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Synthesizer

Music

Ra produces eerie music from spinning pyrite sun

When Dmitry Morozov was offered a pyrite disc in the US, it was given free of charge on condition that the Russian media artist, circuit bender and musician create something sonic with it. He came up with a combination of optical media reader and digital music instrument called Ra, which uses a laser to scan the uneven surface of the pyrite sun and produce synthesized sounds.Read More

Music

Looking for an earthy tone? ERD packs real dirt into distortion module

For some players, faulty cables, abused amplifiers and neglected instruments can be a source of surprisingly gratifying sonic output rather than a performance or recording nightmare. But if it's true grit you're after, only actual topsoil will do. Such is the thinking behind the ERD modular Eurorack series distortion unit from Martin Howse, which has a box a real dirt at its core. Buyers of the strictly limited module are even being offered discounts for providing the creator with earth from locations linked to the macabre.Read More

Music

Seaboard Rise makes Keywave expression more affordable, more awesome

Back in March 2013, UK-based startup Roli introduced a new kind of expressive musical instrument called the Seaboard Grand. From a distance, it had the look of a digital piano, but getting closer revealed a playing surface that looked like a plastic keyboard cover had melted over the keys after being left in the hot sun for too long. The whole of this SEA interface was actually one continuous, pressure-sensitive playing area with pitch, volume and timbre controlled by strikes, presses, glides and slides. The company has been working to improve its Keywaves expression technology ever since, and has now revealed a new portable member of the Seaboard controller family called the Rise.Read More

Music

Yamaha goes retro modern for reface mini keyboards

Riding on the crest of a video teaser wave, Yamaha has revealed its new reface series mini keyboards. Described as portable yet powerful, the two synths, an organ and a piano give a respectful nod in the direction of classic Yamaha electronic keyboards, and boast tactile sound controls, onboard effects and built-in speakers.Read More

Music

Boss brings sound synthesis to any electric guitar

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.Read More

Music

Parva synth promises analog warmth and digital convenience

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.Read More

Music

Paul Vo puts sustained harmony at your fingertips

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.Read More

Music

Music gear that struck the right chord in 2014

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.Read More

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