Insane, Starship Control Panel Controls Sound Morphing-Synth in 3D: COSMOSƒ

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: manipulating sound presets should be as intuitive and powerful as regulating plasma coolant flow to the antimatter injector on a warp drive nacelle. I mean, knobs? How quaint. COSMOSƒ is a graphical morphing engine for sound, a standalone synthesizer with a wild, sci-fi interface. You can actually set up polar coordinates and navigate sounds through a sphere, in three dimensions. The sound engine is all internal, but looks like a lot of fun. (For more of this sort of thing, see the excellent, free and open source IanniX, which …

READ MORE →

What NI Was Teasing: Monark Minimoog-Modeling Synth, Remade Battery, in New Komplete

Native Instruments has been teasing new instrument software in recent days, and now we get to see what they were previewing: a new virtual-analog monosynth and a remade version of their drum sampler. But, hold on, before everyone yawns and leaves the building – there’s reason to pay attention to this news. First, yes, there is something notably absent in today’s announcement. While NI is making Komplete, their bundle of their extensive stable of software instruments, available for preorder, there’s still no sign of a big upgrade to Reaktor. The fact that the Monark video showed Reaktor patching may have …

READ MORE →

NI Teases New Synth: Video, SoundCloud Samples

Native Instruments has something new coming, revealed today in a teaser video. And as you’ll see, it’s something new that isn’t a DJ app for iPad. I expect you’ll even see some speculation about it online. I can’t speculate about it, as … I’ve seen it. So you can instead expect full coverage once this becomes public. I did clear with NI the ability to say what it isn’t, just in case this video is unclear. This does not involve hardware. It’s a new software instrument. Beyond that, I’ll leave you to watch the video, which I must say includes …

READ MORE →

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 …

READ MORE →

The Monster: DIY Project Looks, And Sounds, Like Alien Spacecraft Control Panel

Leave it to the DIYer. Alex Pleninger’s name isn’t just marketing. This is one monster of a synth creation, looking and sounding like it was ripped, circuits still humming, from a wrecked UFO. Retro trackball, keyboard? Check. In-built computer display? Check. Makes … a mind-boggling array of sounds? Oh, yes. It’s retro-future goodness, powered by the legendary SID, Robert “Bob” Yannes’ synth-on-a-chip that powered the Commodore 64. (In fact, get Bob and Wolfgang together, and you have a fair amount of digital synthesis history – with Ensoniq and PPG represented. See today’s other story.) Thanks to Marc Resibois for the …

READ MORE →

Worth A Thousand Words, Easy: Videos Tour WaveMapper iOS App with Creator

You can see only his fingers and hear his voice, but that’s Wolfgang Palm narrating walk-throughs of his WaveMapper app, seen here last week. And he’s one important guy doing these screencasts. Hamburg-born Wolfgang built synths for Tangerine Dream, and developed ideas in wavetable synthesis and inter-synth communication that would come to impact every digital synth made since. And watching this probably makes more sense than reading my explanation from last week. I know owners of the previous PPG synth on iOS might have liked this in a new version of that app. But here, with the “mapping” matrix applying …

READ MORE →

PPG WaveMapper for iOS, Sequel to Beloved Synth, Adds Graphical ‘Mapping’ [Coming Soon]

It looks like it might be some sort of synthesis board game. But the grid above is actually a way of using touch to design new hybrid sounds. And it could appeal to both newcomers and synth die-hards alike. Wolfgang Palm must really like his iPad. The digital synthesis pioneer, the founder of classic maker PPG and credited with inventing wavetable synthesis, has already had a thunderous debut on the iPad. His PPG WaveGenerator has been one of the best-reviewed synths for Apple’s mobiles yet. But, apparently not resting on his laurels, he’s already back with a sequel, the PPG …

READ MORE →
Photo courtesy the artist.

One Laser + Hourglass + Circuits = Crazy Gijs Noise Generator

Now, here’s the way to do an analog noise generator oscillator: use grains of sand. As falling sand interrupts the flow of a laser to a light-sensitive sensor (a photodetector), the circuit produces random oscillations of sound. It’s the latest brilliant creation of mad Dutch scientist Gijs Gieskes, the industrial designer-turned-musician whose inventions often center on some physical and mechanical apparatus. Just for good measure, the project is mounted to a clear frame so it can be fit to a Eurorack modular setup. You can try building this yourself; as with all of Gijs’ projects, the circuit is freely available …

READ MORE →
podolski

Podolski is a Free, Full-Featured Virtual Analog Synth Plug-in from Urs Heckmann [Mac, PC]

Any instrument from software maestro Urs Heckmann seems worth a mention. This one, doubly so: it’s free. Podolski isn’t new; it has made appearances through the years in the excellent German-language magazine KEYBOARDS (no relation to the US Keyboard). But now, it’s available for everyone, with some nice updates and modernization and versions for just about any Mac or Windows host (or Linux, via WINE). Now, even if we’re talking only free plug-ins, there are a lot of virtual analog synths out there. But this one is special: it’s got the great sound of FilterscapeVA, and waveform morphing and short …

READ MORE →
wablet

Make a New Sound: Scanned Synthesis on Wablet for iPad Features Utterly Mad Meshes

It’s a good sign when you need to invent a new verb to describe using a music tool. And so, get ready for some wabbling. Feel like there aren’t any new synthesis techniques? Scanned synthesis is a reasonable example. Fundamentally, it involves wavetable synthesis – producing new sounds by playing back recorded wavetable content – but navigates those sounds by “scanning” through pitch and timbre independently at slow speeds. By doing so, it simulates slow vibrations in the real world, and it leans heavily on the way human physical control and hearing work. The technique was developed by Bill Verplank …

READ MORE →