Here are two new ways of combining a synth with Arduino

In the last couple of weeks, we’ve gotten not just one, but two new synthesizers that piggy-back on the Arduino electronics platform. The result, then, is instruments that you can modify via Arduino code. You’ll need an Arduino for each of these to work, so figure on adding some bucks to the purchase price. (I also recommend only using a real Arduino or Genuino; the clones I’ve found are often unreliable, and it’s better to support the developers of the platform.)


8-bit Remake of Hasselhoff’s True Survivor is the Best Thing We’ve Watched This Week

Okay, we hit some sort of nerd singularity just now. Start with David Hasselhoff’s cheeky, cheesy “True Survivor.” Remake it on the 8-bit SidTracker 64 app. You’ll swear all of this actually happened in the 80s, even if it didn’t. Retrorgasm. And yes, this gem is included in the app. Musical arrangement: Fredrik Segerfalk Graphics by Vanja Utne: Video and extra GFX by Moppe SidTracker programming by Daniel Larsson Please roll down your windows and ghetto-blast this one this weekend.


SidTracker 64 Puts Retro Chip Music Creation on Your iPad

Pity the iPad. Unlike the Commodore 64, Apple’s wundertablet doesn’t come with a state-of-the-art SID synthesizer chip inside. Well, now emulation solves that problem. SidTracker 64 is both an emulation of the SID sound chip on the Commodore computer line, plus a workstation for arranging your own songs. And it’s already got some songs to get you started, like the classic “Commando” by Rob Hubbard, which you can play or remix. It’s loaded with all the usual production extras. And don’t let the “tracker” name put you off: you can play in real time, which naturally works well on the …


This Is What Happens When Vintage Robot Voices Make an Album

We hope that music will always have tribes of people keeping esoteric traditions alive – your Renaissance musical ensemble, your Slovenian folk instrumentalists. It just happens that electronic technologies have attracted their own followings, cultivating knowledge of Texas Instruments chips found in specific arcade games the way some people might maintain a balalaika. Chip singers have never gotten the kind of attention synthesizers have. But if Moog – and the synth itself – can look to Keith Emerson’s “Lucky Man,” fans of robotic sung vocals will always have Humanoid. The seminal acid track “Stakker Humanoid” was the work of artists …


The Original Speech Chip Is Coming To A New Plug-In

While everyone else worries about emulating the same synthesizers for the umpteenth time, Plogue have been lovingly recreating the greatest chip sounds of all time. They’ve done Chipsounds, the instrument, and Chipcrusher, the effect. And now, finally, your computer will sing to you – not just with any voice, but with the speech chip that launched them all. From computing to arcades to classic tracks, this legendary voice has echoed through the decades with an unmistakable sound. This is the first-ever commercially-available chip to include speech synthesis.


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 …


If You Use Kontakt, Get Cool Bleep and Bass Instruments for Free

Bleeping amazing. There’s some great stuff you can get for free for Native Instruments’ Kontakt sampler. This week, two new instruments are available. First up, a device that makes chip music bleep sounds, and includes sophisticated sound controls and step-sequencing LFOs. The creator, Zombie Queen, describes it thusly: I’m assembling new bleeping device in Kontakt, last one was so twisting complicated, I’ve been getting lost in it myself. I wanted to re-utilize the engine, but simplify things a lot and add some new twists. I’ve got working ‘beta’ version, if you’d like to try it out. It’s focused more on …


The Intellivision Synthesizer: Twisted Electrons’ AY3 is a Chiptunes Desktop Synth

8-bit, lo-fi digital, and chip music-influenced sounds have become interwoven with the sounds of modern synthesis. But make no mistake: the AY3 is what you get when you build a desktop synth with the soul of a vintage 80s game console. Made by Twisted Electrons, who make iPad apps and a Eurorack module, as well, the AY3 is synth hardware powered by a music hip of yore. Inside are two 8912 chips, combined for 6-voice polyphony, which give this instrument the same distinctive sound as classic game scores and other music made on the hardware. The 8912, you see, is …


Amiga is Back: DJing with Two CDJ-Style “Turntables” will Amaze Your Friends

Eat your heart out, Traktor. Take that, CDJs. The dream of the 90s is alive, again, with new Amiga software. Akira Kei shares the project, which he and hoffman co-created and have dubbed the PT-1210 MK1. It mimics some CDJ-style features, but uses MOD files – a clever music format that employs samples and sequence data for truly portable, interactive music. This isn’t just a nerdy hack. It’s actually a full-blown DJ tool that could make its way through a party – provided that party’s musical tastes trended slightly retro. And since it runs on stock Amiga machines, you might …


KORG M01D for Nintendo 3DS, Surprising Mobile Music Workstation [Listening]

The KORG M01D app, available now for about a month for Nintendo’s 3DS handheld, seems the definition of anachronism. It’s a mobile Nintendo DS music app in an age of iPhones and iPads. It’s based on a 1988 digital synth, even as analog is back and style. You use it with a stylus. You can look at the keyboard, which is essentially flat – in 3D. (Well, then you get to see the … flatness … really with some depth.) But guess what? It’s also wickedly good. Like, good enough to try to pick up a 3DS on the cheap? …