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 | piaggero.com
SONOMA WIREWORKS GUITAR JACK
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 | sonomawireworks.com
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
$119 | native-instruments.com
PROPELLERHEAD REASON 5
Concept: Big revamp of the omnipopular
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 | propellerheads.se
STEINBERG NUENDO 5
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
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
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 | zoomfx.com
M-AUDIO NEW AXIOM
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 | m-audio.com
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 | korg.com