Jan 19

NAMM 2013 – The New Stylophone S2 analog synthesizer

Here is something that I am sure you will find at Namm 2013 next week – the New Stylophone S2 analog synthesizer which is also featured on Brett Domino’s ‘Beauty And A Beat’ – excellent title. If you want to start your day with some fun, have a look at this You Tube clip, which clearly demonstrates the usefulness of the Stylophone in 2013. I quite like the drumming that is provided by bandmate Steven Peavis also as it works so well with it:-

The Stylophone S2 packs loads of features which include the old traditional Stylophone metal keyboard, but now it is 3 octaves long and playable with an included wire-free stylus or by finger touch. It has a all analogue signal path, a British style 12dB/octave state-variable filter, dual all-transistor voltage controlled oscillators, sub-oscillators for ‘super-fat’ bass, eight waveform LFO with a 14 octave range, an auxiliary-input to use the filter and envelope-generator for other instruments, 1/4” output jack socket, internal speaker and headphone socket and CV and Trigger input sockets. You will be able to pick one up for £299 which is $479.

Jan 3


I do love Novation Synths and I am still very happy with my Supernova II rack that I picked up for a good price a few years back. More recently after a considerable break Novation got my taste buds going again with the Ultranova and now in a world of small portable gadgets and people with tiny fingers they have released the Mininova. Designed to take anywhere, fit anywhere, play anywhere and sing and no doubt compete heavily with the excellent and very popular MicroKORG.

I know before I play a note that I am going to love the sound because it has the same synth engine as the Ultranova but personally I am not a great lover of small keys. However, this is not going to stop me enjoying every minute of this fun instrument that looks as if it has all the power and oomph of a full blown synth. I think what intrigues me here is that if it is basically an Ultranova, can you manipulate the sound differently with alternative set of controls? This may be difficult to see and hear without the two synths side by side – but let’s see if we can find out. Novation say that the Mininova is an Ultranova in a performance synthesizer format. The Mininova certainly seems to have a few tricks that are not on the Ultranova.

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Nov 30

Take a look at this new App from Korg – the iPolysix based on the Polysix keyboard that was a six-voice analog polyphonic synthesizer made in 1981 – this looks great fun. What I love about this is up to eight instances of the synth can be used in conjunction with new features that include a sequencer, drum machine, multiple effects, Korg’s acclaimed Kaoss touch functionality for intuitive note and controller entry, and a complete automated mixer – wow.

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Nov 29

ROLAND JUPITER Synth Legends Volume 1


This is good of Roland to enhance their Jupiter 50 and Jupiter 80 keyboards with the first in a series of free sound libraries. These are going to provide you with some great vintage sounds from some of the greatest synths in Roland’s history. Just have a look at the YouTube clip above and click on the ‘More’ for further information and clips.

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Nov 12



Well here is a hot item, released in the UK on 28 September 2012 – The Clavia Nord Electro 4 HP 73 note velocity sensitive hammer action portable E-E keyboard. Another classy Nord product with a quality build but one that is extremely light, (weighing only 11 kg which is 24.25 lbs.) considering the fact it has expressive, full weighted keys.

On first look there doesn’t seem to be a great difference between the Electro 4 and the Electro 3 that I recently reviewed so I shall delve into its charms and see what is new.

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Nov 10


Moog has announced the 10th Anniversary Minimoog Voyager with a 24 Karat gold dipped chassis among other features. There’s only going to be 31 made for the whole world and one will be given away. Here’s what Moog say:

“We’d like to extend a heartfelt thank you to our exceptional customers for allowing our small company to thrive while staying true to our ideals. To show our gratitude all registered Minimoog Voyager owners will receive a small gift for joining us on our ten year voyage. And…one very lucky Moog enthusiast will win the gift of a lifetime, the 10th Anniversary Minimoog Voyager–created with the finest materials, it stands as a testament to American craftsmanship. Thirty proud owners, one lucky winner.”

Oct 29


Yes I have one in my mitts to seriously take a good look at and discover what it is that everyone is talking about in the new Roland Jupiter 50. I know it is very lightweight 76 note keyboard and costs about a £1000 less than its bigger much heavier brother the Jupiter 80 but just how good does it sound and practically how good is it to take on the road with its cost cutting reductions? These and many other burning questions I have as I delve deeper into its charms and hopefully not too many disappointments.

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Oct 10

Here is a great little App for your iPad from IK Multimedia – it is the iGrand Piano. 237 Mb in 17 professional sounding stereo pianos. It’s low-latency response makes you feel like you’re playing a real piano.

With high-definition stereo samples across multiple velocities, iGrand Piano brings you the most playable, expressive and beautiful sounding grand, baby grand, upright and specialty piano instruments available on a mobile device that you can play anytime and everywhere.

In addition it also provides you with a full suite of MIDI-controllable adjustable parameters, to make the sound of a particular piano exactly the way you want it. With a built-in recorder that features an audio/visual metronome, and the fact that you can export your recordings as WAV or M4a files – it is an incredible price of $19.99 which is only £13.99.

Because it’s CoreMIDI compatible, you can play iGrand Piano from a MIDI controller, such as iRig KEYS, or use your own keyboard connected to your iPad via iRig MIDI. Either way, you get a piano rig you can take anywhere and play anytime.

Oct 1


Are you up for some analog synth sounds – I mean 100% analog? Well I have got my hands on the Moog Slim Phatty which is a single voice 100% Analog subtractive synthesizer. In terms of big names in synthesizers, you do not get any bigger than Moog.

As you probably know, the very last thing Bob Moog worked on was the Little Phatty Synth. Whilst it still had that old Moog classic sound, it had some up to date additions, one of which being USB connectivity. The Legacy he left behind in Synth design has led to the release of a smaller rack-mounted synth module aptly named the Moog Slim Phatty. I am surprised the word ‘Boy’ wasn’t in there somewhere.

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Sep 19

Here is a lot more useful information on the new Roland Integra-7 from Roland product demonstrator Gareth Bowan showing exactly how you get the most out of it. He also shows it in use with an iPad. It can only really be described as ‘the best of Roland’ – see what you think?

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