Monday, September 21, 2015

Weekend Leak: New Roland Boutique line digitally recreates the classic Jupiter 8, Juno 106, and JX-3P in small modules for under $400! Full pics and specs!

Over the weekend, eagle eyed reddit user Leviathant found that  Zzounds had accidentally posted the new Roland Boutique line early complete with high resolution photos and full specs, after Roland had teased last weekend that something new and retro-inspired was coming on their website.  While it was clear that the new line would be small and modeled after the Jupiter 8, Juno 106 and JX-3P, no other information was available besides some desperate attempts to make out what the keyboards looked like.

With the cat out of the bag before the big reveal from Roland, I've decided to post a quick brief of what the new devices are.  Each is a 4 voice knobby module (with an optional detachable 25 key mini keyboard) with MIDI, USB, battery or USB power, patch memory, built in speaker, and a sequencer.

The JP-08, modeled after the Jupiter 8, is slightly more expensive than its two siblings at $399, but the JU-06 and JX-03 (Juno 106 and JX-3P recreations, respectively) are $299.  The emulations of these new keyboards are based off the same technology used in the TR-8.

The modules are said to be limited edition, although how limited remains to be seen.  I can't help but imagine that this is a test to see how well they'll sell, and perhaps we'll see full 8 voice versions in the near future with a regular size keyboard.  Speaking of which, you can grab 2 of the Boutique synths and polychain them together to get an 8 voice synth.

The new Roland Boutique line is expected to launch November 8th.  Full specs just below.  For all the pictures, scroll down further.

Roland JP-08 Synthesizer Module

The legendary Jupiter-8 synth is back - as a limited-edition module no bigger than a book. Part of the Roland Boutique series, the JP-08 is all about hands-on control and that iconic Jupiter sound. With an array of 36 knobs and sliders from the original Jupiter-8 front panel, the 4-voice JP-08 is highly programmable and encourages sonic experimentation, especially with the built-in speaker and battery operation. Using Roland's acclaimed Analog Circuit Behavior (ACB) technology the JP-08 faithfully reproduces the original Jupiter-8 sounds and adds a few new twists in the form of extra LFOs and expanded VCO range. You can even slide the JP-08 into the K-25m keyboard unit (not included) for a self-contained, go-anywhere synth experience.

Huge Synth. Small Package. The Jupiter-8 was a big synth in every way; physically imposing with loads of knobs and sliders, and most importantly, a huge sound. The JP-08 retains the big sound of the Jupiter-8 but shrinks everything else - including the price - into a module measuring under 12" across.

Hands-on control With such an expressive sound engine, you'll want to shape the sounds to match your mood. With 36 of the original parameters accessible from the front panel, the JP-08 is all about hands-on control, and even users of the Jupiter-8 will quickly feel at home as the user interface and programming 'feel' is highly reminiscent of the original.

New Sound-Shaping Options Even though the JP-08 is an authentic recreation of the Jupiter-8, Roland also included a few extras. The JP-08 adds several new waveforms to the original architecture, including TRI and NOISE for the LFO and SIN for VCO-1, and both VCOs have an expanded range for even more sound shaping potential.

Develop Your Ideas with a 16-Step Sequencer The onboard 16-step sequencer is a sonic scratchpad that lets you try out new ideas without bringing lots of gear - it can even be used without a keyboard. And if there's no keyboard connected, the ribbon controller lets you preview the sound, making it an ideal way to program patches quickly and easily.

Optional K-25m Keyboard Unit The JP-08 works especially well with the K-25m, an optional 25-key velocity sensitive keyboard that takes your music making to the next level. Once docked in the keyboard, the module's front panel adjusts to three positions for convenient access to the knobs and sliders.

Chain Mode One of the killer features of the original Jupiter-8 was its ability to create huge pads, splits and layers using its 8 voices of polyphony. The JP-08 features a chain mode that allows you to connect two JP-08 modules using the MIDI ports and create one, 8-voice synthesizer, just like the original. Adding additional modules adds another 4 voices of polyphony with each module. This is especially great when controlling the JP-08 from a larger external keyboard. You can even edit the sound from the master module and control both units. Great for real-time filter sweeps and LFO effects.

Battery or USB Bus Power Some of the best music is made away from the studio, so the Roland Boutique series runs on 4 x AA batteries, ready for when inspiration strikes. Alternatively, you can power the JP-08 via USB bus power.

USB Audio Interface for Direct Recording Into Your DAW The built-in USB port also functions as a high-quality 24bit, 44.1 kHz audio interface, for a fast, simple and reliable way of recording directly to your DAW application. You can keep your favorite patches and sequencer patterns safe too, via the USB data backup function.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Full Yamaha Reface Line Spec Leak - Digital Recreations of the CS series, CP series, DX series, and YC organ series! Now with Video! Priced at $499!

Update: The price of a Reface keyboard is $499.

Original post: Earlier this morning on the Korean Yamaha page, the Reface series accidentally went live on their public website.  With the use of some careful detective work, I was able to extract the specs and descriptions of their new synth/keyboard line-- the CP, CS, DX, and YC, based off of their respective lineage from Yamaha!  No sound demos yet, so you'll have to wait until tomorrow's unveil on for the full reveal. Until then, enjoy a google translated description of the Reface DX and CS.

I've decided to withhold the full specs of the YC and CP so that Yamaha will have something to unveil tomorrow.

Reface CP


· Vintage keyboard sounds with detailed six kinds of vintage keyboard sounds strikingly with the engine, we implement the drive for best musical pairing with the keyboard, type tremolo meet each match've taken great care.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Buying Your First Analog Synthesizer: The 2015 Guide

In just the blink of an eye, another year has gone by, and that means a new synth guide is needed.  The beginning of 2015 saw the announcement and release of some new, exciting gear from synth manufacturers around the globe!   I'm going to mark the synths that were not announced or released at the time of last year's guide with NEW, so you will be able to easily distinguish what's new.  I've also added some digital or not fully analog gear, so I'll be marking that accordingly to.

In addition what you see below, I plan on expanding this guide as new gear comes out and as new questions come in from readers.  If you're looking for something else, or have a question, shoot me an email and check back to this page soon.

As with previous iterations of this guide, it will be focused on new synthesizers, so don't expect anything that's not currently or very recently in production.  I've also mainly chosen to focus on analog synthesizers, although there will be a couple recommendations that are not analog in some form.

Special note:  I've included Amazon links on the names of all the synths, so if you're interested in buying from Amazon, use that link!  Not only will it help support the blog, but you will also find Amazon has sales at times, so you'll find $10~$50 off on some synths.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Waldorf Streichfett - String Machine

New Sonic State review of the Waldorf string machine. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

korg volca sample session 3 (sample+keys)

volca sampleで演奏しました。3回目です。keysと合わせてみました。

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Kong announce new Volca Sample and Electribes, with pictures and video of each!

 Today Korg made a surprise announcement unveiling some new gear, most notably a new Volca called Sample, and the newest generation of the Electribes, the Electribe and Electribe Sampler.  The Volca Sample is an impressive little box, holding 100 samples with a max polyphony of 8 sounds.  The Sample has 4 MB of memory for 65 seconds of sampling and individual digital reverb per sound, and some impressive sample editing on the front panel as well.  The two large knobs on the left are analog isolators, used to filter out low or high frequencies on each sample.  The Volca Sample also retains the ability to record parameter changes, so you'll be able to edit the parameters across your 16 step sequence.  Samples are loaded via iOS app, although I imagine they'll expand this later to other forms.

The new Electribes are the replacements for the SX and MX Electribes, based on sampling and synthesis, respectively.  The new form factor includes an XY pad, an SD card slot, and a 64 step sequencer.

The new additions seem like logical expansions and actually look incredibly fun.  The Volca Sample, which will likely be the same price as its siblings, could be the gateway into the sampling world that many beginners are looking for.  The videos below make the new gear look immediate and inspiring.  Can't wait to try these.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

ROOM8 Interview

When I first heard ROOM8, the classic sounds and catchy synth hooks immediately resonated with the synth pop lover in me, and I was hooked from the first verse- but this was a couple years ago, near the band's first releases.  My interest piqued again when they recently released their new EP Visions of You, featuring Electric Youth, whom you may know from the Drive Soundtrack.  ROOM8 is the collaboration of Ezra Reich and Nic Johns, who have teamed up in LA to bring back true vintage tones and classic song writing to the SoundCloud age.  Their highly anticipated (but still in progress) album Transduction features a host of contributors from the synthesizer's golden years (more info on that on their SoundCloud page).  I recently got the chance to talk to the band about their studio gear and influences.

You guys have a very distinctive 80s feel to your music. Can you give me a run down of what you have in your studio, in terms of synths and rack gear? Are you using any plugins for sounds?
ROOM8: We never sit down and go after an "80's" sound. We just love the synthesizers that were built in the late 70s and 80s and we use them to make music. We also love song structure and pop music and soundtrack music which incorporates some of that structure. On some of our earlier material which has begun coming out with the "Visions of You" EP we used a hybrid of VST's and Hardware. On the newest stuff in our studio we are now primarily using hardware. We use Arturia primarily for software (with a few others). In terms of hardware their are a few secrets but some things are:
arp solina
korg polysix
korg lambda
korg wavestation
roland juno 60
roland jx 10
Oberheim OB8
Oberheim Matrix 6R
Yamaha DX7
Prophet 600
Novation Bass Station 2
and a few other ones including a massive rare one that will remain a secret
also our guitar rig is a secret but we can say it's the same rig used on every 80's Giorgio Moroder record.