Superbooth 2021: Although we’re doing our best to tell you about all the best new products at Superbooth 2021, you can’t really get a taste of the show’s unique flavour without actually being there.
Sadly, we can’t transport you all to Berlin for a couple of days - pandemic travel restrictions, eh? - but we do have is a bearded man on the Fez floor (there are plenty of those around), and he’s been tasked not only with scoping out the latest synths, but also taking a quizzical, possibly even sideways look at the inevitable Superbooth weirdness.
Join us, then, as we gaze upon the best sights that Superbooth 2021 has to offer...
We got chatting with Paul Whittington of PWM, which has just announced the Malevolent synth.
This was collaboratively designed with the likes of Future Sound Systems, an ex-ROLI developer and others.
Paul has designed products for M-Audio and Novation, to name just two. Two more instruments are in the works, too.
Perkons is a percussive powerhouse, end of!
Erica Synths' latest hybrid drum machine throws digital clarity into a heady mix of analogue filtering and modulation.
The BBD and compressor add to the playful and noisy nature of Perkons, and it’s all topped off with some proper x0x sequencing.
With plenty of extra tricks up its sleeve, this is most definitely a Perkons of interest...
This is where things start to get weird. The Playtronica stand has Playtron, which can connect up to 16 objects. The booth has it hooked up to two blancmange-like soaps for some jiggly modulation.
Also from Playtronica, the Orbita, a light-controlled turntable sequencer. Part learning tool and part instrument.
The folks behind it have a blog all about its development, and there will be a Kickstarter next month.
Time to head outside for some air. If you go down to the woods today...
...You'll find Moog's magnificent circus tent. They know how to put on a spread, and who doesn't love a mini blimp? (Answer: no one.)
Inevitably, the new three-tier Moog Sound Studio is making an appearance.
As is some must-have merch.
Arturia is also camping out - in a customised Airstream caravan. Saves having to unpack, we suppose.
You want patch cables? We'll give you patch cables.
Tiptop Audio has rereleased the super-rare Buchla 200 series for Eurorack. Six modules are coming initially and will most likely be released one by one.
Insert 'plenty of bang for your Buchla' joke here.
Time to Take 5. It took ages to find Sequential hiding upstairs at the Fez. The once vibrant hallways are now laid bare and resemble a ghost town, while most of the action is found outside.
SoundForce is trying its best to distract punters from its new modules and controllers with a bit of 16-bit retro gaming action. That's us sorted for the rest of the day.
Seriously, though, there's plenty to chew through on the SoundForce stand. The new updated DCO modules add a MIDI interface and will ship from October.
The Dual LFO will be coming out very soon, and offers plenty of modulation.
It’s also worth noting that the Jupiter-8 controller will be out at the end of the year, and there are plans to put together a full system of the Juno-inspired modules, with chorus included.
Also coming soon are the shrunken versions of the DCO and filter section from the VCF/VCA module in a more skiff-friendly format.
Making waves! The Waldorf M is far grittier and characterful than its more pristine wavetable sibling, Iridium, courtesy of the VCF and VCA.
There's been a fair amount of guitar action at his year's show. And there are some beauties, including this Deimel Firestar LesLee Synchronizer, which utilises the both pickups to create a tremolo effect and the resulting pulse wave can then be sent out to a modular device or a signal sent into the guitar to modulate the effect.
Continuing with guitars, we have the Luk Guitar from Guitardoc, which is giving us heavy Manson/Belemy vibes with the onboard sampling capabilities.
Dreadbox's Nymphes poly synth was on display, and we were quite taken aback by how small the thing is.
A 6-voice poly that crams in in 12 envelopes, 7 LFOs, 6 different playing modes and some seriously nice reverb into that tiny chassis is no mean feat.
The new pedal range was also on display, and could we get our hands on them? Could we hell!
Eowave took being in the woods very seriously with a few setups stuck into the ground surrounding its bungalow HQ. Although it wasn't as fun when the heavens opened - the covers (bin bags) came out pretty quick.
Random Source is continuing its collaboration with synth legend Serge. New slimline 4U modules and cases have made their debut at Superbooth.
And some new eurorack modules, including the Variable Bandwidth VCF.
The German manufacturer is also working on some hefty power supplies. On display was this tank like PSU incased in copper. It weighs a flippin' ton.
The Winter Plankton Zaps probably gets our vote for the best module from the show, but shhh, more on that later. Zaps is a collab between Plankton Electronics and Winter Modular.
It's a percussion-line synth voice designed for creating organic sequences that can mutate over time. Individual voices can be routed out to external effects. Sending kicks out to Plankton's Nutone distortion module is definitely the way to go.
Whilst showing of its latest interfaces and monitors, ESI-Audio took the natty approach of casually having a Quasimidi Polymorph on the booth to tempt passers-by like some late-'90s virtual analogue fly trap.
One of the more entertaining booths came courtesy of Bitwig's modulated table tennis table.
Set up with piezo mics fed into Bitwig, players can top-spin their way to modulation heaven. No sign of a ping-pong delay, though...
And remember, kids...