Win Focusrite, Novation & KRK Gear In The 50 Days Of Spring Give Away.

Focusrite Spring Giveaway.

Everytime the Focusrite team come up with a new giveaway, they seem to get bigger and better with this time certainly being no exception. If you purchase a piece of kit from Focusrite or partner companies Novation & KRK over the coming weeks, it will then qualify you for entry into the huge spring giveaway where the is £10,000 worth of studio gear to be won!

If you purchase any product from these three brands and then visit to complete the form and answer the question, you’ll then be entered into all the draws from then until 10th May 2013. The are 50 days of draws starting from the 22nd of March, so the sooner you enter the higher the chance of winning one of these great prize vouchers which can then be used towards the purchase of any further Focusrite, Novation or KRK that would surely look and sound great in any studio!

To find out more on the competition check out the link here.

Click on the respective brand name below to see the qualifying kit we carry here at Scan.

Focusrite Gear @ Scan

Novation Gear @ Scan

KRK Gear @ Scan

To see the prize winners as they are announced click here.

Full T&C’s for the comperition can be found here.

Breakdown of Ableton Live 9’s features: Suite,Standard or Intro?

Ableton 9 Webcast
After our debut Webcast on Saturday 16th March (click here to go to archived video) We’ve had lots of questions about the new features and what is the best version to buy.

I’ll break down the key features and provide some ideas of how/why you would use them.

Intro, Standard or Suite?

For those new to Ableton live:

▪ It comes in three editions: Intro, Standard and Suite.
▪ Standard and Suite have additional features, Instruments, Packs and Effects.
▪ Intro is exceptional value and a great introduction to Ableton’s main features.
▪ Suite is aimed at the producer who needs a wealth of sounds and virtual instruments.

All of the versions have the unique Session View for quick, intuitive composition, flexible performance and improvisation. This is the screen that can be used for Djing and Live performance.


These features are common to all the versions:

▪ Multitrack recording up to 32-bit/192 kHz
▪ Nondestructive editing with unlimited undo
▪ Powerful MIDI sequencing of software and hardware instruments
▪ Advanced warping and real-time time-stretching
▪ Group tracks
▪ VST and Audio Unit support
▪ Time signature changes
▪ Multiple automation lanes
▪ Track Freeze
▪ Automatic plug-in delay compensation
▪ MIDI remote control instant mapping
▪ MIDI output to hardware synths
▪ MIDI Clock/sync
▪ ReWire
▪ Multicore/multiprocessor support
▪ WAV, AIFF, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC file support.

Live Suite

This is the full studio version of the software, the main differences here are the inclusion of some great virtual instruments including:

• Analog – a virtual analog synthesizer
• Collision – physical modeling instrument based on mallet percussion sounds
• Electric – a classic electric piano emulation
• Operator – versatile synth that combines both FM and subtractive synthesis
• Sampler – virtual sampling instrument with multisample playback and sound design.
• Tension – a physical modeling string-based sythesiser

Audio effects exclusive to Suite are:
• Amp – a virtual guitar amplifier great for emulating the sounds and characters of classic amps
• Cabinet – a speaker cabinet simulator modeled on five classic guitar cabinets
• Corpus – simulates the acoustic properties of resonant objects such as pipes, membranes and tubes.

These features alone help to justify the price difference, they are powerful audio tools that help you to create manipulate pretty much any sound. I must admit that at first glance they don’t ‘look’ impressive, but that is part of the whole concept of Live, its what goes on ‘under the hood’.
These instruments don’t place too much demand on your processor, graphically they are minimalistic but use your ears and you will be kindly rewarded!

Audio to MIDI

In the web cast (link at the top) I demonstrated the use of the new Audio to Midi features; these are exclusive to Standard and Suite. Anyone who has used or seen these features will know how incredibly useful they are.

Other workstations do have this functionality but it’s not as accessible as it is in Live.
Having this feature allows you infinite possibilities for sound sources and grooves.

Too many to go into here perhaps! One idea would be to use your voice as a sound source, imagine beat boxing the rhythm track, singing the bass-line and melody and then layering tones to make complete chords?

This is surely a great feature that many existing users are very pleased to see included.
Sample-based artists can use the groove or melodic/harmonic content from any recording this allows you to re-invent your entire sample library.

All the features mentioned above are very useful and integral to what makes Ableton 9 so versatile. Of course these features are reflected in the price:

• Ableton Live 9 Suite £559.00 inc VAT (click here to go to product page )

• Ableton Live 9 Standard £339.00 inc VAT (click here to go to product page)

• Ableton Live Intro £79.00 inc VAT (click here to go to product page

So why buy Ableton Live Intro then?

At £79.00 what do you actually get?
Well surprisingly still a great deal! Intro is a great title for this product as this is exactly what it is.

If you’ve never used Ableton before then this is a great place to start, the features that have made the program popular are included here:

• The Session View, this is the “jam” screen where samples/midi clips can be triggered in real time either as individual clips or as horizontal “scenes”
• Any performance on the Session view can then be recorded in real time onto the arrangement view (similar to Cubase,Logic etc)
• Sample warping is included, Ableton analyses each sample allowing you to change the tempo of the song in real time and all the samples will follow with out changing pitch. This is a very fast way to experiment with material from different genres/tempos and have no restrictions.
• Re-Wire is included – So if you cant pull yourself away from Cubase,Reason,Logic or whatever you use, then Ableton will happily run alongside any of these programs in Slave or Master mode. Many producers use their plug-ins from Cubase or Logic but run Ableton alongside for its excellent audio and MIDI tools.


If you want to harness the full power of Ableton Live, then Suite is definitely the one for you, with over 3,000 sounds you can use all of the instruments, packs and effects and have a fully functional studio package. If you don’t need all of the extra plugins and effects then Standard does have most of the technical features such as Audio to Midi, unlimited tracks etc. This is probably a good choice if you already have a good collection of 3rd party plug-ins or a vast sample library.
Intro is best for beginners or those already loyal to another DAW, the good thing here is that you can always upgrade and unlock the other features when you are ready.

If you want to see a features comparison chart click here to go to Ableton’s site

Hope that makes things a little clearer! Look out for more Ableton Live 9 videos soon on the Scan Pro Audio You Tube channel.

In case you missed them, here are some I made outlining some of the simple but really effective features using Ableton Live 8:

Introduction and Overview
Building an Instrument Rack
Using MIDI devices Scale and Random
Using the MIDI arpeggiator
Managing your Screen and Layout

Scan Pro Audio Webcast: What did you miss?

Scan Webcast 16th March: What did you miss?


So, did you tune in?

If not, what  did you miss, and will we be doing it again?

indexOK, basically we think this is the start of something cool.

Advertising agencies have been predicting that this is the way forward in the future.

You see, with the advent of You Tube, we have all become very good at searching out niche content, i.e. content that’s of interest to ourselves but maybe not to other people in our house or community.

It could be guitar lessons, old footage of previous PGA Golf competitions, synchronised swimming, doesn’t matter, the idea is that it’s your interest, and not necessarily anyone elses…

What the agencies are predicting is that with the proliferation of Smart phones, iPads and tablets, more and more of us will be tempted to seek out our own programming, ( as opposed to 15 years ago, when everyone gathered around the family television to watch a soap opera or whatever.)

However, the other thing the people in the know are saying, is that people are now becoming a lot more discerning. With cable providers like Virgin Media supplying You Tube as a channel on your TV set, viewers are less likely to watch the ‘old school’ type of you tube clip, with some murky, shadowy character showing you how to play Stairway to Heaven sat on the end of his bed, in favour of higher production values that look more like the sort of HD TV show they’re used to….

And that, was what we were trying to do on Saturday,

……………………and I’m pleased to say, we succeeded!

We managed to broadcast a high quality stream from the Scan in house Theatre, and Simon Lyon gave a preview of the new Ableton live 9 suite, while Luke from Korg  gave a great demonstration of the new King Korg analog synthesiser.

What was great was that during the broadcast we were taking questions from the viewers, live in realtime, and we were able to answer and use those questions as part of the show.

So, here’s to the future…

We want to become known for a weekly webcast that features demonstrations of new kit, tips and tricks with well known software, recording  advice etc. in fact everything you’d want from a Pro Audio show.

We’ll keep you posted with our plans for the future, but for now you can check out the first show here:

Simon shows off some new features in Ableton 9.

Luke from Korg showing off the King Korg synth.

7 Reasons to love Reason 7….


Reason lappy

Reason 7 is coming VERY soon, and it’s all grown up!!

For a while now, Reason has seemed to live in the shadow of the main DAW’s.  Indeed for many people it was a long way behind the pack in terms of features as well as how seriously it was taken, but Swedish software house Propellerheads  have given the mixer, rack and sequencer a major makeover, and now it stands revealed as really very good indeed.

1)      Audio Tracks

Capture your ideas with a minimum of mouse clicks and menu actions — version 6 of Reason introduces unlimited hard disk tracks and rock solid audio recording in Reason.

2)      Time stretch

With Reason’s  now legendary non-destructive time stretch, you can actually record first and pick your tempo later. Reason has a unique twist on the concept of time and tempo. Change the song tempo and all your audio tracks will follow right along without any need for pre-processing of any kind. Need to slow your song down to nail a tricky passage? No problem. Just reduce the tempo, record your performance and bring the tempo back up. The audio quality? Amazing.

3)      On-board Sounds

Included with Reason is a huge sound bank full of inspiring instruments, synth patches, loops, and effects. Patches have been created by producers like Death Cab for Cutie’s Jason McGerr, Bomb Squad’s Hank Shocklee, Black Eyed Peas’ Printz Board, DJ Lucky Date, Kill the Noise, and more.

It also comes stocked full with thousands of patches, presets, and loops to get you inspired and started. Over 4,000 instrument patches, 1,000+ mixing/mastering effects, and nearly 3,000 loops… it’s enough to satisfy even the most eclectic tastes. For those who like to keep score at home, here’s a breakdown of the factory sound bank content which has been expanded in Reason 6.

4)      Rack Extensions rack-closeup-255px


With Rack Extensions the Reason rack opens up to third party developers. This is not another plugin format – Rack Extensions are full Reason rack citizens, giving you the same great experience as any other Reason device. Load them in Combinators, route cables on the back, automate all parameters, and experiment with the safety of undo.






5)      New External MIDI Instrument Device:

Within the new Reason 7, there is a new MIDI Out funtionality which allows users to connect to external hardware instruments, this allows Reason users to stay synced when working outside of the box.



6)      REX files:


Propellerheads were the people behind REX files, and Reason is of course capable of creating them from scratch. If you  haven’t worked with REX files before, now’s your chance to experience the ease and flexibility of these little guys.

In fact there is actually a dedicated .REX file player called Dr.Rex. This really is an excellent instrument and not allows you to load .REX files, but also gives you the tools to completely transform them if you wish.


The Dr.Rex player.

The Dr.Rex player has a straight forward but powerful synthesis engine, and the real beauty of it is that both of the envelopes clamp down on each slice independently. This can create some really interesting effects. There is also a sync-able LFO which can be routed to various destinations.


The Dr.Rex synthesis engine.

Once you loop is playing back in a way that you are happy with, a MIDI file to trigger the loop in exactly right order can be generated and easily assigned to a track in the Reason sequencer. It is also easy to export the same MIDI information to another sequencer in Reason via Rewire.


7)      James Bernard:


James is an old buddy of mine from our days at KORG USA in the ‘90’s.

James is one of the few people I know who has been making beats, squeaks, dirty basses and all the other types of sound so beloved of today’s  Dubstep crews, since the early ‘90’s. His legendary sound design knowledge has been put to great use, in a series of phenomenal  tips and tricks for Reason, which can be found here…..


Reason users are invited to sign up for the limited public beta testing at the Propellerhead web site:






Yes, it’s Here!!!

Native Instruments KOMPLETE 9 and KOMPLETE ULTIMATE 9 are now shipping.

The entire range of KOMPLETE Instruments and Effects  in one stunning  package.

65 KOMPLETE products, 16,000 sounds, 370 GB

KOMPLETE ULTIMATE 9 is the Complete creative suite for audio production

Installation from a dedicated Hard drive, means it’s simple to install and get to work.

Let’s have a look at what you get….





Two powerful flagship products: REAKTOR 5.8, the ever-expanding modular sound studio driving synthesis into the future and KONTAKT 5, the most powerful engine for sample-based instrument design – packed with 43GB of premium sounds, all-new studio effects, ground breaking filters and an arsenal of in-depth features.





The virtual analog powerhouse MONARK monosynth joins the dynamic, raucous SKANNER XT and two other incredible instruments by the father of REAKTOR in KOMPLETE 9 ULTIMATE’s synth arsenal.

Alongside them are the bass music heavyweight MASSIVE, the crystalline sound of FM8, the otherworldly sound of ABSYNTH, and a stunning collection of 20 vintage analog synths and keyboards.



Power up your cinematic productions with the intuitive, instantly-playable ACTION STRINGS and SESSION HORNS, and the crushing, epic percussion of DAMAGE.

Go even further with SESSION STRINGS PRO, the gold-standard contemporary strings and the powerful, forward-looking sound design possibilities of EVOLVE MUTATIONS and EVOLVE MUTATIONS 2.




KOMPLETE 9 ULTIMATE delivers the PREMIUM TUBE SERIES and REVERB CLASSICS – a fully-loaded, premium-sounding set of studio effects – next to an already-incredible effect suite featuring the updated SOLID MIX STERIES, a versatile ‘magic wand’ for placing instruments in a mix, one of Tim Exile’s amazing creations, DJ effects for the studio and monster IR reverb.



A completely redesigned BATTERY 4 and ABBEY ROAD VINTAGE DRUMMER join a century of inspired drumming with STUDIO DRUMMER, ABBEY ROAD 60s DRUMMER, ABBEY ROAD 70s DRUMMER, ABBEY ROAD 80s DRUMMER and ABBEY ROAD MODERN DRUMMER – a full range of electronic and acoustic percussion ready for all production duties. Complimented by a versatile set of hard-hitting electronic and ethnic percussion.





GUITAR RIG 5 PRO is a professional guitar studio, featuring essential amps and effects plus CONTROL ROOM PRO – putting you behind a virtual mixing desk to sculpt your tone to perfection.

All this alongside the devastating, signature sound of RAMMFIRE, and the legendary SCARBEE collection of sampled instruments including SCARBEE FUNK GUITARIST and SCARBEE RICKENBACKER® BASS.



THE GIANT becomes part of a rich assortment of keys and pianos included in KOMPLETE 9 ULTIMATE – from signature artists’ personal instruments and phrases, to classic organs, a legendary cast of perfectly sampled electric, upright and concert grand pianos.




The industry-standard collection for production, performance, and sound design – at an unbeatable value.

  • 33 products, 12,000 sounds, 120 GB
  • Comprehensive creative production suite


Contains over 3 GB of material with over 1000 sounds – all carefully compiled to provide a strong toolkit for the widest-possible range of production tasks. There are acoustic drums, electronic beats, orchestral strings, and a wide range of synthesizers. Plus guitar amp simulation and an array of creative studio effects – a fully equipped and ready-to-roll production suite.



Whichever one of the KOMPLETE bundles you go for, you can be sure that you’re equipping your studio with some of the finest Softsynths and Samples available in the world today.



Korg Microkey – Jolly Good Value!

A couple of brief thoughts about the Korg MicroKey System.

At first glance, these little keyboards would seem to be a last resort to most Keyboard players. Of course they’re invaluable for use on the move, in a portable situation. They have a remarkable ‘playability’, a legacy of their bigger and older brethren, and things like the  Pitch bend and Modulation wheels are as good as you’d expect for a keyboard with this sort of lineage, but somehow, they don’t seem to represent a ‘real’ keyboard in the sense that we’re all familiar with.

However, a couple of things struck me the other day, First how much actual playing do you do when you’re in studio mode. I mean ok, if you’re a virtuoso keyboards player or a jazz pianist, the point doesn’t stand, but for those of us who can ‘play’ but don’t record actual perfomances (In my case, I programme all my string parts in one at a time, my horn section riffs are done piece by piece, and holding down Pads, or Organ tones is easily achievable on these smaller key) they really are worth a look in terms of space saving and ease of operation.

Secondly, these particular MicroKeys from Korg are coming bundled with some pretty serious software. The microKEY37 includes a download code for FREE Korg M1Le software, giving you all of the preset sounds and all of the PCM waveforms of the original M1, which was a killer keyboard in its day, and still sounds fine up to present.
Also included are licenses for Applied Acoustics Systems’ Strum Acoustic Session, Lounge Lizard Session (probably the best of the Electric Piano modellers) and Ultra Analog Session as well as a license for Toontrack’s software drum sound module EzDrummer Lite, and a discount coupon for Ableton’s “Live,” “Live Suite,” and “Live LE” DAW software, one of the most creative and talked about programs happening at the moment. These are some pretty compelling reasons to get yourself one of the baby keyboards, microKEY 25 or 37.

microKEY 61 comes with   “Korg Legacy Collection Special Bundle,” providing software versions of five of Korg’s best known and best loved synthesizers: the MS-20 analog monophonic synthesizer, the Polysix polyphonic synthesizer, the Mono/Poly analog synthesizer, the M1, and the Wavestation digital synthesizer, as a suite of 19 of Korg’s sought after effects plugins.

If you’re thinking of re-vamping your studio, or even just adding functionality to your laptop set-up, these little beauties are well worth a look.