halion4

HALion 4, Steinberg’s Sampler + Synth Soft Workstation, Gets Deeper

Sampler? Synth? Workstation? Or just big bucket of sound? There are some impressive rabbit holes for sound designers out there, and Steinberg’s offering just got a big refresh. While looking at the latest flagship from a music hardware giant (Roland’s Jupiter-80), it’s revealing to compare the software side of the fence. Computer software instruments may not be directly equivalent to all-in-one keyboards, but they do each embody the latest thinking in how to build expressive instruments and new sounds. German maker Steinberg is at home at this week’s giant Messe trade show, and they’ve taken the wraps off the upcoming …

READ MORE →
maschine16_screen

Maschine 1.6 Sample Workstation, Now with Plug-ins, Makes a Standalone Workflow Solution

I’ve been following Maschine since prototype stages. The idea was at once obvious and welcome: build a software workstation, tightly integrated with pad hardware control, that fuses hardware sampler working methods with the on-screen flexibility of software. It’s software that focuses on working with sounds and patterns, outside the DAW-style metaphors. Of course, there’s one thing you might quickly miss about your DAW – certain software instruments or effects that are available as plug-ins. That makes 1.6 the version a lot of people have been waiting for. With plug-in hosting capabilities, it could now be your all-in-one production and performance …

READ MORE →
GiantFL10ScreenshotNoText

FL Studio “Fruity Loops” 10 Adds 64-bit Savvy, Smarter Editing, New Pitch, Time, and Harmony Add-ons

The infamous FL Studio “giant screenshot.” Go ahead – eat up our bandwidth and have a closer look at what’s in FL 10, visually; click for the full-size version. FL Studio, aka Fruity Loops, has always been like opening a toybox of sound goodies for sound nerds – up to 30 instruments and 40+ effects in the latest edition. Just about every tool offers deep control for serious sound programmers, but there’s also a sense that those tools can be fun and immediate. And oddly, while developer Image-Line does introduce some instruments and effects as add-ons, all the functionality in …

READ MORE →
macbookprolineup

Native Instruments Updates Make 64-bit Macs Happier

MacBook Pros, 64-bit, all. Photo (CC-BY-SA) Benjamin Nagel. I’m not one to post every single minor software update, but with the latest handful of free upgrades for Native Instruments software, I think it’s safe to say the 64-bit age has come to the Mac musician. Windows developer Cakewalk heralded just this sort of advance for years on the PC side, with largely little company (even beyond the music world), but today, the technology is finally a reality for average users. 64-bit computing means a marginal performance boost on capable machines and more flexible memory usage. The 32-bit Mac has had …

READ MORE →
crystalipad

Powerful Crystal Synth is Free for Windows, Mac, 64-bit; 99 cents on iPad, iPhone

For years, anyone with doubts that soft synths had become commodity needed only to look to Crystal. Not only is this proprietary synth completely free-as-in-beer for Windows and Mac, but it could easily be your only synth if you so desired. Crystal is a semi-modular instrument with the usual trimmings – subtractive and FM synthesis, modulation, multi-stage, graphical envelopes, tempo sync, chorus, flanger, comb filter, delay, and even a band splitter for adding effects per frequency band. If the bread-and-butter stuff doesn’t satisfy, Crystal also has Granular and Wave Density parameters for wavetable synthesis that can be used for granular-style …

READ MORE →

Customization-Friendly Renoise 2.6 Arrives; Duplex Controllerism Explained

The tracker for the rest of us – now more customizable. Click for full-sized version. Ever wish your music software could do something your way, something it can’t do now? Wish you could just get in there and change it yourself? That’s some of the ambition of Renoise 2.6, the multi-platform music creation tool. By opening up the entire music tracker to scripting, users can create custom functionality and control surface. But scripting – while it sounds like the domain of hard-core geeks – doesn’t have to be daunting. That’s important, as presumably you want to spend some time making …

READ MORE →

Cakewalk SONAR X1 Rethinks Windows DAW’s User Interface

Cakewalk’s SONAR has always been a compelling choice of DAW on Windows. Under the hood, its 64-bit processing, 64-bit mix engine, balanced complement of editing features, and quite-nice array of instruments and processors has held enough appeal. But then there’s the interface, which hasn’t held up to the tools underneath. Being pretty isn’t only cosmetic; a visually-refined interface is just easier to look at and use. And aside from aesthetics, moving between editing views or just managing what’s visible on-screen in SONAR can be a chore. It’s a problem not unique to Cakewalk’s DAW: the leading music workstations now simply …

READ MORE →

Soundhack Goodness, Now as Pd and Max External Objects

Soundhack, the free audio tool for the Mac developed by audio wizard Tom Erbe, was long a beloved tool for doing strange and wonderful things for sound. It was followed by Spectral Shapers, Mac and Windows plug-ins that built on some of those ideas to do more “timbral morphing” with recorded audio. That includes “timbral filtering” and noise-reducing expansion with spectralcompand, drawn morphing filter shapes with morphfilter, audio positioning with binaural, and a terrific spectralgate for creative dynamics processing. In what can only come as great news to lovers of patching in the free and open source Pure Data (Pd) …

READ MORE →

The Most Out of Windows 7: Choosing and Optimizing Windows for Music

From our call for CDM reader studios, Eric Beam’s studio. In his setup: Windows 7 64-bit, Cakewalk’s SONAR 8.5 DAW (with native 64-bit support), and the excellent modular patching environment Plogue Bidule. Click through to Flickr for a closer look. Photo (CC-BY) Eric Beam. This week, while we poll readers to find out what platforms they really use and care about for music, we’re launching a new series to help you get the most out of whichever OS you choose. We’ve been covering the complexities of Windows for a while, from the bumpy Vista transition to the smoother advent of …

READ MORE →

64-bit Mac Audio Tools Coming; Logic Pro and Mainstage Add Support

Mac OS X Snow Leopard (10.6) represents the end of a long-running transition of the Mac operating system from 32-bit to 64-bit support. 64-bit computing offers marginal (but measurable) performance improvements, and more importantly the ability to address more RAM — a lot more RAM, currently more than is even physically available in any shipping consumer computer. By contrast, under the current Mac OS, each 32-bit application can access up to 4GB of RAM. A few tools, like Apple’s EXS24 and Native Instruments’ Kontakt samplers, can address greater memory through the use of virtual memory and memory server schemes. But …

READ MORE →