Video: Hands-on with the M01D for Nintendo 3DS (Cooler Than You Thought M1 Was?)

Following our preview of Korg’s upcoming Nintendo eShop synth, here’s the one and only, incomparable CardiacTrance all the way from Japan to show it off. Trying to tell someone there’s a Korg M1 for the Nintendo handheld doesn’t really do this justice – or even make intuitive sense. But it is actually good news. Somehow, the combination of sequencing features, transforming the game system into a workstation, with the silly-small design makes the result more than the sum of its parts. And in the hands of a producer/musician, they become a lot more. Modern gaming, game music aesthetics, and some …

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Korg M01D is a Crazy-Awesome New Synth for the Nintendo 3DS; Listen to CT+X Kill It

Nobuyoshi Sano is kind of a mad genius. The writer behind some of the scores for Ridge Racer and Tekken, the talented musician has also turned out some of our favorite mobile music apps, as founder of Japanese dev house Detune. He built the somewhat-ridiculous iYM2151 workstation on iPad, but is best known for the Korg iMS-20. And now, he’s got something new. Japan has already gotten a taste of M01D, the classic Korg M1 remade and rethought for the Nintendo 3DS. But only a select few have been in the know outside Japan. That changes now. I just got …

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$150 Korg Volca Analog Synth, Bass, Drum Grooveboxes, with MIDI: Official Details, Pics, Video

The rumors are true: Korg has not one, but three pint-sized, $150 analog groove boxes – two analog synths and a PCM/analog drum machine. Korg established a bit of a formula with the Monotron and Monotribe: pack some vintage sound and quirky personality into a small box, make it all self-contained (with speaker, batteries, simple touch strips), and then make it affordable. The result is cute, little analog boxes that only Korg could make – and at a price only a big maker could pull off. Volca keeps to that formula, with new synthesis and drum adding step sequencing features …

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Novation Bass Station II: All-Analog Sequel to a Classic Instrument, $499 Street [Video, Pics]

The original Bass Station would now be old enough to drink. But the new Bass Station II (which, in a typical marketing twist, Novation would like to remind you can also do leads) is improved, expanded, and more connected. And with a street price of US$499, the competition for affordable synths has gotten just plain ridiculous – in a way that can only benefit the synth consumer. Now, the Bass Station II has two filters, two oscillators and a sub-oscillator, patch save capability, and analog effects. It also looks playable, with a step-sequencer, arpeggiator, onboard modulation, and MIDI and USB. …

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Nord Drum 2, Playable Drum Synth, Gets More Sound Options, Nord Pad Companion [Photos]

Swedish maker Nord may be known for keyboards, and justly so, but their drum products are perhaps even more distinctive. If it seems like Nord only just released something called “Nord Drum,” it’s true. But they’re already back with a sequel, and Nord Pad as an accessory. The latter’s compact trigger design could appeal to producers and musicians who don’t have room for a whole kit. The original Nord Drum was a four-channel “modeling” virtual analog synth. The new model is six channels, and has more sound options. As before, you can trigger synthesized drum sounds from conventional electronic pads …

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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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Chip Grooves: SID 8-bit Hardware Groovebox Preview, Works with iPad Editor [Videos]

German maker Mode Machines has been busy in the cloning laboratory. The latest hardware melds the classic chip sounds of the SID chip with an x0x sequencer a la the Roland TB-303. That surely qualifies as the synth nerd equivalent of combining chocolate and peanut butter.

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Hands-on with Koma’s Analog Filter/Sequencer, Gate/Delay, in a Van, with Champagne

Koma’s stuff is good. Really good. So good, you might even want to watch a hands-on video where I’m juggling a camera in one hand and a glass of champagne in the other. Their stompable, playable analog effects show well even in the back of a van circling Musikmesse. How I came to see this hardware in the van is a story in itself. The trade show gig works like this: you pay an enormous amount of money for some sort of trade membership, then an enormous amount of money for a booth, an enormous amount of money to staff …

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Musikmesse Wrap-up, with Keyboard Magazine: The Latest Gear [Gallery, Roland Wireless Vid]

Like a World’s Fair of all the invention in music technology, the big trade shows still gather many of the latest creations from around the globe. And while the NAMM show in California is big, Musikmesse is bigger: spanning some 11 halls (together with a live lighting and event show called Pro Light+Sound), it’s the biggest on Earth. Having covered NAMM for German publication DE:BUG, I’m thrilled to get to do the reverse and highlight the best of Messe for California-based Keyboard Magazine. Musikmesse 2012 Gear Report [Keyboard Magazine] Instead of trying to cover absolutely everything, this is the stuff …

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Spotted: Analog Goodies, Doepfer Prototypes at the ALEX4 Messe Booth [Gallery]

You’d expect that holding the world’s largest trade show in Germany would mean some serious analog and gear love – and you’d be right. Andreas Schneider of SchneidersBuero/SchneidersLaden, the famed Berlin gear hub, was this year gathering some of the finest analog gear at a booth for ALEX4, a European distributor for some of these names. Now, in the meeting room there was of course real business to do, but that shouldn’t stop drool from pooling on some of the equipment. Among the highlights: Doepfer Musikelektronik, the company that perhaps more than any other ignited the current modular fever, was …

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