September 5, 2014
This is the era of the affordable, portable, and playable synthesizer. Every manufacturer from Korg to Arturia and Moog to Dave Smith Instruments are all releasing the cumulative years of innovation and technology into packages that are accessible on nearly any budget. For this reason we decided to take a look at a synthesizer which saw a lot of popularity upon its release and is still a solid instrument for electronic instrument enthusiasts and beginners alike: the Novation MiniNova.
The Novation MiniNova is a compact and affordable synthesizer. It has 37 mini keys (3 octaves) and an entire host of controls for creating and manipulating sounds. The MiniNova is based on the UltraNova with the same synth engine design in both. It has 18 voices with three oscillators as well as nice blue backlit controls for everything from the pad controls to the pitch and modulation wheel.
We decided to …
August 11, 2014
Debuting in the late 1970s, the original MS-20 was an extremely popular synthesizer well into the 1980s with the explosion of synth-pop and other experimental electronic genres. Along with companies like Moog, Korg are among the champions of classic synthesizers still heralded today for their signature sound. We first saw the MS-20 Mini on the NAMM show floor back in January of 2013. It was a little hidden gem amongst the onslaught of new synthesizers and drum machines coming from some of the most popular brands in the market.
A little over a year and a half later and we have begun to see countless artists using the MS-20 Mini in their production as well as on stages around the globe. So what makes the Korg MS-20 Mini such a popular synthesizer the world over? Well we decided to break down the features that make the MS-20 Mini such an …
August 5, 2014
Debuting in the late spring of 2013, the Nord Lead 4 is aptly named as the fourth generation performance synthesizer in the Lead series. It’s a four part multi-timbral instrument with each part having access to all of the front panel controls independently. It’s most notably a two oscillator synthesizer with an easy to use modulation system. It’s lightweight and compact making it a great gigging synthesizer and a low profile instrument for your studio. It’s got 6 different filters or 7 really if you count the bandpass filter in there. It also has a robust FX section making it fantastic for dynamic performance.
After a little over a year on the market, the Nord Lead 4 has been championed by artists and producers across a plethora of different genres of music. So what makes the Nord Lead 4 such an appealing synthesizer? We dive head first into the Nord …
July 24, 2014
I first noticed the CME Xkey at Winter NAMM 2014, but I wasn’t sure what I was looking at besides just another MIDI keyboard. The booth had what a lot of booths are doing now: obligatory T & A to draw the male dominated musical retail space to their product. I refer you to Exhibit A:
Months later I saw the CME Xkey (without the distracting sex appeal) while looking for a portable MIDI keyboard solution for myself. I was pleasantly surprised at the design, functions, and portability of the CME Xkey. For a 25 note keyboard with aftertouch, it’s a pretty great choice for a mobile musician or as a small desktop keyboard solution. Before you make your decision, let’s take a look at the features on the CME Xkey.
The Xkey really shines as a portable MIDI keyboard. It is super light weight at around …
June 27, 2013
As we saw at Winter NAMM 2013, this has certainly been the year of the synthesizer in many regards. While this has been great for the production based artist, these new synthesizers are more focused on great sounds rather than performability. All the great sounding oscillators and filters in the world won’t amount to a hill of beans if you can’t play the thing with an ease and fluidity that a traditional piano can offer. We saw quite a few keyboards at Winter NAMM 2013 that had some serious advancements in the way of performance and feel. One in particular, the Casio Privia Pro PX-5S, has that great hammer style action that you get from a real piano but within a lightweight and portable body that has some great built in sounds.
Casio have certainly been putting out some quality keyboards within the last few years including the popular Casio XW-P1…