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Dave Smith Instruments Pro 2

Written by Site Update on October 2nd, 2014

Read more about Dave Smith Instruments Pro 2 at MusicRadar.com


The last DSI product this writer had the pleasure of reviewing was the Mopho SE and, as much as we dug it, we couldn’t help feeling that the Mopho engine was getting a little long in the tooth. Thankfully, it seems DSI have been listening to our prayers and low and behold, we now have a brand new DSI monosynth before us, in the form of the Pro 2.

“The sturdy metal case and copious amounts of wood make you feel like you have invested your money wisely”

Essentially, it’s a reimagining of the classic Dave Smith designed Sequential Pro 1, yet it shares much more in common with the Prophet 12 than with the Pro 1 or the Mopho range. In its most basic form, the Pro 2 is based on a single Prophet 12 voice, however some great additions/ improvements have been made to the sound engine especially for the Pro 2.

A joy to use

The P2 feels every bit as high-quality as the P12 and the sturdy metal case and copious amounts of wood make you feel like you have invested your money wisely. The overall feel is tough and utilitarian and, while it will happily sit in any studio, it’s definitely built to stand up to the rigours of touring.

All the switchgear is the same type/quality as found on the P12 and the rubberised knobs/plastic buttons feel sturdy. The 44-note keybed features velocity and aftertouch (rejoice!) and it’s very pleasurable to play with a nice weight and balance, yet it’s precise and fast at the same time.

Again, like the P12, the P2 features lovely red backlit pitch and mod wheels and there are also two assignable touch sliders (also found on the P12 and Tempest) that really open up live tweaking.

The general layout is very intuitive and the OLED screen (again like the P12 and Tempest) is a joy to use – it’s easy on the eyes and readable in all lights and from all angles and it never gets cluttered.

Also, the cleverly designed OS means that you hardly ever need to look at the screen (unless you want to) and all the key functionality has a direct control on the front panel, letting you tweak away without having to get lost in menus.

“Make no mistake – the P2 is simply one of the most powerful monosynths this writer has ever laid hands on!”

We also prefer the location of the delay effects section on the P2 compared to the P12, as now you can play a line or chord with your right hand whilst tweaking the delays with your left.

It’s hard to ignore the impressive amount of connectivity round the back. There’s USB for bi-directional MIDI and communicating with DAWs, MIDI In and Out (plus a handy second MIDI Out that doubles as a Thru), foot switch and pedal jacks, four CV inputs and four CV outputs for interfacing with other CV equipped gear (the modular heads will love this!), a gate output for triggering other gate equipped gear, plus an audio input with envelope follower (you can process external audio here or use external instruments/drum machines to trigger the envelopes and sequencer) and Left/Right/Headphone outs.

Power to the P2

Now let’s get straight into the sound engine. The P2 feels much like the P12 in use and the OS works in a very similar way (though of course this is a monosynth with paraphonic capabilities, not a 12-voice poly).

Particularly worthy of note here, however, is that in paraphonic mode, each of the four oscillators has its own envelope, which makes it much more playable as a convincing polysynth compared to other paraphonic synths, especially as the note decays sound much more natural.

Notably, there are very few missing features on the P2 compared to the P12 but an important point to consider when weighing up the P2 vs the P12′s sound engine is that the P2 is mono-timbral, so there’s no layering, stacking or splitting like the P12.

At its heart the P2 has four oscillators running through two new filters (inspired by the classic Prophet 5 and Oberheim SEM designs) but, whilst the filters are analogue, the oscillators are firmly digital. There are four classic wave types, 12 complex wave types, a sine sub oscillator, three types of noise and, uniquely to the P2, 13 new ‘superwaves’ per oscillator with up to three waves available simultaneously (as on the P12).

The superwaves obviously pay homage to Roland’s Super waves and the concept is the same – several waves stacked up to form one huge detuned wave, perfect for making trance sounds and huge detuned patches. Like the P12 you can use shape modulation/ variable pulse width to alter the wave shapes and transition seamlessly between the three waves and this is superb for creating moving soundscapes and continuously evolving sounds.

Examining the raw oscillator waves more closely, whilst they don’t sound as big or as rich as VCOs/DCOs, the P2 has its own unique character and the scope of sounds available from these digital oscillator waves is far greater than from most VCO/DCO monos.

Make no mistake – the P2 is simply one of the most powerful monosynths this writer has ever laid hands on!

The acid test

Whilst the presets on offer aren’t bad, they largely cater towards sequences, arps and showing off the vast modulation capabilities (with a few nice paraphonic patches interspersed) and they don’t really show off how great this machine really is. So, we set about creating some classic analogue-style pads, strings, leads and basses (which is always our acid test for any synth).

The results were generally great, especially in terms of pads, comping sounds and leads and this is largely due to the present upper mid range, though getting tight, warm and thick, yet gooey analogue-type basses takes a bit more work as the low mids are a little subdued (much like the P12).

“In many ways the P2 surpasses the P12 and it costs £700 less”

However, with a little tuned feedback, ‘Girth’ and adding in a sub oscillator, you can certainly get in the vicinity of classic analogue bass tones. In addition, the new filter set-up is very versatile and, combined with a little oscillator slop, detuning and adding in some character effects and distortion, there are many different personalities that this synth can offer. Though, as versatile as the DSP oscillators are, we’d still love to hear a VCO driven DSI synth someday. Here’s hoping!

Unique sound

The P2 has all the features you could want in a monosynth, yet it’s easy to get to grips with and sounds unique. The new filters sound great, adding welcome relief from the brassy Curtis designs used in DSI’s other synths and the superwaves greatly expand the sound palette, even beyond the flagship P12.

Sound designers for film and TV will love it and its chameleon-like character enables it to straddle many genres effortlessly including D ‘n’ B, Funk, Dubstep, Ambient and atmospheric styles and it certainly has the power to rip off heads and rumble stomachs too! The Paraphonic feature is an indispensable bonus addition and the P2 can make some surprisingly solid poly-type sounds too including string ensembles, pads and brass patches.

Add in the powerful sequencer with parameter type locking, the arpeggiator, the new BBD delay, character effects and extensive CV specs and it’s pretty hard to beat.

In many ways the P2 surpasses the P12 and it costs £700 less – we’d certainly take the P2 over the P12 as we’d much rather have the P2′s new waves, sequencer, CV control and new filters rather than stacking/splitting ability, a longer keyboard and 12-note polyphony. Food for thought…

Read more about Dave Smith Instruments Pro 2 at MusicRadar.com







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EastWest releases Hollywood Orchestral Percussion – Completes Flagship Orchestral Series

Written by Site Update on October 2nd, 2014

EastWest has released Hollywood Orchestral Percussion, produced by a team comprised of Doug Rogers, Nick Phoenix, Thomas Bergersen, and engineer Shawn Murphy. This release completes the company’s [Read More]
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Empress Compressor

Written by Site Update on October 2nd, 2014

Read more about Empress Compressor at MusicRadar.com


Founded by designer Steve Bragg, Canada-based Empress Effects offers a broad and increasing range of stompboxes with more than a different slant or two. The Compressor, for example, is not your usual plug-in and squash variety.

“An excellent addition to your pedalboard if standard compressors don’t cut it for you”

It offers 2:1, 4:1 and 10:1 switchable ratios, input, attack, release, mix and output chassis- mounted rotary controls, a 10-LED meter (switchable to display gain reduction, input volume or both) and true bypass switching with jack input and output.

On top of all that, there’s a side-chain TRS loop input for a filtered signal so the compression works only on part of the input – for example, the lower frequencies of a bass guitar.

In Use

Unless you’re familiar with studio-style compressors, a read of the manual is essential. What you have is very precise control. Firstly, the LED meter let’s you see what’s happening – handy if you’re lightly compressing or limiting peaks on a percussive acoustic guitar.

Secondly, that mix control means you can blend some of the original signal with the compressed signal to avoid things sounding over-squashed.

An excellent addition to your pedalboard if standard compressors don’t cut it for you. It’s a shame the control legends are so hard to see in all but the brightest lighting.

Read more about Empress Compressor at MusicRadar.com







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Arturia releases iProphet for iOS

Written by Site Update on October 2nd, 2014

Arturia has announced availability of iProphet — an authentic emulation of the Eighties-vintage, California-created classic Prophet VS Digital Vector Synthesizer. iProphet recreates the [Read More]
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Aly James Lab releases “OB-Xtreme” – OB-X based synthesizer emulation VST instrument with VA saturation stages for Windows

Written by Site Update on October 1st, 2014

Aly James Lab has released OB-Xtreme, a stripped down OB-X 8 Voices synthesizer VST emulation with extended functions for Windows. It’s Donationware, with a minimum donation of 15.00 €. OB-Xtreme [Read More]
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AudioThing updates “Valve Exciter” to v1.1.0

Written by Site Update on October 1st, 2014

AudioThing has updated Valve Exciter to version 1.1.0. The update features a new Mix page with Input and Output controls. The page is accessible from the Page Number button in the top bar. Existing [Read More]
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Lindell Plugins releases new range of audio plugins based on the Lindell Audio 500 series modules

Written by Site Update on October 1st, 2014

Lindell Plugins has announced a new range of analog modeled audio plugins, based on the Lindell Audio 500 series modules: 7X-500 FET Compressor. PEX-500 Passive Equalizer. 6X-500 Class A [Read More]
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Reaktor Users Can Starting Playing with Komplete Kontrol Now – Even Without Hardware

Written by Site Update on October 1st, 2014

hwcontrol

Pretty lights are no fun if they’re off limits. So, Reaktor gurus, your fun starts now. As promised here, you get some example patches to begin working with those light-up keyboards from Native Instruments (Komplete Kontrol S-Series, to be technical). And they’re available now:

Here are two example ensembles showing how to control the KOMPLETE KONTROL S-series LEDs and key properties from Reaktor.

HWControl_BasicUse.ens – can be used with an S-series keyboard to directly control the key LED colours and note properties.

HWControl_KB-LED-Simulator.ens – includes a keyboard LED simulator instrument so that you can test your Reaktor HWControl messages without having an S-series keyboard.

HWControl Module Examples: Hardware Control module examples for builders [Native Instruments User Library]

If only one person reads this article and that person makes something amazing with Reaktor, it’ll be worth it having published it. So do let us know here at the CDM Office Tower. (Dizzying, the view from the executive suites, I will say that.)

Nothing yet for controlling the display text, though – that should be interesting.

See, previously:
Komplete Kontrol Integration Will Work with Your Own Reaktor, Kontakt Creations, Too; Details

The post Reaktor Users Can Starting Playing with Komplete Kontrol Now – Even Without Hardware appeared first on Create Digital Music.


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Dystopian Bearded Techno: Watch, Listen to Rødhåd Play and Talk Music [Listening]

Written by Site Update on October 1st, 2014

rodhad

The phenomenon of techno’s growth right now can’t even be confined to one corner of Berlin. Rødhåd and Dystopian Records demonstrate not only the uncontainable nature of their own particular brand of shadowy dance creations, but perhaps this folk quality of electronically-produced music generally.

And if you happen to like that flavor, we have quite a lot of media for you to gobble up. Dubby, dark, and distant, it’s all as always perfectly constructed, reserved in its trajectory as it builds energy. I suppose it’s predictable that getting Berghain’s stamp of approval brought Rødhåd to an international audience, but it’s just as interesting that he and the Dystopian crew were running their own parties for so long.

Before we get to the music, though, here’s the ever-calm man himself talking to INPUT’s Urban Stories, set against spectacularly futuristic architecture of Tbilisi, Georgia. If the talking head thing isn’t doing it for you, there’s some nice music and slow-motion shimmying later on.

Or – listen/watch:

Video from a live set at France’s Nuits Sonores festival:

Podcast for Groove Magazine (download available):
on SoundCloud, Groove 33

Article for Groove 33 [in German]

And another mix/podcast for Token Records:

rodhod

From La Bacchanale Montréal, also live:

La Bacchanale w/ Rødhåd [LIVE] from La Bacchanale on Vimeo.

And the story behind the scenes:

AfterMovie – La Bacchanale w/Rødhåd from La Bacchanale on Vimeo.

dystopian

With a crowd clad in masks and t-shirts, Dystopian Records did a recent takeover of Boiler Room from their usual party headquarters Arena Club. Here’s Rødhåd from that set:

Rødhåd Boiler Room Berlin DJ Set by brtvofficial

I think it’s also worth watching the younger protege Alex.do, also on Dystopian, who played for hours into the night carrying on the gloomy-but-groovy mood:

Alex.Do Boiler Room Berlin DJ Set by brtvofficial

For teshno, he picks out some records for us – from his first to his latest – and no, not just techno (though about that, he says “forget the world, forget the people, just close your eyes”):
on the record ~ rødhåd

You can follow Rødhåd on Facebook, of course.

The post Dystopian Bearded Techno: Watch, Listen to Rødhåd Play and Talk Music [Listening] appeared first on Create Digital Music.


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Toontrack releases Reggae EZX for EZdrummer 2

Written by Site Update on October 1st, 2014

Today Toontrack released Reggae EZX, the first sound library expansion for EZdrummer 2. The Reggae EZX takes the traditional sound and recording techniques of reggae drums and puts it in the [Read More]
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