Mix on Algoriddim with Hercules DJ Controllers

Get mixing tracks from streaming services on Hercules controllers with new support on Algoriddim DJ apps.

Algoriddim have introduced support for the latest range of controllers from renowned DJ tech makers Hercules. With Algoriddim’s apps like their flagship Djay users can use their mixing controllers to control their mixes with a world of music from streaming services at their fingertips.

By mixing via the djay app for iOS, users of the DJControl Inpulse 200, DJControl Inpulse 300 and DJControl Starlight now have instant access to millions of songs from their premium account on the world’s most popular music streaming platforms.

Once the djay application is installed, the DJ can use the controls of the Inpulse and Starlight controllers to mix, loop, add effects, scratch and even use the Assistant button, specific to the Hercules DJControl Inpulse range, to trigger the automix feature in the djay application.

Hercules has designed their controllers from the ground up to appeal to the aspiring young DJs, so this new hardware/software integration is a great new way to bring first-timers into the mix. Adding the ability to mix via the djay app creates new possibilities for DJs who still continue to master the fundamentals to explore their own unique style while mixing. 

DJs can now mix their favorite tracks from streaming services on their iPhone or iPad with the latest range of Hercules controllers. The result of close collaboration with Algoriddim, Hercules announces the integrated compatibility of its latest DJControl Inpulse 300, DJControl Inpulse 200 and DJControl Starlight controllers with the award-winning djay app for iOS.

More information about compatible controllers and djay integration can be found on Hercules.com.

Best Modern Analog Synthesizers

These analog synths all hope to replicate a classic looking, feeling and sounding instrument with modern reliability and connectivity.

All of these are from the last decade, but Korg, Moog and Dave Smith are not new to building synthesizers. All well established players in the game for over 40 years.

Best Budget Synth
Korg Monologue – Around $300
  • Analog synthesizer with all-new synthesis structure optimized for amazing monophonic sounds and sequences
  • Fully programmable, with 100 program memories (80 presets included)
  • 16-step sequencer with extensive motion sequence technology to make your sound move
  • Microtuning lets you freely create scales and alternate tonalities
  • Oscilloscope function helps visualize the waveform in real time
  • Battery-powered for portability
  • Rugged and stylish with aluminum top panel, chassis-mounted pots, rubber-coated knobs, and real wood back panel
  • MIDI, USB MIDI, and Audio Sync for all types of in-studio and live connectivity, including direct sync with minilogue, SQ1, volca, electribe, and more
  • Five color variations that will shine on stage or in the studio
Best Mid-Range Synth
Moog Subsequent 37 – Around $1600
  • Sub 37 Design – All the controls and features found on the Sub 37 Tribute Edition
  • Sound Engine Evolution – Richer low end and greater sonic dimension
  • More Multidrive – Wider range and dirtier than ever before
  • Room For Two – More headroom means Duo mode sounds even better
  • 37 Note Keybed – Lightweight with swift action and aftertouch.
  • High-power Headphones – Cue up your next sound in the loudest of venues.
  • Extensive Modulation And Sequencing – 2 assignable mod busses, 2 DAHDSR looping envelopes and an ultra-powerful arpeggiator/sequencer
  • 256 Presets – 16 banks of 16 patches
  • Free Software Editor – Works as a DAW plugin or as a standalone editor.
Best High-End Synth
Dave Smith Sequential Prophet 6 – Around $2800
  • Vintage with a Modern Twist – The Prophet-6 is Dave Smith’s tribute to the poly synth that started it all—the Sequential Prophet-5.
  • Classic Tone, Classic Vibe – Central to the warm, punchy sound of the Prophet-6 are its two newly-designed, discrete voltage-controlled oscillators (plus sub-oscillator) per voice.
  • Dual Effects – The dual effects section provides studio-quality reverbs, delays (standard and BBD), chorus and phase shifter.
  • Poly Mod and Poly Step Sequencing – Also present from its classic predecessor is a Poly Mod section, with enhancements.
  • Easy to Program – The knob-per-function front panel offers instant access to virtually all Prophet-6 functions.
  • Easy to Play – All of this awe-inspiring sound is packed into a four octave, semi-weighted keyboard with velocity and channel aftertouch that’s an ideal combination portability and power for the project studio or the gigging musician.

Build your own custom instrument for $29

A new kickstarter gives you the equipment needed to code your very own instrument with a module smaller than your phone.

Daisy is a new product that’s being crowdfunded to make the cost of building your own sound-making machine cheap and simple. It provides an open-source embedded platform that you can use to create audio and customise it to make your own sounds.

Using a USB cable you can plug it in to create audio and MIDI. The board is smaller than a stick of gum and thanks to pre-installed header it doesn’t require soldering. With coding it can be used to create its own sounds making for a totally custom instrument, it can be used as a guitar pedal, to create a eurorack module and the possibilities don’t end there.

It’s capable of high-fidelity audio up to 24-bit, 192kHz from two channels of line audio IO. It provides example programs in a bunch of example languages to get most people started, although a bit of coding knowledge is required to get this working.

They are currently nearly double their funding goal and you can help them out and get one yourself for just $29 on Kickstarter. You can pledge more to get the kit to expand it into a guitar pedal, breakout board and more without having to do it entirely custom.

Arpeggio’s pocket sized sequencer & arpeggiator is as cool as it is cute

Sometimes beatmaking can’t wait and you need to lay out a beat in your mind or a melody you’re thinking of. Arpeggio fits in your pocket so you’re never caught short.

There are very few instruments that I’d describe as cute, and the ones that come to mind I wouldn’t want to actually own. But Arpeggio looks both incredibly playable and sweet, sliding easily into your pocket and making for much more fun than a smartphone.

It is at it’s essence a portable arpeggiator, hence the name, but it is capable of more than that. It is at the same time a sequencer and synth making it capable of creating melodies and beats and sketching ideas out on or you can use it to record with.

It uses live looping techniques to let you play on the single octave keyboard and create sequenced arpeggios with no limits to the number of notes in a sequence. You can edit the note lengths, adjust tempo, octave, portamento, swing and add rests to make a totally unique sequence.

With an editable 2-oscillator virtual analog synthesizer, a built-in speaker, and battery power, Arpeggio can help you make melodies wherever inspiration strikes. It can be plugged into other electronic instruments like synths and MIDI keyboards to expand it’s possibilities even more.

Play bass and guitar at the same time with this new pickup

This unique pickup takes 2 signals at once so that you can effortlessly sound like half the band using just your guitar.

A Little Thunder is a very unique pickup. As opposed to octave pedal effects, this little humbucker is capable of shifting the low strings’ signal an octave or 2 lower whilst still outputting a regular guitar tone.

The pickup can apply it’s octave down effect to the bottom 1, 2 or 3 strings on your guitar – which can be set using software. It is charged using Micro USB and a red or green LED light is used to show whether a -1 octave or -2 octave effect is being applied.

The pickup has been around for a couple of years now but the creators have just announce version 2.0 for 2020. It even gets ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons’ seal of approval, who says: “It tracks elegantly without latency and it’s highly intuitive. A great innovation.”

A Little Thunder Pickups V2.0 offers:

  • Ultra High-Fi Bass Signal with near-zero latency & 1:1 string dynamics.
  • Low Note Priority mode (patented) can sense lowest note and gives bass signal to only that string.
  • Capacitive touch controls eliminate need for switches or knobs & allows perfect fit for humbucker rout.
  • Battery lasts up to 12 hours via ultra high density lithium polymer prismcell and can be recharged with included Micro USB cable rapidly.
  • Customizable with software. Choose between 1,2 or 3 strings for your bass signal, -1 octave, -2 octaves, or a combination of both, Low Note Priority, Stereo Humbucker Mode or wire to push/pull pot to control modes.

A Little Thunder humbucker pickup isn’t cheap, it will set you back $299. It is truly powerful though and the sound is genuinely impressive, not tacky or gimmicky as it could easily be. There is also a mounting ring available so it can be attached to acoustic guitars too.

Find out more and purchase your own if you want to add a new dimension to your playing from their website.

Devialet want to save the planet by getting rid of car subs but not fat bass

Makers of some of the most interesting egg-shaped speakers of recent years, Devialet are laying out their plans for in-car audio.

We’ve gotten hands on with Devialet’s creations before. The French company have made their name for their compact speakers which carry a big sound, pushing out up to 4,500 watts with a speaker you can fit on your bedside table.

Their recent work has seen them partner up with other companies to expand their love of music technology outside of their own speaker shells. Last month they announced their partnership with Belkin in the form of a smart speaker-cum-wireless phone charger. Now they’re revealing their plans for in-car audio.

At CES 2020 Devialet put their new plans on display. They hope to change audio systems in cars, not by expanding but by taking away. Taking away the subwoofer to be precise – sacrilege right?

Well not with their design, which they promise offers the same bass we all know and love without a weighty woofer weighing the car down and in-turn increasing its fuel consumption.

Their ‘Premium’ Devialet system uses their own powerful sound technologies to create an impressive low end without the need for a sub. Whathifi managed to get a demo of the system used in an Audi Q5 and said: “If anything the sub-less system managed to extract just as much and even more in the way of bass detail and weight.”

Their process is capable of accurately reproducing 3D sound too, if that technology ends up kicking off and being sought after. They’re currently in talks with car manufacturers to discuss placing their system in new models and they have a good pitch behind them.

Cheaper manufacturing, better sounding audio systems, and better for fuel consumption? What’s not to like.

MIDI 2.0 is on the way, but will it launch in 2020?

This year MIDI gets even better bringing more capability to instruments, better connections that communicate both ways, and much more.

MIDI connections have been a vital part of electronic music, particularly with modern production and the long-awaited upgrade will soon transform how instruments from the biggest music tech makers work.

Whether you’re plugging your keyboards in to computers or drumming onto launch pads you’re creating MIDI music. It’s been the standard for 35 years but just over a year ago the MIDI Manufacturers Association (MMA) and the Japanese MIDI association (AMEI) announced their plans to upgrade the connections.

At the beginning of the year Roland announced the first instrument in the world to use MIDI 2.0 at NAMM. The A-88MKII has been built so that when MIDI 2.0 is released and use-able the keyboard can take advantage of the connections and all the advantages it brings.

So, what does MIDI 2.0 add to MIDI connections?

Importantly, MIDI 2.0 won’t negate your old MIDI connection and old instruments will still work the same!

2.0 brings “MIDI conversations” which allow connections to go back and forth so that the device can “talk” to computer or other connected gear and vice versa at the same time.

Improved, 32-bit resolution makes connections feel smoother and more like a real instrument in it’s response thanks to far superior timing.

MIDI gear can now include profiles which can be used to dynamically configure how they work. This will enhance mapping configurations and controls each time you use an instrument.

There is much more to it and Music Radar have a great piece that goes into detail on all the enhancements this new technology will bring to our devices and instruments.

When will MIDI 2.0 actually be used and supported?

Well as we’ve mentioned above, manufacturers have already started the process to future-proof their instruments with MIDI 2.0 capabilities.

The MMA have voted to adopt MIDI 2.0 as an official spec, meaning that their progress on the technology is pretty much finalised. They called it “the biggest advance in music technology for decades”.

So it looks like Roland’s A-88MKII will be the first MIDI 2.0 supported instrument to launch, set to release in March.

Ernie Ball announce 8 brand new string sets full of slinkys

The biggest name in lacing up guitars with their strings have launched a brand new range to usher in the new decade.

Ernie Ball have added 8 new sets of strings to their world-renowned range. Last year the famous brand launched their first new packs of strings in over a decade and now they’re back again with loads more.

There are 6 new packs in their famous Slinky range and then there’s a Skinny Top Beefy Bottom and a Skinny Top Heavy Bottom. The last two offer a beefy bottom end for rockers who can slide up to some slinky top strings and shred to their hearts content and the Heavy Bottom is a 7 string set for serious bass power.

With the new Slinky sets we’ve got a Mondo slinky with some beefy low strings. The Turbo Slinky is the halfway point between Regular Slinky and Hybrid Slinky with a comfortable balance for players of most types.

Mighty Slinky are a fast and light pack that find the middle ground between the Super Slinky and Extra Slinky. The Hyper Slinky are also a fast, light build but are a little more bottom heavy.

The Magnum Slinky pack is super heavy and perfect for heavy rockers and metal head with a chunky low end that is perfect for drop tuning. Finally the Hyper Slinky Bass strings are new for the four string players with moderate tension on the low strings and light tension on the higher strings for a smooth playability and “snap”.

Skinny Top Beefy Bottom Slinky – 10, 13, 17, 32, 44, 54

Mondo Slinky – 10.5, 13.5, 17.5, 30, 42, 52

Turbo Slinky – 9.5, 12, 16, 26, 36, 46

Mighty Slinky – 8.5, 11, 15, 22w, 30, 40

Hyper Slinky – 8, 11, 14, 24w, 32, 42

Magnum Slinky – 12, 16, 22w, 32, 44, 56s

Skinny Top Heavy Bottom 7-String Slinky – 10, 13, 17, 30, 42, 52, 62

Hyper Slinky Bass – 40, 60, 80, 100

The Mighty Slinky, Turbo Slinky, Mondo Slinky, and Skinny Top Beefy Bottom Slinky will all be available in March. The rest are set to release in the Summer.

The best USB audio interfaces/mixers under $400

Bring the recording studio into your home with these fantastic devices that make studio recording possible on your terms.

We’ve brought together the audio interfaces and mixers that plug straight into your computer and offer a full package for recording music and audio that we think top the lot at the best prices available.

If you’re after an even cheaper option then check out our updated. list of the best audio interfaces for under $200.

PreSonus Studio 1810c – $369.99

The Studio 1810c is the perfect option for bands or if you have lots of devices to record at once.

It can record up to 18 simultaneous inputs with 4 microphone inputs, 4 dedicated ¼” TRS line inputs as well as ADAT and S/PDIF inputs.

The Studio 1810c offers control-room integration with included Studio One Artist music production software and free UC Surface control software and is backward compatible with USB 2.0 and 3.0 connections. Find out more here.

Focusrite Clarett 2Pre USB – $359.99

This is the smallest in the Clarett range but its size doesn’t reflect how much it is capable of.

There are two mic/line/instrument combi inputs with ADAT expandability and four line outs in a package that easily stowed and transported for recording anywhere.

Focusrite claim “the Clarett preamp is the finest we build into a USB audio interface”. There’s a lot of detail in this little box. Find out more here.

M-Audio AIR 192|14 – $299

With M-Audio’s exclusive Crystal low-noise pre-amps, the AIR 192 promises studio-quality recordings.

The AIR 192|14 features eight inputs for simultaneously recording up to eight channels at once to meet all your studio’s recording needs. Crystal preamps provide you with a transparent, low-noise pre-amp that guarantees the best sound from your microphones and captures your input authentically.

There are also five-pin MIDI In and Out connections so that you can record synths, sequencers, and more. Find out more here.

Apogee One – $275

Apogee One for Mac and PC calls itself the “Swiss Army Knife of personal recording and audio production” with the most pocket-friendly choice in our list.

This little USB interface packs some serious quality into it’s tiny body. Their are 2 inputs channels for recording instruments or an external microphone. Apogee’s secret weapon in the One is it’s built-in, studio quality condenser microphone. With an included mic clip you can easily use the One to get professional recordings by just plugging it into your Mac or PC.

The One’s premium D/A conversion means that your recordings sound great going in but it also works as a powerful pre-amp to boost the sound from your headphones or speakers. Find out more here.

Zoom UAC-2 – $249.99

Zoom’s UAC-2 offers an easily portable solution for high-resolution and high-speed audio recording.

It features 2 input channels for recording 24-bit high resolution audio to your computes and even works with your iPad. This device uses USB 3.0 SuperSpeed connections to make sure the latency is low and your recording is lightning fast.

You can also use it for fast low-latency webcasting, podcasting, gaming, and other live streaming applications. Find out more here.

Moog unveil their smallest synthesizer ever to replace the Phatty

Moog have unveiled the Subsequent 25 which delivers their famous fat sound in their most compact package ever.

Moog have unveiled an upcoming, 25-note synth that is only just longer than 20 inches. The release may pale in comparison to the size of Moog’s usual output but they promise it delivers powerful bass that is perfect for the stage and the studio thanks to it’s portability.

Subsequent 25 follows the legacy set by Moog’s Subsequent 37 and Sub Phatty synths, replacing the latter in production. Moog say that they are “transitioning production” and that their new model will be the standard model from now on.

Subsequent 25 is a 2-note paraphonic analog synthesizer that melds the hands-on analog soul of classic Moog instruments with the convenience and workflow of a modern sound-design machine. The device works on its own and can be used seamlessly with your DAW with full MIDI implementation.

Subsequent 25’s analog filter section contains the transformative Multidrive circuit, a unique combination of OTA distortion and FET drive – a key sparkplug for the compact synthesizer’s powerful sound. Through the creative use of the Mixer Section (with expanded headroom), Ladder Filter, and Multidrive circuit, a wide range of classic analog colors and aggressive modern tones can be achieved.

Dial-up ground-shaking analog bass by stacking all 3 Oscillators in Unison Mode, or engage the new Duo Mode to split Oscillators 1 & 2, opening new doors of musicality by playing 2 different notes at once. Trigger the Subsequent 25’s analog sound engine any way you like – by integrating with other voltage controlled analog gear via 4 onboard CV inputs, by interfacing with your favorite DAW using DIN & USB MIDI, or go fully manual with the ultra playable fast-action keybed.

You can order Moog’s Subsequent 25 now for $849.