10 cool music toys to look forward to in 2008.

Happy New Year

LinnDrum II. Originally called the BoomChick the new MPC killer from Dave Smith and Roger Linn is already making a ton of noise on pro-audio blogs around the world. All drum machines are cool and this one looks meaty! Did I say one? Actually there will be two! The “Analog” edition will sport 4 voice analog synthesis and an extra 27 knobs. link

Linndrum II

Future Retro XS. They said it was coming in 2007 but they missed the mark. But the delay doesn’t dampen the excitement. Why not? It’s a real analog monophonic synth with 64 knobs and a MS20 style filter that can self oscillate. It’s semi-modular allowing you to use cables to patch and re-route the signal path. It has Midi and CV. The audio demos and videos sound awesome. $1299 is the right price too. link

Future Retro XS

Gforce S.O.B. The fine UK software house Gforce that’s responsible for software synths Oddity, impOSCar, Minimonsta and the new VSM have been teasing us with an Oberheim OB8 emulation for some time now. The screenshot below is from a Sonic State video in which Gforce was demoing another product and just so happened to flash the SOB! If it doesn’t appear in 2008 then it never will. link

Gforce SOB

Ableton meets Cycling ’74. One of the things Pluggo makes is a plug-in called VTheremin. This lets you use your computer’s iSight or chat camera as a virtual Theremin. This is one of the many creative things they do and the reason I am thrilled they have partnered with Ableton. I can’t wait to see what the partnership brings. link


Touch Screen Madness. When I installed the new Mac OS “Leopard” on my computers I was a little bewildered as to why anyone would want Cover Flow in the finder. Then I thought to myself, “This would be cool if I could use my finger and flick through these documents like on an iPhone”. Duh! I had the same thought when using Quickview. People: these are sure signs a Mac “Touch” is coming. I can’t think of another industry that will benefit more than musicians from this technology. On screen controllers, keyboards and mixers and going to be super enjoyable! Invest in Kimberly-Clark now (they make Kleenex): KMB (NYSE) link

Mac Touch

Chimera SM16. Everyone should own a real analog sequencer. Everyone! Expect Chimera’s new sequencer to be dirt cheap. Thankfully it will support CV and Midi. Get on the waiting list and pre-order. I did. link

Chimera bC16

Macbeth X-Factor. My all time favorite synthesizer is the giant Macbeth M5. I played with one extensively at super analog shop Schneider’s Buro in Berlin. Based on how much that thing blew me away Im going to bet the X-Factor will be right up there along side of the Moog Little Phatty, Voyager and Studio Electronics SE-1X for title of bass master! link

Macbeth xFactor

Cognitone Music Prototyping System. I’m already using Cogniton’s first product Harmony Navigator and I love it. Concerning their new product for 2008 I’m simply going to quote the Cognitone website: “The idea behind Music Prototyping is to create new scores quickly by building upon elements like figures, motifs and phrases and arrange them in a tree-like structure. Elements can be gained from various sources: Sketched, recorded or imported from MIDI files. As MPS takes care of fitting them together appropriately, you don’t need to worry about pitch and dissonance. It just always fits.”. I’ll take all the computer wizardry in the world to help me make a better song and this could be another wicked tool. link

Music Prototyping System

Waldorf Stromberg. German synthesizer manufacturer Waldorf has returned in 2007 with the small Blofeld table top synth. However, like Acura needs an NSX, Waldorf needs a flagship machine and the Stromberg is that flagship synth. A heavy price let’s us know this is a no-compromise unit. Stromberg has Wavetable synthesis, the PPG filter, a 16 way Analog Filter Bank, Multi-Effects, 1000 Sounds, 50 Buttons, 34 Endless Dials and “renders” Waldorf Wave and Q sounds! link

Waldorf Stromberg

Flame Echobeatbox. Say this out loud: “6-Track Midi-Loop Sequencer”. Now look at the photo of the Flame Echobeatbox. Smiling yet? These guys are down the street from where I live in Berlin inside the same building complex as Ableton. From what I can gather from their website this new hardware box when hooked up via Midi to a sound source will incur some “Complex Random Functions”. I can’t wait to try one out! link


What new gear coming in 2008 are you looking forward to?

photo credits: photonbom and JochenW

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Oliver Chesler

"Hello my name is Oliver and I'm going to tell you a story." I have been recording music since 1989 under the name The Horrorist. I have released over 60 singles and 4 full length albums. To hear my music please go to: thehorrorist.com

3 thoughts on “10 cool music toys to look forward to in 2008.”

  1. some good picks here. i forgot about the flame echobeatbox. can’t wait to see what becomes of that. chimera looks great too – did you get the bc16 synth first?

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