Focusrite Clarett USB / USB-C Audio Interfaces

Gear
Focusrite Clarett USB / USB-C Audio Interfaces

Focusrite announced an update to their Clarett audio interface line, now offering them with USB and USB-C connectors instead of Thunderbolt which makes them usable for pretty much any computer with at least a USB 2.0 port or better. The series consists of Clarett 2Pre USB , Clarett 4Pre USB and Clarett 8Pre USB and they sport 10-in/4-out, 18-in/8-out and 18-in/20-out respectively.

The mic preamps comes with the “air” effect which promises to add “air and clarity, especially to vocals and acoustic instruments”, reproducing the the input impedance and frequency response curve of Focusrite’s original ISA mic preamp.

All three models ships with software by XLN Audio, Focusrite, Softube, Ableton and Loopmasters.

Elektron Digitone: FM Synthesizer

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Elektron Digitone: FM Synthesizer

While FM synthesis can produce incredible sounds it can also be quite a struggle to grasp as a concept (which you pretty much need for FM sound sculpting). This is something the Swedish company Elektron seem to have focused on when they created Elektron Digitone – an 8-voice, polyphonic FM synthesizer with a classic subtractive synthesis signal flow and a really interesting interface. Or as they put it, “from jagged chaos to mellow soundscapes in less than a second”.

The price tag for the Digitone is about $1,000, but it looks like it’s completely sold out at the moment.

Check out the Elektron Digitone in action here:

Elektron.se: Digitone

KORG Volca Mix: Compact Analogue Performance Mixer

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KORG Volca Mix: Compact Analogue Performance Mixer

KORG volca mix is a compact, 4 channel analogue mixer designed to go hand in hand with the volca series of gear. You get two mono inputs and one stereo (all mini jacks) along with three DC outputs, making it perfect to sync, power and control up to three volca units. Control-wise you can adjust the gain, volume, mute and hi/low pass filters on each channel as well for effects or just to balance the mix.

The master chain got a few effects as well (like expand mono to stereo and sidechain) and you can process the sound further by hooking up external effect units for each channel using the mini jack send out and aux in.

KORG.com: volca mix

Check out the KORG volca mix in action here:

808 The Movie: A TR-808 Documentary

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808 The Movie: A TR-808 Documentary

Yay, not long until 808 The Movie premiers now! On December 9th you’ll be able to watch the documentary about the iconic drum machine Roland TR-808 exclusively on Apple Music.

The TR-808 was produced between 1980 and 1983 and there were only about 12,000 units made. While it only cost $1,195 upon its release (which was way lower than say, a Linn LM-1 which would set you back about $5,000) it’ll cost you a whole lot more than that to get a hold of a second-hand one today.

The documentary goes into depth on the distinct and characteristic drum sounds we’ve all come to know and what the 808 meant for different genres of music and what it meant for artists like Pharrell Williams, Goldie, Jimmy Jam, Damon Albarn, Phil Collins, Beastie Boys and many, many more.

(Oh if you’re not the nostalgic type and don’t want to spend a fortune on an original TR-808, Roland released a new incarnation of it which will set you back way less, the Aira TR-8)

Watch the 808 The Movie trailer here:

Native Instruments Maschine Jam

DAWsGear
Native Instruments Maschine Jam

Native Instruments‘ latest addition to the Maschine family is dubbed Maschine Jam.

The main things that differs the Jam from their previous Maschine hardware controllers (Mikro/Standard/Studio) is the multicolored 8×8 click-pad matrix and the eight dual-touch strips designed to help you control scenes, groups and patterns, play around, step sequence and mix/match clips live. It’s primarily built to be used with Native Instruments’ own Maschine software but it comes bundled with Ableton Live templates as well.

According to NI themselves the Jam is aimed at people that want to get going quickly: sequencing, improvising and jamming to build up a track, prepare an arrangement or create a live performance.

Besides the controller and Maschine software you get 29GB of sounds, Native Instruments’ Perform FX (designed for the Jam but will work with other Maschine controllers) as well as Komplete 11 Select which in itself contains 11 instruments and effects (including their classic Massive synth).

The “Lock” feature seems pretty cool – basically you lock the current setup and sounds in a sandbox allowing you to tweak and test everything however you want, whenever you want to go back to the original sounds you just unlock it. Also, personally I’ve grown to like hardware controllers with touch strips instead of classic knobs – especially when controlling effects like you probably will with the Jam (just let it go to instantly remove an effect can be really handy).

Read more @ native-instruments.com (€399 / USD$423)

Watch the Maschine Jam in action here:

SSL Nucleus 2 DAW Controller

Gear
SSL Nucleus 2 DAW Controller

Solid State Logic just released a new version of their award-winning DAW controller, the Nucleus 2.

While this thing will set you back a whopping €4,249 (about USD$4,500) you get a sturdy ethernet connected DAW controller with built-in audio interface, metal chassi, studio monitoring hub, touch-sensitive motorised faders, SD-card storage, high quality jog wheel, 3-port USB hub, visual feedback via self-illuminating buttons/LEDs/level metering, second set of outputs to make it easier to compare mixes on different speakers and well.. a whole lot more.

Read more @ SolidStateLogic.com (€4,249)

Watch the Nucleus 2 in action here:

Wireless Controllers from Akai: LPD8 and LPK25

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Wireless Controllers from Akai: LPD8 and LPK25

Akai announced that they’ve updated their highly portable controllers LPD8 and LPK25 to wireless versions.

The LPD8 Wireless still sports eight pads and knobs but now comes with a full-level function that removes the velocity sensitivity if so wanted. The LPK25 Wireless keyboard now looks a little bit sturdier than before but comes with a sustain pedal input. For those of you who didn’t like the previous brown/orange-ish color scheme (me included) both of ’em now only use red/black too.

Both the LPD8 and LPK25 will be Mac, iOS and Windows friendly through USB and Bluetooth and will start shipping in December for £70 each (~USD$78)

Read more: Akai.com: LPD8 Wireless
Read more: Akai.com: LPK25 Wireless

Arturia updates the MiniLab to Mk II

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Arturia updates the MiniLab to Mk II

Arturia has updated their MiniLab to MiniLab Mk II, an affortable, portable two-actave controller featuring 25 slim and velocity sensitive keys, eight RGB backlit pads, 16 rotary knobs and a whole lot of software to go along with it. The upgrade from the previous version is focused on an improvement of the internal components, the controller knobs, the keybed and the outer casing.

The responsive touchstrip mod wheel and pitch bend are now located above the keys instead of left of it (which saves some space) and you have dedicated buttons for octave  shifting.

As for software you get Ableton Live Lite for the production needs, Analog Lab Lite (vintage keyboards) for electronic sounds as well as UVI Grand Piano Model D which emulates a Steinway Model D piano. Owners of the MiniLab Mk II gets exclusive deals on upgrading to the bigger software packages too (like Analog Lab 2 and V Collection 5).

The MiniLab Mk II is currently priced at USD$119 (€99).

arturia_minilab_mkii_2

See the demo here:

Read more @ Arturia.com