New Releases by Roland, Roli, Arturia, and More
Whether you want to spoil yourself or a fellow synth enthusiast for Christmas, invest in some new hardware or software, or simply want something free to try out there’s been a number of new releases lately. Here are just a few of the highlights that might be of interest.
FANTOM EX System Upgrade
Roland has announced a new FANTOM EX system upgrade that is available for their flagship FANTOM 6, 7, and 8 synthesizers. Although it is not a free upgrade, FANTOM owners will get plenty of new features for the $199 asking fee.
According to Roland, the feature-rich system expansion includes exclusive JUPITER-8 ACB Expansion and SH-101 ACB Expansion with authentic sound and response. It is important to note that the SH-101 ACB Expansion is scheduled to be released in December 2023. Early purchasers of the FANTOM EX Upgrade package will receive a notification when it is available for them to download. Other new additions include the German Concert V-Piano Expansion 01, which was previously only available for the RD-2000 stage piano, and the newly developed SuperNATURAL Acoustic Piano 3 Expansion. Also included is the JD-800 Model Expansion which recreates the landmark Roland digital synth from the early nineties.
Along with the n/zyme Model Expansion, which is a powerful modern synth engine designed for the FANTOM environment, the update adds new studio-grade Shimmer Reverb and Modulation Reverb effects as well as a new V-Piano graphical interface. DAW control profiles for both Cubase and Studio One are included. Roland has also added Mastering EQ and Mastering Comp template functions and new graphical interfaces with the update.
By Giorgio Sancristoforo
Giorgio Sancristoforo has released No-Fi, describing it as tape loop studio software made to revolutionize your creativity with warm lo-fi sounds and striking simplicity. It is not a plugin and does not require any other software to operate. The standalone program enables users to plug in, record, and mix just like real hardware and provides access to one mixer, five cassette recorders, one handy reverb, and one delay.
Purists will know that tape saturation, noises, and playback irregularities are all characteristics of lo-fi loops and No-Fi carefully simulates all of these. Users can choose between options such as Ferric, Chrome, and Ferrochrome tapes, as well as add background hiss, tape age, and saturation. It even offers control over azimuth errors, wow, flutter, tape catch, and speed for those seeking a totally authentic lo-fi experience.
The input channels of No-Fi can be used with synths as well as other instruments and VST/AU plugins. Up to one hour of sound can be recorded on each cassette tape loop and users can also import their own loops. Finally, it also functions as a loop station, so by connecting a MIDI switch controller it can be used as a digital looper with an analog heart.
No-Fi is currently only available for MacOS, but a Windows version will be available soon. Check out the video below for more information and visit the official website to purchase a copy.
Seaboard Block M
ROLI has announced that the limited pre-order bundle for the Seaboard Block M is now available. The Seaboard Block M is an evolution of the multi-award-winning original MIDI controller that adds numerous refinements and improvements.
The Seaboard Block M is compatible with most leading DAWs and, thanks to its new MIDI Out port, can be connected directly to hardware instruments. It is even possible to connect the Seaboard Block M to other ROLI products using “DNA” connectors. According to ROLI, the Seaboard Block M features an improved velocity response curve, a more durable design, and more nuanced MPE control. Users can also switch between their saved Equator2 or ROLI Studio presets by simply holding the side button and pressing the octave left and right buttons.
The first batch of Seobard Block M controllers is expected to ship in late March of 2024.
Analog Lab Play
Arturia has released Analog Play Lab for Windows and Apple systems featuring one simple interface and 100 presets created by expert sound designers from VCollection instruments and Pigments. Users can use a browser to find sounds quickly it supports automatic mapping of parameters for Arturia keyboards. Users can also map parameters easily to other MIDI controllers.
Analog Lap Play is free and contains 100 presets, 1 software instrument, and a 4GB+ library along with basic preset browsing and sound store access. For 199,00 € users can upgrade to Analog Lab Pro, which has more than double the number of presets along with plenty of other features. Check out the official website to download the free version, which Arturia promises will have new paid and free content added regularly.