Aug 19

Here is something that caught my eye, not because it is a Roland / Boss product but simply because of what the person is doing with it. Watch Youngr in the youtube clip above. I know this sort of thing has been done before but he really demonstrates a variety of skills with using technology, playing various instruments and singing – great stuff.

The Boss RC-202 is a tiny but powerful little unit that I am sure will be great for club performers, electronic musicians and beatboxers. It is based on their RC-505 Loop Station which everyone loved but whilst it is just a two-track it does have a whole load of new features. Four Input FX and four Track FX are available at once, and loops can be saved to memories in real time. It is therefore ideal for looping musicians who have their hands occupied with guitar, keyboards, and other instruments like Youngr on the youtube clip.

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Jun 23

Here is something right up my street – a new electronic drum module, no it is not from Roland and Yamaha but from Pearl Drums. I have always loved Pearl Drums and I grew up near to where they had a factory.

I must admit I did not think they would venture out into the electronic market but I suppose today you just have to cober all bases to stay in business. Having said that it looks like Pearl have made a wise decision teaming up with Steven Slate to create what they call “the world’s most advanced electronic drum module called the Mimic Pro as a dedicated hardware host for Steven Slate Drums”

Have a look at the You Tube clip. I obviously haven’t heard the on board 60 Kits that it has but although I am pleased and excited about this module, I was disappointed with the You Tube Clip. It starts off by indicating that all other modules are stuck in the 80s. I agrere with this statement to some extent but what I then wanted to hear is drum sounds of 2016/2017 instead the clip goes on to explain how it can reproduce real drum sounds mimicing the original kits, hense the name Mimic Pro. Whilst this all sounds great, I still think it should have some up-to-date sounds (maybe it has?). If its aim is to Mimic Drums, why not mimic some of the computer generated drum sounds that have been created with filters, exciters, compressors and transient shapers that end up on so many hit songs or TV themes today.
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Jun 16

NI MASCHINE Update to 2.4.5

Well here is some great news from Native Instruments – If you are lucky enough to own MASCHINE 2 software then you are entitled to this FREE software update of MASCHINE to version 2.4.5. All you have to do is download from their Service Center.

This packed update gives you some great new features including tools for working with samples. Native Instruments explain that:- their latest update to Maschine includes a new option for working with samples in Manual slicing mode. Users can now insert slice points on MASCHINE’s pads while the sample is playing – a fast and intuitive way to begin the process of turning a sampled piece of audio into an original composition. A new Variable Scene Length feature allows Scene lengths to be set independent of the length of patterns, making polyrhythms easier to create and freeing producers from extending a pattern just to fit the scene it resides in. Internal plug-in settings are now savable as defaults, accelerating workflow by instantly loading with popular settings defined by the user.

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Jun 16

HyperSound Innovations

Here is something I was not aware of – an audio company called Turtle Beach Corporation (famous for its HyperSound technology), has achieved another great breakthrough by creating directional audio using a transparent pane of glass.

This innovation could be used in such a variety of situations, in fact anything that is made of glass like the windscreen on your car for example. Have a look at the Youtube clip. Even better if you have been at the 2016 Electronics Entertainment Expo at the L.A. Convention Center for the last couple of days or you are there today, Turtle Beach will be showing an early prototype of their HyperSound Glass directional speakers.

So what is good about HyperSound? Well it has Improved audio quality and frequency response, low voltage cables and lower overall power consumption and emitter panel design have improved the ratio of audio volume to panel size, allowing for the production of much smaller panels.
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Jun 13

Here is something FREE that you maybe interested in, three plugins to spice up your recorded songs. These are called Abletune Knobs and they seem similar to the Waves OneKnob series (except they are Free) in that they blend and map a number of parameters to one knob allowing you to get quick instant results. Have a listen in the YouTube clip above.

Abletunes Knobs are described as follows:-

Drive: Distortion unit that delivers some nasty wide-band distortion (stereo). Great for when you quickly want to add some tone and color to your sound. Sounds good on drum groups and percussion tracks, adds grit to bass lines, leads, keys, you name it.

Space: Mid-sized room reverb (stereo). Pretty bright one, creating a mid-sized space, somewhere in between a large room and a small hall. Works well on almost anything, from percussion to synths and acoustic guitars.

Attack: Simplified transient shaper (stereo) with only ATTACK section of the waveform being affected. Adds bite to the drum loops, enhances percussive transients, makes guitar solos sound more solid and confident to name a few applications examples.

Abletunes Knobs are compatible with all major DAWs
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Jun 12

cakewalk_sonar_daws

What did you think of the new deal from Roland Cakewalk for Sonar? Yes, lifetime monthly updates for a one-off payment (Sonar4Life). This really surprised me as I thought the idea was for them to keep receiving payments every year from us so that they could use this for development costs.

I suppose I won’t have to think about finding another £100 for next year’s updates or indeed any further years and I suppose this does keep me loyal to Cakewalk and not consider going over to Pro Tools for example.

The Monthly updates have been great and provides you with something to look forward to each month, something to learn and greater stability with your product with improvements and bug fixes. It is therefore really worth the money.

I think priorities for me are less CPU drain when using plugins. The better this is the more plugins you can use without it falling over.

Carry on the good work Cakewalk – I wonder what next month will bring?

May 17

audified_mixchecker

I hear a lot about how to get your mix to sound better but it is an art and can take years to master. There are youtube clips to assist you, some that confuse you, some that sound convincing but still do not get you to where you want to be. Maybe one day the computer will do it all for you and make all your decisions for you to compensate for your room, your ears, your judgement and understanding.

Until that day, many of us that do our utmost to get a great sounding mix, need all the help we can get. This is why there will always be new products like the one that Audified have just announced. They call it “MixChecker” which is a plug-in to transform your studio monitors into classic reference monitors.

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Apr 10

pioneer-dave-smith- toraiz-sp-16

MUSIKMESSE 2016 and Pioneer has teamed up with Dave Smith Instruments to reveal an awesome-looking new sampler and step sequencer, the TORAIZ SP-16. This looks like a perfect piece of kit that has stuff I really prefer over the AKAI and Native Instruments equivalents such as the MPC and the Maschine. This beast is Standalone and is something I always wanted rather than be subject to the problems of a PC.

It’s built with 16 powerful sampler engines and Dave Smith Instruments-created analogue filters based on the fantastic Prophet-6 synth. If you want to load your own samples you can do this from a USB stick or from its own 8GB internal memory as it comes with 2GB of Loopmasters sounds already on board.

The Toraiz SP-16 will be available later this year and will be priced at €1599/£1279. That is quite a bit of money and I think that as soon as you have a name like Dave Smith on board you know it is going to be expensive but you also know that the quality is going to be great from his high-pass and low-pass filters to the array of outputs necessary to make this a true standalone unit.

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Apr 7

Here is another interesting new product for Musikmesse 2016 – The Boss VE-8 Acoustic Singer multi-effects pedal

The is mainly aimed at the acoustic guitar singer providing studio-quality vocal and guitar processing, including real-time harmonies and looping. You can get a professional vocal sound very quickly

You can get a professional vocal sound very quickly as it gives you a basic reverb plus a choice of four harmonies (with automatic key detection and doubling effect), electronic and distorted sounds, pitch correct, doubling, 3 band eq, low cut, radio and an Enhance setting, to add clarity and control to your sound.

For your guitar sound, there is a bit magic with something called Acoustic Resonance you can use it to remove piezo ‘quack’ and fine-tune your guitar tone with the Notch control. The main effects available are reverb, chorus, octave, mod delay, tremelo, phaser, octave, slow gear, 3 band eq, low cut, notch filter. There’s a handy built-in tuner, too.

There is also a footswitch which controls a built-in 80 second looper, which can loop your guitar, vocal or both, while patches can be stored in any of 50 memory locations.

Around the bach you get a whole range of connections:- MIC IN connector: XLR type, balanced, phantom power (DC 48 V, 10 mA Max)
GUITAR IN jack: 1/4-inch phone type, AUX IN jack: Stereo miniature phone type, XLR OUT L, R connectors: XLR type, LINE OUT L/MONO, R jacks: 1/4-inch phone type, PHONES jack: Stereo miniature phone type, MEMORY INC/DEC jack: 1/4-inch TRS phone type, USB COMPUTER port: USB type B and a DC IN jack.

Size is as follows:- 217 mm x 161 mm x 65 mm and weight of only 1.3 kg with batteries.

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Apr 6

It is that time of year again – MUSIKMESSE 2016 (7 April to 10 April 2016). I am not sure how many new products we will see but I am sure all of the Namm 2016 products will be on display this week.

Nord has announced a little bit early that they have a new Nord Drum in two different models. The Nord Drum 3 and The Nord Drum 3P. The 3P looks a bit like a Red Roland SPD-20. I suppose they are really modeling percussion synthesizers

I think the main thing for me is to hear how the Nord Drum 3 is different from the earlier models. Nord say that the have added
a global Stereo Reverb and Delay effects which is a good idea (but one that should have probably been there in the first instance), and they have also added a new Sound Select-feature for you to quickly browse their wide selection of drums sounds. With a whole load of new presets on top this is beginning to sound interesting.

The new sound selection and sound bank allows you to quickly assign a sound to each pad individually, replacing snares, kick drums, toms or cymbals etc. by selecting from Nord Drum 3’s preset library which has 10 categories of preset sounds

There is currently no word on the price of the Nord Drum 3 or the 3P but they should be available in June 2016

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