If you fancy expanding your six-string sound beyond the reach of analog stomps, digital effects and power amps and into the world on sonic synthesis, there are a number of ways to go. You could create your own Frankenguitar hybrid like the Guitarduino
, or opt for less a less experimental approach by adding a special pickup to your existing axe, such as Roland's divided pickup
or the Tripleplay
from Fishman. Buying a new instrument with such technology already installed
is another option, but Boss has announced an analog-style synth floor unit called the SY-300 that's been designed to be used with any guitar pickup.
Tiptoe through just about any online music synthesis forum and it won't be too long before you stumble across an Analog vs. Digital
debate. Both have their legions of dedicated followers, but if you're looking to dabble in some analog waveform manipulation and don't relish the thought of getting tangled up in patch cable spaghetti or having to sell the car and break your back to buy and install something like the Moog System 55
, futuresonus has developed a tabletop-friendly analog synth that features digital controls called Parva. The polyphonic synth offers eight voices, each with its own oscillators and filters, and is claimed the first analog synth to boast a USB master port.
Back on 2012, Paul Vo and Moog revealed a working prototype
of a device that took control of acoustic string vibrations to provide a harmonic soundscape behind whatever the player was picking. After making some necessary tweaks, Vo took the newly-named Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer
to Kickstarter for the final push to production. The campaign was successful and the product is now available to buy. Vo has now revealed a handheld single string sustainer prototype that uses the same technology as the Vo-96. Say hello to the Vo Wand.
Sweden's Teenage Engineering, best known for its versatile but pricey OP-1 synthesizer (which starts at US$849.00), has unveiled a line of three new synths dubbed Pocket Operator. The pocketable instruments will set you back just $59 when they launch this week.
Moog is reviving the analog electronic synthesizers of the 1970s that sparked a musical revolution. The company announces that it's restarting limited production of three of its classic large format, modular synthesizers, which were originally produced in 1973: The System 55, the System 35, and the Model 15.
It's been another strong year for instrument innovation, making the task of choosing a top five quite a challenge. Though many excellent examples of envelope pushing have popped up on crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo during 2014, including the Hammer Jammer
and Aalberg's Ekko and Aero
, we allowed those to fall gracefully to the cutting room floor in favor of tech that's available now. Join Gizmag as we take a look back at some of the top groove gadgets of the last 12 months.
Here's one out of left field. Turkish musician Gorkem Sen has invented a new kind of musical instrument that incorporates fretted strings, coiled springs and drum membranes to create a range of haunting, evocative and beautiful sounds we've never heard before – at least, not this side of a synthesizer.
A few years back, mathematician and musician Jules Hotrique combined two passions to develop a new arrangement of musical notes called the dualo principle. After creating a number of keyboard instrument prototypes based on this patented geometric model, he joined forces with his computer engineer and musician friend Bruno Verbrugghe to form the Dualo Company in 2011. Last year, the startup sold 40 pre-production twin keyboard prototypes, and now the first market-ready du-touch controller (for computer-based or MIDI instruments), synthesizer, multitrack looper/sequencer and follow me song learning devices have started shipping.
Though still in demand, classic analog synthesizers from decades past can be a bit of a nightmare to keep in good working order. Many modern digital emulators do a decent enough job of recreating the epic sounds of artists like Jean Michelle Jarre, Kraftwerk and Soft Cell, but some believe that they just don't have the same iconic sound qualities. Such is the thinking of a team of designers and engineers led by Philip Taysom and Paul Maddox, which has created a next gen music synth named Modulus.002. The boutique polyphonic sound machine mixes classic analog sound creation techniques with some digital magic to give musicians access to the kind of sounds made famous by vintage instruments of yesteryear.
Roger Linn's wildly successful LinnDrum drum machine was a big part of the computer-pop revolution that sucked the soul and humanity out of pop music in the 1980s. Now, he's part of a group of innovators desperately trying to get soul, expression and instrumental virtuosity back into pop music with a suite of next-generation instruments. The Linnstrument
has been many years in the making, and it's now about to hit the market – a MIDI controller designed to give as much feel and expression as an acoustic instrument, but with the wild sonic possibilities available through today's synthesizers.