Frankfurt Musikmesse Update: TerraTec Producer has announced AREA 61, an expandable keyboard system for studio and gigging musicians.
The controller features freely selectable, integrated sound
generators (optionally available DSP soundboards) that may also serve
as a central control unit for all software sequencers and virtual
instruments in computer-based music studios. Offering
professional-grade features and leading-edge technology, AREA 61 is the
first keyboard to come with an integrated USB 2.0 High Speed Audio and
MIDI Interface. Appointments such as an advanced low-latency
architecture, 24-bit/ 96-kHz resolution and discrete power amps ensure
high fidelity and assertive sound in the studio and on stage. Another
hallmark feature is the Ploytek FMC audio algorithm, which debuts with
the AREA 61.
The instrument?€™s 61 velocity-sensitive, half-weighted keys feature
two impressive aftertouch zones. Two pressure sensors offer various
touch-control options for the left and right hands. For example, the
keyboardist may play a left-hand chord and control the volume level by
varying aftertouch pressure, while playing a right-hand lead line using
a different sound and aftertouch to control a filter. A dual-color LED
chain with 15 segments surrounds each of the 10 programmable rotary
encoders. Every encoder comprises not only the control dial, but also a
push-button that triggers various events, for instance, to switch to
another MIDI controller or to control a certain MIDI function.
Two rubberized control wheels and five buttons serving menu control
and navigation purposes are easy to reprogram using the included
control software so players can conveniently remote-control a sequencer.
USB 2.0 Audio and MIDI System
AREA 61 comes with a high-quality, 24-bit/ 96 kHz audio system built
in. USB 2.0 High Speed-enabled, it features an analog stereo
input/output. A discrete amplifier powers the separately adjustable
headphones, delivering plenty of punch for auditioning sounds.
The two MIDI ports are on board for internal communication; they
also accept external sound generators and MIDI input devices. THRU
configures as a separate USB MIDI output to provide a USB MIDI I/O
interface alongside the standard keyboard MIDI output. A standard
TerraTec Producer practice, ASIO drivers are part of the package to
Sound Generation Options
In addition, keyboardists can equip AREA 61 with optionally
available sound modules for use as a classic synthesizer, that is,
without a computer. To this end, TerraTec Producer now offers
KOMPLEXER, a synthesizer that runs as a VSTi plug-in and as a
standalone DSP application. Comprising a real synthesizer based on the
Waldorf µQ, it provides more than 400 parameters for shaping the
perfect sound. And if this complexity seems a bit overwhelming at
first, keyboardists can go to the Easy Edit page, choose from the many
presets and easily manipulate their selections using eight Macro
controls. Best of all, entire banks port from KOMPLEXER VST to AREA
61?€™s on-board KOMPLEXER DSP. This means KOMPLEXER VST goes wherever
the keyboard goes, without having to tote a computer.
Released last year, the WaveXtable module is a 128-voice, GM- and
XG-compatible Waveboard offering more than 500 top-drawer sounds.
Further modules are in the works. Users can employ other vendors?€™
compatible Wavetable cards, making the AREA 61 a remarkably extendible
The integrated sound generator?€™s analog output signal goes to the
output mixer and may be auditioned with the 2.0 audio system’s playback
signal as well as over the input monitor. Recording the output signal
via USB 2.0 is also an option.
- Controller Keyboard featuring 61 full-size keys
- Integrated USB 2.0, 24-bit/ 96-Hz Audio and MIDI System
- Stereo Input and Output and 2 separate MIDI Ports
- Extendible with hardware sound generator modules
- 10 Soft-Touch Encoders with 15-segment dual-color LED chain
- Soft-Touch Modulation and Pitchbend Wheels
- 2 x 16-character LCD display
- Semi-weighted keys with two Aftertouch zones
- Transport controls
- Stylish and exceedingly robust aluminum chassis
- Fast ASIO 2.0 connection and HAL plug-in drivers
- Mac and PC
The AREA 61 Controller Keyboard will be available in stores in Q 3/2006, retailing for 599.00 euros (MSR).