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AudioFront updates MIDI Expresion to v1.1

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AudioFront MIDI Expression

AudioFront has released version 1.1 of its MIDI Expression compact Pedal to USB MIDI interface, bringing improvements to all aspects of its design.

MIDI Expression is a compact class compliant USB MIDI device that allows different types of pedals to interface with your computer. Pedal sensing technology built into the device detects the type of pedal plugged in and automatically adjusts its settings to support it.

Changes in MIDI Expression v1.1

  • New Form Factor – The most dramatic change for MIDI Expression comes in the form of its casing. MIDI Expression is now housed in a 3D printed enclosure allowing it to maintain its compact form while improving its aesthetics and strength. There are also now six colors available including, white, black, red, green, blue and yellow.
  • Plug-in Version – The MIDI Expression Control application is now available in both standalone and VST varieties. The new plugin version allows configurations to be injected into the device on a per project basis offering a unique level of control.
  • Updated Firmware – The updated firmware contains some improvements as well. Firstly each color now has a unique MIDI Port name to facilitate working with multiple devices. Secondly the onboard LED has been improved giving the user timely visual feedback.

MIDI Expression is available to purchase for $49 USD.

More information: MIDI Expresion

Native Instruments launches Heavy Valentine – Limited-time TRAKTOR KONTROL Z2 sales special

Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol Z2 Sale

Native Instruments has launched a limited-time February special on TRAKTOR KONTROL Z2, the highly acclaimed 2+2 channel DJ control mixer that unites analog and digital DJing techniques.

Featuring two standalone channels each with Remix Deck controls, and an integrated 24-bit audio interface, TRAKTOR KONTROL Z2 is the perfect pro-mixer for TRAKTOR DJs. Rear panel inputs provide connectivity for both turntables and CDJs, offering connectivity for purely analog as well as timecode-based setups. With a robust aircraft-grade aluminum enclosure, the Z2 is equipped with top-notch knobs and buttons, multi-colored cue point controls, and advanced Innofaders™ for durable, tactile mixing. TRAKTOR PRO 2′s Macro FX and Flux Mode are also directly accessible from the Z2′s dedicated buttons. An integrated USB hub even allows connectivity for multiple TRAKTOR KONTROL F1 and X1 controllers with plug-and-play simplicity.

TRAKTOR KONTROL Z2 includes the latest version of the flagship TRAKTOR PRO 2 software. Trusted by countless professionals, TRAKTOR PRO 2 offers DJs up to four virtual decks, intuitive looping and cueing functionality, and a wide range of over 30 effects. In addition, integrated Remix Decks technology allows DJs to instantly record, loop and sample audio for on-the-fly remixing. For DJs who combine the flexibility of digital DJing with classic analog systems, the Z2 also comes with TRAKTOR SCRATCH PRO 2* timecode vinyl and CDs.

TRAKTOR KONTROL Z2 is available to purchase for $599 USD/599 EUR/£499 GBP until February 28, 2014 (regular $799 USD/799 EUR/£679 GBP).

TRAKTOR PRO 2 and TRAKTOR SCRATCH PRO 2 software are provided as a download following registration of the TRAKTOR KONTROL Z2 mixer.

More information: Native Instruments / TRAKTOR KONTROL Z2

Sontronics launches ARIA valve condenser microphone

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Sontronics ARIA

Sontronics has announced the launch of its new ARIA valve condenser microphone with a fixed cardioid pattern, designed by Sontronics founder Trevor Coley specifically for getting the best from your vocals.

The Sontronics ARIA will give you stunning results on every male or female vocal recording, thanks to its silky-smooth characteristics, its accurate response and Sontronics’ trademark smooth high-frequency roll-off. Housed inside the chromed grille is a large, 1.07-inch, edge-terminated capsule that captures all the detail and subtleties of any male or female vocal, while the hand-selected European 12AX7/ECC83 tube lends a character that you’d expect to find in a classic vintage valve mic costing many times more. For that extra level of control, the accompanying SPS-2 power supply unit boasts pad (0, -10dB) and filter (linear, 75Hz) switches as well as a tube-ready LED, letting you know when the mic is warmed up and at its best to record.

“I’ve been working on the concept of a vocal-specific valve mic for a long time,” explains designer Trevor Coley, “and the ARIA is the culmination of months of research and beta-testing, which I’ve been lucky enough to do with some incredibly talented musicians and producers. The result is a go-to microphone that really is a must-have for anyone serious about achieving the best, smoothest, warmest possible results from any vocal recording. Sontronics ARIA really will take your breath away!”

During the past 12 months of ARIA’s development, the mic has been beta-tested by top artists and musicians including Oscar- and Grammy-winning producer/writer Paul Epworth (Adele, Florence & The Machine, Paul McCartney), Mercury award-winning singer/songwriter PJ Harvey, and also several engineers at Abbey Road Studios, all of whom now admit they can’t live without their ARIAs! These and other users have all told us that ARIA’s sound and quality is easily matched to mics (both modern and vintage) that cost ten times more.

The ARIA microphone is supplied in its own velvet-lined wooden box, which comes in an aluminium flightcase together with its elastic spider-style shockmount, a ring mount and the SPS-2 power supply and connecting cable. Like all Sontronics mics, the ARIA is covered by Sontronics’ LIFETIME WARRANTY.

The Sontronics ARIA is available to purchase for £899 GBP (inc. VAT) / 899 EUR (plus tax) / $1,199 USD.

More information: Sontronics / ARIA

Steinberg UR44 Audio/MIDI interface now shipping

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Steinberg has announced the release of its UR44 USB audio and MIDI interface.

Steinberg UR44
The Steinberg UR44 — 6 x 4 USB 2.0 audio & MIDI interface.

With six inputs and four outputs, D-PRE mic preamps and MIDI I/O in a rugged full-metal chassis, the UR44 is designed to suit a huge range of recording and production situations.

The ultra-flexible interface works with PC and Mac computers and can also be used with the iPad for mobile recording. The onboard DSP effects — REV-X Reverb, Sweet Sport Morphing Channel Strip and Guitar Amp Classics* — provide latency-free monitoring and are also included as VST 3 effects.

UR44 features

  • 24-bit/192 kHz USB 2.0 audio interface with 6 analog Inputs, 4 line outputs plus 2 main outputs and MIDI I/O.
  • 4 Class-A D-PRE mic preamps supporting +48 V phantom power and two Hi-Z.
  • Rugged full-metal casing for ultimate durability.
  • Latency-free DSP-powered monitoring with effects and bundled Basic FX Suite VST 3 plug-ins.
  • Cross-platform compatibility for Windows, Mac OS X and iOS (with the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit), and Cubase AI music software included.

The UR44 interface is now available to purchase for 349 EUR inc. VAT.

More information: Steinberg / UR44

Behringer intros MOTÖR 49 & MOTÖR 61 controller keyboards

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Behringer has announced MOTÖR 49 and MOTÖR 61, two new USB/MIDI master controller keyboards with motorized faders and touch-sensitive pads.

Behringer MOTÖR 49

The MOTÖR 49 master keyboard controller allows you to take total command over your virtual instruments and DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). Featuring amazingly-smooth action, motorized faders and touch-sensitive pads, the MOTÖR 49 provides an unparalleled level of control for the ultimate creative expression.

The 49 semi-weighted full-sized keys, 60 mm faders and backlit drums give you hands-on control over all the parameters of your favorite DAW. An incredible hardware-based arpeggiator enables you to instantly add arpeggios to software and hardware synths and create complex arrangements on the fly.

MOTÖR 49/61 features

  • 49/61 semi-weighted full-size keys featuring expressive velocity and after-touch functionality.
  • 9 motorized 60 mm touch-sensitive faders to control your DAW mixer, drawbar organ, soft synths or effect units.
  • 8 backlit drum pads with velocity and pressure-sensitivity for ultimate drum and sample-loop performance.
  • Standard MIDI and Mackie Control modes for ultimate flexibility with your DAW software.
  • Hardware-based arpeggiator allows creation of complex patterns regardless of software limitations.
  • Ultra-precise, illuminated endless rotary encoders with LED rings provide a clear overview of all software parameters.
  • Backlit transport section for direct access to your DAW record/play engine.
  • Quick individual bank select for faders, encoders and pads.
  • Large backlit LCD screen for optimal overview, easy editing and quick status check.
  • Built-in presets – no complex mapping required; additional free user presets for your favorite software/hardware assignments.
  • Flexible communication via USB or MIDI In/Out/Thru – including merge functionality.
  • Plug and play with Mac OS X and Windows XP or higher operating systems.
  • Free audio recording, editing and podcasting software plus 150 instrument/effect plug-ins downloadable.

The Behringer MOTÖR 49 and MOTÖR 61 controller keyboards are available at a suggested U.S. MAP of $299.99 USD and $249.99 USD, respectively.

More information: Behringer

Waldorf intros 2-Pole analog filter

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Waldorf 2-Pole

Waldorf has introduced 2-Pole, a new hardware analog filter unit.

2-Pole is giving the guitar player, the DJ, or the keyboard player access to the heart of the Waldorf sound – with an inspiring user interface with a one knob/one function philosophy.

Spice up your live performances with dramatic filter sweeps that really cut through. Funk up your guitar licks by hooking a pedal controller to 2-Poles’ cutoff CV In or using the integrated envelope follower. Animate your pad sounds using 2-Pole’s LFO.

But beware – no matter what you do with this tiny black box, make sure you set the levels to your amplifiers and speakers correctly, as 2-Pole is yet another beast from Waldorf – with love!

2-Pole features

  • Fully analog signal path: Preamp -> Filter -> Overdrive.
  • Award winning Waldorf analog multimode filter technology.
  • Filter can be modulated by LFO, envelope follower or external signal.
  • Preamp with overdrive capability for direct connection of instruments like bass or guitar.
  • Post-filter overdrive with adjustable gain.
  • LFO with different ranges, rate up to several kHz.
  • Envelope follower with trigger section and different modes.
  • True Bypass.
  • Cascadable to stereo (for two 2-pole units).

Pricing and availability TBA.

More information: Waldorf / 2-Pole

Moog intros Theremini

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Moog Theremini

Moog Music has announced the Theremini, a re-imagination of one of the oldest electronic musical instrument in history, and Bob Moog’s first love – the theremin.

Its design fuses the experience of performing with an instrument you don’t actually touch, with a powerful sound engine derived from Moog’s award winning synthesizer, Animoog. The Theremini guarantees immediate success to any player at any skill level, while providing new ways to experiment with music, education, and gestural control.

Assistive pitch correction allows each player to adjust the instruments level of playing difficulty. At the maximum position, the Theremini will play every note in a selected scale perfectly, making it impossible to play a wrong note. As this control is decreased, more expressive control of pitch becomes possible. When set to minimum, the Theremini will perform as a traditional theremin with analog heterodyning oscillator and absolutely no pitch assistance.

A built in tuner supplies real-time visual feedback of each note as it is played, as well as its proximity to perfection. This is useful for correcting a users playing position, or to educate younger players about pitch and scales.

The presets section allows you to select from 32 wave or wavetable-based patches, store a selected scale & root note, set and recall a specified playing range, and specify per-patch settings for the included stereo delay.

Recessed in the top of the Theremini is a compact speaker perfect for private rehearsal and quick setup anywhere. Silent rehearsal is also possible via front panel headphone jack. Simply plug in ear-buds or headphones and the built in speaker becomes silent.

For live performance and gestural control, the rear panel features two line level audio outputs, a pitch CV output with selectable range, and a mini USB jack for MIDI I/O and connectivity.

The Theremini will cost $319 USD.

More information: Moog Music / Theremini

Alesis announces CORE Series USB audio interfaces

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Alesis has announced the new CORE Series of 24-bit USB Audio Interfaces providing complete, fully integrated recording solutions.

Alesis CORE Series

CORE Series interfaces offer a full range of recording solutions including XLR+1/4″ combo inputs, Mic/Line or Guitar level switching, headphone outputs with level controls for efficient monitoring, and each model ships with a Cubase® 7 LE.

CORE 1, a single input/dual output inline interface, is ideal for on-the-go recording or the budget-conscious producer. CORE 2 offers both audio and MIDI connections for full studio integration. Topping out the series is the CORE 8, an eight-channel rack mount interface suited for live or studio applications.

CORE Series features

  • CORE 1 – 1-Channel In-Line USB Audio Interface:
    • 2-channel mini USB, 24-bit/48 kHz output.
    • 1 XLR+1/4″ TRS combo input with gain knob.
    • Mic/Line or Guitar level switch.
    • Stereo headphone out with level control.
    • Modern sand-blasted aluminum housing.
  • CORE 2 – 2-Channel Desktop USB 2.0 Audio+MIDI Interface:
    • 2-channel USB 2.0 24-bit/96 kHz output.
    • 2 XLR+1/4″ TRS combo input with gain knobs.
    • 2 Mic/Line or Guitar level switches; phantom power.
    • Stereo headphone out with level and input/USB monitoring.
    • 2 Powered USB hub ports; MIDI In and MIDI out.
    • Stereo 1/4″ outs.
    • LED segment metering.
    • Sand-blasted aluminum housing.
    • ERP Compliant – Auto off.
  • CORE 8 – 8-Channel Rack Mount USB 2.0 Audio Interface:
    • 8-channel USB 2.0, 24-bit/96 kHz output.
    • 8 XLR+1/4″ TRS combo input with gain knobs.
    • 2 Mic/Line or Guitar level switches; phantom power.
    • Dual stereo headphone out with level and input/USB monitoring.
    • Stereo main + monitor outs.
    • LED segment metering.
    • 2U metal rack mount enclosure.
    • ERP Compliant – Auto off.

The CORE Series will be available to purchase for $49.99 USD (CORE 1), $149.99 USD (CORE 2), and $299.99 USD (CORE 8).

Alesis will present the CORE interface lineup at the 2014 NAMM Show in Hall A, Booth 6700, January 23-26 in Anaheim, California.

More information: Alesis