Saturday, 20 May 2017

Antelope Audio announces Orion Studio HD HDX & USB 3.0 Interface debut during AES Berlin 2017

High-end professional audio equipment manufacturer Antelope Audio is proud to announce that its Orion Studio HD HDX & USB 3.0 Interface — the latest addition to its stellar professional audio interface lineup, and the third to offer full Pro Tools | HD and Native DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) compatibility via HDX and USB 3.0 connectivity offering zero-latency streaming and processing of 24-bit/192 kHz audio (alongside a full library of real-time FPGA effects, high-end clocking and conversion, and much more besides) — will be making its debut during a must-see showcase at AES Berlin 2017, the 142nd International Convention, May 20-22, Berlin, Germany.

Based upon the proven pedigree of Antelope Audio’s recently released Orion32 HD and Orion Studio Rev. 2017 (with which it shares its distinctive looks and a similar set of distinguishing features), Orion Studio HD is truly a shining star, destined to take its rightful place at an already acclaimed family table of top-tier, feature-packed professional audio interfaces. In keeping with Orion32 HD and its industry-shaking Goliath HD bigger brother, Orion Studio HD can operate simultaneously with Pro Tools | HD and Native DAW setups, and any analogue or digital input can arrive in Pro Tools | HD sample accurately in the timeline, thanks to Antelope Audio’s proprietary HDX Delay Compensation.

Cutting ahead of the competition courtesy of an exceptionally powerful, cutting-edge FPGA (Field-Programmable Gate Array) chip, Orion Studio HD has monumental modelling capabilities that only this Antelope Audio-pioneered technology can convey. Indeed, its users can currently access over 40 free real-time models of legendary EQs, compressors, guitar amps and cabs from the likes of BAE, Grove Hill, Gyraf Audio, and Lang. These not only behave and sound as authentic as the real world hardware that inspired them, but can be equally easily applied to recording, mixing, and mastering music. Moreover, though Native plug-ins are attractively convenient, FPGA freely offers a whole new level of performance and sonic excellence that plug-in solutions simply cannot accomplish alone. As such, Orion Studio HD users can take advantage of real hardware circuit and component modelling to track a vocalist with a headphone mix (including AuraVerb reverb), record a guitar part with proper feel and tone using those trailblazing amp and cab simulations, or capture a drum kit with up to 12 mics using that industry-best interface mic preamp technology — and all in real-time!

Reality bites, but not for Antelope Audio’s latest addition to its stellar professional audio interface lineup. HDX has steadily made inroads into becoming the preferred choice for high-end Pro Tools recording setups, so surely Orion Studio HD is perfectly placed to join this recording revolution, thanks to its HDX PORT. But beyond that it can connect to just about anything and everything. By boasting 12 superb-sounding Class-A — Hi-Z-, mic-, and line-compatible — preamps with phantom power (A1 through to A12); two pairs of mastering-grade monitor outputs (MONITOR A and MONITOR B); 16 analogue LINE OUTPUTS (on a pair of standard 25-pin D-SUB connectors); two reamp outputs (R1 and R2); two headphone outputs (H1 and H2); eight channels of digital I/O via ADAT with two further digital I/O channels on S/PDIF; and WC (Wordclock) I/O on BNC connectors (that can conveniently double as Loopsync I/O), Orion Studio HD can comfortably accommodate any DAW workflow and associated recording and production environment.

 Watch Antelope Audio’s informative introductory Orion Studio Rev. HD video
Exceptional analogue and digital connectivity notwithstanding, Orion Studio HD boasts best-in-class conversion, boosting its dynamic range to an unparalleled 124dB. Given that Antelope Audio pioneered the use of atomic clock generators in audio master clocks, it should come as little surprise to learn that its world-renowned 64-bit AFC (Acoustically Focused Clocking) technology for jitter management also lies at Orion Studio HD’s heart, instigating incomparable stability, sonic accuracy, and sonic detail. After all, according to Antelope Audio, best clock equals best sound, so obviously Orion Studio HD adheres admirably to this company mantra. Make no mistake: we’re talking high-end, professional studio language here… OCX HD- and Trinity-style clocking perfection, in other words!

Though that’s not all. As is the case with all Antelope Audio’s recently released professional audio interfaces, Orion Studio HD helpfully allows for fast functionality control via multiple computers with Windows- and macOS-compatible complimentary Control Panel dedicated desktop applications. Highlights here include controlling and using multiple Orion Studio HD units via the serial number selector; switching between two routing matrix view modes; and an all-new application for full session-saving… Session Presets really revolutionises the way studios record and mix with an ability to save, load, and share any routing, mixing, effects, and HDX Delay Compensation settings, so presets can be easily exchanged between studio facilities with (compatible) professional audio interfaces from Antelope Audio anywhere in the world! Want even greater freedom? Apps for both Android and iOS platforms allow Orion Studio HD users to adjust mic preamps and output volumes remotely from smartphones or tablets, so no need (necessarily) to leave the studio sweet spot while reaching for its carefully-crafted volume knob.

Topping things off, Orion Studio HD has no fans for silent operation, obliterating the need for expensive machine rooms or iso-racks. It can clearly be seen and heard, however, at AES Berlin 2017, the 142nd International Convention, May 20-22, Berlin, Germany, where Antelope Audio will be displaying and demoing Orion Studio HD for the first time on Booth 315. To witness this there is to want this heavenly hybrid audio interface — a picture-perfect professional fit for any Pro Tools | HD- and/or Native DAW-equipped studio!

For more in-depth information, please visit the dedicated Orion Studio HD webpage here:
For more information about Antelope Audio’s FPGA effects, including a full library list, please visit the dedicated webpage here:

About Antelope Audio (
Antelope Audio is a leading manufacturer of high-end professional audio equipment, pioneering the adoption of atomic clock generators in audio master clocks through utilising CEO Igor Levin’s 25-plus years of experience in digital audio. Antelope was the first company to design a 1U 32-channel audio interface and a multi-channel portable interface with 12 mic pres. The company’s customers include many GRAMMY® award-winning sound engineers and some of the most renowned recording, mastering, and post-production facilities around the globe.

© 2017 Antelope Audio

Monday, 15 May 2017

Audified announces 50% discount offer on STA Effects processing plug-in bundle and separately-available STA Preamp

Host application and audio effects developer Audified is proud to announce an attractive 50% discount offer on its critically-acclaimed STA Effects — an already affordable summing tube processing plug-in bundle based around its proprietary STA (Summing Tube Amplifier) technology from which it takes its name — and separately-available STA Preamp (also included in STA Effects).

The namesake STA (Summing Tube Amplifier) technology that the STA Effects bundle of summing tube processing plug-ins and STA Preamp plug-in both benefit from features two signal paths — one processed by modulation or spectral change, the other remaining unprocessed. Ultimately, those two signals are mixed via vacuum tube circuitry models, making more ordinary-sounding effects like flanging or phasing sound exceptionally extraordinary with warming audio attributes like no other!

On that very note, all six STA Effects plug-ins — including the self-explanatory STA Chorus, STA Delay, STA Enhancer, STA Flanger, STA Phaser, and STA Preamp — perform pleasingly to the ear, enabling a beautiful balance of flexibility and familiarity for discerning DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) users, thanks to several superb-sounding saturation characteristics available at a painless press of an associated virtual button: P (Presence — higher amount of mid-high frequencies to better cut through the mix), V (Vintage — smoother highs and more even harmonics), B (Brown — an almost flat frequency response with only light high-frequency rolloff and attractive higher harmonic punch), W (White — higher amount of higher frequencies with balanced ratio between the even and odd harmonics), and L (LoFi — less low and high frequencies).

 STA Effects can be seen and heard in an informative introductory video

Furthermore, all six share core controls — LEVEL IN/LEVEL OUT (calibrated to provide saturation at a level of -9 dBFR, corresponding to 0 dBVU on the meters), SATURATION (drives the modelled tube circuitry into saturation), METERS (switches between metering the input and output stages of the plug-in), and BYPASS (turns off the effects processing) — considerably simplifying STA Effects familiarisation for all.

Anyone seeking superb-sounding saturation characteristics without wishing to break the bank need not look any further — all the more so thanks to Audified’s attractive 50% discount offer on STA Effects and STA Preamp, priced to fly at $64.00 USD and $24.00 USD, respectively. Best be quick, though... they will soon be back to full (pocket-friendly) pricing!

All six STA Effects are available to purchase as a bundle — running as AAX, VST3, and VST2 plug-ins on Mac (OS X 10.9 - 10.12) and PC (Windows 7, 8, and 10) and AU on Mac — at a discounted price of $64.00 USD from May 15 through to May 25, 2017 (rising to $129.00 USD thereafter) from Audified’s online shop here:

STA Preamp can be bought separately at a discounted price of $24.00 USD from May 15 through to May 25, 2017 (rising to $49.00 USD thereafter) from Audified’s online shop here:

STA Effects and STA Preamp are directly downloadable (alongside a demo version) from Audified here:

About Audified (
Audified is the premier brand of privately-owned Boskovice-based DISK Multimedia, s.r.o. in the Czech Republic, created to develop specialised audio applications, as well as handling the company’s high-end hardware product portfolio. Pioneering the development of audio applications for live (realtime) performance, as well as developing the first audio effects plug-ins for Apple’s Mac OS X, the company created some of the first plug-ins for Power|Core, TC Electronic’s hardware-accelerated DSP platform, prompting the Danish developer’s then-PR Manager Thomas Valter to comment, “Our two companies have been working closely together on various projects, and we are very satisfied with the products that have been a result of our cooperation.” Consequently, the company returned to its host application and audio effects developmental roots in 2007 by branding itself with the Audiffex appellation to resourcefully reflect that directional change. Credentials apart, Audified is not just a for-profit business, however; its parental company clearly cares about the future of audio software/hardware development, developing partnerships with both Janacek Academy of Music and Performing Arts (JAMU) in Brno, Czech Republic — realising a research project to bring modern audio engineering technologies to music education, and also Brno University of Technology, one of the Czech Republic’s leading research and teaching institutions — working with the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Communication Technologies on scientific projects. Participating in organising entry exams and teaching at these highly-respected higher education establishments has helped establish the first specialised studies of audio engineering in the Czech Republic. In keeping with spreading the (audio engineering) word, Audified has helpfully seen fit to recently release a range of free plug-ins, available from here:

© 2017 Audified

Antelope Audio announces availability of Orion Studio Rev. 2017 and accepts Goliath HD preorders

Having blown musical minds with their asynchronous April announcement at Musikmesse 2017 in Frankfurt, Germany, high-end professional audio equipment manufacturer Antelope Audio is proud to announce availability of Orion Studio Rev. 2017 — a timely revision of its innovative and popular professional audio interface, boasting brand-new A/D (analogue-to-digital) convertors to deliver an unparalleled 124dB dynamic range, while working with the company’s growing library of freely downloadable hardware-based FPGA (Field Programmable Array) effects to access hardware models of many desirable vintage units with real-time performance without relying on DSP or native processing — as well as accepting preorders on its industry-shaking Goliath HD flagship.

Externally, Orion Studio Rev. 2017 is immediately distinguishable from its popular predecessor, courtesy of an eye-catching carbon grey-coloured faceplate. But behind the mask internal innovations abound as it continues its predecessor’s penchant for extensive connectivity and best-in-class performance, including 12 superb-sounding, adaptable Accusonic preamps (comfortably accommodating complex multi-microphone setups) and 16 analogue outputs (providing an abundance of signal distribution capacity for outboard gear integration or summing). Dual mastering-grade monitor outputs maintain signal integrity all the way to the monitoring stage (also allowing switching between two pairs of speakers), while those all-new A/D conversion chips translate to capturing every sonic nuance of a performance as faithfully as possible. Pooled with Antelope Audio’s acclaimed 64-bit ATC (Acoustically Focused Clocking) jitter-management technology, Orion Studio Rev. 2017 is poised to implement industry-leading fidelity in almost any application.
Watch Antelope Audio’s informative introductory Orion Studio Rev. 2017 video
As a direct result of Antelope Audio adding several new compressors to its growing library of freely downloadable hardware-based FPGA effects, Orion Studio Rev. 2017 allows for simultaneous usage of up to 32 compressors — and all without sacrificing the 40 EQ instances on offer. These ultra-realistic effects are handled within the interface itself — ideal for tracking or mixing, so do not tax the host DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) system, but instead inflate sonic palettes somewhat considerably compared to the competition.

Controlled via a desktop application for Mac or PC, Antelope Audio’s advanced session preset and routing software serves up complete control of signal flow, permitting powerful effects chains, faithful monitor mixes, and easy integration of outboard hardware. Helpfully, the new Matrix View available to Orion Studio Rev. 2017 (and all of Antelope Audio’s Thunderbolt HDX-compatible audio interfaces) offers an accurate and alluring alternative to the company’s classic drag-and-drop interface alongside a new Session Presets application for full session saving functionality, allowing anyone already taking full advantage of their incredibly versatile routing, mixing, and hardware effects modelling capabilities to save, load, and share any routing, mixing, effects, mic pre gain levels, input and output trims, and even pan or resize settings.

Shipping now, and available to purchase through Antelope Audio’s growing global network of dealers with an MSRP of €2,595.00 EUR, Orion Studio Rev. 2017 punches well above its asking price.
Pushing ever onwards and upwards, Antelope Audio is also accepting preorders on Orion Studio Rev. 2017’s bigger brother, Goliath HD.

Weighing in at €6,995.00 EUR, this heavyweight professional audio interface is the culmination of years of research and development, and will soon serve as a powerhouse centrepiece for the modern recording studio with 64 channels of highest-quality audio I/O and an abundance of powerful upgrades, including new adaptable Accusonic preamps alongside a full suite of hardware-based FPGA effects and much more besides… best start saving to make some studio space for some seriously high-end professional audio equipment!
 Watch Antelope Audio’s informative introductory Goliath HD video
Shipping now, Orion Studio Rev. 2017 is available to purchase through Antelope Audio’s growing global network of dealers with an MSRP of €2,595.00 EUR. For more in-depth information, please visit the dedicated Orion Studio Rev. 2017 webpage here:

Coming soon, Goliath HD can be preordered from Antelope Audio for €6,995.00 EUR from here:

For more information about Antelope Audio’s FPGA effects, including a full library list, please visit the dedicated webpage here:
About Antelope Audio (
Antelope Audio is a leading manufacturer of high-end professional audio equipment, pioneering the adoption of atomic clock generators in audio master clocks through utilising CEO Igor Levin’s 25-plus years of experience in digital audio. Antelope was the first company to design a 1U 32-channel audio interface and a multi-channel portable interface with 12 mic pres. The company’s customers include many GRAMMY® award-winning sound engineers and some of the most renowned recording, mastering, and post-production facilities around the globe.
© 2017 Antelope Audio

Softube announces availability of Console 1 Mk II with UAD Powered Plug-Ins support

Having blown musical minds with its initial announcement at The NAMM Show 2017 in Anaheim, CA, high-end plug-in specialist Softube is proud to confirm Console 1 Mk II — a much more affordable version of its award-winning hardware/software mixing system, representing an enormous leap forward from its predecessor with support for selected UAD Powered Plug-ins from Universal Audio — is now globally available from any authorized Softube dealer.

Originally released in 2014, Softube Console 1 quickly earned a large and dedicated following, receiving prestigious awards and rave reviews in the pro audio press. With its tightly integrated hardware and software, and the included emulation of a Solid State Logic SL 4000 E console, Console 1 offered the best of the digital and analog worlds in a compact system.
 Significantly, Console 1 Mk II has made most frequent user requests reality, thanks to the significant software update with support for selected UAD Powered Plug-Ins from Universal Audio. 60 such plug-ins are already available for the system, all pre-mapped and easily selectable, so no MIDI mapping is necessary. Needless to say, the hardware itself has the same build quality as the original units, with some minor layout changes such as more visible LED markers.
Moreover, the success of Console 1 has made it possible to make efficiencies in production, resulting in an MSRP drop from $849 to $499. Now that it is globally available from any authorized dealer, there has never been a better time to go grab a Console 1 Mk II. Say hello and wave goodbye to mouse-mixing… forever!

Console 1 Mk II is globally available from any authorized dealer with an MSRP of $499. (The software update with the UAD Powered Plug-Ins compatibility can be downloaded for free from here:

More in-depth information, including a must-see Console 1 Mk II video, is available here:

About Softube (
Founded by Oscar Öberg, and aptly dubbed “…the Swedish rock ’n’ roll scientists,” Softube has developed high-end software for the music market since 2003. Its own product roster ranges from modeled guitar amplifiers to professional audio mixing plug-ins and also includes the award-winning Console 1 hardware/software mixing system, as well as software instruments (Hearbeat and Modular). The company has received several awards — including, most recently, two TEC (Technical Excellence & Creativity) awards at the 32nd Annual event for the Marshall JMP 2203 and Marshall Bluesbreaker 1962 plug-ins (both developed by Softube exclusively for Universal Audio’s UAD/Apollo platform) — and award nominations in recognition of its innovative products. Productive partnerships have been formed with an assortment of pro audio companies held in high regard around the globe — including Abbey Road Studios, Mutronics, Solid State Logic, Summit Audio, Tonelux Designs, Tube-Tech, and Trident Audio Developments — to fashion faithful models of their analog hardware units. These third-party companies have happily lent their names and logotypes to the resulting plug-ins. Above and beyond its impressive namesake product lineup, Softube has also developed software products for other notable companies, such as Ableton, Fender, Cakewalk, Marshall Amplification, Native Instruments, Propellerheads, TC Electronic, and Universal Audio.
© 2017 Softube AB

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Impact Soundworks SUPER AUDIO BOY: retro-sounding, future-facing free KONTAKT instrument in handheld homage

Audio software creator Impact Soundworks is proud to announce availability of SUPER AUDIO BOY — a free AAX-, AU-, and VST-compatible KONTAKT instrument/sample library that creatively captures the retro sounds of the legendary Nintendo Game Boy handheld for authentically (re)creating Chiptunes or fast-forwarding them to today and beyond with advanced layering, filtering, arpeggiation, and much more besides.

SUPER AUDIO BOY is Impact Soundworks’ free version of SUPER AUDIO CART — the most complete set of classic video game samples ever produced, but bringing powerful SAC synthesis, rhythm, effects, and modulations to bear upon the detailed sample set of the legendary Game Boy alone. And it doesn’t get much more classic than Game Boy, a handheld system with interchangeable cartridges that truly revolutionised the gaming industry upon its release in 1989. Developed and manufactured by Nintendo to tremendous success throughout its lifespan, it shifted an unprecedented 64-million units before Game Boy Color came calling in late 1998, thanks in no small part to highly-addictive games such as Tetris, their distinctive-sounding synthesized electronic music made within the technical limitations of Game Boy’s sound chip. Powered by a specialised 8-bit Sharp CPU sporting two pulse oscillators, a 4-bit PCM sample channel, and a noise generator, Game Boy remains the first choice of many musicians in the Chiptune scene, thanks to the LSDJ cartridge, allowing for direct access to that sound chip to create music.

 Watch Impact Soundworks Lead Developer Andrew Aversa’s SUPER AUDIO BOY video

Musically, SUPER AUDIO BOY allows access to those classic sounds and much more besides. As Andrew Aversa — Impact Soundworks Lead Developer — himself proudly points out: “It basically takes the Game Boy part — all the samples that come with the Game Boy — and complete engine of our original SUPER AUDIO CART library and makes it free. All of the features from SUPER AUDIO CART are here, too; the only difference is that this is just Game Boy… all deliciously lo-fi and bit-crushed, just the way we like it! Everything is sampled from an actual Game Boy; these are the waveforms with all the grit from the circuitry of the Game Boy, recorded and very carefully edited and looped. Now, of course, the wonderful thing about SUPER AUDIO CART and, in turn, this free instrument is that you can take those very simple waveforms, put them into the engine, and do all sorts of cool stuff — not just Game Boy sounds, but create modern sounds as well. The big difference between SUPER AUDIO BOY and other free Game Boy emulations out there is that you have all these additional sound design features. For example, we also have an X-Y pad, which can be assigned to LAYER BLEND, so we can blend between layers, and then the X and Y axes can be assigned in our modulation matrix. This is incredibly powerful stuff! You can create LFOs, envelopes; you can do random parameters — modulate CCs or ranges, like key ranges, velocity ranges… it’s just awesome!”

Indeed, it is! Free it may be, but feature-light it is not. Needless to say, SUPER AUDIO BOY comes complete with the same four independent sound sources (LAYER A through to LAYER D) as its bigger brother, together with an integrated sound source browser; over a dozen filter models; poly arpeggiator, gate, and sequencer; 64-slot Mod (modulation) Matrix; plus five FX racks. Resumes Andrew Aversa: “These effects can be turned on and off; you can modulate these using the modulation matrix and hook them up to different things. We’ve got the SNES VERB — even though this is not a Super Nintendo — and convolution REVERB, and four additional effects racks — one per layer. You will not hear an actual Game Boy doing that, but that is the power of SUPER AUDIO BOY — all these advanced sound design things that you can use if you want to. Of course, because we’ve got arpeggiators and sequencers onboard, you can create drum loops just by holding a note.”

Notably, SUPER AUDIO BOY works with a wide range of controllers — keyboard or otherwise, since users can map almost any parameter or control to any physical CC. Clearly, then, this is a very powerful software tool for authentically (re)creating Chiptunes from a glorious (Game Boy) bygone era or dragging distinctive retro sounds — creatively kicking and screaming — back to the future… for free!

SUPER AUDIO BOY is available for free from Impact Soundworks here:

Note that SUPER AUDIO BOY requires the full version of Native Instruments KONTAKT (5.5.2 or higher).
For more in-depth information, including several superb-sounding audio demos, please visit the dedicated SUPER AUDIO BOY webpage here:

About Impact Soundworks (
Impact Soundworks creates audio software designed with composers in mind: sample libraries, virtual instruments, and plug-ins. As passionate about creating music tools as its customers are about making music, the company was founded in 2008 by composers Andrew Aversa and Will Roget, II at a time when there were several large virtual instrument companies already around, but few developers creating affordable, flexible, and focused libraries featuring more unusual and unique sounds. Shrewdly, the dynamic duo noticed much in the way of in-depth orchestral offerings, but more unusual instruments were not being sampled with much detail at all. As such, the company’s first two releases were Impact Steel, a collection of found metal objects played as percussion, and Sitar Nation, a set of instruments from North India. It has since been collectively working hard to address the needs of modern composers, successfully striking the balance between depth and ease of use. Ultimately, Impact Soundworks is proud to call tens of thousands of musicians around the world its customers, intelligently investing time to study suggestions and review requests. After all, that is how a number of its best-loved libraries started… from the smallest seed!

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Intelligent 8 input MIDI merge unit by Kenton makes managing multiple data streams simpler

Following its introduction at The NAMM Show 2017, MIDI solutions specialist Kenton is proud to announce availability of its new MERGE-8 — an eight-input intelligent MIDI merge unit designed, built, and assembled in the UK as the latest addition to its well-known line of MIDI utilities.
MERGE-8 can work in two modes: first is a full eight-into-two merge, where all MIDI data received across the eight input ports is merged into two outputs (with both ports outputting the same data); second is a split mode, with two completely independent four-into-one merges. Mode is set with a recessed push button and indicated with a bicolour LED. MERGE-8 stores this setting in EEPROM and starts up in whichever state it was last in.

Featuring a 32-bit ARM microcontroller for super-fast MIDI processing, MERGE-8 can handle large amounts of data. It is intelligent in that it applies merging rules to process the MIDI data from the inputs in the optimal way.

MERGE-8 is housed in a robust brushed aluminium case, measuring 155 x 80 x 35mm and weighing just 220g. With the famous Kenton build quality and reliability, MERGE-8 is able to withstand the knocks of a life on the road as part of a large keyboard rig, yet it is just as at home in the studio… powered from an included region-appropriate AC adapter — just fit and forget.

MERGE-8 can be purchased from dealers or directly from Kenton for £112.50 GBP (excluding tax and shipping), either online ( or by calling +44 (0)20 8544 9200.
About Kenton (
Kenton was founded in 1986 by UK musician John Price, who began by building a more cost-effective and well-specified MIDI interface for his beloved Oberheim OBX programmable analogue polysynth than was otherwise available; word soon got around, and today the company designs and manufactures a wide range of far-reaching MIDI solutions for famous and not-so-famous clients alike around the globe from its South West London-based HQ: “People often ask where the name Kenton came from; my father, Wylie Price, was a bandleader in the Forties and Fifties, and was a big fan of Stan Kenton, so, when I was born, I was given Kenton as my middle name.”
© 2017 Kenton Electronics Ltd

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

ESI brings better performance to USB audio technology with progressive professional audio interfaces

Leading professional and semi-professional audio equipment vendor ESI is proud to announce (upcoming) availability of U168 XT and U86 XT — a progressive pair of USB 2.0 high-speed audio interfaces for Mac and PC that bring better performance to USB (Universal Serial Bus) audio technology for better results.
As implied by name, U168 XT provides no fewer than 16 clearly-labelled line INPUTS and eight line OUTPUTS on balanced 1/4-inch TRS (Tip Ring Sleeve) connectors. Competitors’ comparable channel count offerings often add eight-channel ADAT (Optical Interface) ports, potentially adding confusion to that count — clearly not an issue with U168 XT, where all are available for simultaneous usage by discerning users. Ultimately, this full-featured 24-bit/96kHz solution also includes four integrated MICROPHONE preamps with XLR (External Line Return) inputs and switchable +48V phantom power, perfectly positioned on its front panel for easy access alongside two (switchable) MIC/HI-Z high-performance instrument inputs (1/4-inch connector) for electric guitars; plus (rear-mounted) coaxial S/PDIF (Sony/Philips Digital Interface Format) IN (input) and OUT (output) on RCA (Radio Corporation of America) connectors. Two independent headphone (H.P.) outputs are also easily accessible alongside an integrated monitoring mixer. Meanwhile, external keyboards, synthesizers, and sound modules can be connected via the 16-channel MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) with an INPUT and OUTPUT on the unit’s rear panel.
Providing fast, high-performance, low-latency drivers based on proprietary DirectWIRE technology — that can be used for routing audio streams internally within applications using ESI’s EWDM (Enhanced Windows Driver Model) — with support for the latest WDM (Windows Driver Model), ASIO (Audio Stream Input/Output) 2.0, and CoreAudio technology for both Mac (OS X 10.7 and above) and PC (Windows Vista, 7, 8.1, and 10), U168 XT works with all current standard audio applications available for professional usage.
As an equally versatile USB 2.0 high-speed audio interface for Mac and PC with an ADC (analogue-to-digital conversion) dynamic range of 107dB(a) and DAC (digital-to-analogue conversion) dynamic range of 112dB(a), U86 XT shares the same flexible feature set and functions as its U168 XT bigger brother, but with a reduced number of physical analogue inputs (eight) and outputs (six) — hence its appropriate appellation — and reduced (310 x 145 x 45mm) dimensions (down from U168 XT’s 450 x 145 x 45mm). Either way, with stylish and sturdy casings designed to work wherever their final destination may be, both bundle packages come complete with an eight-track version of Bitwig Studio, the namesake next-generation music creation and performance software solution from Berlin-based Bitwig as well as a license for DJ specialist Stanton’s Deckadance LE software. Simply start working… straight out of the box.
Both the U168 XT and U86 XT more than live up to their raison d'être of bringing better performance to USB audio technology for better results, as anyone adding either one of the progressive pair to their setup should surely delight in discovering.

U168 XT starts shipping worldwide in early May 2017 with an MSRP of €549.00 EUR;
U86 XT follows in early June 2017 with an MSRP of €399.00 EUR.
(For availability and pricing internationally, please visit the ESI website to find a distributor for your region here:

For more in-depth info, please visit the dedicated U168 XT webpage here:

For more in-depth info, please visit the dedicated U86 XT webpage here:
About ESI (
ESI Audiotechnik GmbH is one of the world’s leading vendors of professional and semi-professional audio equipment, noted for its intelligent and innovative products. With distinguished designs dating back to 1998, both branded and OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) products developed by the esteemed ESI engineering team in Germany are appreciated on a daily basis by hundreds of thousands of customers in every corner of the globe.   
© 2017 ESI Audiotechnik GmbH

Saturday, 29 April 2017

ORBIT and ECLIPSE by Wide Blue Sound get NKS - Native Instruments hardware integration.

Wide Blue Sound, creator of cutting-edge instruments for KONTAKT, is proud to announce a partnership with Native Instruments that allows its renowned ORBIT and ECLIPSE virtual synths to be used with NI’s NKS® (Native Kontrol Standard) hardware — namely, KOMPLETE KONTROL S-Series keyboards and MASCHINE workstation…
 Wide Blue Sound is a company continually committed to integrating its software products with hardware — a rarity in today’s industry. “NKS is an important first step in harnessing the natural experience of hardware with the infinite creative potential of software,” states company co-founder and CEO Nathan Rightnour. “We’ll always be working to ‘bridge the gap’ in ways that bring usability and a visceral excitement to our software.”

ORBIT and ECLIPSE are the perfect powerhouses for creating stunning synth sounds, driving pulses, and atmospheric worlds, thanks to their critically-acclaimed interface and world-class sound design. With well-thought-through, creative mappings and tags for ORBIT and ECLIPSE, KOMPLETE KONTROL S-Series keyboards and MASCHINE workstations react with the feel of a custom hardware instrument. Indeed, ORBIT and ECLIPSE users with access to the trailblazing hardware will now feel closer than ever to their favourite Wide Blue Sound software synth… synths already benefitting from critically-acclaimed interface design that, according to Keyboard magazine, “All instrument makers could take heed to.”

The latest NKS®-supporting ORBIT and ECLIPSE updates bring with them the best of both worlds — intuitive interfaces and seamless interaction with intuitive tactility, thanks to Native Instruments’ innovative hardware. Hardened users and novices alike will be amazed at how fast they can come up with something stunning to fit any musical mood or emotion, whether wanting to tweak the dreamy, mysterious, or dark universe of sound in ORBIT or enter ECLIPSE’s pioneering heavy, forceful, and aggressive sonic vistas. The choice is out there — quite literally at the fingertips of KOMPLETE KONTROL S-Series keyboards and MASCHINE owners.
ORBIT and ECLIPSE are designed by working professionals in film, TV, video game, and electronic music production, built upon the idea that intuitive products provide the most inspirational results. Indeed, inspiration comes quickly since both instruments share three distinct sound engines. Engaging PULSE mode makes creating modern percussive elements easy; CHOP mode is best suited to fashioning electronic, stuttered stylings; and FLOW mode permits pads and texture creation like never before. Better still, users can seamlessly morph between those three engines using four independent 64-step sequencers — each with their own independent time base — that can modulate 24 useful parameters to further the creation of interesting, musical, and evolving sounds. Sculpting sounds still further comes courtesy of delays, multiple modulations, diverse distortions, and a special convolution engine that includes several practical creative impulses and beautiful reverbs from world-class hardware units commonly used in cinematic production.
Wide Blue Sound Founder & CEO Nathan Rightnour’s ‘Quick Drive’ ORBIT overview
Thanks to NKS® support, sound-shaping nirvana with Wide Blue Sound’s updated ORBIT and ECLIPSE is as simple as the turn of a knob. Each innovative instrument includes 250 track-starting presets. Put it this way: whatever way users choose to intuitively interact with them, the results are always out of this world!
 Wide Blue Sound’s engaging ECLIPSE trailer video
NKS®-supporting versions of ORBIT and ECLIPSE can be respectively purchased and digitally downloaded directly from Wide Blue Sound for $199.00 USD and $149.00 USD from here: (Note that both products are also available as the PLANETARY BUNDLE, including beta access to SKYPAD Remote, for $298.00 USD, representing a substantial saving of $50.00 USD.)

Note Native Instruments’ KONTAKT — full or free KONTAKT PLAYER (5.5.2 or higher) version — powers Wide Blue Sound products.

For more in-depth information, please visit the dedicated ORBIT and ECLIPSE webpage here:

About Wide Blue Sound (
Wide Blue Sound creates modern instruments for forward-thinking musicians. It is powered by Hollywood composers Jeff Rona and Nathan Rightnour. Its renowned ORBIT and ECLIPSE virtual synths have been called “…incredible…” (Glitch Mob) while winning over reviewers around the globe: “I can’t remember a synth where I’ve had so much fun” (MusicTech Magazine)

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

StudioLinked announces availability of preset-packed, time-saving STUDIO RACK multi-effects plug-in

Urban and contemporary music virtual instrument specialist StudioLinked is proud to announce availability of STUDIO RACK — a curb-appealing multi-effects plug-in packed with time-saving, speedily-tweakable presets perfect for any music producer, DJ, or engineer mixing hip-hop, R&B, pop, rock, EDM, and country productions.

As an adaptable multi-effects plug-in that’s as easy on the eye as it is in use, STUDIO RACK radically changes any sound with three types of self-explanatory speaker emulationHIGH, MID, and BASS (that, of course, can also be switched to OFF). Variable amounts of DELAY (with SYNC), REVERB, STEREO, and CHORUS can quickly be dialled in to suit any application, effects-wise, while turning the GUI-dominating DRIVE control pushes things to the limit. Letting users quickly make more changes comes courtesy of a fixed COMPRESSOR with GAIN and MIX sliders; similarly, CUTOFF (frequency) and RES (resonance) control-equipped HIPASS and LOWPASS filters further refine results, and a self-explanatory SATURATION knob nicely rounds out production proceedings.

 Watch StudioLinked’s STUDIO RACK demonstration video
Placing STUDIO RACK on any vocal, 808 sub, piano, guitar, drums, or final mix lets it transform and add a polished finish faster than ever to any production. Earth-shattering changes need not cost the earth either, thanks to an affordable purchase price that should surely suit any production budget!

STUDIO RACK is available for online purchase directly from StudioLinked — as a 32- and 64-bit AAX, AU, and VST plug-in for Mac and PC — for $59.99 USD from here: 

About StudioLinked (
StudioLinked is a virtual instrument creator and distribution company, specialising in urban and contemporary music genres by filling a long-unfulfilled niche in the production market. Moreover, customer satisfaction is guaranteed since there is no need to overpay for sounds and features that are not needed in its focused software product line, leaving users to get on with doing what they do best — making music. Seriously simple, user-friendly interfaces — some of which offer animation — are praised for their workflow-enhancing ease of use. Unless licensed from its sound design partners, StudioLinked samples all content in its products. The company founder’s family formerly owned a successful commercial recording studio located in San Diego, CA, USA, since 2003; now named Hookmaster Studio, recently remodelled and run by its former chief engineer, StudioLinked is proud to have recorded sounds for its software products there.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Expert Sleepers announces advanced DISTING mk4 ‘many-in-one’ multifunction Eurorack module

Following a successful showcase at The NAMM Show 2017, January 19-22 in Anaheim, California, Eurorack module-maker and audio plug-in developer Expert Sleepers is proud to announce availability of disting mk4 — the latest (fourth) improved iteration of its award-winning ‘many-in-one’ multifunction Eurorack module based around a PIC® Microcontroller (MCU) offering an amazing amount of CV (Control Voltage) and audio processing algorithms belying its super-slim 4HP panel width (with two algorithm function-dependant input sockets, two output sockets, a CV input socket paired with a push-button-functional knob, and a rotary encoder/push button alongside an all-new dot matrix display and a MicroSD card slot all available to connect and communicate with the outside world).

Who better to introduce the new and improved disting mk4, then, than its creator, Expert Sleepers Director Andrew ‘Os’ Ostler: “The Expert Sleepers disting mk4 is the newest incarnation of the disting concept. Compared to the previous mk3, the most obvious change is that it now has a screen, rather than a small number of LEDs, so you can see what’s going on much more easily. It will scroll words at you and let you understand what you’re doing much more easily than ever before. The MicroSD card is now on the front — easily accessible; from that, you can play back WAV files, MIDI files, and more functions to come in the future. For example, an audio recorder function, recording WAV files to the MicroSD card, is in beta and will be added soon. The mk4 is also compatible with the SELECT Bus mechanism, allowing you to simultaneously store and recall settings from a number of distings and other compatible modules at one time. The mk4 is also capable of some extra algorithms over the mk3, such as the tuner, and pitch and frequency references.”

Speaking of algorithms, disting mk4 currently features five banks, beginning with 16 ‘classic disting’ ones: Precision Adder (with integer voltage offsets); Four Quadrant Multiplier (with integer multiply/divide); Full-wave Rectifier; Minimum/maximum; Linear/Exponential Convertor; Quantizer (with selectable scales); Comparator (with adjustable hysterersis); Dual Waveshaper (wavefolder and triangle-to-sine shaper); Sample and Hold (with noise source and adjustable slew rate); Slew Rate Limiter (with linear and exponential slew); Pitch and Envelope Tracker; Clockable Delay/Echo; LFO (with through-zero frequency control and waveshaping); Clockable LFO (with multiply/divide and waveshaping); VCO with Linear FM (sine and saw outputs); and VCO with waveshaping (saw/triangle and pulse outputs).

Onwards and upwards, bank two holds the following algorithms: Precision Adder (with fractional voltage offsets); Voltage Controlled Delay Line (vibrato/chorus/flange effects); Clockable Ping Pong Delay; Clockable Ping Pong Delay (with input pan control); Resonator (for drum synthesis); Vocoder (12-band); Phaser (up to 10 stages); Bit Crusher; Tape Delay (with voltage-controlled tape speed); State Variable Filter (smoothly variable filter type); LP/HP Filter; LP/BP Filter; BP/HP Filter; and BP/Notch Filter.

Watch Expert Sleepers’ disting mk4 new feature highlights video
Furthermore, these are the bank three algorithms: AR Envelope; AR Envelope (with push); AR Envelope & VCA; AR Envelope & VCA (with push); Dual AR Envelope; Dual AR Envelope (with push); Euro to Buchla Convertor; Buchla to Euro Convertor; Clockable AD Envelope (with mute); Clockable AD Envelope (with gate); Clockable AD Envelope (with trigger); Clockable AD Envelope & VCA; Shift Register Random CVs; Shift Register Random Quantized CVs; Shift Register Random Triggers; and Shift Register Dual Random Triggers.

Turn to bank four for finding those earlier-quoted (ES-1 Emulation; ES-2 Emulation; Pitch Reference; Frequency Reference; Tuner; and Crossfade/Pan) extras; thereafter, the fifth features functions relating to playing back audio and MIDI files from the MicroSD card: Audio Playback; Clocked Audio Playback; Audio Playback with V/Oct; Audio Playback with Z Speed; MIDI File Playback (clocked); MIDI File Playback (free-running); and Audio Playback with End CV.

Clearly, if that’s not enough to whet the appetite of even the most seasoned Eurorack enthusiast, Expert Sleepers’ eye-catching red and blue backlit sockets should surely seal the deal when it comes to making room for distinctive disting mk4 modules! After all, they pack a whole lot of functionality into very little Eurorack space.

Seeing is believing; better still, Expert Sleepers will be displaying and demonstrating disting mk4 on Booth H251 at SUPERBOOTH17, April 20-22, Berlin, Germany. Get down there to check it out. “We will be showing an additional feature not demoed at NAMM,” notes Andrew Ostler. “The disting mk4 has a pair of MIDI ports (in and out), allowing it to both receive MIDI (for additional control over the algorithms) and generate MIDI (to control external MIDI gear from its algorithms and CV inputs). New dedicated MIDI-to-CV and CV-to-MIDI algorithms have been added; existing algorithms have had MIDI output added — notably the Quantizer and MIDI File Playback. The MIDI ports are accessed by an expansion header module, which will be shown at SUPERBOOTH17, and details will be made available so people can make their own DIY version, which is a very simple project.” Witnesses will surely be impressed by what they see and hear.

disting mk4 is now shipping and available from Expert Sleepers resellers ( worldwide with an MSRP of £139.00 GBP (inc. 20% VAT)/$189.00 USD/€189.00 EUR (inc. 19% VAT).

For more in-depth information, please visit the dedicated disting mk4 webpage here:

About Expert Sleepers (
As a one-man (Andrew Ostler a.k.a. ‘Os’) operation, British brand Expert Sleepers started life back in 2002 as an audio plug-in developer — its amusingly-named Augustus Loop tape-based delay effect emulation (with extra features to facilitate its use as a looping device) quickly found favour with ambient music pioneer Brian Eno, who was moved to kindly comment: “When I hear anything by ES, I get excited by what I’m hearing.” 2009’s Silent Way suite of plug-ins designed for use with analogue synthesisers — especially as part of a modular analogue synthesiser system — soon led to a move towards the ever-expanding Eurorack modular marketplace with the first hardware product — the (now-discontinued) ES-1 audio/CV interface module designed for use with software such as Silent Way — making an appearance in 2010. Since then, the company continues to innovate in its core business of computer-synth interfacing, albeit admittedly going off-tangent in 2014 with the award-winning disting — a ‘many-in-one’ multifunction module based around a PIC® Microcontroller (MCU) offering a variety of CV and audio processing algorithms, including a selection of oscillators (LFOs/VCOs), alongside a sample (WAV) file and MIDI file player with a variety of options for sample triggering and playback speed — that continues to be Expert Sleepers’ best-seller by far, now in its improved mk4 iteration.