LADSPA

Now a DAW does pitch and time shifts the way you wish it would

If the last generation of production software was about UI, workflow, and add-on extras, the next generation may be about science. Witness MOTU’s DP 9.5.

DP, aka Digital Performer, is that DAW everyone forgets about, but really shouldn’t. Now on both Windows and Mac, and a long-time staple of hard-core niches like the TV scoring business, DP has quietly added all the stuff that makes using a DAW better, without too much extra stuffing, often advancing without any hype past other rivals in key areas.

But even doing that, it’s hard for a DAW to stand out.

So, how about this: how about if a DAW let you manipulate time and pitch in a way that sounded less artificial? Wouldn’t that be a reason to use it?

And while various DAWs have licensed technology for improving time and pitch stretching, most of them still sound, well, pretty crap – especially if you go beyond small changes. (That hasn’t stopped me from using the artifacts creatively, but then the problem is, even those results tend to sound too much alike.)

So, the pairing of Zynaptiq with MOTU gets pretty interesting.

Zynaptiq is one of a handful of developers working on brain-bending DSP science to achieve sonic effects you haven’t heard before. (For some reason, a lot of these players seem to be in Germany … or Cambridge, Massachusetts. The latter is an MIT thing; the former, a German thing? Zynaptiq is out of Hannover.)

In the case of Zynaptiq, “artificial intelligence” and machine learning meet new advances in DSP. Whatever’s going on there (and I hope to cover that more), the results sound really extraordinary. Every time I’ve been at a trade show where the developer was exhibiting, people would grab you by the arms and say, have you heard the crazy stuff they’re doing it sounds like the future. That was aided by a unique demo style.

But there’s a big leap when you can integrate that kind of capability into a DAW and its existing workflow, without all the weird extra steps required to go back and forth to a plug-in.

And that’s what DP 9.5 does – in an update that’s free for all existing users, adding Zynaptiq’s ZTX PRO tech.

You get time stretching everywhere, so speeding up and slowing down by small increments or huge sounds natural. And they’ve done a bunch of work so you can change tempo adjustments and conductor tempo maps – which was always, always one of the best features of DP. (I was at the Aspen Music Festival in the late 90s listening to a film composer show off how easy scoring with DP markers was, fully two decades ago. Two decades later, the competition still hasn’t caught up, and DP has continued to expand on that feature.)

Plus you get pitch shifting and relative pitch editing, as you’ve seen with products like Celemony, but far more deeply integrated in the DAW and with (to my ear) better-sounding results. So yes, that does pitch shifting and pitch correction, but it also opens up some really interesting creative possibilities. This isn’t just about making bad singers sound better; it could be a boon to creative editing. (I just spent the last weekend poking around in Logic’s archaic and dated implementation for the heck of it, not knowing DP 9.5 was coming and… well, just no.)

There are “quality” presets, too, to help you find the right settings.

Have a listen in the demos. Here’s pitch shifting:

And here’s time shifting:

And from the ever-lovely Gotye (really nice chap with a terrifically nice band and some great producers, I have to say, just because I like nice people), some other examples:

Unrelated to all this, 9.5 also has a window that makes it easier to monitor processing load, so you can identify CPU hogs. (Heck, that may mean DP is now part of my standard test suite for plug-ins.) This combines with other unique performance management features in DP, like “pre-gen” capability, which eases the load on your CPU by pre-rendering audio.

Good stuff. More from MOTU:

http://motu.com/products/software/dp

The post Now a DAW does pitch and time shifts the way you wish it would appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Free Audacity Audio Editor Gets Spectral Edits, Live Plug-ins

Spectral_03a

Dedicated wave editor Audacity has found enduring popularity, as a free and open source tool for working with sound. It runs on Linux, Windows, and OS X – with support for older Mac operating systems, which these days is sometimes tough to find. But just being free and open isn’t reason enough to use something, particularly when a lot of DAWs do a pretty decent job of wave editing.

This latest version of Audacity, 2.1.0, comes with some additions that might make it worth revisiting.

First, there’s spectral editing. In most software, audio editing is performed by time only. Here, you can drag over particular frequency ranges to select just those portions, for audio repair or simply highlighting certain portions of sonic content. That’s been available in some commercial tools, but it’s not normally found in DAWs and now you get it for free. See the spectral selection additions to the manual.

Second, you can now preview VST and Audio Unit effects (plus the open LADSPA format) in real-time. That’s useful for making Audacity an effect host, and can combine nicely with chains and batch processing. That is, you can preview effects live to adjust them (as you can do in a DAW) and then batch-process a bunch of sound (which your DAW can’t do easily). Plug-in hosting in general is improved, including the ability to work with multiple VST and add any effects to chains.

There’s also a new Noise Reduction effect.

Audacity still isn’t the prettiest software ever (ahem) – aesthetically and functionally, it seems the UI is due for a reboot. But I know it’s an important tool, especially for musicians on a budget. And this version is worth adding to your toolset.

Check out the Audacity download page:
http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

(Manual links there are broken as I write this, so you can use my links above for that.)

Also worth considering is ocenaudio (note “ocen,” not “ocean”!):
http://www.ocenaudio.com.br/features

It isn’t as full-featured as Audacity – real-time effects preview is limited to VST, for instance, and the spectral view is not editable. It’s also free-as-in-beer; the code is closed. But the UI is substantially cleaner, and it has some nice features like multi-edit support. Thanks to Tom D in comments for the tip.

The post Free Audacity Audio Editor Gets Spectral Edits, Live Plug-ins appeared first on Create Digital Music.

Tracktion Software announces Linux Support (Public Beta)

Tracktion Software has announced that a public beta for its Tracktion 4 music production software is now available for Linux. Tracktion for Linux features 64-bit performance, compatible with all native Linux VST and LADSPA (no GUI) plug-ins. Continuing the momentum that began with a brand re-launch and release of Tracktion 4 last January, followed by […]

Tracktion Software announces Linux Support (Public Beta)

Tracktion Software has announced that a public beta for its Tracktion 4 music production software is now available for Linux. Tracktion for Linux features 64-bit performance, compatible with all native Linux VST and LADSPA (no GUI) plug-ins. Continuing the momentum that began with a brand re-launch and release of Tracktion 4 last January, followed by […]

Loomer updates Sequent to v1.3.11

Loomer has updated the Sequent modular multi-effects unit to version 1.3.11. Sequent has seven individual effect blocks: a Beat Looper; two Filters, both switchable between lowpass, bandpass, and highpass modes and capable of self oscillation even without an audio input; an oversampled Distortion unit; a Gate with variable depth and slew; a Panner; and a […]

Loomer updates Sequent to v1.3.3

Loomer has updated its Sequent effect plugin to version 1.3.3. Sequent is a modular multi-effects unit, the ideal tool for mangling audio on stage or in the studio. Changes in Sequent v1.3.3 (feature) Keyboard entry of rotary parameter values. Rotary controls can now be typed directly into by clicking on the text value below the […]

Loomer updates Sequent to v1.3

Loomer has updated Sequent, a multi effects plug-in for Windows, Mac and Linux. Sequent is a step-sequenced multi-effect processor with a flexible modular effects routing system, an incredibly powerful beat looper, twenty-three parameter sequencers, and a wealth of randomization options. Sequent is the ideal tool for mangling audio on stage or in the studio. Changes […]

Grame updates Faust to v0.9.43

Grame – Centre National de Creation Musicale – has released version 0.9.43 of Faust (Functional Audio Stream), a functional programming language specifically designed for real-time signal processing and synthesis. This version provides a major reorganization of the architecture system for better modularity and Open Sound Control (OSC) support. The code generation has been improved and […]

Grame updates Faust to v0.9.43

Grame – Centre National de Creation Musicale – has released version 0.9.43 of Faust (Functional Audio Stream), a functional programming language specifically designed for real-time signal processing and synthesis. This version provides a major reorganization of the architecture system for better modularity and Open Sound Control (OSC) support. The code generation has been improved and […]

Loomer updates Sequent effect plugin to v1.2.3

Loomer has released version 1.2.3 of Sequent, a semi-modular sequenced beat looper multi effect for Linux, Mac, and Windows. Sequent is a step-sequenced multi-effect processor with a flexible modular effects routing system, an incredibly powerful beat looper, twenty-three parameter sequencers, and a wealth of randomization options. Sequent is the ideal tool for mangling audio on […]