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SoundForce is announcing the SFC-60 controller

The SFC-60 is a boutique MIDI controller designed to control the TAL-U-NO-LX synth instrument plugin. Finally the sound and the touch of the popular Roland Juno-60 synthesizer are made available right into your DAW offering the advantages of both digital workflow and analog sound. The controller is planned for release in September 2014. The estimated price is 550 euros but this is subject to change according to the amount of pre-orders.

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Musikmesse Frankfurt 2014 Report – Part 1

From year to year it gets harder to decide whether or not to go the “Musikmesse” in Frankfurt. There’s just too much stress there. Everything’s much too loud, there’s not really enough time for anything … and it’s expensive: parking fees, eating out, and so on and so on. So it’s amazing that every year I’m again glad to have been there. It’s not so much the instruments, it’s the musicians, it’s the people round about, it’s the special atmosphere of being one freak among many freaks, all afflicted with the same incurable illness. A great feeling …

We’ll begin our 2014 stroll at Synthesizer Magazin (a German magazine). A nice collection of (surprise, surprise!) synths to be seen there … most of them vintage instruments.

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Roland System 100M – Japanese Impressions

Being one of the neatest modular systems ever, the Roland System 100M was built from 1979 to 1984. This is a good sounding modular synthesizer which is still sought-after these days. Its VCOs and VCFs offer “the right mix of accuracy and analogue imperfection to give you a reliable but human sound”, as Peter Forrests says. This classic miniature modular system is used by Vince Clarke, Hans Zimmer and many other musicians …

We took some images of a 38-module System 100M …

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Roland SH-2 – The Powerful Monophonic Synth

Korg has recently made some fanciful moves and enhanced the market with a new addition of classic analog (MIDI) synths, but at Roland things have remained remarkably quiet. What about a new SH-2 with MIDI, USB, (digital) sequencer and arpeggiator?

Admittedly, the SH-2 (produced between 1979 and 1982) still shines brightly with its 2 VCOs, sub-oscillator and the great Roland lowpass filter. Its hardware is among the best, its sound ranges from silky to steely, always powerful and with a presence all its own.

Attached some photos of Roland’s remarkable vintage SH-2, illustrated here together with the CSQ-600 sequencer. Is there any hope that such instruments will be built again one day?

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Book recommendation: I believe in Music – Ikutaro Kakehashi

Published in 2002 to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the Roland Corporation, this is the inspiring and heartfelt memoir of Ikutaro Kakehashi, a pioneering figure in electronic music instruments and the company’s visionary founder..

From war-torn Japan to his first watch repair business to the dawn of and subsequent enormous leaps of electronic musical instruments, Kakehashi’s story is sometimes wry, sometimes touching, always wise. Through it all, Kakehashi has believed in music above else: his first priority has always been an unwavering passion for expanding the potential for artistic expression.

Ikutaro Kakehashi – I believe in Music

Hardcover, 306 pages
ISBN-10: 0634037838
ISBN-13: 978-0634037832

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Roland SH-32 – Video by Ares Kalogeropoulos

The Roland SH-32 uses a Wave Acceleration Synthesis to deliver up to 32 voices of synth waves and new waveforms. There’s also a fair complement of knobs and sliders, plus analog-style drums, DSP effects and a killer arpeggiator. A very compact machine, occassionally discussed as little brother of the brilliant JP-8000.

Video and music (it’s all the SH-32) by Ares Kalogeropoulos.

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Roland SH-1000 – Video by Ares Kalogeropoulos

The Roland SH-1000 – the first compact synth produced by Roland back in 1973.

An absolutely simple and great sounding synth that gives you smooth basses and edgy leads. In combination with a external stereo delay and reverb it can be a source of inspired music that harks back to the early days of electronica. Even more, actually. Unorthodox use of this synth – letting little accidents happen – will produce screamy resonant leads and buzzy basses with hi speed LFO effects!

Here is a demo I made with the sole use of the SH-1000, with a soft delay and reverb giving it additional atmosphere. A beautifully ugly machine …!