Learn How to Get Your Drum Machine’s Soul Back with Mad Zach, Ableton Live

It’s “the science of being imperfect” – and Mad Zach is one heck of a mad scientist at it. We all know Ableton Live productions, even sometimes from fairly skilled music makers, can get painfully stuck on the grid. If that’s the disease, Mad Zach has the cure. Armed with Ableton Live and together with releasing a very special, very useful sound pack, this insanely-prolific DJ, producer, writer, and educator has some advice for how to get the soul and groove back in your machines. CDM teamed up with our friends at Beatport Sounds to work with Zach on an …

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If You Use Kontakt, Get Cool Bleep and Bass Instruments for Free

Bleeping amazing. There’s some great stuff you can get for free for Native Instruments’ Kontakt sampler. This week, two new instruments are available. First up, a device that makes chip music bleep sounds, and includes sophisticated sound controls and step-sequencing LFOs. The creator, Zombie Queen, describes it thusly: I’m assembling new bleeping device in Kontakt, last one was so twisting complicated, I’ve been getting lost in it myself. I wanted to re-utilize the engine, but simplify things a lot and add some new twists. I’ve got working ‘beta’ version, if you’d like to try it out. It’s focused more on …

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Grab Free Drum Kits for Ableton Live and Other Tools: Vintage, Vinyl, Synth, Pine Cone

Sometimes, it takes just that one set of sounds to unfreeze your creativity and get a song started. And that’s why freebies are sometimes such fun: they’re even a bit more odd, a handful of offbeat sounds that just begs to be turned into … something. The folks at Puremagnetik have been posting some gems to their Tumblr account. This just in: “Wicked Kits” is a collection of five drum kits pre-configured for Ableton Live. (As with any Live kit, there are raw samples you can use in any tool you like – Renoise, MPC, whatever.) The emphasis here is …

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You’re Doing it Backwards: REV Builds Sound Library Around Reversing Stuff

Soundware remains a massive market. Products fall in the CDM inbox daily. There’s just not so much to talk about – even when the quality is exceptional. There are good products out there, and sampled libraries are especially essential for anyone working on tight deadlines – no matter the joy of recording material, anyone working for markets like TV or film likely needs some assistance satisfying clients in a hurry. It’s just that there’s so much out there, there isn’t always a story. Output is a new sound house out of Los Angeles that found a way to tell a …

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Abuse Sampling for Sound Design: Free Tutorial, Rack in Ableton Live

The response to the breaking Live 9.1 news this week was fast and furious; we were honestly surprised at the vast readership of the story. A lot of you must have multiple displays or virtual desktops you want to use (or, now, even a Push). But sometimes the best upgrade is the one you can install in your brain. Improve your technique, and an array of musical possibilities open up. Take this terrific tutorial from DJ Vespers as an example, which involves varying very small sample slices in Ableton’s Sampler to create unique pads. It works especially nicely with Sampler’s …

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KORG volca keys Hands-on: Probably the volca You Most Want [Sounds]

KORG’s volca line of affordable analog instruments isn’t yet available everywhere, but they’re slowly, slowly trickling into the world. KORG hasn’t yet sent any to CDM, and we’re generally hearing “September” from most retailers, but Japan has got a few. One of those was store-bought and brought back to Berlin, and I got to play with it with music collaborator and fellow journalist-at-large Benjamin Weiss of De:Bug. It’s worth revisiting CDM’s detailed hands-on from some weeks ago, as we got to talk to the creator, and hear what he does with his own instrument (a real highlight of 2013 so …

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Korg's Tatsuya Takahashi stops by our studio, playing his volcas (and a bit of MeeBlip with us, too!)

Hands On with Korg’s

He’s not a household name. But Tatsuya Takahashi is the man from Korg’s development group behind instruments you almost certainly know. Starting with the first Korg monotron, followed by the Monotribe, monotron DUO and monotron DELAY, Takahashi has been standards bearer to a legacy of Korg stretching back to the early analog days. These newer instruments return to some of the analog circuitry and ideas behind earlier instruments, bringing a new playful approach to electronic music making for the masses, at stunningly low prices that put the products in reach of those musicians. And now … well, now there’s volca, …

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Discover Music, Get Free Samples and Live Packs, Get Your Ocarina On

Some CDM commenters accuse this site of being shills for Ableton, of giving disproportionate coverage to Ableton Live and Push. Others accuse us of being hipsters, endlessly talking about things like 8-bit video game consoles and Nintendo. And so, I’m pleased to come to you today with a 30,000 word, peer-reviewed white paper relating the latest developments in high-end studio consoles, using a highly disciplined double-blind test to evaluate the impacts of analog summing on the behavior of migratory birds. Or… no, actually, let’s feed the trolls. It’s hard to believe, but our friend Brian Funk aka AfroDjMac has been …

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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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The Analog Four, stuff of dreams, as immortalized by eBoy in a parallel universe with a lower polygon count. (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Elektron Analog Four Preview: Four Voices, Step Sequencer, All The Trimmings [Video, Audio]

Following its endless teasers and science fiction mini-movies, Swedish machine maker Elektron this week has announced features, specs, and preorder pricing for its Analog Four synth/sequencer, along with some sample sounds and a promo vid. It’s also been immortalized in a wonderful image, above, by artist eBoy. Just in case you needed a version to tack up above your bed. Ahhhh…. The damage: US$1099 / 1099,– € including VAT, shipped. The date: December 3. Yes, it’s analog, and even the early sound samples suggest a color of its own. And that’s a good thing. But, of ourse, that can’t be …

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