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Arturia releases KeyLab controller series

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Arturia has announced the availability of its KeyLab range of professional-grade MIDI keyboard controllers complete with all-new accompanying Analog Lab synthesizer software.

Arturia KeyLab 49

As implied by name, KeyLab 25 features 25 keys with velocity sensitivity for performance flexibility. As such, it’s the smallest, most lightweight, and simplest member of this trio of professional-grade MIDI keyboard controllers, ideally suited to travelling musicians, mobile music producers, and performance-orientated DJs alike. Complimenting that full-size keyboard is a feature-packed panel bristling with controls, including two clickable encoders; 12 encoders; nine sliders; pitch bend and modulation wheels; six backlit transport controls; 15 backlit buttons; octave up/down buttons; and an informative 32-digit LED screen to enrich the performance experience and aid speedy software navigation. Its rugged aluminium construction with eye-catching wooden end cheeks combine to heighten its status as a highly- capable controller compatible with any third-party software and hardware, helped by the bundled MIDI Control Center software. Rear panel-mounted MIDI IN, MIDI OUT, Expression Pedal, Sustain Pedal, Aux foot switch, Breath control, and USB connections complete communication with the outside musical world. The larger KeyLab 49 and KeyLab 61 MIDI keyboard controllers maximise performance and expression further still, thanks to their respective 49- and 61-note full-size keyboards boasting both aftertouch and velocity sensitivity, and are designed to easily integrate into any studio or stage setup. The bigger is better maxim again comes into play here as KeyLab 49 and KeyLab 61 feature an even more extensive set of physical controls with an additional 16 backlit pressure-sensitive pads — perfect for beat-making purposes or triggering chords.

Yet there’s more to KeyLab 25, KeyLab 49, and KeyLab 61 than the physical keyboard controllers themselves. All come complete with an all- new version of Arturia’s Analog Lab synthesizer software solution. Analog Lab cleverly changes its interface to automatically match whichever KeyLab controller is connected so you don’t have to, which is another nice touch. With all-important parameters pre-mapped to the MIDI keyboard controllers themselves, users have hands-on, instant control over the huge library of 5,000 presets by internationally-renowned sound designers. These presets are taken from all eight of Arturia’s acclaimed TAE® (True Analog Emulation) synthesis-powered Mini V, Modular V, CS-80V, ARP2600 V, Jupiter-8V, Prophet 5, Prophet VS, and Oberheim SEM V soft synths, as well as the Wurlitzer V software recreation of the classic Wurlitzer 200A electric piano, providing the immediacy of a hardware synthesizer with the flexibility of a software-based solution.

Several onscreen navigational modes make life aboard Analog Lab easier than ever. Eye-candy comes courtesy of Graphic Studio mode with realistic renderings of all those classic synthesizers and keyboards whose sounds that TAE® technology has modelled so well. Wish you were there in that virtual studio? Well, now you can be! Better still, Sound mode allows you to speedily find the sound you want from those thousands at your fingertips, with data filtering to narrow searches, and an updated browser to rate them to your liking and arrange things as you like it. Like it? We’re sure you will! Moreover, Multi mode allows several sounds to be played simultaneously with the addition of effects, layer/split functions, and with 200 Multi patches conveniently organised by musical genre, inspiration and creativity are a given — perfect for getting the most out of those TAE® soft synths without having to delve deeper into sound design. Owners of any of Arturia’s above-mentioned Analog Classics can, of course, delve as deep as they like and are free to fully edit sounds without having to leave the user-friendly Analog Lab environment. Lastly, Live mode lets you drag and drop sounds and multis to create a selection of presets for recall from whichever KeyLab controller is connected… clever, convenient, and cutting edge.

So what’s it to be? 25, 49, or 61 keys? Velocity sensitivity or velocity sensitivity and aftertouch? Beat-making or breath control? Whatever your performance preference, there’s a KeyLab MIDI keyboard controller to suit with Analog Lab synthesizer software to boot. Let your musical ideas flow forth with the greatest of ease with these superb-sounding software/hardware hybrid synthesis combos. What’s more, they won’t break the bank!

The KeyLab controllers are now available to purchase for 219 EUR/$299.00 USD (KeyLab 25), 329 EUR/$399 USD (KeyLab 49), 429 EUR/$499 USD (KeyLab 61).

More information: Arturia / KeyLab

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Nektar releases Impact LX49 Controller Keyboard

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Nektar has announced that it is now shipping the Impact LX49 controller keyboard, the first product in a new line of budget Nektar products, all offering integration with many of the most popular DAW software solutions.

Nektar Impact LX49
The 49 note velocity sensitive, full-size keyboard is fully featured with 9 faders, 9 control buttons, 8 pots, 6 transport buttons, 8 velocity sensitive pads, foot switch socket and control wheels. 5 user presets are designed for GM setups, “MIDI learn” capable DAWs and other music software.

The Impact LX49’s real magic shows with the unique DAW integration which offers pre-mapped support for Cubase, Digital Performer, Garageband, Logic, Nuendo, Reason, Sonar and Studio One, with additional DAW support scheduled for following release. Paying close attention to each DAW individually, Nektar has developed custom integration with a common workflow. As such, Impact LX49’s integration goes way beyond the typical basic Mixer mapping. Users of supported DAWs will be able to navigate tracks, switch between controlling mixer or instruments, trigger and set loop points, switch metronome on/off, Undo and more.

For building drum beats and grooves the pad learn function allows for quick mapping of sounds on the 8 velocity sensitive pads. Just select a pad, find the right sound on the keyboard and the assignment is done. Moving loop points via the transport buttons means the flow continues, totally un-interrupted by mouse clicks.
Navigate to instrument tracks and continue building a song, change patches, tweak instrument parameters – all this functionality right from Impact LX49 to keep the music in focus. Finally get the mix right by switching to the mixer preset with volume, pan, mute and solo assigned for banks of 8 tracks in your DAW. A bank up/down function moves the assignments of controls to cover all mixer channels. To avoid parameter jumping, the Impact LX DAW integration also features soft-takeover (not supported in all DAWs) which means that parameters only change when a controls physical position matches the DAW parameter position.

The pre-mapped functionality is enough to get most going, and maybe this is all you ever need. However to cater for individual styles of creating there is plenty of scope for customization. Impact LX49 features a unique “Grab” feature (not supported in all DAWs) for supported DAWs which allows users to literally ‘grab‘ several instrument parameters at a time and map them to any controls on the fly. The 5 user presets in addition have been set up for GM compatibility and learn friendly setups mean that you can still create setups the way you are used to with generic MIDI controllers. Impact LX49 is a complete generic MIDI controller so you can switch between the pre-mapped setups and your own by pushing a button.
For users who haven’t settled on a DAW yet, the included Studio One Artist comes complete with Impact LX49 setup and control for instruments as well as effect inserts. This is a great starting point to become familiar with the power of Impact LX49 but also a great addition to any existing creative music production setup.

Nektar Impact LX49 is available to purchase early November for MSRP $179.99 USD/149.99 EUR/£124.99 GBP.

More information: Nektar / Impact LX49

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Dave Smith Instruments announces Mopho Special Edition Keyboard

Dave Smith Instruments has introduced a special edition of the Mopho Keyboard, its popular monophonic analog synthesizer.

Dave Smith Instruments Mopho SE

“The Mopho family of instruments has been ground-breaking for us and for our customers in terms of value,” said DSI’s Andrew McGowan. “And I think it’s pretty apparent from the way the industry responded that we were on to something with smaller, more affordable, but full-featured instruments, whether modules or keyboards. But there is no typical synthesizer user and we’ve gotten feedback from customers who loved the synth’s sound and features, but who wanted an instrument with a larger keyboard. Now there is one.”

The Mopho SE (special edition) sports an expanded, full-sized, 44-note, semi-weighted keyboard with velocity sensitivity and aftertouch. The larger keyboard facilitates certain playing techniques—like smears for synth bass lines—and is more appropriate for use as a MIDI controller both onstage and in the studio. Even with the additional octave of keys, it’s still just a little more than 25 inches long and its trim profile and light weight make it ideal for gigging. And, like the other Mopho Keyboards, the polyphony can be expanded with the addition of a DSI Tetra or another Mopho synth.

The front panel artwork is now screen printed directly onto the Mopho SE’s sturdy metal enclosure. And it features a full complement of the Prophet 12’s great looking, and even better feeling, soft-touch knobs.

“A lot of synths in this price range have to cut corners to hit a price point; the Mopho SE takes a no compromise approach. As a family of products, these instruments offer great sound and a lot of bang for the buck to a wide variety of players,” concluded McGowan. “There’s a Mopho for just about every synth need.”

The Mopho SE will be shipping by the end of October with a projected MAP of $949 USD.

More information: Dave Smith Instruments / Mopho SE

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Roland announces F-20 Digital Piano

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Roland F-20 Digital Piano

Roland has announced the F-20 Digital Piano, an entry-level instrument that offers the company’s industry leading piano technologies at a breakthrough price.

With sound, features, and performance directly inherited from Roland’s high-end pianos, the F-20 is ideal for parents seeking a first instrument to inspire and support their child’s musical development. The F-20 is also compatible with Roland’s free interactive apps for Apple iOS devices, which provide a great way to stimulate kids’ interest in playing and learning.

Delivering authentic sound and playing touch that far exceeds other instruments in its class, the F-20 provides a solid foundation to carry a child through many years of musical development. Roland’s trusted piano technologies offer a distinct advantage over competing instruments, providing quality performance that rivals pianos costing much more.

With the functions, appearance, and texture of keyboards found in Roland’s flagship instruments, the Ivory Feel-G Keyboard with Escapement offers an authentic grand piano touch for building fundamental playing techniques. The acclaimed SuperNATURAL Piano sound engine–also derived from Roland’s top-line models–allows young students to develop their skills with the rich tone and expressiveness of a world-class acoustic grand.

Roland’s free piano apps for Apple iOS devices offer a unique approach to motivate a child’s interest in playing and practice. With the Air Performer app, they can play along with favorite songs in the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch wirelessly via Roland Connect (optional) through the F-20′s sound system. The Piano Partner app for iPad includes Flash Card, an interactive music program that kids will love, plus an intuitive graphical interface for selecting tones, songs, and rhythms in the F-20.

The F-20′s onboard Rhythm feature lets young piano students experience music with a beautiful backing ensemble, so they can have fun and develop their timing skills at the same time. The instrument automatically accompanies their playing, intelligently following with chord backing and rhythms. 32 different accompaniment styles cover a variety of musical genres, and it’s simple and intuitive to select rhythms from the F-20′s panel or the Piano Partner app.

As a digital instrument, the F-20 presents many additional advantages over traditional acoustic pianos to encourage learning and make playing fun, such as a built-in metronome, a recorder for capturing performances, easy volume control to suit the room, and the ability to plug in headphones for quiet practice. The F-20 also includes additional sounds such as electric piano, harpsichord, organ, guitar,
strings, and more, allowing students to explore a world of instruments beyond the piano.

The compact and stylish F-20 features a wood cabinet and built-in stereo speaker system and comes in Contemporary Black finish with an optional matching stand.

More information: Roland / F-20 Digital Piano

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Novation intros Launchkey Mini controller

Related: , , , , , , , , Posted in news on Sep 04, 2013 - comment 0 comments

Novation has announced the Launchkey Mini, a compact new mini-key instrument/controller.

Novation Launchkey Mini

Launchkey Mini features 16 velocity sensitive, three colour launch pads – use them to trigger sounds, effects, transport controls, and more. In addition Launchkey Mini features a 25-note keyboard, eight assignable rotary controls plus 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.

Launchkey Mini works immediately with the new 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.

Launchkey Mini features

  • Go anywhere, play 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.
  • 25-note mini-keyboard — 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.
  • Knobs and buttons for total control — Eight knobs, seven function buttons, and two performance buttons to enhance and control your sounds in real time.
  • Free software for iPad, PC, and Mac — Launchkey Mini is a fully-integrated instrument with the Novation apps for iPad, and provides hands on control of the included synths and music software for your Mac or PC.

The Launchkey Mini will be available to purchase in September 2013, priced MSRP $124.99 USD / $99.99 USD street.

More information: Novation / Launchkey Mini

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Andrew McPherson introduces TouchKeys multi-touch musical keyboard

Andrew McPherson has launched a Kickstarter project for his Touchkeys, a DIY touch sensor kit allowing capacitive multi-touch sensing on a physical keyboard.

Touchkeys
The TouchKeys are a new musical instrument transforming the piano-style keyboard into an expressive multi-touch control surface.

The TouchKeys feature native OSC and MIDI support, so they work with nearly every synthesizer or software instrument, with wind and string sounds working particularly well thanks to the ease of playing vibrato and pitch bends. Mappings between touch data and MIDI/OSC are fully customisable in the included open-source software.

A unique aspect of the TouchKeys project is that the sensors install on any existing keyboard, from portable 2-octave controllers to 88-key grands. This means that the TouchKeys retain the familiar keyboard action while adding many new expressive techniques. The Kickstarter project will offer DIY kits for musicians to hack their own keyboards, as well as a limited number of prebuilt instruments. The project seeks to raise £30k to fund the production of TouchKeys sets and get them into the hands of musicians.

About me: Andrew McPherson, creator of the TouchKeys, is a composer and engineer and a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in the Centre for Digital Music at Queen Mary, University of London. His previous project, the magnetic resonator piano (electronically-augmented acoustic piano), has been used in dozens of performances worldwide over the past 4 years, most recently by the London Chamber Orchestra and the band These New Puritans.

This project is looking to raise £30,000 GBP by Monday Sep 2, 6:59pm EDT.

More information: Touchkeys

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3ee Sound Design releases Pro Series: Vintage Keyboards for Zebra

3ee Sound Design

3ee Sound Design has released Pro Series: Vintage Keyboards, a free soundset for the Zebra 2 software synthesizer by u-he.

Vintage Keyboards is an attempt to accurately model some of the most popular and beloved electromechanical keyboards resulting in a clean and responsive blend, capturing more or less the good and “bad” magical essences that made the original models so famous.

The clean, unaltered direct signal was sought after as the main reference in creating these instruments giving you the capability to easily alter them with DSP however you like.

The soundset is a free download. Donations are appreciated.

More information: 3ee Sound Design / Vintage Keyboards

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