AI was going to take the fun out of DJing – selecting and mixing for you. But the reason you’ll use it could be to make music more fluid. Algoriddim’s latest is a showpiece of Apple’s custom silicon – and a possible secret weapon for the rest of us.
Apple’s desire to tax and control its app ecosystem is earning outcry from developers, government, and outside observers. It’s a stand-off musicians and creators should watch closely.
Sure, theoretically you should memorize a bunch of keyboard shortcuts and painstakingly map macros for tools you use every day. Or you could use Metagrid instead.
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You’ve seen those split-screen music videos. Now an app helps you make your own – and its normally paid in-app purchases are free for a limited time.
I’m posting this mainly because I hope some CDMer out there will do something weird and unexpected with it. But yeah, this is an app from Roland. And there are some useful features in it.
You can load a song onto your device and use that as a monitoring guide. (There are now even some drum performance video clips to get you started, but hey, you’re going to use your own stuff, right?)
And most importantly, the aspect ratios and layouts are handled for you. So basically you can power up your iPad or iPhone and focus on making your music performance work, rather than the tedium of learning how to deal with the video side.
I’m putting this out there in part because I’d love to see an electronic creation in this fashion. Let us know if you do. But it is absolutely useful having the in-app purchases (IAP) for free, because normally this is limited to two videos and doesn’t have full feature functionality.
And on the App Store
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Pioneer’s Rekordbox continues its play to be the DJ software to beat – and there’s a ton of stuff in the latest release pretty much everyone will want, from cloud and mobile sync all the way up to some powerful live visual features.
There’s a ton of stuff here, whether you’re primarily using Rekordbox as your library management tool before you play with CDJs, or if it’s what you actually play in (or run live visual shows and lights in).
Cloud sync. You can sync tracks across devices and apps with Dropbox, and integrate with Beatport Link service, so that you aren’t constantly looking for promos and tracks you’ve bought. That also includes metadata – so –
iOS Mobile Sync. You can edit tracks on the companion iOS app, with your metadata in the cloud – meaning you have a palm-sized way of adding markers and adjusting beat sync. This will be especially great when any of us can leave the house again, but maybe by then we can also wish for an Android app? (And until then, hey, lying in bed going through tracks also has some appeal.)
Integrated promos. Inflyte is already the whiz-bang promo platform to beat – basically, it gives you all you need to send press and DJs your tracks and try to get them to send you useful feedback. (It’s the new place to get “Downloaded for R Hawtin” and later claim that was “supported by.”)
Now those promos show right in Rekordbox, so presumably producers can skip the steps of DJs digging through promo inboxes when they make mixes. I have more to say on this topic soon, but for now it’s an intriguing idea.
Combine that with Beatport Link, and at least in theory, there are more ways to get your music played by DJs, though whether that becomes overwhelming or even useful to the producer is a topic for another time.
Autorelocate Tracks. Don’t know about y’all, but I think I’m more excited by this than anything else here – especially since not all my promos come from Inflyte and not all my music from Beatport.
But all my music is now scattered on my hard drive in novel ways that Rekordbox 5 couldn’t handle.
I bet I’m not alone. At the very least, if this sounds like you, I promise you a comprehensive test of what happens when someone has zero interest in organizing files and zero patience in software’s general ineptitude at, you know, search. Fingers crossed on this one.
Updated UI. Now also has light/dark skin settings to match your OS.
3Band waveform. Humankind still struggles to work out how to provide a useful visualization of sound data. This takes waveforms and breaks them up by high, mid, low. Let’s see if that’s useful.
Filter by Attribute in Collection and playlists – handy.
Plus more visual goodies
Rekordbox doesn’t just want to be the thing you use to load up your USB stick for a CDJ, or even just another DJ app to compete with Serato and TRAKTOR and their ilk.
It also wants to run your show.
Rekordbox 6 has almost as many visual/show control improvements as music and library management additions.
The Lighting panel now has an Ambient mode and DMX Direct Control.
And there’s more:
- Ability to add video files to audio playlists.
- Added [All Audio] and [All Videos] in the tree view.
- Ability to add tracks from streaming services streaming tracks to playlists.
- Blinking interval when Strobe (Middle) is selected on the Lighting panel.
- Added copy feature for venues and scenes in Lighting mode.
- Added Moving Head pan/tilt limit setting and tilt reverse setting in Lighting mode.
There are actually people out there using this stuff. That’s partly for the same reason that the CDJ and DJM are so popular, which is there’s an army of Pioneer sales, support, and venue and artist relations roaming around the world to make it happen.
You had to figure this would come at a cost. The big shift is that Rekordbox is moving to subscriptions, like so many products now.
The free version is still free – and you can unlock features with hardware, which I expect for many users will make the most sense. (You’re unlikely to use the advanced features with just a mouse and no controller, that is.)
The bad news is your old licenses don’t apply to the upgrade if you don’t have hardware that unlocks this.
The flipside is, the high-end version – with all the video and DVS – is now a better deal.
Just don’t panic – the Export mode is still in the free version, and you can actually even use performance features on PC/Mac, which means you don’t have to pay just to unlock those features when you’re away from your controller. And that’s handy – sometimes you want to try mixing two tracks together before you export them to USB.
- Export mode
- Performance features controlled via PC/Mac
Core (6.99EUR-USD a month, discounted from 9.99EUR-USD regular):
- Adds performance features
- Adds DVS control
Creative mode ($/€9.99 a month intro, regular price to be 14.99) is where the big stuff is at, and since your hardware only unlocks “core,” you might still wind up having to pay for it:
- Cloud Library Sync
- Lyric feature
- Video feature
- RMX EFFECTS
I am not normally a fan of one player dominating the market, personally, but Rekordbox solves an extraordinary set of use cases in a way its competitors don’t even touch. And hey, the computer DJ experience it offers – which was once pretty deficient – has improved a lot.
When it comes to visual features and performance, Serato remains the functionality rival. So there’s your horse race – especially because Pioneer’s advantage of being the CDJ company is for the moment erased by the fact that there are no festivals or clubs. (Ahem.)
I’ll definitely be trying this out with some mixing soon – and will talk to some of the people working with its advanced video/show features. (They’re still working away, even in the lockdown.) Stay tuned.
Don’t miss their updated macOS info:
Download and more info:
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Start with OBS, the now industry-standard streaming app, and add a bunch of special sauce to make it easier and friendlier. Now you’ve got Streamlabs – and it just added Mac support to its other platforms.
Mention live streaming any time in the past year or so, and someone no doubt told you to use OBS. Open Broadcaster Software, aka OBS Studio, is indeed free and powerful – not only for streaming but live recording, too. (It quietly displaced a lot of pricey and often incomplete commercial screencasting software, too.)
OBS has gotten a lot easier – a cash infusion from Twitch, Facebook, NVIDIA, and Logitech no doubt helped. But it’s still a bit intimidating as far as configuring settings for recording, to say nothing of the manual settings required to then make it upload to various streaming platforms.
That’s where Streamlabs comes in. It’s got its own desktop apps based on OBS, plus apps that let you easily stream from Android and iOS, too. So while you could do all of this on OBS desktop, Streamlabs makes it easier – basically, it’s a bit like having a custom distro of OBS. And then by adding mobile access, those platforms become easier, too.
So in addition to all the things that make OBS powerful – using any video source or onscreen inputs, switching between them, handling resolutions and recording as well as connecting, you get:
- Pre-configured streaming platforms and easy login (think YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, etc.)
- Auto-optimized video settings
- Custom alerts (so you can also beg for donations, add engagement)
- Themes and widgets for customizing your stream
- Built-in chat (normally requiring you to open another window in OBS, which gets surprisingly clumsy fast)
- Easy recording
- Cloud backups (so you don’t lose your recording)
Honestly, having played around with it a bit, maybe the best part of Streamlabs is that all the power of OBS is there, but easier to use. So it doesn’t feel like a dumbed-down version of OBS so much as a polished, beginner-friendly interface with all the same features – and some useful additions.
The mobile apps also feature a lot of nice integrations on these lines, too. Think similar cross-platform streaming support, importing OBS settings from desktop, and adding widgets for events, donations, and chat.
The spin here of OBS is open source, like its sibling. It’s based on Electron, so I hope that now that macOS was added, we’ll see Linux, too. Linux users should meanwhile note that OBS packaging has improved a lot across distros, and Ubuntu Studio for instance even bakes a pre-configured OBS right into the OS. I have no idea how much work would be required to do the same with Streamlabs. (PS, you can beta test 20.04 LTS right now and help them squash bugs before what I think will be a very essential global pandemic stay-at-home OS release!)
So, since this is free and open source, what’s the business model?
Basically, you can grab this for free and have a nicer version of OBS. Tips and donations to content makers go 100% to you – no cut for Streamlabs. (Good – and a major difference with a lot of horrible startups.)
Then for a monthly fee, you can add additional effects (US$4.99/month, “PRO”), or a bunch of custom widgets, custom domain and website, and other extras (Prime, $12/mo billed annually).
I hope they allow month-to-month billing, but regardless, it’s nice to see a business built on open source software and that still has sustainable business support. (CDM is possible because of just that idea – thank WordPress.)
I’m sure some people are groaning at me even sharing this information, given how many streams are out there right now. But”streaming” doesn’t necessarily mean to a wide audience – it’s useful in any case where you want to teleport yourself around the world (while under stay-at-home orders, for instance) even if it’s to a small group. Plus, even if you haven’t been struggling with this yourself, now you can tip off your friends so they don’t a) bug you for how to set up their stream and/or b) stream really low-quality material you have to then watch.
And I think just as with blogs, the question is not really quantity or openness, but quality – and whether there’s a model for supporting the people putting out that quality. More on this soon.
Okay, so everyone is suddenly live streaming. But the thought of setting this up hurts your brain. Fortunately, two of our friends have put together concise videos to get you started.
Live streaming music performances hardly started with this pandemic era – and to be fair, a lot of us have been putting off working out how to do it anyway. So let’s do it properly. Live streaming can be a good way to connect with people and to try out material. Its main enemy is often technical trouble. Michael and Tom to our rescue!
Tom Cosm has a desktop guide that takes just two minutes – he captures both from his screen and a webcam, which could also work for tutorials, live coding, and more creative ideas.
Streaming platform (Twitch, Facebook Live, etc.)
Desktop platforms (mobile and custom options coming soon)
Michael Forrest has a live streaming how-to – from August 2019, and a reminder that this can be a good idea that you genuinely enjoy rather than an endtimes substitute for live performance as civilization collapses and you abandon hope of ever playing for a crowd of more than two people or within 2 meters of a human. (I mean – let’s definitely not think about it that way.)
And there is a ton of useful gear here. From his list (and his affiliate links). Crucially, since the OBS part is pretty straightforward, having a good stand and lighting is essential – and based on my cursory research, you can ship from a lot of electronics providers at the moment even given lockdowns (and not only Amazon, in case you want to protest that company).
Best of all, he’s got a terrifically useful scene switcher script:
Rest of the gear:
Streaming software - https://obsproject.com/
Audio Mixer with USB out - http://amzn.to/2eu59iW
Audio limiter / compressor - http://www.fmraudio.com/rnla.html
Wirelessly receive video to computer from phone - http://bit.ly/2f6ti0A
iPhone app for clean camera feed - http://apple.co/2f6t21J
Tripod - http://amzn.to/2dVuhON
Tripod phone mount - http://amzn.to/2eKAGeV
Lighting LED lighting - http://amzn.to/2ePZxMw
Lighting stand - http://amzn.to/2feGJe8
Video from DSLR
Thunderbolt video capture - http://amzn.to/2eu3iKP
Connect camera to video capture - http://amzn.to/2eKDHfl
Connect video capture to computer - http://amzn.to/2f6vBB5
My DSLR Camera Body - http://amzn.to/2dJ0GF3
Prevent camera from sleeping after 30 mins - http://www.magiclantern.fm/
Wide angle lens if you’re in a tight space - http://amzn.to/2ePXh8e
50mm lens for portraits-style shots - http://amzn.to/2eu37PD
Macro lens for close ups - http://amzn.to/2eu3iKP
Lots of little relevant tips in this video, as well.
And some more gear…
A few more bits of kit I’ve had an eye on. IK Multimedia have started daily livestreams:
But it’s also worth noting they have some rather useful looking kit for podcasting and streaming, particularly solving this on mobile:
iRig Stream is a useful interface, and
iRic Mic Video bundle (and the associated grip and mics in their Creator Series)
…all look useful.
Sometimes it’s the stuff not specifically directed at streaming that looks most useful for audiovisual use cases. In particular, one friend clued me into the ZOOM U-24 – 2-in, 4-out interface, with preamps:
I’m still not entirely seeing the perfect solution I’d imagine here, so I’m keen to hear what you’re thinking.
And this being CDM, absolutely taking your ideas – and intend to discuss some different approaches to online performance, not only the traditional video Web stream. Watch this space.
The post Learn how to live stream your music with these two easy, quick videos, gear tips appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.
If you’re bored of just video chatting with Zoom, Houseparty, and the like, Endlesss might be the musical switch-up you need. And some big personalities are joining in a day long stream today to give you a taste of what it’s about.
First, Endlesss – it’s an iOS-only (for now) collaborative music creation app. The idea is, you get started right away building loops, using built-in instruments, playable pads, and add-on effects. That makes it accessible to first-timers – so it could be ideal for introducing your friends and family to some music jamming now, especially as an antidote to grainy underlit camera footage of all of us in sweatpants.
Plus, hey, slick visuals, for things like this:
Some apps might just dead-end there. But if you are a musician, you can push Endlesss further. There’s an all-critical microphone input, meaning skilled vocalists and rappers and beatboxers can blow this thing away. Instrument and effects packs go fairly deep. And for musicians, you can connect via Ableton Link, export materials (even as stems, at last), and choose custom key, scale, tempo, time signature and quantization.
Yeah, it’s almost like this thing was made by real musicians. And, of course, it was – Tim Exile has led the Endlesss team; he’s known to us as the ultra-virtuoso mega-geek behind Reaktor tools such as The Mouth and Flesh. And that sensibility is here, too – build on looping facilities to let your musical fancies take flight.
So it’s fitting that some key personalities are joining the stream today.
Imogen Heap is of course another defining artist in modern looping-vocal technique.
KiNK has proven that virtuoso live performance has a place on dancefloors, too, even in the age of linear CDJ mixing.
Matt Black and his act Coldcut built some of the software and performances that showed what audiovisual sampling cut-up culture could be.
And there’s more. Flux Pavilion is a major name in EDM at that meeting point between mainstage and producer, singer-songwriter and electronic production. Dan Le Sac is another legendary UK name (and also crossing into game production). And from our Internet music tech world, Gaz Williams of Sonic State is there both as a presence from journalism and synth and bass musicianship – hi, Gaz!
Twitch.tv, while first established for gaming, has of late become a refuge for musicians. Higher-quality streams, better community features that actually work properly, and proper monetization that might not drive artists further into the poor house all set it apart from the major US tech oligopoly providers. (You know who you are.) So this feed is appropriately launching on the channel by touring app Bandsintown with Twitch, just as artists look for ways to keep some trickle of funds and activity coming in during global lockdown.
Tune in today Tuesday daytime UK time. (I’m inquiring about replays for the USA, which will be slowly waking up toward the end of the programming.) If you’re personally puzzling on how to stream while dealing with competing platforms, they’re using the most popular tool for that, restream.io.
And if you’ve got an iOS gadget (iPad and iPod touch work, too), head to:
The app is free, with in-app purchases of additional content.
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Stuck for ideas and inspiration? Maybe you just need something on your iPhone that brings its own groove and is more, um, circular.
It’s a match that was waiting to happen – the handheld interface of an iPhone meets the drum machine and pattern maker that runs in a circle. That’s a beautiful way to visualize time, waiting only for the modern smartphone screen. (And Star Wars fans, am I the only one who finds this reminiscent of the episode IV radar displays? In a good way.)
It does meters. It does polyrhythms. It has a sophisticated sound engine. It sequences parameters as well as the beats themselves.
Patterning 2 had already matured into a rich, circular interface for exploring rhythm and beats and grooves. And if you want to kick back with a big interface and explore, the iPad is still the way to go. Patterning then becomes an instrument on its own, or a sequencer for other iPad apps, or – thanks to full-blow export and Ableton Link – a sketchpad for your DAW. Ashley Elsdon wrote about this back in the day:
But if you’ve got an iPhone handy, and you like having this palm-top based, Patterning 2’s arrival for iPhone will be just as welcome. Okay, “mobile” is not really a thing on planet Earth for most jobs at the moment, but that could mean doing this while cooking, or leaning back in your chair and away from home office and conference calls for a quick groove exploration.
One other bonus on the iPhone version – haptic feedback. That circular interface looks like it belonged there all along.
It’s been amazing to see how iOS has matured. When we started, it was all about simple toys and experiments. Now, the iOS tools sometimes can seem more sophisticated than many desktop counterparts – and they’re all about spawning ideas, jamming with others, and connecting ideas to other apps (whether on mobile or desktop).
That is, basically, what you see in this list:
- 8 Independent Loops Per Pattern
- Unlimited Patterns
- Automation Layers like Coarse Tune, Ratcheting, and more.
- MIDI Output
- Export to Ableton Live Set – Comes with Ableton Live 10 Lite
- Export Perfect Audio Loops in WAV or AIFF format, Stereo or Multitrack Output
- Export Songs to Patterning 2
- Import Songs and Drumkits from Patterning 2 (some limitations apply)
- Ableton Link
- MIDI Clock Send and Receive
- Inter-App Audio Clock
- Multi-track Inter-App Audio Output
- Hundreds of free factory and user created drum kits
- Quantize Pattern Launch
- Haptic Feedback!
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Cue the “Bossa Nova Style” rhythms and get ready for warbly, lo-fi melodies, because you can make your iPad or iPhone party like it’s 1971 – free this week only.
The Optigan is deliciously dated. The contraption used optical discs and photodiodes packed in “Temperite” molded plastic and covered in switches and buttons. (The optical approach puts it on a timeline with early Soviet synthesis, among other things – see Derek Holzer’s history of tonewheels, or for another app recreation of the technique, the gorgeous ANS, as seen on CDM.)
The sound is less Tarkovsky score, and more like what you’d expect of an organ advertised in the Sears catalog and promoted by The Donna Reed Show star Carl Betz. And iOptigan can reproduce all of that kitschy oddness, as in this fantastic demo tune. (I love the creators for the period jetliner footage. Book me a ticket on 1971 United, please.)
iOptigan adds a recreation of the optional spring reverb, metronome, MIDI I/O, MIDI chord detection, Inter-App Audio, file sharing, a sequencer with MIDI file import, built-in help throughout, and tons of thoughtful, historical details.
Here’s the chord detection and how to use it:
You should spend money on this. You would spend money on this. But take this free opportunity to really set a different mood and transport back to the 70s.
The app itself has a nice lineage, too. Stefan Stenzel of Waldorf teamed up with Pea Hicks of optigan.com to make it. And in addition to grabbing the app, you can give yourself some nice linkhole time on that site to explore the instrument’s history and future, complete with obsessive details of all the variants and an exhaustive catalog of optical discs.
And if the kitsch factor didn’t win you over, a small group of makers has taken the wild set of creating a new Optigan instrument – the Panoptigon, which sounds as sophisticated as its Jeremy Bentham reference would lead you to believe. It’ll set you back a cool $3999, but to be honest, wouldn’t it be better in a way to splurge on this rather than a conventional keyboard or modular? Well, if I had such money, that is.
The results of that invention are poignant, not kooky – fuzzy, irregular piano loops are simply transcendent on their demo video.
Take a listen, as I was entranced – it’s almost a shame that this says “disc demo” on it or has a picture of gear:
Here’s the new instrument in action:
And maybe that’s the lesson of this whole phenomenon – the beauty of technologies that others might simply have forgotten or literally tossed in a bin. It sounds, eerily, almost futuristic.
Something to think about as I noodle around on the iOptigan recreation tonight. As with the other stuff mentioned today, don’t be shy if you make something and want to share.
iOptigan for iPhone, iPad at the App Store
Bonus freebie – the great piano samples you hear in the disc demo are open source.
Main and chord keyboards of a model 35002 Optigan Music Maker optical organ, ca. 1971. Owned and photographed by user PMDrive1061.
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