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Novation sure is Feelin’ Good

Novation sure is Feelin’ Good

Here’s a YouTube video featuring both Novation’s Launchpad S and Launchkey 49, which has reached half a million views in a week!

The live performance of James Brown’s “I Got You (I Feel Good)” by Pomplamoose is filmed in one take and all sounds are recorded or triggered live: so no overdubbing or lip-syncing! We think it’s rather good.

Also remember there’s that amazing Focusrite/Novation/KRK competition going on too, for more details on how to enter (42 entries left guys!) follow this link.

Fairlight Sampler

Nord Vintage Keys

Nord Vintage Keys

By Hugh McKenna


Mike Pinder of the Moody Blues demonstrates some of the sounds that made the Mellotron famous back in the 60’s. You can load a note perfect recreation of The Tron into your Nord Wave, Nord Electro 3/4, Nord Piano 2 and Nord Stage 2. You don’t even need to reload tapes and pay for maintenance! It doesn’t stop there though, there’s a whole range of classic keys just waiting to be downloaded and transferred to your favourite Nord keyboard.


It might be ex-Yes man and pop producer Trevor Horn who claims to be the first to buy one but arguably the most famous use of a Fairlight is from Herbie Hancock.


Before there was Mellotron there was a Chamberlin, similarly dusty and funky.

Analogue Synths

Plus a whole world of analogue goodies, as well as acoustic instruments, drums, guitars and more.

The only thing to do is to get on over to the Nord Sample Library and dig through the crates of classic and contemporary sounds.

TonePros Tune O Matic & Wraparound Bridges Now In Stock

TonePros Tune O Matic & Wraparound Bridges Now In Stock

by Danny Edwards
TonePros Electric Guitar Parts Wraparound Bridge

We are excited to announce the arrival of TonePros guitar hardware at Dolphin. TonePros have earned themselves a reputation for producing high-end electric guitar parts - specifically guitar bridges - that can be used on new and vintage instruments alike. They are now used by many manufacturers such as Gibson USA straight out of the factory - so what makes them so good?

Patented Locking System

The patented TonePros system means that your bridge will always be fixed even when the strings are off. No more messing around when changing strings! The real advantage of this is that you will have no play/wobble in your bridge - meaning that when you play unplugged you get much more resonance and volume through your guitar body, consequently improving your tone. You can feel the guitar vibrating in your hands a lot more, and when plugged in you get more sustain out of your guitar.

TonePros Locking Guitar Bridge Tune-O-Matic & Wraparound

Making the Best Even Better

TonePros are known for basing their hardware on industry standard guitar parts and making them even better than they were before. Their new G-Formula saddles are based on the original Nylon 66 saddles with some hi-tech additions to provide a slippery surface that prevents string breakage on previous Graphite models. Vintage guitar collectors are known to use TonePros as a playable replacement, so that they can take off their original vintage hardware and keep it safe whilst being able to play their prized vintage instrument without fear of devaluation.

TonePros Guitar Bridge G Saddle Technology

A Huge Range

They have released a huge range of Tune-O-Matic and Wraparound bridges for both Gibson and PRS style guitars. Nashville type and ABR-1 replacements are available, with the option of adding some TonePros saddle technology such as G-Formula or Roller Saddles for even better performance. All TonePros guitar bridges come with the System II Locking system, that set TonePros apart from other bridges/tailpieces. They have some limited/vintage looking hardware finishes, but here’s an example of the standard hardware finishes you can get:

TonePros Nickel Chrome Gold Black Colours Guitar Hardware

As Used By

TonePros are used by 52 guitar manufacturers, with notable brands such as: BC Rich Custom Shop, Brian Moore, Cort, Dean, Ernie Ball/Music Man, ESP, Gibson, Parker, Schecter and Washburn.

There is a HUGE list of artists from Metallica to Maroon 5 that use TonePros on their guitars. Check it out here.

If you want to get your hands on some TonePros hardware, visit our selection here. If you need any assistance choosing the right type for your guitar, one of our Dolphin experts will be ready to assist. Just drop us a comment below! TonePros Guitar Bridge TuneOMatic Wrap Around

How Do I Play…? Easy! Go to Learn To Play Day

Want to play guitar like Jimi Hendrix or do a double bass technique like Lombardo? ‘Learn To Play Day’ will teach you how!

Learn To Play Day is a national event that aims to encourage you to learn how to play the instrument of your dreams!  This Saturday 12th April music stores across the country will be promoting free lessons for all instruments: guitars, drums, synths, maracas – you name it; you will be shown how to play it.

The leaders of Learn To Play Day is the UK musical instrument charity ‘Music For All’. Chief Executive Paul McManus of Music For All said: "Wherever you are, whatever musical instrument or type of music you are interested in playing, there will be something close to everyone who wants to take part in Learn To Play Day."

So whether you’re a beginner or an expert in your designated field there will be plenty of free lessons in your area this Saturday.

Nate Mendel From The Foo Fighters On Ashdown

Nate Mendel From The Foos On Ashdown


It wasn’t until Nate came across Ashdown that he found an amp that could get loud enough without “farting out” on stage. Once he got his core tone down it was time to concentrate on distortion, collaborating with Ashdown to create a signature pedal that works beautifully with bass.


It’s not just Nate either, Radiohead, Biffy Clyro and the 1975 have all rocked Ashdown on stage and in the studio.

Waves Gold Bundle Offer In Words And Numbers

Waves Gold Bundle Offer In Words And Numbers

Even better value than ever the Waves Gold Bundle is packed with plugins, from EQ to compression and reverb. It’s a complete studio package.


Waves Gold Bundle Offer


The History Of MXR Pedals

History Of MXR Pedals

By Hugh McKenna


From being sold out of a suitcase to a place on the pedal boards of Jack White, Jeff Beck and Slash. MXR have come a long way in their 40 year history and the video above gives a little teaser of a new series of videos from MXR detailing that history.

Do Your Earphones Lack Bass?

Do Your Earphones Lack Bass?


Shure have produced this handy video for checking that your earphones fit snugly for proper bass frequency reproduction. Even a tiny air gap can cause a serious loss of low end, so it’s important to pick the sleeves that fit best.


Savings On Ableton & Push Bundles

Savings On Ableton & Push Bundles

Ableton Push Bundle Offer

Simply click on the link above to get savings of up £80 on Ableton upgrades and save over £100 on Ableton Push and Suite together. Ableton was already a lot more than a simple DAW, for years it’s been the choice of live performers who value ease or use, stability and creative intuition in their software.

Sonicstate have neatly demonstrated just how free flowing and intuitive Push is by creating a track in 10 minutes in the video above. Well done lads, we’ve got some tunes that have been sitting on a dusty external drive for 10 years now.

We’ve also looked at a few of them and how you can use Ableton to make dance, trance, electronica, rock, pop, hip hop.

Recording & Production With Ableton Live 9 & Push

Rob Papen Blue II Released

Rob Papen Blue II Released


With a huge range of virtual instruments in the stable Rob Papen is one of the biggest names in plugins, used by a massive range of artists including Armin van Buuren, Noisia and Teddy Riley. A diverse range of production credits including Trance, DnB and Pop. The new Blue II (like what we did there?) covers all these styles with a range of classic, warm analogue sounds and contemporary complex modulation.

Novation Launchpad S Control Pack with Ableton Live

Novation Launchpad S Control Pack with Ableton Live

Everybody already knows about how cool the Novation Launchpad series is. If you don’t, you need to watch this:

Novation’s next release is the Launchpad S Control Pack. Bringing together everything that is great about the Launchpad in one affordable bundle, it includes the popular Launchpad S, Launch Control, Ableton Live Lite 9, 1GB of loops and sounds and two custom designed soft cases - basically everything you need to just plug in and play.

Novation Launchpad S Control Pack

We really like the custom designed soft cases which make it easy to transport the Launchpad and Launch Control to/from gigs. It looks like they are going to be exclusive to this bundle alone - a nice little touch from Novation.

Novation Launchpad S Control Pack

You can turn your iPad into a creative music monster using Launchpad’s free app, which provides hours of fun as a standalone. But when you plug the Launchpad in to your iPad, it means business. For an ultra compact setup, you can just take your iPad, Launchpad S and Launch Control (in their fancy bags) to a gig, and power your hardware from your iPad - no power supplies necessary!

Buying the Launchpad S and Launch Control individually would cost more than this whole bundle alone. The Launchpad Control Pack saves you £30, plus you get the two free soft cases, a free copy of Ableton Live Lite 9, and 1gb of loops and samples to play with.

If anyone is after one of the new Launchpad S Control Pack’s they are available today from us here.

by Danny Edwards

Pink Floyd compiling multi-sensory exhibition for September 2014

Pink Floyd‘s four decade history is being compiled into a multi-sensory exhibition which will take place in Milan this September. Roger Waters, David Gilmour and Nick Mason have been working together to create the exhibition which they’re hoping will deliver a “vast and innovative” insight into the bands career.

Over 300 artefacts from Pink Floyd‘s career have been assembled for the upcoming exhibition and former Italian factory, La Fabbrica Del Vapore will host the week long event from September 19th 2014.

Curator Aubrey Powell talked about the event.
“If ever a band lent itself to a major retrospective exhibition, it’s Pink Floyd. Selecting what to include from such a treasure trove is both a dream and a nightmare. However, there were elements that just had to be included, for example a twenty-metre wide sculpture of The Wall, five-metre high inflatables, and of course, a flying pig.

“We’ll be aiming for state-of-the-art visuals and sonic delivery, similar to the experience of attending a Pink Floyd concert; you’ll never know what to expect next.”

The Pink Floyd Exhibition – Their Mortal Remains opens on September 19th however, tickets go on sale this Thursday (February 27). You can purchase tickets from the Pink Floyd Website here

Article by Stefanie Chew

Orange Launch Limited Edition White Amps

Orange Amps announced this week that they’ll soon be releasing a number of limited edition amplifiers in a newly designed white finish. As part of this limited edition release, the popular Rockerverb guitar amps, Thunderverb 200, and 50 heads,PPC412 and PPC212 Speaker Enclosures will all be having a makeover.

For a limited period of time, these new Orange Amps will be available in classic crisp white Levant covering and will feature a gold piping trim and gold capped handles. Orange amplifiers have never looked so good!.

We’re particularly thrilled by this limited edition run as it will feature some of the best amplifiers Orange has to offer.

The Orange Rockerverb amp is of the best Valve Combo amps on the market and earned itself a place on MusicRadar’s ‘best valve combo guitar amps in the world’ list in 2013. The Rockerverb amps feature a distinctive British tone that sets these amps apart from their competitors.

Like the Rockerverb series, the Orange Thunderverb amps are well known for their classic sound, style and features. The Thunderverb 200 has earned great respect for its Extended Tone Range technology and ground breaking engineering whilst the Thunderverb 50 has become a favourite amongst those that enjoy smaller cranked 50 watt power amps.

The PPC412 and the lighter, more compact PPC212 speaker enclosures continue the high standards associated with Orange and those fond of warm midrange tones will not be disappointed with either model.

These limited edition white amplifiers will be on show at the Frankfurt Musikmesse Exhibition later this year before they’re released to the public in April 2014.

Article By Stefanie Chew

Synthesizer Of The Week: MiniMoog Voyager Performer Edition

Our very first synthesizer of the week goes to the MiniMoog Voyager Performer Edition. This monophonic analog synthesizer was originally released back in 1970 when synths were becoming increasingly popular with pop and rock musicians. Moog noticed a gap in the market and aimed to design a new synthesizer that was affordable, portable and ideal for live performance. Many modular synths at the time were large and difficult to transport yet the new MiniMoog was smaller in size, more compact and cancelled out the need for patch cords.
The Minimoog grew in popularity due to its progressive design and powerful warm synthesizer sounds, whilst it also became re-known for its collection of analog synth bass sounds.

In this video footage, Bob Moog talks us through the functions of the MiniMoog synthesizer.

In 2002, Moog redesigned and relaunched the MiniMoog as the MiniMoog Voyager and launched a new series of MiniMoog Synthesizers which incorporated many modern day features with attractive characteristics of past models. A full range of MiniMoog synths were launched which included the Voyager XL, Voyager Electric Blue and our featured synth, the MiniMoog Voyager Performer. (You can browse the full collection here).

MiniMoog Voyager Performer Edition

The MiniMoog Voyager Performer Synthesizer features dual Moog filters, 4 analog envelope generators and like the original MiniMoog, this synth features 3 analog controlled oscillators. The MiniMoog Voyager incorporates modern features such as Midi capabilities and a 128 progam memory, which allows you to capture, record and transfer sounds to your computer.

Check out the playlist of sounds below which explores the collection of sounds that can be created with the MiniMoog Voyager.

More Features

  • Three wide-range, high stability VCO’s (Voltage Controlled Oscillators) with continuously-variable waveforms.
  • Five-input mixer for combining the audio sources prior to filtering.
  • Dual mode filter module includes dual lowpass and highpass-lowpass filtering. Dual lowpass mode consists of two Moog lowpass-resonant filters in parallel, one per output channel. Highpass-lowpass mode consists of Moog lowpass filter in series with a highpass filter.
  • Envelopes Module generates two wide-range ADSR (Attack Decay Sustain Release) envelopes. The Filter Envelope sweeps the filter and is available for modulation shaping. The Volume Envelope shapes the overall volume.
  • LFO: Low Frequency Oscillator generates triangular, square, Sample & Hold, and smoothed Sample & Hold waveforms for use as modulating signals.
  • Modulation Busses Module: Selects the sources, destinations, and shaping signals for the MOD WHEEL bus and the EXT PEDAL/ON bus.
  • Glide and Fine Tune Module: GLIDE varies the speed at which the keyboard voltage changes, from instantaneous to several seconds. FINE TUNE adjusts the overall tuning of the instrument.
  • 44 KEY KEYBOARD produces Pitch, Gate, Velocity, and Pressure control outputs.
  • WHEELS: Pitch Wheel bends pitch over a range of up to +/-1 octave. Mod wheel controls the gain of the MOD WHEEL bus.
  • THREE DIMENSIONALTOUCH SURFACE provides three continuously-variable control signals which are derived from the up-down and left-right position of the player’s finger, and the amount of area with which the player makes contact to the surface.

Famous musicians using MiniMoog Synths: The Chemical Brothers, The Orb, Kraftwerk, Nine Inch Nails.

MiniMoog Facts

  • Kraftwerk co-founder Ralf Hutter used a Minimoog on the successful concept album Autobahn, and the Minimoog was used extensively on many subsequent albums ‘The Man-Machine’ and ‘Computer World’.
  • Metronomy‘s Joseph Mount plays the Minimoog on ‘The English Riviera’ featured in the songs “The Look” and “The Bay”.

More information on the MiniMoog Voyager Performer can be found on the Dolphin Music website.

For further guidance on synthesizers, take a look at Dolphin Music’s Guide to Synthesizers.

Stefanie Chew

Jon Hopkins Synth Guide

In 2014, Jon Hopkins released an epic masterpiece that would not only gain him a Mercury Music Prize nomination, but would result in him selling out shows worldwide and gaining prize position on many festival lineups.

Jon’s fourth studio album Immunity featured a collection of immaculately crafted compositions ranging from beat perfect electronic jams to intricate piano led melodies, and Immunity rose to the podium taking prize position on many of 2013’s greatest album lists.

We took some time out to review the synthesizers Jon Hopkins uses to record and perform.

Korg MS-20 Synthesizer

Immunity opens with Open Eye Signal, a track written purely around the sounds of the Korg MS-20 synthesizer. This analog synthesizer is mostly used to achieve rich thick synth sounds and we see them appear throughout this album. Many of the bass sounds and techno riffs on Immunity are taken from the MS-20’s rich catalogue of sounds, a stunning collection of effects which includes bass sounds, worm leads and percussion effects.

Kaoss pad/ Korg Kaossilator Pro

As we see in the video above, Hopkins uses not one, but three Kaoss Pads to perform live. He creates synth sounds on the Kaoss pad by touching the screen as this is an incredibly easily way to play and manipulate sounds during a performance.

With 200 sound patches available, the collection on offer is fantastic and you’re given the choice of synths, percussion, basses and a range of sound effects. The upgraded version of the Kaoss Pad- The Korg Kaossilator pro, also features a vocoder, arpeggiator and four track loop recorder which allows you to overlap and arrange samples.

Another synth used on Immunity is the Roland SH-09 synthesizer, a classic 32 key synthesizer made back in 1980. The Roland SH-09 synthesizers have been discontinued and are hard to get by, however; Hopkins managed to borrow a SH-09 while recording and as a result, the SH-09 synth was used to create many of the bass sounds on Immunity. The sub-oscillator on the SH-09 makes this synthesizer a great provider of bass sounds, though it doesn’t have the ability to create thunderous bass sounds in the way that a Moog synthesizer does.

That’s our run-down of the list of synths being used by Jon Hopkins, however, his recording studio features an incredible selection of equipment. Other items in his setup include a Mackie Control and Mackie Big Knob whilst he’s also said to be using SourceForge and Logic to record.

For more information on Jon Hopkins live dates, releases and news, visit his website. Article by Stefanie Chew

Guitar Of The Week: Gretsch White Falcon

The White Falcon guitar is a Gretsch classic.This 17 inch wide guitar can be easily spotted by its large body and the gold pickguard which features a unique engraved falcon. Featuring the distinctive warm, rich Gretsch sound and endless feedback abilities, the White Falcon is a popular companion for those fond of the classic vintage sound.

This high-end electric hollowbody guitar was introduced in the mid 1950’s and took its design inspiration from the custom painted, chrome cars that were very trendy at the time. Fender had started using custom car paint on their guitars and Gretsch followed their lead. On its release the White Falcon gained the name “The Cadillac of guitars,”.

Designed by Jimmy Webster, the original Gretsch White Falcon featured six wheel saddles and a threaded mounting bar. As we see in the middle photo, the tailpiece of the White Falcon guitar looked very similar in style to the logo used for 50’s Cadillacs.

The 50’s saw Gretsch guitars soar in popularity, mainly due to the fact George Harrison appeared with The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show performing with a Gretsch Country Gentleman guitar. The popularity of the Gretsch continued into the 60’s when Neil Young and Stephen Stills adopted the Gretsch White Falcon as their signature guitar.

In the video below, Stephen Stills talks about his reasons behind using to Gretsch White Falcon guitar.

Many amendments have been made to the White Falcon since its initial launch and there are currently a number of different models on the market. Those looking for a replica of the classic mid 50’s design would be best viewing the Gretsch G6136CST White Falcon however; the Gretsch G6136T White Falcon also stays very close to the 1959 design. The most affordable White Falcon on the market is the Gretsch G5022CWFE White Falcon. This electro-acoustic guitar features a simplified design yet gives a great introduction to the classic Gretsch sound.

You can view our full range of Grestch White Falcon Guitars on the Dolphin Music website.

Stefanie Chew

Rock N Roll Marathon Comes To Liverpool

If you love music and enjoy running, the Rock n Roll Marathon may just be event for you. On May 25th 2014, America’s Rock n Roll marathon series makes its way to Liverpool for the first time and will take over the city for the day with both a full and half marathon.

Participating in the Rock N Roll Marathon is a great way to introduce yourself to the grueling 26 mile event. Bands are lined up to perform at every mile and the Rock n Roll marathon is re-known for its party-like atmosphere. The course for Liverpool has been designed to tour the city centre, starting and finishing at the waterfront and passing many of the city’s iconic landmarks en route.

Though bands are yet to be announced for the Liverpool event, past performers on previous runs have included Goo Goo Dolls, Sugar Ray and Counting Crows.

For more information on how to enter and to sign up for updates on this event, visit the Rock n Roll Marathon Website

Article by Stefanie Chew

Artist Interview : Petrels

Multi-instrumentalist Oliver Barrett, aka Petrels, is well known for his textured ambient music. His previous albums Haeligewielle and Onkalo were highly acclaimed around Europe and led to him touring with Tim Hecker, FIRE!, Nate Young (Wolf Eyes)and Hans-Joachim Roedelius (Cluster). We took some time out to interview Petrels before the upcoming release of his third album ‘MIMA’.

MIMA is your third album to date. How did recording this album compare to recording your earlier releases?

I’ve recorded and produced all the Petrels albums the same way myself just with Logic on my laptop. The main thing that’s changed across the three is just the scope of what I’m able to do outside of that. The first album - ‘Haeligewielle’ - was very self-contained and the vast majority of it was recorded at home. But then between that and the second (’Onkalo’) I built my own studio with a couple of friends which meant that I could incorporate a lot more live drums, piano, guitars and other sound sources at louder volumes than my neighbours would let me get away with. With Mima, it’s kind of levelled out a bit again - probably a mix of the first two albums in terms of how much I recorded at home or in the studio. The key difference is that I’ve amassed a few more instruments and other bits and pieces of gear and so there’s definitely a bigger spread of sound sources and instrumentation than on ‘Haeligewielle’.

What sparked your initial interest in recording and performing music?

Happened a bit too early to say for sure I think. Both my parents play and love music and so I grew up with it being a focal point in the house. When I was 11 I managed to borrow a battered old 4-track tape recorder from school over the Summer holidays and spent 6 weeks recording myself doing different things and playing it back at the wrong speed or backwards. I guess that maybe kickstarted my interest in the recording process. I’ve played in various bands and different groups across a load of different genres so there was no ‘eureka’ moment - it’s all just kept on building.

Did you play any instruments at a young age? if so, what did you play?

I played cello from about the age of 4 (it was about as big as a viola) which I played pretty intensively until my teens when playing guitars in bands seemed a hell of a lot more appealing and then kind of came back round to it in my early 20’s again.

Do you have any advice for novices wanting to write music digitally?

Wouldn’t want to pretend I’m any kind of authority but maybe just to not get too concerned with the ‘right’ way to do things. There’s plenty of people who’ll tell you there’s a certain way to record things ‘properly’ whatever the scenario. If it sounds good to you, it is good. I think there’s a lot to be gained from intentionally trying to do things wrong - make instruments and programmes and plugins etc do things that they weren’t meant to do. It’s easy to get into the mindset that you could make exactly the music you wanted to make if you just had that next one piece of gear or software without trying to get the most out of what you currently have. Mind you, I appreciate that’s maybe not the best approach to suggest on an online music equipment retail site, so maybe a better summary would just be: ignore everybody else’s advice and just make the music you want to make.

Your music is very atmospheric and certainly experimental. What equipment do you use to record and perform?

I’m going to answer this and the next question in one. My live set-up is basically a stripped down version of what I use to record with but the amount of scaling down is pretty drastic. For my current live set up I have a couple of synths (I say ‘synths’ - I have a secondhand Micorkorg and a battered old 3-octave Yamaha keyboard I bought for a tenner), my laptop - on which I manipulate a few of the more dense sound samples that I can’t easily re-create live - a bunch of guitar pedals (mostly Boss and Behringer), a Mackie 802 mixer and then a couple of contact mics. To record, the only really consistent thing is that I record to laptop on Logic Express but apart from that I tend to draw on whatever I can get my hands on.

Is there any equipment you would like to add to your live setup?

The list is pretty much infinite! At the moment my live set-up (especially on the continent) is determined by what I can fit in a 20kg suitcase. When I started doing Petrels gigs I was using my cello and had an extra synth and a harmonium - all of that went the minute I got my first gig in Germany (Ryanair are pretty unforgiving with their luggage allowance).

You say you draw inspiration from wide range of both visual and cultural sources. Do you pick a theme before composing?

It tends to vary depending on what I’m working on. The first Petrels album was very tightly focussed around a single subject (the Victorian diver William Walker singlehandedly strengthening the foundation of Winchester Cathedral) and I had this in mind before I started. But a lot of the time the process isn’t this self-conscious, though I generally get my inspiration to write and record from some kind of external idea or subject that gets me thinking in whatever way so I guess the two go pretty closely hand in hand.

What are your plans for 2014? do you plan to tour the UK or perform at any festivals?

I’m aiming to do a short UK tour with Tartaruga Records’ Max Bondi, and a European tour with Talvihorros later in the year. Whether with Petrels or with previous bands I’ve always booked UK gigs myself (through necessity as much as anything else) so it just depends on what pans out. I should also have another LP out on Denovali in the summer and hopefully a couple of release from other projects I’m currently working on. As for festivals, it’d be great - it seems pretty hard to get a look-in on the UK festival circuit these days unless you’ve got some money/PR behind you but who knows.

Petrels third album MIMA will be released on Denovali Records on February 21st 2014. For more information on Petrels and to listen to more music, visit Floating Limb, Bandcamp or Facebook

Article by Stefanie Chew

Squarepusher Joins Forces With Robots For Upcoming EP, ‘Music For Robots’.

Electronic experimental musician Squarepusher will collaborate with a robotic band on his next EP ‘Music for Robots’.

The band named ‘Z machines’ is the result of a Japanese challenge for roboticists which launched in 2013 to create a music-performing system with advanced musical capabilities. After being invited to compose music for the project, Squarepusher released the poignant ‘Sad Robot Goes Funny’ a track composed by himself and performed in full by the ‘Z machines’. The track features 3 robots which function like animatronic MIDIs and in the video below, a guitarist with 78 fingers, a drummer with 22 arms and a mechanical keyboard player all perform Squarepusher‘s composition.

Squarepusher talked about his involvement with the project:

“Each of the robotic devices involved in the performance of this music has its own specification which permits certain possibilities and excludes others - the robot guitar player for example can play much faster than a human ever could, but there is no amplitude control. In the same way that you do when you write music for a human performer, these attributes have to be borne in mind - and a particular range of musical possibilities corresponds to those attributes. Consequently, in this project familiar instruments are used in ways which till now have been impossible.”

Sad Robot Goes Funny’ gives us a taster of what we may hear on the forthcoming EP ‘Music For Robots’ which features 5 tracks performed in full by the Z Machines.

Squarepusher talked about his hopes for the EP:

“In this project the main question I’ve tried to answer is ‘can these robots play music that is emotionally engaging?.”

“I have long admired the player piano works of Conlon Nancarrow and Gyorgy Ligeti. Part of the appeal of that music has to do with hearing a familiar instrument being ‘played’ in an unfamiliar fashion. For me there has always been something fascinating about the encounter of the unfamiliar with the familiar. I have long been an advocate of taking fresh approaches to existing instrumentation as much as I am an advocate of trying to develop new instruments, and being able to rethink the way in which, for example, an electric guitar can be used is very exciting”.

Squarepusher‘s upcoming EP ‘Music For Robots’ will be released on April 7th 2014. For more information visit the Squarepusher website or check out Squarepusher on Facebook.

Stefanie Chew

Korg To Revive Classic Korg Arp Odyssey Synth

Korg announced this week that they plan to revive the classic Korg Arp Odyssey synth. Following hot on the heels of Roland and their Volca series, Korg is hoping that a full upgrade can give the classic Arp Odyssey a new lease of life.

The Arp Odyssey Synthesizer was originally released in the 1970’s as a competitor to the popular Minimoog. Unlike the Minimoog, the Odyssey was a 2-oscillator synth with duo-phonic subtractive capability. The Odyssey also featured a resonant low pass filter, ADSR envelopes, sine or square wave LFO and sample and hold functions. The Arp Odyssey became massively popular in the 70’s and musicians became incredibly fond of it’s unique selection of analog sounds.

Though still in design stage, Korg has announced that David Friend, co-founder and designer of ARP instruments, will work as chief advisor on the new Arp Odyssey Synth.Korg has stated that the forthcoming Arp will replicate many of the classic features however, we would expect the new Arp to be fully installed with USB/MIDI functionality.

As yet, Korg has not announced an official release date for the new Arp Odyssey, however; it has been said that we will see the release before the end of 2014.

Article by Stefanie Chew

5 UK Festivals You’ve Never Heard Of

Dates 28th-30th August
Where Bristol
Price Weekend tickets £65
Lineup Three Trapped Tigers, And So I Watch You From Afar, TTNG, Nordic Giants, The Physics House Band, Baby Godzilla

It may not be be the size of Glastonbury, Leeds or Reading, but ArcTanGent Festival is creating a buzz amongst rock fans in the UK. Taking place just outside the city of Bristol, this 3 day festival features a lineup like no other, showcasing the best math rock, post rock and noise rock bands from around the world. ArcTanGent festival was nominated for the Best New Festival and Best Small Festival at the UK Festival Awards last year and featured 70 bands playing over 4 stages. Previous acts to have played ArcTanGent include 65daysofstatic, Future of the Left, And So I Watch You From Afar and Fuck Buttons.

Sounds From The Other City
Dates Sunday May 4th 2014 (Bank holiday weekend)
Where Manchester
Price £10-£18
Lineup KAREN GWYER, Lee Gamble, Pete Herbert, Plank!, Raikes parade

Sounds From The Other City is a real celebration of the Manchester music scene, bringing together some of the best independent promoters and club nights the North West has to offer. Since starting 10 years ago, the festival has grown significantly and cemented itself as a major player in the North West festival scene. Sounds From The Other City is a real DIY affair and features performances in pubs, churches, community centres and train stations. Highlights from last year’s lineup included Deptford Goth, Still Corners and Stealing Sheep.

SuperSonic Festival
Dates 30th-31st May
Where Birmingham Custard Factory
Price £45
Lineup Swans, Matmos, Wolf Eyes, Ex Easter Island Head, Agathe Max

If you’re quick, you may just be able to get some of the last remaining tickets for this years SuperSonic festival. This 2 day festival celebrates 10 years of existence this year, and to mark the milestone they’ve curated ‘Supersonic Festival Ltd Etd’ a small, intimate 2 day event. If previous lineups are anything to go by, SuperSonic festival promises big things as LCD soundsystem, DJ Food and Coil once graced the stages of this inner city festival. 2014’s lineup is already set to be a classic with Swans named as the main headliner alongside Wolf Eyes, Matmos and more.

FutureEverything Festival
Dates 27th March- 1st April
Where Individually priced shows
Price £45
LineupTim Hecker, Darkside, Julianna Barwick, Evian Christ & More

Though Manchester’s Future Everything isn’t purely a music festival, we had to give it a mention due to its incredibly attractive lineup. Named by The Guardian as one of the ‘Top Ten Ideas Festivals In The World’ this week long event focuses primarily on digital culture and technology which links nicely with electronic and experimental music. This year FutureEverything features an attractive lineup of music performances including Evian Christ, Darkside, Tim Hecker and Julianna Barwick.In its 19th year, the festival celebrates with the theme “Tools For Unknown Futures” and will feature conferences and discussions on the veritable future of music.

Threshold Festival
Dates 28th-30th March 2014
Where Liverpool
Price Three Day Wristband £25
Lineup Gideon Conn, Alpha Male Tea Party, Etches, Kusangi, Natalie McCool & More

Threshold Festival aims to celebrate music, theatre, film, performance and visual arts and unlike its big brother, Liverpool Sound City, this small inner city festival places its focus on the upcoming artists of the UK. Some of the best unsigned bands from around the country will perform alongside an eclectic mix of art installations and performance pieces.

Download Novation Sound Pack & Win a T-Shirt

It’s been a few weeks since Novation released their the recent heritage documentary however the celebration of Novation continues this month with even more free downloads.

Fans of the Novation synthesizers will be pleased to hear that Novation have released a FREE downloadable Synth sound pack created specifically for use with the Ultranova and Mininova synths. The sound pack features iconic synth sounds from tracks released in 1992 through to today and includes classic and recognisable sounds from house, dubstep, drum & bass, breaks, trance, R&B, UK garage spanning the last 22 years.

We’ve teamed up with Novation to give you the chance to win a limited edition Novation T-shirt. All you need to do is the following:

1 Watch the video above and write down the name of each track you hear.

2 Share our Facebook Post  to your Facebook page, naming all 7 tracks with your post

Four winners will be drawn on Friday 21st February at 1pm. Good Luck!

To download the FREE sound pack, visit the Novation Website http://uk.novationmusic.co.uk/soundpacks

Terms & Conditions
Please ensure your Facebook share is made public to allow us to see that you have shared the post. All entrants must reside in the UK and prizes must be claimed within 30 days of the closing date. Your Facebook settings must allow Dolphin Music to send you a personal message in order to allow us to contact you directly if you win. Please check your account settings to enable this feature. Winners will be drawn on Friday 21st February at 1pm.

Article by Stefanie Chew

Fender Learn To Play Day 2014

Fender announced this week that they’ll be holding a ‘Learn to Play Day’ in partnership with the Registry of Guitar Tutors in April.

If you’ve always wanted to learn guitar but never had the chance, this is the event for you. Beginners in particular are encouraged to attend the 1 day event and those picking up the strings for the first time will receive a free introductory lesson from one of the Fender team or RGT certified tutors.

Performers of all levels are welcome at the event and for the more competent performer, a range of Fender guitars will be available to try throughout the day at specially setup private practice stations.

Taking place on April 12th, the event will be hosted by The Gallery Soho in London, an event space with fantastic views down Denmark Street, London’s world-famous music shop destination. Local dealers will be taking part in the event and there will be a number of street activities taking place throughout the day.

Learn To Play Day is a national event organised by the Music for All charity to inspire new and lapsed musicians to take up playing an instrument and will take place at the following address: 125 Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0EW from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday 12th April.

For details of all the 2014 National Learn To Play Day events, visit www.learntoplayday.com

Article by Stefanie Chew


Breakthrough For Travelling Musicians

This week news broke that the European parliament has voted in favour of law changes which would benefit musicians travelling by air.

The new proposal would solve many of the problems musicians have faced for years and would mean that for the first time, air carriers must allow passengers to carry small instruments onto a plane. The new proposal also states that air carriers must clearly indicate terms and conditions for the transport of larger instruments in order to eradicate confusion.

The proposal was put to paper as a result of a petition by the FIM (International federation of musicians) which saw more than 40,000 people sign to bring in legislation to clarify rules on travelling with instruments.

John Smith, MU General Secretary and FIM President, says: “I am delighted that the European Parliament has voted in favour of this proposal, which will make such a difference to working musicians..’

“The MU has been lobbying on this issue for years and actually reached an agreement with the Department for Transport in 2006, but we have long been saying that it is only by working at a European and international level that we can successfully tackle this issue, as the problem is much broader than just UK airlines. “The issue has always been that existing law allows each airline to set their own policy regarding musical instrument, and this proposal would bring much needed uniformity and fairness to the whole sector. “I urge the European Council to follow the Parliament’s lead and endorse this regulation as soon as possible.”

The proposal must now also go before the European Council before we find out the outcome.

Article by Stefanie Chew

TONTO: The World’s Largest Synthesizer

Tonto is simply an acronym for ‘The Orignal New Timbral Orchestra’, the largest and most famous multi-timbral polyphonic analog synthesizer in the world. Made by Malcolm Cecil, Tonto became one of the most famous and influential synthesizers of our time and went on to feature on albums by Stevie wonder Quincy Jones, Bobby Womack, The Isley Brothers and Gil Scott-Heron amongst others.

Cecil came from an engineering background and though he’d previously performed in jazz and blues bands, he’d always maintained an interest in electrical engineering. Cecil started building Tonto with a Moog Modular Synthesizer series III which was later joined by a Moog III, four Oberheim SEMs, two ARP 2600‘s, modules from Serge, EMS, Roland and Yamaha. To add to this, Cecil and fellow engineer Serge Tcherepnin designed many modules themselves and what started as a relatively normal sized synthesizer, now took the name Tonto and at twenty foot wide and 6 ft tall, Tonto became the largest modular synthesizer in the world.

“I wanted to create an instrument that would be the first multitimbral polyphonic synthesizer. Multitimbral polyphony is different than the type of polyphony provided by most of today’s synthesizers, on which you turn to a string patch and everything under your fingers is strings. In my book ‘multitimbral’ means each note you play has a different tone quality, as if the notes come from separate instruments. I wanted to be able to play live multitimbral polyphonic music using as many fingers and feet as I had”. Malcolm Cecil

Now that Cecil had successfully created his dream synthesizer, he decided the time was right to unveil it to the world and as a result, ‘Tonto’s Expanding Head Band’ was formed. Cecil joined forces with Robert Margouleff in the 70’s to release a number of albums. Zero time, It’s about time and Tonto Rides again, failed to sell in huge quantities however, the albums were hugely influential to artists such as Tangerine Dream and most famously Stevie Wonder, who went on to work with Tonto’s Expanding Head Band on a number of his albums.

“How great it is at a time when technology and the science of music is at its highest point of evolution, to have the reintroduction of two of the most prominent forefathers in this music be heard again,” said Stevie Wonder.“It can be said of this work that it parallels with good wine. As it ages it only gets better with time. A toast to greatness… a toast to Zero Time… forever”.
Stevie Wonder on working with Tonto’s Expanding Head Band

The video below shows Malcom Cecil, Robert Margouleff and Stevie Wonder working together in the studio and features an interview with both Cecil and Margouleff.

Though Tonto and the Expanding Head Band are still active to this day, the Tonto Synthesizer no longer remains in Mark Cecil’s hands. In the 90’s, the synthesizer was briefly in the hands of Mark Mothersbaugh and Devo, however it has now been purchased by the National Music Centre in Calgary, Canada.

Synthesizer Assembly Kits

NAMM 2014 witnessed more and more brands releasing new synthesizers and one of our favourite new products for 2014 is the Korg MS20 Analogue Synthesizer Assembly Kit.

This is a great purchase for anyone enthusiastic about building a synthesizer and this assembly kit features all the parts you need to re-create a full size MS20 synth with your very own hands.
The MS-20 kit features filters from both early and late versions of the classic synth and even allows you to switch between the two. You can find out more about the MS-20 assembly kit here

If you’d rather have your synth delivered ready-made, you can also check out our
full selection of synthesizers online here

If you’re interested in finding out more information on Malcolm Cecil, you can visit his official website here.

Article By Stefanie Chew

Numark Remix Toolkit

Numark Mixtrack With Free Remix Toolkit Worth £129

Numark Mixtrack With Free Remix Toolkit Worth £129

Whether you need sound effects to drop into your set or loops for production in your DAW Numark have an awesome deal for you. Teaming up with Prime Loops they’ve offering 380+ samples for free with their Mixtrack controllers.

Here’s a taste of just what’s on offer

Robert Smith’s Live Setup

It’s been a while since The Cure stepped out with a new record however; last week the group announced that they will shortly be releasing their 14th studio album, the “tentatively” titled ‘4:14 Scream’.

As yet, the band hasn’t released much information about what’s to come, but sources state that a live concert DVD will soon be made available and another ‘Trilogy’ style show will take place around the world at the end of the year.

In celebration of The Cure’s return, we decided to take some time out to look at the gear Robert smith uses to perform live.

Formed in 1976, The Cure suffered many line-up changes during their 38 year existence, however Robert Smith remained front-man throughout. With 13 albums and more than 30 singles released, the bands style has understandably shifted throughout their career, and after being defined as a post-punk band in the early days, The Cure were later given many labels including new wave and gothic rock. Everything from atmospheric soundscapes to perfectly formed pop songs became part of their set and Robert Smith‘s live gear had to cater for them all.

Robert Smith certainly liked his vintage gear and for his live setup, his guitar of choice was a vintage classic, the Chet Atkins Classic Country Gentleman guitar.

This double-cutaway style guitar was released back in 1958 and was a popular model during the British invasion of the 1960s. The Chet Akins Classic Country Gentleman guitar was frequently used by Smith to create rich twangy sounds whilst its 22 medium-jumbo frets made it the perfect guitar for fast fretwork.

The Fender BASS VI and the Schecter Ultra bass were two more guitars frequently chosen to accompany Robert Smith onstage and later in The Cure’s career, Schecter made the UltraCure, a custom Robert Smith version of their Schecter Ultra six-string bass. Smith enjoyed performing with this bass guitar as it’s said to have made the chorus and flanger sound fuller.

Though not the heaviest pedal user we’ve seen, Robert Smith likes to perform with a good selection of effects pedals, and everything from the Cry Baby Wah Wah to distortion and chorus pedals are part of his live setup.

The Jim Dunlop Cry Baby Wah Wah Pedal sounds just like would expect it to, twisting and tweaking guitar riffs to give them a more full and distorted sound. One of Jim Dunlop‘s biggest sellers, this guitar pedal is up there with the best and since being released in 1966, the pedal has been used by many guitarists, including Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. More Info

The Boss DS-1 Distortion is a classic when it comes to distorting sounds and it’s not surprising that we found this in The Cure’s stage gear. Whether it’s keyboards or guitars you want to distort, this pedal provides hard distorted sounds without the unwanted interruptions. More Info

The BOSS Super Overdrive pedal is being used to produce subtle and smooth overdrive and is perfect for use on the the Cure’s more atmospheric tracks. This compact FX pedal produces rich, warm distortion without drowning out the nuances of the Smith’s picking technique. More Info

The Dunlop Super Phaser is a phaser pedal which produces incredibly thick tone. This versatile guitar FX pedal can be used to create chorus sounds and is great for producing thick rich chords and frequency effects. More pedals from Jim Dunlop

Robert Smith’s use of the BOSS Super Chorus FX pedal, enables him to create rich, heavy chorus sounds with a single strum. The super chorus pedal is a great addition to any setup as it makes any guitar performance sound lusciously rich. More Info

It’s no surprise that Robert Smith’s pedal setup includes a Flanger pedal as distressed warped guitars feature on a good selection of the Cure’s tracks. The BOSS BF-2 Flanger delivers thick stereo flanging, adding life to guitar riffs through a selection of delay, chorus and vibrato effects. More Info

The Boss Tremolo Pan was only in short distribution between 1990 and 1995 and is a very sought after model today due to its ability to emulate tremolo effects of vintage guitar amps. Tremolo settings allowed users to create a fantastic collection of tremolo effects from throbbing amp-like tones through to hard tremolo tones and on-off stutter effects. The Boss Tremolo pan has since been replaced by the Boss TR-2 pedal. More Info

As we’ve seen, Smith is a fan of Boss FX pedals and this is the 6th and final Boss pedal in his live setup. The Boss Digital Delay Pedal has been named many a time as one of the best digital delay FX pedals on the market. This compact stomp box offers 3 different delay modes which offer guitarists the ability to add instant ambiance and atmosphere to any guitar performance. More Info

The Cure altered their live setup over the years and Robert Smith often added to his pedal board. It’ll be interesting to see how the band has evolved since their last tour and whether the band has amended their live setup for their 2014 performances.

To keep up to date with future announcements from The Cure visit www.TheCure.com or follow the band on Twitter

Roland AIRA Update

After weeks of waiting, the launch of the Roland AIRA series is almost here. Next Friday, we’ll be able to show you exactly which products are part of the AIRA range but until then, it’s more teasers I’m afraid.

This morning, the team at Roland have taken 1 step closer to the big reveal and the following photos and videos have been released. In true Roland style, we don’t have a clear view of what’s on offer however; they do give us a good idea of what to expect.

For more information and to watch all the teaser videos visit the AIRA website.

Article by Stefanie Chew

Guitar Of The Week: Rickenbacker 360

Say hello to the Rickenbacker 360, a traditional vintage-style guitar with all the components of a modern model.

Made in the 1960’s the Rickenbacker has adapted with time and over the years this semi-acoustic electric guitar has been updated to meet the needs of the modern guitar player. Though large in size, the Rickenbacker is an incredibly comfortable guitar to play and throughout generations it’s become a favourite of many guitarists.

Fugazi guitarist, Guy Picciotto is just one of the names that swore by the Rickenbacker and he spent most of his career thrashing out hardcore riffs from the Rickenbacker‘s slick design. If you look closely at the video below, you see Picciotto with his Rickenbacker in the opening few seconds.

When it appeared in the 1960’s, the Rickenbacker 360 raised many eyebrows as stylistically, it failed to fit the mould. Though some components have since been updated, the design of the Rickenbacker 360 remains the same as it was back in the 60’s. The Rosewood Fingerboard remains inlayed with triangular pearloid markers and the guitar still features its beautifully bound body. The maple neck of the Rickenbacker guitar features dual truss rods and single-coil pickups have been included to ensure it delivers a range of tones.

Fun Fact: The Rickenbacker most famously appeared in 12 string version on ‘A Hard Days Night, where it was used by George Harrison.

Famous players: REM’s Peter Buck, Guy Picciotto- Fugazi, Pete Doherty- The Libertines, James dean bradfield- the manic street preachers.


  • Body Type- Semi-Acoustic
  • No. Frets- 24
  • Body Wood- Maple
  • Neck Wood- Maple
  • Fingerboard Wood- Rosewood
  • Weight- 3.6 kg (8.0 lbs.)
  • Neck Binding- Yes
  • Fret Marker Style- Triangle
  • Tailpiece- ‘‘R’‘
  • Bridge- 6 Saddle
  • Neck Type- Set-in
  • No. of Pickups- 2
  • Type of Pickups- Hi-gain
  • Output Type- Mono and Stereo
  • Machine Heads- Schaller

For more information on the Rickenbacker 360, visit the Dolphin Website.

Stefanie Chew


A brief history of the TR808 and the TR909

With only 1 week left til the release of the Roland AIRA series, the countdown has truly begun and after watching the teaser videos, there’s a slight air of excitement for the launch. Those following the AIRA saga will have seen hints that both the TR808 and TR909 could be part of the AIRA range, and for fans of these drum machines the expectation is high. We took a look at why these drum machines were so popular amongst musicians when they were originally released in the 1980’s.

Introduced in 1980, the Roland TR808 was one of the first programmable drum machines. Using analog synthesis to create its sounds, the TR808 featured a wide selection of drum sounds and effects and became an integral part of music production in the 80’s due to the fact it was a simple, affordable way to produce drum sounds. Whilst its competitors produced more authentic drum sounds,the TR808 was a popular choice with R&B, hip-hop, dance and techno producers due to its unique selection of effects. Crispy snare sounds, tinny hand-claps, its deep booming bass kicks, distinctive cowbell and trashy hi-hat effects all made the TR808 a major player in 80’s composition.

Famous users of the TR808 include Orbital, Aphex Twin, The Beastie Boys, Dr Dre, Ritchie Hawtin and many many more. Here’s a quick demonstation of the TR808 drum machine in action.

After witnessing the soaring popularity of the TR808,Roland decided to upgrade the product and released its successor, the TR909. Introduced in 1983, this partially sample-based, partially analog drum machine featured a 16 step sequencer and an upgraded drum kit with more realistic sounds than the TR808. Techno and house producers quickly took the TR909 under their wing and the collection of bass kicks and analogue sounds heavily featured in a new scene of heavy rhythm based tracks.

Watch the track below for an example of how the TR909 was typically used in techno music.

Now you’ve seen the TR909 in action, why not try it for yourself. The image below links to an online Roland TR909 emulator which allows you to experiment with the sounds and features of the TR909.

It’s pretty clear why the music industry is excited about the forthcoming release of AIRA and though we don’t yet know what new features will be unveiled, we’re expecting big things. The Roland AIRA range will be launched on February 14th 2014. To watch all the teaser videos and follow the countdown, visit the Roland Aira website.

Stefanie Chew

Love Music. Protect Your Ears.

It’s Tinnitus awareness week in the UK and as Tinnitus is a condition that will affect many musicians and music fans in their lifetime it’s something we’d like to bring to your attention.

We’ve all experienced it at some point, either leaving a club or a particularly loud show. That after-party buzzing in the ears isn’t particularly pleasant and normally disappears, however for those with Tinnitus, its there to stay.

Tinnitus is the medical term for noises continually heard in the ears or head and is often described ringing in the ears. With no cure for the condition, those that develop tinnitus will continually hear this buzzing, throughout the day and night, even when in noise-free surroundings. This can be particularly distressing and many sufferers of tinnitus go on to have problems sleeping, anxiety and in some cases extreme cases of stress.

There is however some good news. You CAN enjoy music without worrying about damaging your ears and we’re going to give you a few tips on how to protect your ears.

Sound isolating headphones
Sound isolating headphones work by using ultra soft, flexible sleeves which fit snugly into your ear to block out background noise. In order to benefit from the headphones, they have to fit comfortably and most sound isolating headphones include different fittings to cater for a range of ear sizes.

View our range of sound isolation earphones here

Noise cancelling headphones Noise cancelling headphones differ in the way they actively counter any environmental noise that interrupts your music.The majority of these headphones are designed in an over the ear style and protect your ears by creating sound waves which actively cancel out high frequency noises. Active noise cancelling requires battery power to work and in most cases rechargeable batteries are needed to re-charge the headphones.

For more information on Tinnitus awareness week visit the Action On Hearing Loss website.

Stefanie Chew


Introducing Suzanne Ciani

Suzanne Ciani was one of the first female electronic musicians to make a living from composing electronic music. Studying music and composition at the University of California, Berkeley was the starting point of her career and on seeing her professor compose sounds from computers, the 60’s cemented Ciani’s interest in electronic composition.

Fixated on the idea of composing herself, Ciani began working under famous synthesizer creator Don Buchla and helped Buchla to build the Buchla series 100 modular synthesizers.


The Buchla synthesizer (seen above) combines many different components which separately generate or modify a music event. Each box on the synth served a function which included oscillators, amplifiers, envelope generators and analog sequencer modules. Using the different modules, allowed you to alter the pitch, timbre, amplitude, and spatial location of the sounds and the Buchla synthesizer was was controlled with an array of touch and pressure-sensitive surfaces. Along with Robert Moog’s Moog synthesizer, the Buchla synthesizer helped revolutionize the way electronic music and sound is made.

Working on the Buchla synthesizers led Ciani to eventually open a business which allowed her to subsidise performing commercially with the synthesizer

Performing on the Buchla has nothing to do with a keyboard or with notes,” Ciani explains. “It’s a living compositional form. The Buchla has no memory; you switch from one sound to another manually. It’s spatial and full of movement. It’s architectural.

Ciani’s compositions included many film scores, commercial theme tunes and computer game tracks, some of which included the Star Wars theme, Atari game soundtracks and Xenon, the first arcade pin ball machine to use digitally sampled sound clips.

Click through to the video below in which Ciani appears on the children’s television show 3-2-1 Contact. This is great video for anyone interested in the way a synthesizer works, and Ciani clearly demonstrates how synthetic sounds are made.

Suzanne Ciani is still recording and last year the album a best of album ‘Lixiviation’ was released worldwide. Her back catalogue of releases can be viewed on Finders Keepers records whilst she can also be found on Twitter.

Article by Stefanie Chew

Julianna Barwick Gear Guide

2013 saw the release of Julianna Barwick’s third studio album ‘Nepenthe’ and like her previous albums, The Magic Place and Florine, Nepenthe featured the looping reverb laden vocals that made her earlier tracks so popular.

In the video above, Julianna talks about her recording process and we get a quick glimpse of the products she uses to create her signature style. We also take a closer look at the pedal boards and effects processors being used in her home recording setup.

In the video, Barwick uses an older version of the RC-300, the RC-50, however this model was recently discontinued by Roland and upgraded with the RC-300. The Boss RC-300 is one of BOSS’s most popular loop station pedals and features three synchronized stereo tracks with individual volume knobs and footswitches for each track.Like the RC-50, it’s built in an ultra-durable metal chassis offering 99 memory locations, each with three independent stereo or mono loop phrases.

As demonstrated in the video, a great selling point of these Boss loop stations is the ability to create ongoing loops. The RC-300 gives you the ability to manipulate three stereo phrase tracks simultaneously and with each track supporting multiple overdubs you can record phrase upon phrase on each track resulting in an incredible wall of sound.The improved RC-300 also gives you more than enough space to keep your loops and offers three hours of recording and loop storage.

Read more about the Boss RC-300 here.

If you look closely, the vocal effects in this video are being created by the TC Helicon VoiceTone Create XT. This Vocal Processing and Effects Pedal allows you to add multiple effects to your vocals whilst you perform and record. In this case, the setting most used by Barwick are the luscious reverb effects. Though the Voice Tone Create XT has since been discontinued, you can easily create these vocal effects with a range of vocal processing pedals.

Our favourite is the TC-Helicon Voicetone Mic Mechanic, a simple vocal effects pedal that allows you to add reverb, delay and pitch correction to your vocals. This easy to use pedal features a simple design and is incredibly easy to use. The Mic mechanic features 8 reverb and echo presets with dedicated settings to control room size for reverb and tap and slap settings for delay whilst it also comes with controls for Adaptive EQ, Compression, De-essing and Gating.

Read more about the TC-Helicon Voicetone Mic Mechanic here.

The final component in Julianna’s setup is a portable sampler. In this case, she’s once again chosen Roland and we can see the Roland SP-404 being used to assign samples as she’s recording. Yet again this is an aged model, so we’ll focus on the upgraded product, the SP-404SX. The SP-404SX provides you with the ability to record an endless supply of loops and recording in real-time is made easy with the pattern sequencer which features quantize mode to ensure you record in time. This sampler is great for stacking instrument and vocal sounds and will allow you to continually layer sounds and instruments samples while the SP-404SX continues to loop. You can store 120 patterns (12 patterns x 10 banks) and when you play a pattern with the Pattern Sequencer, the LEDs surrounding the display blink according to the tempo, which is handy during live performance.

Read more about the Roland SP-404SX here

For more information on Julianna Barwick, visit her website here

Stefanie Chew


Guitar And Guitarist Spotting At NAMM With Fender

Guitar And Guitarist Spotting At NAMM With Fender

We saw John Mayer there for sure but there was a number of famous faces and awesome gear on show from Fender at the NAMM Show 2014.

New Tannoy Reveal Monitors In Stock

New Tannoy Reveal Monitors In Stock

Tannoy have long been committed to delivering quality active monitors to engineers and musicians on a budget. Leading the way with great small nearfield monitors. Plenty of the dance producers around our office remember cutting their teeth on a pair of Reveals.

Things have come along way though and Tannoy have moved with the times, using some impressive new tech to get crystal clear, flat response sound from a compact speaker.

Check Out The Reveals At Dolphin

An Early Look At The Universal Audio Apollo Twin

An Early Look At The Universal Audio Apollo Twin


They’ve been pushing the boundaries of analogue audio design for half a century and changing the way we see digital audio for over a decade. UAD bring both together for the Apollo Twin with incredible Realtime Processing and their renowned plugin processing. Get the right sound when recording and treat it later with perfect recreations of vintage, boutique and unique audio hardware in the mix.

Check Out The Apollo Twin

Vintage Echoplex Mojo From Jim Dunlop

Used by tone freaks like Van Halen, Jimmy Page and Eric Johnson the Echoplex delay had a preamp that many guitarists felt made their guitar sound sweeter and thicker. So Jim Dunlop have gone to great lengths to recreate the vintage circuit and deliver it in a handy stomp box.

Blackstar At The NAMM Show 2014

Blackstar At The NAMM Show 2014

There’s not much to go on yet but there is this sweet little teaser of some great sounding guitar.

Johnny Marr On ‘Producing With Your Feet’

Johnny Marr On ‘Producing With Your Feet’

Above is simply one of the best explanations of why multi fx are great, Johnny Marr describes it as "producing with your feet". Don’t let the number of effects overwhelm or dictate your sound, use that big palette to make dramatic changes and hone your perfect tone for the song. Further Johnny defies anyone to tell the difference between the GT-100 and his boutique pedal collection in a blind test, considering the man clearly knows his effects that’s a pretty big thumbs up. The new ME-80 from Boss is a little more compact and affordable but contains some of the COSM amp models and effects from the GT-100.

If you fancy winning a signed T-Shirt With Q Magazine

Or learning about Johnny’s signature guitar

Have A Listen To The New Boss ME-80 Here



Novation Bass Station II - Six Synths Jam!

Novation Bass Station II - Six Synths Jam!

Wolf Lamb Novation
        The Bass Station II has been garnering rave reviews and turning up in loads of pro setups. Wolf & Lamb, Rudimental.
Novation Bass Station
        How does the Bass Station II stack up to the original vintage synth?
Pretty darn well, with greater features, bigger sounds and it’s even more affordable.
Novation Launchpad
        Fancy checking out some more impressive performance vids?
The Novation Launchpad is a phenomenon, incredible scenes inside courtesy of some young musicians with perhaps a little too much time on their hands.

Alt-J Choose sE Microphones

Lance Reynolds is the live sound and studio recording engineer for British band, Alt-J. The four piece who won the Mercury Music Prize in 2012 with their debut album An awesome wave are about to tour America this Christmas after performing to packed out audiences on this years festival circuit.

Alt j recently introduced the sE X1 to their live setup after hunting down a low cost large diaphragm microphone for their recent tour. Though the sE X1 was initially introduced to project vocals, sound engineer Lance Reynolds speaks about how it altered the overall use of microphones in Alt-J’s live setup.

“I’ve used the sE X1 as an overhead, I’ve used it as an audience mic and I’ve tried it on guitar and bass cabinets. It seems to be all- purpose, and seems to work on just about anything you put it on.” Reynolds has even been using the sE X1 as an audience mix for the in-ear monitor mix, “Often, a little pencil mic is too focused. The sE X1’s give it the bigger picture.”

The sE X1 has become a favourite for Reynolds and since introducing it into the Alt-J live setup, the mic has been used with almost every instrument onstage. Reynolds has recently begun using the sE X1 with a couple of toy glockenspiels as well as hats and overheads and has nothing but praise for the se X1 model.

“All these sE microphones seem to do what they need to do on anything I’ve put them on,”.

Since becoming a fan of sE mics, Reynolds has also experimented with other models;

“I tried the sE4400a on a guitar amp, mostly as a recording source, but ended up using it a lot as an overhead, like a drum ‘picture’ type thing. To my ear, the 4400a is similar to the X1 and the sE2200a, but it has a smoother top end and just seems bigger.”
Reynolds has also experimented with the VooDoo VR1 dynamic mic and he recently used this model on an Alt-J guitar amp. Reynolds states; “I put it on a guitar amp and it sounded beautiful, it just sounded huge, almost too big for my live mix.”

For more information about Alt-J visit the band’s Facebook Page
Click here for more information about the sE electronics microphone range.
Article by Stefanie Chew

New Skindred Album ‘Kill The Power’ recorded with sE Electronics

James Loughrey is a producer, engineer and mixer who’s worked alongside a long list of artists such as Def leppard, Lionel Ritchie and Bjork. After starting his career as a studio assistant, he moved on to secure a job at Britannia Row Studios where he honed his engineer, mixing and producing skills. James talked to Se Electronics about his current role, recording and producing on future releases with My Vitriol and Skindred.

Fans of Skindred‘s music will be familiar with with their distinct style; Loud, gritty guitar riffs and heavy thrash percussion. James explains how the sE Voodoo VR2 and a pair of sE Rupert Neve RN17‘s were used when recording the bands upcoming album ‘Kill The Power’.

"I’ve used sE mics to record the latest Skindred album - the guitars wouldn’t be the same without them" he starts, he continues to explain why he chose the sE electronics over other brands stating "I use them to record heavy guitars as they give an amazing amount of bottom end. I also use them for percussion and anything else that is ‘roomy’" explains James.

The sE Voodoo VR2 active ribbon mic captures frequencies from 20Hz to 20KHz and emits a detailed clear and natural sound which is known to work superbly with a wide range of instruments. James mentioned how impressed he’s been with the mic stating "I’ve used various sE microphones and I strongly believe they are well made products that you can take into any recording environment".

James explains further how he chooses to use the microphones in a live setup, "When miking a 4X12 cab, i use the sE Voodoo VR2 directly onto the cones and phase align them which results in the VR2 giving me warmth,".He continues, "If you place the voodoo VR2 at a 30 degree angle on the cone it helps with the high transients. They are really useful high gain ribbons- I’ve used the Royer R121 and the VR2 comes out tops against it!". 

sE Voodoo VR2 Ribbon Mic Features

  • Diaphragm 2 aluminium ribbon
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz-18KHz
  • Sensitivity: 10mV/Pa -40 ¡À 1.5dB
  • Polar Pattern: Figure 8
  • Impedance: ¡Ü 200 Ohms
  • Equivalent Noise Level: 20dB(A weighted)
  • Max SPL for 0.5% THD@1000Hz: 135dB
  • Power Requirement: Phantom power 48V¡À4V
  • Connector: 3-pin
      For more information, check out the VooDoo VR2 on the Dolphin Website

Take a listen to Skindred’s lead track from the forthcoming album ‘Kill The Power’, released in 2014 and find more information via their website

Article by Stefanie Chew

Behind the Scenes: Will.I.Am and Novation Launchkey

When it comes to Synthesizers, Novation are up there with the best and many artists are turning to their ever increasing range of MIDI synthesizers and innovative control surfaces to perform live.
In this article, we’re focusing on the Novation Launchkey range, a series of 25,49 and 61 note controller keyboards. These controller keyboards are becoming increasingly popular with musicians and DJ’s as they easily integrate with DAWs such as Ableton live, allowing you to trigger and control samples, easily slotting them into your live set.

Will.I.Am is one of a number of artists whose live show has been enhanced by the use of the Novation range. After performing with backing tracks for recent tours, the singer recently decided he wanted to change his live setup. His decision to have all sounds performed live resulted in extra musicians being called upon.

Keith Harris is the musician that recreated Will.I.Am’s live setup and his current role is to prepare all music, digital audio and live equipment for Will.I am’s performances.

"It’s important to have lots of control at my fingertips. My Launchkey 25 packs loads of features into a compact size, and the Launchpad is my main session controller. Both are really robust: perfect for life on the road." Keith uses Novation Launch controllers to power three live rigs. In Keith’s drum setup, for example, his Launchkey 25 and Launchpad were both positioned within arms reach — nestled among his drum pads, sound modules and cymbals — giving him complete control over his Ableton session.

Keith talks about Novation stating its also his first choice when it comes to recording, "I love Novation gear. In my studio, I have the Impulse and SL MkII controllers, plus the MiniNova. They are an irreplaceable part of my powerhouse". The picture below shows how Keith has integrated Novation equipment into his home studio.

The Launchkey controller keyboards carry upto 50 physical controls and 16 velocity-sensitive three-colour launch pads to control clips and allow expressive playing in the drum rack.The video below gives you an example of how it can be used to perform alongside Ableton.

Check out our range of Novation Launckey Controller Keyboards today.

Eddie Mapp Live Sound With Paramore & Evanescence

Eddie Mapp Live Engineer Paramore Evanescence

Eddie Mapp Live Sound With Paramore & Evanescence

After speaking with his mate Ken ‘Pooch’ Van Druten Eddie was converted to the sound of sE Electronics for guitar are crucial part of the sound for big live acts like Paramore. He’s not alone though engineers for Queens Of The Stone Age, Linkin Park, Aerosmith and Black Sabbath are all getting on board, whether it’s deep, smoky ribbons or precise, huge sounding condenser mics. The use of reflection filters has changed the game too, minimising unwanted ambience and keeping a dry sound for larger arenas.

sE Electronics - Big Guitars And Drums On Stage And In The Studio

Electro Harmonix Get Tubes Screaming With East River Drive

Electro Harmonix Get Tubes Screaming With East River Drive

Electro Harmonix East River Drive

Guitarists have been clamouring for Electro Harmonix to make a JRC4558 style pedal for some time. Well now it’s finally here and it sounds awesome. Perfect for kicking your amp into blissful distortion. For a pedal that brings all it’s own distortion to the party then try the Micro Metal Muff.

Electro Harmonix East River Drive

Numark Orbit - Must Have DJ Kit

Numark Orbit - Must Have DJ Kit

Check out Eddie from Watch The Duck going through his Numark Orbit setup. By setting up Cues and FX on this intuitive wireless controller he can step away from behind the decks and engage with the music and the audience at the same time. More than just a MIDI controller or piece of DJ Equipment the Orbit is like having your own instrument for mixing on stage. Bust it out for dramatic breakdowns or use it as your main hands on effects controller.

Numark Orbit

John 5 On Shredding & Sessions

John 5 On Shredding & Sessions

You only need to watch the playing examples from this video to see that John 5 is a seriously talented guitarist, switching from finger picking to full shred in the blink of an eye. Starting out in LA working as a valet and selling frozen yogurt before playing guitar for Marilyn Manson and ultimately receiving an accolade that would make any guitarist swell with pride, a compliment from the late, great Les Paul himself after playing on stage together. As far as gear goes John is a big Telecaster fan and loves his Boss effects, here’s his current selection.

Boss Super OverDrive
        Boss Super Overdrive
Boss Adaptive Distortion
        Boss Adaptive Distortion
Boss Chorus Pedal
        Boss Super Chorus CH1

Korg Keyboards Remix

Korg Keyboards Remix

It’s always nice to hear instruments being used in a creative fashion by a real band. The Spinto Band have put together a cool little video of a Korg based remix of one of their singles. Starring every bands favourite, the legendary MicroKorg as well as Korg’s pure analogue MS-20 and Monotrons.

Korg Monotribe
        Korg Monotribe
Korg Monotron
        Korg Monotron
Korg MS20
        Korg MS20
Korg MicroKorg
        Korg MicroKorg

Felix Da Housecat Using Traktor X1

Felix Da Housecat Using Traktor X1

A DJing legend, Felix has been on the scene a long time but has always remained on the cutting edge with DJ performance tech. This awesome video from Native Instruments shows us exactly how he does it all.

If you fancy getting in on some of that action the Z1 Traktor Mixer and a pair of X1 controllers will give you the same kind of control, just not 4 channels like Felix gets from his Pioneer DJM-900. Or if you already have a mixer/sound card and want to add Traktor control to your setup, we have a bundle for you.

On top of a great DJ setup you get €100 worth of vouchers with either of these bundles, so you can buy Traktor Pro 2 or other software from Native Instruments.

Traktor DJ Setups
Traktor Z1 And Pair X1
        Traktor Z1 And Pair Of X1’s

        A kind of miniature version of Felix’s setup, super compact but with total control over Traktor.
Traktor F1 And X1 Bundle
        Traktor F1 And X1 Controller Bundle

        Add Traktor control to your existing setup.

Guitar Rig 5 Pro Free With Komplete Audio 6

Guitar Rig 5 Pro Free With Komplete Audio 6

Komplete Audio is living up to it’s name, offering an incredible range of free software out the box. Whether you’re a guitarist seeking new tones, like playing with pro VST sounds or recording in Cubase. It’s all their with the Komplete Audio 6.

Offer ends 2nd September 2013.

Komplete Audio 6 Offer

Vintage Models Make A Comeback With Squier

Vintage Models Make A Comeback With Squier

Fender Bass VI


Cabronita and the Bass VI might not be big household names like the Stratocaster but that didn’t stop them being popular in there time. With the Bass VI in particular seeing action with Cream, the Beatles, Aerosmith & the Black Keys. Now there’s no need to trawl through Ebay looking for something out of the ordinary as Squier have made these near forgotten classics available to all. The proof is in the hearing and Jack Bruce playing Strange Brew is a pretty good example of what the Bass VI is capable of.

If a straight up four string is more your thing for bass Squier have also brought back designs from past eras with the ‘70 & ‘77 Model Jazz basses.

Have a scan of the full range of Squier Vintage Modified guitars, new for 2013.

Or learn a little more about the history of the Bass VI

Roland Talk To Roger Taylor From Duran Duran

Roland Talk To Roger Taylor From Duran Duran

He’s an incredibly experienced drummer with number one singles, hit albums and countless driving grooves under his belt. They’re currently working with Mark Ronson on a new album and with the TD-30KV kit they can get inspiring sounds as well as good levels. Even the biggest acts have to deal with getting the volume right and hearing each other in the practice room!

For the sounds Roger has always been a big fan of electronic music like Kraftwerk and tight acoustic players like Tony Thompson (Chic). The TD-30KSE delivers those sounds and more in a fully expressive electronic drum kit.

Roland TD-30KSE

Fuzz Face Pedal Shoot Out

Fuzz Face Pedal Shoot Out

Everyone loves a shoot out, the result countless forum arguments and debates about who’s got the greatest tone. Why not get an opinion of your own with this superb Fuzz Face comparison from Dunlop.

With HD quality on the video and a very nice signal chain for the recording you can get a real feel for how these sweet, fuzzy animals sound compared to an Eric Johnson Signature model.

Eric Johnson Fuzz Face
        Eric Johnson Fuzz Face
Fuzz Face Mini Germanium
        Fuzz Face Mini Germanium
Jim Dunlop Fuzz Face Silicon
        Fuzz Face Mini Silicon
Jim Dunlop Fuzz Face Mini Hendrix
        Fuzz Face Mini Hendrix

Traktor X1

Native Instruments X1 Mk2 Announced

Native Instruments X1 Mk2 Announced

Joining the Z1 to deliver great new performance options to digital DJ’s. The X1 Mk2 sees the addition of a touch strip that can crossfade, control and drop in as needed. The X1 also provides greater visual cues with 7 Segment Displays and LED indicators. Naturally it’s already neatly integrated with Traktor, just plug and play.

Peavey Max Bass Combos

Peavey Max Bass Amps

Peavey Max Bass Amps

Peavey have developed new Transtube technology to give your bass tone bite and psycho acoustic enhancement to give serious low end out of a portable combo. A built in tuner makes them a perfect all in one practice or gigging solution.

Peavey Max 158
        Peavey Max 158

        20 Watt
Peavey Max 110
        Peavey Max 110

        100 Watts
Peavey Max 115
        Peavey Max 115

        300 Watts

Genelec M030 & M040 - Green, Creative & Inspiring Sound

Genelec M030 & M040 - Green, Creative & Inspiring Sound

Genelec have always been a favourite with studio engineers, used in professional facilities around the world. Now they’ve made inspirational speakers for musicians, DJ and home studio engineers. With an incredible flat response and calibration options to fit your environment. The M030 & M040 are made with recyclable materials and pioneer Genelec’s energy saving technology.

Genelec M030 Pattern
        Genelec M030 -Patterned
Genelec M030 In Black
        Genelec M030 - Black
Genelec M040 Pattern
        Genelec M040 - Patterned
Genelec M040
        Genelec M040 - Black

Primal Scream Take MS-20 Mini On The Road

Primal Scream Take MS-20 Mini On The Road

If anyone knows about great synth tones it must be Andrew Innes, from the mellow days of Screamadelica to the distorted grunge of Xtrmntr. It’s the latter that Andrew particularly likes from his MS-20 Mini. Check out this great interview with Korg were Andrew reveals it’s going out on the road with them and may even make an appearance at Glastonbury.

Find Out More About The Korg Volca Synths

Find Out More About The Korg Volca Synths

Korg Volca Synths

We already knew they sounded great from demos at Musikmesse but here’s Korg’s Chief Engineer Tatsuya Takahashi explaining in great detail just what the Volca synths are capable of.

It’s not every hardware designer that can explain so clearly the musical potential of their creations, so hat’s off to him. Plus the audio quality is great.

New From Fender - Satin Strats & Pedals

New From Fender - Satin Strats & Pedals

Fender’s Standard series delivers the feel and tone of those most famous guitars, Strats, Teles, Jazz and P-Bass. Now they’ve got a lovely new look, with Strats and Telecasters now coming in a satin finish.

Satin Finish Strat

Fender have also put together some great demos of their Competition Series pedals, hear the whole range.

Four Tet

Four Tet Runs Through His Live Gear

Four Tet Runs Through His Live Gear

You don’t "invent" the genre of Folktronica without being a little out there and experimental. Four Tet (aka Kieran Hebden) prefers to keep the deep tweaks for the studio though and his live setup is all about hands on effects and improvised looping.

Kieran’s first album was made on an ordinary desktop PC with a built in soundcard and Cool Edit Pro, so it’s fair to say he likes to keep things fairly low tech. So while you might not want to build your own Monome MIDI controller or root out the Boss Dr Sampler he uses we can recommend a few alternatives for a sweet improvisational live electronic music setup.

Pioneer DJM750

At the center of it all, you don’t want to scrimp on the mixer. You can rely on Pioneer to deliver awesome build quality, inspirational FX and even a built in sound card. Just couple the DJM750 up with Ableton Live Standard and you’ve already got a huge number of options for tweaking samples and arranging on the fly.

The Monome he uses is one of the first MIDI controllers designed for real time arrangement and step sequencing. A great piece of kit but the Novation Launchpad S is setup for Ableton out the box and is cheaper. If you really want to turn Ableton into a hands on instrument, then get a Push, perfect for live use and coming up with ideas in the studio.

Ableton Push

For live looping there’s a number of options available but the Boss RC-505 is designed for tabletop use with your hands rather than footstomping guitarists. A whole instrument unto itself, just check our Guide To Loopers to find out more.

If you want to find out a little more about the creative process behind his seminal album Rounds.

And check out this awesome track from his latest album.

High End Headphones From AKG

New Headphones From AKG

From the 414 range of microphones to these K series headphones AKG have a reputation for impeccably engineered gear. Nothing quite beats the immersion of listening to your favourite music on a truly beautiful pair of headphones, the K712 are handcrafted without compromise. It’s also important to have headphones for mixing, to hear detail that might be hidden on speakers and get your stereo imaging spot on. The K612 headphones are made with this mind, giving a balanced and detailed portrayal of your mix.

AKG K712 & K612 Headphones
AKG K712 Pro
        AKG K712 Pro
AKG K612 Pro
        AKG K612 Pro

Bernie Marsden Roland Strat

Bernie Marsden Talks To Roland

Bernie Marsden Talks To Roland

Roland caught up for a chat with the man BB King said can play the blues the way it’s meant to be played.  Bernie talks about his favourite gig, getting to play Rory Gallagher’s Strat and offers advice to aspiring professional guitarists. Talking about the future of guitar he also speaks high of his Roland Guitar Synth...

I think it’s great the way they’re being developed all the time. I still find it a bit magical.

Roland GR55 And Strat

Of course moving to the future we needn’t forget the past and so PRS offer the Bernie Marsden Signature guitar for his classic singing tone.

Check out the full interview with Bernie Marsden.

Arturia SparkLE Gets Glowing Reviews

Arturia SparkLE Gets Glowing Reviews

Designed for live performance with endless potential for tweaking and creating beats on the fly. The video from Source demonstrates just how much this little box can do, check out the last 9 minutes to see it in full flow.

Future Music were very impressed by it’s inspirational features and ease of use, even comparing it to a £1000+ analogue drum machine in feel. Check out the full review below.

A powerful beat making tool with functionality and sound quality way beyond it’s low price point.

- Future Music

SparkLE Review

sE Electronics Mics

sE Electronics Best Pick For Ultimate Drums

sE Electronics Best Pick For Ultimate Drums

They’re already a firm favourite of the Stereophonics and here’s another sE Electronics fan.

A collection including an sE1a Pair along with an sE4 Pair, an sE 2200a, an sE4400a Pair and a couple of sE Rupert Neve RNR1’s were used to record the samples for Frontline Producers drum sample collection Ultimate Drums.

“We thought we would set out to use some of the best recording equipment on the market so after a careful selection process we decided to use sE microphones almost exclusively. From the Beautiful Rupert Neve RNR1 Ribbons, to the ever versatile sE 4400a, sE1a’s and sE4’s and even an sE 2200a as an ambient mic. Apart from the sE 2200a all the other mics were used to record Toms, Overheads, Snare, Hats and Kicks. The sE RNR1’s worked especially well on the Overheads as they EQ beautifully and give a really nice full response. We then smashed these through some of the Rupert Neve Pres and a couple of Portico II’s and we had a really beautiful selection of sounds that we could mix into some great sounding stems and samples.”

Will Smith And Jazzy Jeff Reunited

Will Smith And Jazzy Jeff Reunited

It’s been a while since the gang got together but here’s Will Smith and son Jaden performing alongside ‘Fresh Prince’ co-stars Afonso Ribeiro and Jazzy Jeff, with the man on the decks getting a little assistance from his Novation Dicers.

That’s the second Youtube hit that Novation has cropped up in recently, with the Launchpad appearing in Jack Conte’s superb Pedals video.

Lennon Bus Audio Technica

Audio Technica Help Launch The Lennon Bus

Audio Technica Help Launch The Lennon Bus

It’s been touring around the US for a number of years now. A portable professional studio, teaching young people at performing arts facilities, colleges and festivals. Now the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus is coming to Europe.

It’s decked out with a range of lovely Audio Technica gear, including M50 Headphones as well as 40-Series Ribbon and Condenser microphones.

Tom Harrold, Audio-Technica assistant marketing manager pro-audio said, “The John Lennon   Educational Tour Bus does an incredible job of providing free workshops to students in a truly   professional facility. Audio-Technica is delighted to be involved with the bus and its work in inspiring   a new generation of songwriters, performers and video producers, who will get the chance to record   with some of our most popular high-end microphone models.”


New Squier Affinity Strats

New Squire Affinity Strats

Nothing is quite like a Strat when it comes to tonal versatility, except maybe a Strat with a humbucker in the bridge position. Get a bit of beef mixed in with your single coil sting.

Now they’ve got even greater personality, coming in a range of bold new colours.

If it’s good enough for Bruno Mars, he started out playing a Squire Strat and currently has a Fender ‘57 Reissue.

If you’re just starting out on the guitar then you should check out Fender’s guide to setting up your Strat.

Squier Strat New Colours

Pioneer DDJ-S1 Now Comes With Serato DJ

Pioneer DDJ-S1 Now Comes With Serato DJ

Pioneer DDJ-S1 Serato DJ

If a high grade controller from Pioneer wasn’t enough already now the DDJ-S1 comes with Serato DJ. With new features and FX from iZotope now’s the time to get involve with Serato.


  • Slip Mode - DJing function that allows tracks to continue playing in the background while other tracks are looped, scratched or hot cued, without affecting the original track.
  • New FX From iZotope - High quality FX newly developed by iZotope. With the new effects, DJ can apply more creative and more unique arrangement to the music.
  • Other new functions -
  • 5hot cue points can be set in each deck.
  • Vertical waveform display to visually sync the tempo.

If the blurb doesn’t convince you then why not check out the video, DJ Blakey tearing it up with a DDJ-S1.

KingKorg Vs. Vintage Analogue

KingKorg Vs. Vintage Analogue

We’ve been making a lot of noise about the return of analogue synths lately. However here’s Keyboard Magazine demonstrating the power of VA. Comparing the KingKorg’s filters to it’s vintage forebears.


Traktor DJ For iPhone

Traktor DJ For iPhone

Traktor DJ For iPhone

Already available for the iPad Traktor has now shrunk onto an even smaller device, the humble iPhone. Perfect for playing out at parties or keeping as a backup for gigs.

If you want to take things a stage further then grab the iPad app and a Traktor Audio 6 or Audio 10 for pro grade connections and more screen real estate for easier mixing.

Get them in the Scratch DJ packages.

Traktor Scratch A6Traktor Scratch A10

Reason 7 Available

Reason 7 Parallel Compression & Quantisation Tips

Reason 7 Available Soon

Propellerhead have released a couple of very informative videos demonstrating just what’s possible with Reason 7.

The first features James Wiltshere of the Freemasons demonstrating parallel processing in Reason. This powerful technique originally came from engineers blending one heavily compressed version of a mix with a clean, uncompressed version. This lets you get the great, chewy character of analogue compression while retaining dynamics and clarity. Of course it can be used in a number of other applications, anywhere you need a wet/dry blend for signals.

There’s also a rundown of Reasons audio quantising and time stretching. Creative and informative stuff.

So get your order in now for a copy of Reason 7 for sound design, compressor pumping, beat making and song writing.

Alex Hutchings Jumping Through Loops

Alex Hutchings On Roland & Boss

We’ve covered him before in our guide to loop pedals and here Alex Hutching is giving a detailed run down on just what is possible with a GR-55 guitar synth and RC-300 looper. Some impressive chops on display and an amazing array of sounds.

GR-55K Guitar SynthBoss RC300

Doctor Who Soundtrack On Guitar

Doctor Who Soundtrack On Guitar

With the range of guitar effects available today it’s possible for the experimental axeman to end up with a pedal board that resembles a modular synth (or spaceship). But just like a modular synth it’s best to break a setup down to it’s constituent parts if you want to understand the whole.

Electro Harmonix do a marvelous job of this with their Effectology series of videos, very handy considering just how many weird and wonderful effects they have. So whether you want to recreate the Blader Runner soundtrack or make your guitar sound like a tin whistle it’s a great resource. Our favourite has to be the recreation of Doctor Who however, simply awe inspiring stuff.

If you want to get inspired by some effects that will morph your guitar into something else entirely then we’ve got a selection picked out for you.

Launchkey & Reason

Launchkey & Reason

No longer simply an Ableton controller, what started on the Launchpad is taking off and enhancing even more software with full tactile controls. The Launchkey allows you to get inspired rather than being tied to a keyboard and mouse,  ideas flow quicker and can be implemented more easily on faders, knobs and buttons.

Novation know this only too well and the Launchkey MIDI controller offers superb support for Reason, program a beat with Launchpads on the step sequencer in Thor, switch to playing a piano on NNXT with the keyboard before making broad mix changes using the faders and knobs on the Reason mixer.

Check out this vid explaining how.

Beatles Vox

Rare Beatles Vox Guitar Up For Viewing & Auction

Rare Beatles Vox Guitar Up For Viewing & Auction

Vox Rare Beetles Guitar

Lennon On VoxBeing based in Liverpool and possessing a pair of ears we love a bit of the Beatles and would jump at the chance to see this piece of Fab Four history in the flesh, as for buying it, well one can dream. But if you’re after a great guitar from the iconic British manufacturer then you should check out our selection of Vox Guitars.

The guitar body has a unique scroll design, marked “Vox Custom” on the headstock. It also featured 24 fret rosewood fingerboard with rectangular inlays, mahogany hollow body, single f-hole along with electronics which include six push buttons for: treble, bass, top boost,  mid-boost, fuzz and repeat. The guitar was not originally designed as part of the VOX Kensington line but it has become known as such.  The guitar is discussed by Andy Babiuk in his book “Beatles Gear: All the Fab Four’s Instruments: From Stage to Studio” and seen in “Beat Instrumental” November 1967 which shows an image of George Harrison playing the guitar.  Because of the relationship with the Beatles and Madras the guitar adds a unique emotional pull to Beatles lore.

New Ways To Play With A Superego

From the Microsynth & Superego to the POG and Voice Box Electro Harmonix love giving guitarists, bassists and vocalists fresh sounds for the stage and studio. Of course with all the different features and controls on these pedals it can be a little overwhelming as to exactly what the possibilities are and how you might use them with the band at practice.

Fortunately there’s plenty of people who love the pedals willing to show you exactly what can be done. Check out the videos below for examples of guitar & bass providing synth beds, vocoding and full organ tones live from some talented musicians.

RCF Ayra White

RCF Ayra 5 In White

RCF Ayra 5 In White

RCF have a superb pedigree in the PA speaker market, researching, designing and manufacturing their products in purpose built facilities. They’ve taken their decades of experience and distilled it into the accurate, detailed sound of their Ayra series of monitors. Sound On Sound agree stating that the Ayra 5 have

...a wonderfully smooth mid-range capable of delivering a realistic vocal sound, balanced by a nice sense of high-end detail, but without any abrasive tendencies. - Sound On Sound, July 2012

We’ve got these great near field monitors in a snazzy white finish, a limited edition and exclusive to Dolphin! Ideal monitors for home studios or if you need high quality playback.

Dr. Green Review

Rave Reviews For Dr Green Pedals

Rave Reviews For Dr Green Pedals

The first reviews are in from Guitarist magazine and not one of the pedals under test earned less than 4 stars, with special plaudits for Black Death Distortion and Booster Shot Signal Boost.

This is on top of the great review for Hayden’s new range of Mofo amps.

Gretsch Greats - Tim Armstrong And Billy Duffy

Gretsch Greats

In stock now we’ve got the Tim Armstrong signature Electromatic hollow body, joining Billy Duffy in Gretsch’s roster of hard rocking axemen. With the fine design and quality bracing that Gretsch are renowned for you won’t have any of the issues that can plague hollow bodies in a high gain situation. Check out Billy describing exactly what it is that he loves about Gretsch.

Billy Duffy White Falcon

Roland 808

808s, 303s & 909s - Roland Synths On Radio 1

Being massive fans of Roland synths we really enjoyed Kutski’s documentary for Radio 1, seeking out the origins of the classic 808, 909 and 303 drum machines and synths that helped change the way music was made. Of course Roland are still at the leading edge of great synthesis and have revisited their roots with the Gaia SH-01, Juno-Di and Jupiter-80.

Deluxe Bass Big Muff Pi

Deluxe Bass Big Muff In Premier Guitar

Deluxe Bass Big Muff In Premier Guitar

Premier Guitar have reviewed the Deluxe Bass Big Muff Pi and have come to the same conclusion that we did…

"This pedal is the Big Muff many bassists have been waiting for." - Premier Guitar

With blend feature, DI out and a tone based around every bassists favourite Russian Muff this is the fuzz pedal the bass world has been waiting for. Don’t just take our word(s) for it though, why not use your ears…

Novation Release Launchpad App for iPad

Novation have released an app version of their Launchpad controller, now iPad users can get hands on control of loops, beats and effects for free. While it doesn’t have all the features of the hardware Launchpad it is great fun and an excellent way to get your musical juices flowing with the built in loops and effects.

If you fancy full integration with Ableton Live and control over all aspects of your music then the Launchpad offers that same spontaneous creativity with a wealth of depth and features. You can also choose Black or White to suit your setup on stage.

Gotye Loving The Ultranova Synth

Belgian-Australian multi-instrumentalist Gotye (aka Wouter “Wally” De Backer) recently won 3 Grammys, well deserved in our opinion.

Gotye is a fan of Novation synths, perfect for getting a handle on controls in real time and finding the perfect sound to match the performance.

It all started with the Novation Bass Station. Best keyboard ever. Unfortunately with the Bass Station being so old and touring being so rough, I needed to update my bass keyboard. Enter the Novation UltraNova. The UN has delivered those thick bass sounds I needed to hold down the bottom end in Gotye shows. It has the ability to dive into the sounds and really create whatever I hear in my head or, whatever sounds I need to re-create. As a second keyboard I took a Novation MiniNova out on the road with me. In my opinion, the Mini is a slightly more awesome synth in a package half the size. The sounds are huge, especially the bass sounds, but its the MiniNova’s ability to create multiple changes in real time that sets it apart for me. Between the filter and the animate buttons, creating live sounds/lines on the gig is so much fun. I can easily adapt to whatever is happening musically on stage, instantly. It’s easy to get around the functions and it almost fits in my pocket! Perfect for when I need it at a gig for only a couple of songs. It fits in my bass guitar gig bag and I can run it straight into my bass amp. Thumpin’! - Wouter “Wally” De Backer (Gotye)

Gotyes Gear

We also reckon we can spy a black Launchpad in the foreground there.

Native Instruments Teasing A New Synth

Details are thin on the ground at the moment but Native Instruments have released a teaser video and Soundcloud. ‘A Revolution Is Coming’ apparently…

Tom Odell Using Roland At The Brits

Winning a Brit Award, playing an intimate backstage performance and tonight appearing on Jonathan Ross. It’s been a busy old week for Tom Odell and the last thing he want’s to worry about is getting good sound and performance from his gear. That’s why he uses Roland pianos on stage…

Steinberg CMC Physical Controllers For Cubase

Designed to be flexible and let you take control of parts of the DAW which are most important to you. Each CMC is dedicated to a particular area of Cubase. Transport, channel settings, drum pads, mix faders, plugin settings and the clever AI Controller which works closely with Cubase to allow you to work with one hand on a tactile controller while the other guides the mouse around Cubase.

We might also say that they look pretty good too with cutting-edge touch sensitive tech and LED lights.


CMC Cubase Controller

For a limited time Steinberg are offering all six CMC controllers at an incredible price of £244.

Not to worry if you don’t get to this deal in time or if you only need one or two controllers. We have the individual range available, just choose your models and give us a call for bundle options!

The Return Of My Bloody Valentine

Kevin Shields has teased us since the late nineties, suggesting a new My Bloody Valentine album was in the works. Many of us lost faith and worried that Loveless would stand alone with it’s phenomenal wall of sound production and colossal guitar tones.

Good news though, MBV released their new album on the 2nd February 2013 and have announced a tour and festival appearances.

For more info on the tour/album - Check the official site.

To find out how Kevin Shield’s guitar turns into a symphony and what gear he uses as a secret weapon. - My Bloody Valentine Gear Guide

Also check out a track off the new album in the video above!

Fall Out Boy Are Back And On Tour

It seems the reports of Fall Out Boy’s demise were greatly exaggerated. With the band recently announcing a number of live dates and an album due out in May they’re busier than ever.

Really taking off in 2005 with ‘From Under The Cork Tree’ which went double platinum and gained them a Grammy nomination. Fall Out Boy’s distinctive sound comes in large part from Patrick Stump’s unique vocals and some expert melding of hardcore punk and pop styles in his guitar playing.

Patrick has a versatile signature guitar with some neat features to help you get creative and sculpt your tone. Being a Gretsch with TV Jones pickups means it’s not short on some classic tone, while a third middle humbucker gives you all the beef you might need.

Talking about some weighty sound, Patrick is an avowed fan of the Vox AC30 too…

“The clean has a really warm tone, but it can multi-task. As a clean amp, it does a lot at once. As a dirty amp, I think it’s a really great lead amp, which is made very obvious by Brian May and all the other great guitar players who have used it.”

So that’s how you can get some Patrick Stump sounds but if you wan’t to hear the man himself then you need to get to Leeds or Reading festivals this year as their London show on 25th February sold out rapidly.

One Amazing Performance From 24 iPads

This is pretty special, one class playing a song live using iPads for all sound creation and processing. Shows just how much you can do in software on even super compact portable devices.

Jamming out with virtual instruments controlled with M-Audio Oxygen controllers, playing guitar via iRig and Apogee Jam audio interfaces along with an iRig Mic doing some vocal processing.

New Fender Acoustic Custom Shop

Setting out to bring the same level of master craftsmanship to acoustics that they have with the electric Custom Shop, Fender have created some true works of art. The new Kingman models are made with select tone woods and hand crafted to perfection.

Not from the Custom Shop but we are still loving the Mando Strat announced at NAMM 2013. Diminutive, distinctive and damn good sound, check it out in action.

Beyonce Superbowl

Beyonce At The Superbowl

Even if you’re not a big fan of America’s favourite sport, the Superbowl half time show often delivers big budget performances with heaps of pizzazz from the legends of pop. Beyonce was no exception and we reckon she had a little help from Sennheiser’s top of the range wireless microphones. Using a Neumann capsule and Sennheiser 5000 Series transmitter you get studio quality sound with live rig reliability.

With decades of experience in pro audio you can rely on Sennheiser.

A Mackie Cinema Moment

Not content simply making great gear Mackie have produced some cool videos to show off their fantastic DL range of mixers and DLM speakers.

Time was that you would have to lug racks of heavy amps/outboard, trunks of NL4/Speakon cables and massive speakers all before you deal with any tuning in the venue.

Mackie have solved a lot of these issues using DSP, iPad integration and their usual keen eye for quality analogue electronics. Features like time alignment, wireless system tuning/mixing and different speaker voicings used to be the preserve of major touring theatre shows or high end installations. This is no longer the case and you can get faultless sound for any gig from small to large.

Once the gig is going you can simply grab your iPad, get right into the sweet spot and adjust the mix from position that most of the audience can hear it. No need to be constrained to the table with the wobbly leg next to the glass collecting station at the bar!

As for using Mackie to deal with a zombie apocalypse? Well, a little artistic might have been used.

Boss: Effecting Change With New Multi Dimensional Processing

It might sound like something Scotty would say to a bemused Captain Kirk explaining why the Enterprise is stuck. However Multi Dimensional Processing really is going boldly forth in terms of sound. It’s hard to put into words how well it responds to your playing, in a way effects users have never seen before, so handily there’s a number of videos out there to demonstrate just how awesome this new range of pedals is.

Boss DA-2 Adaptive Distortion - Retain the detail and dynamics of your sound thanks to MDP.

Boss MO-2 Multi Overtone - Intelligent harmonising with no fiddling around, simply plug and play.


Boss TE-2 Tera Echo - Expansive textures and unique freeze function.


NAMM 2013: Yamaha’s iPad sequencer for your MOX or MOTIF synth [VIDEO]

When we came across Yamaha’s latest press release in our inbox this morning, we were quite excited - here’s why:

Yamaha introduces the new Mobile Music Sequencer - an iOS app for iPad.  With its rich selection of 429 built-in phrase patterns, a software synth featuring 153 high-quality sounds, loop remix tools and a stack of other nifty features, this app enables composers to combine a range of phrase patterns and create musical compositions intuitively, following the flow of compositions from phrases to sections and from sections to songs.

What’s more, it let’s you port your ideas over to Steinberg’s Cubase software, or Yamaha synths like the MOX or MOTIF ranges. You can upload to SoundCloud directly from the app too!

It’s available from the app store now, with a special introductory price of £6.99 until 28th February 2013. After that it’ll be £13.99, so move quickly!

Numark Orbit video: “looks like a game controller that crashed into a disco”

DJing has looked the same for years. And even the best-sounding record-spinner can sometimes have a live stage-show that’s a bit, well, flat. So Numark’s Orbit is here to update the look, feel and usability of controllers for the 21st century.

It’s available to pre-order from Dolphin now for £99.99, with shipment due this Spring, but in the meantime top gadget blog Engadget has a hands-on look direct from NAMM 2013 in Anaheim (see video above).

IK Multimedia | Rocking the World of Mobile Music

IK Multimedia are Rocking NAMM 2013…
with a sound wave of mobile music awesomeness!

IK multimedia are rocking the world of mobile music accessories this year at The NAMM Show 2013. In addition to new releases of their iRig accessory range, they have introduced a bunch of new products that we could have never seen coming.


One new range in particular that has caught our eye is their new series of iLoud personal speaker systems. Big things do come in small packages, so if you’re looking for an ultra-compact but highly articulate speaker system for your mobile device, the iLoud speakers have just what you need, and more.

IK are reaching out to everyone with their iLoud systems. Offering two variations of the awesome speaker range, they have introduced the iLoud or the iLoud Mini system, both of which provide musicians with sonic accuracy that’s on par with professional studio monitors, making it possible, for the first time, to compose, record, and mix from a mobile speaker system. These little beauties are also available in a number of different colours including red and white. See here for the iLoud options.

Pricing to be announced shortly.


Their ever popular iRig range of accessories has welcomed a new member this year… the iRig HD Guitar Interface For iPhone & iPod. No matter where you are, the new iRig HD will deliver pure high-quality digital input signal. Featuring a 24-bit A/D ultra-transparent converter that accurately preserves the nuances of your instrument, you can rock out on your iPhone, iPad, iPad mini, or Mac laptop or desktop computer, with studio quality sound.

Another iRig addition for NAMM 2013 is the BlueBoard MIDI pedal-board for iOS. This connects to your iOS device via bluetooth, so there’s no need to use your dock connector or have annoying cables in the way when you’re playing live. Sweet!

iKlip & iLine

We could go on forever about the usefulness and convenience of IK’s iKlip range of accessories and their newly introduced iLine Mobile Music Cable Kit, so why not just take a look at these for yourself, right here.

More from Winter NAMM 2013

More from IK Multimedia

DJ Shiftee in Total KONTROL | Native Instruments Z2

DJ Shiftee with the Native Instruments Z2 Mixer

It’s no secret that DJ Shiftee is a big fan of Native Instruments DJ gear. It was earlier this year that we found him, along with Mr. Nice having a ball with the Kontrol F1. Shiftee is the only American DJ to date to have won the DMC Battle for World Supremacy, this guy knows his stuff… and he knows what gear does the job best.

In this video, Shiftee performs a standout scratch routine in a New York warehouse, with the TRAKTOR KONTROL Z2 as his central control hub. He works with the Z2s remix decks, post-fader effects, and TRAKTOR PRO’s new Macro FX and Flux Mode. He also shows us how he uses MASCHINE to control the same Remix Decks and cue points set up on the Z2, making it the ultimate performance partner to the world’s first 2+2 control mixer.

Native Instruments TRAKTOR KONTROL Z2

More about the Z2

This bad boy was only unveiled about 3 months ago, highly anticipated by DJs all over. But it’s here now and as you can see, it was well worth the wait! The Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol Z2 DJ Mixer is a two channel stand-alone mixer, which features two extra channels for remix decks. This 2+2 concept allows the Z2 to deliver unprecedented sonic and creative control. Some of the Z2’s key features include:

  • 2+2 channel DJ mixer/controller and 24-bit audio interface
  • Best-in-class, tour-safe build quality
  • Robust, aircraft-grade aluminium chassis
  • Ergonomic industry-standard layout
  • 3-band EQ plus dedicated filters per channel
  • Premium faders by Innofader
  • Multi-colored Remix Deck/cue point trigger buttons and LED loop display
  • One-knob Macro FX
  • Innovative Flux Mode
  • Lossless post-fader effects using the industry-leading TRAKTOR effects suite
  • Built-in powered USB hub* for 2 add-on DJ controllers such as TRAKTOR KONTROL F1 or X1
  • Instant plug-and-play setup, with full TRAKTOR SCRATCH PRO 2.5 software** and timecode media included

*USB 2.0 high-speed hub is optimized for Native Instruments hardware.
** You will receive a download link for the TRAKTOR SCRATCH PRO 2.5 software instantly after registering your hardware unit with Native Instruments. Remix Deck content is available as a separate free download. The software requires activation after installation.

Z2 News

Lianne La Havas Live | Recorded with Focusrite ISA 430 MkII

Performance of ‘Forget’ by Lianne La Havas - Live at the Village Underground. Recorded using a Focusrite ISA 430 MkII.

Lianne La Havas is an English folk and soul singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. La Havas released her debut album Is Your Love Big Enough? in June 2012, which features live favourites “Forget” and “No Room for Doubt”.

Focusrite went along to see La Havas’s headline show at the Village Undergroundearlier this year. Check out her amazing performance of “Forget”, recorded using the ISA 430 MkII from Focusrite.

The ISA430 MkII brings together a set of classic Focusrite heritage elements. Some features include the classic Focusrite ISA transformer-based mic pre with variable input impedance, versatile equalisation including two dual-range parametrics, HPF and LPF, and dual-mode compressor with both VCA and optical circuitry.

With VCA-based expander/gate with “hysteresis” setting to avoid chattering, phase-cancellation de-esser for more natural processing and optional 192kHz/24-bit A-D conversion with soft limiter, the Focusrite ISA430MkII represents the pinnacle of Focusrite’s analog channel strip technology. Combining all of the classic designs into one comprehensive production tool.


Key Features Include:

  • Easy visual monitoring with VU and LED meters
  • Variable impedance mic preamps for fine-tuning mic input levels
  • Flexible signal path provides up to four discrete inputs at once
  • Compressor features vintage opto plus Class A design.
  • Impeccable EQ drawn from the ISA 110
  • The ISA 430 MKII Input Section

Lianne La Havas

Akai MPC Renaissance University | Get to Know

Akai MPC Renaissance University | Get to Know

We know you’ve been waiting a long long time for its arrival, but the MPC Renaissance is finally here!

The MPC Renaissance from Akai is the world’s first MPC designed to harness the processing power of a user’s Mac or PC. The flagship controller succeeds in combining software with hardware an undoubtedly delivers the experience of using a stand-alone MPC.

The Renaissance has been designed in collaboration with numerous professional music producers. The design goal for this controller was to “maintain the workflow and layout they love, and preserve the essence of the MPC.”

Thinking that the sounds will be too modern? If you were a big fan of the older generation MPC… you’ll be looked after too, because the Renaissance includes a button for ‘Vintage Mode’ with three settings: MPC3000, MPC60 and Other.

“No other tool on the planet has all the things producers demand with the industry-leading feel that they expect from Akai Pro,” stated Dan Gill, Product Manager, Akai Professional. “MPC Renaissance the most advanced and powerful MPC ever produced, yet it retains a link to beloved MPCs of the past.”

The Akai MPC Renaissance takes the proven layout and functionality of the MPC hardware and combines it with the power of your computer (Mac/PC) with the included MPC Software. The Renaissance is the hardware/software powerhouse you’ve been waiting for.

“Workflow is as slick as legacy standalone MPCs. Software is well thought out and very versatile. Built-in 96kHz, two-in four-out audio interface” - Music Radar Review

More about the Akai MPC Renaissance

We all know that it can be difficult to get an idea of a product like this without seeing it in action, so with this in mind, Akai have put together a series of MPC YouTube videos, taking us through the main features of the MPC renaissance. Check out the MPC University posts below, and hold onto your socks.

All you need to know about the MPC Renaissance:

  • Getting Started With MPC Renaissance
  • Sequence Editing with MPC Renaissance
  • VSTs & AU Plugins
  • MPC Renaissance Program Edit & Pad Assign
  • Sampling With MPC Renaissance
  • Mixing, Effects & Automation

Universal Audio | Ryan Hewitt’s Tips & Tricks

Ryan Hewitt’s Tips & Tricks

Universal Audio Artist Ryan Hewitt has been recording since the age of 10 and has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry, including the likes of blink-182, Johnny Cash and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Universal Audio artist and Grammy award winning recording engineer Ryan Hewitt, has put together a Tips & Tricks video, giving you a first-hand look at the way engineer he has used an arsenal of UAD Powered Plug-Ins while mixing the song, “February Seven” from The Avett Brothers’ latest release, The Carpenter.

Using some of our favourite Universal Audio gear, like the LA-2A & Fairchild 670 Compressors; the Pultec Pro EQs; the EP-34 Tape Echo; the BOSS CE-1 Chorus; and the SPL Transient Designer, Ryan demonstrates invaluable tips for enhancing the sound of an acoustic bass, taming a troublesome piano, and accentuating the main vocal within the chorus.

“I believe that the song informs my methods of recording and mixing, and dictates the sounds we capture in the process. I want to be known as a chameleon, working on music that inspires me to try different palettes in order to paint an appropriate sonic picture for the artist’s song.”

For a full list of Ryan’s gear See Here.



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