MusicTech.net http://www.musictech.net The World's Best Music Technology Website Thu, 28 Jul 2016 21:39:02 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 The New Issue of MusicTech Is On Sale Now http://www.musictech.net/2016/07/musictech-magazine-161/ Wed, 27 Jul 2016 08:00:22 +0000 http://www.musictech.net/?p=43301 MusicTech Magazine Issue 161
The new issue of MusicTech Magazine is on sale Thursday 28th July and this month we’ve got a mobile focused issue! In our cover feature we bring you the very best apps and gear for your mobile production setup, plus our exclusive review of Reason 9, tutorials covering Logic, Songwriting in Cubase and Ableton Live. […]

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MusicTech Magazine Issue 161

The new issue of MusicTech Magazine is on sale Thursday 28th July and this month we’ve got a mobile focused issue! In our cover feature we bring you the very best apps and gear for your mobile production setup, plus our exclusive review of Reason 9, tutorials covering Logic, Songwriting in Cubase and Ableton Live. We also bring you 6 of the best software instruments and reviews of Thermionic’s The Swift, iZotope’s DDLY the ROLI Seaboard RISE 49 and much more, including two whopping DVDs…


MusicTech 161

This Month’s MusicTech Magazine Includes

  • Go Mobile Now! – The very best apps and gear you’ll need for iOS music production heaven
  • Back To The Future – The EMI REDD Series –  We look back  at a legendary piece of studio hardware
  • Highasakite – In the studio with the Norwegian Indie-rockers
  • Industry Guru – Point Blank – We chat with one of the most prestigious music making
  • 6 Of The Best – Software Instruments – 6 of our favourite software instruments reviewed in recent months
  • Tutorials – This month we have tutorials covering Live in depth, Logic’s compressor and part 3 of our songwriting series using Cubase
  • Reviews – This issue we review Reason 9, Thermionic’s The Swift, Wave DNA Liquid Music for Live, iZotope DDLY, AKG K Series and more…
  • DVD’s – We’ve got two jam-packed DVD’s this month, our normal, sample and loops packed DVD features raw techno, DNB, Hip-Hop and more while our bonus Ultimate Samples Collection features over 1500 loops and samples in a range of genres



Buy Online From The Anthem Store Here

  

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Yamaha Reveals Re-Launched MX Synthesisers http://www.musictech.net/2016/07/yamaha-mx-synthesisers/ Fri, 22 Jul 2016 11:18:17 +0000 http://www.musictech.net/?p=43308
Yamaha have just unveiled their re-launched MX synthesiser range, these new models for stage and studio feature a FM synthesis app and vibrant new colours. We’ll have the review soon! Read on for more info… Press Release Yamaha re-launches MX synthesizers: New models for stage & studio featuring FM synthesis app & fresh new colours […]

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Yamaha have just unveiled their re-launched MX synthesiser range, these new models for stage and studio feature a FM synthesis app and vibrant new colours. We’ll have the review soon! Read on for more info…





Press Release
Yamaha re-launches MX synthesizers: New models for stage & studio featuring FM synthesis app & fresh new colours

Rellingen, 21, July 2016 – Fresh colours and phat FM sounds: Yamaha presents the all-new MX series ultraportable synthesizers with new functions and designs. The two models with 49 or 61 full size keys are connected via USB for plug & play with PC, Mac or iPad. When hooked up to the new FM Essential iOS App, each model features 256 FM sounds, produced by an FM engine with four operators and ten voices.

In combination with the integrated AWM2 engine, which delivers 1000 preset sounds, MX49 and MX61 deliver top performances on stage – and in the studio. On stage, both models impress with the core features of the legendary MOTIF series. In the home studio, they offer dedicated master-keyboard functions including DAW controller features and an integrated audio interface. Adding fresh colours, the MX series is now available in stylish blue and classic black. In addition, there’s also a strictly limited spectacular white design available.

Lightweight synthesizer in three stylish colours

With the new models of the MX series, Yamaha presents a new generation of ultra- portable synthesizers. With a weight of 3.8 kg, the MX49 is a real lightweight, and even its bigger brother MX61 weighs in at only 4.8 kg. Not only great for the stage, – but also easy to carry to every rehearsal (in a perfectly fitted gig-bag available – as an option). With their striking colours, the new MX models are in the spotlight of every performance.

Direct connection to the brand-new FM Essential iOS app





Each model of the all-new MX series offers a direct connection to mobile devices like smartphones or tablets. These platforms can be a tremendous addition: With the FM essential app for iOS, all MX instruments can be extended by an FM synthesizer with four operators and ten voices. For this the iPad and the MX model have to be connected with the Apple lightning USB adaptor cable (which is available separately ) – and within the blink of an eye the MX offers classic 80s sounds as well as cutting- edge modern EDM.

On stage: 1000 MOTIF sounds for all music genres

It may be light in weight, but the MX series is heavy duty when it comes to performance: A complete MOTIF engine with 1000 sounds and 128 voice polyphony is at the heart of every model. From authentic sounds like acoustic piano, e-piano, strings and drums to complex synth and electronic sounds with eight elements, the MX offers the most famous MOTIF sounds.
In the studio: master-keyboard functions and integrated audio interface

In the home studio, MX synthesizers turn into comprehensive master-keyboards with integrated audio interface. The important functions of a sequencer like SteinbergTM Cubase® are directly controllable through dedicated DAW controller knobs and buttons. Even VST plug-ins are right at your fingertips. The MX synthesizers are connected to PC or Mac via USB. Thanks to the class compliant technology there’s no driver needed – the MX model will be detected and installed automatically by the computers operating system.





A Complete Suite of Music Production Software Included

The MX series are not just hardware synths – thanks to the bundled software they become a complete music production solution. The included Steinberg Cubase AI features 48 audio tracks and 64 MIDI tracks, notation, built-in VST effects, so with just the MX and AI you can do complete productions. But it doesn’t stop there; MX is also bundled with Steinberg Prologue and the Yamaha YC-3B organ emulator so you have some compelling VSTs to get started.

Plus there are Remote Template editors for setting up controls of VSTs.

For music makers on the go, MX series offer the iPad music production App, “Cubasis LE”. By simply downloading the App and connecting an MX to the iOS device, you can unlock the feature
set of Cubasis LE.

Availability
The all-new Yamaha MX series with its models MX49 and MX61 is available from July 2016. The limited edition white model will hit the stores a little later in October of 2016.
To find out more about the new MX Synthesizers please visit uk.yamaha.com

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Point Blank Ableton Live Deconstruction @ SONAR+D 2016: ‘Blue Monday’ http://www.musictech.net/2016/07/point-blank-blue-monday-ableton/ Thu, 21 Jul 2016 14:46:37 +0000 http://www.musictech.net/?p=43297 Blue Monday
Watch Point Blank’s Ski Oakenfull deconstruct one of the most iconic songs of all time at Sonar +D… Blue Monday is one of the most iconic songs of all times. Bridging the disco era with what became a house and techno explosion in the UK, New Order created a timeless classic that’s still referenced today […]

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Blue Monday

Watch Point Blank’s Ski Oakenfull deconstruct one of the most iconic songs of all time at Sonar +D…




Blue Monday is one of the most iconic songs of all times. Bridging the disco era with what became a house and techno explosion in the UK, New Order created a timeless classic that’s still referenced today as one of the most influential tracks of all time by artists and listeners alike. Last month New Order headlined SONAR festival in Barcelona and when Point Blank were asked to take part in SONAR+D – the educational arm of the famous festival – it was a no-brainer for Lead Course Developer Ski Oakenfull to take on the classic track in one of their world-famous deconstructions. Watch the video and as a special treat you can also download the project used by Ski once you register with Point Blank.

Hungry to make it as the next big-name producer? Point Blank’s courses in London, Los Angeles and Online cover sound design, production, mixing, mastering, composition and much more. With alumni including Claude VonStroke, Plastician and Jon Rundell you know you’re in safe hands. Find out more here.



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Propellerhead Reason 9 Review – Part Two http://www.musictech.net/2016/07/propellerhead-reason-9-review-two/ Thu, 21 Jul 2016 14:09:59 +0000 http://www.musictech.net/?p=43278
In the second part of our huge Propellerhead Reason 9 review, Matthew Mann presents a step by step guide to pitch editing and concludes with his verdict… Step by Step – Pitch Editing 1:  Select your audio to work with. Either double-click the audio track or click the Pitch Edit button in the toolbar. 2: […]

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In the second part of our huge Propellerhead Reason 9 review, Matthew Mann presents a step by step guide to pitch editing and concludes with his verdict…

Step by Step – Pitch Editing



Propellerhead

1:  Select your audio to work with. Either double-click the audio track or click the Pitch Edit button in the toolbar.



Reason 9

2: For those of you familiar with Melodyne, this will look very familiar. For those of you who are new to the world of pitch editing, the blue blobs are words and phrases with a detectable pitch. The grey blobs have no detectable pitch. These are typically sliding notes. The white dots (nodes) above each note are Drift Handles. The blue nodes are Transition Handles. The Drift and Transition Handles only appear when you have selected a note or notes.



Reason 9 Step-by-Step

3: There are a couple of different ways to adjust the pitch of your audio. One is to click on the ‘Correct’ button in the Pitch section to the left of your audio. The other is to grab one of the blobs with your cursor and drag it up or down. How much the blob moves depends on the settings in the Transpose section to the left of your audio. You can choose Snap, Jump or Fine.



Reason 9

4: Use the Drift node to adjust the natural pitch drift/vibrato present in the selected note. You can add more or reduce it completely. Use the Transition node to adjust the time it takes for pitch transitions between notes.



Reason 9 Bounce

5: Once you’re happy with your newly pitch-corrected audio, I’d recommend Bounce Clip to New Recording, to free up resources

What’s up, my pitches?

Of course, one thing you might have noticed above is the Pitch Edit button. Yes, one of the most exciting additions to Reason 9 is pitch editing. I was very excited by this, as I’ve always had to do any pitch editing with Melodyne in my other (DAW). That’s fine if I’m working in my other DAW; but if I’m working in Reason, it’s a real workflow killer.

Now, with their new pitch edit mode, you can choose to edit your audio directly in Reason. This feature does not work with polyphonic material, but it does work in mono… and it works pretty well, too. So, it’s great for adjusting dodgy vocals – which I have – so I do end up using it a lot!

And Finally (almost)

I know I haven’t mentioned everything new in Reason 9 – there are so many enhancements, improvements and additions, that it’s easy to miss one or two. So before I conclude our time together, let’s try and get some in. For each different type of audio clip in R9 (Single Take clip set to Vocal Stretch type, Single Take clip set to Allround or Melody Stretch type, and Comp Mode clip), there are new icons in the lower right corner of the clip.

This makes it easier to identify what’s what. Also the Razor tool, until now, could not split notes – it does now; zooming with a scroll wheel now centres on the mouse pointer; the left pane in Edit modes shows the colour of the edited track; the ElectroMechanical and RDK Vintage Mono ReFills are now included in the Factory Soundbank; Softube amp emulations have completely replaced the Line 6 amps and are now embedded in Reason 9; there’s a ReFill with over 1,000 new patches and some of the best patches from previous versions of Reason in the browser – it’s called Reason 9 Sounds; Reason 9 now includes Pulsar, Propellerhead’s dual- channel LFO Rack Extension – we used to have to pay $49 in the online shop to get it; finally, there’s an icon in the Transport Bar that allows you to drop your track to Allihoopa to share it with others – it’s free to sign up.


Propellerhead Reason 9 Review


One thing I noticed – and I’m not entirely certain that it’s exclusive in Reason 9 – is the ability to drag the Browser pane on the left all the way to the left, so that all you see are tiny icons of your device types, ReFills, folders and favorites. You could only show or hide them before, but now you can have a tiny quick-reference list of mini icons. It’s very handy to have there.

Reason 9: The Bottom Line

This is, by far, the biggest upgrade to Reason in a long time. I’d have to say that I am blown away. Although there are no new instruments, per se, and no new effects processors, the
MIDI Devices and the workflow enhancements have changed the game completely for Reason users.

Propellerhead has managed to pack in so many things that people want and need that I think this will bring a whole new wave of producers into the Reason fold. Not only is Reason 9 serious competition against some of the other DAW makers, Propellerhead has managed to keep it affordable – even with the fantastic workflow and creativity enhancements. If I wore a hat, I would certainly be taking it off to the boys (and girls) at the company.


Reason 9 Reviewed


I do wish they would consider a few more themes and, possibly, more MIDI devices. It seems this has started something that could make Reason the only real competition with Cubase and Logic in terms of strong MIDI capabilities – I think it’s reasonable to hope for more of the same in the future.

And adding all these great features without killing my resource meter is pure witchcraft. I’m re-establishing my love affair with Reason, and I strongly recommend v9 to anyone getting into electronic music production or for those thinking about making the switch to a DAW meant for sampling, synthesis, MIDI, electronic music production and rock-solid stability


Reason 9 Verdict

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Korg Volca FM Review http://www.musictech.net/2016/07/korg-volca-fm-review/ Thu, 21 Jul 2016 11:49:33 +0000 http://www.musictech.net/?p=43266
With the original Volca range Korg was right there at the peak of the revival of analogue synthesis. With the Volca FM it’s a different story altogether. Andy Jones looks at the company’s latest mobile synth and unearths some surprises, one being the Holy Grail of synthesis: easy FM…   Details Price £129 Contact Korg 01908 304600 […]

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With the original Volca range Korg was right there at the peak of the revival of analogue synthesis. With the Volca FM it’s a different story altogether. Andy Jones looks at the company’s latest mobile synth and unearths some surprises, one being the Holy Grail of synthesis: easy FM…


KORG Volca FM


MusicTech Award MusicTech Value Award

Details
Price £129
Contact Korg 01908 304600
Web www.korg.co.uk


Korg Button

It’s fair to say that with the original Volca range back in 2013, Korg was right there at the analogue cutting edge – wittingly or not – at the right place at the right time. I remember it was my first year back on a music technology magazine after being away for a while and felt like it was 25 years previous: a new Novation BassStation, a new Nord Lead (OK, that’s virtual analogue) and new and relatively cheap analogue gear – something all of the big guns in music gear production had said could never happen ever again.

Yet there was Korg with three Volca synths that recreated all of the fun of analogue, much of the sound (albeit from a small speaker), the playability and tweakability, and in boxes that cost a shade over a hundred quid each.

We loved these Beats, Keys and Bass units– still do in fact – and Korg later added Volca Sample which I looked at in early 2015. That is a more digital affair offering sampling as its raison d’etre and very good it is too.

We said ‘there’s more creativity to be had here than on the other Volcas (and especially with the other Volcas) and we like the nod back to happier, simpler sampling times, as under those limitations creativity blossomed!’ So to Volca FM and the move away from analogue continues, albeit differently…

Easy FM?

As with the Yamaha reface DX keyboard that I reviewed in October last year, Korg is promising a kind of easy FM (Frequency Modulation) synthesis with Volca FM. I say easy but what I mean is easier than the notoriously difficult-to-get-your-head-around synthesis employed on the DX7, surely the most famous FM synth of all time. It was a keyboard that had millions of fans but only a few (notably Brian Eno) could get to the bottom of it. Volca FM (like reface DX) tries to bring FM to the masses.

So FM is based on a fundamental waveform modulated by other waveforms to produce sounds. Both types are generated by operators; the fundamental by a ‘carrier’ operator, the modulating ones by ‘modulators’. Volca FM has six of these with up to 32 combinations (algorithms).

The beauty is that the front panel features the main parameters for these as controls including Envelope Generators. So you get Attack and Decay controls each for modulator and carrier; plus LFO Rate and Depth; together with an ‘Algrtm’ (algorithm select) rotary. As we shall see, these pretty much make Voca FM an incredible sound generating and performance tool, but before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s run through what else is on offer.


KORG Volva FM Connected

Other Features

There are 16 gold keys that not only function as playable keys but also memory locations for sequences; plus they also give you access to other parameters like Voice Modes (Poly, Unison, Mon etc); tempo variants; metronome controls; and finally parameters for the Motion Sequencer.

The standard sequences are played by pressing the main Play button on the middle right of the fascia and then step through them with the Memory button. Recording onto them is as easy as hitting the Record button and playing along in time; erasing data as easy as clearing per step, all data or clearing during playback.

It’s very easy to get going by editing the ones shipped with the unit but far more fun creating them from scratch or changing the sounds of those chosen with each sequence.

On to the Motion Sequencer, and it has been a Korg staple in its range of Electribes for 15 years and allows you to record knob and button presses and turns.. While fully featured, it is surprisingly simple to use, and offers great ways to vary sequences, with a ‘Smooth’ option to keep changes a little less jagged.

In Use

It’s actually the Motion Sequencer and the main controls that I mentioned – for controlling the stand-out FM parameters – that combine to make Volca FM so creative. With analogue synthesis you’ll know that the frequency and resonance controls will give you all of the impressive drama. Here, though, any number of controls will give you almost as dramatic – albeit less predictable – results, and it is so easy to change one of the presets to get super creative very quickly.

And on to the core sounds, I’d better quickly describe them before I change them too much! Anyone familiar with FM will be at home here, although there is more to it than that before anyone who doesn’t want to be transported back to 1987 starts running for the hills.

There are plenty of fast attack keyboard sounds, organs aplenty and pianos; more than enough strings and pads; guitars and basses; plus lots of, you’ve guessed it, other bells and whistles. OK oh so FM so far and an initial play might under whelm you but wait! Firstly make sure you link Volca FM up to your proper studio speakers to get the best from it as the on-board speaker doesn’t do it justice. Secondly it’s not really the sounds you start with that make Volca FM so cool; it’s what you end up doing with them.


KORG Volca Top Down


As I’ve said, the Motion Sequencer will take you quickly into an experimental area – just switch between the algorithms as your sequence plays and you’ll have a Radiohead album on your hands. But even just sliding the Velocity fader will give you different results and, more dramatically, switching on the arpeggiator and moving a few controls in real time gets you something way away from the original sound.

I’ve rarely experienced anything quite like it: where the original presets are perhaps a little uninspiring but that doesn’t matter as they can be altered so quickly and easily. It’s what you can do with them that counts and Volca FM – especially switching between 32 algorithms – suddenly shows you what FM synthesis is all about. Sure you still might not understand it, but you’ll make some great sounds with it very quickly!

Before concluding there is just space to cover some other features. You can chain Volca FMs together with others, as before; you can use (probably will use) an optional PSU (you can buy one from Korg UK for £14.89); and there’s a useful parameter list card that shows you how to access numerous other FM parameters if you want to dig deeper. Finally Volca FM is 100% compatible with original DX7 patches – of which there are 1000s available – via plug-ins like MIDIOX, DEXED and NI’s FM7 which really opens the unit up so some incredible synth history.

Alternatives

I’ve already mentioned other gadgets and keyboards that offer a similar ethos to Volca FM in the main text but none of them really match it, nor do everything you get within this unit. The Teenage Engineering PO series offer beats, bass, arcade noises and a lot more over six entertaining units and are silly money, if a little flimsy. The Yamaha reface DX also offers a little less FM power but within a more standard keyboard set-up and I liked it a lot when I reviewed it. Then, of course, there is the rest of the Volca range.





The original three offer the best of analogue or Sample which gives you your own sounds back at you. I’d still say FM does a bit more sonically though. Besides, so much else will do ‘analogue’ so it’s nice to hear something a little bit different in an FM stylee.

Conclusion

The negatives – such as they are – from the original Volcas still largely apply: battery numbers, small speaker, plastic feel and small-ish controls, but so do the positives. Volca FM is surprisingly sturdy and compact, it sounds great and is eminently tweakable. Yet the biggest surprise is that the shift away from analogue has helped rather than hindered the unit.

Since the originals, the world has gone Eurorack crazy for its analogue fix, so perhaps is moving away from ‘cheap’ to ‘bespoke’, perhaps leaving the original trio a little high and dry for some. So FM moves the Volca ethos forward to great effect, reigniting the concept for an altogether different sonic platform and perhaps a different set of users. Along the way it demos that it’s not just analogue that will get you impressive real-time – suddenly you can do it with FM too, and for silly money. I didn’t expect to be quite so blown away by another Volca but three years on this is arguably the best of the five in the range





Key Features
● 3-voice FM synth
● 32 programs
● 6 operators, 32 algorithms
● 16 part sequencer
● Pattern chain up to 256 parts
● Arpeggiator: 9 types
● Voice modes: Poly, Mono, Unison
● Connections: Headphone out, Sync in and out (3.5mm jacks)
● Effects: chorus
● Power: 6xAA alkaline batteries (supplied); or AC adapter (DC 9V) (optional)
● Bat life: 10 hours
● Weight (kg): 0.36
● Dimensions
(w x h x d):
193 x 4 x 115

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Win! One of Three Audient iD4 Interfaces http://www.musictech.net/2016/07/win-audient-id4/ Fri, 15 Jul 2016 13:38:22 +0000 http://www.musictech.net/?p=43257 Audient
In our brand new competition we’re offering you the chance to win Audient’s brand new High Performance Audio Interface iD4 – We have three to give away… The iD4 is the latest bus-powered audio interface aimed at singer-songwriters and mobile recordists. The interface boasts a plethora of features. Those features include the brand-specific console mic […]

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Audient

In our brand new competition we’re offering you the chance to win Audient’s brand new High Performance Audio Interface iD4 – We have three to give away…


Audient

The iD4 is the latest bus-powered audio interface aimed at singer-songwriters and mobile recordists. The interface boasts a plethora of features. Those features include the brand-specific console mic pre, AD converters, dual headphone outputs and Audient’s scroll wheel technology. It’s a box packed with all you need to get yourself recording quickly.

All you need to do is simply enter your email address into the competition list signup below and you could be upgrading your setup before you know it!

The competition will run between July 15th – August 15th

Enter Your Details Below

* indicates required




NB: All information entered into this comp will be shared with our trusted partner Audient.

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The Roland Juno Series – Back To The Future http://www.musictech.net/2016/07/roland-juno-series/ Fri, 15 Jul 2016 10:11:42 +0000 http://www.musictech.net/?p=43249
Back in the early 80s, synths were still an expensive business. Then Roland came along with the legendary Roland Juno Series. Dave Gale powers one up, with fond affection… In my youthful years (the summer of 1982 to be precise and now a somewhat distant memory), I managed to pick up a catalogue by Roland, […]

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Back in the early 80s, synths were still an expensive business. Then Roland came along with the legendary Roland Juno Series. Dave Gale powers one up, with fond affection…


Roland Juno Series


In my youthful years (the summer of 1982 to be precise and now a somewhat distant memory), I managed to pick up a catalogue by Roland, and would scan the pages from cover to cover, as I listened to the bands of the day, with ever-growing envy. Having moved past the pages containing the completely unaffordable Roland products (the like of which appear to be less affordable, even today), I stumbled across the Juno 6, firmly residing in the more affordable section of the catalogue.

Around the same time, I attended a music holiday course, run by a teacher friend of mine, and as I arrived, I saw a Juno 6 in the flesh, in all its glory – and what’s more, the offer of taking it home at the end of the course, for the remainder of the school holiday. This turned out to be a very formative time for me; think pre-internet, when it was rather more difficult to get relevant information about such things.

Despite this, within a day or two I had the Juno 6 covered, and this was not because I was some form of synth whizz kid, but largely due to the spectacular simplicity of the layout and design… which in no way diminished the raw power available.

So let’s start at the beginning of the signal path, with a DCO (Digitally Controlled Oscillator). “Why a DCO?” I hear the analogue aficionados cry. Well, it’s not really a DCO in the traditional sense of being a true digital oscillator. It was, in fact, very analogue, and thanks to developments in the technology, it was really a VCO which was very firmly under digital control, but nonetheless the Roland fascia described it as a DCO. The plus side of this was that the tuning was incredibly stable. All six voices would stay firmly in tune, and then there was the sound!

Three press-button switches would activate Saw Tooth, Square Wave and the Square Sub Oscillator, the latter having its own dedicated long-throw fader. Obviously, as an inexperienced teenager, the only thing to do was push all three buttons down and make it sound as huge as possible – some might say ‘phat’, but I’m pretty sure that word hadn’t been invented by then (in fact, it might have been the Juno that brought this word into being).

This was also in no small part due to the addition of two chorus types, available at the end of the signal chain, which would beef up the single-oscillator-per-voice architecture. No surprise, then, that the reputation for beautiful string timbre is so legendary amongst Juno owners.

The New Kids on the Block

It would be impossible to talk about all of these wonderful vintage Junos without mentioning the new kids, in the shape of the Roland Boutique range. While these were a limited run, all three machines (based on the Jupiter 8, Juno 106 and JX3P) have been met with great acclaim, shadowed only by the form factor and size of faders.

However, if you do have a vintage 6 or 60, the clever guys at tubbutec.de have an excellent retrofit which can be applied, to turn your old machine into a Juno 66. I recently saw this in action at the Superbooth16 event, and was delighted and surprised at the additional functionality which this could offer, which included MIDI, onboard sequencer, mono/poly modes, more LFO modes, and lots more. Definitely something to consider if you want to give your Juno 6 or 60 a new lease of life.


Roland Juno Series in Focus

The hugely helpful addition of 56 programmable patches opened up the Juno 60 for the gigging generation

Next Stop, The Roland Juno Series ‘ Filters and Gates…

And so the signal path continues, as is so clearly laid out on the beautiful front fascia, in the direction of the filter, or two filters to be precise. Not content with offering a single 24dB low pass filter, Roland also included a high pass filter, which was to be exceptionally useful for resonant bell tones and HPF bass sounds. The LPF was not the most violent of filters, with quite a distinctive and pleasant timbre, but would self-oscillate if pushed, which is always a useful trick to have up your sleeve.

We move to the envelope section, which consisted of a single ADSR envelope, with the option to send the amplitude (VCA) to a gate; a simple affair, literally akin to a light switch – on and off. The ADSR was punchy, with reasonably long tails of around seven seconds on the decay and release phases, which proved incredibly smooth, if pointed in the direction of the filter. Also available was the Low Frequency Oscillator section, with both manual and automatic assignment, and here I have to mention my favoured layout of manual LFO triggers. The pitch lever resides firmly left of the keyboard, with the glorious white and chunky LFO trigger right next to it.

Beautifully ergonomic, with the sort of positive response that every synth player yearns for. I was saddened when the design was replaced by the forward-tilting pitch lever design that came later in Roland’s product design, and the Juno 106.


Roland Juno 6



Striking Tones


Of course, having forked out the reasonable amount for the Juno, the chances are you might have a sequencer on the agenda. Regrettably, this wasn’t much of a prospect for the Juno 6, due to its lack of data connectivity (MIDI was still a glimmer in Dave Smith’s eye), but the one thing that was included was an arpeggiator, and oh my, the fun you could have with that. It went up, down and both. The octave-jump basslines that I could play with one finger, leaving the heavy duties to the Juno, would allow for hours of escapism, but then they were very different times.

What’s curious about the Juno 6 is that it was very quickly joined by the Juno 60, some six months later. It was largely identical in design, but with a few additions which made the 60 so much more desirable. This ‘call to arms’ by Roland was in no small part thanks to the appearance of keyboards from other companies, offering functionality that the Juno 6 didn’t have. So the Juno 60 added a nice bank of 56 programmable memories in non-volatile RAM, which would be vital for any gigging keyboard player.

While the experimentation of a memoryless keyboard was wonderful for studio use, it rather left the Juno 6 behind. The other huge selling point for the 60 was the addition of Roland’s very own Digital Communication Bus (DCB), which immediately gave connectivity to other devices with the same protocol. Admittedly, this was only to other Roland products, but sequencers and interfaces also appeared with this protocol, giving the option to record in a MIDI-like fashion.

The reign of the Juno 6 ran until 1984, while the Juno 60 ran on a shade longer, until the Juno 106 made a huge entrance to the market, in 1985. Armed with another new protocol called MIDI (and ditching DCB), the 106 would be a huge hit with anyone wishing to take advantage of this new-fangled socket. But the biggest and saddest news from my perspective was the disappearance of the arpeggiator, but the appearance of portamento. Don’t get me wrong, I love a bit of gliding around on a polysynth, but my fondness for the arpeggiator is such that in my view, it was removed at just the wrong point. Clocking the arpeggiator via MIDI would have been a very useful thing indeed, and I think Roland missed a trick here.


Roland Juno


I have to also mention that the 106 got a major restyling. While the fascia remained very similar, with a slight lightening of colour, the faux-wooden end cheeks were replaced by sleek plastic wedges. Roland, as anyone from that era knows, ‘designed the future’, and clearly the plastic wedges were very ‘tail end 80s’ in design.

While the architecture of the 106 was largely the same, for many, the 106 didn’t sound quite as nice as the 6 or 60. Clearly, this is all down to personal preference, and the 106 is not exactly lacking. There was an upping of memory locations to a whopping 128, so as with all progress, there are swings and roundabouts. The MIDI was, of course, the big selling point, albeit in an early and basic incarnation, but it works well, as long as you don’t expect too much additional functionality.


The Vintage Alternatives


Back in the day, the main competitor to the Juno came from Korg, who were offering a similar machine called the Polysix. Not surprisingly, the Polysix offered a very similar architecture; however, the oscillators were deemed preferable by many.

Korg sneakily also introduced a price drop, during the reign of the Juno, putting Roland under pressure to do the same. Many believe that the Juno 60’s swift appearance on the coat tails of the 6 was largely down to this price-drop pressure, so in many respects, the Korg is the absolute contender if looking for a vintage poly at the lower end of the price bracket.

However, if you feel you simply must have a vintage 106, but don’t feel that your budget can extend that far, consider the HS-60, which was produced as a ‘domestic’ version. It has a sloping panel and inbuilt speakers, and is identical to the 106 except for the lack of Pitch/Mod lever which was removed. It’s practically all of the 106, but normally for far less cash.

The Final Legacy

My affection for the Juno is long lasting and well grounded, so much so that, despite the appearance of many other fantastic synths in my life, I had a yearning to purchase a 60 a few years back, and I was not disappointed. It’s so capable, and often fits the bill musically even against synths costing much more, which is largely down to the tight Japanese architecture that Roland offered back then.

The original Junos from Roland were class acts, which have deservedly sealed their place in vintage synth history. For my part, I owe them a huge debt, as they offered me the entreé I needed into the world of subtractive synthesis.

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Logic Tutorial: VCA’s, Groups and Aux Channels http://www.musictech.net/2016/07/logic-tutorial-vcas-groups-and-aux-channels/ Fri, 15 Jul 2016 09:37:26 +0000 http://www.musictech.net/?p=43220 Logic VCA
Logic’s three-tier solution to channel grouping seems complicated at first. Mark Cousins explains all – and gives you the lowdown on VCAs, Aux channels and Fader Groups One of the most confusing recent introductions to Logic Pro X has been the new VCA faders system. While the concept of VCAs on a console will be […]

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Logic VCA

Logic’s three-tier solution to channel grouping seems complicated at first. Mark Cousins explains all – and gives you the lowdown on VCAs, Aux channels and Fader Groups


Logic VCA

Point Blank

One of the most confusing recent introductions to Logic Pro X has been the new VCA faders system. While the concept of VCAs on a console will be familiar to many working engineers, their exact role and function in Logic Pro X isn’t immediately apparent. The confusion stems from the fact that VCAs are primarily used as a means of grouping related channels, a task seemingly already addressed by Aux channels and Fader Groups. So, what do VCA faders offer that the other two solutions don’t, and how best can you integrate VCA faders into your workflow?

To best understand VCAs, therefore, we’re going to take a look a the three main ways you can group related tracks in your Logic mix: Aux channels, Groups, and VCA faders. As you’ll see, although the three solutions broadly achieve the same outcome, each brings slightly different benefits into the equation. Rather than being an either/or solution, the right combinations of all three solutions are essential to creating a professional mix, especially when you’re dealing with large track counts.

Auxiliary Reserve

Probably the first solution for signal grouping in Logic is its Aux channels system – also known as bussing – or for that matter, the Track Stack feature. In essence, the Aux channels system uses Logic’s internal bussing system as a means of routing the output of one or more faders to the input of another.

You can create an Aux channel either by changing a channel’s routing output assignment, or by creating a summing Track Stack. Once routed in this way, you can then attenuate or lift the amplitude of all signals routed to that Aux channel simply by raising or lowering the fader.

Arguably the best, and most important, reason for using an Aux channel is the ability to insert additional signal processing across its input path – a submix of drums, for example, could have a compressor patched across it, or for that matter, some equalisation.

The catch, however, is if you use send effects (like reverb and delay) sent from the original channels strips. In this configuration, lowering the Aux channel leaves the reverb ‘floating’ in the mix, effectively undoing any carefully set ratios between wet and dry signals.




Group Mentality

The solution to the send effects issue, therefore, is the use of Fader Groups. With Fader Grouping, you effectively lock the relative position of two or more faders together. Once placed in the Fader Group, moving one fader will move all of those in the group at the same time, which in turn, will also adjust the level of signal being sent to reverb and delay in your mix.

Obviously, you miss out on the Aux channel’s insert path, but you do gain a slightly more elegant way of ‘locking together’ the key instrument groups in your mix.

As useful as Fader Groups are, they also have an important caveat: automation. Once you start to write automation into one or more channels in the group, it can prove tricky to then go back and change the relative balance of the ‘macro’ mix elements.

In truth, therefore, it’s best to leave automation moves until the last point of mixing – and at that point, accept that the Fader Group function might ultimately become somewhat redundant (unless, that is, you continue to write and read automation moves as part of the group).

Voltage Controlled

VCA faders, therefore, are another level of channel grouping that address both caveats of the Aux channel and Fader Group system.

Take the example of the reverb levels in the Aux channel solution, where the reverb was present in the mix even if the Aux channel was fully attenuated. With a VCA fader group, the ‘grouped’ level control is post any insert effects, but pre any send effects. Turn down the VCA fader, therefore, and the reverb and delay send will be attenuated accordingly.

Turning now to the use of Fader Groups and the use of automation, we can also see the distinct advantage of VCA faders. Again, the key is where VCA faders control the level of grouped channels – in this case, trimming the levels after the application of automation.

The point at which you apply automation therefore becomes irrelevant, as you can always trim the level at any point in the mix. Indeed, VCAs are even a great solution for a single channel (like a vocal, for example) that has a lot of automation moves, but needs a 1dB global lift in the mix.

One size fits all?

Of course, VCA faders aren’t the universal panacea to all channel-grouping requirements. Like Fader Groups, it’s impossible to apply any form of processing across the accompanying VCA master fader – so there’s no chance of any bus compression, for example.

It’s worth noting that VCA faders are largely the same as the master fader in your Logic Project, which works as a form of VCA fader on the main stereo output from Logic. In effect, VCA faders are nothing more that user-configurable master faders.





Moving back to Fader Groups, the downside would be the relatively hidden nature of the VCA system. With Fader Groups, the relative instrument levels are what you see; but with VCAs not moving the faders, channel-fader positions only become a partial indicator of the final mix levels.

So there’s still a reason to use all three systems we’ve described. We usually start using Fader Groups, both as means of controlling grouped instrument levels, but also for speedier editing across multiple regions. Aux channels come into play as you move on to mixing, especially where signals need a touch of bus compression and equalisation.

Finally, VCAs are real godsend as a mix grows in size and you need a realistic means of controlling grouped levels, especially after automation has been applied.

Group Automation

One parameter in the Group settings is the Automation Mode, which governs how Fader Groups work with automation data.

With the Automation Mode setting active, changing the Automation Mode between Read, Touch, Write and Latch on one fader will change the corresponding Automation Modes on all faders. Un- checking Automation Mode is useful where you want to write automation data across the majority of faders in a group, but maybe leave one fader untouched. In this case, change the Automation Mode of the fader you want to leave out of automation (Read is probably the best mode), while leaving the other faders in either Touch, Write or Latch.

Step By Step – Aux Channels



Logic


1: There are two ways of creating an Aux channel for a group of faders in your mix. In our example, try selecting the two channel faders for the drums and change their output assignment from Stereo Output to a Bus 1.





2: If the bus is new to the mix, Logic will create a corresponding Aux channel. You can now control the level of the drums from this single point, as well as adding additional processing via the Aux channel’s insert points.





3: An alternative solution is to use the Track Stack feature. In this example, select all the synth parts and pick the menu option Track>Create Track Stack. The end routing is the same, assuming you pick the Summing stack option.





4: To illustrate the problem with Aux channels, try creating a bus send (to Bus 3, which is currently unused) from the kick-drum channel. On the newly created Aux channel, patch an instance of Space Designer, set to a medium-length reverb.





5: With the reverb setup, try reducing the level of the Aux channel being used as the drum submix. Notice that the reverb level stays fixed, irrespective of the Aux channel’s fader position. Therefore, dropping the level makes the sound wetter.





6: To solve the floating reverb problem, you have two choices. One is to route the reverb output to the same summing bus (assuming no other channels outside the Aux channel grouping using the reverb); the other is to use a Fader Group.

Click Here To Continue


This tutorial is endorsed by Point Blank. With courses in London, online and now in LA, Point Blank is the Global Music School. You can study sound to picture on their Music Production Diploma courses, with pro industry tutors.



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Logic Tutorial: VCA’s, Groups and Aux Channels – Step-by-Step http://www.musictech.net/2016/07/logic-tutorial-vcas-step-by-step/ Fri, 15 Jul 2016 09:37:25 +0000 http://www.musictech.net/?p=43221
Mark Cousins continues his latest Logic tutorial with a step by step guide to using fader guides and VCA faders… Fader Groups 1: You can place faders into a Fader Group using the Group Assignment slot in the mixer. Done in this way, you can attenuate the channels and have the reverb level reduced at […]

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Mark Cousins continues his latest Logic tutorial with a step by step guide to using fader guides and VCA faders…

Fader Groups






1: You can place faders into a Fader Group using the Group Assignment slot in the mixer. Done in this way, you can attenuate the channels and have the reverb level reduced at the same time – in effect, the faders are locked together.





2: Fader Groups have an accompanying dialogue box (select Open Group Settings… from the drop-down assignment menu), which lets you access several additional parts of the Fader Group’s functionality, including the option to name the group.










4: Grouping is also handy for editing recordings made with multiple mic channels, like a drum kit, for example. Enable Editing (Selection) in the Group Settings, and any edits made on one region will be transferred to others in the group.





5: If you’re using Fader Groups, remember the keyboard shortcut Shift+G, which works a ‘group clutch’ key turning the grouping functionality on and off as appropriate. You can also find the clutch functionality in the Group Settings window.





6: The clutch functionality is useful when you’re using automation. Toggling the groups lets you move individual channels, or write in automation moves across a whole group of faders. Post automation, though, adjusting the ‘grouped’ levels can be tricky.

VCA Faders






1: The VCA assignment slot is found towards the bottom of a channel fader (check View>Channel Strip Components, if you can’t see it). Simply select the channels and assign them a VCA, just as you would a Fader Group.





2: The VCA masters are found on the right-hand side of the mixer. They work in a similar way to the Master fader – so there are no Insert effects, but you do get a level control, as well as solo and mute.





3: The VCA controls the channel’s signal levels post insert processing (as shown on the individual channel meters), but pre any form of FX/bus sends. This means the relative reverb levels remain intact as you raise or lower the VCA fader.





4: Another important note about VCAs is that they adjust signal levels post automation, providing an important means of level adjustment, even if you’ve written in fader moves previously. So you might therefore even use a VCA on a single channel.





5: If you want to dynamically alter VCA balance in the mix, consider the use of automation on the VCA channels. To automate the VCA channel, place it in Touch mode and Logic will create a new accompanying track lane in the arrange area.





6: For a tidier mix, consider removing some of the Audio and Instr tracks, leaving just the Aux master faders and/or VCA groups. Remove the required element using the boxes in the top right-hand corner of the mixer area.

This tutorial is endorsed by Point Blank. With courses in London, online and now in LA, Point Blank is the Global Music School. You can study sound to picture on their Music Production Diploma courses, with pro industry tutors.



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Orchestral Tools Soloist Series: Nocturne Cello http://www.musictech.net/2016/07/orchestral-tools-nocturne-cello/ Fri, 15 Jul 2016 08:49:55 +0000 http://www.musictech.net/?p=43210
Is the Nocturne Cello, the latest instrument in the highly rated Orchestral Tools Soloist Series, as sweet as its name implies? Keith Gemmell plays into the night… Details Publisher Orchestral Tools Price €249 Contact via website or +49 (0) 7665 939 8678 Web orchestraltools.com Recorded at the famous Teldex Studio in Berlin, the Nocturne Cello is […]

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Is the Nocturne Cello, the latest instrument in the highly rated Orchestral Tools Soloist Series, as sweet as its name implies? Keith Gemmell plays into the night…


Orchestral Tools Soloist




Details
Publisher Orchestral Tools
Price €249
Contact via website or +49 (0) 7665 939 8678
Web orchestraltools.com




sbtb


Recorded at the famous Teldex Studio in Berlin, the Nocturne Cello is the second instrument in the Orchestral Tools’ new Soloists Series. With the focus firmly on expression, tone and realism, the performer was captured in the solo booth, as opposed to the main studio, for a more intimate, direct sound –enabling you to place the instrument in a solo context in front of the orchestra.

The instrument appears in CAPSULE, Orchestral Tools’ own articulation- management system, which in turn runs in Kontakt 5.5.1+ (the free Kontakt Player is not supported). At around 2.7GB, it’s not a hefty download, but for peace of mind, it can be supplied on a backup SSD for an extra charge.


Nocturne Cello

Cap it all

The Nocturne Cello doesn’t have a user guide, as such. However, there is one for CAPSULE (Control And Performance Symphonic Utility Engine) that serves as a ‘catch all’ for all the Orchestral Tools instruments that utilise its scripting technology.

The guide is updated each time a new collection is released and contains only specific information for that product.

Upon opening CAPSULE, you’re greeted with several patches containing sustains and legatos of varying lengths, from quarter-bars to two bars. This is a very cool feature, particularly for faster passages where shorter notes are required (just select the quarter-note lengths). They all fade beautifully at whatever length, which saves editing time, especially on the longer notes.

Tremolo, marcato, staccato, spiccato, pizzicato and trills are also represented. There’s also a Multi with 12 slots, which can be configured how you like. All the articulations can be accessed at once in the Multi view complete with keyswitches for recording onto a single track.

Most of the sustain patches have several vibrato levels: for example, romantic, progressive, without vibrato and strong vibrato. All can be assigned continuous controllers. For quieter passages, a realistic simulated con sordino can also be switched on and off.

Orchestral Tools is rightly very proud of its Adaptive Legato system, which ensures playability at all tempos. CAPSULE chooses the correct legato interval depending on the speed you play. It’s completely automatic and you can see which style is currently being used as you play, either slurred legato, agile legato or fast runs. You can also fix the style, if you wish.

There’s a second TM folder (for time stretching) and a mixer page, which has two microphone positions and reverberation; a settings page for dynamics controls and round-robin selections, plus a controller-table page for CC assignment and controller curve manipulation.


Scoring options


As mentioned above, the Nocturne Cello was recorded in the Teldex Solo Booth, to enable the instrument to shine upfront of an orchestra. However, there may be times when you might want to place the instrument into the large Teldex Scoring Stage. To that end, in the mixer there are Teldex IR controls – dry, pre-delay and wet. The default values are fine, but there’s also room for experimentation if you wish.


Alternatives


Recorded at its Silent Stage, VSL’s Solo Cello is a fine library and the standard collection contains enough articulations for basic solo compositions. Add the extended collection and you will have enough of an arsenal for all but the most esoteric offerings. With an impressive array of articulations, playing techniques and a pure sound, Emotional Cello from Best Service is rated highly for anything from film-score work to modern avant-garde cello productions.


Orchestral Tools

Do you really need this?

Violin and cello are the most commonly used orchestral instruments in a solo context and of the two, the cello is maybe the easiest to play expressively in a virtual context. Whether you need a virtual cello of this calibre depends largely on how much use it will get. For the odd solo spot, many orchestral sample libraries include a basic solo cello which will usually suffice. But for extended solos or specially written solo pieces, the Nocturne Cello is the perfect choice.


In performance


In Multi Articulation Patches, the Performance View is where you load and customise individual articulations, set your control preferences and switch between the selected articulations.

A-list cellist

The recorded samples for the Nocturne Cello were performed by Arthur Hornig, principal cellist with the Deutsche Oper Berlin. He has won countless national competitions, plays as a soloist with the top German orchestras such as the Radio Symphony Orchestra in Berlin, the Beethoven Orchestra in Bonn and many others. He also performs regularly with Trio NeuKlang, playing classical repertoire, contemporary music and crossover programmes.


Cellist



Virtual Virtuoso

Leaving the technical details behind, how does it perform? Very well, actually. The Nocturne Cello has an extended version of Orchestral Tools’ adaptive legato system and playing the instrument is remarkably fluid at all tempos, from slow, romantic, expressive lines to blisteringly fast runs.

Also, we particularly liked the implementation of a single velocity layer for all the legato articulations, which we found makes for a very smooth and expressive playing experience – although it could be a touch more aggressive for our liking. Apparently, it also reduces any phasing effects that might interfere with the instrument’s intimate sound.

When playing shorts, like staccato, the velocity sensitivity is truly excellent and trills can be performed up to a fifth without any involvement of artificial transitions, just real recordings. The instrument also has an incredibly high range, taking you well up into violin territory for a virtuoso performance.

Since its inception, Orchestral Tools has steadily developed an impressive range of products in a thorough and innovative fashion, avoiding any temptation, in the fashion of some other companies, to output an endless string of incomplete instruments with missing articulations and future promises. Perhaps its nearest rival in this respect is the Vienna Symphonic Library, another company with a well-earned reputation for producing reliable products.

This attention to detail has been carried through to the Nocturne Cello, which is a near-perfect representation of the virtual cello with a beautiful tone, that’s very fluid and easy to play. That said, however, a degree of editing will usually be necessary after the event, but then that’s par for the course with all complex virtual instruments – a virtual necessity, if you will.

There are several solo cellos around at the moment, as mentioned in our Alternatives boxout on page 93, but if you’re on the lookout for a solo cello VI which oozes expression and is easy to get to grips with, the Nocturne Cello is well worth your consideration.





Key Features
● Recorded at Teldex Solo Booth
● 14 legato performances at different speeds
● Slurred or detaché in any legato patch
● Long notes of different length
● Single dynamic layer
● Based on CAPSULE for NI Kontakt

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