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Electronic Musician

Electronic Musician November 2020

The new ELECTRONIC MUSICIAN is a “must have” resource for anyone who makes music, plays music, and shares music. Every issue includes "gig tested" product reviews on music gear, tons of how-to's, and interviews with today's stars revealing the secrets of their songwriting approaches and audio-production concepts.

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United States
Future Publishing Limited US
$8(Incl. tax)
$40.07(Incl. tax)
12 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
six months on…

The effective cancellation of the 2021 Winter NAMM Show, and its replacement with a week-long virtual event (see page 11), is the latest repercussion for the music making industry in the ongoing fallout from the global COVID-19 crisis. While it's far from the first or only industry event to be hit by the upheaval of 2020, it's certainly a significant one. Even as product launches and events have increasingly moved online in recent years, late January in Anaheim has remained a tentpole event for gear brands announcing and demoing their latest wares. What's positive though, is that despite the upheaval to the usual music making calendar, the industry as a whole doesn't seem to be grinding to a halt. The past six months have seen a steady stream of big name…

1 min.
next-gen korg volca sample improves on the original’s biggest hangups

Korg has launched a new version of the Volca Sample and it looks like the Japanese firm has rectified a few issues that slightly dogged the original model. Korg’s Volca range took a turn in a new direction back in 2014 with the launch of the Volca Sample, proving that the people’s synth range could be more than just analog revivalist instruments. When we first tried the diminutive sampler, however, there were a few niggles that we felt hampered the instrument, with the most notable caveat being that lack of digital connectivity. Thankfully, Korg has taken it upon itself to right this particular wrong by updating the sampler with a micro USB port, greater memory, plus improvements to the sequencer and MIDI capabilities. The inclusion of the USB port is the most welcome…

2 min.
new gear

Roland’s TR-8S gets a free FM synthesis engine, making it “the most complete drum machine ever” Roland’s TR-8S – itself an evolution of the TR-8 – has been updated to version 2.0, with the new firmware adding various new features to the company’s flagship drum machine. The big news is the addition of an FM synthesis engine, which Roland says makes the TR-8S “the most complete drum machine ever”. This promises the likes of metallic hits and harmonically rich percussion sounds, and you can sweep through sonic variations using the Morph control. You can tweak the FM depth, ratio and feedback, while the FM sounds can be blended with the classic TR tones for all-new rhythmic goodness. There are also new effects – Saturator, Freq Shift, Ring Mod and Spread – all of which…

1 min.
a more affordable universal audio apollo is here, but it’s not as new as you might think…

A new Universal Audio Apollo audio interface is always a bit of an event, but the announcement of the Solo version isn’t quite what it might at first seem. Yes, it’s the most affordable Apollo in the range, but it also appears to be pretty much identical to the pre-existing Arrow interface. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – we raved about the Arrow when we reviewed it a couple of years ago – but it does explain why UA is calling the Apollo Solo a “reimagined” portable desktop audio interface rather than a totally new one. What is worth noting is that, whereas the Arrow is a bus-powered Thunderbolt 3 interface, the Apollo Solo is also available in a USB 3 configuration (via a USB-C connector) with external power supply. This…

7 min.
this month in software

Akai’s MPC Beats is a free ‘beatmaking DAW’ that puts the classic MPC workflow on your PC or Mac Akai’s MPC products have been inspiring electronic music and hip-hop producers since 1988, which saw the release of the iconic MPC60. Now Akai is marking another milestone with the release of MPC Beats – a free ‘beatmaking DAW’ for PC and Mac. The release of MPC Beats means that everyone can now experience the legendary MPC workflow. The software features a classic 4x4 drum sample grid (that’s 16 pads), a piano roll, a sample library browser and a sample edit window. You can switch between these different views whenever you like. If you’re new to the production game, beat templates will help you to get started and understand the process, and MPC Beats ships…

2 min.
discodsp ob-xd 2

Recent weeks have seen more than one Oberheim OB-X synth emulation plugin enter the market. Arturia's OBXa V and Synapse Audio's Obsession provide two fresh takes on the synth in virtual format. But one other contender that's been ploughing the OB-X furrow for even longer is DiscoDSP's OB-Xd. Not just competing with the new entries on sound, which we'll explore a little below, OB-Xd also competes very well on price – it's totally free to download from the DiscoDSP website. After Arturia and Synapse Audio's newfangles OB-X release, DiscoDSP reminded the world about its free entry by updating it to version 2, and later version 2.1. So what’s new in the latest incarnation? Truly, there's not a huge amount of new sonic functionality, with the v2 update adding features like MIDI CC,…