Buchla Lightning III Wand Controller

Buchla Lightning III Wand Controller

If you’ve ever wanted to look like a shadowboxing wizard-in-training while performing music. . .well, I suppose you don’t technically need the new Buchla Lightning III Wand Controllers to accomplish your goals, but they’d at least turn your wild gesticulations into triggers for sample instruments and musical events.

Gino Robair stopped by the Buchla and Associates booth at the Winter NAMM show in Anaheim, where he got a demonstration of the Buchla Lightning II from Joel Davel. Joel has been performing with previous incarnations of the Lightning controllers for fifteen years, so he’s savvy to their operation and this third variant’s new features. Check it out.

See The Video at Gearwire.com http://www.gearwire.com/buchla-lightning-iii-percussion-controller-winter-namm-2011.html

PS – Years ago I was a salesman at zZounds when it was an actual store in Chicago. Ray the store owner brought Bob Moog in to do an in store presentation of his new Midi Theremin. I immediately walked up to Bob and suggested I bring my Ensoniq EPS 16+ in and connect it to the Theremin via midi. My intension was to map drum out so that we could use the Theremin to play beats in the air. He was quite annoyed with the idea and so I walked away with a frown.

Later that night we had dinner with Bob and he asked me what I thought should be added to the new Moog synths (this is before they started producing the new Voyager and Little Phatty). I told him to add DSP and he laughed and said “no way, this is an analog synth. Why add digital effects!?”

Did not score big with the Bob.

Boss Loop Station Pedals

Boss Loop Station

Dub FX was demoing the Boss Loop Station at NAMM. Sad we missed him! Check out this video though…

Two new pedals have joined the Boss line of pedal-based loop recorders: the RC-30 and RC-3. These new battery-powered Loop Station pedals feature high-powered digital signal processing, stereo operation, and more. The RC-30 and RC-3 follow the previously released Boss RC-20XL and RC-2 Loop Station pedals.

Designed with the live looping performer in mind, the RC-30 and RC-3 Loop Stations are powered by the Boss ESC2 DSP chip and offer looping musicians the tools needed for recording and manipulating audio loops live and in the studio.

The RC-30 is housed in a Boss Twin Pedal chassis, just like the RC-20XL that it replaces. New features include true stereo inputs and outputs, up to three hours of onboard stereo recording and loop storage, a marked upgrade to its predecessor’s mono I/O, and 16 minutes of mono recording. In addition, the RC-30 has a new dual phrase loop feature that lets you create and play two completely independent stereo loop phrases in perfect sync.

Included in the RC-30 is the Loop FX feature that allows you to process loop recordings in real-time. The RC-30 also features 99 memories for onboard loop storage, an LED memory indicator, a USB 2.0 port that lets you swap and manage WAV audio loops with a computer, and more. Holdover features from the RC-20XL include a mic input with phantom power, an AUX IN jack for connecting a portable music player, and a key selection of onboard rhythms that now include real audio drum loops.

Along with the RC-30, Boss introduced the RC-3. Housed in a rugged Boss compact pedal chassis, the RC-3 offers all the essential features of the RC-30 in smaller package, including stereo I/O, up to three hours of stereo recording and loop storage, 99 onboard memories, USB 2.0, and built-in rhythms. For additional foot control, the RC-3 can be connected to an optional Boss FS-5U Foot Switch.

Check out the RC-30 and RC-3 live looping machines at the Boss Web site, bossus.com.

More info here Boss Loop Station

Tempest Dave Smith & Roger Linn Analog Drum Machine

Tempest Analog Drum Machine

We’ve been excited about the possibility of a Dave Smith / Roger Linn drum machine since back when Crosstalk was still a regular feature, so you can imagine our surprise when the Dave Smith Instruments Tempest Analog Drum Machine suddenly materialized at Winter NAMM 2011.

This beauty is everything we could have hoped for and more; more a percussion-centric music production synth than a mere drum machine, the Tempest combines the best elements of Roger Linn’s MPC designs and Dave Smith’s epic synth sounds for an expressive and immersive tool for studio and live performance. And man does it look cool. Check out our video from the NAMM show floor.

See the video here http://www.gearwire.com/dave-smith-tempest-analog-drum-machine-winter-namm-2011.html

Buchla Synths at Winter NAMM 2011

Always love seeing the Buchla synths in person!

It occurred to Don one day to build an instrument actually intended for electronic music performance.

He created the 100 series Modular Electronic Music System (1963).

And a few years later (1970), the 200 series Electric Music Box.

Minicomputers became affordable, and Don built the first hybrid (digitally controlled analog synthesizer) – the 500 series (1971).

And along came microcomputers and the series 300 (using series 200 analog modules combined with 300 series digital modules).

A hot little analog performance instrument, the Music Easel was introduced in 1972.

Then four hybrid (digital/analog) instruments. For his keyboard playing friends Don conjured up the Touché (1978).

Next was the Buchla 400, featuring an outrageous video display(1982).

Along came MIDI, and he designed the 700 with MIDI up the wahzoo (1987).

And for Oberheim (a Gibson subsidiary), Don designed the OB-Mx (1995).

For your edification and amusement, we’ve collected data on some of these historic instruments.

By the mid 80’s, MIDI was abundant. Just about every synth had MIDI inputs. But where were the controllers? Didn’t MIDI promise something beyond organ keyboards?

Don shifted his attention to controllers and designed the Thunder (1990) and Lightning (1991).

To be replaced in 1996 with the improved Lightning II.

To finish off the millennium in style, Don built the gold edition of the Marimba Lumina.

In 2000 and 2001, he added the silver Marimba Lumina 3.5 and the smaller Marimba Lumina 2.5,

And in 2002, Don introduced the Piano Bar, now manufactured and distributed by Moog Music Inc.

Now for an abrubt switch. In 2002, Don decided that the 200 series was due for improvement, and in 2004, introduced several new modules, calling these the 200e series.

Check ’em out.

Wonder what’s next? So do we.

Don Buchla

Visit the site http://www.buchla.com/index.html

Dewanatron Swarmatron Synth Winter NAMM 2011

This was by far my favorite instrument at NAMM. It’s the Dewanatron Swarmatron and it is a hand made synth with 8 oscillators and these weird ribbon controllers. The sound is amazing. I spoke with the creator of this synth and he told me that Trent Reznor used this synth to score the Social Network movie.

The Swarmatron was created to produce eight tones tuned approximately to one note, each tone slightly different in pitch to produce a complex and natural choral effect.

These eight oscillators can be played with a single ribbon controller (variable resistor) to move the pitch center up or down.

The span control expands the sound of a swarm of eight notes spread just a few cents apart into a wide chord of equidistant pitches spread over the entire spectrum. The player can “taffy pull” the resulting chord by using the span control and pitch ribbon in tandem.

Swarms of sine waves evoke swarms of angels congregating. Swarms of sawtooth waves evoke the swarming of bees. The sound of a host of voices, earthly or unearthly, has a unique character recognized by the ear even when they are folded together in unison.

Check them out! http://www.dewanatron.com/instruments.php?page=swarmatron