Blinksonic launches Black Friday Sale on NI Reaktor ensembles

Blinksonic Black Friday

Blinksonic° has announced its Black Friday Sale, offering a 50% discount on any purchase of 50 EUR or more for a limited time. BLINKSONIC° instruments are a complementary collection of sample-based instruments for sound design or live performance. BLINKSONIC° develops musical toolboxes guided by specific principles for composing and musically arranging samples. All BLINKSONIC° software […]

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Grab Flintpope’s Reaktor ensembles and Kontakt instruments for $1 USD


Flintpope has announced that all of its Reaktor sound machines, Kontakt soundscape instruments, Logic sound packs and VST/AU plugins are now available at $1 USD each. It’s all $1 now. Even the good stuff! 30 creative musical instruments for your DAW Nick Dwyer offers many interesting instruments that feature layered sounds, textures and atmospheres. Think […]

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Vadim is a master of the dark arts of DSP – listen to him explain filters

DSP is a secretive art form. But maybe its best-kept secret is, musicians can learn it. You just need a great teacher – and Vadim Zavalishin of Native Instruments, working in Reaktor, is a perfect place to start.

This talk is from June, but just came online – and it’s a rare chance to hear from anyone like this in the industry, let alone in a way that’s this clear and friendly from someone who’s one of the better DSP artists around. Even if you have little interest in programming, you can skim through this video and learn how Vadim made a lot of NI’s recent stuff sound better through analog-style filter modeling. But it might just get you into some casual toying about with core DSP, because Reaktor makes it easy – and Vadim makes it clear why it’s relevant to music and sound.

Some background first: Digital Signal Processing describes the transformation of sound through math, now inside your plug-ins, your hardware, and quite a lot of of Eurorack modules.

DSP is math, but the math itself often is straightforward. Take summing. You know the equation for summing signals, because it’s literally adding. That’s 1+1 adding – that one. (For years I listened to DAW programmers chuckle as people posted on forums about “summing engines,” because very often it is really the stuff you did in first grade. Well, if in first grade you used floating point numbers instead of integers, but you get the idea.)

Depending on the task in mind, of course, this can get to doctoral-level stuff instead. But if there’s only a handful of people doing DSP in audio, the reason may be that it requires overlapping expertise. You need to get the math part and the coding bits, but you also need a musical ear and a sense of art. (And you need to be willing to work with music instead of take a high-paying job for, say, the petroleum business or defense contractors.)

Music is very often about sophisticated results from simple building blocks. And so it is with DSP. DSP is a unique intersection between music, sound, science, art, and alchemy.

Then again, that’s why it could be a lot of fun to explore as a musician, and not just as an engineer. There’s not time for everything – that’s why it’s great to be able to “stand on the shoulders of giants” and use existing DSP code, and existing research, to say nothing of going out and buying a nice guitar pedal or using the modules in environments like Reaktor or SuperCollider or Max/MSP or Pd or checking out a new plug-in or soft synth or keyboard.

But Reaktor’s visual environment, structured tools, and the ability to plug your latest filter or distortion into a larger context make this software an ideal way to learn or experiment. I think it’s more fun than brewing your own beer or something, anyway, and I kill plants when I try to grow them. Filters it is.

I’m experimenting myself with Reaktor and also the lovely free FAUST environment. If anyone else is, too, let us know how it goes.

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ADSR Sounds launches Reaktor Loop Rework & Divine – EDM and Pop Vocal Acapellas

Cycles & Spots Reaktor Loop ReworkADSR Sounds has released Reaktor Loop Rework, a new Loop Masher instrument for Native Instruments Reaktor by Cycles & Spots Software. Loop Rework affects starting points of loops via MIDI input. So you rearrange loops by playing sequences on your midi controller or by creating them in the piano roll. 4 loops can be played […]

Blinksonic° releases FR3TZ° instrument for NI Reaktor 6

Blinksonic FR3TZBlinksonic° has announced the release of FR3TZ°, a new instrument for Reaktor 6 by Native Instruments where string harmonics meet Euclidean beats in a granular cloud. FR3TZ° offers a minimal concept of a 3-string-mechanical music box to generate fast and original melodic, percussive and ambient sonic environments. It also allows you to play guitar harmonics […]

This light sculpture plays like an instrument, escaped from Tron

Espills is a “solid light dynamic sculpture,” made of laser beams, laser scanners, and robotic mirrors. And it makes a real-life effect that would make Tron proud.

The work, made public this month but part of ongoing research, is the creation of multidisciplinary Barcelona-based AV team Playmodes. And while large-scale laser projects are becoming more frequent in audiovisual performance and installation, this one is unique both in that it’s especially expressive and a heavily DIY project. So while dedicated vendors make sophisticated, expensive off-the-shelf solutions, the Playmodes crew went a bit more punk and designed and built many of their own components. That includes robotic mirrors, light drawing tools, synths, scenery, and even the laser modules. They hacked into existing DMX light fixtures, swapping mirrors for lamps. They constructed their own microcontroller solutions for controlling the laser diodes via Artnet and DMX.

And, oh yeah, they have their own visual programming framework, OceaNode, a kind of home-brewed solution for imagining banks of modulation as oscillators, a visual motion synth of sorts.

It’s in-progress, so this is not a Touch Designer rival so much as an interesting homebrew project, but you can toy around with the open source software. (Looks like you might need to do some work to get it to build on your OS of choice.)

Typically, too, visual teams work separately from music artists. But adding to the synesthesia you feel as a result, they coupled laser motion directly to sound, modding their own synth engine with Reaktor. (OceaNode sends control signal to Reaktor via the now-superior OSC implementation in the latter.)

They hacked that synth engine together from Santiago Vilanova’s PolyComb – a beautiful-sounding set of resonating tuned oscillators (didn’t know this one, now playing!):

Oh yeah, and they made a VST plug-in to send OSC from Reaper, so they can automate OSC envelopes using the Reaper timeline.

OceaNode, visual programming software, also a DIY effort by the team.

… and the DIY OSC VST plug-in, to allow easy automation from a DAW (Reaper, in this case).

It’s really beautiful work. You have to notice that the artists making best use of laser tech – see also Robert Henke and Christopher Bauder here in Berlin – are writing some of their own code, in order to gain full control over how the laser behaves.

I think we’ll definitely want to follow this work as it evolves. And if you’re working in similar directions, let us know.

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MGF Audio sample packs on sale for $1 AUD + 30% OFF orders

MGF AudioMGF Audio has announced that all its sample packs and multisamples are now available for only $1 AUD each. There are over 50 packs of multisamples of vintage synthesizers, including the Roland Alpha Juno, JV-1080, Juno-106 and JX3P, Korg’s Polysix and Minilogue, and the DX11 and DX21 from Yamaha. Over 25 packs of other samples […]

Create lofi drum loops with Flintpope’s Lofi Melodic Hip Hop for Reaktor

Flintpope Lofi Melodic Hip HopFlintpope has announced the release of Lofi Melodic Hip Hop, a new sample layer player instrument for Native Instruments Reaktor. The instrument features 4 sample-loop playback units with real-time remixing capability to get interestingly varied results. It is designed to create an infinite variety of lofi drum loops with a melodic feel. Nick Dwyer aka […]

Native Instruments releases Infamous Flow Expansion by Snipe Young

NI Infamous Flow by Snipe YoungNative Instruments has introduced its latest Expansion pack Infamous Flow, featuring a collection of sounds created with Grammy Award winning producer Snipe Young. INFAMOUS FLOW captures the sound of platinum-selling hip hop and R&B from one of pop music’s golden ages. In the early 90s, hard-hitting, sample-based hip hop merged with the glossy, high-production values […]

Reaktor 6.2.2 update includes new DSP building blocks & macros + Contest launched

NI Build with Reaktor and winNative Instruments has released an update to its Reaktor modular DSP software, introducing a host of powerful new DSP building blocks and macros for builders. New features include filters (6- and 8-pole butterworth bandpass, and more), effects (such as thru-zero phaser and flanger, asymmetric overdrive, and bit and sample rate reduction), LFO features (including tempo […]