Archive for May, 2022

2022 NAMM: Cre8audio West Pest, an affordable ‘West Coast’ Synthesizer

 

Ahead of the 2022 NAMM Show, Cre8audio has introduced the West Pest, an affordable ‘West Coast’ style synthesizer that complements their recently introduced East Beast synth.

 

Created in partnership with Pittsburgh Modular Synthesizers, West Pest is a semi-modular monophonic desktop synthesizer, integrating imaginative sound-shaping tools with traditionally “west coast” concepts. West Pest has at its core 8 patchable modules (Oscillator, wave contour, dynamics controller, LFO, multi-mod tool, MIDI to CV converter, step sequencer, and button keyboard), with 18 Eurorack compatible patch points. West Pest is patched internally to create a flexible full synth voice. Using the patch points, though, lets you reroute internal signal flow, as well as use with external eurorack format modules and synthesizers.

 

West Pest’s unique sound has been influenced by Pittsburgh’s Voltage Research Lab synthesizer. The Pittsburgh-designed core oscillator technology has matured through the development of their SV-1 and later with Voltage Research Laboratory. This iteration’s waveforms have been optimized to be run through West Pest’s wavefolder.

 

Wave folding/shaping is integral to West Pest’s foundation. Wavefolding amplifies incoming waveforms. Rather than clipping or distorting, the wavefolder circuit folds the waveforms back onto themselves, creating upwards of six folds to add vast harmonic complexity and depth.

 

West Pest’s snappy, responsive articulation is accomplished by the Dynamics Controller. This unique concept is designed to behave like a traditional filter, a VCA, and an envelope generator, all at once. Upon note trigger, the filter opens fully and rapidly, producing a sharp, percussive attack. At release, the Dynamics Controller adds a ringing, resonant decay, resulting in a rounder, more musical sound.

 

The Dynamics Controller is the product of years of research by Pittsburgh’s founder Richard Nicol, and Chief of R&D Michael Johnsen. Inspired by the developments of West Coast synthesis pioneer Don Buchla, Pittsburgh Modular has modernized and evolved these concepts, adding wider range, consistency, stability, and resonance control, as well as an infinitely variable, ringing decay.

 

In addition, going beyond these analog sound-sculpting tools, West Pest includes a deep new digital multi-mod /multi-function tool concept to add more flavor to the Pest’s production. The multi-mod lets users select between additional clock synced LFO, decay envelope, MIDI-controlled modulation, and random voltage generator modes.

 

West Pest can be controlled via MIDI, control voltage (CV/Gate), and its function keys, which double as a keyboard controller. Also included is an integrated sequencer & arpeggiator that can also be controlled via MIDI and is externally clockable.

 

 

Features:

 

  • West coast style additive monophonic synthesizer
  • Controllable via MIDI, CV, and integrated button keyboard
  • Fully patchable – use West Pest’s components as separate modules with external devices or reroute its internal patching. It’s like having 8 individual modules (Oscillator, wave contour, dynamics controller, LFO, multi-mod tool, MIDI to CV converter, sequencer, and button keyboard).
  • 32 step sequencer with up to 13 presets
  • Generative sequencing mode
  • Clock-synced arpeggiator
  • Step sequencer can be manipulated & transposed via MIDI and the integrated button keyboard
  • Pittsburgh Modular Synthesizer developed 100% analog oscillator
  • Oscillator waveforms – sine, triangle, and saw – Waveforms can be combined
  • Oscillator includes frequency modulation (FM)
  • Pittsburgh Modular Synthesizer famous wave folder/shaper circuit – folds inputted waves back onto themselves to yield rich harmonic texture
  • Pittsburgh Dynamics Controller – 100% modern circuitry designed to behave like a traditional filter, VCA, and envelope generator all at once.
  • Dual range analog LFO with square and triangle wave outputs
  • LFO Range – High: 2 Hz to 500 Hz Low: 41s to 5 Hz
  • Digital multi-mod tool – modulation control via CV, random generator, and extra LFO and envelope generator
  • Internal clock with tap tempo and can be clocked via an external source.
  • Built-in clock divider
  • Use standalone in its included case or removed to use as a Eurorack format module
  • Specifications for when used as a Eurorack module
  • Width when used as a module = 40hp
  • Depth when used as a module = 25mm
  • 213mA power draw when running +12V rail
  • 151mA power draw when running -12V
  • Input voltage range of oscillator = 0-10V
  • Included in the box – 1x West Pest, 1x West Pest wall-wart power supply, 5x Amazing Nazca Noodles Patch Cables, 2x 3.5mm to 5 pin MIDI Din pigtails, and love (love’s presence likely, but not guaranteed)

 

West Pest is available now, price at $249.99 / €249.99.

Find out more details on the Cre8audio website.

 

 

2022 NAMM: Playtime Engineering’s new groovebox for kids, Blipblox myTracks, And updated Blipblox Synthesizer

 

Ahead of the 2022 NAMM Show, Playtime Engineering has introduced the Blipblox SK2 synthesizer and Blipblox myTRACKS music production workstation.

 

Like the original Blipblox synthesizer, the new devices combine professional electronic music gear features – like sampling and MIDI support – with design tailored for kids 8-14.

 

Blipblox myTRACKS is a sort of ‘MPC for kids’. It is an easy-to-use, 5-track groove station that features 48 real instrument sounds, a built-in microphone for audio sampling and two FX processors.

 

The myTRACKS features a 5×5 grid of playpads that instantly triggers sounds and launches sequencer clips. Each instrument can be applied to the 5 tracks. Blipblox levers control two effects processors that can be applied to any track, providing a wide range of expression on any sound.

 

A built-in microphone encourages kids to create their own real-world vocals and sounds to include in any track. By using the built-in sequences, or recording your own, anyone can quickly create detailed, multi-track songs. A powerful Randomize function also provides instant inspiration. Sets can be saved for future performance.

 

The myTRACKS sounds and sequences are completely updatable via the USB-C connection. Users can download new sound sets for specific styles, including orchestra, hip-hop, jazz, rock and EDM.

 

The myTRACKS includes a 5-pin MIDI Out, so it can be used to control any Blipblox synthesizer, or any of the thousands of sound modules and synths that include MIDI In. The USB-C includes class-compliant USB MIDI in and out, so it can be used to control any software running inside a Mac or PC’s DAW.

 

An example of the myTRACKS in action:

 

The Blipblox SK2 features a colorful spacey design, with both a signal flow diagram and labeled controls to promote synthesis discovery.

 

The 400 built-in melodies range from video game pop to classical music riffs. Advanced features include resonant multi-mode filters, wavetable synthesis, 16 oscillator schemes and stereo multi-tap delay.

 

A completely redesigned LED light show gives kids the feeling of being center stage as it synchronizes with their live jam. Just like every Blipblox, the SK2 features MIDI In, 1?4” audio out, in a child-durable, safety-certified device.

 

MSRP: $199

Safe for ages 3+

Available November 2022

MSRP: $249

Safe for ages 3+

Available Q1 2023

 

We are looking forward to find out more at this week’s NAMM Show.

 

X Audio Systems Beats FM, a new experimental synth, features FM/AM/SW Radio

 

 

Italy’s company, X Audio Systems has announced the Beats FM, an experimental all-in-one stereo analog synthesizer, processor and sync unit with FM/AM/SW radio.

 

They say that the Beats FM “offers a new approach to music and sound creation, that no other instrument can offer.” It’s the equivalent of 8 synth modules, enclosed in a high-quality beech/aluminum case with an antenna.

Production of the Beats FM is being funded via an IndieGoGo project.

 

 

Demo of the Beats FM in action:

 

What X Audio Systems say about the Beats FM project:

 

“We want to give everybody the possibility to participate in the creation of this unique machine. We feel that the world needs new options when it come to music production and sound exploration. The spontaneous and versatile nature of the BEATS FM, together with it’s warm analog sound is designed to be a center piece to a number of music studios worldwide.

 

This is the first ever production run of this unit, and nobody knows if there will be further developments in the future. It all depends on the support that all the backers will bring to this project. Our goal is to produce as many units as possible. Satisfaction of every backer is our main priority. Thanks to you, this project is already a reality! Every backer will receive a one-of-a-kind, hand-assembled, individually numbered, limited edition BEATS FM with power supply, antenna and user’s manual.”

 

Features:

 

  • 1 x stereo wide-band FM/AM/SW radio with LFO modulated tuner knob
  • 2 x analog 4-pole low-pass filters (clones of CEM3320, the chip used in the Prophet 5) with self-oscillating resonance and LFO modulation
  • 4 seconds of stereo digital delay with time control, feedback, tone, sync and panning with LFO modulation
  • 1 x LFO with 16 different “bendable” waveforms with rate, multiplier and polarity
  • 1 x Sync unit to lock the LFO to: 1-audio click track, 2-analog clock, 3-tap tempo
  • 2 x analog 2-pole high-pass filters
  • 1 x effects mixer
  • 2 x external audio inputs with overdrive

 

Beats FM is available to project backers for around $782

 

*Note that crowdfunding projects can involve risk. See the project page for details.