Korg Reimagines Keytar, with microKORG XL+ Sounds, Ribbon Controls, Slick Wooden Body [Details]

Korg’s RK-100 turns 30 this year, marking a milestone for one of the first keytars. (KORG is using the term “keytar,” not the less-pleasant-sounding “strap-on,” and who am I to argue?) It’s easy to forget that part of the reason that keytars made an appearance briefly in the mid-1980s was that the role of the synthesist had changed. This was not simply a ploy for keyboardists to prance about onstage. The rise of electro and synth pop meant that the keyboardists themselves had found a more central role in the music and sound, a lead, front-of-stage part in the band …

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synthforxmas

“All I Want is a Synthesizer for Christmas”: Adorable Stop Motion Animation

Hyperbubble – A Synthesizer for Christmas from Ambar Navarro on Vimeo. Put the synth back in … Christm… um, Christmasynth. Synthmas. It’s the reason for the season. And that’s the message of a delightful video from animator Ambar Navarro. (Apologies if you’ve seen this already – Ambar sent her work to us last week – but I think it’s well worth another watch and mention.) It embodies the ethos of synth love right now, the adored, all-in-one electronic instrument in all its charm. And this is just one introduction to a lovely body of work my Ambar, in the experimental …

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Alesis Vortex - 5

Keyboard Surprise: Keytar, Control Voltage, Touch Faders in New Models by Akai/Alesis

Imagine Also Sprach Zarathustra playing here, a la 2001. And note what this keytar has – a real pitch wheel, right on the neck. One is a keytar. One is a master controller with touch faders and real MIDI and — control voltage, for working with analog gear. Seriously. The keyboard controller market may have faded into a dull, gray blur of nearly-identical models, but under the Alesis and Akai monikers, there’s some fresh-looking variety. Love it or hate it, these are not the same keyboards you’ll get from anybody else at the moment. I got to meet with Alesis/Akai/Numark …

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Hands-on: Rock Band 3’s Keytar, a Surprisingly Serious $80 MIDI Keyboard

The Rock Band keytar Rock Band 3 Wireless Keyboard, next to an iPod touch, for scale. What if a gaping product hole for musicians were filled by a game company instead of a musical instruments company? There’s no need to imagine: pick up the new Rock Band 3 keyboard, and you’ll see what I mean. Consider: most sub-$100 and compact keyboards have dumped 5-PIN MIDI DIN ports in favor of USB only – little comfort if you want to plug a keyboard into that DIY sound module or eBay treasure. (Alesis’ QS25 is one exception, but even a $150 M-Audio …

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Rock Band 3 Gets Real Keyboard, Guitar, and … MIDI I/O

Nope, you’re not hallucinating. Whatever line there was between playing Rock Band as a game and playing Rock Band as musical instruments has now more or less evaporated with the release of Rock Band 3. Yes, there’s a keyboard, and yes, you can add a strap to it, if that makes it a keytar for you. But there’s more to it than that. For the gaming world’s take on the ratcheted-up difficulty and actual music making functionality, Joystiq interviews Daniel Sussman at Harmonix. The keyboard parts are real keyboard parts. The only difference between Rock Band / Guitar Hero parts …

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Details from Roland on SH-01 Synth, AX-09 Shoulder Keyboard

Among the highlights of the product releases last week, Roland has a new virtual analog synth (the SH-01) and shoulder keyboard (AX-09) that look friendly and relatively affordable (especially once you account for street price, not list). They have that convergence of certain selling points that I think will make them popular – maybe not with everyone, but with enough people that you may soon be seeing them around. And that makes them worth a little further research. I got to have a long conversation with Vince LaDuca of Roland US about the new gear, so we could answer some …

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Roland Gets the Fun Back? Cheaper, Smaller Shoulder “Keytar” Keyboard, AX-09

Roland’s Messe show announcements include two releases that caught my eye. I’ll be honest: some of Roland’s recent gear, while it sells really well, just doesn’t reach me emotionally. But these new announcements strike me as having two key ingredients: afford ability and that elusive fun factor. There’s a (mercifully) cheaper, more compact shoulder-mounted keyboard, plus a synth that looks to distill some of the best spirit of Roland’s recent (and previous designs.) This is just a preview, but let’s at least say they’re on my “worth reviewing” list. First up: exhibit A, the AX-09. Laugh as you may at …

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Dorkpop Music with Keytar Frontman Baffles a Humorless Simon Cowell

You know that viral, deeply inspirational Britain’s Got Talent clip in which a lone singer bursts the preconceptions and expectations of the whole world, dazzling audiences and bringing people to tears with her talent? Yeah, okay, so this is pretty much nothing like that. This is more in the category of self-deprecating artists who aren’t afraid to laugh at themselves, being exactly what you’d expect them to be – and then some. Let’s call it “dorkpop,” intentionally geeky musicians willing to be just the people they are. Three keyboards, and one man with a keytar. (Note that he basically demonstrates …

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Keytar Revival: Exclusive Details of Roland’s New AX-Synth “Shoulder Keyboard”

CDM readers heavily lamented the loss of Roland’s AX-7 “shoulder keyboard” (better known to the world as a “keytar”). Sure, the keytar has a reputation for being dorky (bad news, chaps, the keyboard has a reputation for being dorky). But putting instruments on your shoulder is also a simple way to make them easy to play – ask a guitar, an accordion, or any other number of instruments. They let you move around, and there’s no question as computer musicians we get enough time in their chairs. Well, the Roland AX is back – and as the name implies, the …

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VJCommuting: Wireless Midi Control with the M-Audio MidAir Adapter

Peter has looked at M-Audio’s new MidAir cable-free midi keyboard and adapter on CDMu, but I’d like to bring it up here for those who don’t visit the ‘Mu daily (shame!). The MidAir 37 controller is just an incremental upgrade on the existing MidAir 25, adding an extra octave and 9 faders. These are definitely interesting products, but without some way to strap them to your body they’re just removing a cable from the tangle behind your rig. Admirable, but not really worth US$100. However, the MidAir Transmitter and Receiver system allows you to add wirelessness to your existing midi …

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