Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Synthesizer

The Seaboard GRAND from ROLI

When we first brought you news of a new instrument prototype from London-based ROLI back in March, there was talk of a limited production run of just 88 instruments following later in the year. That time has now arrived, but ROLI has announced not one, but three new Seaboard GRAND instruments. The flagship 88-key GRAND is joined by a 61-key GRAND Stage, and a 37-key GRAND Studio.  Read More

The TouchKeys system brings multitouch sound control to piano-style keyboards

The TouchKeys multitouch musical keyboard comprises capacitive sensing strips stuck to the upper surface of each key, circuit boards housed within the host instrument that collect all the sensor data, and some custom software running on a connected computer. The system can be paired with any software or synthesizer capable of understanding MIDI or OSC, with the movement of the fingers controlling the kind of sounds produced. Dr Andrew McPherson now plans to make the fruits of this university research project available to other musicians by offering self-install TouchKeys kits to crowdfunders.  Read More

Paul Vo with his Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer

Back in November 2012, we brought you news of a new pickup harmonizer technology dubbed LEV-96 in prototype testing over at Moog Music. Sat in the sound hole of an acoustic guitar, the device took precise control of string vibrations to offer an expansive, colorful and rich harmonic backdrop to what was being played. Paul Vo, the inventor of the newly-renamed Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer, has since made some improvements to electronics, user interface and mechanical design, and has now launched a crowdfunding campaign to get what he calls the "most fundamental and radical innovation in the music industry today" into the hands of musicians.  Read More

MidiWing is a digital music system developed to give everyone the chance to create music, ...

Inspired by the many people he encountered at his mother's daycare center for severely disabled children when he was a youngster himself, multi-instrumentalist Dan Daily began working on a digital music system that anyone can play, regardless of ability or physical capability. Several prototypes later, along with some vital technical input from Lockhead Martin subsidiary Sandia National Laboratories, and MidiWing 1 is ready for release.  Read More

Moog Music is expected to unveil a new synth dubbed 'Sub Phatty' at NAMM 2013

While traditional-style analog synths may not exactly be at the forefront of emerging technologies these days, this particular product launch expected from Moog Music at the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) trade show is sure to get people’s Voltage Controlled Filter Lust rising.  Read More

The aptly-named WTF effect pedal from Loud Button Electronics essentially mixes synth tone...

The WTF from Loud Button Electronics brings together high gain distortion and a low frequency oscillator (LFO) in one effects pedal. The result is somewhat difficult to explain but a number of adjectives do spring to mind (weird, psychedelic, out there, oddball). However, none seem to fit better than its given moniker.  Read More

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

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