It’s a tough time for the music tech industry like so many industries. But there are beautiful products coming from independent developers – indie, boutique shops crafting musical instruments in code. The folks at Devine Machine, makers of the likes of Guru and Lucifer, unloaded three big announcements overnight – enough to make you think there’s some obscure trade show going on at the end of March no one told you about.

Here’s the capsule view of why they matter:

OTR-88: A modeled electric piano

The beautiful thing about electric pianos like the Rhodes is that they’re really electromechanical instruments – amplified, yes, but entirely organic in the way they produce sound. OTR-88 is not the first attempt, as the developers imply, to use physical modeling techniques to try to reproduce those properties. Applied Acoustics’ Lounge Lizard, for instance, (available in Ableton Suite as Electric) follows similar lines. (Native Instruments’ Electric Piano and Digidesign’s Velvet have modeling approaches of their own, but also make use of samples.)

But OTR-88 does appear to go further. Tine movements are modeled in 3D. There are elaborate models of pickup interaction and velocity response. Herbie Hancock was consulted on the design. And you can adjust keys on a per-key basis. That should appeal to sound designers and electric piano aficionados alike. You can thank new physical modeling research by Efflam Le Bivic, one of Devine’s two developers.

I’m really eager to play this one.

OTR-88 Electric Piano

Krishna 1.5: Samples to Synthesis

The Krishna synth instantly earned respect for its “Frame Synthesis” approach, which makes it atypically easy to turn recorded samples into oscillators – a hybrid approach that threatens to end forever the synthesis versus sampling debate. 1.5 has a rebuilt engine, more LFO and ADSR routing destinations, and this tasty-sounding feature:

‘Snap to harmonics’ option for the filter : each note will instantiate a filter to resonate to its own harmonic.

Krishna Synth

One Shot Recorder

OSR is a terrific-looking little tool that’s designed to grab sounds while you play them. Set a threshold, record, and OSR spits out ready-to-use samples. That makes setting up a quick sampling or multisampling session — times when you may have a whole mess of samples to record — much easier. The new release now supports standalone and more pg-in formats, has a decay control, automatic sample reordering, and a pretty new UI.

One Shot Recorder (OSR) Sample Capture

OSR looks like the dream tool for a big multisample creation. Sometimes you may just want to grab some quick, beat-synced samples. Not new, but related, Live Sync Recorder is a tempo-synced VST. Turn it on, and it just rolls, slicing up your audio into one or two bar loops.

I actually can’t believe I didn’t know about this – I expect to put this to use very, very soon.

Live Sync Recorder Free

If you like that, there’s a fancier version, too.