Run your audio gear off of USB power banks: KOMA’s Strom Mobile

You’re on the go. And those wonderful USB power banks will charge your phone – so why not audio gear, too? KOMA Elektronik’s new Strom Mobile makes it possible.

Here’s the problem: USB power banks (mobile batteries and whatnot), while plentiful, only output 5V power for phones and USB, and they’re anything but “low noise” (meaning you’ll hear garbled interference when you plug a lot of them in).

A lot of your compact audio gear is probably running on 9V or 12V power, and it’ll make you happier if it’s low noise. (Some gear is 5V, of course, but that’s another story.)

Enter Strom Mobile, a small accessory from KOMA that adapts power banks for your gear. Specs:

  • 9V/12V DC power compatibility (clean, low noise)
  • Two power channels – plug in to one or both, and set each channel to either 9V or 12V
  • Indicators to show you which power is connected, and how much current you’re using
  • Four outputs for gear – or connect more via daisy chaining (until you run out of current, anyway)
  • Cables and manual in the box: 1x USB B, 2x DC-DC, printed guide

The USB B cable is especially designed for this application.

There’s also a Strom Mobile Cable Pack you can buy as an add on, which includes another of those special USB B cables, a 1-5to-5 daisychain DC cable, 2 more DC cables, and 1 polarity changing DC cable.

And of course, this is intended for use with the Field Kit and Field Kit FX from KOMA, but the list of 9V/12V drum machines, recorders, samplers, effects pedals, mobile synths, and the like is very long.

Pricing: 175EUR suggested retail, or 35EUR for the Cable Pack.

Check the intro video:

Artists Hainbach (known for his lovely cassette tape videos and ambient creations) and Wouter (KOMA founder, here with his ODD NARRATIVE project) play and record using the gear en plein air at Berlin’s former airport-turned-park Tempelhofer Feld.

Product page:

https://koma-elektronik.com/?product=strom-mobile-portable-power-solution

The post Run your audio gear off of USB power banks: KOMA’s Strom Mobile appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

KOMA’s Field Kit FX is like a crazy studio in a tiny box: videos, manual

How do you demo or document something like KOMA Elektronik’s Field Kit FX? Well, you treat it like the mad experimental sound laboratory it is.

KOMA’s Field Kit FX was a massive hit even as a crowd funding project. It’s still listed as preorder, but will start to ship this month, beginning with backers.

In the meantime, our friends and music mavens Isabella and Zuzana (the latter a sometimes CDM contributor) have been working on helping document what you can do with this beast, from deep inside the Neukölln lair of the indie manufacturer.

And… yeah, it’s darned cool.

The “manual” isn’t a dry technical doc, either. It’s a recipe book full of creative ideas:

Field Kit FX

And the videos show how you can build ideas with this, as well. The whole package is the very opposite of a uni-tasker. So there’s a spring reverb, digital delay, a four-channel mixer with tone control, frequency shifter, looper, bit crusher, envelope generator, and a little sequencer. And both digital and analog effects have copious mappings to control voltage, so you can manipulate and automate effects from other gear (including modular devices). That means there’s a whole lot to look at.

There’s a video featuring the looper & digital delay:

And the delay and the spring reverb (the rectangular tank you see attached):

Sequencing is included, too, for some rhythmic effects, so you can add that in:

Check out the hardware:
https://koma-elektronik.com/?product=field-kit-fx-modular-multi-effects-processor

Previously:

Koma just unveiled a whole patchable analog effects toolkit

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KOMA Elektronik Field Kit FX In Action

The Field Kit FX boasts a Spring Reverb, Digital Delay, 4-channel VCA Mixer with Tone control, Frequency Shifter, Looper, Bit Crusher, ADSR and Mini Sequencer.… Read More KOMA Elektronik Field Kit FX In Action

KOMA Elektronik Field Kit FX, Strom Mobile Power & Komplex Sequencer

At the 2018 NAMM Show, KOMA Elektronik gave us an update on their Field Kit FX, Strom Mobile Power & Komplex Sequencer.… Read More KOMA Elektronik Field Kit FX, Strom Mobile Power & Komplex Sequencer

KOMA’s pedals are discontinued, but leave a mighty 7-year legacy

KOMA Elektronik are discontinuing their BD101 and FT201 pedals after a final limited run. 7 years ago, these products launched an upstart boutique brand.

The BD101 analog gate/delay and FT201 state-variable filter/10-step sequencer were released as two pedals in the now-distinctive KOMA white, way back in 2011. They launched that name in Berlin as the company’s first two products. Now, KOMA says they’ll use up their last parts in one final production run, not expected to last too far into January.

And seven years is a pretty decent lifespan for any product. But these particular pedals accomplished a lot – not only heralding the arrival of KOMA, but part of a generation of gear that marked a new age in boutique, independent devices, often emphasizing analog and underground sounds. Now much of that has been swept up in the Eurorack phenomenon, but it has surely included desktop gear, too.

KOMA for their part have gone on to a range of influential gear, a massive artist following, and even a music label, event series, and community space in their native Neukölln, Berlin. As recounted in the press release:

Over the course of their seven-year existence, the BD101 and FT201 have gone through four production runs, including a 50 unit special black edition and a special edition for Scottish post rock band Mogwai. Their sonic signature can be heard on a ton of records, and its signature white enclosures can be found in top notch recording studios as well as on stage with amongst others electronic musicians Alessandro Cortini, Pole, Addison Groove, Henning Baer, RAC, Jimmy Edgar and more rock oriented musicians like Lee Ranaldo, Vessels, Chvrches and a bunch of noise music legends!

Now, KOMA can take that know-how and make room for new machines. (The press release teases some new things to come. It’d be great to see more pedals, of course!)

CDM has managed to be there for some of this history, like the Musikmesse video I shot (really badly) in the back of a van, since KOMA couldn’t afford a booth at the time. That video makes it into the press release:

Jimmy Edgar walks through those pedals in his studio:

And we’ve had some fun Kodak moments with these things over the years:

Find the pedals back at KOMA – or go pay them a visit at their new community space for music electronics, Common Ground:

www.koma-elektronik.com

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Koma just unveiled a whole patchable analog effects toolkit

Koma today revealed a sequel to their crowd-funded smash hit Field Kit. And it’s a whole bunch of patchable effects, for €249 (€219 for funders).

Inside that box, there’s a load of different effects to play with:

  • Looper
  • Frequency Shifter
  • Sample Rate Reducer / Bitcrusher
  • Digital Delay
  • Analog Spring Reverb

Yeah, you read that last one right – there’s actually a physical spring in there for reverb. Behold:

Looping of course means that you could make the FX a hub of performance. And in addition to the other digital effects, that frequency shifter opens up some really interesting possibilities.

So, whereas the first Field Kit depended on you attaching contact mics and working with the mixing functions, the Field Kit FX actually has a lot more sonic possibilities included right out of the box. There’s still a companion book to go with it, and of course this is already intended as a clever

But, for a kind of “weirdo modular effects toolkit” in a case, you also get a bunch of tools for applying these effects, by mixing and sequencing them:

  • 4 Channel VCA Mixer
  • 4 Step Mini Sequencer
  • Envelope Generator

All over the place, you’ve got various patch points. That’s a chance to connect to other analog I/O – which certainly includes Eurorack modulars, but these days a lot of other gear, as well, even desktop units from Novation, Roland, Arturia, KORG, and the like.

And there’s a new 4-Channel CV Interface for bringing it all together, meaning you can come up with pretty elaborate modular connections.

4-channel CV interface for communications with other gear – now not just modular, but a lot of new desktop stuff, too.

In fact, for under three hundred bucks, the whole thing looks a bit like either a shrunken Eurorack modular or a tabletop of analog and digital effects merged together for patching.

Now, this is still definitely geared for advanced users. There’s no MIDI. And the CV routing, while powerful, might be overwhelming to newcomers – for instance, there’s not a single, simple trigger in to clock that sequencer. (That’s not necessarily a criticism – the various CV options mean loads of creative flexibility. But it does probably mean this box is more for people who want to get deep into patching.)

Watch the overview video, natch:

FIELD KIT FX – CV Controlled Multi Effects Processor

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KOMA are about to get deep into Eurorack – starting with power

Okay, first, a power product sounds like about the most boring music tech news ever. But the kids at KOMA have found a way to make modular power exciting.

And of course, because anything involving electricity sounds cooler in German than in English, meet STROM.

First, the video – which turns what seems a dull, technical topic into exciting launch video. Seriously, more fun to watch than that iPhone X announcement (uh, for me, anyway). Let’s let KOMA’s Wouter explain – in a lab coat!

KOMA are embarking on a deep dive into the world of modular Eurorack – which I hear the young folks really love at the moment. First, there was a case system. Now, there’s a power system. And both are nicely affordable.

And since power is what gives you noise, power matters.

I asked KOMA’s Wouter what makes this product different. Answer: “The Strom is cleaner than any of the competition for a way lower price with very low ripple, great safety features with the fusing and the short circuit protection!”

We’ll get some of our modular boffins on this to check.

The other important detail here is not what this is, but who it comes from – KOMA’s engineer Robert has been the lead on all digital products, and did the programming work on the epic, legendary Komplex Sequencer.

Looks like KOMA are on their way to another big market hit. Hope to visit them soon – and their growing Common Ground community space.

http://koma-elektronik.com/

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Koma Elektronik Intros ‘Field Kit’ Electroacoustic Workstation

KOMA Elektronik has introduced the KOMA Elektronik Field Kit – a Eurorack-compatible toolkit for experimenting with electroacoustic sound – and a Kickstarter project to fund the kit’s production. The Field Kit is optimized to process signals from microphones, contact microphones, electromagnetic pickups and is also able to run DC motors and solenoids. On top of that, it can… Read More Koma Elektronik Intros ‘Field Kit’ Electroacoustic Workstation

KOMA Elektronik Komplex Sequencer Hands-On Demos

This video playlist features a series of short demos that explore the capabilities of the massive KOMA Elektronik Komplex Sequencer. KOMA calls the Komplex Sequencer “a musical monster”. It is built around four full-featured 16-step sequencers that lets you use one or … Continue reading