Posts Tagged ‘Yamaha’


Yamaha and LIPA announce Make it Break it 2009

April 14, 2009


Yamaha and LIPA announce new partnerships and additional prizes

The Make it, Break it songwriting awards (MIBI), founded in 2005 by Yamaha and the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) has launched the 2009 campaign for applicants, this year including new promotional partnerships with EMI publishing, HMV retail and XFM Radio, which have all joined the programme to increase the prize and awards fund.

MIBI is a unique music awards competition that does not focus solely on songwriting and performance skills, but includes adjudication on the promotional talent of 14 to 19 year olds. The format encourages and supports the skills essential in creating successful records: making the son and then breaking it through marketing and innovation.

In addition to the prizes for the young talents, the contest also offers the winners’ schools a £500 prize of Yamaha equipment. The educational establishment with the most applicants received for the contest will receive the opportunity to have an on-site master-class held by a LIPA lecturer specifically crafted for the school or college.Lines are now open for this year’s competition at, which provides entry details and video interviews with members of the judging panel – including Coldplay’s Chris Martin (pictured). The competition has two age categories of 14 to 16 year olds and 17 to 19 year olds, with judges selecting three winners from each category.

Winners receive a host of prizes including performing at the awards ceremony held in the Paul McCartney auditorium. Also included is an all expenses paid music academy at LIPA, with master-classes, an A&R meeting with EMI and a recording session.

Mark Featherstone-Witty the CEO and founder of LIPA said: “The question is simple: what can we do to add to the learning journey of the talented? Our new partners have embraced this challenge and together we will take MIBI to a new level. We want MIBI to be the best educative experience for singer/songwriters in the UK.”


Studies for two Yamaha TENORI-ON(s)

February 17, 2009

Studies for two TENORI-ON(s) by Smith from Franck Smith on Vimeo.

A chap named Nick Ciontea has created a channel on Vimeo collecting odd videos folks have made with or regarding Moog products.

Artist “Smith” says:

This first test is a prepartory work to a series of solo pieces inspired by John Cage’s experiments for prepared piano and Conlon Nancarrow’s player piano studies.

Yes, things you don’t normally expect to go together: Cage/Nancarrow, Moog, Tenori-On. And he successfully erases the Tenori-On’s beautiful if predictable signature sound. This is what I imagine music boxes would sound like on Alpha Centauri. In other news: I can’t afford this rig.

– 2 TENORI-ON(s)
– MI Audio Pollyanna Octave Synth
– Moog Low Pass Filter (MF-101)
– Moog Ring Modulator (MF-102)
– Moog Bass Murf (MF-105b)
– Jomox M-Resonator
– Rotary Ensemble (Boss RT-20)
– Boss FV-500L (as expression pedal for LPF Resonance)
– Boss FV-500L (as expression pedal for RM Frequency)
– Boss EV-5 for Rotary Ensemble speed

But, involved as that is, it’s further evidence you can push sound in new ways. And if online videos do nothing else, they can lay the gauntlet down in terms of what you think possible – both by demonstrating the generic and the unusual.

Sorce: createdigitalmusic


Metronomes: 10 of the best

February 10, 2009


A metronome is any device that produces a regulated aural, visual or tactile pulse to establish a steady tempo in the performance of music. It is a useful practice tool for musicians that dates back to the early 19th century.

The word metronome first appeared in English c.1815 and is Greek in origin:

metron = measure, nomos = regulating

Ludwig van Beethoven was the first notable composer to indicate specific metronome markings in his music, in 1817.

Mechanical metronomes

One common type of metronome is the mechanical metronome which uses an adjustable weight on the end of a pendulum (also known as a double-weighted pendulum) rod to control the tempo: The weight is slid up the pendulum rod to decrease tempo, or down to increase tempo. The pendulum swings back and forth in tempo, while a mechanism inside the metronome produce a clicking sound with each oscillation.

Electronic metronomes

Electronic metronome, Wittner model

Most modern metronomes are electronic and use a quartz crystal to maintain accuracy, comparable to those used in wristwatches. The simplest electronic metronomes have a dial or buttons to control the tempo; some also produce tuning notes, usually around the range of A440 (440 hertz). Sophisticated metronomes can produce two or more distinct sounds. Tones can differ in pitch, volume, and/or timbre to demarcate downbeats from other beats, as well as compound and complex time signatures.

Many electronic musical keyboards have built-in metronome functions.

Software metronomes

Metronomes now exist in software form, either as stand alone applications or often in music sequencing and audio multitrack software packages. In recording studio applications, such as film scoring, a software metronome is often used to generate a click track to synchronize musicians.

10 of the best:

Wittner MT41 Digital Metronome

Digital Credit Card / Digital Metronome Features Convenient take-along credit card size Visual LCD Simple 4-button operation Tempo Range: 30 – 250 times/min. 10 visual and audible beat settings Reference Note: A–440Hz for tuning Earphonek: Monophonic, 2.5mm (0.1″) plug (earphone not included) Memory of last setting Accuracy Metronome: ±0.03% …

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Wittner Metronome – Mahogany-coloured, matte – With Bell

Wittner Metronome – Mahogany-coloured, matte – With Bell Christmas Stocking Filler Gift Ideas Mahogany coloured matt silk finish. With bell.

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Wittner Traditional Maelzel Pyramid Metronome – Plastic Case – With Bell – Black

Plastic Case Traditional Shape Wind Up Mechanism Swinging Pendulum Tempo Range 40 – 208 BPM Audible Click (with bell – 4 beat settings) Dimensions 117 x 220 x 117mm

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Wittner Metronome Mälzel – Walnut-coloured, Matte – With Bell

Wittner Metronome Mälzel – Walnut-coloured, Matte – With Bell Caring for the Exterior of Your Instrument       Make sure to use a polishing cloth  to remove dust and fingerprints after…

Seiko SQ50V

A quartz metronome with built in tone generator, features two tempo sounds & a dynamic speaker for high quality sound. Tempo: 40-208 Tone Generator: A4, Bb Pitch Shift: A4=440Hz Beat: 0, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

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Seiko DM70

A pocket-sized digital metronome with built in clock. Also features a tone generator. Tempo: 30-250 Tone Generator: C4-B4 Pitch Shift: A4=440Hz Beat: 0, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

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Seiko DM50 – Silver

Christmas Stocking Filler Gift Ideas A clip-style compact digital metronome with built in clock. Tempo: 30-250 Beat: 0, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 Other: 4 levels of volume Silver finish

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Wittner Maelzel System Quartz Metronome – Mahogany

Specifications Quartz Metronome Wooden Case Traditional Shape Tempo Range 40 – 208 BPM Visual Pulse Signal Audible Click Volume Control

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Wittner Taktell Classic Metronome – Black/Silver

Modern Classic Styling Silver or Gilded Facia, Pendulum and Winder Tempo Range 40 – 208 BPM Audible Click Dimensions 85 x 155 x 50mm Weight 177g

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A metronomical performance is certainly tiresome and nonsensical; time and rhythm must be adapted to and identified with the melody, the harmony, the accent and the poetry…..—Franz Liszt


Alicia Keys signature sound for Yamaha

February 3, 2009


R&B artist hopes her ‘sound’ will be available for any musician’s budget

The multi-platinum R&B artist Alicia Keys and Yamaha have announced a collaboration, which will see Keys’ ‘signature’ piano tones included in future products, the first of which has already been released.

The project saw the artist, her engineer, Ann Mincielli and plug-in designer Thomas Hansen Scarbee digitally reproducing the exact sound of Keys’ Yamaha C3 Neo grand piano. Keys’ hope is to have her sounds available at affordable prices within the next three months.

“I wanted to create a sound that is just magnificent and that would inspire me to play,” said Keys of the sound she gets from her own instrument.

“It was an idea that was born during the creation of my last album, As I Am. While we were there recording, we were able to create a really warm and beautiful sound using my C3 Neo and we decided that we wanted to capture that sound and make it something that I can take with me everywhere.

“I believe it is really important to have access to a great sounding piano and I hope this new virtual piano will inspire others and help them to hone their craft, regardless of their economic situation.”

Keys unveiled the new sound on Yamaha’s newly-launched DGT2A piano, as well as performing on Yamaha’s new Avant Grand – a hybrid piano that will be available later this year.


Tenori-On Featured on Hit TV Comedy Series!

December 22, 2008

Last Friday, the Yamaha Tenori-On made a brief appearance on Channel 4’s hit comedy series The IT Crowd…

The It Crowd...of course they'd find about the Tenori-On!

The Tenori-On once again made it’s mark on popular culture, with a brief appearance on the ‘Friendface’ epipsode of Channel 4’s The It Crow comedy series!

To watch the episode, simply click on this link:

To find out more about the instrument:

Yamaha Tenori-On page.


Mark Ronson talks production, equipment and Tom Cruise

November 5, 2008


Mark Ronson is currently one of England’s biggest music exports, having won an English Brit Award and being a three-time Grammy award winning music producer and artist .

His second album, Version focused on the British music scene, with covers of songs by the likes of Radiohead, Maxïmo Park, The Smiths, The Zutons and Kaiser Chiefs. The album includes three top ten hits and won Ronson a BRIT Award for Best Male Artist 2008. He is the first person to win a BRIT award who does not sing on the actual recording.

Ronson’s heritage comes from being a superstar Dj seemingly to some of the music/fashion industries biggest names, P Diddy and Tommy Hilfiger to name a few.

To be more exact, it’s been about six months since Ronson has spun in Manhattan — the borough that made him famous for his selector skills. But one fulfilling evening doesn’t override his feeling of burnout. “I don’t enjoy [DJing] five nights a week — playing new hip-hop and stuff — because it doesn’t really get me that excited anymore,” he laments.

Some 14 years in the booth can do that to you. Ronson still gets his fill by spinning recent hip-hop hits, electro, rock and remixes of his own records — primarily at the renowned YOYO parties in London and for his weekly Internet show “Authentic Shit” on East Village Radio. Those couple gigs aside, he’s no longer keen on being the celebrity DJ that he became in the late-’90s by entertaining the rich and famous. As fun as it was rocking parties for Tommy Hilfiger and Diddy, it wasn’t enough creatively.
By 2000, Ronson found a new outlet with a piece of equipment he was already familiar with as a hip-hop head: the MPC. His first notable production work was heard on vocalist Nikka Costa’s album, Everybody Got Their Something (Virgin, 2001), and two years later on his solo debut, Here Comes the Fuzz (Elektra, 2003). This anything-goes party album featured everyone from Sean Paul to Saigon and saw Ronson translate his kinetic turntable magic onto wax.

Since cutting back on spinning in clubs in early 2006, Ronson has never been busier on the production front. Christina Aguilera, Lily Allen and Amy Winehouse have all reached out to Ronson recently for his soulful backdrops. Ronson has also produced Liverpool’s own Candie Payne’s “One More Chance (Ronson mix)” in 2007.


During a little downtime from his work for others, the producer recorded his surprising new sophomore album, “Version” (Allido/RCA, 2007) — a record that was never supposed to happen.

The album was been well received by critics. In May 2007 it was awarded the title Album of the Month by the British dance music magazine Mixmag. On June 23, the DJ made the cover of the Guardian newspaper’s Guide magazine, alongside the singer Lily Allen.

In June 2007, Ronson signed DC hip hop artist Wale to Allido Records. In late 2007, he focused on production, working with Daniel Merriweather on his debut album, and recording again with Amy Winehouse and Robbie Williams.

Mark is the epitome of a modern day DJ who has advanced into the production realm. His work for other artists and producing covers’ is arguably what he is now most known for.


Ronson has only one request regarding working conditions when making music here: “It just has to be quiet in the studio,” he says humbly. That’s not much to ask, and as you’ll soon find out, Ronson is rather easy to work with.

But before he welcomes others into the studio, this soul purveyor sits at his Akai MPC3000 LE developing drum patterns. While the drums were the first instrument Ronson picked up as a kid, he admits to not being able to play them all that well. Thus he prefers recording the MPC pads to develop a track and then adds live percussion later. “The beats all come from the MPC, and then depending on what I think the song should start with — a keyboard, the guitar, a bass line — that determines what I should put on top,” he explains. “I just find a beat that I like on the MPC and then lay it into Pro Tools and then just add all the live instrumentation on top of that.”

Sticking to his old-school sensibilities, Ronson often draws from his collection of vintage keys: a Roland RS-101 Strings synth, a Wurlitzer electric piano, a Hohner Clavinet D6 and Yamaha grand piano, to name a few. “The only new thing that I use is a Nord Electro because I don’t have a hammer board, and it has a pretty good sound.”

Even with vocals, Ronson likes to take it back as heard on “Valerie” with Amy Winehouse. Here, using an old RCA DX77 ribbon mic through a Neve mic pre, the soul singer’s Motown-esque tone simply pops.

Soon after recording a handful of tracks with the aforementioned gear, Columbia UK picked up his new album (via Allido), and all of a sudden, there was a budget. With the dough came a world of possibilities. After working with funk/soul band The Dap-Kings on Winehouse’s Back to Black [Republic, 2007] album, Ronson called upon the horn players from the Brooklyn group to help blow out the covers on Version. He also hired large string sections — a move he never thought he could pull off.

“After working on Amy Winehouse’s record, that was sort of my first experience producing and arranging by myself in front of a band and going in front of a string section — something that maybe I would have been a little bit intimated to do before. So once I had the learning block of getting over that working on Amy’s record, that’s when I was able to have the confidence, and that’s when we brought that into my own record.”


Ronson worked with Tom Elmhirst, who mixed a quarter of the tracks on “Version” having already mixed Back to Black (Winehouse), Elmhirst was already familiar with Ronson’s robust funk/soul sound that relied so much on horns and big-band arrangements. “[Version] was very much a continuation of what we’d done on Amy’s record, which was that thing of having people play but make it sound contemporary as well,” Elmhirst explains. “On the mix side, I was really keen for it to kick. So a lot of times with The Dap-Kings, I’d be blowing up the sounds to make them heavier with samples to make it kick as well.”

As a veteran who’s worked with Moby, Bush, Goldfrapp and dozens of others, Elmhirst takes a purist’s approach to mixing. Working behind a Neve VR72, he likes the physical aspect of the console. “I enjoy the mixing side of it rather than just pushing a mouse up and down the whole time,” he says. “But it’s pretty conventional — Pro Tools|HD, and I managed to get it all out of 48 outputs.”

With his love of reggae, Elmhirst used acquired techniques to slip in a little Caribbean flavor on Version. “On a lot of the horns I’ll put a delay on them, but what you have to do with horns sometimes so they can come through clean and [with] that old, almost Motown sound — sometimes you need to distress them a bit so it’s extremely broad frequency-wise,” Elmhirst explains. “So I’ll put shelves on them, I’ll put Lo-Fi on them — anything to sort of crunch ‘em up and put ‘em into place. And the way the [horns] were tracked, they weren’t played individually — they were played as a group, so you’ve got a nice blend.”


Computer, DAW, recording hardware
Apple Mac G5
Digidesign Pro Tools|HD system
Studer 16-track tape machine

Sampler, turntables, DJ mixer
Akai MPC3000 LE sampler
Rane TTM 57SL mixer
(2) Technics SL1200 turntables

Neve VR72

Synths, software, plug-ins, instruments, amps
Ampeg Jet guitar amp
Clavia Nord Electro organ/piano
Crumar Roady electric piano
Digidesign ChannelStrip, Lo-Fi plug-ins
DW drum kit
Fender Jazz Bass, Rhodes electric piano, Twin guitar amp
Gibson Les Paul guitar, acoustic guitar
Hohner Clavinet D6
Line 6 Amp Farm plug-in
Rhodes Mark I Stage Piano
Roland A-90 Controller, RS-101 Strings
Wurlitzer electric piano
Yamaha grand piano

Mic, mic preamps, EQs, compressor
(2) Avalon Vt-737sp preamp/ compressor/EQ
Brent Averill 1073 preamp
Manley Reference Gold mic, VoxBox compressor/de-esser/EQ
RCA DX77 mic
Universal Audio 1176 preamp

Genelec 1030As


Swayzak and the art of Tenori-on

September 12, 2008

Can it really be 10 years since Snowboarding in Argentina – Swayzak’s debut long player – was named album of the year by Mixer magazine?

It is indeed, but in that time James Taylor and David Brown have been keeping themselves busy both live and in the studio, all the while building a global reputation that’s as organic as the deep, home-grown dub-house they’ve become synonymous with.

Few artists straddle the thin divide between underground and mainstream quite like Swayzak. Their music, like their production style, almost relies on the haphazard, lo-fi ethic that’s been a constant mainstay of their back catalogue. Yet despite being five albums in (as well as two mix compilations), they’re as keen to follow their own path as they always have been – re-releasing Snowboarding, ambitions to make an album featuring 80s vocalists, David’s perennial obsession with vinyl…

“James and I have been buddies since 1989 when we worked at a record label together,” David begins, “but it wasn’t until 1992 that we actually started making music together.”

“I’d been into music since I was very young. The first thing I had was a Bontempi organ, and by the time I was 12 I was a young punk. I was lucky enough to see Joy Division as my first live band, and I guess that set the tone! I got my first synth – a Yamaha CS01 – when I was about 15, I think. Then I got a Boss drum machine, a Roland MC-202 – can you believe the guy in the store actually talked me out of getting a TB-303! But overall what I discovered was that the sound was better without guitars.”

Despite this penchant for a retro minimalism that pervades their music, they recently adopted Yamaha’s uber-futuristic Tenori-on as a way of exploring new directions with their music. David first heard about the Tenori-on from a friend who’d emailed him some details on this brushed magnesium frame.

“At first I didn’t really understand it and thought it was nothing more than a toy. But then one day I was looking for a new machine for our live show and by chance I heard the Tenori-on in a London store and thought it would be just perfect for our sound.”

“To begin with it was the bleepy sounds and the lights that drew me to it, but we’ve now incorporated it into our live show in a number of ways. We’ll process it with some tape delay and reverb, sync it to a laptop running Ableton Live… and just for fun last weekend we used a 1960s WEM Copicat to make some strange live sounds. Studio-wise, I’ve been recording it through various effects. The one that’s giving the best results is Korg’s KP3 – these two together are sounding very cool!

Tenori-on helps us to make a more improvised sound when we’re playing live. Sometimes the laptops can be a bit boring, which is why we always have real outboard effects such as delay and reverb to hand. This way we can play with the sounds on the desk. And now the Tenori-on can throw in extra bleeps and clicks.”

“For the live set we’re running it with Ableton Live, two laptops and various outboard FX, and we’ll just jam with the Tenori-on to add bleeps and beats. Essentially I like the simplicity of the sequencing… and that it’s always in tune!”

“We used Tenori-on in Tokyo recently, and people were freaking out. They’d never seen it before, which is pretty unreal for Japan. Occasionally I’ll use it on a flight, and people are always wondering what sort of game it is I’m playing!”

The Tenori-on fits perfectly with the simplicity of the Swayzak sound, as David explains.

“Our philosophy to making music is quite simple, I guess. Do what you feel, not what you think will make you money. Many people follow trends – and to a certain extent we’re all guilty of that – but we’ve always experimented with our sound and taken risks. Some good, some bad, but we like to try to be different. There aren’t many electronic acts like us. We released on Minus Records in 1999 and Sony in 2000, and since 2002 K7 has been a good home for us. Like us, they are somewhere between underground and major label. And as an electronic outfit we’re big in the underground but small in the mainstream.”

View Tenori-On page at Dolphin

Other Links:


Tenori-on: you’ve seen the lights, now meet the group!

July 9, 2008

It’s a girl-band like no other: there are three of them, they’re called The Tenorions and the only instruments they play are – you guessed it – three Yamaha Tenori-ons!

The Tenorions

It’s little wonder that in its short life the Tenori-on has had such a profound impact on music makers the world over. Artists are already creating albums using nothing but the Tenori-on, such is the power contained within that diminutive, brushed-aluminium casing. But Jason Air is taking the Tenori-on concept to a new level. With success in the worlds of Drum & Bass and Hip Hop, his latest venture sees him as the driving force behind the world’s first band to create music exclusively with the Tenori-on. Fittingly, this trio of Oriental techno-heads goes by the name of… The Tenorions.

The band comprises core members Nynn and Cici, who write the uncompromising and driving techno tracks that have already become The Tenorions trademark sound. With increasing bookings for live gigs, third Tenorion Fiona joins them on stage to complete the trio. They’ve recently returned from a tour of Spain and Portugal and have further bookings coming in from around the world. Perhaps their strangest booking to date, but clearly the most high profile, has been a performance on the Paul O Grady Show in April of this year.

Jason puts their initial success down to the popularity of the Youtube videos he posted throughout the Spring, and as a result they’ve garnered coverage in the NME, The Independent, and dozens of tech and music blogs.

Here’s the unbelievable Tenorions appearance on daytime tv, at the Paul O’Grady show:

For Nynn, Cici and Fiona, a lifetime either studying or producing music has prepared them well for life in the Tenorions. To begin with Nynn and Cici would write the tunes, taking responsibility for melody and percussion respectively, but as time has passed they’ve both seen a natural progression towards composing complete tracks in their own right – and all, of course, within the confines of that hand-held silver box.

But just what is it about this unique instrument that’s made the Tenorions and the Tenori-on such a hit with people worldwide? It’s surely no coincidence that the girls are booked to play gigs almost for the rest of this year and into the next.

“I haven’t seen anything like it before,” Nynn tells us. “For us it shows a totally new way of creating music. And it’s so much fun to play – it’s as easy and intuitive to pick up as Nintendo, but the results… well, we’re creating art!”

But, of course, the concept of working within new boundaries comes with a lot of fresh challenges, as Jason is quick to outline.

“It’s totally changed the way we write music, for one thing. It’s nothing like writing in [Apple] Logic, you know! One aspect of Tenori-on that makes it such an instant tool for composing is that there are no filters or complicated plug-ins to program or convoluted menus to navigate. As a result it makes us think of the music in a more ‘musical’ way, if that, er… makes any sense?! It’s really easy to focus on the music and not get so caught up in the production side of making music. Ask any producer with a well-equipped modern studio and they’ll all tell you that it’s pretty easy to get side-tracked by the technology!”

“The great thing about composing with Tenori-on is that it’s all right there at your fingertips. I guess that’s the whole ethos of Tenori-on though. In Japanese it roughly translates to ‘in the palm’, and that’s exactly what the Tenori-on system gives you – a way to create melodies and program rhythms right there in the palm of your hand.”

The Tenori-On is available now

Tenorions Myspace Page


Yamaha Releases Pocket-Sized Recorder

February 8, 2008

Yamaha has introduced the Pocketrak 2G, a light and compact pocket recorder featuring 2GB of built-in memory, long battery life, easy USB file transfer, and Steinberg Cubase AI DAW software.Yamaha say that the Pocketrak 2G builds upon their successful lineage of recording technology and features 2 tracks of CD quality recording in PCM, MP3 and Windows Media (WMA) formats. They believe that it’s perfect for podcasting, field and location recording, audio for video and more.

Athan Billias, Director of Marketing – Technology Products for Yamaha, told us, “The goal of any pocket recorder is to be ready to capture audio wherever and whenever it happens.The Pocketrak 2G’s small size, long battery life, and large built- in memory provide Yamaha quality recording anywhere, anytime, and comes with Cubase AI for a complete music production solution.”

The Pocketrak 2G includes a rechargeable AAA nickel-hydrogen battery capable of providing 19 hours of MP3 recording to it’s 2GB of internal memory. Plugging its sliding USB connector into a powered USB bus simultaneously recharges the battery and transfers files to a PC or Mac.

The Pocketrak 2G is the only portable recorder to house an on-board speaker in addition to a headphone jack, making it a handy portable music player that supports MP3 and WMA files with DRM10 support.

Included in the box is the Pocketrak 2G, a USB extension cable, stereo earphones, a leather carrying case and stand adapter, as well as Cubase AI, an “Advanced Integration” version of Steinberg’s legendary digital audio workstation software specially built to seamlessly integrate with Yamaha hardware.

The Pocketrak is available from Dolphin Music, RRP £249. View Page.


  • Only 1.7 Ounces and 1/2 Inch Thick -Take it Everywhere!
  • 2 GB Memory for High Audio Quality and Extended Recording Times
  • High-sensitivity Tilt-up Microphone
  • Level Meters and ALC for Optimum Record levels
  • Long-lasting Rechargeable Battery
  • Direct USB 2.0 Computer Connection
  • CUBASE AI Digital Audio Workstation Software Included
  • DRM10 Playback Support and Comprehensive Playback Functions
  • Other Features

Yamaha Pocketrak 2G