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Yamaha Leak Entire Line of Reface Synths; Here They Are

Yamaha’s new keyboards revealed – CP, CS, YC, DX. Small, apparently nice-sounding, and mass market. Who leaked them? Um, Yamaha.

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Everything You Need to Know About KORG’s Arp Odyssey Remake

KORG, having resurrected their own MS-20 monosynth, have now turned to another analog classic: the duophonic ARP Odyssey. We’ve known for some time that they would begin manufacturing a new edition of that in collaboration with its original creators. Now we know what it looks like, and what it’ll cost. If you already love the classic ARP Odyssey, there’s not much to say. KORG’s launch, in fact, focused on the ARP you know – the fact that its sound is something you recognize from songs. That’s partly an explanation of why such instruments deserve recreation. And the original holds up …

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How Akai Advance Could Best NI’s Komplete Kontrol in Smart Keyboards

Smart keyboard controllers that integrate with software have been something various makers have tried frequently over the years, with various degrees of success. Propellerhead helped lead the way with Automap in Reason, which could cleverly link on-screen controls to devices. But by the time this was translated to multiple pieces of software, the resulting “automatic” features could be harder to use on than off. I tried at various points Novation’s ReMOTE, M-Audio’s Axiom Pro, and Cakewalk’s A-PRO keyboards, and found them all to be perfectly nice hardware – once I gave up and turned the automatic stuff off and just …

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Arturia MicroBrute: $349, Semi-Modular, Analog Keyboard Synth – Details, Full Gallery

If there was any doubt left, the analog monosynth keyboard has gone mainstream now. Fusing 70s electronic instrument design ideas with nerdy lust for sound with modern ideas about connectivity, accessibility, and timbre, a generation of instruments has made it a wonderful time for synth lovers to be alive. And the latest from Arturia is compact and inexpensive, while still managing to squeeze in some unique sound-shaping concepts and a tiny patch bay for modular use. Oh, before you ask, Eurorack fans – yes, it’s Eurorack-compatible. Alex Theakston from Source Distribution, who shot these beautiful photos and provided CDM with …

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Arturia Teases a New, Analog Mini-Keyboard; What We Know About IT (MicroBrute?)

Et tu, MicroBrute…us? It’s small, it’s analog, and it’s a follow-up to the MiniBrute – very likely, called the MicroBrute. Arturia has a new analog synth; they’re not talking details yet, instead posting a site with blurred-out photos and a countdown to a release date later this week. But between leaked information and images, and some tidbits from the teaser site, it’s not so hard to piece together a lot of details of the instrument they’re referring to only as “IT.” It’s definitely an analog synth with keys (seen in the blurred shots) in a compact form factor. It’s also: …

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BassStation II, Hands-on: First Direct Sound Samples from Novation’s Analog Synth [Musikmesse]

Novation’s BassStation II, a US$500 street all-analog monosynth, is already big news. If Korg is bringing back the late 70s/early 80s sound in an analog keyboard, Novation is giving us the early 90s. And since sound is what it’s really all about, we wanted to get a hands-on with the actual sounds of the BassStation II. I recorded directly from the line out on the BassStation (only a mixer in between), into Sonoma WireWorks’ GuitarJack Model 2 for iOS. (That interface, by the way, sounds and feels terrific.) The BassStation II so far shows some serious promise, something that should …

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Nord Reveals New Keyboard: Four-Part Polyphonic Nord Lead 4 [Pics, Sound Samples]

The good news: there’s a new Nord, it looks nice enough, and it’s likely to make Clavia fans very happy. The bad news: some of us will have to go on dreaming of a follow-up to the innovative Nord Modular. Instead of that, this is a Nord Lead 4. Despite sharing a name with previous Nords, Clavia says this is an all-new synth. The focus appears to be “performance features” – making layering and sync easier – and focusing on providing more choices in effects and filters. First, the specs: 4-part multi-timbral – not so interesting in itself, but there …

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Novation Puts Launchpad in a Keyboard, Makes iPad Apps Part of the Experience [Q+A]

What should a keyboard controller do for you in 2013? Should you plug it into Ableton Live and get colored control of clips? Or leave the laptop at home and use it with an iPad for synths and loops? Novation takes on both those ideas in their latest offering. Back in fall 2009, CDM was the first to get a hands-on with Novation’s Launchpad. At the time, this was big news. Grid controllers had gained popularity in the handcrafted, niche monome community, but hardware built just for Ableton Live with an integrated, light-up grid was something novel. Maschine, Push, and …

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More Multi-Touch Keyboard Playing

As an addendum to yesterday’s teaser of the Evolution multi-touch keyboard, readers send along a couple of other examples. Andrew McPherson has a terrific example of an add-on, multi-touch, capacitive surface that can go on any keyboard (so, basically the same idea). Description: This video demonstrates a set of capacitive touch sensing piano key tops which mount on top of any existing piano or MIDI keyboard. The key tops sense up to three touches each by position and contact area, letting the performer continuously and polyphonically shape every note in multiple dimensions. The system connects to a computer by USB …

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Tactile Touch: Evo Keyboard to Marry Touch Expression, Conventional Keys

A new design launching this week should appeal to keyboardists who want both more expressive touch control and a keyboard – without sacrificing one or the other. Yes, yes, multi-touch on tablets does indeed give your fingers access to continuous control for added expression and pitch. But there’s a reason keyboards evolved keys: tangible feedback about where pitches are, and the ability to control dynamics with pressure (itself with additional mechanical tangible feedback) just isn’t matched by touchscreens. We’ll be looking on an ongoing basis at how you can take the flexibility of those touchscreens and match them with more …

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