A bass and drum machine, inside your KORG hardware, with Sinevibes’ Groove plugin

What if I told you you could take a KORG keyboard – or even the ultra-cheap NTS-1 – and add a bass and drum machine, just by downloading a file? Sinevibes’ Artemiy Pavlov has been raving about the possibility of KORG’s platform. Now he’s realizing it.

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Op-ed: KORG has transformed synthesizers by letting them run plug-ins, says Sinevibes

No new ideas in synthesizers? Not so, says independent developer Artemiy Pavlov. He was excited enough about KORG’s direction that he’s written about why he thinks it changes music tech for the better.

The Ukraine-based coder who releases under his Sinevibes brand is someone we’ve followed on CDM for some years, as a source of very elegant Mac-only plug-ins. Making those tools for one company’s piece of hardware (one that isn’t Apple) is a new direction. But that’s what he’s done with KORG’s ‘logue plug-in architecture, which now runs on the minilogue xd and prologue keyboards, as well as the $100 NTS-1 kit. As long as you’ve got the hardware, you can run oscillators, filters, and effects from third-party developers like Sinevibes – or even grab the SDK and make your own, if you’re a coder.

Now, of course Artemiy is biased – but that’s kind of the point. What’s biased his one-man dev operation is that he’s clearly had a really great experience developing for KORG’s synths, from coding and testing, to turning it into a business.

This is not a KORG advertisement, even if it sounds like one. I actually didn’t even tell them it’s coming, apart from mentioning something was inbound to KORG’s Etienne Noreau-Hebert, chief analog engineer. But because it impacts both interested musicians and developers, I thought it was worth getting Artemiy’s perspective directly.

So here’s Artemiy on that – and I think this does offer some hope to those wanting new directions for electronic musical instruments. This is labeled “Op Ed” for a reason – I don’t necessarily agree with all of it – but I think it’s a unique perspective, not only in regards to KORG hardware but the potential for the industry and musicians of this sort of embedded development, generally. -Ed.

Artemiy diagrams the idea here.

In early 2018, for its 50th anniversary, Korg introduced the prologue. It wasn’t just a great-sounding synthesizer with shiny, polished-metal looks. It introduced a whole new technical paradigm that has brought a tectonic shift to the whole music hardware and software industry.

Korg has since taken the concept of “plug-ins in mainstream hardware synths” further to much more compact and affordable minilogue xd and Nu:Tekt NTS-1, proving that it’s more serious about this than even I myself thought.

If you thought the platform just lets you load custom wavetables and store effect presets, you have no idea how much you’ve been missing! This is also for those who have been waiting for something that really looks to the future – and for anyone wanting to scale down their rig while scaling up their sonic palette. For me, as a control freak, I can now imagine new features from the moment I touched the synth – even though it’s someone else’s product. 

Here are five ways Korg’s plugin-capable synths completely change the game for all of us, described both as before and after:

Artemiy explains this as a meme.

1. Personalization

Before. When you buy a synthesizer, all the features inside are what the manufacturer decided it should have. Each customer gets the exact same thing – same features, same sound.

After. With Korg’s hardware plugin architecture, the “custom” is finally back to “customer” – as you can configure the oscillator and the effect engines to your liking, and make your instrument unique. Fill it with the exact plugins you want, make it tailored to your own style. You have 48 plugin slots available, and chances are nobody else on the planet configures them the way you do.

2. Versatility

Before. While we do have digital and analog instruments with very capable synthesis and processing engines, to really get into more unusual or experimental sonic territory, you almost certainly need extra outboard gear – often a lot of it, which means more to transport and wire up.

After. The plug-ins now allow you to expand the stock generation and processing capabilities way beyond the “traditional” stuff, and have a whole powerhouse inside a single instrument. Just by switching from preset to preset, you can have the synthesizer dramatically shift its character, much as if you were switching from one hardware setup to another. Much less gear to carry, less things to go wrong, literally zero setup time.

Here’s what I mean, just with currently-available plug-ins. How about a sound-on-sound looper, or a self-randomizing audio repeater, right inside your synth?

And how about running unorthodox digital synthesis methods, in parallel with a purely analog subtractive one?

3. Independence

Before. With almost all gear, you are completely at the mercy of the manufacturer regarding what’s available for your instrument (aside from sound packs which still obviously can only use the stock features).

After. Not only you decide which engines your synth has, cherry-picking sound generation and processing plugins from independent developers, but you can also grab the SDK and build whatever you want yourself. [Ed. See below for some notes on just how easy that is.]

4. Longevity

Before. While some manufacturers might update their instruments with some major features from time to time, to be brutally honest, most won’t. Typically, just a couple years after initial release, you can consider the feature set in your synthesizer frozen… forever.

After. At any time in the future, you can erase some or even all the plug-ins on your synth and install different ones. So it can stay fresh and interesting for years or even decades, without you having to buy new hardware to get a new sound. The scale of your capabilities will actually only keep increasing as the selection of third-party plugins continues growing.

For example, say you have two different live projects. A single instrument can now represent two entirely different sets of sounds, using plugins and presets. In just a couple of minutes you can fully clean your Korg and reload it with a whole new “sonic personality” – no installers to run, no activation hassle, just transfer and go.

5. Range

Before. High-end features almost always command high-end prices, or a high level of coding experience to be able to work with that open-source firmware (in the rare cases when it’s actually available).

After. The ticket price for entry into this world of user-configurable synthesizers is Korg’s tiny and super-affordable monophonic Nu:Tekt NTS-1 (around $100), and it still has 48 plug-in slots just like its bigger brothers. Speaking of the bigger brothers, at the other end of the range we have the flagship 8- or 16-voice polyphonic prologue ($1500-2000), and 4-voice minilogue xd in both keyboard and desktop versions ($600-650). There’s now a plug-in-capable synth for everyone.

Which KORG do you want?

So, which one to choose? Each of the models has its unique advantages and unique ways it can integrate into your existing setup – or create a totally new one. [Ed. I’ve confirmed previously with KORG that all three of these models is equally capable of running this plug-in architecture. There’s also the fourth developer board that Artemiy doesn’t mention, though at this point you’re likely to get the NTS-1.]

NTS-1 is probably the most quirky of the lot, but is also surprisingly versatile for its tiny size. First, it can be easily powered off any portable battery, and second, it has a stereo input that lets you run any external audio through up to three different plugin effects, silently making it “the stompbox of your dreams.” 

The mid-range minilogue xd doesn’t have an external input, but does have a very compact and portable body, and a note sequencer. The sequencer can be used together with the arpeggiator for extra-long evolving melodies, but also has 4 parameter automation tracks – with all this data stored per each preset.

The key feature of range-topping prologue, aside from its incredibly pleasant-to-play keybed and sleek all-metal controls, is the fact that each of its presets can be constructed out of two completely separate, split, or layered patches – meaning that you can load two oscillator plugins at the same time.

Developers, developers, developers

How easy is it to develop your own Korg plugin?

First of all, I can tell you that running my own algorithms on a hardware synth was something I have dreamed of for years. Apart from a very unlikely collaboration with the manufacturer, or digging deep into someone’s rare open-source firmware, I figured the chances of actually doing that were zero.

Luckily, Korg has made it so much easier for me and you, that you would almost be guilty for not giving coding your own little plug-in a go. Allow me to give you a first-person example of what it took to get started.

Korg’s loque-SDK is a collection of source code files and a toolchain that runs via the command line in the terminal app. For each type of plug-in, Korg provides a sample – there’s a simple sine oscillator, there’s a delay, a filter, etc. – and the best way for you to start is modify one of them slightly.

You don’t need to do much. For example, make the sine oscillator produce a mix of two sines, one running an octave above the other. You’d simply multiply the second sin() function’s argument by 2 and add it to the first one — that’s it. That’s exactly what I did, and I was hooked instantly.

Now you build the plugin using the “make” command, and install the file onto whichever of the synthesizers in the family you have. You do that via its “sound librarian” companion app into which you simply drag and drop your plugin while the synth is connected via USB. 

https://github.com/korginc/logue-sdk

Now go

All this said, I hope this has changed how you look at Korg’s plugin-capable synthesizer architecture. Because, and I am really confident when I say this, Korg did go and change the whole industry with it.

https://www.sinevibes.com

https://www.sinevibes.com/korg/

minilogue + logue SDK

prologue + logue SDK

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Eventide’s iOS effects are quietly becoming must-have tools

Without anyone really making much fuss about it, we suddenly live in an age when we can run effects more or less however we want.

Eventide is a company known for hardware first. But they’ve taken that DSP power and moved it to a variety of platforms. So you can buy a reverb box, or a whole advanced studio rack, or you can buy something like the H9 that’s a stompbox-style pedal that runs whatever effects you like. Or you can buy desktop plug-ins – outright or by subscription.

The breakthrough is that Eventide have quietly taken some of their best-known effects and offered them as iOS apps. They run both on iPad and on iPhone (with a single app purchase). They’re not the cheapest effects out there, but they’re vastly more affordable as apps – enough so that you could buy a midrange new iPad and these apps and still save some money versus a lot of comparable hardware.

Wait – doesn’t that threaten Eventide’s business model? Well, no – recent years have shown that the trend has gone somewhere else, that delivering software renditions may actually generate more demand for hardware. (Look at the free modular platform VCV Rack and giveaways from Eurorack manufacturers like Befaco and Erica Synths for an example of how that dynamic can play out.)

The truth is, once you know an effect, you can be comfortable using it in multiple contexts.

Anyway, these apps are terrifically useful on the go. They’re great if you’re playing with iPad or iPhone synths and generators and want to add effects – including if you’re familiar with the desktop renditions. And they make nice try-before-you-buy versions of these tools if you’re thinking of investing in hardware.

Let’s review what’s out there. There are now some five effects apps, and the stable is growing. (There’s also a controller app for the H9 stompbox.)

iTunes links / US prices:

Blackhole Reverb, the company’s signature “ambient” reverb, is vital for all sorts of creative sound designs – or just making enormous synthetic sonic caverns for your sound. US$19.99.

Ultratap Delay is one of the more unique multi-tap delays around, capable of various sounds from futuristic elaborate echoes to more conventional reverbs. (In fact, I keep replacing other tools with this one in the plug-in version.) US$14.99

Also – galloping. Like a horse. Well, listen. (Note that I can just swap to other Eventide videos – it’s the same algorithms under the hood.

MangledVerb is newer and perhaps deserves more attention – combining Eventide’s wild reverb with distortion is a genius idea. You can launch something into space and then… destroy that space. I already loved it as a plug-in, but it’s suddenly logical to have that ribbon with touch. US$14.99.

Rotary Mod is a strong Leslie speaker emulation, but since you can now run whatever you want through it, has loads of other instrumental and production applications, too. US$7.99.

MicroPitch is a fine resolution pitch shifter and harmonizer, based on the H3000. But like the others here, it’s also a creative instrument, and Eventide is all about this world of delays and pitch shifting that inevitably leads to an “I just fell into a wormhole” trip. Just trust me on this – grab it, turn some knobs. US$9.99.

Blackhole Reverb is the one most people might be inclined to go for, but I might suggest even starting with MicroPitch to get the hang of Eventide’s pitch world – and MangledVerb to work with a unique reverb. All of these are exceptionally good, though.

Just having these around makes the iOS ecosystem more powerful – but you could also toss these on an iPad and use them in the studio. They’re a perfect fit for Eventide’s performance-oriented, exploration-minded controls.

I think the lesson for the larger industry is the potential use of making DSP algorithms so flexible. Even with so-called “cloud-based” services and whatnot, I can’t think of another effect maker that currently offers this kind of choice across platforms. It’ll be interesting to see whether Eventide remains that edge case or if others try something similar.

But for the mangled/delay addiction, well, you can sort of never get enough.

https://www.eventideaudio.com

I’ve been meaning to talk about this for a while; it’ll be funny if I wake up to a new Eventide app tomorrow after doing it.

What about you – how are you managing the various Eventide plug-in and hardware and now app options? Do you swap between those platforms? Got favorite iOS effects apps of your own – and maybe I missed something and there are others doing cross-platform work like this? Let us know in comments.

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NAMM 2019: Korg Volca Drum – Machinedrum ähnliche digitale Percussion im Kleinformat

Korg Volca Drum Digital Percussion Synthesizer Close UpKorg Volca Drum Digital Percussion Synthesizer Close Up

Korg hat nicht nur den (bereits geleakte) neuen Volca Modular pünktlich vor der NAMM 2019 fertiggestellt, sondern auch noch das Volca Drum. Es spezialisiert sich auf die typisch „synthetischen“ Klänge von digitalen Drummachines, kann aber ein wenig mehr. Es erzeugt Sounds nicht analog oder via PCM-Samples, sondern berechnet via DSP – das gibt eine Latte an Möglichkeiten.

Eigentlich ist die Idee auch für Korg nicht neu, denn die Electribe R war genau das, eine digitale Drummachine, die aber die klassischen Drum-Modelle an Bord hat. Es gibt 6 Drumsounds, die allesamt synthetisch sind. Es erinnert an Elektrons Machinedrum, auch weil es sogar ein richtiges Display gibt, welches Wellenformen und mehr darstellt. Ein Drumsound besteht generell aus einem Rauschanteil und einem tonalen Part und die kann man hier entsprechend einstellen. Dafür gibt es drei Potis für den Klang selbst und weitere für Hüllkurven der jeweiligen Anteile der Sounds wie etwa der Snare.

Der 16-Step-Sequencer animiert die sechs Sounds und damit ist der Drum das Gegenstück zur Sample-Volca oder der Microtonic unter den Volcas. Auch vorher gab es ja eine analoge Drummachine bei den Volcas, den „Beats“, aber der ist eher wie ein klassischer Drumcomputer aufgebaut mit wenigen Einstellmöglichkeiten und erinnert eher an die MFB Drummachines, als diese noch sehr klein und blau waren. Die Erzeugung ist aber nicht nur mit Filter oder Oszillator in der einfachen Form vorhanden, es gibt durchaus auch noch Wavefolding für mehr Obertöne. Es sind schon ganze Drum-Modelle, so ähnlich wie Elektrons „Machines“. Wie auch immer man sie nennt, sie sind alle nicht neu, nur sind sie in einer Volca neu. Die Preise stehen nicht endgültig fest, man kann aber mit unter 199 Euro rechnen.

Korg Volca Drum

Korg Volca Drum Digital Percussion Synthesizer

Mehr Infos

Videos

NAMM 2019: Korg Volca Drum – Machinedrum ähnliche digitale Percussion im Kleinformat

Korg Volca Drum Digital Percussion Synthesizer Close UpKorg Volca Drum Digital Percussion Synthesizer Close Up

Korg hat nicht nur den (bereits geleakte) neuen Volca Modular pünktlich vor der NAMM 2019 fertiggestellt, sondern auch noch das Volca Drum. Es spezialisiert sich auf die typisch „synthetischen“ Klänge von digitalen Drummachines, kann aber ein wenig mehr. Es erzeugt Sounds nicht analog oder via PCM-Samples, sondern berechnet via DSP – das gibt eine Latte an Möglichkeiten.

Eigentlich ist die Idee auch für Korg nicht neu, denn die Electribe R war genau das, eine digitale Drummachine, die aber die klassischen Drum-Modelle an Bord hat. Es gibt 6 Drumsounds, die allesamt synthetisch sind. Es erinnert an Elektrons Machinedrum, auch weil es sogar ein richtiges Display gibt, welches Wellenformen und mehr darstellt. Ein Drumsound besteht generell aus einem Rauschanteil und einem tonalen Part und die kann man hier entsprechend einstellen. Dafür gibt es drei Potis für den Klang selbst und weitere für Hüllkurven der jeweiligen Anteile der Sounds wie etwa der Snare.

Der 16-Step-Sequencer animiert die sechs Sounds und damit ist der Drum das Gegenstück zur Sample-Volca oder der Microtonic unter den Volcas. Auch vorher gab es ja eine analoge Drummachine bei den Volcas, den „Beats“, aber der ist eher wie ein klassischer Drumcomputer aufgebaut mit wenigen Einstellmöglichkeiten und erinnert eher an die MFB Drummachines, als diese noch sehr klein und blau waren. Die Erzeugung ist aber nicht nur mit Filter oder Oszillator in der einfachen Form vorhanden, es gibt durchaus auch noch Wavefolding für mehr Obertöne. Es sind schon ganze Drum-Modelle, so ähnlich wie Elektrons „Machines“. Wie auch immer man sie nennt, sie sind alle nicht neu, nur sind sie in einer Volca neu. Die Preise stehen nicht endgültig fest, man kann aber mit unter 199 Euro rechnen.

Korg Volca Drum

Korg Volca Drum Digital Percussion Synthesizer

Mehr Infos

Videos

Strymon’s Volante is a new, lush-sounding magnetic echo FX pedal

Strymon have already made a name for themselves in luxe effects hardware and pedals, including classic effects and reverbs like the BigSky. Volante moves into what’s likely to be hit territory – modeling magnetic tape loops and effects.

There are three tools in one here: magnetic delay, spring reverb, and a tape-style looper. It basically takes a bunch of things you’d do in a studio (back when studios did stuff with tape) — and crams that into a little box.

And it sounds great (Matt Piper here shares this music he made):

What’s inside:

Tape delay: four playback heads with feedback, panning, and level for each.

Make tape-style looping: reverse, pause, splice, infinite repeat

Selectable models: drum echo, tape echo, studio reel-to-reel, with different sound characteristics

And still more control: choose low cut, mechanics, and wear, plus an input you can adjust (so crank it for extra tape saturation)

Stereo in and out

Foot friendly: tap tempo and even choose favorite settings with your foot, plus add an expression pedal if you like

MIDI in/out with full MIDI mapping of parameters and program changes

USB MIDI

Strymon also promise premium audio fidelity, both on the analog front end and the digital conversion inside. And they build these in the USA.

It’s also a sign of the times: independent hardware is doing increasingly processor-heavy stuff. But just as the computer capacity has expanded, so has hardware – and more realistic emulations of nonlinear analog equipment is the result. This is still DSP-based, not ARM, for those interested – it’s a SHARC DSP – but those chips have grown in capability, too.

More:

https://www.strymon.net/products/volante/

US$399, preorder only for now (30-60 days out).

Detailed look:

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Cherry Audio Voltage Modular: a full synth platform, open to developers

Hey, hardware modular – the computer is back. Cherry Audio’s Voltage Modular is another software modular platform. Its angle: be better for users — and now, easier and more open to developers, with a new free tool.

Voltage Modular was shown at the beginning of the year, but its official release came in September – and now is when it’s really hitting its stride. Cherry Audio’s take certainly isn’t alone; see also, in particular, Softube Modular, the open source VCV Rack, and Reason’s Rack Extensions. Each of these supports live patching of audio and control signal, hardware-style interfaces, and has rich third-party support for modules with a store for add-ons. But they’re all also finding their own particular take on the category. That means now is suddenly a really nice time for people interested in modular on computers, whether for the computer’s flexibility, as a supplement to hardware modular, or even just because physical modular is bulky and/or out of budget.

So, what’s special about Voltage Modular?

Easy patching. Audio and control signals can be freely mixed, and there’s even a six-way pop-up multi on every jack, so each jack has tons of routing options. (This is a computer, after all.)

Each jack can pop up to reveal a multi.

It’s polyphonic. This one’s huge – you get true polyphony via patch cables and poly-equipped modules. Again, you know, like a computer.

It’s open to development. There’s now a free Module Designer app (commercial licenses available), and it’s impressively easy to code for. You write DSP in Java, and Cherry Audio say they’ve made it easy to port existing code. The app also looks like it reduces a lot of friction in this regard.

There’s an online store for modules – and already some strong early contenders. You can buy modules, bundles, and presets right inside the app. The mighty PSP Audioware, as well as Vult (who make some of my favorite VCV stuff) are already available in the store.

There’s an online store for free and paid add-ons – modules and presets. But right now, a hundred bucks gets you started with a bunch of stuff right out of the gate.

Voltage Modular is a VST/AU/AAX plug-in and runs standalone. And it supports 64-bit double-precision math with zero-latency module processes – but, impressively in our tests, isn’t so hard on your CPU as some of its rivals.

Right now, Voltage Modular Core + Electro Drums are on sale for just US$99.

Real knobs and patch cords are fun, but … let’s be honest, this is a hell of a lot of fun, too.

For developers

So what about that development side, if that interests you? Well, Apple-style, there’s a 70/30 split in developers’ favor. And it looks really easy to develop on their platform:

Java may be something of a bad word to developers these days, but I talked to Cherry Audio about why they chose it, and it definitely makes some sense here. Apart from being a reasonably friendly language, and having unparalleled support (particularly on the Internet connectivity side), Java solves some of the pitfalls that might make a modular environment full of third-party code unstable. You don’t have to worry about memory management, for one. I can also imagine some wackier, creative applications using Java libraries. (Want to code a MetaSynth-style image-to-sound module, and even pull those images from online APIs? Java makes it easy.)

Just don’t think of “Java” as in legacy Java applications. Here, DSP code runs on a Hotspot virtual machine, so your DSP is actually running as machine language by the time it’s in an end user patch. It seems Cherry have also thought through GUI: the UI is coded natively in C++, while you can create custom graphics like oscilloscopes (again, using just Java on your side). This is similar to the models chosen by VCV and Propellerhead for their own environments, and it suggests a direction for plug-ins that involves far less extra work and greater portability. It’s no stretch to imagine experienced developers porting for multiple modular platforms reasonably easily. Vult of course is already in that category … and their stuff is so good I might almost buy it twice.

Or to put that in fewer words: the VM can match or even best native environments, while saving developers time and trouble.

Cherry also tell us that iOS, Linux, and Android could theoretically be supported in the future using their architecture.

Of course, the big question here is installed user base and whether it’ll justify effort by developers, but at least by reducing friction and work and getting things rolling fairly aggressively, Cherry Audio have a shot at bypassing the chicken-and-egg dangers of trying to launch your own module store. Plus, while this may sound counterintuitive, I actually think that having multiple players in the market may call more attention to the idea of computers as modular tools. And since porting between platforms isn’t so hard (in comparison to VST and AU plug-in architectures), some interested developers may jump on board.

Well, that and there’s the simple matter than in music, us synth nerds love to toy around with this stuff both as end users and as developers. It’s fun and stuff. On that note:

Modulars gone soft

Stay tuned; I’ve got this for testing and will let you know how it goes.

https://cherryaudio.com/voltage-modular

https://cherryaudio.com/voltage-module-designer

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Universal Audio just made their interfaces into a live vocoder, more

Why would you want near-zero latency on an effect? Well, maybe you want to run something like a vocoder – and that means the latest addition to Universal Audio’s offerings is a big deal.

Universal Audio continues churning out software updates with new analog emulations and other add-ons to buy; 2018 has been a huge year for them. But those effects often don’t come cheap, and they are tied to UA’s own hardware. So one of the selling points of working that way has been that UA offers near-zero latencies, letting you track through those effects. That is, plug-ins are great – until you need real-time performance, since they can add loads of latency.

This is meaningless, of course, if you’re just applying effects to recordings after the fact. But a vocoder is an entirely different story, so I suspect that the new vocoder included in this month’s UA update will matter to a lot of people.

Interesting, UA are so locked in the studio paradigm that they say you’ll want to “track” through the vocoder – record while monitoring. But I imagine this vocoder may find its way onstage. Lots of vocalists perform with laptops for greater flexibility, and the UA vocoder has real-time MIDI and keyboard control.

The new Vocoder comes from Softube, those Swedish masters of emulation, who have made themselves a big name both as a provider to UA and as an independent vendor (including with their own native platform, though it doesn’t provide the same real-time possibilities).

The result is a vocoder that looks promising in the studio and onstage. I need to test this, so disclaimer – this isn’t a review. But here’s what they’re promising.

Any vocoder is a combination of synth and vocal input, by default. Here, you get an emulation of an analog polysynth, and then a number of unique tools specific to this offering.

  • 12-voice polyphonic “carrier” synth (that’s the synth you’ll combine with your vocals)
  • Analog synth emulation
  • Four waveform types, pitch modulation, pulse width modulation (and octave and attack/decay controls)
  • Variable bands – 4-, 8-, 12-, 16-, and 20-band modes – for simpler retro “robotic” effects to richer, modern digital vocoder styles
  • Resynthesis parameters – emphasis, spectral tilt (which adjusts how you shift between frequencies), shape, and parallel bend controls
  • MIDI control of notes and chords (also available from their built-in keyboard onscreen if you don’t have a MIDI source handy)
  • Synced freeze function – so you can capture a snippet of sound, and then use different clock divisions synced to a DAW or MIDI source

“Freeze” a snippet of sound, then manipulate that freeze in sync with your DAW or a MIDI source, with various clock division options.

Spectral controls give you more contemporary sounds, retro robot sounds, or anything in between.

And yeah, you can use this on vocals if you’re a terrible singer. You can use it if you’re a great singer. You can use it on things that aren’t vocals (hello, drums). And so on. Here are some nice tips from their even nicer studio:

This wasn’t the only addition to UA’s latest software. See also an AMS Neve console built especially for emulating the desk preferred by big budget Hollywood productions. That gives you the whole console strip you’d find at, say, Skywalker Sound – with Compressor, Limiter, Expander, Gate, and Dynamic EQ, plus four-band parametric EQ. Will it make you sound more Hollywood? No idea. Will it give you a psychological boost to try? Probably.

https://www.uaudio.com/uad-plugins/channel-strips/ams-neve-dfc-channel-strip.html

AMS Neve DFC Channel Strip.

And also in this release, they’re unveiling the first-ever authorized emulation of the legendary Lexicon 480L. If you don’t know that 80s-era reverb by its model number, you might know it from its beige case and faders – it’s one of the more recognizable effects in history. Being authorized in this case matters, because they were able to derive the results directly from the original’s firmware. (Oh yeah – digital means a “model” can be very accurate indeed.) And again, you can use this live. First thing I would do would be to map some faders to those parameters.

Lexicon 480L – the original hardware.

https://www.uaudio.com/uad-plugins/reverbs/lexicon-480l-digital-reverb-effects.html

9.7 additionally includes an emulation of the Suhr SE100 tube amp, plus from Brainworx the bx_masterdesk Classic chain.

But I do think the vocoder will be the one that gets people’s attention, because everyone —

Oh, no, I’m going to be interrupted by Robert Henke again.

More:

https://www.uaudio.com/uad-plugins/special-processing/softube-vocoder.html

(PS, if it’s an Auto-Tune effect you’re after, they also have a real-time edition of Antares’ Auto-Tune.)

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Behringers Suche nach Synth-Neuland: Angriff auf die Digitalen und Hybriden?

Behringer DigitalBehringer Digital

Behringer sucht nach eigenen Angaben „Spezialisten für FPGA Programmierung“. Damit sind sie dann offensichtlich noch ganz am Anfang, aber …

Angesichts der nicht mehr so breiten Palette von digitalen Synthesizern und dem großen Analog-Trend muss etwas kommen. Waldorf hat sich den Kyra an Bord geholt, den früheren Valkyrie von einem exzellenten Coder aus UK. Wie man auch an Software-Synthesizern hören kann, ist die Qualität solcher Synthesizer, die nicht zwingend Simulanten sind, sehr unterschiedlich und trägt stark die Handschrift von Individualisten. So klingt Arturia-Software nicht immer genau so wie das Original. Sie ist aber brauchbar und hochwertig, während U-He, Creamware schon vor Jahren und Roland seit Start der Boutique-Serie offenbar gefunden haben, was man braucht. Wie sieht die nahe Zukunft von Behringer aus?

Behringer Digital-Synthesizer – der nächste Schritt?

Behringer arbeitet aktuell irgendwo zwischen der Herstellung beliebter Synthesizer und Neuentwicklung eigener Konzepte wie dem Neutron. Sie werden auf Dauer ihr Image verbessern wollen und auch Synthesizer auf breitere Füße stellen wollen. Dazu gehört eine gute digitale Einheit. FPGA ist nur einer von mehreren Wegen, wie man Synthesizer heute in Hardware gießen kann. Aktuell gehen viele Firmen in Richtung ARM-Chips. Die Klassiker sind hingegen auf Motorola-DSPs oder Sharcs aufgebaut. Selbst Sequential verwendet Sharcs für den Oszillator-Block des Prophet-12 , so wie es Creamware damals, später Soniccore auch versuchten.

Wenn die richtigen Leute gefunden sind oder auch nur ein guter Coder, wäre ein neues Projekt für einen Behringer Digital-Synthesizer in einem halben bis ganzen Jahr soweit, vorzeigbar zu sein. Manchmal kann es auch länger dauern. Ab da müsste man eher mit ganz neuen Maschinen rechnen können, die sicher eher nicht so stark an anderen orientieren, jedoch sich den Markt genau ansehen. Ob es für Innovationen reicht, die auch ein Wagnis darstellen, kann man auch bei positivem Blick erstmal nicht annehmen. Schließlich operiert Behringer schon sehr, sehr lange eher nahe an gut funktionierenden Konzepten.

Sie können günstig Dinge herstellen und auch hybride Synthesizer wären kein Problem. Sie wären generell günstiger als alles andere, jedoch ist die Messlatte für ein sinnvolles neues Konzept relativ hoch. Ob man eher eine Art Nord Lead, Virus oder Kyra bringt oder sich auch an ganz anderen Synthesekonzepten versucht, könnte man anhand bisheriger Produkte eher nicht erwarten. Aber wieso sollte Behringer uns nicht überraschen wollen?

Behringer stellt neue Leute ein

Behringer sucht mehrere Leute und zwar sollen diese sich laut ihrer Facebook-Information in Willich bewerben, dem klassischen deutschen Gründungsort. Ganz sicher meint man das ernst und sicher möchte man mit mehreren Leuten schnell vorankommen und vielleicht mehrere Projekte bringen. Wenn die mal gefunden sind, könnte man auch FM-Synthesizer, Mischformen wie den Fingersonic oder auch High-End-Maschinen wie den Waldorf Quantum schaffen. Aber – gut klingende Instrumente brauchen auch teilweise unkonventionell denkende Coder.

Wir tippen auf die Ergänzung der analogen Reihe, Aufwertungen der analogen Elemente über digitale Oszillatoren mit Wavetables, FM und Co. Aber auch komplett digitale Konzepte sind möglich, die aber stark an den Spezialitäten der Coder hängen werden oder, je nach Firmenstruktur, des Leitenden oder des Chefs. Die Erwartung ist daher: günstige Mischformen und digitale Konzepte mit dem Besten aus allem, was es bisher gab. Wenn wir als User die Firma unterschätzen und sie bringen sehr innovative Instrumente, dann haben sie auch die Chance auf mehr gute Karmapunkte. Vielleicht tun sie genau das (auch), lassen aber auch ein paar Klassiker auf den Stand von 2018 bringen.

Vadim is a master of the dark arts of DSP – listen to him explain filters

DSP is a secretive art form. But maybe its best-kept secret is, musicians can learn it. You just need a great teacher – and Vadim Zavalishin of Native Instruments, working in Reaktor, is a perfect place to start.

This talk is from June, but just came online – and it’s a rare chance to hear from anyone like this in the industry, let alone in a way that’s this clear and friendly from someone who’s one of the better DSP artists around. Even if you have little interest in programming, you can skim through this video and learn how Vadim made a lot of NI’s recent stuff sound better through analog-style filter modeling. But it might just get you into some casual toying about with core DSP, because Reaktor makes it easy – and Vadim makes it clear why it’s relevant to music and sound.

Some background first: Digital Signal Processing describes the transformation of sound through math, now inside your plug-ins, your hardware, and quite a lot of of Eurorack modules.

DSP is math, but the math itself often is straightforward. Take summing. You know the equation for summing signals, because it’s literally adding. That’s 1+1 adding – that one. (For years I listened to DAW programmers chuckle as people posted on forums about “summing engines,” because very often it is really the stuff you did in first grade. Well, if in first grade you used floating point numbers instead of integers, but you get the idea.)

Depending on the task in mind, of course, this can get to doctoral-level stuff instead. But if there’s only a handful of people doing DSP in audio, the reason may be that it requires overlapping expertise. You need to get the math part and the coding bits, but you also need a musical ear and a sense of art. (And you need to be willing to work with music instead of take a high-paying job for, say, the petroleum business or defense contractors.)

Music is very often about sophisticated results from simple building blocks. And so it is with DSP. DSP is a unique intersection between music, sound, science, art, and alchemy.

Then again, that’s why it could be a lot of fun to explore as a musician, and not just as an engineer. There’s not time for everything – that’s why it’s great to be able to “stand on the shoulders of giants” and use existing DSP code, and existing research, to say nothing of going out and buying a nice guitar pedal or using the modules in environments like Reaktor or SuperCollider or Max/MSP or Pd or checking out a new plug-in or soft synth or keyboard.

But Reaktor’s visual environment, structured tools, and the ability to plug your latest filter or distortion into a larger context make this software an ideal way to learn or experiment. I think it’s more fun than brewing your own beer or something, anyway, and I kill plants when I try to grow them. Filters it is.

I’m experimenting myself with Reaktor and also the lovely free FAUST environment. If anyone else is, too, let us know how it goes.

The post Vadim is a master of the dark arts of DSP – listen to him explain filters appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.