Thursday, May 31, 2012

Apple Acquires Redmatica

Well, this is interesting news.  Apple has apparently acquired Italian software developers Redmatica, makers of the excellent Auto-Sampler, Keymap Pro, and Pro Manager for Logic's EXS-24.  Although it's hard to know for sure what this will mean, it does seem to suggest a rather big makeover of EXS-24 in the next version of Logic.

[via Techcrunch]

Ohm Force Releases Free Beta of OhmStudio DAW

Ohm Force has been working on its DAW OhmStudio for quite some time, and now they've made a free beta version available for both Mac and PC.  OhmStudio is designed with real-time online collaboration in mind.

"Ohm Studio is the first real-time collaborative digital audio workstation. Start a project, invite musicians and make music together. It's as simple as that.

Download the application and join a worldwide online cohmunity of musicians and producers."

New England Digital Synclavier 3200/VPK on eBay

Info at the listing...

Jomox XBASE 999 on eBay

Info at the listing...

Korg Poly-800 with 6 Mods on eBay

This is the most mods I've seen on one of these before:

• VCF Cutoff Frequency. absolutely essential.
• VCF Resonance (with an internal trimmer ) I've set it so the filter will just barely oscillate at max.
• VCF Freq Modulation  (DCO1 digital controlled oscillator) Smooth modulation here.
• VCF Super Mod  ( DCO2 digital controlled oscillator) This modulation is much harsher, much more striking than the first.
• Noise gain - this is really nice to be able to turn it up and down for some wind and thunder effects.
• 18/24db filter output selection switch. I've found that the 18db output on the filter is a much better sound with more character, depth, clarity.

Info at the listing...

Roland S-10 Sampler on eBay

Info at the listing...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Free Korg Monotron Duo Samples from Rhythm Lab

Rhythm Lab has posted a free sample set consisting of sounds sourced from the Korg Monotron Duo.  64 samples in total consisting of basses, FX, waveforms, synths, and more.


The Tyranny of Choice

I remember reading an old interview with Phil Oakey on the making of the Human League's "Dare" album.    He was discussing the band using the New England Digital Synclavier and how it ended up being a hinderance because they'd waste an entire afternoon just auditioning different bass sounds instead of moving forward with the song.  This hit home with me, because I'd been guilty of doing the same thing.  Nowadays, with synths that ship regularly with thousands of presets, and hundreds of cheap or free softsynths and effects available at the click of the mouse, many of us have way more than we need.  And, perversely, it's making us less productive.  So today, I thought I'd offer some advice to help break out of this pattern.

• Have a Spring Cleaning of Your Studio/Workspace
I try to keep my studio fairly organized, but you know how it is. Receipts and invoices pile up, cords get re-routed and mixed up, and all manner of extraneous crap can invade your workspace.  It can make it unpleasant to work in, and, some believe, that disorganization may spill over into your work.  So while this doesn't have anything to do with having too many choices, I recommend it as a good first step in being more productive.  Your mileage may vary, but I always find myself more eager to work and more productive when my studio is clean and organized.

• Schedule a Spring Cleaning of Your Computer
Once a year, I sit down and have a "spring cleaning" of my plug-ins folder.  If there's an instrument or an effect that I haven't used in the past six months, it gets backed up and pulled out of my folder.  This can be hard to do at first.  It's easy to fall into the trap of "but I might need it later", but I think you'll find 9 times out of 10 you really don't.  And if you do end up needing it?  Just pull out that back-up and install it.  The benefits here are that it'll take you less time for you to find the effect or instrument you're looking for and you'll waste less time randomly trying different effects or sounds just for the sake of doing so.

• Trust Your Instincts
This is something it took me a long time to learn and an even longer time to truly implement.  When you've got so many choices in front of you, it's all too easy to waste a lot of time worrying about whether you chose the "perfect" string/bass/kick/kazoo sound.  What if there's an even better sound you could be using?! Don't get me wrong.  It's good to experiment with different sounds and effects and you can have many a happy accident this way.  But there is a point of diminishing returns where you're just spinning your wheels without any real benefit.  The same can happen with the songwriting process.  Who among us hasn't spent hours trying to find the perfect riff to accompany a bassline, only to return to what you originally had?  So try, at least initially, to be fairly quick and efficient in your decision-making process.  Don't over-analyze and beat yourself up worrying about if there's an "even better" sound you could be using.  Push forward and once you have something approaching a finished song, you can always make tweaks, if necessary.  You will probably find, however, that the song sounds pretty bitchin'.  I think the #1 thing that leads to that folder of unfinished 4-bar riffs that everyone has, is over-analysis and losing the initial spark of inspiration in a sea of self-doubt and endless auditioning.  Need evidence of this?  Guns n' Roses last album. 'Nuff said. Try the quick approach and see if it doesn't make you more productive.

• But Don't Totally Trust Your Instincts
Good instincts take time to develop for many of us.  So always have a trusted friend who will give you honest feedback regarding your music.  You don't have to agree with their opinion, but it may help you focus on some problem areas you never noticed you had.  It's extremely difficult to be objective about your own music.  So find someone who can be and let them help.  Knowing how the average person listens to your music can help you hone in on areas for improvement more quickly and can take out a lot of the guesswork that results in so much lost time.

• Impose Restrictions on Yourself
I know what you're thinking... "Musicians have dreamed of having a fully-stocked studio with every kind of instrument and effect available to them for as long as recorded music has existed.  Now that we actually have that dream available to us, we're supposed to restrict ourselves?  Screw you, Shear!"  Trust me on this one, though.  Try to impose some limits on how you're working on your current project.  Try limiting yourself to 1 or 2 synths and using those to produce all the sounds in your song.  Give yourself a time limit in which to complete a certain part of your song.  Write something using only the black keys on your keyboard.  Not only will challenging yourself in new ways make you a more well-rounded musician, but with all those choices narrowed down for you, you can concentrate on making music and getting that song across the finish line.

What are your favorite methods of being more productive?

Casio DG-20 MIDI Guitar Synth on eBay

Info at the listing...

Formanta UDS Analog Drum Synth on eBay

Info at the listing...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tone2 Updates AkustiX to 1.1

Tone2 has updated their AkustiX Enhancer to version 1.1.  AkustiX is a mutli-effect designed to compliment the process of mixing and mastering with EQ, stereo width, phase enhancer, multi-exciter, and "smart filter" effects.  The new version boasts improved sound quality, reduced latency, 64-bit versions for Mac, and more.  Tone2 is available for Windows (VST) or Mac (AU/VST) for $59.  The update is free to registered users.

Free Stream of Skinny Puppy's "Dog Shit" [Live]

Skinny Puppy will be releasing a live album on Metropolis Records this June 12 called "Bootlegged, Broke, and In Solvent Seas".  You can stream a full track from the album of their classic track "Dog Shit" on Soundcloud.  Enjoy!

[via Slicingupeyeballs]

Yamaha E70 Organ Modified into 2 CS80 Type Synths

I don't want to know how much this must weigh...

Info at the listing...

Korg Trident on eBay

Info at the listing...

Friday, May 25, 2012

Free Sample Friday: PowerAxxe Part 1

Today's Free Sample Friday comes via contributor Adam.  Take it away, Adam!

"A single 8mb sample of cold, shredding, piercing, mess.

The output of the Axxe was sent through a metal container full of water transmitted and received by two homemade piezo microphones.

Part two will contain manipulated derivatives of this sample."


Moog Prodigy on eBay

Info at the listing...

Roland JP-8000 on eBay

Info at the listing...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

John Chowning's "FM Synthesis Theory and Applications"

Reader Joel alerted me to a website that had John Chowning's out-of-print "FM Synthesis: Theory and Applications" text scanned as a PDF.  As the site looked like it hadn't been updated in 5 years, I uploaded the file to my own hosting in case something happened to the original.  No idea who did the original scan, but many thanks whoever you are.

If you don't know who John Chowning is, he is none other than the inventor of FM synthesis which went on to become the sound of the 80's and sell Yamaha a whole lot of DX-7's.  Unfortunately, FM Synthesis isn't quite as intuitive as good old subtractive synthesis, and that's where this text comes in.  More or less considered to be the bible of FM synthesis, the text may help to clarify things a bit for you if you're struggling.


Arp 2600 + 3620 Keyboard on eBay

Info at the listing...

Korg MS-02 Interface on eBay

Rare accessory for the MS-20...

Info at the listing...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hollow Sun Records Honors Bob Moog with Special Offer

Hollow Sun Records has announced a special offer in honor of the late, great Robert Moog who would've been 78 today.  Rod Mitchell, who records under the name Atomic Shadow happens to share the same birthday as Dr. Moog and has decided to price his albums "Project Berna" and "Creatures from Beyond" at only £3 each with all the proceeds being donated to the Bob Moog Foundation.

Google Honors Bob Moog's Birthday with Playable Web Synth

The cat was sort of out of the bag already, as Google in Australia and Japan had this yesterday due to the time difference, but Google has marked this day in history (Bob Moog's birthday) with a playable browser-based synth.  It even includes a mini four-track recorder to record your doodles.  How awesome is that?

Electro Harmonix Mini-Synth on eBay

Info at the listing...

Yamaha VL70-m on eBay

Early physical modeling synth with quite a cult following...

Info at the listing...

Korg Poly-800 Mk II on eBay

Info at the listing...

Monday, May 21, 2012

Early BBC Radiophonics Experiment from 1957

"An early BBC experiment in radiophonic sound, predating the establishment of the Radiophonic Workshop, created by Frederick Bradnum and Daphne Oram (pictured) and produced by Donald McWhinnie.
TX BBC Third Programme, 07/10/1957."

[via Straypixel on YouTube and BoingBoing]

John Tejada Interview

Create Digital Music has an interview with an artist whose work I've been enjoying a lot recently,  John Tejada.  If you're into the more minimal, melodic side of house, definitely give his stuff a listen.  In the meantime, read about his 15 year career, thoughts on performance, and the future of music distribution.

Roland Jupiter-4 on eBay

Info at the listing...

Friday, May 18, 2012