Slightly new direction for this site.

Over the years I have had a couple shifts in focus for this site. This will be no different.

I have gone from originally just posting tips and tricks, my thoughts and helpful diy experiments in sound. To Reviews, and press as well as the occasional like to a youtube video or my sound packs.

Moving forward I have decided to get the site a bit more active with posting just what ever I am interested in. It could be a music documentary, a synthesis tutorial by myself, a Tutorial by someone else, or maybe just just something quirky I think it is fun and somehow relevant to my world to share.

I will still post occasional reviews and press for items that I think stand out. I have zero interest in being an “influencer” in the form of just posting what ever comes my way. There are plenty of great media outlets for this sort of thing.

So I hope you enjoy the new direction this site will start taking in the coming weeks and months. If you have any feedback feel free to reach out.

Wishing you all well.

Ken Flux Pierce

Isla Instruments S2400 adds double the polyphony and more

Watch this live stream for the latest in S2400 news and updates

2022-02-24 Update

Fixes

  • numerous see forum link.

Changes & New Features

  • Moved Format SD Card to Settings menu
  • Reordered the Track Settings menu
  • Changed assigning sound to not reset parameters, slices are recalculated to be in the same relative positions
  • Simplified event location to bars+16ths+ticks in Step Edit
  • Added shift amount display in Step Program
  • Added Shift+Arrows/Encoder to change start/end by slice in graphical Step Edit forum link 6
  • Added MIDI tracks to Swing and Quantize menus forum link 11
  • Added Bank+A/B/Mute/Solo key combo to toggle the whole bank, or all pads if in multi mode forum link 10
  • Added SysEx command to get song/pattern/track name for renamer web page 26
  • Added Bank+Arrows/Encoder in Step Program to scroll vertically by one track
  • Added SD card info (F1 in file browser when “SD Card” is highlighted)
  • Added arrows/encoder go to next/prev file in file info screen
  • Added loading of Projects/Kits from Browse Files function
  • Added confirmation for clear sound
  • Added popup message after double-click of Sync and Metronome buttons
  • Added Gain setting to sample tracks and Live Loops
  • Added Multi Mode capability to TR Mode
  • Rewrote text editor, quicker to use, and allows editing file/sample names longer than 21 characters
  • Added USB keyboard support
  • Expanded pitch range to +/- 3 octaves
  • Added bounce pattern, song, or sound to a single WAV file
  • Freely assign multiple tracks to an output without choking each other
  • Added choke groups
  • Increased polyphony to 16 voices
  • Updated the User Manual 293

Squarp Instruments introduces Hapax high-end professional standalone sequencer


Squarp Instruments introduces Hapax high-end professional standalone sequencer as authentic setup centrepiece


PARIS, FRANCE: having originally designed and released Pyramid almost a decade ago as a compact, standalone 64-track hardware sequencer packed with creative tools that its music-making creators could not commercially find available elsewhere, subsequently applying that same thinking to their Hermod followup by bringing the power of MIDI to the ever- widening Eurorack modular world while inheriting some creative elements from its Pyramid precursor, Squarp Instruments is proud to introduce Hapax — duly designed from the ground up with dual-ARM processing architecture upping the computational power ante as a high-end professional standalone sequencer in a rugged, minimalist housing that deconstructs everything that the avant-garde machines-creating company already knew about sequencing to offer everything needed to compose songs in the studio and perform them onstage as an authentic centrepiece of any setup, sequencing and synchronising vintage to modern synths and modular systems, and even DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations), while maximising creativity with carefully crafted tools as the first hardware sequencer that fully supports MPE (MIDI Polyphonic Expression) — as of March 4…
Billed by its creators as a polychronic performance sequencer since it can clearly do many things at once, Hapax’s dual-processor architecture allows it to record and transform tremendous amounts of data in next to no time — and all without breaking into a sweat. As an around the clock performer, it can handle two separate and independent projects — each with 16 tracks and eight patterns per track — that can be played simultaneously, so users can compose or load another project while the first one is already playing, enabling endless sets and seamless transitions. The fact that Hapax is also the first hardware sequencer that fully supports MPE speaks volumes about Squarp Instruments’ intentions; it is perfectly possible to record the finest gestures, slides, and articulations of anything played, after all — and all without compromising quality.
Quality also shines forth for all to see and feel when it comes to the construction of the Hapax housing, manufactured from 2 mm machined aluminum, with a unibody ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) back panel. Put it this way: with connections for multiple midi in (DIN and TRS), midi out (3x DIN and TRS), cv in (2x -5V to +5V/16-bit), cv out (4x -5V to +5V/16-bit), gate out (4x +5V), switch (stereo pedal footswitch), USB Host (for linking to a MIDI USB controller), and USB Device (for linking to a DAW-hosting computer and associated virtual instruments), it quickly becomes apparent just how well thought through that back panel actually is in terms of conceivably communicating with everything that the music technology world might make available at this moment in time — hence Hapax ably acting as an authentic centerpiece of any setup, sequencing and synchronizing vintage to modern synths and modular systems, and even DAWs.
Digging deeper, Hapax’s adaptive workflow — with the top panel proffering hands-on access to no fewer than 128 RGB (Red Green Blue) matrix pads, 52 click pads, nine sturdy clickable encoders, and two OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) greyscale displays — is designed around four main modes: live uses those 128 pads as an isomorphic keyboard or chord generator, giving rise to harmonic capabilities aimed at anyone — regardless of their theoretical knowledge — as a synaesthetic sensory blend of hearing, vision, and touch, thanks to its colorful interface; step uses them to add or fine-tune notes (or drum events) with surgical precision; autom uses them to create MIDI (or effects) automation; and pattern enables performing in sync by using the 128 pads to set the playing pattern of each track — create sections (or groups of patterns) and chain sections to build a song. Making music might involve using a polyphonic or MPE track to take advantage of the advanced step sequencer and quickly lay down notes or edit live recordings when writing melodies, or control up to eight different instruments with a single track when creating beats using the drum sequencer that is tailored to ease rhythm writing and jamming, for instance.
It is also possible to effectively bring those connected synths to life since Hapax embeds multiple real-time, polyphonic, non-destructive MIDI effects, as well as project-wide assignable LFOs (Low Frequency Oscillators). On top of that, each parameter of those effects can be automated in the dedicated mode, and processed in the mod matrix, which provides even more ways of routing and modulating.
Hapax has so much more to offer discerning devotees of hardware sequencers, with powerful tools for offline note transformation and generation always at hand — harmonically inverting a musical motif, generating a controlled random counter-melody, slowly ramping up the velocities, emphasizing every fifth eighth note… almost anything is possible! Hitting Hapax’s red button enables recording using the encoders and matrix pads, external MIDI instruments (including MPE controllers), or any incoming analogue signal at a high resolution of 192 PPQN (Pulses Per Quarter Note). Needless to say, looper-style recording, countdown and metronome options, and punch-in mode means that there are options to suit any workflow, while each track has an elasticity value that changes its playback speed, expressed as a percentage of BPM (Beats Per Minute) — quickly double or halve the speed of a track, for example, or create subtly shifted tracks that slowly drift out of phase with each other.
Of course, hardware usage should not — in a perfect world — curb creative flow. For this reason, Hapax has a dedicated undo REDO button with extensive history to enable its users to go back in time as deemed necessary; thankfully, the button-activated snapshot function allows users to save the state of a pattern for instant recall with a single press; and dedicated copypaste, and delete buttons help Hapax on its way towards offering a complete toolbox for promptly editing tracks.
Music-making should always remain an enjoyable experience, though, which is why Squarp Instruments favored dedicated buttons over key combinations when realizing a clear-cut interface and simple architecture for Hapax. Having striven to minimize the importance of screens when performing live, however, the dual greyscale displays implemented in Hapax help with keeping track of things in a studio context.
Clearly, then, deconstructing everything that they already knew about sequencing to offer everything needed to compose songs in the studio and perform them onstage as an authentic centerpiece of any setup has paid off for Squarp Instruments, with the Hapax high-end professional standalone sequencer surely set to make its mark in the music technology world while literally living up to its polychronic performance sequencer billing when expected for delivery in June 2022. 

Hapax is available on backorder for expected delivery in June 2022 — priced at 864.00 EUR (plus VAT for individual customers in the European Union)/$979.00 USD — directly from Squarp Instruments’ online Store here: https://store.squarp.net

For more in-depth information, please visit the dedicated Hapax webpage here: https://squarp.net/hapax
Watch Squarp Instruments’ illuminating introduction to Hapax here: https://youtu.be/IdkW51BxfOA  

SSL goes Big for your home studio

Solid State Logic Launches Next Step In Hybrid Production Tools: BiG SiX SuperAnalogue™ Mixer With USB Interface


Featuring comprehensive AD/DA conversion, advanced monitoring and routing, enhanced SSL EQ and much more, New BiG SiX mixer vastly expands recording and production capabilities for artists, producers and engineersOXFORD ENGLAND December 8, 2021 – Solid State Logic (SSL) launches its latest desktop mixing console, BiG SiX. Based on the widely acclaimed Solid State Logic SiX desktop mixer and incorporating feedback from artists, producers and engineers to create the next step in SSL hybrid production, BiG SiX is a 16 channel studio grade mixing console that combines features and technologies from legendary large-format SSL consoles with full USB integration, additional processing and advanced routing capabilities — all with the quality that audio professionals have come to expect and rely from SSL.



BiG SiX is the ultimate tool for artists and musicians working in a hybrid recording and mixing environment. The console’s SuperAnalogue™ design delivers the punch, clarity, and ultra-low distortion that engineers love from the company’s 9000 consoles, along with a new 16 channel AD/DA USB interface. Also included is an ‘Essential Version’ of the SSL G-Comp Bus Compressor, now with the renowned ‘Auto’ release feature, channel dynamics processing and a three-band EQ based on the iconic SSL 4000E console. Producers and mix engineers will appreciate BiG SiX’s comprehensive monitoring section featuring full source matrix feeding two independent headphone outputs, along with its impressive 18-channel analogue summing at mixdown capability. The result is that BIG SiX is the essential SSL studio. “SiX introduced SSL console-grade processing and workflow to a wider range of users, and BiG SiX, with its enhanced feature set and full USB interface integration takes this a stage further, providing all of the essential tools of a hybrid studio. BiG SiX sets a new benchmark in desktop mixer performance and we can’t wait to see how users enhance their productions with it.” comments Nigel Beaumont, Managing Director of Solid State Logic. BiG SiX is a nimble and capable solution at any point in the production process. In addition to 16 channels of high performance 96 Khz / 24-bit USB conversion which the user can reroute to External Inputs, Stereo Cues and Pre/Post Fader options, BiG SiX also features fully balanced insert points on all SuperAnalogueTM inputs, full size 100 mm SSL console grade faders, Mix Bus Inject for cascading additional SiX and BiG SiX, dual independent headphone outputs and much more. As well as offering four SuperAnalogueTM Mic/Line/Hi-z inputs with polarity switch, the four Stereo Inputs can be individually switched to dual mono, adding further recording flexibility. 

Key features: Four

SuperAnalogueTM ‘Money Channels’ with Mic / Line level input / Hi-Z / phantom power / HPF / Polarity switch / classic SSL Channel Dynamics / updated three-band EQ (based on SSL E Series) / fully balanced insert pointFour stereo inputs featuring dual mono switching and wide gain range Built in 16-channel high quality USB AD/DA converters (96 Khz / 24-bit) with advanced routing capabilitiesThree compressor flavors: Classic SSL channel dynamics, Listen Mic Compressor and Essential version of G-Comp Bus Compressor now featuring ‘Auto’ release100 mm studio grade fadersProfessional LED meters with fast and accurate peak responseTwo independent headphone outputsComprehensive monitoring section Two stereo cue feeds Up to 18 inputs at mixdownMix Bus inject for cascading additional SiX/BiG SiX console.

SSL BiG SiX is available at Solid State Logic’s network of authorized dealers and priced at £1,999, $2,999 and €2,499.00 (excluding VAT).

For more information please visit the BiG SiX product page.  About Solid State Logic
Solid State Logic is the world’s leading manufacturer of analogue and digital audio consoles and provider of creative tools for music, broadcast, live and post production professionals. For more information about our award-winning products, please visit: www.solidstatelogic.com.

Native Instruments goes Subscription based

Native Instruments announces the launch of KOMPLETE NOW—a brand-new subscription offer

The new offer lets creators access high-quality instruments and libraries for $9.99-a-month.

Berlin, December 8, 2021 – Native Instruments today announced the release of KOMPLETE NOW, a new subscription offer to sit alongside their perpetual portfolio of products.

KOMPLETE NOW gives beatmakers, producers, and creators a collection of some of Native Instruments’ most highly sought-after instruments and effects for a low monthly price.
 As the needs of music creators continue to evolve, Native Instruments firmly believes in the importance of evolving with them. With KOMPLETE NOW, Native Instruments acknowledges that everyone, from professional musicians to beginners, needs access to the tools and inspiration that enable their process.
 For $9.99 per month, beatmakers and producers can more easily access a growing range of premium instruments and effects with the freedom to cancel their subscription at any time. 

In this walkthrough video you can watch product specialist Matt Lara as he takes a look under the hood to run through some of KOMPLETE NOW’s instruments and key features.Subscribers will get access to a comprehensive range of production tools, including NI’s flagship synthesizer MASSIVE X, a bespoke edition of the legendary drum sampling platform BATTERY 4, and three instruments from the easy-to-use and inspiring Play Series collection: CLOUD SUPPLY, LO-FI GLOW, and HYBRID KEYS. KOMPLETE NOW also includes RETRO MACHINES MK2 with 16 definitive analog synthesizers and keyboards, plus a pair of cutting-edge effects — RAUM and REPLIKA.
 The collection is tailor-made for producers of radio-ready hip hop and pop, as well as being a great fit for genres including trap, drill, and various styles of electronic dance music. Through a range of highly sought-after instruments, KOMPLETE NOW provides a new way of encouraging creativity geared towards creators who are beginning their journey with Native Instruments.
The KOMPLETE NOW offer will also continue to grow, with preset drops, sound packs, effects, and more content updates introduced on a regular basis. First up on the conveyor belt will be MELTED VIBES, NI’s recent Play Series release that specializes in hooks for drill and hip hop.
 Creators can choose to subscribe on a monthly or annual basis, and until January 10th, 2022, KOMPLETE NOW will be available as a three-month free trial.

Check out the video introducing KOMPLETE NOW, here.

Erica Synths Matrix Mixer adds preset patching to your CV gear.

Erica Synths announces its latest breakthrough desktop device: Matrix Mixer. As Eurorack users may know, it can be challenging to change a patch radically during a performance, therefore diverse performances often require large systems or end up being extremely experimental. What if you could repatch your system with the push of a single button? 

The new Erica Synths Matrix Mixer is a 16 I/O desktop patch matrix that can route and mix signals with high precision, create buffered multiples and random patches. It can also interface external instruments with your Eurorack system, yet is not limited to Eurorack. 

The Matrix Mixer can be used with semi-modular synthesizers, as well as through adapter cards with the EMS Synthi and Buchla Music Easel. Thanks to simple patch changes via panel buttons or MIDI program change messages, the Matrix Mixer will be particularly useful in performances that combine Eurorack and other performance instruments — such as drums, guitars, wind instruments, and much more. This presents a new and elegant way to make your modular performance stand out.  

Matrix Mixer Features: 

  • All analogue signal path
  • 16 buffered, DC coupled inputs
  • 16 independent, buffered, DC coupled outputs
  • 256 connections, each with 3 attenuation levels
  • Random pattern mode with definable randomization area and density
  • 254 pattern memory
  • Pattern change via MIDI program change messages
  • 32 3,5mm jack sockets
  • 4 6,3mm jack sockets

The Matrix Mixer will begin shipping late this month and is priced at €490 or $599 USD. For more information or to pre-order, please visit the Erica Synths webshop.

Black Lion Audio PG-P Portable Power Conditioner with power filtering

Black Lion Audio announces availability of PG-P Portable Power Conditioner complete with proprietary PG-P PORTABLE FILTERING TECHNOLOGY


CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, USA: boutique audio company Black Lion Audio is proud to announce availability of its PG-P Portable Power Conditioner — a studio-class power conditioner complete with proprietary PG-P PORTABLE FILTERING TECHNOLOGY to provide the same noise filtering found in the majority of rack-mount power conditioners, despite looking like a run-of-the-mill surge protector — as of July 15…
Poor-quality power is the bane of many musician’s lives. Let’s face it, poor-quality power knows no bounds — in homes, on stages, and especially rehearsal rooms. Whether working with modern modeling amplifiers or vintage synthesizers, poor-quality power has a nasty habit of adversely affecting signal paths, which is never a good thing. Thankfully, Black Lion Audio has been trusted by musicians for years to modify the best gear and make it even better, which is exactly what it took to create the PG-P Portable Power Conditioner — taking industry-standard designs, and improving them to the point of peak performance.
Power conditioning, of course, comes naturally to Black Lion Audio. After creating an acclaimed line of confidence-inspiring, rack-mountable power conditioners, including the recently released PG-2 (https://www.blacklionaudio.com/store/products/pg-2/) — a full-featured peak performance power conditioner with a 120V Power Grid of 14 outlets providing an average of 99.7% of noise filtering, thanks to proprietary PG-99 Filtering Technology, the Chicago-based boutique audio company collectively felt that the time had come to provide the world with proper portable power.
Put it this way: while the resulting PG-P (Power Grid Portable) might well look like a run-of-the-mill surge protector, in reality it is a studio-class power conditioner that not only provides more noise filtering than other portable power conditioners but the same noise filtering found in the majority of rack-mount power conditioners! Cue proprietary PG-P PORTABLE FILTERING TECHNOLOGY, as boldly blazoned in writing across its top panel. Pictures paint a thousand words, according to the saying, so picture this: the PG-P itself is built using premium Panasonic capacitors, selected due to their superior execution in eliminating high-frequency noise that robs equipment of its peak performance. Interestingly, in testing, this provided an average of three times the noise filtering capability of other portable power conditioners at the same price point.

Perfect for any musician’s rig, the PG-P provides studio-grade power on the go via six wall-wart-spaced outlets, backed by confidence-inspiring Ground OKProtection On, and Clean Power On LEDs. Let the music play… in homes, on stages, and even rehearsal rooms! 

PG-P is available to purchase through Black Lion Audio’s growing global network of dealers/distributors (https://www.blacklionaudio.com/dealers) with a MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) of $69.00 USD and an SSP (Suggested Selling Price) of 69.00 EUR (excluding VAT).

For more in-depth information, please visit the dedicated PG-P webpage here: https://www.blacklionaudio.com/store/power-conditioners/pgp/