Remember when a $200 budget used to buy you a metronome and flight case, if you were lucky? Now, you have a range of great synths you can choose from. And now it’s Akai’s turn.
The Rhythm Wolf is an integrated analog groove box – a 32-step sequencer, an analog drum machine, and a bassline synth in one. And it’s just $199 street. We’ve got all the details on the box, and should have more hands-on impressions later this week. Continue reading »
It all started in 1966 as a way to fake multiple takes – and it works pretty well for any vocals. And now, in one of the more ambitious emulation efforts undertaken recently, software engineers are hoping to recreate a sound you know quite well from artists like The Beatles.
And oh, yeah, even if you don’t want to sound like Paul or John or George, this turns out to be a pretty easy way to double up vocal recordings. That is, if they’ve done a convincing emulation.
Plug-in giant Waves Audio has partnered with Abbey Road Studios themselves, and say they’ve succeeded in emulating the effect partly because they’ve gotten an inside track on how the technique was performed.
Whether Abbey Road gave up some essential secret or not, though, it seems the quality of this effect will depend on how good the modeling is – and modeling non-linear processes like wow and flutter and specific musical effects isn’t easy. But first, let’s talk about what we mean. As Waves themselves explain:
By connecting the primary tape machine to a second, speed-controlled machine, two versions of the same signal could be played back simultaneously. And by gently wobbling the frequency of an oscillator to vary the speed of the second machine, the replayed signal could be moved around just enough to make it sound like a separate take.
(The video below goes into more detail with the original creator.) In other words, “Artificial Double Tracking” or ADT as created by engineer Ken Townsend is really a fancy name for “doubling up tape recordings and intentionally making them wobble.” Even if you don’t want to emulate the Beatles, that’s juicy stuff for modeling. And it has real historic import, an effect beloved by John Lennon (who called it “Ken’s Flanger,” says the Waves press release).
There are definitely creative possibilities here. Waves has added individual saturation controls, and can be used not only for doubling efects but flanging and phasing. There’s MIDI assignable controls, too, so you can get that “twisting the knob” feeling. You can set it to either automatic or manual.
It’s also not expensive: the intro price is US$99, after which it rises to $200.
Now the question remains: how does it sound? While we wait on that answer, it’s a treat to get to hear from the real Ken Townsend. He’s absolutely real, and not an emulation.
Great tidbits there – one of them being why some of the mono mixes are better than the stereo ones.
Here’s the obligatory promo video: Continue reading »
Even before the world had seen the iPad, the promise of Lemur was a touchable interface that could become anything – a Star Trek-like world in which you could touch fluid controls directly to make live music and visuals.
The reality, though, was more limited. Users were limited to a library of widgets. That included useful controls, like knobs, faders, and even more far-out physics-enabled X/Y pads, buct widgets, nonetheless.
A major update to Lemur this week blows that wide open, in two ways. First, it overhauls how sequencing works, with both tighter timing and new objects, ideal for use with MIDI gadgets. Second, it has a widget interface that can become just about anything.
Continue reading »
Fyrd Instruments’ MTRX is a beautiful-looking, boutique hardware sequencer. But its one drawback had been the 8-step sequencer. Now, this should give you steps: think four simultaneous sequences, 32 steps, and the ability to output on the MIDI port and USB port simultaneously.
Commenters frequently complain that technology for its own sake gets in the way of music. Well, that may be so, but here, the sequence sounds excellent. Our own MeeBlip (in the older SE version) joins some other great hardware and software: the Shruthi open source hardware, Native Instruments’ Monark, and Madrona Labs’ Aalto – three of my favorite synths. (By the way, hearing it again, the SE-generation MeeBlip sounds good, but I can confidently say I think anode sounds better; it’s now shipping and we’ll have it at Musikmesse this week.)
You get robust sequencing on all four sequencers: Continue reading »
Synth maker Waldorf revealed the 2-pole Analog Filter in the USA at the NAMM show. Now, they’re coming home to Germany with more details.
The emphasis here is making a filter for everyone: producers and synthesists, yes, but also DJs and guitarists. We already know guitarists like having access to this stuff if it can be playable (see KOMA, Moog), and if Waldorf can sell DJs a buttery filter instead of the awful stuff you get on many DJ mixers, they may be doing the world a public service.
The hardware has an all-analog filter path, which makes sense for a filter, using Waldorf’s own multimode filter design. (Waldorf has a track record here, with the 4-Pole, X-Pole, AFB16, Q+, Wave, and Pulse.) To that, they’ve added modulation (LFO, envelope follower, or external signal), and a lot of goodies that let you do more with the sound.
To keep this from just being a boring filter, there’s a Rectifier and overdrive after the filter; as you hear in the video, you can make some extreme-squelchy sounds, making this as much an effect as a run-of-the-mill filter.
And playability/performance options are what might really justify buying this as dedicated gear. There’s a Trigger button so you can “play” the result, true bypass, CV input for those with other analog gear, foot pedal controls for both the filter and envelope follower.
“Funk up your guitar licks.” Or lick up your guitar funk, perhaps. In any case, crank up the modulation and you have some pretty wild sounds.
Continue reading »
Yeah, yeah, fake knobs and faders.
A video teaser reveals what Lemur developer Liine is about to announce, and … whoa.
Via Dr. Nick at Liine on Vine.
As always, we’ll be on top of it. (Actually, not always. This time, we’ll be on top of it. Check in some time in the next 24 hours or so, I’m guessing.) Continue reading »
Music is transformed by context, by instrumentation and space and setting. With amplified music, thinking about content alone isn’t enough. Visualists now work with projection mapping and lighting constructions and lasers and the like. It seems electronic musicians as a scene may benefit from thinking more about speakers.
We saw recently 4DSOUND, an immersive architectural installation. But that requires carrying around columns. Here’s a multichannel system you can tote along with you, like an umbrella. The results look like a prop from a post-apocalyptic Terry Gilliam movie; it’s sound as object.
pseudo multichannel personal autonomous sound installation with 10 panning spots
- 10 speakers
- optical relays
- arduino uno
- micro sd wav player
Practical? Perhaps not. But it’s a reminder that there are many unexpected ways to get sound to a listener.
The project is the work of Moscow-based “media-artist, musician and engineer of strange-sounding mechanisms” Dmitry Morozov. He has posted plans and full Arduino source code if you’d like to try this yourself.
And you can find a network of artists around Moscow doing this stuff:
::vtol:: “anywhere” from ::vtol:: on Vimeo.