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Akai Pro announces new models in MPK line of keyboard controllers

Akai Professional has announced four additions to its MPK USB keyboard/pad controller series— the 25-key MPK225, 49-key MPK249, 61-key MPK261 and an update to the ultra-portable MPK Mini.

Akai Pro MPK49
Akai Pro MPK249 USB/MIDI Performance Keyboard.

Housed in a slimmer, all-new design, each full-size model features RGB backlit trigger pads lifted straight from the MPC Renaissance and a 20-character LCD screen with comprehensive parameter feedback. Designed to erase the line between hardware control and software performance, the new MPK family also includes the ability to send QWERTY-style commands using soft-controls, a low-power mode for iOS connectivity via the Camera Connection Kit and enhanced response from the refined keybed.

The latest members of the full-size MPK series also come with advanced music production software titles including Ableton™ Live Lite and MPC Essentials – a powerful sample-based groove production application – and spectral morphing synth Twist from SONiVOX. Owners of the MPK249 and MPK261 will also receive AIR Music Tech’s high-definition Hybrid 3 virtual synth, while MPK261 owners also receive SONiVOX Eighty-Eight Ensemble.

MPK (full-size models) features

  • New full-size, semi-weighted keybed in 25-, 49- and 61-key models.
  • Backlit, velocity-sensitive RGB trigger pads derived from the MPC Renaissance.
  • Includes industry-leading music creation software from Ableton™, Akai Professional, AIR and SONiVOX.
  • New layout with LCD screen for faster access to essential DAW-based functions.
  • 8 assignable control knobs; 8 assignable faders on 49- and 61-key models.
  • USB-MIDI with 5-pin MIDI input & output; sustain and expression pedal inputs.
  • Hyper-responsive pitch bend & modulation wheels; octave controls.

The refreshed MPK Mini Laptop Production Keyboard remains true to its name as the ultimate portable keyboard controller.

Akai Pro MPK Mini
The new MPK Mini Laptop Production Keyboard.

It’s comprised with an impressive array of controls in the small 25 mini-key frame including an all-new joystick control for pitch and modulation functionality, trigger pads ported from the MPC Renaissance, famed Note Repeat, a full-size USB connector, and an improved keybed.

MPK Mini features

  • Ultra-compact design lets you create anywhere; 25 synth-action mini keys.
  • 8 backlit, velocity-sensitive trigger pads derived from the MPC Renaissance.
  • New 4-way thumbstick for dynamic pitch/modulation control.
  • 8 assignable control knobs for mixing, tweaking plug-ins and more.
  • USB-powered; no power adapter required.

The new range of full-size MPK controllers will cost $249.99 USD (MPK225) / $399.99 USD (MPK249) / $499.99 USD (MPK261), and the MPK Mini will be $99.99 USD.

Akai Professional will unveil the MPK keyboard controllers at the 2014 NAMM Show in Hall A, Booth 6700, January 23-26 in Anaheim, California.

More information: Akai Pro

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Line 6 intros AMPLIFi guitar amplifier

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Line 6 has introduced AMPLIFi, a high-performance guitar amp with 5-speaker stereo design that includes a streaming Bluetooth speaker system and a breakthrough iOS app.

Line 6 AMPLIFi

High-Performance Guitar Amp with 5-Speaker Stereo Design

AMPLIFi is unlike any amplifier ever built. The five-speaker stereo design delivers stunningly detailed guitar tones, from crystal-clear highs to deep and smooth low end. Featuring two tweeters, two mid-bass drivers, and a custom guitar speaker, AMPLIFi covers a far wider frequency spectrum than any other guitar amplifier, delivering sonic details traditional amps simply can’t produce. AMPLIFi is available in a powerful 150-watt model or portable 75-watt version, both of which can deliver ear-splitting volume levels.

Streaming Bluetooth Speaker System

AMPLIFi is the ultimate Bluetooth speaker system for guitarists, featuring streaming compatibility with Android™, iOS, Mac® and PC devices. The full-range speakers deliver amazing sound, while the custom guitar speaker functions as a thumping subwoofer. AMPLIFi combines playing and enjoying music like no other system, enabling guitarists to jam along with songs in their music library, play back tracks during band rehearsal, or crank up the volume at parties.

iOS App Control and Cloud Connection

The AMPLIFi Remote app for iOS introduces a new world of possibilities. Instead of using static knobs or tiny screens, guitarists can now control every aspect of their tones from an iOS device.* AMPLIFi Remote also introduces revolutionary Line 6 tone-matching technology, which automatically serves up guitar tones that match tracks in a guitarist’s music library.

With a cloud community of guitarists uploading their best patches, AMPLIFi Remote provides a unique and powerful resource for finding guitar tones. Within the cloud community, guitarists can rate their favorite tones, upload their own, and build their musical network by connecting with other musicians and fans. The AMPLIFi cloud automatically keeps all devices up to date and synchronized. Guitarists can store an unlimited number of presets in the cloud–and access them anywhere.

“AMPLIFi is a groundbreaking new amp that promises to change the way guitarists jam, practice and enjoy music forever,” said Max Gutnix, VP of Products and Marketing at Line 6. “It sounds absolutely amazing and delivers a uniquely incredible experience that players of all levels are going to love. Whether listening to music, jamming with friends or creating inspiring new tones to share, AMPLIFi is going to rock your world.”

Pricing and Availability TBC.

More information: Line 6 / AMPLIFi

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Arturia announces BeatStep controller/sequencer

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Arturia has announced BeatStep, an amazingly compact and bijou, space-saving tabletop pad controller-cum-step sequencer that is as powerful as it is portable.

Arturia BeatStep
Arturia will showcase BeatStep at the 2014 Winter NAMM Show, January 23-26 in Anaheim, California.

Arturia’s breakthrough BeatStep offers a new level of functionality and performance features in a powerful, portable pad- and encoder- laden USB Class-compliant controller at a hitherto unheard of price-to-performance ratio. Taken at face value, triggering audio clips within powerful, flexible software environments such as Ableton Live or playing drum parts in conjunction with the likes of FXpansion BFD or Toontrack EZdrummer is as easy as exercising your trigger fingers!

Users can comfortably use BeatStep’s 16 sensitively-spaced, velocity- and pressure-sensitive pads to create dynamic percussion performances. Performing onstage? Well, when working in CNTRL (controller) mode those pads backlit LEDs are brightly lit in red — perfect for overcoming far from ideal lighting conditions that are typically associated with onstage operation. Actually, this also assists with making studio-based beats easier on the eye, too.

But beyond that trigger-happy, percussion-friendly facade lies a wealth of flexible features for creating mind-blowing music. Switch to SEQ (sequencer) mode and those backlit LEDs become blue for instant visual confirmation of the mode change. The pads now perform a different function, too. Each one represents a step in a 16-step sequence while pitch adjustments for each step is available via BeatStep’s 16 encoders. Up to 16 sequence pattens can be conveniently stored for instant recall. Elsewhere, encoder-enabled scale modes, sequencer playback modes, and time division functions allow for realtime performance changes.

Whatever your connectivity preferences may be, Arturia has helped keep BeatStep one step ahead of the competition by thoughtfully providing MIDI, USB, and CV/GATE options. Users can comfortably drive anything from software instruments to suitably-equipped hardware, including instruments like Arturia’s own super-selling MiniBrute Analog Synthesizer and MicroBrute Analog Synthesizer. Supporting BeatStep’s super-slender form factor, a custom breakout cable can be used to drive standard MIDI gear. Freedom of choice is always a wonderful thing — even more so when it comes to step sequencing!

Speaking of connectivity, when used with an Apple iPad and Camera Connection Kit combo, BeatStep becomes one of the most flexible iPad app controllers around as well. Indeed, its relatively diminutive dimensions make these desirable devices the perfect production partnership. After all, freedom to travel is also a wonderful thing — especially when carrying around a production-ready BeatStep-carrying backpack that is far from backbreaking and also unlikely to break the bank!

Those wishing to use BeatStep as a general purpose control surface are also well and truly catered for since its pads can be configured to be MIDI CC buttons or assigned to send Program and Bank Change messages as well as note messages. The transport buttons can be MMC controls or MIDI CC to start and stop any connected DAW. With 16 encoders, 16 pads/buttons, and 16 preset memories at your command, you can come up with multiple ways to use BeatStep in any live or studio environment.

Put simply, your wish is BeatStep’s command. Controlling and step sequencing is fun and flexible — and all available at an amazing asking price with Arturia’s breakthrough BeatStep. To see one is to want one — which is exactly why Arturia has seen fit to include a Kensington Lock to keep your BeatStep secure from prying eyes (and hands)!

BeatStep will be available to purchase at the end of March, 2014, priced at $129 USD/99 EUR (MSRP).

More information: Arturia

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CEntrance showing new MixerFace mobile recording interface at NAMM

CEntrance has announced that it will be participating at the 2014 Winter NAMM show in Anaheim, CA.

CEntrance MixerFace

This year, CEntrance will showcase its full line of products for recording and playback, including the best-selling HiFi-M8(r) DAC and amplifier for iPhone and the newly released MixerFace(r) mobile recording interface based on the same portable technology. The company’s exhibit will be located at booth 7327 in the Arena, located near Hall A.

MixerFace is a mobile recording interface that connects professional microphones with smartphones, tablets and laptops. The small, battery-powered device fits under an iPhone. It features two studio-grade microphone preamps and rich digital connectivity options, enabling professional-quality location recording. MixerFace integrates the smart phone into the audio production workflow, creating mobile recording capability for the modern, on-the-go musician, broadcaster and VO artist.

MixerFace is currently the subject of a successful crowd-funding effort on Indiegogo. The Indiegogo campaign lasts until January 31st, 2014.

More information: CEntrance / MixerFace

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Apogee launches MiC 96k

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Apogee Electronics has announced the release of MiC 96k, a professional quality microphone for GarageBand on iPad, iPhone and Mac.

Apogee MiC 96k

Apogee MiC 96k is a digital microphone designed to deliver studio quality recording you can take anywhere. Use MiC 96k to record vocals, spoken word, acoustic guitar, piano, drums…anything! Inspired by the most revered and classic microphones in history, MiC 96k is designed to sound amazing and be easy to use with your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Mac.

MiC 96k combines a microphone, microphone preamp and an A/D converter into one compact device. Apogee has carefully designed each part of MiC 96k to deliver the lowest noise and highest quality signal possible for a digital microphone. And it all fits in your pocket.

MiC 96k features

  • PureDIGITAL connection for pristine sound quality.
  • Studio quality cardioid condenser microphone.
  • Up to 96kHz, 24-bit analog-to-digital conversion.
  • Studio quality microphone preamp with up to 40dB of gain.
  • No configuration, just plug in and record.
  • Control knob allows easy input level adjustment.
  • Multicolor LED for status indication and input level monitoring.
  • Designed for vocal and acoustic instrument recording.
  • Also great for recording interviews, podcasts, voice overs, and audio for DSLR video.
  • All metal construction.
  • Extremely compact and portable.
  • Works with GarageBand.
  • Bus-powered by iPad, iPhone or Mac (no batteries or external power required).
  • Made in the U.S.A.

The MiC 96k is now shipping worldwide, priced at $229 USD.

More information: Apogee Electronics / MiC 96k

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CEntrance launches MixerFace mobile recording interface Indiegogo campaign

CEntrance has announced a crowd-funding effort to speed up the production of MixerFace, its new mobile recording interface for smartphones and tablets.

CEntrance MixerFace

MixerFace connects professional microphones with smartphones, tablets and laptops. The small, battery-powered mobile device includes two studio-grade microphone preamps and rich digital connectivity options, enabling professional-quality recording on the go.

The new product comes on the heels of CEntrance’s successful “HiFi-M8″ (pronounced HiFi-Mate) portable DAC and headphone amp for the audiophile listening community. MixerFace integrates the smart phone into the audio production workflow, creating mobile recording capability for the modern, on-the-go musician, broadcaster and VO artist.

MixerFace features

  • Two custom, discrete, boutique microphone preamps, based on our new, low-noise dbpre technology.
  • Each input features a Neutrik combo XLR jack with mic / line inputs and a wide-range gain control. Inputs can accommodate a guitar pedal board, as well as keyboards and other XLR or 1/4″ audio sources.
  • A Hi-Z input has been requested and may be added.
  • Two LED level indicators per channel (green for signal present, red for peak)
  • 48V phantom power for using professional condenser microphones. Switchable per channel.
  • 24-bit / 192kHz A/D and D/A converters.
  • An innovative monitoring and mixing section that allows to pan each channel and control the dry/wet signal mix in the headphones.
  • Loud headphone amplifier with digital volume control.
  • Fully portable operation. Fits right underneath the phone, straps right to it and serves as a cradle, forming one device to hold.
  • Works with old 30-pin iPhones and new lightning connector-based iPhones. Shorter cable options will be available as well.

The Indiegogo campaign aims to raise $52,000 USD by January 31, 2014 (11:59pm PT).

MixerFace is set for release in April 2014 and will be priced at $599 USD, while Indiegogo contributors can save a significant amount and be the first to receive the new product well in advance of stores.

More information: MixerFace

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Future Loops releases Total Producer 4

Future Loops Total Producer 4

Future Loops has announced the release of Total Producer 4, a limited edition collection of its entire catalog, available at a discount for a short period of time.

Future Loops is proud to present…Total Producer 4! It’s the highly anticipated return of the extremely limited edition and deluxe sample collection specially created for the Holiday season!

To celebrate this festive time of the year we have compiled the most extensive and versatile sample library ever! Like a sample beast that just keeps on sampling, Total Producer 4 is a collection like no other: simply unrivaled in size, quality and value for money (total savings of 4.000€ !!!)!

Browse through more than 150 award-winning sample packs from the Future Loops catalog and dive in a music production paradise with over 250 GB of premium samples, loops, one-shots, kits, sound fx, vocals, instruments, drums, soundsets and more!

Total Producer 4 features

  • 266 GB (after conversions to other formats and content duplication).
  • Over 300.000 samples.
  • 166 sample packs in several styles, genres, instruments and formats!
  • Content is loaded to a 2.5″ portable external hard drive: Plug and Play device, USB 3.0 powered hard drive that requires no external power supply.

The bundle is available to purchase for 799.95 EUR.

More information: Future Loops / Total Producer 4

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