Thursday, December 31, 2009

Another Use for Logic's Quick Swipe Comping

When it first appeared in Logic 8, Apple's Quick Swipe Comping feature represented one of the biggest time savers introduced into the program in - well - forever. (If you're not familiar with what "comping" is, check out this post). It turns out that the feature is also useful for far more than just the traditional uses. A couple weeks back, I showed you how to use Quick Swipe to build "broken beat" type drum loops. Today, I want to show you another way I find this feature useful.

Having just released an album back in October, my band is gearing up for tours in Europe and the U.S. Since we've been around for a while now, there's a pretty noticeable difference in the production and mixing quality of the older material versus the new stuff. So I decided to restore all the old songs and give them a new mix from the ground up using higher quality effects and my improved mixing skills so they'd be more consistent with the sound of the new tracks. Once this was done it was time to master the tracks. I'll be frank, I absolutely hate mastering. I find it incredibly tedious. All the going back and forth to make sure everything sounds consistent and compatible can be especially maddening.

This time around, after I mastered and bounced the tracks, I loaded them all into a Take Folder and used Quick Swipe to cut back and forth in between the different tracks to easily compare the tone, loudness, and dynamics to ensure everything was consistent. I could take notes, make adjustments, and repeat the process until everything was nice and balanced. Just this small change in the way I'd been doing things shaved off a lot of the tedious part of this task and let me concentrate on getting things sounding right. Do you have any less traditional uses for common features that have been big time savers for you?

The Obligatory End of the Year Post

Well, it's the last day of 2009 and I am legally required by the Blogosphere to acknowledge that in the form of some all-encompassing, clever wrap-up that encapsulates what this year was all about. But posts like that are a dime a dozen, so let's just cut to the chase. What is your pick for the best album of 2009?

Mine is "It's Blitz!" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I'd always liked this band, but their transformation from a noisy alternarock band into a sleek, electronics-driven dancefloor juggernaut was amazing not only in its bravery, but also in its execution. It's rare to see a band pull off this kind of dramatic change in such a skillful way and although I've listened to it non-stop all year, I never seem to get sick of it. So what's your selection?

Electrix Warp Factory on Ebay

Info at the listing...

Korg MonoPoly on Ebay

Info at the listing...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

EML 101 on Ebay

Info at the listing...

Ableton Live Remake : HIGH LIFE by Daft Punk

A while back I posted a video of a guy recreating Prodigy's "Smack My Bitch Up" in Ableton Live using the original sample sources. This one isn't quite as impressive (and could use some serious editing), but it's still very interesting. I hope people keep doing these, they're a lot of fun to watch.

DK Synergy on Ebay

Whoa! These are super-rare.

EMS VCS3 mkII with Keyboard and Pins

Info at the listing...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Awesome Martyn Ware Feature on the Early Days of the Human League

The German website has a great feature on the early days of the Human League in which original member Martyn Ware recreates their track "Being Boiled" from the original patch sheets. The text is in German, but all the videos are in English. Lots of tasty Roland System 100 and Korg 700 on this one! If nothing else it confirms the fact that Vince Clarke gives the best Christmas presents ever. Thanks very much to Jez for sending this to me, I'd never seen it before!

Roger O'Donnell Posts Memories of Making The Cure's "Disintegration"

Thanks to slicinupeyeballs for this one...

There was some hemming and hawing over whether he'd actually end up posting it or not, but ex-Cure keyboardist Roger O'Donnell has posted a write-up of his memories of the making of the Cure's seminal "Disintegration" album, which celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. God, I feel so old.

Yamaha CS-50 on Ebay

Info at the listing...

Hohner Bass Synth on Ebay

Info at the listing...

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from Waveformless!

I just want to take the time out to wish all of you wonderful Waveformless readers a very Merry Christmas, or whatever holiday you choose to celebrate this time of year as an excuse to drink yourself silly.

Here's a little present for you - 14 presets for FXpansion's Strobe synth (part of DCAM Synth Squad). They're mostly basses, but there's a couple percussion and synth sounds in there are well.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

I Have the Best Fans...

Thought I'd share this since it's Christmas Eve. Some people really go to great lengths to decorate to the holidays, and in recent years a lot of Christmas light displays are even synchronized to music. Here is one a fan did to a song from my most recent album . This isn't his normal Christmas display, but something he just did for fun. Even after a decade of releasing music, my fans still find ways to surprise me.

Hartmann Neuron VS on Ebay

Software (with hardware controller) version of the unusual Hartmann Neuron...

Linn Drum on Ebay

Info at the listing...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Parameter Step Offset in Logic Ultrabeat

Ultrabeat, if you're not familiar with it, is Logic's built-in drum synth/sampler/sequencer combo. It's incredibly deep and full-featured, but unfortunately the interface is terrible, as is the case with many of Logic's included instruments. It's not totally impenetrable, but it's enough of a pain, that most Logic users give up on it before they really have a chance to see what it's capable of. I'm probably guilty of this a bit myself. I genuinely like Ultrabeat but the interface just puts me off and I don't use it that much.

I was reading a thread regarding this very topic over on GearSlutz, when a post by helpful user d1rtyNYC reminded me of one of my favorite features in Ultrabeat: sequencing parameter offsets. Put in more simple language... you can use the step sequencer to modulate parameters of the drum synth. Here's how to do it:

1. Launch Logic and create a new software instrument track. Assign and open an instance of UltraBeat.

2. At the very bottom of the interface, you'll see the step sequencer. This area gives you the option of programming your beats from within Ultrabeat instead of sequencing them in Logic's arrange page. For the sake of this tutorial, I'll assume you have a beat programmed in the step sequencer already (Logic defaults to one, so you can just use that..) What you might not have noticed, is there are two options available to you when it comes to the step sequencer. This defaults to the VOICE mode, which lets you program when and at what velocity a sound will be triggered. Standard stuff. But, if you look directly under the sequencer's "power" button (which you should turn on now, incidentally), you'll see the switch for setting your EDIT mode.
3. Click on the word "STEP" and you'll see the interface change. Namely, you'll notice yellow rings appearing around all the sound's editable parameters. Select the parameter you want to step sequence changes for and change its value by moving the slider/knob. For the sake of this tutorial, let's alter OSC 1's PITCH value, since it has a very noticeable effect. If you've clicked on this and altered the value, you'll see a new step inserted on the sequencer at the bottom, and a new drop down menu appears right to the left of the steps labeled "PARAMETER OFFSET". Right now, that menu only has a selction for OSC 1 PITCH, but every time you alter another parameter and add a new modulation sequence, it will be added to this menu, so you can go back and edit the sequences for each parameter after the fact if need be.

4. You can also enter steps on the step sequencer grid itself. Just make sure you have clicked on the parameter (or select it from the drop-down menu if you've already created a sequence for that parameter), and you can draw in the steps yourself.

Pretty cool, right? What's even cooler is that you can do this for all the available parameters, so you can create incredibly complex, evolving modulations and even program melodies and riffs. Now multiply that by Ultrabeat's 25 available sound slots and you can see how mind-bogglingly deep and complex this can get. Have fun and thanks to d1rtyNYC for reminding me what I was missing out on.

Electro Harmonix HOG Synthesizer Pedal on Ebay

Info at the listing...

Univox Super Rythmer SR-55 on Ebay

Info at the listing...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Open Thread: Your Least Favorite Xmas Song?

The Christmas season is such a mixed bag for me. On the one hand, I absolutely love getting to see family and giving gifts to those I love. But on the other hand, it makes going to post office a nightmare, it can sometimes bring out the really ugly, greedy side of people, and worst of all, it means I have to hear Christmas music for a month. I hate Christmas music. Not all of it, mind you. But most of it.

Call me a grouch, I really don't care, but I suspect I am also not alone in this feeling. So go ahead. Have at it. Tell me what Christmas song absolutely drives you up the wall. I'm going to put mine forth as a toss-up between Wings' "Wonderful Christmastime" and that stupid "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" song. You?

Take THAT, Daft Punk!

Peavey DPM2 on Ebay

Remember when Peavey had a short-lived run at the synth market?

Korg 707 on Ebay

Korg FM synth that is probably most notable for the unusual placement of the mod and pitch wheels. I've never played one, but that actually looks like a pretty convenient place to put them. Anyone played one before?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Holiday Deals And Freebies

Christmas is just a few days away (how did it sneak up so quickly?!) and I'm sure you're all done with your shopping, so why not pick up a li'l sumpin' sumpin' for yourself? As usually happens this time of year, a lot of great companies are having some killer deals and some are even giving stuff away for free!

Wave Alchemy - Up to 50% Off
Sample library creators Wave Alchemy are offering some serious discounts until January 4th. Includes 50% off the SFX Collection 01, and 25% off Drum Machines 01 Bundle, Electro Collection Bundle, African Rhythms, Electro House Progressions, Electro House Underground, Airbase Drums, Deep Drums, and Electrik Drums.

Admiral Quality - Makers of the critically acclaimed Poly-Ana are offering half off all of their products until the end of the year.

Native Instruments - The German software giants have released Holiday Selection 2009, a free instrument featuring 45 sounds taken from the Kore and Kontakt sound libraries.

Real Music Media - The creators of sound libraries such as The Real Snare Drum and Taijiguy Mellotron have decided to make all of their samples available for free. To be fair to those who had paid for them, the free versions are 16-bit instead of 24.

Ueberschall - The longtime sample developers are offering Scoretrax, an instrument based on their Elastik Player for 60% off until the end of the year.

Fab Filter - 25% off all bundles until December 31st.

• Waves - 51% off all purchases and upgrades until the end of December.

Ohm Force - Symptohm: Melohman: Performer Edition, a simplified version of the commercial Symptohm: Melohman softsynth, has been made available as freeware.

Ableton - 2 free Live Packs featuring the amazing live drum n' bass, dubstep, and breakbeat drummer KJ Sawka are yours for the taking.

Expert Sleepers - In addition to offering their plug-ins in various money-saving bundles (discounts up to 37%), Expert Sleeper is offering additional Holiday discounts through January 6th for total savings up to 55%

Assemblage 23 - Okay, crass plug for myself here... I'm offering free shipping until the end of December on all orders from the Assemblage 23 Online Store if you enter the coupon code 'SANTAROCKS' in the special instructions section of the order form. No matter where you live or how much you order, you pay nothing on shipping.

That's just a small selection of what's out there. Know of any other cool ones?

Korg Z1 on Ebay

Korg modeling synth... can do some really nice, unique sounding strings.

Modified Arp Axxe on Ebay

Info at the listing...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Free Sample Friday: 1 Note Virus Bass Samples

Back in the early days of sampling, when memory on samplers was pretty limited, multi-sampling was not as widespread as it is today. In fact, a lot of the early synth samples I made were based on a single sampled note transposed across the entire keyboard. (Sometimes because I had stolen the sound off a record and that's all I had...) This worked better with some sounds than others, obviously, and one type of sound I found it was very cool on was bass sounds. The transposition made it punchier, and even in the high ends, you could sometimes use them as percussive "sequencer" type sounds. You can hear these kinds of sampled bass sounds on a lot of 90's era dance music.

So in that spirit, today I give you 5 single note samples of bass sounds produced by an Access Virus B. The root note of all of these is C. As usual, they are 24-bit/44.1k WAV samples.