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This Is What Happens When Vintage Robot Voices Make an Album

We hope that music will always have tribes of people keeping esoteric traditions alive – your Renaissance musical ensemble, your Slovenian folk instrumentalists. It just happens that electronic technologies have attracted their own followings, cultivating knowledge of Texas Instruments chips found in specific arcade games the way some people might maintain a balalaika. Chip singers have never gotten the kind of attention synthesizers have. But if Moog – and the synth itself – can look to Keith Emerson’s “Lucky Man,” fans of robotic sung vocals will always have Humanoid. The seminal acid track “Stakker Humanoid” was the work of artists …

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How A Plug-in Recaptured the Robot Voices of Your Childhood

I’ve just gotten lost making my computer sing. And now I can’t stop. You see, a funny thing happened on the way to the future. As speech synthesis vastly improved, it also became vastly more boring. Intelligibility robbed synthesized words and singing of its alien quality, which was what made it sound futuristic in the first place. Chipspeech takes us back to speech synthesis as many of us remember it growing up. It’s weird-sounding, to be sure, to the point of sometimes being unable to understand the words. But it’s also loaded with character. And there’s a history here. To …

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The Original Speech Chip Is Coming To A New Plug-In

While everyone else worries about emulating the same synthesizers for the umpteenth time, Plogue have been lovingly recreating the greatest chip sounds of all time. They’ve done Chipsounds, the instrument, and Chipcrusher, the effect. And now, finally, your computer will sing to you – not just with any voice, but with the speech chip that launched them all. From computing to arcades to classic tracks, this legendary voice has echoed through the decades with an unmistakable sound. This is the first-ever commercially-available chip to include speech synthesis.

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A bare-bones UI belies a powerful engine - and a tool that could finally jump-start sound designers embracing an open format. Proprietary lock-in, no more.

Software Instruments, Freed From Sampler Formats: SFZ, Free Sounds, Free Sample Player

“Free As In Free Me From Proprietary Formats.” If you’re ready to explore sounds – as a novice sampler user or as an advanced sound developer – SFZ brings tidings of great joy. When they move from defining mere sounds or samples to describing whole instruments, sound designers need file formats. The problem has been that those formats tend to be particular to one sampler or another – just Kontakt, or just Logic’s EXS24, or just Gigastudio. Yes, there are converters, but because these samplers have different capabilities, converters cause problems. Being able to create instruments for these samplers is …

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Apple’s App Store May Not Work for Audio Devs; Developers Respond

Music software development includes some of the most sophisticated, expressive software out there. But it has long faced serious challenges in sales – audio software still appeals, generally, to a small slice of people, made smaller by factors ranging from piracy to the sheer complexity of available audio tools. As computing’s distribution model for software shifts, audio developers are undoubtedly watching. Love it or hate it, what’s unique about Apple’s App Store for iOS is that it’s a one-stop shop for everything. With App Store fever spreading – new stores for mobile and desktop are either available or planned from …

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Chipsounds Reviews, Videos, and More Places to Get Your Vintage Chip Fix

Want to make a splash among the aficionados of digital sound? Releasing a software instrument emulating a broad collection of vintage digital synthesis chips from game and computer systems seems to do the trick. See my look at that software, and just as importantly, the chips that inspired it. Within days of the release of Plogue’s Chipsounds, we have a couple of fair reviews of the new tool. Already got Chipsounds? Plogue’s David Viens has released screencasts showing you how to use it. Curious about other ways to explore vintage 8-bit sound? We’ve got that, too, in samples, hardware, and …

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For Love of Chips: Chipsounds Instrument and EP and the Gear That Inspired Them

Taste the rainbow of the Spectrum ZX home computer. Photo (CC) diebmx. Call it the 8-bit preservation society. Chipsounds is now available. It’s a new programmable soft synth, filled with custom oscillators and samples of famous and obscure vintage chips, accompanied by an EP of free chip tracks. Far from a threat to fans of hardware, I think this release is a major achievement for fans of digital sounds. Oh yeah, and if you’ve been feeling burnt out on chip music in general, firing up some of the sound of some of these more obscure chips could well change your …

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Snow Leopard Watch: Changes, Compatibility, Caution, Native Instruments, Plogue

Rawr! A real snow leopard at age eight weeks at the Eichberg Zoo. Now, should you let the (operating system) snow leopard mature a little before you try to play with it? Photo (CC) Tamby Tamboko. Updated: See http://createdigitalmusic.com/snowleopard for a running report. Apple’s “Snow Leopard” 10.6 ships Friday, which means it’s time to start compiling information about the new OS flavor. Just don’t upgrade too fast, as always. Want to push an operating system to the breaking point? Ask a musician. Between the demands of real-time performance and the complex ecosystem of mix-and-match hardware, software, and plug-ins, odds are …

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Plogue Bidule Modular Music App: Get Started, Meet the Creators

PEMF Lessons: Bidule – Direct Cabling & Your Default Layout from Primus Luta on Vimeo. Ed.: Music creation is all about the special relationship we have with certain, powerful tools. And one app that gets very little attention is unquestionably the deep but elegant modular patching environment Plogue Bidule. CDM turns to power user Primus Luta to kick off a series on learning this tool, starting with an exclusive interview with Bidule’s creators. And if the interview sounds, at times, more than a little pro-Plogue in bias, make no mistake: this is love. Primus Luta takes it away, as we …

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Plogue Releases Bidule Version 0.9685: OSC, Wave Monitor in “The Other Patcher”

The Latest Version of Bidule features an OSC Monitor and WaveViewer. Ed.: Plogue Bidule is an unusual animal: this affordable patching tool resists conventional ways of doing things, down to its hatred of the number “1.0.” But Plogue has an underground following inside the already-underground world of modular patching tools for creative music. I’ve invited Primus Luta, aka David Dobson, to give us insight into this tool – including a new release that will be big news to the people who rely on Plogue to make their productions and live performances tick. -PK Today if you go over to the …

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