Details from Roland on SH-01 Synth, AX-09 Shoulder Keyboard

Among the highlights of the product releases last week, Roland has a new virtual analog synth (the SH-01) and shoulder keyboard (AX-09) that look friendly and relatively affordable (especially once you account for street price, not list). They have that convergence of certain selling points that I think will make them popular – maybe not with everyone, but with enough people that you may soon be seeing them around. And that makes them worth a little further research. I got to have a long conversation with Vince LaDuca of Roland US about the new gear, so we could answer some …

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New Demo Video of Elektron Octatrack Explains Why It’s Awesome

The Octatrack is an ambitious piece of hardware, combining multitrack sampling and playback with real-time audio warping. We didn’t get a good look at it earlier this week, but the folks at Gear4Music went back to get a more complete walkthrough with Elektron’s Jon. It’s followed by a proper live set – and it sounds fantastic. In fact, it embodies the quality I described earlier this week of Sweden’s other highly-anticipated gear, the Teenage OP-1: it becomes an instrument you’d want to practice. Jon also elaborates on the features of the Octatrack. Talking points: Automatic time stretching means samples can …

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Wave Editor Competition Lives, with WaveLab 7 for PC … and Mac

Let’s get this out of the way right at the beginning: dedicated audio editors are important. For sound design, for tweaking audio assets, and for just getting close to your sounds, editing waveforms in a DAW often doesn’t cut it. That’s made a lot of Mac users unhappy, because it’s one of the few areas where the Mac platform lags seriously behind Windows in available choice. Windows users have been spoiled by choices like Sound Forge (now Sony), Adobe Audition, and Steinberg WaveLab, all three excellent editors that are functional and fast to work with. The Mac, meanwhile, has been …

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Korg monotron: Pocketable, $85 Real-Analog Synth with MS Filter; Hackable?

Image courtesy KORG, USA. Looking for all the world like it was inspired by the Gakken SX-150 synth, but packed with Korg analog electronics, the monotron has to be one of the biggest surprise announcements from a major vendor in recent memory. The tiny has the filter from the classic KORG MS-10 and MS-20 and is called a “real analog” synth. It’s also likely to be very hackable, though we’ll know more about that soon. I think we’ve found the stocking stuffer of 2010, and it’s only March. Pricing: MSRP US$85 Availability: August 2010 (note: this is official information from …

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Roland Gets the Fun Back, Pt. 2: SH-01 Synth

I liked the SH-201 when released – the accessible front panel of that synth, which exposes synth parameters as physical knobs, made it fun to use, and sure enough, a lot of folks snapped them up. But likable as it was, the SH-201 somehow lost some of the spirit of the SH-101 its name suggested, partly because it’s so, well, big. It was neither as compact nor as logically laid out as the original. Enter Roland’s new SH-01, and exhibit B that this year, Roland is listening. It’s a small but playable-looking, fun-packed little synth keyboard. And while the front …

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Roland Gets the Fun Back? Cheaper, Smaller Shoulder “Keytar” Keyboard, AX-09

Roland’s Messe show announcements include two releases that caught my eye. I’ll be honest: some of Roland’s recent gear, while it sells really well, just doesn’t reach me emotionally. But these new announcements strike me as having two key ingredients: afford ability and that elusive fun factor. There’s a (mercifully) cheaper, more compact shoulder-mounted keyboard, plus a synth that looks to distill some of the best spirit of Roland’s recent (and previous designs.) This is just a preview, but let’s at least say they’re on my “worth reviewing” list. First up: exhibit A, the AX-09. Laugh as you may at …

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Elektron Unveils Octatrack Sampler-Sequencer-Warper, Expands and Discounts Machinedrum

Elektron, those Swedish makers of the fabulously-beloved Machinedrum drum machine, have a range of new announcements this morning. They herald the power and appeal of digital hardware, gear made for people who have grown up with computer. The biggest news, of course, is the announcement of the Octatrack. Coming later this year, but shown in prototype form this week at the Frankfurt Messe show, the Octatrack is a multitrack digital sampler with onboard sequencer, real-time pitch shift and time stretch, and effects. That has caused some to get excited enough to dub it “Ableton in a box,” and it’s hard …

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