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 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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Mar 17

Focusrite_Red-4-Pre

Focusrite_Red-4-Pre - back

Focusrite have just announced their new Red 4Pre which is a 58-in, 64-out audio interface. The Focusrite Red 4Pre is packed with goodies with four new very clear digitally controlled preamps with –129 dB EIN and 63dB of gain and their “Air” effect, great high-headroom instrument inputs. It also has an excellent high-performance conversion system with parallel path summing operating at up to 24-bit – 192 kHz sampling, Thunderbolt 2 with dual Thunderbolt 2 ports , Pro Tools HD DigiLink and Dante network connectivity- that sounds impressive.

As well as all this is has fantastic connectivity and delivers Focusrite’s lowest round-trip latency. Available in April 2016 at £2099.99 / $2499.99

Feb 24

native_instruments_expansion_black_arc

Native Instruments are at it again with another new expansion pack for their awesome Maschine. This one is called BLACK ARC designed to put some reggae in your beats.

So what do you get? Native Instruments tell us that included is a whole host of sampled acoustic instruments, guitar licks, and syncopated phrases tailored for classic reggae, dub, and reggaeton styles provide the sonic foundation.

This expansion makes full use of NI’s MASSIVE synth for its synth sounds but their are also effects kits including dub sirens, delays, and vocal call-outs – sounds good? Have a listen to the sound clips at the Native Instruments site here

If you can’t afford the $49 / 49 € / £44 / ¥ 5,680 / AU$ 79 price tag you may want to try the iMASCHINE version of Black Arc for $0.99 / 0,99 € / £0.79 / ¥ 120 / AU$ 1.29.

Jan 24

The Mastering Process is either expensive or difficult to do yourself. As technology moves forward, more and more people are attempting to Master themselves with the aid of plugins. They all claim to be the answer but more often than not they fail because every piece of music recorded is diferent and requires individual mastering unique to that recording.

At NAMM 2016, Softube are telling us they have a foolproof new plugin – The Drawmer S73 Intelligent Master Processor. This has been modelled on Drawmer’s 1973 Three Band FET Stereo Compressor hardware. This plugin brings complex analogue-style multiband compression down to just a handful of controls and assists you by
making the choices a mastering engineer would make.

You just select from one of ten preset mastering Styles which have names like :- ‘More air’, ‘Clarity’, ‘Punch’, and ‘De-rumble’. Sounds very easy and to some extent it is as it automatically adjusts compression, EQ and mid-side processing parameters to provide your mix with its stated style.

There is an Amount knob that will set the depth of the processing; the Air switch seems to activate a high shelving filter and the Mix and Gain knobs control the wet/dry mix and output level respectively.

Although this all seems too good to be true, Softube’s reputation for creating top of the range plugins means that I am willing to give this a try.

You cannot get the Drawmer S73 until February 2. It is being sold at an introductory price of $75 until February 29 when it goes up to $99. See what you think on the youtube clip

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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 23

I haven’t heard from Kat in a long time. I bought their electronic bass drum many years ago. It wasn’t quite as responsive as the current Roland V-Drums but it was very heavy and would not move no matter how hard you played. I was also very interested in their TrapKat, but I did not get around to buying one.

It seems today Kat Digital Percussion are at Namm 2016 with their new kt4 digital drum set. Have a look at the youtube clip above showing the drum and percussion sounds that were created. I love the sounds on this kit. You can see all their latest KAT gear on their website at katpercussion.com

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Jan 22

Another fantastic idea from Zoom – the new Zoom ARQ Wireless Bluetooth Control. It is a Drum Machine, it is a Sequencer, it is an electronic tambourinesque percussion instrument, it is a Synth, it is a Midi Controller, it is a looper with a built-in accelerometer. What can’t this thing do?

You should see it in the shops about April time $599. Zoom say it is for Electronic Music Production and performance. With its wireless Bluetooth Ring Controller, you can get out amongst the crowd.
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