Korg Wavestate SE Offers 61-Note Keyboard With Aftertouch

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Ahead of the 2021 NAMM Show, Korg has shared a sneak preview of the Wavestate SE – a new edition of the Wavestate that offers a 61-note keyboard with aftertouch and a more premium build.

Features:

  • 61-key version of current 37-key wavestate now with aftertouch
  • New internal programs added, all sound programs optimized for aftertouch
  • Solid build, aluminum panel and knobs

Details on pricing are to be announced.

Korg Brings Back RK-100S Keytar (Sneak Preview)

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Ahead of the 2021 NAMM Show, Korg has announced the return of the RK-100S keytar.

The RK-100 is a keytar synth and MIDI controller that features dual ribbon controllers, a vocoder and the option to run it from batteries.

The wooden body of the original RK-100 is a hallmark of the 100S, which is now available in a finish that accentuates its wood grain. Numerous sounds ideal for solo performance have been added, tailoring the RK-100S to stage performance.

Features:

  • Clear finish shows the beautiful woodgrain
  • New programs that emanate powerful presence when soloing
  • 37-note slim keyboard for easy playability
  • Two ribbon controllers to broaden your performance potential
  • Battery operation allows long operation time
  • Vocoder function lets you accent your staging
  • Also a great choice as a master keyboard
  • A full range of included items such as a soft case

Details on pricing and availability are to be announced.

UNO Synth Pro Hands-On Demo With Erik Norlander

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2021 NAMM Show: IK Multimedia shared this hands-on demo of their UNO Synth Pro – designed to be a full-size professional synth.

Synth designer, (Andromeda, UNO Synth), prog keyboardist and sound designer Erik Norlander gives an in-depth look at the UNO Synth Pro – covering the architecture of the new synth and tips for creating sounds.

Note: The discussion starts about 3:15 into the video.

Pricing and Availability

The UNO Synth Pro and UNO Synth Pro Desktop are available to pre-order now, priced at 649.99 USD/EUR and 399.99 USD/EUR.

New Korg modWave Wavetable Synthesizer ‘A Synthesis Powerhouse’

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Ahead of the 2021 NAMM Show, Korg has introduced the modWave, a new synth they describe as ‘a synthesis powerhouse’, with distinctive wavetable timbres, Kaoss Physics, and Motion Sequencing 2.0.

Here’s what they have to say about it:

“In 1985, Korg’s DW-8000 combined digital wavetables with rich analog filters to give users sounds which were impossible to create with analog oscillators. It’s still a cult favorite today.

modwave builds on the DW legacy and transforms it into a modern monster synth, featuring incredibly deep wavetable oscillators, gorgeous filters, wildly flexible modulation, unmatched polyphony, comprehensive pattern sequencing, and immediately satisfying hands-on control to deliver unique, powerful, and easily customizable sounds and phrases.

modwave also introduces two unique new tools for creating dynamic motion: Kaoss Physics and Motion Sequencing 2.0. Kaoss Physics combines an x/y Kaoss pad with modulatable game physics to create a responsive, interactive controller that is—besides being powerful— a lot of fun to explore. Motion Sequencing 2.0 brings the organic, continuously evolving patterns of the wavestate’s Wave Sequencing 2.0 into the world of motion sequencing, including multiple lanes and real-time recording to help you create complex and evolving phrases that other step sequeners cannot.

Like Wave Sequencing 2.0 (wavestate) and altered FM (opsix), modwave’s evolved wavetable synthesis delivers its own brand of completely unique sounds and a knob-per-function layout that makes customizing those sounds fast and easy. To start, there are hundreds of preset sounds empowered by this new architecture, organized by front-panel category buttons, and all instantly customizable via the four Modulation Knobs. modwave’s distinctive wavetable timbres start with aggressive basses & leads, and lush ambient pads which will add a new dimension to your tracks.

But that is just the start. Those who want to dig deeper will find an endless source of discovery; you’ll be finding new things in this synth for a long, long time because of the unique synth architecture. Once you have started finding new sounds – save as many as you like; there’s room for thousands more.”

The modwave features a deep synthesis engine.

It features over 200 wavetables, each containing up to 64 waveforms—from thousands of individual waves. You can use the 30+ Modifiers to change their basic character, and the 13 Morph Types to process them in real-time. Create new hybrids from any two wavetables using the realtime A/B Blend, giving you over 230 million wavetable variations out of the box. But you can also load your own custom wavetables in Serum or WaveEdit formats.

Each Program has two full-featured wavetable oscillators, plus a sub oscillator/noise generator and any of a dozen stereo filter types, including the aggressive MS-20, sweet Polysix, and the newly enhanced Multi Filter. You can animate almost any parameter, using the flexible modulation system, with four triggerable envelopes, five LFOs, dual mod processors and two key-track generators–plus multi-lane Motion Sequencing and Kaoss Physics.

Even with all that synthesis power, playing up to four simultaneous wavetables per voice in a single Program, the modwave still offers 32-voice polyphony.

Kaoss Physics

Kaoss Physics models a ball rolling on a surface and/or bouncing off walls. You can start the ball by flicking a finger on the x/y pad, or launch the ball automatically using a trigger source such as Gate + Damper. You can also directly control the ball by holding your finger on the pad.

The position of the ball produces four modulation signals, which can be used to control any modulation destination you like: the X and Y locations, the distance from the center, and the angle relative to the X axis.

There is a bump in the virtual surface, going either down or up, like a valley or a hill. You can set the height or depth of the bump, and choose one of several different shapes for its slopes. The surface has adjustable friction, so that the ball slows down as it travels. There are walls on the four sides of the surface, and when the ball hits a wall, it bounces off. Walls can slow down the ball, as if they were padded, or accelerate the ball, like bumpers in a pinball machine. The walls can also be removed entirely, so that the surface wraps around to the opposite edges like a vintage arcade game.

The modeled environment can create specific modulation effects. For instance, use a centered bump with negative height so that the modulation values always eventually return to 0. Or, position a bump with positive height on a side or a corner, to push modulation values away from that zone

Most parameters, including Tilt, Friction, Time, Bump Height and Position, etc. are modulatable. You can even modulate them from the Kaoss Physics outputs—for instance, try modulating Tilt X with Kaoss Y.

The result is an interactive controller that amplifies your physical gestures, transforming them into complex musical results.

Motion Sequencing 2.0

Motion Sequencing 2.0 is evolved from the wavestate’s Wave Sequencing 2.0. Timing, Pitch, Shape, and four sets of Step Sequence values are separated into “Lanes,” each with their own loop start and loop end, adding a deeper, more customizable level of phrase and modulation recording.

Every time the sequence moves forward, the individual Lanes are combined to create the output. For instance, a step sequence value may be matched with a different duration, pitch, and shape every time that it plays. You can modulate each Lane’s loop points separately for every note, using velocity, LFOs, envelopes, Mod Knobs, or other controllers. Each note in a chord can be playing something different!

Lanes can also randomize the step order every time they play. Finally, individual steps can be randomly skipped, with a modulatable probability from 0 to 100%. The result is organic, ever-changing sounds that respond to your control. The dual onboard arpeggiators can interact with Motion Sequences for even more possibilities.

An arsenal of effects

Each Layer has three dedicated effects, plus a send to the Performance’s master reverb, followed by a master parametric EQ. Along with standards such as compressors, EQs, choruses, flangers, phasers, and stereo delays, you’ll find distinctive processors such as the Wave Shaper, Talking Modulator, Reverse Delay, Multiband Mod Delay, and Overb (from the OASYS and Kronos), plus modeled effects including VOX guitar amps, VOX wah, multi-head tape echo, and a collection of classic guitar pedals.
Randomization that inspires.

Editor/Librarian software

The modwave Editor/Librarian lets you edit and organize sounds via your macOS or Windows computer (including the latest Apple M1-based systems). Using USB networking for high-speed communication, it works like a second front panel for the instrument, so there’s no need to synchronize or transfer data. Animations show the effects of modulation in real-time – a great help when programming.

Set Lists and Smooth Sound Transitions

Set Lists offer effortless organization of your wavestate Performances, and deliver instant access at the gig or in rehearsal. Smooth Sound Transitions allow previously-played voices and effects to continue to ring out naturally, even once a new sound has been selected.

Connections

Balanced stereo outputs connect to any recording or monitoring system, and a stereo headphone output is provided for private playing or onstage cueing. Din-style MIDI jacks ensure connection to other MIDI-equipped instruments and audio gear, and the modwave supports class-compliant USB MIDI connections to Windows and macOS computers.

Audio Demos:

See the Korg site for details.

Korg Reissues Classic miniKORG 700 Synthesizer

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Ahead of the 2021 NAMM Show, Korg has reintroduced the miniKORG 700, originally introduced in 1973.

The miniKORG 700 was the company’s first mass-produced analog monosynth.

The miniKORG 700 FS is a complete reissue of the two-oscillator “S” model, right down to the “traveler” (filter), spring reverb x/y joystick, USB and five-pin MIDI, arpeggiator, CV/Gate, and program programmability.

It was developed in conjunction with the original designer, Fumio Mieda. The miniKORG 700 FS offers added functionality, including an arpeggiator, spring reverb and aftertouch. The limited-edition reissue will also come with a custom case.

Here’s what they have to say about it:

“Our wish is for customers to experience the beauty and awesomeness of the authentic analog sound through the miniKORG 700FS designed by the KORG analog engineers, under the supervision of Fumio Mieda, who designed the original circuitry, ensuring that the elements that go beyond the circuit schematics would be faithfully represented.”

See the Korg site for details.

Yamaha Announces Free Update For YC Series Stage Keyboards

Yamaha today announced YC OS v1.1, a free OS update for its YC Series Stage Keyboards that adds new features and more Voices.

New to the YC Series in OS v1.1 are acoustic and electric piano Voices:

  • The Nashville C3 is sampled from a grand piano that is small in size, but huge in character and used on countless recordings in Nashville. The piano was recorded at the Yamaha Entertainment Group studios in Nashville and processed with analog tape to provide distinctive “vibe.”
  • With Live CF3, Yamaha answers a request from pop and Gospel musicians to bring back a powerful grand piano Voice from previous instruments. Live CF3 provides another variation of this powerful grand piano sound.
  • The first of two new electric piano Voices is 73 Rd Studio, a rendition of the famous “suitcase” electric tine piano. Its tone is smooth, mellow and well suited for playing accompaniment in jazz, ballads, R&B and more.
  • ‘The brighter 74 Rd Stage is ideal for solos and syncopated rhythm parts.

Eight new Live Sets — multi-part setups that can be stored and recalled with the touch of a button — are also included that show case the new Voices.

YC OS v1.1 also makes improvements to pitch modulation characteristics across the board, including the ability to store the initial modulation amount as part of a Live Set and the relocation of modulation depth and speed to a more intuitive home in the “Sound” settings menu.

Last but not least, pressing the Enter button while in the Settings menus “backs up” to the previous page, instead of returning all the way to the display’s home screen, making adjusting settings easier.

“YC OS v1.1 is a direct response to feedback we’ve received from our users,” says Yamaha’s Nate Tschetter. “By listening to our customers, we make great keyboard instruments even better.”

Pricing and Availability

Yamaha YC OS v1.1 is a free download and will be available beginning January 14, 2021.

Yamaha Intros YC73, YC88 Stage Keyboards Ahead Of 2021 NAMM Show

Ahead of the 2021 NAMM Show, being held online this year starting Jan 21, Yamaha has announced the YC73 and YC88 Stage Keyboards, two larger siblings to the YC61, introduced in January 2020.

The new keyboards build on the design of the YC61, with keyboards tailored to the preferences of different types of performers:

  • The YC73 features 73 weighted, balanced keys, and is ideal for keyboardists who divide their playing between organ, piano, electric piano, clavi, synth, and other staple keyboard sounds.
  • The YC88 is meant for musicians who prioritize the touch and response of an acoustic piano, offering 88 weighted Natural Wood keys with triple-sensor action, synthetic ebony and ivory key tops.

“A staple of keyboard playing is access to classic keyboard sounds,” says Nate Tschetter, manager, Synthesizer Marketing, Yamaha Corporation of America. “With the introduction of YC73 and YC88, there are options to suit every player, in every situation, from the perfect ‘top keyboard’ in YC61 to the great ‘all around’ YC73 and finally our best stage piano action in YC88.”

Here’s what Yamaha has to say about the new keyboards:

“The YC73 and YC88 employ Yamaha Virtual Circuit Modeling (VCM) to capture not only the sound of classic “drawbar” organs, but their behavior down to the component level. VCM also reproduces the distinctive rotary speaker effect, which most keyboardists consider inseparable from the organ itself

In other words, the YC series does not merely take a digital snapshot of the world’s most imitated organ sound — it builds that sound from the ground up. This results in unprecedented authenticity.

In true vintage fashion, nine drawbars shape the sound by controlling individual footages, and essentials like percussion and vibrato/chorus enhance the tone. The player can also customize key click, “leakage,” rotary speaker speed changes, and more. The keyboard may be split between upper and lower organ registrations. In addition to VCM modeling organ, the organ section also features FM synthesis, the now-famous synthesis method pioneered by Yamaha.

Complementing the organ, two “Keys” sections utilize proprietary Yamaha “Advanced Wave Memory” which provides authentic acoustic and electric pianos, strings and brass, analog-style synth sounds, and much more. The Keys section features two dedicated effects processors along with configurable envelope and filter controls for real time manipulation and interaction.

Like the Organ section, the Keys section also features FM synthesis for many classic sounds like DX7 electric pianos, leads, basses and more. The Keys section may also be split with the organ section across the keyboard or played from an external MIDI controller keyboard to either the Organ or Keys section.”

Here’s Yamaha’s official intro to the updated line:

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Sound demo:

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Pricing and Availability

The Yamaha YC73 and YC88 Stage Keyboards will ship to retailers beginning January 21, 2021, at manufacturer’s suggested retail prices (MSRP) of $2,999 and $3,499, respectively. For more information, see the overview at YamahaSynth.

1973 Moog Minimoog Model D Smells Great, Sounds Great

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The latest T O N E L A B video takes an in-depth look at a vintage 1973 Moog Minimoog Model D – quite possibly the most iconic synth ever.

The video highlights why vintage Minimoogs are still so popular – they look good, they smell good and they still sound fantastic.

Video Summary:

“In this clip, I test-drive a relic of ‘synth history’. Revered by legends such as Herbie Hancock, Keith Emerson, J Dilla & Brian Eno to name a handful. This old boy here is one of the first 1500 to come off the production line way back in 1973.

Sitting behind one of these is quite an experience.. the sights, the sounds… the smells.. of a hard working mono synth!”

Topics covered:

0:01 Intro and background
1:20 Output and tuning your minimoog
3:45 Oscillator bank
6:10 Mixer section (White noise, external input)
9:00 Mod wheel and modulation
11:22 Modifiers section (Part 1: Envelopes)
12:35 Controllers section (Decay, Glide & Pitch wheel)
14:40 Modifiers section (Part 2: Filters)
16:50 Keyboard control (aka Keyboard tracking / Cutoff Freq. bias)
18:32 Rear connections and outro
19:35 Noodling on the minimoog

Free Update Makes Arturia MicroFreak MicroFreakier

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Arturia let us know that they’ve released a major update to the firmware for their MicroFreak synthesizer, adding three new oscillator modes and more.

MicroFreak Firmware V3, created in collaboration with Eurorack maker Noise Engineering, adds a variety of new features:

  • 3 Noise Engineering oscillator modes – Bass, SawX, Harm; 3 new algorithms that also feature in Noise Engineering’s flexible Virt Iter module, offering additive harmonic color, wavefolding, phase modulation, and more. Digital never sounded so dirty.
  • Unison mode – Up to 4-voice unison is now available for all oscillator types, with unison spread of up to 12 semitones that can also be used as a modulation destination. Make your basses bigger and your melodies more massive than ever.
  • More factory presets and slots – The number of preset slots has increased from 256 to 384, giving you more legroom to make MicroFreak your own – this even includes 96 more factory presets for more musical madness straight out the box.
  • Saving and loading presets – Enhancements to preset functionality makes MicroFreak easier and more intuitive than ever, including loading the last saved preset upon restart, and always retaining Chord Mode’s most recent chord within your saved preset.

You can see MicroFreak Firmware v3 in action in the video above. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the update:

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The update is available a free download for MicroFreak owners.

IK Multimedia Intros UNO Synth Pro Analog Synthesizers

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Ahead of the 2021 NAMM Show, IK Multimedia has announced the UNO Synth Pro and UNO Synth Pro Desktop.

The new synths, developed in collaboration with Italian boutique synth-maker Soundmachines, expand on their earlier UNO Synth design in many ways. They feature three wave-morphing synthesizers, dual filters with 24 modes, deep modulation options, 3 effects slots with 12 effects, a sequencer with automation of 80+ parameters and MIDI/CV/Gate connectivity.

Here’s what they have to say about it:

“UNO Synth Pro gives you the power to create nearly any analog synth sound you can imagine. With its unique dual-filter, 3-oscillator paraphonic design, 256 presets, 64-step sequencer, studio-grade effects, expanded connections and much more, UNO Synth Pro breaks new ground for music makers.

Available in two form factors to suit all players’ needs—stage-ready with metal housing and premium keybed; or ultra-portable, USB-powered with capacitive keyboard—UNO Synth Pro offers everyone the next generation of analog sound design in a smart format that fits any space or budget.”

Features:

  • ‘First-class’ analog sound
  • 3 discrete wave-morphing oscillators
  • PWM, sync, FM and ring modulation
  • Dual state variable filters with 24 modes
  • Original UNO Synth OTA filter
  • New SSI-based filter with self-oscillation
  • 16-slot modulation matrix
  • 256 user-editable presets
  • 12 studio-quality FX in 3 slots
  • Reverbs, Delays, Modulations
  • 64-step sequencer with 84 parameters
  • 10-mode onboard arpeggiator
  • USB / MIDI / CV / Gate in/out
  • Audio input to filters, FX or pass-through

The UNO Synth Pro is available in two form factors:

  • UNO Synth Pro
    • Compact, stage-ready 37-key keyboard
    • Fatar synth-action keys with aftertouch
  • UNO Synth Pro Desktop
    • Ultra-portable 32 capacitive-key tabletop
    • Powered by USB or powerbank

Pricing and Availability

The UNO Synth Pro and UNO Synth Pro Desktop are available to pre-order now, priced at 649.99 USD/EUR and 399.99 USD/EUR.