Ah, Internet rumors: so adorable, so not actually true. But this one does demonstrate that people eagerly await the ability to edit audio with more flexibility. Something about Melodyne fires up the imagination.

Celemony caused a big stir last year with a video demonstrating Melodyne DNA technology – Direct Note Access. The YouTube video itself went semi-viral, demonstrating a kind of holy grail in computer audio: the ability to seamlessly edit audio note-by-note, even in a polyphonic texture, as easily as you can MIDI patterns.

Then, this month, a rumor started spreading through the forums that Celmony was “in a panic.” An alleged copy of a magazine I’ve never heard of, “Real Music,” claimed the mad scientist behind the technology had failed. The copy:

Celemony in trouble over DNA promise
"The technology demoed in Celemony’s upcoming Melodyne Editor used prefabricated loops and edits to illustrate a ‘what if’ scenario.
An insider told us: Everyone’s panicing behind the scenes at Celemony. Peter used a mock-up of proposed technology for live demos. In reality, producing a fully working version is proving to be impossible. When he produces a mini demo for one sampled phrase the whole thing breaks for other phrases. He’s panicing because very soon he expects Celemony to retract the promise of the holy grail DNA feature and apologize to the userbase. Peter has taken a month off work after a row with Editor’s project manager over his persistent failure to make the feature a reality."

Now, I find this all strangely alluring: Peter Neubaecker, the mad genius behind Melodyne, locked in a basement cursing his audio algorithms, perhaps with a computer hooked up to a giant lightning rod. His elongated beard only helps him fit this role. Betrayed by his assistant, Melodyne DNA becomes an utter failure. (“Are you saying that I put an abnormal brain into a seven and a half foot long, fifty-four inch wide GORILLA?”) You know, something like this:

Strangely alluring – just not terribly plausible, and, according to Melodyne, entirely made up. A representative for Celemony points me to this quote from forum host and site webmaster Claudio d’Allere, who tries to dispel the speculation:

Nobody is panicking at Celemony. We know we are late, and that may have raised some speculations. However, DNA still works as intended, and we are happy to invite you to our public beta test that we expect to start in late May or early June. Feel free to try this beta with your own audio files and not just "prefabricated loops"."

So, yes, the story – sit down for this one – is that the software is late. Let me explain something: late is much, much, much better than early. Early means that someone has shipped software before it’s entirely baked. I know this comes as a shock, of course. Just as we know it’s utterly unheard of that software or other technology be delayed (the horror!), we certainly have a hard time imagining anyone shipping any music technology with some features missing or lingering bugs or anything like that. Jeez.

Anyway, all my sources say Melodyne DNA is very much on track, and still looks fantastic to me. I’m sure, as with any audio algorithm, you’ll find audio that doesn’t work perfectly, but that’s true even of simple things like a Compressor.

The good news is, if you don’t have enough to do or have extra time on your hands, you can use the affordable Melodyne Uno to have fun right now, by recreating the spooky voice of the GLaDOS computer from the video game Portal. Behold:

Lately, I’ve had a number of conversations with audio and music tech industry figures in which they complained about the untamed wilderness of the Internet. These chats didn’t necessarily start with “You crazy kids and your…,” though I suspect that may have been implied. I’m sure that odd twists like this rumor were what they had in mind.

The Web does indeed give the power to transmit inaccurate information quickly – but it’s equally quick at correcting it. And it does gives us things like this awesome GLaDOS tutorial, so to me, it all balances out.

I am a crazy kid, though. Guilty as charged.

Stay tuned for that beta.

  • Jez

    I can't tell you how glad I am to have read this before actually seeing those rumors. I think I made a dozen friends sit through that YouTube demo last year, excitedly explaining to the non-musicians why this is the "holy grail." I hadn't been that excited since I discovered you can buy Cadbury Cream Eggs by the case.

    And I probably won't even use Melodyne DNA when it's released — it isn't really what I do these days… I'm just excited for it from an academic perspective.

    What will be the next holy grail?

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    I guess we may have to go after THE Holy Grail now. ;)

  • http://www.covops.org Bjorn

    I call dibs on searching the castle with the maidens!

  • bliss

    Coincidence? I checked the Celemony website early this morning to see if DNA was still on its way. Hadn't heard any rumors. Anyway, glad it's still coming.

  • http://www.rutgermuller.nl Rutger

    A polyphonic note editor has already been released!

    http://www.improvisator.de/en/vvoxpoly.htm

    25 euro's for the beta that is out now. 99 for the full version soon.

    Haven't tested it yet…

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Rutger:

    Yes, as covered here previously:
    http://createdigitalmusic.com/2009/02/05/visualvo

    And at EUR25, looks well worth a look. It just doesn't appear to have the level of sophistication Celemony does, though that's not a big surprise. I do like competition – and maybe you'll get some different results out of the improvisator thing.

  • http://compusition.com adamj

    Although I am really excited for this technology because it's awesome, I wasn't expecting to buy Melodyne products because I don't want to make music that sounds like Cher or Kyane West.

    But that GLaDOS tutorial is really cool! I was wondering how they did those vocal effects when I played Portal. This vid sounds very close to the actual game. I wonder if Valve used Melodyne?

    Hmm, maybe I will need to play with Melodyne after all. DNA will be a nice tool for reworking all those gigs of unused loops, and turning them into a unique creation of my own that I would actually use in a song.

  • http://www.sureno.co.uk Sureno

    well i must admit i did post a couple threads with news of this, not endorsing it but just making it known the possibility of the rumour, im over the moon it is a hoax as i am eagerly awaiting my update and have posted a link to this site to all plus extra sites iv posted on

  • http://www.escapation.nl Emile van de Coeveri

    Can you imagine the quality of remixes that can be made with Melodyne?

  • http://jordanbalagot.com Jordan314

    Beta in June?? Rrgh, remember when it was due out in 2008?

  • gwenhwyfaer

    Not, of course, that shipping late and shipping with a host of bugs and several MIA features are at all mutually exclusive… ;)

  • Sharon

    I’m glad someone caused this stir! Otherwise, Melodyne would have probably kept mum about their much-awaited product. :) Looking forward to the beta version…

  • Filippo Lo Meo

    still waiting.. forever?

  • Luke

    Where was the June beta? It's vaporware, end of story! Q: What is the best way to stop your competitors doing R&D on the holy grail of digital audio? A: Say you've already done it, and produce a bogus video to get everyone excited.

  • Pingback: Create Digital Music » Melodyne Automagic Pitch-Changing Direct Note Access is Here, in Beta

  • sohosteve

    I'm surprised Melodyne have gotten away with the fact that when they announced DNA's release in 'early 09' they promised purchasers would get DNA for free.

    I wonder if that holds true for those poor misguided fools who were tricked into buying the product back then, believing they'd be getting DNA as part of the deal with only a few months to wait.

    I personally know of one person who laid out cash for Melodyne at that time and for that specific reason.

    I thought there were laws against this kind of thing?

    Celemony should be forced to provide the DNA feature free of charge for everyone who's purchased Melodyne since that infamous video was aired.

    Otherwise they've sold countless copies with false promises.

  • Yootha

    And 3 years after it was announced as being “late” – STILL nothing? White elephant in the room….

    • afafafaf

      I have it… It’s as good as the demos say. The demos on youtube weren’t playing prefabricated demos. You can hear a tiny bit of artifact and that’s all there is. There are many glitches in differentiating between overtones and actual notes; however, It’s 99% awesome. You can pick individual notes in an ORCHESTRA and move them up or down an entire 5th. It’s not perfect but it works. And I’m really surprised this isn’t international news, seeing as it’s ground-breaking technology, a giant leap forward for mankind.