“After years of existence as cartridge for portable game consoles and smartphone app, nanoloop finally makes it into a dedicated hardware. Combining the casual game pad interface with beautiful LED dots and digits, this device forms the ideal platform for the proven nanoloop software and its iconic 4×4 matrix sequencer.
“Dubler Studio Kit is a real-time vocal recognition MIDI controller. It offers up a never seen before way to translate your musical ideas into reality, using the one instrument you’ve been practising since birth— the voice.
With Dubler Studio Kit you can hum a melody or synth pattern, beatbox to trigger a virtual drumkit, or manipulate effects and filters with a “
nanoloop, beginning life as a Game Boy cartridge, helped ignite a craze in chip music by intuitively combining sequencing and sound. Now, its creator wants to make his own hardware.
And — while I hope you read what I have to say, you almost don’t need to do anything other than watch this tantalizing demo:
It’s really hard to describe nanoloop just in terms of specs. The music tool has seen iterations on original Game Boy plus Game Boy Advance generation, in addition to iOS and Android apps. It wasn’t the only Game Boy cartridge embraced by musicians – LSDJ (Little Sound DJ) was also beloved by artists, more in the conventional tracker model. And just talking about the particulars of the synth architecture below also makes this sound crude.
But there’s something uniquely magical about nanoloop, the one-man invention of developer Oliver Wittchow. The software is minimalistic and elegant, reduced to a simple grid. You can pick it up and make things happen right away, making it friendlier than rivals to newcomers – you can be led by instinct, without having to understand concepts like “tracker” sequencing. And then more depth unveils itself in time. The result is an instrument that melds sequencer and sound, in a way only a handful of instruments ever have – the Roland TB-303 being an obvious comparison.
The sound of Nintendo’s Game Boy hardware was also integral to nanoloop’s appeal – augmented later by Oliver’s own software-based FM synth.
nanoloop hardware, therefore, is a big breakthrough. It recreates the signature sound established by its Nintendo predecessor. It boils down that intuitive grid into a hardware design. And it keeps the arcade-style controls – perfectly positioned for use with your thumbs, and keeping the whole package compact.
Plus the Kickstarter project – which has already crossed its funding threshold – starts at just 97EUR for hardware. That prices this only slightly above the cost of the Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator line, with I think a far more interesting interface and sound.
In other words, once this ships, I think it’s overnight the most interesting budget synth and mobile sound-making hardware.
And it’s really packed with everything you’d want – battery power, sync (both via MIDI and CV), tons of musical features for messing with patterns, and the ability to store patterns on microSD card or even an audio cable if you … forget the card. (Have you ever done that? Me, never. Never, ever, ever forgot an … okay.)
dual square wave with true analog filter (mono)
4-voice polyphonic FM (stereo)
monophonic FM (stereo)
noise & clicks (stereo)
per-step control for all parameters
pattern transpose for all parameters
“meta step”: play note only every 2nd or 4th loop
variable pattern length per channel
individual channel tempo
ping pong and random modes
shift pattern in four directions
randomise all parameters
8×4 bi-color LED dot matrix
5 LED digits
8 menu icons
various color combinations available
Es begab sich, als sich die Tochter eines Entwicklers ihres Vaters besann und sich mit dem beschäftigte, was er in den Siebzigern konstruierte. Der Vater ist Don(ald) Tavel und die Tochter heißt Alison. Sie hat ihren Vater nie kennengelernt. Sie fand „auf dem Dachboden“ den besagten Resynator …
Es muss doch jemanden geben, der das Gerät wieder zum Laufen bringt. Und das hat auch geklappt! Sogar die Schaltpläne konnten gefunden werden und so startete Alison eine kleine Informationskampagne, um eine Dokumentation zu machen.
Der Teaser zu dem Video zeigt Peter Gabriel, wie er über den Resynator spricht. Offenbar war es möglich, viele Stimmen einzuholen. Don Tavel starb in einem Verkehrsunfall im Jahre 1988. Grund für den kleinen „Teaserfilm“ ist die Kickstarter-Kampagne, mit der der eigentliche Doku-Film finanziert werden soll.
Der Resynator ist ein Synthesizer für akustische Instrumente. Er hat einen Pitch-Konverter an Bord, der den eigentlichen Synthesizer steuert. Das Gerät war aber digital und ist kein analoges Pitch-to-Voltage-Interface. Aber das Signal wird dennoch in analoge Signale gewandelt, da der Synthesizer analog ist.
Die Geschichte startet zwar im Jahre 1974, als der Resynator noch als Pedal aufgebaut wurde, aber 1977 gab es die eigentlichen Veröffentlichungen dazu. Mutron sollte das Gerät bauen, man entschied sich aber 1979 eine Rack-Version zu präsentieren. Peter Gabriels Firma Syco-Systems zeigte ihn, deshalb ist auch auch im Video. Danach wurde eine polyphone Version entwickelt, der Hexsynator.
1984 war er fertig und es gab aber nur einen Prototypen. Tochter Alison fand den Resynator 2014 und schon 2015 konnten mehrere gebaut werden. Weitere Namen, die damit in Berührung kamen, sind Gotye, Brian „Moog Cookbook“ Kehew, Will Gregory (Goldfrapp), Adrian Utley (Portishead), Mike Gordon, Eric Valentine, Grace Potter und Fred Armisen.
Zur Kickstarter-Aktion geht es hier. Aktuell sind 22.000 von 26.000 US-Dollar bereits gesammelt. Es sind daher nur noch einige (großzügige) Unterstützer nötig, damit das Projekt gestartet werden kann.
There have only been two previous posts featuring the Musico Resynator below here. Alison Tavel wrote in to let me know she is working on a documentary on the Resynator which was actually created by her father, Don Tavel. The trailer for the film is above. You might recognize a few people. 🙂 The Kickstarter campaign for the film launches in six days.
Want some evidence that the future of expressive digital instruments and MPE is bright? Look to Haken’s ContinuuMini, which emerged over last year, bringing greater portability and a US$899 price to the out-there controller.
Forget anything else, and listen to this gorgeous video (using a clever setup with an Onde acoustic resonator*:
Why does the ContinuuMini matter?
Expression really is a combination of sound and physical control. Say what you will about piano keyboards (and some electronic musicians who hate them certainly do) – the reason an acoustic piano is still expressive has to do with the sound of a piano.
So when we talk about MPE, a scheme for allowing polyphonic expression through MIDI, we’re really talking about allow greater depth in the connection of physical gestures and sound.
If this is going to catch on, it’ll require more than one vendor. I think it’s wrong to assume MPE’s future, then, is tied solely to ROLI as a vendor. From the start, MPE was an initiative of a range of people, from major software developers (Apple, Steinberg) to hardware inventors (ROLI, but also Roger Linn and Randy Jones of Madrona Labs, for instance).
And Haken Audio has been a boutique maker pushing new ways of playing for years – including with MPE on their Continuum. The Continuum may look arcane in photos, but feeling it is a unique experience. The ribbon feels luxurious – it’s actually soft fabric. And the degree of control is something special. But it’s also enormous and expensive – and that means a lot of people can’t buy it, or can’t tour with it since it won’t fit in an overhead.
I believe that what makes an instrument is really finding that handful of people to do stuff even the creators didn’t expect, so if you can lower those barriers for even a run of a few hundred units, you could have a small revolution on your hand.
That’s what Haken have done with ContinuuMini, which closed crowd sourcing late last year and has started shipping of the first hardware.
Here’s what sets it apart:
It’s a Continuum. Well, first, nothing else feels like a Continuum. That feeling may not be for everyone, but it’s still significant as a choice.
It’s continuous. Because you aren’t limited by frets or keys, there’s a continuous range of sound. This is a controller you’ll want to practice, finding intonation with muscle memory and your ear. And there are artists who will want that subtlety.
It has internal sound. Like its larger sibling the ContinuuMini has an internal sound engine. That means that it’s not just a controller. Haken have conceived control and sound in a single, unified design. You can play it without connecting other stuff. And the builders have worked on both the physical and aural experience of what they’ve made. I think that’s significant to anyone making an investment, particularly in an age in which abstract controller hardware tends to stack in our closets.
It’s 8-voice polyphonic, as well. The ContinuuMini isn’t just a controller: it’s a complete, gorgeous polysynth and a controller, for this one price.
It connects to other gear, without software. Bidirectional digital control – MIDI, with MPE, MPE+ – and bidirectional control voltage analog (with converter) are possible. That means you can play the ContinuuMini with gear and software (like recording MIDI and MPE in your DAW for playback), and likewise the ContinuuMini can control your software and gear. There are also two pedal inputs so your feet can get in on the action.
It’s only a quarter kilogram. 9 oz. You can tote the bigger ones with a case but – the ContinuuMini is incredibly portable.
* Synthtopia has a great, in-depth interview on the Onde and Pyramid, acoustic resonators that make an electronic instrument feel more like an instrument and less like “something disconnected that produces sound through speakers” as with conventional monitors:
Some initial details via the Abstrakt Instruments Kickstarter:
“This is your chance to help fund and procure parts for the iconic LinnDrum (LM-2) Drum Machine. This is the second in our series of meticulously designed replacement parts projects for vintage synths & drum machines. This project follows up the completion of the Oberheim OB-X Parts Project [posted here]. We’ve established a low