Novation’s SL MkIII is a big departure from versions one and two that came before it, and most other MIDI keyboards on the market, because it’s not just a DAW and Hardware instrument controller, it’s also a standalone 8 track MIDI, USB and Control Voltage Sequencer. The idea behind the SL MkIII is that all three – the DAW controller, the Hardware controller and the sequencer – sit behind one interface and blend together into one control center. That kind of integration has the potential to change the game for what is expected of a DAW or MIDI controller. Does the SL MkIII deliver? Let’sRead More →

Make Noise have just released the new version of Rene – an update to the original Rene from 2009, which, according to Modular Grid, is the most popular Eurorack sequencer and one of the most popular eurorack modules overall. The original Rene introduced the concept of Cartesian, or X/Y, or GRID based sequencing, which is a method of sequencing, where rather than going through steps sequentially, as is done in traditional sequencers, you can go back and forth, up, down, left or right, or in any angle or number of steps, and in any direction on a grid of locations.   What’s new? The newRead More →

The Arturia Spark LE – or Sparkle has been around for quite some time, but I only came across it when I needed drum sounds for a clip I made a few weeks ago. I was scouring the web for good drum plugin with plenty of sounds, downloaded a demo of this and was impressed with how good it sounded. And when I saw you could get the hardware controller for Spark used on Reverb for around $100 and new for around $200, I decided to check it out. Now first – when looking at the pros and cons of this – obviously, it’s notRead More →

TRK-01 is a new synth and drum engine – or more precisely a kick and bass synthesis and sequencing plugin from Native Instruments. Though it can be used to produce a variety of non kick and bass sounds, its focus is helping you create, manage and boost the low end of your track. The kick and bass are the beating heart of electronic music. The challenge is that they occupy similar portions of the audio spectrum and if they don’t sit together well, can send a track down-hill quickly in a river of mud. TRK-01 from Native Instruments aims to solve that problem, get youRead More →

The Subharmonicon is a lovely, interesting and different synth from Moog. Only around 100 were hand soldered and built at Moogfest’s 2018 Engineering Workshop, and there’s no information currently about whether it will be released commercially. Even though availability is scarce, I decided to put together a review of this instrument, because the way it works is such a breath of fresh air when it comes to sound generation and sequencing. Also, one would hope that Moog will eventually mass produce the Subharmonicon, as they did for most, but not all past Engineer Workshop projects, like the DFAM and Werkstatt. This review includes an interviewRead More →

The open source music community is blooming with creative ideas – unique sequencers, synths, loopers and effects are being shared by many innovative creators – from well-known commercial contributors like Mutable Instruments and projects like Pure Data and SuperCollider, to independent hobbyists posting innovative ideas on various forums. The problem with open source music platforms like Organelle, Raspberry Pi, Bela and others is that there’s no easy to use “glue” to connect one idea with another. Hardware musical instruments have MIDI, Eurorack has control voltage and patch cables, and VSTs have DAWs, but if you want to connect one open source project with another, you’veRead More →

KORG just released their version of Gadget for Nintendo’s Switch gaming console. Gadget for iOS and Mac are powerful workstations for music production and performance. The big question is, how well does Gadget translate to the world of console gaming? After reviewing it in depth, it seems Korg Gadget for Switch has a different goal in mind, at least in my opinion – certainly for this first version just released – and that goal is real-time, multi-person music creation and jamming. To see if it accomplishes this goal, I tested it live with my daughter, and the result of our first jam session, for betterRead More →

Squarp is a company that specializes in making sequencers – Pyramid and Hermod are the only two products it makes. Pyramid, which has been around for a while, was designed for “regular” MIDI compatible instruments (though it has a few CV inputs and outputs). Hermod, its smaller, modular brother – released a few months ago – was designed with Eurorack control in mind. This focus shows, and both sequencers have a massive sequencing feature set: high resolution sequencing, long flexible pattern lengths, polymetry and polyrhythm support, Euclidean sequencing, plenty of MIDI effects and much more – all things you typically see in a DAW, notRead More →