Advance_61

This Video Demonstrates How Akai’s New Keyboard Controls Everything

It’s a horse race. Two keyboards – one from Native Instruments, one from AKAI – really want to be the interface between you and every plug-in you own. And we’re getting closer to find out if either deserves your attention. You’ve heard this story before. Sure, you have powerful software on your computer screen. But when you want physical control of those instruments beyond just playing keys, you’re left either manually mapping controls or reaching for your mouse or trackpad. So, over the years various solutions have tried to solve this automagically. There was Automap, seen in Propellerhead Reason and …

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anodewood

Reviews Weigh in on Our MeeBlip anode Synth; Here’s What They Said

MeeBlip anode, our ready-to-play bass synth with an analog filter, is now shipping and in dealers worldwide. We knew we wanted to make something that was accessible to those new to hardware synths, but had enough personality to surprise advanced users, too – even in a small box, for US$139.95 list. And we also now know what the critics think. It’s always easy to explain what you wanted a creation to be. It’s a different, if exciting, experience when you read someone else’s take on what resulted. But that makes me all the more pleased to share a round-up of …

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A Duet for Piano and Building: Architectural Visuals, Mapped to Keyboard Playing

Mapping interactivo sobre maqueta “Piano & Mapping” from Perro Verde on Vimeo. In an audiovisual etude, a piano player is translated to architectural projection mapping in a new work from Barcelona. The translation is not overly strict, but instead makes a kind of counterpoint, a duet between pianist and building. No word yet on whether this will be realized at full scale, but – in the flat environment of a computer display, of course, you won’t see the difference. It seems this sort of light organ arrangement may gain renewed interest as musicians and visual artists alike tackle the question …

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The new Jupiter-50, little sibling to the big JP-80 introduced last year.

Roland Returns to Synth Roots on Jupiter; New JP-50, iPad Integration [Video]

The name “Jupiter” evokes some strong feelings among synth aficionados. Little wonder, than, that when Roland introduced a modern successor, the response was impassioned. CDM was one of the first to look in detail at the Jupiter-80, and I was surprised – given the tendency of this readership away from massive flagship keyboards – to see it become one of our biggest stories of the year. Roland faced some serious criticism when the story it told about the new Jupiter was less about synthesis and more about the instrument-emulating Supernatural engine. After all, since the days of the original Jupiter’s …

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casio_dj

Casio’s New Synth Keyboards: Workstation Keyboards for Synth Rockers, DJs, Organists?

From top: “DJ,” “performance” versions of the new Casio synth, though the functionality of each is fairly close. Photos from Casio, and yes, it’s time to get better photos. What if a workstation arrangement keyboard were designed for DJs and synth rockers instead of, uh, whoever normally buys workstation arranger keyboards? Casio has taken the wraps off their new keyboards, and they appear to be affordable, all-in-one electronic beasts. Oh, except one of them has an organ. And an arpeggiator and step sequencer. So you can certainly step-sequence your drawbar organ, if you like. There are also some retro-Casio CZ …

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Alesis Vortex - 5

Keyboard Surprise: Keytar, Control Voltage, Touch Faders in New Models by Akai/Alesis

Imagine Also Sprach Zarathustra playing here, a la 2001. And note what this keytar has – a real pitch wheel, right on the neck. One is a keytar. One is a master controller with touch faders and real MIDI and — control voltage, for working with analog gear. Seriously. The keyboard controller market may have faded into a dull, gray blur of nearly-identical models, but under the Alesis and Akai monikers, there’s some fresh-looking variety. Love it or hate it, these are not the same keyboards you’ll get from anybody else at the moment. I got to meet with Alesis/Akai/Numark …

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Hands-on: Rock Band 3’s Keytar, a Surprisingly Serious $80 MIDI Keyboard

The Rock Band keytar Rock Band 3 Wireless Keyboard, next to an iPod touch, for scale. What if a gaping product hole for musicians were filled by a game company instead of a musical instruments company? There’s no need to imagine: pick up the new Rock Band 3 keyboard, and you’ll see what I mean. Consider: most sub-$100 and compact keyboards have dumped 5-PIN MIDI DIN ports in favor of USB only – little comfort if you want to plug a keyboard into that DIY sound module or eBay treasure. (Alesis’ QS25 is one exception, but even a $150 M-Audio …

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NAMM Picks: Dave Smith Mopho Keyboard, $800; Video

Dave’s got a new keyboard, and the headline gives it all away: it’s a Mopho, but adding keys and more control, all for $800. There’s a myth out there that the computer music user and hardware synth lover are two different people. Au contraire, mon ami. Thanks, indeed, to Dave Smith himself, the computer and the synth get along just fine. But if you’ve got scant few dollars, which synth is really unique enough, elegant enough in use to justify those dollars? Dave Smith Instruments is on the top of the list. They’ve got personality, accessibility, and terrific sound. And …

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Ion Makes a Music Keyboard Dock for the iPhone; Would You Want One?

A 25-key MIDI keyboard? Really? You’re telling me you did that before making a nice Accordion Dock? Missed opportunity, if you ask me. Apple added the ability to connect custom hardware to its iPhone and iPod touch platform last year, so it was only a matter of time before someone made a music hardware interface. Ion Audio, the budget brand of Numark/Alesis/Akai, gets there first, with the Ion iDISCOVER Keyboard. It docks your Apple mobile into a case with a 25-key MIDI keyboard, pitch and mod wheels, and preset buttons for patch and octave changes. http://www.ionaudio.com/idiscoverkeyboard It’s just what many …

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Music from the Road: Tristan Perich, Lesley Flanigan on Speakers, 1-bit, Harspichord

Strings of tour dates and electronic music often mean crowd-friendly dance music, but there’s a growing, impassioned audience for more contemplative concert sounds, too. Composer-musicians Lesley Flanigan and Tristan Perich are pulling into the last stop on an extended tour of their work, here in New York Friday at Galapagos Art Space. For many, electronic music, in particular that made with computers, becomes about abstraction. For this duo, electronics become a chance to grow even closer to the tangible, acoustic sound – techniques they share in workshops as well as performances. And would you believe… antique harpsichord? Tristan Perich at …

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