Category Archives: Synth

AX-Synth Shoulder Synthesizer


Roland Corporation announced the general availability of the AX-Synth Shoulder Synthesizer – the first of the legendary AX-Series to offer an onboard sound engine, featuring a collection of the best of Roland's cutting-edge synth sounds.

Created with the art of performance in mind, the AX-Synth allows keyboardists to connect with their audience as guitarists and singers do. Real-time controls such as the Ribbon, Modulation Bar, D BEAM, and aftertouch knob controllers give the ability to perform memorable and expressive solos. When wearing the battery-powered and wireless AX-Synth, keyboardists can create kinetic musical performances, moving freely around the stage without any encumbering wires or cables.

The AX-Synth features 49 velocity-sensitive keys and is the first shoulder keyboard to include a 128-voice polyphonic sound engine with 256 distinct tones accessible from eight bank buttons, plus a collection of ultra-expressive sounds generated by Roland's SuperNATURAL sound engine. The AX-Synth also includes an easy-to-use software editor/librarian for designing and storing user-created sounds.

Here are some of the cool features in this new product:

– Built-in sound engine with voices from Roland's latest synthesizers

– Ribbon controller, D Beam, modulation bar, knobs, and easy-to-see display for stage

– USB MIDI for easy connection to PC

– Dedicated V-LINK button for video/visual control

– Innovative bender mode for expressive solos

– Long battery operation (approx. 6 hours)

Size and weight (excluding batteries):


1,142 mm

45 inches


266 mm

10-1/2 inches


87 mm

3-7/16 inches


3.9 kg

8 lbs. 10 oz.

The AX-Synth is now shipping with an MSRP of $1,349.00.

More info for the product at Roland.

FuzzHugger Unveils Dual Footswitch AB-Synth

absynthFuzzHugger(fx) this week announced the second iteration of their AB-Synth fuzz pedal, the Dual Footswitch AB-Synth. The company believes this version provides superior workmanship and functionality, with an oscillation mode that provides main oscillation control through the Trip knob, with additional tuning contributed via Gain and Texture controls. The FuzzHugger Dual Footswitch AB-Synth is protected in an aluminum enclosure and features a 9V negative tip adapter power and true-bypass switching.

The oscillation toggle is designed for hands-free operation thanks to its relocation to a second footswitch, which offers up a second mode with tonal options ranging from compressed and discreet to wildly oscillating, as well as self-arpeggiation, blips, and fat octave down. Two footswitches allow for quick operation, with footswitch one providing power controls to the pedal, and footswitch two enabling and disabling oscillation mode at the musician’s discretion.

FuzzHugger’s Dual Footswitch AB-Synth
is currently in stock online and sells for $129.00, with an impressive five-year warranty standard. For more information, head on over to the official website’s AB-Synth sales page here. Also of note: the original AB-Synth (with one footswitch and one toggle) is now on sale for $120. It’s a small savings, but maybe attractive for some not needing the additional footswitch and looking to pocket a few extra bucks in this economy.


Electro Harmonix Voice Box Harmony Machine / Vocoder

Electro Harmonix Voice Box Harmony Machine Vocoder
This is some really cool move from Electro Harmonix, their last effort is the Voice Box, an affordable harmony machine and vocoder that will allow you to create synth harmonies for your melodies, either vocal or played with any instrument. The result is like having backing vocals, overdub tracks or many instruments inside a compact box, and it looks like it is really useful and very fun to try some of its sounds, like we can see in the demo video.

The Electro Harmonix Voice Box features 256-band vocoder, 3 multi-harmony modes: low & high (low, 3rd and 5th below, and high, 3rd and 5th above), octave (2 notes ) and whistle (creates a whistle playing an octave above the note you are playing), 9 user presets, professional pitch shift algorithm, gender mod (that builds man- or woman-like voice), natural glissando, reverb effect with separated controls for dry and effected vocals, built-in mic preamp, +48V phantom power, gain switch and balanced XLR line output to use it with almost any system.

This device is powered by the supplied DC power adapter and comes with die-cast chassis that makes it hard enough to use it on stage. The Electro Harmonix Voice Box Harmony Machine / Vocoder is now available and its recommended price is $215.

Korg microKORG XL Synth

Korg microKORG XL Keyboard

Based on the acclaimed original microKORG model Korg has released a synth and vocoder model called Korg microKORG XL Synth that comes with a vintage look-alike and the MMT Multi Modeling Technology with the two oscillators included, but the main goal has been a better design for better playing even with its compact size.

The Korg microKORG XL Keyboard features 2 oscillators (one with 7 different algorithms and the other with sync or ring modulation), 37 natural touch keys, included gooseneck mic, sixteen band vocoder (for voice controlled effects), 128 built-in sounds selectable by genre and instrument category, 17 KAOSS-like effects, 2 multi-mode filters (drive/waveshaping and EG/LFO) and the device is powered by a battery to kill the need of a DC adapter.

The sounds can be edited with a software available to download from Korh website, that also allows you to convert from/to MS2000 programs. The price of the Korg microKORG XL Keyboard has not been announced yet but it will be available at the beginning of 2009.

Moog Taurus Bass Synth Pedal

Moog Taurus Bass Synth Pedal

Moog is one of the companies that always gets a lot of buzz in their upcoming releases, either it’s because they have a lot of fans or because they release a low number of products per year the truth is that their next release, the Moog Taurus Bass Synth Pedal, a reissue of a pedal manufactured by Moog until 1983 (the second version) has some people waiting for it. For those who don’t know this is an analog bass synth pedal keyboard where you control the synth sounds with the 13 keys (or 18 in the second version) using your foots, this reissue will be based on the original Taurus model specifications and sound.

The features of this new Moog Taurus Bass Synth Pedal are 13 keys (one and a half octaves), 100% analog sound engine, 2 VCO oscillators, ADS contour generator, 1 VCF filter, arpeggiator, 16 sound banks (with 4 presets per bank) of programmable bass tones, original Taurus I sounds in bank 0, MIDI (DIN and USB) connections, VCA output and volume, filter, pitch and gate controls.

Although this is only a preliminary list of features (and we even don’t know if the device will be produced) we already know that the shipping date will be towards the end of this month and that there will be an special offer for the first 250 orders (or the offer ends in February 15th if there haven’t been 250 orders yet) that will be able to buy the Moog Taurus Bass Synth Pedal for $1,695 (making a deposit of $500), all other orders will be at $1,995. By the way, there will be only 100 units produced of this device.

Dave Smith Instruments Mopho Desktop Synth

Dave Smith Instruments Mopho Desktop Synth

There have been a lot of talking lately about the release, and its date, that was delayed some days ago, about the new device from Dave Smith and now here we have it, the Dave Smith Instruments Mopho Desktop Synth. A compact desktop unit with monophonic analog circuitry that is the small brother of Prophet ’08 model because its functionality is based on a single voice of that model but with some interesting improvements like 2 sub-octave generators and external audio input to mix any music you want.

The specifications of the Dave Smith Instruments Mopho Desktop Synth are 2 oscillators, Curtis low-pass filter, 3 envelope generators, arpeggiator, pitch, cutoff, resonance, attack, decay/release, input gain, volume and program selector knobs, write, program mode and assign parameters button, gated 16 x 4 step sequencer, 384 included programs, audio Input and stereo audio and headphones outputs.

All the 4 assignable controls from Mopho can be controlled via MIDI (including from the Prophet ’08) and if you use gear from your computer, there is a free editor software for Windows and Mac users. The Dave Smith Instruments Mopho Desktop Synth is now available and its price is $440, so if you want to feel how is play a analog synth you should really check it.

Moog Minimoog Voyager Old School

Moog Minimoog Voyager Old School

Moog has released a new product to replace the Model D synth and featuring the classic Moog synth sound, the Moog Minimoog Voyager Old School, an analog monophonic synth with patching facilities and a lot of pedal inputs. So if you are looking for the Voyager sounds in a “modern” device with solid hardwood cabinet, this is for you.

The specifications of the Moog Minimoog Voyager Old School are 3 wide-range high stability voltage controlled oscillators (with 2 frequency controls, 3 octave selectors, 3 wave controls, … ), built-in mixer (with 5 inputs and one switch and input level control per input), dual mode filter (with lowpass and highpass-lowpass filtering, cutoff, spacing, resonance and kb cont amount controls), envelope (two wide-range attack decay sustain release envelopes and 2 attack, 2 sustain 2 decay, 2 release and amount to filter controls), LFO module (with triangular, square, sample and hold, smoothed or not, waveforms, rate control and waveform switch) and a 44-key controller with velocity and after-pressure, pitch and modulation wheels.

The Moog Minimoog Voyager Old School availability has not been announced yet but its price is $2,600.

Elektron reaches MKII

Elektron reaches MKII

This is not really a new release, but its good to know that Elektron has updated all their products to MKII version, this update doesn’t mean a firmware update or the devices now have a bunch of new features but there are some things improved. The updated products are Elektron Monomachine and Machinedrum synths.

The MKII versions of Monomachine and Machinedrum feature, of course, all the features from the MKI models, slimmer design and improved signal-to-noise ratio. Besides these features the Monomachine MKII will include the possibility of loading your own waveforms for the devices (although this feature will be available through a firmware update soon); and the Machinedrum MKII model includes 64 steps in the pattern sequencer.

The MKII models are now available and their prices are $1,440 for the Elektron Monomachine MKII and $1,340 for the Elektron Machinedrum MKII model.

Arturia Analog Factory Experience

Arturia Analog Factory ExperienceIf you are trying to decide between hardware and software synth solutions, you should take a look at the Arturia’s new product. The Arturia Analog Factory Experience, based on the Analog Factory 2.0, combines both solutions (hardware + software) in an integrated system that can be used as a stand-alone program or as a plugin.

The Arturia Analog Factory Experience features a synth software that includes 3500 high-quality analog synth sounds (like minimoog V, Moog Modular V or Prophet V), a preset manager for quick finding them and built-in effects like filters, LFO, chorus or delay; and a hardware controller that features 32 keys with velocity sensitivity, 11 encoders (1 of them clickable), 4 sliders, 11 switches, 1 modulation wheel and 1 pitch bend wheel controls, hold, sustain and expression pedal inputs, USB port (the device is USB powered, although you can use a DC adapter) and MIDI connections.

This package works with Windows (2000, XP and Vista) and Mac OS X (version 10.3.9 or higher) and is available in VST, RTAS or AU plugin formats. The price of the Arturia Analog Factory Experience will be $349 but its availability has to be announced yet.

Korg Kaossilator

Korg KaossilatorOne of the most unexpected and cool releases is the new pocket-sized instrument from Korg, the Korg Kaossilator. This device is in the same line of products than the Mini-KP effects unit, combines the Korg synth sounds, featured in the Korg products, with the effects of the Mini-KP and is controlled via the touch pad that include all the Kaoss line products.

The Korg Kaossilator features 100 sounds programs, including traditional synth sounds, simulated intruments sounds (piano, guitar and wind instruments) and effects, the gate arpeggiator (that allows you to create patterns with different layers to create overdubs or multi-voice phrases), 24-bit digital-to-analog conversion processing, 48 kHz sampling rate, RCA line and headphones outputs, 31 scale patterns, program/value knob and key, loop and tap buttons. The touch pad controls the note/pitch parameters touching it in horizontal direction and other parameters like cut-off, feedback or modulation depth touching it in vertical direction.

This pocket-size synth is powered by 4 AA batteries with life-time of 5 hours (with alkaline batteries) or by a DC adapter. The price and availability of the Korg Kaossilator has to be announced yet.