Archive for huhtikuu, 2013

huhtikuu 24, 2013

Musikmesse 2013 – Novation Bass Station II

Bass-Station-II-Top

Uusi Novation Bass Station II on täysin uudistettu versio firman legendaarisesta Bass Stationista.

Bass Station II on ohjelmoitava monofoninen analogisyna kahden oktaavin koskettimistolla. Synalla on kolme oskilaattoria (valittavilla aaltomuodoilla), sekä kohinageneraattori. Soundien muokkausta varten on tarjolla kaksi LFO:ta, kaksi filtteriä (Classic ja uusi Acid), kehämodulaattori, sekä sisäänrakennettu särö.

Bass Station II:een on tallennettuna 64 tehdaspatcheja, ja se tarjoaa saman verran tilaa omille luomuksille.

Takapaneelista löytyy mm. MIDI-liittimet, sekä USB-portti.

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Lisätiedot: Soundtools

Novation Bass Station II

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Mainokset
huhtikuu 23, 2013

Review: Arturia MiniBrute

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These days many keyboarders carry their whole set-up around with them in their laptops or iPads, which has led to – possibly premature – rumours of the hardware synth’s impending demise.

Against this backdrop Arturia’s recent moves make for a refreshing (and brave) change – the French company decided to develop an affordable, lightweight and completely analogue monophonic synth. Its name is: Arturia MiniBrute.

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The Arturia MiniBrute constitutes a conscious attempt to get back to the very beginnings of the synthesizer, when the new instrument’s raison d’être lay in experimentation and the exploration of new sounds.

In more recent years some of the focus has (regrettably) shifted towards the use of factory presets, as well as the imitation/recreation of the sounds of traditional musical instruments.

The MiniBrute brings us back to Square One, in a way, and forces us to remember the basics of analogue subtractive synthesis, bringing back a ”real” synth’s real-time control and interactivity.

The Arturia comes across as reasonably sturdy: The synth’s main body is made from folded aluminium, with fat rubber-like sides cushioning the occasional knock or two.

The MiniBrute comes with a full-size two-octave keyboard, with a very traditional non-weighted touch. One modern touch is the Arturia’s ability to sense aftertouch, which can be used in this synth to control a note’s vibrato or filter cutoff.

Even though the MiniBrute itself doesn’t respond to velocity changes, its keyboard itself is velocity-sensitive, and transmits velocity data via USB and MIDI.

Arturia have clearly invested in the quality of the MiniBrute’s knobs, sliders and switches. Everything feels very positive to the touch with just the right amount of resistance, with only our test sample’s loose feeling Envelope Amount knob marring the classy overall picture a tad.

I feel it’s quite easy to get your head around this little guy’s workings: The synth’s sound is generated by three main oscillators – saw, triangle and square – with a sub-oscillator (square or sine) and a noise generator spicing things up, when needed. Additionally you can also feed sound from an external sound source through the Arturia’s electronics.

Each oscillator has its own level slider in the oscillator mixer.

The sound generated by the main oscillators can be modified to create some not-so-old-school tones: The square wave can be pulse-width modulated for phasing-type textures, while Arturia’s own Ultrasaw- and Metalizer-modulations break up the smooth saw and triangle waves to come up with ultra-fat saw sounds and metallic triangle wave timbres, which were hard to achieve using vintage analogue synths.

But the oscillators are only where the fun begins – an analogue synth sound also needs envelopes, filters and LFOs to bring it to life.

The Arturia MiniBrute offers you two ADSR-envelopes – one for the signal amplification and one for the filter. The filter is a very tasty Steiner-Parker-design, offering you four filter types to chose from (low-pass, high-pass, band-pass and notch).

The instrument comes equipped with two LFOs: LFO1 offers six wave types, which can be used to modulate the depth of pulse modulation, the Metalizer-function, oscillator pitch, signal amplification and the filter. LFO1 can be synched to the MiniBrute’s arpeggiator, as well as run manually with the Rate knob. LFO2 is reserved solely for vibrato control, and it comes with three different wave forms.

If your sound still needs a kick up the butt, then I’d suggest using the Brute Factor -control, which is what has given this little gem of a synth its catchy name. The Brute Factor is hard to describe in words, but it seems to be some sort of feedback and distortion chain, which turns even the cutest of timbres into something mean and menacing.

The Arturia also sends your octave selections, as well as the pitch wheel and modulation wheel changes onward via USB and MIDI.

On the MiniBrute’s back panel vintage and modern live in peaceful co-existence.

The CV Gate Ins and Outs are handy for connecting pre-MIDI gear to the MiniBrute, as well as for using an external audio signal to trigger the synth.

There are separate outputs (and controls) for the Master Output and the headphones. The Audio Input is also a full-size phone jack!

Thanks to MIDI and USB the MiniBrute can easily be integrated into a up-to-date synth rig.

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I have to admit that I am quite enamoured with this little synthesizer. Using the Arturia MiniBrute is so refreshingly organic and ”real”. You are fully in charge of your sound. No presets, no user memory – your sound is here and now!

The playing feel of this little Arturia is unabashedly vintage and loose – some (I, for one) feel that this adds to the vintage-like charm of this instrument, others will want something a bit firmer under their fingers. And while I’m at it: Why does most equipment these days have to be designed around external power supplies? Arturia’s PSU isn’t particularly bad, but still, it doesn’t strike me as being overly rugged or gig-worthy. I’ll wager it’s all down to cost-cutting…

The MiniBrute’s arpeggiator is surprisingly versatile, for such a small synth. Its range is up to four octaves, and it offers four different modes (Up, Down, Up-Down and Random), six different step settings, as well as the same number of swing variations.

As already mentioned before, the Arturia sends data for velocity, octave selection, modulation and pitch bend via MIDI and USB. The MiniBrute worked smoothly when connected to my Apple iMac, and without the need for a dedicated driver. If you download Arturia’s free MinBrute Connection editor you will also be able to access all of the synth’s internal parameters, like velocity curves for MIDI-/USB-use.

Even if this is your first step into the world of analogue synthesis, you won’t need to be afraid of the MiniBrute. Arturia’s owner’s manual is one of the best I have ever read, and it takes the uninitiated through all the basics of synthesis, as well as all the necessary steps for creating your own synth sounds. There are even a handful of preset overlays included with the Arturia to help you get started.

Still, in my opinion, the best thing about the Arturia MiniBrute is its juicy, muscular and organically personal sound. This little synth will give you all the vintage tones you need, coupled with some nice modern touches. Fat or thin, slicing or resonating, atonal or flutey, warm or cold, clean or distorted, soft or merciless – you alone decide! Classy timbres abound – go to it!

In my opinion the Arturia MiniBrute has what it takes to become a real classic. I can only recommend a test drive!

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The soundbites have been recorded straight off the MiniBrute. Reverb and/or delay has been added during mixing. No further effects were used:

Broken Bass

Feel the Sun

Pulsating

Blue Planet

Regurgitating

Squaky Lead

Brutal Bass

Arturia MiniBrute – Brute Sounds – full version

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Arturia MiniBrute

Current street price in Finland approx. 520 €

Finnish Distributor: EM Nordic

A big thank you to DLX Music Helsinki for the loan of the test sample!

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Pros:

+ genuine analogue synth

+ price

+ build quality

+ sound

+ easy to use

+ vintage-type synth keyboard

+ aftertouch

Cons:

– external PSU

– vintage-type synth keyboard

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huhtikuu 15, 2013

Frankfurt Musikmesse 2013 – Hot Products

Frankfurt 2013 – opener

Frankfurtin musiikkimessut ovat tältä vuodelta ohi – tsekkaa Synablogin tämänvuotista kuvasatoa klikkaamalla tähän.

This year’s Frankfurt Musikmesse is now behind us. Check out Synablogi.com’s pictures of the hottest new products by clicking here.

Samson Graphite

Yamaha 125th Anniversary – vintage synths