Free modular recipes for sound and sequence in VCV Rack, with the creator of JW-Modules

Part of the beauty of software modular is the ability to share ideas. Here are just those kinds of tips and tricks, and you can try them right now – free.

The post Free modular recipes for sound and sequence in VCV Rack, with the creator of JW-Modules appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Make a 909 kick on the Make Noise 0-Coast, and more drum modeling fun

Forget even all the music that was made with it for a second. How the sound of a TR-909 kick was made can open new doors.

The post Make a 909 kick on the Make Noise 0-Coast, and more drum modeling fun appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Stay home, patch stuff – watch Eden Grey walk through lovely, layered modular sounds

Musician and community organizer Eden Grey is sharing some of the sounds she’s patching together, and talking about how they’re made.

The post Stay home, patch stuff – watch Eden Grey walk through lovely, layered modular sounds appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Where to start in Eurorack? This video makes you a Buchla Music Easel-style rig, but in modules

Eurorack may be known for its addictiveness, but some synth lovers suffer just as much for tyranny of choice. This tutorial cures both that and Buchla Music Easel envy.

The Music Easel, if you don’t know it, is a beautiful instrument – a lunchbox full of seemingly limitless possibilities. And you can even get a brand-spanking new rendition of the 1973 original, with the Buchla name badge (or their current incarnation).

But even though that instrument is known for its all-in-one design, there’s reason to think Eurorack as an option – greater flexibility, lower cost, each by a significant margin.

Or to put it another way, it’s a great way to understand different module choices without getting overwhelmed. And that’s where this video from Mylar Melodies comes in:

It’s a pretty good rundown of the Music Easel itself (meaning a useful explainer there), as it starts with the real thing. Then, mindful of limitations, it walks through a suggested system with related features, plus how to make sounds and sequence your ideas, too.

Also, there’s a big supporting star in the form of Arturia’s low-cost MicroFreak, so this gives you a taste for what that instrument is capable of – and how you might connect it, analog style.

(I’m also tempted to try some of this stuff in VCV Rack and other computer software – and the MicroFreak still holds potential.)

Amplitude modulation, frequency modulation, sequencing, and a techno jam – all bases covered!

Mylar Melodies promises more in this series.

It’s the first in a new “suggested systems” concept series I’ve been brewing for some months – using a small 62HP Intellijel Palette eurorack case to make examples of focused, purpose-driven modular rigs and then demo and explain them on camera. Eg. “Generative melody system”, “subtractive semi-modular synth expander”, “self playing drone machine”, and first and foremost “Buchla Music Easel-inspired synth”. 

It’s based on the infinite number of “where do I start” posts where people are getting lost in this format as they’re paralysed by choice – so it’ll give some much needed tangible serving suggestions (far smaller than off the shelf systems, except the Erica Synths Pico), and it’s also a way to discuss basic modular concepts in a form that’s actually clear and digestible – which I just don’t think you can do when you have a massive modular on camera. And mores the point, I don’t want to glorify having a massive rig, full stop – I think it’s far better overall to glorify having a tiny one. So that’s what this aims to do. 

Look forward to more in this series – it’s a great idea!

PS, you can check out the Intellijel cases and power and accessories used in this series:

Now let’s see if Eurobuchla becomes a thing. West Coast – as in the west coast of Portugal?

The post Where to start in Eurorack? This video makes you a Buchla Music Easel-style rig, but in modules appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

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.

The post Learn how to live stream your music with these two easy, quick videos, gear tips appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Now that MOTU’s DP does clips, here’s a video explaining how to use them

If you normally leave a DAW like DP in order to do non-linear clip triggering with other software or hardware, MOTU have something they’d like to show you.

There’s no mistaking what this looks like – this really is the Session View from Ableton Live. Then again, we’ve had some glimpse of that for nearly 20 years, so it’s surprising – given the usual leapfrog and borrowing DAWs do in music production – that no traditional DAW has really pulled off the same thing. (Cakewalk’s SONAR tried, as did Cakewalk’s little-known tool called Project5, but their implementation didn’t really catch on, making that more historical footnote than anything.)

Deja vu?

And we’re not only talking about Live – this same sort of non-linear clip triggering is also something familiar in samplers and other tools.

So it is a big deal that MOTU has added clips, with some twists of their own – a couple I wouldn’t mind Ableton picking up on. And I think it’s telling that you aren’t hearing a lot of complaints that this rips off Live, which says to the Live user base and the DP user base are likely fairly independent – or that these tools solve different problems. (Feel free to give more feedback on this, though.)

https://motu.com/products/software/dp/

The post Now that MOTU’s DP does clips, here’s a video explaining how to use them appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Make an ultra-simple DIY oscillator, inspired by vintage Heathkit

With a stupidly simple number of parts, you can make this oscillator on just a breadboard. Its inspiration is classic, vintage DIY gear from Heathkit.

Electronics class is in session with Synth Diy Guy, who has a detailed video explaining the hex inverter – the chip at the heart of this idea – and how it all turns into an oscillator.

His inspiration is quite clever: it’s the beautifully retro Heathkit model ET-3100 Electronic Design Experimenter. American builder Heathkit inspired early experimenters in computation and electronics – it even influenced some of the people who would go on to make the personal computer revolution. Their kits are laid out like consumer products, complete with handsome cases. And they’re models of simplicity – a fundamental notion in logic, wiring, and calculation would be laid out in spacious, minimalist demonstration boards. Built-in breadboards then let users modify the designs and learn more.

Here’s a breakdown of this particular model, on an equally retro (90s!) Website with other Heathkit models, as well:

http://www.vintage-computer.com/heathkit3100.shtml

You don’t need a Heathkit to try this, though – you can start with the hex inverter chip, and then try different resistors. He gives a complete, compelling explanation:

I’m posting this partly because I imagine we’ll get a lot of feedback from the electronics teachers and electrical engineers in our audience. (“No, that isn’t the simplest possible oscillator.” “That’s interesting, but it’d be better if you –“ Yeah, fire away.)

But I imagine even some of you with rudimentary skills could get going on this quite easily. Thoughts welcome!

Also, anything with hex in it is obviously cool. (Wait, hex inverter, that makes this less Satanic? Or … more?)

The post Make an ultra-simple DIY oscillator, inspired by vintage Heathkit appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Explore the visual wonders of TouchDesigner: Summit, free workshop video

Few software tools have proved as expressive in generative visuals or audiovisual performance as TouchDesigner. Get introduced to its AV powers in a new, free video – or if you can make it Montreal, get the full experience live.

TouchDesigner is a dataflow tool – a graphical, patchable development environment – uniquely suited to squeezing gorgeous eye candy out of your computer graphics card. It’s also special for being musical and modular. It’s pretty enough that I’ve seen its actual zoomable UI displayed as art in performances, but whether or not you share that with the audience, it’s a kind of digital, graphical counterpart to the renewed love of cables and patching in sound.

Russian-born, Berlin-based Stanislav Glazov has gone deep into that world both as a teacher and as an artist. (You can catch his visuals this week as part of the UY ZONE, a fashion-meets-performance immersive environment inside Berghain in Berlin, or as a solo artist or working with techno legend Dasha Rush around Europe and Russia.)

Stas is happy to help you decipher the mysterious arts of TouchDesigner work yourself in his online workshop series. But you’ll probably want to start at the beginning – or even if you have some TouchDesigner background, better understand Stas’ take on it. Over the weekend, he led a free online workshop, and now you can watch at your leisure on YouTube:

If that taste has you excited, though, you might want to think about being in Montréal in August – timed perfectly with the massive MUTEK festival.

It’s not the first time there’s been an event around this tool, but this is surely the biggest. The day program alone features:

  • 350 participants
  • 69 presenters
  • 45 workshops
  • 21 talks

And that’s all in 3 days, packed onto the Coeur des Sciences / UQAM campus. The organizers describe it as “an intensive forum and stimulating meeting ground for the TouchDesigner community to share knowledge and experiences, learn new skills, connect in person with your favorite TD mentors and peeps and make a lot of new friends and collaborators.”

The night program promises still more, with an “after dark” social program, with 404.zero, ELEMAUN / Ali Phi, our friend Procedural, and Woulg.

TouchDesigner for its part has been expanding with lots of new features, including a specialized module for performing with lasers. That in turn is being used in the incredible collaboration of Robert Henke and Christopher Bauder – hope to cover that more soon:

Full details:

https://2019.touchdesignersummit.com/

And to check out Stas’ paid video courses:

https://lichtpfad.selz.com/

Image at top – deadmau5, prepping as his live show is built in TouchDesigner. Find lots more inspiration like this on the blog – I could page through that all day:

https://www.derivative.ca/Blog/

The post Explore the visual wonders of TouchDesigner: Summit, free workshop video appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Learn synthesis basics in your browser, free, with Ableton

If you still don’t know your LFO from your amplitude envelope from your square oscillator – or you’re trying to answer this for someone else – Ableton have made everything visual and playable and sonic, in a browser, for free.

Ableton’s educational tools have been uniquely popular among users, even those not using Ableton Live. And “Learning Synths” doesn’t make even the slightest passing reference to Ableton’s hardware and software products, though you will see their recent signature graphic style.

Instead, you get playful graphics and simple, clear explanations, and little in-browser toys you can play with. True to the company’s German roots, it all feels like stylish design in the nation of Bauhaus – for kids or adults. It’s a great reminder that playing synths is play – and can be friendly to total beginners, too.

It’s enough fun to mess around with that you’ll probably enjoy paging through this, and the finishing playground, even if you do know what you’re doing. If you don’t, it starts at absolute zero, holding your hands from step one – so now is the time to brush up.

You’ll get only those basics, but for oscillators, amplitude envelope, and modulation, it covers the nuts and bolts. And it should be inspiration to anyone hoping to make educational materials for more.

By the way, this is doubly relevant as toolchains for plug-ins begin to support Web development, too. It means we may soon see learning as an interactive process that happens on phones, tablets, and computers, rather than the painful method of having a PDF in one window and tabbing back to a computer screen. But it’s also important that Ableton recognize that teaching some concepts is best done without the usual chrome and knobs and widgets of the interface you use day to day. I expect we’ll see education evolve in both lines. It’s time for the interactive Web to replace the static PDF.

And personally, while this may seem basic, I never tire of returning to thinking about the basics, both as a musician and as a teacher. I think it always refreshes the brain.

Now, if someone can just teach us all to mix better… ahem. (I know that’s the question people constantly ask me.)

https://learningsynths.ableton.com/

The post Learn synthesis basics in your browser, free, with Ableton appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Learn synthesis basics in your browser, free, with Ableton

If you still don’t know your LFO from your amplitude envelope from your square oscillator – or you’re trying to answer this for someone else – Ableton have made everything visual and playable and sonic, in a browser, for free.

Ableton’s educational tools have been uniquely popular among users, even those not using Ableton Live. And “Learning Synths” doesn’t make even the slightest passing reference to Ableton’s hardware and software products, though you will see their recent signature graphic style.

Instead, you get playful graphics and simple, clear explanations, and little in-browser toys you can play with. True to the company’s German roots, it all feels like stylish design in the nation of Bauhaus – for kids or adults. It’s a great reminder that playing synths is play – and can be friendly to total beginners, too.

It’s enough fun to mess around with that you’ll probably enjoy paging through this, and the finishing playground, even if you do know what you’re doing. If you don’t, it starts at absolute zero, holding your hands from step one – so now is the time to brush up.

You’ll get only those basics, but for oscillators, amplitude envelope, and modulation, it covers the nuts and bolts. And it should be inspiration to anyone hoping to make educational materials for more.

By the way, this is doubly relevant as toolchains for plug-ins begin to support Web development, too. It means we may soon see learning as an interactive process that happens on phones, tablets, and computers, rather than the painful method of having a PDF in one window and tabbing back to a computer screen. But it’s also important that Ableton recognize that teaching some concepts is best done without the usual chrome and knobs and widgets of the interface you use day to day. I expect we’ll see education evolve in both lines. It’s time for the interactive Web to replace the static PDF.

And personally, while this may seem basic, I never tire of returning to thinking about the basics, both as a musician and as a teacher. I think it always refreshes the brain.

Now, if someone can just teach us all to mix better… ahem. (I know that’s the question people constantly ask me.)

https://learningsynths.ableton.com/

The post Learn synthesis basics in your browser, free, with Ableton appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.