musical instrument

ROLI’s $299 Seaboard Block is a modular squishy-keyed keyboard

ROLI’s $299 Seaboard Block is a modular squishy-keyed keyboard

Odd instrument company ROLI has a new keyboard, the Seaboard Block, and it's the most affordable of its squishy-keyed models to-date. Priced at $299, the Seaboard Block is intended to fit into a backpack and play music with synth apps running on your smartphone. It's also less than half the price of what was formerly ROLI's cheapest Seaboard RISE.

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ROLI BLOCKS get Android support as Noise app sneaks in at I/O 2017

ROLI BLOCKS get Android support as Noise app sneaks in at I/O 2017

ROLI's touch-sensitive BLOCKS have quietly added Android support today, with the portable modular music-makers showing up at Google's I/O 2017 keynote. The BLOCKS were launched last year, though initially only as an iPhone accessory; indeed, Apple sold them through its own stores. The rubbery top on each block acts as a pressure- and gesture-sensitive controller.

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ROLI BLOCKS Review: Modular music system has room to grow

ROLI BLOCKS Review: Modular music system has room to grow

ROLI has made a name for itself with weirdly tactile, expansively flexible musical instruments, and its ROLI BLOCKS promise to bring that to the mainstream. The British company built its reputation among electronic musicians for its rubbery-buttoned keyboards that allow for hitherto-unachievable levels of expression; problem is, even the smallest Seaboard RISE is $800. On paper, therefore, the much cheaper BLOCKS make perfect sense, but how do they hold up in practice?

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DJay Pro for iPhone embraces 3D Touch and Apple Watch

DJay Pro for iPhone embraces 3D Touch and Apple Watch

Most of us have probably never wanted to create a professional DJ playlist on a mobile device, but Algoriddim doesn’t cater to the masses. It’s popular iPad app, DJay Pro, is a mix of high-level digital mixology with a heavy dose of tablet portability. Now the company has an iPhone 7 companion app for DJay Pro users, but it’s not just a port. If you look closely, DJay Pro for iPhone is the next generation of mobile mixing and scratching.

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Moog brings the iconic Minimoog Model D back to production

Moog brings the iconic Minimoog Model D back to production

One of the most iconic instruments in electronic music, the Moog Minimoog Model D, has been reborn, with production starting up again after more than three decades. Its squelchy, distinctive sounds called upon in tracks by legendary musicians such as Bob Marley, Keith Emerson, Kraftwerk, Dr. Dre, and more, the analog synthesizer was the first to break free of the music studio and be packaged for portable use.

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Korg offers iPad musicians an on-the-go studio

Korg offers iPad musicians an on-the-go studio

Korg has a pair of new wireless music controllers for digital musicians on the go, with the nanoKEY Studio and nanoKONTROL Studio hooking up to iOS devices and laptops. Launched at NAMM 2016, the portable duo support both Bluetooth and USB, and work with not only Korg's own Gadget soft-synth but popular apps like Garageband and any other Bluetooth MIDI compatible software.

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Korg Minilogue has affordable analog appeal

Korg Minilogue has affordable analog appeal

Korg sure knows how to make a slick-looking synthesizer, and the Minilogue packs not only analog squelch but an affordable price, too. $499.99 gets you a four-voice, fully-programable polyphonic analog synth all wrapped up in aluminum and wood with some seriously retro detailing.

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ROLI Seaboard RISE Review

ROLI Seaboard RISE Review

ROLI's Seaboard RISE looks like something you'd find Darth Vader playing in his downtime on the Death Star, but it uses the force in far more interesting ways. The company's first product was the much-lauded Seaboard GRAND back in 2013. That debuted the company's unusual flexible "keywave" surface, a layer which could be prodded and poked into delivering not only individual notes but smooth glissandos, complex evolving sounds, and more.

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ROLI Noise gives iPhone 6s’ 3D Touch musical meaning

ROLI Noise gives iPhone 6s’ 3D Touch musical meaning

ROLI's Seaboard range of squishy, squidgy keyed instruments sound great, but it's taken 3D Touch and the iPhone 6s to make it really affordable. The company has taken advantage of the pressure-sensitive touchscreen of the latest iPhone with its new app, ROLI Noise, to create a virtual version you can fit in a pocket.

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ROLI Seaboard RISE is like 3D Touch for musicians

ROLI Seaboard RISE is like 3D Touch for musicians

Instrument manufacturer ROLI has revealed its latest electronic oddity, the Seaboard RISE, a keyboard controller that does to piano keys what 3D Touch does to the iPhone. Distilling 2013's Seaboard GRAND into a portable form-factor, the RISE hooks up to your software synth via Bluetooth and can be played not only as a keyboard but as a continuous touch-surface, with no differentiating between the keys.

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Yamaha’s new Silent Guitars are electric, boast acoustic sound

Yamaha’s new Silent Guitars are electric, boast acoustic sound

This summer, Yamaha debuted its new line of SLG200 Silent Guitars in the United States, and they’re now shipping to customers. The guitars feature a sleek body with an open design and integrated technology that produces sounds akin to “a full-bodied acoustic guitar.” Yamaha is offering nylon and steel versions spanning three color options, all of which feature a headphone jack for plugging in the included earbuds (or your preferred headphones). When headphones are used, the guitars are nearly silent, allowing them to be used in shared living spaces, apartments, and other places where silence is necessary.

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Yamaha Reface reboots classic synths for mobile

Yamaha Reface reboots classic synths for mobile

Yamaha has put four of its classic synths through the shrink-ray, coming up with the Reface series of portable keyboards intended for on-the-go noodling. Each of the four new models targets a very different style, from the reface DX that's inspired by the DX7 - the sounds from which are memorable from Toto's Africa - through the reface YC with the tones of Yamaha Combo organs from the 60s, the reface CP with electric piano sounds, and finally the reface CS, heading back to the synths of the mid-70s.

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