Ableton Live Tutorial: Learning Operator with Faux M.A.N.D.Y. – Booka Shade Sounds

You’ve seen the splashy “sound just like –” headlines in various music magazines. But imitation is, after all, an essential form of musical development. Something magical happens as you try to imitate something – you begin to hear it differently. Sometimes you wind up nailing something exactly, and in the process discover how you might make your own, unique sounds. And sometimes, the process of translation falls apart, and instead of an imitation you go somewhere else altogether. But I do think you learn something by imitating, however successful you may be. You also often gain new appreciation for the …

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Free Exclusive Ableton Operator Download: “Less Cowbell” 808 Sounds, New EP

The simple interface of Ableton’s Operator belies some truly lovely soundmaking capabilities. Our friend Francis Preve, a principle Ableton sound designer who has contributed hundreds of presets since 2004, has a new single out that makes use of some of those sonic possibilities, combining Operator with juicy spectral and granular effects in Live 7. As a gift to Ableton users on CDM, he’s giving us both the rack he used and some tips on squeezing noise out of the Ableton instrument. (By the way, I’m open to tips for other platforms, not just Ableton — ask for what you want!) …

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Noise.io, “First” Synth for iPhone/iPod Touch, Will Bring Gestural FM Synthesis Control

The iPhone and iPod Touch are getting their share of metronomes, guitar tuners, sonic toys, and even one fairly full-featured sample-based drum machine / arrangement tool (BeatMaker). But what about live synthesis? Noise.io (short for Noise for iPhone) claims to be the “first” synth. (I believe, technically, that honor goes to Einar Andersson’s iPhone synth, but that isn’t yet an official iTunes app, and it’s relatively basic by comparison.) We’re waiting for a video demo and audio samples, and the developer warns that even the image above is an “ugly beta,” not the real thing. But we do know that …

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Wrist Synths: Whisper-Quiet Wearable Wristband FM; Solar-Powered Beats

Tired of all those DIY electronics projects making an awful racket? This one is whisper-quiet. You may have to turn up your volume to hear it at all. Project creator Andrew Benson (maker of many wonderful things for Cycling ’74) writes: I just finished sewing together an FM synthesizer that lives on a wristband and is controlled by a little brown button that serves as a knob and a pair of small pressure sensors made from conductive fabrics. The whole thing runs off of an attiny45 chip, which is a really cheap AVR microcontroller chip that I’ve programmed with some …

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Unusual Rozzbox One V2 Synth: Now Accepting Pre-Orders

Some time ago, we ran a story on a boutique German synth called the Rozzbox. Laden with knobby goodness, the Rozzbox was available only in limited quantities, and only to those fortunate enough to be in Germany (or somehow miraculously got in touch with the creator and pried one from his hands). Tweakers rejoice! The Rozzbox has finally made it to the US, with distribution being handled by Big City Music. Still only available in limited quantities, we suspect that the Rozzbox will go fast – even at nearly $1950USD. Its unique architecture sets its tone somewhere between a broken-DX7-run-through-a-Sherman-Filterbank …

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Synth = Formula 1 Racecar: Vintage Yamaha DX100 Commercial

I miss the days when we were this excited about synthesizers: Via the awesomely-named Brotherhood of the Octopus.

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Image Line Acquires Toxic III Hybrid Synth; Mac Version Coming

First, long-time Windows developer Cakewalk went cross-platform with their soft synth line. Now, FL Studio (Fruity Loops) creators Image Line are developing a Mac plug-in: KVR reports they’ve acquired hybrid FM/subtractive synth Toxic III and are planning a Mac port. As our resident Windows expert Adrian Anders puts it, “I guess hell is starting to get a little bit colder, if you get my drift.” Toxic III [Image Line] Before you get your hopes up, though, I don’t think this necessarily means you’ll see a port of Image Line’s flagship FL Studio, nice as that might be. Plug-ins are far …

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RozzBox Synth: Box, Knobs, Sequencers, 4-op FM

Attention, fans of boxes with knobs: I haven’t abandoned you. Especially not when boutique synths seem to be all the rage. Here’s the latest, via Gearjunkies: L.L. Electronics RozzBox [non-German readers, just click specs] No plastic here: aluminum with maple sides. Inside, you’ll find a 4-operator FM synth with adjustable glide (looks like you could route it for virtual analog, too) and the usual filters, envelopes, LFO modulation, etc. The synth looks really flexible, and there are some especially nifty features: external audio input, integrated ring modulation (exterminate! — uh, cough, sorry), built-in sequencers that also function as modulation, and …

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