Knobcon 4 Photo Gallery – Highlights Of The Largest Synthesizer Convention Ever

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Knobcon 4, described as the largest synthesizer convention in the world, was held earlier this month, Sept 11-13, in Itasca, Illinois.

According to organizer Eric Williamson (aka Suit & Tie Guy), Knobcon 4 was the largest synth convention ever – attracting close to 500 people, from 6 countries.

The event was packed with activities, including:

  • A keynote by synth pioneer Malcolm Cecil, above;
  • Two nights full of electronic music performances;
  • Workshops and interviews;
  • A massive gear room, with tables of new and rare vintage gear: and
  • A synth DIY room.

Here are some of the highlights:

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Friday night featured an opening session, with performances by four electronic artists, including Suit & Tie Guy, above right, and even an impromptu jam with Malcolm Cecil, above left.

On Saturday & Sunday, several exhibit halls were open, featuring a giant room full of synth gear; a ‘headphone only’ room for checking out systems in depth; and a demo room for test driving a system.

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There were multiple vendors that made introductions, large and small, at the show. The biggest news, of course, was the ‘speakeasy’ announcement of the Moog Mother32 semi-modular analog synthesizer.

We had the opportunity to get some hands-on time with the new Moog Eurorack synth with Moog’s Steve Dunnington.  The Mother32 promises to be a inexpensive standalone Moog synth module and also a great starting point for building a Eurorack modular system.

Several other vendors introduced new gear:

  • Synthesis Technologies introduced two new Eurorack modules – the E950 Circuit Bent VCO  and the E620 USB-MIDI CV module.
  • Malcolm Cecil introduced iTonto – his iPad user manual for the giant TONTO modular synth.
  • Eric Fox of Black Market Modular made the official debut of the Colour Palette – a Eurorack module that promises to be a new micro-platform for synth innovation.
  • Many other vendors were previewing new modules and prototypes, which we will try to share in the upcoming weeks.

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Saturday evening featured the Knobcon Banquet, with a full buffet, live music and the presentation of the coveted Golden Knob lifetime achievement award to synth pioneer Malcolm Cecil:

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Throughout the evening, there was live music by Ed & Judy Howard & Cory Flanigan, and Malcolm Cecil even joined in for a bit of blues EWI:

 

Saturday night also featured live music by The Synth Freq (Danielle & Crystal Morales), below, and sets by synthesists Tyler Thompson, Mark Verbos, Oliver Dodd and $KODEK.

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Both Saturday and Sunday featured synth workshops, including a history of synthesis by Marc Doty, below; a Q&A with Moog modular guru Gene Stopp; a discussion of acoustic synthesis by Jon Sonnenberg; and an interview with Malcolm Cecil hosted by Mark Vail.

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See the photo gallery below for highlights from the event, including some sneak previews of upcoming gear, rare synth gear and the occasional rubber chicken:

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Here’s a video walkthrough of some of the highlights of the event, via Modular Wild’s Raul Pena:

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