Tuesday, October 28, 2014

korg volca sample session 3 (sample+keys)

volca sampleで演奏しました。3回目です。keysと合わせてみました。

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Kong announce new Volca Sample and Electribes, with pictures and video of each!

 Today Korg made a surprise announcement unveiling some new gear, most notably a new Volca called Sample, and the newest generation of the Electribes, the Electribe and Electribe Sampler.  The Volca Sample is an impressive little box, holding 100 samples with a max polyphony of 8 sounds.  The Sample has 4 MB of memory for 65 seconds of sampling and individual digital reverb per sound, and some impressive sample editing on the front panel as well.  The two large knobs on the left are analog isolators, used to filter out low or high frequencies on each sample.  The Volca Sample also retains the ability to record parameter changes, so you'll be able to edit the parameters across your 16 step sequence.  Samples are loaded via iOS app, although I imagine they'll expand this later to other forms.

The new Electribes are the replacements for the SX and MX Electribes, based on sampling and synthesis, respectively.  The new form factor includes an XY pad, an SD card slot, and a 64 step sequencer.

The new additions seem like logical expansions and actually look incredibly fun.  The Volca Sample, which will likely be the same price as its siblings, could be the gateway into the sampling world that many beginners are looking for.  The videos below make the new gear look immediate and inspiring.  Can't wait to try these.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

ROOM8 Interview

When I first heard ROOM8, the classic sounds and catchy synth hooks immediately resonated with the synth pop lover in me, and I was hooked from the first verse- but this was a couple years ago, near the band's first releases.  My interest piqued again when they recently released their new EP Visions of You, featuring Electric Youth, whom you may know from the Drive Soundtrack.  ROOM8 is the collaboration of Ezra Reich and Nic Johns, who have teamed up in LA to bring back true vintage tones and classic song writing to the SoundCloud age.  Their highly anticipated (but still in progress) album Transduction features a host of contributors from the synthesizer's golden years (more info on that on their SoundCloud page).  I recently got the chance to talk to the band about their studio gear and influences.

You guys have a very distinctive 80s feel to your music. Can you give me a run down of what you have in your studio, in terms of synths and rack gear? Are you using any plugins for sounds?
ROOM8: We never sit down and go after an "80's" sound. We just love the synthesizers that were built in the late 70s and 80s and we use them to make music. We also love song structure and pop music and soundtrack music which incorporates some of that structure. On some of our earlier material which has begun coming out with the "Visions of You" EP we used a hybrid of VST's and Hardware. On the newest stuff in our studio we are now primarily using hardware. We use Arturia primarily for software (with a few others). In terms of hardware their are a few secrets but some things are:
arp solina
korg polysix
korg lambda
korg wavestation
roland juno 60
roland jx 10
Oberheim OB8
Oberheim Matrix 6R
Yamaha DX7
Prophet 600
Novation Bass Station 2
and a few other ones including a massive rare one that will remain a secret
also our guitar rig is a secret but we can say it's the same rig used on every 80's Giorgio Moroder record.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

XILS Lab XILS 4 Review

Recently I was given the opportunity to check out XILS Lab's new XILS 4, which is the successor of XILS 3, a plugin version of the famous VCS3 by Electronic Music Studios (EMS).  The original release of the VCS3 came in 1969, making it one of the oldest synthesizers, yet today it's still lusted after and used by many great electronic artists, like LCD Soundsystem, Vince Clarke, Brian Eno, and Kraftwerk.  At first sight, the VCS looks more like old communications equipment than it does a musical instrument, and the plugin's interface accurately recreates that feeling.  The interface isn't quite as easy to grasp as your more modern plugins at first, but if you're considering the X4, you likely know that and are embracing it, as different interfaces are what allow synthesists to create so many different sounds.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Dave Smith announces the Pro 2

After teasing an announcement all week, Dave Smith Instruments has unveiled a new flagship monophonic synthesizer called the Pro 2.  The Pro 2 marks a natural progression of Dave's synth engines, using the digital oscillators and analog filters of the Prophet 12 but using a form factor similar to the Mopho SE.  At $1999, the new mono synth isn't cheap, but the incredible list of features justifies the price point.

The Pro 2 has a ton of great little features, like paraphonic mode, 32 step sequencing, and control voltage integration.  The amount of connectivity and control it offers is astounding, and this looks like it could be THE modern style mono synth, bucking the analog oscillator standard of today in favor of digital, albeit more editable, oscillators.

This is a slam dunk for Dave-- the keyboard won't attract the low-price aficionados, but DSI already has multiple synths for those crowds, between the Tetra, Mopho, Mopho Keyboard, and Mopho X4.  The sound demos in the video above show how warm and deep it can be.  The sheer sonic possibilities could make this a great all-in-one modern mono synth, with full blown connectivity.  The only thing that might hold it back is its price-- for just $1000 more, you could get a full on Prophet 12, or for $200 more the Prophet 12 module.  Can't wait to hear more.  For more information, read on below or check out the official DSI site.

From Dave's site:

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Buying Your First Analog Synthesizer: The 2014 Guide

It's already that time of year again-- Musikmesse 2014 has come to a close, Winter NAMM '14 ended in January, so most of this year's synth offerings are out in the open, waiting to be picked apart.  While only a handful of new synths have been added to the roster this year, some of these are very significant, and have changed the recommendation order.  I'm going to mark the synths that were not announced at the time of last year's guide with NEW, so you will be able to easily distinguish what's new.

As with last year, this guide will be focused on new synthesizers, so don't expect anything that's not currently in production.  I've also mainly chosen to focus on analog synthesizers, although there will be a couple recommendations that are not analog in some form.

Special note:  I've included Amazon links on the names of all the synths, so if you're interested in buying from Amazon, use that link!  Not only will it help support the blog, but you will also find Amazon has sales at times, so you'll find $10~$50 off on some synths.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Wolf of Synth Street: Akai announce new analog bass synth and drum module

As if things weren't complicated enough for your synth budget this year, Akai has announced a new drum and bass module called the Rhythm Wolf.  A $199 mono synth and drum combination, the Wolf will allow you to sequence drums and synth together, and play the drums live via nifty pads.  The Wolf also includes a "howl" knob if you're interested in distorting your beats.

No sound demos just yet, but I'll try to have them up as they become available.

The Rhythm Wolf does seem to fit a slot nicely between a Volca and Monotribe, in price and functionality.  While you're certainly limited in terms of drum sounds compared to the Volca Beats, you gain the simple synth function and have drum pads to play on.  Since it's yet to be heard, the drum sounds could either be either great or awful, which will probably be the biggest selling point.

It's also great to see that Akai is interested in putting out new analog gear!

Thanks to Synthtopia for the tip.

From Akai:
"5-voice analog drum machine and synth
Thick analog drum sounds—kick, snare, open & closed hi-hat and metallic percussion
Onboard 32-step sequencer with classic drum machine workflow
Gate trigger In/Out for triggering your sequences via modular synths, vintage sequencers, or external sound sources
"Howl" knob with custom distortion signal path lets you crush and mangle sounds
Six custom-calibrated MPC pads for sequencing and finger drumming
Dedicated audio outputs for percussion sounds and bass synth

- See more at: http://www.akaipro.com/tradeshows/messe2014#sthash.cBi7UQij.JApAK6fj.dpuf"

Full Press release: 
Leading music production equipment manufacturer debuts an analog drum machine 
and bass synthesizer inspired by the classics. 

Cumberland, RI, USA—March 11, 2014. Akai Professional (akaipro.com), a leading innovator of 
music equipment for production and performance, announces the Rhythm Wolf, an analog drum 
machine and bass synthesizer module with built-in sequencing. 

The Rhythm Wolf is an authentic analog instrument that combines the coveted sounds of early 
electronic and hip-hop music with genuine Akai Professional workflow. Inspired by the classic 
analog beat machines and synthesizers of the past, Rhythm Wolf enables today’s musicians to 
harness iconic analog sounds for music production and performance. The drum machine 
consists of five highly-tweakable drum sounds and includes a kick, snare, open & closed hi-hat, 
and metallic percussion. Onboard controls allow users to customize the tuning, amplitude 
envelopes, and volume of each drum voice separately 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. 

Outfitted with six genuine MPC pads and a built-in 32-step sequencer, the Rhythm Wolf 
provides an ultra-responsive interface with a classic drum machine layout. Drum patterns can 
be fine-tuned using the Swing function, Pattern Select, and Tempo Control knob. A custom 
distortion signal path, activated by the “Howl” knob, adds grit and character for additional tone 
shaping. Rhythm Wolf features USB-MIDI, MIDI In/Out, a gate trigger, and integrates 
seamlessly with modern and vintage equipment. Two audio outputs enable producers and 
performers to mix percussion sounds and bass independently. 

Rhythm Wolf Highlights: 
• 5-voice analog drum machine and synth—authentic analog design that references 
classic rhythm machines and synthesizers 
• Legendary analog drum sounds—kick, snare, open & closed hi-hat, and metallic 
• Synth-bass module—selectable square or sawtooth wave with classic filter design for 
warm, deep basses and squelchy leads. 
• Onboard 32-step sequencer—classic drum machine workflow for quickly laying down 
grooves and melodies Six genuine MPC pads—responsive controls for sequencing and finger drumming 
• Howl knob—custom distortion circuit for additional sound design
• USB-MIDI and MIDI In/Out—flexible MIDI connectivity for easy integration into modern 
• Gate Trigger—triggering via modular synths, vintage sequencers, or external sound 
• Independent audio outputs—dedicated outputs for the drum machine and synth-bass 
module for precise mixing 

Akai Professional Product Manager Dan Gill notes, “The Rhythm Wolf puts those sought after 
analog drum machine and synthesizer sounds right into the hands of today’s musicians. We set 
out to make a compact drum machine and bass synthesizer, inspired by the classics, that can 
adapt to any studio setup and integrate with modern and vintage music equipment.” 

The Rhythm Wolf will be available in Summer 2014, distributed worldwide with a $199.99 USD 
street price. Akai Professional will unveil the Rhythm Wolf at Musikmesse, Hall 5.1, Booth B45, 
March 12-15 in Frankfurt, Germany. For more information, visit: akaipro.com/messe2014. "