Sep 12

Amongst the new recent products released by Roland, I couldn’t help but notice a colourful green synth from their AIRA range – the new System 8. This is the second Plug-Out synth from Roland that features their Analogue Circuit Behaviour Technology (ACB) to create a wealth of sounds. Have a listen to the great Scott Tibbs at Kraft Music demo the System 8 in the Youtube clip above.

The System 8 however, can control up to three Plug-Out software synths. Two of which are included in the price. One of which is the Jupiter 8 and the other which will not be available until Spring 2017 is the Juno 106 Plug-Out. This will leave a space for a future Plug-Out synth that they may release or one of their existing ones already available such as the SH-01 or SH2. You should note that the Plug-Out synths are separate from the internal engine. These plug-outs of these classic synths have been recreated with all their analogue character using ACB.

The Roland System 8 has a 49 note velocity sensitive key-bed, 8 voice polyphony, three powerful oscillators, powerful hi-res filters, very versatile LFOs, a built-in vocoder, an arpeggiator, polyphonic chord memory functions, CV/GATE outputs, a large selection of great effects, and it can be used as a USB/MIDI interface for easy integration with your DAW – all sounds good to me. But, how much does it cost I hear you say?. Unfortunately, this will set you back £1239.00.

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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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Jan 24

No it is not Kylie Minilogue it is another little GEM from Namm 2016 from Korg – the new Korg Minilogue Analog Poly. The information on this synth was leaked before the Namm show. It’s an all-new 37-key, 4-voice true analog polyphonic synthesizer with onboard delay and 16 step poly sequencer.

Korg believes that the Minilogue is the first of its kind in design, virtue and affordability. They say that newly developed analog synth circuitry provides a rich, diverse sound palette, instantly recalled from its 100 factory presets plus 100 user programs.

Specifications:

Keyboard: 37 keys (slim keyboard, velocity sensitive)
Maximum Polyphony: 4 voices (8 voice modes inc unison layering)
Controls: 41 dedicated panel controls deliver immediate parameter access
Sequencer: 16 step polyphonic sequencer with automation of up to four synth parameters
Connectivity: MIDI IN / OUT, USB B, Sync IN / OUT allows you to jam with volca and electribe series
Sound Generation: 2 VCO (saw / tri / sqr), 1 VCF (2 / 4pole), 2 EG, 1 VCA, 1 LFO, DELAY
Input / Output Jacks: Headphone Output, Line Output, Audio Input
Oscilloscope: Real-time OLED oscilloscope provides visual feedback of parameter changes

Display
Real-time OLED oscilloscope provides visual feedback of parameter changes

Dimensions (W x D x H)
500 x 300 x 85 mm / 19.69″ x 11.81″ x 3.35″

Weight
2.8 kg / 6.17 lbs.

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Jan 22

One of the biggest surprises for me this Namm is the release of the Yamaha Montage with its new Motion Control Synth engine. Yamaha state that it “sets the next milestone with sophisticated dynamic control, massive sound creation and streamlined workflow from the company that brought you the DX and the Motif”. The Montage is certainly very good-looking synth packed with sounds, so much so that I immediately think this is going to be expensive. There are the usual 3 models with 61, 76 and 88 keys and the cost ranges from approx £2100 to £2800. I really wish they would bring out a rack mounted version of it as I have said before like many other synth enthusiast, I do not have room for another keyboard.

The Motion Control Synthesizer Engine controls two famous Yamaha Sound Engines – Advanced Wave Memory 2 (AWM2) and FM-X. What is really useful is the AWM2 engine is compatible with previous generation Motif libraries, but is exponentially more powerful than the previous Motif XF flagship, with nearly ten times more wave memory, integrated flash, double the effects and twice the polyphony.

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Jan 21

Namm 2016 and Roland release the new EC-10 Electronic Layered Cajon. Have a look at youtube clip above and you will hear it performed by the very beautiful Professional percussionist, Heidi Joubert.

The new Roland EC-10 EL Cajon is the first of its kind. It is an acoustic cajon but it can be with layered with electronic sounds. These range from electronic drum sounds to more traditional acoustic percussion sounds as well as FX. It is the same size as a standard cajon (50 x 30 x 30 cm) and the playing surface is made of sapele wood.

It has 30 built-in electronic kits for layering with acoustic cajon sounds and each kit includes two independent sounds that can be triggered from the head and edge of the playing surface. It also includes studio-optimized cajon sounds to enhance the instrument’s acoustic sound, providing additional depth and punch.

It comes with an Integrated amplifier and coaxial speaker and runs on AA-size batteries providing you with up to 12 hours of continuous playing time or an AC adaptor (DC 5.7 V).

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Jan 16

celemony_ melodyne_4

Just when you least expect it, they go and release a new version of Melodyne called Celemony Melodyne 4. I am sure this will be shown at Namm 2016.

If you are already a user of Celemony Melodyne, I would suggest you log into your account and check to see if you are entitled to a free upgrade. If you are not the pricing and upgrade pricing is as follows:-

New users to Melodyne 4 Prices for the four different versions are:-
Melodyne 4 Studio €699, Melodyne 4 Editor €399, Melodyne 4 Assistant €249 and Melodyne 4 Essentials €99

Upgrades to the big Melodyne 4 Studio package
Upgrade from Melodyne assistant (all versions) is €449
Upgrade from Melodyne essential (all versions) is €599
Upgrade from Melodyne studio (Version 1 or 2) or Melodyne cre8 (all versions) is €149

Upgrades to the Melodyne 4 Editor package

Upgrade from Melodyne assistant (all versions) is €149
Upgrade from Melodyne essential (all versions) is €299
Upgrade from Melodyne uno or Melodyne plugin is €149

Have a look at Celemony’s website to give you more info on the versions but this update is mainly about the big studio package.

Jan 15

PD*60708286

Hi,

I am very sorry but 2016 has started badly with my website out of action. I am very pleased to announce that it is now back up and running again and I appologise for any inconvenience this has caused you.

It may well be half way through the month but we are getting very close to The 2016 Winter NAMM trade show in Anaheim, California which begins next friday . Already the excitement has started with the anouncement of a new synth from Korg called the Minilogue, a 37 slim-key fully programmable analog polyphonic synthesizer costing £435.

Also, there are the rumors of a new synth from Yamaha called the Montage. Speculation as to whether or not this will become the successor to the Motif is being discussed in Yamaha forums.

We may also see a new Roland sampler added to the product line-up, possibly as part of the AIRA series.

It seems that all the main companies have been recently bringing out products regressing back to yesteryear recreating sounds from the 70’s and 80’s. Personally I wish one of these companies would build a synth for 2016 that would produce sounds like Spectrasonics Omnisphere which are right up-to-date but not rely on a computer to store all of its sounds and have problems of latency. The Korg Kronos is probably the best at this at present but it is still heavily loaded with presets that look to recreate real instruments. Whilst this is good to have, it would be nice to have a synth that recreates solely the software synths sounds that we have today.

Anyway, let’s see what Namm brings us next week.

Dec 20

ROLI NOISE 5D – Free Virtual Seabord for iPhone and iPad

This looks like the best freebie available before Christmas for your iPhone or iPad. I really like the idea of having a Roli Rise keyboard that they released back in September but they are a bit expensive. I was therefore very surprised to hear about this freebie which is absolutely brilliant – you have got to get this.

The RISE, has this awesome MPE which stands for Multi-dimensional Polyphonic Expression. In simple english the whole keyboard surface has note on, key position along the length of it, and pressure (all per note). They are not the first company to do this but I would say they are or will be the most successful.

Apple meantime, with the iPhone 6S also introduced 3D Touch to its capabilities. No doubt the boffins at ROLI had a light bulb moment, as since then, they’ve been working to bring thier new free NOISE app to the market. Essentially on iPhone 6S, NOISE gives you the MPE playing experience (aside from the largess of the actual keyboard) but on your phone screen. You can apply the same pressure and positional control that you can with the Seaboard together with its own Mobile Sound Engine.

It has some 25 great sounds which I think come from their EQUATOR software synth. If you want more sounds you will be able to get these by purchasing from the App itself.

So if you are like me and want to experience what MPE is like but can not afford a Seaboard Rise, this is for you – free. You can only currently get it for the iPhone (iOS 9 up), the iPad version is not yet available.

Available free via the iTunes Store – what are you waiting for?

Oct 11

It is great to see an inovative product from a company like Novation that does not need a PC. The new Novation Circuit is grid – based groovebox with two Novation polysynths and a four-part drum machine, coupled with an easy 4×8 RGB velocity-sensitive grid sequencer with effects in a standalone box. You will tweaking away and create new electro music in seconds.

For me, what I love about this unit, despite its built in synths, is how easy it is to midi connect it to your other synths and modules with no PC connection needed.

It also has a small speaker and runs on batteries so you can create rhythmic ideas and fat grooves anywhere. I must say I like Novation’s statement that says “Ideas in Seconds. Tracks in Minutes” which gives you some idea of how user friendly this module is.

It is very portable and inexpensive at £249, so you can’t go wrong and it is definately going on my wishlist. Hava look at Novation’s technical specifications:-

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Sep 20

It looks like Roland’s secret is out as someone has accidently leaked details of three new (rather old) synths as small desk models:- The Roland JP-08 synthesizer module, the Roland JU-06 synthesizer module and the Roland JX-03 synthesizer module. Have a look here:-

roland-jp-08-module

roland-ju-06-module

roland-jx-03-module

All looking very colourful like the originals. I can’t help feeling Roland has done this to directly compete with Yamaha’s Reface series of Keyboards which are their reimagined interfaces of classic Yamaha keyboards. Personally I think it is great to see these classics from both Yamaha and Roland.

I am pleased that Roland do not have a small keybed attached to their modules, although you can get the K-25m keyboard unit if you wish. Instead of spending £2000 on one keyboard that does all we will all be buying 10 little synths at £300 each. Where do you put them all?

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