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Editorial

Magazine Layout: MoniKe Editors: WilliamK and MoniKe

Letter from the Editor

Articles and Sounds by: WilliamK www.william-k.com Simon Cann www.simoncann.com www.noisesculpture.com Pure Shift - aka Shaggy

Articles by: DamBros Especial thanks to Claudia Picchi Darren McEntee @ traxmusic.org Derik.White @ traxmusic.org Devon.Brent @ traxmusic.org Kevin Burke www.kevinburke.ca Legion Hush www.virb.com/rumblerah Richard Dolmat www.digitalsoundmagic.com R(t)O

I was very happy with my new dualcore processor, but now I see that there are quad-core processors. Oh wait, what about those eight-core machines featuring two quad-core processors?! There's no stopping now. Soon we will see giga-core computers. Who really knows what's coming next? And it’s not just that, but the new machines have other less “up front” improvements. My new computer, a MiKo workstation, runs on an Intel Dual-Core 2 Gigahertz processor. But somehow, it’s not just twice as fast as my old 2.1 GHz machine. Its way faster. The memory is faster, the bus speed has more than doubled, and nearly everything else seems improved.

Sounds by: Kevin Breidenbach - aka synthgeek www.skincontact.com/synthgeek Daniel Kemp and John Gibson g.no - aka Ginno Legaspi

Proof-Reading by: Kevin Burke www.kevinburke.ca

Wusikstation V4 Advertising Background:

Wusik Sound Magazine June 2007 #014

Michael Knubben

Pictures: www.dreamstime.com

Now, I rarely have to worry about CPU cycles or how many instruments I can use at the same time. It’s a new era, and I'm happy about it. Now, if we could only have more time to learn everything we need. So many new things, so little time...

WilliamK and MoniKe


Sounds Of Astonishment by DamBros

06

Steve Duda by Derik.White

An Introduction To FM Synthesis With Wusikstation by Simon Cann

10

Chicken Scratch by Shaggy

20

Custom LFOs by WilliamK

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Diversions: One Final Commitment by Kevin Burke

26 Mastering Tips: Getting The Best Performance From Your Artist by Richard Dolmat

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44

Steve Thomas Of Cakewalk by R(t)O

54 What's On Your Amp by R(t)O

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Review: Music: Joy Electric by R(t)O

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Gear: Mackie by R(t)O

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Plugin: Sophistry by Devon.Brent

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Tips For A Great Recording Session by Richard Dolmat

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The Synth Romance: Clinging To One Piece Of Hardware by R(t)O

List Of Sounds

72 74

Wusik Sound Magazine June 2007 #014

34 Flashback: Dr Sync - SynC Modular by Darren McEntee

42 Table Contents

Creating Sounds: Horror Grains by WilliamK

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Interview: Thomekk by Legion Hush


Sounds of Astonishment by DamBros

Many many times, during long trips or at unusual places, I imagine absurd melodies that start to develop in my mind independently of my will, until they become autonomous. I end up enjoying the result of these compositions as a mere spectator, privileged it’s true, because I hear the ripe fruit of what I started off and that developed on its own.

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A bucolic scene, for example, could start with a perfect green field and some bushes visited by various birds with their happy chants. The laughter of children playing is suddenly overtaken by a screeching sound similar to a chainsaw cutting metal, following that, the sounds of welding tools and electric hammers banging are heard. All of this in a cadence that suggests a melody written by a musician. This isn’t crazy! All you need to do is pay more attention to our day to day and frequently listen to the real musical effects.

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Other times, I mix trickling rain water with wind, doors slamming, windows moaning, tree leaves whistling and sounds of water dripping, with thunder and lightening. Yes, because not only the thunder has sound, so does the lightening. Just pay attention to it when it crosses the sky. It’s something like striking a match. The symphony that the rain presents us is one of the most beautiful and complete on the face of the earth. It is a demonstration of nature’s force as if it were sending a message to us, poor souls, of who is in charge. To write a score that aggregates all the signals isn’t easy. They are many and are all filled with details and messages with meanings.

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Sounds of Astonishment

One of my favorite mixes is to pretend that I am in a dense forest and that animals start to appear, even the unlikely ones. All of them running and screaming, not all of them in the same direction. Something like a blast, but in all directions, in panic. Imagine capturing sounds of monkeys, elephants, lions, rhinos, tigers, birds and so many others. Obviously all well orchestrated. It would suddenly begin and remain in a high sound for three to four minutes and then returning to a sudden silence.

Another example is a mix of improbable sounds which we could say are really sounds of astonishment. Just idealize the normal noises of a highway with moving cars, and unexpectedly the sounds of airplane propellers followed by jet planes, helicopters, machineguns, a martial band, children singing, a concrete breaker tearing the soil, police sirens, church bells ringing, yelling from a baseball stadium, glass being broken. All these sounds are intertwined and still very soft murmurs trying to reduce the impact of the stronger sounds.

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Of course these examples are at a lower level. If we want to guarantee the sounds of astonishment we would have to search for absolutely impossible situations. Maybe if we approach the crater of an erupting volcano or stand right under Niagara Falls? If any of you have the courage and go to any of these places, please tell us how it was‌‌

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Creating Sounds Wusik Sound Magazine July 2007 #015

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Horror Grains by WilliamK

Scaring the neighborhood


Horror Grains Creating Sounds

This is sort of a re-visit of our old “Bad Granular” tutorial, but this time using custom WAV files and the new Studio Echo Reverber. Let’s start with the following preset:

Wusik Sound Magazine July 2007 #015

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Creating Sounds

Horror Grains Open up the Wavesequencer on layer W1 (hint: you can right-click on W1). Notice that the sequence has only a small loop of 2 steps: that's the size of the “grain�. Changing the speed of the sequence will set the length of each grain. For this layer, we load up a WAV file that was previously recorded.

On the Mod-Matrix, set an Envelope or LFO to W1 Sample-Start. That will change the position of the waveform in real-time. You can adjust the speed of the Env/LFO to make the phrase go slower or faster. Try hitting the lower-octave keys on your keyboard for that extra horror effect.

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For those presets, we have used the new Studio Echo Reverber that has a much smoother sound to it.

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Now play with the other presets, and record your own voice to a WAV file. Place it under the same directory as ours and load on any of the presets we created. Have fun.

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Creating Sounds

An Introduction to

FM Synthesis with Wusikstation by Simon Cann

A little known feature of Wusikstation is its FM, or frequency modulation, functionality. Simon Cann introduces FM synthesis and shows you how the technique can be used when you Wusik Sound Magazine July 2007 #015

are designing sounds in Wusikstation.

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An Introduction to

FM Synthesis with Wusikstation

There were two reasons for the difficulty in creating sounds: ·

The DX7 was the first widely-available synthesizer to do away with the “oneknob-per-function” interface. Instead it offered a menu driven form of programming, which some people have likened to painting your house through the letter box.

·

The second reason for the difficulty in programming the DX7 was that FM was a new—and apparently complicated— approach, quite unlike subtractive synthesis. There was a lot of talk about algorithms and none about filters. In reality, probably only a few people understood how to program FM, and they all had beards.

This difficulty meant that musicians didn’t bother to program the DX7—instead they either relied on the presets (which were good), or—for those with money— hired a programmer. Not everyone could

afford to hire a programmer, so several programmers found that they were able to start selling sounds. This was the birth of the third-party sound developer. Some of the sounds created by these programmers became so popular that even today many people do not realize that a number of these “classic” sounds were not part of the original soundsets. While FM has a reputation for being difficult, it’s not really that hard to get a grip on it: you just need to leave behind any preconceptions that come with using conventional subtractive synthesizers. That being said, one of the advantages of modern software synthesizers (such as Wusikstation) is that you can combine FM and subtractive techniques.

Creating Sounds

FM, or frequency modulation, synthesis first came to prominence in the mid-1980s with Yamaha’s DX7 synthesizer, the first mass-market FM synthesizer. At the time, the sound created by the DX7 was unique and compelling. There was only one downside to the synth: it was impossible to program.

Wusikstation and FM I have two aims with this piece: ·

First, to introduce you to the theory around FM.

·

Second, to demonstrate how to apply these techniques in Wusikstation.

Now, before we go any further, I should caution you against expecting to be able to recreate all of those wonderful FM sounds you have heard from the old 1980s

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An Introduction to

FM Synthesis Creating Sounds

with Wusikstation

records with Wusikstation. I hope you already know that Wusikstation is a great synth, but it would not be my first choice synthesizer for creating those classic/cliché FM sounds. However, it does create a wide range of sounds that have their own unique character which is why I believe Wusikstation is useful as an FM synth. For this article, I am going to focus on the range of FM tones that Wusikstation can readily create.

Why Use FM Techniques? At this point, you may be wondering why you would use FM techniques. After all, Wusikstation is capable of loading samples and there are many FM samples out there (including some which come with Wusikstation’s factory soundsets).

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There are a number of reasons why you can use Wusikstation, but let me cut to the main reason: FM can create a very wide range of tones. Using FM techniques each note and each velocity level for each note can have a wholly different timbre that cannot be replicated with samples.

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If you get a sufficiently large group of samples, you may be able to create something of the breadth of tone, but you will not be able to recreate the full range of nuances of FM tones—particularly the tones as a note decays— without using FM techniques. FM relies on the interaction between oscillators (or operators as they are called in FM-speak): you cannot replicate this interaction with samples alone.

FM Theory Instead of having oscillators, FM synthesizers have “operators”. To create an FM sound, two operators are needed— a modulator and a carrier. The carrier is an operator that is connected to a synthesizer’s audio output, and so is heard. A modulator acts in a similar manner to a low frequency oscillator. It modulates the frequency of the carrier. However, the frequency of the modulator is much higher than would be conventional for an LFO. Indeed, with FM the frequency of the modulator is in the audio spectrum so the modulator can be heard if it is connected to an output. The effect of modulating a carrier with a signal in the audio spectrum is that the change is not heard as vibrato, but instead the tone of the carrier is changed, often quite significantly. The essence of the sound produced by an FM synthesizer is not simply a combination of the individual elements, but the interaction between the modulator(s) and the carrier(s) over time. As one element changes in relation to another there are tonal shifts which give FM its unique sound. The aspects that affect a sound are: ·

the frequency of the modulator relative to the carrier—as a general rule, the higher the frequency of the modulator relative to the carrier, the brighter (or more metallic) the sound, and

·

the amount of modulation (often called the FM Index): this is controlled by the output level

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An Introduction to

FM Synthesis with Wusikstation

However, as we shall see, since Wusikstation is not a dedicated FM synthesizer, in some circumstances, the ranges over which a modulator can be tweaked, may be limited unless you want to get into the world of sound effects. To achieve the constant shifts and design the desired sound, each element must be controlled. Usually, but not always, the pitch relationship between each operator is fixed (and controlled by the MIDI input pitch), but the level of each operator is dynamic. There are several tools in our armory to bring about these controls— envelopes, velocity scaling and key scaling. Much of the character of a sound—any sound—is captured in the note’s attack. Although Wusikstation uses conventional ADSR envelopes, it offers many curve options which greatly help when designing FM sounds. When sounds with many layers are created, the envelopes are key to achieving the necessary control over the sound.

Velocity scaling can give the musician immense amounts of control over an instrument,

With subtractive synthesis, key scaling is usually only used to open up the filter a bit when higher notes are played. With FM synthesis, key scaling is far more important. It is very easy to create metallic sounds with FM synthesis. It is harder to create usable metallic sounds. One of the keys to designing FM sounds is to ensure that the overtones are appropriate. It is quite easy to create a sound which works within a limited key range, but does not work outside of that range. Often this will manifest itself as a sound that begins to sound too harsh. The harshness can be addressed in two ways: ·

the FM Index can be reduced— this may make the sound work outside of the original key range, however, it will probably affect the sound, perhaps making it too dull, and

·

the level of the modulator can be reduced in certain key ranges. This key scaling is more likely to obtain the desired result.

With FM sounds tuning can be quite a challenge. First, the pitch can be affected by the interaction of the modulator and the carrier. Secondly, the resulting waveforms can include many harmonious and inharmonious elements—if the inharmonious elements are predominant, then the resulting sound (especially if a chord is struck) may not be pleasant.

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When creating “pure” FM sounds (in other words, when not using filters) the tone is often controlled by using velocity scaling which adjusts the output level of the modulators. The output of the whole patch is controlled by using velocity scaling to control the level of the carriers.

perhaps to a level where the synthesizer can come close to mimicking some of the behaviors of a real instrument.

Creating Sounds

of the modulator—the greater the output, the greater the effect of the modulator.

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An Introduction to

FM Synthesis Creating Sounds

with Wusikstation

The Structure of FM If you’ve ever tried to find out about FM, then people have probably told you about algorithms. Forget that!! The essential element of the FM sound is a modulator and a carrier working together: this is all you need to understand. With some FM synths, you can have more than one modulator, or you can have one modulator and several carriers. With Wusikstation, while it is capable of more flexibility, in my opinion, the best combination is a simple FM stack. A simple FM stack is where one modulator drives one carrier (see Figure 1).

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Figure 1 A simple FM stack where one modulator drives one carrier.

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This arrangement is the very essence of FM sound. Most of the classic FM sounds can be built around this arrangement, although often several simple FM stacks may need to be layered together to achieve a thicker sound. Alternatively, some patches may be built around several simple FM stacks

providing different elements of the sound: the classic example of this is the FM electric piano sound where the bell and the sustain portions can be built from separate simple FM stacks which are then layered. With six oscillators, Wusikstation can have up to three simple FM stacks.

First Steps in FM Programming with Wusikstation I’m now going to create some very basic FM sounds. The purpose of these sounds is to show you how you can create FM sounds in Wusikstation and to introduce you to some of the tones that are available. As I’ve said before, these techniques will not change Wusikstation into a DX7, but they do give you a wider range of tones to use when creating your own sounds. All of these patches are included with the WSM download package. The key range over which these patches can work is variable—that is in the nature of FM sounds. Accordingly, I have restricted some of the key ranges of these patches. If you can’t hear anything, then try a different (lower) key. You will also see that I have not introduced any key scaling. If you’re of an ambitious nature, set these

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An Introduction to

FM Synthesis with Wusikstation

01 Pure Sine This first patch is just a sine wave— it is included so you can hear the tonal changes in later patches. All of the patches created for this article use the Pure Sine wave only.

·

Amount, in other words the amount by which oscillator two frequency modulates oscillator one, is set to 62.

In this patch, the FM Index (the amount by which the modulator modulates the carrier) is fixed by the Amount setting. You will find that you can adjust the tone of this patch by adjusting this value.

03 FM Vel to Mod 02 Simple FM 02 Simple FM is our first FM patch in Wusikstation. It is structured very much like the arrangement in Figure 1: oscillator two works as the modulator, and oscillator one is the carrier. Both oscillators are pitched at the same level, and the volume of oscillator two has been dropped to zero so all you hear is the FM sound.

In this third patch, 03 FM Vel to Mod, the amount by which the modulator modulates the carrier (the FM Index) is controlled by MIDI velocity, so: ·

at lower velocities, the FM Index is lower, and the tone is duller, and

·

at higher velocities, the FM Index is higher, and the tone is brighter.

Creating Sounds

patches with a full key range and tweak the key scaling parameters!!

Figure 2 illustrates this arrangement.

The FM sound is created through the modulation matrix: ·

The modulation Source is O2 Out.

·

The modulation Destination is O1 Pitch.

·

Min and Max are set to 0 and 127, respectively.

Figure 2 A simple FM stack, but in this case, the amount by which the modulator modulates the carrier is controlled by MIDI velocity.

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An Introduction to

FM Synthesis Creating Sounds

with Wusikstation

This patch is exactly the same as 02 Simple FM, but with one tweak in the modulation matrix to allow velocity to control the FM Index. To achieve this, I added another line with the following settings: ·

The modulation Velocity.

Source

is

·

The modulation Destination isO1 Pitch.

·

Min and Max are set to 0 and 127, respectively.

·

Amount is set to 62.

As with the earlier patch, you can control the maximum extent to which velocity can control the sound by tinkering with the Amounts (in either, or both, lines).

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This patch also highlights another one of those “challenges” when dealing with FM: pitching. As you play this patch with varying velocities, you will hear that the pitch appears to change. This is a side effect of the FM technique, but I guess you’re not that surprised that there are pitching issues given that we are talking about frequency MODULATION.

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Seriously, you may encounter problems with pitching in FM sounds. As a general rule of thumb, once the modulator is pitched an octave above the carrier, then life becomes easier (but the sounds are harder to create in Wusikstation). Below this, and you’re going to have to listen, and adjust the FM Index if pitch is an issue. You may also find that you need to adjust the pitch of the whole patch (ie adjust the carriers’ pitches and then adjust the

modulators’ pitches to keep the same pitch ratios) in order to keep A=440Hz tuning.

04 FM Env to Mod In this fourth patch, the amount of modulation (the FM Index) is controlled by an envelope, as Figure 3 shows.

Figure 3 A simple FM stack, where the amount by which the modulator modulates the carrier is controlled by an envelope. Introducing an envelope in this manner allows for the tone to shift over time. In this case, I have selected an envelope shape to give an initial impact and a rapid decay. This effect is created by using the Amp Envelope for the modulator (oscillator two). This patch is very similar to 02 Simple FM, the only difference is in the modulation matrix where only one line is necessary with the following settings: ·

The modulation Source is O2 x Env, so the output of the modulator is controlled by its envelope. As there is an amount of velocity scaling in the envelope, this translates through into the FM Index too.

·

The modulation Destination is O1 Pitch.

·

The Amount is set to 127.

For this patch the FM Index is most immediately controlled by

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An Introduction to

FM Synthesis with Wusikstation

You will also see that I have used the Exponential x2 curve in the envelope to give a smoother decay.

Varying Ratios

Modulator

:

Carrier

In the patches we have looked at so far, the carrier and the modulator have had the same pitch. Any tonal variation has been controlled by the FM Index (that is, the modulation depth) which has been controlled by the Amount setting in the modulation matrix, Velocity, and an envelope. I now want to look at a number of patches where the pitch of the modulator and carrier are different. For each of these patches, the pitch of the modulator and carrier are fixed, however, the amount of modulation is controlled by velocity. Listen to: 05 Mod -24 where modulator is pitched octaves below the carrier

·

06 Mod -19 where the modulator is pitched one octave and seven semitones below the carrier

·

the two

07 Mod -12 where the modulator is pitched one octave below the carrier

08 Mod +7 where the modulator is pitched seven semitones above the carrier

·

09 Mod +12 where the modulator is pitched an octave above the carrier, and

·

10 Mod +19 where the modulator is pitched one octave and seven semitones above the carrier.

In very broad terms, you can hear that when the modulator is pitched below the carrier, there is a darker tone, but when the modulator is pitched above the carrier, there is a brighter, sometimes metallic, tone. Also, as the modulator is pitched higher, the sound becomes less controllable (hence the reduced key ranges for some of the later patches).

Next Steps At this point you may be in a bit of a quandary. You will see that all of the patches I have created here only use sine waves, and they are all based on a simple FM stack. I have used sine waves because they are the most controllable waves. Please do experiment with other waves, but remember that the results you may get may not always be what you are expecting. The purpose of this article has been to introduce you to a different palette of tones from which you can build your own sounds. Think of this as being like a wide range of new samples, but taking up much less memory.

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·

·

Creating Sounds

the Amount setting, and also the Velocity setting in the modulator’s envelope. However, the Sustain level of the envelope also has an effect on the sound, determining the tone during the sustain period of the envelope.

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An Introduction to

FM Synthesis Creating Sounds

with Wusikstation

With these new sounds you can create your own patches. You will find that these sounds work best when they are layered—either with other FM sounds, or with conventional subtractive sounds.

Further Reading

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If you want to read more about creating sounds with FM, I suggest you get hold of my book How To Make A Noise (it’s free!! Details are on my website). There is a whole chapter dedicated to FM sounds, and many other examples of FM techniques are used through the book. In particular, How To Make A Noise looks at the other ways you can arrange operators to create different sonic results.

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About the Author Simon Cann is a musician and writer based in London. He is the author of: ·

Building a Successful 21st Century Music Career

·

Cakewalk Synthesizers: From Presets to Power User

·

How To Make A Noise

·

Sample This!! (with Klaus P Rausch)

Check out www.noisesculpture.com to find out more about Simon’s books.

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Wusik Sound Magazine July 2007 #015

Creating Sounds

Chicken Scratch by Shaggy


Through

musical

rooster sound when shot across the

journeys, we are always on the search

room. While the thought of using such

for new sounds and ways to make noise.

a sound doesn’t seem pleasing in the

We look to emulate vintage keyboards

beginning, you’ll find that you might be

that we hear on our favorite albums and

changing your mind after you slam it

we

into Wusikstation.

seek

to

out

collect

our

every

sample

Creating Sounds

Chicken Scratch

available so that we can reproduce those very sounds. That’s all well and

Now, a crowing rooster isn’t

good but there’s nothing like hearing

exactly a very musical noise. Your mind

something unique that no one else has

will change, though, once you start

used before.

applying different things to that noise. Lower the pitch by a few octaves and

Now how do we find these

you can get a drone type sound like I did

sounds? Where can we dig for the latest

in the ‘devil howl’ patch. Raise the pitch

noise? Believe it or not, you don’t need

by a few octaves and you might find

to be a rocket scientist or an acoustics

various percussive noises and squeals

expert to get the job done. All you need

that make up the ‘squeek and squak’

is a recording device, a microphone and

patch.

the will to experiment. It also helps if

and filters and you’ll find even more

you have a quiet space so that other

sounds!

Try applying some envelopes

sounds don’t interfere with the one that you are trying to record.

Now get out there and find a new sound to play with! Something that has

So, what should you record? The answer is … ANYTHING!

helped me a lot in creating patches is that I try not to spend too much time on

makes noise is worth experimenting

one single patch. The five that I created

with.

From toys to home appliances,

for this article took me about 10-15

you can turn just about any sound into

minutes and I found them all to be quite

something worth using in a song. Now,

usable. Don’t be afraid to try anything

in my particular experiment, I used my

because

slingshot chicken. What is a slingshot

possibilities!

chicken?

It’s a silly toy that makes a

everything

you

hear

has

.

Wusik Sound Magazine July 2007 #015

Anything that

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Creating Sounds

Custom LFOs

Wusik Sound Magazine July 2007 #015

by WilliamK

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How to create your own LFO patterns/waveforms


Custom LFOs Creating Sounds

Ever wondered if you could create your own LFOs? That's possible, and in two ways. The simplest way is to use the Wavesequencer MOD lanes; it works perfectly for filters. Let's take the following example for instance:

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Creating Sounds

Custom LFOs

Here we’ve loaded Layer O1 with a SAW waveform and left W1 as silence. The MOD1 lane controls the first layer Filter Frequency (see the Mod-Matrix). If you check/uncheck the Filter Smooth option, you can get two different behaviors. Depending on what you want, leave it checked. Using the Wavesequencer is usually the best solution, as it will sync to the host tempo, and will let you design your own LFO pattern more easily. But in some situations, it just won't work as its output is not interpolated. So let’s take this next example, by loading the preset “LFO OSC 1”.

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Here we have Layer O4 been used as the LFO. We loaded the WAV file “DownQuickDown”.

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Custom LFOs Creating Sounds

To create this WAV file, we used Sony Sound Forge 8 to render two SAW waveforms, reversing them, and stitching them together. You can also hand-draw your own waveforms, but it’s a bit more complicated as you will need to resample the final result at least 10x. Otherwise, it won't have enough “stages” on the final WAV file to be reproduced smoothly. Sound Forge has a “Smooth” option that you can apply several times until the result gets heavily interpolated. It sounds a bit complicated, but it’s not. Just see how many “dots” you have at a zoom of 100%. Those should produce a very smooth waveform. See our WAV files to get an idea. Below is a non-interpolated waveform. In most situations it’s going to generate clicks/pops.

To avoid this, we pitch down the whole file by 50 semitones - making it longer. After this is done, we apply the “Smooth” option 4 times. The result is a larger file, but with a smooth interpolated set of “stages”.

There you go. Now have fun producing your own chaos patterns.

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Diversions

One Final Commitment

Wusik Sound Magazine July 2007 #015

by Kevin Burke

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The longer one lives, it seems, and the greater the thirst for knowledge, adventure, inspiration, fulfilment, and, well, distraction, the more one commits to that which quenches the thirst.


Diversions

One Final Commitment

Humans want to appease, love to please, and need to feel that they are making a real contribution: by helping someone out of a bind, by surprising someone in a positive way, and by getting feedback that they are, in fact, worthwhile and appreciated. Maybe it’s the feedback that we so strongly desire. The egostroking would certainly benefit anyone bereft of admiration – anyone unfortunate enough to do great things while un-assumedly flying solo far too low and under everyone’s radar. Ignoring, for a moment, the prevalent and posturing thieves who would wantonly steal the limelight and kudos, a good person committed to great deeds sows more rewards than he reaps. It is the unwritten law of all lands. It’s not such a bad thing, mind you. They say you will eventually “get yours.” You will. They said you would. You are probably waiting for it right now.

As a songwriter – and you’ll notice I’ve elected not to use the term musician (there is, I think, an important distinction between the two camps) – I’ve amassed a far-too-large quantity of virtual synthesizer and effects licenses. I’ve burdened myself with the desire to release an album a year.

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But there is another kind of commitment: a commitment to oneself. It is the only kind of commitment over which you have completely autonomous control, and bathe in a personal rewards system directly proportional to effort expended. Here, one reaps precisely what they sow.

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One Final Commitment

Diversions Wusik Sound Magazine July 2007 #015

I’ve signed on as a beta tester for a software company. I loathe letting my website/blog/gallery stagnate for more than a few days. My Calendar has been filled with local events to attend, luncheons with friends and colleagues, payment, holiday, and birthday reminders, and notices, too, of when money enters my bank account. It’s not all exit-only, although between paycheques it seems my money has commitments of its own. I am also committed to denial.

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it. If it’s virtual – it’ll eventually find its way through my router. This coming weekend is when I’m sure I’ll figure out pattern-making on my new drum-synth. Last month I was going to hunker down and learn the “other” sequencer in my arsenal. And I was sure I would write the majority of the songs for my next album in the first six months of this year, just as I had done every previous year.

Life is all about what comes next.

As surely as ice melts in the searing heat of a globally-warmed summer, so to do my commitments to myself.

Like any musical geek born of an 8-bit sampler and bucket-brigade reverb device, I like to get my hands dirty and delve deeply into the mysterious and surely overly-complicated inner workings of the latest virtual synth (sample player, drum module, …). Oh, I’d like to. And I think I might. I’m sure I may. And that’s exactly why I virtual-rack virtually anything that has the word virtual in front of

It isn’t intentional. I swear. They say “it’s the thought that counts,” although I’ve fairly figured out that this phrase is used purely as consolation. The next thing that life has in store for me is never something that appears on my “to-do” list. Life, the big, fantastic, can’t-get-your-hands-around-it entity, has a peculiar sense of humour and a strong desire to derail my good intentions. It’s comical – at

>


Diversions

One Final Commitment

first, but ultimately annoying as important tasks toward enlightenment waft and evaporate in a haze of days-gone-by. And as I get older, the days go by in less of a haze, and more of a hurricane. There is no stopping the exponential increase of the trek toward the final curtain. So, what to do? In trying to learn, I fail. In trying to appease the user-base of a software product through diligent beta testing – I stumble. In seeking reward, I’m late.

I will politely but diligently refuse any new tasks which might affect my goals or the timelines to my goals. I will not own anyone else’s crises.

.

This final commitment … is to me.

Wusik Sound Magazine July 2007 #015

Perhaps the answer lies in the theory of Project Management: an increase in Scope affects Cost and/or Timeline. I’ve been increasing the “Scope” in my life: the things I want/need/commit to accomplish (such as learning or writing) while putting at risk the timelines I had dedicated for each task. My “Cost” is my failure to keep my commitments. The solution, then, is to set reasonable and attainable goals; create a plan for learning and block time for writing. Not a gargantuan master plan, mind you: small steps. I will commit to small commitments. There will be no train to derail. Single cars only; travelling slowly.

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Mastering Tips

Getting the Best Performance from Your Artist

Wusik Sound Magazine July 2007 #015

by Richard Dolmat

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So now you've decided to record your songs. Good for you, except that you will need people to play the instruments for which your music calls for. If you can play all the instruments on your own, then all the better. You will have less people to argue with! Other wise, you will have to hire (read: bribe with beer/food/hockey tickets) session musicians and vocalists to play and sing for you, putting you in the producer's chair. Your songs are only as emotional as the performers who play them. It goes without saying that you should hire the best performers your budget will allow. But if $100/hour for a professional vocalist is a little steep, here are a few ways to help encourage the best from your session players.


1

Always praise, never criticize. The is THE most important rule in my book. The only way any session musician could ever get comfortable at your studio is if YOU put them at ease. That's one of your jobs as a producer. When trying different versions of a take, tell them how you would like it to sound, instead of what they did wrong ie: "That was great, but let's try to hit the high note a little stronger" instead of "you know, you were a little off on the high note, it didn't sound that good". Always start with praise, then with a correction. Keep your vocabulary positive. The best producers make the artist feel as if they can do nothing wrong.

2

They Can Do Nothing Wrong

3

Let Them See The Light Ambiance, atmosphere, vibe: whatever you call it, they need it. I guarantee that you will get a much better performance if you have water on the table, comfortable chairs, maybe a few candles, a towel, mints, and candy. Have you ever tried recording in an office with harsh florescent lights and hard wood chairs?

4

Take Your Time If you're recording at your own studio, you have all the time in the world (which is an evil thing in my opinion). Let the artist relax, "get into the groove", talk a little and get comfortable with the other people in the control room. A tense artist's performance will always sound 'artificial' in the final song. Don't be worried if it takes another 10 minutes to finish the take. Each performer works at their own pace, and the best thing you can do as the producer is to respect that and adjust your pace to theirs. Unless you have a record company breathing down your neck. Then everyone has to work at THEIR pace!

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Wusik Sound Magazine July 2007 #015

Remember this rule while you are writing or recording. There is no "wrong way", there is only "a different way". Don't tell people that their way is wrong. Remember that music is an art, and there are no rules in art. When a performer is playing something you don't like, correct them by saying "let's try it this way too". Don't start off my saying "nope, you were wrong, do it the right way".

Mastering Tips

Getting the Best Performance from Your Artist

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Mastering Tips

Getting the Best Performance from Your Artist

5

Ask For Help Artists love to be listened to. It's always good to ask them for their opinion. Whether you actually listen is up to you. But once in a while, a simple question like "What do you think? Do you want to keep that take?" can do wonders for their performance. It helps keep them involved in the project and make them feel less like a "hired hand". Obviously, if it was the worse singing you've ever heard and they want to keep it, just mention that you will do "one more take as a safety". And then, when they're not looking, use the better take instead and autotune it to no end. This is a little producer's secret, but don't let the artists know!

6 Wusik Sound Magazine July 2007 #015

Know The Words

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Make sure that you, the engineer, the assistant engineer and everyone else in the control room has lyrics to all the songs. The best way for your studio team to find their way around the songs is with the lyric sheets. Another good idea is to USE THE WHITEBOARD! That's why it's there. If you don't have one, get one. Write down the chord progressions, lyric ideas, timing marks, track listings, McDonald's lunch orders, everything.

7

It's MOSTLY About The Music I've heard people say "it's ALL about the music". Well, in my books, that's not the truth. I'd rather say "it's mostly about the music". Because you have to remember, it's also about having fun, having a good time, writing and performing the best you can and above all, sharing your talent and gift with others. Try to make it less of a job, and more of a passion and you'll find yourself doing it for the rest of your life!

.


Artvera presents her first commercial sound project for Wusikstation - MISTRAL. This sound library offers Wusikstation users the chance to own a collection of ethnic sounds - string instruments, drums/percussion, woodwinds, vocals and more. With more than 300 presets and 300 megabytes of sample data it's a great inspiration for musicians in any kind of music, especially composers of Film, Ethnic, NewAge or Ambient music. The presets contain not only individual instruments but also longer melodic sequences. Many presets take advantage of all the new features of Wusikstation version 3. In addition, there are very interesting pads with extra sounds which can be used in different music styles. These pads have been created by combining multiple ethnic instruments. The package also contains percussive/drum sequences and even some nature sounds, which have been used to create some special sound effects.

MISTRAL contains also a free bonus - two variants of a new skin for Wusikstation, in both normal and large sequencer formats (see the preview of main page below). The MISTRAL presets have been created by Vera Kinter (Artvera), Daniel Kemp (dnekm) and Stephan M端sch (rsmus7). The price is very friendly - only $30. Release is scheduled for March 2007. www.artvera-music.com/ Wusik Sound Magazine April 2007 #012

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Mastering Tips

Tips for a Great Recording Session by Richard Dolmat

Wusik Sound Magazine July 2007 #015

You know your songs are great (and so does your girl/boyfriend, family, pets etc), and you finally decided to record an album in a real studio. That’s great! But what actually happens when you get there?

34

When you finally do pick the perfect studio, one that you feel comfortable at, there is a certain routine that must be followed in order to get the best performance and the best recording for your budget.


Tips for a Great Recording Session Mastering Tips

1. Tune Your Instruments. This also includes your drums and any tunable percussion instruments you may have. There is absolutely nothing worse in the world than to have a perfectly written song with a perfect performance be ruined because someone didn’t take an extra 2 minutes to check their tuning. Tuning takes a few minutes; a recording lasts forever.

2. Be Well Rehearsed. You’ll be surprised how many bands suffer shock when they get the final recording bill. The main reason for this is because they confuse rehearsal time with recording time. Rehearse at home, in the garage, at your uncle’s house; anywhere but at the recording session. When you arrive at the studio, you should know your songs inside-out and be ready for the red light.

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Wusik Sound Magazine July 2007 #015

3. Practice with a Click Track. A lot of drummers aren’t able to play with a click track. Make sure yours can. A click track is essential in getting a good basic rhythm track that the rest of the band can lock in to, and to sync-up loops and delay times.

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Wusik Sound Magazine July 2007 #015

Mastering Tips

Tips for a Great Recording Session

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4. Be Early. Many studios start charging their clients from the exact time agreed to in the contract. Just because you decide to show up late, doesn’t mean that the studio should give up that time for free. Be early and be ready to go.

6. Know When To Quit. Recording often leads to diminishing returns. Spending 20 hours in a row at the recording session isn’t going to make your song twice as good as spending 10 hours. This rule also applies to mixing. If you’re tired, call the session and come back the next day fresh and ready.

5. Get the Sound Right. Never, ever try to “fix it in the mix”. It doesn’t work like that. Take an extra few minutes to tweak the sound before recording it. Turn that knob, tighten that string, have another sip of water. Remember again, tweaking may take an extra minute, but the recording will last forever.

7. Record Alone. Don’t bring your friends, family, parents or anyone else into your sessions. As fun as it may be, you are there to do a job and record the best music possible. If you are a millionaire, then by all means, have a party at the studio, but don’t count on getting anything done.

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Tips for a Great Recording Session Mastering Tips

8. Mix and Match. After letting the engineer do the first rough mix alone (which he should) do an A/B comparison of your mix to some of your favorite CDs. Remember that the production CDs you are listening to have already been mastered. But it’s a good way to compare levels and panning.

9. Bring Spares. Always bring spare strings, drum heads, bass strings, water bottles, throat lozenges, etc to a session. You’ll always need the one thing you forgot to bring, so bring it all and leave them at the studio until your recordings are finished.

10. Have Fun! This is THE most important point of all. Creating and recording music isn’t rocket science. Although there is a science involved, you should let the engineer worry about that. If you’re not having fun, then you’re in the wrong business!

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Wusik Sound Magazine July 2007 #015

About The Author Richard Dolmat is owner, engineer and producer for the Vancouver based recording studio Digital Sound Magic. Visit his site at: www.digitalsoundmagic.com

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Flash Back Wusik Sound Magazine July 2007 #015

38

Dr Sync SynC Modular by Darren McEntee @ TraXmusic.org

Its impressive if you think about it. It wasn't 10 years ago that SynC was presented, and it already sounds like -old- news. Here's an Interview with its creator.


Dr Sync SynC Modular

Welcome, whats educational background?

is

Flash Back

1.

your

It’s difficult to describe Russian educational degrees it English. I have studied computer science for 5 and a half year in a higher education institution. So I guess this qualifies in English as master of science, or university graduate, but I’m not really familiar with English degrees.

2. What is SynC Modular? It’s a modular environment for building your own synthesizers and effects, similar to other software in that area, like Reaktor, VAZ Modular and some other. What makes SynC Modular different and what was the primary goal of its development is its unique modular optimization technology, which makes it very little CPU consuming in comparison to other software. Actually it’s not a pure VSTi. It was designed and originally released as standalone synthesizer. Following the large user demand, later it was made able to run as VSTi.

3.

How did you find your way to become an audio software programmer? Self-education. Having a good math background from the university helped a lot. What motivated you to write this VSTi ‘SynC Modular’ ? I wanted to have a flexible synthesis system for my personal use :-) Native

I wanted to be able to run more voices, and more instruments in realtime. Then I had an idea, to try to design something faster. A few experiments persuaded me that this is possible. During the development of the project, I realized that it becomes a really useful and powerful software and is worth releasing to the world. That required some UI polishing, naturally :-) Also I have understood that my technology allows to deal with smaller blocks without additional CPU load. This became another important feature of SM.

5. What is unique about this SynC Modular as compared to other VSTi audio plug-in’s? I would say that it’s these two features high performance and flexibility which are the most important. But you better ask users, not me :-)

6.

Generally, how does it work?

It depends on your knowledge and will :-) You can just start it and load some instruments, created by other people (there are plenty now), and then play it as any softsynth. Or you can start modifying these instruments, adding new blocks, changing modulation routings, inserting effects etc. Or you can build your own ones from scratch.

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Wusik Sound Magazine July 2007 #015

4.

Instruments Generator (at that time there was no Reaktor yet) looked almost perfect, if not one thing - it was too CPU consuming for my purposes.

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Flash Back

Dr Sync SynC Modular

7. Under what OS’s does SynC Modular work?

8. What has it been like working in a Windows dominated environment?

I felt that BeOS was too restrictive and there were many other problems which didn’t exist under Windows. Yes, Windows is bulky and it’s not audio oriented and there are latency problems and there are lots of other realtime software development problems - but it’s still my platform of preference. Since these are the only two modern OS-es that I have experience with, I don’t have anything else to compare.

9. Do you have any plans for releasing a Linux or BeOs version Modular, if not already?

of

SynC

It seems a big future, with one ‘but’. Have you seen Native Instruments’ ad with an X-ray picture of the human head and written above: ‘all the hardware you need’? You see - the hardware is always the limiting factor :-)

12. Are you a musician? I wouldn’t dare to call myself a musician. It’s only a hobby :-)

13.

What types of music are you interested in recording? I would like to be able to write good electronic music. But it’s very very difficult. Besides ordinary musical skills and talent (if this can be called ordinary) you need to have a good knowledge and feel of synthesizers. In my opinion there’s very little good electronic music in the world. So maybe better stick to programming :-)

See the above. Regarding Linux, the development of SynC Modular is officially cancelled, so there’s not much chance.

14. What other future products are

10.

See the anwer to Q.10.

What is your future plans now after your completion of SynC Modular? Wusik Sound Magazine July 2007 #015

What is the future that you envision for digital audio recording and music making on home PCs?

Windows and BeOS.

It seems that I hear almost from everywhere that Windows is not a very good operating system. But after making a port for BeOS I should say that it was much easier to develop for Windows.

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11.

I hope to be able to integrate and further develop the technology used in SynC Modular in future products of Native Instruments.

you developing, if any?

15. Would it be true in me saying that you are now a new ‘employee’ for ‘Native Instruments’, or is that just an uncalled for rumour? It’s true. Thanks to Dr Sync.

.


Enigma Engine Mallory's Preset Generator for WusikEngine With this amazing utility program you can create thousands of semi-randomly generated presets for your WusikEngine SoundSets. Presets are based on 8 carefully designed algorithms, each targeting a particular type of sound.

Features include: • Presets can be created for WusikEngine V1 and V2/V3 according to preference. • Many parameters affecting the algorithms can be tweaked according to taste. • Presets can utilize sounds from multiple Sound Sets simultaneously. Supports many popular WusikEngine SoundSets, including: • Famous Keys Wusikstation)

(default

soundset

for

• Famous Keys Plus 1, 2 & 3 • Digi One • TSW, TSW Pro and Vox'd, by BITR • Manystation and Ultimate Bass Kit, by Manytone Music • SoundCell 1-3, Oberheim Resurrection and Viral Outbreak Vol 1 by Nucleus Soundlab

Only $19.99

• Ignition, Fuel and SonicScapes vol 1, by Danger ous Bear • Prepared Rhodes etc, by Zvon • Drone Structures

Now includes a utility that allows users to add support for any other SoundSets not yet directly supported internally (perhaps commercial sets converted from another format). Sound Designers can also use this to provide support for new SoundSets without requiring my input.

System Requirements: CPU: Pentium 4 or better O/S: Windows 98SE/ME/2000/XP RAM: At least 512MB HD: At least 100MB free space Microsoft's .NET framework V1.1 The Enigma Engine software is built upon Microsoft's .NET Framework v1.1 In order to run the Enigma Engine software, you must have the .NET Framework v1.1 installed on your system. V1.1 can happily co-exist alongside the later V2.0 of the framework but you do not need to download that. Also there is no need to uninstall V2.0

For more screenshots, a freely downloadable demo or to purchase the program, visit:

www.wusik.com/w/enigma.html


Interview

artist

Thomekk by Legion Hush

Wusik Sound Magazine July 2007 #015

Country folk, Avant jazz rock, Industrial; this is part of the eclecticism which belongs to German composer, producer, and songwriter Thomekk (Thomas Kallweit).

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From performing instrumentals in “Gluckwunschsysteme” (Congratulation System) with fellow bandmates Andre O Möller (now a successful New Music composer), Ulrich Möller, and Stefan Krausen, to playing guitar on a project mixed by Silverman from the Legendary Pink Dots, Thomekk has been actively involved in the music scene for over 20 years. And, at age 42, he has only begun.


Thomekk [Influences]

[Turn-about Records] “I played instrumentation along with an Indian vocalist named Ajoy Misra in a band called ‘Po & Aals Mund’ (Bum and Eels mouth). In 1988, Turn-about Records released two compilations [First Strike and Second Strike] featuring tunes from Po &Aals Mund as well as Spalanzanis Toechter. I also released four solo recordings on this label under the alias ‘Eiterschlangen’ which means Purulent Snakes.”

[Most reliable band] “My solo gigs under the name ‘Thomas Liebe’ featured my ghetto blaster as a backup band. I would do karaoke on small stages. Sometimes I would perform in public, singing songs without any musical accompaniment.”

[ADF]

[Favorite recording tool] “Adobe Audition! FL Studio’s wave editor lacked features before the arrival of Edison which is why I chose Audition. It’s wonderfully easy to use for complex audio-projects: for example, mixing down/ mastering a whole album or making a radioplay with sometimes 60 parallel tracks. It has lots of very good features like "grouping" selected tracks and freeze, both which FL Studio doesn't have.”

[Number one feature request to make the recording process easier] “What would be helpful within the FL audio section are slip editing and the ability to nondestructively ‘group’ selected audio-parts in the playlist.”

[Pimp an artist] Patrick Goble: www.myspace.com/prettypleaseband A really great artist with lots of facet’s worth checking out. To check out more projects on ADF, visit www.adf.musik-und-text.de You can also check out Paprika Town (in German) at www.paprikatown.de and Thomekk’s MySpace page at www.myspace.com/thomekk1

.

Wusik Sound Magazine July 2007 #015

In 2003, Thomekk commenced his first radio play project called Paprika Town, which is about vegetables living in their own town where humans cannot eat them. The 2 hour play was 3 years in the making and came complete with 14 narrators (German). At the end of 2006, ADF, a small independent net label, was formed to promote the official release of Paprika Town as well as past and future projects. “My most recent release [Jan. 07] is “Kleine Hoehle auf dem Berg.” Upcoming releases will be ‘Dark Story’ from the band Sonic Ensemble (instrumental project) as well as the self titled ‘FahrscheinGefahr’ which features vocalist Kerstin Bohlin (www.myspace.com/fahrscheingefahr).”

Interview

“In 1984, I became part of an industrial/art rock scene around the legendary Dusseldorf record shop ‘Heartbeat Records’. I was in this art rock band called ‘Spalanzanis Toechter’ which had all this multimedia on stage including costumes. We were influenced by bands like The Work, This Heat, The Residents and Skeleton Crew. Another art rock band called ‘Liebe’ which I played guitar and sang vocals for was influenced by Charles Mingus, the Legendary Pink Dots, Golden Palominos and Red Hot Chili Peppers.”

[Gear] ”FL Studio over all! I started using it when it was midi only and was so pleased when the audiofunctions were added in 4.0. I also bought Energy XT because I liked the idea. I still like the idea but right now I don't use it, which can change. The rest is old-fashioned hardware: 2 E-Guitars, one western-g, one nylon-g, one fake-Steinberger bass, a semi-electric mandolin, Casio CZ-1 Keyboard mainly used for midiplaying, and my beloved Korg MS10 which was used for so many years in the pre-computer era. All my mixing is done with my computer which is a Sempron AMD. Plus, I use a Dell-lappy for live performances in combination with an M-Audio Ozone Live-Soundcard. Both have Win XP (SP2), 1 GB RAM.”

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Wusik Sound Magazine July 2007 #015

Interview

with

44

Steve Duda by Derik.White @ TraXmusic.org

Steve Duda is a Musician, Producer, Engineer, and Programmer. While he may be mostly known for his work with Nine Inch Nails, he has also worked with countless other acts either producing, engineering, or remixing their sounds. He was also part of the famed FXpansion product BFD, as well as the creator of the now extinct FSU (and so much more) plugin by the name of Lucifer from Devine Machine. Currently he is tearing up the Electro House charts as a member of the group BSOD along with Deadmau5. Not only does he create great music and sounds, he’s also pretty damn smart! I was lucky to find all this out while interviewing him over the phone.


Steve Duda

Steve: I was surrounded by music growing up; my Dad is a classical music fan and would always be playing records. Before I can even remember I was hearing symphonies and concertos. I started playing violin at age 5, taking lessons, doing the whole Suzuki method, but I was having a hard time handling both the co-ordination of playing the instrument and also reading sheet music at the same time. I discovered it was much easier to memorize the song and then play it by ear. So anyway, I played violin for several years, then switched to cello. I started playing piano around age 10. I took a little bit of Jazz Piano lessons in high school. I also worked in a music store in high school. That’s when I started really getting fascinated with midi keyboards, synths, and all that kind-of stuff. This was a while back, 87 - 91, so at the time computers were just starting to become integrated with all this gear.

Derik: Wow, that’s pretty cool! You really started doing music really early on life. Steve: Yeah, I feel pretty lucky. I grew up in Silicon Valley, I was also surrounded in a very computer friendly household. We had terminals, and I was logging into mainframes

and playing ASCII games and the like growing up as a kid. My older brother is a very excellent programmer, so I liked watching him make stuff…video games and the like. I’ve always had this interest with music and this interest with computers and hoped to be able to combine the two in some sort of way and hopefully make a living off of my interests.

Derik: What was your first synthesizer or drum machine?

Interview

Derik: How did you get involved in music and production?

Steve: My first synthesizer was a Casio, I can’t remember the model, but it was before the sK1. It was similar in size, but many years before that. It had a few built in rhythms and miniature keys. It had the typical, terrible Casio type drum samples, which I still find myself using in the music I make today. I also had a Yamaha Port-atone Keyboard. My first real synth was a Roland Alpha Juno 2. I got the PG300 programmer to go with it, so I could access all the parameters on sliders with midi. I hooked that up to a Mac running Opcode Vision. This was all around age 14 or 15.

Derik: Did you ever get into a band or anything like that? Steve: I would jam along with friends, but nothing that I would really consider a band until I got to

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Wusik Sound Magazine July 2007 #015

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Wusik Sound Magazine July 2007 #015

Interview

Steve Duda

46

college. By the time I had gone to college I had pretty much assembled a small home studio. I quickly made friends around campus, with people seeing my gear collection and wanting to jam. I was in a funk band called “Brothers of Other” We played around Santa Cruz frequently and travelled up to Oregon. The Oregon Country Fair was our biggest gig, in front of 5,000 people. We played a lot of parties in Berkley, we had a horn section. I’m still friends with some of the guys in the band. In fact the trumpet player lives with me now, he’s my tenant. In college I studied music, and started recording bands. I learned engineering without a ton of instruction so to speak. I just dove into it. I tried to create my own solutions and learn what I could from magazines and professors. After graduating, I realized I wanted to do music or engineering for a living, but I knew at that point that Santa Cruz was too small an economy to support engineers and a studio. I moved to San Francisco which was the nearest big city and worked for a Pro Audio Dealership called Cutting Edge Audio. My job was to go around installing Pro Tools systems and getting people up and running. Soon Digidesign recruited me to come do support for them. I was working tech support at Digi for about a year and a half. The time at Digi was a big education to me. I learned about all the problems that could occur, and also the behind the scenes of software development. Being on the phone all day with angry people gets tedious. So one day I asked Nine Inch Nails for a job and they said yes.

Derik: Were you nervous or excited? Steve: I was excited, that’s probably the best way to put it. I was a little nervous to quit a job that had security and a steady paycheck to go to an environment where you didn’t know how long you would be around. Moving to New Orleans was a jump as well…getting out of California. I had some record experience before that, I worked for Micky Hart, the drummer for the Grateful Dead. I had a little idea of how a professional environment works, and the interactions between artist, producer, and engineer. As well as the new studio person who was basically a computer operator because engineers were scared of computers and were experience with tape. Pro Tools was just merging on the scene and taking over studios. At that point I realized I had a pretty good career in front of me if I know Pro Tools well. I did have confidence going to work for Nine Inch Nails on a technical side, which is what I was hired for, but I wasn’t sure if I’d get involved creatively. I had a music composition degree from college so I figured I knew a thing or two about music, and maybe there would be ways I would be able to contribute musically. I managed to get involved in some creative capacities and I learned a ton working on that record. By the time it was done I felt I had learned what was essentially a Masters degree in Computers and Synthesis. In a way it was a dream to have someone say “here check out this piece of software, spend a month with it and see what you can construct.” Which happened a

>


Steve Duda

Steve: There really isn’t, there is no one to sit there next to you and say. “Oh whoa dude, that sounds cool, what are you playing?.. I’m just fooling around! You like that?…Yeah dude that will work perfectly in the chorus!…oh OK, I’ll put that in the chorus.” That kind of interaction just can’t be matched on the Internet. I’m facing that more now than ever collaborating across countries essentially with my music partner. We’re constantly faced with new ways to collaborate remotely. We find it is best to get together and just spend a couple weeks doing nothing but making tracks. I don’t think music is something that I would want to do alone ever again. I think collaboration is an essential part of it. You can easily get a synergy where 1 +1 = 3. You can harness the best of two minds, with little effort, it just comes naturally. Derik: I’d have to agree with that. (let’s talk about plug ins) A while back, this goes a long way back. I knew of an effect called Incarn FX or something like that. Which I believe was before DevineMachine, but by the same guy. Steve: Yes, that would be X-incarn, that’s the software that drew me to Nicolas [Devine-Machine].

Derik: I remember reading on an Internet forum thread somewhere, probably KVR. Where someone working on a nine inch nails album was using an effect called X-Incarn. I checked it out after reading that thread, and I wonder if that person was you.

>

Wusik Sound Magazine July 2007 #015

Derik: I see what you mean; the music I create now is pretty much all me. There is not much

interaction or anything extra special that comes in to the project.

Interview

couple times, one of which was Reaktor, which had just been converted from Generator with added sampling capabilities. Working a 9-5 job you usually don’t have the amount of time to really explore things with that sort of depth. When the album was over, I figured I had gained alot of experience so I moved back to California to pursue further engineering activities. At that point I had no real confidence in surviving in Los Angeles, even after coming off a big record because it was a new city to me, I had only two phone numbers and virtually nothing else to my name. I managed to find a small, dingy, shoe-box apartment and both of those phone numbers ended up bring years of work to me. In a sense I was very lucky. In another sense Los Angeles is a powerhouse, especially around that time which was 1999. Studios were in full-bloom and full-capacity. The power of the professional studio hadn’t moved into the desktop, and record labels certainly were in the habit of spending large (or decent) amounts of money getting records made. File-sharing hadn’t reached the rampant level of piracy that it is now. There was certain golden time I think. Record labels are now realizing they can make albums for a lot less. They can have artists work out of the producer’s homes or do allot of the work themselves on their own home studio. I’m not really a fan of elitism, I think it’s a good thing in the sense that people have ability to make professional recordings at home, but at the same time there is a certain culture the exists with commercial studios, with the people, the place, and the coming together of artistic minds that isn’t quite possible with people making music alone at home. It’s a much more disconnected experience, for that I’m a little sad.

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Wusik Sound Magazine July 2007 #015

Interview

Steve Duda

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Steve: Probably, I don’t know of anyone else in that camp that used xincarn. However I discovered it after the Nine Inch Nails record. I was working on a Rob Zombie remix on his American Music to Strip By record. I took his source tracks and found x-incarn basically the same day. I started cutting up loops of his material and processing it in x-incarn, then saving the waves out. I loved the results, there were fantastic. So I did it on every track, the vocals the guitars the drums the entire breakdown is nothing but x-incarn. I thought it had a really cool unique sound, I was excited and happy to buy it. Later I found out that I was customer number two. I found out how few of these copies actually sell, which made it more exciting. One day I wrote down a pipe dream email, probably about a page and half asking him if he ever made another application, this is what I would love to see.. 8 tracks, being able to change the BPM, blah, blah. I can’t remember all the specific details. Essentially he had taken that email, never replied to me, and spent a year and a half in secrecy. Building an app with those ideas and whatever else crossed his mind and built Devine-Machine the program. I was blown away, I was floored at the amount of effort and labor that clearly went into this thing. I saw the innovations as well in the product that I new had to see the light of day. I started devoting alot of spare time to beta testing and feature requesting…the easy stuff in a lot a ways. I then became interested in collaborating more and more with the him on improving the product, like making it a VST. That is how we got together in terms of working on stuff.

It was a rewarding experience just to be involved for me, I was more than happy to contribute time and ideas. C++ was something I always felt was untouchable, I felt I could be a great user of computers, I could understand what’s going on a hardware level. I felt programming was something that I should leave to people with people with minds that can deal with that many variables, abstracts, and math. Despite having a Mom as a Calculus teacher, I feared math and still do. That came later to me, to actually get into the coding. I became inspired to do that after several successful titles like BFD, and GURU. At that point I thought “what if I could take my ideas and realize them”. That’s how Lucifer came about, I wanted to take different things from Devine-Machine, like the ability to use certain black keys to rhythmically loop different phrases. I figured it was possible to do as an effect in the same manner. That was the genesis of Lucifer.

Derik: How long did it take you to go from “I want to make a plug-in and learn C++ to actually creating one? Steve: A very short amount of time. If I remember correct, I first started in Apples Audio Units format because Xcode came with my Macintosh G5. So all of a sudden I have this ‘thing’ (application) in front of me that allows me to type stuff, and in theory get a plug-in out. I was excited by that. I took an existing Audio Unit example plugin source, and instantly dove into messing with the process code which is what is going to be happening per-sample on the audio.

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Steve Duda

Derik: How long did it take you to go from that first Lucifer to Lucifer 2?

Steve: If you condensed it all together and removed the many (invaluable) hours of goofing around while testing, probably a years worth of labor.. maybe 40-50 hours per week of serious, intense work. I probably worked every day on it for the last two years, but some of those days maybe only half an hour. Even that could be greatly shortened if I knew what I wanted to make prior to starting it. Even now I’m not really sure what I’ve made and what it is because it is different things to different people. It’s really versatile in a sense.

Interview

Step one for me was to come up with something that sounds cool per sample. The easiest things that I could think of were bit quanization and sample rate reduction. The are very tied into the per sample process. So to start with that, I got help from a couple people including Link from Devine Machine. He explained to me the process of bit quantization. It made sense to me, then a bigger picture “snapped”. I understood the numbers, versus what you see on a waveform, versus what you see on a tab. I suppose I hadn’t really pondered it before, but for the first time I was like “OK, I understand bit quantization in a mathematic context, it makes sense and it’s actually quite easy.” I hooked up a slider to change the multiplier, I did the same for sample rate reduction. Then the next logical step to me was get some sort of filtering. All baby steps, really. Lucifer (my main C++ / longer-term plug-in project) is essentially a delay effect, it’s just holding a delay time, and moving your playback position within that delay. There’s also an example that comes with the VST sdk. There is one called “ADelayEditGUI” with a few sliders. Lucifer is “ADelayEditGUI” with alot of sliders, custom controls, and alot of added code. It’s about 39,000 lines of code if I recall. It slowly expanded over time, if you look at the pictures of Lucifer you can pretty much see that progress. From four sliders to what it is now.

Derik: So BFD came before Lucifer? Steve: Yes. I was working with bands and had a very much a producer/engineer mindset. I had never really considered getting involved in music software beyond being a user and maybe a beta tester. With BFD, I wasn’t really thinking about a retail product, I started recording my own drum samples because I was unhappy with any drum samples that were out there, and I had access to a great drum studio being Eldorado. I had a friend come in, I rented some kits from him and recorded a bunch of samples for my own use. I was using those samples with various bands getting a really great response from the clients. They thought “…Oh my God, this sounds like a real drum kit, let’s not even record my drums, let’s just use this”… At that point I knew I had some good samples in my hands. I was happy that I had this secret

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Interview

Steve Duda

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weapon. People could come to me and have this realistic drum experience. My initial thought was that this was my personal sound library, I had no intention of selling or sharing. After the response I got, I was trying to fight the technology in a sense, trying to get it to do what I wanted. Which was to be able to break out all the various microphones of the drums, and to be able to have different outputs so you could process how you would want. You would get more than just a wet/dry blend which was my initial bouncing of all the edited samples. I was using Kontakt at the time, I had a gig of RAM in my PC. I was trying to use the diskstreaming, but all the various microphones became too hard for my hard drive to handle. I knew there was alot of waste going on, I thought it should be able to work, but it just wasn’t’ something that was optimized for multichannel audio. I approached Angus of FXPansion at the NAMM show and mentioned to him, that I had a need for something that maybe he could implement into DR008, or maybe make a future product that could do something like this. He came and checked the samples and started discussing what we’d need to do to make it a product, which wasn’t even first and foremost on my mind. I was really after a solution. He drew up this little prototype. A few kit piece buttons here, some glass so you could see the drums through here. I was like “Wow, sounds cool…Will it work?” He said, “You’re going to have to record a few more kits”, which I did. It then became very successful. I was surprised in a

sense, because it wasn’t something that I had not gone in expecting to do, to be able to pay my bills with this software product. At the same time it inspired me, now I can sit down and learn C++ and expand my education. I thought maybe someday I would be able to make a cool plug in, or maybe make something for myself that I can use. I was more curious in a pioneering or exploratory sense. I feel, in software ,in general, there is tons of uncharted waters. It is very sad the people constantly reinvent the wheel when there are so many experimental types of things that could be made, unfortunately there is just not a market for that. Most of the Devine Machine products, GURU excluded, are very niche products for certain types of people that are few and far between. The masses don’t have the time and patience to learn something that is not easy for them. That’s fair enough, interfaces can always be improved as well.

Derik: Well Devine-Machine and Lucifer are both really out there. There is not many plugins like them in the VST world. Steve: I’m very proud of all my involvement with the DevineMachine stuff. I’m very pleased that I was able to make a difference and a contribution. I think they’re pretty cool stuff, and I’m happy just to have them on my hard disk for personal use.

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Steve Duda

there with some sort of wireless network of mobile computers with some friends and jam electronically while walking around. That’s my plan for next year.

Steve: That’s awesome! When Nicolas and I first met he flew out here from Paris, and probably our first day of talking we said “Hey, what would happen if we synced two of these things together.” We came up with a crude way to link two PCs together and started jamming on two Devine Machines. That I must say is a complete experience upon itself, interacting with someone else with a similar thing, but with different loops is great. You can feed off of each other. It’s a whole new level. We went out to the Burning Man festival in Nevada. I figured if he is going to see America, he might as well see something that is fairly unique. We went out there and played our music in this dome for hours and recorded it all. That’s some pretty interesting stuff, there is no way you could recreate it. It’s very fluid…strange, but interesting.

Derik: So now you’ve decided you want to stop making plug-ins for the time being.

Steve: Burning man is a trip, every time I’ve gone, you want to go back and bring creativity. It’s such an exhibition of everything creative, people are there with such giving sense. You want to go back with something that will blow peoples minds. Not in an egotistic way, but in a creative and giving way. I’m dying to back

Derik: What are your opinions on copyright protection, and people cracking software and distributing on the net?

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Derik: I remember you writing about that somewhere, maybe it was KVR. I was thinking, wow that would be very cool to see.

Steve: To be specific I want to stop selling plug-ins right now. I don’t want to sell plug-ins at the time being because I don’t have the inclination to work on them at the moment. Therefore, I’ve stopped selling them. It’s something that I do enjoy, I want to be able to program for my own needs for a little bit and not have to worry about making them look pretty, or function, and work on every host. Right now I’m interested in Hardware. I’m sort of designing some custom hardware and interfacing with that directly through plugins. I’ve already done that to some degree with Monome. There’s a video on youtube of me controlling Lucifer with it. If you search Lucifer VST you’ll find it. ( YouTube link ) I’ve made three custom plug ins for BSOD. We have a direct Monome control plug in, a hacked Lucifer for Monome, and a VST-toFlash plug in that allows us to control Macromedia Flash from MIDI tracks and viceversa. It can do alot of beat synced visuals that are all vector based. band BSOD (www.bsod.ca)

Interview

Derik: When I first got Devine-Machine I made about an albums worth of songs that in my opinion, could not have been done without DevineMachine. It was the tool for the job for sure.

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Interview

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Steve: I think it’s a sad, sad time. Not that piracy hasn’t been around for a long time but the cultural acceptance of it among creatives (musicians, graphic artists, etc.) is distressing - they must not value their own work! In my optimistic mind, I feel like I wouldn’t have to compromise what I do in any way and I would be able to succeed at it. That’s the arrogant side of me. It tells me that I’m right and if I work hard enough things will work the way I want them to. Of course that isn’t reality, but that’s a bigger story than just piracy. Focusing on making commercially viable products is the part that discourages me from facing reality, as I’m more interested in tools than toys. For me it’s tough to say that it’s really all about money. In my case it’s really not. It’s more about trust, and losing trust in some customers because you know that they’re giving out your program to the world. It’s hard because they hide, they’re anonymous, yet you have to deal with customers on a daily basis emailing you. It’s terrible to think, “is this the guy? Is this the guy?” That makes you reluctant to even give long well crafted emails to people. Personally made me even question my good friends. I discovered the leaks which is nice. That’s the upside of a small customer base, its pretty easy to track stuff. The thing that bothers me the most is the illegal selling of my software,. Where you can get it for ten bucks on a web site or on a CD with 100 other peoples’ hard work for $50. To me that is beyond offensive. I can’t understand how someone could possibly do that. I in fact called one of those people today and had a long discussion.

Derik: Really!? Steve: Yeah, it’s pretty interesting. The rationalization that some of these people have. It tends to be ignorance ultimately behind some of these greatest offenders. Either they’re all pulling my leg, or that’s the case where they haven’t really thought about things completely. Ultimately, once their minds are forced to confront some of these questions they change their behaviors somewhat. That’s a losing battle, I’m happy to have changed a few minds, but obviously it’s something that even if you devoted your life to you probably wouldn’t win. Most importantly I think it’s just overall culture. If more people would give their friends shit for using cracks, as opposed to the other way around, the situation would be alot better.

Derik: I think that something has to be done about the whole cracking and copying of software. I’m starting to feel that the future depends on it. Steve: That’s how I feel too. I could use a dongle to protect my software, but ethically I think it’s wrong. It’s like saying, “Hi, customer! Thanks for buying this thing, but I don’t trust you.” (p.s. give me a USB port and some CPU cycles k thx)

Derik: It’s such a hard situation. I think it’s one of the greatest problems that’s facing us. Steve: It’s definitely a no-win situation to me. But Lucifer to me has been

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Steve Duda

Derik: It must be pretty neat to have some big names buy your software.

anticipated. we’ve sort of found our own niche style of Electro-house.. It’s something that alot of DJs have seemed to really pick up on. From there it’s led us to alot of various work, alot of remix requests. Deadmau5 and I started a record label called Xfer records for BSOD releases and anything else we find that we both like.

Derik: Are you doing it all digitally or are you going to be putting out twelve inches?

Steve: It’s really a shock when it shows up in your in box, and you’re like “No way, that guy!” Some of them remain pretty quiet, some remain pretty verbal. There’s this one DJ, Jonathan Peters who’s really big on the East Coast. He uses Lucifer like nobodies business. He’s got custom hardware built for it. He runs 8 of them at a time on two different computers so he controls 16 at once. He’s always got huge crowds at all his gigs. It’s been very rewarding to work with him and see him use Lucifer in ways I never even intended it to be used.

Steve: The initial thought was to go exclusive at Beatport.com because we’ve had alot of success on Beatport. The are really great guys, and have a good team assembled. I think they are a force to be reckoned with in dance music. They are doing alot of things right, like lossless quality downloads, .wav downloads with it automatically BPM time stamped for you. Just drop it in a program like Ableton Live and it’s ready to go. In just the last couple of days I’ve had two offers for vinyl distribution, one in the States and one in Europe. I’m excited about that, we’re going to slowly grow the label with talented acts that we feel could sell enough units to pay for itself.

Derik: Let’s talk about your current music project, BSOD.

Derik: I love “This is the Hook”. Thanks for the interview it was great talking chatting with you.

Steve: Yeah, BSOD is exciting for me. Its something that’s taking off a little more than we had initially

Steve: Thanks!

Interview

tremendously successful and hopefully for everyone who bought it. The users who have bought are some the top names in music as far as I’m concerned. Some of the people I respect the most. Some of the last people I expected to buy Lucifer has bought it, film composers and the like. It’s been incredibly rewarding to offer those guys something. It’s cool to know that there is professionals out there, like I was, that want something to push the boundaries.

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Interview

Magic on Summer Street: an interview with

Steve Thomas of Cakewalk by R(t)O

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Recently, I took a trip to Boston Massachusetts. In between seeing the sites and downing plates of seafood and pints of Sam Adams, I paid a visit to the Cakewalk house. While not as stoic as Salem’s House of Seven Gables, it is definitely a place making modern day history. I took the grand tour then sat down and talked shop with the Director of Product Management, Alex Westner.

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Steve Thomas of Cakewalk

After the tour, the talk, and some awesome pizza, I had a chance to fire off some questions to Steve Thomas, Cakewalk’s PR guy. Steve was very keen on letting the WSM readers know what sets this company apart.

As a company, what makes Cakewalk tick?

What do you feel is the greatest strength of your product line?

Well at a glance you could see that Cakewalk has a broad offering of products for both the consumer and professional. Then if you looked further you could see that the basic technologies for both type of user are the same and that there is not a sharp line between "consumer" and "professional". Furthermore there is some overlap in what customers want. A busy professional for whom time is money -- that person is going to value simplicity and ease of use, as much as a more casual user. Of course the pro might be willing to deal with complexity, because they're a pro, but they're happy to avoid it if they can. Ultimately it's not about the product it's about the customer for Cakewalk. For 20 years Greg Hendershott - Cakewalk’s Founder & CEO - has always been steadfast in keeping the focus on the customer. So, the real strength of our products is that they are customer driven in that we really do listen to our users, their likes, their dislikes, and their suggestions for improvement. So at the end of the day, a great product is one that lets customers achieve what they want to do as simply and effortlessly as possible. That's why it can never be for technology's sake. We always have to focus on customers.

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At the heart of it Cakewalk is made up of a bunch creative people who are passionate about what they do. It’s way beyond a steady corporate gig in the Music Industry - simply marketing product. What I am saying is that most everyone at Cakewalk has a music background, a penchant for music, or has a music career along with their day to day duties. We house a whole lot of talented musicians, audio engineers, and producers with every genre of music represented that’s Bebop to Hip Hop, all flavors of rock, performance art, and electronic represented. Needless to say we use the products we produce.

Interview

After seeing the Cakewalk team in action, it is little wonder why they have experienced phenomenal success and growth. These guys take music creation seriously, and it shows in the final product. The individual teams form a finely tuned machine dedicated to delivering some of the most innovative products on the market.

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Steve Thomas

Interview

of Cakewalk

It's no big secret that Cakewalk, from top to bottom, is very approachable. I know it from personal experience, and your customer base raves about it. What about Cakewalk allows you to interact so closely with your user base? What factors do you think would inhibit a company from being approachable?

Cakewalk and Roland's creative partnership appears to have strengthened both companies; each entity building the other up. Since the merger, the products from both companies have been aggressively competitive and remarkably progressive. Other creative partnerships have not fared so well.

Like I mentioned previously, interaction with our customers is probably the biggest factor in our longevity. Through active dialog and listening to our users we strive to create a better experience for all. And, I know that our customers appreciate the dialog. We are musicians who are beholding to musicians and not to shareholders. Thus, the different emphasis or vibe in the way we go about business.

Before I address how the Cakewalk/Roland alliance works I want to clear one thing up. That is, there was no “merger� in the corporate sense of the word. The components of the alliance or how you say the creative partnership between Cakewalk and Roland works is that it has multiple parts: first there is the creative joint product development, Worldwide distribution through Roland and its Edirol subsidiaries, and a small ceremonial investment at the time of the agreement to work more closely together. It is the Japanese way. Did you know that Roland has small investments in a number of MI companies - Fender and REMO to name a couple?

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Cakewalk does not currently have a mastering program like Sound Forge or WaveLab. Are there any plans to cook one up?

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I don’t think you will see a dedicated two track editor complete with ISO burning, sequencing, and PQ/Edit List capability anytime in the near future. That said, some users are achieving polished final mixes inside the SONAR box in the comfort of their project studios today. Let me say again along the lines of listening to our users, that we will continue to add functionality to future versions of SONAR to provide you with tools to produce your own truly indie art affordably, efficiently, and qualitatively inside the box.

What is the magic chemistry that makes this thing work so well?

Here are my thoughts on why the relationship has been successful so far: 1.) Both companies are technology leaders in their respective categories, mostly complimentary with little overlap. 2.) We sell our products through the same distribution network so the complimentary products are sold by the same group who know how to tell the story.

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Steve Thomas of Cakewalk

Cakewalk's VST offerings are gaining notoriety for their performance and quality. However, there is an alarming trend among companies who offer DAW and instrument products to obsolete their instrument products after a couple of years. Many users expect a few paid upgrades along the way, but, in many cases, the plug is pulled on an instrument after a couple of years, leaving the user locked into aging technology or searching for another product. What is Cakewalk's stance on the longevity of their instrument lines? What role do you think outsourcing instrument development to companies who are easily acquired or merged plays in this trend?

How will you feel when the New York Jets romp all over the New England Patriots the season?

(… silence …) The silence speaks volumes. I want to thank the guys at Cakewalk for the hearty welcome and the great conversation. I think anyone looking for a music technology company to hang their hat on will find the warm hearth and comfy chair at the Cakewalk house to be quite comfortable.

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Interesting question. When we rolled out Dimension Pro, and I went on the launch media tour, the question on everybody’s mind was “why jump into a saturated synth market and who needs yet another rompler or wavetable synth?” At the heart of Cakewalk’s rationale for acquiring RGC was to provide value to our customers. And to accomplish that we introduced our customers and reintroduced the industry to Rene Ceballos SFZ engine (Cakewalk Expression Engine) which is the finest anti-aliasing synth engine out there. So with that as a basis for fantastic sound we rolled out a line of synths with awesome capability which the

world has acknowledged for “performance and quality.” This very same technology is now powering many Cakewalk synths including Dimension, Dimension Pro, Z3TA+ RXP, Rapture, DropZone, Session Drummer, and the new consumer Studio Instruments suite we recently released. So this long answer is to give you some insight. The short answer is the Expression Engine and the Cakewalk synth line is here to stay.

Interview

3.) We work together, yet independently; both companies see the importance of being large stakeholders in the collective whatever we accomplish together.

Steve and Alex

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What's on

your Amp

by R(t)O I have noticed a disturbing trend among the makers of electronic music equipment in which they seem to want to shun the genre’s that got them there. Now that almost every bubble gum machine pop star is turning to electronic-based systems, the pioneers who demonstrated that these products were worthwhile are being cast off like a set of bad luggage. I would be more impressed with an advertisement that stated that a company was there for Skinny Puppy / Severed Heads / Frontline Assembly back in the day and are still supporting them today.

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I first saw a sampler at a KMFDM show in 1986. It was rudimentary by today’s standards, but that didn’t stop Sascha Konietzko and company from pushing the instrument to its limits. Shortly thereafter, AKAI and Roland were getting my hard-earned coin.

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Here’s a throwback to that time and place, and a tribute to the releases that were a huge influence on me and still get major play on my system. Skinny Puppy – Cleanse, Fold, and Manipulate Front 242 – Front by Front Frontline Assembly – Caustic Grip Ministry – Twitch KMFDM – Money

Mussolini Headkick – Themes for Violent Retribution Cyberaktif - Tenebrae Vision Pankow - Omne Animal Triste Post Coitum If you need to get the taste back in your mouth, dust off your Dr. Martens, pop in a couple of these classics, and flail about the place in some kind of fit. Then, after you’ve reduced yourself to a quivering ball of sweat, you’ll remember what it is all about.

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Visit www.viraloutbreak.net For tons of demo mp3s and to Purchase!

Viral Outbreak Volume One Is finally here for Wusikstation. Viral Outbreak Volume * Over 2gb (Wusik Format) Sick of searching for One is the first in a series of of multisamples comprised of sounds and plugins that sample libraries based on the 130+ soundsets. are supposed to sound sounds of the Virus TI * virtually all soundsets stereolike a Virus, but don't? hardware synthesizer. Using sampled for the greatest depth. Get the real thing - and the power of extensive 96khz * Sampled at 32-bit 96khz harnass its power in multisampling, manual looping quality! For resource efficiency, then Wusikstation! and professional preset design carefully downsampled to 24-bit Nucleus SoundLab brings the TI sound to your 48khz. sampler! * Nearly 750 Wusikstation v3 presets, many taking advantage of all the new v3 Viral Outbreak Volume One is available now features! (450 presets for Wusik v1) for Wusikstation v1/v2/v3, SFZ, and Kontakt 1/2. * The best preset designers out there: Viral Outbreak Volume One contains all ToTc, Teksonik, Tim Conrardy, Jeremy Janzen, manner of TI-based sounds. Classic wavetables, rsmus7 and more! raw saw and pulse waveforms (sampled at multiple * An amazing, TI-inspired, Wusikstation v1pulsewidths), unison dance leads, breathtaking v3 skin by Vera Kinter. pads and even punchy synth drumkits. Details:

Wusik Sound Magazine April 2007 #012

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Music Review

Joy Electric The Otherly Opus Š 2007 Tooth and Nail Records

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by R(t)O

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I have been a long time admirer of the analog wonder known as Joy Electric (JE), and I have found a delightful journey into a special musical place waiting for me in every release. Ronnie Martin has made his mark on the music industry by not embracing the Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) revolution and creating beautiful and sometime melancholy melodies using analog sequencers and synthesizers. The Otherly Opus is the latest in a series of excellent discs that have, in my opinion, gone underappreciated by the mainstream. The Otherly Opus demonstrates a vocal presence that is stronger than previous JE releases. The title track kicks off with harmonies that early releases hinted at but never quite instantiated. This compliments the phat analog leads and sequences and the four-on-the-floor synthetic beats that are the unmistakable signature. Each song is an integral masterpiece woven into the fabric of a musical tapestry. Ronnie Martin ranks alongside Assemblage 23’s Tom Shear at the top of my best songwriters list. The quality of the prose is unmistakable in each and every song. Ronnie has something to say, and he does so marvelously in his music. This is not something from the pop music vending machine; each song contains carefully crafted verse.

I could deliver a paragraph for each song - extolling the virtues of each piece, however I will limit myself to my absolute favorites. The title track sets the tone for the disc. It contains the aforementioned outstanding vocal track adorned with a pulsing analog sequence and a beat that will get your toes tapping.

Music Review

Joy Electric

However, this disc packs its punch in the middle. The Memory of Alpha and its follow-up, Red Will Dye These Snows of Silver, are two tracks that are designed to tear up the dance floor. Strong, defined beats are given a double helping of analog delight and lyrical prowess, creating two songs that will keep the club open past the normal closing time. You can purchase this disc at Amazon.com, the band’s website, and the label’s website. The links are listed at the end of the review. It is also available from many online retailers such as Best Buy. If you are looking for a disc that has a unique signature but is familiar enough to keep you comfortable, then this is well worth the coin to add it to your collection. This disc combines all of the elements that make for great music. Links:

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Joy Electric: www.joyelectric.com Tooth and Nail Records: www.toothandnail.com

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Gear Review

Mackie Control Universal Pro Control Surface

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by R(t)O

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Mackie has taken the world of control surfaces by storm. By creating a protocol that is thorough and versatile, the Mackie controllers are providing a whole new level of integration with today’s DAW applications. The Mackie Control Universal Pro (MCU Pro) is the latest unit in the Mackie dynasty and raises the bar for control surface performance.


Mackie It installs itself as a USB audio device and only takes a couple of minutes. When that is done, open up your DAW application and install the Mackie Control device. Set it up to use the first set of MIDI ports for the device (4 total sets are installed) and away you go.

The unit performs as well as it looks. Not only do you have control over your DAW-specific functions, but things you used to use your mouse to accomplish (like saving a file in Sonar) can now be performed directly from the control surface. The included Lexan overlays help map out the function keys to your specific DAW. I tested it with Sonar 6.2.1 Producer Edition and Samplitude Professional 9.1.1. In both cases, it integrated seamlessly with the DAW and quickly became a tool I did not want be without.

using devices that did not have these wonderful pieces of innovation and the setup time was unbearable. With the MCU Pro, switching projects for that last minute client is effortless. Simply open the project; the faders adjust automatically, and you are ready to grind out some tunes.

The nine 100mm Penny + Giles optical touch-sensitive faders are superb. If you haven’t treated yourself to motorized faders, I recommend putting it on your list of things to do. I remember

The transport controls compliment the fader bank quite nicely. The jog wheel operates with surgical precision. If you need to scrub while you jog, just hit the scrub button. The transport buttons each have an LED to indicate which button is active, and the buttons themselves are responsive to a light-handed touch. I have always felt I needed the transport window of my DAW active at all times,

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Setup is a snap. The unit is a class compliant device making installation easy. Simply put: power on the unit and connect it to your computer’s USB port.

Gear Review

The MCU Pro has the look of a true professional piece of gear. It’s silver and black metal housing makes the unit look like a sophisticated piece of kit instead of the toy store look several other control surfaces have. The jog wheel has a solid feel and rotates smoothly. The faders are sturdy and responsive, and they do not move around once you take your hands off of them. The buttons give a nice hearty click when you press them, and the illuminated v-pots offer very finite control of your application.

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Gear Review

Mackie but this surface has caused me to rethink that rule. I hid the transport panel and was able to work without missing it. Going hand in hand with the controls are the two displays at the head of the unit. The left hand display is an LCD style and shows track information. The right hand is a 7 segment LED display shows song position information. You can toggle the displays using the display buttons on the unit. The track display can be toggled between name and value, and

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the song position display can be toggled between Hours/Minutes/Seconds/Frames and Bars/Beats/Subdivision/Ticks.

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When Mackie put this baby together, they had a pretty good idea that 9 faders may not work for everyone. As such, they designed a logical expansion path for the unit. You can add faders in groups of 8 by connecting Mackie Control Extender Pro units to the surface. If you need additional v-pots, you can add a Mackie Control C4 Pro. Connecting these additional devices to your system will vary based on the method used to connect the MCU Pro to your system.

a little light in some parts, especially the sections on connecting the expansion modules to your system. There is also some wasted space on the right hand side of the surface. Another row of buttons could be added, which would make the unit even more flexible. The unit ships with 5 overlays: Pro Tools (HUI), Cubase/Nuendo, Digital Performer, Tracktion, and Cakewalk Sonar, but additional overlays can be purchased separately. Some supported applications do not have overlays available for them.

This is kind of cheap considering the coin you have to drop to purchase one of these. However, none of this would stop me from buying this unit if I needed a control surface. All in all, this is a superior piece of kit that is well worth the asking price. It can breathe a whole new kind of life into your workflow and unlock potential in your DAW of choice that you didn’t even know was there. Before you buy, make sure you visit the Mackie website to see if your DAW application is supported. Links Mackie www.mackie.com

I have to really nit-pick to find flaws with the unit. I think the manual is

.


Plugin Review

LinPlug’s

Sophistry by Devon.Brent @ TraXmusic.org

Sophistry – What an odd name for a virtual

instrument.

The

American

Heritage Dictionary defines Sophistry as “A plausible but misleading or fallacious argument.” Not exactly something I’d want associated with my product. Still, Sophistry is a 5+ Gigabyte sampled

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ambient/pad synthesizer powered by

66

the mighty LinPlug Cronox3 engine. From my experience though, there is nothing deceiving about Sophistry.


Sophistry

What is Sophistry?

Sophistry

under

Plugin Review

Let’s look further at this odd named plug-in, shall we?

its

not-so-secret

covers

is

LinPlug’s Cronox3 (a brilliant and fantastic plug-in in its own right) with its own sleek purple skin, 700+ presets and over 5 Gigabytes of newly sampled content by Frank Neumann of Particular Sound. The plug-in is available in VSTi format for the PC, and AU and VSTi flavors for Mac OSX 1.2.6

As I feel Sophistry is more focused on being an ambient sound set then on the merits of Cronox3, I will gloss over the feature set to cover what we’re here to read about; the quality of the Sophistry sound set. As quoted from their website.

>

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and above.

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Plugin Review

Sophistry

68

Features * 700 exclusive presets based on more than 5 Gb of samples by Frank XenoX Neumann from Particular Sound. * Versatile architecture with 4 generator modules that are mixed into two filters. * Generator types are Oscillator, TimeSampler, Wavetable (Schrader) and LoopSampler. * Free Filter with new, continuously adjustable, modulatable filter-type. * Loop Sampler Generator with individually modulatable loop-points and start-point. * Easy-Edit panel allowing preset browsing and quick access to main synthesis parameters. * Powerful, editable arpeggiator with up to 32 steps. * Stereo and 5.1 support (2 generators, both filters and 3 of the effects units can be mixed in 5.1 format, stored as part of the preset). * Analogue-modeled Oscillator Generator for real-time analog-style synthesis. * Time-Sampler with independent realtime time-stretching and pitch-shifting. * Wavetable (Schrader) Generator that offers wavetable-like operation using any sample. * Loop Sampler Generator, capable of loading up to 64 samples. * Sampler Generators support audio formats including WAV and AIFF up to 24bit/96kHz. * 2 analog-style multimode stereo filters with modulatable cutoff frequency and resonance. * 7 ADSFR-type envelopes for controlling output amplitudes and cutoff frequencies,

as well as two freely assignable Modulation Envelopes. * 4 independent LFOs with various waveforms and midi-sync capabilities. * LFO Waves have adjustable delay, attack and decay time, and waveformsymmetry. * Modulation Matrix with 10 routings for connecting 30 sources and 56 destinations. * Fully recognizes Velocity, Aftertouch, Pitchbend, Modwheel and various other * MIDI controllers, and includes a “MIDI Learn” function for easy controller assignment. * 6 simultaneously available effect units, including various Delays, Chorus, Phaser, Filter, Flanger, Gator, Stereo Enhancer, Parametric EQ and Crusher. * Mono/Polyphonic Portamento/Glide featuring “Fingered” mode, switchable Constant Time/Constant Rate and AutoBend Modes. * 32-voice polyphony (CPU dependent), sample-accurate, settings are saved with the song.

Types of Sounds Sophistry is non-apologetically an ambient/pad-centric collection of sounds. While bass, lead, string, brass, sound effects, and a few other miscellaneous categories are available, Sophistry leans heavily on its strength of pads, pads and more pads. Its two most fleshed out categories, Ambient and Pads, is the majority of the 700 presets presented.

>


Sophistry

Sophistry, as are all the products in the LinPlug line-up, is protected by a simple serial number copy protection scheme. As always, thanks again for not punishing the end user with horrid copy protection schemes.

In Use Oh how it’s so nice to walk into presets that actually put a genuine smile on my face. Considering that many of the samples are taken from several of my favorite hardware sound sources, such as the Waldorf Q, I wasn’t too surprised really. The sound of Sophistry is one of power and supreme sonic complexity. Anyone who’s worked with dense sounds before knows how uncontrollable these sounds can be. Sometimes you’re left to playing just one ‘note’ of the sample because even simple chords do not mesh musically. For the majority of samples in Sophistry though, this is distinctly not the case.

If these are the sounds you’re after, the original Cronox3 library is where it’s at. Really, Sophistry and Cronox3 libraries compliment each other quite well with their sound design. It certainly does help that Cronox3 has its own character with multiple sound designers contributing to its sound. Another pleasant surprise in the collection was the basic, un-tweaked sounds set aside in two directories. They had no synthesis applied to them, just waiting for you to shape and mold them, but they also were just as thick as the rest of the collection. Maybe other people out there like having a bunch of raw oscillators in their sample collections, but personally, I find them useless. As I’ve come to expect with the ‘latest and greatest’ in the synthesis collection these days, CPU consumption was all over the board. On my AMD 3800+ X2 dual-core processor machine, some patches easily hovered in the 10%-20% range, most hovered in the 30% range-ish, while some were brutally punishing my CPU around 70%. At least with having access to the full engine, taming some of these sound are fully and completely possible.

>

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Most patches take very well even to full fisted chords, which is nothing short of amazing. There is a fine line between ‘musical’ samples and mere sound loops, and Sophistry falls squarely into the musical category. Other “synths”, like Morphology that we reviewed a few years ago on Trax, are mere loops to be played back, and don’t take well to chord playing.

Just as the ambient pads are so sweet and wonderful, the few bass and lead sounds just pale in comparison.

Plugin Review

Copy Protection

69


Plugin Review

Sophistry

Even with this glowing review, no product is perfect. One of the most glaring problems with Sophistry is quite a few of sounds are programmed way too loud and clip the master meter.

Conclusion

This is something that could easily be fixed either by LinPlug or yourself, but really should be fixed by the former.

A deeply complex synth architecture coupled

with

unbelievably

thick

aural

One final point of irritation is there are still a few bugs in the product. For example, on some preset, the audio will overload the output, then goes completely away. By simply unloading then reloading in Sophistry, the problem is solved.

textures, Sophistry is “the” pad machine of

This is a workable problem, but annoying nonetheless. LinPlug says their latest version addressed the problem, but I haven’t had an opportunity to validate at the time of this writing.

While not quite as polished as the

the moment. If you were looking for bread and butter sounds, you just made a turn down the wrong aisle.

mighty Spectrasonics Atmosphere, it shares many of the same characteristics and sound quality

as

the

aforementioned

Spectrasonics gem. The best part about the atmospherics

of

Sophistry

is

they’re

musically playable and useful just like Atmosphere. You can play single notes or full fisted chords with most pads and not end up with “mush”. A very impressive feat indeed

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for the ambient Sophistry sound set.

70

Sophistry

is

indeed

a

rare

and

gorgeous gem amongst the mostly roughly hewn rubble in native synthesis territory.

.


V4


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The Synth Romance

Clinging to One Piece of Hardware by R(t)O


We’ve heard the expression about the only time we will give up a prized possession is when they pull it from our cold, dead hands. Ironically, I have found recently that many pieces of gear I used to say this about have been freely released by my warm and very live hands. I have found adequate replacements in the software world, and the convenience of an ‘in-the-box’ solution makes releasing the hardware very attractive.

To tell you the truth, I stumbled upon the synth by sheer accident. I was strolling through a local shop and happened to see a display model. I began to fiddle with it, and I was

surprised to hear such a large sound coming out of such a dinky little box. The more I played with the accessible front panel controls the more I realized that this synth could be a performance beast. I bought the synth, and it quickly became my best friend. At that time I had racks of hardware synths and sound modules, and the Roland SH-32 was given a place of honor among them. It shared time with the Access Virus C as my go-to synth for almost every project. I was in virtual analog heaven. When I last retooled my studio, the Virus C was replaced by the Powercore Virus. I added two heavyweight VA soft synths in Native Instrument’s Massive and Terratec Producer’s Komplexer VSTi. However, I could not and have not found a replacement for my SH-32. So, if you want my SH-32, you’ll have to pry it out of my cold, dead hands. Or, develop a physical modeling soft-synth that completely emulates the nuances and the sound of this awesome piece of hardware from Roland.

.

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However, the software world has failed to produce a solution for one piece of hardware that was really undervalued even in its day. The Roland SH-32 Synthesizer was a 2 oscillator x 4 part synth stack module that had a warm rich sound, a small footprint, and superior reliability. It appeared to be Roland’s response to Korg’s popular Electribe series, but the marketing campaign never gained enough steam to rise and get noticed. As such, the SH-32 went relatively unnoticed.

The Synth Romance

Clinging to One Piece of Hardware

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List of Sounds

Hybrid Piano by WilliamK A mix of several pianos merged. Hence the “chorus” effect. Location: \Presets\Wusik Sound Magazine\Issue 0015\Hybrid Piano

HQ Synthetica Volume 9 by Kevin Breidenbach - aka synthgeek www.skincontact.com/synthgeek Location: \Presets\Wusik Sound Magazine\HQ Synthetica\Volume 09

4 Presets – 1 SoundSet – 40 Meg

Wk Guitar 1 by WilliamK

27 Presets - 4 SoundSets - 62 Meg This is the Eight volume of our special High Quality (HQ) Synth Sounds. (check issue #007 for detailed information)

“Acoustic Guitar with Steel strings. Played every string with 6 velocity levels.” Location: \Presets\Wusik Sound Magazine\Issue 0015\WK Guitar 1 3 Presets – 1 SoundSets – 36 Meg

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Tectonic Plates

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by g.no (aka Ginno Legaspi) Location: \Presets\Wusik Sound Magazine\Issue 0015\Tectonic Plates 71 Presets – 32 SoundSets - 123 Meg

Stereo Drones by Daniel Kemp and John Gibson Dangerous Bear Underground Location: \Presets\Wusik Sound Magazine\Issue 0015\Stereo Drones-dk 16 Presets – 14 Sounds – 47 Meg


by WilliamK

Bad Violin by WilliamK “That's actually me playing the lower string of my own Violin. That's why I call it Bad Violin. Its still very usable at times, but not very precise. Multiple velocity layers were recorded.” Location: \Presets\Wusik Sound Magazine\Issue 0015\Bad Violin 2 Presets – 2 SoundSets – 2.4 Meg

List of Sounds

LFO Examples Location: \Presets\Wusik Sound Magazine\Issue 0015\LFO Examples 12 Presets – 10 SoundSets – 7 Meg

Chicken Scratch by Pure Shift (Shaggy) Location: \Presets\Wusik Sound Magazine\Issue 0015\Pure Shift\Chicken 5 Presets – 1 Sound – 300k

Horror Grains by WilliamK Location: \Presets\Wusik Sound Magazine\Issue 0015\Horror Grains

Introduction to FM by Simon Cann Location: \Presets\Wusik Sound Magazine\Issue 0015\Introduction to FM 10 Presets

by WilliamK Location: \Presets\Wusik Sound Magazine\Issue 0015\Steel Guitar 2 Presets – 1 SoundSets – 13 Meg

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8 Presets – 4 Sounds – 4 Meg

Steel Guitar

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Wsm - July 2007 - Issue 015  

Wsm - July 2007 - Issue 015

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