Twisted Electrons delivers a Sound Blast from the past with new ‘90s soundcard-inspired BlastBeats groovebox

You might not have been crying out for a hardware groovebox based on the tones produced by Creative Labs’ Sound Blaster cards back in the ‘90s, but that’s what you’re getting thanks to Twisted Electrons.

A throwback to the MS-DOS era, BlastBeats, as its known, is powered by a vintage FM chip called the YMF-262 (also known as the OPL3). This was a swine to program back in the day, so it was hard to get the best out of it, but now Twisted Electrons has harnessed its power into a 10-voice groovebox that offers six drum voices and four synth instruments.

Because all parameters are controlled using faders, you get a proper hands-on experience, and each parameter can be automated and modulated per step. There are 100 kits, and the step sequencer enables you to create 160 songs with 16 patterns and 64 steps (storage is on an included SD card).

You can also control the BlastBeats via MIDI and use it as a 4-operator, 8-waveform polytimbral synth. Connectivity includes quad outputs with custom instrument routing, and analogue sync I/O.

You can pre-order BlastBeats now for €599, with shipping expected in February. Find out more on the Twisted Electrons website.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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