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If you use samples, then wish Pierre Schaeffer a happy birthday

It’s French composer Pierre Schaeffer’s birthday, and if you’re using any form of sampling, it’s worth pausing to remember him. At 105 years of age, he’s more relevant than ever. Listen, to his Cinq √©tudes de bruits : √Čtude aux chemins de fer. Amazingly, this 1948 piece (made when my Mom was born) sounds like it’d still be a good listen on SoundCloud today (thanks, Yuri Spitsyn):

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Abbey Road at Home? Waves Emulates Double Tracking Made Famous by Beatles, $99 Sale

It all started in 1966 as a way to fake multiple takes – and it works pretty well for any vocals. And now, in one of the more ambitious emulation efforts undertaken recently, software engineers are hoping to recreate a sound you know quite well from artists like The Beatles. And oh, yeah, even if you don’t want to sound like Paul or John or George, this turns out to be a pretty easy way to double up vocal recordings. That is, if they’ve done a convincing emulation. Plug-in giant Waves Audio has partnered with Abbey Road Studios themselves, and …

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With Free Tape App for iPad, Focusrite Wants Everyone to Record

“The future has arrived; it’s just not very evenly distributed.” – William Gibson. Well, that’s certainly true of digital recording. Dedicated producers aside, the masses of musicians in the world are often still at a loss when they want to record their music on the iPads and laptops and machines that surround them. And for all the great stuff that’s happened on the iPad for musicians, there’s still not one go-to app that everyone might use to record. Apple’s own GarageBand is one option, though even GarageBand is overkill if you just want to save some quick ideas on the …

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Daft Presets? Reason 7 Effect is Instagram for Music; How to Use – or Misuse It – and Why [Video]

Propellerhead’s latest cheeky tutorial makes no apologies. Reason 7’s Audiomatic Retro Transformer is, they say, the equivalent of tapping a filter on a phone camera app like Instagram, bundling lots of different sound attributes together into a single push-button setting. Ironically, their example is a send-up of the distinctive sound of Daft Punk’s poppy, fuzzy disco – meaning, they’ve got a preset for the band that says the problem with computers is presets. (And to think, you didn’t need to pay for all that high-end studio time.) This seems likely to produce some controversy. In fact, I’d for some time …

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ampex_golden

Universal Audio Adds Plug-ins, Pro Tools and Lion Support; Ampex Lives

Universal Audio has a big set of updates to their DSP software out today. It seems worth sharing in part because I find the (faked) look of that Ampex reel-to-reel does give me a warm and fuzzy feeling, even if it mainly makes me want to get in a studio and hear the whir of the actual gear. Here’s what’s in the update: For Pro Tools users, there’s vastly-expanded support, including native RTAS plug-ins (instead of the VST-to-RTAS adapter), control surface support, proper automatable parameters, and correct naming and sorting, plus a quicker installation and workflow. I’m embarrassed to say, …

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cassetteadapter

Cheap Tape Saturation Hack: Delicious Distortion with a Tape-to-CD Adapter

What a lovely coincidence that tape, originally a recording medium, works beautifully for distortion and saturation. Whatever the reason, tape saturation is a popular effect. If you want subtle, pristine saturation, there are various meticulous models of high-quality studio equipment. That was one topic in our interview earlier this week with Universal Audio’s Dr. David Berners. (UA’s model is intended to model the entire multitrack tape deck, so quite a bit different.) There’s also, on a much gentler budget, a simple saturation effect in the US$79 Harrison Mixbus, intended more for the saturation behavior on main or submix buses than …

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Avid Offers New Interfaces, Analog Warmth Software for Pro Tools HD

While out of the budget of many home musicians, Pro Tools HD remains the lifeblood of the studio, broadcast, and live worlds. Make no mistake – even in a slow-moving economy, that’s still big business. Users sometimes accept Avid’s hardware grudgingly, but revisions are significant news. Avid has promised a series of new products for its audio lineup; the first major announcements have arrived in the form of revised audio interfaces and a software effect for adding analog warmth to mixes. Both are targeted at Pro Tools HD. (The audio interfaces also support Core Audio and ASIO on Mac and …

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Teenage Engineering’s OP-1 Instrument: Hands-on, Videos, Why it’s Different

Photo by Teenage Engineering. Check out their full photo gallery. Teenage Engineering’s OP-1 is something unique in music hardware. It’s got a form factor inspired by the Casio VL-Tone series – you know, those cute little 80s-vintage synths. It’s a sampler. It’s a synth. It has an FM radio. It will have a variety of sequencers. It has, we’ve just learned, a multi-track tape mode that lets you do beat-synced virtual splicing as a performance technique. It is expected to integrate and interoperate with a design lifestyle including, if you like, a luxury-priced, meticulously-machined desk lamp, and according to one …

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Sony Walkman-Sequenced Gakken Synth, by Gijs Gieskes

WalkSX from Gijs on Vimeo. As the Sony Walkman turns 30, many of the mobile cassette’s fans wax nostalgic. But it takes Gijs Gieskes to wire up a new Rube Goldberg-style musical instrument based on the Walkman’s simple tape playback. Follow along carefully through the signal flow of this unusual instrument: 1. The Walkman has audio on the tape itself, sampled from a Roland TR-808 drum machine. 2. Because a compact cassette has two tracks (left and right, for stereo), one track is dedicated to the drums, another to the rim shot. 3. The rim shot track is fed as …

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Musical, Audio Graffiti; Mobile Music and Crackleboxes

Graffiti with audio tape instead of paint. High-tech graffiti is all the rage these days. Alongside various forms of LED graffiti and “photonbombing” with non-intrusive video projections, some artists are moving to the medium of sound. It’s not quite the same as the geniuses risking their lives to tag subway cars and long-forgotten tunnels, and it’s totally separated from the culture originally formed around graffiti, but in this post-modern age, I guess you take what you can get. Regine at We Make Money Not Art reports on two audio graffiti schemes presented at the Mobile Music workshop in Amsterdam. (There …

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