Elk Audio OS is the award-winning Audio Operating System from Elk (formerly known as MIND Music Labs) that allows you to run existing VST and other plugin formats on hardware instruments and audio devices in real time with ultra low latency. And this using only general purpose ARM and x86 CPUs, opening up for a […]
The Surge open source synthesizer instrument by Vember Audio has been updated to version 1.6.3. Surge is a virtual synthesizer released into open source by creator Claes Johanson in September 2018, and maintained by a group of volunteers since then. The update comes with fixes for various problems with the VST3 plugin. Changes in Surge […]
Need to record audio from an app, or route sound from one tool to another? Blackhole is an easy, free way to do that on the Mac, right through the latest macOS Catalina.
The utility Soundflower got some brand recognition among music and audio nerds after its introduction way back in 2004, but that tool is now largely defunct. It’s based on now-deprecated Mac tools, so fine for older machines, but fairly useless for newer Macs running the latest OS. JACK audio is a powerful option across platforms, and it’s especially powerful and easy on Linux, on which platform developers are more likely to write native clients. But it was never as friendly to new users as Soundflower.
Blackhole gives you more of that sort of simplicity, with modern updates – including full support for macOS Catalina that has eluded some other tools. Basically, look to Soundflower for older OSes, and consider Blackhole for 10.10 (Yosemite) and later, especially if you’re up to Mojave or Catalina.
You get 16 channels of audio (configurable up to 256 if you need that for some reason), lots of sample rates, and – as with the other solutions mentioned here – zero latency.
It’s pretty simple stuff, and my initial tests suggest this it’s solid. I think given the pace of Apple’s updates, the actively developed Mac-specific tool here wins:
This triggered a lively discussion after the developer mentioned it on Reddit:
By the way, it’s interesting that users expect a tool made for macOS audio architectures to work on Windows. Since most pro audio tasks rely on ASIO, you’ll want to use that architecture for inter-app audio routing.
On Windows and ASIO, for a cross-platform implementation, JACK really is your best bet. In the past, that meant some complex installation, but there’s now an easy guide:
JACK remains the tool that works everywhere, but I do make use of these specific tools for the Mac and Windows. Let us know how Blackhole is working for you, if you’ve found an interesting use case, and if you run into trouble.
Mutable Instruments packed a lot of different sound models into a single module with Braids and “spiritual successor” Plaits. Learn what they do in these videos.
Émilie’s work in modular is some of the most innovative of recent instrument designs. Braids and the later Plaits are so deep, in fact, that they can seem a bit like cheating – like the sound design work is already done for you in that engine. But that’s before you begin to appreciate the simplicity of the interface, on one hand, and the flexibility of being able to dial in entirely different models. Plaits and Braids break with the uni-tasker tendencies of modular; they can shift into very different roles in different patches. See the original source:
Actually, sorry for saying that if you were trying to haggle down a used price. (Maybe complain about teal and French rose as colors? Dunno.) But it’s also worth noting that even if you don’t have a rack and hardware, you can explore the possibilities of these modules. Braids is available as Macro Oscillator, and Plaits as Macro Oscillator 2. Just download VCV Rack, and add the fully authorized port of the hardware as the Audible Instruments collection. As the code is open source, you have a one-to-one translation of the sound and function of the hardware, which is also useful in evaluating if you want to invest in the gear.
If you like reading, the manuals suffice for hardware and software – Braids, Plaits.
But even as someone who does like reading, video has proven a medium for people to go beyond just making a manual and talk about how they work, demoing sounds as they go.
It’s worth noting that this isn’t MK1 and MK2 so much as two really
distinct takes on the idea, each built from scratch, and each with its
own character and musicality.
Omri Cohen has built a whole series of episodes around the original, Braids.
Check the full playlist – it’s an epic series. (Too much Civil War talk. “Dearest, it is now the 34th day I have been tweaking this patch, and I fear I may never return to our warm bed again…”)
The excellent and prolific YouTube channel “VCV Rack Ideas” has been covering Plaits. And just as you could translate the Braids series above from hardware to software, you can do the reverse and apply the VCV Rack notions to your physical rig.
Here are 15 tips and tricks:
There’s even a specific idea around melodic techno:
And, actually, bonus, let’s throw in my personal favorite Clouds even though I didn’t mention it in the headline. It’s a wonderful granular audio processor, and I imagine we’ll all be overusing it in this version when VCV Rack finally has a proper VST plug-in implementation, too:
It’s good stuff. And it’s been wonderful to watch Émilie’s embrace of open source lead to variations and twists. It’s something I talked about a lot with open source, but rarely got to witness in action – and it’s encouraging.
Speaking of which, if you’re doing interesting things with either the technology here or you’re particularly pleased with your musical results, and want to share tips or sounds, do get in touch.
Version 1.6.2 of the Surge synthesizer instrument for Windows, Mac and Linux is now available. The update includes alternate tunings, expanded .wav file support and waveTable oscillator improvements, and more. Surge is an Open Source Digital Synthesizer, originally written and sold as a commercial product by @kurasu/Claes Johanson at vember audio. In September of 2018, […]
Reaktor lovers no longer have to be jealous of live coders – now they get a performance-ready, free, low-level tool of their own. Sonic mayhem awaits you.
Okay, first – “live coding” doesn’t necessarily have to mean typing. Text is just one way to represent software logic, that is – and tools like Reaktor (and Pd, and Max, and TouchDesigner) simply use a “dataflow” visual representation for that same logic.
Reaktor Blocks now gives you a high-level, Eurorack hardware-style way to patch. But there hasn’t been anything that can exploit the low-level, high power DSP capabilities of Reaktor in real-time.
Enter LiveCore. The goal: “inreasing liveness” when you work with Reaktor, so you can actually patch live. It’s the work of co-creators David Alexander (@freeeco) and Jack Armitage (@jarmitage), and it’s all free and open source on GitHub (provided you have a Reaktor license, of course). And it’s capable of some seriously awesome musical madness:
You actually don’t need to know that much about Core, Reaktor’s low-level DSP objects, to use LiveCore. It effectively makes Core more powerful for existing users, and gives an entry point to people who may have avoided it.
LiveCore gives you a set of modules, each insanely optimized (just a few bytes compiled, and efficient on your machine’s processor). In the first release you’ll find the following – and the developers say more are on the way:
Sequencer (quantizes phase Driver Output to make patterns)
Limiter (not like a traditional audio studio limiter – it’s actually more like a simple two-stage envelope)
Reader (intended for sample playback, from a table)
And, like, holy s*** this idea is cool. Everything is built around the Phase Driver – you make one-shot triggers or ramps with that, and then do all your signal mangling and such with the other modules to create interesting patterns for sounds.
It’s also refreshing to have a modular environment that isn’t tied up in a whole bunch of idiosyncratic hardware modules. If you look at the display, it’s very nerdy in appearance, sure. But the actual use of this is so simple that it seems open to exploration, even for people who don’t normally think about patterns in terms of signal flow.
And this looks like a really unique way to approach patterns. That Waveshaper, for instance, can be used to create irregularities and interest in patterns. (There’s also nothing stopping you from routing this to a patch built in Reaktor Blocks, if you really want to.)
This project is brand new, so please don’t immediately bug the developers with too many questions. Documentation is mostly still forthcoming, so you’re pretty much on your own. It seems like they’re progressing quickly, though, and I think you’ll agree – this was too cool not to immediately share.
Nils Hilbricht has announced that the third annual Sonoj Convention will be taking place October 26th-27th 2019 in Cologne, Germany. The convention focuses on the combination of music production and free/open source software with a priority on practical music production. At Sonoj there will be talks, demonstrations, and workshops from demonstrating basic workflows to detailed […]
AudioKit Pro has announced the release of FM Player 2, an updated version of the iPad Instrument inspired by classic 80s FM synthesizers. The sequel to the award-winning FM Player app (released in 2017) that has been played by Herbie Hancock and downloaded by over a hundred thousand musicians worldwide now comes with AUv3 support, […]