Native Instruments shares sold to Francisco Partners

Image Credit: Jonas Zürcher

Shareholders have sold a majority stake in Native Instruments to Francisco Partners.

While we’ve all been largely stuck at home over the past year, the ability to easily create music has been a welcome release. The music tech market has grown as a result. 1.5 million people a month were using Native Instrument products to make music and DJ by the end of 2020.

As a result, Native Instrument’s majority stake owner, investment company EMH Partners, is selling its shares to Francisco Partners. They’re a global investment firm which specialises in partnering with technology businesses, and have clearly taken notice of Native Instruments’ growth over the past year.

Matt Spetzler, Co-Head of Europe at Francisco Partners, said:

As an innovator in digital music creation, with a supreme brand recognition and outstanding software technology, Native Instruments is a perfect platform and partner for Francisco Partners. We look forward to working together with the management team and the existing shareholder group, utilising our broad operational and strategic experience and M&A capabilities to help the company accelerate its growth trajectory. said

Matt Spetzler, Co-Head Europe and Partner at Francisco Partners

Native Instruments make professional musical production hardware, software and digital tools. Anyone from professional studio musicians to hobbyists can use the tools to create any style and genre of music. An estimated 8 out of 10 tracks in the Billboard top 10 are made using Native Instruments tech. Founded in 1996 in Berlin, it employs 400 employees worldwide, operating seven global offices and is active in more than 180 countries. 

Constantin Koehncke, CEO of Native Instruments, said:

There’s never been a more exciting time in music, with more creators producing more high-quality music all around the world. We’re thrilled to team up with Francisco Partners to enter the next phase of our journey, combining their global resources and expertise with our passionate team, deep relationships within music and proven track record of technical innovation. Together we can realize our mission to empower and inspire the global community of music creators and help them unlock their creative potential through more seamless experiences. Thanks to the support of EMH Partners over the past years we were able to further reinforce and expand our position as the leading digital music creation company, and we now look forward to working with Francisco Partners, EMH Partners and the founding shareholders to continue on this amazing journey.

Constantin Koehncke, CEO of Native Instruments

Key employees of Native Instruments and members of the Native Instruments founding team will keep a minority shareholding in the company.

Shure unveil their new home and studio podcast microphone – MV7

With both XLR and USB outputs, Shure MV7 is the perfect microphone for use in the studio or bedroom, including dedicated ‘imperfect room’ features.

Inspired by the gold standard in professional podcast microphones – Shure SM7B, MV7 is a more affordable microphone designed for podcasters, gamers and vocalists for use in studio isolated booths or untreated bedrooms. Using Voice Isolation Technology, MV7 can be used in imperfect rooms by reducing background and room noise.

Shure MV7 features two outputs, an XLR and micro-USB (no USB-C ☹️). XLR is great for professional recordings in the studio, while being hooked up to interfaces, mixers or pro audio equipment. USB is great for easily hooking the microphone up to a computer or mobile device. When connected directly to a PC, use the ShurePlus MOTIV app for Auto Level Mode. Auto mode adjusts levels such as gain and compression settings, as well as switchable EQ filters and saving presets for quick access. These real time automatic adjustments are especially great for live streaming, letting you spend more time focusing on creating and less time editing. Shure’s app also includes Customizable Sound Signature, allowing for easy vocal tone adjustments between dark, natural or bright. Select near or far, depending on the style you’re going for. Near is great for podcasting, while far may be preferred for vocal performances. MV7 can hold consistent levels up to 18-inches from the mic. Manual Mode gives you full control, with toggles such as Mic Gain, Monitor Mix, EQ, Limited, Compressor and more. These can be controlled within the ShurePlus MOTIV app or built-in touch panel. The other port found on the back is a 3.5mm headphone jack to monitor your sound.

Shure’s new microphone has an optimized frequency response for rich and natural vocal reproduction. An all metal rugged and professional construction surrounds the internals. The integrated yoke ensures easy positioning on standard 5/8”-27 threaded stands or booms. MV7 comes in Black or Silver with three different purchasing options available on Amazon:

Regardless of the application, creators understand the importance of clear and intelligible audio. We’ve designed the MV7 to be laser focused on the user’s voice, so the audience always gets a clear and rich reproduction no matter the type of room they record in, so their audiences can focus on the content.

Soren Pedersen, Associate Manager, Global Product Management, Shure

M-Audio announce two new pairs of budget reference monitors – BX3 & BX4

M-Audio release details on their new compact and affordable studio speakers, BX3: 3.5-inch – $100 and BX4: 4.5-inch – $150.

Other than the physical and driver size and weight, BX3 and BX4 are almost identical. The only other differences lie in frequency responses. BX3 reaches down to 80Hz, while BX4 manages 69Hz.

M-Audio release the best pairs of multimedia, pro-grade, reference monitors in their price range. BX3 & BX4 are 120-watts desktop speakers capable of studio monitor sound, perfect for content creations such as music/video production, live streaming, podcasting or DJing. Equally, if you’re just looking for a pair of decent PC speakers that are a significant step up from those built in to your computer, both are suited to consuming music, movies, video games, video calls, or even hooked up a record player.


The budget friendly speakers come in an attractive design. The low frequency drivers are made from Black Kevlar producing punchy defined low end, while a 1-inch natural silk dome tweeter and computer-optimized tweeter waveguide produces precise stereo imaging and silky, crystal clear highs. The speakers are housed in an acoustically-inert MDF cabinet with bass reflex design for deep, full and rich sound, with smooth low end.

Around the back you’ll find an enhanced rear port for extended low frequency response, left/right active speaker position switch, for easy positioning of the speaker with the volume dial and ports, high-EQ/low-EQ controls usually found on more expensive pairs, allowing you to customize the sound, and 1/4-inch, 1/8-inch and RCA inputs for connecting to any source. The front also holds a 1/8-inch AUX input for quick and easy connection to a phone or computer.


Included is a copy of Pro Tools First – M-Audio Edition, the lite version of the professional audio software to get you started on music/podcast production at no extra cost.

BX 4 Pro Tools


  • 3.5”/4.5” Black Kevlar® low frequency drivers; 1” natural silk dome tweeters
  • New computer-optimized tweeter waveguide for precise imaging
  • High-EQ and Low-EQ controls for dialing in the perfect sound
  • Enhanced rear ports for extended low-frequency response
  • Left/Right Active Speaker Position Switch for configuring which side has volume control
  • 1/4”, 1/8”, and RCA inputs for connecting to virtually any audio source
  • Front 1/8” AUX input for quick connection of smartphones or other audio sources
  • Acoustically-inert MDF cabinet with bass reflex design for deep, rich sound
  • Includes 1/8” speaker interconnect cable, 1/8” to 1/8” cable, 1/8” to RCA cable and Foam Feet

M-Audio BX3 & BX4 are available to order today on Amazon, with shipping starting on November 13th.

Take your show on the road with Yamaha’s new wireless amp for acoustics

Yamaha’s gorgeous new amp looks cool, sounds great, and is wireless so that you can take it out with you into the world wherever you’re going.

Yamaha’s latest addition to their THR series is an amp made for acoustic guitar players. The 30-watt modelling amp can create a bunch of sounds and effects to complement your playing and, with a rechargeable battery, you can take it with you on the go.

The amp comes with two inputs, the second has a microphone preamp allowing musicians to plug in their guitar and a microphone for the perfect singer-songwriter setup. Using acoustic mic modelling the amp is capable of recreating lush tones in it’s contained, tiny package.

The rechargeable battery lasts for up to 5 hours on a single charge so you can easily get multiple sets out of it before you have to plug it back in. It’s also super compact so it’s easy to just pick up and travel alongside, not to mention it looks beautiful.

There are some interesting recording options from the amp as will, with Yamaha Rec’n’Share support making performance recordings a breeze. It has an in-built USB audio interface so you can simply connect it to your computer and record with a free copy of Steinberg included.

The amp is available in the USA now for $869 and you can find out more and find your nearest dealer here.

Teenage Engineerings latest Pocket Operator instruments imbue vintage video game vibes

Capcom’s classic video game series are being brought through their iconic sound effects to the creative joy of TE’s next pocket operators.

Teenage Engineering have been partnering with iconic brands – like Rick and Morty – in their Pocket Operators for years. Through their partnerships they bring iconic sound effects and samples into the sequencing possibilities of their mini instruments.

The latest to get the pocket operator treatment are two of Capcom’s most iconic names. Mega Man and Street Fighter are both getting their very own pocket operator respectively.

The PO-128 Mega Man puts the original sounds of the game into the mini synthesizer. Creators will be able to customise the sounds and sequence them with others to create musical patterns.

The PO-133 features iconic samples that will allow users to input ‘Hadouken!’ into their patterns. With a built-in microphone users can add their own samples to the lot whilst enjoying the unique animations that both pocket operators come featured with based on the classic game series.

The Street Fighter machine is available now for €99/$89/£85 whilst the Mega Man operator comes out on the 2nd of December for the same price. Get yours from Teenage Engineering’s website.

JBL L82 Classic – retro style meets modern acoustics

These classic 8-inch bookshelf loudspeakers from JBL offer the absolute best acoustic performance from a pair in their price range.

Sporting the 70s vintage styling found on the larger L100 Classic, JBL’s L82 brings the beautiful design and advance acoustic technologies into a more compact cabinet.

  • Retro design with iconic JBL styling and vintage Quadrex foam grille in a choice of three colors: black, orange, or blue
  • Genuine satin walnut wood veneer enclosure with black front and rear panels
  • 8-inch white cone, pure pulp woofer with cast frame
  • 1-inch titanium dome tweeter with waveguide
  • Bass-reflex design with front-firing port
  • High-frequency L-pad attenuator
  • Matching JS-80 floor stands available (sold separately)

The modern acoustic compontents are housed in a genuine walnut satin wood veneer cabinet, fronted by a unique Quadrex foam grille available in three colours, black, orange or blue. The grille is held in with pegs and can be easily removed. The wood is the same dark colour for all colour options. Each speaker comes in at a weighty 28lb.

The L82 features a 2-way design, with a powerful 8-inch cast frame white pure pulp cone woofer operating in a bass-reflex design with a front firing tuned port. The 1-inch (25mm) titanium dome tweeter and shallow waveguide found on the L82 come directly from the L100.

A high frequency L-pad attenuator allows you to customise the output to tailor the sound, giving you control over the upper frequency response. The knob controls a large portion of the frequency range, changing the sound significantly making the song brighter or darker as desired. This is rare to see on passive speakers, as they require external amplifiers and thus no digital signal processing on-board.

Many 2-way design speakers struggle in producing a smooth transition between the lows and highs, however the tweeter is sufficient at hitting lower notes to smooth out the transition.

An asymmetrical speaker layout leads to the tweeter position being mirrored on each speaker. Swapping the speakers around, placing the tweeters on the inside or outside edge, adjusts the soundstage giving you a narrower or wider sound.

The speakers produce fantastic, large room filling sound, with an expansive soundstage, despite its small size. JBL keep the sound fairly accurate, without colouring the sound, exaggerating the bass or pumping the highs too much. The L82s slightly emphasis the midbass, but this is dependent on position. No need for a subwoofer, as the speakers comfortably hit lows of around 30Hz. They can be turned up to uncomfortably loud levels without distortion. The pair could double as studio monitors, though this is not where the speakers shine.

For a full in-depth analysis on how accurately it produces sound, head to TNW. TNW provide Quasi-anechoic Spinoramas and contour plot/polar maps on and off axis, plus a guide on how to read it. The outcome shows the L82 performs very well for a passive design without a built-in digital EQ, with a little messiness in direct sound around 1-2kHz that is mostly inaudible. The speakers accurately produce most audible sound. The result are almost identical to what JBL provide, that shows they’re not hiding anything. For more accurate results, you’ll need to look at active speakers or true studio monitors.

The L82s can be used with JBL’s JS-80 floor stands, which come in at $250 a pair, to be used in a freestanding environment, angling the speakers gently backwards and focus the sound to the listening position.

JBL’s L82 Classic doesn’t come cheap at $2499.98, but as stated, if that’s your budget these aren’t to be missed.

Get an Aphex Twin approved synth with Novation’s limited AFX Station

Aphex Twin is huge in electronic music and has defined a generation of sounds. With the AFX Station you can take home a little piece of his inspiration.

Novation’s new limited edition AFX Station has been created in collaboration with Richard D James, better known under his electronic moniker Aphex Twin. It’s a special version of their Bass Station II with unique patches and sounds.

It takes what the powerful Bass Station II already offers with the edition of the AFX Mode pre-installed. This mode turns every key into an open book to become its own patch with potential as a drum machine, bass and lead modules and more.

It also, of course, comes with a custom look that marks it with Aphex Twin’s iconic logo and a purple trim.

AFX Station ships with 128 new synth patches and seven new overlay banks from Noyze Lab, Perplex On, Richard Devine, r beny and Lightbath, which channel the creative vision of Aphex Twin and provides you with lots of sound design inspiration.

Find out more from their website. The AFX Station has sadly already sold out but you can enter your email to find out when it’s back in stock. It launches in 13 days.

Top 5 record players under $1000

We’ve compiled the best five turntables under $1000, perfect for anyone wanting to jump into the world of vinyl for the first time.

Ignoring a slow in sales due to physical retail stores being closed for a portion of 2020, over the last ten years vinyl has made a significant comeback. At the start of 2020, vinyl saw a growth of 45%, beating CD sales for the first time since the 80s.

Is the increase in vinyl sales to stay or is it simply a fad? Who’s to say for certain, but if you like the idea of owning music in the large physical format, there’s no better time to jump in.

The market is filled with record players under $100, with built-in speakers, in vintage styling, in suitcases, etc., but the truth is, these will not improve upon the sound quality you can get from streaming an MP3 to a bluetooth speaker and in some cases may even damage your vinyl.

Find how you can order you own music on vinyl here.

$150 – $200

Sony PS-LX310BT – $198
1 Sony PS-LX310BT
  • Fully automatic belt-drive design – Offers a reliable way to listen to your vinyl music collection.
  • Stereo sound – Enjoy sound as it was meant to be heard in full stereo.
  • Plays 33-1/3 and 45 rpm – Keep your music going with the speeds this turntable offers.
  • Bluetooth connectivity – Enjoy seamless wireless connectivity with Bluetooth.
  • Moving Magnet (MM) cartridge – Equipped with a high-performance, high-output moving magnet (MM) stereo phono cartridge.
  • USB output – Lets you digitize your vinyl records for easy backup to a computer.
  • Hinged detachable dust cover – Dust cover protects your vinyl records.

$400 – $450

Pro-Ject Juke Box E – $440.49 (sale price)
  • Completely factory-adjusted for instant playback and super easy setup
  • Bluetooth connectivity with 3 additional line inputs
  • 8.6” lightweight aluminum tonearm with sapphire bearings
  • Silicone belt drive system with low-vibration synchronous motor for quiet operation
  • Onboard power amplifier with 25 watts of power output per Channel.Power consumption:110W max

$450 – $500

Rega Planar 1 – $475
  • Belt-driven system – Enjoy superior sound thanks to the belt drive, which reduces vibration.
  • Stereo sound – Enjoy sound as it was meant to be heard in full stereo.
  • Plays 33.3 and 45 rpm – Keep your music going with the speeds this turntable offers.
  • Moving Magnet (MM) cartridge – Equipped with a high-performance, high-output moving magnet (MM) stereo phono cartridge.

$500 – $550

Sony PS-HX500 – $500
4 Sony PS-HX500
  • Enjoy all the smooth and warm sound expressions of your vinyl thanks to high-quality audio technologies that ensure the best possible analog playback.
  • The integrated shell improves durability and stabilizes the cartridge for superior focusing and dimensionality of sound, while its lightweight structure improves traceability.
  • Supports both phono and line output so you can play through integrated amp or external phono EQ.Turntable Speed – 33 1/3 r/min, 45 r/min
  • Breathe new life into analog masterpieces with Hi-Res audio up to DSD quality. Just hook up the PS-HX500 turntable to your PC via USB, play a record and digitally archive the music from your favorite vinyl recordings in Hi-Res
  • The HX500’s supplied software lets you use a PC or Mac to conveniently edit tracks from both sides of an album and transfer them in high resolution to a compatible portable player or device for playback—anywhere and anytime
  • DSD Native AD converter: The internal A/D converter supports native conversion from analog to DSD 2.8 MHz or 5.6 MHz digital.

$650 – $700

Rega Planar 2 – $675
  • Belt-driven system – Enjoy superior sound thanks to the belt drive, which reduces vibration.
  • Stereo sound – Enjoy sound as it was meant to be heard in full stereo.
  • Plays 33.3 and 45 rpm – Keep your music going with the speeds this turntable offers.
  • Moving Magnet (MM) cartridge – Equipped with a high-performance, high-output moving magnet (MM) stereo phono cartridge.
  • Glass platter – A modern touch to a vintage machine: the glass platter gives this turntable a little something extra.

ROLI return with LUMI, a rainbow keyboard that makes learning bright and fun

ROLI are bringing the fun of guitar hero into a colourful new keyboard that makes learning to play a simple and colourful joy.

ROLI are one of the most interesting instrument makers out there right now. Launching onto the scene in the last decade with their expressive keyboards revolutionising how keys could be played, they’ve since come out with more and more unique and interesting music making products.

LUMI is their newest creation. Unlike their original Seaboard which looked to enhance the possibilities for already accomplished keyboard players, the LUMI uses it’s bright and intuitive design to help beginners and amateurs start playing songs in no time.

Every key has a colourful light inside it which guides players with visual keys through songs and lessons. When paired with their LUMI app the keyboard becomes a sort-of functional guitar hero style keyboard that users can easily get to grips with.

Place a device with the app open above your keyboard and users can easily play along to songs as the colour-coded keys come towards you and show you where to play. Increasing difficulties upon a huge range of songs and lessons allow players to dive in simply and engage in a fun and unique way whilst getting to grips with how to play.

The mini-keyboard has been designed small to serve two functions. For a start, a full sized keyboard can be overwhelming to begin with and the playable range of a smaller keyboard is much more accessible. Secondly, it makes the LUMI incredibly portable to take on the go and learn/play wherever you are.

LUMI comes with two content packs. When you purchase a LUMI you get an Essential pack of 40 songs, 60+ lessons and 72 exercises to launch your playing with for free. Then you can upgrade to take your playing to the next level with LUMI Complete providing 400+ songs, 130+ lessons, and 380 exercises for $9.99 a month or an annual membership reducing it to $6.67 a month.

LUMI is available to pre-order from today. Head to their website to find out more and get yourself a LUMI on early access as they will probably sell out quick!

Native Instruments new all in one beat-making machine is here

Native Instruments are taking their iconic Maschine away from the computer and into your lap with their completely standalone production controller.

Maschine+ brings the power of Native Instrument’s renowned production controller into it’s own. After years of work and teasing the standalone production controller is now here, giving the full range of beat-making components to producers without requiring to plug it into any other software or hardware.

With on-board instruments, effects, and loads of samples creators can jam straight onto the device and start putting together their beats. It has been designed to offer all of the control a creator needs to fully create, play and produce their music together.

Of course once you’ve started putting tracks together and editing their effects and samples you can transfer it over to a DAW to expand upon it. But the idea behind the Maschine+ is that it is an all-in-one production machine with the power and capability to create fully fledged tracks within itself.

9 Instruments – There are nine synths and sampled instruments that feature inside the Maschine+ for a range of potential sounds that can be played using on-board sequencing or played using its performance pads.

35 Effects – Loads of effects mean true customisation of every sample and recording you lay down. Using the array of touch sensitive knobs and the powerful variety of push pad controls you can create unique soundscapes with pinpoint detail.

1000s of Sounds – There are thousands of samples to make use of to lay down your track and expand it with a diverse sound palette.

Sample Everything – The on-board sampler makes chopping and editing clips a pleasure to do. With Maschine+’s array of inputs you can record your own instruments, record from a turntable, lay down some vocals and then produce them with power.

Create With Clips – Clips let you arrange your recordings, sounds and samples on a timeline to give you true production power. This is where the necessity of a DAW is removed as you can put together your tracks completely on the Maschine+ with their simple yet powerful Clips function.

Expand Your Potential – With the ability to outboard your gear you can control other devices with your Maschine+. With a computer it works as a production controller like the original Maschine. With Wi-Fi enabled too, you can expand on your sounds and tools instantly.

Native Instruments long-awaited Maschine+ is available for £1099. Find out more and get your own here.