Studio One 2.6.2 is out

January 23, 2014 Leave a comment

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, January 2014… 
PreSonus is now shipping Studio One 2.6.2, the latest update to its award-winning DAW software. The company is also shipping three new Add-ons for Studio One: Ampire XT Metal Pack Extension, Goldbaby Essentials Vintage Drum Machines, and Studio One Artist MP3 Converter.
 
Studio One 2.6.2 introduces support for Add-ons, which are program extensions, soundsets, plug-ins, and other assets exclusively for Studio One 2.6.2 and higher. Add-ons are available for purchase directly from the PreSonus online store. The update also fixes a few known issues.
 
The Ampire XT Metal Pack is an extension for PreSonus’ Ampire XT Native Effects™ plug-in that includes six new amp models and six new speaker-cabinet emulations designed specifically for metal guitarists. It also includes a brand-new Metal Drumkit for the Impact virtual drum instrument. 

 
Goldbaby Essentials is an exclusive soundset for PreSonus’ Impact virtual drum instrument that features a collection of 500 vintage analog and digital drum machine and beatbox samples. Designed by acclaimed producer and sound designer Goldbaby, the sounds in this set have been meticulously sampled, edited, and post-processed using analog tape machines and studio tools. Goldbaby Essentials comes with 32 ready-to-play Impact drum kit presets and 124 new Musicloops.
 
MP3 Converter is an extension that adds professional-quality (up to 320 kB/s) MP3 encoding and drag-and-drop MP3 decoding to Studio One Artist 2.6.2 and higher.
 
PreSonus Studio One Add-ons can be purchased directly online and are installed by dragging-and-dropping on the Studio One application icon or window.
 
Expected U.S. pricing: Ampire XT Metal Pack $29.99, Goldbaby Essentials $29.99, and MP3 Converter $9.99. The Studio One 2.6.2 update is free to all registered users of Studio One 2.
For more information, visit http://www.presonus.com/products/studio-one/whats-new.
 
 
***
 
 
About PreSonus

Founded in 1995, PreSonus Audio Electronics, Inc., is a leading designer and manufacturer of audio-recording and live-sound software, hardware, and related accessories. PreSonus’s software, microphone preamps, signal processors, digital audio interfaces, digital mixers, control surfaces, loudspeakers, and other products are used worldwide for recording, sound reinforcement, broadcast, sound design, and Internet audio.

Steinberg announces Cubase 7.5 and Cubase Artist 7.5

November 29, 2013 Leave a comment

 

Steinberg reveals considerable update to Cubase and Cubase Artist music production systems, with many workflow enhancements, new instruments and new effects

Cubase 7.5 Cubase Artist 7.5

HAMBURG, Germany — November 29, 2013 — Steinberg Media Technologies GmbH today announced significant updates to its award-winning music production systems, Cubase and Cubase Artist, available in December. Version 7.5 incorporates important workflow enhancements, version updates to its instruments and new effects to further the impressive feature set of Cubase and increase professionals’ productivity when producing music.

“The mix of highly effective editing and workflow enhancements, new instruments and studio-grade effects makes 7.5 one of the most beneficial Cubase releases since SX 1. I’m confident that this version will boost the creative output of our users and underline its position as DAW of choice for the most renowned producers today,” comments Helge Vogt, product marketing lead at Steinberg.

At the top of the new features list is TrackVersions for creating, renaming and managing multiple versions of one or more audio, MIDI and instrument tracks. Also available for chord, tempo and signature tracks, TrackVersions allows users to create and switch between variations of track content, including all events and corresponding lanes. To counter the work strain on big productions encompassing a tremendous track count, the latest iteration of Cubase introduces Visibility tools to the Project window’s Inspector alongside extensive viewing filters, offering dynamic track visibility to maintain a clear line of sight across the used tracks. Moreover, the arrangement tracks can be reflected one to one on the MixConsole when locked into sync mode. Workflow optimizations for audio editing include automatic detection of waveform transients in the background for skipping between transient peaks at all times. The re-record mode features instant record restart at the original position, while Track Quick Control assignments can now be saved and loaded as presets and applied to different track types. The Score Editor in Cubase has been enhanced by the MIDI editing functionality, previously only available in the Key Editor, that includes quantizing, transposing and other MIDI tools. Additional focus lies also on the redesigned VST Instrument Rack and enhanced instrument tracks: boasting multiple MIDI inputs and multiple audio outputs, the new instrument tracks perfectly align with the VST Instrument Rack when adding new instruments to the project. In addition, new VST Quick Controls allow users to assign and access control parameters of each instrument with ease. 

Cubase 7.5 and Cubase Artist 7.5 feature Groove Agent SE 4, a powerful MPC-like drum sampler with detailed sound editing capabilities and pattern playback. Groove Agent SE 4 also provides automatic alignment of drum maps with the Drum Editor and Beat Designer, and includes 30 new drum kits and more than 200 grooves. HALion Sonic SE 2 is the updated compact version of Steinberg’s acclaimed workstation, featuring the new Trip virtual analog arp synthesizer plus eight new effects. Bringing the sounds of HALion Sonic SE 2, Padshop, Retrologue and Groove Agent SE 4 to life, Cubase and Cubase Artist now include the EDM Toolbox with 30 fresh construction kits of 25–30 MIDI loops each.

Both updates highlight three great new effects: LoopMash FX comes with new style breaks, tape-stops and stutters that can easily be triggered in real time with any MIDI controller; REVelation is an algorithmic reverb for an outrageous degree of depth; and Magneto 2, the rejuvenated tape saturation processor, delivers true analog character to any track.

Exclusively available in Cubase 7.5, VST Connect SE 2 adds MIDI recording to its comprehensive remote recording capabilities via the Internet.

Availability and pricing

From December 4, 2013, the Cubase 7.5 update will be available from Steinberg resellers worldwide and through the Steinberg Online Shop for EUR 49.99, including German VAT. The Cubase Artist 7.5 update will be available as download through the Steinberg Online Shop for EUR 49.99.

From December 4, 2013, both Cubase 7.5 and Cubase Artist 7.5 full versions will be available from Steinberg resellers worldwide and through the Steinberg Online Shop. The suggested retail price for Cubase 7.5 is EUR 599, including German VAT. The suggested retail price for Cubase Artist 7.5 is EUR 299, including German VAT.

Customers who have activated previous Cubase 7 and Cubase Artist 7 versions since October 15, 2013, are eligible for a free, downloadable Grace Period update to version 7.5.

New features at a glance

• TrackVersions: Playlists for creating, renaming and managing parallel variations of tracks

• Track visibility: Shows only the tracks you want to see in the Project window

• Instrument (t)rack 2.0: Supports multi-outputs and multi-inputs, and merges instrument tracks with the Instrument Rack

• HALion Sonic SE 2: Giving you tons of fresh new sounds plus a totally new synth

• Groove Agent SE 4: With over 120 drum kits and smart user interface for creating beats and hits in no time

• New construction kits: Adding flavor to your productions and giving you new song ideas

• LoopMash FX: For real-time modern-style breaks, tape-stops, stutters and more

• REVelation: Super-smooth and silky-sounding algorithmic reverb that brings back the memories of those old fancy hardware units

• Magneto 2: Adding warmth to your tracks

• VST Connect SE 2 (available in Cubase 7.5 only): Unique remote recording plug-in now with MIDI data transmission 

• Transient navigation: Tab to transients on audio events in the Project window thanks to the new instant hitpoint navigation

TOONTRACK INDIE FOLK EZX review

November 3, 2013 Leave a comment

Wazzup DAWfreaks.
For you who did not know it the annual TOONTRACK metal month is upon us..
Now the EZdrummer expansion or EZX we are looking at today is not a METAL EZX but hey Winking smile

About Toontrack
Toontrack Music was originally started as a production company for composing game and movie soundtracks. In 1999 producers Fredrik Thordendal of Meshuggah and Mattias Eklund of Toontrack Music decided to design a sample library for their own use.
They called Tomas Haake drummer of Heavy Metal band Meshuggah to record the drum samples. The library was called Drumkit From Hell.

Toontrack really made a revolution back then and what they did With the original DFH changed the way drum samples sounded forever.

INDIE FOLK EZX

The Indie Folk EZX was recorded at the Avast! Recording Co. in Seattle, home to bands such as Fleet Foxes, The Shins and Band Of Horses. It comes with three complete vintage kits: a 1960s Gretsch Round Badge sampled with both sticks and mallets, a Ludwig from the 1950s as well as a Slingerland Rolling Bomber kit dating back to the 1940s. Also included are two tambourines, a hi-hat mounted tambourine jingle, an extra kick and snare as well as a 28″ floor tom.                          Source

The INDIE FOLK EZX comes with 3 complete KIT´s, here follows the product specifications.

KIT 1 – 1961 Gretsch Round Badge
Kick: 14 x 22″. Head: Powerstroke 3, Ambassador Bass
Snare: 5 x 14″. Head: Vintage A Coated, Ambassador Clear
Racktom: 9 x 12″. Head: Ambassador Coated, Ambassador Clear
Floortom: 16 x 16″. Head: Ambassador Coated, Ambassador Clear
Recorded with both sticks and mallets
KIT 2 – 1940s Slingerland Rolling Bomber with calfskin heads
Kick: 14 x 28″
Snare: 6.5 x 14″
Rack: 9 x 13″
Floor: 12 x 14″
KIT 3 – 1950s Ludwig
Kick: 14 x 20″. Head: Powerstroke 3 Bass, Aquarian
Snare: 5.5 x 14″. Head: Coated Ambassador, Ambassador snare
Racktom: 9 x 13″. Head: Coated Ambassador x 2
Floortom: 16 x 16″. Head: Coated Ambassador x 2
Cymbals left:
1960s Zildjian A 19″
Zildjian K Constantinople 18″ (sticks and mallets)

Cymbals right:
1960s Zildjian A 16″
1960s Zildjian A 14″ (sticks and mallets)

Ride cymbals:
1960s Zildjian A 22″
Zildjian K Light 24″ (sticks and mallets)

Hi-hats:
Zildjian New Beat 15″ with mounted tambourine jingle
Zildjian K Light 16″ (sticks and mallets)

Extras:
Kick: 22″ Gretsch Round Badge 1958 without front head. Head: Coated Powerstroke 3
Snare: 7 x 14″ Slingerland Artist. Head: Coated Powerstroke 3, Evans 300 Hazy
Tom: Ludwig 28″ Floor Tom. Head: Ludwig original
Tambourine Toca
Tambourine KS                                                                                  Source

The GUI

The GUI of EZdrummer is nothing new, we get a classic white KIT placed in a cool old rehersal studio Toontrack always find a image to fit the sound!!

imageimage

The Indie folk EZX comes in two different configurations, a full MIC setup ( See images above) and a 4 MIC setup (Images below).

imageimage

As with all Superior drummer 2 and EZ drummer expansions we get a nice little set of MIDI to go with the INDIE FOLK EZX
image

Working with INDIE FOLK EZX
The KIT´s in The INDIE FOLK EZX keeps the EZ Drummer legacy and a loaded KIT only uses roughly 250MB ram and the CPU meter in PreSonus Studio One only shows a 02% usage that’s just insane when hearing the results of EZdrummer.

The sound of the INDIE FOLK EZX is spot on, it has a classic roundness with a warm roomy feeling that makes this EZX not only suitable for Indie rock but classic rock and ballads as well.

Routing each Channel to its own output is Just a click away and here is something I LOVE with EZdrummer! Depending on the amount of channels EZdrummer will tell the DAW how many outputs is available so you don’t have 30 outputs but only 5 is actually used by EZdrummer, thisa small built in flexibility / Organizer that just makes things EZ.

Here is a small tune I put together in PreSonus Studio one and then rendered with each of the included Gretsch, Slingerland and Ludwig KIT´s.



Conclusion.

I enjoy trying out new Expansion for EZdrummer as I know I am in for a treat, For some reason I never stop being amazed by how realistic and full the sound is at so low resources.

The whole idea with EZdrummer is that is should be EZ and the tweaking we can do is Volume and panning in the built in mixer and in addition to that we can tell EZ Drummer wither we want the snare bottom MIC to allow bleed from other drums and if we want the Overhead MIC´S on or off… and THAT’S it..

TOONTRACK has once again delivered a great expansion for the impressive EZ Drummer and if you are in to rock / Indie rock… there is no doubt you will love having the INDIE FOLK EZX arround.

I would like to thank Toontrack for letting me do this review!

And to my readers…. THANK YOU!!!!

Corsair Vengeance Pro DDR3 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3 DRAM 1866MHz C9 Review

October 13, 2013 Leave a comment

Wazzup DAWfreaks….
I hope you are doing well and that the music is flowing….
The 64bit era brought with it some extremely great hardware and new features for us music making users, and a lot of other users as well.
When building a music PC there are some things that requires some extra attention, RAM is one of them as most of the work we do will demand a fair amount of ram
and it needs to be fast and stable and I personally recommend PC 16 gig as I feel it´s the sweet spot and should do most of you good for a long time.
When choosing ram for your PC there are a huge variety of products that you can use but a rule is, Check your motherboard vendor for compatible DDR, when choosing two or four sticks I recommend you to get two as this will putt less tension on the memory controller and allow you to expand with more if you happen to need it.

Today we are going to look at the Vengeance Pro DDR3 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3 DRAM 1866MHz from Corsair and see how it performs in a PC based Studio environment, But before we start I would like to thank Corsair for letting me do this review.

About Corsair

Corsair is a global company bringing innovative, high-performance components to the PC gaming market. Specializing in very high performance memory, ultra-efficient power supplies, and other key system components, our products are the choice of overclockers, enthusiasts, and gamers everywhere.

Founded as Corsair Microsystems in 1994, Corsair originally developed Level 2 cache modules for OEMs. After Intel incorporated the L2 cache in the processor with the release of its Pentium Pro processor family, Corsair changed its focus to DRAM modules, primarily in the server market. In 2002, Corsair began shipping DRAM modules that were specifically designed to appeal to computer overclocking enthusiasts. From its roots in high-performance memory, Corsair has expanded its award-winning product portfolio to include ultra-efficient power supplies, builder-friendly cases, ground-breaking CPU coolers, blazing-fast solid-state drives, and other key system components.

Corsair has developed a global operations infrastructure with extensive marketing and distribution channel relationships. Corsair’s products are sold to end users in over sixty countries worldwide, primarily through leading distributors and retailers.

Corsair Vengeance Pro DDR3 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3 DRAM 1866MHz


Corsair Vengeance Pro Series memory modules are designed for overclocking on the latest 3rd and 4th generation Intel® Core™ platforms, with eight-layer PCBs and ICs specially selected for performance potential.The aluminum heat spreaders provide superior temperature management and have the aggressive look you want in your gaming rig. XMP 1.3 profiles allow for automatic, reliable overclocking.They’re available in multiple colors to let you match your Vengeance Pro memory to your system’s color scheme. As a bonus, they’re priced to deliver class-leading value, so you’ll have more room left in your system build budget. Source

 

Specifications

Brand: Corsair
Model: CMY16GX3M2A1866C9B
Size: 16GB (2 x 8GB)
Performance Profile: XMP
Memory Type: DDR3
Speed Rating: PC3-15000 (1866MHz)
SPD Speed: 1333MHz
Tested Speed: 1866MHz
SPD Voltage: 1.5
Tested Voltage: 1.5
Tested Latency: 9-10-9-27
SPD Latency: 9-9-9-24
Warranty: Lifetime

Package and installation

The Corsair Vengeance Pro comes packed in a colorful great looking box that gives a true PRO feeling over it.


The image above shows the side of the Corsair Vengeance Pro that shows the product information.
As we open the box we find the two Corsair Vengeance Pro placed in a secure plastic holding, the cooler on the Corsair Vengeance Pro looks awesome and the blue plate with the Corsair LOGO ads a nice touch as well.


When we flip to the other side we see find a sticker with the Vengeance Pro LOGO.

Installing the Corsair Vengeance Pro was not as simple as it usually is installing memory, this is not Corsairs fault but I wanted to highlight this minor issue so you will know it can happen.

I use the P8Z77-V LX motherboard and aNoctua NH-D14 SE2011 to cool my I5 3570K and the Space between the cooler and the first Memory was minimum so it was tricky to get it in, but once in place there is about 2 mm space between the top of the Vengeance Pro cooler and the lowest fin on the NH-D14 CPU cooler.


With the Vengeance Pro installed it was time to fire up the system and head in to UEFI / BIOS of the
P8Z77-V LX and changing the AI overclock Tuner to X.M.P to adjusted the Vengeance Pro DDR to the right settings.


The initial Windows boot was successful but I am very picky so I rebooted the system and ran a Memtest86 just to make sure.

Testing Corsair Vengeance Pro CMY16GX3M2A1866C9B

Test System

Case: Fractal Design Define R4
CPU: I5 3570K
Motherboard: ASUS P8Z77-V LX
GPU: SAPHIRE HD 7750
Ram: 16 gig Vengeance Pro CMY16GX3M2A1866C9B
System hard drive: Seagate SSD 600
project hard drive : Seagate ST3000DM001
Sample hard drive: Western digital Velociraptor 1TB
Interface: PreSonus FIRESTUDIO Mobile

I wanted to test the Vengeance Pro CMY16GX3M2A1866C9 with focus on music production so I ran a memory demanding project in both Studio One PRO and Cubase 7 to see how the system would behave with 12 gig+ of samples in the ram.

I also want to give you a view of how the two DAW handles projects with a high amount of ram usage, and to get a feel of how the system speed and stability maintained under more demanding situations.


First I ran the test in Studio One PRO V2 for 1 hour, and the system continued to run nice and smooth.


I followed up with the same test in Cubase 7, and once again the system continued to run nice and smooth.

The Vengeance Pro handles everything i throwed at it without any complains not even when with 84% memory used did the system slow down or behave weird, But I also wanted to look at how the Vengeance Pro CMY16GX3M2A1866C9 performs in synthetic benchmarks in AIDA64.

 

Test Results

Read 27620 MB/S
Write 28239 MB/s
Copy 26535 MB/S
Latency 51,7 ns

 

1333 VS 1600 VS 1866 any difference?
OK now that we have tested the Corsair Vengeance Pro set up as it was designed to run,
i wanted to take a closer look at the performance difference between running the Vengeance Pro in 1333 MHz,1600MHz and 1866 MHz memory clock frequency’s.

The Sample loading time test

The first test i decided to do is load times, For this i decided to use Toontrack Superior drummer 2.0 with The Metal Foundry SDX to see how and if the different RAM speed settings had a impact on how fast samples would load inside Superior drummer.
I also wanted to se if Superior drummer loaded the samples faster in any of my two test DAW Studio One V2 and Cubase 7.

A small note, The samples for superior drummer 2.0 The Metal Foundry is located on a Western digital Velociraptor.

I created a project in both Studio One and Cubase 7, in the projects i added 4 instances of Superior Drummer 2.0 and loaded 4 different presets to get a total RAM use of 5486MB.
I then rebooted the system and set the ram to first run in 1333Mhz. I started up windows and loaded the test project in Studio one and used a stopwatch to get the time it took for Superior drummer to load the samples.
When the loading was done i restarted the PC to clear the ram completely and then loaded the Cubase 7 projects and timed that as well.

This test was then also done in 1600MHz and 1866MHz memory clock frequency’s..


Test Results
mem load test
As we can see in the charter above there is a small difference when loading the samples into Superior Drummer. The interesting fact is that Superior Drummer loads the samples up to 3 seconds faster in Studio one v2 compared to Cubase 7.

CPU performance test
I also wanted to check if there is any CPU performance gain between the three memory clock frequency’s and to do this i once again created identical projects in Cubase 7 and Studio One. These projects was set up with 20 audio tracks (24bit / 44100), on each track i loaded the
meldaproductions free MEqualizer and Mcompressor and on the master buss i loaded the Slate Digital Virtual Buss Compressor.
I ran the test for 5 min in Cubase 7 and recorded the highest CPU usage for the software and then did the same for Studio One v2

Test Results
cputest
Once again we see that there is a small difference in terms of CPU usage and once again Studio One v2 comes out as the winner, however the numbers only show the difference in the DAW environment and does not show the full strength of the Corsair Vengeance Pro.

Sadly my old ram for some reason have become to unstable to be compared to in these tests but i know how the system felt when they were OK and you can rely feel the difference.


Conclusion
Since I installed the Corsair Vengeance Pro I have been able to see them work with what I do with my PC and these memory does not disappoint, I can fill them close to the edge with samples and they don’t sweat a tear! There is not much to it rely! Corsair is known for their high quality products and they know how to create great memory and the Vengeance Pro series CMY16GX3M2A1866C9 is a most excellent pair of top quality memory from Corsair.

Now this review does not show over clocking as that is not something I am into, nor does it show gaming but I can tell you this, the moments when I go out for some MMO gaming in Guild Wars 2 just like the overall system feeling there is a small but noticeable difference in how the game behaves and loads. So if you are on the market for some high capacity quality memory don’t look any further course I truly recommend the Corsair Vengeance Pro Series.

I would once again like to thank Corsair for letting me do this review.

And to my readers… THANK YOU

Customers In Focus Award

September 19, 2013 1 comment

CIF
The Customers In Focus AWARD is a completely new award from DAWfreak.se.
This award is meant to highlight companies that stand out from the crowd by always making sure that their customers feel they get what they paid for, not only through updates and fixes but by listening to the customers and always providing a good support, helpful tools and other features that shows they care for their customers.

The Verdict
PreSonus is known to deliver great hardware for the music industry, and their product range meets the budget for everyone from the small songwriter / musician to the big producer / engineer. But I feel PreSonus stands out most with their multi-award-winning Studio One 2. Since the launch of Studio One 2.0, PreSonus have striven to not only fix bugs but also to continually improve Studio One with a HUGE amount of FREE improvements.

image

Some of these improvements were suggested on the very friendly PreSonus user forums, which shows that PreSonus listens to the users and tries to give them what they ask for.

I am therefore happy to give PreSonus the first CIF award!

CIF

About PreSonus

Founded in 1995, PreSonus Audio Electronics, Inc., is a leading designer and manufacturer of audio-recording and live-sound software, hardware, and related accessories. PreSonus’s software, microphone preamps, signal processors, digital audio interfaces, digital mixers, control surfaces, loudspeakers, and other products are used worldwide for recording, sound reinforcement, broadcast, sound design, and Internet audio.

Steinberg ends development of VST 2

September 3, 2013 Leave a comment

Steinberg ends development of VST 2 

Development and technical support cease for second version of Steinberg’s Virtual Studio Technology (VST), now pushing forward with VST 3

HAMBURG, Germany — September 3, 2013 — Steinberg Media Technologies GmbH today announced that they would no longer continue to develop and maintain the VST 2 software interface but focus efforts entirely on the Software Development Kit (SDK) development of VST 3. All Steinberg host applications will remain VST 2 compatible.

“After introducing the SDK of version 3 to the VST community five years ago, we believe it’s time that VST 2 slowly comes to an end,” remarks Timo Wildenhain, product marketing manager at Steinberg. “VST 3 reflects today’s technological advancements and meanwhile a considerable number of VST hosts and plug-ins support VST 3.”

Initially launched in 1996, VST creates a professional studio environment on PC and Mac computers, allowing the integration of virtual effect processors and instruments into any VST host application. Being an open standard, the possibilities offered by VST continuously grow. In 1999, Steinberg introduces the second version of VST to great acclaim, witnessing new virtual effect processors and instruments developed by Steinberg and other companies. 2008 sees the release of VST 3, now featuring multiple MIDI ports, surround sound capability and side chaining. Meanwhile VST 3.5 supports Steinberg’s VST Expression for creating and editing multiple controller values on a single-note level as well as providing an intuitive way to work with instrument articulations.

While VST 3 was introduced in 2008, Steinberg’s technical support and development of the VST 2 SDK is now at a closing point. The VST 3 development kit not only generates VST 3 plug-ins, but also is capable of rendering to VST 2 and AU formats, making it the ideal choice for outputting three formats.

“Our host applications, such as Cubase, Nuendo and WaveLab, will continue to support VST 2. We are, however, planning to make the SDK for VST 2 unavailable by the end of this year,”  Wildenhain continues

Fractal Design NODE 304 Review

August 14, 2013 2 comments

Wazzup Dawfreaks…
It is time to look at a new PC case. This time the case is for people who want / need a small PC but depending on needs still can get everything they need into it.
The Case we are going to look at today is the NODE 304 from fractal design, they have developed some great PC cases through the years and have the best cool and quiet case on the market today with their Define R4.

About fractal design

THE CONCEPT OF FRACTAL DESIGN

The concept of Fractal Design is to provide products with an extraordinary design level, without compromising the important factors of quality, functionality and pricing. The computer of today has come to play a central role in most people’s home, creating a demand for appealing dsign of the computer itself and its accessories. Our main product areas are computer enclosures, power supplies and related accessories

DESIGNED AND ENGINEERED IN SWEDEN

All Fractal Design products have been thoroughly designed, tested and specified in our Swedish head quarter. The well known ideas of Scandinavian design can be found through all of our products; a minimalistic but yet striking design – less is more.
Source

 

NODE 304

Features

  • Compact, modular interior
  • Minimalistic design with an elegant aluminum front panel
  • Unique new modular mounting system that accommodates up to 6 hard drives
  • Accommodates tower CPU coolers and single-fan water cooling systems
  • Filtered air intakes ensure a dust-free environment for internal components
  • Three Silent Series R2 hydraulic bearing fans included
  • Excellent cooling for all components
  • Accommodates ATX power supplies
  • Fan controller for all fans included
  • USB 3.0 for fast file transfers

Technical specifications

  • Mini ITX, DTX motherboard compatibility
  • 2 expansion slots
  • 6 – supports either 3.5" or 2.5" HDD / SSD
  • ATX PSUs, up to 160mm in length (To fit in combination with a long graphics card,
        PSUs with modular connectors on the back typically need to be shorter than 160 mm)
  • Graphics cards, up to 310mm in length, when 2 HDD brackets
        (1 HDD hanging bracket total) are removed (Graphics cards longer than 170 mm 
        will conflict with PSUs longer than 160mm)
  • Tower CPU coolers, up to 165 mm tall
  • Case dimensions (W x H x D): 250 x 210 x 374 mm
  • Case volume: 19,5 Liters
  • Net weight: 4,9 kg
  • Colors available: Black and White

 

    Cooling and ventilation
  • 2 – Front mounted 92mm Silent Series R2 hydraulic bearing fans, 1300 RPM
        speed(compatible with 80mm fans) – included
  • 1 – Rear mounted 140mm Silent Series R2 hydraulic bearing fan, 1000 RPM
        speed (compatible with 120mm fans) – included
  • Removable air filters for front fans and PSU
  • Fan filter for graphics card
  • 1 – fan controller for all 3 fans included
    Front Interface
  • 2 – USB 3.0 (Internal 3.0 to 2.0 adapter included)
  • 1 – 3.5mm audio in (microphone)
  • 1 – 3.5mm audio out (headphone)
  • Power button with LED
  • HDD LED

Unboxing and Content

IMG_2965

The NODE 304 box is comes with all the product specification, details, features and a Exploded view of the case. As we open the box we find the NODE 304 protected with foam and covered in a plastic bag.

IMG_2972

Inside the box we find the NODE 304 along wit a user´s manual, all the mounting gear needed for installation and a Attention note with instructions on how to proceed with a faulty unit (if that happens).

 

A closer look (external view)

IMG_2967IMG_2969

Well outside the box we can take a closer look at the NODE 304 Externals, The above images shows the front faceplate/bezel and the back witch also shows the included 140mm exhaust.

Note that the Power connector on the lower left of the back is not the PSU, It is a Power extension connector. And though it  is hard to see in the image, there is a fan controller switch on the back for 5v,7v and 12 V this is the same switch used on the Define R4 and is a very simple but great feature.

 

IMG_2966IMG_2968

These two images shows the sides of the NODE 304, The left holds a huge ventilation hole to allow a graphic card to take cool air from the outside Where the right has a smaller Ventilation hole to aid the overall cooling performance.

IMG_3337IMG_3339

As we remove the front faceplate/bezel we find the two included R2 92mm intake fans, the left image shows the fans with the included removable dust filter.

IMG_3353IMG_3352

In the above images we se the bottom of the NODE 304, the PSU intake hole has a dust filter witch you can se in the left image.  In the right image I temporarily mounted the PSU show you the how well the fan is positioned over the intake of cool air

 

A closer look (internally)

IMG_2974

Getting a good overview of the inside with the camera was tricky, This image shows the inner back of the NODE 304 with the included 140mm exhaust fan.

IMG_2973
This image is taken from above to show you the three included hard drive brackets,

IMG_2976

The hard drive brackets can hold two hard drives each and unused brackets can be removed for better airflow.

IMG_2978

Removing the three included hard drive brackets reveals the PSU Area with the intake hole, and we can again se the two included 92mm fans.

Installation And finished build

Components

Motherboard: Asrock A75M-ITX
CPU: AMD A6 3500 APU
RAM: 4GB Corsair Vengience 1.5v
Hard drive: Western digital Velociraptor 1TB
PSU: Fractal Design INTEGRA R2 500w

 

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First I installed the INTEGRA 500W PSU, the case has a Power extension cable inside to allow the PSU to be mounted in the front of the case while the External power cable goes into the back of the NODE 304.

 

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Installation Thoughts.

I was quiet concerned about the limited space in the NODE 304, but the installation went smooth apart from a situation where I had to remove two fins on the vengeance ram (that is not low profile) to be able to fit them beneath the 140mm exhaust fan.
Cable management in the NODE 304 is actually not bad, if you spend some time with it you can end up with a much better result then id did.

All in all there is nothing really to complain about, Fractal Design has manage well with the inside layout.

Note that there is no 5.25” slots in the NODE 304 so if you are building a HTPC that needs a 5.25” bay I recommend you to look at the Node 605.

Testing
This system is not going to be hot so I adjusted the fans to be set to 7v and I set the CPU fan to the lowest setting, I ran Prime95 for 30 min to get a good view of the over all temperatures in the system.

 

Test results and noise.
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The system temps was where I expected them to be and there is nothing to complain about, On the noise side Fractal Design has managed as well, as the system is really quiet on the 7v setting and the CPU cooler does more noise then any of the fans in the NODE 304.
Setting the fans to 12v makes the fans noticeable but not loud, but on most systems not used for gaming with the fan configuration that the NODE 304 holds the airflow given when the fans are running at 7v is more then enough.

 

Conclusion.
Fractal Design is my preferred brand for Studio and gaming PC´s, I have yet to se anything that is as flexible, well designed, cool and QUIET as the Define R4. The NODE 304 shows me that no matter the size, fractal design manage to deliver quality cases for everyone and every situation. I also like the simple but still Stylish looks of the Fractal Design PC case lineup.
A feature that I could not test myself is to have a graphic card installed but the feature is there if needed witch makes this case usable for many different types of PC´s
The Node 304 has a average pricing of about $79.99 witch is a reasonable price.

 

Pros

  • Small
  • easy installation
  • good cooling
  • quiet

Cons

  • Some higher RAM might not fit without modification

 

The Verdict

I would like to thank Fractal Design for letting me do this review.

And to me readers.. THANK YOU!!