IK Multimedia launches AXE I/O audio interface with unique advanced guitar tone shaping

IK Multimedia AXE IO

IK Multimedia has announced availability of its new AXE I/O, a high-end audio interface and controller that delivers premium sound and innovative features designed for guitarists seeking the perfect way to record with world-class tone and professional techniques. The new 2 In/5 Out AXE I/O offers guitar-centric features such as adjustable impedance, streamlined re-amplification functions […]

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Audient intros Sono hybrid amp modeling audio interface

Audient Sono audio interface

Audient has teamed up with leading cab simulation pioneers Two Notes Audio Engineering to present Sono, the ultimate valve audio interface for guitarists. Combining Audient’s award-winning analogue and digital conversion recording technology with the world’s best DSP power amp modelling and cab simulation from Two Notes. Sono features an onboard 12AX7 analogue valve and 3-band […]

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PreSonus ships Quantum 4848 Thunderbolt audio interface

PreSonus Quantum 4848

PreSonus is now shipping the new Quantum 4848, a 48×48 ultra-low-latency 24-bit 192 kHz Thunderbolt audio interface. The professional recording solution includes the Studio One Professional recording, mixing, and mastering software. The 1U rack-mount Quantum 4848 features high-quality A/D/A converters with 120 dB dynamic range on every input and output and offers 32 channels of […]

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Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 interface on sale for 199 USD/EUR

NI Komplete Audio 6

Native Instruments has launched a sale on its Komplete Audio 6 six-channel audio interface. The USB powered interface features 4 analog ins/outs, digital in/out, MIDI in/out and 24-bit/96 kHz recording. Packing six channels of pristine audio into a road-ready metal casing, KOMPLETE AUDIO 6 is the ideal home-studio hub or live-show workhorse. And with an […]

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RØDE introduces RØDECaster Pro Podcast Production Studio

Rodecaster Pro

RØDE Microphones has announced the RØDECaster Pro Podcast Production Studio, the world’s first fully integrated podcast production studio. The RØDECaster™ Pro will change the face of the fastest-growing segment in the media industry – podcasting. Now, everyone with a dream to create professional-quality podcasts will be able to do so seamlessly with this new and […]

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Waves Audio opens pre-orders for the SoundGrid Mobile Server

Waves SoundGrid Mobile Server

Waves Audio has announced it has opened pre-orders for the Waves SoundGrid Mobile Server, a portable DSP unit that is great for traveling, mixing small live shows and for the studio. Don’t be fooled by its size; the SoundGrid Moblie server definitely packs a powerful punch. With an Intel® Core™ i5 processor and 4 GB […]

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Cranborne Audio launches Camden 500 Preamp and Signal Processor

Cranborne Audio Camden 500 feat

Cranborne Audio is a new brand from a London-based product design team responsible for several award-winning Pro Audio products, from the likes of Soundcraft & Aston Mic’s. Their vision is to make high-end studio recording more accessible to modern engineers and musicians. Cranborne Audio products are designed and engineered and also made in the UK. […]

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Roland VT-4 adds MIDI, control for performer-friendly vocal FX

Roland’s revised VT-4 – the replacement for the first AIRA VT-3 – makes it look like someone finally gets what vocalists want in effects. More effects options, actual control over harmony, and MIDI could make all the difference.

The original VT-3 is a little too simple to recommend. A big dial locks you into some stock effects, without any parameter controls beyond pitch and formant. But at the same time, it is unusually direct and accessible, and it doubles as a USB interface, meaning for singers it’s carry-on luggage friendly. So as a cheap, fun effect, it does have potential. It’s cheap on the used market, but then so are a number of pedals.

Roland have apparently been listening, though. Just as the fun but simplistic TR-8 was replaced with the sample-loading, all-around improved TR-8S, so to the VT-3 has gotten a revamp. The Slimer-green trim is gone, but more importantly, you now can control the way it sounds, via expanded effects options and controls. And it does MIDI input.

Here’s the thing: there are lots of great sounding vocal effects out there, but none of them seems designed with singers in mind. They fit into two categories: pedals that seem to have been created by guitarists, or “studio” boxes that have way too much menu diving. (If you can think of an exception, shout in comments.) The VT-3 was already significant in that it was live friendly. Now the VT-4 fills in the gaps the VT-3 left open.

From the VT-3, and still a good idea:

  • USB audio interface functionality (so you can use this with a computer)
  • XLR mic in with phantom power, plus minijack in
  • Four faders: pitch, formant, balance (for controlling wet/dry of the effect), reverb
  • Push-button preset recall
  • Dedicated bypass switch

But new on the VT-4:

  • A friendly “key” dial at the top right
  • Direct access to “vocoder” and “harmonizer” modes
  • Multiple effects at once
  • MIDI input – so play in the notes/harmonies you want for the vocoder, harmonizer, and pitch engines
  • Variations for all the effects

It’s finally what you want to sing with, whether you’re a great singer or can barely sing at all – direct access to effects, performance-friendly controls. Singers don’t necessarily want to have to do everything with their feet or in pages of menus. This hardware’s designers seems to understand that.

It’s the effects that appear to be totally overhauled. The only variations on the VT-3 are printed directly around the dial – as in, you get two alternatives for the auto pitch, and that’s it.

On the VT-4, there’s a whole slew of effects hidden behind the variation buttons. (Those buttons still double as preset storage and recall, so what you’ll likely do is explore to find the ones you like, then lock them in at the top.)

There are still some toy-like presets as on the VT-3 – though some of those are interesting for processing drums and the like. In addition, though, you also get a bunch of new, musical effects, and enough variations that you can dial in what you need.

There’s a chorus effect (categorized inexplicably as “megaphone.”) There’s a model of the classic Roland VP in the vocoder, along with talk box, advanced, and Speak & Spell (sorry, trademark – “spell toy”) variations. The Harmony option lets you choose intervals (fifth, third, forth below, and combinations, though you can also use MIDI for more). Even robot has octave options and a new feedback variation.

Also, that fixed “reverb” is now really a multi effects unit – reverb, echo, synced tempo delay, and dub echo are now available.

I’d likely buy it for those upgrades alone, but then you can also use a MIDI keyboard as input to control pitch.

I need to research more how multiple effects work and exactly how these models relate to those available on the VT-3 and other Roland AIRA and Boutique series models. But generally these days Roland are constantly improving their modeling and sounds, thanks to architectures that are more flexible than those of the past.

More at Roland’s site:


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Apogee launches Jam+ portable USB audio interface

Apogee Jam PlusApogee has announced the release of the all new Jam+, a portable, studio-grade USB instrument input and output. Jam+ connects your electric guitar, bass, keyboard or any acoustic instrument with a pickup, directly to your iOS device, Mac, or Windows PC. With an adapter (sold separately) you can also connect a dynamic microphone. Jam+ aims […]

Steinberg launches new UR22mkII Production Pack

Steinberg UR22mkII ProductionPackSteinberg has announced the immediate availability of a new UR22mkII Production Pack, a complete music recording and production solution. The UR22mkII Production Pack consists of the UR22mkII USB audio interface, ST-H01 studio headphones, ST-M01 studio condenser microphone together with a microphone cable as well as the Cubase Artist 9.5 music production system, WaveLab Elements 9.5 […]