Sep 19

I don’t know if you have ever seen this before or like me if you believed it was possible for one person to sing two notes at the same time. Well the very talented Anna-Maria Hefele shows us in this live video that polyphonic overtone singing is possible and that every human being is capable of doing this.

Apparently, you can sing the overtone scale on one fundamental. Another fundamental has its own overtone scale, so in order to have more overtones to sing nice melodies, you can use different fundamentals and change them while singing.

You can do this with different movements of your tongue, lips and jaw and by changing the shape of the resonant cavities of the mouth, larynx and pharynx to produce the harmonics (fundamental and overtones) of a sound wave.

Wiki states “Overtone singing—also known as overtone chanting, harmonic singing or throat singing—is a type of singing in which the singer manipulates the resonances (or formants) created as air travels from the lungs, past the vocal folds, and out of the lips to produce a melody”.

If that all sounds too complicated, Anna-Maria Hefele shows you how at her site :- http://www.openculture.com/2015/10/anna-maria-hefele-presents-a-6-part-lesson-on-how-to-sing-two-notes.html

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Sep 10

roland-vdrums-td-50-module-brain-front

At last, Roland after all these years, have upgraded the TD-30 drum Brain to the TD-50. It has been a while and I wasn’t sure if they ever were going to do it. Their 909 day although I am sure has been a great success took a little flak from the people who commented on this on-line. One of the main comments was their ability to market and recycle all that they have done in the past and this is definitely true. Although, we all love the sounds of the 808 and 909, it makes me wonder when they are going to invent something new. That said, I am all for improvements and if Roland can build something further on the Roland TD30 by way of the TD-50 then I will be very pleased that it exists in this world. However at a cost of £1939 for the TD-50 module or £6599 for the TD-50KV kit, we are talking some serious money. The smaller TD-50K is £4129 which makes me think that the TD-50 module is over-priced being half the price of the whole kit. I think £1400 – £1500 is more realistic.

I sincerely hope that we don’t hear their repetitive saying that “it has been built from the ground up”, because it clearly has not. It has been built up from its predecessors the TD7, TD-10, TD20 and TD30 but yes it will without a doubt be their Flagship V-Drum sound module. At this stage it is hard to properly comment on how it sounds and feels and to do any comparison with the TD-30 but the most obvious advantage I can see is the ability to play your own samples via an SD card. I never understood why this was not on the TD-30 as it was crying out for it.

Roland’s information on the SD card tell us that it’s easy to trigger your own WAV files using any of the TD-50’s drum pads, and you can loop or layer them alongside the internal sounds while controlling volume and tone via the TD-50’s front panel. There’s even a choice of audio sampling formats: 48 kHz, 96 kHz, and the standard 44.1kHz – all sounds great to me.

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Aug 19

Here is something that caught my eye, not because it is a Roland / Boss product but simply because of what the person is doing with it. Watch Youngr in the youtube clip above. I know this sort of thing has been done before but he really demonstrates a variety of skills with using technology, playing various instruments and singing – great stuff.

The Boss RC-202 is a tiny but powerful little unit that I am sure will be great for club performers, electronic musicians and beatboxers. It is based on their RC-505 Loop Station which everyone loved but whilst it is just a two-track it does have a whole load of new features. Four Input FX and four Track FX are available at once, and loops can be saved to memories in real time. It is therefore ideal for looping musicians who have their hands occupied with guitar, keyboards, and other instruments like Youngr on the youtube clip.

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Jun 23

Here is something right up my street – a new electronic drum module, no it is not from Roland and Yamaha but from Pearl Drums. I have always loved Pearl Drums and I grew up near to where they had a factory.

I must admit I did not think they would venture out into the electronic market but I suppose today you just have to cober all bases to stay in business. Having said that it looks like Pearl have made a wise decision teaming up with Steven Slate to create what they call “the world’s most advanced electronic drum module called the Mimic Pro as a dedicated hardware host for Steven Slate Drums”

Have a look at the You Tube clip. I obviously haven’t heard the on board 60 Kits that it has but although I am pleased and excited about this module, I was disappointed with the You Tube Clip. It starts off by indicating that all other modules are stuck in the 80s. I agrere with this statement to some extent but what I then wanted to hear is drum sounds of 2016/2017 instead the clip goes on to explain how it can reproduce real drum sounds mimicing the original kits, hense the name Mimic Pro. Whilst this all sounds great, I still think it should have some up-to-date sounds (maybe it has?). If its aim is to Mimic Drums, why not mimic some of the computer generated drum sounds that have been created with filters, exciters, compressors and transient shapers that end up on so many hit songs or TV themes today.
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Jun 16

HyperSound Innovations

Here is something I was not aware of – an audio company called Turtle Beach Corporation (famous for its HyperSound technology), has achieved another great breakthrough by creating directional audio using a transparent pane of glass.

This innovation could be used in such a variety of situations, in fact anything that is made of glass like the windscreen on your car for example. Have a look at the Youtube clip. Even better if you have been at the 2016 Electronics Entertainment Expo at the L.A. Convention Center for the last couple of days or you are there today, Turtle Beach will be showing an early prototype of their HyperSound Glass directional speakers.

So what is good about HyperSound? Well it has Improved audio quality and frequency response, low voltage cables and lower overall power consumption and emitter panel design have improved the ratio of audio volume to panel size, allowing for the production of much smaller panels.
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Apr 7

Here is another interesting new product for Musikmesse 2016 – The Boss VE-8 Acoustic Singer multi-effects pedal

The is mainly aimed at the acoustic guitar singer providing studio-quality vocal and guitar processing, including real-time harmonies and looping. You can get a professional vocal sound very quickly

You can get a professional vocal sound very quickly as it gives you a basic reverb plus a choice of four harmonies (with automatic key detection and doubling effect), electronic and distorted sounds, pitch correct, doubling, 3 band eq, low cut, radio and an Enhance setting, to add clarity and control to your sound.

For your guitar sound, there is a bit magic with something called Acoustic Resonance you can use it to remove piezo ‘quack’ and fine-tune your guitar tone with the Notch control. The main effects available are reverb, chorus, octave, mod delay, tremelo, phaser, octave, slow gear, 3 band eq, low cut, notch filter. There’s a handy built-in tuner, too.

There is also a footswitch which controls a built-in 80 second looper, which can loop your guitar, vocal or both, while patches can be stored in any of 50 memory locations.

Around the bach you get a whole range of connections:- MIC IN connector: XLR type, balanced, phantom power (DC 48 V, 10 mA Max)
GUITAR IN jack: 1/4-inch phone type, AUX IN jack: Stereo miniature phone type, XLR OUT L, R connectors: XLR type, LINE OUT L/MONO, R jacks: 1/4-inch phone type, PHONES jack: Stereo miniature phone type, MEMORY INC/DEC jack: 1/4-inch TRS phone type, USB COMPUTER port: USB type B and a DC IN jack.

Size is as follows:- 217 mm x 161 mm x 65 mm and weight of only 1.3 kg with batteries.

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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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