Tech Reviews: New Products (December 2021)
Wednesday, December 1, 2021
MT’s tech editor Tim Hallas reveals what's new this month
Price: Free (upgrades available)
The latest app from Roland is a mobile DAW that can be used for free by anyone, anywhere. Unlike most free mobile-based DAWs, Zentracker doesn't limit your track count and you can keep adding instruments and audio tracks until your device can't handle any more.
The DAW is relatively well-equipped and includes mute, solo, volume and pan adjustments for each channel. It includes access to 200 loops to get you started creatively and includes a good number of basic effects for mixing. If you find the included features limiting, you can upgrade via Roland Cloud to access more features. This could be a good app for students to use on their devices.
Sibelius for iPhone & Cloud Sharing
Since the review of Sibelius for iPad was written, Avid has announced the launch of Sibelius for iPhone. This manages to contain almost everything included in the iPad version, but is now available in your pocket. Obviously, writing a whole orchestral score on a phone isn't really an option, but for peripatetic teachers out and about making quick edits, it could be perfect.
Price: Sibelius First – free; Sibelius & Sibelius Ultimate – contact your reseller
In conjunction with this, Avid has launched a major upgrade to its Cloud Sharing Platform. This allows you to share your Sibelius files with anyone, regardless of whether they have Sibelius, and lets them hear the music and follow along on the score in their browser. The latest version allows anyone to instantly download the Cloud-based file and, if they have Sibelius, open it and work collaboratively.
M 70 PRO X and M 90 PRO X
Price: M70 – €249; M90 – €299
Another month, and another set of microphones aimed at ‘content creators'. The M 70 PRO X and M 90 PRO X from high-end music production manufacturers Beyerdynamic are a dynamic and condenser mic respectively. Both mics are designed for capturing voice and are tuned to enhance the relevant frequencies that will make a voice sound rich and sit well in a mix.
The dynamic mic is competing with stiff competition from other manufacturers and is going up against the legendary Shure SM7B. The M 90 PRO X condenser mic is at a price point that is less crowded and sits nicely above budget mics, but is still relatively affordable. These mics are at the upper end of what most schools will invest but could be worthwhile if you do a lot of vocal recording and podcasting with students.
NI Twenty Five
Native Instruments has been celebrating its 25th anniversary this year with a range of limited product releases (check out the crazy purple keyboard if you're interested) and the latest is a free plugin aptly named Twenty Five. This contains a wide range of synthesiser sounds taken from across their software instruments including Massive X, Reaktor and Absynth.
The main interface of the plugin has a simple graphic with each side labelled ‘A’ and ‘B’. Users can have two sounds loaded simultaneously and then blend and mix between them for limitless possible sounds. Deeper editing is available if required. This is a time limited product, so be sure to download it by 31 December.