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British synthesiser manufacturer Novation and Swedish software house Propellerhead announced a new product alliance.

Novation is developing a three-octave midi controller keyboard designed specifically for use in conjunction with Propellerhead's Reason studio software suite. The Novation ReMOTE keyboard, features a semi-weighted action with after-touch, together with a bank of fully configurable controls.

With plans for a built-in power amplifier and stereo loudspeakers, together with mains or battery operation, it is designed to be the ideal partner for a desk or laptop PC/MAC-based system. An onboard USB interface is also proposed, allowing easy updates of the operating system software from the host computer.

The Reason suite has been an immediate success following its introduction at the end of 2000. It provides users with a complete virtual studio, incorporating full composing, recording, editing and mixing resources, including a set of superb samples. At a recommended price of around £299, it delivers remarkable value.

ReMOTE's integration with the Reason suite will enable the user to operate the modules by assigning a row of controllers selected from a colour-coded matrix on the front panel. At the same time, the keyboard can be used as a master controller for the various sound modules within the suite.

"This is a return to our roots," says Novation-founder Ian Jannaway. "Our first instrument was a controller keyboard for the groundbreaking QY10 sound module. Propellerhead's incredible new software is a perfect fit with our commitment to musical and technological innovation."

Ernst Nathorst-Boos of Propellerhead states that the ReMOTE keyboard provides an exciting extra dimension to the Reason suite.

"ReMOTE gives Reason users a fantastic control and input device," he says. "Even though we make software, physical input to our applications is something we care about a lot. Reason is about making music and this keyboard help to move it from a studio to an instrument in its own right.

"You might say that this is the world's first Reason-able keyboard," he adds.

The Novation ReMOTE keyboard will be available from July 2001 and is forecast to retail at less than £250.

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