At Musikmesse 2014: M-Audio is introducing four new models in their Keystation keyboard series. The new Keystation keyboards, designed as simple solutions for sequencing music and playing virutal instruments, feature new functionality, a virtual piano instrument, music production software and new colors.
Velocity-sensitive keyboard controller. The Keystation Mini 32 features synth-action mini-keys, octave shift, and sustain and modulation buttons. The Keystation 49 (pictured, right), 61 and 88 offer an extended physical octave range and full-size keys, for use both with a DAW in the studio or in a live performance setting. New for the Keystation 49, 61 and 88 are transport and directional controls, for simple DAW operation without a mouse or track pad. A 6.3mm (1/4-inch) sustain input jack is included on each.
Virtual piano instrument. Also included with the larger Keystation 49, 61 and 88 models is the Eighty-Eight Ensemble from SONiVOX. This virtual instrument is an authentic capture of a 9-foot CD327 Steinway. Ableton Live Lite music creation software is also included.
Musikmesse 2014: Akai Professional has introduced the MPX16, an advanced sample player with onboard sound recording. Samples are saved to an SD card, and can be played back using either the unit’s MPC-style pads or via external MIDI device, via USB-MIDI and 3.5mm (1/4-inch) MIDI inputs.
Samples are captured at CD-quality, via dual 6.3mm (1/4-inch) inputs or the on-board stereo microphone. The user may assign audio clips to the pads and apply tuning, filters, envelopes and ‘choke’ grouping for creative, dynamic performances.
An LCD screen and illuminated trigger pads provide visual feedback during use, and the MPX16 may be powered from a USB port or the included power supply. You can load existing sound files onto an SD card or use the MPX16 as an SD card reader for drag-and-drop convenience on a Mac or PC. Continue reading
Musikmesse 2014: Akai Professional today announced the Rhythm Wolf, an analog drum machine and bass synthesizer module with built-in sequencing.
The Rhythm Wolf is an authentic analog instrument that incorporates the sounds of early electronic and hip-hop music into the Akai Professional workflow, enabling musicians to harness “iconic” analog sounds for music production and performance.
The drum machine consists of five “tweakable” drum sounds and includes a kick, snare, open and closed hi-hat, and metallic percussion. On-board controls allow users to separately customize the tuning, amplitude envelopes, and volume of each drum voice for precise real-time adjustment.
The bass synthesizer features a selectable oscillator (sawtooth or square wave), classic filter design, a filter envelope with variable decay, and is capable of creating powerful bass sounds and “squelchy” leads.
The Rhythm Wolf is also outfitted with six MPC pads and a built-in 32-step sequencer, for a responsive interface with a familiar drum machine layout. Drum patterns can be fine-tuned with Swing function, pattern select, and tempo control knobs. A custom distortion signal path is activated by the Rhythm Wolf’s whimsically named “Howl” knob. It also has USB-MIDI, MIDI In/Out, a gate trigger, and the Rhythm Wolf integrates easily with both modern and vintage equipment.
Musikmesse 2014: Clavia has announced the Nord Lead A1R - a desktop or rack-mountable version of the Lead A1 analog-modeling synthesizer, introduced earlier this year at the Winter NAMM Show.
All of the features of the Lead A1 synth are carried over to the A1R, with the exception of the keyboard. The waveform engine generates 47 different waveforms from classic analog to digital harmonic and inharmonic waves. Filters include Low Pass, High Pass and Band Pass, along with the newly modeled Ladder M and Ladder TB filters.
The A1′s effects section offers vintage Chorus and Ensemble models. Delay, Reverb, Drive, Phaser and Flanger, with independent settings for each of the four slots. Nord’s Morph function, via Velocity or the Mod Wheel, is also included, allowing multiple parameters to be morphed in real time.
Other features include an independent arpeggiator for each of the four slots, Master Clock sync of the LFO, delay and Arpeggiator, MIDI over USB, and four independent outputs.
Several updates have been made to the Lead A1/A1R design since it was announced at NAMM: Continue reading
The latest episode of the Art + Music + Technology podcast features author Mark Vail, right, who’s just published a new book, The Synthesizer.
Vail has written for Keyboard, Sound On Sound and Electronic Musician magazines and has written several previous books about keyboards, including Vintage Synthesizers & The Hammond Organ: Beauty In The B.
“Sometimes it can be really exciting to look at New Stuff and get excited about it,” says A+M+T podcast host Darwin Grosse. “But sometimes a review of Old Stuff can be just as exciting. Author, educator, journalist and musician Mark Vail has the gift of helping us see more than the glamour of New Gear, and I had a wonderful discussion with him for this week’s podcast.” Continue reading
Sunday Synth Jam: This retronica synth jam, Being John Carpenter 2, is inspired by the synth scores of director/composer John Carpenter. Continue reading
Here’s another look at the new Roland Aira TR-8 Rhythm Performer, their new drum machine, modeled on the classic Roland TR-808 and TR-909 drum machines. Continue reading