A Free and Open Source Compressor, Built in Pd and Perfect for Mobile

Whether you’re building an experimental effect or performance tool or writing the Next Big Thing in Mobile Apps, you might need some signal compression. Working in Pure Data (Pd), it’s easy to create patches that get unruly, especially once you add live audio input. For mobile developers, things get even worse: you have to make your app work anywhere, with a range of devices, acoustic environments, microphones — the list goes on. The folks at Two Big Ears, who are working on their own rather lovely Android synth, have come to the rescue of Pd hobbyists and mobile developers alike. …

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Lunchbeat is a 1-bit Groovebox You Can Make Yourself

Friends bragging lately about the quality of the sound of their drum machines? Tell them you can make sounds lower fidelity than they can. LUNCHBEAT is a 1-bit groovebox, making impossibly-dirty digital sounds, with a built-in step sequencer. While we await a proper DIY kit, it’s an ideal learning project: it’s nice and simple, has a low part count, everything you need as far as specs is available free to create your own, and it’s a good way to work out the basics of digital sound and sequencing. And, really, if you need more than one bit to make music, …

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Cyborg Beatboxer AV: Gloves, Heartbeat, Gesture Merge in Wild Performance

Humanelectro + “∑(SIGMA)” from Ryo Fujimoto on Vimeo. Once, you might see strange sensors or generated graphics as a kind of novelty, used for their foreign, futuristic quality. Now, a generation immersed in such tech exploits these tools because it’s second nature. That’s the message of the creators behind a fantastic trans-media beatbox performance starring Japan’s Ryo Fujimoto. And while you’ve seen each clever gimmick on its own, here they try ticking all the boxes at once. Musical gloves dripping in wires with flex sensors – check. Muscle sensors – check. Glowing-blue heart-rate sensor behind the ear – check. LEAP …

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aleph, from monome: Programmable Sound Computer That Does Anything

monome, the iconic grid controller that launched them all, has always been a device tethered to a computer. Without a USB connection to your machine, it is an attractive but functionless box. The latest monome project, the result of a collaboration between Brian Crabtree and musician Ezra Buchla (yes, there’s a relation) is different. It is a computer, with all the functions that entails, but in a box designed for sound. It has: A brain: Two of them, in fact – a DSP chip (BF533 blackfin, 533 mHz with 64 MB SDRAM) and an AVR32 for control. Audio connections: 4 …

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Wacky, Wooden Shnth Makes Eerie Sounds, Colors Outside the Lines [Documentary]

Shnth is a digital synth in a wooden box with a surprisingly open-ended programming language. It’s like a lo-fi sonic computer, touched with your fingers via a handmade interface, and with sonic capabilities that can be re-programmed over USB. And there’s a coloring book to go with it, too, with pictures of Max Mathews and microsound for you to sketch in. The drawings there, like the sounds that come out of its outputs, full of rough, digital edges and unexpected swoops and swirls of timbre, seem to encourage coloring outside the lines. Peter Blasser of Baltimore is the synth’s creator …

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Apple Adds Inter-App Audio, With Not-Before-Seen Features, to iOS 7

It’s official: iOS 7 is adding inter-app audio functionality, for streaming sounds between different software. And whereas this appeared on a slide at last summer’s WWDC, this time, it’s really happening. What does this mean for Audiobus and JACK? Well, Apple is promising some things those tools don’t do, just as those tools do things Apple’s described features may not. Since both JACK and Audiobus already make use of Core Audio, odds are you’ll just see all of this stuff get better and more powerful. Unfortunately, developer documentation is Apple Confidential information and not something CDM can share. But in …

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A Stompbox That Can Become Whatever You Like, in Crowd-funded OWL

There are stompboxes. They are — for lack of a better word — foot worthy. You can step on them, in a way that is less possible with a computer. (Well, sure, somewhere amidst an endless spinning color pinwheel you may have wanted to step on your MacBook Air, but then thought better of it – financial investment and whatnot.) Then, there are computers. They can do everything. That stompbox is one particular distortion effect. And it is always just that one distortion. But what if you could have both? As embedded technology continues its march toward greater user friendliness, …

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Csound + iOS: Coming Spectral App Looks Amazing, How to Build Your Own Apps

And they say computer technology for music is “disposable.” Csound has a direct lineage to the very first digital audio synthesis ever to run on computers, counting decades of history. It remains an elegant way to make any instrument, event, or musical creation you can imagine, all with a free tool. And now, a Csound file can be baked right into an app for iOS, if you so desire. Whether or not you’re ready to tinker with code, that means more musical goodies for your sonic amusement. And the next in line is something called csSpectral. Boulanger Labs has been …

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Giorgio Moroder’s Music, Racing Across Your Handheld Browser, Free [Web Tech, Free Track]

Imagine the browser window – on a desktop, a phone, or a tablet – as another canvas for musicians. Hearing Web nerds talk about the latest browser tech may, it may not be immediately clear how that connects to this browser future. But with the addition of features like 3D and network sockets, suddenly you begin seeing dynamic music toys and tools that work without downloading apps. Google has become part R&D lab, part arts patron, with its Chrome Experiments. In the latest, Giorgio Moroder’s music is the soundtrack to a “race” of abstract, colored geometries as they track between …

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Why Mobile Low-Latency is Hard, Explained by Google; Galaxy Nexus Still Musicians’ Android of Choice

Saying your device isn’t as responsive to sound as you’d want is a bit like saying you’re feeling sick to your stomach. The symptom is easy to describe, and everyone would agree it’s not a desirable state. But the fix can be rather complex. And when it comes to engineers who care about music and sound, experiencing latency – or its equally evil mirror cousin, crackles-and-pops – will make you sick to your stomach. Google I believe is deserving of some criticism over this issue. Years of subsequent updates saw the company largely silent or unresponsive about critical audio issues. …

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