XILS LAB POLY KB
Concept: Plug-in replica of the extremely rare RSF Polykobol synth.
Big deal: Sequencer plays pitch and morphs waveforms of eight voices independently. Crazy-deep modulation matrix. The Polykobol didn’t sound like any other synth, though “Rhodes Chroma meets Elka Synthex” isn’t too far off
We think: It’s beyond cool to have this gem of a synth in your Mac or PC.
List: $184 | xils-lab.com
REALSAMPLES ORPHICA PIANO
Concept: Very rare 18th-century portable piano for HALion, Kontakt, and GigaStudio.
Big deal: Around 30 of these instruments survive today, and RealSamples have meticulously sampled a prime specimen.
Sounds like: A cross between a mellow piano and a Clavinet with all the filters open.
$127 | realsamples.net
Concept: Cue and looping controller for Serato Scratch Live.
Big deal: Sized and shaped to fit on the corner of a turntable, CDJ, or laptop. Pads glow red, green, or orange to indicate hot cue, loop roll, or auto-loop modes. No-hassle integration with Serato. Works as MIDI controller for other software.
List $125.99/pair | Approx. street: $99/pair novationmusic.com
SONIVOX REGGAETON INSTRUMENTO VIRTUAL
Concept: Reggaeton soft synth based on Sonivox’s Playa engine.
Big deal: Over 7GB of beats, instruments, loops, and construction kits. Pad-based, MPC-style interface. Easy MIDI learn. Tempo-synced roll and retrigger. Keys mode for playing it keyboard-style.
Formats: Mac or PC. AU, RTAS, VST, and standalone.
List: $149 | Approx. street: $100 | sonivoxmi.com
iKEY AUDIO RM3
Concept: Rackmount stereo USB and SD card recorder.
Big deal: Records in MP3 format at up to 320kbps, or 16-bit/44.1kHz WAV. Line-level 1/4" ins on front, plus RCA ins and XLR combo input on back.
We think: For board tapes or break music, this inherits the slot in your P.A. rack where the cassette deck once lived.
List: $319.99 | Approx. street: $200 | ikey-audio.com
BEST SERVICE STUDIOBOX MK. II
Concept: Comprehensive sound effects libraries.
Big deal: Four volumes cover nature, human activity, technological/industrial, and cinema/video game sounds, all in WAV format.
We think: The full set is a great value for desktop post-production pros and indie filmmakers.
Set of four: $421.43 | Separate volumes: $157.38 each bestservice.de
Concept: Ultra-compact USB audio interface that doesn’t skimp on sound quality.
Big deal: Guitar and phantom-powered mic inputs, balanced 1/4" stereo line ins and outs, 1/8" stereo mini in, and S/PDIF digital out. Includes CueMix monitoring and AudioDesk DAW, plus audio analysis software suite. Software-controlled analog trim on mic input.
Works with: Mac or Windows; CoreAudio, WAV, and ASIO.
List: $269 | motu.com
ENDLESS ANALOG CLASP
Concept: This “Closed Loop Analog Signal Processor” lets you track through your multitrack analog tape machine to your DAW in real time.
Big deal: Sample-accurate sync uses no SMPTE. Seamlessly syncs tape and DAW as you track, overdub, or even edit in your DAW’s arrange window.
We think: This isn’t for spare-bedroom studios, but for pros who track to tape for warmth, then dump to a DAW for editing, it rolls those two actions into one. Revolutionary.
List: $7,995 | endlessanalog.com