Category Archives: Uncategorized

Focusrite Academy : Drum Recording

Starting out on the engineering road can be quite daunting, especially for instrumentalists, often more used to gigging than studio sessions.

Well, fret no more as Focusrite have opened their Academy, a free online video tutorial site designed to teach Producers and Engineers the essential basics of the art of recording acoustic and electric instruments on their computer.

Drum recording is the first course on offer and covers mic placement, recording, processing and showing you all the interfaces, mics and outboard equipment you need to get started.

Through a whopping 25 Videos, session drummers Craig Blundell and Alessandro Lombardo, with producer Tim Harbour, talk about skinning, try various variations of mic placement using between one and 12 microphones, show you how to correct phase problems to get the best results and then how to process and edit the recorded tracks.

Click here to see the full range of Focusrite @ Scan

Akai MPC Makes A Return With Two New Standalone Models

Back in January at NAMM Akai announced the release of two new additions to the MPC line – the MPC X and the MPC Live, with a clear focus on  bringing back the standalone functionality to the range. Beat fiends around the world are waiting with anticipation for the launch date of the new MPCs and while no solid date is available at the time of writing, what we do know is that it is going to be soon!

I’m one of the lucky folk to have actually had my hands on the MPC X and even though my time was limited I can tell you that it certainly impressed from the off. There are so many features on this new line that I could literally write for a week and will have probably only scratched the surface so I’ll try and keep this short. The first thing you notice when sat in front of the behemoth MPC X is that this thing is huge, it feels like you’re sat at the helm of some other-worldly spaceship armed with rapid fire beat blaster rays! Every control and function you could want is surgically positioned to be at hand when you need it, the encoders feel solid and the little OLED screens above each pot is a very nice touch. We’ve got a plethora of I/O, CV outputs, countless controls, a VU meter, 16 RGB pads and a nice responsive 10.1″ touchscreen which I will come to later.

The pads are tight and responsive just as you would expect from the company that basically swamped the world with the things! The easiest way to describe the pads is – they just work, and they work damn well. They are able to capture every nuance of your performance. If you have played with an MPC before then you will be right at home with either of the new models. The MPC swing returns in full glory, breaking up, yet gluing together your drum hits for a natural swing that works flawlessy.

The screen is a big highlight on this new line. The X has a 10.1″ screen while the Live has a 7″ display, both are way more responsive and tactile than I thought they would be. They work brilliantly, integrating the hands-on approach to a deeper level than previously available. It supports multi touch for pinch and zoom allowing you to snip, chop and move as you please with absolute ease. I was genuinely impressed by how well it worked and I’m sure you will be too!

The Live is a gorgeous little black box which retains most of the features of the X with a much smaller footprint. We lose CV outputs and a lot of encoders and front facing controls but this doesn’t detract from the experience at all, thankfully the touchscreen takes over some duties here – so it’s a good job they’ve done a cracking job with it. It also houses a rechargeable Lithium-ION battery so you can unplug from the box, go and sit in the sun and knock out some beats!

The release of the new MPC line also brings with it MPC Software 2.0, fully loaded with critical in-demand productions and performance capability. Both units are able to record audio directly into the unit and use as audio tracks within MPC. The software was still in late Beta while I played around with it and was already solid, I didn’t experience any glitches or crashes. When hooked up to a PC 2.0 allows you to use VST instruments and effects and then bounce the audio down for use in standalone mode! Absolutely phenomenal.

Now I’ve not mentioned one of the new highlight features yet – clip launching! This is the familiar performance mode found on other devices and gives the MPC another weapon in it’s already formidable arsenal. Add to that the outstanding collection of expansions from well respected sound designers such as Capsun Audio, Loopasters, Toolroom and more, and you have a truly fearsome expandable music machine!

So, if the thought of a brand new, all singing, all dancing Akai MPC gets you all giddy, keep your eyes peeled for more info on the release date. If it gets you more than a little giddy then you might want to get a pre-order in and be one of the first to get hold of one of these beauties! In the meantime, take a look at some videos to get more of an idea what the new line brings to the table.

https://www.scan.co.uk/products/akai-mpc-x-standalone-music-production-center-101-full-colour-multi-touch-display-16gb-of-on-board-s

https://www.scan.co.uk/products/akai-mpc-live-music-production-center-standalone-capable-16-pads-7-inch-multi-touch-display-16gb-on

Thomas Blug Signature Pedals by XVive

For those of you unfamiliar with the Xvive range of pedals, I’ve waxed lyrical about them before, but essentially these are USA designed, Chinese made ‘Micro’ pedals that sound very, very cool and take up minimal room on your board.

In an earlier post I talked about German guitar wizard and ‘Tone guru’ Thomas Blug.

Thomas has recently teamed up with the guys at Xvive and helped them to voice 4 different pedals for their range, and as you would expect, each one brings a different but remarkably accurate variation on a classic amp tone.

GOLDEN BROWNIE: LN68957

The first of these is the ‘Golden Brownie’, which is designed to give you the high-gain rock tones of the 80’s style Marshall sound, “Like a JCM800 in a box” is their claim.

The sound is definitely synonymous with the classic British Rock tones of that era, and some judicious cutting or boosting with the Tone and Presence knobs can dial in quite a wide variety of transients to give you more or less of the Presence or Brightness required.

The beauty of this type of in-expensive yet high quality pedal, is that even if you don’t play too much classic rock, it’s just a great tone to have in your palette, just in case you’re called upon to produce a minutes worth of Eddie Van Halen in the middle of your Country band’s set…..

 

TUBE SQUASHER: LN68956

The Tube Squasher is a Low Gain sound, capable of big fat squashy tones, with a little compression to back it up. Add the Bass for a full on Jeff Beck fest, and it takes on an almost “Dumble-esque” quality. Lo-cut the bass, and you have a quintessential rhythm tone, with a sharp, Punky voice as well as a mature Rocky growl….

Again, even if you don’t use Classic tube amp tones in your day to day set, these little units are so inexpensive, it seems silly not to have at least one of these type of pedals in your armoury..

 

SWEET LEO: LN79344

The word for this Overdrive unit is ‘Transparent’.

Your original tone shines through without being masked or shaped which immediately marks it out as being a fantastic rhythm pedal, but it can also conjure up the sound of an old tweed amp being pushed through its paces. Indeed it has a ‘Growl’ knob, specifically to control this.

So if you want a lovely Clear Bell like overdriven tone or indeed to spit out a little more broken up  venom, this could very well be the pedal for you.

 

DYNAROCK: LN79346

This pedal cuts through with a lot of clarity, no mushy tones here. However, it also features a mid- boost that can deliver a lovely full fat tone, perfect for those fusion-y legato players.

If you’re called upon to put on a little Metal or Hard Rock, here’s all your High Gain tones in a little box…

 

 

 

The Scan Pro Audio Show

The Scan Pro Audio Show: Preview episode

Scan Titles
 

Many of you will remember our Pro Audio Webcasts which ran until the back end of last year. For those of you that didn’t manage to catch one, many of them are still archived on our Scan Pro Audio channel.

https://www.youtube.com/user/ScanProAudioTV

Well, this year we launch the new look, Scan Pro Audio show, in which we build on the webcast idea, to produce a full blown magazine type TV show featuring, news, items of interest and demonstrations from the world of Pro Audio.

Last week we aired the very first “Preview” episode, featuring Luke Edwards from Korg talking us through the new Korg Minilogue Synth and an item featuring Ben from TMS ( The UK’s most prolific Hit Producers ) talking us through how they use the Universal Audio Apollo console application and break down in detail the vocal monitoring effect chain that they use when recording acts such as Little Mix, Professor Green, Emeli Sande, One Direction, Jess Glynne, The Vamps & Rita Ora

You can catch the show here…

https://www.scan.co.uk/shops/proaudio-show

and you should also remember each show features the “codeword”, where viewers can email in for some exclusive offers of the week.

Cover Page!

 Congratulations to our own Pete Gardner on reaching the cover page of the prestigious Sound on Sound magazine!
Pete has been a contributor for a while now, but this month, he has put together the definitive version of “What’s the best CPU for todays Audio Production software”.

Pete is one of the most informed guys in the country (probably Europe!) when it comes to attaching things to the innards of a PC, and in this issue he shows all the various benchtests he uses to measure the different CPU’s available.

Sound on Sound is probably the best Audio Production mag available, and if you’re serious about the world of Audio Recording, you should make sure of your subscription now.

Its that time again!!!!

It’ll soon be that time of year again!!!
Whilst I don’t like to start any kind of festivities until around a fortnight before Christmas, we have to acknowledge that for Mums and Dads especially, they have no choice but to start planning WAYYYY beforehand, so here are a couple of thoughts as to gifts for the coming season….
Alesis DM7X Session Kit:
For the noisy blighter in your life….

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This is a cracking little version of the DM7X from Alesis.
Packed with premium Alesis sounds and onboard extras, the DM7X module is the heart of the DM7X Session kit. Extremely playable pads offer realistic extras such as a dual-zone snare for accurate rimshots, as well as a crash cymbal with choke. The enhanced bass drum system is fast, responsive, and extra-quiet. The sturdy, all-in-one drum rack features a wide stance with longer feet for improved balance. Compact and complete, the DM7X Session Kit fits easily into a home studio or performance stage. Add an extra tom pad and/or cymbal pad to grow this expandable kit as your needs change.
And for Mum and Dad?

NO NOISE!!!!!!
Seriously, your little Drummer can make as much racket as they like inside their own headphones, they can practise along to their mp3 player or to the 60 included play along tracks, and you won’t hear a thing!!!!

DM7X-session-630-80

COMPACT AND COMPLETE
The entire DM7X Session Kit sets up on a compact and sturdy 2-post drum rack. The wide stance and long feet offer stability for any style of drumming. Four Alesis DMPad 8″ drum pads are provided; three tom pads and a special dual-zone snare pad offering realistic rim sounds. Next, add in a collection of three 10″ cymbal pads—crash, ride, and hi-hat. The crash cymbal pad allows authentic choking of the cymbal sound. Quiet and compact, the bass drum system includes the responsive chain-driven X Kick pedal with an inverted beater for use with the super-silent StealthKick 2 trigger. Additionally, a cable snake is provided for easy and neat connections from the drum module to the drum pads, cymbal pads, and pedals.

EXPANDED SOUNDS
The DM7X module comes complete with 40 classic and modern ready-to-play kits. Easily tweak any existing kit, or create your own using the 385 premium drum, cymbal, and percussion sounds. Drum and cymbal buttons are arranged to resemble the layout of a traditional kit, so it’s simple to assign sounds and create kits quickly. Plus, the backlit LCD screen makes navigation a breeze.

EXPANDED FEATURES
Inside the DM7X module you’ll find valuable extras. The built-in learning mode features, sixty play-along music tracks, and an onboard metronome allow you to improve your skills. There is even an advanced sequencer and a performance recorder to expand your music-making potential. In addition to the USB MIDI connection for use with computers and mobile devices, the DM7X module also offers MIDI In and Out jacks so you can connect to your favorite MIDI-equipped drum machine, sound module or other audio gear. There is a headphone jack for private practice, plus stereo outs to connect to a PA system, amplifier, or recording interface. The stereo aux input allows you to jam along to your favorite tracks on your CD player or mobile device.

alesis-dm7x-electronic-drum-kit

So this Christmas why not treat your budding Buddy Rich to a great sounding kit that they’ll enjoy every day, and that won’t cause you any earache (especially from the Neighbours!)…….

Errrrm, 417 Sleeps……..

So, the best laid plans of Mice and Men eh?
The Manchester Music show has been postponed by a year, and now has a new home to boot….
It will take place on the 6th ,7th and 8th of November 2015, and is now going to be held at Event City, Manchester.
Event manager Chris Martin said: “We made the decision to postpone the show so that we can take the time to refocus the event, ensuring that it offers visitors and exhibitors alike a truly interactive experience, with a packed programme of features for musicians and music teachers, as well as those pursuing music industry careers. We’re also expanding to run over three days instead of two, which means we can put on a more substantial event for the industry.”
So….. See you down there in 2015!!

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SCAN/NVIDIA LOCK IN NIGHT!!!

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So, it would seem a little strange us Audio boyz blogging about the recent Scan/Nvidia Lock in Night featuring the launch of the new NVIDIA Shield, if it weren’t for the fact that the whole evening was supported by a riot of musical entertainment.18
Whenever we do this sort of thing, we never do it by halves, and last Friday evening/Saturday was no exception.12
From the Pro Audio side of things we had a blast featuring DJ sets from in-house Scan employee Penrar, our very own Tom Autobot and the Godfather of House, all the way from Chicago via Manchester, Mr Marshall Jefferson as well as a set from the Winners of our Velcocity 2014 competition rock section “Day Old Hate”.

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On the Saturday we had our old buddy, the freshly crowned UK DMC Champion Turntablist DJ Rasp with us, and in all, the whole weekend had a very cool and vibey feel to it.

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Arturia Beatstep……

So, along comes another controller!

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Ahh but………

Arturia’s BeatStep offers a new degree of functionality and performance for a portable pad controller.

BeatStep is highly versatile, capable of triggering clips in such applications as Ableton Live, it also allows you to play drums in conjunction with such applications as BFD or EZDrummer.

BeatStep is also a 16-step analog sequencer for creating all kinds of musical phrases to be sent to analog synthesizers, MIDI drum machines, MIDI keyboard devices, or computer programs. Its vast connectivity allows you to interface BeatStep with a computer or iPAD using USB, a drum module using MIDI or an analog synthesizer equipped with CV/GATE.

 index

Main Features :

    MIDI controller Mode – RED LED MODE

    Step Sequencer mode – BLUE LED MODE

    16 velocity and pressure sensitive pads

    16 encoders

    16 MIDI Controller presets

    16 Sequence presets

    Works with MIDI Control Center Editor

    Internal and External clocking

    CV outputs

    USB I/O

    MIDI output

    iPAD compatibility (using camera connection kit)

    Transports can send MIDI CC or MMC

    Kensington Lock

    Standalone MIDI or CV operation when powered via standard USB power adaptor

    USB Class compliant (no drivers)