Hey, look: a controller, right in your browser, with drag-and-drop editing. No app needed.

Hey, look: a controller, right in your browser, with drag-and-drop editing. No app needed.

Tablet or phone or touch-enabled desktop computer – now it doesn’t matter. A free tool called (for the moment) Nexus lets you make any browser a canvas for music. iOS, Android, Windows, Mac – if the browser is there, your creations become omni-platform.

Shown at the NIME (New Interfaces for Musical Expression) conference in London earlier this month, Nexus is the most complete foundation for this idea seen yet. And since it’s free, it’s open to others to build upon. Right out of the box, it includes basic interface widgets obviously inspired by Lemur (and apps like TouchOSC), so you get faders and knobs and multi-touch arrangements of balls and keyboards and so on. But because it’s all built with Web tech, anyone can create any interface they imagine – with a custom look and feel, and complete with animations. And even in the browser, it uses OSC (Open Sound Control), for flexibility with a range of commercial or custom-built software.

Various demos are featured in a video:

There are a few ways you can work with Nexus, depending on whether you’re an end user or a coder, and which tools you prefer: Continue reading »

FLStudio64 BitRC_small

Imagine if you could go back in time and tell yourself you could some day you would have a copy of Fruity Loops that supported up to 512 gigabytes of RAM.

Well, while it’s doubtful anyone will use that theoretical capacity, technically speaking that day has arrived.

The big news: you’re no longer limited to 4GB of RAM in FL Studio. FL already let you skirt that problem a bit by loading plug-ins and samples separately, but in 32-bit mode, “the core FL Studio 32 Bit process is still limited to 4 GB and so out-of-memory errors can occur when editing very long audio files in Edison, or when the memory management techniques are not used. This won’t happen with FL Studio 64 Bit. Additionally, FL Studio 64 Bit also includes a complete update of most plugins to native 64 Bit format.” Continue reading »

FFS CA Convoluting Anode Web

The technique is called convolution, and it uses the power of digital audio theory to combine sounds, as if one is heard “inside” another. And if you’ve heard of it before, you probably associate it with reverb – rightfully so, as you can produce highly detailed, realistic reverberation with the technique. But as celebrated film and TV composer Diego Stocco has shown us previously, you can use that same potential to create sounds that would be otherwise impossible.

And it means you can fuse the sounds of a synthesizer with totally unrelated sounds to create something unlike you’ve ever heard before.

Diego Stocco recently picked up our own monosynth, the MeeBlip anode. Let me be a bit humble here for a moment. The hardware alone really doesn’t do the work. We tried to make a synthesizer that has its own personality, that inspires people. But it’s really a lot to do with the musician who picks up what we designed: Diego makes sounds with anode that sound like him, that don’t sound like just another analog monosynth – gorgeous, droning detuned hums reminiscent of a just-discovered, ancient folk instrument.

Continue reading »

Sonicstate has a First Look at the new Modulus 002 from Andy McCreeth on Vimeo.

It’s been a while since Britain produced a polysynth with analog filters. So perhaps it’s fitting that SonicState gets up close with the modulus.002, in a lavish, nearly half-hour tour of the instrument, as this luxury instrument goes head to head in a very select club (including Dave Smith’s Prophet 12, as far as the New World goes).

And the modulus.002 has some more surprises, as the creators show off their analog tradition-meets-modern design production. It looks very high-end indeed, and has a slick, modern layout to match (though they’ve still included wooden end panels). There’s a joystick for the wavetables. There are pretty text labels. And there’s a bright, crisp AMOLED display, a bit reminiscent of the Teenage Engineering OP-1 (but still something of an rarity in the cut-cost world of synths). There are “animator” features for sequencing parameters, and deep options for mucking about with all those digital oscillators.

All in all, it looks like a luxurious instrument you’d want to pin to your bedroom wall and lust after, girls and boys.

It’s a great tour with Paul Maddox, Philip Taysom, and Luca Mucci – was a pleasure to meet Liam Lacey, as well, recently, in London.

And extraordinarily, developed in just 12 months.

And about the cost – brace yourselves – £2995 +VAT / $5200 / €3750. Yes, watching this video seems a bit like seeing the synth equivalent of Top Gear. There’s a thing of absolute, total beauty that my wallet can’t quite fathom at the moment.

Which brings me to an obvious observation: I’d love to see a monosynth version, a modulus.002.mini, if you will. Sure, the layering is great, but there’s still an awful lot of fun that could be had with a single voice, the joystick, and some parameter animation, for those of us on a budget.

But it’s phenomenal to see something high-end like this in wide production, and it seems the birth of a great new maker. Can’t wait to give you folks a visit soon, and definitely will be on my agenda for any UK tour.

Modulus.002 PolySynth Exclusive First Look

Also, some specs to summarise for you: Continue reading »


So, you’ve assembled a nice collection of synthesizers. Maybe there’s hardware – some KORG volcas, a MeeBlip or two, or even modular. And of course, you have software synths, as well. Playing each individually – that’s kind of limited. Why not treat these as the digital instruments they are?

That’s the idea behind Polymer, a new Mac app out today on the Mac App Store. It can turn multiple monophonic synths into a polyphonic synth – making a “giant mutant polysynth” out of devices you’ve got. In fact, you don’t even have to use hardware exclusively – it works with software apps, too. Having covered hardware earlier today, many of you complained that you don’t have the money for hardware. Here, a couple of cheap monosynths can be a polysynth; a MeeBlip and Massive can turn into a hybrid software/hardware instrument.

Basically, if it uses MIDI – hardware or software – you can now treat it as one instrument. This was certainly possible before, sure. But it’s never been quite this easy.

CDM got an exclusive advance look at the app. Our full review and some demos will come shortly, but I’m already really impressed.

Here’s how it works: Continue reading »

It's an MPC you can take with you to the laundromat.

It’s an MPC you can take with you to the laundromat.

Can you squeeze an MPC onto an iPad?

Years later, the MPC still represents a comfortable way for many people to get producing music quickly, across a variety of genres. What began as the constraints of a few physical pads led to a way of working that, at least for some, can unlock creativity. So even though the iPad looks nothing like the original MPC, the tablet’s mobility and its emphasis on sampling make the MPC approach a good fit.

Akai’s iMPC Pro isn’t the first app to try to get MPC-style workflows on Apple’s tablet. But the “Pro” in the new version of iMPC does fit a lot of powerful sampling features into something you can use on the go. It sits somewhere between the nearly-a-DAW, do-everything approach of Intua’s BeatMaker 2 and the more slimmed-down Native Instruments iMaschine for iPad. And what it does exceptionally well is load a lot of sounds and combine them with MPC-style performance options – even if you only use the touchscreen.

The app launches right now, but I’ve had a chance to take it for a spin and get some first hands-on impressions. I can tell you straight away that the app doesn’t deliver everything on everyone’s wish list. But fresh design will make up for that for some.

First, a quick run-down of what iMPC Pro offers:

Sampling, iOS style: use any Inter App Audio-compatible app as a source, easily.

Sampling, iOS style: use any Inter App Audio-compatible app as a source, easily.

Continue reading »

Love. Photo (CC-BY acidpix.

Love. Photo (CC-BY acidpix.

We’re not so much in the habit of posting jams on CDM, but this one is especially nice – even through the freak-out visuals. And it comes from friends – Nigel Mullaney, with recording and engineering by Ian Boddy.

Seen in the film:
Elektron Analog4 keys
Elektron Octatrak
Elektron Machinedrum
KORG volca series

Look closely through that shaky video, and you might get some clue as to why people love hardware. There’s plenty of reason not to go the hardware route: computers alone still offer more power, more flexibility, and more sound for your buck.

But have a look at this hardware, and ask yourself – how much software, even in combination with controllers, offers this kind of control? Ableton Push, Maschine, and the like are more exceptions than the rule. Go one step further, and the design of even software/hardware combinations remains fundamentally different than hardware. Hardware is all about constraints: even with more powerful DSP innards and the like, there are restrictions on design. There’s a limit to the number of physical controls you can fit (or afford to manufacture); physical controls themselves can’t have unlimited functions. Continue reading »