monolith

The Monolith is a huge synth powered by Teensy, shown at Maker Faire

The Monolith is a “ginormous” music making machine, powered by a tiny chip and tiny code – the Teensy and one single Arduino sketch. And what you get is a completely non-portable synthesizer with flashing lights, controls for sequencing and synthesis, and the ability to make beats and melodies. It won accolades at this year’s Maker Faire in California, and creators Darcy Neal (aka Lady Brain Studios) and Paul Stroffregen (the Teensy’s inventor) joined Tested to show it off. (That’s the YouTube show by Mythbusters’ Adam Savage.) They’ve packed a lot of clever features: Arcade button controls 8-step sequencer with …

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amulets

AMULETS shows how to make a tape loop out of a cassette

AMULETS is Randall Taylor, a one-man experimental looping ambient artist out of Austin, Texas who works with tape loops and guitar. And to start off the year, Randall wants to show you a key element of his technique – making tape loops from cassette tapes. Tape loops, as associated with the likes of Steve Reich, began mainly on reel-to-reel decks. Using a cassette means some more precise surgery. There’s the cassette housing to contend with, mainly – which means disassembling and then (importantly) re-assembling a delicate plastic case. And the tape itself is smaller, too – 0.15 inches rather than …

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Delaydelus-w1

Daedelus and Bleep Labs Have Made a Sampler Delay Thing

The latest limited edition sound instrument animal has been born, and it’s a sampler delay … thing. Daedelus, the California producer who first popularized the monome, is teaming up with John-Mike Reed aka Dr. Bleep of Bleep Labs (designed in Austin, Texas and produced in America) to invent the Delaydelus. (Say that ten times fast.) Listen to Alfred’s spacey, trippy voiceover intro in the teaser video below, or stick around for the later videos in order to learn how it actually works. This being an “artist” edition hardware, there are some Daedelus-designed sounds to get you started. After that, you …

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Bleep’s Rad-Fi: Hackable, Bendable Synth and Effect on a Breadboard

How much freedom do you want when building things? You want the ability to experiment and make choices, but you also want the process of making to be easy enough that you can play. Bleep Labs last week introduced the first two kits in a series they’re calling Rad-Fi. The idea is, follow the instructions, and you can build a synth and an effect quickly by connecting parts on a breadboard. That makes kit assembly stunningly easy, because there’s no soldering involved. It also means it’s very possible to make modifications by snapping in additional parts, or, if you want …

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DSC_0108_blur

Lo-Fi SES Looks Like a Game Controller, Plays Like a Chip Instrument

What if there were a hacky, hackable handheld game platform – just for making noises? That’s what the Arduino-powered, Lo-Fi SES is all about. It’s basically a little 8-bit music toy, with a control layout borrowed from Nintendo of the past, but expandable, hackable, and open. The sound is very grungy and digital, but it all appears easy to play. The cutest touch: you expand the board with “cartridges,” add-ons that connect to the top to add functionality. “One”Final Sound Adventure” adds more sounds. “USB: A Link to the Hack” lets you program the board from your computer, using Arduino …

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DS1_top_wlense

MIDI Controller with Loads of Faders, Knobs, App Support: Livid DS1 on Preorder [Gallery]

The world has no shortage of MIDI controllers. There are big ones, small ones. There are, increasingly, loads of specialized controllers designed around apps. The DS1 is designed to be something different: it’s a mixing controller. And as conceived in a partnership between educational studio Dubspot and Austin, Texas boutique builder Livid Instruments, it’s meant to mix in any app. It’s a mixer for prodution, but also for DJing. With templates for a variety of tools, it’s made to be as comfortable in Traktor as in Ableton Live as in Logic. We’ve still yet to test whether it delivers on …

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The Augmented Guitar: In Final Hours of Crowd-Funding, Watch What Guitar Wing Can Do

Like superhero armor, the sleek Guitar Wing fits over the edge of your guitar – your existing, beloved guitar – and gives it badass bonus powers. The crowd-funded accessory finally brings control for digital instruments and effects to the fingertips of guitar and bass players, without forcing them to change instruments or give up their conventional techniques. Instead, Guitar Wing, via Bluetooth connection, provides pressure-sensitive pads, faders, buttons, switches, and (if you like) three-dimensional motion control right to the instrument. USB charged, rechargeable battery-powered, and with RGB color feedback and editing options, it’s ready to go anywhere and control anything. …

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A USB MIDI Controller, Designed Like a Mixer, from Dubspot + Livid: DS1 [Q&A]

We’ve got grids, more grids, and disco grids. We’ve got fake platters and big, whirling plates. We’ve got iPads and things you wave around in the air. But as controllers have embraced digital design, the number of controllers that have the logical layout of a mixer has, remarkably, diminished. And what really don’t have much of is a controller that’s truly DAW-agnostic. Integration is great, but you need hardware for people who don’t believe in One Tool as religion. It’s taken New York-based learning center Dubspot to reignite that idea, in a controller collaboration with Dave Cross and Livid Instruments. …

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Goodies: Free Sounds from Prophet 12, volca beats, Moog Minitaur, and More, Ableton and Beyond

Hardware is beautiful. But until we buy that private 747 and outfit it with an in-flight lounge, for instance, portability still matters. And that means for some of us even keeping both hardware and samples. Let’s get down to it: it’s time for another installment of the CDM “goodies” series, where we point you to free downloads to keep your hard drive happy. And this time, we get some of your favorite gear in the act: Prophet 12, volca, Minitaur. (Also, most come from Austin, Texas.) Many of these are already assembled into Ableton Live kits, but if you prefer …

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Ableton Goodies: Free MS-20 Simpler Instruments, Full of Filter Goodness

Our inbox is full of fun stuff Ableton lovers can download, so we’re pronouncing it “Ableton Goodies” day. Enjoy! And this one has audio samples you can adapt to other software, too. Like taking a photo or painting a picture, somehow you can transform the way you see a synth by sampling it. And one person who can really get his head inside a synth is Francis Prève. As a veteran of sound design and documentation, production and music journalism, DJing and the dance music scene, he can be uniquely dedicated to detail and attention. Whereas commenters (cough, here) complain …

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