Editorial Wusik Sound Magazine www.wusiksoundmagazine.com Issue June 2009
Managing Editor: MoniKe Assistant Editors: Per Lichtman Damion Johnston WilliamK Production Manager: MoniKe
Articles by: A. Arsov www.arsov.net Damion Johnston David Keenum email@example.com Per Lichtman www.soundclick.com/perlichtman VP/Music and Creative, Beyond Belief Music Corp. firstname.lastname@example.org Squibs www.musician.ie Sergio - aka Sir Joe www.sir-joe.com email@example.com Trusty www.myspace.com/crosssoldiers Stickybeats@yahoo.com WilliamK
Proof-Reading by: Damion Johnston - aka EM Dave Clark Per Lichtman Pictures: www.dreamstime.com
Welcome to the June 2009 Issue of WSM! How can we say anything first beside: "Thank you faithful WSM readers for your patience!" It really means everything to us. Many of those contributing to the issue have had some "interesting" months. From personal tragedies to personal injuries. From unemployment to over-employment. Wellâ€Śand everything else in between. Thank God for our new friend Dave Clark who was our editing/proofing savior of the month. All right, down to business. It's summer time once again and we've got a veritable plethora of sunny content onboard. You'll find reviews of the new Cubase 5 (not to be confused with Cubase VST 5 from years ago) by industry heavy-weight Steinberg; the much talked about and lauded Alchemy from Camel Audio, Antare's Avox, Fabfilter Twin 2, and many more. Wait, no Rob Papen? Hmm, lemme check. Oh, a trilogy of Rob Papen. Yes, that could be awesome! Hey, hey. Wait, wait, wait! Awave Studio, Algomusic, Tonehammer, Tonehammer, Tonehammer...more? Yes, really. All in this month's issue of WSM. Along with our columns, "How To" articles and sundries, we're also bringing you a trio of tasty lip-smacking interviews: Markus Dimdal (of FMJ-Software), Klaus Rausch (of Back in Time Records) and Michael Briel. There's also a special staff interview, including notes about Wusikstation on a commercial release, that you really shouldn't miss. We're halfway through the year and we've seen music going into all sorts of new places. BT's new iPhone remixing app SoniFi which has been released by his company (Sonik Architects) and has made its first appearance alongside his new single "Rose of Jericho". Seems like only a year ago NetBooks were the new Promised Land for portability! With roughly half the year still left to go, it remains to be seen whether the fall and winter developments will bring anything of equal weight. Will the annual Sonar update be as big an announcement as Cubase 5 was? Will Reaper continue to sway some users away from the more established DAWs? Also, a bit of Life Philosophy. Will you get it? Do you have ears to hear and eyes to see? I hope so friends.
Covers and EVEâ€™s Advertising: Henry Gibson
Our one huge regret is that we couldn't get this issue out on time--a couple of months ago--coinciding with the passing of our dear friend and incredible inspiration Mr. Tim Conrardy. Nor, have we yet, been able to come up with the words to express our thanks to him and to his family for being so giving, not only to us, but to the whole synth and electronic community. Perhaps you can just go here and let other's put into words for us what we haven't been able to, yet: http://tim-conrardy.lastmemories.com/ Thank you Tim Conrardy... Per Lichtman, Damion Johnston and MoniKe
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Expand Your Wusikstation Sample Library For FREE by Squibs
Interview: Michael Briel by Sir Joe
Klaus P. Rausch by David Keenum
Per Lichtman: “Escalation” by Damion Johnston
Free For You Things That Money Can't Buy by A. Arsov
Look Mom! I Did It Myself! Part 2
by David Keenum
Ask Doctor Jack
What's On Your Amp by Squibs
Recycle: To This Day by Trusty
Diversions: Have Preferences, not Needs by WilliamK
Awave Studio 10 by David Keenum Markus Dimdal by David Keenum
Nomad Factory's Retrology by Trusty
String Essential by A. Arsov
Tonehammer Forgotten Voices: “Francesca” by David Keenum
Tonehammer Whaledrum by David Keenum
UVI SoundSource - Soundcards Retro Organs and Mayhem Of Loops by A. Arsov
Alchemy The Ultimate Ultimate. by Trusty
Twin 2 by Trusty
Algomusic M42 Nebula by David Keenum
Cubase 5 by A. Arsov
Jamcussion by A. Arsov
Tonehammer Didgeridoo by David Keenum
Antares: AVOX 2 and Autotune efx by Trusty
Rob Papen's Instruments by Trusty
Expand Your Wusikstation Sample Library for Free by Squibs
Back in the 60's, when I was a Teddy Boy, all the cool kids used soundfonts. We had pimped out Creative Lab AWE64's with 8Mb of RAM and furry dice. Every byte was important, and I knew every preset of every soundfont intimately. My go-to soundfont was Vintage Dreams 2.0, containing 128 patches of analog-synth goodness in about 100Kb! Recently, I dug out some of the mixes I had done all those years ago, and they still sounded great. There was something old-school and real about those basic waveforms, and I decided that I was going to bring those sounds back into my arsenal. But how? Well, it turns out that Wusikstation does SFZ imports, and there is a nifty little utility called sfZed from clockbeat.com that allows you to convert soundfonts to SFZ format. With a little work, you can leverage the gigabytes of free soundfont samples that inhabit the 4 corners of the Internet. The usual caveats apply: >50% of what is out there is rubbish >50% of what is out there contains uncleared samples Some sites that distribute free soundfonts also distribute free viruses. With a little caution and a moderate dose of common sense, you can sort the wheat from the chaff and turn
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Wusikstation into your own personalized ROMpler. Here comes the science.... Get yourself some soundfonts. I'll be using vintage dreams 2.0 for this exercise. You can find version 2.1 at: http://www.analoguesque.com/sffreebies.htm
Download the sfZed utility from: http://audio.clockbeat.com/sfZed.html It is stored as an executable in a zip --- there are no installers, so you can just extract it to your desktop if you wish.
If you don't have the SFZ VSTi for soundfont playback, you'll probably want to get it so you can play the newly created SFZ files from within sfZed. The instrument was developed by RGC Audio, who are now part of the Cakewalk stable. The plugin can be found here: http://www.hitsquad.com/smm/programs/sfz/ You may also want a soundfont player, to find the good patches in your soundfonts. You can find a bunch of players here: http://tinyurl.com/dhg3px
On the first run, you'll want to configure the utility. The settings are accessed from Tools->Settings. Select your MIDI In device, your Audio Out device and the location of the SFZ dll.
Now you are ready to import some soundfont patches. Choose "Import Soundfont" from the file menu, and navigate to your chosen soundfont. You will be presented with the list of patches that make up your soundfont file. Pick one, and click OK.
You should now see a list of the waveforms within the preset.
Expand Your Wusikstation Sample Library for Free
More information is available in the other tabs, including information about the soundfont itself. Yes --- the screenshot does say Copyright 1996!
We can now export the samples as an SFZ file. You can store it wherever you wish, and drag/drop it into Wusikstation, or if you are careful, you can create a folder in your Wusikstation Data\SoundSets folder, so that you can access the SFZ files directly from the Wusik Browser.
And now, the fun begins. You can bring your old sounds to life with the Wusikstation synth engine. I've transformed the original patch here with the double distortion and some pitch and volume modulation.
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Michael Briel German-born Michael Briel is a veteran of the electronic music scene and has released almost 300 tunes during the past 20 years. Until a few weeks ago, his experience with virtual instruments was very limited, but as you will read in the following interview, his attitude towards music that is made entirely within a computer has changed dramatically, thanks to his introduction to the mighty Wusikstation.
by Sir Joe WSM: Please tell us something about your musical background.
It’s hard to say, because I like all of the devices that I use, for one reason or another. I really do like my good My initial introduction into the world of old Korg Wavestation. It’s been my electronic music came via the master keyboard as well as an oftenCommodore 64 (“C64”) home used instrument ever since I got it in computer --- music for games by 1992 or so. people like Rob Hubbard or Ben Daglish, and the “Sound Monitor” WSM: Do you play live? program by Chris Hülsbeck. I started making my own little tunes on that Nope, I don’t. I tried it together with a 3-voice, 8-bit machine. At about the friend in 1993, but back then taking same time I became a huge fan of all of your equipment on stage, then Kraftwerk and Jarre, so I guess you plugging it all together, etc. was too can say those are the three major much effort. influences on my music to begin with, all of which I still hold very dear. WSM: You have collaborated with From there on, it evolved over the ex-Kraftwerk members Karl years. The computers became bigger Bartos and Wolfgang Flur. In and better, and MIDI allowed me to what terms? How was it working use synthesizers as well. To this day, with them? making music is mainly a hobby for me --- I do it for my own joy, but if OK, this question makes me sound other people like it as well, then all much more important than I am, hethe better. :) he! Actually I got to know Karl on his forum last year, and we got along WSM: What is your most treasured pretty well. I told him that I’m always kit of music equipment? looking for something to do as a freelance web designer or in related 08
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fields, and one word led to the other. What I did and still do is to post news about performances into some online forums. And since Karl and Wolfgang are good, longtime friends, I was introduced to Mr. Flur last December when he was looking for help with setting up his myspace page: http://myspace.com/yamomusic Ever since, I’ve been in contact via mail or phone with both of them from time to time. And actually yesterday I met Wolfgang in town for a Chinese lunch --- part of his family also lives here in Bonn, and he was visiting. He had a few technical questions concerning a project that is to be released soon. As far as I’m concerned, both are nice guys. WSM: You seem to be using several Internet sites to promote your music. Do you see this as the only way to go, or do you think
there is still room for the traditional channels of music distribution? Before the Internet happened, I distributed my music in the cassette tape underground scene to interested people. In those days it was common to record and copy your own tapes, create covers, and send them around the world via mail. And sometimes you got a letter from someone in Brazil who had a copy of a copy of a tape sampler from France with a tune by you. It was pretty cool but really slow and, sound-wise, pretty noisy. To me, the cool thing with that tape scene was the thought of sharing the music with other people and getting to listen to cool stuff by other unknown people. The Internet has been the logical way to go from the moment the MP3 format came out and online connections became fast enough to make downloading several megabytes of data at once something that only took hours instead of days.
When I received the offer to give the Wusikstation a test run, it was pretty much the first time in years that I even thought about VSTi's again. WSM: What was your first impression of Wusikstation? Not bad, not bad at all --- “Wow, that’s quite a hell of an instrument!” I’m a sucker for listening to sounds from other people, so it’ll sure keep me busy for a while! WSM: How would you judge its soundbank in terms of both quantity and quality? I have listened through most of it by now, and I’m quite impressed! One thing is that it seems to combine several of the synths and drum computers I have here. It does wavesequencing like my Korg Wavestation and some sounds for me are very close to what the Waldorf Microwave does, or the Roland Juno 2. Oh, and you can use samples in a way that has me thinking K2000….
Still, there is room for “traditional channels of distribution” --- sure. We still use books; radio still exists as do Judging from the included soundbanks, record disks. For some of the “old” I’d say that there will be loads and media the target group might have loads more sounds to be discovered shifted immensely --- in the 70s by its users in the future. everyone had a record player, while today it’s only DJ's who still use them WSM: What features were you (to over-simplify it a bit), but still they mostly impressed with? exist. We are definitely looking at huge changes, and those who fail to How to put it…. It seems to be a very adapt quickly enough will go away. … “universal” device. You get a sampler --- and a load of synth WSM: Are you familiar with virtual sounds --- and drumsets --- and effects. It’s a little studio all in itself, instruments? and I don’t think that’s too much to Not yet, really, but that will change say. In preparation for this interview now. The last time I looked into the I did a little tune using only whole concept of virtual synths, I had Wusikstation. I called it “Chilled,” and you can download it here: a PC that was basically way too slow to really make use of them. They http://brielmusik.de/node/778 often caused crashes and I quickly lost interest. Also, from what I heard when I listened to music by other It is nothing special, but a little thing people who did use VSTi's, I felt that for me to become accustomed to what the sound was lacking a certain I can do with VST/VSTi in general and something. the Wusikstation.
I will definitely go on using it! I already have a few ideas for my own sounds… :) WSM: What do you think may be improved? At this point I honestly can’t tell, as I’ve just realized that the whole VST/VSTi thing has come quite a long way since I last looked into it. :) WSM: Did you have to use the manual a lot? Did you find it easy to navigate? Me, man? Me no need puny manual! He-he, sorry…. No, to be honest, up to this point I haven’t looked into it. The way the Wusikstation UI is set up is so close to how some of my synthesizers manage things in their interfaces, that up until now I worked out what does what. The rest was trial and error. WSM: What are your future plans? I received the request to test Wusikstation at the time when I had decided that a break of six years was enough and that I needed to make some new music again. Initially it was simply for myself, as usual, but a friend of mine who is a singer asked me to try making something together, and we want to give this a try at least. So maybe there will be a new project in the future, but right now I can’t tell how that will turn out. Apart from that, I take things slowly, step by step.
To find out more about Michael and his music, please check: www.brielmusic.de We suspect that in few months we will find many more tunes made with Wusikstation on his website….
Klaus P. Rausch of Back in Time Records by David Keenum
Klaus Rausch may not be a household name in the modern music world, but his imprint is on a lot of what we now use. From his work with the first programmable synthesizers, to the influential World Traveler Sampling CD: http://www.sonicreality.com/viewDeta ils.php?ProductID=94 to his work with Alesis (Fusion and Ion factory patch voicing), Klaus has done influential work in synthesizers and sampling for many years. A more complete record of Klaus’s accomplishments can be found at: http://www.klausdot.com/k003.htm. As you will see in the interview, Back in Time Records (BITR) was created as a vehicle for Klaus’s sample creations. For more about BITR you may check their web site: http://www.backintimerecords.de. I hope you find Klaus as interesting as I did. WSM: From reading your website I can see that you started music at a very young age. When did you decide that music was going to be your career?
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Klaus: Actually I had no specific plans asked me to join his rock band, and I for this. My parents wanted me to be agreed. Unfortunately the monophonic one of those academic sales people, synth was my only equipment, so I an architect, or something like that. had to get more stuff to be a real rock So I went to school like everybody keyboarder. My father gave me his else, studied economics, and then Farfisa home organ --- a thing which worked as a book accountant, and sounded rather terrible --- and I later as a marketing officer. I was bought a Hohner String Melody II and already creating music as a child, so it a Hohner ElPiano. Everything was was normal for me as teenager to connected to a Fender Showman amp have both a day job and gigs with and a large 2x12” speaker cabinet. I bands --- and also to do early home already owned this equipment recordings. One day I decided to quit because I had been playing electric the marketing job, and I was hired as guitar since I was about 12 years old. a musical instruments salesman in a We had a lot of gigs, and I learned a traditional music store. So I had lot, too. This was the beginning of everything that I wanted: Money for a playing live, and I did this for more comfortable living, a relationship with than 12 years with over 30 different musical instruments, and the chance bands and solo artists. I am the kind to buy equipment at lower prices than of rock keyboarder who plays piano, others could. organ, and synthesizer. WSM: Can you tell us something about your first rock band? Were you the keyboard player? Klaus: Although I played acoustic piano, I was interested in having a synthesizer, too. So I bought a miniKORG 700S monophonic synth because I didn’t have the money for a Minimoog at that time. I was one of the first synthesizer players in my hometown, and a local guitarist learned that I owned a synth. He
WSM: Had you done much synth programming before the DX7? What synths had you played up until then? Klaus: The DX7 was one of the first affordable programmable synths, and I owned one of the first instruments available in Germany. Before this I used only non-programmable synths like the aforementioned 700S, and in addition the MS20 and the Prodigy. Because the DX7 factory presets were
Photo by T.W. Klein
too few and could really use some improvement, I was forced to make more, not only for my band colleagues but also for customers who came to the music store where I worked. Rumors about the one who was creating new sounds on the DX7 made their way all around, and this was the starting point of professional voicing for me. At first I had no intention to sell the sounds; I thought they would be my own, representing my style. But there were so many new sounds after a while, too many for just myself, that I decided to start selling them. I wrote a beginner’s guide containing around 30 DX7 sounds and sold this as self-published book. Although I could use the money for more equipment, as a salesperson in a music store I already had access to several synths like the Prophet 5, Jupiter 6, Polysix, and more. Making sounds for those synths was part of my job there, too. WSM: Where did it go from there? Were you able to quit the music store and make synth voicing a full time job? Klaus: I received offers from several other stores, so I took the best one and moved to the city where they were located. They allowed me to use
their entire set of instruments and to receive the sounds as quickly as make sounds with them, and they possible. paid for a car for my use, too. A little later I had many, many sound WSM: What led you to decide to programming jobs, which I always did create commercial sample in the evening or late-night hours. I libraries? also worked as an author for the German music magazine KEYBOARDS. Klaus: In the early 90's I had several One day I decided that it was simply ideas, but no plan of how to market too much, considering that I also them. So I talked with Eckard Kreft played in bands, had gigs, and did from Masterbits, one of the big studio recordings. In 1993 I decided players at that time, and he simply to quit the job in the store, and since hired me to realize those ideas. I did then I have been my own boss. four sample CD productions for Masterbits within just one year. WSM: And you still do a good bit of synth programming, don’t you? WSM: And what led you to creating Back in Time Records? Klaus: Oh yeah, I do. A couple of years ago I thought that making Klaus: I left Masterbits because I Presets would be over soon, but it still obtained a better contract with TSI, isn’t yet. Actually I am now the German distributor of Waldorf. programming synths more than ever And to keep me independent I decided --- hundreds and hundreds of Presets to establish my own sample and --- and I have developed a time-saving sound development label. The bad system to speed up the most timenews for me was that I had to pay the consuming parts of sound entire production costs in advance, programming. I can do a 128 bank in but the good news was that TSI a fraction of the time that others purchased a reasonable number of would need. This helps me to get sample CD's as an initial order, so my factory voicing jobs done. I am really financial risk was rather small. quick, and because we sound programmers are always at the end of WSM: What’s behind the name: the chain of a instrument Back in Time Records? development, they are always begging www.WusikSoundMagazine.com
Klaus: At that time I was a big fan of the Back to the Future trilogy. Late one evening I was driving home from a studio recording session and suddenly, somewhere on the freeway, I remembered one movie song performed by Huey Lewis, “… back in time,” and I thought that this would be a nice name for my new company.
The TSW sample content is done with Wavestation in mind. WSM: You have released a number of new and updated products in the past few months. Can you tell us about some of them?
Klaus: Indeed. There are too many to describe all with just a few words, WSM: What led to your association but the main product strategy is always the same: One general VST with William and Wusikstation? plus several Expansions for special Klaus: I am always interested in demand purposes. Evalon II VST is cooperations, and one day I found the general VST when it comes to William’s website --- as far as I vintage synths and keyboards, and remember the site was named Dash the Expansions are special demand --- and he did ensembles for Native products for those who need in-depth Instruments Reaktor. I asked him instruments. The Minimoog Classics whether he would be interested in Expansion provides about 60 coding a sample player, and a little multisamples and 250 Presets, the later he did EVE VST, together with Vintage String Ensembles about 50 Luigi. I provided the samples, and my multisamples and 90 Presets, and so wife Kathrin Elfman, who is a name on. You find the same product brander, created the name EVE which strategy for UX3 VST and Ethnotronics stands for Electronic Vintage Pro II VST. TSW Pro II has been Ensemble. I talked a lot with William released, and it comes with additional about instruments, how they should sample content and over 2,000 work and look, and soon the name Presets. Owners of TSW Pro can Wavestation appeared, being one of upgrade to TSW Pro II. We also have the favorite sample-based synths for planned several more Expansions for both of us. William released the first the existing product line; recently we version of Wusikstation, and a little released The Andromeda, just to later I did TSW (The Second Wave). name one.
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I developed an improved sound design and sample-editing workflow, so new products can be produced rather quickly now. We also improved the download system. We have our own server now; the download speed is rather quick, and the system is totally reliable. I have more plans for further developments, too. This is important because I also develop products for companies like Steinberg, Image Line, etc., and all this helps to make it work well. Usually I use new sample libraries and VST's for music productions to get an impression of how they work in the real life. You can listen to my latest album where I worked as executive producer and keyboard player for Milo’s Craving, and where I used a lot of samples from my own productions. The album title is “The More You Know,” and there is a MySpace site with audio excerpts: www.myspace.com/miloscraving. WSM: In this issue we are doing a tribute to Tim Conrardy. Didn’t he work with you and your company? Would you be willing to share your remembrances of Tim?
Klaus P. Rausch of Back in Time Records
Klaus: Yes, Tim passed away, and I am sad about this. We worked together on several projects, and the first one was making the Presets for the Muse Research Receptor. Later he did voicing for EVE VST, and I provided the samples --- the same for Voxâ€™d and TSW. We were in contact by email because he lived in California, and I live in Europe. Instead of talking about sounds and the project, we shared our musical experiences. One of his most impressive gigs was in a planetarium where he used Receptor together with his guitar. No doubt, Tim was a big fan of the galaxies and the stars, and I am sure that he is there now.
To learn more about Klaus, please visit the following web sites: http://www.klausdot.com http://www.myspace.com/klausdotcom Back in Time Records: http://www.backintimerecords.de Back in Time Records forum: http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewforum.php? f=67
I would like to thank Julia Mueller of Back in Time records for her assistance in facilitating the interview.
Per Lichtman The Release of His New Single:
"Escalation" by Damion Johnston
WSM: Congratulations on getting your new single "Escalation" finished and distributed on www.IndieTorrent.org.
except "Are You Gonna Win" were designed variations around a single idea. "Escalation” is a very rich and varied track with so many elements in it. When I was first working on it, it was easy to hear a lot of remixes and variations coming out of it, because there's more in the mix than anyone is likely to hear in a single listen.
Per Lichtman: Thanks! It was great to find a site that's as dedicated to creative independent music as we are at Beyond Belief Music (BBMC). WSM: Fantastic work, by the way. Also, when you sent me the first master of Andy Hunter°'s remix a couple of weeks ago, my seven year old son Judah was in the room working on some art project while I had it cranked-up, and as soon as it was over he said: "Put that song on again." So I did, and we rockedout/electronica'd-out. So, now you have a wide-ranged fan base, as does Andy. I just thought you would want to know.
WSM: Oh, and EP also begins the word Epic...as in Epic Electronica single?
PL: It gets confusing at some points though. I mean, "Escalation (Single)" is more now and when he was about four or than a single, but then you've got five years old, I started listening to a Andy Hunter°'s EP "Life" and that's lot of music with him. He's got really really an album, and a fantastic one at diverse tastes and it always makes that! I think that the reason I ended me smile if he likes one of my tracks. up calling it a single was because of He really enjoyed both the original Seal's "Crazy (Maxi-Single)". When I mix and Andy's remix, so I had a good got that CD back in the early 90s, it feeling about this one. was one of my first CDs and it was like opening a box of chocolates: the WSM: Do you mind if I call it an "EP" original mix, six remixes and one rather than a "single"? I mean, come entirely original track. If you listen to PL: That's actually really great to hear. on, you have four mixes and a bonus the various mixes of "Escalation", we While I'm working on my music, the remix on there. That's more than a went in really diverse directions like process becomes so personal and it's "single", buddy. that as well. always nice to know that it can really reach out to other people. My PL: No, that's fine. The reason we WSM: True. Okay, I can see your youngest brother, Emile, is turning 15 called it a single is that all he tracks reasoning now. I guess I'm really 14
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by Damion Johnston
"ancient-school": all I really know are albums, EP's and singles. Hey, something almost new school, is it true that you will be distributing your "Escalation" "EP" exclusively on IndieTorrent.org at first? PL: Yes, that's completely true: from June 15th, to July 15th, the only place to buy Escalation is at IndieTorrent.org/perlichtman and I couldn't be happier about it! WSM: What made you choose them? PL: Back in mid-March I got in touch with Ben Johnson, the founder of IndieTorrent.org. I had come across the site when I looked at options for distributing BBMC music with lossless compression; in particular using FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec). IndieTorrent was taking such a different approach to it from the other sites that, even in beta, I could see it had a lot of potential. Pretty much from our first contact on, Ben impressed me with his enthusiasm, clarity of vision and commitment to both customers and artists. Now you'll notice it's
"indietorrent.org" not "indietorrent.com". That is important: he is providing a service here, and the value is just incredible; whether you are a listener or a musician. I mean, what other site gives artists such a high percentage of the music sales? What other provides DRM free files (both in MP3 and full-fidelity lossless compressed FLAC) that the user can download from anywhere in the world, at any point in time, just by logging in to their account? The site makes it easy for the user: you don't have to choose a format when you buy, you just get both at no extra charge. And, if the files are produced to take advantage of it, the FLAC file can be BETTER than CD quality. I've purchased Mozart recordings on the site that were delivered at 96 KHz with 24-bit dynamic range. Next year, you might see BBMC releases taking advantage of that more. WSM: Wow! Personally, that's very exciting. I really DO...NOT...LIKE... the quality of MP3 that we pay full price for, it's just so ridiculous to me. And, that the music industry complains, though they're charging
you the same price for only half the quality of a CD. And, I have crap/cheap equipment to listen on, and can tell the difference! Heh, maybe it's worse on my junk speakers and amps?!? Sorry...rant over. Uh, what were we talking about? When you first began composing "Escalation", were you envisioning it solely as an instrumental track or did you always have in mind vocals and a broader collaboration? PL: Well I came up with ideas for the bass line and beat back on January 25th in about five hours, but then I didn't touch the track at all until April 6th. That was right around the time that I was looking for a track off "Liquid" to develop into a single. Well when I came to Escalation, there was something magical about it: the next week of work was pretty insane and by the 14th it had developed into something large and epic. That's the point where I started thinking about a vocal mix and remixes, as well as the instrumental mix. I started e-mailing people the next day.
WSM: While you were working on it, WSM: How did you come into contact PL: Before Andy decided whether to how did it come about that it became with him and also how did you do the project, he listened to my work so "epic" for you? What "grabbed" you approach him for this project? on "Liquid" and "Are You Gonna Win". about what you were creating? He essentially wrote back and said PL: Toward the end of 2007, I was "yeah, I can do good work with this". I PL: Well as I was saying, there was spending time with George also remember how excited he was something kind of magical about it. It Massenburg after a seminar he gave. the first day he got the stems. The had both a huge energy and an “epic- I was definitely a bit intimidated, but I vocal wasn't even there yet, but he ness” to it. It was artistic, yet talked to him about a mastering was already filled with energy and immediately accessible: it had the engineer by the name of Richard Dodd ideas for the track that kept him going strength to stand on its own. My (www.RichardDodd.com), whom solidly until the vocals got there the tracks often have beats, but they Massenburg mentioned was a next day. He was really happy with aren't usually mixed to be so central. neighbor of his. I had mentioned that the way the remix turned out and I But having worked on the bass line I was intrigued by Richard's work and had a feeling it was going to be and drums on this track before finally Massenburg, amidst some kind words, something special. melding them more into the threw in that Richard was "his "orchestra" of the track, I knew that WSM: Did you like Andy's results? neighbor". Between that and hearing there was a lot of potential for a mix What was a pleasing surprise as you Richard's mastering on "Life", I was that had a stronger beat emphasis. first listened to his remix? really impressed, and though I'd already found an excellent Canadian WSM: Speaking of the Andy Hunter° PL: As a composer or artist, it's mastering engineer for my album remix, have you seen his little teaser "Liquid" in Kilroy (of Headroom always nerve-racking to place the video on YouTube, that he put up for interpretation of your work into Productions), I also knew that I his friends, fans, followers and wanted to hear Richard's touch on one someone else's hands. But, when I lurkers? heard Andy's remix, I was undeniably of my projects in the future. Which [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n brings me to Andy. pleased. My own enthusiasm for his qRmruo3BSw] He stated that it was work was exceeded only by Katlin pretty "groovy". Rivers', who called me up at two in Andy Hunter° had done an EP I mentioned earlier, called Life and it the morning to rave about how much PL: I've seen the video and I think it was completely explosive. Richard's she enjoyed the production, and thank gives a sense of what a pleasure it is mastering had taken Andy's music to me for the opportunity to have Andy to work with Andy. He makes the a new level sonically. There were a lot work on her vocals. Andy stripped it process a lot of fun and I think that down to its barest elements, of really talented people we came everyone involved had a better time across and (hope to work with in the reenvisioned and subsequently for it. Andy's fans already know this, reinvented the track as a grooving future) from Holland, Canada, the be he consistently projects an club-mix. I couldn't help but smile as I United States and the U.K. But, when authentic, friendly and encouraging I started running it by Stuart [the noticed how much Andy's aura that draws people in. Whether President at BBMC] we both agreed interpretation made me want to move you're a fan or a collaborator, you that the chance to pair the two and my PS3 testing found that it can't help but be lifted by his genuine together again was too good to pass worked fantastically as game music enthusiasm and goodwill. That's too. up. I contacted Andy's representation something I've looked for in my and within days Andy and I were ecollaborations before, and something Listening to the remix immediately mailing each other. that I love about working with Joanna following the original actually provides St. Claire and Hila Plitmann, and that WSM: What did Andy have to say to a very smooth transition, since Eric Whitacre brought with him melody from the later sections of the you personally about your work and whenever he came in to talk to me his remix? original. The distant sound of the and Hila. He's in great company. approaching strings is taken directly from the tracks I sent to Andy, but his 16
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"Escalation" Andy Hunter
emphasis on a single section, and sonic manipulation of the texture, give it an identity all its own. From the moment that texture yields, to the glitch inspired gated rhythm of the synth performance of that same melodic motive, against Andy's new beats and synth editions, the individuality and identity of this new mix truly begins to becomes apparent. Andy's juxtaposition of four to the floor beats and elements of his breaks are quite interesting and tastefully restrained in this ruthlessly grooving mix. However, the connection between this remix and the original doesn't really sink in until Kati's voice enters, around 1:53, with the words that open the original, "keep my distance". WSM: How was it working with Andy? How did you guys pull it off, as you are in L.A. and he's in the U.K.? PL: Andy and I corresponded mostly through email, only calling each other once, when the communication was more time-sensitive. I asked Andy to provide a remix that had a great deal
of energy, was DJ/club friendly but not too cheery, placing it on the edgier side of the spectrum that spectrum. In all other respects, I gave him the freedom to radically modify the mix as he saw fit and I would simply provide feedback on the results. The process proved easy and glitchfree, in a way I wish I could say for more projects.
have the opportunity to work together again soon. WSM: Is there anything special about track four on your "EP", "Gray Day in LA Mix", that would interest our Wusik Sound Magazine readers?
PL: Yes, the "Gray Day in LA Mix" was created almost entirely with a combination of the Wusik engine and I sent Andy the stems for all the subthe PRIZM library, using several of mixes, and a few of the isolated ArtVera's and Mike Felker's patches. elements of the original track, The track takes on a new sonic color, encouraging him to make use of his influenced by artists like Depeche own beats. You can hear several of Mode and Jan Hammer. While working the original elements in his remix, on the original mix, I experimented though he employs them so differently extensively with re-pitching and rethat many people may not notice timing various elements to double them at first. In all honesty, I had against their originals. The sonic very few notes for Andy between his results for several of the elements had first and second drafts, offering only been very pleasing and hadn't been the most detail-oriented refinements used in the original so I took rather than any broader suggestions. inspiration from them and decided Andy worked exceedingly quickly, and that I would use several original not only met the original brief ahead elements, but now playing back at of his deadline, but also implemented 75% of the original rate. Rather than the refinements I mentioned faster trying to use time compression and than I would have had any right to expansion algorithms to maintain the expect. I definitely hope that he and I original pitch, I instead re-harmonized www.WusikSoundMagazine.com
Per Lichtman: Katlin Rivers
around the new root (or "pitch center") of the track at the slower rate. All of the sounds were played back through the full Wusik engine, and the patches came from the PRIZM library. Playing the track back at a slower ArtVera's evolving digital textures are speed, without the use of an altering a great example of some of the Wusik algorithm decreases the high frequency content, so I boosted the sounds that are difficult to find on highs in the new mix to partially offset many other synths, while Mike that. This allowed me to strike a Felker's "symphonic keys" patch is a great example of how Wusik can excel happy balance between the retro at more bread and butter dance mood and sound that naturally resulted from the process, and the full, sounds. modern sound of the preceding material. Using just the drums, bass WSM: Obviously, you've got a synths, and melodic synth of the talented vocalist, with a beautiful and original gave me a lot of room, both haunting voice for "Escalation". Who is sonically and harmonically to she and what other work have you done with her? capitalize on the new possibilities created by the introduction of the PL: That would be Katlin Rivers. Kati Wusik engine. In particular, I enjoyed using 16X oversampling on the and I have known each other for piano/keys patch to ensure an utterly years and first worked together on my smooth sound in the high register and track "Are You Gonna Win." On that high frequencies. That would have track, I'd composed all the backing taken more effort to achieve in many parts before we'd recorded Kati's other samplers. vocal, done light editing with her of 18
Wusik Sound Magazine
the lyrics, and then composed the melody to fit her voice before recording. This time around, working two states away from each other, the workflow was much trickier, but still rewarding. As a producer, it can be hard to make the best use of a vocalist's talent when you can't even see them. But, in the years since our first collaboration, Katlin's voice had greatly matured and I think you can hear that when you listen to "Escalation" alongside "Are You Gonna Win." Her voice has grown richer and more relaxed, and I am eager to do our next track together soon. Katlin brings an unusual talent and sensibility to her lyrics and, originally we thought we'd take a lyrical approach somewhat similar to "Are You Gonna Win." However, as the project evolved, it seemed more appropriate to refine a small amount of material through several variations, than to render lyrics using a typical
song form. Kati's vocals are extremely important to both Andy's remix and the vocal mix, so after the recording, production on them took about a week. My own "vocal mix" made extensive use of vocoded textures in place of traditional harmonizations, creating a darker texture that was still consistent with the track. Andy's remix made use of the additional space provided by stripping the track down add many harmonies, as well as delay effects to Kati's voice with great attention to detail. If I were to characterize the two approaches, I would say that in my case Kati's vocal is used more orchestraly. That is to say, as one element among many. In Andy's remix, the listener is provided with the strength and familiarity of a more up-front vocal, though nuanced with Andy's unique stylish touch. WSM: I know you've been working on this since April. How do you keep going? Did you go through phases where you got tired of hearing your own track?
where each individual has to wear more hats. It wasn't until May 14th, exactly one month after I had paused production, that I was able to dedicate myself fully to producing again. At that point, I worked fairly quickly in order to make sure that the backing tracks were as fully fleshed out as possible, on the date Katlin had set aside for her recording session. I wouldn't say there were periods where I got tired of hearing my own track. But there are definitely times when you lose perspective. Whether it's the advent of aural fatigue, or the presence of an over-critical/overanalytical voice, there are many pitfalls to avoid as a producer and mixing engineer. I combated this by continually finding new ways to listen to the track, whether auditioning in different parts of the studio or different rooms in my house, or laying the music in as background tracks during a video gaming session. I was constantly challenging myself to listen to the track from different perspectives. This was helpful not only during the production of the original track itself, but also in inspiring the ideas for the remixes. My favorite systems to listen on, though, are always the custom built ones I was lucky enough to have Clark Blumenstein make for me (www.blumenstein-ultra-fi.com/l).
you did. I've read other producers say something similar about listening to your tracks/mixes/songs in many different places. Even as far as burning a CD and go for a ride in your car and listen to it through your car stereo and also from a boom box in the back seat. I guess anything to be in a different place, and listening with different ears? So, as we wrap things up, tell me, on a personal note: are the rumors true that you'll be getting some sleep now? PL: Well first, I'd be remiss if I didn't thank Jeff Ball (www.jeffballmusic.com) for finding time between game scoring projects and symphony performances to record Katlin Rivers; as well as Kim Gray (www.themercurial.blogspot.com) for her great work on the cover, Jessica Codispoti for the promo photos she took of me during the project and of course everyone at BBMC and WSM who made this possible. I worked a lot of 30-40 hour "days" on the project, balancing the single with my other work. So yes, I hope I'll be getting some more sleep now that the single is available online.
PL: As I mentioned earlier, when I returned to the track in April, I was struck by its energy and vitality. For the next week and a half, I worked on the track almost constantly, to the WMS: Well, since the rumors are true, extent my other projects would allow. rather than asking what you will be For shorter periods of time, the working on next; why don't we just let energy of the track alone may often you go to bed. Good night, Per. And carry you from day to day, but on as always, thanks for the interview. April 14th, I found it was time to start WSM: Well, I suppose any of us who pacing myself. To get a fresh even make our own little songs/tracks PL: (Zzzzzzzzzzzz). perspective on the track, I switched could take some guidance from what focus to the logistics of collaborating and finding the best way to sell, promote, and market the track, instead of simply continuing production. As anyone who's worked on a project of this kind will likely tell you, there's a huge amount of work that goes into this side alone. That's especially true at an independent label www.WusikSoundMagazine.com
Free For You Part 2
by A. Arsov
Things That Money Can't Buy Nearly three months have passed, so it is time for our new series of freeware goodies. This time I will present to you a few essential mixing tools for all of those who are still struggling with the fundamental elements of their mixes. In this article you will find overuse of a few words, like “simple” and “user-friendly,” because there was a time in the past when I stopped wasting my time learning how to use newer and newer musical tools and decided to start making music instead. If you are out of inspiration, then by all means feel free to explore more complicated effects by studying all the hidden beats and hints. But if you are ready to make some music, then just open these effects I write about here and start using them. “Making Music for Idiots” or rather “Using Effects for Idiots” --- that is the issue now. There is not enough time in our short lives for doing both things at the same time. It is up to you to decide. Here we go:
Blue Line BlueFilter http://www.music-boss.com/freeware_plug-in_blue_line.htm An ancient one, but still very useful. As far as I know, it is the only filter with graphics containing a graphical frequency curve such that whenever you make a low or high cut you can always see how much it affected your sound. I know that old fellows always tell us that we should trust our ears, but it seems that I'm not old enough yet to start doing that. BlueFilter covers all the essential filter types, and it is extremely user-friendly and simple to use. You can't install BlueFilter separately because it is a part of the Blueline free bundle (“Blue Line Pack VST”) containing all sorts of other essential effects. They are not bad, especially the compressor, but BlueFilter is the only one which has really survived the erosion of time and is still without any competition. At least as far as I know.
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IIEQ from DDMF, doesn't show the frequency curve; instead it comes with three rows of kitchen-range buttons for playing with the frequency, for adding gain, or for just shaping the bandwidth. But it is the only one which has that “analog sound.” I have tried many free equalizers, but this one sounds different --- it simply sounds better. Electri-Q is for performing all sorts of frequency gymnastics and making surgical frequency cuts; ReaEQ is for finding the right frequency for the right note; and ddmfIIEQ is for nailing the sound down.
Bionic Delay: http://www.interruptor.ch/vst_overview.shtml Bionic Delay 1.2 is one of the best delay workhorses at the moment --- easy to use and providing more than satisfactory results. I have plenty of other quality delays in my arsenal, but sometimes I still use this one when I need a good but simple and effective delay. Regarding the expensive ones, it could easily happen that the more you pay the faster you'll be lost in the array of “How the hell should I handle this?” possibilities. Bionic Delay has all essential controllers for taming your sound, nicely Buzzroom BuzComp and Audio Damage Rough represented in the main window, and it is outfitted with Rider. plenty of useful presets. http://www.x-buz.com/BuzCompFree.html http://www.audiodamage.com/downloads/product.php?pi d=ADF002 The BuzComp ( any of them) has good, right-to-the-point presets, while Rough Rider sounds clean and sharp, but you'll have to use your ears for the latter because it includes only four presets. If you have a good ear and a strong enough will to tweak those kitchen-range knobs, then you can't go wrong with Rough Rider. BuzComp is a good “set it and forget it” compressor, while Rough Rider is the one to remember, but you'll need a bit of knowledge and touch of time to set it correctly. So it is all up to you, instant or do it yourself solution, as you like.
Bootsy EpicVerb. Electri-Q (posihfopit edition), ReaEQ, and ddmf IIEQ
Sounds fantastic; it is free and it is ultra cpu-friendly. Simple to use with all the essential parameters easily reachable on the main graphical interface. All presets are carefully composed so you will probably end up with just changing a dry/wet ratio along with predelay time. And talking of the presets, there is something for everyone. These three equalisers cover the whole range of frequency You'll miss a great thing not having this one in your VST manipulation. The first one is simple to use, with all the arsenal, even if you are swamped with a bunch of kinds of filters you'll ever need, with a nice, easy-toexpensive and respectable third-party reverbs. Bootsy --understand graphical interface which contains a frequency Both my hat and my boots off to you! curve. ReaEQ is pretty similar, with a smaller graphical interface but with one extra useful addition --- it shows That's it. Till the next issue. the pitch of the manipulated frequency. The last one, ddmf http://www.aixcoustic.com/index.php/posihfopit_edition/3 0/0/ http://www.reaper.fm/reaplugs/ http://ddmf.eu/
+ plus +
corner by David Keenum
Awave When I first “discovered” software synths and samplers, I was overwhelmed by the choices and complexities of this new “soft” world. But I quickly found “KVR Audio” and “free”! A world of “free” was now open! And at the top of my “free” list were SoundFonts. I admit that I wasted a lot of hours searching for and downloading SoundFonts. Eventually, my searching led me to FMJ-Software and their small but interesting collection of SoundFonts. I especially liked the Handbells SoundFont and bought it. I have used it in Reason’s NNXT sampler and rgc:audio’s sfz. I also noticed FMJ-Software’s audio editor and file converter, Awave Studio, but I never tried it until Wusikstation started supporting the .sfz format. So I tried it and was surprisingly satisfied with the outcome.
Wusik Sound Magazine
Studio 10 The Real World
Awave Studio is a multi-purpose audio I tried several of Awave’s audio editor tool that reads a number of audio file functions. All worked as they should. formats, including some older The one area I missed was the visual hardware units. It can be used in a editor in my normal audio editor, variety of ways: as an audio file Soundforge. But all in all, it did what format converter, as an audio editor, it was supposed to do. or as an audio and MIDI player. It can I have two interests as far as even be used as a generic wavetable conversion software goes, and both synthesizer instrument editor. involve Wusikstation. For me, it As an audio editor it can perform all sounds good and is easy to use. the “audio editor” functions I can Wusikstation makes it very easy to do think of – from setting loop points to basic programming (ASDR, effects, normalizing audio. You can also etc.). But I would like to use some of convert your files to other audio my large collection of SoundFonts formats (.wma, .mp3, .ogg, and (remember my excitement about more). You will need to download “free”?) in Wusikstation. Some of the encoder .dll's or add-ons for some of SoundFonts are good, and some are… the compressed formats, but they are well, “not so much.” Since I would available through FMJ’s website. like to be able to use the good ones in
Awave Studio Creator and Distributor: FMJ Software
Web-Site: Wusikstation, I considered this as a ADSR and added a little reverb, http://www.fmjsoft.com/ great test of Awave Studio’s then saved it as a preset. It isn’t abilities in this area. difficult, but if this is new to you, Price: $99.95 First, I successfully converted a you might want to watch some of number of drum collection the videos on the Wusik YouTube Details: Awave Studio is a multiSoundFonts to .sfz format. I channel. purpose audio tool that reads a couldn’t hear any difference veritable host of audio file formats between the SoundFonts and the from different platforms, .sfz files, and Wusikstation read the The Wish List synthesizers, trackers, mobile .sfz files without any problems. phones... you name it! It can be Next I converted LearJeff’s fabulous I really liked that Awave Studio used in a variety of ways: simply Rhodes: as an audio file format converter, reads and writes Giga files. With All http://www.learjeff.net/sf/sf.html or as an audio editor, or as an things Giga being up in the air, it’s and FMJ’s Handbells SoundFonts to audio and MIDI player, and, last good to know that conversions are both .WusikSnd and .sfz. Again I but certainly not least, as a possible. I would really like to see didn’t find any problems with the generic wavetable synthesizer Native Instruments Kontakt and conversions. Everything worked as Battery v3 libraries supported as instrument editor. There is a it should. demo available well. Currently, Awave Studio Last issue I wrote about my supports Battery v1 drum-kit files experiments with .sfz. I found that only. Formats: Too many to list here. there was some variation in the Please check : way different people interpreted the http://www.fmjsoft.com/awavestu .sfz specifications. I found that I dio.html The End had to edit many .sfz files. This wasn’t the case with the .sfz files I Test Computer: AMD Athlon 64 Don’t you love it when software created with Awave Studio. They 3200+ 2.0GHz, 4GB RAM, does what it is supposed to do? For all worked in Wusikstation. Windows XP Pro SP 3, Echo me, Awave Studio fits that I want to be clear that you still MiaMIDI Audio Card description. It performed the have to create presets in Wusik conversions flawlessly. What more Station. Mainly, I adjusted the could I ask? +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+ plus +
by David Keenum
WSM: Hi Markus. Most of us know very little about you. And being musician types, we think Awave Studio is your only product. But that isn’t correct, is it? Can you tell us about FMJ-Software? MD: FMJ-Software is a one-man company based in Stockholm, Sweden. In other words, it consists of me, Markus Dimdal, playing the roles of software developer, secretary, and president – as cost-efficient as can be!
you mastering functions such as normalization, very high quality resampling, noise-shaped dithering, etc. It’s being used by several radio stations for pre-broadcast processing and compression. Apparently, it’s also very popular in the telecom businesses.
MD: Should I start at the very beginning? I got a Commodore VIC-20 Well, running the risk of being too for Christmas as a kid. My friend got a long-winded now, I’ve also made a Sinclair ZX Spectrum. When he later few other apps: An image file format advanced to a Commodore Amiga, my converter (Any Image), a free image father bought a PC AT-compatible. viewer (Image Eye), a disk-cleaner Being naturally curious and the type I guess Awave Studio is the product (CleanDisk), a CD-ripper (ACDR), and that sets out to learn every last detail that is most likely to be encountered a time-pitch-rate audio converter (Any about interesting stuff, I soon took an by the “synth and samplers” type of Time). The one app that is most interest in programming these “toys” person, as that’s its main target rewarding to show off though, to see what could be done with them. audience. Another type --- let's say whenever people ask, “What do you the “analogue” type of musician --do for a living?” (especially if it is More formally speaking, my might also have encountered asked by someone who’s not really educational background includes a Chromatia Tuner, which is a tuning interested in computer stuff), is the master’s degree in engineering software for acoustical instruments. It real-time, 3D-rendered software physics, with a specialization in not only allows you to tune in the planetarium, StarStrider. It was “numerical methods and applied normal “equal temperament,” but also developed in collaboration with a mathematical analysis” (a long and allows you to experiment with all friend of mine who is today working abstract description, but the skills kinds of historical tunings (called as a professional astronomer at the have been truly useful to me in my “temperaments” – stuff that Bach and Stockholm Observatory. work!), followed by some time contemporaries explored at length), working at a consulting company and various alternative scales (for WSM: Can you tell us a little about doing software development for example, look up “Pythagorean tuning” your background? What led you to various clients. Interesting as that on Wikipedia). Awave Audio is a begin writing programs for was, in late ‘99 I decided that it would sibling to Awave Studio, targeted at computers? be more “fulfilling” to work with my dealing with audio recordings. Besides own ideas. Thus was FMJ-Software file format conversion, it also gives officially born – although truly, I had 24
Wusik Sound Magazine
in 1993, which also happened to be the the year when I began such studies. I soon found ‘netcommunities of users sharing sounds WSM: How did you get the idea for for Ensoniq, Roland and Yamaha synthesizers. Now what had begun as Awave Studio? a simple, single-purpose, commandMD: I would not describe it as a single line tool soon grew into a multidirectional converter for the dominant idea, but as a sequence of ideas leading up to the Swiss-army knife for synthesizer formats of that time; it was ported to Windows, and it was working with audio and synthesizer renamed Awave (“a converter for any instruments that it is today. The very first “links in the chain” occurred back wave-table format”). in ’93 when I bought a Gravis That is now a long time ago, and the Ultrasound card for my PC. I already piece software that today bears the had a Roland MT-32 sound module. I name Awave Studio has seen several used it for playing Sierra adventure major from-the-ground-up rewrites, games and for trying my hand at and over time it’s evolved into an ever composing. The Ultrasound was more flexible multi-purpose tool. something else though, the first truly inexpensive sampling, or "wavetable," Today it handles all types of audio formats: Recording formats, synthesizer (basically derived from synthesizer formats, song formats, Ensoniq's best chip at the time). mobile phone ring signals – and it is It had an instrument editor with its own file format (.pat), but although it just as much an editor as it is a converter. had 16-bit/44.1kHz playback, it only had 8-bit recording, so I found myself looking for sound samples to use from One aspect that I’ve been particularly focusing on during the last few other sources. revisions is the built-in software Remember that one of my friends had synthesizer, which no longer is a “fixed function” synth. Instead it can an Amiga? The Amiga had a very be loaded with “algorithms” that can active “tracker community” creating emulate almost any kind of synthesis. excellent and interesting music “modules” (.mod files) limited to using This isn’t anything that is directly exposed to the user though (yet only the 8-bit samples and 4-voice there just might be future polyphony that was mandated by Amiga hardware limitations. Quickly a developments in that direction…), except that you can drop files from LA “mod2pat” was born, allowing me to and FM synthesizers instruments into “borrow” sounds from the coolest Awave Studio and play them! Amiga songs, and to use them with the Ultrasound. already been doing much the same things on smaller scale on a hobby basis since ’93.
That still was only 8-bit sounds though, so I turned to the Internet which had at that time just begun to be popular among academic students of the, ahem, engineering variety. This was
WSM: Can you tell us a little about your SoundFont instruments?
Hougaard contacted me asking for help with creating a Bodhran SoundFont. He provided me with recordings, and I did the rest. As I was very pleased with the results myself, I made it available for others (to buy for a small sum). A similar sequence of events occurred with hand bells aficionado Mark Sylvester, leading up to a SoundFont containing his two favorite sets of hand bells, a set of hand chimes, and variations of a silver melody bell. I am something of a fan of “odd instruments” which also led me to create a few additional SoundFonts. Maybe I’ll make some more in the future. For example, I’ve yet to make one from my personal favorite instrument, which is a 36string “neo-Celtic” folk-harp. Wouldn’t have guessed that, would you? WSM: You’ve stayed up to date with Wusikstation developments. How did you develop a relationship with Wusik? MD: If I remember it correctly, it was WilliamK of Wusik who contacted me (in ’04?) asking if I would be interested in adding support for the Wusikstation sound file format. Naturally, my answer was “Yes!” and I’ve kept in sync ever since, adding support for new features as they have appeared in new versions of Wusikstation.
Thank you, Markus.
For more information about FMJ Software’s products, including Awave Studio, see: http://www.fmjsoft.com/
MD: This small series began when Norwegian Bodhran player Harald
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Look Mom! I Did It Myself! Part 2
by David Keenum
Wusik Sound Magazine
The .sfz revolution! I hope you’ve noticed how this issue of WSM has evolved with the development of Wusikstation’s .sfz implementation. Specifically, Wusikstation is now a quasi-SoundFont player. I know it isn’t as simple as opening a SoundFont file, but, with a little work, it is only a couple of steps away. You can now expand your Wusikstation library without a lot of trouble or money!
format. Scot Solida’s The Electronic Garden (http://www.theelectronicgarden.com) and Dusted William Sounds (http://www.dustedwilliamsounds.com/) are just two examples of these type companies. I am sure there will be more to follow. For now, you will have to provide your own Wusikstation presets, but over time that will change, especially if you request Wusikstation If you do not already own a file presets. So go ahead! “Ask and you conversion program, Squib’s article, shall receive!” Expand Your Wusikstation Sample But for the time being, and if you Library for Free, will give you convert your own SoundFonts, you will information on how you can get a free need to do a little editing… but only a utility to convert your SoundFonts to little, and it’s easy. First of all, check .sfz files. If you have a file conversion the videos at Wusik’s YouTube channel program, you’re already set to go. All (www.youtube.wusik.com/). you will need to do is open the .sfz file Concentrate on learning the simple in Wusikstation’s file browser (upper edits: volume, ADSR (amplifier right hand corner of the GUI), and envelope), and the effects. You can you’re playing your new .sfz file. Of also use Wusikstation’s manual. course you will want to edit the volume, Also, you can post questions on Wusik’s adjust the ADSR, and maybe add a little forum. There are a number of people reverb. And if you’re adventuresome, who can help you. If you ask nicely, you may want to use the modulation they may even create Wusikstation matrix or some of the other synth presets for you! So go out there and functions of Wusikstation. explore the .sfz world. Then you too In addition, sample development can call your dear Mum, and say, “Look companies are beginning to release Mom! I did it Myself!” their sample collections in the .sfz
Alchemy The Ultimate Ultimate. by Trusty
Simply The Best It has been said many times, about many things, but one can't help but hear the sound of Tina Turner singing in the background, after several times of playing with Alchemy...for hours and hours, and hours. There is simply so much to explore, and so much to experiment with. As was said by me in my '08 Top Fives back in December, Alchemy â€œis everything that everything else is but better, and it has everything that everything else left out.â€? I couldn't say it better than that, so why not reuse old material. I still feel this way. Oh, for so many reasons.
selling points; it is more than able to produce the rich sounds one would want from a top of the line virtual analog synthesizer; which is also to say that this part of its synthesis engine is a lot better than it had to be. What this actually illustrates is that the good people at Camel Audio didn't just shove something in there to push Just a glance through the tech specs shows how giant this instrument really out a new product, but made sure is and how capable it is in anyone's every aspect of Alchemy was as great as it could be; starting from the hands. Surprisingly enough, it can be ground and then up (into the a simple four oscillator virtual analog synth with as many or more features stratosphere)! than come standard on such However, it is the combination of instruments. I mention this at the beginning because while this is additive, spectral and granular synthesis, resynthesis, and sampling certainly the farthest from it's many
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that got everyone's attention when the instrument was first announced. It can load .wav and .aiff files, along with the increasingly popular and useful .sfz format. Not to be left out, you can also import photographs to use as sound sources, and the variety of ways in which manipulation can be applied is simply amazing. Before getting into the nitty-gritty of the almost unlimited sound possibilities that Alchemy is able to produce; a few words must be given in praise of the GUI. Yes, Alchemy can be a complicated instrument, but it has also made the complicated much, much easier due to the slick design of
the interface. It has the regular “advanced” mode as the default option, but by pressing the “simple” button, two thirds of the interface vanishes, leaving all the main direct performance controls. What I like about it is that while there are multiple screens as would be necessary to access the wealth of features, the manner in which this is set-up is great. The interface is divided into thirds from top to bottom, and instead of flipping from screen to screen; the multiple screens are accessed by tabs that don't vanquish the entire GUI to another screen, but rather open up a small area directly related to the parameters that are necessary. This makes the multiple screen flipping much easier to contend with, and also allows the user to focus on what is immediate; without sacrificing the view of the rest of the instrument. Another benefit of this layout is that when learning the instrument, one doesn't easily get lost, since flipping through the tabs in one of the three layers; in certain sections of those three layers of controls; the focus is always centered on what is being edited. This allows the user to learn each section in a streamlined fashion.
variations on the pads for you, and modulation possibilities that are nearly endless from one parameter to another. The cool thing is that modulations are easy to follow thanks to the matrix and the puke greenishyellow color outlines that appear around the controls of the parameters selected for modulation, and the modulation section that clearly specifies what the source is and what all is being modulated by it. Keeping track of these sorts of things has not been this easy in any synth that I have come across so far. Another cool thing about each section is the ability to save parameter settings as presets for use later by pressing the “FILE” button that appears in each section as well, and almost every parameter has included some preset settings for immediate use.
Alchemy comes with 300 presets, 1200 if you count the eight variations of each preset using the remix pads. Now, there is some controversy about the included presets. Some like them, some don't. Count me in with the former. I like them for several reasons. One reason is that they simply sound good. The second reason is that they actually help the user see what is possible. The third reason is that I can So, what is it about this engine? Well, rip off professional sound designers' it can do tons and tons of cool stuff to settings per parameter if, for instance, your sounds. Once again, the sources I find a MSEG setting I like and want to use on my own sounds later, and can be virtual analog, additive, thus I can save them to do just that. spectral, granular with resynthesis, and regular sampling. What you select Another reason I like them is because and how you use them for each of the they are sounds that I don't generally have on all my other gear. Listening up to four sources is dependent upon the selections offered when a mode is to the raw 2 gig library, one would not think that these sounds are the basis selected. And, following from left to right and top to bottom of the GUI, all of the presets found within Alchemy, but that just lets users know how the options are available. All the awesome this synthesizer can standard envelopes and filters are transform sounds. The currently there; plus filters at various other available preset expansion packages-stages than right after the oscillator section are available. There are LFOs, the Electronic and Atmospheric sound sets--are great as well, and step sequencers, arpeggiators, X/Y reasonably priced. Though, with an controls, envelope generators, the instrument like Alchemy, hopefully, ever awesome Camel Audio effects some more creative type of found on their effect plug-ins--that expansions will become available that are revamped here for the ultimate tweaking, remix pads with a cool auto are either more genre specific, or less genre specific, but highly creative and assign function to set up to 8
original, or even unclassifiable. But then again, chasing presets with an instrument like Alchemy is supposed to be an afterthought, since it does import sound; anyone who does not like the presets shipped with Alchemy can certainly find something in the rest of their collection of instruments, a live microphone and creativity, or something in between to bounce to an audio format that Alchemy can import from and use. Alchemy can do certain tasks that are simply unavailable on any other instrument on the market. One hour a day, for two weeks or so, of practice with Alchemy will generate a lifetime or creative output using the instrument. That is all it really takes, and reading the manual here and there of course. Alchemy really is for everyone. People that avoid Alchemy are essentially turning their backs on their own potential creativity. Alchemy delivers possibilities not found elsewhere, and can make the difference between sounding generic or sounding completely original. Better Than All The Rest If you think it, you can get it out of Alchemy. While Alchemy is feature packed, that is not to say that it can be a one synth stop shop that covers everything, but it doesn't need to cover everything. It does need to offer everything that it does offer though, and what it lacks is easily made up for by the rest of the arsenal of instruments...which by the way, can make stuff to be re-sampled and eventually fed back into Alchemy for further manipulation in what those other things lack. Alchemy is both complete in and of itself, and it completes everything else in one's arsenal. Win-win! This is what makes it so as close to perfection as one is likely to get in an instrument for making all types of music. This is the desert island instrument if only one could be had. When you think of a sound in your head, or even when you don't and just want to explore the possibilities, Alchemy is the tool you use when you ask “what if”.
It Will Own You!!! by Trusty
This synthesizer is the software have continued to take interface instrument equivalent of The Empire interaction to a whole new level. Strikes Back. That one rare instance What began with Twin in the where the sequel is better than the demystifying of sound design with original by leaps and bounds. Now, the organized workflow and the for those who keep up, I wrote an helpful hint boxes, here, Twin 2 article praising Twin (the original) as makes what was already made one of the best virtual analog easier in the original to something synthesizers ever, and while still that is not only utterly simple, but true in a sense--for the sequel quite beautiful as well. The user sees doesn't eliminate the originals' what they need to see, and very charm at all, but still,Twin 2 little is presented that was not asked completely overshadows it and all for in the process of designing a competitors in the multiplex of other sound. The GUI only shows what is currently playing software in use; while still showing the core instrument offerings. essentials in case the need to expand upon what is already Building upon the original's programmed becomes necessary. outstanding sound quality and killer concept, it has gone on to new Another plus for Twin 2 is the heights. Kudos must be given to modulation. As if the original didn't FabFilter, for the improvements are make this mystery uncomplicated, many, and the spirit of their vision is here, it is both even easier, and alive and well, and soaring into new downright more intuitive than on territory. FabFilter knows how to any other synthesizer available. It is make software instruments, and as simple as inserting a source in they continue to forgo emulations in the bottom half of the interface and both older hardware design and look. dragging the line to the destination. They have given all their instruments That is it, and a little tab appears have a look about them that speaks above the source to provide the to their keen awareness of this fact, information on what was selected for and they have also packed sonic reference. These can stack up as firepower that can fool any hardware well, as modulation is very flexible. enthusiast. Like all the rest of the synthesizer, there are tabs controlling the Twin 2 goes even further. The new parameters of every source (and GUI design is simply amazing. While destination) that can be opened and unique, it is not more complicated closed again in order to keep the by the newness, but rather, they interface neat, but also allow for 32
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extensive editing while the tabs are open. The routing is always available to see, and this allows the user to follow the paths of the sound design with ease. Another great thing is that a little 'm' appears next to whatever is being modulated, and when one clicks on it, everything in the bottom of the screen is grayed out so that one can see the routing even easier. One of the coolest things is the ability to save not just overall presets, but also parameter settings as their own presets. The new features added to version 2 are not just in the design of the interface however, but also is sound quality, parameters, and a few new items that allow you to do programming tricks both old and new. The first glance reveals three oscillators instead of two. Along with the triangle, square and sawtooth waveforms, a sine wave has been added, and white noise and pink noise are also now available for each oscillator instead of a separate oscillator on the original. Along with the two main filters, two more have been added to tweak the awesome delay FX added to the upgrade. There are eleven filter types, and these also have low, band, and high pass available, with 12, 24, and 48 slope settings. For the main filters, these can be run in serial, parallel, or in per oscillator, and the delay filters can do the same; except the
third option is per delay instead of per oscillator. Fans of Timeless will be very happy with the quality here, and the amount of control as well. And, the delay adds a great new addition to the Twin canon. For those with nonsensical gripes about the lack of effects, you may not be happy here either with just this new addition, but what are all those effects processors in everyone's arsenal bought for anyway? FabFilter only adds what can not be accomplished with things most people have already, and they are to be thanked for it! Twin trumps other instruments in sound without the drenched effects, and one's own effects of choice only increase Twin's potential. Again, this “lack of effects” complaint is worthless. The awesome XLFO is a creation of pure genius. It works like a classic LFO, but it goes way beyond that. It even has a keybed button; that when modulating the pitch, can act
as a step sequencer or arpeggiator, Which is kind of easy for them, since they make things that other and can pull off some great gate companies lack the vision to create type effects as well. The user can in the first place. Some might say stack these up, as well as adding X/Y controllers, envelope generators that is true about most all of their products, but Twin is still a virtual separate from the main one, analog synthesizer. True, though envelope followers, midi sources one would be hard pressed to find and destinations, and these can be routed to modulate whatever one one better, and personally, I can wishes. The simplicity or complexity only think of one or two other VA's of a patch is entirely up to the user, even worth having, and had Twin 2 been released first, I would and even complex patching is extremely manageable due to the probably have not ever bothered to seek them out. slick design of the GUI. If these specs are not impressive enough, check out www.FabFilter.com and have a look at the rest and try the synthesizer on for a full 30 days...it doesn't get more fair than that. A great company, with great products, and great vision that continues to set new standards in the software instrument and effect marketplace that usually hits a brick wall of mediocrity. Not with FabFilter, they continue to press on leaving almost every alternative in their wake.
Twin 2 is the perfect virtual analog synthesizer. It topples almost everything in its class, hardware or software. If you were not one of those “in the know” the last time around with the original, do yourself a favor, and purchase Twin 2. Sell off what you need to, but regardless, this synthesizer is a must have. It has the style, the sound, the features, the ease of use, the presets (of which there are tons!), and the service behind it that is simply amazing.
Algomusic M42 Nebula by David Keenum
Like a journey into Outer Space!
Tim Conrardy (aka TC) certainly left his mark on users of software synthesizers. If you followed his posts on the forums he was known to frequent, you would quickly see his musical passions. These included Atari computers, algorithmic composition, programming, and Space Music. The term “Space Music” has a number of definitions (usually Ambient in nature), but with Tim it was coupled with his love of astronomy. Space Music referred to outer space, the universe, planets, stars, galaxies, and nebulae. In a bank of sounds he created for Camel Audio’s Cameleon 5000, he even used pictures of the universe for some of the sounds. So it is no surprise that TC and Dr. Ambient (aka Guido Goebertus) decided to create a “Space” synth. They even named it after the Orion Nebula, also known as Messier 42 or M42. So it is only fitting that, in memory of Tim Conrardy, we take a look at Algomusic’s M42 Nebula. Enter M42 M42 is essentially two independent synths. The first synth contains saw, square, triangle, pulse1, pulse2, and noise waves. The second synth plays SoundFonts. M42 comes with a set of five pad sounds, and it supports up to four banks of SoundFonts. Each synth has its own ADSR Envelope Generator, Filter (LP, HP, BP 34
Wusik Sound Magazine
and AP), LFO (BPM-synced) with an Arpeggiator, Pulsar (BPM-synced, creates the algorithmic element), and a Modulation Matrix. Effects include a Stereo Chorus/Flanger, a Stereo BPMsynced Cross-Delay, a two-band EQ, an Autopanner, and a WARP (a distortion with cutoff and resonance).
My own synth collection gives a clue to my sonic interests. Cameleon 5000 is one of my favorite synths, and I’m learning to enjoy Alchemy. And it seems that there is at least one track of Sophistry in most of my songs. Even in Wusikstation I lean toward ArtVera’s New Age collection and Hardcore Harmonic’s PRIZM. Plus, I I guess this is as good a time as any have an affinity for patches created by to point out that M42 Nebula is a Tim Conrardy. Have you listened to SynthEdit creation. Yes, you read TC’s presets for the EVE Soundset that correctly -- it’s a SynthEdit synth! Mellotronix? Amazing! Anyway, all of And, you’re expected to pay for it? these factors place me in the category Yes, but take my word for it, it’s worth of “People who would probably like every penny! As for me, I’ve decided M42 Nebula.” And I do! to never again ignore a synth just because it is created with SynthEdit. I M42’s patches run the spectrum from had no issues with M42. No crashes pads to atmospheres to ambient leads. or odd behavior. But you would be This is not a synth for a wide variety wise to download the demo and try of applications. This is a synth it yourself. designed for ambient textures, and it does them very well! The GUI is clean and clear. Everything is on one page, and it is Totems Anyone? easy to understand. I admit that the GUI doesn’t compare that well with M42 Nebula also does one more sound some of the newer synths, but I well, namely Totems. TC introduced suspect that has more to do with me to Totems, and it made an SynthEdit’s limitations than it does impression. It is a unique rhythm with GUI design. In any case, when I sound, similar to a filtered arp, but started playing M42, I forgot about only similar. M42 Nebula was any shortcomings in the GUI! developed in part to create Totems, and I found the Totems interesting But how does it Sound? and useful. I was able to find two KVR-Audio threads where Tim Before I give you my opinions on discussed Totems: M42’s sound, I think you should know that I love pad and ambient sounds.
Waveforms: Synth1: (VAO) saw, square, triangle, pulse1, pulse2, Noise Synth2: (SFO) special set of five pad sounds arranged as SoundFont bank. Number of supported banks: 4
M42 Nebula VSTi v2.0 Creator and Distributor: AlgoMusic Web-Site: http://www.algomusic.net/ Price: M42 Nebula VSTi v2.0 $55.00 / €41.00 Details: 2 completely independent synths each with: 2 ADSR Envelope Generators 12dB/octave State Variable Filter (LP, HP, BP and AP) LFO (BPM-synced) with a unique Arpeggiator Pulsar (BPM-synced, creates the algorithmic element) Easy to operate 3 * 5 Modulation Matrix
http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/view topic.php?p=2550720 http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/view topic.php?p=3589095
FX: Stereo Chorus/Flanger Stereo BPM synced Cross-Delay 2 band EQ, 1 band parametric Autopanner WARP (distortion with cutoff and resonance) Global: MIDI Learn for almost all parameters Virtual Keyboard (for audition of presets) Multitimbrality: 2 (per instance!)
bit further in M42 Nebula using the unique ARP and Pulsar.” The second thread is a discussion of a piece called Totems. If you are interested in creating Totems, this is a good place to start. The third thread mentions a bank of Wusikstation sounds. I have used this bank and recommend them. William kindly uploaded this bank, so all can enjoy it.
Totems are, in the words of Tim, created by “taking the LFO speed to control the gate of an envelope, which at the same time is controlling filter cutoff. Add to that a high resonance, and random timbres coming from the LFO itself, or another mod source. I was able to do this on the Oddity http://www.wusik.com/download/TC_ demo, as it was first developed on an Totems.exe Arp Odyssey, and used by Klaus Schulze in his Picture Music LP (on the track Totem). But we developed it a
Conclusions I am a fan of pad and ambient sounds, so this synth is perfect for me. The Totem patches are definitely a plus. There are not many synths that can create them. And the price is quite reasonable. The online demos will give you an accurate idea of M42’s sound, but I would suggest trying the demo on your computer before you purchase it. Polyphony: 6 voices (each synth)Test Computer: AMD Athlon 64 3200+ 2.0GHz, 4GB RAM, Windows XP Pro SP 3, Echo MiaMIDI Audio Card
Cubase 5 by A. Arsov
Finally they did it. I've always felt a bit uncomfortable looking at certain masterclass videos, or reading interviews with popular artists talking about their products: “We mainly use internal plug-ins. There is no big need for third-party plug-ins, because it is all right here, and it works!” Hearing that, I change my colour to purple-green, mumbling and swearing about this 'n' that, mostly in a “How dare you?“ manner, and I need some time to cool back down to a normal temperature.
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To tell you the truth: Logic was never very “logical” for me. I've lost myself whenever I've tried it, but anyway, it does look as though it contains all the things you need for production under the hood. I've always preferred Cubase, so I have visited the Steinberg site many times, expressing my dissatisfaction by cackling to the monitor, waving with my hands, and repeating just one question: “Why can't you do that? Why?” OK, I never got enough guts to ask them directly, but it looks like they had some hidden camera installed on my computer, and obviously they heard me: “Hallo, Ulrich, komm hier!! You got to see this. That small fellow Arsov is complaining again. Ha, ha! I really like watching him when he is so upset that he acts like Donald Duck!”
Retail Cubase 5 Almighty Version Yes, they've heard me. Cubase 5 has finally become an all-in-one production package --- an ideal solution for complete audio pollution. In my humble opinion, it is one of their best upgrades ever. In the past Cubase already had almost everything that is needed for production, and now they just nailed it. There was a lot of complaining about the previous version, so perhaps it would be best to start with the fact that this new version is very stable. Yes, I had a crash or two, but nothing to write home about. I had similar problems with a few other sequencers from other developers! Sequencers are complex beasts, so it is not at all unusual for the very first version to collapse occasionally under some exotic third-party plug-in. I've been working with my new toy on a daily basis for the past two months and haven't experienced any essential problems in that time.
making some predictable moves that all people expect from you. One of the most desired additions (at least for me) is Variaudio. It is a Melodyne-alike tool for alternating the pitch of monophonic material. Steinberg described it as vocal tool, but it also serves as an unique solution for messing with all other sorts of monophonic materials such as brass, winds or even bass loops and phrases. Suddenly all my old sound libraries with undefined pitch (why do sample companies always presume that most of the musicians have a perfect pitch?) came back to life! Now I can finally go mad changing the pitch and length of the samples inside the phrases, the same as is possible to do with standard MIDI material. Speaking of that: Analysed material can be also exported as a MIDI clip for doubling the phrase with some other instrument.
Along with Variaudio there is also a new pitch-correction tool similar to Antares Autotune called Pitchcorrect VST 3. All essential functions are there, and because I have the privilege and The Voice pleasure to work with out-of-tune vocalists, I tested both effects, So, let's concentrate on new Variaudio and Pitchorrect, thoroughly additions: Cubase 5 brings plenty of and was very pleased with the results, new plug-ins, while most of the but at the same time disappointed essential things are mostly improved that Steinberg didn't implement these or recoded (along with just few other vocal tools earlier. Pitchcorrect VST 3 additions), showing that Steinberg works just as it should, while was mainly concentrating on filling the Varioaudio proved to be one of the missing links rather than radically best alternating effects in the VST changing the existing concept. We all world at the moment. It is simple to know that it is a competitive market use, sounds good, and it offers out there, and that users constantly enough options to fix or just mess expect something radically new and with almost all monophonic material. different --- but I'm sure that time will prove that Steinberg made the right decision at this time. Sometimes you The Beat need more guts to finish something you've started in the past rather than New Cubase 5 also brings three new essential tools for manipulating the
beats. I have plenty of quality drum samplers in my arsenal, but nevertheless I fell in love with the new Cubase drum sampler â€œGroove Agent Oneâ€? as soon as I tried it. It comes with a variety of impressive-sounding kit libraries, covering almost all styles, from Hip-hop, dnb, and Electro all the way through to Hard Rock --- plus plain Acoustic kits. Working with Groove Agent One is a joy! It is extremely powerful, but at the same time very simple for the user. You can easily import and manipulate your sounds with all sorts of filters, pannings, and other options --- and considering it's ability to automatically map pre-sliced audio material to different pads, exporting the mapped loop as a MIDI clip makes the Groove Agent One an ideal solution for ultrafast and effective drum programming. In combination with Beat Designer, a new MIDI plug-in for designing drum patterns with many flam and roll options and its own sequencer window, it brings the whole beat business to a nice new level. The last one, a loop toy is a pretty exotic one. LoopMash is a VST instrument, or maybe we should say a loop sampler, for mashing the loops on the fly. After you define which loop is the base loop, all the other loops are mashed with this one. There are various controls for defining the amount of mashing, and the end results is like awaking after a heavydrinking party. It could happen that you awaken with a beauty, but with exactly the same chance that you awaken next to a beast. So, don't drink and lie down, rather mesh and fly. All in all it is a pretty good option for those out-of-inspiration moments or simply a good way to lead the song in a totally new direction. I presume that in the right hands this one could became a real winner.
Halion One also comes with a few special presets, representing a new Finally we also get an included interesting Cubase 5 addition, a MIDI convolution reverb called REVerence. tool named “VST expressions.” This It looks good, and it sounds good. It tool is aimed at managing various comes preloaded with a few higharticulations of chosen instruments --quality impulses. If those are not which were usually reachable in the enough, there are plenty of free ones past only through the MIDI continuous on the net, so you can easily make controllers --- for getting more your convolution a “Heaven on Earth.” realistic-sounding performance. Now The only drawback is its CPU usage, those functions are reachable through but being that it is part of the host, I the articulation maps in presume that Steinberg will fix that as the key editor or staff soon as possible. editor. The full use of these articulation maps Halion One is perhaps just a sample comes to full glory if we player, and it can read only an use it along the fully internal sample library, but it comes functional, 90-day trial with such a large quantity of cool and version of HALion useful sounds that it is hard to find Symphonic Orchestra, a any room for complaining. As we are nice orchestral rompler all drowning in analog-alike sounds, it buffed with all sorts of is really nice to hear some of the good orchestral sounds, from old digital ones that can be found strings to winds to inside the Halion One Yamaha library. percussion. I already have No, that is not a joke! I really like all some other third-party those digital pianos and digitalorchestral libraries costing sounding synths which are packed almost the same amount along with all the other analog and as Cubase itself, although essential instruments that could be I do have to say that HSO found in the included library. Halion maybe doesn't react One also has a more-than-solid exactly the same as those general MIDI library, so if you import highly specialised libraries, any general MIDI song, Cubase will be but to be honest it comes automatically opened with preloaded pretty close on some parts. Halion One. I have to admit that this Most of the instruments little rompler became one of my sound highly realistic, and favourite instruments lately, along if you are in need of those with some other third-party analog sorts of sounds, then you beasts. It sounds like some hybrid have to be mad to not to between a Yamaha synthesizer and upgrade this to the one of those analog samplers from the permanent version for the past. I've tried all the included sounds special discounted price of and find plenty of useful, versatile, 99 Euros. Furthermore, a inspiring ones with a different 90-day trial period is a character from what is common more-than-fair option for nowadays. testing and deciding if this
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could be the right tool for you or not. It is a deep-rooted habit that every new Cubase version bring us a few new VST effects along with a few new VST instruments. No exceptions this time. The new instruments perhaps don't sound as revolutionary as some third party ones, but their versatility enables us to finish our projects using just internal goodies without losing
much quality-wise. The next morethan-welcome addition is a new large automation panel which enables more transparent work with all the automation lanes, without loosing endless quantities of time finding the desired automations inside the numerous tracks. There is also a new exporting option for multi-exporting all or just selected tracks. This option makes my life much, much easier
because I used to lose at least a few hours exporting all tracks, one by one, before I started with a final mix. The only thing I miss here is an option for choosing the join-to-mono option for individual tracks inside the batch exporting. You also get a printed manual in a packet, the same one as the printed Getting Started book, and four dvd's.
All in all, the biggest box I have ever gotten until now, and I got a lot!
The End, The Happy One All those new exiting beat, vocal, and mixing tools, along with the ones that have already been implemented in the past like MIDI editing-in-place or warping audio, make this version of Cubase one of the most complete and desirable sequencers at the moment. We all know that version 4 had some problems, like all mankind has at reaching the magical number of age 4, but now it has outgrown those problems, and Cubase is in its best ages. Mature and experienced, stable and reliable. Variaudio, Pitchcorrect VST 3, Groove Agent One, REVerance, LoopMash, and Beat Designer are not just another set of plug-ins squeezed under the hood. Along with all other improvements and rock solid stability Steinberg again proved itself as one of the leading companies in the sequencer market. Hate them or love them â€“ you can't ignore them. Cubase 5 is a big winner at the moment. The battle is continued â€Ś
Cubase 5 is now also available in a 64-bit version for native 64-bit systems. It is Mac or PC compatible and also supports Vista WASAPI driver technology. Cubase 5 Retail costs 550 Euros, Cubase 5 Studio is 350 Euros.
n o i s s u c m Ja by A. Arsov
Do you remember Rayzoon Jamstix 2 --- the best drummer simulator in software form? Even my heavy-metal cousin (and philosopher) told me that Jamstix sounds good to him. This was the first time ever that he used that word to describe anything. He always complains about everything, and there is nothing in the word that he doesn't dislike. He doesn't even like his own music, but Jamstix 2 with MetalPak sounds “OK” to him. “Like a real drummer,” he said --- unbelievable!
heard, but they are not bad, either. Actually, with a touch of compression and third-party reverb, they are very good --- at least sounding very realistic. One way or another, with all those small added hits, ultra-realistic hihats, cool drum breaks, along with its excellent internal sequencer and ability to load and export midi clips, it is a godsend composing tool for all musical genres. I can write you about Jamstix until night falls because it has been my favourite musical tool and, in my personal opinion, one of the most I have been using Jamstix since the innovative pieces of software ever. first day I got it, and I'm now doing all Yes, I know, this should be an article about Jamcussion. So, let's go, my drums with it. Jamstix 2 also supports third-party drum samplers or Jamcussion! synths, so it can use all the exotic kits and hits from all over the place (from Rayzoon's website: “such as BFD™, Jamcussion, second trial DFHS™, EZDrummer™ and Addictive Drums™”), along with included Jamcussion is an add-on for Rayzoon Jamstix kits. The included stock kits Jamstix 2. BTW: Have I told you are not the best ones I have ever anything about Jamstix? It is the best 40
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drummer simulator in software form. Even my heavy metal cousin... Yes, yes --- I know, just kidding. So, let' go back to Jamcussion, I will tell you a bit more about Jamstix a little later. Jamcussion is the latest expansion kit for Jamstix 2, adding all sorts of percussive sounds along with three percussionist simulations, a new barsequencer window, kit editor, and new brain elements. For just $65 USD, we get thirty-five new percussion instruments, adding twelve new instrument slots to the Jamstix concept. There are eleven percussion kits such as: Udu, Cajon, Latin, Darbuka. and so on. There are seven quick start songs which are combinations of Jamcussion and standard Jamstix kits. Those are some of the technical facts, but how do all those twangs and bangs sound in reality?
pop song with live instruments. There is no worse thing in the world than three equal choruses. They can kill all As you all know, it is not so the magic. As one of my friends complicated to program some simple taught me, there must be some percussion patterns, but as things change for every eight beats in a song. become a bit busier, the mission becomes more and more complicated. So, I tended to put a bunch of percussion loops in the third chorus in About ourselves, we like to think that the past. The only problem was that we can play shakers and bongos if there arises a need for it --- it can't be there is no endless collection of percussion loops on the market, and that hard! But when the time comes, as we already discussed, it is not so we suddenly realise that it is not as easy to program them. self-evident as we thought. Your second thought might be the standard To make a long story short: Life has question: Why should we need that kind of percussion anyway? To tell you become much easier with Jamcussion. the truth, it is not as tricky a question Programming percussion with Jamstix 2 is now much easier, and the end as you might think. This kind of result sounds much better than loops percussion is really not an essential or hand programming because the addition to your songs, but it proves Jamstix 2 engine provides all those as an absolute salvation when an small differences occurring over time arrangement is questionable, for as real drummers do, or in our case, example: You really need something as the percussionist did. special for the last chorus, something airy, not just another instrument to So, do you really have to get the overfill the already overcrowded chorus, especially if you work on some Jamcussion? Not really, but you really
do have to get Jamstix 2. It is definitely one of the best musical rhythm tools on the market. Have I told you anything about that yet? And when you get your copy of Jamstix 2, you will definitely also need Jamcussion, because it is one of the most interesting additions for Jamstix. Visit the Rayzoon site and listen to all of the demo clips. You'll be very surprised. http://www.rayzoon.com/jamcussion. html
Jamcussion is an expansion pack for Jamstix 2. It comes in VST instrument form, and it is PC-only. It is powered by Ralph Zeuner from Rayzoon. He is one of the most supportive developers in the entire music business. You can't go wrong with him, nor with Jamstix, and the same goes for Jamcussion.
Antares AVOX 2 and
Autotune efx by Trusty
Yes I Believe In Life After Cher Who could really doubt it after T-Pain, and the many imitators afterward. But seriously, why seek for just one single alternative use of a vocal correction tool and leave it at that when the wonderful folks at Antares have served up some more plug-ins to use as intended...or not, and in many combinations as desired, and to find that brand new vocal effect to set the charts on fire, and thus find more imitators. In a world of imitators there is also a place for the innovators: like Cher and before her the likes of Zappa and Roger Troutman; there is plenty of new ground to break thanks to the AVOX 2 vocal tool kit. Not that the “VOX” should inhibit the innovators to use these plug-ins for all sorts of mayhem on other sound sources as well. Indeed, the effect plug-ins in this collection are so awesome that they can balance that "razor's edge" of common sense usage and innovation without a drop of fear tipping use to one side or the other--that is no easy thing to pull off either. If you are one of the ones that don't have Autotune (really? I mean, really?) and want to get "on the bandwagon"--of use and/or abuse;
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Antares has the answer for you in the But it doesn't stop there, as it really $99 stripped down to the good stuff allows the user to have much without all the fluff version in the considerable control over each--up to Autotune efx. It is a very nice gesture the four parts it generates--in terms on their part to offer such a plug for of expression, panning, vibrato, and the broke folks that want in on the control over which--including the action, and certainly the vocal style original source track--can be heard. inspired by the plug-in will not be The real joy comes in using it on going out of style anytime soon...at vocalists that actually can sing well, least not as long as rappers without a and that the harmonies generated are single lick of singing talent want to as faithful--or can be as "faithless"--as “broaden their horizons” vocally. But desired. Use is surprisingly simple, as actually, it really does a good job, one just selects the natural vocal though perhaps not as thorough at range of the singer, and then applies doing what it was intended to do. the key and chords and range needed More on this later on though. For now, for the engine to do its magic. It is it is time to investigate the AVOX 2 the Good Stuff. And what is more is gear and see what all is possible. that it is actually fun to use and experiment with while in the studio. It leans more to the practical side than the experimental side, but... Harmony Engine Vocal Modeling Harmony Generator Rather, this should be called “Time Saving Vocal Management Headache Remover” because it does a steller job at creating harmonies, especially for those on a budget in the studio, or are gonna need so much damn Autotune anyway on the main track that suffering through trying to get the harmonies manually would be an excruciating task.
Mutator: Extreme Voice Designer Now this is where all the fun really begins. First off, the pitch shifting alone on this thing is great; especially if you are into to pitch shifting. It does a great real-time job without adding the hokeyness that comes in this territory of either pitching up or pitching down. However, when
Aspire: Aspiration Noise Processor It does its job well, and either adds or reduces “breathiness” to vocal tracks. Though it isn't as fun as the other plug-ins, it does have some uses for either making voices more or less sultry. Aspire is good quality for what it does, but sadly, it isn't all that exciting, unless it is used in conjunction with the other plug-ins, where it can become more useful in taming some of the other vocal effects.
Throat: Physical Modeling Vocal Designer
adjusting the throat length and width settings, the originality of the plug-in begins to become apparent. The wonderful thing about this plug-in is that it is intended to mutate your vocals, and your instrument tracks as well. So in reality, this is one of those “can't mess up” kind of plug-ins to use because it is intended to “mess up” in the first place. The Alienize knob is the most fun. Once switched on, you hear pure madness, and then as it gets turned up, it is pure mayhem. It doesn't just reverse, but it chops and reverses sections in real time. The mutate control starts to do weird things, and even in small doses, it can do serious damage to the vocal track. In conjunction with the mix control and all the others for that matter, small doses become more favorable for understandability purposes, and does some really cool things to both vocals and instruments, but if the desired factor is complete destruction, well this thing can handle that too. A very interesting plug-in that may on the surface seem to be a novelty, but can later on become an indispensable tool, especially for those into the whole Glitch scene.
Now that the "slump" is over, it is back to the good stuff. This is one of those plug-ins that can range from tame to wild in its effect. It opens up possibilities to change, from minor to major, the way one's voice sounds. For some people, their voice has a twinge of annoyance, and Throat can, even with the slightest of tweaks, make that annoyance go away. It operates on both the way the voice sounds coming from the throat and can even includes some nice presets that show off the plug-in. The coolest part is the creative ways that this can be used with the other effects in tweaking the vocal tracks. I solidly suggest that it be used in the vocal chain if not only for the practical uses, but especially for the creative ones. This one was a pleasant surprise all around.
Articulator: Vocal Formant and Amplitude Modeler Without Pro Tools, this is a turd. Oh well, looked like fun.
Warm: Tube Saturation Generator
Choir Vocal Multiplier
I don't know if this is a mere retread of the original, with a facelift, or not, but it sure is killer to use on, well, everything! Whether velvet or crunch, whether Omnitube is active or not, whether the drive is little or lots; it simply doesn't get better than WARM to add the right amount of heat to the tracks. Incredibly useful!
No, it isn't a chorus in disguise. Nor is it a harmonizer, but it can add interesting effects to even spoken words; especially when using the aforementioned, incredibly awesome Mutator. It does a convincing Choir on sung tracks, and the more harmonies that are added, the richer the choir becomes. It can sound fake if used too much, but for general purposes, it does a great job; especially when there are more manual harmony and
Duo: Vocal Modeling Auto-Doubler This is extremely useful. And it offers some nice features for a doubling effect without it ever becoming cumbersome. The range--like most in this toolkit-- is from subtle to extreme, but the expression allowed on the doubled vocal part is very, very nice. Features included for manipulation to the doubled part are: pitch, timing and vibrato depth, timbral variation, and panning options for stereo tracks. Personally, I have ceased to add manual double tracks, as well as: copy the duplicated track, pitch down and offset the time, and other tricks like that.. I have been more than pleased with the results from Duo, and it accomplishes the doubles better than either manually or by some other method simply by how natural it follows the original. It is a very, very useful plug-in.
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melody vocal tracks to work with. The more there are, the more natural the Choir effect sounds, and when this is the case, it does a great job. It was another pleasant surprise in the bunch that may be initially doubted, but when used right, or in some cases â€œwrongâ€?, the results are great.
Punch: Vocal Impact Enhancer
becomes. But “unnoticeable” is not what 80% of the people buying this thing will want it for. This is really good The fact is that the “Autotune for adding just as effect” is highly sought after, and the name implies, this stripped down version was that punch to vocal essentially created for this market tracks to get them to get that instant sound at a right up front in the fraction of the regular Autotune mix. Vocals can be price. If either straightforward blown out by over vocal correction, that certain using the Impact effect, or a little of both is what slider, and this can someone is after, this will be the be cool as an effect best $99 spent...easily. More to in its own right as well. One of the best uses I have the point though, is that when combined with AVOX 2, the personally found is using this on ad lib tracks (for those more creative out there can chart some new waters and rappers out there). It sure does come in handy for adding get beyond (if it wasn't already it will be soon) what has some life to the backing tracks, too. Again, it is also one of been done to death already with this thing. Does it deliver, those that may find its way into more creative uses when though, like its big brother? You bet! Get it, and you will combined with other plug-ins in this toolkit. be happy, but not without getting AVOX 2 to go along with it. Sybil: Variable Frequency De-Esser
At the end of the day...
Incredibly useful, especially for rap vocals. It works real well, and actually cleans up vocal tracks quite a bit. Unfortunately, it isn't very exciting otherwise, but it is very high quality and does its job fine.
Though half of AVOX 2 is “practical”, it is still very useful, and the practical plug-ins in the bunch do what they do as good or better than the competition. Since that is the case, and they are included in a reasonably priced bundle, they are worth adding to your arsenal. All of the plug-ins in this toolkit are high quality, and the more familiar you become with each of the practical ones, the more often they'll show up in processing chains, and the better your vocal tracks will sound than they used to sound. Though, the standouts like Mutator, Throat, Warm, Harmony Engine, and even Duo (though Duo more in the practical side of things) make the whole investment worth the price alone, and coupled with the Autotune efx, there are endless possibilities with either great sounding vocal tracks, odd sounding vocal tracks, creative sounding vocal tracks, or just good old mutilated vocal tracks. Really, one can't go wrong with this package, and the price for all of it is more than fair.
Autotune efx So what of it? Everyone knows the two things that it does, and it does them both well. For pitch correction, it really is still on top; even in this stripped down version which does much, much better than something like the Roland V-Vocal that comes included in Sonar for instance; plus, it has the benefit of being less cumbersome to use. The less hard it works, the more effective and unnoticeable it
Finally, the key to these Antares plug-ins is to find that right effect to put a new innovation out there to replace the old one. We'll be listening. www.WusikSoundMagazine.com
Retrology: Retro Film-Tone and Retro Music-Tone Emulations by Trusty
Wow, these just sound fantastic! Many plug-ins attempt to emulate the original hardware, and the success rate comes in varying degrees ranging from “spot on” to “not even close” to “what the hell...”, but Nomad Factory gets a “spot on”, and we will all say “right on” for making these plug-ins. True, they look like simple equalizer plug-ins, and are based upon the design of the originals, but they also pack in extra goodness "under the hood".
slopes are dependent on the amount of increase or decrease in the decibels for each frequency setting. Minor boosts or cuts have a more wide Q and major boosts or cuts have a more narrow one. The key is that the curves are so delicate in their sweeps either way that they need not be adjusted manually. This is because the original models just have a sound that is so good, that messing with it will just cost you some of the charm that is built in to these equalizers. Plug-ins like these tend to demonstrate how cheaper solutions with more features are just bloat in some cases at the expense of quality. Nomad Factory put quality in these, in a massive dose.
These emulations have at their center, a recreated vintage “sound” that you get from Motown and those old movie soundtracks. There is more warmth in these EQ's than most of the vintage tube compressors and channel strips currently on the market. If you do What is so great about these nothing other than insert an equalizers is that the sound is not instance of one of these plug-ins on only very warm and the results a track or bus, you immediately will musically pleasing, but that when hear heat and clarity without even applied to either tracks or buses, dialing in a preset or changing any the sound is transformed into settings, and without the usual something very satisfying; the increase in the actual volume of the quality so familiar and right, that no track. matter the instrumentation in the song, it just sounds like you would The second thing to note is the lack want it to sound; whereas it didn't of Q bandwidth control on the GUI. before you added an instance of the Well, the originals didn't have that plug-in. Manipulation from either either. Rather, the curves and scratch or the presets--of which
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there are more than enough to qualify as great starting points, as you would expect-is quite easy as there are very limited controls. Again however, this is not a limitation in quality, but rather, it won't take long for the ears to adjust to the curves and responses of the equalizers because of the aforementioned "familiarity" to the sonic characteristics inherent to the plug-ins.
It isn't a requirement that one be familiar with all the old Motown engineers' techniques from that bygone era of music out of Philadelphia, but rather that these legendary equalizers helped to set a standard, that is nonetheless a part of what begets why most of that music transcends people's personal genre preferences, and no one has any serious dislike for any records of that era. It is not just in the composition of the music itself, The plug-ins are set to respond to different it is in that warmth; that added a vice to frequency ranges. This allows one, the the performed material that also lent itself to that great familiarity in sonic quality other, or both to be used separately or together depending on the needs of the and those pleasing attributes of the user. Using them everywhere or in engineering of those records. This is why combination (everywhere if one wishes) is Nomad Factory adds in the marketing that not taxing thanks to the low cpu overhead these were designed to add warmth to (which in itself is an achievement--usually digital recordings. It is because they do in a very special, pleasing and familiar way. such richness in sound quality from a plug-in has the trade off in being CPU These are not to be overlooked. intensive or even draining in the cases of some plug-ins).
String Essential 2nd Edition by A. Arsov Inferno Can you imagine the situation? I'm laying naked in a bed, all in chains and wearing only leather drawers. My hands are tethered to an edge of the bed with handcuffs, my wife is standing over me with a riding whip in her hand: “Tell me! Why have you ordered Peter Siedlaczek's String Essential sample library from Best Service?” Spank, spank, .... “Talk!!” Spank, spank, .... ”I've ordered it because it sounds good and realistic.” My answer was obviously not detailed enough. Spank, spank, .... “That cannot be the reason! I know of at least a few more libraries that sound good and realistic, not all of them, but a few most definitely. I want the truth!” Spank, spank, .... “Oh, you can beat me, but you can't beat my love. OK, OK --- I admit, there is one more reason. This library occupies less space than other similar libraries. Good libraries are disk killers, while this one isn't. I can't buy a new disk with every new library.” The whip became silent. OK. My bed life is pretty much more normal than this one described above. Tired father of two juvenile sons, you know…. 48
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Nevertheless, two things remain as they are described. My wife knows everything, and Peter Siedlaczek's String Essential library is the only library among the high-quality, realistic ones, that does not use an enormous amount of disk space.
In the Red Box Three DVD's containing 17 gigabytes of string samples, along with Kontakt Player 2. It was not easy for me to find such a good-sounding library with such a relatively small content, but the good side was that later I wouldn't need three sandwiches along with a big bottle of Coca Cola for surviving the long-lasting installation time. Just fifteen minutes after starting installation, I was enjoying the beauties of a string orchestra. 14 violins, 10 violas, 8 cellos, and 6 double basses were all mine. Just mine, not yours. You need to pay 349 Euros first to share the joy with me. All material is placed in three or four dynamic layers, so you can either go gently with your string section or “Spank, spank!” if you prefer. There is a stand-alone version for all individuals as well as a VST for all those master-slave lovers. The whole library is extra light on CPU, but ruthless when the ram is of questionable size; you
can easily run out of resources when you try to load some strings in an extra-busy arrangement. Thankfully there is a light version of the included instruments in all three shades: ambient, normal or dry. There is a micro-tuning option for composing in exotic scales, or just for catching the mad notes of a bad vocalist. “Honey, of course you sang it right. Listen, even the strings are following you.” The only funny moment was during key switching. It is a nice addition that you can easily browse between the various string modes using just one finger. Pressing the C0 gets you long portamento preset, F#0 for pizzicato and so on --- up and down through the first octave. And where is the funny part? So, do you have a seven octave keyboard? I know this library is aimed mainly at professionals, most of whom have a seven-octave keyboard. Being a semi-pro, I have only a five-octave keyboard, so I have to “spank” the octave button twice every time to reach the lowest octave for switching the playing mode. Thankfully, later I discovered a button at the top of the Kontakt player for activating the virtual keyboard on the bottom of the player's window. Now I can change between the modes by clicking on a mouse. Blind me, as I needed two weeks for discovering this.
Crescendo Everything else is just perfect. Many essential parameters are reachable through the MIDI continuous controllers, while some other more common ones are redirected to the mod wheel or pitch bend controller for easier usage. There is also a browser on the left side of the window with plenty of patches ranging from single instruments to multi "let's play all together now" ensembles. After choosing the right one, you'll find a small window with a few knobs for
fine tuning the few most essential controllers, like expression, attack, release, or some other controller, depending on the preset. There is also a small drop menu for switching between controller and micro-tuning windows. That's all what you'll need. The rest is the sound.
Finale Peter Siedlaczek is not a newcomer. I remember his libraries from the golden era of hardware samplers, and I'm glad that he is still hanging around. There are plenty of orchestral libraries out there, but just a few of them sound highly realistic. Peter Siedlaczek's String Essential 2nd Edition is definitely one of them. Light versions are eating less than half of the ram, yet still sound good enough to serve their purposes, especially if you want just to fulfil your arrangement. Nevertheless, if you are good at MIDI programming, then you can easily fool your classically trained neighbours into thinking that you host a real orchestra in your bedroom.
Exceptionally, this time I will not amuse you with my stories about troubles with “real” players, suggesting instead that you try it for yourself. I'm sure that after that nice and memorable moment from recording the live string player (I'm not out of rhythm.- Yes you are.- No I'm not.-Yes you are.- No I'm not, you can't tell me that coz I'm trained player; I finished an established conservatory.- OK. When was the last time you played along with drums or any sort of rhythm section?- Err... Never, but we have percussionist in the orchestra.- You mean kettledrum, right?- Err... yes, why?) you will find some spare time for trying one of those string libraries. As I told you, this time I really don't want to talk about my musical experiences with live musicians, and my honest intention is just to present you a library that I pick out from the bunch. The main reason for choosing this one is the high realism of the represented material along with the fact that the library is not so disk consuming. Of course as being a sort of traditionalist, I trust in Peter Siedlaczek, whose libraries have always been the synonym for high quality.” So, for a reasonable price you'll get high quality library on a tight space.
Peter Siedlaczek's String Essential 2nd Edition library sounds almost better than real strings, and it hurts less. Spank-Spank Arsov at your service. In cooperation with Best Service. For Mac or Windows, available for 349 Euros or in a combination SuperBundle: String Essentials 2nd Edition & Complete Classical Orchester 2nd Edition for 499 Euros. https://www.bestservice1.de/detail.as p/en/instrument_classic_strings/string _essentials_2nd_edition_peter_siedlac zek/11715a80p229p174p178
by David Keenum
Patches This library is deep, with a wide variety of phrases. So I thought it best to describe the library by describing the patches. Tonehammer has done a great job grouping the phrases and syllables, so we will follow their patch organization. I have included Tonehammer's descriptions in quote marks and added my comments afterward.
Good vocalists are hard to find. Who is Francesca? If you, like me, are not in an To get a better idea of how this library urban area, then it can be even sounds, let’s get to know Francesca. harder. I can find country and Francesca Genco is a singer and CHANTING_MW_TS_1.NKI rock demo singers, but that’s sound healer, as well as many other and about it. So when I’ve got a cue things! A resident of Berkeley, CHANTING_MW_TS_2.NKI that calls for an “exotic” vocalist, I California, she is involved in a wide start scrambling! I have a couple variety of spontaneous chanting, "This patch contains a variety of of vocal sample CD's, but I’ve singing, and playing in the context of singular note phrases with a rarely found a use for them. Well, meditation and healing by vibration Gregorian quality to them. The after I played with Tonehammer’s and sound. Tonehammer has phrases contain no variation in furnished an interesting interview: Francesca library, I changed my tone/pitch, but do contain a variation http://www.tonehammer.com/demos/ in dynamics, so they are ideal for slow mind. I may have found a tonehammer_francesca_interview.mp type of scoring. Please note that the solution for my next “exotic” or 3. mod-wheel controls sample off-set dramatic cue that calls for a and the pitch-bender controls timevocalist. I say “may” because we It will tell you more about Francesca. stretching, allowing for total phrase are dealing with phrases, for the You can also check her website: control." The first patch contains over most part. So you may need to http://www.songofthebody.com/. three octaves of phrases. The second do some adapting. But patch contains 4 full octaves of Tonehammer helps with that as material. All the phrases are similar well. in style, but each is different.
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with a tad of darkness and sadness to them. Please note that the mod-wheel "Flute Singing is a specific way of "The lonely lullaby patch is in the gray controls sample off-set and the pitchwhistling and singing at the same time. area between beauty and ‘disturbia.’ bender controls time-stretching, The voice becomes somewhere Imagine a mother who has lost her allowing for total phrase control." between a flute and a human vocal child: gently sitting, rocking back and These phrases are a little shorter, and with a very airy quality to it. It is pure forth, softly singing for a plastic doll in I would describe them as light‘otherworld’ and somewhere between her hands. The patch has multiple hearted. The first patch contains 49 extremely pleasing and having an applications, but there is a sense of phrases. The second patch contains underlying tone of haunting dark beauty to it." There are 50 56 phrases. memories." There are 56 phrases in this patch. performances spread across the PLAYFUL_CHANTING_SLOWER_MW_T keyboard. The performances are PLAYFUL_CHANTING_MW_TS_1.NKI S_3.NKI closely matched to a note on the and keyboard, but the overall range is PLAYFUL_CHANTING_MW_TS_2.NKI "This patch contains a variety of slower fairly narrow. phrases with a somewhat lively, "This patch contains a variety of playful quality to them. They are not FRANCESCA_ALL.NKM phrases with a lively, playful quality to as light as the other Playful_Chanting them. They are not necessarily happy, patches, but still retain some light and "This multi-patch contains all the but have enough tonal variation to hope." The patch contains 57 phrases. phrase banks in the Francesca Core project some optimism, but always Library." FX_AND_ATONAL_MW_TS.NKI "This patch contains a variety of vocal warm-up sounds (predominantly: Brrrrrr) and a set of haunting, atonal drony type of looped vocals. The atonal sets were made by singing softly while changing pitch slightly to get an ‘off-note’ and generate a haunting, 2001-ish, eerie mini-choir feel." FX and Atonal says it all. This patch contains 54 phrases. www.WusikSoundMagazine.com
POWERFUL_1_MW_TS.NKI and POWERFUL_2_MW_TS.NKI "These two patches contain the most powerful (forte) vocals in the library. Francesca is literally singing at her maximum volume. The sounds have a highly ethnic, atonal, crying, burning nature and are great for â€œbreak-throughâ€? type of scoring - marking a significant event." Powerful 1 contains 58 phrases, and Powerful 2 contains 52 phrases.
SLOW_DARK_EVOCATIVE_MW_TS_1. NKI and
modwheel and pitch-bender properly." There are 85 whispered single syllables with a good bit of variety.
FRANCESCA_FLUTE_SPINS.NKM and TONEHAMMER_SPIRIT_VOICES_BY_TA V.NKM
SINGING_BEATS_MW_TS.NKI "Francesca has an extremely good sense for rhythm, so we added a specific patch with singing beats. These are mainly non-tune based whispering beats which can provide awesome rhythmic background material with other vocals on top." This patch contains 35 rhythmic phrases and sounds.
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"This patch contains some of the darkest samples in the library. All the "This (Kontakt 3 only) multi-patch phrases are slow and tend to be minor contains a variety of vocal ambiences based. There is a variety of quarter created by masterful ambient music and half note bends, which gives a designer, Steven Tavaglione. All the sad, dark, yet emotional and powerful ambiences were made from a variety texture." Both patches contain 73 of Francesca samples. Note: You phrases. need Kontakt 3 to use these patches. Solo/mute function is activated for WHISPERS_MW_TS.NKI this patch. So you can stay on MIDI channel 1 and mute/unmute the "This patch contains a variety of nonpatches you like." For some of you, tune based vocal whispers. The lower this may be the best part of Francesca. keys contain longer whispers and the Steven used a variety of synthesis upper keys contain shorter whispers. and sound-editing techniques to It is possible to create vocal beats out create these atmospheres, and the of the whispers by using the result is very interesting. Since the atmospheres are based on the human voice, they have an organic, not so perfect quality. Most of the demos utilize the ambiences, so you can hear how they sound.
Forgotten Voices:“Francesca” Creator and Distributor: Tonehammer
Impressions Francesca sounds like no other library, at least as far as I know. The closest comparison would be Sony Creative Software’s ILONA! Universal Female Vocal Toolkit, but even that isn’t very close in my opinion. Francesca has an abundance of useable phrases in a variety of styles. Granted, the library has a sound. It’s the sound of Francesca Genco, and it embodies the quality of who she is. It is unusual, exotic, and somewhat “ethnic,” but it is also useable. If you have used phrases in your compositions before, you will understand that it may not be as easy as simply triggering a phrase, using the pitch wheel to adjust the speed, and sitting back to admire. Especially if you have a rhythmic cue, you may need to start with the phrase and build your cue around it, or you may need to do some timestretching or editing. I am in no way disparaging the library. I just want to make sure you understand that
using a vocal phrase in a musical composition is not always easy. All that said, Tonehammer does everything possible to help you, including providing you with some excellent demos that demonstrate how easy it can be. Notice how they constructed the demos. The demos are an education in themselves. In addition, Tonehammer provides you with the .WAV files, so you can cut and paste, or edit the phrases to fit your music. This is a great addition for me, because it gives me options. I can work quickly in Kontakt, or I can sculpt the phrases to fit my desires. So if any of this interests you, check out the product page: http://www.tonehammer.com/?p=15 10. Listen to the demos, and read the information about Francesca and the library. You can also download the “Owner’s Manual” and the interview with Francesca, all from the product page.
Web-Site: http://www.tonehammer.com/ Price: $99.00 Details: 17 instrument patches, 825 samples, 840 MB installed, 531 MB .rar download Sample Resolution: 44.1Khz/16-Bit stereo WAV format Formats: Native Instruments Kontakt 2.2.4 / 3 (the full retail version of Kontakt is required) The ambiences require Kontakt 3. Test Computer: AMD Athlon 64 3200+ 2.0GHz, 4GB RAM, Windows XP Pro SP 3, Echo MiaMIDI Audio Card
Whaledrum by David Keenum
Like having your own box of Instant Ethnic
In modern music for hire, the composer is constantly looking for unique and distinctive instruments and sounds. Of course, world music instruments, especially percussion, can provide that unique color and, at the same time, provide the composer with emotion and drama. But how many tracks of Taiko drums have you heard? How about ethnic xylophones or whatever instrument you hear a lot. Remember the word “unique”? That is where Tonehammer seems to be positioning themselves, and that is where Tonehammer’s Whaledrum fits nicely. The Tonehammer Whaledrum is a sampled 8-key tongue drum made of vermilion wood. Tongue drums (also known a slit drums, log drums, xylodrums, or harmonic drums) are generally classified as struck idiophones. In a struck idiophone the sound is created by being struck and then amplified by the body of the instrument. Struck idiophones are considered by some to be the oldest of all instruments. There are Tongue
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drums all over the world, and they have a wide variety of timbres. I found a short, interesting History of the Tongue Drum article here: http://www.tonguedrum.com/history. html. Some Tongue drums are simply percussion instruments, while others produce a range of different pitches. The Whaledrum that Tonehammer sampled has a pitch, but it is not diatonic. Incidentally, I have access to a Suzuki Slit Log Drum that looks and sounds very similar to the Whaledrum Tonehammer sampled. I find it a fascinating instrument but limited in its use. The tongues are not tuned to any scale, so if you use it with other tonal instruments, you will have to be careful what tongues you hit, and even then you have to tune your performance. But I can say that it is a fun instrument to “jam” on. So I was especially interested in trying out Tonehammer’s Whaledrum, and it didn’t disappoint. Whaledrum is a 145 MB download and 646 MB when it is uncompressed. It
has between 8 and 10 velocities per note and has 10x round-robin. The 10x round-robin means that if you play a note repeatedly, Kontakt will cycle through 10 alternating notes. This gives a more natural sound to repeated notes. Whaledrum comes with 4 patches: 1.
Whaledrum – This is the instrument with its original intonation. The notes are mapped to white notes with left-handed strokes mapped to the adjacent black key. The sound is rich and detailed, but, like the original instrument, I find it a little problematic in use.
Whaledrum_spread – This patch is spread semichromatically across the keyboard. The samples are tuned to more closely match standard pitch (A=440). I find this preset much more useful.
Whaledrum Creator and Distributor: Tonehammer 3.
Whaledrum_modwheel_roomcontrol – This patch is the same as Whaledrum_spread, but you can control the amount of reverb by using the modwheel. This was my favorite preset. The ability to control the amount of reverb really helps with the versatility of the instrument. Whaledrum_sticks – This is my “second favorite” patch. It uses the wooden end of the mallet and has a sharp percussive sound. The preset contains both tuned and untuned percussion.
I would describe the sound as something like a large, muted, resonate marimba. There is a lot of character in the samples. It’s a little like having a “box of Instant Ethnic,” but I expect it would fit into just about any style of music. For me, the instrument lends itself to background ostinato figures. The samples contain
a good bit of reverb recorded with the sample which may be the reason I think the instrument would fit best in the background. Fortunately, the whaledrum_modwheel_room-control patch solves this problem and makes the instrument also useful as a foreground instrument. If you are interested, check out the demos on Tonehammer’s product page: http://www.tonehammer.com/?p=2 50 Then you can decide if you want your own “box of Instant Ethnic”!
Web-Site: http://www.tonehammer.com/ Price: $29.00 Details: 4 instrument patches, 1330 samples, 646 MB installed, 145 MB .rar download (8 - 10 velocities / 10x round-robin) Sample Resolution: 44.1Khz/16-Bit 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
UVI SoundSource Soundcards Retro Organs and Mayhem Of Loops by Arsov
I noticed the UVI SoundSource company a few months ago through their Free UVI Workstation rompler. There are plenty of free romplers around, but this one sounds pretty solid, containing a nice number of quality presets. I decided to explore a bit more about the company and found that they are not newbies on the musical market. They developed the â€œUVI engineâ€? which is implemented in a wide range of instruments, including some of those in the Stylus series as well as many of the MOTU and Plugsound products. After years of developing things for other companies, they've decided lately to also present their own products.
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technical support --- all my problems were fixed in a day or two. If you know the company, then you have It was “Love at first sight.” The UVI Workstation proved to be a simple but probably noticed that they constantly very powerful instrument, easy to use, upgrade their workstation, so there is one thing that is certain: They will not with all the essential parameters at the reach of the hand. I have to admit let you down by just leaving you stranded with problems you run into that I ran into some issues with Uvi while working with their products. and Cubase at first, so I wrote to
The impression of the end user
channel contains all the essential information about the loaded preset or loop.
The lower third of the window is the afore-mentioned main editor window, with four sub-menus: Info, Edit, FX, and Loops. It sounds complicated, but if you look at the picture, you will easily get the point. Info is, as the name suggests, all about the size, Details source, and name of the loaded preset. The Edit window is an entire small All UVI libraries are highly integrated synth with all the commands you need with the Workstation, so one cannot to go crazy with your sound: LFO, describe them without describing the amp, filter, drive, pitch, modulation, host engine first. transpose and such things, with all the included details. Next is the FX section UVI Workstation's main interface with an internal arsenal of all the contains three big buttons on the classic and essential effects you'll ever upper-left side of the window named “Browser,” “Main,” and “Expert.” Press need. Don't make me name them all: Reverb, delay, compressor and so on. Browser once and you'll get a nice You can load as many as your browser at the lower part of the processor will allow you. The Loops instrument window. There you can section has a WAV preview window, easily go through all included presets and loops, the same as you can do for along with all the controllers needed your own imported loops and samples. for a happy tweaking: key, tempo, latch, speed control with double, half Yes, this freeware engine allows you and even more controls --- and what I to load WAV, AIFF, and Rex files as thought was the best, a small window well as Apple Loops. The latter two are automatically synced with the host for drag-and-drop of the processed loops. True love at first sight. tempo, while the former two are mapped across the keyboard. Pressing As the UVI Workstation is freeware the Browser button again will open (they charge only for additional highthe sample/loop editor. The whole thing is so simple to use that even my quality libraries), I highly recommend that you try it for yourself. You can parents could do it (and you should know that they are natural computer- have up to 64 MIDI channels, a small virtual keyboard on the bottom, haters – “Analog or die!” is their plenty of useful effects, and all the motto). other controllers for fixing details or The Main button will bring you back to just spoiling the party. We all know that the UVI fellows made this small the starting window, and the Expert rompler with one intention in mind, button will show you more options in specifically to make a host for their an eight-channel window which is lying under those three buttons. Every sample libraries. They are not the first
either, but the latest one using this marketing trick --- however, I'm not so sure that any other company offers third-party samples and loop imports on their free rompler. If you find another one, please let me know.
UVI libraries There are plenty of sound libraries on the UVI site, but I found it to be a bit confusing because they divided all the libraries into three groups with rather abstract names. “UVI Soundcards” contains bigger and more expensive libraries, each one covering mainly a wide spectrum of instruments, all the instruments having at least one component in common. The libraries here include drum loops which cover all genres, a toy instruments collection, and similar such offerings. “UVI Soundpacks” is the next category, covering smaller and somewhat specialised libraries of individual instruments. The last one is the “UVI Soundscan” category where small and even more specialised libraries have found a home. Thankfully all libraries in all categories have enough audio demo clips so that you'll know exactly what you'll get for your money.
Retro Organs Along with guitars, organs have been one of the most commonly used instruments in pop productions of the past; but it is really hard to find a decent working model or even a good emulation from those days. B4 from Native instruments is a bit out of date, while most of the others don't come as close to the originals as is desired.
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split into a five categories: “Wheel to Rotor Speed,” “Classic Retro Organ,” “Drawbars,” “Bonus Retro Organ,” and “FX and Textures.” Every category is divided in many subcategories. Presets are excellently programmed, and every time you turn the vibrato wheel you get an authentic organ vibrato. Everything else also sounds as it should. I did find that some of the presets sounded too static for my ear when they are used as a standalone instrument, but by adding just a touch of random pan from the internal edit section I could easily obtain those authentic “falling I was pretty impressed when I heard apart” sounds of those old boxes the Retro Organs demo tracks on the UVI site --- pretty authentic emulation where the sound is sprinkled uncontrollably around the box. With along with a large quantity of models this organ library I can finally go that take me back to my old days. I totally retro. Late 60's till mid 70's, can still hear the sound of the originals in my mind, from the cheesy here I come with my old bass guitar, electric guitar, Rayzoon Jamstix (I Farfisa to the fat Hammonds, so it was not easy to satisfy my spoiled ear. also have a real drum kit, but my neighbours are not amused about it), I never owned any Moogs or Arps in and now with this UVI library. For all the past, so you can easily sell me of you who are swearing only to some analog emulations. But I grew hardware: the UVI Retro Organs up with all these retro organs that most of the musician I know from that library is not software only because you'll need a piece of hardware for time had. Hearing the demo track, I using it --- an iLok USB key. So, that's immediately knew that I had found progress! Now you can put your the right thing. “That's it!” The only thing that I missed was the context --- hardware in your pocket. I still remember how one of my friends the weed, boobs, background noise, from long ago was forced to exchange and youth --- eh, memories, his old Hammond for some smaller memories. digital synth only because roadies were revolted by its heavy weight. So, for $99 USD you get 3 GB of the “Pure Past” in the best hi-fi manner. It is time to sell your digital synth and From Heaven to Hell, everything is get your retro organ back, my dear there --- fat organs, cheesy organs, friend. And now it is small enough to clean and gritty ones, with or without tonewheels, recorded through regular carry it in your pocket along with your laptop. amps or through guitar amps. All in all, 500 presets from 12.500 samples,
Mayhem Of Loops After finding my dream organs I glanced through the other libraries from UVI, and as I'm in constant hunger for good drum loops, I put my hands on this library. For another $99 USD there are more than 5000 drum and percussion loops along with some instruments and loops. The entire library is integrated with the UVI Workstation engine, and all loops are synced with host tempo, so browsing and finding the right one is dead easy. The loops are arranged in a variety of genre-defined subgroups, from creative dub to disco, R'nB to Trip hop, and all other sorts of more exotic genres and sub-genres. Some of these I haven't even heard before. I glanced through a few essential genres and found that the loops are nicely defined, quality recordings with decent and strong bottom end. All in all, the loops inside a particular genre or sub-genre are well-chosen regarding the quality --- the same regarding quantity. All loops fit perfectly in the every genre without sounding too common. You will not find many exotic, crazy loops there, but if you want to make a song in some specific genre, it would be a matter of a minute or so to find a useful, not-to-frayed loop which will sound unique but will also still be deeply inside the specific genre. I worked on one d'nb cover at the time when I was testing the library and
found a dozen inspired loops pretty soon. The same thing happened two weeks later when I worked in another genre. The library is filled with an impressive number of different loops, with only a few variations of the same loop. As the library is the part of UVI engine, all the loops can be manipulated in many ways with all the implemented tools, and finally they can be exported directly to a sequencer as an audio clip, or even better as a Recycle-like MIDI clip. With all these abilities it is not difficult to make rhythmical variations on your own. Also, as I mentioned before, it is not hard to double or divide tempo, to change starting point of the loop, or simply to pitch it up or down.
There are plenty of specialised loop libraries around, and most of them are really good, but this one is a rare multi-genre workhorse which sounds more than solid. I'm used to seeing and Tested on an old dual-core PC with an iLok USB key. hearing plenty of You'll need the latter for most of their libraries. You weeds inside those can steal their love but you can't steal their libraries. And that's the way it should be.
“something for everyone” libraries, so I was pleasantly surprised with this one. It is “the right thing” for all producers who need recognizable and in-the-genre, but still fresh, noncliché sounding loops for a wide spectrum of genres. That is the libraries' strongest point, along with the ability to export a loop as a sliced MIDI. I presume that this library could be a winner for all ad composers or producers who make music for third-party custumers. If someone orders from you a creative dub song, you can make one covering all his or her expectations regarding the desired genre without falling into an obvious cliché. All you need is Mayhem Of Loops and an iLok USB key. (Yes, they did it again.) Despite all of the discussion around, loops libraries are usually divided in two general groups: useful ones and useless ones. This is, thankfully, a useful one. You'll know that as soon as you hear it. Enough. Please meet the UVI by going to their site: http://www.uvisoundsource.com/ Download the UVI Workstation, and listen to the demo tracks of their libraries. That is your part of the deal --- mine was to write an article about it, and I did that. Now I'm going to make another song with those loops and organs, but before that I will go to make myself a sandwich. You can't enjoy music on an empty stomach. Bon appetite and goodbye!
Didgeridoo by David Keenum Digeridoo
I have always been fascinated by the sound of the didgeridoo (also known as a didjeridu or the didge). It has a mysterious aspect to it. The Aboriginal people of northern Australia don’t even call it a didgeridoo. Each local tribe has its own name for it. And then there is its age. It is dated by cave drawings to be at least 1500 years old. It is most certainly homemade, at least if you have a Eucalyptus log and some termites! But I’ve also known people who built their own didgeridoo out of PVC pipe. It requires some unique skills to play it correctly. Have you ever tried circular breathing? Have you even heard of circular breathing? But the most mysterious part for me is its sound. It is haunting and even a little disturbing, and, of course, mysterious. Musicologists classify it as an aerophone, meaning it makes its sound with vibrating air. You play it by buzzing your lips, a lot like you would play a tuba. But the buzzing is its only resemblance to a tuba or any other western instrument. A skilled player uses his cheeks, throat, tongue, and hands to create a wide variety of sounds from what is essentially a one-note instrument. I guess it could go without saying that this is the most problematic aspect of becoming a didgeridoo “expert” with that piece of PVC pipe. A skilled player can produce a lot of different sounds! I have used didgeridoo loops and patches in romplers, but I can’t recall a complete library devoted to only the didgeridoo… until now. The library contains 11 instrument patches based on 429 samples. It comes as a 266 MB .rar download, and is 483 MB when it is uncompressed and installed. Tonehammer has, in my opinion, managed to cover a lot of sonic territory with their library. There are well-played sustained and percussive
Creator and Distributor: Tonehammer Web-Site: http://www.tonehammer.com/ Price: $49.00 Details: 11 instrument patches, 429 samples, 483 MB installed, 266 MB .rar download Sample Resolution: 44.1Khz/16-Bit 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
patches for two instruments, a traditional Eucalyptus didgeridoo and a didgeridoo made from PVC pipe. My compliments go to the performer. The library and its patches make it easy to incorporate the didgeridoo’s drones and rhythms into your music. Most of the presets use the mod wheel for variations of tone, sample start and stop, or time-stretch. The website: http://www.tonehammer.com/?p=951 provides you with a complete list of presets and access to the user manual. There are also two audio demos. They will give you a good idea of how the library sounds. So if you are looking to add an “ethnic” drone to a track, or if you are looking for an instrument with a mysterious sound, Tonehammer’s Didgeridoo is worth a look.
The Wonders of
Rob Papen's Instruments of genre spanning composers, as well as the multi-genre bending composers. It is simply a â€œcan't do withoutâ€? instrument. Not that it is just an instrument mind you, it is also a very capable effects unit in and of itself.
Syllogism Predator, which has been reviewed by Wusik Sound Magazine already, must get a revisit here, or any time a Rob Papen instrument gets mentioned. To offer my reasoning: it is because Predator is just too versatile to limit to a single review. Since I first got my hands on this synth, despite my growing collection of fantastic software, Predator still finds itself in track after track after track. To be nearly exact, I have made no less that 40 tracks in which it makes an appearance. To list the high quality gear that gets neglected because of Predator would be a disservice to Predator, and not to the other high quality gear. I say this because musically useful will trump technically amazing every time for prolific composers. More to the point, the functions of the synth also lend itself to the very versatility I mentioned above; without 62
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The problem with words of praise about an instrument is that readers think in such subjective terms nowadays, that my platitudes about Predator may be chalked up to a purely personal opinion. To escape this potential personal bias dilemma, I will offer a deductive proof on behalf of Predator; in which if the premises are by Trusty true, and more plausible than the negation of the premises, then the the feature set getting too conflated conclusion that follows is logical, as to stifle programming of the inescapable, and must be accepted. instrument itself in getting exactly the sounds desired in the most efficient Premise (1) Whatever VA synthesizer manner as possible. Moreover, the on the market that is elegant in sheer amount of incredible presets by design for tweaking or programming Rob Papen, and by many talented from scratch; has a sound better than designers not named Rob Papen, or comparable to other similar makes this synth the swiss-army knife instruments on the market, and is
also immediately usable in the absence of programming from scratch; is worth owning in one's arsenal. Premise (2) Predator is such a VA synthesizer. Conclusion (3) Therefore, Predator is worth owning in one's arsenal. Now, as stated above, in order to defeat this argument, the negation of the premises must be more plausible than the premise itself. So, to not acquire Predator and maintain rationality, one must demonstrate that Predator is not elegant in design; sounds worse than comparable instruments; is not immediately usable; is not easily programmable; and is not feature rich without the burden of being cumbersome in
we think intuitively as a species--at least to the western readers of this magazine. Consider your state as you read this article. Your eyes follow from left to right, and are reading from top to bottom. What we find in Predator is that from the top of the GUI you find a fixed screen that follows logically from left to right and that begins with the usage; or find some other synthesizer core of the instrument's sound: the that is comparable to Predator in all oscillators. Moving along you find the these areas offered in the argument, filter section, envelopes, and so on. and actually sounds better than Now, it is true that the lower left half Predator. Indeed, it won't do to find of the instrument opens up many an equal in all areas, including equal screens, but is this necessarily sound, to defeat the argument, counter-intuitive? I would say not. In because I have offered in my fact, the ample screen space of the conclusion that Predator is worth GUI allows one to constantly monitor owning, not any arguable equal. the state of the oscillator's themselves; while adjusting the So, let's examine the first premise. Is â€œextrasâ€? in ample space dedicated to Predator elegant in design? The ergonomic manipulation. Consider the answer is yes. Given the range of left to right, top down orientation of instruments on the market, it won't do the modulation matrix, and conversely, to say something with simply less when the arpeggiator is activated, widgets is more elegant, nor to say there is a clear and concise manner in that more widgets equates to more which to edit and fine tune personal elegant. It is tempting to say the settings to your taste. Adjusting these matter of elegance is subjective, but parameters is dead easy to do. When this is not so. I argue that Predator is moving to the right a bit, the effects elegant because it is, in operation, section--of which there are three slotsdesigned perfectly in the way to how -one finds that the controls on the GUI www.WusikSoundMagazine.com
are adjusted in this area to only those as related to the particular effect desired; thus making the manipulation of these effects to personal taste much easier manage; without sacrificing one's ability to continue to adjust other parameters already established before effects processing began. And finally, the bottom right contains the global controls, morphing of sounds, and preset selection is a very easy menu operation to navigate, this also carries over in the instruments FX usage.
About the third contention in the first premise of the argument, dealing with instant usability, is this in fact the case? The answer is yes. In fact, Rob and his fellow patch programmers have delivered an outstanding collection, categorized by genre no less, that screams: “Play Me!” As easy as it is to program, I find myself not needing to all that much. The programmers have delivered the sounds most often begged for, and also have taken the variations on those popular themes and given the user extra sugar to add to the recipe The second contention in the first to keep those sounds fresh. In premise, better or comparable sound addition to this, the amount of to other similar instruments on the originality in the presets clearly market. The answer is a resounding indicate just how powerful and diverse YES. Now again, it is tempting to this seemingly straight-forward suggest that pleasing sound is a instrument can be. Furthermore, the subjective thing. But, I make no mere sheer amount of presets shipped in assertion here, Predator does indeed the latest update stacks the odds in sound better or at the very least the probabilistic favor of the comparable to other, similar virtual instrument's immediate usability; thus analog synthesizers on the market. leaving only the worst of critics--who Not that Predator is “just” a virtual are probably not even in the slightest analog synthesizer, as it does have FM inspired to write music anyway-capabilities for the three oscillators. wanting for a lone patch not available, Now, to say the raw oscillators and as is, to be used for composition. It is filters are “warm” is to evoke a cliché far more likely, given the talent and at this point, but when all 128 waves the amount of sounds out of the box, crackle and sizzle and the filter adds that there is not one person who could the icing, it can't be helped but to not find immediate usability in bypass the “warmth” designation and Predator. go straight to calling it "HOT". The ears perk up at all the raw character Since Predator (v1.5) is the and sonic firepower in the instrument I am defending, naturally, instrument's most simplistic state. it follows that it finds itself the second premise of my argument. And, of course, it follows from that, since it
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meets the criteria, that the conclusion must be accepted, or the denier of the conclusion is otherwise irrational. Get Predator, it is the only logical thing to do is you are an electronic musician.
Homily In our minds, we humans have a tendency to image things from our own perception of data: touch, taste, smell, hearing, and sight; in three basic tones which are warm tones, neutral tones, and cool tones. We do not however, have a preference about which tones we prefer over others. In fact, in the complicated network of biological gunk known as our brains, we really do tend to embrace all the tones in certain ways. Sometimes all at once, or sometimes, we are simply pleased by one or the others exclusively at any one time. This all has to do with mood of course, but sometimes it is easy to think that warmer tones are always the default preference. Also, due to lack of understanding, we tend to become trapped by the narrow parameters of our limited understanding of our language to think that warmer tones can't be soft, or that cooler tones can't contain heat, and that neutral tones are bland tones. Another misconception is that moods such as sadness or solemness always
Another aspect of the human condition is the varying moods of the day which dictate the moods of how one wishes to go about using an instrument. Once again, BLUE offers a mirror to the user's state of mind. In its design, the six operators at the top are in fixed positions, with enough embedded complexity delivered in a simple manner of operation within the GUI to satisfy your every want. Directly below are the filters, also fixed, and easy to operate. Once again, in the great tradition of designs in an RPCX instrument; the lower half relate to cooler tones; while happiness complicated human condition that opens up all the possibilities or the makes it arguably one of the best or anger always relate to warmer restraint one may want, or want to synthesizers ever created. It may not tones, and still that complacency or deal with at any time. Not to apathy always relate to neutral tones. have its name tossed about as often regurgitate the specs that you can If you think about it for even a second, as others, but those in the know, that find on the website, but one will find mention it, have grasped the you will find that what I am saying is that despite all the capabilities of the complexity of their own human spirit, true, at least in the one sense as it instrument, it never gets out of hand and find this deeper knowledge relates to how we imagine tones in no matter what mood the user is in at reflected in the coding that has our mind, and in another sense it is the time of using BLUE. It delivers. brought about this amazing true that our mood directly And again, in the area of presets, one instrument. Anyone that, even at the corresponds to which types of tones finds that the sheer amount of volume, prompting of reading this review, we prefer at any given moment, and classifications, diversity, usability, and introspects about themselves and those tones don't always follow the creativity show the promise of the will then proceeds to give BLUE a test assumptions mentioned, either. of the user's creativity, from simple to drive, will instantly find that it is a complex and everything in between; very human, very rich instrument that echoed within the sounds What does all this have to do with BLUE? Well, by know you should know. has captured all the intricacies of our preprogrammed. soaring heights and the deepest BLUE, the FM and way, way beyond depths of our very nature. synthesizer, embodies this www.WusikSoundMagazine.com
Amazingly enough, when one thinks of both fire and ice, BLUE is found in each of these opposites. BLUE could not be more aptly named, considering its coolness and hotness; blue being the color in which its light waves scatter far more widespread than all other colors (which is why the sky is blue from the sun hitting the atmosphere, and all the colors of the prism being scattered, blue scatters the most and is thus the most visible). BLUE embodies our cooler tendencies, while not forgetting that the center of fire that burns the hottest is also...yep. BLUE simply fulfills it all.
Prose Rob Papen's RG is genius: Pure Genius. First things first, I can not play guitar one single bit. Second things second, I grow very weary trying to arrange a session with a local yahoo that plays guitar to come in and do the relatively simple requests for guitar parts my music requires. Third things third, I also grow tired of sifting through and most times chopping up selections from guitar riff sample libraries to the point that it is a creative zone "killer" during the composition. Check this out from the website literature:
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Guitar types included are: - The classic Fender Stratocaster 速 electric guitar - A 8th note groove type Steel String acoustic guitar - A 16th note groove type Steel String acoustic guitar - A Power Chord groove type Distorted guitar Now, given the ample number of guitar amp and effect simulations out there on the market, how is it possible that non-guitars do not wish to partake in all the fun that is to be had with RG? I don't see how. I have not had this much fun twiddling an instrument in months and months. It is an entirely new type of thing for me. It sounds great, and it is easy to use. Now admittedly, before the recent update, I did use the amp simulations to get the distortion I wanted--that no
less made me not use the new power chord distortion sound that RG can now crank out own its own. But now I realize that I can finally have that simple but energetic crunch that I have always wanted pummeling through some of my music without relying on anything or anyone beyond myself. The clean sounds, and the provided preset patterns, tend to not be my fare, though I am sure many, many people will find use for them. Before the update, all I had was the clean sounds, but this was solved by the amp simulations. The new preset patterns for the distorted guitar sound is like my mind has been read, and if not completely, surely close enough for me to do the rest with ease. In fact, the grid, if you will, that is the pattern sequencer, is so well thought
Ask Doctor Jack
Ask Doctor Jack
out, and so easy to pick up on, that after an hour, you will realize that you never needed the manual--had you bothered to read it from start to finish. In fact, examining the preset patterns reveals everything one could need to know on how to get to making original riffs. More still, this is a one-page-only fare; so there is nothing to get lost in while manipulating the patterns and the sound of the guitar itself. And it wouldn't be a true Rob Papen instrument if it didn't pack in some features that allow the user to make this a full blown synthesizer in its own right; thus pulling it away form just the conventional guitar sounds that come included. A skip through the presets and patterns and the possibilities become obvious and exciting as well. Worth mentioning is that the amount of expression that can be input, just inside the sequencer is enough to knock your socks off! Truly a remarkable and ingenious idea implemented in a stellar fashion. A nice addition to Rob's arsenal of available "noisemakers" that each have the combination of musically useful as well as masterful sound. Get lost in the fun as I did, because you will be glad that you did. RG has it to offer, and allows itself to go way beyond the rhythm guitar model to open up new possibilities and potentialities with your music...whether you even care about guitars or not. If you want something original on deck, and a new and fun way to program music, RG delivers on these counts as well.
“I noticed that your latest sounds are in SFZ format. Why have you opted for this instead of the WusikSND format?”
help extensively when editing WusikSND files, but the SFZ format is still easier to handle. Not to mention that you can edit an SFZ file with any text-editor.
We decided to use this as it's easier to handle, easier to “Does the SFZ format edit and create sounds. Not support stereo samples?” to mention, let you use our new sounds with any other Yes, and not only that, but software that is compatible also 16/24/32 bits, and any with SFZ files. sample-rate you can imagine. The quality of the support is “Is the SFZ format superior dependant on the player, not to the WusikSND format?” the format, and Wusik Station V5 has very No, we have implemented extensive support in this practically everything that area. the SFZ format has into our new WusikSND format. But, “Does Wusik Station V5 not all converters support it, support OGG files as well so the SFZ format has the as WAV files?” advantage that almost every sample converter supports it, Not right now. and all the modern additions it carries. There's also one “Do large SFZ/WAV files SFZ feature that we love: stream from disk?” with the SFZ format, you can have a bunch of samples, Yes, Wusik Station supports and several different SFZ disk streaming for WusikSND, files referencing any of them DASHsnd, WAV and SFZ files. and also using them in The DST (disk streaming) different ways. The option is under "Options" WusikSND format doesn't within the "File-Browser". have that feature. Also, if you have a good sample “Can I save SFZ files inside editor, like Sound Forge, you a WusikPACK file?” can edit the .WAV files used by the SFZ format in a much Yes, actually, you can add easier way, compared to a any type of files to a WusikSND file. Of course, the WusikPACK file. Just make new Wusik Station V5 use of the extra pack options Integrated-Sampler does for that.
www.William-K.com Available on: iTunes, Amazon and other major online music stores.
Improving by the minute.
what’s on your amp? by Squibs
Art Of Noise The Daft album is a compilation of Art Of Noise’s early ZTT years. The first time I heard Art Of Noise was in 1984. The song was Close To the Edit. It was a Thursday night, which meant Top of the Pops, and a spotty teenager stared open-mouthed at a bizarre music video accompanied by the weirdest music he had ever heard in his life. In classroom discussions the following day, the track was ridiculed and forgotten about --- except by a
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couple of friends who had quietly decided that they actually liked it. Twenty-five years on, they are still buddies, united in music. It was many years later before I actually bought anything by Art Of Noise, as I didn’t really like the celebrity collaborations they were doing. They teamed up with Duane Eddy for Peter Gunne, with Max Headroom for Paranoimia, and with Welsh
yodeller Tom Jones for a cover of Prince’s Kiss. They were turning into a novelty band. Later recordings, including their swan song (The Seduction of Claude Debussy), were interesting but were less than original, and lacked the visceral energy that defined the early years. When it stopped being all about the art and the band stopped wearing facemasks in public appearances, the music started to sound a little… flat. The apparent lack of direction in the group may well have been brought about by its acrimonious split. Anne Dudley, J. J. Jeczalik, and Gary Langan parted company with Trevor Horn, and Paul Morley, and also with Horn’s record company ZTT (or Zang Tung Tumb), due to creative differences. The sleeve notes for Daft are written under the pen name “Otto Flake”, and it is generally held that
they were actually written by Paul Morley. If this is the case, then the split must have been nasty indeed --here’s an extract: “Members Jeczalic, Dudley and Langan… have retained the name Art Of Noise as the commercial success associated with it suits their brazen career-besotted attitude.” Ouch! The Daft album features only tracks recorded before the split. It was Horn’s newfound fame as a producer, musician and hitmaker that brought about the genesis of Art Of Noise. Trevor had the resources necessary to purchase a Fairlight CMI, the first serious contender for professional digital sampling, with 8-bit, 16 kHz mono sampling, and a Ferarri price tag. Moreover, Trevor had the technical ability to master the complex beast and the imagination to use it in creative ways. Beatbox, the first hit, helped to define the unique Art Of Noise sound --huge nasty crunchy drums, brass stabs, and sampled vocal snippets played as an instrument, all smothered in reverb and heavy processing to conceal the fidelity shortcomings of the Fairlight. Many of the samples found their way into Close To The Edit. Moments in Love is a slow brooding atmospheric number, featuring a simple recurring riff on three notes, with an evolving background. I see it as a precursor to the chillout genre. The track has been featured in many movies and countless advertisements, and whether you know it or not, you’ve definitely heard it before.
Much of the other material is hugely experimental, but should not be seen as filler --- the experiments done in these tracks still resonate today, and many current artists cite these early recordings as being hugely influential. In The Army Now revolves around the vocal clip “...in the Army now...” which appears to be taken from The Andrews Sisters’ Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy. Momento is a collage of thunderstorms and bells that evolves as somebody paces around a large empty room, and their clicking footsteps move between the left and right speaker. How To Kill is one of the earliest documented incidents of the experiment everybody performs when they get their first recording sampler --- taking your own voice and playing it several octaves outside the sampled frequency. It sounds simultaneously playful and menacing. All these years on, Close To The Edit is still the key track. Opening with an inspired percussive riff using a sample of a starter motor and another of a revved engine, a double bass is introduced for a few bars before the earth-shaking drums get the piece grooving, underscored at times by the funkiest percussion loop to ever feature on an 80's single. The track evolves throughout, featuring a new complimentary motif percussive piano with slapback delay, accompanied by reversed vocals, elephants trumpeting, and other little decorative touches. With the exception of a couple of obvious hints to its 80's origins, the piece still sounds very fresh today. If you would like to hear the contribution of one of the finest technical minds of the 80's to the science of digital sampling, this is undoubtedly the place to find it.
Recycle: To This Day by Trusty
On Notice Okay, look, slicing and dicing samples and loops is now everywhere in software sampler and drum products. It's even in some host products as well, and we all know that. But, what do most all those products that have internal slicing have in common? That is right, they can import the ever popular .rx2 format. It is the format that changed the way software producers think about loops. It is the format that changed the way loop library merchants sold their content. It is the format that changed the way companies build software sample instruments and hosts. It is the format that can only be made with one program, and that program is Recycle. New videos are being made and new packaging has been given to it recently by Propellerheads; perhaps an update or two sometime soon may follow, who knows? But one thing is certain, serious producers own Recycle. And, don't even think that your current slicing tool is enough for the job if you don't have Recycle. It simply isn't for a variety of reasons. What Are Those Reasons Well, think about it for a moment. You probably have at least one, but more than likely several different options in your collection of hosts and samplers to deal with REX files. And upon further reflection, they all vary in their ability to do different things to those REX files in different ways. And more importantly than that, they all would sound so much better if it were loops personally made by you that were loaded into them. Before you take your custom loops to your slicer, why not bounce your music loops down to .wav format and load them up into Recycle? I'll tell you why you should. The reason is because there are so many ways in so many different tools that you can 72
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manipulate your own custom loops. have six different applications capable of However, without Recycle there to make playing REX files, and four of them even those loops available in REX format to use have slicing capabilities. Think about this, if across your applications, you are stuck with you wanted to use the same loop from a your usual slicer with its usual ways of .wav file and have that loop sliced, suddenly, working with your slices due to those you only have four options. However, with constraints. Worse still, is people that have each of the four options, you have to REX players, but no slicer at all, are stuck manually slice the loop in order to do what using some audio editor or another to you wanted to do in each of the chop up samples. Recycle opens up doors, applications. That is four times the work and it makes your custom loops and than simply using Recycle. Is it becoming slices available across all these clear yet? applications, and without Recycle, you limit yourself. It Does Not Get Any Easier In combing through my arsenal of I have never looked at the manual of software, I counted over fifteen Recycle, and I probably never will. There different ways to use REX files, and are lots of neat stuff in there though, like each one of them offer something an envelope tool, slice muting, pitch, that the others do not offer in stretching, gate, and thing like this, but all ways of handling and of the stuff is dead easy to use. Adjusting manipulating them. Just Sonar 8 the sensitivity slider makes the slices Producers Edition, alone, comes appear, and they can then be edited to suit. with four different ways of It packs a lot of power in it and the price is using REX files. Given that certainly justified considering how easy it is most producers likely have to use, and all that it allows musicians out both, many different REX there to do because of it. Though it can players, a desire to chop up also export in Soundfont and Akai format, custom or personally as well as .wav and .aiff, extracted midi selected samples and use data, and some other format or two; the them in different ways .rx2 format is what one really pays for to with different gear, use. Many people find that the current owning Recycle should price tag is a bit high for a program that seem obvious. If a has been out a while, but this is a bit of an person wants to use odd complaint. Many people in the loop REX files, or more business have made their money back (and importantly, their own then some in some cases, and that â€œthen custom loops across someâ€? is a very large sum indeed), also in these instruments, Recycle some cases, Recycle itself has been the is necessary. Otherwise, initial investment that has given rise to there is a lot of work to be done many aspiring entrepreneurs. With just one that isn't necessary. Consider that you may program, and some creativity, new small www.WusikSoundMagazine.com
Recycle: To This Day
businesses were born. How about that? Other people, like myself, recognize how it is musically more useful than simply adding another instrument to ones collection, which most of the time costs as much as Recycle. Other Advantages I think it important to lay out a few more examples of the advantages of having Recycle. Now, this article may read like a long advertisement for Propellerheads, but so what? Perhaps it is, though I am not being paid for it, but also, perhaps it will give people a new perspective on an older product that has a shelf life far longer than anyone could have imagined. For one thing, if you are a Reason user, and want to chop loops and use them effectively, then Recycle is a must have. Dr. Rex, NN-XT, and NN-19 can all load REX files, so there are three different ways to use them. If you are chopping up your own samples messing around with an audio editor, you are taking twenty times as long to do what Recycle can do. This is just wasteful, and in many, many cases, time is money. This basically applies to anyone using any sampler that doesn't have internal slicing. Given the number of Reason users out there, and the number of people that like to chop samples, or the number of people out there with various other sampler or host products and REX players that lack internal slicing, give yourself a break and get Recycle if you do not already have it. Some other things that may not seem to obvious-but nonetheless are equally important--is that for people that do a lot of remixing, or re-sequencing, the REX format comes in handy. This is not just because of the slicing abilities to make loops in REX format match up to other tempos, but also for when people want to either remix a song using chops of the original, or when--and I do this often--one may want to use loops from older songs to 74
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chop up and use the sliced hits as the basis or a backdrop of an entirely new song. Who needs a vinyl collection when the crappy melody of an old song you made, that you hate, can be chopped up and reused in new ways into a new track that sounds great using the chunky hits and stabs created out of the slices?
(more on this in a future article titled â€œHow To Be An Awesome DJ With Very Little Talentâ€?). But anyway, those REX files can be used and reused in all those other REX players in my arsenal for fun times in the studio as well. Good Times Ahead...
As the line between music producer and One of the original selling points of Recycle DJ continue to blur, taking loops out of was that it can give new life to an old .wav tracks and bouncing them down to turn or .aiff loop collection, and this is still one into .rx2 files can allow producers with of the great things about it. It gives old little to no real turntable skills to take loops new ways to be used in the different their tracks to the stage and perform REX compatible gear in your arsenal. And them in a variety of ways; when this is added to the many REX files especially considering the massive people probably now have already, plus selection of REX players out there. using slices from loops from old songs Personally, for me, Beatscape-(even crappy songs); this can be a while a mere shadow of the lifesaver during those times when potentially awesome instrument inspiration is lacking. Given the number of it could be--is a fun live tool REX players out there, the different ways that I have been using along REX applications can be used, and the with Artillery 2 and Effectrix, number of times twisting loops around can in the chain, to jam out pull one out of a rut of uninspired studio songs I have made in my time; Recycle should be at or near the sequencer. My song's loops center of the production studio, and no can be made into REX files, longer for just the sample-based producers and then be loaded into either. There are practical uses, many Beatscape, and mutilated explained here, and probably more that I on stage in so many cool either left out or never even thought of ways even though I that every electronic musician can make have poor turntable great uses out of this program, and skills, and poor probably truly needs it if they don't have it. keyboard skills to boot. While it simply may have been just a way In the studio, I may be to chop samples; it is now a gateway to so king of step recording, but many things, and not having it may be on stage, that does not more costly than its modest price. Most matter, because I can still perform importantly, do not rob yourself of the fun my tracks if I want to in cool new ways that can be had with Recycle. www.WusikSoundMagazine.com
Diversions... Have Preferences, not Needs by WilliamK
Every day we create a need for something, a new computer, a new car, a new house --- usually enslaving ourselves in the process. But what if we had only a preference for those things, instead of actually needing them, with no other option in mind? For instance, I have this Dual-Core notebook which is a simple computer, Windows XP, 1.5 Gig of RAM, and an External slow drive for my samples and data files. When I was doing my latest album “Solitude”, this simple computer took on the job pretty well. But there were times I thought: “What if I had 2 Quad-Cores with 4 Gig of Ram, large ATA Drives, all Networked with FX-Teleport...” (making a Homer Simpson drool face). “Nah, not really a must-have, this old dusty will do just fine...” and it did. For most songs, CPU usage peaked at 60%, and I used the Freeze-Track option (SONAR 7) like nuts. Once things were all rendered/frozen to tracks, CPU usage was less than 20%. And I had several Mastering VSTs loaded up, especially the Vintage Channel Strip on all tracks. I couldn't really complain, especially when I recalled my old Pentium computer, and all the songs I did using every bit of its 100MHz processor (in DOS!!).
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But what happens when we start romanticizing things we need? “Ahh, my life will be much better once I get that new car I always dreamed about....” Really? Will it really be better? What car do you drive today? Does it take you from point A to point B? Does it fail on you often or even at all? “Well, it's a nice car actually, very economical and comfortable, and has never let me down...” But why the need for a new one? Just for the new-car smell? Really? Is that why you are working so hard and have two jobs? “Well, yeah, now that you mentioned it, it's very silly!” Enjoy life instead, don't live to work, work so you can live, but take it down a notch, so you don't kill yourself working. I heard a good story the other day, about this guy who worked hard to be able to build his own house. He did some hand-made dolls that he would sell on the streets, non-stop. It was a hard job, all done by himself. Finally, at the age of 50, after working exhaustingly, he started building his house. But he
didn't live to see it completed, he died from a heart attack shortly after starting. This shows us how life can be fragile, and what kind of values we should have. Otherwise, we will work hard, and then work some more, just to realize, we worked our life away... for all the things we thought we needed. It's not wrong to have preferences, a new car, a new house, a new computer, as long as we cherish the things we already have. Remember, keeping a positive attitude towards something you already own makes a great path to something you prefer to have. The book “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne talks a lot about all that. There's also a book called “Conversations with God” by Neale Donald Walsch, which is also a good reference on how we could change the way we think.
Published on Jun 30, 2009