Here you will find reviews of gear I use or have used in the past. All reviews are based on my experiences with products I choose for my tasks and I do not do paid endorsements. Reviews are honest personal opinions of each product often after some time of use. Not everything I buy works out so this can be a good way to see how it may actually work for you. Of course any questions are welcome, just leave a comment on the page.
Push for Ableton Live was a breakthrough product allowing unimagined control over a DAW and delivering a whole heap of fun in the process. Push MKII simply improves on the original concept and takes this even further.
The Numark NS7III is a complete all-in-one control surface for Serato DJ that integrates a mixer, display and motorised platters with the Serato software. As far as hands on DJing goes only actual turntables gets any more hands on so how does this perform?
Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol range of keyboards are targeted mainly at users who already own the Komplete 9/10 packages. Competing heavily with the Akai Advance the features have been ramped up with VST support being recently added in the latest 1.5 software update. So how does it perform and what value does one get for their investment?
Native Instruments and Akai are in a fight for sales with their latest Advance and Komplete Kontrol keyboards with many users drawing direct comparisons between the 2 products. Both companies offer the same selection of keyboards with NI just announcing a new 88 key version in their range and both choices are around the same cost. The other thing these both offer is advanced integration with your DAW and control over your plugins. But which is the keyboard for you? Well if you are like me you are hard pressed to decide until you actually get hands on with both so I have done exactly this and can compare both offerings for you...
Ableton Live has probably more dedicated control surfaces available for performance than any other DAW but the Push controller is the first actually designed and engineered by Ableton specifically for integration with Live and for lovers of Live (such as myself) it finally adds some much needed creativity and control that is not just aimed at "live" performance.
The Presonus Central Station Plus is a rack mountable monitoring management system designed to assist in routing audio from a mixer or DAW to multiple monitor speakers and headphones.
The AKG K712 Pro headphones are semi-open reference headphones sitting in the middle to upper range of the K series monitor and reference headphones. These headphones improve on the sound from the K240/K701 while still following the same design and feature sets of previous headphones.
MIDI keyboards and controllers are like wild flowers, found everywhere and in a variety of flavours. So to make something that actually stands out in the crowd takes some forward thinking and this is what Akai have attempted to achieve with the Advanced range of keyboard controllers.
Ableton Live (or just Live as it's known) is a digital audio workstation where its initial focus was on performing Live. In recent years the software has expanded in capabilities to become both a full Live performance tool and studio production workstation and with the release of a dedicated Live controller (The Push) the lines between a computer software sequencer and a hardware instrument are ever more blurred...
Rode are an Australian company who manufacture microphones. That is pretty much all they do. From years of research and limited funds I am personally drawn to the Rode range for their high quality and affordable prices.
The NT4 is a high quality, condenser mic with matched capsules making it a convenient choice for recording stereo sounds. Apart from looking great, it is simple to use and does exactly what it is designed for. In the world of microphones there are many, many choices which cover a huge range of quality, application and price range. For single stereo microphones on a professional level though, the options are much fewer which makes the choice a little easier.
The Frontier Design Alphatrack is a single channel DAW control surface that offers channel and DAW control in a nice small footprint. One of the key features of the controller is the 100mm touch sensitive motorised fader that offers an immediate visual feedback and ability to adjust and automate a channel quickly. But is 1 fader enough?
Mackie have long been an industry standard between DAWs for mixing surfaces and many new knock offs use the Mackie protocol for talking with the DAW. The previous Mackie Control went unchanged for years and there was rarely a complaint about this as it was a great design and a winning control surface for many DAW applications.
The latest release will have a keen eye notice that there is little that has changed apart from a new and updated style. The actual control options and layout are exactly the same. So how does it perform? Well I have updated my original review from 2 years ago to include information relevant to my last 2 years of experience with this product.
The MPD32 is a MIDI controller based on the very popular MPC drum machine created by Akai. The 4x4 drum pads look and feel very similar but there is no audio capabilities with this device. It is purely a MIDI controller.
In addition to the 16 rubber drum pads the MPD has 8 faders, 8 buttons, 8 endless rotary encoders, transport controls, controller bank switches, 32 preset locations, foot control inputs and a MIDI clock.
The MPD32 can operate as a Control Surface in Ableton (and possibly other applications) allowing the top faders to auto-map to the first 8 tracks and the below buttons can control the ARM function of these 8 tracks. Additionally, the 8 encoders will auto-map to the first 8 MIDI assigned controls in a rack or macro controls without learning. The pads themselves will automatically map to the pads shown in Abletons drum rack and will follow you through as you click through the rack.
The BCF2000 MIDI Control Surface is a cost effective way of adding a tactile feedback device to a DAW. When you look at a professional big studio, one of the most dominating features you will always see is the huge mixing console with rows of faders and knobs and lights. For us gear heads this is a dream position to be in but there is a serious need for this kind of mixing surface.
The BCF doesn't quite (or even closely) live up to these professional devices but does bridge the gap allowing the every day hobbyist to have just a portion of that control and automation in a very small and cost effective price.
The AKGK240 are a cost effective but high quality pair of semi-open monitor headphones. These were my first major purchase when I started out over 15 years ago replacing a cheap set of headphones I had been using for monitoring mixes. Being so young (just 19) at the time I was not really aware of how much of a difference a good pair of cans could make until I put these around my ears.
The ZOOM H4n is a portable audio recorder aimed at the armature professional market and is a great starting point when looking at portable audio recorders. Compared to the high end options like Tascam and Sound Devices it may look like just a kids toy and while it may not have some of the nice features of the bigger players, it does offer great quality recording at 1/20th of the cost.