Notables: Where Design and Music Converge

edited December 2015 in GAS
Design can and should be an fundamental part of instrument making even though few makers consider it a relationship worth nurturing.  Since this is a home for owners of the most spectacularly beautiful and functional instrument designed, perhaps there are people for whom design is (almost) as dear to their lives as music.  Maybe a salt shaker isn't so trivial--you must commit an entire day searching for an artful salt shaker before you part with your money; maybe Moog's instruments, as fine as they sound, have always bothered you, appearing as if designed by a high school wood-shop teacher; or maybe your turntable needs to sound good, look good and work well.

Teenage Engineering is the best embodiment of good design amongst instrument makers for me, but there's a minority of makers who also make things and make with care.

If there's any interest, perhaps this could be a place where we post music-related creations (instruments, home audio, etc) created lovingly, holistically--design isn't an afterthought, it's elemental to it all.

Here's a few to start.


Ableton Push 2
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Future Audio Workshop's Circle².  A different aesthetic approach to UI design than the OP-1, but appears just as intuitive, instructive, engaging and immediate.  Also uses a new type of synthesis.
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People People's Transparent Speaker.  Also the worst hiding place for Hide & Seek.
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Koma Elektroniks.  Effects.  There are infrared sensors for modulation.
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Bowoo.  Case for our buddy.
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Modor NF-1.  Digital synth with knob-per-function interface.  Also, it rhymes with Hodor.
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Some nice sounds demoed here: 
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Comments

  • i really like the design of this little thing..
    image
  • As a guitarist, I have to ask: does the Fender Stratocaster count? I cannot think of any instrument that was so well designed.

    It is reliable, beautiful, cost-effective and parts are easily replaced. But most of all, it is a great sounding and fantastic instrument that has been used to record some of the best tracks of modern music in a wide variety of style.

    If you compare it to what was offered when it was created, this thing was so futuristic that its design is still considered modern nowadays. And it was over 60 years ago...
  • edited August 2015

    Great thread idea! Design is my day-job so this is something I care/nerd-out about a lot. Its all about how form and function work together.


    Here is my rather odd list in no particular order:


    Synths

    OP-1 (well, obviously!)

    VCS3 (looks like a science lab, sounds like a science lab)

    Macbeth Elements Synth (simply incredible looks and sound)


    Guitars/pedals

    Fender Jaguar (this is my token odd-ball choice, please feel free to mock)

    Fuzz Face (extreme sound, extreme shape!)

    Echoplex (all its flaws are its strengths which is just crazy)


    Amps/speakers

    ToneKing Falcon (new/old seamlessly working together)

    OD-11 (should have been on the set of 2001: A Space Odyssey)

  • Here is the Macbeth Elements

    elementssynthesizer
  • @LibertineLush - good shout for the Mordor - I have yet to hear it properly otherwise I’d include that too. @LAUNE - wow, that Grendel is seriously nice-looking!
  • image

    Really like how Bastl Instruments took the traditional metal rack and turned it on it's head and came out with this wooden beauty.


  • Iris 2 is my favorite new synth/sound design VST. I love the clean design. https://www.izotope.com/iris

    7_5
  • Great thread!

    Monotribe and Volca Sampler really float my boat, I really enjoy how they are far more flexible than their "limited" designs would have you believe, yet still remain a joy to use and sound excellent.

    Grendel drone commander and TB-303 are also faves of mine, for largely the same reasons.
  • edited August 2015
    Eti said:

    As a guitarist, I have to ask: does the Fender Stratocaster count? 

    The sounds of its vast palette and storied history is unassailable.  For me, I'm not so fond of the shape.  The "horned" upper body looks oddly considered, a bit like the cape collar of a Halloween costume.  I had a Strat a long time ago.  I do remember it felt great in your hands.  The solid body coupled with the contouring of the body felt like something meant to be held.

    Great thread idea! Design is my day-job so this is something I care/nerd-out about a lot. Its all about how form and function work together.

    I find that quite enviable!  What kind of design do you do?

    VCS3 (looks like a science lab, sounds like a science lab)

    Macbeth Elements Synth (simply incredible looks and sound)


    Guitars/pedals

    Fender Jaguar (this is my token odd-ball choice, please feel free to mock)


    Amps/speakers

    ToneKing Falcon (new/old seamlessly working together)


    I love the look of the VCS3 too.  It reminds me of some of Dieter Rams' work--or maybe that's a lazy reference to a guy who's referenced too much.  Its patch board matrix system looks very interesting.  Would like to try how that works/feels.

    The Macbeth Elements Synth!  I completely forgot about that one.  I'm very fond of when relatively compact synths include a diminutive keyboard of some type to preserve the small footprint, like the Elektron Analog Four.  Sexy synth, unsexy price.

    Yea, the Fender Jaguar.  I'd rather play with a jaguar.  :p

    I saw this little turntable recently.  I think it would go well with the ToneKing Falcon.  

    image
  • Really like how Bastl Instruments took the traditional metal rack and turned it on it's head and came out with this wooden beauty.


    I like it too; it looks warm, welcoming and quaint, even though it's a modular.

    mrclean said:

    Iris 2 is my favorite new synth/sound design VST. I love the clean design. https://www.izotope.com/iris

    For me, the greatest appeal of that sort of design is the real time display of waveforms and modulation.  Unfortunately, amongst hardware synths, only the OP-1 and the Modal Electronics synths have such a aural-visual design.  It's so educational and engaging to have that information, I wish it was on more synths.

    darenager said:

    Great thread!

    Monotribe and Volca Sampler really float my boat, I really enjoy how they are far more flexible than their "limited" designs would have you believe, yet still remain a joy to use and sound excellent.  


    I've developed some affection for the Volca series over time.  Cute, clean footprint.  And looks quite fun; I've watched so many videos of them in action.  I'm often tempted to go for one, given how cheap it is.
  • Cool thread. I think the Elektron devices are really beautiful - 
    analog4.jpg
    1800 x 1208 - 335K
    MachDrumUWp-large.jpg
    750 x 422 - 106K
  • And the new synths by Modal Electronics
    modal1.jpg
    599 x 304 - 38K
    modal 2.jpg
    2560 x 1440 - 260K
  • And the new synths by Modal Electronics

    The functionality and modulation information provided by the big screen on their synths is massively appealing to me.
  • Fender Jaguar (this is my token odd-ball choice, please feel free to mock)

    I'm in absolute love with the Jaguar! So much so that I have 2 of them...okay 1 is a clone. It is the best looking guitar to me. And not only that, but it plays well too. I've only played a few guitars that I've liked better, but those are way too expensive and don't look as good. 
  • I love these Incra Squares
    image
  • I also love this plane.  But I'm not rich, so never in my lifetime.image
  • Eti said:

    As a guitarist, I have to ask: does the Fender Stratocaster count? 

    The sounds of its vast palette and storied history is unassailable.  For me, I'm not so fond of the shape.  The "horned" upper body looks oddly considered, a bit like the cape collar of a Halloween costume.  I had a Strat a long time ago.  I do remember it felt great in your hands.  The solid body coupled with the contouring of the body felt like something meant to be held.

    Great thread idea! Design is my day-job so this is something I care/nerd-out about a lot. Its all about how form and function work together.

    I find that quite enviable!  What kind of design do you do?

    VCS3 (looks like a science lab, sounds like a science lab)

    Macbeth Elements Synth (simply incredible looks and sound)


    Guitars/pedals

    Fender Jaguar (this is my token odd-ball choice, please feel free to mock)


    Amps/speakers

    ToneKing Falcon (new/old seamlessly working together)


    I love the look of the VCS3 too.  It reminds me of some of Dieter Rams' work--or maybe that's a lazy reference to a guy who's referenced too much.  Its patch board matrix system looks very interesting.  Would like to try how that works/feels.

    The Macbeth Elements Synth!  I completely forgot about that one.  I'm very fond of when relatively compact synths include a diminutive keyboard of some type to preserve the small footprint, like the Elektron Analog Four.  Sexy synth, unsexy price.

    Yea, the Fender Jaguar.  I'd rather play with a jaguar.  :p

    I saw this little turntable recently.  I think it would go well with the ToneKing Falcon.  

    image
    I've designed book covers, infographics, websites, branding etc over the years. Lots of stuff really, some pays my bills, some is for fun... Good shout for Dieter Rams, a utterly brilliant designer. I know its a small detail but I love the vernier dials on the VCS3 - the Macbeth Elements has them too.

    You've accidentally just sold me a new record player :)
  • Dammit! You've just sold me two record players!
  • Fender Jaguar (this is my token odd-ball choice, please feel free to mock)

    I'm in absolute love with the Jaguar! So much so that I have 2 of them...okay 1 is a clone. It is the best looking guitar to me. And not only that, but it plays well too. I've only played a few guitars that I've liked better, but those are way too expensive and don't look as good. 
    I bought my first Jaguar last year, just a Squire vintage one to see if I'd like them or not and I've not put it down since. It really was one of those moments when you just click with an instrument straight away. Love the look and the cutaway at the back makes it really comfortable (I had a Les Paul before - really heavy beast). I have yet to play on a proper Fender Jaguar mainly out of fear for my bank account. Do you find a big jump in quality between your two Jaguars?
  • darenager said:

    Great thread!

    Monotribe and Volca Sampler really float my boat, I really enjoy how they are far more flexible than their "limited" designs would have you believe, yet still remain a joy to use and sound excellent.

    Grendel drone commander and TB-303 are also faves of mine, for largely the same reasons.

    Good call with the Volca Sample, I completely forgot about that. I think for the price, form and function all the Volcas are more than deserving of a mention in terms of great industrial design. They were my starting point for synths and I'm sure thats the case with quite a few people. Korg really nailed it with those four boxes.
  • edited August 2015

    Fender Jaguar (this is my token odd-ball choice, please feel free to mock)

    I'm in absolute love with the Jaguar! So much so that I have 2 of them...okay 1 is a clone. It is the best looking guitar to me. And not only that, but it plays well too. I've only played a few guitars that I've liked better, but those are way too expensive and don't look as good. 
    Talking about guitar, I believe the Rickenbacker 4003 Midnight Blue is the most beautiful bass guitar ever created.

    image

    My Yamaha SGV300 guitar offers some kind of mirror effect with my bass.
  • I've designed book covers, infographics, websites, branding etc over the years. Lots of stuff really, some pays my bills, some is for fun... 

    That's the way to go.  If I'm fortunate, I'll get to do what I love, for fun and to pay the bills.
  • edited August 2015

    I've designed book covers, infographics, websites, branding etc over the years. Lots of stuff really, some pays my bills, some is for fun... 

    That's the way to go.  If I'm fortunate, I'll get to do what I love, for fun and to pay the bills.

    That should always be the plan, I totally agree. Getting the right balance is still a work-in-progress for me. What kind of things are you looking to do/like doing?

  • This interview with Mark Verbos inspired me to start designing and creating my own modular system:



    He mentions in the 'west coast' style of modular that the signal flows FROM you. Meaning the Sources are at the bottom, and then further processing as you go up the modular, and finally the amp/output section.

    I've always like the idea of signal flowing TO me, so I'm designing some modules that will have the sources at the top, and the processing comes down towards me, as I find that's where I do most of my tweaking after setting up sources and such.

    I have a great interest in industrial/functional design, but I don't have the patience to do mock ups with digital software FML.
  • picoVolt said:

    This interview with Mark Verbos inspired me to start designing and creating my own modular system:



    He mentions in the 'west coast' style of modular that the signal flows FROM you. Meaning the Sources are at the bottom, and then further processing as you go up the modular, and finally the amp/output section.

    I've always like the idea of signal flowing TO me, so I'm designing some modules that will have the sources at the top, and the processing comes down towards me, as I find that's where I do most of my tweaking after setting up sources and such.

    I have a great interest in industrial/functional design, but I don't have the patience to do mock ups with digital software FML.

    I really like the sounds that come out from Verbos modular. Its an interesting case study in terms of industrial design - Verbos and Make Noise share a similar West Coast/Buchla sound & inspiration but have entirely opposite visual aesthetics. I like that he points out 'deliberate music' as you can get this from the design and order more easily than a Make Noise system but they both overlap a lot in terms of sound.

    The great thing about modular is that you make it work for you, whatever your tastes may be. I'd really like to know what you are planning. I've be toying with a modular set-up for a while now but I lack the knowledge to carry it out. 
  • edited August 2015
    Funny enough I don't own any modular, but I got enticed when I played with the new Roland effect modules at my work (music store electronics repair tech) .

    I never had a want for modular until I laid my hands on some. The instant access to shape the signal how I see fit is just too interesting/powerful. I've heard claims that its hard to be 'musical' with modular, but IMO that's because MAYBE they didn't understand synthesis well enough to know where to patch the signal. I don't know... All I know is I'm hooked, and super excited to try my hand at designing some DIY modules.

    Sorry, not trying to hijack thread towards Modular.

    @LibertineLush Man that turntable would pair up nicely with an OP-1!
  • edited August 2015

    That should always be the plan, I totally agree. Getting the right balance is still a work-in-progress for me. What kind of things are you looking to do/like doing?


    Music.  Or noise, depending on who's listening.  It's always been a bigger part of my life than anything else.  Only recently did I decide to pursue it.  I don't want to resign to pragmatism from the very beginning.  You merely risk failure if you dream, but you risk your life if you dare not.

    picoVolt said:

    Its an interesting case study in terms of industrial design - Verbos and Make Noise share a similar West Coast/Buchla sound & inspiration but have entirely opposite visual aesthetics. 

    I feel like there's hard rock influences with some of their designs--and not in a bad way.  I was looking at some of their systems (http://www.makenoisemusic.com/systems.shtml) recently and they look very inviting.  There's one that has a lot of touch sensors, making it a very tactile experience.  That one had me dreaming for a bit.
  • Cool thread. I think the Elektron devices are really beautiful - 

    Teenage designed the MD and MM!
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