Cherry Audio’s Voltage Modular 2.0 is here – and friendlier, feature-rich, with more modules

Software modular just keeps getting better. Cherry Audio’s Voltage Modular looks like a top contender, with a major (free) 2.0 update and changes to support free and affordable module add-ons. https://cherryaudio.com/news/2020-05-19/voltage-modular-2-0-is-here Where Cherry fits Just think how rich and accessible the modular world is in software – and Cherry just made it more so. VCV […]

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Free for your inspiration: new Max for Live devices, Ableton Creative Strategies e-book

Deals and offers are all over the place, but what will actually help you get over creative block and make something? These free Ableton Live add-ons and an invaluable book make a great place to start.

Making Music: Creative Strategies for Electronic Music Producers is a written book – not a YouTube channel, not a device. But it was one of the more ambitious and influential music tech projects of recent years. It’s the work of Dennis DeSantis, who has a deep background in concert music. The book takes on how to start, strategies for creating new and varied ideas, ways of solving problems, and how to finish – all with a mixture of music theory and software practice. And maybe that’s the best way to describe the state of music making now anyway – theory and (electronic) tools are blurred. The Ableton touch is there, but it’s applicable to other tools, as well.

You’ll find it on a new page Ableton have compiled, free for download in .pdf.mobi, and .epub format.

Ideas and Offers for Making Music at Home

Don’t forget that Ableton Live itself is available now in the full Suite edition for a 90-day unlimited trial.

And speaking of that, this exceptional collection of Max for Live devices is also now available, a collaboration between Ableton and the wonderful Sonic Bloom and Max for Cats. They had me at the name:

Stray Cats Collection

But this is some next-level goodness here:

MSE synth, looking very classic synth - Oberheim-ish.
MSE synth, looking very classic synth – Oberheim-ish.

A vintage-tinged, Oberheim Four Voice-influenced MSE synthesizer.

SEQ8 step sequencer (more traditional analog design).

ConChord – nice cure for the common step sequencer.

ConChord, a “pulse-based chord step sequencer” – so you can sequence full chords as well as steps, and look at those steps in terms of pulses, for more open-ended patterns.

Stochastic Delay, which eschews the usual repetitive quality of delays with variable unpredictability.

Weird reverb algorithm, made usable.

Verbotron – an elegant little reverb, drawing on an algorithm from Finland’s Juhana Sadeharju. (You’ll find other iterations of the underlying algorithm in the open source world – as GVerb. But think of this as a nerdy, unique esoteric reverb to get you out of the everything-sounds-the-same world of effects.)

Color.

Color is a “sound texture” device – so it’s a bunch of different retro sound models, mimicking the grit of vinyl, tape wow and flutter, drive, and EQ. Putting them all together gives you a nice console to shape your sound without overwhelming with controls or getting lost in a bunch of plug-ins. That last bit, I heard about a friend of a friend who made that mistake. Not me. I’m a professional. I would never get distracted by endlessly tweaking a bunch of plug-ins and then toggling them on and off over and over again. I mean, I just never get distracted in general. You’ll see that not happening right now. Wait, where was I?

SkramDelay is actually kind of the odd effect out here, in a good way – modulated dual-channel delay with more randomness.

Check them out, free:

https://www.ableton.com/en/packs/stray-cats-collection/

And that seems like a nice, healthy diet balancing some bread-and-butter features with pretty esoteric and experimental stuff, in such a way that you could easily apply anything in between. If that’s not what Ableton has always been about, I don’t know what is.

Speaking of which, bonus – only because Robert Henke was sharing this on his social media this week – watch the Ableton co-founder product some synthetic sounds using Live as instrument. One of the first videos Ableton ever uploaded to the then-new YouTube service (CDM was in its second year):

Despite the grainy video, this is actually just as relevant an approach to sound design and routing in Live in 2020 as it was in 2006.

Don’t forget that for more inspiration, you can check out some of the guides I’ve done recently for Riemann Kollektion:

Max for Live: the techno producers’ guide

Tutorial: Unlock hidden sound tricks in Ableton Live 10’s effects

And you don’t want to miss Sonic Bloom for more resources and patches and more – source of this collection above:

Sonic Bloom: All Things Ableton Live, Push & Max for Live

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Get Asymmetric with a ton of back-catalog Inigo Kennedy downloads, free

Another world, another time, in the age of … well, back when MP3 encoding still seemed like a pretty neat idea. Discover years of back-catalog goodies from Inigo Kennedy, and have a dreamy asymmetrical day.

Thanks to the amazing Kevin Kennedy aka FBK for the find – and, seriously, you should use the money you saved here to grab FBK’s latest on Bandcamp.

But Inigo Kennedy’s full spectrum of delicious production, introspective tunes, and easy-flowing odd-phrased grooves and frenetic futuristic machine creations produce just the kind of reveries a lot of us could use right now. I’m just beyond happy to have found this. And yeah, I’m enough of a fan that I went in with DownThemAll so … before you all hammer the server here, if you’re that sort of person, contact me.

I hope this gets more people into Inigo’s music / stick him into an envelope that says “open for booking contact when social distancing is over.”

You can pencil drop the collection – for instance, I just blindly queued up this beautiful track. “A Rune for Amelie”:

http://www.asymmetric.co.uk/mp3/Inigo_Kennedy_ASY_MP3_011_Beyond_Foundations_03_A_Rune_For_Amelie.mp3

Or speaking of “entertaining accidents,” – here’s “Entertaining Accidents.” (Again, picked at random.)

http://www.asymmetric.co.uk/mp3/Inigo_Kennedy_ASY_MP3_004_Entertaining_Accidents_03.mp3

Of course, I got just as much of a kick reading the vintage 2004 press release launching the platform. Ah, those innocent days. Of course, in 2004 they would have been really grateful that today we have moved beyond primitive 192k MP3 to … ugh, actually, yeah, we’re all streaming worse quality stuff over dodgy Bluetooth connections. 2004, we’re really sorry. Also, you’ll be surprised to … actually, just don’t ask. About a bunch of things.

Asymmetric|MP3 001 – In Parallel – 5th January 2004

Inigo Kennedy announces the launch of Asymmetric|MP3 – a new project to take advantage of the freedom of electronic distribution and make available MP3 releases of his distinctive music.

Free MP3 releases will regularly be made available via the Asymmetric website at www.asymmetric.co.uk

The title of the first release is In Parallel and this outlines the aims of the Asymmetric|MP3 project. The MP3 releases do not substitute for the vinyl or CD releases but will run alongside as both projects should inspire, support, strengthen and reinforce one and other. The MP3 releases are planned to perhaps introduce different ideas and may, in the future, also include alternative versions of tracks that have been or will be released on vinyl or CD.

The first release In Parallel consists of four new tracks. All of which touch on, and build upon, the distinctive elements that have made Asymmetric releases stand out in the past.

The MP3s will be encoded using LAME at an average bit rate of 192Kb/s in full stereo mode. Alternative versions will not be made available. The aim is to release MP3s of high quality to do justice to the music rather than compromise for the sake of small file size. The quality of the MP3s as they are released should be sufficient to sound good on anything from headphones to a large sound system via Final Scratch, etc.

(Final Scratch was the pioneering digital vinyl control system that helped lead to … uh, just ask your grandparents, kids.)

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Exclusive: a gig and a half of finely-crafted Riemann techno sounds, free for 48 hours

It’s hard to get that deep, crowded club feeling right now in isolation. So here from our friend Florian Meindl and Riemann Kollektion is a big boost – and a master class in techno craft.

Honestly, I’ve said this to folks before, but I’ll say it again – it really says something to me about Riemann and Florian that these demo songs bang harder than most released music. It’s almost worth just browsing this 1.4GB collection of 24-bit sounds just to understand a bit about how his heard works. (I’ve been browsing through.)

So, for 48 hours, just for CDM, Florian has swapped over the price of one of his best sound packs – Best of Riemann 2019 Techno (24bit WAV – Loops & Oneshots). (Ah, I remember 2019 … so … fondly now …)

There’s now really no reason not to get started. Ableton has a free 90-day trial of Live Suite, just announced, which even includes Max for Live. (It’s normally 30 days.)

https://www.ableton.com/en/trial/

Then you can read the free guides I wrote for Riemann Kollektion to get going:

Tutorial: Unlock hidden sound tricks in Ableton Live 10’s effects

Tutorial: Super Fast Arrangement in Ableton Live 10

Max for Live: the techno producers’ guide

Plus if you have some hardware – even some stompboxes will do – you should also check out Florian’s approach to analog effect chains in that tutorial.

Then stock up on the samples with the free Best of Riemann pack. And sorted.

For some more inspiration, here’s a bit of how Florian works live – very hardware focused, but something you could apply to other setups, as well, in terms of raw musicianship and sound:

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Arturia, Logic, Final Cut, Reaper, and more offer these free tools while you stay at home

Apple Logic Pro, Reaper, and other free and inexpensive tools mean there’s no reason to stare at the walls in self=isolation. Even if your budget is hurting, you can make some music. Here’s an overview.

Plus, bonus – because all these are free for the next 90s days, they’re perfect for collaborating with friends, since you can make sure you’re running the same software. And even if you don’t collaborate in real-time (yeah, I get nervous when people watch me stream messing around with knobs), this is a way for us to feel a little less like we’re on our own.

Play with Pigments, learn tools, get an iPad drum machine app free, thanks to Arturia.

Arturia have a complete stay-home guide: The Pigments software synth is free through July 3, iSpark drum machine is free on the iPad, plus just as importantly, you can catch a whole series devoted to learning tools, improving skills, checking out livestreams and Q&A, and even sharing your work. It looks like it makes loads of sense – Arturia’s folks are also stuck at home, so we all get to interact:

https://www.arturia.com/make-music#en

Even if you use another DAW, Logic might be worth playing with for its wonderful toys – and once you get tired of only live streaming, Final Cut lets you, like, also edit video.

Apple have made a full 90-day license for both Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X, so you can get to work editing video and making music. (Hey, you could probably spend 90 days just playing around with the Sculpture and Alchemy synths alone!)

https://www.apple.com/final-cut-pro/trial/

https://www.apple.com/logic-pro/

I recommend you adjust the viewing angle of your monitor. This is seriously not ergonomic. But REAPER is seriously awesome.

REAPER is a great low-cost DAW to begin with and allows free evaluation, but they’ve even created a temporary free license you can use through the 1st of July. Download Reaper if you don’t have it already, then install the license file by copy-pasting text. So they’re even more generous than normally, and their DAW runs on 32-bit and 64-bit macOS and Windows, plus macOS Catalina – just about any machine old or new works. (There’s even an experimental Linux build, or try running in WINE.)

Novation goodies: This actually a normal deal, not pandemic related, but Novation hardware owners can get a free plug-in emulating the rare Sound Master SR-88 analog drum machine, among other goodies. If you missed signing up/registering, and you own some Novation gear, head to – https://novationmusic.com/en/sound-collective

Tracktion Waveform Free is the always-free version of this DAW, which runs on Mac, Windows, Linux (tested on Ubuntu), and even Raspberry Pi . Even the free version has unlimited track count and a simple drum sampler and 4-oscillator subtractive synth. That makes it another ideal choice for collaboration – and you can always bounce down your particular set of plug-ins or output from other software, then use Waveform Free to work on the mix.

Cherry Audio are giving away their starter kit Voltage Nucleus so you can try out modular synthesis for free – with a very capable set of modules already. Get patching and take your mind off the news:

https://cherryaudio.com/free

Also, this is just free. It’s not like, free because of pandemic, it’s just part of the usual free goodies we always get because we’re blessed to be using music software, apparently! But Filterstep looks like a really cool sequenced filter effect for iOS, macOS, and Windows, with a gorgeous interface. Please go use it. I’m afraid to add another filtered effect to my own setup. I rely on you. Thanks to Synthtopia for catching this one.

https://audiomodern.com/shop/plugins/filterstep

Native Instruments came out with their free Analog Dreams instrument, which despite the vaporwave graphic actually covers the full range of analog synth sounds. They’re not new, but while you’re on NI’s site, check out the free Mikro Prism, superb Blocks Base modular synth. and other free stuff.

Analog Dreams

Hainbach has taken his gorgeous aesthetics with tape and analog equipment and made a free sample pack dubbed Isolation Loops. I hear people are already making music with them, so one lovely side effect of this project is people sharing music and not being isolated.

Plus some deals!

Humble Bundle may be best known for gaming and other bundles, but they have a unique Music Producer bundle now. There’s some great Applied Acoustics Software (AAS) starting at just one $USD/EUR. But the really important story here is that they’re supporting Musicians On Call, an organization that sends live and recorded music to people in hospitals. And even if you don’t support this software, I recommend checking out that organization.

Humble Software Bundle: Music Producer

Air Music Tech Ignite is US$9.99 (normally 70 bucks) with a whole bunch of instruments and simple recording facility. There are tons of options here that make this ideal for keyboardists and songwriters, or beginners looking to get some ideas going. And you can use it as a sketchpad for other software – so even if this seems basic for you, it might be a place to start songs before you get lost in more advanced environments like Pro Tools.

Got Ableton Live and ready to finally learn how to use it? Well even with Ableton Loop canceled in Berlin next month, you can get a full 4-week course for free from Berklee on Live Fundamentals. It comes from Erin Barra and Loudon Stearns as instructors, so we’re talking some excellent fundamentals.

Take Your Free Ableton Live Fundamentals Course

Visualists, I’ve got more for you coming shortly.

I’m sure there’s more I’ve missed here; if you’ve got something to share, let us know. I expect we’ll have some great music at the end of all this.

I know you don’t need reminders to stay home and stay safe at this point. So let me remind you instead that your music matters, there’s never too much music, and whether it’s good enough or not is never the question to ask. We all need that reminder now and then. But it’s good to know that even if we’re having some solitary time with music, other people are out there working, too. Look forward to chatting and hearing what you’re making.

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Someone made a Pomodoro timer for Ableton Live, so you can stay productive, take breaks

Productivity engineering has come to music production. A popular method for timeboxing is now available as a free Live add-on.

Have you ever sighed in relief to have a big, uninterrupted span of time – only to wind up wiling it all away with procrastination? And then have you found yourself with a particular deadline – like an hour left in your music studio before your partner arrives to kick you out – and suddenly find you’re focused?

The basic principle here is that, paradoxically, even as we hate schedules and deadlines, constraints can help us focus. By constraining our time, or timeboxing, we can concentrate more easily on a particular task.

The Pomodoro Technique is this boiled down to a really simple cycle. It’s named for a kitchen timer – you know, the thing often called an egg timer because it’s shaped like an egg, but in this case apparently with a model shaped like a tomato. It’s the late-80s invention of Francesco Cirillo, who I understand even liked the ticking sound. I hate ticking – uh, especially while making music – but sometimes setting a timer can make it easier to tackle a task you’re putting off.

While invented in the late 80s, Pomodoro Technique has spread more widely in the productivity craze of the Internet age. Of course, there’s a Lifehacker guide to getting started. (It was even updated as recently as last summer.) And yes, Francesco is around and will gladly take your money.

Now, it may seem a little strange to do this when you’re working on music, which most of us think of as a diversion. Isn’t music supposed to be endlessly fun and something we can concentrate on without any challenge? But apart from more rote work or making a Max for Live patch or carefully editing envelopes, anything that requires you to focus your brain benefits from breaks.

And that’s really what the Pomodoro Technique is about. It’s not actually the 25 minutes of focus that is the most important. It’s the break. (Perhaps part of why you’re so eager to procrastinate is a legitimate impulse by your brain that you’re overly and unnaturally focused on something.)

There’s plenty of science to back this up. Selecting just one useful overview:

Brief diversions vastly improve focus, researchers find [ScienceDaily summary; original paper in Cognition, 2001]

There are lots and lots of Pomodoro-themed timers out there – or you can use any timer (as on your phone, wristwatch, a physical egg timer, whatever). (The Pomodoro timers sometimes have special features dedicated to the technique, and at least pictures of tomatoes, which as a fan of the veget— erm, fruit – I enjoy.)

pATCHES, a site and Patreon subscription creating resources for producers, has an experimental Max for Live plug-in. Apart from letting you run the thing inside your session, it even stops your transport when you’re due for a break – if you find that useful.

https://patches.zone/max-for-live/pomodoro

I’m curious to hear if people find this useful. It is easy to forget that, as much as we mystify music process, what we’re really taking care of is our brain.

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mutateful is a must-have, free live coding tool for Ableton Live

mutateful brings live coding – real-time musical pattern manipulation, expressed as code – to Ableton Live. And it looks like a must-have for arrangement and composition, too.

So yes, there are knobs and faders and pads and keys and wind inputs and whatnot for playing music live. And then there are the often clunky graphical interfaces found in music software. The core of live coding is all about finding that immediacy of compositional ideas – being able to get directly to patterns.

mutateful lets you do that by typing directly into the Session View of Ableton Live. That paradigm isn’t new to Live – the software already lets you enter tempo changes in scenes by including the number. mutateful just takes that idea way further out.

Type transformations into clips, and those clips then transform patterns inside the clips. You can add simple transformations, or chain a bunch together.

Some of the tasks those transformations can accomplish:

  • Arpeggiate
  • Combine clips (in various ways)
  • Change length (via cropping or setting to certain lengths)
  • Filter out notes by length
  • Remove silences
  • Remove overlaps, making polyphonic clips monophonic
  • Quantize
  • Create stuttering retriggers
  • Rescale pitches
  • Shuffle
  • Slice notes into divisions
  • Transpose

And you can do all of this by clip, musical fractions (like 1/8 notes), and whole or decimal numbers.

Watch just how cool this is:

It’s a pretty radical addition to Live, and arguably more radical than anything we’ve seen officially from Ableton Live in the software itself for years. But it’s still fairly simple.

I almost hesitate to categorize this as live coding, because it looks really useful in arrangement relative to the GUI, and you might not use it as a livecoder would onstage. (I do expect this means people will invade live coding events running this, though.)

Documentation is limited to a quick reference, but it’s fairly easy to follow and more is coming.

How it works: it’s actually a native app, made for macOS and Windows, which then communicates with the Live API via Max for Live and UDP. That means the usual qualification is involved – you’ll need the latest version of Ableton Live and a license for Max for Live (either separately or as part of Live Suite). That could open up this idea to other software with APIs / scripting interfaces of their own.

You can grab it from GitHub and check out more examples:

https://github.com/carrierdown/mutateful

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Leakage is a freaky Ableton Live bass machine, Wavetable monster, from $0

It’s an automatic glitching bass. It’s a transformative set of 128 Wavetable sounds. It’s a Max for Live chaining device. It’s all of that – it’s Leakage, the free/pay-what-you-will Ableton Live creation from Tom Cosm.

The idea is to give you ever-changing bassline sounds each time you hit a note, for colorful and glitchy results. To pull that off, you get a number of features:

  • 128 custom Wavetable presets
  • Max for Live device that switches sounds
  • Preset switching, via chains – 128 chains, one for each sound
  • 8 parameters per sound: chain, filter amount, filter attack, filter decay, “grunt” (wavetable morphing), modulation amount, modulation rate, “special alpha” (per-sound parameter)
  • Set number of steps, up to 128, to determine rate of change
  • “Count MIDI” sets the step size to the number of notes in the active clip
  • Velocity-based switching

Watch:

An introduction to Leakage.

Tom says this is the culmination of five years of work, but he’s been waiting for Ableton Live 10.1 and the processing bandwidth of current machines to unleash this. You’ll need of course Live 10.1 with Wavetable and a Max for Live license (probably, but not limited to, Suite).

This is pay what you want, starting at $0 to download. If you do put in some money, you’ll be added to an early access list for promised future editions, with bassline, lead, and effect features.

It’s really encouraging to hear Tom talk about how well that’s worked:

“To be honest, it blew my mind how many of you made a contribution. People chipped in 1, 2 or 5 bucks… but a lot of you did! It was so much it covered my rent and bills for a month, freeing up my time so I could work on this Leakage release. I was totally blown away by the generosity, so I am going to keep rolling with this system. Even if it’s just 2 dollars, it all adds up and means I can keep pumping out new and exciting tools, without having to restrict the availability to people who have money.”

Check it out:

Leakage from Tom Cosm [Gumroad]

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Ableton release free CV Tools for integrating with analog gear, made in Max

It’s all about voltage these days. Ableton’s new CV Tools are designed for integrating with modular and semi-modular/desktop gear with CV. And they’re built in Max – meaning builders can learn from these tools and build their own.

The basic idea of CV Tools, like any software-CV integration, is to use your computer as an additional source of modulation and control. You route analog signal directly to your audio interface – you’ll need an interface that has DC coupled outputs (more about that separately). But once you do that, you can make your software and hardware rigs work together, and use your computer’s visual interface and open-ended possibilities to do still more stuff with analog gear.

This is coming on the eve of Superbooth, and certainly a lot of the audience will be people with modular racks. But nowadays, hardware with CV I/O is hardly limited to Eurorack – gear from the likes of Moog, Arturia, KORG, and others also makes sense with CV.

CV Tools aren’t the first Max for Live tools for Ableton Live – not by far. Spektro Audio makes the free CV Toolkit Mini, for instance. Its main advantage is a single, integrated interface – and a clever patch bay. There’s a more extensive version available for US$19.99.

Rival DAW Bitwig Studio, for its part, has taken an entirely different approach – you’ll get a software modular engine capable of interlinking with hardware CV wherever you like.

Ableton’s own CV Tools is news, though, in that these modules are powerful, flexible, and polished, and have a very Ableton-esque UI. They also come from a collaboration with Skinnerbox, the live performance-oriented gearheads here in Berlin, so I have no doubt they’ll be useful. (Yep, that’s them in the video.) I think there’s no reason not to grab this and Spektro and go to town.

And since these are built in Max, Max patchers may want to take a look inside – to mod or use as the basis of your own.

What you get:

CV Instrument lets you treat outboard modular/analog gear as if it’s integrated with Live as a plug-in.

Trigger drums and rhythms with CV Triggers.

CV Utility is a signal processing hub inside Live.

CV Instrument, with complements existing Ableton devices for integrating outboard MIDI instruments and effects with your projects in Live

CV Triggers for sequencing drum modules

CV Utility for adding automation curves, add/shift/multiple signals, and other processing tools

CV Clock In and CV Clock Out for clocking Live from outboard analog gear and visa versa

CV In which connects outboard analog signal directly to modulation of parameters inside Live

CV Shaper, CV Envelope Follower, and CV LFO which gives you graphical tools for designing modulation inside Live and using it for CV control of your analog hardware

And there’s more: the Rotating Rhythm Generator, which lets you dial up polyrhythms. This one works with both MIDI and CV, so you can work with either kind of external hardware.

I got to chat with Skinnerbox, and there’s even more here than may be immediately obvious.

For one thing, you get what they tell us is “extremely accurate broad-range” auto calibration of oscillators, filters, and so on. That’s often an issue with analog equipment, especially once you start getting complex or adding polyphony (or creating polyphony by mixing your software instruments with your hardware). Here’s a quick demo:

Clocking they say is “jitter free” and “super high resolution.”

So this means you can make a monster hybrid combining your computer running Ableton Live (and all your software) with hardware, without having to have the clock be all over the place or everything out of tune. (Well, unless that’s what you’re going for!)

If you’re in Berlin, Skinnerbox will play live with the rig this Friday at Superbooth.

They sent us this quick demo of working with the calibration tools, resulting in an accurate ten-octave range (here with oscillator from Endorphin.es).

Watch:

To interface with their gear, they’re using the Expert Sleepers ES8 interface in the modular. You could also use a DC-coupled audio interface, though – MOTU audio interfaces are a popular choice, since they’ve got a huge range of interfaces with DC coupling across various interface configurations.

CV Tools is listed as “coming soon,” but a beta version is available now.

https://www.ableton.com/en/blog/cv-tools-live-coming-soon/

What do you need to use this?

For full CV control of analog gear, you’ll want a DC-coupled audio interface. Most audio interfaces lack that feature – I’m writing an explanation of this in a separate story – but if you do have one with compatible outputs, you’ll be able to take full advantage of the features here, including tuned pitch control. MOTU have probably made more interfaces that work than anyone else. You can also look to a dedicated interface like the Expert Sleepers one Skinnerbox used in the video above.

See MOTU and Expert Sleepers, both of which Skinnerbox have tested:

http://motu.com/products

https://www.expert-sleepers.co.uk/es8.html

MOTU also have a more technical article on testing audio interfaces if you’re handy with a voltmeter, plus specs on range on all their interfaces.

Universal Audio have already written to say they’ll be demoing DC coupling on their audio interfaces at Superbooth with Ableton’s CV Tools, so their stuff works, too. (Double-checking which models they’re using.)

But wait – just because you lack the hardware doesn’t mean you can’t use some of the functionality here with other audio interfaces. Skinnerbox remind us that any audio interface inputs will work with CV In in Pitch mode. Clock in and out will work with any device, too.

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Free Downgrade turns Ableton Live into lo-fi wobbly vaporwave tape

Fidelity? High-quality sound? No – degradation! And if you don’t have a ragged VHS deck or cassette Walkman handy, these free effects racks in Ableton Live will sort you out.

Downgrade is the work of Tom Cosm, long-time Ableton guru. There are five effects:

Fluffer
Corrupt
Hiss
Morph
Flutter

— plus if you give him literally US$1 or more (you cheapskate), you get an additional Stutter rack.

Basically, you get loads of controls for manipulating downsampling, tape effects, saturation, distortion, modulation of various kinds, echo, vocoder, and more. It’s a sort of retro Vaporwave starter kit if you’d like to think of it that way – or an easy, dial-up greatest hits of everything Ableton Live can now do to make your sound worse. And by worse, I mean better, naturally.

Ableton have been gradually adding all these digital downsampling features (early on) and simulated analog tape and saturation effects and nonlinear modulation (more recently). Tom has neatly packed them into one very useful set of Racks.

Notice I say “Racks,” not Max for Live devices. That means these will mostly run on different editions of Live, and they’re a bit easier to pick apart and adjust/modify – without requiring Max knowledge.

Go download them:

https://gumroad.com/l/wmIbJ

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