Wasn’t something like this made before? Strange to see a music gadget shown at CES, one that only musicians would probably be interested in. Not exactly “general consumer electronics”. Hope they also go to NAMM.
(Also wish The Verge would hire an actual editor to edit the awful posts their “correspondents” keep posting….)
You won’t find more simpler obscure gadgets than the ones sold by Sonodrome. They even have PC software to go with their little bits of hardware. PC boards come in four colors. (And MAKE magazine’s market is selling the amplifier kit, along with the Atari Punk Console.) Enclosures are up to the builder. YouTube videos here.
Second, Feena Electronics. They introduced an interesting DJ MIDI controller in 2006. Since then, nothing. The last post to their forum was September 21.
Finally, this guy is building a duplicate of the old Metasonix Hellfire Modulator. He’s making a chassis for it out of plain sheet metal, and he apparently mated two toaster ovens together in order to bake powder-coating onto it. DIY FTW!!!
NYC artist Terry Dame and her “Electric Junkyard Gamelan”. Except for the contact mics, I don’t see anything electric in her shows, but this is a good example of what anyone can do with the most basic (cheap) tools.
There’s been a big stink about the British-made Eigenharp controller, with mention from Engadget, Synthtopia, the BBC, and bloggers like CDM and Matrix. It requires a Mac, however. Hope they sell some and are encouraged to port the software to Windows. Given its complexity, ~$7000 isn’t a terribly high price.
(Just remember that people nowadays routinely pay $50,000 or more for a grand piano.)
Almost forgotten in all this hype was a different controller, the Madrona Soundplane. Looks as though it’s not finished yet.
The CoolChromaticover. You can’t really tell from these terrible product pages, but this is a standalone MIDI controller with velocity and several slightly different key arrangements available, that just happens to be made to fit over the keyboard on a Yamaha combo instrument. Unlike the Yamaha (or most other MIDI controllers) the Chromaticover appears to be really well-made, mostly metal with metal buttons.
The only dealer selling it (piens.be) is also the owner of the company making it (cool.be). Also strange is that very few people in the accordion world, or elsewhere, even know this product exists. I’ve found very few Google mentions of it.
(This was discovered by the diykeyboard group, who now have their own wiki.)
My favorite part: look at the “Related Videos’ section. It includes a mishmash of weirdness, including a promo video for “Kokopelli Rising” by “Bing Futch”, a bland New Age album. The exact opposite of what Dave Wright does with his gourd.
If you’re Jeff Stolet, you design software to take inputs from infrared sensors, convert them to algorithms and then to MIDI note data, then send it to the piano. So, he plays complex piano music—by waving his hands in the air. Here’s the result:
It was built in an East German acoustics lab, and used in soundtracks for East German movies. It predates any Moog or Buchla synth. You won’t find it mentioned in any textbooks, nor is it listed in the famous 120 Years of Electronic Music website.
Ionized gas, chemicals, heat and applied high voltage conduct through a flame, modulating the impedance across the grid and or plate of vacuum tubes. This applies a control voltage to a Phantastron synthesizer.
Then we have this thing, made of an old SN76477 noisemaker chip.
The guy who built a sequencer out of a Dekatron tube is braver than he realizes–
Dekatrons are erratic and unreliable. Same guy who previously built a modular synth out of tubes.
An experimental analog video synth–very rare to see anyone doing this today.
(Doing it with a VGA monitor simplifies the electronics, because
you don’t have to worry about recombining sync and chroma signals.)
H-Pi has released a new, updated version of their Tuning Box. It does any arbitrary tuning setup, from Archytas Septimal to Just to Harry Partch’s 43-Tone Chromelodeon Scale to Johnston Enharmonic. You name it, if your MIDI synthesizer accepts pitch bend, this device ($299 is an amazing price) will generate the correct MIDI messages to make any alternate tuning or key reassignment desired. I’ve already ordered one for my own experimentation.
H-Pi also had something on its website that amused me.