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Useful Music Tools for Your Android Phone, and a New Sketchpad Joins Groovebox

Despite being a musical technology enthusiast, I really do think of my Android phone first and foremost as a communications device. I imagine I’m not alone, just as I’d guess that people who want a mobile music maker may look first at the iPhone. But that raises the question, are there tools you’d install on an Android phone purely because they’re genuinely useful? What tools would you use in your music, or even refuse to be without? There are actually a surprising number of tools out there on Android for music-making, though quality can be quite variable. So here, I’ll …

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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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Beyond NAMM: LA Friday Night Party, Music Tech Panel – It’s Gonna Be The Future Soon

Photo courtesy Droid Behavior from a previous year. In Anaheim this week, the music manufacturer trade gather to show their wares. But 8pm – 4am Friday night, we party. “Wham Bam Thank You NAMM” has become an annual tradition, an unofficial afterparty of sorts for the first two days of the trade show. This year’s lineup: John Tejada, Richard Devine, Flashbulb, Deru, Laura Escude, Scott Pagano, CPU, DJ Kero, Acid Circus, Derek Michael, Baseck, Eezir, Trifonic, DJ G Ov, Moldover, Henry Strange, and myself, among others. Escaping from the Anaheim Convention Center doldrums, the event is held in the lovely, …

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Live Music Makers Ask: How Can We Get in Sync?

Sync or swim, indeed. Synchronized swimming performance in Brighton, which itself had to sync with live music and cinema – check out the details, as they’re perfect metaphorically for this story. Photo: Greg Neate. Laptop musicians are feeling out of sync — literally. But we can work together to help the situation. Computer music making can be an isolating experience. But when users try to use their eminently-mobile tools to play together in the same room, they often find that the technology resists. MIDI, as a serial protocol, isn’t designed for networked environments. Software interfaces are designed to be visible …

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Rant – Congratulations, Apple: “Syncing” Music Now Means “Using iTunes”

Photo (CC) Tim Douglas. Critics frequently attach the phrase “lock-in” to Apple’s iTunes Store – iTunes – iPod/iPhone combination. But, in the post-DRM age, what does that mean, exactly? First, you have to recall that while for many of us the manual drag-and-drop music management is appealing, it isn’t so for many average consumers. They want sync. That means that music will be stored in iTunes and synced to Apple devices and nothing else. Apple is serious about locking you to their store and their devices, enough so that they frequently update their software with special keys that prevent the …

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Handmade Music: Cybernetics, Wireless Beats, and Ingenious Sonic Circuits

four tiny drum machines from ALH84001 on Vimeo. Cybernetics is poised to make a comeback. The theory is, everything from electronic circuits to plants and animals can be understood in terms of feedback loops, as organisms – mechanical or organic – respond to input from their surroundings. The father of modern cybernetics, MIT mathematician Norbert Weiner, was inspired by working on the guidance systems of missiles. His writing was picked up Louis and Bebe Barron, informing their organism-like sonic circuits, as used in the film Forbidden Planet. The word cybernetic itself comes from Plato. Plato was talking about human self-governance. …

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Tip: Sync Traktor Music Collections, Max Patches, More with SugarSync

A Traktor setup, ready to go. Now make sure your files are, too. Photo (CC) Stefan Schmidt (not the one who’s creator of Reaktor). Here’s a superb reader tip: DJ Josef Prusa has been using SugarSync to synchronize Native Instruments’ Traktor Pro DJ software, so that he and his brother have their full music collection at the ready at gigs. (Naturally, this same technique means that if one of their MacBooks should die, bro to the rescue!) Not only does music get synced, but playlists, collections, MIDI mappings, and settings do, too. Now, you could use something like the ubiquitous …

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Correction: iDrum Mobile / Desktop Editions Work Together

Readers have complained that we’re doing so much mobile music coverage that it’s hard to wade through it, specifically in regards to the iPhone. I’ll be consolidating that news into a more manageable weekly post. The goal is to make this information more manageable both to those who love mobile music making, and those who don’t. Unfortunately, in my haste to do so, I got something wrong, and I think it deserves a separate correction. Update: The iDrum mobile app available today will indeed allow you to use your own samples and exchange files with your desktop computer. The original …

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