20 Seconds to a Synth: Zero-Input Sounds from Cheap PC Speakers

Our digital world tends to accumulate layers of detritus, much of it banal remains – orphaned cords and power adapters. And then there are cheap computer speakers, which you might think have achieved some sort of means of asexual reproduction. They’re everywhere: on shelves, in closets, given away, left on the street. It’s time to look at them another way. Grab that cord dangling from the back, and plug it into the front. Result: instant feedback loop, a zero-input sound system. Okay, yes, a simple idea – but that’s the beauty of sound, making noise with simple ideas. Moscow-based Alexander …

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Ableton Goodies: Free Fairlight CMI Sounds, Skins, Amazing Reverb, and … TETRIS!

Want to relive the sweet sounds of the classic Fairlight instrument, because you love the 80s? Want to reskin Ableton so it doesn’t offend your aesthetic sense or blind you and bathe you in blue light when you’re onstage? Do you want a different reverb from a master sound designer and patcher? Do you just want to unwind in the middle of a studio session by playing TETRIS on your Push? We’ve got you covered. Our collection of freebies for the ever-ubiquitous Ableton Live continues to grow – especially as talking about it is causing more people to send stuff …

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Launchpad + Raspberry Pi = Standalone Grid Piano Practice Machine, Boots in 10 Seconds

A standalone grid musical instrument? Done. And it can be a new way to venture into the worlds of harmony. Marc “Nostromo” Resibois is back with another clever Raspberry Pi hack. We saw him last fall, beating KORG to the punch with his own – digital – MS-20 mini, using the Pi. It’s still appealing, in that he has some other synth ideas the analog recreation can’t muster. This time, he’s made a standalone practice instrument for grid players, using a Novation Launchpad and the Raspberry Pi computer. Some shopping around for a Launchpad could mean you could put together …

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Hacking a TV, Remote Control into Music Tracker – And It Prints

It shows up on a standard (Teletext) television. It turns your remote control into a music interface. It makes glitching rhythmic music from sounds – even re-sampling bits of your TV. And then it prints your musical patterns. That’s the wild, far-out project concocted by chip artist goto80. The result is a “tracker, artificial intelligence, speech synthesis rap, stats sucker, printer, video feedback,” and music studio for your remote control, thanks to goto80, aided by the hackery of Peter Kwan and Raquel Meyers. Teletext may not be familiar to you depending on which part of the world you live in …

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Android Gets Patchable Audio Everything: Free Patchfield Architecture [Video, Resources]

Android audio users, developers, patchers, and musicians just got a huge gift. Patchfield is, as the name implies, a space in which you can connect synths, effects, and sound modules in an open, modular environment. It’s a free app you can use on its own, as well as a free architecture developers can use in their apps. For DIYers and developers, it’s already looking like something you’ll want to try right away. (End users may want to wait for now, but the idea remains cool.) Inside an app (as a service), Patchfield provides a set of tools developers can use …

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Wonders of DIY Synths: A New PreenFM, a Polyphonic Oberheim Clone

It’s a new golden age for synth lovers, past meeting the future and so on. At least, we have a stunning number of wonderful toys. And the DIY community is coming up with a number of particularly special creations. Take the terrific open source PreenFM, an original, 6-operator FM synth that’s entirely open source hardware (code and schematics). On Sunday, we learned what creator Xavier Hosxe has in store for the new model:

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Ableton Push, Disassembled by Czech Music Hackers, Down to the Screw [Video]

For months, many musicians have been waiting to get assembled Push hardware from Ableton. But here, you get it disassembled – down to bare washers and screws – in a massive teardown. It’s a chance to see what lies inside that mysterious black box without voiding your warranty. The video is narrated in Czech, so most of you will be out of luck, but you don’t really need the narration to follow what’s happening and now has English subtitles! You’ll find a gallery of photos on Dropbox, too. The teardown comes courtesy of THORtronic, the duo of Patrik Veltrusk√Ĺ and …

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Drumactica Augments Percussion with Gestures, Ice Cube Trays; Here’s How it Was Done

Bacon and eggs on a drum snare? Hands-through-the-air gestural control with Leap Motion? Water pianos in ice trays and a hacked Makey Makey, all talking to Ableton Live? Drumactica has a little bit of everything. London-based percussionist Dr. Enrico Bertelli shares with us how he “augmented” percussion for his latest project – with all the details – for a guest post on CDM. Just make sure to give due respect to John Cage.) -Ed. Drumactica 2.0 is a solo, augmented percussion set up, created for Hack the Barbican, London. The piece is about the creative bond between the desire to …

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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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Grid Tricks: Make Ableton Push Display Meters, Pulsing Heart – Without Max for Live

Ableton’s Push, like other colored, light-up grids, may sometimes seem like just a big, flashy Lite-Brite. So – heck, why not use it that way and have a good time? Tama Rhodes writes us to let us know about a project that exploits the shiny colors to visualize live sound data. The results are screaming for a live performance in which the Push is tilted toward the audience as you play, a technique Daedelus has long used with the monome. What’s doubly impressive – and why you should download this to learn from it even if you don’t want to …

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