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Get Your Ableton Grids in Order, Free, with Launchsync

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

push_inuse_9

In live electronic music, the endless free expanse of the computer screen tends to run up against the limited ability of your brain to tell just which freakin’ track am I on, anyway? In the studio, it can be annoying. Live onstage, it can be train wreck-inducing.

Ableton Live’s Session View has for years exacerbated this problem. You can limit your options to eight (or even four) tracks. But that doesn’t always work. You might need more than eight tracks for particular routings of audio or MIDI. And unless you use Device Racks and chains, you’ll also need extra tracks to switch instruments.

Launchsync is a solution to that problem. Instead of all of your controllers going their own way and controlling different parts of Live separately, they can now move in tandem. So, rather than doing scrolling on multiple devices and squinting at the screen to see where the heck you are, you can navigate on one controller and everything else follows.

Use cases:
1. One Ring to Rule Them All. Have every grid controller assigned to the same block of clips, and move around together (one clip at a time, or “paging” in bigger groups).
2. A Wider or Taller Grid. Make a bigger grid. For instance, a Push and a Launchpad, or two Launchpads could be next to one another, moving together – 16×8 or 8×16 or whatever you like.
3. Faders Synced with a Grid. Get your faders following your grid. I love Push, but I’ve hesitated to use it live because I can’t easily mix on it. Now, I can have my LaunchControl XL follow the launch grid of the Push.

It’s free, but requires Max for Live (included in Ableton Live Suite 9). I’ll say this, though, now with confidence – if you’re serious about using Live, just get Suite (or a discounted version of Max). Seriously. I haven’t talked to one person who regrets that. They’re getting it to use tools like this, even if they’re not patchers.

Compatible hardware:
Ableton Push
Akai APC40 (not sure yet about the mk2 series)
Allen and Heath K2 (via the additional Isotonik2
Novation Launchpad, LaunchKey, and LaunchControl (all models)
Livid Instruments Base (all models)

I’d love to see this work with tools like iPad controllers, too, so I’ve put touchAble in contact with Darren, the developer at Isotonik. We’ll let you know if they make it work!

Watch the video to make this clearer:

Thanks to the terrific Ableton Live Expert for this coverage and the video (I have to start reading your site more often)!
EXCLUSIVE to Ableton Live Expert – Free Novation Launchsync Max for Live plugin!

The original, here with hilarious wooden side panels. Photo (CC-BY) Paul.

The original, here with hilarious wooden side panels. Photo (CC-BY) Paul.

The Ring

I’ll back up for a bit of history. When Ableton and Akai announced the APC40 at the beginning of 2009, they added a red rectangle on the screen that gave you feedback on what it was controlling onscreen, allowing you to map its eight controller strips and grid of clip launchers to more than eight tracks. That box is technically called the Ring Focus Box (though I haven’t heard the name used much outside Ableton).

By fall 2009, Ableton and Novation added the Launchpad to the offerings. Immediately, they added the ability to have more than one Ring Focus Box, in different colors. That way, you could control more clips with additional connected controllers. Compatibility with the Ring Focus Box is dependent on installed scripts, and you need a particular manufacturer partnership with Ableton in order for Ableton to provide support for adding it, though various hardware and software have hacked their own compatibility. (It’s even possible to use simple user scripts to add your own.)

What’s nice about Launchsync is, by better controlling where that focus ring is, you may not need to look at the computer screen at all. You can instead rely on one piece of hardware for feedback or (soon, hopefully) an iPad visualization of clips. That’s better than a dinky colored rectangle on your laptop screen, anyway.

The importance of this feature means that I hope Ableton addresses the API for all hardware and control software (iOS, Android) in a consistent way for upcoming versions. Doing so would better standardize control support across the range of tablets and faderboxes and knobboxes and custom-built gear and whatnot that Live users now use.

For now, though, you have a very workable solution for a range of hardware. And it’s another reason I’m keeping my LaunchControl XL around. It may have been designed as the faders missing on the Launchpad – but it’s the faders missing on the Push, too.

http://isotonikstudios.com/launchsync/

“MAKING EVERYTHING PLAY NICELY TOGETHER JUST LIKE THEY SHOULD”

Word.

Follow up to yesterday’s review:
Novation’s LaunchControl XL Has the Faders and Knobs You Need for Ableton, MIDI [Obsessive Review]

The post Get Your Ableton Grids in Order, Free, with Launchsync appeared first on Create Digital Music.


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Novation’s LaunchControl XL Has the Faders and Knobs You Need for Ableton, MIDI [Obsessive Review]

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014
Faders. Knobs. Done.

Faders. Knobs. Done.

Sometimes, you just want to grab a fader.

Maybe it’s not about elaborate custom parameter assignment, or clip launching, or playing an in-tune Phrygian scale on a colored, light-up grid as you solo on a bowed marimba sample. You know, you just want to fade a track.

There are surprisingly few controllers out there tailored to this application. So, that makes the new LaunchControl XL from Novation a potential stand-out. It’s just faders and pots: 8 faders, with three knobs each. Each column also gets two triggers; these are switchable when used with Ableton Live to control mute, solo, and record arm functions. As on the Launchpad, Novation also provides separate user/factory templates you can access with a push-button, and switches for selecting tracks and sends, all mapped to Ableton Live.

The upshot is, you’ve got a MIDI controller that makes it exceptionally easy to mix eight tracks. And this being a Novation controller, it’s also lightweight and compact: the footprint is the same as the Launchpad, and it weighs in at under a kilogram. You can use it anywhere, because it’s bus-powered and driverless, so it works with iOS, Windows, OS X, and Linux.

I expect Ableton Live will be the most popular use case, though, so let’s begin with how Live integration works.

LCXL

Ableton Live Control

It’s hard to remember, but a few short years ago when Novation unveiled the original Launchpad, there weren’t any mass-market controllers dedicated to the software. (Boutique maker Faderfox, for instance, was a pioneer.) Now, they’re all over the place. In addition to Ableton’s deep and beautifully-made Push hardware, Akai alone has three new additions to its APC family introduced just this year. Ableton works in collaboration with some of these vendors to make integration work so well, and it shows.

When you want dedicated mix controls, however, many of these devices disappoint. Ableton’s Push is a great example: you can adjust track parameters, but only on encoders (not faders), and it requires switching modes. That can be confusing if you’re in the middle of playing and just want to reach for a send or volume. Others will provide faders and knobs but in combination with clip launching. If you use an iPad for clips, or you have another hardware controller, or you focus on instrumental playing, that’s overkill.

That’s where the LaunchControl XL hits a sweet spot. Its main selling point is its eight 60mm faders. These aren’t the fanciest faders you’ll ever encounter – they’re single-rail and so you’ll feel some slight wobble, as on nearly all controllers in this price range – but there’s enough resistance to mix with some accuracy. Each strip is coupled with three rotary pots. These have center detents so you can use them for pan (oddly, all three of them, not just the one labeled pan). That detent is subtle enough that you can also ignore it – for example, if using as a send – though that makes me worry slightly about wear over time. There are simple LED indicators below each to see which is active.

Each strip also has a Track Focus switch for quickly moving Live’s display to a particular track, plus a second trigger that mutes, solos, or record arms tracks. For device control, there’s also a Device switch, useful in conjunction with Instrument, Drum, and Effect Racks.

One obvious pairing is the LaunchControl XL with a Launchpad, though it's just one option.

One obvious pairing is the LaunchControl XL with a Launchpad, though it’s just one option.

There’s no Ableton logo on the LaunchControl XL as on the Launchpad, but it definitely feels like a Live controller when used with that software. There’s literally no setup whatsoever for Live. Plug in the hardware, start a compatible version of Live, and you’ll instantly be in control. There’s not even so much as an installation; you only need to download something to use the custom editor.

I love Ableton’s Push, but the LaunchControl XL quickly addresses some of its shortcomings – particularly when used live. You’re never more than one button away from selecting a track you need, or two buttons away from quickly record enabling. (The latter is essential to me as a keyboardist for switching instruments.) And until Ableton comes up with its own mixing-friendly controller (Ableton Fade, perhaps?), LaunchControl XL is essential.

The LaunchControl XL isn’t limited to mixing, either. Thanks to the User/Factory template switch, you can assign one layout to something like a custom instrument or Max for Live device, and another to the main mixing functions, then toggle between them easily.

For studio work, then, I like having the Novation kit alongside Push as much as the obvious application of sitting it alongside a Launchpad. For live performance, since I don’t necessarily need to play on a grid, it’s quickly become the one thing I always put in my bag, just because it’s light, it’s rugged, and it does something you almost always want. For Launchpad owners, too, it’s likely to be a no-brainer, and you can fit this and a Launchpad into a bag with less weight and girth than a Push. Not to offend Ableton here; Push is great. But I’m sure I’m not alone in wanting to leave Push on my desk for starting tracks, and take along something more basic for live gigs, especially since I sometimes focus my performance on hardware or a keyboard. It’s just another example of how diverse live rigs can be.

A live rig application - the LaunchControl XL joins keyboards, Faderfox UC3 in a collaborative setup with me and Robert Lippok on the 4DSOUND system at Amsterdam Dance Event.

A live rig application – the LaunchControl XL joins keyboards, Faderfox UC3 in a collaborative setup with me and Robert Lippok on the 4DSOUND system at Amsterdam Dance Event.

Dude, Where’s My Track?

There’s just one feature missing, and it’s a big one: the absence of a display means it’s too easy to get lost. If you have more than two sends, you have to toggle using the Send Select up and down buttons. If you have more than eight tracks, you use the Track Select buttons. (You can only move by one at a time, too, not “pages” of eight at a time.) In each case, the only feedback on the hardware is the colored LEDs that show send and track state, which don’t give you very clear bearings.

Onscreen, things aren’t much better. You can tell which sends, pan, or volume mostly only by twiddling knobs or moving faders – and then, it means looking at the computer display rather than the hardware.

A Ring Focus Box, the colored rectangular outline that provides a visual indication of which clips are currently mapped to a controller, might help. It would still mean looking at your computer screen, and the LaunchControl XL is selecting tracks, not clips. But currently the Ring Focus Box is made available to hardware out of the box for the APC and Launchpad devices as part of a support collaboration with Ableton. (iPad apps use their own custom installers.) CDM is working on possibly providing a custom hacked script to those who want it unsupported.

This is what Ableton Live shows you so you know which track you're on, in place of the "red box." Not... remotely helpful.

This is what Ableton Live shows you so you know which track you’re on, in place of the “red box.” Not… remotely helpful.

This isn’t just a LaunchControl XL issue, though; it’s generally an issue with keeping track of larger sets, visually and mentally. And it’s compounded when you have more than one person playing (I now work in several projects that are collaborative). For now, my approach has been to limit some live performances to eight tracks, which is conceptually simpler as well as solving control issues. If you have thoughts, I’d love to hear them.

If you are using the LaunchControl XL with another piece of kit – like the Launchpad – there’s an excellent solution, so long as you have Max for Live (included in Live Suite). It’s called LaunchSync, and it moves multiple controllers in tandem. So, if you change which clips are active on one controller – via Push, APC, Launchpad, or even Livid Base – everything else moves. This solves both the visual feedback problem and the question of getting confused with multiple controllers.
Free Launchsync Max for Live plugin [Isotonik]

As a Generic MIDI Controller

Another reason to buy the LaunchControl XL is that its usefulness isn’t limited to Live’s own interface. It’s also a terrific generic MIDI controller, which opens up both custom control applications in Live and giving it utility with other software.

To be honest, at first I didn’t realize there even was an editor for the hardware’s mappings because it’s pretty useful out of the box. Without any drivers, you can connect to a computer and start sending MIDI, or even connect to an iOS device with a Camera Connection Kit.

The LaunchControl XL is especially nice in that nearly everything is MIDI-assignable. The send and track toggles on the right send MIDI messages away from Live (or in Live, with the User template). Once you do open the editor, each assignment is customizable.

The LCXL's editor is huge and exhaustive - and means you might consider the hardware even if you never touch Ableton Live. If you want hardware to do double-duty rather than be a single-tasker, it's perfect.

The LCXL’s editor is huge and exhaustive – and means you might consider the hardware even if you never touch Ableton Live. If you want hardware to do double-duty rather than be a single-tasker, it’s perfect.

Novation has gone one better, too. Not only have they made every single colored LED addressable via MIDI, but they’ve done two implementations (one with MIDI notes and one with System Exclusive data), and written a handy programming guide that clearly explains how to do it:

Launch Control XL User Guides

This is the way hardware should work; I’d love to see more manufacturers adopt this approach, and the only way to convince them to do so is to loudly reward those who do.

If you can spare some extra weight and cost, the DS1 from Livid is the other gear to consider. The biggest advantage: enough dedicated sends/EQs that you don't need bank controls.

If you can spare some extra weight and cost, the DS1 from Livid is the other gear to consider. The biggest advantage: enough dedicated sends/EQs that you don’t need bank controls.

The Competition

I had to double-check that I hadn’t lost my mind and forgotten something, but in fact there aren’t many direct rivals that do what the XL does.

The Akai APC is probably what most people will consider. An APC40 does the job reasonably well already, even before looking at the recent mk II model (hint: it’s flatter). And if you just want faders, there’s the inexpensive APC mini, though the build is much more satisfying on the (more expensive) Novation gear. But what you won’t get is sends right next to the channel strip, which for a lot of us is hugely desirable. The APC line wins on all-in-one functionality with clip launching, but the LaunchControl XL is a better mixing surface.

Ableton’s Push, as I said, is brilliant stuff. But it’s too complicated to use as a generic programmable controller, and mixing means twisting encoders and using toggles to get at the settings you need. It’s just hardware that solves a different set of problems.

If it’s only faders you want, there’s the Faderfox UC3, which is tiny and has a brilliant build quality, plus encoders with pages of assignments. You could even use that crossfader as a master fader and ignore the fact that it’s sideways. But you only get eight encoders, and no toggles for Live integration, so I like the UC3 better as a controller for devices and synths and so on rather than Live’s mixer.

Livid has a couple of offerings to look at, too. The Alias 8 is a great solution, and has a master fader, which the LaunchControl XL lacks. The faders are shorter-throw, but feel really good. You’ll mainly sacrifice the convenient toggles on the LaunchControl XL for Ableton Live integration.

Livid’s DS1, made in collaboration with Dubspot, is probably the most robust competition as a mixing control interface, with both a master fader and tons and tons of knobs. In fact, the DS1 is the only controller I know of that allows either a bunch of sends or dedicated EQs for each strip. It was designed specifically for this digital mixer use case I describe. But I’m not getting one. Why? Apart from cost, I’m just happy having something lighter and smaller, so I’m willing to make some sacrifices to use the Novation.

Behringer’s BCF2000 is of course major competition, with motorized faders, though it doesn’t have the dedicated send controls of the DS1. Again, it does add weight. I would choose the extra sends of the DS1 over the single rotaries on the BCF, but the motorization is convenient and street prices of the BCF are around US$ 200. It lacks faders, but with tons of rotaries, there’s also the BCR2000, made more appealing by the recent availability of a terrific step sequencer.

Finally, there’s Novation’s own original LaunchControl. If you just need some knobs for sends and/or device control and toggling track state, it’s cheap and tiny. But, of course, the XL is for those of you who wanted faders, so that’s no question.

Cats love it. From a session with my Alchemic Harm project.

Cats love it. From a session with my Alchemic Harm project.

Conclusions

I didn’t really appreciate how much I wanted the LaunchControl XL until I lived with it for a while. Sends plus faders plus track toggles plus lightweight and small equals stays on my desk and in my bag and doesn’t go on my Shelf of Lost Gear.

It’s not perfect. Finding which track you’re on is a chore, which makes me long for displays – though the Max for Live sync plug-in is certainly helping. And there’s hardware that feels a bit better (Livid, Push, Faderfox).

US$ 249.95 list is a bit high by Launchpad standards, though that’s hitting a street of about US$ 200. (Similar street pricing is available in Europe and the UK.)

All in all, the LaunchControl XL might not be alone, but it’s for me uniquely perfect. Never underestimate the value of faders you can easily drop in a bag.

LaunchControl XL product page

The post Novation’s LaunchControl XL Has the Faders and Knobs You Need for Ableton, MIDI [Obsessive Review] appeared first on Create Digital Music.


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Heavyocity releases DM-307 for Ableton – Plus Free Pack & Discounts

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Heavyocity has announced that its DM-307 is now formatted for Ableton Live. You can choose from 5 packs, each containing Drum Racks, Loops [full and stems] and One-Shots, or get the entire collection [Read More]
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Learn to Jam with Just One Synth Voice: MeeBlip + Ableton Push vs. Gustavo Bravetti [Video]

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Ableton Live and Ableton Push afford new ways of working, allowing you to put loads of parameters beneath your fingertips. Of course, the means of doing that may not be immediately obvious, behind the dance between grid, encoders, and automation envelopes.

Leave it to Montevideo-born, virtuoso dance music maestro Gustavo Bravetti to show us how it’s done.

Gustavo pairs the MeeBlip SE, the enhanced “digital freak” original version of our synth, with Live and Push. To connect the hardware with automation of the external synth, he uses a Max for Live patch for the MeeBlip (which you’re free to download yourself if you own the MeeBlip/MeeBlip SE).

(The MeeBlip is not the first open source synth, as the video might imply, but could be considered the first widely-produced, ready-to-play hardware synth to be under a fully open source hardware license; others were available in kit form.)

The lessons here, though, work in any hardware synth. And you could also apply them to controllers other than Push, if you prefer.

In particular, note some particular tips:

  • The Max for Live device automates sounds on a single voice by associating melodic steps with different sound presets.
  • Preset automation will overwrite live tweaking, so you can tweak variations freely.
  • Built-in morphing in his patch creates still more variations.
  • You can use this as either a live performance tool or an arrangement tool – and even get obsessive with the latter, since it writes automation envelopes into your arrangement.

Check out the MeeBlip SE Remote patch – for your MeeBlip or another synth, if you feel like learning from it.
Meeblip Se Remote 1.0

It’s funny to hear the original MeeBlip again, as I mostly spend time these days with MeeBlip anode, which is now in stock from us and various dealers in America and Europe. (A sale is on now for US$ /EUR€ 129.95.) The original character is still in anode, but the unruly temper is more of the desirable variety, thanks to the new analog filter and streamlined design. (We also abandoned presets, which work better here in software.) And Gustavo promises an anode version soon.

Full description from Gustavo:

The Meeblip Se is an incredible synthesiser with a very interesting and distinctive sound. This sound is produced by (at first sight) a relative simple sound engine… but once you start playing whit its possibilities you realise that this little digital freak with an occasionally fretful temper, has a defined personality capable of a wide range of sonic possibilities.

The Meeblip Se default preset system can store up to 16 presets. To store and recall them, you have to use a combination of buttons and switches. Thinking on use it on my live performances, the Meeblip Se’s default preset’s system seems at first sight to be short-legged, unpractical, and overcomplicated, and in fact… kinda it is!

After creating dozens of very interesting and useful sounds on my Meeblip Se, and realising that most of them was lost in action, I decided to work on an alternative to store, recall and organise my Meeblip Se’s presets. Because I want to use the Meeblip Se on my live shows I also need to be able to recall those presets remotely and/or automatically in any given moment. At last but no least, I want to be able to control all the Meeblip parameters from a most informative surface controller, the Ableton-Akai Push Controller.

Lucky me that all parameters on the Meeblip Se can be controlled with MIDI CCs, the answer was pretty clear, a device in MaxForLive would be able to do all what I need an much more… and that is was bring us here.

Gustavo is an extraordinary producer – proof positive that you can mix hackery with the kind of dance prowess to move festival-sized crowds, all as one artist. (No, he’s not hiring teams of nerds. He’s entirely DIY.) Follow him on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/gustavobravettilive

And I hope we hear more from him soon.

gustavo

The post Learn to Jam with Just One Synth Voice: MeeBlip + Ableton Push vs. Gustavo Bravetti [Video] appeared first on Create Digital Music.


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Mabelton Audio releases Ableton Push/u-he Bazille Integration Pack

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Mabelton Audio has released the Ableton Push/u-he Bazille Integration Pack. The Push/Bazille Integration Pack will allow you to: Find Bazille and all its factory presets inside your Push menu. [Read More]
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Ableton updates Live 9 to v9.1.5

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

Ableton has updated Live 9 to v9.1.5. Improvements and feature changes: Minor improvement to ensure compatibility with Mac OS X’ Gatekeeper for the forthcoming OS X updates 10.9.5 and 10.10. Improved [Read More]
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Ableton updates Live 9 to v9.1.5

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

Ableton has updated Live 9 to v9.1.5. Improvements and feature changes: Minor improvement to ensure compatibility with Mac OS X’ Gatekeeper for the forthcoming OS X updates 10.9.5 and 10.10. Improved [Read More]
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Listen to Gerhard Behles (CEO, Ableton) and Matt Black (Ninja Tune, Coldcut) on Music and Democratization

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Music in the Age of Democratization: Gerhard… by SMWBerlin

Music as social medium is perhaps as profound as any connection as we can have between people. And it’s a unique pleasure to get to reflect on that with someone like Gerhard Behles or Matt Black. Yesterday, we got both at the same time. I’ll even listen to this conversation again; there’s plenty of fuel for further thought.

Before apps, Gerhard Behles and Robert Henke shared their Monolake Max/MSP sequencer (by Henke – still available); back when music production offered little in real-time, they had the vision to offer Ableton Live. When “VJ” still meant a host on MTV, Matt Black was building new tools to remix video alongside music, inspired by hip-hop technique to re-conceive digital expression and sampling.

Now, Ableton serves millions of users; Matt Black and Ninja Tune encourage users to remix their artists on their phones with Ninja Jamm.

And it seems anyone, anywhere can produce. Matt and Gerhard reflected with me yesterday on where they’ve come from, where their endeavors are today, and where we’re headed.

They got deep into the philosophy of why we make music, and where their responsibilities lie as tool makers and as individuals, where artists and labels and communities might go.

We have audio on SoundCloud:

And video (top).

Thanks to Social Media Week Berlin and Platoon for hosting us!

The post Listen to Gerhard Behles (CEO, Ableton) and Matt Black (Ninja Tune, Coldcut) on Music and Democratization appeared first on Create Digital Music.


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New KORG electribe Focuses on Live Performance – and Export to Ableton Live

Friday, September 5th, 2014

electribesamplerangle

Few pieces of music hardware ever have had the impact that KORG’s electribe series has. And there was a time when playing live almost equated to showing up with this gear. Today, KORG has a genuinely new generation of that hardware, long awaited by fans. The engines under the hood are new, finally taking the tech we’ve seen on various KORG gadgets and building it into the flagship production gizmos. They allow for more live performance scenarios.

And in a first, you can use an electribe to build patterns for Ableton Live, creating on-the-go or onstage patterns you can bring back into your live studio.

And in a nod to the endless rise of the MPC-style grid, these are electribes with pads on them. There’s still an X/Y pad, but it’s shrunk to dimensions resembling a trackpad. And there are loads of knobs, the effect being oddly reminiscent of Swedish drum machine maker Elektron as much as something from KORG.

There are actually two electribes today: one called simply “electribe,” the other “electribe sampler.” (Yes, that new capitalization is official, too.)

electribe

Pad workflow. The 16 pads (2×8) can be a real-time recording keyboard or step sequencer. And you can use “step jump,” inspired by the volca series, or change length. True to KORG, there’s also motion sequencing for knobs and buttons.

These pads are apparently inherited from the taktile keyboards (yes, by popular demand, we’ll have a CDM review of that). They’re velocity-sensitive, though you can switch that off if your finger drumming chops are deficient.

electribetop

electribeback

electribeside

Touch pad. That X/Y pad now uses a touch scale from the kaossilator – jam with your fingers without any wrong notes.

New synth engine. Yes, there’s a serious synth inside. 409 oscillator waveforms cover both analog modeling and PCM. The analog-modeled synth engine includes basic waves as well as dual, unison, sync, ring modulation, and cross modulation combinations. PCM KORG says focuses mainly on rhythm but also has multisamples for melodic material. And there’s the filter engine from the KingKORG, too – with the ability to route drums through the same filter.

Now, this isn’t really a full-blown synth as far as control; think macro-style controls of a deeper engine. That makes the electribe synth into more of a preset box than a sound programmer’s dream, but this is an electribe, after all. (KORG promises presets covering the genres you kids like so much like “trap” and “EDM,” which makes us shudder. But as with KORG gear of yore, I’m sure we’ll dial our way to the stuff we actually like.)

Per-part effects, grooves; live performance features. Of course, you really get into electribe territory once you start adding effects and such and actually jamming.

There’s now per-part compression and overdrive, per-part insert effects, and per-part groove templates, so not everything is master-bus stuff.

This being an electribe, when you do start applying master effects, you get KAOSS Pad-style control on the touch pad. Seq Reverse and Odd Stepper apply even to the sequencer. And, so you can alienate your friends, there’s a “Vinyl Break” effect. (Yay! Actually – augh! No! Turn it off!)

The performance additions look really nice. “pattern set” lets you switch patterns with the trigger pads. You can then record that sequence of pads as an “event recording” – so you can jam on arrangements with the pads, then save that jam (either to store a performance live or to experiment with arrangements).

I/O and batteries. MIDI in/out, sync in/out for the volca, mono tribe, and MS-20/MS-20 mini, and battery operation on 6 AA’s. This is simply a killer mobile unit.

electribe sampler

electribesampler

The electribe sampler is basically the same as the electribe; the easiest way to tell it apart is its darker gray color.

The difference is the sound engine, which on the sampler (versus the standard electribe) is a hybrid sampler-synth engine.

You still get analog modeling sound engine. (It seems this is missing all the PCM melodic content, but that’s it.)

In place of the preset PCM engine, you can add your own samples – 999 preset and user samples, with a maximum 270 seconds of sampling time (in mono, or half that for stereo).

Time Slice automatically detects attack transients, so you don’t have to do any work to slice things up. And there’s of course pitch-independent tempo changes. You can take slices and add them to steps or parts, or add per-sample effects.

There’s also resampling, with knobs controlling pitch or modulation.

synthsamplercontrols

All in all, the sampling workflow looks terrific, intuitive, and very electribe-ish. Add that to the enhanced performance features, and to me, electribe sampler looks like a real winner.

You can also see the differentiation here between the volca sampler and electribe sampler. I don’t think that’s so much market differentiation between the two – there’s little risk of the volca cannibalizing electric sales – as it is that fundamentally, the volca is a different animal. It’s really designed to be simpler and cheaper philosophically.

Sample rate is 16-bit/48K. There’s a stereo minijack line input for sampling.

Both units feature USB, MIDI in and out jacks, and an SD card for storage.

When Ableton met electribe

electribeableton

It used to be, if someone said they were playing a live set, they actually meant they were showing up with ElecTribes. These days, of course, it’s Ableton Live. And Live is a wonderful tool, especially when combined with hardware like Push. But … yeah, we miss the old hardware days.

Then again – why choose?

What may turn out to be the killer feature of the new electribe generation is that it now exports to Ableton Live sets. KORG even says it’s a collaboration with the folks at Ableton.

Your patterns and parts are saved to scenes and clips. Open these files on your computer, and you see them inside a Live Set.

There’s even a copy of Live Lite in the box, but — yeah, you probably don’t need that.

No need for explanation here – this is huge. You now have a battery-powered unit you can use away from Ableton Live that can make drum parts, melodic parts, and even live sample, and then you can finish off songs and arrangements back on your machine. If you like starting songs on hardware and getting away from the computer, or if you want to integrate KORG’s hardware with your live set and then later turn jams into songs, it’ll be a beautiful combination.

All in all, I think the electribe is some of the best news on the market in a long time for hardware workflows.

No word yet on price or availability, but I hope we’ll be first in line for a review.

electribe

electribe sampler

The post New KORG electribe Focuses on Live Performance – and Export to Ableton Live appeared first on Create Digital Music.


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KORG Gadget for iPad Gets Serious, with MIDI, New Slicer-Samplers, and Ableton Export

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

gadget

Ableton alone can’t take you mobile, apart from bringing your MacBook running Live on the bus. But now KORG is ready to take your Ableton Live work on the road. Apart from adding native Live set export to their electribe and electribe sampler, the new versions of KORG’s iOS apps Gadget and iKaossilator do export, too.

And that’s just one feature in the deceptively-named “1.03″ release of KORG’s Gadget.

Gadget is one of those apps that I’ve had to file under “wow, this looks cool but I’ve no time.” As the name implies, you get a selection of synths and drum machines. Here’s where having a newer iPad benefits you, too – the latest processor runs up to 20 at once. There’s a 303-style bass, PCM and digital synths, virtual analog synths, semi-modulars, percussion synths, “wobble” and chip goodies. Then, you can either perform live with the lot or save patterns.

1.03 finally makes integrating that goodness easier, with MIDI input, Live export, and multitrack export, for starters:

taktile_gadget

MIDI input. You can connect MIDI devices for easier playability. KORG has wisely made their latest gear class-compliant, so that includes KORG keyboards – make the full-sized Taktile into a synth by adding an iPad, or going the other way, add a tiny nanoSERIES input for tactile control beyond the touchscreen. (And yes, that’s a huge limitation of Native Instruments’ pricey Komplete Kontrol keyboards we saw this week; they need a computer to function, so you essentially pay more for hardware that does less.) See the whole KORG controller lineup.

Export as Ableton Live sets. Each phrase and scene in Gadget now exports natively to an Ableton Live set with clips and scenes, respectively. You can transfer via Dropbox or iTunes File Sharing. And if you don’t use Ableton –

Export as individual audio tracks. From Pro Tools or Maschine, that means another way of moving phrases and songs around. (It appears you’d have to leave one phrase per track in order to separate them, so it’s not as convenient as Ableton Live, perhaps, by definition – but still very workable.)

Other enhancements: 64-bit, landscape. 1.03 also fixes an annoyance: you can now use landscape mode and not just portrait. It’s also 64-bit native, bringing big performance gains on new Apple hardware.

gadget_ipad

There are also two new instruments:

Bilbao is a US$ 9.99 in-app sample player, with 16 one-shots and import:

Nice, but Abu Dabhi is I think more interesting – sample slicing and groove manipulation, also US$ 9.99:

– on top of 1.02′s addition of Audiobus, more. The last “minor” update brought Audiobus support, a better sequencer and UI, a beginners’ guide, and more. It also has “Increased Japanese,” which is always a good thing. See the what’s new guide for all the specifics.

KORG has been releasing featured tracks from the community, too. Let’s have a listen. (Maybe there are some CDM readers in the bunch?)

Gadget for iPad

The app is on sale, alongside KORG’s other apps, through September 8th on the App Store for US$ 28.99 (instead of the usual $ 38.99).

The post KORG Gadget for iPad Gets Serious, with MIDI, New Slicer-Samplers, and Ableton Export appeared first on Create Digital Music.


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