Twisted Electrons Intros BlastBeats FM Groovebox

Twisted Electrons has introduced BlastBeats, a hardware groovebox, based on a vintage FM chip, YMF-262, found in computer sound cards of the early 90s.

“These chips were notoriously hard to program and were rarely used to their full potential,” they note. “However, they can produce surprisingly rich beautiful and utterly dirty sounds with a bit of exploring…”

BlastBeats is a 10-voice groove box, offering 6 drum voices and 4 synth instruments. It features lots of hardware controls, to give you immediate tactile control over the parameters of the instruments.

Features:

  • OPL3 (YMF262) FM chip featured in vintage sound blaster cards of the MS-DOS era
  • Quad audio outputs with custom instrument routing
  • High fidelity audio amplification with low noise floor
  • mix and phones out each with volume control
  • 6 drum tracks (bass drum, snare drum, tom, closed & open hat, cymbal) that can also be used for melodic parts.
  • 4 synth tracks: two monophonic (2x2op or 1x4op) & two duo-phonic (4x2op or 2x4op)
  • 100 kits
  • 160 songs x 16 patterns x 64 steps
  • patterns of of arbitrary step lengths
  • Kits and patterns stored on included SD card for convenient management and sharing.
  • 56 faders with per step automation and modulation
  • 32 high quality illuminated switches
  • MIDI input and output on DIN5 ports
  • customizable MIDI input channels
  • Analog sync in and out on 3.5mm jacks
  • All Audio on 6.35mm jacks
  • Premium sandblasted anodised aluminum chassis
  • All instruments can be sequenced internally or played via MIDI allowing BlastBeats to be used as a 4-operator 8-waveform polytimbral MIDI synthesizer
  • Probability per instrument
  • Swing
  • Kit and pattern randomiser
  • Fader wiggling (randomiser with adjustable depth) per step
  • 3 tricks ( pitch bend aka spin down, freeze and stutter with step sequencing of all tricks.
  • Synth pitch vibrato and tremolo with adjustable speed and depth
  • Several waveforms and algorithms yielding infinite sound textures.

Here’s the official walkthrough video:

Pricing and Availability

BlastBeats is available to preorder for 599,00 €, with the first devices expected to ship in February 2022.

21 thoughts on “Twisted Electrons Intros BlastBeats FM Groovebox

  1. Seems like a more tactile and expansive version of the model:cycles. What this misses most, are effects. But then, that is what the four assignable outputs are for.

  2. really impressed. novel little machine with a good approach that I think covers some new ground as a comprehensive unit. the percussion in the demo sounds a little too crunchy for my taste, but that might just be a sound design choice rather than its inherent character.

  3. Extremely cool grooves. I’m not sure if it already does but if MPC One had a bunch of kits + rhythms like this that would be awesome. I’m curious if, through use of MIDI – despite their OS if drum machines could exchange rhythms, or is that all tangled up – even in this day and age in sys.ex.

    1. maybe I’ll do a sample pack for the MPC One based upon the BlastBeats. But it can only be a polaroid and would never be a full painting as all the different colors and flavors of the original machine would be missing.

  4. Looks and sounds great but I’ll be glad when this trend of placing random objects around the desktop in synth demo videos finally comes to an end. Whether’s its crystals, succulents, or dead thistles this is one aesthetic trend that needs to die in 2022.

  5. was anyone else slightly disappointed there were no actual blast beats in the demo, or am i the only former metal head turned synth nerd?

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