Eclipse by Rosetti guitar strings review

We recently got our hands on some of Rosetti’s Eclipse strings to see how these slinky strings measure up. Spoiler alert: They’re pretty good.

The nice people at Rosetti were kind enough to send us a set of their Eclipse strings for electric and acoustic guitars. We tested them out to see how they feel and what they sound like.

I tried their 9-42 thickness, nickel roundwound electric guitar strings. The strings are incredibly slick to the touch with a slinkiness that makes playing on them feel incredibly smooth. They’re solid strings with a gorgeous tone that are flexible enough for serious bending. They are great for rhythm guitar with an even tone when playing chords whilst providing a formidable treble sound for playing lead parts.

I’ve found the Eclipse 9-42 strings perfect for playing funk stylings. If you’re looking for a chunkier tone for rock or metal the strings still perform but you’d want to look at some thicker strings – which I can’t speak of the quality of for Eclipse though I imagine they’re of the same good standard.

For acoustic guitars we played a set of the Eclipse 12-53 strings made up of 80/20 bronze. Thanks to their 80/20 bronze make up the strings ring out incredibly bright and sit at their best on a full-bodied, dreadnought guitar. They sound powerful with a good volume that doesn’t infringe on clarity at all.

They feel great whether you’re a 3 chord singer songwriter or you’re speedily playing up the neck. These are great for a full-bodied sound though lighter strings may suit you if you’re more into playing complex acoustic guitar parts.

Overall I was impressed by Rosetti’s Eclipse strings. They feel great, they sound great and they’re flexible enough to suit most guitar players. At £4.99 for the electric guitar strings and £5.49 for the acoustic strings they are incredibly reasonably priced for a really nice set of strings.

Check them out at: www.rosetti.co.uk

A cheaper version of Teenage Engineering’s incredible OP-1 could be on the way

The OP-1 is super cool – if you know, you know. But it’s also super expensive and that’s stopped a lot of people getting it. The OTTO synth could be the affordable solution.

Teenage Engineering’s OP-1 is a pcoket-sized, all-in-one music production controller that combined extensive features with a quirky design. The OTTO is similarly capable and even looks to match the quirky graphics that take the OP-1 beyond an amazing piece of kit and makes music creation fun.

The OTTO is an open-source digital synthesizer that is still in the works that is heavily inspired by the OP-1 but looks to pack it with different hardware. It works on Raspberry pi software and features a 26 key/button playable spread with 4 knobs for customisation and a series of other buttons for control. It has a DAC to output sound to your headphones or a speaker and features 4 encoders.

OTTO teenage engineering synth OP-1 mini portable sampling music production software device hardware
The OTTO synth – under the skin

It’s not designed to be a commercial product with the creators saying: “It might be important to mention that the OTTO is not, and will never be, a commercially aimed product. It is open source by nature, in both hardware and software. If you want an OTTO, you’re going to get your hands dirty, if not with the code, at least with the hardware.”

Otto synth’s planned features include:

  • A synth (with swappable engines) for live performance with midi effects (arpeggiator, etc.)
  • 2 FX slots. Synths and drums send to them as a FX bus.
  • Synths and effects are swappable “engines”.
  • For drums, a sampler will run in parallel to the sequencer-synth chain.
  • The drum sampler has 10 channels. These have a simple 1-bar, 16 step volca-style drum-sequencer, with each step corresponding to a white key on the musical keyboard on the prototype currently being built.
  • An audio line input which has FX send and level
  • A simple loop-station-style audio looper that can get audio from line in or synth. It has overdub and one level of Undo.
  • 8 save slots which save the state of the entire system. A save button lets you choose the slot to save in. Saves are only performed when you take the action.

The OTTO is still very much in development and it’s small team are always looking for people to help out with it’s development, testing, design, and more.

Find out more about the OTTO synth and it’s build so far, even get involved, here: github.com/topisani/OTTO

Traktor Pro 3.1: S4 MK3 Standalone Mixer, S8 and D2 Controllers and more

Traktor Pro 3.1 is now going live and it has now been officially announced.

Traktor Pro 3.1 has a lot of great changes – including visual addtions, S4 MK3 standalone mixer mode, a new mapping control for S8 and D2 controllers, and a lot of other smaller changes.

  • ADDED Parallel Waveforms: Two new deck size “Parallel Full” and “Parallel Slim” have been added, which optionally replace the side by side waveforms by stacked ones. The parallel options can be enabled for decks A & B and decks C & D separately in the preferences. A layout preset “Parallel” will be added to the user’s list layouts.
  • ADDED Single Deck View: The number of visible decks can now be set to “1”, which provides a single deck view with the waveform spreading across the full width of the screen to be used for set preparation. A layout preset “Preparation” will be added to the user’s list of layouts.
  • ADDED Duplicate in Layout Manager: A button allowing to duplicate an existing layout has been added to the Layout preferences.
  • ADDED Custom Mapping for S8 and D2: Individual controls on the Kontrol S8 and the Kontrol D2 can now be custom mapped (over-mapped) via the Controller Manager.\
  • ADDED Non-Destructive File Handling: A set of options called “Tag writing mode” has been added to the File Management preferences to configure which types of metadata Traktor does write and does not write into the audio files.
  • ADDED Tooltips in Preferences and a toggle icon in Application Header: Tooltips are now also available for all preferences panels. Tooltips can be switched on/off in the Global Settings preferences as well as the Global Section. (Editor’s note: it does not appear that there are any tooltips in the Controller Manager section – easily the most confusing page of the preferences) 
  • IMPROVED Insert new track to analysis queue: A new un-analysed track loaded into a deck is now prioritized over an analysis queue running in the background.
  • FIXED Keyboard Shortcuts non-functional when exiting Preferences or dialogs
    The search string in the upper right corner of the browser pane has been grown bigger to improve its readability.
  • FIXED Search by KEY broken: Search by KEY via the refined search dropdown is functional.
  • FIXED D2/S8: Sample Pitch Control Broken: The sample pitch control via the display knobs is functional again on KONTROL D2/S8.

KRK’s get LCD screens in the next generation of studio monitors

KRK have unveiled they’re next line of studio speakers and they change the game with a visual equaliser.

KRK are a popular name in studios and for good reason with over thirty years of experience creating high quality monitor speakers that don’t price out home studio engineers. Their ‘next generation’ of studio monitors introduce their most high-tech offering yet packed with surprising new features.

The KRK Rokit G4 range introduces an LCD EQ on the back so you can use a visual graph with DSP-driven room tuning to get the perfect acoustic tuning for your environment. The KRK app for Android and iPhone helps guide you with your speaker placement, level matching, subwoofer level and more.

The G4 series features a custom-built Brickwall Limiter to help maintain a balanced sound ans prevent distortion by engaging at maximum amp-level automatically. The amplifier itself has been custom engineered to efficiently drive Kevlar speakers with a Class D design.

Their newly-designed front-firing port produces fantastic low-end extension, while the open cell acoustic is-foam pads separate speaker and surface, reducing unwanted vibration transmission.

KRK’s new G4 monitors feature:

  • Built-in efficient Class D power amp
  • Proprietary speaker drivers built in-house from the ground up
  • Onboard LCD visual DSP-driven EQ
  • 25 visual Graphic EQ settings for different environments
  • KRK App with Room Correction Tools
  • Scientifically designed high-quality/low resonance speaker enclosure
  • High density acoustic Iso-foam pads for improved clarity
  • Newly designed Brickwall Limiter automatically engages at maximum amp level
  • Wide, deep and dynamic listening sweet-spot with incredible imaging
  • 3D soundstage creates incredible realism and depth in your mix (width, depth and height)
  • Optimized high frequency wave guide
  • Optional replacement faceplates with protective metal grilles
  • Incredibly versatile speaker system great for creating music in different environments
  • Great for all functions of music creation from production to mixing to mastering
  • Front-firing port with optimized low frequency tuning alignment for the best possible transient response and extension
  • Designed and built by a monitor company with over 30 years of proven success

KRK’s G4 speakers will be available from grade 5 (bi-amp) to grade 10 (tri-amp) models between £159 and £459. They’re expected to launch on the 1st April. You can pre-order them and find out more here:
https://goo.gl/JovchP

Akai announce an all-in-one music production studio that doesn’t need a computer

The Force is a new powerhouse piece of kit from Akai that puts all you need to create and produce music inside one performance system – no computer, no MIDI needed.

Digital music production has revolutionised how music can be created and has made it possible for anyone to make highly polished electronic music and use digital techniques to create, edit and mix their music even on a budget. Akai’s Force brings everything you need into one single piece of kit.

The Force is an all-in-one music production solution with DJ performance technology. It features clip-launching, step sequencing, sampling, synth engines and touch screen control all in one system allowing you to play, perform, and produce without a computer or any other accessories or instruments.

It’s 8×8 backlit grid lets you trigger scenes and clips, step sequence beats, finger drum using an MPC style matrix, and play note data for seamless playing and launching. Alongside it are expansive controls for navigating your project and all of it’s pieces. The ergonomically positioned controls represent the Ableton Push but with even more functionality.

Akai Professional Force MPC studio music production all in one hardware

A multi-touch display at the top is the base of your experience, displaying your project and allowing you to navigate through samples, sounds, edit MIDIs, apply effects and so much more. It’s basically a built-in, touch-activated DAW.

The force comes with all the hardware and software packed inside it that you need to sample, chop, splice, loop and mix. Inputs in the back take USB or SD cards to load up samples and sounds with space for internal storage expansion. 2 XLR/quarter-inch combo inputs allow for microphones and instruments too.

Akai Pro Force all in one music production studio DAW hardware mpc producing pad

Akai Professional’s new Force has so many features and capabilities packed into. Get the detailed low-down on their website: force.akaipro.com

The Akai Pro Force will be available for $1499 and launches in February.

Mooer are set to blow multi-effects out of the water with this pedal

Mooer’s new multi-effects pedal gives unparalleled power with hundreds of effects, amps, and more in one board.

Mooer have unveiled the next in their GE multi-effects pedals and the 300 is a serious monster that takes on every other pedal in the game. Their new GE300 brings 164 effects, 108 digital amp models, 43 optional factory cab simulators and is capable of recreating an environment for custom tones using Impulse Response.

Mooer’s new pedal is packed full of features to leave you satisfied no matter what the sound you’re after is. With a new Synth Engine you can use the pedal’s tri-voice polyphonic synthesis module to edit wave form, pitch, filters, and arpeggiators without the need for guitar modifications or pickups.

Mooer say the pedal will feature 10 customisable footswitch controls, programmable stereo effects loop, 30-minute looper that can store loop sessions, external device switching, direct USB audio and that’s just the start of what it is capable of.

They’re promising that the user interface will be intuitive like it’s GE200 pedal but with far more capabilities. Mooer will be showcasing their final prototype for the GE300 at NAMM so it’s not going to be available until at least the 2nd half of this year. We’ll have to remain drooling over what we know until then.

This pedal puts the sound of Roland’s classic Juno synth in your guitar

TC Electronic’s new pedal brings the classic sound of 80s style synthesizer modulation to your guitar.

NAMM 2019 is already bringing us a lot of exciting new music tech and instruments to look forward to from the biggest brands down to the niche-st indie makers. A new pedal from TC Electronics has caught our eye, and not just because of it’s beautiful retro synth look.

The June-60 is a chorus pedal that takes inspiration from Roland’s classic Juno-60 synth. The pedal uses an all-analogue bucket brigade circuit that has been fine-tuned for guitars to create “warm, pulsating ’80s-style modulation in two flavours”.

The pedal looks gorgeous with the bold colours of classic synths in grey, yellow and red with dark wooden panels on the side.The design is simple with two buttons for control. The first gives a slow moving, rich chorus and the second is a faster, wobblier chorus that works great on a rock tone. Combine both modes together and let the double sine curves battle it out in your tone.

Aside from the stomp pedal and the two buttons there is the option to switch between mono and stereo chorus so you can optimise the sound to exactly how you want the pulsing tones to fill the room. With it’s bucket brigade delay circuit the sound is an authentic recreation of the same analogue circuitry that the Juno-60 used to create it’s unique tone.

The June-60 pedal in a nutshell:

  • Authentic recreation of the legendary synthesizer chorus from the ’80s
  • 2-button interface for intuitive and breath-taking modulation tone
  • All-analog BBD (Bucket Brigade Delay) circuitry
  • Mono/stereo switch for ultimate chorus experience
  • True Bypass for ultimate signal integrity
  • “Built-like-a-tank” metal chassis
  • Runs on 9 V battery or TC Electronic Powerplug 9 (not included)
  • 3-Year Warranty Program*
  • Designed and engineered in Denmark

The June-60 will be available for $49.99 sometime in the first quarter of 2019. Find out more on TC Electronic’s site.

The 5 best budget MIDI controller keyboards 2019

Laying your ideas out and creating tracks is simpler than ever with the help of DAW’s and thousands of plugins but without a digital instrument you can only get so far.

We’ve got you covered with the best MIDI keyboards for playing, recording and controlling your software that don’t break the bank.

Arturia have built a feature packed controller with the MiniLab MkII that gives musicians and producers extensive control over their software and costs less than £100.

The MiniLab, as with all of the controllers listed here, has been built with portability in mind. It fits 25 slim-line keys, 16 knobs, 8 pads and touch controls into a package small enough to fit into your rucksack and doesn’t require a whole studio to fit in and work with. It comes with Ableton Live Lite with which it works seamlessly.

Kelly from the RouteNote team got hands on with the MiniLab MkII and delved into it’s power for a review. You can check it out here.

Get your own and find out more here.

Alesis offer an incredibly affordable solution to basic music production with their Vmini controller. This bite sized keyboard offers 25 velocity-sensitive keys to play virtual instruments and control samples with.

The Vmini packs essential controls into a tiny package making it easy to take anywhere and lay out ideas from. There are four assignable knobs for volume control or effect manipulation and 4 velocity-sensitive pads give control over clip launching or finger-banging out a beat.

It’s not as feature-laden as some of the others but for the price you get a quality keyboard that is more than enough to lay the groundwork out for your ideas and small enough to take anywhere you go.

Get your own and find out more here.

This is my personal favourite and the controller/keyboard I have used when I want to simply plug in, play, record, and expand. The APC Key’s giant clip-launching grid makes it the perfect Ableton companion and lets you create on the fly and easily manipulate and launch clips and tracks, all without touching your computer.

The APC Key adds 8 customisable control knobs for adjusting each tracks volumes or effect parameters all of which are easily switched between using the expansive functions on the controller. The 25 key keyboard ensures that you have all you need to play and write your music whilst it’s function-packed pads give you extensive control over your DAW and instruments.

It works as soon as you plug it in and comes with Ableton Lite Live so you can craft your masterpieces with ease and without hassle.

Get your own and find out more here.

The Keystation offers 7 more keys than the others making it the perfect option for the travelling player who wants a better range for laying down melody. The highlight of M-Audio’s offering is it’s 32 velocity-sensitive synth-action keys offering dynamic range in a portable package.

It’s controls beyond keys are limited but offer pitch-bending, modulation, and sustain whilst octave controls let you increase your range even further. The keyboard uniquely supports iOS connectivity with the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit so you can link it up to your iPad or iPhone to play and compose with iOS audio apps.

Get your own and find out more here.

Akai’s MPK Mini MkII offers a more performance based solution to it’s DAW-control built sibling, the APC. It features a 4-way joystick for pitch and modulation manipulation as you play and an on-board arpeggiator makes the creation of intricate melodic lines simple.

The MPK features a sustain pedal input allowing for truly expressive playing that is still in a package small enough to take wherever you go. 8 backlit velocity-sensitive MPC style pads and 8 assignable Q-Link knobs mean you still have power over your software.

Get your own and find out more here.


Got a favourite we didn’t mention? Share it in the comments below.

Native Instruments’ new keyboard and interfaces are really cheap!

Native Instruments have revealed a new keyboard and 2 new audio interfaces that look wicked but are super affordable.

We love Native Instruments here at RouteNote, creators of the incredible MASCHINE production and performance controllers. New NI products always get us excited, but we get even more excited when their quality music tech is affordable for everyone. Looking at providing entry-level producers with top gear, Native Instruments have announced 3 new additions to their Komplete range.

KOMPLETE KONTROL M32

First up is a micro MIDI keyboard controller that packs a full production-worthy package into a mini, 32 key shell. The new KOMPLETE KONTROL M32 is Native Instruments’ smallest keyboard they’ve ever released but it’s capable of a diverse playability and gives you extensive control over your instruments, loops and samples.

It’s small enough to take on the go and with plug-and-play control you’ll never be caught short for laying down your musical ideas. Use the OLED display and touch-sensitive knobs to tweak your sound’s and parameters in real-time with all the KOMPLETE and NKS instruments pre-mapped to work with the keyboard.

The M32 uses Smart Play technology to help you integrate sophisticated techniques like chords, scales and arpeggios that you may not be able to do yourself. Use Smart Play to map the keyboard to your advantage to play scales or chord progressions, making playing easier for beginners and expanding the possibilities for more seasoned producers.

On top of 32 synth action keys the controller has buttons for playback, recording, quantizing, loops and more putting all of the recording and producing power at your fingertips. It works seamlessly with Logic Pro X, GarageBand, and Ableton Live – and it comes with Ableton Live Lite 10.

It only costs £99 which for the quality and versatility is a great price. The M32 keyboard will be launched March 6th with pre-orders beginning in February.

KOMPLETE AUDIO 1 / AUDIO 2

Next up are 2 new compact audio interfaces from Native Instruments to get you plugged in and recording. Both units offer high quality recording solutions for your instruments and microphones and come with a bunch of Native Instruments’ great software to expand and perfect your creations.

The KOMPLETE AUDIO 1 and 2 both offer high quality, 2-channel recording but with the AUDIO 2 you get two combi-XLR/jack inputs. The AUDIO 1 features one combi input and one jack for guitars and other instruments.

The AUDIO 1 features two stereo RCA outputs for plugging your sound out to high fidelity speakers and listening to your mix in high quality. The AUDIO 2 provides dual jack outputs so you can take it live as well as playing out through studio monitors.

NI’s KOMPLETE AUDIO 1 and 2 will be available in March with pre-orders beginning in February. The AUDIO 1 will cost £79 and the AUDIO 2 will cost £109.

Light up your music with a lightning-fuelled synth

Infuse your music with the elements with a synth module that overdrives your music with actual lightning.

The digital age of music has brought with it many innovations and developers are always looking for new and unique ways to create music like never before. Latvian developers, Erica Synths have unveiled their new eurorack synth module that truly puts the sound of electricity behind your music.

The Plasma Drive integrates a Tesla coil into an overdrive synth that boosts audio signal to 3000 volts. Using “a new and previously unexplored method” the module transforms your audio into a series of continuous high-voltage discharges in a xenon-filled tube.

Erica Synths worked with another Latvian company, Gamechanger Audio, who are responsible for the Plasma Pedal. The natural predecessor to the Plasma Drive, the pedal infused a Tesla coil into a distortion pedal for guitars and basses providing a uniquely elemental crunch for real high voltage rock.

They both have the same effect on your sound but Erica have brought it to synth racks as part of their Erica Fusion Series. The Plasma Drive module offers CV control over distortion and dry/wet mix and octave up and 1 and 2 octaves down tracking oscillators to create even more harmonics.

The Plasma Drive will be released on the 20th February for €310. If you’re interested in the Plasma Pedal you can nab yourself one of them for €247 from Gamechanger’s site.