Sunday, October 20, 2013

Updated with video: Arturia Microbrute- First pictures, rumored price, and info here!


Sorry to burst Arturia's bubble nearly a week early, but we seem to have official confirmation that the Microbrute, which was first teased earlier this week on Arturia's site, is their new hardware synthesizer. The Microbrute is a 25 mini-key monosynth with a rumored retail price of $299.  Other rumors suggest that the Microbrute is virtual analog, but these rumors are very unlikely, considering that the image above clearly states "analog" and features a mini patch bay and no presets, which would be unusual for a digital synth.  The Microbrute includes the Minibrute's waveshaping oscillator, multimode filter, a single LFO and envelope, a sequencer, and the aforementioned mini patch bay. which is currently unreadable due to the size of the above picture.  The official Arturia site says "modern connectivity" so there's even a chance this synth could be USB powered, which could be a nice feature for those working in a small space.

(Thanks to user Slujj for the video!)


So who is the Microbrute for?  There is probably a very small constituency of synthesists and bedroom producers who can't afford the already cheap Minibrute, and it appears this is an attempt to cater to them, and perhaps do battle with the DSI Mopho module, Korg Volca series, and Waldorf Rocket.  This will probably be a skip for Minibrute owners.

I think many people will be disappointed that this is not a a polysynth, seeing as how the low price point could be an indicator of how reasonably priced a 4 or 5 voice synth could be.  Months ago, Arturia was looking for a hardware engineer, which could indicate this elusive polysynth is in the pipeline but still months away, or years worst case scenario.  The Microbrute is, after all, just a repackaged Minibrute, so the engineer's expertise really wouldn't be needed for this project.  So I guess that's my official prediction on the matter-- I think we will see the Arturia Multibrute, or whatever name it may be called-- sometime in 2014 due to the existence of this synth and the Volca keys.

What do you think? Tweet at me.




Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Moog Minifoogers Official; check out descriptions and price comparisons to the originals here


Following last week's leak of the new pedals, Moog has officially unveiled the new Minifooger line, 5 stomp boxes utilizing Moog's classic analog circuits but with a smaller price tag and footprint.  They're meant for "guitarists and bassists" but I doubt that'll stop synth heads and producers from grabbing these because of their great price.

Here's a quick comparison:
Minifooger Delay: $199/ Moogerfooger MF-104M: $611
Minifooger Ring Mod: $149/ Moogerfooger MF-102: $260

The other 3 pedals don't quite have an analog to their big brothers, but you can see there's a tremendous savings if you're looking for true Moog sound, especially for the Delay.

Expect a ton more about these in the coming weeks-- more video demos, most importantly.


From the Moog site:

"The MF Drive is a filter-based overdrive pedal employing a Moog Ladder Filter, boutique FET amplifiers, and OTAs in its drive section making it highly reactive to picking dynamics. The panel features a bi-polar tone control and sweepable filter that work dynamically with input gain to offer each player unique and customizable sounds that retain the core timbre of their instrument. A filter Peak switch shifts harmonic content to the filter’s cutoff position, adding new tonal creation and dirty wah performance possibilities not found in other drive pedals. MSRP: $179.

The MF Boost is a selectable topology boost pedal that allows the player to switch between an “articulate VCA” signal path and a “colored OTA” signal path. Each is tailored to deliver boutique amplifier sound and responsiveness from any guitar/amplifier combination. The design also imparts natural compression to an input signal, which brings out note articulation and significantly increases the performance of other effects pedals. When paired with an expression pedal, the MF Boost can be used as a tone enhancing volume pedal, sweepable-gain boost pedal, and VCA. The expression pedal input also provides access to higher gain values not available on the panel. MSRP: $149

The MF Delay features 35mS-700mS of completely analog delay time. At shorter settings, repeats are fast and bright for creating classic slap-back and plate sounds. At medium and long settings the repeats become darker and naturally trail into reverb-like state. A Drive circuit allows the player to adjust the tone and feel of the MF Delay as well as overdrive the Bucket Brigade Delay line, and the input of a guitar amplifier for bigger sound and feel. Also, the expression pedal input is switchable between feedback for expressive swells and delay time for tape delay and chorus/flange effects. MSRP: $209.

The MF Ring is an analog ring modulator that is based on the world’s best selling Ring Mod, the Moogerfooger MF-102. Its refined frequency range and tone voicing circuit add new-musical elements to ring modification, making it easy to dial in everything from octaves and choral dissonance to harmonic undertones and synthesized lead lines. The expression pedal input provides hands-free control of the Freq parameter for sound sweeps, pitch shifting effects, and playing between two scales on the fly. MSRP: $159

The MF Trem is an analog tremolo pedal designed around a balanced modulator and Sub Audio VCO. This design creates a wide range of effects that are based on phase cancellation and addition. Players can create classic optical tremolo, hard tremolo, rotary effects and more that react dynamically to harmonic content. A variable Shape control interacts with Tone and Mix to craft subtle swells and gallops to rhythmic percussive, and swirling effects. When pushed, the MF Trem can also approach the beginnings of phasing and chorus. The expression pedal input adds control of the Speed parameter for hands-free swells and rotary effects. MSRP: $189"

Friday, October 4, 2013

Leaked catalog shows new Moog Minifoogers



If you've been eying up a Moogerfooger but just couldn't justify the price tag, Moog might have something in store for you this fall.  The Minifooger series has leaked out in a picture from a Sweetwater catalog, showing 5 different models of miniature modules - Ring, Delay, Drive, Boost, and Tremelo, for $149, $199, $169, $139, and $179, respectively.  The smaller modules seem to have fewer options to accommodate the better price point, but since many of these features were extreme for some users (i.e. CV), the Mini's should be a big hit.  As much as I love Moog gear, I was never able to justify the price of the regular Moogerfoogers, but the Minis definitely have me interested.  Moog Music seems to be making a run for the pockets of analog lovers everywhere for this holiday season-- I imagine these would fit right in with a Sub Phatty, MS-20 Mini, or the Volca series!  Expect to see these officially unveiled by Moog in the next few days.

Here's a quick rundown of features:

"Moog Minifooger - Delay ($199.00)
A Bucket Brigade based 100% analog delay that delivers over 650ms of rich, blooming repeats. Adding an expression pedal to the MF Delay allows you to control feedback swells dynamically or adjust the delay time completely hands free.

Moog Minifooger - Tremolo ($179.00)A lush, transformative, and unique wide-range tremolo pedal that employs a balanced modulator circuit and Sub Audio VCO.. Add an expression pedal for beautiful, hands-free swells.

Moog Minifooger - Boost ($139.00)A tone enhancing, twin topology boost pedal that allows you to select between transparent VCA or clipped OTA signal paths. When paired with an expression pedal, the MF Boost can also be used as a volume pedal or sweepable-gain boost pedal.

Moog Minifooger - Drive ($169.00)A unique, filter-based overdrive pedal that employs a classic OTA and Moog Ladder Filter in its drive section for completely customizable sounds from creamy overdrive to cranked tube amplifier. Plug in an expression pedal to add a dimension of tonal and performance possibilities not found elsewhere.

Moog Minifooger - Ring ($149.00)A balanced Ring Modulator based on the best selling Ring Mod in the world, the Moogerfooger MF-102. Add an expression pedal and the MF Ring creates hands free sound sweeps and octave style jamming, to robotic and whammy effects."


from sequencer.de forums.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Chromeo - "Over Your Shoulder"



At last, the new Chromeo single is here, and it's everything I dreamed it would be.  "Over the Shoulder" is a fantastic track to lead off White Women with, and while it's certainly not as synth heavy as some of the duo's previous tracks, it's every bit classic Chromeo otherwise, with humor and classic hooks.  You can bet the rest of the record will have plenty of synth though-- the Vine and Instagram previews have certainly indicated so.  Can't wait to hear the full record.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Anoraak - "Morning Light"



Mark Anoraak's next record as one of my most anticipated of the year.  I'm a super-fan of the work of the synth wizard.  "Morning Light" is the first single off the new record, which features the tightest production we've heard to date from the French rocker.  I have a hard time defining the Anoraak genre-- super modern but with pop and rock roots-- but he's a force unto himself.  Watch out for the full Anoraak record dropping soon-- it looks to be a fantastic follow up to Wherever the Sun Sets.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Chromeo's "White Women" Trailer might be the best thing I've seen and heard all year


Wow.  The Vine and Instagram teasers Chromeo has slowly trickled out couldn't prepare me for this awesome taste of their new record, White Women.  The song, most importantly, sounds like a track out of an old funk collection, complete with imbedded humor (yeah, you heard a comment about small breasts in there).  The video itself has an stylish flair and classy quality to it as well.  Chromeo's been refining their sound, and White Women promises to be their opus.  When can I hear more?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Kavinsky - "Odd Look" Music Video


Kavinsky's new music for "Odd Look" is here, featuring a continuation of the story previously set up by "Protovision" with Kavinsky as the zombie ghost of the 80s.  The video is shot like and references some great 80s flicks, and the music fits the mood perfectly.  I'd love to see a full on short movie of the Kavinsky saga.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

CHVRCHES - "The Mother We Share" Music Video


One of my new favorite groups CHVRCHES has just released their new music video for "The Mother We Share", one of the fantastic singles leading up to their debut album The Bones of What You Believe, coming in September.  Even though they only have a handful of tracks out, I'm incredibly excited for this release.  CHVRCHES is also touring this fall, so be sure to check them out-- I'll be at the Philly show next month!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The New Division - "Devotion" (The Sanfernando Sound Remix)




The Sanfernando Sound's remix of The New Division's "Devotion" holds true to the classic English 80s synth pop that I now associate with SFS- fantastic percussion, a tight mix, and dark brooding synthesizers.  The track crescendos with an awesome vocal melody, but tricks you as it dies out, only to return even bigger for another refrain.  The screaming lead at the end of the track is particularly ace.

Starsmith - "Clockwork"




Starsmith's newest single "Clockwork" is here, which is the first of a set of tracks coming this year from the Ex-Ellie Goulding producer.  "Clockwork" is not the shimmering pop dance sounds you might expect from the 25 year old pop producer, whose discography includes Kylie Minogue and Marina and the Diamonds.  Nevertheless, the track is fantastic, a call back to pure house style, wild synth lines, and big beats.  The track begs for you to nod your head, and is sure to hit the euro clubs for the rest of the summer.  Hopefully Starsmith's upcoming tracks are as fresh as this one!

Monday, July 22, 2013

She's the Queen release new single "Cold Heart/I Don't Wanna Know"




She's the Queen's new dual single "Cold Heart/I Don't Wanna Know" dropped yesterday, and the two new tracks mark the most professional recording and catchiest songs for the group yet.  "Cold Heart" features pumping beats, an uplifting chorus, and a brilliant string outro.  "I Don't Wanna Know" has a soaring bass and great pop hooks.

Be sure to grab the single in your favorite online retailers (iTunes, Amazon).

Dan Black's video for "Hearts" features impressive 24 hour human time lapse



Dan Black, who is an incredibly friendly fellow and former interviewee of the blog, has premiered his new video for "Hearts", which includes an incredible 24 hour time lapse of Dan on a rooftop.  This is no easy feat, as he had to sit around for pretty much an entire day mouthing a song.  The video is a couple months old at this point, but is simply too cool to not post.  Check it out, and the making of video below.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Korg Volca Series finally hits consumers' hands!


After a long blog break, I'm back, and ready for more.

The Korg Volca series seems to be out and about in Japan, and possibly the UK as well, so if you're been keeping an eye on these highly anticipated modules, the wait should soon be over.  The easiest way to track the new videos if you're still deciding is to use YouTube's newest uploads (linked here for quick access).  This way, you'll get a sense of how they actually sound in the hands of the users, and not the official Korg videos-- while the official videos are cool, they of course can't show the full dimensions of this, or any synth.

If you're looking for more info on specifications or using a Volca, you can read the manual on the official Korg site.  Overall, these look like a ton of fun for a great price ($150 street each).  If you have one, tweet at me (@TheSynthSymp) and let me know how it is.


Above is someone's review of the Bass.


Here is someone doing a cover of Daft Punk on a Beats and Bass.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Synthmania quick tip #9 - The 1980s pop ballad sound


If you're not already subscribed, SynthMania has one of the best YouTube channels, always examining gear and the making of 1980s style tracks.  The above shows how easy it is to create an 80s ballad with an 808, MiniMoog, and DX7.  You can hear a ton of other trance, house, and italo style sounds on his channel.  Check it out here.

Bonus: Using a sequencer

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Korg MS-20 Mini Video Updates


The MS-20 Mini is slowly making its rounds around the globe, and we're finally seeing some user videos come up, but the majority of us haven't gotten one yet-- Korg's distribution is strained, and there are rumors that there's a major slowdown, but let's hope that's not the case.  Obviously, the MS-20 Mini is a big hit, so let's hope it encourages more Korg analogs in the future.

Videos found on MatrixSynth

More videos below.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Analyzing 'Random Access Memories': Daft Punk's classic record, or just a nice attempt at one?


I've been listening to Random Access Memories a ton this past week, and been trying to ask myself- does the record really live up to hype, or am I just projecting greatness on a "pretty good" record?  Before it came out, Daft Punk said they were trying to make a classic 70s and 80s dance album- did they succeed, or fall short?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Buying Your First Analog Synthesizer: The 2013 Guide


2014 Edit: Thank you for the tremendous support of this guide!  This has easily become the most popular post of the site.  If you're looking for the latest synths, check out the 2014 analog synth guide.  This current page is still mostly relevant and I don't plan on removing it, so you can still enjoy the 2013 guide!

We're only in April of 2013 and we've already seen a huge influx of awesome gear come out.  I still see a fair amount of traffic on my "What to Buy" article, so I figured it was time to revamp the whole thing for a better look at the cool synths you can buy this year.  So without further ado, I give you Synth Guide 2013.

This guide will be focused on new synthesizers, so don't expect anything that's not currently in production.  Also, I may tend to focus on newer gear more so than older synths.

Special note:  I've included Amazon links on the names of all the synths, so if you're interested in buying from Amazon, use that link!  It'll help support the blog.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Vince Clarke meets the Minibrute


So here's a bit of a silly one- Vince Clarke, of Depeche Mode/Yazoo/Erasure fame (and many others) gives an interview with Arturia about using the Minibrute.  Arturia knows who to give their synths to to impress the gear heads.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

CDM uncovers more about the Korg Volca series


Dying for more info on the Korg Volca series?  So are we.  Fortunately, the Create Digital Music blog got the inside scoop on the Volca series from its creator, Tatsuya Takahashi.  Important tidbits from the interview: the Volcas can be hacked to give MIDI out, the delay circuit is new, and that these boxes are not "toys"-- they're serious instruments, especially thanks to their MIDI in capabilities.  Check out the whole article on CDM.
 

Friday, May 3, 2013

In-depth look at the Novation Bass Station II from Sonic State


Curious about the new Novation Bass Station II? Sonic State goes through the sounds and interface with a Novation spokesman, giving the most in-depth look at this synthesizer yet.  Be sure to check out my upcoming synth guide 2013, where the BSII will get a mention or two.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Frankmusik sets out on first Headlining US Tour


Frankmusik, one of my former guests for interview and an old favorite as an artist, is setting out on 20 date tour across the US this June as headliner.  This is FM's first tour as a headliner in the US, so we'll get to see a full set of Frankmusik tracks, from his first record to the latest, Between, coming out this summer.  If "summer" is too vague for you, check out "Chasing Shadows" on May 9th, the new single.

FM is an incredible live performer, and his shows are always a ton of fun-- you can tell the man loves to sing.  I highly recommend checking out the show in your nearest city.  For more information or to check back for more dates, visit his website.  To hear his newest tracks, check out his SoundCloud.

Bob Moog Inducted into National Inventors Hall of Fame


Bob Moog was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for his creation of the Moog Ladder Filter, one of the most important inventions in modern music.  It's great to see such the father of the synth industry acknowledged with such a prestigious award!

Weekly Daft Punk Update


Behind on your Daft Punk news?  Here's the latest from this week.

Above is a video of YouTube user SinclairEoin performing a note-for-note attempt at Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger, which helps you appreciate the fantastic soloing in the track.  Great work.

The two latest collaborator videos (seen below) are from Chilly Gonzales and Panda Bear.  Chilly goes into a discussion about musical theory, and how Daft Punk used his songwriting talents to help connect the chords of the album to create a bigger picture-- which shows just how in depth with songwriting the robots are trying to go.  Panda Bear's video is less technical, but he instead talks a bit about what it's like to work with such a mysterious duo.

According to this French website, the next two singles will be "Lose Yourself to Dance" and "Instant Crush", featuring Pharrell and Julian Casablancas, respectively.

Word is also floating around that the record will be up for streaming a week before it's release.

Finally, the first reviews are starting to crop up, giving a better insight into what each track sounds like (NME, MixMag).  Don't read this if you're looking for a full surprise of everything on the record-- here are the cliff notes.  Giorgio Moroder's track has him speaking about his life to a click track, but apparently expands into an epic landscape of sounds.  Todd Edward's track is described as a letdown by MixMag compared to his first collaboration, Face to Face.  The Julian Casablancas and Panda Bear tracks supposedly sound a bit like each of their bands.


Friday, April 26, 2013

Korg MS-20 Mini Song Demo


Cool little demo of a track completely made with the MS-20 Mini.  Very Japanese-y melody, but if you get beyond it you can hear a great range of stuff.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Daft Punk's New Single "Get Lucky" is finally here; What do you think?


After many sleepless nights for Daft Punk fans, "Get Lucky" featuring Pharrell Williams is finally here (you can grab it on iTunes here, or any number of websites).  This track actually leaked earlier this week with unmastered vocals, and many of us were left guessing if it could be the real thing, or if it was just a Pharrell impersonator, considering a leak with only unmastered vocals is so unusual.

I initially wasn't too keen on the track, as it's such a far departure from previous work.  The radio edit is only 4:07, and it just seems short to listen to.  Furthermore, we're all accustomed to DP using repeats to drive a point home, especially in the case of Human After All-- the title track of which is 5:20 of repeats with slow variation.  Putting a pop vocalist on a DP track takes away from the familiar, almost comforting house style.  The other problem is the two clips that were released first, which are the two main parts of this song, are the ONLY parts of this song.  You've heard parts A and B since the beginning, and the only thing left that's new is Pharrell.  The album version is supposed to be about 6 minutes long, meaning we're missing a full two minutes of what I can only assume to be instrumental music-- hopefully Nile Rodgers will take a bigger spotlight in this time.

On the positive side of this release, it notes a major departure from the past-- it's always good to see a band take on a new direction, and this is a welcome one.  "Get Lucky" sounds like a legitimate disco song.  Purely from a technical standpoint, the recording is a masterpiece.  It has the warmth of a vintage record, yet the crisp and clear sound of a modern record.  The performances are tight.  And the vocals are catchy!

I know there's a large group of people perhaps disappointed in this track, but you have to keep in mind, it is a radio edit, and it is a "featuring Pharrell" track, meaning he's bringing something new to the table, and he's the star.  And you've also heard these parts probably 100 times listening to the previews, so there's also that part of the expectation to.

So in short-- I like this track a lot.  The recording is some of the best I've heard in a long time, this is a new direction for dance music, and that's all worth applauding.  If you hate this track, remember this is a 74 minute record, and we've only heard 4 minutes of what is probably the most mainstream moment of the record.

Don't forget to grab the new record on Amazon, who still have the best price for the vinyl version.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Future Music's In the Studio with Chromeo [Video]


It's no secret that Chromeo has a knack for synthesis, and this Future Music In the Studio demonstrates just how synth crazy they are-- and hits home with what this blog is all about.  The above video shows their studio (I believe in Canada) with their fantastic array of analog and digital synths and drum machines.  Currently, the band is writing its next record in New York City with a reduced synthesizer setup, judging from their Vine account, so this video is slightly outdated, but they still have some of the same gear and work the same way.  The video below shows them working on a song from scratch, so there's a wealth of great information here.  This video was in Future Music magazine a couple years back, but has only become available on YouTube this week.  Be on the lookout for their new record in the fall.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

New Korg MS-20 Interviews with the engineers of the Original and Reissue



Curious to see the behind the scenes of new Korg MS-20 mini?  Here are two interviews with two of the original engineers, Mr. Fumio Mieda and Mr. Hiroaki Nishijima.  They go into detail about the making of both synths, the choice of components, and some of the characteristics and quirks.  Great video for electronic specialists and MS-20 fans.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Dave Smith demos all the features of the Prophet 12 [Video]


I'm a huge fan of everything Dave Smith does, and the Prophet 12 is no exception.  I'm normally a pretty die hard analog fan, but the P12 shows the strength of 4 digital oscillators, plus sub oscillator.  This thing sounds absolutely huge, and the quick modulation routing is fantastic.  Dave has really outdone himself.  Check out this demonstration of all the cool features, and tell me you don't want this thing.

High Definition Daft Punk "Get Lucky" ad featuring Pharrell Williams, plus other Daft Punk news! [UPDATED]


High definition "Get Lucky" ad from this weekend's SNL ad.  Full collaborators for Random Access Memories includes The Strokes' Julian Casablancas, Animal Collective's Panda Bear, Paul Williams, Giorgio Moroder, DJ Falcon, Chilly Gonzales, Todd Edwards, Pharrell Williams, and Nile Rodgers.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Korg Volca Beats, Bass, and Keys are Official [Videos]


Korg currently has its finger on the pulse of analog enthusiasts everywhere, and the new Volca series is no exception.  With a rumored price of $150, these should be a no brainer for the public-- an analog drum machine, 3 voice VCO polysynth, and a 3 oscillator 303-style bass sequencer are all easy buys for musicians.  I'm tempted to grab all three, considering the price.  For a full spec sheet, visit the official Korg site.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

New Korg Analog Boxes: Real or fake? We decide!


The first picture of the supposed new Korg Analog boxes emerged a few days back, but I wasn't quick to believe what looks like an artist's render of new possible gear.  It wasn't until the new images, seen below (click for full size!), really caught my attention, and I thought this could be a possibility.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Todd Edwards talks about his collaboration with Daft Punk for Random Access Memories


Are you at a fever pitch for the new Daft Punk record coming on May 21st?  As if the first video in this series with Giorgio Moroder wasn't mouthwatering enough, Todd Edwards has somehow hit right on the head what Random Access Memories is all about-- bringing back the live sound of dance music.  Todd talks about using his sample techniques for the new record, what it's like to work with Daft Punk, the feeling of the new record, and why he had to move to LA afterward.

The most important thing to get out of this video is the important turning point we're seeing from Daft Punk.  As I've mentioned before, the record indicates a shift from conventional French house sound-- samples and filters all day-- back to a more organic record, of actual recorded performances in the studio.  The past 15 years have seen young producers trying to recreate those special moments on Discovery, Homework, and Human After All-- but now we're in for an entirely new treat, as the group bucks that trend for a classic 70's feeling.  Todd points out how this will inspire young producers, who may not be able to recreate recordings like this per say, to at least consider the advantages of using a live bass performance, for example.

He even goes on to talk about how dull the scene is becoming, and he's right.  As much as I love 80's and disco influence, the lack of variety and repetitive sample styles is ultimately becoming the downfall of the genre.  Hopefully RAM will take younger producers to a place where they haven't been, where imperfections of performance add an organic quality to the music, and return the "soul" to dance.

Novation unleash the Bass Station II: My take on the new super-value synth


You have to hand it to Novation-- after sitting out of the analog crowd for the past few years since retiring the Bass Station, they've come roaring back with perhaps the best deal in analog synthesis.  The Bass Station II is an analog monosynth with two oscillators (DCO), a sub oscillator, ring modulator, a noise generator, two filters (Acid and Classic types), two envelopes, two LFOs, distortion send, and filter FM.  To top it off, it's also got a built in sequencer.  The street price is $499.

This is an INCREDIBLE feature set for a synth of this price.  The original Bass Station hovers right around this price on eBay, but this should easily blow those out of the water, considering the original had issues with its construction, and the BS2 boasts more features.  While the DCO's would be considered inferior to the VCO's of the Minibrute and MS-20 mini, 3 oscillators helps make up for that shortcoming.  Essentially, you've got a synthesizer that's taken the best parts of its current competitors.  The layout of oscillators is the same as the Sub Phatty and Mopho.  The distortion and FM filter amount are borrowed from the Mopho and Minibrute (and possibly the Phattys as well).  My favorite feature is the switchable filter, because the filter is so much of the sound of the synth.  Including two filters (diode-ladder, which is the Acid Filter, and the Classic being derived from the original BS) adds a tremendous boost to the scope of the sounds.  Also, who doesn't love the colors of this thing?

Unfortunately, we don't have any good sound demos yet, aside from the brief appearance in the 21 year of Novation video (seen below).  The original Bass Station's sound is well respected.  You can expect this thing to sell very well-- its tonal advantages over the Minibrute, lack of a daunting patch bay a la MS-20, and keyboard and interface improvement over the Mopho Module should hit the right spot of the market-- assuming everyone hasn't already made their only monosynth purchase already.

Word is that the Bass Station II should be hitting enthusiasts this June, at a $499 pricetag.  For more information, full specs, and a more in depth look at features, check out the official Novation page.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Daft Punk Random Access Memories Collaborators - Giorgio Moroder


Hear slightly more new Daft Punk in the first part of this awesome series on the collaborators of Random Access Memories.  Also, hear what synth legend Giorgio Moroder has to say about the Daft Punk and Moog modulars.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Trésors - "Pleine Lune" [Anoraak Remix]



Anoraak never fails to impress with his remixes.  He's a natural at capturing his sound in other's tracks, and his mix of "Pleine Lune" by Trésors is no exception.  Free download, to top it off.  Check it out.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Fred Falke In The Studio With Future Music [Full Video]


Here's a classic Future Music In the Studio episode with Fred Falke.  Fred is one of my favorites, and getting to see him work is exciting.  He's got the Yamaha CS-80 in his studio, the holy grail of synthesizers.  Check it out.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

More Korg MS-20 mini videos to count down to release



There's not much in the way of news this week on releases, but the Korg MS-20 mini's first batch is rumored to be headed out next around April 4th.  It's also slowly making the rounds on the typical YouTube synth channels as well, which is a good sign, and an excuse to post more videos.  Here's hoping for few or no delays!



Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Eleven:Eleven - "Escape" (The Sanfernando Sound Remix)



I've absolutely fallen in love with this remix of Eleven:Eleven by The Sanfernando Sound. TSS's patch creation on this track is fantastic- each sound seems to click together so well, yet leave room and not overcrowd one another.  He's taken off some of the intensity of the original as well, which contrasts it well as a remix.  Also, who can't love that warm fat bass?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

KORG MS-20 mini vs. MS-20 vintage


If you're still not sold on how comparable the new MS-20 sounds to the original, watch this video.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

New Daft Punk Album- "Random Access Memories" appears on iTunes store for release on May 21st, 2013



The new Daft Punk album is officially called "Random Access Memories" and will be released on May 21st, 2013, according to iTunes.  No track titles yet, but the name is an obvious play on the band's digital style- "Random Access Memories" is a slight change from "Random Access Memory," or RAM as we all call it.

Super excited for this!

UPDATE: You can hear a snippet of a new track and preorder the album here.

More news as it develops.

Native Instruments Monark Demonstration from Dubspot Video



If you've been curious about Native Instrument's new softsynth Monark, here's a full 15 minute video on it.  If you recall, a few weeks ago they were acting as if this synth was revolutionary... but it turns out, it's a Minimoog recreation, so you won't find any crazy unheard of features.  That said, it's a pretty good emulation.  I'm sure if you're a big NI user, you'll eat this up, but I have the feeling most other people who are interested in the Minimoog have already picked up a different emulation.

New Korg Interview with original MS-20 Engineers hints at more analog to come


If you're one of the many who were hoping that the MS-20 Mini wouldn't be the last of the new analogs from Korg, you'll find an exciting quote from a PDF interview with two of the engineers of the original and new MS-20 on Korg's site:

"Do you have any plans for reviving other MS series models in the future, such as the SQ-10 or the MS-50?
'We want to give people who have never actually touched an analog synthesizer the chance of experiencing how much fun it can be. Just how necessary such a device would be in the present day is something that we'll decide after seeing the response from MS-20 mini users.'"


While that quote certainly doesn't guarantee anything, I think it's worth it to say that the past few years have shown a trend within Korg, and that's that they give consumers what they want, if it sells.  What started as a fun little toy on the Monotron led to the more capable Monotribe, and the overwhelming demand for bigger, better, and more feature-fledged has led us to the MS-20 Mini.  The MS-20 is in high demand with all the buzz of the recent videos and reviews, so there should be a ton of sales of the new synth worldwide.  But what could come after the MS-20?  I've already outlined some ideas in this article.

Other topics discussed in the article include challenges in the MS-20's design, why the Mini lacks full MIDI implementation, and if schematics will be released.  The interview is pretty short, so why not read the whole thing over on Korg's website?

Shook - "Tonight"



Here's some new funk by way of Shook, one of guests last year.  "Tonight" features his trademark funky styles, with some smooth piano and robotic vocals.  The strings are a great touch too.  Always good to hear a non-remix from Shook too, as impressive as his remix catalog.  Hopefully we'll be seeing a full EP or even album sometime sooner than later.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Tesla Boy - "1991"



After the last post and this one, we might as well call today "90s Wednesday".  Tesla Boy gets the "last century" feel on hardcore with synth stabs and lady back up vocals, and it feels so right.  Perhaps you'll be reminded of some of Alphabeat's "Heatwave" at moments too-- and that's nothing but a good thing.  Here's hoping we hear more artists breaking out of the awesome, but currently crowded, 80s, and into the decade of Ace of Base.

Patrick Baker - "This Love (Higher)"



Patrick Baker's latest offering is the free "This Love (Higher)", an incredible percussion driven track with breathy vocals.  Killer sound and production-- PB's tapped into this "dirty 90s music" scene, and hits is so perfectly.  Awesome to hear such a unique influence-- perhaps we'll be seeing more and more 90s stylings from other artists soon, but Baker's marking his ground first.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Tesla Boy Live TV Rain 2012



I sniped this video from Dave Smith Instruments' Facebook and had to share it here because it's so good.  Tesla Boy, a great Russian new wave band, playing a 22 minute set with a Prophet 08 and a Korg MS-20 (I don't think it's the legacy controller, but I'm not positive.)  Tesla Boy has some awesome synth breakdowns around the 10 minute mark as well.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Makup and Vanity Set - Praxis



Here's a fresh track from one of my new favorites, Makeup and Vanity Set.  This is some pure dance music right here, with big stabbing synths.  Full EP 7.25.2148 coming 3/28/13.  Can't wait.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Madeon - Triple J Mix



Madeon's Live Triple J Mix just hit SoundCloud, and has already racked up an impressive collection of plays.  The French teen wonder seems to get bigger and bigger with every release.  Enjoy the mix.

Dave Smith & Roger Linn Interview with Ean Golden


Dave Smith and Roger Linn interview.  Nice and lengthy.  Need I say more?

Don't forget to check out my interview with Dave back in 2011.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

KORG MS20 & Doepfer Dark Time Sequencer


Here's a cool video using a Doepfer Dark Time Sequencer with the Korg MS-20.  Nothing like a little MS-20 action to rev up for the reissue coming sometime next month.

via Matrixsynth

Russ Chimes - Turn Me Out



Russ Chimes' new track "Turn Me Out" was supposedly just a live DJ track, but it ended up on the radio, according to his SoundCloud, so now it's getting a full release.  Russ is in fine form here, with a perfectly produced beat and a fantastic sample.  This guy can't miss.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Free Alan Braxe EP - Moments In Time



If you're an Alan Braxe fan, you can grab a new free EP featuring Alan and the Spimes over at Scion AV. This EP has top-notch production, with four songs and a set of remixes featuring some other favorites like Lifelike.  I'm surprised such a quality EP is free.  Be sure to listen over at Scion AV.  I can't seem to post it here, otherwise I would embed it.  Check it out!

Box of Wolves & Christa Vi - Boy


Here's a new Single from everyone's favorite up-and-coming label, Electronic Rumors.  The new EP is from Box of Wolves & Christa Vi, and the title track "Boy" is an awesome big beat dance hall jam with warm pads and great vocals.  Also included is a set of remixes and a lovely B-side called "The Machine".  Be sure to grab the EP on March 11th.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

What should Korg remake next? Here's 4 Picks


While I don't have concrete preorder numbers (I don't work for Korg!), the MS-20 Mini is already a hit thanks to preorders by many synth enthusiasts.  The promise of retro look, feel, and sound combined with modern reliability has made the MS-20 Mini this year's Arturia MiniBrute, which sold out for months after last year's NAMM show.  Fortunately for Korg, their larger infrastructure should mean more people are buying sooner-- and increasing Korg's incentives to take the remakes further.  Here's a few choices for Korg to consider.

New Arcades - Dreamers



Here's a cool little track from the New Arcades out of London.  Really love the way this track sounds like the end theme of an old 80s flick.  It's odd how there's a ton of emotion here, but with no words.  Simple, but sweet.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Daft Punk's New Sound Emerges on SNL


Daft Punk's new sound was heard on Saturday Night Live's commercial break this weekend.  This is actually super exciting as far as news goes because it confirms something is on the horizon, and likely will be here before the year is over-- but hopefully the wait won't be that long.  Full Nile Rodgers influence is here as well, and if you wanted DP to step away from the harder house of Human After All, you will likely be stoked to hear a more Discovery-era sound.  LIVE INSTRUMENTS!  When was the last time you heard live funk instruments like that from an electronic group?

Don't forget, the original date rumored of something new was 3.13.13 (or 13.3.13 for you non-Americans.)  Let's hope we get the full details, or even single, then.

EDIT: Apparently they took down the video... but I'm sure a quick YouTube search will show you the clip!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Wild Belle - "It's Too Late [Anoraak Remix]"



Anoraak, an old blog favorite, strikes again with an awesome remix of Wild Belle.  Full French influence here, and it's nice to hear some Anoraak as we wait patiently for that new record, which is shaping up to be fantastic.  Rock on.

Aimes - Beautiful Decay Remixed out March 5th



Brooklyn based The Synth Symp homey AIMES has a new remix EP coming out on March 5th. featuring some global talent mixing up AIMES' 2012 EP.  There's some fresh edit and synth work on here you can't miss.  And of course a special shoutout to Jules Schimmer's remix on the EP as well-- more catchy beats from a blog favorite.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Zimmer - Day Dreams | February Tape


French producer Zimmer posted up his February mixtape today.  He begins with a nice track from Roche Musique's FKJ and also puts in a bunch of other recent and some unreleased tracks. The hidden treat that was also in The Maigician's Magic Tape #30 -- "Only You Can Show Me" -- from L.A.'s Goldroom is thrown in there at about 10 minutes in. Definitely check that one out!

GMGN - Break It (Be Yourself) -- GMGN @ VELOUR in Philadelphia


You can hear some really interesting production technique in this track from DJ/Producer, GMGN. Blending together the filter, break beats, and some nice piano chords, the beat and great vocal chops -- he really puts the whole package together! If you're ever around in Boston -- catch him for a show! Otherwise -- if you live in Philadelphia -- come see him at the 5 hour disco party -- Velour

Native Instrument tease new synth, possibly called "Monark"


Native Instrument's new synth is supposedly called "Monark," according to the title of some image files on their site.  NI promises a "revolution", but the current demos don't seem to show off anything particularly spectacular.  Perhaps the revolution is in the design, coding, or work flow, so we'll have to wait and see.  Enjoy some demos while we wait to hear more.


Daft Punk Update Website, Speculation Begins (Again)


It may only be a new picture, but Daft Punk's website has been updated, and the internet is bustling with speculation once again.  I can actually recall making what was almost this exact post maybe a year ago, but obviously nothing has happened since.  The new picture shows the Columbia Label name, of which Daft Punk joined recently, another indicator that something big is just around the corner.  You'll also recall that Yelle, who is supposedly a friend of Daft Punk, indicated she knew something was coming a few months back in a tweet.  Nile Rodgers, the legendary producer, has said he's worked on the album with the French duo, so there's a good chance we could have a modern classic on our hands.  Until then, we can only dream...

Ableton Push - Flight of the Bumblebee


This video nicely demonstrates the (relative) ease of playing instruments in Ableton Live 9 with Push.  "Flight of the Bumblebee" is no easy song to play on piano, but Push seems to reduce the amount of time it would take to learn and perform it dramatically, with the help of the changing of scales on the pads.  Pretty nifty.

Arturia release iMini, a MiniMoog for your iPad


Been tempted by the Arturia MiniMoog, but haven't pulled the trigger yet?  Arturia has released the iMini, an iPad version of their MiniMoog plugin, for $9.99.  The layout is eerily similar to that of the Animoog, but of course, the core synthesis engine is still the same old Moog we know and love.  Check out the above video for a full demonstration of features.  Grab it on the App Store.

EDIT: Full press release:

Arturia advances history-making Minimoog to iPad musical masses!


"The iMini turned my iPad into an ‘old skool’ analogue bass monster! Its sound is irresistibly ‘phat’ and very close to the original. If you want that typical dirty Moog sound then the iMini is all you’ll ever need. It’s by far the most powerful and hypnotising synth app on the market.”
- Stefan Bodzin, 2013 (DJ/producer, remixer of Depeche Mode, Booka Shade, and more)

GRENOBLE, FRANCE: music software and hardware company Arturia is proud to announce availability of iMini, an authentic recreation of the all-time classic Minimoog monosynth for Apple’s all-conquering iPad, as of February 27...
iMini is based on the TAE® (True Analog Emulation) synthesis technology found in Arturia’s award-winning Mini V soft synth, meticulously modelling the distinctive tones and analogue nuances of the legendary Seventies-vintage Minimoog Model D monosynth. Moog changed the musical world with the Minimoog and Arturia helped change the music software world with the Mini V.

Arturia now brings the still-sought-after classic Minimoog sound to the musical masses, transforming any iPad mini, iPad 2, or iPad with Retina display into the ultimate analogue synth emulation! Those timeless three oscillators and that 24dB per octave fabled filter are all present and accounted for in iMini. It also successfully sports the look and feel of Dr Bob Moog’s namesake iconic synthesizer for all to see (and hear). But being a game-changing iPad app for 2013 and not an analogue synth design dating back to 1970 means there’s a whole lot more to iMini than first meets the eye...

Monday, February 25, 2013

Review: Kavinsky's 'OutRun' is a Unique Treat


If you're a fan of Kavinsky, today is a long time coming.  The mysterious Producer/DJ has been floating around for a couple of years now, with various EPs and Singles, but today is finally a full album release of 13 Kavinsky tracks, some new and some old, to form OutRun.  Kavinsky's built a theme for his record of a man whose soul becomes one with a Ferrari Testa Rossa.  Each track seems to represent an imaginary scene in a mental movie of this character, and I find it to be incredibly effective.  The sound of this record is so thematic and soundtrack-like, it seems to bounce from what Daft Punk did for Tron: Legacy, to going back to true 80s, where the sounds could from the original Terminator.  I'm not sure what the secret here is for such a cinematic approach, but it gives the record such a unique, awesome quality.  It makes OutRun the perfect album to drive your car around in, especially at night.

The production work is also stellar.  Kavinsky's chosen a very analog/vinyl sound.  Of course, the low end is modern and punchy enough to dance to, but it has an old-school charm as well.  There's plenty of vintage synth sounds too, and Kavinsky's developed a very signature growly in the low end-- you'll hear it all over OutRun.

If you've heard anything by Kavinsky and liked it, or you're into 80s soundtracks, I highly recommend OutRun.

 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Waldorf Announce New Pocket Sized Synth, Rocket


While the world has been patiently awaiting the Pulse 2 from Waldorf, apparently they've been working on a cool little surprise called the Rocket.  The Rocket is a USB powered 8 oscillator synth (used polyphonically or monophonically) with an analog filter.  I'm guessing the oscillators are digital due to the wording of the press release, but Waldorf is known to have some of the best sounding digital gear, so this should sound pretty fantastic-- and it does, judging by this short YouTube clip.  The price is about 205 euro, so this could land in the US for hopefully $300 (I'm guessing, between exchange rates and VAT), making it a great competitor in the market.  I'm still a bit vague on some of the details-- they use the word "envelopes" but the layout doesn't make it clear if that means one for VCA and VCF specifically, but hopefully that's the case.  Either way, I'm stoked to hear more about this, and you can grab one in March.

 

Check out more pictures and a full press release below.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The new Korg MS-20 Mini is supposedly better than the original


While it may be hard to believe, the new Korg MS-20 Mini is supposedly better than the original, according to Create Digital Music.

To quote the article:
"But I think there are two questions that get resounding answers in the MS-20 mini.
One is, did Korg manage to pull off a reissue that sounds like the original – or is even slightly better? Yes.
And does this 1978 design still hold up in 2013? Absolutely."


I won't steal the thunder of the entire story (linked below) but Peter Kirn seems to be pretty smitten with it.  I think this will help Korg tremendously with preorders-- some have been on the fence about build quality, sound, and the size, but CDM seems to indicate these are non-issues-- the build quality is fine, the sound is great, and the size is what you'd want for a monosynth.

Personally,  It's been on my wishlist, but I think I'll commit to preorder soon.

To read CDM's full article, click here.  There's a wealth of new information here, some great pictures of the packaging, and way more opinions on other elements of the new MS-20 Mini.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Arturia Minibrute Tips and Tricks [Video]


Here's a 12 minute video on some of the subtleties of the Arturia Minibrute, in addition to some tricks and tips on programming it.  Really nice video-- haven't watched the full thing yet, but important if you're looking to get the most out of your Minibrute.  User flux302 points out how using the mixer at 50 percent delivers less gritty sounds, increasing the tonal range of the Minibrute.  Cool!

Watch the full retro Korg line together in one track via Newueel


Found this video via Matrixsynth, and it just charmed the hell outta me.  While we wait for the Korg MS-20 Mini, looking back on the full line of the Korg MS gear is a treat (not counting the recent MS-2000).  Here user Newueel shows off his skills and programming in an impressive collection of Korg gear.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Vermona PERfourMER MKII Review

Vermona is an interesting company, having been around since the 80s but certainly not as well known as some of the other names in the synth world (or at least, here in the US).  Interestingly, though, they have a full line synths and effect modules, and I happen to have a review unit of their biggest synth, the PERfourMER MKII, the quad analog synthesizer.  The reviews of the newer version seem to be scarcer on the net, so it's very exciting to be able to talk about this interesting piece of gear.  At $1,850, this synth is no lightweight, and screams "professional" and "boutique" at the same time.  Can a heavyweight synth from a lesser known company really make a splash in the synth market?  Read on to find out.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

New free remix EP from Electronic Rumors


Electronic Rumors has put out an awesome free EP featuring some awesome artists like Queen of Hearts, She's the Queen, Ronika, and Kid Kasio.  The release marks the one year anniversary of Electronic Rumors Volume 1, a fantastic compilation in its own.  The remix EP features some of those artists from the compilation.  Every remix is a full on electronic jam, so check it out!

Also check out the Electronic Rumors website!

Full press release:

This 13th February marks the one year anniversary of the release of electronic rumors Volume 1. The compilation, spawned from a blog, that spawned a record label.
Released in association with Ninthwave Records, ER Vol. 1, collected 15 of the best ElectroPop, Nu-Disco and Dreamwave artists around onto one big CD and digital release.
To mark Volume 1's birthday, we're giving away a free EP. Four artists who appeared on ER Vol. 1, reMixing four other tracks from the album. All exclusive and specially recorded for this EP, and our gift to everyone who has supported us, and the artists we've worked with in the last twelve months.

More information about 'electronic rumors Volume 1', a 15 track compilation of some of the best Electro, electroPop, Nu-Disco, Dreamwave and Indie-Electro around, can be found here:
electronicrumors.com/er001er001cd-various-artists-electronic-rumors-volume-1/
The album is out now on CD and digital download.

KORG MS-2O External Signal Proscessor DEMO(daft punk derezzed )


The wait for the MS-20 Mini to come out seems like forever from now, but in the mean time, perhaps watching videos of the original MS-20 will help get you excited.  Here, the output of the iMS-20 app creates a control voltage and gate on the hardware MS-20.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Deadmau5 - The Veldt (analog cover by Kebu)


This guy's analog cover of The Veldt by Deadmau5 is a little too good... he's done incredible work recreating the sounds.  Deadmau5 would be proud.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Prophet 12 Demos by Peter Dyer, playing M83



 Looking to hear more of the new Prophet 12 by Dave Smith Instruments?  Pete Dyer (peterkeys88 on YouTube) has been lucky enough to play around with the new monster synth, and he's done a couple demos of recent electronic tracks from M83 and Big Black Delta from the Tron Remixed Soundtrack.

This thing sounds awesome!  Can't wait to hear more demos and start hearing it on records.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Patrick Baker - Get 2 Know U out today on BeatPort



80s mastermind Patrick Baker has a new Single/Remix EP out today on BeatPort.  The original track has a great synth hook, retro percussion, and a fat bass-- a testament to the golden age of upbeat synthpop.  If the production weren't so clean, you'd think this was a record out of your Uncle's record collection.  In addition to the title track, the EP contains 3 remixes.  Televisor's take on the track is smooth and slower, with a great use of piano.  Robots With Rayguns have taken a spacier approach, and Jolie Cherie's remix is bouncing with slower arpeggios.  Overall, a great little EP and an exciting preamble to the solo record of Baker's that I've been promised.

Grab the EP on BeatPort today, or from all online retailer on the 18th.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Arturia Condenses Spark to SparkLE, Lowers Price



If you were interested in Spark before, but thought it was too pricey or bulky, Arturia has just announced the next generation of Spark, called SparkLE.  It's the basic idea of Spark cut down to a thinner controller with some knobs removed and repurposed.  Seems like an excellent move since the original could be a bit bulky.  At $299, it's a bit cheaper as well, so if you were on the fence before perhaps this will sweeten the deal for you.

Not sure why the name "SparkLE" was chosen, but it seems to be pronounced "Spark LE", not "sparkle."  No word yet if the unit comes with glitter and sparkles.


 

"NAMM news: Arturia redefines drum machine with SparkLE

“The drums, samples, and FX in SparkLE are so spot-on with what’s happening today. And the patterns are genius. I’ve never loved a drum machine this much!”
- Junior Sanchez, 2013 (remixer: Daft Punk, Placebo; producer: Katy Perry, Ima Robot)

GRENOBLE, FRANCE: music software and hardware company Arturia is proud to announce the NAMM 2013 launch of SparkLE Creative Drum Machine, its newest hybrid beat production centre combining intuitive hardware hands-on control with software strength and integration...

Quite simply, SPARK Creative Drum Machine revolutionised hands-on beat-making by cleverly combining TAE® (True Analog Emulation) synthesis, sample playback (with multiple layering modes and post-processing), and physical modelling technologies with the intuitive workflow of a hardware drum machine upon its June 2011 launch; today, SparkLE Creative Drum Machine joins its bigger brother to take this concept to the masses in an all-new, ultra-portable package at a takeaway price point that’s tough to beat (€249.00 EURO/$299.00 USD).

The solidly-constructed, super-slimline SparkLE Creative Drum Machine hardware measures a mere 1.6cm in depth and comes complete with a handy neoprene slipcase to take your beats to the streets with that ‘real instrument feel’ so many other controllers clearly lack. With it comes direct access to all the features needed to create patterns, write automation, and perform live.

SparkLE Creative Drum Machine serves up classic ‘TR-style’ workflow via its brightly backlit step sequencer buttons, while a musical platter of bangin’ beats can quite literally be banged out using its eight velocity- and pressure-sensitive backlit pads. Stunning live performances are a breeze thanks to the advanced Looper and beat-slicing functions, while beats can be transformed on the fly with the touch-sensitive FX pad that features eight filter modes (including the famed Oberheim SEM V filter featured in Arturia’s acclaimed Oberheim SEM V soft synth namesake) and seven Slicer modes. Three assignable encoders ease writing automation and realtime sound control. More musical still, TUNE mode permits playing sounds chromatically across those 16 step sequencer buttons or eight pads — try having the kick drum follow the bass root note for truly trouser-flapping lows, play a synth bass/lead sound, or transform percussion sounds into pitched instruments... it’s all there for the hands-on taking!

Software-wise, SparkLE Creative Drum Machine makes use of the same full-featured Spark Engine software shipping with the original SPARK Creative Drum Machine. It includes an awesome library of over 1,500 instruments and 100 kits, providing top-notch, professional sounds covering a variety of dancefloor-friendly genres and stylings, ever-expandable with Arturia add-ons (like the Hip Hop Essentials and DubStep Essentials Expansion Packs).

Priced to go, there has never been a better time than now to add a little sparkle to your rhythmic creativity with SparkLE Creative Drum Machine!

SparkLE Creative Drum Machine will be available to purchase from the Arturia online store (http://www.arturia.com/evolution/en/buy/online-shop.html) or any dealer for €249.00 EURO/$299.00 USD from mid-March 2013."

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Prophet 12: Dave Smith's Newest Monster is Genius




DSI unveiled their newest synth today, which Dave is calling the finest he's ever made. It's the Prophet-12, an incredible 12 voice, 4 oscillator-per-voice synthesizer for the price of $2999.  This keyboard has everything.  While the oscillators seem to be purely digital, the VCA and filters remain analog.  There's an effects section, with delay and distortion.  There are knobs to change the character of the oscillators.  Just by hearing it, you can tell its one of the most fantastic and innovative synths around.  I applaud Dave and his small team of engineers.  He's created a synthesizer that you could sell the rest of your gear for and not regret it.

Don't just take my word for it.  Listen below, in DSI's official video, and an additional demo.





"ANAHEIM, Calif.—January 24, 2013—Dave Smith Instruments today introduced a new polyphonic synthesizer, the Prophet 12, at the 2013 NAMM Show. “After 35 years of creating synths, this is simply my best synth yet,” said Smith. “We sort of started from scratch on this one rather than spinning off another product from our previous designs.”

At twelve voices, the Prophet 12 boasts the greatest polyphony of any instrument designed by Smith. Each voice features four oscillators capable of generating classic and complex waveforms, a sub-oscillator, resonant analog low- and high-pass filters, and analog VCAs. The new Character section adds a variety of wave shaping and sound sculpting options, like Drive, Hack, Decimation, Girth, and Air. Additional features include a tuned feedback path, a four-tap stereo delay per voice, expanded arpeggiator functionality, deep modulation capabilities, and bi-timbral operation. The LFOs, delay, and arpeggiator can all be synced, either to the internal clock or an external MIDI clock. Two programmable position- and pressure-sensitive touch sliders take the performance controls beyond the standard pitch and mod wheels (also included).

“We’re already blown away by the sonic breadth of this synthesizer’s new voice architecture,” Smith continued. “It doesn’t sound like anything else and I’m very excited for people to hear it.”

The Prophet 12 is expected to be available Q2 of 2013 with a projected MAP of $2,999."

Korg MS-20 Mini Information and Video blowout!


So many people have been waiting for this day, and for it to be official-- the Mini MS-20 is finally a reality, with an astounding price of $600.  By now you've probably read the full details on Korg's site, but there's still alot to be said about this instrument.  It's been such a long time coming-- the dreams of everyone who's bought the Monotron series.  The MMS-20 is the perfect addition to the family.

Sit back, and enjoy some of the videos of the new beast.







Thursday, January 24, 2013

Why the Moog Sub Phatty is More Impressive Than You Think


NAMM officially starts up tomorrow so it's my last chance to write something like this for a little while, since we'll be inundated with debates of what to buy starting tomorrow, due to the shiny new offerings of Korg, Dave Smith Instruments, and Moog.

Moog's new synth was the first news to come out (unless you count the earliest Mini MS-20 rumors) a few weeks ago.  While initial speculation had some fans pretty excited, I think a portion have dropped out already-- some complaints of cost, keyboard size, and lack of new features have been floating around the message boards.

Sure, it's smaller than the Little Phatty, and it's not polyphonic, but this is the true evolution for Moog.  The video above demonstrates the fantastic small changes that really take this synth to the next level-- in my opinion, enough to sell your current Phatty.  I'll paraphrase some below.

I'll start with my favorite.  It's small, but it's this attention to detail that really has my excited.  Moog has found a way to have fantastic control over oscillator frequency, so a new trick in the Sub Phatty allows the user to control "beating" frequency, rather than oscillator frequency.  When two oscillators are played slightly detuned, they have a warm "beating" sound as the waves constructively and destructively interfere.  There's a sort of sweet spot around .1-2 Hz, but as you change octaves (an oscillator's frequency doubles when you increase an octave) this beating becomes faster, and less appealing, so jumping an octave or two spoils the sound a bit, and you leave the sweet spot.  With beating frequency, this is no longer an issue-- you can set the slow, warm oscillator interference to be the same regardless of note on the keyboard.  I've never heard of this idea before, but it's this attention to detail that Moog has that is really cool.

A feature recycled from the Minitaur is the VCO reset, which allows the waves of the oscillators to return to a starting point each time they're pressed.  Standard oscillators don't leave the point in the waveform so pressing the same note causes slight variations in the sound, and can really drag down performance.  VCO reset negates this pretty nicely, so a bass sound is always smooth.

The bold choice of dumping out the larger memory is one of my favorite parts of this synth.  I've always thought that the future would be pure patching through a computer (who likes dealing with scrolling through a ton of sounds, and stifling creativity in the process?), but Moog has found a happy medium between.  There's patching still available through the computer, but a very basic 4 bank 4 patch memory still exists, to help account for live performances, or the days where you jam on your synth and don't turn on your computer.  Still, it's nice to know that if I start a track in a DAW I can always count on my sound to be right where I left it, and put it right back into the Sub Phatty.

The part most worth hearing of the above video is the multidrive circuit, which apparently distorts post filter.  The oscillators can be distorted going into the filter, and the filter can be distorted, giving two distinct styles of warmth or growl-- the beauty is in the detail.  You can hear an incredible range of what can be done with the multidrive circuit, and it's pretty promising as a tool-- not something you'll never use.

And finally, the suboscillator and noise knob just sweeten the deal.  I'm really glad they put the noise right on the front panel, because it's so essential to percussion creation.  You can hear some really fantastic examples of kicks and snares on the web of this thing.

Also, there's always room to expand this thing-- the use of the "under the hood" button means that any of those unused buttons can be triggers for cool features in the future.

This thing is awesome.  I'm torn between what to buy next, but this is no slouch.  Don't dismiss it.