Make eerie, modulating drones like it’s a disco in the Exclusion Zone. Or delve into the sound tools of Stockhausen. But for anyone who loves finding shifting, nuanced colors in oscillators – Hainbach and Sinan Bökesoy have created something for you.
What if I told you you could take a KORG keyboard – or even the ultra-cheap NTS-1 – and add a bass and drum machine, just by downloading a file? Sinevibes’ Artemiy Pavlov has been raving about the possibility of KORG’s platform. Now he’s realizing it.
The post A bass and drum machine, inside your KORG hardware, with Sinevibes’ Groove plugin appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.
Black lives matter. Just posting slogans isn’t going to help – and people are dying. What can make a difference? Music tech makers are proposing an actual plan of activities.
The post Music tech makers are donating a day – or more – to funds that could make a difference appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.
Reason’s approach: use their workflow wherever you want, in whatever DAW you want. And now, in case there was any doubt, they’re adding an AAX-format plug-in for Pro Tools users. All of this makes sense in the grand history of Reason. The company formerly known as Propellerhead first made Reason work as a virtual rack […]
The post Apply Reason anywhere: Pro Tools support with Reason AAX plug-in appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.
Get a free algorithmic bass drum generator, a lo-fi modulator, a massive granular workstation, for free – and that’s just the beginning.
Micah Frank is one of the most prolific sound designer-inventor-composer types around, via his Puremagnetik soundware label and personal projects. Lately, he’s been turning some of these larger, more experimental projects into free tools that you can both use in your own music – and learn from and expand.
Last summer, we saw an expansive, unparalleled granular tool take form as both album and free code:
But now, Micah has gone further – way further. The new series is a set of plug-ins called Prototypes. That granular instrument from last summer has become what is really a full-fledged tool like no other, and now is available in plug-in form. There are new tools in a slightly more pre-release state, true to the “prototype” name. But all are ready to use – and they offer a window into the power of Csound, the fully free and open-source omni-platform sound toolkit that is descended the very first digital audio tools ever created.
Kickblast (an algorithmic bass drum generator)
Parallel (a lo-fi modulator)
And a much developed (not so prototype-ish) plugin version of my multitrack granular workstation Grainstation C
Pre-built plug-ins for VST and Audio Unit are available for macOS and 64-bit Windows. I think it’s trivial to build for some other platforms (I need to check that out), or you can also run in Csound directly. Find those in the Builds section of his GitHub:
It’s all open-source (GNU GPLv2 license), and while you can run it as a plug-in, the sound code is all in Csound. Full repository:
Micah tells CDM he hopes that some of you will discover what Csound can do in your own work. ” Csound is my favorite,” Micah says. The “spectral, granular, convolution sound” is one of the best available, he raves. “I feel like it needs an awareness push, as the music-making community is much more ready to code than they were in the ’80s. And the learning curve from Max (or even a modular system) to Csound is not so bad.”
Follow Micah on Instagram, so you get some pretty nature shots interspersed with your music nerd goodness. My kind of influencer.
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Want to set the mood at your next jam? Learning VJ tools and experimenting with live visuals? Going deeper with shader coding? These free black-and-white animations will get you started.
ShaderToy, which I also wrote about yesterday, is a free community site for exchanging shader code. That GLSL code requires some wrapper around it to use in visual tools. Enter the cross-platform ISF (Interactive Shader Format), which makes portability a bit easier in VJ apps like VDMX and MadMapper.
This selection began its life as some of the nicer examples on Shadertoy, then got ported for easier use.
There’s even a converter so you can try the same thing:
There’s just one catch – the Shadertoy code isn’t cleared for commercial use. And Creative Commons’ definition of “commercial” is so broad, almost any use where you’re earning money probably qualifies. Still, that leaves unpaid (cough) VJ gigs as well as gatherings and jam sessions and experimentation.
Or better yet, once you’ve exercised these tools a bit, you can have a look at the actual code in ISF format or on Shadertoy in GLSL (the GPU standard), and help learn how to write your own original creations. You probably don’t want to show up at the paid gig with effects everyone else is using, anyway.
In the meantime – let’s party in black and white.
In case you missed it, the Shadertoy Cybertruck I wrote about yesterday got posted in minutes, thanks to David from Vidvox:
The post Free: get some groovy black-and-white pattern animations for VJ apps appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.
Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Black Week – with so many to choose from, here are our favorite tech deals for music makers.
Got a deal?
Found a deal you want to share with other folks? Offering a deal yourself (as a developer, manufacturer, record label, whatever)? Tell us about it here:
Well, first from us – deals on the synth hardware and record label side projects of CDM!
MeeBlip geode synthesizers are $129 plus free shipping, anywhere. Through Monday.
MeeBlip thru5 kits are $9.99 (50% off!) – while supplies last. We expect to sell out before the deal ends end of day Monday.
Establishment Records on Bandcamp. All albums in our catalog are now 70% off through Monday evening. Plus look forward to new stuff from our spin-off record label in 2020 – some exciting plans in the works now. Enter code wearblack.
Everything at Reason Studios is on sale for what they call “Rack Friday,” with discounts on Reason (now with AU support on Mac!) and lots of Rack Extensions – up to 90% off. https://www.reasonstudios.com/shop/deals/ – through December 2.
Ableton have 25% off Live 10, upgrades, and packs, meaning if you put off upgrading, now is the sign.
Arturia’s V Collection 7, full of basically every software recreation of classic electronic instruments you could imagine, is down to 299 $/EUR, along with other upcoming Arturia deals to watch. Also, even something like this sounds cooler in French. Behold: Obtiens la V Collection pour une prix exclusif Jusqu’au 5 décembre 2019. Ne rate pas cette occasion. Obtiens-la pour 299$/EUR. Ah, we sounds so crass in English, by comparison. Touché . https://www.arturia.com/black-friday-19
iZotope has discounts on software plus their Spire Studio hardware. Probably best of these is the $49 bundle of Elements Suite, DDLY, Mobius Filter, and Trash 2. Everything is on sale, though. Also great – the Music Production site (with Ozone 9 Advanced, Neutron 3 Advanced, etc.) for $399 and the bargain-basement-priced, awesome-sounding, light-on-CPU PhoenixVerb for $39. Through 12/6.
Output’s instruments have an extra 25% off – meaning the bundle of everything is now $/EUR 599.
puremagnetik’s unique collections of sounds and instruments are 50% through November 30, including some wonderful plugin instruments. Enter code BLACKFRIDAY19. Get a little granular after Thanksgiving dinner.
Eventide’s Anthology XI – the equivalent of a studio full of Eventide gear – is a full 75% off, for $499. That compares well to getting it via subscription, and it’s an outstanding deal. There’s also the excellent Elevate suite for 50% off. See the holiday sale page. Full disclosure: I live off the Anthology. The Eventide folder if it lived in the real world would have had its name worn off by now.
Time + Space have a rotating set of deals from a whole host of vendors. It may even be worth checking some of these deals versus the original developers.
On the same lines, pluginboutique.com have a bunch of deals on various vendors, and some of these discounts are exclusive, so comparison-shop if you’re stocking up. 50% off Softube or a stunning 80% off Soundtoys looks brilliant. On the Softube side, you can’t go wrong with the company’s amp simulations, for instance, and Modular add-ons are discounted, too. For Soundtoys, LittlePlate and EchoBoy Jr. are secret sauce for me, so I would absolutely endorse those two as they’re indispensible (or full EchoBoy for a little more).
Waves are letting you stock up with code BF50 at checkout, plus free plug-ins to choose when you spend more than $50.
Harrison’s new AVA plug-ins are 4-for-the-price-of-1, at $89 for the lot. See the AVA product page. These plug-ins I don’t know yet, but Harrison’s stuff typically sounds great.
Tracktion’s software is up to 65% off. That includes their DAWs, but also things like the MOK Waverazor and SpaceCraft instruments. Tons of inspiring stuff – code MIX2019 – through end of day December 4. https://www.tracktion.com
Cableguys do great stuff and they have their only sale of the year as this – “Until Cyber Monday, 2nd December 2019, the ShaperBox 2 Bundle of five powerful Cableguys effects – TimeShaper 2, VolumeShaper 6, FilterShaper Core 2, PanShaper 3, and WidthShaper 2 – is only €79 / $89. That’s a 50% saving compared to buying all five Shapers individually (€155 / $180).” https://www.cableguys.com/shaperbox.html
Kilohearts has deep discounts on their stuff through December 9 – https://kilohearts.com.
Metric Halo’s indispensible software, including SpectraFoo and the like, is on a sale up to 70%. https://www.mhsecure.com/mhdirect/home.php?cat=26 They’ve also got early access pricing on their hardware.
cykle is a really cool step sequencer for iOS; it’s now 40%.
All of the superb Bram Bos iOS apps are on sale for $3.99 (or local equivalent), for some excellent synths, drum machines, MIDI tools, and more. See his developer page on the App Store.
The Atom piano roll (looper/sequencer, AUv3) is on sale for 50% off for iOS. It’s maybe your best bet for AUv3-compatible sequencing at the moment.
Some of our favorite synths/effects, Elastic Drums and Elastic FX, are 40% off until the end of the week. Check https://mominstruments.com.
Imaginando’s controller apps are the ones I’ve been using most lately on iOS, and they’re right now all 40% off. Through December 2.
Erica Synths’ have 20% some of our favorite modules – the Fusion Series. https://www.ericasynths.lv/shop/eurorack-modules/by-series/fusion-series/ Through Saturday.
Also over in Riga, there’s the wonderful, independently-operated Gamechanger Audio. Their exceptionally unique Plus and Plasma pedals are 20% off, which is about as good a way to spend money as I can imagine. Check out their shop – https://www.gamechangeraudio.com/shop – through December 2. It’s a pretty big deal to do this as an independent maker, too – they admit they’re working 14-hour shifts to get the gear out – so do reward them!
Arturia hardware is on sale, so head into your local store (or order from them). That’s up to 50% off MiniBrute (and its rackable 2S sibling) and the unique DrumBrute. DrumBrute for 349 $/EUR is pretty astonishing and maybe reason to overlook even those remakes everyone else might be grabbing.
ROLI is running an insane discount of up to 50% off a lot of their Seaboard and Blocks hardware plus plug-ins. https://roli.com/black-friday-deals
Sweetwater has $300 off that Solid State Logic SiX we’ve all been coveting. It’s still the most expensive compact mixer you can buy, but … well, it’s a little more tempting, and come on, it’s still a chance to own your own little SSL.
Sweetwater also has a bunch of Universal Audio bundles and deals on their site. But maybe best is –
Learning TouchDesigner? Stanislav Glazov has his superb tutorials on sale. 30 % Discount for all TouchDesigner Courses till 3rd of December. Use promocode 3DOFF at https://lichtpfad.selz.com/
garageCube are again celebrating “Mad Week” with 20% off software and 10% off hardware. Head to https://www.garagecube.com/product/ through December 2. This includes upgrade discounts, so it’s worth checking even if you’re already a customer.
Big Semantica Records fan, and they’re 30% off with code blackfriday2019 on Bandcamp.
Florian Meindl as I said is doing some of the finest quality techno production out there, and now you can get all his tracks for 9EUR (really). Just go to an album page like this one – https://florianmeindl.bandcamp.com/album/nonlinear-times-remixes-black-asteroid-jeroen-search – and you’ll see the option.
Total Black records in Berlin obviously needs a Black Friday discount; they’re 70% off. Use code blackfriday.
Beautiful Seoul-based Oslated Records is 70% off, with code blackfriday.
I know a lot of indie labels must be doing Bandcamp sales, so do get in touch.
That covers Bandcamp, but see also Beatport for some deals – code CYBERSALE nets you as much as 50%, and you can use it twice before it expires on December 3.
The post Here are the best Black Friday deals for electronic musicians appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.
The volunteer-run Ubuntu Studio isn’t just a great Linux distribution for beginners wanting to make music, visuals, and media. It’s a solid alternative to Mac and Windows you can easily dual boot.
Ubuntu Studio for a while had gone semi-dormant for a while; open source projects need that volunteer support to thrive. But starting around 2018, it saw renewed interest. (Uh, maybe frustrations with certain mainstream OSes even helped.)
And that’s important for the Linux ecosystem at large. Ubuntu remains the OS distribution most targeted by mainstream developers and most focused on easy end user operation. That’s not to say it’s the best distro for you – part of the beauty of Linux is the endless choice it affords, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. But because some package management focuses on Ubuntu (and Debian), because it’s the platform where a lot of the action is as far as consumer desktop OS features, and just because so many beginners are on the platform, it matters. Heck, you can usually get more novice-friendly advice just by Googling a problem and adding the word “Ubuntu” on the end.
But that’s all what you’d hope Ubuntu Studio would be. Let’s talk about what it is – because the latest distro release looks really terrific.
Ubuntu Studio 19.10 dropped last month. For those unOS familiar with Ubuntu – look closely at those numbers – that’s October 2019. Ubuntu alternates between long-term support (LTS) releases and more frequent releases with newer features. Crucially, the Ubuntu Studio team now add “backports” though so that you can use the newer packages on the LTS release – so you don’t have to constantly upgrade your OS just to get the latest features.
If you don’t mind doing the distro update, though, 19.10 has some really terrific features. I also have to say, as a musician the other appeal to me of Linux is, I can still use my main OS as the day-to-day OS, loaded down with lots of software and focusing on things like battery life, while maintaining a dual boot Linux OS both as a backup OS for live use and one I can optimize for low-latency performance. Now that Bitwig Studio, Renoise, VCV Rack, Pure Data, SuperCollider, and lots of other cool software to play live all run on Linux, that’s no small matter. (For visuals, think Blender, game engines, and custom code.)
New in this version:
OBS Studio is pre-configured right out of the box, for live streaming and screencasting.
There are tons of plug-ins ready-to use. 100 plug-ins were added to this release, on top of the ones already available. There are LADSPA, LV2, and VST plug-ins, and extensive support even for Window VSTs. For now, you even get 32-bit plug-in support, so using one of the LTS releases for backwards compatibility on a studio machine is a good idea.
Oh yeah, and while you should definitely move to 64-bit, plug-in developers – targeting Linux now makes sense, without question. And Ubuntu Studio would be a logical distro against which to test or even provide support.
RaySession now makes handling audio sessions for apps easier.
Ubuntu Studio Controls is improved. This won’t make sense to Linux newcomers, but especially for those of you who tried Ubuntu in the past and maybe even got frustrated – Ubuntu Studio has done a lot of work here. Ubuntu Studio Controls and the pre-configured OS now make things work sensibly out of the box, with powerful controls for tweaking things as you need. And yeah, this was indeed sometimes not the case in the past. The trick with Linux – ironically just as on Windows and sometimes even macOS – is that different applications have competing needs for what audio has to do. Ubuntu Studio does a good job of juggling the consumer audio needs with high-performance inter-app audio and multichannel audio we need for our music stuff.
Anyway, new in this build:
- Now includes an indicator to show whether or not Jack is running
- Added Jack backend selections: Firewire, ALSA, or Dummy (used for testing configurations)
- Added multiple PulseAudio bridges
- Added convenient buttons for starting other configuration tools
That’s just a quick look; you can read the release notes:
I’m installing 19.10 (rather than LTS and backports, though I might do that on an extra machine), as I’m in a little lull between touring. VCV Rack is part of my live rig, as is SuperCollider or Pd for more experimental gigs, so you can bet I’m interested here. I’ll be sure to share how this works and provide a beginner-friendly guide.
For more on how this works:
The post Ubuntu Studio hits 19.10, gives you an ultra easy, config-free Linux for music and media appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.
I’ve done the deep dive. Here’s the easy explanation of why it’s too soon to upgrade to macOS Catalina – either if you’re pressed for time, or to forward to your friends.
macOS Catalina will break some music and visual software and hardware, because of changes to backward compatibility and some major new security features never before seen on a desktop OS.
The question is whether you want to find the incompatibilities and bugs yourself, or wait a while and let someone else do it for you.
Also, there is no reason to upgrade right now. Features like Sidecar, letting you use Apple Pencil and iPad as a second display/input device, are available elsewhere. (Try Duet. Or upgrade to Mojave if you haven’t already.)
So the fact I see people rushing to upgrade tells me they don’t understand why it’s a bad idea. Here’s why it’s a bad idea.
What could go wrong if you upgrade too soon
Some software won’t launch. Just one 32-bit dependency can break software like DAWs from launching. There is a tool that checks for whether apps are entirely 32-bit called Go64. But many DAWs and notation tools, for example, do require updates even to what could be labeled a 64-bit version.
DAWs will require an update before they work with plug-ins. Security changes mean that DAWs need to be specifically updated for Catalina in order to work. Check with your DAW maker. Ableton Live 10 in its latest, Catalina-specific release work, as does Apple’s own Logic Pro X. Many popular DAWs don’t have updates, and won’t until later in October (or even beyond that). And just because a DAW says it’s updated is not a 100% guarantee on your specific system, because —
Plug-ins and other tools may behave in unexpected ways. New macOS features for providing security permissions haven’t been tested in every combination yet. And new security requirements can also mess with software in obscure
Some installers won’t work. A lot of older installers and uninstallers are 32-bit, not 64-bit. So if you update a system, then decide to install a plug-in or driver you forgot, you may hit a hard wall. If these are not actively supported devices or plug-ins, you may be unable to use them without rolling back the OS version.
You won’t be able to use iTunes with DJ software. Do you manage your music library with iTunes, then DJ with that library with Traktor, Serato, Rekordbox, and other tools? Do you use iTunes on the Mac for playlists and library management and then use Rekordbox to load the library on USB sticks? iTunes is removed from Catalina, it doesn’t run on Catalina, this functionality doesn’t work, and there’s currently no information on what workaround will be possible or how the new Music app will or won’t work with these tools. It’s very possible this will get fixed, but right now it doesn’t work and there’s no information on what the fix will be. Got it?
You’re going to see a whole bunch of dialog boxes. Yeah, about those new security features – the first run can be, uh, exciting. Here’s an image. Fortunately, this is only
Printers and other hardware may need an update. Look around you. See every device you rely on? Double-check that device has support. Does that seem like too much time? Maybe
How long is long, and who should upgrade, and how?
Even waiting two weeks helps. Various developers including heavyweights like Steinberg and Pioneer are saying they expect to have more information by the end of October. That may sound arbitrary, but it has to do with the
Who should upgrade now? Developers and system administrators or anyone whose job is support.
For everyone else, plan on this:
If you want to retain support for older plug-ins and drivers that may not be updated, expect to keep one Mac around that runs Mojave or earlier.
If you do want to upgrade, just use a second hard drive to test first. This is even more effective than making a full backup (though that’s always a good idea, too). Here’s an easy guide. But even if you’re thinking of a testbed system, you should probably wait 2-4 weeks minimum.
If you’re thinking of buying a new system, for now, these will all still run Mojave if you need them to do so. In the future, Apple may upgrade its Mac hardware in such a way that will require Catalina, so be aware of that if you need to run any old 32-bit tools.
Use a break soon to upgrade to … Mojave
For stable systems, many of us for years have simply lagged Apple by one year, because macOS is now on an annual autumn release cadence.
So now is – seriously – a great time to update to Mojave. That upgrade is still available from the Mac App Store. It’s now quite stable and thoroughly tested, and updates are available to most tools.
It’s also an ideal “long term” upgrade for the Mac for a long time to come. It has the most stable audio system of recent updates, it has support for most of the newest Apple APIs (even including Metal graphics), and yet it retains support for 32-bit software.
Hey, remember, some people still have Atari machines they use actively for music.
What about Windows? Look, all OSes are complicated to support. And yeah, Windows users, don’t get snarky yet. While Microsoft has excellent developer support and tends to prioritize backward compatibility in ways Apple does not, it’s very likely Windows will also face some challenges as it moves away from 32-bit support and deals with security threats. Basically, let’s leave OS wars for the 1990s and focus on what works best for your actual use case. Though I would happily engage in an Atari versus Amiga debate for nostalgia’s sake if someone wants.
Why would we ever want this upgrade?
Okay, good question. This isn’t limited to Catalina – you might even wait for the OS update after this one – but Apple is adding features that could eventually matter to the Mac. (It’s hard to compare this directly to Linux or Windows, but at least for Mac users.)
More iOS apps will work on the Mac. 10.15 is the minimum OS version that supports a technology called Catalyst that will make it easier for iOS-only apps to run on the Mac, too.
The Mac is getting more accessible. Users with disabilities will find additional features in macOS Catalina, both for people with impaired vision and those using voice control and entry.
There should be expanded performance working with visuals. We’re waiting on more test data on this, but just as Apple is dumping some old graphics APIs, you should expect enhanced video and 3D graphics performance from many of the new ones. (As I said, for now you do getthe Metal benefits under Mojave, though some specific features for working with for instance Apple’s own displays are Catalina-only.)
There are various consumer features, too. If you’re involved in game development, for instance, you may care that Apple Arcade is on the new Mac release.
And yes, I think for people with iPads, the Sidecar combination with Catalina will be great – though I’m sticking with iPad Pro / Pencil and Duet on Windows and Mac for now, personally.
The post Don’t upgrade to Catalina yet – here’s an easy explanation why not appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.
Tools and technology are often described as obstacles. But sometimes focusing on a tool can refine musical process and composition – as main(void) reveals.
And yes, the goal here is, as always, to cure writers’ block and finish something that you feel really happy with. Let’s first hear the finished item, as it’s got the kind of deliciously calculated, precise electronics that first drew me to Europe. It feels chilly, but still sensual – foreplay for cyborgs, you know, putting the tech in techno:
Working musicians all have to balance different gigs. An emerging role for us is working out how to take day jobs in designing tools and sound design, and use that experience to help us make our creative musical experience better.
In the case of main(void), aka Jan Ola Korte, it meant parlaying his work in 2018 designing sounds for Native Instruments’ TRK-01 into honing his music making process. He writes:
When I was working on the sound design for Native Instruments TRK-01 in 2018, I saved a few presets to use in my own music. These sounds and patterns ended up becoming the foundation of Stoicism, my first solo EP that was released Aug 21 on Spatial Cues. I had a little bit of a writer’s block situation, so I tried to resolve it by working within very restrictive parameters. All five original tracks on Stoicism use TRK-01 as the only sound source, processed through a number of effect plug-ins. Limiting myself in this way created a nicely coherent sound palette. Since I only used TRK-01’s internal sequencers, I arranged the tracks via automation in Ableton Live, which switched up my routine in an inspiring way. In the end, this workflow not only resolved the writer’s block but led to my most comprehensive release so far.
The basic idea of TRK-01 is to do just that – it puts some focused modules dedicated to dance production in a single place. There’s a kick module, bass, sequencer, and effects – but it’s not preset territory, as each module has a number of different engines. That is, the clever twist here is removing cognitive overhead (by simplifying and integrating the interface), without limiting your creative choices (since there is still a full spectrum of very different sounds you can get out of each module).
Even with that being said, you still might not be certain how to turn this into a completed track. Now, each person will find a different pathway there, but seeing how Jan works – a bit like working with a studio mate – can often give you that “ah ha, I could actually learn from this” feeling.
Jan asked if he should do a full narrated look at his working method. Answer: aber ja.
By the way, of course this also means that by keeping this focused, adapting the release to a live gig is far easier. You’ll be able to catch main(void) live at Griessmuhle, alongside some very special DJ friends like DJ Pete, Alinka, and Qzen, plus some great names, in late October in Berlin.
Oh and yeah, go grab the music on Bandcamp! This is the them problem with promo pools, I see some huge names are playing these tracks out but they got the music for free.
The post How focusing on one tool cured writers block, and made one sharp, chilly, ‘stoic’ EP appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.