GR55FX

Roland’s GR-55 Guitar Synth Powers Unlocked with TouchOSC and iPad, and on Mac-Windows-Linux

Roland’s GR-55 guitar synth is one powerful accessory for guitarists – maybe a little too powerful. With its various modeling, effects, and synthesis powers hidden in layers of menus, navigating all those sonic capabilities can be a chore. Enter one user from the GR-55’s dedicated community of guitar synthesists. Marc Benigni used TouchOSC control software for the iPad and set up a template that makes all of that functionality touchable, direct, and accessible. But wait — there’s more! There’s also a dedicated, free and open source editor for Mac, Windows, and Linux. (There’s even a fresh Lion build for Mac …

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ampex_golden

Universal Audio Adds Plug-ins, Pro Tools and Lion Support; Ampex Lives

Universal Audio has a big set of updates to their DSP software out today. It seems worth sharing in part because I find the (faked) look of that Ampex reel-to-reel does give me a warm and fuzzy feeling, even if it mainly makes me want to get in a studio and hear the whir of the actual gear. Here’s what’s in the update: For Pro Tools users, there’s vastly-expanded support, including native RTAS plug-ins (instead of the VST-to-RTAS adapter), control surface support, proper automatable parameters, and correct naming and sorting, plus a quicker installation and workflow. I’m embarrassed to say, …

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steinways

Piano Lovers: Ivory II’s Resonance Modeling a Winner, Says Keyboard Mag

Steinways in a row. One example of how pianos can be tough to model: the distinctive Steinway treble “sparkle.” Photo (CC-BY-ND) mypouss. For something with a row of keys, the piano can prove surprisingly hard to model perfectly. But computer software, blessed with lavish storage space for samples and now-ample processing power, has a decided edge. There are lots of good sampled pianos, but two products have really impressed me above the others: Synthogy’s Ivory and Pianoteq’s modeled instruments. After years of waiting, Ivory II is now here, and my friend and colleague Steve Fortner, at the helm of Keyboard …

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Ozone4_EQ

Learn Mastering Technique in Free Videos: Limiting, M/S, Dubstep Bass

Mastering to me is a bit like applying stain to wood: done correctly, it brings out the definition of what’s there rather than covering it up. But making mastering effective is a really special art. Danny Wyatt, a veteran mastering engineer now working as an instructor with Dubspot, has some serious credentials both on the mixing and mastering side and as an educator. He’s worked with a range of artists over the years (Wax Poetic featuring Norah Jones, Curtis Mayfield, Thievery Corp., the Roots, Ultra Records, and Mos Def, to name a few). But he also doesn’t mystify his knowledge: …

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ua8

Modeling Analog in a Digital Age: A Conversation with Universal Audio’s Chief Scientist; Gallery

A vintage Studer tape machine lies in the workshop of Universal Audio. How do you translate that analog logic to digital form? And what does it tell us about what analog technology (or recording in general) means? Let’s ask a scientist. Behind the scenes photos courtesy Marsha Vdovin. Comfort and creativity – the mystery of what makes certain vintage gear so appealing remains. There are few people closer to the meeting place of digital and analog, reason and sentiment, than Dr. David Berners. He’s the chief scientist for Universal Audio, responsible for modeling in digital software form the characteristics of …

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Virtual Synths: Modeling Gear, as Imagined by Communities and Engineers

Do Androids Dream of Electric Synths? Imagining an instrument from a clean sheet of paper is an essential part of the design process. It can remind us of the extent of possibilities – and, sometimes, why compromise is necessary. The German site Amazona.de this week unveiled mock-ups of an instrument conceived by their community. The design looks terrific, and the specs (below) do read like the sorts of things synthesists would want. My only concern is that the results could be very cost prohibitive; the obvious remedy it seems would be to use digital oscillators in place of the eight-voice …

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Roland Round-up: A Mobile Juno Workstation, Realistic Piano Models, More

Roland dropped a slew of news announcements today, from new keyboards to software. There’s a new JUNO-Gi, which takes Roland’s economical synth workstation and adds multitrack recording and BOSS effects. The virtual piano lineup has all been remade in the image of the V-Piano, with more realistic sampling tech. And there’s a set of offerings as broad as what we’re accustomed to seeing at trade shows, including one nice-looking harmonic stompbox. Here are the highlights, focusing on what you need to know. The JUNO that Records A keyboard workstation, multitrack recording, and BOSS effects, mobile at just over a grand …

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iOS Arrivals: A Serious Mobile Studio for Producers, AmpliTube for Guitarists

With previews and teasers, it’s sometimes easy to miss when useful new tools actually become available to you. Two tools this week became available, each potentially high on the utility end of the spectrum. There’s no shortage of variety in iOS music creation apps, but when people really want to get down to music making, many of them want to focus on one tool, not twenty. (That’s not universal – ask Richard Devine‘s screaming VST plug-in folder – but you ought to at least be able to make such a choice.) It’s therefore little surprise that there’s been a lot …

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BBQ Chicken Ambiences, and Ten Other Inspiring Sound Design Stories

Whether your trade in audio is in soundtracks for screens and games, or you’re just exploring strange, new worlds and seeking out new life and new timbres in your music, the discipline of sound design is as rich and deep as cooking. It’s something you can do every day. Okay, now just put that “cooking” metaphor out of your mind and steel your stomach. Sound maker and dirt bike rider Jim Stout of Austin (Roland, Sound Ideas, The Hollywood Edge) does some ungodly things with raw barbecue chicken and dog food. For more on Jim Stout, check out the exclusive …

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Goodies from Devine: Modeled Electric Piano, One Shot Recorder, Reincarnated Krishna

It’s a tough time for the music tech industry like so many industries. But there are beautiful products coming from independent developers – indie, boutique shops crafting musical instruments in code. The folks at Devine Machine, makers of the likes of Guru and Lucifer, unloaded three big announcements overnight – enough to make you think there’s some obscure trade show going on at the end of March no one told you about. Here’s the capsule view of why they matter:

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