Author - AKiATECH

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The Samson Conspiracy is Shockingly…Okay

The Samson Conspiracy!Its name conjures up images of secret hideouts, sinister plots, and dastardly deeds. Its design is a cross between a Novation Launchpad and a Rii Mini, and its support framework is practically nonexistent. The conspiracy also features a design that unfortunately only a mother could love. I can't knock it too much, though, this device is definitely the definition of "Function over Form". I think Samson set out to design a competitive product that would appeal to a variety of individuals, and for the most part, they succeeded in this goal. There are compromises though and also a few oversights but in the end, the Conspiracy does in some way atone for its misdeeds!DesignWhere to start.... The design and layout of the Samson Conspiracy are comparable to that of a Swiss Army Knife. The guys over at Samson made sure that they squeezed every bit of functionality in what little space they had to work with. I mean, this thing has so much functionality built in it...

Serif Affinity Photo for Windows Review

It seems like only yesterday that I was bitten by the creative bug. I promised myself that I would do whatever it would take to become a master of the dark art of "Digital Image Manipulation". Back then I was an up and coming player in the Hospitality industry, no-one could bus a table like I could, and I was the reigning champion of silverware wrapping! But exceptional work ethic only gets you so far. The reality was that I could not afford the software that the Major Players were using. I went on a limb and installed Linux to play with Gimp but that didn't work out for me either. Thankfully the guys at Serif had a suite of fully functional FREE software available for me to play with. I'm not sure how they made any money because the freebies were so robust that you really had no need to upgrade to the paid versions.It's been almost a decade since I used Serif Photoplus 6.0 to superimpose my head onto other people's bodies and other mindless mischiefs. I now have a decent p...

Echo Dot 2 | Alexa On the Cheap !

Amazon Echo Dot| When I first reviewed the Original Echo I thought to myself that Amazon was definitely moving in the right direction with their initial entry into the digital assistant market. I did wonder why they would sell a Mono device to a customer base that would be mostly using the speaker to listen to music. I thought to myself that although the speaker did reproduce most of the needed frequencies for decent sounding music, the lack of proper stereo separation would hurt the overall experience of using it for any kind of media consumption. I was even more confused when they release the original Echo Dot on a limited basis to customers who had previously purchased the Amazon Echo.It was clear that the Echo Dot was a superior product with its retention of all the features of the original Echo except for the speaker. But you don't really need a good built-in speaker when you can connect to "real" High Fidelity audio systems now do you :)DesignI think Amazon realized that ...

I Love the Arturia KeyStep

I'm usually pretty reserved about the products I review but the KeyStep will be the exception. When Arturia first release the controller I thought "How nice another Keyboard Controller" I already had a Minilab and other MIDI keyboards and I know a lot of other musicians or wannabes like myself :) probably have a few laying around their studios. So, why the hell would I or most others need another? Well, the answer is summed up in one word, "Functionality". The Arturia KeyStep is a very useful and practical device, in addition to that, the thing is loaded. There are more inputs and outputs than you will probably ever need. The built-in Arpeggiator and Sequencer are very welcome, throw a little after-touch into the mix and you have a world-class device on your hands.DesignThe KeyStep carries on Arturia's tradition of building solid hardware at an affordable price. The build quality is what you would expect from the company. The chassis are built from high-quality plastics and fea...

The Ra̶̷m̶̷b̶̷l̶̷i̶̷n̶̷g Musings of an Aging Millenial

The ENIAC is as legendary as it was useful. when it was invented in the early part of the 20th century it ushered in a new era, the age of "The Computer" had arrived! Fast forward a few decades to the present and you will see that the world is now vastly different than it was in a time where Vacuum Tubes stood where transistors now roam. Almost every device on the market is "Smart" and with the emergence of the Internet of Things, it will only be a matter of time before every single device on this planet is connected.What does this mean for us as Human Beings? Well, the main benefit is access to an endless flow of information. The world is powered by knowledge and that information is now accessed and stored as data which can be digitized and transferred almost instantly to anyone with access to the web.The internet has become a utility in homes across the world. Cable TV and landlines have all but been replaced by streaming services and VOIP systems. Virtual and Augmented reality a...

Lightroom Hearts the Free Nik Collection

I've been using Lightroom for a few years now and although the included tools are good they leave a lot to be desired. I know that some photographers are purists and believe that all modifications should be done in camera but I personally like to utilize the Graphics Horsepower in my workstation to make sure the photos I take look exactly the way I want them to. In every field, you are going to find people that prefer to do things the hard right way, for DJ's it's the Sync button and for Photographers it's editing software such as Photoshop and even Lightroom to an extent. The fact of the matter is that with the almost all modern cameras providing the ability to shoot in RAW there is no reason not to use software to edit your photos. It's more important in my opinion that you take the time needed to compose your photographs the way want them to be seen and then worry about adjusting WB, Exposure, Saturation and all the other little settings in your Favorite editing software.The Nik...

Amazon Echo Dot Review | Mini Alexa

Update:Amazon read my review (not really) and decided to slash the price of the Dot by almost 50% with their version 2 device. Get yours below:The Echo DotI've finally got my hands on the elusive Amazon Echo Dot. For some reason, it's always sold out. I ordered one a few months ago along with the Amazon Tap I reviewed recently but due to the absurdly long shipping time (something like 2-3 months) I cancelled the order, BIG MISTAKE. If you ever get the chance to order this thing, don't hesitate. The Dot is like Big Foot or the Lochness Monster, there are theories about its existence and even some declassified footage but you can never see one out in the wild. You can only imagine how it feels to actually have access to one. I suggest that anyone who reads this should tell Alexa to order them one immediately, and yes you have to tell Alexa to place the order since for some reason Amazon will only let you order one via Alexa enabled devices such as the Echo, Tap or Fire TV.D...

The Steam Controller is Hot(ish)

Recently the Steam Controller went on sale for a little under $35 bucks on the Steam Store and Amazon. Even though I resisted the urge to get one in the time since it was released last November, I could not pass it up at this price. Prior to the release of the controller, there was a lot of speculation as to how the folks over at Valve were going to tailor the device to function with all the Joystick unfriendly games that are hosted on the platform. After a lot of research, the Steam Controller emerged as a  hybrid device. In place of a typical Directional Pad , there are two capacitive control surfaces on both sides of the controller. The one on the left doubles as a D-Pad while the one on the right it tasked with controlling the camera view in most games. There is an analog stick and the typical grouping of 4 action buttons on the right, there are also the L1/R1 buttons and L2/R2 control axis that you would find on similar controllers like the popular X-Box 360 model most ga...

Cheap Windows Tablet as MIDI Host

The MIDI Chronicles| Recently I purchased a Launch control XL to accompany the Novation Circuit that I've had for a while now. I think that I may have been a little too excited when I acquired my new toy because I completely overlooked the fact that it requires a USB MIDI host for the two devices to communicate. Since MIDI messages can't be natively routed over USB a middle man needs to be present. Novation suggests the Kenton USB Host and the iConnect MIDI 4+ which are very good at what they do but with one almost impossible to find and the other costing over $200, these were things that I could do without. I thought to myself there must be a cheaper easier way to do this and then I came across the solution with some help from a response that I got on a forum post I made.The solution to this problem was right in from of my eyes and cost me less than $100 and a little sweat. If you've been tablet shopping recently you've probably seen a proliferation of cheap Windows...

Launch Control XL | Software does not support multiple devices simultaneously

Recently I purchased a Novation Launch Control XL to compliment the Novation Circuit I've had for the last few months. I needed something with a lot of knobs and a few sliders to make it a little easier to adjust the parameters of the Circuit in addition to manipulating the controls of a few of the Synths that I use with Presonus S1 which the LCXL is perfect for with its built in HUI support. As with all newly purchased gear, the first thing I checked for was to see if there were any new drivers or firmware for the device, and there was. I downloaded the files and enthusiastically began the installation. The file that I installed (Update 59) included the addition of HUI support to the Launcher XL. It accomplished this by creating secondary MIDI in and out ports for the LCXL that could then be mapped to your DAW to provide HUI control of the Mixer and transport sections of the software. This is the root of the problem with the editor as it only supports one device at a time.After cont...
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