Sep 28

cakewalk-sonar-x3

Well the Big Surprise for me today was the news of a Cakewalk Sonar X3 DAW. Whilst I was pondering over its exciting new additions and wondering about its release date, I got a bigger surprise to find out it had been released today, yes that is right today. Like a large Cat ready to pounce on a tiny mouse, I placed my order for Sonar X3 Producer.

Sonar X3 comes in three sizes but this time at the lower end of the scale it looks like the basic Sonar X3 has a terific amount of content and facilities for the money and they Cakewalk have really pushed the boat out here to have a DAW that is really going to beat the competition at this lower level.

At the upper level – The Producer, I am excited by the prospect that I may soon have a DAW to be proud of. So what do I get for my purchase, I sincerely hope its not going to be full of bugs and issues but instead effortlessly upgrades from my X2 providind me with some great new facilities, but more importantly – I hope it is stable. SONAR X3 is said to include over a hundred finely tuned tweaks, little enhancements and general improvements throughout. A lot of these changes have come about by customer feedback.

The New additions I get in my Producer version are:-

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Sep 26

waldorf-pulse-2-analogue-synthesizer

Its here at last – what a wait – the new Waldorf Pulse 2 Analogue Synthesizer. Do you remember my post from the NAMM show back in January 2012? Well I really didn’t think we would be waiting until September 2013 before the first of these became available. What have Waldorf been up to? I did however have a little go on this at Musikmesse this year – great fun especially the arpeggiator.

Sometimes you just have to wait if you want something good and the new Waldorf Pulse 2 Analogue Synthesizer certainly looks worth it. Waldorf have grown and grown and their products today are well liked and if you know of their previous products in the Pulse Range you will know they are legendary. With a newly designed Pulse 2 for 2013 (should have been 2012), Waldorf are about to give you all what you desire in this great, powerful and strong metal box of tricks.

It has for starters three analogue oscillators which seem to be right at home with my favourite – the VCF (Voltage Controlled Filter). This is no basic VCF and offers 12dB Highpass and Bandpass modes in addition to 24dB/12dB Lowpass for providing some real beef to the sound.

There is so much more to this synth, with a 128×64 character backlit LCD, a powerful arpeggiator, a Noise Generator, VCA, Ring Modulator, Analogue Filter FM, Pulsewidth Modulation, LFO, two Overdrive circuits and hard Sync, an Alternating Pulsewidth Modulation mode, an XOR Osc mode, CV Out, Gate Out, USB, Midi In and Out

If you want to create those sort-after sounds – you need a Pulse 2 which you can purchase direct from Waldorf €461.00 EUR/$610.00 USD (excluding tax). I have seen some UK prices as low as £406.

Sep 25

New from Native Instruments – Kinetic Metal – KOMPLETE instrument

There is just no stopping Native Instruments who just keep churning out new products at the rate of knots. Can you afford to keep up with them? Do you have enough hard disk space. This little gem of fun – Kinetic Metal is 1.55 GB (compressed) has 1751 samples and 211 Instruments and costs 99 Euros which is approximately £83 or $134.

To be fair this may seem expensive but it is quite a sizeable interesting and different product. Just watch the You Tube clip above which is a training video on its use and gives you much more than a rough idea as to what this awesome product is capabale of. KINETIC METAL allows you to forge very unconventional sounds and have a very playable instrument to inspire your creativity. I particularily love the facility that provides Motion. It can create anything from delicate percussive music box qualities to scary ethereal textures.

What I also like is the way this instrument behaves. Basically it will combine four samples with four artificial waveforms and then arrange them for you into four unique new sounds whilst the Forge wheel will cleverly and continuously morph between them – What an awesome sound design concept – love it. I can feel a purchase coming on – not more GBs for my PC.

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Sep 18

New Native Instruments  Maschine Expansion – Lazer Dice

native-instruments-maschine-expansion-lazer-dice

 

No sooner have Native Instruments released an expansion pack called Static Friction, today they have released another to add to their overwhelming arsenal of sounds and patterns called Lazer Dice.

Lazer Dice is a cool blend of Synthesizer Electronica with that old deep and rich south hip-hop sounds. Synth sounds have been carefully created using their famouse Massive Synth.

With 47 Kits and 206 patterns to add to your collection covering futuristic bass and lead sounds, 800 deep sub-bass kicks, pitched snare drum rolls, essential bass drops, there is enough creative potential to keep you going for months.

Why not purchase LAZER DICE today available for $49 USD / 49 EUR. If you think this price is a bit high, why not try my expansion for Maschine called the FILTA REVOLUTION.

The FILTA REVOLUTION brings the energy and power of industrial, retro and techno sounds to your Native Instruments Maschine and features special kits designed to bring out your song-writing creativity. Listen to demo and get full details HERE.

Sep 16

akai-mpc-element-pad-controller

I love MPCs almost as much as Native Instruments Maschine. Whilst Native Instruments simply have two models, AKAI seem to want to release a variety to suit a range of pockets and uses.

Their latest is the new USB-powered MPC called – Element (available in October) at an incredible price of only $150 and very portable just under 17 mm thick MPC Pad type Controller. It comes elegantly packed with the new MPC Essentials software. Despite its low price it has all that you need and come to expect in an MPC from Akai. 1 GB of a fantastic Sound Library, easy to see multi-coloured and pressure and velocity-sensitive pads. You still have Swing, Tap Tempo, Note Repeat, Swing, Full Level and 16 Level.

Its actual size is 284mm x 205mm x 16.89mm and weighs only 1.85 pounds (0.86kg). Akai’s MPC Element operates via standard MIDI, so you can use it to control any MIDI music software – great stuff. I think DAW users are going to love this they will be able to run virtually unlimited instances of Element in their DAWs simultaneously. What are you waiting for – buy one of these, load your own samples, add in up to four insert effects per pad and make some super beats. I have not seen a UK price yet but $150 is approx £95, so I think it will be about £100 mark which is excellent when you weigh up what you are getting here.

Sep 13

yamaha-cp4-stage-piano

Well could the new CP4 Yamaha Stage Piano be the best stage piano they have ever made? Although it has the usual Yamaha look and controls it has Forty-Five premium grand pianos including the CFX, CFIII, and the S6. If you throw in 47 Electric Pianos and 341 other voice patches, it is begining to shape up. But at just over £2000 what is it that makes this one stand out from the crowd? How heavy or portable is it?

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Sep 8

PART 2 – YOU TUBE CLIPS 11 TO 20

Here is the second part of my collection of clips to help you on your way with Native Instruments Maschine. They are full of Tips and Tricks and information to help you understand and if you are not sure about something – just rewind and watch again. Also there maybe a similar clip covering the same topic but it could be explained a bit differently and this may help you. I want to say a Big Big thanks to the Guys that put these together to help all you folk out there- Many Many Thanks – Great Job.

native_instruments_maschine_mk2

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Sep 4

These types of product releases always catch my eye, especially when they come from Roland – The new Roland Handsonic HPD-20 Digital Hand Percussion. This looks packed with goodies and a noticable improvement over the original HPD-10 and the larger HPD-15 with more instruments and kits. You get 850 excellent sounds with quality of Roland’s SuperNATURAL sound engine. If you add in 13 very sensitive and playable pads, Multi-effects, EQ and Ambience and WAV import via USB you start to have something very special, very portable to hit the streets with.

The specification is very impressive but I sincerely wish they would step up to today’s quality sample rates. I was disappointed to see that as we fast approach 2014 that Roland are still using 16 bits at 44.1 kHz. I think it is about time we saw 24Bit and 96 KHz from them – it has gone on long enough. Please let us have some Flagship quality.

Ok now I am off my soapbox, what other goodies does the Handsonic HPD-20 have? Well possibly the most asked for is ability to import your own samples and the HPD-20 has it. You can import up to 500 of your own WAV sounds via USB flash memory – excellent.

It has great controller qualities and you could use it to control and play virtual instruments and record your MIDI and audio performances in your DAW.
There is storage capacity for two hundred kits of which a hundred of them have have been readily setup for you ready to just instantly play.

Around the back you will find sufficient connections; MIDI In and Out, Trigger Input, Hi-Hat Controller Input, Stereo Output and Phones, Mix In and Footswitch, USB Computer and USB Memory Ports.

Have a quick look at this:-


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