Keyboard Magazine’s editor Stephen Fortner demos the MiniLab, a library of virtual analog soft synths from Arturia’s V-Collection. It’s bundled with a custom controller that pre-maps all knob assignments. All for $99.
Arturia’s product description below:
Arturia’s MiniLab USB Controller marries the style you love with the hands-on control and portability you need to take your studio wherever you go.
Made for the musician on the go or the performer with limited space, the MiniLab gives you a great depth of features in a portable package that is sturdy and looks great.
Combined with the Analog Lab software, you get a real hybrid synthesizer that comes with a collection of 5000 sounds from the Modular V, CS-80V, Mini V, Arp 2600V, Jupiter 8V, Prophet V, Oberheim SEM V, and Wurlitzer V.
- 25 note velocity sensitive mini keyboard.
- 16 encoders
- 16 pads (two banks of 8 pads/buttons)
- Pitchbend/Modulation touch strip
- Footswitch input
- Recessed full sized USB jack
- Bus powered, Class compliant
- Works with iPAD (camera connection kit required)
- Comes with Analog Lab software
- 5000 sounds from the best synths and keyboards
Released in 1987 or 1988, this is one of Yamaha’s Tone Bank keyboards. It’s a two-operator preset FM synth with a couple of voice modifiers, the expected auto-accompaniment, and some really poor drums. Master volume, accompaniment volume and auto accompaniment select are handled by physical sliders on the front panel. The only I/O port is a headphone jack.
To change voices you need to use a dedicated keypad type the number in. There is no Up/Down button for stepping through the programs. On the positive side, there IS a large display which shows the currently selected voice. There are buttons for sustain and vibrato, as well as portamento, which seems like it would be cool but has a fixed glide rate that’s disappointingly long. Good for sound effects, not so much for music.
The sounds are good, particularly in light of the crappy drums. Since it IS an FM keyboard, things like brass, organs, and bells are quite serviceable, while more natural sounds like the various guitars, piano, and woodwinds are a little lacking. The short keyboard is a definite disadvantage with some of the patches, particularly the basses.
Background video description:
Again I am comitting some musical malpractice to a well known Classic. This time the victim is Kiss from 1986.
I am not really sure what to call the person who sang it as he had the habit of frequent stage name changes. But as far as I know he was called Prince when he recorded this song.
All sounds, instruments (except the vocals) and FX processing used in the music featured in this clip are made only with the Pa900. (written and performed by Marco Parisi).
Korg debuts the new High Performance Arranger in the acclaimed PA-Series, the Pa900. The Pa900 has plenty of new sounds (featuring Defined Nuance Control for extra realism) which will impress any audience, as well as an enormous range of styles covering music genres from all over the world. Combine this with powerful functionality, an intuitive user interface and rich, powerful sound and you have an Arranger for the most demanding performer.
For more information on the Pa900, head over to http://www.korg.com/pa900.
- Enhanced RX (Real eXperience) sound engine offers improved realism and expressiveness
- Massive internal ROM; can accommodate up to 192 MB of user PCM data; provides a powerful wave memory, delivering incredible sound quality
- Three assignable switches and a four-way joystick ensure total control for the sound articulation levels (DNC – Defined Nuance Control)
- 61 key semi–weighted keyboard action with velocity and aftertouch
- Slim and compact lightweight design
- Large TouchView™ 7” TFT display
- Easy layout and intuitive graphical interface with new Search function for quickly locating musical resources
- 2-way speaker system provides powerful, clear sound
- Improved Style and Performance selection; over 400 factory Styles, each with 4 variations and 4 Fill Ins + Break, plus 15 user banks for nearly-unlimited storage of your favorite customized or user-created Styles and settings
- Enhanced Guitar Mode 2 for even more realistic guitar parts
- Chord Sequencer function records any chord progression on-the-fly
- 4 Stereo Master Effects (125 FX Types) + 2 Global Effects (Limiter, EQ)
- TC Helicon 3-voice Vocal Processor with 4 dedicated effects
- Double MP3/MIDI file players with recording capability, X-Fader and Vocal Remover
- Enhanced compatibility with lyrics in graphical format (+G) for MP3
- Enhanced sound compatibility for GM and GS songs
- Fully-programmable SongBook database based on Styles, SMF, Karaoke, MP3 with instant recall of any song setting. User-definable custom lists. Filtering and ordering options.
- Multi-language extended character set. Lyrics can be showed in their original languages (except the Oriental and the Arabic Languages*).
- New SoundFont import function
- Mass Storage with Micro SD
CasioTron Beats re-creates the rhythm patterns found on the vintage home keyboards of the 70′s and 80′s. These popular keyboards were analogue and have now become collectors items because of their warm sound.
This particular version takes the drum sounds from the then popular Casiotone MT-70 which although was more modern than the earlier models, it is still analogue as you will be able to tell from the sound.
Remember those bossa-nova and samba beats? Well here they are!
The rarest manufactured instrument – the extinct and impossible to find Birotron playing worn out mixed tapes of string section, brass, violas, choir, and flutes across the keyboard.
The Birotron (pronounced By-ro-tron) is a tape replay keyboard conceived by Dave Biro of Yalesville, Connecticut, USA, and funded by Rick Wakeman of the progressive-rock group Yes, and Campbell Soup Company-Pepperidge Farm Foods in the mid-late 1970s. A Mellotron-like instrument in the prototype stage, and intended for mass production – it was featured on a hit single and used on several albums and tours. It appeared in advertisements and received press in several newspapers as the next ‘latest and greatest’ keyboard instrument. It also received over 1000 advance orders from many prominent musicians worldwide including members of the Beatles and Led Zeppelin. Despite this success, it is now generally considered the world’s rarest keyboard instrument in the genres of pop/rock music. It also retains the highest selling price for any Mellotron related keyboard, and since its inception, has been one of the most difficult to find, seldom seen, and least recorded instruments in the entire world.
“The musician is Chris Dale who very kindly let me do the video.
So what did this instrument sound like with a decent set of unworn tapes???? That is a mystery…..Sadly we may never know.”
Casio’s Mike Martin answers questions and takes a tour of the Privia Pro PX-5S. Recorded on 6/19/2013 – Captured Live on Ustream at http://www.ustream.tv/casiomusicgear
Background video description:
Four years ago somebody suggested that I should do “Milkway Promenade” by Milkways.
Well, better late than never!
Anyways – not milkways – I play it on a small collection of small Yamaha keyboards. Most of them works with FM synthesis except the PSS-12 that uses Advanced Wave Memory.
Background video description:
Most of my small keyboards are from Casio. But I do have a Collection of small Yamaha keyboards too. Here I use some of them to play the Classic Kraftwerk song “Computer Love”.
You might notice that on the PC-100 keyboard the notes doesn’t seem to match the keys I am playing. The reason is that I had to use the transpose knob to be able to get the notes as high as I wanted them. So on this particular keyboard I am playing in another key than on the others.
Background video description:
A few people have asked for more DW-8000 videos, so here you go. It’s just a quick, live improvisation with a nice DW-8000 resonant pad with slow LFO detuning, the standard DX bass, and a LinnDrum pattern.
Roland keyboard specialist Ed Diaz demonstrates the Roland V-Combo VR-09 Performance Keyboard at Kraft Music.
About the keyboard in Roland’s own words:
Travel-ready, affordable, and outfitted with top-level Roland sounds, the V-Combo VR-09 is the ideal all-in-one solution for performing keyboard players. Dedicated piano, organ, and synth sound engines—organized in three intuitive blocks on the front panel—provide all the essential tones you need, right under your fingertips. The powerful real-time controls give you maximum expression on stage, with nine sliders for tone shaping and a large array of knobs and buttons for tweaking the seven simultaneous effects and various parameters. Other great features include an onboard looper, a drum section stocked with a library of rhythms for practice and jamming, and more. With its versatile sound selection, inspiring operation, and smart user interface, the V-Combo VR-09 is a dream come true for gigging musicians.
- Professional keyboard with instant-access operation for performing musicians
- Light and mobile; battery or AC power
- Pro-quality acoustic and electric pianos, including grand piano with 88-note stereo multi-sampling
- SuperNATURAL-powered Virtual Tone Wheel organ with nine harmonic bars, plus newly developed transistor-type ‘60s organ tone
- Wide range of synth tones, from vintage classics to modern essentials
- Seven simultaneous effects with dedicated real-time controls
- Looper and built-in rhythm patterns; WAV/MP3/SMF song playback via optional USB memory
- Free VR-09 Editor app available for iPad