gear”

Universal Audio ships Arrow desktop audio interface

Universal Audio ArrowUniversal Audio has announced the release of Arrow, a 2×4 Thunderbolt 3 audio interface for Windows and Mac. The Arrow interface delivers album-quality results with class-leading sound quality, Unison mic preamps, and Realtime UAD Plug-In Processing. Featuring two Unison mic preamps, Realtime UAD Plug-In Processing, and class-leading Universal Audio conversion, this portable, compact, and lightweight […]

Arturia announces RackBrute 3U & 6U Eurorack systems

Arturia RackBrute 6UArturia has announced the the imminent release of RackBrute, a Eurorack modular storage, power, and transport system. Following the announcement of the new MiniBrute 2 and MiniBrute 2S synthesizers, RackBrute is the third and final product of the series, and will be available at stores worldwide from March 2018. RackBrute is a dedicated Eurorack case […]

Arturia’s new easy, affordable modular cases also mount to MiniBrute 2

The beauty of Eurorack is its modularity. The problem is, that means your first investment has to be a case. Arturia’s RackBrute might be your solution.

It’s portable. It’s not hugely expensive – this is at last a mass market offering. And it seems full of eminently practical features – including, if you want, the ability to attach this to Arturia’s new MiniBrute 2 and 2S.

For those of you just joining us, Arturia have been teasing out three related products over the course of as may days. So on Monday, the news was the MiniBrute 2, a reboot of their signature monosynth with modularity added via a dense patch bay wedged in the upper-right hand corner of the hardware. Day two: maybe you want that same MiniBrute 2 without the keyboard, but with pads and a more extensive sequencer.

In case you didn’t catch some leaked photos or spot some funny looking pixels on either side of the keyboard, now part three turns out to be a set of Eurorack cases. And yes, that mysterious mention of “Arturia Link” is in fact the ability to attach the RackBrute to the MiniBrute 2/2S, so you have a handy complement of modules right above your synth (and can connect cables easily between the rack and the instrument).

This being modular, you get a choice of two sizes. For those of you new to this, both are the width of the MiniBrute 2 – so roughly the width of a 2t-key keyboard – and one is one row, while one is two rows.

To get more specific (hey, I was never the best with, like, quantities and scale):

3U / 88HP / 20 modules – $/EUR 249
6U / 176HP / 32 modules – $/EUR 279

Shipping in March.

Yeah, anyone who’s priced these out probably doesn’t have to read far beyond those costs. Sure, if you’re splurging on some beautiful handcrafted wood, maybe you want to spend more. But if you just need a way to solve where do I put my modules, this is a godsend – and just as Arturia solved the step sequencer problem for loads of musicians with BeatStep, so too it may have just solved the case problem for people curious to dip their toes in modular.

More features:
+12V / -12V / +5V power onboard
(Power supply with 1600mA +12V output, 1600mA -12V output and 900mA +5V output. 5HP width)
Comes with a carry handle – a bit like rollaway luggage
Spacers to protect your gear from collision
Arturia Link gives you lockable attachments of all this range of gear
Anti slip strips
Screw holes for attaching gear – and note they did include rails on there

Arturia Link is this elegantly designed widget that attaches the new MiniBrute and RackBrute hardware in various combinations – and doubles as a stand, and a carry handle.

The onboard power unit has dedicated dual circuitry set up for covering a range of gear.

Speaking of luggage, there’s a soft RackBrute Travel Bag (for scratch / splash / dust protection they say – note this isn’t a hard flight case, though, so I’d be a little nervous about it in an overhead locker on an airplane)

This, a toothbrush, and a deodorant might be all you need.

More info:
https://www.arturia.com/rackbrute-3u/overview

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Arturia’s MiniBrute 2S with step sequencer, not keys, might be your pick

Now we know the whole story: Arturia’s new synths come with a choice of keys or pads+more step sequencing – and there’s are companion RackBrute cases.

So, if you like the ‘Brute synths, now you can choose.

Prefer a keyboard? The MiniBrute 2 (without the letter ‘s’) now has 25 full-sized keys. And it’s got the new patch bay for modular routing, plus a competent step sequencer and arpeggiator.

But prefer pads to a keyboard, or want deeper step sequencing? That’s the MiniBrute 2S.

To either, you can then add two cases for expanding with modular, making the MiniBrute the center of a patchable sound workstation. That’s what “Arturia Link” is – not some proprietary new sync format or something like that, but actually a physical connector attaching the accessories. (It’s a fancy name for some fancy holes, basically!)

Let’s talk about the 2S, because it’s already upstaging the MiniBrute 2 for some people. Little surprise: a lot of people aren’t keyboardists, people who are keyboardists generally already own keyboards, and most importantly, Arturia’s BeatStep line of sequencers were already beloved. Cross-breed that step sequencing goodness with the MiniBrute, and we may have a winner.

The pads on there reduce the overall footprint, and provide velocity and continuous pressure sensitivity.

The step sequencer is three parts – so, since this is a monosynth, that means in addition to making on layer for your melodies, you have two additional layers for automating parameters.

Here’s a breakdown of how it works:

1. Melody:
Sequence pitch, gate, and velocity – as per usual, and as on the BeatStep Pro – with ratcheting on gates if you so choose.

You can also set per-step glide.

2. Modulation:

There’s both a Mod 1 and Mod 2 tracks for adding layers of … other goodness.

So, Arturia tells CDM, you can use that track to generate envelopes and LFOs. Or you can make another Pitch track. Or a Gate track. Or an unquantized track of control voltages.

And naturally, this also is then patchable from the patch bay … or you can use this as a sequencer for external gear (including if you mount one of their new racks for your own modules).

The 2S combined with RackBrute, for a complete little modular setup.

It’s all very cool, indeed. Of course, you can still put a BeatStep Pro alongside a modular if you don’t care much for the MicroBrute synth. And indeed, I’ve noticed that Arturia piece glowing alongside modulars in many, many techno and experimental live acts lately – nice to see this inexpensive piece of gear next to racks of thousands of Euros/dollars worth of kit.

But this is also a powerful synthesizer meeting a powerful sequencer in one piece of gear, even without adding anything else. And if you do like the ‘Brute sound, then you get the usual edgy metallic timbres and filters, aggressive and wild knobs and modulation, and now the ability to expand your possibilities by patching. Having the sequencer built-in makes sequencing modulation and per-step settings easier, beyond just melodies – and you don’t have to pack an extra sequencer and cable.

So I suspect the MicroBrute 2S is going to find a lot of homes, whether it’s as a gateway to modular as Arturia are pushing, or as an equally strong choice for standing on its own or with other desktop gear.

Keyboardists will no doubt still like the arpeggiator and 101-style step sequencer of the MicroBrute 2, but the 2S stands out for programming patterns. Tough choice for those of us who do both – but Arturia’s done a nice job of focusing on what musicians want this round and gotten our gear year off to a rollicking start.

Pricing is $649 / EURO 649. Also shipping in February.

https://www.arturia.com/minibrute-2-landing

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Focusrite launches new Clarett series USB audio interfaces

Focusrite Clarett USB audio interfacesFocusrite has introduced a new range of studio-quality USB audio interfaces under the Clarett line. The Clarett USB series features three interfaces: Clarett 2Pre USB (10-in, 4-out), Clarett 4Pre USB (18-in, 8-out) and Clarett 8Pre USB (18-in, 20-out). The low noise, low distortion and up to 119dB dynamic range of Clarett can now be experienced […]

UAD for everybody: Arrow sound box is Thunderbolt, PC or Mac, $499

Universal Audio just brought their DSP platform – and top-notch audio interface tech – to a box that’s Thunderbolt, bus-powered, and under US$500.

Here’s the thing: if someone asks you the age-old question “which audio interface should I buy,” it’s actually pretty hard not to mention Universal Audio. While the company may have gotten started selling pricey high-end DSP cards for their platform of vintage gear emulations and sound tools, starting with Apollo, they also happened to make one of the best audio interfaces. The Apollo line boasts high-end converters and audio circuitry and rock-solid performance. And it’s been steadily reaching more and more people, with the smaller Twin bringing the price down, and Windows support following Mac.

The Apollo Twin is good enough, in fact, that you can almost recommend it just for its audio interface capabilities – not only as a gateway into the catalog of UAD studio effects and sound processors and the like.

But the Apollo Twin still represents some outlay of cash. And it’s portable, but not quite throw-it-in-a-laptop portable – especially once you figure in that power brick.

So, the Arrow starts to look really smart as an entry level device. Its estimated street is just US$499. It’s still 2×4 like the Apollo Twin – so you can have a separate monitor mix. And there are two mic preamps.

But it’s sleeker, prettier, more portable, and it runs on bus powered Thunderbolt 3 on both Mac and Windows. (Gone are the days of interface companies catering just to Apple – the press kit even came with shots both of a MacBook Pro and a Razer Blade, my respective favorite high-end Mac and Windows choices.)

Now, if you were just spending $500 on an interface alone, this might still not make sense. So then you have the value-add of the UAD DSP platform. While native processing is powerful these days – running VST and AU plug-ins and the like – it still means contending with some latency. So, you have to listen to the dry signal of your instrument or voice while you’re recording, and then add compressors and reverb and pitch correction and whatever else afterwards.

UA’s ongoing argument is that they can deliver their signal processors with near-zero latency, thanks to their onboard DSP (the “UAD SOLO” is what they call it). The mic preamps feature Unison technology, which models gain structure on the hardware for more accurate emulation of studio tools. And you can take your vocals and guitars and synths and keyboards and everything else and add their library of effects as if you’ve got the actual gear there, without hearing a delay as you track.

Those plug-ins don’t all come cheap, once you buy a lot of them. But the Arrow has newcomers to UAD in mind, bundling a full 14 full-featured “Realtime Analog Classics” in the box.

Ah, remember the days of expensive hourly studio time? Meet the bundled analog gear – software UAD form.

The bundle’s not too shabby, either. You don’t get the latest models of everything, but you do get the full UA 610-B channel strip for taking advantage of that Unison technology, ideal for recording. And there’s a nice selection of EQ, compression, and the like (from the still very decent previous generation), plus excellent Marshall Plexi and Softube Bass Amp room additions (great on instruments). You’ll want to budget more if you’re really in this for the UA stuff, but it’s not a bad start. UA of course hopes this gets you hooked so you buy more, so – here’s their explanation of their various hardware/software bundles:
UAD-2 / Apollo Plug-In Bundles Explained [scroll down]

Really, the only catch is that the Arrow has just one UAD SOLO processor. That means you can’t layer on a whole lot of those UAD effects at once – you’re limited by available processing power. I like the form factor of the Arrow enough that I hope UA will offer a DUO version with two DSP cores – my experience has been that on the Apollo Duo that’s more than enough horsepower for solo musician/producer needs. The single core, though, I suspect will feel a bit cramped for UAD addicts. (Those Legacy models in turn will be lighter on the SOLO, so there’s a certain wisdom to their inclusion.) Oh, and one other niggle – that extra x2 out is only on the stereo headphone jack, though – it’s missing the Twin’s separate rear channel jacks, useful for spatialization or other external outputs.

As a live device, though, and as an entry point to UAD, this one looks like a winner. UA keep iterating on their accessibility, and this one is sure to be a big breakthrough. That real-time functionality and library of plug-ins also makes it more fun to buy than competing audio interfaces, which only act as, you know, audio interfaces.

Arrow is shipping now. I’ll try to get one in to review.

uaudio.com/arrow

and about those plug-ins:
uaudio.com/uad-plug-ins.html

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Arturia intros MiniBrute 2S semi-modular sequencing synth

Arturia MiniBrute 2SArturia has introduced the MiniBrute 2S, a semi-modular hybrid sequencer synthesizer instrument designed to push the envelope for the modern musician. MiniBrute 2S takes the vast sound design potential of MiniBrute 2 and supercharges it with an advanced, triple-layered step sequencer. It combines Arturia’s legacy of joyful, intuitive sequencers with attitude-packed synthesis, and expands into […]

DAD Monitor Controller for AX32, DX32R and Avid MTRX now shipping

DAD MOMDigital Audio Denmark has announced that its Monitor Operating Module hardware monitor controller is now shipping worldwide. The MOM unit was born for taking hands-on control of the monitoring side of any DAD AX32 or DX32R unit with the optional Pro | Mon | 3 monitor control license. With this new, third incarnation of Pro […]

PreSonus intros Studio 18|10 and 18|24 USB audio interfaces

PreSonus Studio 1824PreSonus has announced the Studio 18|10 and Studio 18|24, the new USB 2.0 audio/MIDI interfaces Following up on the Studio 26 and Studio 68 ultra-high-definition recording solutions, the new interfaces record at up to 24-bit, 192 kHz resolution and feature PreSonus’ famed XMAX Class A microphone preamps, audiophile-grade digital converters, ultra-low-jitter clocking, and MIDI I/O. […]

Arturia announces MiniBrute 2 semi-modular analog synthesizer

Arturia MiniBrute 2Arturia has announced the imminent release of the MiniBrute 2 synthesizer, the first of three new products which will all be available at stores from late February 2018. The MiniBrute 2 is a 25-key analog monosynth with a semi-modular architecture. It bridges the gap between traditional synthesizer instruments and the exciting world of modular. Shares […]