In this round-up, we recap the biggest and best news of February 2021, giving you a comprehensive overview of announcements, product releases and new freeware you might have missed.
- Rupert Neve, the innovator who was responsible for designing the modern mixing desk and subsequent coveted gear, passed away at 94.
- Neil Young, Bob Dylan and The Band producer Elliot Mazer died aged 79. As well as helping create the first all-digital multitrack recording system, he also developed AirCheck, which is still used today.
- Chick Corea, the Grammy-winning jazz fusion synthesist and Miles Davis keyboardist, died aged 79. He left a heartfelt message on social media to fans and aspiring musicians.
- Tracklib has partnered up with Bob James, the legendary jazz musician and the most sampled artist of all time. You can now sample 20 of his tracks without needing to go through sample clearance.
- Why are there so few female producers? Benn Jordan investigates, speaking with a variety of musicians, producers and scientists.
- Daft Punk has split up after 28 years of robot rocking. A list of their gear used in their debut album, Homework, has subsequently resurfaced online, along with an array of fan footage.
- Spotify has announced that lossless streaming will be coming to the service later this year, competing with Tidal and Amazon Music HD.
- A new payout model is coming to SoundCloud, whereby fans will be able to pay aritsts directly.
- The Beach Boys have sold a controlling interest in their intellectual property to Iconic Artists Group, which has its eye on introducing VR, AR, 3D and CGI experiences of the band.
- Bright Sparks, a documentary on the stories of synth pioneers, is now available for free.
- Colossus, the £20,000 synth titan, has been reissued for a fourth production run.
- Supreme has dropped a branded Akai MPC Live II in its SS21 collection. No word on price yet, but don’t expect it to come cheap.
- Novation’s Circuit Tracks is a follow-up to the acclaimed Circuit. Also, a Circuit Rhythm sampler is in the works.
- A leak on CPU Monkey showcases the power of Apple’s upcoming M1X chip. It’ll be built into 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros and possibly a new Mac Pro.
- The SSL UF8 is a new DAW controller with a premium feel and is said by the legendary audio brand to be its “obvious next step”.
- Erica Synths and Liquid Sky have unveiled the Dada Noise System II. The modular lab comprises a range of Erica’s modules and a new joystick.
- Modern Sounds debuts with Pluto, a pocket-sized digital synth that takes inspired by Buchla Music Easel and Casio synths of the 80s.
- SoundBeamer is Noveto’s solution to personal audio. The speaker beams 3D audio directly to your ears, without disturbing nearby people.
- Ableton Live 11 has launched, bringing community-requested features and new tools for production and live performance. Read our review here.
- BandLab Sounds is now equipped with a sample editor to chop up and edit sounds before you download them.
- GForce has emulated the legendary Oberheim 8-Voice. It’s an authentic reproduction with a few extra features, too.
- You can now video chat and stream audio directly from your DAW with LANDR Sessions.
- Revered audio engineer Al Schmitt has teamed up with Leapwing Audio to release his Al Schmitt Signature Plug-in, instantly giving you the Schmitt sound.
- Roland has revived the Juno-60 in software form, with an emulation now available on Roland Cloud.
- Stompenberg FX is Thomann’s new pedal testing service. You can audition the sound of effects pedals before you buy them, with the physical circuits housed in a rack pedalboard at Thomann HQ.
- Reason has introduced a new instrument, Algoritm, which a unique nine-operator approach that makes FM synthesis a little easier.
- We’ve rounded up the best free software in our monthly Freeware Guide.
- See all the best sample packs of the month in our Sample Pack Guide.
- Tracktion updates its free Waveform DAW with a host of workflow improvements.