Focusrite has announced official support for 3rd Generation Scarlett Solo and Scarlett 2i2 interfaces on USB-C iPad Pro. Setup and operation is simple: just plug in, fire up a music-making app, and enjoy the Focusrite sound on your iPad Pro. Scarlett Solo and Scarlett 2i2 devices have been tested extensively with several iOS music applications […]
Accusonus has announced the release of Mauvio, an intuitive iOS app for mobile video creators. Mauvio helps you take the sound of your mobile videos to the next level, with minimal effort. It can be used in parallel with any video editor/app. This enables you to create professional video content from scratch, wherever you are. […]
SendMusic has launched its mobile app, an essential, all-in-one music file transfer and collaborative platform that gets music heard. The free-to-use mobile app brings large file transfers (up to 3GB free), music playback (listen before downloading) and real-time feedback into one easy, quick and secure platform removing the headache of files, links and feedback coming […]
Sonarworks has announced SoundID Listen, a desktop application that brings personalized sound to anyone listening to their headphones on Mac or Windows, using their perfect personal sound profile called SoundID. SoundID represents a paradigm shift in audio quality, moving away from the traditional one-size-fits-all approach, to personalizing sound for everyone as an individual. SoundID unlocks […]
Following the full release of the GE series multi-effects pedal lineup, the MOOER team brings a brand-new mobile experience with GE Labs. With GE Labs and a compatible audio interface, 171 amp models and stompboxes, as well as MOOER’s proprietary MNRS (MOOER Nonlinear Response Sample) technology can all be accessed from your iOS or iPad […]
Roland is offering the full unlocked version of Zenbeats for iOS and Android for free for the time being through its #rolandathome initiative. With more time on our hands, music is a great way to connect us by sparking musical ideas, as well as a fun alternative to games and movies. Whether you’re creating your […]
Sampling and modulation and sound generation all come together in the Nerdseq Portable – fully standalone, original tracker hardware for live performance and production.
Yes, there are two standalone tracker devices out this week. They’re both from independent makers. They’re both fully integrated hardware that run on their own. And if you want to go tracker mad, you can even use them together. Both are due later this year – virus-influenced production delays willing.
The Nerdseq Portable has its lineage from the Eurorack module of the same name. But as a handheld, this thing is a bit like a Game Boy on steroids – or a computer crammed into a paperback book-sized powerhouse.
It’s a sequencer. That’s the tracker bit, to be sure – this looks like 90s software on its 480×320 color IPS screen. It does have “nerd” in the title. Think fast editing, as quick as your thumb on a boss in Metroid. And it supports polyrhythms and probability and dividers and multipliers and more.
It’s a sampler. Capture and play polyphonic stereo samples (actually stereo, not mono as on the Polyend), with 150 seconds sample time and pitch support. That can be captured both from your sequence itself but also an external input. So actually – let’s linger on this a moment, in that this is a more powerful sampler than a lot of standalone hardware from major manufacturers not to be named here.
It works with MIDI stuff. You can actually use this as a MIDI sequencer if you want – there’s full-blown polyphonic sequencing and recording per track with support for everything (clock, NRPNs, aftertouch, CC, program changes…) So, again, this is more capable than a lot of more obvious stuff out there.
It does modulation. Part of the whole appeal of trackers is not just sequencing notes and rhythms, but everything else – wavetables, retriggering, LFOs, effects, and more. This thing is deep.
It connects to your Eurorack and other gear. Nerd-Sound-Adapter modules work here, too, so you can still integrate the handheld with a Eurorack modular – like a very powerful satellite to your modular rig – and work with CV/gate.
It has a nerd button. Of course it does.
So how is this different than the modular nerdseq? Well, basically this is as much a more powerful sequel as it is a handheld version of the original nerdseq. You finally lose some of the restrictions of the first model – more buttons, visual feedback, and crucially massively expanded sample memory.
Or to look at it another way, having talked to Thomas, this is the culmination of years of feedback from Nerdseq users. I think it looks friendlier and more capable – and the form factor means it can go anywhere. Or you can squeeze it next to any other gear you want to sequence.
Wait so with this and the Tracker, which should you get? Neither, dummy, they’re not shipping yet.
But these do represent a different approach. The form factor isn’t just aesthetic; it means different use cases and audiences. It’s not that nerdseq is for chip music people – it’s more that you’ll have controls under your thumb and it takes up less space. nerdseq also comes closer to the feeling of tools like LSDJ – or if you’ve never touched those before, again, it’s still about focusing on the tracker itself.
Polyend’s Tracker lacks stereo samples, but expands to more performance and editing features that make it feel like a cross-breed with what you’d expect from Maschine, MPC, or an Elektron box (for example).
Or put the two together. (Yo, dawg, I hear you like trackers, so I — wait, I’m being told by someone under age 35 that I should cease making references to the Xzibit Yo Dawg meme in 2020.)
No videos yet, but – for all of you who whine “I don’t know if I was impressed by the demo video,” I have a solution. You will definitely not be impressed by this video. (Creator Thomas hasn’t been able to go see his video demo person! You know – social distancing. So if you yell at him, really, you’re saying human lives don’t matter.)
Okay, actually I love it, because it keeps with the bossa nova theme that is subtly threaded through this week on CDM.
Polyend has been gradually releasing a set of teasers for Tracker – and today we get the first big picture, looking like a love child of a monome, 90s tracker software, Maschine, and Push.
I mean, just look at this thing:
It looks massively fast for programming elaborate patterns, whether you’re thinking classic genres or wild, new micro-obsessive inventions.
Okay, if you aren’t familiar with the 90s software, that’s not so important. These tools took a different, more non-linear approach to rhythm programming. It’s responsible for some recognizable styles of the time, with elaborate subdivided rhythmic phrases, but it remains appealing irrespective of genre as a different way of thinking about pattern – and, for many, a really fast way of working. It’s also appealing if you simply find that you keep getting stuck in a rut, repeating ideas, when inside the boundaries of a fixed step grid found on a lot of drum machines and simple hardware sequencers and the like.
Maybe the best way to think of this is, it’s a new direction in how to do standalone hardware for music-making away from the computer, on one hand, and the predictability of Roland-style drum and bassline sequencing and Akai MPC sampling on the other.
I mean, if Polyend pull this off, it will certainly appeal to lovers of this approach – but perhaps to newcomers, too.
That’s exactly what happened when different music editing tools found their way onto Nintendo gaming handhelds. People who had never heard of a tracker before, or even in some cases ever tried making music, often picked up these devices because they were self-contained and fun. (See LSDJ on the Game Boy, or, while it’s its own grid-based approach, Nanoloop.)
I’m also impressed that this takes some of the best one-button access to editing functions from Native Instruments’ Maschine and Ableton’s Push. But at first glance, Polyend’s approach looks far simpler and more direct – it’s really elegant seeing that big jog wheel, and a minimal number of buttons. Whereas Push and Maschine are really interfaces to elaborate computer-style software, Tracker promises to be built around its own, standalone workflow. That is, it could be really fast to work with.
A leak suggested this will all be battery-powered, and even come with its own internal FM synth. See Synth Anatomy from earlier this month.
But you won’t have to wait much longer for the full details. Polyend promises to give us a complete run-down when this thing is ready.
So I hope you all keep yourself and loved ones healthy in these challenging times, and that we’re making some great music together later this year. Work on the joy of music continues, and it’s nice work if you can get it. Watch this space.
(Oh and yeah – I wasn’t playing coy when I said I didn’t know what was coming when the first teaser came out. Polyend really didn’t tell me! I still know what you know, but – when this drops, full official information.)