This Week In Music Tech: Korg's iPolysix, Roland's Synth Legends, QuNeo Goes Wireless, MIDI Turns 30, and Understanding Trackers

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This week's music tech wrap-up gathers some news from Korg, Keith McMillen Instruments, and Roland, and—oh yeah—MIDI has officially been the backbone of electronic music for 30 years now.

New developments from Korg, Roland, and KMI:

- Following in line with Korg's existing iPad apps modelled after the legendary Electribe and MS-20 pieces of hardware, the company's latest iOS app is inspired by the sound and look of the '80s-era Polysix synthesizer, while also including extra functions such as a mixer, a step-sequencer, a six-part drum machine, and two virtual Kaoss Pads—essentially making the iPolysix an all-in-one music production app.

To be used with the company's Jupiter-80 and -50 keyboards, Roland has made available a free collection of sound libraries modeled after some of the synth-maker's most legendary keyboards—the Juno-60, the Jupiter-8, the SH-101, the Juno-106, and the TB-303 among them. Deemed the "Jupiter Synth Legends collection, the libraries are said to be very high quality emulations which, sadly, can only be used with Roland's current Jupiter series keyboards that utilize the company's own "SuperNATURAL" synthesizer sound engine.

- The compact, three-dimensional, open-source QuNeo controller (which we detailed in an interview with its creator, Keith McMillen, back in October) will soon be usable as a wireless unit thanks to Rogue, an integrated wireless connectivity and battery accessory which allows for the unit to be used for six to eight hours without power and up to 60 meters from the computer it's controlling. Full details on the forthcoming unit (and a chance to enter a contest to win one) can be found here.

MIDI turns 30 and the mysterious world of Trackers:

- That's right, the simple language used by musical instruments, computers, and countless other musical objects to communicate, Musical Instrument Digital Interface (a.k.a. MIDI) turned 30 years old this week. To mark the occasion, the BBC's Tom Bateman put together a piece which succintly maps out the history of MIDI and chats with the lead designer behind it, Dave Smith. Read the full article here.


- Earlier in the week, Red Bull Music Academy posted an article which took an in-depth look at the mysterious world of Trackers (such as the one pictured above)—a kind of linear music production software which first appeared in the late-'80s and has been used by the likes of Machinedrum, Venetian Snares, and many more over the years. Regular XLR8R scribe (and former magazine editor) Vivian Host's full and detailed article can be read here.