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. …

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monotrondelay

KORG monotron DUO, monotron DELAY Bring Fun Back, via Mono/Poly, MS Circuits and Pocket Size

Every so often, something comes along that’s just irresistibly lovable. So it was with the Korg monotron. With a price of US$60 (or far less), a pocketable size, the ability to run on batteries, a nice, glowing red LFO knob, a delicious filter, and toy-like playability, everyone loves the monotron. People who have racks of vintage synths love the monotron. People who have never seen a synth before love the monotron. Then, along came the Korg Monotribe, which grafted ultra-simplified analog drum circuitry and a sequencer, and … somehow, you wanted to love the thing instead of just loving it. …

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muirbuchla12

Create Analog Music: Buchla Love, Visiting the Studio of a Custom Modular Maker

All photos by Marsha Vdovin for CDM. Click for full-sized, gear pr0n versions. Print large-format, hang above your bed. CDM guest and photographer Marsha Vdovin joins us for a photo essay. Given free reign to choose what she wanted to do, she visits a Buchla module maker. Photos can speak volumes, and here the beauty of Don Buchla’s synth designs come through, a decades-long legacy of open-ended, eminently-musical sound possibilities. So, too, does the craft of the custom Eardrill modules. Disclosure: while we loved both, a number of us preferred the Buchla 100-series modular to the Moog modular we had, …

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Gold Panda on Sampling; Moby on Drum Machines

Something has happened to the mystique of the musical artist, as the superstars have faded. It seems people are increasingly interested with understanding process, in understanding what’s inside the magical black boxes of sound. Jess Gitner hosted Derwin Panda, aka Gold Panda, at National Public Radio’s studios for Morning Edition. She talked to the artist about the basics of how he constructs music from samples. It’s actually quite nice to me to see a story that’s elementary enough that it could be understood by non-specialists — it’s all to easy to forget that for the vast majority of even the …

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NAB 2011 New Gear Preview: HDMI Mixing and Capture, Other Goodies Could Transform Live Visuals

Dawn of the HDMI VJ age? Photo (CC-BY-ND) Sam_catch. Ed.: Create Digital Motion contributor Anton Marini reports from NAB, the broadcast gear show this week. While “broadcast” had traditionally been the emphasis, this is 2011 – and a lot of what’s on offer could transform live visuals and design. From tablets manipulating Photoshop to new hardware, it’s getting interesting. And 2011 might finally be the year of live HD capture and mixing. HDMI mixer, anyone? NAB 2011 is just getting started, and already, it looks like 2011 could bring useful and affordable solutions for the live visualist on the go. …

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speaker

It’s a PA! It’s a Suitcase! It’s a Chair! It’s All Three?!

You might need to be an internationally-touring DJ to buy one, at EUR750, but the Travelteq Trip Sound suitcase is awe-inspiring at least as a design gimmick. The aluminum roll-around is designed first and foremost as a suitcase, as in the things that hold your laptop and clothes when you’re on the road, and is even sold as such – no gimmicks, just an ultra-high-end way of toting luggage. But purchase the Trip Sound option, and you can fold an entire sound system into said suitcase. What keeps it a gimmick is, unfortunately, power. The Trip Sound System isn’t the …

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Create Analog Music: Modular, Cartesian Step Sequencing with Rene

Clock Trippin, Poly Rhythm RENÉ from Richard Devine on Vimeo. Analog both in the electrical sense and in the way it combines continuous, non-discrete steps, the RenĂ© is a step sequencer with a difference. The hardware uses a two-dimensional array of knobs to produce non-linear, complex rhythmic patterns from some four clock and two CV inputs. I think the proof is in watching it above, in a video this week by Richard Devine, employing a fully modular, analog working method – no computers in sight. Because, really, people who use computers and drum machines are total posers. You’ll never find …

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Virtual Synths: Modeling Gear, as Imagined by Communities and Engineers

Do Androids Dream of Electric Synths? Imagining an instrument from a clean sheet of paper is an essential part of the design process. It can remind us of the extent of possibilities – and, sometimes, why compromise is necessary. The German site Amazona.de this week unveiled mock-ups of an instrument conceived by their community. The design looks terrific, and the specs (below) do read like the sorts of things synthesists would want. My only concern is that the results could be very cost prohibitive; the obvious remedy it seems would be to use digital oscillators in place of the eight-voice …

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First Look: Minimoog Voyager XL, Now Official, is a New Monster

The 40th anniversary of the Minimoog hits this year: that’s four decades since the original reshaped the very notion of what a synthesizer looks like. Moog Music has answered with a real beast. It returns the core of the Minimoog Model D, but with the Voyager’s stable oscillators, patch storage, signature X/Y touch surface, pot mapping, and MIDI control – all while retaining a 100% analog signal path, if you’re a purist. Just like the Voyager, that means some analog-ically good sound, without sacrificing modern convenience. (Yes, even the Minimoog’s original creators recall that working without patch memory was a …

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Music for an Olympic Bid: Making of Antipop’s Madrid 2016 Songs

My own President Obama is this week off making his pitch for why Chicago should host the Olympic Games. Correction. Oops. I need to read the news. Chicago was eliminated first. But look out – our friends at Antipop (slogan: “antipop music for a pop music”) are using a different tool in their arsenal: music. Watch the video for some fun gear spotting, plus one vintage arcade cabinet. I could point out stuff I see, but that’d spoil the fun. Shout out in comments. There’s definitely a commercial gloss on this, but it’s nicely executed, and felt so absurdly Olympic …

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