Jason Dasent

Analog Lab V & Accessibility with Jason Dasent

Jason Dasent
Analog Lab V & Accessibility with Jason Dasent

London-based Jason Dasent is on a musical mission. As a producer, engineer, keyboardist, and everything in between, he fuses soul with pop and funk with calypso flavors from his native Trinidad. But as a visually-impaired person, he’s committed to bridging the gap between accessibility and creativity. Jason kindly invited us into his musical domain to see how he explores music with KeyLab and Analog Lab V’s Accessibility features.

Creativity for a cause

Jason Dasent is a man of many talents. When he’s not recording artists, composing music for film and commercial purposes, or teaching music production, he’s busy living up to his reputation as one of the world’s leading advocates for accessibility in the musical field.

Originally hailing from Trinidad in the Caribbean, he’s spent over two decades honing his skills as a producer, performer, and teacher, with an contagiously enthusiastic approach that shines through in the music he makes. In 2019, he relocated to London to study for an MA, and he’s since become a well-known voice in the conversation around accessibility and music technology.

A changing landscape

Spearheading a shift towards making music production accessible for everyone, Jason and his team have worked with AVID, Native Instruments, and even Apple on their products. He works closely with engineers, product managers, and sound designers to develop intuitive solutions that enable differently-abled people to use in-demand music hardware and software.

A vital component of tech accessibility is text-to-speech functionality. This simply means spoken audio feedback that reflects the functions and settings of the hardware or software in question, converting anything that you would see or read into audible speech to help users navigate.

At the core of his own musical setup is KeyLab paired with Analog Lab V. Accompanying the release of V Collection 8.1 is a dedicated Accessibility mode that Jason helped design with our own product team.

My involvement was as a guide; saying this works nice, this is comfortable in terms of navigation, how much speech should be said, how long would the delay be from when you touch a button.

Analog Lab V & Accessibility

With Jason’s expertise, we united Analog Lab V, KeyLab, and deep text-to-speech functionality for a fluid & accessible experience. Easily enabled in the settings, it works with any MIDI controller that’s linked up to Analog Lab, interfacing with your computer’s own text-to-speech engine, ensuring that it fits into any setup.

The KeyLab controllers send notifications to the text-to-speech engine on our computers. As I press a button on KeyLab, or turn a dial, or change a value using the encoders or the faders, it sends notifications out to the system’s voice, allowing me to know exactly what’s happening on the keyboard. It’s really cool!

Let’s take a look at some examples of how text-to-speech could be used to streamline the Analog Lab V workflow for producers and music makers:

Browsing instruments and categories

Analog Lab V has a myriad of ways to find your sound; search by instrument, by genre, by timbre, and by sound designer. Accessibility mode reads the category and search filter names as you select them, so you’ll know which angle you’re approaching your search for sound at all times.

Having the KeyLab talk to me, I have the same access that a sighted person does. I just hit category search, I can scroll to electric pianos, Stage-73 V…

Selecting presets

Within every category or search results page, there’s a list of presets to go through. As you scroll, text-to-speech tells you the name of each individual preset, both library and user, so you can easily keep track of the sounds you’ve heard.

What happens when I come back 2 days later and I want to use the patch in another song? Because I heard it tell me that the patch was ‘Morning Rhodes’, I can come back 2 days later and load it.

Changing parameters

Both parameters and parameter values are part of the real-time feedback that Accessibility mode provides. Not only does that help you navigate the Analog Lab V interface, it also helps with those subtle tweaks that make a good patch sound great.

When I’m designing my own patches, when I move the faders and the encoders, I can know exactly what the values are as I tweak them.

Splits & Layers

Quickly determine the instruments you want, the positions of your keyboard split, the balance of your multiple preset layers, and individual settings for each of them - every part of Analog Lab V’s split/layer functionality can be navigated with text-to-speech.

I’m a live performer as well, I love to play keys and bass. One thing that was a nightmare was things like creating splits & layers. Speech allows me to set it up in seconds, so I have my strings and piano, my bass and my Rhodes…

KeyLab & MIDI Controllers

While you may simply use Analog Lab V as an isolated sound source or plugin, it works brilliantly as an accompaniment to your MIDI controller of choice. Analog Lab perfectly integrates with KeyLab thanks to an easy-to-use layout and smart mapping. It’ll also play nice with other controllers, all of which can be instantly linked to Accessibility mode.

I guess my sense of touch and my orientation is pretty good, but adding to that the layout of the keyboard - it’s so ergonomic, it makes it that much easier to just jump around.

Inspiration, meet independence

Analog Lab has been all about simplicity, ease of use, and fun from day one. We’re committed to provide the quickest, most inspiring, and most gratifying route to incredible sound for producers, musicians, and audio enthusiasts from all walks of life. The energy that Jason Dasent emits when he’s in his creative element is infectious, and a testament to the importance of accessibility in music.

It’s just amazing, and it’s just beginning to scratch the surface of the independence that this has given me with Analog Lab and KeyLab… I wanna see a KeyLab and Analog Lab everywhere where blind people operate in a professional environment.

If you’re taking your music serious, you have to have Analog Lab and KeyLab. That’s where I wanna see it go.