The $29 BassBoy MIDI Bass Synthesizer

The MikroElektronika BassBoy is a $29 minimal monophonic digital MIDI controlled bass synthesizer.

It’s designed to be the heart of a DIY project, generating monophonic bass lines from MIDI input.

The BassBoy offers full MIDI control over filter pre-gain, filter cutoff, resonance, envelope modulation, decay, accent, gain and master volume.

Here’s an audio preview of BassBoy:

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Novation MiniNova Synthesizer Sneak Preview

Novation has officially announced a new minisynth & vocoder, the Novation MiniNova.

The Novation MiniNova is a compact synth with the same sound engine as its big brother; the UltraNova.

Key Features:

  • Powerful micro synthesizer with UltraNova’s sound engine
  • VocalTune and classic vocoder effects
  • Live synth: tweak and warp your sounds in realtime
  • 256 awesome onboard sounds – instantly searchable
  • Layer up to 5 effects per voice
  • Comes with editing software and a software patch librarian
  • un guitars and other instruments through the vocoder, VocalTune™ and effects
  • 37 key controller keyboard with MIDI I/O

We’ve got photos, videos and specs below. Check it out and let us know what you think of the new Novation MiniNova!

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The Secrets Of Analog & Digital Synthesis

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This set of videos, from 1985, takes a look at The Secrets of Analog & Digital Synthesis.

It’s obviously dated, starting with the “Listen to the sound coming from your VCR right now.” Nevertheless, there’s some solid coverage of synth basics and the videos also offer a vintage look at synths.

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Moog Bass Shootout: Animoog vs Moog Little Phatty vs Arturia Minimoog V

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This video captures a Moog bass shoutout: Animoog vs Moog Little Phatty vs Arturia Minimoog V.

And $1 vs. $1300 vs. $200.

The settings are close, but the results have lots of tiny and not so tiny differences.  While the analog and virtual analog synths don’t all sound the same – they do all sound pretty wicked – and very ‘Moog’.

To my ears, the Moog Little Phatty sounds the best, followed by Animoog and Arturia Minimoog V.

What do you think? Patch differences? Different synth architectures? Virtual analog vs real analog?

Technical details below.

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M-Audio Venom Synthesizer – What’s It Sound Like?

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Craig Anderton put together this M-Audio Venom synthesizer audio demo video.

The video may cause seizures, but the audio portion of it offers a good sampling of the sound of the Venom synth.

While M-Audio hypes the vintage audio angle in its promo materials for the Venom, to my ears its real strength is the character of its digital grittiness.

Check it out and let us know what you think!

tabulaRasa Digital Wavetable Oscillator (Preview)

Greg Surges’ tabulaRasa is a digital wavetable oscillator for modular synthesizers, with voltage control of frequency, waveform selection, and the amount of interpolation between waveforms.

A wavetable oscillator is a standard technique in computer music. The oscillator uses a counter (ramp wave) to read a memory array. The array is filled with pre-computed samples of the desired waveform. The memory index being read increases with the counter, and resets when it reaches the end of the array.

The tabulaRasa digital wavetable oscillator is currently under development and is a project at KickStarter. Continue reading

The Shruthi-1 DIY Digital/Analog Monosynth

The Mutable Instruments Shruthi-1 is a hybrid digital/analog monosynth sold as a DIY kit for €130.00.

The kit includes everything needed for building the Shruthi-1 synth, except for the enclosure:

  • PCB for the digital section and the filter
  • All electronic parts / ICs
  • Pre-prgrammed ATMega644 and patches/sequences storage EEPROM
  • Switches caps / knobs
  • Blue backlight LCD display
  • Connectors
  • A pack of screws / spacers / nuts for holding the two boards together

The Shruthi-1 design is simple, but offers a unique voice, ranging from “grungily digital” to “weird and warm”. It’s also open and designed to be hackable.  Continue reading

Create Digital Music Intros $129 MeeBlip Synthesizer

Create Digital Music’s Peter Kirn today announced a new venture into the hardware synth business – the MeeBlip virtual analog synthesizer:

It’s been several years in development, but now it’s finally here. It’s a hardware box that makes noises – virtual analog synth noises, chip-sounding noises, good noises, bad noises, noises you can make into music. It’s got physical knobs and switches on it, plus a MIDI DIN in port so you can connect that keytar you bought on eBay. It’s also a digital synth you can build, modify, and hack, down to the way every knob is mapped and every sound is blipped.

The MeeBlip, a project of CDM & James Grahame (Reflex Audio), is designed to be an inexpensive, open alternative to the current crop of hardware synths.

At $129, it’s much cheaper than existing monophonic synths from companies like Doepfer, Moog & Dave Smith Instruments, and it’s much more powerful than entry-level synths like the Stylophone or the Korg Monotron.

Check out the sound demos, photos and details below. And let us know what you think about the new MeeBlip!

The MeeBlip is available for order now at the MeeBlip site. Continue reading