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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

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

Novation intros Launchkey Mini controller

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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

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

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

Miselu intros C.24 – The Music Keyboard for iPad

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Miselu has introduced the C.24, a two octave wireless music keyboard designed for iPad that provides a truly mobile music making experience.

Miselu C.24
The ultra portable C.24 transforms from a flat protective cover into a piano-style keyboard at the touch of a spring loaded latch.

“The vision behind Miselu is to bring physical interfaces to virtual instruments,” says Miselu CTO Jory Bell. “For centuries society has supported artists by building tools for them and we feel that the iPad is the tool for artists today. With the C.24 we built the perfect match to the iPad in terms of aesthetics and functionality.”

Miselu is utilizing Bluetooth Low Energy to connect the C.24 to the iPad. It is compatible with any iPad music app that supports Core MIDI, such as Apple’s GarageBand, Korg’s iMS-20 and iPolysix, NLog Synth Pro, Waldorf Nave, Retronyms Tabletop and Steinberg Cubasis.

To enhance the keyboard performance the C.24 employs technology that has never been used in the music instrument space before. The semi-weighted feel of the keyboard is created by the use of anti-polarity magnets. Additionally each key incorporates an infrared emitter detector pair providing real time analog position data to track the performance. This optical key tracking technology delivers velocity and monophonic aftertouch more accurately than traditional switches.

The C.24 also provides additional tactile controls in a capacitive ribbon controller that extends across the width of the keyboard. The bar is divided into two regions, each with 32 embedded LEDs for visual feedback. One region is configured to function as eight assignable buttons while the other is designed for analog expression such as pitch bend.

Miselu CEO Yoshinari Yoshikawa says, “I founded Miselu with the goal to build innovative music instruments and I believe that we have achieved that with the C.24. I’m looking forward to seeing it in the hands of musicians all over the world and hopefully inspire creativity.”

Audiobus co-creator and Audanika CEO Sebastian Dittmann says, “I’ve been following Miselu’s progress for more than a year. Having met with the team personally more than once I can tell that they’re dedicated to creating innovative solutions that work and are of actual benefit to the users. I’m looking forward to their first product.”

Miselu is launching the C.24 exclusively on Kickstarter. The funding period ends August 8th, 2013. Various rewards are available to backers, including a C.24 Keyboard from the first production batch for $99 USD.

More information: Miselu / C.24 at Kickstarter

Seaweed Factory releases Casio PT-10 Sample Pack

Seaweed Factory Casio PT-10

Seaweed Factory has introduced the Casio PT-10 Sample Pack, a free collection of samples from the 32-mini keys Casiotone PT-10.

After a long gap, it’s time for another sample pack. This packs contains sounds from a Casio PT-10 mini-keyboard. Each of the 4 voices have been multi-sampled. I’m fond of the fantasy setting in particular.

Loops of the 10 different rhythms have also been provided at 2 different speeds. Enjoy this super lo-fi blip blast! I’m offering it free of charge again for commercial and non-commercial use, but please don’t redistribute the pack.

More information: Seaweed Factory

Dualo launches crowdfunding campaign for dualo du-touch instrument

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Dualo du-touch

Dualo has announced a crowdfunding campaign for its dualo du-touch instinctive and comprehensive instrument based on a new layout of notes.

The du-touch dualo is a new musical instrument we have developed for music professionals as well as amateurs and non musicians. It is equipped with a new layout of notes called “the dualo principle”. This most intuitive arrangement allows you to see and understand music in a better way. You don’t have to know notation to play music!

On a dualo keyboard, the notes that sound well together are put next to each other. As a result, you can find notes directly with your fingers and have fun very quickly. As a matter of fact, musical things such as chords or scales are represented by simple shapes easy to remember.

The dualo keyboard is very visual and you can take it in hands in no time. You can play all kinds of music on this keyboard with virtuosity and great ease.

Dualo has already reached its goal of raising 10,000 EUR.
Until July 24th, 2013, backers can still join the funding project and get various rewards, including the possibility of renting an instrument and pre-ordering a dualo du-touch, delivered with all its accessories for a special price of 890 EUR.

More information: Dualo / dualo du-touch