A variety of useful tools for getting the most out of your electronic music setup are available from the company, but its specially designed MIDI cable, which adds features such as velocity control to the Volca FM, has proven to be particularly popular. The most recent addition to the company’s lineup, on the other hand, is significantly more ambitious.
The RK-008 is a complete MIDI control center with a variety of features. Due to the fact that it is an eight-track MIDI sequencer and recorder, it can serve as the glue that holds your entire rig together. As an added bonus, it includes a built-in metronome to assist you in keeping time with your instruments, something that is critical given that all MIDI data is recorded unquantized.
Due to the fact that each track can record on multiple channels, you can actually control multiple devices from a single track, leaving the remaining seven tracks available for… even more devices. There’s even the option of recording eight parts across the eight tracks, then combining them into one to free up more space for sequencing. And, of course, you have the option of overdubbing or overwriting any performances.
Each of the tracks can also be manipulated independently of the other tracks. It will enable you to quantize them, add swing to them, and transpose them. And because it’s all non-destructive, you can easily undo any changes you make.
In addition, the RK-008 includes a straightforward step sequencer. However, it appears that it works just fine for four on the floor drums, despite the fact that it is probably not going to work for complex chords.
A dedicated sync port is located on the back of the unit, in addition to the two MIDI inputs and two MIDI outputs on the front. Tracks can be assigned to either one or both outputs, which is useful if you have a drum machine that insists on each instrument being assigned to its own channel. Because of the two in ports, you can not only combine MIDI from different sources, but you can also use different controllers for various instruments.
It already has a lengthy feature list, and Retrokits claims that there will be even more revealed in the future, which is incredibly impressive for something that looks like a pocket calculator from the 1980s. The RK-008 looks like a cross between an MPC and an HP calculator; it’s small enough to fit in a pocket but powerful enough to control an entire live music setup.
However, there are still some unanswered questions, the most important of which is when it will be released and how much it will cost. But, hopefully, we’ll be able to find out much sooner rather than later.
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