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welcome From step-by-step tutorials and exclusive samples to inspirational in-studio videos with professional producers, Computer Music’s aim has always been to provide you with everything you need to Make Music Now. And, of course, a key part of this package is our collection of virtual instruments and effects, yours to install and use for only the price of a magazine. Well, as you’ve already spotted on the cover of this very mag, this issue’s free software giveaway is something rather special… and could be a candidate for the biggest giveaway ever! Bitwig Studio 2 is a gamechanging digital audio workstation, and your free 8-Track version will revolutionise the way you create and perform electronic music, especially if you’re used to more traditional DAWs. Whether you want to record instruments, manipulate audio, compose with MIDI, explore synthesis and sampling, or even integrate hardware gear with software, Bitwig Studio 2 8-Track gives you absolutely everything you need to make incredible tunes, both in the studio and on stage. So what are you waiting for? Install and fire up your free DAW, then turn to p22 and get stuck in with our collection of expert tutorials and videos, designed to get you up and running in a flash.

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Joe Rossitter Editor


Issue 264 JANUARY 2019

contents

Cover feature

The

guide to

Bitwig Studio 2

8-Track Find out how to use this issue’s powerful DAW freebie, p22

Features

48 Producer Masterclass MAX FOR LIVE SPECIAL Make your own Max device from scratch with expert Phelan Kane

Interview 80 RÜFÜS DU SOL

Camo & Krooked talk Bitwig Studio at ADE 2018

60 MIXDOWN MOJO

Free samples

Ten tips for breathing life into lacklustre mixes

104 BOMB FACTORY

67 Virtual vinyl

An exclusive pack of bombastic impacts, noise blasts, cannon hits, FX and much more

Emulate scratch effects and the sonics of wax

Reviews

/experts Your guides to the ever-expanding world of production are here Dave Clews on dissonance and consonance

74

76 s  tudio strategies

80 Essentials

88 N  I MASCHINE MIKRO MK3

10 news

90 Unfiltered Audio Byome

16 What’s on your hard drive?

92 CHERRY AUDIO Voltage modular

40 BACK ISSUES

96 brainworx  bx_masterdesk

114 B  last from the past: SYNCLAVIER

14 freeware news

46–SUBSCRIBe

988d16 fazortan 2 998eventide  sp2016 reverb

Explore found-sound beats with pro producer Ed:it

101 Mini reviews

78 dr beat  Ronan Macdonald fills us in on drum roll programming

92

The globetrotting Aussie trio discuss the making of their new album, Solace

42 Interview

74 easy guide

88

76

4  /  Computer Music  /  January 2019

114


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video Download this month’s videos: filesilo.co.uk/computermusic

The

guide to

Bitwig Studio 2

8-Track

Find out how to use this issue’s powerful DAW freebie Read the full article on p22

6  Exploring the Arranger Timeline and Clip Launcher

7  Getting to know Scenes

9  Synthesising an FM bass sound with FM-4

10  Processing MIDI with Note FX

11  Trying out Sampler’s new features

12  Sampler’s Textures and Cycles modes

15  Jamming in the Clip Launcher

18  Understanding Containers

19  Advanced modulation with Containers

6  /  Computer Music  /  January 2019


video MAX FOR LIVE SPEcial

Producer Masterclass

PHELAN KANE

Ableton Certified Trainer Phelan Kane walks you through the process of building a Max For Live device from scratch Note: this video is only available using the link on page 49 Read the full article on p48 January 2019  /  Computer Music  /  7


video

This issue’s videos are available from FileSilo – see p5

VIRTUAL VINYL How to emulate DJ-style scratching and vinyl sonics from the comfort of your DAW Read the full article on p67

1 

3 

Cutting a virtual record in your DAW

Creating scratch effects in Ableton Live

/experts Our resident music production Easy Guide: Consonance and dissonance gurus walk you through their specialist field every month Read the full article on p74

8  /  Computer Music  /  January 2019

Dr Beat: The drum roll, part 1 Read the full article on p78


>  news

New releases • comment • industry happenings

Novation SL MkIII The latest in this controller keyboard series is overflowing with features

Sequence and control everything in your studio with the SL MkIII

Aiming to provide total operational dominance over both your DAW and hardware synths, the latest version of Novation’s popular SL series controller keyboard looks to be a major upgrade from previous generations. The SL MkIII clearly riffs on Native Instruments’ Komplete Kontrol S-Series Mk2 keyboards, with its Light Guide-style RGB LEDs over every key, illuminating to provide visual referencing for scale and chord layouts, and keyboard zoning. Beyond that, unlike the more understated S-Series, the SL MkIII is bristling with knobs, pads, faders and buttons. It also gives an impressive degree of

connectivity, with the usual USB, MIDI and pedal outputs joined by an analogue clock and two sets of CV/Gate/Mod minijacks. Building on the technological foundations put in place by Novation’s Launchkey and Launchpad controllers, the SL MkIII hooks into Ableton Live for bidirectional control of devices, plugins and the mixer via eight touch-sensitive rotary encoders and five LED displays. Mappings for a range of other DAWs and software are also built in, not to mention various hardware synths and other gear. And if your particular ‘thing’ isn’t covered, the free software editor enables you to make your own templates and upload them to the keyboard.

The 16 velocity-sensitive RGB backlit pads, meanwhile, are used for triggering drums, launching clips and – crucially – standalone step sequencing. This last is one of the MkIII’s biggest selling points: you get eight tracks of up to eight 16-step patterns each, with full onboard control over note pitch, velocity, gate time (all routable to the CV/Gate/Mod outs) and playback style, as well as live recording and parameter automation. Available in 49- and 61-key configurations (priced £540 and £630 respectively), the Novation SL MkIII is available now, and we’ll be reviewing it soon. novationmusic.com

iZotope Nectar 3

Get a headstart on vocal processing with Nectar 3’s Vocal Assistant

10  /  Computer Music  /  January 2019

Version 3 of iZotope’s vocal and dialogue plugin aligns with their other recent updates with Vocal Assistant, an intelligent one-click tool that sets Nectar 3’s various modules – compression, EQ, de-essing, gating, reverb, etc – up for you, based on the analysed sonic properties of the input signal. Other new features include inter-plugin communication for ‘unmasking’ vocal tracks, a new 24-band EQ with Dynamic and Follow modes, and a redesigned GUI. Priced £229. izotope.com


news <

App watch We report on the latest developments in phone and tablet music making

Softube claim that new plugin Harmonics is the answer to your distortion-based prayers

Softube Harmonics

Applying distortion to any sound can be a tricky business, with edge and toughness often coming at the expense of definition and clarity. Softube reckon that their new plugin, Harmonics, “with its never-beforeheard approach to dynamics in distortion, is the answer”. Harmonics features five separate component-modelled distortion processors – Solid State, Transformer, Master (for bus processing), Tube and Modern – and employs Softube’s new Dynamic Transient Control technology, which are in place to

allow “the dynamics and detail to be preserved and enhanced even after heavy distortion is applied”. The DTC knob keeps the process intuitive, ranging from ‘More Dynamics’ through one half of its travel to ‘More Control’ through the other. The Drive and Character controls that you find alongside it boost the input and brighten/darken the sound, and variable-slope High and Low Cut filters can be applied at the output. Harmonics is available to buy for Mac and PC from the Softube website. It costs $149. softube.com

iPad Pro

It was the iPad Pro’s turn for an update last month, with 11- and 12.9-inch models getting a refresh. Notably, each now has an ‘all-screen design’ and a Liquid Retina Display, with the military-sounding A12X Bionic chip giving horsepower. Plus, they’ve ditched both the Lightning and headphone ports, replacing the latter with… nothing. Starting at £769 and £1119 respectively, that might just sting a little. apple.com/ipad

Rob Papen eXplorer 5 and RAW-Kick

Rob Papen has now released the latest version of his eXplorer plugins bundle, comprising of 20 instruments and effects, including the amazing Predator 2 (9/10, 239), SubBoomBass 2 (8/10, 254) and RP-Verb 2 (9/10, 250), as well as the brand new RAW-Kick. Designed in conjunction with DJ Free-K and DJ Promo, RAW-Kick lets you build your ideal kick drum by layering three soundgenerating modules, each one switchable between synthesis (Kick Model) and Sample playback. The Kick Model features tweaking of individual harmonics, and plenty of filtering, distortion, EQ, modulation and effects are in place for sound design and processing. The Master section facilitates

Waves Abbey Road TG Mastering Chain

Waves’ new modular channel strip plugin models the EMI TG12410 Transfer Console that’s still in active employment today at Abbey Road Studios’ mastering suites. It’s geared up “to create custom processing

AudioKit Digital D1

control of all three layers at once, and a healthy library of presets by the likes of Sinister Souls, The Outside Agency and Ophidian get you started. eXplorer 5 is out now for Mac and PC, for £415, with various upgrade options. RAWKick can be had on its own for £67. timespace.com

chains with a flexible flow and the TG magic on the master bus, or on individual tracks/ groups in a mixing session”, and is said to accurately recreate the console’s gorgeous transistor-based sound, as heard on seminal works including Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and Nirvana’s In Utero. Five modules are included: TG12411 Input, TG12412 Tone (EQ), TG12413 Compressor/ Limiter, TG12414 Filter and Output, incorporating the TG12416 VAL stereo controller. They can be used together in a ‘rack’ or individually, and Waves’ new Meter Bridge plugin enables all running instances of TG Mastering Chain to be visually monitored from a single module. Available now for Mac and PC, for $199. waves.com

Fans of 80s and 90s digital synths will love the AudioKit Digital D1, a virtual analogue/ PCM synth for iPad. This 64-voice instrument features Hybrid Digital Poly Synthesis, and 1GB worth of samples. Each voice is dual-layer, there are dual independent per-layer filters, and you get three LFOs. A vintage-style arp/step sequencer and effects sweeten the deal. It costs £9.99, with proceeds supporting AudioKit’s open-source projects. audiokitpro.com/digitald1

Loopseque 8

In honour of its eighth anniversary, Casual Underground have released Loopseque 8, an 8-channel version of the circular beat sequencer. Two decks let you have two projects rolling at once and crossfade between them in a DJ-like fashion, and support for Ableton Link means you can sync with other software, too. Other new features include a sample editor, reworked effects and more. £9.99 for iPad. loopseque.com January 2019  /  Computer Music  /  11


9000

>  news

Get with the programmers The CTO of the company behind Voltage Modular tells the tale of their amazing open-ended environment

Cherry Audio

Dan Goldstein

Where did the idea for Voltage Modular come from? DG “In 2004, I had the idea of building a software modular synthesiser that lets people add as many modules, cables, and cabinets as their CPU could handle, in any configuration they could dream up. I built a prototype, and it worked great, but I felt there was something missing. A few years ago, I realised that the best part of modern modular synthesis is the ability to mix and match modules from different manufacturers to create your own personalised system. The ideal software modular couldn’t just come from my ideas and tastes – it had to be an open platform that any programmer could develop modules for.”

What sets Voltage Modular apart? DG “Cherry Audio’s team has decades of experience building software with a fantastic workflow and an intuitive interface. We put a great deal of effort into making modular synthesis on a computer screen just as fun as modular synthesis with hardware. Working with Voltage Modular is fast, easy, and intuitive. We’re all vintage synthesiser enthusiasts, collectors, and techs, and we know what makes a synthesiser sound truly great. Second, the Voltage Module Designer is a truly remarkable tool. Modules can be programmed in a matter of minutes, and programmers can focus on crafting phenomenal DSP algorithms instead of wasting hours trying to learn some archaic API. All module code is written in Java, and all modules are automatically crossplatform. Voltage Modular converts the Java bytecode into machine language on your computer, so it runs lightning-fast. Building a module is as simple as laying out your controls, adding background art, and writing simple code to tie it all together. Every control is fully skinnable, and there are virtually no limits to what a module can do.”

“We know what makes a synthesiser sound truly great”

PSP Audioware are making modules for Voltage Modular. Are any more big names involved? DG “There are a lot of great new modules coming soon to Voltage Modular, both from third parties and from Cherry Audio. Our third-party developers are constantly building new modules, and we have quite a few of our own in the works as well. That’s about all I can say at this point…”

What’s your favourite Voltage Modular module, and why? DG “We have a module called Formula. It contains three inputs (X, Y, and Z) and an output. You can write just about any formula and it sends the real-time result to the output jack. The waveshaping and distortion capabilities are astonishing, and the results from typing in random formulas can be surprising. It shows how powerful the Voltage Modular system is. The idea was thrown out in passing during a conversation about modules. Within two hours, we’d built a fully working prototype.” What does the future hold for Cherry Audio? DG “We’re only beginning to see what Voltage Modular is capable of. We have third-party developers building suites of awesome-sounding filters. We’re working on modules that model the sound of classic vintage synthesiser filters and oscillators, and the results are really thrilling. As for Cherry Audio, we’re thinking big – the sky’s the limit.” URLcherryaudio.com 12  /  Computer Music  /  January 2019

Audio Damage Ratshack Reverb 3

The refurbishment of Audio Damage’s effects plugin line continues with an update to their emulation of the Realistic Electronic Reverb device. Like that classic 80s hardware box, Ratshack Reverb 3 is in fact an analogue-style BBD, with pitch following delay time, and the plugin offering both mic and line input options for overdrive. The interface is now vector-based, and freely resizeable, and the XML-based crossplatform preset manager allows transfer of presets between iOS and desktop versions via Handoff. Mac and PC, $19, and iOS, £2. URL audiodamage.com

AudioThing Reels

There are plenty of high-quality tape machine emulations on the market, but AudioThing’s new plugin is “based on an old Japanese portable tape recorder with a very distinct lo-fi analogue sound”, capturing “all the imperfections of consumer reel-toreel recorders”. Reels models three tape types, each with its own frequency response and saturation characteristics, and plenty of control is provided, including Wow/Flutter, Crosstalk, Ducking, Hiss, Motor noise and more. It even does tape-stop effects. You can grab Reels now, for Mac and PC, for €59. URL audiothing.net

Kush Audio Goldplate

We’re huge fans of Kush Audio’s range of stellar dynamics-shaping, EQ and distortion plugins, so news that they’ve partnered with Relab Development to develop their first reverb has our anticipation meter maxed out. Goldplate is a plate reverb emulation that, they say, “marries Relab’s gorgeous, silky smooth reverberation tails with Kush’s plush harmonic shaping and fat compression curves”. We’re champing at the bit envisioning luxurious ambience with a dash of distortion and dynamics shaping. If you can’t wait for our review, though, Goldplate is available now, for $199. URL thehouseofkush.com

Accusonus ERA Voice Leveler

The one-knob craze continues with the latest addition to Accusonus’ ERA Bundle plugins collection (8/10, 261). This one’s all about maintaining a consistent volume level in any source audio, but particularly spoken word and, presumably, vocals. ERA Voice Leveler has the same simple GUI styling as its stablemates, and features Normal and Tight modes for two ‘intensities’ of processing, plus – new to the ERA series – an Input/ Output waveform view for visual feedback. Make it yours for $59, or as part of ERA Bundle Pro ($399) or Standard ($149). URL accusonus.com

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Computer Music 264 (Sampler)  

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