AIRA Secrets: Here’s How to Take Command of Roland’s TB-3 and TR-8 with MIDI

Part of the appeal of the Roland TR-8 drum machine and TB-3 bassline synth is their hands-on control. But apart from the normal reasons you’d additionally want external MIDI control, you’ll need it for certain kinds of automation recording. The problem is, the AIRAs (at least with their current firmware) lack the ability to record automation internally. You can record patterns on the TR-8 and TB-3, but not changes to sound parameters, effects, or that Scatter thing. So, if you’re making a pattern and find a shifting timbre or glitchy effect you like, there’s no way to save it easily …


Review: MTRX-8, The Hardware Sequencer You Can Reprogram

The standalone MIDI hardware sequencer has had formidable competition in the age of the computer. But it seems ready to make a comeback in a big way. With more hardware, more affordable hardware, and more fans, all-in-one tactile control is just what the doctor ordered. Of course, having used a computer, you’re less likely to be accommodating of inflexibility. That’s why the MTRX-8 from Fyrd Instruments shows real promise. It works as a standalone sequencer, true, with MIDI in and out ports. But it also coincides nicely with a computer – from programmability over USB to doubling as a MIDI …


littleBits Synth Kit, First Hands-on: What They Sound Like, Reviews, Videos

Imagine if you could take apart your favorite recent KORG analog creations, chop it up into little blocks, and then snap them together with magnetic ease? In other words, imagine if you could put together a KORG synth as easily as you did LEGO? It’s every bit as much fun as you’d imagine. I’ve been testing the littleBits Synth Kit for a few days now. I’ve got some sounds for you here so you can hear some of what’s possible. (They’re Creative Commons-licensed, if anyone wants to try to sample them in a track; I know I’ll be working on …


Quäkmonster: Cookie Monster + Speaker + Theremin = Stuffed Sonic Creature

I could make some comment, but the sight of a blue muppet with a speaker in his mouth making Theremin sounds I expect will either elicit immediate horror or delight – and nothing I can say would change that. From our friends at Koma Elektronik, this (intended) monstrosity is the work of head of production Felix Obeè, evidently taking time off of designing boutique analog effects. The creature joins a more serious discussion of analog production at an event by DE:BUG next month in Berlin.


New NAMM Music Gear in a Nutshell (English + Deutsch) with De:Bug

Photo (CC-BY-NC-SA) Henrik Berggren. De:Bug is one of my favorite reads in music technology. And while I can fake my way through French and Spanish, De:Bug is also the one non-English publication I read daily. So I’m gratified to get to write a byline for the publication, which someone was nice enough to translate into German. For our German-speaking readers, you actually don’t have to read this one in English (though there’s an English version, to) In this story, I pick out the major themes in new music tech at the NAMM show this month in Anaheim, California: Winter NAMM …