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Metasonix Have Made an Immoral Drum Machine from Vacuum Tubes

Drum machines. They’re predictable. So much so that the biggest controversy about Roland’s high-profile entry into the market with AIRA was whether they should remake the 808/909 or remake the 808/909 as analog. Enter Metasonix. They would like to make the differentiation point of drum machines whether you still have your ass or not once you’ve heard them. And so, we see the D-2000, the long-awaited (long-dreaded?) successor to the D-1000, but, say Metasonix, more extreme. (“Tweaked,” “maximized,” and “pushed.”) How would you describe the sound? Absolutely terrible. (You know, nicely horrible. I mean, probably not in a way most …

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dewanatron

Pictures at an Exhibition: Essential New Gear and Reflections from NAMM

Dewanatron’s Brian and Leon were on-hand with their unique inventions. Photos by Marsha Vdovin for CDM. For the lover of musical instruments and technology, southern California’s NAMM show is a giant toy shop. It’s work for many of its attendees, of course, but we know many of our readers dream of the objects that will make their next creations. And sure, inspiring lust is not our aim; on the contrary, there is some love that goes into these things. In the ideal, that’s the relationship of creator and consumer. These are things not to be bought and discarded, but kept …

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Exclusive: Metasonix Prototype VCO, the R-55 Thyratron – With Tubes

Metasonix, the maker celebrating the mad science of tubes for making wonderfully-terrible noises, reveals to CDM that next week they’ll unveil a new Voltage Controlled Oscillator. Behold, videos! From top: “A prototype R-55 thyratron VCO is controlled with a Makenoise Rene sequencer, with an R-54 VCO tuned to track along.” “A prototype R-55 thyratron VCO tunes along with an R-54 VCO, both driven with the same CV.” Analog: you can scare small children with it. In a good way. And as if you needed another reason to visit their booth at NAMM – or follow along as we visit them …

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A Vacuum Tube Drum Machine: Eric Barbour, Metasonix at RobotSpeak

Drum machines with tubes: from Wurlitzer’s classic SideMan to a new prototype, drum machines can make tubes rock even harder. What happens when adept sonic inventor Eric Barbour of Metasonix makes a drum machine out of clever circuits and vacuum tubes? Well, in the creator’s words: “It makes noise … a lot of noise.”

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Metasonix “Scrotum Smasher” Tube-Based Effect, Tested on Video

Metasonix continues to build one-of-a-kind effects with raunchy, make-your-parents-blush names. No nonsense about tubes providing warm, wonderful sounds. Take the first tube, a vintage model from devices like military radios: “We use it as a preamp—a BAD preamp. The SCROTUM knob controls input volume badly. No, you can’t turn it fully down. This is intentional because it interacts with the DOUBLE SCROTUM switch. Turning down SCROTUM won’t silence the awful noise and oscillation. It just makes the TM-7 howl and scream at various pitches, intermodulating with your lovely sweet guitar tone. Ha ha ha. Scrotum.” Two more vacuum tubes and …

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All-Tube Synth Revealed: Metasonix Wretch Machine

Last month, we looked at an upcoming all-tube synth from the twisted minds at Metasonix, as shown at a tube expo. We heard 2006 for launch at US$2500 or thereabouts. CDM reader Michael Weeks is busy writing the user manual for the synth (aka the S-1000). Result? He’s got a prototype. Michael lets us in on the details of this peculiar beast: A full multi-part demo, with all synths the S-1000, and all drums processed through the waveshaper and filter: S-1000 Demo [MP3; click play icon for live playback via del.icio.us] Also in the directory, there are several other demos …

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Vacuum Tube Valley Expo: Where to Show Off a New Tube Synth

Work in digital, but dream of tubes? You’re the target audience for the Vacuum Tube Valley Audiophile and Music Expo. Apparently, the fall show just took place in Arcadia, CA, but the spring will bring the tubes to my neck of the woods: North Brunswick, NJ, just outside of New York City. This retro-looking show is devoted to “high-quality sound.” Of course, “quality” got redefined by the raunchy folks at Metasonix with their new synth. But don’t let anyone tell you modern sound gear has gotten dull: from audio-geek-chic high-end tube gear to synths behaving badly, tubes live on. Thanks, …

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Analog Synth Porn with Butt Probe

Sorry, couldn’t resist running that headline. Michael sends us (via Eric at Metasonix) a shot of Robert Rich’s incredible modular synth setup. That’s one eclectic rig, complete with a Butt Probe TX-1 stomp box squeezed in among other gear. And yes, that’s an M-Audio Ozonic keyboard and a PowerBook running Ableton Live, proving that in his studio — as here at CDM — analog and digital coexist in happy harmony. Head to Robert Rich’s website for “Organic Electronics and Sonic Surrealism” and more photos like this. That’s Robert Rich, folks, not to be confused with former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert …

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Korgs (and Eventides) Past: Music Creation Preservation in Action

To cap off today’s Korg Love Fest, let’s take a moment to remember gear of yesteryear . . . meaning, of course, just a few short years ago. Sure, the latest-and-greatest is always lovely, but I love the fact that Dan Phillips from Korg has an extensive site devoted to the

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