Hey, there's a modular inside my drum machine. Images courtesy Arturia.

Watch Arturia Spark 2, as $129 Drum Machine Adds Modular Sound Design, Song and Loop Powers

For all the wonders of the hardware drum machine, there’s nothing quite like the flexibility of the software drum machine. More than mere groove-makers, beneath the conventional and familiar drum machine paradigm lies some real potential for sample manipulation and sound design. Native Instruments won over users by demonstrating the hybrid hardware/software workflow in Maschine, and various software instruments (FXpansion, anyone?) have put pressure on hardware with the sheer range of what they can do. But somewhere in the shadow of Maschine and Akai’s MPC Renaissance, Arturia’s Spark has been a little-known, compact, inexpensive challenger. And that’s why Spark 2 …

READ MORE →

Reason 7’s New Tools for Slicing, Stretching, Retiming Audio: Q&A, Tutorial Vid

Far beyond the simple sampling that first appeared in hardware, slicing, re-timing, and stretching audio keeps getting more sophisticated, manipulating recorded sound in musical ways. But a lot of the popularity of this technique traces back to Propellerhead and their ReCycle tool. By bringing together smart digital slicing with its REX file format for loops, ReCycle helped launch the looping craze in software. REX support has always been part of Reason, since the start. But the way sound works in Reason has gradually evolved, particularly as Swedish developers Propellerhead made Reason into less of a rack of synths and more …

READ MORE →

Reason 7 Arrives: Slicing, External MIDI, More – And All Rack Extensions Work [Details, Videos]

Reason 7 is available now, in the full version, upgrades, and entry-level Essentials editions. You can download the new release right away – including, intelligently enough, as a torrent for downloads even if Reason users get overexcited. (Cough, Ableton. Hope you’re paying attention.) There are lots of improvements, but the banner features are clearly integrated slicing and external MIDI sequencing. Those features have been a long time coming. The ability to sequence external MIDI gear seems a no-brainer for a tool with so many great sequencing tools and robust MIDI input control support. And integrated audio slicing is, oddly enough, …

READ MORE →

Propellerhead Reason 7: External MIDI, Integrated Slicing Get Serious, Overdue Love [Preview]

Happy 2013, everyone! Here’s CDM with the latest news. It seems there’s a new synth called the Korg MS-20! Or you can have a monosynth with filter saturation – that arrangement of three oscillator knobs looks cool. All of these things use a ground-breaking format called MIDI that allows digital instruments to talk to one another. And you can even get software for your computer that now supports MIDI output. So, you can use your computer to talk to your synth – that is, if you aren’t busy taking advantage of the computer’s ability to slice up audio. In case …

READ MORE →