Here it is! A full, detailed review of Elektron’s new Model:Samples, and a feature by feature comparison to Digitakt, which is the question I believe most people interested have on their mind: what are the tradeoffs, and what can one do that the other can’t. I’ve also narrowed the gap between the two a bit with a few tips and hacks that fill in the blanks in Model:Samples’ feature set, like the lack of sample locks and filter envelope. Below are two timelines, one for the 10 tips/hacks in the video, and another based on overall content. TIP/HACK TIMELINE: 1:40 Add Amp envelope stages usingRead More →

Neutron by Behringer was a pretty good value for money before this update, and with version 2.0, Neutron got quite a lot better. In this video I cover the pros, cons and important new features in Neutron firmware version 2.0. The new firmware has important improvements to Neutron’s paraphonic playability and options, LFO and more. It also supports Behringer’s new Neutron control software, which makes accessing its “shift” features substantially easier, gives bi-directional feedback to parameter status and tuning, and controls other parameters not configurable in the panel. Along the way I explore 13 patch ideas and general tips which will hopefully make life easierRead More →

The Quad Peak Animation System – or QPAS from Make Noise – is an interesting new look at stereo filtering, what can be done with four filters, and how to manage them. The idea isn’t to give you individual control of every parameter of each filter, but rather it’s a take on how four filters can work together as a whole, whether in mono, or preferably in stereo, to form a playable instrument.  Aside from having “regular” state variable low pass, band pass and high pass outputs, it introduces what Make Noise call a “smile pass” filter” – designed to enable resonant peaks without filteringRead More →

Akai just announced Force – their new standalone music production workstation. The design is clearly inspired by 8×8 style grid controllers like Push 2, Launchpad, and their own APC-40.  The big question is – what are the tradeoffs between a comprehensive controller/computer combo like Push 2, and Force? You’d think that it would be just up to the interface, but most of the material differences stem from the fact that Akai decided to base Force on a proprietary hardware/software OS combo, meaning that it can’t run standard Windows or Mac programs.  So, what are the differences? Which is better for you? This clip tries toRead More →

Moog’s new Sirin is a refresh to the Moog Minitaur with a new look, but more importantly, it got a major upgrade to the internal oscillators that lets it play much higher notes, rather than stopping at C4 like the Minitaur. Other than those two things it’s completely identical to the Minitaur, the thing is, if you search for reviews of the Minitaur you’ll see reviews and videos from 2012, when it was first released, which aren’t really relevant because so much has changed in the firmware and supporting software. Here’s a full review of what Sirin (and Minitaur) are and what they can doRead More →

With plenty of upgrades and 8 years after it was released, is the Octatrack still worth it? This review attempts to find out, in light of a few other instruments that have come since then. It’s split up into two parts, first, the top 10 features I think still make it stand out, and then a deeper look at what the user experience “cost” is in terms of complexity. In a nutshell, here are the things I think make Octatrack stand out:  Live sampling: in most samplers, sampling is an offline process. You can’t sample/slide/edit samples when a sequence is running. With Octatrack, live sampling, resampling and loopingRead More →

Pigments from Arturia is a new software synth that is their own original creation, rather than an emulation of a vintage synth. Is it the best sounding synth ever? I think it sounds pretty good but I’ll leave that decision up to you. What I think they really did well here though, is make a synth that’s an extremely useful tool for learning synthesis, for a few reasons. #1: Arturia’s Demo Policy The first reason Pigments is a good learning tool isn’t actually unique to it, but is true about all of Arturia’s software synths and that’s their demo policy. You can download Pigments andRead More →

Yamaha’s MODX is the less expensive, more portable version of their flagship Montage synth. It has the same exact synth engine as its bigger brother – but at a price which makes it a very interesting player in today’s synth market. There’s a lot going on in MODX – in this review and companion video I’ll look at the most important things you need to know to figure out if this synth is for you.   What’s a performance? Let’s get started by looking at some basic terms. A performance consists of everything you can do simultaneously with the MODX – the song I playedRead More →

The ContinuuMini is a new portable synthesizer and smaller brother to one of the most unique instruments I’ve ever played – the Continuum, also from Haken Audio. There are two things that make the Continuums special – their extremely sensitive playing surface, and the advanced built-in synth engine, called the EaganMatrix with its custom built in presets – designed to work with, and make the most out of the playing surface. I reviewed the bigger Continuum earlier this year – and I really liked it, but as I mentioned in that review – I wished it cost less and that it had more on-board controlsRead More →

Arturia’s KeyLab Essential and the new KeyLab MK2 look quite similar but the premium MK2 version costs about two and a half times more than Keylab Essential. Let’s take a look at the real differences between them, the pros and cons of each, and review the competitive marketplace. Let’s start with what they are – both are designed to serve a few functions – a couple which I think may get overlooked. The first is to be a keyboard MIDI controller for software based instruments, with an emphasis on a tight integration with Arturia’s software instruments and in particular Analog Lab, which comes bundled withRead More →