Synth and Software continues to cover new product releases from the ‘virtual’ NAMM 2021 convention, as well as other new products releases.
Eastwest Hollywood Orchestra Opus Edition
Eastwest was one of the very first companies to sample an orchestra instrument-by-instrument – a remarkable concept when you stop to think about it! – when sample-streaming technology blew the lid off the limitations of early samplers a couple of decades ago. One of their first innovations was recording the instruments from multiple mic positions that you can mix and match, today a common feature in modern sample libraries.
Now the Eastwest team (Nick Phoenix, Doug Rogers, engineer Shawn Murphy) is on their third one. Hollywood Orchestra Opus Edition is an expansion to their popular orchestra. It includes new recordings, “reimagined” content from the original Hollywood Orchestra libraries, and their new OPUS software engine. OPUS will take the place of PLAY, their current player.
The new recordings include an 18 violin section (a different-sounding alternative to the original 16-player one), new ensembles for Hollywood Brass and Orchestral Woodwinds, and new multi ensembles. They placed particular emphasis on the woodwinds, with new recordings including three bassoons, three clarinets, and three flutes.
Hollywood Orchestrator is a companion arranger tool that works inside OPUS. From their site: “Build your own rhythms and scores with the StepEditor. Create Patterns with a length up to 4 bars. Get started quickly with more than 400 Presets in different categories and moods. There are playable full orchestral articulations and MIDI record and export. It’s the whole Hollywood Orchestra Opus Edition right at your fingertips with up to 16 Patches across all instrument sections.”
Eastwest also featured many of their other libraries, including EW Hollywood Backup Singers, Hollywood Pop Brass, Voices of Opera, Voices of Soul, and Voices of the Empire.
Behringer 2600 Blue Meanie and Gray Meanie
Behringer showed two updates to their 2600 (remake of the ARP 2600 semi-modular mono synth) – the Blue Meanie and the Gray meanie. A real spring reverb replaces the original’s digital one, plus they’re… yes, blue or gray, with lighted faders.
Behringer also has prototypes of an EMS VCS3 copy, one of the first portable synths.
Alesis Q Series Controllers Mk II
The Qmini Mk II (32 small keys), Q49 Mk II (49 full-size keys), and Q88 Mk II (88 keys as you guessed) are updates to Alesis’ line of affordable keyboard controllers. These are all unweighted keyboards, they’re USB Class-Compliant (meaning you don’t need a special software driver), and they can connect to Mac, iOS, and PC.
The Q series are velocity-sensitive, and all have mod and pitch wheels (the Qmini has buttons), transport controls. They all come with a software bundle to get started.
Moog Model 15 Modular Synthesizer iOS app now on M1 Macs
One of the features of Apple’s new Macs with an M1 processor is that it takes developers very little work – easy for us to say! – to port their iOS apps to macOS.
And Moog’s Model 15 Modular Synth has been ported. This is partly intended to be an educational tool for learning modular synthesis, but it’s not a toy.
The Model 15 is a recreation of the original, down to models of the original oscillators and filters. It has four voices, MIDI, a looping recorder module with overdubbing, ping-pong delay, and more.