Novation Circuit Review

The Novation Circuit portable Groovebox

This Circuit review is one that I specifically requested from Novation. I was quite interested in the idea of a portable groove box that held one of my favorite synth engines in a battery controlled, forward thinking design. I was concerned about the macro control layout as I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the layout. I came away from my time with the circuit gaining a new appreciation for this different take on a portable synth. Instead of focusing on specifics like ADSR settings or complex oscillator set ups, This groove box opts to give you macros that can control 4 parameters on any given patch. While this might be a bit confusing, it also serves as the pathway to inspiration and discovery of new unexpected sounds. This is where Circuit can come into its own… The sequencer is a bit on the basic side being only 16 steps but it does allow for independent note lengths and pattern chaining. You can launch patterns in a similar way to the ableton live clip launching method. Speaking of Ableton Live, a copy is included free with Circuit and Circuit can be used as a controller for live.

The Battery power and the fact that it has a built in speaker was a large draw for me. I’m happy to say that through out this entire review I never once needed to actually plug it into the wall (though the wall adapter is included in the box). The internal speaker is quite adequate to get its sound across in a quiet setting (don’t expect it to be loud enough to get peoples attention in a noisy bus station but it will certainly turn heads if you are sitting in a starbucks.)

I found the over all build quality to be extremely good. The knobs feel VERY nice , smooth with decent resolution. the body didn’t creak or feel hollow and plasticy.  The build felt so nice I let my 2 and a half year old son bash away on it with not so much as a scratch or a worry. I have to say he quite enjoyed it as well.

I was skeptical of the layout but came away impressed with the build quality. The constant updates from novation is a very promising sign and the addition of sample import and “sample flip” is not to be over looked. the rigid 16 step sequencer resolution is probably my biggest gripe but for what this product is, its hardly a deal breaker.

If you are looking for a groove box that you can confidently take with you on the go and is truly stand alone… this might be right up your alley.

The SynthSummitShow episode 18: John Bowen synth designs

This episode I was fortunate to have John Bowen on the show. A staple in the synthesizer community for roughly 40 years, John has been instrumental in many of the legendary synths of our time. Join us as we walk through a piece of synth history and cap it off with a discussion of his amazing Solaris synthesizer.

for more info check out Johnbowen.com 

Orange Amplification Launch Their First Dual, Discrete Op-Amp

Orange Amplification Launch Their First 

Dual, Discrete Op-Amp UK RRP £42.00

Orange Amplification has launched the new Dual Discrete Op-Amp which has been specifically designed for audio use. It is one of the most musically sounding of its kind on the market today.

Built to a high specification, the Dual Discrete Op-Amp has been constructed for superior musical audio performance purposes. Unlike existing products, it only contains the gain blocks that are needed to give good clean audio. Each of the individual transistors and resistors are of the highest quality, so the Op-Amp runs as close to pure Class A as possible instead of the class B operation seen in IC Op-Amps. It has been designed to be 8 pin DIP compatible, and comes with a socket, so is easy to drop in and replace. The DC offset of Orange’s Op-Amp is low, which means they can be used almost anywhere, even active filters.

We wanted to design something purely for audio’, explains Adrian Emsley, Orange Amplification’s Technical Director, ‘Many Op-Amps perform well on paper but the trouble is the human ear does not hear quite the same way as test equipment. To me, this Op-Amp sounds more musical, more natural, with the transient sound feeling more real and less synthetic.’

To find out more about the Orange Op-Amp and its full specifications please go to  ” https://orangeamps.com/shop/op-amp and to see Adrian Emsley talking about the new Op-Amp check out this video here

Tracktion Launches Waveform DAW

Tracktion Corporation is proud to announce the release of Waveform, the latest in their long line of innovative DAWs. Transcending the award-winning T7 in look, feel and feature set, Waveform maintains the open, intuitive characteristics of its predecessor. In addition to providing a solid recording platform, the Tracktion team has developed an array of new tools designed to speed up and expand creative composition.

All good DAW’s have the ability to record, edit, mix and share music however, Waveform may be the only application evolving at the same pace as modern music production. Since acquiring ownership of the platform in 2012, Tracktion has completely re-factored the application, adapting it to the latest production trends, on a yearly basis. No other DAW can make this claim. In addition, Waveform is laser focused on music production so it avoids the complexities inherent in most of today’s DAWs as they struggle to support everything from film mixing to enterprise operations or live music performance. 

Beyond sheer efficiency, Waveform inspires creativity with an unprecedented suite of composition tools. Intuitive MIDI pattern generators allow even untrained musicians to quickly assemble entire musical arrangements while built-in virtual instruments such as the FM Synth and new Collective™ sampler/synthesizer provide a wealth of new sounds and blending options for a truly sophisticated sonic palette. Of course, Waveform is also compatible with all VST and AU plugins such as Tracktion’s popular BioTek™ Organic Synthesizer.

Our goal is to continually gain market share by remaining more current and flexible than our competitors,” explained Tracktion Corp CEO, James Woodburn. “Our constant re-factoring process means that we can track emerging production trends and incorporate the best ideas into our codebase. Watch on-line tutorials detailing how today’s top producers like to work and you’ll find that Tracktion seamlessly fits into those workflows.”

Despite the remarkable power of this application, Waveform’s highly refined code remains efficient enough to support even the relatively tiny Raspberry Pi platform. This allows the app to run smoothly on almost any modern Windows, Mac or Linux computer but also opens it for use as an embedded solution in the growing DIY maker community.

Waveform is available from the Tracktion website,  HYPERLINK “https://www.tracktion.com/” tracktion.com, as well as top retailers, with prices starting at $99.

Arturia Black Edition release of Keystep, Beatstep, Beatstep Pro

 

Arturia are set to release a limited number of “Black Edition” KeyStep, BeatStep, and BeatStep Pro sequencer-controllers.

Known and loved throughout the industry, Arturia’s trio of DAW controlling, step-sequencing hybrids are now available in a sleek black finish. Offering something for every musician, the Step range synchronizes the analog and digital worlds, letting musicians control hardware instruments, outboard modules, virtual instruments, and reco

Each of the new Black Edition models comes complete with CV cables, giving you immediate access to the sequencer’s hardware control functionality.

 


rding software simultaneously.

Arturia KeyStep Black Edition – 149 US$ / 119

This small format keyboard sequencer features a 32-note slim-key keybed with aftertouch, and lets you sync with & control any software or hardware instrument through its comprehensive connectivity, including USB, MIDI in & out, CV gate, and Sync in & out. Create evolving, polyphonic sequences up to 64 steps long, with real-time recording and rewriting.

 

Arturia BeatStep Pro Black Edition – 299 US$ / 249

Arturia’s cutting edge, 3-part step sequencer now has a sleek new look. Featuring two separate melodic sequencers and a dedicated 16-track drum sequencer, BeatStep Pro gives the adventurous musician a powerful palette of tools to create dynamic, exciting tracks without the need for a computer screen.

 

Arturia BeatStep Black Edition – 129 US$ / 99

Packing 16 pressure and velocity sensitive pads and 16 rotary knobs into a neat package, BeatStep is an affordable way for musicians to get creative with simple monophonic step-sequences. Able to control outboard synths and virtual instruments alike, BeatStep’s versatility also makes it a great DAW controller.

The Black Edition KeyStep, BeatStep, and BeatStep Pro will begin shipping worldwide at the end of April 2017.

Zeta Ohm Fluxus 1 (FLXS1) sequencer goes live on Kickstarter!

The Fluxus one Sequencer from Zeta Ohm


* Breaking news, ZetaOhm have ALREADY reached the goal and are not even halfway through the campaign!*

Recently at Knobcon 2016 I was very lucky to meet an enterprising young man by the name Tenkai. Not only did he save the day (I had a catastrophic computer failure) but he debuted an amazing new eurorack modular sequencer he was working on. Continue reading