poundforpound

Watch How Much Hardware You Can Jam With On a Budget

Who said electronic musical bliss required deep pockets? We’ve seen a steady flow of budget-minded gear over the last few years. What makes this equipment special isn’t just that it’s cheaper. It also has personality and produces distinctive sounds, loads of hands-on control, and fits compactly into carry-on luggage, meaning it’s a no-brainer on the road and in small live performance spaces. That’s encouraging more people to play live. MeeBlip owner Zachary Hollback sent over a video that sums up why this can be fun. This isn’t necessarily about inventing new kinds of music: it really is, in the mode …

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volca Goodies: Free volca beats Sample Library, $8 Editor-Control Panel, MIDI Out

The love of all things volca continues, as enthusiastic owners of KORG’s boxes create their own accessories. The latest: a sample library (meaning you don’t even need to own the volca), a fantastic editor/control panel package that works standalone or in Ableton Live, and a MIDI output mod. Free volca beats Sounds: First, let’s have a listen to a dark, dirty, free sample library from Dark Side of the Tune, aptly named Volca Beats. The Volca Beats was put through multiple gain stages and frequency modulation to create even more depth and range. From quick thumpy sounds for techno and …

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Quick Fix: QuNexus is a Great Way to Do MIDI and CV, Cheap and Mobile

Here’s a really quick tip, but it demonstrates something in one illustrative video: Keith McMillen’s QuNexus is a brilliant, mobile solution for MIDI and analog control voltage. Of course, time was when the mention of control voltage would say to people either eccentric vintage gear collectors or expensive racks of modular. But CV’s appeal is fast spreading. On the modular side, prices are tumbling, and compact suitcase rigs can easily cost less than some pricey plug-in bundles (cough). On the used/vintage side, there’s just a lot of gear you might want to connect. And now, there are affordable units like …

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Ableton Goodies: Control Every KORG volca Free, with Max for Live

Tweaking with physical knobs is part of the joy of gear like the KORG volca series. But when you’re ready to automate parameters, try new sound design, recall presets, or simply work simultaneously to experiment with volca parameters alongside software tools, it can be handy to have a remote control. It’s the producer’s equivalent of not having to get off the couch. Benjamin Weiss, the other half of experimental techno duo NERKKIRN with myself, has been busily making volca presets. He’s found these to be timesavers in producing with the volcas; we’ll be using them in the studio this weekend, …

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Crazy Awesome volca keys Kraftwerk Cover, The Robots

We’re not worthy. Japanese site Digiland has published a review of KORG volca keys. And when they do sound demos for their review, they go a little crazy. This video is the result: it’s a cover of Die Roboter (“The Robots”) by Kraftwerk that’s spookily-good. (Actually, it almost improves upon the original.) The synth sounds all come from volca keys, apart from a vocal line using the Togu Audio Line TAL-Vocoder, and some beats from – what else? – volca beats. Significantly, they’ve also posted a MIDI implementation chart. We’re really not giving volca bass much love this week, now …

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KORG volca keys Hands-on: Probably the volca You Most Want [Sounds]

KORG’s volca line of affordable analog instruments isn’t yet available everywhere, but they’re slowly, slowly trickling into the world. KORG hasn’t yet sent any to CDM, and we’re generally hearing “September” from most retailers, but Japan has got a few. One of those was store-bought and brought back to Berlin, and I got to play with it with music collaborator and fellow journalist-at-large Benjamin Weiss of De:Bug. It’s worth revisiting CDM’s detailed hands-on from some weeks ago, as we got to talk to the creator, and hear what he does with his own instrument (a real highlight of 2013 so …

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Korg's Tatsuya Takahashi stops by our studio, playing his volcas (and a bit of MeeBlip with us, too!)

Hands On with Korg’s

He’s not a household name. But Tatsuya Takahashi is the man from Korg’s development group behind instruments you almost certainly know. Starting with the first Korg monotron, followed by the Monotribe, monotron DUO and monotron DELAY, Takahashi has been standards bearer to a legacy of Korg stretching back to the early analog days. These newer instruments return to some of the analog circuitry and ideas behind earlier instruments, bringing a new playful approach to electronic music making for the masses, at stunningly low prices that put the products in reach of those musicians. And now … well, now there’s volca, …

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