Can You Pick Which Of These 20 Strange Instruments Will Be The Best In The World?

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20 new instruments have been chosen as semi-finalists in this year’s Guthman Musical Instrument Competition.

The international competition is an annual event, held at the Georgia Institute of Technology, that seeks to find the world’s best new ideas in musical instrument design, engineering and musicianship.

The semi-finalists include strange new electronic instruments, MIDI controllers and acoustic instruments. But, while the technologies vary, all the instruments share the goal of providing new ways to make music.

Here are the 20 instruments chosen as semi-finalists in the Guthman Musical Instrument Competition: Continue reading

Roland AIRA MX-1 Mix Performer In Depth

The Roland AIRA MX-1 Mix Performer was one of the most interesting introductions at the 2015 NAMM Show. The MX-1 is a deep, powerful device, though, that’s hard to understand from an overview from the NAMM Show floor.

In this video, via SweetwaterSound, Roland Group Strategy Manager Brandon Ryan provides an in-depth look at the MX-1 and how it differs from traditional mixers.  Continue reading

Your Questions Answered About The Korg + Noritake Nutube ‘Vacuum Tube On A Chip’

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At the 2015 NAMM Show, Korg and Noritake introduced the Nutube, a new miniaturized, high performance ‘vacuum tube on a chip’.

Korg says that the NuTube generates the musical harmonics of traditional vacuum tubes, but offers three key benefits:

  • Low power Consumption –  less than 2% of the power required by conventional vacuum tubes;
  • Compact – less than 30% of the volume of a conventional vacuum tube; and
  • Reliability – Nutubes offer up to 30,000 hours of continuous operating life.

We asked Korg for more information, based on reader questions to our initial post about the NuTube.

Here are their answers, via Korg Marketing Manager Junko Fukai: Continue reading

The Vo Wand – Official Details & Pricing

At the 2015 NAMM Show, inventor Paul VO introduced the Vo Wand – a handheld sustain device that’s designed to give you direct control over the harmonics of strings.

The Wand is part of Vo’s broader interest in ‘acoustic synthesis’, implemented previously with the Moog Guitar, Moog Lap Steel Guitar and Vo 96 guitar.

Vo’s acoustic synthesis tools explore the idea of using electronics to control the amplitude of individual harmonics within vibrating strings. By controlling the harmonics within a guitar string over time, for example, you can synthesize new types of sounds that still are immediately recognizable as being ‘guitar’ sounds.

While the primary audience for the Vo Wand will be guitarists, Vo mentioned to us that it could be used for sound design with other string instruments and for experimenting with other objects that respond to electromagnetic energy.  Continue reading

SensorPoint Intros Jambé Electronic Percussion Instrument For iPad

Jambe.iPad_.image2_.small_At the 2015 NAMM Show, SensorPoint unveiled the Jambé electronic percussion instrument.

The Jambé is designed to look and feel like a traditional drum. The hardware controller is designed to easily integrate into traditional drum kits.

But the Jambé uses DSP technology and high definition sound samples to let it be used as a variety of instrument types.

Playing Jambé is as easy as using your hands, as with any hand percussion instrument, or with regular drumsticks, like a standard drum. Over 1,000 different pressure levels are sensed in each pad, translating into realistic and dynamic percussive sounds.  Continue reading

Inside The Awesome Synth Lair Of Mark Mothersbaugh

This video, via , is a visit to the awesome synth lair of composer Mark Mothersbaugh (Devo, Pee Wee’s Playhouse, Rugrats, The Lego Movie).

The bright green, circular building of Mutato Muzika in Los Angeles is easy to spot when cruising down Sunset Boulevard. Inside is the studio of Mark Mothersbaugh, founding member of DEVO and award-winning Hollywood composer.

Over the years, Mothersbaugh has accumulated a vast collection of synths. In this video, he reveals the stories behind some of his synth rarities. More importantly, he reveals the secret of ‘We smell sausage’.