The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority has announced that it has fined Korg UK & Roland UK a total of £5.5 million, in 2 separate cases, for restricting online discounting of musical instruments.
Each of the companies was fined fined for implementing resale price maintenance (RPM), essentially setting a minimal sales price for their products. While some argue that setting a minimum retail price protects smaller bricks and mortar music stores against big online retailers, RPM is illegal in the UK.
Separately, a retailer of musical instruments, GAK, has also admitted to engaging in RPM with Yamaha and agreed to pay a maximum fine of more than a quarter of a million pounds to settle the case. This is the first time the CMA has taken enforcement action against a retailer in a resale price maintenance case.
The fines follow earlier fines against Casio and Fender, bringing the total fines imposed by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) for this illegal conduct in the musical instrument sector to £13.7 million.
The CMA has also written to almost 70 manufacturers and retailers across the sector, warning them that the CMA suspects their online pricing arrangements may have been illegal and that they need to ensure they are complying with the law or potentially risk an investigation and fines. The CMA has not announced which companies it has sent warnings to. (Synthtopia has requested this information).
The CMA also issued these guidelines for manufacturers and retailers:
If you are a supplier:
You must not dictate the price at which your products are sold, either online or through other sales channels.
Policies that set a minimum advertised price for online sales can equate to RPM and are usually illegal.
You must not use or intimate the use of threats, financial incentives or take any other action, such as withholding supply or offering less favourable terms, to make retailers stick to recommended resale prices.
You cannot hide RPM agreements – restrictive pricing policies in business-to -business arrangements are illegal whether verbal or written. Equally you cannot try to use apparently legitimate policies (e.g. selective distribution agreements) to conceal RPM practices. You face higher fines if you do this.
You must take extra care if you use price monitoring software – monitoring your market position is legitimate, but you must not act on pricing information in a way that could limit your retailers’ freedom to set their own resale prices.
If you are a retailer:
You are entitled to and must set the price of the products you sell independently, whether online or through other sales channels.
Suppliers are not usually allowed to dictate the prices at which you sell or at which you advertise their products online.
If you have agreed to sell at fixed or minimum prices with your supplier, you may both be found to be breaking competition law.
You should not ask your supplier to influence your competitors’ prices – do not be tempted to push for consistent resale prices or to “police” RPM by reporting your competitors’ prices to your suppliers. If you instigate RPM conduct you can face higher fines and directors can risk being disqualified from managing companies.
Developer hammondeggsmusic has released six new reverb effects for the Korg Multi-Engine synthesizers, including the Prologue, Minilogue XD & NTS-1.
Cathedral, Theatre, Haze and Mist are four new deep reverbs that use a low pass filter (Cathedral and Theatre) and a high pass filter for Haze and Mist. The minimum reverb times are half for Theatre and Mist, but all reverbs allow a maximum of ‘infinite’ reverb time.
Breathe (and “sniff”) are similar, but use more modulation in the reverberators, and the filter frequency is controlled automatically via signal presence.
Pricing and Availability
The effects are available now as free downloads; donations are suggested to help support future development.
Sinevibes has introduced Groove, a multitimbral bass and drum machine for the KORG prologue, minilogue xd and NTS-1 synthesizers.
Here’s what they have to say about it:
“It’s the most complex and sophisticated multi engine plugin ever developed, employing a network of 14 DSP blocks that reconfigure themselves in real time.
Groove maps bass, drum and percussion instruments onto 7 separate keyboard zones, turning your synthesizer into a self-contained, groovebox-style sound module. Each zone provides a vast library of carefully crafted sound presets with expressive control, and includes a switch for variable trigger probability – an advanced function which can dramatically liven up bass riffs and drum patterns.
Groove also has a specially designed output stage with unusually punchy dynamics – making this plugin fully production- and performance-ready.”
Multitimbral sound engine with 7 keyboard zones generating bass, drum and percussion instruments.
Advanced network of 14 DSP blocks that reconfigures itself in real time, capable of multiple different synthesis methods: three-operator FM, subtractive, lo-fi, and beyond.
Internal library of over 70 carefully crafted, production-ready sounds with individual expression control assignments.
Trigger probability feature that can be enabled individually per each zone.
Specially configured amplifier stage delivering punchy, high-RMS output – as if the sounds were compressed.
Edouard Digital let us know that they’ve introduced JP-BOOO, a new Super Saw style user oscillator for Korg Multi-Engine synthesizers.
JP-BOOO joins BLINDS in the company’s lineup of custom oscillators for the Korg Prologue, Minilogue XD & NTS-1 synthesizers.
The new oscillator is inspired by the Super Saw oscillator of the Roland JP-8000, a classic analog-modeling synth design from 1996. The JP-8000 introduced the Roland’s ‘Super Saw’, which created the sound of 7 detuned sawtooth oscillators.
Developer Edouard says that, while many hardware and software synths have tried to emulate the JP-8000 Super Saw over the years, JP-BOOO addresses some of the limitations that have kept other Super Saws from recreating the original’s classic sounds. Here’s what he has to say about it:
“It is not possible to sound anything close to the Super Saw oscillator with a sawtooth wavetable, as emulations mostly do, because doing so is band-limited and lacks the aliasing that creates on the original this very bright and airy tone, thanks to a lot of additional high frequencies. JP?BOOO ? takes this into account.
The aliasing, because it creates both high and low frequencies, is selectively limited on the original oscillator by applying a high-pass filter that dynamically filters out frequencies below the fundamental harmonic frequency, leaving the welcomed high-frequency aliasing content intact. This filter generates a very distinct smooth waveshape that doesn’t look like a linear sawtooth anymore. JP?BOOO ? takes this into account.
When the Detune parameter is changed from zero to maximum, the change is not steady on the original. The frequency gap between each oscillator is not the same, it gets wider for the farthest ones, following a specific ratio. Moreover, a non-linear curve is applied so that there is finer control for the smallest amounts of detune, then it slowly becomes faster until it suddenly becomes a lot coarser at the very end. Emulations mostly have an equidistant or inaccurate spread, while they also have a linear or imprecise change curve. Also, when set to zero, a slight Detune can still be heard (with a high enough Mix). JP?BOOO ? takes this into account.
While the Mix parameter decreases the central oscillator’s volume to a bit less than half its initial value, in a linear way, as it goes from zero to maximum, it increases the six detuned oscillators’ volumes, on the other hand, in a non linear way. At the end of the range, the detuned oscillators stop getting louder while the central oscillator continues to get quieter. While emulations mostly apply a linear curve, JP?BOOO ? takes this into account.
Also, even at the same pitch, each note played with the Super Saw is different, because its seven sawtooth waveforms are not played from the start, but rather with a random phase, as seven independent free-running oscillators. You guessed it, JP?BOOO ? takes this into account.”
Here are the official audio demos:
Pricing and Availability
JP-BOOO is available now for 29,00€. Through Sunday, June 7th, you can use coupon code SYNTHFEST1 to get €10 off one oscillator or SYNTHFEST2 to get €30 off two oscillators.
KORG Germany’s Tatsuya ‘Tats’ Takahashi let us know that they’ve put together the The Pyjama Cookbook, a free cookbook that features favorite recipes from an all-star group of synthesists and synth designers.
The cookbook features Dave Smith’s Margarita recipe; Dorian Concept‘s recipe for Potato Sterz; Suzanne Ciani‘s recipe for a special Sunday dinner – Pasta Alla Genovese; synth designer Mark Verbos‘s recipe for Carnitas Tacos; and many others.
Here’s what Takahashi had to say about it:
“KORG Germany is still in its embryonic state and there is still much to do before we are up and running, but I’m reaching out because the first thing thing we’re releasing is not a synth or any kind of electronics at all, but The Pyjama Cookbook – a free digital cookbook full of recipes submitted by the KORG Germany team and friends in the music/synth world, with the aim of connecting and lifting spirits during these bizarre times.”
He adds, “It’s also just for laughs. Have fun.”
They had us at “Dave Smith’s Margarita Recipe”, but the cookbook is full of new recipes to try, along with updates from many of the contributors on how they are adapting to living and working in a pandemic.
Alison Tavel Alva Noto Afrorack Carys Huws Dave Smith (Sequential) Deradoorian Dorian Concept Fumio Mieda (Korg) Girts Ozolins (Erica Synth) Gudrun Gut Hiele Interstellar Funk Loopop Lydia Glup Marco Passerani Mark Verbos (Verbos Electronics) Matias Aguayo Maximilian Rest Morton Sobotnik & Joan La Barbara Peter Kirn Piotr Raczynski (Polyend) Solitary Dancer Suzanne Ciani Tatsuya Takahashi Thomas Fehlman Objekt Václav Peloušek (BASTL) Verena Glup
The Pyjama Cookbook is available now as a free download (no registration required) from Korg Germany.
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