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Cinematique Instruments releases EK470 Mark2 for Kontakt

Cinematique Instruments EK470 Mark2

Cinematique Instruments has announced the release of EK470 Mark2, a sample library for Native Instruments Kontakt.

The EK470 mark2 is a lucky bag. Although its sound source is a low-cost, garbage toy keyboard for just 25 EUR, all the sounds are incredibly warm and charming. You can lose yourself just playing along this analog sounds, being inspired by its character and possibilities. Beside that, the graphical interface is also worth mentioned which make you turn knobs and switch buttons.

The structure of EK470 mark2 is based on 2 simultaneous sound slots, each can be feeded with every of the 24 sounds and has separate volume and pan knob. Beside that, the first slot provides an additional -12 to 12 semitones pitch knob. We selected the best 24 sound patches out of 99 available patches the original
keyboard provides. We recorded every third minor note, looped the sound and processed it if needed.

EK470 Mark2 features

  • One complex Kontakt patch with 24 single sounds available twice (2 sound slots).
  • 18 programmed patches, covering a range of pianos, pads, organs and fx-sounds.
  • Includes various parameters to shape the sound:
    • 3 EQ´s called „RADIO”, „A.FLT” and „HIFI”.
    • Rotary- , cabinet- and distortion-fx.
    • Reverb and delay.
    • 2 different volume envelopes, called „PAD” and „SQR”.
  • „RND” function sets all(!) parameter and sound selections by random.
  • Bonus: Includes previous instrument version “Super Sound EK 470″.

The sample library is available to purchase for 28 EUR. Requires Kontakt 4.22 full version.

More information: Cinematique Instruments / EK470 Mark2

Keith McMillen Instruments ships QuNexus Smart Sensor Keyboard Controller

Keith McMillen Instruments has announced the shipping of its QuNexus Smart Sensor Keyboard Controller to customers around the world.

Keith McMillen Instruments QuNexus
The QuNexus is a playable, portable, and powerful keyboard controller.

Featuring huge performance capabilities in a tiny footprint, QuNexus gives unprecedented expressive control with KMI’s patented Smart Sensor technology that transmits pressure, tilt, polyphonic aftertouch, and velocity. QuNexus unites four generations of synthesis–CV, MIDI, USB, and OSC–for maximum flexibility.

“QuNexus is the most important evolution in keyboards since the Erard Escapement was introduced to pianos in 1821,” said KMI founder, Keith McMillen. “QuNexus gives keyboardists forms of expression that were only available to string and horn players. Although playful in appearance, it performs and feels like a serious instrument.”

QuNexus re-imagines the portable MIDI keyboard with 25 vividly illuminated, Smart Sensor keys that are uniquely interactive and fun to play. QuNexus is designed to talk to analog synthesizers with Control Voltage (CV), USB, 5-pin MIDI hardware, and networked OSC applications.

“We are very excited about the arrival of QuNexus,” said John Grabowski, Senior Director of Merchandising at Sweetwater Sound. “Its innovative design and unique capabilities have already translated into strong pre-order demand.”

QuNexus features

  • 25 Smart Sensor keys detect velocity, pressure, and tilt.
  • Polyphonic pitch bend and aftertouch.
  • 2 CV/Gate inputs; Gate and 3 CV Outputs (16-bit).
  • Pitch bend pad.
  • Octave up/down buttons provide a 7 octave range.
  • USB powered, receives power directly from iOS device or Mac/PC.
  • Class compliant for iOS, Android, Mac OS, Windows and Linux, no drivers required.
  • Portable: 3.3″ (84 mm) x 12.8″ (325 mm) x 0.43″ (11 mm), 0.76 lb (345 g).

The QuNexus is now available to purchase for $149 USD.

More information: Keith McMillen Instruments / QuNexus

Korg intros Kross music workstation

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Korg has announced Kross, a mobile synthesizer keyboard with impressive features.

Korg Kross

With the KROSS, the sounds and songs that you’ve created at home and the system that you use every day can go with you onto the stage or into the street! Featuring rich sounds that exceed its class, yet remaining highly portable, the KROSS is designed for practical usability.

There’s a convenient mic input and a built-in audio recorder, and it can run on 6 x AA batteries. It’s a distinctive new standard in music workstations, with specs and style that set it apart from all others.

Kross features

  • Stylish and distinctive red and black two-tone color design.
  • The lightweight body is only 4.3 kg/9.5 lbs (61-key model) or 12.4 kg/27.3 lbs (88-key model), and can be powered by 6x AA batteries.
  • Piano, electric piano, and drum sounds that exceed its class.
  • A wide variety of sounds that utilize twice as much PCM memory as previous instruments, and meet the needs of a broad range of musical styles.
  • Sound Selector makes it easy to find the sound you’re looking for.
  • Favorites function lets you register 64 selected sounds or audio songs for one-touch access – a great feature for live performances.
  • Pro-quality EDS-i sound engine built-in, with a total of seven effects available for simultaneous use.
  • External input jacks allow a mic or external audio source to be directly connected..
  • Quick Layer/Split function for on-the-fly versatility.
  • Stereo audio recorder allows you to record and overdub your performances and vocals.
  • Step sequencer inherited from the Electribe, a 16-track MIDI sequencer, a drum track, and an arpeggiator.
  • Connects to your computer via USB for plug-in integration with your favorite DAW.

The Korg Kross will be available in August 2013, priced at $699 USD (61-key) and $999 USD (88-key).

More information: Korg / Kross

Arturia launches KeyLab keyboard controller range at Musikmesse

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Arturia has introduced its KeyLab range of professional-grade MIDI keyboard controllers with all-new accompanying Analog Lab synthesizer software at Musikmesse 2013.

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 to boot.

Let your musical ideas flow forth with the greatest of ease with these superb-sounding software/hardware hybrid synthesis combos!

Arturia KeyLab 61

KeyLab features

  • 25/49/61 semi weighted keys with velocity and aftertouch.
  • Controllers include encoders (incl. clickable), sliders, modulation & pitch bend wheels, switches, assignable control buttons, octave up/down buttons, touch & pressure-sensitive pads.
  • MIDI in & out, USB, Sustain pedal, Expression pedal, Aux footswitch, Breath controller inputs.
  • High quality aluminum and wooden construction.
  • 32 digits LCD screen.
  • Functions as an universal MIDI controller.
  • Includes Analog Lab with 5000 synth sounds.
  • All presets are carefully selected from the Arturia Classic Synths (mini V, Modular V, CS-80V, ARP 2600 V, Prophet V, Prophet VS, SEM V and Jupiter-8V) and from Wurlitzer V, our recreation of the classic 200A electric piano. These TAE® powered sounds offer unparalleled audio quality.
  • Fast filter the presets to your requirements: by Instrument, by Type (Bass, Pads, Leads…), by Characteristics (long, bright, dark…).
  • In-depth Preset Editing available for the owners of the Arturia Classic Synthesizers (Mini V, CS-80 V, etc.). Edit your sounds on the original instruments within Analog Lab.
  • More than 200 Multi patches organized by musical genres, each made of two different synth patches with effects, layers and splits.
  • Straightforward editing, with a complete array of parameters for tweaking sounds, directly assigned to the controls of the Keylab.

The KeyLab controller series will be available soon.

More information: Arturia

Backbeat Books publishes The Keyboard Handbook

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The Keyboard Handbook

Backbeat Books has announced that it has published The Keyboard Handbook, a step-by-step course in keyboard playing for musicians of all levels.

Beginning with the basics of posture and technique, it offers a series of more than 80 specially written exercises and covers a wide variety of classic and contemporary musical styles – from blues to rock, soul to funk, gospel to synth-pop.

The book helps to master even more complex styles, and the authors have built in progressive difficulty through the examples.

The Keyboard Handbook includes

  • a basic guide to reading music
  • more than 80 musical exercises showcasing a wide variety of classic and contemporary musical styles
  • expert tips on music theory, covering rhythm, scales, chords, and more
  • an introduction to MIDI technology and how synthesizers work
  • lay-flat binding for ease of use at the keyboard or with a music stand

The accompanying CD showcases a range of different electric and electronic keyboards, and features audio tracks of all of the examples shown in the book, allowing readers to work their way through each section at their own pace, while the lay-flat binding means the book is easy to use at the keyboard or with a music stand.

The Keyboard Handbook is available to purchase for $29.99 USD.

More information: Backbeat Books / The Keyboard Handbook

Nektar introduces Impact LX49 USB keyboard

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Nektar has announced the Impact LX49, the first in a new range of Nektar USB controller keyboards, aimed at users looking for an affordable, yet fully featured solution.

With intelligent mapping for major DAWs, Impact LX49 makes it easy for musicians and producers to get up and running without having to worry about MIDI assignments to get started. Based on the technology developed for the acclaimed higher end Nektar Panorama series, Impact comes pre-mapped and configured. Just like Panorama, which features multiple modes for main control navigation, Impact LX49 allows the user to switch between Mixer, Instrument and Preset modes. Presets include 5 memory locations for users to store their own setups. Navigation options include track change, patch change and a Plug-in button that opens or closes the currently controlled plug-in window on the computer display.

Impact LX49 also features 8 velocity sensitive pads that also can be used as MIDI buttons. A unique pad learn function enables pad presets to be programmed quickly by just pressing the target note on the keyboard. Four pad memory locations store pad settings for later recall, completely independent of the preset settings.

Nektar Impact LX49
Nektar make Impact with a new 49 note USB keyboard.

Impact LX49 features

  • 49 note full-size, velocity sensitive keyboard.
  • 4 keyboard velocity curve options.
  • Pitch bend and modulation wheels.
  • 2 Transpose buttons (assignable also to Program, MIDI channel and Preset -/+).
  • 2 Octave Shift buttons (assignable also to Program, MIDI channel and Preset -/+).
  • 8 velocity-sensitive trigger pads.
  • 3 Digit LED display.
  • 8 Function buttons .
  • 9 30mm control faders.
  • 8 control pots.
  • 9 control buttons.
  • 6 transport buttons for cycle, rewind, forward, stop, play, record.
  • 5 preset memory locations.
  • 4 Pad memory locations.
  • USB port.
  • Sustain foot switch jack (pedal not included).
  • Supports Standard DAWs right out of the box (installation required): Reason, Logic, Cubase, Nuendo, Garageband, Sonar, Bitwig, Reaper.

Nektar Impact LX49 will be available in Q3 2013 at an RRP of $159.99 USD / 129.99 EUR / £109.99 GBP in stores worldwide. The Impact range will also feature a 25 and 61 note keyboard option, expected late 2013.

More information: Nektar

Nord intros Nord Lead 4, Nord Drum 2, Nord Pad & Nord Piano 2 HP

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Nord has announced it will introduce 5 new Nord products at the Musikmesse in Frankfurt.

Nord Drum 2
The Nord Drum 2 percussion synth + Nord Pad multi-pad controller surface.

The new Nord Lead 4 and Nord Lead 4R is 4-part multi-timbral synthesizer with innovative new performance features, advanced layering and synchronization possibilities, new filter types and on-board effects. Read more about the Nord Lead 4 and listen to the sound demos at our mini-site: www.nordlead4.com!

The Nord Drum 2 is a 6-channel Modeling Percussion Synthesizer that combines the playability of real percussion with unique and powerful sound creation possibilities! New features included Resonance modeling, FM-synthesis, distortion effects, stereo outputs with panning and CC-control. We’re also releasing the Nord Pad, a responsive, compact multi-pad designed to be the perfect companion to the Nord Drum 2 with an elegant single cable ethernet connector. The Nord Pad is available as an optional accessory.

The new Nord Piano 2 HP combines all the features from our Nord Piano 2 HA88 with the amazingly lightweight 73-key Hammer Action Portable keyboard (11 kg/ 24.25 lbs). For general information see the existing Nord Piano 2 product page.

More information: Nord

Novation intros Bass Station II analogue synthesizer

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Novation has announced Bass Station II, an analogue mono-synth based on the classic original Bass Station.

Novation Bass Station II

To celebrate our 21st birthday, Novation is proud to announce the launch of Bass Station II – a powerful analogue synth that’s made for bass but equally well adapted to leads.

Based on the classic Novation BassStation from 20 years ago, Bass Station II has been completely re-worked for the 21st Century, with two filters, two oscillators plus a sub-oscillator, patch save and a fully-analogue effects section. Plus there’s a step sequencer, arpeggiator, a two octave (25-note) velocity-sensitive keyboard with full-sized keys and a powerful modulation section. There’s even MIDI I/O and USB connectivity.

Bass Station II features

  • Analogue synth – brand new version of the classic BassStation: Bass Station II has a pure analogue audio signal path, reviving the spirit of the original BassStation with an all-new design optimised for bass.
  • Two distinct analogue filters: In addition to the original ‘Classic’ BassStation filter, there’s a brand new ‘Acid’ diode ladder filter for squelchy 303-esque bass sounds.
  • Load and save patches: 64 factory patches on-board with room for 64 more of your own. Save more to your computer via USB.
  • Pattern-based step sequencer and arpeggiator: Bass Station II has an arpeggiator with a programmable step sequencer that enables you to store and call up patterns as well as quickly sketch out ideas.
  • Instant hands-on control: Instant hands-on control of the sound engine via a traditional analogue synth control panel.
  • Two oscillators plus an additional sub oscillator: Bass Station II has two sync-able, tune-able oscillators with four selectable waveforms, plus a third sub-oscillator for generating enormous bass sounds.
  • Analogue effects section: Bass Station II includes fully analogue distortion and filter-modulation effects and a separate filter overdrive to add aggression and crunch.
  • Powerful modulation section featuring two Envelopes and two LFOs: Two ADSR envelopes for amp, filter, pitch and pulse width modulation alongside two LFOs with waveforms including triangle, sawtooth, square and sample & hold.

The Bass Station II is expected to start shipping in June, priced at £399.99 GBP / 469.99 EUR / $499.99 USD.

More information: Novation / Bass Station II