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Ibanez RG9

Written by Site Update on September 2nd, 2014

Read more about Ibanez RG9 at MusicRadar.com


When it was first unveiled in prototype form at Winter NAMM 2013, Ibanez’s RG9 caused a fair bit of commotion, provoking delirium and bewilderment in equal measure.

We understand the fervour: after all, it has 50 per cent more strings than your average axe. Now available to buy for a surprisingly reasonable price, the RG9 suggests Ibanez is putting its money on a new generation of nine-string players coming out of the woodwork – and hopes that this will be their weapon of choice.

“The five-piece maple/bubinga neck is supported by two titanium rods, and features dual truss rods for neck adjustments”

Let’s start with the strings themselves, which come factory-tuned (low to high): C# F# B E A D G B E, with gauges starting at 0.009 inches for the high E, right down to a mammoth 0.090 for the C#, stretched out over a 712mm (28-inch) scale neck.

That’s a lot of tension, and consequently, the five-piece maple/bubinga neck is supported by two titanium rods, and features dual truss rods for neck adjustments.

The RG series is known for its slimline necks, but – although we can’t imagine a nine-string neck getting much skinnier – it’s still one hell of an adjustment from a six-string. If, however, you’re already over the eight-string hump, it’s not that huge a leap, especially when you consider that the RG9′s factory tuning almost covers the range of a six-string guitar and five-string bass in one, and as such, invites you to learn a new vocabulary of playing.

An unexpectedly inspiring palette of tones helps to galvanise your riffs. The RG9 has a clever five-way switching system onboard, enabling ‘in-between’ settings from the QM-9 humbuckers: position two activates both pickups’ inner coils for a glassy shimmer, while position four triggers a lower-output, parallel connection of the neck humbucker’s coils.

These yield sweeter, lower-output tones than you might expect, which lend themselves to melodic tapping and crystal-clear arpeggios, not to mention convincing bass tones on the lower strings.

Yet this guitar’s natural territory is the gained-up, guttural roar of djent, and the bridge pickup capably delivers on this front.

It’s not as high-output as an active humbucker, but has more than enough bite and brightness to cut through the dirt – although when you’re playing notes this low, you don’t need much gain to sound heavy.

Sure, nailing staccato riffs on the low C# takes practice – it’s prone to ring out without careful pick-hand placement, while transitioning between bottom-end riffs and top-string solos can be a bit of a struggle, but like any extended-range guitar, the RG9 is very much its own instrument, and requires serious dedication to get the most from it.

Whatever the guitar’s merits, the question remains over whether you’d opt for a nine-string over an eight-string – that low C# might be a little too earth-shattering.

Yet the RG9 remains a great compositional tool, able to cover all the bases – and, indeed, basses.

Read more about Ibanez RG9 at MusicRadar.com







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AIR Music Technology releases “The Riser” Transition Instrument AU, AAX and VST Plugin for Mac OS X and Windows

Written by Site Update on September 2nd, 2014

AIR Music Technology has released The Riser, a new synthesizer designed for creating powerful transitions with electronic dance music producers and DJs in mind. The Riser is now available for purcha [Read More]
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Propellerhead releases Instrument Development Toolkit for Rack Extensions

Written by Site Update on September 1st, 2014

Propellerhead has announced that the new Instrument Development Toolkit (IDT) for Rack Extensions is now available, making it easy for sample library producers and instrument designers to build and se [Read More]
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Auden Bowman Cedar Cutaway

Written by Site Update on September 1st, 2014

Read more about Auden Bowman Cedar Cutaway at MusicRadar.com


While tweaking a classic design and build in the far east is a superb way to establish instant manufacturing capacity with just a fraction of the associated costs, the results vary wildly. At one end, you find tons of those woeful GSOs – guitar-shaped objects – inevitably destined for some uninterested teen’s dusty corner; and at the other are high-quality instruments asking you to consider them seriously alongside the great names of the guitar-making world. You’ll have guessed by now that Auden is in the latter camp.

Conceived by boss-man Doug Sparkes and luthier-business partner Rob Bowman, Auden’s goal is simply to offer guitars that deliver a combination of spec, playability and tone, at a price unmatched by any other brand. So, no pressure then…

Build

Auden’s guitars share many of the same build characteristics. Its current ‘one-retail price’ means that your buying decision is taken away from which one you can best afford, and points it at which instrument you best like, including this electro-acoustic.

We have a fairly traditional approach to all-solid wood soundbox construction. Clearly very high-quality timbers, exacting attention to detail and superb finishing tell you immediately that both care and craft are high on the Auden agenda.

“In every guitar case is an invitation to visit Auden’s Northamptonshire facility, to meet the team and get your guitar set up”

In fact, Sparkes tells us that there are just 15 workers in the Chinese facility, each using hand tools in a ‘bench-made’ production process. It shows: extremely tidy scalloped X-bracing, struts and lining; beautifully executed maple and rosewood binding front, back and sides.

Against the deep chocolate brown of the solid Indian rosewood, it’s very much understated classic-meets-modern precision. Interestingly, Auden does its final assembly – including final neck set, fret finishing, hardware/electronics fitment, buff and polish – here in the UK, along with setups and final QC.

The finish itself is a polyurethane gloss over polyester base, which is likely to remain good looking and protective over many years, albeit never take on the patina of nitrocellulose as time goes on. A nice touch is that in every guitar case is an invitation to visit Auden’s Northamptonshire facility, to meet the team and get your guitar set up as you like it.

The solid mahogany neck has a scarfed headstock joint and glued-on heel with a modern, slimmish, rounded profile that will offend nobody. Finished in satin polyurethane, it feels fast to play, the modern vibe continued with a gentle taper in thickness as you go up the neck.

What you can’t see is that the neck uses a proper carved and tapered, hide-glue dovetail joint. Traditionalists tend to believe it is better for tone, but it is problematic to do in any great numbers; mortise-and-tenon neck joints are more common where production volume is high.

Auden also supplies a custom-shaped bone saddle in addition to the composite saddle that comes factory fitted. The recommendation is you use bone saddle if your playing is predominantly acoustic (it sounds ‘better’ acoustically) and the composite if you’re regularly plugging-in.

Speaking of which, the supplied pickup is a Schertler Lydia system; an undersaddle transducer, tiny preamp section with two 3V lithium batteries and a mini volume control tucked neatly in the soundhole.

Sounds

The fretting and setup of this guitar is exceptional from a sales point of view; a great compromise of low action and easy playability without sacrificing too much vibration and tone. Coupled with the easy-feeling neck, it’s very easy to get to grips with quickly.

If there’s a trade-off, it’s that a little more fight in the setup and tension in the strings will almost certainly suit more experienced players, and return a stronger tone, too – something the build and materials are more than capable of delivering.

If you want a traditional 000/OM experience, the Bowman delivers with a midrange prominence for a traditional, smaller-guitar type tone. That said, the ‘long’ 650mm scale length keeps things relatively sparkly with good note separation.

“If you find spruce-topped guitars a little ‘hard’-sounding and uninspiring, give something like this Bowman a go”

The cedar seems to have a wide dynamic range when played or picked softly; if you find spruce-topped guitars a little ‘hard’-sounding and uninspiring, give something like this Bowman a go and get some cedar in your life. Open-tuned, European-flavoured folkie stuff is well served, for example.

Plugged in, we had a Fishman F1 Analog (in a Martin DCPA4), a K&K Pure Mini under-bridge transducer (Collings CJ35) and Taylor’s pre-2014 ES (714ce) on hand for comparison.

The Schertler is consistently the most crystalline and ‘under-saddle’-sounding system of the four through our reference AER Compact 60 III. It’s not a plugged-in sound we’d describe as ‘natural’ or ‘warm’, though it will cut well in a live band environment, to pull out an upside.

Auden will be more than aware that tempting guitarists away from established brands – with their decades of experience, name-artist association, retail presence and large marketing budgets – is a Herculean task.

Judged on the merits of the instruments, however, this guitar delivers a spec/sound/price ratio that’s unique in the market, thanks in part to the smart way the production is handled, and the focus on simple, high-quality design.

It represents impressive value when you compare what the big American brands are offering at this price. Auden’s auspicious beginning? It mustn’t be anything less.

Read more about Auden Bowman Cedar Cutaway at MusicRadar.com







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white whale Makes your monome Into an Amazing Modular Step Sequencer

Written by Site Update on September 1st, 2014

modular-2p

It seems everyone is getting in on modular gear these days, thanks to the Eurorack format. But many of these modules are variations on a theme – new models of old classic modules, existing synthesis components and filters that have just been reborn as a module.

monome white whale, shipping this month, is something different. Connect a monome grid controller to a modular, and suddenly that array of light-up buttons becomes a probabilistic sequencer. It’s live performance oriented in a way too few modules are. The results are surprising and lovely. The solution isn’t cheap – you need a monome in addition to the modular rig and sequencer module, and the setup is optimized for the larger, spendier monome models. But it does produce a standalone setup that’s a joy to behold.

white whale – possibilities from tehn on Vimeo.

The basic concept starts with fairly standard step sequencing. You get a 16-step loop with four triggers per step. Where things get interesting is adding probability indexes for each trigger and channel, which can add mutes, fills, and melodies. And various patterns can be controlled and chained, with additional chance.

In fact, it’s inspiring enough that you might want something similar outside the modular context.

Retail price: US$ 280. Shipping this month.

Full details from monome:

modular-3p

modular-1p

whitewhale-p

Requirements Monome grid controller
Width 6hp
Depth 40mm (“skiff friendly”)
Power 12v: 18mA, -12v: 17mA
5v: 42mA (grid unconnected), up to 600mA (grid connected, see note below **)

Description

White Whale is the culmination of methods and experiments based on a decade of step sequencer design for the grid.

A monome grid is plugged into the front panel of the module, serving as a complete interface. The sequencer continues running when the grid is disconnected, facilitating both live performance and precomposed playback of generative systems.

A sixteen step loop is the foundation. 4 triggers can be toggled per step, along with two separate CV values. 0-10v CV can be dialed via a parameter knob, copied from other steps, and tuned up and down via the grid. A CV map mode is provided for creating scales, and preset scales are recallable.

A probability index is provided independently for the triggers and each CV channel. These can serve as step mutes (at 0 or 100 percent) or chance possibility per step (for fills, emergent melody generation, etc). Each CV step can be set to have a choice of several values.

Sixteen patterns are quickly accessible. For longer sequences these patterns can be strung together in any determined order, including chance possibilities between pattern selection.

Sets of patterns are storable to internal flash memory for instant recall on power-up.

Timing can be internal (controlled via a panel pot) or externally triggered. Loop lengths and positions can be set intuitively on the grid.

Many subtle additional features make this instrument incredibly versatile yet approachable, introducing possibilities far beyond the standard step sequencer.

* Grids

There have been many editions of monome grids over the years. White Whale is optimally designed for late 128 (8×16) models that support variable brightness (2012 and on). Smaller grids are supported, but pattern step lengths are adjusted. Larger grids are supported, but presently the bottom half will not be used. Mono-brightness grids are supported, but the data displayed will be less rich.

** Power

Monome grids require a large amount of 5V power, which may not be typically available on all eurorack systems. Be sure to check the ratings of the power supply to be used.

Furthermore, eurorack power systems are not well designed for dynamic power loading. Undesirable anomalies may be introduced in certain eurorack configurations when shared with a grid controller. We’ve designed a small breakout adapter (ext5v) to separately power the grid controller if needed. If this adapter is used, very little 5V will be used from the eurorack power supply. The adapter requires a separate 5V supply which delivers at least 1A on a 2.1mm center positive plug.

http://monome.org/modular/

The post white whale Makes your monome Into an Amazing Modular Step Sequencer appeared first on Create Digital Music.


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Tone2 Audiosoftware release Modern Clubhits soundset for Electra2

Written by Site Update on September 1st, 2014

Tone2 Audiosoftware has released Modern Clubhits, a new soundset for Electra2 that bundles 200 presets together to enrich tracks with dirty basses, warm synths, spacious pads, vivid leads, complex arp [Read More]
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Best Service releases Mystica Female Chamber Choir by Eduardo Tarilonte for Kontakt Player

Written by Site Update on September 1st, 2014

Best Service has announced the release of Eduardo Tarilonte’s Mystica Female Chamber Choir, continuing his series of vocal-libraries. This classical chamber choir consists of eight female vocalists, d [Read More]
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DDMF releases “The Strip” Channel Strip Audio Unit, RTAS, AAX and VST Plugin for Mac and Win with Intro Offer

Written by Site Update on September 1st, 2014

DDMF has announced the release of The Strip, a new channel strip plugin. It features an EQ (four peaking, a cutting and a shelving band), a gate and a compressor section, optional 2x oversampling plus [Read More]
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Sound Magic releases “Fazioli Rose” Fazioli “Brunei” Grand Piano AU and VST Plugin for Windows and Mac OS X

Written by Site Update on September 1st, 2014

Sound Magic has released Fazioli Rose, a Fazioli “Brunei” Grand Piano Audio Unit and VST plugin for Windows and Mac OS X. Its MSRP is €129 / $ 169 / £105. The sound of Fazioli Rose comes from Faziol [Read More]
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WOK releases Ministepper – Free MIDI Step Sequencer Plug-in for Windows

Written by Site Update on September 1st, 2014

WOK has released MiniStepper, a free MIDI Step Sequencer Plug-in for Windows. Ministepper is designed to be easy to use. There are 8 steps, each with velocity, gate length and mute. Several play direc [Read More]
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