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Learn audio skills as a game, free, with your ears as guide

You are probably equipped with ears as sharp and precise as the world’s top sound professionals. What you lack, then, is training.

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I tried this test once, took a lunch break, came back and tried again. Totally different results. Mainly, it taught me that I mostly don't want to listen to this music, and The Killers are a victim of the Loudness Wars.

This is the Only Thing You Need to Know About “Hifi” Tidal Streaming

So, in case you haven’t heard yet, there’s a new “hifi” streaming service called Tidal. Don’t waste your time watching the weird press event with Madonna and Daft Punk, congratulating themselves like they’re at the Grammies. Don’t let yourself be mesmerized by the desaturated music video in which Jay Z’s friends all get together to drink champagne and talk about “making a stand.” Don’t worry about the European startup that made the tech, or sweat the pricing. Don’t even hand over your credit card in order to start a free trial. No, the only thing you need to do is …

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Get a $250 Eventide Channel Strip, Free, for Any Platform

You know those infomercials that tell you to call now – though it makes absolutely no difference when you call? This is the opposite of that. Basically, you can buy a new 64-bit channel strip plug-in from Eventide for US$249. Or, act now, and it will cost … nothing. It’s free, through the 8th of July. I had to read this twice; I thought maybe it was an older version or an existing plug-in. It’s not. Their intro price is zero, and then it goes up to two hundred fifty bucks. And coming from Eventide, this is especially big news, …

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Record a Mic, Guitar with UA’s Apollo Twin, and Model Analog Like Never Before [Thunderbolt, $699]

Universal Audio’s new Apollo Twin (in SOLO and DUO variants, starting at US$699) gives you quite a lot of value on a single Thunderbolt connection to your Mac. It’s shipping now. It’s an audio interface, with connections for line, mic, or instruments. It’s a real-time DSP processor, adding the ability to run UA’s suite of (mostly analog-modeling) sound processing goodies. (SOLO/DUO refers to how much DSP muscle you get.) And it’s a bundle of UA models of analog hardware, including a rather nice pair of limiters, an EQ, amp models, and tube preamps. If you think they’re hoping guitarists and …

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xcomp

Circuit-Modeled Dynamics, Plus One Free Plug-in, From FXpansion

Quietly, FXpansion have been making some well-loved, circuit-modeling instruments in the DCAM series. They may not be a household name, but just ask around artists – producers I know consistently bring up the DCAM name and just talk about it sounding damned good. Now, DCAM turns to processing and not just synths. DCAM Dynamics is a suite of plug-ins, each based on models of analog circuitry. There’s a good range of stuff here, covering the gamut from fine-tune adjustments to more creative applications, and I’m eager to try them. Best of all, the freebie here isn’t just a cut-down throwaway, …

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sunvoxdevices

SunVox, Production Tool That Runs Almost Everywhere, Gets Updates; Watch Videos

God Bless Russian engineering. As of this summer, it’s the only ticket to and from our space station, via a capsule that Just Works. It gaves us the very first electronic instrument (thanks, Professor Theremin). And it gives us an insane music tracker slash production tool slash soft synth selection slash modular hosting environment that runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, Palm, Windows Mobile (yes, you’re reading this list right), and now iOS and iPad. Well, don’t just thank Russian engineering. Thank Alex Zolotov, who sends along his latest work. Highlights: Waveform drawing A drum synth Sample recording Side chain compression …

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Radiohead King of Limbs in 24-bit FLAC; How to Listen Lossless on Any OS, Device

Why shouldn’t a digital download be better, not worse, than a CD release? Sit in a studio as most of your favorite albums are recorded, mixed, and mastered, and odds are the digital material is being recorded at higher bit depths and sample rates. And while the perceptual record is more mixed, there’s also no question that, in terms of data, lossy compression schemes like MP3 do demand some loss in audio information. (Lossless schemes like FLAC, by contrast, use less data but do so without sacrificing sound information.) All of this means that it’s news that you can get …

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Microsounds: Compressed Sound Art to Amuse, Shock, and Confuse

Digital technology has the power to transmit information more efficiently, to make the invisible visible, and to express new things. It can also be pushed so far to the limits of actually transmitting information to be meaningless. It can push well beyond what we can even perceive in a useful way. What’s bizarre and wonderful about Johannes Kreidler’s work is that he’s not afraid of pushing toward that boundary. The results may have only a shred of remaining meaning, or be intentionally, comically meaningless. But he’s nothing if not inventive. Compression Sound Art (2009) [“Comments on Music – Musical Zip-Files …

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Compression Lovers: Free Audio Damage Plug-in, Ableton+Reaktor Trick

Sure, we may live deep into the future. High in our Blade Runner apartment studios, we use androids for all of the vocals. Yet we still have that occasional need for good, old-fashioned compression. Like the soy-based dinners we microwave and the synthehol beer we wash it down with, it has to be simulated. Audio Damage has earned its cult following thanks to inexpensive plug-ins with no-nonsense controls that just seem to fit into projects. So it’s nice to see his new, free Rough Rider compressor. Simple controls, a slight vintage tint, and crankable parameters – not the “careful with …

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Listeners Test New 256kbps iTunes Plus Tracks — Can You Taste Test the Difference?

Apple’s iTunes Plus is here, featuring higher-res files and no DRM. CDM reader Ryan Pollack points us to Slashdot, where readers are abuzz about a Maximum PC taste test shootout: “Maximum PC did double-blind testing with ten listeners in order to determine whether or not normal people could discern the quality difference between the new 256kbps iTunes Plus files and the old, DRM-laden 128kbps tracks. But wait, there’s more! To add an extra twist, they also tested Apple’s default iPod earbuds vs. an expensive pair of Shure buds to see how much of an impact earbud quality had on the …

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