Free Analogue Synth Samples, Free In-Browser Modular Synth, 33% Ableton Discount!

Two more freebies for your music making pleasure and a hefty discount off any Ableton product – if you’re quick! Continue Reading

Free Analogue Bass Samples, Free Ableton Instrument, Reason Rack Extensions Promo!

This week get free Korg analogue bass samples, a free Ableton FX instrument, and get excited about Reason Rack Extensions! Continue Reading

iPad 2

Apple Announce iPad 2 – What Does it Mean for Music Production?

When the iPad was released in April last year, I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that it took the world somewhat by storm. Despite not being the first to do a lot of the things it was lauded for doing (companies like Jazz Mutant were releasing multi touch screens for musicians much earlier, for instance) it was certainly the most conspicuous; perhaps the iPad’s greatest feature was the way it opened peoples’ eyes and imaginations to the realities of the progress of consumer level technology. Whilst the traditional keyboard and mouse paradigm of computing is some way from being shaken out of its position as the power user’s choice, light, touch friendly apps on the iPad are capturing peoples’ imaginations.

light, touch friendly apps on the iPad are capturing peoples’ imaginations

The way I see it, there are two main barriers to the adoption of the iPad (or of course any other multi touch tablet – right now the focus is on Apple because I genuinely think they’re the only ones doing it right at the moment): power and connectivity. There’s a possible third, too, and I’ll get onto that later.

When it comes to power, even computer nerds are starting to find it difficult to keep up with the colossal speed at which progress is being made. We’re a long way from the simpler times when a bigger number meant a faster processor, and what with multiple chips, cores, faster buses and all the other wizardry that’s being squeezed out of silicon, the number of mHz written on something isn’t really relevant anymore – especially where custom chips built for bespoke computers with matching software are concerned. No, the reality is that technology is moving forward at such a frightening rate that in less than a year, processing power of the iPad 2 is reportedly double that of its predecessor. iPad was already fast enough to run software like Korg’s iElectribe, a very convincing virtual remake of one of its most successful groove boxes, and Akai’s SynthStation, a full studio in a box tool that really proved that iPad meant business when it comes to audio.

When iPad 2 is launched, GarageBand for iPad will follow shortly.

When iPad 2 is launched, GarageBand for iPad will follow shortly. New hardware, from Apogee’s JAM to Alesis’s StudioDock and the Akai SynthStation 49 are all pieces in the puzzle that provide solutions to connectivity issues of such a standalone piece of equipment, with more, I’m sure, to follow.

Predictions? A future update of iOS will improve app to app interoperability, increasing the practicality of investing in the burgeoning iOS synth market and paving the way for Apple to release an iPad version of Logic with a plugin system. Propellerhead, one of the kings of the studio in a box world, will bring out their own studio in a box iPad app and Imageline, the other king, will up their game after testing the water with their recently released ‘in name only’ FL Studio. I’d also be surprised if Akai weren’t to bring out an MPC like sampling workstation and pad controller with audio input for sampling.

But what does that mean right here and now? The truth is, iPad 2 still doesn’t have the power to compete seriously with a desktop operating system when it comes to the kind of quality and quantity we’ve come expect from home studio software. However, it’s more portable, more tactile, and has a much shallower learning curve – if you already own both a computer and an iPad and want to simply enjoy yourself with music, then the iPad 2 is beginning to look like it might be an even better choice than traipsing through the minefield of computer software decisions. And, one day soon, we won’t even have to choose…

Korg NanoSeries 2

Korg Nano Series 2 Announced

Korg’s NanoSeries, The trailblazers of the super mini trend, receive an update. All have boosted feature sets, although the usefulness of the NanoKey for keyboard playing continues to be disputable – whilst it’s had an upgrade in quality, it is still at its heart a set of computer keys laid out in a dual octave formation. That is not to say,of course, that it’s not a useful controller – 24 uncluttered on/off switches will certainly be useful, even if not for actual playing.

The NanoSeries 2 is out soon and will supersede the mark one controllers at the same price point

The NanoPad has had a decent upgrade, with a full 16 pads now on offer as well as an onboard arpeggiator, X/Y pad recording and selectable note scales.

The most different is the NanoKontrol, which has had some features added and some taken away. Whilst it loses a channel strip (down to eight), it gains an extra button per channel notionally marked as solo/mute/arm, and whilst it loses its four scene capability, it gains track select and marker set buttons. These features, combined with the loop button being named cycle, point towards Mackie HUI protocol compatibility, which could greatly add to the value of the unit.

The NanoSeries 2 is out soon and will supersede the mark one controllers at the same price point. I’m sure they’ll outperform the originals, but I’m looking forward to getting my mitts on them to see just how much. For more information head over to the Korg site.

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