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Celebrate 808 day by building a beat live with Egyptian Lover

Saturday, August 8th, 2015

Happy 8th of August, everybody — that means it’s 808 day, of course. So, to celebrate, let’s flash back to a 2012 video of Egyptian Lover assembling a beat in his hotel room. The LA rapper/producer was a big part of the early hip hop and electro roots of 808 use.

There’s something that still resonates in the beautiful simplicity of this Roland box. I’m struck when I hear it and watch in use that there’s something that seems futuristic — cold, even, but in a Stanley Kubrick 2001 sort of way. Of course, that doesn’t mean you need to be stuck in traditional 808 thinking. You can use today to build some entirely new drum machine, inspired by this simplicity — or abuse an 808 (or 808 sample set) into sounding completely different.

And, of course, I do think the TR-8 from Roland is spreading so fast partly because it really resurrects these sounds in a hands-on way.

Whatever you do, happy grooving this weekend.

And let’s muse over some vintage ads. More accuracy and less trouble.

Visualize patterns.

rolandtr808ad

roltr808ad

The post Celebrate 808 day by building a beat live with Egyptian Lover appeared first on Create Digital Music.


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brunsandspork’s Grooove BE free with German Beat magazine (Issue 6/2015)

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Starting with issue 6/2015, the next three editions of the German magazine Beat come with Grooove BE on the enclosed DVD, a gently downsized version of brunsandspork’s drum machine Grooove. Features: [Read More]
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Allen & Heath’s New Analog Mixer Could be One to Beat: Xone:43 4+1

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

xone43

Allen & Heath aren’t bombarding the market with products. They’re not hopping on lots of new gimmicks. What they are doing is quietly releasing well-designed mixers that dominate the DJ scene. And the Xone:43 looks nothing if not eminently sensible — enough so that I suspect some might eye it as a mixer for live sessions, as well as the obvious club installs and DJ rigs.

A&H are serious enough about this tool that they’re releasing a new flagship — on the first of April. (No fooling.) But they can do that: because there’s absolutely nothing silly or far-fetched about this box.

There’s not too much to say about the 43. The big selling point is its filter, which is switchable between high pass, low pass, and bandpass modes with resonance.

And there’s the effects send. Sure, it’s got a stupid name (X:FX) — yeah, kind of sounds to me like an unknown hip-hop band. (Whoa. I’m actually not wrong.) And it makes some of us think of computer gaming graphics cards.

But X:FX works the way you wish effects sends always worked for live setups — you just get a stupidly-simple wet/dry control with a dedicated control on each channel for adding to your outboard effects. And you can route it to the filter, too.

Beyond that, the usual:
Mic/aux input with XLR and phono
2-band EQ
Innofader-conpatible Crossfader with three curve settings, which means you probably won’t replace it (though you can if you wish)
Balanced XLRs out
Dedicated record out
Headphone monitoring — with both 1/4″ and 3.5mm, in case you’ve forgotten your adapter, plus cue/mix control and split cue monitoring

xone43top

In short, it’s just a mixer that does everything you want and nothing else. And in a somewhat gimmick-laden market, that’s a good thing.

In fact, this particular set of features makes it useful I suspect to some people doing live sets, where quick control access to effects and filters and possibly even cueing would be desirable.

Shipping now, 899€ before VAT.

Details: http://www.allen-heath.com/ahproducts/xone43/

The post Allen & Heath’s New Analog Mixer Could be One to Beat: Xone:43 4+1 appeared first on Create Digital Music.


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Nucleus SoundLab releases “Beat Crush” Rack Extension with Intro Offer

Saturday, December 20th, 2014

Nucleus SoundLab has released Beat Crush, an advanced bit crusher Rack Extension for Reason. By default Beat Crush adds a subtle 12-bit crunch to samples reminiscent of classic samplers. But [Read More]
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Steinberg releases Prime Cuts for Groove Agent 4 by Beat Butcha

Monday, October 20th, 2014

Steinberg Media Technologies has released a new VST Sound Instrument Set, Prime Cuts. This expansion pack for the virtual drum software, Groove Agent 4, and Groove Agent SE 4 included in Cubase [Read More]
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de la Mancha launches “Let’s Beat Cancer” – 4 Free Plug-ins If Donations Reach £1000

Saturday, July 19th, 2014

de la Mancha has announced Let’s Beat Cancer, an initiative to raise £1000 for Cancer Research UK to help beat cancer sooner. If donations (via JustGiving) reach the £1000 target then de la Manc [Read More]
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Hands-on with Akai’s new iMPC Pro for iPad: Mobile Beat Production

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014
It's an MPC you can take with you to the laundromat.

It’s an MPC you can take with you to the laundromat.

Can you squeeze an MPC onto an iPad?

Years later, the MPC still represents a comfortable way for many people to get producing music quickly, across a variety of genres. What began as the constraints of a few physical pads led to a way of working that, at least for some, can unlock creativity. So even though the iPad looks nothing like the original MPC, the tablet’s mobility and its emphasis on sampling make the MPC approach a good fit.

Akai’s iMPC Pro isn’t the first app to try to get MPC-style workflows on Apple’s tablet. But the “Pro” in the new version of iMPC does fit a lot of powerful sampling features into something you can use on the go. It sits somewhere between the nearly-a-DAW, do-everything approach of Intua’s BeatMaker 2 and the more slimmed-down Native Instruments iMaschine for iPad. And what it does exceptionally well is load a lot of sounds and combine them with MPC-style performance options — even if you only use the touchscreen.

The app launches right now, but I’ve had a chance to take it for a spin and get some first hands-on impressions. I can tell you straight away that the app doesn’t deliver everything on everyone’s wish list. But fresh design will make up for that for some.

First, a quick run-down of what iMPC Pro offers:

Sampling, iOS style: use any Inter App Audio-compatible app as a source, easily.

Sampling, iOS style: use any Inter App Audio-compatible app as a source, easily.

  • 64 tracks, organised on those familiar pads, for sampling, pattern-making, automation and mixing.
  • Sampling, slicing, effects, and audio routing, with multi-touch controls for edits and performance.
  • Inter-App Audio support so you can use iMPC Pro to capture the sounds of other iPad tools.
  • iTunes Sampling.
  • MPC Swing, Note Repeat, 16 Levels, and familiar pad-based editing from the MPC hardware.
  • A big sound library, including 1400+ samples from Richard Devine.
  • Support for MPC Element, MPC Fly hardware if you want physical pads.
  • Effects: Turbo Duck side-chain compressor, Boom Room reverb.
  • Performance options: Precision Knobs and Faders that let you use your fingers to “zoom” in on parameters, Flux Mode to automate effects with X/Y touch.
  • Share via SoundCloud, Twitter, wav export to your computer.

Now, right away, you may notice some things missing — as I know readers asked specifically about these features as AKAI and Retronyms were teasing the app.

You can’t use hardware other than the MPC Element and Fly — other MIDI controllers don’t work. (BeatMaker 2 supports any iOS-compatible USB MIDI device, and, of course, so do desktop computer-based drum machines.) There’s no Audiobus support, either — only Apple’s new Inter App Audio, which isn’t quite as well supported (yet). File exchange is limited to WAV files — you can bounce patterns, but that’s it. You don’t get MIDI export (as in BeatMaker), or file exchange with a computer app (as in Maschine and iMaschine — even if you use AKAI software). You don’t get MIDI with other apps or MIDI sync or WIST (KORG’s inter-app sync) options, as in BeatMaker. In short, BeatMaker remains the gold standard for interoperability.

Instead, think of iMPC Pro as a companion to Fly and Elements for those who want integrated hardware, and as a strong standalone option with robust sampling capabilities and an exceptional sound library.

You can load up tracks from iTunes — also a good way to import audio files from your computer — and sample and slice them quickly. And best of all, you can do the same with Inter-App Audio. iMaschine might be worth a purchase just to have an easy way to mess with samples from other iOS apps. (You’ll just want to consider BeatMaker, as well, as it supports Audiobus.)

Also, the MPC-style pad controls make many operations a whole lot faster, and they pair really nicely with touch controls — in case you don’t want to bother with something like the Fly or Element. With 16 Levels, you can control a parameter across the 16 pads. There’s also Note Variation, which allows you to control parameters with a fader. Using those two options, you can add nuance to your performances even if you don’t have access to velocity-sensitive pads.

It’s also great to have MPC-style swing and note repeat handy, and the X/Y effects are terrific.

The other strong suit here is clearly the sound selection. You might feel a bit like you’ve been dropped into Richard Devine’s studio, with a broad selection of great-sounding pads across genres. With four banks each, you aren’t overly restricted in what you can make, either. It’s pretty extraordinary just how much breadth is packed into the download.

The developers at Retronyms have also produced an app that’s pleasing to look at. The flattened iOS 7-style graphics clear a lot of visual clutter, and this is perhaps the nicest-looking iOS drum machine yet. Some of the edit options get a bit confusing: iMPC seems unsure of whether it’s trying to behave like software (as in the sampling and slicing screens) or hardware (hiding other edit features under hardware-style buttons). And that isn’t just conceptual — it’d be nice to layer more performance options in playing, but it’s not possible to use the Note Variation at the same time as one of the effects, and so on. Still, on balance, this is a very approachable app.

Let’s take a visual tour to see how it all fits together.

You're first presented with an on-screen tour. iMPC is a very discoverable app - you'll find most functions right away.

You’re first presented with an on-screen tour. iMPC is a very discoverable app — you’ll find most functions right away.

Skeuomorphism just won't die when it comes to music. Yes, you get these silly floppy disks for project management. iMPC does offer a wide range of sounds and templates to get you started, though, and you can always begin with a blank session - perfect for sampling.

Skeuomorphism just won’t die when it comes to music. Yes, you get these silly floppy disks for project management. iMPC does offer a wide range of sounds and templates to get you started, though, and you can always begin with a blank session — perfect for sampling.

Edit options are tucked away in the corner. Unfortunately, file exchange is fairly limited. There's Audiocopy support (missing in iMaschine), and you can export to audio for your computer. There's also integration with Retronym's Tabletop. But MIDI is missing, and you can't use iMPC Pro with, say, AKAI's desktop software.

Edit options are tucked away in the corner. Unfortunately, file exchange is fairly limited. There’s Audiocopy support (missing in iMaschine), and you can export to audio for your computer. There’s also integration with Retronym’s Tabletop. But MIDI is missing, and you can’t use iMPC Pro with, say, AKAI’s desktop software.

If you do want to use iMPC as a sketchpad, export to WAVE is your best bet.

If you do want to use iMPC as a sketchpad, export to WAVE is your best bet.

It's really the pad controls where iMPC is most powerful - and where it's most indebted to MPC hardware. On the bottom left, you get MPC-style pad options that help you add details to performances and patterns - even if you don't have velocity-sensitive pads connected. On the top left, you can add live effects using multi-touch gestures.

It’s really the pad controls where iMPC is most powerful — and where it’s most indebted to MPC hardware. On the bottom left, you get MPC-style pad options that help you add details to performances and patterns — even if you don’t have velocity-sensitive pads connected. On the top left, you can add live effects using multi-touch gestures.

Variation controls let you use the fader at the bottom to control details of your pad performances. It's powerful, but it also reveals iMPC Pro to be a bit conflicted in how it wants you to play. Are you using hardware-style buttons, or X/Y controls, or hardware-style faders with things at the top left that act more like buttons?

Variation controls let you use the fader at the bottom to control details of your pad performances. It’s powerful, but it also reveals iMPC Pro to be a bit conflicted in how it wants you to play. Are you using hardware-style buttons, or X/Y controls, or hardware-style faders with things at the top left that act more like buttons?

You don't get the full-blown DAW editing you find in BeatMaker 2, but iMPC Pro does have advanced pattern editing and 64 tracks - still quite a lot of power in a mobile app.

You don’t get the full-blown DAW editing you find in BeatMaker 2, but iMPC Pro does have advanced pattern editing and 64 tracks — still quite a lot of power in a mobile app.

Dive into individual program controls on the pads, and you can add beautiful-sounding effects and other fine-grained controls.

Dive into individual program controls on the pads, and you can add beautiful-sounding effects and other fine-grained controls.

Sampling is really what makes these apps fun for a lot of us, and iMPC Pro has a convenient sampling feature that puts it on par with iMaschine - then takes those samples and lets you play them via its excellent pad performance interface.

Sampling is really what makes these apps fun for a lot of us, and iMPC Pro has a convenient sampling feature that puts it on par with iMaschine — then takes those samples and lets you play them via its excellent pad performance interface.

Sampling works with your iTunes library, too.

Sampling works with your iTunes library, too.

Slice and dice and edit pads quickly, either choosing in and out points alone, or dividing a sample across your pads. Just be aware that to hear the results, you'll need to tap the controls at the bottom of the screen.

Slice and dice and edit pads quickly, either choosing in and out points alone, or dividing a sample across your pads. Just be aware that to hear the results, you’ll need to tap the controls at the bottom of the screen.

Oh, yeah — and all of this is yours for US$ 12.99 (intro, before reverting to a standard price of US$ 19.99.)

At that price, there’s no real reason to complain. iMPC Pro has a lot to offer in the way it treats sampling and pad performance, and it sounds great, and it works well with Retronyms’ own software and AKAI’s hardware as well as any app that supports Inter-App Audio — I’d buy it just for that feature alone, even if only to use to sample those apps.

Native Instruments and Intua, meanwhile, retain their niches. If you really want an all-in-one mobile workstation, BeatMaker 2 remains the app to beat. And if you want a quick mobile sampler, or you want a mobile sketchpad to use with a desktop app, iMaschine (with Maschine) is a winner.

Whichever you choose, the ability to work with samples and patterns like this on the go is a real winner — even if the serious work on arrangement and sound design means returning to your laptop.

And all for the price of dinner.

— even if I keep wishing for more sync and interoperability.

I’ll be curious to hear how you wind up using this if you give it a go.

akaipro.com/mpc

The post Hands-on with Akai’s new iMPC Pro for iPad: Mobile Beat Production appeared first on Create Digital Music.


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Planet-H updates G-Stomper Beat Studio for Android to v3.0 – Integrates New Virtual Analog FM Synthesizer and Polyphonic Sequencing

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Planet-H has updated G-Stomper Beat Studio for Android to v3.0, introducing the new (now integrated) VA-Beast Synthesizer and polyphonic Sequencing. It’s a free upgrade for all owners of the G-Stompe [Read More]
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Fusion Beat Series Drum Bags

Saturday, January 25th, 2014

Read more about Fusion Beat Series Drum Bags at MusicRadar.com


There’s no point in shelling out big bucks for gear if you’re not going to keep it in shape, so a sturdy batch of bags and cases is a must. Fusion has a solid reputation for its guitar, keyboard and laptop bags and now it’s also offering a whole host of drum cases.

Build

We have been sent a full complement of bags – cymbal (Beat 22), Beat Snare BackPack, a pair of stick bags (the Beat 6 and Beat 12) and a general purpose Beat Pro BackPack.

The bags feature high-density foam padding to give your snare and cymbals more than adequate protection while they’re being thrown around in the back of the car. Lockable zips and a multitude of compartments are also found throughout the range.

Hands on

“These are sturdy bags and cases – well up to the job”

These are sturdy bags and cases well up to the job. The Beat 22 cymbal case is reassuringly packed with foam and fleece cymbal dividers, catering for metals of up to 22″ and even an inbuilt stick bag. It also features padded handles, back straps and it can be attached to a wheel trolley, giving plenty of options to help you lug your cymbals around.

The snare bag ships with 30mm of padding and includes a removeable stick bag. Moving to the standalone stick bags – the Beat 6 is the runt of the litter but still large enough to fit a generous handful of sticks, but the Beat 12 is a class act in keeping with the rest of the bags under review here, featuring extra handles, straps and meshing and folds out to reveal even more padding and concealed areas.

All cases feature tons of compartments to stash drum keys, felts etc. Even more impressive is the impeccably executed stitching – these will not let you down and after our highly concentrated test, we saw no sign of stitching strain whatsoever.

Read more about Fusion Beat Series Drum Bags at MusicRadar.com

    




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Soundiron releases “The Beat Boxer” – Vocal Percussion library for Kontakt – with Intro Offer

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Soundiron has released The Beat Boxer, a comprehensive and fully playable human beatbox vocal percussion library for Kontakt. This hybrid multi-sample/groove library transforms the creative vocal ar [Read More]
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