aleph, from monome: Programmable Sound Computer That Does Anything

monome, the iconic grid controller that launched them all, has always been a device tethered to a computer. Without a USB connection to your machine, it is an attractive but functionless box. The latest monome project, the result of a collaboration between Brian Crabtree and musician Ezra Buchla (yes, there’s a relation) is different. It is a computer, with all the functions that entails, but in a box designed for sound. It has: A brain: Two of them, in fact – a DSP chip (BF533 blackfin, 533 mHz with 64 MB SDRAM) and an AVR32 for control. Audio connections: 4 …

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Grid Tricks: How Launchpad S Differs, Emulate Push with Launchpad, 11 Launchpad Display, More

Life on the grid gets better and better. Yes, these blinky, lighty arrays of squares do continue to proliferate. But musicians are also hacking away to make them more useful. And they do that with perhaps nothing as much as the Novation Launchpad, a kind of workhorse of the grid world. While one of the simpler grid controllers available, Novation’s hardware is also uniquely affordable – and uniquely rugged, standing up to plenty of abuse. Here, we get to see how the Launchpad S differs from the original, how both Launchpads can emulate Ableton’s flashy-new Push, and what happens when …

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Tuning Ableton Live, Push: Undersea Colors for Push, Important Bugfixes for Live

If Push’s whites have been giving you the blues, everything’s better down where it’s wetter. And while some readers happily dove into the Live 9 waters right on release, recent bugfixes have made this software significantly more mature. (Uh, read: yeah, some stuff was rather broken for a bit there.) First off, just for fun, let’s talk about making your Push “seapunk” in coloring. RGB LEDs have gotten brighter, but color calibration remains an issue, and so many Push users have complained about inconsistent white coloring. Even if you haven’t had calibration issues, too, you might just want a change. …

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Record Anything on Mac, Free: WavTap Now Has Installer, 20s Buffer, More

Wouldn’t it be great to capture audio on the Mac as easily as you can take a screenshot? We covered the brilliance of WavTap last month. Now, we like living on the bleeding edge, but some of you, uh, weren’t thrilled by things like having to compile the software from source. Well, the creator of WavTap, Patrick Ellis, has been hard at work. The tool now has a friendly installer, the ability to save the last twenty seconds (so you don’t miss anything when you turn it on), an animated icon, and lots of reliability improvements. It also happily coexists …

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timbersynth

Tibersynth Makes Crazy Sounds in Your Browser, Free

Lovers of experimental sound are finding a new canvas in the Web Browser, thanks to evolving work on standard audio tools. Cory O’Brien sends us his creation: “a real-time vector synth.” The result: crazy sounds. You’ll need Chrome, Chromium, or Safari 6 to try it out, but it’s quite a lot of fun. I especially like the percussive sounds I get just clicking spots. And it’s worth some different tries – and hitting the ‘R’ key to randomize – if at first you don’t like what you hear. The deeper significance: you’re going to be seeing more things like this. …

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wavtap-1

WavTap Makes Recording Audio Easy as Taking a Screenshot [Free, Mac]

Press a key or two, take a screenshot. It’s been dead-simple for ages. But not so if you just want to grab some sound – until now. WavTap, from coder and GitHub user Patrick Ellis of Berlin, finally makes grabbing audio on the Mac work the way you’ve imagined it should work. Hit a keyboard shortcut – ctrl-cmd-space, though that default can be customized – and start recording. Hit it again, and stop. WavTap is a fork of the wonderful Soundflower from Cycling ’74, the free menu tool for inter-app audio. That means WavTap shares Soundflower’s sophisticated routing solutions, so …

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syitcases

SJS-ONE: Open, Arduino-Based Synth, with Crazy Cases and Web Troubleshooting

SJS-ONE is an 8-bit synth that you add to an Arduino board, making it ideal for hardware and firmware tinkerers and lovers of unique monosynths. But we’ll give it bonus points for two other reasons. First, it has some really bizarre cases available as add-ons, which look a bit like punk birdhouses. (Birdhouse squats? Hot rodded bird tenant buildings?) Second, in a really clever move, they help you troubleshoot hardware issues with a Flash animation. It could make it clear even to a complete beginner how to use a multimeter (a measuring device that checks electrical connections). The Arduino design …

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A LEGO Step Sequencer, Made with a Camera and Code [Video; Open Source Code]

Beat Bricks – A LEGO Step Sequencer from superquadratic on Vimeo. There’s something about that feeling of snapping a LEGO brick in place, a tactile connection to childhood memory. So, while it’s perhaps neither necessary nor terribly practical, this rig that turns a LEGO board into a step sequencer is somehow irresistible. And, like any good hack, it’s a chance to learn and discover – one that, thanks to freely-available code, is shared. The ingredients: a camera, Ableton Live, and some code for analyzing the camera image and translating those events into MIDI messages Live can turn into sound. It’s …

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livef1maschine

Traktor 2.5 Remix Decks + Custom Controllers: What You Need to Know, Why HID Matters

“People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware,” said computer visionary Alan Kay in 1982. And when it comes to making computer software into something you can control physically with your hands, that has made some music tool makers look to integrated hardware for control. But music users – DJs included – also expect to be able to use their own controller hardware when they play, an expectation cemented by decades of access to the standard MIDI protocol. That meant that Native Instruments stirred up some controversy from its users when it failed to match third-party …

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tetrafol_700

Tetrafol, Sound Object by monome + machineproject + Fol Chen, in Videos, Sounds, and Interview

LA-based bang Fol Chen (Asthmatic Kitty records) wanted to go beyond the computer as the playback and manipulation device for their music. So they worked with collaborators to invent a solution. In a new video, sounds, and an interview, we can share some of how this came into being. Built with the monome creators (Brian Crabtree and Kelli Cain) and LA research and experimentation center Machine Project, the Tetrafol is a custom, pyramidal sound device. The object warps Fol Chen’s music using gestural manipulation of playback, but can also use your own samples. And with open-source circuit and firmware, the …

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