Save up to 35% on Soundiron’s Bronze Bin and Hopkin Instrumentarium: Tines & Echoes

Soundiron Bronze Bin Plugin Boutique

Plugin Boutique has launched a sale on two recent Soundiron instrument libraries for Native Instruments Kontakt. Bronze Bin is a unique tuned and untuned metallic percussion instrument library, created using common found objects with rather special tonal character. Bronze is the most popular metal used to create top-quality musical bells and cymbals. So, when we […]

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Get 82% off ZapZorn Master Collection, on sale for $99.99 at Audio Plugin Deals

Audio Plugin Deals Zapzorn

Audio Plugin Deals has launched a limited time offer on the ZapZorn Master Collection, a bundle comprising 16 composing tools for Native Instruments Kontakt. The ZapZorn Master Collection is every product in the ZapZorn Composer Tools arsenal comprising of ZapZorn Elements, Solstice Blue, Green and Red, all 9 Element Solo instruments and the ZapZorn Kitchen […]

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Toontrack releases Cinematic Guitars and Cinematic FX for EZmix

Toontrack Cinematic Guitars & Cinematic FX for EZmix 2

Toontrack has announced the release of two new expansion packs for the EZmix mixing plugin. Cinematic Guitars offers 50 epic guitar tones for ambient soundscapes, scores and creative sound design. In popular music, guitars are often typecast in a repeating pattern. They’re either loud and distorted in-your-face walls of sound, pummeling rhythms, shrieking leads or […]

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GameSoundCon open call for speakers about video game music & sound design

GameSoundCon Speakers Open Call

The GameSoundCon conference for video game music and sound design has announced an open call for video game sound designers and game audio experts to speak at GSC in Los Angeles on October 29th & 30th, 2019. “This is one of my favorite parts of GameSoundCon!”, says Executive Director Brian Schmidt. “Calling on experts to […]

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LeafAudio Microphonic Soundbox A Toolbox For Sound Design

At Superbooth 2019, LeafAudio showed us their updated Microphonic Soundbox – a toolbox for sound design.… Read More LeafAudio Microphonic Soundbox A Toolbox For Sound Design

Bitwig launches public beta of Bitwig Studio 3 incl. The Grid modular sound design environment

Bitwig Studio 3 Grid GUI

After announcing The Grid this January, Bitwig has now launched the public beta of Bitwig Studio 3, which starts today. This beta is available for all Bitwig Studio license holders with an active Upgrade Plan within their user accounts. The Grid As was hinted at from the start, Bitwig Studio was always intended to provide […]

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UVI releases Whoosh FX whoosh and motion sound design tool

UVI Whoosh FX 01 MAIN GUI

UVI has released a featured cinema-quality sound design tool for motion graphics, TV, film, ads, games, music and more. With a powerful 3-layer engine, Whoosh FX delivers a capable yet easy-to-master tool for generating all manner of movement and whoosh sounds, convincing environmental effects like fire, electricity, water and wind, and sci-fi sound effects. At […]

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Audiomodern releases ATOM 2 advanced film & game sound design tool incl. NKS support

Audiomodern ATOM 2

Audiomodern has launched version 2.0 of ATOM, a unique virtual instrument with a powerful custom engine. The update brings NKS compatibility, a brand-new preset browser which allows custom folders for user presets, and a scale-selector/randomizer for each of the arpeggiators with 30 scales. The convolution reverb section comes with 50 new IR samples. The machine […]

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Novation’s Bass Station II just got an Aphex Twin mode, crazy features

The Aphex Twin-ification of synths continues – and who’s complaining? Novation’s Bass Station II gets some mind-warping mental sound features, including key-by-key madness from Richard James.

Bass Station II is the powerful analog monosynth from Novation, with sub oscillator, extra acid filter, ring mod, loads of hands-on controls, an arp and keyboard, and all the extras. And like Novation’s full range, it’s also been getting double-stuffed after the fact with extras via firmware updates.

In this case, the headline feature just happens to come from a concept by sonic experimental legend Aphex Twin aka Richard James.

It’s not his first time – as he’s done with some other makers, he encouraged sound design features on the Bass Station II before, in the form of micro-tuning. (Thanks, Richard, for advocating for this feature! Let’s join the revolution.)

So behind unassuming version 4.14, you get an “AFX mode” to get more Aphex Twin-y, and other features:

  • AFX Mode: key-by-key parameters on every note morph your sound (whoa)
  • Fixed duration envelopes (decay slider sets only the duration of the sustain stage instead of when envelopes release)
  • Detunable sub oscillator (so both macro and fine tuning controls can be applied to the sub – that’s the low oscillator beneath)
  • Envelope retrigger count (useful for drum synthesis)
  • Oscillator glide diverge – lets you set the glide time of oscillator 2 relative to oscillator 1 for… uh, diverging glides (think thick, gooey sounds and portamento special effects)

These are actually all potentially useful and deep, but AFX mode is both the most compelling – and the weirdest to explain. Here’s a demo video from Novation’s CALC:

So the basic idea here is, you assign synthesis parameters to each note. It’s a little like having sliced up samples and spread them around the keyboard, only here you’ve done it with different sound parameters. And this goes in different directions – different sounds that you play as an ensemble like a drum kit, what Novation describe as “seed” variations of a single patch, or more nuanced shifts up and down.

Really, it’s an extension of what all keyboard assignments do – only they normally do it only with pitch and crude tracking of pitch to one or two other parameters. Here, you can go further.

Really, it’s a slight misnomer to only make Aphex Twin references here, as you could get quite subtle and practical. But it’s also exciting to imagine going off the deep end with a single, mad preset.

I know people tell me the millennials like video better than reading or something or other like this, so I’ve captured a video of a prominent YouTube influencer trying AFX Mode for the first time and showing his reactions:

And yeah, CALC is … a busy, busy man.

Hella fun to play with. I wonder if something similar might be applied to the Circuit Mono Station. Let’s watch.

https://novationmusic.com/synths/bass-station-ii

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Max TV: go inside Max 8’s wonders with these videos

Max 8 – and by extension the latest Max for Live – offers some serious powers to build your own sonic and visual stuff. So let’s tune in some videos to learn more.

The major revolution in Max 8 – and a reason to look again at Max even if you’ve lapsed for some years – is really MC. It’s “multichannel,” so it has significance in things like multichannel speaker arrays and spatial audio. But even that doesn’t do it justice. By transforming the architecture of how Max treats multiple, well, things, you get a freedom in sketching new sonic and instrumental ideas that’s unprecedented in almost any environment. (SuperCollider’s bus and instance system is capable of some feats, for example, but it isn’t as broad or intuitive as this.)

The best way to have a look at that is via a video from Ableton Loop, where the creators of the tech talk through how it works and why it’s significant.

Description [via C74’s blog]:

In this presentation, Cycling ’74’s CEO and founder David Zicarelli and Content Specialist Tom Hall introduce us to MC – a new multi-channel audio programming system in Max 8.

MC unlocks immense sonic complexity with simple patching. David and Tom demonstrate techniques for generating rich and interesting soundscapes that they discovered during MC’s development. The video presentation touches on the psychoacoustics behind our recognition of multiple sources in an audio stream, and demonstrates how to use these insights in both musical and sound design work.

The patches aren’t all ready for download (hmm, some cleanup work being done?), but watch this space.

If that’s got you in the learning mood, there are now a number of great video tutorials up for Max 8 to get you started. (That said, I also recommend the newly expanded documentation in Max 8 for more at-your-own-pace learning, though this is nice for some feature highlights.)

dude837 has an aptly-titled “delicious” tutorial series covering both musical and visual techniques – and the dude abides, skipping directly to the coolest sound stuff and best eye candy.

Yes to all of these:

There’s a more step-by-step set of tutorials by dearjohnreed (including the basics of installation, so really hand-holding from step one):

For developers, the best thing about Max 8 is likely the new Node features. And this means the possibility of wiring musical inventions into the Internet as well as applying some JavaScript and Node.js chops to anything else you want to build. Our friends at C74 have the hook-up on that:

Suffice to say that also could mean some interesting creations running inside Ableton Live.

It’s not a tutorial, but on the visual side, Vizzie is also a major breakthrough in the software:

That’s a lot of looking at screens, so let’s close out with some musical inspiration – and a reminder of why doing this learning can pay off later. Here’s Second Woman, favorite of mine, at LA’s excellent Bl__K Noise series:

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