I think we all hoped to have full featured comfortable sequencers on our iPads. That reality as not quite happened (yet). As a sound source that goes into a desktop DAW the iPad is amazing. One of the best music apps to come out is Korg’s Gadget. An update this week brings export to Ableton Live. I’ve actually made a few small sketches on Gadget I really liked so today I will update and give this a try.
“KORG has collaborated with Ableton to offer a new music production workflow that lets you move seamlessly from mobile to desktop. KORG Gadget can export your project in an Ableton Live format, via iTunes or Dropbox. The phrases of each track and scene you create are internally converted into audio files. You can then use Live’s powerful Session and Arrangement workflows to edit and and refine your ideas, perform or record new parts, arrange your ideas, and mix your song. If you don’t already have Ableton Live, sign up in app to receive Ableton Live Lite for free.” – korg.com
Korg is really making products I like these days. There is a new Volca and it’s a sampler. It’s called the Volca Sample. Being an old Akai S950 guy I love that they made the new box white! It has a eleven parameter motion sequencer, reverb per part, analog eq, active step and jump functions, reverse and the very important sync jack in the back. It holds 100 samples but actually doesn’t sample on it’s own. You need iOS to load in new samples. That said since I use iOS devices I am happy but I can see this as an issue for some. Price TBA.
“The volca sample is a sample sequencer that lets you edit and sequence up to 100 sample sounds in real time for powerful live performances. It’s a powerful addition to any existing volca setup, or simply on its own. The new volca lets you recapture the excitement of the first generation of samplers, in which any sound — vocals, spoken words, ambient sound, or glitches — becomes material for your creations!” – korg.com
I am working on my next album. I have equipment lying all over the place in several totally different locations. In one corner of my apartment I have “little” Eurorack set up and for the sample of the track above Im using a Korg SuperDrums DDM110 for beats and sync. Your also hearing a Noise Engineering Basimilus Iteritas through a Synthesis Technology E440 which has it’s filter controlled by a Make Noise Pressure Points and transpose controlled by a Flame Tame Machine. Now to do some vocals…
“Where does all this leave the DDM110? Not realistic enough to satisfy people who want a drum machine to act as a convenient substitute for a real drummer, not considered ‘classic’ enough to command the extortionate prices paid by retro enthusiasts for just about anything 15 years old with a Roland badge and no MIDI port. This ‘half-way’ status, coupled with its more eccentric qualities, is enough to place the DDM110 in the ‘love it or hate it’ oddity category. I personally gravitate towards the former opinion.” – Sound on Sound
I grew up loving Lego. Now I’m really into modular synthesizers. Now Korg has released Little Bits. A little random module? A small speaker? The modules are held together by magnets? So fun.
“The new Synth Kit includes an assortment of 12 electronic Bits modules that instantly snap together with magnets to create circuits like those used in KORG’s famous analog synthesizers. Modules included in the Synth Kit are power, oscillator (x2), filter, envelope, delay, keyboard, micro sequencer, mix, split, random, and synth speaker.” – Korg
Here’s a nice EBM or maybe New Beat example of what the Korg Volcas can do. Check out that sick stand too. The performer should be wearing some Liberace style rings.
“Following in the footsteps of the monotron, monotribe, and MS-20 Mini analog synthesizers, Korg announces the Volca series. volca is a new lineup of EDM production tools comprised of three distinct models: the Volca Keys lead synthesizer, the volca Bass synthesizer, and the Volca Beats rhythm machine.” – korg.com
What do you call your company if it gives it’s users what they want? Korg. For years everyone has been yelling “real analog” “inexpensive” “analog poly” “303 reissue” and at Frankfurt’s Musikmesse Korg announced the Korg Volca series which pretty much covers all those wants. All the boxes have MIDI and Sync (like on the Monotribe). The Beats has some analog voices and a few samples. The analog voices can be edited via knobs and the length of the samples can also be adjusted. There’s a digital stutter effect for the samples. The Volca Bass is similar to a 303 albeit with a Korg 700s filter and the Volca Keys has a Polyphonic mode. They come out this summer and will be $150.
“Following in the footsteps of the monotron, monotribe, and MS-20 Mini analog synthesizers, Korg announces the volca series. volca is a new lineup of EDM production tools comprised of three distinct models: the volca Keys lead synthesizer, the volca Bass synthesizer, and the volca Beats rhythm machine. These powerful and fun-to-use true-analog devices deliver a diverse array of fat sounds that can be obtained only from an analog synthesizer. Each is also equipped with sequencing/recording capabilities for intuitively generating performances. Multiple volcas can be used in tandem via the vintage-style sync in/out, and with your favorite DAW software or MIDI keyboard via MIDI In. Battery operation and built-in speakers mean that you can conveniently play anywhere and anytime. These are the next-generation analog synthesizers, bringing you the ultimate sounds and grooves with ease and depth. Whether used together or by themselves, the volca series is poised to inject true analog power into any performance or studio setup!” – korg.com
When I saw the new Korg MS20 Mini I should have out $600 aside for it. There was one problem though. My heart now belongs to my Eurorack modular. But wait The Harvestman has come to the rescue! Scott has announced the English Tear which is an attenuverter and Eurorack interface for the Korg. He says it will be available in April and be inexpensive. Spend. Spend more now!
“I announce with great satisfaction ENGLISH TEAR, the first in a line of small utility modules. This module features the expected “voltage processor” attenuverter and big offset knobs, but also includes a full set of functions for interfacing to an MS-20. Easy conversion from exponential volt-per-octave to linear hertz-per-volt and back, as well as V-trigger to S-trigger conversion. Jack normalling fixes the voltage processors to these converter circuits, so you may scale the input voltages as desired. The log/expo converter ciruits also have many other uses in your modular system beyond the conversion of pitched voltages.” – The Harvestman
Korg is about to release an all analog reproduction of the MS-20. It’s a little smaller but some of the same engineers that worked on the original are taking part of this project. When I was living in Berlin the 80s new wave band Camouflage had the studio next door to me and owned a MS20. I had the chance one day to play with it and it was real wild, basy and raspy. While the software Legacy version is cool and useful it didn’t come close to the original I used. I suspect that part of it’s wild and dirty nature was that it was old so we will see if the new Mini really has what it takes. It’s expected to be about $800 USD.
UPDATE: $600 USD!! Available in April.
“We can confirm now that the Korg Mini MS-20 is for real, that it’s a new analog mini-synth and that Korg’s engineers have tried to faithfully recreate the circuitry and sound of the original synth classic.” – Synthtopia
Korg has released iPolysix an iPad version of it’s classic Polysix synthesizer. Unlike the original there is a step sequencer, drum machine, chordal mode, Soundcloud sharing and Kaoss type effects pads. About $15 USD.
“iPolysix is an analog polyphonic synthesizer that’s been carefully designed to take full advantage of the 7.9-inch display of the new iPad mini as well as the iPad. Bringing together a sequencer, drum machine, and even a mixer, it transforms your iPad or iPad mini into the ultimate analog synth studio. Pack an amazing set of early-’80s analog equipment into your iPad, and time-travel back to the dawn of polyphonic synthesizers!” – Korg
James Spadavecchia contacted me about his product USBtribe. It’s an interface you install into a Korg Monotribe. Once installed the Monotribe shows up as a controller. You have tempo and transport sync, synth MIDI in on Channel 1 and drum MIDI in Channel 10. The modified Monotribe also now has MIDI out so you can record the MIDI of what the Monotribe is doing. Installation was mostly easy. It took me a little fiddling to get the tiny plugs into the terminal block. To file a hole required for the wire’s out I had to buy a round file. Check out the demo video I created above to see it’s features.
“Introducing the USBtribe, a USB MIDI interface modification designed specifically for use with the Korg Monotribe analog ribbon station. This mod adds a USB socket to the Monotribe synthesizer, providing USB MIDI IO and DC power supply over a single USB cable.” – usbtri.be