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Virginia’s Fierce For The Night brings the heart house needs

Caught in the shadow of lost idols and shaken faith, pop is wanting some new soul. Now, Ostgut Ton might be the last place you’d expect to look for one of 2016’s great songwriting fixes. (“Singing along” and “Berghain” tend not to be uttered together.) And yet, here we are. Virginia, the Panorama Bar resident, as a new record. And it’s an utter triumph.

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Minimoog controller reminds us hardware, software go hand in hand

What’s an ‘app’? For years, it was an uphill battle just getting people to recognize the ability of computers to generate sounds. When Native Instruments was founded in Berlin in 1996, their name was a clue to where they imagined the future going. Propellerhead’s release of ReBirth in 1997 began a concerted effort by the Stockholm-based company to campaign for in-the-box emulations of gear – and their partner Steinberg would shortly thereafter push ReWire and its own VST. Now, it’s not so much the app as the map – the physical control given to software. Whatever analog versus digital debates …

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Photo (CC-BY) Gastón Gaiduk.

Behringer Just Bought TC, TC Helicon, Tannoy

The music and sound industry is increasingly about big-league consolidation. InMusic – the company behind Akai and M-Audio – is growing. Long-standing Japanese titan Yamaha has snapped up Line6. Gibson now includes everything from Tascam to the website Harmony Central to consumer gear branded Philips. (And yes, throw out whatever you think you know about Gibson from the 90s – this has nothing to do with that.) Now, count the giant MUSIC Group – the parent of Behringer, with Uli Behringer as its chief – among the big sharks on the acquisition market. MUSIC Group announced today it has acquired …

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Subscribe, Click, Collaborate: The New Ways to Buy Music Creation Software

It’s been a long time coming, but the month of January has brought more new ways to pay for music creation software than we’ve seen in a few years. When you want to share a playlist with a friend, you can count on giving them full-length tracks with Spotify. (Sorry, Taylor Swift fans, but everyone else.) If you’re on a tight deadline to finish a video edit, you can pay a small monthly fee to use Adobe Premiere – and send it to the film composer knowing they can do the same, rather than having to buy it outright for …

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Apple is Still Going Pro, from Hardware to Pro App Updates [Editorial]

There’s an oft-repeated conventional wisdom about Apple that I think is just plain wrong, and it goes something like this: The success of the iPhone and iPad means that Apple is now a consumer company, and doesn’t care about pros. Now, let’s parse the above statement and say Apple sometimes makes decisions pro audiences don’t like. Well, that’s certainly true; it just happened to be true prior to the success of iOS. It’s time to face this question again, partly because of the widely-noticed demise of Apple’s Aperture for pro photography workflows, but also because of significant and under-appreciated updates …

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One hole that should stick around. Photo (CC-BY-SA) William Hook.

No, Apple Should Not Eliminate the Headphone Jack

Is Apple coming for your headphone jack? It’s a question I’d seen bouncing about publicly. Now, Macworld’s Marco Tabini goes as far as suggesting that the end of the analog headphone jack is a likelihood, and even “might be a positive change.” Hit the road, jack: Why Apple may say goodbye to the headphone plug [Macworld.com] See also Forbes’ Gordon Kelly, though that story isn’t as balanced as Tabini’s, and gets muddled on the subject of “digital” outputs and “exceedingly high lossless” output – whatever that means. The difference in output is 48KHz instead of 44.1KHz, which amounts to very …

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Microsoft Unveils Two Surface Tablets, But Questions Abound: Will They Hold a Tune?

The iPad has proven a tablet can be a powerful tool for music. It’s also been mostly alone. Android-powered tablets have suffered from lackluster audio performance. Compound that with low popularity in the marketplace and fragmented OS updates, and the platform has largely scared music developers away. Android devices also lack the richness of the iPad’s hardware accessory support, with multi-pin ports that lie dormant, giving accessory makers insufficient capabilities. Windows-powered tablets thus far show some promise, but absent high-quality multi-touch input or thinner form factors, they’ve also been a non-starter. It’s unclear whether it’ll change the situation, but at …

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A Kinect-Based Instrument; Polyphonic Theremin, No April Fool’s Joke?

It’s hard to assemble an April Fool’s Joke involving technology these days, because actual inventions keep proving stranger than fiction. When Google created a prank involving gestures for controlling email, it was only a matter of time before someone whipped up a prototype that actually did the job. The Moog Music company, therefore, may be asking for trouble. Their highly-entertaining polyphonic Theremin is spot-on parody, down to the “Stairway to Heaven” solo. And part of the geekier joke for Theremin players is the knowledge that the technology behind this instrument makes what they’re describing safely impossible. But what’s impossible with …

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A Stunning Live Performance on Roland’s 1996 Workstation, VS-880 (Bonus: MPC3000!)

From comments (thanks, Charlie Cowper!), here’s a live performance by Japanese electronic artist Rei Harakami on nothing more than a 1990s-vintage multitrack digital workstation, Roland’s VS-880. (The VS-880 was introduced at NAMM in January 1996.) Harakami is a virtuoso on this machine, not simply playing back tracks but dancing through menus and settings and adding live mixing and effects. It’s a mix performance, yes – but it’s a seriously impressive one. And it shows how much this now-“vintage” machine can do, even with some simple parameters. I’m almost afraid to mention the VS-880, lest we get an arbitrary direct translation …

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(Sensor) Size Matters: Pocketable Picture Quality in NYT, as Dedicated Devices Are Here to Stay

The digicam for people who can’t fit an SLR in their pocket, the Canon S95. Photo (CC-BY) Erik Forsberg. The New York Times ran a story over the holiday weekend on sensor size calculations and picks for pocket digicams that’s an absolute must-read for anyone who works with pixels. David Pogue is in rare form; this is one of my favorite stories from him recently. Mainstream tech stories often shy away from the nuts and bolts behind the scenes, but here Pogue has some interesting revelations about sensor size measurement. As usual, a little (odd) history is involved: It turns …

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