As Two Moogerfoogers Are Discontinued, A Musical Ode

Two terrific Moogerfoogers have reached the end of their run. But that’s an excuse for more music, which sounds good to me. 2007’s FreqBox takes input signals and modulates an internal oscillator; the 2009 MIDI Murf is an animated filter sequencer. They’re both pretty great boxes, though now even before delving into modular, there are a lot more choices now than perhaps just those few short years ago. Koma Elektronik’s FT-201 runs further with the idea of sequencer-plus-filter. I can’t think of anything quite like the FreqBox, actually – I’d love to see Moog find a way to make a …


Download An Amazing New Delay Effect for Free from Native Instruments

Miracle on Schlesische Stra├če? Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a frame of mind. It also means that Native Instruments is giving away a delay effect for free before it goes on sale at full retail – so now’s the time to grab it. (There’s also a download voucher, some Remix Sets, and a gear giveaway, but it’s the delay that I think rises to the level of newsworthy.) The thing is, delays are very often as useful if not more indispensable than reverbs – whether it’s dark, dubby techno you’re producing or experimental soundscapes. And this one is really, …


Dave Smith Goes Modular, with a $179 Curtis Filter Module

Eurorack fever continues to spread. The ease of making musical electronics fit the standard, pioneered by Germany’s Dieter Doepfer, and the growing appetite from a small but passionate audience, seems to make producing new modules irresistible. The entire design equation is different: a single task or handful of tasks can become a product. Dave Smith Instruments is the latest entry. And the product is the perfect choice for DSI. It’s a module built around on the Curtis filter, the signature filter found on everything from the 1980s Prophets (back when Dave’s company was Sequential Circuits) to the latest Mopho and …


Watch A Charming Video with Hands On Gear, From France’s 20syl, And More

20syl – Kodama (official music video) from 20syl on Vimeo. In a love affair with musical instruments, French producer 20syl teams up with director Mathieu le Dude for a gorgeous music video. As the bass-heavy track shuffles along amiably, hands on musical instruments and other objects reveal the instrumentation – a young hipster’s guide to the electronic orchestra, if you will. 20syl is the producer name of turnablist and sometimes-rapper and graphic artist and music maker Sylvain Richard of Nantes, well-known in his France but getting greater international exposure with this video. He co-directs the film here, applying his graphical …


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.


Back to the Future: Waldorf Does 2-Pole Analog Filter; Moog Makes Crazy Futuristic Theremin

Our own Marsha Vdovin is working the NAMM floor, too, and her radar is leading her straight to some really nice gems. I had to pull two of these out, as they’re big surprises and look tasty indeed. And who would have thought a filter and a Theremin would be news? Well, these are drool-worthy, nonetheless. Waldorf’s mystery knob is the filter control from a big filter in a box. That’s right, Waldorf is introducing a 2-pole filter. And one heck of a 2-pole filter it is: Filter with cutoff and resonance, but also a Drive setting, Rectify, and switchable …

It's a cutoff knob - for a quantum singularity. Photo courtesy Waldorf.

New Waldorf Synth Teaser Proves No One Will Make a Crazier Knob Label

This week is likely to be bursting with new synths. And one of the prolific makers of such instruments comes from Remagen, Germany, in the form of Waldorf. Their latest teaser doesn’t tell us much other than there’s a new synth coming. But oh, my — that’s a crazy looking label for a filter cut-off knob. There’s really only one way to respond to this: For reference, here’s the last wild knob label from Waldorf, on their (wonderful, by the way) Rocket synth:


littleBits Open Source Synth Kit on GitHub; KORG Filter Secrets Revealed, Music Projects

Open source music hardware has gone from promising concept to practical reality. It incorporates not just hacker-friendly kits, but end user products, from synths to controllers to effects. And now, for the first time, you can find one of the biggest names in the musical instrument industry on GitHub. KORG and littleBits promised they’d release their collaboration under the same open source license as the other magnetic, snap-together modules from littleBits. This week, they’ve delivered. It’s a little tricky to find, so let’s walk you through it. The good stuff is in the EAGLE files – the circuit diagrams, here …


littleBits and KORG: Snap Together A Synth with Magnets, $159; Module-by-Module Details, Q&A, Gallery

New York startup littleBits and founder Ayah Bdeir helped pioneer the modern definition of open source hardware. But they also put it into action, getting even young kids snapping together their own hardware ideas. The process is addictively simple: whereas platforms like Arduino require breadboards and wires, littleBits’ tiny circuits are already pre-made and snap together with magnets. It’s an idea that screams out for sound applications. And now – in a collaboration that leaked earlier this week – that’s happened. The surprise is, the collaborator is none other than KORG. The price: US$159 (direct, and at some retailers). Shipping: …


Arturia MicroBrute: $349, Semi-Modular, Analog Keyboard Synth – Details, Full Gallery

If there was any doubt left, the analog monosynth keyboard has gone mainstream now. Fusing 70s electronic instrument design ideas with nerdy lust for sound with modern ideas about connectivity, accessibility, and timbre, a generation of instruments has made it a wonderful time for synth lovers to be alive. And the latest from Arturia is compact and inexpensive, while still managing to squeeze in some unique sound-shaping concepts and a tiny patch bay for modular use. Oh, before you ask, Eurorack fans – yes, it’s Eurorack-compatible. Alex Theakston from Source Distribution, who shot these beautiful photos and provided CDM with …