TerraTec Producer announced a unique keyboard at the Frankfurt Musikmesse – AREA 61. AREA 61 is an expandable keyboard system for studio and gigging musicians. It is a genuine musical instrument with freely selectable, integrated sound generators (optionally available DSP soundboards) that may also serve as a central control unit for all software sequencers and virtual instruments in computer-based music studios. So in fact it is not just a midi keyboard controller, but much more.
Controller Keyboard – The instrument’s 61 velocity-sensitive, half-weighted keys feature two impressive aftertouch zones. Two pressure sensors offer various touch-control options for the left and right hands. For example, the keyboardist may play a left-hand chord and control the volume level by varying aftertouch pressure, while playing a right-hand lead line using a different sound and aftertouch to control a filter. A dual-color LED chain with 15 segments surrounds each of the 10 programmable rotary encoders. Every encoder comprises not only the control dial, but also a push-button that triggers various events, for instance, to switch to another MIDI controller or to control a certain MIDI function.
USB 2.0 Audio and MIDI System – AREA 61 comes with a high-quality, 24-bit/ 96 kHz audio system built in. USB 2.0 High Speed-enabled, it features an analog stereo input/output. A discrete amplifier powers the separately adjustable headphones, delivering plenty of punch for auditioning sounds. The two MIDI ports are on board for internal communication; they also accept external sound generators and MIDI input devices. THRU configures as a separate USB MIDI output to provide a USB MIDI I/O interface alongside the standard keyboard MIDI output. A standard TerraTec Producer practice, ASIO and CoreAudio drivers are part of the package to defeat latency.
Sound Generation Options – In addition, keyboardists can equip AREA 61 with optionally available sound modules for use as a classic synthesizer, that is, without a computer. To this end, TerraTec Producer now offers KOMPLEXER, a synthesizer that runs as a VSTi plug-in and as a standalone DSP application. Comprising a real synthesizer based on the Waldorf μQ, it provides more than 400 parameters for shaping the perfect sound. And if this complexity seems a bit overwhelming at first, keyboardists can go to the Easy Edit page, choose from the many presets and easily manipulate their selections using eight Macro controls. Best of all, entire banks port from KOMPLEXER VST to AREA 61’s on-board KOMPLEXER DSP. This means KOMPLEXER VST goes wherever the keyboard goes, without having to tote a computer.
The integrated sound generator’s analog output signal goes to the output mixer and may be auditioned with the 2.0 audio system’s playback signal as well as over the input monitor. Recording the output signal via USB 2.0 is also an option. The AREA 61 Controller Keyboard will be available in stores in Q 3/ 2006 retailing for 749.00 USD (MSRP).