How to make dirty sounds, in videos, with Novation Circuit Mono Station

Remember when we were sold on everything being clean and digital? Now it’s just about grime and filth. But if you were wondering where to start with Novation’s cute, dirty Circuit Mono Station, they’ve got a series of hands-on videos to get you going.

Some back story: the Mono Station is the follow up to the first Circuit. Like the original, it’s a square-ish looking box with a colored grid as its center. But whereas the original Circuit concealed a digital polysynth and drum machine (with the ability to load your own samples), the Mono Station is all about analog synthesis. That means it also has additional controls, and unlike the mysterious macro encoders on the first Circuit, the Mono Station’s knobs and faders and bits actually have labels. So you can read a label with words on it, and you know, maybe have a better idea what you’re doing. Or you can just ignore that and give it a try anyway.

The “How to filth” series runs through a set of fairly practical ideas to get you going.

It’s really rather a nice way to get a manual. There’s no lengthy explanation, no theory – and no sitting through a really long tutorial. Just watch a few steps, and then see if you can copy more or less what they’ve done. That should help you dive straight in. And if you’re on the fence about the Circuit Mono Station, this gives you some stuff to go try if you’re borrowing a friend’s hardware or going to the shops.

Here’s the full series:

This is a great one for summer, too, as Circuit and Circuit Mono Station are nicely portable.

What do you think? Is this sort of thing useful to you? Would you want to see more / something different? Let us know; it’s great to get feedback from readers on what’s making you musically productive. And if you make some tunes with us, send us those, too!

Here’s our story on the instrument, at launch. Some time later, it’s still holding up at that price point – and it’s not a clone or throwback, either, but a totally new instrument, designed by some nice people in England. (I know – I’ve met them! And they’re musicians, as well, of course!)

Novation Circuit Mono Station: paraphonic, feature packed, $499

The post How to make dirty sounds, in videos, with Novation Circuit Mono Station appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

SSA Plugins updates a1Panner free Ambisonic encoder to v1.0.1

SSA Plugins a1PannerSSA Plugins has released version 1.0.1 of a1Panner, a free first-order Ambisonics panner/encoder that outputs YouTube compatible AmbiX (SN3D/ACN) format Ambisonics. Previously titled o1Panner, the updated version is now available in additional formats, including AU on Mac. Use it to encode mono or stereo tracks to first-order Ambisonics using a no-frills interface. Note that Ambisonics […]

Make Noise are turning a classic 1972 synthesis book into a video series

Even as modular synths make a comeback, the definitive work on the topic languishes out of print since its 1972 publication. But now, one synth maker is translating its ideas to video.

The folks at Make Noise, who have been one of the key makers behind Eurorack’s growth (and a leader in on the American side of the pond), have gone all the way back to 1972 to find a reference to the fundamentals behind modular synthesis.

“Where do I find a textbook on modular synthesis?” isn’t an easy question to answer. A lot of understanding modular comes from a weird combination of received knowledge, hearsay, various example patches (some of them also dating back to the 60s and 70s), and bits and pieces scattered around print and online.

But Allen Strange’s Electronic Music: Systems, techniques, and controls covers actual theory. It treats the notions of modular synthesis as a fundamental set of skills. It’s just now out of print, and a used copy could cost you $200-300 because of automated online pricing (whether anyone would actually pay that).

So it’s great to see Make Noise take this on – if nothing else, as a way to frame teaching their own modules.

And… uh, you might find a PDF of the original text. (I think most people read my own book in pirated form, especially in its Russian and Polish translations – seriously – so I’m looking at this myself as a writer and sometimes educator and pondering what the best way is to teach modular in 2018.)

I’m definitely watching and subscribing to this one, though – and this first video gives me an idea… excuse me, time to load up Pd, Reaktor, and VCV Rack again!

Allen Strange wrote the book on modular synthesizers in the 1970s. Electronic Music: Systems, Techniques, and Controls. Unfortunately since the expanded 1982 edition, it has never been reprinted, and in today’s landscape where more people have access to modular synths than ever before, very few have access to the knowledge contained within. This video series will explore patches both basic and advanced from Strange’s text. Even the simplest patches here yield kernels of knowledge that can be expanded upon in infinite ways. I have been heavily influenced by Strange since long before I became a modular synth educator. Please share this knowledge far and wide. The first video in the series covers one basic and one slightly less basic patch using envelopes.

http://www.makenoisemusic.com

The post Make Noise are turning a classic 1972 synthesis book into a video series appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

NUGEN Audio updates MasterCheck Pro loudness, dynamics & codec toolset to v1.5

NUGEN Audio MasterCheck Pro 1.4NUGEN Audio has released version 1.5 of its MasterCheck Pro loudness, dynamics, and codec toolset. The update comes with enhancements embracing support for the Apple AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) iTunes Plus native OS X codec and also the PSR (Peak to Short-Term Loudness Ratio) measurement update to AES Engineering Brief 373. “I have to deliver […]

Maschine with audio arrives; here’s how to get the most of it

Maschine’s Audio module has arrived, with looping and time stretching. And that makes the perfect time to look at some new ways of playing Maschine.

Maschine has had a year full of growth – new features, new ways of working from the community. As of Friday (well, after some glitches with the update server), that also includes an update that delivers a feature Maschine users have been asking about the longest: pitch-independent time stretching and looping.

The bad news is, this isn’t integrated with Maschine’s existing Sampler module. The good news, perhaps, is that this means the new module is focused on its own set of functionality, and won’t disrupt what’s already there. (I’m going to play around with it a while longer to reach my own conclusions on how I feel about this decision, but it certainly does keep each module cleaner and simpler.)

I’ve seen a lot of people posting the sentiment lately that music making isn’t just about updating to the latest-and-greatest — and I certainly agree with that, that’s fair. But some updates do come from real user needs and remove technological barriers to things you want to do.

On the human side of the equation, of course, you’ve got all the ways people pick up an instrument and make it their own. And the Maschine community this year has been astounding – all the reviewers, users, experts, trainers, and yes even the Maschine team themselves.

So, for starters, here’s a great demonstration of how that Audio Module works:

(Ha, that musical example is a bit wacky, but… you can of course apply this to whatever music or genre you want; I’ve done some really experimental stuff on Maschine that I suspect no one would guess was that tool)

From the same creator (“loopop”), here’s a unique take on how to use Maschine Jam, the clip launching grid + touch fader hardware for Maschine, alongside the traditional Maschine hardware. He takes on Jam as a “virtual conductor,” a mixer for different parts, and even an easy way to strum instruments. It’s a reminder that it’s best to think of Maschine as a live interface, not something specific to a particular genre. And the result is something different than what I’ve seen from other interfaces (like Abletoh Push), demonstrating how many different directions live interfaces for computers can go.

Maschine has also worked well as a hub for other instruments – hardware and software alike. It can be a trigger for snapshots in Reaktor, as we saw in our run-down of Belief Defect. (I’m reprogramming my own Reaktor-based setup, so I’ll do a more complete tutorial soon.)

And you can use snapshots and morphing with hardware, as loopop shows in this video. This was initially a Jam feature, but it has extended to other hardware controller.

(I just played right before Grebenstein Friday night, and he was using a Maschine MK1 alongside the Vermona as his live rig, so more possibilities with this setup. It blew me away; it was really tight.)

This next example is worth another story on itself – I’m a huge fan of Reactable’s recent, overlooked apps for sequencing and drum pattern creation. The latter, SNAP, has integration with Maschine Jam. The upshot: instead of repeating the same old loop over and over and over and now I’m bored, you can work in a fluid, live way to create more human, varying patterns. Watch – the Jam stuff kicks in part of the way through:

Stepping outside of one genre can often help you to better understand techniques and musicality. So here’s DDS with a great series on Maschine from the perspective of a hip-hop producer. (If you make hip hop-influenced music, that’s already relevant – but even if not, listen to the producers of the genre that gave you so much of how we think about this hardware in the first place!)

Finally, worth a read:

BEHIND THE SCENES: V.I.V.E.K ON WORKFLOWS WITH MASCHINE

If you have more tips / tutorials or videos to share, send them in and I’ll update the article here.

And in the interest of fairness, we’ll have a bit more on the Akai side of the equation shortly, too; it’s also been a good year for the rival MPC.

More soon.

The post Maschine with audio arrives; here’s how to get the most of it appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

What happens when you make a 100-oscillator synth?

Look Mum No Computer has been at it again – building his own 100-oscillator synth, bestrewn in knobs and lights, just because he can.

Mental:

There are actually two plotlines here, which you might miss in the video, hyperactive as it is.

First, there was the initial trip down into the basement of Ghostix Labors, a one-man circuit bending / sound circuit building shop. It seems his studio is – seriously – “in the dark caves under the old castle” in Schwerin, Germany (near Hamburg). I think “don’t be afraid of the bats” isn’t actually a joke.

So, Ghost Labors had a lot of 555 chips to unload, and then… actually, nothing happened to those chips, not yet.

But an idea was born, and Mr. No Computer returned to build a massive experiment in over-engineering.

It’s not just 100 oscillators, but 100 voices – each oscillator gets its own filter. And in case that’s not enough, there’s a routable LFO. The blinky lights visualizing the behavior of the oscillator, too, in that it’s all one circuit, so it’s both showy and meaningful.

And you get a lot of knobs. And it sounds a lot like things like the Swarmatron, so I suppose we’ve learned that more oscillators really is better.

The post What happens when you make a 100-oscillator synth? appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Genelec unveils “USA Learning Channel” YouTube Portal

Genelec Learning Channel USAGenelec has announced the Genelec USA Learning Channel, a new YouTube portal which will be updated frequently with new content ranging from production tips and tricks to interviews with industry pros and beyond. Genelec Inc. Territory Managers Paul Stewart and John Whitcore serve as the hosts for this entertaining new information channel. Whitcore states, “Paul […]

These guys reacting to Maschine MK3 is kind of hilarious

Choose your wardrobe carefully before you shoot, or be skewered by YouTube uploaders. But these producers have some points about the new Maschine, too.

YouTube videos are proliferating and – some of them are pretty strange. Maschine MK3 units are barely reaching artists and reviewers, and there’s an embargo on official press reviews until next week. But that isn’t stopping passionate YouTube users from uploading videos that just run webcam commentary over top of the official videos and promo shots from Native Instruments. (Not every product launch prompts this sort of reaction – it’s clear Maschine is a big deal to beat producers, and that NI has stolen some of that thunder from Akai and the MPC, even with recent standalone hardware competition.)

But, wait a minute… live video commentary over top of a video? This seems to set up some Mystery Science Theater 3000 / Beavis and Butthead commentary potential.

Well, UnQuantized Podcast, via Instagram livestream with SoundOracle and Triza, gets that vibe.

Oddly, the most irreverent commentary may also be one of the best informed – SoundOracle programs sounds for Timbaland and Polow Da Don; Triza is a producer for Chris Brown, Justin Bieber, Rico Love, and Sean Kingston.

So, sure enough, I think they’re spot on with some of their comments. I don’t agree entirely about some of the criticisms of playability (though I’ve had at least a few minutes hands-on with the new hardware, which they haven’t yet). But they have some great points about layout and functionality, design and usability.

And – wait for it. At 1:37, their first comment is exactly right. Maschine MK3’s high-resolution color displays are in fact the same ones found on Maschine Studio. That’s not a bad thing, as those screens are great, and now you get all of that workflow and those displays condensed onto more portable hardware, with audio. (That said, I think if you’ve got a Studio, you should enjoy it – it’s still great hardware, even if I’d definitely choose the MK3 were I buying now.)

Of course, while I should be focused on the hardware and their production chops I’m… now also cracking up about them picking on the product specialist’s shirt. (Mean, but… funny.)

Given I may have some video appearances soon, I’m going to be careful not to look like a green-suited “lumberjack with the hat to match.” Though… heh, I have a sense of humor. Troll away.

Nice to “meet” these guys, though – skip the punters, going to subscribe to this one.

(What would you want in a video? Let us know in comments.)

The post These guys reacting to Maschine MK3 is kind of hilarious appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

NUGEN Audio updates MasterCheck Pro with FLAC & Opus encoding

NUGEN Audio MasterCheck Pro 1.4NUGEN Audio has launched version 1.4 of its MasterCheck Pro plugin for optimizing your mixes for today’s music delivery services. The update adds FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) and Opus encoding to the indispensable, award-winning loudness, dynamics, and codec toolset. The term codec is an acronym for coder/decoder. Music streaming services such as Apple Music® […]

Here are some of our favorite MeeBlip triode synth jams

We say “play” music for a reason – synths are meant to be fun. So here are our favorite live jams from the MeeBlip community, with our triode synth.

And, of course, whether you’re a beginner or more advanced, this can give you some inspiration for how to set up a live rig – or give you some idea of what triode sounds like if you don’t know already. We picked just a few of our favorites, but if we missed you, let us know! (audio or video welcome!)

First, Olivier Ozoux has churned out some amazing jam sessions with the triode, from unboxing to studio. (He also disassembled our fully-assembled unit to show the innards.)

The amazing Gustavo Bravetti is always full of virtuosity playing live; here, that distinctive triode sound cuts through a table full of gear. Details:

Again ARTURIA’s Beat Step Pro in charge of randomness (accessory percussions and subtle TB303). Practically all sounds generated on the black boxes, thanks Elektron, and at last but no least MeeBlip’s [triode] as supporting melody synth. Advanced controls from Push and Launch Control using Performer , made with Max by Cycling ’74.

Here’s a triode with the Elektron Octatrack as sequencer, plus a Moog Minitaur and Elektron Analog RYTM. That user also walks through the wavetable sounds packed into the triode for extra sonic variety.

Novation’s Circuit and MeeBlip triode pair for an incredible, low power, low cost, ultra-portable, all-in-one rig. We get not one but two examples of that combo, thanks to Pete Mitchell Music and Ken Shorley. It’s like peanut butter and chocolate:

One nice thing about triode is, that sub oscillator can fatten up and round out the one oscillator of a 303. We teamed up with Roland’s Nick de Friez when the lovely little TB-03 came out to show how these two can work together. Just output the distinctive 303-style sequencer to triode’s MIDI in, and have some fun:

Here’s triode as the heart of a rig with KORG’s volca series (percussion) and Roland’s TB-03 (acid bass) – adding some extra bottom. Thank you, Steven Archer, for your hopeful machines:

Get yours:
http://meeblip.com

The post Here are some of our favorite MeeBlip triode synth jams appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.