Saturday, 20 December 2014

SYNAPSE CIRCUIT MUSIC MAKING GIFTS FOR XMAS 14


SYNAPSE CIRCUIT
MUSICAL GIFTS FOR CHRISTMAS...

Good evening, Synapse Circuit Readers! Season’s Greetings! I hope that you are well and that you stay cold and flu free this Winter Holiday!

What better gift can you give other than the gift of music? Synapse Circuit is gonna sock it to ya with beautiful gift ideas for Christmas!

#SynapseCircuitTopMusicCompositionList #YouRockGuitarGen2 #MusicMakerPremium #Orion8.5 #REAPER #Caustic3 #GStomperStudio #AudioEvolutionMobileDAW #SennheiserUrbaniteXL

TAKING THE MUSIC BACK!
Dear Synapse Circuit Readers,

I think it’s time. Time to take the music back! I don’t know about you but I cringe when I watch talent shows on TV; it’s as though the participants are being groomed for fame and fortune to escape the trappings of whatever: poverty, the feeling of neglect, wanting to be loved and admired, etc. How many parents out there that pimp their children out to these Svengali mogul figures who have the power to turn the average Joe and Josephine into a “star”? Don’t you ever wonder what happened to a rising star that has dropped out all of a sudden? Do you even remember them now that they are no longer in the limelight? Do you ever wonder why those that have “made it” have gone down the cul de sac of self-destruction through excess? There is a price to be paid for the selling of the soul! Nuff said!

On a more cheerful note (nice unintended pun) there are still many of us out there who love music for music and not for the foolish trappings of “stardom”. There are many of us out there with an innate talent for being able to pick up and instrument and play like it was second nature! It is possible to make a career out of music without taking shortcuts that come back to haunt us down the line! If you are a young man or woman whose parents discouraged you from going into the “entertainment industry” you should give thanks and praise; they looked after you! I thank my parents for discouraging me to be taken in by the charismatic snake-like “movers and shakers” in the music industry many Moons ago! Thanks to technology and the Internet you can do it for yourself! Here are some great gifts you can give to loved ones and / or yourself to make a joyful sound! A one, two... A one, two, three, four...



1. YOU ROCK GUITAR
GENERATION 2
The guitar is still a staple and one of the foundations of music making today; despite of electronics, synthesizers and computers the guitar remains as a rock (hee hee) of modern music making! Many well made guitars come with a hefty price tag and when you look for alternatives it is almost certain that the quality of the instrument is questionable i.e. built cheaply, shoddy pick-ups (if electric) and equally shoddy lead inputs that can fall out of the guitar body. I had such a guitar many years ago! Eventually I sold it to raise money to get a PC and music software. Fast forward to the present...

...enter You Rock Guitar! This is the second generation You Rock Guitar (YRG Gen 2 or YRG2 for short); it appears as though it is an accessory for a game console. Does anyone still play Guitar Hero? I never got around to it! Anyway, the YRG2 feels nice and solid to handle – it has a good weight on it. Although it is made from plastic it does feel like a serious instrument. It takes me back to the days when I was trying out various guitar synthesizer options from Roland and other manufacturers. The one common complaint about these guitar synthesizers was that of “latency”; if you don’t know that latency means it is the time it takes an instrument (in this case) to make a sound after a key or string has been struck / plucked (usually with synthesizers utilizing a Music Instrument Digital Interface). It is desired that a synthesizer using MIDI (as described) makes a sound simultaneously when struck or plucked any delay is known as latency. We will come back to “latency” in a bit...

Essentially the YRG2 is a MIDI (Music Instrument Digital Interface) controller that allows you to control the set of sounds on a physical synthesizer or if you have a computer with Virtual Studio Technology instruments (VST = a music related technology invented by Steinberg) you can play those virtual instruments via the YRG2! And it gets better... ...there is no latency! When I was playing around with the YRG2 I didn’t pick up on any delays when strumming chords or picking individual notes (albeit badly – I am out of practice)! So, if you can play the guitar and you are looking for a cost effective way to utilize synthesizers in your composition you will be relieved to know that the YRG2 costs around £200! £200 is an absolute steal! I have seen guitar oriented MIDI controllers going for extortionate prices!

In addition to the YRG2 being a MIDI controller it has its own built in sounds so therefore you can plug it into an amplifier and start playing! Because there is no latency it is ideal for a beginner and / or someone that wants to step up from the Guitar Hero console game. In fact I am going to make my first recommendation right now! Rocksmith! Rocksmith is a unique game / guitar learning facility that is available for the Xbox, Playstation and PC / MAC! If you or the intended is a beginner the combination of YRG2 and Rocksmith is phenomenal! Rocksmith is by Ubisoft!

What besets most guitar beginners is tuning the darned thing and keeping it in tune! There are a plethora of guitar tuning devices and, lately, mobile phone / tablet applications that will help you to keep the guitar in tune. Bear in mind that there are some guitars out there with certain hardware built into it that keeps the strings in tune... ...those guitars costs an absolute fortune! A king’s ransom! One of the many delightful aspects of the YRG2 is that it NEVER needs tuning! The most intimidating thing on the YRG2 is the control panel that gives you options for different tunings, sounds and playing styles. It takes a little while to get used to and it may be second nature if you are used to setting up a game console joystick / controller. If you happen to be a seasoned musician the chances are you are used to all manner of control panels from a variety of devices i.e. mixing desk, synthesizers and all manner of recording equipment and therefore the YRG2 control panel will be easy to get to grips with. After around 20 – 30 minutes I started to get the hang of altering the settings.

Another brilliant aspect of YRG2 is that the fretboard can be detached and, if need be, replaced with another! As a result the YRG2 lends itself to being extremely portable; I remember the days when I had to carry around this massive guitar case that was so cumbersome – especially on public transportation! The YRG2 unit came with a nice looking and very handy soft case.

Here’s my next set of recommendations... ...if you are not an iOS user I recommend the Galaxy Note 4 or S5 handsets – if you haven’t yet decided and / or upgraded – due to the compatibility with IK Multimedia’s AmpliTube app (for Android) and the iRig HD-A guitar interface (by the same company) that works with Android and PC! The combination of YRG2, IK Multimedia’s AmpliTube, iRig HD-A and Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is pretty formidable!

Soundcamp 8 track digital audio workstation (DAW) that is similar to Garage Band for iOS & OS X devices; so far it’s only available for the Galaxy Note 4 and Edge. It is very likely that Soundcamp will be available for older premium Galaxy models such as the Note 2 and 3. Soundcamp shows great promise! Full review coming soon!

The reason for recommending the Galaxy Note 4 and its Edge variant is that Samsung has a professional sound facility processes audio in real time thus eliminating latency as mentioned above!

IN PLAY
I found the YRG2 quite natural to play; to be honest I didn’t expect the feel to be like a traditional guitar. Once I found a setting that I liked on the control panel (as mentioned earlier) it was plain sailing! My thought as a non-player is, “if I were on stage with the YRG2 how easy will it be to go into the different settings?” I don’t want to frighten you but the control panel has a steep learning curve potential as you can store your own settings in addition to the presets! Gosh! There are backing tracks that you can play along with; I know a few basic chords and it would have been useful to have the playing of a guitar virtuoso so that I can pop down to Central London with a mighty big hat, pretend that I am playing and receive the coinage! Ha ha! Trust me to think of that! Hee hee... I hate reading manuals but you will have to read the manual to make the most of the control panel and ultimately the YRG2 as an instrument!

Here are some of the feature listings (as found on the YRG website):-

HARDWARE
<Gen2> pickup design*
Pick Guard*
Detachable 22 fret guitar neck for portability
Whammy bar
Modulation joystick
Bridge mute
Standard ¼” guitar jack
Stereo mini headphone output
Stereo line-in for iPods and MP3 players
High speed USB/MIDI interface
MIDI output – 5-pin legacy connector
GameFlex port connects wirelessly to Wii and PS/3 (Gameflex cartridge sold separately)
Uses 4xAA batteries or USB power (sold separately)

MIDI
New MIDI controller mode supports DAW’s like Ableton Live!*
User defined Joystick to MIDI controller mapping*
Body Switches to MIDI controller (on/off) mapping*
MIDI program change stored in presets
MIDI mono mode (one channel per string) supported
Standard MIDI class driver for compatibility with PC’s, MACs, iPads. Works with most DAWS, Recording Software, Tablature software and sound modules

ONBOARD SYNTH
15 new professionally sampled guitar sounds: acoustics, electrics, basses*
15 new professionally sampled synth sounds: piano, strings, pads, drums, synth leads*
20 new on-board jamming and practice loops*
Velocity switching samples supported for future downloadable content (DLC)*
Stereo chorus effect built in*

FINAL THOUGHTS
The YRG2 is a phenomenal guitar and MIDI controller with no latency! A professional player will easily appreciate it due to the fact that many synth guitar pickups are plagued by latency that has the player having to change his / her playing style to compensate. Then there are these specialist synth-guitars that have a mad price tag!

For all the beautiful liberating technology within the YRG2 it is accessible to the everyman / woman with a desire to learn! And it is so natural – aside not being able to apply vibrato onto the immovable strings on the fretboard / neck (you use the “whammy bar” / tremolo for vibrato) – that you won’t feel it hard to pick up a traditional guitar afterwards.

To get an idea of the YRG2’s value all you have to do is pop down to a musical instrument store and look at the various high priced guitars and basses; with the YRG2 and software / applications you can get the sound of pretty much all the popular make of guitar: Fender Stratocaster, Gibson, Rickenbacker and so on! And you get a MIDI controller too which will enable you to play just about any virtual or real synth! You can’t lose with the You Rock Guitar Generation II instrument! It is simply awesome!

SCORE
DOUBLE PLATINUM



Now let’s take a look at some digital audio workstations = DAW...

PC SOFTWARE



2. MAGIX MUSIC MAKER 2015 PREMIUM
Every once in a while I get someone emailing me with the following, “Hi, I want to make <insert musical genre> and I was wondering if you can recommend a software...” My reply is Magix Music Maker Premium! Why? I am so glad you asked! Today’s electronic music such as Dubstep inspires many people with no musical skills to have a go at making music and the sea of music making programs can be staggering and frustrating to the uninitiated! And it doesn’t help when approaching those that consider themselves to be “professional” based upon the cash value of the software he or she is using and studio set-up! The “professional” may not even be aware of software in an affordable price range! The “professional” is nearly always going to recommend what he / she have! Here’s a quick rundown on the software “professionals” use (to sound just like everybody else):-

1. Ableton Live; it’s an okay software that has options for playing live.

2. Reason; this is a software that gets mentioned a lot – especially if you read electronic music magazines. It’s okay, I think it is too expensive by today’s standards.

3. Cubase Pro (or something like that); again, it was once an industry standard but the standard has moved on from where Steinberg introduced its Virtual Studio Technology (VST) in the form of virtual synthesizers and effects.

These are the top 3 software that get mentioned by those that believe that they are on the top of their game! There are many more “pro” music software, DAW (digital audio workstation) but they all do more or less the same thing but in slightly different ways. Anyhoo, Magix Music Maker Premium takes the best of all three of the DAWs mentioned above and wraps it all up in a neat inexpensive package that is a mere £90!

What I like about Music Maker Premium (now version 2015) is that you – as a non-musician – can get stuck in straightaway! It’s a question of asking, “What hasn’t it got?” “What can’t it do?” “What makes it so different than software costing 3 or 4 times as much?” For a start MMPremium comes with loads of sample loops (Soundpools) that covers a wide array of musical genres and because they are complimentary to each other (the default sample loops) you can’t really construct a track that is out of tune! When you are ready to have a go at using virtual instrumentation you will find that there’s quite a few excellent sounding synthesizers for beats as well as melody or noise – as you like it! What’s more is that you can use Steinberg’s VST instruments and effects! But it doesn’t stop there... MMPremium contains a wonderful array of effects that adds great sparkle to any track! And it goes further still... There is a Mastering Suite that enables ANYONE to master the finished track for that professional clean (or dirty) CD sound! There are great presets for just about every device going i.e. radio, MP3 player, video, etc. It’s the boom! Not only does it accept and sequence WAV files on the tracks but it accepts video too! Make your track, make your video to go with it! Read the full review here: Synapse Circuit Magix Music Maker 2015Premium Review

Perfect for the beginner and the experienced! I defy anyone to pick out a track made from Music Maker Premium from DAWs costing up to 3 or 4 times more! Oh, be aware that because Music Maker Premium works with MIDI you will be able to use it with You Rock Guitar Generations 1 and 2!



3. SYNAPSE AUDIO ORION 8.5
Synapse Audio is of no relation to me... I came across this remarkable DAW by accident! Well, there are no accidents, right? Anyhoo... Orion 8 or Orion Studio 8.5 (8.6 is in the pipeline) is very much like Music Maker Premium in terms of the instruments and effects that comes with it. It doesn’t have a library of sample loops as this DAW is geared towards the musician that uses instruments to make the music but there is an audio track that allows you to import WAV files together with your composition.

The instruments and effects are top notch! And what I LOVE about Orion 8.5 is the beautiful MIDI interface that makes it so easy to create musical patterns / phrases from scratch! Orion 8.5 (soon to be 8.6) is the most underrated DAW on the planet! If you compare it to Propellerhead’s (in)famous Reason you will first of all notice that you are able to use VST instruments and effects; Reason is closed off and only supports Propellerhead oriented products. Incidentally Synapse Audio has developed a virtual synthesizer for use with Reason.

Although Orion 8.5 is not as feature rich as Music Maker Premium (2015) it does make up for the shortcomings – if you can call it that – by giving the user (hopefully you) rock solid professional virtual synthesizers, effects and mixing desk that allows you enrich your sound!

FINAL THOUGHTS
Orion 8.5 is aimed at the intermediate to the seasoned professional who wants a no nonsense DAW without having to burst a blood vessel trying to figure it out! Orion 8.5 is immediate! Again, it is compatible with the amazing You Rock Guitar Generation 2!

Check online for prices.

SCORE
PLATINUM




4. COCKOS REAPER 4.76
Here we have a cost effective “pro” oriented DAW! Reaper is very much aimed at the professional end of the market in comparison to the aforementioned DAWs here. Think of this one as Steinberg’s costly Cubase professional program that you will expect to find in recording studios. I wouldn’t go as far to state that the recording studio is dead as there are some about but these days all you need is a above average PC (or MAC) and Cokos Reaper if you are intent on creating a home studio without breaking the bank! There are two licences:-

$225:  full commercial license for professionals making money with their music. And...
$60:   discounted license for non-professionals.

Reaper does come with some minor synthesizers but because it is so affordable you can purchase some great commercially available virtual synthesizers out there! Unlike, Music Maker Premium & Orion, Reaper assumes that as a professional musician you will have your own collection of VST instruments and effects!

IN USE
I found that Reaper was very straightforward to use; the interface has a visual logic about it so you don’t necessarily need to look at the manual – besides if you do get stuck there are loads of YouTube videos that show you how to make the most of it! To me and many others, Reaper is the antidote to these overblown DAWs. It has gotten to a point whereby the music software market is oversaturated with software houses trying to convince you that they’ve got the ultimate DAW for professionals and that you are nothing without it! Ow, phooey!! I’ve reviewed so many DAWs over the years that keep getting complicated with each release and, in my opinion, get in the way of music making! Reaper just cuts out all the gimmicks and lets you get on with it.

FINAL THOUGHT
If your current DAW feels like it is weighing you down you ought to try Cokos Reaper! Trust me, it will feel like a breath of fresh air. Me? I find it very easy to bring in my WAV files and add virtual instruments as and when without any complications. And if I do get stuck on something – which is rare - I look it up on YouTube and I am sorted. I give you an example, there is one DAW that I have used that features a beat altering instrument which was desirable to use only to find out that I wasn’t able to drag ‘n’ drop any beat onto it other than the loops that it came with. But with Reaper I know I am not getting any gimmicky instruments and effects that may or may not work as expected. With the money I’ve saved on Reaper I am able to purchase a virtual synthesizer that gives me the result that I was looking for! I am happy!

It doesn’t take long to get to grips with Reaper! After working solidly for a few weeks I became very familiar with how it works. Like the other two DAWs mentioned here I was able to get stuck in innately without having to think too much.

SCORE
PLATINUM


This marks the end of the road as far as PC software goes. Reaper is available for the MAC too! And it comes on a small exe file 8MB as opposed to these heavy gimmicky DAWs that spans across ex-amount of DVDs!

TO CLOSE...
Altogether I would say that the PC music software here goes from beginner, intermediate and pro! The beauty is that you can get professional results with all of them! It’s the creative mind that counts! Tell that to your stroppy teenager if he or she is disappointed that you didn’t sell your car to get him or her that expensive overblown music software!

And now for some music making Android apps... ...slowly but surely people are beginning to wake up to realize that the iOS devices aren’t the only ones to enjoy great music making software! Here’s the best music composition apps for Android...



5. SINGLE CELL SOFTWARE CAUSTIC 3
Caustic 3 reminds me very much of Synapse Audio Orion 8.5 and Reason combined; the default instruments are similar and you can access the instruments in a virtual rack configuration.

It’s very easy to use and works on Android 2.2 upwards! This one is a no brainer!

Create your rack by adding up to 14 machines from a choice of:
* Subsynth - Virtual analog subtractive synthesizer
* PCMSynth - Multi-sample wave synthesizer
* BassLine - 303-like monosynth
* BeatBox - 8-channel sampling drum machine
* PadSynth - Harmonic table pad synthesizer
* 8BitSynth - 8bit equation solver synthesizer
* Modular - Fully configurable and routable synthesizer
* Organ - Hammond-like tonewheel organ with rotary speaker
* Vocoder - 8-band harmonic vocoder
* FMSynth - DX-style 3-operator fm synthesizer
* KSSynth - Karplus-Strong string modeling synth (new!)

The unlock key is an affordable £5.99! The beauty of this baby is that not only can you finish a composition and output it as a WAV file or to MIDI whereby you can load it in your desktop computer to complete! And because it works with MIDI you should be able to use the You Rock Guitar Generation 2 with it!

Caustic 3 is one of my favourite music making apps on Android!

SCORE
PLATINUM




7. PLANET-H G-STOMPER STUDIO
G-Stomper Studio is in a similar vein to Caustic 3 but I found it to be a little more complicated to get to grips with. I had to take a considerable amount of time getting to know it. Thank goodness for YouTube! Once I became familiar with G-Stomper I was very, very delighted with the results. I would recommend using it with a device with a nice big screen i.e. a phablet or tablet! Mind you it does look and sound good on the Motorola Moto G 2014! Ultimately it looks better on the Galaxy Note (2 and 4 that I own. I suspect it would look just as good on 3) and on my Asus Fonepad 7 LTE with its front-facing stereo speakers! It costs £6.36 which is money well spent! Here are some highlights:-

* Drum Machnine : Sampler based Drum Machine/Step Sequencer, max 24 Tracks
* Sampler Track Grid : Grid based Multi Track Step Sequencer, max 24 Tracks
* Sampler Note Grid : Monophonic Melodic Step Sequencer, max 24 Tracks
* Sampler Drum Pads : 24 Drum Pads for live playing
* VA-Beast Synthesizer : Virtual Analog FM Synthesizer (polyphonic + multitimbral)
* VA-Beast Poly Grid : Polyphonic Step Sequencer, max 12 Tracks
* Line Mixer : Mixer with up to 36 Channels (parametric 3-band Equalizer per channel)
* Effect Rack : 3 chainable Effect Processors (31 Effect Types)
* Master Section : 2 Sum Effect Processors (31 Effect Types)
* Pattern Set : Live Pattern/Song Arranger (Pattern Set) with 64 concurrent Patterns
* Timing & Measure : Allows almost every Beat Signature and complex Swing Quantization
* Piano Roll : On various Screens (8 Octaves switchable)
* Support for additional Content-Packs
* WAV File Export, 8..32bit up to 96kHz: Export your Loops/Songs as Sum or Track by Track and use them in Ableton, FL or any Digital Audio Workstation of your choice.
* SoundCloud Upload Integration

What I have noticed is that there is no means to output the composition as a MIDI file; this not a disaster but it would have been a bonus to load the MIDI file into a desktop computer for fine tuning, etc if need be. However, because the WAV file output can go up to 96 KHz the sound quality will be great! G-Stomper Studio is pretty much a decent mobile DAW! I don’t think you can use it with You Rock Guitar Generations 1 & 2 unless you export the composition as a WAV file and bring it into another DAW that is compatible with MIDI!

SCORE
GOLD



8. EXTREAM SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT AUDIO EVOLUTION MOBILE DAW 
The Audio Evolution Mobile DAW is very much like what you see on a desktop computer in terms of the interface and as a result I found it fun to use. I took a bunch of sample loops from my PC and imported them into Audio Evolution assembling them into a composition. Sometimes it’s how I feel like composing music – the sample loop method. For me, it’s like doing a crossword puzzle whenever I am travelling on public transport for long periods! That said it is possible to compose with MIDI i.e. virtual synthesizers. Note that MIDI relies upon SoundFont based virtual instruments that comes as an in-app purchase, £3.70.Similarly, if you want to record high quality audio into Audio Evolution you need to purchase that function as another in-app purchase, £4.17!

Audio Evolution can export to WAV and MIDI files and it is possible to use MIDI controllers such as the wonderful You Rock Guitar Generations 1 & 2!

Here is a list of features:

(*) The following in-app purchases are available to enable the following features:
* USB audio interface support (you can also purchase USB Audio Recorder PRO).
Please see compatibility list here http://www.extreamsd.com/USBAudioRecorderPRO and for more information here: http://www.audio-evolution.com/manual/doku.php?id=usbaudiosupport
* MIDI/virtual instrument support (enables MIDI sequencing, USB MIDI and virtual instruments)
* FX pack 1 (distortion, overdrive, speaker sim, wah wah, phaser)
* FX pack 2 (10-, 15-, 30-band graphic EQ)
* ToneBoosters pack 1 (Barricade, DeEsser, Gate, Reverb)
* ToneBoosters EQ with frequency analyzer

Functions:-

* Multitrack audio recording/playback
* MIDI sequencing (in-app purchase required)
* Non-linear non-destructive editing with move, trim, split, cut/copy/paste, remove, cross-fade and range editing
* Virtual instruments based on SoundFonts (in-app purchase required)
* Loop playback
* Volume/pan/mute automation
* Latency correction
* Import of WAV, MP3, AIFF, FLAC, Ogg/Vorbis audio files (m4a and others when running Android 4.1 or higher)
* Mastering to stereo WAV, AIFF, FLAC or OGG file
* Software monitoring for USB audio devices and some Android devices that have low enough latency
* Sample rate conversion
* Metronome
* Zoom down to the sample
* Each track has controls for volume, panning, mute, solo, arm, 3-band EQ with mid-sweep, 3 insert effects, 2 effect sends and output bus selection
* Unlimited number of tracks (*)
* Unlimited number of groups (*)
* Real-time effects including: chorus, compressor, delay, dual delay, reverse delay, reverb, flanger, noise gate and many more!
* Offline effects: fade in/out, normalize, reverse, pitch shift, time stretching
* Unlimited undo/redo for editing facilities
* Several grid options for aligning your samples (with tempo and time signature settings)
* Repeat samples with several options to create loops
* Add markers and quickly jump to them
* Projects are interchangeable with our desktop DAW Audio Evolution 5
* Export to other DAW's by rendering all tracks to separate audio files (stems)
* In short: a complete portable recording studio!
(*) Depending on your hardware's capabilities

The bottom line is that I think that eXtream Software have done well with Audio Evolution but would have done better if they didn’t have the in-app purchases. I think most people, like me, prefer to make a single purchase the first time!

SCORE
PLATINUM



Despite the in-app purchases I think this Android DAW is very, very close to something like Reaper (as mentioned above). I do wonder how difficult it would be for eXtream Software to make it possible to utilize the synthesizers found in Caustic and G-Stomper Studio... Oooh that would be ideal!


9. SENNHEISER URBANITE XL
So, you have made your music making selections for yourself and / or loved one and now you require some headphones for peace and quiet! Ha ha! The Sennheiser Urbanite XL is quite a large DJ-like headphone that will also serve to keep your ears warm this winter!

Oddly, the marketing on the box states “Made for iPod, iPhone and iPad” but it has the standard input jack that fits into just about every device with a headphone jack! Anyway, I really appreciated the sound coming from the headphones – nice and rich! I could feel the bass! Overall I felt that the tones were well balanced and not oversaturated. I would say that it is a competitor to Beats Audio but I find that Beats Audio tend to over saturate the overall tones to extremes so that they are quite unreliable for music composition. Mind you most headphones are unreliable for the purpose of music composition – even the ones that state they are specifically for that purpose! The trick is to listen to the track on a good set of speakers / monitors and then use the headphones for convenience without altering the settings! The mistake is to alter the settings of a DAW whilst using the headphones because it will sound totally different again on the speakers / monitors. With Sennheiser Urbanite XL (as with most of the Sennheiser headphone range) I didn’t feel the need to tweak the EQ on the DAW! That’s the mark of a good set of headphones!

On the street I thought it did a good job of cutting down ambient noise but not so much that I lost a sense of what was going on around me. There’s also a built in mic so that I may take or reject calls! Very handy!

VERDICT
I really enjoyed the Urbanite XL for both listening to and composing music!

SCORE

PLATINUM


Because I am not looking to “feel” the music as with Beats Audio is why I give the Urbanite XL such a high score. When composing music on the fly I need something neutral. The best price that I have seen is £166! Oh, there is a carry pouch that comes with it too! But they are so comfortable I left them on my ears! Ha ha!

Well, that’s it with regards to the Music Composition gift ideas! I was hoping to feature some speaker / monitors but I ran right out of time! If I should get some speaker / monitors coming in at the last minute I will do my best to do a quick review! I was looking forward to reviewing more Bluetooth speakers as it is sometimes desirable to compose without being tethered to a cable! But don’t worry, more reviews are coming!

What I have given here is a good selection of products that you or someone else is most likely to appreciate!

THANKS FOR READING!

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