Plughugger releases Toys After Dark for Omnisphere, circuit-bent toys & musical instruments

Plughugger Toys After Dark for Omnisphere

Plughugger has announced the release of its latest Omnisphere sound library Toys After Dark, a collection of over 230 sounds based on circuit-bent toys and musical instruments, such as math toys, old Casio keyboards and talking toys such as the Furby. Omnisphere 2 comes pre-loaded with an extensive library of circuit-bent sounds and Plughugger went […]

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Soundiron updates Little Pump Reeds instrument library to v2.0

Soundiron Little Pump Reeds 2

Soundiron has launched version 2.0 of Little Pump Reeds, a Kontakt instrument library featuring a collection of small reed instruments and toys. We deeply sampled each instrument lovingly and thoroughly, with careful attention to realistic playability & musicality. This library includes a fine quality hand-crafted traditional Indian Shruti Box, mini accordion, “Plastisax” and paper squeeze-box. […]

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Pulseha releases Vintage Toy Grand piano instrument for Kontakt

Pulseha Vintage Toy GrandAfter previously releasing a free Toy Upright Piano, Pulseha is back with another sampled toy piano called Vintage Toy Grand, a virtual instrument library for Native Instruments Kontakt. Vintage Toy Grand features 36 note vintage toy piano. 3 velocity layers and 3 round robin key samples. 10 release samples. 24-bit/44.1kHz stereo samples with ncw lossless […]

UVI Complete Toy Museum over 50% off at Plugin Boutique

UVI CompleteToy Museum0PluginBoutiquePlugin Boutique has launched a sale on UVI’s Complete Toy Museum, a sound library that features hundreds of musical toys meticulously multi-sampled at 24/96 with world-class equipment. The library features nearly 13 GB content, includes everything from toy pianos, guitars, bells, xylophones and more. Easily our most eclectic and unique sound library, Complete Toy Museum […]

Andrew knows how to YouTube, makes fidget spinner music

It happens. You get older. Slower. You wake up one day, and you’re definitely not a YouTube star with your own Patreon account and free sound pack downloads to go with it. You didn’t even figure out that there was a big trend involving something called fidget toys, “spinners” and “cubes” that kids use to … fidget … with. And already that trend is big enough that someone is making music with them.

This story might be about me. It might be about you. But it’s okay – because Andrew Huang is there. His followers are telling him about the fidget toys. He’s turning that trend into sweet, sweet music.

You can fake it, too. You can download his Ableton pack, and show it off to your friends, then roll your eyes in disgust when they say they’ve no idea what any of this stuff is – as if. Youth restored.

Or you can pick up some tips. (Basically, use some EQ to filter out pitched sound from noise, use Sampler/Simpler in Ableton or something similar to play these up and down the keyboard. Now, this is 80s sampler stuff. I even was there for the 80s. Advantage: gen X and above.) And maybe you’re on top of the next Internet meme. Better watch closely, though – don’t flinch just because the President of the United States is tweeting. Stay on your game.

Or just sit back with a cool drink and watch the YouTube. Life is good. We live in the future.

CDM will let you know, like, eventually. We did tell you about the aliens and unicorns.

Andrew’s channel:

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Playing with this model of the human voice is weirdly addictive

Anyone who’s ever had a voice instructor has been treated to long attempted explanations of what’s going on in the physical mechanisms associated with singing. But even though that’s inside your mouth and throat, it can be tough to visualize.

This Web simulator is doubly interesting. One, it demonstrates how synthesized vocal sounds can mimic the real thing. But two, and maybe more interesting, it gives you a sense of how each physical component in your body impacts the sound of singing. And that could make your next karaoke session somehow deeply enlightening.

Oh yeah, it’s also weirdly fun to play with slash seriously annoy coworkers with. (Headphones, please!)


It’s recommended for use on multi-touch devices, so you might want to get your phone or tablet. But it’s also perfectly usable in browser on a desktop.

Pink Trombone is the work of developer Neil Thapen, who apparently spends the rest of his spare time working on game development. Digital Trends has a nice write-up with some background on how it came about, including the developer finding inspiration in his daughter.

The specific technique here is “articulatory speech synthesis.” And I could tell you all about that. Wait. No I can’t. But Wikipedia can – let’s read this together, shall we? (I know, I’m supposed to be like an expert or something. Don’t tell anyone.)

I had no idea the theory behind speech synthesis can be traced back to 1791.

That sounds like the topic of a whole other article, the connection of the voice and electronic music. To anyone who would dismiss vocals as some kind of extra track you add to your instrumentals, I would hasten to point out that apart from voices being in everyone’s bodies and being around before even acoustic instruments, electronic music itself wouldn’t exist without the voice. The vocoder is arguably a model for the synthesis models to come, for instance.

And I’ll write that article. Uh… just as soon as I stop playing with this Web toy. I’m going to get back to that right now.

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These circuit-bent instruments and sounds are simply gorgeous

Mention “circuit bending” and you may think of someone making unlistenable noise on a Speak & Spell they … broke. But in the grand tradition of Reed Ghazala, circuit bending can mean instruments that have exquisitely mutated from vintage devices, resplendent in new paint and making bizarre but wonderful new sounds.

I guess you can think of it as the difference between a conservatory-trained woodwind quintet and … the sound of your first-grade music class playing those plastic recorders.

Ivo Ivanov is squarely in the master builder category. We can drool over his visually beautiful creations, in this gallery here.

And we get access to all the sounds.

Ivo isn’t just a kid with a screwdriver mucking about and breaking things. (Um, that’s more a description of me.) He has a skilled background in engineering and sound design. That led him to start Glitchmachines, initially as a kind of luthier of the circuit bent variety, but later as a workshop for sound designs and sample libraries. You can review his sound design chops and see galleries of his creations on his personal site.

Or, to get those sounds for your own projects, there are two sample libraries built from his circuit bent creations (made with Alex Retsis):

And yeah, all these mad sounds can result in some mad music:

Since we live in the age of the hardware renaissance, you aren’t limited to getting sound packs just for your computer, either. GLITCHMACHINES also did a bunch of expansion cards for the Tiptop Audio sampler module ONE, including a library dedicated to circuit bending:

Of course, you might just be happy drooling at these gorgeous paint jobs. This makes me want to repaint my whole road rig.


via – thanks for the photos for CDM, Ivo, after I gawked at one on social media.










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Turn a terrible toy turntable from a supermarket into a scratch deck

Well, this is probably the world’s cheapest DVS [digital vinyl system]. The reader here got the deck for £14; retail is just £29.99. Add a Raspberry Pi in place of the computer, a display and some adapters, and you have a full-functioning DJ system. For real.

Daniel James tells us the full story. My favorite advice – and I agree – don’t buy this record player. It really is that awful. But it does prove how open source tools can save obsolete gear from landfills – and says to me, too, that there’s really no reason digital vinyl systems still need to lean on conventional computer hardware.

Now – on with the adventures at Aldi. The necessary gear:

1. A terrible turntable (EnVivo USB Turntable in this case)
2. PiDeck. (See the official project page. That means a recent Raspberry Pi and SD card.
3. Control vinyl – Serato here.
4. Audio interface. Since the USB connection in this case was unusable, the author chose an audioinjector, crowd-funded hardware available now for about £20.

Daniel (of awesome 64studio Linux audio expertise fame) writes:

I was looking to find the worst deck in the world, and I think I found it. The EnVivo USB Turntable retails for £29.99 at Aldi, a supermarket. I paid £14 for mine brand-new and boxed, at auction. I wanted to find out for myself just how badly these plastic decks were built, as my neighbours have similar models, and the sound from the analogue line-out is sucktacular. Really, don’t bother if you intended to use this deck for its stated purpose of digitising your vinyl collection.

There are more expensive versions available under various brand names with deluxe leatherette cases or built-in speakers, but the deck inside looks the same. What would we reasonably expect at this price, given that it shipped all the way from China? Ed.: uh…. heh, well, that’s true of pretty much everything else, too, let’s say more to the point it’s some of the cheapest turntable hardware to ship from China.

Inside, there are very few components; these decks appear to be an experiment in just how cheap you can make something and still have people buy it. The straight tonearm has no bearing, it simply pivots
loosely in a plastic sleeve. There is no counterweight or anti-skating adjustment, just a spring underneath the deck pulling the stylus towards the record. The platter is undersized for a 12″, and so is the spindle. Records playing off-centre must add extra vintage charm, they figured.

A 12″ hip-hop tune would not play on the brand-new deck, as the kick drum hits bounced the stylus right out of the groove every other second. The analogue audio output lacked any meaningful bass, too. Then I tried a 12″ Serato CV02 timecode with the PiDeck, and things started to look up. With the control vinyl’s pilot tone containing little or no bass energy, the stylus tracked fine.

Then, I popped out the three rubber nipples from the platter which are all that serves as isolation from motor vibration, put tape around the spindle to make it regulation diameter, and dropped on a slipmat. With the control vinyl on the deck again, it started working as well as most turntables with little torque, but took scratches and backspins in its stride. The USB interface does not have enough headroom for backspins without distortion of the timecode, so I used the line-out RCA sockets instead. No pre-amp is required to hook up an stereo card for the Raspberry Pi, and this far superior audio interface created by Matt Flax takes care of the output to the mixer.

The spring-loaded plastic tonearm will even work with the deck held at an angle, which previously I had only seen achieved with the straight tonearm Vestax decks. Maybe a 10″ Serato vinyl and slipmat would be a better fit. With a pitch control, these decks would have everything you need to get started DJing. How long they will last in use is anyone’s guess, and you are heavy-handed on the platter, you will probably burn out the tiny motor. The stylus is at least replaceable.

Next time you’re at the supermarket, please, do not buy one of these cruddy decks; the world has enough plastic trash already. However if you happen to own one, or found one in a dumpster: one, two, you know what to do!

Previously: PiDeck makes a USB stick into a free DJ player, with turntables


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