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Fender Passport Studio

Written by Site Update on August 23rd, 2014

Read more about Fender Passport Studio at MusicRadar.com


This is unexpected – Fender and Focal joining forces to produce a portable active studio monitoring system. It’s not so strange really, though…

Much as Fender trade on their history with classic guitar and amp designs, they’re also pushing ahead with digital amps, iOS devices, and other products, including the Passport series of portable PA amps, where the speakers and mixer lock together to create a secure mobile package.

The Passport Studio simply adds a monitoring solution to the existing range of PA solutions.

Setting up

The box contains the monitors, a mains plug, a manual, a cable to connect the speakers to each other, a handgrip, and two panels that attach magnetically to the rear of the cabinets.

“You get the impression that everything is designed to tight tolerances, and will work ‘just so’”

You get the impression that everything is designed to tight tolerances, and will work ‘just so’. The plastic-shelled speaker cabinets slot together, facing inwards, protecting the speakers and tweeters from unwanted impacts in transit.

It takes a couple of practice runs before you get the hang of it, but then it’s easy to hook them up. The handgrip snaps into place across the top of the monitors, acting as a carry handle while also locking them in place. Seeing the rear panels and the handgrip, we wonder if Fender sell spares, as sooner or later they will disappear.

These are active monitors, but only the left-hand one takes mains power; it then attaches with the supplied cable to the right-hand cabinet. This is good because it saves one plug space, but we wish the cable was about 12 inches longer; we could only just stretch it across our studio space, behind an iMac and external monitor. We understand that any similar TRS cable will do, though.

The left front panel puts some useful controls and connections to hand – there’s a master level control and switches to cut or boost bass and treble by + or – 1.5dB at 75Hz (bass) and 7.5kHz (treble). There are also very useful 1/8-inch connections for stereo headphones or stereo aux in.

Studio sound

Hmm, plastic speaker cabinets – is that cool? Let’s see. We hooked them up to an RME UFX and they became our regular studio monitors for a while. In fact, we used them for everything; mixing, watching movies, and casual music listening, so we had plenty of time to get used to them.

In the manual, Fender recommends ‘burning’ them in for a few hours before using them for critical applications, but we didn’t notice much change in the sound. With the RME they made a super-flat combination, which was a bit dull for home entertainment purposes, and brutally flat for mixing – no glamourisation of the sound at all, and to our ears, even in tone across the whole range.

Of course, these are all good things for studio speakers! If you’re going to make assumptions and expect the Passports to sound plasticky because of the materials used, forget it.

We had a client round who is a self-proclaimed speaker geek, and he complimented them, especially on their mid-range handling. Unlike some other speakers we’ve used, these aren’t tiring to listen to during long sessions, either.

We took some mixes we made with these to another studio for comparison, and they translated really well, which is our main criterion for speakers. These are definitely real, functional, studio monitors that also happen to be portable.

If you want to connect microphones or instruments, others in the Passport range are better suited; these are monitors first and foremost. We’ve done many events where we’ve packed delicate studio monitors in bubble wrap, then crammed them into a suitcase… never again!

Read more about Fender Passport Studio at MusicRadar.com







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MeldaProduction updates all VST, AU and AAX Plugin Effects for Mac and Win to v8.05

Written by Site Update on August 23rd, 2014

MeldaProduction has updated all its effect plugins to v8.05, providing several optimizations, improvements and fixes. Check this link for more information about the update. Changes in 8.05: Added sele [Read More]
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The Unfinished releases “Absynth Nostromo”

Written by Site Update on August 23rd, 2014

The Unfinished has released Absynth Nostromo, a collection of 128 sounds for cinematic scoring and ambient electronica. Nostromo is inspired by the cinematic sounds of Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and D [Read More]
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Xotic SL Drive

Written by Site Update on August 23rd, 2014

Read more about Xotic SL Drive at MusicRadar.com


There are plenty of ‘Marshall in a box’-style pedals around, but the Xotic SL Drive is probably the smallest we’ve seen.

“If it’s that late-60s/early 70s Marshall sound you want, the SL Drive will deliver”

Built in the increasingly popular mini style, with offset input and output sockets to save on pedalboard space. Two large knobs control the tone and drive action, and you also get a small volume knob for the output.

Based on Marshall’s Super Lead and Super Bass amps, the SL Drive has four internal DIP switches to select various sound characteristics of both models.

If it’s that late-60s/early 70s Marshall sound you want, the SL Drive will deliver, with the manual offering settings for Paul Kossoff and Ritchie Blackmore-style tones.

The Super Lead settings offer abundant top-end crunch, while setting the DIP switches for the Super Bass gives you low-end grunt and a more subdued top end, the whole lot cleaning up nicely with volume.

Read more about Xotic SL Drive at MusicRadar.com

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#KVRDC14 Voting Ends August 24th 2014 – Have You Voted?

Written by Site Update on August 23rd, 2014

The voting stage of the KVR Developer Challenge 2014 is drawing to a close – the final weekend is upon us! If you haven’t done so already, you can download the entries for free. The prize fund stands [Read More]
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Kreativ Sound releases “Vicious” and “Ferocious” soundsets for impOSCar

Written by Site Update on August 22nd, 2014

Kreativ Sound has announced the release of two new soundsets with 36 presets each for impOSCar and impOSCar 2: Vicious: 36 beautiful, wild and raging sounds in FXB format. Ferocious: 36 analog, warm a [Read More]
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KV331 Audio updates SynthMaster to v2.6.19

Written by Site Update on August 22nd, 2014

KV331 Audio has updated SynthMaster to v2.6.19 which now allows you to assign envelopes/LFOs or even MIDI velocity to effect parameters (such as the EQ). Other fixes/updates include: NEW: andlt;MyDocu [Read More]
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Native Instruments releases Magnate Hustle Expansion for Maschine

Written by Site Update on August 22nd, 2014

Native Instruments today introduced Magnate Hustle âEUR“ a new Maschine Expansion tailored to the multi-faceted sound of today’s urban pop styles. Magnate Hustle features an exclusive set of guitar li [Read More]
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SoundCloud Explains Their New Plans to Us – And How Ads Will Work

Written by Site Update on August 22nd, 2014

soundcloudstats

Money at SoundCloud has in the past flowed in one direction: you, the uploader, pay for premium plans, and SoundCloud gets the cash. Now, for the first time, money is going the other way – from the service to artists and labels.

In the process, that means one significant change: SoundCloud listeners will begin to hear ads.

It’s been interesting to watch the reaction – from people losing their minds over ads appearing on the service to more measured responses and genuine interest in the service “growing up” and adding income to become sustainable. This of course collides with worries about SoundCloud’s recent deals with major labels. But before we get into opinions about the changes, let’s first understand just what has changed for those of us who use the service.

SoundCloud is this week rolling out advertising, first to their invite-only premier partners – that is, producers like big labels (including giant Universal Music Group) that recently signed licensing deals. Later on, says SoundCloud, those those ads are also will be available as an option for all paid users who want to earn money from their content.

In addition to the advertising option, SoundCloud has also adjusted its plans. Here are the facts.

There are new plans, with new names – and more upload time.

At all levels, you get more upload time than before – even on the free plan. SoundCloud tells CDM:

Partner:
Entry to the Partner level is free. Partners get 3 hours of free upload time per account (up from 2), basic features and stats
Pro:
Pro Partners get more upload time per account (6hrs, up from 4), plus expanded features and stats that help them build and connect with their audience.
Premier (the new tier):
Premier Partners have the opportunity to make money on the platform by placing ads against their content, get unlimited storage, premium stats and account management support.
For now, access to the Premier level is by invitation only.
We’ll be rolling it out to more creators over time.

(No word yet on whether CDM, as the world’s single largest media source for people who care passionately about the connectivity of hamsters and control voltage, will be invited to be a premier partner. Seriously. We’re like the BBC World News of turning houseplants into synthesizers.)

Ad plays will get you paid, and more money goes to you than goes to SoundCloud.

While the rest of the Internet aches about this change, yes, ads could theoretically make you money. Now, I asked SoundCloud if they could tell us something about how they’re allotting revenues.

“Every time users see or hear an ad, artists get paid,” SoundCloud’s Alice Regester tells CDM. “We’re offering a sustainable business model that benefits SoundCloud and creators, with the majority share of revenue being paid out to Premier Partners.”

That is Premier Partners for now; SoundCloud tells us that the larger share of money will also go to you when ads become available to you later on.

Ads only impact the United States, at first. Ads will only target the US, and only be heard in the US. That makes some sense, as it’s the largest listening audience on the site. It seems a no-brainer that this will extend to other markets in the future if it’s a success.

What will the ads sound like? You’ll definitely hear them – think something along the lines of what you see on YouTube, only longer, and… you know, sound.

SoundCloud tells CDM, “audio ads will be occasional, skippable after 15 seconds, and up to 30 seconds long.”

You can opt out of ads on your content. Don’t want ads on your content? Like so many labels and producers, you use SoundCloud mainly to promote record sales (even on vinyl) and live gigs, and worry about making your money there? No problem – this is an opt-in service.

You’ll eventually be able to pay not to hear ads. For now, even if you pay for a subscription to SoundCloud, you’re going to start to hear ads on content, if you’re in the USA. For a lot of us who spend most of our time listening to small labels and independent artists (and, for those of us outside the United States), that won’t really be noticeable. But if you don’t like it, SoundCloud does confirm to CDM that eventually they plan to offer subscription opens for listeners who don’t want to hear ads, ever.

No details on that plan yet. SoundCloud calls it a “consumer” subscription and says it’ll be detailed in the “months to come.” That implies it won’t be bundled with uploader plans, but it’s early days yet, so probably too soon to make any assumptions.

Read up on the changes in the official announcement on the SoundCloud blog (penned by none other than founder Alex):
Introducing On SoundCloud, our new creator partner program

Analysis: this could be a win for uploaders in more ways than one.

The most significant concern I continue to hear from SoundCloud users – the DJs and producers who made the service the success it is – comes down to worries about their content being removed. EDM giant Kaskade is probably the best-known of these users. But SoundCloud has always faced a balancing act between licensing and users. Recent licensing deals with Universal Music Group may indeed allow them to directly flag content they believe they own. On the other hand, that’s better than issues like false positives, in which artists were surprised to see their own uploads incorrectly flagged.

The Kaskade story is telling. It’s not so much an indictment of SoundCloud as it is the way record deals are structured. The truth is, many labels today are likely to benefit from their artists uploading their music – especially because someone like Kaskade might have more followers and more engagement than his label. Some of this responsibility will lie with SoundCloud, in finding better ways to arbitrate communication between artists and labels and to channel legitimate copyright complaints (including disputes about removals). Some of it lies with labels, to work with online services and their contracts so that they maintain good relations with artists and everybody is able to promote the work they own. But just dumping on SoundCloud may miss the underlying point – and this could be one step further, even for those of us who aren’t on majors (and aren’t necessarily huge fans).

A lot of the worry about SoundCloud has centered on their new-found collaborations with big labels. But while the majors are getting the features first, there isn’t yet evidence that SoundCloud will favor majors – in the way that YouTube has. (You can read how distasteful I found Google’s tactics.)

Furthermore, a lot of this false positive business seemed to stem in part from automatic algorithms rooting out music that artists had legitimately uploaded. My advice: if you’re going to upload DJ mixes, upload them to MixCloud, which has a licensing structure better suited to that music. But SoundCloud still impresses as a service for producers’ original music. The player and upload features, the stats, the community and discovery features all remain unmatched for content makers. And it seems SoundCloud has an opportunity to roll out opt-in advertising options that some producers might like, in the way some YouTube uploaders have – and you can ignore them if you don’t want them.

While we’ll have to see, I wonder if the more formal relationship between SoundCloud and labels will stop the brute-force approaches to content takedown. That is, I would have the opposite reaction to the apocalyptic Cory Doctorow take. Now that SoundCloud has sorted its licensing deals with majors, it may mean they’re free to keep uploading their content, and the rest of us can share our own productions. The challenge for SoundCloud is the business challenge they’ve always faced: they have to keep the service useful enough to us that we keep paying for it. For now, that’s money I’m glad to spend.

For a great read on all the issues, Ben Sisario for The New York Times has one of the most complete and balanced looks at SoundCloud’s state of affairs today:
Popular and Free, SoundCloud Is Now Ready for Ads

The post SoundCloud Explains Their New Plans to Us – And How Ads Will Work appeared first on Create Digital Music.


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Bremmers Audio Design updates MultitrackStudio for iPad to v1.4

Written by Site Update on August 22nd, 2014

Bremmers Audio Design has updated MultitrackStudio for iPad to v1.4. New in Version 1.4: Overview bar (above tracks) shows editor data while scrolling an editor. Works for all editors except the Song [Read More]
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