Terrence O'Brien, Engadget

Terrence O'Brien


New York, United States

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Recent articles by Terrence:

Moog Matriarch and Grandmother synths get retro 'Dark' makeovers

The Grandmother and Matriarch quickly became staples of the modern Moog era when they were released. The Moog Dark Series replaces the bright green, yellow of the original models with serious looking black panels. There’s no gaming changing features being added, but there’s improved sync and an envelope multi-trig mode for the Grandmother and host of bug fixes. → Read More

Jamstik Studio is the MIDI guitar you might actually want to use.

Guitar MIDI controllers are usually giant disappointments. But Jamstik seems to have broken the code. The Studio MIDI Guitar has fast and accurate pitch detection, and even does an impressive job of recreating bends, hammer-ons and to a lesser degree slides. MIDI wasn’t designed with stringed instruments in mind, so it’s never going to be perfect, and the $800 asking price is steep. But, this is… → Read More

Arturia's PolyBrute is a beastly analog synth with infinite control

The PolyBrute is a six-voice analog beast that combines Arturia’s signature mod matrix with its digital effects expertise and a some innovative controls in a true polyphonic instrument. → Read More

Moog's new coffee table book is filled with tips for synth nerds

'Patch and Tweak with Moog' is a book dedicated to tips, tricks and ideas for the semi-modular Mother family — including the Mother 32, DFAM, Subharmonicon, Grandmother and Matriarch. It's filled with synth history, an inside look at the Moog factory plus interviews with synth icons, musicians and Moog employees. → Read More

Xbox Series S is all about Game Pass

Microsoft has finally announced its budget next-gen Xbox, the $299 Xbox Series S. That price is appealing, but the cuts to storage and graphical power… not so much. For Microsoft, which launched the Xbox One at $500 and paid the price, there has to be a plan B. But just slashing the price isn’t enough. Microsoft is also planning to offer the Series S as part of a subscription deal with Game Pass… → Read More

Native Instruments crams its powerful music-making software in a standalone groovebox

Maschine+ brings the Maschine workflow and Komplete instruments to a standalone groovebox. → Read More

Arturia's KeyStep Pro is a near-perfect MIDI controller for hardware synths

Arturia’s KeyStep Pro successfully marries most of what makes the KeyStep so ubiquitous with the sequencing power of the BeatStep Pro. It’s not perfect, especially if you’re hoping to use it as the core of a hybrid setup that combines hardware synths with the power of a DAW. But there are few controllers out there with this breadth of connectivity options, especially at the price point. → Read More

Google's Pixel 5 may be boring, and that's not a bad thing

Plus, Google has proven time and again that through smart software optimization it can squeeze great performance out of lesser devices. Just one model that will come with a 6-inch OLED -- which is smack in the middle of the 6.3 inch screen of the Pixel 4 XL and the 5.8 inch screen on the Pixel 4A. → Read More

Arturia's MicoFreak gets a vocoder mode and limited-edition makeover

When Arturia announced the MicroFreak in January of 2019 I said “there's nothing stopping Arturia from adding more oscillators down the road through firmware updates.” → Read More

Korg's Volca Sample 2 is a huge upgrade in almost every way

Korg’s Volca Sample is one of the most beloved members of beloved family of affordable and portable instruments. The Volca Sample 2 is visually almost indistinguishable from the original. That USB port is definitely the biggest upgrade here. → Read More

Mark and Jay Duplass are making podcasts for Spotify

Spotify’s ever-growing podcast empire got another boost today: The company announced that Mark and Jay Duplass have signed on with the company to create exclusive podcasts. If you don’t know them, the Duplass brothers are actors, writers and producers who’ve had their hands in many high-profile projects over the last few years, though summing up their influence isn’t easy. Most recently, Mark… → Read More

Beebo is basically a modular synth in guitar pedal form

But, in reality, it's a digital modular synth that just happens to excel at guitar effects. The front of the pedal has two knobs for changing parameters, three foot switches and a five-inch touchscreen where you build your patches. Just like the ZOIA, Beebo won't make any sound until you connect the virtual modules inside. → Read More

Pico System III review: a fun and simplified intro to modular synths

The Pico System III is a reasonably priced entry point into the world of modular and west coast synthesis. It has everything you need to get started exploring the nuts and bolts of analog sound design. → Read More

TheoryBoard is a MIDI controller that teaches you music theory

There are no shortage of crazy and unique MIDI controllers out there. It claims to let anyone create music, regardless of skill level, while also teaching them about music theory. Well TheoryBoard has two 12x4 sets of velocity sensitive pads, with a touchscreen in the middle. → Read More

Blipblox After Dark is a kid's synth for adults

Unsurprisingly, the Blipblox also turned out to be a hit with adults. Earlier this year Playtime Engineering, the company behind Blipblox, announced a new adult themed version -- Blipblox After Dark. → Read More

Google is beta testing a new emoji shortcut bar for Android

The new feature will let you quickly tack on ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ to try and make up for ruining a persons day. Or drop a when it's time for another Zoom happy hour, without having to open a separate emoji keyboard. Sure, it might sound minor, but considering just how reliant we've become on picture-based communication, any shortcut is a huge help. → Read More

You can now build custom synths for the Sensel Morph

Sensel’s Morph is, by design, a bit of a shapeshifter. Obviously, this is only going to be useful if you know how to program in Pure Data. But, thankfully, it’s a relatively easy programing environment to wrap your head around. But, even if Pure Data is a bit too much for you, don’t worry. → Read More

iRig Keys 2 Mini is a MIDI controller with a headphone jack for your iPhone

iRig is no stranger to the world of portable MIDI controllers. And, frankly, there's no shortage of great keyboards out there that will fit neatly into your backpack. But IK Multimedia was one of the earlier brands to start building music-making gear specifically with the iPhone and iPad in mind. → Read More

New Launchkey MK3 MIDI controllers add a powerful arpeggiator

Novation is updating its Launchkey MID controller lineup with deeper Ableton integration and a powerful new arpeggiator. → Read More

Moog Subharmonicon review: An experimental synth with an iconic sound

The Subharmonicon indulges its experimental side more than other Moog synths. It's inspired by the Mixtur-Trautonium and the Rhythmicon a pair of early electronic music instruments. Those avant-garde roots show and can make it a bit daunting if you’re just looking for a quick fix of that iconic bass sound. But patience and persistence reveal that the Subharmonicon, for all of its complexity, is… → Read More