Kinetic 2: Inexpensive Windows Groovebox with Roland Sounds

Kinetic 2 is here for Windows, and it looks promising not only as a way of getting beginners into music making, but as a really good buy on soft synths for everyone else, as well — especially at US$80.

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13-inch Intel MacBooks Arrive, Starting at $1099; Pluses, Caveats

Apple has come through with Intel-based MacBook laptops (replacing the iBook), and the bottom line is, they’re a terrific bargain. As a portable music machine, unless you prefer bigger screens, it’s hard to go wrong with these computers. The only big downsides: black costs you extra, and like the mini before them, the integrated graphics are pretty limited for 3D. Here’s a quick look at what I think the big issues will be for musicians, though, of course, we’ll want to chat this one up in comments and on the forums.

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Lounge Lizard EP-3 Modeled Electric Piano Coming Soon

Updates to favorite keyboard soft synths — always a good thing. In addition to looking forward to Native Instruments’ sequel to their B4 organ synth, another modeled-instrument fave is getting a big upgrade soon: Lounge Lizard EP-3 The current Lounge Lizard is already a joy to play: Applied Acoustics nails the feel and sound of the classic Wurlitzer and Rhodes keyboards. EP-3 upgrades the already-generous preset selection, adds improved and expanded models of different pickups, forks, and dampers, (in addition to those already in EP-2), and adds support for Scala microtuning files. (For those of you wanting to play your …

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Super-Fast New Apple Desktops; Pro Music Heaven

Apple’s PowerBook announcement is a little disappointing for power-hungry mobile musicians (more pixels, but no more power), but their desktop news is drool-worthy. By next month, they’ll be shipping quad G5 systems (dual processor, dual core), and they’re shipping dual-core machines now, all with faster RAM and faster video. The Power Mac line, starting at $1999, is now expandable to 16GB DDR2 RAM, with up to 1 terabyte of hard disk. That’s huge for pro users: big performance, same price. Video options are beefed up, too, with the PCI Express Architecture featured on the iMac, and up to NVidia’s fastest …

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@AES: Novation’s New Soft Synth-Playing Smart Keyboard Hands-on

Controlling soft synths with keyboards can be a pain, only because it often requires messing around with templates or MIDI learn to map hardware knobs and faders to onscreen controls. Propellerhead’s Remote is a fantastic two-way protocol that allows your keyboard to automatically control synths — but it only works in Reason. What about the rest of your software? The folks at Novation have a brilliant new keyboard, the ReMOTE SL, that takes that idea to the rest of the soft synth world. Via their Automap technology, the keyboard can configure itself for whatever synth you’re using, displaying each parameter …

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@AES: Digital Guitar Stompbox Smackdown

AES is supposed to be about high-end gear for audio engineers, but apparently no one told the sparring rival computer guitar effects makers. In this corner, from Modena, Italy, the reigning champion: IK Multimedia AmpliTube. And in this corner, from Berlin, Germany, the challenger: Native Instruments Guitar Rig 2. Photos and comparison after the break.

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Teaser: Dave Smith Evolver Analog Keyboard

'Twas the night before Christmas, that the folks at Dave Smith Instruments let their new 4-voice analog keyboard out of the bag. Like the Evolver rack, the keyboard coming at the NAMM show next month will have real analog circuitry, a MIDI-synced analog-style sequencer, and extensive effects and editing parameters. Of course, there are the stats will really care about: 78 knobs, 58 switches, blinking LFO and sequence blue LEDS, and backlit wheels. Analog synthesis remains alive and well, folks, for those who can afford it. Product name and pricing TBA; more details soon.

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