Free Generative, FM Sequencer for Max/MSP, Max for Live

If you liked the generative, probability-based sequencing seen earlier this week, here’s another example – and it’s free and open source, so if you do want to pick it apart and you own a copy of Max/MSP or Max for Live, you can. Co-creator Giuseppe Sorce points us to the work: This is a simple generative music synthesizer built in Max/MSP created by Diego Caponera, Nicolò Paternoster and Giuseppe Sorce. It involves 5 FM generators which play notes randomly based on a root key and intervals defined by the user. It’s an university project made for an exam for Sound’s …

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PreenFM, Open Source Hardware Synth: Behind the Scenes with the Creator

First revealed last month, PreenFM is an open source hardware synth. As the name implies, it’s an FM synth, with some very serious specs: up to six-operator FM synthesis with some nine algorithms, up to 4-voice polyphony (depending on algorithm), glide, selectable LFOs, modulation matrix, and preset banks with SysEx support. It’s all usable via a display and MIDI support. It’s also fully open source hardware; whereas early efforts often had commercial restrictions attached, PreenFM is free for use under the GPLv3 and Creative Commons. And it’s got a unique platform under the hood: the open source LeafLabs 32-bit development …

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Omnisphere Review for Keyboard: Amidst Gigs of Sounds, Real Creative Sound Design, Too; Videos

I took a look at Omnisphere 1.5, the synth so big it’ll make your head hurt, for Keyboard in a story out now (and readable now). As I begin the story: Seeing its six DVDs of sound content, you might be tempted to duct-tape a key down and let Omnisphere finish your film scoring gig. While the director would probably love the results, you’d be missing out on the real fun. In other words, what I discovered in that review was that Omnisphere, particularly with additions in the new 1.5 update, is a powerful creative sound design tool, not just …

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A Tranquil, Twinkling Set of Synthesized Cycles, Made for arc’s Wheels

We looked at the arc controller, and interviewed creator Brian Crabtree, early this year. In a way, the design is as much conceptual, kinetic sculpture attached to a computer as it is music hardware. It’s not for everyone, but it does inspire some sound designers and composers whose work I love, giving it a secondary advantage – without owning one, I can still see people doing interesting things with it and find musical discoveries in their work. stretta in his latest video turns the controller into synthesized sounds that reference in the title of the piece the Dharma Wheels, the …

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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 …

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Critter and Gitari’s $150, Battery-Powered Pocket Piano

Pocket Piano from Critter and Guitari on Vimeo. Apologies to the immense powers of lumbering studio gear, but a new lifestyle may be forming around unique, mobile, small, simple synths. The latest entry comes from none other than Critter and Gitari, some of our favorite electronics designers, based in Philadelphia. This time, they’re touting a pocket synth. No MIDI, no control voltage – just wooden keys, some knobs, an audio out jack, and a speaker. But the killer feature is, it runs on batteries. That allows you to take it anywhere, including – as evidenced by the video – on …

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$5-10 Modular Studio on the iPhone, Mac, PC, Mobiles: SunVox Video Tutorials

So, you’ve seen lots of interesting looking iPhone apps, but most of them strike you as gimmicky. Others have interesting workflows, but limit you to working on the mobile device, not switching back to a computer. And maybe you’re perfectly happy with a phone running Windows Mobile or Palm OS. Enter SunVox. This is not a mobile music making app for the timid. It’s a powerful suite of soundmakers and sequencers, baked together into a modular environment that lets power users tweak to their heart’s delight. It’s small, it’s fast, and it looks – and sounds – a lot like …

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New Teasers: Urs Heckmann Modular Soft Synth, and the Fairlight CMI Returns

In some of the news I’ve missed in the last couple of days are some unusual announcements. Urs Heckmann can be fairly considered one of the great soft synth designers, with accomplishments like Zebra. His latest, Bazille, like many recent soft synths, is a hybrid: FM synthesis plus phase distortion plus the obligatory subtractive synthesis. In an early teaser video (he apologizes for audio quality), he shows off its modular design. Now, modular routing is something we’ve seen in some form in other recent synths, from Maschine to Future Audio’s Circle. But for Bazille, the layout of the whole synth …

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Tweak and Tweet: Make and Share Synth Sounds with Twitter

Tweet A Sound: getting started tutorial from Andrew Spitz on Vimeo. You probably think of social networking and messaging as being about text, about saying things like “Wow, this tuna salad sandwich I’m having for lunch is delicious!” But the next Tweet you get on Twitter could be a synthesis preset. Say what? Working in Max/MSP, Andrew Spitz has developed a tool called Tweet a Sound. It uses Twitter as a communications platform for “social sound design.” Instead of just saying, “Wow, I be makin’ phat basslines,” you can actually share the sound. Whip up a sound using typical FM …

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