THE PITCH Sounds, backing styles, and features from the flagship Tyros3 workstation packed into Yamaha’s second-highest-end portable arranger keyboard.
THE BIG DEAL It’s the first Yamaha keyboard to offer MP3 playback, and records a stereo mix of everything — accompaniment, mic input, you name it — to a USB stick. Direct Internet connection for getting new styles and songs.
WE THINK You really do get most of what you’d buy a Tyros3 for — only for a lot less money. $1,999 list, yamaha.com and arrangerworkstation.com
SONIK ARCHITECTS SONIFI REMIX IT LIKE BT
THE PITCH BT creates the first true “live remixing” app for iPhone and iPod Touch.
THE BIG DEAL Freely re-arrange song sections on four stereo tracks: bass, beats, synth/FX, and melody. Move and shake your phone for filter effects and those stutter edits for which BT is famous.
WE THINK This is a killer app, and we’ve got a video where BT explains it better than we could — check it out at keyboardmag.com. $4.99 at iTunes App Store, sonikarchitects.com
BIG FISH AUDIO MOJO HORN SECTION
THE PITCH The ultimate pop, funk, and big band horn section software instrument.
THE BIG DEAL Extensive Kontakt scripting is used to manage articulations so you don’t have to. Ensemble knob gives instant, realtime control over the number of players in a section.
WE THINK The virtual horn battlefield is getting really interesting. We smell roundup. $499.95, bigfishaudio.com
CAKEWALK SONAR 8.5 PRODUCER READY TO ROCK ON WINDOWS 7
BIG NEW FEATURES AudioSnap, Step Sequencer, and Session Drummer all get major upgrades. Matrix view allows live, nonlinear arranging and remixing. Media browser puts all your production files in one place. BitBridge XR runs 32-bit plug-ins on a 64-bit OS.
WE THINK DAWs continuously leapfrog each other in terms of features you can see, but the underthe- hood stuff is what makes Sonar a powerhouse for music production on Windows. $619 list/$499 street; upgrade from Sonar 8: $99 download, cakewalk.com
VENTURA TX-5 NEW CLONEWHEEL FROM BRAZIL
THE PITCH All-modeling, no-sampling approach simulates different models and conditions of vintage tonewheel organs.
THE BIG DEAL All sonic aspects are highly tweakable. Killer rotary simulation with adjustable rotor speeds, rise and fall times, spin directions, and virtual mic placement.
WE THINK We’ve had one for a couple of months, and we’re impressed — this one’s a sleeper. Look for it in a clonewheel roundup in a near-future issue. $2,600 list/$2,079 street, venturakeyboards.com
WAVES EDDIE KRAMER COLLECTION FOR YOUR EDDIE-FICATION . . .
THE PITCH Five plug-ins co-designed with the engineer who created the sound of classic rock.
THE BIG DEAL Four are channel strips for specific sources: drums, bass, guitar, and vocals (shown). The fifth does Eddie’s favorite effects, including 15ips tape delay and EMT plate reverb.
WE THINK Waves has virtualized Tony Maserati, Chris Lord-Alge, and now Eddie. If we ever do end up living in The Matrix, we’ll have great recording engineers. $800 list, waves.com
ROLAND F-110 IF IKEA MADE A DIGITAL PIANO . . .
THE PITCH Pro-quality digital piano sound in a form that blends in to your “cozy” musician’s living space.
THE BIG DEAL Graded action. Folding lid turns it into a console table. Polyphony of 128 voices. For “Ivory Feel” keys and classier ebony finish, you can step up to the DP-990R model.
WE THINK All that’s missing is a cute Ikea name like “Brübek” or “Eltonn.” $1,999 list/approx. $1,500 street, rolandus.com
JAMHUB SLICK SILENT STUDIO
THE PITCH Custom mixer for rehearsing a full band through headphones.
THE BIG DEAL Each wedge-shaped section has audio inputs and a monitor mixer to dial in your own mix of the whole band. TourBus model (shown) builds in a stereo SD card recorder.
WE THINK Any silent practice means the drummer needs an electronic kit. That said, this puts everything else you need — separate monitor mixes, guitar and mic inputs, and lots of headphone jacks — under one roof. BedRoom: $400 list/approx. $300 street; GreenRoom: $600 list/approx. $500 street; TourBus: $850 list/approx. $700 street, jamhub.com