Inside the 18€ Lunchbox Synthesizer Kit with Unit Unlikely

[vimeo width=”640″ height=”360″]https://vimeo.com/120154304[/vimeo] 18€ buys you this lunchbox-style synthesizer kit – and it’s just the thing to put together on your lunch break. Unit Unlikely is a hardware startup working with simple parts to make accessible, fun instruments. And its founder joins our resident Dutch design expert to talk about what it’s like diving into the synth business for the first time – and where he might go. It all continues our series from Eindhoven, NL. From the edge of the Netherlands’ slick design scene, industrial designer and music technologist Arvid Jense joins CDM for a series of interviews with …


Mold Sound with Tingle, a Music Controller That Looks Like Pin Art

[vimeo width=”640″ height=”360″]109389202[/vimeo] It looks like Pin Art or Pinscreens – those moldable frames full of pins popularized in the 80s. But the result is something that lets you dig your hands into sound and musical structures in new ways. It looks expressive and, let’s be honest, really fun. (For the research minded, there’s also a NIME report below.) From the edge of the Netherlands’ slick design scene, industrial designer and music technologist Arvid Jense joins CDM for a series of interviews with Eindhoven Music Startups. Here’s his encounter with Nupky. Eindhoven Music Startups: Nupky Rhys Duindam is a graduated …


DP9: Looks Great, Does More, Does Scores

This is the way DP – Digital Performer – looks in version 9. The tried-and-true Mac DAW now has Retina Display support on that platform, and looks like a viable option on Windows, too. DP9 may not get the amount of attention on the forums and such as some rival DAWs (Logic, Cubase, Ableton), but it has a hugely loyal user base and dominates in film and TV production. The DP9 release seems mainly about giving that loyal user base the stuff they want. The big features: Retina UI on the Mac, lots of workflow improvements (including score export), and …


I Played the Oval Digital Hand Pan, And It’s Amazing

Making a futuristic new music instrument requires more than just the spark of a clever idea. It needs resources, funding, input from musicians, and other ingredients, in perfect balance. Those dimensions can offer cold, hard reality, but met properly, they can also offer opportunity. And that’s part of what made Barcelona’s SONAR+D such a compelling place to be last week. Tucked into the packed SONAR festival was a convergence of the engineering, musical inspiration, and business knowhow required to make musical inventions. The Oval, superstar of a pavilion hosted by Kickstarter, was the highlight for me. We saw it in …


Lando’s New EP Is Giving Drum Machines Their Soul Back

Writing about music feels stupid sometimes, even to me. It’s a cop-out to say that, but it’s true. So I hope you first hit play; the magic of music journalism today is that you can actually hear the music (something that I don’t miss about print is its inability to do that). And yet… I am somewhat obligated here to announce Lando’s new “Stunts” EP, due July 20, and tell you details like the fact that it’s on the Ultramajic label run by Jimmy Edgar. Jimmy and Lando, aka Antaeus “Lando” Roy, are each in-again-out-on-the-road-again artists through Berlin but also …


Novation’s Launchpad Grid, Now in Color, for Ableton or iPad

Novation’s Launchpad has seen slimmer and smaller versions. And upcoming is a Pro version with pressure/velocity and MIDI in and out. But if you just want the grid, you can now get the base model with RGB color. It’s officially called the Launchpad mk2. No availability or pricing yet (damn you, unstable Euro), but you can sign-up for notification. The update has the same basic design as the original, but updated with styling from its Pro sibling, and RGB color behind the pads for more visual feedback. Here’s the obligatory video of the new model, which gets a very cute …


This Teletype Eurorack from monome is the Nerdiest Module Ever

Yo dawg I heard you like teletypes so I put a teletype in your module in your Eurorack so you can type while you teletype while you patch while you monome. monome’s Brian Crabtree has an exceptional way of finding the essence in musical computation. The original monome grid you can think of as a reduction of the very spirit of a display – in 8 by 8 pixels. His arc encoders did the same, but with lit wheels. aleph was a kind of computer; more recent modules brought inventive compositional ideas to that format. And now, he’s put a …


Not Just Stuttering: Fraction Plug-in Slices Sound Live on Mac

Fraction by Sinevibes video demo from Sinevibes on Vimeo. Sinevibes has been on a roll lately. The one-man Mac plug-in shop keeps churning out elegant, attractive plug-ins with a consistent color-coded visual interface, variations on a theme that invariably include clever twists. And now, this. Fraction isn’t the first slice repeater plug-in. But it might be the most direct and intuitive. I’ve been playing with it for a bit, and it’s tough to describe just how much it’s able to do, or how quickly you can get at that range. Far from just adding some stuttering effects, you can add …


Universal Audio’s Latest Audio Hardware, Software Comes of Age Nicely

For me, Apollo is what changed the value equation and appeal of Universal Audio. Suddenly, we weren’t talking about buying hardware just to run some nice effects – which, good as those effects were, limited the audience for the UAD. With Apollo, the hardware splurge made sense. It was simply one of the better audio interfaces you could buy for production work, even before instantiating a single plug-in. And then you could add the UAD plug-ins. For anyone who said that they weren’t interested in running effects on dedicated DSP hardware, the Apollo is an answer. Fine. Here’s a reason …


This Video Demonstrates How Akai’s New Keyboard Controls Everything

It’s a horse race. Two keyboards – one from Native Instruments, one from AKAI – really want to be the interface between you and every plug-in you own. And we’re getting closer to find out if either deserves your attention. You’ve heard this story before. Sure, you have powerful software on your computer screen. But when you want physical control of those instruments beyond just playing keys, you’re left either manually mapping controls or reaching for your mouse or trackpad. So, over the years various solutions have tried to solve this automagically. There was Automap, seen in Propellerhead Reason and …