The new Jupiter-50, little sibling to the big JP-80 introduced last year.

Roland Returns to Synth Roots on Jupiter; New JP-50, iPad Integration [Video]

The name “Jupiter” evokes some strong feelings among synth aficionados. Little wonder, than, that when Roland introduced a modern successor, the response was impassioned. CDM was one of the first to look in detail at the Jupiter-80, and I was surprised – given the tendency of this readership away from massive flagship keyboards – to see it become one of our biggest stories of the year. Roland faced some serious criticism when the story it told about the new Jupiter was less about synthesis and more about the instrument-emulating Supernatural engine. After all, since the days of the original Jupiter’s …

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2_apollo_mbp

Apollo: UA Adds Low-Latency Effects in Audio Interface, Proves FireWire, Thunderbolt are Cool

Universal Audio has long had a successful business selling hardware DSP effects, many of them carefully-modeling classic analog gear. These products use dedicated DSP hardware for number-crunching, requiring that you connect an extra box to your computer. UA has certainly had their loyalists, and for fans of the products, the dedicated gear is simply a convenient way to get all of these sound-processing goodies. But it’s fair to ask the question, as many producers have who read this site, what’s the advantage? Why not simply use native processing on your computer? Apollo, UA’s new hardware, answers that question more emphatically. …

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mobilein

Line 6 Turns Your iPhone into a POD – and Makes High-Quality Digital In for iOS, Free App

It’s small, but I think it’ll be pretty huge. We’ve seen plenty of guitar audio interface adapters out there. Here’s the dirty little secret: they’re pretty awful. Because they connect to the audio jack of the iPhone or iPad, there are issues with impedance matching and noise / signal-to-noise. (Read: they don’t sound great. I’ve tried them, and since they all use the same in/out jack, they all sound more or less the same.) The Mobile In from Line 6 has three things going for it. First, it works with Line 6’s POD effects and guitar amp modeling, which is …

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GR55FX

Roland’s GR-55 Guitar Synth Powers Unlocked with TouchOSC and iPad, and on Mac-Windows-Linux

Roland’s GR-55 guitar synth is one powerful accessory for guitarists – maybe a little too powerful. With its various modeling, effects, and synthesis powers hidden in layers of menus, navigating all those sonic capabilities can be a chore. Enter one user from the GR-55’s dedicated community of guitar synthesists. Marc Benigni used TouchOSC control software for the iPad and set up a template that makes all of that functionality touchable, direct, and accessible. But wait — there’s more! There’s also a dedicated, free and open source editor for Mac, Windows, and Linux. (There’s even a fresh Lion build for Mac …

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ampex_golden

Universal Audio Adds Plug-ins, Pro Tools and Lion Support; Ampex Lives

Universal Audio has a big set of updates to their DSP software out today. It seems worth sharing in part because I find the (faked) look of that Ampex reel-to-reel does give me a warm and fuzzy feeling, even if it mainly makes me want to get in a studio and hear the whir of the actual gear. Here’s what’s in the update: For Pro Tools users, there’s vastly-expanded support, including native RTAS plug-ins (instead of the VST-to-RTAS adapter), control surface support, proper automatable parameters, and correct naming and sorting, plus a quicker installation and workflow. I’m embarrassed to say, …

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steinways

Piano Lovers: Ivory II’s Resonance Modeling a Winner, Says Keyboard Mag

Steinways in a row. One example of how pianos can be tough to model: the distinctive Steinway treble “sparkle.” Photo (CC-BY-ND) mypouss. For something with a row of keys, the piano can prove surprisingly hard to model perfectly. But computer software, blessed with lavish storage space for samples and now-ample processing power, has a decided edge. There are lots of good sampled pianos, but two products have really impressed me above the others: Synthogy’s Ivory and Pianoteq’s modeled instruments. After years of waiting, Ivory II is now here, and my friend and colleague Steve Fortner, at the helm of Keyboard …

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Ozone4_EQ

Learn Mastering Technique in Free Videos: Limiting, M/S, Dubstep Bass

Mastering to me is a bit like applying stain to wood: done correctly, it brings out the definition of what’s there rather than covering it up. But making mastering effective is a really special art. Danny Wyatt, a veteran mastering engineer now working as an instructor with Dubspot, has some serious credentials both on the mixing and mastering side and as an educator. He’s worked with a range of artists over the years (Wax Poetic featuring Norah Jones, Curtis Mayfield, Thievery Corp., the Roots, Ultra Records, and Mos Def, to name a few). But he also doesn’t mystify his knowledge: …

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ua8

Modeling Analog in a Digital Age: A Conversation with Universal Audio’s Chief Scientist; Gallery

A vintage Studer tape machine lies in the workshop of Universal Audio. How do you translate that analog logic to digital form? And what does it tell us about what analog technology (or recording in general) means? Let’s ask a scientist. Behind the scenes photos courtesy Marsha Vdovin. Comfort and creativity – the mystery of what makes certain vintage gear so appealing remains. There are few people closer to the meeting place of digital and analog, reason and sentiment, than Dr. David Berners. He’s the chief scientist for Universal Audio, responsible for modeling in digital software form the characteristics of …

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Virtual Synths: Modeling Gear, as Imagined by Communities and Engineers

Do Androids Dream of Electric Synths? Imagining an instrument from a clean sheet of paper is an essential part of the design process. It can remind us of the extent of possibilities – and, sometimes, why compromise is necessary. The German site Amazona.de this week unveiled mock-ups of an instrument conceived by their community. The design looks terrific, and the specs (below) do read like the sorts of things synthesists would want. My only concern is that the results could be very cost prohibitive; the obvious remedy it seems would be to use digital oscillators in place of the eight-voice …

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Roland Round-up: A Mobile Juno Workstation, Realistic Piano Models, More

Roland dropped a slew of news announcements today, from new keyboards to software. There’s a new JUNO-Gi, which takes Roland’s economical synth workstation and adds multitrack recording and BOSS effects. The virtual piano lineup has all been remade in the image of the V-Piano, with more realistic sampling tech. And there’s a set of offerings as broad as what we’re accustomed to seeing at trade shows, including one nice-looking harmonic stompbox. Here are the highlights, focusing on what you need to know. The JUNO that Records A keyboard workstation, multitrack recording, and BOSS effects, mobile at just over a grand …

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