NAMM: New Star Trek Phaser-Shaped Akai MIDI Wind Controller

It looks like an elongated Star Trek phaser, but the Akai EWI4000S is actually a brand-new MIDI wind controller. New digital instruments for wind players (like the Yamaha WX5) are fairly rare; it’s nice to see something fresh. And the Akai has plenty of features that suggest it’s worth a look:

NAMM: Korg’s RADIAS Synth Editor = Fabulous Fun with Formants

Remember when we used to argue about dumb things like whether it was better to use computers or hardware keyboards for sound design? One big theme at NAMM was that all the major hardware makers (Korg, Roland, Yamaha, etc.) have embraced the use of computers for editing. Leading the pack is Korg, with some very […]

Create Broken Hard Drive Digital Music, Win EQ Watch @ Gizmodo

Sometimes, I have good ideas. Sometimes, other people have ideas I wish I’d thought of. Case in point: is running a contest to create music, in 3 minutes or less, based on audio from defective Hitachi hard drives. Win, and they’ll give you an insanely cool equalizer watch that could only have been designed […]

NAMM: Hands-on with Arturia Prophet V, Analog/Digital Hybrid Soft Synth

The only thing that the original Prophet 5 (one of the first programmable polyphonic synths) and the Prophet VS (the first to feature digital wavetables) have in common is that both were designed by synthesis pioneer Dave Smith. But while Dave’s new Mono Evolver Keys was blowing Herbie Hancock’s mind at NAMM, Arturia was quietly […]

NAMM: Musical Ribbons, Rings, and Things

In the age of the keyboards and frets, vintage analog approaches to instrument design are strikingly expressive. Here are hands-on impressions from NAMM of the ribbon-controlled Persephone, the ring-controlled French Connection, and the accelerometer-powered guitar effects ring seen here earlier.

NAMM: Korg’s Digital-Retro Dream Synth-Vocoder Hands-on

Anaheim’s NAMM show is packed with new gear, but I’ve already got a top pick for the one I want to steal and bring home with me. Korg’s new RADIAS synth/vocoder instrument is striking from the moment you see it. The synth module folds upwards to face you, so you don’t have to bend over […]

NAMM: Korg’s Joystick-Mouse Keyboard for Computer Musicians

Boring USB keyboards for connecting to computers: no matter how many manufacturers make nearly-identical models, more appear. Korg has a mostly-nondescript line of new USB keyboards that would fit that description, but with a twist. They’ve included an unusual, tiny joystick that fills in for your mouse when using a computer. I tried to get […]

NAMM: MiKo Keyboard/Computer Groovestation Home Entertainment Center?

Sure, it may sound crazy to stick a Windows PC into the chassis of a big, blue keyboard. But trust me, the people at Open Labs are even crazier than you think. This isn’t a keyboard you’ll check email on. It’s a keyboard you’ll watch movies on. Here’s my hands-on report (or, as I like […]

NAMM: StealthPlug, Digital Guitar Cable (1/4″ to USB)

When is a digital cable better than a digital guitar? When it actually solves a problem guitarists have. We’re still not sure what’s so great about Gibson’s Digital Guitar, even after hearing it played at NAMM but we immediately grasped the utility of IK Multimedia’s new StealthPlug. It’s a compact audio interface built into a […]

NAMM: Lots Going Down in the Futuristic-Looking Ableton Booth

Ableton has booked a huge lineup for the NAMM show here in Anaheim, California. I’ll be talking today, Thursday, at Noon about how to abuse Live’s warp features and control Live with a Max/MSP/Jitter video input from a webcam. (Say hello if you make it; I hope to have tutorials on both these topics soon.) […]