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DA ONE Synth arrives for iPad

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Tim at Discchord called this ‘ugly’. I’m not sure it’s that bad, although it could do with a better description, or at the very least a bit fuller anyway.

Here’s what the developer says about DA ONE Synth:

The DA ONE synthesizer app provides you with a powerful synthesis engine combining digital and (virtual) analog synthesis methods, such as wavetable synthesis, vector waveform mixing, subtractive, additive, and frequency modulation synthesis. The individual blocks of this synthesizer are connected using an innovative and highly flexible routing system that allows millions of different configurations of oscillators, filters, and distortion blocks.

DA ONE Synth costs $7.99 on the app store now:

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zMors Modular 1.8 goes universal

zMors Modular is excellent and now in 1.8 it just gets so much better. I’m a big fan of iPad apps that go universal. Here’s what’s new:

  • zMors Modular is now universal (add iPhone support)
  • new Presets from Stephan Bobinger
  • new module 8 channel performance sequencer
  • new module loop recorder
  • new module swing clock modulation
  • new module analog pitch correction
  • fix a bug when try move the keyboard
  • add knob labels to macro module
  • resort AUv3 list
  • allow select AUv3 presets
  • switchable audio engine via setting app

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Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later, wasn’t it …

I’ve been desperately avoiding modular synths for a long time now even though I’ve found myself drawn to them as have many of my friends been. But when I was in Berlin at Ableton’s Loop festival in November I bumped into an old friend, Tom Whitwell. You might remember Tom from Music Thing, and now Music Thing Modular. Tom had this device with him.

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Not the bela being presented, but the tiny little lunchbox modular on the table. Here’s a close up.

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This little device totally captivated me. I thought it was awesome, and it’s battery powered too. Tom very kindly put me in touch with the maker of the lunchbox modular. You can find his site here. It’s well worth a look.

Very kindly, the maker of the lunchbox modular has sent me one, and now I’m on the start of what I’m told will be a very long journey.

The lunchbox modular is a beautiful little device and I’m looking forward to adding my first modules to it soon.

I’ll be sharing my journey as I go. Wish me luck!

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Studio Amplify release KRFT, it’s time to rejoice

I’ve been testing this app for what seems to be an age now. It’s something I’ve been talking to the chaps at Studio Amplify for a very long time. It’s definitely something worth checking out. Here’s all the details:

KRFT is a new approach to music creation. Build beautiful interfaces from a toolset of musical cells. Make anything from a funky groove box to a full composition, and everything in-between. Open the door to new workflows and inspiration.

Moving away from the typical 80s multi-track paradigm found in most music making software, KRFT is a unique and inspiring way to create music. By combining a variety of loops, dials, effects and more, you build your own customized musical Surface. These interfaces are a collection of musical functions and ideas that can be controlled and interpreted in real time.

The nature of this workflow allows you to make expressive decisions on-the-fly and create dynamic compositions that would be difficult to achieve in typical music software.

Download it now and rev those creative engines!

MODULAR MUSIC MAKING
Don’t be confined by pre-defined interfaces, make your own rules! Want to build a song? Add loops and groups to build a structure. Need to add a layer of jam-ability? Add drum fills, live effects and filters. Now get jamming!

POWERFUL SOUND ENGINE
A highly optimised and high quality custom sound engine is at the core of KRFT. Choose from 50 Bass presets, 50 Lead presets, 14 Drum Kits & over 50 Sound Effects to make your creations. Go deeper and tweak filters, effects and more to make the sound your own.

NON-LINEAR COMPOSITION
Rather than writing a song from start to finish, KRFT lets you play and re-interpret your composition giving you the opportunity to experiment and add flair in real time. Record multiple takes and export them to your favourite audio software or upload online.

Help us build the future of music production. Send your thoughts and ideas to hello@studioamplify.com and connect with us on Twitter & Instagram @StudioAmplify

KRFT is on the app store at $2.99, which is 40% off until the 20th of Feb:

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From the maker of scriptSONIC comes a new modular iOS app called Ops

Jonathan Mackenzie, the maker of scriptSONIC brings us a new universal app called Ops. Here are all the details …

Ops is a modular synthesiser designed to make it easy to create and explore sound interactively with a touch screen. Ops does away with patch cords, instead using a system of connected blocks with a clear signal flow.

The blocks, called ops, are joined together into structures by dragging and dropping them on screen. Structures can easily be copied and varied to build-up rich, interesting results.

There are ops to perform a wide range of functions, including interaction, signal generation, effects processing, control, audio input, MIDI input, and pitch and rhythm manipulation.

Ops costs $9.99 on the app store now:

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POLYTIK modular synths arrive on Kickstarter

I’ve been waiting for this for a while now. It looks really great and it is from some of the people behind the Mute Synth (I and II), both of which are excellent (although I probably prefer II).

Polytik describes itself as a collection of beautifully designed hand-held synth modules exploring the border between play and sound. Which sounds right up my street.

Here’s what the Kickstarter page says …

Born out of a DIY ethos and the maker community, Polytik has been crafted into something very different – a series of beautifully designed objects in their own right.

Polytik is open-source hardware and encourages users to make new modules and hacks.

The brainchild of John Richards and Jack Featherstone in collaboration with Artists & Engineers, these hybrid analogue/digital devices can produce a palette of sounds ranging from angular rhythmic sequences to abstract noise, pads and drones. The synths are designed to be tactile, to be held and touched when playing.

Polytik comprises four separate, colour-coded, battery powered modules. Every Polytik system needs a Core module and at least one sound module. The sound modules connect to the core with ribbon cables, these carry audio and control data to connect the system together giving you a single audio output for all modules. You can have up to three sound modules connected at one time.

The Starter Pack comprises a Core module and a Combi module, which we think is a really good way to start using Polytik.

POLYTIK MODULES:

Core (Blue) – A sequencer, programmer and mixer. YOU NEED TO HAVE THIS MODULE TO START, you can then add any or all of the other modules to expand your experience.

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Combi (Black) Voltage-controlled feedback, voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO) and filtering

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VCO (Red) Voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO) and voltage-controlled filter (VCF)

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Noise (Yellow) Noise generator, patchable feedback networks and voltage-controlled filter (VCF)

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For more information take a look at the Kickstarter page.

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Bastl Instruments making things that all mobile musicians should consider …

I’m a fan of Bastl and I have been since I first saw them in Frankfurt in 2014. They’re makers of excellent hardware and ever since I first met them they’ve made more and more excellent devices.

I met them in Berlin this year at Loop, as they were running a workshop and I was using the space for a workshop directly after them. They were kind enough to provide me with one of their new Kastle synths. I posted about Kastle a few weeks ago. It’s an awesome little device and packs way more punch than you’d ever think from a tiny little micro modular.

Bastl’s latest video on Kastle gives a detailed walk through of the synth and is really worth watching. But be warned, you might not be able to turn back!

But of course Bastl Instruments do so much more, and in fact their latest foray into DIY is a cause for celebration in itself. OMSynth miniLab is a circuit development and performance interface designed to help inventors quickly build and experiment with creative circuits. It was designed with beginners in mind but is perfectly suited for seasoned builders and complex circuit development.

In many ways OMSynth miniLab seems like a likely successor to Teenage Engineering’s now discontinued OpLab, although in many ways a lot more hands on and experimental. This is a device that could get people involved in some real experimentation, which can only be a good thing as far as I’m concerned.

If that wasn’t enough Bastl have also announced bitRanger ADDON boards, BITBOARD & SYNAPSIS. bitRanger in itself is an excellent experimental synth and these new add ons take it up to the next level. The BitBoard is a breadboard add-on module that allows users to build custom circuits and user interfaces for the BitRanger, and the synapsis is a 4×4 pushbutton matrix that offers performative control of the Bit Ranger.

When you add all of this up, what you get is a synth company who are really pushing the boundaries of modular, of experimentation, and of miniaturisation too. These are not easy boundaries to push. What Bastl are doing is hard, and yet they make it seem easy, effortless. That requires real skill and a generous helping of excellent design talent.

Personally, I think that Bastl have a very bright future. Who knows where they’ll go next, but wherever it is it’s going to be exciting and probably break some new ground. I’ll be watching whatever it is they do in 2017, and I bet it’ll be great.

I’ll leave you with this interview with Bastl after the workshop they did at Loop.