Denon DJ adds Engine Prime compatibility to MCX8000 controller

Denon DJ MCX8000 Engine PrimeDenon DJ has announced a major update to its Engine Prime software and firmware. Version 1.2.1 now enables the MCX8000 controller to be feature enhanced with Denon DJ’s standard-setting Engine Prime music management software, giving DJ’s unprecedented control over their digital music. The MCX8000 will utilize Engine Prime optimized music libraries via its USB drives, […]

Hack a Launchpad Pro into a 16-channel step sequencer, free

Novation’s Launchpad Pro is unique among controller hardware: not only does it operate in standalone mode, but it has an easy-to-modify, open source firmware. This mod lets you exploit that to transform it into a 32-step sequencer.

French musician and engineer Quentin Lamerand writes us to share his mod for Novation’s firmware. And you don’t have to be a coder to use this – you can easily install it without any coding background, which was part of the idea of opening up the firmware in the first place.

The project looks really useful. You get 16 channels (for controlling multiple sound parts or devices), plus 32-steps for longer phrases. And since the Launchpad Pro works as standalone hardware, you could use all of this without a computer. (You can output notes on either the USB port – even in standalone mode – or the MIDI DIN out port.)

You’ll need something else to supply clock – the sequencer only works in slave mode – but once you do that (hihi, drum machine), you’re good to go.

Bonus features:

  • Note input with velocity (adjustable using aftertouch on the pads)
  • Repeat notes
  • Adjustable octave
  • Setup mode with track selection, parameters, mute, clear, and MIDI thru toggle
  • Tap steps to select track length
  • Adjust step length (to 32nd, 16th, 16th note triplet, 8th, 8th note triplet, quarter, quarter note triplet, half note)
  • Rotate steps

On one hand, this is what I think most of us believe Novation should have shipped in the first place. On the other hand, look at some of those power-user features – by opening up the firmware, we get some extras the manufacturer probably wouldn’t have added. And if you are handy with some simple code, you can modify this further to get it exactly how you want.

It’s a shame, actually, that we haven’t seen more hackable tools like this. But that’s all the more reason to go grab this – especially as Launchpads Pro can be had on the cheap. (Time to dust mine off, which was the other beauty of this project!)

Go try Quentin’s work and let us know what you think:

http://faqtor.fr/launchpadpro.html

Got some hacks of your own, or inspired by this to give it a try? Definitely give a shout.

The open firmware project you’ll find on Novation’s GitHub:

https://github.com/dvhdr/launchpad-pro

More:

Hack a Grid: Novation Makes Launchpad Pro Firmware Open Source

Launchpad Pro Grid Controller: Hands-on Comprehensive Guide

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Hands-on: Roland’s #808day upgrade for the TR-8S is a blast to play

It’s a little thing, but it adds a lot when you’re playing live: STEP LOOP lets you repeat steps in a sequence as they play, without losing time. Here’s how it works, along with other updates to Roland’s TR-8S drum machine.

Roland’s version 1.10 firmware is out today, and the big new feature is called STEP LOOP. The basic idea:

Hold down a step to make it repeat.

Hold down multiple steps, and they repeat in order.

Release that step or steps, and the sequence continues in time. (LED feedback shows you that the sequence position advances even as you have steps triggered.)

STEP LOOP impacts the whole sequence, not just one part. To activate it, hold down SHIFT and INST PLAY. To exit the mode, just trigger any other sequence mode. Here is in action. Notice the visual feedback as I enter the mode, and what happens when I trigger one or more steps.

It’s hugely useful, because it lets you make fills and variations out of the existing material of a sequence – and you don’t ever drop out of time. It’s not the first drum machine to do this (the ElecTribe ES2 from KORG springs to mind, among others), but it’s hugely useful in this context. The TR-8S is already a great live performance feature, thanks to its flexible routing and I/O, ample controls, faders for volume, and the ability to load custom samples. STEP LOOP is then a perfect addition for live jamming, because it’s intuitive and rhythmic.

The TR-8S has been getting a steady stream of updates – the other huge one in 1.10 is the ability to preview samples. Here’s a reverse-chronological timeline of some of the highlights.

1.10, August 2018
STEP LOOP
Preview sound samples when you import

1.03 April 2018
Improved performance

1.02 March 2018
Batch import kits
Import and export patterns and kits
Write direct to an SD card from the computer (“Storage Mode”)

All of this fits nicely together. It’s now really quick to chop up some samples and load them onto an SD card, then import them into custom kits. That makes the TR-8S’ own onboard hardware a useful way to build your own custom kits – even preferable in some way to working with software. And the combination of STEP LOOP with other features for making custom rhythms adds tons of variety. (Use LAST to make different length parts, add sub-step rhythms for more complex patterns, and use “auto fill” to mix things up even if your hands aren’t free.)

Oh, and you can sidechain external inputs. So I’ve used the TR-8S with my laptop and Native Instruments Maschine. I use MIDI out from Maschine to keep things in sync, and route audio from the computer into the TR-8S so I can sidechain that audio with the drum machine. I’ve also played with Roland’s own AIRA VT-3 vocal transformer, which also lends itself to sidechaining. But it’s an ideal live performance box.

For more resources on the TR-8S, check out Francis Preve’s blog – he’s done a great Master Class on the instrument for Electronic Musician, plus a custom kit for you to download:

Master Class: Roland TR-8S

Previously:

Roland TR-8S hands-on: a more playable, powerful drum machine

The post Hands-on: Roland’s #808day upgrade for the TR-8S is a blast to play appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

No new products, but Roland celebrates #808day with free gear updates

Roland now routinely enjoy the fact that August 8 is “808” day. But we aren’t seeing new product announcements today as in some past years. What you get instead is a bunch of updates for existing gear. Here they are in one place so you can see what’s relevant to you.

All AIRA products – a new Web resource with free sounds. Roland have a newly redesigned AIRA website. Instead of splashy promotional things being thrown at you, you get a tidy selection of news and updates – and, importantly, a Sound Library with free patches and sound content. For now, that includes the TR-8S drum machine and SYSTEM-8 synth, but Roland tells us the site will cover the whole AIRA lineup over time. And there are some gems in there already, like polymeter stuff from live virtuoso and producer KiNK, and FM and percussion sounds that use the synth engine in the SYSTEM-8.

TR-8S / TR-8 – STEP LOOP. Firmware update 1.10 adds STEP LOOP to the TR-8S flagship (808-inspired) drum machine, plus the earlier (and more neon green) TR-8. What does it do? It repeats steps as you hold them down, including repeating multiple steps if you hold multiple steps down, and then returns to the pattern when you release the buttons. Simple feature, big results – because you can jam with variations over top of a pattern, without losing your place. (Some other drum machines have had a similar feature, so it’ll be even more welcome to those users on the TR-8/8S.) It’s easier to show than describe, so we’ll have a video hands-on later.

https://aira.roland.com/newsandtopics/new_step_loop_function_for_tr-8s/

SYSTEM-8 – JX-3P add-on. SYSTEM-8 synth owners get a nice freebie: a complete model of Roland’s 80s classic, the JX-3P, in “PLUG-OUT” form (meaning the model can be loaded directly onto the hardware).

https://aira.roland.com/newsandtopics/jx-3p_plug-out_for_system-8_now_available/

Oh yeah, and the SYSTEM-8 has been coming into its own this summer. It got an FM oscillator for a wider range of timbres, plus new filters. Now, you get a model of a great polyphonic synth for free, too. (Remember when Roland was charging for PLUG-OUT add-ons for hardware owners? Seems they’ve gotten away from that.)

It’s all in the latest update.

Speaking of the SYSTEM-8, that platform also got a boost with the US$19.99 Synthwave library, designed by our friend Francis Preve along with Jim Stout, showing off some of the retro Roland sounds you can get out of this engine. And in case you didn’t get the 80s / 90s nostalgia flowing yet, their promo video will do it for sure:

It covers the Juno-106 and Jupiter-8 engines as well the SYSTEM-8’s own original modeled synth engine. Of course, what’s nice about this is you then have access to the sounds in both software (Roland Cloud) and hardware, and then you get hands-on tweakability on the hardware – so you can start with one of these presets and then shape it a bit.

Synthwave for Roland System-8

All of this says something about value in 2018 instruments. It’s not just about the new gear when you take it out of the box, but the value over time. (See also major firmware updates lately from Novation and Elektron, among othes.) Add in the JX-3P, and maybe that sound library, and the SYSTEM-8 is really maturing into a lovely bit of kit.

The SYSTEM-8, now with JX-3P sounds on top of Juno-106 and Jupiter-8 (plus its own original engine).

And yeah, maybe some people will be disappointed about no new gear, but… that STEP LOOP. That JX-3P. Not paying for either. So, hey, like:

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MOTU audio interfaces gain Touch Console for mobile mixing

MOTU Touch ConsoleMOTU has announced it is now shipping Touch Console, a new mixing environment in its Pro Audio Control web app software specifically designed for mobile mixing on the touchscreen of a tablet or smartphone. Users launch the Pro Audio Control web app on their tablet or smartphone (iOS or Android) to access Touch Console, giving […]

PreSonus announces major StudioLive Series III update and free plug-ins

PreSonus StudioLive Series IIIPreSonus has released version 1.9 firmware for its popular StudioLive Series III digital consoles and rack mixers. The update includes enhanced support for PreSonus AVB networked products, including the EarMix 16M and NSB-series stage boxes, as well as improving mixer performance. All StudioLive Series III console and rack mixer owners are strongly encouraged to update […]

Novation Circuit 1.7 adds song mode and more, in yet another update

Every time you think, okay, that’s the last update for Novation’s Circuit – there’s another one. What started as a simply entry-level groove box continues to evolve.

Version 1.7 is out now. As with past updates, you can get it by connecting your Circuit and heading to Novation’s Web hub for content, updates, and managing your own creations, Novation Components.

Find it here:
https://components.novationmusic.com/circuit/new-pack

New in this build:

Chain patterns, make songs. It’s called “Pattern Chain Sequence,: and it lets you chain together up to 32 patterns into a chain… or even chain chains into more chains, for 16 chains of patterns, then select any order you want. You can also use this live as you play by appending patterns.

Tied/drone notes. Each step can be tied to another, all the way into long drones.

Nudge off the grid: Each step gets 1-5 ticks delay, or use Synth Micro-Nudge “create new, more complex rhythms like triplets across the beat.”

Novation Circuit updates … they just keep going … and going … and going …

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TASCAM announces update for DR-10 Series Portable Recorders

TASCAM DR 10XTASCAM has announced a version 2.0 firmware update for its popular DR-10 series of portable recorders. The update brings more enhanced functionality for the miniature digital recorders designed for videography and newsgathering tasks. In addition to various system enhancements and performance improvements, the Version 2.0 Firmware release adds three new recording and monitoring capabilities to […]

Cram Commodore 64 speech synthesis into your rack with this firmware

The open hardware Braids macro oscillator gets an alternative firmware that brings new features – including a speech engine known from the Commodore 64 days. Speech synth means modular synthesis:

Mutable Instruments’ open, digital modules have been one of the best things about the modern modular revolution. And this alternative firmware is a great example of that. Without removing any of the existing Braids 1.9 features, you get new oscillator powers.

The banner feature here is the robotic text-to-speech engine SAM (Software Automated Mouth), known from the Commodore 64. Here’s that engine in action – glitchy and distinctive:

Naturally, that opens up some wild possibilities once you patch into it in a modular environment. Listen to this firmware demo for an idea:

It’s also very fun how this works:

There are three SAM entries in the oscillator model list, named SAM1 to SAM3. Each of these SAM models contain 16 different words.

SAM is configured to work similarly to a granular sampler. By changing Timbre, you “scrub” through the word selected by Color. With Timbre at 0 position, SAM is playing the first grain of the current word. With Timbre fully clockwise, SAM is playing the last grain of the current word. The speed of an envelope can control how fast SAM says the word, independent of the pitch.

If you send SAM a trigger it will automatically play the word, starting from the current grain, at the “natural” speed of the word. In this situation, the pitch input controls both the speed and pitch of the output.

It’s not all that’s on offer, though. You also get six oscillators, evenly spaced:

6xsaw, 6xsquare, 6xtriangle, 6xsine. 6 oscillators starting at the 1v/oct input, spaced evenly across the currently selected quantize scale. Color controls the number of scale steps between oscillators, and Timbre scans through various amplitude settings for the 6 oscillators. When the Braids quantizer is turned off, the oscillators are evenly spaced by semitones (controlled by Color)

There’s already a model of this on VCV Rack, so even if you don’t have the discontinued Braids hardware, it should be possible to use in software. I’ll see about forking it and report back. The Macro Oscillator under Audible Instruments would be the obvious starting place. (Any other Braids fans, other stuff you’d want to see in an ideal fork of the module? Maybe we can make a wishlist. Macro Macro?)

Via Richard Devine.

Here’s the firmware:

https://burns.ca/eurorack.html

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Alternate Firmware Brings SAM Voice Synthesis To Mutable Instruments Braids

Burns has introduced Braids Renaissance, an alternate firmware for the open Mutable Instruments Braids module that adds a new voice synthesis engine and more.… Read More Alternate Firmware Brings SAM Voice Synthesis To Mutable Instruments Braids