Elektron Digitakt 1.3. Polyend Tracker 1.4. But don’t miss what boutique maker 1010music are doing with their Blackbox sampler. Here’s a look at there just-out 1.9 firmware update – and some lovely music, too.

In this season of nuanced, musical updates for desktop hardware, it’s great to get this, too.

Andreas Roman reviewed the Blackbox for us, and he wrote me over the weekend to share some impressions:

It contains many user requested features and some of the stuff from the Bluebox as well. But we got LFO’s, four-band EQ on the master output, updated granular effect, separate control over cutoff and resonance on the filter, bandpass filter on the delay with adjustable cut-off, separate midi tracks, and much more.

While Elektron’s 1.3 for Digitakt and Polyend’s 1.4 for the Tracker certainly both impress, I really think this one nails it. Blackbox has matured into an extremely powerful and great-sounding sampler in any category now, giving even the most premium products something to think about in the increasingly crowded market.

I threw together a track that goes all-in with the new features. LFO’s, granular loops, filtered delays, and whatnot, all over the place –

US$599 is a steal for this little box once you dive into everything it can do. I’m honestly a bit jealous of Andreas’ model. But yeah, it’s worth just celebrating the music here, too – which is what those little details are ultimately about.

The 1.9 firmware is currently in beta; 1.7 is the latest stable version, available from the support section. You’ll find the 1.9 beta once you’re registered, in the forum.

Here’s what to expect as far as new features:

  • Tap Tempo. Be sure to look for the small tempo button in the upper left of the SONG page. Press this button at least three times to change the current tempo
  • LFO per voice with the option for beat sync. This applies to sample, clip, granular, and slicer modes
  • 4-band Parametric EQ on the master output. Press the FX button twice to find it.
  • Modulation of the envelope Attack, Decay, and Release, including control via MIDI CC
  • Resonance control on the filter, including the ability to modulate it
  • Enhanced Delay algorithm with integrated band-pass filter and the ability to play just a single echo
  • More advanced granular controls, including density, scatter, and pan spread
  • MIDI-only sequences. Choose MIDI as the cell type in the upper left and the sequence will not play internal pads.
  • MIDI based recording of cells.

And some more recent music from Andreas, for good measure: