Fract, Synth Studio as Game, Looks Better, Sounds Better, Wants Your Vote [Video, Gallery]

Amidst its future-arcade, glowing 3D architecture, Fract is a game. In a broken-down “abstract world,” you are piecing together puzzles, reconstructing machinery. But Fract is also a synth studio, one that promises the ability to create your own synth instruments, design your own sounds, and eventually piece together your own music. If Tron let you imagine a fantasy inside the computer, Fract takes you inside your synth. It’s like getting sucked into Reason. (Damn, now I want to meet Thor and Redrum…) I called it Myst meets music making when we saw it last year. Since then, the Montreal-based indie …

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FL Studio 7 “Fruity Loops” Available Now, Ready for Vista (or Boot Camp)

In honor of post-Valentine’s Day weekend, the Love Philter. FL Studio, better known to PC musicians as “Fruity Loops”, is now available in its version 7 upgrade. (This release was announced last month but wasn’t immediately available.) FL Studio’s lifetime upgrades mean that, unlike your operating system, the upgrade is free if you’re a previous owner. And FL Studio 7 also brings compatibility with Windows Vista — and XP, ME, 2k, 98, and 95. In addition to all the existing tricks, FL7 has new features like a beefed-up, built in audio editor-slicer-dicer and a new effects called the Love Philter …

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Kinetic 2: Inexpensive Windows Groovebox with Roland Sounds

Kinetic 2 is here for Windows, and it looks promising not only as a way of getting beginners into music making, but as a really good buy on soft synths for everyone else, as well — especially at US$80.

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New Music Cartridge for Commodore 64, MIDI Interface Option … No, Really

Talk about music software for alternative OSes: the Prophet64 is a new cartridge for the Commodore 64 computer. In case you haven’t yet heard about the project, our friend James Grahame over at Retro Thing has been on top of it for some time, but the big news from him is that the cartridge is officially released and now shipping. This isn’t sheer novelty: for just 39 EUR, one cartridge gives you a whole suite of useful software, from sequencer to synths and grooveboxes.

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Free IK/Sonic Reality Sounds for Reason: TasteFill

Reason is more than a soft synth package: it’s a platform, with rich support from a devoted community and, increasingly, an incredible amount of soundware tailored to the program’s unique features. IK Multimedia and Sonic Reality are going hog wild with new sounds for the app, and the quality of their Sonic Refills is very good from what I’ve heard so far. But why not try out some sounds for free: Free Sonic Refill for Reason I’m sure there has to be a good sound for a Thursday in there somewhere. And thanks to Reason’s Combinator, they’re all ready to …

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How-To (PC): Hit Producer Joey P. on Combining Project5 and Reason

Ed: The dynamic duo of hits in a wide variety of genres, Joey P. and Dale “RamBro” Ramsey, have contributed to albums selling over a combined 75 million copies. For CDM, they look at another dynamic duo: the combination of Cakewalk’s Project5 with Propellerhead’s Reason on Windows. Both programs tout an all-in-one design, but there are plenty of reasons to choose a pairing over one app alone: you get the audio recording, plug-in support, and live grooving features of Project5, plus the extra instruments and sound library support of Reason. Joey P. explains how to combine the advantages of each …

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What’s New in FL Studio “Fruity Loops” 6 for Windows

Image-Line’s FL Studio is a huge underground “cult” hit for digital music making. It’s Windows-only, and it seems to get more love from the European press than the US writers for some reason (maybe because Image-Line is stingy with free press copies). But it’s got some great pattern-based features for those of you who like making quick-and-dirty dance music, as well as an elegant set of synths that could appeal to just about anyone. Here’s what new in the long-awaited FL Studio 6:

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CDM Readers: One-Man Band Gigging Live with Reason

As I continue this Reasonable Friday, here’s a reader report on how to use Propellerhead Reason live in performance. He’s making use of the terrific Windows-only MIDI tool Peter Tools LiveSet — more on that in an upcoming story. And he’s taking his one-man band to an environmental-activist music festival outside Sydney in gorgeous environs (pictured). Stevo writes us: I have been working on organising Reason for use in a live situation . . . I am a solo artist producing entirely on a laptop. I have a controller keyboard, a [Behringer] BCF2000 controller that is locked to the main …

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Drool-Worthy Sytrus 2 Synth from Fruity Loops Creators (Win)

Finally, the power to choose: some of the best bundled synths are getting unbundled so you can use them with whatever host you want (cough, Ableton Live). Days after Cakewalk launched their own Dimension Pro synth (a Pro version of a synth that’s included in Project5), the folks at Image Line (better known as the creators of FL Studio, aka Fruity Loops) are launching an unbundled instrument. The one difference: Cakewalk released Dimension Pro after Project5, whereas Image Line is releasing Sytrus 2 as a Windows DXi/VST before it’s released as part of FL Studio 6. Onto the synth: US$179 …

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Props Open Up Reason’s Remote Protocol to Manufacturers

Remote is the two-way communication technology behind Reason 3’s control surface support. The idea is, rather than tediously setting up each control surface or keyboard manually to control your software, the software talks to your device and sets it up for you. You can even see visual feedback for which knob and button is which; one of the best examples is Korg’s Kontrol49 keyboard (shown). Here’s the news: Propellerhead Software is now shipping a developer SDK so manufacturers can create support for their own hardware. Sure, 40 devices are supported out of the box, but there are a lot more …

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