Elektron’s Analog Heat is a new distortion, filter, computer accessory

Surprise: Elektron’s latest isn’t a drum machine or sampler or sequencer. Analog Heat is instead a box you use with other stuff. And it has two missions. Mission one: add character to other sounds, via distortion, EQ, a filter, and modulation. Mission two: work with your computer, as an audio interface and as a way of adding that same analog business to software signals.


The Intellivision Synthesizer: Twisted Electrons’ AY3 is a Chiptunes Desktop Synth

8-bit, lo-fi digital, and chip music-influenced sounds have become interwoven with the sounds of modern synthesis. But make no mistake: the AY3 is what you get when you build a desktop synth with the soul of a vintage 80s game console. Made by Twisted Electrons, who make iPad apps and a Eurorack module, as well, the AY3 is synth hardware powered by a music hip of yore. Inside are two 8912 chips, combined for 6-voice polyphony, which give this instrument the same distinctive sound as classic game scores and other music made on the hardware. The 8912, you see, is …


An Analog Filter That’s Playable for Producers, Guitarists Alike: Waldorf 2-pole Video

Synth maker Waldorf revealed the 2-pole Analog Filter in the USA at the NAMM show. Now, they’re coming home to Germany with more details. The emphasis here is making a filter for everyone: producers and synthesists, yes, but also DJs and guitarists. We already know guitarists like having access to this stuff if it can be playable (see KOMA, Moog), and if Waldorf can sell DJs a buttery filter instead of the awful stuff you get on many DJ mixers, they may be doing the world a public service. The hardware has an all-analog filter path, which makes sense for …


Bitwig Sets a Date: Here’s When You’ll Get Bitwig Studio, What It’ll Cost

It’s been a wait that’s driven some music producers mad – some, rabid with desire to get their mitts on new software, others, angrily dismissing the tool. But it’s a wait that’s nearly over. Bitwig Studio, the Mac/Windows/Linux production and live software, is coming on March 26 of this year. No more beta — a final release. Pricing has been announced, as well. Downloads will cost US$399 / €299, which means any notion that Bitwig would drastically undercut rivals on price is pretty much out the window. (Boxed versions run slightly higher; Japan will get a boxed version for 41,000 …


Diachronic is a Completely Insane Looper Inspired by Turntablism, Free for Max for Live

If loopers have been getting you down by being a bit, well, repetitive, this is for you. It starts as a simple, drag-and-drop looper. Add it to Ableton Live and drop your audio on it. But then things get a little … um … different. Inspired by turntablism, loops in Diachronic cycle continuously. But speeds can be changed spontaneously, as if the hole in the record could be shifted in position. And the results are absolutely nuts. (Underscoring that effect, the promo video for version 1 is narrated by a calm British narrator, intoning parameters solemnly, with names you’d be …


Modulation in All Things: New LFOs for Ableton Live, iOS, Software, and Analog Gear

The LFO – Low Frequency Oscillator – is one of the most fundamental of electronic music elements. Creating a signal that modulates the sound of something else, the LFO has a history that’s roughly as old as sound-making electronic circuits themselves. And yet, there’s still more that can be done with them. Two new LFOs blur the lines between analog and digital, hardware and software, and pack clever features into their interface and function. A Handheld LFO for Analog Gear Justus Kandzi’s Brute LFO puts hardware modulation in the palm of your hand. Brute LFO runs on any iPhone, iPad, …


Renoise 3 Beta Quick Tour: Patterns, Instruments, Chains, Macros for More Musical Creativity

The phrase “alternative universe” always seems to fit Renoise. Imagine a world in which the tracker metaphor – a music arrangement notion mostly associated with software from years ago, especially on Amiga – became dominant. From there, you begin to explain that Renoise is an instrument that brings that retro idea into a modern context. Well, Renoise 3.0’s beta has arrived. And this time, it feels like someone ripped open a wormhole and showed us this alternate future in all its glory, no holds barred. Renoise 3 is a radical step forward for the popular tool, challenging notions of what …


Bitwig Watch: Endless, Open Modulation; Grid Control; Sounds from Thavius Beck

Yes, you have our attention. LF-Ogling this one could raise an eyebrow or two. We’ve been waiting for Bitwig betas to start to look like something that’s ready to use, and for Bitwig Studio to start to set itself apart from a certain, popular live performance / clip-launching DAW that’s made a few blocks away in Berlin. (Cough.) But at last, it looks like that wait is over. Bitwig is performing tricks we haven’t really seen in this sort of tool before – and the complaints we’re hearing most from the ever-ornery Internet crowd has changed from “been there, done …


Cableguys Will Modulate Everything – Now Get a Free, Powerful Pan-Shaping Plug-in

They’ll modulate you when you’re at the breakfast table / They’ll modulate you when you are young and able / But I would not feel so all alone / Everybody must get … modulated. Wow, that didn’t work at all. (Apologies,


Sweet 12-Pack of Polyphony: Dave Smith Unveils All-New Prophet 12 [Video, Images]

Dave Smith has reason to celebrate this year. He’s been creating synths for 35 years. The MIDI protocol he helped create turned 30. And now, amidst a wave of new analog monosynths, he’s got a monster keyboard with – gasp – polyphony, and lots of it. Dave sent CDM some pics of his baby earlier this week. The Prophet 12 looks like a real titan, with 12-voice polyphony (of course) and what Dave says is an all-new design. That’s the surprise: whereas previous Dave Smith models have tended to build on the voice architecture of previous outings, Dave says that …