instrumentsthree

A different breed of analog sound library for Ableton Live

Soundware is everywhere, from endless catalogs of loops to yet another pack of sampled vintage instruments. But apart from questionable quality as the market grows crowded, the other simple question is, just how should these packs be assembled? SympleSound is what happens when a sound designer decides to treat the sound pack like an instrument unto itself – not just content, but a set of tools.

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Prophet 12, 12-voice Synth, Now as a Module, and Demonstrated by Dave Smith Himself

Strictly speaking, the Prophet 12 isn’t news. It’s just a module version of the Prophet 12 keyboard introduced earlier this year. (You can add ears and rack-mount it.) And yet, it’s getting lots of buzz online. I was thinking for a bit about why that was, and eventually arrived at this solution: for synth lovers, the Prophet 12 module is about the most perfect way imaginable right now to spend two grand. Watch legendary pioneer and hardware namesake Dave Smith himself demonstrate the results: It’s also a triumph of making a module that works without the maker feeling obligated to …

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More Than Ever: Tour Dave Smith’s Monster Synth, the Prophet 12

The Prophet 12 from Dave Smith Instruments is a landmark synth: packed with polyphony and sound features, it’s the latest demonstration that “new” and “synth keyboard” can go together. So, for our first-look tour through the new Prophet, we get a special treat – writer, electronic musician, and mathematician Gina Collecchia got a hands-on look with the engineers who designed the instrument. Gina, who demystifies signal processing for all the rest of us in her book Numbers and Notes, get to talk with Chris, one technologist to another. -Ed. Meet the newest member of the Dave Smith Instruments family: the …

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Sweet 12-Pack of Polyphony: Dave Smith Unveils All-New Prophet 12 [Video, Images]

Dave Smith has reason to celebrate this year. He’s been creating synths for 35 years. The MIDI protocol he helped create turned 30. And now, amidst a wave of new analog monosynths, he’s got a monster keyboard with – gasp – polyphony, and lots of it. Dave sent CDM some pics of his baby earlier this week. The Prophet 12 looks like a real titan, with 12-voice polyphony (of course) and what Dave says is an all-new design. That’s the surprise: whereas previous Dave Smith models have tended to build on the voice architecture of previous outings, Dave says that …

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The year we made contact: photo evidence now proves that the first public MIDI connection was made between a Sequential Circuits Prophet 600 and a Roland Jupiter 6. Now, get those instruments and an Instagram filter and recreate this shot, if you like. Courtesy Dave Smith (personal collection).

Grammy for MIDI Creators Dave Smith, Ikutaro Kakehashi; First Connection Mystery Solved

It’s been almost 30 years since MIDI was first demonstrated at the winter NAMM show, 1983. Marking the anniversary, The Recording Academy is giving a coveted Technical Grammy to the two people most associated with its creation – so-called “father of MIDI” Dave Smith (then founder of Sequential Circuits, now Dave Smith Instruments) and Roland founder and engineer Ikutaro Kakehashi. Actually, it’s a bit interesting to me that Mr. Kakehashi is being left out of some of the news; it was the fact that MIDI could connect between two pieces of gear that demonstrated its value. In other words, it …

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The new Jupiter-50, little sibling to the big JP-80 introduced last year.

Roland Returns to Synth Roots on Jupiter; New JP-50, iPad Integration [Video]

The name “Jupiter” evokes some strong feelings among synth aficionados. Little wonder, than, that when Roland introduced a modern successor, the response was impassioned. CDM was one of the first to look in detail at the Jupiter-80, and I was surprised – given the tendency of this readership away from massive flagship keyboards – to see it become one of our biggest stories of the year. Roland faced some serious criticism when the story it told about the new Jupiter was less about synthesis and more about the instrument-emulating Supernatural engine. After all, since the days of the original Jupiter’s …

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iPad Sequencer Meets Vintage Oberheim, and MIDI Endures

StepPolyArp for iPad controlling an Oberheim FVS from Logan Mannstrane on Vimeo. Logan Mannstrane sends in this lovely video combining an iPad MIDI step sequencer — with an Oberheim FVS. It’s a striking intersection of analog and digital technology. But I wanted to ask Logan to explain why he’d use the iPad in this case instead of other MIDI tools — why crossing this generational gap mattered. He responds: That fact that I can interface a synth from the 70’s to new device in 2010 is pretty amazing by iteself. I can have the sequencer in my hands and pull …

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Mopho, the $400 Dave Smith Analog Synth: Extra Details

Hot dog purveyor Gray’s Papaya in New York is beloved for its “Recession Special”: two dogs and a drink. Their champagne is made from coconuts. And you don’t just scarf these down in bear markets; you enjoy them any time. Dave Smith’s monophonic Mopho synth is perhaps the greatest recession special in the history of synthesis. It’s got the soul of a single voice from the Prophet ’08 analog synth, but with sub-octave generators, distortion that they claim ranges to “extreme skronk,” and the ability to process audio input. Interestingly, that means its “skronkiness” and input processing address some of …

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Tenori-On is Shipping in US; Tenori-On Meets Kyma Synth

Tenori-on Meets Kyma from Nomad Cinema on Vimeo. US distributor Keyfax NewMedia reports that it has Yamaha’s Tenori-On in stock and shipping out now. (Pre-orders began at the beginning of May, but this is apparently the first the US unit has made it to our shows — unless you happened to win one from createdigitalmusic.com, that is, in April, in which case you know who you are.) Every time I mention Tenori-On, despite the awe and lust it inspires in some musicians, someone raises the point of its somewhat retro-styled, simple sound bank. Fair enough: the minimal sounds are fantastic …

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Dave Smith the Synth Prophet Reflects on Music Tech, in English and Spanish

There are few names who have had so profound an impact on music technology as Dave Smith. Three decades after the introduction of the Prophet-5, and nearly 25 years after the first MIDI product shipped, his new creations remain some of the most sought-after musical instruments available. The new Prophet ’08 is capable of producing just as much excitement as some of those earlier landmarks. That’s why we’re pleased to offer this entirely non-exclusive interview with — Yes, that’s right. I said “non exclusive.” The word “exclusive” gets thrown around a lot, usually meaning something that really isn’t terribly exclusive …

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