Free Downgrade turns Ableton Live into lo-fi wobbly vaporwave tape

Fidelity? High-quality sound? No – degradation! And if you don’t have a ragged VHS deck or cassette Walkman handy, these free effects racks in Ableton Live will sort you out.

Downgrade is the work of Tom Cosm, long-time Ableton guru. There are five effects:

Fluffer
Corrupt
Hiss
Morph
Flutter

— plus if you give him literally US$1 or more (you cheapskate), you get an additional Stutter rack.

Basically, you get loads of controls for manipulating downsampling, tape effects, saturation, distortion, modulation of various kinds, echo, vocoder, and more. It’s a sort of retro Vaporwave starter kit if you’d like to think of it that way – or an easy, dial-up greatest hits of everything Ableton Live can now do to make your sound worse. And by worse, I mean better, naturally.

Ableton have been gradually adding all these digital downsampling features (early on) and simulated analog tape and saturation effects and nonlinear modulation (more recently). Tom has neatly packed them into one very useful set of Racks.

Notice I say “Racks,” not Max for Live devices. That means these will mostly run on different editions of Live, and they’re a bit easier to pick apart and adjust/modify – without requiring Max knowledge.

Go download them:

https://gumroad.com/l/wmIbJ

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Moog teases spectral shift invention for Moogfest

Moogfest is inbound, and that means some new, limited quantity creation of the engineers at Moog. This year it’s a fascinating looking spectral shift module.

The packed festival season is inbound, and whereas that once meant bands and crowd pleasers, now there’s a lot of advanced technology and electronic music – from SONAR to Superbooth to MUTEK to GAMMA to Moogfest, among others.

And Moogfest with a renowned synth builder in the name, of course some of the hardware is also “headlining.” Moog this year haven’t even named their creation yet, but it seems there’s some spectral/vocoder (check the carrier knob) processing going on. They describe it thusly:

This year’s design (shown here patched into synthesizers from previous years’ Engineer Workshops) explores how electronic instruments create an analog of the human experience, speaking directly to the way in which physical circuits resonate within one’s self to create a “Spectral Shift”…

Well, watch:

I’m in another country this Moogfest, but if you splurge on an Engineer Pass, you get to make this and take it home with Moog calibration included. The lineup is filling out, too, with the likes of Daniel Miller, nd_baumecker, Jlin, Martin Gore, GAS, Mor Elian, and others (just to name a few favorites).

More:

https://www.moogmusic.com/news/moogfest-announces-initial-2019-lineup

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RePAN real-time audio separation plugin by AudioSourceRE available now

AudiosourceRE RePAN

AudioSourceRE has announced the release of RePAN, an audio extractor plugin that offers real-time panning-based separation of stereo mixes, using AudioSourceRE’s Digital Signal Processing techniques. The plugin allows you to separate and remix stereo mixes on the fly, adjusting the width and rebalance the volume of existing mixes in real-time. RePAN allows the user to […]

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McDSP combines software & hardware with APB-16 Analog Processing Box

McDSP APB 16

McDSP has announced the APB-16 Analog Processing Box, its first ever hardware box. The McDSP Analog Processing Box (APB) combines the flexibility of software with the fidelity of premium analog processing. Each channel can be controlled by a Pro Tools plug-in giving true digital workflow with genuine analog performance. Processing options include compressors, mastering limiters, […]

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Signum Audio releases BUTE Batch Processor

Signum Audio BUTE Batch Processor

Signum Audio has announced its new BUTE Batch Processor, a highly adaptable server-based solution aimed towards gaming studios dealing with vast amounts of dialogue and localization. Ideal for large projects, the BUTE Batch Processor is designed to be stable, reliable, performant and most importantly to deliver highest fidelity audio. It is highly configurable and can […]

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MusicDevelopments updates RapidComposer to v3.6 + 33% OFF Sale

MusicDevelopments Rapidcomposer

MusicDevelopments has announced version 3.6 of RapidComposer the music prototyping and automated composition software. The update features a new Piano Chord Pattern Generator, Strum Pattern Generator, and a chord voicing editor for the master track which makes editing/splitting/gluing/previewing chords extremely easy. Many other improvements are also included. Changes in RapidComposer v3.6 New phrase generator: Piano […]

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Waves intros new SoundGrid plugin processing DSP units

Waves Soundgrid Extreme Server C double rack

Waves Audio has introduced the SoundGrid Extreme Server-C, a plugin processing beast for the studio and live. Compact and powerful, light and robust, this DSP unit can effortlessly process hundreds of SoundGrid-compatible plugins in real time, live or in the studio – taking only half the width of a standard rack. The Waves SoundGrid Extreme […]

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Waves Audio opens pre-orders for the SoundGrid Mobile Server

Waves SoundGrid Mobile Server

Waves Audio has announced it has opened pre-orders for the Waves SoundGrid Mobile Server, a portable DSP unit that is great for traveling, mixing small live shows and for the studio. Don’t be fooled by its size; the SoundGrid Moblie server definitely packs a powerful punch. With an Intel® Core™ i5 processor and 4 GB […]

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Sound Forge Pro 12 Advanced Audio Waveform Editor 20% OFF!

Magix Sound Forge Pro 12 SaleMagix has launched a sale on Sound Forge Pro 12, the advanced audio waveform editor for Windows. SOUND FORGE Pro is back and it’s better than ever. It has always been an incredible tool for recording, editing and processing audio at the highest possible standard. Thanks to its multi-channel recording, intuitive workflow, extremely powerful editing […]

This granular convolver hardware is the latest creation from Tatsuya Takahashi

There’s a nice gift for Red Bull Music Academy attendees: a hardware convolver effect from the man who led the team at KORG that gave us volcas and minilogues. Here’s a sneak preview.

The Granular Convolver is a collaboration between Tatsuya, now working as an independent designer and relocated to Germany from Japan (while still in an advisory position with KORG), and Berlin’s own E-RM Erfindungsbüro, maker of obsessive-quality clock devices. (Founder Maximilian Rest is the design mind there.)

I’ve got one in-hand, and will detail its operation with some sound samples shortly, but here’s a quick teaser.

First, a Jony Ives (sorry)-style video from Tats:

The important thing: this Raspberry Pi-powered device feels amazing, like a heavyweight metal luxury item, and makes wonderful sounds.

The basic operation:

1. Record a sound snippet.
2. Play back that sound snippet via a granular engine.
3. Convolve that playback with a live input, combining the two sounds – the timbre of your original sound, the envelope of what you’re playing now.

There are also some features for storing and recalling presets, which make this performance friendly.

Why this matters: it gives you an expressive way of “playing” an effect, like an instrument.

And it’s a unique boutique hardware making project, for the particular context of an event – very different than the mass-manufactured designs of something like the volca series. The units were all hand-assembled (by Tats himself) here in Berlin, and even the boards and cases were made here, as well, so it really is a Berlin manufacturing product in a way most things aren’t.

More on this soon – and you can bet if you follow any RBMA attendees, you’ll see some of their experiments with this hardware show up in social channels!

The last time Tats worked with Red Bull:

There’s a synth symphony for 100 cars coming, based on tuning

And – while it’s important to note he was part of a team – some commentary on the Tats Era at KORG (and still very curious what that team will do next!):

Visionary Tatsuya Takahashi leaves a huge legacy as he departs KORG

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