SoundForce Introducing MIDI Controller, New Modules at Superbooth 2022


For Superbooth 2022 this week, SoundForce is introducing several new products:  the updated 2022 prototype of the SFC-8 MIDI controller (pictured, above); uDCO, a compact version of their popular DCO module; and the S-LD, a 4HP 6-channel LinnDrum sample player.

The SFC-8 is a MIDI controller designed to primarily control Jupiter-8 style software plugins, such as the Arturia Jup-8 V and TAL-J-8, but it will have built-in support as well for hardware synths.

It has USB-MIDI but also 5-pin MIDI out and in (for the user’s keyboard or sequencer). The incoming messages are merged with the controller messages. SFC-8 is a USB-powered device.

Release date and price for SFC-8 are still to be determined.

On the modular side, SoundForce is also announcing the uDCO, a compact version of their popular DCO module. The design has been compacted from originally 16HP down to 10HP. The module has the exact same core oscillator and features set, to the exception of the FM attenuator which has been removed, along with a little change in the PWM (pulse width modulation) control. In addition, the uDCO sliders have been replaced by small rotary pots.

The uDCO will ship around the end of this month and the price is ~ €259 euros (depending on your local VAT), and €214 for non-EU customers. For more information on the uDCO go to the SoundForce web shop.

SoundForce is also extending its compact drum samples range with the S-LD, a 4HP 6-channel LinnDrum sample player. The three jacks at the bottom of the S-LD have an alternative sound bank, thanks to a slide switch at the back. The user can choose whether to trigger either the tom sounds or the percussion sounds.

SoundForce developers add: “Please note, all three sounds change at once and you cannot select between tom or percussion on a per-channel basis.”

The S-LD can be pre-ordered now, and will begin shipping later in May. The module is priced at €119 for EU customers, and €98 for non-EU customers. More information is available here.

Sensel Discontinues Morph Controller, Focuses On Laptop Touchpad Market

Sensel has announced that it is discontinuing the Morph, it’s expressive multi-function music controller.

The Morph is a highly sensitive multi-touch control surface that can sense overlays, letting it ‘morph’ to be used as a keyboard, drum pad, x/y controller and more.

The company says that challenges of manufacturing the Morph have forced them to pivot to focus on their enterprise business solutions.

Here’s their announcement:

“Ever since we sold out of Morphs in 2021, many of you have been eagerly awaiting updates about the availability of the Sensel Morph. Today, we can provide some closure and announce that unfortunately, Sensel will no longer be producing the current Morph.

Like many of you, we feel like we were able to only scratch the surface of the potential of the Morph, and we’re disappointed that we can no longer produce it. Production challenges were myriad: the unavailability of what was once a widely available microprocessor, the lack of supply of the resistive ink that was used for the Morph’s pressure sensor, travel restrictions, and internal competition with the rapidly growing demand for Sensel’s enterprise solutions.

Over the past year, we explored many avenues to restart production: pitching investors, partnering with other music companies, creative arrangements with high-volume manufacturers, and redesigning the Morph. In the end, we had to make the difficult decision to shift our focus to our core enterprise business, especially in the laptop touchpad market. Sensel’s technology is currently being used in the haptic touchpads of Lenovo’s X1 Titanium Yoga and Microsoft’s Surface Laptop Studio, and will be featured in several other models in the near future. We’re thrilled to enable the next generation haptic touchpads for Windows laptops, and to get our tech into the hands of millions of users.

For those of you who backed the Morph on Kickstarter or purchased one after, we sincerely thank you for being a part of the Sensel journey and helping us get to where we are today. We still can’t wait to see what you create. And for those who signed up for our back-in-stock notifications while we’ve been sold out, we apologize for the long wait and for not being able to fulfill your requests.

Making the Morph and seeing what creative people could do with it was incredibly rewarding. From the same controller, we saw virtuosic finger drum jams, slick productions, tripped out visuals, and interactive installations. The creative minds that got behind the Morph were just awesome. As we move forward with our enterprise business, we hope to influence those markets with what we’ve learned, and work with innovative tool-makers to bring the creativity and richness-of-interaction of the Morph to everyday consumer devices like laptops and phones.

Down the road, we will also rethink the Morph product line and potentially bring another consumer product to market. While there are no plans to do so right now, we welcome all feedback and suggestions.”

Sensel has a FAQ page on their site for Morph owners.

Cre8Audio NiftyKEYZ Keyboard Eurorack Case In-Depth Review

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In his latest Sonic Lab review, Sonic State’s Nick Batt takes an in-depth look at the new Cre8Audio NiftyKeyZ keyboard Eurorack case.

NiftyKEYZ combines a full-sized 49-key synth-action MIDI controller keyboard with 112hp of space for Eurorack modules, so you can house all-in-one synths like the Moog Mother-32 and use them as keyboards, or create a custom keyboard-controlled modular rig.

“This is actually pretty cool for setting up performance patches and, not withstanding the issues around tuning and dedicated voice control (Osc, VCF, VCA, Envelope), allows for some really complex setups to be created,” says Batt.

Check out the video and share your thoughts on the NiftyKeyZ in the comments!

Topics covered:

00:00 Intro and sound demo
02:26 Functions and Top panel connections
03:46 Patch breakdown and voice mode
7:00 connecting modules
08:15 LFO and mod connections
10:34 Voice modes and split
15:20 Arpeggiator and transpose
18:44 Wrap and conclusion

NiftyKEYZ Eurorack Keyboard Case Is ‘Epic AF’, Featuring 4 Channels Of CV Control, Aftertouch & More

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Cre8audio today introduced NiftyKEYZ, a Eurorack keyboard controller case that they say is ‘epic AF’, with four channels of CV control, MIDI In/Out, Splits, and arpeggiator, built-in utilities, expressive control and more.

NiftyKEYZ combines a full-sized 49-key synth-action MIDI controller keyboard with 112hp of space for Eurorack modules, so you can house all-in-one synths like the Moog Mother-32 and use them as keyboards, or create a custom keyboard-controlled modular rig.

NiftyKEYZ offers keyboard & MIDI control over 4 CV + Gate outs. NiftyKEYZ’s MIDI implementation lets you use use each of its 4 CV + Gate outs as either a part of a fully patchable polyphonic instrument or to control four modular or analog instruments. Additionally, each voice can be split across multiple MIDI zones on the keyboard. This means you can create a 4-voice polyphonic instrument or a 3-voice instrument in part of the keyboard range, while splitting another voice into a monophonic instrument elsewhere.

NiftyKEYZ also features a wide range of built-in control features for expressive performance and to give you new options for controlling your modular gear. These include a multi-mode arpeggiator, multi-mode clock-synced LFO, aftertouch, velocity, sustain/latch mode, internal clock, expression out and more. All of these performance features are tied to CV outs, offering a wide variety of modulation and control possibilities.

In addition to the NiftyKEYZ’s CV & audio capabilities, it incorporates useful utility modules, like integrated 2x buffered multiples, 2x outputs and headphone out with dedicated controls.

NiftyKEYZ is also a very capable USB and 5 pin Din MIDI controller and device. It can not only take MIDI in from computers and external MIDI devices, but also send MIDI back out to control them. This means you can use NiftyKEYZ to control software-based instruments, other MIDI instruments, and/or let it be sequenced from DAWs, MIDI controllers, and sequencers.

Features:

  • Full size 49 key synth-action keybed with aftertouch
  • 4x CV + gate outs – can be split by keyboard zone and used polyphonic or monophonic modes
  • CV out for Aftertouch, Velocity, Modwheel/LFO, Expression
  • Clock – internal clock and externally clockable + clock divider
  • 2x buffered mults
  • Useable case area = 112hp for eurorack modules
  • Power output for modules
  • +12V – 1500mA
  • -12V – 1000mA
  • +5V – 1000mA
  • Multi-mode arpeggiator
  • Auto-chord function
  • Transpose function
  • Glide control
  • Swing control
  • Multi-mode clock synced LFO
  • Sustain pedal input (controls MIDI and gates)
  • Two volume controllable 1/4” ts mono outputs on its rear (mirrored 3.5mm outs on top)
  • Dedicated control for headphone out with 1/4” headphone jack on its rear
  • USB MIDI class-compliant – no drivers needed
  • MIDI in via USB and 5 pin Din
  • MIDI thru via 5 Pin Din and USB

Here’s the official user guide:

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Pricing and Availability:

NiftyKEYZ is available now with an estimated street price of $599.99 / €599.99.

Pitch Innovations Fluid Chord Lets You Polyphonically Pitch Bend From One Chord To Another

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Pitch Innovations has introduced Fluid Chords, a MIDI-FX plugin for Mac & Windows that lets you polyphonically bend from any chord to any chord.

They ask:

“Why do the notes in our piano roll have to be so straight?
Why are we still using tools that were cutting-edge decades ago?
Why can’t we bend fluidly between many chords?
Our vision always starts with a simple ‘Why?’”

With Fluid Chords, you can create unique pitch FX, bend from a single note to a whole chord and more.

Here’s the official intro video:

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Pricing and Availability

Fluid Chords is available now for $49 USD.

via Jon Stubbs

Novation Intros FLkey 37, FLkey Mini FL Studio Controllers

Novation today introduced FLkey Mini and FLkey 37 – the first MIDI keyboard controllers designed to be fully integrated with FL Studio.

The FLkey range puts FL Studio’s mixer at your fingertips, and lets you take control of FL Studio’s Step Sequencer straight from the keyboard. You can also can program beats with FLkey’s Channel rack straight from the pads.

Other features include support for Scale and Fixed Chord modes, control over instruments and automation, preset browsing and support for Custom Modes for creating custom workflows with FL Studio.

FLkey Mini is a compact 25-mini-key MIDI keyboard, designed to combine a portable keyboard with essential FL Studio control.

FLkey 37 expands on its Mini counterpart, giving creators a full-size keyboard for a larger octave range. FLkey 37 also has extra features including Channel rack control, Fixed Chord mode and User Chord mode, which lets you play custom chords with just one finger, and Scale Chord mode, which lets you play pre-made chords in eight different scales straight from FLkey’s pads.

Novation’s FLkey is the ideal keyboard and MIDI controller for high quality music production in FL Studio. FLkey’s intuitive features help producers to amplify their creativity, finish tracks fast, and keep on creating. The perfect tool to help aspiring producers develop skills and learn while they create, FLkey brings artists closer to their music and lets them create with no limits.

Here are the official video demos:

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Features:

  • Seamless Integration with FL Studio
  • Volume and pan control
  • Step sequencer
  • Channel Rack playability
  • Scale mode
  • Instrument control – Trigger FPC, SliceX and Fruity Slicer with the pads for more expressive beats and melodies.
  • Plug-in control – Control Image Line plug-ins and record natural-sounding automation with FLkey’s eight pots.
  • Preset browsin – Browse presets in Image Line plug-ins directly from FLkey.
  • Fixed Chord mode – Play custom chords with one finger (FLkey 37 only).
  • User Chord mode – Assign 16 custom chords and play them with just one finger. Store chord progressions for rapid song building and performance (FLkey 37 only).
  • Scale Chord mode – Play 32 pre-made chords in eight different scales straight from the pads (FLkey 37 only).
  • Custom modes – Assign custom controls to the pads and pots to tailor your music production workflow.

Pricing and Availability:

FLkey Mini and FLkey 37 are available now, priced at $109.99 and $199.99 USD.

This Laser-Powered MIDI Controller Will Trigger Your Vuvuzela

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The latest Perfect Circuit video takes an in-depth look at the BEAMZ, a laser-powered MIDI controller that not only lets you trigger your vuvuzela, but lets you get your cardio in while you do it.

You may know the BEAMZ as Beamz by Flo Rida, a smaller, four-laser version that was marketed as an easy way for people with no musical skills to have fun making music. You could use it to trigger samples and loops, or even your vuvuzela air horn sample:

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But Wes at Perfect Circuit managed to track down the original BEAMZ Professional Edition – a larger, more powerful MIDI controller that’s more like a mainstream take on Jean Michel Jarre’s Laser Harp.

Where Beamz by Flo Rida featured quadruple laser triggers, the full-size BEAMZ Professional Edition featured sextuple laser-triggered MIDI action. So you can still use it to trigger your vuvuzela, but you can also use it to trigger loops in Live or play a soft synth.

“Working in the professional corner of the electronic music industry, it’s easy for us to look at a device like Beamz and immediately write it off as a gimmick,” notes Perfect Circuit’s Ryan Gaston.

But he adds, “While we’ve had fun prodding at Beamz, frankly, it has provided us with some of the most fun we’ve had playing with music gear in a long time. No joke – you can trigger an airhorn sample with a laser. No matter how old I get, that is always going to be awesome.”

Beamz Interactive is still around and making laser controllers, but their focus has shifted towards music education and music therapy.

Are you ready to trigger your vuvuzela in a new way? Check out the video demo and share your thought in the comments!

CME Announces Sign Up, 50% Discount On SWIDI Bluetooth MIDI Keyboard

CME has launched a crowd creation project for their SWIDI Bluetooth MIDI Controller.

The first 3,000 registrants will get a 50% discount during the presale and have the opportunity to share input on the wireless controller’s development.

Rip-off Or Kick-off?

CME originally introduced the SWIDI as a knockoff of the Behringer SWING, itself a knockoff of the Arturia Keystep.

Now they’ve updated their page with the heading “Rip-off or Kick-off?”, asking customers to decide the fate of the new controller. They say that “With 3,000 active registrants, SWIDI becomes a reality.”

Questions that the company is asking customers do decide include:

  • Do you want it to be wired or wireless?
  • Do you want CV/gate or USB ports?
  • Do you need polyAT? Do you require battery power or wireless charging?
  • Do you prefer wired or wireless?

If you’re interested in sharing input on the development of the SWIDI, see the CME site.

ROLI Introduces Seaboard RISE 2

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ROLI today launched the Seaboard RISE 2, a refined and reimagined version of their Seaboard expressive MIDI controller.

Here’s what’s new with the Seaboard RISE 2:

  • A new Keywave2 playing surface, tested with piano and Seaboard players to be more intuitive and expressive, featuring precision frets which help players to feel the exact position of their fingers on each key.
  • A more powerful, comprehensive, and versatile suite of bundled software, including Equator2 synth (normally $249), featuring 1400+ presets. Ableton Live Lite and ROLI Studio are also included.
  • A burnished platinum blue aluminum chassis,
  • Expanded compatibility with other instruments with MIDI Port and USB-C.
  • A next generation version of ROLI Dashboard, featuring enhanced 5D visualizers to customize your settings.

Invented by Roland Lamb in 2009, the Seaboard is, according to ROLI, the best-Selling MPE controller of all time.

The Seaboard is designed to give you 5 dimensions of gestural expression, per note. Most of these options are unavailable on more traditional keyboards:

  • Strike to sound a note at different velocities
  • Glide from side to side to bend pitch or create vibrato
  • Slide up and down to add brightness or texture to a sound
  • Press into the Keywaves to deepen sounds or simulate the effect of breath on a wind instrument
  • Lift off at varying speeds to effect a sound’s resonance
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ROLI says that the Seaboard RISE 2 is another big step forward in realizing the technology’s extraordinary power.

“RISE 2 is easier to play, more durable and a more beautiful, expressive experience than ever before. It is also an experience transformed by over a decade of development in Equator2,” according to Lamb. “This launch marks the transition of MPE from a fledgling, peripheral project to an established and mature category, which is becoming increasingly central to how digital music is made.

The Keywave2 silicone playing surface is at the forefront of the improvements to Seaboard RISE 2. Keywave2 provides tactile feedback with new precision frets, broadened surfaces, and articulated edges. Similar to a string on a guitar fretboard, this enables tonally precise and natural performances.

“The new precision frets on the RISE 2 address the biggest challenge Seaboardists have faced — playing in tune and modulating sounds without your fingers slipping off the keywaves,” notes Seaboard guru Marco Parisi. “Any piano or keyboard player will now be able to translate their skills more quickly than ever before.”

The Seaboard Rise 2 also has a new ability to pair with other MIDI instruments and devices via both MIDI port and USB-C. RISE 2 retains the Touch Fader hardware controls, integrated battery and MIDI over Bluetooth support of the original RISE.

ROLI Studio (worth $99, £79, €89), an enhanced ROLI Dashboard, and Ableton Live Lite are also included in the complete bundle.

ROLI Seaboard Performance Demo:

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Pricing and Availability:

The RISE 2 is available to preorder now for $1,399 (£1,099, €1,299), with limited availability expected for 2022.

Multi MIDI Controller, Filter, Router & Sound Generator

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Pangrus shared this video demo of the Multi, a multi-function MIDI device that can be used as a MIDI controller, sound generator, sequencer and more.

The Pangrus Multi is available as a kit or fully assembled. It allows any kind of MIDI filtering and routing operation and it also functions as a bi-directional USB to DIN converter.

It’s based on the Seeeduino XIAO, so you can program Multi as a simple sequencer, algorithmic arpeggiator, aleatoric patch generator and more.

The Multi is based on open source software, and several options are already available:

  • drone – a six oscillators drone machine.
  • synth_sequencer – a three oscillatorsmonophonic synth with embedded sequencer. It receives MIDI clock and note messages.
  • bytebeat player – play salgorithmic music, with no instruments and no real oscillators, but a math expression that creates an audio output waveform as a function of time, processed 8000 times per second. The expression has six parameters accessible through the multi knobs.
  • midi converter – a USB to 5 DIN bi-directional MIDI converter.
  • midi metronome – takes the MIDI clock from the 5 DIN midi connector and generates a metronome click on the audio output, to allow acoustic musicians to synchronize their performance to an electronic setup.

Pricing and Availability

Multi is available in limited quantities, priced at $115 as a full kit or $140 assembled.