LIQUID RHYTHM 1

Rhythm, Recoded in Plug-ins, Ableton Live: A Conversation with WaveDNA

Music software is at its best when it goes beyond cookie-cutter regularity, and spawns something creative. And sometimes, the path there involves retooling how that music is made. That’s why I’m pleased to get to share this interview with WaveDNA. Liquid Rhythm is something unlike just about anything else in music software. It looks like a music theory class collided with a mandala. In colored patterns, arrayed in bars and wheels, you can produce all kinds of new rhythms, then integrate deeply with your host software. If you use Ableton Live, the integration goes further still. Whether you’re using Drum …

READ MORE →
The boys of Elektron, jamming out. The analog lineup at the booth was a big hit at Messe, but the news story was making that analog play nicely with your lappy.

Elektron, Bridging Gap Between Synths, Drum Machines and Computers: Overbridge Explained

It’s a funny thing about this latest hardware resurgence: everyone kind of expects to use that gear with their PC and Mac. Elektron isn’t the first ever to attempt to make their gear integrate smoothly with computers; some of the techniques they use in Overbridge we’ve even seen before. (Roland and Virus spring to mind.) But with complete features for making their hottest, latest equipment behave well with software, they’re firmly in the territory of “why wasn’t everyone doing that before?” Elektron unveiled their approach this week at Musikmesse. It’s called “Overbridge,” and it applies to their latest analog equipment …

READ MORE →

Add Musicians Across the World As Easily as a Plug-in: VST Connect Pro

With Facebook and WhatsApp and FaceTime and Skype, we can be chatting with anyone in the world. Why not also recording music with them, via MIDI or audio? Steinberg’s vision of bringing Minority Report-style hand-waving to moving your transport controls may or may not be something you’d actually want to do – cool factor aside. But the other announcement this week that echoes science fiction films is a technology for letting you record musicians from far-off places. (Remember video conferencing in 2001? Or that horrible scene in Back to the Future 2? I digress.) Online collaboration is something many, many …

READ MORE →
scratchtrackplug

Scratch Anything, in a $20 Plug-in: MIDI, Turntables, and Hosts Like Ableton Meet

Turntablism is still alive, but surprisingly, turntable techniques haven’t entirely harmonized with modern DAWs. One of the first products ever covered here on CDM was Ms. Pinky, a combination of software and vinyl, which recently saw a Max for Live iteration. But Scratch Track is about the most universal, easiest way yet to drop scratching into a project. It’s a VST plug-in, compatible with OS X (10.6 or later) and Windows. It works with turntables. It works with MIDI. It works with host automation. It works with host automation and MIDI even if you don’t have a turntable. And there’s …

READ MORE →

SONAR X3 Makes Control of Sound More Fluid with Deep Celemony Integration, More

SONAR, Cakewalk’s flagship Windows DAW, receives a significant update this month as SONAR X3. There are a number of improvements, but what may be the most significant is a deep integration of Celemony’s toolset for manipulating pitch and time. DAW tastes will be forever personal, so you can be forgiven if you simply don’t like or have never used SONAR. But it’s worth noting that some things the software has accomplished have led the way for other tools. Cakewalk was the first, for instance, to embrace 64-bit audio processing and computation, and continues to (fairly) boast of its 64-bit “double …

READ MORE →

Get a Multi-Sampled Mellotron, Free [Mac, Windows]

At 350 pounds (159 kg), the original Mellotron is not an easy instrument to acquire … or lift. But its 8-second tapes helped define a classic sound – Strawberry Fields, forever. Sample house UVI have been doing a lot of nice work lately – including some real rarities like the prepared piano at Paris research center IRCAM. They’re giving away their multi-sampled Mello emulation. It’s always tough to know how to best capture as a digital instrument something as idiosyncratic as the Mellotron; in this case, they’ve multi-sampled dozens of tapes on three different machines for the 28 sounds. It’s …

READ MORE →

FireBird 2, “Harmonic Content Morphing” Synth Plug-in, Now Free [Windows]

With so many choices, some beautiful software synths simply fall through the cracks – or fail to keep up with tastes and attentions. TONE2, maker of a number of nice soft synths, has therefore decided to put its FireBird synth out to pasture, releasing an update and marking down the price from $79 to free (as in beer – no source). Of course, part of the reason people’s eyes glaze over with soft synths is the sheer number of two-oscillator, Virtual Analog, subtractive synths out there. But there are a few details that set FireBird 2 apart and ought to …

READ MORE →

Damn, Son: VST Makes 80s and 90s Hits into Trap; Dubspot Nails It

This: April Fools’ Day is turning into an avalanche of PR stunts. (Want to really fool people? Release your fake product in July. Oddly, so much of the game is whether anything is real or to be taken seriously, maybe the Internet has sort of spoiled the whole thing.) But this is something different: spot-on parody from the crew at Manhattan’s Dubspot. And… just keep watching. You really don’t want to miss Celine Dion. My only fear is that something like this may soon be real, knowing the products that have tried to cash in on Dubstep. (That’s Dubstep, not …

READ MORE →

Deckadance 2 Hits Beta; FL’s DJ Cousin is Packed With FX and Envelopes, VST Support

What would happen if Traktor DJ and a KAOSS Pad had a love child, who went to school at Ableton and came home full of automation envelopes and triggers? Well, maybe something like this. Certainly, the results would be a DJ tool the likes of which only FL “Fruity Loops” Studio maker Image Line would dream up, in a demo video only they would make. It’s beta 2 of Deckadance, the underdog Mac/Windows DJ app that’s surprisingly full of functionality. And while this isn’t the first DJ software to do sampling and effects, those features are now tied to some …

READ MORE →

Ardour, For the Rest of Us: Free DAW Gets Plug-ins, MIDI, More as 3.0 Arrives

Ardour has long been software that you probably wanted to want to use. Fully free and open source, supporting standards for plug-ins and file interchange, Ardour is software that arguably the whole industry needs to exist. That is, even if you don’t use it, you might benefit from having a reasonable competitor that pushes openness and interoperability, that can innovate with open source code as much as commercial options do. Now, Ardour is here in a version you may actually want to use. It’s not that there haven’t been people getting work done with Ardour in the past. (Don’t forget …

READ MORE →