Cybersonica: Building the Etch-a-Sound 3D Voice Drawing Toy

The Etch-a-Sound, shown at London’s recent Cybersonica sound art fair, lets visitors draw in 3D using their voice. It’s a bizarre idea, and the right-angle pipes recall a classic 3D animation as much as the original Etch-a-Sketch (awful model for intuitive illustration that the toy was), but it’s great fun. The creators also did a good job of documenting the process. It’s a great glimpse into a process that’s spreading rapidly: after a long drought, people are again making stuff with computers and electronics. It’s a new golden age for magical audiovisual toys. Process of making Etch-a-Sound [flickr set] Etch-a-Sound …

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Take My Breath Away: Waves Vocal Effects Bundle

Waves, the people behind some highly-respected, extremely high-end audio processing effects, have turned their attention to singers. The new Vocal Bundle includes some old favorites, plus relatively new automatic tuning and pitch correction and breath removal plugins. The bundle includes: Tune Automatic pitch correction and “melody transformation.” (also available separately for US$600 list) DeBreath Breath removal (a description that also applies to me attempting to play soccer); this one is designed to work as transparently as possible Renaissance Channel Channel Strip Renaissance DeEsser “Intelligent” Sibilance Control Doubler Emulates Double-Track Effects Grand total: US$1000. And those of you who already have …

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TonePort USB Shipping; Computer Effects for Vocalists

When you hear live computer effects, the emphasis is almost always on guitarists. What about vocalists? Line6 is building vocal-centered effects into their eminently-affordable TonePort USB line, which (via Harmony Central) is shipping as of now. Starting at under US$200, a singer with a laptop and a good mic doesn’t have to balk at going digital. The included interface promises good mic pres and, in addition to the usual guitar stuff, some effects that will be especially useful to vocalists. Check out their vocal line-up: models of vintage mic pres, EQ, and even tape, plus a compressor, noise gate, de-essers, …

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04/01: Wing Endorses M-Audio

No . . . not Wings, Wing, one of the hotest vocal artists on the planet. If you haven't heard this Hong Kong native yet (she was recently featured on South Park, a TV show that has launched . . . or re-launched . . . many a pop superstar), you're missing out on incredibly smooth, sultry tones. Velvet fog, indeed. And now M-Audio (a part of Avid) has earned a major endorsement. Sure, M-Audio has scored endorsements from the likes of everyone from Grammy-Winning Black-Eyed Peas to Straight Male Apartment Conversion Theme Song wonders Widelife, but clearly the addition …

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Hatebeak: Parrot Sings Death Metal

Tired of the lead vocalist in your hardcore thrash death metal band? Why not replace him or her with a parrot? Yes, it's Hatebeak, the band with a parrot (literally) singing — make that "savaging you with feathers of razored steel." (I've heard a few folk singer-songwriters who also fit that description, but I digress.) Where else could you find tunes like "Bird Bites, Dog Cries," "Beak of Putrefaction," or "Bird Seeds of Vengeance." The sound is best described as, um, just go listen to the MP3. Reptilian Records is also lucky enough to have signed Caninus, which features two …

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Dierdre: French Electronica Vocalist Breaks Out

Dierdre, formerly singer with Ekova, is now lending her sultry French vocals to a fantastic, diverse solo debut called One. It's just hit the playlist at CDM HQ and sounds fantastic; check out a wealth of links for more information from The Suburbs are Killing Us (currently my favorite listening-to-music blog). Check the North American tour dates for this month's stops in Seattle, California, Austin (SxSW), and Montreal, plus of course a date here in New York City where I'll be interviewing her for my book and this site. Interview text will be up shortly thereafter.

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Cheap Tricks: Better Vocals with Pantyhose

While we're on the subject of cheap recording tricks (see also: singing into your closet), why not make a pop filter out of pantyhose? What's a pop filter, you say? If you're not recording vocals with one, you're insane: sibilance and plosives will create unweildly, well, "pops" on your recording. You could buy a pop filter to help, or use one of these tricks: Point your mic off-axis at your vocalist. (Boring, not as effective as –) Use a sock placed over the head of the mic. (Better, perfect for hotel room recordings, not as good as –) Build a …

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Speech Synthesis: History, Resources, Online Generators

Dave's Imaginary Sound Space has an incredible compendium of links on the history of speech synthesis, complete with sound files, all the way back 50 years to the Sonovox, connected to a Masters' Thesis by Sami Lemmety. Inspired by Dave's links, CDM has decided to bring you more of the time-sucking power of fascinating speech synthesis links! Len Sasso has a great article from the 2/2004 Electronic Musician with everything you wanted to know about speech synthesis — history, how to do it, and more copious links! You can hear how the National Weather Service (USA) has changed its voices …

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AutoTune Now AU-Compatible (OS X)

Antares' wildly popular automatic tuning plugin AutoTune is now available in Audio Unit form, meaning you're no longer reliant on Pro Tools to run it — Logic, DP, GarageBand, Live, etc. are all fair game on the Mac. (Antares has ensured compatibility with Apple's validators.) [via kvraudio] Great news for native audio, etc., etc. (I'm trying to be upbeat here, really.) Sure, for people like me the sound of AutoTune is like nails on a chalkboard, bane of my existence, one of my least favorite things. So . . . uh . . . please go buy this thing and …

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Cantor Virtual Singer Adds German, MIDI Lyrics

Virsyn's virtual singer software Cantor has now added voices and pronunciation for German (which Virsyn says works nicely for Latin pronunciation, too). Version 1.6 includes German support with 100,000 words, which handily beats my own 23-word vocabulary in German, most of which is related to food. There's also a new choral generator feature and the ability to import MIDI songs complete with lyrics. By the way, if you're imagining all of this sounds pretty weird, you're right. Deliciously so. Check out the range of possibilities in the sound samples. It's a heck of a step up from those annoying choral …

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