volcahack

Hacking filter FM makes the volca bass sound amazing

Are you in a warranty-voiding mood? Have you got a soldering iron? The KORG volca bass is already a nice enough little synth. But mix in a modification that adds frequency modulation to the filter, and you get some delicious, acid good times. Skip ahead to the end of the video above to hear what we mean.

READ MORE →
Photo (CC-BY) Kevin Wong.

A free app makes a TI graphing calculator make music

“I’m the operator with my pocket calculator.” No — like, actually. HoustonTracker 2 runs on the TI-82/83/83+/84+ Texas Instruments graphing pocket calculators – the kind you probably had to buy for your high school math class. And it doesn’t just make the calculator into a sequencer. All the sounds come straight out of the calculator itself, thanks to some gorgeous-sounding 1-bit noises. (Who needs those 15 or so extra bits, anyway? This is beautiful.) What do I mean? Just watch:

READ MORE →
beatstepsysex

Skip the Computer: BeatStep, Programmed with iPad, SysEx Hack

Blessed be MIDI, again, for making us independent. Frankfurt am Main-based untergeekDE decided he didn’t want to go to a Mac or Windows PC just to edit settings on his Arturia BeatStep. MIDI (System Exclusive messages)m to the rescue. Actually, even calling this a ‘hack’ isn’t really fair: this is exactly how this is supposed to work. Edit the settings you want on the hardware using anything you like, in this case taking advantage of TB MIDI Stuff. That handy app is practically reason enough to get an iPad, even a compatible used one. In the process, untergeek even changed …

READ MORE →
arduino-piggyback-synthesizer-e1441564347957-640x333

Here are two new ways of combining a synth with Arduino

In the last couple of weeks, we’ve gotten not just one, but two new synthesizers that piggy-back on the Arduino electronics platform. The result, then, is instruments that you can modify via Arduino code. You’ll need an Arduino for each of these to work, so figure on adding some bucks to the purchase price. (I also recommend only using a real Arduino or Genuino; the clones I’ve found are often unreliable, and it’s better to support the developers of the platform.)

READ MORE →

What if we used stereo minijack cables for MIDI?

“It was acceptable in the 80s…” The standard MIDI DIN cable – that’s the big honkin’ connector you use on most of your MIDI gear – has become the bane of music hardware makers. The problem is, as gear has gotten smaller, the standard DIN connector hasn’t. And that’s a big problem, literally. To add a MIDI port to a device, you need to not only have enough clearance for the connector itself, but the whole around the port and the physical assembly that contains it. Speaking as a hardware maker, that takes up space you can’t even see from …

READ MORE →
nativekontrolddc

Get dedicated hands-on control of your Ableton Live set with DDC

So, we all know we’d like to get our hands on software music making with something other than the mouse. Now — how? How do you actually make that physical knob or button do something useful on screen, and at the right moment? There’s the brute-force method, manually applying MIDI learn. There are fancy dynamic ways of assigning controls. But the former is inflexible and requires extra work, and the latter means that you typically can’t “lock” every control where you need it. (That is, the automatic methods sometimes “outsmart” you to the point of not allowing you to do …

READ MORE →
launchpadhack

Hack a Grid: Novation Makes Launchpad Pro Firmware Open Source

Novation’s Launchpad Pro has just begun shipping, and it’s lovely, very flexible hardware. You can use it with Ableton Live. You can use it with other software, as a standard MIDI controller. It’s USB class-compliant, so it works with other devices and operating systems, like the iPad and Raspberry Pi. You can change how it works with Max for Live, or any software that supports MIDI. And it works in a variety of standalone modes, so you can use it to play hardware without connecting to a computer. That’s a lot, already. But soon, the Launchpad Pro could do more. …

READ MORE →
screenshot_49

These Tools Plus Live 9.2 Could Change How You DJ and Play Live

Ableton Live can be a fantastic tool for playing live, for improvisation, and for studio work. But while some people put together very effective DJ sets, it doesn’t always stack up to other software out there in terms of satisfying certain significant DJ techniques. And that’s too bad. Because if your DJ aspirations include lots of creative juggling of beats, Ableton Live would seem perfect. The DJ Collection from Isotonik Studios – the advanced Max for Live hackers who have been releasing a dizzying array of tools for customizing how Live works – provides some of the tools advanced DJs …

READ MORE →
live92

Free Live 9.2 Arrives; Here’s What’s New – Including Powerful API Changes

A free update to Ableton Live, version 9.2, is now available and out of beta. We covered this in some detail before: Live 9.2 Answers Your Warp, Automation, Tuner, and Pad Wishes Hands on with the Ableton Live 9.2 Tuner [Video] But today, in addition to the release, we get a closer look at the free Mad Zach sample pack included to help you exploit all 64 pads of Ableton’s Push hardware — plus some insider details on changes to the Live API that will impact power users and add-ons for Live. First, let’s review what 9.2 adds. It’s some …

READ MORE →
gustavomystery

Watch Ableton Push Tame Elektrons Live, Hear Music from Uruguay

Gustavo Bravetti is indeed a man of mystery. The Uruguay-born artist is a live virtuoso of dance music, pulling out all the stops. And in his latest feat, he tackles a trio of Elektron black boxes. Fortunately, it’s not all mysterious. The Ableton Push-controlled, Max for Live-based tool that gives him these octopus-like powers over the gear will soon be coming to you. First, let’s watch. Even if this isn’t your own musical idiom, you have to concede it’s a nice rig, nicely played. And it’s a pleasure to premiere here on CDM: The secret sauce is something called Performer. …

READ MORE →