modstepbrowser

Modstep is now a hub for everything; learn how to use it

Modstep, the step sequencer on steroids on iOS, just got a huge pile of new features. It hosts AU plug-ins (yes, iOS plug-ins). It adds per-track MIDI, for hardware and apps. It has loads of new features for clips and arranging. It is, basically, a MIDI daw with built-in instruments that’s unlike nearly anything on desktop – only it was designed from the ground-up for the iPad. In fact, it does so much that it’s a bit overwhelming. So, let’s take a birds-eye view of what’s new – and then turn to the singular educational force that s Jakob Haq …

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kirk_elcapitan

OS X El Capitan update breaks some music software

You know the drill. There’s a new operating system from Apple. It breaks some music software. If you don’t like things breaking, you should wait a bit. Then once you’ve verified the stuff you need is compatible, go for it – it’s probably better than the last OS once the wrinkles are ironed out. This post occurs with each new OS, a bit like some sites do Holiday Shopping Guides, or April Fools’ jokes. I could almost turn it into a Mad Libs post. But here are the specifics.

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auextensions

Plug-ins On Your iPad, iPhone – And on Mac App Store, Too?

While some Apple watchers fear the transformation of OS X into iOS, it would be more accurate to say that Apple has gradually been bringing its next-generation architectures to both platforms. And in the process, iOS is able to perform feats formerly only possible on the Mac. What’s next: Audio Unit “extensions points.” And the upshot of this will be plug-ins on your iPad and iPhone (and perhaps someday Apple Watch), all using a new framework that will work on both OS X and iOS. The feature was buried in a slide deck in the WWDC keynote and appeared shortly …

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Oh, so that's where it's been hiding. Click Smart Controls (top) and then the Inspector (bottom); you might need to adjust a preference (below).

How to Make GarageBand Work with Your Plug-ins – Even Though Apple Hid Them

GarageBand is a pretty amazing no-cost tool. You get a solid, reliable production app built on the same framework as Logic. It has loads of built-in sounds – instruments and loops. It has easy-to use but capable editing, complete with notation view. There’s now a virtual Drummer which can be fun for sketching out song ideas and backing tracks. And it’s very guitarist/instrumentalist friendly: there’s a big tuner (cough, Ableton), amps and effects. And did I mention it’s free? Just one problem: you might not immediately work out how to use third-party plug-ins. GarageBand 10 got rid of some features …

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It covers just the basics, but sounds the business - and it's free with the SYSTEM-1. The SH-101 plug-in. (Yes, plug-in - we're not to the plug-out bit yet.)

Roland’s PLUG-OUT SH-101 Doesn’t Work in Many Hosts; What You Need to Know

Roland’s PLUG-OUT introduces a new way to deliver electronic musical instruments. You get a plug-in you run on your computer, but then the same sound-making code can be loaded onto hardware – the AIRA SYSTEM-1 synth keyboard. The good news is, the future-y stuff all works perfectly well. As we reported in our initial hands-on, when the installation works, you can use the software alone, the SYSTEM-1 alone, or a combination, which is a nice arrangement. The bad news is, the old-fashioned “install the plug-in and it works in your DAW” part? Well, for some – not so much. We’ve …

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audulus_synth_t

Audulus is Simple, Elegant Mac Modular App for $15, Now With Plugin Support

Audulus Briefing from Taylor Holliday on Vimeo. In a physical studio – heck, even with some guitar stompboxes – it’s customary to get the rig you want by connecting different modules. So, it makes absolute sense that software might work this way, too. But many popular modular options, while insanely powerful, can overwhelm simple tasks. Audulus, by contrast, may be an accessible tool for users. It doesn’t do everything – I’d like to see more sequencers and such, please – but it does have a nice collection of useful utilities. The basic idea: hook up some modules graphically, and process …

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NumerologyAU-1

Numerology 3, Modular Mac Modular Sequencing Tool, Gets More Flexible, More Generative

The modular MIDI step sequencer for Mac, Numerology 3, gets a big update today, adding humanization, generative patterns, and an enhanced UI and functionality. That makes this a more powerful laboratory than ever for creating new musical patterns. There’s also now a budget “Standard” edition and more advanced “Pro” version, AU support for use as a plug-in with some impressive scheduling accuracy and low-latency MIDI support, and lots of new modules. The basic idea of Numerology is to turn your Mac into a set of modules for assembling musical patterns, and now you can either make Numerology a (very powerful) …

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maschine_plugs

Maschine Groove Box to Add Plug-in Hosting in Early 2011

Choosing a computer for production generally means choosing flexibility, the ability to more effortlessly combine lots of sound sources and techniques. So it makes sense that, given that Native Instruments’ Maschine promises to bring computer-style flexibility to hardware-style groove box and drum machine workflows, it should behave like computer software. And that has meant many Maschine enthusiasts have asked for plug-in hosting. It doesn’t make Maschine a generalized “DAW” production tool, but it could mean, for people who like the drum machine style of working, the ability to mix and match sound sources as you can in a DAW. With …

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Trifonic Video Tutorials on NI Massive, Dronemaker; Free Spectral Plug-ins on Mac

Trifonic: Making Pads with Spectral Dronemaker from Next Step Audio on Vimeo. Brian of the music production team Trifonic completes his two-part series on synthesizing sounds with Native Instruments Massive (which shows nicely here, though you could also translate these techniques to similar semi-modular synths). Part one from May covers oscillators, filters, and other features, further processed with a third-party plug; part two this week covers the performance editor and filters “to make sweet bass sounds.” (I like sweet and sour bass sounds, myself.) Check out the videos below. What I love about Brian’s videos is that they’re very much …

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Free Tremolo Audio Unit for Mac, with the SuperCollider AU Wrapper

Cypod sends his simple but handy adjustable tremolo plug-in, which he’s made available free: Tremolo Audio Unit [Cypod blog] But that’s only half of the reason this is cool. He used the SuperColliderAU tool, which allows sonic effects built in the free, open-source audio coding language SuperCollder to become standard AU plug-ins. (He demonstrates it in Ableton Live.) Good stuff. So, is there an equivalent for Windows VST or even Linux LADSPA, with SuperCollider? http://supercolliderau.sourceforge.net/

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