Recent Webcasts….and the Future:


I’ve tried not to bang on too much about our Pro Audio webcasts, but I do have to point out from time to time just how much better they’re getting and how much the technology has moved on.


Last night we featured Luke Edwards from KORG with the new Volca series of synths, almost  7 months to the day since he launched our first ever foray into this brave new world of web broadcasting. The really interesting thing about that is how far the technology has come in that few short months. Back then we were using a Roland hardware based system, that was about the only real option to do what we were attempting to do, the box itself was around £2500.00 and we thought it was stunningly good value…. A few months later however, and we’re able to do everything we need to and more via a piece of software costing less than £400.00. As usual, one wonders where we’ll be with this technology a year from now.


What is really exciting however, are the implications for this type of technology.


With the emergence of websites like ‘Stage It’, the opportunities for performers from any genre, music, comedy, magic are becoming huge and potentially very lucrative. Essentially anyone who has the ability to ‘entertain’ or educate will find that for a modest outlay on cameras and software, they will be able to market themselves to their own audience and charge money for private, ‘one-off’ concerts. If all the indicators are to be believed, this is indeed the future for entertainment and knowledge (one of the biggest predicted rises will again be in on-line tuition).


Typically,  5 years ago, In your average suburban family home on a Thursday evening, you’d invariably hear a discussion if not a row about the families viewing that evening, someone would want to watch something at a time that clashed with something else, and various bribes and barters would have to take place to allow peace to be restored.


Nowadays, the kids take themselves off up to their bedrooms with their computers or tablets/pads and Netflix will stream the latest movies or TV shows to them, whilst Dad watches a You Tube clip on how to strip a clutch, and Mum gets to watch the Strictly Come Dancing repeats. All in All, things have changed. And the future will be more of the same.


Specialist content delivered by experts will allow everyone to celebrate their inner geek.


Wanna watch a Gardening show? Or do you want to watch a specialist show on growing Hydrangea’s in Acid soil and windy conditions?


Wanna watch some Pop music? Or do you want to listen to a Producer talk about how he created the track from scratch using Akai beatboxes and some Beatles samples….


The point is specialisation, and it’s coming thick and fast…… However, because, as we’ve mentioned, the content is for the first time being seen regularly in peoples living areas, (You Tube is now available on most cable providers pack’s) the people are demanding much higher production values, hence the need to get hooked up with the right kind of kit.


Here are some shots from our last webcast with Rodney Orpheus from Presonus……

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Fluid Audio F4 Monitors


OK, These are fantastic.

That’s it.

No, really, that’s it……..


• 30 watts of Class A/B power for coherent and accurate sound reproduction
• 4″ low frequency drivers with composite paper cones for powerful and dynamic lows
• 1″ treated silk dome hi-frequency drivers with integrated waveguides ensure a flat response
• Magnetic shielding eliminates interference with other electronic equipment
• 1/4″ balanced and RCA unbalanced inputs for connecting mixers, interfaces, etc
• Unique fader volume control on front baffle for easy access
• External amplifier heat sink to maximize efficiency while keeping temperature low
• Includes two acoustic isolation pads

All for under £125.00….

And how can I be so sure?

‘Cos I just bought some, that’s how.  images

OK, in my studio, I create amongst other things, high quality audio for Brands and companies i.e. I write music for TV, Radio and Cinema advertising.

My main monitors are an original pair of Mackie HR 824’s, and I know how good they are, because I’ve heard my music in many unforgiving places, such as the Broadcast mix rooms of various Post Production studios, or the Exigy MHS2/S215B’s at Real World Studios Big Room, and my mixes are very accurate indeed.


However, Gary from Hand in Hand distribution called by the other day, with these little beauties, and from the instant he set them up, I had decided I’d found my next studio purchase.

So why if you have an expensive pair of monitors, would you want a relatively cheap pair? I hear you ask….. answer…. For comparison mixes.

In the old days, you would record a cassette or later a CD and take it out into the car or put it on a beat-box to see how it sounded, but these little F4’s are flat enough to allow me to hear how mixes sound on smaller speakers, but without too much colouring from the speaker itself.

Anyone in a similar situation, I recommend these wholeheartedly, and if you’re on a real budget for your main studio monitors, you could do a lot, lot worse……


Novation Announce The Launchkey Mini

Novation Launchkey Mini
Novation Launchkey Mini

Fresh from the Novation stable comes their newest addition in the diminutive yet fully featured Launchkey Mini.

The Launchkey Mini is a compact mini-key controller / instrument for iPad, Mac and PC featuring 16 velocity sensitive, three colour illuminated launch pads – use them to launch loops, sounds, effects, transport controls, and more.

Launchkey Mini also features a 25-note mini-keyboard, eight assignable rotary controls, seven function buttons, and a further two performance buttons. Compact and portable, Launchkey Mini is great for producing and performing at home or on stage. Launch your music – anywhere.

Launchkey Mini works immediately with the free-to-download Novation Launchpad and Launchkey iPad apps, and gives you hands-on control of major Mac and Windows based music software including Ableton Live, FL Studio, Pro Tools, Cubase, Reason, and Logic. Ableton Live Lite is included in the package, along with an extensive Loopmasters sample library, V-Station and Bass Station Soft Synths.

A keyboard and launch pad controller for iPad, Mac and PC

The latest in the growing family of Novation “Launch” products, Launchkey Mini is an instantly accessible mini keyboard and launch pad controller for a wide range of software apps on iPad, Mac and PC. It’s a keyboard / DAW controller with 26 assignable controls, offering fuss-free hands-on control of major music software via Novation’s intuitive “InControl” technology. The 16 launch pads are velocity-sensitive – use them to play drum sounds and samples expressively, as well as launch clips and scenes in Ableton Live.

Powerful iPad Apps transform Launchkey Mini into an instrument

Launchkey Mini integrates seamlessly with powerful music software apps for iPad, which transform it into a production and performance instrument. Use the free-to-download LaunchKey App with Launchkey Mini on your iPad to trigger the included professional sample library and control effects, letting you produce and perform music straight away. Launchpad app upgrades will allow you to import your own samples and share your creation with a growing fan base.

The free-to-download LaunchKey App for iPad is a synth filled with Novation technology, allowing you to control notes with the Launchkey Mini’s keyboard while warping the sound with the knobs or via intuitive multi-touch control on the iPad’s screen. The Launchkey and Launchpad apps sync together perfectly for simultaneous use – set an arpeggiator on the Launchkey app and switch to the Launchpad app to build the beats behind it, for example. Both apps are fully Audiobus compatible.

Launchkey Mini connects directly to your iPad with the Apple Camera Connection Kit (not included) and it’s powered by the iPad – so there’s no need for batteries or an additional power supply.

Ableton Live Lite, Bass Station, V-Station and Sample Pack for Mac and PC

As well as Ableton Live Lite, Launchkey Mini comes with the V-Station polyphonic soft-synth and the Bass Station software plug-in. You can use these as plug-ins within Ableton, FL Studio or other DAWs. There’s also a sample pack supplied by world leading sample producers – Loopmasters. Get started straight away on your Mac or PC with over one gigabyte of loops including drums, FX and artist content.

Launchkey Mini Key Features

  • 25-note mini-keyboard controller / instrument for iPad, Mac and PC. Fast action synth-style mini keys ideal for modern playing techniques
  • 16 velocity sensitive, three colour launch pads. Launch loops, samples, effects and more and get direct visual feedback.
  • Hands-on control of major Mac and Windows based music software including Ableton Live, FL Studio, Pro Tools, Cubase, Reason, and Logic via Novation’s intuitive “InControl” technology
  • Launch your music anywhere. Launchkey Mini is fully powered by iPad or USB – no need for power sockets or batteries – and it’s ultra-lightweight and easy to carry
  • Knobs and buttons for total control. Eight knobs, seven function buttons, and two performance buttons to enhance and control your software in real time
  • Free software for iPad, PC, and Mac. Launchkey Mini is a fully-integrated instrument out-of-the-box working seamlessly with the Novation Launchpad and Launchkey apps for iPad. Also Includes Ableton Live Lite, V-Station, Bass Station Soft Synth and Loopmasters sample pack for Mac and PC.
  • Launchkey Mini is a USB class compliant device. It is compatible with any operating system that supports USB MIDI device class 1.0. Launchkey Mini is ‘plug and play’ compatible with most modern computers and the iPad

Officially supported operating systems:

  • MAC – OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion and 10.7 Lion
  • WINDOWS – Windows 8 and Windows 7 (64 & 32 bit)
  • iPAD – iPad2 or later is recommended. iOS 5 or above is required

Additional Specs

  • Net weight: 675g
  • Dimensions: W: 325mm, L: 175mm, D: 43mm
  • Connectivity: Class compliant USB: works with USB and iPad (using Camera Connection Kit, not supplied)
  • Power: Fully bus powered by USB, including iPad.

The Novation LaunchKey Mini @ Scan