New live slicing functionality. Courtesy NI.

Maschine adds real-time slicing and other stuff you asked for

There are updates, and then there are updates. There are the updates that give you a bunch of new functionality – marketing tends to love these. And then there are the ones that just make a big slog through feature requests. Maschine “2.4.5” is not an exciting sounding update. But wow, does it ever add a long list of improvements users wanted.

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Ableton hacks: Push 2 video output and more

For years, the criticism of laptops has been about their displays – blue light on your face and that sense that a performer is checking email. But what if the problem isn’t the display, but the location of the display? Because being able to output video to your hardware, while you turn knobs and hit pads, could prove pretty darned useful.

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Maschine 2.2 Proves Playability Matters: Scales, Chords, Arp for Your Pads

There are plenty of things computer drum machines / groove workstations can do to show off. There are plenty of long feature lists they might add. But actually coming up with something you can play? That’s what can really make music better in the studio and live. And that’s why Maschine 2.2 is a welcome update. First off, let’s admit something. Amidst all the clever functionality with grid-based controllers, there’s something that remains useful about a big, 4×4 grid of pads and MPC-style workflows for certain kinds of music. Those bigger targets don’t require a lot of accuracy, and it’s …

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Watch as a Live LHC Remix Makes Scientists Start Raving [Tim Exile at TEDx]

Watch the power of science meet the power of improvisation. You know how TED talks – or even DJing – normally goes. Some omnipotent person stands on stage and everyone watches. Well, this one went a bit differently. At at a TEDx event mounted by CERN (TEDx are independent of TED, though borrowing the format), Tim Exile took the stage with a live remix. But keep watching: the beats make the crowd go wild and start dancing, first raving around the floor, then storming the stage. It’s like the nerdiest Boiler Room ever. Tim Exile has been using this Reaktor …

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Inside BeatStep: $99 Step Sequencer and Controller Looks Compact, Versatile [Q+A, Videos]

Every new season brings new music tools. Some of these designs, of course, are splashy and grab headlines. Some just look like no-brainers that will see heavy use in your work. Arturia’s BeatStep stood out at the recent NAMM trade show as just an insanely-great use of a hundred bucks, in a tiny box that sort of does everything you’d want. It’s a pad controller. But it’s also a step sequencer. It connects to your computer via USB. But it also does analog CV and MIDI (via breakouts) when your computer isn’t around. It works as a controller. It works …

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FL Studio 11: Play it with Touch and Everything and Everywhere, Live or Editing

FL Studio 11 has arrived, hot on the heels of an impressive FL Studio Mobile release. The folks at Image Line have been intensely busy, but what strikes me is that you can now play FL Studio using almost anything, on almost any device. The Mobile version works on Android and touch Windows devices, not just iOS, when most folks target only Apple. And the upgrade to FL Studio 11 is similarly flexible. There’s a clip-triggering performance mode, which already supports a range of input methods: “mouse, touch screen, typing keyboard or MIDI controller. Supports APC20/40, Launchpad, Lemur, Block, Maschine/Mikro, …

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MidiPads is a Versatile iPad Drum Pad Controller, Controlling Everything from Modulation to Traktor

The iPad as a controller is at its best when it plays to its strengths, letting you use that continuous finger control do something useful. So that makes MidiPads worth a look. It’s a strikingly-versatile drum pad controller with all of the kinds of features you might want, and with a major version 1.5 release this week, looks even more useful as a control addition to your studio. First off, it’s got all of the I/O you could want: USB MIDI (so, use the Camera Connection Kit and a class-compliant interface, or dedicated interfaces like iRig MIDI and MIDI Mobilizer …

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Finger Drumming Interlude: Teezva, Ableton Live, Vestax PAD-One

Amidst the many examples of virtuoso finger drumming and pad performance on YouTube, here’s a potentially-inspiring jam produced by artist Teezva for Vestax. We must have missed this video in the NAMM deluge of last year, but it perhaps remains worth posting. It’s doubly so, as I still haven’t seen any of Vestax’s PAD-One hardware in the wild. (PAD-Ones, if you’re reading, come say hello!) One interesting element of the performance is that Teezva seems effortlessly between triggering clips and loops and individual one-shots. Many performances I see tend to focus on one or the other, but compositionally, that provides …

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