Tech Reviews: New products (August 2023)

Kate Rounding
Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Kate Rounding reveals what's new this month in music technology.

Korg Nu: Tekt NTS-1 digital synthesiser kit

Korg Nu: Tekt NTS-1 digital synthesiser kit

The Korg NTS-1 is a DIY build-your-own synth. The kit includes all the necessary components and can be assembled without soldering. Construction involves attaching the mainboard to the front and back panels and connecting various modules. The NTS-1 features a built-in sequencer with up to 16 steps, enabling users to create sequences and patterns. Three digital effects – modulation, delay and reverb – can be chained together, plus an arpeggiator with multiple patterns and adjustable parameters. There is a MIDI input and output, and it can be connected to a DAW. The NTS-1 is powered by a USB cable or with batteries. This could be a great hands-on approach to learning about signal flow, different synthesis methods, sound design principles, and concepts such as oscillators, filters, envelopes and effects.

AXE 1/0 ONE interface

The AXE 1/0 ONE is an audio interface for guitar and bass players. It has a neat ‘desktop design’ with a combi input (XLR or jack) and headphone output on the front. On the back of the interface are two line-outs, a MIDI input and a footswitch input for your pedals. There are toggle switches for passive or active pickups. The Z Tone control is a unique feature of the AXE 1/0 – this enables you to control the input impedance. The ‘sharp’ setting gives a strong bright sound, and the ‘bold’ has a warmer ‘vintage’ tone. There is also an amp-out jack that makes ‘re-amping’ easy (you can record the DI signal from your guitar and then later play that recording into a guitar amp to get your perfect tone). Using the mic preamp, you can record into your DAW. The unit is USB-powered (a laptop and AXE are all that's needed) and it comes with AmpliTube, TONEX and Ableton Live Lite software.

Yamaha YH-WL500 wireless headphones

Bluetooth headphones often suffer from latency issues of up to 200ms, making wireless playing of musical instruments nearly impossible. The YH-WL500 headphones use super-fast wireless technology operating at 2.4GHz, resulting in an incredibly low latency of just 4ms. This product consists of wireless headphones and a companion transmitter. The transmitter's input jack can be connected to the headphone jack on devices such as digital keyboards, guitar amplifiers or audio interfaces, enabling a wireless connection. The headphones can also be paired with Bluetooth devices such as the smartphone. The semi-open design of the headphones reduces ear fatigue, and they have an impressive battery life of up to 9 hours. This is ideal when you want the convenience of wireless headphones when playing through amps, effects or any instrument with a headphone output.

Logic Pro and Final Cut Pro for iPad

Apple has launched Logic Pro and Final Cut Pro for iPad, combining the features of the desktop versions with the portability of the iPad. Both are optimised for touchscreen interfaces and multi-touch gestures, and you can also use the latest Apple Pencil. Several new features are available; for example, Final Cut Pro for iPad has new navigation tools to make viewing and editing footage easier. New features in Logic include the ‘Sound Browser’ that displays all loops and samples in one place, allowing you to audition sounds easily. The new Beat Breaker plug-in facilitates time and pitch adjustments using touch-screen controls like swipe and pinch. Final Cut Pro is compatible with M1 chip iPad models or above, and Logic requires A12 Bionic chip models or later. Both require iPadOS 16.4 and are available from the App store with one-month free trials.