NAMM season is here and new music tech springs forth like the snowdrops and crocuses emerging through the frost-covered ground. This post is our place to showcase our picks of the synths, recording gear and other hi-tech items that have piqued our interest and embiggened the kumquat of our curiosity.
We’ll keep this one short and sweet and let the video tell you all you need to know. However, let’s just say that the Make Noise 0-Coast (Zero Coast) is a standalone desktop monosynth that brings together the best of the East and West Coast synthesis philosophies and gives you the freedom to expand with a plethora of CV connectivity. If you’re already into your modular, or want to start with something that lets you make noise (ha!) right out of the box, the Make Noise 0-Coast could be it!
The Korg Minilogue brings 4-voice analogue synthesis to, well, you! Coming in at an incredible £435, the Korg Minilogue also comes complete with a 16-step note and motion sequencer and the ability to decide you you use those four voices – from 4-voice polyphonic to unison and various ways inbetween – an arpeggiator, onboard delay and all housed in a sleekit aluminium body. Sure to be a hit!
We love Warm Audio here at Red Dog Towers, from their Tonebeast to the EQP-WA, they’ve been giving us incredible designs at incredible prices. This is the one I’ve been waiting for though, the hammer is poised next to the piggie bank for the Warm Audio WA-2A! Based on that famous unit, the Warm WA-2A gives you a channel of classic optical compression in a unit filled with tubes and transformers. You want analogue? You’ll find it here!
Oh my WORD! Their word is that the Arturia MatrixBrute will be “the most powerful analogue synth ever created”. We’re LITERALLY shaking.
When we look at the Arturia Matrixbrute, it’s that ‘matrix’ bit that strikes a chord. Not bad for a monosynth. We’re reminded a bit of the pin matrices of synths like the EMS Synthi. Want the modulator x to control the parameter y? Just pop a pin in the hole where they meet on the grid.
A bit like the see how far it is between Exeter and Carlisle grid things you get in the back of road atlases.
With the Arturia Matrixbrute though, this things based on buttons with lights in. And buttons with lights in means presets. Old meets new in glorious harmony!
Now, that’s all well and good, but not that useful if you don’t have anything to modulate or things to modulate the things you want to modulate with. Not a problem. How’s this:
2x analogue exponential oscillators
1x analogue linear oscillator/LFO
Cross-modulation: VCO1>2 ; VCO1 < VCO3> VCO2 ; VCF 1 < VCO3> VCF 2 ; VCF1 < Noise> VCF2
Steiner Parker filter with 12+24 db per octave modes ; Drive ; Brute factor; Low Pass, High Pass, Band Pass, Notch
Ladder filter with 12+24 db per octave modes ; Drive ; Brute factor; Low Pass, High Pass, Band Pass
2x LFO’s: Sine, Tri, Square, Ramp, Saw, Random, S&H
3x Envelope Generators: 2x Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release; 1x Delay, Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release
Plus all the other good bits and bobs like pedal inputs, 64-step sequencer, arpeggiator, chorus/delay/flanger effects, 12 CV/gate ins and outs, external audio input, MIDI and USB input and output. The Arturia Matrixbrute is looking like the knees of the bee. In fact, let us paraphrase perhaps that most famous of poems:
Think of a bee
You are its knees
Can I buy an Arturia Matrixbrute Tuesday please?
Having a wireless speaker about the place is great. I mean, I love my hi-fi an’ all, but sometimes you just want to play back an ultimate 80s party playlist from YouTube on your phone. And you can’t find the cable. Well, with the Roland JC-01B Bluetooth speaker, you can listen to Labour of Love and The King of Rock and Roll in stunning clarity and tweak the tone to perfection with the bass and treble controls!
I liked Apogee’s Rosetta converter line, but the introduction of the Symphony system made their renowned converter know-how more modular, letting you create the bespoke system that was right for you. With the Apogee Symphony I/O mkII, the best just evolved and you can now connect to the Thunderbolt port on your Mac directly!
NORD enthusiasts will be ecstatic to hear of the impending arrival of the third edition in their simply named “Piano” series. Experienced, professional players will know how incredible an instrument the Piano 2 is, so this brand new edition certainly has a lot to live up to! Looking at the specs, though – virtual hammer, grand weighted action; advanced string resonance; sample synth section; heavy-weight effects; OLED display – it looks as if it’s set to become an instant classic.
“That modular synth stuff looks great… but how do you play it?” is a question that gets asked almost every day in the store, and Waldorf must have been listening! They’ve introduced an totally amazing looking modular rack host unit with a built-in keyboard and multi-way power supply. Winning!
The new Roland FP-30 brings 88 notes of Roland’s incredible digital piano technology to the home in a compact, sleekit form factor that comes in at an incredible price; what’s not to like!
Nothing official has been said as of yet, but from leaked videos and images it looks to be Yamaha’s answer to KORG’s Kronos, and a possible successor to their long-running Motif series. Stay tuned for more info, although it could have something to do with synth-legend Richard Devine’s mention of “totally alien, new technology” from Yamaha coming soon”…
It might have already been leaked, but that doesn’t make the official announcement of the Roland EC-10 El Cajon any less exciting! It may not be the V-Cajon, but this combination of acoustic cajon with onboard electronic sounds is sure to sound great, be a lot of fun and simplify those acoustic gigs across the world!
Could this be the new hub of your hybrid studio? The Roland A-01 is sound module, controller and connectivity centrepiece that could be just the piece of gear you’ve been waiting for!
The grand reveal of the Roland System 500 at Musikmesse last year got a lot of people excited. Now, with the announcement of a complete Roland System 500 Set, Eurorack newbies can start off with a complete, working system that is all you need to get patching and make sounds, and existing modular fans can add the whole lot in a oner!
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