LuSh-101 / D16 Group

LuSH-101
Since a few years that seemed an eternity, I was waiting (as many other people) for what was originally called the “Shiotor” and that’s now best known as the LuSH-101. As you probably noticed, the name’s first choice wasn’t really attractive and by far I prefer the name LuSH-101.

To read the full review just look a the PDF document available here :

  LuSH-101 Review

NDS-303 Acid Jam


Here is a small review about the sample pack recently created by “No Dough Music” !

NDS-303 Acid Jam is a large library (about 1.3G) dedicated to the infamous TB-303 made by Roland and I must say that this sample pack is very good and not too expensive !
For 29.99 euros you’ll get more than a thousand TB-303 loops 😉

The sound quality is nearly perfect and every sample was well recorded, cutted and sorted to bring you the best quality and if you are a TB-303 freak (like me), this sample pack is for you !

In my case I bought it because I needed some TB-303 sonorities and that my Monotribe (even if driven by my Octatrack) wasn’t able to clone… I think that it’s the first time ever that such TB-303 dedicated samples pack was released and I must that it’s a good thing…

Ok this sort of sample pack could be “cloned” by a Phocyon from D16 Group but it is not a matter of reproduction because I wanted the pristine TB-303 sound instead of an emulation (which is pretty good I must admit).

So if you want or need a good Acid sample package this one is the one !

Specifications :
• 1265 – 303 Loops in 24bit 44100hz WAV
• 116 – Main TB303 Loops
• 138 – Bassline Loops
• 122 – Square Wave Loops
• 188 – Lead Loops
• 614 – Distortion & Driven Loops
• 87– Fx Loops

Elektron : Octatrack DPS 1

Elektron Octatrack DPS-1

I’ve recently bought the Octatrack from Elektron and I must admit that this machine rocks a lot ! The Octatrack is an intuitive melting pot made of different machines and it’s really difficult to categorize the it !

Anyway, I’m really enjoying the Octatrack because I can feel myself comfortable anywhere with just the Elektron Octatrack, a DSI Mopho, a Korg Monotribe (Amazing Machines Midi kit) and my headphone.

I know that many people are complaining about the “slow learning curve” of the Elektron Octatrack but in my case it took me about 24h (real hours) to master all the functions !
Don’t fear the Octatrack, the Octatrack has been perfectly crafted and every functionnality is intuitive if you understand the logic that lies behind.

What I also like very much, is the fact that the Elektron Machines are evolving machines becoming more and more powerful over time like with the last recent major update (v1.2) which add the “Pickup Machines”.

As soon as possible I’ll try to make some videos about the workflow of the Octatrack starting from the basics up to more complex tricks !

New theme for Avalon-Zone

New theme for Avalon-Zone !

After a few month of site inactivity, I decided to renew the look and feel of the interface !
I think that this new interface is more “modern” and less static than the previous one and I hope you’ll enjoy it as much I do 😉

Any news ? Yes !

I have a musical theme haunting my mind since a long time ago, I don’t know why but I can’t get rid of it ! The following song, “Gonna Revive” wich was so named because it always come back in my head is available here in it’s 8th version since 1997 😉
For the moment, there is no real mixing/mastering because it’s still a WiP but I recently added a track made the Monotribe and wanted you to hear it and tell what you think. To listen to it, just select the “Gonna Revive (WIP)” track in the playlist.

Here is the hardware/software present in this song.

    Software
  • Synapse Audio Dune
  • D16 Group Nepheton
  • Cockos Reaper
  • D16 Group Toraverb
  • Korg M1 Legacy
  • TAL Dub III Delay
  • Cytomic The Glue
  • Stillwell 1973
    Hardware
  • Berhinger MIC 100
  • M-Audio Audiophile 192
  • Dave Smith Instrument MoPho
  • Korg Monotribe (Midi Mod)

Excepting this reworked old song, I’ll be soon the Happy owner of an Elektron Octatrack that I hope will free me from my computer, at least during the first steps of the creation process. For those who don’t know what the Octatrack is, here is the Elektron’s Octatrack product page. I also invite you to look a the promo video which is really amazing !

Arturia MINIBRUTE Analog Synthesizer

It is not really new for me but I had to keep this secret 😉
ARTURIA will release his first genuine ANALOG Synth and he’s called MINIBRUTE…

Globaly the MINIBRUTE make me remember the ROLAND SH-101 :

One button, one function ! Simple and damn efficient ! Back to the roots !
Here is an audio example coming from Amazona.de : MiniBrute

The price gonna be arround $550 which is pretty fair I think 😉

KORG Monotribe – System version 2.0

Korg Monotribe

KORG released a major system update for the Monotribe !

System Version 2

Announcing a major update for the monotribe!
Version 2 provides many new features to take your playing to a new dimension!

Announcing a major update to the monotribe analog ribbon station — the full-fledged analog synth and rhythm unit with a step sequencer inherited from the Electribe! The monotribe Version 2 adds a plethora of new features, allowing you to create sequences that are even more elaborate, or to layer complex musical developments for extended performances.

Surely one of the most exciting additions is a new synchronized performance mode that allows for new type of performance using multiple monotribe units. Whether you’ve never touched a monotribe or whether you’re an expert who is thoroughly familiar with all of the current features, this new update guarantees that your analog groove-making will be more intense than ever before!

Highlights

Sequencer:

Synth part resolution has been doubled to 16 Steps
Volume Automation has been added to the synth part.
Active Step can be specified for each part.
Drum Roll capability has been added.
Gate Time Hold function has been added.

Synthesizer:

Sample and Hold (S&H) function added to LFO.

Sync:

Connected sequences allow multiple monotribe units to play in rotation.
Half Tempo function has been added.

Short Cut Keys:

Four convenient shortcuts for creating patterns quickly

16-Step Synth parts
As with drum parts, the synth part now provides timing information in between the steps in a sequence, allowing a pattern to achieve a total of 16 steps.

Synth Part Volume Automation
Volume Automation allows the synth volume to be recorded during playback to create more detailed sequences. The left side of the ribbon controller keyboard decreases the volume, and the right side increases it. This Volume Automation can even be controlled when if Flux mode is on.

Set individual Active Steps for each Part.
The Active Step function lets you specify which steps are played or jumped when playing back the step sequencer. Now, the Active Step can be set individually for each of the SYNTH, BD, SD, and HH parts. By specifying a different number of steps for each part, you can create complex polyrhythms.

Sample & Hold (S & H) added to the LFO
The newly added S&H function is indispensible for creating mysterious analog synth sound effects. The RATE knob adjusts the frequency of change, and the INT. knob adjusts the depth of change.

“What is Sample & Hold?”
Unlike traditional LFO waveshapes that provide a constantly changing signal, the Sample & Hold feature takes a “sample” of the LFO signal and holds that level for a specific duration of time. The results are the highly popular and slightly random stepped-filter effects so famously used in analog synthesizers. By using noise as the input signal, the monotribe version 2 lets you create effects that change in a distinctively random manner.

Drum Roll capability
A roll can now be added to the desired drum part. The speed of the roll can be controlled using the ribbon controller keyboard; moving toward the right will increase the number of strikes. You can also record the drum roll using the sequencer to intuitively create subtle and dynamic drum patterns.

Linked Sequences play multiple monotribes in rotation
The Link Sequence feature is a completely new sync method that vastly expands the scope of the monotribe, to deliver even more fun. When sequence playback reaches step 8, the sequence will automatically stop and the next monotribe unit will start playing. By loop-connecting the SYNC jacks, the playback can keep cycling through multiple units – in true modular fashion!

New Additions
The Gate Time Hold function lets you use the ribbon controller keyboard to play and record new pitch information while retaining the gate times recorded in the sequencer. Also new is the Half Tempo function, which cuts the tempo in half when synchronizing to an external input from the SYNC IN jack. In addition, there are now four shortcut keys that instantly initialize various types of sequence data or active step settings.

Updating Procedure
Thinking of monotribe as an analog synthesizer, the procedure of for updating the Operating System is also a very old-school, analog-style method, reminiscent of loading data via the playback of analog cassette tape. Simply download the system data which Korg has encoded as an audio (WAV) file from www.korg.com or from the website of your local Korg distributor. Then, play back the file using a WAV file player like a Smartphone or using PC application software, directly in to the monotribe’s SYNC IN jack. When the audio (WAV) file finished playing, your monotribe has been updated. It’s a traditional procedure revived for a new generation!

WARNING!
Do not playback the system update file on any speaker or headphone system as this could lead to damage to equipment and/or hearing loss. Neither Korg nor any of its affiliates will accept responsibility for any damages, personal loss or injury that may result from playback of the file.

Here is a short video about the upgrade procedure :


Have a nice day !

DIVA – the Spirit of Analogue

Here is the new synth from “U-He”, I’ve already tryed the beta and my conclusion is that this Synth rocks a lot even if it’s only a Virtual Analog Synth 😉

Here is some info also available on the “U-He” web site :

We’ve been dropping hints about this synth for a good while, and now it has finally arrived. As public beta, at a special introductory price.

The oscillators, filters and envelopes closely model components found in some of the great monophonic and polyphonic synthesizers of yesteryear. Modules can be mixed and matched so you can build hybrids, but what sets DIVA apart is the sheer authenticity of the analogue sound. This comes at the cost of quite a high CPU-hit, but we think it was worth it: Diva is the first native software synth that applies methods from industrial circuit simulators (e.g. PSpice) in realtime. The behaviour of zero-delay-feedback filters when pushed to the limit clearly demonstrates the advantages of this groundbreaking approach.

The beta version works without restriction until December 31st. Become an early adopter, play an active role in development as we nurture this baby to perfection over the next few weeks…

Check this site often, subscribe to us on Twitter or Facebook as we unveil more details, post audio demos and offer more insight into the making of Diva.

The latest builds are always available in our support forum: click to go there

Important: Patches made using this public beta may not sound exactly the same in the official release versions.

Normal price: 179$ (+19% VAT in EU)
Introductory price: 119$ (+19% VAT in EU) until December 31st, 2011

Have a nice day !

Phutura VSTi

Phutura is a virtual synthesizer inspired by 80’s hardware synth Alpha Juno, best known for the Hoover sound. Its edgy and futuristic feel makes it perfect choice for Lead and Chord Stab type of sounds, suitable for use in dark & energetic styles of music, i.e.: Techno, Rave, Drum&Bass, Electro, Hardstyle, Dubstep.

Polyphony: 8 Voices (+ 8 release reserve).
Oscillators: 3 Oscillators (Sawtooth, Pulse and Sub, with 4-6 subtypes each) and White Noise Waveform.
Filters: Non-resonant High Pass Filter (4 modes) and Resonant Low Pass Filter.
Modulators: LFO, ADSR Envelope, Pitch Bender, Mod Wheel and Key Tracking.
Effects: Chorus.
MIDI: Automation of all interface controls is possible.
Patches: 128 Patches (80 presets in Hoover, Bass, Lead, Pad, Polyphonic, Synth & Sound FX categories; and 48 blank User Patches).
System: Windows with 32-bit host.

More info here : Phutura VSTi VST instrument plugin for Windows

Cakewalk Z3TA+ 2 – Review

A few days ago I’ve started to test the new Z3TA+ so I going to tell you about this long awaited beast !

Z3TA+
Z3TA+2

First thing you’ll notice, is the change occurred in the design. The size of the interface is bigger and cleaner than the old one but the general organization remain intact so you wont get lost If you were familiar with the previous one.

Z3TA+ Oscillators
Z3TA+ Shaper

The Oscillator panel remains globally the same but there are some great improvement in term of usability. For example, the Shaper panel is now directly integrated to the oscillator panel and all the options are now selectable via a context menu.

Z3TA+2 Oscillators
Z3TA+2 Perform

There is now a new panel called “Perform” which contains, a joystick modulator and a small but interesting panel named “Analog”. In the analog panel you’ll be able to control oscillator drift and burst 😉 Last but not least, it is now possible to select and load the “user waveforms” from the wave context menu… Even if there are no real astonishing improvements, changes were made and well made !

Z3TA+ Filters
Z3TA+2 Filters

The filters panel remains the same but with 3 new filter types which are “Formant”, “Reso” and “Comb”.

Z3TA+ Enveloppes
Z3TA+2 Enveloppes

The envelope panel is more visual and more usable but globally there is no real changes at all.

Z3TA+ LFO
Z3TA+2 LFO

The low frequency section offer more waveforms and is also more visual, no much to say.

Z3TA+ Modulation Matrix
Z3TA+2 Modulation Matrix

The modulation matrix is pretty much the same one, with a 16 slots routing table. Now the modulation matrix share the same location with the arpegiator panel.

Z3TA+ Arpegiator
Z3TA+2 Arpegiator

The arpegiator has very few modes available but it allow you to load midi files directly and the default soundbank already contains tons of midi sequences. It is possible to use the arpegiator as a “trance gate”.
The parameters available to control the arpegiator are the same but you have now an “humanize” and a “swing” parameter.

As you can see, even if there were improvement made for the “Synth” part, these are ergonomic changes and finally, 80% the functionality remains the same as in version 1.5 but I have to admit that the basis was already very good, so, cakewalk is forgiven 😉

Z3TA+ Effects
Z3TA+2 Effects

The “Effects” part of Z3ta+2 allow you to chain all effects as wanted but again, this is mainly the only modification.

In conclusion, even if Z3ta+2 is very good, it is more an “ergonomy” update than a technically improved version of the first one and I think that’s a bit light for a “10 years later” upgrade 🙁

Pro :

  • Great Sound !
  • New “Analog” features
  • Very usable interface
  • Nicely designed
  • Effect routing
  • Old presets are still compatible
  • Large set of quality presets

Cons :

  • No arpegiator editor, only presets and/or midi file
  • Lack of apegiator modes (Only 5 modes available)
  • Preset/category management is outdated
  • Bugs