And now for something completely different: what looks like a big analog modular synth is actually an interface for a synth that's entirely digital.
In an interesting turn of the tables, the patch cords here simply tell the digital controller that a connection should be made between virtual modules. When you get everything wired up to taste you can save the patch.
One other item of note is that it has a video output that's generating the digital oscilloscope display you see in the background.
Somewhere between an art project and a product lies the Swarmatron. Big City put up a short video demo from NAMM so you can get an idea of what this strange creature is all about.
Totally Wycked Audio has got an outer space theme going with their Little Dipper vocal formant filter pedal and their Triskellion "harmonic energizer."
To continue the Star Trek theme, here's an instrument that looks like a bassoon that's been assimilated by the Borg. It's actually a MIDI controller called the Eigenharp Alpha. Each of the keys on this controller is velocity and pressure sensitive and will respond to bending on two axes.
Being a Chapman Stick and keyboard player, I thought that I would be able to jump right in and get something musical out of it. However, in the time I spent playing, it just didn't click with me for some reason.
The Theresynth is kind of like a photo-sensitive Theremin. The intensity of the light determines the frequency. Putting that strobing LED pen-like device next to the photosensor results in some pretty cool, synthy sounds.
The purple model below is essentially the same device in a different package. I took the opportunity to do my version of an M. C. Escher piece.
The formerly ubiquitous HR-16 has surfaced again, this time in a lovely circuit bent manifestation. The programming/MIDI side remains as it was with the original, you just get much more interesting sounds out of it.
The prototype Coles 4050 consists of a magnetic mount and two separate ribbon capsules which can be rotated to arbitrary angles, much like the AKG C-24. It comes with two mounts so you can use them as separate mics, too. The mic cables come out of the end of each capsule.
Metasonix has an illustrious history in the Oddities with important milestone products such as the Butt Probe, Wretch Machine, Scrotum Smasher, F*cking F*cker and Ass Blaster.
Imagine my disappointment to find that their newest product was simply called the D-1000. Sure it's got the kind of sound that we've come to expect from Metasonix but without a creatively demented name (and artwork) it's hard for me to get excited about it.
I mean that in the best way. You just hook up to eight of these to an Ethernet switch and they find each other over the network. The input from each unit shows up on every other one, ready for EQ, effects, and levels. It's even got an SD card slot that will record all the tracks for later mixing.
Many guitar players look at the neck when they play anyway so putting chord changes and lyrics there makes a lot of sense.
You use your pick on the touchscreen to select songs and tempos. It's got the potential for storing backing tracks and has a TV output for the full karaoke experience.
It may seem strange to find acoustic piano parts on the Techno Geek page but this is really where this belongs. This company makes very low mass piano actions that utilize super stiff carbon fiber hammer shanks.
Plug this into the input of your pedal and it will tell you how much time you've got left on the battery. The time remaining that is reported takes the current pedal settings into consideration.
Ironically (and understandably), it requires a 9V battery for operation.
You just plug this into your router and then, using an online gaming-style lobby, you make a connection and then peer-to-peer communication. In theory, at a distance of 500 miles you'd still only have 25ms of latency.
Much like a creature from a '60s Japanese monster movie, the snapjack has evolved into a multiheaded creature. You can magnetically mix and match between the usual audio interconnects as well as USB.
©2010 Barry Wood