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Omnisphere Review for Keyboard: Amidst Gigs of Sounds, Real Creative Sound Design, Too; Videos

I took a look at Omnisphere 1.5, the synth so big it’ll make your head hurt, for Keyboard in a story out now (and readable now). As I begin the story: Seeing its six DVDs of sound content, you might be tempted to duct-tape a key down and let Omnisphere finish your film scoring gig. While the director would probably love the results, you’d be missing out on the real fun. In other words, what I discovered in that review was that Omnisphere, particularly with additions in the new 1.5 update, is a powerful creative sound design tool, not just …

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Plug-in Watch: New Urs Updates and Videos, Images, and an Aalto Update

From the wonderful world of plug-ins, we’ve got some good news for soft synth lovers. I covered the forthcoming Z3TA+ 2 release from Cakewalk last week, and a number of readers pointed to the brilliant work of Urs Heckmann. As it happens, Urs has a number of updates releasing this week, adding 64-bit support, compatibility fixes, and new tutorial videos. Check out the mapping generator and “tap map” LFOs for one terrific example in ACE (the modular Any Cable Everywhere). New features in the ACE modular and More Feedback Machine delay/multi-effect:

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Rob Papen Punch: Sample+Synth Drums, Now Shipping; Software Drum Machine Scene Looking Hot

In a sea of software and hardware, a handful of releases every year stand out. On the software side, one of the most promising is Rob Papen’s Punch. It reflects a number of trends in soft synth design – given a choice between sampling and synthesis, it choose both; 64-bit support comes standard; pattern sequencing is built in. But it’s worth examining for two reasons: one, independent soft synth designer Rob Papen has done some of the best work in recent years, and two, it appears to offer a rich set of practical features in equal measure. The video above …

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Synced Effect Goodness, in Software: Roger Linn AdrenaLinn Sync Plug-in V2

With modeled amps and synced effects all in one box for US$400, Roger Linn’s AdrenaLinn III has earned a cult following of dedicated users who appreciate its low-budget, rich sonic satisfaction. That has simultaneously shifted the Linn reputation from fans of drum machines to guitarists, though, naturally, clever players of other instruments, including keys, can get a lot of sonic goodness out of the AdrenaLinn, as well. (Want to make your own, shipping Dave Smith – Roger Linn combo tool? Plug a Mopho into the AdrenaLinn and go to town!) But what if you don’t want another box? The US$99 …

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Cycling ‘74 Ditches Plug-in Development Support; Free + Commercial Alternatives

David Zicarelli has announced that Cycling ‘74 is discontinuing Max/MSP Pluggo-based products, meaning the company will no longer develop Pluggo, Mode, Hipno, or UpMix. More significantly, this means an end to the use of Max/MSP as a way of developing plug-ins; David writes that there will be “no further development on … their supporting technology.” It’s the supporting technology that Max patchers have relied upon to make their own instruments and effects for VST/AU/RTAS Mac and Windows hosts, and its demise to me is the real news here for the Max community. The article touts the upcoming availability of Max …

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Goodies from Devine: Modeled Electric Piano, One Shot Recorder, Reincarnated Krishna

It’s a tough time for the music tech industry like so many industries. But there are beautiful products coming from independent developers – indie, boutique shops crafting musical instruments in code. The folks at Devine Machine, makers of the likes of Guru and Lucifer, unloaded three big announcements overnight – enough to make you think there’s some obscure trade show going on at the end of March no one told you about. Here’s the capsule view of why they matter:

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Universal Audio UAD-2 SOLO Will Add DSP Power to Your Laptop for $499

I’ve been waiting for the near-ubiquitous ExpressCard slot on laptops to see some audio goodness, so one of the more welcome announcements of NAMM is that there’s now finally an ExpressCard-enabled version of the Universal Audio platform. The UAD is a DSP platform for computers, with an emphasis on high-quality, boutique mastering and effects plug-ins, including some recent, familiar emulations of classic Roland and Moog gear. UA’s stuff really does sound great, and host support has been improving (look for the key words “latency compensation” in your host of choice). So it’s about time that laptop users get in on …

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Pro Tools 7.4.2 Officially Leopard Compatible, But Check Your Plug-ins; Leopard FireWire Fix

Pro Tools 7.4.2 is now fully tuned, qualified, and tested for Mac OS X Leopard. It’s a free download for users of Pro Tools 7.4 HD, LE, and M-Powered. (If you’re not yet on 7.4, you will need to purchase an upgrade to 7.4 first.) According to Digidesign, the update results from collaboration with Apple to acheive the expected levels of performance and stability under Apple’s newest operating system. 7.4.2 Announcement – download is right there [Digidesign] That’s the good news. The bad news is, your plug-ins may not yet be along for the ride. Digidesign reports some current instruments …

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Digidesign’s New Groovemaking Instrument in Free Preview

Slicing, remixing, looping, "live performance-oriented features" … this is Digidesign we’re talking about, right? Digi’s Advanced Instrument Research (A.I.R.) unit, the fruits of the acquisition of Wizoo, may have a pretentious name, but they’ve been doing some pretty great work on new instruments. The new project, Transfuser, will have to enter some crowded waters. Loop slicing and handling already works pretty nicely in Ableton Live (especially with Live 7’s drum racks), in instrument form in FL Studio 8’s awesome Edison and Slicex, and in tools like fxpansion’s GURU. (Superficially, at least, Transfuser bears more than a passing resemblance to the …

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