FREE 3.8GB SAMPLES
The tech DnB marksman crafts breaks and bass
January 2017 / CM238
Build knockout drums in your DAW Today’s hottest genres ripped apart! >TRAP
3 . 8 GB SAMPLES
WHEN YOU SUBSCRIBE!
25 IN-DEPTH TUTORIALS
MASTER THE PROPHET-5 PARALLEL DISTORTION TRAP TRICKS AND MORE!
PANAGEMENT CM Get mind-blowing width with this advanced stereo toolkit!
FREE PC / MAC SOFTWARE
67 AND EFFECTS INSTRUMENTS
KITS + MORE
World exclusive review and video session!
intro / computer music <
Download See page 5 to find out how to download this issue’s exclusive content
HOW TO USE
Wherever you see this icon, there’s downloadable content such as videos, software, samples and tutorial files. See the Contents on the next page to find out how to access our Vault download area. Tutorials featuring this icon make use of our own Plugins – find out all about them on p108.
This icon means there are extra files to help you follow a tutorial feature: project files, audio examples, etc. There’s extra video content wherever you see this icon.
See and hear the latest software in action! Get the video on the Vault, or youtube.com/computermusicmag
email@example.com www.facebook.com/computer.music.mag www.twitter.com/computermusicuk www.youtube.com/computermusicmag
Free plugin worth £80 when you subscribe
Where to get Print in stores and online www.myfavouritemagazines.com
welcome Saying it’s been a hectic month here at would be an understatement. As well as a whirlwind trip over to the ’Dam for ADE 2016, we’ve been hard at work cramming as much as possible into your latest issue! Drums make or break any track. Sonically, they must hit hard and impress the listener. Every style has its own signature tricks and quirks. So no matter what genre you produce, turn to p22 and dive into our genre-busting Killer Beats guide. We’re also pulling out the stops for freebies this month. Get pro-level width, depth and space with Panagement CM (p52); bag yourself 3.8GB of incredible samples (p106); and new or renewing subscribers get a free copy of the epic Xpand!2 workstation plugin from AIR Music Technology, as sold for £80 – which is more than the price of a print subscription itself! Head to p18 for full details. You’d be crazy to miss out! During our ADE whistlestop tour, I grabbed a pint with Dutch techno legend Secret Cinema, who was all too happy to divulge some top production wisdom. Check out his in-depth modular tips, DAW tricks and plugin advice on p82. And if all that wasn’t enough, we’ve got a world-exclusive review of Vengeance-Sound’s gargantuan new synth, VPS Avenger. Trust me – it’s a whopper! Head over to p90 to get our full verdict, and check out our in-depth video session to see and hear it in action. Phew! Until next time…
“Drums make or break any track…”
Enjoy the issue
for PC, Mac, Android, iPad & more www.zinio.com
iOS app store
for iPad, iPhone & iPod touch
for Android & Chrome for PC/Mac
Joe Rossitter Editor
Issue 238 JANUARY 2017
BEATS! Get the building blocks you need to rock the kit in any genre
We take you behind the scenes as he creates DnB beats and bass
52 PANAGEMENT CM
56 2 016 CM AWARDS
67 virtual SEQUENTIAL
82 SE CRET CINEMA
Your guides for the ever-expanding world of production are here every month to show you the way
studio strategies: parallel saturation
asy guide: e Circle progressions
r beat: d trap beats
The ultimate stereo toolkit is yours for free this month
Emulate Dave Smith’s classic synths using today’s plugins
synapse audio the legend
what’s on your drive?
blue cat audio destructor
100 kush audio hammer dsp
PLUS 17 MORE products reviewed
4 / Computer Music / January 2017
Which of this year’s releases will stand the test of time?
He dishes out production advice aplenty at ADE
BLAST FROM THE PAST: ARP Sequencer
Download Get our software, samples and videos via Vault download
On your PC or Mac, go to vault.computermusic.co.uk, then either register for a new Vault account, or log in if you already have one.
Click ‘add a magazine’ in the top bar, select the issue you want to add to your Vault (eg, this issue is 238), and answer a few simple security questions.
Go to ‘my vault’ to see all your mags – click a cover and use the links to download! You can download as much or as little as you like.
DVD + DOWNLOAD
DOWNLOAD EXCLUSIVE Tutorial videos High-quality videos to guide you through our tutorials. Wherever you see the icon on the left, there’s a video version to watch
PANAGEMENT CM See how this issue’s plugin giveaway can transform your sounds with its psycho-stereo processing power, p52
See this issue’s entire video content on the next pages
Tutorial files A folder full of audio examples, synth patches and project files to help you follow our tutorials
LOOPMASTERS 1GB PACK
A gigabyte of premium-quality samples cribbed from 21 of their best recent collections, to keep you well stocked with the best in the biz, p106
500 newly-commissioned sounds to get you through this issue’s huge Killer Beats feature, p106
CM Plugins Our exclusive collection of free plugins for Mac and PC. See what’s available on p108
This digital content has been thoroughly scanned and tested at all stages of production, but as with all new software, we still recommend that you run a virus checker before use. We also recommend that you have an up-to-date backup of your hard drive before using the content. Future cannot accept responsibility for any disruption, damage and/or loss to your data or computer system that may occur while using this magazine’s programs and/or data. Consult your network administrator before installing any software on a networked computer. If you have problems using our Vault download system, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 2017 / Computer Music / 5
video Every tutorial feature in this issue comes with pro video guides. Go get them right now from our Vault download area
KILLER BEATS Get a genre-by-genre overview of techniques for knockout beat-building Read the full article on p22
1 The foundations of a house drum beat
2 Deconstructing a techno groove
3 Machine music – house vs techno
4 Modular techno hi-hats and percussion grooves
5 Bassline and sub-heavy house
6 Programming authentic live disco hi-hats
7 Synthesising a punchy EDM kick with CM Plugins
11 Deconstructing UK Garage drums
12 Making a grime beat from scratch
15 Mastering the most useful beats in rock
16 Reggae: three little beats
Pop: the sound of now
13 Hard-hitting DnB beats
The trap kick code
14 Creating organic DnB drums from a breakbeat
6 / Computer Music / January 2017
Mixing EDM drums
video To download all these videos onto your PC/Mac, just head along to vault.computermusic.co.uk and register this issue Producer Masterclass*
PANAGEMENT CM Get perfect width, depth and space with this far-out psychoacoustic stereo toolkit plugin Read the full article on p52
ICICLE Watch him create a furious DnB beat from scratch in this in-studio video session Read the full article on p44
Our fantastic software, samples, videos and tutorial files are now available to download! To get access to this content, go to vault.computermusic.co.uk on your PC or Mac’s web browser. You’ll be asked to register and answer a few simple questions to prove that you’ve got the mag. You’ll then be given access to our content! You can sign in any time
5 Um cumquam rem nonseque verspist dent to register new issues andde download more content. For more info, see our Vault FAQ: bit.ly/cmvaultfaq * Please note that the Producer Masterclass video is not available as a download via our Vault, but is made available via internet streaming. See page 45 for details.
January 2017 / Computer Music / 7
video Grab this issue’s videos via Vault download – see p5 for details VIRTUAL SEQUENTIAL They’re some of the most significant keyboards ever. See how to get Dave Smith’s creations in your DAW Read the full article on p67
1 A virtual overview of the Prophet-5 synth
/experts Our resident music production gurus walk you through their specialist field every month
plugins reloaded / make music now <
focus > CURVE 2 CM
We turn our attention to this versatile, inspiring synth, the latest Plugins family addition to the
Last issue saw the arrival of the incredible Curve 2 CM, a Computer Music-exclusive version of Cableguys’ amazing Curve 2 synthesiser. The synth is now part of the Plugins suite, an awesome collection of proquality instruments and effects that’s yours free with every issue of Computer Music. For those unfamiliar with previous versions of Curve, this synth is based around a powerful waveform editor that allows you to create your own custom oscillator and LFO waveforms with ease. This means you can fine-tune the harmonic content of your oscillators with aand great deal of Satson… on… finesse, and even blur the lines between LFOsescaped and arpeggiators It can’t have your with unusually attention thatcomplex we’ve used the modulation The LFO Satson CMsequences. plugin on almost can be synced your DAW’s host a every track intoour tune. There’s tempo or set to run free with a rate good reason for this: It’s that can exceed 5kHz! awesome! Satson CM emulates Curve 2 CM now includes unison the sound of a hardware mixer detune capability with up to 16 channel and it’s designed to be voices, and it also replaces the placedvolume on every in your AHDSR andtrack modulation mix, to lend itsflexible subtleenvelopes signature envelopes with sound that useto, thewell, sameeverything. advanced It’s light on CPU andoscillators can make waveform editing as the pretty much any track sound and LFO. Even more importantly, warmer and more rounded. The rather than having a single wave, pluginbetween can alsothe help to smooth shaped two out the sometimes-harsh sound oscillators, Curve 2 now has three oscillator – one for each of digitalwaveforms synths. Driven harder, oscillator plus an provide extra waveform Satson CM can some for oscillator 1 that can besounding balanced authentically vintage with the main waveform using distortion effects. Theby gentle the modulatable Crossfade highand low-cut filters give us a parameter. cool quick andAnother easy way ofnew thinning feature is the lows introduction of macro out muddy or rolling off knobs canand be assigned tinny that highs, you can to switch control multiple parameters
off the drive function if you just want to use it for the filters. For a
“You fine-tune the closercan look at Satson CM take a look at our YouTube video at harmonic content of www.bit.ly/Ov2WMF. your oscillators with a great dealby of finesse” > Step step
> Step by step
11. Piano and vintage synth sounds
Get a solid chord progression in a flash with this theory advice
Get some quick-fire sound advice from our resident mixdown expert
Build bulkier trap drum sounds without just reaching for the 808
2/12/13 10:20 AM
Read the full article on p80
CM Plugins Tutorial Bank
We’ve got almost all the musical ideas we need to create a full tune, but we need to spice it up with extras and ‘ear candy’. First, let’s process a piano patch so that it sounds a bit like it’s been sampled from an older tune. We start by loading a MIDI track panned 9R with a patch from the Keys»Gran Piano preset in Alchemy Player CM.
We EQ the piano in quite a distinctive way in IIEQPro, using the curve shown here, cutting off the low frequencies and adding a big boost at around 8kHz, for a thinned out, vintage kind of sound. The piano sound is finished off by Satson CM, with the Gain increased to +4 and High Pass set at 400Hz to lose even more low end.
We play some chords into the track (Piano.mid) and copy some over from the strings track. The piano sound is quite short, so we raise the Release to 70%, to lengthen it, making it more suitable for our track. We also turn the Delay Mix to 0 to knock out off the inbuilt echo effect.
Next, a vintage synth lead line (Glide.mid) from PolyKBII CM, which boasts some truly great analogue-style sounds. We choose Lead»All»LD Soaring Glider JRM and play in a melody line using the pitchbend wheel to add interest (Glider.mid). We add Satson CM with -3 Gain, 750Hz High Pass and 16kHz Low Pass, enabling the tighter 12dB/oct mode.
We take the easy option for the reverb, using ReverberateCM’s Cathedral preset, with the Dry/Wet at 10dB Wet to create some big, splashy hits and crashes. An instance of Satson CM set to 400Hz on the High Pass dial removes some of the more boomy elements, which could conflict with the kick drum and bass.
There’s a good white noise riser sound in Alchemy Player: Sound Effects»Breakdown Booom. This patch uses four different layers, so we use the X/Y 1 matrix to manipulate it. Dragging the control to the top right of the panel means that only the white noise sweep layer of the sample is played. In the track, we can use volume and pan automation to add interest.
To help you get the most out of our immense plugin collection, we’ve assembled the Plugins Tutorial Bank, containing over 100 guides and tutorials for our Plugins, specially selected from past issues. You’ll find Getting Started PDFs and videos for most of the individual plugins, along with
December 2012 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 47
Read the full Readon the full article p78 article on pxx
12. Risers and effects with Alchemy Player CM
simultaneously. As well as these new capabilities, Curve 2 CM includes all of the original Curve CM’s goodies, including dual multimode filters, frequency modulation and independent glide times for each oscillator. In this Focus, we’re going to take a look at how you can get the most from Curve 2 CM’s filters, LFO, unison detune and FM functionality. Make sure you check out the included videos, and VIDEOyou can get all the remember TUTORIAL patches we create in the Tutorial Files folder. Curve 2 CM can be found in the We’re Plugins folder, going to need a few one-shot along with a selection of other percussion FX to sprinkle throughout stunning instruments and effects. the track, and a really simple way to create Get it installed and we’re them is to loadoff! Alchemy Player CM on a new track and select the Drums»Four Way Drum Morph preset. Add KR-DelayCM set to PingPong mode and 1/4 beat Sync Delay time. A Feedback and Dry/Wet level of 40% is perfect.
Read the full article on p76
Download Curve 2 CM, the videos and tutorial files at vault.computermusic.co.uk
4 Emulating the Pro-One with u-he RePro Alpha
10/25/12 12:16 PM
8 / Computer Music / January 2017
tutorial PDFs and videos on using Plugins for sound design, mixing, and even creating entire tracks. You’ll find all of this as a handy download in our Vault – go grab it now and start getting more out of your plugins! vault.computermusic.co.uk
New releases • comment • industry happenings
Handy hardware quartet Four new physical experiences for producers who like to stay hands-on A bunch of intriguing hands-on solutions have been sighted on the computer musician’s horizon this month. Here’s our instant overview…
Music technology legend Roger Linn has released a smaller version of his LinnStrument ($1799) MIDI controller. The LinnStrument 128 ($1199) has 128 note pads instead of 200, a four-octave range, and is powerable only via USB. It’s otherwise identical, featuring RGB back-lit pads that sense strike/release velocity, finger pressure, and X/Y movement; MPE compatibility for expressive polyphonic control; all benefits of the v2.0 software update (which saw the addition of polyphonic step sequencer amongst other things), and more. URL www.rogerlinndesign.com
For those who can’t make their mind up, Joué is a large pressure-sensitive sensor onto which ‘magic modules’ are placed. These include drum pads, keyboard, guitarstyle fretboard, or a 3D control surface. Joué (that’s the company and product name) say their system allows natural vibrato, bending and finger drumming. Output is via USB MIDI. Pricing will be established during an imminent crowdfunding initiative. URL www.play-joue.com
Top-left, LinnStrument 128; top-right, ROLI Blocks; bottom-right, Joué; bottom-left, Reactable Rotor
New from the Seaboard innovators is this “modular music studio” that snaps together magnetically. Lightpad Block (£170) is an LEDlit silicone surface of adaptable configuration (5x5 for melodic play, 2x2 for a four-sound drum kit, etc), responding to strike/release velocity, movement and pressure. Lightpad Blocks can be connected to expand the setup, and Live Block (£70) and Loop Block (£70) do octave switching, transport, etc. Sound is produced using the free Noise app for iOS. URL www.roli.com
Fill up with virtual gear thanks to UA, Brainworx and Softube
10 / Computer Music / January 2017
Famous for their large-scale “Reactable Experience”, where real objects placed on a large multitouch display interact with music software, Reactable bring this closer to your iPad with Rotor ($19.99). Essentially, it’s a v2 of the existing Reactable Mobile app, (a music environment with synths, samplers, effects, etc). The big new feature is support for “tangible controllers”: small knobs you place on the screen, moving and twisting to manipulate parameters. Price TBC. URL www.reactable.com
Universal Audio’s UAD DSP system reaches v9.0, ushering in three new processors. The API 2500 Bus Compressor ($299) is crafted by UA’s in-house DSP team, “capturing its all-discrete circuit path”. The Chandler Limited Zener Limiter ($299), developed by Softube, emulates the hardware, itself “inspired by the iconic EMI TG limiters and rare RS168 from Abbey Road Studios”. Finally, it’s Brainworx’ turn to have a pop at the emulation game, with the cult classic A/DA STD-1 Stereo Tapped Delay ($199), a six-tap bucket brigade delay. URL www.uaudio.com
Trackers & Demoscene There’s movement in the SunVox scene, and we check out a 64KB demo
Stronger together: Slate have enlisted the cooperation of three audio greats for their latest plugins
Slate Digital FG-Stress, VerbSuite Classics and Repeater A trio of goodies from Slate Digital and friends here, starting with FG-Stress ($TBC), an officially endorsed emulation of Empirical Labs’ legendary Distressor compressor. Famed for adding punch, power, smack and glue to practically any signal, Slate reckon their plugin is practically
indistinguishable from the real thing. VerbSuite Classics ($199), meanwhile, uses LiquidSonics’ slick Fusion IR processing to recreate the sounds of eight revered reverbs. Finally, a collaboration with D16 Group has resulted in Repeater ($TBC), a dual-delay plugin featuring 23 delay styles, “ranging from classic oil cans and plates to the most famous vintage digital designs”. All these effects are also in the subscribable Everything Bundle. URL www.slatedigital.com
Brainworx guitar plugins Guitarists are in for a virtual treat with Brainworx’ latest clutch of plugins. First, their flagship guitar amp sim has been overhauled, resulting in bx_rockrack V3 ($199). The interface has been refreshed and the code given a complete makeover “for a drastic improvement in quality and sound”. The package contains eight amp models, including four official Engl sims, two Marshall-alikes, a Mesa Boogie replica, and a brand-new Brainworx original, the Metal BX 666. To get a taste of all this amplified goodness, try the free bx_rockrack V3 Player, containing 26 non-editable presets. If that’s not enough to satisfy your hunger for high-gain shenanigans, then you can add one of Brainworx’ new distortion pedal plugins to the mix. bx_metal2 ($49)
u-he Repro-1 in beta
Soft synth supremos u-he lifted the lid on Repro-1 earlier this year with a freely downloadable alpha (ie, early work-inprogress) version. Now the wait is over!
recreates Boss’ buzzsaw MT-2 Metal Zone pedal, while bx_blackdist2 ($49) is based on the grungy ProCo RAT 2 stompbox. All of these plugins are out now, available via Plugin Alliance. URL www.plugin-alliance.com
This component-level emulation of the Sequential Circuits Pro-One should be out by the time you read this… and check out our feature on p67 for a history lesson and virtual session! u-he have stuck closely to the original spec, packing in two oscillators, 4-pole lowpass filter, twin ADSR envelopes, an LFO, step sequencer, arpeggiator and more. They’ve added some nifty extras, too, such as an effects section. However, just like the original analogue hardware, it’s a purely monophonic device, with no unison or polyphonic capability. Repro-1 is priced $99. URL www.u-he.com
It’s getting on for a year since we’ve heard any news from our favourite Russian, Alexander Zolotov, the man in charge of SunVox. Happily, the latest version (1.9.2) is a hearty update to this great multiplatform tracker. We’ve often heaped praise on Renoise for the awesome control afforded by its meta devices, and SunVox
“It’s the kind of discotheque you might find Buck Rogers and his white trousers in” takes an important step in that direction, adding two new modules that convert either incoming pitch or velocity information into values which can then be used to control parameters on other devices. Elsewhere, Windows and Linux both gain multitouch support, while Mac users continue to languish with passé pointing device input. There are also dozens more tweaks and changes, including updates to the various synth and effects modules and new bundled example projects and songs. As ever, it’s available for Win, Mac, Linux, Pi and more for free and for a modest fee on iOS and Android. www.warmplace.ru demo of the month Elysian by Logicoma Some of the best demos are found in the 64KB pile. It’s a size big enough to squeeze in decent graphics and sound, and small enough to encourage efficiency and innovation. Elysian is no exception, and took the crown at this year’s TRSAC demoparty in Aarhus, Denmark. Our favourite effect by far is the prism tunnel, which looks like the kind of discotheque you might find Buck Rogers and his white trousers in. The rest is a triumph of mathematically generated geometry, fascinating light shows, stunning real-time camera depth-of-field, and a soundtrack that is as stunningly produced as it is compact. And as the whole shebang actually fits into 56KB, Logicoma still had room to spare. bit.ly/LogicomaElysian
Elysian impresses in far under 64KB
January 2017 / Computer Music / 11
Get with the programmers Find out how this innovative new plugin development house put together their marvellous musical software
For those that don’t know, what’s your history in music, composing and product design? Why did you start up Beatskillz? GD “I’m a computer engineer by education, and I was the very first guy in India to write a MIDI sequencer in C++ as my final-year project. Once I graduated, I was lucky enough to have a super career in India as a composer and producer, selling over 10 million records. “I’ve always preferred analogue gear, even though I was born in the digital age. The inspiration behind Beatskillz really has been my own approach to production – I wanted tools like i had in the analogue world: chains of processors set up to do the job easily, without distracting from the creative process.”
Your plugins focus less on visualisation and metering than others do. What’s the philosophy behind leaving these components out? GD “This is not a new approach – I feel that just because ‘we can’ in the digital world doesn’t mean ‘we have to’. I don’t want to make technicians out of producers and musicians. “In all cases, we do feature awesome visual feedback – even our first product Slam Dawg featured output meters for response, and it went on to be a top-selling product that even major plugin companies are now happy to take ideas from. Things that make you feel like you’re working with something tangible are more popular and valuable in my opinion.” Plugins such as Slam Pro and Slam Dawg feature simplified controls on the surface. How complicated are they underneath? GD “Slam Pro features very very complex algorithms and technology. The Bass section, for example, features a mix of processes from EQ to sub-harmonic generation and a touch of multiband compression… and then comes the heat, with four flavours of distortion – we had to spend months getting the emulations perfect… and it’s just one knob for the user!”
“Finally, we applied some maths from the 1800s…”
What coding or technology did you implement within Bounce and Valvesque to separate them from the abundance of compressor and distortion plugins on the market? GD “For Bounce, we studied how transients actually work in such a short period of time, and developed multiple stages of detection and frequencydependent detection. Valvesque was very very hard to do as well – it was modelled on a popular british tube distortion preamp. We tried waveshapes, and other available technology, but finally, we applied some maths from the 1800s, which offered a new way of capturing multistage distortion and transformer signal paths. We call it RTT (Reactive Transients Technology). This enables us to now make products which sound like real distortion units. I would also like to thank my additional programmers Carlo Castellano and Aaron Leese for their brilliant work and collaboration.” What’s next for Beatskillz? GD “We’re creating a new limiter plugin which will be free for the audio community – a very transparent limiter and volume maximizer. Besides this, we have a new tape machine emulation, and some virtual instruments coming up this year. Also a brand new platform for loops, which will hopefully revolutionise the way people use and purchase loops online.” URL www.beatskillz.com 12 / Computer Music / January 2017
Ringing resonances and harsh frequency peaks are the bane of many a mix engineer’s life, but here’s a plugin to tackle them. soothe was originally conceived as a vocal processor, but oeksound say it’s capable of suppressing whistles, noises and harshness in everything from individual instruments to the master bus. In technical terms, it’s a dynamic equaliser with adaptive frequency bands and adjustable sensitivity, and is apparently “free from pre-ringing, crossovers, and summing artefacts.” Priced €149, soothe is out now for Mac, with a Windows version in the pipeline. URL www.oeksound.com
AudioThing The Orb
This new formant filter aims to give any sound a human-like drawl, simulating the vowel characteristics of the human voice. There are four vowel sets, Male, Female, Child and Custom, with the latter allowing you to define your own set of vowels. Three LFOs are on-hand to modulate the vowel itself, the formants’ resonance, and Drift, which offsets formant frequency. For those into DSP tech-specs, The Orb’s formant-fiddling trickery is accomplished using a trio of zero-delay feedback band-pass filters. The Orb costs €49 and is out now. URL www.audiothing.net
The analogue-modelling masters behind Burnley 73, SonEQ Pro, and Satson CM have created their debut dynamics processor. Based on variable mu valve compressors, TuCo is not a direct emulation of any specific piece of gear, instead being an original Sonimus design. Sonically, they say it exhibits “subtle and natural compression at low amounts, and plenty of punch at higher settings”. Features-wise, you’ve got four dynamics modes (slow/fast compressor and slow/fast limiter), four stereo modes, dry/wet mix, sidechain high-pass filter, tube saturation, and more. TuCo is out now, priced $74. URL www.sonimus.com
Audiority Harmonic Maximizer
From the minds behind our own TS-1 CM transient shaper comes this multiband exciter and loudness-shaping plugin. The exciter spans six bands, each with adjustable Frequency and Gain, while the Maximizer section offers Drive, Blend, Push and Gain controls. Auto-gain and auto-release are part of the spec, and there’s input/output metering on hand to further keep your levels in check. Sonically, Audiority claim the plugin will “make your tracks powerful and more alive”. You can get it right now for €45. Check out our review on p103! URL www.audiority.com