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Arturia launches MiniBrute SE analog synthesizer

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Arturia has announced the MiniBrute SE, a ‘special edition’ of its analogue mono synthesizer.

Arturia MiniBrute SE

Arturia’s red-hot MiniBrute Analog Synthesizer set the electronic musical instrument world alight immediately upon its introduction in 2012. Indeed, it rapidly reset the price/performance ratio benchmark when successfully soaring through the subtractive synthesis sound barrier while singlehandedly setting a new standard for what a hardware synthesizer should be.

Hot on its heels comes a ‘special edition’ that is very special indeed. MiniBrute SE shares the same physical footprint as the original MiniBrute, but builds upon this amazingly compact and bijou analogue monosynth in both looks and features.

Although a sturdy and stylish brushed aluminium casing with wooden sides surely make MiniBrute SE stand out from the analogue crowd, skin-deep good looks are not the be and end all here, however, as added functionality runs deeper still.

An all-new step SEQUENCER elegantly expands playing options with the MiniBrute SE — six Pattern sequences with up to 64 steps each to create multiple musical phrases, to be precise. Yet it is capable of so much more than simply replaying pre- programmed Pattern sequences ad infinitum. Users can create new musical phrases from existing ones by changing the playback Mode, Gate Len (timing), and Swing settings in realtime from the clearly labelled front panel — perfect for inspiring new musical ideas and creating exciting live performances on the fly.

MiniBrute SE is proof positive that the original MiniBrute was no fly-by-night success story. A pure analogue signal path and attractive features like a multi-wave OSCILLATOR and Sub Osc combined with a huge-sounding Steiner-Parker multimode FILTER (fittingly revised by Nyle Steiner himself) and wide-ranging modulation capabilities confirm that MiniBrute SE continues to innovate while breathing new life into recordings and stage performances.

Add fantastic features like Ultrasaw (generating shimmering sawtooth waveforms), Metalizer (adding extreme triangle waveform-induced harmonics), LFO (with sample and hold), and full USB/MIDI/CV connectivity into the musical mix, and what have you got? A killer-sounding, step sequencing-capable synth with looks to die for, that’s what!

MiniBrute SE will be available to purchase at the end of May, 2014, priced at 549 EUR / $599 USD.

More information: Arturia

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M-Audio intros new Oxygen controller keyboards

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M-Audio has introduced the new Oxygen series of controller keyboards for musicians and producers.

M-Audio Oxygen 25

Available in 25-, 49- or 61-key models, the Oxygen series combines a velocity-sensitive keybed with a series of 8 trigger pads. Used for launching audio clips, triggering percussion sounds and more, the pads also provide velocity-sensitive response and illuminated feedback. Control capabilities expand with 8 assignable knobs – perfect for adjusting plugin parameters and mixing tasks. The Oxygen 25 features an assignable master fader while the Oxygen 49 and 61 provide 9 total faders for virtually limitless MIDI manipulation. Each keyboard in the series features an LCD screen and transport controls for seamless operation with digital audio software. A 6.3mm (1/4-inch) sustain input jack is built in for expressive performances.

Every keyboard in the Oxygen series includes a powerful software package for creating music right away, starting with Ableton Live Lite – a dynamic music creation software, that lets musicians develop songs with extensive MIDI and audio processing tools. Twist, an acclaimed spectral-morphing software synthesizer from SONiVOX, creates swirling sonic textures that come to life with inspiring depth and motion.

Oxygen Series features

  • 25, 49 or 61 full-size, synth-action velocity-sensitive keys.
  • 8 velocity-sensitive trigger pads for beat production, clip launching & more.
  • 8 assignable knobs for mixing and tweaking plugins.
  • 9 assignable faders (Oxygen 49, Oxygen 61).
  • Transport controls let you operate your DAW without reaching for the mouse.
  • Auto-maps to popular DAWs: Ableton Live, Pro Tools, Logic, Cubase.
  • LCD screen provides instant parameter feedback.
  • USB powered; a single cable provides power and MIDI connectivity.
  • Works with Apple’s iPad Camera Connection Kit (sold separately) for use with iOS devices.
  • Includes Ableton Live Lite for immediate and powerful music creation.
  • Includes SONiVOX Twist spectral morphing synthesizer.

The new Oxygen controller series will be available in Summer 2014 with a street price of $99 USD (25-keys) / $149 USD (49-keys) / $199 USD (61-keys).

M-Audio will showcase the Oxygen series at Musikmesse, Hall 5.1, Booth B45, March 12-15 in Frankfurt, Germany.

More information: M-Audio

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Akai Pro intros Rhythm Wolf analog drum machine & bass synth

Akai Professional has announced Rhythm Wolf, an analog drum machine and bass synthesizer module with built-in sequencing.

Akai Rhythm Wolf

The Rhythm Wolf is an authentic analog instrument that combines the coveted sounds of early electronic and hip-hop music with genuine Akai Professional workflow. Inspired by the classic analog beat machines and synthesizers of the past, Rhythm Wolf enables today’s musicians to harness iconic analog sounds for music production and performance. The drum machine consists of five highly-tweakable drum sounds and includes a kick, snare, open & closed hi-hat, and metallic percussion. Onboard controls allow users to customize the tuning, amplitude envelopes, and volume of each drum voice separately for precise real-time adjustment. The bass synthesizer features a selectable oscillator (sawtooth or square wave), classic filter design, a filter envelope with variable decay, and is capable of creating powerful bass sounds and squelchy leads.

Outfitted with six genuine MPC pads and a built-in 32-step sequencer, the Rhythm Wolf provides an ultra-responsive interface with a classic drum machine layout. Drum patterns can be fine-tuned using the Swing function, Pattern Select, and Tempo Control knob. A custom distortion signal path, activated by the “Howl” knob, adds grit and character for additional tone shaping. Rhythm Wolf features USB-MIDI, MIDI In/Out, a gate trigger, and integrates seamlessly with modern and vintage equipment. Two audio outputs enable producers and performers to mix percussion sounds and bass independently.

Rhythm Wolf features

  • 5-voice analog drum machine and synth—authentic analog design that references classic rhythm machines and synthesizers.
  • Legendary analog drum sounds—kick, snare, open & closed hi-hat, and metallic percussion.
  • Synth-bass module—selectable square or sawtooth wave with classic filter design for warm, deep basses and squelchy leads..
  • Onboard 32-step sequencer—classic drum machine workflow for quickly laying down grooves and melodies.
  • Six genuine MPC pads—responsive controls for sequencing and finger drumming.
  • Howl knob—custom distortion circuit for additional sound design.
  • USB-MIDI and MIDI In/Out—flexible MIDI connectivity for easy integration into modern studios.
  • Gate Trigger—triggering via modular synths, vintage sequencers, or external sound sources.
  • Independent audio outputs—dedicated outputs for the drum machine and synth-bass module for precise mixing.

The Rhythm Wolf will be available in Summer 2014, distributed worldwide with a $199.99 USD street price.

Akai Professional will unveil the Rhythm Wolf at Musikmesse, Hall 5.1, Booth B45, March 12-15 in Frankfurt, Germany.

More information: Akai Pro

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Nektar launches Impact LX25 & LX61 controller keyboards and NP-1 & NP-2 footswitches

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Nektar has announced the Impact LX25 and Impact LX61, two USB MIDI controller keyboards, featuring the unique and musician friendly direct integration with most DAWs, Nektar Keyboards are famous for.

Nektar Impact LX25 / LX61

The Impact LX25 is a feature packed 25-note, velocity sensitive, synth-style keyboard with pitch bend, modulation wheel, fader, 8 pots, 8 pads, transport control, 3-digit LED display, foot switch and USB sockets. Its functionality extends beyond its compact size and provides similar access to DAW parameters and navigation as its bigger siblings.

The Impact LX61 is a comprehensive 61-note velocity sensitive, synth-style keyboard with pitch bend, modulation wheel, 9 faders, 9 MIDI buttons, 8 pots, 8 pads, transport control, 3-digit LED display, foot switch and USB sockets.

Every control can be programmed to send MIDI messages with settings stored in 5 user-presets making Impact LX 25 and Impact LX61 compatible with any MIDI software. A unique pad learn function enables pads to be assigned MIDI note numbers on the fly with setups stored in an additional 4 pad maps.

Impact LX25 and Impact LX61 really stand out with the direct integration with DAWs including Bitwig Studio, Cubase, Digital Performer, GarageBand, Logic Pro, Nuendo, Reaper, Reason, Sonar and Studio One.

Integration includes track and patch navigation as well as button switching between Mixer and Instrument control. Parameters are pre-assigned and include functions for launching the DAWs relevant windows, right from Impact LX. The extensive mapping of transport functions not only includes traditional transport buttons but also options to set left and right locators/loop points, click on/off plus much more.

Impact LX61 is available to purchase for MSRP $229.99/ 179.99 EUR / £159.99 GBP. Impact LX25 will be available from May, priced at MSRP $129.99 USD / 109.99 EUR / £99.99 GBP.

Nektar has also announced the release of the NP-1 and NP-2 foot switch pedals, designed for musicians who need a quality pedal for keyboard sustain or any other foot switch operation.

Nektar NP-1 & NP-2

The NP-1 is in a heavy duty metal housing with nice, thick rubber padding both at the top and bottom to ensure a good solid grip. A 6ft cable, 1/4 TS jack connector and a polarity switch delivers universal compatibility with all keyboards featuring a sustain pedal foot switch socket.

The NP-2 is designed around a solid metal pedal and base. The design gives it real weight which is also reinforced with a think rubber pad on the bottom. The housing is rubberized giving it a luxurious feel. As with the NP-1, a6ft cable, 1/4 TS jack connector and a polarity switch delivers universal compatibility with all keyboards featuring a sustain pedal foot switch socket.

The NP-1 is available to purchase for MSRP $19.99 USD / 19.99 EUR / £16.49 GBP; NP-2 costs MSRP $24.99 USD / 24.99 EUR / £19.99 GBP.

More information: Nektar

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Akai Pro intros MPX16 sample recorder & player

Akai Professional has announced the MPX16, an advanced sample player with onboard sound recording.

Akai Pro MPX16

The portable MPX16 plays and records .WAV samples using SD cards for powerful, reliable performance in live and studio situations. Like the popular MPX8, samples are triggered internally from the highly responsive MPC-style pads or an external MIDI device via USB-MIDI and 3.5mm (1/4-inch) MIDI inputs. Also a feature-packed MIDI pad controller, the MPX16 is equally capable of launching clips or adding trigger pads to a producer’s studio.

Samples are captured at CD-quality via dual 6.3mm (1/4-inch) inputs or the on-board stereo microphone and saved to an SD card. The user may assign audio clips to the pads and apply tuning, filters, envelopes and “choke” grouping for creative, dynamic performances. An LCD screen and illuminated trigger pads provide visual feedback during use, and the MPX16 may be powered from a USB port or the included power supply. Naturally, users may load existing sound files onto an SD card or use the MPX16 as an SD card reader for drag-and-drop convenience on a Mac or PC. A software tool for even easier sample management is included via download.

MPX16 features

  • Record and play back stereo .WAV samples using any SD card.
  • 16 ultra-responsive, velocity sensitive backlit trigger pads.
  • Sample via 6.3mm (1/4-inch) inputs or internal mic.
  • MIDI In/Out easily integrates into your performance or studio setup.
  • Filter, tune, envelope and choke grouping on each pad.
  • CD quality sampling and playback.
  • Includes computer software editor for efficient loading and editing of samples.
  • Acts as an SD card reader for loading sounds over USB.
  • Powered by USB or the included power supply; SD card included.

The MPX16 will be available in Summer 2014, distributed worldwide with a $199.99 USD street price.

Akai Professional will unveil the MPX16 at Musikmesse, Hall 5.1, Booth B45, March 12-15 in Frankfurt, Germany.

More information: Akai Pro

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Akai Pro announces APC40 mkII, APC Key 25 & APC mini

Akai Professional has announced the APC40 mkII, APC Key 25, and APC mini, three new Ableton Live controllers.

Akai Pro APC series 2014

In 2009, Akai Professional partnered with the creators of Ableton Live, a powerful performance and production software environment, and introduced the original Ableton Performance Controller. With the debut of the APC40, Akai Pro raised the standards for controller design and revolutionized Ableton Live software and hardware integration. Akai Pro now unveils the reimagined APC40 mkII along with two compact Ableton Live controllers—APC Key 25 and APC mini.

APC40 mkII

Akai Pro’s flagship Ableton Live controller, the new APC40 mkII, incorporates five years of user feedback into its design for extended functionality, countless musical capabilities, and improved workflow. The APC40 mkII features a 5×8 RGB LED clip-launching matrix, assignable A/B crossfader, 8 rotary knobs, 8 channel faders, and a send button for quick access to send busses.

Akai Pro APC40 mkII

Included with the APC40 mkII is a suite of software, samples, and loops for out-of-thebox electronic music production: Toolroom artist launch packs, Prime Loops sample packs, Hybrid 3 by AIR Music Technology, and SONiVOX Twist give users endless music production possibilities with hand-selected samples & loops and high-definition virtual synthesizers. The APC40 mkII is USB-powered and supports plug-and-play.

APC40 mkII features

  • 5×8 RGB LED clip matrix—launches clips with visual feedback.
  • 8 channel faders, 1 master fader, and 8 device controls—map to Ableton Live directly.
  • Intuitive layout—revised knob layout with in-line controls for smarter workflow.
  • A/B crossfader—can be assigned on the fly for dynamic mixing.
  • Send button—press and hold Send and use the Track Selects to choose one of 8 sends.
  • Music production content—Toolroom artist launch packs, Prime Loops sample packs, Hybrid 3 by AIR Music Technology & SONiVOX Twist.

APC Key 25

APC Key 25 is the first controller designed for Ableton Live that is equipped with a highperformance keyboard. Uniting the power of a clip-launching panel with a keyboard interface, the APC Key 25 couples real-time control of Ableton Live with traditional composition tools.

Akai Pro APC Key 25

The controller includes 25 synth-action mini keys, a 5×8 clip-launch matrix with tri-color visual feedback, 8 control knobs, USB power, and plug-and-play connectivity. The APC Key 25 comes mapped to Ableton, but can also be used as an all-purpose MIDI controller.

APC Key 25 features

  • Ableton Live controller with keyboard—25 synth-action mini keys.
  • Tri-color clip matrix—launches clips and multicolor lighting displays clip status.
  • 8 assignable control knobs—hands-on-control of any Ableton Live parameter.
  • Octave Up, Octave Down, and Sustain—expands keyboard range and expression.
  • Music production content—Toolroom artist launch packs, Hybrid 3 by AIR Music Tech & SONiVOX Twist.

APC mini

APC mini is the most portable all-in-one Ableton controller solution with Akai Pro build quality. Engineered for the mobile musician or producer, APC mini concentrates the essential features of the APC40 mkII into a space-saving design.

Akai Pro APC mini

An expanded 8×8 multicolor clip-launching grid, 8 channel faders, and a compact chassis provide unprecedented hands-on control over Ableton Live with a small footprint. The APC mini is also USB-powered and supports plug-and-play.

APC mini features

  • Tri-color clip matrix—8×8 grid launches clips and multicolor lighting displays clip status.
  • 8 channel faders & 1 master fader—provide hands-on-control of Ableton.
  • Compact construction—portable design for mobile performers and producers.
  • Music production content—Toolroom artist launch packs & Hybrid 3 by AIR Music Tech.

The APC40 mkII, APC Key 25, and APC mini will be available in Summer 2014, distributed worldwide with the following street prices: APC40 mkII ($399.99 USD), APC Key 25 ($129.99 USD), and APC mini ($99.99 USD).

Akai Professional will unveil the APC40 mkII, APC Key 25, and APC Mini at Musikmesse, Hall 5.1, Booth B45, March 12-15 in Frankfurt, Germany.

More information: Akai Pro

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AudioFront updates MIDI Expresion to v1.1

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AudioFront MIDI Expression

AudioFront has released version 1.1 of its MIDI Expression compact Pedal to USB MIDI interface, bringing improvements to all aspects of its design.

MIDI Expression is a compact class compliant USB MIDI device that allows different types of pedals to interface with your computer. Pedal sensing technology built into the device detects the type of pedal plugged in and automatically adjusts its settings to support it.

Changes in MIDI Expression v1.1

  • New Form Factor – The most dramatic change for MIDI Expression comes in the form of its casing. MIDI Expression is now housed in a 3D printed enclosure allowing it to maintain its compact form while improving its aesthetics and strength. There are also now six colors available including, white, black, red, green, blue and yellow.
  • Plug-in Version – The MIDI Expression Control application is now available in both standalone and VST varieties. The new plugin version allows configurations to be injected into the device on a per project basis offering a unique level of control.
  • Updated Firmware – The updated firmware contains some improvements as well. Firstly each color now has a unique MIDI Port name to facilitate working with multiple devices. Secondly the onboard LED has been improved giving the user timely visual feedback.

MIDI Expression is available to purchase for $49 USD.

More information: MIDI Expresion

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