Music Tech News Roundup: Microsoft Surface Music Kit, Waldorf Pulse 2, Akai MPX8 Sample Player, Izotope Nectar 2 +

In this music technology roundup: Microsoft introduces the Surface 2 with Music Kit, Waldorf releases the Pulse 2 analog synth, iZotope announces Nectar 2 vocal processor, Reloop’s Keyfader MIDI controller, and Sonic Lab reviews Akai’s MPX8 SD Sample Player.  surface_music_kit

Microsoft Surface Music Kit

Earlier this week Microsoft announced the release of their second generation Microsoft Surface and Surface Pro tablets, which offer upgrades in processing power and a new kickstand for adjustable positions. But the real interest for music makers was the announcement of a new Surface cover that is aimed at musicians called the Surface Music Kit. The new cover offers pressure-sensitive pads and sliders as a dedicated music-making interface.

Engadget got a hands on demo (above video) and says “We were expecting new tablets at today’s Microsoft Surface press event, but this? This was a surprise. In addition to unveiling the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2, the company showed off the Surface Music Kit, a special version of the company’s Touch Cover keyboard that’s specifically meant for music production. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that it includes both a Touch Cover and an app (called the Remix Project) that lets beginners experiment with remixing.” Read more at Engadget.

Waldorf Pulse 2

Waldorf_Pulse We first heard about Waldorf’s analog Pulse 2 synthesizer at the 2012 NAMM show, and it’s finally hitting the market this month with a price tag of $599 and a design that looks very similar to the Blofeld. “The Pulse 2 Analog Synthesizer offers three analogue oscillators with a voltage controlled filter (VCF) that offers 12dB Highpass and Bandpass modes in addition to 24dB/12dB Lowpass modes, analogue filter FM, two overdrive circuits, and ring modulation, and paraphonic and unison modes allowing up to eight-voice chords — a feature found on the Waldorf Rocket synthesizer.” – Waldorf

Reloop Keyfadr

keyfadrReloop, the veteran DJ controller company who have maintained a presence in Europe for some years, have recently introduced the KeyFadr – a compact MIDI controller that sports a very flexible layout (notice the knobs above the faders), 25 mini keys with 9 playable octaves, transport controls, arpeggiator, chord mode, scale mode, internal or external midi clock, and two control laters. Pricing and availability for the Reloop KeyFadr are TBA. See the Reloop site for more info.

Akai MPX8 SD Sample Player

Akai’s new MPX8 SD Sample Player is not a sampler. But it is an affordable ($99) sample player that uses SD cards for storage and features 8 pads, MIDI, and USB connectivity. Sonic Lab gives the MPX8 a thorough look in the video above and on the Sonic State website.

Izotope Nectar 2 – October 2013

Izotope will be releasing a new version of Nectar this October and it looks to be a big update. Here’s what iZotope says about the release: With Nectar 2, users can add character to tracks with modeled plate reverb, harmonic saturation, and new creative effects. Stay in tune, remove distracting breaths without the need for audio editing, transform a single vocal take into a harmonized ensemble, and much more. Nectar 2 should be available in October 2013. Customers who purchased Nectar after August 1, 2013 will receive a free upgrade to Nectar 2 upon release. For all other previous Nectar and Nectar Elements customers, special upgrade pricing will be available when Nectar 2 is released. For more information, and to be notified when Nectar 2 is released, check the iZotope website. Nectar 2 Features Include:

  • Add harmonies to vocal tracks with the new Harmonizer. Play with intelligent automatic settings or define your own with a MIDI controller.
  • Add space and character to vocals with the EMT 140-modeled Plate Reverb module, featuring a unique saturation control to emulate the original plate’s preamp.
  • Finesse vocal takes quickly with the new Pitch Editor and Breath Control plug-ins.
  • New FX module includes seven new creative effects.
  • Streamlined overview panel for simple adjustments, and added metering for visual feedback.
  • Over 150 new presets, in styles that range from classic to modern.