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When asked to fire up their most effective sonic
weapons, many computer musicians would reach
for multi-gigabyte ROMplers, classic studio gear
emulations, next-gen soft synths, DSP-packed mix
processors, and other such sources of superior sound.
However, some of the most potent tools at our
disposal in the war on lacklustre mixes don’t actually
produce or manipulate sound at all. These ‘stealth’
plugins instead tap into your tracks and give instant
visual feedback on what’s really going on in there. And
with their help, you can be sure to manoeuvre your
mixes to victory, rather than blindly fumbling with EQ
settings and compression ratios while hoping not to
shoot yourself in the foot.
Yep, we’re talking about audio analysis
plugins, and in this issue’s huge Visual
Mixing tutorial (p34), you’re going to
learn how to use them like a pro to
pinpoint exactly what needs doing to
take your mixes to the next level. Of
course, it all comes down to what
sounds good, and you’ll still need your
ears for that, but getting a visual on
your mixing targets will make it that bit
easier to hit them. So, take aim and…

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and learn to compose noise music Tutorials 72 THE A TO Z OF COMPUTER MUSIC: P 74 THE EASY GUIDE: KEY CHANGES 76 KEEP IT REAL: DRUM KIT Feature Interview 67 BACK IT UP! 80 Reviews Essentials 88 UNIVERSAL AUDIO APOLLO TWIN 20 INBOX 90 TRACKTION 5 22 NEWS 92 MADRONA LABS KAIVO 30 BURNING QUESTION 94 SOFTUBE CONSOLE 1 108 SUBSCRIBE 98 KUSH AUDIO PUSHER 110 NEXT ISSUE 113 BACK ISSUES PLUS 18 MORE PRODUCTS REVIEWED! 4 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014 HOWIE B The production kingpin a ruddy good gives talking to about his latest Is your hard drive heading for an epic fail? It’s easy. get the most out of NI’s high-power software Sound and vision collide in our eye-opening guide to analysers. p34 Tutorial 61 MAKE SOME NOISE Get off the beaten track.ISSUE 204 JUNE 2014 contents COVER FEATURE Producer masterclass 51 VISUAL MIXING SIGMA The DnB dons show us how they put together their massive choon Rudeboy Tutorial 55 MASCHINE 2. forget what you think you know.0: THE GUIDE Whichever version of the Maschine hardware you call your own. meters and much more. quick and painless to prevent disaster 114 BLAST FROM THE PAST: KORG MS-20 .

June 2014 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 5 . Find out more on p8 SAMPLES 800 VIP samples from house maestros Mason.This issue’s exclusive free content from Computer Music download TRANSECTOR CM Push your sounds’ envelopes with this free transientconquering dynamics tool. though a solution to this is being worked on. You’ll then be given access to our content! You can sign in any time to register new issues and download more content. videos* and tutorial files are now available to download! To get access. See what’s available on p14 DOWNLOAD Our fantastic software. there’s a video version to watch Tutorial files CM Plugins A folder full of audio examples. samples. p51 * The Producer Masterclass video is not currently available as a download. synth patches and project files to help you follow our tutorials Our exclusive collection of free plugins for Mac and PC. Hear how they hey made them on p12 PLUS! 1008 CLASSIC URBAN ROCK SAMPLES Tutorial videos 18 high-quality videos to guide you through our tutorials. head to vault.co. Wherever you see the below icon. Sigma spill the beans on the making of Rudeboy and the Rudeboy VIP remix.computermusic. Apple Newsstand readers can still watch the video via built-in internet streaming – just hit the Play Video button on the page. You’ll be asked to register and answer a few simple questions to prove that you’ve got the mag.uk on your PC or Mac’s web browser.

computermusic. You’ll then be given access to our content! You can sign in any time to register new issues and download more content.co. See how to get the best out of this issue’s plugin giveaway Read the full article on p8 DOWNLOAD Our fantastic software. go to vault.computermusic.video This issue’s videos all in one place! Download them on your PC/Mac at vault. For more info. RMS average metering 2 Analysing a waveform with an oscilloscope 5 Investigating waveform harmonics with an analyser 6 Viewing multiple sounds on a single spectrum analyser PLUS Understanding a frequency analyser’s time-averaging settings 7 Using a spectrogram to spot overlapping frequencies 8 Stereo phase metering to improve mono compatibility 9 Mixing using multiple analysis methods TRANSECTOR CM A transient splicer to craft and sculpt your sounds into shape. see our Vault FAQ: bit.uk VISUAL MIXING We eye up some of today’s top visualisation tools and show you how to see your way to a clear and cohesive mix (ears still required) Read the full article on p34 3 Using an oscilloscope to aid dynamics processing 4 Analysing the frequency content of a reference track 1 Peak level vs. samples. videos and tutorial files are now available to download! To get access to this content. You’ll be asked to register and answer a few 6 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014 simple questions to prove that you’ve got the mag.uk on your PC or Mac’s web browser.co.ly/cmvaultfaq .

computermusic. see our Vault FAQ: bit.video Producer masterclass* EASY GUIDE: KEY CHANGES SIGMA Learn how to modulate from one key to another without it sounding clumsy or jarring – Dave Clews will (literally) show you how to get from A to B Get up close and personal with the DnB production duo as they break down their dancehallinfluenced jungle crossover smash Rudeboy Read the full article on p74 Read the full article on p51 MASCHINE 2.0’s Drumsynths 4 5 Sidechaining in Maschine 2. go to vault.0: THE GUIDE Get fully acquainted with the latest version of Native Instruments’ top-drawer groove studio software Read the full article on p55 DOWNLOAD 1 A quick tour of Maschine 2. though Apple Newsstand users can watch the video via built-in internet streaming.0 Our fantastic software. June 2014 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 7 .co.0 2 Sampler improvements in Maschine 2. samples. For more info. You’ll be asked to register and answer a few simple questions to prove that you’ve got the mag.0’s macros and automation Mixing in Maschine 2.0 6 Maschine 2.uk on your PC or Mac’s web browser. You’ll then be given access to our content! You can sign in any time to register new issues and download more content.ly/cmvaultfaq * Please note that the Producer Masterclass video is not available as a download via our Vault.0 3 An overview of Maschine 2. videos and tutorial files are now available to download! To get access to this content.

Saturation and more 8 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014 MODE OPTIONS Activate look-ahead. Transient amplification can greatly increase peak levels. too. increase internal sample rate calculations. letting you define how it will divide your signal into its three envelope stages: Attack. Sustain and Release) TRANSIENT DETECTOR Displays the transient level in red I/O AMPLITUDE The levels of the input (blue) and output (purple) signals INPUT/OUTPUT METERS Measure the input and output signals using PPMstyle.com OUTPUT GAIN & MIX Adjust the final output level and the dry/wet balance ATTACK. the decaying tail (Release) or the area between (Sustain). the video and the Tutorial Files on PC/Mac at vault. oversampling. An adjustable SUSTAIN WIDTH INDICATORS Horizontal lines showing how your sound will divide into three envelope stages (Attack. Most typical transient. a customisable transient designer for both PC and Mac that allows you to shape the envelope of an audio signal. Enter plugin pros LVC-Audio. and change how incoming transients are detected . If you like Transector CM’s in-depth approach to envelope shaping. and stereo width controls. look-ahead. Each of these sections features solo and gain controls for precise tweaking. You can also keep a close eye on input and output levels with its combined VU. Other key features include multiple transient detection modes.ly/cm202). Width. sidechaining functions. Transector CM can be used in a wide range of mixing and sounddesign scenarios – add crack or body to a percussion hit. Home in on different aspects of a track’s envelope – the initial transient crack (Attack). www. saturation and metering with this exclusive new Plugin for PC and Mac Traditional compression techniques are undoubtedly useful when dealing with beats and percussive sounds. processing can be applied to each.lvcaudio. SUSTAIN AND RELEASE Once the sound has been divided into these three stages. but Transector CM goes one better. but a dedicated transient processor can be a more clean and precise method of dynamic control – particularly useful for drum and percussion shaping (see 202’s huge Get A Grip On Dynamics feature – bit.computermusic. using Gain.shaping plugins offer basic ‘attack’ and ‘release’ controls to raise or lower the level of those portions of a signal’s envelope. mid/side processing. VU-style. plus dynamic range metering.> download / lvc-audio transector cm >Exclusive full software LVC-Audio Transector CM DOWNLOAD Get the plugin. so the plugin’s attack section features a tube saturation stage and output clipper for crunchy peak control and creative envelope sculpting. Sustain and Release. Transector ($30). or creatively shape your instruments and synths’ amplitude envelopes. Loudness and Peak metering ADVANCED CONTROLS Shape the way Transector CM detects and divides up the amplitude of the incoming signal into three stages WAVEFORM HISTORY DISPLAY Amplitude is plotted vertically with time plotted horizontally INPUT Input Gain and Bypass options waveform history display provides accurate transient metering and monitoring.and PPM-style meters at both the input and output stages. It features additional transient-detection controls (including noise floor and average level detection). They’ve created Transector CM. then scope out the full commercial version.uk Get powerful transient shaping.co. and wet/dry mix. tame the room sound of a drum kit.

it’s clear that our plugin hasn’t quite isolated the front crack of the snare.wav’s channel and solo this track as it plays. Like VU-style meters. 8 Back in the Settings menu. June 2014 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 9 . open a blank project in any DAW at a tempo of 125bpm. Double-click any parameter to return it to its default value. Untoggle the bottom two parameters – here our blue Input and purple Output amplitude displays remain. then close the menu by clicking the S again. showing the dynamic range of a signal.co. So. 7 Now click the small S button at the top-right to open the Settings menu. Open a new instance of Transector CM on 808snare. the large blue meters respond almost instantly to peaks in the incoming signal. At the top are continuously-updating text readouts of the output’s true peak level. 2 With the plugin installed. they slowly fall back down after each peak. but the meters will stay active for easy before/ after comparison. 3 The plugin’s interface is divided into three sections: the waveform history display. The attack of a sound is its transient – the fast initial spike – and we’re currently monitoring the portion of our snare that Transector CM has ‘detected’ as its attack stage. Open the relevant folder depending on your OS (Mac OS X or Windows).uk) and on the cover disc that comes with the print edition.lvc-audio transector cm / download < > Step by step Getting started with Transector CM TUTORIAL FILES 1 The installers for Transector CM can be found on both this issue’s Vault (at vault. Start by loading the audio files from this issue’s Tutorial Files folder onto separate audio tracks. re-activate our bottom two and de-activate the top two displays. The Bypass button on the bottom-left of the plugin will disable all processing when toggled. 5 The inner blue bars in the output meter are the Loudness Output meters. We’re now monitoring the plugin’s ‘transient detection’ response for both the left and right channels. 4 On the right. and vice versa.computermusic. so we’ll have to adjust the settings to correct the detection. However. a measure of its dynamic range. The top edge of this meter represents peak. then double-click the installer and follow the on-screen instructions to install the plugin. 6 The large Waveform History window provides real-time information about a signal’s input and output levels by plotting amplitude against time. We’re going to process some classic drum machine sounds taken from 166’s Vince Watson VIP Series pack. where we can toggle which waveform displays are shown and alter their brightness using the Color dials. The Scale button changes the vertical gain resolution of both this display and the meters. the input and output meters. similar to a PPM meter. 9 Now hit the Attack section’s Solo button. the lower the crest factor. and the large purple meters do likewise for the plugin’s output. and the bottom edge represents RMS – the difference between these two gives us the signal’s so-called crest factor. the shorter this bar appears. and the Display Time slider adjusts the amount of horizontal scrolling time between a minimum of 0. and the main control settings. The thin bouncing lines measure with a slightly slower attack response.1 seconds and a maximum 15 seconds. This shows how the plugin is analysing and dividing the incoming signal into three separate envelope stages. corresponding to their respective indicators over on the right In/Out meters.

Note that the Sustain stage can be turned off completely using its 3 band button. allows us to force our snare’s initial snap into some tube drive. Hear how our snare’s solo’ed attack portion is tightened to isolate the front-end crack. and the bottom the release stage. as the plugin has plenty more nifty features up its sleeve. We can hear and observe how this clips off our wave’s peak. Decay to 7. Two horizontal black lines divide our waveform display into three ‘bands’. giving more basic Attack/Release operation. with which we can raise and lower the amplitude of each section. pushing forward the front-end crack of our snare to add more ‘smack’ and impact to the hit. Set Attack to 0. Sustain and Release stages in turn. This output clipping stage sits at the end of the Attack stage’s signal flow – after the gain and saturation stages.00dB. then re-activate the Input and Output displays. 14 Now pull down the Clip Level knob to around -7dB while watching the snare’s levels. and observe how the detection signal’s envelope shape tightens on our waveform display as we change these settings. 12 Head back into the Settings menu. 10 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014 11 Each of the three envelope stages houses a Gain control. . We’ll turn this up to around 40%. then back off the Out Gain to around -6dB to re-level our processing again.1ms.> download / lvc-audio transector cm > Step by step Getting started with Transector CM (continued) The bottom-right controls allow us to shape the way Transector CM detects and divides up the amplitude of our incoming signal. we can hear how our plugin is dividing up this loop’s signal into three envelope stages. then set the bottomright Mix parameter around halfway to blend this punchy. Our waveform display and meters both show that we’ve gained around 5dB of extra peak headroom and made our snare sound perceptibly louder. 17 Move the lower Width dial around slowly. then move the lower Width dial again.7ms and Detect to 1. 15 Now load up a fresh instance of Transector CM over 909Loop.0ms. If we now hit the Bypass button while the snare is playing. Let’s look at how we determine which part of our signal is allocated to each envelope stage. and increase its Gain to 0dB.wav and load up the plugin’s Guitar-Attack preset using your DAW’s preset browser. we set our plugin’s controls to extreme values. We raise the Attack section’s Gain knob to around 5. By moving the two lines – either by dragging them or by using the two Width dials in the Sustain section – we can alter how Transector divides the signal into the three bands. Be sure to check out Transector CM’s in-depth manual. If we solo the Attack. 10 13 A Saturation algorithm. deactivate the L and R-Trans displays. 16 Solo the Release band. 18 Finally. re-shaping the volume envelope of a signal. the centre the sustain. Now un-solo the Release stage and Solo the Sustain stage. distorted signal with our original unprocessed loop. The upper third represents the attack. placed after the Gain stage in the attack section’s signal path. so pull the Out Gain dial back to -5dB. we compare our ‘before’ and ‘after’ settings. We can see that our increased attack has pushed up our channel’s peak level considerably. and note the relationship between the bottom line’s position and hear how it changes the Release stage’s shape. Note our reduction in dynamic range via the Output meters when we bypass this processing.

.

computermusic. Propellerhead Thor and iMS-20 by Korg. so it might take some time. They also release music on their own Animal Language imprint.uk 800 samples – basses. have been tearing up clubs and radios since their breakthrough 2006 hit Exceeder. an ancient Elka organ was used. We made some sounds on an iPad while touring – our favourite apps are the Moog Animoog. amongst others. multisampled modulars. and have released original tracks on labels such as Great Stuff. Once we think an idea has enough potential. The trick is to catch the idea before it’s gone – we’ve often used our voicemail and our phone’s recorder to capture these. We tried aiming for a very “analogue drum machine” kind of vibe. Sam Sparro and Róisín Murphy. Every detail of a track needs to get approval by two different people. especially our huge DIY modular wall. like standing in the shower or walking down the street.> download / samples VIP Series samples Mason DOWNLOAD Download these VIP Series samples on your PC/Mac at vault. so we’re pretty selective of which ideas become releases. synths. analogue drums and more – from the house heavyweights 800 EXCLUSIVE SAMPLES 24 chord hits 176 drum hits 19 bass & melodic loops 20 drum loops 19 non-drum loops 10 bass multisamples (128 samples) 7 keys multisamples (88 samples) 16 lead multisamples (205 samples) 10 pad multisamples (122 samples) Amsterdam-based production pair Iason Chronis and Coen Berrier. but we think 1 + 1 = 3. featuring collaborations with DMC (of Run DMC fame). Martin Solveig and Steve Aoki. inspiring bass/ melodic loops and more. The ‘finishing’ part of a track takes the most time. such as their album They Are Among Us. aka Mason.co. the rest we save for… well…!” : Do you have any advice for other producers thinking of collaborating? Mason: “You need to have respect for each other’s taste. : Where do you find musical inspiration? Mason: “Inspiration can come from anywhere. Cheap Thrills and Boysnoize Records. It’s kind of a predecessor to the Casios. and quite an extensive Eurorack system. multisampled synth patches. the pack contains plenty of analogue drum and percussion loops/ hits. really. They’ve remixed major artists like Moby. plugins and iOS devices. but by synthesising them on the modular. Also.” : What are your favourite samples from the collection? Mason: “The drum hits section really has some gems. Noisia. The best ideas seem to come to us at the most random moments. we pass the project back and forth before coming together and finishing the track. you end up with unique 12 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014 . Robyn. I’d say one out of a hundred track ideas we make ends up as a record you can buy. We sat the Dutch duo down to find out more about them and the pack. If we feel uninspired. the pair agreed to craft an 800-strong pack of samples exclusively for readers – and here it is! Created using analogue modular synths. Spinnin’.” : How did you make these samples? What gear and software did you use? Mason: “We used a lot of analogue gear. Fool’s Gold. Pickadoll. fooling around with a new piece of gear or a plugin can always help. but with ancient analogue technology.” : How do you work together as a duo? Mason: “We tend to sketch separately and pitch the results to each other. Being all-round studio wizards and nice guys.

Juno60.” Web: musicofmason. Someone I’m Not featuring Lizzie Massey from Tiny Dragons.” : What would your ideal plugin be? Mason: “We’re actually working on a secret plugin called the ‘Masonator’ at the moment. and you have different channels for kicks. And we have a new album coming up this summer. hats and such. This way. snares. Get Back. is out on Boysnoize Records. Prophet-600. JX-3P. We recommend putting all the drum hits in a sampler and playing them across your keyboard. Also. Expect very special treats.” : What tips do you have for using these samples? Any advice for new producers? Mason: “We tried to keep the pack as useful as possible. Kolombo and Ante Perry. then you can process them separately. so most of the sounds aren’t processed with reverb. slow jams and odd collabs. but we can tell you it’s gonna save us (and hopefully other producers) a lot of time. you can easily get a taste of all the drum sounds in the pack. Prophet-5 Studio Electronics ATC-1 Teisco 110F Roland Juno-106 . Kaoss Pad Various iOS devices SOFTWARE Apple Logic Pro 9 & X Ableton Live 9 Korg iMS-20 Moog Animoog Sonic Charge plugins Arturia ARP 2600V SoundToys plugins Waves plugins SPL plugins Propellerhead Thor June 2014 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 13 .samples / download < sounds that can’t be found in any drum machine. since the processing used might not match your project’s processing. We always find it a bit annoying if sounds are already very wet with reverb or delay. Duplicate the channel a couple of times. is out now on Great Stuff. there are some really nice multisampled patches. Our new track. etc. SH-09. mostly sampled from monosynths that you could normally never play polyphonically.” : What’s next for Mason? Mason: “Our latest track. including remixes by Grum.com Twitter & Facebook: musicofmason Selected kit list HARDWARE Mac Pro Apogee Ensemble Manley Variable Mu ADAM A7X monitors Sequential Circuits Pro-one. TR-707 Modular synth (right) Tama Techstar TAM-200 Elka C 811 Clavia Nord Lead & Nord Modular Korg PolySix. We’re not able to tell you exactly what it does yet. and there’s no way to make a wet sample dry.

Ableton Live 9). eaReckon. in VST and AU formats. which you’ll need if you’re using a 64-bit DAW that does not have its own ‘bit bridge’ (eg.TZOUIFTJTNPEFT s&YUFOTJWFNPEVMBUJPODBQBCJMJUJFT s#BTFEPO4ZOUI. Rob Papen. all for PC and Mac.kv331audio.> download / plugins PLUGINS INSTRUMENTS Our exclusive collection of instruments and effects is included with every issue of Computer Music – it’s all you need to make great music now! The Plugins collection is a suite of complete. u-he.VMUJNPEFŢJMUFSBOECVJMUJOFŢGFDUT s$VTUPNJTBCMFXBWFTIBQJOHEJTUPSUJPO s'. It’s an incredible resource. Ohm Force.BTUFS s"6745sCJU www.u-he.com . Which of the plugins have a 64-bit version? Over half of the plugins have 64-bit versions. Synapse Audio and MeldaProduction. ‘plug in’ to). FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS What is Plugins? Is it just freeware? No. 14 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014 HYBRID SYNTHS (continued) Synapse Audio Dune CM s7"BOEXBWFUBCMFPTDJMMBUPST s1PXFSGVMQFSWPJDFNPEVMBUJPO sTMPUNPEVMBUJPONBUSJY s#BTFEPOUIFGVMMWFSTJPOPG%VOF s"6745 sCJU www. Still got questions? See the full FAQ at bit.humanoidsoundsystems. and neither are the plugins limited or ‘crippled’. s"6745sCJU www. It’s a set of virtual instruments and effects created by some of the best developers in the business just for us – you won’t find this set of plugins anywhere else! HYBRID SYNTHS Cableguys Curve 2 CM KV331 Audio SynthMaster CM s%FTJHOZPVSPXOXBWFGPSNTTZOUI s1IBUWPJDF6OJTPONPEF s'PVS. such as Ableton Live. All of the included software is created exclusively for us by respected commercial developers such as LinPlug.".ly/cmpluginsfaq Where do I get Plugins? As a download from our Vault (see p5 for instructions on how to access) or on the DVD that comes with the print edition of the magazine. Logic Pro X. KV331 Audio.cableguys.BDSPLOPCT s#BTFEPO$BCMFHVZT$VSWF s"674535"4sCJU www. FL Studio (PC). limitation-free instrument and effects plugins. You need a DAW that can host VST or AU plugins.synapse-audio. boasting 35+ pro-quality plugins that you won’t find anywhere else.de s%VBMXBWFTDBOOJOHPTDJMMBUPST s. or Sonar (PC). try a third-party bridge like jBridge (for VST) or 32 Lives (for AU).TZOUI s-BSHF ŢMFYJCMFFOWFMPQFT s. Cableguys. Logic (Mac) Garageband (Mac). Vengeance-Sound. What do I need to use them? A PC or Mac and a music program (aka DAW) to host them (ie.com How do I install Plugins? You’ll find installation instructions for each plugin in the How To Install file in the CM Plugins folder. Cubase. If you’d still like to use 32-bit plugins in such a DAW.com FM SYNTHS u-he Zebra CM s#MFOEBCMFPTDJMMBUPSXBWFGPSNT s4VQFSQSPHSBNNBCMFTUFQ-'0T s4MJDLEFMBZ SFWFSCBOEDIPSVTQIBTFS s0SJHJOBMTZOUIEFTJHOFEKVTUGPS$.PEVMBUJPONBUSJYNBDSPDPOUSPMT s#VJMUJOFŢGFDUT s#BTFEPOUIFGVMM3IJOPTZOUI s"6745sCJU www.com Enzyme CM s4DBOOFETZOUIFTJTTPVOEHFOFSBUJPO s4USBJHIUGPSXBSEQSFTFUCBTFETFUVQ s"TTJHOQSFTFUTQBSBNFUFSTUPDPOUSPMT s#BTFEPOUIFGVMM&O[ZNFTZOUI s"6745sCJU www.bigtickaudio. Reaper. Sugar Bytes.com BigTick Rhino CM s'FBUVSFQBDLFE'.

PEVMBUJPONBUSJY s4MJDLDIPSVTFŢGFDUs1PMZQIPOJDHMJEF s#BTFEPOUIFDPNNFSDJBM"MQIBTZOUI s"6745sCJU www.audiorealism.PEFMTUIFTPVOEPGUIFVMUSBSBSF PolyKobol hardware synthesiser s1BDLFEXJUINJYSFBEZQSFTFUWBSJBOUT s.co.uk VIRTUAL ANALOGUE SYNTHS DRUM MACHINES SAMPLERS PRESET-BASED Camel Audio Alchemy Player CM Expert Sleepers XFadeLooper CM LinPlug Alpha CM s%VBMPTDJMMBUPSTXJUICMFOEBCMFXBWFT s&BTZPQFSBUJPOs.com June 2014 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 15 .PEVMBUJPO s#MFOEBCMFNVMUJNPEFŢJMUFS s4BUVSBUJPOTFDUJPOs'MFYJCMFMPPQJOH s#BTFEPO$SPTTGBEF-PPQ4ZOUIW s"6745sCJU www.camelaudio.loomer.co.com s"OBMPHVFTUZMFESVNTZOUI sEJŢGFSFOUESVNTPVOET s%JTUPSUJPOBOECJUDSVTIJOHFŢGFDUT s"6745sCJU www.com REAL INSTRUMENTS Synapse Audio Plucked String s4ZOUIFTJTFTQMVDLFETUSJOHTPVOET s4UFSFPNPEFNJNJDTEPVCMFUSBDLJOH s5ISFFWPJDFNPEFGPSFYUSBQIBUOFTT  s'JWFTFMFDUBCMFNPEFT/PJTF 4USJOH  Gourmet.synapse-audio.com Rob Papen RG-Muted CM s$SFBUFTSFBMJTUJDGVOLZHVJUBSHSPPWFT s0OCPBSETFRVFODFS s&ŢGFDUTBOENPEVMBUJPOPQUJPOT s#BTFEPO3PC1BQFO3( s"6745sCJU www.computermusic.robpapen.madronalabs.com s$SFBUJWFDSPTTGBEFMPPQJOHTBNQMFS s)BSETZODNPEFs.linplug.com AudioRealism ADM CM s0METDIPPMTUZMFESVNNBDIJOF s&NVMBUFT3PMBOETMFHFOEBSZ53ũ s"MTPDPOUBJOTDVTUPN samples s#BTFEPOUIFGVMM"%.QBUDIFTnPGUFOJODMVEFEJO our own sample collections! s#BTFEPOUIFGVMM"MDIFNZTZOUI s"674535"4sCJU www.uk Loomer Cumulus s(SBOVMBSTBNQMFS s4DFOFTGVODUJPOGPSTFRVFODJOHTMJDFT s/PUCBTFEPOBOFYJTUJOHQMVHJO s"6745CJU s35"44UBOEBMPOFCJU www.expert-sleepers.linplug.co.se XILS-lab PolyKB II CM LinPlug CM-505 s.plugins / download < DOWNLOAD Get these instruments on your PC or Mac right now at vault.xils-lab. Nylon and Acoustic s"6745sCJU www. s"6745sCJU www.uk sBXFTPNFSFBEZUPQMBZQBUDIFT s-PBET4'.#** s"674535"4sCJU www.com Madrona Labs Aalto CM s6OJRVFBOEQPXFSGVMNPOPTZOUI sUnusual oscillators with FM s8BWFHVJEFEFMBZTFDUJPO s*OUVJUJWFMZQBUDIBCMFNPEVMBUJPO s0OCPBSESFWFSCs4UFQTFRVFODJOH s#BTFEPOUIFGVMM"BMUPTZOUI s"6745sCJU www.OPCTBTTJHOBCMFUPNBJOQBSBNFUFST s#BTFEPO9*-4MBCT1PMZ.

com s1SPRVBMJUZ GFBUVSFQBDLFEBOBMZTFS s/VNFSPVTDVTUPNJTBUJPOPQUJPOT s#BTFEPO#MVF$BUTGVMM'SFR"OBMZTU s1$74535"4CJU s.ddmf. high-mid boost.VMUJWPJDFIBSNPOJTFS s$SFBUFMVTIIBSNPOJFTGSPNPOFQBSU s#BTFEPO..toneboosters.com Photosounder Spiral CM KResearch KR-Reverb CM Edition s.'QMVHJOT s1$745CJU s.3ũ3FWFSC s"EETQSFEFMBZBOEEBNQJOHDPOUSPMT s'SPNUJOZSPPNTUPFQJDQMBUFT s"6745sCJU www.eu s1VMUFDTUZMFWJOUBHF&2FNVMBUJPO s%VBMMPXGSFRVFODZCPPTUBUUFOVBUF controls.com HoRNet Fat-FET s'&5TUZMFDPNQSFTTPS s4JNJMBSUPDMBTTJD-/1FBL-JNJUFS s6MUSBGBTUBUUBDLBTMPXBTNT s#BTFEPO)P3/FU.com Vengeance Sound Philta CM s%VBMIJHIBOEMPXQBTTŢJMUFS s'PVSTMPQFTFUUJOHTE# s3FTPOBODFBOEXJEUIDPOUSPMT s-JOLGVODUJPOBOEOPUDINPEF s#BTFEPO7FOHFBODFT1IJMUB9s"6745sCJU www.ohmforce.> download / PLUGINS EQ/FILTERS plugins EFFECTS EQ/FILTERS (continued) DYNAMICS DELAY/ REVERB OverTone DSP Program EQ CM DDMF CM EQ Pack s5XPTVQFSCFRVBMJTFST s**&21SP$.kresearch.VTJDBM OPUFCBTFETQFDUSBMBOBMZTJT s6TFGVMGPSŢJHVSJOHPVUOPUFTJOBVEJP s#BTFEPOUIFGVMM4QJSBMQMVHJO s"6745""9sCJU www.eareckon.co.BD"674535"4CJU www.1 s"6745sCJU www.com Ohm Force Ohmygod! s3FTPOBOUDPNCŢJMUFS s%JTUPSUJPOTFDUJPO s-'0XJUITZODs0VUQVUŢJMUFS s"674535"4sCJU www.hor-net.photosounder.com KResearch KR-Delay CM Edition s1PXFSGVMTUFSFPEFMBZ s1JOHQPOHTFUUJOHBOETUFSFPŢJMUFSJOH s$MFBSWJTVBMGFFECBDL s4ZODBCMFEFMBZQSFEFMBZUJNFT s/PUCBTFEPOBOFYJTUJOHQMVHJO s"6745sCJU www.VMUJ#BOE)BSNPOJ[FS s1$745CJU s.kresearch.overtonedsp.3FTFBSDIT.BD"6745CJU www.JYLOPCGPSQBSBMMFMDPNQSFTTJPO s-JNJUFSUPLFFQUIFPVUQVUJODIFDL s$MFBS76BOE-&%TUZMFNFUFSJOH s#BTFEPOFB3FDLPOT4%ũ$0.sknote.com .ŢJMUFSUZQFT s-1$.vengeance-sound. high shelf cut s5VCFBNQMJŢJFSDJSDVJUPOMZPQUJPO s"6745sCJU www.com s#BTFEPO.eareckon.com LiquidSonics Reverberate CM s$POWPMVUJPOSFWFSC s"TFMFDUJPOPGSFBMXPSMEQSFTFUT s*NQPSUZPVSPXOJNQVMTFSFTQPOTF s#BTFEPOUIFGVMM3FWFSCFSBUFQMVHJO s"6745sCJU www.-JOFBSQIBTFNBTUFSJOH&2 s#BTFEPODPNNFSDJBM%%.it eaReckon CM-COMP 87 s4MJDL QVODIZDPNQSFTTPS s.liquidsonics.meldaproduction.com 16 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014 SKnote Snap s#PPTUPSUBNFUSBOTJFOUCSJHIUOFTT s#SJHIUFOPSEVMMBTPVOETTVTUBJO s6TFTUXPJOUFMMJHFOUMZMJOLFEŢJMUFST s/PUCBTFEPOBOZFYJTUJOHQMVHJO s"6745sCJU www.uk ANALYSIS Blue Cat Audio FreqAnalyst CM eaReackon CM-EQUA 87 s4NPPUIUISFFCBOE&2 s"EKVTUBCMFMPXDVUŢJMUFS s4XJUDIBCMFIJHIMPXTIFMWFT s"OBMZTFS &2UJQT MJNJUFSBOENPSF s#BTFEPOFB3FDLPOT13ũ&26" s"6745sCJU www.com PITCH MeldaProduction MHarmonizer CM s.VMUJ$PNQ s"6745sCJU www.com ToneBoosters Barricade CM s*OUFMMJHFOU NBTUFSJOHHSBEFMJNJUFS s%VBMTUBHFTPGUSBOTQBSFOUMJNJUJOH s%ZOBNJDSFTQPOTFDPOUSPMT s4UFSFPPQUJPOTBOEWFSTBUJMFNFUFSJOH s#BTFEPOUIFGVMM#BSSJDBEF s"6745sCJU www.bluecataudio.BD"6745CJU www.

resonant filter delay and more s#BTFEPO"SUJMMFSZ s"6745sCJU www.kuassa.sonimus.com s.computermusic.subsoniclabs.uk SATURATION/ DISTORTION MULTIEFFECTS Subsonics Labs Wolfram CM Sonimus Satson CM s$MBTTJDNJYFSDIBOOFMFNVMBUJPO s4VCUMFXBSNJOHTBUVSBUJPO s(FOUMF NVTJDBMIJHIMPXŢJMUFST s#BTFEPO4POJNVTGVMM4BUTPO s"6745sCJU dsp.kuassa.com Sugar Bytes Artillery2 CM Edition Kuassa Amplifikation CM s5XJODIBOOFMHVJUBSBNQTJN s$IBOOFM$MFBS DIJNJOHDMFBOT s$IBOOFM%PXOOEJSUZEJTUPSUJPO s#BTFEPO"NQMJŢJLBUJPO7FSNJMJPO s"6745sCJU www.*%*USJHHFSBCMFhFŢGFDUTLFZCPBSEv s"NQMJUVEFNPEVMBUJPO TUBHF phaser.sugar-bytes.ineardisplay.plugins / download < DOWNLOAD Get all of these effects on your PC or Mac right now at vault.com s#VŢGFSPWFSSJEFSFQFBU EFMBZ  bitcrusher and filter s$VTUPNTJHOBMSPVUJOH s5ISFF-'0TGPSNPEVMBUJPO s#BTFEPOUIFGVMM&VSZEJDFQMVHJO s"6745sCJU www.de Kuassa PreMix CM Inear Display Eurydice CM s4VCUMFTBUVSBUJPOUPTDSFBNJOHESJWF s5ISFFCBOE#BYBOEBMMTXFFUFOJOH&2 s"#DPNQBSJTPOGVODUJPO s/PUCBTFEPOBOFYJTUJOHQMVHJO s"6745sCJU www. delay and filter s'MFYJCMFNPEVMBUJPO s#BTFEPOUIFGVMM8PMGSBN s"6745sCJU www.de June 2014 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 17 .com s1JUDITIJGUJOH EJTUPSUJPO QIBTF shifting. panning.cableguys.com Cableguys Waveshaper CM s(SBQIJDBMMZFEJUBCMFEJTUPSUJPODVSWFT s%FTJHODVSWFTCZESBHHJOHOPEFT s4ZODBCMFJOQVUWTPVUQVUPTDJMMPTDPQF s/PUCBTFEPOBOFYJTUJOHQMVHJO s"6745sCJU www.co.

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and the power will be back on in the morning.” . The tempo-automating technique you describe has its uses. worth £279! www. Wake up the next morning. If the kick doesn’t sound right. What will I do? No way to make or play music. it would allow you the convenience of programming the MIDI directly onto a snapped/quantised grid. They say no power for the weekend. which wouldn’t be possible with this trick since the same tempo change will be applied to all instruments in your project (in theory. So I turn the laptop on and get 3 hours out of ableton before the laptop battery is pretty much gone. I figure I will go to sleep. and once set up. It will be hell! But it was not.com Message of the month In 201’s Radical Rhythms tutorial. So I just want to say thank you for the great content you provide. you could work around that by rendering each part to un-warped audio as you go).666 to get our new tempo. 200bpm. no power. to catch the news.666 recurring. I do so many things… unspeakable things. The ratio is 5:3 – equivalent to a fraction of 5/3. I found I could automate the tempo so that five 8th-notes became equal to three. and for saving me from a miserable weekend. crash. Do you know the formula for this? I would also like to do this with 6 into 7.” “B. you said that creating cross-rhythms manually is a nightmare. Recently. One last thing: you ought to put some time signature changes in. This could be cool for syncing multiple devices to play cross-rhythms when warping isn’t an option. LdC Batteries not included If battery life is a concern. Let’s say you are running at 120bpm. This will be the worst 4 days ever – I’m thinking it’s going to be hell. though. Michael Carrillo A cross-rhythm occurs when two of these odd groupings occur simultaneously. I’ve found it easier to go from a crash and manipulate the sound to make hats!” Gary Nickleski “D. So I find a radio and put some batteries in. or 1. because I decided to read D Other cymbals (ride. So we multiply 120 by 1. It’s a bit like the classic tracker technique of changing tempo on the fly – sometimes on every row of the tracker sequencer – to create effects like incidental triplets or swung rhythms. that’s easy enough. etc.” Chad Ill-Rhythm Mathers “A. etc) E Something else 20 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014 A: 36% The writer of our Message of the Month will receive FabFilter’s fabulous Creative Bundle suite of plugins for Mac and PC. pick up our print edition The E: 11% D: 7% poll We asked our Facebook fans: Which drums are hardest to get just right? A Kick B Snare C Hi-hat So it’s a Wednesday night and the electricity goes. I gotta admit that our classic print edition has its plus points – I can certainly guarantee that it’ll carry on working as advertised in the event of a power cut! LdC Lawrence Simon Ken Jackson In-tension “A. I can spend hours trying to fine-tune crashes and rides to get just the sound I’m looking for. Sometimes the kick and the bassline share some of the same frequencies. As to the formula. While doing the tempo automation exercise. I find myself spending hours to get the snare samples layered just right for the track.com through all my Computer Music magazines.” Rafik Si C C: 11% B: 35% “C. then the final track won’t either. and you want five 8th-notes to be squished into the space of three.fabfilter.> reader emails Send us your letters and technical queries! Email us at cminbox@futurenet. to keep your bars in order. Dermot Culleton As much as I’m a strong proponent of the digital versions of Computer Music. starting at the oldest issue I had. so it’s hard to get the kick to punch through.

” Pieter Leijten – 8/10 “Universal weapon of choice. digital and digital publication circulation for Jan—Dec 2013 is 12.jackson@futurenet.coleman-straw@futurenet. Reuben Cornell.music. clare. Bath BA1 2BW.mag Future produces high-quality multimedia products which reach our audiences online.mayhew@futurenet. Animals as Leaders. it’s superb. Danny Scott.uk Reader reviews EDITORIAL Editor: Lee du-Caine. Break. Easy on the CPU. If you submit unsolicited material to us.facebook.com Kalle Christensen – 2/10 “What a cheese machine!” Mathias Schmias – 7/10 “Spire is taking its place. Creative and Sports & Auto. correct at the time of going to press. it’s an amazing piece of software that is very capable of emulating most analogue synths. on mobile and in print. No part of this magazine may be used or reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. Night Flowers. Owen Palmer. one way or another. agents or subcontractors shall be liable for loss or damage.9 out of 10 113 Selector We’ve been listening to You’ve been listening to 50 Cent. frances.com/computer.ISSUE 204 JUNE 2014 Future Publishing Ltd. Chris Liebing. neither Future nor its employees.futuremediastore.” Pepe L. Billain. reverb) are outdated/sound bad! Go for Spire/Massive/Dune!” Rui Pedro Campos – 9/10 “It doesn’t allow for FM synthesis.cooper@futurenet. rob. Tel: 0207 429 4000 Print 8. Atoms for Peace. but other than that.last@futurenet.com Ad Sales Manager: Lara Jaggon.” Matt Club – 7/10 “Bright sound. Oregon.920 A member of the Audit Bureau of Circulations Owen Palmer – 7/10 “It’s badass if you know how to coax it.du-caine@futurenet. Ronan Macdonald. pristine GUI and killer sound!” Mika Mulperi Lakanen – 10/10 “Good analogue sound never gets old. Dave Clews. Kraftwerk. Michael Readings. Beck. We export and license our publications. David Newman. Rex Features We asked our Facebook fans to rate… Group Senior Editor: Julie Taylor Senior Art Editor: Rodney Dive Creative Director: Robin Abbott Editorial Director: Jim Douglas LENNARDIGITAL SYLENTH1 Declan Pape – 9/10 “Still able to keep up with new players in the VST game. 7.” Akira McComplex – 3/10 “The oscillators hold a bit of weight but sound plastic (especially with voice stacking). 30 Monmouth Street.computermusic. Sam Binga. and the filters are god-awful.jaggon@futurenet.com LICENSING Head of International Licensing: Regina Erak. Any material you submit is sent at your risk and. mark. We are committed to only using magazine paper which is derived from well managed. Steely Dan.com UK Chief Executive: Mark Wood SUBSCRIPTIONS Phone our UK hotline on: 0844 848 2852 Overseas: (+44) (0) 1604 251 045 Subscribe online at: www. London. Erik Satie. 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Jon Musgrave.” Andrei Popa – 8/10 “Classic synthesis at its best.stephens@futurenet. but needs 64-bit AU support in the near future. lee.myfavouritemagazines. Brian Eno. sarah. but it badly needs an update – it’s too inflexible to compete with the other options out there. lara. Simon Truss Illustration: Jake Photography: iStockphoto. BA1 2BW Tel: 01225 442244 Fax: 01225 732275 Email: computermusic@futurenet. Mouse on Mars. Massacre.com Marketing Executive: Sarah Jackson.” MARKETING Group Marketing Manager: Lyndsey Mayhew. matt.com CONTRIBUTORS Alex Williams. lyndsey.” Our rating: 10/10. EC1A 9PT.russell@futurenet. 2 East Poultry Avenue.295 Average score from 87 reviews… The ABC combined print. Future cannot accept any responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. leon. Big White Stairs. Jon Hopkins GET INVOLVED AT www.white@futurenet. please visit www.constance@futurenet. Ulrich Schnauss. james.” Franz N Roses – 9/10 “As ugly as it is effective. All rights reserved.twentyman@futurenet. Flamingo 50.” Andrew Ward – 5/10 “Overrated and now outdated. Future attracts PWFSNJMMJPODPOTVNFSTUPJUTCSBOETFWFSZNPOUIBDSPTTmWF core sectors: Technology. I just love it!” ADVERTISING Ad Director: Clare Coleman-Straw. Scot Solida. Brahms. Entertainment.” Silviu BayB-boy Nitescu – 10/10 “Still use it in every track I make. you automatically grant Future a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in all editions of the magazine.com Production Editor: James Russell.com FUTURE PUBLISHING LIMITED Head of Music: Rob Last.com Senior Sales Executive: Leon Stephens.rossitter@futurenet. Simpson – 5/10 “Overhyped synth nowadays! Especially the effects (eg. Ben Liebrand. Bath. Phonat. very intuitive interface. The Police.com Chief executive Mark Wood Non-executive chairman Peter Allen &KLHIÀQDQFLDORIÀFHUGraham Harding Tel +44 (0)207 042 4000 (London) Tel +44 (0)1225 442 244 (Bath) © Future Publishing Limited 2014. Ben Rogerson.com Features Editor: Joe Rossitter. regina. Frankie Knuckles. Caity Foster. 2D33P. Future Publishing Limited (company number 2008885) is registered in England and Wales. 30 Monmouth Street.625 Digital 4. Jurassic 5.uk NEXT ISSUE ON SALE: 21 May Printed in the UK by William Gibbons on behalf of Future.com or email mediastore@futurenet.” Dave Curtis – 9/10 “Love it – perfect for getting the sounds I like. But I still use Sylenth1 for some simple stuff I want to make quick.com Web: www.com Production Manager: Mark Constance.com CIRCULATION Trade Marketing Manager: Matt Cooper. Tim Oliver. including licensed editions worldwide and in any physical or digital format throughout the world.co. joe. Distributed in the UK by Seymour Distribution Ltd. as far as we are aware. although every care is taken. .

though. X-ValveComp and X-Saturator priced £69. X-Saturator and X-Phase. X-Saturator does its thing via a straightforward set of controls (Drive. envelopes.> news NEW RELEASES • COMMENT • INDUSTRY HAPPENINGS New SSL Duende Native Plugins Three new processors for your DAW from the legendary console crafters Solid State Logic’s Duende Native series of plugins is about to be added to with three new effects processors: X-ValveComp. etc) and twist the results up in the interactive Morphing Field display. priced £129. it can also be employed as a comb filter. www.and high-pass filtering. Shape. A/B preset switching. X-Phase could be prove to be one of those “secret weapon” plugins that makes all the difference to the punch and clarity of a mix. we assume software equivalents of their many superb hardware devices are at the top of the list. Harmonics. While they haven’t announced what. SSL have also announced that they’re migrating the entire Duende Native line over to iLok with any of 35 modules (from pitch and resonance processors to stutter effects.com Molekular’s modular makeup will be thoroughly mulled over next issue 22 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014 from Codemeter for copy protection. then modulate them with 16 mod sources (LFOs. could turn out to be X-Phase.uaudio. as is a sidechain with low. As well as the new plugins. but UA have announced that the acclaimed Danish manufacturer (renowned for their rack and stompbox effects modules) is now developing for UAD! “We are excited to bring our products to the vibrant and growing UAD platform. Depth. Outmarketed and outgunned in terms of third-party developer support. Peak and RMS modes are onboard. Manual and Auto Gain Make Up. Molekular lets you fill its four slots The newly expanded Duende range brings the legendary SSL sound to your studio without requiring a forklift inexperienced. it’s easy to forget that there was once a very viable alternative avaiable in the shape of TC Electronic’s PowerCore. and that AAX versions are on the way this summer. Offering a controllable mix of both valveand transistor-style distortion. The main event for mix engineers. an all-pass filter that “enables the user to apply a phase shift at a specified frequency within a signal.native-instruments. All three plugins should be available from May 1.com TC Electronic to develop for UAD With Universal Audio’s UAD platform now the only real game in town when it comes to DSP-powered plugins.com . Wet/Dry). www. step sequencers. and we’re reviewing it next issue. they’re working on. While not being a tool for the Native Instruments Molekular Native Instruments have dropped yet another new release out of the blue: a “modular multieffects system” by the name of Molekular.” SSL say that as well as being useful for fixing close mic phase issues due to its ability to leave the gain of selected frequencies unchanged. distortion. Housed in Reaktor 5 or the free Reaktor Player. X-ValveComp is a mono/stereo channel compressor with a valve emulation stage. It’s available now.” says TC’s Thomas Valter. SSL claim that it’s great for both “gentle warming” and “heavy distortion”. exactly. designed in partnership with fellow German developers Zynaptiq. www. and wet/dry mix for parallel compression. PowerCore’s long gone.solid-state-logic. and X-Phase at £199. delay and much more).

www.net June 2014 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 23 .” Buy it now for £4. www. Assign as many folders within your OS as you like to processes such as format conversion. a “drone machine” synth and a tilt/touch Theremin emulation. And when you’re ready to expand your iPad studio.audiob. comprising “a realistic vintage tone stack.com www. Record.us db audioware’s debut iPad app is a port of their Flying Haggis modular guitar amplification system for Mac and PC. www. Genius! iOS signal routing wonder-app Audiobus might be facing stiff competition in the shape of Apple’s own Inter-App Audio.99. multi-stage preamp. Zinio.myfavouritemagazines. it’s on the App Store now for £2.news < App watch Another sequencerbased offering from the AU-merchants at Sinevibes Sinevibes Hexonator The latest AU plugin from Ukrainian developer Sinevibes is a “spectral effect” based on a bank of six tuned resonators (of adjustable bandwidth) that can be “played” by the onboard sequencer. comprises a step sequencer.sinevibes.com Out now for iPad and Android devices.steinberg. A multimode 12/24dB filter.image-line. etc. program and mix complete tracks in GarageBand and Cubasis.M. priced £41. etc – and “skillful integration of iOS Double Precision vDSP architecture. and VCA can be yours right now for €14.A.5 Take your tablets and feel much. we could be looking at a potential mobile mastering gamechanger.” He also confirmed that certain of their plugins are also being ported to OS X.db-audioware.com Steinberg WaveLab 8.” HoRNet’s new Mac/PC plugin can operate as a sidechain-controlled amp with adjustable trigger threshold. AAC export. but that hasn’t stopped it from reaching the milestone that is version 2. which features an exclusive Audiobus 2 tutorial and video. a compressor (feedback or feedforward) or an expander. stereo imager. via Apple Newsstand. Find out more about it in Special 65: iPad Music – The Essential Guide. but it’s the new Watch Folders feature that’ll really sell it. The review’s in the pipe… www. With a setup like that.” and being free (albeit ad-supported). Special 65: iPad Music – The Essential Guide is available now in shops and at the URL below. to apply them automatically to files placed in those folders.uk The idea of a comprehensive mastering suite for iPad might sound too good to be true. there’s no reason not to give it a try. but Positive Grid reckon they’ve come up with exactly that in the shape of Final Touch. our no-nonsense buyers’ guides round up the best apps and peripheral hardware that money can currently buy. The headlines are the ability to run “as many apps in parallel or in series as your device can handle.com Special: iPad Music – The Essential Guide In Computer Music Special 65: iPad Music – The Essential Guide. dithering. v8. This slick-looking £13.com www. www. mix up a storm with Traktor DJ and much more.” and if it sounds as good as it looks. futronica. with Harmor looking likely to be the first. two LFOs and “adjustable chaos” complete the picture. We hope to have some betas by the end of the year.5 of Steinberg’s marketleading audio editor is a paid point update. simultaneous multiformat export and A/B encoder comparison are tempting enough. 6 speaker cabinets and 4 mic positions. www.com FL Studio for Mac Good news for those running FL Studio on their Macs via the ‘wrapped’ version launched in beta by Image-Line last year: proper native OS X support is on the way! In a recent interview with MusicRadar. much better with Special 65’s expert iOS music-making guide Available in June.99.hornetplugins. multiband dynamics. technical and buying advice you need to make amazing tracks on your Apple tablet.99 app boasts seven processors – EQ. If you don’t have it already.” sharable presets and a gorgeous new GUI. master the art of synthesis with iPolysix and Thor.positivegrid. We’ll review it soon.I. complete with ten exclusive video tutorials and all the files you need to follow along. ImageLine CTO Jean-Marie Cannie clarified that “we are developing a native OS X version. and Mac users can buy it now for $39. we bring you all the VCA seems a simplebut-effective levelhandling gadget HoRNet VCA “A toolkit for controlling the track level. S. it’ll be no surprise to learn that it’s aimed at “sound experiments and sonic formations.M. Kindle Fire and Nook. The “visual gain display” tracks the level over time.co. Google Play.

zynaptiq.z3-audiolabs. which creates ‘trails’ of sound whenever the Play button is triggered. As far as I know. Pan.com Z3 Audiolabs Repeat X Z3’s new VST multieffects/glitch plugin for PC comprises eight effects modules. www.com KV331 Audio SynthMaster Player KV331 Audio’s SynthMaster is one of the best soft synths around ( 174.” www. We’re reviewing it in a couple of issues’ time. is grab a snippet of audio whose length is adjusted in seconds. C++? DG “Each environment – not just the two you mentioned – has its own particular advantages and disadvantages. Some things will be easier to do in one environment. Repeat. but the structure is very complex. Zynaptiq? DG “I can’t talk about unannounced products for obvious reasons. and it also hosts a Gate section for controlling the wet/dry mix of each step. Crusher. say.” Which modules in Molekular were the toughest to create/design. but let’s say it’s not looking like I will have a lot of free time over the next years. doing sound design work and factory content production for their products. enhanced by the integration of OS X’s Coverflow view to show all your ’Units graphically. Bringing the physically modeled sound of the much-loved Vox Continental 300 organ to your Mac or PC. What’s definitely common to whatever environment you happen to use is that having clear specifications and maintaining a clean structure right from the start goes a long way in making a good piece of software. Meanwhile. loops that for an adjustable amount of time. All while being very easy to use. Also. applies a fade-in/-out across the entire playback duration and does ‘shape modulation’.com 24 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014 Arturia Vox Continental V It’s been a while since we saw a new classic instrument emulation from Arturia. as there were so many revisions over such a long period of time. Tapestop and Saturation (the names say it all). now even the most casual sound designer can get the sound of SynthMaster into their productions with SynthMaster Player. and which makes elaborate effects processing setups easy to create and use. specifically. “In terms of algorithms. www. and why? Which are you most proud of? DG “I honestly can’t tell how much effort went into which DSP algorithm. there’s nothing ‘locked’ inside.arturia. each assigned to one or more internal parameters by the designer of each preset) of 600 included presets.auganizer. and that we have some more jaw-dropping things in the pipeline at Zynaptiq. so ‘reading’ it is by no means trivial. one of my personal favourites is Trails. Well.” “We have some more jaw-dropping things in the pipeline at Zynaptiq” Will you be developing more Reaktor instruments/effects for NI? And what’s next from your own company. others harder or more tedious.com Auganizer Ever found yourself getting wound up by the way your Mac DAW lists Audio Units plugins by manufacturer in its selection menus? Relax – help is finally at hand in the shape of Auganizer! Auganizer empowers you with the ability to change the manufacturer and plugin names of all your AUs and organise them into subfolders. a cut-down version (still for Mac and PC) that gives light control (via eight knobs.kv331audio. but its mighty semimodular architecture could be intimidating for the less involved producer. complete with Layer and Global effects. What we’re probably all most proud of is the ensemble as a whole. Repeat X’s Signalflow system lets you reorder these modules as you see fit. four amp models. it features deeper control than the original. SynthMaster Player can be yours for $29. or are some parts locked? DG “Together with the Reaktor experts at NI – most notably Lazyfish and Dietrich Pank – we made literally dozens if not hundreds of new Core Cell ‘types’. although it’s available to buy now for €119. It’s $35.> news Get with the programmers The Zynaptiq CEO talks about his recent work as co-creator of Native Instruments’ Molekular How did you end up developing the new Molekular Reaktor multieffect for NI? DG “My working relationship with NI goes back a long way. My background in using modular synthesisers since I was 15 years old makes me like Reaktor’s interface paradigm. www.” What are the biggest differences (and similarities) in developing for Reaktor as opposed to coding in. The step sequencer can be edited in terms of modulation depth and step-to-step transition smoothness. Repeat X is available now for €40. The effects themselves consist of Filter.com . I’ve been using Reaktor since it was two products – Generator and Transformator – so doing a multieffects processor using Reaktor is the natural evolution of all that.” Zynaptiq Denis Gökdag Did you develop any custom modules for use in Molekular? Can Reaktor users ‘pop the hood’ on it and see how the whole thing works. the FX Sequencer enables the modules to be switched in and out on a timeline.com / www. Ringmod. within five serial/parallel configurations. each controlled by its own host-synced step sequencer. but Vox Continental V is here to put them back in the game. algorithm design and full products like the Transistor Punch and Pulswerk Expansions for Maschine. which is similar to pulse width modulation for the looped grains. The interface looks supremely easy to use. What it does. a rotary speaker and a range of stompbox-style effects. Delay. 10/10). which is far more than the sum of its parts. but that’s a subjective thing all the way. 96th-notes or (optionally quantised) pitch values. and we’re aiming to bring you a review in the near future. unlike certain comparable plugins.native-instruments. and importantly. www. while a free version (SynthMaster Free) with just 150 presets is also available.

com Deep Analogue House sees Cr2 Records take on deep house with 537 loops and one-shot samples captured from a who’s who of analogue synthesisers and drum machines.com Sample Magic’s Dance Vocals series continues with Dance Vocals 3. Impulse Tracker was to become the main rival to FastTracker 2 – very nearly every PC tracker musician used one or another as their main tool during the nineties.beatport. a portable device that plays back your choons at up to 24-bit/192kHz quality and is pitched as the audiophile’s music player.com Encompassing a “wide selection of playing styles for all the creative facets of jazz ballads through the ages. aka Dune (aka Brothomstates). Yours for $29. lifelike graphics June 2014 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 25 . LOVE FOR THE GLOVE? ‘Wearable tech’ seems to be one of the buzz phrases of 2014.org “It’s ten years since Olivier Lapicque opened up the source code for ModPlug Tracker and OpenMPT was born” And it’s a full 20 years ago this year that Impulse Tracker was conceived.ly/1g1sE8B) that sucked us in with its minimalist visuals and beautiful Boards of Canada-esque music composed by Lassi Nikko.ly/1bBYL37). The Ink Test amazes with its organic.com New from The Loop Loft.I. which ruled the websites of many a demo musician long before we had the bandwidth to consider using those cumbersome MP3 things. Can it stem the tide of compressed audio? We shall see. electric and electronic instrumentation across almost 700 shots and loops (60-90bpm) and is available now for £30. It’s ten years since Olivier Lapicque opened up the source code for the original ModPlug Tracker and OpenMPT was born. recorded using a range of kits and produced with a “Stax and Motown” flavour. too. House and just about everything in between”. Garage.Mu Glove for Music. the) Neil Young’s PonoMusic Player. FRANKIE KNUCKLES R. A genuine house music pioneer. his back-catalogue should be on your listening priority list – start with the stunning 4KB cdak (bit. but when we got there.” You pay £17.samplemagic. but as reported elsewhere in News. We celebrate the best of the tracker world in a tribute to two significant platforms This issue we’re celebrating a couple of birthdays. MORE SPACE PLEASE We were pleased to see Apple ditching the iPad 2 and making the far more capable iPad with Retina Display their entry-level tablet. The outpouring of grief on social networks was testament to Frankie Knuckles’ influence. SILENT WOLF Akai’s Rhythm Wolf – a $199 analogue drum machine and bass synth – was all set to be the star of the Frankfurt Musikmesse. Creator Jeffrey Lim has written a superb blog about making it (bit. £35. Both musician and programmer with legendary demo crew Orange. ModPlug Tracker was itself preceded by the ModPlug Player. Instead.com Loopmasters’ Atlanta Chill Vol 2 takes in a wide range of acoustic.” EZkeys Jazz Ballads MIDI expands your Toontrack EZkeys library for £20. it didn’t make any noise. which is currently the subject of a Kickstater campaign. most were a tad too esoteric for our tastes.timespace. We Sink Music: Future R&B is the debut sample library from the Athenian production team. Image-Line’ recently revealed that they’re working on a full-on native version for OS X. but why is it only available with 16GB of storage? If you’re going to be installing a lot of music-making apps. Inspired by the discontinuation of Future Crew’s Scream Tracker 3. sounds. it was The Ink Test (bit. Here’s hoping it’s bared its sonic fangs by the time you read this. DEMO OF THE MONTH NVScene 2014: The Ink Test by CNCD & Fairlight While there were plenty of offerings from the recent TokyoDemoFest to choose from this month.samplephonics. www. he began DJing in New York but made his name on the seminal Chicago house scene. this isn’t really enough.loopmasters. Funk Essentials Vol 3 consists of five multitrack drum “sessions” and accompanying one-shots. and hi-tech musicians might soon be able to get in on the act thanks to the motion-tracking Mi.P. HEY HEY. It’s £13.thelooploft. www. www. who has been blowing us away since the early 90s. www. Trap.com Ins & outs FL STUDIO MAC NATIVE A ‘crossover wrap’ Mac version of FL Studio is already being tested. Check out this great tracker at openmpt. www.ly/1gF3fHJ) for bewildering excellence of sound design. bringing many demosceners out of the woodwork to praise him for his efforts.Trackers & Demoscene Soundware news “Infusing RnB. HI FI One product that’s already sailed past its Kickstarter target is (yes. phrases and song-starters packed with chart-topping potential. A beta may be with us before the end of the year. 100+ “club-ready hooks. Hip Hop.

It’s a kicker.tornsub.amazingnoises. www.com CLASSIC FREE SOFTWARE SMARTELECTRONIX S(M)EXOSCOPE We’re going analyser-crazy this issue. Full Bucket’s Nabla recreates the dividedown Delta experience but adds modern touches like an optional “God Mode” that provides true polyphony. Windows-only.com Built with SynthEdit. zoom in along both X and Y axes. when the synthetic string machine was king You know their names: Solina. as are a number of retrigger modes. Nonetheless. Many of these machines ‘split the difference’. you’d be wise to nab Nabla from Full Bucket Music string machine’s heyday. it was cheap. and while we’re on such a visible visual bent. bram. envelopes and LFO and a quartet of effects processors that can host each oscillator independently.smartelectronix. attempt to tame a Behemoth and chart a new free Max For Live contender Full Bucket Music . here’s a well-loved donationware oscilloscope that’s easy on the eye. it still packs a serious wallop with a trio of wavetable oscillators. These machines made use of ‘dividedown’ circuits to create a pseudopolyphonic (or ‘paraphonic’) experience for players who demanded more notes than were available from the usually monophonic or at best duophonic instruments.> news freeware news This month we scope out plugs bionic and paraphonic. All of the Delta’s functions are recreated. You can freeze the image. the original Bionic Delay was a firm favourite of Windows users. and oodles of real-time control. It’s simple and immediate. www. s(M)exoscope may be old. You get individual panning for string and synth sections. providing the pads that filled out arrangements with sounds that only vaguely resembled a string section. Just as was the case with the original. Introduced during the dying embers of the If strings are your thing. ideal for spooky soundscapes or atmospheric ambient excursions. sound. s(M)exoscope is available as a standard insert effect as well as a modular version made specifically for hosts like Bidule and Audiomulch. and four-pole zero-delay feedback band-pass/low-pass filter and noise generator in the synth section.de Amazing Noises GliderVerb Interruptor Bionic Supa Delay Torn-Sub Behemoth 2 Based on and expanded from one of James McCartney’s Supercollider 2 algorithms. Designed in collaboration with dub producer Russ D of The Disciples fame.com . Changes aside. but it’s no less essential for its age. Orchestron. The strings get an AR generator while the synth gets an ADSR job. pitchshift. simple. and options like DC-kill and sync redraw are provided. low-pass resonant filter with key-tracking. layered sounds. This revamp revisits the tape delay concept. this update of the popular original features a new synthesis engine and interface. It displays the incoming 26 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014 waveform in exacting detail. Nabla makes for a quick and easy source of shimmering.ch Another Windowsonly VSTi. auto-pan and reverb to the mix.” its sound is startlingly haunting. www. peroscillator morphing. these new additions are intended to enhance live dub mixing. plus built-in phaser and delay.fullbucket. it makes a good choice for any genre. offering both strings and a smattering of synthesis functions. Omni. From creepy old-school industrial wails to gritty granular groans.interruptor. this one might give you the heebie-jeebies! www. GliderVerb is unlike anything we’ve yet heard. and sounded pretty darned good. The Korg Delta was just such a machine. with its retro styling. with two-band EQ and ensemble effect on the strings. adding filter. Described as a “reverb with glissandos. These were the backline for many a muso.Nabla Take a journey with us to the distant past.

” Paul’s new album Trance Mission is out in June on Perfecto Records pauloakenfold.” receiving end of a high-five from an Apple Store staff member six years later as he queued up for one of the first iPads. I tend to create ideas in Logic while in transit and then use Cubase when it comes to mixing down back in the studio in LA.” WAVES S1 “The S1 is my go-to plugin for extra stereo separation where necessary – on certain pads or percussion loops. we’re still not sure what he was on about. The basslines are absolutely solid. and the Tweak and Style Edit buttons are fantastic for creating unique delay effects. It’s extremely simple to use and the results are always impressive. just have been Todd Rundgren. and a must for my more up-tempo trance productions.” SOUNDTOYS ECHOBOY “I can’t rate this delay highly enough. Finally. so you can fine-tune your delay to an amazing degree.com 74’s cover feature was a huge signal-processing how-to. and for acid lines. it’s one of the best in the business” DAW: APPLE LOGIC PRO / STEINBERG CUBASE / ABLETON LIVE “I switch between Logic and occasionally Cubase or Ableton depending on the studio I’m working in. obviously). motherboard. who told us in June 2004 that he was running the likes of Reason on his PC touchscreen device. energy and pace to your track as 16th-note patterns. “For acid lines. Echoboy is really tweakable. it’s one of the best in the business. changing pitch or making shorter edits of tracks people have sent me. or maybe on the master out – to give your track a touch more width. one reader challenged Amon Tobin to tell him “what notes are in a G double sharp minor 7th chord”. we delved deep into effects and helped you pimp your PC So. A lot of my recent tracks on Perfecto have Massive sounds in – those lovely metallic FM basslines that cut through in the mids. It’s such a userfriendly plugin. remember). Ableton is great for timestretching.What’s on your hard drive? years back In the summer of 2004. he also bemoaned the fact that Apple didn’t make a tablet at the time – we suspect he was on the “We touched on the practice of overclocking” Paul Oakenfold The bona fide dancefloor legend reveals which software hits the spot in his studio LENNARDIGITAL SYLENTH1 “Sylenth is extremely versatile and a regular that I keep going back to. We would say that you had to be there at the time. As a Mac user. Elsewhere. and ripping acids that give grit. Its ping-pong delay and the saturation settings are just great. we touched on the practice of overclocking (warning that you might very well fry your CPU. and as musicians tried to get every possible ounce of power out of their computers. but a decade on. helping you use and choose effects plugins June 2014 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 27 . who was the first pro musician to create tunes on a tablet? Our records 74 – tell us that it might – specifically. the pads are full. graphics card and memory if you pushed it too far.” NATIVE INSTRUMENTS MASSIVE “This is a hugely powerful synth. Its sounds have a thickness and meat that a lot of competitor synths lack. we praised the realistic results of Auto-Tune 4 (this was a time when people generally used it subtly rather than as an effect in itself.

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Your favourite downloads Get all this with your digital or print copy of EXCLUSIVE PLUGINS Every issue comes with our famous Plugins – a suite of over 35 incredible instruments and effects that you can’t get anywhere else! PLUGINS PRO QUALITY SAMPLES Fuel your productions with hundreds of samples every issue – there’s a new exclusive pack each month! EXPERT TUTORIAL VIDEOS See exactly how it’s done in highquality videos that accompany selected step-by-step tutorials in the magazine Find out more about Vault downloads at bit.ly/cmvaultfaq Note: Producer Masterclass in-studio videos not currently downloadable via Vault. May 2014 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 33 . Apple Newsstand users can watch Producer Masterclass via built-in internet streaming.

from loudness meters to spectrum analysers 34 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014 .> make music now / visual mixing Get a great mix in your sights using visual analysis plugins.

Volume levels. acoustics and experience are all factors that can affect our ability to accurately judge our sounds’ characteristics in a mix.co. and we’ll explain exactly how and why to use them in conjunction with your ears to craft better tracks and mixes. a track’s stereo information can be plotted on a phase meter. And as you’d expect. waveforms can be monitored on the fly using an oscilloscope. with the ultimate goal of creating an end result that sounds great on a multitude of playback systems. Studios have long since used dedicated meters to keep an eye on signal levels. The thing is. for Visual Mixing. frequency analysers. helping us to recreate the characteristics found in a ‘good’ mix. time-based spectrograms. And that’s before you dive into the numerous options and preferences that you might need to set up before you can get a meaningful reading from them.visual mixing / make music now < DOWNLOAD Get the tutorial files. stereo metering and more. What’s more. these tools can be used to inspect the properties of reference tracks that we know sound great everywhere. Inadequate monitoring.computermusic. each tutorial has an accompanying video walkthrough. for help is at hand! We’re going to take you through the various types of visual analysis tools you’ll find in your DAW and plugins folder. panning. plugins and video on your PC/Mac at vault. so you can see how to practically apply what you learn to your own music-making. though. with their graph-style displays and quasiscientific labeling. dynamics. frequency conflicts. making it easy to ascertain width and panning amounts. waveform analysis using an oscilloscope. today’s computer musician has a whole host of visual metering and analysis methods to assist them. We’ll then put our newfound knowledge to the test over the individual elements of a multitrack mix. sound design and mixing techniques. We’ll explain peak and average level metering.uk Mixing is one huge balancing act. But there’s so much more we can keep an eye on: we can take a look at a spectrum analyser to observe a signal’s relative frequency balance in real time. all these analysis tools can be pretty baffling the first time you fire them up. with more advanced offerings now available in plugin form. stereo balance and overall coherence must all be considered. Fear not. but luckily. June 2014 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 35 . and so on.

> make music now / visual mixing

Expert analysis
To get us started and give us
an initial insight into the uses
and functions of various
analysis tools, we turned to
an expert in the field: DSP
wizard Guillaume Jeulin. He’s
the CEO of Blue Cat Audio,
creators of some of the finest audio analysis
plugins around.
: Why would a producer want to use an
analysis plugin?
GJ: Firstly, it’s a good learning tool – a visual
representation of the sound is helpful to get
started and train your ears for mixing, sound
design/synthesis and mastering. You can
compare measurements of your own mixes with
the ones you like, helping you to understand
how they were created.
Secondly, when working in a non-familiar
environment or with a non-ideal monitoring
setup, it may be hard to trust what you hear. In
this case, the only way to keep a good reference
is to use analysis tools that will tell you about the
things you cannot hear. Thirdly, troubleshooting
– there are many situations when using a visual
tool to analyse the signal can help fix issues
such as phase, clicks or masking. With modern
DAWs, it’s easy to drag and drop a plugin

anywhere and check what the signal ‘looks like’
[at that point in the signal chain].
: What kind of analysis plugins are useful
for a computer musician? At what stage of the
production process would you use them?
GJ: I think the first one is the levels meter.
Checking peak levels helps avoiding clipping,
and the RMS meter (or loudness meter for
broadcast) is a good indicator of how loud a
track, or an instrument within a track, will sound.
It’s hard to do without it when mixing or
mastering. And if it includes a crest factor
indicator, it can help keep dynamics in a song.
Next comes the spectrum analyser, which
displays a representation of the frequencies
contained in the audio signal. It can be used at
any stage of the production process: you can
check the quality of the sound while recording,
and detect noise sources. When mixing, it helps
find overlapping frequencies between tracks,
and when mastering, it’s useful to check the
consistency of the spectrum between tracks, or
check you’re not introducing too much distortion.
A good oscilloscope with Lissajous (XY) mode
is also very helpful to check phase issues when
recording with multiple microphones. Stereo
measurement tools may (also) be required at
the mixing stage to verify mono compatibility
and stereo width.

Blue Cat’s StereoScope Pro is one of the finest stereo visualisers around

: Where should the line be
drawn between mixing with your
eyes and ears?
GJ: In the end, what counts is
definitely how it sounds: your eyes
may help you get there, but they
won’t be able to tell you if it sounds
good or not. So for me, as long as
the tools you use to create music
help you make it sound better,
that’s fine. Tools should help you
make the right artistic decisions,
not dictate them.

: Do you think there’s a lack of education
about how to use visualisation plugins?
GJ: I’ve definitely seen lots of people misusing
or misunderstanding the output of their
analysis tools. Even the simplest level meter
requires that you understand what each value
represents. It is totally useless (and potentially
harmful) otherwise.
There are now many tutorials available, so I
guess it’s mainly a matter of taking the time to
read them! Also, there are several levels of
understanding, so I guess it’s important that the
analysis tools we manufacturers provide have
default settings that work and are not crowded
with options.
: Have you thought about integrating
visualisation into more of your plugins,
or would this only complicate matters?
GJ: Most of our plugins tend to provide
optional integrated visual feedback to help
understand how the signal is processed and
how various parameters affect the signal, but it
is necessary to draw a line and only show what
matters for a particular processor – otherwise,
the risk is to provide too much irrelevant
information, which would be more confusing
than helpful.
For example, a spectrum analyser will help on
a broadband dynamics processor, but level
meters, real-time dynamics response and peak
or RMS envelopes are also good indicators of
what is being applied to the signal.
: What’s the future of visualisation
plugins? Can they be improved in any way, or
at this stage, have we basically done it all in
terms of what can be represented about
sound visually?
There is definitely room for improvement:
machines are getting faster every day; screens
are getting larger, so analysis and visualisation
tools will become more and more precise and
also more visually appealing.

Tooling up
Before we dive in, you’ll want to equip yourself
with a few appropriate plugins. All the latest
DAWs have built-in metering options. As well
as standard peak metering on each channel, all
popular DAWs now include some form of
frequency analyser integrated into their native
EQ plugins. Cubase 7, Logic Pro X, Studio One 2,
Sonar X3, FL Studio, Live 9 and more – they all
allow you to observe your channel’s frequency
response in real-time on the same display as
your EQ curves.
If you want to explore more fully-featured
alternatives, there are plenty of great free
options. Voxengo’s SPAN features high-res
spectral analysis while also providing a phase
correlation meter, mid/side analysis and more.
MeldaProduction also have a terrific free
analyzer, MAnalyzer. Sonalksis’ Free-G is a free
fader/metering plugin that provides accurate
peak and RMS readouts. For more accurate
stereo monitoring, try StereoTool by Flux – it
36 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014

offers a phase meter with flexible pan, width
and polarity-inversion controls. Also, don’t
forget the devices found in our own CM Plugins
suite – FreqAnalyst CM, Spiral CM, Satson CM,
WaveShaper CM, CM-EQUA-87, Barricade CM,
Philta CM and the new Transector CM all have
great visualisation functions, and they’re all
free with this magazine!
Commercial options are available for those
requiring the most accurate and advanced
analysis options. Blue Cat Audio’s Analysis Pack
($299) bundles together their full range of
advanced visualisation plugins. iZotope’s
Insight (part of Ozone 5 Advanced, £761) has a
wealth of analytical tools and modes, making it
one of the most complete audio analysis
packages available. Meanwhile, if you can’t get
enough of Voxengo’s brilliant free SPAN or
you’re in love with MeldaProduction’s no-cost
MAnalyzer, check out their ‘pro’ versions, SPAN
Plus ($50) and MMultiAnalyzer (€59).

Spiral CM is just one of the visual analysis tools in the
CM Plugins suite that’s free with this very magazine

visual mixing / make music now <

Level meters
Audio signal levels are measured using the
decibel (dB) scale, a standardised unit for
measuring signal level. A DAW’s master output
(or indeed, any other output) limit is 0dBFS, so
overloading it with a +6dBFS signal level will
cause nasty clipping artifacts as the 6dB of
excess signal is ‘chopped off’ to fit the output’s
0dBFS ceiling. While you can easily exceed this
0dBFS point elsewhere in the DAW’s mixer
without causing clipping (due to the use of
floating point processing), you then risk
overloading plugins that are designed to work
best with a signal of a certain level. Many
analogue-emulating processors work this way,
and feeding them too strong a level will cause
distortion, just like real analogue hardware.
Being able to monitor the precise levels of our
signals, then, is clearly a desirable thing.
The visual level display, or meter, allows us to
monitor the dB level of a signal, and the highest
level a signal reaches is called its ‘peak’ level. A
DAW’s mixer channels usually display signals’
peak values as a numerical readout and a
coloured meter, to warn you of overshoots or
clipping. Like DAW mixers, dedicated peak
metering plugins (including the free Sonalksis
Free-G) usually display ‘true peak’ information –
the absolute loudest peak level. Some other
meters, including the traditional Peak Program
Meter (PPM), take a few milliseconds to respond,
ignoring the shortest duration peaks – this is

Level meters by Steinberg (Cubase – left), PSP Audioware (top), MeldaProduction (bottom), and Sonalksis (right)

Thoroughly average

Peak practice

Although serving a functional purpose, the peak
output value of a channel has little to do with its
signal’s perceived loudness – our ears take into
account the average energy contained within a
sound over a longer timespan, and this is
demonstrated in our first tutorial, below.
The traditional bouncing-needle VU meter
(think vintage compressors or
70s hi-fi units!) has response
characteristics that make it a
much better gauge of the
average level, and thus is a
reasonable representation of
how loud signals actually sound.
PSP’s VU2 and our own Satson
CM are great examples of plugin
VU meters. You may also encounter RMS
meters, which are, in simple terms, a more
modern and precise measure of average
signal level.

So how can we apply this knowledge and use it
to make decisions? Firstly, it’s important your
DAW’s master channel doesn’t go over 0dBFS,
so keep an eye on your channels’ peak levels
and pull their faders down to prevent clipping
the master. Simply turn up your audio interface’s
output level to bring your listening volume back
up. Peak monitoring is also handy in dynamics
processing – by comparing peak levels before
and after compression or limiting, you can see
how much headroom you’ve claimed back.
Average-level meters are practical when you
want to monitor, compare or match the actual
loudness of sounds. In addition to their traditional
use on each channel in your mix to compare
loudness, you can use them to level a reference
track in comparison to your own track when
mixing or mastering. Average level metering is
also useful to compare average levels of tracks
when balancing faders in a DJ mix.

“The peak output value of a
channel has little to do with its
signal’s perceived loudness”
known as ‘quasi-peak’ measurement. You may
also encounter so-called loudness meters that
take a more scientific approach to measuring
loudness as perceived by the human ear.

> Step by step

1. Peak level vs. average metering

TUTORIAL

FILES

1

NoisySnare.wav and SnareStick.wav
are two drum hits taken from
194’s
InsideInfo VIP Series pack, included in this
issue’s Tutorial Files folder for your
convenience. Here, we’ve loaded them
onto two audio tracks in a blank project.
Our DAW’s mixer shows us that they both
have a similar peak level of around -5dBFS,
but our distorted snare actually sounds far
louder than the thin stick sample.

2

Now add Sonimus’ Satson CM as an
insert on each track. The plugin’s
classic VU-style meter displays average
level – a good indicator of the general
loudness of a sound as opposed to its
maximum peak. The noisy snare’s average
loudness is far higher, hitting at over +3dB
VU while the noisy stick only gets up to
around -15dB. But the VU meter gives us
no indication of the highest peak level.

3

To compare both peak and average
levels side by side, we load Barricade
CM over each track. The inner Output
meters display Peak level, and again we
can see that our two drum elements each
peak at roughly -5dBFS. The thinner outer
meters display RMS level (a kinda of
average level), and it’s here that our two
tracks differ. Our stick can only hit -23dB,
but the snare goes right up to -10dB.

June 2014 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 37

> make music now / visual mixing

Oscilloscopes
An oscilloscope uses a two-axis graph to give a
visual representation of a waveform over time,
with the horizontal axis representing time and
the vertical axis representing the amplitude. In
music production, oscilloscopes are commonly
used to assist dynamics processing and sound
synthesis. In both contexts, an oscilloscope is
usually placed last in the signal chain, so that it
analyses the cumulative effects of any plugins
placed before it. Like any analysis plugin,
though, you can place it anywhere in the chain,
to view the signal at that point.

Scope of use
If you drop a drum loop onto a DAW’s audio
track, it will appear as a static waveform clip/
region, representing the original audio ‘on the
way in’. An oscilloscope placed over the track
at the end of the signal chain will show in realtime how that waveform has been affected
by any processing, and how it looks ‘on the
way out’.
On the next page, for example, we’ll see that
when applying compression to a drum loop, an
oscilloscope will help you observe how the
transient portion (the initial spike) of each drum
hit is affected by the attack time (a fast attack
time will squash the transient, so its height on
the display will decrease); or how a low
threshold combined with a high compression
ratio and quick release time will cause the tail’s
relative level to increase, giving body to the hit
(its height on the display will increase).
As an aid to sound design, an oscilloscope
acts as a sonic microscope, capable of
observing single cycles of a waveform. It’s
possible to directly observe how slowly low-pass
filtering a harmonic-rich wave (eg, sawtooth)
gradually rounds off its sharp edges, removing
harmonics until it becomes a smooth sine wave;
or to actually watch pulse width modulation
when it’s applied to a square wave. When it
comes to understanding synthesis concepts, an
oscilloscope can be invaluable.

> Step by step

1

In an oscilloscope,
the horizontal axis
represents time –
this sine wave gets
through one cycle
in about 3.5ms

Set up your scope
There are a few things you need to know when
using an oscilloscope. The horizontal axis may
give measurements in samples, a division of
time, and sometimes musical values like note
lengths; the vertical axis will almost always be in
dB. The scale of both axes can be changed to
zoom in/out on the waveform. You’ll generally
set the level (vertical axis) to maximise the
display, but the time setting is more interesting,
as you can ‘zoom in’ to measure a single wave
cycle up close, or ‘zoom out’ so that you can see
the waveform over a much longer period.
The measurement of a single wave cycle at a
particular frequency will always be the same if
you measure it in milliseconds, but measuring it
in samples means the measurement depends

“An oscilloscope
acts as a sonic
microscope”

on the sample rate your DAW is set to. A single
cycle of a 100Hz wave sampled at 44,100kHz
will be represented by 441 samples, whereas if
it’s sampled at 96kHz, that same cycle will be
represented by 960 samples. Bear this in mind
when configuring the horizontal axis units.
In ‘free running’ mode, the oscilloscope will
plot the waveform from left to right until it hits
the righthand edge of the display, at which point
it will reset/retrigger, beginning the drawing
process again from the left-hand side, overwriting
the existing waveform trace. But the time it
takes the oscilloscope to fill its display may not
be in sync with the waveform’s frequency (or the
music’s tempo), causing the image to jump
around erratically. To this end, oscilloscopes
offer a configurable reset/retrigger function, the
classic mode being ‘rising edge’, where every
time the level passes from negative to positive
(ie, it rises past the centre point of the horizontal
axis), the oscilloscope starts drawing from the
left-hand edge again. This allows basic waveforms
to be observed steadily. Some ’scopes also let
you set the reset time in beats and bars – great
for observing musical material like drum loops!

2. Analysing a waveform with an oscilloscope

Load a new instance of Dune CM in
your DAW, initialise it by clicking on
Bank B, then select OSC 1’s square wave.
Create a new one-bar MIDI clip, set your
DAW to loop it, and enter a bar-long A
above middle C (we’re using Ableton Live,
so that’s A3, but the octave number varies
in some DAWs). On Dune CM’s channel,
load the donationware s(M)exoscope
(from bram.smartelectronix.com).

38 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014

2

Play the MIDI clip. We need to adjust
the scope’s settings so that we’re
viewing a single cycle of our note, so
change the mode from Free to Rising
– this retriggers the display every time the
waveform crosses the central ‘zero’ line.
Next, adjust the Time knob to 5.956 and
the Amp knob to about 3.7 so that a single
cycle fills the display horizontally and
vertically respectively.

3

Click at the very end of the waveform,
where it crosses the zero point, and
note the frequency reading of 440Hz.
Move the note an octave up and then an
octave down, and the frequency of the
waveform will double and halve. Slowly
sweep Dune CM’s LowPass 12dB filter
Cutoff down, and note how this gradually
removes the square wave’s harmonics,
eventually turning it into a sine wave.

youtube. with more added every week! Pitch manipulation with Bitwig Studio’s Histogram Blame Producer Masterclass 2010 www.THIS MONTH ON THE CHANNEL SUBSCRIBE FOR: Exclusive hands-on sessions with the latest software Exclusive hands-on: Cableguys FilterShaper 3 Classic Producer Masterclass vaults videos from the 150+ videos.com/ComputerMusicMag .

snappy transient before quickly tapering off. To compensate for the volume loss indicated by the gain reduction meter. its cycle.wav and start playback.00227267s = 440Hz. Frequency is given by the number of cycles divided by the Time taken to complete those cycles (in seconds.45dB. by using your DAW or sampler to measure the length of one cycle. Waveshaper CM will act as a transparent oscilloscope set to analyse a one-bar region of audio – yep. you may want to do it yourself. Using an oscilloscope to aid dynamics processing 1 We’re going to use an oscilloscope to help us with dynamics processing. setting the Threshold to -12dB and the Ratio to 3. a sustained tone). and when compared to the original. or focus the zoom range on a tonal waveform – its shape. looping play around them. So. that A3 note completes a cycle in 0. Keep the loop playing so that you can see how the waveform changes as the dynamics are manipulated.5 secs = 12Hz When we ‘zoom into’ a waveform on an oscilloscope. turning it into F=n/T. and we can see that each hit starts with a large. but if it doesn’t. these calculations aren’t just for oscilloscopes – they work just as well on any digital audio. and that each hit is more ‘rectangular’ in shape. + 2 cycles / 1 sec = 2Hz 1 divided by the Time in seconds it takes to finish one cycle. for instance. You could calculate the precise fundamental frequency of a kick drum sample. though it’s still lacking some punch and volume. and volume. we’re changing the amount of time represented by the horizontal axis. 6 Slowly sweep the Attack knob up to 20. Load up SKnote’s Snap on UnprocessedBeat. Set your DAW to 127bpm then place UnprocessedBeat.5 + 6 cycles / 0. but if you need to work out the frequency based on multiple cycles (ie. etc – as we just did in the previous tutorial. and the initial crack of each hit is the same volume as the short body that follows it – it sounds solid and chunky but lacks the snappiness and sheen of the reference beat. We can immediately see that this loop has a lower peak and average volume than our reference beat. we’ve drastically increased its snap. applying a high-shelf boost to our loop. the number of cycles per second.5:1. a drum hit over a few dozen milliseconds. The amplitude of the waveform fills the display vertically. Remember.0 By dividing the number of cycles by the time it takes to complete them.5 1.00227267 seconds (2. Load WaveShaperCM onto your master channel and initialise it by clicking New. 0 0. This applies light compression to the loop. The processed loop’s waveform now has a similar shape to our reference loop. 4 We want our beat to sound more like the reference beat. push the Make Up gain up to 1. We may want to view a cymbal crash over a few seconds.0 0. The Frequency (pitch) of your wave in Hz is equal to > Step by step Multiple cycles The above formula works for single cycles. body. The A note in the previous walkthrough had a frequency of 440Hz – its pitch or ‘note’ is caused by the fact that the wave is repeated 440 times in a second. we get the frequency of the signal 3.28ms). 40 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014 2 In this initialised state. 0 0.wav’s channel and set its Body to +15. . The loop is quieter. We set Hit to +100 to open this boost over our transients. giving us: 1 / 0. with the fast Attack time causing the compressor to squash the transients. remember). this scope’s time axis can be snapped to musical units! Solo ReferenceBeat. 3 Now Solo UnprocessedBeat. Your oscilloscope software of choice may calculate the frequency (and the pitch) of the material you’re viewing. The formula for frequency is F = 1/T.25 0.wav and start playback.4ms – the point at which you see the transients re-appear. Now.wav on separate tracks. so let’s start by adding transient snap. See the diagrams on the right for examples.> make music now / visual mixing Musical mathematics Measuring frequency The frequency of a waveform is measured in Hz. Our goal is to make the former loop sound more like the latter. We load eaReckon’s CM-COMP 87 compressor onto the same channel and turn the brickwall Limiter off.wav and ReferenceBeat.0 0. we can tweak F=1/T. not milliseconds. 5 Note how the waveform is starting to take on the shape of the reference beat.

80dB at 100Hz sounds quieter to us than 80dB at 1kHz. Block/window size The majority of spectrum analyser plugins use a Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) algorithm to break complex sounds down into many frequency bands – make these bands narrow enough. spectrum analysers display frequencies from 20Hz to 20kHz – the range of human hearing – while the vertical axis is in decibels. Further options The default mode for spectrum analysers is to show peak amplitudes of frequencies. if your monitors/room make bass seem quiet and indistinct. As well as giving feedback on individual sounds. So. each an octave in width. Some analysers will display these simplified readouts as bar graphs. Displayed as a graph. 0-100Hz will be represented by just one band – we won’t be able to pick out individual frequencies below 100Hz. less-defined setting when trying to get the big picture during mastering. and a spectrum analyser is an excellent way to make that comparison more objective. Some analysers have a smoothing feature to help with this. It’s always good practice to compare (or ‘reference’) your track against a suitable commercial release. but usually you’ll want high resolution when trying to identify problem frequencies or resonances. will provide very detailed frequency information. a huge ‘bump’ on the left-hand side of the graph means the signal has a ton of bass. Some analyers will also average ‘infinitely’ (well. a steep downward slope on the right means the treble is dull. Put simply. This is because our hearing does not respond to all frequencies equally. which ironically can make it harder to grasp what the graph is really saying. sloping neither up nor down by very much. and a smoother. resulting in a mix that sounds boomy and amateurish when played elsewhere. Reading the graph from left to right shows you the relative levels of the bass. A smoothing setting of one octave will break a full bandwidth resolution of 20Hz to 20kHz into ten bands. that is. if the block size is set such that frequency is divided into 100Hz-sized bands. and in this mode. Experimentation will ultimately help you to decide which mode to use when. One interesting point to note is that a mix that is EQed to sound flat will not necessarily look so on the graph. which can alleviate jerkiness. This is very useful when you need to view a track’s general frequency curve during mixdown or mastering. In fact. spectral analysis is particularly useful when checking the overall balance of frequencies within a mix or the relationship between individual elements of a mix. which is a reflection of the number of samples analysed at a time. the last five seconds). others will display them as smoothed graphs with no distinct banding. giving you a digestible breakdown of your mix’s energy. approximating our ears’ response. only the overall level. You’ll normally also have a variety of peak hold options that will keep peak amplitudes displayed for a user-defined time. You may therefore need to increase the resolution (block size) to get an accurate picture of your low end. this will divide the octave from 10-20kHz into 100 parts – easily enough to give us a graph where we can discern individual notes in that range. for instance.5dB/octave. A well- balanced mix viewed using a 3dB/octave slope setting would have a mostly flat appearance. but this could lead to an overload of information further up the scale. Many analysers let you view the instantaneous ‘real-time’ and ‘average’ curves simultaneously on the same graph. where each bar of the graph represents one third of an octave the bass way too much to try and compensate. for instance. usually grouping bands together according to octave or sub-divisions of an octave.visual mixing / make music now < Spectrum analysers Spectrum analysers give great insight into your sounds by deconstructing the so-called frequency spectrum to show the levels of the various frequencies present in an audio signal. you may boost Voxengo SPAN is a terrific free spectrum analyser This analyser is running in a 1/3 octave mode. however. middle and treble parts of the sound. giving a much more stable view of the general frequency curve of the signal. and we can effectively see the levels of individual frequencies within a sound. A frequency analyser will often provide an Overlap function. and the common setting here is between 3 and 4. This becomes even more important when mixing with less-than-great monitors and/or in a room that has not been acoustically treated. However. June 2014 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 41 . at the lower end of the scale. until you click on the graph to reset it). Setting the block size to 65536. and so on. The resolution can typically be adjusted through a parameter known as ‘block size’ (sometimes called window or FFT size). Typically. jerky refresh rate. which might mislead you into creating an unbalanced mix. the graph will gradually ‘stabilise’. but it will yield a rapidly updating frequency curve. the horizontal axis is frequency and the vertical position gives the amplitude of those frequencies. many analysers artificially adjust the slope of the display so that what looks flat on the graph does See us demonstrate time-averaged spectral analysis on video. but this can often be switched to a mode where the amplitudes are averaged over a certain period of time (eg. available on the DVD and in the Vault sound relatively flat to us. but a slow. a hump in the middle means the midrange is prominent. setting the block size to 64 means that a new measurement will be taken for every 64 samples of audio – this won’t give a detailed frequency breakdown. A crucial point to note is that FFT frequency resolution is linear.

> make music now / visual mixing
> Step by step

1

Knowing how a well-mixed track looks
on a spectrum analyser can help
ensure that your mixes have a similar
frequency curve. Load MeldaProduction’s
MAnalyzer onto a new channel in a DAW
and select Averaging from its Presets
menu. Drop ReferenceTrack.wav onto the
channel. When viewed with this setting’s
+3dB/octave slope, a typical well-balanced
mix will have a relatively flat appearance.

> Step by step

1

3

4. Analysing the frequency content of a reference track

2

Let’s investigate our graph further.
Reduce Smoothness to 0%, giving
the graph better definition, then increase
Average length to 5000 ms. This reduces
the jumpiness of the display by giving an
average reading over the past 5 seconds.
It still lacks resolution at the low end, so in
the Settings, set the FFT size to 65536.
An Overlap setting of 256x smooths the
rendering, giving the above visualisation.

5. Investigating harmonics with spectral analysis

We can use a spectrum analyser to aid
our understanding of synthesis. We’re
going to morph between two waveforms
and analyse the change with Voxengo’s
SPAN. Load up a fresh instance of Dune
CM in your DAW and initialise it by clicking
on Bank B. Set Osc 1 to a sine wave and
Osc 2 to a square wave then set the
Output Volume to 15%.

A square wave consists of a
fundamental sine wave with further
sine waves that are odd multiples of the
fundamental’s frequency. For a 100Hz
square wave, we would expect to see
peaks at 100Hz (the fundamental), then
300Hz, 500Hz, 700Hz and so on. For a
fundamental of 440Hz, our first few
harmonics are at 1.32kHz (440 x 3),
2.20kHz (440 x 5) and 3.08kHz (440 x 7).

42 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014

2

Create a one-bar long MIDI clip and set
your DAW to loop around it. Fill the clip
with the A above middle C (A3 on our piano
roll), then start playback. Load up Voxengo
SPAN on the same track. The peak shows
our sine as a single frequency of 440Hz.
Slowly turning Osc Mix from 1 up to 2
gradually changes the waveform from Osc
1’s sine wave into Osc 2’s square wave.

4

Zoom in and increase the resolution
of the display so that we can see
what’s happening more clearly. Click
Span’s Edit button and change Freq Low
to 300Hz to give us a more suitable
frequency range of 300Hz to 20kHz.
Increase the resolution by setting the
Block Size to 65536, then set Overlap to
93.8% to smooth the rendering. Watch
the video to see us take this further!

3

When analysing an entire mix,
thousands of frequency points can
provide an overload of information that
gets in the way of the ‘big picture’. From
the Settings menu, we change the View
type to 1 Oct – we can now see that the
track’s peak energy is concentrated
between 40 and 80Hz. Finally, we set the
View type to 1/3 Oct (shown).

EQ ripping
Some tools, such as Voxengo’s
CurveEQ, combine the passive
metering of a spectrum analyser
with the active manipulation of
an EQ plugin. EQ ripping is a
technique that involves the
analysis of a reference track and
the copying of its frequency
curve, followed by the ‘pasting’ of
that curve onto another track. It
doesn’t always work perfectly –
tracks of differing genres will not
necessarily share similar
frequency curves, and tracks of
the same genre but in different
keys won’t always match up well,
either. However it can be useful
to ensure that multiple tracks on
one album have a similar
frequency balance, or to have
your track’s frequency curve
approximate that of a wellrespected reference track in
your genre.
After producing an EQ filter
which matches the spectral
balance of your reference track,
software such as Har-Bal’s
Har-Bal 3 perform loudness
compensation. This means that
after your track has been EQed to
match the reference track, its
perceived volume will remain
unchanged. Har-Bal 3 also
provides templates compiled
from hundreds of songs in
differing genres of music so that
you can instantly see what a
good frequency curve in your
chosen genre should look like.

> make music now / visual mixing
> Step by step

6. Viewing multiple sounds on a single spectrum analyser

1

With some spectrum analyser plugins,
it’s possible to plot the frequency
curves of multiple tracks in your project
on a single graph, which is great for
comparing the frequency content of these
parts during mixing. Open your DAW, load
up GoodDrums.wav, GoodBass.wav,
GoodStab.wav and GoodBleeps.wav
onto four separate audio tracks in a
124bpm project, and cycle playback.

4

Add MMultiAnalyser to the two
remaining tracks, then rename and
colour these as appropriate. The analyser
now displays four separate curves: one for
each track. Use your eyes and ears to note
how each element has its own frequency
‘pocket’ in the mix. The extra stab sits just
above the bassline, while the bleeps fill out
space in the upper mids.

7

Let’s try to resolve these frequency
conflicts using DDMF’s IIEQ Pro CM
(found in
Plugins) on each track to
carve space in clashing frequency areas,
and with volume automation to duck our
bassline out of the way of our kick. The
resulting mix is still rather muddy, as the
elements still occupy similar ranges,
highlighting why it’s so vital to choose
complementary sounds from the off.

44 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014

2

First, we load a fresh instance of
MeldaProduction’s MMultiAnalyser as
an insert on the drum channel. Doubleclick in the Name box on the left side of
the plugin and rename the track to
“Drums”, then set the frequency curve’s
colour in the dropdown below. Do the
same for the bass track, loading the plugin
on it, naming it “Bass”, and choosing a
different colour.

5

Now let’s examine a poorly mixed
track using this multitrack analysis
method – it should look pretty different!
Open a new blank project and load
BadDrums.wav, BadBass.wav, BadHats.
wav and BadPad.wav onto new audio
tracks. Load four separate instances of
MMultiAnalyser onto the tracks (as we did
before), then rename and colour each
track appropriately.

8

The multisignal analysis technique
we’ve explored here is also useful for
comparing the ‘before’ and ‘after’ effects
of a processor. In a blank project, load up
GuitarLoop.wav and insert two instances
of MMultiAnalyzer over this track, one for
‘before’ and the other for ‘after’. We then
place Kuassa’s PreMix CM (also found in
our
Plugins) between these two
analysers in our signal path.

3

The two instances of the plugin are
linked, so the frequency curves of
both the drum and bass tracks are plotted
on the same analyser display. It’s now easy
to see how the most prominent
frequencies of these two channels sit
in their own areas. The kick drum is
providing lower sub weight, and the
bassline loop sits above it in the
70-85Hz region.

6

Again, we can compare our multiple
frequency curves on the same graph,
but this time, the individual tracks’
frequencies are heavily overlapping. The
track’s kick drum and bassline can be seen
colliding at exactly the same frequency
region; the synth channel contains lots of
unnecessary low end; and there are treble
and sub frequencies from the hi-hat sitting
directly on top of the other elements.

9

Now crank up PreMix CM’s Gain
parameter and keep an eye on our
analyser’s display. It’s clear to see the
additional harmonics and treble emphasis
that PreMix CM is adding to our lightercoloured ‘after’ curve as we push our
saturation’s drive harder and harder.
Using this method, we can gain a greater
understanding of just what our plugins
are doing to our signals.

so click on the horizontal axis’ magnifying glass three times. gradually fading in colour reflecting the reducing energy of the higher frequencies. our earlier analysis also revealed a frequency conflict around 115-130Hz. The amplitude of a particular frequency at a particular time is indicated by colour. Finally. and the boost we’ve just made is going to make that worse… 2 We drop MeldaProduction’s MAnalyzer plugin on the master channel and switch it from spectrum analyser to spectrogram by clicking on Analyzer (to disable spectrum analyser mode) and then clicking on Sonogram. set the tempo to 174bpm. its colour is most intense around 50Hz. then drag the scroll bar fully left. Solo each channel to hear the removal of frequency conflicts. 5 We drop an instance of Fabfilter’s Pro Q on the Beats channel and perform a drastic 48dB/octave low-cut at 68Hz to remove the kick’s sub bass. Next. around 80Hz and 115Hz. and the signal looks neater around the 45Hz region. useful when trying to get a longer-term overview of a mix. the kick and bass mixed together. Spectrograms Spectrograms (or sonograms) differ from spectrum analysers in that they plot three variables on a 2D or 3D graph. Note the massive amount of energy centred around 45Hz – denoted by the colour red – followed by a lesser band at 130Hz and another at 215Hz. Finding frequency overlaps with a spectrogram 1 A spectrogram shows spectral analysis over time – let’s use one to correct a frequency conflict muddying up the bottom end of a DnB loop. a spectrogram will display a historical record of it. but time is measured on the other.5 is used to make the kick punch at a DnB-appropriate frequency. 3 The spectrogram shows our DAW’s master output. There’s an unpleasant boominess as the kick conflicts with the bass. There are also two more energy bands to take note of. The image below shows a kick drum playing a 4/4 beat and a pad  playing a sustained F 4 note. Now hit Solo on the Beats track (shown here) and our problem is revealed: the kick has a huge amount of energy at about 45Hz – the same frequency as the sub bass. the denser the mix. less powerful band around 130Hz. a piano roll for audio frequencies!). While a spectrum analyser will give you a snapshot of your frequency balance at one time. 6 So we use another Pro Q on the Bass channel. The kick appears as a series of evenly placed vertical lines. This is especially useful as a tool for analysing entire mixes or sub mixes to determine frequency clashes in time or to help identify the notes an instrument is playing (the display is.  The fundamental note. Open a fresh project in any DAW. as usual. the height of the 3D surface shows amplitude. essentially. A spectrogram analysing a kick drum (vertical lines) and pad (horizontal lines) June 2014 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 45 . Some spectrograms can also output a 3D graph. Most spectrograms will give you a frequency. Our ears confirm that the mix is now balanced and less cluttered. note and decibel reading if you hover your mouse over a point on the graph – useful in determining which note a specific instrument is playing if you can identify where and when it appears on the graph. frequency is. and loop a four-bar region.wav onto separate tracks and play the loop. Frequency in Hz is measured along the horizontal axis. cutting 2. measured on one axis. the pad’s harmonics are seen above it. 4 Soloing the bass track reveals that most of its energy is focused around 45Hz (the sub bass) with another. as opposed to a spectrum analyser’s two. indicating that the majority of its energy lies in this region.1dB at 125Hz with a Q of 1. a boost of 2. ie. Drop Beats. F 4 (370Hz) is the brightest in intensity.wav and Bass. In this mode. and time is represented on the vertical axis. However. observe the combined output of both channels – note how the colours are less intense.3dB at 125Hz with a Q of 1 to make room for the drums. Of course. We want to zoom in and focus upon a region of around 20Hz to 700Hz. The pad is represented as a series of horizontal lines stacked one above the other. or the average of a certain timeframe. When displayed on a 2D graph.visual mixing / make music now < > Step by step 7. We can instantly see that there are no significant frequency clashes between the kick and pad. the harder this is to do.

Solo the two lead tracks.wav. then load Flux’s free StereoTool (bit. The plugin plots stereo information on its circular graph (technically a Lissajous plot using the left/ right channels as X/Y) with mono-centred audio appearing as a line down the centre and stereo out to the edges. so we should aim for a ‘vertical oval’ shape for these. adjust and correct the stereo width and mono compatibility of some individual tracks in a dubstep mix. that is. Note how the graph on StereoTool is no longer a simple vertical line – the stereo information is plotted in real-time on the graph. and open StereoTool on the master channel. We’ve lost some level. we start by using just the signal’s left channel. discarding the right. we’ll send some of its signal to a return track containing an instance of LiquidSonics’ Reverberate CM – we’ve set up a short.wav. In mono. 3 To give this track stereo width. noting how the stereo information on the edge is pulled towards the centre. Start by loading the individual audio files from the Tutorial Files folder onto separate tracks in a blank 140bpm project. Our beat is displaying a straight vertical line. you can check how your mix sounds in mono and get an instant feel for where things are sitting in the stereo field. so put the Left Input Gain up to around 3. etc) only output audio in mono. 2 Solo DubstepBeat. 7 Now load up a fresh instance of StereoTool over DubstepLead2. the left channel can most likely be extracted to a new audio file. We need to adjust this mix’s phase coherence to improve mono compatibility.65dB. . Remember that widening effects/techniques or superwide sound sources can cause phase issues and mono incompatibility. showing that our drum track is fully mono. and importantly. thus the sound will actually ‘disappear’ when the mix is played in mono. The channel is then panned to around 20 left. POWER TIP >Stereo habits 4 Unsolo the beats. retaining the width and stereo character but reducing the extreme out-of-phase elements. Pull the centre Width slider to around -5. high-passed room reverb impulse to add subtle stereo character to our beat. 6 To reposition DubstepLead1. It’s better to correct any phase incompatibility straight away rather than to get halfway through and hear a mix fall apart when collapsed to mono. indicating a panned mono source.25dB and the Right Input Gain up to about 3. Improving mono compatibility with stereo phase metering Now we’re going to use stereo metering to help us monitor. then load a utility plugin in your DAW to sum the master output down to mono. meaning that the left and right channels are ‘out of phase’. We’re going to use a so-called goniometer to measure stereo phase in our mix. our track now sounds just as strong when it’s played in mono. Live’s Utility plugin is used here.ly/OawhSK) on the master output. laptops.> make music now / visual mixing > Step by step 1 8. but if your DAW doesn’t have this facility. Each time you import a new sound. a signal with plenty of mono information (vertical) and some stereo width (horizontal). our two high lead elements have lost volume and impact. Important track elements must sound consistent in mono and stereo. 46 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014 5 A 100% stereo signal would appear as a horizontal line. so keep an eye on the width of mixes and individual tracks using your stereo metering plugins.92dB. as most club systems (and some radios. StereoTool now displays a straight line. phones. 8 Our two lead elements still sound wide enough in the mix.wav in the stereo field. but tilted to the left slightly. Have both a mono-summing plugin and stereo phase meter loaded over your project’s master channel when you begin a track.

.

7 Live 9’s Utility plugin is used to play back only the signal’s left side through the channel as a mono signal. Mixing using multiple analysis methods 1 Let’s put together all the techniques we’ve learned in this tutorial to assist us in a real mixing situation. we load Barricade CM over our master channel. Our ears confirm that this ambient sound is too mono and lifeless. giving us more headroom. Our pad channel’s mid frequencies are bloated and clash with our high bass. so we use our DAW’s stock chorus and autopan plugins to introduce modulation and movement – the graph now looks like the above. Its realtime oscilloscope display shows us that our beats’ dynamic range could be reduced to gain extra average weight and perceived loudness. ducking our bass to prevent any clashing over each downbeat.22dB then brings the layer’s level back up in the mix. so we set up a medium room reverb (with Reverberate CM) on a return track and send our high bass’s signal to it. We’re using Ableton Live 9 as our DAW here. so let’s rectify this right now. This key element needs to cut through on both mono and stereo playback systems. A Gain increase of 2. you can hear this layer disappear as the mix is collapsed to mono. our pad displays a single thin vertical line on the plugin’s display. whilst retaining a reasonable crest factor for punch/dynamics. This limiting can be observed on WaveShaper CM’s waveform display. Load Cableguys’ WaveShaper CM over its track and hit the New button to initialise the plugin. . 5 An instance of Barricade CM – inserted before our oscilloscope – gently clips off some of our drums’ transients. so we apply a touch of sidechain compression. and we can compare our track’s peak meter before and after our processing to see that we’ve claimed back around 1dB of headroom while gaining perceived volume. 48 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014 2 We’ll tackle our track’s frequency balance first. When soloed. 8 We return our master StereoTool instance’s Width parameter back to default. 4 Now let’s look at the dynamics of our drum loop. Begin by importing the audio files from the Tutorial Files folder onto new tracks in a blank 124bpm project. Load MeldaProduction’s MMultiAnalyzer onto each of our tracks (except the crashes – we don’t need those cluttering up our graph right now) and rename each curve on the plugin accordingly. The difference between the larger centre meters’ peak level and the thinner outer meters’ RMS level is known as the crest factor. We have several elements and a reference track for comparison. This element now needs some ambience adding back in. 3 We’ve carefully chosen our kick and bass parts so the bass’s lowest frequency sits just above the kick’s fundamental – we zoom in on the lower frequencies to inspect this relationship further. There is the slightest overlap in the lowest frequencies. but you can follow along using any host software you like. so we use a parametric EQ to thin it out and remove this conflict. 9 To finish. The high bass layer is sitting out to the sides of the stereo field.> make music now / visual mixing > Step by step 9. to hear the full stereo mix. and by pulling the plugin’s Width parameter down to a minimum. We push up the In Gain parameter to increase the average loudness of our mix so it will compete against professionally-mastered club tracks. 6 Now insert Flux’s StereoTool over the master channel.

If you don’t have an analyser that supports it. can do just that. of course. allowing you to pick out notes. 07 Some frequency analysers let you take a ‘snapshot’ of a curve for later comparison. This handy musical visualisation tool will plot a signal’s frequencies on a circular spiral graph. RMS metering and basic waveform inspection to get a feel for how your favourite mixes work. add a mid/side plugin before it to let you compare it yourself between M and S and see what’s happening on the two channels. stereo metering. Logic’s Channel EQ and Live 9’s EQ Eight) now combine these and feature an in-built spectrum analyser to aid with frequency adjustment directly on the analyser curve. so each musical note is clearly represented. 06 It’s highly useful to visualise frequency. try Spiral CM Many analysers offer a mid/side mode so you can compare separate frequency curves for the mono and stereo information on the same graph. smoothed analysis for mastering. you can always use your OS’s screen capture function as a quick ’n’ dirty way to grab curves as image files for later recall! 08 Voxengo’s free SPAN analyser has a handy function for picking out rogue frequencies. If you don’t have access to such a plugin. perfectly-weighted basses. 02 In walkthrough 6 (multitrack analysis). 04 Frequency analysers and equalisers go hand-in-hand – it’s handy to see what’s going on frequency-wise as you sculpt a sound with EQ. shown above. 05 Want to deconstruct the melodic makeup of your signals? Photosounder’s Spiral CM. simply open up two separate analyser instances onto two separate tracks and compare their curves side-by-side. and you can even build up a library of your favourite curves – reference tracks.visual mixing / make music now < Tips and tricks 01 Visual analysis tools are brilliant for deconstrucint commercial tracks for referencing purposes. ideal kicks. 10 Finally. levels/dynamics and stereo width information all on a single display at the same time – a task made easier by all-in-one analysis solutions like iZotope’s Insight. If your frequency analyser doesn’t have this function. Better still. primarily about what you’re hearing. 03 To help save time. To prevent reliance on visual metering. it’s a point we can’t avoid when discussing analysis methods: use your ears! Audio is. and these techniques only really work when combined with the sound coming out of your speakers or headphones. DMG Audio’s EQuilibrium and EQuality. then click and hold anywhere on the analyser’s frequency display. make presets of your favourite metering settings so that you can instantly recall them for different situations (such as fast analysis for drums. replicate chords and more. Import a WAV (not an MP3) and use frequency analysis. so take time to check out its preset menu. we used a dedicated plugin to plot individual track elements’ curves on a single analyser display. etc). You can then take this information and aim for similar characteristics in your own mixes. Your meter plugin may already have readyto-go presets built in for this. simply use a M/S isolation plugin (such as the free Voxengo MSED or Brainworx’s bx_solo) before the analyser to flip If your analyser doesn’t have mid/side functionality. The plugin will apply a band-pass filter over your signal at the desired frequency area – perfect for homing in on rogue frequencies. slow. turn off your screen once in a while to prevent your eyes from distracting your ears! June 2014 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 49 . Hold Ctrl on PC. 09 For a musical take on spectral analysis. If your analyser doesn’t have this feature. and more. use a second monitor screen and arrange your individual analysis plugins permanently on this display. many modern EQ plugins (such as FabFilter’s Pro-Q. available for free in our Plugins collection. or Cmd on Mac.

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Producer Masterclass SIGMA Join the underground DnB sensations turned chart-bothering hitmakers for a studio session June 2014 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 51 .

” In this exclusive in-studio tutorial. we’re quite open to lots of styles. and we’re working with a lot of vocalists at the moment. I met Video masterclass In our awesome exclusive video. Make sure you take a look at the video to get an earful of their amazing sounds and top production tips for yourself! . Sigma take us through how they created their junglistic vocal anthem Rudeboy in Cubase. I got some decks quite young and started learning to mix old-school and jungle. More recently.” Cam had a similar experience. DnB has been the thing that’s stuck the most for us and now has become a career for us. Kids around my way had decks. That was me being a really angry little shit. I don’t really know what “We’re working with a lot of vocalists at the moment. So. We’re just trying to broaden our horizons” happened along the way!” It was getting a PC for university that spurred Joe to start making music seriously. “Recently. we’re up for doing everything. but when we’re working with vocalists. and now we write tunes like… [launches into a falsetto rendition of the chorus of their latest single Nobody to Love]. We’re just trying to broaden our horizons. “Cam makes electro house under another moniker. they also show us how they remixed the track to make the banging Rudeboy VIP. the first Sigma efforts were a far cry from their current polished productions.” Naturally. and we started working together. so it would have been when I was about 20 when I got into music production. and I wanted to learn to DJ. we knocked heads at their Hertfordshire studio to find out how they get their big beats and sublime bass sounds. We still write DnB tracks for clubs. “A friend’s brother had decks. how did the pair get into music in the first place? “I grew up around it. DJ Zinc’s Bingo Beats and DJ Fresh’s Breakbeat Kaos amongst others. but we’re up for doing production work. but I didn’t ever really want to do it at that age.” begins Joe. I played music from a really young age. and DJing was blowing up. making tunes on Cubase. don’t be too surprised. we did some stuff on the Ellie Goulding album. and he wanted to get into it as well. as Cam reminisces. really awful tunes. really.> make music now / producer masterclass With releases on Futurebound’s Viper. so if – in the next couple of years – stuff comes out that isn’t DnB. “The first tunes were terrible! We tried to make DnB but just made really. and I’ve done some breakbeat stuff and a real mix of other things. and as a special treat. “My dad was always trying to get me to do it from when I was younger. Heading into the deepest depths of the home counties. but a lot of the time it can be hard to move forward as an artist because you don’t want to piss off the fans that have bought into you. “No one really starts out at this sort of stuff to get a career in music – it starts out as a hobby.” Joe is quick to point out that DnB isn’t the only style of music that the pair have dabbled in. it’s more from a songwriting perspective than making a lashing tune that’s going to get two rewinds in a club. “It was the 90s. I just wanted to scratch and play on the decks and stuff. Between us. He lived around the corner from me.” Cam agrees. Sigma (aka Cameron Edwards and Joe Lenzie) have no shortage of credibility in the DnB scene. they’ve set their sights on crossover success with tracks such as the catchy ragga jungleinfluenced Rudeboy and the Kanye Westinspired Nobody to Love. Sigma detail how they made the massive jungle track Rudeboy in Cubase Don’t miss… 02:08 Layering jungle breaks to make a beat 19:10 Working on Doctor’s vocal part 27:30 Mixdowns and master buss processing 31:17 Creating the filthy Rudeboy VIP remix 52 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014 Selected kit list HARDWARE iMac x2 MOTU 828 MkII Mackie HR824 x2 Genelec 1029A x2 Mackie Big Knob M-Audio Keystation 88 sE Electronics SE2200 SOFTWARE Steinberg Cubase 7 BetaBugs Oszillos Mega Scope iZotope plugins Native Instruments plugins Sonnox Oxford plugins Sonalksis plugins Waves plugins Cam. and we’d go round there to smoke and listen to really dark DnB like Dylan and old Bad Company.

you can get it louder and crisper.com SoundCloud: soundcloud. and it helps you judge if you’ve got too much or not enough snap. 2 The Think break is layered with various other breakbeat elements including Bobby Byrd’s Hotpants.de) on the master. The vocal also has pitch correction applied to get a Vybz Kartel-style dancehall sound. Doctor. “We just point it at our sample folder and get it to analyse everything. as well as the softer overdubs that are panned left and right. and iZotope Nectar is used to apply saturation and delay to the vocal buss. Cam and Joe use BetaBugs’ Oszillos Mega Scope (free from betabugs. we can work out what the key is. This particular version is one they’ve tweaked and processed over the years. 6 Doctor provides a main vocal take that sits in the centre of the mix.com/sigmahq Twitter: @sigmahq Facebook: facebook. it starts to sound really mushy. This has been pitched up quite high – we can see from Waves’ PAZ analyser that its fundamental frequency peaks in the 200Hz region.” 3 The Reese bass sound in this track is created in Native Instruments’ Massive by setting detuned sine oscillators to Formant mode with a fairly low Intensity values. This instance of Massive is then layered with another that provides a quiet white noise layer.ly/SigmaRBVIP  Web: sigmahq. this works so well that it becomes a permanent part of the track. Although intended only as part of the guide track to help Doctor sing on-key. leaving plenty of room for a rumbling bassline below. one of the overdubs is moved along the timeline so it plays back slightly later.” explains Joe. and a chopped up organ loop. so it doesn’t require too much work. “One way we’ve got for digging for samples that we find quite interesting is using Mixed In Key. This handy visual aid can be resized. if you have it any slower.” Listen at J  Sigma – Rudeboy bit.” Joe reveals.producer masterclass / make music now < > Step by step Producing Sigma’s Rudeboy in Cubase 1 Cam and Joe want to create an oldschool jungle vibe. To widen the vocal. the transients will suddenly jump out.” Joe advises. it’s simply high-passed to make space in the lows.ly/SigmaRB  J  Rudeboy VIP remix bit. When we’ve got a track. HEAR MORE 7 To check the mix’s dynamic properties. iZotope’s Ozone 5 is placed on the master buss with its Maximiser section active. In the current project. 8 To boost the track’s level. so they start with the legendary Lyn Collins ‘Think’ break.com/sigmahq June 2014 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 53 . 5 More musical elements are added: an analogue-style arpeggiator from Kontakt’s library. and the sound is layered with a regular sine wave oscillator to provide a solid low-end. With Clipping. “If you’re working with something where you’ve got clashing frequencies. in the original IRC mode. This generates smooth. especially with jungle breaks. and notched in the highs so that it doesn’t clash with other hat and shaker sounds. 4 To give the track’s vocalist. dark harmonics. the snare from Model 500’s The Flow (Alex Reece remix) and the kick from Supreme DJ Nyborn’s Versatile Extension. and we try everything that’s in key with it. an easily-identifiable key to sing with during the intro of the track. “We always have the Character parameter set to Clipping. Cam and Joe use a tweaked patch from Native Instruments’ Razor to play a simple triad chord over two octaves during the intro. “With the speed that DnB beats are rolling at.

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though all use the exact same software.uk June 2014 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 55 . described in our review in 198 as “a triumph. while the Mixer is something we’ve been crying out for ages that clearly became essential with Maschine 2.computermusic. No doubt about it.0.0’s ability to run limitless Groups and plugins – another reason to upgrade. sonically stunning drum and percussion synthesisers to play with.” Having used it for six months now.co. incidentally! The general streamlining of the software’s interface and engine is also significant. Got that? OK. if you’re still working with Maschine 1. as we’re focusing solely on the software. while the detachment of the host automation and MIDI control systems from Macros is liberating. Over the next five pages. Having done that. The redesigned Control Area makes quick editing of sounds easier than before. we should point out that this guide is equally good no matter which Maschine hardware you’re using. we’ll get you up to speed with all of Maschine 2. no matter which Maschine hardware you use it with. we’d probably upgrade “a triumph” to “an essential”.0 THE GUIDE Get going with Native Instruments’ upgraded virtual groove studio Maschine debuted in 2009 as a software/hardware hybrid: a chunky MPC-style pad controller coupled with flexible beatmaking software.0. to say the least.MASCHINE 2. we’d urge you to drop the requisite £89 on making the jump to v2. with its component Mixer and Plugin Strip. And it’s that software that got a huge legup last year with the release of Maschine 2. The original Maschine hardware was later joined by the dinky Mikro and high-end Maschine Studio units. let’s get to it! DOWNLOAD Grab audio demos and tutorial videos on your PC/Mac at vault. Before we get started. and then itself refreshed with a Mk II incarnation. you’ll want to know how to get started with it. our favourites are surely Drumsynths and the new Mix view. which is where this tutorial and its accompanying videos come in.0’s biggest new features. Drumsynths give you five beautifully realised. Of all the new features in Maschine 2.8 or below.

Maschine projects are now laid out a bit more like those in a traditional DAW. > Step by step 1 New toys! Version 1. and Follow mode.0’s five Drumsynths (see next page) to that lot. 3 Previously. moving a slice point in the Sample Editor changed the length of the slices on either side. plus a fabulous buss compressor with which to glue them all together. those days are gone. New features include clip lengths being represented visually. with its new tiered (rather than column-based) structure and sexy graphical representations of your installed Maschine Expansions. Tags are created by hitting Edit at the bottom of the browser. Well. now. the contents of the sound library retagged.0’s more general improvements. Scarbee Mark 1 sampled electric piano and SSL-aping Solid Bus Comp.0: the > Step by step guide 1. but v2 sees the tagging engine sped up.0 1 We start with a quick fly-by of some of Maschine 2. thus giving greater editing control over individual sounds within loops. but their GUIs (or custom ‘mini’ versions of them for those that are too big or complicated) are directly accessible directly within the Plug-in Strip (see p58). although – bizarrely – not its name. And not only do the preset libraries for all these plugins and any other NI instruments and effects on your system automatically show up in the Maschine browser. Add Maschine 2. and they can be hierarchically structured. making keymapping of samples across the keyboard a far less fiddly process than before. Sampler improvements in Maschine 2. . as a click of the Zero-X button does away with pops and glitches by making sure all slices are snapped to zero crossing points.8 saw the addition of NI’s mighty Massive synth to Maschine’s sonic arsenal. 4 The Pattern Editor’s new Pad View (invoked by clicking the little grid button below the Group name) gives a grid-based alternative to the regular Sound List. etc. and v2 expands the bundle even further. The new Browser is a visual (if not particularly functional) step up from v1. and you have an impressive array of onboard sound sources for fuelling your grooves right out of the box. 2 Maschine’s browser has always let you tag sounds. every slice has its own independent Start and End markers. presets. enabling slice boundaries to cross over each other and even have gaps between them. A quick tour of Maschine 2. the freedom to set the loop length as you see fit. the addition of the all-new Plate Reverb and a Feedback model for the Compressor – boasting a particularly warm sound and super-fast attack – certainly qualify as noteworthy. Choke and Link parameters for that Sound below the grid. on a timeline (although still taking a scenebased approach). As for Maschine’s own internal effects.0 The most immediately obvious improvements to Maschine 2. 2. and tagging of your own sounds made quicker and easier than ever. Clicking on (or hitting) a pad brings up Key. 3 In the Arranger view. while they’ve not been given a huge amount of attention for this particular update. and the upgrading of the puzzlingly small Zone view in the Sample Editor to full size. throwing in the Reaktor Prism physical modeling synth.> make music now / maschine 2. 56 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014 2 One persistent Maschine bugbear up to this point has been the lack of zerocrossing awareness in the Sample Editor’s Detect Slice mode.0’s Sampler are its interface in the new PlugIn List.

the Sub engine is also a great source of simple but powerful sine-wave basslines. most engines have a limited pitch range to match their instrument. 4 These three common controls – and any others shared by engines within a given Drumsynth. Common to all of them. so you’ll often find Tune snapping up or down to stay within these bounds when auditioning engines. Snare and – generally speaking – Hats Drumsynths are all primarily intended to be triggered at a fixed pitch. spread across three tabbed pages in the Control Area (Main. such as Kick’s Bend.wav).wav) 8 Finally. Common to all engines are Tune and Decay controls (except for Percussion’s Shaker engine. say) it can still be a good idea to use separate Drumsynths for each one. The Fractal engines offered by both. when recreating a set of discrete pitched instruments (a trio of toms or a pair of ago-go bells. is the Color control. Tom and Percussion – each specialising in its named instrument. Punch and Impact – maintain their settings when switching between engines within that Drumsynth. along with several other Snare engine examples.3Hz and 16. which sets the centre frequency of a filter between 932.wav has them all pumping out ‘acoustic’ sounds. and add a bit of Noise from the virtual snare wires. POWER TIP >Pitch perfect 7 The three Hi-hat engines have the fewest editable parameters of all the Drumsynths. 5 Kick’s nine engines cover an impressive spectrum of sonic flavours. FM. while Drumsynths 2b. An overview of Maschine 2. the Tom and Percussion Drumsynths handle ‘everything else’. Five synths make up the suite: Kick. which replaces Decay with Filter).wav). Let’s explore them all. 3 Each engine has its own individual set of editable parameters. Editable parameters take in everything from room ambience and “character” to noise and distortion. You can hear the result in the Tutorial Files folder (Drumsynths 6 Sharp.wav). from the 808.7kHz. Snare. physical modeling.and 909-style Sub and Tronic to the mix-friendly Maple and punchy Bold. you can hear our pattern with all five Drumsynths set to ‘electronic’ engines. Open hi-hats can be worked in by loading another Drumsynth (or other source) and setting up a Choke group. Advanced and Modulation) and accessible via bespoke interfaces in the Plug-in Strip (see p58).wav.maschine 2.0’s Drumsynths enable you to design your own synthesised drum and percussion sounds from scratch via a series of extremely easy interfaces. make use of a feedback oscillator bank for a wide range of metallic sounds (mixed with a regular tone oscillator in Tom). boost its power (Impact) and Body. In Drumsynths 2a. for example. Here we’re editing the fat. We start by loading one of each synth into the first five Sounds of a Group and laying down a groove. While the Kick. Tom and Percussion are meant to played with Maschine in keyboard mode or via an actual keyboard (as in Power Tip A. Just like its inspiration. (Drumsynth 7 Choked. However.0’s Drumsynths TUTORIAL FILES 1 Maschine 2. disco-esque Sharp engine to raise the pitch of its virtual skin. and are actually the most complex of the five. 6 The Snare Drumsynth also offers nine engines. though. 2 Each Drumsynth features between three and nine ‘engines’ that draw on a range of synthesis types (analogue.0: the > Step by step guide / make music now < 3. while Percussion’s Shaker and Kettle engines emulate all manner of shakers and timpani. and Velocity Scale. etc) to generate everything from overtly electronic tones to realistic acoustic ones. However. June 2014 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 57 . in order to give them their own tonal characters (as in Power Tip B. Hi-Hat.

0: the > Step by step guide 4. You can also reorder plugins in the Plug-in List by dragging. 9 Certain larger NI plugins such as Prism default to a ‘mini’ interface and can be expanded to the full enchilada via the + button at the top left (we’ve hidden the Mixer channel strips here to make room for it). and the horizontal Plugin Chain below the Mixer. The Arranger. and the Mute button doubles as a Solo button when right-clicked. 5 By default. Mixing in Maschine 2. press ShiftNavigate on your Maschine controller.0. 8 The Plug-in Strip enables direct editing of all of Maschine’s own plugins and those in NI’s Komplete bundle. 58 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014 2 Double-click any Group header (A1. The first two are essentially the same thing represented twice: the vertical Plugin List. 4 The headphones button next to the Mute button sends that channel to the Cue bus. simply appear as blank panels that have to be popped out for editing. and here’s Reaktor Prism being processed by NI’s RC48 and Maschine’s EQ. 7 As well as browsing and adding plugins via your Maschine controller.> make music now / maschine 2. Plug-in Chain and Plug-in Strip. we’ve added a bassline and Rhodes part to our project in Group B1. . You’ve seen Sampler and the various Drumsynth interfaces throughout this tutorial. Sound or the Master channel are listed in three locations in the Mix view. you can click the + symbol in the List or Chain and choose an effect or instrument from the menu that pops up. which is also new to Maschine 2.0 1 To switch to Mix view. The level fader and pan control are self-explanatory. etc) or press Back/Enter on Maschine Studio to toggle the Mixer between showing all of the Groups in your project (with all of the plugins on the selected Group in the Plug-in Chain and Strip). Third-party plugins. alas. The IO and Aux buttons at the left-hand end reveal the audio input and MIDI input/ output menus. This enables DJ-style cueing of sounds by taking them out of the main mix and sending them to a separate audio interface output. and all Sounds of the currently selected Group (with all of the plugins on the selected Sound in the Plug-in Chain and Strip). it’s anything but a one-button operation from the Maschine controllers. directly below the Group/ Sound name. 3 Each channel strip (at either Group or Sound level) offers all your basic mixing functionality. although disappointingly. Here we’ve set up a couple of auxiliary effects sends from our snare and percussion Sounds to a dedicated ‘Send FX’ Group. and auxiliary sends respectively. the Mixer shows a list of all devices on each Group/Sound between the name field and pan control. Controller options will depend on which Maschine you’re using – Maschine Studio features a full graphical representation of the Mixer and simultaneous control of eight channels. which rather limits its usefulness. 6 The plugins loaded on a Group. or click the ‘three faders’ button at the top left of the Arrange view. and bypass them in either the List or Chain by clicking the little squares next to their names. Clicking a plugin name in the Plug-in List or Chain (or selecting it with your controller) jumps the Strip to that plugin. With all our drums from the previous walkthrough in Group A1. The arrow button next to that pops the plugin out into a separate window. B1. Control Area and Pattern Editor are replaced by the Mixer.

and (assuming they’re also furnished with multiple outputs) outputting to multiple channels in the Mixer. 3 The kick drum is now triggering the compressor on our pad sound. 4 In the Assignment area’s Pages pane. Any plugin with a sidechain input automatically calls up a Side-Chain Input page in the Control Area. but the compressor itself isn’t set up to take advantage of it. clicking the Host button in the Automation page of the Assignment area brings up Enable buttons. > Step by step guide / make music now < 2 Next. Maschine 2. 6. Well. indeed.0. easy and limitless controller assignment will be the answer to the majority if not all of their Maschine MIDI functionality prayers. Select a blank Macro slot to the right. Hide the Automation pane again when you’re done. then choose a target parameter from the series of menus that appear below it. We select our new kick drum as the Source. so we also lower the Side-Chain Input Gain setting in Maschine. receiving MIDI from as many Sounds as are required. Limiter. Let’s sidechain-compress our Prism pad part with a 4/4 kick drum.0: the > Step by step 1 5. Group or Sound.0 can also now draw on the full list of MIDI CCs for its automation tracks. The input into the sidechain is far too hot. Sound Macros control parameters from that Sound. Program Change messages can be sent to plugins capable of receiving them. Sidechaining in Maschine 2.wav. Enable all the controls you want to automate and they’ll appear as automatable parameters in your DAW. being controlled by) external devices.wav. Learn buttons appear for every knob – click one and move your MIDI controller to make the assignment. and MIDI files can be imported via the Maschine Browser. though. both within its own digital confines and when used as a hub for triggering and controlling (and.maschine 2. 2 To automate any parameter from a host DAW. as well as via drag and drop from the OS X Finder or Windows Explorer. but there’s more… Notable by its absence until now has been support for multitimbral virtual instruments.0 feels far more mature and complete in terms of MIDI than its predecessor.0 introduces sidechaining for its own Compressor. Maschine 2. Every channel can host any number of Macros. we’ve create a kick track and set its output Destination to our pad Sound. Gate and Maximizer plugins. click the Macro button in the Control Area. Group Macros control a Group and all its Sounds. Macros are still very much onboard and improved in Maschine 2. In Side-Chain 1. then select Master. We’ve assigned one to the Bassline’s filter Cutoff and are about to assign another to its Resonance control. All in all. 3 While MIDI control and automation are no longer dependent on them. and Master Macros control parameters from all Groups and Sounds. and any suitably equipped VST/AU plugins. as has been the case previously. crank up the Ratio and lower the Threshold ’til we get the pumping we’re after. Hear it in Side-Chain 3. Modwheel and Sustain. in which its input source is selected and an input filter applied if desired.0 Maschine 2. Other MIDI improvements For many. June 2014 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 59 . Automation 2. We activate the Sidechain input on the SD-Comp 87. Categorise sets of Macros by double-clicking the black name fields. Plugins on all channels except the Master can be sidechained. rather than being limited to just Pitch.0’s macros and automation 1 Click the down arrow at the bottom left of the Control Area to reveal the Assignment area and select Automation.wav has us automating the parameters from step 1. we load eaReckon’s SD-Comp 87 compressor onto the Prism track. As well as that. Maschine 2. synths and samplers capable of running multiple patches on multiple MIDI channels can now do just that.

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European composers such as Pierre Schaeffer. composers in the 1920s and 30s – most notably Charles Ives. extraneous. Taking up where Russolo left off. recorded audio. Unfortunately. etc. information. glitched-out electronica. he celebrated the sounds of the industrial revolution by building a set of noise- generating devices called intonarumori and assembling a noise orchestra for them. but in the 50s. sing. rhythms and harmony by dividing deep into the art of noise music For many. by creating complex and noise-driven electronic music. Heavily influenced by the Italian futurists. What exactly is noise music? Well. industrial music. Here we’ll show you how to blend noise and music to create interesting. and Karlheinz Stockhausen began to embrace electricity. In the hands of a good composer. etc. prepared pianos. groove and surprise. a sound of a loud. a disturbance in a communications system that interferes with or prevents reception of a signal. World War II derailed the noise-music experimentation train. George Antheil and John Cage – began to incorporate noise-rich instruments and sounds into their pieces – sirens. we’ll take a look at each. things have moved fast.co. Sure. Nowadays. exciting and altogether ‘off the dial’ experimental pieces. it can whisper. June 2014 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 61 . the Random House Dictionary defines three types of noise that can serve as a fine starting point: 1. homemade percussion. irrelevant or meaningless facts. An Italian composer and painter of the first half of the 20th century. harsh or confused kind. pretty much every (sub)genre of contemporary electronica employs elements of noise. Iannis Xenakis. grunge. From that point on. none of the intonarumori have survived. or an experimental band playing through monster amps with every knob set to 11. but noise music is even more multifaceted than this. 2. And that’s where you come in. Russolo was the author of the infamous manifesto The Art of Noises (1913). 3. Punk rock. with an ear to exploring how to use them to create original and expressive passages of musical noise. radios. these are all part of the story. Japanese noise bands… the list goes on. clusters. Edgard Varèse. though some have been reconstructed for contemporary performances.uk Make some Sidestep traditional musical forms. Luigi Russolo is considered to be the father of noise music. the phrase ‘noise music’ may bring to mind wall-of-sound free improv. Over the coming pages.computermusic. much as Russolo had embraced industry.DOWNLOAD Get the tutorial files to try it yourself on your PC/Mac at vault.

> make music now / make some noise noise /ncız/ 1. Load Group 3. creaking. Arrange Group 6-a. clone the track. however. etc “Even refined human language is filled with noise-rich phonemes” gentle harmonies. 4 Group 4 noise-sounds are made by beating on metals.wav. and reverse the cloned copies.wav into two parts. 62 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014 2 Onto group 2 noise-sounds: whistling. split the sample Group 1. buzzing. mumbling. Again. murmurs. wails. etc. stones. copy/paste it to make it as long as the first two layers. many of which are very noise-rich. howls.wav. shouts. muttering. or instrumental composers like Frank Bedrossian and Raphaël Cendo. etc. after adding amplitude envelopes. We’ll use metal. rustling. harsh or confused kind Definition 1 noise is the most common form that noise takes in contemporary music.wav into an audio track of your DAW. ‘ch’.wav. 6 Group 6 includes screeching. 1. shrieks. 3 Group 3 noise-sounds include whispers. ‘j’. The line between noise and music blurs in works by electronistas like Richard Devine. buzzing. Now glue the two tracks together by applying to them a healthy dose of gooey reverb. shouts. Some of the earliest modes of communication from which music evolved were loud.wav. rustling. You can hear our result. sobs Q Roars.wav. alarming signals warning humans and animals of impending danger. Thunder. Metal. strange and harsh sounds.” Definition 1 noise music is enjoying a Golden Age these days. thanks largely to two things: the availability of electronic/ sampled music. 5. using a lovely recording of Our Father recited in German (Vater Unser) in a reverb-rich church. screams. and gurgling. In this way we come ever closer to noise-sound. we’ve added amplitude envelopes to our noise-sound layers to build a dramatic arc into the mix. Today. as it becomes continually more complicated.wav. clone it. make a copy to reverse. In the final mixed and mastered piece. and copy it out to make it as long as the rest of the track. a mix of two gongs. Using harsh. pdsounds. 5 Group 5 noise-sounds include voices of animals and people.wav. Hissing. creaking.wav is how ours came out. harsh. woods. We’ll begin with group 1: roars. screams. Creaking. care being taken. Group 5. hissing. Load the sample Group 2. Luigi Russolo classified ‘noise-sounds’ into six groups: QVoices of animals and people. limpidity and sweetness of sound. and the mandate of contemporary composers to discover new instrumental sounds. hissing. and reverse the cloned copy. Our goal: to use one sound from each of Russolo’s noise-sound groups. loud sounds to create noise music TUTORIAL FILES 1 Let’s create a short piece of Definition 1 noise music.wav.wav to the mix. Even refined human language is filled with noise-rich phonemes such as ‘t’. Fire up your DAW. etc. sounds like something frying in a (stereophonic) pan.org and freesound.wav is the sample you’re looking for here – split it into two parts and arrange them as shown above. woods. murmurs. wails. Then different sounds were amalgamated. gurgling Q Noises obtained by beating on metals. and scraping. explosions. We’ll use the very expressive sound of howling dogs. . skins. thunderings. scraping Q Whistling. muttering. one short and noiserich and the other long and pitched. death rattles. puffing A quote from The Art of Noises summarises Russolo’s views on music and noise: “At first the art of music sought purity. and arrange them as shown above (duration = 1:48). Definition 1 Noise Music Example. Murmurs.wav into your DAW. We’ll go for murmurs. Animals. skins. Sound of a loud. as heard in 2. in 1. etc. crackling. explosions. bangs. mumbling. Hear ours in 3. hissing roars. pottery. booms Q Screeching. ‘s’. crackling. thunderings.org. hoots. Group 6-b. Hear the cool atmosphere created in 4. shrieks. music strives to amalgamate the most dissonant. The result. 6. stones. and Group 6-c. By the way.wav on separate tracks as above to get 6. Add Group 4. pottery. all the sound FX samples in this tutorial come from two public-domain sample sites. > Step by step In The Art of Noises. to caress the ear with Q Whispers. and puffing.

Send the original passage through g’ranuLator again (hear ours in 5. your listener. unpredictable levels. 3 For the second example of Definition 2 noise music. drum pattern. we’ll send the excerpt through seven different effects plugins: a flanger.wav.wav. subjecting it to audio modding – all manner of heinous sound-bending effects. a suggestive variation of 1 Let’s create two examples of Definition 2 noise music. filtering. ie. In order to use Definition 2 noise in your music. Definition 2 Noise Music Example A. etc. Just how far can you push the interference before you end up with unintelligible mush? A good way into making Definition 2 noise music is by taking parts (or all) of the mix you are working with. You’ll end up with a rich layering of sounds that mirror each other at different. Then draw amplitude envelopes to boost/attenuate selected parts of the glitch layers. chord progression.wav. Load the Bulb passage into your DAW’s track 1 and the three g’ranuLator passages into tracks 2-4. Create a third passage. a modulator. Our result is noise-rich and unpredictable: 4. Speech. The joy – and challenge – in this kind of musical communication is in playing with understandability. You can think of this signal as a message you’re sending to a recipient. this includes things like bad mobile phone reception. Begin by using an audio-stretching tool – the one in your DAW will do fine – to slow down the Reagan excerpt. A disturbance that interferes with or prevents reception of a signal Definition 2 noise is essentially intrusive noise that disables the clarity of the sonic object it covers. The result leaves Reagan more unintelligible than usual – 2. Here’s our result: 6b. 2 What we’re doing in this mini-piece is composing an evolution from the Reagan speech to a progressively more noise-rich modification of it. an excerpt from a speech given by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s – 1. The idea is to skew the original signal by mixing these glitched-out passages together over the Bulb-filtered original from step 3. let’s take an entirely different tack for ‘interfering with’ a signal. June 2014 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 63 . it’s anything that interferes with the clear audition of musical objects as they unfold in time. we’ve gradually faded the dry/wet mix of each of the seven effects plugins from 0% (dry) to 50% or higher over the course of the first 28 seconds. Bulb and g’ranuLator are both available as free downloads from the Reaktor User Library. we decide it has so many gaps that we need to mix it with another similar passage. 4 Next.wav. and combine them – at varying volume levels – with the original mix. Try this simple experiment: Take one or more parts of a mix. vocal line. Definition 2 Noise Music Example B. Voice D. In communications systems. with intriguing holes or odd patches. “You need to have a coherent signal to begin with” itself.wav).make some noise / make music now < noise > Step by step 2. Noise music using interference of speech /ncız/ 2. 5 After listening to this first glitched-out passage a few times. even ambient pub noise that makes it difficult to understand what your good chum just said about the latest football fixture. CamelSpace. increasing it from 0:34 to 1:02 without changing the pitch. cut-ups.wav. Voice C. you want it to arrive a bit tattered.wav. CamelPhat. g’ranuLator tears samples apart into chaotic flurries of short grains. In music. 6 Two glitched-out passages is still too sparse. In this first example. static on a radio station as you drive further away from the transmitter. To do this. and a reverb. Voice B. each using a different approach to noise-ify the same sonic object. etc – and then recombining it with the original mix. Then feed it through the LFOsweeping Reaktor filter delay Bulb (or equivalent). reverse the audio. Ours is in 3. but rather than have it come across clearly. You’d be surprised at what delectable results this can yield. glitch out the slowed-down original passage by sending it through the Reaktor ensemble g’ranuLator (or equivalent). an echo. Now to the final mix. a delay. ours came out as 6. mix down. you need to have a coherent signal to begin with: a clear melody. and master. Voice A.

> Step by step embraces the info glut. 4 We listen to the mix of layers 1-3 enough times to get a feel for what’s missing in the mix. especially when it plays with understandability. Generally speaking. Shortwave. Freezer Hum. We’d like to hear some percussive stuff going on – a guiro-ish rhythmic scraping. scrapes. Numbers Station. Extraneous. ragged. as you can hear by listening to layers 1-4 together. Static.wav to the mix. After auditioning dozens of candidates. it’ll sound like ours in 1. etc) and elevates them to the foreground. noise-rich sonic places that we’ve never visited before. but we’ve heard it all before – the deafening wall of fedback Marshall amps can do little to surprise us anymore. information. awkward. Load it into track 4. Irrelevant noise music focuses on sounds normally regarded as lacking in musical expression: ugly sounds. “Bring it on!” Defintion 3 noise music takes sounds between what is normally regarded as the main musical material (clicks. They gel well but with one exception: the bassy Freezer Hum sample needs some of its powerful low frequencies controlled so as not to overpower the other elements. breaths. the hum of broken machinery. the numbers station passage at full volume all the way through would be overkill. As in the last step. a kind of bass drone. Definition 2 noise music (interference) is capable of much more subtlety. We start with a juicy sample of random shortwave radio sounds with plenty of inter-station static. so we sculpt it with an amplitude envelope as in 2. the death rattle of a failing hard disk. Once again. we use a rather severe amplitude envelope (shown above) to avoid sonic overkill. stares it in the face and screams. we decide on 5. even overwhelming. but it’s still not totally there.> make music now / make some noise noise /ncız/ 3. we grab a sample of sonically varied shortwave static. We’re surrounded by information overkill: a constant flood of facts. We need something low.wav. Composing noise music with ‘irrelevant’ sounds 1 Let’s create a rich.wav to fill out the low end. if you’ve never heard of these before!). inelegant. 64 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014 2 Some of the eeriest sounds we’ve ever run into are mysterious ‘numbers station’ broadcasts (Google it. Scraping Ice. Even noise music needs a little mixing care! . But to ensure a viscerally satisfying whoosh throughout the mix. a serene island of pleasant sounds in the midst of the roiling ocean. Most conventional music creates an escape from this overkill. and a low-shelf filter to take it down 18dB at 20Hz. images. Load it in on a new track 5 The piece is now quite dense and compelling. We scour through our public-domain sample sites (freesound and pdsounds) and come up with 4. digital clipping. Definition 3 noise music (extraneous) is the most abstract and out-there of our three working definitions of noise. cacophonic sounds.wav. we use a fairly severe amplitude envelope to ensure that the final mix changes over time in a compelling way. harsh) can be very powerful.wav. Add 3. ungraceful sounds. Noisome noises like fingernails on blackboards. 6 We listen to all five tracks together. But it’s Definition 3 noise music that can take us to mysterious. reversed audio clips. Meaniningless noise music celebrates sounds normally regarded as lacking in musical meaning – random sequences. Noise music. statistics. sounds. white noise. irrelevant or meaningless facts. Because the piece is going to have so many dense layers. abstract Definition 3 noise music example. We use a parametric equalizer to boost the signal by 6dB at 100Hz. 3 The shortwave and numbers station passages are both quite noise-rich. 3. Definition 1 noise music (loud. Load the result into track 1 of your DAW. on the other hand. words. in some cases eclipsing the main lines entirely. etc We live in a data-saturated world. shortwave radio static.

Final mix+master. The Definition 3 noise example is again quite a bit shorter than the Definition 1 example (track 1). Yes. and the second (reversed) ending at the end of the track. feral. Pure music is wellbehaved. rhythm. 3 scheme.wav. so we add two copies to the mix. 2 The noise layer of Penumbral – 2. to get 3. 3 Mix down the two layers from steps 1-2 and then user your preferred tool(s) for mastering. Pretty much all my electronic music is filled with it. we generally select one of its presets and then fine-tune its settings based on the needs of the specific piece or passage. we use amplitude envelopes to build variety into the mix.wav. We’re fans of iZotope’s Ozone. 2 Next up is the glitchy Reagan example of Definition 2 noise music. each on its own track.wav. wav – is in the Tutorial Files folder. 5. and for this type of material. It flies in the face of conservatorytrained instrumental technique. and in that sense it’s dangerous – an expression of rebellion. we want to try our hand at mixing all three types in one piece. the first starting at the beginning.wav – is derived from material generated by experimental Reaktor granular machines: These devices use guided randomisation to produce an ever-changing stream of grain-based noise. There are many shades of grey in between. we choose to create a piece that does not adhere to the Definition 1. I use extraneous information noise less. Check out Def 1+2a+2b+3. Our mastered version – 3.wav. and our mixed and mastered track – 4. 2 example. Def 1+2a+2b. adhering to grids of pitch. June 2014 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 65 . timbre. Penumbral Noise. This time both copies run forward. No. Working with the examples we already created. Def 1 Noise Music Example. Since this example is about the same length as the other Def. Penumbral is a groove-based piece of avant-electronica that makes use of sounds derived primarily from various Reaktor ensembles built by contributor and tireless sonic adventurer rachMiel. It’s so rich. It seems more conceptual to me. Load 1. the first starting at the beginning. Penumbral Mix. 3 Next we add the seven-times-effected example of Definition 2 noise music to the mix. we use the same technique: add two copies to the mix. 2. and the second (reversed) ending at the end of the track. Bringing together music and noise signals to make an experimental track For our final example of noise music. Penumbral Music.make some noise / make music now < > Step by step Interview with rachMiel 4. : Do you use all three types of noise defined in this article? rM: I use loud/harsh noise and disturbance/interference noise a lot. 1 After composing examples of the three definitions of noise music. : What is the relationship between music and noise for you? rM: I see music and noise as a continuum. > Step by step 1 4 : Do you ever work with pure noise? rM: Yes and no. and my work tends to be very earthy. Our main (‘musical’) layer of the example is 1.wav. in the sense that every ‘noise piece’ I compose is musical for me. dynamics. With the amplitude envelopes shown above. and they’re crossfaded via manual amplitude curves. complex and unpredictable. we add two copies to the mix. Combining three definitions of noise The experimental expert and longtime contributor reveals his noise music methods : What draws you to using noise in your music? rM: I just love the sound of noise. Since it’s much shorter than the Definition 1 track from step 1. in the sense that a number of my pieces are gridless and built on sounds most people would call noise rather than music. we get 2. Pure noise is gridless.wav into your DAW. rather than mutually exclusive. Def 1+2a. it’s untamed.

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Your work is important to you and to us. the future of music. It all depends on the strength of your backup. You see. potential pitfalls and solutions. but someone has to bring it up. However.back it up! / make music now < tomorrow. we’ve gathered here to stage an intervention. 2 It’ll take Windows a few minutes to look at your system. In all seriousness. If you lost all of your files just a would it be a disaster or s time minor inconvenience? It’ p to talk about data backu > Step by step 1 Look. System and Security options. We’ll learn about storage mediums. Select your drive and click Next. we’re talking about protecting your data. what would happen if your computer’s hard drive failed? Where would you stand? Would months – even years – of hard work be flushed down the drain? What about all of your applications? Do you have all of your installation files stored offline? Serial numbers and authorisation codes? Loops. maybe after you read the next few pages. 1. Here. you’ll choose Set up backup. We know it’s a difficult subject. We want to see it protected. or choose yourself from your libraries and folders. Go to your Start menu. sounds. and there’s no denying that it can be a complete pain in the posterior. then select Back up your computer. In an ideal world. backing up one’s computer involved little more than slipping a floppy into a disk drive. Windows will recommend the drive it thinks is most suitable. quite literally. so why haven’t you started already? Get backing up! June 2014 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 67 . Well. you already have an easy means by which to back up all of your work. offsite and online storage options. but it needn’t be as painful as all that. and we want you to do it. you could simply pop in a new drive. Copying gigabytes – maybe even terabytes – out to a backup medium takes a lot of time. and as your friends. We’ll even take you step-by-step through some of the preferred procedures of producers just like you. after which you’ll see a window with all of the possible destination drives on which you can back up your data. Backing up in Windows If you use Windows. we’re worried that it may be self-destructive. select Control Panel. we’d suggest the former. it must be done. we’re concerned about your behaviour. Frankly. modern productions on today’s machines push far more high-quality audio data to and from your drive. fire it up and be ready to begin right where you left off. Once upon a time. Now. If you’ve never created a backup before. It was quick and easy. Still. It’s that easy. Either way. where we’ll discuss the various methods of backing up data on your platform of choice. we’re your friends. Yes. your selections will henceforth be periodically saved to the selected drive. It is. 3 Windows will ask if you want to let it decide what should be backed up. If you’ve never created a backup before. samples? How hard would it be to replace all of that stuff if you had to start fresh with a new hard drive or even a whole new computer? It’s the nightmare scenario for the desktop artist. Now you can select from among various options. we’ve pointed to an attached USB hard drive we’ve purchased for this very purpose.

Mail ’em to an out-oftown friend or relative for safe keeping. Apple’s Time Machine. but it could set you back nearly a thousand pounds. but in the way it connects to our computers. especially if they’re eating away at your production power. Nevertheless. We also very emphatically suggest that you keep one or two extra copies of your most precious files offsite – way offsite. you should be making a backup copy of your work every day. Disasters can and do strike. This lightning-quick connection protocol hasn’t yet become as ubiquitous as the company would like. keep current backups of all of the installers and updates. you’ll still have a copy available. if possible. This type of backup needs to be done intermittently. if you’re working in the studio every day. Introduced in 1995. If you’re an intermittent studio dabbler. if possible. you’ll be aware of the hassle of re-downloading. there is only a single Mac model with a builtin CD/DVD drive. Apple’s schedule isn’t unrealistic and gives you a pretty good example of a reasonable timetable – though hourly backups might be overkill. on multiple formats. Mainstream media We’ve seen plenty of digital storage options come and go over the years. everything. You see. as ever. It really depends on your production schedule. for instance. Still. This is not a fool-proof backup system – it’s really intended as a means by which your whole system can be restored to a previous state. reinstalling and re-authorising all of your applications. a-changin’. You don’t need to clone your whole system. USB 3. What if your home burns to the ground while you’re at work? What if Mother Nature hits your area with some natural catastrophe? What if your production laptop gets lost/stolen? Your latest song will likely be the last thing on your mind. Many third-party drives offer compatibility with both USB and Thunderbolt ports. though some apps have their own ideas about when they ought to be snapping at your bits. just keep a backup of your daily work. We’re not going to signal the death knell of the CD/DVD just yet. apps. sample packs and loops. though that does serve essentially the same purpose – up to a point. with a couple of terabytes of hard disk storage available for well under a hundred pounds. or even every month. but it’s clear that the times are.> make music now / back it up! What and when? So what exactly should be included in a backup? Ideally. Prices are plummeting on the latter two. These solutions are ideal for the massive storage needs of desktop music producers and are especially good for backing up your entire system. but many do. It will allow you to restore your entire system or migrate to a new one if your old machine. for intermittent and safety backups of your projects and documents. Do you really want to scour the internet or sift through CDs for them again? Ditto for presets. but when you do get back on your feet. convenient option. daily backups for a month. We’d recommend making multiple backups. nothing is future-proof. external hard drives and solid state drives. We hope they never happen to you. our hope lies not in the media itself. Keep serial numbers and key files you’ve received from the developer. We probably needn’t tell you that you’ll need backups of every project you’ve done and every one on which you are currently working. too. primarily in the forms of the thumb drive. Timetabling Specialised backup software might allow you to schedule periodic backups. Apple very much want to provide you with another option in the form of Thunderbolt peripherals. You don’t have to – the practice stems from a time when drives were smaller and slower – but it can still help to keep things organised. You can indeed get one with a full terabyte of storage. but Apple users have the option of Thunderbolt-based drives and drive arrays. We suggest periodically backing up and updating the contents of your plugins folders. You might keep the two on separate drives or merely separate partitions. . account info URLs and passwords for each developer/product. it was gone by 2002. and there are applications dedicated to making the task easier. Why bring it up? To emphasise the transient nature of computer technology. system drive or the computer on which it resides is damaged or replaced. OS and all. USB thumb or stick drives are likely suitable only for less demanding tasks. Copying an entire drive is sometimes known as ‘ghosting’. You should be keeping at least one clone of your entire system drive for a start – ie. you might be better off making a backup every week. 68 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014 File organisation Some users don’t separate their system files from their projects and other documents. and there are scads of external storage options available. your operating system and any essential data such as drivers that you need alongside it. Currently. the thumb drive remains an inexpensive. and doing so can be quite convenient. As for your commercial software. but they have to be considered. yet it was a viable medium in its day and was even built into some of the very first standalone hard disk recorders. Get serious As a rule. and weekly backups for all previous months. Even the free ones should be backed up.0 is fast and reliable. If you’ve ever suffered a catastrophic system drive failure without a backup. We keep receipts. Consider: As of this writing. Time Machine will start deleting the oldest backups when your backup disc gets full. is automatically configured to keep hourly backups for the previous 24 hours. Remember the Jaz drive? No? Neither does anyone else.

and you can even schedule it to wake or power up your Mac to make a clone – www. our project has dozens of audio files.com/index.org – is a free and open-source solution for Windows. their primary file format will likely merely point to any audio files recorded or imported into the project. XXClone (Windows) is free for personal/ private use and allows you to copy the volume ID to your target drive so that you can boot from it –www. It’s perfectly reasonable to grab your most essential files en mass. go through your project and application folders. For example.bombich. especially since it’s so easy to do. and Cubase will create a fresh project folder containing only the used files. 7 and 8) and Clonezilla. for example. or takes we didn’t use. Bit by bit So now that we know making occasional clones of your entire system drive is necessary and actually simple. sample collections. The aforementioned Time Machine is included in OS X and installed on every Apple computer sold. You can back up this new folder in the usual way. What else? Spend some time examining your work drive. Archiving a project in Cubase Some DAWs – like Cubase – keep most of a project’s files in one folder. and we polled a number of musicians to find out what methods they preferred. but the number of people regularly taking more fundamental backups regularly is surprisingly small. As you can see. let’s go to File » Back up Project. These are usually kept in a specific folder. Furthermore. too. self-contained file/package – Cakewalk’s BUN files. but that will likely also copy bad takes and unused audio over. you’ll want to back these up every time you make a major change to one. Some DAWs allow you to purge unused audio. Let’s go to Media » Open Pool Window. You could simply copy the project folder. plugin folders and presets. for example. Archiving a project is as easy as copying that folder to a storage device. Next. how about those smaller daily or weekly backups? Many of the software options we’ve listed can run scheduled backups. However you store your projects. Third-party options cited include Macrium Reflect (for Windows XP. choose Media » Prepare Archive. Mac and Linux users. but you’ll need to tidy up first. often a sub-folder of the project itself. > Step by step 1 What do you mean you’re not using Time Machine? It’s right there at the top of your screen! Be aware that most DAWs’ primary file formats don’t save everything you do. Mac users who don’t want to use OS X’s Disk Utility can get Carbon Copy Cloner for $39. many DAWs provide a packaged file format that will roll all audio and pertinent data into a single. at the very least. 2 If we know we’re not going to need the unused audio files. but it’s easy to use and will get the job done. after which Cubase will tell us that the Pool is ready for archive. A distressing number of those polled have never made a system-wide backup but have instead copied their most important files piecemeal onto an external drive. make a checklist of everything you use frequently. Vista. but often you’ll be doing just as our polled musicians do: copying files and projects one at a time to an external storage disk. trimmed to save space. You’ll get the option of moving the files to the Pool’s trash bin or removing them from the Pool altogether – we go for the latter. many of which aren’t actually used – they’re parts we deleted. It’ll make bootable clones. Hit OK. Make copies and archive them safely when you’ve finished the project off. Choose a destination and then select the options you want. we say OK. 3 It’ll take a few seconds to complete the process.com/reflectfree. Do you swap out lyrics? Do you maintain a growing collection of band photos? Do you make your own videos or do your own cover art? Back ’em up! Ditto for industry contacts and your evergrowing collection of reviews and references. we can cull them from the project with Media » Remove Unused Media. or Logic Pro X’s Package files.xxclone.htm. and Windows users have access to Windows Backup. Go through your documents folder. The free version of Macrium – macrium.back it up! / make music now < Backup tools There are many ways to go about making a backup. Now. so take advantage of that before you back up: Live’s Collect All and Save and Cubase’s Back up Project commands.aspx – lacks some bells and whistles. The slightly fiddlier Clonezilla – clonezilla.html.95.com/index. When asked if we wish to make our edits permanent. which will rapidly munch up space. This is the method you’ll want to use for files that get changed or updated a lot: works-in-progress. June 2014 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 69 . Ask yourself: “What would I do if this specific data were to vanish today?” 2.

It’s as simple as that. so it’s more a sort of virtual USB drive).com) is a particularly popular paid-for online backup scheme. 4 Your first sync will begin immediately. install the required software and schedule when. Click Erase (you’ll need to confirm this). You’re now ready to avail yourself of your free online storage account. 70 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014 2 Select your new drive and click the Erase tab. at which point you may have to pay up to get a serious amount of storage – money well spent. Depending on your drive sizes and speeds. Once done. Dropbox (www.crashplan. we’d argue. Not for this disk. at last 1 Head to www. Crashplan (www. Next. as well as what you want copied.symform. You’ll be asked if you want to use Time Machine. The idea is that you purchase an online storage scheme. You can plump for more if you need it. but hi-res audio and massive projects will soon leave you gasping for more. Windows and Linux computers are supported. Free accounts are useful. As you can see.> make music now / back it up! > Step by step 3. You’ll be prompted to create an account or to log in. the backup will be automatic. but it’d be a good way to create safety backups of finished songs. The default settings are fine for the first time. 3 You’ll now be prompted to contribute some of your local drive space in exchange for free extra storage space. If not. offering – yes! – unlimited storage. though it’s not required to use the free 10GB of space on offer. while Symform (symform. 10GB isn’t a lot of space. If you’re using the trial.com/ download – this is the download page for the version of Symform meant for your platform of choice. It’s been around for yonks. Next you’ll see options to select the source and destination drives. com) provides 10GB. you’ll need to click the Download button. Some companies offer free storage up to a certain limit. where you’ll name your device. 4. open Carbon Copy Cloner.com) has a free option and is handy for backing up specific files (but you have to copy them into the Dropbox folder. Next. after. Choose your options and click Next to complete the device setup process. Once done. we’ve now got a little cloud icon in our taskbar. Let’s get something straight: cloud-based storage is simply online storage. . Clicking it reveals that Symform is uploading our files to the cloud. you’ll be taken immediately to the Device Setup process. You’ll need to format your destination drive by going into Disk Utility (in Go » Utilities). Backing up to the cloud with Symform Cloud. com) offers a free plan for backing up computers and mobile devices with a limit of 5GB. where and what you want backed up. The download will likely start immediately. you can schedule backups for specific files. you’ll need to select the folders you want the program to backup. this could take a while. OS X. Cloning your Mac’s drive with Carbon Copy Cloner You can create a bootable clone of your Mac’s drive (bootable by holding Alt while your Mac boots) using Carbon Copy Cloner and OS X’s own Disk Utility. Hit Clone and enjoy the feeling of security. you’ll need to extend it – it’ll work for thirty days. you’ll need to choose a file format for the new drive. Get the CCC demo from the link on the previous page and install it. Choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled) and then type in a name for your new drive. > Step by step 1 2 Now you should be able to open it (it opened automatically upon install for us). but only recently have advertisers slapped on the buzzy moniker. Jottacloud (jottacloud. 3 Now. Install the application.dropbox.

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PHASE CANCELLATION When two or more signals recorded from the same source are out of phase (see above). the active electronics of more sensitive condenser mics require a power source to operate. Parallel compression is also know as ‘New York style compression’. PERCUSSION Any instrument that’s played by striking with the hand or a stick/beater/brush/hammer/ mallet. etc) and the object used to play it (drumstick. and adjusting an LFO’s phase will alter its ‘start point’. . phase cancellation is the result. essentially. smacked and whacked to produce sounds A type of stereo delay plugin that alternates its ‘taps’ between left and right channels. drumhead tension. turning it ‘upside down’. this power needs to come from the receiving equipment to which the mic is connected. not just the highest. with 360 degrees being a complete cycle. for example – and signal leveling in a mixer. we peruse everything from pink noise to peaks in our expert glossary of all things production P PARALLEL PROCESSING A mixing and sound design technique whereby a signal is duplicated (either via mixer bussing. the peak in an audio signal is the highest point reached by its waveform. stick material and so on – and the upper and lower limits of these parameters often range into the unreal. turning peaks into troughs and vice-versa. which will naturally move in ‘opposite’ directions when the drum is struck – flipping the polarity of one is necessary to avoid phase cancellation. skin. The peak is a useful reference for dynamics processing – setting a limiter to reduce peaks to a particular absolute level. Any multi-miked sound source has the potential to suffer from phase cancellation. although the word is also often just used to refer to any notably high point. room mic pairs. any mixer. so parallel compression can be applied without the need to run two signals. making it easy to prevent it exceeding 0dBFS. xylophone. which ignore it. but these actually invert the polarity. or inside a plugin with appropriate capabilities) and one instance is processed with an effect. rubbed. PHANTOM POWER Unlike passive dynamic microphones. where multiple signals recorded from the same source need to be kept in phase in order to prevent phase cancellation (see below). Since the mic’s only input is via an XLR socket. so called as it’s ‘invisible’ to dynamic mics. virtual patch cords are largely eschewed in favour of modulation matrices and ‘behind the scenes’ signal routing schemes. shaken. These sine waves are 180 degrees out of phase. for example. Compression is the classic usage. and using dedicated phase rotation processors. plectrum. its position in time. etc) are calculated using mathematical models in order to achieve a realistic simulation. string length. For example. visual indication of the signal level at any given moment. etc. most famously. where peak metering gives a 72 / COMPUTER MUSIC June 2014 PING-PONG DELAY Percussion instruments are struck. so they’ll cancel out to nothing if mixed together PHASE The phase of a cyclical wave is. PATCH CORD PHYSICAL MODELING A short cable used to connect modules in a modular synth or points on a patchbay. hand. Adjusting the phase of a synth waveform can affect the attack of the sound. shaking or scraping is a percussion instrument – drums and cymbals of all kinds. In the software studio. A synthesis technique in which the physical properties of an instrument (string. resonant chamber. So. ‘rotating’ a sine wave by 180 degrees ‘pushes it along’ the timeline by half its cycle length. Most mixers (real and virtual) feature so-called phase invert switches. PEAK In literal terms. to achieve the desired blend of compressed character and uncompressed punch. many new dynamics plugins feature a wet/dry mix control. and these days. and by balancing the compressed and uncompressed parts. Other techniques for correcting phase issues include manually dragging one of the offending audio parts left or right a touch. woodblock. strictly speaking. flipping the whole waveform on its horizontal axis. described in degrees. via the same cable that carries the audio signal. guitars (multiple cabs/ mics and perhaps a DI too). cabasa. guiro. copying of the part onto a second track in a DAW. This can range from a mild ‘hollowing‘ of the sound to complete silence when two signals are 180 degrees out of phase. enabling the creation of gigantic drums or absurdly small wind instruments.The Cycle 1 Cycle 2 Sine to Sine +180° of… computer music Point by point. Phase is a particularly important issue in mixing. such as mics placed on the top and bottom of a drum. This can be useful in certain miking situations. caxixi… even the piano. since its strings are excited by hammers. tube width. although some software represents them literally – Propellerhead Reason. Various parameters of the instrument and the ‘exciter’ are usually adjustable – eg. so that includes drum kits. preamp or audio interface worth its salt will feature 48V phantom power.

Pre-fader sends are useful for setting up monitor mixes in the studio. on the other hand. Pre-fader means that the level you set on the volume fader has no effect on the level of the send. instead of just ‘jumping’ from one discrete pitch to another. June 2014 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 73 . before or after the channel volume fader. which raises or lowers all included frequencies by the same amount. Sculpture has been around a while but remains one of the finest modeling synths. meanwhile. allowing for independent tuning of multiple notes PITCHSHIFT The process of raising or lowering the pitch of an audio signal by a fixed musical interval (usually represented in cents and semitones). If a ninth voice is played without releasing one of the first eight. Oddly. PITCHBEND Smoothly sweeping the pitch of a synth or sampler up or down. there are also dedicated units available at a huge range of price points (up to many thousands of pounds). activating the portamento function on a synth means that one note’s pitch will smoothly slide up or down to the pitch of the next. or automatically via automation. electric pianos and percussion respectively. either in a DAW or sample playback instrument. MIDI effects plugins. pink noise. chord generators. and ultra-transparent models designed to apply as little colouration as possible. ABLETON TENSION. When the band have gone home. it can play up to eight voices at the same time. Due to its cross-platform compatibility. POLYPHONY PORTAMENTO Also known as glide.or post-fader – ie. PUNCH IN/OUT The overwriting of a section of a recording between a predetermined start (punch in) and end (punch out) point. for example. the most common audio plugin format by far is Steinberg’s VST (Virtual Studio Technology). followed by Avid’s RTAS (Real Time AudioSuite) and AAX (Avid Audio Extension). etc. punch in and out can be triggered manually in real-time (via a MIDI controller or key command). as the mix engineer will generally want channel volume changes to be reflected in their effects sends. to replace a mistake or revise said section. though.madronalabs. White noise contains all frequencies at the same power level. EQs. whereby the playback speed of the ‘tape’ or ‘vinyl’ is increased or decreased in order to change the pitch. In music software. including vintage classics desired for their particular sound. pitchbend affects the entire output of an instrument. compressors. Instruments are triggered with MIDI and they output audio. samplers. Generally.ableton. rather than by the same ratio (see 193).com PULSE WIDTH MODULATION (PWM) The on-the-fly adjustment of the cycle width (expressed as a percentage) of a synthesiser’s pulse (square) wave via a modulation source (typically an LFO) in order to introduce a thickening effect. ELECTRIC AND COLLISION N/A » N/A » €599 Three excellent and easy-to-use synths modeling stringed instruments. Three of the best… PHYSICAL MODELING SYNTHS APPLE SCULPTURE N/A » N/A » £140 One of the many synths included with Apple’s Logic Pro X DAW (the price for which is given). but Apple’s Mac-only AU (Audio Units) comes a close second. but there are a few instruments and controllers available that support polyphonic pitchbend. some tape and vinyl emulation plugins offer old-style pitchshifting/timestretching. www.com PRE/POST-FADER The QuNexus features polyphonic pitchbend. while plugin effects process an input audio signal and output the results. either manually using a MIDI keyboard pitch wheel. Some synths feature pink among the colours available to their noise oscillators. depending on the instrument and its settings. a preamp is an electronic amplifier used to boost the very lowlevel signal from a guitar or microphone up to the ‘line’ level required by a mixer or audio interface for effective monitoring and recording. leaving the rest of the recording untouched. including Camel Audio’s Alchemy soft synth and KMI’s QuNexus. extending its functionality in some way.apple. the only way to get them is to shell out for the entire Live 9 Suite (price given) – not that that’s a bad idea! www. MADRONA LABS KAIVO 204 » 9/10 » $129 Fresh out of the development lab. PLUGIN A piece of software that ‘plugs into’ a host application. delays. ping-pong delay can be found in the stock effects library of most DAWs. with individual DAWs supporting only their own proprietary systems. with MOTU’s MAS (MOTU Audio System) and various Linux-friendly others (LADSPA. Pitchshifting shouldn’t be confused with frequency shifting. plugins. while post-fader means that changing the volume of the channel also changes the gain of the signal going into the send. www.a to z of computer music / make music now < Being a very ‘standard’ effect. modify a MIDI stream – arpeggiators. DSSI et al) bringing up the rear.com PREAMP Short for ‘preamplifer’. there’s no accepted standard format for MIDI The auxiliary send points on a mixer can be positioned pre. reverbs. post-fader can be considered ‘default’. fixed or scaled (determined by the distance of the slide). the time that this slide takes could be adjustable. Alas. there are three types of plugin: instruments. either emulating real-world devices or completely original. PINK NOISE A measure of the number of simultaneous voices playable on a given synthesiser or sampler. Depending on the synth in question. Plugin instruments and effects include virtual synthesisers. etc. In a DAW. it will replace one of the other voices (known as ‘note stealing’) or simply not play at all. leading to a sloping spectrum with equal power in each octave. where the musicians being recorded won’t want their monitoring levels to be affected by changes made to the control room mix. is a randomly generated signal with the power reducing as the frequency increases. this awesome synth presents a range of modeling functions in a semimodular architecture accessed via a brilliantly intuitive interface. If a synth is ‘8-voice polyphonic’. Although digital technology enables the pitch and duration of samples to be controlled independently. audio effects and MIDI effects. While all mixers and modern audio interfaces have preamps built in. or via a dedicated plugin effect. or automatically by setting the in and out points on the timeline.

as if you’re rounding the final bend into the home straight of a race. the term refers not to the LFOs in your synth. modulator! Creating effective transitions between musical keys TUTORIAL FILES 1 Here we have a I .    G m. though.G . it has become somewhat frowned upon in credible music circles! 5 We want to shift the key up a whole tone to the key of E major. 3 A more sophisticated way is to ‘set up’ the modulation by placing the new key’s dominant (V chord) just before the change happens. but key changes are usually used to heighten the sense of urgency or resolution in a piece. We want to keep the same progression but  change its key up a semitone to C major     (C .V progression in C major. on the  other hand.G .computermusic. Em. 4 We could also modulate by using a pivot chord. So with that in mind. When we modulate to a different key. D major   contains D. the most basic of which would be to use the “trucker’s gearchange” and jump into the new key with no preamble.IV . 6 The harmonised E major scale. A. We replace the last G major of the first section with that. I’ll focus on a couple of different ways in which this can be achieved. which is a chord shared between the old key and the new one you’re modulating to. The dominant chord in   the key of C major would be a G major   chord (G -C-D ). and while it certainly works.F G . the semitone shift on the final chorus (or ‘trucker’s gearchange’ modulation as it’s also known) is now a stalwart of the romantic ballad.F .F . we have an eight-bar section that grooves along nicely in the key of D major. one-chord groove or a complex symphonic masterpiece. This is a bit of a cliché. we need to look at the basic triads formed by both the D major and E major scales. but to a shift in the key of the music itself – in other words. Let’s try it out. They’re also useful for injecting a new flavour into a progression that. 74 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014 2 This involves simply copying the progression. (D . Bm and C dim. that tonal centre changes.G .G .C . giving      us C . giving us C . C m and D dim. in this month’s Easy Guide.G) Note that the second chord. F m.F .F . Either of these could be used as a pivot chord to modulate from D major to E major. G. The main challenge faced when modulating from one key to another is how to link the keys in a way that doesn’t sound jarring or abrupt.G ). might have worn out its welcome. pasting it into the following bars and moving all the freshly pasted notes up by a semitone.G . To find which chords are shared between the old key and the new key.F .D .V .F . a key change.uk Trying to navigate seamlessly from one key to another can be perilous. So how do we get from one to the other? There are a variety of methods. is actually outside of the key of D major.G. no matter whether you’re dealing with a simple. From the standpoint of evoking a surge of emotion. but our resident keyboard guru will walk you through it Mention ‘modulation’ to a computer musician and their hand will most likely reach for the nearest soft synth or keyboard mod wheel. at that difficult point two-thirds of the way through a track. we can see that the two scales have two chords in  common: F m (which is the iii of D major and also the ii of E major) and A (the V of D major and the IV of E major).C . particularly favoured by certain stool-dwelling boy bands.G .Dave Clews’ Key changes DOWNLOAD Download the accompanying video and the MIDI/audio files at vault. The tonal centre is the base key that you feel as the music is playing – >Step by step the sense of where the ‘I’ chord or ‘home’ is.G . B.F . . A. F m. So our   chord progression goes C .G .G   . In this example. Any piece of music has at its heart a sort of ‘tonal centre’. There are many possible reasons for doing this. See ya later.G . contains the triads E. F major. but creates a smooth transition almost as if the listener is not aware of it until after it’s happened.co. This is called an applied dominant modulation. but this won’t affect our example. On the theoretical side of music though. From this.

8 What we have now is a trucker’s gear change as the track plunges headlong into the new key at the start of bar 9. but  moving between F and C will be far tougher. For the next section. We start with our original chord progression of I-V-IV-V (C . he collaborates on occasional songs and videos with singer/songwriter Lucy Hirst. in between writing articles for and other magazines. To avoid this. Check out the MIDI and Audio files in the Tutorial Files to hear where we’re at. the first verse modulates to C major via a Csus4 chord. To help with this. let’s try the other pivot chord  candidate. Dave has engineered.A. so we now have a plagal cadence (IV-I) setting up our key change (see last month’s Easy Guide for more on cadences).C). here’s a more complex example of a modulation that shifts up a whole fourth over a series of chords from C major to F major without using a pivot chord.C). Shifting the low F note  of the F minor up an octave helps somewhat. 11 Lastly. programmed and played keyboards on records for a string of artists including George Michael. Also.easy guide / make music now < RECOMMENDED LISTENING PRO TIPS THE POLICE. 7 To put this into practice. We then resolve the B to the new tonic of F major with a plagal cadence (IV . it’s the IV of E major. Sting and the lads can be forgiven for wanting to change things up a bit. This they do by transitioning into a guitar solo over the same I-V-vi-IV progression. Let’s try the F m first.com For a modulation to work effectively.G). COME ON EILEEN CADENTIAL CONFIRMATION Kicking off with an intro section in F major.C . and thereby have more chords in common that might be used as pivot chords. now in D major. Tina Turner and Estelle.daveclews. SO LONELY CIRCLE OF FIFTHS The first half of this smash is in C major and follows a I-V-vi-IV progression for both verse and chorus sections. it still doesn’t sound as natural as it could. Closer notes are more likely to contain similar numbers of sharps or flats. The resulting chord sequence in the new section is now E .A . which we’ve picked because it’s the IV chord of F major. we’re back into C major for verse two. this will result in a perfect cadence. we need to transform the G chord at the end of bar 8 into a pivot  chord. A major can be modulated easily to E major. This works better. it’s actually used in the progression in the new key. DEXY’S MIDNIGHT RUNNERS. Instead. www. maintaining a C in the bass throughout. This is one pop hit that managed to eschew the final trucker gearshift chorus key change. For example. unusually. so when the end of the second chorus comes around. When the vocals come back in for the outro. A two-bar section filled with new chords bridges the gap. instead opting for a more highbrow 1-2-1-2 kind of approach. you’d never know it had changed key. This sets up the change to the B in the second bar.G . aka Polkadothaze. we transpose the progression up 5 semitones (F . further reinforcing the new tonality in the mind of the listener. it needs to establish the new key properly so that the listener perceives the tonal centre of the music to have changed. if the tonic of the new key is preceded by a V chord in the same key. 10 Dave Clews In a studio career spanning almost 25 years. The first bar revitalises the existing key using the ii and I chords (Dm . The new key has now been firmly established. These days. Even with this smoother transition. Kylie Minogue.G . The first chorus then rises a whole tone to D major after which. we first need to repeat our eight-bar section to form a 16-bar section. this works but sounds  a bit jarring. June 2014 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 75 . that holds fast until the end. as it brings closer together the notes of this chord and the one that follows (a practice known as ‘voice leading’). then transpose the second eight bars manually from D major to E major by selecting all the notes in the musical parts and raising their pitch by two semitones. an A major chord (A-C -E). Modulations involving pivot chords tend to work better between keys that are close together in the ‘circle of      fifths’ (C-G-D-A-E-B-F -C -G -D -A -F-C-G…). As a bonus.G . after a two-bar tag section that consists of a pedalled A major chord. as not only is the A chord common to both keys.I).B . preferably the downbeat of the new section. 9 12 On playback.F . We change    G major (G-B-D) to F minor (F -A-C ). however. try to make the tonic of the new key occur on a strong beat.E .

while the remaining buttons sound whole three-note chords. each country having its own variant. an accordion player is easily able to transpose the lefthand part by simply playing the same patterns from a different starting position. you can simply double-up and detune your programmed parts to thicken up the sound or copy and transpose notes up or down an octave. A number of ‘register switches’ can also be used to change the tone produced by the righthand melody line. but also surprisingly emotive. arranged in rows: one row for major triads (such as C-E-G). If not. have a look at the chart at bit. When the bellows are squeezed slowly. this track still sounds as fresh today as it did when released in 2007 and proves that the accordion can be used in many genres. often using them to create motifs including the familiar ‘oom-pah’ pattern alternating between the root note and a chord with an emphasis from a harder squeeze on the bellows for the downbeat. About a third of these handle bass notes.ly/MN8k3n. For the purpose of simplicity. THE DEVIL & THE DIAMOND Also sometimes known as ‘Standard Bass’. one for dominant sevenths with missing fifths  (like C-E-B ) and one for diminished chords (like C-E-G). it places a number of limitations on the player.ly/1fGH3fN demonstrate what can be achieved with an accordion in the hands of a master. Only five notes of a chord can be played at once by the five digits of one hand. and the span between the highest and “Five expert digits can navigate this field of buttons with relative ease” JARGON BUSTER RECOMMENDED LISTENING STRADELLA BASS MATUTO. As well as squeezing the instrument. or purer tones. The most prominent aspect of the accordion is a set of bellows which is squeezed together by the player’s hands. Although the instrument comes in different constructions and configurations. In addition. a skilled player can operate two or more buttons to combine or ‘stack’ notes from multiple rows to create more complex chords and voicings. To get your head around left-hand programming.Reuben Cornell’s keep it real Accordion Our MIDI maven’s in a squeeze this month. which goes into the specific tunings of different genres and use of the registers. in this case Rob Curto. and/or to change the octave at which certain keys operate (sort of like the Transpose function on smaller MIDI keyboards). they have a louder. 4TH OF JULY. there’s a keyboard that spans (in the accordion’s most standard form) from F3 to A6. making it easier for a player to get quickly to related chords. These buttons can be engaged to create a detuned sound. there are some features that remain consistent across the many types. but five expert fingers can navigate this field of buttons with relative ease. I’ll be concerning myself here with the 41-key ‘piano’ accordion with a standard 120 button ‘Stradella’ bass system (see the Jargon Buster for more). using a combination of volume automation and EQ adjustment at the upper end (around 5kHz) can roughly emulate these dynamics. into the mix. It seems like a lot to learn. With its shuffling tech-house beat and processed accordion riff. Be mindful of this with your MIDI programming.ly/1gR0S0j . Players use the airflow caused by the squeezing and stretching to control volume and dynamics whilst playing. to cause a variation in the harmonics produced. There are also many audio examples of his playing on his own artist page at bit. In a way. The buttons are arranged in fifths from left to right along the rows. the player’s hands also manipulate buttons and keys to sound single tones and chords. Left-hand buttons On stage left. composer and longstanding contributor to . HEATER There seemed a time a few years ago when every summer club track had an accordion shoe-horned lowest simultaneously played notes will be limited by the size of the hand – even a largehanded player would have difficulty stretching over more than two octaves. In this ongoing series of tutorials. Their live videos at bit. similar to the stops of an organ but more versatile. This is the second album from the New York group who tour extensively on the world music scene. they produce a sound that is quieter and more mellow. there’s a generous helping of buttons.com. you may find that your accordion software has an option for different registers. when they’re squeezed more strongly. In the MIDI realm. he imparts a wealth of advice aimed at helping you program more realistic instrumental MIDI parts. In the digital realm. for example. but that belies the depth and breadth of influences from all over the world.ly/1kZSizb BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN. Reuben is an accomplished DJ. They describe their sound as “Brazilian Bluegrass”. Notable timbres include the classic ‘accordion’ tone and the high ‘piccolo’ sound. one  for minor triads (such as C-E -G). bit. Although the maximum number of combined notes any of the buttons can sound is three. The accordion has its origins as a folk instrument and is a stalwart of all sorts of world music. bit. Yes. this is the name for a specific layout of buttons played by the left hand of the accordion player. Let’s go deeper into the specifics of the accordion. Timbres achievable by activating the accordion’s register buttons can mimic string and woodwind timbres. Right-hand keys For the right-hand. Because the piano keyboard is played using one hand only. this left. ASBURY PARK (SANDY) I couldn’t not mention this old track from “The Boss” – a languid ballad which features a French-café style accordion noodling away throughout. harsher tone. There’s lots of info at accordionpage. turning his hand to successfully programming a home-grown piano-roll accordion Reuben Cornell With more pies on the table than he has fingers to put in them.and right-hand split – with the right playing melodically while the left handles the accompanying chords and bassline – is a similar approach to that employed by piano players. pushing air across internal reeds housed in two chambers. 76 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014 SAMIM.ly/1c9wMYH. it’s pretty cheesy.

which helps to retain the human characteristics of the melody. which also has bellow and key noises to add authenticity. which I’ve added in at bar 8. I’m careful not to allow the bass notes and chords to overlap one another as they’d be on separate buttons on a real life accordion. I’m using a basic one-reed accordion sound in Logic. set to -10 cents on one and +10 cents on the other. Sonokinetic’s Accordion for Kontakt at sonokinetic. a more realistic effect can be achieved. Listen to the WAV/MIDI examples in the Tutorial Files to hear how it’s sounding. which sounds passable for a basic instrument. June 2014 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 77 . I also automate a high-shelf EQ at around 5kHz so that when the accordion is played more loudly. but there are still plenty of interesting libraries available. although you may want to turn off the auto-panning. you’ll have to go down the commercial route. a traditional 3/4 time pattern on the accordion.com is comprehensive. com features eight different accordion models sampled in exquisite detail. I also transpose the melody line up an octave to recreate a register using ‘piccolo’ reeds. Squeezebox sounds The accordion may not be the most popular instrument. Although one of the more expensive libraries at £80. I use a kind of ‘oom-pahpah’ rhythm.net) have three instruments available for Kontakt.ly/1ivqAKU has presets to emulate different registers. with its 15 registers and separately sampled crescendo and staccato notes. 2 The left hand is played in next on a new track. I quantise the chord notes to ensure they all trigger simultaneously. which would be appropriate for many types of accordion. Here I’ve used the accordion from Ilya Efimov. Precision Sound (precisionsound. I’ve also doubled up the bass notes an octave higher.ly/1c9wMYH. Accordions also have 7th chords. 3 The chords I’ve used on the left hand are all major and minor triads using the correct notes from the helpful chart at bit. For greater realism. It also includes button and key noises. The free VST plugin at bit. At the same time. Lastly. 5 A real-life accordion has more than one bank of reeds that are subtly detuned to thicken timbre. Logic also has several variations bundled. the tone becomes brighter.keep it real / make music now < >Step by step Recreating the sound of the accordion in a DAW TUTORIAL FILES 1 4 I’m going to write a short tune in 3/4 time. with a subtle room reverb on the master channel. the pack by Eduardo Tarilonte at samplelibraries. only one of which is used in the tutorial above.net has an interesting arpeggio chord feature for realistic tempo-synced patterns. Now I’ll add the familiar pumping sound of the accordion by routing both of my tracks to a buss/group channel and creating some subtle volume automation. HALion and Soundfont. I record the “right hand” first by playing live. Because the left-hand chords and different registers are sampled. 6 Lastly. if you need a specific type of accordion (and have a spare £120). the Kontakt accordion at ilyaefimov. some of which are tremendously realistic: Ableton Live 9’s Library includes a synthesised version (just search for ‘Accordion’). let me demonstrate how a commercial library sounds with the same piece of MIDI. This ‘waltz’ time signature is common fare in traditional accordion tunes. EXS24. I can emulate this by duplicating the “right hand” track twice and adding a pitch-shift plugin to each.

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A well-conceived and executed product 9 Excellent. What the ratings mean 1-4 A seriously flawed product that should be avoided 5 This product’s problems outweigh its merits 6 A decent product that’s only held back by a few flaws 7 Solid. unbiased appraisals of the latest computer music products. the best product reviewed in the magazine this month June 2014 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 87 . no matter how much hype or expectation surrounds it. Well worth considering 88 UNIVERSAL AUDIO APOLLO TWIN 8 UAD-enabling DSP power packed into the smallest Apollo interface yet – but can it bring something genuinely new to the home studio? Very good.reviews < The latest computer music gear tested and rated! Our promise We bring you honest. It just doesn’t get any better than this! 90 Tracktion Software Tracktion 5 92 Madrona Labs Kaivo 94 Softube Console 1 96 Waves MetaFilter 98 Kush Audio Pusher 100 IK Multimedia Master EQ 432 102 Voxengo Elephant 4. First-rate and among the best you can buy 10 Exceptional.0 104 Mini Reviews Awarded to products that challenge existing ideas and do something entirely new A product has to really impress us with its functionality and features to win this one If the product exceeds expectations for its price. it will receive this gong In the opinion of the Editor. Our experts apply the same stringent testing methods to all gear.

too. you can’t combine multiple Twins. In terms of compatibility. but with the plugins’ processing taking place on DSP chips inside the proprietary UAD hardware – which you must own in order to use the plugins – instead of on your computer’s CPU. until recently only available in a rackmounted format costing well over a grand. with a range of superb “powered” plugins that work in your DAW just like any others. Console adapts itself to match the spec of the connected Apollo unit. enabling recording through first-rate emulations of an impressive array of classic processors. Pultec EQP-1A – all of which are the original Legacy versions. At present. or combine its DSP power with that of a UAD-2 Satellite. The latter is a stripped-down version of their Softube Amp Room Bundle. 1176LN. offering digital control of the interface’s analogue preamp circuitry. with plugin counts thus comparable to UA’s other Solo and Duo products. Both also include the Realtime Analog Classics Bundle. Each Console input channel features four insert slots for UAD plugins. so the Twin will currently only work with a suitably equipped Mac. The addition of Unison adds a further ‘preamp’ insert point. and a high-impedance instrument jack at the front. but it’s supplemented by an S/PDIF TOSLINK input for eight further digital inputs.> reviews / universal audio apollo twin EDITOR’S CHOICE Universal Audio Apollo Twin £729/£929 It’s the most compact and affordable UAD-powered interface to date. so that you can monitor – and optionally record. aggregate one with a regular Apollo. so within your DAW you’ll ‘see’ ten outputs in total. Aside from that. but does it offer enough to represent a worthy studio investment? Universal Audio have effectively cornered the DSP platform market. Input options comprise mic and line ins around the back on a pair of XLR/jack combi connectors. and its release coincides with the arrival of the all-new Apollo Twin hardware. However. The latter simply packs twice as many 88 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014 SHARC DSP processing chips as the Solo. essentially. Thunder clouds The Apollo Twin connects via its single ‘end of chain’ Thunderbolt port and isn’t buss powered. Two’s company The Apollo Twin comes in two versions: Solo and Duo. phantom power. UA’s Console application is. 1176SE. It also offers four virtual outputs that are routed into its Console software app. the two Twins are identical. This reduces the CPU strain on your computer (though plugin count is still limited by the power of the DSP chips). The Twin is fundamentally a 2-in/6-out design. as selected by the buttons on either side of the unit. and Headphones). which supplements the standard included UA plugins (LA-2A. phase invert and stereo linking. a virtual mixer that acts as a configurable hub for the Twin. pad. the latest version of the UAD software (7. comprising the existing Bass Amp Room plugin and a ‘lite’ version of their Vintage Amp Room plugin. Options include a single headphone feed. UA’s Apollo hardware combines onboard UAD DSP processing for their range of plugins with a high-end audio interface. and it provides near-zero-latency monitoring and recording. One of the Apollo lines’ major attractions is that it allows real-time use of UAD plugins on the input stages. The Twin’s top panel is centred on a large knob that can control preamp gain/level or the monitor/headphones output level. 3 and 4. not the more recent updated ones – RealVerb Pro and CS-1 Precision Channel) with the UA 610B Unison preamp and Softube Amp Room Essentials. This intriguing system is called Unison (see the next page). you need a computer with built-in Thunderbolt connectivity (it’s not something you can add via a PCIe card. though this is always applied to the .5) takes this one stage further. two dedicated auxiliaries and routing to the physical outputs (Main. for example). with no discernable latency – through the plugins. Six switches sit below the main knob for line/mic input selection and per-channel enabling/disabling of high-pass filter.

Any issues. Just like the API. merging its hardware and software elements absolutely seamlessly. the Apollo Twin is incredibly slick. The 610-B is based on UA’s current re-issue mic pre found in the 2-610.1ms at 96kHz. 610 Collection upgrade price.universal audio apollo twin / reviews < “The Apollo Twin is incredibly slick. This includes push-knob muting for headphones. but they also differ in terms of features. the UA 610-B and the updated API Vision Channel Strip. but the differences are quite subtle.5 of the UAD software marks the arrival of Unison for both the Apollo Duo and Quad rack units and the Twin.uaudio. the Twin costs a The UA 610-A is available separately as part of the UA 610 Tube Preamp Collection Unison Version 7. $299 the Twin). it’s pretty much essential. the Twin offers up two mic/line inputs and an optical port that can pipe in a further eight inputs 10/10 June 2014 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 89 .uk Info Apollo Twin Solo. Alternatively Universal Audio Apollo Duo N/A » N/A » £2089 The bigger Apollo has much more in the way of I/O but matches the DSP processing of the Twin Duo Steinberg UR44 N/A » N/A » £284 The UR series offers real-time preamp processing on a budget Verdict For Compact. If you like doing things the oldfashioned way – running a full console strip on the recording input – you might want to grab the API Vision for its great flexibility. ‘awakening’ capabilities that were already built into the Apollo design.sourcedistribution. the valve-emulating UA 610-A (a separate purchase) and the API Vision (also a separate purchase). pops or other problems when changing even the most fundamental settings – impressive.co. adding a further 55 samples of latency. The result is a recreation of how your input signals would sound with a high-class preamp in front of Apollo. and it’s bolstered by valve and transformer software modeling. but also thanks to its two mic input impedance settings – 500 ohms and 2 kiloohms – which can be handy when trying to match it to picky mics (ribbons.1kHz. not only because it has the better EQ. This enables software (ie. The Apollo Twin is without doubt one of the tastiest bits of kit we’ve seen in a long time. Even so. and around 2. UAD plugins) to control analogue preamp gain stage and input impedance. A new benchmark In use. A word about latency. with excellent sweetening EQ onboard. even when singing and monitoring on headphones.com Buy www. for example). although we do have a wishlist. and extras such as EQ. The build quality is excellent. Each preamp has its own sound. considering the combination of analogue and digital switching that’s being employed. API Vision Channel Strip. and the option to reorder channel plugins by dragging them. stylish design Easy to use Unison preamp capability Flexible Console software Recording and monitoring via inserts Excellent bundled UA 610-B preamp Against Thunderbolt only Thunderbolt-equipped Mac owners are the lucky audience for this stunning new audio interface and DSP box for UAD plugins Round the back. The valve preamps have a tad more presence. Apollo Twin DUO. this sort of delay is acceptable. There are currently three Unison-compatible ‘preamp’ plugins available: the UA 610-A. At the time of writing. Yes. the included 610-B is beautifully designed. In practice. clearer level metering of the Unison plugins’ various stages. £729. and it comes with a system requirement that narrows its target market. Console has an inherent I/O delay of 1. processing delay is applied ‘as needed’ and thus always kept to a minimum. while the 610 preamps use upsampling. the new 610s are also available as regular UAD plugins to use as you please. merging its hardware and software elements absolutely seamlessly” recorded signal. then? Not really. the API sounds the most ‘forward’. but if you can afford it and you’re at all serious about analogue-style signal processing in your digital studio. Web www. We encountered no unexpected clicks. Each preamp plugin has its own subtle sonic footprint. there are only three Unison-compatible plugins available: the UA 610-B (included with pretty penny. Within Console. $149. and it’s our favourite. and its preamps and conversion represent a sonic step up from ‘midrange’ audio interfaces. £929.4ms at 44.

interpreting embedded metadata – although it got some of the categorisation wrong. which can be particularly useful when working on several ideas based on the same core project. Taken over by Mackie in 2003. it became the standard software bundled with their interfaces and controllers. Tracktion has certainly had an eventful history. making them available in the browser PANELS Use these buttons to open and close the side panels IN-LINE MIXER Edit the plugins. it does import third- “Multiple versions of the same song can be kept open at once” First released in 2002 by developer Julian Storer under the company name Raw Material Software. offering detailed parameter editing CPU USAGE Click the CPU indicator to open the new usage page AUDIO CLIP PARAMETERS Adjust clip-specific parameters including gain. and it comes with little in the way of proprietary audio content. The new Step Sequencer Clip looks like a typical MIDI region but expands to reveal a multilane/channel sequencer-style grid. markers and time position CLIP GENERATOR Drag this to the track area to create new empty clips PLUGIN GENERATOR Drag this to the in-line mixer to add plugin editing handles LOOP BROWSER Tracktion can import and categorise third-party loop libraries. It’s a very lean application (the executable is around 20MB). in which all recording and editing of audio and MIDI is done. it also supports Linux. unlike its predecessor. pan and timestretching/pitchshifting CLIP HANDLES Audio and MIDI clips employ a consistent system of editing handles Tracktion Software Corporation Tracktion 5 $60 Now back in the hands of its original developer. the settings page or your current Edit TIMEBAR. a Tracktion project can incorporate multiple Edits. we can describe as a proper full version update. key signature. and set the overall grid .> reviews / tracktion software corporation tracktion 5 TABBED PAGES View your main project. Storer got his baby back. which. In theory. One year on and we’re onto v5. it did a reasonable job with our Apple Loops library. You can specify notes and MIDI channels per lane. One of Tracktion’s defining features is its single-screen workspace. although the software is still at version 4 in that environment. In terms of session management. However. Tracktion 5 adds a number of genuinely new features. this innovative one-window DAW is finally seeing serious development again The basics party loop libraries. Thus. MIDI clip quantise settings and parameters for the onboard effects – third-party plugins open in their own floating windows. Foldaway side panels handle browsing and mixing duties. MARKERS AND TEMPO The typical navigation top bar includes tempo. in/ In a nutshell. You can have more than one Edit loaded at a time (they appear as tabbed pages) and quickly switch between them. of course. but in 2013. releasing the contentious Tracktion 4 ( 190. which are essentially arrangements. and can be manually resized to suit your available screen space. The Adaptive panel at the bottom reflects whatever you have selected above. 90 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014 out fades and timestretch options. multiple versions of the same song can be kept open at once. meters and faders on each track INPUT SELECTOR Select the source for your audio or MIDI track ADAPTIVE PANEL Follows the currently selected clip or plugin. after five years of no development whatsoever. time signature. and this is where you’ll find many editable parameters such as audio clip gain. Tracktion 5 is a very competitively priced cross-platform audio/MIDI DAW that supports AU and VST plugins. 8/10). What’s new Unlike v4.

letting you place the Freeze plugin wherever you like within a track’s in-line mixer – very clever! Meanwhile. We’ve mentioned Tracktion’s multiple Edits already. or to duplicate your main Edit across a number or variations. muted and deleted. for instance. to in-line channel strips on the right. First. aided no end by very smooth mouse-/trackpad-controlled zooming. However. tracks aren’t designated as MIDI or audio. Here. This renders an audio version of the entire source Edit. but it’s powerful for the money 8/10 June 2014 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 91 . requiring you to place the Track Automation Selector onto the plugin or parameter you want to automate. It’s a single-screen setup with a logical layout that moves from inputs on the left.tracktion software corporation tracktion 5 / reviews < “The most intriguing MIDI feature in Tracktion 5 is per-note CC automation” resolution and length. Nevertheless. which we quite like. they’re its weakest aspect. In similarly freeform style. Even automation is activated via drag and drop. responsive interface Powerful audio and MIDI editing Fold-out panels can be resized Very competitively priced Against In-line mixer isn’t for everyone Underpowered proprietary plugins Visually a step back from version 4 Tracktion requires a very specific approach and doesn’t offer much in terms of bundled plugins. Web www. it does demand some rethinking on the part of the user. rather than having them all automatically default to ‘Out 1-2’ or whatever. You simply create a new track and select a suitable source (an audio or MIDI input). there’s a new quick-learn screen for controller setup. Tracktion 5 is wonderfully easy to use. Plugins are dragged directly into the in-line channel strips. the Step Sequencer Clip Tracktion’s one-window way of working may take some figuring out to begin with Tracktion engine Getting to grips with Tracktion requires you to step into its very particular world and open yourself up to its modus operandi. This in itself isn’t unusual. with very little in the way of extra windows beyond the main one. As it always has been. Both audio and MIDI clips follow a standard protocol whereby hollow adjustment handles change the clip size but don’t move the contents. and the custom colour options have been removed in v5 (though we’re told they’ll be back). upon which the track switches to the appropriate type. and it works well. Once you get your head around its unique. it absolutely deserves your attention. via audio/MIDI track data in the middle. the new CPU Manager window shows plugin usage and latency on a track-bytrack basis. while solid handles move the contents. while for MIDI recording you can create a virtual MIDI input via which to use your QWERTY keyboard for programming. Tracktion’s pervasive drag and drop approach (plugins are added by dragging them onto tracks. and its ‘semimodular’ nature suits creative work rather than more purely functional tasks such as mixing. Tracktion’s included effects are basic. to which you then add the appropriate effect. but rather the ability to draw CC automation data that is attached to a specific note – useful when moving notes within a MIDI clip. leaving it less attractive than version 4. you drag a Send plugin into the source track and a Return plugin into an empty track. and the new Edit Clip Nesting feature enables you to drag one Edit into another – for example. where their proprietary instruments enable per-note control of parameters such as pan and “Timbre”. Tracktion 5 is a breath of fresh air in a world of homogenised DAWs. it’s a bit ropey compared to much of the competition. But visually. the most intriguing MIDI feature in Tracktion 5 is per-note CC automation. where they can be re-ordered. Patterns can be looped and chained together.com connections are made on an ad hoc basis by manually assigning interface outputs to individual tracks as you create them. You can program step sequences using Tracktion 5’s dedicated new MIDI clip type. while navigation. Gaining Tracktion Tracktion 5’s workspace takes a bit of getting used to but is actually very logically laid out.tracktion. The same thing happens when you drag an audio loop in from the browser. etc) has now been extended to include its freeze function. re-rendering it to reflect any changes whenever you modify and save the source Edit. to create a slave Edit for vocal tracking. Alternatively Apple Logic Pro X 195 » 9/10 » £140 One of the best (and most affordable) DAWs on the market Cockos Reaper 170 » 9/10 » $60 The discounted license offers you a lot of DAW for very little money Verdict For Smooth. Also on the MIDI front. audio quirky workflow. and to create an auxiliary. you can also select and apply freeze to specific tracks or the whole Edit. This isn’t quite the same as the system in Bitwig Studio. Audio recording in loop mode produces multiple takes and allows ‘swipe’ comping (much like Logic). However. but the way you go about using it is. and aside from the EQ. There’s also an excellent context-sensitive help system onboard. but it’s made very simple and approachable here. MIDI parts are created by dragging the MIDI Part icon onto tracks. There are also no onboard instruments beyond a basic sampler. It’s nothing we haven’t seen in other DAWs. screen redraws and general onscreen activity are all very responsive. given the keen asking price. and due to be enhanced in an upcoming update with per-note MIDI channel assignment as well.

There’s a slim header bar at the top. Actually another resonator. American developers Madrona Labs clearly think along the same lines. glide and unison settings. Strangely familiar Users of Madrona Labs’ Aalto ( 162. chime and spring models and set them into motion BODY Another resonator. You can adjust Brightness. in which you select patches and make minor performance adjustments. The Patcher section is where you stretch virtual patch leads from the modulation sources above to a range of destinations below. In Position (the point within a resonator where the excitation starts) and Nonlinearity. Sustain. “You can adjust Brightness. which lets you vary certain “tough-to-model imperfections” that add character to the model. polyphony. It’s called Kaivo. and a 92 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014 Shape section underneath containing such largely modulation-orientated things as LFOs. Take a drum sound. Madrona Labs gave Kaivo a wicked “two-dimensional” one RESONATOR Choose from a range of string. meant to simulate the body of your modeled instrument. clearly). and chimes and springs of varying size. pitch. Sustain. nylon and gut strings. Next comes the Body section. such as the ability to shut off the GUI animation GATE Take control of the shape of the signal with this Buchlastyle Gate module. as rather than the typical line-up of synth oscillators and filters. envelopes and a sequencer. for example: in the real world. many of them in the Audio section in the lower third of the GUI. Wooden boxes and metal plates. Pitch. 8/10) and our own Aalto CM will be right at home with Kaivo’s interface. but the synths that get us most excited these days here at are those that take completely new approaches to sound generation. For those unfamiliar with physical modeling.> reviews / madrona labs kaivo KEY Scale. etc The synth design geniuses behind Aalto have a new semimodular instrument combining physical modeling and granular techniques The software synthesiser market is bursting with virtualised classic vintage and retro instruments. complete with ‘Lopass’ mode SEQUENCER Create your own patterns or load a preset “wave” shape to use like an LFO PATCHER Route virtual patch cables from module to module for some modulation mayhem Madrona Labs Kaivo $129 2D LFO Not content to provide a bog-standard LFO. consequently (hopefully) bringing us previously unimaginable timbres. the skin vibrating (the ‘resonator’) and the drum shell resonating (another ‘resonator’. Kaivo’s main Resonator section offers eight options. this is generated by the stick hitting the skin (the ‘exciter’ in physical modeling speak). Pitch. velocity and aftertouch mod sources for routing GRANULATOR Kaivo sets its resonators in motion using a highspec granular sample playback module HEADER Hosts the preset browser and a few options. bend. In Position and Nonlinearity” we’re met with all manner of physical modeling tools. Panning and chorus are also provided for the Resonator. as well as gate. including metal. this one is intended to . and it’s a VST/AU plugin offering a fresh take on both physical modeling and granular sampling. it’s the mathematical recreation of the behaviour of physical objects in order to replicate the sounds that they make. The Audio section is where we start to find ourselves in unfamiliar territory. as they’ve just come up with an instrument that combines two lesser-used synthesis techniques with good old-fashioned semimodular patching.

crossfade them and adjust the starting position of grains in both pitch and time. suffered slightly less of a bruising but were still taxed heavily by the synth. reset. radio static). offset and delay of patterns catered for. Like any granular instrument or processor. while others still are synthesised. Typical modeling algorithms start with a simple noise burst that excites the rest of the components into action. The real fun to be had with Kaivo begins when you start connecting its various modules together in the Patcher. A costly exercise All this power comes at a price. samples and more Nuts about grains Kaivo’s Granulator section is the key to its singular approach to physical modeling. making Kaivo a genuine source of freakish new tones and sounds in addition to the plucked string and banging metal sounds we’re used to hearing from modeling synths. creaky door. Madrona Labs have included a wide variety of sampled sounds to play with. The sound of the instrument ranges from pleasant plucked tones to detuned. but suffice it to say here that this significantly expands the range of timbres possible beyond the usual modeling staples. a frame drum and a metal plate. Tone. all chosen to work well in the context of the rest of the synth. You can alter the overall pitch and playback rate. and said patterns represented by vertical lines in a grid. With so many modulation sources and destinations on offer. though. The Wrap function loops the playback of the individual grains as the playhead works its way through the audio file. allowing you to change the point of contact between Resonator and Body – consider how plucking a guitar string near the bridge sounds compared to plucking it near the sound hole. two envelopes (one ADSR. See Nuts about grains for full details. the concept of a modular modeling synth isn’t entirely new – Kaivo is packed with powerful modulation sources such as the XY-pad-equipped LFO and its Noise module Kaivo’s resonators don’t have to be excited by bursts of noise only. Speaking of LFOs. it generates trigger and control signals. others industrial (broken motor. Best of all. for example. In addition to these modulation sources.madrona labs kaivo / reviews < “Kaivo veers from established modeling techniques. No. deformed dissonances and chugging. it gives you the flexibility of a modular synthesiser but with an entirely new sonic palette. quantise and range options are onboard. and it doesn’t have 64-bit support. featuring an X/Y controller that enables you to shift the waveshape along X and Y axes. spitting atmospheres. replacing the usual exciter with a granular sample player” emulate the characteristics of an instrument’s physical body: you can choose from small and large wooden boxes. you can use your own samples – up to eight seconds in length – which proves to be a truly creative and inspiring option. Web madronalabs.com generated determined by the modulatable Rate dial). …And she’s looking good Kaivo’s sequencer is one of its best features. Madrona have equipped Kaivo with a beauty. though. With that in mind. there’s also a noise generator. replacing the usual exciter with a granular sample player. Cutting back on polyphony and turning animation off helped considerably. as are a selection of preset “wave” shapes for use as an extra LFO. Some are odd (bike pump. and there’s an X/Y controller that describes the body in two dimensions. Kaivo is well worth the asking price (and power demand) for those longing for something well off the beaten sonic path. Obviously inspired by modular hardware. Kaivo veers from established modeling techniques. with looping. Pitch. this is a small price to pay for such an individual instrument. however. the Granulator chops audio files into tiny segments or “grains” and empowers you with the tools to manipulate how they’re played back. Glide. if often quite unconventional. but Madrona Labs have taken the highly intriguing approach of using a granular-based sampler as the exciter. The CPU usage can get very high – we were particularly startled to see it pegging Logic’s CPU meter when running certain presets. trigger the creation of grains manually or via a mod source (rather than automatically. with the grain size and rate at which they’re Tassman has been doing it for years – but Kaivo’s immediacy invites experimentation more than AAS’ venerable. dogs). even on a relatively sprightly 2GHz i7 quad-core 2011 MacBook Pro. less accessible setup. such as Reaper. The developer knows (and warns) of Kaivo’s CPU usage and assures us that it will be improved in successive updates. Cubase and Digital Performer 8. and really. You can set them into action using oscillators. Alternatively AAS Tassman 4 75 » 8/10 » $349 It may be a little old. Sustain and Nonlinearity can be tweaked. The separately downloaded presets are evocative and even inspirational. the other DAR – somewhat akin to the trapezoid envelope on the EMS VCS3 synth). Other hosts we tried. chickens. but it can still give Kaivo a run for its money NUSofting Modelonia 98 » 8/10 » $45 Provides plenty of synthesis options to make striking and unique sounds Verdict For A fresh take on physical modeling Granulator section adds real power Support for user samples Terrific sequencer Excellent manual It’s different! Against CPU hit can get rather high A powerful semimodular synth that successfully merges granular sample playback with physical modeling 9/10 June 2014 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 93 .

The plugin window is decidedly sparse. Console 1 is currently Mac-only (OS X 10. with channel selection (for which every DAW channel hosting the plugin is available) 94 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014 mute on your DAW’s channels – it just solos or mutes the output from the Console 1 plugins used in your project. This connects to your Mac via (powered) USB and is integrated into your DAW session by simply inserting the plugin (VST/AU/AAX) on any number of channels. and the top panel is sheer black. so if you want it to work as expected. Shape (an expander/ gate). reflecting the settings on the hardware controller and serving as a meter bridge. and the input filters . Drive and Drive Character). with an auto-close option dismissing it after three seconds of inactivity. busses and/or outputs. however. this isn’t a UAD-style DSP system for running its own plugins – your Mac’s CPU still handles all processing. you have to use Console 1 on all your channels. made using the row of buttons along the top. it’s handy should you ever find yourself without the controller for whatever reason – the plugin isn’t available to buy on its own. The On-Screen Display is solely for information purposes. keeping the selected instance active and audible even when other instances are soloed. and aside from a few Shift modifiers. Every knob and button is labeled. and Output (Pan. can this long-awaited box of tricks really mix things up? It’s been a year since Softube’s much heralded Console 1 was first demoed at the Frankfurt Musik Messe. a fourband EQ. The Console 1 software comprises the On-Screen Display (which appears when the plugin is opened from the hardware) and the plugin window (which appears when the plugin is opened from within your DAW). It’s fair bristling with black rotary knobs and white buttons.> reviews / softube console 1 Softube Console 1 £719 A combo of hardware controller and dedicated channel strip plugin.7 or later) although Windows development is underway. illuminated by a multitude of LEDs that glow enticingly through the surface. which is useful for the master output and auxiliaries. a four-band EQ. simply enabling naming of each instance and assignment of them to slots in the Console interface (meaning you’re not restricted to their host channels’ layout in your DAW arrangement). to be clear. Note that Console 1’s solo/mute system does not control the solo/ Solid state “Console 1’s layout is split into five sections: Input. although obviously the idea is to use the controller rather than this. EQ and Compressor. Compressor. The plugin window can be switched to ‘Knobs’ view for mouse-driven parameter adjustment like any other plugin effect. There’s a choice of three signal flow configurations for the Shape. Shape. and Output” Console 1 is housed in a sturdy metal case about the size of a computer keyboard (428x190mm). and expectations have been high ever since. it’s mostly one function per knob/ button. Strip club Console 1’s layout is split into five sections: Input (high. However. with no interaction. Compressor. Also. Console 1 is a hybrid hardware/software system for controlling Softube’s own modeled – and officially endorsed by Solid State Logic themselves – SSL 4000E channel strip plugin via a dedicated controller.and low-pass filters). and sits on top of all other windows onscreen. It also contains a Solo Safe button. It’s opened and closed from the hardware unit.

Console yourself We always expect good things from Softube’s plugins. plans are afoot to add further processors (there are already three in the pipeline). The onboard transient shaper and drive processor really enhance the spirit of the original desk.com Obviously. and Console 1 doesn’t disappoint.softube. In order to have any idea which channel is which. the CC121 is an excellent option Verdict For Clear. though. requiring you to switch back to the mouse (or another controller) for all the others. Excellent performance aside. and the Compressor features Parallel Dry/Wet control and more flexible Attack settings. the Shape section has no range control but is augmented with Softube’s own Sustain and Punch transient shaping controls. within the SSL channel. this can involve a parameter set different to that of the SSL one being replaced. Web www. the system works very well. with the powerful E Series EQ beautifully captured. broadening its sonic scope considerably Mix and match Although Console 1 is an all-in-one package. of course. as mentioned. Console 1 brings you SSL-style workflow and sound. while representing pretty good value for what you get and how superb it sounds. Shape. with a few quirks and at a price Console 1 has two view modes: one with (non-interactive) frequency graphs. whereupon the On-Screen Display switches from the main SL 4000E logo at the top right to indicate a ‘Custom Console’. which will be available to Console 1 owners as additional purchases. In terms of the nuts and bolts. Those points aside. ported from their C200 desk Steinberg CC121 133 » 9/10 » £366 For tactile control of your Steinberg DAW. it’s a pretty pricey setup. Meanwhile. some subtle and others less so. In the meantime. However. a dedicated button would be better. however. this is an emulation of the SSL E Series channel with black knob EQ. Console 1 is a fine mixing system that successfully achieves what it sets out to do. It sounds absolutely fantastic. it’s also compatible with other Softube EQ. superlative in quality.softube console 1 / reviews < “The onboard transient shaper and drive processor really enhance the spirit of the original desk” can be routed to the Compressor sidechain. First. And finally. The Shift modifier for the Strip. etc. And the option to mix and match other Softube plugins is the icing on the cake. objectively. for example. However. enabling mixing and matching of Softube’s excellent FET Compressor or Tube-Tech Classic Channel. Finally. although you can hold the All button and press Solo twice for a global solo reset. and one with good-old knobs 8/10 June 2014 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 95 . It’s also worth bearing in mind that Console 1 only controls its own channel strip plugin. channel strip and compressor plugins. External sidechain support is also in place. imposes a slightly odd workflow. be running in a typical session – a controller that only controls a subset of your session plugins. it’s actually the ‘extras’ that impress most. but it deviates from the original in various ways. having no bearing on the many other effects you’ll no doubt You can mix and match other Softube plugins within Console 1. pushing its upfront sound to new heights. so Console 1 deactivates any knobs or buttons surplus to requirements. Also. the latter shifting the balance from all odd harmonics to a mixture of odd and even. EQ and Comp buttons brings up a list of the compatible Softube plugins on your system in each category. there are channel Drive and Drive Character saturation controls. the EQ includes additional high and low Cut settings for the shelving bands. stylish layout Excellent processing quality USB-powered Solidly built Consistent and familiar with any DAW Against Considerably more expensive than a software-only option Auto channel naming is DAW dependent Specialist in remit. so users of all other DAWs will have to keep their fingers crossed that their platform’s developers come onboard. we do have a few complaints. No current Softube plugins require extra knobs or buttons. Alternatively SSL Duende EQ and Dynamics Channel Strip N/A » N/A » £199 SSL’s own channel strip emulation. with routing to either the Compressor or Shape unit. while retaining its other options such as Drive. and you simply dial through the list and select the one you want. but there is the potential for some parameters on future ones to end up without matching hardware controls. you have to label them – automatic labeling by DAW channel name is a feature but currently only works in Presonus Studio One with Cubase support imminent.

There are two main dials for controlling the filter: Cutoff (which becomes a delay control in comb mode and gain in amp mode) and Resonance (which controls feedback for the comb filter). in which sliders are adjusted individually. built-in effects and handy sidechain input. certainly. and Drive. but does it have what it takes to get ahead of the competition? Don’t let its vintage-style GUI fool you. band reject. controlled by 16 sliders that drag up and down to represent positive or negative values.and band-pass. The only elements of MetaFilter that feel a little lacking sonically are the Drive and Crush functions. Still. 7/10). The delay includes a Rate control that also comes with three modulation depth sliders. It all comes together to make creating extreme. efficient and sounds gorgeous. high. resonance and delay time. and the ability to offset the right channel by either 150% or 200%. MetaFilter is certainly a well-equipped all-rounder. for syncing the delay to host tempo. which. Additionally. and Sync and Swing controls are onboard. for setting slight cutoff offset between the left and right channels. Web www. The lower part of the GUI is occupied by a 16-step sequencer. each of which can be routed to the filter cutoff. but it could be more aggressive and doesn’t do anything particularly original 8/10 . a global Mix dial and Input and Output faders round things off. combining vintage character with a modern featureset and approach. characterful sound Capable modulation tools Well-designed GUI Quality delay section Intuitive MIDI learn Against Not as innovative as it claims Drive and Crush effects are a little lacking MetaFilter is effective. An intuitive MIDI learn system adds to its appeal for live performers. and Draw.waves. everything has been well-implemented and the plugin sounds great. but comprises two filters and endlessly creative modulation tools Sugar Bytes WOW 2 197 » 8/10 » €99 A highly flexible analogue-style filter with seven distortion types and tons of modulation Verdict On the move MetaFilter offers a trio of modulation tools. say. both of which are accompanied by three small sliders for setting the depth of modulation applied by each of the plugin’s three mod sources (see On the move). MetaFilter features a handful of effects and global parameters. for overdriving the input signal. a sample rate reducer. and an envelope follower that can be fed by either the main input or a sidechain signal. Finally. and the sound it delivers has plenty of warmth and character to it – a cut above most other filters in our plugins folder. While it might not be as flexible as. which emulates vintage delay hardware by applying smoother transitions between settings when modulating the Rate. That said. There’s an LFO offering a choice of five waveshapes. too. The sequencer can also be switched between Drag mode. a Rate control and Sync option. MetaFilter is built on a virtual analogue filter that can be switched between six modes: low-.com Alternatively Cableguys FilterShaper 3 202 » 8/10 » €69 Not as characterful as MetaFilter. While its central multimode filter may have something of a ‘classic’ feel to it. along with separate Feedback and Dry/Wet mix dials. there’s hardly any functionality here that we’d describe as convention-busting or game-changing. Crush. although capable of adding character. the delay can be switched to Analog mode. A better filter? Whether the sum total of all these features is enough to warrant the ‘meta’ part of MetaFilter’s name is debatable. Cableguys’ Filtershaper 3 or Sugar Bytes’ WOW 2. There’s a Sync button. pumping filter effects quick and easy. There’s also a slope switch for flipping the filter between 12 and 24dB/octave slopes. the well-thought-out modulation section and quality delay make MetaFilter a fantastic tool for quickly sculpting wild filter effects. the last for gate-style effects. At the top right of the GUI are four global controls: Spread. for smoothing out abrupt filter changes. MetaFilter uses the same Virtual Voltage technology that featured in Waves’ Element synth ( 189. what MetaFilter really excels at is creating the sort of exaggerated sweeps and pumping effects that are ubiquitous in modern club music. we were left craving just a little more grit and aggression. Smooth. Timing of sequences can be adjusted using the Rate control. comb and ‘amp’. along with a horizontal 96 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014 slider along the bottom for setting the length of the sequence. For Warm. thanks to its wellimplemented modulation tools. Beyond the filter itself. MetaFilter is a plugin (VST/AU/RTAS/AAX) aimed squarely at the modern producer. the most prominent of which is the Delay section. where curves can be made by dragging the mouse across the length of the sequencer. aren’t quite extreme enough for our tastes – even with both turned up to max.> reviews / waves metafilter Waves MetaFilter $200 This one marries a vintage-style filter with some decidedly modern tools. along with a keyboard follow function.

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with compression thrown in as a very welcome bonus (see Smack talking). When you first load up Pusher. Pusher (a “Magnetic DSP Colorbox”) is the third in the series – a unique effect based on a saturation processor followed by a dynamics stage. and it works especially well on drums – Kush Audio refer to it as “Magnetic EQ”. is balancing the four Cores in conjunction with the Flux Drive control. and the manual is just a one-page PDF. Although it vaguely resembles Kush’s debut plugin. At the heart of Pusher are four “magnetized metal Cores” – Nickel. since the main controls are labelled with symbols instead of words. The four are mixed using their individual level controls. but Pusher’s real power is in using both sections in tandem. You can still adjust all of the controls whilst in Cheat Mode. Pusher can be used to add a subtle touch of vibrancy to the mid-range crack of a snare. At the less overt end of the scale. the compressor is useful for reintroducing movement and transient definition to the processed output in a very controlled form. but that’s an overly esoteric and misleading description. the UBK-1 compressor. whereby introducing more level on one can start to affect the colour of another. Pusher (VST/AU) is much more focused on the colouration brought about by its saturation. “magnetised” output. Pusher is futuristic. or smooth the transients on overcooked hi-hats. Cobalt and Steel – each with its own particular colour of saturation. so you can always smooth out the edges with some of the original sound. even when the Bias is leant on heavily. really. thicken up the tone of a kick drum. After a brief period of acquaintance. of course. It’s a lot of fun. which labels every control and supplies brief descriptions of many of them. There’s enjoyment in running basses and 98 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014 beats through the compressor with the saturation disengaged. a Threshold knob (with no accompanying ratio control) and a release range of 50 to 1200ms. Pusher is a powerful tool for adding harmonics to individual channels and busses in order to produce a rich mix that’s full of life. so the source material can be moulded into almost total distortion. respectively. Notably. There’s also a sidechain high-pass filter onboard and another wet/ dry mix control for parallel processing. Pushing up the Bias throws the Cores into overdrive. Iron. then. There also seems to be a level of complex and unpredictable interaction between the cores. giving you plenty of options and avenues (rabbit holes?) to explore. While the Flux Drive can be cranked to butcher the dynamic shape of your material. versatile and performs superbly 9/10 . you’re greeted by the Cheat Mode.> reviews / kush audio pusher Kush Audio Pusher $149 If aliens landed. and how much of their combined effect is imposed on the input is determined by the main Flux Drive control. Steel and Cobalt are like more aggressive versions of Nickel and Iron. For Cheat mode Unique distortion & punchy compression Parallel processing Flexible colouration options Excellent for transient control Against The GUI is overly large Some controls are fiddly Combining characterful compression and saturation in one unique plugin. producing unusual squelching artifacts at extreme settings. we guess! State of Flux The main technique behind successfully using Pusher.com Alternatively Arts Acoustic CL Series N/A » N/A » $199 A compressor/limiter bundle that delivers bags of punch and colour SoundToys Decapitator 152 » 10/10 » $179 Not a compressor per se. Pusher could well become one of your go-to plugins for adding attitude and magnitude to any and all kinds of source material. more like transistors. It sports three attack speed settings. while Iron and Cobalt generate mostly odd harmonics. since the Cores react to the input signal dynamically. incidentally. no matter what style of music you’re making. like classic valve gear. we’d expect the compressors in their spaceship studio to look something like this – but how on Earth would they sound? Kush Audio’s small but intriguing range of plugins focuses on innovative methods of signal processing for general mixing purposes. While simple in terms of operation. it’s particularly brutal and barbaric in its sonic personality. Web www. but great for smoothing transients and adding flavour Verdict Smack talking The compressor after the saturation section (described as a ‘Smacky Diode Limiter’) is a beast. That’ll be the magnetism. This is useful to the point of being essential. the sound retains a character all its own. The Nickel and Steel Cores produce mostly even harmonics. too. It’s creatively exciting. The Blend lever controls the mix of dry signal and distorted. responding quicker than a short-tempered ninja. Nonetheless. slamming audio tightly into shape when called for. small pinches of the Bias control help to tame spikey transients for headroom optimisation.thehouseofkush.

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having garnered legendary status among mastering engineers in particular. adding size and presence. drums. On the right-hand side of the interface. synths. The top end of Master EQ 432’s output is particularly remarkable – silky. You get three parametric bands with stepped controls and two shelving filters. This is an EQ with a very musical tone. smooth and very classy. Master EQ 432 runs within the T-RackS Custom Shop ‘shell’ interface (free from the IK Multimedia website) or as a plugin (VST/AU/ RTAS/AAX) in your DAW (although CS still has to be installed). is the Range dB button. complete with the original’s limitations 8/10 . With mastering EQ being a very delicate process requiring patience. You might wonder why this is necessary when the gain knobs in 12dB range mode would obviously cover the shorter ranges too. but Master EQ 432 is a classic reborn. mono and stereo. care and attention to detail. bypassing the plugin usually left us feeling shocked at how much of a difference it was actually making. Who’s the master? Next. this one is based on one of the most sought-after hardware models ever built. but you’d be forgetting that the controls are stepped.com Alternatively PSP Audioware PSP MasterQ 72 » 9/10 » $179 Flexible six-band EQ designed specifically for mastering DMGAudio EQuilibrium 192 » 10/10 » £175 Brilliant all-round EQ with shelving options based on another Sontec EQ Verdict Range rover By default. to see if it’s something your machine can handle in the quantities required. it’s quite unobtrusive to the point of coming across as underwhelming – you never feel that the sound is being hyped as you push the gains up. right. When run within T-RackS Custom Shop. Web www. emulating the MES-432C – an early design by Sontec. though. The other EQs we compared it to produced results that sounded notably manipulated and a little rough around the edges. so definitely ought to be demo’ed before you buy. With the range set to 12dB. and all the usual mastering-orientated channel configurations: left. pianos… everything we threw at Master EQ 432 we were able to enhance in just a few quick moves. the fixed shelving options feel anachronistic and needlessly limiting – authenticity at the expense of flexibility. clean and polished tone. we didn’t deliberately overdo it just to hear what might happen). We began our testing by running a few mixdowns through it. and as long as our settings were sensible (ie. as with quite a few other classic EQ plugins. However. sides. and one that sounds surprisingly different to other plugins in its category. Vocals. While we have to roll our eyes a bit at the introduction of yet another EQ plugin to an already-rammed market. for testing out stronger or weaker variations on our settings. but it could be an issue in mixing situations. although it is pretty CPU-intensive. Master EQ 432 is a very difficult proposition to resist. once heard. mid/sides. we went through a variety of other EQ plugins from a host of developers also aiming to replicate the MES-432C. Mid and Hi bands sport a boost/cut range of 6dB. Master EQ 432’s parametric Lo. we found the Range dB button very useful as a sort of ‘zooming’ tool.ikmultimedia. Overall. your boosts 100 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014 and cuts will always be in increments of 1dB.5dB increments. 9dB and 12dB of range. in contrast to Master EQ 432’s impressively natural. which switches the whole plugin between 6dB. though. where large numbers of them would be required. That won’t matter for mastering. but we couldn’t get any of them to sound quite the same. and sparkle to the top end without introducing harshness. and one of the original parametric EQs. For Truly outstanding sound quality Very transparent Easy to learn Quick to set up L/R and M/S operation Against CPU-heavy Some limitations of the hardware Demanding on the host computer it may be. sub-mixes and individual tracks. The plugin makes it easy to add punch to the lower mids without creating mud. Also. whereas when set to 6dB Range (more suitable for subtle adjustments) the. same steps increase their ‘resolution’ to 0. Its sweet yet transparent sound is suitable for full mixes. mid. Master EQ 432 can be chained with your other installed T-RackS modules. Still.> reviews / ik multimedia master eq 432 IK Multimedia Master EQ 432 €240 The mastering software veterans virtualise Sontec’s classic analogue EQ with what could be the classiest addition to the T-RackS line yet Master EQ 432 is the latest addition to the T-RackS Custom Shop series of mixing and mastering plugins. where only one or two instances are required. of course. Master EQ 432 never seemed to adversely affect the character of the mix. It seems to inflate sounds when boosting.

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while the metering options cover all bases – in particular K-metering. Timing. with a 0dB reference point. and Transient Time. You can of course just pick one of the (excellent) presets and adjust the input knob. the plugin does everything it can to keep the results smooth and transparent. The output signal is analysed for RMS values. most informative mastering limiters and metering plugins that money can buy – simple as that 10/10 . The number refers to the headroom provided in dB. but what make it special beyond its stellar performance as a limiter are its analysis and metering features. and if you’re not just into ‘loud’. The metering runs green into amber into red. and several of the parameters and algorithms are new in v4. and three dBFS peak options that show the same but with different amplitude scales. solid and assured. The Mode and all of these other settings can be saved together as a full Preset. but more expensive iZotope Ozone 5 174 » 10/10 » £149 The IRC III maximiser mode in this complete mastering suite offers excellent limiting Verdict K-Metering Mastering engineer Bob Katz once proposed a metering system to deflect the troubling industry standard of mastering for nothing but maximum loudness. where it scored 10/10) is a mastering limiter plugin (VST/AU) with up-to-5. Elephant’s functionality centres on a Mode. and while it’s easy to overcook things by pushing it too far. though the temptation to push the volume when comparing your master to reference tracks still has to be resisted. which is fast becoming the de facto standard for pro mastering engineers. Shape and View. and the idea is to keep your level range amber. it comes at the expense of dynamic range. Dither for high-quality bit-depth conversion. The precision and detailing of the parameters. Ironically. the success of a limiter is largely down to how invisible it is – you don’t want to hear it working until you A/B it with the unprocessed track – and in that respect. You can fine-tune it to create very smooth yet very loud masters. Elephant feels comfortable. loudness and distortion. of course. K-14 and K-12 – each designed to show a good average loudness level for different musical styles and listening media: K-20 for classical music and theatre venues. four different Auto Input Gain Control types. Release/Attack Ratio. Heavyweight champion In use. K-14 for 102 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014 rock and CD.com Alternatively PSP Audioware PSP Xenon 124 » 10/10 » $300 Similarly detailed and with dual limiting layers. Mode settings can be saved to or recalled as a Mode Preset. Another notably useful operational feature (new in v4) is the Eval switch. For Astounding detail Supremely smooth. Channel Linking. so really knowing what you’re doing is essential to getting the best out of it.1 surround capability. which is a combination of parameters: Knee. maximum crest factor and maximum gain reduction.0 $120 It’s been a long time since we last looked at this top-tier mastering limiter plugin – how does it shape up in its latest incarnation? Fundamentally. and K-12 for pop and broadcast. but to get under its skin is to truly open up a world of possibility. Web www. K-metering offers three options – K-20. Meanwhile. Elephant is highly successful. It gives the mastering engineer everything they could possibly need in terms of metering and limiting. Other settings outside the Mode include DC Filter for removing unwanted DC Offset. Release Shape and View. This is about as deep as plugin limiters get. and a pop-out graph window showing gain reduction and output waveform against time. musicality and ear fatigue. transparent results Comprehensive metering options Well-realised presets Against Nothing! Elephant 4 is one of the best-sounding. Elephant (reviewed at v3 in 133. together with one of a selection of eight limiting algorithms – Clip.> reviews / voxengo elephant 4.voxengo. between the top of the green and the bottom of the red zone. are all incredibly helpful. which reduces the processed output to the same level as the bypassed signal. enabling quick and easy checking for distortion artifacts. More and more engineers are adopting K-metering. plus the ability to A/B changes as you make them and see the gain reduction over time graphically. a trade-off between these factors. up to 8x oversampling for higher quality operation (less noise/aliasing artifacts) at the expense of greater CPU hit. you can also use its analysis tools to make sure you’re keeping the dynamic range you want.0 Voxengo Elephant 4. which would otherwise affect the headroom. since limiting is. the ten metering setups include three K-metering options (see K-metering). and a variety of others – designed to strike a range of balances between transparency. While volume isn’t a bad thing. ultimately.

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as ever. given its surprising lack of builtin effects. lets you assign up to four playback shapes from an extensive list of possibilities (all reversible. Instrumental and 104 / COMPUTER MUSIC June 2014 Random). it’s a sample slicer and sequencer. Sector is engrossing. A decent selection of X/Y-controlled effects is onboard. The final screen. scratches and bends and are enormous fun to play with. with everything staying in sync at all times – the loops in each song pack are designed to work together. while scrolling off the bottom of the effects list reveals six greyed out extra modules – yours for £2. via some rather generic but well-produced dance and electronic choons. which brings a controlled element of chance to the triggering and processing of sectors. For your not-inconsiderable initial £7 outlay. SEQ and WRP configurations. too). But is it really a good starting point for beginners. Open the Song menu to load one and you’re presented with a long list of £2. though. complete ‘grooves’ can be drawn. For a fun app with which to get your kids interested in music production (well. like its predecessor. Grooves can be “Snapped” to preset slots. which are then arranged into songs. four assignable sector trigger buttons. Ultimately. with its spikily animated central interface and minimalist design.99. once again. However. wild and a fine addition to the iPad music studio. With Inter-App Audio and AudioBus support in place. an entry-level DAW. if you’re looking to get going in electronic music production. Also. simply fire off a kick drum at the start of every otherwise-chaotic bar. The inability to audition sectors during playback is also a bugbear. Individual loop lengths and positions can also be adjusted on the fly. say. n6/10n . bass. Touching a slot switches playback to that loop. but it’s not a production tool of any depth or weight whatsoever. GrooveMaker 2 is a good option (so long as you disable IAP!). Again. arrangement.ikmultimedia. really). and which one plays next from that selection is down to user-defined probability distribution. At its core. and by dragging your finger around in the main grid. and sample libraries Kymatica Sector £5. In the first of its three screens (MAP). a Markov-chain (Google it!) determines the order of sector playback. Other than that. beautiful.com Format iPad Kymatica’s “stochastic sample slice sequencer” could well be the most sci-fi-appearing iPad music app yet. individually available for £1.99 add-on song packs (four or five songs each. Each sector can be connected to any number of other sectors. you only get four songs (plus three from GrooveMaker Free). Always visible. etc) with nine preloaded loop slots each (you can also import and record your own sounds into them). does it offer anything for more serious musicians? GrooveMaker 2 works with its own “song” format.kymatica. the “Markov-chain matrix” can be overriden using the 64-step sequencer in the SEQ screen.> reviews / mini reviews mini reviews A rapid-fire round-up of apps. The Randomix feature is quite clever. are a set of memory slots for the MAP. IK’s primary goal here is clearly to flog as much IAP as they can. automatically generating combinations of loops by character (Mild. ROMplers. each step has a user-defined chance of triggering its assigned sector. glitches. you’d be far better off with one of the much more potent iOS apps. WRP (Warp). n9/10n IK Multimedia GrooveMaker 2 £6. delay. comprising eight tracks (drums. so you could use it to.com Format iPad/iPhone/iPod touch “Your creations will sound like hit songs made in a music production studio!” trumpets the IK website.99 Web www. making it clear that the main audience for GrooveMaker 2. which limits its usefulness. no matter which screen you’re in. and indeed. reverb and more. too. of course. These cover all manner of sweeps. it’s not a bad little system for arranging and processing sets of loops easily and intuitively. and the project tempo can be raised and lowered with all loops timestretching to stay with it. with its own percentage chance of being applied when triggered. although you can’t tag your own imported sounds to work with it. is the casual loop jockey. and a nifty little display that visualises the overall recent playback pattern. or indeed. including a filter. each. Percussive.49).99 Web www. All in all. enabling an imported audio loop (or one of the sizeable roster of included ones) to be sliced into anywhere between 2 and 32 “sectors”. Sector works well with other apps – a good thing. or throw in a scattering of sonic ‘anchors’ of varying likelihood throughout a longer phrase. But what makes it different is the “stochastic” bit.

the two VSes do a stunning job of capturing the sound of the original. and all of them sound fantastic. We can’t help wondering when they might do something new with the interface.timespace. Control is given over playback speed. Cantus is the one to get. envelope shapes. kyrie. between them. and the whole lot totalling 30GB. as much as we like it. capturing the nuance and depth of numerous classic analogue synths by ARP. basses. The first houses the main synthesis controls. All in all.frodebeats. The EFX screen hosts nine effects. this is a spectacular achievement. Being bereft of a tie function or any form of pitch modulation. “True legato” vowels are used to transition between words. the 16-channel sequencer (controlling volume.000 samples were used in the construction of this 9. lacrimosa. arps. It’s a solid addition to UVI’s consistently excellent range of synth ROMplers.1GB ROM for the free UVI Workstation (and MOTU MachFive 3). pan and swing) is aimed mainly at onboard sequencing of the 200odd drum kit and “soundscape” patches. The drums and soundscapes are interesting and engaging. strings. Aries and more. made up of some 400 phrases.bestservice. which place different sounds on each of a series of notes. with the sampled synths this time around comprising the Prophet VS and the Yamaha SY22 – the former very much the main event.com Format PC/Mac. limiter and eight-band EQ. in a surprise-free interface at a reasonable price. meanwhile. legato fades. HP. n7/10n Best Service £145 Cantus €199 Web www. They’ve got that heady combination of digital bite and analogue warmth across a versatile spread of instrument types (pads. UVI Workstation/MachFive 3 Over 28. Two 12/24dB multimode resonant filters (LP. and the results can be truly incredible. Cantus sees producer Eduardo Tarilonte doing the same again but with a choir of Gregorian monks. The Yamaha. each one presents its own set of custom controls. BP) are onboard. 9/10). n9/10n June 2014 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 105 . keys and effects are bursting with phat analogue juice. The filters also sound great – having two of them is a real plus – and the sequencer serves its limited remit well enough. sweeps.com Format PC/Mac. while 19 “soundscapes” take things off in various strange directions. UVI Workstation/MachFive 3 Web www. Oscillotron is a well-produced synth UVI Vector Pro soundbank based on an impressive line-up of source instruments. and turned into new words and phrases.de Format PC/Mac. syllable by syllable. These can be played and pitched as they are. though… n8/10n A companion Kontakt library to his Shevannai: The Voice of Elves ( 202. rather than pitching them up the keyboard. strings. while the pads. indeed. Korg. Even taken in a broader soundware context. Kontakt 5/Player Another classic compilation ROMpler from UVI. there’s nothing about it that really sets it apart from its many competitors. Roland. Oscillotron boasts a good number of quality patches within its curiously categorised soundbank – although there are also a few duds in there. single-layer pseudoemulation and a deeper duallayer version drawing on a large bank of raw waveforms. supplied) and spread across three windows. like its pointy-eared stablemate. While a monk-based vocal ROMpler is obviously something you have to really need to actually drop €199 on. etc). The interface is simple enough (no manual required… or. it must be said. arranged in series and each packing its own LFO (sine or noise) and ADSR envelope. bells/mallets. delay.mini reviews / reviews < Frodebeats Oscillotron $149 Web www. corpus. including chorus. Presented as a presetdriven. A second envelope modulates the amp. Another instrument provides 20 chants. while exciter and tube overdrive (incorporating a third filter) modules bring the fizz and heat. However. or deconstructed. reverb and more. Drawing on the effects built into UVI Workstation/ MachFive. brings its own particular character via essentially the same front-end but minus the arpeggiators and step sequencers of the other two. A keyswitched library of 24 suitably ecclesiastical Latin words (inferno. Sequential Circuits. etc) serves as the foundation of the main Cantus instrument.

com www. and recorded using vintage gear. textures and tones. providing all the loops. At just 240 samples in weight. G-Funk-inspired West Coast hip-hop is the theme of the latest NI Maschine expansion.sampleafrica. Rhodes.com n8/10n n8/10n Niche Audio Cr2 Records Naked Techno £25 Heavy Electro £13 This on-point library of 15 Ableton Live/NI Maschine techno groove construction kits is packed with hardhitting drums. but that aside. There’s a decent amount of material here. The lack of Massive presets disappoints slightly. EQ and dynamics processing offered by each platform. While there’s nothing wrong with the two categories quality-wise (and the rhythmic figures used in the drum loops are ace). The production style varies throughout. from percussion of all kinds to winds. the ululations are rather more interesting. plus alternative drum loops and fills. 40 multisampled instruments bring the requisite melodic instrumentation to the party (vintage guitars.com www. showcasing the excellent samples brilliantly.samplemagic. Zulu drumming. and while there’s nothing specifically cinematic about much of it.com www. FX and more. Massive patches and tutorial videos for producers of earshredding electro. one-shots and MIDI files required to reassemble five prefab stetson/glo-sticktoting numbers.loopmasters. this is a good thing. The only downer is the lazy file labeling. 1. bass and all kinds of synths. vinyl scratches. The included MIDI clips are also excellent. 580 loops and 199 one-shots capturing a wealth of “world” instrumentation. www. but there’s plenty of great material here. As well as a rich array of drums. though. topped off with a 16-strong set of Logic Channel Strips.7GB collection by breaks man Mr Frisbee comprises a mix of synthesised and sampled drums. but it’s pretty samey stuff. factoring in the accompanying one-shots.timespace. taking advantage of the effects. they are quite repetitive. but in places the dirt can get overwhelming.com n9/10n n9/10n Platinum Audiolab Samplephonics Electro House Dance Loops $20 Full English Breaks Vol 1 £45 Another good-value set of construction kits from the samplesmiths at Platinum Audiolab. this has to be the soundware bargain of the year so far! www. etc). presented in full and cut-down ensembles. which centre on drums. it’s an inspiring and very well made collection of esoteric rhythms. www. from decidedly organic to heavily processed.> reviews / mini reviews Soundware round-up Loopmasters Sample Magic Kid Massive – EDM Sessions £30 Cinematic Chill £35 Ten “song kits” giving you everything you need to remix the big room-filling works of the big lad. however. this time amounting to eight tracks in the eponymous genre (between 16 and 33 loops each) plus 147 drum and percussion hits of varying quality. MIDI files. energetic and as diverse as one could hope.com n7/10n n8/10n Producer Loops Sample Africa Country EDM Vol 2 £30 Zulu Warriors Vol 1 £40 A quintet of construction kits in this Avicii-inspired genre mash-up. The sounds. A “crate digger’s fantasy”. this 1. it doesn’t make for a hugely compelling sample library in this case. live basses and guitars. construction kits. The production quality is decent enough. www. though.producerloops. percussion and other one-shot sounds. ululations. and while that might be the nature of EDM as a genre. many of the samples are so specific to these tracks that unless simple remixing of them is your goal (for use in a ‘media’ project. The performances are convincing and the recordings are authentically crusty. strings and more.com n7/10n n9/10n Freshtone Native Instruments Lost Tapes Vol 2 £45 Marble Rims £44 The Freshtone band reunite with the addition of a brass section to make 40 retro soul/funk “jams”. complete with MIDI performances. Fortunately. are punchy. basses. www.platinumaudiolab.3GB of loops. but it still represents pretty good bang for your buck.loopmasters. For the most part. melodics and FX.com www.nativeinstruments. Minimoog.samplephonics.beatport. This one isn’t quite as good as last issue’s hip-hop sibling. and solo and ensemble war cry voices. Some of the drum loops feel a little stiff (‘organic’ samples meet rigidly programmed patterns). vocals.com n6/10n n7/10n 106 / COMPUTER MUSIC June 2014 .com sounds. while the war cries are absolutely superb – powerful and sonically diverse. the price is high. herdboy whistles. hits. say). you’re going to feel limited when it comes to using them in your own tracks. even if only for auditioning purposes.

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modulation and more! FREE SAMPLES BASS BOUTIQUE 900 exclusive sub basses. compression. VIDEO TUTORIALS FROM: ALEX BANKS (E-Z ROLLERS)/ STATE OF MIND/ INSIDEINFO/ TYKE PLUS! PRODUCER MASTERCLASS: MARKUS SCHULZ / KEEP IT REAL: ACOUSTIC GUITAR / BITWIG STUDIO INSTRUMENTS / 20 PROBLEMS SOLVED / HI-HAT POWER GUIDE / AND MORE! download FREE PC/MAC PLUGIN ROB PAPEN RP-DISTORT CM Awesome semimodular effect with distortion.> next month Next issue 205 ON SALE WEDNESDAY 21 MAY The producer’s guide to getting the sound of state-of-the-art DnB FEAT. gritty acoustic basses and more REVIEWS TOONTRACK EZDRUMMER 2 / ROB PAPEN BLUE II / NI MOLEKULAR / WAVES ADT / ACUSTICA TRINITY EQ / IMPACT SOUNDWORKS ARCHTOP / ABLETON DARK SYNTH / LIINE LEMUR 5 / SONIMUS BRITSON All magazine and disc/download contents subject to change 110 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014 . widening. running loops. mid-range layers.

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The company’s recent hardware offerings certainly have a vintage vibe to them. You can now buy a new “mini” version of the MS-20. While they don’t sound the same. Korg heeded the call. not least being the fact that they all allow external signals to be shunted through their innards. Korg were among the first to embrace the idea of virtual recreations of their own classic kit. making them an interesting candidate for processing. increasing desire and secondhand prices among aficionados of audio esoterica. the single-oscillator MS-10. there’s a wicked MS-20-based drum machine. Bright. Add to that a pair of 12dB filters (high. drums or vocals. both of which we’ve covered in past Blasts. this is the real deal by the company that invented the thing. and experimentalists embraced its ability to bypass the standard signal path to create unconventional timbres – Aphex Twin (Richard James) and The Legendary Pink Dots’ Phil Knight are longtime proponents. guitars. monophonic version of the company’s massive (and expensive) PS series of polyphonic analogue synths. but more than that. it was intended as a simplified. And why wouldn’t you? The MS-20 is an ideal instrument on which to learn the arcane art of synthesis. Additionally. built-in sequencing and X/Y control. LFO. Let’s hope it sticks around this time! £1 $5 £2 9 1 0 Three great emulations KORG MS-20 (LEGACY) KORG iMS-20 KORG DS-10 Originally bundled with a mini hardware replica of the real deal as part of the Legacy Collection. Unleashed in 1978. the DS-10 has the distinction of packing an awful lot of power into what amounts to a plaything. noise. The MS-20 really shone in the hands of purveyors of industrial and aggressive dance styles. this synth laid dormant until the time was right for a comeback Korg MS-20 While other big-name manufacturers steadfastly resist delving into their own pasts. and a pair of envelope generators. ring modulation. the MS-20 offers a normalled (ie. When that desire coalesced into a frenzy.and low-pass). www.com 114 / COMPUTER MUSIC / June 2014 . brutal.korg. they all share some common features. Japanese instrument manufacturer Korg have heeded the pleas of electronic musicians everywhere. Like those bulky behemoths.000 eye. or even a fullsized kit in addition to Korg’s own official plugin emulations. a tablet-based recreation of the MS-20 that throws in a virtual version of the lustworthy SQ-10 analogue sequencer. the handheld Nintendo DS game system. www. each with rip-snortin’ resonance (called “peak” here). Fully patchable and with modern niceties like unison and MIDI sync. pre-routed) signal path that can be overridden with a patchbay that comprises the right half of the slanted vertical front panel. the MS-20 sold respectfully well for a few years and then vanished from the catalogue.> make music now / blast from the past BLAST FROM THE PAST A semimodular with a big sound.1982 Original sale value £425 Current price £900-£1500 Number made Approximately 20. the latter still hauling his out on tour year after year. Yet enough were made to keep it in the public TECH SPECS Years produced 1978 .com Not strictly based on the MS-20 but rather its littler brother.xseedgames. The DS-10 offers a convincing sound from dual oscillators (like the MS-20). One ancient Korg stands proudly over them all. and you have an instrument with a decidedly edgy character. even drawing on retro products from rival companies. producing a stream of legendary Korg instruments recreated for both desktop and mobile devices. With a pair of VCOs. Awesome for making tunes on the fly. Second coming Something of a dinosaur even at the time of its release.com Korg were among the first hardware manufacturers to embrace iOS – first with their stunning iElectribe and then with this.korg. www. it has a sound all its own. brash – the sound of this brilliant blast from the past translates perfectly into today’s musical styles. Savvy readers may have noticed that the MS-20 bears some resemblance to the ARP 2600 and the EMS VCS3. you can now get Korg’s own virtual VST/AU/RTAS version of the MS-20 on its own. this diminutive dynamo offered enough to impress even without that modular-style patch field. demanding the most attention: the legendary MS-20 semimodular synthesiser. say.

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