Getting Started with Renoise: 5 Tips, Videos, and a Handy, Free Tool

The tracker is back. Piano rolls and fake multitrack tape turn out not to be the only way to conceptualize how music is put together in digital form. And Renoise is a terrific way to learn a ground-up approach to production, because you get the quick workflow of the tracker without having to sacrifice so many of the “comforts of home” we’re used to in modern DAWs. So we’re pleased to have our Renoise + Indamixx contest going, not only for existing users, but newcomers, too. Renoise users have one way of evangelizing why they love their tool, which is …

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TaggedFrog: Free/Donationware Windows File Utility Adds Audio Support

Mac users luck out when it comes to managing audio files, with exceptional choices like Snapper from AudioEase and the all-powerful AudioFinder, not to mention – if your needs are light – features like Leopard’s QuickLook. Windows users, by contrast, have been mostly left out. But good news: we’ve got a lovely solution for you. TaggedFrog is a free/donationware utility for Windows XP and Vista that brings some powerful file management facilities. And what’s great here is that it looks dead-simple to use. Lunar Frog TaggedFrog [Publisher Site, Free Download] As the name implies, the tool is built around tagging …

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Sound to Pixels and Back Again: Isolating Instruments with Photosounder

Sound is a wonderful, if invisible thing. To work with these tiny fluctuations in air pressure that make up what we hear, we always work with some sort of software metaphor. So why not make that metaphor pixels – and why not manipulate the visual element directly? Translating between sound and image is not a new concept in music software. The deepest tool for these functions is unquestionably the Mac-only classic MetaSynth, which sprang from the imagination of Bryce creator and graphic designer Eric Wenger. To me, one of the most appealing features of MetaSynth has always been its filter …

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REX/ReCycle Loops Meet MPC Via Mac Utilities, MPC Add-ons Live On

Up close with an MPC screen. Now you can make your computer screen your MPC slicing interface. Photo: regueifeiro. Want to load ReCycle REX sample files onto your MPC? Or looking for a better solution for chopping up samples – that is, firing up ReCycle on your screen? Joe Lambert writes in to share his GBP11 Mac utility for the task: Just a quick note to let you know about a little application I wrote that lets users easily convert chopped Recycle files into Akai MPC program files. http://apps.steamshift.com/ This essentially allows a producer to chop a breakbeat (or other …

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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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Tips: Fix Windows Explorer, Be Happy

I’m a big believer in open platforms, computer platforms, and the power to customize stuff. Unfortunately, there’s a simple reality: developers’ work is sometimes a bit like the proverbial bull in the china shop. (Code SMASH!) In short: a lot of times when Windows’ file managemer Explorer is hanging, it’s not Microsoft’s fault. Misbehaved shell extensions – often installed without your permission by other tools you’ve installed – are often responsible. If you’re like me, you’re willing to put in a little bit of effort if it saves you time down the road. For me, a few tweaks to Explorer …

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Free Reaktor-Based Motion Recorder, Works with Spark (and Other Stuff)

Native Instruments Spark plus Blackbox from Create Digital Media on Vimeo. Hands-on control is a wonderful thing, as NI founder and Reaktor “mastermind” Stephan Schmitt noted in our story yesterday on his creation Spark. And LFOs are often not terribly interesting. But even using your feet for modulation, you may eventually run out of limbs. So if you want to record automation but keep the human element, a motion recorder is not a bad way to go. Spark is just out, but our NI minisite writer Peter was so into it that he created a motion recorder for himself just …

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Free Utility Makes Endless Oscillators for Ableton Live Simpler, Sampler

slicedbread, on behalf of The Covert Operators, has released a free Windows utility that generates “endless harmonic oscillators” for Ableton Live’s Simpler and Sampler instruments. (Since this was a released, a Mac build has been made available, as well; see link below.) Even if you don’t intend to use the utility directly, pay attention – The Covert Ops already have a sample pack up full of oscillators, and you can bet the presence of this utility means more will come. (Even Robert Henke was impressed on the forums.) Live 6 introduced the file format for “Ableton Meta Sounds.” Bjorn Vayner …

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Album Art and Design, Alive and Well in the Digital Age

Today’s reflections on the importance of album art: 1. Album art can be beautiful, whatever the recording medium. It can reflect great design, and extend the expression of the album itself (well, and it helps if the album is great). Justin and Colin have created the site Hardformat to celebrate design on everything from tapes and records to new releases. They have a gorgeous gallery of stuff, pictured above. I like what they have to say on their about page: It seems like everybody’s talking about the end of physical music media. Who knows whether they’re right or not, but …

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