mpcrenaissance

Akai Tries for MPC Renaissance with Controllers, New Software

Looks like an MPC. Should sound like an MPC. But for the first time, something called “MPC” that relies on your computer. Good news or bad news? We’ll know soon enough. The MPC name and MPC legend are as big as ever. But the current products? Not so much. Let’s face it: Akai could use a bit of a renaissance. Users these days put just as much stock in the MPC as a concept, and the MPC hardware still attracts users, but other products are stealing Akai’s thunder (Ableton Live, Native Instruments Maschine), and the human faces beloved by users …

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Propellerhead Balance, in Video, Succeeds in Being Different From Other Audio Boxes

As an addendum to our first look at Propellerhead’s new Reason 6 announcements (including incorporating Record), Propellerhead points us to a promo video of their new Balance audio interface. We’ve seen efforts before to make software more appealing to newcomers by bundling an audio interface, so this is, on the face of it, hardly “stop-the-presses!” sort of news for digital musicians. But there’s some evidence the Propellerheads may have hit on a new formula. One, Balance doesn’t look exactly like every other audio interface on the market. The design is distinctive, and the wedge-shaped form would appear to make it …

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props_balance

Reason 6 Combines Record Features, Adds Effects; New Bundles and First Props Hardware Interface

Propellerhead today unveils the new Reason, incorporating Record functionality in both the full-blown and “Essentials” versions, a new audio interface in their first-ever hardware, and a beta that will at last make ReCycle a modern Mac tool. Record added some wonderful stuff to Reason, including a terrific analog-style console, modeled EQ and dynamics, the ability (finally) to place racks side by side, and extra effects modules, including nice Line 6 modeled guitar kit. In other words, Record introduced a bunch of stuff you’d really want in Reason all along. Conversely, if you only bought Record, you were left out of …

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Once More, From the Top: Learn Ableton Live in Videos, from the Very Beginning

Whether you’re an absolute beginner – or just want to help turn on a friend or bandmate to computer music production – starting at the very beginning is indeed a very good place to start. So, it’s nice to see Ableton’s official channel this month covering the very first steps of working with their flagship Ableton Live. In fact, even if you don’t own Live, you can make use of the demo version and try this out. I typically find that getting audio interfaces working properly is the biggest hurdle for first-time music users. (Okay, sometimes it stumps us advanced …

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traktor2_ui

Major Traktor Software, Audio Hardware Updates; DJs and Live Electronic Artists Alike May Be Pleased

Traktor 2 is a new “generation,” says Native Instruments, of its flagship DJ software, along with upgraded hardware interfaces. The upgrade is so capable, simply calling it a “DJ” product may be inadequate. Just as Ableton Live’s user base grew to incorporate DJs, Traktor’s capabilities move easily into live performance and remixing, too. It’s still Traktor. But drawing on Traktor’s background, it’s Traktor as a DJ tool that, aside from just playing auto-beat-matched tracks, can transform into a sampling and remix tool with some far-out sonic effects, for a more dynamic live show. However you classify yourself, the update promises …

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synthstation49

Akai Turns an iPad Into a Full-Sized Music Keyboard: Akai SynthStation49

If you’re an iPad-using, keyboard-playing musician, Akai has your dock. Their original SynthStation was a cute little accessory, but required playing a tiny keyboard (and iPhone-sized screen). The SynthStation49 looks more serious, with nine MPC-style pads, transport controls, and dedicated pitch and mod wheels. The iPad sits on what Akai describes as an adjustable “cradle,” so you can tilt it to whichever angle you want. That could mean tilting it up for reading notation or studio use, then down again for performance. There’s also an internal audio interface with 1/4″ output jacks, so you don’t have to worry about taking …

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828mk3

28 Ins, 30 Outs, Loads of Features, as MOTU’s 828 Meets Firewire and USB2

FireWire may be getting rare these days, but new hardware proves that doesn’t mean serious external audio interfaces are in any danger. In the latest iteration of its tried-and-true 828 line, MOTU combines both Firewire and USB 2.0 for Mac or PC, and a wide range of features. The MOTU 828mk3 “Hybrid” in a nutshell: 28 inputs, 30 outputs. Combo jacks for 1/4″ guitar in, XLR mic. Phantom power, of course. Balanced/unbalanced 1/4″ analog ins and outs running at 24-bit/192kHz. Separate main XLR outs with dedicated volume controls on the front panel. (Quick, turn that down!) Two headphone jacks with …

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Going Native: New Pro Tools HD Native, Your DAW, and Low-Latency Performance

For some time, the move has seemed inevitable – even more so as the rumor mill started echoing with suggestions that a native release was coming. But now, it’s happened: Pro Tools HD will now run without HD DSP hardware. And that’s not all — you can also use the same hardware with your existing DAW of choice, for users of software like Cubase and Logic. There’s a price tag attached, though. This remains what for many would be a high-end solution. At US$3495 retail and up, it’s not competition for buying a basic interface card and Cubase. Think, instead, …

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Avid Offers New Interfaces, Analog Warmth Software for Pro Tools HD

While out of the budget of many home musicians, Pro Tools HD remains the lifeblood of the studio, broadcast, and live worlds. Make no mistake – even in a slow-moving economy, that’s still big business. Users sometimes accept Avid’s hardware grudgingly, but revisions are significant news. Avid has promised a series of new products for its audio lineup; the first major announcements have arrived in the form of revised audio interfaces and a software effect for adding analog warmth to mixes. Both are targeted at Pro Tools HD. (The audio interfaces also support Core Audio and ASIO on Mac and …

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DJ Control: Details on Denon, NI, Novation, And, Oh Yeah… Practicing

Great music vendors think alike? Denon also aims for the all-in-one DJ market, and those ready to drop a grand on one piece of kit that solves everything. Photo courtesy Denon. This week, DJing is in the spotlight as DJ Expo, a significant trade show, hits Atlantic City, New Jersey. So it’s a good time to check in with some of the leading trends in DJ gear. We also get a chance to find out more about Native Instruments’ Kontrol S4, which judging my comments, split readers in terms of interest around its all-in-one design. Native Instruments isn’t the only …

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