Recording - November 2009 - 42

RECORDING'S MOTU Electric Keys By Jim Combs SHOWCASE OF SOUNDS Electric Organs, Classic Electric Pianos, Electro-Mechanical Keyboards, Funky Clavs, Japanese CPianos, Keyboard Bass, Rare & Bonus Keyboards, Reed Electric Pianos, String Machines, Tape Sampler, and The B-Electric Organ. Though none of the presets’ keyboard origins are directly identified by actual name (though the preset names are close enough to infer), the presets obviously were sampled from a host of classic keyboard makers including Vox, Eminent, Farfisa, Elka, Hammond organs, Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Hohner, Yamaha, Solina, Crumar, Roland, Korg, Mellotron, and other interesting piano/organ/string sound makers. I own, have owned, or played many of these classic keyboards, and the sounds in Electric Keys are spot on. MOTU’s Electric Keys version 1.01 upgrade was released in early May 2009. The upgrade features some under-the-hood improvements and subtle user interface updates. There is no update to the beautifully recorded 24-bit 96 kHz sound library that came in v1.0, and the interface “skins” still suggest the keyboards they were designed to emulate. Since we haven’t looked at Electric Keys yet, here’s a walkthrough of the latest version. Getting it going The installation of the software was uncomplicated using the install CD, with most of the time taken with first copying the 40 GB sample library from the five DVDs included in the package. Electric Keys also includes a USB iLok smartkey dongle, which gets plugged into an open USB port or powered USB hub. Yes, you read that right—when you buy Electric Keys, MOTU gives you the iLok. I love that! I used two different Macs to run my tests: ~ Apple Mac Pro Quad Core tower with 8 GB of RAM on OS X 10.4.11 using a MOTU 2408 Mk 3 interface for the audio outs, and a MOTU MIDI Timepiece AV for MIDI; ~ MacBook Core 2 Duo with 4 GB of RAM on OS X 10.5.7 with a Lexicon Alpha audio interface and an M-Audio Oxygen 49 keyboard/MIDI interface. I ran it in standalone mode and as a plug-in in Digital Performer 6.02. Both standalone and host DAW modes operated flawlessly, with negligible latency with the buffer set to 512 samples. I was able to open multiple instances in Digital Performer without overtaxing the CPUs in my machines, even while running plug-ins on other tracks. There are several ways to optimize the Electric Keys presets to get the most juice out of your system; I recommend reading the User Guide sections to best configure your presets and system. Content What electric keyboards are in Electric Keys? The soundbanks are divided into 11 understandable categories: ClassicRECORDING NOVEMBER 2009 My personal Electric Keys favorites are the Rhodes and Wurlitzer electric pianos, several of the string machines and Mellotrons, Yamaha CP80 piano, and the Hammond, Vox, and Farfisa organs. The ‘Trons are particularly authentic as the sounds end at 8 seconds, and there’s a bit of evolving grit and wobble in the playback. Loverly! Tweaks Double-clicking Electric Keys’ user interface Part section brings up the sound preset browser, which lists the 50+ instruments and multiple patches of each instrument. A combination (combi) of two instrument parts can be layered for each instance of Electric Keys. Each part has its own volume, pan, and edit settings, while the combi parts share the FX-Rack and global instrument settings. It takes just a few clicks to get immediate sound gratification, but I’m also impressed with the ease of editing the combi into a nicely nuanced custom preset. Most of these keyboards were monaural instruments in their original configuration, so it’s nice to layer part pairs with slightly different edit or pan settings, or combine different sounds altogether. Further sonic manipulation is achieved with the FX-Rack, which includes an Amp Simulator, Filter, Phaser, Flanger, Chorus, Delay, Reverb, and Vinyl simulator. I liked the types of modules represented and the signal flow of the effects. And I appreciated the ease of applying the effects to the sounds and saving the settings as part of the combi.

Recording - November 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - November 2009

Recording - November 2009
Fade In
Contents
Talkback
Fast Forward
Les Paul Speaks
Cakewalk SONAR V-Studio 700
The Hybrid Guitar Recording Method—A Modern Way of Tracking Serious Tones, Part 1
Radial JDX and Phazer
Shure SM27 and SM137 Microphones
Eventide PitchFactor
Recording’s Guitar Column
Lexicon I•ONIX U42S RecordingInterface
Recording’s Showcase of Sounds
Readers’ Tapes
Vibesware GR-1 Guitar Resonator
BOSS ME-70 Guitar Multiple Effects
Line 6 BackTrack and BackTrack + Mic
Advertiser Index
Fade Out
Recording - November 2009 - Recording - November 2009
Recording - November 2009 - Cover2
Recording - November 2009 - 1
Recording - November 2009 - Fade In
Recording - November 2009 - 3
Recording - November 2009 - Contents
Recording - November 2009 - 5
Recording - November 2009 - Talkback
Recording - November 2009 - 7
Recording - November 2009 - Fast Forward
Recording - November 2009 - 9
Recording - November 2009 - 10
Recording - November 2009 - 11
Recording - November 2009 - Les Paul Speaks
Recording - November 2009 - 13
Recording - November 2009 - 14
Recording - November 2009 - 15
Recording - November 2009 - Cakewalk SONAR V-Studio 700
Recording - November 2009 - 17
Recording - November 2009 - 18
Recording - November 2009 - 19
Recording - November 2009 - 20
Recording - November 2009 - 21
Recording - November 2009 - 22
Recording - November 2009 - 23
Recording - November 2009 - The Hybrid Guitar Recording Method—A Modern Way of Tracking Serious Tones, Part 1
Recording - November 2009 - 25
Recording - November 2009 - 26
Recording - November 2009 - 27
Recording - November 2009 - 28
Recording - November 2009 - 29
Recording - November 2009 - 30
Recording - November 2009 - 31
Recording - November 2009 - Radial JDX and Phazer
Recording - November 2009 - 33
Recording - November 2009 - Shure SM27 and SM137 Microphones
Recording - November 2009 - 35
Recording - November 2009 - Eventide PitchFactor
Recording - November 2009 - 37
Recording - November 2009 - Recording’s Guitar Column
Recording - November 2009 - 39
Recording - November 2009 - Lexicon I•ONIX U42S RecordingInterface
Recording - November 2009 - 41
Recording - November 2009 - Recording’s Showcase of Sounds
Recording - November 2009 - 43
Recording - November 2009 - 44
Recording - November 2009 - 45
Recording - November 2009 - 46
Recording - November 2009 - 47
Recording - November 2009 - 48
Recording - November 2009 - 49
Recording - November 2009 - Readers’ Tapes
Recording - November 2009 - 51
Recording - November 2009 - Vibesware GR-1 Guitar Resonator
Recording - November 2009 - 53
Recording - November 2009 - BOSS ME-70 Guitar Multiple Effects
Recording - November 2009 - 55
Recording - November 2009 - Line 6 BackTrack and BackTrack + Mic
Recording - November 2009 - Advertiser Index
Recording - November 2009 - 58
Recording - November 2009 - 59
Recording - November 2009 - 60
Recording - November 2009 - 61
Recording - November 2009 - 62
Recording - November 2009 - 63
Recording - November 2009 - Fade Out
Recording - November 2009 - Cover3
Recording - November 2009 - Cover4
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