Archive for March, 2022

Universal Audio Spark gives you native UAD Plugins on subscription

Universal Audio is releasing native versions of its UAD plugins on the new Spark subscription platform (VST3/AU/AAX), so that they can run in pretty much any DAW without any UA hardware, still counts as an abrupt change in philosophy.


Initially available for Mac (Windows support is coming later this year), Spark is an evolving platform that will cost you $20 a month (plus taxes outside the US), though you can try before you buy with a 14-day free trial. If you own one of UA’s Volt audio interfaces, you can try Spark free for a month.


And, if you are a UAD hardware owner and have already purchased a perpetual license of a UAD plugin featured in Spark, you will get the native version for free -no subscription required. Meaning, you will be able to take that plugin wherever you go, regardless of whether your Apollo or other UAD hardware has come along for the ride.


At launch, Spark users will get the following classic UAD plugins:


  • Neve 1073 Preamp & EQ Channel Strip
  • API Vision Channel Strip
  • UA 1176 Classic Limiter Collection
  • Teletronix LA-2A Leveler Collection
  • API Vision Channel Strip
  • Lexicon 224 Digital Reverb
  • Studer A800 Tape Recorder
  • API 2500 Bus Compressor
  • Galaxy Tape Echo
  • Pure Plate Reverb



Spark also includes four UAD instruments; Moog Minimoog D and Ravel Grand Piano have been brought over from Luna, UA’s fledgling recording software, Opal Morphing Synthesizer; new and exclusive to Spark customers.


And, Waterfall: an exacting emulation of the Hammond B3 organ that will also be available to purchase separately for $199.


For electronic music producers, Opal is definitely the biggest news here; designed to blur the lines between analogue and wavetable synthesis, it comes with 100s of curated presets for “instant professional sound”. There are continuously morphing oscillators, noise, filters, and LFOs.


UA’s effect processing know-how is brought to bear, as well, with reverb, tape delay, modulation effects and 1176-style compression. There’s also a typically vintage, hardware-style interface that’s designed for easy navigation and sound sculpting.


Waterfall uses physical and circuit modelling to emulate every intricacy of the Hammond B3. In addition, there is a “three-dimensional” emulation of a Leslie 147 rotary speaker cabinet. Again, UA says that you get plenty of mix-ready presets – more than 70, in fact – and the Keyboard Split option enables you to play the upper and lower manuals on a single MIDI controller.


The Spark is described as an evolving platform indicates that there should be more content on the way, but we do not know how many plugins UA plans to include and at what rate they will be released.


However, Spark will coexist with the powered plugins range – basically, there are no plans to make the UAD platform a completely native one. So, if you want guaranteed low latency and Unison technology, an Apollo interface is still the choice.

Find out more and sign up for a Spark trial on the Universal Audio website.



ROLI Launches Seaboard RISE 2



ROLI today launched the Seaboard RISE 2. If you thought that you had seen the last of ROLI and its Seaboard range of controllers, think again, as ROLI Seaboard RISE 2 is “easier to play, more durable and a more beautiful, expressive experience than ever before”


Launched in 2015, the Rise was a more affordable version of ROLI’s full-size Seaboard MPE controller, but has been off the market for two years.


The RISE 2, next generation of one of the original MPE controllers is here.


The most significant improvement over the original Rise might well be the Keywave2 silicone playing surface, which provides ‘frets’ that enable players to more accurately judge the position of their fingers on each key. This new surface is said to make the Rise 2 more playable than its predecessor, and easier for players of standard keyboards to get to grips with.


“Finally the Seaboard is accessible to all,” says renowned Seaboardist Marco Parisi. “The new precision frets on the Rise 2 address the biggest challenge Seaboardists have faced – playing in tune and modulating sounds without your fingers slipping off the keywaves. Any piano or keyboard player will now be able to translate their skills more quickly than ever before.”



Rise 2 also offers a new platinum blue anodised aluminium chassis, giving it a more contemporary look. Build quality is also said to have been improved, and you now get both standard MIDI and USB-C ports to ensure maximum compatibility with your software and hardware instruments.


Rise 2 is bundled with the Equator2 synth, Ableton Live Lite, the ROLI Studio production suite and a new version of ROLI Dashboard, which features 5D visualisers for customising your settings.


Features inherited from the original Rise include the Touch Fader controls, integrated battery and Bluetooth MIDI support for wireless operation.



What’s new with the Seaboard RISE 2:


  • A new Keywave2 playing surface, tested with piano and Seaboard players to be more intuitive and expressive, featuring precision frets which help players to feel the exact position of their fingers on each key.
  • A more powerful, comprehensive, and versatile suite of bundled software, including Equator2 synth (normally $249), featuring 1400+ presets. Ableton Live Lite and ROLI Studio are also included.
  • A burnished platinum blue aluminum chassis,
  • Expanded compatibility with other instruments with MIDI Port and USB-C.
  • A next generation version of ROLI Dashboard, featuring enhanced 5D visualizers to customize your settings.


The Seaboard is designed to give you 5 dimensions of gestural expression, per note. Most of these options are unavailable on more traditional keyboards:

  • Strike to sound a note at different velocities
  • Glide from side to side to bend pitch or create vibrato
  • Slide up and down to add brightness or texture to a sound
  • Press into the Keywaves to deepen sounds or simulate the effect of breath on a wind instrument
  • Lift off at varying speeds to effect a sound’s resonance


“Developing new instruments is a long process, and today is a major milestone in our journey with the Seaboard,” said Roland Lamb, CEO of Luminary ROLI (the company that Lamb founded after ROLI’s demise). “RISE 2 is easier to play, more durable and a more beautiful, expressive experience than ever before.


“It is also an experience transformed by over a decade of development in Equator2, the world’s leading dedicated MPE synth, plus the creation of a whole ecosystem of compatible software and workflow solutions across the industry.


“This launch marks the transition of MPE from a fledgling, peripheral project to an established and mature category, which is becoming increasingly central to how digital music is made. We deeply appreciate all the people around the world who believe in this vision and are excited for the Seaboard community to continue to grow and thrive.”


ROLI Seaboard Performance Demo:


ROLI Studio (cost $99, £79, €89), an enhanced ROLI Dashboard, and Ableton Live Lite are also included in the complete bundle.


The RISE 2 is available to preorder now for $1,399 /£1,099/ €1,299, from ROLI website with limited availability expected for 2022.



Pangrus Multi MIDI Controller, Filter, Router and Sound Generator



Pangrus shared this video demo of the Multi, a multi-function MIDI device that can be used as a MIDI controller, sound generator, sequencer and more.


The Pangrus Multi is available as a kit or fully assembled. It allows any kind of MIDI filtering and routing operation and it also functions as a bi-directional USB to DIN converter.


Multi is based on the Seeeduino XIAO, so you can program Multi as a simple sequencer, algorithmic arpeggiator, aleatoric patch generator and more.



The Multi is based on open-source software, and several options are already available:

  • drone – a six oscillators drone machine.
  • synth_sequencer – a three oscillatorsmonophonic synth with embedded sequencer. It receives MIDI clock and note messages.
  • bytebeat player – play salgorithmic music, with no instruments and no real oscillators, but a math expression that creates an audio output waveform as a function of time, processed 8000 times per second. The expression has six parameters accessible through the multi knobs.
  • midi converter – a USB to 5 DIN bi-directional MIDI converter.
  • midi metronome – takes the MIDI clock from the 5 DIN midi connector and generates a metronome click on the audio output, to allow acoustic musicians to synchronize their performance to an electronic setup.


Multi is available in limited quantities, priced at $115 as a full kit or $140 assembled.