Thursday, April 19, 2007

The most awesome synth demo you will ever see

I've mentioned the Technos Axcel in the past (super rare '80s super synth with amazing display/interface), but here is one in action, wonderfully demonstrated by a rather familiar-looking man who appears to have learned English phonetically for the purpose of this demo. Be sure not to miss Part 2 for the 'drawing waveforms with your finger' money shot.

A gruesome new coat for your MPC-1000

It used to be that the only way to get yourself a Louis Vuitton custom MPC was a trip to see Forat. But now have a full range of DIY die-cut vinyl 'skins'. They cost around $42, or for $70, they'll print a custom skin with your own image. One cool thing is that they come with labels to match the unofficial 'JJ' operating system - because it totally changes the way the MPC works, the labels printed on the box no longer make much sense. In other JJ news, the mysterious programmer has reported that the OS memory space is now full - so discussions have changed from 'we want this new feature' to 'what shall we chuck out to make way for new features?'.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Damn. Now I need an atomic clock for my 'studio'

It's not often that a Harmony Central headline makes me think anything but 'Oh'. Then along comes: "Antelope Audio Launches The Isochrone 10M Affordable Atomic Clocking Device" They go on to say: "At the heart of the Isochrone 10M is the chemical element rubidium, which thanks to the hyperfine structure of rubidium's energy levels produces a clock that is 100,000 times more stable than crystal oscillators." Because, you know, the only thing that's really wrong with my music is that my sample clocking is totally off. Anyway, perhaps this Wharton clock is a bit more what I'm looking for...

Monday, April 16, 2007

Scary man in pierrot costume plays theremin

Here's Californian performance artist Eliot Fintushel playing Debussy on a theremin. Something about the way it's compressed by YouTube makes him look like a badly-drawn Second Life avatar. Not strange enough? Try this one, with cracker crufix munching... (Thanks, Mikey)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Herbie, Quincy, a Fairlight and a nice glass of wine

Aaah, supreme geeks at play...

Two days to go on the Vemia vintage gear auction

Peter Forrest's latest Vemia synth auction is about to finish. Good news: He's finally fixed the website, which now works properly and relatively smoothly. Bad news: It's not the biggest Vemia ever, but there 's still more cool things here than in a month of eBay (unless you're in this category, of course). Highlights include a crazy rackmounted TR-808 (euww - blue LEDs), an EMS VCS3 for 'only' £900, a beautiful Electrocomp sequencer, a rare Technics monosynth and a tonne of weird bits.

Starr Labs: Still trying to make MIDI guitars after all these years

1985 called. They want their guitar synth back. What could be more wonderful than Starr Labs, a tiny little company based in San Diego who have been producing weird, semi-one-off guitar MIDI controllers in the long defunkt line of the Synthaxe, and Stepp DG1 for decades? Their Ztar guitars have buttons/keys along the neck, touch sensitive strings you can strum, and a few other buttons and controllers. Most interestingly, the buttons on the neck are polyphonic, so you can play multiple notes on one 'string', which must make for a bit of mental adjustment for most guitarists. Starr Labs just put out a press release about their new model Z7-S, which looks like a Steinberger and seems pretty much the same as all the others, including this previous post. It costs $1,495. Of course, for $1,300 less you could buy a Yamaha EZ-AG teaching guitar, which works in a similar way, and - according to one review - is "easy to wipe clean"...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Neodymium pickups look awesome, expensive

Dutch company Q Tuner make these freaky-looking pickups from perspex, wire and super-strong neodymium magnets. They sell from $125 for a single coil pickup, to $290 for a pair of humbuckers, with a four week wait. Be sure to check out the gallery (they also come with white and black covers, if you don't like the stripy perspex). There's also is a shot of a humbucker covered in ferrofluid, so you can see the magnetic fields.

Tiny, blobby, red guitar iPod

This is apparently the upcoming Line6 Pocket Pod - a little tiny PodXT for headphone practice (and perhaps gigs?). Price seems to be $129, which compares well with the Korg PX4D at $169. Has a limited number of knobs, but you can deep edit the sounds over USB.

Aluminium guitars, carved by computer

Dave in Alaska carves guitars out of blocks of aluminium on a CNC machine. He's only built four so far, but is planning more. He'll also be selling the electronic plans, so you can plug a block of aluminium into your own CNC machine, and it will spit out a guitar body.
He's not the only person building guitars from aluminium. There's also Specimen, Industrial Guitars, Veleno, Zero and most famously Kramer, who made aluminium-necked (and generally out of tune) guitars in the '70s. (Thanks, Jack)

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Dude plays with broken mixer for three minutes

Can't really argue with this, can you? And who wouldn't want an English-made 'Top Gear' mixer...
UPDATE: The aforementioned Dude (Dan) will be appearing a the Sonic Picnic in Plymouth (England) on 22-25th June.