djtools

With DJ Tools, the iPhone as a Companion to DJs; How the Developer Uses It

What would you want in your pocket for DJing? How about some key recognition and tracking, key mixing aid, BPM tap — and a flashlight (torch)? For the DJ who cares about mixing songs together in key and precise tracking of BPM, automatic recognition may just not cut it. One DJ and developer, Pete Simpson, decided to solve that problem – and like a lot of software ideas, initially built that solution for himself. He turns the ever-popular iPhone into a handheld, pocketable companion for DJ sets. I asked Pete to explain not only what the software does, but what …

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iphoneheadphones

Op Ed: What Do “Mastered for iTunes” and “Sound Check” Do To Music Listening?

One way or another, Apple is involved in a whole lot of the music to which people listen. Here, writer David Dodson considers what that means (and similar issues with other digital music listening beyond Apple, like Spotify. Photo CC-BY) Yutaka Tsutano. What does it mean to “master for iTunes?” Apple tripped that question with the launch of a suite of utilities and sound-processing algorithms intended to master music for their codecs and software, rather than more generically as would be done with the CD. More significantly, what does it mean that an increasing number of music listeners experience all …

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line6_angle

The Live Mixer, Reimagined, in a Futuristic Touchscreen Device from Line 6

Photo: Marsha Vdovin, snapped for CDM in the mood lighting of the Line 6 press room at the NAMM show. Few things are as essential to music making as the experience of a live show. So it’s about time someone took some risks to see if there’s a better way to run live sound. Line 6’s new StageScape M20d is important because it does just that – it finally says the mixer as you know it doesn’t have to be sacred, and tries to build a better one. Traditionalists might be skeptical – and with good reason, as we see …

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2_apollo_mbp

Apollo: UA Adds Low-Latency Effects in Audio Interface, Proves FireWire, Thunderbolt are Cool

Universal Audio has long had a successful business selling hardware DSP effects, many of them carefully-modeling classic analog gear. These products use dedicated DSP hardware for number-crunching, requiring that you connect an extra box to your computer. UA has certainly had their loyalists, and for fans of the products, the dedicated gear is simply a convenient way to get all of these sound-processing goodies. But it’s fair to ask the question, as many producers have who read this site, what’s the advantage? Why not simply use native processing on your computer? Apollo, UA’s new hardware, answers that question more emphatically. …

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ipad-tracks

iPad Gets a Desktop-Style, 48-Track DAW with Plug-ins: What it Means, Answers from a Developer

I like to do six impossible things before breakfast. You? This is either the first death knell for the traditional desktop DAW, or an ill-fated attempt to squeeze a desktop DAW onto a tablet. Or, more likely, it’s somewhere in between. Auria isn’t the first multitrack production studio for a mobile platform, but without question, it’s the first to look and function in the way you’d expect only a computer Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) to work. The track count is the first banner feature, but perhaps what will turn heads most is actually the support for conventional plug-ins. Updated: You …

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rmix

Roland R-MIX App Selects Parts of Music Visually, on Mac, PC, and iPad

Here’s a software release I don’t think most observers saw coming: Roland has new software for computers and iPads that lets you edit visually. The underlying VariPhrase technology is familiar from other Roland products, though combined here with something Roland calls V-Remastering. The upshot is this: you begin with a heat map-like visual of a sound’s spectrum, then pull on components of a mix, isolating the volume levels of different parts of a track. Think visual mash-ups and karaoke tracks, as well as clean-up. What can you do once you have those components? Isolate components, adjust their mix, and add …

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zoomr8_threequarters

Portastudio for a New Age: Zoom R8 is Recorder, Sampler, Interface, Drum Machine, Control Surface

Zoom’s R8 promises to be everything you’d ever want to take with you on the go in one device. If they’ve pulled it off, it could be more invaluable in your backpack than even your computer. The R8 is a little bit of everything: stereo recording, multitrack editing, a 2×2 audio interface, an 8-voice sampler (complete with little pads), a drum machine (seriously), an effects box with modeling, a guitar tuner, a metronome, and a MIDI control surface. The big surprise: all of this is compact and lightweight and runs without a wall wart – USB power or batteries will …

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mixbus2_overview

Harrison Mixbus 2.0: Mac+Linux DAW Expands Mixing, Editing Features

We’ve been watching Harrison Mixbus, a DAW and mixing, editing, and recording workstation, as it has matured. In a crowded world of similar tools, this tool, powered by the open source Ardour DAW, nonetheless sets itself apart. Robust, console-style mixing meets modeled Harrison DSP and extensive editing options, appealing enough that many Mixbus users employ it as a mixing front end even with other tools. On Linux, it finally makes the open source Ardour more palatable, but on the Mac, too, it’s winning some converts. Finding an inexpensive DAW from a leading, ultra-high-end console maker – let alone one that …

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iloveyouvinyl

Vinyl Poised to Make Further Gains; Time To Ask, “What Does it All Mean”?

Kids today, with their new-fangled desire to listen to music cut into grooves on big circular platters… Photo (CC-BY) Matthias Rhomberg. At first, it seemed like it might be just a blip: amidst generally declining sales of physical music, down sharply from their 1990s boom, vinyl sales were trending up. The reversal started with a slight uptick in 2007 – already noticeable as the CD had begun its collapse. That slight uptick has turned into a small boom. From a tiny 300,000 units in US sales in 1993, the vinyl record is projected to do some 3.6 million units in …

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audioexpress

Mixing and Audio Interface, in the $450 MOTU Audio Express

The competition for your audio interface dollar is pretty heated these days, but MOTU’s latest – the Audio Express – packs a pretty impressive feature set for something costing US$449 list. It’s both a 6×6 audio interface and a mixer, with standalone mixer functionality so you can mix signals from the front-panel knobs without a computer attached. It also has connectivity features generally seen only in pricier, physically-larger boxes. MOTU tells CDM the quality is equal to their higher-end offerings, and other rivals in the $500-800 range. MOTU winds up on my short list as far as hardware that makes …

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