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Moving on An editorial by R(t)O

Bruce David

MoniKe

Managing Editor: Bruce David Assistant Editors: Paul Evans and R(t)O Production Manager: MoniKe

Articles by: A. Arsov www.arsov.net Bruce David David Keenum Ginno 'g.no' Legaspi www.myspace.com/gnomusic

Johan Vaxelaire Paul Evans - aka Triple-P (PPP) www.triplep.wusik.com R(t)O Squibs www.musician.ie

Proof-Reading by: Bruce David

Cover and Back Cover: jC

Wusikstation V4 Advertising Background: Michael Knubben

Wusik Magazine

#021 January 2008

Pictures: www.dreamstime.com

Paul Evans akaTriple-P

There is an old saying that goes, "If it at first you don’t succeed; try and try again." Many times, I have found these words to be sage advice. However, recent experiences have taught me that sometimes you have to walk away from a situation rather than making continuous, futile attempts to make it work. There are very few things you experience in this life that are sweeter than gaining a hard-fought victory against a situation that seemed impossible. Not only can you derive a strong sense of self-satisfaction, but also you can gain self-confidence and invaluable experience that will make difficult situations in the future easier to resolve. I firmly believe that in a situation where you can gain control of the important governing factors, a sustained, methodical attack will bring a favorable outcome. There are situations where you cannot gain control over the necessary governing factors. In this case, you try to influence these factors with your expertise and a willingness to accept responsibility for the outcome. However, sometimes the situation is one in which you just cannot possibly win. It is in a situation like this that you should make the decision to walk away. Once it is clear that you are in this type of situation, you should not agonize over the decision nor should you feel guilty afterward for making the decision. Recently, I made the decision to walk away from an impossible situation that I had been battling for almost 6 years. I had personal loyalty to other people who were also involved, and this was the reason that I battled it for so long. Another reason for delaying my exodus was that I had held out hope that things would evolve and become more manageable. Things and people can change; however, this particular scenario was one that would not change. Once I made the decision to walk away, I felt a twinge of guilt for abandoning those who were left behind. Again, I felt a strong sense of personal loyalty to these people and I knew my departure would make their situations worse. I see now that this guilt was unnecessary and useless. While those left behind are my friends, they have the ability to make the decision to move on as well. There is no contractual obligation forcing them to stay there and endure what I found to be unbearable. While I still care about these people, I am not responsible for the choices they make (nor are they responsible for my choices). Initially, change is painful, but if making the change is the right decision then the long-term rewards will quickly erase any painful memories. Every change is a risk and each risk can be rewarding or agonizing. Do your best to assess the situation and take your shot. I now know that walking away was the right choice for me. I feel as if a huge burden has been removed from my shoulders and I am enjoying life a lot more than I was previously. In fact, I wished I had done it sooner. I believe that when I am presented with an impossible situation in the future, I will be smart enough to recognize and act on it sooner, as well as not suffering the useless after-effects of guilt.


How's Your New Year's Resolution? by Ginno 'g.no' Legaspi

04 Features: Getting Additional Mileage Out of that Old PC by R(t)O Columns: The Sequencer Chronicles Part 4 You Reap What You Route by R(t)O

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Gear Review: BBE Sonic Maximizer VG360 by A.Arsov Electronisound's Ubergate by R(t)O

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Strange brew Linplug CronoX 3 by A. Arsov

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PSP Audioware Nitro by Ginno 'g.no' Legaspi

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Not Gladiator Review by A. Arsov

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Combined ON STAFF and Synth Romance by Bruce David

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Bells and Whistles by Bruce David

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What' On Your Amp by R(t)O

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Applied Acoustics Systems Ultra Analog by A. Arsov

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LinPlug's The Sophistry Ambient Synth by David Keenum

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Interview: Frank Neumann Of Particular Sound - Sophistry by David Keenum

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#021 January 2008

Print Review: The Dance Music Manual by Squibs

Pendle Poucher's Dulcitone 1884 by David Keenum

Wusik Magazine

Making Noise by Bruce David

CD Review: The Mars Volta The Bedlam in Golitah by Johan Vaxelaire

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Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

How's Your New Year's Resolutions?

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by Ginno 'g.no' Legaspi


How's Your New Year's Resolutions?

Remember at the beginning of the year when you swore and promised to yourself that things would change in 2008? Remember that you wanted to develop yourself to be a productive musician -- to sling out songs, song after song.

1. MAKE YOUR MEANINGFUL:

It's still only February and it's not too late to make changes. So, I just want to touch base on where you are with your resolutions...just trying to assess things here. Have you been keeping up or have things skidded off onto the wrong path? If you made a promise to yourself to accomplish more this year, here are some very simple guidelines to help you attain your goal or to help you get back on track:

RESOLUTION

Wusik Magazine

Many talented musicians out there are also sound designers for companies. Don't get caught up in what others are doing. Sure, it is cool to earn more money from sound designing, but focus on something that you're good at and can be proud of before your kids and grandchildren. You'll be more successful if you stay with something very meaningful to you. > >

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How's Your New Year's Resolutions?

2. BE REAL AND BE HAPPY: The key with this tip is to be honest with yourself. If you can only finish 3 tracks a year then so be it. Don't be stressed because you're a slow songwriter. The good thing is that you're producing recordings. People will understand that making a song takes time and a lot of effort.

3. MAKE NOTES RESOLUTION:

OF

YOUR

Post your resolution in your home/personal studio and make it a habit of reviewing it twice a month. Sometimes it is good to be reminded that we have a resolution to keep. Tape it next to your studio monitors or write it on something business card sized and place it in your wallet.

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#022 February 2008

4. RESOLUTIONS SHOULD BE TAKEN ONE STEP AT A TIME:

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Do you want to release an album this year? Then take note of these simple steps to accomplish it. Try to begin by jotting down what type of songs you want to record; appoint people in advance with whom you want to play; schedule time for recording, editing, mixing, etc. In the end, the small steps you took translate to glory and a sense of being productive, not to mention you have new album in your hand. > >


How's Your New Year's Resolutions?

5. FORGET FAILURES, MOVE AHEAD: If your resolutions failed last year then correct your action this time around and focus on your goal. Don't give up and be positive, even if distractions surround you.

6. THE POWER OF TWO: It's good to have someone close to you supporting you until the goal is reached. Or someone there to remind you things are getting a little sidetracked. We humans have the tendency to be afraid of criticism when we fail. Hey, maybe your friend had the same resolution the year before and had success with it. You can learn from your friend's successful ways. Just share, converse and ask!

It's only natural for we humans to accomplish more things in our lives. To be better a bit, day by day. We want every year to be our banner year. If you want to be productive, focus on your goals. There's nothing more enjoyable to us here at Wusik Music Magazine than seeing our subscribers make their goals a reality and expand their musical horizons. In closing, we at Wusik Magazine wish you the best of the rest of the year and may your life be filled with huge accomplishments, growth, and laughter.

Wusik Magazine #022 February 2008

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Review

The Mars Volta The Bedlam in Golitah

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

by Johan Vaxelaire

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The Bedlam in Golitah

Review

After some years of existence, three studio albums, and a live album, The Mars Volta established itself as being one of the main bands in progressive rock. Formed by two long-term members of At The Drive In, Cedric Bixler Zavala and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, this group has brought a new public to this type of music. Much awaited, their last album envisioned initially for autumn, 2007, "The Bedlam In Goliath," was released at the end of last month. Without infringing on their habits, The Mars Volta has still delivered us an album constructed around a history. This time according to real facts which I will quickly sum up to you.

Taken from this mad context, let us now examine this disc from the musical aspect.

#022 February 2008

From the first track, no suprises. We can very quickly hear the characteristics which make The Mars Volta The Mars Volta. There is this high voice, these rhythms which are reminiscent of Billy Cobham in the Mahavishnu Orchestra, and the characteristic movements of guitar. > >

Wusik Magazine

During a tour where they played in Jerusalem with Red Hot Chili Peppers (NB: John Frusciante, the guitarist of the Red Hot, played on the previous album of Mars Volta), Omar wanted to offer an original present to Cedric. He found a Ouija board, an occult game, in a strange store which he then gave him. This "game" was used

somtimes after gigs and during a session they met a spirit named Goliath. They did not notice the kind of malevolence present but the group began to confront strange problems: successive departure of three drummers, a flooded studio, illness among various members of the group, and other misfortunes. Having identified the source of evil, both thinking heads of the group buried the Ouija board in an unknown place to remove the curse. Since then the group found a new percussionist, Thomas Pridgen and the group composed this new album as a sort of exorcism. The world and the history of this album being thus imprinted.

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Review

The Bedlam in Golitah

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

These mark straightaway the care taken with voices, that they are at the right level of superimposing, effects and for the melody of the efficient and fast moving Mars Volta, on the first track and also on the second. This album is more direct, quicker than its predeccessors, even more violent, remembering At The Drive In on its seventh track. We soon see there are no more calm moments than in the previous opuses, nor long stages of improvision, which definitely gave a great deal of charm to their music.

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This album contains very good songs. For instance, tracks 4 and 5 which show the same evolution as 7, the originality and singing of 9 (some of the nicest singing heard in Mars Volta), and 11 which brings even yet an oriental side to this group. It is in this song Mars Volta surprises us most by the ambience giving the impression they are in an oriental market: violins, melody... one of the best suprises which quickly becomes one

of the most unforgettable songs of the group...which brings us to a fine, most intense, and very successful album. Having raised a general public acknowledgement, this album offers us more direct and shorter songs. This is not necessarily an evil for The Mars Volta. But where the whole project becomes contradictory is that it is even more difficult to understand than the previous albums. Is it the length of the disc which is made less easily digestible due to quicker compositions with less pause? Or is it the fact that they rather liked to present Goliath to us directly one evening during a concert? Because this is the impression the disc gives, that he must haunt us on stage instead of allowing us easy listening. I must finish by saying that, even if my review seems to be qualified, I know within me that this is another very good disc from The Mars Volta, even if it is cursed.


The Sequencer Chronicles

The Sequencer Chronicles Part 4

Reaper is a sequencer / DAW product from Cockos Incorporated. From its humble beginnings, Reaper has grown into an exceptionally flexible powerhouse that is gaining new converts by the day. While there are a great many features in Reaper that deserve to be heralded, I am going to discuss its incredible routing capabilities.

by R(t)O

Reaper allows you to manipulate your audio through an intuitive yet powerful multichannel send and receive system. Each track in Reaper can

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

have multiple channels (with a

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You Reap What You Route

maximum of 64 per track). The channels can be routed using the send and receive system. This system is incredibly reliable and self-policing. For example, if you add a send from Track 1 to Track 2, the system automatically creates a receive for you on Track 2 that is tied to the send

Routing in Reaper 2.x

on Track 1. As you can see, it takes a lot of the guesswork out of configuring your project.


The Sequencer Chronicles

Before we go further into the discussion, Reaper offers a very high level of workspace customization. You can use themes and color manipulation to change your workspace to suit your tastes. There is a distinct possibility that your workspace will look different than the ones shown in the images we provide. However, the functionality will remain the same. Here is how I have Reaper configured on my machine.

-

-

The FX Browser, Media Explorer, Big Clock, Virtual MIDI Keyboard, Navigator, Performance, and Routing Matrix are docked in the Docker. The Mixer is undocked The MIDI editor window is undocked. I am using the default 2.x theme.

I have made my default Reaper project template available for download at www.ghettoanalogue.com/downlo ads/ReaperTemplate.zip Please feel free to download it and modify it for your own needs. > >

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The Sequencer Chronicles

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

In order to accomplish the MIDI and audio routing that will be shown in an upcoming edition of this column, you need to go to File > Project Settings and select the Project Settings tab. You need to select Allow Feedback in routing (USE CAUTION). This opens up the possibility of creating a systemcrippling, infinite feedback loop if implemented incorrectly. The rule

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of thumb is, if you are sending one type of data to a track, that track cannot send the same type of data back to the original track. For example, if Track 1 is sending audio to Track 2, Track 2 should not send audio back to Track 1. However, in this scenario, it is acceptable to send MIDI back to Track 1. The same holds true for MIDI data as well. > >


The Sequencer Chronicles

If Track 2 did send audio back to Track 1, an infinite feedback loop would occur. An infinite feedback loop is a condition where audio or MIDI is continuously fed back to the source. Consider the following scenario. -

-

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Track 1 sends audio to Track 2 Track 2 processes the audio and sends it back to Track 1 instead of sending it to the next step. Now, Track 1 has to process the new audio as well as the audio sent back to it by Track 2. Track 1 sends the new audio and the reprocessed audio to Track 2

-

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Track 2 now processes the audio, and all of it is sent back to Track 1. This continues until it becomes too much for the PC to handle.

The same thing would happen with MIDI data. So, as you can see. It is important to control your routings when you remove Reaper’s inherent feedback protection. The Anatomy of a Reaper Track Reaper offers a universal track structure. In other words, instead of inserting a MIDI track or an audio track or a bus track, you simply insert a track and add the customizations necessary to make it perform the function you desire. The image below details the controls you will find. > >

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The Sequencer Chronicles

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

There are 3 track controls that you will primarily work with: the track routing control, the track envelope control, and the track FX chain control. As you might imagine, the track routing control is the tool you will use to set up your routing configuration. The track envelope control allows you

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to activate, show, hide, and arm track envelopes. As you add VST instruments and effects, their automatable parameters are added to this window. Finally, the track FX chain control is where you add VST instruments and VST effects to a track. > >


The Sequencer Chronicles

As previously stated, Reaper makes use of a flexible send and receive system as the core of its routing system. The track routing control is where you will set up the connections between tracks. Use the diagram above to locate the corresponding descriptions.

There are two additional tools that are available from the track routing control: the send control and the receive control. As you can deduce, the send control is where you configure a send, and the receive control is where you configure a receive. Remember, when you configure a send or receive, Reaper creates the corresponding complement for you. So, why does it provide both tools? The answer is simple, one of Reaper’s core values is convenience. If you are working in a track and want to add a receive, you simply add it, instead of opening the sending track and configuring a send. > >

Wusik Magazine

1. Master / Parent Send: Used to control whether or not the tracks output is sent to the master channel. 2. Track Channels: Used to determine the number of channels for this track. Valid choices are 2, 4, 6, 8 ,10, 12, 14, 16, 20, 24, 28, 32, 40, 48, 56, and 64. 3. MIDI Hardware Output: Used to route the MIDI data from this track to a MIDI Output port (e.g., playing a hardware synth module). 4. MIDI Channel: Used to send the MIDI data to the original channel the part was recorded in or an alternative channel. 5. Receives: This is where you configure what this track will receive from another track. Note: If you configure a receive on a track, Reaper will create a corresponding

send for you on the appropriate track. 6. Pan: This sets the pan track 7. Audio Hardware Outputs: This controls which set of outputs on a multi-output audio interface the track is directed to. 8. Sends: This is where you configure what this track will send to another track. Note: if you configure a send on a track, Reaper will create a corresponding receive for you on the appropriate track.

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The Sequencer Chronicles

The below image is the send tool. In the upper left corner of the tool is the destination to which you are sending. If you have descriptive name for the track, Reaper will adopt that name for this tool. The volume and pan sliders control the amount and balance of the send. Here is a list of the control parameters:

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

1. Send Point: This controls at what point in the signal path the send is placed. There are four options Post Fader (Post Pan), Post FX, Pre FX, Post FX (V1 deprecated).? The last option is there for compatibility with version 1.x projects. It is

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2.

3.

4.

5.

recommended that you not use it unless absolutely necessary. MIDI Receive Channel: This is the MIDI channel that data will be sent through to the track receiving from this track. MIDI Send Channel: This is the MIDI channel that will serve as the data source. Audio Receive Channel(s): These are the channels that will receive the audio on the receive track. Audio Send Channel(s): These are the channels on the send track that audio will be extracted from. > >


The Sequencer Chronicles

As you can see from the below image, the controls for the receive control are identical to the send control. The one thing to keep in mind is that the send point on a receive still applies to the point audio is extracted from the send track. It is not the point on the receive track where audio is inserted. Reaper Routing Diagrams For someone first cutting their teeth on Reaper, all of this routing can be a bit overwhelming. Following the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words, I have developed a tool that may help you as you start off. I call it the Reaper routing diagram.

The diagram basically uses something to represent the components involved (e.g., tracks, master outputs, plug-ins) in the routing. and something to show the signal flow of the routing You can choose to represent everything in the signal path, or you can represent only the components that require the special routing. While this may seem unnecessary paperwork, it is actually a quick way to plan your routes. Of course, as you master the program, you will soon find that you can do it in your head without the diagrams. I use Visio to create the diagrams; however, you can use something as simple as Paint to accomplish the same thing. > >

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The Sequencer Chronicles

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

This diagram is a very simple audio send. Both tracks have the Master/Parent Send checked; therefore, their audio is routed to the master output. The

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send track is also routing its audio to the receive track. An example of this could be where the receive track has a synth that accepts an audio input (e.g., Virus Powercore). > >


The Sequencer Chronicles

This diagram builds off of the previous one. This time, I have added a MIDI send to another track. The MIDI is sourced at the send track and sent to the MIDI receive track. The MIDI receive track uses it to play a VSTi on that channel. The audio output of that VSTi is sent to the master audio output. As you have probably figured out, the MIDI receive track also has the Master/Parent Send checked.

Here you can see an illustration of one of the points that I made at the outset of this article. In Reaper, a track is a track is a track. Each track can have MIDI, audio, and instrument components. Each track can be an encapsulated little movement in the bigger scope of the symphony that is your project. > >

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The Sequencer Chronicles

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

Reaper is updated frequently. Instead of making the masses wait months for patches, Cockos releases them as soon as they are ready. Reaper is well supported; the developers are active on the forum. In fact, I have recently had the privilege of working with the Reaper team on resolving a very weird bug. Many developers are hard to deal with and do not handle constructive criticism well. Justin is just the opposite. He took the feedback provided by myself and others, and he worked tirelessly to solve the problem.

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As you can see, Reaper’s approach to routing will allow you to do some creative things with your projects. In a future installment of this column, I will provide you with some real-world examples that will illustrate the true power of Reaper’s routing.


V4


Getting Additional Mileage Out of that Old PC

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

by R(t)O

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Getting Additional Mileage Out of that Old PC

So, you just fired up that shiny new DAW and started cranking out tunes. You now have the machine of your dreams and are on top of the world. So you might as well just chuck that old PC in the dumpster or give it to one of your relatives right? Wrong. With a little bit of tweaking and adding Synergy and/or MaxiVista to your setup, you can gain some more mileage out of that machine and use it to accessorize your new DAW. As the title states, we are looking to get more mileage out of old PC’s. More specifically, we are looking at Windows based PC’s. Not all of the products discussed in this article are Mac compatible, nor do all of the products run on Linux-based PCs. I will list the compatible versions of Windows when I discuss each of the products in general.

The first product on the list is Synergy (www.synergy2.sourceforge.net). Synergy is a soft keyboard / mouse switch that allows you to use a single mouse and keyboard to control multiple networked PC’s. The principle is pretty simple. You pick one PC as the server. This is the machine whose mouse and keyboard will be shared. You then program the clients with respect to their monitor’s relationship to the server’s monitor. Synergy is an open source product and is generously released under the GNU Public License (GPL). There is no cost to download Synergy, but donations are accepted and appreciated. It can be downloaded from the site link in the above paragraph. > >

Wusik Magazine

Before we get started, let’s discuss the caveat emptor of this arrangement. In order to make this work, each PC has to have at least one dedicated monitor assigned to it. As you will see, 2 or

more PC’s sharing the same monitor will not work very well at all with these products in the configurations discussed in this article. Also, Synergy has another slight “gotcha” that we will discuss later in the article.

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Getting Additional Mileage Out of that Old PC

MaxiVista (www.maxivista.com/) is a versatile product that, depending on the version you purchase, can provide desktop extension, desktop mirroring, and remote control. In this article, we will discuss the desktop extension mode. Again, the principle is simple. MaxiVista will allow you to extend the screen of your DAW onto the screen connected to another networked PC. You can have up to 3 extended screens. If your secondary PC is a dual monitor rig, it counts as 2 screens.

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

The MaxiVista server app. is installed on the DAW. During the installation process, up to 3 viewer clients are created. These executables are

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copied to the secondary PCs. When the applications are started on all PC’s, they sync up over the network, and you then have up to 3 additional monitors at your disposal. MaxiVista is not free. However, it is available in 3 versions with pricing ranging from $29.95 for the standard edition to $99.95 for the Mirror Pro edition. You only need the standard edition to accomplish what we cover in this article. However, the Mirror Pro version does so much and is such a great value, it is worthwhile to make the investment. You can view a detailed feature comparison chart on the website which is located at www.maxivista.com/docs3/09/ shop.php. > >


Getting Additional Mileage Out of that Old PC

Configuration and Theory of Operation The products mentioned are very flexible and can be used in a variety of configurations. In this article, I will discuss how I have them configured on my rig and how I use them. You should be able to garner the basic theory of operation from my examples and then manipulate it to work for you.

My DAW PC, as you might imagine, is the machine that is dedicated to producing music. Through Synergy, it uses the keyboard and mouse attached to the server machine. I also keep an emergency keyboard and mouse attached to it in case something adverse should happen. But, since getting the rig up and running, I have not had to use them. > >

Wusik Magazine

I have two PC’s, each with two monitors, that are connected to each other with a gigabit crossover configuration. I have the gigabit connection hard set to the fastest speed. This stops them from trying to autonegotiate with each other. The one thing to remember here is that if you hard set the connection speed, the settings must match on both machines.

My secondary PC is the machine that shares its mouse and keyboard via Synergy. It is also the machine that is the MaxiVista client. In other words, the server machine provides the screen real estate on which the DAW desktop expands via MaxiVista. During normal operation, this is the machine on which I do my day-to-day tasks (e.g., surfing the web, writing this article, developing software).

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Getting Additional Mileage Out of that Old PC

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> >


Getting Additional Mileage Out of that Old PC

The operation of the system is a bit complex, but the above diagram is provided to help map it out for you. Basically, Synergy allows me to move the mouse and keyboard control seamlessly between the two machines. I simply move the mouse to the machine I want to interact with and start working. Keyboard strokes are directed to the machine to which the mouse is pointing. And here is the “gotcha.� You can only send a CTRL + ALT + DEL sequence to the machine that has the mouse and keyboard physically attached to it. There are a few things you can do to work around this issue.

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Create a shortcut to the Task Manager on the desktop of the Synergy client.

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Set the second machine to login automatically.

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Attach an emergency keyboard and mouse to the client PC or use a hardware KVM switch to share the keyboard and mouse.

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Use a remote control program (such as Radmin) that is capable of sending a CTRL + ALT + DEL sequence to a remote machine. Wusik Magazine

Synergy operates in this fashion if you use it by itself or in conjunction with MaxiVista. > >

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Getting Additional Mileage Out of that Old PC

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

Here is where it gets cool. When MaxiVista is running, it takes over the desktop of the secondary PC, which is also the machine that has the mouse and keyboard physically connected to it. It has a symbiotic relationship with Synergy that allows the

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secondary PC’s keyboard and mouse to interact with the DAW PC’s desktop that has been extended to the secondary PC, instead of the secondary PC’s normal desktop. Let me break down what is going on behind the scenes for you in a step-bystep fashion. > >


Getting Additional Mileage Out of that Old PC -

The mouse and keyboard start out on the secondary PC.

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When I move the mouse to the DAW, Synergy transfers keyboard and mouse data from the secondary to the DAW over Ethernet.

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When I move the mouse to the secondary PC, MaxiVista actually makes this happen because it is controlling the desktop of the secondary PC.

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As long as MaxiVista is running, mouse and keyboard data (other than CTRL + ALT + DEL) are sent to the DAW PC through the portal provided by MaxiVista.

By taking the old PC’s and using MaxiVista to extend your desktop to them, you are treating yourself to a premium workspace at a fraction of the price of an SLI or Crossfire solution. After you work like this for a little while, you will wonder how you ever got along before you set this up. Links: www.synergy2.sourceforge.net/ www.maxivista.com/

To see a picture (below) of MaxiVista in action on a DAW, go to: www.ghettoanalogue.com/grap hics/ReaperScreen.jpg

Wusik Magazine #022 February 2008

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Combined

ON STAFF and

Synth Romance

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

by Bruce David

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Music has trailed alongside most everything I've done in life since grade school. I say trailed alongside because I never really performed professionally, though I was a sales professional in the industry for a number of years. Looking back over my history with music and the music industry brings to mind the Grateful Dead: “What a long, strange trip it's been!�


ON STAFF andSynth

unaccompanied music. I stood within a foot of the Rafael Mendez as Calvin Storey introduced each of us, personally, to the world's greatest classical trumpet player. He was also 25 feet tall.

> >

#022 February 2008

I studied with Calvin Storey through junior high school and high school and played alto saxophone in high school band. In junior high one of the gang had found the Kama Sutra under his father's mattress, so Mr. Storey was frequently frustrated by my lack of practice from that day on. But it took many years to realize there was more to my lack of practice than a lack of interest. And by college I began to explore art forms themselves to find I was to have a hard time containing myself to a single form over the years. While I retain a fascination for the precision and rhythm of Bach to this day, I found a home in the new frontier of electronic instrumentation, MIDI, and it's adaptation to musical forms. It took a severe bout with Multiple Sclerosis to bring all that to the fore, however.

Wusik Magazine

As a child, I studied with a retired New York Philharmonic clarinetist, Calvin Storey. He was a big, imposing man, around 25 feet tall from where I stood. And he had a huge foot that crashed to the floor time after time in perfect cadence with Bach during my private lessons after school. Every time I think of those days, I hear his thumping foot and the squeaking of the metal folding chair in which I sat and wiggled. When he finally got overly frustrated with my bumbling attempts, he would pickup his clarinet with it's crystal mouthpiece and blow a crystal clear tone with which Bach himself would have been impressed. I still hear that tone also, every time I hear a clarinet. In those days there was a very famous classical trumpet player named Rafael Mendez who played solo gigs with great symphonies, worldwide. Storey of course knew him and confirmed his prestige to the city which had hired him as band director by bringing Mendez to our little mill-town high school auditorium to perform an evening of solo,

Romance

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ON STAFF andSynth

Romance

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

At age 34, I contracted MS and became virtually paralyzed over the period of year. At that time, mid-1970, what I had and still have was a mystery. It resembled other nerve diseases, like MS, Lupus, etc., but had it's own quirks. By the time the clinic to which I went arrived at desperation and began to experiment with cortisone as a treatment I was nearly unable to walk. But the treatment worked and within 6 months I was able to function again with, of course, physical limits. The timing was amazing when I think back. I had become intrigued by electronic instrumentation from reading during convalescence, Roland had its modular system on the market (pure analog, preMIDI) and MIDI was only a few years away.

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I went to the local professional music store to explore the possibilities of a modular system at that time, something I could work at without requiring a great deal of strength. I discovered that, as a musician friend once expressed it so eloquently, they cost just a little less than a small farm. And since selling everything I owned (very little) to buy one module which would do nothing by itself didn't make much sense, I settled for long-term credit and a little tiny Roland SH-101

synthesizer. It even came in colors: gray, blue, and red. If I still had it, I could easily sell it for the price of a BIG farm to any worthy collector. But I soon discovered that without a sequencer the limitations of a 2-octave keyboard were immense. So came another loan and a Roland CSQ-100. But the memory was so limited in the CSQ little could be accomplished. However, bless their ever-greedy hearts, Roland had provided for that problem. They had a proprietary built-in linking system so that CSQ's could be chained and synchronized to provide enough memory to do even a short song. If one was inclined to a lifetime of indebtedness having purchased 50-100 CSQ-100's, they could easily do an entire symphony -- but it would also require 3-4 times that many SH-101's because they were monophonic. So, summarily, 50-100 CSQ's, 200-400 SH-101's and you were in business, if we exclude the necessary recorders and mixing boards to make any sort of record of the event. I was crushed. I drifted away from electronic music and toward sculpture (another lifetime preoccupation) as my strength began to come back, simply because I could afford to buy a band


ON STAFF andSynth saw and even imported hardwood. The whole original setup cost about the same price as a few Roland connecting cables for the CSQ system. An acquaintance (soon to become a close friend) who taught art at the local college had invited me to assist/apprentice in his studio, I accepted and began what turned out to be a five year private study tour. Vic (Victor Pickett) had studied with some very prominent sculptors. It was the opportunity of a lifetime. Unfortunately shortly after this study period, I had a relapse and returned to near paralysis, which began my second and most significant cycle of involvement with electronic music.

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MIDI had just burst into the marketplace. Having begun early with computers as they crept into the music world, a much less expensive alternative to the professional digital music instrument (DMI) products of that day, I was hired by the local music store for that specific purchase. I helped on the counter but mainly tried to help the bands and artists come to terms with the massive

new flood of products and software brought on by MIDI. Any group who had heard Madonna in those days knew they wanted the kind of capability that produced the music her group was producing. Most did not know when they came to the store how many farms it would take to buy it, and they were very frustrated when they found out. Also there were those who were technophobic but felt compelled to participate in this new flood swirling through the industry. They were essentially hostile at the outset to the very thing they needed most. To add to the confusion, Yamaha and Roland were in a struggle to dominate the fledgling market. They were the companies spearheading the new technology and were they were vying for whose proposals would control the MIDI standards. This led to confusing product releases designed to make MIDI, intended to be an industrywide system eliminating proprietary hook-ups, as proprietary as possible. Yamaha's standard ultimately prevailed but not without a battle royal for almost 2 years.

Romance

#022 February 2008

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ON STAFF andSynth

Romance

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

My new job and growing strength made it possible to purchase at least modest MIDI gear. So for the first few months I was quite conservative, creeping back into this very expensive enterprise with a small Korg keyboard (Poly 800) and the first of the new Roland MIDI sequencers (MSQ 700). But then something unexpected happened. It was one of those events that touches the very soul of your musical spirit and changes not less than everything -- I heard the newly released Yamaha DX-7!

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The DX-7 invented the now endless argument of taste between digital and analog sound. It was unabashedly, absolutely, unequivocally digital. I loved it. The sound was something I nor anyone else had never heard from a synthesizer. The synthesis method was equally unique and presented the possibility of limitless, new sounds with enveloping never before available. It could produce just about any sound an additive synth could offer and ever so much more with FM synthesis, an invention of a Stanford researcher name John Chowning – but the rights were owned exclusively by Yamaha. Coupled with Yamaha's long-standing reputation for high quality engineering and product

reliability most of the groups in the industry were selling their farms and buying a DX-7. Our store in a modestly populated region of Virginia, USA, had a waiting list over 6 months long to buy DX-7's. And Yamaha refused to sacrifice quality control for profit. We all waited. It sold at full retail, even at the big national discount outlets. Happily, working at the store I was able to finance one in a relatively short time. My music, composition, timbral preferences were never to be the same again. In years to follow I owned a DX-7 keyboard and 4 TX-802 rackmount modules. My hardware sequencers were still by Roland, 2 MSQ-700's, who continued to dominate that and the drum machine market. But the sound was Yamaha and recognizable anywhere. It makes me chuckle today to see the resurgence of analog sounds after the rush to digital of the early 1980's. I am certainly a fan of both in this time. I was a salesman for Sequential Circuits' Six Track and Prophet 5, and liked there rich, raspy tone then, also. But they were not as much unique as just “fat.” Yamaha had created a sound revolution no single company would ever match. My system and work at it was honored by Keyboard Magazine at that


ON STAFF andSynth time as the “Most Promising New Composer of the Year.” Yamaha should have gotten a matching award.

Miami Vice (by Jan Hammer: the Fairlight synth upon which he created this theme, in his home studio cost a little over 20,000 USD at the time; 1985) www.youtube.com/watch? v=LGkurWAXgZs I personally lost interest in producing pop and genre music almost from the beginning of my electronic music odyssey. I greatly enjoy listening to everything from Madonna and Britney Spears to Waylon Jennings, any and all forms of jazz, and the wild scores of modern classical composers along with traditional classical music. But in practice I've always found the notation and scale systems of music strange and uninviting. Whether I'm just annoyed for life by Calvin Storey's foot or actually interested in other ways and means is unsure to me. But I was delightfully relieved from the burden of this concern by the wonderful new timbers of electronic instruments. Like John Cage, I was interested in acoustical space and timber (what a friend once called “sound sculpture”) The new technology freed us and I was determined to use it. Also, since the days of the Roland Modular System, I had had a dream.

#022 February 2008

The Rockford Files (and many others by Mike Post;)

(www.thesandbox.net/arm /rockford/multimedia/index .html)

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Though plagued by severe illness these were prime years when an explosion of new technology propelled exploration and discovery. Samplers had not yet arrived on the scene in a significant way, certainly not in an affordable one. The mass body of musicians were scrambling to find ways to make digital technology produce a better “piano sound.” But there were those composer/performers who realized it was the key to opening the cell instrument limits had kept music in for 500 years. These few quickly began to pry open the door but, due to the great expense of the equipment, the way didn't fully open until Hollywood discovered the new genre and put big money behind its use. Theme music (hear a couple at the links, if you have not) for TV shows like showed the beginnings of what could be done with the new media, other than imitate a violin. This discovery soon catapulted into the now flooded environment of movie themes and genre music.

Romance

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Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

ON STAFF andSynth

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Romance

Scales are something we impose onto electronic media. The Canadian social philosopher, Marshal McCluhan, once said, “History goes forward looking through a rear view mirror.” While automobile engines achieve amazing speeds we still rate their capability in horsepower! I have no idea what the pulling power of a horse is in foot/pound measure but I am forced to use the term to compare the power of engines between each other. Again McCluhan in his famous book Understanding Media: “New media is made to do the work of the old.” Humans cling to familiarity. Rather than embrace something unfamiliar and new we commonly attempt to reduce it to something familiar, manageable...old. The new synthesis hardware has no strings. Scaling systems based on a vibrating string, or any scaling system, makes no sense. An electronic instrument can produce ANY tone or chord without reference to anything vibrating other than a speaker or headphone baffle. Tuning, as such, is gone, there are no longer any rules for what combination of tones to put together except taste. In “Already Gone,” the Eagles lyrics say,

“So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains And we never even know we have the key.” “I have a dream” became the dream I have. My sculpture apprenticeship was spent with a very accomplished sculptor. But Vic was also a fully educated industrial designer. Enticed by the practical bent of the '50's he had attended college studying a 5-year course in “product design,” a mix of aesthetic and engineering training; what has now evolved into the job description “industrial design.” Studying sculpture with Victor Pickett meant discussing Jackson Pollock's depth of field one day and how Antonio Gaudi designed architectural arches with a piece of string on the next day. I had, for one thing, become a fan of the efficiency and flexibility of modular systems in general as a result. Like most musicians in the early days of the new hardware, I was annoyed by the big black boxes and keyboards necessary to make these marvelous sounds. My studio in the DX days took up about half of a bedroom with racks, modules, a keyboard, and aluminum tubing stands. If I didn't close the door, the cats thought it to be a jungle gym and proceeded accordingly to romp and


ON STAFF andSynth climb. However, I am now writing this article using the dream I had.

Wusik Magazine #022 February 2008

My first fully software sequencer (another anachronism from the analog age) was before the IBM PC became a desktop model. It was a Commodore 64 (Kb), operated at .98MHz, and ran the original Basic operating system. The software house that sold the sequencer program I used is beyond my memory range. The nicest thing I can remember about it all was I could get lots of miscellaneous housework done, take a shower, and brew a pot of coffee in the time it took the program to load. All floppy discs (actually floppy) in that day were extremely write protected and came without a backup disc. So when the program/system crashed (inevitably) and took everything you had done with it, you waited 2 more weeks to return to work while a replacement disc came by mail. Those days inclined me to want to return to a microphone and banging a couple of rocks together for rhythm. But most of us stuck it out and another plethora of technology soon poured into the music world: faster and faster desktop computers.

My first real software composition software was on a 386 generation PC desktop computer, Cakewalk Pro 1.0. Things were beginning to change. I'd get caught not answering a prompt because I was making coffee. Like Craig Anderton at Electronic Music Magazine, Greg Henderschodt, owner/creator of Twelve Tone Systems, hinted at the direction of the company in its very name. He was a child of the new generation of media and hardware and disposed to developing tools for its optimal use. He indeed did. The earliest Cakewalk MIDI sequencer (like the Sonar of today) was superb, well thoughtout software limited mostly by the computers of its day. And it was meticulously supported. These were days (mid 1980-90) when the DMI industry was on fire with energy and enthusiasm. When Yamaha, the leaders of the MIDI movement, manufactured the DX-7, astoundingly, with only1 outgoing MIDI channel, brilliant young engineers like Jim Cooper (J. L. Cooper Labs) invented little beige boxes to make 16 out of 1; along with splitters, switchers, and more. Jim Cooper was Chief Engineer at the famous Oberheim Electronics,

Romance

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ON STAFF andSynth

Romance

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

creator of the much imitated “Oby” sound, and enforcer of a quality standard as high as Yamaha's. But after he left Oberheim to build his own company, should one call J. L. Cooper Labs for technical support or just guidance, they were just as likely to get Mr. Cooper on the line as any one of the other 10 or 20 engineers he employed. Like the leaders of EM and Cakewalk, he was deeply, personally involved in a cultural revolution and recognized that was what was occurring.

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I still make coffee (decaf) when I turn on the computer every morning. It's a ritual. But in spite of the clumsy, burdensome demands Window XP makes on its processor, it still beats me by loading before I can pour the first cup. And each day I continue to marvel. Here it is right in front of me, the dream, one black box with hundreds of times the power of my bedroom farm finance project, but it's hard to believe it is real. When Wendy Carlos and Isao Tomita demonstrated the vitality electronic media could bring to classical music with a Moog Modular and Roland Modular

System, respectively, it was a musical wonder. I can do what either of them did in an hour's time using Sonar and Wusikstation alone, output it to a .wav file at 100 times the sound quality their rooms full of hardware could record, and have time left for a snack (or housekeeping). This is a dream come true indeed...so overwhelmingly miraculous as to be hard to manage at times. I found managing the documentation for a multimillion dollar corporation easier at times than managing my Wusikstation preset/soundset library. But this an “embarrassment of riches,” not a problem. And when it comes time for playback, the CD/DVD revolution has lifted away the chains of vinyl machinery filling whole warehouses needed to manufacturer an audio record. Even the free “snap, crackle, pop,” percussion of stamped vinyl technology is gone. I rushed out and purchased the blazing hot new Yamaha Rev-7 reverb when it came out in the mid '80's, adding only one more mortgage to the house. I can find infinitely better quality with many, many freeware VST reverbs today.


ON STAFF andSynth It's probably harder to appreciate the wonderful new world of electronic music media if you didn't start out pounding bricks with rocks, blowing through tubes, and sawing or hammering on metal strings. With my current finger strength, due to MS, I doubt I could play a piano keyboard for over a few minutes without getting hand cramps. But springloaded plastic synthesizer keys...ahh, yes...And locating a sound of the weirdest timber anywhere in the range of an octave or anywhere in the field of space are simultaneously possible and unimaginable.

Romance

It's a marvelous, vital, provocative world of music power. Ya' gotta' love it!!

Wusik Magazine #022 February 2008

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by Rick Snoman

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

Review

The Dance Music Manual

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Reviewed by Squibs


The Dance Music Manual

Review

The Dance Music Manual caused a bit of a storm when it was first released a few years ago. It seemed to be a hot topic on most audio/recording/dance forums and the reviews were generally good. As somebody with a healthy interest in dance, I often make my own stuff. I use the word “stuff” with good reason. Unfortunately, my Techno sounds like a Yamaha PSR Bossa Nova preset, and my Trance has been known to make people bleed from the ears. So could this fabled tome help me reach four-on-thefloor Nirvana?

The book is divided into three parts and Part One (Technology and Theory) starts with a discussion of computers, music, MIDI, and audio, and opens (as do all chapters) with an enlightening/amusing quote. This covers the bases, as well as giving brief overviews of topics like sysex, NRPN's, and sequencer resolution, which other authors might not cover.

> >

#022 February 2008

The dance music theory chapter will be hard going for anybody without some formal musical education. It covers scales, intervals chords, progressions and time sequences. The chapter is concluded with some discussion on how to apply this knowledge to dance music and a bar-by-bar analysis of a typical club tune, to illustrate

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Rick warns his target audience that the learning curve will be steep but, to his credit, the topics are arranged in digestible chunks. It is certainly possible to dip into the book at random; particularly the chapters where the different dance genres are discussed. To really get the best from the book it’s better to read it from cover to cover, as theory discussed earlier in the book is essential to the understanding of later

chapters. I would recommend that even seasoned readers scan each chapter, even if they believe that they are already familiar with the contents. Failing to do so will inevitably lead to missing some excellent nuggets of information.

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Review

The Dance Music Manual

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

the manipulation of the clubber’s emotion by building the song up and breaking it down. Rick does as good a job as I have seen of condensing the essence of such a broad subject into a chapter.

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An explanation of synthesis follows, describing principles of acoustics before giving the reader a whirlwind tour of the principles of subtractive synthesis and a brief overview of FM, granular, and sample synthesis. The chapter is nicely illustrated with plenty of waveforms, harmonic diagrams, and illustrations of some of the more common envelope implementations. Laudably, the book doesn’t just describe the principles of synthesis; it frequently explains how they can be utilised to help generate some of the classic dance sounds.

Boom boom boom dot com The website www.dancemusicproduction .com/ was designed to be your online companion for the book. It revolves around a forum and the author occasionally pops in to answer some questions. When I visited, as part of my review, the forum was down for maintenance. But recalling previous visits, it’s

A brief chapter on sampling covers many of the principles, not going into too much depth on the mechanics, of recording samples. The author is aware that his target > >

a nice addition to the overall package.


The Dance Music Manual

Review

demographic group will largely stick with the prerecorded samples that come on sample CD's and in ROMpler libraries. The effects section is far more comprehensive and there is a particularly well written essay on the subject of compression which extends to creative compression and the characteristics of the various hardware techniques for implementing compression. Limiters, delays, reverb, distortions – all the “usual suspects” – are discussed briefly, and the audio examples are a great addition.

#022 February 2008

This part of the book closes with an essay on recording vocals and a selection of what the author deems to be some of the industry's tools-of-the-trade, with some hardware, but a bias > >

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The chapter on cables, mixing desks, and effects busses may have some mix-itin-the-box aficionados scratching their heads. But many of the principles apply to mixing in the box and, ultimately, anybody who makes a career out of dance music will spend time in the studio. You’ll look a little silly if you’re aiming for the charts and don’t know your XLR's from your unbalanced quarterinch cables.

A large part of the headache for many musicians is building up their track from the motif which is their initial inspiration. A substantial chapter is devoted to the analysis of bass, leads, pads, and drums. Rick discusses the tones involved and how all instruments are competing on a soundstage with limited sonic space. He discusses which patches may be appropriate for certain genres and fitting in each track, in terms of the number of notes on each track, the timing of the notes, their relative frequencies, and the effects on the patch. There’s a lot of meat here and Rick’s understanding of dance music, and its genres, is obvious. There are some wonderful tips and tricks – my copy is dogeared throughout this chapter after frequent consultations during recording sessions.

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Review

The Dance Music Manual

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

towards software. Whether the author’s choices are the industry standards in their niche could be argued backwards and forwards for eons. It suffices to say that any artist equipped with Rick’s list of tools would be more than capable of producing high quality tracks in any dance genre.

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Part Two of the book deals with an analysis of the main subgenres of dance and could easily be a book unto itself. Anybody with an interest in dance music will learn from this section. Trance, Hip Hop/Rap, Ambient/Chillout, House, Techno, and Trip Hop all get a chapter and follow similar templates. Opening sections discuss the genesis of the genre, often with interesting little historical asides, which keep the reader glued to the pages. The book traces a fascinating history of Hip Hop, for example, starting in the 1950’s!

The musical analysis section in particular is worth the asking price of the book. Most people of a certain generation can listen to a track and categorize it as Trance or Hip Hop, but it is far more difficult to sum up the defining general characteristics of a genre. Rick handles the task well with piano roll diagrams to illustrate the finer points of rhythm tracks, basslines, and melodies. He leverages some of the principles of subtractive synthesis discussed earlier to suggest starting points for your own synth patches, using no more than a couple of oscillators, an ADSR envelope, a filter, a LFO, and maybe some effects. Audio examples (see sidebox) are often provided to help understand the finer points. Chord progressions and melodies often help define the track genre and Rick provides some useful “rules” and guidelines to help you stay between the lines. He is at > >


The Dance Music Manual

(Audio examples)

Review

Needs more cowbell!

The book also comes with a CD, containing some audio examples, and even some html examples to go with the section on website design. The audio examples pains to point out that the innovators break these rules to come out with fresh new sounds, but to innovate it is useful to have a platform on which to build.

which cover effects are best

Part Three is a mixed bag of essays which come under the banner of “Mixing and Promotion.” The chapter on mixing has become my bible on the topic – it really is that good. Rick says that the litmus test for a successful mix is to close you eyes, sit back, listen, and ask, “Can you feel it?” The factors of the soundscape are discussed and Rick portrays the soundscape from a vertical and horizontal perspective – a 2D landscape onto which your mix is painted. He then moves on to practical mixing which has some gems, including an explanation of why EQ cuts are generally better than boosts and tips on mixing for clubs.

differences may be more

loaded into separate tracks on your DAW, so you can loop and solo to compare side-by-side; the difficult to appreciate, otherwise. The audio examples of dance music rendered through General MIDI are pretty funny. They reminded me of my early days experimenting with on a soundcard with a tiny wavetable GM set, when all my dance stuff sounded like a first generation mobile phone ringtone. When the with proper synthesizers it reminds us how far we’ve come.

#022 February 2008

same pieces are rendered The mastering chapter opens with a respectful suggestion that you leave it to > >

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computer music production

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Review

The Dance Music Manual

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

the professionals but, before you skip on, you would do well to read through and gain an understanding of the mastering process. As a mix engineer you can frustrate the mastering engineer’s job by squashing the mix and leaving no headroom. The chapter closes with an uncategorised list of tips and tricks. There are some treasures in there as well as many that should be common sense but are often forgotten.

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Sections on publishing and promotion and sample clearance are useful introductions, and will serve more to suggest further questions you may need to ask if you get heavily involved in these activities. The chapter on designing an audio website is a red herring, a white elephant... indeed, not very useful. The last thing any self-respecting musician should do is build a site from scratch, as the resultant homebrewed look will have visitors scrambling for the back button on their browsers. Nowadays, social networking

tools will allow anybody to put together something tasteful from a template, with built-in audio and video playback. Something like this will do just fine until the musician is making enough money to fund a proper website. Part Three closes with a short chapter on DJing followed by an appendix and glossary. Publishing a book that claims to be a manual for writing dance music is a brave undertaking. So has Rick succeeded? The answer is, largely, yes. A truly comprehensive manual for producing dance music would need to be supplied in plaintext files on a suite of DVDs and you would be pushing up the daisies before you had had a chance to read half of it. Rick has a knack for distilling the essence of a topic and giving you a lexicon which will allow you to discuss the topic knowledgeably. The book is published by Focal Press.


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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Review

BBE Sonic Maximizer VG360 by A. Arsov

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

and

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BBE Sonic Maximizer VG360 Review

I bet you have already heard about BBE. Their range of products is pretty impressive and well known in the musical world. Among all preamps, stomp boxes, compressors and other “improving sound and definition” hardware goodies they have even made a software version of their well known product BBE Sonic Maximizer, which brings BBE’s name also to our virtual world. Being only a software user for the last few years, I have thought they had only made it in a software shape, but visiting their site I have discovered they have a whole rank of hardware models of this magical exciter. Maybe there comes a time when we'll go... > > Wusik Magazine #022 February 2008

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Review

BBE Sonic Maximizer VG360 Back to hardware We are a virtual magazine in virtual world writing about virtual music tools, but there comes a time when even we have to turn off our monitors and walk out into the real world. So far so good, but even a real world became digital in the last few years. And if it happens that something is not digital, than it has usually lost some quality in a conversion from analogue to digital.

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

Sometimes I feel that we, home musicians, are sentenced to a world without definition. As you know, the big toys are only for big boys. Quality costs, but thanks to BBE we have a budget solution to improve our bedroom sound world.

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The return of Super Sonic Maximizer BBE Sonic Maximizer VG360 is a box with two knobs. Lo contour and Process. At the back of the box there is a stereo input and stereo output. That's all. Lo contour for bass presence and Process for regulating the high definition process. Technically speaking this two-knob wonder adjusts the phase relationship between the low, mid and high frequencies adding longer delay to low frequencies. The whole process is designed to improve the degradation caused by the classic loudspeaker. Low frequencies travel slower, so we hear some phase shifting between low and high frequencies which result in an unfocused, mushy sound. The end result of the BBE Sonic Maximizer family is cleaner sound with a lot of presence. > >


BBE Sonic Maximizer VG360 Review

In Use It is like with spices, salt and pepper, for all music sources. It makes a guitar sparkling and a voice is less clouded, and drums sound more defined. All-in-all, it is like a hearing aid. Everything sounds somehow better if you put it through the BBE VG 360. They wrote in the press material that it is an excellent tool for improving the sound of video games. Maybe I'm too old and for that reason I can hardly believe that someone would buy this noble little thing just to improve those too loud blips from the games, but OK. – nowadays kids don't use my dated model of fancy brains, so I guess this could also happen.

From my point of view it is an excellent tool for all DJ's who use mp3 files for their gigs. BBE VG360 brings back almost all frequencies lost during the mp3 compression. It is also invaluable in a voice-over recording. No more speeches from Lieutenant Mumbly. I wish I’d had this when I've recorded voice-over's on a daily basis for a living. I presume it is also useful for bars, offices, stadiums, and churches (how should I know for sure, since I don't own any of the last two mentioned), because this little fellow can transform a small radio into an almost decent hi-fi. I bet it is also unbeatable in a military barracks for improving the voice of all those mumbling, screaming orders. “Sir. Your command has a better definition. Sir, yes sir.” > > Wusik Magazine #022 February 2008

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Review

BBE Sonic Maximizer VG360

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

No military please

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I personally use it for guitar and vocal recording. It makes wonders and improves vocals in such a way that there is almost no need for further tweaking. I'll do just the low cut and that's it. Acoustic guitar finally sounds like acoustic guitar by using the bathroom as an ideal acoustic place along with BBE VG360 and some solid mic preamp I have got phenomenal results. BBE fellows tell us it is also useful for voice editing if you are in the video business. I don't mess with video, so I presume we should take them at their words. OK, I have tried it on my TV and DVD video system, and yes, it instantly improved the sound. God bless them, finally my wife will not argue about buying things just for my music. After recording my guitar I switched off my VG360 and brought it back to the kitchen. Cable in, cable out and it works. I discovered again that hardware sometimes has some benefits, because we all know: if mama ain't happy, then nobody's happy.

Maybe it looks like a toy and maybe they are even advertising it as a game shift, but it is not. For 99 USD you can't go wrong even if you use it just for guitar and vocal recording, but I'm sure that you'll find a way to use it in many other ways. Like salt and pepper, indispensable for a soup, at the end of the day you catch yourself putting it in every food. It's same with BBE VG360. With this little fellow every sound sounds better.

p.s. I refuse to try it on a pc games. I think that my son's computer makes more than enough noise without adding any additional clarity and definition to this noise pollution. “Sir, not in this case, sir, thank you, sir.�

Lieutenant A. Arsov


Label

www.wusiklabel.com


Review

Electronisounds' Ubergate by R(t)O

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

World-renowned sample house Electronisounds has been cranking out cutting-edge samples for over 10 years now. I knew it was only a matter of time before Junebug and company decided to venture out into the VST effect market. And venture they did in a huge kind of way with Ubergate.

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It should come as no surprise that the same attention to detail that is demonstrated by their sample libraries has been given to Ubergate. This effect was easy to install, easy to learn, came with a generous portion of presets, and performed like a finely-tuned, precision instrument. From its slick GUI to its intuitive, yet powerful, FX chain, Ubergate delivers a quality performance with minimal resource usage. > >


You should not make the mistake of dismissing this as just another trance gate. This is a multi-faceted effect unit. The gate can be placed in a passthru

or a bypass mode. Passthru routes both a gated and nongated signal to the FX chain, and bypass sends only a non-gated signal to the chain. > >

Review

Electronisounds' Ubergate

Wusik Magazine #022 February 2008

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Review

Electronisounds' Ubergate

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

The gate is a 4-part, 16step pattern gate that will allow each part to play by itself, or you can chain them together for more complex work. Each step can be tied to the step before or after it using the tie button. Patterns can be switched using MIDI and the plug is smart enough not to switch patterns until the start of the next measure. The gate has its own attack, decay, shuffle, and volume adjustments. An interesting feature is the ‘X2’ button. When engaged, the gate speed is 2 times the speed of the host, which can create some chaotic, rhythmic sounds.

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The FX section is simple to use but offers powerful sculpting tools for your audio. There are two FX chains in parallel that consist of a delay, filter, modulation, EQ, and channel module. The stereo signal from the gate is fed into each of the FX units. The channel module determines how the two chains are mixed at the output stage. Each channel module has an LFO Pan option that can be used to create some intense audio blends. Each of the modules in the FX chain perform very well. Junebug and company put enough controls on the unit to make it an effective sound shaping tool, but they limited it just enough to keep it from being confusing. Each module can be bypassed and tweaked independently of all other modules. > >


Review

Electronisounds' Ubergate

The documentation is a little sparse. The unit does not come with a manual. However, there is a help screen that is accessible from the plug-in GUI. It provides information on the basic functions of the unit. Ubergate is available from the online shop at the Electronisounds website (www.electronisounds.com). Copy protection is a key file and the products are delivered via e-mail. Audio examples of the product are available so you can hear it in action. I tested the product in every sequencer on my rig and I encountered no compatibility issues.

Even if you own a product like Camel Space, you can still derive a huge amount of benefit from Ubergate. Its unique approach and sonic sculpting capabilities make this unit a “must- have� for anyone who works in electronic music. If you couple the features of this unit with its very friendly price tag, you have an unbeatable combination that I highly recommend.

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Review

Strange brew Linplug

CronoX 3

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

by A. Arsov

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Linplug CronoX 3 is a very unusual virtual synthesizer. I know that it sounds a bit tedious, but I guarantee you that this assertion is definitely the best description for this synth. It looks like a wall lined with sexy looking washing machines in a laundromat and sounds like some hybrid chameleon. Sometimes it pretends to be a normal synthesizer with just a preset selected, next it sounds like some stoned beast from out of our galaxy. CronoX 3 can sound nice and sweet, fat and mean, clean and dirty -- but never boring or weak. The thing I like most about CronoX 3 is a bunch of gritty, granular-like sounds distorted in such a pleasant way. It is really hard to describe the sound of CronoX 3. Fat and bizarre, that is how it sounds. > >


The sound of time It sounds fat, it looks fat and it comes in a fat shape too. It has over one GB of samples along with 950 presets! Talking about samples, yes, CronoX 3 is a sample synthesizer. Not the first one, but definitively the best one. If some of you want to complain about this, then we could just say it is the weirdest one. This is a fact. Nobody can argue about this.

More about the Facts CronoX 3 has four main sections for modifying poor little samples into wild strong beasts: generator, effects, filters and modulation.

There is also a spread slider for setting the level of polyphonic unison. Most other synths are monophonic in unison mode. Cronox 3 allows polyphonic unison. That eats more cpu power but also gives a fatter sound. There is also a "Free run" button for setting the starting point of a waveform's loop and a bunch of detuning options. The other 3 generators are designed for sample manipulations. They have many functions to manipulate an imported wave file, as seen on most of the hardware or software samplers except for the velocity splits or key regions. The Time Sampler Generator has all the ordinary controls but its specialty is pitch-sifting and time-stretching in real time. Of course it is just the beginning of the tweaking heaven for this generator. Another feature is that most of the controls in CronoX 3 can be combined with all the other controls. So what we have here is also a spread slider and the sliders of 2 oscillators for detuning and fatting the sound.

#022 February 2008

The schrader generator uses samples to generate a wavetable and works best with tuned raw samples. It contains almost the same controllers as Time Sampler Generator. > >

Wusik Magazine

Let's start with the first. CronoX 3 has four independent generators. Each of them can use one of the four generator modules: oscillator, time sampler, schrader (wavetable-like), and loop sampler. The oscillator generator contains some essential tools for manipulating the waveforms to get the classic analog sound. With one slider the waveform can be morphed from pulse to sawtooth, the second slider can change the shape of the waveform, expanding or contracting it.

Review

CronoX 3

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Review

CronoX 3

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CronoX 3

Review

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> >


Review

CronoX 3

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The last one is the Loop Sampler Generator for manipulating the loops. It contains a waveform window and settings window. This generator allows velocity multilayering along with other, not so standard, loop manipulating tools.

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The filter section includes 2 identical filter modules that can use one of the two filter types: Standard or Free. A Standard filter uses all the standard low, high and band pass types, while a Free filter uses the same ones but selected with an endlessly looped slider moving around a 360 degree range, switching between these filter types. There is also a saturation, cutoff, and resonance section, along with an ADSR envelope section, and finally, envelope direction for setting the negative or positive value of an envelope's shape, with which we can get some pretty unusual effects. And talking about effects, CronoX 3 has six independent, simultaneously-available stereo effect modules, all of them identical and ready to be used for enhancing the sound with one of the following effects: Delay, Stereo Delay, Ping- Pong Delay, Chorus, Phaser, Filter, Reverb, Flanger, Gating, Stereo Enhancer, Parametric EQ or Crusher.

The last modulation section can be easily described with an old joke called "Aristocrats." I assume that you know it. A stand-up comedian comes to the theater manager and tells him that he's got a scenario for a new play. It is about a father who sleeps with his daughter, mother with son, sister with brother, brother with father and grandmother with a dog, so on and so forth; everybody with anybody. "Interesting," says the manager, a bit reserved, "And what is the title of the play?" "The aristocrats." That's it! This modulation section can be called "the aristocrats." Anything can be controlled with anything -- OK, almost anything. The modulation section contains 5 independent ADSFR envelopes, an arpeggiator, 4 independent lowfrequency oscillators, and a modulation matrix that is used to control modulation routing. All in all, the sexy washing machines and the whole laundromat are excellently organized so everything is clear and handy. This synth has one of the most interesting GUIs I've seen so far and it is also one of the best organized synths I've seen. It's almost like some lawyer’s office. Clean and straight to the point. > >


CronoX 3 Review

If Wusik magazine had some sort of Wusik award, this synthesizer should get it. It deserves ten apricot jams, homemade by our MoniKe and a special Sacher cake from my wife. As soon as we have some sort of award we will change these apricot jams to some Wusik stars or such. Until then: bon appetit.

p.s: I suggest you visit the Linplug site and listen the demo clips made with the CronoX 3. You will notice that they sound like Roland or Yamaha in the middle of an LSD party. You don't need to buy every synthesizer we write about, but you definitively should take this one into consideration. It makes a difference.

Wusik Magazine #022 February 2008

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COMING SOON

-

NEW PRODUCTS

Analog Strings Station


COMING SOON

Analog Mastering Tools

-

NEW PRODUCTS


COMING SOON

-

NEW PRODUCTS

Retrology - EMI - TONE


COMING SOON

-

NEW PRODUCTS

Retrology - Music & Film

www.nomadfactory.com


Making Noise

Making

N

i se

by Bruce David

Another new column!? Not really. Way back in the early days of WS Mag, WilliamK did a similar column and many contributors have done the same task in various articles. But what we are trying to do here is a systematic coverage of Wusikstation that begins at the beginning and keeps up with the ever-moving end; sort of a long-term reference work that could ultimately become a packaged tutorial for those on their first Wusik outing... probably not of much use to the "old hands" at Wusikstation and it's peripherals.

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#022 February 2008

> >

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Making

N

#022 February 2008

Let's add another traditional term. Even though WS is sample based using what is called a Layer for each of the 4, it remains a subtractive synthesizer. That means simply a Layer generates a sound that is then modified by taking away from it given waveform. For example, a low-pass filter will round off ("take away") the waveform edges of a sawtooth waveform in its higher frequency ranges, making it sound "mellower." A high pass filter will do the same thing to the low frequency spectrum of the waveform. These are old and established means of modifying waveforms to create new sounds and WS has all the standard means and more. However, again for example, it does not do additive synthesis which is accomplished by adding harmonics to a given base waveform. However, do not fret about any limits of Wusikstation because this is where the "sampler" in Hybrid.... SAMPLER for VST Hosts) comes in. With > >

Wusik Magazine

So, beginning at the beginning, if we exclude William's love for the English dictionary (Hybrid Vector & Wavesequencer Sampler for VST Hosts) Wusikstation is a 4-oscillator, 4-voice multitimbral synth. I'm excluding the wave sequencer from that description because it's more like a dramatically expanded arpeggiator (and more) in traditional terms than a synth-defining feature. Yes, the sound source for the individual oscillators (Layers in WS terms) is samples. But their structure and audio role is identical to the role of an oscillator in traditional synthesizers. The layers simply play samples (either .wav or custom created wusikSND) rather then actually generating the sound as an oscillator would. From the point of view of the user: no difference except more flexibility -- A WHOLE LOT MORE FLEXIBILITY!! Bob Moog would have gone bonkers had he seen what WS can do.

i se

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Making

N

i se

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#022 February 2008

the unbelievably huge library of waveforms and wusikSND's that come out of the box with WS, modes of synthesis are not of any real concern. If you start with a waveform that sounds like a strike on metal or glass, what's the point in going through a bunch of harmonics (and cpu!) to do the same thing? So you can quickly see the advantage of sample-based synthesis.

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Now with the fact in mind that WS can use .wav files and wuiskSND's as its synthesis waveforms, having the right samples at hand becomes important. Again, however, there is no fretting required. There are so many samples in the original package I, personally, have more difficulty sort and ordering them than acquiring a sample needed for a project. But should you arrive at that situation -- still do not fret! The Internet is full of .wav files for about any imaginable task and WS will use them directly if you so desire. In so many words, it can be used as a 4-voice wave player, if desired. And, typical of WS, there's another option. You can crank up the newest version of the Wusik > >


Making

N

i se

Sample Editor and create multi-wav samples, save them as a more efficient wusikSND, load them into Wusikstation, create your new sound/sounds and save the whole thing as a Preset of WS. So, within the limits of ram memory and the cpu power of your computer, you can make 4 separate tones come out of WS at the same time, mix them, process them through audio effects, envelope them and -- oh, mercy -- do previously unimaginable things to them through the Modulation Matrix (Moog eat your heart out, again!) Also, do to both superb programming and sample-base technology (now I'm doing it), Wusikstation produces studioquality sounds. In short, you made a good buy with this synth. It's capable, flexible, and has a beautiful sound.

Wusik Magazine

Next issue Making Noise will be on first-stage basics of making a new preset for WS and, unavoidably, some basics of subtractive synthesis. And, really, of all on synthesizer features when it comes to envelopes and LFO's.

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PSP Audioware Nitro

Review

PSP Audioware Nitro

PSP Audioware Nitro

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

by Ginno 'g.no' Legaspi

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PSP Audioware Nitro

PSP Audioware's Nitro may not be new but it has consistently delivered the goods when it comes to performance. It is quick, easy to use, and fun to tweak. This product, as PSP claims, is the ultimate multi-mode filter. But there's more under the hood. Basically, Nitro is a 4-module, multi-effects plugin, with emphasis on filters. It is capable of processing great sounds for experimentalists and sound designers, alike. The GUI is beautiful and it doesn't hog your monitor's real estate. It has basic parameter controls for the 4 Operators and the power switch, In, Mix and Out are neatly laid out -- everything is right there in front of you. Nitro's various parameters can be accessed quickly through a tabbed menu in the center of the plugin. This is where you can maneuver between Configuration, Operator, LFO, Envelope, ADSR, Modulation, Library, and Global pages. > >

Review

Electronic musicians like myself often get excited when a new filter plugin is released. It especially gives me joy even when it is one which is analog-modeled. Apart from delay plugin's, the filter effect is one of an electronic musician's best friends. I simply think that filters are important to electronic music. This is true to the fact that countless electronic/dance records have benefited from filter sweeps, filtered drums, filtered synth sweeps, or only filtering out a certain frequency. Just about any electronica album you hear nowadays features a filtered sound or two. So for this month's filter review, let's take a look at Nitro, PSP Audioware's mighty filter plugin.

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Review

PSP Audioware Nitro

The signal routing takes place on the Configuration page. Virtually any modules or "Operator (OP)", as PSP calls it, can be interconnected utilizing a virtual routing scheme. So if you have a phaser module on OP1, you can feed its output to a second module, say a flanger, and so on. It all happens there where you can patch, combine, and define the four modules. There are 11 predefined routing templates available for use. But it is also possible, if you want, to configure your own routing. The Operator page lets you choose different effect algorithms and adjust and edit their parameters.

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

LFO, ENV, and ADSR are the modulation pages. Nitro offers 2 LFO's with 5 waveforms to choose from ( sine, triangle, square, saw, and sample & hold) with advanced sync capabilities to

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any host. The ENV and ADSR pages are pretty easy to use and you can tweak the various parameters to further shape your sound. A modulation page has up to a total of 16 modulation destinations that can be controlled by a source. Many internal sources ( eg., LFO1, note frequency, pitchbend, etc.) can be used but Midi CCs are also possible. The fun factor in using Nitro is enormous. I processed some drum loops and was impressed with the results. If you really like to mangle sounds, Nitro will definitely fit the bill. A collection of 192 stock presets (organized into 3 banks) will get you started and playing with it for hours. Stand-out presets include "Simple Flanger" for flanger effects. A preset appropriately called "Ancohuma" can be used for that weird effect...good if you > >


PSP Audioware Nitro

Verdict: If you're in the market for a good-sounding filter with great tonal characteristics then Nitro might be what you're looking for. It is very flexible and the signal routing you get with this plugin is a sound designer's dream. Overall, I'm very impressed...highly recommended.

Review

want the resulting audio to sound strange. "Insect" (under bank 2) is cool with its stutter-type settings. My other preset favorites are "Solaris", "Clatter", "Flashback", "Icemachine", and "Bubbler", for its fat, lo-fi tone. As I was auditioning Nitro, I could hear that it is capable of smooth filter sweeps. And the Moog LP, BP, and HP filters are outstanding sounding filter models -- a big plus.

Contact: www.pspaudioware.com Price: $149 Demo: Yes; working as full version for 14 days. System Requirements: Windows XP with ServicePack 2 or later Pentium III 600 MHz or higher; Color S-VGA, 1024x768 MacOS X 10.4.0 or later IntelMac or PowerPC G4 or G5 (512 MB RAM) AudioUnit, VST or RTAS compatible host application ProTools TDM/LE 7.3 or later for running RTAS

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Review

Not a Gladiator Review

-

Gladiator

-

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

by A. Arsov

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It is not a Tone 2 Gladiator Review

– It is a Day in the Life of a Musician


Review Wusik Magazine

Some of you, dear readers, have been complaining that we have way too many reviews in our magazine. For this reason I've decided not to write a new review. And I have to say it was not an easy decision at all because I've got an excellent brand new virtual synthesizer, Gladiator, from Tone 2. Anyway, we at Wusik Magazine respect your opinions, so I will try to present you with a typical day in the life of a musician instead of writing just another review. I hope you will like this little piece of my life.

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Review

Morning It is 6:40 am. and the clock is screaming like a dying duck. I wake up from deep, sweet sleep. I've dreamed of myself on an isolated island playing some cool sharp riffs from my nice new synth Gladiator while half naked women were dancing around me smiling and … oh, that bloody clock! I open one eye and mumble, "It's definitively not one of the seven hundred fifty presets from Gladiator." My wife gazes at me asking from drowsily, “Seven hundred fifty? Russell Crowe?“ I look at her surprised, “No, it's Markus from Tone 2.” She is a bit confused. “Is that from Gladiator 2?”

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

I just answer,“Nope, it is version 1.2”

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Saying that, we hear our children yelling, so we get up and walk to their room. Wow, how many things can dwell in one room! It looks like this room also uses harmonic content morphing synthesis to modify toys in real time into something totally new. Hey Markus, if you could just see this. It looks like Gladiator is not the only one with this ability. A few pleas and threats later, the room is tidied and organized almost better than Gladiator's graphical interface. (At this point I just have to say that Gladiator's graphical interface is very well organized.) Finally we are in a car. The junior child beats the senior. A day like all other days: school, kindergarten, and there he goes, Igor, Oscar’s father, in front of the kindergarten. “Any news?” he asks.


Review

I say, “Yeah, I finally got my Gladiator yesterday.” “Wow, a revolution in synthesis?” “Yes,” I smile. “That is what the press says. We shall see. Anyway, I will let you know as soon as I test it. Have a nice day. I'm in a hurry.” I get back into the car and drive towards home. It's time for a morning coffee. I walk into an popular coffee house and there I meet Huberto, a well known goldsmith around here... not the rich one, the good one – the artist. “Hey, is it true?” he starts our conversation. I stop dead, looking at him a bit surprised, “True...what?” “True that you got the most powerful virtual synthesizer?”

Wusik Magazine

“O, you’re talking about Gladiator. Oh, I see.” I take a sip from a cup, then a moment to think things over, and then I start talking like rain: “I don't know. I tried it yesterday evening and, yes,it is very powerful. It uses wave snapshots for the driving oscillator section, so it can emulate some real instruments, but it is not sampler. They are just snapshots so they don't sound exactly like the real, fully sampled one. But anyway, these snapshots are cool for getting some really nice hybrid combinations. And if we talk about combinations, it also combines various synthesis: FM, AM, PWM, phase-modulation, waveshaping. It has also distortion, forty different stereo filters, twenty effects, microtuning, modular routing, trance gate, and an arpeggiator.”

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Review

I felt like I could go on forever, but suddenly I heard him saying, "Very, very nice”. I nod: ”Yes, it is... indeed ...” I look at him carefully and realize that he is actually starring at a lady waitress's backside. I open my eyes widely and just repeat gently: ”Yes it is. Very, very nice .. Huberto! You aren't even listening to me? Who the hell am I talking to?” “Sorry, you've been talking about Gladiator. Of course I'm interested.” And it starts raining again, this time a bit slower, “Yes, it is really powerful and it has it's own recognizable color. It's good, I really like it for this reason. You hear it and you know, this is Gladiator. Maybe you can't use it for a whole arrangement, because it seems wise to have sounds from various sources in a song. But I find it indispensable to make a song sound more professional and more colorful. It is not just a trance or dance instrument. It fits nicely into various genres. I like the sound of Gladiator.” He looks at me and nails me out of nowhere, “Your wife will kill you.”

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

“Why, what's wrong?” “Because you are straying with that Gladiator all the time. Can't you talk about anything else?”

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“Oh, come on. You asked for it!” As soon as I say this, my mobile starts ringing. It is my wife on the phone, ”Hello, am I talking with my Russell Crowe? Will my Gladiator come home soon?”


Review

OK, Mister Gladiator is going home. I spend the whole morning tweaking the synth and browsing through the patches. Around noon I start thinking about this article, all the things that must be represented... technical support. Eh, I decide not to write much about this in my coming review. Markus of Tone 2 is a bit of hotblooded fellow and he takes criticism too personally, arguing periodically with the users on Tone 2 forums. I guess this is not the best way to keep the business alive in the long run. But OK, at the end of the line he considers other people’s suggestions and, secondly, he improves his products with updated versions on a regular basis. I will definitively skip that part in the review because he is a really talented programmer and I respect his work. I'm also sure he doesn't have any bad intentions with all those polemics he gets into on the forum. Afternoon. It is three o'clock and we are all in the car. Kids are fighting in the back seat, so everything is quite normal.

I open my mouth to answer him as my wife suddenly bursts out, “It cost 149 euros!”

Wusik Magazine

The senior son asks me between two slaps: “How is your new synth, papa?”

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Review

I can smell the storm in the air, so I start talking as fast as I can. “It is definitely worth this money...most synths cost the same or even more. It has excellent, recognizable sound...seven hundred fifty presets. It is versatile..nice graphical interface...small window with all essential data. One click and the big window is opened; easy for tweaking, so I can change parameters on the fly. I really like it. It is not the one-and-only and the last one you need but, on the other hand, all those leads, pads, fx, and other types of sounds are excellent. It has unique sound and costs as much as a pair of your shoes.” “Oh, yes. Thank you my dear, I will wear your Gladiator when I need something nice for my feet. I hope it is my size.” We drive back home in silence. Just a slap or two from the back seat.

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

Home, sweet home: it is dinner time.“Daddy will eat the presets. He can spice them with a full range of effects. Two at the same time in serial or parallel.” OK, I decide to skip my lunch. I should lose a few pounds. And this could maybe be the right time to start.

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Review

I spend the afternoon with kids in their room. They are fighting and screaming most of the time while I am thinking about my coming review. I am a bit scarred because it has too many details. If I start writing about all these synthesis features, filters, and effects it will look like a summary from a manual: two pages of detailed features, filter types, and other details. Who will read this? Synths are as good as they sound. The second most important thing is how easy and how capable they are for fixing existing presets or programming new sounds. Gladiator has its unique sound. This can be imperfection sometimes, but most of the time it is an advantage. We don't need twenty synths sounding the same. This is the main problem with most of the other ones. Good ones stand out from the crowd. And I find Gladiator well designed, so it is not hard to program. Never mind now, I will leave all these thoughts and details for the writing time. The rest of the afternoon passes quietly and peacefully: three fights, one big argument, a chaotic supper, I really like it when everything is back in order; two kids, one life, no brain -- ordinary family life.

Wusik Magazine

! k n i h t

! k n i th

#022 February 2008

! k n i th

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Review

Finally, it is time to say goodnight to my little gladiators. For the rest of the evening I will play with my new toy and browse through the manuals to find out all about the facts and details. Hmmm... I'm just wondering if the kids will notice if I read to them from the Gladiator manuals instead of a children's book for goodnight. We shall see. We shall see.

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

Oh...Gladia tor

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Review

Pendle Poucher’s

Dulcitone 1884

by David Keenum

If you’re in a hurry I can “cut to the chase” for this review and wrap it up in one word… sweet! Okay, I’ve said it, so now let me explain or in the words of Inigo Montoya (the movie "Princess Bride"), “There’s no time to es‘plain. Let me sum up.” I will admit, straight up, that I really

#022 February 2008

like the sound of a celesta or any keyboard bells.

Let’s see… I have

Precision Sound’s J-Celeste and Red Grand toy piano, Bela D Media’s Gothic

Music

Box,

and

Sounds’ free Music Box.

Boulder

And that’s

not including the bell sounds that are

Wusik Magazine

part of larger libraries.

Picture: Close to the Dulcitone's broken keys. 88


Pendle Poucher’s

Enter Dulcitone So I immediately became interested when I heard about Pendle’s Dulcitone 1884, especially when it is available for Wusikstation. So what is a Dulcitone? It is like a mellow version of the celesta, a keyboard bells. Here is how Pendle describes it: “Originally designed and manufactured in Scotland in the 1800's and with allegedly only 2000 in existence, the DULCITONE is a portable keyboard that was

Review

Dulcitone 1884

made for missionaries to hump around remote African village churches to help perk up hymn services. It has a very basic piano action with spring-loaded, felt-covered hammers striking small magnet shaped tuning forks. It’s a bit like a Fender Rhodes electric piano without the electric bits, and has a very lovely woody, clonky glockenspiel/celesta kind of sound.” He had my interest with the description that the Dulcitone “has a very lovely woody, clonky glockenspiel/celesta kind of sound.” > >

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Review

Pendle Poucher’s

Dulcitone 1884

When I compare Dulcitone’s sound to that of other celesta-type instruments, I think the bell sound is slightly less bright, even mellow… but not in a bad sense. It has a nostalgic or vintage sound. The ‘thump’ (the hammer sound) is also slightly darker than my celestas libraries. To me it gives the library the “woody” description that Pendle uses. All in all, the instrument has a quaint old sound to it. I admit that I fell in love with it immediately. As I said, “Sweet!”

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

Dulcitone could replace a celesta in most contexts. Because of its slightly darker sound, I wonder if it would cut through an orchestral mix as well. But it would be right at home in any acoustic or chamber music. It would also work well in a solo context. It has a beautiful, acoustic (as in “not synthetic”) sound.

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Audio Demo Last month I told you about Pough’s song, “Say Goodbye.” We used it to demo Pendle’s Steel Drum Percussion Room. Well, Dulcitone 1884 is also featured in the song. You can find “Say Goodbye” here: www.joshgemmell.com/Content/Audio/KvR /Say%20Goodbye%20Mastering%20Expor t%201.mp3 I also created a short, simple lullaby-type demo using only Dulcitone. I wanted you to hear the instrument’s subtleties, so I purposely tried to play with a wide dynamic range. I used no compression and only a touch of CSR’s room reverb. You can find that demo here: www.wusik.com/song.php?id=1708 > >


Pendle Poucher’s

Review

Dulcitone 1884

Details for Dulcitone 1884: www.virb.com/dulcitone1884 Pendle Poucher (www.virb.com/pendle) is, by his own admission, a Brighton, U. K.based composer, sound designer and lover of funny noises. So I guess it is no surprise that he is also a sample developer who has an ear for unusual instruments. Last month we looked at his Steel Drum Percussion Room and we’ll look at some other instruments in the months ahead. But Dulcitone 1884 was Pendle’s first commercial product and he obviously sampled it with a lot of loving care. And, best of all, it comes in Wusikstation format! Check it out.

Price: £15.00 Formats: Kontakt2 and 3, Ableton Sampler, EXS24, Soundfont, Shortcircuit, SFZ, NNXT/Reason Combinator, Wusik, and Giga formats.

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Bells and Whistles

bells and whistles by Bruce David

B

ach and the Fandango: How many know that Bach and Mozart were famous not for "long-hair" music but for dance music? Yup, they were the dance artists of their times for the royal courts of Baroque Europe. Madonna eat your heart out for such fame 500 years from now.

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

R

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obert Moog, What a Musician! Anyone who every heard an excellent Moog synthesis imitation or an original Moog synth restored knows only a musician of great talent could have produced such sounds. But then have you ever heard a piece of music by Robert Moog. Nope! He was a very gifted electrical/electronic engineer (Columbia and Cornell universities) and businessman with a vision about music. His original product was not the synthesizer, as such, but the Theremin which he did not invent but marketed. It was invented by a Russian but marketed in the U.S. by Moog Music in the form of a kit to be built by electronic music enthusiasts. Once successful, he ran Moog Music until 1977 but then (19841988) became a full-time consultant and Vice President for Kurzweil Music Systems in the New Product Research Division. He died in 2005. BUT -- he did take piano lessons when he was a kid. > >


bells and whistles T

hat Thing is Out of Tune! If you have ever heard Javanese or Balinese percussion groups (called Gamelans) your first reaction may have been to the tuning. They operate on a different system. So, to the Western ear, may be sort of disturbing. But they are of great interest to anyone with a serious interest in alternative percussion. There are bells, pots, and gongs in the ensembles. There are a number of sites that will give you pictures and samples of Gamelans. And there is one with many high quality .wav samples you can use (GNU license) to experiment, if you are interested. Put together a preset with the Wusik Sample Editor and you'll have some wild percussion to work with.

home page: www.marsudiraras.org/gamelan (Gamelan Info) samples: www.marsudiraras.org/gamelan/wav (complete Gamelan sample set, free)

P

eriods of Discovery: Throughout history it seems there have been periods of discovery of different concentrating on different subjects. The Renaissance was one of those periods in the history of Western Civilization. Music innovation exploded, prodded by mathematical composition, and, as an example, Liebeniz and Sir Isaac Newton independently created Calculus; neither knowing of the others work. The Renaissance Period, accordingly, led directly to the Baroque period and Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, and later to Mozart and Beethoven. Bob Moog, mentioned above, is the herald of such a period in our time. So what, musically, have we discovered in the Twentieth Century? With certainty, there is a new sound, when compared to the music of past times. Where does it lead?

N

ew WS v4 Manual: I'm working a complete revision/update to the Manual for WS v4. It will hopefully be out by midMarch, at the latest.

#022 February 2008

igh Quality Piano: I once knew a Yamaha DMI rep who also traveled with a band playing piano. They carried a huge, heavy, Yamaha "portable" electric piano with them in those days because of an experience he had on an earlier trip. They arrived at the club at which they were to play that night in #$*!& , Mississippi. He asked the club owner if the piano had been tuned recently. The owner responded, "Tuned! Not only has it been tuned but we just had it painted."

Wusik Magazine

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Review

Applied Acoustics Systems

Ultra Analog by A. Arsov

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

Ultra Analog is an analog modelling virtual synthesizer. Yes, I know, there is a million analog modelling synthesizers out there and they differ from one another mostly in only some details like the number of oscillators, quality of filters, routing abilities, and few other additional, not-so-essential, functions. But does this mean they sound equal?

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Ultra Analog Review

Pamela, my dear All girls have usually two legs, two arms, one head, lips, ten fingers and another ten fingers etc ... etc ... Does this mean that your next door neighbour looks like Pamela Anderson? I bet not. But hey, your next door girl has got two legs too, two arms and all the other necessary extremities. So, technically and theoretically, they should be almost the same...if you are blind, of course.

Ultra Analog, my dear

Wusik Magazine

Ultra sharp, warm, clean with a punch, sometimes aggressive and never static, this is Ultra Analog. The things I like most about Ultra Analog are its presets: a bunch of classic analog sounds from the past. It is not an emulation of a particular model nor can you find dated sounds from the past. It is simply filled with all those recognizable and memorable sounds from old analog beasts. Sounds that can be easily recognized as if they were taken from Moog, Prophet, Arp, and similar old analog synth's. For a few dollars more you can also buy some additional sounds on Applied Acoustic Systems site and there you can also find a lot of free presets, some from the developer and some from users. The most fascinating thing about this synthesizer is that it is really hard to find a bad preset in it. Almost all presets sound inspiring and useful. You can't find filler sounds there. One of the rare arrangement-ready instruments. > >

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Review

Ultra Analog Taken to pieces Ultra Analog is twooscillator synth with a noise source, two multi-mode filters, two low-frequency oscillators, four envelope generators and two amplifiers. At the end of the line we can also find a reverb, a delay, and a chorus.

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

Let's start with the oscillators. They contain sine wave, sawtooth, rectangular and white noise as a waveform source. Both oscillators have also suboscillators which generate a wave an octave below the oscillator’s pitch; a detune knob, along with all the other standard modifiers, octave, lfo 1 and lfo 2, send levels, and similar tweaklike chic goodies.

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Two multi-mode filters with “don't-make-meenumerate-again-allthose-filter-types�, plus resonant and formant adjustments. There is also a drive button adding six different saturation types, along with all connections, redirections, serial, parallel, and similar standard additions. The amplifier section comes after the filter, where panning and an amplitude envelope is added to the sound. There is also a noise section, followed by a low pass filter and lfo section for oscillator, filter and amplifier modules. As I told you, in general, it is nothing to write home about, but the devil is in the details. The way one parameter influences another and, with choosing the right destination, this makes the difference. All technical details aside, when you hear the synth, you'll either like it or not. I like this one. > >


Ultra Analog The user interface is colourful, easily scanned, and everything you need is up front in the main window. There are many buttons and plenty of drop-down menus sorted into modules which follow the signal flow. At the right side of the main window is a browsing window for

instant access to all the patches. Banks and patches can be renamed and re-saved into new directories. Ultra Analog is also completely MIDI programmable, so besides the good sound and the good look, it is also easy to manage. > >

Review

Colour

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Review

Ultra Analog

Happy End

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

For one hundred, ninety-nine American dollars you'll get a screaming, bleeding, cutting analog modelling synth. Just a few of us still remember how real analog sounds, so I can't compare it with analog synths because I don’t own them anymore. I'm totally digital right now, but I still remember those sounds from the analog era, and to my ear, this colorful fellow contains many of those kinds of

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sounds. Of course I already use it in my songs and I have to say it fits ideally in most of the arrangements without any redundant tweaking. Oh, yes, it's definitively not a next door girl. For me Ultra Analog is an ultra useful synth. Thumbs up to Applied Acoustic Systems for this one.


Review

LinPlug’s The

Sophistry

Ambient Synth

Wusik Magazine

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by David Keenum

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#022 February 2008

Sophistry fits squarely into the specialized category, and it specializes to the extreme! But at the same time it is surprisingly versatile. Confused? I’ll see if I can clear it up.

The Sophistry Ambient Synth is a CronoX3 instrument. This means that it is CronoX3 with a custom GUI and a complete new set of sounds designed by Frank “XenoX” Neumann of Particular Sound (www.particularsound.de/). So everything that Alex Arsov says in his review of CronoX3 in this issue also applies to Sophistry… except the sounds. The sounds are completely different, all 5Gb's of them! If you already own CronoX3, you can get Sophistry at a much reduced price of 119 USD / 89 Euro. The Sophistry sounds can be loaded into CronoX 3 (and vice-versa: CronoX3 sounds can be loaded in the Sophistry Ambient Synthesizer). > >

Wusik Magazine

Some people like workstation type synths. They want a synth that can supply any sound. Others like specialized synths -- synths that are very good at one thing. My favorite “workstation” synth is IK Multimedia’s Sonic Synth 2. But most of my synths are specialized. They each have a “sound.” Whether it is Camel Audio’s Cameleon 5000 or Krakli’s new freebee, S3 (www.krakli.co.uk/), these instruments give you the ability to customize your sound.

Review

Sophistry

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Review

Sophistry

Details for Sophistry:

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

The sound of Sophistry is amazing! It is deep, textured, and evolving. Almost all of the patches evolve over time, even if it is a slow opening filter. And, as far as I can tell, they are all synced to your host’s tempo. The pads all beg to be held for a long time and they are willing to reward you for holding them. Don’t get me wrong -- there are none of the “hold-one-noteand-there-is-yoursong” type patches. And there doesn’t seem to be any morphing from one sound to another. But it’s not just slow LFOs on the filter either.

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And to continue with the “not-a-one-note wonder” theme, you can play chords with almost all of the patches. The sound is thick but it isn’t that thick! There is plenty of room for your creativity. > >

Website: www.linplug.com/Instruments/Soph istry/sophistry.htm Requirements a VST2.0 or AU capable host software, a screen resolution of 1024x768 or higher, 5.5 Gb free space on your hard drive [for Macintosh®]: Mac OSX 10.3 or newer, 1 GHz CPU, 1 Gb RAM [for PC]: Windows XP or newer, 1 GHz CPU, 1 Gb RAM Features -

700 exclusive presets based on more than 5 Gb of samples by Frank XenoX Neumann from Particular Sound

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Versatile architecture with 4 generator modules that are mixed into two filters.

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Generator types are Oscillator, Time-Sampler, Wavetable (Schrader) and Loop-Sampler

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Free Filter with new, continuously adjustable, modulatable filter-type

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Loop Sampler Generator with individually modulatable loop-points and start-point > >


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Powerful, editable arpeggiator with up to 32 steps

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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)

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Analogue-modeled Oscillator Generator for real-time analog-style synthesis

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Time-Sampler with independent, real-time timestretching and pitch-shifting

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Wavetable (Schrader) Generator that offers wavetable-like operation using any sample

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Loop Sampler Generator, capable of loading up to 64 samples

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Sampler Generators support audio formats including WAV and AIFF up to 24bit/96kHz

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2 analog-style multimode stereo filters with modulatable cutoff frequency and resonance

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4 independent LFOs with various waveforms and midisync capabilities > >

Sophistry’s presets are divided into folders that have descriptive names. I didn’t always understand a folder’s name but I did understand why all the presets fit in that folder. For example, all the presets in the Breath Pads folder have a common noise that I’m guessing is the “breath” sound. My favorite folder was the Glas Pads folder, but I found usable sounds in every folder. The bulk of Sophistry’s 700 presets are pads and atmospheres. And before I leave the topic of Sophistry’s presets, let me add that pads are not the only sounds in Sophistry. Yes, the bulk of the presets are pads (10 folders!) and, if you purchase Sophistry, purchase it for its pads. But there are other sounds as well, although all the sounds seem to have a synthesizer in their background. For example, the Strings bank contains no presets that you could confuse with real strings. But the sounds are cool and useful nevertheless. > >

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Easy-Edit panel allowing preset browsing and quick access to main synthesis parameters

Wusik Magazine

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Review

Sophistry

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Review

Sophistry

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

There is also a great folder of bell sounds and this folder became one of my favorites. All the bells are effected or synthetic but, with that understood, they sound cool. There are bells that sound analog. There are bells that sound like they came from a D-50, and some from a DX-7; and some that may have started as samples but they are processed and effected. And speaking of effects, CronoX3/Sophistry’s effects are stellar and they are programmed effectively.

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Sophistry actually has the word “ambient” in its name, so I guess that is the target musical genre. But don’t let that limit the applications for Sophistry. Many of the sounds are very dramatic and they could easily be used in music for film or video. If you do soundtrack work, be sure to take a serious look at this instrument. In fact, don’t sell Sophistry short no matter what kind of music you make, as long as it is electronic. > >

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LFO Waves have adjustable delay, attack and decay time, and waveformsymmetry

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Modulation Matrix with 10 routings for connecting 30 sources and 56 destinations

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Fully recognizes Velocity, Aftertouch, Pitchbend, Modwheel and various other MIDI controllers, and includes a “MIDI Learn” function for easy controller assignment.

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6 simultaneously available effect units, including various Delays, Chorus, Phaser, Filter, Flanger, Gator, Stereo Enhancer, Parametric EQ and Crusher

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Mono/Polyphonic Portamento/Glide featuring "Fingered" mode, switchable Constant Time/Constant Rate and Auto-Bend Modes

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32-voice polyphony (CPU dependent), sampleaccurate, settings are saved with the song

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7 ADSFR-type envelopes for controlling output amplitudes and cutoff frequencies, as well as two freely assignable modulation envelopes > >


Review

Sophistry

There are a number of audio demos on Linplug’s Sophistry page but none of them, at least in my opinion, focus on an ambient style. So I created something a little more toward Ambient, although true ambient artists will disagree. It is made with Sophistry and only Sophistry. You can find it at: www.wusik.com/song.php?id=1710

Price:

.

Wusik Magazine

The license fee is 199 USD / 149 Euro (including a DVD, a printed manual, handling and shipping worldwide). CronoX 3 customers can get the Sophistry Ambient Synthesizer at a reduced fee of 119 USD / 89 Euro.

If you listen to Sophistry’s audio demos, I think you’ll see its versatility. At first I was confused that none of the demos really sounded “ambient” but I think that points to Sophistry’s ability to fit into a variety of musical styles. That’s why I said Sophistry is a specialized instrument that can be versatile. > >

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Review

Frank Neumann

Interview with

Frank Neumann of Particular Sound

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

by David Keenum

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Frank “XenoX� Neumann is the man behind the sounds in Sophistry. I met Frank on the LinPlug forum and asked him some questions by email.


Of course! Well, Particular Sound was started some years ago when I got one of my first "jobs" making presets for Yamaha Europe. After that I was involved in other projects with my friend, Ingo Nasse, and we thought we needed a company name and website. We ended up with the name Particular Sound Definition and used that name for all our projects. In recent years we have been doing more sample-based stuff, as you can see in the big content for Sophistry, CronoX, and for our upcoming releases. But we are still doing some synthesizer presets, too.

We have a lot of projects coming up. The first is the RMV Drum Addiction from LinPlug. I did over 1.5gb of drums for that baby! That little machine is really amazing; I am sure it will be released by the time you read the text here. In 2008 I started making sounds and stuff for one of the biggest sample content companies worldwide, Ueberschall. And we have a new sample set available from Samplebase (www.samplebase.com/home.htm). And last, but not least, I have just started recording for another big project like Sophistry‌ new sounds and stuff of course. This one will be even bigger and better, with a new instrument with synthesis‌ of course. > >

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Wusik: What are some of the things you are working on now?

Wusik Magazine

Wusik: Can you tell us some things about your company?

Review

Frank Neumann

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Review

Frank Neumann

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

Wusik: What led you to create the content for Sophistry?

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I had a dream of making a synthesizer that I would personally like 100 percent, and after I got the first beta from CronoX3 I thought, “I can finish my dream with that machine.” The first time I played CronoX3 I really liked it, and after finishing the first sounds and samples for version 3.0, I started making my own samples for that machine. After finishing the first sounds, I gave them to Peter at LinPlug and he was shocked at what I had done with his player. I gave him the first 50 presets, if I remember right. Well, I continued my work and the library was getting bigger and bigger, and after I reached 700 presets I stopped making sounds. The Library was so big that we couldn't

say it was a sound set for CronoX3. It needed its own instrument, so Sophistry was born. I remember people who were not happy with Sophistry being released as a separate instrument. They owned CronoX3 and they thought it would be better to release the library just for CronoX3. But it's no problem loading all the stuff into CronoX3 and, of course, every single sound can be loaded into Sophistry from CronoX. And there are people around who love ambient sounds, and they get a great synthesizer/sampler with the library, together. We think it’s a great solution that CronoX3 users can buy Sophistry for a lower price, simply because they own the CronoX3. This is something people sometimes forgot. > >


Wusik: What are the influences for your synth programming?

Wusik: Were you thinking of specific types of music when you created Sophistry? Ambient? Movie music?

#022 February 2008

Yes, I love ambient sounds and evolving and moving pads. All of that is available with Sophistry. Of course I also love the sounds used in Hollywood blockbusters and I tried to make Sophistry content available for use in that genre. I must have chosen the right sounds because I know of big name musicians in the States who are using Sophistry to make music for movies. And there are some BBC movies where only Sophistry was used for the sounds. That is really nice to see. > >

Wusik Magazine

My inspiration came out of my mind. It all happened when I got my first C64 in 1985/86. I loved the sound and the way the people did music on that machine, and from that time I tried to create my own way of making sounds. I don’t think of myself as a really good musician but I have a lot of fun making sounds. And since a lot of people are using my sounds, it inspires me to keep programming new sounds! I can think of nothing greater than to hear that people did 100% of their music with sounds by me. I still get, from time to time, emails from customers who send me sound examples; that's really nice and my inspiration.

Review

Frank Neumann

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Review #022 February 2008 Wusik Magazine

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Frank Neumann

Sophistry sold very well, and some people from the States who were making music for Hollywood Blockbusters are still using Sophistry. It’s great that you can sit in the cinema and hear sounds from Sophistry. Because these dudes are our customers, we were not allowed to write names down here. Sorry. But I believe that a lot of famous musicians are using Sophistry or they updated from CronoX3 to Sophistry.

Wusik: Did you sample both hardware and software instruments? Yes, both. For example, I sometimes used analog and digital hardware synthesizers for the dark part of the sound and then software, with different syntheses like wavetable,

granular synthesis, FM or another method, to make the higher part of the sample. I programmed some movement in every sound, just to make it a bit more interesting. I used the internal filter of Sophistry, and it’s really interesting what sometimes came out. There is no one synthesis I used all the time. I tried to use everything I like. Wavetable synthesis is one of my favorites and, with a synth like the V-Synth, granular synthesis is very easy to do. I love it.

Wusik: As I have worked with Sophistry, I am constantly amazed at the amount of movement you programmed into the sounds. It’s good to know that you like my stuff.


What's on your Amp

What's

on

your Amp

Wusik Magazine

#022 February 2008

by R(t)O

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What's

on

your Amp

While digging through the closet, I stumbled across a CD reissue of one of my favorite discs from the early 80’s. I immediately popped it in and was taken back to a simpler time where all I had to worry about was getting my homework done on time. Of course when the song ‘Norman Bates’ came on, it was time to a rhythmic slam- on. If you haven’t guessed the CD by now, it is the classic from Landscape, “From the Tea-rooms of Mars..........to the Hell-holes of Uranus”. There was so much unheralded good music from this era that, due to the lack of something similar to the Internet, only a few people were exposed to it. Who remembers Tenpole Tudor or Phil N the Blanks? If they asked this question on Jeopardy, maybe they would save a little prize money. I have accumulated some of the CD reissues of these classic CD's. Each time I listen to them, I remember things long forgotten from a time in my past. The collections being advertised claim to take you back, but it is not the same as having the whole release. Many times, the best songs on a disc never made the charts and are overlooked when these collections are compiled. Wusik Magazine

So, until the Tenpole Tudor reunion tour with an opening act Baltimora kicks off, I will enjoy these classics on CD. If you are getting tired of the new releases, maybe a trip down the obscure part of memory lane will be just what the doctor ordered.

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Wsm - February 2008 - Issue 022