Hacked NES Power Glove controls a modular synth with finger wriggles

Never mind controlling a modular synth by twiddling knobs. If one modder has his way, one of Nintendo’s legendary controllers is the way of the future. Look Mum No Computer (aka Sam Battle) has hacked an NES Power Glove into a gesture controller for...

Moog Subharmonicon review: An experimental synth with an iconic sound

Moog’s current lineup of semi-modular synths all have cute mother-themed names: Mother-32, Drummer From Another Mother (DFAM), Grandmother and Matriarch. But the newest entry -- the $699 Subharmonicon -- abandons that tradition, even though it’s part...

Synthspace recreates the physical presence of a modular synth in VR

There’s a certain visceral thrill to plugging in patch cords and twiddling knobs on a modular synth, but it’s not always practical when even the more affordable synths can cost hundreds of dollars. Bright Light might have a simple solution: recreate...

Overbridge 2 tears down the wall between your PC and your synth

For die hard fans of Elektron, Overbridge is both a boon and an endless source of frustration. Overbridge is the company’s software suite that’s supposed to seamlessly integrate their musical instruments with your computer. By all accounts, when it w...

ZOIA review: A complex and rewarding modular effects pedal

The world of guitar effects is weird. It’s a place where old-school analog gear and crazy high-tech digital pedals are both fetishized with the same amount of zeal. Some companies, like Empress Effects, even try to straddle both worlds simultaneously...

Endless is a simple, fun music collaboration app

Thanks to social distancing measures, online collaboration is more prominent than ever. But that doesn't just go for work -- it's part of having fun, too. When it comes to remotely making music with friends, there's typically a high barri...

This Simple Touch Synthesizer Makes Some Crazy Sounds

Electronic musicians are always looking for new ways to expand their arsenal of sounds. There are lots of different off-the-shelf synthesizers out there, but some of the coolest instruments are the homebrew designs out there. I recently stumbled onto this cool little touch-based synth, and it offers up some really nifty analog sounds.

Designed by Michael Rucci, the Touch Synthesizer has 15 contact points on its front. The monophonic noisemaker automatically plays the highest pitch of the keys being touched, and it’s both touch sensitive and sensitive to the resistance of its player’s fingertips. In addition, it has a couple of effects points at its ends – one for modulation, and one that makes a sort of scratch effect by altering frequencies. It’s also got control knobs for modulation speed, volume, and a low-pass filter. You can listen to some example sounds it can make in the video demo below:

The little synth runs off of a 9V battery, and has a mono 1/4″ output for connecting to an amplifier or mixing board. Best of all, it’s a bargain at just $45 over on Rucci’s handmade musical instruments Etsy shop.

Native Instruments’ $50 retro synth plug-in is currently free

The '80s had no shortage of massive-sounding synthesizers, but many of them have either gone out to pasture or are prohibitively expensive on the secondhand market. Software companies often try to digitally recreate those synths as affordable plug-in...