New Gear August 2010

August 1, 2010

Yam_Piaggero_flatYAMAHA PIAGGERO NP-V60 AND NP-V80

Concept: Digital pianos to go with built-in speakers and arranger functions.

Big deal: Each weighs under 16 pounds. Both have 76 semi-weighted, graded keys, a multilayer stereo piano sample, USB computer port, and accompaniment styles that follow your playing.

Extras in NP-V80: Intelligent Arpeggiator, second USB port for storage, better speakers, and included sustain pedal.

NP-V60: $499 list | NP-V80: $599 list |


Concept: Audio interface for iPhone and iPod Touch.

Big deal: 1/4" instrument input with Hi-Z and Lo-Z modes. 1/8" stereo input with mic and line modes. Better 1/8" headphone out than on stock iPhone or iPod.

Works with: iPod Touch 2G, iPhone 3G and 3GS, but not iPhone 4 or iPad. Supports Sonoma FourTrack and other selected recording apps.

List: $199 |









Concept: Pop, funk, and R&B-oriented string library that works either standalone or as a library for Kontakt 4.

Big deal: Four violins, three violas, two celli, and two double basses make up the section. Animator function auto-switches articulations. Built-in convolution reverb.

Formats: AU, RTAS, VST, and standalone. Requires Intel CPU on Macs.

$119 |







Concept: Big revamp of the omnipopular studio-in-a-virtual-rack.

What’s new: Live sampling into any sample-capable Reason instrument—even during playback. Blocks mode lets you create and arrange verses, choruses, and other song sections. Kong Drum Designer combines multiple synthesis methods and REX support.

We think: Bundled with Record 1.5, Reason has power comparable to full-fledged DAWs, but with a fun factor nothing else has.

$349 | $449 with Record 1.5 | Upgrade: $129 |



Concept: Major update to Steinberg’s über-DAW for live recording and music-to-picture.

What’s new: Enhanced ADR toolset. Import of video edit decision lists. Improved, QuickTime-based video engine. Vertical waveform display in mixer channels. New VST3 plug-ins including surround panner. NEK expansion adds Cubase synths.

We think: Many keyboard-based composers also wear the post-production hat. If that’s you, this is your program.

List: $2,340.99 | Approx. street: $1,800


Zoom_R24_slant_newZOOM R24

Concept: Integrated multitrack music production studio.

Big deal: Records up to eight tracks at once (24 total) to SDHC cards. Works standalone or as a USB2 audio interface and control surface. Sampler, drum machine, and loop sequencer. Phantom power on six of eight XLR combo jacks. Runs on batteries.

We think: It’s a shame Sony’s PS3 ads have dibs on the tagline “It only does everything.”

List: $874.99 | Approx. street: $500 |



Concept: M-Audio’s base Axiom controllers get an upgrade.

Big deal: DirectLink for hassle-free control of DAWs and soft synths. Enhanced piano-like keyboard. Low-profile mixer-style faders on 49- and 61-key models. Angled top panel.

We think: Between this, the entry-level Oxygen series, and the higherend Axiom Pros, M-Audio has MIDI controllers for every budget.

25 keys: $319.95 list | 49 keys: $439.95 list | 61 keys: $499.95 list |

Korg_MR2_FrontKORG MR-2

Concept: Palm-sized, high-res, one-bit stereo DSD recorder.

Big deal: Records to SDHC cards at 2.8MHz (that’s megahertz) DSD, MP3, and every PCM resolution in between. Mic housing has eight-way tilt. Preset recording setups for 40 scenarios.

We think: It’s the most serious, best sounding handheld recorder, period—and thanks, Korg, for ditching the MR-1’s “soap on a rope” mic pod.

List: $899 | Approx. street: $700 |

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