Aug 28

Looking Back – The Quasimidi Sirius

Does anyone remember the Quasimidi Sirius?  Over 12 years ago, Future Music did an article on this great machine and questioned “Was the Sirius the definitive dance tool?” This was a keyboard that I always wanted but never actually purchased. It was well ahead of its time and just sounded so much fun. I remember listening to the sounds on the CD that I was sent demonstrating it’s capabilities. I loved it’s drum sounds. It reminded me of music made with software rather than hardware. A bit like making music with Propellerheads Reason 5 and Kong but having an actual keyboard in front of you.

Yes it is German and has that very 90’s German analog Synth sound. If I remember correctly Kraftwerk did a couple of the demos for this. There are still some great You Tube clips that give you some idea of its potential. Some of the sounds that Sirius Users have created had such interesting qualities that I have not yet heard or believed it possible to recreate on such Synths like the Access Virus or Roland GAIA.

It even has a random sound button. I tried this in a store at the time and was very surprised what it came up with. Maybe I should buy one now second-hand on e-bay?  Unfortunately Quasimidi folded in 2000. Perhaps Access could develop the  Sirius mark II for 2011?

Aug 24

INTRODUCTION TO THE ROLAND SPD-30 OCTAPAD

The SPD-30 Octapad is the latest digital percussion multi-pad from Roland using the most up-to-date triggering technology and sounds. It has come a very long way since the first octapad – the Pad-8 introduced in 1985 as a MIDI percussion controller. In 1989 they introduced the second model – the Pad-80 Octapad II which had a larger memory that could store up to 64 different patches with 64 patches on a Roland M-256E memory card. Further improvements to the MIDI specification included the control of modulation, pitch bend and aftertouch using a foot pedal. They then went on to release their SPD range which were very similar to the Octapads but had on board sounds and effects.

If you are considering buying a Roland SPD-30 Octapad and want the best price possible, please click here :-Absolutemusic

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Aug 24

INTRODUCTION

When I receive a new product, the first thing I like to do is play with it without reading the manual. This is partly because I cannot wait but more importantly I want to test how user-friendly the item is. I am pleased to say that the Kaossilator was ready to go the minute I put in the four batteries and plugged in my favourite headphones. You switch her on and start to run your fingers across her touch-sensitive surface or tap away rhythmically and an assortment of cutting – edge sounds phases, flanges or auto-pans across your disbelieving ears. Why do you disbelieve? Well for a start its coming from something that is only approximately 5 x 4 inches in size.

If you are considering buying a KORG KAOSSILATOR and want the best price possible, please click here :- Absolutemusic

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Aug 22

Korg Kaoss Pad Kp3

INTRODUCTION TO THE KORG KAOSS PAD KP3 MULTI–EFFECTS

Korg describe the Kaoss Pad KP3 as ” More than a processor, the KP3 is a complete instrument allowing you to manage, recall, and play back samples; sample on the fly; and add dynamic processing to any audio signal or to the samples themselves”. It has the X-Y touch pad to control multi -effect parameters in real time and it has been around since October 2006 and is still being widely used by musicians, producers and DJ’s. It is Korg’s third version of it’s Kaoss Pad and I wonder as this is nearly four years old now, will there ever be a KP4? The KP3 was upgraded to Version 2 on 9th July 2009. This Kaoss Pad is not just a great hands-on effects module it is also quite a remarkable Midi controller.

If you are considering buying a KP3 and want the best price possible, please click here :- Absolutemusic
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Aug 21

INTRODUCTION

I have just bought one of those Roland ARX-03 SuperNATURAL Brass expansion boards for my Fantom G from those great guys at Absolutemusic. I believe I have purchased it for the best price in  in the Country and the postage was free – what an incredible deal.

Brass to me is one of those strange sounds that whilst it is not particularly modern and has certainly been around awhile, it can still be used in today’s sounds in any genre of music. It can be used to create fun, punch, haunting, rhythmic and sexy sounds in a variety of ways. In order for you to use these sounds correctly in your songs you need something to give you all the nuances and tweakability as if you had a whole brass section at your disposal. With the ARX-03 board, I believe Roland have attempted to do this.

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Aug 20

The staggering news that the Intel Corporation announced an important advance in the quest to use light beams to replace the use of electrons to carry data in and around computers, makes me wonder what changes will this make in the world of music. Apparently this experimental chip can move data at 50 billion bits per second (50Gbps). With this amount of power how will the DAW change? Will we be able to have unlimited VST’s in our Cubase, Sonar, ProTools, Reason, Ableton and Logic Projects and no dropouts or freezes?  Just imagine the hardware Synth possibilities. What will the three giants Roland, Yamaha and Korg come up with next to replace the Fantom G, Motif XF and the Korg M3?

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Aug 20

Pictures Of People from Black Lab on Vimeo.

I am really pleased that Paul Durham from my favourite band BLACK LAB has included a picture of me in their latest video of their song PICTURES OF PEOPLE.

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Aug 20

Here is something I would like to see and hear – the new Simmons Digital Multi Pad Electronic Drum Set (The SDMP1). It is an entire Simmons kit and drum machine in one package. Simmons state that this is the perfect addition for practice, performance or recording beats and is able to be integrated with any drum or percussion set up, and can be mounted to a stand or an accessory clamp. It will connect to a PC with a USB port, while the included auxiliary input allows you to play along with a CD or MP3 player. The price seems very reasonable and I wonder how this compares on quality, sound and feel  with Roland’s SPD-20 and SPD-S or Yamaha’s new DTX-MULTI 12 Electronic Percussion Pad? The features and specifications look very good:-

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Aug 18

The Roland Fantom G8 is without doubt the best Piano / Synth Workstation I ever owned. The points that sell it are simply – its looks – its keyboard action and feel / playability and its huge 8.5″ TFT colour screen which is mouse-controlled. The sound has a clarity that out-classes the Fantom X. This difference is like the difference between 16bit and 24bit sounds. Everything sounds just that bit crisper and cleaner. I particularly love the fact that the screen displays what you play and where and you can see exactly where your keyboard splits are. On most other keyboards, you would have to guess for example where your piano range ends and where your brass begins or you may have many splits where it is even more difficult. With the Fantom Gs you can clearly see it right in front of you in colour.

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Aug 17

Roland Lucina Synth

Here it is: – the Roland Lucina AX-09 shoulder Synthesizer. OK, so I am in front of a great big mirror, I have put on my 80’s clothes, made my hair look three times bigger than it normally is, picked up a guitar strap, attached it to the new Roland Lucina, plugged her in and switched her on. I must say I like the name of this Synth taken from Greek Mythology. Roland say that they have selected the name Lucina from the Goddess of Birth. They are hoping that this little beauty will inspire a new generation of children to become synthesiser players. I thought I would put Lucina through her paces to determine whether or not it was a serious instrument, a kid’s toy or something that would truly encourage children to start to understand today’s synths and all the fun that it brings to the world of music.
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