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Editorial

Wusik Sound Magazine www.wusiksoundmagazine.com Issue February 2009

Managing Editor: MoniKe Assistant Editors: Per Lichtman, Damion Johnston, WilliamK Production Manager: MoniKe

Articles by: A. Arsov www.arsov.net David Keenum david@wusik.com Ginno 'g.no' Legaspi www.myspace.com/gnomusic Per Lichtman www.soundclick.com/perlichtman VP/Music and Creative, Beyond Belief Music Corp. beyondbeliefmusic@gmail.com Squibs www.musician.ie Sergio - aka Sir Joe www.sir-joe.com info@sir-joe.com Trusty www.myspace.com/crosssoldiers Stickybeats@yahoo.com WilliamK

Proof-Reading by: Damion Johnston - aka EM Ginno 'g.no' Legaspi Peggy Per Lichtman Sergio - aka Sir Joe Trusty

Pictures: www.dreamstime.com

Covers and EVE’s Advertising: Henry Gibson

Greetings Readers! Welcome to the first issue of WSM in 2009. In addition to reviews of several FX plug-ins and the newest version of Sonar, we also have something a little bit special. Here you'll find one of the first reviews of PRIZM: an ambitious new "everything-and-the-kitchen-sink" sound library using the Wusik Engine. Of course, there's still lots more to "sink" your teeth into, and purely acoustic offerings aren't neglected either. As another exciting addition, this issue is the first issue released since the unified re-design of the Wusik family of sites. Readers should now feel more comfortable heading from WSM to Wusik.com and vice-versa. Check out Wusik.com for recent updates to both Wusik Station and Wusik EVE. EVE is the first Wusik brand product for PC, PowerPC and Intel Macs; so OS X users shouldn't feel left out! Don't forget to drop by the WSM site and let us know how you like the improved Flash reader as well. Speaking of Flash, this month also marks the launch of the WusikSoundMagazine channel on YouTube with the Winter NAMM 2009 videos; all viewable in HD! We've started off with 9 videos talking with the developers (including a few industry vets giving a shout out to WSM readers), 2 videos on outboard gear, 1 showing off a new hardware controller and 4 more videos to put you "on the floor" from the registration process on into entering the main music technology exhibition hall. It's the closest you'll get to be being there without paying the airfare. Special thanks to ProRec.com and NumericalSound.com for their help with WSM's first NAMM outing: We couldn't have done it without you! Reviews of URS Saturation, Pro Audio Vault BlĂźthner Digital Model One, Bela D Media's Tenor and Abbey Road Plug-ins TG Mastering Pack, all originally slated for inclusion in this issue, will be instead be added in an update later this month. Right as we were finishing this issue we were shocked by the deep loss in the sudden passing of a very important figure in the audio community: the kind man named Tim Conrardy (a.k.a. TC). It's impossible to do justice to Tim, his influence, his giving heart and spirit in the span of a page, but at the end of this month's magazine you will find a few short words about him and links to sites in his memoriam. We will be making sure to devote space to a fuller memorial in honor of this great man and hope to bring you the words of several of his friends and colleagues. A quick glance at the KVR forums shows that the response to his passing has been truly overwhelming, and gives the sense that one of the very pillars of the online music community has moved on. Our hearts go out to Tim's family, friends, and colleagues in this time of their grief. His spirit will continue enriching the music community for years to come. Per Lichtman and MoniKe


Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Songwriter 04 The Naive by Sir Joe

Interview: Charles de Goal by Sir Joe

06 10

Pierluigi Giombini by Squibs

14

EGOamp by Sir Joe

18

Winter NAMM 2009 by Per Lichtman

Amp 80 What'sbyOnSirYour Joe

81

Ask Doctor Jack

with that Trusty Guy? 82 What'sbyUpTrusty you 16 Free for by A. Arsov

I Did it Myself! 44 Look Mom! by David Keenum

Developer’s Corner: ToneHammer’s: Review:

22

24

Review:

26

Review:

28

Interview:

AntiDrum 1 and Old Busted Granny Piano by A. Arsov Propanium by David Keenum Bamboo Stick Ensemble by David Keenum Troels Folmann and Mike Peaslee by David Keenum

Hardcore Harmonics: Review: PRIZM by David Keenum Interview: Mike felker and Bill Singleton by David Keenum

32 37

Review: D16 Group Decimort by Ginno 'g.no' Legaspi

46 48

Sonar 8 by Trusty

Flashback: “MIDI. MIDI.” by WilliamK

84

56

PSP Audioware MasterQ by Ginno 'g.no' Legaspi

58

Rocket Compressor by A. Arsov

60

Sylenth 1 by A. Arsov

62

Bart Noorman’s Virtual Music School by David Keenum

66

Tiny Binaural Harpsichord by David Keenum

68

The Mellotron by WilliamK

70

T-Racks 3 by A. Arsov

74

Mini Reviews Sample&Sounds Library by Ginno 'g.no' Legaspi


The Naive Songwriter by Sir Joe

This is the story of a guy who released an album on the internet with high expectations and then had to face the hard reality of today’s music business… Many times in the past I have found myself living in situations which I thought were peculiar only to me, just to realize, later, that actually my unique experience was, in fact, very commonplace. I suspect that this may be the case again and that the club of "naive

songwriters" is getting even more crowded. Would you be interested in finding out if you are in this club as well? Some time ago, I released my first album on the internet -- after having had one track reviewed in the British magazine Future Music. Following the release, emotionally, I went through three very distinct phases, which characterize the typical naive songwriter. Here they are:

PHASE 1 -

c

You think that you have just released the best album ever made! Now, it is only a matter of spreading the word on the web and contacting all the friends who promised to help you “once the album is out”.

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PHASE 2 After a few months, you suddenly realize that: ·

Apparently, nobody has legally downloaded your album yet

·

All the people who were supposed to review it or help you get a contract with a label have disappeared

·

Not only the are the bloggers you respected so much not playing your songs; they did not even bother to answer your e-mails

·

You deliberately ignore the positive comments and focus your attention only on the negative ones

·

Listening very carefully to your own songs again, you notice how, indeed, this is not the best album ever released. Actually, you start to wonder how any sane person would waste his or her time listening to this load of rubbish.

PHASE 3 -

Luckily, after some more time, phase 3 starts to kick in. You realize that there is nothing wrong with your songs, in fact some of them are really good. The thing is, none is so original or ground-breaking as to attract the attention of the world without some serious marketing to support them. You also acknowledge that often people say things they do not really mean, simply because most of us want to look nice to the others. The same thing happened when you were looking for a job or trying to get on the local football team. You accept the fact that even when they like your music, most people don’t send feedback because they don’t have time, or they think their input is not so important to you. And, no matter what, let us not forget all those

characters whose lack of talent as songwriters turned them into ferocious critics of other people’s music. There are some of them on the internet and obviously you should totally ignore their opinion. After all, they are just a bunch of frustrated losers. Most important of all, you remind yourself that the main reason you started your project several months ago was to have fun and express your feelings through music. If you have achieved this, nothing else should really matter. If there is a phase four, I have not reached it yet. But I suspect that there isn’t a phase four because by now, perhaps, you are no longer a naive songwriter and you are ready to start working on your next album. There is one more thing that I learned by making an album: the importance of being acknowledged. Every time I go to Myspace, and find a song that moves me, now I immediately drop a short note of appreciation to the artist because I know what it means to feel ignored. Lately, I have developed some very gratifying relationships with other artists and it all started with a short message saying, “Thank you for your music”. I have not suddenly become the wisest guy in the music business; but now I feel, indeed, more self-confident and I am ready to start working on my second album with a serene state of mind.

Now...hmm, can I ask you a question? Do you happen to know a manager of a recording label… LOL

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

February 2009

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by Sir Joe

If you lived in France during the 80’s, you may have heard of Charles de Goal. Born initially as the solo project of elusive Parisian Patrick Blain, they were often described as a mixture of minimal synth and post punk. While enjoying underground fame and a fair amount of airtime on French radio stations, they went completely unnoticed abroad. Having released 4 albums in 6 years through the independent record label New Rose, silence fell over the band, and a fifth album made in 1991 was released only in 2005 as a bonus to the re-mastered version of their first album. Patrick Blain performed again 06

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in 2006 as Charles de Goal for what was meant as a one off concert with his friends Etienne Lebourg (bass), Jean-Philippe Brouant (drums) and Thierry Leray (keyboards, guitar, programming). To everyone’s surprise, the gig was a huge success and led the group to play further dates in

February 2009

France, launch a full European tour and write new material, which eventually emerged in April 2008 as the album “Restructuration”. WSM met with the band the day before their sold-out concert at Klub Imbir in Cracow (Poland) and asked Patrick and Thierry a few questions.


WSM: The music industry has changed a lot recently. Do you miss the ‘old times’ or are you happy with the flexibility that internet offers to an artist? Patrick: I think that since the music we make is not ‘mainstream’, the current situation is better for us although we are selling far less records than we did in the past. When I started Charles de Goal I was lucky enough to have a friend who was working at “New Rose”, so I did not really have to look for a label to release my records. Still, in those times you needed a manager and a press agent and that was a heavy but necessary structure for an indie artist. Nowadays with the internet, anybody can reach you and if they like your music they can contact you directly. In fact, most of the dates of our current European tour were arranged WSM: So, what kind of and now I would have to pay a through our Myspace page, with instrumentation are you using fortune to buy them back, if I ever people contacting us and offering to now? found them... LOL organize the event. We also started our own label in order to release the Thierry: All guitar sounds and most new album, which we are selling only of the bass are coming from real WSM: What about mastering? Do via internet and selected stores. I instruments, while part of the drums you think it is possible to master can’t be 100% sure but I feel that in are samples coming from an old drum an album at home to an this way we are earning more money box that we have sampled ourselves. acceptable standard? than if we had a deal with a major For all the other sounds we use label or a distributor. emulations of old keyboards and T: I think that if you have access to synths like the ARP Odyssey, the high standard mastering tools you Prophet 5 and the Mellotron. can do mastering at home, as long as WSM: Also the tools you used 25 you let a professional do it. That’s years ago were very different to because you need somebody with an what we can enjoy now. Any WSM: Is this a convenience choice extremely good ear to do a proper job. special memory or nostalgia for or do you think that the quality of the old days? the emulations is nowadays comparable to the real analog WSM: “Louder is better”. Do you P: Well, I remember that half of the instruments? agree? songs for the first album were recorded on a 4 track tape recorder P: It is mainly a choice of P: Not at all! I hate it when I open a but then everything was of course convenience because if we still had wave file and what I see is something mixed and mastered in a professional the old instruments we would very close to a rectangle, which studio. Now you can do almost definitely use them. For as close as seems to be a trend in modern music. everything at home, which is actually an emulation can come to the real It is fair to say that many records in what we have done for the latest thing, I think it is not the same. Like the past were a bit too “quiet” but on album, except for the vocals and part many other people I got rid of all my the other side you need to keep the of the drums. So I would say that analog equipment when the first dynamics, otherwise all the emotions even in this case the current situation digital instruments started to appear. in a tune are removed. is better than in the past. That was a really foolish thing to do www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

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WSM: If you could go back in time to when you started the project, is there anything that you would do in a different way?

When I went back on stage 2 years ago, I immediately felt that something special was going on. The people I chose to play with were in my same wavelength and we were not only 4 people playing the same tune, we were a real band! That made a big difference.

P: Oh yes! In the early 80’s I was doing everything on my own and it took me almost 4 years before I played my first concert as Charles de Goal. Of course I was using other musicians both in studio and on stage WSM: Does this new collaboration spirit affect the creative process but I always felt that they were not as well? really interested in what I was doing and my mistake was not to speak frankly with them about it. Eventually P: Absolutely. Usually this first idea comes from me or Thierry but then this was the main reason why I everybody adds his contribution until stopped making records; I was unhappy with the quality of the songs we have a complete tune. Lyrics are usually added at the end, which is and I felt disconnected with my also something different compared to collaborators and my music. what I was doing in the past.

I’d love to think that our fans understand what they are singing about, but frankly I’m afraid the truth is very different. LOL

WSM: Can you tell us something about the future of the band? P: Well, first of all a tribute album to Charles de Goal will be released in January 2009 by the label Brouillard Definitif , with the contribution of bands from France, Germany, United States, Nederland and so on. This is very touching because I never thought that something like this could happen. We are also planning a new album and hopefully a tour in the United States. What I can also tell you is that when we will stop having fun with what we are doing, that will be the end of Charles de Goal. I am not going to play until I am 70 just to make more money. LOL

WSM: You are enjoying much more success now than 20 years ago, especially outside WSM: Thanks a lot, guys. See you France, and your tomorrow at the concert! music is still deeply rooted in the punk P&T: Sure, we hope you’ll enjoy it. movement. Do you see this as a Although it is not the intention of this coincidence or is it article to review the concert, I maybe the consequence of the strongly suggest checking on growth of a new http://www.myspace.com/charlesdeg punk generation? oal whether Charles de Goal are planning a gig near you. Not only P: To be honest I they are super nice people, they also have no idea of why offer a highly energetic and we are so successful entertaining show (albeit a short one, now. I mean, I sing in if I may spare a slight criticism) that French and I assume will please most music lovers, most people outside regardless of whatever genre that you France have no clue feel more acquainted with personally. of what I am saying. And if you want to listen to their When we toured music from a different angle, check Germany I could hear the tribute album that Patrick a lot of people singing mentioned in the interview. It has and that was a real just been released and it should not surprise. Since I give be too difficult to find in Europe and a lot of importance to in the United States. the lyrics in our songs, 08

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Pierluigi Giombini by Squibs

Pierluigi Giombini might not be quite a household name, but he is well known amongst synthesizer aficionados, mainly for his many hits from the 80s. With 14,000,000 sales to his name from synth classics such as “Dolce Vita” (sung by Ryan Paris), I’ve wanted to talk to Pier for a long time. He graciously agreed to grant me an interview and we discussed his career from his formative years right through to the present day. WSM: You cite ELP and W. Carlos as WSM: You come from a very musical early influences. The appearance of family. Tell me a little about them and the analogue synthesizer in music how they influenced you musically. was very exciting. What was the first synthesizer record that sent a shiver PG: My grandfather was an oboe down your spine? professor who played in the S. Cecilia Conservatory Orchestra. My father PG: I believe that Keith Emerson is a was a composer who specialized in true genius, both as a composer and film soundtracks and electronic as a keyboard player. I still listen to music; he composed, among other the ELP records (the ones made works, the “Messa Beat” which is a before 1973, including Brain Salad Mass composed in the ‘Beat’ style of Surgery). Up to about 20 years of the 60’s. It created quite a stir in age I wasn’t attracted by the popItaly. Thanks to my father I have had music world in general. I wondered the privilege of hearing music firsthow ELP could sell millions of records hand from a very early age. My and play stadiums to average father played both classical (he was listeners with such relatively complex excellent at composing Fuges) and and difficult music. Years later, when electronic music… I loved to hear the I decided to produce pop-dance sounds which he got from his ARP records I was inspired to use 2600. 10

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synthesizers because of Emerson. Another great influence were the Bach records by W. Carlos played on the wonderful Moog C3 modular synth. The attention to detail and refined taste with which Carlos created and recorded every single monophonic sound, as well as the fabulous mixes, show-off the sublime greatness of Bach’s counterpoint even better than an Orchestra. I’m sure that if Bach could listen to ‘Switched On Bach’ today he would love it!

WSM: What was the first synthesizer you ever owned? PG: The first synth I ever bought was a Mini-Moog, a fantastic, magicalsounding synth.


WSM: When did you start writing your own songs? PG: I started creating music at about 15 years of age, but I didn’t begin composing pop-songs, I was too much under the influence of ELP on the rock side and Stravinsky on the classical side. I began to appreciate pop songs from the age of 23 onward. My first hit “Masterpiece” arrived at 25 years of age.

WSM: When did you get involved in the recording and production of music?

rever b! But that PG: At first I couldn’t produce any was all I records by myself, as studio expenses needed to in the ‘80s were too high, so I had to create a get financing from record companies decent through demos I made on a Teac 4sound, track reel-to-reel at home. In the thanks beginning it was really hard to get mainly to any assistance from the record my companies. They told me it was Oberheim ridiculous to even try and make and my records in Italy which were sung in Mini-Moog. English. They told me that I was Because of lack of foolish to try and break into the professional international market and that I should WSM: Dolce Vita, which you wrote interest, “Masterpiece” was pressed resign myself to being an arranger for with Paul Mazzolini, was one of my not by a true record company but a Italian pop-music. I answered that I record distributor, who then shipped favourite songs from the 80's. Tell us would rather starve than to serve the the records to the various record about the synths and the sounds you Italian pop-stars, which I loathed. stores in Italy. Without any real used when recording the track. Eventually I had to find a partner to promotion the record was licensed help me produce. I partnered with a abroad and sold over a million copies! PG: I don’t like the term ‘co-wrote’, it DJ who paid for the studio time The following year (1983) I created can be misleading. I composed, necessary to record “Masterpiece”. the follow-up “I Like Chopin”, which produced, arranged, played and The studio was really small. It had a became a hit worldwide. As far as I mixed the music of Dolce Vita, Tascam 16-track machine with a 16am concerned many record company input mixer of the same make, JBL Mazzolini was limited to writing the people should change jobs! speakers, one delay of which I can’t lyrics and Ryan Paris was the singer. I recall the name and ONE spring am glad that it’s one of your www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

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Pierluigi Giombini

favourites. What you probably don’t know is that I had an incredibly hard time trying to get a record company to publish it. All the professional ‘experts’ told me that it was a record destined to sell only a few thousand copies… instead it sold over 4,000,000 copies, went number one in most European countries and even got into the top 5 of the UK charts! I recorded ‘Dolce Vita’ at the Titania studios in Rome. There I met G. Bresciani who was an excellent sound engineer. The majority of the sounds came from the Oberheim OB-8, the stereo sound with the pitch-bend effect came from the OB-8 too. You can decide how to output the single oscillators on the back panel. I then enhanced this effect with a delay set to 16th notes

drawn to making trance music. How ‘dance’ musician, especially if you do you feel about the evolution of consider what is called ‘dance’ synth music since the 80’? today. Maybe the label pop-danceclassical musician is better suited to PG: Obviously things have changed describe me! quite a bit since the 80’s. These days it’s a lot faster and easier to create a ‘sound’ using plug-ins. WSM: What projects are you Computer automation lets you do working on at the moment? things which were unthinkable in the 80’s. The old analogue synths PG: I am working on a great new have a more powerful sound, more project, an album which will have fascinating, but if you don’t lock my name on it, something yourself into being too much of a completely different from what I’ve purist then you can still make done up to now. So when I’ve something very interesting with finished it we’ll see what the record Cubase or Logic. execs think of it. As usual it will be difficult (laughs), but if the record companies don’t like it I don’t really WSM: How do you produce care, this is something which I am electronic music these days? Do creating with passion, which is what you use computer synths and really counts for me right now. sequencers or do you use a keyboard workstation? WSM: What advice would you give to create a ping-pong effect. The PG: Right now I am using a Mac to somebody starting out in studio also had a great Lexicon 224, with Logic but I have a midi electronic music today? Lexicon Prime Time, an AMT reverb, interface which is connected to a couple of Urei compressors and a external synths such as the PG: I would say to dedicate Studer 24 –track machine. For the Supernova and Virus, which yourself to electronic music with bass sound I used the Mini-Moog. I although not real analog synths can respect. It’s important to recorded 4 tracks of the same part be used quite successfully. understand that it’s not enough to just use a preset from a synth but with a slightly different wave inside the computer, throw down shape each time. On two tracks I WSM: I've seen some internet some random notes with a mouse used saw tooth waves on all three video clips of you playing the piano for a sequencer track, put on a loop oscillators, on the other two square endlessly with some automated with obvious skill. You studied waves, which makes a total of 12 classical music at the renowned filters. This is not electronic music. oscillators! We mixed the result to Conservatory in Rome. How much Sometimes I hear people who two tracks so that I could have a of your classical background comes aren’t musicians, or even musicians powerful and stereo bass sound. No through when you are creating who are ignorant of their craft sequencers were involved, alluding that there’s no use in dance music? everything I did in the 80’s was studying because ‘everything is done by the computer’ anyway. In PG: Having a Classical music played by hand, track-by-track. background has helped me make the end, only a true artist with more refined arrangements, in excellent knowledge of synthesizers particular regarding the distribution can create an electronic track which WSM: As we entered the new of parts. After all I am not really a can be called ‘music’! millennium, you found yourself

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by Sir Joe Germany is indeed one of the most prolific Countries in the world in relation to the dark wave movement, so it was about time for WSM to feature an interview with a band “aus Deutschland”. That’s why we sent our faithful homing pigeon to Holstenwall, where he dropped some questions to Asmodi Caligari and Cesare Insomnia, the two members of EGOamp.

WSM: “Das Kabinett des Dr. Caligari”, the silent German movie from 1920, has been an inspiration for several artists, including you. What are the reasons that made this movie a classic?

WSM: You also cite Bobby Orlando as one of your influences and I think this is mainly related to your bass lines, especially on songs like “Egomanic maniacs”. Am I correct or did he influence you in other ways?

Asmodi: it is not that hard to tell. “Das Kabinett des Dr. Caligari” is ‘the’ expressionism film classic of the 20s. A: We do like the 80s disco hits very The allusive images that Robert Wiene much and Bobby Orlando made a great job in producing catchy created are still, after 80 years, so strong and fantastic and have a great melodies, rolling baselines and cool attraction to a lot of artists like beats, so he is one of the major influences in our music among other “Bauhaus”, “Das Kabinette”, “Red Hot musicians like Giorgio Moroder and a Chilli Peppers” and so forth. The movie is very abstract, like a dark lot of italo disco bands. And this is the style of music we are going to absorb nightmare and it has also influenced for the next EGOamp album. Hollywood’s “Film Noir” in the 40s.

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WSM: How did you get in touch with Chris Lietz, producer of the German electronic band “Die Krupps”? Is he simply producing your record or is he a sort of third member at the composition stage? Cesare: My opinion is that a good producer is actually sort of a member in a band. I have known Chris for many years; I’m a developer for proaudio equipment and Chris is using a lot of our stuff. Fortunately he entirely understood our intentions for the album and had lots of ideas. In other words, he acted as a professional sound booster for EGOamp. LOL


analogue gear, e.g. the Yamaha CS80, Elka Synthex, Roland Jupiter 6, MKS80, TR909, SH101, Korg DVP1 Vocoder, etc. By the way, our newest equipment member is the Moog Little A: You will hear an album with a lot Phatty Stage II – GREAT! of electronic wave-pop songs, with Unfortunately we still miss a practical references to the “Cabinet of Dr. VSTi sampler. I just wonder why Caligari” and other themes like nobody else complains about what is desperation, hate and love. The songs are based on 80´s sounds but, currently available. thanks to the production of Chris Lietz, they sound very modern as WSM: Tell us about your live setwell. The several subjects of the up. songs will be introduced by small atmospheric instrumentals that will A: The live setup is Cesare playing round off the approach of the cd. the keyboards and me as front man singing along and playing the harmonica soprano. We are dressed WSM: Aren’t you afraid of being tagged as a retro nostalgic band? up and rouged like actors of an old silent movie, so we are some kind of eye catchers for the audience. LOL A: Well, we are a nostalgic band, actually. As I said before, the songwriting breathes the spirit of the 80s but we also use a lot of analogue WSM: That means an EGOamp concert is a bit more than 2 guys sounds and additionally the newest standing on stage in front of a synthesizers and production keyboard, isn’t it? techniques, so the result is an interesting blend of traditional and A: We are trying to move the new sounds. boundaries of the typical electro pop concert by presenting a very personal show with a lot of movie WSM: Where are your songs atmosphere (for example through recorded? What kind of projecting the movie on a screen). instruments do you use? We are planning to push ourselves further and further with every live C: In the beginning of making a track, Asmodi usually prepares some show and there will be some movie project sketches in Cubase and most gadgets and props on stage in the of times he has already recorded the future. vocal parts at this stage. Then I start creating a base arrangement in my studio and select the sounds. We use WSM: If you had 5.000 euros to spend on music gear, what would a lot of analogue sounds, either you buy? sampled by ourselves or taken from the huge analogue sample library C: Hmm, right now I’m building up a made by Chris and Jürgen (die new studio and I’m looking for a Krupps). As soon as we are happy Lexicon 960 FX processor. And if it with the result we plan another studio session with Chris. was possible, I would definitely buy some more time to make music. “Welcome to the Cabinet” has been completely arranged and mixed in Nuendo. Of course we do use a lot of EGOamp will attend the “Wave Gotik software plug-ins but most of them are replaceable. On the software side Treffen” festival in Leipzig on the I can just point out the fantastic UAD 29th of May. You can find more DSP (actually hardware indeed). The information about the band at www.ego-amp.com and typical EGOamp sound is generated by the samples we made from our www.myspace.com/egoamp WSM: Your first album “Welcome to the cabinet” will be out soon. What can we expect from it?

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Free for you

by A. Arsov

Things that money can't buy the best freeware effects and instruments

I used to be a freeware freak, but I'm ok now. Almost ok. The fact is that no matter how many pieces of expensive gear I owe, I find myself still using some freeware plug-ins in my production. Money is not the issue, since as a reviewer I can get almost everything I want. I use them because I find that they are irreplaceable. Some of them are simple to use while others are highly specialised and it is almost impossible to find an alternative. Regardless of their purpose, all of them prove to be excellent tools for completing the tasks for which are designed, so it will be a nonsense not to use them. In this month article I will show you the first five (six, as one is doubled) essential plug-ins that money can't buy. Next month there will be another five. So, let's start the show:

Baxxpander http://www.uv.es/~ruizcan/p_vst.htm With this little fellow, it is totally irrelevant if your lovely soft synth can produce a fat low end or not. Choose the bass you like and put it through the Baxxpander. Simple as that. I always use it when I'm recording with my old bass guitar and most of the time when I use soft synths for that purpose. If it's not fat, it will become fat and if it is already, it will be even fatter.

dfx monomaker http://destroyfx.smartelectronix.com/extras/ Before exporting bass or any other stereo instrument in mono I always check with monomaker to see if anything will be lost. Same goes for the final mix. Put it on your master output and check how it will sound in mono. It is the easiest way to find if something is out of phase.

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Jb Ferox and bootsy Tesla SE http://www.jeroenbreebaart.com/ http://varietyofsound.wordpress.com/ Both effects are tape simulators. I don't use them on the master output channel, but I use at least one of them on nearly every channel. Jb Ferox is a bit aggressive, while bootsy Tesla SE is more natural sounding. Just put Jb Ferox as an insert effect on your main drum bus. I can't imagine drums without it. It is also a life saver for dull, flabby basses. For any other instruments I try both of them and then use the one that sounds better with a particular instruments. Every here and there it happens that there is no need for any of them, but I can't remember for such a case to have happened lately.

Sypan http://freemusicsoftware.org/713

OtioumFX Basslane http://www.otiumfx.com/basslane.php Simple tool for avoiding the moody low end. If you use a chorus, phaser or any similar effects on bass, it is essential to put in mono extra low frequencies to keep the clarity of the mix. You just need to put this one as an insert effect after the chorus and set everything under the 200 Hz on death mono. That's all.

Sypan is an autopan effect which can be synced with the host tempo. It is a must have if you use mono percussion loops and it is pretty hard to go wrong with just two knobs. If your drum loops sound too static, try it in combination with OtioumFX Basslane. Inserting the Sypan first and Basslane after it, you will get your kicks centred while everything else will float around.

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Per Lichtman Wusik Correspondent

Winter NAMM 2009 is only my second NAMM show in five years, but what a show it was! Thankfully, the drive was a little bit shorter this year (I live about halfway closer) so that made it easier to get a camera over there for the last two days of the show. Here's a rundown of all the footage that turned out from the time I got my camera there on day 3 until they started rolling up the carpets on Day 4. You can find all of these videos, and any upcoming ones, at http://www.youtube.com/user/WusikSoundMagazine.

Here, this is what it looks like outside the main hall. The shows have gotten more strict over the years and you now had to have ID ready before they would let you in, even if you had a badge. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fPtoUjmIgk But that didn't mean that there were any less people in line to pick-up badges. Luckily, Ernest Cholakis from Numerical Sound in Toronto made the experience far less painful. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjX7SIfuez8 One of the nice things about the convention center in Anaheim, where the Winter NAMM is held, is just how expansive it is; so I snapped some footage of the crowd going opposite me on the escalator. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbqHqn1uW8M Of course after all that, you finally get into the hall and the craziness begins. It's kind of a sensory overload. If my friend Brent Randall from ProRec.com hadn't been there, I might have been hard pressed to get through much on my first day there. There's simply more to look at then the average person can take in. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMzwuaklUoQ Since I knew I would end up spending a lot of time with the sample developers later on, I wanted to start off with the FX developers instead. First off, I got Colin, the lead engineer and product creator at McDSP, who gave me a quick rundown on what Pro Tools plug-ins they've been up to recently. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGkK2fKxq_I

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Next, Brent and I headed over to Percussa's booth to check out the Percussa Audio Cubes. These were easily some of the most unusual, yet potentially practical, live performance controllers I'd encountered. Very colorful too! Brent was kind enough to demo while I filmed. http://www.youtube.com/watch ?v=mMq594MBTQQ

After that, I followed up on a promise to my girlfriend to shoot Jim Motley; who has gained a sort of viral fame on the net for his TC and more recent SSL demos and videos. As one of the only people I knew that had worked multiple sound DSP


board/interface companies; he was kind enough to step into the hall to field a couple of my burning questions regarding the Duende. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQ8y8KoQw-0 For the last video of the day, we caught up with the famous synth guru Rob Papen, who I had met for the first time only a few months earlier. He gave us demonstration of both the new additions to RG and the flamboyantly colored SubBoomBass. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlHtLckbv1M

That was the end of the filming for day 3, but along the way I had a chance to chat a little with George Massenburg again, stop by the Heavyocity booth and say "Hi" to the Studio Devil team. Day four started off with an outboard guitar gear performance at the TC booth. http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=KUm2iBN8r9A

I had Bob Wilson give me a rundown on the Spectrasonics and announcements at the show. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzfZipDtKes Then after catching up with Eric Persing again, a man that needs no introduction, I asked him to give a shout out to all the WSM readers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hg1iV_wIm3Q Gary Garritan asked to snap a photo of me and Eric together, before I headed over to his booth

Followed by a demonstration of how the guitarist used all the TC gear. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFje31lgiHA I had hoped to pick-up some more info regarding TC's recent updates to their DSP interface line, but scheduling would force it to wait for another time. Somewhere around that time, I met up with my frequent collaborator, Joanna St. Claire. She and I have been meticulously mixing her album "Stream" for her site at http://www.myspace.com/joannastclaire and she was eager to head by the Spectrasonics booth since we'd been using Omnisphere on the project since October.

Persing and Per, courtesy of Garritan

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Gary's orchestral products are some of the most well known and widely used orchestral libraries in the world, and I've been using them since 2003, so of course first thing I did was to have him say hi to all our readers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUX0HP8FTpI Sporting a distinctive fedora, Gary stylishly showed the new GPO running on the Aria engine, smoothly and without problems, even on a Intel Atom powered netbook. Honestly, it was really refereshing to see someone making such an effort to make music making so portable and keeping the system requirments down for users of older systems. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2QT0StcpA4

down to finish our interview while the packing up continued around us. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3ikzNkZY5w After that I caught up with Nick Phoenix from Quantum Leap at East West, who was probably the only person I hadn't seen in longer than Brandon. It had been five years since the last time I saw him and, not coincidentally, five years since I started using his products. Unfortunately all the photos of us came out blurry, but Nick was as modest and down to Earth as I find him in person and even as he was rushing to pack up, he took the time to put me in touch with Chad to help answer some of my Quantum Leap Pianos questions (so keep an eye out for a review in an upcoming issues). And with that, Joanna and I made our way for the exits before security might decide it was time to escort us out of there, roughly 30 minutes past the show's closing time. ;) There was a lot more at the show than I had a chance to cover without the help of a camera man, but I would like to take this chance to thank all the developers and representatives that took time out for WSM, as well as Ernest and Brent, both for helping make the NAMM trip possible and a great experience.

After all that sound and software emphasis, I headed over to try and find out more about AD and DA converters, from the middle-priced ones on up. Johnathan Leonard from Synthax USA was happy to take me through the wide range of the RME product line, from the consumer priced on up to the professional studio and live sound range. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJZWZk3OrFA As the place was closing down I caught up with Brandon Ryan from Cakewalk, who I hadn't seen since spring GDC 2005, the year after I had first started using Sonar. He gave me a rundown of the Cakewalk presence at NAMM and patiently waited for the loud voices over the PA to quiet

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ToneHammer’s

AntiDrum vol 1 and

Old Busted Granny Piano Sample Libraries by A. Arsov

Anti-Drum Vol. 1 The two new products from ToneHammer, Anti-Drum Vol. 1 and Old Busted Granny Piano are relatively small, fair priced libraries with specialized contents. The first one stepped out with its outstanding quality of recorded material while the second is very catchy because it covers a pretty unusual part of the musical spectrum: the sound of an old uncared for piano. Due to their specific nature, neither library are probably intended for a wide market but I'm sure that both of them will easily find their way out; because the quality and realism, along with playability of the included patches are those characteristics which distinguish ToneHammer products from the sea of other competitors.

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This library occupies 993 MB of disk space and offers multi samples of 19 percussive sounds, specifically 2400 samples layered inside 26 Kontakt patches.

comic drum loops with them. It doesn't matter if those samples are effects or if they are percussion hits, the facts are that they sound very realistic and very good.

Two years ago I had worked on a series of 13, five-minute long cartoons as a sound engineer; You can get a variety of creating sounds on my own or just unconventional sounds, from claps through boot stomps, hot tube knocks, searching for the proper ones through big FX libraries. I heard a million wallballs (the red rubber balls you played two-square with in elementary effects back then and I have to school), water bottle thwacks, clicking confess that these sounds from the baby toys, guitar drums and all other Anti-Drum Vol. 1 collection are some of the most realistic sounding effects sorts of out of this world sounds for (or percussion hits) on the market as $39 US. All sounds are recorded in orchestral halls or large studio rooms, far as I'm aware. I presume that's not a matter of luck, but rather a mixture so they have a good amount of nice of a good recording ambient, sounding natural ambience. Most sounds could be easily categorized as combined with clever recording technique and genuine quality sound effects rather than percussive instruments; but since all the included programming. All samples are multilayered and it is a pure joy to samples are recorded as short hits, they can be easily used for a drum kit use them as effects or as percussive instruments. All those stomps and and you can compile some weird and claps can make your choruses go

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My only complaint is about the total absence of loops. If ToneHammer ever decides to provide us with a bag of ready made loops along with all these samples, then this collection could become a must have for every producer or musician with at least a slice of imagination. I am prepared to pay double the price for this library if there were ever to be a decent number of similar quality loops like those that were made for the presentation of this product. All samples are recorded in 44.1Khz/16bit resolution and are in Native Instrument's Kontakt nki format and WAV.

Old Busted Granny Piano

So the main problem of The Old Busted Granny Piano library is that the piano is in a bad condition, but not quite enough, especially in the range where most of the playing takes place. Playing the chords in the middle range produces the sound of some old honky tonk piano; while in the lower middle range there are almost no bad tones. The good name of the granny was preserved by the

I am a tough one to be the reviewer for this set. After all, I am the owner of one old mini piano which is in pretty much a worse condition than this one from ToneHammer. I know authentic bad and beat-up piano sounds. Recording a piano is a pretty tricky business. Maybe this is not the best one I've heard, but it is definitively high above the average range. The main problem is not the quality of the recorded material; it is more a question of the usability. The playability is excellent and the extra low range along with the higher one are in really bad condition; which is good, because it

last two octaves which are in a really bad condition, especially the lowest one. So if you don't have an old piano in a bad condition, this one could be an interesting buy for you, but being the owner of a piano which is in a worse condition. I have the mygranny-is-older-than-yours syndrome, by the way. I expected a decadence

on the whole range. Don't get me wrong, the Old Busted Granny Piano is not a bad sounding library, but it would sound much better if the piano used for recording was in a worse condition. It somehow fails on the “ugly competition� as being too pretty! Thankfully, the lowest two octaves along with the top two of Busted Granny Piano are in a decent bad condition, so for just $35US you can get nice sample material for recording some funny solo piano parts on high or extra low octaves. As for finding appropriate sound these days, it's not so easy, and it is not such a big price if you need that specific sound for your song. Maybe ToneHammer duo should use their hammer to fix the middle and lower middle range of their granny piano. Nothing is good enough that couldn't be worse! It weights 900 mb and it comes in Native Instrument's Kontakt nki format and WAV. 3 patches, 1500 samples sampled at 44.1 khz/16 bit. As every patch loads almost the whole sample content, it is pretty memory intensive, so at least 2GB of RAM is recommended. For more info visit the ToneHammer home site at http://www.tonehammer.com Anti-Drum Vol. 1 costs $39 U.S. and Old Busted Granny Piano costs $35 U.S. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I became a bit lazy over the years and I don't have enough nerves to make my own loops from scratch any more; but I presume that if anyone of you has enough will and guts to do that, then this library could be a good bagger filled with hours of quality joy.

serves the purpose of this set; but in the middle range it proves only to be a bit neglected and not in such a bad condition. The notes in the middle range sound as if someone put a piano through a chorus. The main reason for that is that the strings are just slightly detuned while otherwise it is in pretty decent shape. Trust me, I know what I'm talking about because my old mini piano is in such a bad condition that whenever I start to play it, people start laughing or they just start screaming at me to stop playing, because it hurts so bad to listen to it.

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mad; while all the other hits could easily find their place in your music thanks to their clarity and quality.

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Propanium by David Keenum

Have you ever heard an instrument, or in this case a sample library of an instrument, and knew immediately that you wanted to use this instrument in your music? That was my first reaction to Propanium. As soon as I heard its first notes, I knew I wanted to use it in my music. It sounded familiar but new, ethnic but accessible, and metallic but organic. I was interested! So let me tell you more about it.

The MILLTONE drum Propanium’s samples are from a MILLTONE, a metal tongue hand drum. It has an interesting sound that’s similar to a Hang Drum, but more subtle. Tonehammer describes it as “less ‘steel-drummy’” than the Hang Drum, with “more harmonics and overtones.” From watching the YouTube videos on the MILLTONE website, I would describe its sounds as quiet and soothing. These drums are hand-made in Mississippi and are sold on eBay. They are made from steel tanks that are similar to the tanks that hold propane for Gas Grills. Hey, could that be why the library is called Propanium? Nah. For more information on the MILLTONE drum, go to http://milltonedrums.wordpr ess.com/.

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Bamboo Propanium Creator and Distributor: Tonehammer Web-Site: http://www.tonehammer.com/ Price: $49.00 Details: 11 instrument patches, 2224 samples, 1.67 GB installed, 368 MB .rar download Sample Resolution: 44.1 Khz/16Bit stereo wav format Formats: Native Instruments Kontakt 2.2.4 / 3 (the full retail version of Kontakt is required) Test Computer: AMD Athlon 64 3200+ 2.0GHz, 4GB RAM, Windows XP Pro SP 3, Echo MiaMIDI Audio Card

The Samples and the Patches Tonehammer sampled the MILLTONE drum using a brush, fingers, and a soft mallet. There are 11 instrument patches and 2224 The Conclusion samples. The library is 1.67 GB when installed and All in all, I would describe the entire library as it comes as a 368 MB .rar download. The ambient and organic. I don’t think Propanium programs use 10 velocity layers and 6-8 round would be best used as a lead sound, but as a robin per layer but certain patches (for example background sound it is wonderful and it will give a the overtone patches) have over 35 velocity layers! unique atmosphere to a rack. Wow! Also, there is a very-well-done, 13-page manual in .PDF format and you can download it Although Tonehammer only supplies presets for the from the Propanium product page full version of Kontakt (2.2.4 or higher), they also (http://www.tonehammer.com/?p=1285). supply you with the .wav files. The Propanium product page Besides brush, finger and mallet instrument (http://www.tonehammer.com/?p=1285) has a patches, there are patches of FX sounds, overtones, couple of demos that will give you a good idea of arpeggiator and ambiences. The the library. It will be worth a listen. propanium_mw_ambience patch has an atmospheric sound created with the Propanium samples and I would describe it as both ambient and organic. I don’t know exactly how the arpeggiator script works, but it is unlike a standard arpeggiator. Again, it sounds both ambient and organic.

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ToneHammer’s

Bamboo Stick Ensemble by David Keenum

You’ll be amazed at the sounds that can come out of some simple bamboo poles!

Tonehammer is a young company, That brings us to the Bamboo Stick but it has already released some Ensemble library. It’s a great really interesting libraries in its example of an unusual library that young life. Their Anti-Drum Vol. 1, has practical applications in our music Rust Vol. 1, Frendo, and (the projects. Bamboo Stick Ensemble new) Propanium libraries reveal was recorded using a variety of 6′ an unusual taste in sound and long  2″  diameter  bamboo  poles. sound creation. You might think These poles were struck against the that they had decided to find a floor, as well as dragged and even niche market for sample libraries, ground against the floor. The result and that may be partially true. is 8 instrument patches and 442 But mainly, these guys like samples (4-8 velocities per note with unusual sounds! Just read the 10 repetitions per velocity level). The interview with Troels Folmann patches cover hits, dragging sounds, and Mike Peaslee. They have grinding sounds, tortured sounds, composition and sound design brassy sounds, and even a nice pad credentials, and they apparently sound. All of these come from what love this new job as sample the website calls creative developers. And, to tell the “(mis)treatment” of the bamboo poles. whole story, they are The 8 programs are: actually selling sample libraries 1. clacks&swooshes – I guess the that were word “clacks” says it all. The developed for “swooshes” sound like the bamboo their own poles were dragged across the projects. floor. 2. scrapes_ensemble – These are more dragged sounds, but in this program the poles bounce, squeak, screech, and even moan a little.

but with the sounds being higher in pitch. It’s almost tonal. 4.

scrapes_longnote – This program sounds a little like poorly-played brass instruments. It has a dark, spooky, suspenseful feel.

5. scrapes_loops_all – This program contains looped and tuned versions of various scrapes. The lower octaves come from the “loops_brassy” program, while the upper octaves come from the “loops_pad” program. 6. scrapes_loops_brass – I don’t know where I would use these sounds, but I would love to find a spot. Like the “highnote” program, they sound something like beginner brass instruments, but not exactly. They are tuned and ready to play. Like “scrapes_longnote,” they would probably be best used in situation where a sinister or suspenseful sound was needed.

7. scrapes_loops_pad – This program was a special surprise for me. It is a simple pad sound that sounds a little like a brass 3. scrapes_highnote – pad without the brass attack… This is more of the same, but not exactly. I’ll say this,

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Bamboo Stick Ensemble Creator and Distributor: Tonehammer when you hear it, you won’t believe it came from bamboo poles.

Web-Site: http://www.tonehammer.com/ Price: $35.00

8. scrapes_shortnote – This is similar to “scrapes_longnote” and some of the “scrapes_ensemble “program… but short.

Details: 8 instrument patches, 442 samples, 217 MB installed, 106 MB .rar download

As a side note, the samples were recorded as 44.1Khz/16Bit stereo wav files. This is the sampling philosophy of Tonehammer that they discuss on their website’s FAQ page. Also, on the website, the library is listed as Bamboo Stick Ensemble (wet). “Wet” is an accurate description, and I like it. Tonehammer says they were recorded in a Tile and Glass Hall. I know it limits your mixing choices, but I like the sound of the recording.

Formats: Native Instruments Kontakt 2.2.4 / 3 (the full retail version of Kontakt is required)

To better explain myself, I created two demos using my favorite programs, clacks&swooshes and scrapes_loops_pad. Both demos use the “clacks” from clacks&swooshes, but the first demo features scrapes_loops_pad. You can find the demo, Padded Bamboo, at: http://www.wusiklabel.com/members /6/song_focus_209.php The second demo features as much of clacks&swooshes as I could put in it. The Broadway musical Stomp is coming to my town in a couple of weeks, so I created my version of the Stomp broom number… except I used

Sample Resolution: 44.1Khz/16Bit stereo wav format

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bamboo poles. So you know what you are hearing, I used a very light compression and no additional reverb. You can find the demo, The Bamboo Stomp, at: http://www.wusiklabel.com/members /6/song_focus_210.php

Now, if you have a piece of music or a video cue that needs some dark, even creepy sounds, then this library deserves a close look. I can truthfully say that I wouldn’t want these guys supplying the sound effects for my next ghost story night!

Applications? Obviously, Bamboo Stick Ensemble would work as part of a percussion ensemble. Just listen to the online demos. But I think that would only be the beginning. It would work as background percussion in any music with an ethnic tone. How about using it in an acoustic

I am curious about how these sounds would work in Wusik Station. There is no Kontakt scripting, and Wusik Station can do round robin. This sounds like a library that would work well in Wusik Station. Anybody want to translate the library and let us know?

recording? Of course, but that brings up one more word I wanted to use: live. This library has a live sound! What I mean is, when you play back a part you’ve recorded, there is enough variation so that you can believe people actually recorded it live. Could it be the 4-8 velocities per note and the 10 repetitions per velocity level? I think that has to be part of it.

In conclusion, I found the Bamboo Stick Ensemble interesting and useful. If it sounds interesting to you, check out the online demos; and if you decide to buy it, remember to never play the scrapes_ensemble preset with the lights off! +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

And one last point: Tonehammer’s website states that the Bamboo Stick Ensemble complements their Tom Ensembles library. You can hear them used that way in the official demos. After playing with the library for a while, I understand what they mean. The sounds are somewhat wild and… and… I don’t know the word. If I said rough or unruly you would get the wrong impression. Let me explain: If you were to repeatedly hit a bamboo pole against the floor, you would get a variety of “smacks.” They would be related, but they would also be slightly different. That’s what the library sounds like: live. And I like it!

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An Interview with Tonehammer’s

Troels Folmann Mike Peaslee and

by David Keenum

in-game sound effects, as well as cinematic sound design, mixing and VO editing. highest proportion of atheists and agnostics in the world, estimated to For Tonehammer instrument development, I'm really focused on be between 43% and 80% ... Denmark has also a mighty army of capturing unusual instruments and 33.000 troops ...." unusual ways of using more traditional ones. I also like exploring unusual spaces, environments and WSM: How did you get into music? capturing techniques. I certainly don't shy away from trying to record in Mike - I was sort of born into it. risky places when the opportunity Music and sound have been the real arises. constants in my life. As a kid, I was always singing into a crappy old tape Troels - I grew up in the cold, cold recorder and banging on things with WSM: Can you tell us a little about country of Denmark. Denmark was other things. Now I always have at least one field recorder with me. As yourselves? the first country to legalize pornography. Danes are also known far as proper musical training, I've Mike - I'm a 32-year-old San to be the happiest people on the had pretty much zilch. There were the Francisco Bay area native. I've been a Earth, but that's because they have usual painful piano lessons in sound designer in the video game the lowest expectations for happiness. elementary school, followed by drum industry for around 8 years. I create In addition, Denmark has the third lessons and then it was on to bass The sample developer company Tonehammer (http://www.tonehammer.com/) is owned and operated by BAFTA Award-Winning Composer Troels Folmann and TEC Award-Winning Sound Designer Mike Peaslee. Their bio page (http://www.tonehammer.com/? page_id=2) will give you a glimpse at some of their accomplishments, but we thought it might be interesting to get to know them on a more personal level. I think you’ll enjoy them.

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WSM: What led you into music as a career?

franchise started about 12 years ago. Troels and I worked together on the last three of them as the composer/sound designer team. I think Troels actually knows Angelina from his time as an exotic male dancer and escort in Vegas. ;) WSM: What led you to decide to create commercial sample libraries?

Mike - Troels and I have been very close friends since we started working together on video games around 5 years ago. Our frustrations and creative philosophies about sampling and virtual instruments also completely meshed. We both felt like there was so much emphasis on microphone positions and sampling rates and so little emphasis on actual playability and actual sound quality. We've spent a lot of time picking apart the problems of sampled instruments and foley. Most collections featured only a handful of variations per sound, making any kind of granularity and organic playability completely impossible. You'd spend hundreds of dollars on libraries and then you'd still have to spend tons of time working with them to hide the repetition and flaws just enough to pass off as mostly realistic-sounding to the average listener. Out of curiosity and necessity, we both started recording our own material. We each had our own focus, interests and approaches and as we both learned, we compared notes and collaborated constantly. It's been a perpetual struggle to figure out what it is that truly brings a sampled instrument closer to real. We're still working toward that, of course, but we think we're inching WSM: I noticed that you have ever closer. Things have definitely done scores for several of the been improving throughout the Tomb Raider series of games. Have you ever met Angelina Jolie? industry as technology and methodology both improve, and we hope to really be a part of that Troels - "... Yeah. Angie and I are in evolution. steady contact ... She was a little more communicative before Brad got WSM – So you like the recording into the picture, but that's totally process? understandable with all the kids and stuff …." Mike - I can't actually go an entire week without recording something. Mike – The Tomb Raider games The reason that I enjoy the long, slow aren't actually directly related to the process of deep sampling instruments Tomb Raider movies. The game Mike - The more I think about it, the more I realize that I had no choice in the matter. I also love to write and for awhile after a little time spent in purgatory at my local community college, I was a fairly prolific music journalist. I had a knack for landing pretty good interviews and translating music-nerd speak into normal-people English. Since writing doesn't actually provide any sort of financial security, I took up a job as a video game tester at a video game studio called Crystal Dynamics. I busted my ass and convinced the head of the sound department to take me on as grunt. The problem with both music journalism and video game audio is that both require frequent and severe crunch periods. Working 90 hours every week tends to get to you after a couple of years and I realized that if I wanted to do either one well, I'd have to focus my energy on just one of them. Sound was the one actually paying the bills at the time and it was also the direction I felt most terrified of going, so it was the obvious and only choice. After eight years and a dozen titles, including three Tomb Raider episodes, I'm now the lone sound designer at the studio.

is that it's almost meditative for me. I want to experience as much of an instrument or sound source as I can. When you're recording, you often have to concentrate and control your muscles very precisely while sitting very still. You also have to breathe extremely slowly and quietly for a long, long time. I literally breathe no more than 4 times a minute when I'm recording the close mic positions and that can go on for hours. I like the editing and programming parts because it's like working a jigsaw puzzle. You've got to sift through hundreds or even thousands of samples and match the right ones together to make really solid round robin and velocity groups. No matter how carefully you try to discipline your recording session, you always need to verify and sort everything to get it right. WSM – Can you tell us a little about your recording set-up? Except in rare cases, we always record in stereo. Primarily, we use Neumann Microphones and Fostex FR-2 and FR-2le field recorders. For remote field work and random capturing, we use Rode NT-4, Audio Technica AT825 microphones, as well as Sony PCM-D50 and Zoom H-4 recorders. Occasionally, we use Aquarian Audio H2 Hydrophones or various other dynamic and condenser mics for special jobs. We also build custom blimp systems and shockmounts for all of our microphones. WSM: How did you come up with the name Tonehammer?

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and guitar. I taught myself to sing and now it's the only instrument that I think I'm more or less decent at. I just let my soul out with it. The one thing that I shine at is listening. I listen very, very hard to everything around me all of the time. It's something that I can't turn off.

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flutter echoes after each sound, creating a totally alien and yet completely natural spring reverb WSM: Can you tell us a little about effect. Of course, this court was in a recording the Anti-Drum vol. 1 crowded suburban park, so there are and the Bamboo Stick Ensemble? dogs and children and other normal people sounds blended into the samples. Since they bear the same Mike - Antidrum is sort of our catchotherworldly effect, it's actually all collection of the strange. We definitely plan on doing more volumes, something I am very fond of when I use the Handball Court Drums in my because we never stop looking for own compositions. and finding new ways to play old The Bamboo ensemble was also a instruments and turning ordinary objects, surfaces and sometimes even stroke of luck. We just started out trying to capture a good set of clacks natural phenomena into playable to compliment our Epic Toms. At what musical drums and melodic we thought was the end of the instruments. A lot of the instruments session, we started dragging them in Antidrum 1 have been gathered around on the tile floor of the hall we over the last few years as we explored and refined our methods and were using. The hard, smooth tile perfectly resonated through the 7philosophy, such as the Djembes, foot long staffs, causing them to sing Shouts, Claps, Stomps and Couch ensembles. Often, we'd simply gather with a piercing almost French hornlike wail. Slow, steady drags brought anything and everything we were out long, winding sustains and quasiWSM: You mentioned realism in interested in experimenting with that melodies. Short stabs produced harsh samples, and I noticed a good bit week and spend a few hours in rips and stingers. Running created a of round-robin in your Bamboo complete freak-out sessions. freight train clatter as each tile's edge Stick Ensemble library. Is that Sometimes they would degenerate caught the end of the bamboo. We one of your secrets of realism? into a full-on jam session, which is ended up recording for another hour, where the Drum Circle loops came Mike - Absolutely, that's the core just grinding bamboo on tile. from. principle behind what we do. It's Others were simply luck, opportunity WSM: Can you tell us about some important to have as many velocity or part of everyday life. The Hot Tub of the instruments you have layers as possible to provide dynamic Knocking patch is just me sitting in a range, but it's equally or even more hot tub with a pair of hydrophones. It created or unusual instruments you have found and recorded? important to capture enough is what it is. The Shockmount patch variations for each velocity layer to was born from ordinary accidental prevent repetition and provide true Mike - Our Frendo is a custom-made microphone bumps that sounded so playability. Of course, there's an instrument that was wrought of many good to me; I put off the thing I had trips to the hardware store. There will upper threshold above which it's hard originally intended to record and to really tell the difference. Generally, instead spent the next half hour be many more warped creations like we aim for 10 velocity layers and 10 it. We actually just built two new gently flicking the Neumann shockinstruments this week, but we're round-robin variations per layer. mounts over and over again. The That's not always possible for a keeping them under wraps for now. watercooler ensemble just sounded variety of reasons, but we really try Let's just say that the hardware store way too awesome when we were to capture as much as we can is our playground and from it, many playing around with random objects whenever we record. It's also wondrous things eternally spring forth. during one open-ended session. important to program the patches For me, the Frendo evokes the darker We always try to capture everything carefully and precisely. Mic side of a certain Coen Brothers film... as deeply as possible, but some well, pretty much any of them really. positioning, recording quality, and things are more difficult than others sample editing precision are also It's lurching, smiling, laughing and to predict or control. In the Handball obvious factors. Of course, that also somehow menacing all at once... and Court Drums, I took a djembe into a yet it just wants to love you. Wood, means you'll need to spend a lot more giant concrete cube intended for time recording, editing and baling wire, bolts, screws, eyehooks... handball. The walls and floor create broken down to its raw parts, it's the most intense upwardly bending Troels - The name "Tonehammer" came from Mike, but based on a terrible, terrible discovery that I made a few years back. So here is the deal ... My mom wanted to give me a unique name that didn't rhyme on anything in Danish. This name happened to be: "Troels". However what she didn't know was that the origin of the name had a somehow sexy connotation. The name is an ancient Nordic name and derived from the God of Thunder, Thor. Thor used be known as: "Tror" and the "Els" was the shaft of his Hammer, which had magical properties. So essentially my name is Thors Shaft. So Mike kept on thinking about ways to inject the word "Hammer" into our name and came up with the powerful Tonehammer one day.

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WSM – What sets Tonehammer apart from other sample developers? Troels - We sample deeper than most other developers, which means that our instruments contain more articulations, more variations (round-robin), and more velocities and most importantly a highly acoustic and live approach to what we do. A good example is our Hang Drum, which contains over 4.000 samples, multiple articulations, 20 velocities and 10 repetitions per note. Nobody has ever sampled the Hang Drum this deep, since it’s extremely time- consuming and tedious work. But at the end of the day we all want to sit down, load our instrument and play it out-of-the-box. Tonehammer is all about the out-of-the-box experience, and we try to aim for high playability in our samples. They naturally "feel good" when you sit in front of the keyboard. Keep in mind that these samples are first and foremost made for us. The Tonehammer percussion samples cover 80-90% of my percussion template now. We just happen to share it with other people too. We believe samples should be for everybody and affordable. It’s also important to keep in mind that we sell both individual instruments and bundles. We want people to be able to select single instruments instead of having to buy some gigantic library and only use a fraction of its sounds. We are also instant download-based, so people can just find the instrument they like, pay for it, and download it straight away. In addition, we are blog-based and love to talk and learn from our customers. We are not some magical, snobby, Hollywood developer, but actual social human beings trying to share the love with others. Mike - Most of our libraries are captured in still, quiet, and wellcontrolled spaces. But once you step outside, all of that control is lost. Often, there are lots of little

impurities that find their way into the recordings, simply because there's no way to avoid noise pollution out in the real world. Human sounds are everywhere. There is literally almost no square foot of outdoor space that you could stand in the United States without hearing some sort of man-made sound creeping above the background. There's always a plane somewhere, the low rumble of cars in the distance, air conditioners... something always finds its way into recordings. And if it's not people, it's birds, dogs, or insects. For a lot of the things we capture for our multi-part collections, those little flaws are actually part of each instrument's soul. These instruments are by no means sloppy or overly raw. We are very patient men, so we're willing to wait for that distant plane to pass. But you can't tell children to stop playing, birds to stop singing or the wind to stop blowing just so you can capture your subject with pristine sterility.

Hence a new Tonehammer instrument was born. I hope this selfish action can be forgiven. The reason why I am mentioning this is that we treat the whole world as a musical instrument. We don't really make a distinction between music and sound design. I believe it was the good Dr. Phil that mentioned: "There is no reality - only perception." This quote is important in terms of what we do since we constantly try to record things never heard before… or build it ourselves. You will see a great deal of custom instruments like the Frendo come from us. The Frendo is currently featured in the music used for UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), since it has a dark, gritty, almost violent nature itself. Feel free to check it out at www.tonehammer.com. WSM: I'd like to know more about Troel's Doctorate. It sounds interesting.

Troels - The gap between academia and games is disturbingly big. You have great academics researching into games and you have the games industry, which is young and still in its early years. The academics are coming up with very interesting research; however, the research is not always applicable and/or WSM – I like your deep, embedded into the industry. I wanted live-sounding samples, but to build a bridge between those two your unusual instruments worlds by bringing academia to the are probably the most games industry and bringing the unusual aspect of your games industry to academia. So my company. What’s the contribution was to develop oddest sound you’ve something called "Micro-scoring" recorded? which was something we started developing for Tomb Raider Legend. Troels - I was sitting in a It is essentially a methodology based public restroom the other day. on the concept of creating 1,000s of I normally use the handicap tiny micro-scores that are triggered restrooms, since they are by the game or player more spacious and generally action/interaction. It is a fairly more comfortable. The lengthy topic, but anybody interested handicap restrooms have steel can read more about it on my BLOG handlebars for people to lift at www.troelsfolmann.com/blog/ ... themselves up. I accidentally hit the handlebar and realized WSM- Thank you, Mike and Troels! there was an entire If you want to know more about instrument hidden there. So I Tonehammer, steer your favorite went back the next day, browser over to closed the door, and did a http://www.tonehammer.com/. 25-30 minute sample session! www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

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ATMOSPHERIC CONSTRUCTION SYNTH

by David Keenum

Hardcore Harmonics is a Tampabased sound design company owned by Mike Felker and Bill Singleton. They created PRIZM because they saw a need in existing libraries. And, of interest to us, their instrument of choice is the Wusik Station engine! Hardcore Harmonics has a lot of plans, but their first instrument/sound library is PRIZM. And Hardcore Harmonics’ first baby is a whopper! Weighing in at over 30 gigabytes (24-bit version) and growing, it has to be one of, if not the, largest downloadable sample library available.

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PRIZM is subtitled as an Atmospheric Construction Synth and as you will see, it can be used in a wide variety of musical areas. I think it will help to know that Mike and Bill are multimedia composers. Their company, World Class Multimedia (http://www.world-classmultimedia.com/), is a full service audio and video company; in fact, PRIZM was created for their own use. According to Mike, they use PRIZM on essentially every track they produce.

with a number of options. The current prices range from $149.00 for a download of the Soundsets and Presets (no Wusik Station engine), to $349.00 for Wusik Station, a printed manual, Soundsets and Presets loaded on a USB 2 external hard drive.

When you purchase PRIZM, you receive an email with links for the presets, skins, and both the 24 and 16-bit library. You may download either library or both and, as I said, this library is big! I downloaded the Purchase, downloading and 16-bit library, and even that one took the better part of a day to download. Installation I am pleased to report that there were no problems with downloading PRIZM’s purchase page (http://www.hardcoreharmonics.com/ or installation. documents/58.html) provides you

The Sound There is a page of audio demos (http://www.hardcoreharmonics.com/ documents/63.html) that will give you a great idea of how PRIZM sounds. These demos show the wide range of the instrument, and they are an accurate representation of PRIZM’s abilities… but they only scratch the surface. Let’s take as an example the Acoustic Brass and Acoustic Strings, which are licensed from Kirk Hunter (http://www.kirkhunterstudios.com/). These strings are the nicest I’ve heard except for the large professional orchestral libraries and they are just one part of the very large collection.

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Soundsets The heart of PRIZM is its soundsets, as they are the building blocks of the presets. Normally I wouldn’t even comment on a library’s soundsets because, unless you are a preset designer, you really don’t pay attention to them. But it’s different in PRIZM, or at least it is for me. With PRIZM I want to “mess” with the presets. In fact, I can’t resist “messing” with the presets! So the presets become important.

television shows and games.” These are the sounds that keep things moving. Some of my favorites from this folder are Belz_in_the_background, Reactor_Pad, Thunderstorm (yes, it’s a recorded thunderstorm), and The_Drone. Guitar – This includes Acoustic Guitar, Bass Guitar, Lead Guitar, and Power Chords. My favorites are EG_Tremelo and EG_PC_Distortion.

Keys – This folder contains Here is a list of the SoundSet Acoustic Piano, Electric Piano, categories (I have also included my Organ, and synthesizer sounds. comments on them). If you would My favorites are Cutting_Keys, like more information on the Organesque, and soundsets, Hardcore has a very Custom_Built_Keys. informative page (http://www.hardcoreharmonics.com/ Percussive – This is not your Mama’s orchestral percussion, documents/61.html). but the Big_Percussion SoundSet will give you a lot of Brass – This includes Acoustic Brass, clangs and booms. Also, there Analog Brass, and Modelled Brass. are not Drum or Percussion Kits, Although the Acoustic Brass are which I actually find refreshing. quality sounds, I found the Analog Why include a couple of kits to Brass sounds to be my favorite. There is a lot of variety in them, and I pretend you can do everything with one library? I really like admit that I loved the Synth the SoundSet All_Those_Bells, “goodness”! which is a long wind chime performance made with bells. Emoters – These are long samples that are designed to invoke emotion. Plucked – Although there are They run the gamut from the analogsome harp-like sounds in this sounding Pool_Choir to the sinisterfolder, it mainly contains hybrid, sounding Resonating_Metal. blended sounds like Plucking_the_Horn and Evolvers – These are sounds that Twinkle_pluck. evolve over time. The Hardcore Harmonic’s website describes it this Strings – This includes Acoustic way: “Usually brought in first, Strings, Analog Strings, and Evolvers allow you to add that long Modelled Strings. As I said sonic bass, that slight buzz or that before, the Acoustic String ghostly wind you hear in movies,

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I told you that PRIZM is heaven for tweakers, so I thought I would walk you through a simple edit. If you are used to programming synths, this will be too elementary. But if you are a “preset player,” this could open up a whole new world for you. I did this with PRIZM, but you can do this with any library for Wusikstation. I started with the preset PADSubstantial Fake Aureus, from the Experimental/userbank0002. When I auditioned the sound I heard something interesting, so I decided to take a closer look. This preset uses 1 oscillator and 1 wave sequencer. I turned each part off, one at a time, so I could hear the different elements. When I turned off the wave sequencer, I heard the French_horns_sustained soundset. Nice! So I increased the attack – this means I moved the “ATT” slider up a little, then I turned the volume up a bit. I then right clicked over the preset name, chose a new name and location (my “Favorites” folder) and saved the “new” preset. That’s it! Now, I know that this isn’t really my preset, as someone else did the programming work. But it might as well be mine. I’m using it! With PRIZM I found that I ended up doing edits like this on a regular basis. PRIZM’s presets generally have a lot going on and sometimes you just need a pad to fit in the background. So, thin out the sound by turning off oscillators and/or wave sequencers. And don’t forget to play with the ATT, DEC, SUS, and REL sliders. It’s quick and you end up with another fresh sound!


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sounds are licensed from Kirk Hunter, Pan Flute, and a few flute and reed instruments. and they are sweet! The Acoustic Strings folder contains solo and Presets ensemble strings in a few articulations. It is by no means meant There are lots of presets! And they to replace a dedicated orchestral are very good! Besides the presets string library, but it works for me. created by Mike Felker (KRMA), there Vocal – This includes Choir, Female, are preset folders by Bill (WDS), Male, Gutterals, and Vox. This folder contains some really nice sounds like ArtVera, Daniel Kemp, and Teksonik. There are also Experimental and Angel_Singing and Gregorian_o, as Showcase Preset folders. The well as an entire folder of guttural Showcase folder contains Presets that vocal effects. generally “showcase” individual SoundSets; they are interesting and Waveforms – As in synth waveforms, useful for giving you an idea of the there are a lot of various sine, saw, sounds in PRIZM. But when you try triangle, and noise waves. GRV-Escape_from_Beltran_Fivein the KRMA folder or Look Behind Youin the Wind Instruments – This is not a Teksonik folder, you will see what can complete set of wind instrument happen with some clever preset sounds, but what is there is programming! interesting and good. You get Accordion (yes, it’s a wind instrument), Every Preset folder contains a wide variety of sounds and emotions. Some are sweet, like PAD-Heavenlydkin the Dnekm folder and some are Wusik Speak unsettling, like ATM-Nightmares Revisited-dk(also in the Dnekm Almost every synth maker folder). Some are truly atmospheric, develops words to describe like ATM-Small Gold Bells-VK(in the their individual ways of ArtVera folder) and some are almost organizing their instrument’s sinister, like GRV-Outer Reaches(in sound architecture. For the KRMA folder). Wusikstation, the collection of samples (raw sounds) is called Most of the Presets evolve or change a Soundset. A Preset contains over time, or they have an element of the settings for ADSR, the sound that evolves. From talking modulation, and effects among to Mike and Bill, I feel I can safely say other things. A Preset can use that this is what they intended for the as few as one oscillator or library. And they succeeded! wave sequencer or as many as 4 oscillators and 2 wave I decided to go through the presets sequencers. Each oscillator or and create a “Favorites” folder. I was wave sequencer will access one concerned that I would spend so Soundset. much time browsing presets that I wouldn’t have time to create music.

Yes, there are lots of presets, but that’s not all. It’s easy to get lost in these presets. I could play a preset like String Ensemble-Tek (in the Teksonik folder) for hours! And when I’d start playing Art Vera’s presets I’d end up tweaking – turning on/off oscillators and/or wave sequencers and changing soundsets – that I might as well have nothing planned for the day. It’s fun, but it is also time- consuming. So I created a “Favorites” folder, and right now that “Favorites” folder contains over 100 presets. Some of the sounds are copied from the various Preset folders, but some of them I created myself by “tweaking” PRIZM’s presets. I wrote a short tutorial to help you do it yourself. You can use the ideas on any Wusik Station presets, but using them with PRIZM was a delight! Caveats I noticed a couple of things that I feel you should know. First of all, this is a new product by a new company, and Mike and Bill already have full-time jobs as World Class Multimedia. And… this is a big product, so there may be some areas that are still unfinished. For example, in the VocalSoundSets folder the Male subfolder is empty and my guess is that it needs to be finished. If you have something you are concerned about, post on Hardcore Harmonic’s forum (http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/vie wforum.php?f=134), and they will address your concerns. All of that said, in the month and a half I have had PRIZM I have received a SoundSet update and 2 Preset updates.

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PRIZM Wusikstation-based VSTi and a 30+ gigabyte library Creator and Distributor: Hardcore Harmonics Web-site: http://www.hardcoreharmonics.com Hardcore Harmonics forum on kvr-audio: http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=134

Also, I noticed that not all of the samples are looped. Mike has stated that he will fix this in an update but, before you get too alarmed, this is not the issue you would expect it to be. The samples are long, and they have a natural decay. In fact, in the solo_cello_legato Soundset you can hear the cellist change bow direction three times. I am impressed! But I wanted you to be aware of this.

Price: $199 full download (engine and core library), $149 download core library only, $249 full product shipped on DVDs, $349 full product shipped on usb2 hard drive (easy install), $39 Wusik engine upgrade only Format: Wusikstation 5.6.8 or higher Test Computer: AMD Athlon 64 3200+ 2.0GHz, 4GB RAM, Windows XP Pro SP 3, Echo MiaMIDI Audio Card

Conclusions This is one Monster of a library! Not only that, it is also vast in its scope. If you are looking for evolving, dramatic sounds, then PRIZM deserves a serious look. PRIZM will not replace your dedicated piano, bass, guitar, or drum libraries; it isn’t meant to do that. You are not even going to like every SoundSet or Preset in the Library, but you are going to find plenty of Presets to love! And you may just find yourself creating your own evolving and emotional sounds. And finally for me, the Acoustic Strings were one of the sweetest surprises I can remember finding in a Library. Like I said, a Monster!

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Interview with

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of Hardcore Harmonics by David Keenum

Mike

Bill The brain trust behind Hardcore Harmonics is Mike Felker and Bill Singleton. You may know Mike better as Karmacomposer on KVR Audio. One look at their website and you’ll know there is no shortage of ideas in the Hardcore workshop and a glance at their first product reveals they are definitely not timid. These guys don't let the library be limited by size: the 24-bit version of PRIZM is 33 GB and counting and fully downloadable! Mike (Karmacomposer) is no stranger either to the people who frequent the Wusik.com forum or read WSM. He has contributed

and edited articles for the magazine and you can find his postings on the Wusik.com forum on a regular basis. But we thought it would be fun to dive in and get to know him and Bill a little better. WSM: Can you tell us a little about yourself? Mike: I am a student of life who is always learning and perfecting my craft. My first love is my family. I am a devoted and loving husband (I have known my wife for over 22 years: married more than 15 of them) and proud father to my wonderful and inquisitive son. My second love is

music and technology – specifically, original music scoring. I also enjoy 3D animation and shooting and editing Hi-Def video for TV shows and productions. I am a programmer who enjoys writing code in several languages; I especially like that this is useful in my hobby of 3D game programming and creation. Bill: My hobbies are made up of several things: I love spending hours on end just lying back, picking on my guitar, or sitting on my front porch watching the squirrels chase one another, and I like to play Rock Band 2 with my kids.

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WSM: How did you get into music?

Bill: My mother was a country music singer so I was kind of thrown into it, Mike: Music is in my family. My uncle, learning any instrument I could get the late, great Arturo Rubenstein, was my hands on. I didn't seem to fit into a master pianist and composer, so any other mould that was around me, you could say it is most certainly in so I created my own. When you the blood. When I was 6, I began surround yourself with friends that music lessons at the bequest of my you love and adore, and you’re able parents. I hated them. I learned my to create a business on that scales and played the annoying and foundation, anything is possible. stupid tunes that all piano teachers seem to require. I was classically WSM: What software and trained by 11 years of age and could hardware have you purchased read sheet music and play several and do you now use? instruments (piano, drums and trumpet). I also played in my school's Mike: I bought a TON of hardware orchestra through middle and high after the Korg Poly-800: a Kawai K1, school, where I played in the trumpet Alesis hardware sequencers, Korg M3, section (I forget which chair). It was N1, N5 and the Karma (which I still not until college that I truly began to own). I also graduated to an Atari TT appreciate music and synthesizers. with SMPTE track software and finally One day I heard someone playing to the PC platform and Cakewalk something cool in my college dorm products (all the way up to Sonar 5 and found out the dude was pounding PE) and now use Samplitude 10 Pro on a Juno. I fell in love with the sound on dual-core and quad-core monsters. of it, so I went out and bought a I truly embraced the virtual Casio (lol). I really did (no money). I instrument revolution. I have used that piece of crud for all of about purchased hundreds of virtual a week and had to buy something instruments and downloaded every more powerful. I purchased a brand freeware synth imaginable. I now only new Korg Poly-800 and I was score with sample-based soft synths HOOKED (to this day I swear by Korg and romplers and my Korg Karma keyboards). Armed with my Apple IIe pretty much gathers dust. I use and sequencing software (Apple dossymphonic orchestra products from based) - I think it was called Sonus or Kirk Hunter and EWQL, as well as something like that - I began learning choir products from Bela D Media and MIDI sequencing. EWQL. I also have a love for the synthetic vocalist products and own a

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few. Finally, my favorite synth of all is Wusik Station, I use it in almost everything I do. Bill: I am a drummer, guitarist and bassist. I have owned a wide variety of stringed and percussion instruments, including a banjo, acoustic bass and a gorgeous Ibanez Joe Satriani (signed) guitar (which we sampled every way to Sunday). I have also custom designed guitars by ripping out the pickups and inserting much better ones in their place. Lastly, I like to create with my hands and so a lot of the weird and wacky instruments used in PRIZM were of my design. WSM: What led to music as a career? Mike: My love for it. I do what I love not what people tell me to do. Therefore, I love what I do and it shows in every production and product! No one handed me anything. I went to the school of Mike Felker. I BOUGHT all of my software and hardware and then learned and practiced and learned and practiced. In college, when I wasn't studying for tests or around my fraternity brothers, I was practicing my scales. Four hours per day every day for four years practiced my scales till I was so fluent I could do it with my eyes closed in the dark. Every scale, backwards and


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forwards. Only then did I start creating music - and only original. I NEVER learned any covers because I wanted to create my own music, not duplicate someone else’s songs. No offense to any of the insanely talented musicians and composers out there, it’s just that I never wanted to memorize other people's tunes. To this day I do not know any covers but can play whatever due to knowing chord structure and theory: - so if I know the scale and key, I can pretty much fake it. Many years ago, I was one of three winning entries in a Korg-sponsored contest (placed 3rd) out of many entrants for an original tune I scored using nothing but the Korg Karma. My inspiration for the tune was my one-year-old son during the December holiday season as we were opening his presents. It's called "The First Time I Opened My Eyes" and can be heard at www.world-classmultimedia.com, if you care to take a listen. You can also hear quite a bit of Bill’s and my custom scores (for clients) there as well. Throughout my music career, I have created many custom songs for company projects, DVDs, TV shows and games. I have been contracted to score a few films, but none panned out due to money issues not related to me. My top goal is to score a feature-length film that makes it into theaters.

Bill: I was already in many bands as a kid and even opened for some bigname acts later in my blooming music career, but that’s another story for another time. Mike and I worked on some game scoring projects together. I would be driving a truck all day for work, and Mike would call me and ask me to get over to the studio to record. I would tell him I had not practiced, but he would tell me to just play since he had already created the “skeleton” of the music (as he called it). I would have no idea what I was playing (nearly asleep due to driving since 4 a.m.), but Mike would tell me, “It’s perfect.” We created over 20 scores in 30 days that way and it was a blast! WSM: How did you get started with sampling and programming? Mike: Great question! Here's my answer: it all came together. I always loved recording music - mostly sequencing. However, I just could not record the nuances I wanted for my music with MIDI. When computers became robust enough to record multiple tracks of audio, I embraced that method of recording. Using Cakewalk products, I recorded my music in multi-track format and honed my craft. I really became proficient in not only recording, but mastering of the audio as well. I learned all kinds of little tricks: especially when I was working on other people's music in my recording

studio (Tech Quest Studios in Zephyrhills, Florida). Then came virtual instruments: - and Wusik! I LOVED using Wusik: - not for the included sounds, to be honest, but for the easy and effortless programmability of the synth. Then I began using Extreme Sample Converter and Sony Sound Forge Pro and really learned the ins and outs of sample creation and programming: because I wanted to “cook my own” samples for use in Wusik. Then WilliamK asked me to help create Wusik Sound Magazine. I also was one of the key people who developed the sample libraries included with the magazine. Also, Bill and I own WorldClass Multimedia and do a fair amount of audio editing, recording and field recording. This all blossomed from previous clients whose paid projects required us to purchase state-of-the-art digital field recorders and top-of-the-line 3D and studio microphones. Put it together and you have one heck of an audio sampling rig! Bill: By wanting more than what was already out there in the synth world. Mike kind of thrust me into it since I was really a bassist, drummer and guitarist, and he was the composer who was really getting into virtual instruments and sampled libraries. I recognized what was missing through him.

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WSM: What led you to decide to create commercial sample libraries?

quite a bit, so it became much delayed. The other area I love scoring music in is instrumentals: - much like new age instrumentals (you know, Mike: Another great question. My the Narada Samplers and music like answer? I bought tens of thousands that). A large part of that is of dollars worth of sample libraries, atmospheric-type sounds, so Bill and synths and romplers over a brief I decided to finish a project I had period of time: - and built a been working on for YEARS before we formidable library from which to pull even thought of creating anything from when I needed a particular else. To be honest, this project even sound. However, it was a pain in the pre-dated Wusik. I had recorded rump to find what I wanted in all of many sounds years before and had those synths and presets!!! More slowly been creating a large library. importantly, it was taking huge We decided to use those and add to resources for me to create the sounds them from new technology and PRIZM I was looking for and had to do a TON was born. Since I already owned all of track freezing just to get my work the gear, it was a simple decision to done. Besides, I was not very happy seek out new and weird sounds for in many cases with the sounds that use in PRIZM. We did some really were included with the virtual wacky things to get many of the instruments I was using. Finally, Bill samples: and then mangled and and I (we are best friends and manipulated them till they sounded decided to work together, being that totally different. I am really proud at we both share a love for music, which what we accomplished in creating is how we met anyway) decided to PRIZM. It started out as an idea so embark upon a quest to create long ago - and to see it flourish into a instruments WE would use in our own complete product is a dream come productions. They had to sound true. fantastic. In fact, I wanted that Of course, it could not have happened mastered sound I had worked so hard without Wusik! The Wusik engine, to for so long to perfect, so we built that me, was the perfect rompler and into every sample. The samples also synth engine to showcase our had to be eminently useable. Since samples. Its ease of use and ability to brass instruments were one of my morph/crossfade samples made it a great loves, we decided to create no-brainer. My infinite thanks to BRASStopia: - but we hit some snags WilliamK for assembling what I along the way and had to re-record consider to be the best virtual

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instrument ever created - with technical support that is nearly second to none. I am confident that if a problem ever arises, WilliamK will always be there to answer the question or make the change. We are proud that PRIZM has such a phenomenal pedigree in the Wusikengine technology. Bill: Well, both Mike and I were not happy with what the sample world had to offer, so we created what we wanted for our own use. We were quite happy with the results and others seemed to agree. WSM: What led you guys to create PRIZM? Mike: I always loved Wusik Station and used it predominantly in most of my music projects, even though I was never a major fan of the sounds that came with it, as I said previously. I did buy expansion libraries for Wusik, from Manytone, BITR, Zvon and others. They did raise the bar quite a bit for the quality of sounds Wusik can be capable of, but I was still not impressed enough to use it for everything. They simply did not do what I wanted them to do. I then came up with my own idea for a product and called it SPIRAL – my idea of the perfect virtual instrument capable of scoring science fiction, fantasy, horror and dramatic movies,


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television shows and games. I began sampling sounds for it right away (before Bill and I started Hardcore Harmonics, a name he came up with as well). Later on, I looked into making my own VI with Synthedit (and eventually Synthmaker when it came out), but that proved a bit of a challenge since I did not yet know those languages well enough to create a virtual instrument powerful enough for my idea of what SPIRAL should become. Meanwhile, William and I talked frequently and I eventually told him about this new library I was working on and said that Wusik would be perfect for it, but not simply as an add-on, but as a product in its own right. Soon after, the Wusik technology became license-able. Bill came up with the name PRIZM after he and I knocked our heads for a while to come up with a title that encompassed the idea of an evolving, morphing instrument that could be used to create atmospheres (and THAT name was certainly taken). Bill: Since we were working on game scores that used a lot of really cool science fiction and fantasy sounds, we wanted a synth that would feature undulating pads that evolve slowly over time for background music, and add depth to any project we worked on.

WSM: Can you tell us some stories about recording PRIZM? Mike: The gutturals, for me, were the weirdest things to make because I sat in the studio one night and thought, “What would be a good way to make a scary animal sound without recording animals?” Recording animals contains a lot of challenges, because no one has an elephant, lion or tiger in a sound-treated room, so you have to go to a zoo to record them – except zoos have people and people are noisy. Instead, I jammed our expensive studio mic right up my gullet and began making barely audible sounds. What I recorded sounded so weird and so cool I had to use it. To create some of our really weird brass-modeled sounds, Bill blew into very long copper tubes and PVC pipes and created some of the most amazing brass-like sounds you have ever heard – a tiny bit of which went into PRIZM. The rest of those samples are being saved for the invented brass section of BRASStopia. For me, the biggest challenge was creating the workflow to make a product like PRIZM possible as I had to figure out the best way to record, edit and create the samples. I had to figure out the way to get from our portable recording rigs to a WusikSND file (first mono and later stereo). To me, that was the most difficult challenge. Recording-wise, it was fun to sample

anything and everything we could find to create sounds that we thought would be useful. We even went to state parks and sampled a flowing river, suspension bridges, animals and nature sounds; we recorded a hurricane and plenty of thunderstorms. Heck, I even went outside during a pretty intense storm and captured some amazing thunder effects and pounding rain. I was out there for a few hours, getting soaked (not to mention putting myself in potential danger). By the way, just so you know, for much of the samples we used portable uncompressed recorders at 96khz, 24 bit using 3D microphones that sampled the same way human ears “hear.” We even had to have a custom phantom power module created especially for this project because the phantom power in the recorders, used to power the microphones, was too noisy and audible in the samples. We also could not use electrical plugs since we were not near outlets (and that was noisy, too). So, we had a special batterypowered phantom powered device created that was totally silent and yet could power the mics for weeks on a single tiny battery. The entire rig fits into a camera case and can be ported anywhere.

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Mike Felker and Bill Singleton

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Bill: Gladly. For some of the huge bass drum samples we went to the back of some shopping centers and beat the holy @$#% out of some dumpsters while booming (on different sized boom poles) various mics in them and using many different-sized hammers to create very unique sounds. It also happened to be raining. When we were finishing those recordings, we noticed some water dripping from the roof through the rain gutters onto a piece of metal, so we sampled that. I then found an old shopping cart and as I pushed it, Mike ran along side of it with his 3D mic. While we were putting things away in the car, a gentleman pulled up next to us in an old 1974 Ford pickup truck, and intrigued, asked us what we were doing. My partner and I described that we had been recording samples of different unique sounds. That’s when we noticed the sound coming from his truck. Needless to say, that was recorded too (right up his tailpipe).

for him for his website and products. Since I am not intimidated by anyone, I just called him right up and we talked for quite a while. I let him know he was missing a triangle in his orchestral percussion and told him I would sample one and send it to him. We laughed and so began our longdistance acquaintance (I still owe him that triangle). For a very long time, I would call him up and tell him the value of a virtual instrument as compared to using a sampler like Kontakt and, of course, I would tote Wusik because that is what I used the most. Eventually, I wore him thin and he decided to take a good look at Wusik. The biggest problem, though, was that he is Mac-based and the Wusik-engine is for the PC. That was a deal breaker for him, but not for me. Eventually, we got the idea to license some of his samples for our Wusikbased product. He loved the idea because he could see if porting his samples to a virtual instrument would work. I would like to think it has most definitely worked. Simply put, PRIZM WSM: How did you manage to get allows you to use minimal samples the Kirk Hunter string samples? and get maximum sound. I will tell you this: it ain’t cheap! I will owe Mr. Mike: Kirk and I have had a longHunter till the end of time. Seriously, standing relationship because I am an Kirk is an awesome person and really avid purchaser and user of his helped us out even though he didn’t amazing libraries and I also had ideas have to. However, he recognized my

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passion and understood that I wanted THE BEST strings and brass I could get my hands on. Recording string and brass players and sections was daunting for us (and we already did that [with the brass] for BRASStopia and did NOT want to dip into those samples) because of time and money. Simply put, Kirk knows how to record strings like no one else and we were honored (and a bit shocked) when he agreed to allow us to license a portion of his amazing library. What blew us away even more was that we did not license Emerald or even Diamond, but BRAND NEW symphonic strings and brass that do not yet exist in any other Kirk Hunter product in its entirety that we know of. He was also a PLEASURE to work with. A serious thanks to Mr. Hunter for his kindness and expertise. If you like what you hear in PRIZM, make sure to check out his incredible orchestral products; in my humble opinion, they contain the best strings available anywhere, and the brass and woodwinds are simply incredible (www.kirkhunterstudios.com). Bill: Mike is friends with Mr. Hunter so when we showed him the samples from PRIZM, he immediately fell in love and gladly wanted to back us up.


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WSM: What's next for Hardcore Harmonics?

human being). You can imagine what In either case, you get a world-class kind of a percussion product we can mastered sound from PRIZM with release with that! I also have stealth almost no outside editing needed, Bill: Quite a few things are in the on my side, so I can bring our unless you want to. Nearly all the works right now. First off we have portable rig anywhere – like an samples in PRIZM are DRY. Since BRASStopia, which involves some amusement park (and I did). I PRIZM has Wusik's amazing digital very cool instruments such as sampled every roller coaster and ride – effects, you can add that gorgeous Trombones, Bass Trombones, all in 3D! I even have a pair of 64-bit reverb or some cool delay, Trumpets, Baritones, and Tubas, headphones with stereo mics flange, etc. Make them as wet or as which were modeled and sampled. We embedded inside them. I can just dry as you like: it's up to you. And also have some sampled sounds such walk around and record and NO ONE don't forget that when you own as pvc, copper pipes, pool hoses, etc. KNOWS I’M DOING IT. It’s just too PRIZM, a small part of the core library SCRAPtopia was designed by visiting much fun! includes Kirk Hunter's incredible the neighborhood junkyards where we symphonic orchestra's samples. broke, scraped, bent, pulled, kicked, WSM: Do you have anything else You can find out more about PRIZM or punched and slapped anything we to add? purchase your copy today at could get our hands on, including all www.hardcoreharmonics.com types of glass, metal, plastic, etc. Bill: Yes, we are always asked, “How Lastly there’s DRILLZ, a compilation do I get started doing what you guys of different-sized electric motors like do?” Our reply is always the same drills, saws, compressors, compactors, “Go buy software in the area you want hydraulic presses, etc. to learn, and just do it. Install it, play around with it, and learn it. I don't Mike: Bill answered it quite mean to steal somebody else’s line, completely. I’ll add that we have but be all you can be...in the sampled THOUSANDS of sounds that sampling ARMY.” have yet to be edited, so the amount of products we can release is quite Mike: Yes. Let me tell everyone just a large. For example, we were given little bit more about PRIZM, our brand access to a large, famous music store new Atmospheric Construction Synth: and given permission to sample PRIZM has a huge core library of EVERY cymbal (amongst hundreds), sounds in almost every necessary snare, bass, tom, etc. We even category of sounds. The 24-bit library recorded some cymbals that were comes in at a hefty 33GB. The 16-bit custom made (one as large as a library is a much more svelte 16GB.

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February 2009

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Look Mom! I Did It Myself!

by David Keenum

My first baby steps into the world of .sfz. One of the new features of Wusik Station Version 5 was support for the .SFZ format. When .SFZ support was first announced, my thought was, While “surfing” kvraudio, I ran across a thread asking about .SFZ mapping for some free drum “That’s nice, but how does it affect me?” I knew something of the history of .SFZ and that it was collections. The original free downloads are in supposed to make files compatible between Kontakt format. In case you’re curious about the thread, it is here: instruments; but I didn’t really believe it. A universal format? It couldn’t happen! There are too http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p= many variables in the architecture of sample 3457122. I have Kontakt 2 and 3, and I use them a lot. But, I find it difficult to adjust sounds in players. As it turns out I was right! Well, I was wrong too, and that part is cool! Let me tell you Kontakt. I mainly use it as a sample preset player. On the other hand, I find Wusik Station easy to my story.

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According to http://www.drealm.info/.SFZ/, the ".SFZ format is an open, non-proprietary method of describing a set of samples and how a sample player should play them." http://www.cakewalk.com/DevXchange/.SFZ.asp says it this way: “The .SFZ format is a file format to define how a collection of samples are arranged for performance.”

adjust. I can easily change Volume, Attack, Reverb Level, and all other simple adjustments. Besides that, this .SFZ thing is intriguing to me, so I thought, “Why not try it.” And so I have. I downloaded the .SFZ mapping and the various collections. I then made an “.SFZ” folder in my Wusik data/soundsets folder, and put the .SFZ files and .WAV files there. I opened up Wusik Station and selected an INT preset: that is, an initialized preset; where all the parameters are set at their defaults and the oscillators and effect slots are empty as well. I clicked on the Osc 1 button (upper lefthand corner) and then the “SoundSet” window. With Wusik Station you load the .SFZ as a SoundSet, and then create a preset. When I chose one of the .SFZ files, the fun began: I got a lot of warnings that the .WAV couldn’t be found; and by the time it was done it had crashed my host! I almost gave up, but I decided to ask some questions. And, I found out that I was really going to have to learn

something about .SFZ. I had naively and where it is located. If you see thought that I could just put the .SFZ “sample=kick4.wav” that tells you that file and the samples in the same the sample (kick4.wav) is located in folder. Silly me. the same folder as the .SFZ file. If you see “sample=samples/kick4.wav,” it means that “kick4.wav” is located in a folder called “samples”; and that the folder A typical .SFZ region of a drum “samples” is located in the same map looks like this: place as the .SFZ file. I found <region> that I needed to edit the sample=bop kick - snares off “sample=” on several .SFZ files. When I got the paths corrected, 2.wav most of my .SFZ problems were lokey=b1 solved. I still get crashes with hikey=b1 the Pettinhouse Yamaha kit, and lovel=41 I don’t know why. So, I guess I hivel=70 have more to learn. pitch_keycenter=b1 Well…actually, I have a lot more to learn. But, it doesn’t look like it will be so hard. Are you I have only just begun to learn about interested in joining me in this .SFZ, but what I’ve found can help us. learning journey? I am going to start The most important part of the .SFZ a thread on the Wusik.com forum file, that I have learned so far. has to (http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/vie do with where you put your samples. wforum.php?f=41). We can discuss You can view and edit .SFZ files with a and learn .SFZ together. And, if text editor like NotePad. When you you’ve got a lot of experience with view an .SFZ file you will see a series .SFZ, please join us there. We need of words followed by an equals sign people who will teach us how to edit (=). The main one that caused me .SFZ files and make them work. trouble was “sample=”. The “sample=” Obviously, I’m not the one to do that! line specifies the name of the sample

Here are three more drum kits that have .sfz mapping: Long-time friend of Wusik, autodafe has the G&S Custom Work Drum Kit with a .sfz mapping file on the same page (http://www.autodafe.net/dblog/storico.asp?s=Samples). And Michael Kington has two kits that he offers for free, Easyrider and Ruffrider. He also offer “rgc:audio SFZ” mappings. You can find his kits at http://www.michaelkingston.fi/kingstondrums/.

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February 2009

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D16 Group Decimort by Ginno 'g.no' Legaspi

were expensive compared to the hardware available today. But, there is something about these vintage I have fond memories of the 80's: samplers that you just can't deny: acid-washed jeans were the fad; kids their sound. They have their own went crazy for Nintendos and Rubik's Cubes; millions watched as the Berlin unique sound. That "uniqueness" or "certain charm" I'm talking about is wall collapsed; new wave music was catching the airwaves; etc.. Yes, the sound they produced due to the 8 those were the 80's. Also, it was the or 12-bit sampling they used. Often era when digital sampling was also their sound is produced by poor antialiasing and distinguishable noise introduced. levels. Needless to say, they had their Big dinosaur hardware samplers ruled flaws but this was, dare I say, a good thing. That vintage 'gritty' sound they the Earth in those days and made produced is what makes them 'classic'. their way into expensive recording studios. First up was the Fairlight CMI, which led the pack in '81. It was then Forgive me for the long intro, but if you're a producer who craves that followed by E-MU with the launch of their affordable Emulator one year unique character and charming sound that only the old school samplers later. Many of the early samplers (including Ensoniq, Akai, Roland, etc.) impart; we may have finally found Lo-Fi Charm

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their modern match, in software form: Decimort. D16 Group's Decimort, high-quality bit crusher plug-in is aimed at giving you just that - instant 'grit' and 'coloration' to your tracks. Let's take a look. Installation and Copy Protection I had no problem installing this plugin. It was a piece of cake. After installation, I downloaded the key file at my User account, which D16 provided. Once the key file is copied to the VST plug-in directory, the plugin is activated for unlimited use. It's as easy as that, hassle-free. I give kudos to D16 for adopting this type of copy protection scheme. I think it is fairly quick and very convenient compared to some others.


CONTACT: contact@d16.pl www.d16.pl PRICE: â&#x201A;Ź35 (Silverline Collection and Total Bundle are available) COPY PROTECTION: Key file FORMAT/SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS: Decimort is available in VST and AU format for PC and Mac. It's a dynamic library (.dll file) for PC (VST only) and Universal Binary bundle for Mac (VST and AU). To use the product you need Windows 2000/XP or Mac OS X 10.4.3 or later. It is not a standalone program, so you need a VST or AU compatible host application to use it.

but enabling the Link Params will set guarantees no aliasing even from a path parameters the same values for high frequency source. It is a very Decimort has the same color, led, both channels. Next, the analoguehigh-quality plug-in and no buttons, output meter, knobs and like Filter section adds further shaping compromises were made in the layout as its older siblings Devastor of the sound. It sports the usual methods of coding the plug-in. and Fazortan. The thing that I like adjustable cutoff, reso/band width about the whole Silverline package is and features four filter types: lowBottom Line how functional they all are, not just pass, band-pass, high-pass and band their sound. Dabbling with these tools reject. Other controls include the Armed with the decimator, multiis dead-simple and Decimort is no Preamp knob (for overdriving the mode resonant filter and a preamp to exception. Thanks to its clean and input signal), dry/wet FX knob and a boot I don't see why this cool little neat interface, one can instantly get master volume. plug-in couldn't be used for various down&dirty and start roughing some applications. I mean, Decimort is not audio material. In Use purposely built for drums only, although lo-fi drums can be a real Control-wise, Decimort's main I programmed some hip-hop drum treat. I urge users to try to controls are the sample-rate and bitloops in my sequencer and wanted to manipulate audio in any possible with depth reduction knobs, otherwise see if Decimort was up to the task. it. Experiment a bit. Use Decimort's known as Decimator module. Value After a bit of parameter tweaking, I filter section to filter technoid guitars settings range from 0-44.1kHz and came up with good results. The added or play with the decimator to recreate 1-16-bits and there is an Anti-Aliasing 'grit' I'm accustomed to hear on hipvocals with a 1950's vibe. Decimort is LPF button along with the Link hop drum loops was audible. While one nifty little plug-in. And the price Parameters. Decimort allows you to Decimort was a bit CPU hungry with is right. process L+R channels independently, my tests, D16 tells us that it GUI and Controls

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Sonar 8 Producers Edition by Trusty

skills that would serve as a good foundation to go at it alone.

Personal Story I used to be a hardware gear user. I had tons of it, and I lugged most of it to a commercial studio to record my tracks from it and all the vocals as well, in order to complete albums. This went on for several years, and I noticed these software products cropping up. Software recording and sequencing products, software instrument products, and software effects products.

I haven't been in a recording studio for any of my personal music since 2001, and I do not ever plan on returning unless it is on someone

Despite the software market having been around for a few years at that point, I noticed that the emergence into a mainstream musical force in the marketplace commanded my attention. Looking at the sudden amount of offerings in my investigation into these products and the corresponding hardware interfaces, soundcards, and controllers, I realized that putting together a system to try to replace my constant need for the studio was an idea worth exploring. After all, the cost of putting together a system to suit my needs, given that I wouldn't be charged by the hour, would cost much, much less than it did to record a full album in the studio. It was the perfect time for me to get into this territory, and though I could have gotten into this sooner than I did if I had paid more attention, the money I spent in studios recording my albums as an artist was also an investment into learning the recording, mixing, and to a degree, mastering

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else's dime. In the beginning of this new phase, some M-Audio hardware controllers, monitors, and mic, along with the most powerful computer I could have built for the time had converted me into a â&#x20AC;&#x153;jack of all tradesâ&#x20AC;? in the trade I love the most. And it is


fun wearing all the hats and sharpening the skills to get out of the â&#x20AC;&#x153;master of noneâ&#x20AC;? category. When looking at the various software DAWs out there, I immediately gravitated towards Sonar. It was at version 3 at the time. The reason was simple, it resembled the closest in appearance in software form to the hardware studios I had recorded at over the years, and also because I remember that an acquaintance I had met a few years back mentioned something that he used Cakewalk 9 something or other in his basement studio.

So yes, superficial reasons, name recognition, whistles, in which I will get into more detail in a moment but, aesthetically, and appearances. much remains familiar and therefore comfortable. And for new users It was a great awakening for me. I found it coming into software music fast and easy and could, as I allowed the production, or those jumping ship time to improve, work with the clock at my from another company's DAW product, own pace in my own studio, rather than well, if you have ever been to a against the clock in someone else's studio. I commercial studio, Sonar will could try new things. The possibilities seemed endless. Even though I had my own instantly be familiar to you as well. recording studio, I did notice that Sonar allowed for midi sequencing as well, and even had a few instruments. Despite the big Working monitor I could see the piano roll with, I decided that my XP-60 and MPC 2000XL Granted, a lot of these products in a were still better suited for me, and my racks similar category to Sonar look more of hardware gear that went with those units and more the same these days, but still produced a better sound. So Sonar that matters very little. Sonar 8 gives remained essentially a virtual recording all the flexibility in customizing a studio and nothing more. workflow that is needed. Cakewalk's website (www.cakewalk.com) does a As software instruments got better and very fine job in selling the features better, the hardware thinned out of the racks and specs, so no need to rehash them to be replaced by the software instruments here but rather, what to gain from inside Sonar, which was at version 4 at this reading this is why and what those time, so my MV-8000 that I had acquired in things can do to make Sonar into a the interim was the last hardware unit I had dream maker for everyone. left that was driving a few software instruments inside Sonar. Which was Whatever improvements to the engine fantastic because I was down to only 8 Âź' Cakewalk's coders put in there under jacks instead of the 20 or so that I had to the hood, it is like voodoo. Version 8 pull in and out of my interface. Cakewalk fires up very fast, and working in it to (along with Native Instruments Intakt) get tasks completed is very fast as eventually replaced my MV-8000 with this well. Things get done and operate little compositional tool called Project5, and smoother than I thought possible with very soon after version 2 was released with Sonar or any DAW. It is so efficient, Dimension, I had Chicken Systems translator that it is easy to get ahead of yourself turning every sample disk in my possession clicking about the features in rapid into SFZ files and I never missed any succession, but Sonar 8 handles the hardware again. stress. For me, it all started with Sonar, and by the time I am done with music, or music is done with me, Sonar will always be my dream maker.

Newness In The Minutia

One of the new features that is kind of like one of those things you never thought about, but once you have it Lots Of New History Since Then you wonder where it has been all this time, is the Aim Assist feature. This is Sonar 8 is now with us; it has been for a few a little white line that shows up in the months and it has received the accolades it clips pane that indicates where your deserves. The evolution from version 3 is mouse arrow is at in the time line. quite stunning, and the package now feels Brilliant! This is very cool because it more complete than ever. The inner workings takes the guesswork out of splitting are a bit different now with version 8, and clips up, and also takes away the there are the expected new bells and reliance on the snap grid to get things www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

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Sonar 8 perfect, especially if “perfect” perfect is not what you are going for. Another great new feature is the Quick Group enhancements, where you can click on a bus channel and all the tracks assigned to that channel are automatically selected to that group; it is a very handy addition to the grouping functions for either temporary or permanent needs for a particular project. The new instrument track that combines the midi and audio to one track as opposed to dedicated audio and midi tracks per instance of an instrument is a welcome change to get things going quickly. Pause, rewind, fastforward and audition buttons have been added to the transport, and make a lot of little things much easier. One thing people with multiple sound cards can be happy about is that the drivers for these can be changed without having to restart Sonar, and this is a time saver as well. The Loop Explorer 2 allows for a browser that lets users audition audio and midi clips and dropped into the clips pane for use in the project. Finally, one of the minute details that were enhanced but is a big plus that helps out, is the ability to route tracks to individual mono outputs on hardware units. While many may use this to route back to an external mixing board, I find this very handy for live performances where playback is all that is needed, but mixing flexibility with a PA is necessary. Yes, Sonar can work for “live” purposes too.

The Obvious Now, this review is mostly geared to people with some familiarity with Sonar or DAW products in general. At version 8, the basics have been well covered and, feature-wise, Sonar can do what the other similar products can do in basic recording, mixing, mastering, and midi sequencing functionality, but it does them much, much better and much smoother on most counts. Having said that, in my 50

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opinion Sonar lags behind in the midi compositional aspects which are, in fairness, rather clunky despite several recent advancements in recent updates and it is a bit behind in notation features for the serious composer and scoring needs. For many people, the midi sequencing is sufficient, adequate, but possibly boring for most linear based approaches to composition. I admit that my fondness for pattern based composition may be influencing my slant against it here in this area. While there are neat tools, all the functions one could need are there and the instrument rack is always a nice touch, it still doesn't really capture the imagination. Luckily, for both you the reader and Cakewalk the company, there is a demo, so my word on things don't have to be taken as anything more than my personal opinion. Composing in Sonar's sequencing capabilities may just be the perfect match for some people. It is just not for me. Sadly, Cakewalk really spoiled me on the now neglected Project5. A product only costing a meager $99 nowadays, as you remember, pulled me away forever from my last piece of hardware I had. Sonar just can't match that workflow despite any improvements so far but we'll see, there is always version 9. For working with audio and using the product for its strength, which is recording, mixing, mastering, etc, Sonar is bar none the best PC DAW on the market. Its layout is now, as it has been since I've been using it, very easy to understand and to use. Completely customizable options allow the user to have the functions they most commonly use to always be displayed. The track pane for the selected channel that is along the left column is very handy for monitoring input, while the clips pane shows the waveforms along the time line during record or playback. Of course, you can resize the channels in the clips pane to view many at once, or just

February 2009

zero in on one track when needing to make detailed edits. The Audio Snap introduced in version 7 and Comping tracks to piecemeal recorded takes together in a seamless manner are very handy tools as well. With Audio Snap, you can take audio files of different tempos, or slightly off rhythms, and correct them, or also extract groove information from one clip and impose it on another. The Console view is my favorite part of Sonar. When I am mainly dealing with this view, it means most of the grunt work on the audio recording and editing is completed and it is time to have fun mixing the project. Sure, there are enough features in Sonar that do lead to excess, like track icons, but I don't bother with them and I don't let them bother me. Almost everything in Sonar is usable, but the flexibility is what matters. Despite working with a single monitor, a 26 inch monitor, I still keep all my strips in the console narrowed. But again, that is preference. And there is plenty of customization to have your console view, or other views as well, just as you like them. One of Sonar's greatest strengths is the virtually unlimited routing and bus inserts as a computer can handle. And grouped or individual tracks and buses can be visible, or hidden, depending on your needs. As much as your computer will allow and thanks to the efficiency of the Sonar 8 engine, stacks of effects in any order can be placed on channels or buses, and routing can be seemingly endless.

Included Goodies Anyway, for those wanting to know about the “included goodies”, pay close attention. Sonar is unmatched in this area for any PC alternative, and actually makes PCs worth having over Macs for music, because the “MAC only” alternatives are playing catch up to Sonar as well and they aren't even close.


Dimension Pro One of the tools, as mentioned before, that put the nail in the coffin for me using a hardware bread and butter instruments was the original Dimension that came with Project5 v.2 and though the Pro version has been available for a little while now as well, it still shines as bright as ever. To include this for those who had not purchased it before, was a genius move. It really is one of the best software instruments ever. It is a sampling synthesizer that has envelope generators that make it so expressive, and the sounds included are more impressive than similar alternatives, so it has to be used in literally everything a person would compose. It even comes shipped with expanded sound sets that really make it an all-in-one workstation, and when examining all the other content shipped in this package out of the box, it really is the glue that makes all the Sonar 8's included instruments work together well. It â&#x20AC;&#x153;completesâ&#x20AC;? the included suite of instruments.

True Pianos Amber Module It sounds very nice. Session Drummer 2 ...is an instrument I hardly ever use, but does its job well enough of providing accompaniment to anyone that can't be bothered to use the step sequencer or loops, or some other means of creating their own rhythm tracks. The kits and patterns are usable for a variety of styles.

Beatscape The first two minutes of playing with Beatscape made me realize just how necessary my copy of Recycle is. Granted, Cakewalk offers several ways to interact with REX files and Beatscape can handle slicing custom samples all on its own well enough, but REX is so flexible across all the REX compatible instruments in Sonar, that taking the time out to convert original loops to REX is well worth it. But this isn't a plug for Propellerheads, it is a testament to Beatscape...or even multiple instances of Beatscape, and not necessarily confined to use in Sonar either. Regardless of using custom samples or REX loops, or the included content, this groove machine is so much fun, that it really feels like a complete performance and compositional tool that can soak up countless hours of experimentation and jamming.

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Sonar 8 Z3ta+ What can I say? There is much information discussing this synthesizer out there already and everything good ever said about it is true, and any negative thing said about it is probably false. It has been one of my favorite instruments for years now, and if someone has never used it before, or someone is wondering if getting Sonar 8 Producers Edition is a good place to start to have everything one would need to start a great arsenal of instruments, this seals the deal. It has been outstanding for years, and the latest computer specs are finally capable of handling this amazing synth to its capacity without stress.

Rapture LE Using this will make you want to upgrade to the full version, but you will still be glad you have it because sometimes the excellent presets require no additional processing, and the lite version here will be a good thing to use instead of the full version to conserve CPU. This lite version demonstrates just how fun programming step generators can be, whether used â&#x20AC;&#x153;properlyâ&#x20AC;? or not.

Cyclone

sounds in it. I never use it, but it This old timer is supposed to be some hangs around when I want to check out some of my old midi files from sort of sample slicer, loop playing, years ago, and see what I made groove machine. Technically it is, I without having to set up too many suppose, but I thought it stunk when I first encountered it in Sonar 3 and it instruments. If I dig up something I really enjoyed hearing and want to do still stinks now and it is hard to imagine why Cakewalk still tosses it in something with the file, the TTS-1 is replaced with better stuff, like the bunch. Dimension Pro for acoustic instruments and z3ta+ for synth instruments, but TTS-1 is a good Roland TTS-1 enough player and the sounds wouldn't be as bad if they weren't This thing is great if you need an being compared to the other ones above average general midi machine included with Sonar 8...and, well, with some of Roland's now ancient everything else on the market nowadays.

Pentagon I Excellent sounding virtual analog synthesizer and an always useful instrument to have around. It may not have the razzle-dazzle of the other synthesizers out there, but it gets the job done and it sounds great.

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PSYN II Meh, its okay...nothing special but I can't slag on it, as I have used it on several occasions because there are some really good patches in the set, despite the synthesizer being a snoozer.

DropZone

Sonitus FX Suite

I like Dropzone; it is probably a better Dimension LE than Dimension LE is, if one doesn't care about using all four of Dimension's four elements slots. The waveform view is nice and if it had Beatscape's slicing capability and RXP's coolness, it might have been a RXP great instrument but as it is, it is an okay instrument that is easy to use as A very handy REX player when you don't really need Beatscape but just a a basic sampler or when you don't simple, one loop player that has some need all of Dimension Pro's envelope generators, but rather simple controls. cool features like the randomizer for the slices, and nice easy filter and envelope controls. It contains some Native Instruments Guitar Rig great content in it as well.

Still great! A very usable suite of effects plug-in for the typical effects one would need for most projects.

VC-64 Vintage Channel

A nice, warm sounding channel strip plug-in that also allows for sidechaining (The Sonitus Compressor and Gate do as well). It can eat a good bit of processing power but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s well worth it. This thing sounds fantastic and if the Classic Console Strip Pro from URS is out of your 3 LE price range, this is probably the next best thing, and it comes free with I like it, Native Instruments did a SFZ Sonar. Remember though, the GAC-1, good job. It has enough for the duties its other name with a different skin, A wonderful, no-frills soundfont player. it performs and would be a good taste retails for $198.00 USD on its own to cause guitarists to want more to from Kjaerhus Audio, the developer upgrade to the full version. A decent that ported the GAC-1 to Sonar for Amp Sim for guitars has been missing Cakewalk to be included with the Roland GrooveSynth from Sonar for a while, so this is a Producer Edition. welcome addition. A one channel version of the TTS-1, with some slightly different sounds in it. Nothing special, but it has some uses like the TTS-1.

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Sonar 8 Perfect Space Convolution Reverb This reverb is powered by Voxengo, who make an entire line of fantastic effects and dynamic processors definitely worth checking out when ready to expand the effects arsenal. They have delivered this surefire winner than sound fantastic on whatever it is processing, and the best part is that it is super easy to use.

TL-64 Tube Leveler Studio Devil knocks it out of the park with this one. This adds warmth, grit, and punch to everything that passes through it. Very good work indeed, and fills a gap that Sonar has had for a while as well.

TS-64 Transient Shaper This new edition is a welcome plug-in that is really useful on drums and percussion channels and busses and is more fun to use than EQs and compressors, when trying to shape the sound of the drums. However, it has a lot more uses than that and can be used to experiment with other types of sounds as well. It has more features than the typical transient designer, and a quick investigation has revealed that there aren't too many on the market to choose from, so that makes its inclusion all the more welcome.

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LP-64 EQ linear phase mastering EQ I love it. It is the EQ in my mastering chain and, even though it can be a bit twitchy when tweaking the parameters in real time, the results are worth tolerating the occasional hiccups.


LP-64 Multiband linear phase multiband limiter/compressor Ditto everything for this compressor what I said above about the EQ.

Roland V-Vocal 1.5 This is a very cool, fully featured voice and pitch correction tune for fixing the occasional wrong note

or notes here and there. It would be a mistake to think that this is either a poor man's Autotune or better than Autotune, as it does its job very nicely at pitch correcting. It also includes an Audio to midi converter that will spit out midi data that replicates the audio pitch data. This has some fun, alternative uses from V-Vocals main intent...and yes, it can do the worn out Cher/T-Pain/Kanye West vocal effect as well.

bounce down from rewire when they first start using Sonar, so here is the explanation. I have no idea if this is actually in the manual or not, as I've not needed to glance at the manual since I've been using Sonar...ever. I have used the help box on occasion though. I will admit to that, but I will also admit that the functions and usability of Sonar are so easy and obvious that, while the manual is well written, most people will be surprised by how seldom they actually reference it, or the help box.

Block 11 Surprisingly good brick-wall limiter to put the finishing touches on tracks.

Plenty More That was an incomplete roundup of the included content, as there is plenty more not addressed in detail above that are fine enough for any imaginable purpose.

Quick Note Concerning rewire... Look, in order to bounce down your rewired audio into a Sonar audio track, you have to put your mouse at the top of the clips pane time line and click and drag the mouse left-toright. When you do this, you will see in the time line that a puke brownish-green bar appears as you drag. Drag in the time line the measures you want to bounce before you try to bounce. If you do this, it will work. Also, if you want to bounce down everything, just hit Ctrl+A to select all the tracks to bounce down. Some people new to Sonar complain that they never get audio to

Final Thoughts As I mentioned above, Sonar has made my dreams come true in terms of what I want to do and where I want to go with my music. Even though I don't use it to actually write music, I do use it rather than going to a commercial studio. Note that I say “commercial” and not “professional” studio. This is because Sonar turns any computer that loads it into a professional studio with enough high quality tools and a fully-featured work flow to get all recording, mixing, and mastering jobs done with the included content and the wonderful design of the GUI and engine of the program itself. Just add the necessary hardware and you can do it all yourself as well. Sonar is that good. Period...and unlike me, you may actually love composing music in it as well. Download the demo, you will see that everything I said about the audio is as great as I say, and you may love the midi functionality and work flow of Sonar's midi sequencing to compose your own music.

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PSP Audioware MasterQ by Ginno Legaspi

Poland's PSPaudioware is one of those plug-in developers that has the knack of releasing plugins with features and sounds that model analog circuits. I presume that these guys must be fans of retrosounding stuff. And, if you're into that retro vibe also, you might find their products suitable for your music productions. But, make no mistake, their audio plugins are all high-quality. They have been in the forefront of developing software plug-ins for producers in need of high-end studio tools for a while. PSP MasterQ is part of PSP's MasterPack bundle which includes other plug-ins like the popular PSP VintageWarmer2, the versatile PSP MasterComp, the musical-sounding PSP Neon and PSP Neon HR; and the PSP Xenon limiter plugin. You can either purchase the discounted bundle ($699) or individual plugins (from $149-$299) at the PSP store. As the name suggests, PSP MasterQ is a high-end parametric EQ aimed for polishing two-track stereo mixes ready for mastering. But, there are no rules, really, as to how you could slap software effects plug-ins into

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CONTACT: www.pspaudioware.com

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS:

PRICE: $149

Windows XP with ServicePack 2 or later VST or RTAS compatible host application ProTools TDM/LE 7.3 or later for running RTAS (256 MB RAM) Pentium III 600 MHz High Color S-VGA, 1024x768

DEMO: Yes, working as full version for 14 days.

MacOS X 10.4.0 or later Intel Mac or PowerPC G4 or G5 (512 MB RAM) Audio Unit, VST or RTAS compatible host application ProTools TDM/LE 7.3 or later for running RTAS

your DAW's mixer console. So, for those who have dual, triple or quad-core CPUs you can run and take advantage of this plug-in as an insert effect, also. Needless to say, I don't see this EQ limited to mastering purposes only.

can be tweaked directly from the EQ graph. The immediacy of being able to conveniently tweak the parameters is cool if you want to hear the sudden changes you're making. I think this is a great 'hands-on' feature, and I would imagine the interaction between the user and PSP Specs-wise, PSP MasterQ can operate in a MasterQ brings a lot of fun. Other notable wide range of sampling rates from 44.1kHz features include PSP MasterQ's ability to to 192kHz. The seven pre-configured filter operate in a FAT ultimate quality double parameters offer: 12 or 24 dB/oct low cut sampling algorithm and in an high quality and high cut filters, low and high shelf processing mode using 64-bit double filters, and (fully parametric bands of) low, precision floating point computations. This mid, and high peaking filters. Each filter means that PSP MasterQ can perform in has an adjustable frequency and Q factor high quality but will also tax your CPU over a wide range. A 'Gain' parameter can greatly. But as noted above, if you have a be adjusted to all filters except for the low powerful computer system this shouldn't be and hi cut. All filters can be enabled or a big deal. bypassed with a simple on/off switch just on top of each filter. Say, if you're only BOTTOM LINE: If you're in the market for a using 2 out of the 7 filters available, mastering EQ that can handle heavy duties, disabing the others can considerably you should consider PSP MasterQ. For $149, conserve you CPU-power. it is not cheap but you know will get a good product with the trademark PSPaudioware It is available in different plugin formats sound. If your computer's CPU permits, (VST and RTAS for Windows; AudioUnit, this can be a good insert EQ as well. VST, RTAS for Mac OS X UniversalBinary) Overall, I was very impressed when I put so there are different format flavors to PSP MasterQ to the test because it allowed choose from. Furthermore, PSP MasterQ me to precisely EQ the frequencies of the provides a huge, high precision EQ graph various audio files I was running through it. display which shows the EQ curve (shown Although, it comes with a handful of in black) and the individual characteristics presets to get you started, PSP MasterQ is of each active filter (shown in different a tweaker's EQ. colors), in which all of the EQ parameters

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Stillwell Audio

Compressor by A. Arsov

I'm in Love Again...

Love, Love, Love

Money is always the issue. It is not With my new favorite toy, again. I use hard to find a good compressor for big it in every song on almost every track. I've tried and changed between a lot of bucks; but if you are not so wealthy or compressors during my musical career. if you are simply happily married (Wife: "What? For that price I could buy myself During this process I've been pretty unfaithful and forgot on my old favorite some Manolo Blahnik shoes along with as soon as some fresh VST meat came three handbags, well, okay, knockoffs around. Yes, I'm in love again, and this all of them; and yet, you my dear, are still meditating about some stupid comtime it squeezed my heart the same way it squeezed my sounds. So, my pressor?") then you should try to figure out how to get some high quality comdear Stillwell Rocket Comp, let's spend pressor on a tight budget. Yes, there some quality nights together and let's see if this time it will be our "happily are plenty of free ones, and a few of them are more than solid. The same ever after" romance or will it be just goes for the cheap ones. another torrid quickie affair. Till progress tear us apart. 58

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just left of the VU meter display. At first, I thought it was a shame that you can't fine tune the ratio but later I found that switching between those Stillwell Rocket compressor sounds four settings gives pretty good results. better than the free ones; and the The VU meter itself is divided on two same goes for the cheap ones; and main window parts. The upper one is believe it or not, even better than some of the expensive ones. It sounds for threshold, while the lower one shows the compensation level, output so clear and sharp that I have definitively decided it is worth every penny. level or even gain reduction level. It will break your heart without breakEverything else is pure magic hidden ing your budget. It is the King of the under the hood of clever programming. under C-note priced compressors and Stillwell Rocket Compressor is packed a tough competitive prize-fighter in with plenty of presets; some of them the heavy-weight division as well. are fantastic while others are a bit out of direction, but with small corrections The Facts they prove right on. It is as clean as the sky after the rain; Compressclusions and sharp like a butcher's favorite knife. "Yes I know: decayed and old The clarity of the end results is the but my poetry is still pure gold." ;-) issue for me, and if you add low proBut, it also has a lot of other qualities cessor usage along with user friendlito show for itself. It is light on the processor, good looking and extremely ness, you will get your best compressed solution for beefing up easy to operate. In the details: there drums, vocals and all other included are three main controls on the left side of the graphical interface: Attack, noises. I really hope that my relationship with Stillwell Rocket Compressor Release and Impetus. The latter adds shall last happily ever after... an analogue-like distortion to the signal. Surrounding the three main knobs Tested on both my PCs--the bad and are a few other shiny knobs and butthe good one--and it works on both. It tons. The Decadence button enables should work also on Mac but I still Rocket to switch between lower and haven't bought one. It comes as VST higher internal sample rates which and Audio Unit. reduces unwanted aliasing artefacts. Detector HPF is a high-pass filter for Download, try and cry at controlling the bass pumping material and the the Parallel Compression knob http://www.stillwellaudio.com/ and is for adding dry, uncompressed signal finally buy it for US $49...Period! to a compressed identical signal for getting that well-known "New York compression".

Rocket Compressor by Stillwell Audio

Furthermore, the Sidechain, Auto and Ratio knobs are arranged around the nice and big VU meter display. The Sidechain option opens two other inputs -- host dependent; allowing you to use all the benefits of a track's interactivity. The Auto knob adds a very useful and user friendly option for automatically applying "make-up gain" regarding the used ratio and threshold. It works fine, especially in combination with the Compensation slider under the VU meter for fine tuning the amount of level loss during the compression. The Ratio button lets you choose between 4:1, 8:1, 12:1 and 20:1 settings, and are neatly arranged

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Sylenth 1 ver. 2.2 It's all about the sound. I could give you hundreds of details about the structure, implemented elements, number of oscillators and used wave shapes but the bottom line of every synth, virtual or pure analogue, is always, The Sound. And to my ears, Sylenth 1 sounds awesome. After the first three seconds you'll know that it is not just another virtual synthesizer. It will rock your socks and it will beat everything else out of your head. If you can't make good music with it, then you should not quit your day job, ever. I'm serious. There are some rumors about how Sylenth 1 doesn't sound very analogue, especially at low ends. To be honest, I've heard a lot of analogue synths that don't sound so analogue. Usually, when we talk about analogue, we've got a Minimoog, Arp 2600 or Prophet 5 synth in mind, but all of those have a really unique character and are not so typical in general. I also had read some internet blah, blah, blah (rumors again) about how Sylenth 1 sounds so impressive because everything is swamped with effects. I found the opposite to be true. Have you ever tried to switch off the effects from some digital synths? My late Roland JV 1080 was unbelievably thin and naked without the included effects. It proved almost unusable without them. Still, it was one of the best digital synths at the time. Many times I switched off all the effects on Sylenth 1 during my testing period and didn't noticed any degradation in sound quality. Yes, all the included effects are top notch and can add extra sparkles to some sounds, but they are not sound savers and they are not implemented for masking purposes. Sylenth 1 may not be a model of the Arp 2600 but it is not just another virtual synthesizer either. Again, it is truly one of the best sounding virtual synths that I have ever heard. And, along with Ummet Ozcanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sound-set (not included with Sylenth 1) 60

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by A. Arsov

it comes so close to my ex Virus B, like nothing else so far.

stereo oscillators and is capable of 16-note polyphony.

The Facts

So, for 139 euros you get an excellent sounding synth with 1300 very usable presets. If you can't find an appropriate sound or if you just like to tweak it for yourself, then feel free to do it. It is a joy to program, even for me, a programming dummy. While the graphical interface may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, it is actually very well structured and all the essential parameters are easily accessible. As far as I know,

Sylenth 1 is one of those rare synths, along with Synplant from Sonic Charge, which runs smoothly also on my old laptop. I even loaded several instances of it and everything worked as it should. Sylenth 1 version 2 obviously uses a highly optimised code for minimizing the processorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s usage, compared with other vst instruments, especially if we consider that it uses four


Lennard is aware of the graphical issue and with the next update we will get a few additional GUIs along with the current one. This synth also has some additions that go beyond the standard set of components for a soft synth, which nicely expands its sound capabilities. It has two LFO filters with 11 different waveforms. Most other synths have just five or six waveforms included, so this addition is one of my favorite (I really like to play with LFO filters. It's my hobby. I can't resist tweaking LFO's!). The next non standard addition is a very capable arpeggiator with a step sequencer and some crazy settings possibilities: like manual transpose for every step up to 24 semitones. Along

with the standard ADSR envelopes, solo/poly and such trumpery, it also has sixteen modulation slots with twenty four parameters to chose. And as we spoke about effects before, we get seven different basic but pleasantly sounding effects with all possible variations: delay, reverb, compressor, distortion, phaser, chorus and equalizer. About the Sound The included presets cover a wide palette of sounds, from wild trance arpeggiators to mighty pads, crazy and aggressive leads, versatile basses and all sorts of weird effects, and drums and keys. All sounds are sharp, with that excellent attack which is so peculiar to analogue synths. They also have a sort of warm clarity which is not so typical for a virtual synthesizer. Sylenth 1, simply, brought me back to the days when I used to concentrate on a song by working mainly with just one or two synths at a time; instead of loading a dozen of them trying to find some good starting sound. As I said at the beginning, sound is everything and this mighty fellow has it. Extra

(http://www.ummetozcan.com ) After I have heard a demo of the bank I decided to try it. It is only a bit more expensive than the other two - It costs €35 EUR, but...If you are a peaceful, quiet and gentle sort of man, than run away! Run like hell! Run for your life! This sound-bank is like being hammered upside the head! It is one of the best and craziest sound-sets I’ve ever heard. All those crazy memorable leads and arps from trance/dance anthems are there. Every single preset from this bank is a hit maker. I'm not sure if any other bank provides such an up-to-date collection of sounds as this one. It is pretty hard to play them, because every time you hit a note your hands go up and your body starts to dance. My humble opinion is that Ummet and Lennart are an unbeatable combination in this VST world. Sylenth 1 - Pros and Cons Buy it. That's all I can say. You can't go wrong with such a synthesizer. It is one of the most impressive virtual synths at the moment. It sounds freaking good...it sounds freaking awesome! It comes loaded galore with useful and inspired presets; it is pretty easy to program; and finally, it is so light on the CPU that you can use it freely in multiple instances without worrying too much about processor usage.

While a new version has increased the number of presets to 1300, along with some other benefits like rewritten code, which brings us faster loading times and the new Mac version; it is also possible to It's like having an external synth with all the benefits of an internal one. buy some additional sound-banks, expanding the impressive number of The only downside is that you can't make included presets over all limits. Are they coffee with it. Okay, not very good coffee. worth buying? Do you want my honest Lennart, I really hope that you will add opinion? Yes! Because every skilled sound some USB hardware support to fix this designer has his unique signature and can issue: Lennart Digital Sylenth 1 version 3 add something new and fresh, even on with additional USB coffee maker. That's such an improved instrument. You can how I see the future of this instrument; find two additional banks on the main because I'm not so sure there is any room Sylenth 1 page for further sound improvements. Oh, and (http://www.lennardigital.com/modules/h can you offer it bundled with a pound of fine ome/): Adam Van Baker sound-set Part 2 French Roast? and Arksun’s sound-bank. Both banks are more on a hard and "attacky" side and It already sounds perfect, and remember – are worth their price of €20 EUR each. it's all about the sound. Extra, Extra I have also found some info about a new Sylenth 1 bank made by producer, musician and successful DJ, Ummet Ozcan from the Netherlands:

Sylenth 1 at http://www.lennardigital.com/modules/hom e/ for €139 EUR. Tested on a IBM T30 type machine and on a mighty dual-core workhorse.

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Bart Noorman’s Virtual Music School by David Keenum

How would you like to have a year’s worth of Music School on your computer?

Periodically, people ask university level. It was a me to teach them music world unto itself with its theory. I can show them own language, rules, and some things and maybe principles. And oh what even teach them a thing rules! The rules were all or two… but teaching based on the chorales of J. them music theory? I S. Bach. We even wore don’t know where to bracelets with the letters start! Now I know why I WWBD (What Would Bach feel this way. It’s the Do). Okay, the last part memories. Memories of wasn’t true, but the rest being a 17-year-old kid -- is! It was tough! Two a long way from home at years of tough! a big university and majoring in music. “Lost” And I’m not done! I doesn’t even begin to dreaded Wednesdays! describe it! Wednesdays were sight singing and dictation. I Now don’t get me wrong. was lousy at both. I I wasn’t completely didn’t unprepared. I knew know some classical music – I that some knew Tchaikovsky’s 1812 people are born Overture – well, I had the with an aptitude for record. I knew some knowing what they are piano – I could play the hearing (We call it entire piano part to “having a good Colour My World by ear”), and the rest Chicago. I even knew of us have to what chords were in the develop it. song. But nothing could ever have prepared me for music theory at the 62

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All I knew was fear – raw unadulterated fear! If not for years of therapy, I’d still be dreading Wednesdays. And for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how all of this was going to make me a better musician, or a better band director, or a better anything! Even after I learned to appreciate Bach’s chorales, I still couldn’t figure out how all of this was supposed to fit!


surprisingly competent things that separates VMS knowledge of music theory. from the traditional approach to teaching music theory. Another So I guess that is the interesting aspect of VSM, review. If you want to which is common to all learn music theory, order the DVD. But for me to do video or computer-based instruction, is that you can a good job informing you, move at your own pace. I need to tell you more. You can also review or go For example, what is back and practice an music theory? Music theory is how music works. earlier exercise. I would like to add that VMS is Did you know that the organized in such a way keys of A and D are related? Did you know that that this is rather easy to a ii chord wants to go to a do. But enough of this, let’s get into the details! V chord? And what is the chord Jimi Hendrix used in One important point is Foxy Lady? Okay, that question may be a little off that Bart Noorman is a Enter Virtual Music performing jazz musician, track, but the answer, C7 School and VMS was created from #9 (I think), needs some that perspective. This Virtual Music School understanding if you are doesn’t mean that you (hereafter referred to as going to relate that VMS) is a DVD (both Mac knowledge to other songs. need to be an aspiring jazz musician to benefit from and PC compatible) VMS, actually it is quite All of this knowledge can containing approximately the opposite: any musician be learned with VMS, but one year of music theory can benefit from this. Even study. There is instruction there is an important musicians who have difference between VMS in the form of videos, and a traditional approach “suffered” through the mp3s and .pdf files, to music theory. VMS has rigors of music theory written exercises, and ear taught by an evil a goal of making you a training. If you have a demagogue music basic knowledge of better player. The professor bent on inflicting reading music (and music practical assignments are irreparable damage on the meant to support your fundamentals) and performance ability and minds and emotions of something beyond a young impressionable beginner’s ability creativity. When Bart musicians! (Oops! I think to play a musical Noorman, the creator of I might need to restart my VMS, refers to VMS as an instrument, this therapy sessions!) DVD will help “integrated package,” you develop a that’s what he means. Okay, let me try this Bart is a performing musician, as well as a again: the concepts taught professor at the Utrecht in VMS can apply to any Conservatory in Holland, music. The audio and his plan is that VMS recordings are stylistically would help you become jazz, but trust me, it doesn’t hurt. If you’re a better performing content playing your solos musician. based on a minor pentatonic scale, then I mention that because this is learning music theory isn’t really necessary. But if one of the

I now know that a lot of that was a “rite of passage” for music majors, and simple music theory is not quite so mysterious. And I know that Bach was a genius and worth all the respect he gets. But when someone asks me to teach them music theory, I still “freak” inside, as I don’t know where to begin. Do they need to know about a Picardy Third?* Well, thank God for technology! I finally have a solution: Buy a DVD!

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you want to expand your musical knowledge, a little jazz will help. Don’t worry, it won’t cause you to wear a black beret or grow a goatee.

Installation and Such VMS comes on a DVD. It took about 10 days for it to make its way to me from Holland. That wasn’t a problem for me but in this day of instant downloads, it may actually require some patience (wink). Installation was easy. The entire course is in html format, which means that it runs in any browser, on any platform. It took a little while to get accustomed to it, but after that it was easy to navigate. I did find that I had to change my laptop’s screen resolution to its finest resolution (1280 by 800 pixels) in order to see the entire screen of the html page. To be fair, it clearly states this on the “System Requirements” page, but I hadn’t bothered reading it. The course is laid out intuitively and it was easy to see where to begin. Let’s take a look at how it is organized.

Break it down The entire course is broken down into four sections: Home, Basics, Sections, and Services. Let me try to briefly describe each section. Home This section contains the System Requirements, contact address, general information, and “Practical Tips” on the course. This section also contains information about Bart's vision of two of the main areas that VMS emphasizes: improvisation and scales.

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Basics This section covers vocabulary, “Basic Forces” (a practical explanation of how music harmony works), and Phrasing. This is where concepts such as the Circle of 5ths, Intervals, and Chord symbols are discussed or reviewed. And also in this section, ear training is introduced. Sections Sections contains the main content of the VMS. This is where you develop the concepts you learned in the Basics section. The subjects covered include Harmony, Secondary Dominants, Modal Interchange, Diminished Chords and Tritone Substitutions. Each area is developed through written, playing, and listening exercises. Incidentally, the Blues is also covered in this section.

When you look at a list like this, it may not seem like much, but it is. In fact, it is used as part of the first year of study at the Utrecht Conservatory in the Netherlands. I can easily see how this program could take one year to complete.

Before I move on, let me describe the Library in a little more detail. The Library contains a categorical listing of all the songs in the course, a list of the various types and levels of written exercises (in .pdf format), a listing of Services helpful essays and technique papers, This is a resource that you can Summaries (more helpful papers for quickly consult and contains reviewing things you’ve learned in the information that you will course), and a link to the 168 page consult for years to come. It VMS workbook. alone is worth the price of the entire course. The Services section contains a glossary, a Observations Library, a General FAQ, more ear training, a section for As I said, after I got used to the developing the ii – V – I layout and set my screen resolution progression, and the Rhythm properly, I found the course easy to Gym. The Rhythm Gym navigate. I could easily go back to an section will help you develop earlier section if I needed to review your timing when you play. something. I could also, just as easily, The emphasis is on “groove.” jump ahead if I already knew something. I found the .pdf files


Conclusions

Bart Noorman’s Virtual Music School: System Requirements: Windows - Intel Pentium II 450 MHz or faster processor (or equivalent), 128 MB RAM Macintosh – Power PC G3 500 MHz processor or faster, 128 MB RAM, DVD drive Information: http://www.virtualmusicschool.org/ Price: VMS full version DVD - €99.00 Optional printed workbook - €25.00 Test Computer: Laptop with Intel Cor 2 Duo, T7100@1.80GHz, 2GB RAM, Windows XP Pro SP 2, built in sound card.

If you’ve read this far you know that I think the course is comprehensive and organized effectively. My one question is how much personal drive would it take to complete a course like this. In my opinion, the payoff for that time would be enormous, but you would have to be willing to work! There are no shortcuts as far as time goes and you would have to memorize terminology, scales, and chords. But then, everybody who goes to a music school has to do that. The benefit of using VMS is that you get to pick your time and pace. As for me, I’m going to go practice my Tritone Substitutions!

Addendum convenient. You can print them if you need to study an area. For that matter, you can also copy the mp3 files for practice away from VMS. I also found the course thorough. VMS contains 46 movies (3.5 hours in length), 73 pages of exercises, 180 ear training mp3s, and 11 songs composed for the course. In fact, if you print the entire workbook, it is 163 pages! And I like the sequence of learning opportunities. If you have the self-discipline to complete the course, you should have the tools to play, communicate, and improvise in almost any musical style.

I was very impressed with the audio I’m curious as to how this plays out, recordings, as there are no general so I’ve asked my friend, Deshi (DeMIDI files here. In fact, my suspicion SHAY), to complete this course. is that the recording were all done Actually, she is one of the people who live with professional musicians. So, if asked me to teach them music theory. these are MIDI mockups, don’t tell Anyway, Deshi has agreed to report me! The playing and recordings are on her progress so, for as long as it all stylistically accurate and enjoyable takes, every issue of Wusik Sound and the embedded videos were also Magazine will include a report on well done (and you get to hear Bart’s Deshi’s progress. Let’s wish her voice). Godspeed! I hope she does better than me on Tritone Substitutions! * If you just have to know about a Picardy Third look it up here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Picardy_t hird

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Tiny Binaural Harpsichord by David Keenum Wusik Station seems to inspire sound designers and sample developers to create long evolving atmospheres. You know, just press a key and listen to it evolve. Now don’t get me wrong: I like these kind of sounds, and Wusik Station does a great job with them. The wavesequencer is perfect for atmospheres and unusual rhythms. But today I want to talk about the Tiny Binaural Harpsichord, and the Tiny Binaural Harpsichord is nothing like what I have been describing. It’s just an instrument… a highly unusual, lovely instrument making, in part, some strange sounds… but still, just an instrument. Let me try to describe it.

Tiny Binaural Harpsichord is a binaurally multi-sampled "Arnold Dolmetsch" portable harpsichord. Now I know nothing about "Arnold Dolmetsch" harpsichord, but I did find this on my local Craig’s List: “Experienced keyboardist has small portable harpsichord for hire for holiday parties. Christmas favorites played live on a real Arnold Dolmetsch harpsichord. Very small instrument with a big voice. You can put me in a corner or in the center of the party. Suit and tie or casual, your choice. $200 for one hour, and $150 each additional hour. Unique entertainment value with a real (not electronic) instrument.”

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Tiny Binaural Harpsichord Creator and Distributor: Pendle Poucher Web-site: http://www.virb.com/dulcitone1884 Price: £15 Formats: Ableton Sampler Rack, Kontakt2/3, EXS, Wusik and Giga Test Computer: AMD Athlon 64 3200+ 2.0GHz, 4GB RAM, Windows XP Pro SP 3, Echo MiaMIDI Audio Card

Pendle has a nice demo on his website, but I couldn’t resist making another. I even came up with a creative name, Tiny Binaural Harpsichord demo. Like it? Well, The set of “prepared-ness” sounds you can find it here: is, for the most part, downright http://www.wusiklabel.com/membe creepy. It’s the type of sounds that rs/6/music.php . In addition to the came on that Halloween ghost story Wusik Station version of the Tiny The muted and open strings sound album. Remember? Well, take my Binaural Harpsichord, I included similar to a harpsichord, but also resemble a zither, or a dulcimer… or word for it, it was scary. You might Djembe and Shaker Basket loops from Drums on Demand’s Essential something like that. Under both the think I’m overreacting, but the set muted and open strings is a solid of sounds contains thuds, squeaks, Acoustic Percussion. But you will and string scrapes that Pendle clearly hear Pendle’s Tiny Binaural wooden thud that enters with tortured out of that poor Harpsichord. Maybe it will give you harder velocities. The wooden harpsichord. As I said, downright an idea of at least one of the “thuds” actually provide a rhythmic sounds from this library. For me it creepy. sound under the harpsichord. The sounds unusual and lovely, yet result is unlike any instrument I familiar. Corny but true. know, and yet it resembles many That’s all I found, nothing more. But I can tell you something about Pendle’s Tiny Binaural Harpsichord! It contains a set of muted strings, a set of open strings, and a set of what Pendle calls “john cage style prepared-ness.”

string instruments. But if I were to pick one instrument for comparison, I’d say a hammered dulcimer with a wooden thud.

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The

Mellotron by WilliamK

This is a Sampler Back in the 70's, Analog Synths were The real deal for a Mellotron is that its just starting. If you would tell someone sound has a very unique that you had a keyboard that could play characteristic, that only an Analog real instrument sounds, they would device can provide. Not to mention burn you in a public place: “That's that in the earlier 70's, there was sorcery, nonsense, who could have such almost no Polyphonic instruments, thing?! Black Magic I say! BURN HIM!” while the Mellotron was fully polyphonic. Now I tell you, someone was clever enough to think: “What if I could cut Sadly, there were several problems several pieces of tape, from those reelon transporting those big dynos to-reel machines, and have each one a around. So with time, people just real instrument note recorded into it? gave up and started using Now I just need to find a way to play computers with the Mellotron each note, as a real instrument, but sounds inside: “The Musical Box, with a keyboard instead. Hmmm...” being a tribute band dedicated to visually reproducing early Genesis So, the first popular Mellotron M400 shows; have taken great pains to was born in the early 70's. It consisted hide the fact that they do not use of 35 keys, from G to F. It would play a a real Mellotron by hiding a single sound. Each key had its own Kurzweil synthesiser in a wooden piece of tape attached. Pressing a key box made to look like a Mellotron.” would release a system that would play (http://wikipedia.org) its sound until the tape would reach its Today, you can find several Mellotron end and stop. Only modern Mellotrons sounds floating around the Net. You can actually play in Loop, what they call also check out Wusik EVE, (Win/Mac Cycle Mellotrons. Still, pressing the key over and over would produce a different VST/AU) which now features a complete Mellotron soundset created by sound, as the tape position would be DASHsignature in conjunction with the last one once you released the key, unless you gave time for the tape to go Hollow Sun. back to the start. Wusik EVE: http://www.wusik.com/w/wseve.html Mellotronix: http://www.dashsignature.com/product s/dashsound/hqs4.htm (this set is now included with any new Wusik EVE order)

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The actual interface is rather clever 1) The actual key, where you press to have the sound on a regular keyboard; 2) This will press the tape into the magnetic head; 3) A small wheel that presses the tape into the actual rolling wheel; 4) The piece of tape which holds the recorded sound; 5) The rolling tape, which pulls the piece of tape forward; 6) The magnetic tape head, which plays the tape; 7) The system that makes the tape go back when a key is released, consisting of a few parts and a string that pushes the tape back to the bottom of the device.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Mellotron Gutsâ&#x20AC;?

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T-Racks 3 Deluxe by A. Arsov

T-Day Soon after the demo of T-Racks 3 saw the light of the day, we had already gotten an avalanche of “It eats too much processor power” posts on various musical forums around the globe. At the same time, I got my copy of T-Racks 3 for reviewing purposes. I was in some doubt on what to do, so I installed the new version, but kept the previous one installed as well. Just in case, as your mama used to say: “Caution and measure will win you treasure”.

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Day After I opened my sequencer and loaded one of my finished tracks, which was using the old T-Racks. I switched it off and loaded the new version under the inactive old one. I then discovered...


Facts Yes, it eats more processor power; approximately one third more than the previous version. I glanced through the included presets and soon I found an appropriate one. The first thing I noticed was that T-Racks 3 sounds much, much better than its predecessor. Even a deaf person can hear the difference. So, it is more CPU intensive but on the other hand it sounds noticeably better and it doesn't override the previous version; so you can use both of them. It also comes in two "shapes": standalone and as a plug-in inside your sequencer.

so I've been pleasantly surprised to discover that the new T-Racks can sound even better.

I'm not sure what they put in this T-Racks soup, but I know that I like it. Regarding the processor usage, I'm still working on having an old T-Racks inserted as a send effect on a main output's channel; but now I'm exporting my final mixes without T-Racks on an output as I prefer to apply it afterwards through the standalone version. By the way, IK Multimedia showed that they were aware of the problem so they have already released an upgrade which slightly improves the average processor usage; and All in all, I have to admit that I since I know something about IK was already totally satisfied multimedia, this will not be their with the previous version;

last attempt aimed toward fixing this issue. A Soup What we get in the new T-Racks pot is a mixture of four totally rewritten and redesigned "old" analog modeling processors, plus three new exiting vintage analog emulations and two new digital processors. Nine processors in total. Before we go deeper into the details, I just want to warn you that T-Racks 3 is not â&#x20AC;&#x153;Rack and Rollâ&#x20AC;? any more. Now you can see just one processor at a time, but soon I've realized that it is pretty easy to browse through the chosen processors anyway and taking into consideration that the new graphical interface looks pretty sexy, it is really unnecessary to shed tears

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T-Racks 3

remembering the old one racknroller interface. The new one looks far more up to date and it is clearer, containing everything that you'll ever need for your mastering purposes. Thumbs up for the included phase meter, which can be found along with a spectrum analyzer and a loudness meter. All in all the new version of T-Racks looks significantly better then the previous one, although it does not contain all of the processors in one common window. But, let that be enough about the sexy body of the tool; this is supposed to be an audio tool and not just a piece of contemporary interface art. The Body The three new vintage analog emulations, i.e. the vintage tube compressor limiter based on a Fairchild 670 model, the tube program equalizer based on the Pultec EQP -1A and the new opto compressor make a whole world of difference. I was actually pretty amused reading the info about those processors on the IK multimedia site. It sounded strangely familiar to me. The spiel contains a large amount of commonly frayed phrases used by many audio companies. So, they told us that they've spent ten years researching old

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analog gear and measuring all the variations just to provide to us the perfect emulation of all those holy respected old vintage effects. Yeah, yeah, yeah... I almost fell asleep. Every developer writes the same thing. Just change the name of the emulated model and the name of the end product and you got it. Most of the time, it is just a nice bedtime story which can replace your cup of warm milk later in the evening, but surprisingly this time, they prove to be right. As far as I know, the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Universal Audioâ&#x20AC;? fellows were the only ones to get it right until now; so it looks like, finally, they got some competition. Regarding the term analog -- I could use some common expressions: those that nobody really knows what they exactly mean; but we use them anyway whenever we want to describe analog in the abstract sense. I'd rather stay in the basic field of common expression:

I don't know how they did it;and I'm not so sure that I want to know all the details about their ten years of researching. I just want to enjoy the results. It works for me and that's all that matters.

Along with those three new analog modeling processors (fancy name for effects) we also get a new multi algorithm brickwall limiter and a new high definition six-band linear phase equalizer. They are not as impressive as those vintage analog modeling ones, but they are not bad anyway. Smooth It sounds wider, brighter, and nice is the name of the digital nicer, stronger and noticeable game. The other four effects (or better. Yes, they did it! IK processors) are: classic made a new set of effects compressor, equalizer, clipper and which finally add some extra multi band limiter and they are magic along thestandard the rewritten classical T-Racks magic. effects from the old version.

February 2009


convinced that the old version was all I would need till the end of my life, I presume that this still could be a winner for most of us.

Exercise Working with T-Racks 3 is a joy. Changing the order of the included effects in the rack is dead easy. All effects are nicely designed and are not too complicated to use; so it is not such an art to set them and tweak them. You don't need to have a doctorate in sound engineering to get impressive end results. If you find that the deluxe version is out of the creative range of your wallet, then you can try and enjoy the standard version just as well. It still contains the rewritten classical effects from the previous version. You probably won't get such wide mixes and you'll miss some extra sparkle; but since not so long ago I was

Deluxe or not, keep this in mind: just putting a quality Limiter (like Waves L3 or similar) on the master bus is not the same as using some good mastering compressors along with an EQ and Limiter. A good master compressor emphasizes instruments in a good way that no limiter can. T-Racks 3 compressor make guitars and synths more noticeable without overriding the vocals and other instruments. The Limiter will just put all things louder while a good mastering compressor can help place things better in the mix. It is always a problem making guitars and synths strong, alongside the vocal without mashing them all into one big mess. So here's where the T-Rack 3 is a real buttocks saver.

T-Racks 3 is not the cheapest effect on the globe but mastering studios are not cheap either. For the price of three songs you'll get your mastering studio for the rest of your life...or at least until the next version comes out. Download the demo from the IK site: http://www.ikmultimedia.com/ and hear it with your own ears. T-Racks 3 Standard comes with just four renewed classical effects, without all the new analog and digital modeled processors and it costs $199.99 US / â&#x201A;Ź149,99 euro while the mighty Deluxe version will cost you $499.99 US / â&#x201A;Ź379,99 eur. I know it is not cheap, but those extra processors are worth every penny. Like all the other IK stuff, this one comes in all shapes for all hosts and computers. You name it and you have it.

T-Racks 3 is definitively one of those try-it-once-and-you'llnever-use-anything-else sort of effects that will sneak under your skin. So, grow up, sell your game consoles and buy yourself T-Racks 3 instead. Become the master of your productions. You've been master of the universe enough times, already.

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Sample & Sound libraries by Ginno 'g.no' Legaspi

have that certain 'bite' in them. Overall, this is a good library with highly usable material.

Loopsmasters Aquasky: Electro House & Breaks

CONTACTS: www.loopmasters.com

Since the advent of sample libraries in the 80's, many sample developers have hired known artists/producers to commission their sounds from. Nowadays, it's widely popular for artists/producers to cut their own sample cd as it is to release an album. To launch Loopmasters' "Artists Series" collection, they picked Aquasky to kick things off. Now the two have teamed up to bring you "Aquasky: Electro House and Breaks".

FORMAT: - 1.5+GB DVD - 1360 Acidised Wav Samples, 557 RMX friendly Rex2 Loops, 579 Apple Loops, Full Reason Refill 147 Patches for Reason, Kontakt, Halion, EXS24, Emulator X2, and Ableton Live. LIST PRICE: - ÂŁ39.95, (also available as download)

Zero-G SoundSense Street Beatz: NYC Hip Hop

Zero-G's Street Beatz is another volume from the SoundSense series that tries Known for their great production style, Aquasky have opened their sample vault to inspire the masses with their to bring the pure East Coast sound. signature sound. Anyone looking to make an electro, Produced by house or breaks will be thrilled that this 1.5GB of diverse Shaun Morris sample material includes drum loops & fills, bass loops, (NYC-based), music loops and vocal samples (the latter courtesy of this 1GB of hip Ragga Twins and Rebecca Riley). This library also has hop material is many one-shot drum hits, single bass hits, effect sounds delivered in a and more than 200 instrument sounds. Supporting variety of different sampler formats is a must nowadays for a formats, sample library, and I'm happy to see Loopmasters have including Acid included 147 instrument patches for popular programs WAV, Apple AIFF such as Reason's NN-XT, Kontakt, HALion, EXS24, loops and Stylus Emulator X2 and Ableton Live. RMX Rex2 files. When I auditioned the samples, a lot of them sounded As expected, superb. I would've liked if they were in 24-bit format but most loops are in the standard 16-bit quality will do. From a production the slow 90-100 standpoint, Aquasky has really put a lot of attention to bpm range, detail in bringing together this collection and it shows. I which I like. They find the thumping basses very useful and the drum loops

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are recorded in 44.1 kHz/24-bit format. Like most sample libraries on the market, Street Beatz comes with a good selection of dope beats, groovy guitar riffs, phat basses, stabs, percussion and orchestral hits. You can find most of the sample 'gems' in the 15 construction kits included. But that's not it. To those who'd rather program their own beats, the 'SB Kit' folder offers a handful of drum and percussion hits, which comprises 10 cymbals, 20 hi-hats, 20 bass kicks, 15 percussions and 20 snares and claps. The production of the library is top notch but the samples sometimes lack that distinct 'grit' I'm accustomed to in hip hop libraries. That's my only niggle, but no biggie. Overall, this is a great collection with a good potential to win many of urban producers' hearts. CONTACTS: www.soundsonline.com FORMAT: - Acid WAV, Aiff Apple Loops, Stylus RMX and Rex2 - 1GB of new sounds - 44.1 kHz/24-bit format LIST PRICE: $59.95

Blue Zone Trance Core (The Dark Side of Trance) New to the sample development arena is Blue Zone, a French company that specializes in electronic genre samples. Trance Core (The Dark Side of Trance), their debut product, is aimed primarily at producers of electro, techno, hardstyle and, of course, progressive and psytrance. This new sample library was recorded at their own facility utilizing different bits of vintage and modern gear and is meant to enhance your trance compositions. If you like it fast and hard, this collection is for you as the drum loops in 142-146 bpm range will tell. Browsing through the folders, it

is good to know that the Blue Zone folks didn't skimp on the samples. In fact, this library is comprised of a whooping 1800+ samples. Format delivery is in WAV and 44.1kHz/16-bit. Generally, trance is repetitive in nature and it evolves over time. Certain sounds are introduced here and there within the song's sections. The thing I like about this genre is its chord progression, not to mention the 'buildup' listeners can anticipate. Trance, to me, is like a roller coaster ride, lots of good bumps. Relatively, Trance Core offers plenty of authentic material for a good foundation in trance production. The programming is tight and you'll find lots of great one-shot synth, bass, atmospheres, lead and drum sounds. The folder called 'Drum Loops' has some very punchy, aggressive sounding drum loops, which I think are club-ready. The 'FX' folder features cool synth effect sounds and swooshes that are appropriate for transitions within song sections. They are some of the best synth effect samples I've heard in a long time. One minor compliant: you only get WAV files with this library. It would have been great if other audio formats were offered. Needless to say, Garage Band (Apple AIFF loops) and Reason 4 (REX2) users are out of luck. But whatever electronic dance music you produce, one thing's for sure: Trance Core will help you put together a banging tune that's dance floor ready. It has high-quality content and is consistently spot-on within the trance genre. Dance-craze crowd prepare!! CONTACTS: www.bluezone.fr FORMAT: - WAV files - 44.1khz/16-bit format LIST PRICE: 98.00â&#x201A;Ź all inclusive tax, 81.94â&#x201A;Ź net of tax

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Sample & Sound libraries

Sample Magic

FORMAT:

Nu-Rave

- 2.29GB CD/DVD multipack (2,454 files), includes Audio, 24-bit Wavs (891Mb, 796 files), Stylus RMX compatible Rex files (361Mb, 476 files), Apple Loops (534Mb, 476 files) plus EXS24, Reason NNXT, Kontakt II and Halion patches.

By now, WSM readers should be familiar with Sample Magic and its sister download-onlysite SoundsToSample. They have been hand-crafting sample libraries left and right since 2006. And with NuRave, their repertoire got stronger. This is my fifth Sample Magic library review and I have to say off the bat that they have consistently released fresh, inspirational and quality sample collections to the masses in a short period of time. Nu-Rave is comprised of 800+MB loops and one-shots of sampled material for use in your electro-house, disco-punk and sleazy new wave mashups and other electronic genre productions. The samples sound pristine due to highquality 44.1kHz/24-bit format. Files are clearly labeled with tempos of 120, 125 and 130 bpm. The material is very diverse and there is so much on offer here that you can easily make your way to a banging break beat, house or indie-tinged electronica, without breaking a sweat. Producers who fancy the sound of popular new rave groups such as Hadouken or Klaxons will find little time stringing loops together to get that perfect sound. Most of times a sample library's strength is its 'Drum' loops folder, but after auditioning Nu-Rave I find the crunchy 'Bass' and slicklyprogrammed 'Tops & Glitch' loops very inspiring. Overall, this genrespecific material is great - enough to warrant a high recommendation from WSM. CONTACTS: www.samplemagic.com www.soundstosample.com

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LIST PRICE: ÂŁ58.67 DVD/CD, ÂŁ49.95 (download from SoundToSample)

Zero-G Ecstatic Grooves This sample library from Zero-G offers a huge collection of drum/percussion loops and single hits in one DVD. In fact, it features a jaw-dropping 2,200 24-bit samples, including more than 1650 loops and 550 one-shot sounds. Ecstatic Grooves is an 'all beat' library focusing mainly on drum loops and grooves that suits styles such as hard dance, trance, techno, progressive house, tribal and dance. There are no folders dedicated to synth phrases, bass lines or melodic music loops. Instead, this is a collection of high-quality


drums loops and pounding grooves intended at inspiring DJ and dance producers for their next track. There is such a wide selection of different material that the possibilities of injecting these loops in your tracks are endless. I love the included single hit sounds, because I can import them in my drum sampler VST instrument and make my own kit. The nicely-processed FX sounds are good and can be useful to any electronic compositions; I particularly liked the reverbed kicks and fx percussions. Ecstatic Grooves comes in many formats and includes Acidized Wavs, AIFF Apple Loops, Stylus Compatible Rex2 Files. Also, a couple of sampler patches are included for EXS24, Kontakt2 and Reason Softstudio. If you're a DJ or dance producer seeking to add a new, modern-sounding drum sample library to your collection, Ecstatic Grooves might be what you're looking for. With this library, you're set to have a great-sounding material that will last you for a long time. Highly recommended. CONTACTS: www.soundsonline.com FORMAT: - WAV, Acid WAV, AIFF Apple loops, Rex2, - NI Kontakt 2, Logic EXS24, Reason NNXT and Halion sampler patches. - 44.1khz/24bit Stereo LIST PRICE: - $109.00, ÂŁ59.95, 90 Euro

Loopmasters Trafik: Progressive House and Electronica

Trafik, the hot electronica duo consisting of Andrew Archer and John Elliott, are experts when it comes to creating banging beats and electronic club anthems. Just listen to their releases or take their remixes under the Global Underground label for a spin and you'll know what I mean. Every project they put their hands on just sizzles, and that's why they were asked for their services by Loopsmasters' "Artist Series" second title. The result is "Trafik: Progressive House & Electronica". The "Progressive House and Electronica" is an all-rounder sampled material but mostly covers the basic sounds needed for producing house. On offer here are drums, bass and musical loops. All instrument loops are divided into four folder groups of 120, 125, 130 and 135 bpm. You'll also get a healthy dose of oneshot drum samples, some good progressive FX's, pads, leads and various hits & stabs. Like the Aquasky review (see above), I auditioned the samples by using Sony's Acid Pro (a DAW/looping sequencer) software. Those of you who are in search of a good set of quality drum hit samples are in it for a treat. These are some of the most gorgeous samples I've heard in a while. If you're looking for a more specific term from me, I guess the drum samples can only be described as 'punchy'. The folder called 'Musical' loops doesn't have a lot of material but it should be enough to inspire every producer to create a track. Overall, this library is great and reasonably priced. It also gets my additional love for supporting various sampler formats. CONTACT: www.loopsmasters.com

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Sample & Sound libraries

After a quick browse and audition of the 500 Acidized WAV samples on offer, I was instantly in love with the LA Drums' D1 and D2 folders. These are my favorites of the lot because they sound big, tight and full of energy. I could just imagine Jeremy performing his heart out during the recording process of this library. The Percussion 1 folder also has some useful, groovy percussion loops that can be used to augment with the other drum loops. Nice.

FORMAT: - 1.5GB DVD - Acidized WAV, Stylus RMX, Rex2, Aiff Apple loops, Reason Refill - Patches for Reason, Kontakt, Halion, EXS24, Emulator X2 and Ableton Live

LIST PRICE: - ÂŁ39.95 (also available as download)

Zero-G SoundSense LA Drums As one of the in-demand studio musicians in LA, Jeremy Janeczko has been active in the circuit (whether live or instudio) since the early '90s doing what he loves drumming. He started out as a drum-tech, went on to become a programmer, then moved up the ladder to perform drums for big acts such as The Eagles, Cypress Hill, Michael Jackson and Sheryl Crow - to name a few. The recognition gained him appearances in many country, pop, rock and hip-hop albums and when he became an avid Reason (soft-synth studio by Propellerhead software) user, he realized that the sample library market lacked a good "songwriter friendly" acoustic drum loop library. Needless to say, he recorded one for himself out of necessity, and also for all the producers looking for some acoustic drum loops to be used in all genres of music.

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LA Drums is as good a quality library as you'd expect from Zero-G. The included sampled material is about 800+MB in size and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all in 24-bit format. The loops are neatly organized in different folders, well labeled and categorized to ease the browsing of files. This multi-format DVD comes with Acidized WAV, WAV, AIFF Apple loops, REX2 and Stylus RMX compatible REX2. The material is so diverse that, basically, all music styles are covered.

February 2009

Bottom line: If you're a producer looking for a good sample set of acoustic drums loops, LA Drums does not disappoint. Bear in mind that a good song requires a good rhythm foundation and it has to start with the drums and bass sounding tight. LA Drums might be your ticket because the loops sound great and are mixed very well, and Jeremy's performance is tight, always "in-thepocket" so to speak. This is one inspiring library. CONTACTS: www.soundsonline.com FORMAT: - Acid WAV, Aiff Apple Loops, Stylus RMX and Rex2 - 800+MB of drums and percussions content - 44.1 kHz/24-bit format LIST PRICE: $59.95


Best Service Halls of Fame

Halls of Fame is a collection of 32-bit HDIR (High Definition Impulse Response) sampled from the famous Lexicon and TC Electronic hardware reverb units. This library of true stereo impulses was produced by known engineer/producer Wolfgang Lenden at Soniclab studio. The product description states that this was made using state-ofthe-art gear to obtain maximum resolution, ultra-low noise levels and pristine, transparent sound quality. Various tests were also done to ensure the impulses actually matched that of the original hardware units. This multi-format DVD (WAV and AIFF) features presets from the high-end units, all coming in 32-bit and 24-bit files with sample rates of 44.1/48kHz. Since all the processing was done in 32-bit floating point, the sound quality is awesome. If you prefer to work with the 24-bit file, it is just as outstanding as the 32-bits. There are 147 stereo IRs samples from the L96 and they include 115 presets with 32 variations. On the other hand, the T600C IRs offers 340 true stereo files that boast 369 presets (mono to stereo versions included). To make sure Halls of Fame is your one-and-only-stop IR library, Best Service has provided a complete set of HDIR models, including: Ambience, Booth, Cathedral, Chambers, Church,

sounded warm, rich and lush with the Concert Hall, Dance Club, Halls of T600C's M5000 'Vocal' presets. Even Fame Collection, Opera House, Music the L96 had a couple of nice ones. Hall, Philharmonic Hall, Plates, Post The drum loops I ran thru the L96 Production, Rooms, Stage & Hall, "Large Bright Room" impulse gave it Stage & Chamber, Scoring Stage, Large Hall, Studio Small, Wild Spaces, the wideness and liveliness it needed. I am convinced that you can actually Vocal Plates and so onâ&#x20AC;Ś achieve some good sounding reverbed material using Halls of Fame. If you are into ambient/new agey/space-type music or need an impulse to spice up your synth pads, no problem; you'll find plenty of presets that caters to those genres - like the "Wide Ambient Chamber" preset in T600C's VSS 3 Reverb A folder. There are even tons of FX-type models if you go for that heavy experimental, leftfield, metallictype sound. Bottom line: Sure, you can scour the internet and download lots of good free impulses. But Halls of Fame will give you excellent HDIR, true stereo-quality impulses unlike any other. This is simply a brilliant commercial IR product worth to be praised. CONTACTS: www.soundsonline.com

So what do I think? I've never owned any TC Electronic or Lexicon reverbs units before, but these are some of the finest reverb IRs I have ever heard. I think the patches emulate the original unit very well. The L96 impulses are best suited for regular reverb purposes and the T600C has plenty of presets for the tweaker/experimentalist like me. I ran a couple of different instrument source files using Orion 7's Impulse Response Processor plug-in and was blown away by the results. The vocals

FORMAT: - WAV and Aiff files - 44.1/48kHz 24-bit and 32bit stereo - The following convolution reverbs are supported: Voxengo Pristine Space, Waves IR 1, Audioease Altiverb 5 & 6, Apple Logic Spacedesigner, Prosoniq Rayverb, Christian Knufinke SIR & SIR2, Magic Samplitude, NI Kontakt 2, Wizoo W2, GigaPulse, TL Space, Synapes-Audio's Orion Impulse Response Processor and many more. LIST PRICE: - $99.95

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

February 2009

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what’s on your amp by Sir Joe

Although my musical tastes are quite eclectic and I have a vast collection of records and CDs, I often find myself reaching for a small selection of albums, released more than 20 years ago, that mean a lot to me. Part of the reason could be that I hardly got excited by anything released after 1988, or it could also be that as a teenager I was much more receptive to whatever was issued at that time.

The Sad Album Depeche Mode – Black Celebration Martin Gore's songwriting skills are at their best when he is troubled, and 1985 was indeed a difficult year for

Anyway, these are the three albums that most frequently visit my CD player and that I would bring with me, if I ever should end up living on a desert island:

The Happy Album Electric Light Orchestra (E.L.O.) – Discovery Ok, I admit this album has normally been described in a lot of other ways: romantic, easy, even melancholic, but not happy. The point is that, at the time of its release, I was 13 and understood very little English. So, having no clue as to what Jeff Lynne was singing about, I was captured by the gorgeous orchestral arrangements (the strings, especially) that dominated the album. Songs like “Shine A Little Love”, “Last Train to London” and “Don’t Bring Me Down” got stuck in my head immediately and even today I listen to them when I need a bit of an energy boost. "Don’t bring me down, grrrooosss." Come on, how can you not laugh when you hear something like that?

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him, due to both personal issues and tensions within the band. The result was this dark masterpiece, which conveys a sense of fear and loneliness not easily found in albums by any other artist. Minor keys abound and


Ask Doctor Jack

the album sounds minimal yet complete. It is difficult for me to pick a favorite song, because “Black Celebration” leads you through a journey that, although full of suffering, deserves to be experienced from the first to the last second.

The Shock Album Kate Bush – The Dreaming I always suspected that Kate Bush was crazy (in a good way) and when this album was released, I got the confirmation that I was right. In 1982, this tiny British girl was already a superstar and it took her a lot of courage (and a bit of insanity) to release an album that could have been (and to some extent was) a commercial suicide. You’d better stay away from me when I play “The Dreaming”, because this is a work that lets you get out a lot of repressed emotions. From the thundering drums of “Sat In Your Lap” to the helicopters of “Pull Up the Pin”, to the seducing waltz of “Suspended in Gaffa”, your body starts to shake and your mind is inundated with an ocean of intricate arrangements, sounds and surprising key changes, all causing an eruption of emotions that you just can’t keep inside: you have to let them out! By the time the last song starts to play I am already exhausted, but I still have the energy to scream ‘ HEE HAW – HEE HAW – HEE HAW ‘. In case you are starting to think that I am completely nuts, please listen to “Get Out of My House” and you will understand what I mean. The perfect ending to a very intense album.

Ask Doctor Jack What exactly is RoundRobin? And should I care about it in a synth or sound-library? This feature is useful on acoustic sounds, but in some cases, like analog emulations, it is helpful as well. When you hit a string on a guitar, you get one sound. If you hit it again, you will get a slight variation of the same sound. So, if you sample the string only one time, and play it over and over, it will sound a bit “robotic”. Some people call this the “machinegun” effect. Now, if you sample the same string several times, and apply this to software that has the Round-Robin option, you will get a different sound every time you play the same key in your midi-keyboard. Some of the newer VSTs now support Round-Robin. There are ways to emulate this when you only have one sample. For instance, if you have a string sound that has no attack to it, and your VST supports this, you can set a random value to be sent to the sample-start position of every note. That's a dirty trick actually. And what about keyswitching? This will let you assign different sounds to different layers, which can then be selected by a key-press at a lower area of your keyboard. Let’s take a Flute sound: You

have the regular flute and also a flute glide sound. You can map the regular sounds to the regular layer, and the glide sound to a secondary layer which would be active while you press-and-hold the lower C-2 key. Again, several VST samplers support this today. Finally, about samplerelease, what would be a good application of such thing? Take a Harpsichord: When you play a note, you get one sound. When you release the note, you stop that first sound but you hear the sound of the instrument gears going back into place and stopping the string from vibrating. This is also heard on pianos, but the Harpsichord is where you can notice it more. Some vintage Organs also have the feature of producing an extra sound when you release keys. With a proper sampler you can have the regular sounds in one layer, and the release sounds on another layer. Does Wusik Station support all those features? Yes it does, with the latest WusikSND V5 file-format and SFZ files.

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

February 2009

81


What's Up with that Trusty Guy? He's...

... by Trusty

Does he just love everything he reviews? No, not at all, but I do like a lot of things and love some things, sure. The easiest thing in the world to do in a review is to, at worst, trash the subject of the review, and at best, highlight its faults. I am not that kind of guy. I know that no musician intentionally writes a song that they know is going to suck. They don't keep forging ahead to make garbage. Even the ones that intentionally make bad songs are hoping that it will be bad in a good

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way--to entertain. But very few people, if any, try hard to accomplish something only to be laughed at or ridiculed about their finished piece of art. Likewise, no developer is intentionally developing something that they think people will hate (aside from the occasional freeware prank that gets tossed out there). But, most developers are trying to earn a living; and they don't intentionally make things that are awful. When I come across something I do not like, I am

October 2008

not inclined to press forward with using it. I do not like to collect a list of as many things as I possibly can, that are wrong with it; and then use the list to trash the product once the writing begins. I don't waste my time watching terrible movies through to the end. I simply leave the theater. More often is the case that I promptly stop the DVD player; put the DVD back into the Netflix envelope and toss it in the mailbox. It is better to do that than to let the bad experience linger on like doo-doo in an commode without being flushed. Unless there is some sort of


moral compulsion within me to hand out a consumer warning, I will hardly ever give anything less that

out of

5

. Bad reviews may be fun for some writers and readers, but not for me. I am all about the music. If a piece of gear can help me or someone else realize the music in their head, then in my review, I will hopefully assist them with the proper information so they can determine if what I like is something they will like as well. My criteria for reviewing a product is different than other reviewers. I take a product for what it is, how much is charged for it, and see if it delivers on the promises made by the developer. And, if it goes well beyond those promises, I will address that as well. If a product falls short of the prize, I will suggest improvements that could be made or problems that kept it from being as perfect as I thought it could be. I look at each product in its own vacuum, so to speak. I review them based on what they are, and what merits they have in and of themselves. The bottom line is that if I love something, you'll read about it in the magazine. If I hate something, neither the readers, nor the developers will ever know about it. That is, unless either one of those groups ask me in private what I think of "such and such", or why I have never written about product X). There is such a thing as bad press, and just because I don't like one thing by a company doesn't necessarily mean I dislike everything they make. However, my slagging one product may taint a company's entire catalog; and I am not willing to do that, it is just not fair; unless I perceive they are intentionally trying to rip people off. Also, I am easy to please. Get over it. And my * ratings are now on hiatus. You guys will just have to read the review in full from now on until further notice...no more laziness!

Does he really think he's always right?

be purchased for a more than reasonable price at www.wusik.com.

Yes, I do. So what? I'm just like you. Everyone thinks they are always right. I am no different. If I didn't think my opinions were superior to others and warranted merit, I would not give them. It is that simple. People are always free to disagree with something or everything I say. That's the a beautiful feature of free-thinking people. I almost always mean well; so to me that justifies almost everything I say. When I intentionally don't mean well, I don't attempt to justify it by saying it in a certain sort of way. Because to me, that kind of patronage is more demeaning than the admittedly snobbish candor I display on occasion.

Why does he only write about how to do easy stuff? Shouldn't a music magazine writer that is also a musician be writing about how to do hard stuff?

Must he always be so longwinded? No. His “Top Fives” are totally bogus...he mentioned X, Y, and Z. He has absolutely no credibility because A, B, and C should have been mentioned, not X, Y, and Z. Get over it. Better yet, complain to the developers for not conforming to Trusty's whims. Bwwaahhhaaahaaahaaahaaahaahaha!!! Why does he always shamelessly plug Wusik Station? Isn't he supposed to be unbiased?

No. I don't know how to do hard stuff, yet. I make above average rap music. That's not hard to do. Have you listened to the radio lately? Besides, I am a rather lazy sort of fellow, and if it were hard, I wouldn't do it. You said you were going to write about “such and such” for the next issue and it never happened. What's the Deal? I got too busy, life happened, the dog ate it, take your pick...but I will get to it eventually, and chances are I did, at the time I wrote it, intend to do it for the next issue, but don't. I may still make “promises” “I can't keep” about articles for future issues in future issues, and “not immediately keep them” as I;ve done before...So what? I guess that means you, dearest reader, will have to keep checking every single issue we release to see if I eventually got to it or not. We'd all sure appreciate it. Anything else? Okay then.

I am both unbiased and shameless...so what? Buy Wusik Station and make some booty-shaking hotness! I did. You can hear my booty-shaking hotness with Wusik Station all over it at www.myspace.com/trustyst ickybeats and www.myspace.com/crosssol diers and if you weren't already aware, the most excellent Wusik Station can

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October 2008

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â&#x20AC;&#x153;MIDI. MIDI. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?â&#x20AC;? From MIDI to VST by WilliamK

Previously on Flashback: After trying several Tracker programs on my first PC, having my Sound-Blaster installed, selling my old Workstation TS-10 Keyboard, getting an sbLive, the APS drivers, deleting AXS... things were a bit chaotic. Cakewalk Pro Audio was still my first choice for creating songs. But, I wasn't really happy with it. After some time, I decided to buy, again, a TS-10 keyboard. I had to travel to a far place; as it was not something you would see in stores anymore. Yes, it was used, but it was working perfectly. I ordered the memory expansion from Rubber-Chicken and started piling up the floppies on a very large disk-case. I could only dream of using it with a SCSI or ZIP drive; as it was very complicated to get one, and not to mention, expensive. I started using the TS-10 to create songs again. But, as always, I would get stuck with several limitations that it had. The real polyphony of the whole synth was 32 voices. But, when you had samples loaded up, it would go down to 31. Don't ask, no idea why. In most situations this would be enough. But, when you had several instruments playing at once and the whole song was beeing handled by the same device; well, 31 voices wasn't that much.

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With time I sold my TS-10 again, I noticed that Ensoniq also had the couldn't stand how slow it was. And, ASR-10 Workstation; it was actually with my first copy of Orion Platinum the Father of the TS-10. All the samples that I had bought for the TS- plus a very simple USB keyboard, I realized I could do a lot more that 10 were sampled and saved with an way. Since I work in front of the ASR-10 unit. It featured the same computer all day long, I decided to sequencer; but it could also sample and would even let you include audio- use an external hardware sequencer; the MC505 mkII. It was a great tracks using an internal HD. And, not solution. I could load some VSTs and only that, it could also load new Synths with Orion, assign different effects. A company even released a Midi-Channels and have it all played Vocoder for it. Sadly, it was not back by the MC505. something I could find. At that time, the Internet was still limited, and I After I did a very special FM synth would need to rely on store-hunting named InHumanLogic for Generator, and also newspaper classifieds. I did the company behind the software find one, but it was too far from sent me a free upgrade to Reaktor; where I lived; and too expensive, and asking me to do a more complex compared to what I paid for my old version for the upcoming Reaktor TS-10. version. Since I could load it inside Orion, I started doing more complex As a solution, I started using Cakewalk to record clips from the TS- songs with it. Still, the computer was not powerful enough for that task. So 10, and arranged the songs with the computer instead. But still, the TS-10 I had to rely on samples from Reaktor synths and simpler sounds. I would was slow and buggy and I couldn't afford the big-boy samplers; so I had render sounds with Reaktor and build SF2 files that Orion could play with its to stick with it for a while. internal sampler. At that time, VSTs were still only a The MC505 was very fun to work with, dream for me. I would see some friends using it to add effects to songs, especially the drum-tracks. It would act as a drum-machine sequencer, but nothing else. Since Cakewalk but without the sounds. You could didn't support it, I didn't care much anyway. But, after seeing Generator, create very complex patterns and do so very easily. Sadly, the machine (today known as Reaktor) I started was painfully slow, especially when wondering about things: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Hmmm, what if...â&#x20AC;? Sadly, computers were still quantizing large tracks. Also, you would be limited to only a few tracks, very slow to really process anything having to merge and expand tracks as complex in real-time; not to mention you go: "Oh boy! Ohhh boy!" that Generator was very buggy and unstable. But still, I loved the idea.

A revolution needed to take place in my life; and with a new, much faster computer this time. Cakewalk Pro Audio would translate into SONAR. It was the days where you would need a VST to DirectX wrapper in order to load VSTs with it. But, having been able to render small parts of the song into audio and mixing it all along, really helped things out. After some time, they added the option to Freeze tracks. That would let you do very complex songs with a very limited computer. As long as your HD was fast enough, and you wouldn't really go crazy with too many tracks. I never had more than 16 tracks, and this would be ok to work with. Anything above that, would make the computer go nuts. I had several Hardware and Software twists along the way, with some EMU modules and other things. But in the end, I sold everything; and just used a very large M-Audio USB controller and a much more powerful computer. Today I use a Dual-Core Notebook, with 1.5 Gig of RAM, an external HD and USB Sound-Card plus a large 88 key M-Audio USB controller. That's all I need. I wish I could get a MAC PRO 8-Core, but again, I don't do much music these days anyway. Sometimes I wonder, if the "old me" could travel forward into the future, and could believe seeing me doing so much with a small notebook. Think for a while, it has two 1600 MHz processors. While my first real musiccomputer was a Pentium 100 MHz.

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The Wusik family is deeply saddened by the passing of a very dear friend. Tim Conrardy was a master of music technology, whether it be programming his hardware synthesizers, Atari sequencers or using his vast knowledge to design presets for a wide variety of virtual instruments. In fact, Tim was instrumental in putting the 'polish' on many of the Wusik Station version 1 presets. More than that, Tim was a kind and considerate man. He was helpful to all who asked him, wanting to pass on his love of music, technology and astronomy. All of this only scratches the surface and we will offer a in-depth tribute to the man, and legend, that was Tim Conrardy, in our next issue. The Wusik family offers our prayers and condolences to his Wife, Daughter, Family, and Friends. Thank you for sharing him with us. We are the better for your generosity. We will miss you TC. Rest in Peace.

Links to read more about Tim: http://www.camelaudio.com/news.php?nID=133 http://tim-conrardy.last-memories.com/ There are also two KVR threads of people offering their memories, thoughts and condolences on Tim's passing. At time of writing, almost 500 posts had been made in the 36 hours since the community was told of his passing. http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=244064&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0 http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=244097&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0 This thread offers music in his memory. http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=244109 Finally, here are links to two of his own posts, one of which describes a portion of his contributions to music technology. http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=92010 http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=92010&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=6


In memory of

Tim Conrardy March 25, 1957 - February 28, 2009


Wusik Sound Magazine February 2009  

Wusik Sound Magazine February 2009

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