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Editorial Wusik Sound Magazine www.wusiksoundmagazine.com

Hello readers, and welcome to the December

Issue December 2009

year - we have some excellent articles for

magazine. Santa has come a little early this you in this edition. We've got the usual round up of product reviews, a great competition

Managing Editor: MoniKe Assistant Editors: Damion Johnston WilliamK Production Manager: MoniKe

giveaway from the cool folks at Image Line,

Articles by:

We're also delighted to be able to bring you a

and interviews with some of the finest minds in pro audio software.

new feature - Programming corner, courtesy A. Arsov www.arsov.net David Keenum david@wusik.com Ginno 'g.no' Legaspi www.myspace.com/gnomusic Mattias Näslund www.twitter.com/ryan_shitlipz http://soundcloud.com/dieseljesus dieseljesus@hotmail.com Rob Mitchell Squibs Tomislav Zlatić http://bedroomproducers.wordpress.com/ bedroomproducers@gmail.com Johnathan Pritchett - aka Trusty www.myspace.com/crosssoldiers Stickybeats@yahoo.com Warren Burt http://www.tropicapricorn.com/ WilliamK

plug-ins with c++ and the cross platform JUCE framework, and comes complete with downloadable sample code! We hope you enjoy the magazine. The Wusik Magazine team would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support. We wish you Happy Holidays and a prosperous New Year. Squibs

Happy Holidays!

Proof-Reading by: Damion Johnston - aka EM Dave Clark Brian Bochicchio - aka Bobo www.seraphicpanoplymusic.com/ brian@seraphicpanoplymusic.com Peggy Pictures: www.dreamstime.com MoniKe Covers Henry Gibson

of WilliamK. The article looks at building VST


Table of Contents Table of Contents Tutorial: Take Control of Battery 3 Outputs in Sonar by Rob Mitchell

04 10

Making Sounds Wusik Station V6 Grooves by WilliamK

Interview: Mike Janneym - from AudioRealism by Trusty

18

22

28

Review: Dear Santa 112db Redline Equalizer by A. Arsov Interview: Dj! - from112db by Trusty

34 36

Review: Drive Machine Drums Interview: ToneBuilder by Tomislav Zlatić

38

Review: U-he ACE by A. Arsov Interview: Urs Heckmann + U-he Zebra by Johnathan Pritchett

40 46 48 50 52

Review: Ravernator - from Ametrine Audio Interview: Robert Parry from Ametrine Audio by David Keenum Review: Hematohm and Mobilohm from Ohm Force by Ginno Legaspi Interview: Cid - from Ohm Force by Mattias

56 58

Review: The Juce Framework Interview: Jules - creator of Juce by WilliamK

60

Review: Audio Damage Interview: Chris Randall from Audio Damage by Trusty

Programming Corner: Juce by WilliamK

68

76 78

Synth Squad - Fxpansion DCAM by Trusty

82

Electronic Toy Museum from UVI SoundSource by Trusty

84

Trance MIDI Construction Kits from Trance Euphoria by David Keenum

86

Live 8 - from Ableton by Trusty

90

Artillery 2 and Effectrix from Sugar Bytes by Trusty

92

The McLean Mix - 3 DVDs by Warren Burt

96

TrackPlug 5 - from Wave Arts by Ginno Legaspi

Phonat by Mattias

Developers’ Corner:

24

Review: Isone Pro by A. Arsov

100

FL Studio 9 - from Imagine Line by Squibs

104

Jazzistic and Beat Box Anthology from UVI SoundSource by A. Arsov

108

Pop Rock Guitars and Textured Guitars from Nine Volt Audio by David Keenum

112

Volcano 2 - from FabFilter by Ginno Legaspi

114

The Resource - from Uberschall by A. Arsov

Mini-Review: Soundware Round-Up by Ginno Legaspi

116

What’s On Your Amp: Tara Busch - Pilfershire Lane by Squibs

121 36

Don’t miss that! Image Line Competition!


Battery Contro l

tutorial

Take Control of Battery 3 Outputs in Sonar by Rob Mitchell

In case you haven't heard, Battery 3 is a drum/percussion plugin from Native Instruments. It has many pre-designed kits available, and you can build your own as well. There are many ways to manipulate the sounds it has from within the plugin itself, but what if you want to control each sound separately, and use your own compressor, gate, or reverb effect on each one?

For this article, I am showing how to do this within Sonar 7, but it should work in a similar fashion in whichever DAW setup you may have. Just for an example, we'll start with a blank slate in Sonar. If you use the "Blank" template (no tracks or busses), then you won't have to go in to delete extra junk from the pre-made templates. Click File, New, then select "Blank" from the list.

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tutorial

Then click Insert, Softsynths, Vst plugins, Battery 3, and when the dialog box opens, you can choose between First Synth Audio Output, All Synth Audio Outputs: Stereo, or All Synth Audio Outputs: Mono. The problem with those choices is that you might not want every track to be stereo, or every single track to be mono either. In Battery 3, you can specify a certain amount of outputs to be mono or stereo, or you can have them be ALL mono or stereo.

also has splash and china cymbals already included, (2 cymbals I usually end up adding to other kits) so you don't have load those in, and save the kit again. Not that it's hard to set it up that way, but the splash and china cymbals included already sound great in this kit.

So how do you get around this? You can tell Battery 3 how many outputs to have, and which sounds go to which outputs. So for now, pick the first choice I mentioned above: First Synth Audio Output. It will load Battery 3, and then you can pick one of the pre-made kits, or one you have made yourself. For this example, we load up one of my favorites from the pre-made kits, "Soul Kit - multi mic" from the Battery 2 Kits/Acoustic Kits section. I like this one in particular, as the sounds themselves are great, but it also has separate direct, room, and overhead samples for everything in it. It December 2009

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05


Take Control of tutorial Now to set up the outputs. At the top of Battery, click File, then click Options. On the right side of the Options section, you'll see the Audio Outputs section. If you click the + or - , it will increase or decrease the amount of stereo or mono outputs.

When I setup my drums in Battery and Sonar, I needed something to help me to determine what goes where, so I sketched out the drum kit on a piece of paper. It helped visualize what the direct microphone placement would be, and also show the overheads/rooms, etc. I counted only one mono output each for the following directly-miked parts of the set: 1) snare and side-stick of snare, 2) hi-hat (open/closed,etc...), 3) ride and ride bell, 4) high crash on another, etc. For example, the hi-hat in this kit has 4 different types of sounds. Open, Half-open, Closed, and Pedal. I only used one output for all 4 of those, since they are all hi-hat related anyway. The Ride and ride bell sounds could be on another single mono output as well.

One cool thing about this kit is (like I mentioned before) the separate room and overhead microphone samples. You can have those going to their own outputs! What I did to save on using up a million outs in Battery was to combine some "like" things together. One way you could do it is to have the snare, toms, and bass drum room mics output (the room samples are stereo) going to one stereo out. Or separate it so the toms are on one stereo out, and You can set it to have up to 16 stereo outs, or up to 30 the snare and bass are on another, so you have more mono outputs. It all depends on how you want to set it up. control over it. You see how it works now, and you can do Increasing either the mono or the stereo will automatically the same thing with the overheads output, too. You just take away outputs from it's counterpart. So if you want 30 have to plan it out so you don't run out of outputs, but get mono outputs for instance, you'll see the stereo outs the most control out of Battery and your DAW as possible. decrease (with each increase of the mono outs) until it finally shows just 1 stereo out. Let's check how we can work the numbers: You could set it to have 13 mono For certain drums, you might not care too much if it is a outputs and 9 stereo outs. stereo out, it depends on the kit you have loaded. For the directly miked drums in this kit, since they are mono One of those stereo outs anyway, you could just use mono outputs. The overheads is usually reserved by and room mikes are in stereo, so you should have those Battery 3 as the Master go to stereo outputs. out, but you can still use it you want. Each direct

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December 2009


tutorial

Battery 3 Outputs in Sonar

part in this kit can go to it's own output (direct mic snare, bass, hi-hat, each tom, each cymbal). You could have separate room and overhead outputs, you get to use 9. Here's one way to use those outs: 1 stereo out for the snare's room sound, and another just for the snare's overhead sound. We can do the same thing with the bass drum as we did with the snare. Then, have all the tom's room mics as a stereo output, and overhead mics as a group on their own separate stereo outs as well! All the cymbals room mics could be on another stereo out, and then the cymbal overheads can have their own output, too.

Then you have to go to the bottom right part of Battery's Output section, and click Master, then click the first available mono out. For this example, it's Mono 19. That's it, you just assigned the direct bass drum sound to it's own output. Now, go to the next cell over from that, "Snare Drum", click on it, then click the Master again, but this time pick Mono 20 as the output. For the next one over called "Side Stick", since that is actually a stick hitting across the rim of the snare, you can just output it to Mono 20, the same as the regular snare sound.

Whew! Ok, now here is how to actually tell Battery what sound will go where.

There are 4 of them for the hi-hat, just assign all of those to the next output, Mono 21. You would then give the ride and ride bell the next one, Mono 22. Then skip down to row E, and assign each of one on that row it's own Mono output, Hi Tom would be Mono 23, Mid Tom would be Mono 24...you get the idea, right?

After you have set the outputs the way you want (like I mentioned above, or your have it set your own way) leftclick on the top left cell. For this example, it is the direct Bass Drum sound.

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Take Control of tutorial

For the Overhead cells it's basically the same. This time however, starting with the first cell on row B (Bass Drum Overhead) which is stereo, we'll use the first Stereo output, and in this example that's St 3/4.

Now you repeat what we did above, but start at the Bass Drum Room sound (first cell on row C) and give it output St 9/10, then work your way across, just like above. Make sure to save the kit, (File/Save Kit as...) and call it something a bit different than that regular kit, so you remember which one you just worked on, and so it won't overwrite the original. In Sonar, create 1 bus, and name it Master. Then on the left side, left-click the #1 section of the Battery tracks to select it, change it's output to that Master bus you just created. We will need to clone this one. Right-click on it, and click "Clone Track(s)...� type in 21 for repetitions, and then click Actually the first stereo out is the Master out, but we'll skip Ok. You now have 22 tracks for Battery's outputs (that over that one for now. we setup previously), plus the midi track at the bottom. Click on the next cell to the right, the Snare Overhead, and give it the next stereo output in line, St 5/6. Give the Side Stick cell the same output (St 5/6). Then you would output the next 6 cells (hi-hat and ride overhead sounds) to the next stereo out, St 7/8. If you want to keep going and finish off the overhead cymbal sounds, you could now skip down to row E, and click on the Low Crash overhead cell, and output it to the same St 7/8. Keep doing that for the next 4 cells, Mid and High Crash, China and Splash. 08

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You have to tell each track where to get it's sound from, so starting at the #1 spot, click on the arrow on the right side of the Input section where it says: "Battery 3 1 B3 Master:Stereo". It will have a dropdown menu, then put the mouse over where it says "Battery 3 1", and it will bring up all the outputs from Battery to choose from. If you want the first track to be the direct mic Bass drum, select "B3 Mono 19 Left (mono)"


tutorial

Battery 3 Outputs in Sonar

the next track, pick B3 Mono 21, that is for the 4 hi-hat sounds,etc...I think you can see where this is going. Make sure to pick the right outputs from Battery, for instance, the bass drum overhead output goes to St 3/4, so you'd pick that from the corresponding track.

You can rename the track to make it easier to remember what's what, just call it something like "Bass drum direct". Then select the next cloned track below that one, and repeat the process, but pick the B3 Mono 20. That one will take care of the Snare and Side Stick's outputs. On

Of course, you can organize the tracks in whatever order you want. I had my setup with all the direct tracks one after the other, and all the stereo tracks (overhead and room) after that.

I also used Sonar's Track Icons to help keep it looking more organized. For this article, I didn't go into using Busses, Sends, etc., but you can always put on your own finishing touches. You could also save this as a template in Sonar to load in to other projects whenever you'd like, saving you tons of time. Hopefully this has sparked some ideas of your own, gets you thinking of new ways to get your drum/percussion sections more organized and in control.

December 2009

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Making Sounds tutorial Wusik Station V6 Grooves by WilliamK

Fancy some extra layers for that great real-time jam?

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tutorial

Since the latest release of Wusik Station V6, we now have the very useful option to stack up to 16 regular Wusik Station presets. It's like having 16 Wusik Stations inside of one. This means that you get to use 16 more layers, 16 more Wavesequencers, 16 more Groove Sequencers! Yes, this is really great news.

For this tutorial, we will show a way to add three separate layers for real-time jamming. Start up Wusik Station V6. For this example we are using the White-Skin. Be sure that both the Left and Right extra V6 areas are visible. On the Right, I have selected the Multi Preset folder, where you can find the Complete Groove file. Load this file up.

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tutorial

Making Sounds Wusik Station V6 Grooves

This file loads three Presets, as you can see on the Left menu. Each is a new Wusik Station instance. Once you load this up, you should also see a Multi Message, explaining what each Multi Layer does. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is a Multi-Preset system which consists of three layers: 1) the drum groove - starts on key 24, key 23 stops everything. 2) bass arp - starts on key 37 3) synth gate - starts on key 60 Here we use a new feature: Sticky Keys, to stop hit very softly a note. (velocity < 20)â&#x20AC;?

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The idea is simple: You will need a big controller, or just drop the octave of your controller two octaves (more or less may be required, depending on your controller). In the bottom area you have the Drum Patterns, the middle area contains the Bass, and the upper area a Synth Gate. Try to find each area and then play a bit with them. Below we will explain each one. Now that you have played around, let's understand what's going on for each layer.


tutorial

Drums Groove: Here we are using five layers, O1, O2, O3, O4 and W1, to make a virtual analog drum (noise) box. All we use here are regular analog waveforms, no samples. Open up the G layer, and you should be able to see what's going on. Layer O1 is the Kick Layer O2 is the Snare

Layer O3 is the Closed Hi-Hat Layer O4 is the Open Hi-Hat Layer W1 is a Trim sound. Be sure to edit the tempo so that it reflects your host tempo. We haven't set it to external sync, so you can play the keyboard without having to hit play in your Host/Sequencer. But you do need to manually enter the host tempo. Everything else, including the other layers, will sync to the host tempo without further tweaking needed.

December 2009

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tutorial

Making Sounds Wusik Station V6 Grooves

Let's take a look at the Layer O1 again. This is the Kick layer, and you can adjust it here. For instance, try changing the Modulation Envelope 1 Decay (Mod Env1, DEC) which can be found at the near left bottom area. If you want more Bass from this layer, just use the EQ area. Turn on EQ #1, which adjusts the lower ranges, then move Gain upwards until you get the desired sound. For the Snare sound, just change Layers O2's AMP Envelope Decay and/or the Modulation Envelope 2 Decay. For the HiHats, change the AMP Envelope Decay of each level. Here we also use a filter to determine the classic HiHat sound. Just tweak the filter a bit to get a more dynamic sound, if you wish.

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For a more advanced HiHat sound, try doing the following: Add another Mod Envelope, this time Mod Env #3, which is not been used yet. Set to Layer O3 Filter Freq 1 Destination, and add it again for Layer O4 Filter Freq 1. Now, set Amnt to -127 and tweak the Mod Env #3. Set Sustain to 0 and mess around with the Decay and the Vel knob. You can easily replace each layer sound by browsing the WS included drum sounds and just remove the 2 modmatrix entries and turn the Snare and HiHat filters off. This way you get an instant drum-sampler solution.


tutorial

Bass ARP: This turned out to be a great idea: Integrate a regular O1 Right click on the W1 layer button to open the layer with the Wavesequencer W1 layer. Not only that, but Wavesequencer. Here you can see the pattern used for this we have added a new feature just for this preset, called complex Bass ARP. Mod 1 will re-start the Filter Envelope "Sticky Keys." And it's better than the regular latch modes (Mod Env 1) and Mod 2 sets the Pitch exactly one octave you see in other synths. We will explain more about this up. This is not a regular ARP, because you only play one for the other layer, where you can see the Sticky key, and you don't even have to hold it. But it's still fun to advantages a bit better. play with. When you play a key for this layer, the key will keep We have also added an LFO to make the ARP sound more playing until you either stop the Groove Sequencer from interesting. You can always tweak layer's O1 filter for your the Drums Groove layer, or you hit a soft key for this Bass own personal taste. layer (key velocity < 20).

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tutorial

Making Sounds Wusik Station V6 Grooves

Synth Gate: Here the Sticky Keys gets used again, so you don't need to hold any notes. But here's the deal: Did you notice how you can play notes, but they only kill the previous notes after a certain time has passed? Yes, that's exactly what's happening here. Notice the Mod-Matrix All Sticky Keys entry. AMT = 2 means that when you hit a new note, and if two bars have passed, it will kill the previous notes; otherwise, it will just

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add to the sustain list. This is very handy, so you can play multiple notes, not at the same time, and they will all hold together, as long as there's not a space of time from the first note to the last note, of more than two bars. Simple as that. Now for this layer, we used the Wavesequencer Layer W1, to make a Gate sound. Right click W1 to see the Gate sequence. You can do your own Gate Seq here by adjusting each step.


tutorial

Tutorial Final Notes

On both Bass and Synth layers, we used a Master (M) filter instead of regular layer filters, as it uses less CPU usage.

You can always change the Bass and Synth layer waveforms into something else. Just play around with them a bit and listen to the resulting sound. You may amaze yourself --- it's very easy to create new sounds just by loading other waveforms. Also, don't forget to try the custom user-drawable waveforms, introduced with Wusik Station V6.0.0

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Mike Janney from

AudioRealism by Trusty

As Real As It Gets Precepts...

of these instruments, Mike seems to have the market cornered. When In 1982, Roland decided bass players pressed about it, he feels no pressure were either hard to come by, or were from the competition. He offers a to difficult to have show up for friendly and gracious reply that is both practice. To solve this problem, they Audio Realism-istics. confident and respectful to the released the TB-303 to the world as a companies releasing similar products. suitable replacement. For its original Mike Janney founded AudioRealsim in Why should he feel pressure? As purpose, it didn't make too big of a 2003. Along with the Bass Line stated above, his products are splash. However, alternative uses for Synthesizer he has released an commonly mentioned in public forums it launched completely new genre's of instrument based on his Base Line. He and often referred to as the best. electronic music. Many instruments added tons of new features not have been made in its likeness. Many possible on the original hardware TBBut what does Mike say? have attempted to clone, capture, or 303, called the AudioRealism Semireinvent the TB-303 in their own Modular - ABL Pro. He released a So what makes a skilled computer programmer who has a Fender image. These attempts have met with drum machine based on the popular Rhodes 88 key and a Hohner Clavinet varying degrees of success. TR-808, TR-909, TR-606 called AudioRealism Drum Machine (ADM). D5 in his own studio want to supercharge the classic Roland On Internet forums dedicated to Interestingly enough, Mike has pulled electronic music gear, a commonly off a remarkable feat. He has released instruments? I got the chance to find asked question is, "does it sound like emulations of Roland's gear better out. a Virus?" Another commonly asked than Rolandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s emulations of its own products. The VariOS had a TB-303 WSM: What made you steer your question is, "What is the best 303 emulation?" The same answer to this clone expansion in the software and it products towards emulating the question has been given was, to put it plainly, horrid. classic Roland boxes? Compared to the popular drum overwhelmingly by musicians across the globe since 2003. The answer is synthesizers of Roland's past, the Mike Janney: Well I have some Mike Janney's AudioRealism Base Line ADM thumps, and pounds, and drives history in coding DSP back on the old Synthesizer. Version 2 of this software harder than anything else comparable PC demoscene, and the Roland boxes synthesizer was released in January of on the market today in the 808, 909, were very popular back then. They 2007. With this new upgrade, the and 606 department. still are, and given my experience with these boxes it seemed like a once convincing emulation became even more convincing. Improvements Though his products compete against natural thing to do. were made to the sound, filter and a variety of other software emulations 18

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distortion unit. Add in other minor enhancements and the great became even greater. Virtually indistinguishable from the real thing.

December 2009


WSM: Given your fondness for piano, electric pianos and keyboards in general, would you consider the TB303 and the drum machines more essential in the kind of music you like to write? Or, in the kind of music you like to hear? Mike Janney: I used to be into house music, and acid house was part of it. I still think its a good driving sound but its become more of a statement than a sound these days. But I rarely use them in my own music, because I'm more into the keyboards now. WSM: The SemiModular is my personal favorite of your products. Did that come to you in a dream? Was it one of those "what if" moments? Will there be an update and a new GUI to bring it current with ABL2 and ADM? Also, when you went about designing it, how hard was it to find the balance of designing a completely new instrument based on the ABL2, but with all the new features, and yet keep it true to the "spirit", so to speak, of the original design and the sound? Even with the enhancements and additional waveforms.

only supposed to be an enhanced 303. But I soon discovered you cannot extend a 303 very much without completely altering its character. ABLPro is more like an ARP 2600 or Moog in sound, though the filter was mainly based off the MC-202. The biggest challenge regarding the waveforms is that they are using roughly the same model as ABL, however they are greatly extended in range. Getting those sounding clean

and aliasing free was quite tricky. These are high quality OSCs, but they consume a fair amount of CPU as you might know.

Mike Janney: I think it makes sense to roll all drum machines into one product, as they have all have a similar way of programming them. It also made sense to develop a drum machine to go with the other products. There was always plans to do a drum machine from the start, but ABLPro came in between because there were many requests to do a more general type of synth from the users. As far as I know there were no other drum machine plug-ins on the market that tried to emulate the 808 on the market. It turns out there was some competition and they managed to release before me, so I simply tried to cover the ground that they missed out on after that. As to who makes the best emulation, I think its quite subjective. WSM: ABL2 always gets name checked the most when answering that "what's the best 303" question. Do you ever get involved in those discussions, or take a "fly on the wall" approach to those discussions? Or do you simply ignore and avoid them?

WSM: With ADM, you wrapped three drum machines into one and added Mike Janney: I used to browse the sample import. You also added some manipulation enhancements to round web for discussions about our it out. Why make one product with all products, as its good to get honest Mike Janney: Actually I saw a mock- the generators under the hood instead feedback -- which tends to be biased when you deal directly with people. So of three separate products? Also, did up of a modded 303 way back on I mostly take the fly on the wall some mailing list, and the image stuck you feel your Base Line and Semiapproach. Only a handful of times did in my head. I always thought it was a Modular products were incomplete I ever get involved in a discussion, without that AudioRealism sound good idea and started developing it but usually to give some hints about being the driving force of the beats? after ABL1.0 was done. I tried to get how to use ABL2 better. Was there something in the initial hold of the guy that did the original tests that convinced you that you mock up but couldn't get in touch WSM: Considering that your with him to get it properly redesigned. would end up once again besting products have on-board Roland, and other developers as well, It was never meant to be a new sequencers, rather than being instrument. From the beginning it was with emulating those drum sounds? December 2009

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19


Mike Janney

random event occurs and you observe strictly being sound modules, it, you will be split into two universes, which host environment do you each one observing each of the recommend for someone who outcome. wants to compose music with your instruments using only the sequencers and not a piano roll. It WSM: Thanks for your time, We seems that there is no specific really appreciate it and wish you host out there right now that all the best. lends itself to the XOX way of working with instruments that Mike Janney: Thank you! have that capability on them directly. Do you have a preference? Booooooooooooooooooooooooooo ooooooooooommmmmmmmmmm Mike Janney: I like FL Studio on the mmmmmmmm! PC, and it works quite well with our products. Otherwise, Logic 8 on Mac is The Audio Realism Drum Machine is given. I used to be a Cubase user such a good idea, it makes no sense way back, and I still use it why no one ever thought of it before. occasionally but its getting less and Why not make a TR-808 emulation, less use due to the dongles. TR-909 emulation, and a TR-606 emulation, but put it in one single box. WSM: Before I wrap up the And oh yeah, make it completely interview, I want to ask two, more authentic sounding, and also let users personal, questions. Here’s the add their own samples to the mix as first one. Since you like to swim, well. how fast can you can complete a 50 meter freestyle sprint? I ask The greatness is both in its simplicity because I used to swim sort of and in its sound, which is where it competitively in my misspent counts most. The kicks, snares, claps, youth. even the few samples all have a great sound to them. They easily mimic the Mike Janney: I have no idea! I don't originals. The mangler is great, as are really time myself, I just do it for the filters. The on board sequencer is the exercise. real easy to use, and it is also possible to use the “Note Mode” to use a host WSM: I understand that sequencer. Though I will say that the Engineering Physics isn't the shuffle is really good too, as it feels same as Physics in Cosmology. like an authentic rather than a tacked And, I suspect you have probably on “mechanical swing emulation”. had some overlap in your Multiple outputs for flexible routing education. So, you are probably are also available. It can also import smarter than most lay people on 909 and Rebirth patterns, which is a the subject. In your estimate, is plus. this universe we live in the only one that exists or do you think Though most people have there is a multi-verse out there 808/909/606 samples everywhere on and we are just one of many? hard drives, they are just that, samples. Audio Realism Drum Machine Mike Janney: Its is definitely a multi- isn't the “real thing”, but it is very, verse, and quantum mechanics agrees very close to “the real thing”, but with that. You know, Schrödinger's cat even better, it is also its “own thing”. and all that. Basically the idea is And samples just don't compete with that if there is 50% chance some this instrument. After working with 20

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December 2009

ADM, it becomes obvious that this instrument is even better than samples of the real thing. Da-da-daaa-da-daaa-da-da-daaada-da-da-daaa-da! Fun, fun, fun, and not just for acid and house types. The sonic character of AudioRealism's Bass Line makes it a great bass and squelchy lead instrument for any type of music. It sets itself well as a playable synthesizer as well as using the on board sequencer. In its second incarnation, this instrument went from the closest to the closest-est to the TB-303. Nice filter and oscillator improvements, among other things, has made this a standout in all tracks it is used in for to get that special sound. At slower tempos, uncommon to use it in this way, it adds that pulsating complement to the types of tracks that are pulsing away in the clubs that don't play “electronica” forms of music. The TB-303 sound has been a staple, an unsung hero of sorts, for dirty south rap beats for years now. For minimalists, this is the perfect addition to the toolkit. As a TB-303 emulation, it does the job better than the competition in every possible way, and has since its initial inception. The new “Beautiful Screen2” is a marvel of a GUI. Simple as it may be, it packs a ton of firepower as a synthesizer whether used as a lead melody instrument, used for bass sounds, or used to add more life to make songs more unique. The first choice for the acid and house producers, but it is the secret choice for those of us using this in new ways for different things. Though, the TB303's original notoriety was born out of alternative uses for it than its original intent, and once again, many more people are getting on with Bass_Line 2 to redefine the usual


from

AudioRealism

conventions of this type of instrument once again, breaking new ground. Did you forget? We didn't! The AudioRealism Semi-Modular is a beast. This is the TB-303 mod on steroids. But it still goes way beyond that. It is its own instrument entirely. While the possibility remains to use it TB-303 style with tons of additional waveforms, filter types, and pattern options, it is a powerhouse virtual analog synthesizer that holds up as well or better against more recent offerings in this category of software synthesis. There are tons of options, and the semi-modular nature of the instrument makes this like the crossbreed of a TB-303 and a Korg MS-20, but better than both. The sheer amount of presets and preset patterns show the capabilities of this instrument nicely, but it begs to be tweaked. Things that are possible on this instrument still go further than other semi-modular, or even modular synths are capable of doing. This is all thanks to the intuitive workflow, the creativity of the features, and to that most excellent sound quality. The Semi-Modular is a go-to instrument for those of us, mentioned earlier, that seek to find new ways to

use certain tools differently from their conventions. Here with this instrument, the possibilities are nearly endless to take either the TB approach with new waveforms and new features, or to use to get those sounds in other styles of music. The Semi-Modular has a thick, deep sound that lends itself

nicely to any genre. It oozes its own character, something that many instruments do not have, despite their spec-sheets. So...get to it. To those people that were very fond of the now free Rebirth RB-338, but loved it more for the workflow and less for the sound quality, by todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s standards, AudioReamlism has redefined that method in unique ways that can freshen up the stale off that kind of approach. The great news is that you can port your old patterns into these units and bring some new December 2009

life to them. Certainly there are alternatives, and that is ultimately subjective, but redefinition and uniqueness along with tribute is better than mere tribute. And for sound quality, AudioRealism remains unmatched. Finally there are those of us who do not make the certain genres of music that these tools are generally gear towards producing. Sometimes, in all the software instruments available now, it is easy to follow trends, and certainly AudioRealism is the trend in certain respects, but like before, the quality is unmatched, and like before, AudioRealism's creativity towards the gear it seeks to emulate takes it well beyond the original concepts and sounds. And, finally, as before, as the 808, 909, and 303 gave rise in the past to new uses far different than the design was intended, going back to that well to once again break into new musically creative territory is absolutely within the grasp of the musician with the mind to take great sound and mix it with great ideas. This is a well that never runs dry, and AudioRealism has delivered the tools and means to explore new ground in a way that sounds incredible.

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Phonat by Mattias

One of my favorite artists at the moment is Phonat, the Italian born producer and artist currently residing in the UK. Myself, I believe this curly haired Italian giant will be the next superstar producer to do productions and remixes for artists like Madonna and Britney Spears. I recently had the chance of spending a few minutes with this genius of a producer.

WSM: What's your music history, and what brought you from sunny Italy to the cold UK? I always wanted to live abroad, learn a different language and see different things. But more important London is the best place in the world if you want to be in the music business. So I got two birds with a stone! WSM: Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;your soundâ&#x20AC;&#x153;, and what's the secret behind it? Sometimes it sounds like you have done all genres possible since you mix all sorts of genres like D&B, Dub, House etc. That is the 'secret' itself, making different things keeps you always inspired and never bored. Also you find yourself not really belonging to a specific genre scene, so you are free from all the pre-made patterns and sounds that come with it. WSM: When you're working on a track, what does the production step look like. Do you start with drums or bass and do you have your mind set to something special or is it just production as it goes? And also, do the tracks have a purpose, or is the that

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applied to the track a bit into the production or after its done. For instance a track like “Learn to recycle!” I don't follow a specific order when making a track, it depends track by track. Sometimes I start with the drums and the groove, sometimes I start playing some chords and melody, that's the case of Set Me Free for example. What I always make sure is that the mix sounds pretty good from the beginning. Some people have two separate processes while producing; there's the creative part and then the mixing part. In my work it's all in a big one. It's very rare that I have a specific purpose when I start making a tune, the purpose or the idea behind the tune comes usually after I started just messing around with sounds, and when I’ve found something I like I begin to think what do I want to do with it!.

WSM: Sound collecting seems to be pretty important to your productions. What's the deal there? Is it old vinyl records for the “vocal collage” or is it more surfing Youtube for old funk-classics? What's your favorite style of old music to take samples from? I like to sample 80's cheesy music mostly! But then I pass all the samples to Hal Ritson of The Young Punx which also runs Replay Heaven and we rebuild the samples from scratch and we

adjust them to the song’s needings. It's a lot of a work but you can take advantage of having samples that no one has, custom built for your track. WSM: You have a pretty basic setup compared to other electronic musicians. That really puts the spot on “it's about the talent, rather than the gear!” Tell me about your gear, and what are the next buying plans for the studio?

WSM: What does your schedule look like at the moment? Do you have a lot of gigs going at the moment, and are you working in the studio at the moment? At the moment I'm gigging together with another guy, 5eya, we're doing a four hands DJ set with Ableton and controllers. But mostly I am a studio man.

WSM: What's a typical Phonat gig like? Phonat alone with Macbook and Ableton live or Yes, my set up is very basics and consist of a MacBook, Yamaha 01x Band on stage with Drums & Guitars? audio interface and mixer and Event ps8 speakers. My plan for Luckily I'm not alone but it's the next future is simply MacBook and Ableton. I'd love to upgrading some of the software get a proper band at some point. like Cubase.

WSM: You seem more into software than hardware, but what's your favorite software and your favorite hardware -preferably a Synth?

WSM: What's the plans for 2010?

I am more into software just because hardware is way more expensive, and nowadays you get software that are more powerful and easier to use than hardware. My favorite piece of kit is definitely NI Massive, it's wicked you can get sounds that are not even from this planet! But I'm working a lot with The Young Punx in their studio and I have to say the Moog Voyager they have is something special. It's so warm and the bottom end is amazing. But again, it comes at a price.

WSM: Finally, do you have any wise words for the people out there that producing?

I'm going to cut my hair. No, just kidding!

Always ask yourself 'why people should listen to my music instead of all the other amazing band/producers out there?' If you don't find a valid answer it means your work needs something extra somewhere.

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Dear Santa, I can't hear you! My older son constantly makes noise listening to a cranked-up Funhouse from Pink while my wife is constantly arguing with my younger son, who is obviously selectively deaf. (If you have children, then you will know what sort of disease that is.) Redline Equalizer So, dear Santa, can you bring me a good equalizer? I know that it is a recession year. But please don't bring me just oranges and apples. Feel free to eat them for yourself. I need one good equalizer to cut all the noises and to bring the warmth of Silent Night imbued with the voice of Rudolph, your sleigh and Jingle Bells. Recession or no recession, and I don't want to be rude, but please don't misunderstand me because I have plenty of good friends from China and I have absolutely nothing against their country. But please, please, don't bring me one of those equalizers with the "Made in China" insignia. Come on! You come around just once a year. Don't be tight-fisted. I really want a good equalizer! Like the one from the 112db. The Redline Equalizer.

Basically, it is a five band parametric equalizer with two additional bands containing low or hi pass filters. Do I hear you mumbling, "What's so special about that?" A lot, because there is much, much more. If we go back to those five bands, each band has a range of 60 db, and each band has a drop-down menu with various settings. Or maybe I should say emulations of some of the finest hardware equalizers from the past. Along with those six units (1073, 1081, 1084 4000E, 550A, and 550B) there is also an algorithm for tube emulation and emulation of our old basic digital behavior we all know so well. An additional two bands for low or hi shelving (shelf?) response have selectable steepness from 6 to 48 db per octave. I really miss this feature on most of the other equalizers.

I bet you've heard of it. At the moment it is the best EQ on the market, and it is not so expensive either. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 149 Euros. Yes, I know equalizers are usually cheaper. But this More and more one nailed everything that a person needs from such a tool and, to be honest, that is the typical price of a VST There is also a knob for setting a variable phase shift, synth. It doesn't make noise, but it controls all the noise adding some delayed frequencies which are characteristic for every sound. And having control is everything these for hardware equalizer units (according to 112db). This days. So I don't need just another "Dance - nonsense" way and then the other. I tweaked the knob and it works. synth. I need something to hear you with, my dear Santa. I compared results with my other favorite equalizers, and this one adds some really nice pleasant touches to the Haven't you heard of the 112db Redline Equalizer? Have processed sound. Hard to describe, but it adds a cozy you? Of course not. You live deep in the North and all you warm feeling similar to when you sit near the fireplace on hear about is if someone is naughty or not. Me? Not a gloomy winter night. Slowly drinking your Jack Daniels naughty, so I presume that I can prepare my sock for this and reading those naughty magazines. At the zero value 112db Redline fellow. setting there is no phase shift, acting like an ordinary linear phase equalizer. While at 100% it acts like classic Ok. Let me tell you some facts about my object of desire, analog equalizers. Pushing it to 200% caused it to become and at the end of my letter I will also tell you where to unpredictable. This could be good or sometimes very bad. buy it. My dear Santa, let me present to you ... Tweak and try.

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The equalizer's screen could be a little bigger, but it is informative enough, with nice colors . A different color for every band, and it can automatically change the display range as you drag the curve up or down. The vertical range can be switched from 6 to 80 db. What's more, clicking anywhere on the background of the equalizer's screen and dragging the mouse vertically or horizontally zooms the frequency range for a more detailed view. Works like a charm. Or even better, becasue charm isn't what it used to be these days.

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In the upper middle part of the whole graphical interface there are three little switches. The first one is for displaying a real time spectrum analysis of the incoming signal. This one is really essential for me. If you don't have twenty years of practice this is a must-have addition. The next switch is for dynamics. It compresses equalized parts. It automatically applies the selected equalization only where it is necessary. With that you can add treble to vocal without getting too much sibilance. It works nicely on most of the signals. Detailed settings of the dynamics


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can be fine-tuned with the few additional knobs which are on the right-side-row of the graphical interface. The third switch is for auto gain. It simply reduces the overall signal according to the increase of the gain caused by the applied boost on some of the bands. It compares the input and output signals and adapts them to approximately the same value. As they wrote in the manual, “finally you can concentrate on coloration and not on gain changes while you work with the equalizer.” Nice touch. The last knobs in the aforementioned row of knobs on the right-hand side of the graphical interface are dedicated to harmonic distortion. As we all live in the middle of the digital versus analog battle, I presume that we all know what harmonic distortion is and what it does. You and I, and even your dog and my cat, know that this is a sort of analog-like pleasant distortion. Under the main distortion knob are two smaller additional knobs, one for warmth which adds "odd" or "even upper harmonics". Odd for warmth and even for making the sound punchier. That's it, and did I mention the presence of a bunch of good presets? Then, I'm sure that you get the point why I need this one my dearest Santa. And I need it badly... Thanks in advance and Bon appetite! Enjoy the oranges and apples. For me, the Redline Equalizer from 112db will be just enough. Have a nice flight! Sincerely yours, A. Arsov.

P.S. Santa, you can find everything about Redline Equalizer on http://www.112db.com/redline/equalizer It comes in almost all known shapes: VST, RTAS, Audio units, Mac, PC... and it can be yours for 149 Euros

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Heat it up! Innovated Imitation

A Gritty Sampler that Samples...who'd of thought!

Sometimes, every so often, an idea comes along that, from conception to completion, that is spot on perfect. In a market of software instruments that try to market themselves with the licenses of past synthesizer instruments, instruments that deliver familiar GUI's coupled with a spotty imitation, one product came along and decided to combine the best form of flattery, imitation, with the best of modernity, which is innovation.

Let us not forget the one true stroke of genius about this software sampler. Which, like the original, can actually sample. Ha! Imagine that! Making a sampler that samples, it is a shame that something so intuitively obvious would be constituted as a feature worth mentioning, but it is because in software, almost no samplers actually sample. So it is a wonder that to add this most basic and obvious feature, Morgana would come coupled with Morgana is that instrument. Instead of Samplink, a software program that imitating a synthesizer, it imitates a makes sampling into Morgana possible. classic sampler, The Ensoniq Mirage. And it does its form of flattery to One of the biggest gaps for some perfection. Not only does it do that, it people in bridging the perceived gap isn't burdened with being a software between hardware and software was copy of exact likeness to the original. sound quality. It is universally It does what software instruments acknowledged nowadays that DSP ought to do, it innovates and takes instruments in hardware or software full advantage of the medium without form are on a leveling playing field losing the essence of the original it between hardware and software, but seeks to pay homage. What it does in the area of samplers, while do to capture the essence of the software samplers had all the great original is to completely nail the sound wonders of modernity, many felt it of the original, and give it the same still lacked the warm grit that was so ease of use. However, without the essential to the sound of the many limitations of memory that would classic hardware samplers still hinder the Mirage for extensive employed in music today. Morgana service for today's musicians, it allows has bridged this divide, and has done modernity to give breathing room to a splendid job in doing so. the musician for flexibility and expanded creativity.

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by Trusty

To Now From Then Jules Vleugels goes by the handle dj! in his e-mail exchanges and on the forums. I like it, it is less words to type. And, it is a cool handle to boot. So I’ll use it from here forward. 112db was a two man show when it came online in 2005. But for reasons we here at Music Maker Australia don't care about, and it is not our business to ask anyway, it is now a one man show that is dedicated to bringing only the highest quality of products possible. Along with his company 112db, dj! is involved with Audio Ease, a separate company with its own product line. So, does dj! deliver on his promise? Absolutely. He created a warm and gritty sampler that sounds superb, and actually samples. What more could you want? Well, I'll answer that question for you. It reads REX files on top of samples and has slice editing. It makes multi-sampled patches easier to make. More so than anything I've ever used in software or hardware. It’s all right there on the main GUI, and it has a loop feature that finds zero-crossings so well that it should be licensed out to other companies to replace their “click happy” code. We've yet to get our hands on the Redline Series products, but we await that opportunity with eager anticipation.


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Dj! says! Let's find out... Wusik: This is not a music related inquiry, we'll get to those soon enough. I have two intriguing questions related to your time in the academic community, reading and writing mathematical papers, as it were, working in the field of theoretical Computer Science. The first is, do you have a Platonic view of numbers in that they are more than simple abstract concepts, but rather exist ontologically in some form or another? And the second question is whether you believe as Hilbert does, that actual infinites do not exist or reflect anything in reality? dj!: Let me start with the second part first. To be honest I've never given this much thought--in mathematics you're much better off not trying to relate every abstract concept to the real world--but it's an interesting notion. I would say that infinity is an important mathematical concept that enables us to tackle otherwise unsolvable problems, much like the concept of zero that Arab mathematicians introduced to western thinking and abstract things like imaginary numbers without which DSP would be much poorer--and we probably wouldn't have convolution reverbs, for example. But when you think about it, nothing in the world around us is really infinite. Sure enough some entities exist in numbers or sizes way beyond what we can imagine, but still finite in the mathematical sense of the word. Even time and space itself have a beginning and most likely an ending as well. So I would have to vote for yes, infinity is a purely abstract concept. From which it directly follows that numbers are abstract too,

since there is an infinite number of them. But you'll have to excuse me, as interesting as this discussion is I think I'm late for an interview with Wusik Sound Magazine! Wusik: LOL...Okay then. How long have you been programming? dj!: Ever since I can remember, as it were. When I was in high school, mid80s, I got my first home computer, taught myself Basic and started making simple video games, and haven't really stopped since. During my Computer Science studies I had to program in about every language ever conceived. Including esoteric stuff like compiler-generating compilers and whatnot. But nowadays I mostly do just plain old C++ on Windows and, more recently, Mac (Apple) OS X. Wusik: It is a common thread among software developers that musical software is the merge, or marriage rather, of two passions, which are computers and music. What do you feel it is about those two, though not necessarily mutually exclusive passions, but rather indirectly related in ways more people think. As in numbers and logic in relation to musical composition, that draws people like yourself away from academia, professional application designs of complex programming etc. , and into the software gear market? December 2009

dj!: Well, if you care about music and you know about software it's probably not so difficult to add one and one and conclude that makes two! But at least to me music represents a more expressive and emotional side whereas programming is more analytical and abstract. I'm not saying that programming doesn't require creativity--you won't get anywhere in programming or mathematics without a healthy dose of it--but I'm not going to read a mathematical paper or some C++ code for its emotional content. It challenges but doesn't move me, and music definitely does. Writing music software is an inspiring way to engage both the logical and the emotional part of my brain. Wusik: You have mentioned that Morgana developed out of a serious gap in the market, which is on two fronts. First, the need for a sampler that samples, and secondly, a sampler that packs the characteristics essential to that warmth and grit of early hardware samplers. The results speak for themselves in how incredible the www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

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Frank Zappa (as a solo artist, NOT the admit that I've not had an easier Mothers of Invention!), Wu-Tang Clan time with any other product on the market getting this to happen. (esp. Ghostface and RZA), Tom Waits (that guy is KING), Ani DiFranco, To take samples, even tiny ones, Cypress Hill, John Scofield, Red Hot and make the most flexible and Chili Peppers, Meshuggah, musically useful custom instruments as possible. It usually Portishead... music from all walks of life really. (It is unclear to me who takes no more than two or three tries, at least for me so far, to get is talking int the () above. So, I‘m not comfortable converting them it seamless, with very little to, … order I think them up. Frank adjusting the start or end points Zappa as a solo artist, not in the of the sample being necessary. Mothers of Invention! Wu-Tang Clan, Given the limited sample time on dj!: On a fundamental level, there is especially Ghostface and RZA. Tom the Mirage, and the absolute nothing intrinsically difficult about Waits -- that guy is King! … ) emulating the early samplers, at least necessity of this feature in more not more difficult than analog synths-- ways than one, how important Wusik: As with your taste in music, was it to get this perfect, you have to remember that the your own musical journey has honestly? Did this take serious earliest samplers were digital/analog time with this or did whatever you been just as eclectic in that it hybrids--of which there are plenty covers the range of Zappa-esque use for this just happen to come emulations. But just as with the to techno-metal to 70's style funk. out as good as it did? virtual analog synths, how successful Do you have any musical the end result is depends on how dj!: Well, that's great to hear because aspirations or goals you have not demanding you are and how far you yet achieved that you are still immediacy has always been our main want to take your emulation. On a design goal. What always bugged me pursuing? Do you ever feel like very superficial level, just bitcrushing and samplerate reduction will get you is that a lot of software on the market blowing off work sometimes to play with your own awesome can do amazing things but is so about 80% there--it's the remaining products and press on as a complicated to operate that 99% of 20% that form the real challenge. users probably won't even bother. So musician first? After we got the basics in place we why put it there in the first place and spent an awful lot of time A/B'ing our dj!: Well, yes and no. I don't think not come up with something that efforts with the real thing, trying to there's a point at which you can say people can actually get some work pinpoint what could still be added or "that's as far as I'll ever get" when it done with quickly? I can see that improved. In the end we emulated comes to musicianship--or with from a marketing perspective "more, small details that we never even anything else, for that matter. bigger, and better" is more likely to thought of when the project started, There's still so much I'd like to learn such as capacitors discharging when a impress than "less is more" but it's that even after 25+ years of playing I not the route I want to take with key is pressed or released, hardly know where to start--if 112dB. The sample editor provides idiosyncratic behavior of the entirely anything, the more I learn the more I what we felt the necessities for ondigital APDSR envelopes, and even realize how much territory I haven't board sample editing, and of course the crosstalk of the digital circuits onto the analog signal paths. Because we put a lot of effort and thought into explored yet. Which means that I don't have any particular musical making it flow but to be completely small though these details may be, goals except to continue to grow as a honest we hadn't counted on it together they add that little musician and composer for as long as working out as well as it does. something to the overall sound that I can, in whatever direction that makes you go "wow" rather than happens to be. And to be honest, Wusik: What kind of music do you "yeah, that's a decent emulation". performing or composing on a make an listen to personally? commercial basis doesn't appeal much Wusik: The unsung hero of dj!: Wow, that's a tough one because to me--as much as I enjoy playing it's Morgana is the excellent coding an area where it's tough to survive I listen to a lot of different stuff from algorithm, or what have you that unless you either compromise or are lots of different genres. Perhaps I'll went in to finding the zeroreally really lucky. So I'm quite just name some artists that I really crossing in samples for looping content if I can do some interesting like in the order I think them up: and sustain purposes. I must end result has manifested itself in Morgana. Did your initial testing of your code reveal that you had really nailed it, or did you and your former developing partner feel that the reason this type of emulation, so to speak, had not yet been attempted on a serious level prior to Morgana is because of an extreme difficulty in getting the sound just right?

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musical projects every now and then. I derive plenty satisfaction from that. Wusik: Any other cool gear in your studio besides your plug-ins? dj!: Not that much, to be honest. An Ensoniq Mirage, obviously. As for vintage synths or samplers: an E-MU SP-1200, Akai S950, and a Moog Prodigy. And a couple of guitars--a 1973 Gretsch Committee and an early 80's Fender Strat being the most interesting from a vintage point of view. Plus a full drum kit, I'm a drummer originally, for whenever I need a break from programming or some inspiration. Wusik: As a drummer originally, are you partial to acoustic drums, or you a fan of all acoustic and electronic drums and percussion sounds? Also, is drums your personal favorite instrument, or is there another instrument in particular of which you are more fond? dj!: I grew up on acoustic drums but always love to explore new possibilities so I went to a hybrid setup (electronic kick & toms, acoustic snare & cymbals) pretty early in the game, initially with the R8-M and later with an Akai S2800. It's good fun to be able to trigger arbitrary sounds and certainly inspirational at times, but nowadays I'm back on a 100percent acoustic setup for playing as opposed to recording or composing. For demos and even final mixes I often choose sampled drums because they're so convenient and I don't have the tools or room to easily do a proper kit recording--plus in a band context they'll fool practically everybody. But for playing I prefer a kit with real

skins and cymbals any day of the week, it's just so much more fun and so much more expressive to play. In that sense I don't think sampled drums have come even close to the real thing. Even the most extensively multi-sampled drum libraries still sound to me like... well, like samples. Wusik: When it comes to composer has to do? electronic music production, I've talked to a lot of drummers that dj!: Well, I personally never felt are not proficient on any other the urge to express myself instrument, and they feel as melodically on a drum kit. Just locked out or behind the curve as because you happen to be proficient people with no instrument or at a certain instrument doesn't mean musical experience whatsoever in you have to use it for everything--you terms of composing original know, the "if all you have is a hammer, melodies. Do you think that with everything looks like a nail" syndrome. the abundance of midi controllers Other instruments are just so much that conform to other instruments better suited for melodic expression, like string, brass, wind, etc., not and I taught myself to play guitar and to mention the midi keyboard keyboards for exactly that reason. controller itself, that the drummer While technically I may be less than has been neglected in terms of a perfect on those instruments (and to midi controller on the market be honest, I sometimes have to suitable for drummers that can record at half speed to get usable allow them to express themselves results) I still manage to get my point musically through melody and all across, to say what I want to say that in an ergonomic way that musically. Besides, different makes the traditional keybed a instruments force you to approach the non-factor for them? I mean, in music making process in different 2009, should melodic instruments ways. It can really be refreshing to be the only types of controllers pick up an instrument you're not all that allow entry into the that familiar with because it forces electronic production world you to forget about technique and without having to learn a new focus on ideas instead, which I think instrument or use the mouse like is when interesting things happen. a musically untrained producer or December 2009

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Wusik: With the new Redline Series plug-ins, what is the goal? Is the new reverb and EQ going to set a new standard in some ways? I am sure many had assumed an insert effect based on the Morgana sound would be first up, but it is cool to see that new reverb algorithms are being developed that think outside the traditional approach, and I can't wait to see what results come about from the smart auto-gain makeup in the new EQ. Redline Monitor however, is very intriguing. This one seems like a no brainer for those of us that work in home or project studios with the wives and kids that want to sleep during the most common work hours for the amateur and semi-pro crowd...i.e. the middle of the night. Anything you'd like to share about these new products? dj!: The basic philosophy behind the Redline Series is to provide a series of essential studio plugins with great sound and innovative features. If I start a new product, or even series in this case, it has to bring something to the table that existing plugins are lacking--whether that be a novel feature or an entirely new type of plugin. For example, with Redline Equalizer the starting point was the automatic makeup gain--I never understood why practically all existing equalizers force you to go through a lot of A/B'ing just to consolidate your levels and make sure it doesn't sound better just because it's louder. So I figured: that's something that might be really useful to have. And it doesn't just perform an algorithmic compensation for the EQ curves you apply but actually 'listens' to the source material both pre and post EQ and determines the required gain adjustment from that, including compensation for the fact that the frequency response of human hearing is anything but flat. For example, our 32

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The biggest challenge turned out to do ears are really sensitive to sounds in the 3kHz region so a 3dB boost in that proper stereo localization, and that without detrimental effect on the area will require a bigger gain frequency response--which would adjustment than a 3dB boost at completely defeat its purpose as a 100Hz in order to subjectively sound reliable listening tool and is where all equally loud. Along the way I added other approaches I'm aware of fall other things that occurred to me, like the ability to choose different types of short. Redline Monitor is about to change that, and I have to say I'm boost/cut (modeled on a number of very pleased with the end result. vintage hardware units) as well as linear phase or 'coloration' phase Wusik: One last load of convoluted behavior. questions for you. Do you think that in this era of uber-gigabyte Redline Reverb is a slightly different content, which inflates the costs story because it's not an original considerably, do you think that 112dB design but a collaboration. I with sample-based products happened to get in touch with Martijn bloating the included content Zwartjes and Leo Degen (both extends to distract from the Native Instruments) who were forced instrument itself? You could have to discontinue their brilliant R66 reverb (sold by Sonic Flavours) due to easily licensed content for Morgana, or made tons and tons circumstance. Things clicked and we decided to do some projects together, of patches yourself for it seeing as how easy it is to do with this so Redline Reverb is really the instrument, but what factors and ongoing development of R66 (but considerations went into keeping rebranded 112dB). While on the the content small relative to other surface it may not seem all that products? Is it because the quality innovative the underlying DSP and spirit of the instrument algorithm is very different from demands use of custom user traditional reverbs and allows for samples and that takes reverbs that are difficult or even impossible to coax from other plugins. precedence over any included content you or other sound It only represents our first combined effort--consider it a warming-up designers could come up with? Do you feel exercise for things to come. that content expansions And last (at least for the current linecould up) but not least there's Redline become an Monitor. As you say it should be of important interest to anyone who, for whatever part of reason, is forced to resort to Morgana's headphones every now and then. (Which might be practically everybody future and continued at some point or other.) I don't have developmen to tell you how different, and t? And positively uncomfortable, it is to mix speaking of or even just listen on headphones. continued The stereo image is gone, relative developmen levels are way off, and ear fatigue sets in in no time. Now narrowing the t, Morgana is really stereo image on headphones is stable right relatively easy--and there's a lot of plugins that do something of the sort. now, is December 2009


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there any future features to come for Morgana outside the minor bug-fix that you can share at this point, or is it fairly locked as far as specs are concerned? dj!: Initially what we strived for in Morgana was to bring back the sound and, perhaps even more important, additional sound the immediacy of hardware samplers. libraries--as it turns Back in the days sampling your own out, that lofi sound appeals sources used to be so easy and not only to die-hard samplists probably even the main driving or but also to more preset-oriented inspirational force behind hardware users. So currently we're negotiating samplers. But somewhere along the with a couple of sound designers and line this got lost in the transition to artists to do add-on libraries for DAWs, and nowadays most samplers Morgana, as well as teaming up with a are really just sample players with well-known sample content provider tons of factory content. So basically for a preset-only version. A Morgana that's what we set out to bring back ROMpler, if you will. It's going to into the game: a way of getting feature a large library of custom highcreative with doing your own sampling quality sounds run through the same again. The current factory library of DSP engine as Morgana. 300+ presets is a showcase what can be achieved with a little creativity As for future development, I am even from such technically limited currently cooperating with producer specs, and was intended to inspire No I.D. (from Jay-Z, among others) users to do their own sampling and on Morgana 2. He's providing editing. But we've been getting a lot valuable industry feedback straight of feedback from users asking for from the horse's mouth, and I'm programming like crazy to make him happy! All I can divulge at this point is that it'll be the same instrument in spirit and sound, but even more geared towards combining the lofi magic of yesterday with what's possible on a DAW today. Without losing any of the immediacy that has become Morgana's trademark, but that goes without saying. December 2009

Wusik: Thanks for taking the time to share with us, can't wait to do this again. We wish you all the best. dj!: My pleasure, thanks for letting me do this and all the best with your magazine!

Morgana What a great idea. A software sampler that samples, and also sounds like all the samplers that musicians want their samples to sound like. Warm, punchy, gritty, and all the sonic character that one could hope for is found in Morgana. A few extra things about it is that it is easy to use, all the functions are very responsive, and there is no bugs that have been found in many thorough testings. If you want the best in software that truly emulates the vintage samplers, this is the one. No simple bit crush plug-in substitute comes close.

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Driven Machine Drums

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More Analog Than An 808 by Tomislav Zlatić

A common tendency among music producers is to spend ridiculous amounts of their spare time collecting more samples than they will ever possibly be able to use. Boys and their toys some would say, but in all honesty, having a right drum sample at the right time can often mean the difference between making an inspiring piece of music or clicking the quit without save button in your software DAW. Still, most of these sample collections end up being utterly unorganized, with all kinds of unsorted and unlabeled files scattered all over the place and quite a few potentially useful samples ending up in some dark corner of the hard drive never to be found again. This kind of stuff will make any sample collection less useful than desired, no matter how rich or versatile it is. And just to add to the chaos, from time to time, a new line of samples will turn up somewhere on the Interenet, offering high quality samples you have always dreamed of, the kind of samples used buy the pros, and all that good stuff for a price more than fair. But do you really need more drum samples? And are they really that good? The DMD library consists of 1,820 oneshot samples offered in standard 24-bit WAV and AIFF formats, and optional EXS-24 and Kontakt patches if you choose to purchase the deluxe version. 34

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Also available are 16-bit dithered WAV samples ready for use in an MPC. When it comes to the types of sounds included, apart from the whole shabang of the usual kind of drum sounds such as kicks, snares, claps, toms, bells, rimshots and various similar percussion sounds, the library also includes a fair share of classic synthesizer FX sounds, electronic noises and quite useful bass boosters. The samples are neatly organized into folders by type, and further separated into subfolders accordingly. What put the word driven into this collection's name is the special signal coloration treatment that all of the samples had to go through before becoming a part of the final product. After being recorded from an analog drum machine or a sampler, each sound went thorugh a process of analog saturation, harmonic distortion, and subtle compression, before taking it's final shape. The use of a broad arsenal of analog equipment to further colorize the already analog drum hits impacted the sound of these samples in a manner very similar to the famous old samplers like the MPC3000 and the effect they have on sounds. By running unprocessed samples through analog circuitry, an excess amount of drive is added at the input stage, resulting with the drum sounds that become louder December 2009

and punchier than their unprocessed counterparts, with lesser need of further limiting and compression, if any. The list of equipment used to create this collection of samples is quite stunning. Initial drum sounds have been sculpt on a wide variety of drum machines, from classics such as Roland TR606, TR707, TR808, TR909, Oberheim DMX, Vermona DRM-1, and E-mu SP-1200 on one hand, to modern age beasts like the Elektron Machine Drum, Korg ER-1, Jomox MBase 11, Eventide H8000FW, and the Kyma Capybara modular synth on the other. Further processing these sounds was a job for the Culture Vulture, Source Plus Tube Amp, Atlas Pro Juggernaut Twin, Moog MF-101, and Neve 1073, among others. So how do these driven drums actually sound? Well, frankly speaking, all that vintage equipment did a damn good job of more analog than analog character to the sound. The coloration has been applied in such a tasteful way that provides the samples with both extra punch and warmth at the same time, without making them sound too overdriven or muddy. Included percussion sounds such as the kicks, snares, toms and alike, have a lively, slightly overdriven character, with the right amount of warmth and natural


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The included FX sounds are useful, if not a bit too old shool, but they also sound very warm and can easily be further modified to fit the user's needs. Editing of the samples has been performed flawlessly and you will rarely have to modify the envelope of a sample, unless you want to transform it into a different kind of sound on purpose. All the sounds were cut spot-on, and there are no unnaturally short decays or sloppy slow attacks anywhere in sight. Also, each sample has been recorded with a fair amount of free headroom, so that further processing of the sounds can be practiced without fear of unwanted clipping. All in all, the DMD samples are of superb sound quality, and the vast variety of included sounds means that potential owners of this library will probably have all the classic analog drum sounds they will ever need. This rich collection of samples can successfully substitute for a studio full of expensive drum machines and put that full power at your disposal.

One thing to have in mind, though, before purchasing or even just trying these samples is that, even though they're perfectly edited and great sounding, they are still just drum machine samples. This means that while they sound great when used in less agressive styles of music, if you are looking for banging, agressive dance music ready sounds straight out of the box, you probably won't instantly fall in love with the DMD library. In order to shake a dancefloor using these samples, they will have to get layered, especially the snares, to get that modern club-ready drum sound. But that's the whole beauty of drum machines.

es NN-XT mappings and EXS-24 mappings optimized for Structure by Digidesign costs $87 USD. Interestingly enough, only 997 copies of the library will ever be available for sale. Also, anyone who buys the library can ask for a refund during a 30 day period after the purchase, if not satisfied with the quality of the included samples.

And now, for the awesomest part! As a gift to all Wusik Magazine readers, Nathaniel Shreve, the creator of the DMD library, has compiled an exclusive bonus pack of Tama Techstar 305 samples, that went through the same treatment as the DMD library sounds. None of these bonus samples can be So, despite its obvious qualities, found in the original library! You can whether or not you will find the DMD get them by following the link above library useful depends exclusively on this article. the way you intend to use it. For people in search of the highest quality drum So be sure to download all the freebies, machine samples, producers who like have fun with the full DMD library and Beatmaking during the layering their own drums to make new Happy original sounds, or simply someone in holidays! Finally, there's nothing more love with analog gear, but not enough to add except... money to have it all, this sample library ToneBuilder: Good job and nice driving! is a superb choice.

There is a 100-MB, royalty-free demo version offered on the company website, available for download and free to use. The standard version of the library is priced at $77 USD, while the Deluxe version also includ

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compression added to them. Perhaps the only type of percussion sounds that didn't necessarily benefit from the analog saturation treatment are some of the cymbals, as they tend to sound a bit phat, which is not what one usually looks for in, say, a hi-hat sample. Still, this can be easily fixed with a touch of proper EQ here end there.

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WusikMagazine exclusive sample pack: http://link.wusik.com/?5 ToneBuilder Website: www.drivenmachinedrums.com

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WSM: DMD is a quite large sample library, and no doubt took a lot of time and effort to make. Was it a one-man job or did you have support?

by include their free player. And, everyone who grabs the collection will have something a little more personal WSM: Where did you find and unique, so that's always fun. I inspiration and motivation to finish always liked that when buying some it? vinyl records. I knew I had one of the ToneBuilder: It was a one man job, 1,000 copies of this gem. although towards the end I had some TB: It really continued to grow. I artists test the library to ensure I initially sent around 800 sounds to the I've given away almost 10% of the wasn't so emotionally attached to the artists, telling them it was done. Now collection to everyone through various project that I was exaggerating the there are 1,820 sounds. I love the postings and demos. I hope everyone quality. The artists also tested the sampling process and even editing. who can't grab the library now will find mappings and organization and That part is fun. The challenging part value in those free sounds and make provided valuable feedback. I also had for me was forcing myself to sit down some great music. If I could afford to, some early insight provided by and write some kind of website, learn I'd give the whole thing away. A trade engineers and artists during the how that works. The mapping to EXS- of $77-$87 doesn't seem much for a equipment research phase and spent 24, Kontakt, and now NN-XT and $30,000 + 1 year effort, especially many hours reading people's Structure was more work than play. considering the longevity of the experiences and frustrations with their collection. I intentionally left effects current collections. It's wonderful to I think I really knew people would get and processing that could date the have so many people connected in some strong pleasure from creating drums off the samples. If a drum forums who are generally helpful. with the library, and that was a deep machine can last 20-30 years with new motivation. I'm the guy around town inventive processing, then Driven WSM: How long did it take to make who chats gear and recommends Machine Drums can as well. the library? techniques to other artists, especially ones just starting out. I love sharing WSM: Can we expect to see more TB: It took a year. I started my first and contributing. The positive similar products from you in the sampling in December of 2008. At the feedback has been very supportive and future? time, I had no intention of releasing more gratifying than any record I've any sort of a sample library. I only had released. TB: Whew. I'm kind of burned out at the Elektron Machine Drum and the the moment. I put everything I got Culture Vulture. Sampling was the only WSM: Why are only 997 copies into DMD. Although there are a few option because the Culture Vulture can available? :] ideas floating in the back of my head process two signals and I tend to like that could be either complimentary or varying amounts and qualities applied TB: I'm a one man, independent completely different, I'll never create to each individual sound. At some "company". I really drained all my something to replace Driven Machine point it turned into an almost available resources to create this Drums, and I doubt there will ever be unhealthy addiction and continued to library (and then some). I knew I a Driven Machine Drums 2. If a grow. I think I ultimately created wouldn't have anything extra to hire creative spark lights again and I feel 4,500 samples and filtered the ones I support if it grew very large. Also, I there is also a need, then I'll make considered redundant or of a lesser created a complete FX collection as a something new. Right now I'm quality out of the collection. complimentary bonus to DMD that is focusing on letting people know about encoded for a free version of Nebula. this collection. Hopefully I'll take some Every sample was hand-edited to the I didn't want to burden the creators time to write some complete tracks perfect attack and decay. I spent a with a huge amount of possible with these new sounds. And I'll need month auditioning and categorizing the technical requests without any a vacation :) sounds and another month mapping compensation. They were very the sounds for EXS-24 and Kontakt, generous to allow me to encode for and 36

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further grouping the samples texture across the keyboard.

December 2009


To celebrate the launch of Image Line's FL Studio 9, Wusik Sound Magazine is delighted to announce Image Line has given us an incredible prize package to give away. The prize package includes: FL Studio 9 Fruity Edition Deckadance House Edition Sawer Vintage Modeling Synthesizer

To enter for a chance to win this awesome prize package, answer this simple question:

"What was the previous name of Image Line Software's audio production suite FL Studio?â&#x20AC;? 1. LoopStudio 2. FruityStudio 3. FruityLoops

You can enter the competition here: http://www.wusik.com/w/contest.html

Terms and conditions: The competition is closed to Image Line employees, Wusik Sound Magazine staff, and their immediate family. One entry allowed per person. Closing date for entries is midnight on Sunday, January 10th 2010. The winning entry will be selected randomly from the pool of correct entries by a judge from the Wusik Sound Magazine staff and published in the next edition of Wusik Sound Magazine. The judge's decision is final.


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Does the world need another simple synthesizer? That is the first sentence from the Ace manual. If you ask me â&#x20AC;&#x201C; I suppose not. That's what I thought before I tried this little fellow. And why I have tried it? Because of the price. You will not find another case of such a cheap synth from such a renowned developer. Especially if you consider all you get for that money. A modular synth with a funny yet clear interface along with almost unlimited options of combinations and over five hundred presets. Nice, and why do I like it? Because I love the way it sounds. Punchy, dirty and fat, and it has some sort of character on its own. I started with basses and then fell in love. If you have a solid and original sounding bass, you I am sort of a programming idiot, but this one can easily make a song with just a few looks really easy â&#x20AC;&#x201C; even for me. In the upper elements. There is no need for doubling, layering and all those other time-consuming left corner we get three buttoms for changing tasks. Ace is buffed with plenty of good unique the context inside the main interface: bass presets. I continued my browsing through The first one is called Synth. The one with the leads, keys, pads, chords, percussive, rhythmic and modular madness. There is those colored cables. Here you have plenty of everything, I especially appreciate everything that you expect from a synth. LFO section, VCO, VCF, ADSR and Mix. At the the original pads and ultra cool keys. For that money? Waiter, bring two Ace's for me and bottom are virtual jacks for conecting noise another one for my friend at the other table. and other synth output controllers like velocity, pressure, pitch wheel and similar things. On the upper side are VCF one and two, pan and Cheers volume controllers, along with an effects section for fine-tuning one of the three effects: So, what do we get for 69 Euros? A vintage wooden graphical interface with sweet-looking Chorus, Delay or EQ on the right side, while on knobs and plenty of cables in various colors the left are buttoms with various extremely good-to-have controllers. One of these is for patched from one source to another. It really puts me off when a graphical interface is ugly, choosing the quality of processed sound. (As but this one is nice and sexy. Retro with Urs wrote, it can be pretty CPU intensive). I've found that it definitely eats more st addition of 21 century. Sex sells, and yes, processor power than one of those ultrathis one looks sexy. 38

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December 2009

by A. Arsov


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optimized new synths, but not as much as we are warned. Half of my old synths use quite a bit more yet they don't sound even half as good as this one. On my double Core 2.1 processor some sounds eat around 10 to 15 % of processor. No biggy.

Stacked Voice Tuning (stack parameter determines the number of voices per note for getting the unison effect) and three for circuit bending. On the right side are two knobs for envelope tweaks and a microtuning knob.

The second button is called Tweak and it changes only the lower part of main graphical window, adding one big window for a mapping generator that has two controllers under this window, one for choosing the mode and the other for mapping the source. With the mapping generator you can finetune various data for modulation purposes, change the behaviour of some values for every note, or for adding tuning irregularities. On the left are two rows with eight knobs for

The third button is a Patch which opens a browser window where you can easily browse through the group of presets.

"how to get that analog feeling." All in all, let be your ears the judge. I can write more details, but everything will end with the sound.and Ace 1 has got that sound. Feel free to download it from U-he site and feel free to buy it a half-hour later. The choice is yours. You can even buy it another day or another week, but for that money and for all that synth power inside and with such sound, I bet you will. Sooner or later. Ace A. Arsov

One for a friend There are plenty of other dirty details that we could mention in this short article, like self-oscillating filters, or the ability to drive the filters so hard that they became pretty dirty but still not harsh, and few more things about

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by Johnathan Pritchett

Yeah, but does it sound like a

Zebra? Huh, does it? Up until a few years ago, one could go to any pub where electronic musicians hang out, or to any forum on the Internet where electronic instruments are discussed, and when an instrument is brought up in the conversation, the most commonly asked question would be: “Does it sound like a Virus?” That fundamental question started to become less frequent since October of 2006, and has all but vanished these days. The new question that is most often asked, whether discussing hardware or software instruments, is whether or not such and such instrument sounds like a Zebra...or is even capable of achieving the sounds that the wireless modular monster is capable of producing. Urs Heckmann didn't solidify his reputation as the miracle worker over night with the release and continued development of Zebra 2 (and the free 2.5 update). Those who've been 40

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working with instruments in the Audio Units format on Mac, and those early adopters among the “in the know” crowds that hopped on board U-He with the VST version of the original Zebra knew well in advance the quality of gear that comes bearing the name U-He. It doesn't just end with quality, it is also the personable, emoticon-happy service that Urs provides his loyal following.

bonus paycheck for winning KVR's Developers Challenge a couple years back. Of course, Internet praise, official or not, isn't the only praise heaped upon U-He. The products have one numerous awards, and this all amounts to viable independent success for a man that can do his business his way, and fend off the corporate vultures that seek to acquire his service.

Industrial Strength.

Urs Heckmann is a friendly chap. And even though he admits to not liking crowds, he doesn't mind at all to chat with the musicians that use or don't use his products. He has quite a high post count on certain music forums, and even though he maintains a friendly demeanor, he isn't afraid to antagonize fellow software developers...all in good fun though. He's humble for the most part, all confidence is certainly justified, and he is fully aware the status of his products in the marketplace.

Zebra isn't the whole story either. There is also More Feedback Machine and its long overdue upgrade, the amazing Filterscape bundle, Uhbik effects suite, and that other AU only piece of kit, Zoyd. But, those are just the commercial releases, Urs still has a soft spot for the broke folks who can't afford the top tier products. If you can cover the cost of a magazine, you can get fully capable synthesizers based on his flagship in some form or another, and there is also the free Triple Cheese, that won Urs a nice December 2009


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From the Zebra's Mouth.

correspondence for that, something be capable of running softsynths. Until “imperfect“. It occurred to me that the then the cute setting is nice to “park“ All the pertinent information about this Zebra pattern somewhat resembles a plug-in while the editor is still open... developer is at his website (www.uthat pattern of black and white piano he.com). He gives a brief summary of keys, but with just that organic touch WSM: Uhbik is here, and I read in what he likes and dislikes, and what that I was looking for. There you have the forums that this is your he does and has done, and it is a fun it. attempt to get U-He into more read if you are wanting to kill time or computers for people that may take a break from reading the Zebra WSM: You just released a new think your current products are manual online at his website. So, update for Zebra 2 back in too difficult. I rather thought that instead of Urs having fun, working December '08, and while there are while your current line-up can do hard on updates and new products, some nice new features, modules, complex things, they aren't that we've asked him to waste that time effects, and such, but the most complex to use. So was this idea that could be better spent doing noticeable one was the resizable for the new effects units born out something that matters to answer GUI, and specifically the “cute” of realizing that you could make some questions. :) <--- We can use view. How did that come about? effects units better than they have them too. been in the past? I know that Urs Heckmann: That was something interfacing is as equally important WSM: I am sure it has been asked I always wanted to do. Nowadays we as sound quality to you. a million times, but one more for don‘t just have monitors from 15 inch us, and you can feel free to make to 19 inch. Today there‘s the whole Urs Heckmann: Yes, Uhbik is a up something new if you are tired span from 13 inch laptops to dual 30 whole new area for me. I have with the same answer...but why inch environments, where the collected dozens of effects algorithms the name Zebra? monitors may even sit behind a deep over the years which would be a mixing desk. Thus I thought it‘s shame not to release. So I‘m using Urs Heckmann: Hahaha, that‘s an crucial that people can change the Uhbik as an umbrella under which I easy one! When I first worked on size of a user interface. can release these one after the other Zebra, it had the working title, starting with 8 essentials. The great SimpleSynth“. It was supposed to be “Cute“ is of course not a mode you‘d thing here is, I can go a bit deeper an organic sounding plug-in. So I was really work with. But who knows? with these than for instance with looking for some visual Maybe some sort of iPhone will once Zebra's onboard effects. I‘m having a December 2009

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lot of fun thinking out a really cool feature set for each and adding a little “unique twist“. The one thing that really made me give it a go were the urgent calls from film people . I frequently got requests for surround versions for this or that. So major effort went into making Uhbik surround compatible while maintaining an easy, stereo-centric interface. As an example, you can pan the taps of the delay from left to right in a stereo situation. In a surround situation you use the same simple knob, but the taps are panned from rear left over the front channels to rear right. That‘s what Uhbik is about flexible use at most simplicity possible. WSM: Since we both know I am going to mostly lob softball questions, permit be a tough one. ;) Did Uhbik come about mainly because after making the number one software synthesizer ever, you felt like there was no way to top it in an instrument any time soon and decided to go the effects processors route? Urs Heckmann: Hahaha, there are of course many people who would disagree with Zebra being the number one softsynth. No, seriously, I do have plans for at least two more synthesizers. One of them is called Berlin Modular. When it‘s finished it‘s supposed to be a modular synth with wires, much like an ARP 2600 or a Cwejman S1. Or rather, a stack of these. The other synthesizer is dubbed A.C.E. but it isn‘t really anywhere yet. 42

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And of course, there‘s still FilterscapeVA which comes with Filterscape. I have the suspicion that this one will see some nice enhancements as well.

mention, Zebra can serve as a teacher as well due to its wireless modular structure. I guess what I am asking is if you are happy with your self-proclaimed “niche” market, or do you ever want to Wuisk: Speaking of new stuff, promote your products in the way you've also tossed around the others are doing it with web idea of a sample-based instrument tutorial videos and the like in and a drums and percussion order to get a bigger chunk of the instrument. Are those ideas still market? alive and well somewhere in the back of your mind, or at least in Urs Heckmann: Well, Zebra is your subconscious? certainly not the most sold synth out there with only a couple of thousand Urs Heckmann: Yes, they‘re alive. registered users. I like this though, But I‘m not working alone on these, because Zebra still has a wide open there is an external developer who market whereas many shortly hyped works on all corners of sampling and products are literally dead. sample management. It‘s slow progress, but once the next update Zebra has proven a constant flow of cycle is done, I guess we‘ll see some revenues for as long as I‘ve been fruits sooner or later. working on it. Meaning, it‘s an alive product under continuous WSM: Back to what I mentioned development. I see no reason to earlier about your instruments not change that. Whereas some other being terribly difficult to use, do companies have been so overwhelmed you think that perhaps your by their marketing success, they don‘t aversion to marketing may have find any time to improve their stuff. cost you some potential These products are successful for a customers? I only ask this while, but dead then. because I am not the greatest sound designer in the world, but Nevertheless, there are plans to build Zebra 2 seems to attract the up a tiny and healthy distribution greatest, and there are thousands network with CDs in selected stores. of sounds for it now. Do you think We‘ll see how it goes in Germany later that because Zebra sounds better this year, and if it works with only than most (if not all) the rest on little overhead, I can imagine to the market, and that there are expand this over Europe, North tons of sounds for it available, America and Oz. that the casual preset junkies aren't being reached with the WSM: A future upgrade for message that Zebra is there for Filterscape has been thrown them too, regardless of their around lately, and I am curious programming skills? Not to how the bundle has held up in the December 2009


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past couple of years when most of the talk has been mainly focused on Zebra. Urs Heckmann: Well, Zebra has of course got the main attention, but Filterscape is a great seller too. It‘s traded merely as a secret weapon among hip hop and drum‘n‘bass producers. I don‘t know anyone in person, but I have my channels that tell me how Filterscape is on many, many releases. Thankfully I hadn‘t had to change much since its initial release, and it‘s a real struggle to make decisions for its future feature set. I want to make it more powerful but at the same time “keep it as it is“, because, well, it‘s a trouble free product. Zebra on the other side is “high maintenance“ because so many people have questions, feature requests and what not.

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we‘ll have the opportunity at some point. One great thing with our relationship is Jayney came with a bundle of musical friends and family members (Alf and Johnny Klimek are her siblings, Eugene of TISM, Chris and Nic from Jet are cousins). My direct input from professional musicians has become immense. WSM: It says on your website that you are a film buff, so is there anything you've seen lately to take the crown away from The Big Lebowski? Or come close?

dozens of his colleagues personally and of course word gets around. We‘ll soon see Angels & Demons in cinemas which again features Zebra prominently. This adds to a reputation and that in the end is worth more than some extra revenues. WSM: Industrial Designer comes first on your “About” page at your website, musician comes second, and software developer comes third. Is there anything to that? Is that an order of importance or an order of actuality of sorts?

Urs Heckmann: Well, the degree in Industrial Design comes from 7 years Urs Heckmann: Oooph. There would at university. I can‘t deny that this be lots of things. Jayney is a movie makes the most confident part in my addict too, we watch a lot. But I still skill set. Music used to be merely a think that The Big Lebowski is the hobby and software development best thing in total. (meaning, programming) is something that happens to naturally suit me. I Hehe, I guess this question was started programming on a supposed to hint at The Dark Knight? Commodore C64 at the age of 13. WSM: Seeing your wife do the This somewhat shaped my future WSM: Well, the Dark Knight was a interests I guess... rockstar thing (Check out huge box office success, and your http://www.myspace.com/youpr ettythingmusic, products are turning up in Developing audio software is all of this. http://www.youprettythingmusic. soundtracks for film all the time, Designing the feature set, usage and com) do you ever feel like blowing so do you ever wish you could go appearance of a synthesizer is a form off your work for a bit and getting back in time and re-write the User of industrial design. But unlike a down to focusing on your own Agreement when it comes to film common design process, I don‘t hand music again? It isn't like you don't scores to get some more of that out the scribbles to the engineers so have one of the best arsenals to Hollywood money coming in? :D they can construct the hardware. work with or anything. :) Instead, I engineer the final product Urs Heckmann: Hahaha, that would myself in the form of software. The Urs Heckmann: Well, we would love be brilliant! But I suppose that neither latter is used in a daily dose of to work together, but we both haven't Hans Zimmer nor my brother-in-law making music, i.e. for testing and for had much time yet. The good thing is Johnny nor anybody else in the demo songs. that Jayney and Blacky ( band soundtrack business would use it ;-) colleague with You Pretty Thing) use The great thing about this is the my stuff a lot and give me constant But it surely pays off in other ways. interactive aspect, because I can jump feedback. But who knows, maybe Hans Zimmer has mouth watered between each level at any time in the December 2009

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creation process. In fact I usually create the actual product with an ugly gray interface first and play with it. Once it feels right, I fire up Photoshop and work out a design. This goes back and forth then.

Earn Those Stripes

How many gigs of sampled synth sounds are on the typical hard drive? Too many...and do they sound like a Zebra? Probably not, but in some cases, it was probably the source of many of those sampled sounds. Why not go for the real thing?

Look, Zebra 2 has been reviewed to death, it is one of the most oft talked about instruments in the industry, and Too complicated to use? Hardly, there has wons buckets of accolades. is plenty of ways to integrate Zebra 2 However, lets get back to something into a workflow of the typical mentioned above. Zebra 2 is almost “average-at-best” programmer or Urs Heckmann: On a trade show universally recognized as one of the preset tweaker. The first thing is that someone once said “uh, look, isn‘t this greatest software synthesizers ever. there are tons of presets already Urs Heckmann at the analogue synths available for it that are mostly top there?”, in a surprised tone, as if I We don't seek to burden Urs with a notch. Secondly, it is a wireless was allergic against “the real deal”. I new influx of support e-mails from modular, meaning you can dial in only seem to have an image as a hardware hobbyists. We do however, want to what you wish to work with in sound vegan. But to the contrary. I‘m having burden with more income. Your design at any given time and go loads of fun with a Doepfer modular money, which will sustain Urs with the deeper and deeper into rack that‘s prominently equipped with means to continue on with a experimentation as time and modules from Cwejman, Livewire and comfortable lifestyle. Your favorite familiarity wear on. It won't break Analog Systems. I think there are film soundtracks to come may depend trying new things. Finally, the sibling about 20 analogue and digital synths on it, as well as your favorite Zebralette is quite a little powerhouse that have come and gone, borrowed producer's musical compositions. in its own right, which is designed to or owned over the past years, assist in becoming familiar with the including a Matrix 12, a Moog Little If you don't have Zebra 2, it should be basics of Zebra 2, and it cuts down on Phatty and a Virus TI. moved to the top of your list. A little the overhead when needing the bit of creativity with a camera and a simple sounds with that Zebra 2 My favorite software is the UAD stuff pawn shop using the dinosaur quality. One oscillator may seem though. They are really, really good crossgrade coupon, and it can be in limiting, but when the sounds possible and pretty much the only competing your arsenal for a paltry $149.00 USD. from it are heard, there is no products that I still spend money on. Think of all those sample-based mistaking the sheer amount of sonic instruments that occupy gigs and gigs firepower that both it and especially WSM: Thank you so much for of hard drive space, of which many of the more robust Zebra 2 are capable taking the time out to share some those gigs are sampled synthesizer of producing. thoughts. sounds. Why use sampled synthesizer sounds when you can use a synth Urs Heckmann: Thanks you for the monster. Expansions out the... opportunity! The .dll file is only 2.17 MB, and the Dance & Electronic Trilogy for Zebra content folder, with every patch I 2 could find on the net for free, and (http://www.zirconstudios.com/store. html) is the first commercial some nice commercial soundsets as expansion that Music Maker Australia well, measures in at about 150 MB. WSM: Any cool gear, hardware or software, in your studio other than U-He stuff you'd like to tell us about?

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decided upon to cover alongside the product itself. There are others, but this 188 patch collection seems to round out the needs that were absent from the initial presets shipped with Zebra 2. For only $20.00 (less than $0.11 per sound), this collection delivers that bread and butter common to most electronic genres, including hip-hop, by the way, even though Andrew Aversa (aka zircon) forgot to mention it in the “Read Me” file or product description. No matter, those sounds you want are definitely there, and they do indeed sound better coming from Zebra rather than whatever notZebra instrument you currently use for these sounds. At this price, it is a steal, and these sounds are usually the ones that owners of this collection go to first when firing up Zebra in the sequencer.

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than simply getting new instruments with yet more redundant presets ever will. Secret Weapons! Urs was absolutely correct about Filterscape VA, as it is a secret weapon with a very unique sound all its own. Don't forget this one, and with the new update on the horizon, it is sure to take it to the next level. Like Zebra, there are plenty of presets to get going, and all of them sound so different than other synthesizers that it makes this one a stand out instrument in its own right. It has the warmth and grit to the sound that is sure to add flavor to any track. This one oozes character.

In the meantime, the presets are more than enough to play around with as the gaining familiarity process continues. The sounds from adding these two plug-ins to boring old songs long forgotten on the hard drive makes these two plug-ins “must haves” and “must learns”

U-He is a great company with great products. Moreover, Urs Heckmann is truly a wonderful guy that has earned all the respect accorded to him, and definitely lives up to all the nice things that people say about it that everyone ought to know by now. He deserves your money, and for what he delivers, Though it is not alone, and not even his products aren't priced at what they the main course of the Filterscape could demand. If you want the best, bundle, there is the Filterscape plug-in despite the somewhat intimidating itself and a nice bonus EQ as well. The look of the instruments, you should Filterscape effect plug-in is a beast, All the usual categories are present, give them. They aren't as complex to from searing leads to rolling pads, and and one that may take some time to use as they seem, and out of the box tame while using the presets to play booming basses, but surprisingly some of the best sound designers in around with in the meantime. enough, considering that the bread the world have done much of the and butter sounds are stellar, there However, one thing it can do is add heavy lifting for you to get straight to are some unique stand outs in the FX that warmth, grit, and character found work. These products have everything and Sweeps + Gates categories that in the VA version to a stale and tiring you already have but better, and have will definitely find their way into future collection of instruments that are everything you only wish you had but about to wear out their welcome in productions, and probably with little don't. Get these products, and allow or no additional tweaks. Those spice the VST folder. Likewise the More your tracks the shine they deserve. Feedback Machine is another fully sounds are a nice bonus, and tend to featured, and somewhat complicated make the tracks stand out above the rest. beast of an effect plug-in. Not complicated to use, but rather complicated in what it is capable of Be sure to check out the other commercial expansions, many found doing. What must be said for this as well is that complex effects plug-ins at (http://www.uhe.com/zebra/index.php?item=patchs such as More Feedback Machine 2 and ets) for very reasonable prices. We Filterscape have more potential to sure will. expand a sonic pallet in one's arsenal December 2009

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Ravernator by David Keenum

Ravernator is a Wusik Station-based presets. Most of the presets use only instrument and Wusik Station soundset one or two oscillators. This helps inspired by the sounds of early 1990s those with RAM or processor limitations, Rave music. Both the instrument and but it also opens up possibilities when the soundset are identical, and the it comes to creating your own presets. collection is large! It contains 440 Incidentally, there are sample presets main presets with 6377 variations. available. The collection covers Stabs, Synths, To understand Ravernator you probably Chords, Arps, Kick Drums, and Trance need to have an idea about Rave music Gates. That should give you enough from the early 1990s, and I found sounds to keep you busy a good while! definitive information a little hard to come by. If you fully “get” Rave music, For me the most interesting aspect of then that probably seems silly, but for Ravernator is that it was created with a us “uninitiated” it can be confusing. I am going with the description Robert custom SynthEdit instrument. The creator, Robert Parry, discusses this in Parry gives in his interview, so it might be best to read the interview and listen the accompanying interview. No to the audio demos. analog synths were harmed in the creation of Ravernator! The sound is When it comes down to it, you will have not obviously analog, but then again it to decide if this collection is doesn’t really sound FM either. I think appropriate for your music. But I would not limit these sounds to just it would be best to listen to the audio demos on the product page and decide dated Rave or Techno music. These sounds could be used in IDM, Minimal, for yourself. To me the sounds are and Glitch and other modern dance interesting and unique… and maybe a music. Check it out and see if it fits little eccentric. your music. But all this brings me to a discussion of the sounds, or more specifically, the

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Ravernator Creator and Distributor: Ametrine Audio Web-Site: http://www.ametrineaudio.com/ Price: Synthesizer £ 34.95 Ravernator Sound Patches Set for Wusik Station £ 24.95 Details: - Powered by the Wusik-Engine (Version 5.8.4 ) - 440 main presets with 6377 variations - Custom-made Synth Bass, Rave, Chords and stab sounds Stabs 183 Synth 109 Chords 41 Arp 20 Kick Drums 85 Trance Gate 2 - Windows Platform Only - A demo, a long list of mp3 audio demos, and a PDF Manual are available System requirements Windows 95/98/ME/2000/NT/XP/Vista, 128 MB RAM recommended. 1.3 GB free hard disc space, VST compatible host software. Test Computer: AMD Athlon 64 3200+ 2.0GHz, 4GB RAM, Windows XP Pro SP 3, Echo MiaMIDI Audio Card.

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From Ametrine Audio

by David Keenum

Robert Parry is the owner of Ametrine Audio and the creator of the Ravernator instrument and Wusik Station soundset, as well as the Vintage Sound Patches Set for Eve 2. You find his products at http://www.ametrineaudio.com, but we wanted to get to know him a little better.

WSM: Robert, could you tell us a little about yourself? Where do you live? RP: Hello, my name is Robert Parry and I live in Newport, South Wales, United Kingdom. My hobbies are jogging, football (soccer), drinking Welsh Ale, and listening to vast amounts of music. I also like hardware synthesizers and own a Roland JV-10 Sound Module, Korg X5D Keyboard, Novation super Bass Station, and a Boss Dr Groove 202 drum machine.

RP: Growing up I started to get into the Rave scene. At the same time there was also a metal revolution with bands like Iron Maiden. I split my time musically listening to heavy metal and Rave music. I was too young for the Acid House scene and jumped into what is now called Old Skool music (1990 Breakbeat Hardcore music). From then the scene evolved into UK Hardcore, Gabba over in Europe, Happy Hardcore, Techno, Ambient House, Jungle, Drum and Bass, etc.

So to top it off, I like the following genres of Dance music: Old Skool (1990 - 94), UK Hardcore (95 - 09), WSM: How did you get into music? Happy Hardcore (95 -09), Gabba (95 -09), Ambient music, Jungle music, RP: Since an early age I’ve always and Drum and Bass. been into music. Then I started to get into hardware synthesizers around WSM: Was this the beginnings of 1993. I started off with an Amiga 500 what became Ravernator? computer and Octamed. Octamed is a great 8-bit tracker program. I used to RP: Yes, The idea for the Ravernator create songs with 8-bit samples. came about because I wanted to After that, I bought myself a PC and create the vibe of the old 1990`s went over to Logic Audio, which I still Rave music. Certain sounds were used use today on the PC. I also have a in Rave music, and I wanted to bring BTEC qualification in music production. those sounds up to the next generation of sound design, including WSM: What dance music styles new sounds that would not have been interest you? heard before. 48

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WSM: So Rave music must have a special place for you. Can you tell us something about the sounds used in Rave music? RP: Yes, Rave music had a massive impact on my life. I grew up hearing a music that totally blew away everything I had ever heard before. The sounds used ranged from deep Moog basses to hard stab/horn sounds. Also, the famous acid house sound used acid bass lines. The filter resonance would be cranked up to give a nice bubbly acid sound. As the Rave sound progressed, pad sounds, bright pianos and detuned saw waves were used. Many old Rap drum loops were also used and sped up to make a breakbeat. This would sound great on any track. Technically, Rave music has evolved into different genres of music. It started off with Acid House in the late 1980’s, then along came Breakbeat Hardcore (old Skool). After this it transformed into Jungle Techno, Hardcore, Freeform, Gabba, etc.


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The modern sound is totally different from the original sound. It’s a lot faster and sounds more like Trance.

WSM: Did your first computer and its 8-bit sounds have an effect on your choice of sounds?

Hardcore track. So I would say, for anyone interested in creating any type of Rave music, the Ravernator is ideal for them. It’s the ultimate Rave synth.

WSM: Some sounds in Ravernator almost sound like sounds from 1980s video games. Were these an inspiration for you?

RP: Yes, this is very true. My old Amiga 500 only had 4 channels of WSM: Can you tell us a little about sound. I did get it to do 8 channels; your new Vintage Sound Patches however, the sound quality was not Set for EVE 2 and your new Fire amazing. In those days you were and Ice mini Synthesizer? RP: No, those old 8-bit video games limited to what you could put into a sounds were not an inspiration. I track. That is why I think the old Rave RP: With the Vintage Sound Patches think it’s just the way the Ravernator music was so good. You would have set for Wusik Eve 2, I wanted to sounds. I have noticed those old 8-bit people creating chart hits with nothing create a soundset with a bit of spark. sounds coming back into fashion, more than 4 - 8 channels of Audio and Using the built-in Samples, I was able though. a dozen samples. This would be to blend sounds together to create unheard of today. Mind you, they did some weird and experimental sounds. I suppose some of the sounds do use quite a few midi tracks though. The collection also covers strings, sound like they’re from an 80`s video pads, synth, leads and basses found game. :) WSM: What signal path did you throughout the 1970`s up to the use when creating the sounds for present day. The inspiration came WSM: What synths did you sample Ravernator? from listening to music from that time for the Ravernator collection? period. RP: Once the sounds were completed RP: The Ravernator sounds were in my custom synth, the samples were The Fire and Ice mini Synthesizer uses created with a custom-made software bounced down at 24-bit mono and the Wusik Sound Engine and comes synth I built in SynthEdit. The synth is stereo, digitally/internally in Logic with 160 main presets with 250 an 8-operator FM hybrid. The synth is Audio 5.5. This means the sound path variations. The idea behind it was to actually wired incorrectly, and this is is very clear, with no distortion or create a synth with two personalities. why it can create some stunning mains hum. The fire section covers deep basses, sounds. stabs, synth and lead sounds, while WSM: Can you tell us a little about the Ice section mellows you out with WSM: So you like FM? your philosophy behind pads, keys, organs, bell tones and Ravernator? arpeggiated sounds. RP: Well, to be honest, the way I wired my custom synth, it does not RP: My purpose is to create the best actually behave like a normal FM Stab and Bass synth used for creating Synth. I do find it easier to create Rave and certain types of Dance sounds with FM though. Detuning music. With the Ravernator, if you oscillators and changing waveforms, want you can create the vibe of the etc. -- so you could say that I do like old Rave music or the most powerful FM. stab and bass sounds to use in a

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Only a few developers have the balls to release software with crazy graphical user interface (GUI) designs. I can name some but none of them are as wacky as French master-coders Ohm Force. At first, you scratch your head thinking, "hmmm...that doesn't make sense." But then, in the end, you'll give in to the software's

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Ohm Force

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ematohm and obilohm

opaque design because of its coolness factor and functionality, subsequently falling to adopt its looks.

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by Ginno Legaspi

Every Ohm Force plug-in comes in two GUI flavors -- the Funky and the Classic skin. For producers who like things normal, the Classic skin would be a good fit. The controls are neatly Ohm Force is known to release weird laid out, the interface is easy to but wonderful effect plug-ins. If understand and navigating is smooth. you've visited their site, it looks like However, the Funky skin will draw in they've deliberately made it to look many experimentalists with its like you're in a Twilight Zone web. otherworldly-looking interface. It all Odd and depends on individual taste, of course, freaky would but you have the option to install be the either one. The plug-ins come in RTAS, correct AudoUnits and VST (for both MAC and description Windows) formats. with these guys and Unlike common effect plug-ins such as Hematohm an EQ or compressor, both Hematohm and and Mobilohm are not exactly your Mobilohm, granny's daily, ordinary plug-ins. They their are meant for creative sound frequency destruction, sound design and weird shifter and effects processing. phaser plugins fit Hematohm is a frequency shifter with exactly into an envelope follower, an LFO and a their syncable delay line. Hematohm's repertoire. effects section has the Mix knob which Despite their adjusts the wet/dry of the incoming weird audio and the Amount knob which appearance, controls the main shifting frequency -Ohm Force displayed in Hz. The LFO section has created includes 10 waveforms for oscillation. some of the It contains a Period knob which sets bestthe time taken for one LFO oscillation. sounding There is also an Amplitude knob which plug-ins sets the amount of oscillation. The throughout Envelope Follower section can the years. increase the frequency shifting with its Many have Amount, Attack and Release knobs. testified of Lastly, it has a tempo-sync Delay their good section with Time and Feedback knobs. quality. December 2009


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Contact: www.ohmforce.com Price: Stating from 79 € System Requirements: RTAS - Mac OS X (PPC and Intel) : For use on any ProTools OS X systems VST 2.0 - Windows / Mac OS X (PPC and Intel) : For use with all VSTcompatible host (Cubase, Ableton Live, EnergyXT, Tracktion...) AudioUnits - Mac OS X (PPC and Intel) : For use on Logic Audio, Ableton Live, Digital Performer and any AU-compatible host

not a preset whore then all parameters are right there in front of you. They are begging to be tweaked manually with movements recorded directly. Or, they can be automated within your sequencer's automation function. This plug-in is geared toward experimentalist looking for an "edge" to their sound. Further

experiments can be had with the Mobilohm plug-in. It is basically a 4-phasing unit with an Ohmforce twist. First, the signal goes through a Tone section that can be used to shape the signal's tone. In a sense, this is simply a filter labeled with X and Y knobs and a Gain control. The X knob controls the color intensity of the Tone section's filter. While the Y knob dictates the type of color managed by the X knob. The signal is then fed into four separate “Cells” where you can apply different phase trickery. Each Cell has identical parameters that include controls for Oscillator, Depth, Feedback and Bandpass. This is where most of the magic happens. The Osc creates a cool sweeping effect for any signal. Think classic 60 & 70's style phaser effects. The Osc section really gives your signal a rich sound and the bandpass filter adds a nice touch. Rounding out Mobilohm is the LFO section. In the LFO section you can select 10 different waveforms sine, triangle, square etc. to give movement to your signal. One thing I noticed is that the rich sound Mobilohm produces gives shine to lifeless sound inherent to digital synths. I love using it on different types of materials -especially synth pads. Like Hematohm, Mobilohm comes with a good set of stock presets to get you started. Once you audition each preset and listen to what they sound like, you'll get an idea what this plug-in is capable of. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

This section can be fed back into Hematohm for generating ubercool, shifting+rhytmic-style textures. Like Mobilohm, Hematohm can be tempo sync'ed to your digital audio workstation application. It instantly matches the exact same beat of your track. The preset morphing is a very cool feature but the included presets themselves are useful. If you’re

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I have used a few of the excellent plug-ins from French company Ohm WSM: Hi Cid, we have spoken a few times already, but I don't the nice and free plug-ins Frohmage know too much about your background. Tell the me and and the Computer Music freebie readers a bit about yourself and the rest of the team. For instance, Ohmygod! As I have been working as what brought you from warm Art Director and graphic designer back Brazil to cold Paris? Force a couple of times. For instance

in the days, I contacted them pretty quick when the company posted a tweet on Twitter that they needed help with graphic design for a few projects.

I got the job. At the moment, I am helping the guys out with some graphics. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mainly for their website. I really like these guys because they work hard to satisfy the music scene with plug-ins that really stand out from the crowd. I think they do a really good job at that. When offered a chance to ask Cid Andrade of Ohm Force a few questions, I took it pretty quick.

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WSM: What's the history of the team in short? When watching the videos on your website, it seems that it's a pretty small, creative team, having loads of fun. Cid: Ohm Force started in 2001, when a few college friends realized that they used to share the same passion for music and computers. The guy Cid: I'm from Rio de Janeiro and who first pointed the sky showing the always worked with communications path to the Ohm Force was Laurent and marketing at big companies. I'm De Soras (aka Force Prune) and then also addicted to music and since I was the rest of the team joined him. And 15 years old I spend a big part of my at this moment - voila! - the Ohm free time playing around at my home Force started to exist. (...) To be studio. At the very beginning the honest I have much more fun here 'home studio' was just a PC and a then I used to be when working for FastTracker2 module tracker (that telecom corporations or Web was in 1994 I think). Then one day I companies. And it could be truth that found Cubase, then the wonderful we're less.... hmm... squared then the plug-ins world. I quickly became a big average. But we're not laughing all fan of Ohm Force, and used to be in the time. Of course we have (a lot of) touch with the guys here, talking moments of pure real life routine. We about music production and music in take the subway. We come to the general. Put all that in a mixer and office. We spend the whole day in spice up with an increasing wish of front of the computer working hard on being able to somehow transform my our new project. Then we take the hobby in an actual work, and you'll subway back home. That's the Ohm figure out that with the time these side of the moon. The same amount conversations became plans of of energy we can spend to have fun making things together and... one day and give our products some of our I took a plane and left my warm Rio attitude, we also focus on a serious to embrace (mostly) cold Paris... :-) work/research on digital signal processing applied to musical creativity - which is not exactly a pain, quite the opposite. December 2009


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WSM: Ok, let's talk sound design here. Tell me a bit about your plug-ins and what makes them different from the rest. What is the reason that people like Trent Reznor and Liam Howlet use your software. Is it some sort of secret or just the rawness and attitude of the plug-ins?

WSM: What about the musicality of the team members, do you all have music projects on the side? Cid: None of us has serious side projects, it's just a hobby. It's actually hard to find time to play/compose while managing a company like Ohm Force, at the end music production for us is a weekend (or overnight) thing... the same way some guys will have their X-Box or Playstation, we'll open our sequencers and have some fun..

Cid: Ohm Force plug-ins are often described as "raw", but they're actually not raw at all. Ok, Ohmicide:Melohman and Predatohm are the wildest manifestation of WSM: What is the Ohm Force distortion rawness, but even those two Secret when it comes to designing plug-ins are also quite refined when it plug-ins. What do you think is the comes to the audio algorithms, the key to success today tweak-ability and the effects in the plug-in parameters themselves. The Quad business? Frohmage for example is one of the most powerful and tweakable filters Cid: I don't think out there, and the Symptohm: there's WSM: oneWSM: Melohman could make the most secret capable of exigent sound designer drop some guaranteeing the joyful tears; despite the organic success of a plug-in. interface design which helps make First of all, it has to be some parameters more 'intuitively useful (for real) and useful'. About Reznor and Howlett, I kind of easy to use. If a think that what they see in Ohm Force plug-in will make plug-ins is exactly the same thing that exactly what some thousands of less famous artists see. I others already do, so mean, what all Ohm Force users do it's not worthwhile to see - inspirational and creative tools. code it, would be better Don't expect Ohm Force plug-ins to be saving some face for a "transparent" or suitable for cold future and more minded engineers. We make plug-ins relevant project. for artists and audio engineers that, There's a lot of crap out first of all, are musicians... there, and of course Ohm Force is not the December 2009

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only good plug-in maker in this world; Gmedia, Camel Audio, Audio Damage WSM: If we go on talking about and FXpansion are the proof that the music software industry, we fortunately Ohm Force has good realize pretty quick that the company in its mission of delivering software of today would have musicians with good sonic tools. There been just a dream 10-15 years are also some companies that make ago, and if it would have been good plug-ins but put them really too possible to get access to expensive, in a quite greedy way; something like for instance well... I think that Ohm Force's secret Symptohm: Melohman, it would (and also this other companies I've have been at a price comparable mentioned) is the factor mix: top to a car. What do you think will quality plug-ins, easy to use and still happen to the music software affordable for normal human beings.. industry in say 10-15 years. What will the studios look like, Also,

what do you think will be the next step after "The Laptop" Studio? (For instance, will it be more DSPprocessing units where you can load whatever plug-ins or something like that?) Year after year more and more tools become available - and more affordable - but not necessarily a bigger amount of good music is being made. What's happening is that the talented musician, thanks to all these tools, is making music quicker, or having even more creative freedom. Or being actually able to make music, since the needed budget for a laptop studio is just a computer, a sequencer and some good plug-ins. We're now seeing the "mobile" revolution on music production/creation, and the iPhone and its mighty application is already one body ahead. We'll also see during next years some big evolution on music collaboration tools, not only the DSP-increasing power you mentioned.. This century beginning is being actually a great time to make music

WSM: What will the record business look like in say 10 years. Vinyl has lately had a bit of raise in sales, will that be visible in 10 years or have we gone all digital regarding distribution etc? Cid: I'm not a psychic, but I see a future where the music itself will be 54

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to make it sound "better" will just make things even worse. Using effects should be like using t-shirts with phrases/sayings, we'll not use a tshirt if it's saying something dumb or completely without any sense. We'll be asking ourselves first, do I really think what this t-shirt is telling? The same for sound effects: what this plug-in is exactly doing with my sound? Do I really agree with / like that? free, and freely distributed in digital psychic wouldn't be able to guess formats. While artists will be what it is. It's something new, and it (independently) rewarded by their will be huge. If everything goes well it WSM: And finally, what would a work making some money with live will be announced in July 2010, stay Brazilian in Paris wish for concerts and fan-targeted-goods such tuned. Christmas? :D as boxed versions of the album containing additional goods, t-shirts, Cid: A 27-inch iMac with an wireless books, whatever. But especially WSM: I know you have some keyboard and the new magic mouse! playing live. (...) I wouldn't want to personal music experience. What, If some crazy and generous Ohm see a future where all hardware (your as a musician, is your best tip to Force fan reading this interview would earphones, your pod, your computer, the kids out there that would like want to make it happen, just send me everything) and/or data pipeline will to start making music? a mail... :-)) be able to detect that the data being transmitted/listened to is a piece of Cid: Some tips? Well... first one is, music and, hop, we automatically take understand that making good music is some money from your bank account. about having good ears, and not But anyway, it's just my personal necessarily having expensive gear. opinion/intuition, time will show us Other tips, not exactly in order of the path. importance. Learn to use your equipment, master it for real. Better to have less gear and master them for WSM: What is the future plans for real than just browsing the presets of the Ohm Force, and where do the a myriad of plug-ins without actually team go next? creating anything. Another important aspect is that 90-percent of a good Cid: It's been almost 5 years that mix is on well crafted EQ, filtering and we're working hard on a new software, modulation. Drop in zillion and I can tell you that even a real compressors and/or additional effects December 2009

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The

Juce Framework

by WilliamK

A programming fable Ever wondered what it would be like to create your own plug-in? Fear not, we will show you the way

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anything else. There's also the Plugin Host Demo, which is also another great way to see things in action.

As with any other framework, there's the question of what it can and can't do. Well, I'm not that experienced But then, it comes to you, the light is with Juce yet, but from what I can see, put right in front of you. And in the by going into its actual files, I couldn't form of the perfect framework. see anything that just can't be done. Something to light up your life, to You can always add your own pieces show you the way and present you a of code here and there. But I wouldn't new path. A bright one. advise doing that. The smart approach would be to create your own subAre you looking into doing your own classes, derivate from Juce's classes. synth from scratch? Well, you came to That way, if you update the Juce files, the right place. “But where should I you don't lose your work. That's how I start,” you might ask. First, lets see did my own File Treeview component. what kind of knowledge you have. If Which can be freely downloaded from: you have never programmed in your http://juce.wusik.com whole life, not even with Basic, you The really great thing about Juce is are out of luck. You need to understand the basic things first, then the community behind it, not to mention its Leader, Jules. He has you can go to more advanced things. been very friendly and kind to my silly If you are already an experienced questions. Especially the ones that are basic and really obvious. But still, programmer just seeking a way to several users were there to give me a improve things then Juce is your solution. The best part is that it works helping hand, not just Jules. I did give it back, by providing some code of my on all the 3 major platforms own, so new people could find Windows, Linux and MAC. solutions quickly. Here, I started with Microsoft Visual C++ 2008, the Express edition, which Using the search option in the forum, has saved me several times. As well is Free. My thanks to Microsoft for that. Though I think they are just as several hours of work. I left several of my forum posts with detailed trying to be like Apple with Xcode, solutions, so the next time someone which has always been free for the MAC crowd. Its a great way to start do a search, its all there to be found. things up, as Juce comes with several Another thing that is really impressive examples already set to be used with MVC++ 2008, Xcode, and others. is the Jucer app that comes with it. Thanks to this little tool, you can Now, first things first. Try out the Juce create your own components in very Demo, to see what it can do, before easily. It too has saved me hours of December 2009

work. Plus, no need to worry about resources anymore. You can convert images and other things into binary data, which is added directly to the cpp/h files. Very handy, especially when you are doing a cross-platform project. Making your own plug-in skin is easy also, thanks to png and xml implementations. For Wusik Station V6, all I did was create two xml files, which stores the positions and colors of things. The code loads up predefined png files for the rest. Its all documented, and its easy to setup. Unlike other solutions, Juce comes with tons of widgets ready to be used. If you want to skin those too, its also easy, just look at the LookAndFeel class. Or, follow the tutorials in our Programming Corner area -- debuting in this issue. If I had to quickly put a list, of where to look first, this would be it: ●  The Juce Demo ●  The Jucer Tool ●  The  Programming  Corner  – here, in this issue ● http://juce.wusik.com - for our own examples That's all for today, now, lets hear a bit from Jules, the fearless leader of the Juce world. After that, don't forget to read the new Programming Corner for some nice tutorials and how-to solutions. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Programming can be, at times, a dark path that someone follows. You feel alone, walking in shadows, with a desperate need to shout out loud, “I can't understand this freaking thing!!” Yes, my friend, you are not alone.

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WSM: So, who is Jules, in one short phrase? Jules: The greatest programmer who has ever lived. Well, ok, that's probably a bit of an exaggeration, but I reckon I'm in the upper 10-percent. WSM: Do you still remember the very first music software you used? Jules: Does programming a Vic-20 to make beeping noises count? I suppose the first real audio app I got my hands on was a very early copy of Cakewalk, back in maybe 1996-ish. It was dreadful - not entirely the fault of the software, but my PC was barely powerful enough to play and record stereo at the same time. I think I probably lost my temper with it long before actually managing to record anything. WSM: How about the first soundcard? Jules: I remember building my own audio digitizer box for the Amiga from a circuit diagram in a magazine. It could capture a few glorious seconds of 11KHz 8-bit audio before the memory was full... WSM: Now, do you still remember the first language you learned? Jules: I guess that'd be good old Basic. When you look back at it now, it seems ridiculous that anyone had the nerve to sell it. But it was a great learner's language because it was so self-contained. Everything you needed to know about writing programs on 58

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your computer would fit into one small book.. To use a modern language effectively, the sheer quantity of stuff that you need to know is so huge and constantly changing that I'm amazed that beginners manage to get a foothold at all! WSM: What were you doing before you started working with music software? Jules: I was working in video software, so not vastly different. Graphics and audio have always been December 2009

my main interests. WSM: Its been 10 years since you started Raw Material Software. How did it get started? How did you come up with that name? Jules: It was only recently when I had to look up the company creation date that I realized it had been so long, and that I'd missed the 10 year anniversary! The company I was working for in 1999 went tits-up, and I didn't fancy getting another job, so decided to do my own thing. Can't


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honestly remember where the name came from, though I wish I'd picked a shorter one.

but it was the project that really when XCode finally stopped being focused it into the shape it's in now. A much worse than Visual Studio, and I sequencer is the perfect test-bed for a made the switch. I'd love to be able to "do-everything" library, because it say that I'm a Linux user, but it hasn't WSM: It seems that Juce is your brings in so many different areas of quite convinced me yet. baby, but did you get help from code - handling the audio is hard, but WSM: Do you like your job? If you other people to start it up? the complexity of the graphics and could pick another job, what would data models involved is just as Jules: Well, no, I've worked with difficult. And it all has to work in real- that be? other people on most of my other time. Apart from perhaps video Jules: I wake up whenever I feel like projects over the years, but Juce has editing software, I can't think of any always been a solo thing. And there other types of app that would be more it, stumble into my office and do whatever seems to be a good idea, so was never even really a point where it of a pain to write! can't really complain. If I had to pick "started.â&#x20AC;? It just gradually coagulated another job... hmm, is anyone from scraps of code that I thought WSM: How was the negotiations advertising a highly-paid post for a might be worth re-using, and with Mackie, to purchase gradually snowballed into a library. Tracktion from you? Did they hunt mediocre classical guitarist which you down, or the first contact was doesn't involve actually playing in WSM: After using Juce for a while front of other people? from you? now, I'm really impressed with all the work that has been put into it. Jules: I just got a random email from WSM: Are you a party dude or just a stay at home bro? How long did it take for you to them - I hadn't been actively looking really be pleased with the for anyone to help with it, but it was Jules: I've probably done my fair framework? good timing. share towards keeping the pubs of Soho and north-west London in Jules: Oh, I'll never be pleased with it. WSM: What sort of DAW you use business over the last decade. There are always so many things that those days? could be done better.. WSM: How's the family? Any kids? Jules: I've got most of the major DAWs installed, so that I can test the Pets? Maybe a spider aquarium? WSM: How would you classify the community that is using Juce right Juce plug-in code, but I can't now? Mostly big companies or remember the last time I actually Jules: No spiders, but we do have a small developers? made a real recording. I'm a keen wormery for the compost. They're not musician, but keep it very separate particularly affectionate as pets from computers these days! though. I'm waiting for someone to Jules: Mostly smallish audio create a breed of cat that's genetically companies, as far as I can tell. WSM: If you had to stick with just engineered not to fall off high Though really, it's hard to know for balconies, and then I'll get one of sure where it's being used. Maybe one Operating System, what those. Microsoft and IBM are using it for all would it be? Or what would your their back-office systems without dream OS look like? WSM: That's it for now. Would you telling me? Ok, probably not, but I like to leave some comments can dream. Jules: I'm really happy with (Apple) OSX at the moment, which has been before we close? WSM: From what I can see, getting consistently better over the Tracktion was the start up for Juce, last few years, at about the same rate Jules: that (Microsoft) Windows has been /* Ok - how's this? */ right? // (sorry, couldn't resist...) getting consistently more annoying. Jules: Well, it wasn't really the start, There was a point about a year ago December 2009

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Audio Damage Chris Randall

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Audio Damage and

Prolificana an Interview with

Chris Randall

of...well...tons of stuff...as it were. by Trusty

72 Hour days... At forty, there has to be at least 120 years worth of experience in the life of Chris Randall. Perhaps Randall is best known for his work as founder and member of Sister Machine Gun. He is also well known as one of the guys behind software company Audio Damage. Audio Damage’s popular effects plug-ins are a staple in producer’s and electronic musician’s tool boxes world-wide. He also owns Positron! Records and has 60 or more album credits to his name. Plus, numerous works that appeared in Film, TV and Video Games. He regularly blogs and is an active member of the online music community. 60

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Randall is currently composing some of what this writer feels is the most awesome and progressive "bluesy" music ever. He is doing this from rural Oregon, not rural Mississippi or Tennessee which may explain why it sounds progressive. One must wonder how all this gets done. Some might attribute it to his birthplace in -- mystical -- Hawaii. Though we’ll probably never know. One thing is for sure, comparing one’s own work to his overflow of output and creative expression can make anyone feel thoroughly unaccomplished.


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Words

Damage

Audio Within all of his musical compositions, there is distinct style that unites them. This is true regardless of musical genre and whether they are driven by synths, guitars or any hand-made contraption he can use to make noise. Everything is present both musically and lyrically, including depth, ruckus, light, darkness, solemn, introspective and outward expression. And, for better or worse, it’s truly American. Meaning it’s a collage of the human experience through the eyes of the "melting pot." Which is a good analytical term to apply to his musical output.

One of the coolest side-jobs, were an active musician to have one, would be to run a company whose products directly impact or influence the musical habit. Products that also allow others to achieve their own musical expression. Audio Damage is unique amongst its peers in that it offers wide variety of high quality effects that are affordable for hobbyists and full-time musicians. They are so good that we here at WSM had to get them all. Current prices are $49 each or less -- including 3 freebies to whet your appetite. They are available at http://www.audiodamage.com.

WSM will continue to cover Audio Damage as it grows and continues to release new products including tatoo. Audio Damage’s first virtual It’s not Superman's America, but instrument that, “pays homage to rather Snake Plissken's America. Have classic analog beat boxes, while a listen at breaking new ground with its http://www.chrisrandall.net/audio/ sophisticated sequencer and and then write me a letter thanking randomization features.” me for the heads up. Randall's recent Lucky for WSM, and our readers, solo album The Devil His Due and Randall agreed to talk with us. He also SMG's Influence are the most pressing gave permission to ask anything! recommendations from me to check first.

December 2009

WSM: Thanks for taking the time out to talk with us. Not discounting that your music is for everyone to enjoy, but you don't mind the suggestion that the underlying sound is that "uniquely American sound" do you? As an American myself, I quite enjoy the melting pot feel. Especially since it seems that American musicians doing mainstream music these days outside of certain genres like jazz, hip-hop, and blues, are refusing to embrace the full spectrum of the melting pot and simply clone their European or Asian counterparts, especially and the various electronic, electro pop, and modern rock genres. Chris Randall: Well, music has always been that way. There's the mainstream, which is notoriously lemming-like, and then whatever word of the day describes the avantgarde. My own experience is quite varied, and the music I make reflects this. However, this isn't necessarily a good way to build a fan base, and I wouldn't recommend it as a sound business decision. Consistency is rewarded in the music industry. Regarding the general quality of popular music, we always have the benefit of picking and choosing the "good" stuff when we look back on our www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

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cultural history, which makes the time we live in seem banal by comparison. One would do well to remember that for every Gang Of Four there's fifty Starland Vocal Bands.

Audio Damage and an Interview with

Chris Randall

to write so much on the blogs and music forums? Chris Randall: It's kind of funny, because I could easily do more. I work fairly quickly, because I don't usually start anything until I have the idea already fleshed out in my head, whether it's designing a plug-in, writing a song, or making a blog post. Or, for that matter, any of my other interests. And, by virtue of being a musician, I type really fast. I'll always have that as a fallback career, right?

WSM: You say that when you sit down to compose and record your music, it is all written in your head before the process has even started. How does that work exactly, and does the final product reflect the music in your head? Do you allow for "happy accidents" during the actual, physical process -- so to speak? WSM: With your solo albums, Scanalyzer, Micronaut, and Audio Chris Randall: Writing music is Damage, what is going on with almost entirely happy accidents, so SMG, is it really over? Like, "final not allowing for them is a tragic nail in the coffin," over? Or, “still mistake, in my opinion. In general, I'll over for now but who knows in be driving somewhere, or on a hike or the future,” over? something like that, and I'll get a bass melody or some such stuck in my Chris Randall: I think I can safely head. I'll extrapolate it out in to a say that there will be no more Sister verse/chorus kind of structure, and Machine Gun albums. That band, to maybe think of a phrase or two with me, is kind of like when people have which to build the lyrical framework. their house pets stuffed after they Then I'll sit down and bang it out, and pass away. It's just an empty shell of see what's what. Probably only one in its former self, and while I love the twenty of the tracks I make this way memory of it, I don't love the actual ever sees the light of day, so the "it" of it, you know? Plus it's pretty failure rate is quite high. Another ugly to play shows to a hundred thing I'll do is just start experimenting people when you used to play shows with a sound or rhythm, and build a to 10,000. That's just sad. track from that. That's where most of the Micronaut stuff comes from. WSM: Your label, Positron!; how's that going? There isn't room for a WSM: Where in the world do you Christian Rap duo from Arkansas find the time to get your hands is there? Just kidding...maybe. But into so many endeavors, musically how has that been doing as of or otherwise, and still have time late?

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Chris Randall: We've actually put the label in hiatus for the time being. My wife, who runs the label, has fairly had it with doing it, and it is no longer profitable. In all likelihood, my next album will be released on a another indie. WSM: "Nosy personal question". Now be honest, does you wife (Boss) ever have to crack the whip to do what bosses never do, which is to get you to break rather than work? Chris Randall: Actually, she does that quite often. She can tell right away when I'm tilting at windmills, for some reason, and always has a good idea about how to get out of that rut. And she's usually right. WSM: Hawaii, rural Oregon, New York, Chicago, planes, buses, vans, tents, who knows where else, and now back to rural Oregon. That's quite a bit of rooftops, or not, to sleep under. Was returning to the rural Oregon of your youth essential for you at this mid-point in life? It seems like music you are making now could only come about in those rural settings. Especially with the linking of a lifetime mixed into it, to give the tracks that bit of a progressive edge over traditional blues. It seems that with the electronic musical styles, one can simply watch the news, read the paper, smell any city in the world, and then go into that musical space, turn the lights out and close their


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eyes, and let the creativity flow. However, with the music you are making now, it would appear that a concrete physical connection to the atmosphere would be essential for this kind of music to come about. Is that indeed the case? I mean, the only way I hear "big city" in The Devil His Due would be by way of something out of Joss Whedon's Firefly. Chris Randall: Interestingly, The Devil His Due was written entirely between the end of Firefly and the release of Serenity, so you might be on to something there. Just to be clear, the rural Oregon I live in now is very different than the one of my youth. I was raised in the desert of Eastern Oregon, and now I live in the Cascade Foothills, which are nice semi-rain-forest. Extremely different lifestyles. But that said, you're probably correct inasmuch as I wouldn't have written this record if I didn't live where I do now. We're actually moving back to the Big City here in a couple months, so my next record will no doubt reflect that.

very early on was that the people that make money off musicians always do better than the people that try to make money as musicians. Now that I'm in both camps, it's easy to add up the columns. In 2008, I made five times more from Audio Damage than from my musical endeavors. That's fairly simple math. Making music is a labor of love now. WSM: As a once less than proud owner of the Roland D2, I was pleasantly surprised to see it in the Fugly war against that pink Kaossilator. Fugly wasn't its only issue though, an 8 pad step sequencer, a once again stripped JV engine, RCA outs, the worst X/Y idea implementation ever, etc. etc...I had it for a week, paid $50 at Guitar Center used, and promptly returned it. Do you ever wonder why hardware manufacturers put out such garbage, and do you make it a point that your software products better have an easy, good-looking GUI?

cases. I remember recently reading that someone on an internet forum complained about something you made available for free, I think it was concerning your Rough Rider compressor, which is a total jackass thing to do anyway, and you rightly let him have it. Is constructive criticism something you appreciate and senseless criticism something you won't tolerate? Is that a fair way to put it? Chris Randall: I suffer foolishness poorly, I'll say that much. I absolutely welcome constructive comments and criticism, whether it's about my music, Audio Damage's products, or my own personality. But uninformed opinions are what the internet is built on, and (unfortunately, perhaps) I have very little patience for nonsense.

WSM: Since I am in media of sorts, I have to be a jackass at least once in an interview myself...so here it is. You've recently stated, and I quote "A simple rule-ofthumb applies here: if the word Chris Randall: We definitely make it "Pro" appears in the literature or WSM: Is Audio Damage a labor of a point to have the GUI be simplicity name of the product, it is To Be love? A desire to get the gear you itself. If the damn thing isn't fun to Avoided." Yet, you named the want by simply making it yourself, use, it won't be used, you know? That commercial version of Rough and if money from others for it said, I'm sure the folks at Roland Rider, Rough Rider Pro. Should we comes about all the better? thought the D2 was a fairly good idea take your advice? Tell us a bit for some reason. I have no idea what about this latest compressor. :) Chris Randall: To be clear, it is most that reason is, though. definitely labor I love, but I wouldn't Chris Randall: Heh. My biggest do it for free. I make way more WSM: Some people have noted failing is that I'm perhaps a bit too money selling plug-ins than I ever did that while being a very cool guy, clever for my own good. Or at least I making music for a living. There's you can get a bit testy with people, think I am, which is the same thing, I something to that. One thing I learned especially over your work in some guess. I thought it was selfDecember 2009

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deprecating humor, making that comment after we had already named it "Rough Rider Pro." Perhaps I would be better served by being more literal. But stirring the pot is what I do best, in that context anyhow. WSM: Any plans of slowing down and enjoying the fruits of your labor any time soon? Or perhaps going the other way and blowing off most of the “work” work and hitting the tour circuit hard for your own musical pursuits?

and an Interview with

Chris Randall

Chris Randall: The last book I read was "The Long Ships" by a Norwegian author, Frans Bengtsson. It's a historical novel of the Vikings, and one of the best novels I've ever read. Getting back to my Norwegian roots, I guess. We didn't really do anything for the holidays, and that, in and of itself, was an enjoyable holiday, because usually we're all over half the continental US visiting relatives and such. The coolest present I got was a Heuer Monaco watch, from my wife.

An interesting thing sitting in my studio that you don't know about? I have about thirty bottles of Pinot Noir from different wineries around the Willamette Valley, which is where I live. They're right behind me in my closet. As for worshipping the baby Jesus, we all do in our own way. My way consisted of yelling "Jesus CHRIST" every time the Trailblazers missed an easy basket. It is, on the other hand, almost always too cold to go rock climbing here, but I do it anyways. I don't fish at all, and haven't since I was a kid. It gives me the creeps to bonk 'em on the head WSM: Final blitz of questions: The afterwards. I do miss The City, I'll be last book you read was? Did you honest about that. The best film I saw enjoy the holidays? Coolest in 2008 was The Proposition, which I present you got? Things we didn't didn't get around to seeing until a know before sitting in your studio couple months ago. And finally, I that would be of interest? Was don't find pondering the abstract baby Jesus really worshiped at the nature of pretty much anything Randall house on Christmas? Ever interesting. I'm a pragmatic person too cold to go rock climbing? Fish who deals in things I can get my much? Do you miss the city? Best hands on. The Singularity just means film you saw in 2008? Singularity, more people will be watching people Multiverse, or cosmology is getting kicked in the biscuits on uninteresting? YouTube instead of interacting with

Chris Randall: Hard to say. As for touring, I vowed after the last national tour I did that I wouldn't do it again unless it was in a bus, with my wife, and we were in Grand Hyatts every night and playing theatres. Since none of those things are likely to happen in the near term, I'm gonna have to say "no" in answer to the second half of the query. While I very much love being on stage performing, I'm getting too old to spend three months in a van with ten guys I don't like very much.

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their fellow man. I'll pass, thanks. Give me a good book, a glass of wine, and a Miles Davis record, and I'm set. WSM: Thanks for taking the time. We really appreciate it and we'll do our best to stay updated with every project you get your hands on. Chris Randall: My pleasure. Any time! ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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Audio Damage


developerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s +++++++++++++++++++++++

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AdVerb While it may be named AdVerb, previously it was named Reverence, there aren't enough adjectives to express what platitudes that this wonderful little plate reverb plug-in deserve. This plug-in is not about recreating space, it is about creating lush shimmers on your audio tracks. It is mainly used for guitars, synths, and vocals.

DubStation ++++++++++++++++++++++++++

It is inspired by the vintage analog delays, but includes a few unique tricks up its sleeve. This is not because of its abundant, specheavy features, because there aren't that many, rather, this is because it is an immediate, intuitive, and warm sounding plug-in that is spot on perfect in its simplicity. Not that it is simple, mind you, just simple to use. So, while the specs are few, use is immediate, rewarding, and the character is plenty.

process the incoming sound. While it can be synced to the host tempo, it can also run freely, which, when looped and reversed, can create interesting life on its own, and the imperfections caused by this adds a degree of life to the processed sound.

The main controls are Pre-Delay, Reverb Time, Diffusion, and Size. PreDelay effects the time differential to the incoming signal and the reverberation effect coloring. Reverb Time controls the decay of the reverb effect on the incoming signals, and it controls the most how the plug-in will sound on the incoming signal or signals. This is because the sounds will constantly ring and build on

The Regen, Loop, and Reverse functionality give flexible control over the incoming signal, and allows the user to design the perfect delay effect with the warmth and everything from crazy to subtle characteristics that make using the effect fit perfectly in the mix. The drive now feeds the signal with the saturated warmth, with lo and high cut options for the incoming signal. Along with this, shaping the sound in either mono or stereo, there is a lot of control over how the effect will December 2009

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developer’s

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Audio Damage and an Interview with

Chris Randall

themselves if used in higher amounts. Diffusion controls the spread and depth. Size is a bit tricky be cause it is not pertaining to the size of a space, but rather the size of the effect. The larger the size, the bigger the reverb effects is on the sound, and the bigger the size, the more lushness is added. There is also a control set for the contour of how the reverb acts with hi and low frequencies if one wishes to adjust this. The input mute control is handy if you just want the processed signal, as in the effect, or after-effect as it were, to be the only audible part to be heard. As for the sound itself, it is truly a wonder, like all Audio Damage plug-ins, how some things seemingly so simple, can sound so much better, and add so much more character to tracks than more convoluted effects. This one doesn't disappoint.

simple on the front, but underneath the hood there are five modulated delays and four fixed ones that work to create the effect. That is plenty more than the usual chorus effect has going for it, and the difference is immediately obvious. Chorus has fallen out of fashion on many tracks, but this changes the course.

Fluid

The trick up Fluid's sleeve is the Feedback know which routes the output of the processed signal back into the delay architecture under the hood. This is uncommon for chorus plug-ins, but adds subtle differences to the out going sound. Which adds to the overall character created on the processed signal. The Mix knob controls In short, Audio Damage offers top how much shelf products at very reasonable Fluid prices that will make your music affects sound better. the signal overall. Waiting on the Drum Machine... (tatoo)

There are five knobs and that is it. It needs nothing more. This chorus effect is fantastic and will find a use in every track, and on every type of sound, whether it normally lends itself to lots of chorus or not. It may look

Rich characteristics, and this chorus adds wonderful stereo width, depth, and imaging and harmonic content to the incoming signal. Again, five controls, the Delay control affects the duration on the inner delays of the plug-in. The LFO rate controls how much vibrato is added to the signal and at increased rate, the more pitch harmonics come into play onto the incoming signal. The LFO depth determines how much the LFO modulates the delays.

Reality Check: For those who've passively looked at Audio Damage‘s effect thinking, “well, those look simple, and my host already came with simple effect plugins that do that.” The truth is likely, no, your host didn't come with plugins that do what Audio Damage’s do. Many hosts come with simple effects processors that may have more features, but don’t achieve the sound or level of quality you desire. Thus, leading you to investigate other effects processors. Most likely ones that come in extremely high-priced bundles. Or, ones that look wonderful reading spec-sheets and give you everything and the kitchen sink. But when it comes time to actually use it, only 10% of it is musically useful. At WSM, we think that Audio Damage is filling the gap between the extremes with simplicity, and outstanding sound quality. While you may not be dazzled by spec-sheets, usability in the context of making music is where their products really shine. They also bring life to your music where it matters most and are musically useful in any scenario.

Yes we are...

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Wusikstation

Improving by the minute.

www.wusik.com


//programming

corner// class JUCE_API Programing_Corner : public by_WilliamK { public: showText() { String caption(T("Get ready for some Juce and C++ action!")); // String sub(T("It's not for the faint of heart. Wipe your shoes before entering the room...")); // String downloads(T("http://juce.wusik.com")); }; };

/** Starting up with this issue, we will be introducing some programming tips for the experienced programmer, but also, for the guy who is just starting up. I will try to divide it up into basic and advanced sections, when possible. Now, if you never done any programming at all, I would advise to start up with a C++ book, before anything else. Get yourself a nice compiler, a good start-up book, and there you have it. If you don't know Juce yet, visit RawMaterialSoftware.com for some information about it. Its a free open-source framework. There's a license option, if you plan on releasing your work without its source-code. */

class JUCE_API Chapter_One : public by_WilliamK { Basic() { String name(T("Starting up with Juce, creating your own plugin")); }; }; The great thing about Juce, is that it comes with some nice examples. There's no big deals here, open the Juce folder and follow this path: juce/extras/audio plugins/demo/build/ and pick the platform you are working on. Here, I chose /win32 and opened the JuceDemoPlugin.vcproj file, which fires up Microsoft Visual C++ 2008, the Express edition. If you don't have a compiler yet, this is a nice option, since its free. Just Google for it and youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll find its page at the Microsoft.com site. Once you open it up, it may ask to convert the project. Follow the instructions until you are ready to go. Notice the Left area, there's where you will see the project files. Open up the Sources Tree, and then the plug-in tree. There should be 8 files there. We will explain a bit about each file in a minute. For now its time to compile and see if everything is working. Now is a good time to mention that you will need to setup a few things first, before the compiler can actually work. Open up juce_AppConfig.h and set to 0 the following defines: JUCE_QUICKTIME, JUCE_OPENGL, JUCE_ASIO, JUCE_USE_CDBURNER and any other that you want to leave out for now. You also need install the VST SDK from Steinberg, to be able to compile the VST version. Once you have the Steinberg SDK, you need to add the VST SDK path to the compiler settings. If you are using MVC++2008 press F7 and it will start compiling. Once compiled, you should have a .dpm file, which is your plug-in file. Change the .dpm to .dll and move it to your host/sequencer plug-ins folder. 68

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You will get some errors the first time you try to compile. Some extra files are required in order for it to run. It’s not a problem with Juce, the extra files can't be included with Juce for copyright reasons. Once your first compile is actually working, the resulting VST .dll file should run in your host/sequencer without problems. Now it is time to learn about the file structure. First, you should take a look at the JucePluginCharacteristics.h file. Here you have the basic options for your plug-in. This file is self-explanatory and there are enough comments to help you figure things out. So, lets move on. Next, look at the DemoJuceFilter.cpp and .h files they are the main plug-in files. These are created first and used for everything but the GUI (Graphical User Interface) -- also know as the editor. The editor is set by the DemoEditorComponent files. Open, or re-open, the DemoJuceFilter.cpp file and search for the following: ●  void DemoJuceFilter::processBlock – here's where the action happens. Where you get to do your “magic”. ●  void DemoJuceFilter::getStateInformation – the host will call this to collect the plug­in's information. When you load a project and the plug-in is loaded up, it will call the setStateInformation instead, to restore the plug-in state. Ready for some GUI action? Ok, lets do something simple, like adding a text button. Open the DemoEditorComponent.cpp and header files. (the .h file) In the header file, add after private: TextButton* myButton; and also add to the editor constructor the following: public ButtonListener so the editor can receive a message of when the button gets clicked. You should also add void buttonClicked (Button* buttonThatWasClicked); to the constructor, its the call made by the button when its clicked. It should look like this: class

DemoEditorComponent : public AudioProcessorEditor, public ChangeListener, public SliderListener, public ButtonListener

{ public: /** Constructor. When created, this will register itself with the filter for changes. It's safe to assume that the filter won't be deleted before this object is. */ DemoEditorComponent (DemoJuceFilter* const ownerFilter); /** Destructor. */ ~DemoEditorComponent(); //============================================================================== /** Our demo filter is a ChangeBroadcaster, and will call us back when one of its parameters changes. */ void changeListenerCallback (void* source); void sliderValueChanged (Slider*); //============================================================================== /** Standard Juce paint callback. */ void paint (Graphics& g); /** Standard Juce resize callback. */ void resized(); void buttonClicked (Button* buttonThatWasClicked);

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corner//

//programming


//programming

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-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------private: //============================================================================== TextButton* myButton; Slider* gainSlider; MidiKeyboardComponent* midiKeyboard; Label* infoLabel; ResizableCornerComponent* resizer; ComponentBoundsConstrainer resizeLimits; TooltipWindow tooltipWindow; void updateParametersFromFilter(); // handy wrapper method to avoid having to cast the filter to a DemoJuceFilter // every time we need it.. DemoJuceFilter* getFilter() const throw() { return (DemoJuceFilter*) getAudioProcessor(); } };

That's it, lets go to the DemoEditorComponent.cpp file now. In the DemoEditorComponent::DemoEditorComponent constructor, we will create and show the new button. This will create the button object. myButton = new TextButton (T("My Button")); This will attach its listener to the editor. So when you click it, a call is made to the editor. (buttonClicked) myButton->addButtonListener (this); Now, if you want to change its text, call: myButton->setButtonText(T("My Text To Show")); You must set its size and position now: myButton->setBounds(0,0,100,20); // x y width height // And finally, you can show the button: addAndMakeVisible(myButton); You don't have to worry about deleting the object, as the editor destructor already does this for all objects that were added to the display. You only need to worry about objects that were not added. DemoEditorComponent::~DemoEditorComponent() The following call does the trick: deleteAllChildren(); Now, if you want to add the object but keep it hidden, use addChildComponent instead. Call myButton>setVisible(true); to make it visible. This way, the object is always attached to the GUI, but only visible when you want it to be. The next step is to ensure your buttonClicked call handles things. So when the user clicks the button, something happens. Here's how that code looks :

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void DemoEditorComponent::buttonClicked (Button* buttonThatWasClicked) { if (buttonThatWasClicked == myButton) { // Do something here ! // } }

If you want to tell the filter something changed, call sendChangeMessage((void*)this); which calls to changeListenerCallback in the filter main class. Depending on what you need to do, keep a local variable for the message-type. For instance, int MyChangedMessage and use 0, 1, 2, 3, ... depending on what you want to tell the filter about the editor. That's it for now, pretty basic, but should give a good start.

class JUCE_API Chapter_Two : public by_WilliamK { Basic() { String name(T("Some little tools I created to help things out")); }; }; Since I have always programmed for the Windows platform, the first thing I missed in Juce was a quick way to display a message, an alert and also a value. There is an AlertWindow class that lets you do all that. But, instead of typing something lengthy each time, I decided to make three Macros.

#define MessageBox(dd,ds) AlertWindow::showMessageBox(AlertWindow::WarningIcon, dd,ds) #define ShowValue(value) AlertWindow::showMessageBox(AlertWindow::WarningIcon, T("Value"),T("") + String::formatted(T("%d"),value)) #define Alert MessageBox("Alert!","Alert!")

When creating multiple objects, I wanted something quick to declare and destroy them too. I came up with these two small macros.

#define setThis(Variable,Value,Times) for(intxset=0; xset<Times; xset++) Variable[xset] = Value #define deleteThis(Variable,Times) for (int xset=0; xset<Times; xset++) deleteAndZero(Variable[xset]) // An example // Image* buttonImages[9]; setThis ( buttonImages, 0, 9 ); deleteThis ( buttonImages, 9 );

class JUCE_API Chapter_Three : public by_WilliamK { Advanced() { String name(T("How to skin your Juce plugin")); }; }; After working with Juce, you may wonder, “How do I create a 3D looking skin?” Or even, “How can I make it user skinable?” Those are good questions. And, you are in luck. Juce plugins are very easy to skin, you just need to prepare things properly. December 2009

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//programming

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To do this we will use the xml processor and the LookAndFeel class. Lets start by creating our own newLookAndFeel class, derivating from the original Juce LookAndFeel class. Because I want to share it with all plugin instances, I will make it a singleton and add DeletedAtShutdown to it. A bit lost? Yes, I was too, especially since I never use singletons in my coding. A real shame, as it could have saved me a lot of time. If you want to know more about singletons, you can Google for it. But I wouldn't bother, just stick with juce's singleton macros and you will be fine. Basically, what this does is make only one newLookAndFeel variable in memory for all loaded instances of your plugin. Deleting it only during complete shutdown, when every single instance has been unloaded. Simple as that. For this following example, we will create our own LookAndFeel class with a new button background so we can use our own image for all buttons. I'm also adding my own drawImageSquare code, which takes 9 images and draws a resizable square/retancle. Each image is a corner of the button, starting from left-top, and image #4 is the middle of the button. So the order for all images should be: Top-Left, Top-Middle, Top-Right, Middle-Left, Middle-Middle, Middle-Right, Bottom-Left, Bottom-Middle and Bottom-Right. Like this: /** 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

*/

/** + - + | . | + - +

*/

Here's how it should look: class JUCE_API NewLookAndFeel { public: NewLookAndFeel(); ~NewLookAndFeel();

: public LookAndFeel, DeletedAtShutdown

juce_DeclareSingleton (NewLookAndFeel,false) virtual void drawButtonBackground (Graphics& g, Button& button, const Colour& backgroundColour, bool isMouseOverButton, bool isButtonDown); static void drawImageSquare(Graphics& g,Image** images,int x,int y,int width,int height,float opacity); Image* buttonBack[2][9]; // buttonBack [0] = Normal Button â&#x20AC;&#x201C; [1] = Click Button // float buttonAlphaOnMouseOver; bool didLoadSkin; };

And here's the cpp file:

//---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------NewLookAndFeel::NewLookAndFeel() {

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-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------didLoadSkin = false; setThis(buttonBack[0],0,9); setThis(buttonBack[1],0,9); buttonAlphaOnMouseOver = 0.5f; } //---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------NewLookAndFeel::~NewLookAndFeel() { setDefaultLookAndFeel (0); didLoadSkin = false; deleteThis(buttonBack[0],9); deleteThis(buttonBack[1],9); } //---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------void NewLookAndFeel::drawButtonBackground (Graphics& g, Button& button, const Colour& backgroundColour, bool isMouseOverButton, bool isButtonDown) { if (!didLoadSkin) { LookAndFeel::drawButtonBackground(g,button,backgroundColour,isMouseOverButton,isButtonDown); } else { int xI = 0; if (isButtonDown) xI = 1; float xOp = 1.0f; if (!isButtonDown && isMouseOverButton) xOp = buttonAlphaOnMouseOver; drawImageSquare(g,buttonBack[xI],0,0,button.getWidth(),button.getHeight(),xOp); } } //---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------void NewLookAndFeel::drawImageSquare(Graphics& g,Image** images,int x,int y,int width,int height,float opacity) { g.setTiledImageFill(*images[4],x+images[3]->getWidth(),y+images[1]->getHeight(),opacity); g.fillRect(x+images[3]->getWidth(),y+images[1]->getHeight(),width-images[3]->getWidth()images[5]->getWidth(), height-images[1]->getHeight()-images[7]->getHeight()); g.setTiledImageFill(*images[1],x+images[0]->getWidth(),y,opacity); g.fillRect(x+images[0]->getWidth(),y,width-images[0]->getWidth()-images[2]->getWidth(),images[1]>getHeight()); g.setTiledImageFill(*images[7],x+images[6]->getWidth(),y+height-images[7]->getHeight(),opacity); g.fillRect(x+images[6]->getWidth(),y+height-images[7]->getHeight(),width-images[6]->getWidth()images[8]->getWidth(),images[7]->getHeight()); g.setTiledImageFill(*images[3],x,y+images[0]->getHeight(),opacity); g.fillRect(x,y+images[0]->getHeight(),images[3]->getWidth(),height-images[0]->getHeight()images[6]->getHeight()); g.setTiledImageFill(*images[5],x+width-images[5]->getWidth(),y,opacity);

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corner//

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//programming

corner// -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------g.fillRect(x+width-images[5]->getWidth(),y+images[2]->getHeight(),images[5]->getWidth(),heightimages[2]->getHeight()-images[8]->getHeight()); g.setTiledImageFill(*images[0],x,y,opacity); g.fillRect(x,y,images[0]->getWidth(),images[0]->getHeight()); g.setTiledImageFill(*images[2],x+width-images[2]->getWidth(),y,opacity); g.fillRect(x+width-images[2]->getWidth(),y,images[2]->getWidth(),images[2]->getHeight()); g.setTiledImageFill(*images[6],x,y+height-images[6]->getHeight(),opacity); g.fillRect(x,y+height-images[6]->getHeight(),images[6]->getWidth(),images[6]->getHeight()); g.setTiledImageFill(*images[8],x+width-images[8]->getWidth(),y+height-images[8]>getHeight(),opacity); g.fillRect(x+width-images[8]->getWidth(),y+height-images[8]->getHeight(),images[8]>getWidth(),images[8]->getHeight()); } juce_ImplementSingleton (NewLookAndFeel)

Now, notice the didLoadSkin variable, its set to false by default. After you have loaded up the new button background images, you can set this to true and its all going to work out. In the editor constructor, do the following in order for the new LookAndFeel you have created to be used.

newLookAndFeel = NewLookAndFeel::getInstance(); getLookAndFeel().setDefaultLookAndFeel (newLookAndFeel);

Simple as that. This will create only one instance of the NewLookAndFeel class. Be sure to add NewLookAndFeel* newLookAndFeel; to the editor header file. Lets load up the 9 png files used by the button background code we have created. First, lets read a windows registry setting, so we know where to look for the skin files. You can substitute this for a relative path to the VST DLL file. (or anything else you want to do)

String dataPath(PlatformUtilities::getRegistryValue(T("HKEY_CURRENT_USER\\Software\\CompanyName\\ProductNam e\\Skin Folder"))); if (newLookAndFeel->didLoadSkin || !File(dataPath).exists()) return; int x; for (x=0; x<9; x++) { newLookAndFeel->buttonBack[0][x] = ImageFileFormat::loadFrom(dataPath + T("\\ButtonNormal_") + String().formatted(T("%d"),x) + T(".png")); newLookAndFeel->buttonBack[1][x] = ImageFileFormat::loadFrom(dataPath + T("\\ButtonClick_") + String().formatted(T("%d"),x) + T(".png")); } newLookAndFeel->didLoadSkin = true;

Notice that this will only load the files once. And if it can't find the files, it will also fail to show correctly. We also have buttonAlphaOnMouseOver which defines the transparency for when the mouse is over the button. By default this is set to 0.5f, which is a 50% transparency. But now we want to allow the user to define this option, by using a xml settings file. 74

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corner//

//programming <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> My Plugin Name <Settings> <Buttons Transparency="0.92" /> </Settings>

Now we need to open our configurations file, where we store our skin settings. We can use the same dataPath as above, but look for a xml file this time.

File dPath(dataPath + T(“\\Settings.xml”)); if (dPath.existsAsFile()) { XmlDocument myDocument (dPath); XmlElement* myParentXml = myDocument.getDocumentElement(); if (myParentXml != 0) { forEachXmlChildElement (*myParentXml, child) { newLookAndFeel->buttonAlphaOnMouseOver = (float)child>getDoubleAttribute(T("Transparency")); } deleteAndZero(myParentXml); } } Presto! Its all done, now you have done your very first skin part. The great thing about this code, is that its flexible. You can create any size of text buttons now, and the background will always resize correctly and it will always look good. For an example of this, check out Wusik Station V6 default skin files. Inside its folder, there's a folder called TreeView, and inside it the button files. Note: In some situations, you don't really need 9 images for the button, if they are allways the same height, you can just define Left, Middle and Right images. The code would look like this: int Button = 0; // Set to 1 if its Clicked // float Opac = 1.0f; // Set to 0.5f if mouse is over // int width = 100; int height = 20; // Middle // g.setTiledImageFill(*buttonBack[Button][1], 0, 0, Opac); g.fillRect(buttonBack[Button][0]->getWidth(), 0, width – buttonBack[Button][0]->getWidth() - buttonBack[Button][2]->getWidth(), height); // Left // g.setTiledImageFill(*buttonBack[Button][0], 0, 0, Opac); g.fillRect(0, 0, buttonBack[Button][0]->getWidth(), height); // Right // g.setTiledImageFill(*buttonBack[Button][2], width – buttonBack[Button][2]->getWidth(), 0, Opac); g.fillRect(width – buttonBack[Button][2]->getWidth(), 0, buttonBack[Button][2]->getWidth(), height);

Another thing to notice, is that drawImageSquare can also be used to draw any background, its not just for buttons. In Wusik Station V6, I use it for buttons and also the TreeView background. For downloadable resources, visit: http://juce.wusik.com

December 2009

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Isone Pro Mix With Your Headphones by A. Arsov

My wife loves it. Your spouse is gonna love it. Even your neighbors will love it. If you have ever tried to mix late at night, you know that it is not a simple task, especially if you live in a crowded neighborhood. After a few: â&#x20AC;?Could you please use your headphonesâ&#x20AC;? questions from my wife, I decided to explore a bit deeper those new toys that have recently appeared in our musical virtual world: nearfield loudspeaker simulators aimed at mixing through headphones. I googled around a bit, and I soon found several products covering that area.

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Luckily I own and use Yamaha NS 10 loudspeakers, and because they were the most used and abused near-field loudspeakers in the world, every simulation program has a preset or setting for this particular model of loudspeakers. So I put on my headphones and loaded a song that I had mixed two days ago on my sequencer, then tested various demo versions of near-field simulators I found on the Net. As you might expect, I tried the most expensive ones first, but ended with the cheapest one. I'm from Gorenjska - it is a Scottish part of Slovenia. The cheaper the merrier, but to tell you the truth, money is not the issue for me as long as I work for Wusik Sound Magazine. It can cost as much as it wants as long as I can get those plugs for free. That's my motto.


enabled as suggested in manual. I just want to mix songs in the late hours, not elaborate audio science. So much for the left side of the graphical interface.

20 bucks later Nevertheless, for just $20 USD you can get excellent near-field speaker simulator. With Isone Pro I was able to get almost identical sound through my headphones as I usually have through my nearfield loudspeakers. For my ears and for your wallets it is a total win-win situation. Simple to use, good sounding and good looking, for the price of one coffee and a pack of cigarettes. The only possible deficiency is the small number of supported loudspeaker models, but I'm sure that Jeroen will add few more models in the near future. At present In the bottom right corner of the main graphical window lies a Cabinet type drop down menu containing eight loudspeaker models: Acoustic Energy AE2, Auratone 5C, AviPro 9, Krk V8, PMC LB-1, Roland D550A, Tannoy Reveal along with Yamaha NS 10. That's it. Along with these models there are also settings for a 40-inch flatpanel TV, laptop speakers, portable music player, and a reference – flat response settings. So even if you don't own one of these loudspeaker models, it could be still a very useful tool for taming your mixes, listening to how it sounds with all those cabinet types. At the left bottom corner is another drop menu with output options, from stereo to mono, along with left-only or right-only options. In the middle of the main graphical window is a big output VU meter showing the output peak level. In general the left side of the graphical interface is for HRTF adjustment (head-related transfer

Right and Straight to the Room Acoustic At first you will notice a big distance knob for setting the distance between you and your speakers. This is an ideal chance for some of you – functions) or how our the left and control freak persons – for running right ears perceive the sound that around, metre in hand, measuring the comes from left and right speaker, while on the right side of the graphical distance between your chair and the loudspeakers. The next little knob interface are settings for the things “Room T60” is for setting the reverb concerned with room acoustics. Left time and room size. As they settings are you, right are for the suggested in manual – for different room. Simple as it can be. audio material different settings are preferred. Ah, over-forty "Whatever!" HRTF Department strikes again – don't fix it if it is not broken. I leave it on the default value A big cue strength knob is there for and survived – thought I. The next switching from zero value for flat one is a button for enabling or response up to 100 where everything disabling the room simulation, and is relative and you need to manually another one is a next-door control define the head and ear size values. Sounds complicated, but it is not. All button for simulating the sound as it is heard from another room. As you you need to do is to tweak the head know this technique is used for knob until you get the most natural spotting the parts of a mix which are stereo signal with good defined left badly or wrongly represented. Nice and right side. With the ear knob you addition to this plug in. need to define the direction of the source. Usually it sounds like the signal is coming from above, so when More or less that's all. As with all you reach the right value, depending other Jeroen's plug-ins, this one also sounds excellent, it is easy to use, on your ear size, you'll get the and it will not tear up your wallet. So, impression that the sound is coming lets spend the night together, you, from in front of you. I'm usually deaf your wife and Isone Pro – a for such fineness, but had no magnificent trio for upcoming wild problems in setting this. winter nights ... There is also a small ITD's knob for http://www.jeroenbreebaart.com/audi enabling or disabling the inter-aural time differences. Being over forty, I o_vst_isone_pro.htm naturally said the most-used word for my age: “Whatever!” and left this VST - Windows only December 2009

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Fxpansion’s DCAM: by Trusty

So what's so great about DCAM: Synth Squad? The hype on this bundle had become so intense by the time of the release, everyone began to bemoan that it could never live up to it. Some people even had to rack their brains to say something bad about the sound demos, despite them sounding most excellent. After the release, DCAM was universally praised, and the naysayers had to complain about the lack of demo versions of the instruments, once again citing that the audio demonstrations on the website weren't up to their liking.

of instrument in an over-saturated market of these types of instruments, especially given the “analog modeled” category, it had better sound fantastic, and Synth Squad indeed does. And there are other reasons... Before diving headlong into details, there are a few other unsung pluses about DCAM: Synth Squad. The first being that for what is essentially a three synth collection, and a shell for some semi-modular action and interplay between the instruments, the instruction manual is both well written, and 110 pages. Very well

Yada, yada, yada... Those that have DCAM installed on their computer know a very different story. One in which all the expectations, even the overblown ones, were actually exceeded...for the most part anyway, there will always be that one or two out there that are never happy. But in any case, DCAM: Synth Squad lives up to the hype, lives up to the standards FXpansion has set before us in their other products, and actually justifies it's cost, even in this economy. What's so great about this, you ask? It sounds unbelievable. Not unbelievable “for software”, it just sounds good. Side by side with other synths in ones arsenal of this type, raw sound for raw sound, and from there on, it will best the rest. When making music, and when using a type

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done on that. Not too many people comment on manuals in their reviews, but they should...a good manual, though not a sign post for the instrument itself in terms of quality, speaks a lot about the company and the company's commitment to excellence in all aspects of their business. This is one area, and the awesome looking and sounding videos that ushered in the release of the product was another rather nice touch. Very well done all around. If no one else does, at leas I appreciate it, and it got me going really quick with the Squad.


Synth Squad

But here are the BIG reasons. “Discrete Component Analogue Modelling” is what DCAM stands for in case anyone was wondering. Now, it is true that every time a company thinks they have stumbled on genius coding for synth engines, they always give it a name, and probably for marketing reasons more than anything else. Moreover, we've all seen it before and most people are somewhat cynical about it these days. Well, get over the cynicism. FXpansion delivers. While the instruments are not direct emulations (and we thank whomever we thank along with the

folks at FXpansion for this) the various bits that make up analogue synthesizers have been thoroughly examined with a fine tooth comb to bring precision modeling to the instruments. They earned the right to trumpet the DCAM tag. Though the differences in the instruments are obvious, the actual interface among the three separate instruments have a good deal in common, and make things very easy to get a handle on the inner workings very quickly. The GUIs are all laid out in similar fashion, and easily decipherable to get the head around when trying to program. They have

been very well thought out. The modulation section, called TransMod, is rather intuitive and makes those shaky about delving too deep into modulation very comfortable with it. Once again, the sound is very big, and the preset browser for finding the out of the box sounds and previewing the capabilities of the instrument is very nice and easy to use. The presets, as with all synths, are a mixed bag of both style and quality, but even the not-so-hot ones are better than the not-so-hot ones on other instruments of these sorts.

Strobe Strobe is a no nonsense analogmodelled synthesizer inspired by, but not emulative of, several straightforward monosynths. It has one oscillator, a sub oscillator, with polyphony, unison, multimode filters, the TransMod, LFO, arpeggiator, a mod envelope, ramp generator, and amp envelope. It is easy to think “yeah...so”, but what FXpansion have done done is taken this type of endlessly useful synthesizer back to

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Fxpansion’s DCAM:

the basics, and added the most direct, and modern features to make it soar ahead of most instruments in its class...yes, with that one simple OSC.

Cypher. One of the coolest things about it is that it has all the range of much bigger and more complicated synthesizers out there, but without all the fuss.

Cypher Amber Cypher is the heavy hitter among the three instruments you get in the Synth Squad. It is unique among instruments in that it can be a virtual analogue synthesizer, it also has a specific purpose of creating audiomodulated and FM sounds. It is not like a typical three osc VA synth that has bolted FM on to it for mere potentiality, as it goes way beyond that in an analog-modelled approach to FM, rather than using operators modulating each other and manually calculating frequencies. The Scale control in the OSC section makes these FM talks easy. The layout of the GUI is very easy to get around, and a few glances at the manual here is great for learning all that it is capable of. Looking at the GUI, it seems straightforward enough, but a second glance, and understanding all the features you are looking at, shows just how much depth is packed into

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An instrument modelling stringensemble synthesizers from the 70's? Why, you may ask? Why not? It isn't like anyone has gotten it right, or really gave it a serious try outside of

December 2009

using samples. But while some are asking “why” or responding with “why not”, many are saying “THANK YOU”. Bsaed on the Divide-down synthesizer method, Amber takes it into the future giving it many of the nice features found on the other two instruments, while keeping the sonic firepower packed on the synthesizers it is based on. Many of the cool sounds of the 70s and 80s came from these sorts, and they have been long sought after in the software world. The wait is over,


Synth Squad

and FXpansion is to be applauded for this mighty fine effort. Fusor The three instruments do not have effects onboard, except Amber, which has the chorus effect built in which is a necessary component to string synthesizers. This means that either you can use all those effects plug-ins you paid for in the past that are probably better than 80% of the onboard effects of most software instruments, or you can use Fusor. Fusor is a shell that can house up to three instances of the Synth Squad instruments in any combination. Not to simply apply effects of course,

though the effects in Fusor are up to FXpansion's usual high standards, but also to modulate between the instrumetns, apply complex, semimodular synthesis approaches to the Synth Squad. It offers key split options, effects per instrument plus global effects, an Animator section with cool modulation, note sequencing and an arpeggiator, and control over pitch, gate, velocity, and so much more.

features with a sound that is incredible. It is easy to use, easy to learn, and is worth the price of admission. The only downside is the CPU consumption on some of the patches in Fusor and Cypher, but that is the cost of outstanding sonic quality and power. This being FXpansion's first serious foray into the synthesizer market (Mysterion, Orca, and the drum synth modules don't count for much), they have certainly given the competition something to worry about. In Short When no one thought that the world needed another pair of software Hardly a bad word to say about instruments that were analogue DCAM: Synth Squad. It seems like the modelled (even with the FM side of perfect marriage of classic instrument things in Cypher), and no one thought style with modern enhancements and that a string ensemble synthesizer could be done properly outside of using samples, Fxpansion delivers a collection that lived up to its hype, and shattered all notions that the bread and butter instruments had run their course...and they threw in Fusor on top. More technical details can be found at www.fxpansion.com and the manual and quickstart guide are available for download, as is the DEMO (the complainers can stop whining now).

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UVI SoundSource_ Electronic Toy Museum Review

UVI SoundSource’s

Electronic Toy Museum by Trusty

Once and Again. Whether one grows up to become a musician or not, everyone had in their toy collection at least one of the 97 toy instruments and noisemakers found in this collection. Every kid was a star in front of the mirror, and every kid that eventually grew up to become a musician still longs for those toys that inspired their career. A good deal of those musicians have sampled some of those toys on various occasions, and others have done some creative circuit bending on the toys of their childhood. For the majority of people out there, many of their closets, or parent's closets or attics still have these toys in them. Typically, one thinks that it would be awesome to use them in their music. It is one of those things that many musicians say to themselves that they will get around to doing, and others have promised themselves to sample every bit of coolness out of those toys. But, most never bothered. Great Job!!! The good people at UVI SoundSource bothered, and they did a heck of a job. The word “Museum” in the title is very apt, as they have dug up some toy instruments that many may not have even been aware existed. The quality of the sampling is top notch, and the free, flexible, and well featured UVI engine is a more than capable engine for delivering the sounds. Coming in at a bit over seven gigs of data, this is a quite hefty package containing over 1,000 preset instruments, loops, and sound effects. Additionally, there are nice keymaps, seemless looping, and all the usual

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care has gone into the presets. The result is simply amazing. Listening through them is a nice bit of nostalgia, and there is so much fun to be had in thinking of creative ways to use some of the sounds. There is no way that the typical musician wanting to capture those sounds from their toys could have done so well. Except... With all the accolades one could toss out about this great idea, great execution, and great product, there is one negative thing: it is almost too great. Certainly, it is too expensive at $249 and requiring the iLok dongle I think is a bit much for something like this. In actuality, it is just a novelty item, and certainly not going to be the foundation of most people's sound -their "bread and butter". Novelty items like this can achieve cult status, and often do, but at $249 and an iLok, come on. Part of the fun of those old toys is the crappy sound quality, and the actual experience of micing and playing them for oneself rather than using the UVI workstation. Some of the presets in this collection sound as good or better than average sample banks from â&#x20AC;&#x153;leadingâ&#x20AC;? hardware and software rompler engines, and that is more distracting (and almost rather disturbing) than it is fun. It is as if the sheer professionalism of the sampling

process took the charm right out of the toys themselves, and a larger than wanted chunk of the instrument sound presets could be cobbled together and sound like an amateur or semi-pro preset collection someone tried to make with real instruments. Eek, not what the desired effect should have been. Good, But Yet Not Good Enough In any case, there are still lots of nice crappy toy drum sounds and loops we all love, and some lo-fi toy sounding instrument presets that won't need further processing to get you back to what you had in your head before you heard the whole collection here. There is plenty of fun to be had with the Speech stuff, and the odd chirps and cheesy sound effects here and there. However, that fun isn't really worth $249 plus dealing with iLok. I personally use iLok for other stuff and it stays in my machine, and I still think it is overkill for this. Perhaps the price has to do with the licensing or something, I have no idea. For $99 bucks, it would definitely be worth it for anyone with any interest in these types of sounds, but as it is...eh, well

December 2009

could have been better had they not aimed so high. Hunting around for the toys and making the noise yourself is probably a better way to go. For documentation of the toys and presets, go to: http://www.ultimatesoundbank.com/u visc6.html?doc=overview

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Trance Euphoria’s

Trance MIDI Construction Kits by David Keenum

I’ve been doing music a long time, but I’ve only recently explored the world of purchased MIDI loops. I immediately saw the benefit of MIDI drum loops, especially in genres like metal. So when I got a chance to review Trance Euphoria’s Trance MIDI Construction Kits (distributed by producerloops.com), I was interested. You see, I’ve never tried to create any Trance music, so I looked on it as a challenge. I can do this! How hard could it be? Boy, was I wrong! But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s first look at the MIDI Construction Kits. In Use

The Contents The MIDI Construction Kits contain five kits, and each kit contains ten loops. Here are the contents of MIDI Construction 1: • • • • • • • • • •

CK1_Intro_Bass_Arp_Aminor CK1_Intro_Bass_Low_Aminor_A1 CK1_Intro_Bass_Low_Aminor_A2 CK1_Intro_Chord_Pad_Aminor CK1_Intro_Trance_Riff_Aminor CK1_Main_Bass_Arp_Aminor CK1_Main_Bass_Low_Aminor_A1 CK1_Main_Bass_Low_Aminor_A2 CK1_Main_Chord_Pad_Aminor CK1_Main_Trance_Riff_Aminor

Each of the five kits use the same format. Notice that the key is also provided in each filename.

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To use these MIDI files you simply import them into your Sequencer/DAW of choice. I must say that I found Reason’s method of doing this cumbersome. In Reason you choose Import Standard MIDI file from the File dropdown menu. No drag-and-drop! Oh well. It didn’t cause me harm, just annoyance. Once you have the MIDI file assigned to a track, then you have to choose a synth and a preset. This is where I got into trouble. You see Trance synth sounds are pretty much genre specific, and… I… uh… am not a Trance composer. So this is where I spent the bulk of my time testing Trance MIDI Construction Kits. The sounds were the difficulty. The MIDI files lined up in the sequencer, and the construction kits worked well together. My problem was that I didn’t have the appropriate sounds.


Trance MIDI Construction Kits Creator: Trance Euphoria - Wilkinson (http://www.tranceeuphoria.co.uk/) Distributor: Producer Loops Ltd. Web-Site: https://www.producerloops.com/Download-TranceEuphoria-Trance-MIDI-Construction-Kits.html Price: GBP £21.70 (USD $36.24) Details: This collection contains 5 MIDI Construction Kits for trance, with 10 MIDI files in each kit. Requirements: Any sequencer that can import MIDI files. This product only contains MIDI files. It does not contain any audio files. Test Computer: AMD Athlon 64 3200+ 2.0GHz, 4GB RAM, Windows XP Pro SP 3, Echo MiaMIDI Audio Card

I realize that an experienced Trance producer would know the sounds and how to use them. In fact, Trance Euphoria creates Trance presets for several synths, but I do not own any of them. I finally found sounds that worked using Reason’s Thor, Arturia’s Minimoog V, and the AAS Ultra Analog. All ended well, but be warned, this is not as easy as audio loops. It is, on the other hand, much more versatile. So it is worth the work.

The Verdict The conclusion is that this is not Instant Trance Producer! But I did learn about Trance production by using the MIDI files. And if you create Trance tracks, these files may give you some new inspiration. And don’t “pigeon hole” these files too much. I used one in a Chill House track. It was just what I needed!

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Live 8 Even More Greatness!!! by Trusty

Come on, does it get any better? Well, probably... since Max for Live coma out and people smarter than me start making a lot of cool stuff for it...but in any case, Live just keeps getting better by the moment. The new controllers from Akai and Novation take it over the top. As soon as I get my hands on either of those (I'll splurge and get both), expect full coverage on those as well. If you remember, I wrote the epic Live 7 review (WSM Dec. 08 - GO READ IT IF YOU HAVEN'T!!!) where I was totally enamored with it. I admitted to being a â&#x20AC;&#x153;John(ny)athan come latelyâ&#x20AC;?, and I've eaten my fair share of crow when it comes to Ableton Live...a certain someone on www.futureproducers.com (Hi kb420!) always loves to remind my former ******** using *** how I was completely holding myself back. He was right...I'm man enough to admit it. What's worse is that the company that made *r*j**** is, as they were with **o**c**, are now with ***a* *.* *E still playing catch up with Ableton. Why did I bother with imitator for so long?

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Oh yeah, the reason was that I stink on the keyboard, and have to apply all my music theory knowledge to the wonderful world of step recording...the one thing live 7 lacked. However, it is the one thing that made Live 8 totally smash everything out there as far as I am concerned. Most of you maestros reading this are probably scoffing, but seriously, without things like step record and nativeKONTROL, I'd be slow, slow, slow when it comes to making music. But alas, Live 8 gave me something to really get excited about, not that I wasn't excited about everything Live was before, as I certainly loved it. And I certainly used it (it just took longer)...Yeah, yeah...step record is hardly the coolest new feature of Live 8 for most people. It is for me though, as it moved me to Live full time, which is a great place to be.

better or worse than mine, have been doing it for a while now. This thing simply rocks, and I simply rock in my studio performing for myself with it. Anyway, on to some of the cool new things Ableton has offered up. As if the old warping engine wasn't tops already, they took it to the next level. Any and every sample now has no excuse for being out of sync (or rhythm-less musicians for that matter). When you take a hit that's off beat and slide it to where it should be, and it warps without actually “warping” the audio, so to speak, it is darn near breathtaking. Polyphonic material is no burden to deal with either. The slicing audio to midi is cool too, though nothing necessarily new, it is still a nice touch.

the way of itself with the new features. By the way, it literally does everything now, from composition to final mastering. None of which interferes with the DJ'ing side of things. Many people bellowed about controlling past the first 128 parameters, and they got what they asked for. Ableton allows for this now, but even cooler than that is the ability to pick the ones you want for the macro controls, i.e. the most immediate ones for instance, and have a go with it. I prefer this myself, to cut down on the clutter. By clutter, I really mean my own confusion. Magnifying the user interface is a big plus for the laptop folks like myself (when NOT using my awesome 36 inch flat screen), especially at the gigs, where all the controllers are mapped, and the session view is all that matters.

The biggie for a lot of people was the crossfading in the arrangement view. Actually, this is one comprehensive This takes away from the difficult update. Tons of cool new stuff to automating workarounds necessary in Did I mention the new step recording explore. I will definitely get to it, but the past, and gets the job done in an feature? this is Wusik Sound Magazine dangeasy fashion. Grouping tracks is a nice nabbit, and I can indulge in endless, bonus to make certain mixing tasks The new “groove engine” is lots of fun self-indulgent dribble before I get to it much easier. Ableton's work in area's to. Much, much more than simple if I choose. And I choose. So bear like this and the multi-parameter “after-the-fact” quantize options. There with me. One thing about Live 8, if no selecting demonstrate their are tons of different feels and swings other version did it yet, and now with commitment to making Live a to choose from, and the ability to save the new controllers out there complete all-in-one solution that is some ripped from existing audio is a dedicated to it, is that it inspires the still straightforward and minimal on nice feature as well. Oh yeah, it works aging rapper/producer that I am to the GUI clutter. It's actually admirable with midi and audio...take that get out and DJ for a change using Live. really, when a company like Ableton ****e*t*!!! And why not? People smarter than I manages a feature rich, ever-evolving am, with varying degrees of talent program that never seems to get in December 2009

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Live 8

Sigh, I'm being kind of rude...but why not? Ableton not only listens to their users, but they also think up stuff the users never did, and then the users get to run with it, leaving the competition in the dust. One thing about the Ableton community, it's that they inspire each other more than any other group of software users out there...and its a friendly bunch as well....unlike the *a****l* people. The Looper is the business. I love it. I use it often to build up choruses and hooks for songs with ease...especially since I tend to think the more layers of me the better...this thing just lets me pile them up. Of course, you can use it for any sound, not just vocals. By the way, the thing is easy to use, which helps. Nowhere near as daunting as some of those hardware looping pedals. I just hope there isn't a slew of hacks trying to be next Kid Beyond...and if you are one of those, you won't come close...(remember, he's not only super talented, but was doing it long before this new feature came about). Though I am sure he's as happy about it as the rest of us. One of the things I like about the new effects is that Ableton doesn't slouch when coding them. The stock effects easily match third party alternatives. My favorite of the new ones has to be the Vocoder. It not only sounds great, but it isn't the p.i.t.a. to use or set up like, oh, almost all software vocoder 88

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plug-ins ever made. The Frequency â&#x20AC;&#x153;omitâ&#x20AC;? from the list ones I don't wish to Shifter and Overdrive fit perfectly in delete off the computer, but don't with the older effects, and they sound want to see show up in Live. great. The Limiter and Multiband There...we'll see. Dynamics plug-ins work in a pinch for some nice polish without blowing out Anyway, if you aren't using Live yet, the entire mix. The limiter works great you are me a year ago...probably on the master to keep levels getting by, but probably missing out consistent during live sets without on what could be if you look to the making the whole thing sound like innovators at Ableton rather than Metallica's last album...Though, as keep messing with the imitators...uh... great as they are, they aren't gonna oh, like every other company, for be replacing my mastering chain. But, example. :) they are better than nothing, and very, very usable in other applications where the plug-ins in my aforementioned mastering chain would garbage. So, still, great additions all around and add options, which is always a good thing. Hmm, last time, in my review of version 7, I asked for step recording and got it. I thought that was all that Live lacked from being perfect. I'm glad Ableton listened on the one hand, and I am glad they have even greater vision than I do on the other. I say that because I love all that is new in Live 8, and it is now taking me places I didn't even consider going musically before. And when we all look to the horizon and see the new controllers, Max for Live, and the Serato stuff coming up, plus who knows what else...whew...It's gonna be good! But what feature should I ask for this time??? Oh yeah, a way to organize the third party plug-ins, and a way to December 2009


Artillery 2 and Effectrix: Best. FX. Ever. A genuine love story by Trusty

Yeah, you are thinking it is an odd time to bring these up again considering they have been out for a while. But now is the right time. Sure, Sugar Bytes ha s newer awesome stuff to look at. But we really need to take a second glance at these two older, and still awesome, effects plugins -- Artillery 2 and Effectrix. First, and foremost, let’s look what Sugar Bytes has done. Many have tried to imitate them. Some have managed a few new tricks that come with releasing after the original. But so what? You think Sugar Bytes are done? Bosh! You think the imitators are really going to get out far ahead? They are not far ahead as it is! This is why Sugar Bytes simply waves “the hand” and continues on updating while creating new awesome plug-ins.

then get right down to business. When coupled with Effectrix, it is game over for the dance floor. There are many great things about Effectrix. One thing is that not only can the patterns be mapped to a controller, you can also set up midi clips to be routed to it, and triggered live. This makes for some really interesting combos when firing off a midi clip while combining some Artillery 2 action in there. Choice knobs and what-not, can also be mapped to the controller.

Having both the patterns in Effectrix and the midi clips all arranged in advance makes for one heck of a workflow. I like to use multiple controllers for these things. Three Artillery 2 is what the user wants or cheers for the Korg Nano Series! In needs it to be. It has found a home fact, Artillery 2 and Effectrix are front and center in my live set-ups, as probably the main reason why I have well as my studio set-ups. Yeah, yeah, multiple midi-controllers these days. I’ve got Native Instruments’ Reaktor and all that stuff. Seriously, Artillery is Currently, I am using them inside not nearly as clunky as all that other both Ableton Live and Image Line’s stuff. It is super easy to set up Deckadance. The instructions for effects on the keybed and there are these plug-ins rightly demonstrate plenty. Make controller assignments how to set them up for best usage in for the choice knobs to tweak, and Live and other programs. Live just 90

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lends itself as the best home for these plug-ins though. This is especially true when working with your own material -- live performance or in the studio. In Live, I usually keep it either on a send, for studio work, or on the master, for live performances. After all, you got to keep the non-album cut free from Artillery and Effectrix. Otherwise, all the fun will be gone when taking the tracks to perform live. They are so addictive that it is hard to remember to use anything else during a show. It is interesting that the more you use these two plug-ins, the more defaced your midi controllers become with little permanent marker notes on them to keep track of the controller assignments.


Artillery 2 $199 Effectrix $129

The great thing about Deckadance is that there is no need to route midi to the plug-in, as the controller sends the note on/off data to Artillery's keybed by default. A nice job on Image Line's part I might add. If I am doing an easy-breezy hip-hop show providing DJ duties for other artists, I go with Deckadance for the ease of it. Especially

Compatibility: Mac or PC VST/AU

since I don't have anything other than the full instrumental tracks for the other artists. No worries though, using Artillery 2 is a piece of cake on any track. Once you become accustomed to how Effectrix works and reacts when triggering with midi clips and midi patterns, it is easy to predict how it behaves in any situation. Hip-Hop, like many other genres, is generally repetitive, and 99.9% of the time in 4/4. So all those custom pre-made midi patterns and premade Effectrix preset patterns work just fine in a pinch. Since Deckadance allows the loading of midi patterns beneath the VSTs, users can access those patterns, and trigger them, thus triggering Effectrix, and keep it all locked into the songs tempo. Another option that I prefer is to map the 12 user patterns in Effectrix to the 12 pads on the Korg NanoPad controller and do as much in real time as I can get away with. This is a great controller for Effectrix and matches up perfectly. Now, it isn't as if turntables are all of a sudden boring, but these plug-ins liven up a show more with their toolkit of effects than turntables ever did. Sorry, but seriously, its true. I’m sure, I'll get hate letters for that comment. These two plug-ins are so easily wired into my overall production and performances these days, that to consider other options is hardly even a passing thought. I'll stick with Sugar Bytes and see what they got next for these gems. Buy Effectrix while you are at it. At press time, Sugar Bytes was having a “Buy three, pay two!” special for Christmas. More info about the sale is at http://www.sugar-bytes.de/ on the web. Some people complain about the price of these plug-ins. To me they are worth more than the asking price. If you don’t believe me, ask anyone that has bonded with them.

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McLean Mix

The

McLean Mix: 3 DVDs by Warren Burt

There is a media myth about the history of electronic music, which I've read in many places, which goes something like this: The early pioneers of electronic music, like [Bob Moog, Leon Theremin, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Raymond Scott, Pierre Schaeffer (pick one or any other)] were largely geeks confined to their labs. Then when [Wendy Carlos, Brian Eno, Pink Floyd, Raymond Scott, Hawkwind (pick one or any other)] had a popular success with synthesizers, the "real work" with electronic music began, and the development of electronics in the [Western] pop sphere occurred, and the writers usually then imply (when they don't state it outright) that we no longer need concern ourselves with those poor lab-bound early experimenters. That this viewpoint is demonstrably false in so many ways is obvious, but the damage it does it that it blinds us to the many ways that electronic music is used in many parts of the world, and the wonderful musical traditions and creators that exist just beyond the range of our interests and tastes. To give just one example - the use of electronics in Indian film music is immense, and these days, ubiquitous, but reading the Western press about electronic music, who would know that? And, guess what? Those folks who continue in that "Western experimental music tradition" (the 92

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tradition that was the first to call for the development of electronic instruments, by the way) who were scorned as unpopular nerds by the popular press are still there. The music is still being made, and lots of it, and it's of astonishingly high quality, and is full of interest and beauty. In fact, it's a whole world waiting for exploration, and it's happening all around us.

eyes as well as the ears. And they are definitely their own people - even within the individualistic field of contemporary art music, they stand out as unique - doing it their own way, in the tradition of their Transcendentalist forebears, such as Henry Thoreau, Walt Whitman and Charles Ives. And this mention of Transcendentalist artists connects to another of their interests - they are both passionate environmentalists, and their work is suffused with their love and concern for the threatened natural environment.

Bart and Priscilla McLean, both now in their 60s, have been performing live electronic music and multi-media concerts since 1974, and since 1983 have done so full time, earning a The three DVDs concentrate on substantial portion of their living from different aspects of the McLeans work. this activity. Their work consists of McLean Mix Live! is a documentation live performances on traditional and (with overlaid video effects) of four home-made acoustic instruments live performances they gave in 2000 (often electronically modified), and 2008. McLeans Mix Three accompanied by both prerecorded and contains three collaborative works live electronic music, and these days, which originated in museum more and more incorporating live and installations or live performance in prerecorded video as well. They have non-traditional locations (such as a done hundreds of concerts over the jungle Longhouse in the Malaysian past 3 and 1/2 decades, all over the province of Sarawak, Borneo). USA, and in other countries such as Symphony of Seasons is a full-blown Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, the multimedia composition for video, Philippines, Belgium and the with electronic and acoustic sound by Netherlands. Over the years, they Priscilla McLean, over five years in the have released a host of first LPs, then making. All of the works are engaging cassettes, then CDs (more than 8 are to listen to, and to watch, and some currently available), and now DVDs. of them have an emotional power and Their work is refreshing and directly sweep that is quite remarkable. communicative. And now, with the addition of video, it is a treat for the December 2009


McLean Mix Live! - DVD from MLC Publications The McLeans Mix Three - DVD from MLC Publications Priscilla McLean - Symphony of Seasons - DVD from MLC Publications Price: US$25 each. Two for US$45. All three for US$60. Consult website for ordering and shipping information: http://members.cisbec.net/mclmix/mlcdvd.html

One unusual thing about these DVDs, which some might find disconcerting, is their use of silence. Except when musical pieces are being played, the DVDs are silent. There is no background music when the menus are displayed, and the title sequences of the pieces are silent, even when performing humans are shown. Even when the piece is a documentation of a live performance, as soon as the piece is over, and before applause can be heard, the soundtrack fades to silence. Only those sounds which are part of the pieces as intended by the composers are heard on the DVD even the context within which the pieces occur (the other sounds of the performance space) is removed. This might seem alienating to some, and might make you wonder if the sound has gone out on your DVD player again, but once you're used to it, it ceases to be a bother. Still, because this approach to DVD making is so unexpected, it does bear mentioning. All three DVDs are full of delights, but if I had to pick a favorite (hard job!) for myself, it would be McLean Mix Live. In this DVD, based on a series of live performances, the full range of their performing techniques can be seen, as well as a wide range of the video effects and techniques they use. Three of the pieces are also gripping, and two feature Priscilla McLean's extraordinary operatic and extended

vocal techniques in full flight. In the Beginning starts with Priscilla, full face, in a blood-curdling scream, followed by whispering, singing, shouting, ululating - a full range of vocal sounds, depicting the origins of the world the audio spectrum, and much live according to many different creation legends. It's full of great "mad scenes" electronic processing of the voice. in which Priscilla's full-on hysterical And although there are occasional vocal flights, her face in extreme extended pulsing rhythms, in this closeup, is keyed into shots of the piece, and in all 3 DVDs, there is not a "beat" to be heard. All the ocean. The ocean fills her face! At times, her face is turned into a hollow considerable rhythmic drive and black space, and the ocean is inserted energy is created by the use of textures and the energy of into that - her face becomes a juxtaposing sounds on top of each bottomless pit, through which we glimpse the ocean. Nearly all the other. To use Damian and Kalvos's term, this is as "non-pop" as you can sounds in the piece originate in her get, and yet it has the energy and voice. There is much use of the venerable ASR-10 sampler to extend engaging nature of the best popular the voice sounds into large textures of music. sound that swoop and glide through December 2009

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The

McLean Mix

the piece had been constantly Barton McLean's Happy Days It's a four-movement, 50 minute long performed since being composed in highlights another side of the symphony for video, with electronic, 1989. The virtuosity of the McLean's performing - their sense of environmental and multitracked performance is the result of those humor. "New music" isn't supposed instrumental sounds. As the title years of performing. The video to be fun, much less goofy, but the suggests, there's one movement for processing of the performance image McLean's aren't afraid to let their silly each of the seasons: Jewels of is also highly effective, creating a side show. This piece started with a January, The Eye of Spring, July highly emotionally moving theatrical collection of music boxes Bart made. Dance, and Autumn Requiem. and video experience. Soon, other toy instruments were added. Then homemade instruments Jewels of January features videos of were thrown into the mix. Sampled Magic at Xanadu (M.A.X.) by Barton the flickering surface of moving electronics and modified live sounds McLean is a solo live electronics streams with other wintry images too. Silly clown-hats and a wacky performance by him, using a set of keyed in. The score - a virtuoso scenario about one of the performers keyboards, samplers, and the MAX multitrack sampling composition - is being a music box herself is then language. I once said to Bart that I full of sustained sounds, sharp attacks added to the mix. It shouldn't work, thought a lot of his music was and wavering sounds. The everbut it does. By the end, the piece had orchestral, and that he was a present video juxtaposition and me convinced - made of scraps and frustrated orchestral composer. He keying that her video work displays is musical toys it may be, but it packs a agreed with that, and pointed out that at its most effective here, with a punch. At times, I was reminded of contemporary electronics enabled him reduced color palette of wintry blacks, Russian composer Shostakovich's to get the thickness of texture, and whites and grays. The ending sound description of one of his pieces which the large number of simultaneous fade from instrumental sounds to the was supposedly about celebrating, but musical voices that formerly were the sound of flowing water is especially it was actually a celebration with a exclusive province of the orchestra, effective. gun pointed at one's head. There's an but without all the hassles of dealing emotional double-edge to this piece with 100 human beings, and a large The Eye of Spring opens with silent its almost insane happiness - that for administration, that dealing with the close-up images of flowers (for me, me, at any rate, shows the dark side contemporary orchestra involves. the inevitable reference was with underneath the clowning. This performance is filmed from Georgia O'Keefe's paintings) which are behind Bart, not the audience's point then joined with sampled choral In Priscilla's Wilderness, a poem by of view, and this allows us to see him textures, made of Priscilla's Carl Sandburg about the wilderness at work on both keyboards, the remarkable vocabulary of extended that exists in each one of us is recited, computer, and even occasionally vocal sounds. One of the most sung, screamed, whispered, and shows us glimpses of the score he's interesting aspects of this piece is the shouted to the accompaniment of performing from. No hiding behind use of focus, from clear and sharp to sampled animal, nature and electronic the laptop here! The piece opens completely blurred and close-up, to sounds. Some of the sounds, such as with a simple ascending riff, and as create abstract visual worlds, which close-up recordings of panthers or McLean adds layers and layers of reinforce the abstract soundscapes. bees, are literally hair-raising. Even sound, the texture gets more and Again, a very effective mood piece. without the considerable energy of more elaborate and intricate. When this operatic live performance, it's one the brass samples come in, about 2/3 July Dance is another humorous piece, of the most effective pieces of of the way through the piece, the and like the scherzo in the classical contemporary "musique concrete" I orchestral illusion is complete. The symphony (scherzo means "joke" in know of. One interesting thing about combination of the 19th century Italian), it features humor on many this piece is that unlike most of the triumphant emotionality of triumphant levels, some of them quite subtle. For other music by the McLeans, here brass, combined with the sight of a example, the opening pulse music will there is no electronic processing of single 21st century man surrounded probably bewilder those who are used the voice. The electronic soundtrack by equipment and the sound of his to the machine-like rhythmic precision is rich enough on its own, and the own synthetic orchestra has a real of techno and house musics. It's only modification of the voice is when contemporary (science-fiction like?) played with an incredibly loose Priscilla occasionally sings into a glass emotional resonance. rhythmic unison. More like the jar, slightly changing the quality of looseness of a relaxed country her voice. The recording of this Priscilla McLean's Symphony of gathering than the strictness of an performance was made in 2000, but Seasons occupies a DVD of its own. urban dance club. And then some 94

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all the pieces on these DVDs. In the traveled with Saidon upriver to meet context of the larger installation, I some of his Bornean neighbors, who might have found it invigorating, but still live in the Longhouses that have as a piece on its own, the questions it been the traditional dwellings there continually raised in my head kept me for years. While there, they met the from enjoying its rhythmic sweep. people (members of the Iban tribe) while Saidon shot a video of the life of the village, as well as the villagers' Natural Energy, the last piece on the performances for the McLeans. Out of DVD exists in two versions. One with this genial interaction, a most gentle a composed video by Priscilla, and the and engaging piece results, one that other, showing a live performance of conveys both their respect for, and the piece by the McLeans. The piece enjoyment of, the culture of their is billed as a celebration of the energy hosts, a love for the rainforest of the dance - not only human environment, and a sense of gentle dancers, but the energetic dance of nostalgia for the good times they had the elements and of nature. Some of Autumn Requiem the final section, is while there. Rainforest sounds, the most beautiful video on all the as long as the first three movements traditional melodies, electronic drone DVDs is here, especially when a put together. It uses traditional textures, processed instrumental and natural process, such as fire, is color operatic / popular / religious song vocal techniques all feature saturated and slowed down - we with sampled textures such as prominently in the soundtrack. What clearly see where the image has come clusters, etc. It begins with a quote I found very refreshing about this from, but at the moment we see it, from the Catholic funeral service, the piece is that, given that this is such a it's almost completely an abstraction. Requiem, juxtaposed with video processed and symmetrical images of troubled part of the world - politically, The soundtrack is made of computer environmentally, religiously - it's made rhythmic loops with lots of live a bare tree starkly outlined against performance, often on homemade the sky. It develops this material and lovely to see a work that deals just with the people of the region as instruments, over the loops. How the moves away from it. At one point a sounds were made becomes clear in greatly slowed down excerpt from the people, and lovingly and respectfully conveys the warm feelings of the 2nd version of the piece, which old pop standard "Autumn Leaves" interaction between the artists and shows the live performance. Bits of emerges, along with some absolutely their hosts. the video are occasionally juxtaposed beautiful video combinations of on the performance video so we can autumn imagery. And, again and MILLing in the ENNIUM is a collage of see where we are in the video version. again, it returns to the bare trees/ music and video fragments Requiem image before departing on Here you see the performers, and another journey. Korg Wavestation celebrating 2000 years of music and their unorthodox methods of dance. It was part of a larger performing both traditional and nonsounds feature here, as well as museum installation the McLeans did traditional instruments. It also imaginative use of sampling. On its own, this movement is highly effective, in 2000 at the Massachusetts Museum explained to me the nature of the of Contemporary Art. None of the rhythms they were using - and how and as a conclusion to the cycle, it's music fragments are synced with the these were combined with the brings the energy of the whole to a video. This leads to some odd satisfying conclusion. pulsating computer loops. combinations, such as European medieval choral music on the In short, these are 3 DVDs that will The McLeans Mix Three has three soundtrack combined with a provide a lot of sonic and visual collaborative pieces of theirs, where juxtaposed video of a Japanese koto they both contribute to the elements delight, and at their very best (In the player and a Western harp player. Beginning, Jambori Rimba, Jewels of of each piece. As well, the second January, Magic at Xanadu, to list my piece Jambori Rimba is a collaboration There are always several layers of quotations juxtaposed here. At with Malaysian video art pioneer favorites) are contemporary works of another moment, for example, the sweep and power which have nothing Hasnul Saidon, a close friend of the video is of dancers from the Africanto do with the models of popular McLeans for many years. This piece, American Alvin Ailey dance company, in fact, was made when the McLeans music, but which convey their but the music is of an Indian classical emotional impact as effectively as were in residence at the University of singer, juxtaposed with other musics. Malaysia, Sarawak, on the island of anything from the pop sphere. I found this to be the least effective of Borneo, where Saidon teaches. They levels of the rhythm lose the pulse completely, going off in their own tempos. And the video of Priscilla playing a driftwood instrument in a field is completely out of sync with the soundtrack! This is clearly not an MTV lip-sync piece! Shots of children at a summer party, shots of summer scenes, and the eventual breakdown of the entire polyrhythmic texture, as the final shots of a madwoman playing a homemade instrument maniacally in the fields make this a most smile-inducing section.

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WaveArts’

TrackPlug 5 by Ginno Legaspi

TrackPlug 5 is an all-in-one plug-in right there in front -- making from Massachusetts-based software tweaking enjoyable. TrackPlug comes developer WaveArts. Basically, it is a with many presets to get you going. channel strip which combines an Even the gate section has some equalizer, compression, gating and starters. limiting. It is available as an individual plug-in for $199. It is also included in EQ the Power Suite 5 bundle which sells for $599. The bundle includes other The equalizer section is easy, flexible WaveArts plug-ins such as the and sounds nice. You can configure it MasterVerb, MultiDynamics, Final Plug to have up to 10 bands. Eleven filter and Panorama. The bundle gives you types are available. They include a hefty discount compared to parametric, low shelf, high shelf, purchasing individual plug-ins. resonant low shelf, resonant high shelf, vintage low shelf, vintage high These are professional-quality plug-in shelf, low-pass, high-pass, notch and units that are easy to use and with band-pass. Of the eleven, four are good sound quality. If you need an new filters. The analog low/high shelf essential set of quality plug-ins for and resonant low/high shelf sound daily tracking, mixing and mastering great and are a welcomed addition. then the Power Suite 5 is a bundle Each EQ band has an adjustable worth considering. But we'll focus on parameter for frequency. Height which TrackPlug for now. controls boosting or cutting and width. The parameters can be directly On the Mac, TrackPlug will run in any adjusted using the computer mouse host program that supports AU, VST, from the huge EQ graph display. MAS or RTAS running on OSX 10.4 or Dragging the mouse left or right newer. In Windows, the host program adjusts the frequency range and must suport DX, VST, or RTAS and be moving it up and down boosts/cuts running on Windows 2000, XP or Vista. the signal. Bypass and pre/post It can operate in either mono or switches are also available. stereo with a sampling rate up to 192 kHz. I love its cool-looking interface COMPRESSOR design that's easy on the eyes. It's busy, but not cluttered. There are no What's cool about TrackPlug's dynamic annoying multiple tabs and every section is that it includes a gate and parameter is accessible. The dual compressors. Yes, that's two impressive design puts everything is compressors and a gate. This is useful

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for all kinds of applications. The controls include Threshold, Ratio, Gain, Attack and Release. Also soft, medium or hard Knee and Look-ahead which offers off, 1 ms, 2ms or 5ms as options. While the compression mode button turns TrackPlug into a clean, Clean algo mode, or a vintagesounding, Vintage algo mode, plug-in, my favorite compression modes are Vintage Warm and Clean RMS. Vintage Warm makes that big, fat, warm analog sound. Clean RMS is good for subtle and transparent compression. Topping the dynamics section is a sidechain which you can enable with the monitor button. I think WaveArts nailed this thing. TrackPlug excels when it comes to dynamics because it sounds great on every audio material you process it with. Drums can sound fatter, it's useful for guitars, basses can stand out and it’s good for processing vocals. LIMITER The final section of TrackPlug 5 is the output. It has a Gain control knob for cranking up the overall level of the signal. A Limiter (peak) button is available just under the Gain knob. Like in the dynamics section, WaveArts included a huge metering display in the output section so you can know exactly what’s happening under- the-hood.


UP TO THE TASK As mentioned previously, TrackPlug is a multi-effects plug-in ideal for processing individual tracks. Be it for punching up weak drums, compressing guitars or cutting unwanted frequencies. Testing TrackPlug revealed that it is not CPU hog even when all sections of the

plug-in are enabled, at least on my 2.3Ghz Quad workstation. Its level of CPU efficiency allows you to use multiple instances of it on mixer channels. Having an efficient and reliable channel strip is a good solution for bread and butter everyday processing. WaveArts states it can be used for

various application such as shaping the tone of an instrument, fixing sonic problems, bringing dynamics under control, cleaning up noise problems, adding some punch or vintage warmth to a track, de-essing a vocal track, etc. Not a problem because TrackPlug 5 is up to the task.

PRICE: $199.95 CONTACT: www.wavearts.com SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS: Macintosh: OS X 10.4 or later. A host program that supports the AU, MAS, VST, or RTAS plug-in architecture. All Mac plug-in formats compatible with Intel-based Macintosh computers (Universal Binary). Windows: Windows 2000, XP or Vista. A host program that supports the DirectX, VST, or RTAS plug-in architecture. December 2009

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Image Line’s

FL Studio 9 by Squibs

For the purposes of this review, we'll stick solely to the new features of FL Studio 9, and there are many of them. Some are sexy, some are functional, but important nonetheless. One of the big must-haves for digital audio workstations (DAWs) in recent years has been side-chaining. This routing technique has been in common practice in the audio hardware for many years, but recently it has found it's way into some of the DAWs. Now FLS 9 has it too. Some of the more “techy” new features will be unnoticed by many, but be a huge boon to some. A vocal subset of users have successfully campaigned for features like better multi-core CPU usage, now 99 tracks instead of 64 and better support for multiple MIDI controllers. Kudos to Image Line for listening. There are a bunch of new plug-ins available, depending on what version of FL Studio you own. Autogun is a presetonly version of the excellent Ogun -which I own. You can't tweak any parameters but, if you have the time I'm quite sure that one of the 4 billion, yes 4,000,000,000, presets will suit you. It's free with all versions. Ogun, its daddy, is included as a demo. Both use the same synth engine to produce big bell/metallic percussive synth sounds. Ogun allows you to create and tweak

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your own presets using a huge range of controls including chorus, delay and reverb units which are guaranteed to make your patch sound huge. Gross Beat is will need no introduction, if you read last month's magazine. This pitch and time manipulation tool is great for precision stuttering, scratching, gating and other tricks. It's included as a demo. The stereo shaper effect is free with all versions, and allows you to play with the width of stereo channels, simulate stereo from a mono channel, and more. The last new plug-in, Vocodex, replaces my beloved Fruity Vocoder, which made me buy Juice Pack so I could use it as a VST in other DAWs. Setting this up for the first time was my first introduction to FLS 9's take on sidechaining. I must admit I had trouble figuring it out, and preferred to use the old method of panning the carrier and modulator, setting up sends to the Vocodex channel, and configuring Vocodex for L-R encoding. The plug-in is an order of magnitude more capable and better sounding than it's predecessor. With 100 bands, and a battalion of controls, the intelligibility of vocoded speech is excellent. You'll need the Producer Edition to get this plug-in. In my opinion it is worth the upgrade price on its own.

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Image Lineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

FL Studio 9 Another tool worth of mention is the riff generator, which works on your MIDI score in the piano roll. This capable little tool is capable of generating bass and lead lines, chord sequences and arpeggios. You can control every nuance of the riff, or just "throw the dice" for instant inspiration. This has become my go-to tool for auditioning synth patches, and I must confess that it's given me a more than a few song ideas.

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In general, the improvements are evolutionary, rather than revolutionary. The same can be said about recent releases from most of the big DAW makers. It seems that the DAW of today can already do pretty much anything we want of it. Upgrades tend to focus on new plug-ins and workflow improvements. FLS 9 scores well on both counts, and will continue to do so.


I expect that the developers are already looking at Windows 7 features such as multi-touch and trending technologies such as massively multi-core CPUs in a never ending quest to bring us a better music production experience. My one concern for DAWs in general is the danger of putting off newcomers with too many options.

All in all, this is a worthwhile upgrade, adding some valuable new tools and improvements. FLS 9 is a mature DAW, with features not provided by some of it's competitors, and a loyal following. The promise of free lifetime upgrades is unique in the industry and makes FLS 9 a no-brainer for those of you who have not yet taken the plunge.

December 2009

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UVISoundsource’s

Jazzistic and

Beat Box Anthology by A. Arsov

UVI The French fellows from UVI are unbeatable. They spit out new libraries for their beloved UVI Workstation on nearly a monthly base. The most interesting thing about that is the audio quality of presented material. All of their libraries sounds like they've spent at least one year working on every single one of them, carefully recording and wisely choosing what they should put in and what not to. The same thing has happened with Jazzistic and Beat Box Anthology. They really know how to record things, and they also think that I do them a favour writing about their product in our magazine. But the truth is quite the opposite – the pleasure is mine alone. I loaded the electric “Mk1 Light Tremolo” piano from Jazzistic library, played a few chords, then added a loop “T77 Beguine” from Beat Box Anthology on the next channel, and as a result felt totally retro. I just lacked those eyeglasses with the big fat plastic frames from being in a real mood for a sing-along with Perry Como … But my atheistic god hasn't given me an inspiring voice, and

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my musical ear is a bit corked up (maybe I'll get this one in my second next reincarnation, the first one will be probably in a monkey shape hearing the god's voice: Enjoy your Darwinism, Arsov!!!). So I was just beating on my keyboard and enjoying the sound. The piano sound was fat, clear and warm while the loop was clear and well-defined with all the punch from the analog era. O.K. You got the point – The thing I like the most about UVI Soundsource's samples is the clarity of recorded material along with its usability. When the time has come for mixing, there is no worse of a nightmare than an undefined sample with a moody low end or with some low level noise incorporated which can nicely screw the whole frequency structure. I never had any problems with UVI loops to extract some parts I need from the loops. I have many sample libraries on my disk, but somehow it happened that I was

December 2009

coming back to my UVI libraries again and again. As a lazy fellow, I am perfectly aware that I will easily find something useful and will not have any problems with them in further sound manipulation and final production.


Jazzistic Jazzistic is a collection of loops recorded live along with few jazz-oriented, multi-sampled instruments in UVI format. All included drum, electric guitar and double-bass loops carried those recognizable and significant old classic jazz feelings with one up-to-date difference: These UVI loops are freshly recorded in a big modern studios with talented jazz musicians. The end result is about three and a half gigs of authentic jazz loops without crackles and hum, a big collection of drum loops, along with plenty (but never enough) double-bass loops, an interesting collection of jazz guitar chord progressions, and a few solo parts. In Detail The drum loops are divided into a few essential directories; Basic, Brushed, Funky Jazz, Herbie, Latino Jazz, Misc, Swing, Xtra Jazz and Extra Latin. Along with those we also get some double-bass loops in swing, Latino and funk style, and the same goes for electric guitar. In the sound and phrases directory, we get various separate drums organized along with the keyboards: A row of kicks, the next row with snares, and so on. There are also drum phrases along with instrument phrases. There are also plenty of tom patterns, along with some fills and such things. The main difference is that in these directories, all things are stretched over the keyboard. The last main directory in the included library is reserved for instruments. A solid number of drum kits, along with two big, good-sounding double-basses, few dirty organs, and few fantastical Mk1 presets. Double-basses in combination with Mk1 and drum loops from

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UVISoundsource’s

Jazzistic and

Beat Box Anthology

lonesome cowboy – an electronic musician – than those live loops can make your electro arrangements pretty vivid and odd (in a good manner). Beat Box Anthology

the first directory can rock the world if they come into the right hands. If you still remember Boulevard, the album from DJ Ludovic Navarre aka St. Germain, you will immediately fall in love with all these loops, phrases and instruments. I'm sure that it is not a collection mentioned for jazz players. Most of them have their own instruments and have plenty of friends playing some other instruments, and generally they are “always-play-live” obsessed sort of people. But if you are a

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I still remember those “plink blink” drum sounds from the past. It used to be the only choice back then, good only for practicing with the keyboard, and mostly used in music only by some one-man bands in hotel halls. But times are changing, yesterday's horror is a classic now and know what? I really like those cheesy boomy sounds now, because they are nonstandard and have some sort of charm from the past. In a world where every drum machine sounds like a real live drummer it is really nice to hear something that is so deadly unalive. Good old analog “blink plink”. Do you remember song Da Da Da from a group called Trio? Maybe not, but try to find them on YouTube. They strike like a hammer on a world's charts with their “ You can't use that retro

December 2009

shit! “ Casio drum loop. They used it and they won. The message is simple, be brave – be different. In Beat Box Anthology you got 4.1 gigs of “differences.” It is definitely not a library for those without imagination. The library is divided in three sections, Classic, Analog and Digital. Ten thousand samples from eighty different machines from the past. Everything is recorded in 24-bit 96 kHz and mastered for extra punch. There are plenty of similarsounding loops and sounds, mainly because those machines from the past used to sound pretty similar. Technology wasn't so advanced back then, and sometimes you'll find that differences between some models are mostly in the details. Some beat machines sound pretty unique, while others are just trying to find their place. Nevertheless, browsing through the library I've found a lot of diamonds, many more than I expected. Some machines have an extra punchy bottom end, some have really weird snares. Most of them have funny hats, but in general there is more than enough material to make something that will stand out of the row.


Details, details The library starts with Kits directory which is divided on GM kits and Kit menu directories containing Classic, Analog and Digital subdirectories. You name it and you'll have it. Every damn beat box machine is there. I've only missed drums from the vintage keyboard. I know it is a Beat Box Anthology and not Keyboard Drum Anthology, but anyway â&#x20AC;&#x201C; I miss some Casio and Hammond blip, plips. After Kits comes a Loop directory fulfilled with some of those models and with some really crazy loops from the past. I presume that these are the loops which were originally on these machines. I only miss loops from some more well-known models, but I presume that UVI gave us only those loops which were originally programed and saved in the memory of those machines, so you will not find a TR range of loops, nor some of the other legendary models. For the last group, the sounds were divided in the same subdirectories as all the others and consists of separate sounds displayed over the whole keyboard range. I've found it to be a lot of fun to play melodies with some hat sounds in the lower ranges of the keyboard. You can get pretty bizarre results which can't be recreated with any analog synthesizer. All in all, Beat Box Anthology is a pretty specific library. It is a good value for the

money, because there is no other library containing such large quantity of well-recorded Beat Boxes from the past. I missed a few things (the boomy kick from TR 606 and loops from the TR range of machines), but this is just a matter of personal taste. There is still more than an impressive number of included kits and sounds from the Beat Boxes, recorded in top quality, and a solid number of nice and interesting â&#x20AC;&#x153;samba rumba cha cha chaâ&#x20AC;? loops from the past. Jazzistic and Beat Box Anthology Both libraries share the same price 149 Euros and are in UVI format. As with all their libraries you will need iLok key for registration and some free disk space.

By retro A. Arsov

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Nine Volt Audio

Nine Volt Audio’s

Pop Rock Guitars and

Textured Guitars by David Keenum

Me and loops go way back! Me and food go way back too, but that’s another story! You see, loops caused me to move from Mac to PC. It’s a long story, but basically, I was frustrated with my ability to program realistic drum parts. But then I discovered loops. I had to record them into a hardware sampler, edit them, and then tune them to match the tempo. Even then it wasn’t perfect, but it sounded “real.” Then… drum roll... I discovered Acid (the PC program, not the drug), and life was awesome again!

enough velocity and round robin REX2 files (Apple loop and Reason layers to create very realistic drum ReFills are also offered), and I found parts. But… I still have a soft spot for them able to stretch over a wide loops. I still remember the “magic” of range of tempos. The REX2 files of a well-played drum loop. Before I go both of these collections are part of on, let me say that I am fully aware Nine Volt Audio’s BPM Flex Series™, that there are those who do not agree which means they are edited to with me, and I think they have a stretch over a wide range without point… to a certain extent. Loops artifacts or an artificial sound. I can restrict you in certain ways, and you vouch for their ability to stretch over a are working with another person’s wide range, but I also found the creativity. But for me, loops have ACIDized files to be stretchable over a their place, as long as you know how relatively wide tempo range as well. to use them. And if you have a tight You probably know a loop’s deadline, they can be a lifesaver! “stretchability” (is that a word?) is related to its editing, so we’re back to So if you are a loop “hater,” stop my opening premise: these loops are reading now, because I’m going to well edited. But even well played, gush! I am a sucker for well-played well edited loops aren’t helpful if you A lot has changed since then. don’t like what they play. So let’s and well-edited loops, and these two Nowadays essentially every Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) program has collections by Nine Volt Audio are both look more closely at these two well played and well edited! I collections. the ability to handle loops, and auditioned both the ACIDized Wav and modern drum sample collections have

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- Pop Rock Guitars presents a large with file names that identify selection of “Toolbox” parts musical key and/or chord comprised of chromatic straightprogression and contain ahead strummed 8th note power sustained chords for endings and Creator and Distributor: chord loops, chromatic major breaks. Nine Volt Audio and minor sustained chords, and - Any of the REX2-based loops (used Web-Site: a range of slides. All toolbox in Stylus RMX, Reason, and most http://www.ninevoltaudio.com/ loops are presented in the three major sequencers like Cubase, tones that are used throughout Live, Sonar, Digital Performer, Price: Pop Rock Guitars $99.99 the library. These are designed ProTools, Logic) can be used at Textured Guitars $99.99 to supplement any suite or stand tempos as slow as 60-70 BPM. on their own as the backbone to - Textured Guitars also contains the Details: any track. Apple Loop, ACIDized Wav and - Using Pop Rock Guitars within Reason ReFill formats, all in 24Pop Rock Guitars Stylus RMX requires the user to bit/44.1kHz resolution. drag-and-drop only one folder - Textured Guitars is available on - Pop Rock Guitars presents nearly into RMX’s included S.A.G.E. DVD or via Download. 1000 files for each format: REX2, Converter. Stylus RMX, Apple Loops, - Pop Rock Guitars includes Stylus Sample Resolution: 24-bit/44.1kHz ACIDized Wav and Reason ReFill. RMX multi patches that allow the resolution - Pop Rock Guitars is organized into user to automatically load the A, 16 song suites. Each suite has Formats: Pop Rock Guitars - REX2, B and C parts of any suite. clearly labeled song parts (intro, Stylus RMX , Apple Loop, and - All loops are in 24-bit/44.1kHz verse, chorus, bridge, etc…) with ACIDized Wav resolution. sustained chords for endings and breaks. All parts are also labeled Textured Guitars - Apple Loop, Textured Guitars by tone (clean, overdrive, ACIDized Wav and Reason ReFill distortion). - Textured Guitars contains 514 loops - Pop Rock Guitars has an “A” organized into 43 suites covering Test Computer: AMD Athlon 64 (Stratocaster), “B” (Les Paul) 3200+ 2.0GHz, 4GB RAM, Windows a tempo range of 74-135 BPM. and “C” (Les Paul Special) guitar XP Pro SP 3, Echo MiaMIDI Audio - Most of Textured Guitars is part for every song section, all Card organized into "mini-song" suites performing distinct parts.

Pop Rock Guitars and Textured Guitars

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Nine Volt Audio’s

Pop Rock Guitars and

Textured Guitars

More Info?

Details Pop Rock Guitars has the sound of modern pop music. It makes me think of Matchbox Twenty in a very general way. It is mainly presented as 16 song suites. Each suite contains about 40 loops and contains loops for verse, choruses, and bridges. It also includes sustained chords for endings and breaks, and all parts are also labeled by tone (clean, overdrive, distortion). There are 3 different guitar parts per song, “A” (Stratocaster), “B” (Les Paul) and “C” (Les Paul Special). All 3 perform distinct parts. In addition, there are “Toolbox” folders of 8th note power chord loops, chromatic major and minor sustained chords, and a range of slides. The construction kit format can be helpful or also somewhat limiting, depending on your viewpoint. If you’re composing a short cue, you may not need it; but if you need to create a pop sounding song quickly, this will help you do it! I quickly put together a Cars-sounding tune using the 120 - Cultivate folder, and I was happy with the way it sounded. The parts fit together seamlessly.

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Recently, Electronic Musician Magazine published Master Class: Any Way You Slice It (http://emusician.com/tutorials/masterclass-way-slice-1209/index2.html ), and it has some interesting observations and insights into the “looping” philosophy of Nine Volt Audio’s Kyle Z. It also reveals one of his secrets to creating REX loops that can stretch over a wide range of tempos. Also, Time+Space has a slightly older interview of Kyle: http://www.timespace.com/features/804/

And of course, you can always interchange loops from different folders or pull out an individual loop. I tried transposing loops in different keys, which worked well if the transposition range wasn’t too large. Textured Guitars are also presented in a construction kit format. Nine Volt calls them "mini-song suites,” with each of the 43 "suites” containing between 10 and 13 loops. The different loops in the mini-suites can be used for different parts of songs, including endings. But similarity between Textured Guitars and Pop Rock Guitars pretty well ends there. Textured Guitars features heavily effected guitars, and they generally have a rhythmic aspect to the effects. The website uses words like “cascading delays, pulsing filters and rhythmic gates,” and I agree. The loops range from smooth to slightly aggressive witch gives a good bit of variety.

December 2009

My favorite cues to write have a cool beat and a textured background. Think CSI Miami. The Textured Guitars loops are perfect for this kind of music. But I believe these loops would work in a number of musical styles. They would be great for pop, new age, dance, or even ambient. The loops work like pads. . .only rhythmically. Well, they may demand more attention than a pad, but they work well as background texture (get it? Texture….) Finally, the Textured Guitars loops have a unique vibe, and they make me wonder, “How did they do that?” The effects are integral to the sound, but they aren’t overbearing. They just give the loops a cool and unique vibe.

Conclusion Loops are a tool, and of course, you need the correct tool for the job. So only you can determine if these loops are right for your music. But, if you need a guitar part and a guitar player isn’t handy, or if you need a guitarbased cue finished quickly, these two collections are worth a serious look. They are well played and expertly edited.


by Ginno Legaspi

Producers nowadays are spoilt with so many choices for effects plug-ins. Finding a good, smooth, professional-sounding reverb plugin can be a never-ending task and is sometimes overwhelming. We are provided with so many plug-ins on offer from different developers. We weed through countless reverbs only to be disappointed with their sound. The same thing can be said about the quest of finding a good filter to settle with. 112

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You may end up with some, or perhaps many, freebies at hand, yet not even one of them may offer what you're after. With Volcano 2, Amsterdam-based FabFilter hopes to change all that. With its versatile filter design, cool modulation architecture and endless tweaking possibilities, Volcano 2 might finally be the 'answer', and your 'onestop-filtering-plug-in' needs.


CONTACT: info@FabFilter.com www.FabFilter.com PRICE: â&#x201A;Ź99, $144 (Upgrade pricing available) FORMAT/SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS: Windows Vista/XP/2000/98/Me, Pro Tools, VST 2/3 host, SSE-capable processor Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther) or higher, Pro Tools, AU, VST 2/3 host, G4/G5 or Intel processor

Installation and Copy Protection

customizable. They have adopted the WYSIWYG concept: you only see the controls you are using. Say, if you only have one filter in action it will only display the parameters for that filter.

envelope followers and MIDI sources for total sound manipulation. After I downloaded the latest version Navigating the modulators is easy by from the FabFilter site, installation scrolling panels. You can have up to was pretty straightforward. I didn't six LFOs or "XLFO's", four envelope encounter any problems whatsoever. followers and six envelope generators. FabFilter provided me with a key to Setting up modulation connection is unlock the plug-in, and I was off to The heart of Volcano 2 is its four easy with its "drag and drop" 24-slot torture-test it. Once the plug-in is multi-mode filters. It can be set to modulation matrix. Lots of potential is activated, it is ready for unlimited use. low-band, band-pass and high-pass here when it comes to sound I love the copy protection scheme types, and either 12dB, 24dB or mangling and, of course, with FabFilter offers because it is hassle48dB/ octave slopes. Each filter, if all automation, creating new sounds is free and very easy for users. For enabled, can have each own unique possible or wild EFX can be achieved. Windows, the requirements are characteristics setting. You can choose With 300 ready-to-go stock presets Vista/XP/2000/98 and ME, Pro Tools from the eleven being offered which you're able to taste what this plug-in or a host with VST 2/3 specs and an includes Clean, Tube, Smooth, etc. is capable of, but go ahead try SSE-capable processor. Mac OS X Even FabFilter One's filter experimenting the knobs, interact requirements include OS X 10.3 characteristics are present. with it and see (or hear) what cool Panther or higher, Pro Tools, AU or Overdriving the filter section can sounds you can cook up with Volcano. VST 2/3 host, G4/G5 or Intel really create some interesting cool processor. BTW, all FabFilter products tube distortion effects. Other controls Bottom line can be demo'd fully functional for 30 include the common Delay, Peak, Freq days. and Pan. I love Volcano 2 for its superior sound. It's very versatile and can be used in GUI and Controls The Routing button controls how the most projects. I particularly like the signal is passed through the filter. tube and extreme filter characteristics With version 2 FabFilter did a complete There are three routing modes because they impart that gritty, raw interface design overhaul for Volcano. available: Stereo, Left/Right and sound. The Modulation options are This is an area that I think has Mid/Side. In both L/R and Mid/Side sophisticated and you can get crazy improved greatly, but not modes, the channels are filtered results with its different routing. I see overshadowing its superb sound. I independently - so you can have one Volcano 2 useful in so many different find the GUI clean, clear and very or two filters per channel. Another ways; be it filtering drum loops, intuitive. The new color scheme is nice tidbit is that when all four filters are applying cool vocal effects, - Volcano 2 is now easy to look at enabled, eight different routings are compressing signals with its envelope compared to the original version. At possible. Nice. follower. It's an incredible piece of first, navigating the interface can be software that everyone should have in overwhelming and the vast options it If you're looking for some crazy their effects folder. offers is 'too much to chew on' but effects, the endless modulation option with its interactive help hints users system in Volcano 2 is superb. It If you need a powerful filter plug-in can quickly become familiarized with comes complete with all the LFO's (16 for diverse application, Volcano2 is the GUI. FabFilter boasts that the step with sine, linear, sqr and sqrt and your first-class ticket to sonic heaven. improved interface design is glide settings), envelope generators, December 2009

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The Resource Ueberschall through the

Bestservice.de by A. Arsov

Let's glance through a few facts. Here we get four packages wrapped up in a single big package for the price of two. Included libraries are collected from Ueberschall's back-catalogue libraries, but thankfully the included material does not sound dated. All in all, it looks like a pretty good deal. So as long as the retailers and customers are happy, there is nothing wrong with selling old things in new clothes. I don't know about Ueberschall, but I definitely got much more than I expected. The Box Here are plenty of drum loops along with dozens of instrumental lick and phrases aimed for fulfilling your arrangements, or even for constructing them from scratch just using included loops or phrases. Technically we receive 11,843 loops and 4,527 single hits for 249 Euros along with powerful Elastic loop player. Sounds good? In reality, it is even better than it sounds. Elastic Elastic is not just another loop player. It offers pretty clever options for fast, on-the-fly loop manipulation. In the middle of its interface is a cycled loop eye where a previewed loop is shown as a wave file rolled up inside the eye. The eye contains two landmarks, one for the starting point and a second one representing the loop end. The whole eye is divided into sixteen slices, so when you move either the starting or the ending landmark, they automatically snap to the nearest slice. The new previewed content between both landmarks is also looped so you can capture a loop of just the desired part, looping it over and over. This works excellently with rhythmical guitar parts, drums and even with solo parts --- an original and â&#x20AC;&#x153;easy to useâ&#x20AC;? solution. In additional videos from Ueberschall, magic happens when you see how some fellow mixes loops on the fly, but in 114

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reality don't expect it to happen this way without losing hours and days of training in this technique. Nevertheless, even without such skills it is not so hard to get respectable results.

it and add some original flavour to your arrangement, thankfully due to their original-sounding content. I presume that this library will remain useful and fresh for many years to come.

no actual hit on the radio that is composed of truly original and unusual chord progressions. Buffed with original sounds, yes, but with original, unusual chord progression? Probably not; at least I can't remember any. All those songs contain some unpredictable moments to keep our attention along with very predictable parts from the same reason â&#x20AC;&#x201C; to keep our attention. That's the human nature â&#x20AC;&#x201C; be original in a predictable way.

The next included library is PLP 120 Percussive Live Performance, a huge collection of exotic percussion loops and hits from all around the globe. All those percussions that you can't spell correctly, along with all those you have never heard of before, are there. The last included library is VLP 120 Def Zagat, Timbaleta and a bunch of other things, bing-, zing- and ling-like Vintage Licks & Phrases. They nailed percussion. All the included loops and this one nicely, providing a collection of licks and phrases which sits hits are professionally recorded in perfectly on the top of the grooves superb quality, so it is a pure joy to mix them with other material. Most of from the rest of the libraries. Short The Resource part 2 solo phrases which are sorted along the loops are also divided into their the keyboard are ideal for making parts, so you get a whole loop along All included libraries have "120" in interesting additions between different with its essential parts. I'm not sure their title which stands for original parts or even composing entire solo about you, but I never get tired of tempo of all included loops and parts for fulfilling your arrangements. those unusual loops from around the phrases, but as Elastic's name I preferred the piano licks and phrases, suggests, all loops and phrases can be globe. but it is just a matter of personal automatically stretched on a host taste because other, guitar, bass, Non-drum related tempo and synced with your organ and brass licks and phrases arrangement. share the same quality and usability. After all those drum and percussion loops and hits, we get also an Drum related As happens with other Ueberschall impressive number of constructive libraries, all audio material is perfectly instrumental phrases for building The first included library is BPM 120 recorded with good overall audio songs. Beat and Percussion Module. This quality, and secondly all the included contains a galore of electro VCP 120 Vintage Chord Progressions is material is a heavenly addition for all programmed drum loops along with of those who make any sort of pop live played drum and percussive loops, a library containing more than 2100 chord progressions recorded live with rock music. I'm not one myself, but I phrases and hits, ranging from all do find these libraries highly useful real instruments. Sorted in groups of sorts of vintage drum machines anyway, at least they work for me. through various real kits. Surprisingly, three different tonalities of guitars, There is no need to make whole songs acoustic guitars, keyboards and the included loops sound innovative out of this material, but I can ensure basses. Those progressions are and fresh and are not just another you that there is something for every thankfully not so exotic and unusual collection of basic background loops as the drum loops from the previously one of your songs. A drum loop, brass we heard a zillion times before in lick or guitar - bass background mentioned libraries, so it is easy to similar packages. A few basic compose a solid pop background from progression. A great workhorse songbackground loops are also included, this material. Personally I found that it making library. but the whole package is filled with a is much easier to make a good song if lot of diversity and exotic loop material. There are also few a specific the background is simple and straight, You need at least ten gigs of space on your disk. A Mac or PC. Elastic works then you can go mad with details on groups of loops that are hard to find as standalone, audio units, VST or the top of this. In combination with in other libraries, for example solo RTAS. some exotic loops from the first two hi-hat loops or solo castanet loops. libraries, these common rhythm guitar Maybe you will not find many basic http://www.bestservice.de/found.asp/ background loops in this selection, but chords and/or keyboard progression theresource/the_resource/en licks can bring you a pretty fresh and I'm sure that you could use this library in almost every project to fulfil enjoyable end result. Basically there is At the bottom of the interface is a keyboard lookalike row where the loop and its parts are placed. The first key is always reserved for the whole loop while others are usually reserved for variations or separate parts. After finding something useful, just drag it to an empty row above the main row. This way you can easily collect samples from various libraries. And speaking of libraries, there are:

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Soundware Round-Up by Ginno Legaspi

Discovery Firm Amazing Thailand This sample library from Discovery Sound focuses on sounds of Thailand. The CDROM contains percussions, stringed instruments, wind instruments, traditional vocal phrases & voices, and ambient sounds recorded at places like fast-pace airports, cafes, taxi, elevated train, crowded outdoor markets, the busy Patpong Street and Sukhunmvit Road, and even the High Royal Palace. The unique content is offered in ACID WAV (272 files), REX2 (272 files) and 24 short movies to demonstrate the recorded instruments' features (note that the movies require Windows Media Player and QuickTime to view). An audio CD is also included in the pack for quickly auditioning the sounds. As for the samples themselves, they are diverse, very well-recorded with a faithful representation of each instrument. The percussion instruments are typical of Thai music but the performance of stringed instruments really caught my attention.

CONTACT: www.discoverysound.com FORMAT: - ACID/WAV/REX2 - Audio CD for auditioning - 44.1 kHz/16-bit format LIST PRICE: $91

Zero-G Satin Grooves

Satin Grooves is the follow-up to the popular Zero-G library called Classic Disco. I remember reviewing Classic Disco for the December 2008 issue of Wusik Sound Magazine and very Loaded with useful sounds, Amazing Thailand is a fascinating genre-specific much dug it. Like the first volume, Satin Grooves is a floor-filler aimed library that captures the essence of to recreate the vibe and dance Thai music beautifully. If you have sounds of the 70's and 80's era. spare cash and a room for your Think sexy and groovy music of sample library collection, grab this. artists such as Marvin Gaye, Barry Highly recommended. White, Anita Baker, Quincy Jones, the Isley Brothers and Michael 116

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McDonald plus the electro-soul production team of Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and Mtume from that classic dance era of the late 1970s and 1980s. For starters there are 34 construction kits, labeled by tempo ranging from 60 to 100 BPM. Convenient separate folders for drums, bass, guitar, piano, EP, synthesizers and wah-wah chords are also available for creative options. The 'funk n' soul' music style is well represented here - and with hip-hop, R&B and soul influences - producer Davor Devcic (aka D3) was able to capture the retro flavor this library needed with the use of live instruments. The slower drum loops are smooth as silk and I find that the EP's, pianos and synths sound sonically good.


I've reviewed many sample libraries before but a 24-bit high-quality collection this tasty doesn't come very often. Overall, this is a very smokin' hot library with great selection of sounds. Thumbs up. CONTACTS: www.soundsonline.com FORMAT: - ACID WAV, AIFF Apple Loop, Stylus RMX compatible, REX2 - Kontakt, NN-XT and EXS24 - 44.1 khz/24-bit format - 1.9GB of content LIST PRICE: $159.94

the SeismicFaceBass folders provides instant inspiration to producers making experimental tracks. Overall, this library is full of great and amazing sounds. The possibilities of blending the material with your own is endless. CONTACTS: www.soundsonline.com FORMAT: - ACID WAV, AIFF Apple Loops, Stylus RMX compatible, REX2 and Reason ReFill formats - 1.3GB of new sounds - 44.1 kHz/24-bit format their tracks. This is another clear winner from Sample Magic.

LIST PRICE: $99.95 Zero-G Rhythm Organism This 1.3GB sample library from Zero-G captures one of Australia's most famed instrument, the didgeridoo. Rhythm Organism is designed to bring didgeridoo's unique sound to your productions. The material on this disc is performed by Charlie McMahon, an acclaimed didgeridoo player, and features seismic bass grooves loops, wood grooves loops, slide grooves loops, one shot ef fects, drums and voices - all well recorded in pristine 44.1 kHz/24bit resolution. Supported formats include ACID WAV, REX2, AIFF Apple loops and Reason ReFill. The performance here is great and the loops tend to cater the electronica crowd. For odd sonic textures,

CONTACTS: www.samplemagic.com www.soundstosample.com

Sample Magic Progressive House Progressive House is a diverse collection of synths, FX, bass, drum loops, percussions and one-shots that is delivered in high-quality Sample Magic fashion. The 800+ MB included samples are beautifully categorized, split into different tempo folders, and focuses on the progressive side of house sub-genre. The authenticsounding samples boast countless beats tuned for the dancefloor and fat basses for blowing up the woofers. Like previous Sample Magic releases, you'll get all the different audio formats on DVD and an audio disc for auditioning the sounds. Although I'm fond of the dirty synth loops, the drum loops on offer here are cleverly programmed and sure to spoil all house producers out there looking to add a progressive flavor to December 2009

FORMAT: - 2.29 GB CD/DVD multipack (2,454 files), includes Audio, 24-bit WAV's (891 MB, 796 files), Stylus RMX compatible REX files (361 MB, 476 files), Apple Loops (534 MB, 476 files) plus EXS24, Reason NNXT, Kontakt II and Halion patches. LIST PRICE: ÂŁ58.67 DVD/CD, ÂŁ49.95 (download from SoundToSample)

Best Service Club Revolution Vol. 1 This dance-centric sample CD from Best Service is produced by German sound wizard Oliver Schmitt. It features a collection of over 2700 samples that was created with great detail; loops are provided with BPM info (140 BPM), sounds are categorized and have root key information. Club Revolution Vol. 1 covers breakbeats, club-oriented drums, fat dirty basses, ear-piercing synths and a massive sound effect www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

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Soundware Round-Up samples (350+ MB) for cutting-edge dance productions. Although this CD covers a wide spectrum of electronic dance genre, the highlight of this library is the 575 kick-free loops. These serves as "top" loops that can be used to augment your main drum loops. Others worthy of mention are the juicy contents of the 'Electro Stuff' folder. These are full of inspirational loops to start a song. If I may say, the idea of Club Revolution Vol. 1 is to interest producers in having everything in one sample library, to have a good selection of sounds in different formats, and a variety of electronic genres that it can serve. Club Revolution meets the above purpose and more. CONTACT: www.soundsonline.com

FORMAT: - ACID/WAV/REX2 - 44.1 kHz/16-bit stereo format

LIST PRICE: $125

Loopmasters KJ Sawka Live Drum & Bass Drums

19 patches inc ready to play kits, 500 REX2 Samples, AIFF Apple loops, Reason ReFill and Ableton Live pack LIST PRICE: - ÂŁ39.95 (also available as download)

Zero-G Vocal Foundry

precise and complex drumming skills. The kits were recorded using a vintage Neve console to capture that old skool vibe. Live Drum & Bass Drums definitely caters to the jungle and drum n' bass crowd, but additional loop styles are also included such as breaks and dubsteps. This sample pack features more than 500 WAV files, with 400 live drum n' bass loops and 100 drum hits. Should you want to program your own drum patterns, the one-shot samples folder has everything you need from bass kicks, snares, cymbals and FX's. All files are recorded in 44.1 kHz/24-bit audio for that pristine sound - plus 19 presets of ready-to-play kits for major samplers out there. The dry loops are the best ones in this collection, but manipulated, glitched-out ones stand out the most in my opinion. Overall, this is a good collection if you want to augment your static loops with live drum parts.

Most drum and bass sample libraries out there usually have programmed electronic beats, but this sample DVD CONTACT: from Loopmasters surprised me www.loopmasters.com because it features KJ Sawka playing live acoustic drums. No doubt KJ is a FORMAT: master at drums and seeing him (the - 1.37 GB DVD package includes a short video) whack - 500 ACIDized WAV, 400 Drum his Slingeland, White Pearl and Ludwig and Bass Drum Loops, 100 Drum Hits, Sparkle drum kits showcases his fast, 118

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From the producers who brought us Vocal Forge comes Vocal Foundry - a 2.5 GB collection of vocal samples, one-shots, loops and snippets. This second volume pretty much continues where the last one left off and is aimed at urban dance and pop vocal productions - but it doesn't stop there. The producers also enlisted a couple of top vocalist to perform folk, downtempo and grime vocals, making this a very diverse product and not just something you use one time. This disc has been broken down to two separate folders. "Songs" comprises of 17 construction-type kits with tempos ranging from 70-130 BPM, while the "Toolkit" folder offers lots of single vocal parts, harmonies and even FX's. Highlights of this library includes well-


recorded gothic stacks, opera and simulated radio vocal samples. Vocal Forge is a very helpful tool if your producing dance, R&B, and electronic music, but don't have an actual vocalist.

an inspiration to fire up their DAW/sequencers. CONTACT: www.discoverysound.c om FORMAT: - ACID/WAV/REX2 - Audio CD for auditioning - 44.1 kHz/16-bit format LIST PRICE: $55

CONTACT: www.soundsonline.com FORMAT: - WAV files - 44.1 khz/24-bit format LIST PRICE: $159.94

Discovery Sound Bom Dia Brazil

Zero-G Distorted Dancefloors Although Distorted Dancefloor covers as many genre in electronic dance, including electrobreaks, breakstep, minimal techno, downtempo and grime - it's a bit more of a glitchedout affair than other normal dance sample libraries I've reviewed. The man in charge of the production is Si Begg, who has

Bom Dia Brazil from Japan's Discovery Sound is a collection of traditional Brazilian instruments nicely recorded and looped for your daily consumption. The percussion loops have that undeniable 'carnival style' vibe and rawness of sound. If that is the sound this library is aiming for, then it is a plus. Obscurity aside, you'll find authentic instruments such as recoreco, caxixi, agogo bells, surdo and repenique. Other ethnic instruments featured in this library are the udu clay drums (Nigerian local) and congas (a Cuban staple) are thrown in for good measure. This pack features ready-to-use Brazilian grooves (61 files are supplied), but useful styles such as capoeira and cabacal ensemble loops are standouts - which can be used to augment any electronic sub-genre requiring percussive elements. This is a great collection that should give producers

been releasing cutting edge music for more than a decade. He's done countless sessions, remixes and performed live plus DJ'd around the world. Needless to say, he has done it all. For this library though, Si didn't skimp on delivering the samples. In fact, this DVD is stuffed with 1.9GB of materials that includes manic drums, pads, futuristic atmospheres+soundscapes, rumbling sub-basses, vocals and various hits and FX's. The amount is staggering and the variety will inspire you to make tracks in no time. The materials have some kind of a twist in them though. Many of the samples were processed heavily using creative techniques, such as granular synthesis, extreme uses of delay & reverb units, spectral displacements and crazy sound morphing. If you're into off-center/leftfield, then this cutting-edge electronic sample library would suit you. It's adaptive to all kinds of electronic sub-genre though which is nice. Once you audition the sounds you will blown away by Si Begg's sound design skills.

FORMAT: - ACID/WAV/REX2/AIFF - EXS24/Kontakt/Reason NN-XT sampler files - 44.1 kHz/24-bit format - 1.9GB of electronic sounds LIST PRICE: $99.95 December 2009

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Xenos Soundworks

Offering custom sound design for softsynth owners and hardware or software sample owners. Also offering ready-made preset banks for various softsynths. www.xenossoundworks.com


Tara Busch

what’s on your amp Tara Busch Tara is an enigma. She's an analog synth nut. In a field typically dominated by male nerds, Tara can out-geek most of them. This modern day Delia Darbyshire is an unapologetic technophile, manipulating synths and the internet with aplomb in a bid to go viral. Rather than waxing on about Tara's tendencies, I'll direct you to Tara's site http://www.analogsuicide.com, where you can peruse her musings at leisure. She's also very active on Twitter, and has recently relocated to the UK for the immediate future. She tweets about her gigs and encounters with interesting folks and synths. Being a savvy lass in the art of viral marketing, Tara's well aware that physical CD sales are generally down the toilet, and nigh on impossible to break into unless you’re on one of the major labels. She decided to release her latest album, Pilfershire Lane, in several formats. Including an insane limited edition that includes a sampler -- complete with mic and speaker. It was an inspired decision, and it quickly went viral, which I'm sure helped CD sales and boosted her profile. She's musically inventive as well. For her cover of Somewhere Over The Rainbow she learned the song phonetically in reverse. She then sang and reversed it. This gave the song an ethereal quality. Tara's also a serial remixer, reworking the likes of Bat For Lashes and Polly Scattergood in her own inimitable fashion. So what’s the album like? Pretty good, actually. She's a very experienced vocalist, with great range and dynamics. There are definite nods to Tori Amos in her vocal delivery. The music ranges from sparse piano to great walls of sonic mayhem, flirting briefly with mainstream pop along the way. The album manages to be sonically diverse while still sounding like an album - a cohesive collection of

Pilfershire Lane by Squibs

songs. It sounds like The Flaming again. Not all songs are as Lips jamming with The Beatles accessible. Some are very avantduring their psychedelic phase. garde and thought provoking. Others balance precariously on I can't name my favorite song in the fine line between a PG rated magazine. Let’s just experimental and grating. For say it's an ode to alcohol, the the most part, this is a fine birds and the bees. The song album, using analog hardware meanders from punk pop to creatively and interestingly to Theremin riffs, detuned pianos, generate a challenging, engaging squelches and bleeps, and back soundscape. December 2009

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December 2009