The 10 Most Talked About Synth Stories Of 2012

light synthesizer2012 was an interesting year in synths and electronic music gear.

2012 brought a resurgence of analog gear, a major Windows release that holds promise for new types of music apps, a growing acceptance of mobile music making tools and many surprising announcements.

The most talked about stories of 2012 at Synthtopia reflect these changing technologies. But more importantly, they reflect the debate over how new technologies fit into music-making.

Check out the list and let us know what you think!

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AirHarp For The Leap Motion

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Developer Andy Somers let us know about his AirHarp app for the Leap Motion USB motion sensor:

AirHarp is the result of a weekend hacking session with a Leap Motion dev board. Leap Motion is a highly precise and responsive motion tracking device, making it a perfect tool for expressive musical interactions.

AirHarp is being developed in C++ using my audio processing toolkit, MusKit. The source code for both projects is available at

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Did The Mayans Really Predict The Demise Of Apple’s Logic Pro?

Multiple blogs have speculated in the last day that 2012 may see the demise of Logic Pro:

  • Bobby Owsinski writes “word has leaked out of Apple Europe (where Logic development is based) that the company has let go virtually its entire Logic team.”
  • At MacWorld, Karen Haslam says “There may be no future for Apple’s pro audio application Logic if reports that the company has ‘decimated’ its Pro Audio applications team turn out to be true..”
  • “There may be no future for Apple’s pro audio application Logic,” according to Computerworld, “if reports that the company has ‘decimated’ its Pro Audio applications team turn out to be true.”

Yes – and the Mayans may have predicted the demise of Logic Pro in 2012 – if it turns out that Apple actually kills off Logic Pro this year, based on a lost Mayan prophecy.

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Should Musicians Upgrade To Windows 8?

Should musicians upgrade to Microsoft’s new Windows 8?

Based on initial reports, few Windows users are rushing to upgrade.

But musicians have unique requirements, and Windows 8 promises to deliver better performance for music programs and to allow for new types of Windows multi-touch apps. As iOS developer Rob Fielding (Mugician, Geo Synth) puts it, “Microsoft realizes that music apps are going to push the touch hardware the way that games apps pushed parallel processing.”

Should you upgrade? We’ve received a lot of feedback from readers on Windows 8 already. It falls into four main categories:

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BBC Radiophonic Workshop Back With ‘Listen To The Space’

The New Radiophonic Workshop makes its debut today on new digital arts service The Space and BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

While the original BBC Radiophonic Workshop is known for creating classic sound effects and music, between 1958 and 1998, in a makeshift audio laboratory, its successor is virtual.

The Space – the new digital arts service developed by the Arts Council and the BBC – has appointed experimental composer Matthew Herbert as Creative Director of the New Radiophonic Workshop. His mission is to lead seven fellow cutting edge collaborators on ‘an exploratory journey’ to discover new ways of making and presenting sound and music.

The New Radiophonic Workshop builds on the legacy of its predecessor, but rather than being confined to rooms full of equipment in the BBC’s Maida Vale studios, the new unit is a virtual institution, an online portal and forum for discussion around the challenges of creating new sounds, and bringing together music composition and software design.

Matthew Herbert says, “It is the perfect time for the rebirth of the workshop – the rapid pace of change in technologies has meant our imaginations are struggling to keep up. By bringing together the people making the technology with people making the music, we are hoping to find engaging answers to some of the modern problems associated with the role of sound and music on the internet, in certain creative forms and within broadcasting.”

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