Particle Collider SX7 Synthesizer Updated With Additional Waveforms

Eplex7 DSP let us know that they’ve updated Particle Collider SX7, adding 18 additional waveforms.… Read More Particle Collider SX7 Synthesizer Updated With Additional Waveforms

Ableton Live 10 in depth: hands-on impressions, what’s new

Live 10 adds a tasty new synth and delay effect, an updated look, and many more small details. We’ve had it now a few weeks; here’s a look at what’s new.

What’s the story behind 10?

It’s tough for updates of mature music production software to keep us happy. On one hand, we’ve all got a big list of stuff we want to see improved, fixed, added – and that list tends to get longer. On the other hand, we don’t want any major changes to disrupt how we work, break our existing projects, or lead the tool away from why we chose to use it in the first place.

What Live 10 does is to focus on making a lot of little changes that have a big impact on how you interact with the interface, in editing, arranging, and finishing tracks. There’s more and clearer visual feedback and editing behaviors, on screen and on Push.

In other words, imagine it’s a studio overhaul that did some cleaning, renovating, and reorganizing. And like a studio reorganization, you’ve also added some new gear – in the form of new devices called Echo, Wavetable, Drum Buss, and Pedal.

Photo courtesy Ableton.

An updated interface

Ableton has doggedly resisted messing much with its minimal interface. And sure enough, the biggest Live makeover yet is – actually pretty subtle. Those just get more useful as you dig.

So, on the surface, you can instantly see some new colors (now organized in “themes”), including some much more consistent darker themes. And there’s the new Ableton Sans font.

On high-density screens or as you scale, you’ll notice still more improvements – particularly around vectors like knobs. Windows users also get specialized HiDPI support – crucial since the PC platform otherwise doesn’t work as seamlessly as Retina displays on Mac. There’s also a Pen Tablet mode, which works with graphic tablets as well as tablet PCs, though I didn’t get to test it yet.

Scaled up, you can see the impact of that new font and lots of precise details (even a tiny notch indicator on the knobs).

Lots of little details like these add up to being able to more clearly see what you’re doing – sometimes even without noticing why you’re suddenly working faster. Ironically, this is probably the biggest UI overhaul Live has ever had – and yet you won’t really notice it, which is sort of the point.

Capture: Never miss an idea

The new transport – your challenge is to try to recognize it over someone’s shoulder in a club. That dotted rectangle icon on the right is significant.

So, there’s a funny mystery to the universe: the moment you hit the record button, all your creative ideas go away. Also, if you aren’t recording, you’ll suddenly play something ingenious – and then immediately forget it.

“Capture” is a way around this – it listens in on any connected MIDI input on armed/monitored tracks. Just played something on the keyboard you like? Hit the Capture button, and it turns instantly into a clip – no recording needed. (You can do this from Push, too; it seems inevitable that a Push 3 will have a dedicated button, but for now the Record and New buttons will do.)

Arrangement and Automation

The Arrangement View is the reason I think you’ll want to update to Live 10. It’s now finally easier to edit, arrange, and automate your projects. And here, it seems like they were watching over our shoulders, adding in features we had been looking for (shown with shortcuts):

  • Stretch Arrangement audio clips directly. (Shift-drag the border)
  • Slide the contents of an Arrangement clip directly, by dragging. (Alt-shift/Ctrl-Shift)
  • Reverse a selected bit of time, or part of a clip. (R)
  • Activate/deactivate just a portion of a clip, if you select only part of it.
  • Move clips by dragging the upper half of the clip.
  • Double-click on a MIDI track to create a MIDI clip.
  • Minimize all tracks at once, aka “Show All Tracks.” (S)
  • Zoom to and from a time selection. (Z/shift-Z)
  • Zoom tracks by scrolling with (alt), (cmd/ctrl) vertically

At last – view more than one MIDI clip at a time. Image courtesy Ableton.

The fact that a lot of this is true of other DAWs makes this even more welcome – both because it’s hard to re-train those habits, and because, well, this is a better way for this to work.

In addition to adjusting how you edit that content directly, Ableton has also made the whole view far more sensible by separating out automation – those “rubber-band” line segments that control changes to device parameters and mix settings. Now, you can hide or show all automation lanes via a global Automation button (or hit ‘A’).

This makes adding fades and cross-fades easier, too. You can always just drag from the corner of a clip to create fades.

Things you wished you could do previously suddenly magically start working: like you can double-click anywhere and make an automation breakpoint (not just on the envelope itself).

Oh yeah, and finally: “It is now possible to move automation segments horizontally.” (People who have been next to me in the studio while editing know that I tended to use … colorful language … in past versions over this.)

Many other DAWs work in similar ways to this already, but Ableton has managed to add these features without messing too much with its own distinctive interface. And that means you’ll adjust I think very quickly – ironically both if you were doing most of your editing in Live, and if you weren’t (because you found the absence of these things frustrating).

There are lots of other subtle helpers and visual feedback that make it easier to select, edit, and move breakpoints as you’re working. So there’s nothing new here in the sense of the addition of fade curves – just everything works better.

Small details abound – fades are always accessible at clip corners, cursors change more clearly so you’re aware of how you’re editing, and — even little stuff like this visual feedback on breakpoints can be a big help.

One thing that wasn’t changed here: you still can’t edit MIDI events directly in the Arrangement View lanes. But at last, you can edit multiple MIDI clips at the same time – both in Arrangement and Session. That’s beautifully implemented, and at last stops all this hunting in and out of clips when you’re editing. That may be a better solution, on balance.

Wavetable, the new Ableton synth. Looks impressive with everything expanded, but it retains a simple interface. Image courtesy Ableton.


Finally, Operator has a worthy sequel – a synth that feels truly native to Ableton Live.

And it’s about the most flexible synth you could wish for. It’s also more approachable than Operator’s FM (frequency modulation) synthesis – even though that design, conceived by Ableton co-founder Robert Henke, made FM easier to understand. By contrast, Wavetable is a synth that almost dares you to dive in without reading the manual.

Bride of Operator: classic Wavetable architecture, simple design, but with interesting twists. Note the Sub oscillator at left, Unison modes at right.

Wavetable synthesis is all about starting with an interesting waveform, then adding modulation and moving through that waveform. Animations show you how that works, even if you’ve never done it before. (Waldorf’s synths do that beautifully on the iPad, built by Wolfgang Palm, the man who perfected the technique. That seems to have influenced the design here, but — imagine it far simpler, more compact, flat, and Ableton-y.)

From there, you can add filters and modulation in a terrifically straightforward way. Filters look the way they do elsewhere in the software – you’ve got two multimode filters to apply as you like. Choosing some different filter models and adding drive will dirty up what is otherwise a very pristine-sounding instrument.

There’s also an easy modulation matrix, if a simple one. And you can pop out envelopes and LFOs (modulation sources) when you want more real estate.

The deal is sealed for me by the Unison modes – that Shimmer is lovely – which thicken up the sound of each note by using multiple oscillators. And there’s a sub oscillator, making this an excellent bass synth.

With the use of the various wavetables, different filters with drive, and unison modes, you can very quickly get away from sounds that are too clean or too clinical, which for me was always missing on Operator.

On paper, the whole thing honestly looks boring. But those filter models, the fact that you can route the two oscillators together or in parallel, those filter models (which you may already know from Live 9’s revamped Simpler), and those unison modes… oh, those unison modes… (Just trust me on that.)

It’s fun to design sounds on-screen, but even more fun with Ableton Push, as all those visualizations now map perfectly to the displays, and the encoders are ready for hands-on control.

In the end, it’s exactly what you want a built-in Ableton Live synth to me. It’s easy, it’s consistent – but it’s got personality, and it isn’t limiting.

Echo: a single device bringing together a lot of the digital and tape delay sounds you’d want, all in one consistent interface.


Wavetable is great, but … might not sway you if you’ve already got a stable of synths you love. Echo, on the other hand, is irresistible.

Echo almost made me forget everything else I planned to work on on this review, because suddenly I had a bunch of tracks just based on Echo.

We’re spoiled for choice now when it comes to delay effects. Native Instruments’ Replika XT is exceptional, just to name one. Universal Audio and the like have beautiful models of analog classics. Eventide have brought their whole arsenal of delays. Surreal Machines have some especially brilliant models.

I happen to use all of these. And even I have use for Echo.

The genius of Echo is really that it seems to merge a lot of different kinds of delays and echo effects into a single unit, and then let you morph between them relatively seamlessly.

You get two delay lines, which can run free or synced. These then operate in stereo, ping pong left to right, or mid/side. There’s also a reverb you can add pre or post delay.

The Modulation section is here things get interesting. You can modulate both delay times and filter frequencies, for some pretty far-out effects, and even morph between an envelope follower and modulation.

Modulation – route this to the delay itself as well as the filter.

That would already be enough, but there’s more. Using the “Character” modules, you can add Noise and Wobble effects – simulating tape – as well as dynamic controls (Gate, Ducking).

The “oh, maybe I’m a Space Echo, too” and “let’s change this around with dynamics” section. Or, uh, “Character.”

The upshot of all of this is, you get a uniquely Ableton-y delay with a character that ranges fully from subtle to out-the-starcraft-airlock, digital and clean to old and grimy. I happened to have some stems I’d made with a real Roland Space Echo, and I was able to produce some effects that were pretty close. This is … much lighter to carry around. But beyond that, I could morph the same sorts of effects back into software territory, and anywhere in between.

It’s terrific for any kind of sound design, as well as dubby and dance-y stuff. It’s about the most invaluable effect I could imagine them adding – and like Wavetable, it manages to root itself in classic gear without being overly nostalgic or overly complicated.

Don’t overlook the Drum Bass and Pedal effects. Pedal may not look like, well, anything – but it sounds amazing.

Drum Buss and Pedal

Echo isn’t the only effect – there are two more, Drum Buss (not a typo) and Pedal.

Drum Buss is a multi-effects processor with distortion, compressor, low-frequency “Boom,” transient shaping, and high frequency dampening. Now, the “Drum” part is meant to indicate that you can warm up, thicken, and compress/glue drum sounds together. But even though a lot of this was already available elsewhere in Live, the combination of these elements and new additions all in one device make it useful – and not just for drums.

Pedal is one you’ll probably overlook, but shouldn’t. It looks homely. It sounds… surprisingly amazing. That gnarly distortion, overdrive, and fuzz are actually more useful than all the previous Softube stuff combined, all with dangerous one-knob access. I’ve been destroying drum and synth sounds with them. Don’t be surprised if you start smearing on eyeshadow and sleeping in a coffin during the day. It’s worth it.

Oh yeah, and put Echo and Drum Buss and Pedal together… even with Wavetable? Indeed.

Visualizations now show up on Push. Image courtesy Ableton, because … I’m lazy and my desk is a mess?

What’s new for Push?

All these other changes should silence anyone who thinks Ableton are only making enhancements for their Push hardware customers.

But if you are a Push hardware customers, you do get a lot, too. There are tons of little fixes and additions. Some standouts:

On Push 2, you can now visualize lots more stuff – EQ Eight filter bands, Compressor, envelopes, and more are all visible, plus notes in MIDI clips.

There’s now a note layout mode for Push, combining step sequencing and note access. On the top, you get a 32-step sequencer, on the bottom, 32 notes. This was a convenient feature on the (smaller) Novation Circuit; it works really beautifully on an 8×8 layout.

MIDI notes on Push 2. (Push 1 users get lots of little enhancements, too, though, so don’t feel left out.)

Everything else in a nutshell

Groups inside groups for better organization. Image courtesy Ableton.

Nest Groups inside other Groups. Useful for drums in particular, this is apparently an oft-requested featured. I agree that it’s cool, so I will resist the urge to make an Xzibit meme.

Install Packs inside Live. No more trips to the Website for sound packs – you can do it in the Browser. (note that this only works for Ableton-provided Packs; others install as before)

Better Browser organization. Color-code entries. Make your own Collections (really nice if you’re doing a lot of sound design).

You can export more easily. WAV, AIFF, FLAC, WavPack export, MP3 export, and – finally – you can export MP3 and WAV at the same time.

Saving doesn’t clear the Undo history. Good.

It’s faster. Two examples: large Live sets now close 5-10 times faster, and samples load a lot faster. All around, it definitely feels snappier.

Max for Live is more integrated. Bundled in Live, loads at startup.

Double-click to reset knobs and sliders. Another “finally.”

Split stereo option for pan.

More flexible audio routing. Drum Rack pads can be routed to the return of the parent. You can also support multiple audio inputs and outputs inside Max for Live, which opens up lots of new possibilities (including multichannel/surround applications), and route to arbitrary tracks via the Live API.

Zoom and scroll! More vertical zooming of tracks, but also horizontal scrolling on Windows (not just Mac), using your trackpad or mousewheel in Simpler and Sampler and Detail View and Arrangement… and Detail View now zooms as you expect.

Set names for inputs and outputs. Good lord, at last!

Updated metronome drop down.

Set metronome settings like sounds and interval and when to click, right from the context menu on the transport.

What isn’t in this update

To me, Ableton Live still has two big weaknesses.

First Live just isn’t a terribly convenient scoring tool, because of a lack of convenient video display and management of markers. This might seem an odd thing to point out, but it’s something I hear with some frequency from users, and I find it’s a frequent reason people choose a different host.

Second, Ableton’s controller customization is still a nightmare. Even basic MIDI features implemented back in Live 1.5 haven’t gotten a look lately – it’s still really tough to edit MIDI CC assignments. (The inability to type in custom CC numbers, for instance, is … kind of weird.) And while the whole notion of unique controllers for Ableton Live came from DIY projects and the community, there’s still no open, accessible interface for making your own controller mappings. Ableton may point to Max for Live as the solution, but that’s actually even clunkier to use in practice than the Python API that predates it. A consistent API could greatly expand the range and imagination with which people use Live as an instrument – and “sequencing instrument,” the moniker used by Live 1.0, is someho even more relevant today.

It also seems the time is approaching soon when Live will want to be more agnostic about multichannel outputs and less stereo-centric.

But these are all worth mentioning as they’re areas for possible future growth. I think Ableton have addressed a lot of what users most wanted.


The real test of any upgrade is – once you’ve updated, would you be able to go back? I can say very precisely, no. Normally, I keep a beta running side-by-side with the stable release. With Live 10, for the first time, I just couldn’t bring myself to look backward, not once.

Plenty of DAW upgrades introduce splashy new features. Live 10 ought to be commended for focusing on the details of how you interact with the software, from recording and capturing ideas to arranging them, and all the visual feedback you get along the way – whether on Ableton’s own Push hardware or just on your screen. What’s really nice about a lot of this is, once you upgrade, you’ll stop noticing it’s there. You’ll just experience less resistance from the software as you work.

And the devices have a similar feel: Echo and Wavetable are two that you simply won’t want to give up. They feel totally native to Live and have a character all their own – a bit like you’ve added two nice pieces of hardware to your studio.

Live 10 isn’t likely to win over a lot of new converts, I think, but that isn’t the point. It’s an upgrade that should just make Live’s enormous user base happy. And if you’re behind in upgrading, now might be a great time.

We’ll look more in detail in the coming days and weeks at how to make Live 10 as productive as possible in your music making. Let us know if you have any questions or interests.

Disclaimer: I’m working with a prerelease version of the software. This isn’t yet a comment on stability – though I didn’t have any issues with performance, reliability, or functionality. The only thing I found was, on Windows 10, I had to set the systemwide default scaling to 100% for some third-party plug-ins to work properly. Your mileage may vary; we’ll check in on the final release.

Official Ableton site

The post Ableton Live 10 in depth: hands-on impressions, what’s new appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Thorn Synthesizer mit 3 Oszillatoren ähnelt Massive

D_Schres Thorn

Thorn ist ein einfach zu bedienender, sogar eigentlich simpler Synthesizer. Er stammt von Dmitry Sches und erinnert optisch schon ziemlich an Natives Massive. Meine erste Frage war: Na, ist das eine kleinere Variante?

Der Klang ist offensichtlich durchaus mit einem gewissen Basisdruck versehen, und beim Durchsteppen klingt es mal nach FM und mal nach Wavetables. Genau damit arbeitet er auch. Eine Reihe Rausch-Typen kommen noch dazu, und alle drei Oszillatoren und der Rausch-Generator können jeweils in eines der beiden Filter (oder beide) geleitet werden.

Thorn und das additive Filter

Das Filter ist eigentlich der interessante Teil, denn hier findet man eine große Liste von Filterarten, die additiv arbeiten. Die Vielfalt durch dieses Filter erinnert an Emus alte Z-Plane-Filter oder eben an additive Synths wie Virsyn Cube oder Apples Alchemy. Das allein hat zur Folge, dass man vieles mit diesen Filtern durchprobieren und den Charakter von stimmhaft bis klassisch finden kann.

An Steuerung und Zusätzen gibt es klassische Möglichkeiten wie 3 LFOs und drei LFOs, die mit ADSR-Charakteristik arbeiten. Der Klang ist durchaus breit, anders als das viele additive Synthesizer der Vergangenheit anbieten, ohne die enorme Komplexität der Additiven übernehmen zu müssen.

Extrem sägende FM-Klänge kann man hier also auch über ein Filtermodell erreichen, ohne besonders krasse Wellenformen haben zu müssen. Es gibt solche aber durchaus. Wavetables und einfache Wellentypen gibt es aber in einer Software heute faktisch überall, deshalb ist das auch hier eher eben auch die Hausmannskost. Nice to have.

Dem Harmonic Filter nachgeschaltet sind zwei “echte” Filter mit analoger klassischer Klangästhetik und den klassischen Filtertypen. Der grobe Eindruck ist, dass sie offenbar auch wirklich nicht mehr so plastikartig klingen müssen wie die von Massive oder Abletons Zugaben. Damit kommt man auch dann weit, wenn man eigentlich kein großer Synthesenerd ist. Auch Pulsbreitenmodulation ist möglich, dafür wird vermutlich intern ein Wavetable verwendet – es gibt diese jedenfalls.

Dimitri Sches Thorn – erste Eindrücke im Video

Mit seinen $119 liegt er im Mittelfeld und ist realitisch. Hier erst einmal ein schnelles Klangdemo und danach noch eine Art Tutorial-Demo für ein paar Eindrücke. Die Website des Entwicklers ist aktuell nicht zu erreichen. Aktuell kann man für $69 hier fündig werden.

Reason 10 is a return to form: all about the instruments

Remember when the main draw of Reason was adding a whole bunch of toys to your computer and playing until you couldn’t play any more? Those days are back.

The last few years have seen lots of workflow refinements and maturity in music production software. And that’s all fine and well. We’ve even seen new DAWs entirely, new combinations of hardware controllers and software (Maschine, Push), standalone production tools that work without a computer (the new MPC). And we’ve seen a whole lot of music production software evolution, gradually working through the elaborate wish lists we foist on the developers – and with good reason. Heck, maybe you begin to think that adding new sounds is about buying fancy modular rigs, and the computer will quietly disappear into the background.

But since the beginning, Reason was always about something different. Reason users didn’t just get a whole bunch of effects and synths as a bonus, icing to sweeten the deal. Reason was those effects and synths. And you’d be forgiven if you assumed that era had come to a close. After all, most Reason upgrades focused on adding in the openness and multifunctional capabilities of rivals – audio recording, Rack Extensions and a store to buy add-ons, even VST plug-in compatibility. Once you have VST support in Reason, maybe Reason isn’t really about the stuff Propellerheads put in the box.

Think again, because – Reason 10.

Now, there’s some chatter at Propellerhead about this being the “biggest content upgrade” ever, but let’s talk specifically about which instruments are getting added. And it’s a big ‘ol Swedish smörgåsbord of the kind of synths that made us notice Reason in the first place.

So, to answer Thor, there’s Europa – a wavetable synth.

To those granular goodies in Reaktor and Max for Live, there’s The Grain.

And in the tradition of Reason, they look, well, Reason-y. Functions are encapsulated, simplified, hardware-like, but without sacrificing deep modulation. The Grain, for its part, looks like the native granular synth Ableton never quite got (outside Max add-ons). Europa has its own biggie-sized instrumental quality.

For more acoustic timbres, you get new sampled instruments: Klang for tuned percussion, Pangea for a potpourri of “world” instruments, Humana for choir and vocal sounds. (Even if Humana makes those of us in Germany think of retro DDR fashion…)

Happily, these aren’t just ROMplers or sets of presets – you still get the control panels that mimic vintage hardware, and CV routing for patching monster hybrids and strange sound designs.

Propellerhead took a similar approach with their aptly-named Radical Piano, which allows the construction of hybrid, physically-modeled piano instruments, and it’s nice to see that instrument now included in the box.

And there’s one really killer effect, too: Synchronous, which brings modulated signal processing, with sidechaining and LFOs, even with the ability to draw your own curves to route into filter, delay, reverb, distortion. That alone could fill albums of material, and with a lot of different takes recently on how to do this, the Props’ take looks genuinely unique.

There are a lot of samples, too – Drum Supply and Loop Supply get a refresh. Now, that would normally bore me, except — oh yeah, that granular thing. Interested again.

In beta now, out 25 October.

I think it’s going to be a good winter.

They’ve worked hard; let’s embed their video. They earned it.


The post Reason 10 is a return to form: all about the instruments appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Synthesis Technology WaveEdit & Wavetable VCO Hands-On Demo

At Knobcon 2017, engineer Paul Schreiber of Synthesis Technology gave us an overview of their free WaveEdit waveform editor and two new wavetable VCOs, the E352 and E370.… Read More Synthesis Technology WaveEdit & Wavetable VCO Hands-On Demo

Wavetable – Sampler Percussa SSP Luxusmodul wird Realität

Percussa SSP

Das neue Modul von Percussa fürs das Euroformat ist breit und hat ein großes Display. Es war mal als Wavetable-Modul geplant, ist am Ende aber doch ein vielfältiger nutzbares Gerät geworden. Vielleicht heißt es deshalb Super Signal Processor.

Er kann Wavetables mit 3D-Darstellung erzeugen, ist ein Sampler mit Schichtung mehrerer Samples, kann als Waveshaper arbeiten, als Kammfilter Signale verarbeiten oder als klassisches State Variable-Multimode-Filter fungieren. Außerdem ist er ein Step-Sequencer und kann LFOs und Hüllkurven herstellen. Außerdem kann er natürlich auch Gleichspannung bereit stellen und ist ein spezieller Band-Rauschgenerator für bestimmte Frequenzen.

Kurz gesagt, dieses Modul kann fast alles außer Wäsche waschen und fliegen. Es bietet eine Art Schnittstelle für eigene DSP-Coder an, womit es sehr offen ist für weitere Optionen. Man könnte es als kleinere Auskopplung des Modularsystems “System 8” sehen – damit ist nicht der Roland-Synthesizer selbst gemeint, sondern ein Modular-System auf digitaler Basis, welcher aus einer Bedieneinheit und einem Display besteht.

Nach mehreren Namensgebungen und Funktionen ist das Gerät mit diesem Namen dann in die erst kürzlich gestartete Kickstarter-Kampagne gegangen. Und nach kurzer Zeit war das Ziel auch schon erreicht. Das Modul ist sehr vielseitig, hat USB-Anschlüsse und ein Display, was schon einem Kleincomputer nahe kommt. Ein SD-Slot ermöglicht die Sicherung von Samples und anderen Daten, es arbeitet mit 192kHz und ist mit einem ARM Chip ausgestattet. Eine Computerarchitektur, die sich im Bereich Synthesizer immer häufiger wird, z.B. beim Waldorf Quantum oder bei Rolands Boutique-Serie, dort allerdings eher für die Steuerung, nicht für die Synthese.

Die 60 HP Breite ist nicht gering, aber notwendig, da das Gerät eine große Patch-Anschlusswelt und Taster sowie vier Knöpfe für Einstellungen anbietet. Der Preis ist 1500 USD für eine fertig aufgebaute Version innerhalb der Klickstarter-Crowdfunding-Aktion und wird vermutlich auch weitere Geräte finanzieren, so die Summe weiter steigt.

Es gibt unzählige Videos und Demos auf der Seite, weshalb sich dadurch schon einige Möglichkeiten gut erklären lassen, lang aber nicht so umfassend, jedoch genug um sie gut zu finden. Alles zusammen ist aktuell hier zu finden. 

VIDEOS (Auswahl)

PPG Infinite’s touch morphing could make it soft synth of the summer

Over the weekend, PPG mastermind Wolfgang Palm let slip his latest creation: PPG Infinite. In previews for iPad, we see an innovative touch synth full of morphing and wave shaping tools.

There are two videos. The first one … uh … well, mainly involves hearing some sounds and staring into the void of space. (True fact: this is what normally happens inside my brain when I look at my to-do list on a Monday.)

But the second video actually reveals plenty – way more than just a teaser. And even from these screenshots, the “Infinite” name suggests that PPG took basically everything they’ve ever done and built a fresh synth around it.

There’s vocal synthesis (à la their Phonem app and plug-in).

There’s wavetable synthesis, with fingers gliding through representation of waveforms, as per the original PPG Wave synths and PPG’s first app, WaveMapper. (Palm is the inventor of wavetable synthesis.)

There’s also the new functions of their follow-up synth WaveGenerator, with more ways of generating and navigating and shaping waves.

And then it seems there’s more.

If you blinked, you may have missed something, so let’s get some frame-by-frame replay. Infinite sees synth wizard Palm teaming up again with designer Cornel Hecht (who also provides the spacey background music for these videos).

Here, we get a unique-looking synth architecture, one that adds loads of touch-accessible morphing modes for combining sounds, as well as something called the “noiser” – which appears to be a spectrally-shaped noise source.

And at its heart, there’s the functionality that made the first PPG app such a breakthrough on the iPad, the ability to “touch the sound” by scanning and morphing wavetables with 3D and 2D views. That visual seems now greatly expanded as a central user paradigm, and it seems to me that it could be reason to see iPads running this app alongside beloved hardware synths in the studio or onstage.

Of course, the other Palm apps have also now been available as VST/AU plug-in, so I hope we’ll see that for this, too. (No reason to choose, either – you might use your iPad to shape presets, then loads those into the plug-in when it comes time to track and arrange and finish tracks. I need to research whether multi-touch computers on Windows can support touch gestures for plug-ins – not sure on that – but even with a mouse, this looks fun.)

Let’s have a look:

Touch is central to the UI. These morphing options look especially nice and accessible, even if you aren’t ready to delve into every nitpicky detail of the architecture and sound design:

A glimpse of the architecture, including simplified oscillator controls and these morphing and noiser options:

The oscillator interface really appears to shine via touch interaction:

A closer look at those controls:

The presets are suggestive of the combination of two or three of the previous instruments from PPG – and indicate some diversity of possibilities with this one, from vocal-ish presets to percussion to pads, bass, leads, and all that business:

For those so inclined, it appears you can get really deep with mapping by key range and matrix-style modulation:

I love the LFO interface, both for its advanced parameters (for going deep) and clever touch adjustment (for quick play):

Stills don’t do it justice, but as in the other PPG apps, it’s really getting your grubby fingers on the 3D waveform view that looks like fun. Combine that with some new vocal synth options, and … sold.

It’s about time for an exciting new soft synth, especially with Alchemy having disappeared into Logic and most of the headlines covering hardware. And for all the depth and diversity on the iPad, this could be one that stands out on that platform – not least if it’s paired with desktop plug-ins so you don’t disrupt your workflow.

Ready, Wolfgang. Watching for this one.

Stay tuned to CDM for this one, with team coverage by myself and Ashley (Palm Sounds).


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Kickstarter: MOTM-Gründer plant E370 Quad Morphing VCO

Quad Morphing VCO Eurorack

Wavemorphing mit Vierfach-Oszillator von Paul Schreiber

Wavetables und Morphing gibt es ja schon einige Zeit, aber als Eurorackmodul ist das doch extrem mächtig. Kein geringerer als Paul Schreiber startet einen Crowdfunding-Aufruf für das neue Morphing VCO Modul.

E370 Quad Morphing VCO ist der offizielle Name des Moduls. Es nimmt seine Wavetables von einer SD Card und zeigt alle vier Wellen direkt an. Da es keine Samples, sondern nur sehr kurze Ausschnitte sind, die jedoch mit 16 Bit und 96 kHz verarbeitet werden, ist die Menge der entsprechenden Wavetables mit 16 GB nicht unbedingt klein. Bei Waldorf waren es klassischerweise 8 Bit und im Blofeld werden 12 Bit verwendet. Die Länge eines solchen „Samples“ ist mit 256 Samples also eher kein Speicherfresser.

Jeder der vier Oszillatoren kann 64 Waves gleichzeitig laden und im Speicher halten. Dies ist der eher klassische Ansatz. Bei Waldorfs Nave und Blofeld sind es mittlerweile 128, da die MIDI-Auflösung ebenfalls 128 beträgt. Dennoch stellt das keine große Einschränkung dar. Man möchte sogar langfristig einen Editor für Wavetables erstellen. Außerdem ist eine Frequenzmodulation zwischen jeweils zwei Oszillatoren möglich, der ein spezieller 2-OP-FM-Modus ist.

Der Preis ist zwar stolz, dennoch sind vier Oszillatoren mit diesen Merkmalen auch bisher einmalig. Der Vergleich mit Waldorfs Angebot als bekannter Wavetable-Hersteller liegt bei 2 Oszillatoren für 299€. Der Paul-Schreiber-Vierfach-VCO kostet 699$ für eine Bausatz-Version und 879$ für die montierte Variante. Das Projekt hat bereits das ursprüngliche Crowdfunding-Ziel erreicht, weshalb dieser ungewöhnliche Oszillator nun wirklich gebaut wird.

Paul Schreiber ist bekannter Vater des MOTM-Systems, welches mit extrem vielen Modulen aufwarten kann und im klassischen Moog-6HE-Format schon länger anboten wird. Allerdings gibt es ebenfalls schon länger auch Eurorack-Varianten.

Im Text findet man noch den Hinweis, dass das Ziel auf 115.000$ erhöht wurde, um eine lineare Frequenzmodulation zu ermöglichen. Auch wenn das Projekt wirklich aufwendig und nicht gerade günstig ist, so ist es durchaus seinen Preis wert.

Auf der Seite findet man weitere Klangbeispiele und Videos sowie die Display-Möglichkeiten und Funktionen. Die Anschlüsse und Konfiguration des Moduls selbst sind exakt so, wie man das erwarten würde – nämlich mit identischen Anschlüssen und Sync-Herausführung. Die FM-benannte Buchse wird durch die Weiterentwicklung linear sein, was für eine exakte Steuerung wichtig ist. Mit „MOD“ sind die exponentiellen normalen Tonhöhensteuerungseingänge bezeichnet.

Alles zum Morphing VCO auf Kickstarter


Der Prototyp funktioniert bereits:

PPG Wave 2 Synthesizer Hands-On Demo

Synthesist Thomas P. Heckmann shares his thoughts on the classic PPG Wave 2 wavetable synthesizer.… Read More PPG Wave 2 Synthesizer Hands-On Demo

Get a bunch of drum and wavetable sounds for Novation Circuit

What does that tasty ice, cold vanilla ice cream need? Chocolate sauce and peanuts. What does the Novation Circuit need? This sample pack.

No, seriously. Cuckoo, that brilliant YouTube personality, has put his love for gear into a brilliant and genius sound pack for Novation’s adorable Circuit drum machine – the box for the common man and woman to make riotous noise uncommonly easy.

And it works like this: you give Cuckoo love in the form of Patreon (in absurdly small increments if you’re broke), then he gives you love back in the form of a download that shows his love for Circuit.

There are two elements: one, sampled drums based on Teenage Engineering’s excellent-sounding Pocket Operator. Two, synths based on some friendly abuse of the wavetable sound — because, as he puts it, wavetable synthesis “kind of sounds a bit gritty” if you push the parameters.

And that’s basically perfect for making some dirty sounds. In fact, if I have any complaint about the Circuit, it is that its internal sound bank is too vanilla. I don’t blame Focusrite/Novation; you’re meant to make your gear sound good. But then it’s up to the rest of us to make it sound bad, which is better.

The Teenage Engineering sounds, for their part, benefit from not being locked inside that inscrutable Nintendo interface, love it as we do.

Here, you can watch the ever-charming Cuckoo with his epic beard and hair as he walks you through what he’s done:

If I rambled on like this, no one would watch, but… he’s sort of mesmerizing.

And, for absolutely no reason at all, it goes on for 89 minutes, rivaling ambient Enterprise-D engine noise for “nerdy things from YouTube you might leave on in the background as you fall asleep.”

Anyway – the pack. Thanks, Cuckoo. Total win.


And for anyone wondering: no, Focusrite/Novation are not flying me over to the UK regularly to ply me with curries and ales. (Curry my favor, so to speak.) Rather, the Circuit has found its way into my rig at home and abroad, and more importantly, everyone I know who owns one is finding themselves blissfully happy with it, meaning I’m thus obligated to keep talking about it in this way. See above regarding love and happiness. But… actually, Focusrite/Novation, you are welcome to violate ethics and do that, as it sounds a good idea. I promise not to spill vindaloo on my Circuit.

The post Get a bunch of drum and wavetable sounds for Novation Circuit appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.