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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microGranny 2.0 is a New Handmade Granular Sampler from the Czech Republic

“Bastl” is Czech slang that’s roughly equivalent to the maker culture or DIY. And now, from the makers of the glitchy, odd, and wonderful world of Standuino, comes a new granular sampler, a follow-up to a terrific earlier kit. The Bastl crew are showing off the microGranny 2.0 among lots of other new gear here at Musikmesse. They’ve added some functionality to the instrument (copy/paste, more presets), and put it in a very attractive housing. But as before, you get a hackable, happily lo-fi sample mangler. Load up your sounds on SD card, then manipulate them with hands-on controls or …

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Android Gets Patchable Audio Everything: Free Patchfield Architecture [Video, Resources]

Android audio users, developers, patchers, and musicians just got a huge gift. Patchfield is, as the name implies, a space in which you can connect synths, effects, and sound modules in an open, modular environment. It’s a free app you can use on its own, as well as a free architecture developers can use in their apps. For DIYers and developers, it’s already looking like something you’ll want to try right away. (End users may want to wait for now, but the idea remains cool.) Inside an app (as a service), Patchfield provides a set of tools developers can use …

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What Can You Hack on KORG volca series? First Mod Details, as KOMA Meets KORG [Video]

When KORG’s Tatsuya Takahashi is involved in a project, you can expect some hackability. KORG surprised the music tech community by releasing filter schematics for its monotron and designing the boards for the monotron and Monotribe in such a way that opened them to modifications – like adding much-needed MIDI capability absent on those first devices. The KORG volca series already has MIDI input and most other features you want, so the majority of volca buyers won’t need or want to modify anything at all. That’s not bad for boxes that cost just US$150. But there are some opportunities for …

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Roll Your Own Looper, Cheap: Raspberry Pi + Pd + KORG monotron Hands-on

If computers are compact and $25, we’re talking a very different world of music hardware. Armed with the popular Raspberry Pi, Servando Barreiro has made an incredibly-affordable, ultimately-customizable rig with free software and the open source community. Oh, and he’s made the KORG monotron polyphonic – after a fashion. See video at top for some beautiful chords. And that’s just the beginning. We’ll let Servando share how he’s working.

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On Hacking the New Kinect

Will the new Kinect be hackable for artists and developers? Some of the best speculation I’ve seen yet actually shows up here in CDM comments. So, it’s worth elevating this to a news story, just in case you missed it. In short, the answer appears to be yes. I’m hopeful in particular for Microsoft’s own official developer tools when Kinect hits Windows next year, as I think it’s really the PC world that will be the most expressive and open. From an anonymous CDM reader calling him or herself “n4cer”: Though the port for the Kinect on Xbox One is …

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New Kinect Gets Closer to Your Body [Videos, Links]

It’s a new world for media artists, one in which we look to the latest game console news because it impacts our art-making tools. And so it is that, along with a new Xbox, Microsoft has a new Kinect. The new Kinect uses standard infrared tracking (ideal for in-the-dark footage and accurate tracking), but also returns RGB imagery. It’s 1080p, 30-60 fps (it seems tracking is at 30 fps and video at 60, but I’m reading conflicting reports). Hands-on reports say latency is reduced. If the finished product is consistent with rumors, that could be owing to more in-hardware tracking …

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Ableton Live to Lights: Hacking Max for Live to an LED Wall For a Brilliant Display

I like Drums. And Bass. from DJ Autom8 on Vimeo. Finally, laptop music need no longer be lit by some bad club lights and the glow of your MacBook display. Things are getting really interesting. Just ask Jonathan Thompson, a student who hacked Max for Live into an LED wall and got a blindingly-bright display grooving with the music. He writes: I absolutely love your site, and I have always wanted to contribute, but never have felt I had anything good enough to share with others. Well, I finally created something that I think others would enjoy. I am a …

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MusicMakers Hacklab Report: Blinking Lightbulbs with MIDI, Why Working Together Matters

It’s a wonderful time to be experimenting with technology and music. You can create something that looks like the stuff most people imagine as “the future” – elaborate dances of light, power over sound just by waving your hand, software that seems directly out of Star Trek. But you can do it with technology that is now reaching maturity – decades of experience of artists, engineers, and designers is at your back. “That’s not new,” someone might say. Exactly. Instead of technology being a disposable commodity, forgotten in a couple of years, it’s actually something you can get good at. …

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In Berlin, musicians and creators gather to work collaboratively on new means of creation and performance. Imogen Heap and her team are among the participants, presenting an interactive workshop on wearable tech. Photo from TEDGlobal 2012 in Edinburgh, by James Duncan Davidson.

Hack Into MusicMakers’ Future in Berlin [CTM Open Call]

Happy New Year, from the future. It’s too late for sci-fi movies with a dateline of 2013. If you want something futuristic, you’ll just have to get to work. That’s what we’re doing in Berlin at CTM Festival later this month, with some of our favorite artists and engineers and designers and artist-engineer-designers. And we’d love to have you join us. We’ll have live music to enjoy. That includes high-tech original creations — Sonic Robots’ real-life 808 drum machine and band, and Tarik Barri and Lea Fabrikant with their three-dimensional audiovisual space trip. Tim Exile will treat us to his …

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