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Nord announces Stage 2 Series, new flagship instrument line

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Nord has announced its new flagship instrument line, the Stage 2 Series.

The Nord Stage 2 represents a stunning new take on the famous Stage series, featuring our latest sound generation technology in each of the piano, organ and synthesiser categories. Inside and out, the Nord Stage 2 represents our current state-of-the-art instrument design for the professional and semi-professional keyboard player.

Nord Stage 2

Inside

The Stage 2 Series contains the latest piano sampling technology from the multi award-winning Nord Piano, including String Resonance, Dynamic Pedal Noise, and a completely user-replaceable sample memory (twice the size of the Stage EX) compatible with the new Nord v5 Piano library.

The Stage 2′s Organ section features 3rd generation organ modelling derived from the C2 Organ together with advanced rotary speaker functionality. The Stage 2 has an all-new synthesiser section with the genes of the Nord Wave. Additional tone-generating options, a powerful arpeggiator and, critically, compatibility with the Nord Sample Library. The Stage 2 now has access to the existing library and thanks to the included Nord Sample Manager software users can create their own sample-based programs.

Outside

With a control panel and user interface designed to give immediate access to all key functions as well as instant visibility of current settings, the Nord Stage 2 is designed specifically for the professional performing musician. Single function controls, dedicated piano, organ and synthesiser sections, new Live Mode buttons, all make for exceptional ease-of-use.

In addition, the Stage 2 88- and 76-note versions feature a superb new custom-designed keybed to further increase the instrument’s playability. Additional new features include MIDI over USB functionality, monitor input, midi sync. for the global master clock and master clock sync. for LFO, arpeggiator and delay.

The three Stage 2 models, Nord Stage 2 88 (88-note fully-weighted), Nord Stage 2 76 (76-note fully-weighted) and Nord Stage Compact (73-note semi-weighted) are all handbuilt in Stockholm, Sweden, and will be available from February 2011.

More information: Nord

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discoDSP announces Black Friday Sale, 50% off all products

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discoDSP Black Friday Sale

discoDSP has announced a Black Friday Sale, offering 50% off on all its products on November 26th.

discoDSP products

  • Discovery Pro – 12 oscillators Virtual Analog VSTi, Audio Units and RTAS Synthesizer featuring 4 layers, WAV and SoundFont (SF2) support, PADSynth, 2X oversampling/undersampling, built-in arpeggiator, sync, FM, 12 filter types, panning modulation, stereo delay and gate effects, graphic envelope modulation. Imports and export Nord Lead 2 SysEx data.
  • Discovery – 8 oscillators Audio Units and VST Virtual Analog Synthesizer featuring 4 layers, 2X oversampling/undersampling, built-in arpeggiator, sync, FM, 8 filter types, unison edit, panning modulation, stereo delay and gate effects. Imports Nord Lead 2 SysEx data. Universal Binary working in PowerPC and Intel processors.
  • Phantom – 8 voices, 4 operators PM/FM synthesizer featuring parameter morphing. Imports Yamaha DX100, DX27 and DX21 SysEx.
  • Vertigo – Audio Units, VST and RTAS Additive synthesizer, able to import WAV and PNG files into two morphable layers, each with up to 256 oscillators. Includes 8 built-in effects, dual filters and FFT view.

All discoDSP products are available to purchase with 50% discount on November 26, 2010. Use coupon code black to take advantage of this offer.

More information: discoDSP

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Review: Prime Loops Ambient Fractals

Prime Loops Ambient Fractals

Prime Loops has recently released Ambient Fractals, a sample library featuring ambient sound effects by resident producer Dmitry Vasilyev aka Cyberworm.

Engineered to capture the true essence of ambience, “Ambient Fractals” will twist you through the mathematics of sound, bringing you a mesmerizing selection of waveform manipulations and spaced out oscillations from the sublime side of synthesis. It’s never been easier to find that extra layer of texture for your tunes and soundtracks, adding depth, tension and mystery to any mixdown.

The library includes nearly 300 samples and loops which Dmitry created with a number of hardware synthesizers, including the Waldorf Q, Access Virus, Roland JP8000, Korg Prophecy and Clavia Nord.

The focus of this library is on single shot sound fx samples. A total of 276 sounds are categorized in 15 folders, including things like Atmos, Glides, LFOs, Reverses, and Weirdos. Other than being serially numbered the actual samples within the folders do not have any additional descriptions. I prefer a more distinctive naming convention but since there is a reasonably small amount of samples in each folder it isn’t too big a deal. Unfortunately there is no info on which key samples are in.

While a number of one shot samples are short sounds (e.g. stabs, perc, blips) most are actually quite long, from several seconds up to nearly half a minute.

Have a listen to the product demo below to get an idea of the type of sounds included in Ambient Fractals.

Note: the audio demo includes some additional sounds not included in this library (e.g. the drum beat).

Let’s take a look at the one shot samples in detail.

  • Atmos (24 samples), averaging 10 seconds per samples these sounds set some great ambiance. Mostly darker sounds, brooding and with anticipation of something bad waiting to happen. Puts me in a space thriller type mood.
  • Blasters (16 samples), more space sounds in this folder featuring sounds of space aliens blasting their weapons at full force. Mainly shorter zaps and blasts.
  • Chords (24 samples), lots of suspenseful chord hits, sounds ranging from organ and piano to filtered house chords.
  • Delayed (26 samples), various melodic and percussive sounds treated with full force delay effects.
  • Glides (9 samples), kind of like drive by whooshing sounds, but then… you guessed it, from all kinds of space craft type vehicles.
  • Hits (20 samples), short sounds -mostly percussive- heavily drenched in massive reverb and other processing.
  • LFOs (18 samples), LFO modulated sounds, including some typical rippling sound fx and dub siren/alarm type sounds.
  • Noise (13 samples), includes some wind type sounds.
  • Other (37 samples), various 8bit sounds, blips, filtered sounds, vocal fx, sweeps, and more.
  • Pitched (12 samples), going up… going down! These samples create movement by shifting pitch in various ways.
  • Reversed (10 samples), some of these reversed sounds are particularly tense/creepy and intimidating.
  • Sirens (10 samples), various real-ish and not so real sounding sirens.
  • Stabs (27 samples), includes orchestral, choir, organ, piano, synth, distorted guitar… lots of mostly very shorts hits.
  • Synths (19 samples), nice variety of processed synth sounds (no “simple” sounds).
  • Weirdos (12 samples), some noisy, glitchy, bubbly sounds. Not sure why they are called weirdos as they sound similar to many of the other samples in this pack.

Besides the one shot sounds you also get a collection of 20 loops, ranging from 90 to 130 bpm. These are in the same vein as the single sounds. These noisy, glitchy, heavily processed tonal and atonal sounds do have some more descriptive names indicating bpm, and key info where relevant.

So what do I think?

Product: Prime Loops Ambient Fractals
Format: 24bit/44kHz samples (various formats)
Price: £16.95 GBP
Like: great sound design, lots of unique material
Don’t like: no key info for one shots
Verdict: 8/10

First off, the title might suggest otherwise but I don’t think Ambient Fractals is geared towards ambient music per se. It’s more of a sound fx collection, including tons of well produced sounds that are great for cinematic work, experimental music and to spice up any type of electronic music really.

The whole production has a bit of a dark undertone, which makes it great for science fiction or thriller type music/soundtracks.
If I had to come up with a title for this sample pack I would make sure it would have “space” or “alien” in it.

While having a good variety of sounds, many samples in Ambient Fractals are heavily processed with reverb, delay and other effects. Now much of the processing is what makes the samples unique so I am not saying this is a bad thing, but it obviously comes at the cost of usability. That said, the samples do sound simply great.

In short, Ambient Fractals includes a wealth of high quality sound fx for adding some zing to your productions.

Prime Loops is offering a free demo pack featuring 20 samples and loops so check it out and see what you think.

More information: Prime Loops / Ambient Fractals

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Soundcells releases Simple Sampling ReFill

Soundcells Simple Sampling

Soundcells has announced the release of Simple Sampling, a ReFill for Reason 4 and higher.

At first Soundcells started working on a fun ReFill based on a Stylophone only, which was recorded for sampling purposes. Besides programming a patch that matches the real thing, the NNXT sampler in Reason was tweaked to go some extra steps and some fat funky clavinet-style patches caught by surprise.

While producing the Stylofunk mini track (apart from the loop it’s entirely based on stylophone samples) some extra cool stuff was added to this ReFill: a “single-sample-rhodes”, a “single-sample-piano”, a “single-sample-kalimba” and a lot of other nifty stuff… “Simple Sampling” gradually turned into a product full of “simple samples” coming from different sound sources.

If you are looking for sampling like it was done in the old days instead of patches with hundreds of individual samples, you will love this ReFill. Super quick loading patches, very cpu-friendly and most of all full of character and very charming…

Simple Sampling features

  • 101 combinator patches for many different styles of music, subdivided in 6 folders: Bass, Drum Machines, FX & Atmo, Keys, Leads, Pads.
  • A note by note (a2 – e4) sampled and looped Stylophone including it´s typical release click.
  • “Simple Samples” coming from the Rhodes Mark 1, Doepfer MS404, Supernova 2, microKORG, G2, VL1…
  • The modules folder contains the basic NNXT patches which are used for the combinator sounds.
  • 10 Rex loops, 5 Redrum kits.

Simple Sampling is available for the introductory price of 14.90 EUR through October 2010 (regular price 19.90 EUR).

More information: Soundcells / Simple Sampling

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Roland Kuit releases SoundLab e-Book

Related: , , , , , , , , , Posted in news on May 19, 2010 - comment 0 comments
Roland Kuit SoundLab

Roland Kuit has recently released SoundLab, an interactive e-Book for the Clavia G2 virtual modular synthesizer.

SoundLab chapters

  • Basic I: Basics of the electronic studio: Oscillators , Waveforms, LFO´s, ADSR´s, filters, building a basic synth, building famous synths like the Mini Moog, Korg MS 20, ARP 2600, EMS Synthi with video and sound of the real thing.
  • Basic II: Additive synthesis: Sync, Vosim, Formant synthesis, FM synthesis, Phase Distortion, Cross modulation, Wavetable synthesis, Physical modelling, Phase-lock synthesis, Wave terrain synthesis, Granular synthesis.
  • Amplitude modulation: Side bands, Tremolo effect, Echo effect, Complex circuits, RM and filtering, RM and feedback, Control signals and RM, RM and gating.
  • Sample & Hold: Pitch modulation, Filter modulation, Panorama modulation, Gate modulation, Complex circuits, Audio sync.
  • Audio processing: Reverbs, echo’s clipping, distortion etc., Complex circuits, Famous audio processors.
  • House/Techno I: Sequencers and pattern generators, Phase difference, Sound design.
  • House/Techno II: Pitch and rhythm, Humanizing, Grooves, Complex circuits, Glitch, IDM, Famous machines.
  • Experimental music: Random, Minimal, Conceptual, Political, Feedback, Noise and screack machines, Drones, Music machines.
  • Logic: On-off modules, Not on-off modules, Complex circuits.
  • Tips & Tricks: Other circuits.
  • History of Electronic Music and Instruments: From 1950-2010 (first experiments, music, audio art), Electronic instruments, software and studio’s.

The SoundLab e-Book is available to purchase for 49.50 EUR excl. shipping.

More information: Roland Kuit

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Short links for March 31st, 2010

Some interesting things I found recently:

# Dual SP0256 Vocal Synth

Eric Archer on his new dual SP0256 vocal synth:

The Dual SP0256 vocal synthesizer is the descendant of an earlier circuit of mine, Analog Controlled Speech Synthesizer. I crammed in all the features I’d want from a singing robot. It was a good challenge because it inspired some analytical thinking about the relationship between speech and singing.

The features of this circuit are:

  • 2 trigger inputs to step through pitch and vocal sequences independently
  • speech data stored cartridge-style on EPROM
  • 2-oscillator richness using dual SP0256-AL2 speech chips with crossfade mixer
  • optimized low-pass filtering for less strident tone
  • SP0256 crystal oscillators replaced with VCOs for pitch control
  • each chip has an independent / linkable 4-step analog step sequencer for pitch
  • lower step sequencer has switchable clock divider (divide/2 to divide/16)
  • glide and LFO functions
  • speech rate (slur) control
  • built-in realtime programmable sequencers for pitch and speech trigger
  • IR Sync input for wireless infrared tempo matching

# Can you hear like an audio engineer?

From NoiseAddicts:

Hello, my name is Matt. I record, edit, and mix music for a living. My profession requires an extremely discerning ear. This little listening test is to see if you can pick up subtle differences in pitch.

Shruti-1

# Shruti-1: DIY Digital Synth with Vintage Filter, as Dev Turns from Palm to Hardware

Peter Kirn writes:

For all the hype around mobile music creation, here’s a story with an ending in the opposite direction. Independent developer Olivier Gillet is the reason a lot of people see handheld gadgets as potential music making devices; he’s the creator of the brilliant Bhajis Loops for Palm. But, as if to prove that hardware can be a digital platform, too, his latest creation, while it will fit in your palm, isn’t for a device like the overcrowded iPhone.

# DarkEnergyPatch – Online patch creator for Doepfer's Dark Energy synth.

# Sonic Wire Sculptor 2010

Sonic Wire Sculptor is based on a musical instrument by Amit Pitaru which has been shown in museums and galleries world wide. A great effort has been placed in reworking the app to take advantage of the the iPhone's unique audio and input capabilities. The Sonic Wire Sculptor turns your 3D drawing into sound. It introduces a simple yet deep connection between visual and audio composition.

# Golden REAKTOR VOSIM

John Fisher has released a free VOSIM synth for Reaktor.

Well, for all you poor bastards who don’t own a G2 modular, and can’t use the VOSIM patch I made for mine, I have put together a VOSIM patch in Reaktor. Actually, part of the reason I made it was just to implement some features I couldn’t get in the G2, and because I thought it might sound different in reaktor.

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Loopmasters releases Wave Alchemy SFX Collection 01

Loopmasters Wave Alchemy - SFX Collection 01

Loopmasters has released SFX Collection 01, a sample collection by Wave Alchemy, featuring sound effects created using the finest of vintage and new age electronic equipment.

All of the sounds in this library have been crafted from the ground up with many being enhanced by classic processors such as the Eventide H3000 and Sherman Filterbank. The sheer volume, quality and diversity of the material included make this our most exciting release to date and would be an essential addition to any producer’s arsenal.

Although primarily designed with dance music in mind, this pack also provides an excellent tool kit for music and sound design in a film or multimedia context.

Wave Alchemy – SFX Collection 01 features

  • Over 1.5GB (before file conversions) of 24-bit 100% royalty free sounds, including:
    • Textures – Ethereal beds, disturbing ambience, sublime pads and textured stabs for your inspirational needs.
    • Impacts – Cone melting subs, reverb-washed collisions and thunderous drops designed to give your production personality and drive.
    • Stabs & Acid Hits – Rustic stabs, minimal synths, heavenly chords and blissful 303 licks
    • Sweeps & Drones – Distorted tones, analogue drones, luscious sweeps, and everything in between
    • Short FX & Hits – Over 250 painstakingly crafted sounds including stereo crowd cheers, LFO madness, abstract hits, processed noise, reverse FX and glitchy shots.
    • Cymbal FX – A unique collection of layered crash cymbals with extreme filtering, distortion and processing through the use of highly sought after outboard studio equipment.
    • Downlifters – Noise drops, synth swirls, downward transitions, essential intros and progressive sweeps.
    • Uplifters – pitched rises, affected noise and up-rising tones make for easy transitioning between different sections of your production.
  • Recorded in 24bit through high quality A/D converters.
  • 9 Ready to play Patches for Soft Samplers, Kontakt, Halion, Exs24, Nnxt and SFZ formats.
  • Kit List: ARP Odyssey, Moog Voyager, Waldorf Microwave, Roland Juno 106, Roland TB-303, Nord Lead 3, Nord Lead 2, Vermona DRM1 MK11, Prophet 08, Eventide H3000, Sherman Filterbank, TC Electronic M3000, SPL Gainstation.

Wave Alchemy SFX Collection 01 is available in various formats for £44.95 GBP.

More information: Loopmasters / SFX Collection 01

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