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Ableton Live can be a fantastic tool for playing live, for improvisation, and for studio work. But while some people put together very effective DJ sets, it doesn’t always stack up to other software out there in terms of satisfying certain significant DJ techniques.

And that’s too bad. Because if your DJ aspirations include lots of creative juggling of beats, Ableton Live would seem perfect.

The DJ Collection from Isotonik Studios – the advanced Max for Live hackers who have been releasing a dizzying array of tools for customizing how Live works – provides some of the tools advanced DJs crave.

And by “DJing,” we really mean sophisticated beat juggling, slicing, and looping techniques – so quite relevant to anyone using improvisation and rhythm heavily, whether or not in a DJ set per se.

All of this gets really interesting as of Live 9.2. In fact, it was Isotonik who tipped me off to the fact that the Live 9.2 API had changed in some interesting ways. Now, it may not be clear to you why you should care about some arcane under-the-hood API calls having to do with how clips are triggered. And frankly, you don’t have to care. But because Max for Live developers were able to see daylight through these newly-poked holes, they were able to go spelunking in some new tunnels, as it were.

And what you will care about, some of you, is what you can do.

Isotonik Studios DJ Collection – DJ Hot Cue Universal MIDI from Isotonik Studios on Vimeo.

Continue reading »

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iPad creation tool Auxy may have come with a lot of fanfare touting its simplicity and elegance when it launched. The piano roll-turned-touchable music maker first launched on the merits of doing less, better, then turned into something more of us might use with the addition of MIDI.

But a rather significant upgrade has come without any trumpets or bolts of lightning. I can’t post a screenshot, because all the work is under the hood.

For all the power of today’s mobile devices, though, there’s a significant effort in coaxing optimal performance. So, sometimes this behind-the-surface stuff matters a lot.

I spoke to Auxy 2′s Henrik Lenberg. New in this release:

A new synth engine. DSP is licensed from fellow Swedish dev house Sonic Charge. It’s more optimized, and sounds a whole lot better. (I must confess to not distinctly remembering what the old version sounded like, but it seems good!)

More stuff at once. That optimization means you can get more synths running even if you don’t have the fastest Apple hardware.

Ducking. Sidechaining done automatically.

Edit chromatically, and get advanced editing for free. Arnold Schoenberg and even Richard Wagner are pleased.

Share right from the program. You can upload tracks directly from Auxy, and then link to a webpage. (Cough – come on, Apple, you realize Connect really should have an easy Web presence and not only live inside iTunes. I’m going to keep ranting about that until they fix it.) Here’s how that looks:

screenshot_47 Continue reading »

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Apple Music, the company’s streaming / social / radio service, rolls out today. So you’ll see plenty of people talking about how it looks to listeners.

But how does it look to artists?

If you followed my previous advice about signing up for “Music for Artists” via Apple Connect, you may already be having a look. But here’s the big-picture overview.

Connect – Where?

Connect involves a few ingredients:
1. A Web-administered identity, connected to your iTunes account
2. A (read-only) presence with content in iTunes on desktop
3. The ability to both read and add content from the Apple Music app on iOS Continue reading »

audiomux

Audiomux already changed how we use our iPhones and iPads. Out: juggling cables and audio interfaces just to record an app. In: using apps seamlessly on your computer via just a Lightning or (30-pin) Dock cable.

Well, if that didn’t make you interested in plugging your iPad into your DAW, this should. Using an app as a synth or effect on iOS is now about to be as easy as adding a plug-in — even on Windows.

Audiomux isn’t the only game in town. Apple announced this month at its developer conference that was baking some basic functionality into iOS for routing audio to a connected computer. What Apple calls “Inter-Device Audio” will turn your iOS gadget into a USB 2.0 audio class-compliant device – meaning it’ll appear as an audio interface on any computer, without installing a driver. It also mutes system sounds over that connection, so an alert won’t screw up your audio. But the new feature supports stereo output only, so it’s only useful for recording apps. And it requires iOS 9 – so it’s not out yet.

Audiomux already does more than that, and Audiomux 2 adds icing on the top.

Fundamentally, Audiomux lets you ditch the audio interface and integrate your iOS gadget via a single cable. It works with output – so you can record, or make samples, or add effects on your computer. It works with input – round-trip, even, so you can add iOS effects to projects you’re working on via your computer. And it works with multiple apps and even multiple devices, making iOS tools part of your studio rather than just the thing you use to distract yourself while waiting at a bus terminal.

Now, the power features: Continue reading »

All those pads – it took virtuoso finger drummer Mad Zach to take advantage of them.

Mad Zach’s five free Drum Racks accompany today’s release of Ableton Live 9.2. Since he, frankly, makes most of us look bad with his agile use of the Push hardware, I wanted CDM to talk to him more about what he’s doing. He joins us to share some tips for live performance, production, DJing, and more.

64 Pad Lab by Mad Zach Continue reading »

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A free update to Ableton Live, version 9.2, is now available and out of beta. We covered this in some detail before:
Live 9.2 Answers Your Warp, Automation, Tuner, and Pad Wishes
Hands on with the Ableton Live 9.2 Tuner [Video]

But today, in addition to the release, we get a closer look at the free Mad Zach sample pack included to help you exploit all 64 pads of Ableton’s Push hardware — plus some insider details on changes to the Live API that will impact power users and add-ons for Live.

First, let’s review what 9.2 adds. It’s some subtle stuff, but details I think a lot of you were anticipating:

  • Better latency compensation. Lower latency for plug-ins and Max for Live, plus latency-compensated automation.
  • Warping sounds and works better. Downbeat detection is better (phew!) and you can Warp Selection for the first time. Also, warping is more precise and punchier (in the better-sounding Complex and Complex Pro modes).
  • There’s a tuner. Hardly earth-shaking, but good that’s finally standard – whether you’re using a guitar or synth.
  • Max 7. The latest-and-greatest Max is now baked into Live – and that’s a great thing, given the cool stuff Max 7 includes (a lot of it waiting on this very Ableton update).
  • Push is better at aftertouch. Push harder. Aftertouch implementation itself is improved, and it’s supported in more factory sound patches, too.
  • Push touch strip does mod. You can now add modulation with the Push touch strip – maybe even more useful than pitch bend (already supported).
  • Push has a 64-pad layout. Whereas previously triggering samples and such split the Push layout into a separate step sequencer and pads, now you can use all 64 pads if you choose.

And, the bonus: to exploit those 64 pads, you get a free pack from Mad Zach pre-loaded with samples to try out. He walks you through that video here: Continue reading »

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As the transformation of music heats up, the discussions are heating up, too.

Case in point: yesterday’s report on Eternify certainly earned some angry responses.

I was of the opinion that Eternify was a decent gimmick – a way of showing just how small fees from streamed music are. Imagine if the music you bought only got a fraction of a cent to the artist each time you played it. I don’t think there’s practically an album in my collection I’ve listened to enough times that streaming fees would add up to purchase fees.

Now, does that mean that Spotify or Apple Music are the end of music? Not necessarily. It’s clear that the industry built around record labels hasn’t always served artists well. (Cough. Understatement.) Streaming services offer more questions. What sort of access will artists have to getting their music on these services directly – even bypassing a label? What sort of control will they have once it’s there? How can they help people find their music, and what sort of data about listeners can they collect?

In other words, we’re entering a more multi-dimensional industry. Instead of focusing on the actual purchase price of a recording, or even a per-play license fee in the conventional collections model, the game now is really about what the total value of a service is to artists. Continue reading »