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Ample Sound updates their Acoustic Guitar Plug-ins to V1.7.3

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

Ample Sound has updated their acoustic guitar plug-ins AGL, AGM and AGT to 1.7.3. Changes: Now support plugin’s independent settings file format to enable save/load aside from DAWs. Added uninstaller [Read More]
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These Apps Use Quicker Interfaces To Encourage More People to Use Sound

Monday, August 25th, 2014

geometricmusic_handson

Convincing musicians to make use of sound is easy. And electronic musicians are even content with stunningly-complex interfaces, in exchange for deep control of sound.

But what about everyone else?

Users on mobile are certainly uploading sounds. Part of the intense interest in SoundCloud even outside music and audio audiences is simple to explain: the site is ridiculously popular. By 2012, it had reached 10 hours of uploads per minute. And once sound is uploaded, it attracts listeners. As of last fall, users had skyrocketed from 200 to 250 million users in just a few months. That’s another reason last week’s ad plans are worth watching.

If SoundCloud facilitates uploading, storage, and sharing, the next frontier may be all about the interface for producing sounds in the first place. App developers have likely already saturated the expert music production market with designs that appeal to that crowd. But just as quick and easy UIs for text and images have popularized those means of communication, sound may require a fresh approach. And a few developers are betting on that possibility in interesting ways.

Make production faster.

Propellerhead, for instance, has built an app called Take that radically reduces interface elements to reimagine production as a mobile experience. That is, instead of taking what ran on your computer and squeezing it into your palm (as the company awkwardly did early on), it starts with the way you use your phone and builds tools around that.

Take is a unique hybrid of voice memo app and music maker. Recording is a one-tap affair – just like a voice memo or snapshot app. But because music making is more demanding than just snapping a photo, there are also built-in instruments, easy access to clicks and beats to get you going, and Instagram-like processing to make the results sound like what you’d expect (and less like a phone). Those effects to me make a lot of sense: what a tiny phone lacks in physical hardware it can (perhaps) make up for in smart computation. It’s got a better CPU than it does a mic, after all.

You can see it in action in the promo video. (It’s very much a promotional video, so if this music sets your teeth on edge, see some other real-world examples below.)

The approach could find some traction. The developer’s Figure app attracted some criticism from more experienced users who didn’t like its minimalist approach – but went on to win over a huge number of users (including many more advanced ones) with that approach.

https://www.propellerheads.se/products/take/

Make the interface understandable to anyone.

Take is certainly a pared-down interface – not only is it aesthetically cleaner (in the flatter, iOS 7-popularized style), it genuinely reduces the number of metaphors.

But Geometric Music is even more radical. It completely tosses out metaphors normally used for recording, both conceptually and visually. In their place, you see a set of abstract shapes, and manipulate those shapes to change your sound. The intention is to replace production activities with play, and encourage exploration. The app is the work of Belgian design house Superbe, who showed it off this summer at Sonar Festival in Barcelona – and walked away with the prize in the sound art category of the prestigious Appart Award, organized by the ZKM (Germany’s Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe.

Geometric Music from Superbe on Vimeo.

Here’s how it works:

Each vector of the shape can be edited by selecting Normal – Reverse – Down – None. Than the shapes give the base of the rhythm. Circle is a one time sequence, triangle is three, square is four, hexagon six. The size of each shape can be changed to modify the speed.
By moving the shape up and down, you can influence the volume and by moving from left to right you influence the stereo.
The random button hides some surprising patterns.

You can grab the app for free on Android or iOS – or run it in a modern browser on the Web.

http://geometricmusic.be

Geometric_10

Make sound as easy as taking photos or sending texts.

Some apps will go even further to make people use sound.

Waved sees phone calls and texts as direct rivals, and makes sending people voice recordings as quick as a single tap. The idea is simple: make a tap to record, and a tap to play, so that you can send voice faster than you can type in a message or make a call.

waved

The San Francisco-based developer is just getting going, and it faces some fierce competition from audio functionality in tools like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. But the speed of the interface is impressive (even in this unfortunately amateurish hands-on video):

Waved Teaser from Waved on Vimeo.

If you think of the massive popularity of photos, it’s clear that there’s a link between quick gestures and access to a feature and how much that feature gets used. So Waved is a model worth considering even for music apps.

Watch this space?

My guess is that we will see some hits in this area, and they will in some way touch elements of each of these approaches. Remember, a tool doesn’t have to be complex to be useful to music; it doesn’t really even have to be “professional” per se, or replicate the functionality of a whole studio. Artists like The Beatles recorded demos on little multitrack tape recorders. I remember distinctly growing up with a My First Tape Recorder (like many of my generation).

Sometimes, all you need is that record button. A lot can happen from there – and it doesn’t have to look like a jet plane cockpit just to get the job done.

On the other hand, simplicity alone doesn’t attract users. So the challenge here is whether these are tools people actually want to use.

It’ll be fun to watch what happens next.

For more use cases, here are some more of those videos from Propellerhead. Really clever stuff – and a very different phenomenon than what you get from Reason.

The post These Apps Use Quicker Interfaces To Encourage More People to Use Sound appeared first on Create Digital Music.


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Smooth your sound with Brainworx Refinement

Monday, August 25th, 2014

Refinement is essentially a mastering tool for smoothing over any harshness in mixes, by adding tube like saturation and EQ to soften any frequencies that are particularly standing out and painful to the ears! And of course, being a Brainworx plug, it has mid/side capabilities. If you’re not sure about mid/side techniques – this article is great for starters:

The GUI is the usual Brainworx sexy black affair – although this time there is a flickering image of a tube filament in the middle, which lets you know with it’s flickering whenever it’s in action.

Damping

A large knob on the left hand side of the GUI is in charge of damping those pesky frequencies. It seems that the frequencies in question are in the upper mids, and the damping knob is essentially a fixed frequency EQ, centered around the areas that tend to cause the harsh sound. How they decided where to center that comes down to the years and years of combined experience, but it sounds like the 2-4 Khz. There are two character types of filtering – soft and hard, or second order and fourth order, which I think might be like the shape of the EQ bell (kind of like the difference between a 6DB filter and 24DB filter). Either way, it affects the way the damping interacts with the source material, and gives you a couple of options. There is a handy solo button just below it, which gives you the exact audio information that you’re filtering out, when pressed.

The damping can be offset by saturation and presence. They’re not really character-type effects, but more just adding smooth highs, and analog type warmth to offset any dullness caused by the damping. They are both excellent sounding, and really bring life to the mix

The damping can also be modulated, with a dynamic range section that limits the damping to peak levels, with options to control the amount of damping, and the speed at which the dynamic reduction kicks in.

As is essential with Brainworx plugs, there is a Mid/Side button, which enables you to choose whether to affect the sound just in the Mid channel, or to use it on both. For the refinement process it seems that the majority of the time, you’re going to want to remove those harsh frequencies across the stereo space.

There’s also a mix knob, which gives you more control over how much you want Refinement to affect the entire mix.

Oscillator

This is the one section of the plugin that I couldn’t really understand the point of – it has a “what else can we add to this plugin” feel to it. It is possible to use it as a subtle creative effect, like a tremolo vibe. However, for use as a side-chain pumping type effect, I would want more control over how it pumps, to get it flowing better rhythmically. It seems that it’s only a sine wave shape that’s available for the oscillation, which compared to other ‘side chain’ style lfo plugins just doesn’t cut it. There needs to be more options.

The Sound

I found refinement to be a useful tool. I found that it worked best on Drum Buss, Synth Buss and 2 Buss. It does what it says on the tin, gently dulling down the digital edginess of some audio, while at the same time lifting the air and life back out of the sound with the saturation and presence knobs. It’s definitely a subtle operator, and the ‘less is more’ adage works best with this effect.

here’s a great video demoing the plugin:

Conclusion

There is no doubt that refinement is excellent at what it’s designed for. I think it’s most useful at the mastering end of the chain, and can subtly but powerfully change the mix for the better. It strikes me as a sort of ‘Waves One Knob’-esque sort of plugin. I think it would be possible do everything that Refinement does, with a lot more in-depth control, with 5 separate plugins. Refinement shines because it’s all there in one plugin. If you have an irritating harshness to a mix or a track, it could really save a lot of time over opening an EQ, then a saturation, then an exciter, then a compressor, etc. I would heartily recommend this plugin as a massive time-saver over being anything groundbreaking and fresh.

Price
$ 199

Product page

PROS

  • Few tweaks really can smooth the sound
  • Simple and quick workflow

LOVE IT OR HATE IT

  • This is quite a specific plugin. Unless you’re looking for something that can quickly smooth out harsh sounds in tracks, you’re unlikely to really need it. Having said that, there’s nothing else quite like it out there

CONS

  • Not much depth to parameter control

Written by Andy Dollerson

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Sound Radix updates 32 Lives to v1.0.5 – adds support for Steinberg Virtual Guitarist 2

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

Sound Radix has updated 32 Lives to version 1.0.5 which brings support for Steinberg’s Virtual Guitarist 2 and improves overall stability. Improvements in this update include: Fix for a rare crashes w [Read More]
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Kreativ Sound releases “Vicious” and “Ferocious” soundsets for impOSCar

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Kreativ Sound has announced the release of two new soundsets with 36 presets each for impOSCar and impOSCar 2: Vicious: 36 beautiful, wild and raging sounds in FXB format. Ferocious: 36 analog, warm a [Read More]
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Blue Cat Audio and Sound Radix release “PatchWork + 32 Lives” bundle

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Blue Cat Audio and Sound Radix have teamed up to offer a solution for all plug-ins connectivity and compatibility needs on Mac: the new PatchWork + 32 Lives bundle includes both the Blue Cat’s PatchWo [Read More]
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Sonic Cat announces “Calliope – Universal Sound Module” for Kontakt Player with Pre-order Offer

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Sonic Cat has announced Calliope – Universal Sound Module, a new virtual instrument for Kontakt Player. Calliope – Universal Sound Module contains many instruments for all musical genres like a hard [Read More]
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Sound Magic updates GrandEpiano to v2.4 and releases Pop 1 Extension Pack for Neo MasterTool

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Sound Magic has updated GrandEpiano to Version 2.4. Changes: Added more Automation controls for Windows version. Updated Windows version’s engine. Fixed an input error which may result crash under rea [Read More]
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Vengeance Sound Tapestop

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Read more about Vengeance Sound Tapestop at MusicRadar.com


Some classic sound effects are just too awesome to be allowed to die out, and near the top of the list is the vinyl/tape stop effect, beloved of DJs for decades. The current crop of glitch-heavy EDM has put it back in the spotlight, and there are a fair few free plugins available that attempt to recreate it. Vengeance Sound, however, wasn’t satisfied with them – and thus was Tapestop born.

At a basic level, Tapestop (VST/AU/AAX) does exactly what you’d expect. Engage the Stop button and the audio slows down; release it and it speeds up again – but there’s more to it than just that.

The first two key controls are Power Up and Power Down, setting the duration of the slow-down and subsequent speed-up when Stop is engaged and disengaged. Both range from 5ms to 5 seconds and offer a selection of note length options (2/1 to 1/256, including dotteds/triplets).

As on a tape deck or turntable, the so-called Pitch dial is actually a speed control, changing the pitch as the audio slows down and speeds up.

“The Tapeslip section simulates the subtle wobbling generated by a tape or record not playing back at a consistent, regular rate”

Essentially, it determines the amount by which the signal is slowed down when Stop is engaged: at 100% the signal slows to a complete stop by the end of the Power Down cycle, while a setting of 5% equates to a pitch drop of approximately one semitone (we wish we could see the Pitch change in musical note intervals).

The Filter and Volume controls do the same thing, but for filter cutoff sweeps and volume level drops rather than pitch/speed.

The Tapeslip section simulates the subtle wobbling generated by a tape or record not playing back at a consistent, regular rate. This is done by modulating the Pitch using an LFO (the main knob sets the Depth, while the little Rate knob handles the speed).

Said LFO can also be applied to the Volume and Filter (cutoff) parameters by activating the Slip buttons next to each, as well as the Step Size, which dials in increasingly obvious stepping of the pitching down/up effect, and is particularly effective with longer Power Up/Down settings.

There are two graphical programming modes, too. The first is Sequencer (see Stoppage timing), which is the key to unlocking Tapestop’s creative usefulness. The second is Curves, allowing graphical editing of the Pitch, Volume and Filter amounts, and designing of non-linear Power Down curves.

Finally, in common with other Vengeance plugins, there are input and output meters and gain controls, a basic output limiter and a range of clever and highly illustrative presets.

Stop in the name of love

On the surface, Tapestop might appear to be a decidedly niche plugin, but its versatile combination of sequencer, Pitch control, LFO and envelopes offer plenty of more subtle modulation possibilities than just the core ‘stop’ effect, so its usefulness goes beyond EDM glitches.

If anything lets it down, it’s the lack of one or two features to enhance these extra creative uses – specifically, a MIDI learn system and a sequenceable wet/dry control (or at least a switch to alternate between the internal and input signals).

Despite that, though, as an interesting and flexible tool of real creative worth in a very wide range of electronic music styles, it wholly justifies the asking price.

Read more about Vengeance Sound Tapestop at MusicRadar.com







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#KVRDC14 Entry: Wolf Sound BoostComp Open Source Waveshaper VST Plug-in for Windows and Linux

Saturday, August 9th, 2014

With the download and voting stage of the KVR Developer Challenge 2014 in full swing we’re posting a series of news items highlighting each release. You can download the entries for free and make a do [Read More]
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