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Music Production Hardware

M-Audio Drivers for Vista 64-bit

For those of you using Vista on your home studio DAW, it's been a bumpy ride, but many manufacturers finally have Vista driver compatibility issues sorted out it seems.

M-Audio drivers for Vista 64-bit and Vista 64-bit SP1 are now available for almost all the M-Audio products, including the following hardware:


Akai MPC5000

The MPC line have long been what Akai has been known for, and rightly so many would say. These machines essentially pack a small studio into a solid shiny portable unit. Hardware sampling, MIDI Sequencing, MIDI control of external equipment, and a whole array of nifty drumming and percussion effects that have helped craft some of the worlds most popular hiphop and electronic tracks, as well as finding a place in the hearts of producers of other genres.

It's once again time to welcome the next level of MPC shiny gadgetry to the production scene... the MPC5000.


Casio DG-20 Digital MIDI Guitar

In the 80's a lot of strange things were thought up, not the least of which was the Casio Digital Guitar.

The Casio DG-20 is a stringed guitar, but every time you play those strings, corresponding MIDI data is sent to the onboard computer, which plays the sounds of whichever instrument you've selected! Naturally the sounds are not mind-blowingly awesome, but some are actually pretty usable. You can either play the DG-20 as a standalone guitar via its built-in speakers, or for better quality sound you can plug it into your stereo.

Add to this the fact that it can output MIDI to whatever synths/VSTs you want, and its a pretty fun wee addition to any home studio!

I first actually heard about this piece of strange 80's musical gadgetry in an episode of The Flight of the Conchords! Around 25 years after it was released by Casio. The Conchords say that they bought their Casio DG-20 from a pawn shop in the future.

If anyone actually owns a Casio DG-20, let me know - I'd love to hear some first hand accounts of what it's like to use!


Akai MPD24 OS 1.07 Update

Akai have released a new OS version 1.07 for their MPD24 MIDI pad controller. The OS update appears to address a few bugs and alters how some features behave:

New features/Changes:
1. When working with Uniquest in ECSM mode, sysex pressure from pad is sent when note-on is confirmed.
2. Improved handling of multiple simultaneous note-ons
3. Default PARAMETER_LCDCONTRAST set to 66
4. Improved fader and pot ballistics.

Bug fixes:
1. Fixed bug where aftertouch value of zero was not sent with Note-Off
2. Fixed bug where first message in pad toggle mode was not note-on under some circumstances

As with any firmware OS upgrade, be careful and follow Akai's upgrade instructions - it's software that you're loading into the actual MPD itself, so you don't want to stuff it up somehow!

You can get the MPD24 OS 1.07 update here

Thanks to Melek for letting me know about this.


NAMM 07 Musical Instrument Tradeshow

As many of you will be aware, the NAMM 07 tradeshow was recently held in Anaheim. Four days of the latest and greatest musical instruments, hardware, and other assorted goodies.

Being on the other side of the planet, I didn't make it, but thankfully some camera toting musicians were there, and Moose from midiZoo has put together a whole collection of his photos with brief explanations of what each piece of gear is!

Here are just a few of the things on offer, and remember you can check out the rest at midiZoo.


Traktor Scratch - Mix & Scratch Digital Audio!

Native Instruments have just launched their latest offering, called Traktor Scratch. Its a pro DJ hardware and software system which comes equipped with some special time-coded vinyl control records and CDs, and allows the producer/DJ to mix and scratch with their turntables, but controlling the digital audio files on their computer!


Korg Triton Studio Workstation Sampler

The Korg Triton line of workstation keyboards require little introduction, having held the "King of Workstations" title for many years, and the Triton Studio Workstation is no exception.

There are several Korg Triton models available now, which have varying levels of features - all include a built-in sequencer for instance, whereas only some of the Triton models feature a built-in sampler. One such fully featured model is the Triton Studio - which is perhaps the most highly acclaimed model, with virtually every feature under the sun included.


M-Audio X-Session Pro MIDI Controller

There has been a great deal of interest surrounding the M-audio X-session Pro DJ MIDI controller since it's release mid 2006.

The X-session Pro is an improved version of M-audio's previous DJ MIDI controller, the X-session. The unit now features knobs and faders to control volume, pitch, EQ, cueing, transport (play/stop/jog etc), and the DJ's most prized of tools - a crossfader.


Tascam US144 USB MIDI Audio Interface

The Tascam US144 USB interface is primarily designed for people needing a portable audio and MIDI interface for their laptop based recording setup. This unit does have a reasonable feature set however, so musicians and producers simply wanting a compact USB audio interface for their desktop PC studio will often buy a Tascam US144.


Akai MPC500

The most affordable Akai MPC to date, the Akai MPC500 - for the price it actually packs a fair bit of MPCness into what's basically a portable electronic music studio in a box.


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