Studiologic Sledge Synthesizer
Many of you may well be asking ‘Who is Studiologic?’ Well, for those that aren’t aware, this is Italian keybed manufacturer Fatar, who have created the keyboard action for all manner of synthesizer manufactur- ers for many years. They have also had a very successful selection of controller keyboards available for some time and are now making a real scene with their synthesizers and stage pianos. So, although I was not unfamiliar with Studiologic in one sense, I had never actually had one of their Italian made synthesizers to test out until this month. What I got was much more than a synthesizer, I got the Sledge.
YAMAHA REFACE SERIES
Yamaha are finally back exploring the smaller more portable keys world with their new Reface series. There are four Reface models, the DX, CS, CP, and YC, each reimagining a classic Yamaha instrument series from years gone by within a simplified and miniaturised body. In fact, the Reface name is a contraction of “reimagined interface,” that should give you a good indication of what Yamaha’s set out to do here. Each keyboard boasts 3 octaves of newly developed HQ-Mini keys, (the action of which is derived from their flagship Yamaha Motif XF workstations) with velocity sensitivity. They’re also Web MIDI compatible with Google Chrome, meaning that with Yamaha’s native sound sharing community Soundmondo, you can plug your Reface in via USB and download patches. The USB is also there for MIDI control from your DAW - additional DIN type MIDI I/O is there via an included MIDI breakout cable as well. All three boards also have inbuilt speakers and the ability to be powered by batteries. For some internet forum warriors, this and the mini-keys scream ‘toy,’ a bastardisation of Yamaha’s legacy. However, I would insist that you try the Reface series out for yourselves - these keyboards are not toys
AKAI - ADVANCE 49 MIDI CONTROLLER KEYBOARD
This is one keyboard that I’ve wanted to try out for some time now. There’s been a great movement in deep integration between controllers and DAWs in the last few years to make your keyboard more interactive and create a better workflow for the user. This has seen a number of manufacturers start to develop keyboards that work fully with one DAW or sometimes two, but Akai have gone all out with this software control system and have created a controller that works with a range of DAWs right out of the box. This might just be The keyboard controller many of you have been looking for. This is the Advance 49.
YAMAHA - PSR 770 & PSR 970 ARRANGER KEYBOARDS
This month’s big unveiling at Mixdown HQ was a pair of Yamaha PSR prototypes that will be available for release shortly. While you’re all eagerly waiting them to land, I got to have a run through of these new models and see just what’s going on with this latest installment of the arranger keyboard series from Yamaha. I got to test run both the Yamaha PSR770 and the PSR970 this month ahead of their release and had a little bit of fun in the process.
P-SERIES DIGITAL PIANOS
So, as you are all most likely aware by now, the NAMM show has just happened in Anaheim as this issue of Mixdown was being put together. Some of my fellow colleagues from various areas in the industry found themselves in California for the show. I was too busy here in Melbourne to even think of taking a quick trip overseas. Fortunately for me, Yamaha Music Australia brought a little bit of this year’s NAMM show to me with the delivery of the prototypes for two new digital pianos from their ever popular P-Series.