This is the second in a regular feature in which we will highlight some of the excellent news, articles, tutorials and competitions we have on our new sister site Synth Expert.
This last week has been largely about Knobcon which Synthe Expert editor Stephen Fortner attended. Knobcon 2017 is the Chicagoland synth convention that started out six years ago as a grassroots event and has grown into one of the biggest little synth meets in the world.
Exclusive First Look At New Roland D-05 Synth
Perhaps the highlight of this year's Knobcon was the first look at Roland's D-05 synthesizer, which was announced during the show. Based on the architecture of the legendary D-50 Linear Synthesizer whose sound dominated the late '80s and much of the '90s, the D-05 brings it all back in Roland's ever-growing "Boutique" form factor. Check out our exclusive first look video on the Synth Expert site.
First Look At Roland SE-02
Next to their D-05 at the Chicagoland synth convention Knobcon, Roland was showing off their recently-released SE-02, made in collaboration with Los Angeles boutique synth house Studio Electronics. It's real analog, monophonic, with three oscillators, a ladder filter, a delay line, and an absolutely huge sound. Synth Expert will be doing a full review of course, but check out the first-look video at Knobcon 2017.
Elektron Digitakt at Knobcon 2017
The Digitakt from Swedish hardware boutique manufacturer Elektron is a sampler and sequencer. And by "sampler," we mean the real kind on which you can record and edit external audio -- not just load up WAV files or whatnot. One use of the instrument is to record an external synth riff over an existing groove and that fit it to that groove, as Elektron's Devon Hughes shows in this video shot at Knoobcon 2017.
KV Gear Vixen at Knobcon 2017
KV Gear is known for making little tabletop stands that make the lives of synth enthusiasts easier. They put small synths at an angle for easy knob-twiddling, and some stand-rack combos can gang synths such as the Korg Volca series or Roland Boutique series together.
Following up on this philosophy, at Knobcon 2017 they showed a prototype of a mixer that fits into that stand concept: the Vixen. It's intended to mix Korg Volca synths, as well as provide power distribution to all of them, much like a guitarist would use a central power distro on a heavily populated pedalboard.
Check out the full story on Synth Expert where you will find a video from KV's Mike Rafferty.
More On Knobcon 2017 On Synth Expert
There are more stories from Knobcon 2017 for you to check out as well as some great competitions on the Synth Expert Win page.
More About Synth Expert
Our new Synth Expert website is where you will find news, reviews, and how-tos about all things synthesizer. the editor is Stephen Fortner who is a lifelong keyboard player and synth enthusiast and got his start in music technology journalism when Keyboard magazine published a writing sample he had sent them in the late 1990s. He became the technical editor at the beginning of 2006 and the magazine's editor in chief in 2009 through to 2015. Stephen , what are your aims for Synth Expert?
SF: It's my intention that Synth Expert becomes a "big tent." Analog and digital. Hardware and software. Mono and poly. Keyboard synths and modular gear and the musicians who prefer one or the other.
That's not to say we want to be, or can be, all things to all people. DJ technology and culture, for example, will not be a main focus, digital pianos meant for the living room? Well, once in a while, maybe a few of the more synthy ones.
We will maintain a permanent and ever-growing list of free synth plug-ins from third parties. Like the other sites in the Production Expert family, Synth Expert also has Facebook and Twitter feeds to help you keep up to date. Thanks for joining me on this journey, and I hope we have a lot of fun together.