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What's New, March 2010

February 19, 2010
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Muse Research and Peavey Electronics MuseBox

Muse Research has teamed up with Peavey Electronics to develop and market a new standalone host for virtual instrument and effects plug-ins. The two-rackspace, half-rack-width MuseBox ($899), slated for early spring delivery, draws on Muse Research Receptor technology to deliver a stable and efficient environment for hosting 24-bit, 48kHz VST software plug-ins. The unit sports 1GB of RAM (expandable to 2GB), a 4GB solid-state hard drive (250GB optional hard drive), and a CF card slot to access new instruments and effects. For connectivity, you get guitar, mic, line-level, and MIDI inputs, along with four USB ports. You can access and edit presets on the MuseBox control panel; connect a mouse, monitor, and keyboard directly to the device; or use the included MuBo Remote software (Mac/Win) to control it from your computer via Ethernet.

Yamaha CP1 Stage Piano

With the release of its flagship stage piano, the CP1 ($5,999 MSRP), Yamaha (yamahasynth .com) introduces its new hybrid sampling and physical-modeling technology, Spectral Component Modeling (SCM). The CP1 re-creates acoustic and electric piano sounds and combines them with an 88-key wooden keyboard. Once you''ve selected a piano preset, you''re able to reassign its components and effects to build custom sounds and then adjust individual parameters such as hammer stiffness and striking position for further refinements. You can split the keyboard into four overlapping virtual zones for playing different CP1 sounds as well as external MIDI instruments. The unit is 54.556.8516.5 inches and weighs 60 pounds.

Avid Sibelius First

With the release of Sibelius First (Mac/Win, $129 MSRP), Avid''s Sibelius division brings many of Sibelius 6''s professional scoring tools to entry-level scoring. With it you can notate, scan, transcribe, arrange, play, and print your music, as well as publish it for sale on the Web at sibeliusmusic.com. Features such as Magnetic layout for automatically positioning score elements, Dynamic Parts for adapting all parts to scoring changes and for correctly transposing for each part''s instrument, MIDI and onscreen note input in the Keyboard and Fretboard windows, and quick chord-symbol and lyrics entry help you through the scoring process. When you''re finished, play your score on any ReWire client or any VST or AU virtual instrument plug-in, or render audio files for backing tracks, CD printing, or MP3 sharing.

DigiTech Vocalist Live 3

One singer, one guitar (or keyboard), and a DigiTech Vocalist Live 3 ($299.95), and your background vocals are covered. The unit automatically follows your guitar chord progression to produce up to three-part harmony. Gender and Humanize controls, along with built-in vocal effects processors (tube preamp, compression, EQ, noise gate, reverb, and delay), are crafted for warm, natural-sounding vocals, while real-time pitch correction helps keep you out of trouble. The unit also offers chorus and reverb for the guitar feed along with a built-in guitar tuner. Use the XLR outputs to send a guitar and vocals mix to the PA, or send only the vocals and use the Guitar Thru output to feed your guitar effects and amp.

IK Multimedia Amplitube 3

IK Multimedia AmpliTube 3 (Mac/Win, $299) boasts a completely remodeled sound set with 30 new models along with 70 remastered classic AmpliTube 2, AmpliTube Jimi Hendrix, and AmpliTube Metal models. IK''s third-
generation DSM (Dynamic Saturation Modeling) technology promises the touch and feel of playing through a real rig. Other innovations include double-miked cabinets with freely movable mics, impulse-based reverbs throughout, and a full stereo signal path. The complement of modules includes 51 stompboxes, 31 amps, 46 cabinets, 15 mics, and 17 rack effects. Drag-and-drop functions in the stomp and rack modules, MIDI learn, and an integrated 4-track recorder round out the feature set. AmpliTube 3 is provided in VST, RTAS, AU, and standalone formats.

Korg Kaossilator Pro

Korg delivers a lot more mayhem in a unit about twice the size of the original Kaossilator. Weighing a bit less than 3 pounds, the Kaossilator Pro ($460 MSRP) gives you 200 sound programs (including vocoding and PCM-sampled drums), an Electribe-inspired gate arpeggiator, four loop recorders that can continuously combine internal sounds and external audio, eight assignable buttons to recall your favorite sounds and settings, and scale selection for the unit''s X/Y touchpad. You can store loop data, settings, and program memories on an SD card and manage those settings with the included cross-platform editor/librarian software. MIDI and USB connectivity let the Kaossilator Pro double as a MIDI controller.

MOTU Ethno instrument 2

MOTU has upgraded its Ethno Instrument to version 2 (Mac/Win, $395 MSRP). Its expanded 21GB library features new world and ethnic sounds from around the globe. Notable additions include taiko drums; large African drums; Balkan, Arabic, and Persian voices; gongs, bells, and cymbalum; and 30 new instruments from India along with many urban Indian loops in the style of Slumdog Millionaire. Browsing is much improved with instruments categorized by country and instrument type, and you can instantly search for preset names containing any text string. You get dozens of microtunings to apply to any preset, and Scala-format microtuning files are supported. Enhanced effects processing includes a modeled analog EQ, convolution reverb, and eight new filter models. Ethno 2 is compatible with the original Ethno sound library, and an upgrade path is available. 

SOUND ADVICE

Big Fish Audio Impressions: Jazz Construction Kits

In Impressions: Jazz Construction Kits ($99.95), Big Fish Audio delivers a palette of jazz loops in Acid WAV and Apple Loops AIFF formats. The loops are divided into 62 construction kits covering a variety of swing-feel song forms with major and minor chord progressions and tempos from 62bpm to 185bpm. Each kit contains a demo track, rhythm section parts (bass, drums, piano, and rhythm guitar) covering the full chord progression—typically 12 or 16 bars—and several short and full-length lead parts (solo guitar, clarinet, alto and tenor sax, flute, trombone, and scat vocals). Five or six construction kits are devoted to each song form, and those mix and match easily (see Web Clip 1). An additional 62 kits of multitrack drum parts enhance the collection''s flexibility.

Loop Workshop Libraries

Loop Workshop is the latest endeavor of producer, composer, and former Discrete Drums developer Rick DiFonzo. The site offers small, focused collections of 50 to 150 loops in 16- or 24-bit, 44.1kHz or 48kHz Apple Loops (AIFF) format, with 24-bit Acidized WAV files slated for the future. These single-instrument downloadable packs range in price from $1 to $15. Drum loops dominate the current offerings, but guitar, bass, orchestral, and synth loops, as well as EXS24 sampled drum kits, are being added regularly. The emphasis here is on rock, pop, country, and reggae styles. Check out the free downloads Free Trial Pack, Orch Loopz, and Toy Tomz EXS Kit at the Loop Workshop website, loopworkshop.com (see Web Clip 2).

PowerFX Soundation Studio

Whether your goal is to create signature ringtones, get your first piece up on MySpace, or sketch out a quick composition with some fresh sounds, PowerFX aims to make that easier with its new web-based sequencer, Soundation Studio. Free registration gets you access to the multitrack audio and MIDI sequencer, which sports 11 effects plug-ins, three synths, a drum machine, and more than 400 audio loops. The loops offer diverse styles and adapt instantly to the song tempo. You can load and save your projects and audio renderings on your hard drive as well as archive them in your personal Audio Locker (coming soon, price TBA). Additional audio material is available at $4.99 per package in the Soundation Sound Shop (see Web Clip 3).

Loopmasters Sound Theory 01: Habersham

Sound designer and DJ Damon Fonooni (aka Habersham and Komposit) culls 672MB of the best material from his house, techno, and jazz-influenced library of sounds for Sound Theory 01: Habersham (about $57, download) from Loopmasters. This collection of 24-bit, 44.1kHz WAV files contains drum, synth, and bass loops from 60bpm to 160bpm; sound effects and synth stabs; and pads and ambient sounds. An additional 80 drum hits are provided as WAV files as well as organized in Native Instruments Battery 3 and Apple Logic EXS24 kits. Although described as edgy, underground, and futuristic, these sounds meld easily with a variety of genres (see Web Clip 4).

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