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17 October 2012

TOONTRACK EZKEYS UPRIGHT PIANO | £111 (€139)

REVIEW
It seems like only 114 years ago that Anders Nilsson Östlind founded the Östlind & Almquist piano and orgelharmoniumtillverkare firm in Arvika, Sweden. And since then, we’ve seen youngsters' interest in mastering acoustic instruments gradually totaled by TV and computers.

The more things change, the more they get different, except some things that didn’t and which are now pickled in binary by the boffins at Toontrack.

No, not feckless youth, unfortunately, but the strains of an original Ö&A upright piano, painstakingly captured in Studio 9 of Sveriges Radio and presented as EZkeys Upright Piano. Now cast your mind back all of seven months to recall the origins of this sample-based instrument...

01 October 2012

ARTURIA OBERHEIM SEM V 1.1 | €99

REVIEW
Floccinaucinihilipilification is rife in cork-sniffing audio circles. Those afflicted with pathological gear acquisition syndrome typically deride digital models of vintage music-making gear (sometimes before listening, it seems), citing lack of 'warmth', 'character' and /or lack of whopping price tag.

Arturia's SEM V, among numerous other software synths, has also fallen victim to connoisseurs' shock at the nouveau, the developer's True Analogue Emulation (TAE) technology unable to satisfy the auditory palates of hardwareholics. A YouTube video of this OS X/Windows, 32/64-bit, VST/AU/RTAS & standalone synth has stirred considerable online debate among the cognoscenti, so let's take a look at Arturia's 2011 introductory imagery, then consider how this year's v1.1 vintage addresses the anti-emulators' whine list...