IK multimedia UNO PRO synths announced

New paraphonic dual-filter analog synthesizers elevate the UNO lineto new levels of sound design, flexibility and connectivity

UNO Synth Pro - Image

January 13, 2021 – IK Multimedia announces UNO Synth Pro and UNO Synth Pro Desktop. Developed in collaboration with Italian boutique synth-maker Soundmachines, both these new analog synthesizers take the groundbreaking UNO Synth monophonic synth and expand it in nearly every section: more oscillators, more filters, more sequencer memory, more effects, more presets, more connections and more programmability. UNO Synth Pro puts this amazing new sound engine in a rugged metal chassis with a 37-key synth-action Fatar keybed, while UNO Synth Pro Desktop provides a more portable form factor to travel anywhere.

Uno pro $649

The UNO Synth Pro’s unique dual-filter, 3-oscillator paraphonic design lets it create nearly any synth sound imaginable, and with 256 presets, a new 64-step sequencer and expanded CV/Gate and audio connections, users will quickly find it’s the ideal creation station for any outboard rig.

Huge, real analog sound
Three analog oscillators offer continuously variable waveshape, including pulse-width modulation. Oscillators can be hard-synced for more harmonically-complex tones, and oscillator FM (frequency modulation) lets users shape everything from bell-like sounds to screaming industrial tones. UNO Synth Pro even includes ring modulation for wobbly, sci-fi sound, and a white noise generator for a wide range of percussive sounds and epic rises.

Uno synth pro desktop $399

Dual-filter design with 24 available modes
In addition to the original UNO Synth’s 2-pole OTA multimode filter, UNO Synth Pro adds a new SSI 2/4-pole LP filter with self-oscillation. The dual filters can be used in series or parallel, with invertible phase, for a total of 24 possible filter modes. This unique design offers nearly limitless tonal possibilities, from recreating classic vintage sounds or forging completely new, experimental sounds.

Massive sonic flexibility
UNO Synth Pro offers two full ADSR envelopes, one dedicated to the filter and the other to amplitude, with both available as sources to modulate everything from oscillator pitch and waveshape to LFO speed or even other envelope stages. Two LFOs (low-frequency oscillators) can create classic synth vibrato, wah and tremolo as well as do more complex modulations including audio range FM.

A 16-slot modulation matrix makes routing all these a breeze. Users can quickly and easily design even the most sophisticated modulation scheme, with both internal and external sources, including MIDI controllers.

Deep onboard effects
UNO Synth Pro offers four effect blocks: an analog overdrive circuit from the original UNO Synth, plus three new, custom-designed digital effects: modulation, delay and reverb. External signals can also be routed through these effects, with pre-effects filtering for added flexibility.

Improved playability
UNO Synth Pro offers a premium 37-key synth action keybed made in Italy by Fatar, while UNO Synth Pro Desktop provides an enhanced version of the original’s long-lasting capacitance-sensing keys along with pitch and mod strips for enhanced expression. Both units add firm-touch rubber pads for the control sections, plus LED-backlit indicators and an LED display for key information, making it easier than ever to use live on stage or in deep programming sessions in the studio.

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  1. First-class analog sound
  2. Dual state variable filters
  3. Discrete morphing oscillators
  4. PWM, sync, FM and ring modulation
  5. Song mode
  6. 64-step sequencer
  7. 10-mode arpeggiator
  8. 12 studio-quality effects
  9. Analog drive
  10. Monophonic or 3-note paraphonic operation
  11. 256 user-editable presets
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  1. Power supply included. Desktop model powered by via USB or power bank
  2. USB MIDI and firmware update
  3. Programmable CV/Gate input/output
  4. Audio input to filters, FX or pass-through
  5. Balanced stereo outputs
  6. 5-pin MIDI DIN input/output and Soft Thru

Powerful presets, sequencer and arpeggiator
UNO Synth Pro offers 256 user-editable presets, each capturing the full state of the sound engine from oscillators to effects. An onboard 64-step sequencer offers both step and real-time recording, with automation of over 80 parameters, letting users create incredibly intricate and evolving soundscapes, and even write CV and gate automation.

And a 10-mode arpeggiator makes it easy to create intricate patterns and runs, while a new “chord mode” takes advantage of UNO Synth Pro’s paraphonic design, opening the door to triads and chord work.

Advanced connectivity
UNO Synth Pro offers two noiseless, balanced stereo outputs as well as headphone out, for superior audio quality in any situation. USB and 5-pin DIN MIDI In and Out make it easy to integrate with other synths, Mac/PC and mobile devices, and its assignable CV/Gate connections lets UNO Synth Pro interact effortlessly with a Eurorack or other modular system.

And now, an audio input allows access to the filter and FX section for external signals, in addition to the original pass-through for daisy-chaining multiple units together without using a mixer.

Options, pricing and availability
UNO Synth Pro and UNO Synth Pro Desktop will be arriving in Q1 2021 and are currently available for pre-order from the IK Multimedia online store and from IK authorized dealers worldwide for $/€649.99* and $/€399.99 respectively.

BIG Freq plug-in available from empirical labs

Empirical Labs announces availability of its BIG FrEQTMplug-inpartially extrapolated from its Lil FrEQ hardware


LAKE HIAWATHA, NJ, USA: having hitherto made available an earlier version for prerelease, professional audio signal processing equipment designer and manufacturer/plug-ins producer Empirical Labs Inc. (ELI) is proud to announce availability of BIG FrEQ 1.0 — the full release version of its first EQ plug-in, partially extrapolated from its much-loved Lil FreQ hardware EQ (that takes a somewhat unusual approach to the task at hand by combining most of the sound-sculpting tools an engineer needs into a compact single rack space box), but expanded upon in terms of available sections and features — as of October 14…
With no fewer than 12 powerful sections of processing to its appropriate appellation, BIG FrEQ should single-handedly handle all tonal and spectral-shaping needs for single tracks, as well as busses, including use as a versatile mastering tool. As always, ELI itself strives to bring new functionality and creative twists to plug-in EQs with its first such release, having labored long and hard over making it easy to learn and plain fun to use.
But best of all, BIG FrEQ is immensely useful, obviously, offering the ability to create modern ‘flat-top’ EQ curves with an analog workflow and added controls for more tone-shaping possibilities than a typical EQ plug-in. Put it this way: each of the six parametric bands has an additional SLOPE control that allows for flattening out the EQ shape and grabbing more frequencies equally, while switching on the focus (F) function lets users fine tune frequency adjustment — centring the selected frequency and reducing the range of the FREQ (frequency) knob — to hear exactly what frequencies are being affected with the simultaneously switchable solo (S) buttons available on each parametric band. Elsewhere, each parametric section’s GAIN knob can be expanded from ±15dB to ±30dB with the range (R) button, while parametric section settings can uniquely be copied and pasted from one to another for quickly moving and duplicating bands, facilitating faster operation. On top of that, the unique FINISHER section adds warmth to any track with organic saturation and provides for up to 8x oversampling (tested up to 768 kHz operation).
Other features are also well worth highlighting: Hi Pass and Lo Pass filters with adjustable and selectable filter orders from 6dB to 96dB (per octave); Lo Shelf — smooth bass boost or cut, centered around 120 Hz — and complimentary Hi Shelf controls; WIDTH slider — controls bandwidth or, inversely, Q; and master PHASE switch — inverts the phase of the audio.
Additionally, a modern spectral display shows cumulative EQ shape as well as colored individual bands, while the built-in preset management system (with proprietary preset format for cross-DAW preset access), smooth automation of all parameters, available direct entry for all parameters (by double-clicking on any parameter to type in a value), un-linkable stereo version for dual mono operation, and an ability to bypass any section (to monitor changes and free up processing) rounds out BIG FrEQ’s fattened features.
Following in the footsteps of ArouserTM— ELI’s first foray into the software arena as the only Distressor-derived compressor plug-in, produced by the creators of the award-winning hardware Distressor itself, BIG FrEQ is another fine example of how the professional audio signal processing equipment designer and manufacturer/plug-ins producer brings the quality of its hardware to its software products and continues to offer things that cannot be done in the hardware realm to in-the-box mixing. Making room in any plug-in collection for BIG FrEQ is to see and hear what it can do when single-handedly handling all tonal and spectral shaping needs for single tracks, as well as busses, including use as a versatile mastering tool. 

BIG FrEQ is available for purchase as an AAX-, AU-, and VST3-supporting 64-bit effect plug-in for macOS (10.7 or higher) and AAX- and VST3-supporting 64-bit effect plug-in for Windows (7 or higher) for a time-limited introductory promo price of $129.00 USD for the first 30 days — rising thereafter to an MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) of $149.00 USD — directly from ELI’s online Shop here: https://store.empiricallabs.com/big-freq-p/bf1-rtl.htm

A fully-functional, 15-day trial of BIG FrEQ is available to download from here: http://www.empiricallabs.com/downloads/
An iLok 2 or iLok 3 USB dongle is required for activating both the demo and full versions of BIG FrEQ.
For more in-depth information, please visit ELI’s dedicated 
BIG FrEQ webpage here: http://www.empiricallabs.com/big-freq/ 

MODBAP MODULAR makes its debut with Per4mer live performance inspired effects for eurorack modular

Modbap Modular enters Eurorack market with powerful Per4mer quad performance effects module inauguration


LOS ANGELES, CA, USA: Eurorack modular synthesizers and instruments developer Modbap Modular by BeatPPL is proud to introduce Per4mer — perfectly portraying its inaugural offering as a 14HP quad performance effects Eurorack module inspired by beat-maker/DJ performance styles, and available to preorder — as of October 10…
The basic principle behind Per4mer is immediately apparent in its easy-to-follow front panel, packing a creative knockout punch in a compact (14HP) stereo effects-enabling Eurorack module form factor — feed in an audio input to then trigger on-the-fly effects, bringing DJ- style live improvisation to a modular environment. Effects can be triggered simultaneously or individually, where an inspiring effect palette combines to generate uniquely unconventional beats and melodies.
Per4mer puts a Doppler-style DELAY, lush REVERBGLITCH (beat repeat), and TAPE STOP effects easily at anyone’s fingertips for triggering via four dedicated translucent mini-arcade buttons — buttons that can be manually operated or triggered from the four external gate inputs. Each effect has a set of four effects parameters that can be controlled using the four (FX 1FX 2FX 3, and FX 4) rotary knobs or by the four CV (control voltage) inputs. COMP (compression) with SIDE CHAIN input and COLOR processing effects are also available, along with CLOCK input and TAP tempo options. Obviously, external side chain and clock can be connected to interface with other modular and electronic music gear.
Per4mer acts like a bridge between hip-hop and Eurorack.” So says Modbap Modular Designer and Founder Corry Banks. As a writer, emcee, producer, hip-hop artist (Phashara), and IT pro, he should surely know! “It packs in concepts familiar to lo-fi and beat-making circles, but it brings something fresh to Eurorack,” continues Corry Banks, before adding: “I think Per4mer will be a great entry point to modular synthesis for the modular-curious beat-maker — throw it into a small pod and use it like a standalone performance effects unit or rack it up with other modules to liven things up a bit.”
But best of all, Per4mer’s four performance effects — influencing its notable nomenclature, clearly — can be momentarily engaged or latched individually or simultaneously. Each effect has four tweak-able parameters associated with the four rotary knobs, duly designed for facilitating live improvisation with endless one-off, on-the-fly sounds and rhythmic dynamics. All audio inputs (INPUT L and INPUT R) are provided as mono connections, paired for stereo. Subsequently, Per4mer not only delivers a series of excellent effects and sound design possibilities, but it also allows the creative, classic, tried-and-tested techniques used by beat-makers and DJs to be applied to the wonderful world of Eurorack modular, especially enhanced by manual performance.
Digging deeper, the compressor allows for control over four compression (ThresholdRatioAttack, and Release) parameters via the four rotary knobs. Catering perfectly to those users craving the classic ducking sound of side chaining, the compressor also features selectable side chain detection that allows side chain activation via ‘sidechain input’, ‘audio input’, ‘clock input’, or ‘tap tempo’.
The COLOR processor features four color presets bringing texture and character to the signal path, pre effects — namely, Classic (12-bit), LoFi (8-bit), Saturation, and Wax (vinyl simulation). Such presets can be used in combination with the performance effects and compressor for a more characterful result. Reasons Corry Banks, eventually ending on a high note: “The COLOR processor is the special sauce built into Per4mer. It adds so much mojo and attitude. I lose time just enjoying processing audio through it and creating soundscapes to sample. Per4mer is a dope sound design tool as much as it is a dope performance effects module!” 

Per4mer is now available to preorder at a retail price of $399.00 USD directly from Modbap Modular’s online Shop (https://modbap.com/shop/) and expected to start shipping in November 2020.

For more in-depth information, please visit the dedicated Per4mer webpage here: http://www.modbap.com/product/per4mer/
See and hear Modbap Modular Designer and Founder Corry Banks introducing Per4mer here: https://youtu.be/UJFmw4qRMe8 

Mod Devices announce Mod duo X powerful desktop digital modular fx

BERLIN, GERMANY (August 18th, 2020) – Following a phenomenally successful Kickstarter campaign of the MOD Dwarf, funded in less than 24 hours, MOD Devices now releases the MOD Duo X audio processor to the global retail market. Its key development is the powerful Hexa-core 64 bit ARM CPU processor, a singular advantage in the audio processing landscape. The intuitively patchable standalone device sports solid user-friendly controls, including 8 new assignable potentiometer knobs, 4 freely-assignable push buttons, and 2 instant “snapshot” push buttons. The Duo X also comes with Control Voltage input and output, as well as new software features such as MIDI Slave Sync and Stereo Link. Featuring instant recall capabilities, the one of a kind box is geared towards hands-on use such as studio work, electronic music production & performance, and even DJing. 

“The MOD Duo X presents itself as the perfect audio processing hub a musician could want.  With its ability to connect to any musical equipment and its boundless internal patching capabilities, the Duo X fills a long-existing gap in the modern musicians’ rig.  

The powerful Hexa-core CPU and our ever-growing plugin universe result in a system that enables musicians to obtain practically any desired sound all with a highly durable build and pleasurable design experience.” Says Gianfranco Ceccolini, MOD Chief Executive Officer and Founder.

  • Hexa-core 64 bit ARM CPU
  • Commutable analog control inputs – 2 x Control Voltage / Expression Pedal
  • Commutable outputs – 2 x Control Voltage / Headphone
  • 2 freely-assignable rotary encoder
  • 8 freely-assignable potentiometers
  • 4 freely-assignable push-buttons
  • Controller pagination system for multiple controlling scenarios
  • 2 instant “snapshot” push-buttons for easy setting recall and alternation
  • MIDI Sync (Ableton Link compatible) in master and slave mode
  • Max compatible (any gen~ based Max tool will run on the Duo X)

The new features of the MOD Duo X include:

On August 18th, the Duo X will be made officially available globally, through international distribution and retail partners. These include Reverb, as well as the MOD Devices Webshop for the recommended price of 749.00 Euro or USD

Like the regular Duo stompbox, the MOD Duo X audio processor is made in Germany. It measures 180mm x 60mm x 160mm (W x H x D) and weighs 1.3 kg. 

Waldorf announces Iridium 16 voice digital desktop synth

REMAGEN, GERMANY: having opened eyes and ears when introducing its forward-looking flagship Quantum Synthesizer keyboard to widespread critical acclaim in 2018, Waldorf Music is proud to introduce its Iridium Synthesizer ‘sibling’ — sharing futuristic functionality and advanced tonality and applying those traits with welcomed added extras to a compact desktop form factor living up to the high-quality synthesizer developer’s demanding design standards — as of June 12…

Following in the Quantum Synthesizer’s trailblazing footsteps, the Iridium Synthesizer features a generous high-resolution multitouch display working — with haptic help — in perfect harmony with an adroitly arranged control panel positioning all functions for speedy operation. Noticeably new to the demonstrably differentIridium Synthesizer is its integrated 4 x 4 pad matrix, used to call up sequences, chords, scales, and arpeggios. A quick glance under the hood, however, reveals that the Iridium Synthesizer still shares the same selectable sound generation processes per oscillator (OSC 1OSC 2, and OSC 3). As such, it can convincingly and comprehensively reproduce the sound spectra of the following five synthesis types: WavetableWaveformParticleResonator, and Kernels.
As a direct descendant of the legendary PPG Wave hybrid digital/analogue synthesizer series that made their mark throughout the Eighties by bringing the distinctive sound of wavetable synthesis to the musical masses, the well-known Waldorf Music marque is synonymous with top-tier wavetable sounds. Subsequently refining and expanding this sound generation process’ potential, the sound of Waldorf wavetable oscillators span subtlety to brutality — animated, digital, and diverse, yet easy to control. Classic wavetables from well-known wavetable synthesizers hailing from the PPG and Waldorf stables, spectral analysis, speech synthesis, wavetable generation from audio material, and more besides are all available to Iridium Synthesizer users when selecting Wavetable.
With early wavetable synthesizers, even, typical waveforms familiar from analogue synthesizers were always available at the end of a wavetable. Waveform selection on the Iridium Synthesizer goes far beyond this, though, by offering up to eight simultaneously selectable waveforms per oscillator, enabling infinitely dense, fat analogue-sounding tones, with detuned modes, tuneable noise, and hard sync.
2GB internal sample flash memory is available to the Iridium Synthesizer’s Particle oscillator, opening up exciting new possibilities of traditional stereo sampling with granular synthesis functionality — also available when processing a live input signal — for extensive manipulation of sample-based sounds. So the Iridium Synthesizer comes complete with 2GB sample content, while sample material can be reloaded or backed up by the user via USB drives or MicroSD Card connections.
Creativity abounds further still when selecting the Resonator sound generation process to manipulate multi-samples from the internal sample flash memory or noise via an exciter and various modulate-able spectral parameters — perfect for generating awe-inspiring animated sounds and drones, which can, for example, easily be integrated into a Eurorack modular synthesizer environment via the Iridium Synthesizer’s integrated control voltage connections (CV In1CV In2CV In3, and CV In4)… another added extra that should surely be welcomed in this day and age of anything goes!
Get this, though: thanks to its innovative implementation of six Kernal operators, the Iridium Synthesizer can capably generate familiar FM (Frequency Modulation) tones of the type that revolutionised the entire synthesizer market in the early Eighties, as well as spectacularly different-sounding ones — and all without the notorious complexity associated with those once-revolutionary early-Eighties efforts ending up so overused on numerous hit records of the time. Thankfully, the Iridium Synthesizer’s deftly-designed multitouch display supports the processing and visualisation of sonic relationships of its Kernels, considerably easing the process of creating spectacularly different-sounding tones with more than a touch of originality thrown in for good measure!
But better still, OSC 1OSC 2, and OSC 3 can each play one of those sound generators, so spectacular-sounding sound design can come quickly to Iridium Synthesizer users of all levels — before being balanced by the OSC MIX (mixer). Thereafter, the signal from the three oscillators makes its way to the DUAL FILTER section where fully stereo multi-mode filters convincingly cover all conceivable classic filter variants. Various filter modes are additionally offered by the Digital Former, such as Comb, classic Waldorf high- and band-pass, and notch filters from Waldorf Music’s Largo and Nave software synthesizers, plus PPG models, alongside signal enhancer effects, such as Drive and Bit Crusher, and more.
Moreover, an LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator) section with no fewer than six LFOs works with six loop-able ENVELOPES, all of which can be linked and smoothly operated within the 40-slot modulation matrix, thanks to the Iridium Synthesizer’s integrated high-resolution multitouch display.
With up to 16-voice polyphony in full stereo and an ability to overlay two sounds or play them simultaneously via the split function, the functional desktop design of Waldorf Music’s Iridium Synthesizer allows for sound design opportunities that are often out of this world with up to 7,000 patches internally saveable. Speaking of which, since Iridium Synthesizer patches are compatible with Waldorf Music’s flagship Quantum Synthesizer (running recently-released version 2.0 firmware), they can be transferred to and from the Quantum Synthesizer. Such cross-compatibility means that the Iridium Synthesizer comes complete with an extremely extensive sound set from the get-go… get going with inspirational sounds programmed by some of the best sound designers in the world, or work with the inspirational Iridium Synthesizer’s fanciful features to sound highly original, off the cuff or otherwise.
On the face of it, then, Waldorf Music has named its Iridium Synthesizer appropriately. After all, iridium dates back to the early 19th Century and the chemical element of atomic number 77 — named from the modern Latin word for rainbow (irid), since it forms compounds of various colours. Clearly, the range of sound colours available to Iridium Synthesizer users are almost limitless. Letting rip with that generous high-resolution multitouch display working — with haptic help — in perfect harmony with an adroitly arranged control panel positioning all functions for speedy operation is a joy to behold… both for eyes and ears!

Polyend launches limited edition Black Medusa hybrid synth


OLSZTYN, POLAND: 
famed for bringing new technologies to creative musicians by building innovative and unique musical instruments, Polyend is proud to announce availability of its aptly- named Limited Edition Black Medusa — a (literally) limited-edition of the Medusa hybrid synthesizer jointly released to widespread critical acclaim in 2018 but bettered by a minimalistic front panel facelift and major firmware update at a reduced price — as of May 1…
As acknowledged by the tasteful Dreadbox & Polyend Hybrid Synthesizer ‘subtitle’ set across the Limited Edition Black Medusa’s matt black anodised aluminium front panel — perfectly matching all previous Polyend products — as part of a minimalistic graphic layout letting the Polish company’s distinctive design aesthetics mature, Medusa was originally developed in close collaboration with Greek boutique analogue synthesizers and effects manufacturer Dreadbox as a symbiosis of classic synthesis characteristics and a unique digital controller. Creatively including six oscillators — three (voltage-controlled) Analog and three Digital (with Wave Table) option — and a multimode analogue FILTER with L2 (2-pole low-pass), L4 (four-pole low-pass), and HP (one-pole high-pass) settings (based on Dreadbox’s Erebus duophonic analogue synthesizer) alongside a 64-step sequencer (inheriting the DNA of Polyend’s Seq) and an 8 x 8 grid of pressure-sensitive pads to play the synthesizer and program the sequencer was — and remains — a beautiful combination.
Changes to the Limited Edition Black Medusa extend beyond its clear-cut looks, however. Indeed, it also benefits from a major (v3.0) firmware update — also available to owners of the original Medusa for direct download (https://polyend.com/medusa_downloads/) — with the following additions: LFO random Wave (selectable via the last position); MIDI Local Off (as a MIDI configuration option) — allows Medusa’s MPE (MIDI Polyphonic Expression) pads to be used to play an external instrument while simultaneously playing its internal synth engine using an external controller; and updated LFO(s) and ENVELOPE(s) — able to send out their native values as CC (Control Change) messages, so all synth parameters are now displayed with the assigned CC number. Note that the v3.0 firmware update also includes additional presets by Kenny Rakentine — a.k.a. Angel Dust, an abstract sound/art/drone/noise project from Pittsburgh, PA, USA — as an added bonus.
Creative collaborations and combinations continue to come into play; Polyend is teaming up with Expressive E to offer the French next-generation musical instruments manufacturer’s upcoming Carbon virtual synthesizer — soon set to become part of its MPE Collection, combining banks of exclusive sounds into a versatile suite, ready to play with any MPE-supporting instrument — to owners of the Limited Edition Black Medusa and the original Medusa for free via a download weblink on the dedicated webpage (https://polyend.com/medusa/) when available.
But better still, would-be owners of the original Medusa should surely be tempted by the Limited Edition Black Medusa’s pocket-friendlier price of €699 EUR/$799 USD — all the more so as an even more potent proposition when bundled with Poly 2 (https://polyend.com/poly2-midi-to-cv-converter/), Polyend’s polyphonic MIDI-to-CV Eurorack module boasting a multitude of connectivity options to play nicely with all manner of sequencers, DAWs, keyboards, apps, and more! 

The Limited Edition Black Medusa comes complete with an alternative set of coloured knobs (with which users can optionally replace the standard black ones as an added visual aid), and is available to purchase through Polyend’s growing global network of authorised dealers (https://polyend.com/where-to-buy/) at an MSRP of 699 EUR/$799 USD. Or order online directly from Polyend itself via the dedicated webpage (https://polyend.com/medusa/), which also includes more in-depth information. 




KRK Rokit 8 G4 White Noise Trust or Bust?

FluxWithit takes a serious look at the Rokit brand monitors.

KRK Rokit 8 Gen4 White Noise Edition

KRK Rokits evoke emotion in home studio enthusiasts no doubt about it. I wanna start this article off by saying, I know. I know the history, I know the past. I was there. I was in those home studios where Krk Rokits really became as prolific in homes studios, as those white coned monitors did in the studios of the 80’s… But the yellow coned booming sound gained its massive home studio adoption for arguably opposite reasons. KRK Rokits of old just made things sound good where as those white coned units were known for being so bad that if your mix sounded good on them, it would translate all over. they were affordable, had a great low end extension for the money and they were noticeable with that bright yellow cone. sounding good however is not always what you want from a studio monitor. What you might be after is truth. Sometimes those little lies that make us happy, can hurt us down the road in a mix. There in lies the controversy with KRK Rokits. known for being entry level monitor that delivered great sound, but at the cost of covering up some of our mistakes.

So here we are today, many generations of updates later with KRK Rokits now on their 4th generation. Are these Rokits the same as the old Rokits? Well thats my goal to find out. I went into this review with an open mind and a curiosity. The first thing I noticed about these new generation of monitors is that in built DSP is standard on the Gen4 Rokits. There is a nice graphic display panel round back that has a very easy to use control knob which doubles as the volume control (ok volume in this case is actually monitor input sensitivity but I digress.). This screen indicates a pretty significant shift. Krk is giving you 25 eq setting to better suit the acoustic environment that your monitors are placed into.

The volume knob to the right can be pushed in to confirm selections and is very easy to use.

I was a bit skeptical about this at first, however there is a really cool feature of these monitors when setting them up… KRK includes an app (that is actually use for any brand monitors not just these KRK monitors!). The app KRK Audio Tools available for ios and android assists you in everything from aligning your monitors at the correct angle to your listening position, room equalization (for use with the onboard DSP eq.), Delay time alignment, phase alignment, a signal generator as well as a FFT spectrum analyzer all with simple to understand instructions. Once you have used the app to set up and test your monitors it will give you recommendations on EQ settings for the onboard DSP which you can then double check against your FFT in app.

KRK Audio Tool APP has a host of easy to use tools to set up your monitors.

This onboard DSP and APP functionality is a bigger deal than you might think. It points to acknowledgment from KRK that there is flexibility to these monitors. Yes we want flat mixing monitors but the truth is, when producing sometimes you want your mix to be enjoyable BEFORE you get to that mixing stage. With these Gen4 monitors you get the best of both worlds. you can have that loud punchy sound associated with Rokits that makes producing banging beats so fun… and then when you want that flat mix, you can enable the onboard DSP and flatten the mix out. It’s not even a hassle to switch between the settings. Thats pretty cool in my book.

Back to the point of clarity and a true mix. I have noticed that these monitors are far more defined than their predecessors. I used to get annoyed with Gen2 because I felt the mids just were not as clear as I would like. With the Gen 4 I am not having any of those feelings at all. mid range clarity seems to be on point. I don’t know if this is due to the upgraded materials on the cone and tweeter. Now a very visible Kevlar® weave. This trickles down from KRK’s high end monitors the V series. the new wave guide and single piece design is touted to be a low resonance enclosure. To that point I made sure to test a wide range of frequencies to try and get some rattle or resonant peaking out of these monitors yet they stayed remarkably accurate. While working on sound design for a new synthesizer I found my self often moving between monitoring solutions to double check clarity. I was cautious with trusting a new monitor set especially considering I am also in a newly built studio that I have yet to become fully accustomed to yet. the Gen4’s consistently were providing me with a translatable sound that wasn’t over hyped yet didn’t leave me wanting for bass. No sub needed. With my JBL monitors I found my self really needing my sub in order to keep things flat. The KRK’s however seemed to not strain at the low end. Again I do suspect this has to do with the Kevlar cone and new drivers. Side to side movement is less a strong point on these monitors from the JBL monitors as I do notice the sweet spot is a little more direct but not nearly as pronounced as previous generations, certainly acceptable. vertically I feel the range of sweet spot is very good giving a rather wide range (I tend to sit and stand often when working so this is pretty important to me.)

Loudness of KRK’s has long been a feature for many a beat maker. These new Gen4 are no slouch in that category. These deliver a max spl rating of 111db (3 db higher than the previous generation) So I don’t think you will need to worry about filling your room with sound. At higher sound pressures I did not notice any case vibrations or looseness that would cause any sort of rattle. This was something I was initially concerned about considering the front panel is actually magnetically held in place (more on that later.) I was quite relieved to hear no odd rattles.

The LCD is easy to read and navigate

The big front port on these monitors means that you can optimize space in your studio. Unlike rear ported monitors these are less susceptible to rear walls intruding on your sound clarity. This can help maximize your monitor placement in smaller rooms. I highly recommend you give the manual a read (WHAT WHO EVER RTFM?!?!) It is actually filled with a bunch of very useful info and explains in detail things like how the amp works, how the grills work and tips on monitor placement as well as a better understanding of how the monitor design functions as a whole.

The Front baffle is actually held on magnetically. you can pull it off to install the filter grille covers to prevent damage to the cones. the grilles do not effect frequency response.

Ok so What is my overall feeling on the Rokit 8 Gen4 white noise? Well I think there are some pretty obvious improvements over the previous generations. The not so obvious improvements really are the stand outs for me though. KRK is taking the affordable lower cost monitor market and adding a ton of value. Monitors that are now able to retain midrange clarity while also extending down to an earth shaking 36hz is no small feat. The ability to easily tailor your monitors to your environment by way of the APP as well as the on board EQ is something that previously would have cost a few hundred dollars more at the minimum. Couple that with the fact that it is laid out in a way that those not accustomed to making these sorts of adjustments can understand… thats a big deal. You don’t need to be an acoustician to understand that you should have a properly treated room. However even with a treated room you still need to align your monitors correctly and compensate for room modes etc. KRK holds your hand rather nicely through this process. IMHO that adds a lot of value. I have to say, those big yellow cones used to be a sign of producing rather than mixing. Now I can confidently say that these are at home in both the mixing environment as well as the production environment. I plan on using these monitors for another good 6 months or so and revisiting this review. My opinion is that the only real way to review a monitor is with a long term review. lets see how these Kevlar® cones stand up over time (I suspect they should quite well.) I am feeling quite optimistic about the future of this series.

Erica synths preorder for syntrx analog synthesizer now open!

Erica Synths Opens Pre-Ordering for SYNTRX analog synthesizerCollaboration between Erica Synths and engineers from Riga Technical University results in a new kind of user interface that inspires users to explore the sonic universeRiga, Latvia, February 20, 2020 — Erica Synths announces that it has opened pre-ordering for its new SYNTRX all analog synthesizer.  SYNTRX, which features three highly accurate VCOs and a inspiring new digitally controlled analog patch/mixer matrix, will begin shipping to customers in April on a first-come, first served basis. Since the very beginning of the company, Erica Synths has promoted experimental electronic music, developing instruments that enable musicians to unleash their creativity. When it comes to standalone instruments, one of most encouraging instruments in experimental music was the Synthi AKS. In the spirit of innovative collaboration, Erica Synths teamed up with engineers from Riga Technical University to develop a synthesizer with a user interface that challenges conventional wisdom in a sound design. The result is an instrument that will inspire users to explore the sonic universe and travel to previously undiscovered audible realms. SYNTRX is an all analog synthesizer developed from scratch. Following are features and specifications: 3 highly accurate VCOs that track great over 8 octavesOctave switch for the VCO1Sync option for the VCO2Noise generator with “color” filterResonant VCFRing modulatorSpring reverbASR/AD looping envelope generatorJoystick controllerInput amplifier with adjustable gain3 VCAsSample & Hold circuit with an individual clockOutput signal filterMechanical CV/audio signal level indicatorMIDI In and MIDI ThruBuilt in speakersDimensions: 309mm x 457mm x 115mm (with the joystick in centre position)Weight: 4.05 kg
Erica Synths will make a user manual available on April 25th. To learn more about pre-orders on SYNTRX, which is priced at € 2,500.00, please visit the Erica Synths product page

ABOUT ERICA SYNTHS
Erica Synths team of visionaries, engineers and musicians have been working hard to bring you modules and instruments that will set your modular system apart from mass in terms of how it sounds, looks and functions