What’s Roger Linn’s Coolest ‘Vaporware’ Gear Design?

Saturday Synth Porn: Pioneering electronic instrument designer Roger Linn this week released a collection of renderings for instrument designs that never made it into production.

Above, Linn’s LinnDrum controller – a drum-oriented control surface for use with computers.

While these designs, for various reasons, never made it into production, Linn’s rejected designs manage to be cooler than most gear that actually does make it into production.

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Livid Code Station Gives iPad Instruments Knobs (Sneak Preview)

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iPad Music Software: This is a sneak preview of an iPad docking station for the Livid Code MIDI controller.

The Livid Code Station is being used to control Korg’s iElectribe.

This is a prototype at this point – no pricing  or availability has been announced, or whether this will even turn into a real product.

If you’re an iPad user, though, check out the video and let us know if you’d be interested in something like this.

Waldorf Zarenbourg Modeled Piano

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2011 NAMM Show: Waldorf was showing the Zarenbourg Modeled Piano:

The Zarenbourg (*not* the name of a Jmes Bond villain, by the way) modeled piano offers seven different piano sounds, from electric/tine to acoustic grand. It also includes a built-in sound system.

The Waldorf Zarenbourg is expected to be available in February for about $4,000. Continue reading

Synthesizer 76 (Virtual Synth Porn)

Saturday Synth Porn: Synthesizer 76 is a gorgeous design & concept for the 76 Synthesizer iPad app, by Jonas Ericksson.

Tyrell Synthesizer – More Synth Than Synth?

This is shot of the rather sexy Tyrell synthesizer – a new synth design which is, unfortunately, vaporware.

The Tyrell synth is a design of German online music magazine amazona.de. They created the Tyrell as a sort of “dream synthesizer” and to encourage manufacturers to think big and create synths that compare favorably to the greatest synths of all time. Continue reading

New iOS MIDI Sequencer Coming Soon

The developers at Bleep Blox are excited about a new hardware MIDI sequencer they are developing for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.

Here’s what they have to say about it:

I am working on a new app. Some of you may know that Line6 recently changed their licensing agreement around making apps for the Midi Mobilizer, which makes it much more attractive for developers. I decided to throw my hat in the ring, and have begun work on a MIDI sequencer focused on live MIDI jams with your favorite music gear. My goal with this (not yet named) app is to give you one of the most intuitive and fun sequencing environments you’ve ever used, while opening up the possibility of making music with your gear in more casual settings, other than sitting in front of a computer. We are rethinking the way things like piano rolls work by redesigning them for the touch screen and making them as easy to use as a paint program.
Features are still being decided, but you will be able to create multiple loops of MIDI and send them to any MIDI channel. You’ll also be able to automate CC’s to control your synthesizer’s knobs. Stay tuned for more info!

This is vaporware, at this point, but Bleep Box’s concept for a multitouch step sequencer sounds very interesting.

What features would you like to see in an ultimate touchscreen MIDI music sequencer?

Teenage Engineering OP-1 Synthesizer Update – Will You Buy One At $799?

Teenage Engineering has released an update on the status of their much-hyped OP-1 synthesizer.

Here’s what they have to say:

Project status

  • When it comes to functionality, 90% percent is completed and working.
  • Some parts of the system is still being fine tuned and optimized. Overall we are extremely happy with what we have.
  • The OP-1 will be shipped with 6 synthesizer engines and 2 sampler types. Pulse was shown at the NAMM show, the other synthesizer
  • engines are DrWave, FM, Phase, String, Digital, Cluster. Further it will include 8 effects, 3 LFO types and 3 original sequencers.
  • The Mixer section has a dedicated EQ and Drive as well as Master Balance and an additional Master Effect slot.
  • The Sequencers can be matched to the tape speed with a feature called Beat Match.
  • The Tape also have additional ONE-KEY features added that will be revealed at launch.

Beta test

  • The beta test is approaching. The beta sign up has been closed for quite some time. So wait and see if you are one of those we invite to participate.
  • When the beta machines will be released those invited have the option to buy a machine, get all updates and be credited in the manual.
  • Unfortunately we cannot give beta machines away for free or reduce the price.
  • We are very excited about this final phase when the feature set will be locked down and to get feedback from fresh eyes and ears.


  • We just received the golden sample for the keyboard module / plastic parts from the factory. And we are very satisfied with the look and feel of it.
  • The complexity level of the OP-1’s electronics makes component sourcing a bit tricky. As soon as we get the missing chips we will go into production with the first beta batch.
  • Shortly after, the first full production run will be started. So keep your fingers crossed that all this works out.

More details and some awesome Teenage Engineering OP-1 synth porn after the jump. Continue reading

What’s Your Dream Synthesizer?

CreateDigitalMusic’s Peter Kirn helped sponsor a contest to design a “dream synthesizer”. Many interesting ideas were proposed, but the image above illustrates the winning dream synth idea.

Here’s how winner Andreas Paleologos describes his dream synthesizer concept:

  • My Dream Synthesizer has 3 sound modules that together generate the sound.
    • Digital Sound Module.
    • Physical Sound Module.
    • Vocal Sound Module.
  • They’re high-quality software modules with a lot of identity. The sound is constantly routed through all three
  • sound modules, whether generating sound or silent.
  • It has a big Low Resolution LED screen, covered with a transparent high resolution multi touch film for on
  • screen interaction with support for up to 3 fingers.
  • Draw the waveform on the screen and get instant control of the sound.
  • Use one finger to manipulate the Digital Sound Module.
  • Use two fingers to manipulate the Physical Sound Module.
  • Use three fingers to manipulate the Vocal Sound Module.
  • The envelope is basically ADSR, but with looping sustain. Draw your envelope curve.
  • You can record and automate all waveform and envelope changes making really complex sounding sounds
  • with just a finger stroke, recording your particular timing.
  • Select whether all automation should be triggered once or whether it should loop.

Paleologos’ dream synthesizer concept is fascinating – but it’s certainly not my dream synth.

Clean minimal interfaces look cool, but mean that you’ve got menus to remember and that you lose the immediacy of having one knob per function.

My dream synth would probably be an update to one of the classic analog synths – but with modern build quality, a good keyboard and velocity-sensitivity and aftertouch. Make it 16-voice polyphonic and you’re getting pretty close.

Or my dream synth might be something that combines the originality of some of the more interesting iPad apps with the tactile control and responsiveness of classic hardware synths.

What’s your dream synth?