A Cheesy Pocket Techno Jam with Tiny Cheap Gear

Not just a little small and a little inexpensive. A lot little. Malaventura, aka Fernando Garcia Tamajon, sends this wonderful “cheesy pocket techno jam” (spotted via Instagram). The ingredients: a PO-14 from teenage engineering, a monotron Delay from Korg and a talking translator by an unknown brand bought in a fleamarketn Works for me. There’s something about things being small, self-contained, simple … that can be inspiring. For all those years of people derisively calling things “toys,” sometimes toys are exactly what we need. I love that mystery gear, too.


Reviews Weigh in on Our MeeBlip anode Synth; Here’s What They Said

MeeBlip anode, our ready-to-play bass synth with an analog filter, is now shipping and in dealers worldwide. We knew we wanted to make something that was accessible to those new to hardware synths, but had enough personality to surprise advanced users, too – even in a small box, for US$139.95 list. And we also now know what the critics think. It’s always easy to explain what you wanted a creation to be. It’s a different, if exciting, experience when you read someone else’s take on what resulted. But that makes me all the more pleased to share a round-up of …


Reason 8 Overhauls UI, Adds New Softube Amp Models [Video, Gallery]

Let’s face it: Reason has started to look a little bit crowded lately. What began as a small rack of virtual effects and instruments has grown to add an enormous mixing console. Sequencing features have, since the beginning, been squeezed to tiny lanes at the bottom of the UI. And a browser floated around in a window. Reason 8’s individual parts aren’t so different from Reason versions you’ve seen before. But it’s the way they fit together that has changed – rather radically.


Could You Someday Wear Speakers? Wearable Tech and Expression

Wearable tech so far has often tended to dresses that light up or wristwatches that act as remote controls for your smartphone. But what if wearable tech actually produced sound – and it wasn’t a pair of headphones? That’s the question posed by SubPac. It’s a sort of backpack subwoofer aimed both at improving tactile bass response for consumers and allowing proper bass monitoring for DJs and producers – you know, when they can’t just try their latest mix on a big club PA. We’ve covered wearable tech on CDM before – we’ve even hosted workshops and labs on the …


Hands on with Akai’s $199 Rhythm Wolf Drum Machine, More Details

As I suspected, Akai did not have a working, sounding model of the upcoming Rhythm Wolf drum machine. But I did get my hands on a prototype with sequencing firmware, got a sense of what the build will be like, and got to talk with Akai more about the design ideas behind this groove machine. Here’s what it feels like to pick it up: This thing feels great – not toy-like. This was the big (and pleasant) surprise for me. Whatever the Rhythm Wolf may sound like, at least it feels serious. In fact, it’s: Real metal. Fake wood. The …


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.


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. …


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 …


The KORG volca bass is Not a TB-303 Replacement – Great Video Compares, Adds Tips

Discchord has an insightful video that pits the KORG volca bass – that beautiful, affordable wonder – against a 303 bass (in this case, a Cyclone clone). It’s in my view a completely fair comparison, just because the Roland TB-303 has become such a template for basslines, particularly in acid music. And understanding what the KORG isn’t is also a key to understand what it is. And yes, that silver cover can give people the wrong idea. (Where’s KORG doing pink or green army camouflage when you need them?) My own takeaways:


MFB Tanzbär Analog Drum Machine Arriving, 800€ [Sound Sample]

Amidst a wave of monosynth options, it seems your options for a new hardware drum machine in the classic mode are surprisingly limited. The new Tanzbär from Berlin-based boutique builder MFB could be the one to put in the budget. At 800 €, it isn’t exactly an impulse buy – but it’s also considerably cheaper and more compact than the Tempest from Dave Smith Instruments. And then there’s what you get for that price. The instrument simply sounds stellar, and packs some serious functionality to boot. The sound source is a beautiful, classic analog-based sound with loads of direct access …