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O CTO B E R 2 0 0 9




From bluegrass to hip-hop, the Americana hero incorporates
a melting pots worth of influences and reinvents
them in his unmistakable style. Learn the secrets behind his
stunning new album Levitate in our exclusive interview.
The pop-rock ingnue returns with the keyboard-heavy
Ellipse and some of the most creative sound design
this side of Hawaii.
Learn what inspires the man behind Lady Gagas
ubiquitous pop hits.



Stride piano isnt for the faint of heart. But if you have the guts to give it a try, resident expert Scott Healy jumpstarts you here.


Picking up from last month, go deeper into the whole tone scale with the second part of Andy LaVernes exclusive lesson.






O CTO B E R 2 0 0 9











Learn Francis Preves digital glossolalia technique for turning existing vocal
tracks into otherworldly rhythmic hooks.
Dont have a Synclavier lying around? Heres how to get that tasty tone with
modern tools.
Dont want to use one of the drum replacement apps we round up on page
50? Heres how to get the same results using old-school methodology.


Erik Norlanders sci-fi analog monster.

The British, keyboard-based songwriters
Wonderful grabbed coveted Single of
the Week status on iTunes, and his selftitled U.S. debut album has been climbing
the charts. Check out the video performance at the Keyboard office, and learn
about Garys favorite iPhone music apps!
Executive Editor Stephen Fortner goes
backstage with the legend, rolls tape, and
talks pianos, synths, and hits.
Keyboards Robbie Gennet hangs with
super-producer RedOne. Go deep with the
dance-pop powerhouse in exclusive video
supplements to the story in this issue.

After much work and research, keyboard has been reborn with a smoother
interface, more video, and more than a few
cool surprises. Check it out!






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Jimmy Ienner, Jr.

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VOL. 35, NO. 10 #403 OCTOBER 2009
SENIOR EDITOR: Michael Gallant
MANAGING EDITOR: Debbie Greenberg
EDITOR AT LARGE: Craig Anderton

Stephen Fortner

Sometimes, the best way to expand our
horizons is to have our expectations
Recently, I had the privilege of seeing
Bruce Hornsby play a solo show in a small,
intimate theater in California wine country. Not
even listening to Bruces entire catalog in the
weeks preceding as stylistically diverse as it
is prepared me for the experience of hearing him sans band, accompanying himself
solely on piano. Add in the most thoughtfully
cynical lyrics I can recall since I was first old
enough to understand what Steely Dan was
talking about, and it was like seeing a new
Mose Allison only with hints of Vince
Guaraldis harmonic adventures and Mike
Garsons easy virtuosity throughout. (Hornsby
and Guaraldi have something in common: The
iconic tunes that everyone hums are the tips
of deep-reaching icebergs of work its good
that everyone can see the tips from a
distance, but be sure to look deeper once you
get closer.) Most strikingly, Bruce seemed to
feel every song as though he were playing it
for the first time. Point being, I went in expecting a well-crafted and nostalgic pop piano
concert, and left knowing Id been treated to

so much more one of the great American

musical storytellers of our time.
About a week later, I did a backstage interview with the keyboardist for a certain country
megastar. Said megastar is synonymous with
patriotism and pickup trucks. Now I think Im
pretty patriotic, but I have to confess I was worried about the reception my shaved-headed,
earring-wearin, import-drivin, coastal-dwellin,
funk and techno-listenin butt would get from
these folks. Guess what? It was the most
warmly and graciously Ive been treated as a
journalist at any backstage hang ever by a
comfortable margin. Not only that, but I learned
that the keyboardist came up in the Memphis
soul scene and that he and I share a childhood
hero in Booker T. Jones.
Is there a moral? Maybe its to take being
pleasantly surprised by others as a cue to surprise ourselves more often. Ever shy away from
a musical opportunity while saying Im not a
_____ player to yourself? I know I have. Next
time you hear that voice, make it a point to
woodshed a book of _____ music (or a _____
Play It! lesson in Keyboard) and see what happens. It might be a revelation, and may fill in a
blank you didnt even know you had.

ART DIRECTOR: Patrick Wong

MUSIC COPYIST: Elizabeth Ledgerwood
GROUP PUBLISHER: Joe Perry, 770.343.9978
DEV.: Greg Sutton, 925.425.9967
Jessica Sullivan, 661.255.2719
Albert Margolis, 949.582.2753
Reggie Singh, 650.238.0296
Will Sheng, 650.238.0325
Beatrice Kim
Lauren Gerber
DIRECTOR: Christopher Dyson
Paul Mastronardi
HR MANAGER: Ray Vollmer
800-289-9919 (in the U.S. only) 978-667-0364
Keyboard Magazine, Box 9158, Lowell, MA 01853
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Publisher assumes no responsibility for return of

unsolicited manuscripts, photos, or artwork.

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by NewBay Media, LLC 1111 Bayhill Drive, Suite 125,
San Bruno, CA 94066. All material published in KEYBOARD is copyrighted 2009 by NewBay Media. All
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Instead of boycotting the tabloid press [as
Mike McKnight suggests in his Sept. 09
guest editorial], those of us who make
music should respond to Michael Jacksons
death by searching our souls and acting
locally. Mike McKnight states that it was a
shock that Michael Jacksons body finally
gave out under the obvious mistreatment it
had received for decades. Yet these gossip
magazines and blogs had been sounding
the alarm about his health for years. Jackson himself admonished us to ignore the
tabloids. But criticizing the messenger,
even one as tacky and as crass as the
tabloid press, wont help us learn from this
tragedy. How many of us starving
musicians have looked the other way at a
charismatic band members risky behaviors,
perhaps assuming that their questionable
decision-making and impulsive personal
choices were inseparable from their talent
and musical zeal? The best lesson we
could take from this tragedy is that we
should actively nudge our bandmates
towards a healthy lifestyle, even if its not
the popular thing to do.
Douglas Shannon
Many musical greats might still be alive and
making music if only more people close to
them had spoken up as you suggest. Its a
sad truth of the entertainment industry or
professional sports, for that matter that
the more famous (and lucrative) a star is,
the greater is the pressure not to do so.
Should we all check ourselves and do better, from buddies in bar bands to top record
label execs? Absolutely.
As to the media, its one thing to call
for concern about someones health or
behavior. Its another to turn that persons
problems into a form of entertainment
through speculation, rhetorical questions,
mock indignation, constant repetition of
video footage, or other circus-sideshow
techniques designed to get ratings. Knowing Mike McKnight as we do, its the latter
he was condemning in his guest editorial.
We also think that, from the standpoint of
the musicians and techs on the new
shows, who saw Jackson in his true element and at his best, shock at his death




was a perfectly legitimate thing to feel.

Thanks very much for your letter. The
insight and sentiment behind it is definitely
something people need to hear.
Stephen Fortner, Executive Editor


Ive been reading Keyboard for decades
now and I intend to keep my subscription
current. I enjoy the stories on new gear and
studio techniques but the how to play
articles, particularly Andy LaVernes, are the
most useful. One crucial thing that is missing from these is fingering, especially when
you want to play fast. If you didnt know
how to finger The Flight of the Bumblebee
or Bumble Bee Boogie, the music would
seem nearly impossible to make haste with.
Chopins alternate fingering for the chromatic scale is like an afterburner. Good fingering is full of secrets and I wish Andy
would give up some of his. I need them.
Mike Moran
Im a very long-time subscriber and always
enjoy Andy LaVernes columns. Being a
jazz lover, I particularly enjoyed the Play
Really, Really Fast lesson. My only request
(other than asking for more like this) is to
please include fingering suggestions. One
of the hardest things for me is trying to
come up with the best fingering to use
while playing fast passages. Thanks, and
keep up the great work!
Robert Liberman
We hear you loud and clear. Starting with
the coming issue, were making an
increased effort to include fingering guides
with all lessons.
Michael Gallant, Senior Editor
I just saw Lyle Lovett and his Large Band at
Red Rocks in Denver. Once again, Jim Cox
was holding down the keyboard chair for
the act and doing a terrific job. In particular, his work on Ive Been To Memphis was
outstanding especially the piano solo at
the very end. He went a bit beyond Matt
Rollings original outro stylings: as well as
stride, he flew in snippets of modern

jazz/quartal harmonization, blues, gospel,

and vaudeville/circus, to name a few. It was
like listening to a kaleidoscope of great
players and composers. Think Bill Payne
meets Chick Corea meets Gershwin; blend
in a bit of Victor Borge and Scott Joplin as
well. I couldve listened to much more of
Jims improvisation awesome playing and
creative inspiration.
I think its time for an Americana issue.
Ive been heavily influenced by the likes of
Bill Payne, Matt Rollings, Benmont Tench,
Craig Doerge, and so on. Much of that
influence comes through in my work with
country and variety gigs here in the Denver
area. Ive met many fellow players who
have similar influences as well. Over the
years, many of my piano students have
asked me for chord voicings, riffs, and licks
from that school of playing. So, I suspect
that theres a hunger out there for a Keyboard issue that covers Americana keys.
There are some great players who could
share their insights. It would be educational
and fun for a lot of folks.
Allan Evett
Allan, thanks for the feedback! As luck
would have it, our cover story this month
features an Americana hero, Bruce
Hornsby, and we have more in the works
for you, including a feature on Benmont
Tench very soon. Keep an eye on future
issues. . . .
Michael Gallant, Senior Editor
Contact the editors
Keyboard Magazine
1111 Bayhill Dr., Suite 125
San Bruno, CA 94066
Subscription questions
800-289-9919 (in the U.S. only)
Keyboard Magazine
Box 9158
Lowell, MA 01853
Find a back issue
Find us online or join the forums

The M3 sounds brilliant. My other

synths are crying for attention
because my M3 took it all away.
Britney Spears


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at your Korg dealer today.


A R T I STS , A DV I C E , C O M M U N I T Y


Korin Louise Visocchis Indie Rock Keys

If the term indie rock makes you think

of shoegazing litanies that hold little to no
keyboard interest, run, dont walk, and pick
up Arms Forest by the Hard Lessons. It
ranges from Weezer-gets-a-Hammond
power pop on See You Again to Janis
Joplin blue-eyed soul on Talk It Over to
the buzzing synth bass and roboAutotuned vocals of Roma Termini a
track that hits a hitherto unimagined
golden mean between Goldfrapp and
Cake. Through all the stylistic swings,
Arms Forest maintains an unmistakable
sonic identity, thanks to two things: Detroit
newlyweds Augie and Korin Visocchis
endless supply of indelible hooks, and
Korins atmospheric and always-just-right
keyboarding. Here are highlights from our
conversation with Korin about what has
become our favorite indie album of 2009.
For much more, listen to the raw audio file
of this interview at
What was your earliest exposure to
The Hammond organ at my grandparents
house. It was a spinet with a little built-in
Leslie by your knees. I just pushed but-




tons. I just liked the way it sounded it

was the first time I experienced a volume
pedal and I remember that being really
key. As a ten-year-old I could play Amazing Grace or Jingle Bells, then all of a
sudden I was playing songs like Michael
Jacksons P.Y.T., teaching myself radio
songs on organ or piano. In a county
across Michigan, a young boy my same
age my husband who I hadnt met yet
was playing Nirvana on his first
instrument, the mandolin. Augie grew up
in a house with Italian folk musicians; I
came from a family of singers. So we
were growing up in similar ways, but on
different instruments.
Name some early songwriting influences.
Just to touch on growing up with a barbershop quartet in my family, I love interesting
harmonies. I love interesting tags. For
example, instead of just playing A, G, E, I
might throw in a F# minor to add a little
spice, but sing over it more traditionally. I
also love old country music Patsy Cline
and Loretta Lynn. Whereas my husband
probably has 400 guitar riffs in his back
pocket just waiting to be put into a song,

so were a little bit different. He writes

with his instrument first and I write with
my voice first.
What live gear do you take onstage?
I play two Alesis Micron synths. One,
which I play with my left hand, runs
through an 8 X 10 Ampeg SVT bass amp,
so Im playing really heavy bass onstage. I
run the other through a Fender Twin. The
live configuration is me, Augie, and our
drummer, Ryan. The biggest compliment
Ive ever heard is that we sound like way
more than three people. On the album, I
also want to credit a fantastic organ player
pretty much the B-3 guy in Detroit
Bobby Emmett.
Does the industrial character of
your native Detroit affect its music?
Your music?
Definitely the idea of factories, of pistons going up and down, the giant collapsing buildings that are our skyline. It
affects your brain. Both Augies parents
worked at General Motors. My dad works
in industrial plumbing and when theres no
industry, nobody needs plumbing. We
both have parents who came home dirty
and tired. Stephen Fortner



Radical Disco
Influences: Disco, kraut rock, pop, noise,
folk, ambient. Blue, red, green, black. The
sound of the city. Drones. Angst and love.
Newest project: A new album called
Milky Ways, released in September, plus
many projects on my label Tigersushi. Im
also setting up a new studio now, which is
really exciting.
Favorite Gear: Korg MS-20. I could cite a
lot of other things like EQs, compressors,
and effects, because Im a gear maniac. Im
not a fetishist, but I love what great gear
does. I love everything analog because
theres magic in old machines that you cant
find in the digital world. But I also love what
digital can do early grainy digital as well as
todays powerful tools. Both worlds work
best when put together in a creative way.

But among all my synths, the MS-20 is my

favorite. Its the one I use for my live shows,
and its the only synth that can weep like a
guitar. Its simple, stable, and super-powerful.
Favorite song: State Trooper by Bruce
Play by ear or play as written: Both. I
learned how to read music when I was a
kid, I used to go to a music school for
years, learning classical piano. They also
teach you how to play music by ear in
these schools. But I hardly use any of these
abilities when I work on my music. I dont
write it down except when I need to tell a
musician what he needs to play precisely.
Favorite artist weve probably never
heard of: Obviously, I dont know him yet.
Words of wisdom: Food is better than
you. Francis Preve

Sideman Extraordinaire
The music: Im a sideman and session
musician first and foremost. For me, thats a
natural way to be creative. My musical
expression is always tailored to the project,
while hopefully reflecting my overall sensibilities and rising above genre boundaries.
When context allows, and in occasional
writing and solo projects, I gravitate toward
the quirky and the obscure, staying away
from the flashy and the athletic.
Main influences: The Beatles, Jon Brion,
Bjrk, Claude Debussy.
Musical background: I grew up in
Lithuania, behind the Iron Curtain, so I had
limited access to a very odd assortment of
music. I idolized the Beatles, Pink Floyd,
Led Zeppelin, and Michael Jackson, was
into Russian underground singer-songwriters, heard my parents tapes of European
pop and old Hebrew and Yiddish songs,
discovered Billie Holiday and Coleman
Hawkins, and studied Bach, Scarlatti, and
Hindemith in music school.

Favorite keyboard gear: I love a rich,

expressive, reserved grand piano. I like my
Wurlitzer so much that I sampled it, so we
never have to be apart. Im very attached to
my vintage and toy instruments Clavinet,
Pianet, Indian harmonium, melodica, xylophone, etc. I like samplers, especially their
older counterparts (Mellotrons, Chamberlins, Optigans). Im constantly glued to my
MacBook Pro and have been a devoted
Ableton Live fan since version 1.
Latest projects: Ive recently been touring
with New Yorks own Peter Cincotti (we
just played the Montreux Jazz Festival), as
well as the talented and delightful Teddy
Thompson. Upcoming are some Summerstage performances with Martha
Wainwright and the Morphoses ballet company. Ive also completed an experimental
improvisational project with cellist Dave
Eggar called , and scored a short
animated film.
Words of wisdom: In performance, I like
listening at least as much as playing,

maybe more. Skill and style are important, but years of touring with Marianne
Faithfull taught me the joy of humbly
serving the song and daringly seeking
magical moments.
For the rest of this interview: Visit Jon Regen





A R T I STS , A DV I C E , C O M M U N I T Y

British Jazz-Pop Keyboard Ace

British keyboard wizard Jason Rebello

has been at the forefront of modern improvised music for over two decades. From
fabled sideman gigs with Sting and Jeff
Beck to his heralded work as a leader,
Rebellos live and recorded output continues to demonstrate why he is still one of
the worlds most in-demand musicians.
And that demand started before he even
graduated music school.
I was studying jazz and classical at the
Guildhall School of Music in London,
Rebello tells me from his home in Southwest England, just days after returning from
a summer tour with Jeff Beck. I was playing
jazz, and getting really into Herbie Hancock.

I was obsessed with him. In fact, I went to

see his electric Rockit band when I was
around 14. He played the middle bit of
Chameleon on the Rhodes, and it completely blew me away. From then on I
wanted to find out more about him, and I
started tracing his history backwards, all
from that concert.
In my last year at the Guildhall, Rebello
continues, I was actually approached by
the Novus label at BMG to do a jazz album
as a leader. I felt I wasnt really ready to do
one just yet, so I told them Give me a year.
I spent the next year writing tunes and
practicing hard, and very luckily, as soon as
I finished college, I had a record deal. I

ended up doing three albums for them.

Rebellos next big break would come by
word of mouth, with a recommendation from
one of his musical heroes, the late pianist
Kenny Kirkland. Kenny and I had met each
other a few times, Rebello says. He was a
great guy. Still to this day when I hear his
playing it makes me smile. Its got that joy in
it. I think Kenny had said some good things
about me to Sting, because one day I got an
email from Sting, completely unexpectedly,
asking me to come over to Italy and play. We
ended up getting on well, and suddenly I
was playing with him for the next six years. It
was amazing.
Rebello has been busy with a multitude
of projects of late, playing with renowned
drummer (and fellow Sting alum) Manu
Katch, his cousin, classical percussionist
Simone Rebello, his own band Actual
Spoof (featuring bassist Pino Palladino, and
brothers Jeremy and Paul Stacey on drums
and guitar), and of course, guitar legend
Jeff Beck. The Jeff Beck gig is fun and
challenging, especially playing with drummer Vinnie Colaiuta. He can do anything.
Hes always completely on the money. Its
been great for me Ive learned so much.
And what does this road-ready, U.K.
keyboard master use these days for his
touring rig? A Korg Triton Extreme, an
Apple MacBook Pro running Logic and
Mainstage, Synthogys Ivory [grand piano]
and Arturia vintage synth plug-ins, and a
Korg CX-3 tonewheel organ. Jon Regen

Coto Pincheira
Even amongst the excellent Unsigned Artists of the Month weve featured here, composer and pianist Coto
Pincheiras The Sonido Moderno Project stands out as a keyboard album of stellar skill and spirit. The Afro-Cuban jazz albums burning
montunos, vibrant percussion, and joyously intricate melodies remind me of my first Arturo Sandoval/Joey Calderazzo concert, an explosive performance that had the sold-out crowd dancing in the aisles. While upbeat tracks like Danzon For A Night and Tribute To A
Generation will no doubt cause a similar reaction when performed live, more mellow cuts like Wendys Ballad smolder with wistful
pianistic runs and a dead-on sense of groove. If he continues to approach his music with this level of originality and skill, Coto will have a
spot guaranteed for himself in the pantheon of Afro-Cuban piano greats. Michael Gallant





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A R T I STS , A DV I C E , C O M M U N I T Y

Session Sensei
by Scott Healy, keyboardist for The Tonight Show With Conan OBrien.
Last week I was producing a session, and I
was stressed. A nagging technical glitch
was threatening to derail us. Were talking
two solid hours of tech, right at the time
when cats were chompin, ready to rock.
We couldnt get the headphone mix and
click track volume happening when the
click was soft enough for the singer to feel
comfortable, the drummer couldnt hear it.
Heres what I had to step back and remind
myself, so as not to let the stress affect my
own musicianship and performance:
You might be in charge, but its not
about you. Dont take it personally when
things go south, especially when its your
session, because everyone looks at you for
their cue. Keep your cool and smile.
Everyones on the same page. From the
savant engineer to the lowly bass player,
the primary goal is get the job done and

perform at the highest possible level. Dont

ever assume that anyones not with you.
Everyone knows that their performance,
whether musical or technical, will live forever. So will the memory of a bad session.
Take a break and regroup. Seems obvious, right? In the moment, we sometimes
dont think clearly. After three takes of one
tune, we broke for lunch to let the tech
guys try to solve the headphone issue. I
was about to lose it, and stomp around
outside with my cell phone to my ear,
telling my wife all the nasty things I thought
I wanted to tell the engineer. Im really glad
I didnt do that.
Stay in the moment, and dont forget
the big picture. In the scope of an entire
project, a few extra hours is a mere blip. My
chill west coast bass player cooled out my
New York temper: Its all good, man.

These things happen. Weve got all day.

This guy is on about a thousand records. I
think it sounds pretty good, lets listen to
what we just did.
As it turned out, the first take with the
lousy headphone mix was great. Somehow
the drummer, while not fully hearing the click
track, played incredibly sensitively, and the
dynamics and emotions of his performance
were off the chart. The rest of the band had
followed him, and we got a stunning, raw
take. The singer, while being blasted with a
cowbell click in his ear, had dug hard into the
piano and sang his song stronger than ever.
I looked around and cats were smiling,
chomping on their sandwiches, and sipping
their latts. The California sun was shining.
The day was still young and we had a
record to make.

Career Counselor
Six Tips To Reignite Your
Musical Drive by Jon Regen, recording artist of critically acclaimed album, Let It Go
It happens to all of us, often without warning:
We find ourselves creatively challenged.
Were out of ideas, the energy to look for
new stories to tell. Its times like these that
make us realize we need a battle plan to
reignite the musical fire within us.
Not too long ago, for a brief moment, I
lost my musical way. A plethora of simultaneous personal and career-related disappointments left me feeling uninspired and
unsure of my next creative steps. But within
seconds of starting a sound check in London recently with my band, I remembered
why I chose this sometimes-slippery path:
Theres nothing as soul-affirming as making
music. And from that moment on, Ive made
it a daily priority to re-energize my musical
self. No matter what else is going on, I
make sure to write, listen to, and practice
new music every day. I do the work, and
the work shows me the way.




So for all of you whove hit the creative

wall, (or those of you just seconds from
impact), here are six tips to help you get
musically re-inspired.
Get up, stand up! Want a sure-fire way to
unfunk your musical drive? Move yourself!
Nothing breeds career and creative misery
like inactivity. Get out of your house. Go to a
free concert. Jam with friends, old and new.
Be your own drill sergeant. Pretend
youre on deadline in a university class, and
that you have homework due every day.
Make it a daily point to write new music,
and listen to artists that inspire you.
Think outside the box. Musical inspiration can come from non-musical places.
Go to a museum. See a play. Watch a
dance recital. Seeing great artists

succeed in other disciplines makes you

stronger in yours.
Find a partner. Are you finding it hard to
get inspired on your own? Collaborate with
someone new. Find a co-writer for that next
song of yours. New musical blood will take
you places you havent been before.
Ask for help. Sometimes, the first step is
telling those around you that you need a
helping hand. Get the word out that youre
looking for a new start. Help may be closer
than you think!
Be grateful. No matter how uncertain you
may feel creatively, youre lucky to know
what makes you fly. Give thanks for the
talents you have; theyve propelled you this
far. With a little determination, youll find
your way!

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A R T I STS , A DV I C E , C O M M U N I T Y


A little bit Incubus, the Bravery, Depeche
Mode, and Maroon Five, Mutemaths alt-rock
and new wave album Armistice is one of the
most sophisticated, yet accessible, recordings
weve heard all year. And while the band drives
dance-worthy vehicles like the opening The Nerve with
strength and conviction, its the quieter moments on Armistice
that go above and beyond. Clipping pulsates beautifully,
buoyed up by flowing piano arpeggios and artfully punctuated
by a string section breakdown; supported by tasty EP voicings
and synth strings, No Response elicits an entrancing, Foo
Fighters-gone-sensitive vibe. And Pins and Needles is another
hypnotic Rhodes piece, supported by sinuous, insistent percussion. This is a new flavor of keyboard rock and one well worth
tasting. Michael Gallant
(Warner Brothers,


Steve Kuhns stunning new
disc Mostly Coltrane opens
with the master pianist
starkly stating the theme to
John Coltranes Welcome.
Like church bells ringing out across a town
square, Kuhns plaintive, single-note melodic
call is the perfect beginning to an album full
of serenity and surprise. As the original
pianist in the John Coltrane Quartet, Kuhn
has a perspective on Tranes repertoire that
few others possess. Here, accompanied
sympathetically by saxophonist Joe Lovano,
bassist David Finck, and drummer Joey
Baron, Kuhn breathes new life into familiar
tunes. On Crescent, his assured touch and
orchestral use of the piano impart the music
with a cinematic sense of drama. And on
The Night Has A Thousand Eyes, his
dynamic comping and motifically-charged
solos lift Lovano and company to new
heights. Coltrane would approve. Jon Regen








Esteemed sideman and

musical director Matt
Beck steps out as a
leader with Anything
Which Gives You Pleasure, a 12-song strut through Becks
manic, musical mind. Recorded almost
entirely in hotel rooms while Beck was on
tour with Rod Stewart, the album is an
impressive romp across a wide sonic canvas. From the soaring, Beach Boysinspired a capella harmonies on Prelude
to the loping groove and Wurlitzer stabs
on Nothing Ever Comes of It, Matt
shines on vocals, guitar, and assorted
keys. A decade and a half of solid side
work has clearly rubbed off on him, with
each of the tunes telling its own singular
story. Proof positive that sidemen are
more than their day jobs, AWGYP is an
impressive debut by a talented artist
whos just getting started. Jon Regen

Grammy nominee and

The Jazz Piano Book
author Mark Levines latest offering, Off and On,
celebrates the songbook
of revered Brazilian composer Moacir
Santos, and features the same buoyant
band interplay Levine has become known
for. From the simmering opener Nana,
(featuring impressive flute work by Mary
Fettig), Levine displays a commanding
technique, and an impressive harmonic
conception he steps easily between
hard-bop, Horace Silver-esque piano fills,
and convincing Latin montunos. And on
Kathy, he grooves with the authenticity of
a native Brazilian, demonstrating that this
potent pianist and author indeed practices what he teaches. Off and On is
worth putting on your music player of
choice. Jon Regen
(Left Coast Clave,





Check out these

keyboard-heavy acts,
on tour this month.

Day job: I work for the United Food
and Commercial Workers Union,
which organizes low-wage workers
to get family-supporting wages and
health insurance. Last year I worked
on the Obama campaign in a couple
of states, which was very inspiring.
How I got started: My
grandmother, mom, and sister all
played the piano, and I imitated
them from an early age. In high
school, I was taken in by a 60s
soul cover band called Sal Fortunata and his Fabulous Stingrays.
Eventually I moved to Milwaukee,
where I played in all kinds of
bands. The highlight was the
Thousandaires, a genre-crossing
group that was equal parts Sly
Stone, Kraftwerk, the Heptones,
and Serge Gainsbourg.
Bands: Im based in Washington,
DC. My current projects include the
Ambitions, an original rock n soul
band. My other big gig is with Eastern Standard Time, a ska-jazz band.
Both bands make the East Coast
club rounds like the Knitting Factory
in New York City, World Caf in
Philadelphia, Ottobar in Baltimore,
and the DC clubs such as the Black
Cat and the 9:30 Club. I do occasional soundtracks for indie films
and the rare TV show.
Influences: My all-time favorite
player is the great Jamaican keyboardist Jackie Mittoo. Another big
influence has been all the old Parliament/Funkadelic records. Bernie

Worrells keyboard playing to this

day blows my mind. I was
influenced by a lot of music films
like Princes Purple Rain, and the
Bands The Last Waltz, which
introduced me to the Staples
Singers. Lately Ive been listening
to lots of Indian Bollywood film
soundtracks, as well as DJ remixers such as Girl Talk, and Terrestre,
which is led by Mexican electronica producer Fernando Corona.
Why I play: A while ago I was at a
party honoring Bill T. Jones, the
choreographer behind Still/Here, a
performance based on the stories
of AIDS victims. The DJ had everyone on that dance floor, breaking
down so many barriers between
people. Im sure Ill never lose the

Chick Corea

desire for that kind of feeling

where you play a show, or go to
someone elses show, get hot and
sweaty, and stop caring about how
you look or how others perceive
you, or what someone said at
work. I dont drink or do drugs
because I cant imagine a better
high than that. Ed Coury

The Killers

Medeski Martin
and Wood

Booker T

Bill Dempseys typical keyboard rig for his band, the Ambitions. I love my old Farfisas and
Crumars, he says. I have a bunch of those, and an old Vox organ. I sometimes haul a Wurlitzer 200A, or a Helpinstill piano, which is an acoustic piano stuck inside a road case with
these unbelievably fabulous pickups. I have a Hammond at home, but for gigs I use a Korg
CX-3. When it comes to effects, my favorite is an ancient Echoplex.

Herbie Hancock

Jackie Mittoo and The Soul Brothers, Last Train To Skaville (Soul Jazz)
The late Jackie Mittoo has been called one of the most important artists in the history of
Jamaican music. The founding member of the legendary Skatalites has been a major
inspiration for weekend warrior Bill Dempsey. You can hear Mittoos keyboard artistry on several classic
recordings included on the CD Last Train To Skaville.





by Stephen Fortner

THE PITCH Sounds, backing styles, and features from the flagship Tyros3 workstation packed into Yamahas
second-highest-end portable arranger keyboard.
THE BIG DEAL Its the first Yamaha keyboard to offer MP3 playback, and records a stereo mix of everything
accompaniment, mic input, you name it to a USB stick. Direct Internet connection for getting new styles and songs.
WE THINK You really do get most of what youd buy a Tyros3 for only for a lot less money.
$1,999 list, and


THE PITCH BT creates the first true live remixing app for
iPhone and iPod Touch.
THE BIG DEAL Freely re-arrange song sections on four stereo
tracks: bass, beats, synth/FX, and melody. Move and shake your
phone for filter effects and those stutter edits for which BT is famous.
WE THINK This is a killer app, and weve got a video where BT
explains it better than we could check it out at
$4.99 at iTunes App Store,


THE PITCH The ultimate
pop, funk, and big band horn
section software instrument.
THE BIG DEAL Extensive Kontakt scripting is used
to manage articulations so you
dont have to. Ensemble knob gives instant, realtime
control over the number of players in a section.
WE THINK The virtual horn battlefield is getting really
interesting. We smell roundup.


Sequencer, and Session Drummer all get major
upgrades. Matrix view allows live, nonlinear arranging
and remixing. Media browser puts all your production
files in one place. BitBridge XR runs 32-bit plug-ins
on a 64-bit OS.
WE THINK DAWs continuously leapfrog each
other in terms of features you can see, but the underthe-hood stuff is what makes Sonar a powerhouse for music production on Windows.
$619 list/$499 street; upgrade from Sonar 8: $99 download,

Want to check out the same press releases that we see about new gear, as soon as we receive them?

Go to




THE PITCH All-modeling, no-sampling approach simulates different models and conditions of vintage tonewheel organs.
THE BIG DEAL All sonic aspects are highly tweakable. Killer rotary simulation with adjustable rotor speeds, rise and fall
times, spin directions, and virtual mic placement.
WE THINK Weve had one for a couple of months, and were impressed this ones a sleeper. Look for it in a clonewheel
roundup in a near-future issue.
$2,600 list/$2,079 street,


THE PITCH Five plug-ins co-designed with the engineer who created the sound of classic rock.
THE BIG DEAL Four are channel strips for specific
sources: drums, bass, guitar, and vocals (shown). The fifth
does Eddies favorite effects, including 15ips tape delay
and EMT plate reverb.
WE THINK Waves has virtualized Tony Maserati, Chris
Lord-Alge, and now Eddie. If we ever do end up living in
The Matrix, well have great recording engineers.
$800 list,

THE PITCH Pro-quality digital piano sound in a form that blends in
to your cozy musicians living space.
THE BIG DEAL Graded action. Folding lid turns it into a console
table. Polyphony of 128 voices. For Ivory Feel keys and classier ebony
finish, you can step up to the DP-990R model.
WE THINK All thats missing is a cute Ikea name like Brbek
or Eltonn.
$1,999 list/approx. $1,500 street,

THE PITCH Custom mixer for rehearsing a full band through headphones.
THE BIG DEAL Each wedge-shaped section has audio inputs and a monitor
mixer to dial in your own mix of the whole band. TourBus model (shown) builds in
a stereo SD card recorder.
WE THINK Any silent practice means the drummer needs an electronic kit.
That said, this puts everything else you need separate monitor mixes, guitar
and mic inputs, and lots of headphone jacks under one roof.
BedRoom: $400 list/approx. $300 street; GreenRoom: $600 list/approx. $500
street; TourBus: $850 list/approx. $700 street,








Whats your favorite Bruce Hornsby

musical moment? Share your thoughts
on our forums at


Pop Pianos Premier Iconoclast Rises

to New Musical Heights with Levitate
by Jon Regen
I describe my sound as Bill Evans
meets the hymnbook, Bruce Hornsby tells
me, just a few hours before hitting the concert stage in Northern California. Theres
also some riverboat and ragtime thrown in
there as well, sometimes alongside the
fourth-chord angle of McCoy Tyner. With an
immediately identifiable piano sound that
seamlessly merges the influences of
Appalachian Americana with post-bop jazz
and more recently, hip-hop-ified funk beats
the three-time Grammy winner is always on
the prowl for new sonic stories to tell.
Since bursting onto the scene with his
smash 1986 debut album The Way It Is,
Bruce Hornsby has become a musical fixture, challenging both himself and his listeners to chart new musical courses. That
albums title track scored a Top Ten hit,
sticking two extended, quartal harmony,

jazz-inflected piano solos in a five-minute

pop song. He co-wrote and played piano
on Don Henleys 1989 classic The End of
The Innocence, and added his signature
keyboard work to Bonnie Raitts somber
smash I Cant Make You Love Me. But
Hornsbys deft pianistic prowess extends
far beyond the realm of the typical pop
song. He toured with the Grateful Dead,
cut a jazz trio album with bassist Christian
McBride and drummer Jack DeJohnette,
and most recently, released and toured a
bluegrass-tinged duo album with country
fretboard ace Ricky Skaggs. Trying to classify Hornsbys ever-changing musical trajectory is akin to putting too much stock in
the weather forecast you might as well
just enjoy every moment, because you
never know whats coming next.
This month, Hornsby releases his tenth

studio album, Levitate, on Verve Forecast.

Featuring dynamic support from his longtime touring band the Noisemakers, Levitate
finds Hornsby pushing the aural envelope
once again an historical narrative over an
accordion drone on The Black Rats of London, the country-meets-Kanye vibe of
Prairie Dog Town, the majestic, Irish-tinged
waltz of Continents Drift, and the Eric
Clapton guitar explorations on Space Is
the Place. If theres an overarching musical
theme on Levitate, its Hornsbys relentless
pursuit of the unexplored.
Bruce Hornsby and I shared a piano
teacher at the University of Miami. On the
eve of his new records release, Hornsby
takes time out of his busy summer concert
schedule to share his thoughts on the
songs of Levitate, and his remarkable
career in music.



Levitate is your first record without

extended piano solos. Was there a
real determination on your part to
focus on the writing and structure of
the songs themselves?
Its always been about the song for me first,
but then I always wanted to find a place for
the piano playing. This time I felt like, Okay,
its just going to be purely about the songs.
Because I think sometimes, in my situation,
the level of the songwriting gets obscured
by the playing. People think Oh, Bruce
Hornsby the piano player. And he also
writes songs. But for me, its always been
the reverse. And thats what I liked about
[playing in] the Grateful Dead. My favorite
aspect of their music is their songs. Theyre
totally underrated as songwriters, and I think
their songwriting has been underappreciated because of all the other elements that
were so unique in the music world. Where
else can you play one song for an hour?
So this was just the time, and it was
also a reaction to the last two records I
made the bluegrass record [Ricky
Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby] and the jazz
record [Camp Meeting], which were really
about playing the instrument intensely.
You did a lot of playing on Halcyon
Days too. Theres a ton of piano on
that album.

Selected albums as a leader: Levitate (Verve), Camp Meeting (Legacy), Halcyon
Days (Sony), Big Swing Face (RCA), Spirit Trail (RCA), Hot House (RCA), Harbor
Lights (RCA), A Night On The Town (RCA), Scenes From the Southside (RCA),
The Way It Is (RCA).
Selected recording collaborations: Ricky Skaggs, Marian McPartland, Bonnie
Raitt, the Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, Don Henley.
Albums sold worldwide: Over 11 million.
Special guest on Levitate: Eric Clapton wailing on Space Is the Place.
Bruce Hornsby wrote the score for a musical? Yup. Its called SCKBSTD and
is directed by Kathleen Marshall of Chicago fame. For the latest, visit
For more on Bruce: Visit and, where youll
find a bonus video interview.
On all my records, really. Even on Big
Swing Face, which had no piano on it, I
played a lot of Wurlitzer and synth solos.
So this is the first time that I thought, You
know, I dont need to do this. And the
boxed set [Intersections 1985-2005] was
really about stretching. So I thought this
was the time for that.
Also, probably influencing this decision
was the fact that fully eight of the 12 songs
on the record are from [the Hornsbyscored Broadway musical] SCKBSTD
and obviously, when youre writing a
musical play, its totally about the song,
with no regard to some long, improvisational section.

Al Pacino had a great quote recently

where he said Youre as good as the
chances you take. You seem to be a
working example of this you make a
pop record, then a jazz record,
followed by a bluegrass one. Youre
not interested in retracing the same
steps youve already taken.
Im a lifelong music student. I, like you,
went to the University of Miami, and for me,
its always been about developing and
improving, broadening my range and my
ability stylistically. Just becoming more proficient as a singer, as a writer and as a
player. So if thats your aim, you cant help
but continue to evolve and grow.

Bruce Hornsbys Gear and Sounds

To see Bruce Hornsby play solo is to experience one of the great
American musical storytellers of our time. Whether solo or with his
band the Noisemakers, Bruce can be found at a Steinway grand piano
sometimes a model D, sometimes a B. Though personalities vary
from piano to piano, I find the quality of Steinways to be very consistent, he says. Last year, he hand-selected ten Steinway grands at the
factory based on touch and tone; these became the Bruce Hornsby
Signature Series. What piano tone does Bruce prefer? Between mellow and bright, is his answer. Something that can be delicate, but
speak more aggressively if I need it to. You know, the piano sound
associated with 80s hits like The Way It Is thats actually a lot brighter than what I like to play. So does Bruce tour with a
favorite piano? Hell, no! he laughs. I have to make friends with a different one every night!
A Moog Piano Bar MIDI sensor straddles the Steinways keyboard, and a Korg M1 sits on top. The Piano Bar triggers the
Warm Strings patch from Korgs Wavestation plug-in, hosted in Apple MainStage on a MacBook.
Numerous sounds are played from the M1. Ive always really been partial to the M1s Overture patch, he explains. It gives me
some textural variety, and to my ears, has always managed to be orchestral without sounding too synthetic, so I still use it. Bruces
engineer Wayne Pooley adds, These days, we use the M1 just as a controller, and recreate two favorite M1 sounds Overture and
MultiBass with the M1-Le plug-in from Korgs Legacy Collection. Also hosted in MainStage are EVP88, which we use for the Wurly
EP sound on songs from the album Big Swing Face, and a filter-swept organ sound in Native Instruments FM8 that we used on Invisible from the new record. Bruce also used to work with [guitarist] Steve Kimock, and really loved his tone and wanted to be able to
play it chordally. So, we sampled Steve, and have two patches that started out in an Akai sampler but now live in the EXS24 plug-in.
For more on Bruces live setup, check out our exclusive backstage video interview at Stephen Fortner



Record You
Do you carry a song inside?
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take that music as far as you like, when you feel like it. Propellerhead Softwares
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For the last several years, Ive been

really interested in twentieth century classical music. So I work on Elliot Carter,
Schoenberg, Barber, and Ives pieces. Also
Webern and Messiaen. That cant help but
influence the writing. So consequently on
this record, there are two songs that are
way more dissonant in their harmonic and
melodic content. Im talking about Paper
Boy and Michael Raphael. I think of Paper
Boy as sort of Schoenberg meets the Beatles. And I think of Michael Raphael as chromatic, melodic movement meets the Beach
Boys. Ten years ago I would not have been as
well-versed in that harmonic language, and so
consequently, I would not have been able to
broaden my songwriting palette with it.
The lyrical content on Levitate finds
you stretching out as well. Theres a
line on the song Invisible where you
say, Get the feeling I aint doing nothing but sucking.
Right. [Laughs.]
Self-doubt is a really universal emotion, but few people have the guts to
express those kinds of thoughts so
bluntly in their songs.

Theres self-deprecation throughout my music

increasingly. On the last album Halcyon
Days, the hit was a tune called Gonna
Be Some Changes Made and had the
lyric, Look in the mirror, see a clowns
face. Its all through it, but theres more
of it here.
Years ago, I heard an interview with
Randy Newman, where he said he was
writing a love song on assignment for
Frank Sinatra Jr., and thought he just
couldnt take it anymore. From that
point on, he made a conscious decision
to write beyond the form of straight
love songs. He wanted the songs to
have characters as developed as other
art forms, like literature and theater. I
hear a mix of both on Levitate songs
with seemingly simple themes, and
those that push the song format into
new territory.
Its interesting you bring up Randy talking
about love songs. I have the same feeling.
On this record, there actually is one love
song. Its one of the songs Im most proud
of, and my band members favorite song.
Its a love song, but its using the language

of physics. Its called Here We Are Again.

Im always looking for a unique take. Ill
write a love song if I feel like Im doing
something that takes it to a different place
and puts a different slant on it. In this case,
I felt like I was able to find a slant that was
interesting to me, sort of a time travel fantasy that a guy whos lost his wife is having.
So his fantasy is traveling back through
time. Seven times around the world in a
single second, I will swirl. Thats referring
to the speed of light. I just felt that was an
interesting way to write a love song. And
so because of that, its one of the songs
Im most proud of on a lyrical level.
Also, on the comedic level, you have
The Black Rats of London, which is sort
of Randy Newman-esque. I wrote that after
reading an article in National Geographic
that talked about the bacterial strains and
rodents that came over on ships and
infected the locals, and then in the revolution infected the British, and allowed us to
prevail over them. I guess people dont
realize that something had gotten in the
water or in the food of the British around
Yorktown time, and they were really sick.

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And it helped us, well, basically like the

song says, Parasites decimated the red
army of Cornwall and his flock, standing
weakly on Yorktowns battlefield with
measles and smallpox. Once again, as I
get older, Im more interested in sardonic,
hopefully amusing commentary, sort of
trying to range far afield to find interesting
subject matter.
Theres also a strong injection of
modern, hip-hop inflected beats on
the record.
Oh yeah. I love that.
Thats something that youve

incorporated for a long time. I

remember as far back as 1993s Harbor Lights, with the song that Spike
Lee directed the video for, Talk of
the Town, that you had a penchant
for using them in your music.
Talk of the Town was probably the first
one like that. And then through the years
there have been others, certainly on Big
Swing Face there were several. And on
this one Levitate you would say is certainly
one of those. Even Prairie Dog Town has
a real hip-hop loop, but Im playing
dulcimer over it. [Laughs.]

a level of sonic
reproduction I never
thought I could achieve.
Joshua Fineberg, PhD
Composer of contemporary
classical music and a Professor
of Music at Harvard

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Yeah, its like Appalachia meets

Kanye West.
Exactly. I just like it. You know, Ludacris is a
very creative writer. And there are so many
other great artists like that. My kids turn me
on to these guys.
The kids sound great, guest-rapping
on Space Is The Place, by the way.
Theyre very funny. And then Clapton
takes over. Its great my 11-year-old
sons into Clapton.
When I was listening to the new
record, I was again struck by how
youve created a harmonic and melodic
language on the piano thats all your
own. The intro to Cyclone, for
instance, reminded me of the introduction you played on Every Little Kiss.
You know, through the years, as Ive listened to
music and been turned on to music by friends,
or by something Ive read whenever something would get under my skin and really give
me chills, I would explore it. And transcribe it.
And figure out what it was about this that was
so intoxicating, so sensuous, and so moving to
me. I guess its about years of exploring music
and realizing fairly simply what moves me, and
putting it into my own little sort of gumbo
and having it come out the other end as something that is identifiable stylistically.
The influences can come from a really
broad range of places. A guy who I have
been turned on to for the last many years is
Paul Brady, the great Irish songwriter and
singer. And his record of Irish folk songs
called Welcome Here Kind Stranger is just
stunning and moves me completely. And so
thats an area I would draw from. Its not
necessarily pianistic. It can come from any
source. I was always into bluegrass and
folk music, old traditional music. Hanging
out with [Grateful Dead singer and guitarist
Jerry] Garcia got me more immersed in
that, because he was a walking encyclopedia of folk music, and he turned me on to
lots of things that totally moved me. So I
would find a way to deal with that on the
piano. In fact, one of the bonus tracks on
this record that will at some point be available is my piano version of an old
traditional song called I Truly Understand,
that I learned from the New Lost City Ramblers. Garcia did it with David Grisman a
few years ago too. Its also taking areas of
music that have nothing to do with piano,
and finding a way to deal with them on the
piano, that has contributed to my style.

Has Twitter or other online

interaction helped you make
music like it did for Imogen
Heap? Let us know on the
forum at, or
tweet us up @keyboardmag,
and you might wind up featured
in print or online.




Much has been said about piano and

synth ingnue Imogen Heaps connecting
with fans via Twitter during the making of
her latest release, Ellipse. Its been championed as the latest example of the new
music business model, where devoted
fans enjoy a new level of access to their
favorite artist. Heap does not disappoint,
as her over four hundred thousand followers on Twitter can attest. From studio session microblogs to video diaries and even
live meetups, Heaps fans have been a part
of her album. Here, Imogen reflects on the
journey, which started in the virtual world
and took her around the real one.
What made the process of making
Ellipse unique, compared to your past
The main difference was that I consciously
decided to write the songs first and get the
body of work before I went into the studio.
The main reason for that was that I didnt
have a studio. Id just gotten back off tour,
and then within an hour of being home on
my couch with all my bags around and my
gear in tatters, I just didnt want to be
there. I didnt want to have go back into
normal life. I knew I had to write a new
album, but I felt like I wanted to go somewhere else. And I thought, Well, I dont
need to write it in the studio. Why dont I
just go somewhere pretty, somewhere Id
love to visit? So, I spun Google Earth
around a few times and decided to find the
place furthest away from any other landmass, and that turned out to be Hawaii. I
then went into Google and typed in luxury
apartment; self-catering; grand piano;
Hawaii and I found this brilliant place
which is on the rainy side of Maui. It was
really like a honeymoon place, but it was
just me and my beloved music.
It was the first time that Id ever been
away on my own and I think the first time
that Id really come to terms with what just
happened, because since I was 17, its
just been completely non-stop. I havent
had any holidays. The songs I wrote
were very different from Speak For
Yourself. [This is all] a long way of saying that I wrote the songs before I went
into the studio.
What gear did you bring with you, or
made sure you had, when you traveled
to write the songs?

I wanted to have the piano because I wanted

to get the essence of a song written before
I started work on it [in the studio]. That was
a real conscious decision, cause for the
last record I didnt do that. I wrote it all and
programmed everything all at the same
time. It was a big mess. And as a result of
that, I would sometimes finish the backing
track before Id even come up with the
lyrics, or vocals, or anything. And then I
would have to crowbar in a melody around
what Id written, and as a result, it wasnt
really meshed together. I like the vocals and
the music to all move around each other,
and its not just a lead line with the backing
track. They all intertwine. So, yeah, I had
real troubles on the last record with this one
song called Daylight Robbery, and I didnt
want to go there again. But I had the opposite problem with this one, because I wrote
the songs, and then had trouble deciding
what kind of backing tracks to go with them,
or what I should do with them.
The piano was the main thing, just to
write. But I also brought my laptop, GarageBand to throw down quick ideas and
Pro Tools. I had Ableton Live 7, which I
found really useful. I think its brilliant. I had
a little Korg MicroKontrol and a couple of
mics one for the piano, one for my voice
and I took my Sonic Studios DSM-6S/EH
microphones with me. They look like headphones, but theyre really microphones. And
I had a preamp and a little 24-bit WAV
recorder, so I could walk down the beach,
or into Tokyo, and record the songs.
What happened when you went into
the studio with your songs?
When I got back to London, I made this big
decision to take on my family house, which
is a big deal emotionally, and monetarily as
well. I then proceeded to take all of my
gear in and for eight months, I built the studio from scratch in my old playroom. I
bought a ridiculously large desk a
Digidesign Icon and I thought, Yeah,
thats basically like a big remote control for
Pro Tools. I have to be honest and say that
I dont actually use it because Im just so
fast inside Pro Tools with quick keys and
editing. The way I work, it doesnt fit with
getting up, finding the track. and turning
the knob. Id like to think that I could do
that and get faster at it, but no matter how
fast I got, nothings as quick as just going
boop inside the computer. But it looks very

impressive! And I love the scrub wheel.

Thats my favorite bit of the desk.
So I built the studio. I designed it and we
got carpenters and acoustic paneling and
funny plaster in the ceiling. I thought it would
take a month and Id be at work finishing the
album within a year, and it took eight months.
So all that time I was frustrated because I
wanted to be working on the record, but
there were people working in the house.
And once the studio was finished?
Where do you start? I needed some limitations. I needed to be reinforced like bookends so I could work within it, because its
impossible to create with a completely blank
canvas, with no edges to it. So, I decided to
start recording the sounds of the house. I
recorded the sound of me just running
around it, as I did as a kid. And I took the
steps and the rhythm of how fast I ran to be
the first song, Not Now But Soon, which
actually didnt go on the album, but it went
on the Heroes soundtrack.
The song Bad Body Double uses
some interesting human body and
vocal sounds for rhythms. What
inspired that, and how did you capture
the sounds?
In the beginning I thought itd be amusing
to use my body and my voice to do all of
the sounds of Bad Body Double because
I wanted to have it a capella. Actually, it
ended up being fully produced. When I
started to work on it, I was doing the beat
and the bass line with my voice and clapping and clicking. I got ten people jumping
around on squeaky floors in my hallway. In
the beginning, I just have one hand-slap,
but it sounded not quite strong enough, so
I tracked up a few [hands] slapping my ass.
I wrote it when I was in Japan. I was
surrounded by beautiful women, beautiful
skin, and gorgeous hair, just looking fantastic and eating very healthily. I was feeling,
What happened to my body? I guess
after years of the studio, touring, no exercise at all, and just eating on the fly, I felt
like this wasnt the body that I should have.
Im not even 30, and this isnt fair.
So, its as if I have this nice 19-year-old
body thats not sagging yet and has no
wrinkles or grey hair. But then, when I get
out of the shower, theres my bad body double, this other person that comes in front of
the mirror and looks a bit like me, but haggard, and shes trying to put on creams to



Imogen Heap

On th
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look like how I look. Sometimes she comes

into the bedroom and disturbs me when Im
with a man, and the man cant tell the difference. He just thinks its me, but its not me.
Its my bad body double.
What other techniques did you use to
get the sounds just right, especially
with pianos?
I went around the house, recording all the
different sounds of the pianos. And on
Half Life, there was a mic in the hallway, a
mic at the end of the dining room, and a
mic in the piano, so Im switching between
them. Sometimes I did far away, sometimes
I did close. I wanted to get the [mechanical]
sound of the keys, so I took out the hammer
action from one of my pianos the one thats
out of tune and will never be in tune and I
just recorded the sound of the keys. I went
over every single note and added the sound
of the keys so that it sounds more close.
Therere more examples of things in the
house. I use the tap dripping I got the
drops and then tuned it to make it fit. And
you can hear me running a drumstick
across the banisters.
What will your live setup be for the
Ellipse tour?
I dont know at the moment, but it will



Heap Help
Selected Discography: I Megaphone, Details (with Frou Frou),
Speak For Yourself, Ellipse.
involve a glass harmonica and a Waterphone, and some looping device
maybe just Ableton Live. I dont know
what kind of gear is out there recently,
but I imagine its much faster and
smoother than it was four years ago. So
Im looking forward to seeing what I can
do with it. Ill take my Perspex piano, the
clear piano that I had built, which I keep
my computer in, a keyboard, my looping
stuff, little drum machines to build stuff
live, and a little mixing desk. And then Ill
have another station which has my mbira
on it, and [Roland AX-1] shoulder-strap
keyboard, and then Ill have my hang
[tuned resonating bowl].
With the level of interaction youve
facilitated with Twitter and your video
blogs, how did it affect the process of
making the album?





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I think its very insular working on your

own in the studio and you easily get lost
in it. And I like having this kind of presence, knowing that there was my Tweetdeck program in the corner of the
studio, that theres this hovering bubble
of people, waiting, there and ready.
When I was working in the studio and
feeling like I was not really getting anywhere and needed a little break, making
a tweet and having a little chat
refreshed me, and I could go back to
the computer and carry on. Otherwise,
theres nothing to break me off from
working, and thats when I can get lost
and spend six, seven, eight hours working on a sound and not get anywhere.
When it came time to record the
album, did you encounter dead ends,
or do you feel like youve learned
enough to avoid them?
Fifty percent of the time I just think, Im
completely bluffing this. Ive no idea what
Im doing. How have I managed to con
everyone, and myself, into thinking that I
can actually finish this record?
Sometimes I go into the studio and everything just feels really difficult. Nothings
working, nothings talking to anything else,
I cant really get anything decent out of my
head, and I cant make an interesting
sound. It just all sounds like crap. And
other days, I dont even remember the
process. It just flowed.
I dont really do very much stuff in
MIDI. Its all audio, cause I get annoyed
by the kind of small micro-shifting that
MIDI does. It irritates me, and I have to go
into every single point and have it so its
dead-on, cause Im really anal like that.
Pretty much all of my sound design is
done in Pro Tools, processing and playing
around with the audio like Play-Doh and
building blocks. I dont have to think about
it. I know where everything is. It comes like
a train of thought and Im not hindered by
not knowing how to do something in Pro
Tools. So I can work for five or six hours
on some sound and build something out
of just one noise, but it turns into 20
tracks of that same noise. And by the end
of the evening, like five in the morning, its
dawn. Ive got no idea how I did it, but its
there, and I really like it.
Visit for exclusive video of Imogen Heap discussing the songs of Ellipse and more!

2009 B & H Foto & Electronics Corp.



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Want to weigh in on RedOnes

work as a producer and keyboardist? Post your
comments on our forum at and we may
feature you in print or online.

Youd be hard-pressed to find anyone

who hasnt heard Lady Gagas now-ubiquitous tune Just Dance or the equally catchy
Poker Face. Both of those tunes were produced by globally-grounded producer



RedOne, who received a Grammy nomination for Best Dance Recording for Just
Dance. His upward trajectory may have
brought him to the top of the charts, but his
musical roots span continents and genres.

RedOne (born Nadir Khayat) grew up in

Morocco where his siblings turned him on
to American classic rock and soul music,
which was juxtaposed with the traditional
music they played around the house. He

played guitar and piano as a child, and by

age 16, knew he wanted to pursue music
professionally. So he did the only thing a
kid from Morocco could do: Go to Sweden! I loved the group Europe, he explains.
My brother was studying in France then
and he brought me their record. So I was
actually the first in Morocco to hear that. I
loved it because it was a mixture of melodic
rock and pop, and I love melodies. When I
heard that record, I really wanted to
become a rock star!
Once in Sweden, he started woodshedding on guitar and keyboards, inspired by
the small countrys immense talent pool.
Europe, Abba, Yngwie Malmsteen, John
Norum, and Roxette were all coming from
the same country, he says. Its a little
country of nine million people and there
was so much good music coming out of
there that I really wanted to go there. And to
meet Europe, too! RedOne eventually met
Europes singer Joey Tempest and played
some songs with him, fulfilling a childhood
rock n roll fantasy. However, RedOne
knew that fantasy alone wouldnt bring
fame, so he went to music school and studied his craft. You have music in you but you
need to learn the bridge to what you have in
you and learn the way to do it and do it
right, he says. Thats the perfect match.
RedOne started his career in production
around 1994 with a friend named Rami
who had been working with legendary
songwriter Max Martin. Rami taught him
some music production details and got him
into Apple Logic, which has been his main
DAW for over a decade. At first, they
worked on RedOnes solo project but soon
he became enamored with producing. I
just loved the way I could do all kinds of
music without having to do just one thing
as an artist, he says. And then I just
decided I didnt want to be an artist. I only
want to do production and do songs for
every single artist and switch up my style.
Red and Rami had their first big hit with the
A*Teens Step Up, winning a Swedish
Grammy as well as the Scandinavian Song of
the Year award. RedOne followed that up
working with artists such as Christina Milan
and 3LW, but he soon decided that Sweden
had its limits. I felt like I had success in Sweden and I wanted to take it to the next level in
the U.S., he says. Sweden is only nine million
people and if you make a hit, youre lucky the
songs get out of Scandinavia. But if you get
a hit in the U.S., it goes everywhere else. I came

to the U.S. to do the same thing, but its harder

to make it here. However hard it seemed, his
big break was just around the corner.
Bamboo and Beyond
In 2006, RedOnes song Bamboo was
selected as the official melody for that years
FIFA World Cup of Soccer, and was used in
all their global marketing and promotion.
That led to him producing the official song
for World Cup Soccer, a mashup of Bamboo with Shakiras hit Hips Dont Lie
which was heard by almost half the planet
when Shakira and Wyclef Jean performed it
live to an estimated television audience of
2.3 billion people. That success brought him
more meetings with major A&R executives,
which led to him producing Kat Delunas
album and hit single Wind Up.
We got together and did five songs in
five days, including Wind Up and all the
singles, he says. The only thing I had for
Wind Up was the beat, but all the other
songs most of the time I created on the
spot. His work as a producer involves a lot
of collaboration with the artist. I always
talk to the artists so I see what theyre
about, what theyre thinking, he says. You
have to make them excited and know
whats in their head to create something
around that. A friend of mine always says
Its not that serious. Its fun. Just create
and have fun. Dont complicate it. The
moment you start overthinking it, it just
becomes a problem and you never get
what you want. What RedOne truly wants
is simplicity and a good melody, even more
so than a great lyric, and for a poignant
reason. The melodies are very important,
he says. If youre thinking about the U.S.,
the lyrics are important. But for the rest of
the world, most countries dont speak English. When I grew up in Morocco, I didnt
speak English at all, but I still loved American pop. If you have good melodies, youre
hooked. Of course if you have a killer lyric
thats simple and has good concept, thats
the perfect marriage.
Onward and Upward
After his success with DeLuna, RedOne
began writing and producing for artists
such as Enrique Iglesias, Lionel Richie, the
Cheetah Girls, and Brandy, to name a few.
He was all over New Kids on the Blocks
2008 comeback album The Block, which
robustly debuted at number 2 on the Billboard 200. And along the way, RedOne

hooked up with chart-topping singer/producer Akon to write and produce music

under the label RedOneKonvict.
Once you have a smash or two under
your belt, how much pressure is there to
create the next hit? According to RedOne,
that depends on your own originality. In my
opinion, the only key to making it big is to
try to be your own thing, he says. Compromise a little bit, but try to create the next
level where people are going to copy you
instead of you copying other people. I
copied, too, earlier in my career. You hear
something and try to copy it and what happens is that by the time your song is going
to come out in six months, that styles
already over. A lot of people are calling me,
big producers, asking what synth and
drums I used on Just Dance because sonically its different from whatevers going
on. He also notes that he never divulges
the tricks of the trade, though hes more
than willing to share that he does almost
everything in Logic on his MacBook Pro.
Logic is magic to me, he says, and its
just getting better and better. There are so
many synths in there its crazy. The beautiful
thing is you can always tweak the sounds
and make them yours. All the sounds in
Logic are amazing already, but I know everybody has them so I tweak them and make
them mine. In his studio, RedOnes
workdesk is free from clutter as most of his
mixes take place inside the box.
Logic has made my life much easier. I
play guitars and keys, but then you can
tweak everything. In addition to the MacBook and Logic, I have my Apogee Ensemble and Duet interfaces, plus a two-octave
M-Audio Oxygen MIDI keyboard. Sometimes I use a bigger keyboard if I need
more keys to play, but when I program, its
all on the Oxygen. Less is more. My workspace is very Swedish/European, in that
its minimalist. You dont need a lot of gear
to make great music.
Though RedOne has hit the proverbial
big time, hes still full of the enthusiasm
and fire he had as a kid dreaming of
music in Morocco, or as the budding
young producer in Sweden, when he first
believed that instead of just listening to
an international smash hit, hed someday
be producing one.
Check out our exclusive Just Dance Play It! lesson
in the September 09 issue of Keyboard, and a video
interview with RedOne at



P L AY I T !


Can you play stride like nobody since
Art Tatum? Post a link to your playing
on our forums at and
you may be featured in print or online.

by Scott Healy
Nothing strikes fear into the hearts of
piano players like the mention of stride
piano. This seemingly impossible old style
is like ragtime on steroids, and pushes jazz
pianists to the limit. The left hand
alternates a low bass, frequently played in
tenths, with close position midrange
chords, while the right hand provides

melody, syncopations, lines, and runs. The

total effect is a relentless, locked-down
swing eighth-note feel.
Even if you cant invest the hours necessary to master stride, studying its fundamentals will increase your harmonic
language skills and center your time feel.
Plus, theres nothing wrong with gaining an

appreciation of an almost-lost art that has

inspired everyone from Duke Ellington, Art
Tatum, and Oscar Peterson to Dick Hyman,
Marcus Roberts, Kenny Werner, and Bill
Charlap. Beyond the flash and the bluster
of stride is a deep awareness of song
structure, chord voicing, root movement
and harmony, and most of all, swing.

Ex. 1. When playing stride, your left hand is the rhythm section, and it never lets up. Practice getting used to the motion of your left arm, aiming low with your fifth finger to hit the bass note, then moving quickly to the middle register to grab a chord. In example 1a, the chords move from I to V7, F to C7, using an alternating bass note
on beats 1 and 3. One trick: Start the V7 (C7) on the fifth (G) of the chord instead of the root. This way you dont have to repeat a note (C). Make your bass line more
melodic in 1b by starting the F6 on the third (A) in the second measure, then move down to the V7 through a passing diminished chord (Abdim7). Since you start the V7
on the fifth (G), substitute Gm7 and make a ii7-V7. Upstairs, notice the chord voicings in the last two measures. The top notes in each chord create a nice melody D, E,
D, C and you can use your thumb to bring these out.
A  dim7 Gm7 C7









Ex. 2. Most of the great stride players like James P. Johnson, Fats Waller, Earl Himes, and Art Tatum played tenths in the left hand, and sometimes added a third note
with the second or third finger. The top thumb note adds a tenor voice and a rich counter-line; the effect is harmonically dense and exponentially more difficult to play.
Give it a shot but dont push it.
A  dim7
F dim7


2 or 3





P L AY I T !


Ex. 3. Try the same constructions show in Example 2 with two hands, to make things a bit smipler. Its not cheating to break up the tenth and, at fast tempos, this is an
effective technique. Here is a complete eighth-bar A-section with a turnaround, using the passing diminished and ii7-V7.

A dim7 Gm7

F dim7 Gm7



F dim7 Gm7 C7

A dim7 Gm7 C7





1 1
3 or 2


Ex. 4. If you can handle tenths, heres how its done. Notice the embellishing pickup at the end of bar 4 E to F.


A dim7


F dim7







Ex. 5. The right hand in stride is based on swing eighth-note lines, usually built on broken-up chord tones. Practice this example with simple chords in the left hand and
get used to really swinging the right-hand line.
A  dim7








Ex. 6. Using the same chords in the left hand, add some thirds. The off-beat accents really make the riffs pop, and any syncopation in the right hand will play against the
pumping quarter notes of the left hand when you add them in with the next example!
A  dim7 Gm7












1 3




Ex. 7. Syncopate the right hand and youre in full stride. In measure 1, the left hand walks up in tenths; in measure 2, the right-hand syncopations push against the
quarter note pulse. You can grab an octave in the right hand whenever you want for emphasis.
A  dim7
F dim7
C7  9












( )







P L AY I T !

Share some of your own killer whole
tone playing on our forums at and you may just be
featured in a future issue of Keyboard!


by Andy LaVerne

Last month, we dove into the theory

behind the whole tone scale and explored
some creative ways to play with it. This

month, we go deeper, using the whole tone

scale for more complex melodies and figures. Remember to dial up the metronome

and start slowly and dont forget to listen

to masters like McCoy Tyner and John
Coltrane for inspiration!

Ex. 1. In 1a, the right hand can be played up an octave, or in the middle of the treble clef. The G common tones anchor the
moving voicings. This type of movement can be heard on some Coltrane recordings, with McCoy Tyner. With a slight adjustment in 1b, we now have two-hand voicings which contain all six notes of the whole tone scale.











Ex. 2. Scale tone triads (in this case all augmented triads), which move up in whole steps, can be an effective melodic device. In
2a, we make a four-note pattern out of three notes. Dont neglect the opposing whole tone scale 2b shows another exercise with
scale tone chords, this time ascending and descending in triplets. 2c shows another scale tone triad pattern, played by McCoy.











Want to learn more

about whole tone

CDs: John Coltrane, One

Down, One Up (Impulse);
Wayne Shorter, Ju Ju
(Blue Note)
Book: Chords in Motion,
Andy LaVerne (Jamey
Aebersold Jazz)

Ex. 3. In 3a, we have a line that outlines a scale tone triad (Dbaug), and continues with a scalar passage. With the addition of two chromatic
tones (Dn and Ab) in 3b, we can tie two augmented triads (Gaug and Dnaug) together in a line.







Ex. 4. Taking Example 3 a step further, we now outline three augmented triads (Gaug, Baug, and Ebaug), linking them with chromatic tones (C,
F, and E), to create a triplet-based line which floats over the chords in 4a. These three augmented triads are actually the same one, in its
inversions. When you get comfortable in the use of whole tone scales, the next step is to play opposing whole tone scales within the same
line, to create even more intensity. You can also play the whole tone scale over minor chords; just use the whole tone scale built on the fifth
of the minor chord. Example 4b could be used over a Cm7, as well as a G7aug. With whole tone scales, the skys the limit!











For audio examples of this lesson,

visit Visit Andy
online at



October 9-12, 2009
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
New York, NY


Hear this tutorial with audio examples at Got your
own vocal remix trick? Click on Forum and let us know if we like
your idea, you could wind up in the magazine or on our site!

by Francis Preve

Last month, we used editing and effects

to turn a phrase from a lead vocal into a padlike cloud of sound. This month, well ratchet
things up. Longtime Keyboard readers
know Im a fan of a technique I call digital

glossolalia. Literally, the term refers to the

phenomenon of speaking in tongues. In an
electronic dance music context, it takes an
existing vocal (that, naturally, is in tune with
the original track), and edits it into an entirely

Step 1. Well start by placing the vocal sample, as-is (unsynced)

over the Apple Loop from last months example.

Step 3. Once youve got everything sliced, it should look

something like this.

Step 5. Heres where the real fun begins. As your drums play,
experiment with reordering your slices. For best results, try to
create a one-measure loop out of the most compatible slices, then
copy that loop for four measures, changing the fourth measure
subtly for a turnaround at the end.




new hook. I cover this technique in my book

The Remixers Bible (Hal Leonard), and a
few years back, I used it to create a hook for
the remix of Martijn Ten Veldens I Wish You
Would. Heres how it was done.

Step 2. Next, we split that vocal

into smaller segments using
Logics Split Regions by Playhead function, which uses a
single keystroke: \ (backslash).
You could split each segment
into varying note lengths, but for
this example, well stick to equal
eighth-note slices.

Step 4. Now, delete a bunch of slices, listening for both cool vowels and melodic notes to leave in.
Certain consonants can be problematic, depending on your objectives, so keep that in mind as
well. After youve made the deletions, your remaining slices may look something like this.

Step 6. Once youve got a pattern you

like, try adding rhythmic effects. For
this type of process, tempo-synced
delays are a tried-and-true technique.
Heres an example.
One final note to Ableton Live users: Glossolalia effects like this can be
whipped up in record time by simply using the Slice to new MIDI track option
on a vocal segment. Use eighth- or sixteenth-note intervals, then rearrange the
MIDI events into a similarly rhythmic loop. Presto!




Got another way of creating

this sound? Share it on our
forum at,
where youll also find this
tutorial with audio examples!



by Mitchell Sigman
Continuing last months tribute to
Michael Jackson, lets recreate the instantly
recognizable intro of Beat It. Back in 82,
Michael and producer Quincy Jones
employed a dream team of keyboardists
and synth programmers, including heavyweights Greg Phillinganes, Steve Porcaro
(of Toto fame), and Michael Boddicker, who
wrote last month that this was originally a
factory demo sound, played by Tom Bhler,
from a Synclavier. In addition to high-resolution sampling, the Synclavier had powerful additive and FM digital synthesis, plus
multitrack sequencing. Fully-loaded systems could cost upwards of $200,000.
Not having a vintage Synclavier around,
I let Waldorf Largo (reviewed last month)
provide the metallic mayhem. You could
also try other digital-sounding virtual
synths such as the Prophet-VS mode of
Arturia Prophet V, PPG Wave 2.V (part of
Waldorf Edition, reviewed Dec. 07), or
Image-Line Ogun (reviewed Mar. 09).

bright and rich, yet not too heavy on

atonal high harmonics (check out my
web audio examples for help). I chose
the Fuzz Wave wavetable in Largo.
3. Largos PPG-style wavetable synthesis
lets you sweep through waveforms,
either manually or using a mod source,
for tonal variation. I manually honed in
on a variation by setting the wave
number in the top corner of the wave
form display to 60.

1. Start with an initialized patch. In Largo,

just click the Edit button above the
patch name and select Init Program.

4. I selected the Chorus 2 wavetable on

oscillator 2, tuned one octave higher
(with wave number 44), and used
envelope 3 to modulate the wave
number for timbral motion. Configure
the mod routing by clicking the pop-up
menu next to the word Wave, select
Env3, and slide the slider up to a
value of 50 Largo displays
parameters and associated values at
the top of the window as you mouse
over them. Click the Envelopes button
and set Env3s attack to 89, decay to
0, and sustain and release full up.

2. Select an appropriate basic waveform.

This is trial-and-error you want it

5. Experiment with the oscillator volumes

in the mixer section; oscillator 1 gives




more fundamental and oscillator 2 will

give more movement and high end.
6. I decided to forgo filtering, but
discovered that Largos filter drive still
affects the sound, so crank that guy up
to around 51. Bypass the actual
filtering by pressing the round power
switch at the left of the Filter section.
7. In the Envelopes section, set the amp
envelopes attack to 0, decay to 85,
sustain to 28, and release to 100.
8. Its still pretty bland time for the mojo!
Click the Common button. Set Unisono
[sic.] to 6, detune to 18, and spread full
up. Now were triggering six stereo
detuned voices with every note. Yeah!
9. I used Largos high shelf EQ to kick up
the high end a touch, and added some
channel bus reverb using Audio
Damages monster new reverb plug-in,
Now play the familiar note sequence:
| G, G, E, E | G, G, D, D | in octaves, and
youll be showin em how funky and
strong is your fight!

Studio Solutions
for creative musicians everywhere

Wi t h t h e i r e x p e r t k n o w l e d g e , p ro d u c t s e l e c t i o n a n d p a s s i o n f o r m u s ic,
Apple Pro Audio Resellers are the perfect destination to build your dream studio.

To locate an Apple Pro Audio Reseller near you,

please go to:

Michael Duff is a singer/songwriter/producer living in Los Angeles and is the former lead singer/songwriter of Chalk FarM
Apple Logic Studio, Mac Pro & MacBook Pro
Euphonix MC Mix controller
Apogee Duet audio interface
Avalon VT-737SP processor M-Audio Axiom 61 USB keyboard Zoom H2 recorder Digidesign 002 Rack with Pro Tools LE
Line 6 Pod & Bass Pod Pro Marshall Electronics MXL V77 tube mic Fender & Taylor guitars Tannoy speakers
2009 E U P H O N I X I N C . A L L R I G H T S R E S E RV E D . MC M I X I S A T R A D E M A R K O F E U P H O N I X I N C .
A L L O T H E R T R A D E M A R K S A R E P R O P E RT Y O F T H E I R R E S P E C T I V E O W N E R S .


Whats your favorite technique for replacing bum
sounds? Let us know on
the forum at


by Jason Scott Alexander
On page 50 of this issue, Keyboard
rounds up five state-of-the-art drum replacer
apps that do most of the work for you. However, not everyone has jumped on this bandwagon many of todays top producers and
mixing engineers continue to use time-proven
techniques that are decidedly old-school.
Take New York City-based engineer Cooper
Anderson (Kanye West, John Legend, Ghostface Killah), who admits to never having used
any of the software in this issues roundup.
I have a cool way of doing it in Pro
Tools and Logic Pro, he says. Neither
requires any additional software, but the
Pro Tools method is slightly easier with the
help of SoundReplacer.
Nearly a decade old, Digidesigns
Sound Replacer (shown) is no longer marketed as a drum replacer app per se;
Digidesigns 2006 acquisition of TL Drum
Rehab from Trillium Lane Labs (see page
53) has since filled that bill. Still, Sound
Replacer is huge in pro mixing circles, with
some engineers preferring to use it in a
more manual process of replacing drum
hits. This all begins with making a trigger
track from a duplicate of the kick or snare
track in question.
With Tab-to-Transient enabled and the




Commands Keyboard Focus mode turned

on in Pro Tools, Ill tab the edit point to the
first hit to be triggered and set the nudge
value to a 64th-note, explains Anderson.
Using the region Trim Start to Insertion
command, I trim everything to the left of the
trigger and nudge the edit point one 64thnote to the right. This should leave a little bit
of the beginning of the drum hit. Next, I split
the region using the Separate command,
then tab to the next trigger, and repeat.
When you tab through the transients,
the edit point may stop in between desired
drum hits. If youre not sure whether a transient is supposed to be there, you can
always hit Play to find out you wont lose
your place. After the triggers have been
trimmed, consolidate the track.
You can now use Sound Replacer to
make a really accurate replacement track,
says Anderson. If you dont have Sound
Replacer, you can use the focus mode and
Tab to Transient to paste in samples on a
new track.
In Logic Pro, Anderson also creates a
trigger track, but needs no replacement
plug-in. To do this, start by making a physical copy of the drum track in the Audio Bin,
then open the new audio file in the Sample

Edit window. Next, carefully select all audio

found in between the drum hits. Youll need
to both visually and aurally audition the part
as you move along, ensuring that you dont
miss a hit or mistake a background transient for the drum youre trying to replace.
You can even clip most of the decay off
the drum, notes Anderson. All it needs for
the trigger is a little bit at the very beginning. Then use the Silence command. Ive
assigned the F8 key command to this.
Once you have the audio file stripped,
drag it onto a track in the arrange window,
making sure to drop it on a bar line. Put the
SPL (song position line or play head) on
that bar line. Select a MIDI or instrument
track and open the audio file in the Sample
Edit window once again, then select the
Audio to Score command.
Scroll through the audio file to make
sure there are no false or missing triggers,
says Anderson. When everything is ready,
just hit Process. Youll then have a MIDI
track you can use to trigger drums from any
instrument plug-in. Logics MIDI Transform
commands can be used in any of the MIDI
editing windows to put all of the triggers on
the same note, adjust velocity weighting, or
make numerous other useful tweaks.





Keep the groove. Improve the sound. We rounded

up five of the leading drum replacement apps and
discovered that each offers something unique.
by Jason Scott Alexander
Anytime I talk with my techie friends about drum
replacement, its all about fitting square pegs into round holes.
You know, switching out a hip-hop kick thats lacking boom for
the clubs. Or replacing a fat acrylic snare that could really rock
the track if only it were a Pearl brass piccolo. Granted, many of
these folks are mix engineers and dont have the luxury of calling
drummers back to re-record.
However, drum replacement is useful for any musician working from a home or desktop studio. A wise producer once told
me, Much like love, magical moments in the studio tend to
come and go when you least expect . . . so capture them when
they happen, and cherish those recordings once theyre gone.
Thats so true early scratch takes and casual jam sessions
captured under less-than-ideal acoustic or technical conditions




often have emotional impact thats difficult to recapture in subsequent big-studio sessions. Thanks to modern software,
though, we can improve the sound quality while retaining much,
if not all, of the original emotion. This is a crucial advancement.
We put the five most popular drum replacer apps to the test.
While they all basically work via filters and trigger thresholds,
three WaveMachine Labs Drumagog, Digidesigns TL Drum
Rehab, and ApulSoft ApTrigga 2 are sample-based and get
inserted as realtime plug-ins on a channel in your DAW. The
other two DTM from Massey and Drumtracker from Toontrack
work offline to export MIDI files you can later use to play your
virtual drum instrument of choice. Most importantly, its each
products unique detection and sensitivity controls that make it
best suited for a particular job.










For the past eight years, Drumagog has been one of the most
highly regarded drum replacers out there. To this day, competitors are seen borrowing from its feature set and trying to match
the scope and finesse of its detection engine.
Incorporating a 4GB library of highly expressive acoustic and
electronic kicks, snares, toms, hi-hats, and cymbals, played with
brushes as well as sticks, proprietary GOG files can each contain upwards of 48 velocity and positional multi-samples. You
can also import WAV, AIF, SD-II and GIG samples to create
custom GOGs; this lets you arrange and save your own sample
sets in a single file thats easily exchanged with others online.
Some of the best sounding GOGs come from users in the
Drumagog forums.
Using it is a simple matter of inserting the plug-in onto a
mono or stereo drum track, selecting a replacement sound, and
letting Drumagog do the rest. You can adjust the mix of original
and replacement audio.
Incoming audio shows up as a scrolling half-height waveform,
with crosshair-style controls superimposed for trigger sensitivity
(the volume threshold for incoming peaks) and resolution (the
minimum space between peaks that will separately cause triggers). In this way, you can quickly teach Drumagog how to react
to incoming drum sounds that hit very close to one another
e.g., flams, paradiddles, and rolls or, conversely, to ignore
errant ghost notes by widening or narrowing the resolution in
milliseconds. Audio that scores a hit (a candidate for replacement) is displayed as a white dot, so its easy to see a history of
exactly which peaks caused Drumagog to trigger.
This turned out to be the most intuitive and flexible method
for automating peak detection of any app in this roundup. Note,
though, that Drumagogs detections are always automatic and
dont let you add or remove triggers manually.
If the source audio is complex enough that you need to roll
up your sleeves, youll find plenty of parameters for fine-tuning
the detection process. In the pre-trigger filter section, theres a
choice of high-, low-, bandpass, and notch filters, each with
adjustable frequency, Q (bandwidth), and input levels. I really
like that theres an audition button here, letting you hear exactly
how much source signal is actually making its way through to
the detection engine.
The intriguingly named Stealth mode allows all the original
audio to pass through unchanged, until the trigger threshold is
reached. This could be especially useful for home studio recordings
where limited microphone availability causes both the snare and
hi-hat to end up on a single track. Drumagog will pass the hi-hat
through, quickly crossfade into the replaced snare sample when the
snare drum is triggered, then crossfade back into the hi-hat again!
Wanting to test this in a different way, I threw a pretty
extreme case at it: A songs floor tom wasnt directly miked, but
instead, picked up only by the overheads. I needed to replace




the tom, but didnt want to jeopardize the rest of the overhead
content. With the detection filter tuned to the frequency range of
the floor tom, Stealth mode allowed the rest of the kit to pass
through around it. I was totally impressed by the seamless and
completely natural-sounding results, especially once Id blended
them back into the full mix. A pitch control lets you fine-tune
replacement samples.
Especially in urban, pop, and dance music, sometimes all
that an acoustic drum sound needs is a little embellishment to
make it fit in with an electronic arrangement. For this, the Synth
section is a wonderful inclusion, as it lets you blend in a pure
waveform (sine, square, sawtooth, three types of triangle, and
noise) and tune its level, frequency, attack and decay. Whether
adding sub to a kick, buzz to a snare, or putting shaped fuzz
on handclaps, only Drumagog has this feature.
Drumagogs sample engine can discern whether the drummer
was playing fast enough to warrant an extra hand; if so, Drumagog
alternates between different samples for the left and right hands,
making the replacement sound very realistic during rolls and fills.
Drumagog is available in three versions, starting with Basic at
$199. If you own a copy of FXpansionss BFD or BFD2, Drumagog Platinum (reviewed here) can trigger BFD samples directly,
without the need for MIDI or complicated routing setups.



The sounds of the Motif ES
Both a song and a loop-based pattern
sequencer for everything from making
beats to complete arrangements

Combining the best aspects of both a

scrupulous user-input process and more
hands-off automated approach, Drum
Rehab is a Pro Tools-only (RTAS) solution
that can detect and replace drum hits,
with sample-level accuracy, completely
on the fly. Due to it being specifically
designed for Pro Tools, the integration
feels extremely slick, with the interface
sporting an attractive detection waveform
view that tightly follows playback as
selected from Pro Tools Edit window.
Drum Rehab listens to the source
audio, analyzing it in real time for trigger
points, then storing these internally along
a sort of waveform map. This lets you
jump back and forth within an audio file
as Drum Rehab remembers the detected
trigger points from sections where youve
already been. In practice, audio with reasonably consistent peaks (such as a welldefined kick track) need only be analyzed
over a short, two- or three-bar section in
order to get your detection parameters
suitable for the entire song.
In these simplest of circumstances,
you can pretty much set the trigger
threshold and let Drum Rehab do its
thing. The four basic detection modes
are: Snare 1, Snare 2, Kick, and Tom.
Dynamic variation in the source audio
can be emphasized or minimized (down
to No Dynamic Tracking), and a handy
ducking option lets you set the amount of
gain reduction that will be applied to the

source audio upon output, when a drum

sound is triggered. Naturally, you can
also blend the input and replacement
audio levels to suit.
For audio suffering from excessive
bleed or wild dynamics, youll need
Expert mode. Here, you can address any
mistakes made by the detection engine,
such as adding missed notes, deleting
false triggers, or moving a trigger a
smidge to get its peak in the right place.
However, before you can edit anything, triggers must be committed to
the timeline so as not to be re-detected
every time you play back a region. You
can always uncommit triggers should
you wish to try a different threshold setting, for instance freeing them for redetection. Because committed triggers
are written into the waveform map, none
of your painstaking work is lost after you
close the session or plug-in window.
The Expert panel also lets you quantize triggers to Pro Tools grid, from halfnote to 64th-note, but its only as
accurate as your sessions tempo map.
For ultra-fine placement, click-holding
a trigger point zooms you in to the sample level, highlighting the replacement
transient on the waveform in bright
green. From here, you can correct for
any phase issues a sample might have
when blended against the original, offset
the timing of the trigger, or adjust its
amplitude. This is one leg TL Drum

All the hook-ups to use the MO with

your computer including built-in stereo
digital out, complete remote control of
your computer software and even
Studio Connections compatibility so
you can treat the MO just like a VSTi
software instrument
A great price!
Thats all there is to say. All there is to do
now ismake MO music.

2009 Yamaha Corporation of America





Rehab definitely has up on the competition the program brilliantly combines an offline approach to getting maximum precision with the conveniences of realtime processing.
A large horizontal velocity map lets you define how samples
get mapped to the 16 possible zones, which can be resized and
crossfaded. Voicing modes are Choke, where any newly
triggered drum sound terminates playback of the previous one, or
Free, where samples can play over one another.
Two entirely different sets of sounds can be loaded at a
time, each with their own set of attack, sustain, and EQ controls. This is great for programming hits on multiple drum head
positions or mimicking a dual mic setup (say, top and bottom
mics on a snare), and the Blend A/B control (which you can


automate in Pro Tools) lets you crossfade between them.

Sadly, there is no sample pitch control a fairly major omission and Drum Rehab doesnt support stereo samples or
panning of mono samples.
One very cool, if inadvertent, use that comes from Rehab
having not only a minimum but also a maximum trigger threshold
setting (none of the others in this roundup do) is that you can
focus on any tiny or incidental percussion that might be buried
in a track. This let me replace a lackluster shaker, recorded
amidst a sea of hand drums, with one that had more gusto. I
also augmented a rather drab hi-hat, recorded in a Beatles-style
single-track drum take, with a clangorous tambourine sample,
which gave the track much more sonic interest.


Rounding out the realtime replacers, ApTrigga2 also gives

instant results, but youre completely dependent on the plugins automatic detection to identify beats in the source audio.
Short of fine-tuning the detection parameters, theres little you
can do to correct false triggers, add missing beats, or tighten
up timing. Since it comes only in AU or VST formats, Pro Tools
users will need FXpansions VST-to-RTAS Adapter, available
The interface has four main sections. A Filter pane has lowand high-cut bands with conjoined EQ frequency, gain, and
bandwidth settings. The Trigger section lets you set threshold
within a convenient peak-hold style input metering display. You
can also adjust trigger hold time and smoothing, which determines how fast the trigger reacts to signal changes. Other trigger modes include One-Shot which always plays samples
to their ends unless they are triggered again and Loop mode.
Although it doesnt ship with a factory library, you can
quickly drag-and-drop any combination of AIFF, WAV, or
SD-II sound files into the Sample pane. Up to nine mono or
stereo files can be here at a time. Naturally, these slots are
intended as velocity layers for a single instrument (i.e.
snare), but nothing stops you from loading in samples of
differing drum types for multi-instrument replacement based




on discrete trigger thresholds. You can adjust an individual

samples level and pitch (up to one octave higher or lower in
very fine steps), as well as its panning in a stereo instance
of the plug-in.
ApTrigga can convert MIDI note-ons into trigger events, making it possible to audition samples with a controller keyboard. As
a special feature, its also possible to modulate ApTriggas
engine with a controller such as a pitch wheel. This means you
can play volume, filter cutoff, pitch, and dynamic sample selection all while the sample is being played back. This is exclusive
among our roundup candidates.
I found the GUI a bit too small, especially when trying to
maneuver a bunch of velocity crossfade handles in the crammed
dynamics bar. I also wish there were separate input filters for
each sample slot so that I could hone in on the warm, woody
timbre of a snare with one sample, for instance, and use the
more crisp, sidestick portion of the sound to trigger another
sample. Nonetheless, ApTrigga 2 gives more options in multisample mode than any other replacer. Aside from typical
dynamic, random, and round-robin playback modes, you can
stack all loaded samples to be mixed and played back at once;
stack samples according to velocity intensity; or manually select
samples using an automatable control.



The MM Series synthesizers combine sounds

from the Motif, street smart grooves from
around the world and a simple to use interface
in a portable package. Whether youre just
jamming with friends, making songs on board
or with the bundled Cubase software, the MM
Series lets you hit the streets in style.
The MM6 is the perfect choice for musicians
on the go, while the Graded Hammer action on
the 88-key MM8 delivers natural touch and
expressive control over the complete piano
Key sounds from the Motif line
including piano, guitars, drums & more
Real Time Knobs for controlling filte
and EG
Built-in grooves with drums, drums and
bass or complete backing tracks
Performance Mode lets you play layers
or split sounds along with grooves
Cubase AI 48 track audio/ MIDI DAW
software included

Formerly an employee at Trillium Lane

Labs and a major figure behind TL Drum
Rehab, Steven Massey recently broke
away as an independent, producing his
own line of elite plug-ins at ridiculously
low prices. And, in the case of Drum to
MIDI (DTM), you cant get any lowerpriced than free!
DTM is remarkably uncomplicated. In
fact, its the simplest of the lot. Available
only for Pro Tools as an AudioSuite plugin, DTM analyzes the selected audio track
offline and converts it to MIDI data, which
you can then drag back onto a Pro Tools
MIDI track. Though it wont save files
directly for use in other programs, you
can easily export the resulting track as a
MIDI file from Pro Tools.
The interface consists of a waveform
analysis window that shows the currently
highlighted section of audio (which is
why in the screenshot above, its shown
in the context of a Pro Tools session),
along with automatically detected trigger
points. Beyond a simple threshold control, fine-tuning the sensitivity slider will
ultimately affect the number of detected

triggers. A compression dial scales the

dynamic range of MIDI velocities generated, which can be a bit of a blind effort
since you cant do audible auditions in
DTM. False trigger points can be erased,
but you cant manually adjust the triggers
for placement or velocity.
Once it came time to drag the generated data onto a track, I discovered a
rather irksome behavior having to do with
the fact that Pro Tools imports MIDI as an
entire track. If youre replacing a short
region, or want to work in sections,
youre forced to work from the end of the
song and progress your way toward the
front, with Pro Tools edit mode set to
Spot. Otherwise, youll be forever slicing the empty front sections and adjusting MIDI data into place.
The good news: DTMs final results
are very accurate. On difficult jazz snare
and triplet hi-hats, the detection algorithm
tracked beautifully, duplicating tiny
dynamic details with razor-sharp peak
alignment, nearly every time. Unfortunately,
if a buried trigger manages to fly under
the radar (common with all drum replacers),

2009 Yamaha Corporation of America





you cant add triggers in DTM. Sure, you can insert an extra MIDI
note here and there using Pro Tools MIDI editor, but itd make life
easier if you could add triggers in the plug-in itself.
A feature that really blew me away once I discovered its
undocumented powers is that the Clear button essentially
makes certain triggers invisible to detection. This comes in
handy for removing interfering bleed signals from a track. One of


my snare tracks actually had a kick bleed that was louder than
the snares ghost notes, causing all sorts of unwanted triggering
and replacement. With an instance of the kick bleed selected, I
clicked Learn Drum causing all kick instances to come into
focus then I hit Clear. When I flipped back to the primary trigger view, the triggers that had resulted from the kick bleeds
were totally excluded. Way cool.

Taking the attitude that to do the job right, you must break away
from the confines of host software, Drumtracker is a standalone
program. The interface is split into a waveform pane on top and
file inputs section below, divided by a horizontal transport and
navigation bar. Like DTM, it generates MIDI files, not audio. But
the similarities end there.
What immediately sets Drumtracker apart is that it can load
multiple audio files (mono or stereo) at once; these get listed as
parts. This lets you work with the source tracks of an entire
multitracked drum kit, and hear the part youre working on in
context, as you would if using a plug-in replacer in your host
DAW. Only one part can be in focus at a time, though. Three
pre-trigger filter presets are given optimized for snare, kick,
and hi-hat while adjustable controls let you set the filter to
high- or low-frequency detection, tune its bandwidth, adjust its
overall attack sensitivity and trigger resolution (filter hold value),
and save your settings as a user preset.
For an even bigger trick, Drumtracker analyzes audio polyphonically. I immediately dreamt of this being useful in situations
calling for individual drums in a kit to break out from a track
recorded with overhead or room mics. As much as I like to
believe in miracles, this isnt very practical. While each input file
lets you assign upwards of ten separate instrument detection
tracks, only a single instrument (snare, kick, hi-hat, etc.) can be
filtered per selection of audio, and these selections cant overlap. Therefore, if multiple drum types fall on the same beat, it
wont work. Not to mention, it took me ages to manually separate envelopes per region and modify varying detection thresholds along the timeline.
To its credit, the polyphonic detection method can be a useful means of extracting articulations from a single instrument file.
On snare drum, for example, I used it to distinguish the regular
hits from any sidesticks or press-hits. Though this is time-consuming, it works quite well. You can set independent mappings
for each articulation, with a MIDI note corresponding to the
relevant sample in your drum module.
MIDI mapping templates are offered for XLN Audio Addictive
Drums, FXpansion BFD 1 and 2, Toontrack EZ Drummer and
Superior Drummer 1 and 2, General MIDI, GM Extended, and
generic note numbers. The 24 factory sounds are good enough
for auditioning purposes only (as intended). Very usefully, you




can run a standalone instrument, such as Superior Drummer,

alongside Drumtracker via a virtual MIDI port in the settings dialog. Do this, and youll be able to hear the track exactly as it will
sound when you import the MIDI back into your DAW project.
I found it took a bit of finagling to get consistent, positive
results from Drumtracker. Particularly on very rapid playing or
rolls, I had to manually discern hits and their velocities, often
zooming in on very small sections. Letting the detection engine
loose on an entire song-length drum track was rarely successful,
unless the playing was extremely basic, with clearly-defined
space between hits. I also tried processing the snare track with
kick bleed that Id used to test Massey DTM. With that track,
false triggering caused by confusion between soft snare hits
and the kick bleed was unavoidable, no matter the filter or
threshold settings. I think that rather than Drumtrackers simple
high/lowpass filter, a more elaborate parametric filter that could
hone in on a drums entire tonal fingerprint (not just the transient
portion) could improve this situation greatly, so Id suggest that
to Toontrack as a future upgrade.
I like that you bring in the DAW session tempo map at the
final export stage, so that all the newly generated MIDI events
are correctly referenced against your project timeline. This
worked wonderfully on sessions having even the most wildly
varying tempo and time signature changes. By default, Drumtracker converts files to MIDI type 1 format, though type 0 and
split instruments (one MIDI file per instrument or articulation)
are export options.


See page 48 for old-school ways to replace sounds without any of the plug-ins in this roundup.
For a look at the new drum replacer feature in Logic Pro 9, see our review on page 60.

While all products in this roundup can
handle basic drum and sound replacement duties with ease, each has demonstrated a unique ability or function best
suited for a specific task.
If generating MIDI notes is your objective, the choice is between DTM, Drumtracker, and Drumagog. Unlike offline
solutions which create entirely new
MIDI tracks or audio files TL Drum
Rehab, ApTrigga 2, and Drumagog each
stream their outputs as an inline effect;
should you wish to turn that into a permanent audio file, you can bus its output to
a new track and record it or solo the
drum track and do a bounce-to-disk.
Whether MIDI or sample-based, all
drum replacers depend greatly on the
expressiveness of the replacement
sounds. A lackluster multisample wont
replicate the expressiveness of a drummer, no matter how accurate the detection engine is. To this end, I found the
proprietary sample set, programming provisions, and automatable position control
in Drumagog to be tops, with TL Drum
Rehab riding a very close second.
We need to call out ApTrigga2 for
bang-for-buck. At a street price of just over
$50, it delivers a solid performance that
could only be made better if there were
user-adjustable trigger points, MIDI export,
and an RTAS version for Pro Tools users.
Massey DTMs sample-accuracy for
peak alignment really impressed me, and
it offers the fastest, most reliable workflow of anything in this roundup even
over the realtime plug-ins. True, some
extra work is needed to insert the odd
missed trigger, but its a fantastic tool
and you wont mind having to buy any of
Masseys other commercial plug-ins to
join the registered users club so you

can download DTM for free.

As the only standalone program
reviewed, Drumtracker benefits from
being completely host- and plug-in format-independent. Multitrack mode conveniently lets you hear a part youre working
on in context with the rest of the kit, just
as you would in a DAW environment.
Polyphonic mode, though far from perfect, is useful for extracting drum articulations, and lays groundwork for what I
hope will be an improved set of polydetection algorithms in future versions.
Currently best suited for working on wellisolated and non-compounded tracks,
Drumtracker could easily become the
killer app with a more powerful filter
section and the ability to learn triggers
from their entire sonic fingerprints, rather
than just the frequency range of the initial
hit. One to watch, for sure.
Ultimately, and true to its near-decade
of praise, I found Drumagog stayed the
truest to the nuances of original performances, and could solve virtually any of my
replacement needs. It also handled fast
playing the best, thanks in part to its variable resolution. Beyond fixing drum and
percussion tracks, Drumagog also
proved valuable on certain instrumental
material. Automating the resonant prefilter together with the visual trigger display, I could pinpoint and follow individual
elements within a submix or sample loop,
and replace or contort them in real time.
It was quite cool to ghost percussion
samples to follow the distinct rhythms of
instrumental parts such as guitar, or to
make single-cycle synth waves dance to
the beat and dynamics of the original
drum groove. In terms of quality, features,
and ease of use, Drumagog is still very
much the trailblazer.

Xpanded Articulation sounds inspire your

creativity. Performance Recording with 4
intelligent arpeggiators instantly capture your
ideas. An Integrated Sampling Sequencer with
studio style mixing and VCM effects let you
create complete MIDI/audio productions.
Computer connectivity and Cubase AI software
expand your possibilities. With the NEW direct
to USB stereo recording feature making great
sounding music has never been easier.
New UI with large color LCD and
8 knobs and sliders
Xpanded Articulation Synth engine
with 355 MB of wave ROM
Studio style mixing environment with
Virtual Circuitry Modeling effects
4 intelligent Arpeggiators with instant
Performance Recording
Integrated Sampling Sequencer with
1 GB of optional memory
Total Computer Integration and
Cubase AI software included

2009 Yamaha Corporation of America

Ever have a project where drum replacement saved

the day? Let us know what you did, and what you
used, on the forum at





Using MainStage in your live rig?
Tell us about it on the forum at





Mac Daddy
by Dominic Milano and Ernie Rideout
Flex Time and Varispeed improve the
editing and creation process. Amp
Designer and Pedalboard add very
high-quality guitar amp and stompbox
modeling. MainStages MIDI out and
other new features kick ass. STPs
kinks are ironed out, and its better for
sound-to-picture. As with first Logic
Studio release, bang-for-buck is
As of press time, some Looper and
Playback features in MainStage are a
little buggy. As in previous versions,
performance meter doesnt always give
fair warning of impending audio engine
errors on big projects.
$499; $199 upgrade from previous
Logic Pro/Studio versions; $299
upgrade from Logic Express,




Apple has done a fantastic job of

surprising us with Logics previous left of
decimal releases. Logic Pro 7
introduced a bunch of amazing virtual
instruments and a decidedly improved
user interface. Version 8 (reviewed Jan.
08) included every plug-in and Jam Pack,
plus the sound-to-picture app Soundtrack
Pro and the groundbreaking MainStage
all at half the price of what Logic Pro
used to cost by itself. The surprise this
time was the release itself: Unexpected
whole-number versions of Logic Pro,
MainStage, and Soundtrack.
Many new features are deep-in-themenus enhancements that improve workflow. Some are in-your-face, such as the
powerhouse of audio editing features collectively known as Flex Time, and the ultracool Amp Designer, Pedalboard, Playback,

and Loopback plug-ins. Others improve

professional utility, such as the addition of
MIDI output to MainStage.
There are no substantial user interface changes, and other than new templates for new projects, no new
shortcuts to the depth that gives Logic
much of its musical power even as it
may intimidate the uninitiated. You still
get all the virtual instruments and
effects, the tons of loops, the notation
editor, and, yes, one of the most powerful audio production programs in the
world. Instead of the huge printed manual, a searchable, HTML-based quicklink
system is built in to the Help menu. Former Keyboard editors in chief Dominic
Milano and Ernie Rideout dove in to see
how all the new stuff impacts the way
you make music.

1 Click here to activate Flex View, which lets you see
the Flex edits you make. Even with Flex View
turned off, you can still move audio like putty using
the Flex Tool.
2 Set the Flex mode for each track by choosing the
mode from this contextual menu; you can disable
Flex Time for individual regions if you like.
3 In this comping session, weve deactivated Quick
Swipe by clicking on this icon; all takes are now
ready for editing.
4 Move this individual note by dragging on the automatically-set handles.
5 The Varispeed function shows up as this button
on the transport.
6 To control Varispeed, drag up or down on this
7 This vocal track was selected and then converted
to sampler instrument.
8 These are the REX-like MIDI files corresponding to
the new sampler instrument slices of the vocal.
9 Heres the vocal track loaded into EXS24, and the
edit window, where you control keymapping, pitch,
and reverse playback of each slice.
10 The Notes tool lets you write notes for the entire
project and for each track.
This is a non-trivial question. A completely
clean install takes up about 47GB. Before
you cry bloatware, remember what Logic
Studio encompasses: five standalone apps
(Logic Pro 9, MainStage 2, Sountrack Pro
3, WaveBurner 1.6, and Compressor 3.5),
a couple of cool utilities, all of Apples Jam
Packs (over 20,000 loops), 80 effects
plug-ins, about 1,700 sampled instruments,
and 40 virtual instruments. Fortunately, you
can put much of the included content on
an external hard drive; the apps that need
to live on the same drive as the OS take up
about 17GB. On our main test machine a
new 15" MacBook Pro with a 3.06GHz
Core 2 Duo processor and 7200rpm hard
drive a full installation took a few hours
but was otherwise painless.
Flex Time. This is actually a group of features, and one of the most talked-about
new perks. These include Flex editing, the
Flex Tool, Audio Quantize, and multiple
tempo tools: Varispeed, Speed Fades, and

Tempo Import/Export. You select a Flex

mode from the contextual menu (different
modes for different audio material) under
the track name. When using the Flex Tool or
clicking in the lower portion of the waveform
display in Flex View, Flex markers are added
automatically at the nearest transient. You
can also manually place markers. Transients
generally occur at the beginning of drum
hits, notes, or words in a vocal line. Markers
define the area that will be affected by a
Flex edit. Dragging a marker expands/contracts the audio between it and the nearest
or adjacent marker audio beyond the
nearest marker is unaffected. This lets you
do all sorts of fun things. For instance, you
can change the length of words or phrases
in recorded vocals by dragging the beginning and end points of the automaticallymarked waveform; you can also give a vocal
line an entirely different rhythm that still
sounds natural. Also, you can manually line
up tracks that were played slightly out of
time. The Flex features can also automatically quantize one or more audio tracks utilizing the full range of Logics MIDI quantize
levels, add varying degrees of swing, extract
a groove template from one or more tracks,
and more. Theres even a tempophone
function (Speed Mode) if you want to sound
like youre changing the playback speed
(and pitch) on a turntable or tape recorder.
Flex Time works well and its way cool. All
thats missing now is a Flex Pitch mode, a la
the polyphonic version of Melodyne.
Varispeed. This lets you convince your
friends you can play faster than Jordan
Rudess by recording at whatever percentage of full speed you choose, then
playing back at normal speed. While

Do the new features really make
this a left-of-decimal update? In
the case of MainStage 2, absolutely.
Though Logic Pro 9 isnt that different
visually, Flex Time, improved comping,
and drum replacement are just some of
the robust new features under the hood.
How guitar-centric are the guitar
amps, tab, and chord symbols?
Very; the amps and effects will please
all but the most severe tone freaks.
Bass players will feel left out, as there
are no new bass amp models. Keyboardists will love the amps and Pedalboard, though.
How does Flex Time compare to
other DAWs audio stretching?
Sound quality-wise, its on par with the
best such tools in the industry. For
ease of use, its tops.
Can I control an external MIDI
stage rig with MainStage 2?
Absolutely. Multiple interfaces. Multiple
racks. Go for it.
Is Soundtrack Pro 3 a big
improvement over version 2? If you
do sound for picture, the enhanced
noise reduction, time stretch, and surround tools will make your life easier.
recording, playback is slowed but pitch
is unchanged. You first have to add
Varispeed to the transport bar: Controlclick the transport bar, and choose Customize Transport Bar. Once the -/+
button appears, engaging it gives you a
Speed Only section of the transport
with a percentage you can change by
dragging. Slick.

Fig. 1. Amp models are faithful and detailed; so are the graphics. Most guitarists will recognize the sound,
but even the Logic logo treatment on each of the 25 models gives a huge clue as to the real amp that was
modeled. You can mix and match heads and cabinets, and choose and position the virtual mic model.






Fig. 2. Been wanting to run EVB3 through multiple Leslie sims? With Pedalboard, now you can. We cranked
drive on these to nail the Keith Emersons wall of Leslies tone. Drag and drop from the collection of
groovy stompboxes on the right to build your virtual pedalboard on the left. Click the arrow in the lower left
corner to open Macro Assignments, which let you control your virtual pedals with physical ones.
Quick Swipe. This was introduced in
Logic 8 as a way to comp multiple takes
together quickly. It was brilliant, except for
one problem: You could slice and select
from among as many takes as you wanted
to create your ideal comp at the top of the
take bin but you couldnt edit any of the
audio until after you had exported the comp
to a new track. That meant you couldnt
move a single word in an otherwise perfect
vocal composite just to see if it worked
better. In Logic 9, you can disable Quick
Swipe mode once youve created a comp,
and doing so makes all of your takes
editable with the usual audio tools and
with the new Flex tools, too! This means
you can move a word in, say, take 22, and
the change will be reflected in your comp.
This is a huge improvement.
Logic 7 gave you Guitar Amp Pro, with its
configurable heads, cabinets, and mic
placement. Now, the Amp Designer plug-in
is billed as a guitarists dream 25 classic
heads, 25 cabinets, 10 classic reverbs,
three mics, all lovingly rendered with amazing graphics but its also a boon for us
keyboard players (see Figure 1 on page
61). Used in conjunction with the 30 coolsounding and groovy-looking pedals in the
new Pedalboard plug-in (see Figure 2
above), youve got physical models of just
about every guitar amp and stompbox
known. Routing whatever you can think of,
even a Roland V-Piano, through a crankedup, modeled amp will produce interesting
sounds. Really we tried honky-tonk V-




Piano into a slightly distorted brown-face

Fender with moderate tremolo, and it was
perfect for a Beatles-esque track. Putting a
virtual (or real) Wurly, Rhodes, ARP String
Ensemble, Minimoog, or Hammond through
a bunch of stompboxes yields everything
from classic tones to experimental bliss.
The blogosphere has complained that
some of the amps are noisy (when theyre
cranked up, they are), but hey, so are real
guitar amps when turned up.
Pedalboard is more fun when you use
real pedals to control its virtual effects. You
can assign Macros to control pedal parameters. Open up the Macro window by clicking
on the triangle in the lower left of the window,
and select which effect parameter you want
to control. You can also assign a physical
controller using Learn Mode; command-click
on a screen parameter, and the Controller
Assignments dialog appears. Wiggle your
control, and it automatically makes the connection. We had some challenges setting up
an expression pedal to control a wah effect
using Learn Mode; when it didnt work right
off the bat, we were flummoxed by parameters in the Controller Assignments such as
Format, for which the choices are unsigned,
2s complement, and sign magnitude, as
well as a Mode choice that offered scaled,
direct, X-OR, and other such engineerspeak. Fortunately, using the Macro window
avoids all this, making things much easier.
So, how do the models sound? Dominic
loved Spin Box, a cool Leslie simulator that
you can instantiate multiple times. As he puts
it, In the real world, theres something magical about running a Hammond through a
guitar amp plus a Leslie or two. EVB3

[Logics organ] gets nice and growly through

a couple of Spin Boxes and the Small Tweed
amp with a Vintage Brit 4 x 12 cabinet. I just
wish a single switch could toggle rotor
speeds on multiple Spin Boxes.
Running the EVP88 [Logics electric
piano] through a Blackface amp with the
spring reverb setting is amazing, says Ernie.
It really has a convincing spring sound and
amp warmth; it reminded me of my Rhodes
through my old Fender Twin. Bottom line:
The Amp Designer amp and cabinet models
are super-convincing. They respond very
musically and naturally to guitar, keyboard,
and soft synth audio. Overall, theyre the
equal of any other amp models available.
In Logic 9, new features take the tedium
out of mundane tasks and make life easier.
Selective Track Import, for example, imports
portions of projects from the Media
Browser. Say youve got a favorite drum
setup and want to use its channel strip
configuration in new project. In the
Browser, opening the project that includes
your drum setup gives you options for
importing individual channel strips; the
entire kits channel strips; one, some, or all
track contents; plug-ins, sends, and I/O
setups; and automation data. This is also
handy for moving audio tracks between
sessions recorded at different times, say,
when you prefer the groove the rhythm section recorded yesterday. When you import
this way, track content naturally retains its
position relative to the first beat of the first
bar. We do wish there was an import at
play head option, as this would save you
time jockeying tracks around to assemble
tunes one section at a time.
Drum Replacer, located in the Track
menu of the Arrange window, is another new
feature, and an alternative to the dedicated
replacers rounded up on page 50. It lets you
replace or double recorded drum parts with
sounds from an extensive sample library that
opens up in the Media Browser. Because
the trigger threshold is variable, you can, for
example, double only the primary strikes,
leaving buzz rolls and other fills unaltered.
Settings optimized for typical snare or tomtom playing are provided. You can use Drum
Replacer on other sources for example, to
lock a kick drum to a pulsing bass line. Copy

and paste the bass track onto a new track,
select that track, then apply Drum Replacer,
set the threshold to taste, and youve got a
new kick drum part.
Youll find other handy additions hidden
around the interface. Bounce in Place is
new to the Region edit menu, and it

provides a simple way to bounce a virtual

track to a new audio track, without having to
resort to the File menu. Convert to Sampler
is found in the Audio menu in the Arrange
window, and its really a gas: Select a region
of an audio track, and it creates a program in
EXS24 [Logics soft sampler] for you,

instantiated in a track, with each transient,

note, or word sliced and associated with a
MIDI track. This is a blast, as it lets you edit
any audio material within EXS itself, using all
the EXS parameters and keymapping edit
view. Among other things, this is good for
some quick, REX-like slicing fun.



In its first version, MainStage was a nice
way to organize and map virtual instruments
and effects so you could use your Mac as
your sound source for live gigs. It could
host Logic instrument or effect plug-ins as
well as third-party AU plug-ins, but lacked
MIDI output for controlling external gear.
Mainstage 2 (MS2) now has MIDI output, and can control a large, complex MIDI
rig. We loaded up a MacBook Pro with a
couple of MIDI interfaces, an audio interface with MIDI, and some MIDI controllers,
and hooked up so many keyboards and
sound modules to the various ports that it
was starting to look like a Rick Wakeman
gig. Using MS2, we sent program changes
with MSB and LSB bank messages to all
this gear. We set up ridiculous keyboard
layers and splits that combined virtual and
hardware synths. We created screen controls that sent different controllers to differ-

ent modules at once. Every time we

changed patches in MS2, it configured the
whole system. It works, and kicks much ass.
All this is due to a new entity exclusive
to MS2: the External Instrument Channel
Strip. It works just like setting up a zone on
a powerful MIDI controller keyboard: Set
the output port, MIDI channel, program
and bank changes, and key range, and
bam youre controlling an external instrument. If you have spare inputs on your
audio interface, you can even route the
things audio through the same channel
strip to make it part of your MS2 mix.
Theres no limit to layers, zones, or strips in
a patch, other than CPU power. In practice, we made ten non-EXS soft synths
work alongside the external gear without
any noticeable screwiness.
MS2 lets you control your Concerts (the
main project files MainStage saves), sets,
and patches with multiple physical controllers

1 In MainStage 2s edit window, you can tell the new
External Instrument channel strips by their huge
MIDI plug icons.
2 Mainstage can now be a ReWire host. ReWire is
the selected input on this channel.
3 Switch patches, and MS2 sends out program
change, bank select, and all data to configure
your whole rig; set this up in the MIDI output tab
of the Inspector.
4 In the Patch List, cursoring up or down syncs up
all program changes youve set for soft synths and
external MIDI gear alike.
5 In the Workspace, the Loopback window is visible; working with Loopbacks plug-in interface
(see Figure 3 on page 64) is more fun.
with judicious assigning, we found this to
work well, with one exception. We used an
Akai EWI-4000 wind controller to control a
Yamaha VL-1m synth wed layered with some
virtual instruments, but pitchbend from




the EWI (which is always there, as the
mouthpiece and pitch plates transmit it)
sounded like garbage. We alerted Apple, and
found out theyre aware of the pitchbend
issue and already working on a fix for the very
next update. For the time being, we used
MS2s handy MIDI filters feature to screen
out pitchbend info, and it sounded fine. We
still wanted the bend, so we hooked the EWI
directly to the VL-1m, but still had MS2 send
program changes a logical solution. However, it turns out that when you set a channel
strip to receive no MIDI input (since we controlled the VL-1m directly), MS2 no longer
sends anything via its corresponding MIDI
out. The workaround was to create an
unused MIDI object in the layout, and assign
it to be the MIDI input for the channel.
Mixing and matching your real and virtual
instruments and effects with this kind of control is fantastic. But MS2 has even more fun
things: Playback and Loopback (see Figure
3 at right). Playback lets you load an audio
file, which plays back in sync with your Concert tempo. We set one up at the Concert
level, then changed patches to play completely different rig configurations over different sections of the song. Very cool. We also
set up four Playbacks in one patch and
loaded backing horn tracks from a multitrack
Logic session looped and controlled from
the keyboard, they rocked. In another patch,
we loaded in full-song rhythm section parts
from the same session wow!
Loopback is an audio looper that allows
multiple loops in the same patch. It can
sync to the Concert tempo, or not. You can
specify the loop length in advance, or let
your foot- or button-taps determine the
length. It has reverse, undo, and fade-out
functions that make it work very much like
an Echoplex. You can import audio, and you
can export your loop creations. In one
patch, we ran the Ultrabeat drum plug-in,
some virtual keyboards, live guitar, and a
live vocal into one Loopback: instant songwriting fun or one-man-band. (Tip: If you get
noise when you add a mic or guitar channel
in MS2, insert a Noise Gate or De-Noiser
plug-in, and the hum and buzz are gone!)
We then set up multiple loops in the same
patch, looping synth rhythms in one and
vocal overdubs in another. Yeah!
Playback and Loopback add a huge new





Fig. 3. Playback and Loopback look and work similarly, but the former is a virtual instrument and the latter
is a delay effect. Playback (top) imports audio tracks, with markers, and lets you add markers and
rearrange the track on the fly. Loopback (bottom) is an Echoplex-style looping delay, and a bit tricky to
master, but powerful when you do.
dimension to MS2, but theyre not without
issues. Playback wont import anything from
iTunes, and some audio tracks import full of
digital garbage even when iTunes and other
apps play them fine. It does import and add
markers, but we couldnt navigate
backwards through markers to play back
section 3, then 2, then 1, for example, using
the marker function in Playbacks window.
The workaround is to set up screen buttons
in Layout mode and assign them to choose
Playbacks marker locations buttons to
jump forward and backward one marker, for
example. Loopbacks onscreen controls
seem straightforward, but sometimes it
seems to make no difference what their settings are the loop might be at the wrong
tempo or not synced with the Concert
tempo. If this happens, the solution is to
clear the previous loop info. Setting loop
length with your own tapping is tricky: Loop-

back doesnt adjust your loop points to

match the tempo, and if youre off by a tick
or two, your loops will drift out of sync.
ReWire hosting is another huge addition to MS2, though theres still no client
behavior. We set up patches that mixed
Logic and Reason soft synths right next to
each other awesome! We got Live tracks
to flow into MS2, and though it took some
doing, even mixed Ableton Lives Looper
instrument with Loopback. (Though Loopback is very good, we find Looper in Live to
be the virtual loop recorder pedal to beat.
Its more powerful and super-fun to use.)
A good controller really improves the
ReWire/MS2 experience; we used the
M-Audio Axiom Pro 49, which constantly
kept us informed with Looper function keys,
MS2 synth parameters, and Reason synth
parameters, all displayed on its LCD while
MS2 was in ReWire mode.


Soundtrack Pro (STP) is Apples sound-formoving-pictures complement to Logic and
its popular Final Cut Pro (FCP) nonlinear
video editing software. STP3 has significant
workflow enhancements, among them additional ways to scroll the play head and
QWERTY shortcuts for selected tracks
Record Arm, Mute, and Solo buttons. iXML
metadata support enhances pros ability to
search for footage based on attributes such
as location, shoot date, and so forth. As
before, you can roundtrip FCP video
sequences, complete with scoring reference

Fig. 4. Using SoundTrack Pro 3s new clipped signal repair function yields contrary results: before (on the
left, note only two clipped signals) and after (on the right, clipping was added by the effect).
markers, open them in STP, save them as
flattened files, and send them back to FCP.
The Lift and Stamp functions added in
STP2 let you copy and paste EQ attributes
from one clip to others, which streamlined
matching audio quality between video clips.
In STP3, Lift and Stamp gain the ability to
sample volume levels. The concept is a lot
like Adobe Soundbooth CS4s Voice Level
Match feature, except that STP3s Volume
Match cant match dialogue within clips. This
could be a major limitation if your source

material is an interview, and the dialogue lives

on a single mono audio track or the people
speaking arent isolated on separate channels. If the people dont talk over each other,
its simple enough to razor-tool a single audio
clip into multiple clips, but its a step Soundbooth CS4 users dont have to worry about.
In our tests, STP3 overcompensated for
quieter voices, raising background noise
along with speech. Saving each dialogue
track as a separate audio file before matching levels produced better results. We found





noise. Some barely audible, R2D2-like

high-frequency artifacts remained, but this
torture test proves that for more typical
noise removal needs, STP3 is more than
up to the task.
You may recall from our Jan. 08 review
that sending XML files between Logic and
STP2 didnt work. So we tried exporting a
stereo mix of a 16-track audio project that
included a QuickTime video from Logic to
FCP. The XML opened in FCP without a
hitch. However, when we sent the project
to STP3 using the roundtrip feature in
FCP, only the video, without sound,
showed up in STP3. Looks like the triedand-true OMF and AAF formats are still
the best ways to swap projects between
Logic and STP.
While Logic Pro 9 happily played audio
out a Digidesign Mbox 1, STP3 didnt get
along with the Mbox. Our tests revealed its
an Mbox 1-specific issue, because STP3
worked fine through Apogee One, Mbox 2,
Line 6 Toneport KB37, and MOTU
interfaces. Apple also tried to duplicate the
problem with an Mbox 1, but couldnt.


that if theres even the slightest difference in

room tone or background noise, it will be
accentuated when level match is applied.
STP3s noise reduction helped, but didnt
completely mitigate the problem. Also, if
youre compensating for certain natural level
mismatches, say, someone whispering versus a natural speaking voice, you may be
better served using other tools such as mixer
automation. Beware the Clipped Signal
Analysis tool in our test (see Figure 4 on
page 65), it introduced clipping instead of
eliminating it. Thankfully, the effects in STP3
are nondestructive, so undoing the damage
was simple and painless.
The noise reduction algorithms have
also been tweaked to let you automatically
eliminate common audio glitches such as
pops, clicks, and hum. We thought wed
throw something a little more challenging
at it: a skydiving video whose audio was
recorded with no windscreen on the mic!
The wind noise drowned out dialogue
from people standing about a foot away
from the mic. Three passes through the
NR removed about 99 percent of the





The new Logic Studio is an incredibly powerful suite of tools for composing, audio and
MIDI recording, post-production, live performance, and scoring moving pictures. Its
deep, intuitive at times and daunting at others, and priced to sell a lot of Macs. Of the
over 200 new features, Amp Designer, Pedalboard, MainStage 2s MIDI out, and Flex
Time make the $199 upgrade a no-brainer. If
youre a GarageBand musician ready to
learn a full pro system, Logic Studio is an
amazing value, and will even open your GB
songs with all tracks in the right places. Is it
easy otherwise? Getting off the ground with
Logic 9 and MainStage 2 is no more difficult
than with any other program. Getting deeper
requires more study and practice than with
some other software, in our opinion but
this doesnt diminish its power or usefulness.
If youre on the fence, just remember the
times youve said to yourself, If only I had
Program X, I could Y. Logic Studio is one of
the few that always seems to fill in both
those variables easily. For doing that at this
price, its clearly a Key Buy.


Awards and Prizes

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Gig with the PX-330 or another
Privia? Tell us about it on the forum




The Digital Piano

for Everyone
by Richard Leiter
Pro-quality piano sound and feel. Only
25 pounds. Respectable auto-accompaniment. Seamless USB and SD card
storage. Irresistible bells and whistles
for the price.
Some of the non-piano, General MIDI
patches are weak. Button labeling is
difficult to read in low light.
$799.99 list/approx. $700 street,





My first thought when I heard that Casio

was redesigning their wonderful Privia PX320 [reviewed June 08] was, I hope they
dont screw it up. In the PX-320, theyd created a $700 keyboard that felt and sounded
pretty much like a piano and a hundred other
instruments, weighed only 25 pounds, and
was crazy fun to play.
Far from screwing it up, theyve released
a successor thats great in nearly every way. I
predict that in the next two years, musicians
will do the following with Casios new

PX-330: Use it as a main axe on a world tour.

Score a low-budget film with it. Take it on a
cruise ship gig. Record it on a hit single youll
hear on iTunes. Play it in piano bars in New
York, London, Rio, and Mumbai.
Its got performance features no other
weighted digital piano at this price can
boast: a pitch wheel, 16-track sequencer,
auto-harmonization and rhythm accompaniment, and a mic input you can route through
the internal speakers. On the PX-320, those
speakers pointed up at the ceiling; on the
PX-330, they fire at the performer and the
audience, as they should.
Whats going to make Privia a household name is that it sounds and feels like a
grand piano. In fact, you dont really hear
how strong the main piano sound is until
you run it through something bigger than
the built-in speakers. Dont get me wrong
theyre terrific, but eight watts is still only
eight watts. Within 20 minutes of getting
the PX-330 into my studio, Id played it
through my Tannoy and TOA speakers,

1 The pitch wheel is a welcome addition to an
affordable digital piano. You cant play a harmonica
without one!
2 This is your drummer. It does intros, fills, and
synchro endings that make musical sense.
3 Auto-accompaniment and harmonization are
musical and clever. For example, the salsa
arrangement has horns, bass, piano montuno,
and percussion.
4 Pick your sounds here: pianos, EPs, organs, vibes,
strings, basses, guitars, and lots of General MIDI
5 This button triggers storage and computer
6 Hold down the Tone/Registration button and you
get Auto Harmonize. Imagine between two and six
extra fingers thickening every chord you play.
7 Theres a lot more going on here than meets the
eye: altered tunings, temperaments, brilliance,
acoustic resonance, and duet mode for starters. It
helps to read the manual.
8 Sequencer is effortless and accurate. You can save
ideas, songs, and arrangements, then port them to
your music software for further development.
plus the Barbetta and Gallien-Krueger
amps I use for gigs, and I can confidently
assert that the piano sound rivals many
digital stage pianos regardless of weight or
price. In fact, it may work against Casio
that their product is so light and affordable,
because some consumers expect pro
keyboards to cost and weigh more but
having read this review, youll know better.
Multi-purpose buttons are still clustered
around a small display, but instead of three
numerals, you now get a 32 x 96-character
backlit LCD that really helps you navigate
the sounds and options.
The graded, hammer-action keyboard
feels sluggish if you play with the sound off,
but absolutely sure-fingered and natural
when you turn it on. It powers up at the
medium touch sensitivity setting, but I
backed it off to a lighter touch, and it
danced. Like a real piano, higher keys are
lighter than lower ones. Where the PX-320
had a double sensor on each key, Casio
has now added a third that lets you re-trigger each note without the key fully returning to rest position. Ever struggle with

playing rapid-fire, repeating notes on your

controller? You wont on the PX-330.
Its definitely a pianists axe; the keys
feel so much like the real thing that they
wont benefit someone who lacks basic
technique. But if youve got even simple
piano skills, youre going to love this action.
Smooth acceleration from piano to fortissimo gets the most out of the 250 built-in
instruments (Casio calls them tones). The
keyboard invites you to get funky on electric piano and B-3-style organ sounds, yet
still lets you be expressive with horns,
winds, basses, and the myriad of synths.
But the pianos are what really glow.
It seems like every digital piano has its
Specially Named Process for delivering the
goods. Casios Linear Morphing System
seems to create very smooth and natural
velocity transitions among the gobs of samples that they use in the piano sound. At
the end of the day, the PX-330 delivers the
acoustic piano from top to bottom.
If you listen as closely and critically as
you might to a high-end piano sample
library (e.g., Synthogy Ivory or EastWest
Quantum Leap Pianos), you can begin to
pick up subtle anomalies. Theres a slightly
gated-sounding cutoff on the very ends of
the tails of sustained notes. Also, a few
notes in the high mids seem to decay
faster than the others. Will either of these
bother you in the course of actual playing?
Probably not. Will you even notice it in a
live setting, or in a recorded mix? Never.
In fact, I played the PX-330 for a twohour gig in a 300-seat theater and was not
aware of the audio quirks Id unearthed in
the studio. The only problem I had was
accessing tones, as the labeling was hard to
see on a dark stage. I used glow tape to
mark important buttons. Also, the gig came
up so quickly that I didnt set up registrations
to give me fast access to sounds and proper
splits a capability the PX-330 does have. It
was tricky to scroll through the nine EPs and
13 organs to get to the ones I wanted. An
hour spent on organization would have
solved that, and let me split bass patches
with keyboard sounds up top.
Heres a plus: To store registrations,
rhythms, and songs youve created, you

How are the piano sounds? Better
than youd have any reason to believe
at 25 pounds and $700. They sound
even better through an amp or P.A.
Is the main piano sound better than
the PX-320? It has four velocity layers instead of three, and uses three
times the sample memory. More
importantly, your ears will hear the
marked improvement.
What about other sounds? Theres
a professional array of EPs, B-3s with
simple but convincing Leslie effects,
robust basses, punchy drums, and the
whole GM sound set, though a few
GM sounds (e.g. Nylon Guitar, Bandoneon) are subpar. But the non-Western selection goes way beyond
shakuhachi: Theres erhu, sarangi, oud,
ney, and a dozen more Chinese and
Indian instruments.
Does the auto-accompaniment
sound like a band? Not quite it
sounds like smart auto-accompaniment,
but its fun. Familiar grooves are augmented by loads of world styles, plus
16 different tunings. An hour with this
machine is like a two-credit non-western music course.
plug a USB cable into your Mac or Windows PC, and the PX-330 shows up like a
hard drive. Its a little more complex than
drag-and-drop you must rename files that
you port from computer to Privia, for
instance but it works. You can shuttle
your whole show back and forth in seconds,
or upload Standard MIDI files created on
your computer to the PX-330s sequencer
to accompany yourself on a solo gig.
You can gig, write, record, lift it with two
fingers, and maybe even pay for it in cash.
Even if acoustic piano was the only sound
the Privia PX-330 made, it would be my nobrainer pick for a digital piano under a
thousand bucks. (Casio sells the PX-130, a
scaled-down model with the same piano
sound, for $599.99 list/approx. $500
street.) The PX-330 offers so much for so
little that were awarding it a Key Buy for
meter-pegging bang-for-buck.





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Prog rock, sci-fi, and more synthesizers

than humans should be allowed. Thats what
true geeks are made of. Lest you think we
mean geek as anything other than the highest compliment, these ingredients also make
an enviable musical career if your name is
Erik Norlander. His varied projects include his
own band the Rocket Scientists, his work
with prog chanteuse Lana Lane (also his
wife), and most recently, Roswell Sixs debut
CD Terra Incognita: Beyond the Horizon,
with lyrics penned by Kevin J. Anderson, coauthor of the posthumous sequels to Frank
Herberts epic Dune novels. In August, Erik
also appeared with Keith Emerson at the
opening of the exhibit Waves of Inspiration:




the Legacy of Moog at the Museum of Making Music ( in

Carlsbad, California.
We didnt find a tank of spice gas at
House Norlander, but we suspect that the
setup above could call a sandworm, and
maybe even fold space. At lower left is a
Minimoog Voyager. At right rear is a
chopped Hammond C-3 holding up a Korg
CX-3 and small Fatar MIDI controller. At
right foreground, we have (top to bottom) an
Alesis Ion virtual analog synth next to a vintage Minimoog D, a Roland JX-8P next to a
Moog Rogue, an Alesis Fusion workstation
next to a Roland VK-8M organ module (you
can never have too many things making

Hammond sounds), an Alesis Andromeda

analog synth, and a Yamaha SY99.
Its that incredible modular in the middle you really want to know about, though,
isnt it? The leftmost rack includes four
Oberheim SEM modules (the white
squares), and up top, two Speck Xtramix
line mixers to bring everything in the room
together. The main rack houses Eriks customized, 1967-vintage Moog Modular
with 22 oscillators(!) and six filters, lets
just say he isnt worried about polyphony.
For a complete list of all the modules in
the rack, look for this story at keyboard To learn more about Erik, visit Stephen Fortner

Your Perfect Performance Partner

The new S Series combines the sounds of the Motif XS, a handcrafted S6 piano and the ease of use of a stage piano.
Features such as Balanced Hammer action, combo input jack for adding vocals and guitars, and USB record/playback
make it perfect for stage or studio. The compact design of the 88- and 76-note weighted versions are portable and
road-ready. The S70 XS/S90 XS also lets you quickly create your own Performances with the amazingly fast
Performance Creator feature. With extensive Controller functions, its also the perfect companion for your computer
music production system.
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