Neon Synthwave Expansion for Carbon Electra brings Future-Retro inspired sounds

PIB Carbon Electra Neon Synthwave

Plugin Boutique has launched a new Carbon Electra expansion pack with 64 fresh sounds for the popular virtual synthesizer instrument. Neon Synthwave is a must for any producer looking to use Carbon Electra for Future-Retro inspired styles such as Synthwave, Retro-Electro, Ambient Electronica and Cinematic 80’s Soundtrack music. The pack is focused around the use […]

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The Stylophone goes totally luxe with the GEN R-8

You’ve seen the Stylophone as the mass-produced, toy-like original. And you’ve seen it as a relaunched digital emulation and as an analog instrument. Now get ready for the Stylophone as premium boutique instrument.

The Stylophone began its story back in 1967, and became one of the iconic electronic musical inventions of the 20th century – its appeal being largely to do with its simplicity and directness. The son of the original inventor, Ben Jarvis, went on to revive instrument under the original manufacturer name, Dubreq.

Now, the GEN R-8 is here with some advanced features and flowery description about British circuitry you might expect from the ad copy for a high-end mixing desk. There’s something a bit funny about associating that with the instrument so long known as a (very musical) toy, but – think of the GEN R-8 as a new desktop synth, the full-featured, grown-up monster child of the original.

Oh, and — it sounds like it’s going to be a total bass beast.

So you know in campy horror movies where someone gets hit with a growth ray or radiation or whatever, and turns into a city-smashing giant? Hopefully this is like that, in a good way.

Sound specs:

Dual analog oscillators (VCOs) and full analog signal path.
Divide-down sub-oscillators (one octave lower) and subsub oscillators (two octaves lower) – switch them all on, and you get six oscillators at once.
12 dB state variable filter – low pass, high pass, band pass, wide notch – which they say is their own proprietary design.
ADSR envelope, now with a “punchy” shorter hold stage when you crank attack and decay peaks, they say.

There’s a delay, too – based on the Princeton pt2399 chip, and “grungy” in the creators’ description – which you can modulate via time CV input.

And some classic overdrive, plus an extra booster stage – this part does actually sound a bit like classic British console gear.

And there’s a step sequencer – 8 banks, 16 steps per sequence, both for the internal synth and external gear (CV/gate and MIDI output).

Plus the whole thing is patchable:
There’s an LFO with eight waveforms and dual outputs, which you can patch to all of the CV ins or to other gear.
The patch panel has 19 minijack CV/gate and audio patch points.

The keyboard is now touch-based – so you don’t need a stylus – and has a sort of absurd set of features (MIDI controller output with local on/off, glide and modulation keys, three octaves of keys).

And it’s made of steel.

Price: £299 / $349 / €329
Availability: Late February 2019 [limited edition]

So it’s really Stylophone on steroids – fully patchable, with delay and drive and filter, MIDI and CV, ready to use as a new synth or as a controller tool with other gear (other semi-modulars, Eurorack, MIDI instruments, whatever). It does appear one of the more interesting new instruments of the year – one to watch.

Demo:

https://dubreq.com/genr8/

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NAMM 2019: Korg Volca Drum – Machinedrum ähnliche digitale Percussion im Kleinformat

Korg Volca Drum Digital Percussion Synthesizer Close UpKorg Volca Drum Digital Percussion Synthesizer Close Up

Korg hat nicht nur den (bereits geleakte) neuen Volca Modular pünktlich vor der NAMM 2019 fertiggestellt, sondern auch noch das Volca Drum. Es spezialisiert sich auf die typisch „synthetischen“ Klänge von digitalen Drummachines, kann aber ein wenig mehr. Es erzeugt Sounds nicht analog oder via PCM-Samples, sondern berechnet via DSP – das gibt eine Latte an Möglichkeiten.

Eigentlich ist die Idee auch für Korg nicht neu, denn die Electribe R war genau das, eine digitale Drummachine, die aber die klassischen Drum-Modelle an Bord hat. Es gibt 6 Drumsounds, die allesamt synthetisch sind. Es erinnert an Elektrons Machinedrum, auch weil es sogar ein richtiges Display gibt, welches Wellenformen und mehr darstellt. Ein Drumsound besteht generell aus einem Rauschanteil und einem tonalen Part und die kann man hier entsprechend einstellen. Dafür gibt es drei Potis für den Klang selbst und weitere für Hüllkurven der jeweiligen Anteile der Sounds wie etwa der Snare.

Der 16-Step-Sequencer animiert die sechs Sounds und damit ist der Drum das Gegenstück zur Sample-Volca oder der Microtonic unter den Volcas. Auch vorher gab es ja eine analoge Drummachine bei den Volcas, den „Beats“, aber der ist eher wie ein klassischer Drumcomputer aufgebaut mit wenigen Einstellmöglichkeiten und erinnert eher an die MFB Drummachines, als diese noch sehr klein und blau waren. Die Erzeugung ist aber nicht nur mit Filter oder Oszillator in der einfachen Form vorhanden, es gibt durchaus auch noch Wavefolding für mehr Obertöne. Es sind schon ganze Drum-Modelle, so ähnlich wie Elektrons „Machines“. Wie auch immer man sie nennt, sie sind alle nicht neu, nur sind sie in einer Volca neu. Die Preise stehen nicht endgültig fest, man kann aber mit unter 199 Euro rechnen.

Korg Volca Drum

Korg Volca Drum Digital Percussion Synthesizer

Mehr Infos

Videos

NAMM 2019: Korg Volca Drum – Machinedrum ähnliche digitale Percussion im Kleinformat

Korg Volca Drum Digital Percussion Synthesizer Close UpKorg Volca Drum Digital Percussion Synthesizer Close Up

Korg hat nicht nur den (bereits geleakte) neuen Volca Modular pünktlich vor der NAMM 2019 fertiggestellt, sondern auch noch das Volca Drum. Es spezialisiert sich auf die typisch „synthetischen“ Klänge von digitalen Drummachines, kann aber ein wenig mehr. Es erzeugt Sounds nicht analog oder via PCM-Samples, sondern berechnet via DSP – das gibt eine Latte an Möglichkeiten.

Eigentlich ist die Idee auch für Korg nicht neu, denn die Electribe R war genau das, eine digitale Drummachine, die aber die klassischen Drum-Modelle an Bord hat. Es gibt 6 Drumsounds, die allesamt synthetisch sind. Es erinnert an Elektrons Machinedrum, auch weil es sogar ein richtiges Display gibt, welches Wellenformen und mehr darstellt. Ein Drumsound besteht generell aus einem Rauschanteil und einem tonalen Part und die kann man hier entsprechend einstellen. Dafür gibt es drei Potis für den Klang selbst und weitere für Hüllkurven der jeweiligen Anteile der Sounds wie etwa der Snare.

Der 16-Step-Sequencer animiert die sechs Sounds und damit ist der Drum das Gegenstück zur Sample-Volca oder der Microtonic unter den Volcas. Auch vorher gab es ja eine analoge Drummachine bei den Volcas, den „Beats“, aber der ist eher wie ein klassischer Drumcomputer aufgebaut mit wenigen Einstellmöglichkeiten und erinnert eher an die MFB Drummachines, als diese noch sehr klein und blau waren. Die Erzeugung ist aber nicht nur mit Filter oder Oszillator in der einfachen Form vorhanden, es gibt durchaus auch noch Wavefolding für mehr Obertöne. Es sind schon ganze Drum-Modelle, so ähnlich wie Elektrons „Machines“. Wie auch immer man sie nennt, sie sind alle nicht neu, nur sind sie in einer Volca neu. Die Preise stehen nicht endgültig fest, man kann aber mit unter 199 Euro rechnen.

Korg Volca Drum

Korg Volca Drum Digital Percussion Synthesizer

Mehr Infos

Videos

VirtualCZ synthesizer plugin 30% OFF + FREE FutureCZ Expansion Pack

PIB VirtualCZ FREE FutureCZ

Plugin Boutique has launched a sale on the VirtualCZ synthesizer instrument that recreates the unique synthesis engine of the CZ digital synthesizer series from Casio. Many people fondly remember the CZ synths and they have become retro-classics that are highly sought after, having been used on countless techno, house, rave and synth-pop records in the […]

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F9 Audio launches Grid Trilogy 80s Future Retro for Ableton Live

F9 Audio Grid Trilogy 80s Future Retro

F9 Audio has launched a new installment in the Grid Trilogy series. 80s Future Retro is a flexible and powerful ’80s themed library for Ableton Live 9 and 10. The sonic signature of the 80s has never been so important in modern productions. Retro flavoured TV shows, movies, and the natural 30 year cycle of […]

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How to recreate vintage polyphonic character, using Softube Modular

It’s not about which gear you own any more – it’s about understanding techniques. That’s especially true when a complete modular rig in software runs you roughly the cost of a single hardware module. All that remains is learning – so let’s get going, with Softube Modular as an example.

David Abravanel joins us to walk us through technique here using Softube’s Modular platform, all with built-in modules. If you missed the last sale, by the way, Modular is on sale now for US$65, as are a number of the add-on modules that might draw you into their platform in the first place. But if you have other hardware or software, of course, this same approach applies. -Ed.

Classic Style Polyphony with Softube Modular

If you’ve ever played an original Korg Mono/Poly synthesizer, then you know why it’s so prized for its polyphonic character. Compared to fully polyphonic offerings (such as Korg’s own Polysix synthesizer), the Mono/Poly features four analog oscillators which can either be played stacked (monophonic), or triggered in order for “polyphony” (though still with just the one filter).

The original KORG classic Mono/Poly synth, introduced in 1981.

The resulting sound is richly imperfect – each time a chord is played, the minute difference in timing between individual fingers affect a difference in sound.

The cool thing is – we can easily re-create this in the Softube Modular environment, using the unique “Quad MIDI to CV” interface module. Follow along:

Our chord progression.

To start with, I need a reason for having four voices. In this case, it’s the simple chord sequence above. In order to play those notes simultaneously using Modular, I’ll need a dedicated oscillator for each. Each virtual voice will consist of one oscillator, ADSR envelope, and VCA amplifier. Here’s the basic setup – the VCO / ADSR / VCA modules will be repeated three more times to give us four voices:

Wiring up the first oscillator.

For the first oscillator, I’ve selected a pulse wave – go with whichever sounds you’d like to hear (things sound especially nice with multiple waveforms stacked on top of one another). With all four voices, the patch should look like this:

Note that each voice has its own dedicated note and gate channels from the Quad MIDI to CV. Now, we need to combine the voices – for this, we’ll use the Audio Mix module. I’m also adding a VCF filter, with its own ADSR. Because the filter needs to be triggered every time any note is input, I’m going to add a single MIDI to CV module to gate the filter envelope. It all looks like this:

Now, let’s hear what we’ve got:

That’s not bad, but we can spice it up a little bit. I went with two pulse waves, a saw wave, and a tri wave for my four oscillators – I’ll add a couple LFOs to modulate the pulsewidths of the two pulse waves and add some thickness. For extra dubby space, I’m also adding the Doepfer BBD module, a recent addition to Softube Modular which includes a toggle option for the clock noise bleed-through of the analog original. I’m also adding one more LFO, for a bit of modulation on the filter.

Adding in some additional modules for flavor. The Doepfer BBD (an add-on for the Softube Modular) adds unique retro delays and other effects, including bitcrushing, distortion, and lots of other chorusing, flanging, ambience, and general swirly crunchy stuff.

Honestly, the characterful BBD module deserves its own article – and may get one! Stay tuned.

Here’s our progression, really moving and spacey now:

And there we have it! A polyphonic patch with serious analog character. You can also try playing monophonic melodies through it – in Quad MIDI to CV’s “rotate” mode, each incoming note will go to a different oscillator.

Want to try this out for yourself? Download the preset and run it in Modular (requires Modular and the BBD add-on, both of which you can demo from Softube).

DHLA poly + BBD.softubepreset

We’re just scratching the surface with Modular here – there’s an enormous well of potential, and they’ve really nailed the sound of many of these modules. Modular is a CPU-hungry beast – don’t try to run more than one or two instances of a rich patch like this one without freezing some tracks – but sound-wise it’s really proved its worth.

Stay tuned for future features, as we dive into some of Modulars other possibilities, including the vast potential found in the first ever model of Buchla’s legendary Twisted Waveform oscillator!

Softube Modular

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Plogue releases chipcrusher 2.0 retro-digital multi-effect incl. new DAC encodings

Plogue chipcrusher2

Plogue has announced the release of version 2.0 of chipcrusher, a multi effect plugin that brings you the sound of vintage sound encodings, 80s computer speakers, and the SPC Delay from a the Super Nintendo 16-bit console. The update includes new DAC encodings, the SPC Delay, a redesigned interface and NKS FX support. There are […]

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Universal Audio just made their interfaces into a live vocoder, more

Why would you want near-zero latency on an effect? Well, maybe you want to run something like a vocoder – and that means the latest addition to Universal Audio’s offerings is a big deal.

Universal Audio continues churning out software updates with new analog emulations and other add-ons to buy; 2018 has been a huge year for them. But those effects often don’t come cheap, and they are tied to UA’s own hardware. So one of the selling points of working that way has been that UA offers near-zero latencies, letting you track through those effects. That is, plug-ins are great – until you need real-time performance, since they can add loads of latency.

This is meaningless, of course, if you’re just applying effects to recordings after the fact. But a vocoder is an entirely different story, so I suspect that the new vocoder included in this month’s UA update will matter to a lot of people.

Interesting, UA are so locked in the studio paradigm that they say you’ll want to “track” through the vocoder – record while monitoring. But I imagine this vocoder may find its way onstage. Lots of vocalists perform with laptops for greater flexibility, and the UA vocoder has real-time MIDI and keyboard control.

The new Vocoder comes from Softube, those Swedish masters of emulation, who have made themselves a big name both as a provider to UA and as an independent vendor (including with their own native platform, though it doesn’t provide the same real-time possibilities).

The result is a vocoder that looks promising in the studio and onstage. I need to test this, so disclaimer – this isn’t a review. But here’s what they’re promising.

Any vocoder is a combination of synth and vocal input, by default. Here, you get an emulation of an analog polysynth, and then a number of unique tools specific to this offering.

  • 12-voice polyphonic “carrier” synth (that’s the synth you’ll combine with your vocals)
  • Analog synth emulation
  • Four waveform types, pitch modulation, pulse width modulation (and octave and attack/decay controls)
  • Variable bands – 4-, 8-, 12-, 16-, and 20-band modes – for simpler retro “robotic” effects to richer, modern digital vocoder styles
  • Resynthesis parameters – emphasis, spectral tilt (which adjusts how you shift between frequencies), shape, and parallel bend controls
  • MIDI control of notes and chords (also available from their built-in keyboard onscreen if you don’t have a MIDI source handy)
  • Synced freeze function – so you can capture a snippet of sound, and then use different clock divisions synced to a DAW or MIDI source

“Freeze” a snippet of sound, then manipulate that freeze in sync with your DAW or a MIDI source, with various clock division options.

Spectral controls give you more contemporary sounds, retro robot sounds, or anything in between.

And yeah, you can use this on vocals if you’re a terrible singer. You can use it if you’re a great singer. You can use it on things that aren’t vocals (hello, drums). And so on. Here are some nice tips from their even nicer studio:

This wasn’t the only addition to UA’s latest software. See also an AMS Neve console built especially for emulating the desk preferred by big budget Hollywood productions. That gives you the whole console strip you’d find at, say, Skywalker Sound – with Compressor, Limiter, Expander, Gate, and Dynamic EQ, plus four-band parametric EQ. Will it make you sound more Hollywood? No idea. Will it give you a psychological boost to try? Probably.

https://www.uaudio.com/uad-plugins/channel-strips/ams-neve-dfc-channel-strip.html

AMS Neve DFC Channel Strip.

And also in this release, they’re unveiling the first-ever authorized emulation of the legendary Lexicon 480L. If you don’t know that 80s-era reverb by its model number, you might know it from its beige case and faders – it’s one of the more recognizable effects in history. Being authorized in this case matters, because they were able to derive the results directly from the original’s firmware. (Oh yeah – digital means a “model” can be very accurate indeed.) And again, you can use this live. First thing I would do would be to map some faders to those parameters.

Lexicon 480L – the original hardware.

https://www.uaudio.com/uad-plugins/reverbs/lexicon-480l-digital-reverb-effects.html

9.7 additionally includes an emulation of the Suhr SE100 tube amp, plus from Brainworx the bx_masterdesk Classic chain.

But I do think the vocoder will be the one that gets people’s attention, because everyone —

Oh, no, I’m going to be interrupted by Robert Henke again.

More:

https://www.uaudio.com/uad-plugins/special-processing/softube-vocoder.html

(PS, if it’s an Auto-Tune effect you’re after, they also have a real-time edition of Antares’ Auto-Tune.)

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Save up to 70% off McDSP Retro EQ, Compressor & Limiter plugins

McDSP Retro Series

Plugin Boutique is offering discounts of up to 70% off regular on the McDSP Retro Series of audio effect plugins, this weekend only. All Retro plug-ins use a McDSP designed output stage topology to eliminate digital clipping at any output level and produce a smoother distortion characteristic. This feature is in addition to the analog […]

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