The quiet addition of arbitrary audio routing in Max for Live in Live 10 has opened the floodgates to new tools. This one free device could transform how you route signal in the software.
One of the frustrations of ongoing Ableton Live users, in fact, is that routing options are fairly restricted. You’ve got sends and returns, sure, plus some easy and convenient drop-downs in the I/O section of each channel. But if you’ve ever discovered a particular sidechaining wasn’t possible, or you just couldn’t get there from here, you know what I’m talking about.
And so, you knew something like Outist was coming. Amidst a bunch of Max for Live plug-in developers thinking up creative things to do with the new routing tools (like spatialization or visualization), this one is dead-simple. It just uses that loophole to give you a device you can easily insert to add a routing wherever you want – a bit like having a virtual patch cable you can plug into your DAW.
And it’s free.
outist is a maxforlive device that lets you route any signal to any internal or external destination.
It’s originally designed to bypass Live’s restricted return buss routing. With outist you can have pre and post send PER return channel.
You can also simply use it to send the signal to any physical output or just anywhere in your set…
Findt Outist and a bunch of other weird and interesting stuff:
With those floodgates open, as I said, there may well be a better tool out there. So please, readers – don’t be shy. Happy to hear other tips, or about your patch that’s better, or other ideas – shoot!
And yeah, I definitely wish Ableton just did this by default, natively – but I’ll take this hack as a solution!
Hzandbits Sound Effects is offering Rekkerd readers an exclusive free collection of sounds taken from its sample libraries. Hzandbits delivers inspiring field recordings and sound effects to the film & games industries, covering everything from ambiances from around the world, to abstract sound design elements. The free sample pack contains sounds from the following Hzandbits […]
West Coast synthesis is yours for a song, by combining a free/donationware download with Reaktor. And now Cloudlab 200t just got a major V2 upgrade.
First, okay – this is not an authorized Buchla product. The Buchla legacy is alive in hardware and software forms. The Buchla Easel got a full-blown remake from Arturia. The Twisted Waveform Generator module has an official remake from Softube – though it’s silly spendy, at US$99. (That’s the price of some actual hardware module kits, or halfway to getting Reaktor!) And of course Buchla the hardware company are back in action with some of the original engineers.
But that’s besides the point: this is in Reaktor. And because it’s in Reaktor, you can pick it apart from the outside in and see how it works. And you can combine it with other Reaktor stuff, and then run the result as a plug-in. That’s something unique – ever wondered what a granular patch would sound like routed through some Buchla effects, for instance?
Does it sound any good? Yes – enough so that colleagues who have spent considerable time on Buchla hardware say they appreciate it. It certainly replicates the control layout and basic ideas of the Buchla, even if it has its own unique sound.
There’s one major downside of Reaktor: all the patching is hidden in the structure. That’s pretty weird if you’re use to patching on the front panel, as on hardware (and software emulations). But it will be familiar to Reaktor users, and it means the control layout on the Buchla is clean – even if there’s some tension behind the way the Buchla was conceived and how it works here.
In version 2, you get some significant updates – starting most importantly with clock sync:
External clock. Any gate in or clock out can be synced to external input, and the 266t Chronikler gets a clock output. Now you can sync to DAWs – or, if you like, stuff like VCV Rack.
Lemur control works both ways. The popular iPad and Android controller app now gets parameters back from Cloudlab, so it responds in realtime.
More noise. Noise sources on the 266t Noise module now include -3 Pink, Flat, and +3 White noise. If this makes you swoon as it does me, then you’re definitely a synth nerd. (Flat is labeled “Buchlesque,” a word I hope to now apply in completely inappropriate situations…)
Easier on the CPU. You’ll still want a hefty processor, but this version promises to be more stable and efficient, says the developer.
More modules. 227t Output interface & 248t Multiple Sequential Generator.
Be sure to make a donation if you like this.
It’s also wonderful to see these ideas spreading. From efforts like this to the rising stardom of people like Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, it’s now not uncommon to meet aspiring musicians on the street who know the name Buchla. That’s a sea change from a few short years ago, when people might know the name “Moog” (and pronounce in a way that rhymes with a sound a cow makes), and referred to all computer production simply by “Pro Tools.” Now, they’re very likely to start lecturing you on their thoughts on West Coast versus East Coast synthesis or tell you what oscillator module their favorite producer just started raving about.
And that’s relevant here, too. It means Reaktor can help spread the viral interest in esoteric synthesis. And that means Native Instruments customers are likely to want to do more than just dial up presets. And certainly as the Buchla brand and other lesser-known names catch up with the giants like Roland, Moog, and KORG, we’re seeing synth lovers willing to look to hardware and software from a greater variety of models.
I’d say this could be overwhelming, but – I think that ignores the possibilities of sound. Once you dive into the Buchla Way, you may just find yourself … really happy.
Let us know if you make some sounds with this.
Big thanks to the wonderful Synth Anatomy where I saw this first:
From the darkest arts in auditory alchemy, you can find gems like Mammut, a free tool that will utterly mangle digital audio into forms beautiful and chaotic.
And I mean really weird. From producing eerie, smeared convolutions of files to manipulating the spectrum of a sound in ways that are actually unlistenable (as in, they cause excruciating pain), Mammut is delightfully un-commercial and totally unpredictable.
Here’s how this all started. Last week, I noticed that popular time stretching algorithm PaulStretch had found its way into a convenient plug-in form for Mac and Windows. That opened the floodgates to lots of discussion of where to find similar tools.
Mammut represents a different path to strange noises. You know you’re in for something out of the ordinary from the moment you launch it, and are treated to a woodcut of a woolly mammoth and some braying animal noises and … wind … or something. Then, with that dizzying animation looping in the background, you load a sound. You’re then able to directly manipulate the spectrum of the sound, via a seemingly random assortment of tabs with different functions. These have descriptions that range from detailed and useful to glib to … tabs that have no explanation at all, or one that says “Rather useless.”
There’s some beautiful stuff in there. In addition to being able to edit a spectrum directly, you can apply more beautiful time stretching and features like convolution, which combines audio waveforms by spectra.
And there’s undo/redo, too, accessed by up and down arrows in the middle of the interface, so you can back out of decisions that just screwed up the sound. (Those you’ll find pretty readily!)
As the creators describe it:
Mammut is a rather unpredictable program, and the user must get used to letting go of control over the time axis. The sounding results are often surprising and exciting. Mammut is also ideal for common operations such as filtering, spectrum shift and convolution and it provides an optimal performance.
Mammut is old software, from pre-2007, but thanks to being built in the free JUCE environment still compiles and runs nicely. It’s a project of Notam, the electronic art research center in Oslo, and developed by Øyvind Hammer, with a UI by Kjetil Matheussen.
The “mammoth” reference is because it takes the FFT of the whole sound file at once instead of using windows / chunks of the sound. While the results here are radical, similar techniques find more practical applications – like building a smooth waveform pad synth.
Anyway, I suspect you can from here go down either a link hole looking at that research and the engineering side, or get lost playing with sounds.
You’ve heard Justin Bieber mangled into gorgeous ambient cascades of sound. Now, you can experience the magic of PaulStretch as a free plug-in.
It may give you that “A-ha” moment in ambient music. You know:
The developer has various warnings about using this plug-in, which for me make me want to use it even more. (Hey, no latency reporting to the DAW? Something weird in Cubase! No manual? Who cares! Let’s give it a go – first I’m going to run with scissors to grab a beer which I’ll drink at my laptop!)
The plugin is only suitable for radical transformation of sounds. It is not suitable at all for subtle time corrections and such. Ambient music and sound design are probably the most suitable use cases.
You had me at radical / not subtle.
Okay… yeah, this was probably meant for me:
You can use it two ways: either load an audio file, and just run PaulStretch in your DAW, or use it as a live processor on inputs. (That’s weird, given what it does – hey, there was some latency. Like… a whole lot of latency.)
It’s on Mac and Windows but code is available and Linux is “likely.”
Valentine wrote in to share about his 55,5 sample pack, a collection of short one-shot samples in 24-bit/44kHz format. The pack includes a wide range of one second sounds, comprising bleeps, zips, clunks, pops, zaps, and more of that sort of thing. Great for making your drum and percussion tracks more interesting. Each sound was […]
Sounds.com is a subscription-based loop and sample site – but it’s also a glimpse into Native Instruments’ future strategy for digital services for musicians.
Today, NI are revealing Sounds.com – a product in 2018 that sounds like someone registered a domain in 1996. That domain name pretty much covers it: it’s a place to go get sounds, in the form of loops and samples. It’s only available as a beta in the United States now, but will roll out to the rest of the world over the course of this year.
You can check out the beta now. I’ve had the chance to talk to Matthew Adell (NI’s new digital services chief) and Sunny Lee (Product Owner) about the product, and poked around the beta and sounds a bit in advance. Here’s a sense of what this might mean as a product itself, but also some of the potential to sound designers and future NI products – if the service and its underlying infrastructure are fully exploited.
What’s the pitch for Sounds.com?
There are, of course, a lot of purveyors of loops and sound content. But what NI’s tool here promises is a deeper, broader catalog of sounds from multiple sources, combined with better tools for searching them.
You won’t see much of Native Instruments’ name on the site, and even their own products are in the background. So Maschine Expansions are there, if that’s your thing – but NI is just one of 200 providers. The Loop Loft, MVP, and Symphonic Distribution sit alongside lots of smaller shops. NI also says they’ve got a lot of exclusive content, and are launching with half a million sounds.
You can navigate by genre, covering not just dance genres, but things like “cinematic,” too. You’ll see bundled releases, but also individual sounds.
That could broaden the appeal here. Maybe you don’t want some massive set of Deep House or EDM loops. Fine – search for a single perfect clap one-shot. Maybe you want to explore some weird Reaktor-produced noises made by Applewhite on left-field label Detroit Underground. Or you’re on a tight TV or film scoring deadline and want to grab some unique sounding percussion. Or you just want some sounds to mangle quickly.
Because it’s easy to find one-shots, and because there’s tons of sound material that isn’t genre specific, it seems likely that Sounds.com will appeal to some people who haven’t bothered with loop or sample content before.
Native Instruments have talked a lot lately about reaching more customers. Here, they offer a fair amount of tools in a completely free, unpaid tier. You don’t even need an account to start poking around and previewing. But a free account nets you some selected free downloads.
US$9.99 a month gets you an all-you-can-eat diet of unlimited downloads of whatever you want. (This is the US-specific one for now; the free tier already works worldwide.) Even if you cancel and re-up, those downloads reappear… just in case you have a habit of not backing up and dropping beers on your hard drives.
There’s an underlying technical competency story here, though. In addition to investing over the past year in the cloud and products team, NI has been quietly over time developing in-house expertise in what’s called Music Information Retrieval. Basically, that’s the somewhat arcane research field of developing algorithms that identify sounds and metadata more clearly. This stuff has been bouncing around Europe for years, but it tends to involve stuffy academic contexts and music industry.
The twist here is, some of that “MIR” business can turn out to be, well, fun and useful to you and me. NI tells CDM these algorithms are sharp enough to analyze the difference between a closed and an open high hat. With a bunch of other built-in intelligence about metadata and tagging and the like, this could mean you actually find the sounds you want. We’ll need some time to test that, and because an online service like this both develop over time and can learn from additional data, it’s something that may well evolve.
But yeah, instead of training Facebook how to serve you ads, you might soon instead be training Native Instruments how to identify and find sounds. (It’s fitting we’re exploring machine learning as a topic this year with our hacklab for CTM Festival Berlin.)
And honing in on individual sounds is part of the mission. Thanks to better search tools, you’ll quickly find you can even ignore genre classification and search however you want – including key, BPM, and other sonic characteristics. There are also tools for grouping by artist/producer and label. (Some of those appear to be set to develop over time.)
With its direct access to one-shots and more left-field options, plus a visual waveform preview and lots of metadata, Sounds.com resembles nothing if not long-running platform https://freesound.org/ – more than something like the Beatport Sounds section. (As far as content, I can’t imagine freesound stacking up to this any more than I can imagine Sounds.com replacing freesound. Case in point: as I write this, freesound has as its sound of the day “procesión de la borriquita” –the procession of the donkey – from the first week of Easter in Tarifa, Spain. Still, the interface and some of the appeal do overlap.)
Lots of familiar sound design houses and artists are there – here’s the legendary Hank Shocklee, who’s been a continuous inspiration in technology for us.
Sounds.com is quick and easy enough that I imagine this could be a huge amount of fun. I’m not a huge fan of soundware, and even I started thinking of how to use this. Hello, Maschine Audio device.
What does this mean for sound creators?
Native Instruments, particularly through their flagship sampler KONTAKT and more recently their NKS format, have always been a platform and reseller for independent sound designers. Now, they actually have a working online platform to do that. NI are promising creators a fluid means to upload and manage their content, as well as a potential commercial opportunity.
The subscription model I imagine could also be disruptive if your business model was based on the à la carte release approach, but we’ll also have to see if these two models reach different customers (and accordingly supply different kinds of content). Consuming sound content for production also isn’t quite the same as consuming albums for listening, even if the buy/subscribe model here is a parallel.
Also, NI say their longer range plan is to provide an open API, also suggesting new developer integrations in music products not made by NI – first to select partners later this year, and then more broadly as they collect user and developer feedback.
What’s the bigger picture at Native Instruments?
Sounds.com has developed over the past year under the leadership of NI’s new “Chief Digital Officer,” Matthew Adell. Adell has experience at Napster and Amazon – and at Beatport. During his tenure, Beatport launched their Sounds section, which then saw explosive growth.
Now, the important thing here is, yes, there’s the specific product Sounds.com – but there’s also the team that built it and the plumbing they created to make it work. Adell confirmed to CDM that this is just a beginning.
More left-field and independent creations show up here, too. Here’s Detroit Underground with Marshall Applewhite. That’s an important story, as well, as it means this service is about NI’s ecosystem of sound creators, not just the sounds from NI themselves (though those are there, of course).
In addition to releases, you can find sounds individually, by collection, or here – again with label Detroit Underground – by provider. There’s no navigation to find them directly apart from search yet.
I hope that’s the case, because it could make the experience of using NI software significantly better.
Let’s back up and consider the user. We’re already essentially using NI as an online service provider, it’s just that they don’t behave much like one.
You’re a producer, and you’re using Maschine and Komplete. Right now, not even all upgrades and sound content are available in Native Update. Buying and upgrading is … well, complicated. And then storing and accessing your own sounds is often a chore.
Could this MIR stuff help you find and tag your own sounds and snapshots? Well, heck yes – especially because my guess is you’re even less likely to be organized about tagging and organizing your own files. (I’ve seen musicians’ hard drives. A lot of you are … let’s say right brain dominant. “Messy as #$*&” also fits.)
Cue points in Traktor that show up everywhere? Well, now there’s plumbing to make that happen (this appeared briefly in an iPad app, then disappeared right as we said we liked it).
Synchronized Reaktor Blocks ensembles and snapshots? Why not? (The free VCV Rack is already working on that.)
I’d love to use sophisticated sync and MIR technologies to locate and share my sounds and parameters. But it remains to be seen whether this modern approach from the online team in Los Angeles will be able to wrangle the complex web of different products and code that a lot of us use in Komplete and the like.
Sounds.com is recipient of some of the recent funding NI acquired, but its gestation started before that funding, NI say – so we’ll see how this unfolds later this year. Pro software and especially hardware products have much longer development cycles, so expect some of these fruits to appear later.
In the meanwhile, this is an encouraging step – and you’ve got some sounds to play with.
http://sounds.com [public beta; login available only from the USA but preview features available to all]
Regroover opens up new ways of transforming sounds and remixing materials, as powered by machine learning. Here’s how you can try that out, for free.
CDM got the chance to partner with developer Accusonus to help introduce this way of working. And it is a somewhat new approach: you’re separating audio components from rhythmic material, starting with a stereo file. It’s new enough that you might not immediately know where to begin.
So, to get you started, we’ve collaborated on a tutorial and a sound pack.
Then, the trick is really understanding the different creative possibilities of Regroover’s toolset. I put together a video – the challenge to myself being really to take a generic sound and do something new with it. I usually ignore all those loops that come with music software, but here it wound up being useful. Sure, I could have programmed my own loop here from scratch, but by working with Regroover, I got to chop up the groove/rhythmic feel and sounds themselves, independent of one another.
Here’s a fast step-by-step walkthrough of the interface:
First, to load the sound pack we’re giving you, choose “load project.” Then navigate to your download, which is grouped by different kits and loops (yeah, there’s a lot of stuff in there).
Second, check tempo settings. Sometimes it’s necessary to halve or double the detected bpm, just as in other time stretching tools. Also, you need to manually sync to the host tempo any time it changes – that’s because it takes a moment for those machine learning-powered algorithms to analyze the file.
You may want to transform the default analysis. The “split” tool allows for some creative manipulation of the number of layers, and how dense different layers are.
Not all Regroover manipulations have to be radical. You can start out just by emphasizing or de-mphasizing portions of the loop – adjusting its relative amplitude and mid/side and left/right panning. I suspect some of you will be happy just making subtle modifications to loops and otherwise leaving them as-is; if you don’t change the tempo, those will sound fairly close to the original. But this is still really different than the usual EQ and compression tools available to you.
As I demonstrate in the video, you can create polyrhythms inside an existing loop by adjusting in and out point on each layer. Again, that’s normally impossible with a stereo audio mix.
You can pull out individual portions of a sound by double-clicking, then dragging a selection. From there, you can drag and drop either into Regroover’s own sampler facility, or back into a host/DAW like Ableton Live.
You may want to check out Regroover’s built-in sampler tools. You’ll find all the usual facilities for amplitude envelope and so on, and you can create a playable pad of sounds you’ve extracted from a loop.
Exclusive CDM sound pack
Just for you, we’ve got a sound pack entitled “Hyper Abstract Electronica.” It’s the work of London/Surrey artist Aneek Thapar, who has an extensive resume in mixing, mastering, and teaching, and has also worked with Novation and Ninja Tune’s iOS/Android remix app Ninja Jamm.
Aneek created something that’s really special, I think, in that it seems perfectly suited to creative abuse inside Regroover. Putting the two together makes this feel almost like a unique instrument.
Aneek clearly thinks of it that way. Watch what happens when he controls it with gestures and the Leap Motion (plus Ableton Push):
The pack is free; we’ll add you to our respective newsletters (which have opt-out options, of course).
I am actually really, really interested if people make any music with this, so please don’t be shy and do send us tracks if you come up with something. (If you aren’t ready to invest, of course, you’ve got a nice 14-day deadline to keep you productive!) I’ll share any really good ones with readers.
Soundtoys are on a short list of the best plug-in developers out there. Now through Nov. 22, you get their model of the classic EMT 140 plate, for free.
That seems a little dangerous. The EMT 140 is a versatile enough plate that … it’s tough sometimes to use anything else. There’s an exceptionally good set of models from Universal Audio I use all the time, which have three different plate models included. But the Soundtoys rendition is good enough to use right alongside, thanks to some clever design additions.
There’s delay times up to infinite reverb, for one. (There’s your next ambient project, sorted.)
And doubly useful, since the 140 was never intended to go beyond five seconds, there’s also a crucial mod switch that fattens up and varies those reflections.
This plus an all-important low cut filter.
I’m obligated to tell you that while this is free, it does require an ilok.com account. Don’t panic, though – those have been far more reliable these days. You don’t need a dongle, and very often ilok is more convenient and responsive than third-party plug-in developers rolling their own authentication systems (depending on the case). Of course, it’s up to you.
Teenage Engineering’s PO-32 is a powerful drum synth, literally in a calculator form factor. Now you can learn more – and update its sounds – from YouTube.
I do mean literally install sounds from YouTube. You see, the PO-32 uses a bizarre and clever update mechanism where it can absorb signals from sounds – meaning you can play the video and load sounds onto the hardware, a bit like those evil alien hypnosis tricks in old scifi movies.
Teenage Engineering and their PO-32 we already knew were great – and the hardware is well under a hundred bucks. But it takes the singular epic powers of music technologist Jakob Haq for us to unlock still more greatness.
First, the “EPIC” (his words, though I agree) review + tutorial:
Next, get some sounds. There’s The haQ attaQ TeQno TroniQ drum pack, for instance, with 16 new sounds and 4 “techno type” pattern chains:
But there’s more. As of this writing, he’s got a playlist with some seven sound banks, by genre. Good stuff: