A plethora of incredible tech products were released in 2011; so we thought we’d throw together a cheeky little top 10 for you…
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 The Scarlett 2i2 is the ultimate USB recording interface for musicians on the go. It’s a a TWO in / TWO out USB recording interface that features TWO award-winning Focusrite preamps (2: the new magic number). The 2i2 features unique ‘halo’ signal indicators to help you gage your levels with ease, as well as inputs that allow you to plug keyboards, guitars AND microphones straight in there. It also includes a direct monitor function so you can monitor through your speakers or headphones and, to top it all off, features a Scarlett plug-in suite to help you get your mix sounding rad. Makes recording sound easy peasy, right? Right!? Right. Click HERE to hear how it sounds.
In this modern age that we’re living in, we’re aware that smart phones are used for a variety of musical purposes – recording being one of them. And don’t take this the wrong way; it certainly is a “handy device” (whey!) for mobile recording, especially with all this newfangled multi-track recording software. On the other hand; anything your smart phone can do, the BR80 can do BETTER – even if it does seem a bit old school. Let’s run through its features… 8 playback tracks, 64 virtual V-Tracks and a dedicated stereo rhythm track, PLUS a stereo condeser mic field recorder, eBand, real rhythm tracks , quality COSM-based guitar, bass & vocal effects… and a tuner to boot. There’s no contest. You’re probably thinking, “I bet it costs a bomb.” But you’d be wrong.
First, there was Maschine. A simple, very easy-to-use and super-cool-looking MPC-style groovebox, filled to the brim with musical tricks; combining a sequencer, a sampler, multi-effects and with the bonus of being a full-blown hardware controller. So, imagine the same thing, just as powerful, with all the same software… but shrunk down into a much more compact MPC-style groovebox. The Mikro Maschine has all the same features as Maschine, only it does it with less buttons, all squished together like a happy beat-making family. While Maschine is probably better for live use, the Mikro Maschine is more suitable for use in the studio. And it’s cheaper. Ace. Click HERE to look at it go.
What’s so good about the Korg Monotribe? Ok, not only is it a squelchy little beast of an analogue synth and much like the Monotron on ‘roids… it also features three drum voices and a simple sequencer. Now, that is cool… having all of that noise inside one awesome little black box. What makes the Monotribe stand out from the crowd is that when using the sequencer, each loop can be different length (unlike normal loopers where the length of the first loop determines the rest). On top of all this, it’s portable. This means you can blow roofs off left, right and centre, then pack up your Monotribe with complete ease and go home for a nap. Making the crowd go wild is a hard job… but someone’s got to do it.
The worlds of digital DJ and Controllerist appear to be colliding and performers are looking for new ways to manipulate music. Cue the Novation Twitch: a DJ controller with a new take on DJing. Instead of simply mixing tracks together with ‘decks in a box’, the Twitch re-focuses on cutting up beats, glitch-esque looping and gaining a whole new level of control over FX. Twitch has been designed to go hand-in-hand with Serato and comes with ITCH DJ software, which includes some super powerful performance features – including the ability to beat-match your tracks so you can do some mind-blowing remixing in real-time without falling out of sync. The crowd will fall in love with you.
The Korg Kronos takes everything that has made Korg synths and modules great over the years and rolls it all into one beyond awesome keyboard. Ladies and Gentlemen, behold the future… and prepare to be amazed by it. All 61 keys of it. Coined the “most powerful and comprehensive musical instrument ever” from Korg, the Kronos not only contains live performance features but also extremely powerful production tools. It features a grand total of NINE synth engines, from good old-fashioned acoustic grand piano, to electric piano, to plucked strings and even features two drum kits. It’s got pretty much everything you need and comes with an option of 61, 73 or 88 weighted keys.
Komplete 8 Ultimate is “literally” an entire universe of sounds. This software bundle includes a total of 50 separate plug-ins, some of these plug-ins themselves contain several of their own instruments, and each of these instruments contains 100s of patches. We’re certainly not mathematicians, but we added that up, and it comes to approximately 1 bazillion different sounds included in the whole collection. That’s a lot of sounds. A lot of sounds. Remember when you were little and you got taken to a toy shop and you’d run around going completely mental and throwing yourself down the aisles with sheer glee? Well, this is the same thing… but for adults. Komplete 8 Ultimate in a nutshell.
Drum roll, please! What more can we say? All we can really do is proudly present and ask that you bow down to one of Roland’s signature, almighty electronic drum kits. This particular little smasher has some bang tidy new features, such as a newly designed Kick Pad AND V-Cymbals and an enhanced TD-9 sound module to improve its overall playability. Get ready to boom, shake, shake, shake, shake the room with the TD9KX2. Click HERE to listen to Roland‘s world-famous drum demonstrator, Craig Blundell, rocking out on this very kit.
In short, the ioDock is the future. Featuring: a pair of balanced mono inputs via combo XLR/phone jack sockets, balanced 1/4-inch stereo outputs, 1/4-inch headphone out, switchable 48V phantom power for mics, composite video out, MIDI In and Out, USB MIDI and a 1/4-inch footswitch socket. Phew… This is the very first of its kind and, aside from not being portable due to needing external power, it offers EVERYTHING you could possibly need to produce music on your iPad. It’ll work with almost every single audio or MIDI app out there. See, we weren’t joking when we said it was the future. All hail the Alesis ioDock.
A synth that is simply jam-packed with sounds to be reckoned with; the Roland Jupiter 80 gives a cheeky wee nod and a wink to its old school predecessors, whilst breaking down all the barriers when it comes to technology. The Jupiter 80 is “a live-performance powerhouse that pays homage to its legendary namesake with road-proven hardware and massive sound, yet blasts into the future with advanced SuperNATURAL technology”. It contains a plethora of big fat noises for you to play about with and make your audience’s jaws drop. Once you’ve impressed them with how good it sounds, you can bust out how cool it looks. Those are the colours of old school rave if ever I saw them… Click HERE to see the Jupiter 80 in all its proverbial glory.