JP-08_K-25m_gal

Roland just made us happy with CCs on the Boutique Series

Roland’s Boutique Series is … dangerous, frankly. These little sound modules (based on the Jupiter-8, Juno-106, and JX-3P) really do sound terrific and are totally adorable in person. They’re one of the things you can easily dismiss when you first see them … then fall in love with in person. The 1.10 update fixes one fatal flaw: now the whole series supports MIDI Control Change send and receive.

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Circuit_Banner_Patterns

Novation just packed more into small, affordable Circuit box

It’s tiny. It’s battery powered. It costs just over US$300 street. But Novation’s Circuit sample/drum/synth groovebox has been squeezing in a whole lot of functionality that makes it into a really serious tool, great for starting ideas or jamming or playing live. And we’ve been testing the latest build, version 1.3, for some days now. It’s available to everyone free right now, and it adds some significant changes that make this tool more flexible than ever. Let’s have a look.

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zaq

Zaquencer 1.5 is here, still a budget sequencer miracle

The Zaquencer is a gift – an insanely powerful step sequencer that turns a used Behringer BCR2000 into a completely new piece of hardware. It’s a testament to the ingenuity of the underground music tech community – and a glimpse of how gear can come back to life rather than get thrown away. And now, it’s more powerful than ever.

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elektronupdate

Elektron just added 12 new machines to the Analog Rytm

Hey, software drum machines aren’t the only ones who get new synthesized drums – now hardware owners can, too. If you had to explain the Elektron Analog Rytm drum machine to someone quickly, the answer was already pretty easy – it’s about the sound. Well, in an OS update quietly dubbed “1.30,” Elektron just added a whole lot of new sonic possibilities, in the form of twelve new machines and synthesis models. Want bass drums? There are three of them. Snare? Check. New metallic and ride and hat sounds? Sure. Impulse. Noise. Not only are there new models, but loads …

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beatstepproangle

Why the updated BeatStep Pro is the sequencer to beat

For a lot of us, hands-on sequencing control is a boon to playing, even alongside a computer. So then there’s the question of which sequencer. The reason Arturia’s BeatStep Pro got so interesting this year is that it’s a right-down-the-middle option: not too expensive, not too complicated, and not too weird, but very capable of driving the essential stuff you’d want to sequence. Bassline, some drums, maybe a lead – in whatever genre you happen to use – it’s covered. So, that was all good enough. But what’s been impressive as the year has gone on is that Arturia haven’t …

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minibrutehack

Hack Arturia’s MiniBrute, MicroBrute for More Synth Goodness

Arturia’s quirky, compact, unmistakable-sounding MiniBrute – and the patchable MicroBrute – are among some of the nicer desktop instruments to hit recently. But you can make them do more with hacking. And that’s especially relevant as the original MiniBrute goes on sale. The MiniBrute is already a nice synth. Sure, it’s not as compact as the more recent MicroBrute and lacks that synth’s cute little modulation patching section, but you also get full-sized keys, and it’s still a lovely instrument. The trick is, you can hack it to add an SH-101-inspired step sequencer as found on the MicroBrute and the …

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What if those encoders had a new life? Photo (CC-BY-SA) 
Shunichi kouroki.

The Zaquencer Turns Behringer’s Encoders Into a Killer Step Sequencer

Dear Gods of step sequencing, we beseech thee. Give unto us first a lot of knobs. We pray for a bounty of encoders, ideally built into hardware everyone kind of forgotten about. And shine upon us with lights round those encoders. Next, let us breaketh our warranty together, so that we may onto thine encoders map parameters. And set my people free from the chains that bind them to their computers, so that they may roam free across the land and sequenceth hardware free from the tyranny of the folding metal fruit books and boxy Compy. Amen. Yes, your prayers …

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Elektron Analog Four, Analog Keys Get Polyphony and More in Firmware Update, Available Now

A funny thing happened on the way to the resurgence of analog gear… The digital bits are still mighty cool to have. Yes, the next time someone asks you about whether the return to analog is some sort of regression to the past, you might point out that what we’re seeing is a fusion of the best features of both. And so it is that owners of Elektron’s Analog gear (the Analog Four and new Analog Keys) get a “1.1” upgrade via firmware that’s almost a generational improvement on their devices, for free. For a “point one,” this is a …

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MPC5000 Gets 2.0 OS; Does it Stack Up to JJOS Alternative Firmware?

Akai has announced 2.0 OS for their flagship MPC5000 drum machine workstation, a free download for MPC owners. Now, the MPC itself has long been a bit minimalist in what it does – I think that’s part of its appeal, that it has resisted complexity. But users of the MPC1000 and 2000/2500 have as a result turned in some cases to an alternative firmware, JJOS, to get all the features they want. And Akai has generously looked the other way. Akai says the 2.0 OS responds to user requests. Here’s what’s baked in: Keygroup programs for chromatic, key-mapped samples (that …

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From Comments: Edirol's P-10 Firmware Makes it Useful Clip-Triggering Hardware

We love computers. But the idea of a piece of hardware capable of triggering clips has been tantalizing from the beginning. Grab a piece of gear that’s not big and pricey like a Pioneer DVJ, plug it in, and play some clips into your mixer and effects — sign me up! The only problem has been, not only does the Edirol P-10 cost as much as a well-equipped laptop, but it’s first iteration had some significant problems that made it useless to VJs and live visualists. Specifically, latency made the P-10 undesirable — ironic, as low latency is exactly why …

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