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 …


Bolsa Bass: Critter and Guitari Bass, in Trippy-Cute Animation

Bass makes boys and girls happy, like sugar-y cereals and adorable cute animations. So, it seems only natural to round up the kids, pour yourself a bowl of Honey Smacks, and sit on the beanbag in front of the television set to watch the goodness of the boutique Critter & Guitari Bolsa Bass in an adorable psychedelic cell animation. We’ve got the animation, the photos, the sounds, and the specs all here. The basic notion here: six synthesis modes switch between different sounds, while a sequencer (with MIDI in, out, and sync for integration with hardware and software) handles all …

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, …

Okay, it's not as compact, but you can at least get input working with Apple's now-shipping Lightning adapter for 30-pin accessories and Sonoma's excellent GuitarJack.

Lightning Audio: Sonoma’s GuitarJack Meets New iPads, iPhones, Via Adapter [Gallery]

Apple’s mobile hardware offers some serious audio performance and a whole mess of apps to take advantage of it. But what it doesn’t have is the ability to connect inputs and get high-quality sound. Basic mics will work via the built-in jack, but if you want really good sound and more flexibility, you need to connect external hardware. Previous accessories worked with the Apple Dock Connector. I expect we’ll shortly see new hardware with the Lightning Connector built in – the whole thing seems like an opportunity for third-party vendors to sell more accessories. But in the meantime, here’s the …


$679 Minitaur: A Moog Analog Monosynth for the Rest of Us, Soon (Photos, Video, Flame Bait!)

Look past the plug-ins and controllers and hosts that work with controllers and iPads sitting in docks and such. If you like dedicated, analog monosynth hardware, life is actually pretty darned good. Okay, so for those of you without deep pockets, you may not know some of the back story here. Moog’s limited-edition Taurus 3 was a brilliant update of the classic Taurus bass pedal, complete with luscious foot pedals. And with a street dipping down near US$1699, it’s honestly not a bad deal. The problem is, not everyone has that cash, or the ability to lug around a big, …


Useful Music Tools for Your Android Phone, and a New Sketchpad Joins Groovebox

Despite being a musical technology enthusiast, I really do think of my Android phone first and foremost as a communications device. I imagine I’m not alone, just as I’d guess that people who want a mobile music maker may look first at the iPhone. But that raises the question, are there tools you’d install on an Android phone purely because they’re genuinely useful? What tools would you use in your music, or even refuse to be without? There are actually a surprising number of tools out there on Android for music-making, though quality can be quite variable. So here, I’ll …


Rock Band 3, Behind the Scenes: When A Music Game Gets More Real

Play testing Rock Band’s challenging new play modes. You know, challenging — kind of like music. Alli Thresher, community moderator, and Jessa Brezinski, intern. What Harmonix has achieved with Rock Band, and their original Guitar Hero, is remarkable. At their core, these games are descended from arcade rhythm games, reducing music to simple coordination of a few buttons. Yet numerous studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that, in an age in which recording has made musical experience passive for many, the fantasy of holding a plastic instrument is enough to convince people to explore music making again. Rock Band’s collaborative gameplay …


iPhone Beats and Bass, Free This Week, More Fun with Mic Input on iOS

Ah, Mondays. If you’re looking for a way to brighten your work week and you’ve got an iPod touch or iPhone you can drop into your pocket, iOS music and audio developer Pulse Code tells us they’ve made four of its apps free for this week only, through August 8. That includes BtBx [iTunes], a simple and fun drum machine, DB-303, a simulation of the Roland TB-303 bass line synth and a particular favorite of pocket iPhone musicians, as well as a couple of fun toys – a robot tone synth and sound effects maker called Android FX and a …


Create Analog Music: All-Analog Kick Percussion Joins Compact Boutique Range

Image courtesy Abstract Data. Rockstar sparkle not included. Operating small runs out of his basement, Justin Owen is on a mission to bring his idiosyncratic, all-analog sounds to musicians in affordable, portable form. “Affordable” and “portable” often aren’t associated with analog, though even players as big as KORG have gotten in on the game recently, with KORG’s monotron. Now that musicians are spoiled for choice in “things making noise with numbers or electricity,” though, I think there’s added pressure. For lack of a better way to put it, you have to be interesting. And Justin’s circuits are indeed interesting. The …


Trifonic’s Music, Beat Slicing Technique, Free Bass Patch

Trifonic: Editing Beats – Part 1 from Next Step Audio on Vimeo. No more secrets: that could well sum up the zeitgeist of music making in 2010. So it is that Trifonic, aka virtuoso beatmeister brothers Brian and Laurence Trifon of San Francisco, share their technique for chopping up and glitching out audio. Their new blog, Next Step Audio, is entirely dedicated to sharing their production techniques: [site slightly erratic response-wise for me at press time] The video tutorial on beat editing, published by Next Step Audio, starts out generically enough: grab the ubiquitous “Amen break” as a sample, …