Korg and Detune have announced the Korg DSN-12, a 12 monophonic synthesizer for the Nintendo 3DS. This may seem like an odd choice of platform for a synth but Korg already have a track record in the successful Korg M01D which emulated, you guess it, the classic M1.
Coming with a 64 step and 64 pattern sequencer, chain patterns in upto 99 sequencer scenes, 3 effects can be used at any one time, music and preset sharing between users, a waveform and lissajous display and featuring the first 3D oscilloscope on the 3DS it looks to be great fun and also (dare we say it) a proper musical instrument for anyone prepared to integrate it into their existing workflow.
Available now in Japan, it will hit the rest of the world in September and only be available from the Nintendo eShop. Check the demo videos below.
NUGEN Audio have released the SEQ-S, a linear phase spline-match EQ.
As with other NUGEN products, SEQ-S appears to be a “no cut corners” approach offering mono, stereo, 5.1 and 7.1 support, stereo MS operation, automated spectrum analysis, curve smoothing and a direct-draw spline interface for corrective application. Jon Schorah, Creative Director for NUGEN Audio, adds,
“Unlike many digital EQs, SEQ-S features a phase profile that is linear across the frequency spectrum which results in natural sounding EQ changes and produces minimal phase artifacts. SEQ-S also includes a unique resolution setting that can be used with high precision in the low frequencies, allowing for highly transparent adjustments without muddying the mix.”
On top of these SEQ-S offers an “Invert” button making usual space saving techniques as literally simple as pressing a bunch. Perhaps most excitingly, the “match” in the “spline-match” description refers to the ability of cloning the EQ in a piece of audio and then transferring onto yours! While SEQ-S won’t be the first EQ to offer this there’s no doubt that NUGEN will offer one of the best applications of this concept so far.
Applied Acoustic Systems, the company most famous for the Tassman modular synth, the Lounge Lizard series of electric pianos and the excellent Chromaphone (seriously, if you’ve not used Chromaphone then you need to check it out, it’s fantastic), have released a major update to physical-modelling String Studio bringing it up to version 2. The interface has a major redesign, splitting the synth into 3 main sections – Play, Edit and Effects – with the Play section now adding an Arppegiator into the mix, users now have 12 effects including brand new EQ and Compressors to add into their chains and the preset manager has had a masssive overhaul making organising and sharing so much easier (VS-2 is also bakckwards compatible with the original String Studio).
AAS aren’t a company to update for the sake of updating so if they have something new it really is worth taking notice of. The original String studio was highly praised on its release 9 years ago and we fully expect this new version to be as successful and for as long.
Available now at the introductory price of $99 and including the Frontier soundbank (rising to $199 on July 1st) it’s available for PC and Mac and comes in 32/64 bit flavours for VST, AU, RTAS and AAX native. Check out the intro video above and then head on over to the product page for full details.
A couple of weeks ago Dave Smith Instruments teased us with an unexpected announcement of a new instrument, and last night we were treated to what will be one of the biggest synthesizer announcements of the year – Dave Smith Instruments have released the Pro 2. Dave Smith calls it his “most powerful monosynth ever”, and we agree wholeheartedly with that. It appears that not only have DSI created a very powerful self-contained sound creation tool they also have built the Pro 2 with enough internal and external control capabilities that it could proudly sit at the centre of many production and live set ups.
We recommend that you watch the excellent introduction video above to get the best idea as to what this is capable of but check the full specs below to get the bigger picture.
Available in late July from the regular DSI stockists and dealers, street price will be $1999.
Four DSP-based oscillators plus one sine wave sub oscillator
Four classic wave shapes (saw, square, triangle, sine) per oscillator
Twelve selectable complex shapes per oscillator
Three noise types per oscillator: white, pink, violet
Oscillator cross modulation: frequency modulation (FM) and amplitude modulation (AM)
Hard sync, individual Glide, Oscillator Slop
True 4-voice paraphonic mode with individually-gated envelopes per oscillator
Five high-quality digital effects. Thicken the signal and add harmonics or completely destroy the signal pre-filter.
Girth and Air are high and low shelf equalizers with harmonic excitement. Useful for thickening and/or adding air to the signal.
Hack and Decimate are sample and bit rate reduction algorithms which can add subtle grit or completely trash the signal. It’s harsh yet musical.
Drive is a soft saturator for adding soft distortion and harmonic content to the signal
Dual analog filters operate in serial or parallel
Filter 1 is a 4-pole resonant analog low-pass filter inspired by the original Prophet-5 filter.
Filter 2 is a 2-pole resonant analog state-variable filter inspired by the Oberheim SEM filter and can be continuously varied between low-pass, notch, and high-pass operation, with an optional band-pass mode.
Oscillator Split allows oscillators 1 & 2 to be sent to Filter 1 and oscillators 3 & 4 to Filter 2.
Feedback and Delay
Three-tap syncable delay with feedback and amount controls, pan, and high-pass and low-pass filtering, all per delay. A separate fourth delay is a digital bucket-brigade delay (BBD) for analog-style effects.
Five Delay + ADSR envelopes (Filter 1, Filter 2, VCA , and two Auxiliary envelopes)
Auxiliary envelopes 4 and 5 freely assignable to multiple modulation destinations
All envelopes can repeat/loop
Four syncable LFOs with phase offset and slew per LFO
16 x 2 modulation matrix with over 50 mod sources and over 140 mod destinations
Parameters that can be sent to CV outputs include oscillators, LFOs, envelopes, sequencer tracks and any other source within the modulation matrix. Runs up to audio rates.
Gate Out for triggering external CV-compatible devices; any CV in can be used as a gate input.
Control Voltage Ins & Outs and Gate Out
Four 1-volt-per-octave control voltage inputs and outputs for interfacing with modular synths and other CV-compatible devices
Modulation assignment buttons enable quick and easy modulation routing.
Mod Matrix runs up to audio rates.
Advanced step sequencer provides up to 32 steps per sequence and up to 16 tracks.
Supports real-time input, rests, and variable-length sequences
Syncs to MIDI clock and external audio and CV input
Sequences can control not only oscillator pitch but any parameter in the modulation matrix.
Sophisticated arpeggiator with up, down, up+down, random, assign modes
Supports real-time input, rests, and variable-length sequences
Stereo analog distortion
More than 50 knobs and 65 buttons enable deep and comprehensive editing with minimal menu diving.
Backlit pitch and mod wheels are easily visible in low-light situations and have a smooth yet precise feel and response.
Independently adjustable upper and lower pitch wheel range
Two assignable position- and pressure-sensitive latchable touch sliders for enhanced interactivity and control
Full-sized, three-and-a-half-octave, semi-weighted keyboard with velocity and aftertouch
396 user and 396 factory programs
Playlist mode for generating easily accessible setlists of your favorite programs
1 MIDI In, 1 MIDI out, and 1 MIDI Thru/Out 2 port
USB port for bidirectional MIDI communication
4 CV inputs (4 x 1/8″ jack)
4 CV outputs (4 x 1/8″ jack)
1 Gate Out (1/8″ jack))
1 Sustain/footswitch input
1 expression pedal input
1 external audio input (1/4″ phone jack)
Main stereo output (2 x 1/4″ phone jack)
Headphone out (stereo 1/4″ phone jack)
1 universal IEC AC power inlet for internal power supply
Operates worldwide on voltages between 100-240v, 50-60Hz, 30 watts maximum power consumption
Walnut end panels and trim
Dimensions: approximately 29.2″ L x 12.8″ W x 4.15″ H (74.2 cm x 32.5 cm x 10.5 cm)
Arturia, a company well known for their soft emulations of classic synthesizers but fresh off the heels of their Wurlitzer V, have stuck with the early electrical keyboard theme and reworked the classic VOX Continental into the imaginatively titled VOX Continental V.
Heard on countless hits from the 60s, the VOX Continental has a very distinct sound and getting this sound exactly right has been the driving force for Arturia. But in true Arturia fashion they didn’t stop there, so on top of getting that sound you also get treated to upper manual, lower manual, and bass pedal sections with independent channels per manual, multiple output effects processors with several popular effects including Leslie and guitar amp simulator outputs, individual pitch tuning, alterable key contact timing, and authentic noise bleed control, to name but a few highlights. However, to our minds the most exciting addition is the inclusion of the J70 mode. The now ultra rare Jennings J70 was VOX creator’s Tom Jennings’ VOX organ forerunner and has been included in the VOX Continental V as a switchable extra.
While some hardware manufacturers can maintain their distance on emulations it’s pleasing to see that the VOX Continental V has been blessed by the present day owners of the VOX brand:
“At VOX, we are happy that Arturia is bringing back to life the VOX Continental, one of the great instruments of the Sixties. Arturia’s software instruments are known for their sound quality and attention to detail — which is exactly what the VOX Continental deserves.”
Although most famous for its sound in the 60s, the VOX Continental has endured throughout the subsequent decades and now enjoys the position of being one of the sounds of rock’n’roll and anybody remotely interested in making this music deserved to give this a look.
French synth developers XILS-Lab have gone one step beyond in their latest release. Not content with already offering the brilliant EMS VCS3 emulation in the XILS 3, they’ve now produced the never-before-released EMS VCS4. And when I say never-before-released I don’t just mean in plugin form, I mean in real life – it never got past the prototype stage. In fact, only two were ever made, one of which belongs to Matt Black from Coldcut.
At a very basic level, a VCS4 is two VCS3s, a keyboard, a mixer and a signal processing unit all in one handy case, but XILS-Lab have completely interlinked the two VCS3s making them operate in serial or side by side, and also coupled them with the famous 256 analogue polysequencer. Also throwing in a whole host of effects and performance controls and features this looks to be a very comprehensive update to one of the rarest synthesizers never made.
Available now as a 32- and 64-bit-compatible virtual instrument and effects plug-in for Mac (AAX, AU, RTAS, VST) and Windows (AAX, RTAS, VST), if you buy direct from XILS-Lab before the 17th June you can take advantage of a special introductory offer that a discounted price of €149, a free eLicenser USB dongle, and a free copy of the XILISTICS preset bank! Full details can be found on the XILS 4 product page where you can also find full audio and video demos.
World beating analysis suite, Nugen Audio’s Visualizer, has now been updated to include compatibility with Avid’s 64bit AAX technology, as well as 64bit and VST3 formats for non-Avid platforms. Straight from Nugen Audio:
Visualizer provides comprehensive audio analysis for recording, mixing, and mastering in a single plug-in, offering a standardized reference set of professional tools designed to help audio engineers work faster, avoid mistakes, repeat past successes, and understand the success of others. With the latest upgrade, Visualizer is now among the first in the industry to be compatible with Avid Pro Tools 11, the latest version of Avid’s popular digital audio workstation.
With Visualizer, engineers are able to access many different views within a single intelligent window system, which lets them select the view combinations they need. Visualizer automatically resizes and aligns windows to maximize legibility and referencing information across screens. For recording, Visualizer offers tools for calibration, setting levels, signal path checking, noise minimization, and many other audio tasks. At the mixing desk, engineers can use Visualizer for tasks such as low-end control, masking, hidden frequencies, and stereo placement, among many others. For mastering, Visualizer supports a wide range of views such as stereo spread, phase relationships, and EQ distribution.
As a user of Visualizer for many years Book Of Sound was lucky enough to be included on the beta version testing and we’re pleased to report that the GUI has also been given a slight makeover as it now features a rather beautiful dark skin making it much easier on the eyes when used for long periods of time.
If any part of your job involves audio analysis then we fully encourage you to give Visualizer your consideration. The regular price is $199 but there is currently a deal where Nugen Audio site registrants can snag it for $99 and existing Visualizer users get a free upgrade. Full details can be found at the Nugen Audio Visualizer product page.
Hideaway Studio, aka Dan Wilson, has been responsible for some of the more interesting sample libraries to have been released in the past 18 months. Quite a lot of the time the equipment being used has been lovingly restored by Dan Wilson and this latest library is an example of a synth being brought back from the dead – the synth in question being a Sequential Circuits 6-Trak. Dan writes:
In 1984 Dave Smith and his team at Sequential Circuits released the Six-Trakwhich was one of the first instruments not only to feature the then new MIDI control system but was an early multitimbral offering. As is so often with my ever growing collection of vintage synths at Hideaway, Six-trak number 1551 came in dead and was singing sweetly again after a few days of attention on the slab armed with the oscilloscope and soldering iron. Having rescued this little beasty from the grave I was confronted with an empty patch memory so I set about programming up 100 new patches which resulted in a mammoth sampling session rendering over 4Gbytes of material that was auditioned in Kontakt. Having cherry picked some 70 or so of my favorites I set about looping some 870 or so samples and programming up 100 new instruments in Kontakt.
I have to say I was quite surprised by what I managed to get out of what on paper is quite a humble 1-OSC per voice polysynth. I think there are a few reasons for this – firstly I found the Six-trak to have quite a dark nature to its sound and the filters are great with the whole self oscillation thing launching it into sometimes complete instability but on other occasions rendering bells and percussive sounds aplenty. The way the VCAs are also setup permits the filter to be somewhat overdriven which adds another dimension to its sound.
Out now for £10, and requiring a full version of Kontakt 4.2.4 or higher, it’s available from the Hideaway Studio website along with a (rather fantastic) audio demo.
So your head’s been turned by Bitwig but you can’t find a controller that fits? Bitwigs Beats has released a really helpful guide to getting Livid Instrument’s Base and Bitwig Studio working like they’re natural partners. It helps that they actually are natural partners, as Bitwig Studio comes fully loaded with scripts for a range of Livid Instruments controllers. Additionally, as Base is a MIDI controller there’s nothing to stop you from then setting it up with any program of your choice that’s able to receive MIDI commands.