Wild, Techie, Wonderful: NAMM’s Gear Delights [Gallery II]

Hardware and software continue to thrive (above). Pro audio lives on. People still make strange, wonderful products for tiny niches of people passionate about every element of sound. Marsha Vdovin is a veteran of the NAMM trade show like few people we know, so seeing the show through the eyes of her camera reveals some weirdness and wonderfulness we always appreciate. And Wonder Woman, too. Magic Kingdom, indeed. Gallery II, go! -Ed.

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So Many Wires and Knobs: Enjoy Synth pr0n Goodness in Our NAMM Gallery I

Now, we get to transport you to the toy store of sound-making gadgets that is the NAMM show in Anaheim, California. James Grahame, the engineer behind MeeBlip, gets to show off his love of synthesizers in his photolog. And we see some of the big winners at the show for electronic instrument lovers: Boutique makers are doing more wonderful stuff than ever. It starts with modular, yes, but look for products in other areas, as well. We were thrilled to get to insert MeeBlip anode at Pittsburgh Modular and Studio Electronics, as they already had some of my favorite stuff …

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See Moog’s Cool New Instruments: the Flying-Saucer-Shaped Theremini, the Packed Sub37 Synth [Details]

In two instruments, we’ve seen the latest future of Moog. One looks like the future, white and flying-saucer-like, a 70s retro-scifi egg/baguette with an equally futuristic sound. The other expands on the latest Moog synthesis ideas to create a vast timbral galaxy that we’ll hear more in the future. Moog’s Theremini gestural instrument and Sub37 synthesizer made their debut, and we’ve talked to engineering to learn what they mean. You might not knowing it looking at one of them, but the latest stuff from Moog charts new sonic territory by building on recent successes. Those first departures for the North …

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Korg Reimagines Keytar, with microKORG XL+ Sounds, Ribbon Controls, Slick Wooden Body [Details]

Korg’s RK-100 turns 30 this year, marking a milestone for one of the first keytars. (KORG is using the term “keytar,” not the less-pleasant-sounding “strap-on,” and who am I to argue?) It’s easy to forget that part of the reason that keytars made an appearance briefly in the mid-1980s was that the role of the synthesist had changed. This was not simply a ploy for keyboardists to prance about onstage. The rise of electro and synth pop meant that the keyboardists themselves had found a more central role in the music and sound, a lead, front-of-stage part in the band …

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Back to the Future: Waldorf Does 2-Pole Analog Filter; Moog Makes Crazy Futuristic Theremin

Our own Marsha Vdovin is working the NAMM floor, too, and her radar is leading her straight to some really nice gems. I had to pull two of these out, as they’re big surprises and look tasty indeed. And who would have thought a filter and a Theremin would be news? Well, these are drool-worthy, nonetheless. Waldorf’s mystery knob is the filter control from a big filter in a box. That’s right, Waldorf is introducing a 2-pole filter. And one heck of a 2-pole filter it is: Filter with cutoff and resonance, but also a Drive setting, Rectify, and switchable …

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Elektron Analog Rytm Drum Machine: Specs, Pricing, Photos

It may lack every feature of the Octatrack or the digital drum workflows of Machinedrum. (At least that’s what some of you have told us – attached to your gear, perhaps?) But I’m betting for many, Analog Rytm’s combination of dedicated analog architecture and sample support is attracting some interest as a balanced solution for hardware drum machine design. And now we know roughly when we’re getting it. Analog Rytm is due Q1 2014, with “preliminary” price at US$1549/€1489. And we know a bit more about the architecture. The sample engine is “customizable” and “highly bendable” and can be layered …

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Record a Mic, Guitar with UA’s Apollo Twin, and Model Analog Like Never Before [Thunderbolt, $699]

Universal Audio’s new Apollo Twin (in SOLO and DUO variants, starting at US$699) gives you quite a lot of value on a single Thunderbolt connection to your Mac. It’s shipping now. It’s an audio interface, with connections for line, mic, or instruments. It’s a real-time DSP processor, adding the ability to run UA’s suite of (mostly analog-modeling) sound processing goodies. (SOLO/DUO refers to how much DSP muscle you get.) And it’s a bundle of UA models of analog hardware, including a rather nice pair of limiters, an EQ, amp models, and tube preamps. If you think they’re hoping guitarists and …

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M-Audio Trigger Finger Pad Controller is Back – with a Step Sequencer, High-Res Screen

This is not your father’s Trigger Finger. The Trigger Finger has to be one of the biggest success stories in controllers, ever. Back before “controllerism” was a thing, this was what you took along – cheap, light, easy-to-abuse, it was a warhorse 4×4 grid of pads with faders. I’ve watched Flying Lotus tear up his; I’ve seen it win laptop battles. I’ve seen people play them with pads weirdly half ripped-off and all the knob and fader caps missing. I’ve seen Trigger Fingers that looked like someone dragged them through the mud tied to a pickup truck. (I knew that …

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Make Modular Musical Mayhem Telegraph-Style, with Make Noise Teleplexer

Introducing the MakeNoise Teleplexer Module (First Look) from Richard Devine on Vimeo. Conductive plates have let telegraph operators tap out messages and Stylophone players sing sweet melodies. Now, running a patch cord along the plates of the MakeNoise Teleplexer lets you turn signals in a modular synth rack into new musical patterns. Touch here – get wonderful, delicious chaos. It’s the latest module from Make Noise, the modular makers who are perhaps the black sheep of Asheville, North Carolina. And at a NAMM music trade show this week dominated by gear with, you know, more conventional appeal to musicians, these …

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Bitwig Sets a Date: Here’s When You’ll Get Bitwig Studio, What It’ll Cost

It’s been a wait that’s driven some music producers mad – some, rabid with desire to get their mitts on new software, others, angrily dismissing the tool. But it’s a wait that’s nearly over. Bitwig Studio, the Mac/Windows/Linux production and live software, is coming on March 26 of this year. No more beta — a final release. Pricing has been announced, as well. Downloads will cost US$399 / €299, which means any notion that Bitwig would drastically undercut rivals on price is pretty much out the window. (Boxed versions run slightly higher; Japan will get a boxed version for 41,000 …

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