Open Music Labs has announced that it is crowdfunding its Mixtape Alpha pocket-sized 8-bit synthesizer at Crowd Supply.
The Mixtape Alpha project is based on the ATmega328p processor, which is also used in the Arduino. All of the source code is online, so it can be hacked to make your own custom sounds.
Mixtape Alpha was a successful experiment for us, so much so, we ran out of our first production run. And, after much soul-searching, we decided to retire the product. But, before we did that, we wanted to give one last chance for music enthusiasts everywhere to get a Mixtape Alpha. As Neil Young said, “it’s better to burn out than fade away”.
The Mixtape Alpha has a stylophone style input for continuous tone generation, and six buttons for discrete notes. With four voices, four effects, and five-note polyphony there is quite a range of expression. You can even loop a pattern and play a second part on top. But, the best part is, you can record the songs you make, and trade mixtapes with your friends! And it comes in its own cassette case, with instructions.
The project is looking to raise $6,000 USD before funding ends on October 15th, 2013. Backers can pick up the Mixtape Alpha for $42 USD. Shipping is expected in January, 2014.
More information: Open Music Labs / Mixtape Alpha
Dübreq has announced the Stylophone S2 analog synthesizer.
The new Dubreq Stylophone S2 takes the basic idea of the Stylophone, a stylus played instrument that uses a printed circuit board as the keyboard, and turns it into a fully spec’d analogue synthesizer.
The Stylophone S2 is an entirely British made, analogue synthesizer that will fit in a laptop bag. The S2 features include; All metal construction, a full 37 note 3 octave keyboard with +/- 2 octave shifter featuring a wire-free stylus and finger-touch playing method, an all analogue signal path, a classic British style 12dB/octave state-variable filter, dual all-transistor voltage controlled oscillators, sub-oscillators for super-fat bass, an eight waveform LFO with a 14 octave range, an auxiliary-input socket to use the filter and envelope-generator for other instruments, a 1/4″ output jack socket as well as an internal speaker and headphone socket and a CV and Trigger input sockets.
Stylophone S2 features
- All metal construction.
- Portable, only 308mm X 120mm X 26mm and less than 1kg.
- 37 note (3 octave) keyboard, with +/-2 octaves of OCTAVE shift.
- Monophonic keyboard works with wire-free stylus (included) or finger touch.
- All analogue signal path.
- Classic British 12dB/octave state-variable filter.
- Dual all-transistor voltage controlled oscillators..
- Sub-oscillators for incredibly fat-bass.
- Aux. input (to use the filter and envelope generator as effects).
- Eight waveform LFO (low frequency oscillator) with 14 octave range.
- 4x AA cell operation or external DC (mains adapter not included).
- Main output: 1/4″ jack-socket.
- Use internal speaker or headphone amplifier (3.5mm headphone jack).
- CVI (Control Voltage Input) and Trigger via 3.5mm jack sockets.
- Unique illuminated speaker detail spins to show LFO speed.
The Stylophone S2 is a small batch produced, hand made synthesizer and availability of the product will be limited. Suggested retail price of the S2 is currently £299 GBP.
More information: Stylophone S2
Rhythmic Robot has released Drawbar 350, a unique analogue drawbar organ instrument created from the overheated transistors of the enormous Stylophone 350S.
Drawbar 350 is both a homage to the original Stylophone 350S and a departure from it. You can imitate the original 350 perfectly by simply treating the drawbars as on / off switches – either fully out of fully in – and leaving the envelope controls set to minimum. (And why not? It’s a classic, after all!) Or you can go to town and create washes, pads, soundscapes and textures. Or you can turn the whole thing up to 11 for a really aggressive, Punk 70s sound that all but leaps out of the speakers and strangles you.
The Drawbar 350 is without doubt a snarling, spitting, angry character at heart, full of attitude and malice. But we’ve given you the tools to tame it and bend it to your will. It’s a sound that you simply won’t find anywhere else: original and dangerous. Welcome to the world of the Drawbar 350.
Drawbar 350 features
- All eight voicings of the Stylophone 350S sampled at 24-bit.
- Drawbar control replaces the toggle-switches with 12-stage blend-able drawbars.
- Voices: Woodwind 16″, 8″, 4″, 2″; Brass 16″, 8″; Strings 4″, 2″.
- Transistor organ sound enhanced by specifically-chosen effects processors.
- Bite, Anger, Fury and Vibe settings to roughen or tame the sound.
Drawbar 350 for Kontakt (full version 4.2.3 or later required) is available to purchase for £8.95 GBP.
More information: Rhythmic Robot / Drawbar 350
Rhythmic Robot has launched its website, offering a range of sample libraries for Native Instruments Kontakt.
Rhythmic Robot is a small enterprise making Kontakt .nki instruments. Our mission is to take the technology of yesterday and bring it sparking and crackling back to life on our laboratory bench – before capturing its essence, bottling it in Kontakt .nki form, and sending it out for you to play with. We sample characterful old vintage gear, and we also build our own Kontakt soft synths from the unlikeliest components – like stacks of Stylophones, or a humming wall of malfunctioning valve signal generators…
Our hand-crafted Kontakt instruments are built on meticulously recorded 24-bit multisamples of authentic old kit. On top of that, we add extra functionality like giving old-school drum machines velocity switching, pan pots, and individual level controls, or making monosynths polyphonic. We wire in the tools you need to tame the sounds or rough them up: tube distortion, compression, bit-crushing lo-fi effects and lots more are right at your fingertips. And finally we wrap the whole thing up in a custom interface so you can tweak away to your heart’s content. We love our dusty old boxes, and hope you will too.
Rhythmic Robot sample libraries are available to purchase starting at £3.95 GBP.
More information: Rhythmic Robot
Rhim Samples has released its Stylophone Beatbox sample library.
Stylophone Beatbox is a younger brother of the cultish Stylophone. The instrument is operated by a stylus and has three banks- drums, beatbox and bass.
It’s fun to play it through an external speaker, but when using headphone outputs the toy starts sound like a real, useful, drum machine. The dirty and nasty sample has got a charm of its own. What they need is modern way of sequencing music and some spicing up through scripting in Kontakt and racks in Ableton Live.
Stylophone Beatbox includes basic patches of drums, basses, beatbox and extra instruments in Kontakt and Ableton Racks formats. It is available to purchase for $2.99 USD. A free version (without scripts or macros) is available to download.
More information: Rhim Samples