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MeeBlip anode now ships with new firmware that unlocks new wavetables and some subtle but useful playing options. All anodes are shipping now with the update, so it’s a great time to pick one up. And you can update your existing anode (plus learn something about microcontrollers in the process) in just a few minutes – see our separate instructions.

But let’s take a look at what’s new in anode 2.0:

  • 16 new wavetables in wavetable mode for even more sounds
  • Swap wavetables via MIDI
  • Retrigger the LFO each time you play a note
  • Use a new sawtooth waveform

With these new “secret” modes, you can add additional sounds and playing options, just by sending a MIDI message or holding down a button on startup. It’s a bit like entering a secret video game cave, only, you know, for a synth.

We especially enjoy the wavetables, which cover a range of colors from glitchy to granular to edgy and rich:

Here are the specifics and how to access them: Continue reading »

plywood-rear-1

MeeBlip anode, like most synths today (even ones labeled “analog”) has a digital “brain.” When you turn a knob or play a note, code on the chip determines what to do next. And since anode uses digital oscillators, it uses code to calculate envelopes and oscillators – to make sounds.

That means that we can modify how your MeeBlip works, even adding new features, by changing the code.

This fall, we’ve made a significant update to the MeeBlip anode firmware, version 2.0, which adds wavetables and new LFO functionality. All new anodes ship with this update.

If you have an older anode, though, you probably want that update. We’ll look at how you update your existing anode, by answering some frequent questions.

What do I need in order to update my anode?

To load new firmware on your synth, you need a computer (Mac, Windows, Linux, doesn’t matter) and a small, inexpensive device called a programmer (or ISP programmer) that connects your computer to the synth. Continue reading »

anodekeybuy

MeeBlip anode is following in the footsteps of its predecessor, the first-generation MeeBlip, by winning our second Key Buy Award from Keyboard Magazine. We’re terrifically grateful and honored:

MeeBlip Anode reviewed

And we’ve been getting lots of great press for anode, with reviews by Resident Advisor, Future Music (online at MusicRadar), Germany’s Sound & Recording (online at musikmachen), and upcoming in Electronic Musician.

Watch this video review from MusicRadar, too:

That means it’s time to update our press page. Here’s our central place for reviews of anode:
MeeBlip anode reviews

If you’ve written one, of course, do send it our way. (And yes, constructive criticism is welcome, too – we aren’t only trying to get a big head! But of course we’re pleased people like it!)

anodes are inbound worldwide. Here's MeeBlip anode, arriving at Control Voltage in Portland, Oregon. Photo via their Instagram.

anodes are inbound worldwide. Here’s MeeBlip anode, arriving at Control Voltage in Portland, Oregon. Photo via their Instagram.

As MeeBlippers get their new anodes, they’re posting some great pictures, sounds, and videos. Here are a few especially nice hands-on films.

“Failboat Hobby Studio” (nice moniker) has the MeeBlip anode sequenced using nothing but an iPhone and MIDI. Moog’s Animoog, in a twist, is here simply acting as a controller (though you could double up the sound with a mixer).

Continue reading »

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MeeBlip anodes are just arriving now, and already we’re getting lots back from you – thanks!

First, Eric Weik has updated his handy Max for Live Device for Ableton Live. New in this version:

  • “Re-sync” resets all knob positions with one click. (Button, upper right-hand corner.)
  • Black and orange colors scheme. (We like it.)
  • Center unison on the Detune knob.

http://www.maxforlive.com/library/device/2300/meeblip-anode-controller

And Frank Dodds has sent another (almost) all-anode track, the first test drive out of the box. Listen to that crazy filter action, warbling with resonance:

Frank writes:

received my meeblip today, had to take it for a test drive
every track except the drums was done with the meeblip, all dry except for some delay on the lead and light reverb on the whole track

amazing little synth, perfect for me, cannot recommend enough

Keep them coming!

anodeinside

What it means that MeeBlip is open source could be … nothing at all.

Seriously, you might just grab a MeeBlip anode and start having fun with it and never worry about whether there’s access to circuits and code – and that’s fine.

But it’s important to us to release MeeBlip designs as open source for several reasons.

1. It lets you know how MeeBlip works. Even if you know nothing about code, you can poke around anode’s firmware and see the basics of what’s happening. (We’ve added lots of comments to help.) If you do know about code and circuits, of course, this is essential. But we liked the fact that hardware used to come with circuit diagrams, so you could understand what you were using better.

2. You can build your own projects. Using our code and schematics, it’s possible to make your own MeeBlip-compatible hardware in parts of the world where we can’t ship, or derive ideas into your own projects, and know that you have the right to do so – so long as you share any modifications so others benefit, too. Today’s music hardware does what it does partly because engineers have learned from and built upon others’ work.

3. It makes MeeBlip future proof. Having access to these designs means that you can repair and rebuild MeeBlip even if someday we’re not around to run the project.

And GitHub is a great way to do all of this, as it makes navigating the code and designs easy – as it does sharing any modifications you make.

You can find everything for our latest anode synth on our GitHub repository:

https://github.com/MeeBlip/meeblip-anode Continue reading »

You don’t need to know who Andrius Mamontovas is to enjoy this track. The music itself we absolutely adore. Andrius unboxed his new MeeBlip anode and with only light processing crafted an entire song using nothing but anode sounds – percussion, leads, and all. And even if you didn’t know that, it’s spooky-good electro synth rock.

“I immediately recorded a little piece of music with it,” Andrius writes us. “All the sounds are generated with Anode Meeblip. I just slightly added some reverb, delay, gate, compression and EQ.” (We posted the track here to share, by permission.)

That said, we were pleasantly surprised to see Andrius’ name in the shipping database. If you do happen to know Lithuanian music, he needs no introduction: co-founder of the legendary Foje, Eurovision entrant behind LT United, played the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin when Lithuania entered the EU, shared bills with Sting, and has a rich career doing everything from acting to film composition — we could go on. (His bio is on IMDB. See also Wikipedia.)

But we’re all synth lovers here. This was what we’ve been waiting for; this is why you make synthesizers. People pick up what you invent and make sounds you could never have imagined.

Andrius is the first, but we look forward to more; now, I’m off to listen to the Mamontova stream on SoundCloud for more of his work. (Have a listen to Visi Langai Žiūri Į Dangų. Versija Nr.2, the record, for some lovely songwriting and forward-propelled, asymmetric rhythms.)

https://soundcloud.com/mamontovas

AndriusMamontovas

anodebox

MeeBlip anodes are arriving around the world in the hands of users. Each unit ships with a printed quick start guide. If you want access to one online – or if you’re curious what the anode user experience is like – it’s now published on the site:

Get Started with anode

And thanks to everyone who has been sending in user impressions and unboxing – your patience has been terrific.

Here’s Ian Campbell via YouTube trying one out for the first time.

(It’s a little hard to hear anode in the video, so for clearer sound samples, see our snippets on CDM’s SoundCloud. More sounds to come!)

MeeBlips making massive MIDI music, at Messe. Mmmm.

MeeBlips making massive MIDI music, at Messe. Mmmm.

Providing lots of control via MIDI is part of the MeeBlip philosophy, so you can easily control MeeBlip from sequencers and more. anode, while it adds an analog filter, still keeps with that philosophy. So, we want to share the way MIDI works – especially since we know many of you are now receiving new anodes in the mail.

For the most part, everything you can control on anode is available as both a physical knob or switch on the unit and a corresponding MIDI control. We wanted one physical control for everything anode does. There are just a few exceptions. Glide and filter envelope are available only via MIDI (that anode is really darned small). And because it’s a fully analog control, resonance can’t be controlled via MIDI – you will need to actually use your fingers for that.

Here’s the excerpt of our Quick Start guide that explains the MIDI functionality. Continue reading »

The anode Assembly Line

by James Grahame

A batch of anode synths

The wonder of running a boutique manufacturer is that sometimes things get completely crazy. This is a view of my dining room table, which (until a few hours ago) was one of the last unoccupied horizontal surfaces in the house. Now it’s a staging area for batches of anodes — 50 at a time — as the cases are checked and matched with circuit boards before they’re set aside for final assembly in the workshop. Over the next week or so, we’ll be finishing and shipping a batch of synths a day — a few hundred in all.

I’m happy to report that the process is a lot smoother than when we launched the original Meeblip synth in late 2010.  Our old design required the application of several adhesive labels, screwing in a couple of fiddly circuit boards with 20 screws, and the manufacture and assembly of several ribbon cables. It took two people a full day to get a couple of dozen units built and tested.

anode's circuit boards snap together

This time around, we applied the lessons we learned to ensure a smoother assembly line. The graphics are pad printed directly onto the cases and the circuit boards snap together without the need for screws. Once assembled, they drop into the cases and the entire unit is held together with only four screws. We also shifted to D-shaft potentiometers, which makes installing the knobs a simple push-on procedure.

The changes seem like little things, but we’re saving 10 or 15 valuable minutes per instrument, which allows us to focus on the important stuff  like play testing the instrument before it ships. It also helps us to keep the cost down, which is critical as we continue to create affordable boutique instruments for the masses.

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