Arturia now offer these classic instruments individually – with another 50% off through January 10 – and have video tutorials to teach you how to use them.
Let’s have a big round of applause for democratization. There was a time when something like the Fairlight CMI was so out of reach, just owning one would probably land you some big gigs. Now, you can get software recreations that offer you the musical possibilities of these instruments, for the price of a nice date night.
We already had a look at the full update of Arturia V Collection 6 – basically, the software versions of a whole bunch of keyboard instruments and synths, plus tools for organizing and playing them.
The story here is, maybe you really just want the Fairlight, or just the Clav, or just the Buchla, or just the DX-7. Now those three instruments are available individually.
The Buchla story is especially interesting. Apart from getting the authorized stamp of approval, Arturia say they’ve gone component by component modeling the original Easel. And while full rack modulars are all the rage these days, it’s really the way the Easel distilled that sound into a single, integrated design give it a singular vision. It’s not just the “West Coast” idea in terms of signal flow: it’s a West Coast instrument.
Then, take the reboot from Arturia and its new features, and you get a relationship that’s a bit like Bob Moog’s reimagining of the Minimoog as the Minimoog Voyager. It’s authentic, but it’s also modern.
The overview video explains the basic idea:
But now there’s a tutorial series with Glen Darcey. (End of an era: Glen, who managed a lot of Arturia’s recent successes including the Beatstep and ‘Brute lines, announced early this month that he’s moving on to start a new brand. We wish him the best!)
Glen also takes us on a tour of the Fairlight CMI, the ground-breaking digital instrument that defined digital as we know it. I always admired the Fairlight’s unique interface and workflow, so this seems to me as much a chance to get your hands on that as the distinctive sounds it made:
Flashback: a few weeks back we featured Steve Horelick showing off the same hardware back in the early 80s. Steve here is speaking to kids (hi there!), but you might know his voice from his terrific Logic videos from our present decade.
The DX-7 sees a terrific recreation here, one that makes editing uncommonly accessible – just in time for FM to see a full resurgence:
Clav fans, there’s a tutorial series on that, as well (plus announcement video to give you the big picture):
Pricing: 50% off the individual instruments makes them each US$/EUR 99, through January 10 only.
The full version of V Collection is US$/EUR 399 (normally 499), same.
Upgraders: you’ll need to log in to see customized pricing.
Arturia refreshed their mega-collection of synths and keyboard instruments, with new sought-after additions – including a recreation of the Buchla Easel.
Get ready for some numbers and letters here here. The resulting product is the Arturia V Collection 6. The ancient Roman in me apparently wants to read that as “5 collection 6” but, uh, yeah, that’s the letter “v” as in “virtual.”
And what you’re now up to is 21 separate products bundled as one. Inception-style, some of those products contain the other products, too. (If you just want the Buchla, sit tight – yes, you can get it separately.)
So, hat we’re talking about is this:
Synths: models of the Synclavier, Oberheim Matrix 12 and SEM, Roland Jupiter-8, ARP 2600, Dave Smith’s Sequential Prophet V and vector Prophet VS, Yamaha CS-80, a Minimoog, and a Moog modular. To that roster, you can now add a Yamaha DX7, Fairlight CMI, and a Buchla Music Easel.
Keys: Fender Rhodes Stage 73 (suitcase and stage alike), ARP Solina String Ensemble, Wurlitzer. And now there’s a Clavinet, too.
Organs: Hammond B-3, Farfisa, VOX Continental.
And some pianos. Various pianos – uprights and grands – plus other parameters via physical modeling are bundled into Piano V.
The bundle also includes Analog Lab, which pulls together presets and performance parameters for all the rest into a unified interface.
This isn’t all sampled soundware, either – well, if it were, it’d be impossibly huge. Instead, Arturia use physical modeling and electronics modeling techniques to produce emulations of the inner workings of all these instruments.
About those new instruments…
There’s no question the Clavinet and DX7 round out the offerings, making this a fairly complete selection of just about everything you can play with keys. (Okay, no harpsicords or pipe organs, so every relatively modern instrument.) And the Fairlight CMI, while resurrected as a nifty mobile app on iOS, is welcome, too. But because it’s been so rare, and because of the renaissance of interest in Don Buchla and so-called “West Coast” synthesis for sound design, the Buchla addition is obviously stealing the show.
Here’s a look at those additions:
The DX7 V promises to build on the great sound of the Yamaha original while addressing the thing that wasn’t so great about the DX7 – interface and performance functionality. So you get an improved interface, plus a new mod matrix, customizable envelopes, extra waveforms, a 2nd LFO, effects, sequencer, and arpeggiator, among other additions.
Funk fans get the Clavinet V, with control over new parameters via physical modeling (in parallel with the Arturia piano offering), and the addition of amp and effect combos.
Okay, but let’s get on to the two really exciting offerings (ahem, I’m biased):
The CMI V recreates the 1979 instrument that led the move to digital sampling and additive synthesis. And this might be the first Fairlight recreation that you’d want in a modern setup: you get 10 multitmbral, polyphonic slots, plus real-time waveform shaping, effects, and a sequencer. And Arturia have thrown us a curveball, too: to create your own wavetables, there’s a “Spectral” synth that scans and mixes bits of audio.
I’m really keen to play with this one – it sounds like what you’ll want to do is to go Back to the Future and limit yourself to making some entire tracks using just the Fairlight emulation. If you read my children’s TV round-up, maybe Steve Horelick and Reading Rainbow had you thinking of this already. Now you just need a PC with a stylus so you can imagine you’ve got a light pen.
The Buchla Easel goes further back to 1973. It’s arguably the most musical of Don Buchla’s wild instruments, bringing the best ideas from the modular into a single performance-oriented design. And here, it looks like we get a complete, authentic reproduction.
Everything that makes the Buchla approach unique is there. Think amplitude modulation and frequency modulation and the “complex” oscillator’s wave folding, gating that allows for unique tuned sounds, and sophisticated routing of modulation. It all adds up to granting the ability to make strange, new timbres, to seek out new performance life and new sound designs – to boldly go where only privileged experimentalists have gone before.
This video explains the whole “West Coast” synthesis notion (as opposed to Moog’s “East Coast” modular approach):
Arturia makes up for the fact that this is now an in-the-box software synth by opening up the worlds of modulation. So you get something called “gravity” which applies game physics to modulation, and other modulation sources (the curves of the “left hand,” for instance) to make all the organic changes happen inside software. It’s a new take on the Buchla, and not really like anything we’ve seen before. And it suggests this software may elevate beyond just faux replication onscreen, with a genuinely new hybrid.
My only regret: I would love to have this with touch controls, on iOS or Windows, to really complete the feeling. It’s odd seeing the images from Arturia with that interface locked on a PC screen. But I think of all the software instruments in 2017, this late addition could be near the top (alongside VCV Rack’s modular world, though more on that later).
But it’s big news – a last-minute change to upset the world of sound making in 2017.
Watch for our hands-on soon.
Intro price and more new features
Also new in this version: the Analog Lab software, which acts as a hub for all those instruments, parameters, and presets, now has been updated, as well. There’s a new browser, more controller keyboard integration, and other improvements.
Piano V has three new piano models (Japanese Grand, a Plucked Grand, and a Tack Upright), enhanced mic positioning, an improved EQ, a new stereo delay, and it’s own built-in compressor.
There are improvements throughout, Arturia say.
There’s also a lower intro price: new users get US$/€ 249 instead of 499, through January 10.
And that Buchla is 99 bucks if that’s really what you want out of this set.
Drei wirklich fette Klassiker sind neu dabei! Arturias V-Collection mit der Versionsnummer 6 bekommt zwei digitale Klassiker und einen analogen dazu: CMI Fairlight, Yamaha DX7 und Buchla Music Easel.
Bei Arturia werden Klassiker nicht nur simuliert, sondern sie bekommen meistens noch einen Zusatz wie einen weiteren LFO oder eine spezielle Funktion oder sogar etwas total Neues angebaut.
Arturia V-Collection 6
So auch hier. Neben den bekannten Klassikern aus der V 5.0 bekommen im Einzelnen der DX7 eine neue Optik mit Easy-Edit-Page hinzu, was spielerisch das Ändern von FM-Sounds einfacher macht. Außerdem hat er einen zweiten LFO hinzubekommen, der bekanntlich auch Audiogeschwindigkeiten erreichen sollte. Zudem sind selbstdefinierbare Hüllkurven an Bord, die eh beim Original schon komplexer waren. Das ist für FM wichtig und angesichts der Konkurrenz auch passend.
Beim Easel ist etwas, das Arturia Gravity nennt, hinzugekommen. Der Easel ist sehr stark ein spielbares Instrument, ähnlich wie der Minimoog. Er lebt sehr stark von der direkten Performance mit allem. Er bekommt eine Abteilung, die entweder etwas Physical Modeling oder aber spezielle Knöpfe enthält, die Reibung und Ähnliches beinhalten wie damals Lemur. Dies ist die wahrscheinlichere Variante der Interpretation, bis weitere Informationen bekannt werden. Das passt und ist total sinnvoll, wie eine Spielhilfe zu sehen – so kann man einen Knopf anschieben und er benötigt eine gewisse Zeit, um sich zu bewegen! Sehr gute und sehr passende Idee.
Spektral Synthesizer im Fairlight
Als letztes wäre der Fairlight CMI zu nennen, der durch seine Sample-Library und seinen Sequencer sehr bekannt wurde. Man erinnere sich an das Erdenklang-Album mit der computerakustischen Sinfonie oder einfach die Arbeiten von Kate Bush und Peter Gabriel oder später auch Cabaret Voltaire oder Eberhard Schoener. Neu ist ein Spektral-Synthesizer, der möglicherweise auf das 3D-Darstellungsmodell aufsetzt. Er kann Wavetables herstellen, was das Original natürlich niemals konnte.
Der Preis für alles zusammen wird 399 Euro betragen und es gibt auch Upgrade Angebote.
There’s an easel of sound, and American composer Charles Cohen is its gentle-voiced practitioner. What starts as primitive basic sounds magically becomes sophisticated, expressive, emotionally-charged musical painting. And Charles can show you how.
He did just that earlier this year at CTM Festival, at a workshop hosted by Schneidersladen, the storied Berlin synth shop whose fearless captain, Andreas Schneider, was one of the early champions of today’s modular, analog, and boutique maker revivals.
He walks through the process, with all the cool methodical pedagogy of Bob Ross himself. “You just pull the plug.” Complex sounds, simple controls. Clocks drive rhythms into the delay; each pattern living in voltage.
Below: an earlier film by Alex Tyson captures Cohen improvising on the vintage instrument. This isn’t just chin-scratching stuff, some sort of antisocial noise-making esoterica. Rather, it seems almost like a UFO control panel was wired directly into the brain, translating the buzz of neurons into dreamlike animals of sonic imagination. And it all seams to have the immediacy of picking up a brush – a good bar for anyone playing with sound, whether you get your hands on one of these strange beasts or not.
Charles doesn’t over-sell his work: “beepsandboops” is the name of his SoundCloud account. But what wonderful beepsandboops. You could easily be convinced you’ve just picked up the Smithsonian Folkways record of traditional music – from outer space.
Or, as Bob Ross would say, “You need an almighty easel while you’re doing this – an easel that’s strong.”
These words could mean painting or music making, too – whether you’re playing a mandolin, a Buchla modular, or a computer.
“These little son-of-a-guns hide in your brush and you just have to push them out. This is your world … your creation.
There’s no secret to this — anyone can paint. All you need is a dream in your heart, a little practice…”
This pair of videos, via Todd Barton, take a look at the upcoming Buchla Electronic Musical Instruments Electronic Music Box. The first video, above, captures an improvised jig by Baron on a prototype of the new BEMI Music Easel. The … Continue reading →
Tatsächlich nochmal eine Überraschung, Don Buchlas Music Easel scheint wieder neu aufgelegt zu werden. Wir versuchen mehr zu erfahren, das Bild hier kommt via Twitter von Alessandro Cortini @blindoldfreak, hier ein Video des klassischen Modells: