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For trade enquiries or to find your nearest dealer call Pro Audio - SA (011) 822-1430 | sales@proaudio.co.za | www.proaudio.co.za


ALL ABOUT THE

BEATS

THE

PEOPLE

& THE

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MUSIC

contENts

MAY/JUN ‘12 EDITION 61

Latest in DJ, Music and Production Gear 3. 4. 5. 6. 8. 9. 10. 11. 14. 16. 18. 20. 22. 23.

EDITORS NOTE & INFO COVER FEATURE - AKAI MPK49 COVER FEATURE - AKAI MPK49 DJ GEAR: NUMARK N4 CONTROLLER STUDIO REVIEW: GEMINI SR SERIES STUDIO MONITORS GEAR: SAMSON AURO D12 LOUDSPEAKERS GEAR NEWS GEAR NEWS STUDIO REVIEW: EOWAVE DOMINO ANALOGUE SYNTHESIZER SPECIAL FEATURE: THE FUTURE OF SOUND: NATIVE INSTRUMENTS PRODUCTION TIPS WITH JON SHAW TUTORIAL: ABLETON TUTORIAL EDUCATION: WRITING YOUR AUDIENCE? EDUCATION: WRITING YOUR AUDIENCE?

EDITOR’S NOTE

I

f you read my Ed note in the lifestyle section you’ll see that I’ve given DJs a bit of a hard time about calling themselves musicians. Well here’s your chance to get halfway there to at least becoming an Electronic Music Producer (if you are not one already) with some of the cool studio gear we’ve collected for review ahead of winter, which is always a good time to spend in the studio making those gnarly beats. Take for instance our cover feature – the awesome Akai MPK49 midi controller – the perfect instrument to not only use for composing your midi arrangements, but also for programming drums with the built-in drum pads. Seasoned producer - and a seasoned user of Akai products, specifically the APC40 - Fletcher Beadon looks long and hard at the unit. Looking for a set of studio monitors that won’t break the bank? Gemini have entered the fray with their eyecatching new SR series and ESP resident DJ (and producer), Dave Skinz, checks out the 8-inch derivative. We also played around with a wonderfully cool boutique analogue synthesizer called the Eowave

Domino and put forward a good case in favour of hardware instead of just plugins in your studio. It’s not all studio gear though! Numark have another new DJ controller on the market and we gave it a good working over to which it stood up quite admirably. We also look at Samson’s all new Auro series of loudspeakers - a fantastically compact range that packs a heck of a punch at a price that will knock you out! And lastly, aside from our wonderful tutorial pieces, I also had the chance to meet with Native Instruments’ communications manager, Tobias Thon, whilst he was holidaying in South Africa. He certainly left an indelible impression on me. You can read about this and more on NI on Pg 16. Enjoy and keep those beats blasting! DAVE MAC Editor-in-Chief Don’t forget to visit www.bpmmag.co.za for daily gear news.


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STUDIO By Fletcher Beadon

AKAI MPK49 Performance Controller “As someone who normally uses a shorter keyboard in the studio it felt luxurious to play on this 49 key model.”

Anatomy

A Closer look...

Straight out the box I liked this big and weighty controller keyboard. It is USB bus powered so the lights came on and it was working with Ableton in seconds. I selected the MPK49 as a control surface from the MIDI preferences page and everything was mapped and ready to go. Just for the sake of clarity, the MPK49 is not a synthesizer, it has no onboard sounds. It is just a giant MIDI instrument to control softsynths and effects inside your sequencer. So the power of a controller like this can only be realized if you have spent time building a library of instruments in your sequencer software. If you haven’t, then mileage may vary. Theoretically the MPK49 is all the control you could possibly desire: a 49 key semi-weighted keyboard, big rubbery pitch and modulation wheels, 12 MPC-style drum pads, 8 long faders, 8 infinite rotary knobs and 8 buttons all on one control surface. I use at least three pieces of MIDI gear in my studio to achieve the same results. So let’s take a tour through the features and see how the MPK49 measures up in a studio session.

The unit has a sturdy build, although at the end of the day it is all plastic and won’t survive fire or heavy rock ‘n roll abuse. Get a board bag if you’re going to take it out to party. The keys are semi-weighted and don’t feel cheap like many other controllers on the market. They seem a little stiff for my personal taste, although admittedly I do play with a stylish one finger technique (left and right hand), so I won’t deduct any points for that. As someone who normally uses a shorter keyboard in the studio it felt luxurious to play on this 49 key model. For the serious keyboard players out there, it has input on the rear for a foot pedal, an expression pedals and MIDI input and output to send and receive information between other

sound modules. Strangely, if you would like to use the MPK49 without a computer, you would need to go out and purchase a 6V power adaptor, something not mentioned in the manual. The drum pads proved to be a bit of a dilemma for me. The Akai website, and indeed both the local distributor ’s drum expert and technician all assured me that the MPC-style pads on the controller use the same contact membrane technology as that of Akai’s highly respected MPC series, albeit made from a different rubber. For those not familiar, Akai in fact made its name with the MPC, the drum sampler of choice for hip hop producers since the late 1980s. What you do get is four different velocity curves available from the global preferences, however I found them a bit stiff for subtle velocity detection and actually banged them quite hard to achieve close to 127 velocity. This may just be my demo model (it is brand new) so my suggestion is to test this to see if it is to your liking. Something else to take note is that the MPK25 and MPK49 both have a drum pad layout of 3 across and 4 up. Most software and hardware uses a 4 x 4 grid layout so you’ll find yourself needing to trigger the missing notes on the keyboard; not ideal. If this is an issue I recommend looking at the MPK61 or MPK88, both of which have 4 across and 4 up.


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STUDIO

One of the redeeming features of the drum pads is they can be played using different velocity modes: variable velocity, at full 127 velocity, or in 12-step mode, where the last note played is mapped out over the 12 pads at incremental velocity levels – I found this useful for programming drums with very precise velocity control e.g. hi hat patterns. Enough about the bloody drum pads, the big rubber pitch and modulation wheels hang out in the left corner and light up in the dark. Very cool, I had lots of fun with these, but I’m that kind of guy. The MPK49 has got a very nifty performance mode that allows you to lock to your sequencer’s tempo and play with the in-built arpeggiator. It has fully tweakable arp modes, range, gate and swing. The drum pads have their own note repeat mode that is a similar kind of thing. The combination of these two features will allow somebody with the rhythm of a white man like me to whip up some very musical sounding chords, melodies and rhythms in no time at all. One of my favourite parts of playing with the MPK49 was assigning all sorts of things in

Ableton functions to the knobs, buttons and sliders. I simply clicked on MIDI learn mode in the software, moved the hardware and was ready to tweak to my nerdy heart’s delight. Natively, the 8 sliders control volume, the 8 rotary knobs control the macros of any selected channel and the buttons toggle record arm on and off. These can easily be reassigned using the MIDI learn mode, but why bother when you have 3 banks in total x 8 knobs, buttons and sliders. Even I thought that was a little over the top control. Other features I enjoyed were the no-fuss, intuitive LED interface. Unlike some other brands out there, no parameters were ever more than a click or two beneath the surface. I managed to whip up about 20 cool MIDI clips in Ableton using instruments, drum racks and samplers I had in my library. Overall I found myself using the MPK49 to control multiple functions, rather than clicking with the mouse. So if you’re looking for a MIDI controller keyboard to create and tweak lots of parts quickly, this is a sound bet and a solid workhorse (to mix a metaphor or two).

Verdict The MPK49 comes with a copy of the Ableton Live 8 Lite. Basically it’s a hobbled version of the software, but you can upgrade to the full version at a 33% discount. The included CD also contains the VYZEX editing software and a user manual that makes it seem like an impossibly complex space ship flight panel. Why do user manuals seem like they are written by a depressed German scientist and then translated into English via Japanese? So to sum up this big monster controller keyboard: AKAI has built itself a name for hi-quality performance hardware and this is no exception. Apart from the layout of the drum pads and a few other design quirks, I would be very happy to have the MPK49 as the master controller sitting in my studio or running a live show on stage. Is it worth the R 5,895.00 price tag? Well, that’s for you to decide so go try one out. Learn how to set up an Akai Pro MPK49 or MPD MIDI Controller in Ableton Live Lite by scanning this TAG on your Smartphone.

Get the free mobile app for your phone

http:/ / gettag.mobi

SA Distributor: Musical Distributors | www.musicaldistributors.co.za Expect to pay: MPK25: R 3,795.00 | MPK49: R 5,895.00 | MPK61: R 7,995.00 | MPK88: R 11,995.00


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DJ GEAR By Dave Mac

“...the N4 is the typical middle child; it may struggle to differentiate itself from its bigger brother or smaller sister!”

Numark N4

R

Anatomy Numark seem to release a new controller very often and currently their website boasts no less than 16 variants on this theme. Clearly they intend covering every possible type imaginable! The N4 fits neatly between the NS6 [Numark’s pro-level 4-deck controller] and the company’s Mixtrack Pro, their entrylevel 2-channel controller. If the three were siblings the N4 is the typical middle child; it may struggle to differentiate itself from its bigger brother or smaller sister! Size-wise it also fits snugly between the two aforementioned devices and unpacking reveals a well-built and solid machine. The shiny fascia will need looking after when transporting though to avoid nasty scratches but overall it looks pretty good in a ‘semi-pro’ kind of way. Included in the box is a power adaptor and discs with Serato DJ Intro and Virtual DJ LE. On the rear of the unit you will find XLR master outputs (impressive) as well as RCA outs, RCA booth outputs and dual pairs of RCA inputs for line-in which also caters for turntables via the phono switch. Naturally there is also a phono ground connector. The N4 also offers two mic inputs with a shared 2-band EQ and both mini and ¼ inch headphone jacks. Headphone sound quality is decent and thankfully loud enough. The jog-wheels are identical to the Mixtrack Pro but the 4 channel layout, the loops, cues, FX buttons and transport section remind me of the Numark NS6. The mixer is a proper built-in mixer. In

other words if you connect CD-players or turntables you can use the N4 as a conventional DJ setup. Of course the beauty of this is that you can combine both digital DJing and conventional. An added feature is that with the use of Timecode vinyl or CDs you can also use said devices to control the software in Serato. General ergonomics are pretty standard – I do like the way the loop, FX and general master section is neatly tucked away at the top of the unit with a nice silver facia. Other notable buttons not seen on too many units are the 4 Video fade buttons for use with Virtual DJ.

In Use The N4 is designed for use with Serato DJ Intro or Virtual DJ LE, both of which are

included in the package. Typically I opted for Serato first to test the unit (what is it about Virtual DJ’s rep?) but was not impressed with its very, very limited feature set. Firstly it offers only 2 decks – not too much of an issue I guess as most DJs only use 2 decks, but other limitations I can’t get my head around include no cue points and no history! Oh, and you cannot widen or shorten loops with Serato DJ Intro either. So whilst Virtual DJ may not score as high on the ‘coolness’ barometer, if I owned one of these units it’s certainly the program I’d use. Aside from 4-deck control plus Timecode capabilities, you also have full use of looping (a slightly clunky combination of shift-key and loop buttons is required to shorten or lengthen loops), video capabilities and an upgrade path to Virtual DJ Pro which will offer you fullscreen video mixing too. There is no current upgrade path from Serato’s DJ Intro. Both do have their pros and cons though. For example if you’re partial to a bit of scratching this is all but useless with Virtual DJ (jog-wheels way too sensitive) but works quite well with DJ Intro. The hardware works great though and is auto-mapped to function seamlessly with both applications. One may not enjoy using the shift button for some functions (in Virtual DJ) but other than that it is a unit that is feature-packed and boasts an intuitive layout. It feels nice and solid in use and that’s important.

Verdict Not quite the entry-level Mixtrack Pro and definitely not aimed at the high-end club DJ the NS6 targets, the N4 is a genuine mid-market unit that should find its way into a lot of recreational DJs and mobile DJ setups. Build quality and a sense of solidity are certainly in its favour and the featureset cannot be ignored. For example mobile DJs currently using a conventional rig of CDs and a mixer will find this unit offers some enticing options with the built-in mixer and Timecode capabilities. Video integration (albeit limited) is also another genuine plus for those hosting their own parties or doing mobile DJ work.

SA Distributor: Viva Afrika | Tel: 021 250-3280 Suggested Retail Price: R 5,358.00 incl. VAT


FOUR DECKS OF CONTROL. ARE YOU READY? Featuring four decks of software control plus a built-in mixer that can be used with or without a computer, N4 is designed for DJs who want powerful capability in a lightweight, portable package. N4 is a complete DJ controller that has everything you need to perform at your highest level: large, touch-sensitive platters, four decks of software control with loop and effects controls, a built-in USB audio interface and a comprehensive mixer section with EQ and gain controls. N4 comes with both Serato DJ Intro software and a four-deck version of Virtual DJ LE. Built-In Mixer | Timecode Capability | Essential Elements | USB Audio Interface

R 5,358.00

* laptop not included

Price is recommended retail incl. 14% VAT Trade Enquiries or to find your closest retailer call: luis@hybrid.co.za | marco@hybrid.co.za | bernard@hybrid.co.za www.numark.com

www,hybrid.co.za | Tel: (011) 250 3280


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STUDIO GEAR By Dave Skinz

What Is It? By now a lot of people out there should be familiar with the Gemini brand, and I’m sure at one point most, if not all of us, have owned or played on one of their mixers. The old trusty 626 springs to mind, and I myself still have a working Executioner 10. I've always had respect for the products that the folks down at Gemini offer. They understand their segment of the market and they supply cheap and reliable DJ products that give first-time and budget buyers a real insiders feel of what DJ gear is, and how it should run. With that premise in mind, Gemini have stepped up to the studio plate and delivered a range of dedicated monitors for all those burgeoning studios. There are four models in the range which cover pretty much all the bases when it comes to setting up your audio workspace. The range starts with the SR-5, an active 5” that has 75W of bi-amped power, then the SR-6 a 6.5” model with 90W of biamped power, followed by the SR-8 with 125W of bi-amped power, and rounded off with the SR-10, a 10” subwoofer with 175W of power on tap. All of the monitors use woven glass aramid composite woofers for tight, accurate low-end response and the enclosures are rounded and magnetically shielded with a frontfiring port for crisper lows. The SR-5, 6 and 8 all utilize a 1-inch neodymium driver on its soft-dome tweeter. This recessed high frequency driver also employs a purposeful waveguide that directs sound away from the cabinet, so your high frequencies are reproduced with precision and little diffraction. There are controls on the 5, 6 and 8's just to tighten up the top end and to adapt the HF for your monitoring position and all of the Gemini SR's have XLR and TRS inputs. The SR-10 provides stereo controls for volume and crossover frequency which can be adjusted from 40Hz to 180Hz,

GEMINI SR RANGE OF STUDIO MONITORS

Red hot and ready to rock.

allowing you to decide which frequencies you want to keep for the subs and which to send to the monitors. This ability to adjust your calibrations is both easy and extremely useful. The sub itself has a frequency response of 35Hz to 200Hz to guarantee an accurate, well-balanced low end.

Who Should Own One? Well Gemini seems to have tuned these monitors to be punchy but flat so they would be well suited for studio and/or DJ work. They will integrate nicely into any starter studio or for those guys that want to practice at home without upsetting the neighbours, and the product range is comprehensive to ensure you have the perfect set-up for your space. Bigger rooms would do well with a set of the SR8's, while the more compact studio could use a set of SR-5's or SR-6's with the SR-10 sub if you really want to make sure that your low end presence is enforced.

The Verdict. I can certainly admit a fondness for the racy red cone, red backlit Gemini logo, and sleek black cabinet. I had the first pair of the SR-8's in the country on demo for the test and within 15

minutes of them arriving in my store I had someone wanting to take them home. The setup was quick and easy, and with three choices of signal connection you are sure to have the right cable to get them going. The HF can be adjusted for your monitoring position, but with the front-firing ports you can run them quite close the walls without disrupting the bass too much. I was impressed with the SR-8's; I used a couple of my reference tracks and I was surprised at the detail they exhibited. You could really get your head into the mix and I could hear reverbs, delays and detail in the audio. The SR-8's also seem quite punchy in the mids with a clear bass response. The SR-10 would have been overkill with the SR-8's but I’m sure the SR5 and SR-6 will be a good fit. To my mind the Gemini SR's will be a great choice for starter studios or DJ workspaces and for the price should be more than capable of handling your musical and studio needs when you first get going.

Price: Various Supplier: Audiosure Tel: (011) 790-4600 Web: www.audiosure.co.za www.geminidj.com


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SAMSON AURO

D412 Active 12” Speaker

PRO AUDIO By Dave Skinz enough to keep in the boot of your car just as a back-up option. Another consideration would be for presentations, practice spaces and for travelling fitness instructors who need something lightweight but with a bit of punch.

The Verdict.

Portable, practical and powerful! What Is It? The Samson Auro D412 is a 2-way active loudspeaker with about 250W of programmable power, peaking at around the 400W mark through a bi-amplified system. The speaker is optically limited to ensure that they are not going to be overdriven and there is a multi-band processor as well as an internal 24 dB/octave time aligned electronic crossover to tighten up the output. The Auro D412s are extremely compact when comparing them to other 12” speakers on the market and while the versatile speaker housing is of a lightweight polypropylene plastic they still tip the scales at 16.25 kg each. I say the housing is clever because the Auro D range is cleverly designed to run at either 30 or 45 degree monitor angles for near and far field coverage on small or larger stage spaces. Samson have provided a two band shelving EQ and a strange level control rotary which handles both your line and mic in. Just remember that for the level control the 12 o'clock position is the 0db max mark for both the line and mic input so you will only be able to use one of the TRS

or XLR inputs at a time. Right below your input section is the XLR line output to let you link up more active cabinets and there is a green power light and red peak light located on the back-panel of the D412 where you can actually see and keep an eye on it. Power input is via a standard kettle cord connection and there is a user serviceable fuse underneath your power on and off switch. All of the Samson Auro cabinets are fitted with a standard 1 3/8-inch (35mm) speaker stand receptacle and have two fitted handle's to cart them around, as well a single fly point on the top if you feel you want to suspend them.

The Samson Auro D412 measures in at 356 x 275 x 546mm and when I first got the box I had to check them again because they looked like a set of 10s! But sure enough, after lifting up the weighty cabinets out the packaging I was reassured that I indeed had the correct models. That's one of the best things about the D412, they really are ridiculously small for the volume of music they can put out, and they have been tuned to be flat in their frequency response, so they sound great on a whole stack of music from live, to electronic to dance. They will be fantastic booth and stage monitors and should be well suited to small shows and PA work. My only real hang-up with the D412 is with the control panel on the back. The rotary controls for your EQ's and level control are small and dinky but to be fair they are safely recessed behind the plastic frame of the speaker. Also you have two sets of inputs but they cannot be used at the same time so that’s a little limiting. But those small issues aside the Auro D412 is a superb piece of kit that could give years of loyal service to anyone looking to get themselves a compact system or monitor.

Who Should Own One? The Samson Auro D412s would be a perfect fit for mobile companies who are looking for a compact system that punches way above its size, and coupling the D412s with an active sub will really enhance the experience especially if you are looking at outdoor or medium indoor venues. Musos and DJs would also be advised to check out the Auro 412D for use as a small PA or doubling back as a really decent set of monitors. They are certainly compact

Price: R 3,795 per speaker Supplier: Audiosure Tel: (011) 790 4600 Web: www.audiosure.co.za www.samsontech.com


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GEAR & INDUSTRY NEWS

Viva Afrika awarded two new agencies for Africa Viva Afrika Sound and Light (PTY) LTD announced recently that the company has been awarded the exclusive distribution rights for Beyma loudspeakers in Sub-Sahara Africa. Viva Afrika is one of the fastest growing professional audio and lighting distributors in South Africa with a portfolio of brands that include: Numark DJ products, Audiocenter loudspeakers, Real loudspeakers, Hybrid, Hybrid+ and dB Technologies. Says director, Bernard Pienaar (pictured); “Beyma Components fit in perfectly with our company vision: to offer high quality European components at competitive pricing to the South African market. Viva Afrika and its team are looking forward to a long and fruitful relationship with Beyma.” Indeed Musikmesse proved good for business for the company who will be celebrating 25 years of pro-audio next year. They have also landed the agency for dB Technologies, a brand that has itself been in production for 25 years having gained substantial recognition for their technological innovations, as well as their inherent standard of quality. SA Distributor: Viva Afrika

(011) 250-3280

AVID Appoints New Pro Audio Distributor for South Africa Avid®, the leading provider and manufacturer of audio and video solutions, announced that SEGMA, based in South Africa, has signed an agreement to sell its professional audio product range. “In alignment with the Avid market strategy we are delighted to appoint SEGMA as our distributor in South Africa for Avid’s pro audio product line comprising the award winning Avid Pro Tools HD series interfaces, Pro Tools|HD Native, Pro Tools|HDX, and the digital console ICON”, says Nadiyam Ravisankar, Audio Sales Manager|Emerging Markets at Avid. “We look forward to building on the existing client base and adding more users who will benefit from ready stock and pre/post-sales support of the highest order that Avid is known for. SEGMA South Africa has the right strategies and is well positioned to support the Avid brand. We are glad to be able to strengthen our relationship and will continue to work closely together to offer complete solutions to the customers in the pro audio segment." Maldwyn Greenwood, CEO, and Johan van der Colff, CFO at SEGMA South Africa, both agree, ‘’It’s with great pleasure that we take on the Avid Pro Audio distribution for South Africa and we are looking forward to taking the brand to new levels within the local Pro Audio market. Pro Tools has always been on the leading edge with outstanding products and innovative workflow solutions and working together with our local sales partners and retailers we want to put the Avid products right on the "doorstep" of each and every potential user. With the new product range from Avid there is now a solution for every need and we plan on making this more accessible than ever before. With international pricing structures being implemented, the South African music industry will now have access to the world's leading brand at prices that fits their budgets.’’

SA Distributor: Segma (011) 312-1846 | www.segma.co.za


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Jem Compact Hazer Pro™

GEAR & INDUSTRY NEWS ensures smooth haze distribution while a unique mixing channel allows the haze to optimize before being expelled. An Eco mode extends run times and improves fluid economy while a Silent mode slows the fan speed for operation in noise-sensitive environments. Fluid consumption is astonishingly economical due to a specially formulated K Plus haze fluid that extends hang time and leaves no residue on fixtures. Designed for easy serviceability, the Jem Compact Hazer Pro is also simple to use via an on-board digital display and standard DMX control with digital remote option. Haze level and fan speed are variably controllable while maintaining continuous output. Haze levels are easy to pre-set and setting timed programs is straightforward as well.

The perfect haze solution for any application! The Jem Compact Hazer Pro is a versatile new haze machine from Martin Professional designed for the highly demanding professional market. Its ability to produce exceptionally fine atmospheric haze in a short period of time makes it an ideal choice for rental houses, shows, theatres, TV studios, clubs, bars, cruise ships, theme parks and much more. Robust yet small and lightweight, the Jem Compact Hazer Pro is capable of dispersing an even haze with superior optical clarity and reflectivity, the perfect haze for highlighting today’s highly defined light beams. A high-quality air pump system

FEATURES: ! Finest haze production in its class ! Small particle, even haze ! Continuous output ! 1 minute heat up time ! Water-based fluid with long hang time ! Low fluid consumption: 95 ml/h max ! Low noise ! Lightweight ! Optical Density Timer Control system (ODTC) SA Distributor: Electrosonic (011) 770-9800 | www.electrosonic.co.za

Reloop RHP-20 With the RHP-20, Reloop introduces premium DJ headphones with scene stealing, state-of-the-art aesthetics and elite sound design that is acoustically balanced for professional use. Engineered with exceptionally high audio output for a club setting and clear frequency separation with the ideal balance of mids, highs and bass, these innovative headphones are perfect for the DJ booth or the studio. Equipped with a rotating ear cup for onshoulder/single-ear monitoring, the RHP-20 is rugged and ready for continuous operation in even the most challenging environment with a sturdy hinge and folding mechanism made of high-quality

aluminum and a hard rubber head band that withstands wear and tear. The design is lightweight, and the ear cups are carefully crafted to surround the ears in comfort with memory foam padding covered in fine protein leather, so there is no pinching or fatigue... even on a long night. A trendsetter with pristine audio quality and robust construction, the RHP-20 sets a new standard for the professional DJ headphones. SA Distributor: Tradelius (031) 502-3080 | www.tradelius.co.za

Traktor Kontrol F1 - 'The world's first remix decks' TRAKTOR PRO 2.5 has landed – the same day TRAKTOR KONTROL F1 hits the stores worldwide. TRAKTOR PRO isn’t the only thing receiving the remix treatment – the entire TRAKTOR family is set to raise the bar once again. If you’re already a TRAKTOR user or thinking of becoming one, there’s great news for everybody. If you currently use PRO 2 or DUO 2, you’ll receive a free update to the flagship TRAKTOR PRO 2.5, complete with the innovative new Remix Decks™. From now, all TRAKTOR hardware comes with TRAKTOR PRO 2 included and a free update to 2.5. TRAKTOR KONTROL F1 is the definitive hardware for controlling the powerful Remix Decks™ in TRAKTOR PRO 2.5 – the flagship DJ software included with the F1. Finally, you can launch clips in a perfectly intuitive, DJ-centric way – control Remix Decks just like regular track decks, switching between up to 64 tracks, loops and one-shot samples on each deck. With your signature sound at your fingertips, it’s time to blur the line between DJing and live performance.

SA Distributor: Tuerk Music Technologies (011) 792-8402 | www.tuerkmusic.co.za


DJ MIXERS M2 ................. PURE PROFESSIONAL POWER + Two-channel tabletop DJ mixer + Inputs: two phono/line switchable (RCA), two line (RCA), mic (1/4") + Outputs: Master (RCA), Record (RCA), headphone (1/4" stereo) + Three-band EQ and gain on each channel

R 1,342.00

M6USB VERSATILE MIXING WITH COMPUTER INTEGRATION + Four input channels, each with gain, three-band EQ and LED metering + USB computer connection or playing and recording with Mac or PC + Play music from musicplayer software + Record your mix to your computer

R 2,417.00

M4 ........................ BONUS INPUTS FOR TOTAL PERFORMANCE + Three-channel tabletop mixer + Inputs: two phono/line switchable (RCA), four line (RCA), mic (1/4") + Outputs: Master (RCA), Record (RCA), headphone (1/4" stereo) + Steep three-band EQ/rotary kills on each channel

R 1,742.00

M8 ............................ FOUR CHANNELS TO MIX, MATCH AND EFFECT ALL YOUR MUSIC + Four channel DJ mixer + Top Panel RCA input for portable MP3 Players + Beatkeeper™ BPM detection to create precise mixes between songs + Beat-synced effects Including: - Delay - Filter, - Flanger

R 3,750.00

Prices are recommended retail incl. 14% VAT www.numark.com www.hybrid.co.za For trade enquiries or to find your closest retailer call (011) 250 3280 | luis@hybrid.co.za | marco@hybrid.co.za | bernard@hybrid.co.za


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BPM Reports

DJ GEAR

Eowave Domino Analog Synthesizer Price: R 2,799.00 Supplier: Benjamin Studios Tel: 076 984-6691 Web: www.benjaminstudio.co.za

Anatomy For anybody who has had the pleasure of playing with some classic 1970's or 80's analogue synthesizers, you will know the feeling of how much fun a synth can be to play with. All those knobs. So responsive to tweaking. And yet on the verge of all getting totally out of control. For those who want the pleasure of the MS10 and the TB303 combined with the perks of MIDI, you might want to take a little peak inside the Eowave Domino. The architecture is quite simple. You already know and understand it if you've worked with any subtractive synthesizer: An Oscillator, passing through a Filter, which is modulated by an LFO and an Envelope. Sounds so nice and clean, so German. But the Eowave Domino is French. This little Domino is dirty.

In Use Once you've plugged in the power supply, MIDI in (it has no keyboard) and the audio output, its hands on fun time. Wow, send this baby some MIDI and she instantly starts purring pure analogue. Even asks to be warmed up for half an hour so that the oscillators are HOT when you start playing. The first thing you’ll notice is that there is no little LED display telling you what’s happening. The knobs are all there is. There is no way to save presets; it’s all happening live underneath your fingers. Personally, I love this feature. I think synth presets are a disease in modern music. Well, here is a good analogue

remedy to this modern problem of everyone sounding the same. A cute touch in the 2 page user manual is some diagrams of the Domino to mark your settings and “save” your presets. The Oscillator could not be simpler, it creates continuous square and saw waves which can be mixed together. The LFO can control pitch modulation and/or pulse width modulation to create very rich sounding waveforms from straightforward components. The Filter is a very phat and squelchy 24dB low pass filter, with a delicious sounding resonance. My first step is always to assign filter cutoff to LFO, and this is a knob tweak away. Now I’m wobbling away to my heart’s content. The Envelope gives the Filter some added character. More smiles. The LFO is always the heart of any synth for me, and the Domino creates magic from two simple knobs. The first controls the LFO speed which can lock to your sequencer clock, the second allows you to choose from 8 waveform shapes: triangle, saw, inverse saw, square, random, noise, staircase, and modwheel. In the last mode, the modwheel of your midi keyboard can be used as an 8 step

sequencer. That kept me amused for at least 20 minutes. The Envelope section is a simple attack, decay/sustain, release affair. Not much I can say about that other than it works well and makes me do funny things with my face while I tweak the controls. There are a few tricks beneath the simple surface of the Domino. One of them is that you can activate a little internal arpeggiator using MIDI CC’s 4, 5 & 6. CC4 sets the different arp modes. CC5 turns the arpeggiator on and switches between octaves, CC6 turns latch mode on or off. Sounds so dry, but so enjoyable to jam with. Also underneath the hood, the Glide mode is activated whenever notes are played legato, or controlled more precisely using CC1 and CC2. The Accent kicks in with any MIDI note values over 120. Warning: sounds exactly like the TB303 when played in this manner which might lead to all sorts of complicated aftereffects. The final feature is an Audio Input which allows you to use the Domino as an external effects unit.

Verdict So why would you want to buy this little box full of analogue joy rather than use a free VST which supposedly does the same thing and probably more? Well, playing around with the Domino for a while will certainly give you some answers. Which are that this does NOT sound the same as any virtual instrument I have ever played. It’s distinctly more alive and for lack of a better word, squelchy. And secondly the thing is covered in knobs which do exactly what they say on the box. Yes you could build yourself a little control surface that exactly mimics the behaviour, then I would refer you back to point 1. This Domino is above all an instrument, and it sure is fun to play.


16 | BPM

By Dave Mac

SPECIAL FEATURE

15 Years of NATIVE INSTRUMENTS and the job of communication

n 2011 leading software and music technology company, Native Instruments, turned 15 years old. Now it may seem a little strange that we’re talking about this 6 months later when the net was awash with this news back in October 2011, including our own BPMMAG.co.za, but what has spurned this feature is that I eventually got around to reading the NI Anniversary book called The Future of Sound: 15 Years of Native Instruments only recently and well... I AM the Editor so sometimes I get to do as I please! This and the fact that I had the opportunity to meet with Native Instruments’ ‘Corporate Communications Manager,’ Tobias Thon whilst he was on holiday here from Berlin.

I

The Future of Sound The Book The 90-page soft cover book offers an impressive account of the history of Native Instruments, their products and the infrastructure of the company. It’s an interesting read, certainly if you are a big fan of the company, as I am sure many are, although I am rather bemused at the 15 dollar price tag since the book quite naturally focuses most of its effort on promoting the company and its products. But I have to admit it is actually quite interesting to read about how Traktor came about, the concept behind Maschine and the history b e h i n d N I ’ s Ko m p l e t e s y n t h packages etc., not to mention the history behind the formation of the company itself. For example did you know that the program Generator was the forerunner to Native Instruments GmbH being established as a company and was first shown off at Musikmesse Frankfurt in 1996? As the name suggests, Generator was capable of generating sound... but in real time on the first Pentium processors! Today that just seems laughable but in fact it’s a timely reminder of how far computer processing and

indeed the software has come since then. The brainchild of one Stephan Schmitt, a hardware engineer and musician, he was a synthesizer player looking for a less bulky and indeed less pricey way to perform his music. Together with programmer, Volker Hinz he developed the concept of the first modular software synthesizer; Generator. Schmitt, by the way, has gone on to build Reaktor and many of the other soft-synth products that NI boasts in its collection.

Communication

Native Instruments’ Tobias Thon looking relaxed in Cape Town

Belying his title as ‘Corporate’ Communications Manager about which we both share a chuckle and he swears he’ll look into the use of ‘corporate’ in his title, Tobias is a super laid back and very cool dude. Over coffee he is quick to add that this was actually a well-deserved holiday with a very relaxed eye on what South Africa and its burgeoning music

scene is all about. “Well,” I exclaim, “then you’re meeting with the right person!” as I go on to give him a brief SA Music 101 lesson on the complexities of our music production scene throughout the country. He tells me that his main concern is that back in Germany all they see are numbers and sales figures and that his objective was to see the people behind the numbers... understand the country better and get a feel for what’s happening on this side of the world on a social level. “I’ll be back in October,” he tells me over a mid-morning breakfast, “and then I want to start implementing some of the ideas we’ve been discussing.” For now those ideas will remain top-secret, suffice to say that if his long term project pans out, it’ll certainly have made his visits here worthwhile. As I wish him a safe journey back to Berlin I find myself thinking ‘wow I wish guys like this would come out and see what we’re up to musically in SA more often,’ ‘cos you know it and I know – SA Dance music rocks! Oh and if you can, try get your hands on a copy of the NI book. It’s way cool checking out their products, new and old.


18 | BPM TUTORIAL

PRODUCTION TIPS

Tricks from the Pro's 12:

By Jonathan G Shaw

A CRISPY SIDE OF VOCAL CHORD

A

lot of new producers are working “in the box” these days with virtually the only thing recorded being the vocals. To get the best vocal sound on a small setup, it ’s important to understand how to use your equipment properly to get a vocal sound that stands up there alongside a larger studio set up. Firstly, the most important aspect of capturing vocals is the singer themselves. They have to have all the usual skills of being able to pitch correctly and to phrase in time with the music. There is no replacement for singing lessons. If they can’t get to a teacher, then I suggest singing through some chromatic intervals every day to improve their pitching and range. The other thing that is paramount is the microphone you record with. Yes, professional vocals are recorded on a piece of engineering more expensive than your average car, and for good reason. But otherwise, I would recommend an entry level condenser microphone which goes for around R3000 with that allimportant pop filter. Depending on the song, the singer should be about two fists from the diaphragm but if its hip hop, the rapper could be as close as almost touching the mic. Be careful of the singer bumping and blowing on the mic as this can just ruin a vocal take. Thirdly, professional vocals are recorded in acoustically treated rooms

which clear out all room reflection that may leak onto the mic. If you don’t have a booth, your next bet is to hang up some blankets around a metre all round from the singer – perhaps using a corner of the room or a cupboard. This should sufficiently dampen the room sound on the mic. You could also invest in an SE Reflection Filter which fits around the mic to filter out room reverb. The less room in your vocal signal, the clearer it is. It is easy to filter upper frequencies, say from 1 kHz up, but it’s those pesky lows which can muffle the vocal. Your last piece of hardware that makes an incredible difference is the pre-amp you use to record. Yes, all your basic mixers have some form of pre-amplification (that ‘gain’ knob we

all use at some stage), but your small, 2-mic-input mixers are often just too thin sounding to pull off a prosounding vocal. This is where your tube pre-amps, optical compressors and analogue equalisation make a real difference. You can also pick up an introductory pre-amp for around R3000 but your pro amps often cost the same as the mics mentioned above. My low cost solution for you would be to get a tape emulator and other “vintage sound” plug-ins and run that on the vocal while mixing.

Play long and prosper! Resistance to better sound is futile!

Jonathan Shaw is a professional record producer who has worked with a multitude of artists and record labels in a freelance capacity. Outside this, he lectures music business at the University of the Witwatersrand and provides business consultation to the music industry. jshaw@smstudios.co.za


20 | BPM

ABLETON TUTORIAL

Top 5 Free VST Plugins

By abletonlife.com

For Ableton Live (or other VST compatible DAWs)

Here are 5 free VST plugins for Mac OSX (and PC). They can be used in any music production program that supports VST, but since this is a tutorial dedicated to Ableton Live, these are of course geared towards electronic music production.

1. Audio Damage Fuzz Plus Audio Damage make some amazingly high quality VST plugins. It’s no surprise then, that even their free plugin selection is top notch. My favourite out of the batch is their version of a simple vintage fuzz pedal.) Features: ! Fuzz knob: This controls, as you might imagine, exactly how much fuzz is applied to the signal. ! Tone knob: This controls the brightness of the distorted signal. ! Output knob: This is the output volume of the device, when it is active. ! Bypass button: This works just like the switch on a stomp box. When the orange light is lit, you’re in the money. When it’s not, the input is passed directly to the output. This can be automated for a slightly different vibe than automating the effect bypass of your host. Download Audio Damage’s Fuzz Plus on: http://www.audiodamage.com/downloads

1.

Audio Damage Fuzz Plus

2.

Sample Tank Free

2. Sample Tank Free It’s nice seeing even the bigger companies joining in on the freebies. Sample Tank is IK Multimedia’s renowned sampler. If you’ve used it, you already know the amount of quality this unit brings. If you haven’t used it, now is your chance to, for free! Although it requires registration, you can’t beat the price. ! Over 500 MB samples for over 200 sounds included. ! 16 part multitimbral with easy layerable/mixable parts. ! 3 synth engines. ! One of the most powerful multi-effects sections in a virtual instrument. ! 33 built-in DSP effects derived from award winning audio processors like T-RackS and AmpliTube. ! Part and Master Loop Sync. ! Imports WAV, AIFF, SDII, AKAI S-1000/3000, SAMPLECELL. ! Available both as a standalone application as well as a plug-in. Download Sample Tank Free on: www.ikmultimedia.com/sampletankfree/download

3.

King Dubby

3. King Dubby For all of you lo-fi freaks out there. This emulates the classic dub delay sounds. Using analog tape delay as its main inspiration, it has an amazing User Interface and a screaming sound that makes it a unique, simple and elegant plugin you definitely want to have in your Ableton Live set up. ! Delay time: automatically synchronized with your song’s tempo and allows a delay time of up to 1 bar (with a maximum of 4 seconds) in 96 discrete steps. ! Delay feedback: controls the amount of signal which will be re-injected in the delay unit. The higher this control is set, the longer the echoes will take to decay. In conjunction with other settings, it can also create some cool Larsen effect! ! Delay degradation: mixes the clean digital delay with the more vintage tape delay channel. When you increase its value your echoes will be fully passed through the degradation filter, which is controled by the next section. Download King Dubby on: www.lowcoders.fr/downloadRelease.php?name=KD.dmg

4.

Da Hornet

4. Da Hornet A soft synth that has its roots strongly tied to the analog world. This is a stripped down bare bones sound machine that can get quite nasty (especially if coupled with the Fuzz Pedal mentioned above). Hours of fun with only a few knobs. General Features: ! 16 Voices ! 4 VCAs ! 1 Filter Download the Da Hornet on: www.dashsignature.com

5. Frohmage From Ohm Force, another great plugin creator, comes one of the best sounding filters I have ever tried. Lay this on top of a synth or drum part and you will get some truly inspiring sounds. Again, this one requires an account, but it’s well worth signing up for. Features: ! Highly resonant low-pass filter. ! Cutoff frequency unit selection: Hz or musical note. ! Up to 15 additional bands, harmonically distributed. ! Delay on each band for unique phaser effects. ! Distortion stage, with two routing schemes. ! Very fine MIDI control (PRN and NPRN sent or recorded by Frohmage are 14-bit accurate). ! Low CPU load. Download Frohmage on: www.ohmforce.com

5.

Frohmage

Please share any of your favourite free Mac OS X plugins you like to use in Ableton Live on our Facebook wall.


22 | BPM

EDUCATION

WRITING YOUR AUDIENCE? any folk deem good manners redundant and the behaviour of t h e o l d a n d conservative. In r e a l i t y, i n s p i r i n g leaders and career professionals (people who are taken seriously in society and deemed ‘successful’) approach good manners as the minimum requirement when interacting with others. So what? To forge powerful and significant careers for ourselves, we must address potential employers, clients, customers, and everyone else in an appropriate fashion. In the same way that we adjust the type of language we use when speaking to small children versus adults, it is vital that we present ourselves with courtesy and respect to those that we want to do business with. For those with an Internet connection, email has replaced the traditional letter as our primary medium of communication in business, but the principles of courtesy and professional practice have not changed. ‘Dear Sir’, as opposed to ‘Hi there’ portray extremely different perceptions for the recipient about who you are and how much care you have taken to present yourself. Do whatever is required to ensure you address your email to someone specific, and most importantly, someone who has the authority and portfolio to address your proposal, request, or offer directly. Wherever possible, avoid using a Company’s generic info@ or admin@ email address to ensure your email gets to the appropriate person, promptly. Decision-makers and astute professionals are busy people. Keep your communications to them concise and as short as possible without compromising the context of whom you are and what you want to achieve by sending them your communication. There is no excuse for grammatical or

M

factual errors in your formal communications. In addition to spellcheck on your computer, there is no harm in asking someone you trust to proofread your writing prior to pressing send. As the saying goes (supposedly by Oscar Wilde), you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. If it is obvious to the reader that you are confident but humble, and have taken

the time to deliver something deliberate with quality, you will attract more attention than if you are lazy and send a generic communication to multiple recipients. If busy professionals receive a generic request from an individual for employment or an offer of their services, many of them will not be interested in pursuing communication because the sender has provided evidence that they have not taken the time to personalise their communication which can be deemed lazy or lacking in confidence. Professionals regularly receive résumés and covering emails from individuals seeking employment. Many of these documents contain grammatical errors and evidence that the sender is simultaneously seeking employment from whoever will give

them a job. This does not bode well as a starting point for employers who are meticulous and have high standards. Remember that a prospective employer is assessing the quality of our communication (especially if you are seeking employment) with the question would I invest our Company’s time and money in this person, based upon this communication? Apart from looking for a candidate with the relevant qualifications and/or work experience, an astute employer is also assessing the quality of the presentation that an applicant portrays as they are seeking an ambassador for their business that will present themselves professionally and with finesse. We live in a very competitive world, so make your presentation meticulous and to the point. As with all things, pay attention to the work and delivery of recognised professionals and people you admire to dissect how they present themselves. Dr, Seuss contextualises it beautifully, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” Folks, let us not be airheads and fail to discern the difference between the context of an SMS to a friend, a Facebook status, a Tweet or a formal business communication. SMSstyle shorthand, abbreviations and acronyms have no place in a formal letter, email or other business document, especially when we are applying for work. We want to make a good impression remember. Leave hip and cool at the door. Even if we do not have vast experience in our chosen field yet, it is still in our best interest to present ourselves in a mature and believable way. As a measure of quality control, prepare your résumé and covering letter against the reality that this employer or Company may well have already received numerous job applications or offers for various services on that very day.


23 | BPM

EDUCATION By David Maclean

You decide which is more convincing: Hi there, I am a qualified ABC and have just graduated from XYZ College and am looking for work. Please call me if you have anything. Regards Bob Dear Mr Smith, I humbly attach my résumé and reference letters for your perusal with my deepest desire to work for your Company based upon its reputation and credibility in the ABC industry. In addition to this communication, I would like to make a time that is convenient for you for me to come and introduce myself in-person if I may?

Thank you for your time in reading this communication. Sincerely yours, Roger Goode Dearest friends, good manners and humility will never go out off style, and if delivered authentically, tell the world that you are serious about what you do and are not a know-it-all. Take your time to develop an impeccable résumé, regardless of how much or little experience you have. The world takes people who do this seriously. Time and money are too valuable to waste on anything other than superb. Your application for employment will only be considered if there is evidence that you are better than average (even if it is only on

paper). As mentioned in a previous article, our résumé does not get us the job; at best it will get us an interview for the job. A prospective employer is conducting their business and not providing employment per se. Individuals and Companies employ people to support their business needs and not to do anyone favours. Pay attention to how respected people around you conduct their communication and you can’t go wrong. And lastly, we can all taste when someone’s made an effort.

David Maclean | a Brief Biography David Maclean is a mastering engineer, educator and business executive with two decades of experience in the music industry and tertiary education sector. David is the Director of SAE Institute South Africa and is based at their campus in Cape Town. The SAE Group has 54 campuses across the globe. David understands the attitudes and opinions of the industry professionals within the creative media industries and the educators and authorities within Higher Education in South Africa and abroad based on his unusual portfolio of skills in business, education and creative media technologies.


BPM TECH - May/Jun'12  

Akai MPK49 Performance Controller, Numark N4 DJ Controller, Gemini SR Studio Monitors, Samson Auro D12, Eowave Domino, Gear News, Tutorials,...

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