mpctouch

Akai MPC Touch is an MPC with a multi-touch screen

MPC lovers, you finally get a piece of hardware with everything in one place: touch, color displays, pads, buttons for workflow access. There’s just one catch: you will still need the computer. Ever looked at those beautiful color waveforms on Native Instruments’ Traktor and Maschine controller and wished you could touch the screen? Imagined pinching to zoom waveforms and navigate samples, the way you can on an iPad? Well, Akai are the first to do groove-making hardware that combines physical pads and a touchscreen in one unit – no iPads (or Microsoft Surfaces) in sight.

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kirk_elcapitan

OS X El Capitan update breaks some music software

You know the drill. There’s a new operating system from Apple. It breaks some music software. If you don’t like things breaking, you should wait a bit. Then once you’ve verified the stuff you need is compatible, go for it – it’s probably better than the last OS once the wrinkles are ironed out. This post occurs with each new OS, a bit like some sites do Holiday Shopping Guides, or April Fools’ jokes. I could almost turn it into a Mad Libs post. But here are the specifics.

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reaktor-blocks-love-eurorack

Reaktor met Eurorack, and you won’t believe what happened next

Reaktor Blocks Love Eurorack from listentoaheartbeat on Vimeo. Sorry, couldn’t resist. Can you combine computer software with analog hardware? Can you route control signal from computer software to hardware? Can you combine something accessible with a grid (like a drum machine) with more advanced, open-ended machines with wires? Yes, yes, and yes. Does all modular synthesis stuff sound like indecipherable noodling? Do you have to make a religious decision between analog and digital, hardware and computer? Do all modular setups have to be sprawling rigs that eat up all your money and home? No, no, and no. Make what you …

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s5backangle

NI’s Traktor S5 is a more compact all-in-one DJ controller; here’s how it stacks up

The Traktor Kontrol S8 from Native Instruments is, let’s face it, the Cadillac Escalade of DJ gear. It’s loaded. It’s shiny. It’s powerful. It’s also expensive and hard to parallel park. So, without much fanfare, NI last week gave us the S5. It’s roughly the size of the S4 – the two-wheel controller that was once flagship of the Traktor line. But in that space, you get the stuff you’ve probably envied on the bigger Traktor controllers (the S8, and its one-deck-at-a-time counterpart the D2). It’s got color displays. It’s got touch strips – no wheels, if you like such …

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insider6

Here’s a visual tour of what’s new in Reaktor 6

Reaktor 6 arrives today, and it’s the most significant update to Native Instruments’ deep modular environment in years. Blocks, which we cover separately, are clearly the banner feature. But there’s a lot of new functionality both apart from Blocks and underlying it. Let’s take a tour. First, it’s worth saying: Reaktor is a vital part of NI’s DNA. It’s the software that really launched the company (as Generator, back in 1996). And Reaktor is a prototyping and development tool for the company. Of course, the flipside would be, if NI weren’t taking care of Reaktor, you should fear for the …

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Reaktor 6 Blocks are like getting a modular in your laptop for $199

What if I told you you could have a modular with what would feel like limitless possibilities – and it’d cost just a couple hundred bucks. Oh, yeah, and if you got bored of the existing modules, you could make new ones. Well, that’s exactly what you get with Blocks in Reaktor 6. And, while, sure, you could say the same of past versions of Reaktor could say that, too, as could tools like Max or SuperCollider or Pd, here we mean literally a set of modules that inter-connect in real-time, act as self-contained units, and allow designers to create …

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Hologram

Hologram plug-in re-synthesizes and mutates sound in real time

There are effects that provide subtle coloring, minor tweaks. And then there are those that paint a whole new picture. Hologram is in that latter category, producing wild, synthetic effects that totally transform an input. Hologram by Sinevibes from Sinevibes on Vimeo.

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maxology_physical

Get physical modeling sonic powers, free, in Max starter kit

There is a powerful world of sound exploration in your hands. But sometimes the hardest part is just starting. So the quiet launch of a site called Maxology is very good news. It’s evidently a place to go for tutorials and projects and more. And right now, you can grab a bunch of free and open source objects for physical modeling, built for Max 7 and Max for Live. That opens a window into a world of realistic and impossible sounds, built on algorithms that mimic the way instruments work physically and acoustically.

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Alchemy synth is now a part of Logic Pro X; here’s what’s new

Logic Pro has a new flagship synth instrument. And that synth is no basic pack-in – it’s one of the deepest software instruments on the market. It’s also no stranger. As expected following Cupertino’s acquisition, Alchemy, a deep “sample manipulation” synth, has made its way into Apple’s product line. It’s now everywhere on the Mac desktop. Even in GarageBand, you can access Alchemy-based presets. In Logic Pro X, and even MainStage, you can access the full instrument. (That means the $29.99 MainStage is now also a heck of a steal if you just want the synth.) (I do say desktop …

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stemscreator

Here’s how to start making your own Stems for sale or DJing

We’ve heard a lot about Stems, a distribution format providing four separate, DJ-ready parts. And we already go to the point where you could buy a range of Stems music online. What you haven’t been able to do is try making your own Stems, unless you were on one of the early label partners. That changes today, with Native Instruments’ public release of the free Stem Creator Tool. This is officially a beta version, but NI reports the files are created correctly and you should find it stable. This also means whether or not you’re sold on Stems yet, you’ll …

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