Native Instruments takes the original maschine controller, sticks it in a boxing ring with the Traktor Kontrol F1 and watches as they pulverise each other into a multicoloured lovechild that is Maschine Mk2!
Native Insturments Maschine Mk2 comes in Original and Mikro varieties and not only do you now have multicoloured pads, there is also the option of a white unit.
There’s also the long awaited V1.8 software which finally adds timestretch functionality inside the maschine software. In fact, it seems to inherit Kontakt’s valve and tape saturators and Transient Master effects too.
Probably driven by the amount of services offering Maschine Skins, NI have also announced a selection of changeable deck plates, for all you fashion conscious beat connoisseurs, as well as a dedicated Maschine Stand to get it out of the DJ booth beer lake that sometimes develops.
MK2 Hardware Features
Colours for Groups, Sounds, Scenes, and Patterns
New Master Push Encoder
Multi-Colour Pads with increased sensitivity
47 All New Click Buttons
Updated Display with high contrast
Host Transport Control
Customizable MK2 Hardware (Not Mikro)
Available in White or Black Finish
V1.8 Software Features
Full Version of MASSIVE Synthesizer
Offline Time Stretching and Pitch Shifting
New Effect: Transient Master
New Effect: Tape & Tube Saturators
Numerous Workflow improvements
Native Instruments Maschine MK2 will be available from Scan on 1st October for £469.00 and the Native Instruments Mikro will be £269.00.
The Novation MiniNova is a brand new compact, 37 Mini-Key synthesizer, built using the same engine as it’s flagship “Ultranova” model.
Since the introduction of the Supernova synth, the first of the Nova range in 1998, Novation has always innovated with each model.
The MiniNova has many brand new features inclusing “Animate” controls and “VocalTune” voice effect.
The 8 back-lit “Animate” buttons trigger synth engine “mods” to twist and warp the sounds as you play. Novation have also included a large filter cutoff knob and an arpeggiator, where you can use the 8 buttons to create brand new realtime sequences.
VocalTune does exactly what you are expecting it to, replicating the psudo vocoder Auto-Tune vocals that have (somewhat annoyingly, at least to a professional producer!) dominated urban music for the past decade. It does amaze me that it’s taken this long for someone to add this to a hardware synth, respect to Novation for giving the people what they want! The mic input is mounted on the top of the synth, so you are free to use your own choice of microphone.
There is also an instrument input, so you can also put your guitar through the effects engine.
The synth engine has an impressively powerful synth, with 14 standard waveforms, such as Sine, Square, Pulse & Triangle, 20 Digital waveforms and 36 Wavetables.
There are 3 oscillators per voice which can either be individually tuned or synced and a “Hardness” setting which can act as an extra low pass filter.
Talking of filters, there are 14 different types, out of which 2 can be run at the same time. There are also 3 LFO’s, 6 Envelope Generators and 20 modulation slots where you can link modules inside the synth engine to create your custom shaped sound. Up to 5 effects can be put on each voice including reverb, delays, choruses and their own Gator effect.
The bundled editing software actually runs as a plugin inside your DAW program, but as with any decent analogue synth, every parameter is actually editable from the synth itself.
The Scan team are due to visit the Novation factory next week and will report on thier return once they’ve got thier eager, (not quite so) little hands on this little monster!
MiniNova features include:
Hugely powerful mini-synth with UltraNova’s sound engine
Classic vocoder and brand new VocalTune effects
Realtime ability to warp and tweak your sounds
256 awesome onboard sounds – instantly searchable
Up to 18 available voices
Up to five layers of effects per voice
Includes patch librarian and editing software for Windows PC and Mac
Run guitars and other instruments though the vocoder and effects
37 key keyboard with hardware MIDI I/O
MiniNova will be released in October, priced at £299.99
Whether completely new to Ableton Live or even a regular user, check our You Tube channel for a series of tutorial videos from Simon.
Looking at getting the most out of Live’s built in plug-ins, building instrument/drum racks and general tips of how to keep creating music, Simon takes you through all this and more in easy to follow videos.
The first of the videos is an introduction and overview, look below for other more specific tutorials.
More videos will be added soon but for now have a look here:
The Pioneer XDJ Aero is an excellent new Wireless DJ controller and this week we’ve had a visit from thier chief demonstrator Rob Anderson, who took us through the many features including the use of the Rekordbox APP for Android and Apple smartphones and Tablets, as well as Windows PC’s and Mac.
We were extremely impressed by the build quality and slick operation of the Pioneer XDJ Aero, although it does “stream” from wireless authorised devices running the Rekordbox app, it has a 10 minute buffer, as well intelligently automatically using the bpm (set in rekordbox) to put the track into a 4 bar loop, if the worst happens, if your mobile device runs out of battery and it does run out of tunes!
The build quality of this device was fantastic, with a welcome return to the solid metal cue and start buttons that CDJ users will be used to, as well as solid metal, touch sensitive platters.
The mixer is switchable between standalone and wireless mode and is exactly what you would expect from pioneer’s top level of equipment, solid, smooth and built for the heaviest level of fader abuse that you could possibly manually throw at it! One really nice feature was the lockable fader caps, to stop the frequent “flying fader” effect, where after some energetic movements, the caps shoot halfway across the dancefloor, leaving only little metal stumps for the next DJ.
The idea behind the Rekordbox app is that you can sort out and beatgrid, cue and edit information for your tunes on the go.
I found this a MAAASIVE plus point, as there’s many times whilst stuck on many forms of transport, that i really wished that i could sort my tunes out quickly, this does not only do that, but also allows you to stream directly to the unit to mix the tracks.
I can see the Pioneer XDJ Aero as the perfect home practice tool for people who use CDJ-2000’s in clubs, and currently move thier library about on USB pendrive. This controller definatly sits alone with a unique way of working that will be incredibly attractive to users who embrace modern technology and methodology.
Many people use compressors in their music, and can usually describe to you what the compressor is doing to their track, (If they can’t do that, it’s probably not the most listenable stuff in the world….), however, many people just stick on a preset, and dont bother understanding what the various options/processes within the compressor,
Here is the Scan guide to Compressor Knobs……….
The Compressor can be used at all stages of your studio work, recording tracks, mixing down and mastering the final product.
Its job is to ‘turn down’ the volume of a signal, if the signal has gone above a certain volume level. It’s exactly the same as a person turning the volume knob down, albeit much faster and much more accurate.
Threshold: The threshold setting determines the level at which the compressor starts to act on the signal. It is listed in dB (decibels).
Ratio: The ratio is the amount that the compressor affects the signal. For example, a ratio of 2:1 means that if a signal goes 1dB over the threshold setting, its output from the compressor is only 1/2dB louder.
At 6:1, for every 6 dB going over the threshold only 1 dB extra will be heard.
Attack: This controls how soon the compressor kicks in. i.e. how quickly the volume is reduced once the incoming signal exceeds the threshold.
The attack is defined in milliseconds (ms), the lower the number, the faster the attack.
Release: The release parameter controls how long the compressor continues affecting the signal once it has started. Like the attack, the release is termed in milliseconds.
Gain: Adding compression usually results in the overall level of the sound dropping. Using the Gain control you can dial the level back up to where it was beforehand.
The signal is listed in decibels.
Knee: A soft knee slowly increases the compression ratio as the level increases and eventually reaches the compression ratio set by the user.
When you set a Knee value, think of the Threshold as a range, rather than one point.
For input levels below this range, the compressor does nothing. As you enter the range, the compressor will become gradually more active, until it is fully “on” at the top end of the range
OK, the VRM Box from Focusrite has been available since Spring of 2011, and even earlier if you include its incorporation into the Sapphire Pro 24 DSP, and many people have asked me a) What it is and b) what does it do…
So here’s my answer…
First, I own one of these.
I bought it,
Second, you need a decent pair of headphones. (But you should have these anyway..)
Third, Its a fairly simple idea, that gets lost in translation.
In the old days of home studio recording, you would run happily between Hi-Fi, Car stereo, Beat box etc playing your brand new mix, trying to see if it sounded equally good on all.
The idea being of course, that ideally the mix would sound brilliant on everything.
The reality was somewhat different. Each system you played it on brought its own colour and eq to the party, and you invariably ended up more confused than when you started.
So to the Focusrite VRM box.
A virtual way of doing the same thing, without leaving the studio.
The Focusrite VRM box simulates the sound of your mix, as it would be heard through 13 different types of reference monitor, including Japanese White Classic (an NS-10 algorithm), KRK Rokit6 and VXT8 models, Auratone, American Passive, British Studio, Genelec 1031A, plus Adam S2.5A and Rogers and Stirling LS3-5A monitors and in a choice of 3 different rooms, bedroom, living room, studio control room.
Only thats not just it.
You see, its REEALLY useful…..
Lets try and understand exactly why.
First off, the whole idea of mixing / mastering is hugely subjective.
(As a side note here, its long been said that Mastering in your own studio is like home dentistry, the whole idea of taking your stuff to a professional mastering engineer is to allow an impartial professional pair of ears, with massive investment in gear designed solely for the task at hand, to alter your sound to fit the most amount of environments..)
Thats the reason there are so many different types of reference monitors on the market.
Some people just prefer the sound of one to another.
I personally still rely on an old original pair of Mackie HR824’s.
I know I’d love a pair of Adam A77x’s, but I dont need them, my stuff is broadcast on TV, Radio and in Cinemas, It’s mixed in my basement studio.
So what is the use of the Focusrite VRM box…… ?
It will never hurt for you to hear your track in different circumstances. Just the lifting of a Bass section can show how well or not it works with aa Keyboard part, just aboost to a string line can reveal clashes that didnt seem apparent before….
Here’s something else thats cool……
Take a well mastered album or song you know well… I mean REALLY well.
Play it through your headphones using the Focusrite VRM box, and pick a room setting and 3 speaker settings.
Listen to what it does to the reference track.
First of all this is fun. It brings out all sorts of things you’re not used to hearing, and that’s a good thing.
So, listen hard to the track……
Does the reference track lose or gain anything when listening to the familiar track?
Now play your own mix.
Listen to how it compares.
If the same Focusrite VRM settings are having the same sort of effect on your mix, you can be reasonably sure you’re in pretty good shape. If however, the different speaker settings are giving wildly different results, you may need to start moulding your finished mix to suit.
To recap, if you play a properly mastered album through the Focusrite VRM box settings, you should still be able to hear all the constituent parts, albeit some may be louder or quieter than you expect. If your track starts to lose bass lines or you develop a hump in the mid range, it may be time to look at a different set of reference monitors.
News reaches us this morning that Pioneer have announced what appears to be the worlds DJ controller over Wi-Fi solution called the Pioneer XDJ-AERO. The Aero is the first dj control interface to work with wi-fi technology enabling playback of music from pioneers own rekordbox software solution from smartphone, tablet pc or laptop. In addition, it works as a midi controller (HID with virtual DJ and TSI for Traktor), usb playback and recording, a built in 2 channel mixer with line/phono inputs, balanced out put, colour effects, beat effects and sample bank, auto-mix and beat sync all for an expected street price of £869 inc VAT, available later this month!
Want to know more? We have the following in depth info, direct from Pioneer themselves.
Pioneer has broken the mould yet again with the XDJ-AERO, the industry’s firstWi-Fi enabled all-in-one DJ system and native rekordbox™ player.
The groundbreaking DJ system is set to change the way DJs play by liberating them from endless cables and connections. In an industry first, the XDJ-AERO allows DJs to load music wirelessly from smartphones, tablets, laptops and PCs, instantly taking the hassle out of set up. A multipurpose unit, the XDJ-AERO also works with Pioneer’s new mobile application, functions as a standalone mixer and can be used as a MIDI and HID controller.
The XDJ-AERO creates its own private Wi-Fi network, allowing DJs to connect to up to four wireless devices at once. The audience can even get involved by sending tracks from their own smartphones or tablets to the XDJ-AERO for a more interactive experience.
And, as the first native player for Pioneer’s rekordbox music management software, the XDJ-AERO puts all of the software’s features and functions right at DJs’ fingertips. rekordbox allows DJs to create and edit playlists on the fly; view beat grids; analyse BPM; and load wave forms during their sets.
Compatible with Pioneer’s new mobile application for smartphones and tablets, the XDJ-AERO makes DJing truly mobile. DJs can use the mobile application to manage their music on the road and then wirelessly load their tracks and playlists to the XDJ-AERO.
DJs can switch between the XDJ-AERO’s mobile and USB inputs at the touch of a button. And the DJ system boasts all of their favourite features, including sample banks, Sound Colour Filters and rekordbox quantized beat sync.
The XDJ-AERO also functions as a 24-bit audio interface, MIDI controller for Traktor and HID controller for Virtual DJ software. And it can be used as a stand-alone mixer when connected to CDJs and turntables.
A premium piece of kit both inside and out, the XDJ-AERO has the look and feel of a pro-DJ product with its classic black finish and sleek aluminium faceplate. And, at just 45 mm thick, the portable, lightweight XDJ-AERO is the world’s thinnest combined player and mixer.
The XDJ-AERO: the world’s first wireless all-in-one DJ player, mixer and MIDI controller.
Key features of the XDJ-AERO
1. INDUSTRY FIRST: Wirelessly connect up to four devices
By creating an ad hoc network, the XDJ-AERO can sync with up to four Wi-Fi enabled devices at once, without the need for any extra equipment. For the first time, DJs can use smartphones, tablets and computers to wirelessly load rekordbox music to their decks.
DJs can use the XDJ-AERO to control wireless devices remotely so they can browse tracks and load them directly to their decks even if the device is not in their hands.
And the new mobile application allows DJs to use their smartphones and tablets as remote controls for the XDJ-AERO. With USB source selected, DJs can browse music and load tracks on the XDJ-AERO using the devices’ bigger, touch-sensitive screens.
The audience can send music from their wireless devices to the XDJ-AERO, though tracks will not load until the DJ accepts them. If a device goes out of range while a track is being played an emergency loop is created so there is no break in the music. And if a call is made on a smartphone mid-track, the music will continue to play as long as the device supports multitasking.
Plus, by switching the XDJ-AERO’s music source from wireless to USB, DJs can play tracks on both decks from a single rekordbox-ready storage device.
2. Includes all the popular features from Pioneer’s pro-range
The XDJ-AERO brings together all of the most exciting features from Pioneer’s most popular multi-format players and mixers, including:
Beat effects: the XDJ-AERO boasts the most user-friendly and popular effects from Pioneer’s DJM range – Trans, Flanger, Roll and Echo.
Post-fader: the effects are applied to the sound after the fader, allowing the sound to fade out naturally rather than stopping suddenly when the DJ cuts the source audio with the faders.
Sound color effects: borrowed from the DJM series, the Sound Color Filters add high- and low-pass filters to the beat effects for even more creativity
Sample banks: pre-loaded with four samples.
Auto Loop: tracks can be automatically looped at specified positions.
Quantize: DJs will never miss a beat again as the quantize function automatically synchronises the beat of rekordbox-ready tracks and effects.
3. Automatic features that make perfect mixes a breeze
Beat Sync: automatically syncs all tracks to the beat to the master deck using rekordbox beat grid information.
Auto Mix: automatically mixes each track within a playlist if DJs need to step away from the deck during long sets.
4. Performance features and sample playback
INDUSTRY FIRST Jog Drum: a more DJ-friendly way of engaging samples. DJs simply load a sample onto the deck and press Jog Drum; they can then trigger and scratch the samples by drumming directly on the jog wheel for more control and creativity.
Sample Launch: with four samples pre-loaded onto each deck, DJs simply push Sample Launch once to perform with the currently engaged sample. By holding down Sample Launch, they can select another sample to perform with. Samples can also be launched using the XDJ-AERO’s effects, loops and pitch controls.
5. One-touch recording of popular mixes
Inherited from Pioneer’s DJM-350 mixer, the XDJ-AERO allows DJs to record their creations directly to USB as uncompressed CD-quality WAV files.
6. MIDI and HID control for ultimate flexibility
The XDJ-AERO can be used as a MIDI controller for Traktor and HID controller for Virtual DJ software.
7. Connect external hardware to use as a stand-alone mixer
For maximum flexibility, the unified player and mixer unit also has inputs to connect external hardware, such as CDJs or turntables, so DJs can use it as an independent mixer.
8. Premium design and build looks the part every time
With its classic black finish, sleek aluminium faceplate, blue LED lights and Pioneer’s industry-standard interface, the XDJ-AERO looks professional in any venue.
9. High-end components for superb sound in any environment
The XDJ-AERO’s audio circuits are the same as those used in Pioneer’s pro-DJ equipment to guarantee pristine sound reproduction. And full digital processing has been used to minimise distortion and noise from A/D-D/A conversion.
10. Other features
Onboard 44.1kHz/24bit high resolution soundcard
Independent three-band equalizer
Dual headphone output –minijack for inner-ear headphones and standard jack for full-size headphones
Native Instruments are offering free downloads of the wobbletastic “Razor”, the heavenly “Session Strings” and Tim Exile’s frankly barking vocoder-esque creation “The Mouth”, worth almost £200.
They are free to download for anyone who registers Komplete 8 with NI from today until the 30th September.
If you were in any doubt about the package, and certainly £385 is a certainly a considered investment for most of us, i can only tell you this….. All of the Scan Pro Audio Team use part of Komplete in almost every production they do (I’ve never done a track without Kontakt for at least 10 years!), with excellent tools such as industry leading sampler, Kontakt and the endless possibilities of build-your-own instrument program Reaktor these tools really will equip you with some of the best software available to musicians. Komplete also includes an enormous library of sounds, in fact just the Kontakt factory sound bank a fantastic starting point for a whole heap of instruments.