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Synthesizer

The Pianocade is designed to appeal to the sensibilities of retro gamers

Those who grew up playing video games from the 8-bit era will likely have various of the theme tunes from those early arcade classics – including some of the Atari games now playable on the Web in HTML5 – stuck in their heads forever more. Super Mario Bros., Pokemon, Mega Man, and, of course, Tetris are all classic games with classic theme tunes. Modern video games cannot quite compete with these old-skool songs, which is perhaps why the Pianocade is such a compelling product, at least for those of us of a certain age.  Read More

Yamaha's Arp & Drum app for iPad

The Yamaha Arp & Drum Pad app for iPad is a music creation app that's not only capable of transmitting notes to external MIDI instruments, but includes a built-in virtual keyboard, allowing the user to trigger the arpeggiator and play numerous patterns from a variety of instruments.  Read More

Portugal's Catarina Mota has created a 12-key synth with note-responsive LEDs from paper, ...

Last year, Portugal's Catarina Mota was part of a New York hackerspace team that created a toy piano made from Jell-O (and some electronics) for a competition in Brooklyn, NY. Being a lover of mixing electronics with low-tech materials like fabric and paper, she has now created a paper box that opens up to reveal a 12-key touch piano/synthesizer sporting some cool LED light action. The Piano Box is built around an Arduino Mega board running the CapSense and Tone libraries, and features twin speakers, capacitive keys made from paper-covered copper tape, and some custom code that's available for free download to allow anyone to make their own paper synth.  Read More

The Venn diagram of objects you can eat, and objects from which digital synthesizers have ...

The Venn diagram of objects you can eat, and objects from which digital synthesizers have been made is one with minimal overlap. But thanks to Gadget Gangster's Jeff Ledger and his Bananaphone touch capacitance synthesizer, that union has gotten a little bigger.  Read More

The spectrogram display shows low frequency at the bottom and high at the top, time is lef...

If you've ever dabbled in the creation of crazy sound effects for home movies, other-worldly audio to complement the battle sequences in a new alien gaming app or strange new loops for digital dance music, you quickly start to appreciate just what a complicated process sound design can be. What with noise generation, pulse and velocity modulation, parallel and series filters, and various other filters, oscillators and envelopes to contend with, the process can hardly be described as fun. A new sample-based synthesizer suite from iZotope seeks to change all that. Both a powerful tool for design pros and an enjoyable and easy way for newbies to dive in and experiment, Iris allows users to manipulate, tweak and layer sounds using the kind of visual editing tools you might find in graphic design packages and discover otherwise hidden sonic treasures.  Read More

The Vocaloid keyborad lets users input lyrics with their left hand and 'sing' with their r...

Growing out a of a research project led by Kenmochi Hideki at Spain’s Pompeu Fabra University in 2000, Yamaha’s Vocaloid is a singing synthesizer that lets those with a voice like Roseanne Barr after a big night out synthesize more pleasing vocals by inputting lyrics and melody. While the current commercial version of Vocaloid 3 requires these inputs to be prepared on a PC prior to a performance, Yamaha has now developed a Vocaloid keyboard prototype that lets users input lyrics and melody and generate a singing voice in real time.  Read More

An experimental new gesture-to-voice synthesizer could allow people without the power of s...

Whether it’s people who can’t speak, or musicians looking for a new way of expressing themselves, both may end up benefiting from an experimental new gesture-to-voice synthesizer. The system was created at the University of British Columbia, by a team led by professor of electrical and computer engineering Sidney Fels. Users just put on a pair of sensor-equipped gloves, then move their hands in the air – based on those hand movements, the synthesizer is able to create audible speech.  Read More

Alesis has unveiled the world's first USB/MIDI keytar - the Vortex - with a built-in accel...

Noted rock vocalist and bass player Glenn Hughes (Trapeze, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, and more recently Black Country Communion) has often been quoted as saying that, for him, much of the 1980s was just a blur. It's probably just as well, or he might have had a hard time dealing with the emergence of the keytar - a strap-on keyboard that has a little neck with a number of parameter-changing buttons on it. Okay, I admit it, I'm not a great fan of the Jan Hammers and Jean-Michel Jarres of this world, but those who want to emulate these digital music innovators without digging deep for a Korg, Roland or Moog original can now rejoice with the release of the world's first USB/MIDI keytar - the Vortex from Alesis.  Read More

Open: Konkreet Labs' completed Synth in a Book (Photo: copyright Gwydion ap Dafydd)

It's probably best to make clear from the outset that Konkreet Labs' Synth in a Book is, for now, one of a kind. But as a demonstration of just what can be done with a MeeBlip hackable synthesizer kit, it may just be the perfect specimen. Though this particular hack may not be for the faint of heart, MeeBlip's range of synths include all-in-one kits suitable, MeeBlip says, for everyone.  Read More

A hands-on review of the Kitara digital guitar synthesizer

Way back in January 2010, a short demo video of a new digital instrument prototype was posted on YouTube by its creator Michael Zarimis, and went viral. From the millions of views, a list of prospective buyers was drawn up and the Misa Digital Guitar soon began its journey towards commercial availability. By the time the next CES show arrived, the instrument had ditched its gleaming white ABS plastic casing and gone over to the dark side, received a few design modifications, and been officially named Kitara for its public debut. The Kitara has now been made available for purchase, and I've spent the last few weeks getting to grips with this innovative new instrument - being rewarded for inventive experimentation and punished for bad playing technique.  Read More

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