Serato Updates Add iPad Control App, More Hardware Support

Serato’s marketing now pushes the notion of flexibility with a variety of different controllers and DJ methods. But it’s taken some time for their hardware support to catch up with their current generation of software. Today’s Serato DJ 1.2.1 and Scratch Live 2.5 updates continue to close that gap, however, and both now boast an iPad app for controlling DJ performances. Music apps on the iPad have tended to fall in one of two categories: either new apps that put the whole functionality of the tool on the iPad (as with Native Instruments’ Traktor DJ for iPad and iPhone or …

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FL Studio 11: Play it with Touch and Everything and Everywhere, Live or Editing

FL Studio 11 has arrived, hot on the heels of an impressive FL Studio Mobile release. The folks at Image Line have been intensely busy, but what strikes me is that you can now play FL Studio using almost anything, on almost any device. The Mobile version works on Android and touch Windows devices, not just iOS, when most folks target only Apple. And the upgrade to FL Studio 11 is similarly flexible. There’s a clip-triggering performance mode, which already supports a range of input methods: “mouse, touch screen, typing keyboard or MIDI controller. Supports APC20/40, Launchpad, Lemur, Block, Maschine/Mikro, …

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BassStation II, Hands-on: First Direct Sound Samples from Novation’s Analog Synth [Musikmesse]

Novation’s BassStation II, a US$500 street all-analog monosynth, is already big news. If Korg is bringing back the late 70s/early 80s sound in an analog keyboard, Novation is giving us the early 90s. And since sound is what it’s really all about, we wanted to get a hands-on with the actual sounds of the BassStation II. I recorded directly from the line out on the BassStation (only a mixer in between), into Sonoma WireWorks’ GuitarJack Model 2 for iOS. (That interface, by the way, sounds and feels terrific.) The BassStation II so far shows some serious promise, something that should …

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Novation Bass Station II: All-Analog Sequel to a Classic Instrument, $499 Street [Video, Pics]

The original Bass Station would now be old enough to drink. But the new Bass Station II (which, in a typical marketing twist, Novation would like to remind you can also do leads) is improved, expanded, and more connected. And with a street price of US$499, the competition for affordable synths has gotten just plain ridiculous – in a way that can only benefit the synth consumer. Now, the Bass Station II has two filters, two oscillators and a sub-oscillator, patch save capability, and analog effects. It also looks playable, with a step-sequencer, arpeggiator, onboard modulation, and MIDI and USB. …

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Novation’s Launchpad S: Brighter, Faster, Driverless, Friendlier with Other Apps [Artist How-to]

Novation’s Launchpad may have begun its life focused mainly on controlling Ableton Live. But a new update, while not radically different from the original, is more flexible, working with more software and more operating systems – including the iPad. It’s also brighter and refreshes faster than the original. Updated – for a newer Launchpad, check out our hands-on guide to the Launchpad Pro. The Launchpad S is, generally speaking, still a Novation Launchpad. It has the same complement of controls, and unlike some recent hardware, it lacks features like velocity sensitivity and full-color RGB LEDs. This is still just a …

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C64s, Control Voltage, MIDI … iPads, Keyboards and Audio: NAMM Saturday [Gallery, Impressions]

Everything old is new again. And everything new is everywhere – at least if we’re talking iPads and so on. At Anaheim’s massive gathering of music gear, there were some definite themes. Photographing for CDM, James Grahame and Marsha Vdovin give us a look at the tools on the floor. James has stumbled upon various fascinating oddities, and of course the booth celebrating MIDI’s 30th anniversary. (We’ll be talking more about MIDI’s history and legacy in the coming weeks.) From top, the keyboard models that made the history first connection, and a Commodore 64 talking to an iPad. Synthtopia has …

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Novation Puts Launchpad in a Keyboard, Makes iPad Apps Part of the Experience [Q+A]

What should a keyboard controller do for you in 2013? Should you plug it into Ableton Live and get colored control of clips? Or leave the laptop at home and use it with an iPad for synths and loops? Novation takes on both those ideas in their latest offering. Back in fall 2009, CDM was the first to get a hands-on with Novation’s Launchpad. At the time, this was big news. Grid controllers had gained popularity in the handcrafted, niche monome community, but hardware built just for Ableton Live with an integrated, light-up grid was something novel. Maschine, Push, and …

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Giant Steps for Step Sequencing: Two Free Ableton Sequencers, with a Twist

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of physical control of a step sequencer for immediate, musical results. But you’d be forgiven for thinking there isn’t much more you can do with the concept. Think again. New step sequencers demonstrate how to get more with less, using clever tricks to maximize the musical variations you can get with just a few pads. They’re each free, and they’re each from Ableton Live, coming to us from our friends Sebastian Tomczak aka little-scale, the obscenely-prolific musical inventor in Australia, and Matt Black (UK, of Ninja Tune / Coldcut fame) working with Ableton guru …

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Novation MiniNova: Little Keyboard, Vocal Effects, $500 – From a Synth Design Great [First Look]

Being popular as a person may be a complex formula. But for keyboard synths, “a fun, cute, cheap date” just about covers it. And — sorry, any snobs out there, but no complaints about that. So it is that Novation has a 37-keyboard that combines lots of sound and effects from the company’s UltraNova into a compact body, bringing the price at dealers to about $500 bucks US. (Actually, to quote Novation’s press release, personally I endeavor to be “compact” and “affordable,” myself, though I don’t think I qualify as “amazingly powerful.”) It’s impossible to look at this and not …

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Lauflicht 2 is One Tricked-Out Step Sequencer for Launchpad, Renoise

Late at night, you may hear them, a distant tapping of fingertips against pads and keys. They are the hackers, geeking away the late hours to make insanely-sophisticated custom musical contraptions, engineering some new forms of dance music or other electronic pattern. Thilo Geertzen is the latest, back with an even more pumped-up edition of the step-sequencer-on-stereoids that is Lauflicht. Sure, big hardware vendors are hard at work on hardware/software integration, but this is the DIYer’s answer. It’s a plug-in that combines Renoise’s powerful tracker-derived music construction features with Novation’s popular, now affordable-as-ever Launchpad. It’s bio-directional, fully integrated with the …

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