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OK Go get their own KORG volca sample

Okay, OK Go fans – now there’s synth hardware as quirky and charming as the band’s Internet-viral synth-pop. We got our hands on a very limited edition KORG volca sample made especially for OK Go. This is the battery-powered sample unit with grungy digital sound playback and loads of knobs for manipulating sound, plus the usual touch strip step sequencer for making patterns. It’s fun to play, a unique collectors’ item even if you just want an extra sample playback instrument around. And the built-in samples can be terrific, as you can hear in our playlist.

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SoundCloud has a new app for creators – and it’s Android first

Whatever identity crisis and legal wrangling may be going on at SoundCloud at the moment, the site’s DNA is all about creation. That’s where the site came from – initially, with labels and producers as a way of sending around tracks – and it remains the strong point. SoundCloud is the operating system for music sharing and discovery for creators much in the way Facebook is the OS for social interaction and YouTube for video. Of course, lately, SoundCloud has largely been in the headlines for “hey, my account was taken down for posting mixes” or “PRS wants royalty payments.” …

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MOTU’s MicroBook mobile audio interface now works on iPad, Linux

The iPad has matured into a serious musical instrument and production tool. So it only makes sense to give it a serious audio interface. Now you can add to the list of candidates MOTU’s MicroBook IIc. MOTU announced this week their mobile interface is class-compliant, which means you can use it with the iPad. Since powering an audio interface would drain the iPad’s battery, you’ll instead connect this device via USB and the anachronistically-named Camera Connection Kit adapter, then use the AC power adapter in the box for juice. (It’s bus-powered on other devices.)

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5 years on, still the best way to control Ableton from iOS

touchAble remains the deepest touch controller for Ableton Live – or anything else – on iOS. And now it’s on a bargain sale, withs some new features, too.

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Pioneer XDJ-700 is the $699 touchscreen CDJ to take home

We know Pioneer is dominant in the clubs. (Heck, as a brand, Pioneer is almost more of a sure thing than even Red Bull.) But as the global DJ population booms, is it something people will also take home? Pioneer sure does seem to hope so – and as it gears itself toward DJs outside clubs, it’s starting to look more like a direct rival to Traktor and Serato and their ecosystems.

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Fugue machine is how Bach would have made a sequencer

I have two words for you: multiple playheads. Oh sure, you’ve got your piano rolls and your step sequencers and your arpeggiators. But can you roll like Johann Sebastian (or Arnold… as in Schoenberg)? Can you take a single melody, and make more complex patterns by echoing them, turning them upside down? That’s the idea behind Fugue Machine.

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Photo (CC-BY) Kevin Wong.

A free app makes a TI graphing calculator make music

“I’m the operator with my pocket calculator.” No — like, actually. HoustonTracker 2 runs on the TI-82/83/83+/84+ Texas Instruments graphing pocket calculators – the kind you probably had to buy for your high school math class. And it doesn’t just make the calculator into a sequencer. All the sounds come straight out of the calculator itself, thanks to some gorgeous-sounding 1-bit noises. (Who needs those 15 or so extra bits, anyway? This is beautiful.) What do I mean? Just watch:

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Mobile beat rig: MeeBlip, Elastic Drums, BeatStep Pro

Jamming: the idea is to make music by connecting directly to gestures so you make something spontaneous. And if music technology is jam session friendly, this finally means you can do it together – not just alone.

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What to know about Roland’s mini, dockable “boutique” synths

Roland’s “Boutique” Synths are now here officially, after most of the details of these mini synths leaked out in advance of their launch. And we get a real look at this line of inexpensive, mini synths – three models, with an optional keyboard dock.

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Hands-on with Novation Circuit, drum machine synth sequencer hardware all-in-one

Novation has been doing things with grids and knobs for some time, but those have come in the form of gadgets you plug into a computer and use with software like Ableton Live. Circuit is different: it’s an all-in-one groove workstation with sequencer, drum machine, synth, and arrangement in control, and it doesn’t even need to be plugged into power. We’ve got one of the first Novation Circuit units here, so in advance of our full review, here’s a quick hands-on.

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