Most of the famous hip hop producers consider the AKAI MPC as a main tool in the process of creating music. It is a drum machine, which isn’t created for hip hop, but has shaped the genre in the form you can see today. Numerous drum machines have been released, but the products from AKAI have always been outstanding. The AKAI MPC 2500 is technically an upgrade from the MPC 2000 and the various characteristics will prove that. Multiple analogue outs, digi in/out and the additional filters are some of the new features, which can’t be found in the previous AKAI drum machines. Experience the new effects, the ability to use more memory and the opportunity to connect to other MIDI instrument as a master, or a slave. 16MB RAM is offered in this version and you can sample about 136 seconds of mono sound. A laptop can be connected to the drum machine, but there is a CDR-W drive, which can be convenient if you are interested in recording everything on CD. A compact flash card is something a user must have when it comes to MPC 2500 because the sounds should be saved there.Read more on Audiofanzine
Analog mono synth (5U rack version)
While very similar to its ancestor the mini Moog, it's not really a re-edition, but rather an improved and modern version with a dual filter, 3 oscillators, presets, and MIDI control for most parameters.
No sequencer, no arpeggiator, in short, no trifles... only sound!
The connections are pretty typical, with midi IN/OUT/THRU, 2 balanced audio outputs (rare on a synth) and a nice connector for a CV/GATE box sold separately... But the very comprehensive MIDI implementation makes up for the lack of CV inputs. A real treat with a MIDI step sequencer!!!Read more on Audiofanzine
by JM music
Irreproachable manufacturing quality!
6 soundbanks + 1 user bank
On the rack version there's a switch on the rear to change to balanced level with a 600-ohm impedance, which is indispensable for consoles or to go directly into a converter!
The panel lights up blue for live performances...Wow, it's simply perfect. When the luminosity is set to max you can hear some noise. It's the same with all Voyagers, so it's a defect, but it's not really annoying.Read more on Audiofanzine
You can read the specs on the Moog site or here on AF. What's most important is that this synth is fully analog with memories and a PC editor that works pretty well (even though it's not the easiest to use in the beginning).
The 25-key keyboard is not a big deal for me because I usually sequence using Live. If there were a rack version available I would've gotten that instead.Read more on Audiofanzine
MIDI, audio in, out, etc.Read more on Audiofanzine
SEE THE YAMAHA WEBSITERead more on Audiofanzine
The Roland FA-08 is an 88-weighted key synthesizer workstation.
It is equipped with sounds from both Roland's XV series of sound modules and the newer SuperNatural sounds. Additionally, there is a complete Virtual Analog Synthesis engine on-board that allows 3 oscillators to be programmed in many ways.
There are 16 pads that can be used for triggering loops, samples, and sounds, a pitch bend and modulation joystick, 6 rotary knobs that can be assigned to a variety of parameters, a D-beam control, and a screen with a scroll wheel for editing and creating sounds/songs.
The polyphony is 128 voices. Read more on Audiofanzine
The Roland Fantom X Series is one of the best Audio/Midi Workstation series developed by Roland. With three options, i.e., X6 (61 keys), X7 (76 keys) and the X8 that I am having with 88 keys, this 29.5 Kg weighing machine is one of the best workstation monster even now. This 128 - voice polyphonic workstation has a default of 128MB ROM and a 32MB sample RAM that could be expanded up-to 544MB (option available). The preset library provides 1,152 patches with 256 GM2 sounds. The user memory and the card memory holds up-to 256 patches as well.
The Fantom X8 comes with an additional 4 * SRX Expansion bay that can be used to expand your Sample Ram up-to 1GB. (I have never used this till now or never needed this for my work platform). There are two basic splits that comes when you start working, looking at your in-built LCD screen, the keyboard and the pad option. When the keyboard option is enabled, the preset patches comes with a wide variety of sound styles such as basic acoustic piano and electric piano models. The "Arie piano" is one such amazing preset that would blow your mind away. The soundscape these presets are designed in is exceptionally brilliant. Mallets, organs, accordions, several types of guitar patches ranging from acoustic - distort - electric and bass, wind flute, brass styles, synths and FX, pads, plucks, ethnic, percussion, grooves and beats are some of the main preset patches. The Pad option comes with a
1) User variety of drum patches,
2) Preset patches like the Standard Kit 1,2 and 3, Rock Kits, Latin and Hiphop Kits and House Kits that are few among them,
3) GM sounds comes with a few basic styles such as Standard, Room, Analog, Jazz and Brush etc.
All the patches are precisely edit ready and have been recorded and sampled using multiple microphones by renowned studio engineer and sound designer Dan Blessinger.
The Pitch-bend and the Modulation lever is provided in one same joystick controller towards the left side of the keyboard. Other than this, there are a few other beautiful - well planned knobs providing users with more options to discover and manipulate every sound within. A Realtime control box is attached next to the LCD screen that provides with 4 different multi purpose functionalities. These knobs can be used to assign to every user's specific needs, ranging from controlling the resonance of a sound to the release/sustain of it etc. The "Arpeggio/Rhythm" section provides users to immediately arpeggiate any sound being played just by enabling this button. For Live performers, Roland introduces the new V-Link technology where the performers can trigger and manipulate video clips along with their sounds, creating transitions and effects with the pitch bender and knobs.
Towards the right area of this workstation is the Sampling area (16bit Linear - 44.1KHz) providing a 32MB SD - RAM to record any analog sound into the workstation, in both .AIFF and .WAV format files. Then comes the 16 bed dynamic pad bank that gives you a very sleek velocity/after touch sensitive pad bank for drum programming and triggering. This workstation offers you multi-track recording of your performance in realtime with the Roland's skip back sampling feature. Hit the record button and you are ready to record. Since there is a USB - MIDI direct connection feature provided, you can transfer the performances without the need of an external midi - interface, directly to your system in both .WAV and .AIFF format.
One thing I most love about this workstation is the new Live Piano mode, when enabled, completely transforms the workstation into an 88 - key split stereo sampled progressive hammer-actioned Grand Piano mode. This can not only be used for just playing any piano sound, but can be used for user - favourite sounds as well. This is a feature that every user has to experience themselves as each note has been sampled at multiple velocities providing you pristine touch sensitive playback experience.
There are several hard-ware external connections that can be made to the Fantom X8.
1) 1 PC card slot for backing up samples and data with up to 1GB capacity (SmartMedia and CompactFlash supported)
2) 4 Line outputs (2 stereo or 4 mono)
3) 1 Stereo line input
4) 24-bit S/PDIF I/O
5) Midi IN/OUT/THRU
6) Pedal Hold/Control
7) Headphone Jack
8) USB 2.0 Hub
There is no specific program required to use the Fantom X8, other than a Fantom X editor software that is available for download, if you need to edit or develop patches on your MAC/PC. Its been more than 5 years now with the Fantom, and I usually use this as Midi - keyboard with my DAW for programming music. In that case, sometimes you might need to install the dedicated driver for the Fantom X models in order for the MAC/PC to recognise this device.
This workstation does not have an in-built monitor playback setup. Therefore either you have to connect this device to a pair of speakers, headphones or work via a system.
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Yamaha workstation, 61 keys, purchased 2 additional sound cards. See product descriptions with lots of details elsewhere.
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When purchasing this keyboard I was looking for an instrument that could run a live show I was putting together without any other equipment. I wanted to perform from the keyboard as well as be supported with a realistic, or at least sympathetic accompaniment. What I was not expecting was to be pleasantly surprised at how this instrument not only ticked all the boxes I wanted but also provided inspiration for taking the show further.
The S950 is a 61-key keyboard workstation with features and options too numerous for a single review. The connections are basic: output L & R, foot pedal input, MIDI, USB B and USB A as well as a mic input (more on this later). In addition there is a video output, primarily designed for showing the lyrics when running karaoke tracks - something this reviewer has yet to enjoy…
The main panel is a sea of buttons and a few knobs, the colour display being the centre of the keyboard’s universe. All functions are designed to be accessible with as few presses as possible and, for the most part, the screen is clear about where you should go next.
There are getting on for 1000 voices built in to the unit, several of them the same as those on the Tyros 4. Four of these voices can be played at the same time, two each side of the split point. In addition there are over 400 accompaniment styles, each with four variations, a set of fills and three intros and three endings. On top of all that there are a raft of multi pad sets, some of which are one-shot, others of which are MIDI based - they play along to your chord selection - and you can also play your own .wav files directly from a USB stick.
With the addition of a sequencer, many many effects, a vocal harmoniser, USB audio playback and full one-touch registration memory this keyboard provides infinite flexibility only really limited by your imagination and your understanding of how the keyboard works.Read more on Audiofanzine
Features worthy of a modern piano. It came out in 2004 but it is still a well-respected workstation due to the quality of its manufacturing, sounds, interface, but especially due to its SRX 01 to 12 expansion cards, which can be found at very good prices. They are a real plus, even if the factory sounds are already terrific, like the acoustic and electric piano, the electronic sounds, strings, percussion/drums.
It's up to you to see what the piano lacks depending on your needs. Follow this link to make yourself an idea of the SRX series:
Personally, I'm a big fan. Roland used to be ahead of the game, it's a pity they are trailing behind in terms of workstations nowadays.Read more on Audiofanzine
What can I say for a synth that stood up to me for 20 years? Everybody knows the SD1. I am writing here just to pay respect to this instrument.
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It's more of a sampler than a real synth: No preset can be edited: You have to do with the sounds conceived by Roland, with the only possibility to play with the filter and the effects. No tuning, no decay(!), and I won't mention other well-known mods of the TB-303. Which is quite a pity. The manufacturing quality seems pretty good., the unit is heavy and gives the impression of sturdiness that you expect from a Roland.Read more on Audiofanzine
Features: See other reviews
Effects are associated to the type of sound, the pot is very sensitive, it starts distorting pretty fast beyond 40%
PC editing: Let's hope a hacker brings out something better in the coming months.
Octave choice: Don't use it together with the keyboard, it's easy to get mixed up.
Strange x/y key, which isn't very useful in general.
The Random function is good, it's a nice ideaRead more on Audiofanzine
Good pianos, even better is the software supplied by casio to make your own using velocity curves and have made a killer vc switched m1 piano.
Can import rythms from Roland and yamaha using third party software.
Importing wav files using the casio software must be in 16bit as won't recognize 24bit, but this is a home keyboard and is no detriment to the system, considering cds use 16bit 44.1khz sample rate so pointless in my opinion to use a higher bit rate.
Pitch bend wheel has a decent action without too much resistance.
Mod button, but if you have a dremel there is a solder point and screw mounts in the chassis to fit a mod wheel from the high models and it works. (or just take a lead from it, put a 1/4" jack on it and plug in an expression pedal again works great on drawbar mode)
Can also solder in line out sockets direct form the amplifier board as its the same one from the wk3500 so just get 2 sockets and drill out the blanks on the back panel.
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After having worked 8 years with a Roland G70 (which is excellent), I fell for the T5. Finally 76 keys, something we had been waiting for a long time. Pianists are grateful. In terms of sounds, it sounds silky overall and the super articulations are a significant plus, as long as you use them wisely, which demands some training.
In terms of effects, there's not much to say, the DSPs are formidable and cover all your needs. Perfect connection both over Midi (it has 2) and USB (it has 3), although there's a small and bizarre thing: To access the HD directly, without a computer, you need to turn it off and turn it on again pressing Song List. It would've been better to include a dedicated function in the menu.
Sounds are barely editable, there's no synthesis section, but hey, it's an arranger not a synth.
It was a good idea to separate MIDI and audio, because it allows you to use both at the same time if you want to, or to go from one to the other without problems. In terms of audio, it supports all common formats, the choice is up to you.Read more on Audiofanzine
I had seen the demos online and after talking over the phone with jean michel jarre he convinced me of buying it.
It isn't 256-voice polyphonic but you can use two fingers at the same time, which produces the same sound as my cousin's Ford Escort when it blew up on the highway 12 years ago.
No need for a sampler.
The finish of the product is superb for the price, arturia has faithfully reproduced the ivory coating of my aunt's '73 moulinex toaster.Read more on Audiofanzine
It's a 100% analog synth with 5 keys, two main controls, three pedal ports, USB MIDI in/out/thru, CV/Gate in and out, separate audio outputs, and paraphony across the entire keyboard. It's a delight! It's hard to imagine so many functions in such a small device!Read more on Audiofanzine
5 key range!
NOT ONLY a pitch wheel BUT ALSO a mod wheel.
LOOKS LIKE A TRANSFORMER'S FOOT!!!!!
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5-key preset keyboardRead more on Audiofanzine
by Bald Man
Because Chonchon must be president.Read more on Audiofanzine
A revolutionary concept (the famous "quarter octave" format by Jimmy Jones, keyboard and accordion player for the Flaming Pizzas) and an amazing feat by Arturia: Excellent usability! Excellent simplicity!
The knobs are all ideally placed. You can tell that the design was reworked and even that the concept of the synthesizer was questioned.Read more on Audiofanzine
A synth that fits in your hand, pocket or a small lunch box. Personally, I use my kids' Spiderman pencil case to take it everywhere with me.
Rather limited in terms of sound, because you cannot adjust anything. On the other hand, you have 5 notes available, which cover a sound palette ranging from hiphop to EDM. It's a bit limited for more symphonic things. You'll have to buy several.
Be careful, the pitch bend and modulation don't work. They are only there for decoration, according to Arturia it's only a "wink to his brotherz."
No connections, so you won't tangle your feet.Read more on Audiofanzine
- 5 keys only, true, but it's more than enough for most EDM musicians.
- 5-note polyphonic: It's a pity that Arturia didn't make it at least 10 for its first polyphonic synth, which would've allowed to have 2 notes of polyphony per key.
- It has really killer looks, it's sober and sophisticated at the same time: I love it!!!Read more on Audiofanzine
Analog semi-modular synth.
3VCO + 1 LFO
1 ring modulator
White, pink and blue noise generator.
24dB/oct Moog 4012-type filterRead more on Audiofanzine
Super soulful! Ideal for musicians who play with one fingerRead more on Audiofanzine
by Melle S
Analog mini-synthRead more on Audiofanzine
Analog synthRead more on Audiofanzine
150W solid-state amp with three inputs.Read more on Audiofanzine
Desktop Expander sequencer
Digital emulation of the Roland Tb-303
Very compact, about the size of an A4 sheet
Comprehensive audio connections, plus MIDI in and out, USB
The latter allows you to establish a MIDI connection, to power the TB-303 and to transmit audio (awesome).
Minimalist controller, cutoff and frequency knobs, the touchpad allows you to go further in terms of adjustment.
Great number of presets, among which is Bank A, including the sounds of the TB-303.
Plenty of patterns, 8 banks of 8.
Each preset has an editable effect per program but most of the time they are well matched.
4 oscillators for a very fat mono sound or an acid one, it's up to you.Read more on Audiofanzine