Arturia Minibrute vs Korg MS-20 Mini

June 18, 2013 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

A new video, via Verifyhuman, captures a “budget monophonic synthesizer smackdown”:

It’s a budget monophonic synthesizer smackdown: How does the new Korg MS-20 Mini compare against the Arturia Minibrute? A veiny arm takes you through the oscillators of these beasts to see just how similar / different they are.

I made the video as a scientific response to the bevy of forum discussions and questions regarding the two. For those in the market for a budget monosynth but only wish to buy one, I hope the video can remove some of the subjectivity and let the listener determine what sounds better to them. No audio editing or effects were added to the raw sound.

Questions? Opinions? Video comparison requests? Leave them in the comments below.

Recorded through Native Instruments Audio Kontrol 1 with Ableton Live 9.

Native Instruments Monark – Review

June 7, 2013 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

Monark is Native Instruments latest Reaktor built synth aims to emulate thew classic Mini Moog Model D.

MONARK captures the pure organic sound of the undisputed king of monophonic analog synthesizers. Years of meticulous research capture every nuance of the synth at the center of four decades of popular music. The first choice for bass and lead sounds from electronic and hip hop to indie rock and beyond, no other synth comes close to this combination of power, richness, and musical tone. Delivering the true sound of a synth as famous as the artists who used it, MONARK is the holy grail of analog modeling.

Model-A Prototype – Built in 1969. This version more closely resembles the modular Moog’s but in a very compact form. In its wood case, six Moog designed modules were internally hard-wired together and connected to a small keyboard. Many labels were typed out on paper and taped on to the front panel above the knobs.

Model-B Prototype – Built in 1970. In this version, the modular look was eliminated as the components were brought together by a pupose built front panel lay out. The three identical VCO sections were stacked on top of each other on the left. The right side held the Amplitude and Filter contour controls. The middle section held the Noise, Filter (cutoff, res) and master tuning controls. There was even a power switch on the front.

Model-C Prototype – Built in 1970. This version really begins to look like a Minimoog. The familiar left-to-right layout of Controllers, Oscillator Bank, Mixer, Modifiers and Output sections and the signature pop-up front panel had come to exist. The Model-C was photographed for the original Sales Flyer introducing the Minimoog, although in that flyer it was referred to as the Model-D.

Model-D Prototype – Built in 1970 almost immediately after the Model-C. A few more cosmetic tweaks to the front panel design brought about the last few final touches before readying for commercial production of the official Model-D.

Model-D – Built in 1971. A few more design tweaks (like adding some red rocker-switches and proper pitch-bend and mod wheels) and the Model-D was the Minimoog sold to the public. Interestingly, there are three versions of the Model-D, with some very minor and mainly cosmetic variations to each. Fortunately they can be distinguished from their name-plates.

Dubstep Maker for iPad – Review

May 18, 2013 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

Go here for more information and CODE to unlock more sounds: http://synthuniverse.com/dubstep-maker/
Go here to listen to app: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4OSDd…

Dubstep Maker is an iPad app for making dubstep music. It features 38 assignable PADS,
a 8 note keyboard and a synth wobble modulator. There are over 100 drum loops, synth loops, vocal samples and fx sounds.

Dubstep Maker is an iPad app for creating dubstep music. It features 38 assignable PADS, a 8 note keyboard and a synth wobble modulator. The wobble modulator is placed where you would normally find a mod or pitch wheel. Next to that you have a selection of 6 synth sounds to modulate and create wobble sounds.

There are over 100 drum loops, synth loops, vocal samples and fx sounds. From a design point of view it’s is simply laid out. Buttons are as big as a finger tip and spread out nicely.

The edit screens are where you assign different sounds to different pads.This is simply done by selecting a button to edit and pick your sound by touching the + button.

The only other functions available to change is the master volume, the tempo and the rate of the synth wobble using the sliders.

While there are lots of dubstep apps available none of them really stand out. WHOMP is perhaps the best and oldest of them but still not a stand out app one might expect. Dubstep Maker is an intriging app that it is well laid out (perhaps too simply? I’m not sure.) Its sounds are your standard dubstep sounds that doesn’t set itself too far apart from the rest although there is a lot of variation.

The synth wobble section is probably where it will find its fans. Fair enough playing a wobble sample but to actually adjust
the wobble to suit is great. Maybe more sounds to play around with would not go amiss, or a dedicated page just to create wobbles would be nice.

Studiologic Sledge Review Teaser

May 10, 2013 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

The yellow beast is up for a nice review – check out the teaser video for more details and sounds

Mitchell Sigman gives a quick overview of Studiologic’s new Sledge virtual analog synthesizer. Full review coming soon in Keyboard Magazine!

Korg MS20 Mini Review

May 4, 2013 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

Korg’s latest analog baby is actually something we’ve seen before (in 1977!) The MS20 Mini is an exact replica of the classic monosynth – lets see how it compares.

Roland VR-09 Combo Keyboard First Hands-On

May 2, 2013 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

Keyboard magazines first hands-on time with Roland’s surprisingly affordable (under $999 street) new combo keyboard, which puts organ sounds first but also does great piano, EP, Clav, and synth sounds. It also offers lots of controls for realtime parameter tweaking (with the drawbars doubling as filter and envelope controls on synth sounds–cool!), and super-easy splitting and layering on the fly. Read the full review in our July 2013 issue.

Alesis Vortex Keytar Review – Accelerometer Fun

March 19, 2013 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

Mitchell Sigman talks about the innovative accelerometer control in the new Alesis Vortex Keytar Controller.

Watch for a full review in the June issue of Keyboard Magazine.

Yonac’s MiniSynth 2 vs. Werkbench

March 19, 2013 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

“We got our hands on Yonac’s miniSynth 2 yesterday and fell in love! Werkbench jam starts at 2:07.”

Werkbench: http://www.bolasol.com/werkbench
miniSynth 2: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/minis…

Product descriptions:

WerkBench is a new and unique type of beatbox that is part loop pedal, part drum machine, and 100% beat-making magic. At the heart of WerkBench are two sequencers that let you instantly sample sounds into any place in the rhythm and then alter those sounds in real-time.

miniSynth 2 continues the spirit of the original, adding advancements we made in DSP, design and features over the last half decade. Simple and easy to use, miniSynth 2 projects a solid, fat tone from a strategic feature set — an “abbreviation” of the sophisticated features we offer in our pro-grade synthesizers. Like all our synthesizers, no compromises are made with sound and functionality. There are NO samples used, just real-time virtual analog synthesis. miniSynth 2 also includes production-friendly features, such as Audiobus output, audio copy/paste, and a MIDI In port for playing miniSynth with an external controller or a virtual-MIDI app.

Ableton Push: Review and First Look with Mad Zach

March 13, 2013 · Posted in Uncategorized · 2 Comments 

Mad Zach takes a sit down with Ableton’s new controller, Push.

Push is a new controller from Ableton that features a high-performance 64-button grid, backlit LED screen, and a plethora of function buttons dedicated for total control over Ableton. Although at quick glance Push might look a bit like a Novation Launchpad on steroids, it’s actually much more.

The Good: Great feeling buttons with accurate velocity sensitivity and nice rebound (suitable for clip launching and finger drumming). Impressively bright LED’s with included power supply. Groundbreaking integration with Ableton lets you build grooves and compose songs without ever touching a mouse. Super long throw touch fader with pitch bend resolution.

The Bad: A bit on the heavy side. Although the knobs feel smooth, they are endless rotary and are not optimal for extreme knob twisting and controllerism. Grouped drum racks behave like instruments. Drum rack grid on left side (would have made more sense on the right). Would have liked to see more routing and sound design tools accessible through the hardware.

The Bottom Line: This versatile and thoughtfully-engineered control station makes working with Ableton a much more musical experience. A true “instrument,” Push gives us an intuitive and expressive way to build songs, grooves, melodies, and harmonies. Although it doesn’t do anything we couldn’t technically do before using a mouse, it excels in recontextualizing the Ableton platform and getting you into music world instead of mouse land.

Read his full review and preorder a Push here: http://www.djtechtools.com/2013/03/12…

Checking out the Propellerhead PX7 FM Synthesizer in Reason 6.5

January 11, 2013 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

A nice review of the recently released PX7 FM synth for R6, details below:

More info: http://bit.ly/X3rh1F

Recently Propellerhead approached me about designing some sounds for a new FM synthesizer in Reason. As you may recall from some of my previous video tutorials, I showed you how to create an FM synth out of several Thors and a Combinator. The purpose was to demonstrate how to get some of the more modern, edgy FM sounds that we associate with dubstep and electro.

Although my method for creating FM sounds this way worked, Propellerhead have made this easier now with a new FM synthesizer engine, the PX7, now available as a Rack Extension for Reason 6.5. The PX7 is a true six-operator FM synth with some dazzling math behind it, resulting in a replica of the Yamaha DX7, the first commercially available FM synth from the early 1980s.

Just so you all know, the DX7 and I didn’t have a great relationship when we first met. I first encountered it in the labs at Berklee when I was studying music synthesis. It was a million miles away from what I wanted to achieve soundwise. I was very into the big, fat, warm analog sounds that I was hearing in all the drum’n’bass tunes I was into at the time. The DX7 was also difficult to program at first. It didn’t make sense to me and was really tedious. It had a very small display that required you to scroll through dozens upon dozens of parameters to create and edit a sound. More importantly to me at the time, it was seemingly not capable of producing the analog sounds I was into.

Years later, after a revival in software form, FM synthesis has found a very special place in my heart. I now find it to be very exciting as I am now very clear on what I can and can’t do with it. I have developed an appreciation for the highly detailed and exotic sounds that FM can produce. So I hope you all enjoy and appreciate the irony of this situation and my love/hate relationship with FM throughout the years. Most importantly, I hope that you enjoy the lesson in the PX7 and ultimately FM synthesis. – Chris Petti

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