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Here’s What’s New in Universal Audio’s DSP Software and Hardware System

The line between pain and ecstasy on a computer for music making can often boil down to some key elements. One commonly on that short list is getting the sound you might from a studio. Another is making all your inputs and outputs work in your interface. Universal Audio is one of a handful of vendors that aims to bridge both of those gaps in a single product, with devices that are audio interfaces as well as DSP platforms for hosting high-quality effects. And UA are starting out 2015 with a fairly big benchmark for the company in that software/hardware …

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Renoise 3 Beta Quick Tour: Patterns, Instruments, Chains, Macros for More Musical Creativity

The phrase “alternative universe” always seems to fit Renoise. Imagine a world in which the tracker metaphor – a music arrangement notion mostly associated with software from years ago, especially on Amiga – became dominant. From there, you begin to explain that Renoise is an instrument that brings that retro idea into a modern context. Well, Renoise 3.0’s beta has arrived. And this time, it feels like someone ripped open a wormhole and showed us this alternate future in all its glory, no holds barred. Renoise 3 is a radical step forward for the popular tool, challenging notions of what …

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Patchblocks: Modular Synth Units, Programmed Visually [Sounds, Gallery]

Patchblocks’ creator says he wanted this hardware sound construction set to be like a combination of Max, Arduino, Moog, and LEGO. And in a novel, crowd-funded project, you get a set of units that seem very much like that. “Modular” is the angle, like a variety of hardware we’ve seen lately. And the Patchblocks satisfyingly snap together via puzzle piece-shaped interlocks in acrylic. But perhaps the real story here is that each of these “blocks” can be programmed to do what you want, not in code, but using a Max/Pd-style visual patching interface. With just one block, in fact, Patchblocks …

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Live 9.1 Preview: Dual Monitors, More Push Sequencing, High-Quality Sample Rate Conversion

In the midst of a pop-up week of events held with Köln’s Kompakt Records, Ableton has offered a surprise peek into what’s coming soon to Live. 9.1 is a free update for all users, adding some widely-requested features. There’s no release date yet – we’re awaiting a more formal announcement with details soon – but we have gotten a look at what’s in store. Ableton’s Dennis DeSantis gave attendees a demo of three upcoming features: 1. Dual-monitor support, finally allowing you to see Arrangement and Session Views side by side 2. More functionality in Push, including step sequencing of melodies …

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NI Teases New Synth: Video, SoundCloud Samples

Native Instruments has something new coming, revealed today in a teaser video. And as you’ll see, it’s something new that isn’t a DJ app for iPad. I expect you’ll even see some speculation about it online. I can’t speculate about it, as … I’ve seen it. So you can instead expect full coverage once this becomes public. I did clear with NI the ability to say what it isn’t, just in case this video is unclear. This does not involve hardware. It’s a new software instrument. Beyond that, I’ll leave you to watch the video, which I must say includes …

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What if your DAW were completely open-ended and modular, allowing you to send audio and control anywhere, and control from any device - including touch? Or, if that's too abstract for you, what if Usine ran on the Mac?

Sensomusic Hollyhock: An Open-Ended, Modular DAW from Usine Makers, Now Mac + Windows [Beta Preview]

Driven by musicians’ need to do a lot of the same things, and expecting certain ways of doing those things, DAWs have traditionally been mired in the same molds. Sensomusic Hollyhock, an upcoming DAW from the makers of Usine, promises to be genuinely different. Like Usine, it’s built around an entirely open-ended, modular environment – you can patch together only what you need, and can patch together just about anything. But building on Usine, Sensomusic have created an entirely rewritten app, with new audio engine, rebuilt interface, new MIDI management, and, among other things, cross-platform 64-bit support for Windows and …

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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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First Hands-on: Novation’s New $199 Launchpad Grid Controller for Ableton Live

A monome-like grid controller built for Live, shipping in November for $199 – and I’ve got a first hands-on look with the hardware. The feature that makes Ableton Live Ableton Live has always been its Session View, an array of Lego-like blocks of music triggering samples and patterns. In the grand tradition of the MPC, mapping hardware controls that make music non-linear has been a major theme of computer music, leading to the monome and the Tenori-On. Usually, consumer gear has only combined these with traditional drum pads, knobs, or faders. Enter the Novation Launchpad. It’s $199. It’s a grid …

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DAW Day: Digital Performer 7 Adds Effects, Easier Access, PT8 Support

DP’s clever channel strip integrates quite a lot of functionality in every view. I’d be remiss if I didn’t note another significant DAW release: DP7 is shipping this week. The Mac-only Digital Performer still has a loyal following, especially among the scoring crowd, some of whom have stuck with DP since the Performer days – one of the Mac’s first sequencers. I have to say, this particular update seems to focus more on bundled effects than core functionality – and, in fairness, because it’s tough to change core features without upsetting the stuff that keeps your users loyal, this isn’t …

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iPhone Gets New Groove Boxes: Is it Live Synthesis, or is it Canned?

The iPhone has become an almost absurdly-popular platform for music apps this year, even given more capable, more plentiful PCs. But to those who don’t yet “get” the appeal, talk to a mobile music addict: having the ability to be creatively musically in corners of time that would otherwise go unused, like a cramped bus ride, can be a beautiful thing. (Now, you start talking about taking away my PC/Mac experience, and I will start screaming in agony – but that’s a topic for a separate post.) The question is, what form should that app take? Today, I’ve got an …

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