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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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 18

Here is an interesting plugin from Waves and Greg Wells. Greg has given us two plugins in this series so far the VoiceCentric and the PianoCentric. This one is called the MixCentric and is designed to sit on your master buss. Greg states that “This plugin is very special, and much agonizing and experimenting went into it. The MixCentric plugin will quickly get your track sounding like an expertly EQed and compressed mix, using the same techniques employed by many of the best mix engineers.” This plugin has been designed as a quick and easy way for you to finalize your mix by using EQ, compression and harmonic distortion. You can use it on your master buss or groups.

Greg is a songwriter and mix engineer who has worked with some great artists like Katy Perry, Adele, OneRepublic and Mika.

Jan 16

Namm 2016  – IK and Gavin Lurssen – new mastering product

Here is a great teaser that we may well have to wait until Friday next week to find out exactly what it is that IK and Gavin Lurssen are set to unveil that will assist us with Mastering. Have a watch of this YouTube clip and see what you think. I am not sure if it is going to be hardware or software but I am guessing it will be software.

In addition you only have a couple of days left to submit  your  mix which if selected will be mastered by world-renowned mastering engineers Gavin Lurssen and Reuben Cohen.   At NAMM 2016, during the live presentation of this new mastering product from IK Multimedia and Gavin Lurssen , it could be your mix that is mastered.

To enter your mix go here : – http://submityourmix.hscampaigns.com/, simply fill out the submission form and upload your mix to SoundCloud or Dropbox  – Good Luck.

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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Mar 22

I know it is a bit 80’s but it is a great song sung by a beautifull lady Marie Fredriksson. She is part of a Swedish pop rock duo Roxette and the song is called – Spending my time. If you haven’t heard it before, give it a try.

Roxette were formed in 1986 and consists of Marie Fredriksson (vocals) and Per Gessle (vocals and guitar). This duo became a fantastic international act in the late 1980s and had 19 UK top 40 hits. They really got started when they released their first album ‘Look Sharp’and everything just took off.

It is great to see them out on tour again after all these years – Have a listen:-

Jan 25

The Tom Cat is a true analog drum machine, with five built-in percussion voices, including Kick, Snare, and Clap sounds with chromatically tunable Disco Toms. It is nicely priced at £150 for an analogue machine but in 2015 I struggled to find what is exciting about it. Yes it has some nice electronic percussion sounds and great filters but there doesn’t seem to be anything that is new here.

If you watch the You Tube clip perhaps you will see what I mean:-

The controls are very nice and are all continuously variable. This enables you to customize the tuning, amplitude envelopes, and volume of each drum voice separately for precise real-time adjustment. You get six MPC-style pads and a built-in 32-step sequencer and your Drum patterns can be fine-tuned using the Swing function, Pattern Select, and Tempo Control knob. A custom signal path, activated by its unique “Maul” circuitry, also lets you ‘dirty up’ drum beats.

The Akai Tom Cat analog drum machine is expected to be available in July. Akai state that their goal was to make an analogue multi-voice drum machine that easily integrate with both modern and vintage music equipment, so musicians could effortlessly bring that great analog sound into their music. Sadly I found this a little disappointing and was looking forward to hearing what it could do, but now I have, I don’t think I will be buying one. The price is good if you are looking to add some analogue drum sounds to your setup. I saw a comment that someone made that said “I don’t even want this for free”? and although at first, I thought it was a bit hard on Akai, perhaps it highlights the fact that a company like Akai that brought us the MPC family could really do better – sorry Akai – perhaps I will feel different about it when I have the chance to test it out in the shops in the Summer.

Whilst you are why not check out my kits for Native Instruments Maschine:-
the-filta-revolution-maschine-expansion

Jan 25

It has been a bit quiet on the Spectrasonics Omnisphere front recently so I was pleasantly surprised that they have been very hard at work creating version 2 of this software. For those of you wanting to upgrade it is a reasonably costly upgrade at nearly half the price of the full product. So for this amount I am expecting a great deal of changes and improvements.

At Namm 2015 Spectrasonics has just introduced Omnisphere 2 as a major upgrade to its best-selling flagship software synth. Spectrasonics say that Omnisphere 2 “adds a vast amount of new synthesis and creative capabilities for sound design and significant user interface innovations”.

The Omnisphere 2 upgrade includes the most requested Omnisphere feature: Audio import for user created soundsources. I really like the sound of this which opens up endless sound possibilities. The next biggest change has got to be it’s new oscillator features which give you a hundred times the number of DSP Oscillator waveforms, morphing Wavetables, new granular synthesis optionsand over 3,000 unique new sounds. Yes that is what I said over 3,000 unique new sounds. These have been created by Spectrasonics excellent sound design team.

OK amonst the thousands of new additions and those fantastic features above you also get 25 new FX units and a much better user interface with fast browsing features.

Spectrasonics state “Our biggest goal with Omnisphere 2 is to offer more freedom to create for every type of person using it,” I was surprised to learn that this the first ‘version 2’ of any of their software instruments.

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Jan 7

It has been over three years since I reviewed the Traps Electronic Drum kit E400. I found this You Tube clip above of an A400 Traps Kit that really gives you a great idea of how Traps Drums  sound. No it is not a Roland TD30 kit but when you consider the cost difference you really do get a lot for your money here.

Drummers who have bought this kit have said it is great if you consider updating the heads and perhaps buy a better hi-hat stand but other than that they love what they are getting for the cost.

I had a look on the Absolute Music website to see what they are currently selling and found twenty items of kits and accessories, some of which are at reduced prices. The one that caught my eye was an A400 kit which includes :-

a snare drum, 10- 12- and 14-inch toms and a 20-inch kick drum, a Hi-hat stand, kick pedal and drumsticks included. Also comes with Paiste 101 cymbals :- 14-inch hi-hat, 16-inch crash, 14-inch crash/ride. The price of the kit has been reduced from £449 to £399.

traps-electronic-drums-a400-kit

They also have the new  Traps EX500 Electronic Drum Kit with Realistic Mesh Heads which has Dual Zone chokeable cymbals, Dual Zone snare and tom drums, Triple ply mesh heads, 12 inch snare, 10,12 and 14 inch toms and a 20 inch bass drum and good quality hardware. It also has on-board recording, 74 voices (inc Drums, Percussion, SFX and more),40 Preset and 59 User Kits,120 Preset and 100 User Songs,Built in 4-Band Master EQ,USB,Midi in and Out. Unlike other electronic drums you get a standard sized set of drums: dual trigger 12 inch snare, dual trigger 10 inch tom, 12 inch tom and 14 inch tom all for £549 what great value.

If you want to also read my earlier review, please go here .

If you are lucky enough to own a Roland TD 30 kit, dont forget to check out my Roland TD30 Expansion Pack – Electro Mayhem here.

 

 

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