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This is what a steampunk synth with 25 tubes sounds like

Got $13,000 burning a hole in your pocket? Maybe you’re an independently wealthy crazy person, or possibly some sort of disco-producing super-villain, for instance? And therefore need to spend it on a completely insane monosynth? We’ve got the deal for you.

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Learn electronics with the vintage Side Man drum machine

ENG_SIDEMAN_PREVIEW from Darsha Hewitt on Vimeo. Darsha’s sound electronics class is in session – and it’s a little different to what you’d normally expect. Rather than a bunch of animations of electrons moving about, sound artist and educator Darsha Hewitt has created a long-form video tutorial around the world’s first commercial drum machine.

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Metasonix Have Made an Immoral Drum Machine from Vacuum Tubes

Drum machines. They’re predictable. So much so that the biggest controversy about Roland’s high-profile entry into the market with AIRA was whether they should remake the 808/909 or remake the 808/909 as analog. Enter Metasonix. They would like to make the differentiation point of drum machines whether you still have your ass or not once you’ve heard them. And so, we see the D-2000, the long-awaited (long-dreaded?) successor to the D-1000, but, say Metasonix, more extreme. (“Tweaked,” “maximized,” and “pushed.”) How would you describe the sound? Absolutely terrible. (You know, nicely horrible. I mean, probably not in a way most …

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CL:OC Kinetic Lighting Installation: A Dance in Tubes of Light

CL:OC – A Kinetic Installation from Grosse 8 on Vimeo. G8 LABS’ CL:OC is a lighting installation shown recently in Köln, Germany. It’s a kind of moving sculpture, choreographing tubes of light as they form and dissolve the digits of the titular clock. It’s a beautifully-elegant, minimal piece, the sort that demonstrates how much can be done with simple lighting fixtures simply by treating them themselves as part of the image. Thanks to creator Gerrit for sending this in! Full description:

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Exclusive: Metasonix Prototype VCO, the R-55 Thyratron – With Tubes

Metasonix, the maker celebrating the mad science of tubes for making wonderfully-terrible noises, reveals to CDM that next week they’ll unveil a new Voltage Controlled Oscillator. Behold, videos! From top: “A prototype R-55 thyratron VCO is controlled with a Makenoise Rene sequencer, with an R-54 VCO tuned to track along.” “A prototype R-55 thyratron VCO tunes along with an R-54 VCO, both driven with the same CV.” Analog: you can scare small children with it. In a good way. And as if you needed another reason to visit their booth at NAMM – or follow along as we visit them …

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Cyber Monday, Ongoing: Delicious Synths, Effects for $5-20 from audioMIDI

The EMS VCS3 has inspired a virtual synth. You can try to get someone to give you a hardware EMS for $20 – or you can take advantage of this deal. Photo: Rosa Menkman. Online retailer audioMIDI has begun a new sale I really love called the “No Brainer” series. They offer some carefully-selected instruments and effects for prices like $5, $15, or $20. These aren’t clearance bin deals, either; they’re some of the best plug-ins on the market, in either full versions or slightly stripped-down (but fully-functional) editions. audioMIDI has exclusively released details of the deals they’ll offer Monday …

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A Vacuum Tube Drum Machine: Eric Barbour, Metasonix at RobotSpeak

Drum machines with tubes: from Wurlitzer’s classic SideMan to a new prototype, drum machines can make tubes rock even harder. What happens when adept sonic inventor Eric Barbour of Metasonix makes a drum machine out of clever circuits and vacuum tubes? Well, in the creator’s words: “It makes noise … a lot of noise.”

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Metasonix “Scrotum Smasher” Tube-Based Effect, Tested on Video

Metasonix continues to build one-of-a-kind effects with raunchy, make-your-parents-blush names. No nonsense about tubes providing warm, wonderful sounds. Take the first tube, a vintage model from devices like military radios: “We use it as a preamp—a BAD preamp. The SCROTUM knob controls input volume badly. No, you can’t turn it fully down. This is intentional because it interacts with the DOUBLE SCROTUM switch. Turning down SCROTUM won’t silence the awful noise and oscillation. It just makes the TM-7 howl and scream at various pitches, intermodulating with your lovely sweet guitar tone. Ha ha ha. Scrotum.” Two more vacuum tubes and …

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AES: Beautiful “Redhead” Red Type A Mic, with Interchangeable Tube Capsules

Sometimes it’s really hard to be rational and dispassionate about high-end audio gear. Some of it is just ridiculously pretty. And every time the AES show rolls around, you can be sure your right brain’s neurons are going to get all hot and bothered about Blue and Red Microphones and their lovely, vintage-style designs.

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Tube Mic on a Budget: M-Audio’s New Sputnik

Say M-Audio and you probably think of plastic keyboards or USB audio interfaces, but M-Audio’s latest creation is a multi-pattern, large diaphragm studio condenser microphone, with a retro design and a military-grade vacuum tube. The Sputnik is not M-Audio’s first microphone — they make a line of budget-minded condensers — but M-Audio is crowing about it in a big way. By budget, we’re talking US$699.95 list. But it’s the mics to which M-Audio is comparing the Sputnik that might get some interest. M-Audio claims that “top Los Angeles recording engineers . . . observed [in side-by-side comparisons] that Sputnik exhibited …

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