Audionamix has announced the release of XTRAX STEMS, the world’s first fully-automatic stem creator for Mac OS. XTRAX STEMS allows you to separate any song into three components: drums, vocals, and remaining music. Created for DJs, music producers and remix artists, XTRAX STEMS allows users to create multitrack content to control during live sets, opening […]
Arturia refreshed their mega-collection of synths and keyboard instruments, with new sought-after additions – including a recreation of the Buchla Easel.
Get ready for some numbers and letters here here. The resulting product is the Arturia V Collection 6. The ancient Roman in me apparently wants to read that as “5 collection 6” but, uh, yeah, that’s the letter “v” as in “virtual.”
And what you’re now up to is 21 separate products bundled as one. Inception-style, some of those products contain the other products, too. (If you just want the Buchla, sit tight – yes, you can get it separately.)
So, hat we’re talking about is this:
Synths: models of the Synclavier, Oberheim Matrix 12 and SEM, Roland Jupiter-8, ARP 2600, Dave Smith’s Sequential Prophet V and vector Prophet VS, Yamaha CS-80, a Minimoog, and a Moog modular. To that roster, you can now add a Yamaha DX7, Fairlight CMI, and a Buchla Music Easel.
Keys: Fender Rhodes Stage 73 (suitcase and stage alike), ARP Solina String Ensemble, Wurlitzer. And now there’s a Clavinet, too.
Organs: Hammond B-3, Farfisa, VOX Continental.
And some pianos. Various pianos – uprights and grands – plus other parameters via physical modeling are bundled into Piano V.
The bundle also includes Analog Lab, which pulls together presets and performance parameters for all the rest into a unified interface.
This isn’t all sampled soundware, either – well, if it were, it’d be impossibly huge. Instead, Arturia use physical modeling and electronics modeling techniques to produce emulations of the inner workings of all these instruments.
About those new instruments…
There’s no question the Clavinet and DX7 round out the offerings, making this a fairly complete selection of just about everything you can play with keys. (Okay, no harpsicords or pipe organs, so every relatively modern instrument.) And the Fairlight CMI, while resurrected as a nifty mobile app on iOS, is welcome, too. But because it’s been so rare, and because of the renaissance of interest in Don Buchla and so-called “West Coast” synthesis for sound design, the Buchla addition is obviously stealing the show.
Here’s a look at those additions:
The DX7 V promises to build on the great sound of the Yamaha original while addressing the thing that wasn’t so great about the DX7 – interface and performance functionality. So you get an improved interface, plus a new mod matrix, customizable envelopes, extra waveforms, a 2nd LFO, effects, sequencer, and arpeggiator, among other additions.
Funk fans get the Clavinet V, with control over new parameters via physical modeling (in parallel with the Arturia piano offering), and the addition of amp and effect combos.
Okay, but let’s get on to the two really exciting offerings (ahem, I’m biased):
The CMI V recreates the 1979 instrument that led the move to digital sampling and additive synthesis. And this might be the first Fairlight recreation that you’d want in a modern setup: you get 10 multitmbral, polyphonic slots, plus real-time waveform shaping, effects, and a sequencer. And Arturia have thrown us a curveball, too: to create your own wavetables, there’s a “Spectral” synth that scans and mixes bits of audio.
I’m really keen to play with this one – it sounds like what you’ll want to do is to go Back to the Future and limit yourself to making some entire tracks using just the Fairlight emulation. If you read my children’s TV round-up, maybe Steve Horelick and Reading Rainbow had you thinking of this already. Now you just need a PC with a stylus so you can imagine you’ve got a light pen.
The Buchla Easel goes further back to 1973. It’s arguably the most musical of Don Buchla’s wild instruments, bringing the best ideas from the modular into a single performance-oriented design. And here, it looks like we get a complete, authentic reproduction.
Everything that makes the Buchla approach unique is there. Think amplitude modulation and frequency modulation and the “complex” oscillator’s wave folding, gating that allows for unique tuned sounds, and sophisticated routing of modulation. It all adds up to granting the ability to make strange, new timbres, to seek out new performance life and new sound designs – to boldly go where only privileged experimentalists have gone before.
This video explains the whole “West Coast” synthesis notion (as opposed to Moog’s “East Coast” modular approach):
Arturia makes up for the fact that this is now an in-the-box software synth by opening up the worlds of modulation. So you get something called “gravity” which applies game physics to modulation, and other modulation sources (the curves of the “left hand,” for instance) to make all the organic changes happen inside software. It’s a new take on the Buchla, and not really like anything we’ve seen before. And it suggests this software may elevate beyond just faux replication onscreen, with a genuinely new hybrid.
My only regret: I would love to have this with touch controls, on iOS or Windows, to really complete the feeling. It’s odd seeing the images from Arturia with that interface locked on a PC screen. But I think of all the software instruments in 2017, this late addition could be near the top (alongside VCV Rack’s modular world, though more on that later).
But it’s big news – a last-minute change to upset the world of sound making in 2017.
Watch for our hands-on soon.
Intro price and more new features
Also new in this version: the Analog Lab software, which acts as a hub for all those instruments, parameters, and presets, now has been updated, as well. There’s a new browser, more controller keyboard integration, and other improvements.
Piano V has three new piano models (Japanese Grand, a Plucked Grand, and a Tack Upright), enhanced mic positioning, an improved EQ, a new stereo delay, and it’s own built-in compressor.
There are improvements throughout, Arturia say.
There’s also a lower intro price: new users get US$/€ 249 instead of 499, through January 10.
And that Buchla is 99 bucks if that’s really what you want out of this set.
The post Arturia add CMI, DX7, Clavinet – and Buchla Easel – in software appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.
Plugin Boutique is offering users of Cakewalk’s SONAR music production software the opportunity to crossgrade to PreSonus Studio One Professional at a 50% discount. As Gibson has recently announced the end of active development of Cakewalk branded products, SONAR users may want to consider switching to the popular Studio One digital audio workstation. Instantly familiar, […]
Zerodebug has released Soda, a modular DJ application for iOS that lets the user customize pretty much everything to his/her own taste. You’d want more easily accessible Cue-points? A longer volume fader? A secondary waveform that is completely zoomed in? Not an issue – soda will adapt to your needs. From a basic single-deck to […]
Soda for iOS is the first DJ app that is whatever you want it to be – with fully customizable interfaces, powerful specs, AU plug-ins, and Ableton Link.
The need for something new
Let’s be honest: we’re not exactly at the high water mark for DJ software. Even vinyl (not digital vinyl – like the stuff you hurt your back carrying) seems to be on a stronger upswing than DJ software. The Pioneer CDJ reigns supreme, to the extent that you can get laughed out of a club when you show up with a computer.
And software, instead of seeming innovative, is looking awfully rigid. You’re generally stuck with pre-fabbed interfaces and hardware mappings. Innovation seems to be slowing. And then there’s the laptop itself – requiring a separate audio interface, driver configuration, and physical space in the booth that often isn’t there.
Tablets running iOS and Windows could offer solace. But so far, iOS and Windows touch-based apps have focused on entry-level users, either to avoid cannibalizing high-end products (TRAKTOR, Rekordbox) or in an attempt to attract casual DJs.
Your way, right away?
A new DJ app called Soda goes a different direction – it’s built from the ground up to be a series, flexible app, but on a mobile/touch platform. It comes from the developers of the Modstep sequencer/production tool and Ableton Live controller app touchAble. And as a result, since those developers work… in my office – I’ve been watching it evolve from the very first sketch and have gotten some hands-on time with it. And much to my own surprise, it’s made me reconsider the value of touch DJ software at a time when I’d more or less written it off.
The basic idea of Soda: let the user tailor the DJ software to their needs, instead of the other way around.
First, how many decks do you want? You can choose from one to an absurd eight.
How do you want to mix? You choose: switch off sync and use pitch, or turn sync on and let everything be automatic. Time stretch to keep things locked to key, or use pitch to change speed. And when sync is on, you can even choose what quantization you want for tracks – just like launch quantization of clips in Ableton Live.
What should the screen look like? Vertical decks? Horizontal decks? Effects controls? Library? Instead of giving you a handful of pre-selected options, Soda ships with a complete interface editor, so you choose what you see and how, and every element on the screen can be moved and resized.
Do you want to focus on the screen and touch? There’s a color waveform display, which you can cue and zoom with your fingers.
Do you prefer MIDI controller hardware? Every single element on-screen can be MIDI mapped, opening up endless custom MIDI configurations.
Effects work more the way they do in traditional production tools. You get two send effects chains, with five internal effects (Delay, Reverb, Phaser, Flanger, EQ 3) and Audio Unit support (AUv3). And you can browse both the iTunes music library and new Files support on iOS 11.
Cue points and loop points are more powerful, too – you get 16 per deck and per track, you can name them, and cue points can be both cue points and work for loops.
From there, you have all the features you’d expect – recording, playlist management, key and BPM detection, compatibility with all iOS-compatible (Core Audio/Core MIDI) audio and MIDI devices, cueing, and split cable support (in case you don’t have an audio interface for separate cueing).
But let’s back up: this is generally more powerful than a lot of desktop DJ software available now. Certainly, it bests the deck and cue capabilities of leading tools Serato and TRAKTOR, and that’s before you get into the interface customization capabilities.
There’s also a video walkthrough from the beta:
Who’s this for?
I’m not suggesting iPads will unseat CDJs any time soon. But Soda doesn’t have to do that to be a radical new solution. I can see a number of use cases here:
On-the-go prep and mixing. For one, you’ve finally got an ideal mobile app for preparing music and practicing on the road. It’s also ideal for that situation where someone asks you for a DJ mix and… you’re not near decks. You get an interface that’s tremendously customizable, and the ability to differentiate that mix by adding effects and the like. Plus, while you can’t sync cue points this way, iTunes support means you can sync libraries with a desktop machine to bring into Rekordbox (for use with CDJs) or other DJ software (if you must).
Mobile computer replacement for DJing. Laptops are awkward in a booth, especially if the DJ software maker (cough) locks you into unwieldy, big controllers. But an iPad or Windows tablet is far easier. And you could pair Soda with some compact DJ controllers, like Faderfox.
Hybrid sets. Here, Soda really excels. The flexibility with decks and audio effect support make Soda a powerful DJ add-on. And Ableton Link support means you can wirelessly sync to live sets on a laptop running Ableton Live … or a laptop running Reason, or an iPad running Modstep, or whatever. There’s no MIDI clock support for running Soda alongside, say, an Elektron Octatrack, but developers say that should appear in an update soon.
Live sets and sampling. Of course, who says this is really even a “DJ app” in the conventional sense? With all that loop and name-able cue support, eight decks, and effects, you could use Soda with stems or backing tracks for your live set, or think of the “decks” as samplers. It could be an ideal production tool on iOS.
The iPad should be a great platform for this app, particularly with the rich app and effect ecosystem there. But if you prefer Windows, Soda won’t necessarily be wedded to iOS forever. The core software is developed in C, and is largely platform agnostic, with Windows support planned (and already privately tested). As Microsoft improves Surface and other partners deliver tablets and hybrids, that could be a strong option. It’s doubly encouraging not to be locked to one vendor, given Apple’s recent shaky OS quality and frequent updates.
Stay tuned – I’ll do a full hands-on / review soon. I’m also very interested in custom controller support, so we’ll talk about that soon – and possibly enlist some of the CDM community, if you’re interested.
For now, the app is a measly US$9.99 – for an app that (at least in some categories) objective bests alternatives costing many times that.
The post Why Soda could finally make you take DJ apps seriously again appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.
Regroover opens up new ways of transforming sounds and remixing materials, as powered by machine learning. Here’s how you can try that out, for free.
CDM got the chance to partner with developer Accusonus to help introduce this way of working. And it is a somewhat new approach: you’re separating audio components from rhythmic material, starting with a stereo file. It’s new enough that you might not immediately know where to begin.
So, to get you started, we’ve collaborated on a tutorial and a sound pack.
You don’t need to buy anything here. There’s a 14-day unlimited trial version for download:
Then, the trick is really understanding the different creative possibilities of Regroover’s toolset. I put together a video – the challenge to myself being really to take a generic sound and do something new with it. I usually ignore all those loops that come with music software, but here it wound up being useful. Sure, I could have programmed my own loop here from scratch, but by working with Regroover, I got to chop up the groove/rhythmic feel and sounds themselves, independent of one another.
Here’s a fast step-by-step walkthrough of the interface:
First, to load the sound pack we’re giving you, choose “load project.” Then navigate to your download, which is grouped by different kits and loops (yeah, there’s a lot of stuff in there).
Second, check tempo settings. Sometimes it’s necessary to halve or double the detected bpm, just as in other time stretching tools. Also, you need to manually sync to the host tempo any time it changes – that’s because it takes a moment for those machine learning-powered algorithms to analyze the file.
You may want to transform the default analysis. The “split” tool allows for some creative manipulation of the number of layers, and how dense different layers are.
Not all Regroover manipulations have to be radical. You can start out just by emphasizing or de-mphasizing portions of the loop – adjusting its relative amplitude and mid/side and left/right panning. I suspect some of you will be happy just making subtle modifications to loops and otherwise leaving them as-is; if you don’t change the tempo, those will sound fairly close to the original. But this is still really different than the usual EQ and compression tools available to you.
As I demonstrate in the video, you can create polyrhythms inside an existing loop by adjusting in and out point on each layer. Again, that’s normally impossible with a stereo audio mix.
You can pull out individual portions of a sound by double-clicking, then dragging a selection. From there, you can drag and drop either into Regroover’s own sampler facility, or back into a host/DAW like Ableton Live.
You may want to check out Regroover’s built-in sampler tools. You’ll find all the usual facilities for amplitude envelope and so on, and you can create a playable pad of sounds you’ve extracted from a loop.
Exclusive CDM sound pack
Just for you, we’ve got a sound pack entitled “Hyper Abstract Electronica.” It’s the work of London/Surrey artist Aneek Thapar, who has an extensive resume in mixing, mastering, and teaching, and has also worked with Novation and Ninja Tune’s iOS/Android remix app Ninja Jamm.
Aneek created something that’s really special, I think, in that it seems perfectly suited to creative abuse inside Regroover. Putting the two together makes this feel almost like a unique instrument.
Aneek clearly thinks of it that way. Watch what happens when he controls it with gestures and the Leap Motion (plus Ableton Push):
The pack is free; we’ll add you to our respective newsletters (which have opt-out options, of course).
I am actually really, really interested if people make any music with this, so please don’t be shy and do send us tracks if you come up with something. (If you aren’t ready to invest, of course, you’ve got a nice 14-day deadline to keep you productive!) I’ll share any really good ones with readers.
For more background on the research behind this:
Accusonus explain how they’re using AI to make tools for musicians
Diclosure: Accusonus sponsored the creation of this content with CDM.
The post Try AI remixing in Regroover with these tips and exclusive sounds appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.
You can already sample and slice with Native Instruments’ groove production instrument. But soon, you’ll change loops’ pitch and time in real-time, too.
Maschine has been guided by focusing on certain means of working, ignoring others. The hardware/software combination from the start began with an MPC-style sampling workflow and drum machine features, and it’s added from there – eventually getting features like more elaborate pattern generation and editing, drum synths, more sound tools, and deeper arrangement powers.
But hang on – that’s not really an excuse for not doing time stretching. Real-time time stretching has been a feature on many similar hardware and software tools.
Now, it’s sort of nice that Maschine isn’t Ableton Live. In fact, it’s so nice that the combination of the two is one of the most common use cases for Maschine. But it’s so expected that you’d be able to work with changing pitch and time independently with loops, that it’s almost distracting when it isn’t there.
So, Maschine 2.7 adds that functionality. In addition to the existing Sampler, which lets you trigger sounds and loops and slice audio into chunks, there’s now an Audio plug-in device you can add to your projects. Audio will play loops in time with the project, and has the ability to time stretch in real-time.
The features we’re getting:
Real-time time stretching keeps loops in time with a project, without changing pitch
Loop hot swapping lets you change loops as you play – apparently without missing a beat, so you can audition lots of different loops or trigger different loops on the fly
Gate Mode lets you play a loop just by hitting a pad
Melodic re-pitching lets you change pitch in Gate Mode of a whole loop or portion of a loop, just by playing pads
The combination of pads and Gate Mode sounds really performer-friendly, and different from what you see elsewhere. That’s crucial, because since you can already do a lot of this in other tools, you need some reason to do it in Maschine.
I’m eager to get my hands on this and test it. It’s funny, I had some samples I wanted to play around with in the studio just before I saw this, and decided not to use Maschine because, well, this was missing. But because the pads on the Maschine MK3 hardware feel really, really great, and because sometimes you want to get hands-on with material using something other than the mouse, I’m intrigued by this. I find this sort of way of working can often generate different ideas. I’m sure a lot of you feel the same way. Actually, I know you do, because you’ve been yelling at NI to do this since the start. It looks like the wait might pay off with a unique, reflective implementation.
We’ll know soon enough – stay tuned.
The old way of doing things: the Sampling workflow:
The post Maschine will finally get time stretching, melodic shifting for loops appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.
The free ocenaudio audio editor application has been updated to version 3.3.4. The update includes a number of fixes and an option to choose the resolution when creating new audio files. ocenaudio is a cross-platform, easy to use, fast and functional audio editor. It is the ideal software for people who need to edit and […]
VCV has released Pulse Matrix, a collection of 2 sequencer modules for the VCV Rack modular synthesizer software for Windows, Mac and Linux. One of the modules has 8 trig/gate input that select one of eight step, the other one has 16. Playback modes include forward, reverse, pendulum and random. Two powerful trigger sequencers for […]
Over the holiday season, developers of software and hardware for music making are offering steep discounts. Here’s where to find them.
First, it’s really a no-brainer to pick these big sales to load up your iPad, iPhone, or other mobile device with apps cheaply.
Mobile shopping: Our very own Ashley Elsdon, he of Palm Sounds, has an absolutely insane list of music apps, covering the gamut of tools from experimental soundscape generators to DJ software, instruments and effects, drums and synths, and powerful sequencers and production tools. It’s worth a skim just to see if there’s anything you’re missing that you wanted:
Black Friday means some seriously good discounts on excellent apps
Shopping for everything: Another great place to start is a thread on Reddit tracking different deals (including our MeeBlip, so thanks!):
Holiday Sales Thread! (self.synthesizers)
A few products we’ve written up recently are also discounted.
That includes Reason 10 at 25% off and Ableton’s ongoing 20% off Live sale (which includes a free upgrade to Live 10 early next year).
Cakewalk’s excellent z3ta+ waveshaping synth is just US$35 – which might be your last chance to snap it up now that Cakewalk are going the way of the dodo.
Native Instruments have a huge sale on – including a great time to buy Reaktor, which I’ve been talking about lately (and, genuinely, using sort of nonstop). See discussion.
Back here in CDM territory, we’ve got deals on the stuff we’re producing.
Our MeeBlip hardware is available now for US$119.95, with all the cables you’ll need – power plus MIDI plus audio.
And our record label Establishment has its whole catalog available for 50% off. Use code “cybersale” when you check out, through tomorrow Tuesday evening:
Have a great Monday, and do remember the reason for the season – we purchase gear and apps now because the superior race of Cybermen overlords demand it of us. They’re already using the Gravitron on Berlin, where I haven’t seen the sun in eons, and I suspect if we don’t do their bidding, we will soon face full conversion to cyberpeople and see our home planet destroyed entirely as we’re hauled back to the planet Mondas. Now, happy cyber-holidays! Go shopping, because resistance is futile … especially when it comes to the need to acquire synthesizers!
The post It’s Cyber Monday; here’s where to find deals on music gear and apps appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.