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Finally, Your Pocket Gets a Perfect Drum Synth: Elastic Drums for iPhone

Some people are addicted to flinging birds at stacks of things until those stacks fall over. Or they use spare moments to flick through thumbnails of single people who they’ll never meet. Or they read random 140-character texts about stuff from angry folks, yelling at each other. Not you. You are addicted to drums. And not just any drums. You want electronic drums, drums you can tweak and dial – genuine synthesizers, grooving. Just playing back the sound of an 808 isn’t going to cut it. If you’re sandwiched in coach class, your knees pressed against the seat in front …

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Angry Bees! Swarms and Flocks of Sound in a New iPad Synth

Now, your iPad can go from sweet-sounding pads to hordes of angry bees and back again, all by modeling physical behaviors of flocking. It’s called the Photophore, and it’s a “flock synthesis” instrument. You may have seen synths that produce lush sounds by combining oscillators – the eight-oscillator Swarmatron springs to mind. Well, this synth puts the “swarm” in “Swarmatron.” With up to one hundred oscillators per patch, it uses physical modeling to transform sound by simulating flocking behaviors. I’ve seen experiments that have done things like this with flocking algorithms and particle systems, but this must be the first …

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Learn to Use Komplete 10’s Real Gems – Those Great New Reaktor Instruments

Just because there’s a nice marketing angle doesn’t mean that it has to be the story for you. And that’s been true of NI’s big, splashy product launches. Sure, there’s the epic-looking Traktor Kontrol S8 hardware launched this week – but you tell us you might be just as pleased with a compact controller or an update to the iPad app. And Maschine Studio does wonderful things with its big screens – but the MK2 still has great pads, costs less, and fits in a backpack. And then there’s Komplete 10. Yes, NI is keen to talk about its light-up …

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Play a Russian Folk Instrument with Your Mind, Or Turn Seashell Patterns, Likes Into Generative Art

::vtol:: “turbo-gusli” demo performance from ::vtol:: on Vimeo. Musical instruments: make a move, get a sound. Or, musical instruments: apply an algorithm, get a sound. Read the tattoos on your arm as a score, turn the black-and-white patterning of a seashell into generated audiovisual artwork, apply brainwaves to a folk instrument and let a robot play it… Such are the mental excursions of one ::vtol::, aka Moscow’s Dmitry Morozov. He’s been busy over the past year or so, wearing robots that interface with tattoos to make music and constructing surround sound umbrellas. And we still have more crazy-science goodness to …

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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 …

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Hey, there's a modular inside my drum machine. Images courtesy Arturia.

Watch Arturia Spark 2, as $129 Drum Machine Adds Modular Sound Design, Song and Loop Powers

For all the wonders of the hardware drum machine, there’s nothing quite like the flexibility of the software drum machine. More than mere groove-makers, beneath the conventional and familiar drum machine paradigm lies some real potential for sample manipulation and sound design. Native Instruments won over users by demonstrating the hybrid hardware/software workflow in Maschine, and various software instruments (FXpansion, anyone?) have put pressure on hardware with the sheer range of what they can do. But somewhere in the shadow of Maschine and Akai’s MPC Renaissance, Arturia’s Spark has been a little-known, compact, inexpensive challenger. And that’s why Spark 2 …

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The Curious Digital Modular: Watch aleph bees in Action

aleph bees introduction from tehn on Vimeo. It’s like having a roomful of modulars inside a mysterious magic box. It’s like using Max/MSP with the control interface of an Etch-a-Sketch. It’s … okay, really hard to describe. But aleph bees is certainly unlike digital hardware we’ve seen before. Using just knobs and text, and silky-smooth sound features – everything runs fast and glitch-free, even hot-swapping hardware – aleph bees is a kind of experiment in computer minimalism. It’s as open-ended as a computer, but in ruggedly-simple hardware. It lets you program custom software with a few twists of your wrist …

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Roland AIRA Are Here – Synth, Bassline, Drum Machine, Vocal FX – Details, In Depth

It’s official: Roland’s much-teased line of four new products called AIRA are here. And they appear to represent a new course for Roland. They’re affordable and accessible in a way that we haven’t seen in recent products. But they’re also simultaneously closer to the sound of beloved vintage gear as they are more modern in taste and presentation. Let’s get right to it. CDM got to speak to Roland prior to today’s announcement to get the details. And we’ll have more insight soon into the design process and approach to modeling. But let’s cover the basics. This is component-modeled analog. …

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Elektron’s Analog Rytm, Revealed: 8-Voice Analog Drum Machine, with Sample Support

Apparently, this year is the Year of The New Drum Machine. But enough teasing. Elektron now has some actual details for us of their entry. Better still, they sound promising. You get an architecture worthy of the creators of the Machinedrum – with the requisite step sequencer and performance options – but in an instrument that combines both an 8-voice analog drum machine with sample playback. It’s not clear yet how those samples work, but that’s good news. And the 4×3 (cough) pads we saw earlier are both velocity- and pressure-sensitive. Other than that, we’re still short of some other …

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It's a cutoff knob - for a quantum singularity. Photo courtesy Waldorf.

New Waldorf Synth Teaser Proves No One Will Make a Crazier Knob Label

This week is likely to be bursting with new synths. And one of the prolific makers of such instruments comes from Remagen, Germany, in the form of Waldorf. Their latest teaser doesn’t tell us much other than there’s a new synth coming. But oh, my — that’s a crazy looking label for a filter cut-off knob. There’s really only one way to respond to this: For reference, here’s the last wild knob label from Waldorf, on their (wonderful, by the way) Rocket synth:

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