Gear Review: Exponential Audio R2 Reverb & Excalibur

reverbReverb can easily make or break any record, and electronic dance music tracks are no exception. Michael Carnes, one of the men behind the Lexicon PCM plugins, is somewhat of a digital reverb guru. His company, Exponential Audio, has created software used by major players in the music, film, and gaming industries.

Although they produce some phenomenal software, Exponential Audio is a small company, which allows them to offer professional products at an affordable price. The two reverb units are R2 and PhoenixVerb, both of which are compatible with mono, stereo, and multi-channel audio formats. Both plugins feature a convenient keyword-based preset navigation system, making it easy to explore and recall presets. And while the two plugins sound amazing in their own ways, they are actually quite different from each other sonically.

The first of the Exponential Audio reverb plugins, PhoenixVerb, is the more natural and realistic sounding of the pair. Keep in mind, however, that natural does not mean cold or lifeless; this software can impart warmth and depth into any sound in your productions. This plugin is a phenomenal option for those looking to capture the feel of an acoustic space. All in all, the sound is overall very rich, lush and pleasant to the ear.

R2 Reverb, the younger brother of PhoenixVerb, is designed to be more of an “effect” reverb, meaning that it is supposed to “color” or otherwise change the sound. This reverb has seen some serious mileage, most notably on several games from the Halo series. Try dropping this one in a dub techno track to add a dark industrial tone, a minimal track to fill in some of the gaps, or on a vocal sample with a delay for some trippy, ringing echoes.

Exponential Audio plugins feature streamlined and straightforward graphic user interfaces (GUI), both conserving CPU and providing simple manipulation of controls. In addition to their R2 and PheonixVerb, they have recently released Excalibur, an powerful multi-FX plugin. Excalibur brings you modular control over a plethora of built-in FX, including reverb, delay, flanger, phaser, chorus, pitch shifting and ring modulation. This plugin has already been hailed by big players in the various audio industries, and for a limited time only, you can purchase Excalibur with special introductory pricing. For just $119, you can purchase Excalibur through Friday, April 10, after which the price will return to normal ($199).

For more info, check out the Exponential Audio website by clicking here

 

 

SXSW To Feature Playable Synth Space

synth spaceSXSW is finaly upon us, and we can barely contain our excitement. In particular, we’re really stoked for the Gear Expo, which takes place on Thursday, March 19 at the Austin Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 5. The main reason we’re looking forward to the Gear Expo is the upcoming addition of a “Synth Space,” a room filled with playable synthesizers for your enjoyment.

Synth Space will draw crowds of all types, as it is a truly unique exhibition in the United States; best of all, it’s open to the public, so you won’t have to shell out the big bucks for a conference badge. This will undoubtedly be an event not to miss – when else are you going to have a chance to use all these classic synthesizers (and newer synths as well) in one place? Synth Space will feature analog, modular, digital, and hybrid synthesizers.

Here are the details, according to the website:

The Music Gear Expo celebrates six years in 2015 with a host of new offerings. In addition to the much loved expo portion, the show will feature a number of special activations including: the Stompbox, Shred Shed and the brand new Synthesizer Space plus the Gear Lounge, Gear Expo Store and Flatstock Stage.

Open to all registrants, showcasing artists and the general public, the Expo has become the key destination for musicians, buyers, gear and tech aficionados at SXSW. It is located adjacent to the popular Flatstock Poster Show on Level 1 of the Austin Convention Center.

The SXSW Music Gear Expo hosts a unique range of companies, from established names in the industry to independently owned up-and-comers. View the 2015 exhibitors.

More info:

SXSW Gear Expo

Synth Space

 

Studio For Electronic Musicians – Handwerk Audio

handwerk audio synth studioStudio fanatics and gear heads, we have a special treat for you. We are happy to announce that there is a new studio in techno town, and this one really is a game changer. Berlin’s Handwerk Audio Synth Studio is a one-of-a-kind innovation in music creation, geared entirely (no pun intended) toward the electronic musician/producer/artist. Rather than “traditional” instruments, this studio features an abundance of synthesizers (both analog and digital), keyboards, drum machines, and much more. The studio is owned by Peter Van Hoesen, Marco Freivogel (Exercise One), and  Ricardo Deazcuenaga (birdsmakingmachine). Located in Berlin’s Kreuzberg District, Handwerk Audio is a must-see next time you find yourself in Germany.

Click here for more info on the studio, including full specs

NAMM 2015: Product Demo of the Rane MP2015 Rotary Mixer

mp2015 featured

One piece of gear that had everyone buzzing this past weekend at NAMM was the MP2015 Rotary Mixer by Rane. The MP2015 had an expansive team working on it from Rane, as well as artists such as Dixon, Ben UFO, and Tim Sweeny providing ideas and input. With a dedicated team like that, it’s no surprise that the mixer turned out so well. We caught up with some of the guys at Rane this past weekend, and took an indepth look at the new MP2015 Rotary Mixer.

Expected Release: Mid-Late February
Retail Price: $2,899

KiNK Interview – Live in the Roland Booth at NAMM 2015

The Roland booth at NAMM was full of great gear and music this year. One of the people responsible for supplying some great live sets during the show was non-other than Bulgarian electronic artist, KiNK. We had the opportunity to catch up with him after his set, and talk about his recent show in LA amongst other things. Here’s what KiNK had to say.

KiNK on Facebook | Soundcloud | Resident Advisor

NAMM 2015: Pioneer Unveils the XDJ-RX Controller

XDJ RX

Pioneer has revealed their new XDJ-RX controller at NAMM this year. Staying true to a classic Pioneer design, there aren’t many surprises here, but there are some nice features that make this an excellent new controller to hit the market. Here’s a little overview of the new XDJ-RX. Read more

NAMM 2015: Zoom iQ Series & H6 Recorders

zoom featured

Zoom always delivers a high quality product to the recording industry. Known for their outstanding quality portable recorders like the H4N and new H6, they have also introduced the iQ Series microphone attachments to revolutionize audio recording on IOS devices. We got a chance to check out Zoom at NAMM 2015, and needless to say we were more than impressed. Let’s start with the iQ series. Read more

6AM Group at NAMM 2015

NAMM-2015

The annual NAMM convention is coming to a close in Anaheim, California, and as expected the manufacturers did not disappoint. It was another exciting year at NAMM with all brands showcasing their arsenal for the upcoming year, and we took on the task of visiting as many booths as possible to get the inside scoop.

 

Throughout this week make sure to stay up to date with us on our website as we roll out new product videos, gear reviews, company profiles, and a very special artist interview that went down Saturday afternoon. Here are our initial thoughts on NAMM 2015.

During our time at NAMM we were able to visit a wide variety of booths, and received great insight relating to what the general theme of the year will be. Many companies such as Novation, Roland, and Akai all leaned towards a theme of creative intuition in a very straightforward product interface. Whether for live performance or production, many new products at NAMM had this theme in common. It seems each year the products are getting better, and this is fantastic for the seasoned veteran and bedroom producer alike. Products such as the new Launchpad and AIRA MX 1 are generating a lot of buzz, and will be expected to gain widespread popularity once released.

arturia audiofuseOther noteworthy announcements included Arturia’s intention to enter the audio interface market with their new Audiofuse Interface. The company already offers a wide range of products from synths to sequencers, and with the Audiofuse it is clear that their goal is complete their market offering as a one stop shop for some producers. The interface is loaded with a wide variety of inputs to accommodate any situation, and sets up very nicely for a swift and interactive workflow.

Audiofuse Expected Release: May 2015
Retail Price: $549

In addition to showcasing the new AIRA MX1, Roland also announced a new hybrid synth the JD-Xi. The JD-Xi includes 2 digital synths with a preset bank included, a drum synth with an expansive library of Roland drums, an analog synth and signal path, a vocoder, and a 16 step sequencer to tie things up nicely. As well as other standard synth parameters like a dedicated filter, effects, and envelope section. The JD-Xi is expected to be available in March for $500.

Overall, there was no shortage of interest when going between the four expansive halls and floors at the Anaheim Convention Center, with each brand bringing something unique to the table. This brief overview doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface, so make sure to keep checking our website this week for more reviews and content from NAMM 2015.

Battle of the Clones: Behringer Announces Their Take On The ARP Odyssey Synth

behringer ARPLast week, Behringer teased on their Facebook page that they will be releasing an authentic ARP Odyssey synthesizer, the synthesizer that helped define ’80s electronic pop, but with a unique 3-mode VCF circuitry (that replicates all MK I to III versions) plus full Midi/USB implementation, priced around $500 USD.

However, just last February, Korg announced that it was going to recreate the same synthesizer by releasing its own “Korg ARP Odyssey”. Korg also revealed that ARP co-founder David Friend was joining Korg as their chief advisor on the new Odyssey. “David Friend established ARP Instruments, Inc. along with Alan Robert Pearlman and is a past president of ARP Instruments, Inc. He was also the lead designer of the original Odyssey in addition to designing or co-designing many other products”, Korg’s press release explained.

KORG ARP ODYSSEY Prototype

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The original ARP Odyssey was released in 1972 and came to define a certain crossover style incorporating electronic pop, jazz and progressive rock. It was favored by artists such as Jethro Tull, Nine Inch Nails, Pink Floyd and more recently, Todd Terje. ARP ceased production of the Odyssey in 1981.

Mike Huckaby – Free Sample Pack

WH-MIKE-HUCKABY-press-shot-2Techno legend and vintage synthesizer enthusiast Mike Huckaby has, time and again, defined and redefined the techno sound. From the earliest days of his career, he has sculpted, shaped, and pushed the boundaries of underground dance music. While many artists have switched to a predominantly software-based workflow and abandoned much of their “outdated” gear, Huckaby maintains a fully stocked arsenal of analog, digital, and hybrid synthesizers guaranteed to wow even the most seasoned gear heads. Luckily, Huckaby has graciously decided to share his sounds, releasing an exclusive sample pack through groove.de – the pack contains 16 phenomenal wav samples, each with full descriptions of the instruments and synthesizers used to create them. We’re beyond thrilled to have gotten our hands on these amazing synth samples and we hope you will be too!

 

Click here to read more and to download the samples, courtesy of groove.de