One Day, One Track, 3 Roland AIRAs: How They Sound, Would We Buy Them?

It’s probably the greeting I’ve heard most in the past couple of months, apart from “Hello.” Sometimes even before “Hello.” Everywhere I go, people are asking me what I think of the Roland AIRAs – particularly the TR-8 drum machine. There are now reviews everywhere of the AIRA TB-3 and TR-8 (and some of the VT-3, as well). For CDM, we’re planning some additional detail, but we’re still awaiting our review hardware. Fortunately, I got to spend an action-packed day with the trio of AIRAs with Benjamin Weiss. So, I can do what I’d do in a bar: I can …

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Hexonator Resonator Makes Any Sound into Harmonies, Sequences

Resonators are a breed that could use some new life. Let’s not even talk about Ableton Live – use one of the presets in the built-in effect in that software, and any producers are likely to perk up their ears – and turn up their nose. But that’s why it’s nice to see the latest effort from Artemiy Pavlov and Sinevibes. The Ukrainian developer has just been on a roll lately with clever, Mac-friendly (Retina Display, even) creative plug-ins. And the latest is a fresh twist on a resonator. Six tuned resonators already makes a nice resonator plug-in, but Hexonator …

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Akai’s $199 Analog Drum Machine with Bass Synth: Rhythm Wolf Details

Remember when a $200 budget used to buy you a metronome and flight case, if you were lucky? Now, you have a range of great synths you can choose from. And now it’s Akai’s turn. The Rhythm Wolf is an integrated analog groove box – a 32-step sequencer, an analog drum machine, and a bassline synth in one. And it’s just $199 street. We’ve got all the details on the box, and should have more hands-on impressions later this week.

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Let your iPad Look Like Anything, Sequence Anything, with Lemur 5

Even before the world had seen the iPad, the promise of Lemur was a touchable interface that could become anything – a Star Trek-like world in which you could touch fluid controls directly to make live music and visuals. The reality, though, was more limited. Users were limited to a library of widgets. That included useful controls, like knobs, faders, and even more far-out physics-enabled X/Y pads, buct widgets, nonetheless. A major update to Lemur this week blows that wide open, in two ways. First, it overhauls how sequencing works, with both tighter timing and new objects, ideal for use …

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One Awesome Jam, Four Sequences, 32-Steps: New MTRX Hardware Sequencer Video

Fyrd Instruments’ MTRX is a beautiful-looking, boutique hardware sequencer. But its one drawback had been the 8-step sequencer. Now, this should give you steps: think four simultaneous sequences, 32 steps, and the ability to output on the MIDI port and USB port simultaneously. Commenters frequently complain that technology for its own sake gets in the way of music. Well, that may be so, but here, the sequence sounds excellent. Our own MeeBlip (in the older SE version) joins some other great hardware and software: the Shruthi open source hardware, Native Instruments’ Monark, and Madrona Labs’ Aalto – three of my …

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Review: MTRX-8, The Hardware Sequencer You Can Reprogram

The standalone MIDI hardware sequencer has had formidable competition in the age of the computer. But it seems ready to make a comeback in a big way. With more hardware, more affordable hardware, and more fans, all-in-one tactile control is just what the doctor ordered. Of course, having used a computer, you’re less likely to be accommodating of inflexibility. That’s why the MTRX-8 from Fyrd Instruments shows real promise. It works as a standalone sequencer, true, with MIDI in and out ports. But it also coincides nicely with a computer – from programmability over USB to doubling as a MIDI …

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Holiday Goodies: Sampled Sleigh, Jingle Bells, Free [Samples]

We open on a Christmas Eve dinner. The goose has been stripped to the bones, the third wine glass drained to its last drops. A typical-looking family leans back. Cut to a close-up on a scraggly-looking electronic music producer. He rolls his eyes at the next question. “Why don’t you play some of that music you make? Didn’t you used to play the viola?” “But, grandma, I make dark experimental techno and noise art.” “Dark what? Play Jingle Bells!” “Wait – I have just the solution. I remember, I just saw that free pack of samples on CDM. Let me …

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KORG M01D for Nintendo 3DS, Surprising Mobile Music Workstation [Listening]

The KORG M01D app, available now for about a month for Nintendo’s 3DS handheld, seems the definition of anachronism. It’s a mobile Nintendo DS music app in an age of iPhones and iPads. It’s based on a 1988 digital synth, even as analog is back and style. You use it with a stylus. You can look at the keyboard, which is essentially flat – in 3D. (Well, then you get to see the … flatness … really with some depth.) But guess what? It’s also wickedly good. Like, good enough to try to pick up a 3DS on the cheap? …

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Digital Warrior Goes Open Source, DJ-friendly Step Sequencer Hardware Gets Better

A USB-connected step sequencer with controller is now improved, and open source. The Digital Warrior is a boutique hardware controller hailing from Cyprus, combining a 16-voice, 32-step sequencer with four pots and two three-color endless encoders, all attached via a driverless USB connection. It’s capable of acting as a step sequencer/controller with any tools you like, but out of the box includes support for Traktor remix decks and Ableton Live control. The remix deck functionality with Traktor is a particular draw; developer and producer/DJ Tomash GHz pioneered this particular way of combining step sequencers and Traktor’s Remix Decks. (Check out …

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Lunchbeat is a 1-bit Groovebox You Can Make Yourself

Friends bragging lately about the quality of the sound of their drum machines? Tell them you can make sounds lower fidelity than they can. LUNCHBEAT is a 1-bit groovebox, making impossibly-dirty digital sounds, with a built-in step sequencer. While we await a proper DIY kit, it’s an ideal learning project: it’s nice and simple, has a low part count, everything you need as far as specs is available free to create your own, and it’s a good way to work out the basics of digital sound and sequencing. And, really, if you need more than one bit to make music, …

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