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Producers Choice launches Flash Sale on Sonic Specialists Bundle – 60% off

The Producers Choice has launched a flash sale on the Sonic Specialists Bundle, a collection of all 8 of the Urban Fire kits at 60% off.

Sonic Specialists Bundle

“This bundle contains THE ENTIRE SonicSpecialists Drum Library! This Colossal Package contains over THREE-THOUSAND (You read that right, over 3000) of the Highest Quality Professionally Mixed & Mastered Drum Samples we’ve ever produced. This bundle is oozing with analog warmth and shimmer and is our biggest Library we’ve ever compiled in the history of The SonicSpecialists.

We created Urban Fire: Sounds Of The Super Producers with one goal in mind; creating the most usable and exciting Drum Library available on the planet. Quality is the most important factor in creating each sample. We never, ever, add less-than amazing sounds to our libraries in hopes of boosting the numbers. Each and every sound is compressed, saturated, equalized and processed to be the best sound of it’s type. Each thud and crackle, every stereo image and tone is tweaked until complete perfection.

Urban Fire has the same commercial sound heard in your favourite songs by the current Super Producers, but are only available here! We have designed custom sounds for Native Instruments as well as having sounds used on major records from artists such as F.L.O.R.I.D.A., Rick Ross, Jadakiss, Britney Spears, T-Pain, Beyonce, and more, we are determined to continually bring customers that very same success. It’s time to discover the industry’s best kept secret. It’s time for you to discover Urban Fire.”

The bundle is available to purchase for $397 USD until Friday, March 14th, 2014 (regular $1,039.60 USD).

More information: Producers Choice / Sonic Specialists Bundle

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Sonic Specialists releases Urban Fire 6

Related: , , Posted in news on Apr 18, 2011 - comment 0 comments

Sonic Specialists has released Urban Fire 6, a new drum sound library.

Sonic Specialists Urban Fire 6

Over 700 brand-new sounds have been created for the newest Urban Fire! The Sonic Specialists, makers of Urban Fire: Sounds of the Super Producers and Urban Electro & Urban Anthology have been creating drum kits for the stars over the past year or so while using all the newest technologies and techniques to craft what would become their great achievement yet.

The game changers have done it once again with the long anticipated Urban Fire 6 Drum Library! With this brand new fresh entry into the sample arena the Sonic Specialists held nothing back. The recording process has been revamped and the tools for sample creation have been upgraded. From the microphones to compressors to each piece of analog gear, each detail has been tweaked to create the most exciting Urban Fire Drum Library yet!

Urban Fire 6 is available to purchase for $174.95 USD.

More information: Sonic Specialists / Urban Fire 6

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Sonic Specialists releases Urban Electro

Related: , , Posted in news on Dec 16, 2009 - comment 0 comments
Sonic Specialists Urban Electro

Sonic Specialists has released Urban Electro, a drum kit sample library for Hip Hop and Electronic producers.

The perfect and incredibly experienced use of High-End Hardware Gear with precise use of High-End Software Plug-Ins is the only way a product like Urban Electro can come into fruition.

Countless hours of recording, re-sampling, building & rebuilding, crafting, creating, distorting, equalizing, compressing, stereo imaging, noise removing, and mastering has created one of our most proud achievements!!

The sample library features over 300 fully mixed & mastered noise-free 24 & 16-bit drum and percussion samples.

Urban Electro is available to purchase for $74.95 USD.

More information: Sonic Specialists

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Review: Native Instruments Maschine

Audio production software has come a long way. Where as in the past one would typically use a number of traditional instruments, synthesizers, drum machines, mixing panels, etc., software has opened the door for many home studio musicians to produce music on a budget.

Although you could easily get along using software exclusively, you may still want to use a controller when recording music, so you can actually “play it” instead of programming everything.

Native Instruments Maschine

Native Instruments has recently introduced Maschine, a powerful combination of software and hardware, or as they put it, a complete Groove Production Studio.

MASCHINE combines the flexibility of computer-based music production with the ease of a groove box into one powerful creative tool. Utilizing onboard samples or your own audio files, MASCHINE’s symbiosis of hardware and software not only ensures a fast and fun workflow, but lets you easily turn your ideas into professional productions.

So let’s take a looks at what this Maschine is all about!

Where’s the installation disk?

I generally don’t read manuals anyway, but Native Instruments doesn’t encourage me much either. I open the box and the first thing I see is this lovely control surface. All I can think is “hook it up man, let’s get going!”

I am a long time Windows user though, so I know better than to just hook up anything USB without checking for drivers first. The installation disc was all the way in the bottom of the box, so I almost missed it.

The installation of the drivers and Maschine software was a breeze; it just takes a while to copy all the content from the DVD. After authorizing Maschine in the Service Center, I figured it was a good idea to download the latest update as well. All set to go, let’s see what we have here!

The Hardware

16 pads, transport controls, LCD displays… The Maschine controller does a convincing MPC impersonation, doesn’t it?

Maschine Controller

The controller is quite compact and has a sturdy, high quality feel to it, even though it is only partly metal. Hooking it up to your computer with a USB cable, the Maschine controller powers up with its lovely backlit LEDs. Groovy! I know design is a matter of taste, but I feel NI did a smashing job with the looks of this thing.

The illuminated pads feel nice and responsive (velocity and aftertouch can be configured to your liking) and all of the 41 buttons are backlit. Great for working in a setup with little light, e.g. a live performance.

The controller features 11 endless rotary encoders, which have a smooth feel to them. The two LCD displays are clear and easy to read (as long as the angle is steep enough; the contrast can be adjusted) and have plenty of space to display the parameter pages.

Besides using the controller with the Maschine software, you can also control external MIDI hardware (via MIDI in/out on the back panel) and other software. The pads, knobs and buttons can all be customized with the included controller editor application.

The cool thing is that pretty much everything in Maschine can be done from this dedicated controller. You would almost forget that there is a piece of software doing all the actual work.

The Software

The Maschine software is basically an advanced pattern-based sequencer application which allows you to create patterns, group them, and arrange them in “scenes”. It can be used standalone or as a plug-in, so you can integrate it into your current setup.

Maschine software
Maschine software, a complete music production environment

Some key features of the Maschine software:

  • Browser – the browser provides an interface to all your projects, scenes, instruments, samples, effects, etc. Searching is easy with tag-based searches, key words, and attributes, quite much like KORE.
  • Sequencer & Arranger – the advanced sequencer, or pattern editor, features both step programming and real-time recording. 8 groups of 64 patterns each can be arranged in up to 64 scenes in the arranger section. The sequencer supports live automation for effects, sampler and mixer parameters.
  • Effects – there are 21 effects (or FX) which can be used as insert effects to each group, sound, or the master (in 2 FX slots). You can also create send effects and multi-effects, or route an effect to external gear.
  • Sampler (engine) – records both internal and external audio, audio editing & slicing, resampling, extensive playback features including various envelope and modulation options, and 8 individual stereo outputs (16 mono outs).

Maschine comes with a sound library featuring 5 GB content in 15,000 samples.
It includes 300 drum kits, 280 multi-sampled instruments, 400 sliced loops, 6,500 one shot samples, 100 FX presets and 55 FX chains. You’ll also get 50 projects which are a good way to explore what Maschine can do.

The included sounds were provided by numerous sound designers and artists, including Matthew Herbert, Montana B, Amon Tobin, Goldbaby, Denaun Porter, Sonic Specialists and many others.

The library features a good variety of sounds, mostly suitable for electronic music, i.e. urban, hip hop, R&B, techno, house, dubstep, etc.

Reader question: Torley wanted to know how much of the sample content is new material.

I asked Native Instruments and they told me that even though a few kits were taken from the Battery library, those were remastered through a special mastering setup of high-quality analog outboard gear. The vast majority of the library is brand spanking new material.

Besides using the sound library, you can also use your own samples in Maschine (currently only wav/aiff, but I think REX support will follow). In order to have them available for selection on the hardware controller you will need to import the samples into Maschine’s library (it will create a reference to the sample, not a local copy/move).

It is probably a good idea to tag your imported samples as well. It may take some time to do, but you will be able to find your samples much faster in future projects. If you are familiar with Kore, you will know the power of this type of browser system.

The Magic

However cool the controller might be, without the software you would only be able to use it as a regular MIDI controller. And although the sequencer works fine without the controller, it is when using the complete package that the magic happens.

Reader question: Benebomber wondered if working with Maschine is intuitive, more specifically when digging a bit deeper (e.g. recording your own samples or tweaking them).

I would definitely say it is. When I got the Maschine I opened the box, installed the software, hooked up the controller and a few minutes later I was creating beats. For more advanced things — like recording and editing your own samples — you might want to work on the screen, but you could also do it on the controller itself. Whatever fits your workflow best.
I personally prefer to use the menus on the controller and leave my computer keyboard and mouse alone as much as I can. Maschine is perfect for this.

Native Instruments has a number of excellent Maschine videos showcasing its features, including live recording, sampling, automation, and how to control Ableton Live. Here’s the Maschine introduction video.

An even better way to understand what Maschine is all about though is to actually get some hands-on experience with it. Maschine is just a lot more fun to work with than it is to write about it, so I would advise you to go check it out at your local music shop. You need to tap those pads, browse the sound library and play with some of the demo arrangements to see how you like it.

Maschine retails for an MSRP of $669 USD / 599 EUR, and is available from the NI Online Shop and dealers worldwide.

So what do I think?

From the moment I held it in my hands I loved Maschine’s control surface. I really like the black finish and backlit pads & buttons, and overall it feels like a quality piece of hardware. I’m a bit of a compulsive tapper — tapping beats on my desk all day long — so I am not surprised that I enjoy using these pads to record my beats a lot more than having to construct them with my computer mouse.

Working with the controller is a delight. Incidentally I would have to look something up, but most of the time I could find everything right away, which is telling of Maschine’s intuitiveness. I like the Maschine controller so much that I find myself using it in MIDI mode with other virtual instruments and effects as well.

Maschine’s software is deep, offering much more than the simple pattern-based sequencer it might appear to be. You have detailed control over your sequences, and a vast amount of quality effects and modulations are available, as well as a quality sound library and extensive editing features.

In standalone mode it basically provides you with all you need to create your music from scratch.

Of course, there is still room for improvement as well. I personally did not encounter any real problems, but it is good to know that Native Instruments is working on some important changes for the version 1.1 update, which should make a lot of people happy (e.g. MIDI in/out, REX support, better slicing options).

In short, Maschine is a powerful piece of software bundled with a superb controller. The two work together seamlessly and it truly feels like a proper instrument. Plus, it is tons of fun to work with!

Visit Native Instruments for more information.

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SonicSpecialists announces Urban Fire: Volume 5 Contest

SonicSpecialists Urban Fire: Volume 5 Contest

SonicSpecialists has announced the Urban Fire: Volume 5 Contest, a contest in celebration of the release of Urban Fire Volume 5.

Participants will have to create a 30-180 second demo using solely the drum sounds in the volume 5 free demo kit, which can be downloaded from the contest page.

There will be three finalists chosen at the end of the month and the winner will be chosen May 3rd. This is a worldwide contest and the demo should be in the vein of Modern Hip-Hop & Pop records only!! Aim to impress, since we expect to have a lot of entries. Limit 3 entries per person.

What can you win?

  • 1st place
    • Urban Fire Volume 5 ($174.95 Value)
    • 50% off SonicSpecialists Coupon for any Bundle/Volume
    • Link to winner’s MySpace, PMP, or Soundclick Page
    • Premium Placement in Audio Player on SonicSpecialists Website
    • Free 3-Month Membership to EPIC Producer’s Club (Details Coming Soon!)
  • 2nd place
    • Urban Fire Volume 4 ($174.95 Value)
    • 50% off SonicSpecialists Coupon for any Bundle/Volume
    • Premium Placement in Audio Player on SonicSpecialists Website
    • Free 1-Month Membership to EPIC Producer’s Club (Details Coming Soon!)
  • 3rd place
    • 50% off SonicSpecialists Coupon for any Bundle/Volume
    • Premium Placement in Audio Player on SonicSpecialists Website

Visit SonicSpecialists for more information.

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SonicSpecialists releases Urban Fire: Sounds Of The Super Producers Volume 5

SonicSpecialsts Urban Fire: Sounds Of The Super Producers Volume 5

SonicSpecialists has released Urban Fire: Sounds Of The Super Producers Volume 5, an urban drum sample library.

You asked for it, and here it is! The most powerful package we’ve ever offered the public. Urban Fire Volume Five is the biggest, most comprehensive collection of 100% Original Sounds — completely crafted by The Sonic Specialists! Urban Fire 5 builds on the highly sought after UF Series by adding over 850 Brand New, Fully Mixed and Mastered, crystal clear Drum & Percussion sounds to your Sample Library!

Urban Fire: Sounds Of The Super Producers Volume 5 features

  • Over 850 professionally mixed & mastered 24-bit drum & percussion sounds.
  • 808opia: A collection of 808 samples, all processed to the point of perfection, including up to THREE saturation levels per sounds! This is the new standard in 808 drum sounds.
  • Snare Enhancers: A collection of snare transients specially designed and processed to make your snares pop out of the mix and hit hard. These can be layered with snares you already own, or blended to taste with already existing snares in the urban fire libraries.
  • Percs N’ Heartbreak: A set of percussive sounds recorded and processed in the vein of Kanye West’s new album, 808 & Heartbreak.c
  • Dirty Tones: Tones you can use to enforce your kicks and snares! These tones will give your drums a new lease on life as well as add dimension to them.
  • Percussive Suite: A eclectic suite of over 150 percussive sounds that span the globe. These are a must have for any producers arsenal.

Urban Fire: Sounds Of The Super Producers Volume 5 is available in 24-bit and 16-bit wav formats for $174.95 USD. A free drum kit is available for download here.

Visit SonicSpecialists for more information and audio demos.

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SonicSpecialists releases Urban Fire: Sounds Of The Super Producers Volume 4

SonicSpecialsts Urban Fire: Sounds Of The Super Producers Volume 4

SonicSpecialists has released Urban Fire: Sounds Of The Super Producers Volume 4, an urban drum sample library.

Urban Fire 4 has been designed to be the most usable and innovative volume yet, with the inclusion of sound elements to create an infinite amount of new sounds where the possibilities are endless. Urban producers have been looking long and hard for a library that can enable them to achieve the sound they have been hearing all over the radio – and Urban Fire 4 delivers this in spades!

Urban Fire: Sounds Of The Super Producers Volume 4 features

  • Over 800 professionally mixed & mastered 24-bit drum & percussion sounds.
  • 176 Crunchy Claps, 111 Massive Kicks, 91 Gut-Wrenching Snares, 84 Sizzlin’ Hi-Hats, 118 Urban World Percussion Sounds, 46 “SonicSpecialists Stompers”, as well as over 200 additional sounds.
  • In addition to out-of-the-box & ready-to-go sounds, there are now complete sections dedicated to the art of Drum Layering.

Urban Fire: Sounds Of The Super Producers Volume 4 is available in WAV and Reason ReFill formats as an instant download for $174.95 USD.

Visit SonicSpecialists for more information and audio demos.

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