Category Archives: Electronic Music

Boss SY-1 Synthesiser Pedal

Boss SY-1 Guitar Synthesiser Pedal Review

 

The new (2019) Boss SY-1 Guitar Synthesiser Pedal turns your guitar into a synthesizer! No need for a special MIDI pickup and no for an external keyboard or sound module. You just plug your guitar in and turn a knob to select a sound from 11 sound banks. Inside each sound bank there are 11 different sounds (voices). So that’s what the two knobs on the right do.

On the far left is a double knob. It allows you to set the volume of your guitar and the volume of the synth. The second knob in from the left allows you to alter the synthesised sound by changing the depth and rate, also on a double concentric knob.

Boss SY-1 Synthesiser Pedal
Boss SY-1 Synthesiser Pedal

As you can see, below the input, there is an input jack for an expression controller. You can add this to alter the effects while you play.

It also has a send and return channel so you can easily connect other effects processing.

There is a switch on the back so that you can use this for bass guitar or 6 string guitar.

The Boss SY-1, like other Roland Boss effects pedals, is made of cast metal and is very robust. It runs on a 9-volt battery and can also run from a 9-volt plug pack.

Boss SY-1 Synthesiser Pedal
Boss SY-1 Synthesiser Pedal

When mine arrived recently I was surprised to discover that it came with a new 9-volt alkaline battery.

Thanks and well done Roland. The SY-1 gets 10 out of 10 from me!

I’ve had so much fun playing guitar with this pedal. If you’re going to be locked-down, be locked-down with this pedal.

Order one today, it’s a load of fun and gives you 121 sounds, plus variations, there are even some rhythm and percussive sounds and some arpeggio sequencer-type sounds to give your performance many more colours.

Article by Geoff Williams

edifier speakers black

Edifier R1280DB 2.0 – Crystal Clear Home Studio HiFi Bluetooth Speakers

I recently purchased a pair of Edifier R1280DB 2.0 speakers for my . I bought them on eBay for around $140 AUD ($91 USD) with free delivery in Australia. They are impressive-sounding speakers and are quite small. The dimensions of the speaker boxes are 5.75in x 9.5in x 7in (WxHxD). They contain a 4-inch bass/woofer and 13mm silk dome tweeter. They have a claimed frequency response of 55Hz-20KHz, to my hear I’d say that’s accurate. The power output is 21 Watts per channel. With an excellent signal to noise ratio. I’m used to hearing hum and noise coming out of speakers when there is no music coming out of them, when they’re turned on, idle. But these speakers are perfectly silent at those times.

The Edifier R1280DB 2.0 speakers are great if you have a home studio or if you are building one.

They have an infrared remote so you can change volume,  switch between inputs conveniently or turn it on or off.

They can accept input from two separate stereo RCA line-in channels, Coax digital, Fibre Optic digital or Bluetooth. They come with a cable to convert from a 3.5-inch plug to RCA line input for smartphones. So they can be used to listen to just about anything from HiFi stereo systems, smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers and many other devices. I’ve been using them with my Microsoft Surface and my Android smartphone and they sound great. Good solid bass and crystal clear top end. And the boxes are decently heavy, in weight, for such a small box. They don’t cause any horrible vibration sounds that I’ve had with plastic PC computer speaker boxes in the past.

I bought them for the purpose of doing the mastering stage of my new album. Because I composed and recorded the album using a pair of PC speakers, that I bought second hand, and a pair of headphones. Neither if those give an accurate idea of how people will listen to it.  You really need good speakers with good frequency response for mastering.

I bought the black ones but they are also available in a wood finish version…

Edifier speakers wooden look
Edifier speakers wooden look

They have controls to adjust EQ. A treble and bass control on the speaker box and can also be adjusted on the remote.

The very best part of the Edifier R1280DB 2.0 speakers is that they connect to your device via Bluetooth. So no cables, except for the mains power cable of course. There’s also the speaker cable that connects the main powered speaker to the passive one. Bluetooth makes it simple to switch the speakers to another input. In the situation when friends gather for a party they can easily connect their phones and play their songs.

Get your own pair of Edifier R1280DB 2.0 bluetooth speakers from Amazon.

 

 

 

Cakewalk by BandLab Free Professional DAW

 

Cakewalk is a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)

Cakewalk has been around a while and has changed owners several times. It was created originally for DOS, starting with version Cakewalk 1.0 in 1987, first developed by Twelve Tone Systems, Inc. Beginning in 1991 it was available on Windows 3.0. At one time it was owned and developed by Roland Corporation and was known as Roland Cakewalk Sonar.

Named after a dance “The cakewalk” or “cake walk”, a mid-19th century dance, generally at get-togethers on black slave plantations, in the Southern United States.

The last version of the product featured a piano roll editor, support for limited music notation and a built-in scripting language called CAL (Cakewalk Application Language). Cakewalk was a predecessor of SONAR which had nearly all of the same features, including support for CAL, and was the only major DAW on the market supporting a scripting language.

It contains loads of plugins in for effects processing, soft synths and samplers.

After 30 years, Cakewalk, Inc. ceased operation, with only the company’s web forum and license authorization servers still being kept functional.

On February 23, 2018, Singapore-based BandLab Technologies announced its purchase of some of Cakewalk, Inc.’s assets and all of its intellectual property. BandLab’s stated goal was continued development of the former company’s flagship product, SONAR (now known as Cakewalk by BandLab) as part of its portfolio of freeware digital audio workstation software.

My song Gypsy was done entirely using SONAR. Have a listen and watch the music video here.

I downloaded Cakewalk by Bandlab and tried it out.  The user interface is more refined and easier to work with and overall this free version is much better than the version I paid for in the past.

Cakewalk by Bandlab has been released for free for Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). Why isn’t it available on the Macintosh? I guess the Mac already has a plethora of digital audio software to choose from.

You can download it for free here.

Music Production Machine – Make Beats at Home!

New producers-to-be may be constantly scanning the web for a music production machine suitable to their beat creating needs. With the advent of high technology over the past few years, music recording equipment has become increasingly advanced, as well as increasingly easier to use.

This makes things much more stress-free for the layman with no production experience, who just wants to make beats but has no idea where to start. All you need is a music production machine, or interface, that you can wrap your mind around and get used to rather quickly.

Here are some tips to make your introduction to the production interface even simpler:

Grasp the Instrument

If you are a creative person interested in producing hip hop instrumentals, chances are you get ideas for catchy songs in your head all the time. Now, the only problem here is translating what is in your head to the interface itself. 

One difficult hurdle that you are going to have to get past is learning an instrument. If your aim is producing hip hop, focus on learning the keyboard. You may have a sweet synth part playing in your head, but if you can’t translate it on the keyboard, you have nothing!

Learn the Terminology

Nothing makes an interface harder to navigate than not knowing the terminology. 

For example, you may think you have no use for quantization if you have no idea what that word means. However, quantizing your beats gives them proper timing, and keeps them programmed correctly with the song’s beats per minute. It is one of the most important elements to add to your beats!

With these concepts in mind, producing your own beats should now seem like a much smaller hurdle! With the right interface and the proper understanding, you should be well on your way!

Still in the dark about what interface might be right for you? If you are using a Windows-based computer, why not try Fruity Loops or Pro Tools? If you are a Mac user, GarageBand or Logic Studio may suit you perfectly.

Listen to free previews of Zylascope’s Electronic Music in our music store.

www.zylascope.com | Electronic Music

Music Video Production Tips

1. Storyboard that bad boy, a music video, like a drama, should be planned, even scripted, before you shoot. Flying by the seat of your pants isn’t going to get you where you want to go. Do a little homework. Study music videos and performances featuring music of the same genre and note techniques that impress you. Try to figure out how and why the directors took the shots and made the cuts they did. You don’t have to duplicate what you see, but it won’t hurt to borrow some ideas from the pros.

2. Instruct the singer to sing properly – no half-hearted singing or, worse, miming. If they mumble or mime, it won’t look right when you lay the shots against the song, as the tension and movements of the face and body will not be consistent with the sound of the song. They must sing as if you were making a real recording.

3. Shoot plenty of angles, and make sure that most angles cover the entire song. If you do not shoot enough angles of the whole song, the final feel of your music video might be too slow.

4. One simple and good tip is having GREAT locations, obviously this can be dictated by budget, but sometimes a skyline view or a disused warehouse can give your music video production that big budget feel.

5. A very underrated tip is feeding your crew good food! This can be an easy and achievable way of really picking up everyone’s spirits halfway through a long shoot and getting the best out of them.

Those are my top tips on music video production; I hope they help you as much as they have me.

I’m Mark Wilson the Managing Director for London video production company Phink TV

www.phink.tv

www.twitter.com/phinktv

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Listen to free previews of Zylascope’s Electronic Music in our music store.

www.zylascope.com | Electronic Music

Tips on Purchasing Electronic Music Online

There are many people around the world who are constantly trying to get their hands on new and exciting mixes, where electronic music is concerned, and this means that they need to find new ways of purchasing their favorite tracks, since land based stores often provide a rather limited number of new albums. If you do not want to have to wait for all of the latest mixes to arrive at your local music store, you can get your hands on them when you visit online retailers that offer some of the widest selection of electronic music in the industry. Purchasing online when compared to shopping at a local retailer is much simpler and it gives you the opportunity to pick and choose the specific tracks that you want.

A wide selection is imperative when you are picking an online store that sells electronic music, so make sure that you keep this in mind. Scan through a few sites before determining which one will suit your needs best and make sure that you focus your attentions on the genre that interests you most. If you enjoy electronic mixes, it will not help to pick a music store that sells a wide range of RnB music, so keep this in mind when you are making your decision.

One of the biggest benefits of purchasing electronic music online is the fact that you can download it directly to your computer, which means that you will get your hands on it immediately. Waiting for a CD to get shipped to your home can be very annoying, and you will not have to worry about this any longer; you simply need to purchase the tracks that you like most, pay for them, and you can start downloading them directly to your computer; nothing could be simpler than this.

If you do not want to download an entire CD, you can pick and choose the tracks that you want, which makes it easy to get your hands on the music that you enjoy without paying for songs that you do not like. Go through the selection of music on the site and listen to the tracks that you do not know; once you have done this you can determine which ones you are willing to pay for and which ones you would rather leave out. Those that are interested in electronic music won’t find an easier way to get their hands on it, as all it takes is a computer and an internet connection.

To learn more about electronic music, please visit us on our website.

Listen to free previews of Zylascope’s Electronic Music in our music store.

www.zylascope.com | Electronic Music

Music Making Software DUBturbo

 

DUBturb Makes Complex Beat Sequences With Garageband Ease

Quite honestly, when I first received this product to review I was a bit skeptical because I had never heard of it and my extensive background as a musician seems to get in the way of what I always desire in applications involving music.  But, I was pleasantly surprised, this application seemed to really have it all.  I was never left with the common feeling of ‘I wish it could do that’ that I get with so many music applications.  In this article I plan on discussing the main points and features of DUBturbo that will allow the average and the musically inclined to make beat sequences and patterns easily.

There are 3 Main components to DUBturbo which separate it from the rest of the other recording and beat sequencing softwares out there, and of course several little things that do as well, but I’ll discuss these 3 big things first.

The first main component of DUBturbo is the sequencer.  The sequencer is the all familar ProTools/GarageBand style screen which shows you the tracks and when they are playing or not playing.  It’s not too special, but what does set this apart is that it’s got 16 tracks.  A drum sequencer with 16 tracks is pretty uncommon because most have far fewer!  It’s not the unlimited that ProTools will give you, but will ProTools run on your netbook?  I don’t think so; DUBturbo will.  DUBturbo lays out all the tracks easily in the sequencer view, I tend to think of this as my home screen.

The next main component of DUBturbo is the drum machine.  It’s obvious that this was very well thought out.  Unlike GarageBand where you are forced into drum sequences, DUBturbo lets you create anyone you like, or modify one that already exists.  It’s limited to just 10 pads per track, but this allows you to ‘type’ in the rhythm by using your computer keyboard as the drum pad.  It converts your number pad into a drum set and you get to define each sound.  There couldn’t be a more customized way of doing this either.  You can choose either predefined drum ‘sets’ or make your own.  To enter rhythms, you can either use your mouse and click on which part of the beat you want sound to happen or type it in on your drum pad/keyboard.  This thing is awesome.

The other main component to DUBturbo is the 4 Octave Keyboard feature.  This is THE thing that sets DUBturbo apart from the competition.  You can insert melodic ideas, harmonic ideas, bass lines, anything with this.  Beats without bass are boring, repetitive and seriously lame.  But add a bass line, or some sort of harmonic or melodic interest and all of a sudden those repetitive beats seem to have some sort of flow and provide interest to your listeners.  DUBturbo also makes it easy as pie to use the keyboard feature.  By using your computer keyboard, you can put the notes in just like you were at a piano.  It’s so easy and simple to do, I wish that Sibelius or Finale notation software were this easy!  DUBturbo allows you to use up to 4 Octaves which is a big range.  To some that may seem limited, but if you separate your tracks it’s difficult to feel limited.

Here are the other things that are really cool about DUBturbo…

There are soooo many sounds you can play with.  If you’ve ever used GarageBand, there are a lot of different sounds and sequences you can use, but navigating them takes practice to learn and it’s not that easy, with DUBturbo, all the sounds are easy to navigate.  They pop up in the middle of the screen, not just at the bottom like in GarageBand.  You can do more with the sounds, you can even change the keys the sounds are in.  In GarageBand you are stuck to whatever key the sample is in, which may not be the key of your beat.  DUBturbo makes changing keys easy.

DUBturbo lets you upload your beats and sell them to other DUBturbo users.  That’s right, writing music is easy on DUBturbo and getting paid for those beats is just as easy!

DUBturbo outputs studio quality sounds so you don’t have to worry about loss of quality when you burn to CD.

Using DUBturbo is easy, even for the non-musical user.  It includes a video tutorial series to walk you through, step by step, on how to make simple beats all the way through advanced user features.  So learning the program couldn’t be easier!  These videos are even great for users familiar with similar style applications because it tells you shortcuts and secrets to make using the program easier.

Honestly, I haven’t seen an beat sequencing application as thoroughly put together as DUBturbo.  It really does have it all and it makes putting together beats from any genre easy and fun.

Ease of Use:  9/10

Quality of Application: 9/10

Features: 10/10

Overall Value: 9.5/10

This really is the cream of the crop application.

 

To access my blog and read more reviews on other music products,  http://cmstuber.blogspot.com

 

 

 

Chris Stuberg is a classically trained cellist.  He earned his Bachelors of Music degree in Cello Performance and is currently working on a Masters of Music in Cello performance.

 

 

To access my blog and read more reviews on other music products,  http://cmstuber.blogspot.com

 

 

 

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Listen to free previews of Zylascope’s Electronic Music in our music store.

www.zylascope.com | Electronic Music