ELK Audio Blackboard is a breakout/controller board that provides faders, buttons, jacks… to the AudioOS powered ELK Pi.
Hardware /software is a constant theme in the music tech world. Many work in the box with a DAW and plugins others only with hardware synths, drum machines etc. The topic has gone so far that one speaks of DAWless musicians. ELK Audio has been working on reducing this gap between hardware and software technology for several years. The first step was the introduction of an operating system called Audio OS, which can be used to transform plugins into hardware.
Two years ago, for example they showed a Eurorack module at Superbooth in which a plugin was hidden, last year a hardware version of the Steinberg Retrologue Synthesizer plugin. Matt Bellamy, guitarist from Muse played an Audio OS powered guitar on the last tour that contained the Arturia Prophet V Synthesizer.
At first glance, it all sounds like a dream of every hybrid musician. Plugins finally on hardware. There is just one problem. Musicians cannot provide plugins themselves, this remains the work of the developer. To do this, the plugin must be compiled and made available especially for Audio OS. If you are not a plugin manufacturer but want to discover the platform, you can choose from 500+ ready-to-use plugins like OB-Xd (Oberheim emulation), dexed FM Synth & more that can be load on an ELK Pi. This is based on a Raspberry Pi and an ELK Pi Hat.
Blackboard for Superbooth 20 Home Edition
For Superbooth 20 Home Edition, ELK Audio presented another addition to its growing hardware portfolio. Blackboard is a new breakout/controller board that gives your ELK Pi a user interface and audio & midi connection. It includes faders, buttons, jacks for audio, MIDI, CV/gate, and an OLED screen in the middle. Yes, that’s right, with the Audio OS you can also assign CV and gate to plugins, which is very exciting for the modular world.
- 4 fixed audio in
- 4 fixed audio out
- 2 fixed cv out
- 2 inputs switchable between audio and cv
- 2 outputs switchable between audio and cv
- 4 gate out
- 2 gate in
- MIDI in/out (minijack)
- 4 faders with LEDs on top
- 9 buttons with LEDs above each
- 1 potentiometer
- 1 encoder with push button
- 128×64 monochrome OLED display
During the SB20 HE, I had the chance to talk to Gustav Andersson, the senior software engineer about ELK Audio and the new Blackboard. Even if the SB produces numerous new modules or hardware synths/drum machines… every year, I find such companies and their ideas even more exciting because they try to break the boundaries between the music tech hard & software world.
ELK Audio Blackboard is available now for 109€ or in an ELK Pi/Blackboard bundle for 319€.
More information here: ELK Audio