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:

The post KOMA’s pedals are discontinued, but leave a mighty 7-year legacy appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Waldorf Wave & TSi Musikmesse Flyers From 1992 &1993

Scans for the following, in via swissdoc, have been added to yesterday’s post on Waldorf at at the 1992 and 1993 Musikmesses.


I believe this is the first time some, if not all, have appeared online. They include a flyer for the Waldorf Wave, a Preliminary Wave info sheet, and

Waldorf Demos with Saga’s Jim Gilmour at the Frankfurt Musikmesse in 1993

Saga – Jim Gilmour Demo – Musikmesse Frankfurt 1993 Published on May 12, 2013 MadSevenFilms

“Jim Gilmour ( Saga keyboardist) in a demo at the Waldorf stand during the musikmesse in Germany.
Humble Stance, Wind Him up, Don’t be late, Careful where you step, On the loose,etc ….”

Here’s a blast from the past featuring a bit of Waldorf history in via swissdoc. This may very well be the only

Waldorf Quantum – Musikmesse 2017

Published on Apr 11, 2017 Sound On Sound magazine

“8-Voice Analog/Digital Hybrid Polyphonic Synthesizer”

Musikmesse 2017 WALDORF Quantum Synthesizer Features and Sound Demo (english)

Published on Apr 10, 2017 MusicStoreTV

MESSE 2017: Pepperdecks Stick on iOS Knobs

Published on Apr 8, 2017 sonicstate

“A couple of neat products from Pepperdecks – stick on knobs to control touchscreen apps, and a couple of compact 2 channel mixers”

MESSE 2017: Booth – Lots of Lovely Modulars

Published on Apr 7, 2017 sonicstate

The new Arturia keyboards work with anything, under $300, with sounds

“Someone has introduced a new MIDI controller keyboard” ranks right up there with “an off-price mall big box retailer is now doing basic solid color tees.” It’s potentially still useful (as in, my luggage got lost in Dallas and I have no clean clothes), yet not exciting.

But Arturia have deserve special mention here, because they have lately had a knack for giving users exactly what they wanted, apparently. At least that’s my impression as I notice the number of BeatSteps Pro and KeySteps cropping into rigs.

MIDI controllers, like DAWs, tend to become boring because they have to be all things to all people. But paradoxically, what makes them interesting is if they can be all things to you. (You’re the most important person, anyway – don’t you know it.)

So, let’s see if the Arturia KeyStep Essential line in fact can do everything. On paper, at last, this looks like one that can.



It’s a MIDI controller. Okay, first, the obvious — your 49- or 61-key keybed, your pads (with RGB, since now apparently everything needs that), your nine rotary knobs, your nine rotary faders, and transport controls. All of that can send standard MIDI messages, but —

It talks to all your software – even your DAW. — it also sends Mackie Control MCU/HUI for controlling DAWs (relevant with the transport triggers). This used to be a fairly standard thing, but lately, you can’t necessarily count on it.


That’s still not breaking news, but in a nice touch, you get dedicated controls for SAVE, UNDO, PUNCH (for recording, not because you don’t like your mix engineer), and METRO.

All four of those choices say to me this was made by one of us.

It talks to all your computers / iPads / Android objects / Linux things / Raspberry Pi / whatever. — yes, it’s USB MIDI class compliant, which means when connected via MIDI you can work with macOS, Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, and .. whatever else you happen to locate … without installing drivers or, like, worrying.


It works with all your gear, with or without a computer. Now, even with the MIDI output jack onboard, I was worried about this one. But Arturia confirms that with power provided either via USB or the 9V barrel jack, you can use the keyboard without a host. I live round the corner from Native Instruments, so there could be some awkward moments if I run into them, but … yeah, this keyboard costs a fraction of their keyboard even though their keyboard becomes a useless studio decoration / paperweight when it’s disconnected from your keyboard. For … some reason.

There are clever dedicated preset controls. In addition to preset memory, there’s a handy display and knob for recalling presets. You don’t get a display above the faders and knobs, but the display is meant to give you some feedback on individual parameters (this part I need to actually try).

It can pretend to be a Steinway. People who buy things with black and white keys attached do often tend to be people who grew up with pianos. I’m one of those people. I like the Steinway Model D. UVI’s extensive sample library of the Model D (not the Kawaii, not the Yamaha, the Steinway) is bundled, free, which will matter to those people. Try to ignore the fact that your Steinway feels a bit suddenly plastic-y; try dressing in a tuxedo. But there aren’t a lot of sub-$300 keyboards that include good Steinway samples, so – you’re golden. You could buy yourself a nice date night at a concert of piano music, instead of sitting home reading CDM.

It has loads of other sounds. This is still an Arturia keyboard, so you get Analog Lab 2 with a lot of ready-to-play vintage presets, as well.

All in all…

This looks like a potential winner. I’m not the greatest fan of white, even less so when you add fake wood effect on the sides. And what you get from more expensive keyboards is more displays – Akai and Native Instruments, for instance, give you individual parameter labels on each control, which is a boon if you’re into synth programming.

But this still a lot of value for a keyboard that costs less than those other options. There’s also a chord play mode, and the option of powering via a DC power supply. Arturia also says this one is rugged and road ready – something to test.

I’ve been a bit disappointed of late with some of the other low-end entries from the likes of M-Audio, in that a lot work only when connected with USB, and skimp on some control features you’d need. Saving money is no good if the keyboard proves to be disposable.

So, this looks promising. I do wish it had some of the clever arpeggiator/step features of its baby brother KeyStep. But it makes some sense that Arturia chose more traditional DAW control features.

The 49-key version is 3 kg and runs you 199 € / US$ 249.
The 61-key version (awaiting weight information) retail for 249 € / US$ 299.

I’ve seen endless variations on this idea. But maybe this is the one that finally gets it right.

Watch for a review, because after all the time I spent reviewing all the other attempts, I might as well do this, too!

The post The new Arturia keyboards work with anything, under $300, with sounds appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

New GEM Promega 2+ – Musikmesse 2017

Published on Apr 6, 2017 Sound On Sound magazine