Future Retro are one of the lesser known analog synths brands that we carry from the US, always putting quality and design above cost and quite happy to do some fairly bonkers designs when the feeling takes them. Well, we say “them”, it’s actually just one guy called Jered beavering away in Austin, Texas
Over the years Jered has produced a number of now sought after synths and sequencers but he recently refreshed his designs and came out with some seriously cool boxes to help spice things up in the studio
Future Retro Zillion
The first is the Zillion – it’s a very compact and ergonomic MIDI sequencer based on an incredibly rare 1970’s device called the Triadex Muse, created by a couple of artificial intelligence bods over at MIT in the USA. It’s main aim is to help generate new sequences from your existing notes and patterns and then let you perform useful actions on the sequences live.
It doesn’t sound like much on paper but in the studio or live…it’s a killer ideas machine and the interface is extremely well thought out with an old school iPod style scroll wheel giving intuitive access to many functions. Like most Future Retro gear it’s built to withstand everything up to a small atomic blast too.
Future Retro ORB CV/Gate and MIDI Sequencer
Next up we have the Future Retro ORB CV/Gate and MIDI Sequencer. Although it’s not quite as off the wall as the Zillion it’s got more than enough unique features to let it find a place in your studio. It’s main feature is that instead of laying out the 16 steps of the sequence in a straight linear fashion (like the 808/909), it bends them around into a circle. Not only does this look pretty damn fresh, Future Retro argue that it’s easier to understand and visualise your loops and how they are constructed when you see them displayed in this way. You can run sequences backwards and forwards with the flick of a switch (if you imagine a turntable with an instant reverse function you’re not too far off) and a “remix” function that again, creates variation of patterns, perfect for weird squelching Acid baselines and giving you some much needed inspiration.
The Orb has CV/Gate outs as well as standard MIDI so it’s perfect for hooking up to Analogue Synths and Eurorack Modular systems and again, it’s really compact and built like a tank.
Future Retro also do a bunch of other useful boxes including a rugged MIDI Thru box for sending note and clock signals to a whole bunch of hardware devices and a particularly strange one, the Mondovox which takes a Polyphonic MIDI signal and splits it access multiple channels so if you play a chord, the Monodvox can send one note from the chord to one synth, another note to the next synth, and so on – weird but incredibly useful in some situations and another example of Jered’s free thinking attitude towards music production equipment.
To celebrate Future Retro’s downright grooviness, we’ve got a large restock with some price reductions too!