Play, patch, and hack this palmtop analog modular synth: NS1nanosynth

Synths: they’re fun to tweak and play. Modulars: they’re fun to patch. Arduinos: they’re fun to hack. Small things: they’re fun to carry around. Now, what if you got all of those things at the same time? That’s the thought behind the NS1nanosynth analog synthesizer. It’s either vying for the prize of tiniest modular synth ever, or most hackable tiny synth ever. If you saw one from across the room, you might just assume this was just another little project synth. And lately, that category, while generating lots of decent oddities, hasn’t had something that could stick as a hit. …

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Pyramid is High-End MIDI, Analog Sequencer Gear with Effects [Gallery]

Maybe it’s because people have started collecting lots of gear. Maybe it’s a shift in how people play live. Maybe it’s just that we’re getting more than enough mileage out of our laptop as the machine for mixing and tracking and recording and mastering and managing our tour and our social network. Whatever the reason, boy, are we seeing a lot of focus on dedicated hardware – especially for live performance. The Pyramid, from oddly-named Squarp (Squarepusher + arpeggio?), looks like what would happen if Elektron decided to make its own standalone step sequencer without the drum machine. Or at …


Soon Your iPad Will Be Wired Into Your Music Studio: Midimux

What if any iOS app could talk to any gear, and any gear could talk to any app – none of this stumbling around with wireless, but over good, stable wires and plugs? What if, from your Mac, you could see any app or connected hardware on your iPad or iPhone? And what if on your iPad or iPhone, you could see any MIDI device connected to your computer? (Mmm… remember when Apple talked about “hubs of your digital life”? Well, for MIDI now.) I bet if you could do that, if you could make any instrument talk to any …


This Upcoming Step Sequencer Could Transform the iPad [Sneak Preview]

Your iPad could be a perfect step sequencer. Could be, anyway. It’s portable. It’s easy to prop alongside other equipment – the digital equivalent of a music manuscript notebook. It has a long battery life. It can connect to MIDI. And above all, its interface means you can touch the interface directly, which is ideally suited to software that provides an interface to various musical parameters. And surely you have stuff that needs sequencing. With loads of apps and loads of hardware, a sequencer might be as necessary to your instruments as a conductor and score are to an orchestra. …


Knobs, Encoders, and a Crazy-Powerful Step Sequencer: Latest Faderfox Hardware

If you want a tiny, well-built box with loads of encoders or knobs, Faderfox has you covered with its latest round of hardware. (Previously, too: faders!) But with the SC4, the Hamburg, Germany-based builder adds something else: a brilliant step sequencer you can use with software or standalone hardware. Faderfox has two new controllers this month – the knob-laden PC4, which is basically a bunch of pots, and the encoders-with-display SC4. Both work as general-purpose controllers. But the SC4 adds a step-sequencing firmware. The SC4 then becomes more than just a flexible, do-anything controller. It’s about the most step sequencing …


Polymer Makes Multiple Synths into One [Exclusive]

So, you’ve assembled a nice collection of synthesizers. Maybe there’s hardware – some KORG volcas, a MeeBlip or two, or even modular. And of course, you have software synths, as well. Playing each individually – that’s kind of limited. Why not treat these as the digital instruments they are? That’s the idea behind Polymer, a new Mac app out today on the Mac App Store. It can turn multiple monophonic synths into a polyphonic synth – making a “giant mutant polysynth” out of devices you’ve got. In fact, you don’t even have to use hardware exclusively – it works with …


aleph, from monome: Programmable Sound Computer That Does Anything

monome, the iconic grid controller that launched them all, has always been a device tethered to a computer. Without a USB connection to your machine, it is an attractive but functionless box. The latest monome project, the result of a collaboration between Brian Crabtree and musician Ezra Buchla (yes, there’s a relation) is different. It is a computer, with all the functions that entails, but in a box designed for sound. It has: A brain: Two of them, in fact – a DSP chip (BF533 blackfin, 533 mHz with 64 MB SDRAM) and an AVR32 for control. Audio connections: 4 …


Miselu Uses Wireless, Magnets, Ribbon, Springs for Upcoming MIDI Keyboard [iOS/Desktop]

It is unintentionally turning into “crowd-funded experimental keyboard week” here on CDM. Miselu, the startup known for developing their own, custom Android-based hardware platform, now turn their attentions to iOS. Miselu’s Jeffrey Horton tells CDM they have suspended work on their existing hardware and “hope to resume android development when the time is right.” This comes how on the heels of NDVR’s crowd-funding campaign for a unique new keyboard, and just as we’re finishing our review of the crowd-funded (now shipping) QuNexus. (Note: NDVR now has a new IndieGogo crowd-funding link; there was an error in the way the first …


Keyboard, Plus iPad: iMIDIPatchbay Will Let You Set Up Live Keyboard Rigs Easily

Yes, the iPad can be its own synth or music tool. But here’s yet another example in which Apple’s tablet acts instead as a hub for other gear, a touchable window into your live music rig. For keyboardists, or anyone working with MIDI setups, it could wind up being more convenient, more immediate, and more portable than a computer. (Cue mental image of a laptop tumbling off a stage piano. Yeah, that.) iMIDIPatchbay is just about to enter beta, but the feature list looks promising. It solves one problem, but a common problem: a keyboardist wants to set up splits …

An update to Moog's massively-popular Animoog synth now gives you Audiobus compatibility, if you purchase the Audiobus app. That means easier recording and processing, in combination with other compatible apps. Photo courtesy Audiobus.

Major iOS Updates to Korg, Animoog, Magellan – And Audiobus Support Spreads Fast

iPad and iPhone owners got a nice gift recently. Over the Christmas holiday week, a whole slew of new iOS updates rolled in, perhaps caught in the holiday rush. Many of the improvements centered on Audiobus, a proprietary technology that, via a host app, allows iOS users to connect different apps for input, recording, and processing. And with those updates, the picture on Audiobus has become significantly clearer. Magellan, Magellan, Jr. Since Moog and Korg get plenty of attention, let’s start with the dramatic improvements to Magellan. Earlier this month, Magellan’s industrial-strength iPad app got a hand-sized companion in the …