Learn how to live stream your music with these two easy, quick videos, gear tips

Okay, so everyone is suddenly live streaming. But the thought of setting this up hurts your brain. Fortunately, two of our friends have put together concise videos to get you started.

Live streaming music performances hardly started with this pandemic era – and to be fair, a lot of us have been putting off working out how to do it anyway. So let’s do it properly. Live streaming can be a good way to connect with people and to try out material. Its main enemy is often technical trouble. Michael and Tom to our rescue!

Tom Cosm has a desktop guide that takes just two minutes – he captures both from his screen and a webcam, which could also work for tutorials, live coding, and more creative ideas.

Tools:

OBS https://obsproject.com

Streaming platform (Twitch, Facebook Live, etc.)

Desktop platforms (mobile and custom options coming soon)

Michael Forrest has a live streaming how-to – from August 2019, and a reminder that this can be a good idea that you genuinely enjoy rather than an endtimes substitute for live performance as civilization collapses and you abandon hope of ever playing for a crowd of more than two people or within 2 meters of a human. (I mean – let’s definitely not think about it that way.)

And there is a ton of useful gear here. From his list (and his affiliate links). Crucially, since the OBS part is pretty straightforward, having a good stand and lighting is essential – and based on my cursory research, you can ship from a lot of electronics providers at the moment even given lockdowns (and not only Amazon, in case you want to protest that company).

Best of all, he’s got a terrifically useful scene switcher script:

https://github.com/michaelforrest/obs-scripts

Rest of the gear:

Streaming software - https://obsproject.com/
Audio Mixer with USB out - http://amzn.to/2eu59iW
Audio limiter / compressor - http://www.fmraudio.com/rnla.html
Wirelessly receive video to computer from phone -  http://bit.ly/2f6ti0A
iPhone app for clean camera feed - http://apple.co/2f6t21J
Tripod - http://amzn.to/2dVuhON
Tripod phone mount - http://amzn.to/2eKAGeV
Lighting LED lighting - http://amzn.to/2ePZxMw
Lighting stand - http://amzn.to/2feGJe8
Video from DSLR
Thunderbolt video capture - http://amzn.to/2eu3iKP
Connect camera to video capture - http://amzn.to/2eKDHfl
Connect video capture to computer - http://amzn.to/2f6vBB5
My DSLR Camera Body - http://amzn.to/2dJ0GF3
Prevent camera from sleeping after 30 mins - http://www.magiclantern.fm/
Wide angle lens if you’re in a tight space - http://amzn.to/2ePXh8e
50mm lens for portraits-style shots - http://amzn.to/2eu37PD
Macro lens for close ups - http://amzn.to/2eu3iKP

Lots of little relevant tips in this video, as well.

And some more gear…

A few more bits of kit I’ve had an eye on. IK Multimedia have started daily livestreams:

https://www.ikmultimedia.com/news/?item_id=9290

But it’s also worth noting they have some rather useful looking kit for podcasting and streaming, particularly solving this on mobile:

iRig Stream is a useful interface, and

iRic Mic Video bundle (and the associated grip and mics in their Creator Series)

…all look useful.

Roland have their GO:LIVECAST which I’ve mentioned, though it seems to lack stereo line input (still trying to get hold of one of these). See also their GO:MIXER.

Sometimes it’s the stuff not specifically directed at streaming that looks most useful for audiovisual use cases. In particular, one friend clued me into the ZOOM U-24 – 2-in, 4-out interface, with preamps:

https://www.zoom.co.jp/products/production-recording/audio-interfaces/u-24-handy-audio-interface

I’m still not entirely seeing the perfect solution I’d imagine here, so I’m keen to hear what you’re thinking.

And this being CDM, absolutely taking your ideas – and intend to discuss some different approaches to online performance, not only the traditional video Web stream. Watch this space.

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RapidComposer 10th Anniversary Sale: 40% off until April 15th

RapidComposer

MusicDevelopments has announced a sale in celebration of the 10th anniversary of its RapidComposer phrase-based music prototyping software designed for composers, song-writers and musicians of all musical styles. We are celebrating our 10th birthday! Many composers’ “secret weapon”, RapidComposer was first released on this day 10 years ago. Get RapidComposer with 40% discount during the […]

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SoundSwitch flips the script with new advanced lighting automation and automated phrase detection

SoundSwitch 2.2

SoundSwitch has announced an update to the SoundSwitch software that offers DJs the ability to seamlessly integrate DMX lighting with live audio. Version 2.2 makes it easier than ever for DJs to sync exciting lighting effects to the most dramatic points in the music, thanks to its all-new Phrase Detection Algorithm that automatically detects song […]

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Exclusive: a gig and a half of finely-crafted Riemann techno sounds, free for 48 hours

It’s hard to get that deep, crowded club feeling right now in isolation. So here from our friend Florian Meindl and Riemann Kollektion is a big boost – and a master class in techno craft.

Honestly, I’ve said this to folks before, but I’ll say it again – it really says something to me about Riemann and Florian that these demo songs bang harder than most released music. It’s almost worth just browsing this 1.4GB collection of 24-bit sounds just to understand a bit about how his heard works. (I’ve been browsing through.)

So, for 48 hours, just for CDM, Florian has swapped over the price of one of his best sound packs – Best of Riemann 2019 Techno (24bit WAV – Loops & Oneshots). (Ah, I remember 2019 … so … fondly now …)

There’s now really no reason not to get started. Ableton has a free 90-day trial of Live Suite, just announced, which even includes Max for Live. (It’s normally 30 days.)

https://www.ableton.com/en/trial/

Then you can read the free guides I wrote for Riemann Kollektion to get going:

Tutorial: Unlock hidden sound tricks in Ableton Live 10’s effects

Tutorial: Super Fast Arrangement in Ableton Live 10

Max for Live: the techno producers’ guide

Plus if you have some hardware – even some stompboxes will do – you should also check out Florian’s approach to analog effect chains in that tutorial.

Then stock up on the samples with the free Best of Riemann pack. And sorted.

For some more inspiration, here’s a bit of how Florian works live – very hardware focused, but something you could apply to other setups, as well, in terms of raw musicianship and sound:

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Endlesss is a musical jam app; Imogen Heap, KiNK, Matt Black, more join a stream today

If you’re bored of just video chatting with Zoom, Houseparty, and the like, Endlesss might be the musical switch-up you need. And some big personalities are joining in a day long stream today to give you a taste of what it’s about.

First, Endlesss – it’s an iOS-only (for now) collaborative music creation app. The idea is, you get started right away building loops, using built-in instruments, playable pads, and add-on effects. That makes it accessible to first-timers – so it could be ideal for introducing your friends and family to some music jamming now, especially as an antidote to grainy underlit camera footage of all of us in sweatpants.

Plus, hey, slick visuals, for things like this:

Some apps might just dead-end there. But if you are a musician, you can push Endlesss further. There’s an all-critical microphone input, meaning skilled vocalists and rappers and beatboxers can blow this thing away. Instrument and effects packs go fairly deep. And for musicians, you can connect via Ableton Link, export materials (even as stems, at last), and choose custom key, scale, tempo, time signature and quantization.

Yeah, it’s almost like this thing was made by real musicians. And, of course, it was – Tim Exile has led the Endlesss team; he’s known to us as the ultra-virtuoso mega-geek behind Reaktor tools such as The Mouth and Flesh. And that sensibility is here, too – build on looping facilities to let your musical fancies take flight.

So it’s fitting that some key personalities are joining the stream today.

Imogen Heap is of course another defining artist in modern looping-vocal technique.

KiNK has proven that virtuoso live performance has a place on dancefloors, too, even in the age of linear CDJ mixing.

Matt Black and his act Coldcut built some of the software and performances that showed what audiovisual sampling cut-up culture could be.

And there’s more. Flux Pavilion is a major name in EDM at that meeting point between mainstage and producer, singer-songwriter and electronic production. Dan Le Sac is another legendary UK name (and also crossing into game production). And from our Internet music tech world, Gaz Williams of Sonic State is there both as a presence from journalism and synth and bass musicianship – hi, Gaz!

Twitch.tv, while first established for gaming, has of late become a refuge for musicians. Higher-quality streams, better community features that actually work properly, and proper monetization that might not drive artists further into the poor house all set it apart from the major US tech oligopoly providers. (You know who you are.) So this feed is appropriately launching on the channel by touring app Bandsintown with Twitch, just as artists look for ways to keep some trickle of funds and activity coming in during global lockdown.

https://www.twitch.tv/bandsintown/

Tune in today Tuesday daytime UK time. (I’m inquiring about replays for the USA, which will be slowly waking up toward the end of the programming.) If you’re personally puzzling on how to stream while dealing with competing platforms, they’re using the most popular tool for that, restream.io.

And if you’ve got an iOS gadget (iPad and iPod touch work, too), head to:

Endlesss – Multiplayer Music

The app is free, with in-app purchases of additional content.

https://endlesss.fm

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Did Apple just leak a new version of Logic with Ableton-style clip launching?

Apple appears to have accidentally leaked an upcoming version of Logic Pro with the signature feature of Ableton Live – nonlinear pattern launching.

While spotted on Reddit, the source of this leak at the famously secretive company appears to be … Apple itself. As I write this, the screenshot is still live on a public education site:

https://www.apple.com/education/products/

Click for full image.

Credit where it’s due (“am I missing something” is right!):

If this is real – and not a mock-up that accidentally wound up on the page – it represents a landmark. That landmark might best be described as “what took you so long,” arguably, given that Apple Loops have been a feature of Logic Pro and GarageBand back to the reveal of GarageBand in January 2004. (Time flies!)

We can pretty easily analyze the screenshot. At the top, new icons appear to let you view a nonlinear Session View-style layout, the normal track arrangement, or both. (In this screen shot, the two are side-by-side.)

Navigation icons.

As with other copies of Live’s signature Session View, the horizontal and vertical axes are flipped. So whereas Live shows you tracks the way channel strips appear on a hardware mixer, vertically, Apple opt for a view more like a software DAW. Tracks are laid out horizontally, so that they match up with the arrangement.

The grid. Note the circular displays with waveforms – something seen in iPad apps, for instance – though essentially the opposite of Ableton’s embrace of minimalism.
Remix FX – here made to look very Ableton-esque. (These were in GarageBand; I can’t recall exact versions and the relation to Logic… anyone?)

Really, my issue with this is that you wind up with kind of a jumble of interface elements. That’s been the challenge in other DAWs trying to do the same. (An ill-fated effort in Cakewalk nee SONAR springs to mind; MOTU has tried the same in DP, but it’s a bit too soon to know yet how DP users are responding.)

Part of the appeal of Ableton Live is that the entire engine and software operation are structured around the idea, and the UI is clean and compact as a result. Here, part of the reason people may have responded that the image was fake was that it gives the user a lot to digest.

You’ll also see X/Y-pad effects at the bottom, including a filter and repeater – aping something that was in Ableton Live way back at the start.

I’m not sure how users will receive this. It could represent a blow to Ableton in the crucial education market, however, regardless – because it might allow education buyers to standardize on just Logic seats. But it represents a challenge independent software developers face, up against a company the size of Apple, when it comes to value.

On the other hand, I wouldn’t assume anything until there’s official word from Apple. Given this absolutely represents some kind of screw-up, it’s possible the screenshot itself is not representative of something Apple will actually ship.

And I wouldn’t worry too much about Ableton – the company has proven time and again that users are loyal to its workflow and simplicity, whatever the competition. Those of us sometimes swapping between Logic and Live might meanwhile just find this a welcome convenience. Time will tell.

Mainly I’m just sorry for whoever is working at home who may have, erm, just let this out.

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Arturia, Logic, Final Cut, Reaper, and more offer these free tools while you stay at home

Apple Logic Pro, Reaper, and other free and inexpensive tools mean there’s no reason to stare at the walls in self=isolation. Even if your budget is hurting, you can make some music. Here’s an overview.

Plus, bonus – because all these are free for the next 90s days, they’re perfect for collaborating with friends, since you can make sure you’re running the same software. And even if you don’t collaborate in real-time (yeah, I get nervous when people watch me stream messing around with knobs), this is a way for us to feel a little less like we’re on our own.

Play with Pigments, learn tools, get an iPad drum machine app free, thanks to Arturia.

Arturia have a complete stay-home guide: The Pigments software synth is free through July 3, iSpark drum machine is free on the iPad, plus just as importantly, you can catch a whole series devoted to learning tools, improving skills, checking out livestreams and Q&A, and even sharing your work. It looks like it makes loads of sense – Arturia’s folks are also stuck at home, so we all get to interact:

https://www.arturia.com/make-music#en

Even if you use another DAW, Logic might be worth playing with for its wonderful toys – and once you get tired of only live streaming, Final Cut lets you, like, also edit video.

Apple have made a full 90-day license for both Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X, so you can get to work editing video and making music. (Hey, you could probably spend 90 days just playing around with the Sculpture and Alchemy synths alone!)

https://www.apple.com/final-cut-pro/trial/

https://www.apple.com/logic-pro/

I recommend you adjust the viewing angle of your monitor. This is seriously not ergonomic. But REAPER is seriously awesome.

REAPER is a great low-cost DAW to begin with and allows free evaluation, but they’ve even created a temporary free license you can use through the 1st of July. Download Reaper if you don’t have it already, then install the license file by copy-pasting text. So they’re even more generous than normally, and their DAW runs on 32-bit and 64-bit macOS and Windows, plus macOS Catalina – just about any machine old or new works. (There’s even an experimental Linux build, or try running in WINE.)

Novation goodies: This actually a normal deal, not pandemic related, but Novation hardware owners can get a free plug-in emulating the rare Sound Master SR-88 analog drum machine, among other goodies. If you missed signing up/registering, and you own some Novation gear, head to – https://novationmusic.com/en/sound-collective

Tracktion Waveform Free is the always-free version of this DAW, which runs on Mac, Windows, Linux (tested on Ubuntu), and even Raspberry Pi . Even the free version has unlimited track count and a simple drum sampler and 4-oscillator subtractive synth. That makes it another ideal choice for collaboration – and you can always bounce down your particular set of plug-ins or output from other software, then use Waveform Free to work on the mix.

Cherry Audio are giving away their starter kit Voltage Nucleus so you can try out modular synthesis for free – with a very capable set of modules already. Get patching and take your mind off the news:

https://cherryaudio.com/free

Also, this is just free. It’s not like, free because of pandemic, it’s just part of the usual free goodies we always get because we’re blessed to be using music software, apparently! But Filterstep looks like a really cool sequenced filter effect for iOS, macOS, and Windows, with a gorgeous interface. Please go use it. I’m afraid to add another filtered effect to my own setup. I rely on you. Thanks to Synthtopia for catching this one.

https://audiomodern.com/shop/plugins/filterstep

Native Instruments came out with their free Analog Dreams instrument, which despite the vaporwave graphic actually covers the full range of analog synth sounds. They’re not new, but while you’re on NI’s site, check out the free Mikro Prism, superb Blocks Base modular synth. and other free stuff.

Analog Dreams

Hainbach has taken his gorgeous aesthetics with tape and analog equipment and made a free sample pack dubbed Isolation Loops. I hear people are already making music with them, so one lovely side effect of this project is people sharing music and not being isolated.

Plus some deals!

Humble Bundle may be best known for gaming and other bundles, but they have a unique Music Producer bundle now. There’s some great Applied Acoustics Software (AAS) starting at just one $USD/EUR. But the really important story here is that they’re supporting Musicians On Call, an organization that sends live and recorded music to people in hospitals. And even if you don’t support this software, I recommend checking out that organization.

Humble Software Bundle: Music Producer

Air Music Tech Ignite is US$9.99 (normally 70 bucks) with a whole bunch of instruments and simple recording facility. There are tons of options here that make this ideal for keyboardists and songwriters, or beginners looking to get some ideas going. And you can use it as a sketchpad for other software – so even if this seems basic for you, it might be a place to start songs before you get lost in more advanced environments like Pro Tools.

Got Ableton Live and ready to finally learn how to use it? Well even with Ableton Loop canceled in Berlin next month, you can get a full 4-week course for free from Berklee on Live Fundamentals. It comes from Erin Barra and Loudon Stearns as instructors, so we’re talking some excellent fundamentals.

Take Your Free Ableton Live Fundamentals Course

Visualists, I’ve got more for you coming shortly.

I’m sure there’s more I’ve missed here; if you’ve got something to share, let us know. I expect we’ll have some great music at the end of all this.

I know you don’t need reminders to stay home and stay safe at this point. So let me remind you instead that your music matters, there’s never too much music, and whether it’s good enough or not is never the question to ask. We all need that reminder now and then. But it’s good to know that even if we’re having some solitary time with music, other people are out there working, too. Look forward to chatting and hearing what you’re making.

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Tracktion launches Waveform Free fully featured, unlimited free DAW

Tracktion Waveform Free feat

Tracktion Corporation has announced the launch of Waveform Free, a fully featured, completely unlimited free DAW for all music creators. Waveform Free is perfect for making and sharing music for anyone stuck at home, self-isolating. It has no restrictions, other than imagination and more capabilities than most enthusiastic producers will ever need. Stay safe at […]

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There’s a new home for custom visuals and graphics FX – and a $99 on the VDMX VJ app

Find generators and FX for VJing, Motion, Final Cut Pro X, and more – or make your own, in GPU-accelerated ISF format. And need a VJ tool? VDMX is on sale for $99.

That’s the news from our friends at Vidvox, makers of VDMX, and developers of the open GLSL format for generators and effects.

Okay, first – that shader graphics effect… thing. Interactive Shader Format, or ISF, is all about having plug-ins for visuals to make graphics and add effects, accelerated on your computer’s graphics card. There was already a website, but now it’s far cooler.

For visual producers, you can check out sample shaders and browse and search. So this is an easy one-stop shopping guide to some new eye candy:

Browse ISF shaders

Want more resources? Check those here, including with applications you can work with:

https://isf.video/

If you’re handy with code and ready to make your own shaders, the site revision is also ready for you. So – on this week’s theme of “I’m going to learn sword swallowing and Jiu jitsu” yeah, there’s also a primer to learn GLSL, plus an ISF quick start. And actually, if you’re a CDM reader making visuals, getting into a little code for GPUs is not a bad idea.

Once you’re up to speed with your skills, there’s a new code editor – with better error checking, which you’ll want while you debug as you learn.

All of this looks Mac heavy at first glance (VDMX is Mac-only), but TouchDesigner and openFrameworks and Max are all supported, too, so think Apple visual tools, but also VJ apps, but also dataflow environments and live coding tools. There is support for Linux and iOS as well as Mac and Windows in the C++ framework, and there’s even a browser, JavaScript version. See integrations.

But wait – what if you do have a Mac, and you want VDMX as a cool live visual environment? (And it’s one that can easily host all these cool new shaders you just coded yourself / found on the site.) For the next month, the “student / struggling artist” cost is down to US$99. (Full licenses are on sale $249, for any of you mercifully not struggling right now.)

Info on the sale:

https://vdmx.vidvox.net/blog/vdmx-sale-celebrating-launch-of-new-isf-website

Dig through, as they have a bunch of freebies on their site, too.

And I’m having lots of fun here:

https://isf.video/

Pictured at top: Dédoublement, Cie Cobalt, mapping by Silvia Fabiani, built in ISF.

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Add these Max for Live devices for inspiration in Ableton Live – or learn to make your own

A surprising number of Ableton Live users haven’t discovered the power of Max for Live inside. Here’s how to get started – but, oh, you’ve seen it all before? Okay, smarty-pants, learn how to make your own devices, too.

Beginners and those needing some fresh ideas…

Anxious times can be a big barrier to inspiration. And that’s why this guide is useful now. Max for Live add-ons can be particularly useful not just for solving problems, but pushing you in a different direction or getting you back in a state of play. That’s been useful even for me – I was feeling stuck, and wound up finding some new tools that got me going again, just while writing this.

As long as you’ve got a copy of Ableton Live Suite, Max for Live is waiting for you. If not, it’s also a pretty major reason to upgrade.

I’m thrilled to again partner with Riemann Kollection to make a complete guide:

Read up, get started.

Max for Live: the techno producers’ guide

It starts at the beginning; no previous knowledge – what Max for Live is, how to use it, and how to get started with a lot of useful devices in a host of different categories.

Max for Live has an impassioned following, but I suspect a lot of users of Live are afraid to go there. Here’s the thing: you really don’t need to know how to use Max. The fact that Ableton baked in one the most mature and most powerful toolkits for making music production and live visual inventions means you can use the tools everybody else is making.

As it happens, ELPHNT also produced a two-part list of their favorite devices on maxforlive.com. I purposely ignored this list, and still imagined we would overlap. Speaking to the depth of the M4L world, not one device is on both lists. (I even plugged ELPHNT on my list, but it’s not in the Ableton.com story!) Read: [ Part 1 | Part 2 ]

… and those ready to make your own stuff

Okay, maybe you are curious to dig into Max and Max for Live and try customizing devices or creating your own from scratch? And, uh, maybe for some reason you find you have a bit of time on your hands? Well, you’re in luck.

Ableton has an official page with resources. Pay particular note to this line – “Access the Max for Live built-in lessons by clicking on the Help menu–>Help View.” That’s really where you most likely want to begin.

Max for Live tutorials and learning resources [Ableton]

But for a single video intro, try this:

or this –

or this –

More recently, Cycling ’74 also shared best practices in making devices, which would be useful if, uh, you want to share with others. (I mean, for yourself, be as horrible as you like!)

Multichannel audio is what is really useful in the most recent major upgrade:

Finally, because of the current crisis, you can shadow a college course in Max here. I once taught this course for CUNY. I would not be able to do it now – Max has changed radically since I did it, and I have forgotten a bunch – so I’ll be checking it out! There are some sharp tips in there. (and if you know Max a bit, crank up the speed and pretend you’re Data from Star Trek as you go rapid-fire through the parts you know.)

Overwhelmed?

Well, this is about play. So as I said, it’s totally valid to just grab a fun device or two and … try something.

So I still recommend my guide – as a break from dev work, or if you realize your brain is more tired than you thought and you got over-ambitious (never happens to me – I’m lying):

https://riemannkollektion.com/blogs/techno-producer-knowledge-hub/max-for-live-the-techno-producers-guide

See the complete Riemann techno producer knowledge hub for lots of advice.

Images courtesy Ableton.

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