Arturia announces Microfreak algorythmic synthesizer

At the 2019 NAMM ShowArturia is introducing the MicroFreak – described as ‘a peculiar, exceptional instrument that rewards the curious musician’.

The MicroFreak is a hybrid digital + analog synth that is built around a unique, expressive touch keyboard:

Here’s what they have to say about it:

Whether you’re looking for your first, affordable hardware synth or are collector looking for original sounds and unique interface, MicroFreak is the synth you need.

This out-there little music machine features a versatile digital oscillator so you can create rare and interesting sounds with ease. Modes like Texturer, KarplusStrong, Harmonic OSC, and Superwave give adventurous musicians the chance to explore totally new, unheard possibilities. Like having dozens of synths in just one instrument, both wild-eyed newcomers and seasoned professionals will fall in love with MicroFreak’s flexible, powerful synth engine.

MicroFreak packs so much in to such a compact instrument, you’ll wonder how we did it. We’d love to say it was magic, but it was pure skill and passion.

Features:

  • Synthesizer with 192 preset slots and 128 factory presets
  • 11 Digital oscillator with variable mode, including collaborations with Mutable Instruments
  • Analog State Variable Filter, 12dB/octave, resonant, Low Pass, Band Pass, High Pass
  • ADSR envelope
  • Cycling Envelope offering two modes
  • Envelope
  • LFO
  • LFO with Sync: Sine, Tri, Saw, Square, Random, Slew Random
  • Modulation matrix with 5 sources and 7 destinations (3 custom destinations)
  • Monophonic or Paraphonic modes – Up to 4 voices
  • 25-key capacitive keybed with polyphonic aftertouch
  • Capacitive touch strip
  • Crisp OLED display for editing and parameter values
  • Powerful arpeggiator
  • Up, Order, Random, Pattern modes
  • Spice & Dice Gate randomizers
  • 64-step sequencer
  • 2 patterns per preset
  • 4 automation tracks per preset
  • CV / Gate / Mod outputs
  • USB, Clock and MIDI in and out
  • 6.35mm master and 3.5mm headphone output

Pricing and Availability

The Arturia MicroFreak is expected to be available Spring 2019, priced at US $349

Checking out the Qu-Bit Scanned VCO

The Qu-Bit Scanned VCO is an interesting Eurorack Module that stands out from the crowd when you hear it. Thats a strong statement so the question is why??? Why does it sound so unique and strange? well the answer lay with the name “Scanned” as in Scanned synthesis. The scanned synthesis technique is relatively new in terms of synthesis having only been utilized since 1999. Invented by pioneers of computer music Verplank, Mathews and Shaw. The Csound platform was previously the only way to utilize this synthesis technique. A some what complex and certainly not what I would consider accessible route for the average synthesist.

Scanned Synthesis is based around Mass connected by springs and dampers.

The basic idea is that Scanned synthesis is a way of creating sounds based on the physics of a string of Mass elements connected by springs with dampers. excitation (think like a pluck) of the mass creates movement which is converted into sound waves. This is a bit over simplifying the technique. There are some very unique qualities of Scanned synthesis. The fact that the Mass can stay constant while pitch can be separately altered is unique. this separates Scanned synthesis from something like Karplus Strong or traditional wavetable synthesis. This is done via the update rate. Update rate is how fast the module is reading mass displacement and translating that into sound. This allows us to get this separation of time, Pitch and Timbre. The effect of this can be a musically stable yet evolving sound.

Scanned VCO pairs nicely with reverbs (I love sending it through my Spring reverb) and delays. It can go from sharp plucks to slowly evolving ambient textures with ease. It has a strangely digital quality when the frequency is low. The sound is oddly acoustic sound when excited with a mid range frequency with heavy mass. This is one of those modules you will get lost in, and thats a great thing when coming up with happy inspiring accidents.

Qu-Bit detals their module here http://www.qubitelectronix.com/modules/scannedvco

For more info on scanned synthesis I highly recommend reading this white paper https://paris.cs.illinois.edu/pubs/smaragdis-icmc00.pdf (thanks to Richard Boulanger, Paris Smaragdis, John fitch)

Akai releases mpc 2.3 with synths and more


AKAI PROFESSIONAL EXPANDS POWER AND VERSATILITY OF MPC PLATFORM WITH RELEASE OF MPC 2.3 UPDATE
New software update enables MPC X, MPC Live and MPC Software 2 users to take advantage of three great new built-in synthesizers–TubeSynth, Bassline and Electric–and other upgrades.
Cumberland, RI USA (November 15, 2018) — Akai Professional today announced the release of MPC Software 2.3. This major software and firmware update introduces a number of user requested features and functionality enhancements, notably the addition of three powerful, versatile, and expressive built-in synthesizers by AIR Music Technology (TubeSynth, Bassline and Electric) to the MPC standalone experience. This is a landmark feature addition which elevates the MPC from a sampler to a true musical powerhouse. Also very significant is the addition of Autosampler and Arpeggiator. As a result, this update is highly recommended for all current MPC X, MPC Live and MPC Software 2 owners.

TubeSynth:
The TubeSynth emulates the sound of classic vintage analog poly-synths packaged with five integrated AIR effects. The instrument is created by AIR and is based on the same advanced analog modelling technology found in their highly acclaimed desktop plugin synth Vacuum Pro. The layout has been carefully designed for easy tweak-ability via the MPC Q-Links. The TubeSynth comes packaged with a comprehensive factory library of cutting-edge presets including sumptuous pads, hard hitting plucks, thunderous basses and screaming lead sounds.
• Flexible 3 Oscillator architecture features noise, saw, square, pulse and triangle waveforms.
• Two different unison engines offer extended possibilities for thickening the timbre of any patch.
• Users can customize the harmonic content of Oscillator 2 using the voice level EQ and Drive parameters.
• Lowpass Filter with continuously variable slope with pre and post distortion.
• Polyphonic Glide/Portamento for polyphonic pitch slides between chords.
• Envelopes included for Filter, Amp with a third specialist ramp envelope that can be assigned to different modulation destinations.
• Two LFO’s have Sine, Square, Saw Up, Saw Down, Pump, Sample and Hold and Drift waveforms.
• Explore a wide range of timbral possibilities with the Oscillator’s Ring Modulation parameter.
• AIR Chorus, Delay, Reverb, Compressor and Hype EQ.
• Almost 300 patches provide a wide selection of Synth, Lead, Pluck, Pad, Bass, Organ, FX presets.
• Oscillator 1 and 2 Env Shape parameter allows users to modulate the shape of each oscillator with the Filter Envelope

Bassline
The AIR Bassline emulates the sound of classic mono synths with a contemporary twist. Including four integrated AIR effects as well as two built-in distortion algorithms.
• Flexible oscillator with continuously variable waveshape including octave saw, saw, square and sine waveforms
• Sub and fifth oscillators for thicker layered timbres.
• Low-pass and high-pass filters.
• Over 150 presets.
Electric
The AIR Electric emulates the sound of classic electric pianos.
• Dedicated Pickup, Envelope, Bell and Noise parameter sections provide a huge amount of flexibility to configure the timbre of the electric piano sound.
• Five AIR effects Tremolo, Tube distortion, Chorus, Delay and Spring Reverb.
• Over 80 presets.

In addition to the AIR plugins. MPC 2.3 introduces many other enhancements, including:
• Autosampler – Capture and convert any plugin preset or external instrument preset into a key group sampler patch. This is great for sampling patches from synths and drum machines.
• Crossfade Looping – Realtime crossfade looping has now been added to sample playback.
• Arpeggiator – A real time arpeggiator and phrase player.
“MPC 2.3 advances the user experience in amazing new ways,” said Dan Gill, Akai Professional Product Manager. “Users will especially love the new plugins created by AIR. They definitely open up a whole new world of creative possibilities.”

This update is free for existing MPC Software 2 owners (2.0 – 2.2). MPC 2.3 is available as a new purchase for $199.99 for non-MPC product owners or as an upgrade from MPC Software 1 or MPC Essentials for $99.99.
For complete details on new features found in 2.3, visit: MPC 2.3 Release Notes.
For more information, visit akaipro.com.
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Vermona announces fourMative Contours eurorack module

VERMONA unleashes ultra-versatile generator for voltage curves and more as fourMative CONTOURS module
     Electronic sound tools creator VERMONA is proud to announce availability of fourMative CONTOURS — its first ‘envelope’ entry to the ever-expanding Eurorack small-format modular system world without resorting to type, far exceeding the functionality of a traditional envelope generator and typically following the company’s naming scheme for its Eurorack modules to reflect the fact that it delivers up to four single-phase envelopes that can be combined to achieve much more complex voltage-controlled curves — as of November 9…
      VERMONA makes no secret of its admiration for the classic ADSR (Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release) envelope generator; indeed, it is well versed in its strengths, having implemented various versions into its desktop devices over the years. Yet the company collectively decided that its first Eurorack-compatible envelope generator should not resort to type, instead rising to the challenge of realising a unique and flexible concept without compromises being made.
Mission accomplished? Actually, the prototype presented its erstwhile ecstatic creators with an unforeseen headache: how to name a module which was planned as an envelope generator but ended up exceeding expectations by so far? Fortunately for VERMONA, various proposals were supportively submitted to Twitter in response to a small survey. Settling upon fourMative CONTOURS, the company collectively felt that this does not pin down the module’s function to being that of just another envelope generator, but rather reflected its purpose while typically followingVERMONA’s Eurorack module naming scheme.
      So what warranted the fourMative CONTOURS name, and what, exactly, does this module do differently? First and foremost, fourMative CONTOURS delivers up to four single-phase envelopes that can be combined to achieve much more complex voltage- controlled curves. Therefore, the module itself features four individual channels (or units in ‘VERMONA-speak’), numbered accordingly on its front facia. Flexibly, each unit can be switched into A (attack), D(decay), or H (hold) MODE — with the attack and decay phases switchable between operating with a LIN (linear) orEXP (exponential) response SHAPE — and can be used individually or in any combination. Those tasty features alone are enough to set fourMative CONTOURS apart from the Eurorack envelope generator pack, putting it in prime position for handling many modulation tasks.
       The envelopes themselves are seriously snappy; each unit can run within a TIME range of 0.5 milliseconds through to 30 seconds, switchable between perfectly balanced fast andSLOW speed settings to ensure smooth adjustments, with the former geared towards creating crisp and percussive sounds. Saying that, that’s only half the story here, however, since those fourMative CONTOURS units are each equipped with a CV IN (control voltage input) that not only allows the times to be modulated but also extends them in both directions — down to 25 μs and up to 10,000 seconds, so if a two-hour-long envelope is needed then fourMative CONTOURS can handle it!
        Individual units can be looped or combined with other units using simple internal patching connections to create more complex envelopes. Thanks to those extended frequency ranges, fourMative CONTOURS can creatively also function as an LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator) or even an audio oscillator.
        On the face of it, fourMative CONTOURS clearly goes far beyond the capabilities of standard envelope generators, and anyone looking for a versatile modulation source should surely consider giving it a try. The creators themselves are quietly confident that there are many more scenarios where fourMative CONTOURS can be pressed into play, filling in some equally exotic Eurorack small- format modular system blanks, so-to-speak — not just the 24HP/3U rack space the module itself obviously occupies!
   Shipping now, fourMative CONTOURS is available to purchase through VERMONA’s growing global network of dealers (http://www.vermona.com/en/dealer/) with an RRP of €399.00 EUR (Europe) and $489.00 USD (USA).
   For more in-depth information, please visit the dedicated fourMative CONTOURS webpage here: https://www.vermona.com/en/products/modules/product/fourmative-contours/

Qubit electronix introduces Scanned wavetable vco

Scanned

$349.00

Scanned is an organic wavetable oscillator. It uses an unexplored technique known as Scanned Synthesis to animate wavetables that are created in real-time. This synthesis method was conceived by the father of computer music, Max Mathews, as the next paradigm in digital oscillators, and until now, has never been implemented on hardware.

The wavetables are dynamically generated from a set of “objects” tied together on a virtual string. These objects have physical properties including Mass, Stiffness, and Damping which affect the way that the string moves through space and time. Unlike physical modeling, however, this algorithm is a means of creating new electronic sounds, not replicating acoustic instruments.

To animate the waveform, the objects are morphed into the currently selected hammer shape and then released. This excitation of the sound generates evolving timbral landscapes that contain harmonic movement without external modulation. The hammer section also determines whether Scanned is a free-running oscillator, or a triggered sound source allowing it to function as a complete voice without additional filters or VCAs.

  • First hardware implementation of Scanned Synthesis
  • Organic wavetable generation and animations
  • Can be a free-running oscillator or triggered voice
  • Inject input allows external audio or CV sources to excite the string
  • Evolving timbral landscapes without external modulation
  • Four hammer shapes with interpolation

Strymon Magneto delay Thoughts and impressions

I have had the Strymon Magneto for some time now and I decided to shoot a short video discussing some of my thoughts.

spoiler it is a very musical module. I really enjoy the hands on control. While admittedly I was concerned about the price point. Considering I recently had purchases a Rainmaker delay module which did not last in my rack.  The Magneto was met with a bit of caution. I must say however I am left quite impressed. it is deceptively deep and quite controlled and full of “sweet spots”. The ability to reverse delays and freeze moments in time is great. Check out the video and let me know what you think.

for more info check out https://www.strymon.net/products/magneto/

Dove Audio has a powerful new module on kickstarter that will make you say WTF

Dove audio is proud to announce a completely new concept in waveform morphing for it’s new oscillator module for both Euro and MU(MOTM and dotcom) modular systems.
The Window Transform Function (WTF) is a radically different way to morph between two waveforms, create a hybrid mix of two waveforms previously unheard of.

 

Pre-production prototype module in euro-rack format.

The concept is a relatively simple one, two waveforms are used (front and rear) and are synchronous. A ‘window’ can be opened in the front waveform allowing a portion of the rear waveform to be ‘inserted’ into the front waveform. It is also possible to have dual windowed waveforms (as shown in the picture above).

Below is a drawing showing the resultant output when windowing a sawtooth with a square wave.

Example WTF output wave in Yellow, with a red square wave for the front waveform and a blue sawtooth for the rear

Front wave, Rear wave and Window width have full independent control via CV.

A video showing the window transform function in use is given below;

https://youtu.be/xxtP5tPlh6Q

The oscillator also has a tuneable noise feature, demonstrated in this video;

https://youtu.be/N7zsUzHMqHI

Two short audio demos can be found here –

https://soundcloud.com/doveaudio/sets/wtf-module-demonstrations

The WTF oscillator will first be available in both Euro-rack and MU(dotcom and MOTM power) modules via our Kickstarter campaign, here –

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/paulamaddox/2048792742? ref=2bhvu3&token=da810166#

About Dove Audio (www.Dove-Audio.com)

After a 12+ month break the world of synthesizer design Paula Maddox is back with a new company and fresh new ideas in the form of Dove Audio. She has a proven track record spanning nearly 20 years for delivering high quality and unique designs to the industry.

Dove Audio aims to produce unique and innovative audio products for the electronic music enthusiast and professional alike.

I plan on having Paula on a show in the Near future to discuss Dove audio and the WTF oscillator.