …

READ MORE →
linndrum_lm1

Drum Machine Legacy: Linn LM-1, as Marketed in 1982

Amidst renewed conversation about what drum machines should be – see heated comments – it’s enlightening to revisit the drum machine as marketed in 1982. This vintage Linn Electronics LM-1 “Drum Computer” ad captures a moment in the birth of the modern drum machine. Some of what’s desirable then remains desirable today. Others – “Real Drum Sounds” – are amusingly far less novel, looking back from far deeper into the digital age. Real time programming, mixing functions, and friendly design, though, remain important – and you can thank designer Roger Linn and his LM-1 for the profound influence they’ve had …

READ MORE →
iloveyouvinyl

Vinyl Poised to Make Further Gains; Time To Ask, “What Does it All Mean”?

Kids today, with their new-fangled desire to listen to music cut into grooves on big circular platters… Photo (CC-BY) Matthias Rhomberg. At first, it seemed like it might be just a blip: amidst generally declining sales of physical music, down sharply from their 1990s boom, vinyl sales were trending up. The reversal started with a slight uptick in 2007 – already noticeable as the CD had begun its collapse. That slight uptick has turned into a small boom. From a tiny 300,000 units in US sales in 1993, the vinyl record is projected to do some 3.6 million units in …

READ MORE →
continuum_hm

New Instruments That Matter: Four Examples, Live in SF, Really Do Move Music Forward

Richard Lainhart mans the Haken Continuum at an early installment of our Handmade Music series, back in 2007. Meanwhile, in 2011: among many options, four digital instruments challenge you to practice – really – with expressions that are deep and satisfying. Is there anything genuinely new in digital instruments? Isn’t it just a load of repeated novelty, without the ability to actually make useful musical noises? Hasn’t the technology just gotten in the way of the music? Isn’t … (sigh) .. all you see … all you get … (repeat ad infinitum) Even among technologist futurists, skepticism about the iterative …

READ MORE →
jupiter-80_stand_gal

First Look at Roland Jupiter-80, Images, and Reflections on the Jupiter Legacy

How do you build a new flagship synthesizer — and how do you make it live up to a beloved past name? That’s the question Roland has taken on once again with the Jupiter-80. Shown to a select few starting at NAMM, then (very) non-intentionally leaked in the past few days, there’s a good chance you’ve seen it. But here, I’ll try to provide some technical details you may not know – thanks to ongoing conversations with Roland and the help of our friends at Keyboard – and also look back to the original Jupiter-8. Whether the resulting keyboard is …

READ MORE →