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So, how to use a synth! First up, let’s take a look at the video, and see below for a special, time limited discount offer!
How to use a Synth: Oscillators
Synths come in many shapes, sizes, and forms, but if you want to learn how to use a synth the best place is a subtractive one. Subtractive synths are so called because the oscillators generate (or, at least, are capable of generating) richly harmonic waveforms that are then chipped away at by filters and envelopes. In other words, the end result is gotten by subtracting from the initially generated sound. Pretty simple, right? It’s therefore very important to understand the oscillator section of a synth – there’s no polishing of turds or lipstick on pigs that can be done to a sound if the basic ingredients are wrong. The video goes through all the important parameters of a synth’s oscillator section, so that you can learn how to use a synth quickly and without being scared of what anything does.
Steps of the chromatic scale are represented on the semitone control, allowing the oscillator to play a pitch either the same as or other than the note you press on your keyboard. This is handy for creating pseudo-chords and intervals, such as what’s called a ‘fifth’ – the fifth harmonic of a scale played over the root note (the fifth harmonic is seven semitones up from the root).
Oscillators tend to be locked to 440Hz tuning, making them perfectly in tune with the rest of your instruments. In the case that your synth isn’t working quite in tune you can alter this, but it can also be used for creative purposes such as creating phasing between oscillators (see below) or intentionally giving an unstable sound to the oscillator.
The different types of wave that an oscillator can kick out really affects its sound, and it’s all down to how many and what order of harmonics there are over a basic sine wave. The more harmonics there are in the wave, the more sound content is generated to be played with. Different synths allow different wave shapes, from sine wave, square wave, saw tooth wave, triangle wave, or any combination of them.
In order to make sure that oscillators ‘stick together’ when they’re playing, it’s important to turn sync on. This ensures that in as far as is possible, the waveforms are aligned. Of course, we can also turn sync off for creative purposes.
When multiple oscillators play together, the waveforms they generate interact. Altering the phase of an oscillator changes the point where it starts its oscillation journey, and changes the interaction between waves. This makes some parts of the combined wave louder and others quieter than they would be if they were perfectly aligned (as perfectly in phase waves are only louder, and a 180 degree phase change will cancel out sound to make the waves silent).
Some synths allow you to play with a square wave to make it rectangular – and changing the width of the square pulse will change its tone as it adds more zero amplitude time into the oscillation.
Noise, usually white noise but occasionally a synth will allow other types of noise such as pink or brown, is random and essentially all frequencies happening at once. A touch of noise can add thickness to a synth, and make the use of filters much more pronounced.
LFO – the silent oscillator
LFO, or low frequency oscillator, doesn’t generate any sound. It’s a special type of oscillator that oscillates at a very low frequency – ie, slowly – and the data it sends out is used to automate parameters. One of the more popular of those is a low pass filter, which as it is turned up and down by the LFO oscillating gives that ‘wub wub’ sound. It’s entirely understandable that because this, the perennial dubstep bass sound, is achieved with an LFO, and that ‘low frequency’ sounds like it means ‘bass’, many think that LFOs create bass sounds. This isn’t the case, as you hopefully now understand.
Ready to learn more?
The video in this post is just a small section from OD Total Music Production, a huge video course that takes you through absolutely everything you need to make music – from how to use a synth to how to use a sampler, how to use effects, how to mix and master your music, how a DAW works, and more. We use a specially curated list of software that you can get your hands on for free and follow along with, and leave no stone unturned when it comes to giving you the knowledge and inspiration to create and produce electronic music. What’s more there’s a time limited offer on for 40% off Total Music Production for a limited time, so head over, check out what else is on offer, and sign up today before you miss out!Find out more and sign up to OD Total Music Production here!
The post How to use a Synth – the Ultimate Guide to Oscillators appeared first on Oh Drat.
Due to incredible demand, OD Total Music Production, the best electronic music tutorials online, are back – and for a limited time they’re on sale at 40% off – so you can get the whole 12 hour package for $77 instead of the usual $129!
Click here to head over to OD Total Music Production NOW to take advantage of this offer while it’s still on!
The post Sale Now On: 40% off OD Total Music Production Electronic Music Tutorials! appeared first on Oh Drat.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have an announcement to make.
I?ve taken a new job, a job that will take all of my time and, even if it didn?t, would clash somewhat with the impartial nature of OD. It?s a terrific opportunity that I am quivering with excitement about, but it?s with a not insignificant pang of sadness that this post is about announcing the (more or less) immediate ceasing of operations at Oh Drat.
Honouring our commitment to our customers is my highest priority, and I want to ensure that nobody feels short changed. With immediate effect, OD Total Music Production is no longer for sale. Technical support for existing customers will continue for a further 60 days, and the membership site will stay online at least until the eventual closure of OD in March 2014.
I am looking into ways to archive our best content following the closure of ohdratdigital.com, and I currently don?t have any plans to remove the videos from the OD YouTube channel. However in March 2014, it?s likely that ohdratdigital.com will no longer be on the internet.
I have had an amazing few years of constantly moulding and reshaping OD into something that I?m proud of and you guys can find useful, and without everyones? support I?d never have kept it up. Special thanks go to James ?Rhapz? Kelly for all his support, and a massive salute goes out to all the manufacturers, developers, distributors, PR companies, and everyone else who has helped and cooperated with us over the years. Of course it?s you guys – the ones reading this now, sending wonderful emails, leaving comments on our YouTube videos, sharing our content on Facebook and Twitter, and just generally being awesome – that are really the stars of the show, and I wish that I could meet with and shake every one of your hands.
Reloop are better known for their products in the DJ world – in fact they?ve gone from being a smalltime OEM re-brander to one of the big players in original IP in the past few years – and it looks like they?ve decided to make a foray into the music production and pro audio world. I?ve had the Reloop SHP-1 studio headphones in for a test drive to see whether Reloop can cut it in the more subtle world of pro audio.
Reloop SHP-1 Review: Specs
- Frequency range: 10 Hz – 26 kHz
- Impedance: 64 ohm
- THD: <0,2%
- Acoustic pressure: 100 dB
- Plug: 3.5 mm stereo jack
- Adaptor: 6,3 mm stereo jack
- Weight: appr. 279 g
- Price: £149/$249
The Reloop SHP-1 is priced up there with premium headphones, and 100% of the asking price is based on the cans themselves. Inside the box is a pair of headphones, a cable, and a 3.5mm to 1/4? adapter. It would have been nice to see a carry bag in there as many other manufacturers include them, but realistically it?s nothing major. Made of a soft, porous rubbery plastic, faux leather ear pads and a 1980s car seat fabric headband, the shiny Reloop logo on the outside of each cup doesn?t rescue the SHP-1 from feeling a bit cheap.
As you?ll notice in the photos, the porous nature of the matt material is basically impossible to keep ?clean? looking, and the construction of the headphones is really nothing to crow about – although one thing we can?t test in the time we have to do in a review is longevity, a quality that can be quite deceptive. The SHP-1 might not win any design awards, but it doesn?t feel like it?s going to fall apart. Of course, it?s not how studio equipment looks but how it sounds that matters, but the Reloop SHP-1 doesn?t do itself many favours aesthetically – it looks like budget gear that uses the style, but not the materials, that a premium construction alternative might. If you?re looking for a pair of headphones that can moonlight as DJ gear monitors look elsewhere, because (not that they?re designed to, you understand) these feel unlikely to withstand the rigours of frequent abuse in a club environment.
Put the SHP-1 on and things take a definite turn for the better though – they?re very comfortable. The large, circum-aural ear pads easily cover my ears and the padding and flex in the headband is just right, making for a pretty weightless feel on your bonce even for long periods. I?ve used quite a lot of headphones that employ a single cable connection from one cup to drive audio lately, and very nearly garrotted myself on multiple occasions when removing the SHP-1 and its connected to each ear cable, but this is just a preference thing and Reloop gets brownie points for making the cable replaceable – with standard connectors, no less. In fact I?m informed that more or less everything in the Reloop SHP-1 is replaceable; ear cups and cable are easily switched by the end user and should they need a repair Reloop can get their hands on the innards, which is definitely a good look for £150 headphones.
So they?re a bit tacky looking but very comfortable; the most (or perhaps only?) important question, though, is how do the Reloop SHP-1s sound? My worries that there?d be a ?DJ/producer? sound to the SHP-1 proved completely unfounded as the sound that greeted my ears was, on first listen, flat as a pancake – a good thing.
Because of the closed back design I was pleasantly surprised to find that bass is very faithful, and sits beneath everything without pushing its way to the front – and sub bass digs deep, alerting you to the fact it?s there without colouring anything else. The same goes for the rest of the frequency range, and there?s a welcome, natural sound to separation – a quality that tends to start to be seen in this class of larger headphone. If anything it appears there?s a bit of a ?hump? in the upper mids region where snares snap and vocals crisp out, but it?s actually quite hard to say whether this is simply because this is an all too easy area for engineers (home studio ones, especially) to boost too harshly for presence. My go-to collection I regularly use for testing (a melee of tracks including amongst others joints from D?Angelo?s Voodoo, Anthony Hamilton?s Coming From Where I?m From, Common?s Like Water For Chocolate, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, a few guilty pleasures I won?t mention and Kanye West?s All of the Lights – the last one in the vain attempt to find a listening device that can possibly hope to explain how the engineer working on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy could have made things sound so bad and not realise) all sounded completely as expected, as did mixes I did myself and tried on reference systems.
For their price I feel I need to be picky, and despite saying there?s a nice, natural sense of space and separation – there is – it?s not up there with the best in class headphones I?ve tested at this price. It?s not until you start to drive the SHP-1 quite hard that you really get the best from them, and even then they just lack that glistening, ?everything?s apart, but everything?s together? quality that lets you know you?re listening to something great. The stereo field is almost too wide as well, a wideness probably due in part to how far each driver sits from your ear due to the thickness of the padding around the cups.
With the SHP-1 being brand new, I?m sure street price will settle over the coming months. Right now I?d be a little hesitant to wholeheartedly recommend them at £150, but for Reloop?s first real venture into music production gear the SHP-1 is impressive, and certainly worth keeping if they?re added to deals or packs. As always with monitors, be they headphone or loudspeaker, your mileage may vary and you should test them yourself if you can – you might disagree with me and think the Reloop SHP-1 is perfect.
OD is no stranger to Heavyocity?s work. We?ve reviewed both Evolve and Damage very favourably in the past, and the main thing we?ve taken from them is the impeccable quality of the sounds that Heavyocity are capable of.
Similarly to past efforts, Aeon is a Kontakt Player library (Kontakt not required) split into two main banks – instruments and loops – and then split further within them. Again true to form, Heavyocity have harnessed the power of Kontakt?s effects and scripting engine to open up creative possibilities within the library – Aeon builds on Heavyocity?s existing concepts and represents their most complex work to date. Let?s take a look…
Heavyocity Aeon Review: Information
Price: $399 (also available separately: Melodic $299 and Rhythmic $199)
Format: Kontakt 5 Player
Size: 14GB (around 27GB, compressed losslessly)
The size of an instrument library is sometimes overstated, I think. Too often you?ll be told how many patches or samples you?re about to buy – or how much space they?ll take up on your hard drive – but I could record a thousand samples of me spending five minutes scraping a mic across a radiator in 192/32 and it probably wouldn?t sell much. The beauty of Aeon is that the size of the library is directly related to how much time?s obviously gone into it. Just because 27GB is about two thirds of what Native Instruments supply with their Kontakt 5 library – a library that has an entire world of sonic variety from acoustic to electric to electronic instruments – doesn?t mean you?re going to get two thirds of the variety of sounds. What you get with Aeon Melodic is a medium sized collection of meticulously multi sampled sounds, sometimes up to six round robin samples on a key. The difference between the samples is very subtle, but anyone who has ever bemoaned the inorganic nature of sampler instruments will be appeased and then some.
Heavyocity?s methods afford some absolutely killer synth patches. Painstakingly multisampled – velocity, pitch, and round robin – modular analog synths give hold to polyphonic patches that are pretty stunning in their sound. If you are of the opinion that a soft synth is the ultimate in flexibility and any sound difference between it and a hardware, especially analogue synth, is negligible then you might be underwhelmed – until you listen – because sampled synth patches is a large portion of Aeon?s game. It?s that last few percent of realness and quality that Heavyocity are focusing on here, and they do it well.
Don?t expect many ?basic? sounds from Aeon Melodic. Don?t expect many dry ones either. You will find piano, hammond organ, rhodes, guitars, strings, and so on, but this isn?t a library to buy for dry sounds. Strip the patches of their effects and modulations and sometimes you?ll get to brass tacks and an ?in the room? sound, but to do that you?d be taking the salad out of the sandwich.
Aeon Melodic is where the meat of Aeon lies when it comes to ?instruments?, but Rhythmic is a separate bank that contains around 300 loops for you to get straight down to business. Don?t expect drums and percussion from Rhythmic – these are rhythmic (clue?s in the title), largely staccato instrument loops of the same ilk as the sound of Aeon Melodic. You can approach the loops in three ways: load one of five suites (nine if you count duplicates grouped by timbre) with each key in the patch triggering a loop, load an individual loop and rearrange each sliced hit, or load a trio of loops from a list curated to be particularly harmonious with each loop having an octave of pitch.
One of the advantages to building a library in Native Instruments? Kontakt Player is the terrific suite of effects that you can harness. It might be the sample source, recording method, and treatment of sounds that make Aeon?s bare samples sound good, but its the way Heavyocity have tapped into Kontakt?s myriad effects – from filters to bit crushers to saturators, reverbs, delays and more – that allow you to transform those samples and make your copy of Aeon sound different to your neighbour?s. Effects are sensibly laid out and you?re never overloaded with options, so dialling things in is simple – and everything?s key switchable via the top end of the keyboard.
The Twist dial that?s found in Aeon is a ?big knob? that controls an LFO modulated tone control, and the other big one, Punish, adds saturation and compression. The difference they can make to a patch?s general feel is tremendous, and I?d posit that Heavyocity chose these two controls to be the big, central ones in patches so that you gravitate towards them to get a different sound before worrying about individually dialing in effects (and if you?re anything like me, getting lost in weird and wonderful sounds and never creating anything). It?s a definite, positive choice for UI, and it works.
Step Sequencer and Arpeggiator
Aeon uses step sequencers to add automated modulation potential for the effects in their patches. This is a great way to add some extra interest to sounds, and with each effect having its own sequencers for two different parameters (for instance, cutoff and resonance in the filter) creating something that has a life of its own is a cake walk. There is a shortcoming, though, and that?s that the sequencer is always running, and whilst tempo synced it doesn?t restart when your sequencer does… unless you assign a MIDI CC message to the on/off button of the sequencer and send it with your phrase.
In addition to the modulation step sequencers there?s a bank of arpeggiator patches in Aeon, and the arp that Heavyocity have squeezed into the Kontakt Player is very powerful. As well as cycling notes in chords in various ways, as you?d expect, you can also program in steps of pitch, velocity, and length and have them run with the arpeggiator, monophonically or in chords as pressed. Presets for major and minor scales ensure you stay in key during an improvisation session, and you can chain up to eight patterns together to build pretty much an entire track simply by holding down a few keys. It would have been nice to be able to control which pattern is currently playing via a key – that would really explode the live and improvisation capabilities of Aeon.
In Aeon Rhythmic, the arpeggiator is called the Loop Mutator – trademarked, no less – and it works in a similar way except instead of pitch, you select deviations from the slice reference. For instance, a sequence with 0, +1, -1 will play slices 5, 6, 4 if you hold slice 5, and 7, 8, 6 if you hold slice 7. Chords and so on still work, and the Loop Mutator thus massively adds to the value of the loops in Aeon Rhythmic. They might just be loops if you use the audio as is, but in no time at all you can mutate them into something completely different that simply uses the original as a launching point.
I?ve touched on this in previous reviews of Heavyocity libraries, but it?s more the case than ever here in Aeon: some of the sounds are so ?ready? that if part of your creative process hinges on spending a good chunk of time running cables (virtual or otherwise) out of a sound source and through a bunch of technical and creative effects to massage your sound into existence you might feel a bit out of a job! When the end result is the only thing you?re focusing on, Aeon might just be your saviour; pressing just a single key will often be so dynamic, evolving, and fill so much of the sound stage that you can pretty much record a MIDI note and call things quits. This is especially the case with the Hits section of the library, which I think is definitely the weakest area of Aeon. It?s comprised of vaguely tonal drones and atmospheres, and whilst perfect for composers scoring video work with foreboding acoustics it feels a bit… soulless. If process is half of what makes music production cathartic for you, you might feel like you?re ?cheating?. I?m not even sure where I?m going with this to be honest – making sounding great easy shouldn?t be a negative point in a review!
Aeon won?t be absolutely everyone?s cup of tea, and it is definitely priced towards the professional end of the market. There?s a possibility that you won?t ?get? the price, but it?s (presumably) there because of the excellent attention to detail and the ready to use nature of the sounds. I?ve not heard anything better for the sounds that Aeon makes – certainly not as an all in one – and I?m looking forward to sitting down and writing with it soon – there are albums worth of sounds and inspiration here and your copy won?t sound like anyone else?s.Head to Heavyocity to get Aeon!
Timed just about perfectly to coincide with the release of Propellerhead’s Reason 7, Nektar’s Panorama P1 is a little less black and white, but the gear lust factor may be clearer than ever…
Yep – I’m back on the pun wagon. The Nektar Panorama P1 is a keyboard-less version of the Panorama Reason/Cubase/Nuendo control surface that’s so far spawned the 49 key P4 and 61 key P6 that we first saw at NAMM, and it looks splendid. Aside from the omission of keyboard, pads, and motorised fader, the Nektar Panorama P1 is just as capable of controlling Reason, Cubase, or Nuendo, and I know this makes it the piece of kit that many of you that already have a keyboard/pad controller of choice have been waiting for.
Nektar Panorama P1
Some quick specs:
- 16 encoders
- 9 45mm faders
- 10 assignable LED buttons
- 11 dedicated transport buttons
- 20 preset locations store all settings
- Foot switch (sustain) 1/4″ jack input (pedal not included)
- USB port for communication with computer
- 6 dedicated assignable navigation buttons
- ASCII/QWERTY macros assignable to buttons and pads
- 3.5? high-resolution TFT display
- 4 modes when used with Cubase, Nuendo or Reason switch between Mixer, Instrument, Transport and Internal
- Presets and setup files for major DAW’s and VIs
RRP: $349.99/Euro 289.99/GBP 244.99
Available imminently, the price is already advertised as a little lower than above on some retailers’ sites, and the £220ish that seems to be the price you’ll be able to take one home for should mean there’s space for it in front of many users’ laptops – leaving you to choose a keyboard/pad controller based on core functionality rather than how many functions it can cram into the box.
I’m a big fan of the heads down workflow (for all the amazing features, bells, and whistles of computer based music production, every now and then I still consider paring everything back and using only an MPC 2500 during the creative process) and thus we’ve always been interested in the Nektar Panorama P1 at OD. Hopefully one will find its way into the studio for some testing soon – until then, let us know what you think below and check out the Nektar product page here!
This free PC and Mac compatible Tube Guitar Preamp VST/AU effect from Nick Crow Labs can create some gorgeous subtle distortion sounds whilst keeping it easy to control hard overdrive sounds. Did we mention it was free?!
Wagner Sharp: Free Tube Guitar Preamp VST and AU
Available in 32 and 64 bit flavours for Windows VST and both Mac VST and AU, and featuring automatic stereo/mono switching and upto 64x oversampling, Wagner Sharp is a really nifty plugin indeed. It’s not the prettiest plugin in the world, but as you’ll see above all its controls are laid out in a logical manner – and it’s really the sound that counts, right?!
Wagner Sharp is a free direct download from Nick Crow Lab – click the link, where you’ll also find a donation page…Get Wagner Sharp, free Tube Guitar Preamp VST and AU!
Germany’s Beat Magazine comes through with the goods once again – get a completely free synth for Windows and Mac now!
We’re no strangers to the generosity of Beat Magazine, and neither are we to XILS-Lab. We reviewed XILS Oxium last year and I was very impressed by the sound of the synth, so it’s great to see this freeware for you to expand your sound design arsenal.
XILS 3 Beat Edition: Free Synth
Three oscillators, effects, and a supremely configurable modulation matrix add up to make XILS 3 BE extremely powerful, and its left field interface makes the learning curve just steep enough to stop you going through the same old motions as with every other synth you own – hopefully getting you to generate some interesting new sounds in the process!
Download is simple – simply hit the link below and make sure you Like the Beat Facebook page, then download! Serials are unique and generated just for you via instant registration after download. Oh, and if you haven’t liked the OD Facebook yet please do!Download XILS 3 BE here!
Ten smooth electric piano and synth construction kits for free – get the link inside!
Free Electric Piano samples: Cross Rhodes
Cringeworthy title aside, Cross Rhodes by Gorilla Loops is a silky collection of electric piano and synth loops – and as much as anything, the synth loops are a welcome addition to this construction kit pack. You might find it a very handy ‘guide’ in terms of chords, electric piano settings, and synth style… and you can chop the included royalty free sounds to your heart’s content too.
download is a simple enough affair – Gorilla Loops also provide commercial sample packs should they tickle your fancy, and Cross Rhodes is a free item in there store. Just add it to your cart, complete the checkout procedure, and you’ll be emailed a download link to the pack!Get Cross Rhodes here!
The post Free Electric Piano Construction Kits: Cross Rhodes appeared first on Oh Drat.
Back in the video saddle! It’s been a while…
OD Music Production Tutorials
Okay I admit it: It’s been waaay too long since the last OD video. This is my little warm up to get back into the swing of things, and I decided to answer the most common questions that pop up on our YouTube channel. Next up we’ll be getting back into some more music production tutorials, let me know what you fancy and you’ll find the links we talk about below!
(please bear with us while we fix broken images – a casualty of the redesign, I’m afraid!)
We reviewed FL Studio 10 a while back and, with a few reservations, really liked it. FL Studio 11 has some notable new features, some of which have been teased for a while with gradual implementation in FL Studio 10 and demo videos, some completely fresh…
FL Studio 11 New Features:
- Performance Mode trigger clips on the fly, with seamless integration with a variety of controllers
- Improved Controller Support with port linking between controllers and software to allow simpler hardware integration
- Multi Touch Support allowing core functions and some plugins to integrate with Windows Touch supported devices
- Sequencer Improvements including playlists doubled to 199, horizontal and vertical locking options when dragging in sequencer and piano roll, monophonic brush and chord strumming modes in piano roll, and mouse scroll controlled note velocity
- Workflow Enhancements with tweaks including right click data entry on controls, new shortcuts for faster plugin handling, and click and hold functions
- New Plugins including a kick drum synth, X/Y pad effects, key mapping for on-the-fly remixing, and a synth and effect channel lifted from Image Line’s Groove Machine
- Updated Plugins with improvements to the Newtone pitch and timing algorithms, Flowstone, a synth maker in the vein of Max/MSP or Reaktor, updates to the Harmor synth as well as tweaks to the visualisation plugin and multi timbral tools.
FL Studio 11 is available for now, with the Fruity edition at $99, the Producer edition at $199, and the Signature Bundle $299. Fruity edition doesn’t include much in the way of audio file sequencing, and Producer edition trims off some of the top end plugins… it’s still slightly too much choice in my humble opinion, but if you’re interested you can head on over for a look – we’ll look into a review soon!Check out FL Studio 11 at Image Line
Reason 7′s just around the corner and we’re gearing up for a review… in the meantime Propellerhead have posted up a look into some of the new audio editing capabilities of Reason 7…
We’ve had a preview of Reason 7 before back when it was announced, and this video shows that Reason 7′s audio quantising looks like it’s going to be one of the slickest solutions on the market (and that Propellerhead have a… quirky sense of humour!). It’ll be especially handy for those of you that record live instruments, and the bounce to rex option will be a blessing for sample chopping producers.
You can still buy Reason 6.5, and until the release of Reason 7 in a couple of weeks you’ll get a free Reason 7 upgrade if you do.Reason 7 at Propellerhead
Korg have just announced the Korg Volca synth series: three battery powered analogue synths with their own speakers, and I’m hearing $150 each which is a pretty sweet price…
Korg Volca Beats
- Analogue Drum machine
- Analogue Kick, Snare, Low/High Tom, and Open/Closed hats
- PCM samples for Agogo, Crash, and Clap
- 16 step sequencer with 10 parts and 8 patterns
- ‘Stutter’ effect that allows beat repeats
Korg Volca Keys
- 3 note polyphonic single oscillator analogue synth
- Polyphony can be used for unison, auto-fifths, octaves, and ring mod
- Delay effect
- Loop sequencer for live recording of phrases
- Self syncing VCOs
Korg Volca Bass
- Three oscillator monophonic analogue synth
- Square and Saw waves
- Single VCF, VCA, LFO, and Envelope Generator
- 16 step sequencer with 303-like ‘slide’ function
Connectivity is handled with MIDI in as well as a proprietary sync in/out that allows multiple Korg Volcas, as well as the Korg Monotribe, to connect up hassle free. Not only that, but Korg’s own SyncKontrol app can wirelessly interface with the Volcas to control tap tempo, swing, and sync with WIST enabled iOS apps. There’s a single 3.5mm headphone output to get the sound out of the synths and into your DAW (or whatever else you’re using to record) too.
All the Korg Volcas are fairly basic, but they each have some cool features that make them worth your interest – especially for the price: the Volca Beats is one of the only analogue drum machines I can think of that’s come out in recent history at the sub $150 mark, ditto for the polyphonic nature of the Volca Keys, and the three oscillator, ‘true’ analogue design of the Volca Bass right down to VCOs is similarly interesting (drift issues with VCOs have been dealt with by the self tuning mechanism).
One of my favourite analogue synths – perhaps not least because it’s one of the most affordable – is the Novation Bass Station. The Novation Bass Station 2 is now upon us, and it’s got my tastebuds tingling…
Novation Bass Station 2
The video above is very much a peacocking gesture by Novation to remind people of their impressive heritage, show off their current stable, and debut the Novation Bass Station 2 (it’s about 2:48 before the juicy Bass Station 2 shots make their appearance).
Considering there’s been a crop of analogue monosynths over the past 18 months or so (Moog Minitaur, Arturia Minibrute, Korg MS-20 Mini), a reworking of a classic seems like it could be a shrewd move.
There’s not a huuuuge amount that can be said about the specs of an analogue monosynth before you’ve played with it, really… is there? The Bass Station 2 is analogue through and through and it has an input that cuts into line after the oscillators and before the filter and effects so you can use its analogue filter for other things in your studio.
Key features over the original:
- USB MIDI
- Onboard arpeggiator and step sequencer
- Two filter modes – classic Bass Station and ‘acid’
- Dedicated sub oscillator
- Four waveforms on oscillator 1 and 2 – Sine and triangle waveforms join pulse and saw
- Overdrive and filter mod effects built in
- Aftertouch sensitive keys
Patch management was always better on the Bass Station Rack than the original Bass Station Keyboard, but the Novation Bass Station 2 features a 128 patch memory, with 64 of them presets. Being able to send and receive patches over USB – not to mention MIDI – will be a great way to tempt users over to dedicated sound hardware away from their software studios. There’s just one feature, as far as I can see, that the Novation Bass Station 2 lacks from its predecessor: MIDI/CV conversion. No price yet, but my guess is somewhere a little lower than £400 – and hopefully closer to the £290 mark, although I’d be pleasantly surprised. It’s got competition after all, including from its dad (with the help of eBay)!
Here’s a question: would audio over USB take the fun – or an important stage of the signal chain – out of an analogue synth for you, or would it just make it even easier for you to integrate it into your DAW setup? (how many of you can/do run the multiple audio interfaces that would make this a reality?)More at Novation
The Novation Launchpad is a pretty time honoured piece of production gear in 2013, with some solid years of providing a low cost, high functionality access point for producers who like to mix up live sequencing and pad based composition. In a seemingly small but by no means insignificant update, here’s the Novation Launchpad S…
Novation Launchpad S
Cosmetically, the Novation Launchpad S is more or less identical to the original Novation Launchpad – even down to the now outdated Ableton logo. The S in the title brings with it three key new features:
- Brighter LEDs
- Faster refreshing
- Class compliant MIDI
The most important thing for most of you will be the class compliant MIDI part; now that the Launchpad S is completely plug and play a whole world of new possibilities open up to to it – and iPad is the obvious contender here, especially with Novation’s own Launchpad iPad app.
You can read an insanely interesting post from one of the minds behind the Novation Launchpad S here; I love reading things by developers themselves!
(Is it just me or is it a little ironic that in order to demonstrate the brighter LEDs in the above video the lights get turned out, when fighting against ambient lights is the key advantage?!)Head to Novation’s Launchpad S page
There are some great free acoustic piano sampler patches available, but this free grand piano from XLN Audio might be the best…
Studio Grand Free is a free grand piano that runs in XLN’s Addictive Keys player, available standalone and in Mac VST and Windows VST. It has four full octaves, two shy either end at the full 88 keys in the commercial version, and has just three mic positions, half of the full version. Other than that, it’s an amazing sounding (and large at over 600MB!) free grand piano plugin!
Free Grand Piano – XLN Studio Grand Free
To get your hands on it, just register an account (no activation required) and download the XLN Online Installer. Upon running the installer you register your computer with your account and proceed to download the free software you want – in this case the free grand piano Studio Grand and Addictive Keys, the plugin that loads it.
Best of all, if you want the 88 key experience there’s an upgrade path from Studio Grand Free to the full version for only $49…Get Studio Grand Free Here!
Propellerhead have announced the release date of the recently Announced Reason 7: the 30th of April 2013. In this interesting piece of PR, they’ve decided to go with a Birmingham grime vet Preditah interview/beat walkthrough. Casting grime as dubstep’s ‘lesser known cousin’, as Propellerhead do, is probably right in many respects; it’s not just a smart move to pick an ‘authentic’ genre to align with, it’s cool to see too.
Avid, developers of Pro Tools and its assorted consumer and professional hardware accompaniments, has received a letter from the NASDAQ stock exchange warning it about its non compliance with their rules following its withholding of its previous accounting period…
This might be a little more about the numbers than many of you care to look into too much, and indeed we don’t seem to have that many Pro Tools fans here at OD anyway, but when I saw this at Synthtopia I thought it was interesting nonetheless. Avid has withheld its fourth quarter 2012 Form 10-K financial report:
On March 19, 2013, the Company filed a Form 12b-25 with the SEC stating that it was unable to file the Form 10-K with the SEC on or before March 18, 2013, the prescribed due date, because it is continuing to evaluate the accounting treatment related to bug fixes, upgrades and enhancements in certain of the Company’s customer arrangements (collectively, “Software Updates”). The primary focus of the Company’s evaluation to date has been to determine whether certain Software Updates previously thought to be only bug fixes met the definition of post-contract customer support under U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.
This puts Avid in breach of NASDAQ rules, and makes them eligible for removal from the exchange. Timescale wise, Avid has to present a plan of action to regain compliance by the 20th of May 2013; if NASDAQ accepts Avid’s plan then Avid expects to have until the 16th of September 2013 to file their report and get back into the good books. If not, NASDAQ’s decision is up for appeal.
A few important things to note:
- Avid isn’t simply Pro Tools. There’s a bunch more stuff over there.
- NASDAQ isn’t the only stock exchange, and this isn’t an immediate threat to Avid’s actual ability to trade publicly.
- In the short term, things will continue precisely as normal in terms of Avid shares being on NASDAQ.
It’s not really clear what this means for Avid long term, although they do say they have “no debt and ample cash”, so hopefully they have plans to make this a blip on the radar by this time next year. After what was undeniably a bumpy 2012 with a lot of structural and intellectual property changes to the company, and the declining stock value over the past six years or so that the image up top makes clear, one thing’s for sure: the possible implications are a little too much for my BA Business brain to ruminate on without quite a lot more thought, so I’ll pass over to anyone who’d like to comment below – are you an Avid customer?
As we’ve touched upon in OD Music Production 101 and at more length in OD Total Music Production, sound isn’t just a magic ‘thing’, it’s waves of energy that our brains make sense of when those waves vibrate the innards of our duffed up old ears.
Acoustic Levitation: Not Witchcraft
Here’s a smattering of science to explain what’s going on in the above video, which uses this principle in a pretty amazing way: acoustic levitation.
The acoustic levitator uses two small speakers to generate sound waves at frequencies slightly above the audible range ? roughly 22 kilohertz. When the top and bottom speakers are precisely aligned, they create two sets of sound waves that perfectly interfere with each other, setting up a phenomenon known as a standing wave.
At certain points along a standing wave, known as nodes, there is no net transfer of energy at all. Because the acoustic pressure from the sound waves is sufficient to cancel the effect of gravity, light objects are able to levitate when placed at the nodes.
Well, there you go. Simple. Some would have you believe that this principle is how the pyramids were made, although I’m a little skeptical; Funktion One sound systems haven’t been around quite that long. Or, wait, have they? Maybe the Egyptians did create pyramids with acoustic levitation, and there’s been a cover up surrounding the amazing speaker technology they used to create it!
…Or maybe I’ve been watching too much Sci-fi channel lately.More here!
The latest update to Propellerhead Software’s jewel in the crown is on its way; take a look at the new features!
Over the years, Reason has grown into a beast of a music production workstation. The core capabilities have been expanded into a full DAW, the mixer is a massive, hugely powerful clone of a SSL desk, and Rack Extensions have allowed third parties to bring their instruments and effects to Reason. The introduction of Rack Extensions has freed Propellerhead’s time up; with new instruments and effects being taken care of by third parties, Propellerhead have been able to dig into the heart of Reason and fill in most of the remaining gaps in the fundamentals of Reason’s workflow.
- Inline audio slicing. Reason 7 will allow recorded/imported audio to be sliced in the main timeline, which opens up all manner of potential. Quantising audio material, bouncing to rex files, even tighter timestretching and more will be possible in Reason 7!
- Bounce to REX. Finally! Rex files are truly handy little things, containing as they do both slice and timing information of an audio file. However, until now you’ve needed Propellerhead’s ReCycle to create them yourself. Reason 7 will allow you to export directly to Rex from the timeline, which will be a real boon for those of us that like to sample and chop up sounds from (for instance) vinyl.
- MIDI out. Another one for the ‘finally!’ header. Anyone with a studio with external equipment will rejoice at the announcement that Reason 7 is to feature MIDI out, allowing sequencing of your hardware studio from within Reason.
- Mixer workflow improvements. Single click parallel processing channel creation, super simple bus channel creation, and level and pan controls cloned onto devices themselves will make Reason 7 even simpler to mix on.
- Spectrum Analyser. Sometimes your ears need a bit of a hand, and a built in spectrum analyser with an overlaid graphic EQ will allow you to tweak even more effectively in Reason 7 – and it being in its own window should reduce the amount of darting between mixer and device views, especially combined with the aforementioned level and pan controls on devices.
- Audiomatic Retro Transformer. Vintage modes are all the rage at the moment, and the single new device addition in Reason 7 is the Audiomatic Retro Transformer, a device that can be placed on any channel or group to knock some of the hi-fi out of your sounds. Details are sparse at the moment, but I’d guess at classic gear aping presets to give you that old school Emu, Akai, Roland, and probably analogue signal stuff too like tape.
- Expanded Sound Bank. Aside from a little housekeeping here and there and the addition of presets for new devices, the meat of Reason’s sound bank hasn’t changed a great deal in some years. Reason 7 will boost the library with new drum loops in “big room house, dubstep, and even metal” genres – this doesn’t sound like a gigantic overhaul, but it’s nice nonetheless.
- New Import Capabilities. No longer will you be limited to importing WAV and AIFF audio files, with MP3, AAC, and WMA support announced in Reason 7. Hopefully there’ll be even more – FLAC and ALAC would definitely be handy, and Propellerhead haven’t ruled anything out yet.
- Reason 7 will be a paid upgrade – ?129/$129.
- Reason Essentials 2 will be a free upgrade and adds audio slicing, rex bouncing, level and pan on device, import format capability, and a bigger sound bank.
- No release date confirmed, except ‘second quarter 2013′.
- System requirements have been beefed up – now you’ll need at least 4GB of RAM, Mac OS X 10.7 or higher or Windows 7 or higher.
I’m looking forward to testing Reason 7. The one reservation I have is that Propellerhead might be holding on to Rex a little too tight; whilst bouncing audio to rex is a massive step forward in workflow for producers that sample, once those slices have been committed to rex there’s no going back. I’d much rather see a system that allows users to edit slices in a sampler on the fly, but my worries might be unfounded… I’ll know when I start testing it. Oh, actually, there’s one more. NN-XT is a great sampler, but I’d like to see it improved a little. More powerful envelopes that allow greater control over timing, better control over start point and so on – things that would really help NN-XT to shake hands with sliced audio bouncing in a slightly more ‘free’ way than the walled garden of Rex.
Propellerhead is also open beta testing Reason 7 – you can sign up for the beta here.
Let us know what you think below!
It’s not particularly hard to anticipate a new Komplete – the current one goes on sale, and there are teasers about new products. Komplete 9 is around the corner, and the aforementioned teased products have been unveiled…
Komplete 9 is more jam packed than ever, and on top of everything that’s gone before it it now includes:
- Battery 4
- Solid Mix Series
- The Giant
- Session Strings
At ?499 for the full version it’s a pricy, but undeniably tempting offer. It comprises more or less a full studio’s worth of fantastic quality instruments and effects, and integrates very tightly with Maschine. The upgrade comes in at ?149, which is a pretty appealing price for anyone who owns a previous version of Komplete (except the inaugural 1.0 release) – even Komplete 8 users are getting a good deal if Battery looks like everything you’ve ever been waiting for. The crossgrade, available for Maschine (not Mikro), Reaktor, Konkakt, and Guitar Rig users, is ?399, shaving ?100 off the asking price.
Komplete Ultimate, on the other hand, is a full complement of just about everything you can get from Native Instruments; 370GB of software and sample content in 65 products means you’ll never be able to moan about not having the right tools ever again. Well, until Komplete 10 comes out, anyway. Komplete Ultimate is ?999, with updates from ?399, so it’s definitely one for the completionists. That hard drive based install is such a timesaver, though!Check out Komplete 9 and Komplete 9 Ultimate at NI!
That revolution in sound that was teased a couple of weeks back is now laid bare for all to see: Monark. It’s a Reaktor Instrument, meaning no saving of patches unless you own the full version of Reaktor, but it promises to be the best sounding virtual analogue synth anyone’s ever heard. The key, according to Native Instruments, is Zero Delay Feedback technology:
Using mathematical prediction, ZDF technology eliminates the sample delay normally produced when trying to digitally model analog circuits involving feedback, such as a resonant filter.
This isn’t just another Moog clone, according to NI (who say everything but which synth they’re basing Monark on), it’s a breakthrough in modelling technology. A combination of analogue circuit modelling and fine tuning by ear promises all the drift, overloading distortion, and everything else that makes the Minimoog the Minimoog. And it’s available on the 27th of March as an individual purchase or part of Komplete 9.Check out Monark at NI!
We should have known. ‘Supercharge Your Drums’ was the giveaway, as Battery’s tagline has previously been ‘Charge Your Drums’, but I was a little too ambitious in my speculation last week. Battery 4 is the other new product from Native Instruments, and it’s still undeniably Battery.
The interface has been tidied up and simplified, adding more power but making things look overall less busy compared to Battery 3. At its heart though, it appears that Battery 4 is an evolution to the Battery name rather than a total revolution, which makes my ponderings from last week really look like I was overthinking things. Battery has always been a great piece of software, but it’s fallen by the wayside a bit of late. Improving its ease of use with the updated, colour coded interface, smoother and simpler MIDI mapping, grouping, and side chaining, and the tag based browser should catapult Battery 4 back to prominence – and the integration of the Solid Mix series of EQ and compression along with more of the the vintage modes introduced into Maschine and adopted by Battery 3 will only solidify it.
With a sound bank purportedly geared towards electronic and hip hop producers, the only question left is how big it’ll be, how much content will be new vs returning, and how many kits will be preloaded. Like Monark, Battery 4 is due out on the 27th of March.Check out Battery 4 at NI!
The post Native Instruments Komplete 9 – Including Monark and Battery 4 appeared first on Oh Drat.
Ardour isn’t just a Linux DAW, it gets Mac OS X versions too. Linux is the first OS to get an Ardour release, though, and it’s hot off the presses. Read on for what’s new…
Ardour 3 – What’s New?
Most of the more mature DAWs on the market have pretty much covered all the basics, and have to find ever more wacky ways to update. Not so for Ardour, which until now has had a pretty small feature set. Some key updates are:
- MIDI track implementation. This is the big one! Ardour’s always been audio only, but Ardour 3 brings MIDI recording, editing, and plugin instrument support (for AU, VST, and LV2).
- MIDI control presets. MIDI learn still exists, but now there’s the ability to distribute MIDI device presets – this should have a really beneficial impact on the ‘just jump in’ effect.
- Reworked mixer section. Improved monitoring with PFL/AFL cue and soloing, aux direct sends and bus sends with improvements to send/return behaviour, phase inversion, and stereo panning.
- 64 bit, multi processor support. Ardour is now a ‘true’ 64 bit DAW, and has multi processor support through and through.
There’s plenty more to read about over at the Ardour site, though, including improved audio handling, MIDI sync, GUI tightening, and a more. Take a look for the full lowdown!
Ardour is a free DAW, but, to borrow their phrase, it’s:
free as in free speech, not free as in free beer
In practice this means that whilst you can get it completely free of charge, a non-crippled version of Ardour 3 will set you back a minimum of $1 if you download it from Ardour’s site.Head to the Ardour 3 download site!
We’re thinking about getting down and dirty with Linux based music production this year, because with the leaps that Ubuntu is making in both GUI and interoperability between desktop, notebook, tablet, and mobile, Bitwig Studio’s imminent Linux release, and now Ardour 3, it seems like the entry barrier is lower than ever and maybe we can do something cool. What do you think?
Happy International Women’s Day all! To mark the occasion, female:pressure did some number crunching. It’s a sorry state of affairs…
The lead image (adapted ever so slightly in size and colour from Lini La Lusche of electrobox.com‘s original so we could use it as such), shows the disheartening statistics gleaned from female:pressure’s latest report. Of the 21 labels and 43 festivals surveyed, female representation was just 5% and 8.4% respectively, with 8% and 7.7% further groups with at least one female member. From female:pressure’s literature:
We have looked into statistics regarding festival line-ups, record label releases and the appearance of women in several top 100 lists. A 10% proportion of female artists can be considered above average [representation].
(In addition to the context block inserted into the above quote it’s worth pointing out, as I’ve seen this misconstrued elsewhere, that this quote refers to representation, not a value judgement on women who are ‘above average’.)
Women in Electronic Music
This isn’t a scientific report, as female:pressure readily points out – the sampling method appears to be a small opportunity based sample – but it does highlight what is at least anecdotally clear: women are under-represented in electronic music. It’s worth a read for interesting stats such as this: only 5% of the Bleep top 100 tracks of 2012 were by women.
This image, which shows international label representation and part of an info-graphic series of the results of the report by Mixher of mixher.free.fr, makes things abundantly clear for the more visual learners amongst you: check out the whole series for more.
Women in OD?
Our own readership stats are fairly consistent with the ones generated by female:pressure, which adds another layer to the issue: is there something specific that we’re doing that attracts a male dominant crowd, or is our experience with the numbers a fair representation of the ratio of men to women that peruse the internet for music production related content? I think we’re a pretty sexless bunch… Are we? Could we be doing anything different?
Let us know below if anything springs to mind…
Ah, the enigmatic teaser announcement. Don’t you just love ‘em?
Native Instruments have a habit of teasing cool stuff, and today is no exception. Whatever’s coming is going to allow us to Supercharge our beats, but beyond that it’s speculation time! Let’s have a look…
Supercharge Your Beats
See? Not particularly informative. And, unless NI are coming out with an After Effects plugin for easy video making with Maschine, what you’ve just watched is almost certainly a render that hints at what’s coming rather than shows it. To quote Native Instruments themselves:
The sound of the 21st century comes wrapped in a futuristic user interface, fusing ultimate power with a lightning-fast, visual workflow ? seeing is believing. Stay tuned.
What could they mean? What could it be? It’d be very easy to say a new Reaktor based synth/drum machine hybrid, but wouldn’t that be a little too… Maschiney? The video itself even looks like a virtual representation of Maschine’s pads lighting up as the sounds on them are triggered by its sequencer.
As the video begins, a familiar linear sequencing roll hits a wall that turns out to be a Maschine (or Battery)esque matrix of drum and synth hits. Unless this is a major red herring, it’s thus fairly safe to assume there’s going to be some kind of sequencing element to the new newness.
As the video progresses, what starts out as simple visual representations of those hits triggering switches up, and we get a vertical line of the same hit that roll up in pitch. It sort of reminds me of the sequencer that users of FL Studio will be familiar with; a step sequencer that opens up into a piano roll, allowing quick, drum machine style beat composition with an extra layer that folds out to show melodic elements. The emphasis on the visual aspect of things, though, with all the colours and pulsations, implies that this is going to be a tad more involved than a simple step sequencer.
I imagine not. Really, I’m not sure what to say here. Semantically, I’d say ‘Supercharge Your Beats’ implies that this isn’t going to be something you use to make sounds so much as make them better. That said, NI also say that the sound of the 21st century is wrapped up in the interface, so perhaps it will. After all, why would you release some sound examples if it wasn’t the sounds we’re supposed to be interested in?
If sound is what Native Instruments are pushing right now, presumably the next we hear will be some kind of elaboration on the workflow. Maschine takes care of the loopier side of NI’s sequencing, and it also hosts plugins and loads sounds very well. The most far flung speculative rumour I can conceive based on the speculation I’ve already made is that this is going to be the beginnings of a Native Instruments linear DAW, something that has built in sound generation capabilities and holds Maschine’s hand as a united force in production. Somehow that seems just a little too far fetched, but the way the sound examples are essentially full tracks and the extended tease on workflow does mean that if it is simply an extremely powerful Reaktor Instrument it might not mesh particularly well with the workflow you’re already comfortable with in your existing DAW/groovebox.
Well, I’m done with carelessly and irresponsibly tossing around guesses for the day. I want to know what you think though…
The post Supercharge Your Beats with… Something, from Native Instruments appeared first on Oh Drat.
Live key based effects control is the name of the game with this free VST effect courtesy of Beatdrive…
If you play live or just like to have hands on control of your effects when you’re in the studio, being able to map multiple effects to a keyboard can come in very handy indeed. There’s no shortage of plugins that will help you achieve this – Native Instruments’ The Finger and Izotope Stutter Edit spring to mind, but for a freebie Artillery II is fantastic.
Free VST Effect: Sugarbytes Artillery II (Beat Edition)
It’s as simple as loading Artillery II onto an audio/instrument channel in your DAW of choice and loading in the effects you want to decimate your sound with. Change the length of keyzones, add in filter delay, amp, phaser, looper, overdrive, or low pass filter, and once you’ve tweaked the effect to behave just as you’d like, hit keys for varying effects. Great stuff.
Just like Aalto Solo (and indeed Zampler as featured a while ago), Sugarbytes Artillery II is a free download from Beatdrive, with just a simple registration between you and all manner of mangled beats.
Note: The registration link is below the greyed out download buttons underneath the picture of Artillery. Because Beatdrive is a German site, non German speakers may find it helpful to translate the site first… I used Chrome, but found that after translating the registration page the register button stopped working; it’s best to do a test run and memorise things before you start filling out the form proper…Register and download!
The post Free VST Effect: Sugar Bytes Artillery II Beat Edition appeared first on Oh Drat.
For nothing but a registration on a German language website you can get your hands on the very capable Aalto Solo – a free synth, no less!
Madronna Labs Aalto Solo: Free Synth
Available for Mac and PC in VST format, Aalto Solo has an interesting interface and some even more interesting features, including a ‘complex oscillator’, an internal scale filter with hundreds (probably, anyway, there’s definitely over a hundred but I lost count) of scales from across the world and an interesting patching system that allows you to visually connect patch cables between envelopes and modulators and the oscillator, filters, and so on.
Simply register at Beatdrive, an online accompaniment to Germany’s Beat magazine, for your free download – you can also get Zampler, something we’ve featured in the past, and a special version of Sugarbytes Artillery!
Quick Note: The registration link is below the greyed out download buttons underneath the picture of Aalto Solo. Because Beatdrive is a German site, a browser with translate capabilities might help if you don’t speak German. However, I had difficulty using Chrome and getting the register button to actually work if I’d translated the registration page, so you might need to exercise some memory skills here.Register and download now!
Akai promised that the software that powers the new generation of MPCs would be subject to constant improvement, and the first ‘proper’ update is now here…
The update’s available for users of both MPC Studio and MPC Renaissance directly from Akai, and focuses on workflow improvements and the addition of a new vintage mode filter:
- Multi-timbral plugin support
- Sequences can share a single plugin
- Drag and drop sample folders onto a pad to create programs
- Improved sample chopping with split/combine via double click and dedicated function button
- Software zoom via Renaissance/Studio
- SP1200 Ring Mode – simulates filter bypass on SP1200
This is a good start in my book. Software always improves at what feels like an exponential rate from its initial incarnation because each new addition adds to what came before it. It’s taken other extremely popular software longer than MPC Software to be able to boast all of its features, so whilst there’s a little way to go before MPC Software feels perfect, it’s on the right track. Well, we think so anyway. What do you think?
Have you ever measured how long a project really takes, beyond ‘an hour’ ‘a day’, or ‘a week’? Free VST and AU plugin HOFA ProjectTime could show you how efficient you really are…
If you’re anything like me, you’ll find that music production inspiration comes in bursts. Often, your best work will seem to happen out of the blue, and your dedication to sitting for hours trying to make something that sounds interesting is rudely shown up by a sniff of stimulation that seems to waft in on a breeze of brilliance. They say that creativity isn’t the hard part, it’s sitting down to work that we fail at, but sometimes I find it’s just best to accept you’re flogging a dead horse and start something new.
Come away from the ethereal, creative side of things, and it’s even more important to understand the value of your time. The longer you spend on micro arranging things like little fills, filter envelope automation, and the like, and even more so when it comes to levels mixing, panning, compression, and the bits of music production that are more scientific, the more likely it is that you’ll end up bouncing between two incongruous approaches that would be perfectly fine in isolation, but as fatigue sets in you start to lose objectivity.
Free VST and AU Plugin: ProjectTime
Wouldn’t it be great to have some kind of quantifiable notion of when these various sweet spots in the music production process occur? That’s where HOFA ProjectTime comes in. Load ProjectTime into a plugin slot more or less anywhere in your project and it will give you a steady count in seconds, minutes, and hours, allowing you to isolate how much time you’ve spent specifically on that project. If you feel yourself flagging, you can make a note of how long you’ve spent on a project compared to other projects and see whether you’re spending much longer than you usually do on it. What you do with this is up to you, of course; only you will know whether you’re gently coaxing your masterpiece out of your synapses or whether you’re just trying to polish a turd, but knowing how long you’re actually spending on a project is interesting no matter how you look at it (or is it? Let us know what you think).
HOFA ProjectTime is a free VST/AU plugin that works on Windows and Mac as part of HOFA’s free ’4U’ suite. To download it you just need to get the HOFA Download Manager and select it from within, an approach which handily allows you to simultaneously install HOFA’s other free plugins as well as their commercial ones on a trial basis.Download HOFA ProjectTime free here!
The post How Long Do You Spend on Tracks? Find out with ProjectTime appeared first on Oh Drat.
Warp artist Kwes is a firm favourite and friend of OD; this Kwes interview provides an insight into his humble genius, and there’s plenty of inspiration to be harvested for your own music making endeavours! Follow the link when you’re done for Kwes’s site to hear his latest single…
We are excited to announce that Ableton Live 9 will be out on March 5th. Push, our first hardware instrument, can also be pre-ordered on March 5th and will be available soon at a retailer near you… With the release of Live 9 on the horizon, there?s not much time left to take advantage of our special Live 8 discount. Purchase or upgrade to Ableton Live 8 or Suite 8 by March 4th to get 25% off the regular price, plus a free downloadable upgrade to Live 9 Standard or Suite.
The post Ableton Live 9 and Push Release Date: 5th March 2013 appeared first on Oh Drat.
Tokyo Dawn Records have a small but high quality line in plugins as well as their excellent records. The latest is a very nice free compressor…
Free Compressor Plugin – TDR Feedback Compressor 2
It’s in beta right now, but it’s completely free and it sounds great! 32/64 bit Windows VST and Mac VST and AU versions mean most of you can try it too!Download from TDR Free!
The post Free Compressor Plugin – TDR Feedback Compressor 2 appeared first on Oh Drat.
Well, NAMM was a few weeks ago now, but in the interests of starting afresh and making sure you guys know what we?ve been upto and why, I wanted to touch on why OD?s NAMM 2012 coverage was so extensive and why our NAMM 2013 coverage was limited to five posts, talking a little about our favourite products.
Depending on which way round you read these articles, you may or may not have read our post on the changes we?ve made, and are making, to OD this year. Those changes were informed in no small part by our NAMM 2013 experience (or lack of it). The crux of our no show boiled down to one fact: my press pass was denied. Now, a phonecall or two and a long email thread could have been all it took to get a pass (after all, there were no problems in NAMM 2012), and indeed, I have other journalistic responsibilities that would ensure my foot through the door anyway, but being refused entry did somewhat make me think about exactly what the point of OD going on such an expensive trip was.
In 2012 we produced some of – if I do say so myself – the stand out coverage at the show, from boutique brands to interviews with some of the most important people there. Whether it was chatting MIDI and the real pros and cons of analogue and digital with Dave Smith, getting to the root of the new generation of MPCs? design process, goals and aspirations with Akai, talking about the importance of a creative user interface when making music with Teenage Engineering, or any of the other coverage we did, it was all about using the time we had to talk about the important issues, not just find out how many buttons something had. It?s something we pride ourself on, and yet (and before I go further this isn?t a blanket statement because any pedestal I put us on would be inherently shaky) most coverage at any trade show is essentially an identikit sales pitch delivered to camera that doesn?t really do anything that the spec sheet doesn?t do just as well.
It was exactly that attitude that got me thinking about what I set out to do with OD, and honestly speaking the incessant chasing of new gear isn?t really it at all. New gear can be exciting, but all too often it?s, well, not. Pretending otherwise is a disservice to you guys, who trust our opinion, and a disservice to ourselves, because it?s not what we?re here for. The road less travelled is always the most interesting, and that, in a nutshell, is what I alude to in the post about what we?re doing from now on that you should read now!
That said, I will be at Musikmesse this year – in no small part down to some of those aforementioned responsibilities with our friends at DJWORX, but how much OD coverage we?ll do depends on what we find interesting and most importantly what you find interesting – so please let us know if there?s anything you really want to see us doing!
Well it?s been a quiet month or so here at OD, but not without good reason. As you can see, the whole layout of the site has been changed – and I hope you?ll agree improved, otherwise a lot of head (and heart) ache over the past few months has been in vain. And this is just step one – as we settle in, things will get better.
From now on, I want to make OD sleeker and smoother, and the new look isn?t just cosmetic. There are things in the make up of the new site that will make delivering information and inspiration to you much simpler and more efficient, and that?ll allow us more time to make the things that have the most time cost even better. There?s going to be more of everything now… or at least, almost everything. Nothing gets us disillusioned more than reviewing copycat, ?me too? software and hardware that really doesn?t need to be reviewed: it?s boring at best, largely unhelpful, and at worst it makes us feel like just another cog in the big consumerisation machine that makes us all focus on the tools rather than the things we make with them. That?s not to say we won?t be featuring new hardware and software anymore, but that the way that we feature it will evolve into something more interesting and useful.
So, going forward, I want to have more fun with gear; OD is going to make more music, and encourage and inspire you to do the same. That?s what we?re here for, right?! The only thing is that in the short term, the interim between the old and the new, things might get a bit messy. If there?s one thing I?ve learned over the years it?s that it doesn?t matter how much you meticulously plan out a big leap, the real work is the remoulding and continuous improvement that you need to do after you let the world get its delicately manicured hands on it. With that in mind, figuring out exactly how things from ?classic? OD will fit into our new world is something I?m approaching as a somewhat ongoing concern. Nothing?s disappeared, but it?s also not necessarily in the easiest to find place right now. What?s more, some of our older content is… well, a bit ugly. That?ll get fixed in time too.
For now, bear with us while I re-gear, and stay in touch: OD is for you, and you deserve the best. Oh, and if you want just a little more information, check out our short explanation as to why we weren?t over at NAMM this year; our non attendence had a lot to do with our solidified direction!
Our top five announcements of NAMM continues with this black beauty from Livid…
What: 8×4 pad controller with capacitive touch strips, multi colour feedback, and lots of MIDI capability
When: March 2013
Touch strips replacing faders isn?t new new, but this year looks to be the one where everyone gets on board. Livid?s brand new Base controller is one of the new breed, and it looks absolutely awesome. There are bound to be a few comparisons with Ableton?s forthcoming Push controller, but in reality it doesn?t strike me as that similar. You get velocity sensitive pads with multi colour LED feedback, but head-down text feedback is out and traded for head-down visual feedback of what the ?faders? are doing. With multi colour leds on the capacitive strips and buttons, using the function buttons on the unit to switch functionality will keep the Base controller and the software you pair it with in harmony and ? hopefully ? allow you to blaze through fader and knob based control tweaks without having to worry about physical positions or remembering which page you?re on. Imagine having pages, accessed through coloured function buttons, that switch the touch strips colour for increased recognition and function for improved workflow speed. Track level, pan, and EQ bands across eight channels, or perhaps a full compliment of high pass, low pass, and two fully parametric mids on the armed channel (with channel arming set to a pad, even), all dynamically switching and providing feedback directly on the controller.
At $399 Base isn?t cheap, but it?s also got stacks of potential ? potential bolstered by Livid?s understanding of the importance of making MIDI input and output as open as possible, extending to MIDI changeable character display. My mind is racing with all the possibilities for head down, quick workflow (16 pads on the left to control note values on the armed channel, 16 on the right for transport, channel selection, insert selection?) so for us, this might just be the biggest thing at NAMM this year. Maybe we?ll have to do some OD awards next time.
Also, is it just me or does the picture of Base create a weird optical illusion that makes it nearly impossible to count the eight columns? I keep getting nine. It?s probably just me.
More: Livid Instruments
More from NAMM – another of our top five announcements from this year’s show…
What: Control surface with Reason and Cubase integration, over 60 controls, high quality construction, head-down screen on unit
When: April 2013
Nektar Panorama P1
We called this. Back when the Nektar Panorama P4 was about to go production ready, I asked the bods at Nektar ?so, how long until the P0 comes out?!? and was met with a wry smile. Okay, I might have been a digit shy, but despite the very nice keyboard and pad section on the Nektar Panorama P4 and P6 the Panorama P1 was a no brainer. The recently announced Cubase integration adds to the Panorama range?s appeal, and the Panorama P1 is really only motorised faders away from being a total Mackie Control killer (It?s funny how little traction true control surfaces have gotten over the past decade, as when 100% computer music started to really explode the smart money was on controllers that made you completely forget you were using a computer leading the way).
For me, the Panorama P1 is a pretty easy sell for Reason users that are after something that will let them rely less on the mouse and keyboard and more on the music making process. If you genuinely don?t care about having to use the mouse for things as long as you have a keyboard or pads to actually play on then you?ll struggle to see the value here, but this level of control will be very well received by anyone who?s used to using hardware, or wishes they were. Its price is pretty enticing as it is and it?s easily mitigated by not having to rely on expensive controller keyboards with tons of knobs and sliders, plus its integration is second to none (I?ve not played with it with Cubase yet, but with Reason it?s superb). If you have a pad controller you like to use and a favourite keyboard already, too much of the Panorama P4 or P6 will feel redundant; this might be a very neat way to add dedicated control to your setup without breaking the bank.
Our pick of NAMM continues with a controller that might be more useful to producers than you first thought…
What: DJ focused pad, jogwheel, and accelerometer controller that might be able to sneak into the studio
Here?s a weird one. Numark?s Orbit is absolutely pitched to the DJ market, and thus you?d expect OD?s best mate DJWorx to be the go to spot to find out about it (indeed, MIDI nut Jared Helfer makes a convincing case for it here). The thing is, the price, wirelessness, and simple controls actually make this a pretty novel addition to a production setup. Not necessarily for instrument control, but for transport and mixing. Sit anywhere in your room ? whether it?s your mix position, comfy chair, or behind a drum kit or piano ? and scrub with the dial, start, stop, record, mute and solo, and all those things you tend to run back to your keyboard for, all for $99. The ?wave it around your head like an idiot? functionality of the accelerometers might (read: definitely should) just be a fad for DJs, but in the privacy of your own studio it might actually be quite fun to record some automation a little more organically than by turning a knob.
When I first saw Orbit with my DJ hat on I was distinctly underwhelmed, but when my lateral thinking faculties kicked in suddenly Orbit seemed like a very clever idea indeed. Jared?s opinion of it rose the more he played with it, and whilst I am still struggling to shoehorn it too far into a production workflow ? despite the velocity sensitive pads ? this could be one of those little things that takes an often awkward job off something else?s plate and frees it up to do its own job.
Or maybe I?m just crazy.
NAMM’s happening, and we’re picking our favourite five announcements…
What: 24/96 sound with excellent DA/AD converters, built in mic, two inputs, two outputs, and direct connection to iOS devices
When: January 2013
The New Apogee One
We reviewed the Apogee One a couple of years ago, and I loved it. My only real qualm was the way the single input limited its appeal, but other than that I was blown away by the quality of the tiny box. The new Apogee One now features two inputs, although bizarrely only supports XLR mic and 1/4? or XLR mic and built in mic? it remains to be seen whether Apogee will release a breakout with a stereo input cable (or indeed whether cable adapters will facilitate a matched signal for stereo), but the big thing for One ? and indeed Duet and Quartet ? is the direct digital connection to iOS. This essentially means that a bit of sticky tape, a One (plus a couple of AA batteries), and any supported iPhone or iPod will make an amazing solid state field recorder, and that alone is extremely interesting.
Other niggles with One, the scratch prone case and sample rate, have been looked at: die cast aluminium with rubber base and full 24/96 operation is now in effect. Unfortunately all this comes at a $100 premium over the original one, with a $349 price tag for this new beauty. Now that One is sleeker than before, works with iOS, and gives sample rate snobs nothing to moan about, is it going to capture your imagination (and your hard earned)?
NAMM’s happening, and we’ve picked our five favourite announcements. Here’s one…
What: 25, 49, or 61 key controller with 8×2 RGB velocity sensitive pad strip and included iPad software for PC/Mac free operation
When: Jan/Feb 2013
Price: £99/£139/£159 (25/49/61 key versions)
Novation are very good at both evolution and revolution in their range, and then monitoring what sticks. Now joining their top of the line SL range of controllers and their mid range Impulse controllers is the Launchkey, which seems to do things that even the SL range doesn?t do but also pull back on some of the Impulse?s features. Launchkey is much sleeker looking than Impulse, but control wise the major changes aren?t what?s been added or taken away but how the controller has been considered ergonomically. Instead of discrete matrices of knobs and pads, Launchkey aligns the pads and knobs vertically; connecting the two controls in this way should improve the mental link between the two and make things like, for instance, adjusting the volume, filter, or effect send of percussion sounds assigned to pads a very intuitive process.
The faders have been reimagined, with new ?sticky outy? caps for easier manipulation, but the knobs are still fixed motion pots, and other than double the pads (which is a welcome addition, even though we?re glossing over them a little) there?s not a huge amount of difference between Launchkey and Impulse? why begs an answer to the question: Why are we featuring it?
Firstly, the price of Launchkey is a huge draw. At £140 for the 49 key and £160 for the 61 key versions, this is Novation?s lowest priced keyboard controller. I?m not 100% sure how Novation have achieved this price, so when we get one in the studio build quality will be the first thing we look at, but it is certainly in line with low priced competition and we?re fairly confident in Novation?s track record in build/price compromise. Secondly, Launchkey is being touted by many as an iOS controller ? but not Novation themselves. As far as Novation (and we) are concerned, this is a keyboard that works with iPad, not one that works for iPad. Akai have dipped their toe into the iOS waters with their Synthstation range, and others too, but Launchkey doesn?t feature direct connection, just the ability to connect to iPad and use the new Novation Launchkey and Launchpad apps to turn the keyboard into a computerless live playing device. Looking to the future, this is almost certainly going to be something that manufacturers and developers focus on more and more often, as without having to worry about a computer the Launchkey can feel much more like a dedicated synth.
A final point of note is the lack of Novation?s own brand of Marmite: Automap. Instead, Novation have a new baby in InControl, which purports to be a sleek, simple way to automatically connect DAW controls to transport and the like without the sometimes confusing complexity of Automap.
As HMV ? the last remaining high street music giant in the UK ? goes into administration, it?s not just bricks and mortar distribution that?s going to be affected; whether HMV was a cultural centre or not, the digital analogy for record store culture has never been more important.
Bandcamp for Fans?
Bandcamp has avoided bolting on social media functionality to its website for a couple of years, but this week unveiled the latest addition to its feature set. Bandcamp for Fans is social without sycophantism, following without fawning. With Bandcamp for Fans you can share music you love, with people who want to listen, without the ugly business of reciprocation ever needing to get in the way. Follow other Bandcamp users and you?ll find out about the music they?ve added to their collection (or have on a wishlist of music to buy when a fiver turns up during spring cleaning), and other users can do the same to you. Your popularity will increase on the strength of your community involvement, and there?s no direct ?video gamey? reward; your awesome taste may result in people trusting you to recommend music, but beyond that leveraging that popularity is your business.
We love this idea, and here?s why.
Engagement (or Why Cynicism Spoils Community)
Myspace, as distant a memory as it seems now (although if Justin Timberlake has his way that?s about to change any time now), actually did a few things really right. The most meaningful was perhaps the ?Top 8? system, which allowed users to promote eight of their friends? pages directly from their own. The reason this worked so well was because of the engagement required from the page owner; with a maximum of eight pages to choose from, with no guarantee of reciprocity or indeed any other incentive, Top 8 selections tended to be honest, considered recommendations from artists and fans. In fact, and ironically, getting this so right appears ? from my perspective at least ? to have been a big contributor to the cracks that started to appear in Myspace?s foundations.
Synchronous ?friendships? were abused wholesale as Myspace?s popularity grew, with friend farming (and the comment spamming that followed) becoming the norm for artists who both craved attention and had an hour to kill every evening? and the previously manageable and often educational dip into Myspace for new music gradually fell apart at the seams.
SoundCloud?s asynchronous ?follow? system sidesteps all the issues with friend farming as a technique to artificially increase exposure, but has always seemed, in my book at least, to be a little confused about exactly how its engagement system works. The big thing for SoundCloud is commenting, and ?timed? comments ? the ones that pop up over the track?s waveform while the song plays ? are huge. I?ve never been able to figure out exactly why this is such a central feature to SoundCloud, though, because when listening to music I have my own critical faculties to exercise before I?m particularly inclined to pay attention to someone else?s thoughts in 140 characters or less. Commenting is a courtesy, or compliment, to the artist, and realistically it?s not important to Listener A to see that Listener B and C wrote ?nice?, and ?sick?, respectively, around the time the bassline drops. But people do it, and whilst the optimist in me wants to think that all comments are genuinely from well wishers there are two pertinent facts that make that questionable. The first is that, at its heart, SoundCloud started out as and realistically is still a site for artists and so promotion is on a huge amount of users? agenda ? being visible sometimes feels like it?s more of a focus than a happy side effect of many comments. The second is that, well, some people are completely transparent about what they?re doing with comments like ?nice track! please check out my music/blog at?? making their motivation somewhat clear (and for the record, yes, OD has left comments for people to let them know we?ve featured them in the distant past. We?re hypocrites, okay?!).
Bandcamp?s Fan page is a great way to allow music listeners ? and as artists, you?re listeners too ? to catalogue what they?ve bought (or, if free, liked enough to download), recommend tracks, and generally show off what you actually listen to. It?s standing next to someone looking at your record shelf and excitedly telling them how they need to listen to track seven on this LP, and, oh, if you like this then you?ll love? and so on. But it?ll only work, on its own first of all and as a model later on, if we don?t break it. Wield your power wisely, and don?t break things before they even get rolling with incessant, cynical downloading for the sole purpose of stamping your digital footprint onto someone?s art. Maybe you really are a taste maker ? you won?t know unless exercise your taste!
Of course, things aren?t perfect with Bandcamp for Fans yet. The progress bar that usually accompanies Bandcamp music is currently absent (although I have a terrible habit of dancing the progress bar through tracks before they?ve had a chance to choose their own pace, and maybe this will stamp that out), and tracks don?t lead into each other, requiring manual ?play? on each track. Right now, there?s not even a dashboard to let you know what?s going on with your new found muso friends; Bandcamp will email you a summary of what?s been happening in your social circle ?every now and then?, in their own words. A feed is coming, but perhaps Bandcamp have thought about all the above and are being extra careful with their design to make absolutely sure they give their model as much chance as possible?
If there?s one thing that Bandcamp doesn?t do well, it?s precisely what SoundCloud excels at: single tracks. Whether they?re polished and pretty or rough and ready, SoundCloud is king when it comes to getting that one sound out there, and the ability to do that when twinned with the informal nature of a simple play button and absence of overly ?official? looking structure seems to lead to a cultural incubation situation. Circles of people sharing what they?ve been up to in a nurturing environment is like a jam session at a public bar, and just as much as the finished EP and LP that Bandcamp?s structure caters to so well so too is this approach important to share and promote. Now all we need is someone to bring all this together. Now that Justin Timberlake?s got his comeback fully in swing maybe the new MySpace will have a hand in things? they might have to sort out that weird horizontal scrolling first though.
Works for us!
In an encouraging display of galactic syncronicity, Bandcamp might just have provided a piece to the ever evolving puzzle that is Oh Drat. In the past we?ve prided ourselves on showing you music that we think will inspire you for particular reasons, and regular readers will hopefully feel a sense of narrative in our decisions from week to week. I want to keep that up ? indeed, we want to step it up ? but I also want to make sure that the most important things are given pride of place and things shift from ?filler? to ?bonus? when it comes to the rest. If you?ve any ideas you think we?d like, let us know below?
This year we?re not on the floor at Anaheim?s NAMM trade show; being UK based, having commitments on this sceptred isle, and not being fond of being patted down by bored looking men in high-vis jackets every five minutes all contributed to my being grounded. Having a nasty cold wasn?t planned, but it?s certainly making [...]
What: 25, 49, or 61 key controller with 8×2 RGB velocity sensitive pad strip and included iPad software for PC/Mac free operation When: Jan/Feb 2013 Price: £99/£139/£159 (25/49/61 key versions) Novation Launchkey Novation are very good at both evolution and revolution in their range, and then monitoring what sticks. Now joining their top of the [...]
What: 24/96 sound with excellent DA/AD converters, built in mic, two inputs, two outputs, and direct connection to iOS devices When: January 2013 Price: $349 The New Apogee One We reviewed the Apogee One a couple of years ago, and I loved it. My only real qualm was the way the single input limited its [...]
What: DJ focused pad, jogwheel, and accelerometer controller that might be able to sneak into the studio When: Unannounced Price: $99 Numark Orbit Here?s a weird one. Numark?s Orbit is absolutely pitched to the DJ market, and thus you?d expect OD?s best mate DJWorx to be the go to spot to find out about it [...]
What: Control surface with Reason and Cubase integration, over 60 controls, high quality construction, head-down screen on unit When: April 2013 Price: $299/?259/£219 Nektar Panorama P1 We called this. Back when the Nektar Panorama P4 was about to go production ready, I asked the bods at Nektar ?so, how long until the P0 comes out?!? [...]
What: 8×4 pad controller with capacitive touch strips, multi colour feedback, and lots of MIDI capability When: March 2013 Price: $399 Livid Base Touch strips replacing faders isn?t new new, but this year looks to be the one where everyone gets on board. Livid?s brand new Base controller is one of the new breed, and [...]
As HMV – the last remaining high street music giant in the UK – goes into administration, it?s not just bricks and mortar distribution that?s going to be affected; whether HMV was a cultural centre or not, the digital analogy for record store culture has never been more important. Bandcamp for Fans? Bandcamp has avoided [...]
New Year, New Gear! The hotly awaited MPC Studio has arrived in my lap and I thought it only fair to snap a couple of quickies and string some words together… The big MPC comeback was always planned as a threesome; MPC Renaissance is the big daddy, MPC Studio is the portable unit, and MPC [...]
It’s 2013 and we’re back! We’re easing into the year, and below you’ll find some brief words on what you can expect from OD in 2013 – and to tie up 2012, the three winners of the OD Christmas Giveaway! OD Christmas Giveaway Winners! Congratulations to the following people: you’ve each won a complete membership [...]
We’re out of the studio until New Year now, so have a lovely festive period! Christmas! It comes but once a year, etcetera… I hope you’re all ready to eat, drink and be merry – all in moderation, of course – and hopefully Father Christmas will leave you a little something music-y under the tree! [...]
Bitwig keep drip feeding us information about Bitwig Studio, and every morsel of information makes it look that much cooler…What you’re seeing in this new video from Bitwig is an implementation of the completely open Bitwig Studio controller API. This allows communication between the software and a standard MIDI controller that’s much, much deeper than [...]
Tiiiis the season to be jolly, so Native Instruments have released Driver, a free distortion plugin – but it won’t be free in 2013 so act now! Isn’t it funny how we perceive value? Often, simply charging for something makes it seem more valuable than if it were free. In Driver’s case, it’s get it [...]
More freeness from U-he, this time with the free synth Podolski, a cleaned up and tweaked version of a synth from the vaults… Podolski: Freeware Synth U-he call the release of Podolski ‘history refurbished’, which is quite a nice term. Harking back to 2005, the era of cover CD bundled instruments and effects, Podolski is [...]
Hot off the heels of Cubase 7′s release, Steinberg have revealed a little surprise they had up their sleeves: Cubasis for iPad. The Cubasis brand hasn’t been used by Steinberg for a while, but it used to be one of the Cubase sub-brands for the ‘lighter’ version of the software. Fitting, then, that the moniker [...]
With MPC Fly still not quite with us, Akai and Retronyms are releasing iMPC now so that you can still get your virtual groove on… Well, we reviewed MPC Renaissance a couple of weeks ago, and we’re looking forward to seeing what the other new MPCs – Studio and Fly – can bring to the [...]
With MPC Fly still not quite with us, Akai and Retronyms are releasing iMPC now so that you can still get your virtual groove on… Well, we reviewed MPC Renaissance a couple of weeks ago, and we’re looking forward to seeing what the other new MPCs – Studio and Fly – can bring to the [...]
What can I say, we’re in the Christmas spirit already! OD Total Music Production is our pride and joy, and because we love you guys, because we’re feeling that warm, Christmassy feeling (helped a little, perhaps, by some festive imbibing of a good Scotch and the news of a happy and healthy new arrival to [...]
Two free plugins for everyone! IK Multimedia are getting into the Christmas spirit… Ah, T-Racks. Loading up those yellow rack tools sends a pleasant air of nostalgia down my spine, as back in the – no, I’m not going to say ‘back in the day’, because it’s a horrific turn of phrase that almost nobody [...]
One of the most popular DAWs in the world gets a major update, and Cubase 7 isn’t just a tit for tat increment… When we gave Cubase 6 an extensive review, I was really pleased with how tight things felt. Cubase 5 wasn’t particularly well received, and with 6 (and then the subsequent 6.5 update) [...]
As much as we love tinkering with iOS music production apps, their generally walled off environments mean getting things done with them can sometimes be a frustrating exercise in going round the houses. Audiobus is going to try and change that… Most apps do one or two things really well, and (perhaps due to the [...]
The Griffin Studio Connect is aptly named; the vast array of music apps for the iPad make it very tempting to integrate into a production setup… but how? Via a production focused docking device, of course, and that?s exactly what Studio Connect is designed for. It adds inputs and outputs to the iPad?s basic 3.5mm [...]
Working with a synth gives a ton of possibilities that aren’t available with sampled sounds. Whether you’re learning synthesis or just want some quick inspiration, presets can kick off your music to a good start – here’s a selection of new free presets for some big synths! Free Presets for Massive Native Instruments’ Massive probably [...]
There are lots, and lots, and lots of little things that can make a huge difference to sound quality, and increasingly production kit does them for us. Sometimes it doesn?t, though, and even so it?s handy to know what?s happening behind the scenes. So what?s a zero crossing point and why does it matter? Primer [...]
Waves have been cranking out some of the most desirable plugins in the world for 20 years now, and they’re about to give away a completely free compressor, a one knob compressor no less, as a Black Friday treat! Compression’s viewed by many as a bit of a dark art, not least because if you [...]
Samplr is a new app for iPad that has promises on the fly manipulation of samples, effects, looping, keyboards, and more, all in a pretty package that the developer unashamedly admits is an homage to the Teenage Engineering OP-1 (check out our review of the OP-1 here!). We liked the look, so decided to find [...]
It’s a free granular synth, it’s open source, it’s multi format, and it probably won’t cause a black hole and destroy the world. What would OD be without terrible, terrible jokes? The Hadron Particle Synthesiser is so called because its granular synthesis core is, in Partikkel’s own words, “such a complete implementation” that they decided [...]
When we got hold of the Akai MPC Renaissance, I wanted to push a review out as quickly as possible. After an evening, it became clear that doing so just wouldn?t do the MPC Renaissance justice. Akai is legendary in music production circles for its MPC range, and MPC Renaissance is just too important a [...]
KVR, popular newswire and music software directory, is holding a developer contest. This means there’s one guaranteed winner: you! OD friends BPB have entered a great free sound bank… The KVR Developer Challenge has had a year or two off, but it’s back and bigger than ever with 55 entries! We always try to be [...]
Ableton’s announcement of Live 9 got everyone’s attention, but don’t forget about Bitwig Studio… We’re still very excited about Bitwig Studio here at OD; that doesn’t mean we’re not excited about Ableton Live 9 too, but the two pieces of software are headed in slightly different directions – even if ‘slightly’ does seem to be [...]
Hot off the heels of their first commercial plugin, Togu Audio Line have hacked away at their Juno modelled U-No-LX to prise out the chorus section and give it away for free! TAL-Chorus-LX Free VST and AU Plugin TAL-Chorus-LX is a very simple free VST plugin (and AU!) that emulates the classic Roland Juno 60′s [...]
Sorry about the quiet week ladies and gentlemen – now that the paint’s on the walls and we’ve been getting up to some serious testing with the review gear that’s been in the studio lately we’ve fun coming up! OD grows every day – moderately. I like to think of us as the proverbial tortoise, [...]
After last week’s maybe-intentional-maybe-not leak/fumble, the inevitable announcement of Ableton Live 9 came today along with an unexpected extra… Lots of the time, people in positions like mine (usually like mine but with slightly fewer fried egg stains on their t-shirt) hear wind of new things in hushed tones a while before they happen, and [...]
We have an MPC Renaissance in the studio right now, and while I want to get a review out to you guys as soon as possible it’s also just as important to give you the best we possibly can. MPC Renaissance may have been out for about a month already, but it’s been a fairly [...]
Maschine MK2 is Native Instruments? two pronged attack on the music production world. The combined threat of a hardware controller and a software brain means that the controller can feel like an instrument in its own right, but one that isn?t constrained by its place in time and the near finality of a pure hardware [...]
Granular synthesis is an oft misunderstood tool, but part of Borderland’s charm is not only being a beautiful looking iPad synth but also an education into how granular actually works… A very brief and hacky description of granular synthesis is that sound is generated via the extraction of smaller snippets of audio from a larger [...]
Glitchy, trappy sounds abound in this pack of free wav samples filled with percussion and vox from Nois3…Twisted Vocals & Drums is a new free wav samples sound pack from Nois3 that is designed to give you the vox stabs and sounds that you may well be hankering for given the trend of ‘now’ sounds. Admittedly there’s [...]
Transient shaping is the art of altering the sudden peaks of a piece of audio – for creative or technical purposes. Find out more in our transient shaping tutorial! If you’ve ever had a kick sound, or perhaps a guitar – especially one you’ve recorded yourself – that lacks a little bit of ‘thump’, then [...]
Lost Midas is the new pseudonym for Jason Trikakis, formerly Jaetriks, and his latest video is right up our street… You might remember our feature on Jaetriks from early last year, and now he’s back with a new moniker and some new music. Love Undone, featuring Taylor O’Donnell, is an airy, dreamlike number, whose dreamlike [...]
Native Instruments Maschine 2 arrived over the BPM weekend, and I’ve just sat down to have a play with it… We want to give Maschine 2 the time it deserves in the studio rather than rush out a review, but we also want to share as much as we can with you – so I [...]
Four huge soundpacks to download completely free inside… Mr The Big Man has been very busy indeed, and his newly redesigned Multiples Pro range of sounds has been launched along with four completely free sample packs: E|Drums : Kit Arsenal – 3611 drum sounds A|Bass XL – 1250 samp-les across 50 kits Secret Sauce : [...]
It’s not too late to get tickets to BPM 2012 – new gear, education, free stuff and a generally great time! Birmingham, the UK’s second city. I think, anyway – don’t use me as a source for any essays. Once a year it’s host to one of the biggest DJ conventions, and whilst last year [...]
Don’t just get into the sound. Get INTO the sound… or something! It’s about that time again – a brand new free wav samples pack. This one’s pretty interesting; Ongelgen’s Binaural series comprises of otherwise innocuous sounds recorded binaurally, which helps to make them unnervingly immersive. This edition is the sound of water splashing, pouring, bubbling [...]
A quick roundup of three of our favourite online DAWs to give you an instant creativity injection! Whilst I wouldn’t say the future of music production is sharing, I will say without hesitation that those of you that do want to share and collaborate with others have never had it so good. We had a look [...]
As one of the most influential artists of the 20th Century, Miles Davis inspired countless artists with his work. Take a look at a few of our favourites… Today, the 28th of September 2012, is the 21st anniversary of the death of Miles Davis. As an artist at the forefront of jazz and many of [...]
Good production is all about creating the right mood and the right space – which is exactly what Jonwayne does on Homeboy Sandman’s latest… When you’re working with another person, be it a singer, emcee, or instrumentalist, it’s really important to match your music to their style. Leave room to breathe. Sometimes, being the constant [...]
We’re all in this together, and Melodo’s designed to make sharing your musical ideas even easier… Melodo is a new sequencer plugin, currently in free beta, that contains some basic built in sounds as well as support for VST and AU plugins. The point? Cloud based sequence sharing. This approach to music making has been [...]
The most significant update to Native Instruments’ groove box baby - Maschine 1.8 – for some time has just been released. Grab it now! The impending update to the new Maschine hardware wouldn’t be much without a new software update, but existing Maschine owners amongst you won’t be left out in the cold with Maschine [...]
Just a nice quick and dirty sound design tutorial for you this week guys – create your own 808 bass sounds! The Roland TR-808 is such a classic machine that people tend to call any boomy, subby kick an ’808′. The truth is that the huge great ‘booooooooom’ sound that people associate with them doesn’t [...]
In as much as a small residential studio can, the OD studio looks a bit like a building site. What do you think we should build?! The best laid plans, and all that – it’s taken a couple of weeks longer than I thought it would to push on with the next step of the [...]
Another totally free unique construction kit for Reason, Ableton Live, Maschine or just plain WAV! We’ve been busy behind the scenes again, this time to bring you the second in the OD Sketchbook series (if you missed the first one get it here) of free sample packs! I’ve taken a slightly different approach to the [...]
One of the most anticipated DJ events of the year is increasingly branching out into music production, and we’ll be there to help! BPM, the trade show cum exhibition that has exploded over the past few years from humble Donnington Park roots into packed out Birmingham NEC (that’s National Exhibition Centre, for you non-UKers) halls, [...]
What better way to spend 40 minutes than to absorb some wisdom and learn about some new synth goodness all at once?! In lieu of our own tutorial – the OD studio refresh is, unbelievably frustratingly, taking longer than I’d hoped – today we’d like to share a couple of absolutely fantastic videos from Source [...]