Arturia has announced that it will release a next-generation audio interface in 2015.
Arturia President Frédéric Brun bowled over an audience of invited industry insiders and VIP guests when making the astounding announcement during his captivating keynote speech at the Museum of Grenoble as part of the company’s 15th anniversary celebrations on October 3, 2014. Here he touched upon several problems pertaining to popular portable audio interfaces that modern-day musicians have been forced to live and work with for quite some time. Some related to workflow, some to compatibility, and even audio quality. This has prompted Arturia to take significant steps to solve these issues once and for all!
But why run the risk of entering an arguably already overcrowded market sector with yet another audio interface? Why, indeed, Mr President? Indeed, during the keynote, Frédéric Brun bravely admitted that a distributor had warned him not to go there, stating that there are already “…too many competitors — large companies with history in the field.” His reasoned response? “Yes, that’s true. But at Arturia we are stubborn, and we think we can do something different. We think we can bring something new to market.”
Clearly, creating something that is both genuinely different and new to an already existing and hotly- contended market sector is no easy task. Take the mind-boggling number of audio formats out there. Think microphone, line, phono, and instrument inputs, each with different levels requiring different impedance. How about effortlessly connecting to Mac and PC computers, an Apple iPad or an Android device? Then there are all the digital audio formats (ADAT, S/PDIF, et al) as well as word clock to cater for those wishing to synchronise with the professional audio world.
USB and MIDI might be useful, too! You get the picture. One visionary presidential person present at Arturia’s 15th anniversary celebrations sees the bigger picture perfectly clearly. Asked an incredulous Frédéric Brun: “Do you know how many audio interfaces on the market offer that? Zero!”
Then again, a well-thought-through portable audio interface that stylishly overcomes these perceived problems while bringing other mind-blowing features to the table is clearly closer to market than thought possible previously. Watch this space… seeing (and hearing) is really believing, believe us!
More information: Arturia
Sound Magic has announced Serenade Workstation, a complete package comprising the Serenade 384KHz USB2.0 Audio Interface, a Digital Audio Workstation, a DSD/DXD Effect Plugin Bundle and a DSD&PCM Bi-directional Converter Software.
Back in 1999, The “Next Generation” Audio Format was introduced by Sony and Philips as a successor to the standard audio CD technology (PCM). It was called Digital Stream Data – formally known as Super Audio Compact Disc. DXD (which stands for the Digital Extreme Definition and has a 24 Bit/352.8KHz resolution) is an alternative encoding scheme developed to aid in editing DSD. Neither format became as popular as they were expected to for 3 main reasons:
- DSD is a format which is very difficult to edit and process directly
- Most professional audio interfaces are at 24Bit/192KHz, and cannot support higher resolution (such as 24Bit/352.8KHz), nor do they have native playback support for the DSD format
- The workstation which can make DSD/DXD formats are far too expensive for most musicians
Serenade Workstation managed to solve these issues by:
- Providing a USB audio interface which supports up to 32 Bit/384KHz (which can playback DXD) and native playback support for 4 kinds DSD resolutions: DSD64,DSD128,DSD256 and DSD512.
- Providing a DAW and plug-ins that work at 32 Bit/352.8KHz and 32 Bit/384KHz resolution, allowing for nearly lossless conversion to DSD. This makes DSD an editable format, allowing for mixing and mastering.
- Providing the entire solution at a very affordable price of $999, far less than any other DSD/DXD workstation – and even lower than a lot of common mixing/mastering solutions.
Serenade will officially be released at the beginning of December, 2014.
More information: Sound Magic / Serenade Workstation
Williams has announced the release of Legato, a low-priced full-size digital piano.
Williams Legato features 88 semi-weighted keys and five classic sounds: piano, electric piano, organ, synth, and bass. Designed for beginning to intermediate keyboardists, the Legato combines professional features with simple, convenient operation and full portability. This makes it a perfect choice for anyone wishing to play or learn music, even on a limited budget.
Beginning players will immediately appreciate the Legato’s layout and operation. Turn it on, select a sound, and start playing! The weighted, velocity-sensitive keys have a traditional feel, helping even new musicians sound great through the on-board speakers. A fully adjustable metronome and integrated music stand are also included.
To help get the most out of its five rich keyboard sounds, the Williams Legato includes a host of professional features, including reverb and chorus. The split/layer function supports the use of two sounds, either voicing them together or dividing the keyboard to produce different sounds from the left and right hands. A USB port enables connection to a computer and MIDI control ability, making the Legato a great tool for home studio enthusiasts.
Weighing less than 20 pounds despite its full 50-inch width, the battery-powered Legato is an ideal portable keyboard for beginning and intermediate musicians. It also includes a headphone jack for silent operation, RCA connectors for connection to external speakers, and a full User’s Manual. The optional Williams ESS1 Essentials Pack provides a wall socket adapter for AC operation along with a sustain pedal and a pair of high quality headphones.
Legato is available from Guitar Center retail stores and Musician’s Friend for a street price of $199.99 USD.
More information: Williams / Legato
Alesis has announced that its new V and VI series USB/MIDI keyboard controllers are now available.
Alesis V Series are ideal for the hobbyist, software performer, or novice musician. Far from stripped down, each model includes several up-to-date premium features. Full-size, flat-front keys provide a confident, comfortable feel. Octave Up/Down buttons provide access to the entire note range, regardless of keyboard length. Pitch Bend and Modulation wheels—plus the sustain pedal input—lend an extra level of performance expression. The eight velocity-sensing drum/trigger pads are generously proportioned, and offer blue LED illumination. Each Alesis V Series model is also equipped with four assignable knobs and four assignable switches—also illuminated—that allow interactive software control.
Alesis VI Series models are equipped with full-size, flat-front keys. Semi-weighted for an authentic feel, these keys allow the performer to play with confidence—plus they respond to both velocity and aftertouch. Octave Up/Down buttons provide access to the entire note range, regardless of keyboard length. Pitch Bend and Modulation wheels lend an extra level of performance expression, and there is a sustain pedal input for piano-style control.
In keeping with their more professional-level performance capabilities, on the VI Series to the left of the keyboard—up front and of equal importance—are 16 highly-responsive drum/trigger pads equipped with color-keyed RGB LED illumination. Generously sized, these pads offer dynamic (velocity) sensitivity and a substantial, solid feel. These pads are ideal for playing drum sounds, firing samples, or triggering loops and grooves.
Both the V and VI Series come with comprehensive software packages that provide an important creative boost for the user. Both series includes the popular Ableton Live Lite, an interactive loop-based compositional and performance software program that makes effective use of the V and VI Series pads and controllers. Also included is the powerful Xpand!2 from Air Music Technology. Originally created as part of the Avid Pro Tools Creative Collection, Xpand!2 has been updated as a standalone software synthesizer capable of creating fantastic sounds, from natural instruments to intense electronic tones. An accompanying software editor opens the door to easily creating custom controller assignments. A single USB cable makes a convenient connection providing both power and two-way USB/MIDI link between the Alesis V and VI Series Controller and the user’s Mac or PC computer.
“The V Series controllers provide a powerful competitive performance edge for the modern music maker,” notes Alesis Director of Engineering, David Gill. “The emphasis on dynamic pads, illuminated controls, and full-size keys reflect our dedication to provide the most in-demand features to the entry and mid-level performer. Plus, the included software suite makes it uniquely easy to record, produce, and perform your music.”
Gill added, “Offering even greater flexibility and performance, the VI Series reflects the changing nature of software—and music making in general—from linear song composition to loop- and percussion–based construction and performance. We are very excited to deliver a controller that can satisfy the modern studio producer, the live performer, and the software composer, all in the same instrument.”
The controllers are now available for purchase at the following prices:
- V25 $79.99 USD.
- V49 $99.99 USD.
- V61 $149.99 USD.
- VI25 $169.99 USD.
- VI49 $199.99 USD.
- VI61 $249.99 USD.
More information: Alesis / V & VI Series
Nektar has announced the availability of its Impact iX 49 and iX 61 controller keyboards with DAW Control and comfortable iPad connectivity, including Presonus Studio One Artist.
Nektar products are synonymous with DAW integration and the Impact iX49 and Impact iX61 are no exception. Their deceptively minimalist appearance hides powerful functionality not even found on more comprehensive controllers.
The Impact iX keyboards offer standard USB keyboard controller functionality as well as Nektar DAW integration with no less than 11 DAWs. The full-size keyboards feature pitch bend, modulation wheel and a foot switch jack for connecting a sustain pedal.
Being USB class compliant the keyboards can be plugged easily into the computer or iPad, no drivers required. This makes it possible to start composing using existing MIDI software or the included Presonus Studio One Artist DAW instantly.
iX 49 / iX 61 features
- 49/ 61 note velocity sensitive full size keyboard.
- Pitch Bend and modulation wheels.
- Octave buttons.
- Transpose buttons.
- Transport mode switches Octaves and Transpose buttons to send out MIDI MMC messages (compatible with Pro Tools).
- Foot switch input jack.
- USB powered, Class Compliant (no driver needed).
- Connects to iPad (via USB adaptor kit, not included).
- Includes Presonus Studio One Artist.
- DAW Integration:
- Navigation of DAW tracks.
- Change instrument patches.
- Control track volume.
- Transport control (Play/Stop/Record/Rewind/Forward).
- Nektar DAW integration for 11 DAWs including Bitwig Studio, Cubase, Digital Performer, FL Studio, GarageBand, Logic, Nuendo, Reaper, Reason, Sonar and Studio One.
iX49 and iX 61 are available for purchase for MSRP $109.99 USD/99.99 EUR/£79.99 GBP and $129.99 USD/109.99 EUR/£89.99 GBP, respectively. Expected street prices are $99.99 USD/89.99 EUR/£69.99 GBP for the iX 49 and $119.99 USD/99.99 EUR/£79.99 GBP for the iX 61.
More information: Nektar / Impact iX 49 & iX 61
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