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u-he Bazille Patch Competition #3 Download free presets pack + Vote for your favs

u-he has announced that the voting stage of the 3rd Patch Competition for its Bazille hybrid modular synthesizer instrument has started. One of the patches submitted for the “Monster from the deep” category. Please download and check out the presets below. They have been stripped of author names etcetera, and the output levels have been […]

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Roland AIRA Series, 1.10: Everything Gets Smarter, USB Backup and Restore

AIRA_landscape_light

Roland has updated the firmware for the first full AIRA line (TR-8 drum machine, TB-3 bassline sequencer, VT-3 vocal processor, SYSTEM-1 synthesizer) today to version 1.10. There are no new sounds – in case you wanted, say, a 727 drum kit for your TR-8. But instead, the whole range gets USB backup and restore, and functionality around working with patterns and MIDI gets a whole lot smarter.

This isn’t just a few fixes; it really does polish off the AIRA series and address a lot of the points I found a bit limiting using them some months ago. And just in time: all the AIRA kit has shown up here at CDM, meaning we get to be the last review, but also the review that goes into depth as these machines grow up a bit.

The SYSTEM-1 synth/keyboard, for its part, has just gotten its SH-101 Plug-Out model – and support for the Plug-Out scheme in this update. I’ve been playing with that in advance, and we’ll have the full review and sounds next week.

The full changelogs are below. But let’s cut to the bottom line.

You can use USB for backup/restore. This is huge, especially with patterns on the TB-3 and TR-8. You can now use your computer, as it should be used, as a way of managing your work on the hardware.

The VT-3 vocal processor just got useful – smoothed out, and with MIDI control. I’m not going to mince words: I hated the VT-3 when I first tried it. The presets were weird, and the sound quality was inconsistent because of erratic levels. It appears 1.1 fixes the sound quality issue, by gating noise and managing volume levels as you work with characters. And most importantly, it turns into something more of you might actually want to use, with external MIDI keyboard control of pitch (including on the vocoder). It happens to be fun to route the TR-8 into the VT-3, so this could be a lot of fun.

The TB-3 has a full range and more MIDI control options. With more octaves out, and local on/off, MIDI controller modes, the TB-3 is a better sequencer. With more octaves in, it’s a better synth. And Roland has ticked off my list of complaints – you can record external patterns, you can record and sequence slide and accents. You can also organise patterns. All in all, the TB-3 appears to be morphing into what I hoped it’d be: a brilliant touch sequencer.

The TR-8 is more playable. From roll tweaks to external patterns to better pattern playing, the TR-8 is easier and more fun to play. And that’s a good thing, as I’ve been finding some baffling omissions in firmware in products this year when it comes to managing grooves and patterns – Arturia Beatstep, Elektron Analog Rytm, I’m looking at you. (And we’re getting back to you soon.)

I don’t think the AIRAs are necessarily for everyone. (Well, why should they be?) And … I’m still not fond of neon green. But while I fully expect some online comments to continue to pile on the “overrated cheap plastic crap” complaint (this is the Internet), the AIRAs have already won over some very happy users, and they’re looking genuinely mature with this update. I’m going to have to work a little harder with any criticisms, which is how it’s meant to be. And I’m really, really happy to be revisiting them. I must have been in sync with a lot of other AIRA users, because this gets to the heart of the kinds of changes that would make me use them more.

Check the full list of changes:

TR-8 Version 1.1 Update
- Manage your kit and pattern library with easy backup and restore over USB.
- Customize kits by adjusting the gain of each instrument to suit your individual style.
- Rolls are now easier to engage, offer more control, and sound better overall.
- Alternate unlatched trigger mode engages only while “On” button is held down.
- Scatter will enable for one cycle and then automatically disengage.
- Get back in the groove by instantly starting a pattern from the top.
- Lock the contents of a pattern so you can experiment without losing your original groove.
- Now you can edit both A and B parts of a pattern without stopping the sequencer.
- Local On/Off and MIDI Controller modes determine how MIDI data is sent and received.
- MIDI velocity is variable by the accent setting.
- Select kits using MIDI control change messages.
- Scatter On/Off, Type and Depth can be controlled via MIDI control change.
- Record patterns in real-time from external MIDI devices.
- Disable sending of all MIDI messages.
- Toggle whether or not TR-8 responds to PLAY/STOP messages.
- Control effects using MIDI control change messages.

TB-3 Version 1.1 Update
- Manage your pattern library with easy backup and restore over USB.
- Control both pattern tune (-700 to 700 cents) and master tune (430-450)
- Assign a specific tone to a pattern so sound will change automatically when pattern is selected.
- Transpose a pattern during performance by simply pressing a note on the touchpad’s keyboard. No need to hold “Keyboard” button.
- Organize your favorite patterns for quick access in live performance with a custom user bank.
- Lock the contents of a pattern so you can experiment without losing your original groove.
- Quickly change the root note of a pattern by shifting its pitch.
- The sequencer now supports notes from C0-C6 for added flexibility and dramatic slides.
- Extended Transpose Range.
- Local On/Off and MIDI Controller modes determine how MIDI data is sent and received.
- Record patterns in real-time from external MIDI devices.
- Implementation of both slide and accent pattern by MIDI control change.
- Scatter On/Off, Type and Depth can be controlled via MIDI control change.
- Disable sending of all MIDI messages.
- Note range has been extended from C0-C8 when controlled by external MIDI device.

VT-3 Version 1.1 Update
- Manage your presets with easy backup and restore over USB.
- User presets have been doubled to six locations.
- Volume level of voice characters are more evenly matched for smooth transitions.
- Control pitch of voice characters, including vocoder, with external MIDI keyboard.
- Cuts low frequency sensing to improve performance of Auto-Pitch characters.
- Gates noise to reduce chance of feedback or howling sound.
- Adjusts level of audio over USB.
- Change program memory with MIDI controller message.

Via Twitter, here are some videos of that 1.1 update:

The post Roland AIRA Series, 1.10: Everything Gets Smarter, USB Backup and Restore appeared first on Create Digital Music.

Loopmasters releases CAPSUN Chill Trap and Future RnB

Loopmasters has launched Chill Trap and Future RnB, a new sample library by CAPSUN. Chill Trap and Future RnB is wonderful collection of loops and one shot sounds that include Complex Chord Progressions, Blissed Out Vocals, Smooth Drum Builds, Elegant Synths, Strings and Epic Pads topped off with perfectly produced Warm Basses. All loops have […]

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Waldorf announces availability of Streichfett string synthesizer

Waldorf has announced the release of Streichfett, a colourful string synthesizer desktop module. Streichfett combines the best of the previously extinct species of String Synthesizers of the 70s and early 80s. Its dual sound engine features a fully polyphonic strings section and an eight voice solo section, which is essential for recreating how adult movies […]

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Connect Your Brain to Synthesizers, with Desktop and Modular Creations for Brainwaves

"Neurorack." Get it? A first look at prototypes of the rack module (left) and desktop (right).

“Neurorack.” Get it? A first look at prototypes of the rack module (left) and desktop (right).

Oh, sure, you can convert MIDI and clock and DIN and control voltage. But how about brainwaves? How about jacking your noggin straight into your synths and controlling synthesizers only with your mind?

It’s not quite like The Matrix, yet, if that’s what you’re imagining. But some crafty Italian inventors/experimental musicians have already whipped up a working prototype of hardware that interfaces brainwave-sensing headsets to synthesisers via analog signal and MIDI. And tomorrow, the 26th of July, they’re putting their heads where their money is, premiering the whole system in a live performance.

The boxes are designed to work with the Neurosky MindWaveMobile headset, a headband that reads brainwaves as electrical signals on the surface of your skin. You might have seen this before, but we were able to grab a new image.

Your brain is the input; control voltage or MIDI is the output. In the works is a desktop, standalone unit, as well as a Eurorack for modulars – but the difference is form factor only; both perform the same tasks:

  • Read brainwaves (EEG) directly, across 8 bands
  • Respond to the analyses of the MindWave headset, like “Attention” and “Meditation”
  • Graphic OLED display for configuration
  • Customization: “Smoothing of the signals, trigger threshold, additional algorithms, scaling, midi channel and cc for each output are completely configurable.”

For hackers and builders, you also get a serial RS232 interface so you can get at these signals directly (output) or send commands to the hardware (input).

The desktop unit looks beautiful:

Digital rendering of the desktop unit.

Digital rendering of the desktop unit.

That mobile version of the headset is nice, too, as it’s the one that works with other devices )like your phone).

Hanging around Luglio, Italy, this weekend? (Hey, maybe one reader is.) If so, you can catch a live Deep Profundis performance using brainwaves, at Acusmatiq festival.

Or you can await this coming your way, which should happen around September.

Interesting stuff. I can imagine this having not only novel experimental performance applications, but allowing a synth to be used for biofeedback and meditation – finally, customising the sounds that result.

BI1brainterface is coming!

The post Connect Your Brain to Synthesizers, with Desktop and Modular Creations for Brainwaves appeared first on Create Digital Music.

Loopmasters releases Double Tiger – Horns of Dub

Loopmasters has launched Horns of Dub, a sample library by Double Tiger featuring a collection of classic Roots horns performed and recorded live through an all analogue signal path for maximum authenticity and then drenched in lovely Dub FX. Horns of Dub is a high-grade blend of Trombone, Trumpet & Tenor Saxophone that together form […]

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50% off Grid Machine Slice – DnB at Plugin Boutique

Plugin Boutique has launched a Friday Flash Sale for Grid Machine Slice – DnB, offering 50% off the Kontakt instrument library from Channel Robot. Cut, Chop, Stutter, Reverse, Mix, Modulate and of course slice with Grid Machine//Slice DnB. A unique powerful new type of loop altering tool to Bend, Twist and re-create your loops all […]

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Push Button Bang releases Live Dubstep & Trap Drum Stems

Push Button Bang has launched Live Dubstep & Trap Drum Stems, a collection of live acoustic drums and MIDI for Dubstep, Trap or 140 bpm break based productions. As with the original House drum stems, this huge collection of head nodding grooves features individual track drum stems – separate hi hats or cymbals to sit […]

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Bass Boutique launches Bass Sessions by Smookie Illson

Bass Boutique has released Bass Sessions, an essential collection of sample-ready studio artillery by Smookie Illson. In less than two years since its inception, the US-based DJ/production outfit has cranked out a formidable amount of well-received music across the blogosphere, signed music to Play Me Records and started their own digital imprint, Ill At Will […]

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Eerie Resonance: Listen as a Synth Accompanies Singing Architecture

Dancing about architecture? How about singing about architecture – or architecture that sings?

Burnley England’s Singing Ringing Tree is an abstract sculpture that resonates with the wind. Rising above the grassy hills of Burnley, England, it seems to live at some strange intersection between future and past – a sci-fi Stonehenge. And the project, the 2006 work of British architecture firm Tonkin Liu, makes lovely otherworldly sounds.

John Keston, sound designer and the writer of audio invention recipe blog Audiocookbook, has been making a set of “duets,” coupling more conventional electronic synthesis with the wind-blown ambiences of the SRT construction. He’s surprisingly adept at interweaving these contrasting timbres into dreamy drones, armed with a Novation Bass Station II and the new, more affordable Moog Minifooger Delay pedal.

srt_day_1

Bless USB power – the whole thing runs on an external battery. (The Novation doesn’t have an internal battery compartment, but it can run on an outboard tank.)

The project is coming in seven parts, but I’ll let part 7 out on CDM, as I enjoy the more-exposed synth. No. 1 was released this week on his blog, and is a beautiful example of the sounds melding together.

And do put on headphones – you’ll hear why.

setup

Duet No.1 for Synthesizer and The Singing Ringing Tree

Funding partners that made this happen — all of them, by the way, essential to supporting American musical invention:

American Composers Forum
Jerome Foundation
ACF’s JFund, which supports new music for emerging artists in Minnesota and the 5 boroughs of NYC.

(Note to Jerome: you guys should really just add Berlin as NYC’s sixth borough in which artists can still afford to live. I kid. Sort of.)

The post Eerie Resonance: Listen as a Synth Accompanies Singing Architecture appeared first on Create Digital Music.

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