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Remixing Via Colored Pads: NI Reveals New Kontrol F1 DJ Hardware and Remix Decks

Adding pads to a digital DJ setup: here, the new Kontrol F1 hardware, with its colored matrix of pads, nestles in between more conventional mixers and decks. Image courtesy Native Instruments. Native Instruments had already revealed that it would add new hands-on remixing capabilities to its flagship DJ hardware and software line. But today, we get to see precisely what form that will take, with a grid of light-up, colored pads that seek to make DJing with Traktor as much about remixing tracks as playing them. Plenty of DJs and electronic musicians have been doing just that via a variety …

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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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Padshop

Steinberg Padshop, Coming Soon, Granular Synthesis for the Rest of Us? Handy Intro Video Explains

Let’s get straight to it: granular synthesis, and the various processes based on the principle, is one of the coolest things about making music with computers. With the ability to take sounds and stretch, mangle, and reshape them into new textures, it’s one of the fundamental techniques allowing sound software and lots of terrific timbral techniques to work. Of course, explaining it to lay people is a bit of a trick. So that’s why, even before we get into talking about Steinberg’s upcoming Padshop synth, it’s worth watching the first few minutes. Sound designer Matthias Klag explains that coolness really …

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DJing, Decks, and a Grid of Samples: NI’s New Take on Traktor

What should DJing software look like, anyway? It’s just a teaser, but for once, the idea is simple, straightforward, and clear. Native Instruments have taken their DJ software, Traktor, and combined it with a grid of pads for sample triggering and loops. The upcoming hardware/software combination we expect later this spring. At the risk of stating the obvious, what’s significant about adding loop triggering to any DJ set is that you can more easily move beyond playing and mixing tracks. Even without drum machines, this kind of manipulation is part of the grand tradition of DJing, made all the more …

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Akai Tries for MPC Renaissance with Controllers, New Software

Looks like an MPC. Should sound like an MPC. But for the first time, something called “MPC” that relies on your computer. Good news or bad news? We’ll know soon enough. The MPC name and MPC legend are as big as ever. But the current products? Not so much. Let’s face it: Akai could use a bit of a renaissance. Users these days put just as much stock in the MPC as a concept, and the MPC hardware still attracts users, but other products are stealing Akai’s thunder (Ableton Live, Native Instruments Maschine), and the human faces beloved by users …

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A Killer Performance Grid in Renoise Shows Off This Hackable Music Tool

If you just want to fire up Renoise, the modern tracker/music production app, and not worry about the fact that its innards are hackable, you can. But for a reason why you might at least want to explore customization of this music tool, give the video above a look. It starts sleepy and slow … and then, part of the way through, as creator Dac Chartrand starts demoing the tool, something really special happens. (Anyway, that’s what I think. See if you agree.) Dac explains his work, completed at the recent Montreal Music Hackday: My Renoise hack was Grid Pie. …

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Maschine News: Portable Mikro; Finger Drumming with Jeremy Ellis; Maschine for iOS

Native Instruments reveals some big news for Maschine that’s … well, smaller. A new package has smaller hardware and lower price, with the same full-sized software. And an iOS version lets you use Maschine on iPad or iPhone. As their drum machine / drum sampler / groove workstation with plug-in hosting and doubling as plug-in matures, and becomes a focus of NI’s production and performance side, things are starting to heat up. And yes, this news comes just as we learn more about an upcoming analog drum machine. It’s a Labor Day full of drum machines. Shrunken Maschine: Maschine Mikro …

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Tempest Analog Drum Machine, in Action: Roger Linn Quick Start Video

Roger Linn, he of the MPC and AdrenaLinn and Linnstrument, sends us his friendly walk-through video showing you how to get started actually using the upcoming Linn/Dave Smith Tempest analog drum machine. We’re awaiting details on when this unit is actually shipping; I’ll update this post once we hear. What you get instead, though, is nearly twenty minutes of Roger walking you through every single function – this is as much a video manual as it is a “quick start.” It’s nice to see some clever workflow features in action, and you get some very in-depth looks at how the …

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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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New Instruments That Matter: Four Examples, Live in SF, Really Do Move Music Forward

Richard Lainhart mans the Haken Continuum at an early installment of our Handmade Music series, back in 2007. Meanwhile, in 2011: among many options, four digital instruments challenge you to practice – really – with expressions that are deep and satisfying. Is there anything genuinely new in digital instruments? Isn’t it just a load of repeated novelty, without the ability to actually make useful musical noises? Hasn’t the technology just gotten in the way of the music? Isn’t … (sigh) .. all you see … all you get … (repeat ad infinitum) Even among technologist futurists, skepticism about the iterative …

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