The Tech Selection Section # TTSS006

Words by: Lady GGGadget
Posted: 1/7/10 9:25

The Tech Selection Section # TTSS006Phew! As we smoulder into July, we've heard techy mumours from Summer Namm in Nashville, the monotone drone of the vuvuzela in South Africa, and the sound of summut or other going down at the G20 in Toronto...

Now it's time for the buzz of the sixth Tech Selection Section, fresh from the global corporate cauldron, and coming at you from your fav party bed in the Med...

Sitting down here to tuck into our tasty new selections, this time around we're delivering news of Allen & Heath's new DX controller, Native Instruments' new Session Strings virtual string ensemble, Korg's Monotron analogue synthesiser, and Novation's Dicer controller.  

So burn baby burn and bring on the bubble of TTSS's Group of Four - for when the going gets hot, the hot get g-g-going...


Allen & Heath’s X-ey new controller - Xone: DX
Allen & Heath’s new DX is the result of a coalition with Serato, and as such comes with the latest version of Serato ITCH, although it is compatible with other software, such as Traktor. The compact pro-level package combines a MIDI controller and 20-channel USB soundcard (2.0) interface and affords integration with four-deck ITCH software. So that’s four decks, with DJ effects units and looping functions, plus time stretching and beat syncing capabilities, all in-house. So plug in ‘n’ play. Is that nuff power for ya?

Nonetheless, a couple of points to note are that it’s MIDI only (not an analogue mixer) and the control wheels are not touch-sensitive. Cost-wise, sure, it’s a bit on the pricey side but it is a professional choice and rocks up to booths with the quality assurance of an enduring A&H build.

Watch the video
Native Instruments adds
mo’ Strings to yo’ bow

Strings are always an excellent addition to productions, usually enhancing the emotive edge of dance tracks. Thus, targeting producers with a variety of orchestral manoeuvres, recorded by a top German studio (via e-instruments) and condensed into one affordable virtual string ensemble, is Session Strings, by Native Instruments. Here, dry strings are served up for your aural pleasure in an accessible and flexible format for live or studio use. The company’s selection comprises four violins, three violas, two celli and two double bass, and all can be played through the FREE Kontakt 4 player or Kontakt 4.

Look out for features like the Animator, which transforms incoming notes and allows users to change timing and groove accordingly. We reckon it’s pretty cool but check out the video to pick up some tips and find out more about how these Strings could work for you…

Watch the video
The Monotron - Korg’s palm-sized pocket rocket
Like a black and white kitten (aww), Korg’s new palm-sized analogue synthesiser, the Monotron, is so bloody cute that it might just make you feel slightly queasy. Cheap and cheerful, it’s powered by two AAA batteries, has a real retro feel, and an ickle ribbon keyboard that will compel you to consider smaller fingers. The Monotron is billed as ‘the ultimate in compactness’. But be fooled not by its diminutive dimensions, as 1VCO, 1VCF, 1LFO modular synthesis building blocks and five knobs will help you creatively rinse the most from its analogue sounds. The mini synth even has a built-in speaker and headphone jack, or you can hook it up to a PA.

There’s a video flying around YouTube from pop princess Little Boots (who was given one of these devices by Korg) but we think this one’s far more impressive – and fun!

Watch the video
Novation’s Loco Dicer!
Are some DJ devices beginning to look more like computer games controllers, or what? Just check out this crazy USB powered piece of kit! Novation’s MIDI controller is an official Serato accessory, and is basically a cue point and looping controller, designed to fit, well, anywhere you need it, from turntable to laptop. The Dicer comes in pairs, complete with adhesive ‘DJ putty’, and can be used to set cue points and trigger hot cues. Dicer can also be used in auto-loop or loop roll modes, to trigger loops, or rolls, to develop builds, drops and breaks.

Dicer will control cue/loop functions in Serato Scratch Live 2.0. And Scratch Live 2.1 will automatically map the Dicer and provide (multicoloured) LED feedback. What’s more, Dicer can also MIDI 'learn' other functions, which allows you to assign effects, introduce extra samples, or peruse iTunes. It can even be used with Traktor, among other software. How illuminating!

Well, thanks for your attention, tech-heads… Go-go have fun now… and we’ll hopefully see you next month!


Lauren Lo Sung
Erick Morillo
Valentino Kanzyani