Codanova, Visual MIDI Controller Maker, Closes Shop, Too

Stay with us here. So, yesterday, I reported a French boutique manufacturer of custom visual hardware unexpectedly closed shop and ceased all operations, and will shortly discontinue support of its products. Okay, you can now insert into the sentence above “Vixid, maker of hardware mixers,” or “Codanova, maker of hardware controllers.” That’s two boutique French VJ-fused gear makers shuttering at nearly the same moment. As far as we know, the timing of the two of them is coincidental. (If someone can explain why this happened at the same time, please do. It seems hard to believe there wasn’t some common …

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anushri

Mutable’s Anushri Bundles Sequencing, Drums, Synthesis, CV in One Hobbyist-, Modular-Friendly Kit

Call it the Mutable Fun Pack. The Synth Happy Meal. The Family Variety Bucket. The Anushri doesn’t have quite the sound design depth that Mutable’s Shruthi-1 does, but in its place, you get a whole mess of different features. It’s an analog synth, with an additional digital oscillator. It’s got its own step sequencer/arpeggiator. It’s got an 8-bit, bit-crushed drum machine. And it has analog connections for modulars in addition to MIDI, so modular lovers can put it into a Eurorack if they like. In fact, it seems to bring some of the compact, lovable features of Roland’s 101 and …

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Inside Koma Electronik, Boutique Maker: Studio Tour, Profile [Gallery, Audio]

Big or small, talk to many music gear makers, and you’ll find they’re in the business largely for love. But it’s still amazing just how many gear makers choose to go it alone. They build equipment in their flats and garages, hand-packing their creations and shipping it to a world of fellow musicians. Koma Electronik is just one of those in the worldwide scene of boutique hardware makers. We’re especially fond of their interfaces and the company of musicians they keep. So, following up on the video that showed what it’s like getting a demo in a van from Koma, …

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komavan

Hands-on with Koma’s Analog Filter/Sequencer, Gate/Delay, in a Van, with Champagne

Koma’s stuff is good. Really good. So good, you might even want to watch a hands-on video where I’m juggling a camera in one hand and a glass of champagne in the other. Their stompable, playable analog effects show well even in the back of a van circling Musikmesse. How I came to see this hardware in the van is a story in itself. The trade show gig works like this: you pay an enormous amount of money for some sort of trade membership, then an enormous amount of money for a booth, an enormous amount of money to staff …

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preenfm_top

PreenFM, Open Source Hardware Synth: Behind the Scenes with the Creator

First revealed last month, PreenFM is an open source hardware synth. As the name implies, it’s an FM synth, with some very serious specs: up to six-operator FM synthesis with some nine algorithms, up to 4-voice polyphony (depending on algorithm), glide, selectable LFOs, modulation matrix, and preset banks with SysEx support. It’s all usable via a display and MIDI support. It’s also fully open source hardware; whereas early efforts often had commercial restrictions attached, PreenFM is free for use under the GPLv3 and Creative Commons. And it’s got a unique platform under the hood: the open source LeafLabs 32-bit development …

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ppiano_midi

Now with MIDI: Critter + Guitari Pocket Piano

The Pocket Piano remains one of my favorite boutique creations – a devilishly simple, irresistibly fun musical instrument. And now, in addition to other subtle tweaks it has received, it gets MIDI – see video above. We got to spend time with the Pocket Piano at CDM’s Handmade Music Lounge at Solid Sound Festival, presented by Moog Music; video from that coming soon, to remind us of the warmth of summer as we slip into fall. What does MIDI mean for the Pocket Piano? Send MIDI (controller): key presses as note messages Receive MIDI (sound module) all 88 notes of …

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soundplane1

Expressive Soundplane Touch Instrument: Decibel Video, Preorder, Tour, Images

Touch on devices like the iPad is functional, but limited in its expression – there’s no pressure or tactile feedback. That’s why we’ve enthusiastically followed Randy Jones’ “continuous capacitive sensing” technology on the Soundplane for some time. Sensing pressure, it behaves more like an acoustic instrument might – that is, if such an acoustic instrument were possible beyond the imagination of the digital realm. As advertised, it “transmits x, y and pressure data for every key continuously at 12 bits of resolution and about 1000 samples per second, letting players move beyond the ADSR envelope model of synthesis and articulate …

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mfp_turntable

New Performance Controllers: Midi-Fighter Pro will Face Grid+Fader Rivals

With game-style arcade buttons – and the pre-mapped combos to match – DJ TechTools’ latest wants your pocket full of quarters. Midi-Fighter images courtesy DJ TechTools. What should DJing with a computer look like? We’ve seen over a decade of products that can emulate the vinyl turntable experience, of course. But a native hardware interface for the computer – with all its internal looping, slicing, and effects capabilities – by definition must be different. DJ TechTools, led by DJ Ean Golden, has mixed writing about technology with designing custom solutions to that problem, interacting with the community on the DJ-centric …

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lomoboots

CDM@SxSW: Free Live Electronics, Academik Record Launch, Local Electronic Instrument Get-Together

Get your dancing boots on. Striped footware spotted recently at Austin’s hip rooftop lounge Lanai, where we’ll be with Academik Records Friday night. Photo (CC-BY) Cameron Russell. Next week, as the South by Southwest Music Festival descends on Austin, Texas, I’m pleased CDM gets to be involved in a few terrific independent events. No badges, no cover, free drinks and even free giveaways – if you happen to be in Austin, you can save money and then do what I’ll probably do, spend it all at the awesome Switched On synth boutique. Here’s the schedule: Wednesday 3/16: Switched On Meet …

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thirddeck_angle

A Custom Shop for Music Gear, a “Third Deck” DJ Controller, and DIY Hardware Secrets

Dave Cross thinks more about the design of DJ gear than even most passionate electronic music enthusiasts. Aside from stints at DJ Times and Ableton, this is a man who wrote an honors thesis on the history of the DJ mixer [PDF]. Then again, maybe it’s more a matter of the industry being painfully behind. In, 2006 when he designed his beautiful, vintage-styled Briefcase into the chassis of a 70s Sony mic mixer, there were few MIDI controllers for DJs even on the market. Times have changed, and in the mind-numbing cycle of industry products, it’s likely this year’s NAMM …

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