Nintendo Game & Watch Inspires Tiny, $59 Synths from Teenage Engineering [CDM Hands-on]

“Pocket” is a term often used loosely to mean anything small. Not so the Teenage Engineering PO-12 series of instruments. They’re each literally small enough that you could put them in your jeans comfortably and still cram in your phone. We’ve got units from TE (and collaborator Cheap Monday) here at CDM, so let’s talk about what our wacky Stockholm friends have done this time. Remember Nintendo’s Game & Watch series? These business card-sized pocket games used crude but charming LCD animations, characters making jerky, repetitive movements for basic games. The ultra-cheap toy titles preceded the NES, the ingenious work …

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Antiques Roadshow? Yamaha to Celebrate Its Synth Legacy with Vintage Gear

Hey – don’t forget Yamaha. For all the buzz about Roland and KORG (and American makers like Moog), the titan Japanese maker surely deserves its own enormous claim to synthesizer history. This is the company that made one the most influential polyphonic synths of all time (the CS-80), and introduced the world to FM synthesis (DX series) and physical modeling (VP series). You can still make DX and VP sounds that seem like they fell out of the future. And Yamaha are no newcomer, either. This year will mark the 40th anniversary since the firm first entered the synth market …

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What’s The Deal With This Leaked Roland Analog-Digital Hybrid Synth?

Synthesizers in the mass market are forever part of up and down swings – and we’re back in an up swing. At the same time as other musical instrument segments lag in sales, NAMM reports both more synths at their trade show and double-digit year-on-year sales growth. (In music, that’s just huge.) So, you can expect we’ll see a lot more synthesizer options. And the first of the 2015 products has already leaked out. As Synthtopia noted on Friday, Japanese artist Daisuke Asakura leaked a new Roland keyboard on Twitter, following a public performance on New Years’ Eve in Japan. …

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Meet KORG’s New Sample Sequencing volca – And its SDK for Sampling

The KORG volca sample is here – and it’s more open than we thought. We’ve seen KORG’s affordable, compact, battery-powered volca formula applied to synths (BASS and KEYS) and a drum machine (BEATS). I’m especially partial to the booming kick of the BASS, the sound of the KEYS (which despite the name also works as a bass synth), and the clever touch sequencing interface. Well, now having teased the newest addition to the family, we’re learning about the details of the KORG sample. It’s not a sampler per se – there’s no mic or audio input – but what KORG …

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Here’s How Clever Hacks Turned Sushi Into a Music Sequencer, with Just Blaze and Tokimonsta

If you’ve ever ordered sushi from one of those rotating belts, you’ll love this musical hack that takes it to an entirely new place. For Red Bull Music Academy (RBMA) Tokyo, Native Instruments engineers teamed up with Just Blaze and Tokimonsta to turn a sushi restaurant into a live electronic remix instrument. And these aren’t tricks – slick as the music video at top my appear. They really did use a combination of cameras and software to make colored plates into a working interface for music. RBMA produced a video that shows some of what’s going on behind the scenes, …

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Pioneer DJ Got Sold So Pioneer Can Focus on Cars, and the DJ Division Can Keep Growing

Spin off those spinning CDJs. Pioneer DJ is now a separate company, sold to an equity firm in New York at the price of roughly US$551 Million. Pioneer Corp in its past form was diversified in the old-fashioned model of Japanese brands. So, yes, it made the mixer and the CD player in your discotheque … but also your car stereo, and iPod docks, and earbuds, and a system for monitoring your cycling activities while you pedal bicycles, and it put its name on all of them. (This is the same country where the Yamaha brand is on both jetskis …

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KORG and Yamaha Will Probably Eventually Replace All Of Us With Robot Avatars

But, on the upside, we’ll be huge in Japan. Yes, just to be clear, this is Hatsune Miku, who is actually a software vocal algorithm, not an actual singer, playing live in front of throngs of fans. Enjoy that stomp box while you can. It may… kill you in your sleep, strangling you with your own guitar cables, and then go on the road with your volcas and electribes in your place. Don’t even think of letting it talk to Siri. (Seriously, KORG, did you ask Yamaha if they’re including the Three Laws of Robotics on that chipset, or should …

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WTF? KORG Miku Stomp Box Sings Along With You, Vocaloid Style

You’re not hallucinating. This is a stomp box that adds a Japanese robot woman singing along as you play. If you’ve heard the now-popular Vocaloid effect, this is that, in a stompbox. Just how Japanese is this product? Let us count the ways. First, let’s just quote the product text: Hatsune Miku sings when you play your guitar! A design that fuses the worlds of Hatsune Miku and guitar effects. Nearly unlimited possibilities; 11 lyric patterns are provided. Lyrics for “Senbonzakura” (a Japanese song) are preset. An iPhone app for entering lyrics is available, so you can make MIKU STOMP …

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New KORG electribe Focuses on Live Performance – and Export to Ableton Live

Few pieces of music hardware ever have had the impact that KORG’s electribe series has. And there was a time when playing live almost equated to showing up with this gear. Today, KORG has a genuinely new generation of that hardware, long awaited by fans. The engines under the hood are new, finally taking the tech we’ve seen on various KORG gadgets and building it into the flagship production gizmos. They allow for more live performance scenarios. And in a first, you can use an electribe to build patterns for Ableton Live, creating on-the-go or onstage patterns you can bring …

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KORG’s Latest volca sample Sequences Sounds – But You Need an iOS App to Add Your Own Sounds

The KORG volca sample is a fun-looking sample “sequencer” – it can play back, modify, and mangle pre-recorded samples in a step sequencer. But it requires a dedicated iOS app to do the actual sampling. That makes for a mixed bag, straight out of the gate. As KORG says: “The new volca lets you recapture the excitement of the first generation of samplers, in which any sound — vocals, spoken words, ambient sound, or glitches — becomes material for your creations!” — right, but then it leaves out one of the best things about those hardware samplers, namely – sampling. …

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