Learn To Make Hip Hop

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Bitsonic updates Mid/Side Equalizer for Windows

Written by Site Update on July 4th, 2015

Bitsonic has updated The Mid/Side Equalizer for Windows, to 1.2. Changes: Fix: Changed HP and LP filter code. The previous version worked with unwished noise. Repaired automation problem. New: [Read More]
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MeldaProduction updates all effects and MPowerSynth to 9.05

Written by Site Update on July 4th, 2015

MeldaProduction has updated all effect plugins and MPowerSynth to 9.05, providing several new features, optimizations, improvements and fixes. Changes for effects in 9.05.Changes for MPowerSynth [Read More]
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Mosaic Beats releases AutoTheory 2.0

Written by Site Update on July 4th, 2015

Mosaic Beats has released version 2.0 of AutoTheory. The upgrade includes a new Chord Memory function, multiple workflow enhancements, more options for existing parameters and more flexibility [Read More]
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GuDa Audio updates KickR to v1.3

Written by Site Update on July 4th, 2015

GuDa Audio has updated KickR to v1.3. This update adds two distortion modes including tube-emulating distortion. Small updates are done to the GUI including show length in ms of kick and the [Read More]
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BSerrano updates Anubis to v2.1 for Windows

Written by Site Update on July 3rd, 2015

BSerrano has updated Anubis to v2.1 for Windows. What’s new: A new modulator in the matrix: Random. Each time a note is played, a random value is sent to the selected targets. Improved visibility [Read More]
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Planet-H updates G-Stomper Studio for Android to v4.3 and brings full round-trip MIDI to G-Stomper Apps

Written by Site Update on July 3rd, 2015

Planet-H has updated G-Stomper Studio for Android to v4.3. This new release comes with full round-trip MIDI (IN/OUT) integration, MIDI clock sync (IN/OUT), MIDI CC/Key/Channel learn and much [Read More]
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Mercuriall Audio Software announces “Tube Amp Ultra 530″ for Mac & Win VST & AU

Written by Site Update on July 3rd, 2015

Mercuriall Audio Software has announced a new plugin called Tube Amp Ultra 530. It is expected to be released in the Autumn of 2015 for Mac OS X and Windows in AU and VST plugin formats. Features [Read More]
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Mold Sound with Tingle, a Music Controller That Looks Like Pin Art

Written by Site Update on July 3rd, 2015

Click here to view the embedded video.

It looks like Pin Art or Pinscreens – those moldable frames full of pins popularized in the 80s. But the result is something that lets you dig your hands into sound and musical structures in new ways. It looks expressive and, let’s be honest, really fun.

(For the research minded, there’s also a NIME report below.)

From the edge of the Netherlands’ slick design scene, industrial designer and music technologist Arvid Jense joins CDM for a series of interviews with Eindhoven Music Startups. Here’s his encounter with Nupky.

Eindhoven Music Startups: Nupky

Rhys Duindam is a graduated Industrial Designer from TU/e. Through Nupky, he is creating a tangible music controller which aims to bring back a the acoustic touch and feel to digital music creation. Inspired by a pinscreen, the Tingle will let you mold sounds with your hands or anything else. A release date is not yet available.

How did you come to make your product?

If you look at most digital music gear it uses sliders, knob and buttons to control sound. These were basically the only available interface elements at the time synthesizers were developed. But because of this, we have lost most of the acoustic qualities of music instruments. Digital instruments have their own strengths, but the acoustic experience of a piano or guitar is priceless. With Tingle I am trying to recapture that acoustic experience in electronic instruments.

Most of the product I developed myself, but how I got there was through the help of my coach Hans Leeuw. He pointed me towards the right sources and pushed me to continue Tingle rather than moving on to a new project. For this I am grateful.

Tingle consists of:

  • pressure sensitive pins (which are spring loaded so that they push back on your fingers)
  • an accelerometer (to detect things like shakes and thereby create whammy bar-like effects)
  • and vibration motors (so you feel what’s happening with the sound, a bit like the vibrations in the body of an acoustic guitar against your own body).

What I want is for a Tinglist to have a specific role in a band. For example; the soundscape player of the band. This would be lost if I would make Tingle an all-in-one device. So I am orchestrating specific software synthesizers to be made, which the Tingle then controls. We might add MIDI control later as a secondary function, once all the control subtlety has been brought in.

Tingle

It can certainly be interesting to combine all components of music under one controller, like DJ’s have it, but then that would be the specific characteristic of that controller. But if a player wants to be in control of a specific role in the song composition (like a guitarist would), you’re going to feel very limited. Personally I think that more digital instruments should find their specific sound/play character.

A good example is Ableton Push. It might initially look like it is just a grid of buttons, but it is very well thought out. There is a specific character with which it integrates with the software, so that music production finally feels like you are playing a musical instrument again, and not controlling variables. I think this is a huge step into the right direction.

What are your future plans?

There is no fixed deadline to the release Tingle, but we hope to make the five looks-like feels-like prototypes with a synthesizer within a month. These will be fully functional and will be given to a number of musicians to see what can still be improved before Tingle goes into production. Hopefully before the end of the year I can sell the first units. But things always take more time than you would expect, so who knows it might be next summer.

I want to sell Tingle for about €400. It should be a lot cheaper than specialty controllers like the Haaken Continuum, and more in the price range of a multi-effects pedal, because I want everybody to be able to use it. But first I have some hurdles to conquer before that is possible. The biggest issue right now is that each Tingle needs 512 pins. For 5000 tingles, that would mean we have to make over 2.5 million pins, put springs on each pin and insert them into Tingles. It takes a lot manual labor to do this.

In the meantime, we are looking at different mappings of the grid to sound; be it zoned or more blob/molding-like. We hope to be able to switch from a sound-building mode to a sound-playing mode. In build mode, you’ll be able to mold the synthesis parameter with your hands, and following this you can play your sounds in play mode. So if you want to switch to a solo sound, you just have to remember the shape to play it.

Mark IJzerman is one of the sound designers working with me on Tingle. He made the very first soundscape for Tingle, which at that time was a plugin for Ableton in which you had a grid that was coupled to a musical scale. This meant that wherever you pushed, you got a bunch of complementary notes and that always sounded good. This was important as a demo because we wanted to show that everyone could make great sounds with Tingle.

Mark is now working with Andreas Lo-A-Njoe, our sound programmer, to transform everything you do with Tingle into directly logical sounds. So that you feel like you are getting the sounds you intended; such as subtle sounds when you use the tips of your fingers or bombastic sounds when you push your full hand into it with force. This very likely would mean that we will step away from the grid mechanic, as it is too static for such a dynamic interface as Tingle.

Diemo Swarz, researcher / developer at IRCAM, modified CataRT for Tingle. CataRT is a software he wrote which splits a sample into many grains, and then places similar grains next to each other in a 2D grid (much like the pins are oriented on Tingle). So when you press somewhere in Tingle, you will get a group of sounds which all sound similar. For example, a sample of fire crackling will make it feel like you can really play and control fire. Super cool stuff.

Click here to view the embedded video.

The creative team Ethno Tekh, from Melbourne, is also writing something for Tingle using their own granular synthesizer – Grain Plane. With this it will feel like you are playing moving echo’s. Really great stuff.

But this is only in music. Since Tingle is a sensor, it is a tool. It can be used for anything that takes queues from a computer. I know I will be working on some VJing applications in the near future.

Why are you doing this?

It might sound silly, but one of my main motivators was seeing that a lot of [industrial design] student projects just stay as ideas. A lot of people have had super awesome concepts, which just died. So I felt like we needed role-models who succeed in bringing their projects to market. And I must admit, by doing it I understand why it doesn’t happen more often; it’s just really difficult.

It’s difficult because what I’m doing is what they call a boot-strapped startup, which basically means you’ve got no money at all. You have to manage everything yourself. I’ve invested more than €18.000 into Tingle up until now, which is paid for by teaching, making videos and doing other jobs on the side. The only things I pay for are food and rent. And everything else goes into my company.

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Next to this, my vision is about helping people with their self-esteem through playful and magical interactions. I used to be very introverted and nerdy. I was bullied and had terrible self-esteem. Over the years I got past this, but when I look back, I think, why did I live like this? Most people suffer from self-esteem, and this holds them back. So many people with great talent, who underestimated themselves, never fulfill their potential. Design is just my medium, through which I hope to show people that they are better than they know.  I like to quote Edmund Burke: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

What do you think design thinking brings to electronic instruments?

When I look at the electrical engineers, I really feel like I’m not smart enough. Engineers are really smart people. But my focus is on the beauty of interaction, on the ways people use things. Engineers have a talent with programming and building the most fantastic and crazy technological things, but quite often these things miss the human aspect. Some even embrace non-humanness. For instance I recently saw an instrument which had a body frame with connected gloves, arms, head, going all around the body. Which is cool! But most people in the world are not looking forward to putting on a robot suit to play music. Engineers often work from what is possible, “yes this is possible and this and that”, while a designer will say “Why this? And why that?”.  I guess that is the difference.

But I think a lot of designers can be a bit arrogant, thinking our way is the Holy Grail to save the world. Bullshit. It’s through partnerships of different people that you get truly awesome things. Put aside the ego. Technical people make crazy innovations, we designers bring the human aspects to technology and business people ensure that those things succeed in the real world.

Tingle (1)

How do you deal with investors?

I wanted to start with a Kickstarter, but I didn’t feel confident that I could get enough people interested in a short time.  It’s not like people stumble upon your Kickstarter and spontaneously decide to invest. It’s only when two thirds of your project is funded that it gets traction. And at the time I tought, I’m no salesman. I’m a designer and an inventor.

So to ensure the project arrives on the market, I’m now working with Ad van Berlo and Joost van Dijk to fine-tune the product and business. Joost will help with the business plan and negotiations, Ad will get Tingle manufacture ready, and I will take care of the experience, service and vision.

To prepare for this, we teamed up with two young entrepreneurs (FRANS prototyping) to developed a new sensor for Tingle; and these guys are wunderkinds. They’ve transformed the old sensor I’ve developed into something six times faster, making it zero latency, having a 100% improvement in signal-noise reduction, and removing a lot of the earlier bugs. Also our two sound designers Mark IJzerman and Andreas Lo-A-Njoe are hard at work!

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Is your product Open-Source?

I’ve gotten a patent on the technology of the Tingle; which takes a lot time & money and I don’t really agree with the principle, but I need it as a negotiation tool. I would like to let my patent be open to use for experimentation and the furtherment of knowledge, but malicious companies who just want to copycat my product also need to be considered.

All in all I’m a big supporter of open-source technology. All software will be published as open max/msp or puredate objects, so users can make their own patches with it. The danger however when making open-source products is that I won’t get a return on my investment, so I won’t be able to continue making more products like this. I’m still figuring out how to do this correctly. I might need to find a job on the side. I always choose for my vision over money, but at some point money will become an issue towards that vision.

Together with Diemo Schwarz  and Hans Leeuw, I’m writing a paper for NIME. In the article I explain all the design and technical aspects of Tingle; how it works and how you can build it yourself. All theories of giving electronic instruments more acoustic properties are also discussed. Basically a summary of the one and a half years of knowledge I’ve gained on this project so other people can also make use of it.

I publish it because I want to see the things made by the crazy genius of technology savvy people who can take my ideas to a level which I can’t reach. I believe in the power of many, and the more people who have access to a technology, the more interesting the results will be. To keep this alive I will be making a website on which you can share the creations you make with the Tingle, whether it is a soundscape or a VJ controller. Should be great!

How is Eindhoven for you?

I’ve often considered other places. In fact, just after graduating I wanted to go to San Francisco, just for skateboarding and the sun. The Dutch weather doesn’t really match with my sports passion. I stayed because I have a great network in Eindhoven. The Dutch government supports young companies decently and Eindhoven is quite often seen as a next technological world center. We’ve got all creative and skilled people around us.  I’ve joined the Designers collective DOK.PUNT and I could 100% recommend joining a collective like this if you are an independent designer. Because this way you will always have people around you to discuss ideas with, or find out things if you don’t know the answer, and this actually happens constantly.

Eindhoven is also crazy full of starting companies; you can feel the energy in the air like electricity. There is a bubble of creative energy here which will explode at some day. OWOW and LunchBox synths are some of the other people making instruments here in Eindhoven. So there is always someone to spar with.

shop1web

What is the future of music?

We can break our need for traditional instruments now, because we as generation Y have grown up with technology. We fight for our individuality, and we are constantly looking to the future. There are a lot of artists also looking for new ways to make their style unique. So I don’t think it’ll be a problem for new instruments to be accepted. But we do have to take care that it won’t become a gadget economy. A box with sixteen knobs and samples won’t be enough anymore. The objects will have to become real musical instruments, which allow you to use a range of skills to make music.

Tingle has the advantage in this because it a ‘wanna-have’ object; you just want to touch it. Some children at a demo recently were playing with Tingle for at least half an hour whilst telling their parents that they would rather have a Tingle than an iPad for Christmas. A pretty good indication I would say that they liked it.

Tingle at NIME

Tingle was a featured presentation at this year’s international New Instruments for Musical Expression (NIME) conference, held a few weeks ago at Louisiana State University in the USA. The project is available as part of the NIME proceedings (with a free PDF) if you care to learn more:

Tingle: A Digital Music Controller Re-Capturing the Acoustic Instrument Experience

Rhys Duindam, Nupky, Eindhoven University of Technology,
Diemo Schwarz, ISMM team, Ircam–CNRS–UPMC
Hans Leeuw, Electrumpet, University of the Arts Utrecht, University of Huddersfield

The post Mold Sound with Tingle, a Music Controller That Looks Like Pin Art appeared first on Create Digital Music.


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Inside the 18€ Lunchbox Synthesizer Kit with Unit Unlikely

Written by Site Update on July 3rd, 2015

Click here to view the embedded video.

18€ buys you this lunchbox-style synthesizer kit – and it’s just the thing to put together on your lunch break.

Unit Unlikely is a hardware startup working with simple parts to make accessible, fun instruments. And its founder joins our resident Dutch design expert to talk about what it’s like diving into the synth business for the first time – and where he might go.

It all continues our series from Eindhoven, NL. From the edge of the Netherlands’ slick design scene, industrial designer and music technologist Arvid Jense joins CDM for a series of interviews with Eindhoven Music Startups. Here he talks to Unit Unlikely.

Eindhoven music startups: Unit Unlikely

Tijs Duel is a master student at the Industrial Design faculty at Eindhoven University of Technology. Together with Sebastiaan de Monte, he makes the Lunchbox synthesizer with their company Unit Unlikely. The Lunchbox is sold as a kit for €18.

How did you come to make your product?

I received my first analog synthesizer as a gift after an internship at STEIM. This was the super cool Korg Monotribe. Suddenly a whole world of making sounds opened for me. Sebastiaan (de Monte) and I thought this was fascinating. But there were not a lot of other cheap synthesizers available for us to play around with. With this dissatisfaction we thought “what if we wouldn’t only make our own sounds, but even make our own instruments which make our own sounds? What could happen if extend the creative process that much?” So we started a company to see if we could make our own synthesizers; Unit Unlikely.

For this arose the Lunchbox; a synthesizer based on three 555 timers. It’s basically a do-it-yourself, analog synthesizer which fits into your pocket, with a 9v battery and a 3.5mm output. You play it with four knobs, two for tone control, one for tremolo and one for volume. Everything is enclosed in a cardboard box, which we think is important, because we want it to be a full instrument rather than just a bunch of electronics; you’ll have something to hold on to, instead of the nasty solder points on the bottom of the circuit board. We’ve got a lot of very positive reactions, so we wanted to explore the possibilities selling the Lunchbox. To keep production costs low, we decided to make kits out of it. It shouldn’t be just a soldering practice or a toy for some weird sounds, but we want people to play songs with it or that that they use it as input for their samplers.

dsc_0251

We started with the sale of single units at a Maker Faire. This went ok, but we saw that the task of soldering was a big holdback for people. We decided to give workshops, which turned out to be very popular. We gave workshops at for instance Dutch Design Week and for Serious Request, which were structurally sold out. In these workshops we teach people how to solder, after which they make the Lunchbox. When their synth is done, the participants circuit bend the instrument to get the whole sound making experience. If there is time left, they can hack the device by adding controls for the bends they found, so their synth will be completely personalized. (Someone modified the Lunchbox to be controlled with a sequencer.) People really like the workshops. The youngest participant was 7 and the oldest in his late 50s!

We want people to completely destroy the Lunchbox to get even more crazy sounds. The idea is that through the limitations of the instrument, it causes people to do even more interesting things; moving the borders of what is possible. Breaking down the Lunchbox and making it function in a completely different way would be the biggest honor we could have. It is our goal to have everybody building their own personal instruments.

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We’ve sold over 100 lunchboxes in six months. Maybe not a super huge amount, but it takes a lot of time to do everything by hand. Except for the circuit boards, we handle all the production ourselves; the design process, distribution, printing, cutting, sorting etc. Our process is now made for a small number of units, the advantage is that we can be flexible and won’t be stuck with big batches of products to sell. If we come up with improvements or if someone comes with a genius idea, we can immediately bring out a new version.

Some people are scared of making and soldering the Lunchbox, but we’ve made a manual, slowly and clearly explaining the process, so you can make it in one and a half hour. And you’ll enjoy the device for the rest of your life, so just try it.  For the people who want to buy a Lunchbox, we’re updating the website right now and are making video tutorials to demonstrate assembly. We are really happy with the people who mess around with it at home. Eventualy we hope to see artist such as Amon Tobin using the Lunchbox.

What do you think design thinking brings to electronic instruments?

The biggest difference is that someone who has studied electronics could do everything we did in half the time. But they would’ve chosen very different solutions. For instance, for the tremolo inside the Lunchbox, we’ve started making it by copying transistor based circuits like those in guitar pedals. But we felt like those were too complicated and had too many components. So we started looking for simpler methods to make a tremolo. What we found, is that we could just use the same timer as we use to generate our tones, to control a LED, which in turn shines on a light dependent resistor, modulating the sound. This also gives new possibilities for hacking, as you can now modify the sound by simply opening and closing the casing. In this way, our naivety gave us a creative solution which made the Lunchbox more interesting. It also lowered the price and amount of components, so this was an amazing solution for everyone.

We’ve started with zero knowledge about synthesizers and we went through that whole learning experience while making the Lunchbox. If you are an electronics expert making a kit, you might have forgotten the struggles of beginners of just understanding what you are making. So because we went through the same struggles as the people who will be building our synthesizers, the user basically experiences the joy of our journey of building a first synthesizer.

edit lunchbox af

What are your future plans?

Version two of the Lunchbox is currently in production. It’s made just a bit better than the first one, with different components, better alignment on the circuit board (so everything will make a lot more sense when soldering), the board is a bit more compact, it’s more beautiful because it’s black, and it has a breakout area (so you can put your hacks on the circuit board itself rather than hanging them in the air). We looked to what people were actually doing right and wrong, and we adjusted the manuals, circuit boards and components to make everything work better. It’s a growing process in getting feedback from users and making adjustments. But by doing the workshops, we have a lot of contact with our users. We feel like the Lunchbox is basically finished, there might be subtle changes, but we’re quite satisfied and proud with what we have now.

We are now starting development with Pim, who recently joined us,  for small amplifiers mainly for guitar and bass. A guitar amplifier kit, again in a cardboard box, weighing a kilogram, you build it yourself and it gives a bit of a tube sound. We’ve got the first prototypes and within now and March we should get the first circuit board samples. These can be pre-ordered through our website.

bentobox

Whether we will continue for a long time will depend on the amount of feasible ideas we’ll get. It is a difficult blend to find things which are producible on a small scale, but are accessible enough for people to pick up and cheap enough to buy. I would love to go to a bigger scale, but while I’m still at the university, we simply don’t have the time to do that. It is a dream to make synthesizers of which people will say “Do you have that one from Unit Unlikely? It’s the shit.” Or if some of our idols would make an album with our instrument.

Why do you choose to be independent? How do you deal with investors?

As we’re just students, we don’t have much money to invest, all the money we make, we put back into the company. We’re not losing anything, but we won’t get rich doing this. We just want to be able to throw our ideas into the world. We hope to inspire the analog synthesizer community, by making playing and building synthesizers available to younger people or at least people with a smaller wallet.

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Is your product Open-Source?

We’re working on it. The Lunchbox was based on the Atari Punk Console, so we won’t be able to patent it anyways. It’s a difficult balance how to make something open source so that we can teach people things, without people losing their need to buy something. We should find a way not to scare newcomers, because if you publish all schematics, people might think it’s not a finished product; That you really have to be a nerd to make it work.  We want to show that everybody, whatever skill level, can make it. That it’s a finished product. We want to show how we put our blood and sweat (not that many tears) into the company, and that we don’t do it for the money.  We buy and use a lot of open source things so we would love to make our product open source as well.

How is Eindhoven for you?

We’re bound here because we’re still in university. We don’t have an office; we build a lot at the university and at our own student rooms, which we rebuilt as a temporary workshop. There is a presence of an technology and music scene in Eindhoven. There are the Geluidsdrug electronic jam sessions, creating a great scene. Dutch Design Week is here of course. But I won’t say that these things are what keeps us in Eindhoven. At this point it is mostly a practical that we can’t just pack our bags and move to say Berlin. But it’s good to be here, a lot of friends and enough music around us.

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What is the future of music?

What I noticed is that analog synthesizers are getting more popular and smaller. Look at the Teenage Engineering OP-1. I think everything will become more portable. I like to see the lunchbox as an audio snack for on the road.

I secretly hope that smartphones will disappear as musical controllers, because I feel like they can never become real instruments. What I think is that will happen in the future is more blends between other arts, like dancing , painting, or new synths that might make music with nature. Electronics are very useful for closing gaps between disciplines. Because they are getting smaller, it becomes more easy to use them for all sorts of tasks. You can make whole new sounds and whole new ways of creating sounds. I could combine an accelerometer and a lunchbox on a spoon, and create a whole new experience of eating soup.

It’s not the question whether that is music, but to what are the new possibilities. It could take some time to hatch, but then we get truly new music. Designers and scientist will have to make the new tools for this first, and at some point artists will rise whom can make great new music with it. It is not that we are stuck now, but there is still a whole lot more to be gained. There are infinite sounds, but we can discover a whole lot that has not been heard. I am interested in moving away from the established norms. I think we’ll keep looking for new sounds. I’m excited for it!

The post Inside the 18€ Lunchbox Synthesizer Kit with Unit Unlikely appeared first on Create Digital Music.


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Wave Your Hands or Draw to Make Sounds, with OWOW – Kickstarter Deadline Approaches

Written by Site Update on July 3rd, 2015

“Instead of going to music school, I studied design.”

Wiggle, wob, drum, pads, and scan are new gestural instruments that seek to cut the distance between an idea, making a move with your body, and a sound. Think you could draw a doodle that expresses a sound? Wish you could just air-drum in that percussion line? Easier to wave your hand to describe a noise? These modular components let you do just that.

OWOW, the startup behind it, is nearing a funding goal on Kickstarter – but it’s not quite there, five days until the deadline. So now is the perfect time to go behind the scenes. Not satisfied with that demo video? We’ve got our own resident contributing design expert to head to the source and investigate – completing today’s three-part look at cutting-edge Dutch design startups from the town of Eindhoven.

From the edge of the Netherlands’ slick design scene, industrial designer and music technologist Arvid Jense joins CDM for a series of interviews with Eindhoven Music Startups.

Eindhoven music startups: OWOW

Pieter Jan Pieters is the founder of OWOW, the Omnipresent World Of Wizkids. After graduating Design Acadamy Eindhoven with the Sound On Intuition project (in which he explored movement and musical computer control) and an internship at Teenage Engineering, he’s starting to make his way with things like the Social Project and Booty Drum. Aiming to earn their marks as an independent design studio, OWOW is bringing out a new breed of intuitive MIDI controllers in early spring through Kickstarter. The first series will be brought out in credit-card and product format with an estimated price of €50 and €80. After this series, the same form-factor is planned to be extended for analog modules and digital effect. See their instagram for more pictures and videos.

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How did you come to make your product?

Everything started two years ago, when I graduated Design Academy Eindhoven where I made a series of musical instruments for which the goal was that they could be played intuitively, without the need for learning theory. A lot of people are making music with computer right now, so rather than translating an acoustic instrument like the piano to control the computer, I wanted to make instruments to play the computer. This resulted in a series of instruments, on which for instance, if you’d want a wavy sound, you could make wavy movements. If you’d tap your finger on the table, you’d trigger a sound. If you bend you finger you would bend a sound. You won’t have to learn any new movements, but you can use what you already know.

Click here to view the embedded video.

After graduation, I did a lot of projects for costumers. And now we’re working hard on our own products and are making good progress. Goal is to make a lot of small instruments. For instance our first product will be wob, which is a plug and play distance MIDI controller. There are similar products, but they are very DIY, you’ll have to build and program everything yourself, which is a huge leap for people who don’t understand those kind of things. But I wanted to give the magic of those DIY tools to everyone. Plug and play; your movements just create sounds.

We started making the wob with a high grade aluminum casing to make the product a beautiful as possible. But we’ve noticed that the product would become much more expensive. But as we wanted to keep the price low, we’ve chosen to make two variations: the full product with casing and just the bare circuit board in credit card format. This is still a high grade product, but we strip everything to its essence. You’ll get a 3d print file with it, so you can still print the casing if you want. For the young dudes want just the thing that matters, for the lowest price.

A lot of our friends who have been making a lot of music and who are touring, are constantly trying to bring their home studio. But it is difficult to take everything because a lot of instruments are heavy and take a lot of space. So we though the credit card format would not only look cool, but could be very practical when you have a wallet with six or seven different instruments in it. We want to have one product/form with a lot of different possibilities.

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After the wob we’ll make a whole range of devices. For instance the wiggle, which changes sounds when you move it around its axes. The scan is an analog piano roll, with which you can scannotes you draw on pian. The drum triggers sounds by moving it in the air. And the pads has four drum pads or hot keys. These five are the first series which will come in the credit card format.

Why are you doing this?

This started from me being frustrated that everybody was saying that you need to be able to read music to be able to make music. I could play the drums, but not read music. I just want to make computer music more fun. But it started from a personal interest: this is what I would think is really cool. And apparently there are a lot of people who think similarly and are agreeing with my vision.

How will your instrument change music?

With DAW’s you work in sequencers where you draw in perfectly timed notes, but whether I do it or you do it, it will always sound the same. Already a lot of people start to deliberately shuffle or just-out-of-swing their notes to make everything sound more live. Our products will help bring more personality into the music, because the physical input is always just out-of tempo. Goal is that it will become more personal, with more feeling and more fun! That you’re not just sitting in front of your computer, but that you’re moving and playing. You won’t need to wear a robot suit or have to make huge movements, because the CRD’s and DVC’sare simple and direct.

Click here to view the embedded video.

What do you think design thinking brings to electronic instruments?

If you look at companies like apple, everything looks very slick, even at electronics level. I learned a lot at my internship at Teenage Engineering, because they have a lot of attention to details. So as the product started to go towards just being a bare circuit board, we focused on make just that visually very powerful. It can be both functional and beautiful. Together with Alex, our engineer, we’ve sat down to make the board. Not just to put a graphic on it, but to design it from the start. So then you’ll get things like the finger print at the wiggle, which doubles as an on/off switch. It could’ve just been a switch, but by bringing the functional and aesthetic together, exciting new solution arise.

I’m more focused on users, while engineers are focused on technology. Engineers like to make things more and more complex, while I like to keep things brutishly simple. A guitar is basically a bunch of strings you’re hitting. A drum is just a tensioned skin. A piano is just a key you’re pushing. It’s the simplicity of those instruments which make the musicians creative. The restrictions force you to explore all the ways in which you can use it. All the different options of electronic instruments make them so complex, that people will just choose for the basic settings, losing their resourcefulness. Our products just have one or two functions, that’s it; very specific little instruments, which allow you to explore your own creativity.

The design approach allows you to not always be forced to look for the latest and best technology, but to use those things which are available to the fullest. Some very simple sensors have a lot of possibilities which never have been explored. If you’re technology focused, you might want to develop your own sensors, but we want to check what is possible with this device. We are not the ones adding terms like ‘gesture controls’, while we know that doesn’t work musically. Our thing is stupid.

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What are your future plans?

We will start production, grab all the money and start living on Hawaii. No, but seriously, after the first five, we will take a good look at which ones we’d want to make next. We’d like to bring out new ones regularly. Say every few months or half year there could be a new instrument. We want to bring our instruments to everyone, so we would like to see our instruments at every music store all over the world.

We have a number of musicians who we have given our products to use in their studios. We ask them to play and test them and give us feedback. Sometimes this will result in us adding functionality. One user basically hacked the wob, to be able to triggers sounds just by moving his hand over the device. After checking with other musicians, we added this. So by playing with the instrument, the functionality will develop. We discover new things. We might think something is cool, but only when we see people really using it, we discover the real value. We only put things on it which will be used. For instance, we were measuring the angle of your hand above the wob as an extra effect. But once we made it, we discovered it didn’t work for the users. It might have cost us two weeks, but if it doesn’t work like we want it to, we just remove it. So only playing and testing will get the product we want. You might have ten ideas, but eight of them might not work at all, but you’ll only discover that when you actually build it.

Why do you choose to be independent? How do you deal with investors?

I did not want investors, because then the projects will be about money, and that is not our main interest. We work for costumers for which we do apps, websites or advertisement campaigns. This funds our own work. The CRD series will be the pinnacle of our work on which we have had to give zero concessions, it is purely ours. We’ve extended our release date a few times, just because we thought we could still make it better. But if we would have had investors, there would quickly have been pressure of them to see a return on their investment. This product has to be completely ours, so we can stand on our own feet. We want to be a rebel who can do whatever he wants.

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Is your product Open-Source?

We doubt in how far we want to go open-source. We are making our casing files public so you can print them by yourself, but in code we are looking not to make everything public, but to give possibilities for making a different version. We want to find a balance. We sned to be able to live from this and avoid blatant copy-cats. We’re not making our products for DIYers, but we do want to create possibilities of the people wanting to tweak.

How is Eindhoven for you?

In a way we just stuck around here, as we went to school in this city. But Eindhoven is very good for giving people the space they need, like our studio here (Sectie C, gathering place for a lot of art and design companies). We were considering moving to Antwerp or Amsterdam, but Eindhoven is not bad at all. There is a lot of technological development and while the city doesn’t directly sponsor us, they do create good locations. We are right in between Antwerp and Amsterdam. Maybe because there is no that much to do in Eindhoven, we start working harder; there is a lot of distraction in the big cities and we might just spend our time in café’s and concert halls, here is just our work.

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While we have a super musician we collaborate with in Eindhoven, others are for instance in London. So it doesn’t really matter where you are, in this age you can be anywhere in no time. If you want to meet to someone, you can just take the plane. We would pay four times as much for our space in a big city, while I’d rather spend that money on development.

There are not that many other musical instrument companies in the Netherlands thoguh, a few guitar pedal builders maybe. There is a lot of electronic music history in Eindhoven, but not much remains. There are a lot of DIY synthesizer builders, but I am not aware of anything major going on. But what I notice is that those people working on music products really do their own thing. Maybe in a few years a number of those will get successful and it might seem everything comes from here.

What is the future of music?

Everything will become more expressive. Things have been very serious, but now things will become more playful. In the past some guys just picked up some guitars and a drum kit and just hit it to create something cool. While now people are inside their computer, making music like a programmer. And I think a lot of companies are trying to bring back fun and playfulness. I’m not sure if it will happen, but that is what I want it to turn into. And if people, think it’s cool, we’ll get a stream of people, and otherwise we might have to wait some years.

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The post Wave Your Hands or Draw to Make Sounds, with OWOW – Kickstarter Deadline Approaches appeared first on Create Digital Music.


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