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Wusik Sound Magazine June 2012


Editorial

Wusik Sound Magazine www.wusiksoundmagazine.com Issue June 2012. Managing Editor: MoniKe Assistant Editors: David Baer A. Arsov Production Manager: MoniKe

Staff: A. Arsov www.arsov.net Adrian Frost - aka anzoid www.anzoid.com Ben Paturzo - aka Astrin www.benpaturzo.com Danny Danzi www.dannydanzi.com David Baer - aka dmbaer David Keenum david@wusik.com Ginno 'g.no' Legaspi www.facebook.com/ginnolegaspi ginno@wusik.com Jeffrey Powell jsp_wsm@yahoo.com Rishabh Rajan www.rishabhrajan.com Rob Mitchell - aka Examigan Robert Halvarsson www.suecae.com suecae.sounds@gmail.com Tomislav Zlatić http://bedroomproducersblog.com bedroomproducers@gmail.com WilliamK Proof-readers for this issue: Adrian Frost David Baer   Tomislav Zlatić

Summer issue

It is hot and it is summer, so we almost forgot to make the editors letter. I just hope that you will not forget to read all the articles we have prepared for you. Mr Ben will dance his mad dance with you, Toma will set you free, I will try to inform you about the libraries, (it is a summer time, so you should know which book to take with you on a vacation). Adrian will save your soul with various articles, David will ground you and Robert will share his passion with you while our dear Ginno will put you in a doubt should you take this bathing trunks or another one? (or it was about the sound packs?) If we forgot to mentioned someone, please forgive us, it is a summer. A hot one, almost like this issue. Enjoy and fry yourself on a seaside my dear readers your Alex - the melted and overheated one

Covers and Some Pictures: www.dreamstime.com EVE’s Advertising: Henry Gibson

Some of the products reviewed in Wusik Sound Magazine are copies provided free of charge for reviewing purposes.

David Baer

A. Arsov

MoniKe


Table of Contents Table of Contents Developer’s Corner: FabFilter Review: Saturn by dmbaer Interview: Floris Klinkert and Frederik Slijkerman by dmbaer 8DIO Review: Adagio Violins by Robert Halvarsson Review: Bazantar by Robert Halvarsson Interview: Colin O'Malley and Troels Folmann by Robert Halvarsson Freebie You Shouldn't Have Missed This Month: Part 1 and 2- Free Software Part 3 and 4- Free Soundware by Tomislav Zlatic

Preview: Dmitry Sches - Diversions by Ben Paturzo Articles: Xoxos by Ben Paturzo Why do I need a Web site? by A. Arsov Coleman Hawkins by Ben Paturzo DanziLand Dispatch: Frequencies, Personal Bias and Artistic Creativity by Danny Danzi

Mini Reviews: Soundware Roundup by Ginno Legaspi

Reviews GRAF-X - Visions of Chaos by Ben Paturzo

Linplug relectro - Part 3 by Adrian Frost

Modartt - Pianotec 4 Pro by Adrian Frost

Damage by Ginno Legaspi

Miroslav Vitous - String Ensembles 2.0 by A.Arsov

Orchestral Collection SoundFont Bundle by Adrian Frost

Panorama by dmbaer

Quiver 1.1 by Ben Paturzo

Africa by A. Arsov Turnado by Ben Paturzo Morphestra by A. Arsov Rob Papen - Blade by Adrian Frost

In Depth Fxpansion’s DCAM: Synth Squad - Part 3 - Cypher by Adrian Frost Electro Suite by A. Arsov Fxpansion BFD2 by Adrian Frost


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Saturn

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Interview

The Latest Big Thing In writing a review for FabFilter's new plug-in, Saturn, it's asking too much of any reviewer to avoid using a wellworn cliché. Therefore let me just say that Saturn is a Swiss Army Knife of saturation and distortion effects. That out of the way, let's get down to business. Saturn is a marvel. Not only does it have an extensive range of sound coloration capabilities, the modulation options and its many other niceties make it an all-around winner. To owners of other FabFilter gear, this will come as no surprise. In fact, here's the complete review for current FabFilter plug-in owners. View the excellent demo video done by Dan Worrall here: http://www.fabfilter.com/products/sat urn.php And as soon as you have the money, send it to FabFilter to acquire Saturn. In viewing the video, you will want Saturn. In fact, you'll be hard pressed not to lust after it. There … we're done.

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Saturn by dmbaer

Figure 1

For those unfamiliar with FabFilter, I'd also recommend that you view the video, and if you do, you may not even need to read the rest of this review. But in case you're hungry for more information, read on.

the source sound at high drive settings. As you can see, Saturn has covered all the bases. Some of these distortion types are rather gentle, even at higher drive settings, and some are as nasty, grungy or gritty as you could ask for. But even in the case of the aggressive distortion types, low levels of drive can actually be pleasant sounding.

To begin with, let's look at the types of distortion on offer (technically saturation is a form of distortion, even though it can often be very pleasant in small amounts). We have the following: ♪ Tube saturation. Three varieties: Where to Begin? clean, warm and broken with each As with its two FabFilter siblings, Volcano 2 type getting progressively more and Timeless 2 (a filter and a delay effect pronounced than the previous one respectively), there are so many ways to in the list, as you would expect. use this plug-in it's hard to know where to ♪ Tape saturation. Again three begin. For starters, the interface (Fig. 1) varieties: clean, warm and old, and has that distinctive FabFilter look that will again with progressively more never be confused with any other brand. audible consequence. Some find that look pleasing and others ♪ Amp simulations. Five of these, find it garish, but after all, it's sound, all aptly named, called Smooth, capability and ease-of-use that are really Crunchy, Lead, Screaming, and important. Saturn delivers those on all Power. fronts. ♪ General saturation. Two kinds: gentle and heavy. Fig. 1 shows a Saturn instance configured for four bands of the audio spectrum (you ♪ Smudge. This one performs a unique smearing of the sound that's can have up to seven), but for many applications, just one band will be all you'd all but impossible to describe. You need. Be aware that you may use need to hear it to understand what completely different settings for each band, it is. ♪ Rectify. Does what it says and can including even different distortion types. render a sound unrecognizable at The key control in Saturn is Drive, as is higher drive settings. obvious by the knob's large size. To its left ♪ Destroy. Combines bit crushing, are Mix (wet/dry ratio), Feedback, Freq (a sample rate reduction and clipping. resonance frequency for the feedback) and Like rectify, it can totally obliterate Dynamics. This last one is very interesting.

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Turn counter-clockwise and you get compression. Turn clockwise and you get expansion. There are no attack, release or threshold controls to accompany the Dynamics setting. It's all done "automagically". To the right of Drive, we have a four slider equalizer control for bass, mid, treble and presence bands. Finally there is the output level control with an outer ring for pan. The pan control really comes into its own when operating Saturn in Mid/Side mode, which seems to be standard fare on everything FabFilter produces. Using Mid/Side mode you can, for example, keep the center clean and distort only the extremes.

too seems to be a consistent characteristic of FabFilter products. Modulation One of the great things about FabFilter products is the efficient way one can set up modulation and the tools with which to do so. Once again, let me recommend that you view the Dan Worrall video cited above to see how it's done. It's extremely easy to understand once you've seen it demonstrated.

We have several modulation Figure 2a options. First let's look at the envelope follower (Fig. 2a) Before we go further, I should also with its two say something about the presets, of controls for which there are copious factory Attack and offerings. As is often the case with Release. effects presets, you may not find a Triggering signal single one that you'd want to use as is, may be the primary one or may come but they are great starting points from from a side chain. It may not be which to customize to your heart's obvious at first just how useful this content. More importantly, a modest can potentially be. Consider two cases, effort in studying them will yield much both of which involve a 50/50 wet/dry in understanding the range of things mix. In the first case, we'd like to that Saturn can do. introduce distortion to other than the initial transient portion of a sound. With respect to learning how to use Easily done: just dial in a suitably Saturn, I'd be remiss if I didn't gradual attack time and modulate mention the first-rate documentation Drive. Here's another example to deal that accompanies the software. This with feedback that's pronounced 06

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enough to self oscillate. We can dial in a fast attack and moderate release and modulate the Feedback control so the feedback remains audible for a time after the input signal dies out. The envelope generator (Fig. 2b) offers a typical ADSR capability. It can be triggered by primary signal, side chain signal or MIDI note-on. In the first two cases, the release point is reached when the signal becomes lower than the Threshold setting. In the latter, it's MIDI note-off, obviously.

Figure 2b

The big gun in the modulation arsenal is the extended low frequency oscillator or XLFO (Fig. 2 c). It can function as a conventional LFO or it can do amazing contortions, including becoming a 16-step sequencer. Seriously complicated programs can be set up, so this is a good time to mention that all the Saturn modulator configurations can be saved as reusable presets. It would take too long to explain all the nuances of this


Saturn Figure 2c

modulator here. Just be assured you won't be disappointed in its flexibility. Another modulation option is the XY controller. Fig. 1 shows a program that uses two of these. The last modulator type is MIDI source (not pictured). Why do we need this when any movable knob and slider can do MIDI-learn? Here's why. Modulators can have multiple targets, and each of those can move the target in a positive or negative fashion. So, we could, just as an example, set up the Mod wheel to increase Drive while reducing Feedback.

one): http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/view forum.php?f=6 Create a new post saying you're about to buy Saturn and ask if an existing FabFilter customer would like to refer you (for which they get a purchase credit with FabFilter). Then prepare to be spammed.

The other possibility is this. FabFilter offers a bundle including Volcano 2, Timeless 2, Saturn and Twin 2 called The Creative Bundle. Personally I'm not all that enthusiastic about the Twin 2 synth, but Volcano 2 and Is Saturn For You? Timeless 2 are most impressive plugins. The bundle price is $429 US. Saturn is available for PCs and Macs in Although there's no guarantee it'll 32-bit and 64-bit mode as VST-2, and happen again, for the last several RTAS. FabFilter even offers a VST-3 years, FabFilter has had a 25%-off compliant format. Now, at $174 US, sale on all bundles close to the end of the year. The chance to pick up it's not exactly cheap, but given the value supplied, that price isn't Saturn, Timeless 2, Volcano 2 and a unreasonable. However, there's an synth for 80 bucks apiece ‌ that's easy way to get a quick 10% discount. quite a good deal indeed. Go the KVR Effects forum (and become a KVR member if not already June 2012

Yes, Saturn is a bit pricey, but consider that you'll probably never need to purchase another distortion or saturation plug-in ever. Plus, with Saturn you get a marvelous work-flow enabler. Any time you have a track that needs a little something extra but you're not sure what, using Saturn allows you to quickly audition a whole range of possibilities without constantly adding/deleting effects in your FX bin. Let me close with what will be an obvious question for some. Can Saturn be used in the final mix to simulate credible professional studio tape saturation? Let's have a show of hands ‌ how many of you reading this have ever had hands-on experience with professional-level analog recording gear? And I'm not talking about recording cassettes for your car in the 90s. Very few hands, I see. Let's face it, most of us home studio types wouldn't know authentic tape saturation if it bit us. I certainly would not. And if you don't know what's authentic, your listeners are hardly likely to either. So, just go with something subtle that sounds good and don't worry about authenticity. Saturn can certainly take you to that place.

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Speaking with the FabFilter Developer Duo

your division of responsibilities evolve?

WSM: So how did your collaboration begin and how did

use the synth in his productions, so we started work on a Mac port and finished that later in 2004. We were

very happy with the filter algorithms we had developed, so next we decided to make a dedicated filter effect plugFr: We don't have a formal division of in, called Volcano. In 2005 we finished The highly-regarded FabFilter product responsibilities: basically we both can Volcano and also released Twin, a line is the brainchild of two developers do everything that's required for more elaborate synth based on One's based in Amsterdam in the FabFilter. However, of course in algorithms, but with drag-and-drop Netherlands: Floris Klinkert and practice some tasks naturally fall to modulation added to the mix. After Frederik Slijkerman. WSM is very one of us. For example, Floris is better that, we created Timeless, our delay pleased to have had the chance to in designing dynamics processing and plug-in, using the same powerful speak with them both and learn tends to do more marketing and web modulation concept. firsthand the story of FabFilter. As site work, while I work more on tempting as it might be, we will resist "hardcore" DSP code and user interface Fl: Then we decided to take some the urge to refer to them as “Flo and design, on the other hand. time, and do thorough research in the Freddie”. :) dynamics area. We've visited many Fl: We always try to focus on the studios, working with and listening to WSM: First tell us about your work that we do best: designing and a lot of classic old compressors. We've implementing plug-ins. For other (not learned so much from that! This musical and/or technical less important) work, like web site resulted in the release of our educational background. What design and implementation, ad and compressor Pro-C. Now, creating the positioned you for a career in banner artwork design or marketing perfect EQ and limiter became our audio signal processing software tasks, we often hire others. goal. We've always had a very clear development? vision about how these would work, WSM: For those unfamiliar with and after a lot of hard work Pro-Q and Fr: Floris and I met at the University the history of Fab Filter, tell us a Pro-L were the result. Most recently, of Amsterdam during our Computer little about it. What was the we've released the Pro-G expander Science master. We already did most sequence of products you've and FabFilter Saturn, our multi-band of our assignments together, and then implemented? distortion plug-in. found ourselves in the middle of a DSP course. As the final assignment Fr: After completing our master, we WSM: Fab Filter products have an for this course, we decided to try to continued work on the synthesizer, unmistakably unique look to them. model one of Floris's analog synths. basically throwing away everything we Which of you gets credit for that? To our delight, this actually worked had (because it was written in Delphi) out quite well. Since we had been and re-implementing it in C++. That Fr: We both do, but personally I feel toying with the idea of starting our turned into FabFilter One, released in very strongly about our interfaces and own software company, the decision March 2004. We were eager to make their look-and-feel, so even when to make audio plug-ins was now an a Mac version as well because Floris Floris has made a design, I always easy one! had a Mac in his studio and wanted to tend to tweak it until I'm happy.

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Usually we pass a design back and forth between us until we're both 100% satisfied. Next, during the beta


Interview with

Floris Klinkert and Frederik Slijkerman by dmbaer

phase, we always try to be very openminded to criticism, trying to turn that into a better product even if it means redoing a part of the interface, for example.

except reverb. Can we expect to features you need to elegantly see a Pro-R at some point? describe your solution, while on the other hand you can still program quite Fr: It definitely has our interest, but close "to the machine" if you need it. we also have many other plans that Languages like Java and C# primarily we really want to work on! So much introduce garbage collection: WSM: One can readily find books to do, so little time, as usual. automated memory management and courses on a wide variety of which is not compatible with real-time WSM: You obviously can't offer up software technologies, but digital code like audio plug-ins. Apart from trade secrets here, but can you signal processing in general and that, I don't like garbage collection at VST programming in particular is a all: while it is probably possible to use tell us anything about what to expect from FabFilter in the next pretty arcane niche. How does one it in a good way, it tends to make few years? Are you looking to acquire the essential knowledge programmers lazy and results in revisit any of your existing to be able to do plug-in sluggish, unresponsive software. products and produce a significant development? WSM: Two part question. Which of upgrade? What else might be in Fr: There's online material for the the pipeline? your plug-in offerings turned out basics, and of course there are lots of to be the most challenging? Which Fr: We really want to continue books on DSP in general, but apart of them do you feel was your from that, you only learn by trying working on solidifying our existing greatest accomplishment? plug-in line-up, addressing any weak things yourself. You just have to learn from your own experiences and this is Fl: Developing the dynamics plug-ins, points and making sure that all our quite hard work. Many algorithms, e.g. especially Pro-L, was quite a challenge. offerings are always up to date and as FFT or EQ filtering, are quite well strong as possible. At the same time, To start with, to be able to judge the documented, but no one tells you how quality of a limiter you need very well there are also some obvious empty to turn these into real-world code that trained ears. Of course, with extreme spots: apart from a reverb, people settings differences may become have also asked for a multi-band works reliably in a plug-in. apparent, but in real life situations, it compressor, channel strips, dynamic can be surprisingly difficult. I have EQ, and so on. WSM: Cross platform plug-in done studio work for years, but still it development seems to demand took me quite some time and a lot of that you constrain yourselves to WSM: Frederik and Floris, thank double-blind testing to really get into using the C/C++ programming you so much for taking time to it. In the end, I've worked on Pro-L language. Do either of you ever talk to us. We offer our sincere and its algorithms for more than two congratulations on your brilliant feel you'd like to be able to move to the use of a more contemporary years, and I'm really proud of the end new plug-in, Saturn. We're result! confident you have a real winner language like Java or C#? on your hands. WSM: Fab Filter now has pretty Fr: Not at all. I think C++ is the much all the bases covered in the perfect language if you're an audio signal processing realm experienced programmer. On one hand it offers all the high-level June 2012

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DIO www.8dio.com

Adagio Violins by Robert Halvarsson

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A new generation of strings Trying to capture symphonic strings in a realistic and beautiful way has, during the last couple of years, been one of the aims of a select few companies. 8Dio productions have, with their new product Adagio Violins, upped the ante considerably. How life-like can you get without hiring your own violinist? With Adagio Violins we see a company pushing the boundary of what it is possible to achieve with software and sampling. Like 8Dio's Colin O'Malley and Troels Folmann explained to us in our interview, this is all about raw emotional realism, with a very diverse set of articulations. An homage to an instrument loved by many. In Adagio Violins you will find three main groups of violins, namely Ensemble Violin, Small Ensemble Violin and Solo Violin. And as with the Bazantar, there are a set of gorgeous phrase-samples. To quote directly from the responsible party: "Legato intervals were sampled up to 4 times round robin allowing for an even greater degree of realism. Loure or 'floating notes' are also a key part of Adagio, allowing composers to

perform repeated notes with connectivity." It may hands down simply be the most gorgeous violin product I've personally encountered. It does take some time to get used to navigating the different instrument files available in Kontakt though. And also learning to play the instrument properly, making use of the different articulations

Despite the "lack-of method-method" I used to get to know Adagio Violins, it nevertheless led me to especially note the quality of the dynamically bowed performances. It needs to be heard to be understood, the demo's on 8Dio's site being the obvious but very good starting point. I should probably note that I personally do not style myself a great orchestrator, I am merely aiming to incorporate orchestral elements in my otherwise electronically oriented type of music, and with this I believe things can be taken to a completely different level than previously. I suspect that I will be more inspired to train to become greater at orchestration as well as with Adagio Violins, than with the libraries of olde (think of one 8-bit violin-sample stretched out over the entire keyboard to picture where I started out).

The interface is clear and simple, which is good. From it you are able to do a few crucial things, like dial in microphone settings, depending on how near or far you want your virtual violinists to play. There's also a mix setting and options to change dynamics. Depending on what you load you also get options to alternate the expression and speed of the instrument. I've mostly stayed with the standard settings, aside from playing around with different mic And talking about inspirational, I am positions, which really put me in already anticipating what lies in store "impressed"-mode. There's also the for the future, namely 8Dio's Cellos option of changing sound on the fly, and Basses, coming later in 2012. So inside the loaded instrument, via a set ye people with large hard-drives, are of options found in a neat box clearly you ready to orchestrate? I know I will, stationed in the middle of the user or should I say attempt, to do this. interface.

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Bazantar by Robert Halvarsson

To capture a unique instrument The Bazantar is as intriguing as it is emotive. The musician Mark Deutsch created it as an attempt to strike into new territories. He succeeded, and now he has, together with 8Dio, created a uniquely interesting product around this instrument. In a website dedicated to the physical instrument it is explained that the Bazantar is a microtonal musical instrument producing complex sound using sympathetic and drone strings. Aside from being a five string acoustic bass, it is fitted with 29 sympathetic drone strings. In a less advanced way, you might say that it is an acoustic upright bass whose sound, while 12

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played, creates a combination of additional tonalities one cannot achieve with a regular bass. Due to the additional strings and special characteristics, it behaves quite differently. Having watched a preview of a documentary dedicated to the instrument, I was excited to play with 8Dio's rendition of it. Like all of their instruments it makes use of Native Instrument's Kontakt format – and is easy to load and understand. It contains both Multi-sample and phrase-samples. The strings are being plucked, tapped and there are also bowed sustains and swells. The luscious phrases are especially worthy of note, even though, for me personally, they serve more as an June 2012

inspiration while I, in the end, tend to go without. I was happy to find out that 8Dio managed to include what I interpret as the original characteristics of the instrument, making it a joy to experiment with. The drone it is capable of producing makes the notes behave almost magically at times, and people I've demonstrated it to have been 'wowed' by it. The Bazantar also includes a number of convolution reverbs and effects, which is a cool addition to an otherwise unique offering. I've personally just begun scratching its surface, and believe it will find its way into my own music more than once in the near future.


Mark Deutch

As written before, this was made in collaboration with Mark Deutsch himself, and therefore wears his seal of approval. It is hard to believe it would have been able to materialize in any other way, but it is testimony to 8Dio's popularity among musicians and producers. And nowadays, I definitely consider myself part of that collective. Now if only I would be able to see Mark Deutsch live... Read more about the Bazantar via: www.bazantar.com/

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Colin O'Malley and

Troels Folmann by Robert Halvarsson

The Deeper side of 8Dio 8Dio is one of the top players WSM: You've just released Adagio when it comes to delivering Violins, how do you feel now that staggering samples in the Kontakt it is out in the open? format. We've spoken to Colin O'Malley and Troels Folmann of 8Dio: It is very exciting to finally 8Dio, who've given us an insight share Adagio with other composers. In to the work that went into the two a very long development process there are some days where it can be profile-libraries that we reviewed in this issue. hard to see the forest through the trees. It's great to finally have it out 14

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there. The response to Adagio has been tremendous. It is exciting and humbling at the same time. WSM: Who do you hope will use the library, do you have a target audience? 8Dio: We designed the library for composers who are obsessed with


realism, emotion and detail (as we are). Our initial concept slanted more towards the professional market, but Adagio appeals to composers at a variety of levels. You don't have to be a master mixer or orchestrator to make Adagio sound great. The out of the box sound works for composers at variety of levels.

this project. We fully intend to sample occurs when composers finally got the most comprehensive set of strings their hands on Adagio. ever, period. The ensemble, divisi and solo approach allows composers a WSM: Another new product of great deal of freedom in terms of tone yours is Bazantar, a recording of a color and harmonic voicings. Taking truly unique instrument based this even further, our dynamic around a heavily modified five performances allow for further strings acoustic bass. What made variation, getting around the inherent you decide to create a library feeling of "sameness" that can occur covering it? WSM: You recorded Adagio in a within static samples. church environment, in which way 8Dio: There is a long back-story to can one notice this in the end WSM: What do you feel sets the Bazantar. We have been admiring product? Adagio apart from other violin the inventor, Mark Deutsch, for software instruments and several years and always wanted to 8Dio: There is a certain 3-dimensional samples? record it. The instrument is a modified rich ambient quality that you simply 5 string bass with 4 additional drone can't get any other way. Adagio sits strings - and an additional set of 28 8Dio: Our approach and depth to back in a mix effortlessly and makes legato sampling is beyond the scope resonators. Mark actually patented the room for other instruments in a very of other libraries to this point. The design and it is one of the most natural way. This will become even innovative instruments I have ever same can be said for our short notes. more apparent as we release the We have 4 types of spiccatos! We're seen. It’s sort of like a prototype into Adagio Cellos, followed by Violas and capturing the nuance and variety of a the future classical music. If you think Basses. live string group in a new way. To about it ... when was the last time you sum it up, Adagio is all about RAW saw a classical string instrument like a WSM: The library is divided into violin, viola, cello or bass modified? EMOTIONAL REALISM ensemble, divisi and solo violin covering lots of different playing WSM: Did the character of the WSM: Have you gotten any styles. What made you choose to reactions to Adagio this far? instrument make it more release such a broad product? challenging to record and 8Dio: As I mentioned above, the represent than, say, the violin? 8Dio: We have designed Adagio as a response has been tremendous. We've very comprehensive product. This always been confident in our approach, 8Dio: Yeah. The Bazantar operates volume 1 release marks only the differently than traditional strings. If but the moment of truth certainly beginning of our larger concept for you play a note and mute the main

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Troels Folmann strings - it keeps on playing for about 10 seconds. The resonators keep on generating new notes - even after you stop playing, which gives it this otherworldly feel. Mark got the idea for the instrument through a dream vision and the instrument is really like a dream to listen to. WSM: WSM: How did the collaboration with the creator of the instrument, Mark Deutsch, come into fruition? 8Dio: It was just a matter of the circumstances being right. We really got along creatively and Mark was kind enough to open the doors to his beautiful mind, which really helped understanding the depth of the instrument. There is nothing like it and we think it's one of the most gorgeous instruments in existence. WSM: Deep sampling is a technique of yours to capture the essence of an instrument. How is

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this philosophy reflected in Adagio WSM: Last but not least, can you and The Bazantar? give us an idea as to where 8dio is heading next? 8Dio: Deep-sampling is a concept we developed some years ago. The idea 8Dio: We are currently wrapping up is essentially to record instruments at the next volume of Adagio Cellos, new levels of depth than ever before which is hands down one of the best done. Adagio is the first library to ever libraries I have ever heard. If you have true round robin (repetition) on liked the Violins - this will take it to a legato and the first library to ever whole new level. We are also in early combine legato with loure (note alpha on our Adagio Violas and Basses, repetitions) and dynamic bowings. It’s which will all be released this year. kind of ironic. The most common The violins, violas, cellos and basses movement on a string is repeating the will be followed by second volumes same note in legato fashion and no next year. library ever covered it before. But a lot of our instruments follow the We are also working on a smashing concept of deep-sampling. Dubstep library, which is one of the coolest things I have heard in a long Whether it's our Alien Drum (aka Hang time. We have another library called: Drum) with over 5,000 samples, our "Basstard" coming out, which was the +10,000 samples Taiko, our +12,000 idea of recording the gradual sampled 1928 Steinway piano, which destruction of an orchestral upright was also the first to have round robin bass, so sorta percussive bass if you on sustains and separate staccato like. In addition we have a library notes. The list goes on and on. called Post- Apocalyptic guitar coming very soon, which is a Mogwai inspired library with layers of emotional phrases.

June 2012


You Shouldn't Have Missed This Month

by Tomislav Zlatic

Dear reader, if you think you have enough free VST plug-ins and samples in your computer, think again. We are back with another collection of fantastic freeware, which should have its place in any music producers' audio arsenal.

Fantastic news from Arturia! We sincerely hope that you're reading this article before June 21st, because (on that day only) Arturia is releasing a free version of their Minimoog V synthesizer. The free version has all the features of the original Minimoog. What a fantastic gift for World Music Day from Arturia! [http://www.arturia.com/evolution/en/products/ minimoogv/minimoogv-original.html]

Another gift for World Music Day comes from WOK. He has released RING-O, a freeware ring modulator VST plug-in for Windows. It uses an internal oscillator as the modulation source, but can also be set up so that the left side of a stereo signal modulates the right side. Sounds like fun! [http://music.service1.de/html/wok_ringmodula tor_vst.html]

Acon Digital has released Acoustica Basic Edition, a free version of their flagship audio editing software. The free version is in fact quite powerful, as it loads VST plugins, supports a number of audio formats, and even comes with its own convolution reverb. Are we finally getting a proper alternative to Audacity and Wavosaur? Seems so! [http://www.acondigital.com/u s_Acoustica_Download.html]

Out of the blue, Beat Magazine has released Zampler, a freeware SFZ workstation instrument developed by Synapse Audio. If you liked Synapse Audio's Dune synthesizer, you'll feel right at home with this one. Great GUI, great features, and flawless compatibility with SFZ format libraries. [http://www.zampler. de/] June 2012

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GRAF-X by Ben Paturzo

Visions of Chaos Figure 1

Master It would be impossible to summarize the rich and accomplished life of Benoit Mandlebrot (Figure 1). Called the father of fractal geometry, his work was at first dismissed by mathematicians (“pretty pictures, but pretty useless”), but has, in the course of his lifetime, revolutionized our understanding of a non-Euclidean world. From describing financial markets to measuring our coastlines to the design of the antennas in our cell phones, Fractal Geometry has been become as ubiquitous and important as just about anything you can imagine, both in the world of mathematics and in our everyday experience, the “real world.” Pretty Pictures Mandelbrot found early favor with the youth of the so-called psychedelic generation, which only makes sense. Fractals describe an “infinite world,” one in which you can fall into images that, the closer you get, the more you realize that the image repeats the pattern you saw from a “distance.” The use of hallucinogens no doubt duplicated, or at least, approximated this view of reality advanced by Mandelbrot. I was too young to be a hippie proper, and my lack of experience with LSD 18

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and such means that I have to go on the experiences of others. I find reality frightening enough, without the use of enhancements to test my already fragile grasp of the world outside my mind.

Figure 2

Figure 3

Infinite Worlds Figure 2 shows the graphical representation of the mathematical points that make up the Mandelbrot set. The cursor indicates the area we will “fall into.” Figure 3 is a zoomed in view of that small area indicated in Figure 2. Again, the cursor is pointing to the area that we will again magnify until that area is plainly visible. Figure 4 is that zoomed in view. We could continue this process forever. We could also pick another area, zoom in, and find that initial area duplicated, and so on. As you can see, reality can be quite frightening. June 2012

Figure 4


Figure 5

Visions of Chaos What I'll describe here are examples of fractal generators, software meant to generate images based on fractal geometry. This type of software has been around for decades, so strong is the pull of the infinite, so enticing are the visions of chaos. No LSD required. Xenodream 2.4 Figure 5 shows what Xenodream (www.xenodream.com/index.html) can do. A quick click on the Quick Start button will produce a random set of parameters that are used to generate an image. Unfortunately, this is about the only thing that's easy about the program. Reading the manual is an absolute necessity. At a little over 150 pages, it is quite comprehensive and well written. You do have to summon the patience to wade through it, however, as there is a lot of terminology to learn and master before you can do more than simply stumble through all the options, menus, and parameters. Fortunately, the manual contains numerous examples to aid and guide the learning process. The interface is unnecessarily complex, in my opinion, with an early-Windows (think Windows 95) type of look and feel. There is much I would ask Garth and company to do, from streamlining the interface, to eliminating the jargon, to improving the speed of rendering.

We can circumvent the steep learning curve in a number of ways. In Figure 6, I've clicked on File, Starter Shapes... to  get  me―uh,  started. You'll also notice in Figure 6 that Xenodream is using only half of my available processor cores. This makes for longer than necessary rendering times, as compared with other programs, such as Bryce and Vue, which use fractals to generate terrains, and utilize all the cores ya got. The

eight-core demon I'm now using, reduced my rendering times on a sample Bryce file more than thirteen times, compared with my older system, which used a 2-core processor. Holy smokes Batman! This really irritates me: the Spell Check doesn't recognize Batman! Holy smokes Spiderman! Oh, but it recognizes Spiderman. Superman, Dr. Strange, yes, Aquaman no. As Nappy D would say, Dang it!

Figure 6

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GRAF-X

Figure 7

Another easy-on-the-grey-matter way of learning Xenodream, is to use the oodles of Data files, as shown in Figure 7. The idea is, once you find the image ya like, you can go and take a peek under the hood, to see how those parameters can be further tweaked, and what effect that has. This may be kinda like putting away the copy machine, and getting all those medieval monks out of the closet (all puns intended, even those I haven't thought of yet) to do what they did so well, sans licking the fingers, as we saw how that turned out in The Name of the Rose. BTW, Worst Monk Movie ever! (Figure 8) The complexity, shading, patterns, and three-dimensionality of Xenodream's results are a testament to the power of this software The program may have started as a fractal program, but has evolved to a graphics machine, man. If you have the patience to learn it, you will be very happy with Xenodream, which is priced at $119. ChaosPro If you want to get on my short list―and let's understand each other, I'm not really talking about a short 20

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Figure 9

Figure 8

list―then don't answer an email I sent you, especially when I am enthusiastically complimenting your software. But I wanted to include Martin Pfingstl's ChaosPro (www.chaospro.de/) because it is an excellent program, it is obviously a labor of love, Martin is generous to a fault, and because ChaosPro is free. Not shareware, not even donation ware. In fact, I challenge you to find even a tiny donate button on his site. I can't find one, but then again, I wear glasses. When someone continues to develop something, yet not charge for June 2012

it, that someone needs to be applauded. Just answer my email, dang it! Figure 9 shows ChaosPro in action. This may look like my mom's braciole, Figure 10, but no, it isn't. ChaosPro's interface is organized, easy to maneuver and modify, resembling a graphics program like Photoshop. Keep in mind, however, that good fractal programs like the three I'm reviewing here, are wonky by design. The programmers are being meticulous in representing the mathematics involved, so don't expect to make an omelette by telling Humpty Dumpty to stay on the wall. Omelette, breaking eggs, Humpty Dumpty, no-fall-no-breaky, okay? Sheesh.

Figure 10


Figure 11

Figure 11 shows some examples of using the drop downs next to the cursor. Pretty easy if your main concern is ANG (advanced navel gazing). In Figure 12, I've entered the Hypno image and rotated it via mouse. The action in

ChaosPro is pretty snappy, as Figure 13 attests; eight cores, no waiting. Under the hood, ChaosPro and Xenodream are neck-and-neck. The problem is trying to put a saddle on 'em, and―well―free is kinda nice, n'est-ce pas?

Figure 13 Figure 12

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GRAF-X Figure 14

Visions of Chaos

play. Pretty easy. Once again, if Naval Gazing is I liked the name of this your main concern, program enough to name Visions of Chaos is NG on the article after it. Jason a Lazy Susan (Figure 20). Rampe did a very nice job That means, for those of with Visions of Chaos you in the UK, it's easy to (www.softology.com.au/in use. Looking at the dex.htm) . Let's step Windows Task Manager, it through it. In Figure 14, appears that Visions of I've started Visions of Chaos has half of my Chaos, selected Mode, cores tied behind its back, Fluid, Lattice Boltzmann, which belies its snappy clicked on the generate response. Scotty, I mean, button, and―if  you're Jason, full cores, now! expecting a gag around a Aye, but she's gunna gal I knew in Fractal blow! School, Alice Boltzmann, well, forget it, that would Visions of Chaos offers be too cheap a shot, even some unique features, as for me―voilà, Figure 15. shown in Figure 21. Figure 15 shows the Music! This is something Create AVI frames box that would be on my checked; I click on please list―please give us Generate and we're off to more! Sound and graphics the races, yet another are a natural combination, reference to horses and and it is exciting to racing. I let the Alice―I imagine the possibilities of mean, the Lattice, develop further development here. between Figures 16 and Visions of Chaos sells for 17, ending the 45 Australian Dollars, computation by clicking which is pretty reasonable the Stop button. Figure 18 for what you get. Visions is the dialog box that pops of Chaos is obviously a up, allowing the creation labor of love. We are the of my animation. Finally, lucky recipients of that Figure 19 is the AVI in labor. 22

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June 2012

Figure 15

Figure 16

Figure 17


Figure 18

Figure 20

Final Thoughts

Figure 19 You might think that because I've included three examples of this type of software, this article is some type of program shootout review. Nope. Each of the programs here has strengths and weaknesses. For example, Xenodream would be easier to use if its interface was more like ChaosPro. Visions of Chaos seems to have fewer generator options, but then again, it has music! The animation controls in ChaosPro might be more tweakable than Visions of Chaos, but it helps if your background includes animation/video timelines. Xenodream has many graphics generating options and features, demonstrating its evolution beyond fractals. And so on. My advice would be to try each and have fun with them. Cheers!

Figure 21

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Modartt PIANOTEQ 4 Pro by Adrian Frost

Modartt's "Pianoteq" modelled piano has been around for a while. We first reviewed it way back in August 2007 when it was at version 2. Intrepid reporter Karmacomposer commented "Pianoteq is here and boy-oh-boy is it incredible!" Having been playing with Pianoteq 4 Pro for the last few days I can heartily agree with his 24

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assessment. Pianoteq is incredible. It lives and breathes and inspires and... Well, let's take a look.

right) but Pianoteq just screams "quality". At a glance you can see that things have been thought through properly. So, great first impressions.

First impressions When you load up Pianoteq for the first time what hits you is that it looks good. I'm not one for raving (yeah, June 2012

Now we need to play something and here you're blown away. The sound is extraordinary; it's like a real piano! I guess that's the goal but it's still hard


to believe that the sound I'm listening to, despite my dodgy playing, is like having a real grand piano in my little room. The sound resonates, you play one note, let it ring and play another and they interact. The sound is right but there is also a correct ambiance, you feel like you're sitting in front of a real instrument. Did I say "real" enough times? I think I'm in love. What's new in version 4? Anyway, you're not reading this review just to hear me gurgle on about how great everything sounds. We'll talk about the different versions later on but just what do you get when you lay down your cash for Pianoteq 4? The big advance, and improvement over previous versions, is the introduction of the new D4 piano. All of the pianos from the other versions are present and correct and have been updated to take advantage of

version 4's modelling engine, but D4 is "the one". The reference model for the D4 is Steinway D from Hamburg. Three years in the making, the sound is clean and powerful with a nice stereo spread on the default settings. And this is where the fun comes in with Pianoteq. Almost everything is tweakable. I've not found the control yet but you can probably even adjust the height of the piano stool.

stuck you can hover your mouse cursor over the control in order to get a pop-up with a concise explanation of the control's purpose. Very neat. The best way to get a feel for what the controls do is, simply, to tweak them and see what happens. You can use the handy A/B button near the top right of the interface to flip between the original and modified sound. In the same area there is also a "Random" button. Click it a few times Whilst we're talking about what's new, (go on, go wild!) and you'll get some very interesting results. Sometimes one thing worth noting is that there have been a lot of small refinements the result is pretty much unusable but of Pianoteq's interface compared to from time to time you'll get something that sounds amazing. Oh yes, and for version 3. Things are just that bit slicker than before. those who like that kind of thing Pianoteq supports microtuning using All things bright and beautiful Scala files. Try doing that on a real, physical piano. Firstly, on the main page you can click Once you've gorged yourself on the the three photos at the top of interface to reveal a whole series of possibilities offered by the Tuning, sliders and menus. The nice thing Voicing and Design controls it's time here is that everything is pretty much to move on and take a look at the self-explanatory and if you do get lower half of Pianoteq's interface. June 2012

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w e i v Re More power!!! As well as controls for Volume and Dynamics you have complete control over how Pianoteq responds to MIDI input in three key areas: velocity, pedals and note-off. You can calibrate your MIDI keyboard in order to get the best possible response across the whole length of the keyboard. To the right you have access to even more controls. The last two buttons "Equalizer" and "Effects" open new, wide, windows in the same space that give you fantastic and detailed control over even more features.

PIANOTEQ 4 Pro

add your own external effects to any one of them. Actually, it goes further than that, as you can see in the picture you can route any of the five mics to any of the five outputs. Again, the control here is phenomenal. You

Personally I haven't found much reason to dig into the "Action" and "Mallet Bounce" settings but they're there and available if you ever feel the need. Pianoteq's flexibility in the amount of control you have over pretty much every area means that you can create your own, individual, customised piano that suits both your sound and your playing style. Before we look at the equalizer and effects, if you click on the microphone to the right of the centre bar you'll open up a completely new window. Yup, that's right, you can place up to five virtual microphones around, and in, your virtual piano. Pianoteq has multiple outputs to your host which relate to these five mics so you can 26

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can even shut the piano lid! As well as being able to position a bunch of mics there is a binaural mode available so you can let your piano get inside your head too.


Pianoteq has a very nice built in EQ. It's of the graphical variety and you can add control points at any frequency you like. There doesn't seem to be any limit other than available screen space on the EQ. Click the line to add a control point and double-click a control point to remove it from the line. When you click and hold on a control point a pop-up showing frequency and amplitude (in dB) appears. Pianoteq's EQ is clean and powerful and gives a handy means of tweaking your sound without having to resort to external effects. And speaking of effects...

Effects are one area where Pianoteq 4 has got version 3 beaten absolutely hands down. Version 3 shipped with the following effects: Tremolo, Wahwah, Reverberation and Limiter. In version 4 you have double the effects and a totally new interface for accessing them: Tremolo, Wah, Chorus, Flanger, Delay, Amp, Compressor and Reverb. Each effect comes with a number of presets. The highlight has got to be the Reverb. It's a convolution reverb that comes with 17 presets - Elevator to Taj Mahal - and the ability to load

June 2012

impulses in WAV format. This is a great leap forward over the reverb in version 3. And it sounds very good with a nice sense of space and no metallic feel to the results. You can adjust Room Size, Pre-Delay and Tail/Early Reflections as well as Tone and Duration. Finally you have a mix control to set the level of the effect. The controls for the other effects vary according to what they need to do. Reverb is a permanently "inserted" effect and there are three slots that you can use for the others.

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PIANOTEQ 4 Pro

Going deeper So far we've covered the basics of Pianoteq 4. Behind the scenes there are even more things that we can tweak and meddle with. Depending on the version of Pianoteq that you are using, you will have varying options here. First up is the "Note Edit" window that you get to by clicking the "Note Edit" button at the top of the interface - easily missed! Pianoteq Stage - the basic version doesn't include note editing -which is why you might not see this option at all. In Pianoteq Standard you can edit Volume and Tuning on a note by note basis. Pianoteq Pro gives you a grand total of 22 different parameters. You make changes by selecting a parameter from the drop-down list shown in the picture and then clicking on the keyboard type layout. It's a simple and effective way of making bulk changes across the whole keyboard but lets you focus in on one key at a time if you so desire. There is also a "Reset" button for when you really mess things up.

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One useful feature for helping you to create your own particular piano is Pianoteq's "Freeze Parameters" window. Click on the Ăž icon and you'll see the window that appears in the accompanying image. From here you can select and freeze over 30 of Pianoteq's parameters. This means that when you change between presets either factory ones or your own - you June 2012

can stop certain parts of the preset from changing. For example, if you've set up an effects chain that works perfectly with the piece that you are composing but you want to flip between the D4 and K1 pianos you can freeze your effects whilst everything else moves to the new preset. This is a handy feature and I can see myself wanting something like this on every other VST that I have in my collection.


Finally on the tweaking front Pianoteq gives you a whole bunch of further options to play around with. In the picture you can see the MIDI options but you also have Performance options and General options - one of which allows you to resize the whole interface - Thank you Modartt! Via the MIDI options page, and using the "Full Featured" mapping option you have access to a whole range of internal parameters - over 170 which can be assigned to any controller. You can also set controllers to different channels. There's enough here to keep you occupied for a long long time. Even if most of us will probably never do much with these options, having them available shows Modartt's commitment to creating a highly usable and flexible instrument. Pianos, but not just pianos Pianoteq comes with two modelled pianos called the D4 and the KI. As previously mentioned the D4 is modelled on a Steinway D. It's a beautiful instrument with a full sound. There are a range of different presets which show off the versatility of the D4 model and the underlying sound engine. Pretty much every style from Rock to Jazz to Honky-Tonk is available. The K1 piano is modelled on an un-named piano and has quite a different character to the D4. It is brasher and slightly harsher but really cuts through in a mix. It comes with fewer presets but is no less usable than the D4. June 2012

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w e i v Re Modartt have made available a number of different add-ons and in doing so show just how versatile their software is. As well as the YC5 "Rock Piano" you can add a Rhodes or a Wurly electric piano (Bring on the 70s!), a clavinet, two types of vibraphone, a celesta, a glockenspiel, a marimba and a xylophone. There are also a number of free add-ons available - a set of bells - church bells, carillons and tubular bells and then a whole music shop's worth of classic and historical instruments. The latter are made available through Modartt's "KIViR" (Keyboard Instrument Virtual Restoration) Project. More information is available at the Pianoteq website.

PIANOTEQ 4 Pro

Compared to the price of a real Steinway D - a cool €80,000 for a 1935 Mahogany version - Pianoteq is an absolute bargain, and it has one more pedal than the Steinway! Visit http://www.pianoteq.com for more details and to purchase your own copy.

Music maestro... Modartt's Pianoteq 4 is a fantastic instrument. Even if you can't squeeze a full size grand piano into your studio, or bedroom, you should be able to find space for Pianoteq 4. The whole instrument weighs in at just over 20 Mb so should fit in a corner of your hard-drive with room to spare. The three versions of Pianoteq are all very competitively priced. Stage costs €99 whilst Standard and Pro are €249 and €399 respectively. At these prices you can't go wrong.

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June 2012


You Shouldn't Have Missed This Month

by Tomislav Zlatic

Who likes tube preamps? We do! And because of that we were very happy to hear that CDSoundMaster has released a free Brimar Tube preamp in VST plug-in format. It was made using Nebula Technology and is probably the closest we can come to an "in the box" tube preamp in this day and age. [http://cdsoundmaster.com/site/CDS-SoftwareOnline/vtcpc.html] After a long beta testing phase, Pekka Kauppila has released MauSynth. It's a great sounding freeware virtual analog synthesizer, which was built to cope with demands of modern EDM. In fact, the developer says that he was inspired by Deadmau5's music while creating this plug-in. Wait... MauSynth... Deadmau5... Ohhh, we see what you did there, dev! [http://rinki.net/pekka/mausynth/] If you can't live without modular synthesizers, here's one that you can use on any computer with Internet access. Japanese developer g200kg has released WebModular, a free modular synthesizer which loads in your browser. Finally you can bring your laptop and make original R2D2 noises anywhere in the world! [http://www.g200kg.com/en/docs/webmodular/]

Did we mention how much we like tube preamps? I can't remember. Anyway, we do, and we were very happy to hear that Xenium Audio has released X-Tube, a free emulation of a one stage 12AX7 tube amplifier in VST plug-in format. By the way, we honestly really like tube preamps. Wait, have we already mentioned that? Oh, god. [http://www.xeniumaudio.com/downloads.php#XTube]

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w e i v Re Miroslav Vitous

by Bestservice.de by A. Arsov

We've already covered a zillion string libraries and I bet that you're wondering why the hell we decided to write about another one. When I heard the rumour about this one, I immediately put myself in the queue for it. The reason is very simple. Before I even wrote my first string library article I asked my old friend, a classical composer who mainly worked with string libraries, about his opinion regarding the various libraries that are on the market. He is a very picky person and during the composing process he polishes every damn detail for days and days ... quite the opposite of me. He has tried almost all libraries and therefore I got a long lecture about various developers and their libraries. I almost fell asleep but woke up early enough to ask him about the conclusion. Miroslav Vitous was his library of choice, the main reason: "It sounds so sweet, I know it is a matter of taste, but it really suits me because it sounds so sweet." I like his music, so I presume I will like the successor to his old library. Progress Best Service has finally decided to offer downloadable versions for some of their products, so I got this one a day after they released it. OK, it took me almost the whole afternoon to 32

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download all the parts, all in all sound. But the MVSE 2.0 staccato around 10 GB of material, but it is still sounded somehow more professional better than waiting almost the whole and rounded with a natural end. week to get the product shipped. I There's a more biting attack without like those downloadable things - pay the creaking bow addition. Also the and play almost immediately. dynamics were more constant, but Installation was a breeze, same with still very natural. The Miroslav team registration, and then ... I lost myself promised less "midi programming" in in the manual. The whole concept is a their manual, and yes, for my money bit different than what we are used to they delivered on that promise. and I had to read it twice before I got the point. Also there are so many Legato time articulations that I spent some quality time researching what all those The thing that bothered me the most acronyms meant. with all previous string libraries was the slow attack on legato strings. Let's Testing, testing say that we need a very long note with strong attack. It is not so I started with the classical Arsov uncommon a technique, especially if method of testing new toys. Loaded you are working on a dramatic or staccato violins from several different cinematic score. Riding through the libraries and played the same line on manual like an old cowboy, I arrived all the tracks comparing the results. at a section that offered a very wise Staccato is usually the weakest point solution for this challenge. No more of many string libraries. It is not so staccato legato combinations. Simply hard to get a good result from legato by shifting the modulation wheel on strings. Sometimes it is even hard to the keyboard, you are switching the say if it is a synth or a real player layers from slow attack to very fast. when we hear legato in some modern My dear Miroslav, you deserve a big arrangements. So, doctor Arsov's hug from our Wusik team for this one. conclusion: Very natural, even in the A great yet simple solution. best of other big libraries, staccato samples often have some Of course, staccato and legato are not accompanying, almost unpleasant, the only options offered in this pack. sounds in which you can hear the bow In fact, there are a really great creaking in addition to the string number of articulations along with all June 2012


Engine 2

banks forming the specific shell for layers, or presets as we used to call them. MVSE20 offers, as a bonus, a really good sounding Origami reverb, but you should load the "String Ensembles project reverb" bank first and then load various layers into this bank if you want to use this reverb. I figured that out only after a second reading of included manual. The whole concept is a bit different from what we are used, so some introductory videos couldn't hurt.

The whole library sounds very big and it is really versatile, especially if we take in to consideration that it is packed in a compact 10 GB of disk space. The Best sort of combinations which are well Service and Miroslav team claimed organized throughout the directories, that this is possible due to the allowing us to work much more capabilities of the Best Service Engine effectively without losing time on 2 player. They blended sounds additional programming. As I already together getting more realistic results mentioned, I spent some time before whilst preserving the small size of the I understood all the details by library, because otherwise the whole Sound and Time browsing through the manuals (I library could take around 40 GB. would be thankful if Best Service Perhaps this is true, because the Wake up my dear readers, it is time could add a "getting started" video), whole library really doesn't sound like for a conclusion. The whole pack will but after I figured out how all these a 10 GB library. The only criticism I cost you 649 Euros, but before you things work, I've spent much less could have is directed at Engine 2. I put your hand on your pocket, trying time while getting better results than simply miss the feature found in to protect your wallet, we should be I experienced with other libraries. The Kontakt player where you always get honest by admitting that it may look whole library also contains some the information about the size of the pricey, but compared to the other Round Robin programs for more sample layer or project even before professional string packs in the same realistic results. That's especially you decide to load it. Our RAM isn't price range, it is still great value. For handy if you try to repeatedly play the the same as it used to be, but this is that money you'll get the small, but same fast note. I've auditioned most still something I'd like to be able to big sounding, pro library that offers of the programs and layers (will talk see. Also, Engine 2 doesn't show the some really innovative about that later) trying to do some loading progress and therefore preprogrammed solutions that could fast testing arrangements. The end sometimes it looks like it can take noticeably improve your effectiveness. result sounded very professional and ages for samples to load. A progress was achieved with less effort. Yes, it bar or at least some animated lady I've tried and tested many string really sounds "sweet" and nice in a dancing striptease would help because libraries but this one is different. The way that an orchestra would sound if gazing into the "Loading" window is sound that it offers and the time you Yehudi Menuhin were in charge. not the most inspired thing in the save while arranging your string Especially compared to the other big world. arrangements really make the expensive libraries which sound very difference. realistic, but somehow rougher, MVSE We need to talk about the terms 20 sounds very realistic and also has projects and layers. Let me explain a By Alex "conducting the screen this Miroslav Vitous Menuhin-infused bit about them. The whole library orchestra" Arsov gentle touch. contains programs which are basically June 2012

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w e i rP ev

Dmitry Sches

Diversion www.dmitrysches.com/diversion http://soundcloud.com/dmitry-sches/diversion-vsti-audio-demo

by Ben Paturzo

Preview Believe it or not, this is not the full review, only a preview. Standing Out

Moog, Oberheim, Smith, Yamaha, ARP—even a little Synclavier perhaps. This authenticity is no mean feat—the presets are that good, very fine indeed. But the Diversion engine is also very clean, removing the audio

With so many synths on the market, and ever more coming along, how do you stand out from the crowd? By being Out-Standing. Pure and simple. I have praised Native Instruments Razor, with its clean, pure, synthesized-yet-natural sounds. I have gone gaga over Applied Acoustics Systems Chromaphone, with its subtly enhanced layers of overtones, as natural sounding as palms against skins. I have also called Camel Audio Alchemy an exceptional sound-design tool, a stage-ready instrument that is as competent as it is playable. Now, allow me to introduce to you a new member of this rarefied class: Dmitry Sches Diversion. Presets Running through the Diversion presets, I felt I was authentically reliving the early days (and the glory days) of

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detritus from those long-ago sounds and giving us pure vintage, the way we think it was, with our golden recollection, but cleaned up and polished for today's world. This clean sound is the result of very little


Final aliasing . I get the unfortunate pleasure of listening to some VST's Alright, it is obvious that I am with so much aliasing, that my teeth go into lockjaw, and the neighborhood enthralled with this instrument. I must have a thing for Russian developers, I dogs are driven into mournful howls. don't know. Perhaps I was Russian in Yes. a prior life. One thing's for sure, I am Majestic and Crystal Pure

looking forward to exploring more and producing a real review of Diversion. Sometimes work isn't work. Cheers!

This North Breath Pad is not just good, it deserves the term, majestic. I suggest you download the demo, dial in this preset, and hear for yourself. The preset produces a pleasing, fullrange tone, reaching from the depths of a tight cinematic bass to a smoothly executed reach into the breathiness of its namesake. The Mysterious Ways preset is another carefully constructed sequence, that slowly reaches the slight dissonance of lightly-tapped bells, yet throughout the entire range the timbre of the sounds appears to come from pure crystal. Again the purity of the Diversion engine appears to be unparalleled.

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w e i v Re

Panor Figure 1

Wave Arts Panorama

over headphones or loudspeakers. source anywhere in the room with Panorama uses 3-D audio and respect to the listener, not just on the If you're the tidy sort and keep your acoustic environment modeling "stage" of a performance space. How plug-ins neatly arranged in categories, technology to simulate the acoustics well does it accomplish that? We'll of sound propagation in real space. return to that subject in a moment. you'd most likely decide to include Panorama with your reverbs. And But first, let's explore some of the while Panorama has much to So Panorama's real aim is to create issues involved. recommend it as a natural sounding the illusion of the realistic placement reverb, it aspires to something greater. of a sound source in a room, hall or Science Class In Wave Arts' own words: other space. Wave Arts endeavors to The first 10 pages of the excellent not only provide the capability of Panorama is a virtual acoustics creating a realistic sound stage for documentation provided with processor that can produce stunningly musical performance, but to allow the Panorama discuss the science behind realistic auditory scenes for playback mixing engineer to place a sound auditory placement perception. And 36

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rama by dmbaer

the documentation quite frankly points out that making a sound seem to originate somewhere other than generally in front of the listener using just a stereo sound source is quite challenging. It's challenging when the listener is using headphones and even more so when using a pair of speakers. I'll attempt to summarize why this is so here, but keep in mind that I can't compress 10 pages worth of information into less than one. To begin with, every human has a unique auditory apparatus. From an early age we learn to calibrate our individual hearing apparatus so that the origin of a sound can be ascertained. In nature, most sound sources are mono. And most of us are pretty adept at knowing, for example, whether sound waves that arrive at both ears identically originate in front or behind us (let's not shortchange the role of vision in the process either). What is at work is our brain decoding all the clues to provide the information we need. But it's asking a lot of headphones to reproduce sounds in exactly the way they were naturally originated. And asking that of speakers is almost out of the question, as we'll see shortly.

do not have uniformly sized and shaped ears. But the process can be modeled using measurements of human or manikin subjects, and the results of such measurement is what's called a head-related transfer function (HRTF). Long story short: HRTFs can be used to implement binaural synthesis in which frequency and time manipulation is applied to the playback of a recorded sound to make it more "positionally" realistic. This would work great if we all had the same HRTF profiles, but we don't. So at best, for non-individual treatment, a generic HRTF can be used in hopes of getting closer to this goal than using no HRTF modeling at all. So, headphone reproduction can be improved somewhat. But with speakers it's another story.

With headphones, we can guarantee that each ear will hear only the output of the corresponding stereo source. But with speakers, each ear hears the output from both stereo channels, albeit with slight timing and level differences. Now, some additional manipulation of reproduced sound can be done to reduce this phenomenon. Specifically, time-based filtering can be introduced to make things more The transfer of a sound from a point in "headphone-like". But this is only space to the ear canal happens effective if the listener is perfectly differently for all of us, given that we centered between the two speakers. June 2012

So, it all comes down to this. Realistic 3-D placement of a sound using a pair of sound producers is really, really hard for sounds supposed to originate somewhere other than, generally, in front of us. That's the bad news. The good news, for musicians at least, is that we're normally only interested in creating a realistic soundstage performance illusion. The Rest of the Science If you know anything about reverb, you're almost certain to know the term early reflection. Forget about all the involved issues we've discussed so far. Sound intensity and early reflections alone can go a long way in creating a sense of depth on a sound stage. Panning gives us left/right placement and early sound level can give us a sense of front/back placement. First, sound level. A sound of a given loudness at distance X is attenuated by 6dB at a distance 2X. So, that's an important clue. The trouble is, without visual clues, we don't know, for example, if we're hearing a trumpet playing softly close to us or playing loudly much further away. Here's where early reflections come into play. Early reflections are easy to explain. In any six sided space (front, side and back wall, floor and ceiling) there will www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

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w e i v Re Figure 2

Fig. 2a shows the display when configured for stereo speakers at 30 degrees separation and the sound originating mid-stage-right. Fig. 2b shows that same positioning with a mono source. Finally, Fig. 3c shows

Figure 2a

be six primary early reflections. The early refection is the original sound reflected off of one of these surfaces and arriving at the listener's position. There are secondary, tertiary, etc. early reflections (a reflection of a reflection), but the primary reflections are normally the most prominent. And in terms of conventional reverbs, the non-primary reflections usually just become part of the reverb tails. After all, in a real acoustic space, the "tail" portion of a reverb is nevertheless reflections of reflections in any case. Calculating the parameters of a primary reflection is pretty easy. First, just flip the coordinates of the original sound source, as shown in Fig. 2. Then apply attenuation for distance and filtering to mimic the reflective properties of the surface and you're in business. And this is exactly what Panorama does. And it does so with great finesse. Many reverb plug-ins give you control over some aspects of early reflections, but few give you the ability to place the source at a particular location. Panorama does. Introducing Panorama I think it's time we actually starting talking about the plug-in itself. I'm going to limit the discussion to musical uses of this plug-in. I was not 38

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particularly impressed with the realism of sound locations other than when in front of me, but musicians are not usually going to care about that anyway. And I'll say up front, Panorama offers some very nice capabilities for musical sound treatment.

Figure 2b

Panorama has a fairly straightforward interface, as can be seen in Fig. 1. On the left we have a graphic display of the sound source and listener. To the right, there are three sections: direct sound, early reflections and reverb tail. One major feature in Panorama not found in conventional reverbs is the ability to place the sound source in relation to the listener. The sound source can be defined as stereo or mono, and if stereo, the distance between the speakers in relation to the listener can be specified. Why would you want to do this? Here's one example: you've recorded a string quartet in full stereo on a track but you'd like to place them on one side of the sound stage. Panorama lets you do this very sort of thing. However, the early reflection processing uses a summed signal if stereo is used, so you'll get the same early reflections irrespective of how much stereo is configured.

June 2012

Figure 2c


Panorama Figure 3

the display with the headphone setting enabled.

reverb happening as a byproduct. In a reflections that also is located here. conventional reverb, the incoming Apart from the aforementioned Slope signal is used to generate reverb parameter, all of these controls should The Doppler switch probably isn't of sounds which are mixed in with the be familiar to anyone familiar with too much use for musical purposes unchanged input. In Panorama, the reverb configuration. because voices/instruments in a real input signal is modified as well, if only performance don't normally move to attenuate it to model distance, and Is Panorama for You? about fast enough to affect the pitch. to delay it for the same reasons. You But Doppler does just what it says. If can control the dry/wet balance, Panorama occupies a fairly unique a sound source is moving in relation however, by using the Gain parameter niche in the world of plug-ins. If you to the listener, the pitch is raised or in each of the three sections. want something that provides more lowered appropriately. The familiar than just reverberation coloring to example of this (well, maybe not so The Slope control is something not your tracks, something that allows familiar these days) is the train often found in conventional reverb you to create a realistic sound stage, whistle that gets lower in pitch just as plug-ins. It provides a way to control it may by exactly what you're looking the train passes in front of you. the degree to which distance affects for. As a bonus, you'll end up with a signal attenuation. As stated earlier, plug-in that can deliver very nice The other global parameters are nature gives us a 6dB reduction in a natural reverb performance in the Mode and HRFT. Unless you know that direct sound when the distance is bargain. your mix will be listened to in a doubled. Slope lets you alter this controlled environment (speakers with property. At $150, it's a bit pricier than a the listener guaranteed to be in the number of highly capable reverbs out sweet spot), you'll be safest to select Everything in Panorama is controlled there, so no doubt you'd want to the headphones setting to avoid the from the single panel with the download a trial version to see if it fits crosstalk cancellation that can exception of the reflection parameters. your needs. To do so, you need to degrade the experience of headphone The Reflection section, when selected, download the entire WaveArts Power listening. The HRTF setting seems to is shown in Fig. 3. This is where we Suite bundle, so you might as well be one of those "adjust by ear" set the size of the space and the check out the other four components choices. listener's position therein. We also set of the suite while you're at it. the reflective properties of the Now let's look at the Direct, Reflection surfaces (plaster or curtain for a wall, Panorama is available from WaveArts and Reverb panels. One thing you concrete or wood for a floor, etc.). at: http://wavearts.com should notice is that nowhere in It requires a host program that supports the AU, MAS, VST (32 or Panorama do you see a dry/wet The rightmost section of the main 64-bit), or RTAS plug-in architecture. control as you'd expect to find in most interface controls the reverb tail reverbs. This is because Panorama is behavior, with the exception of a all about sound propagation, with damping control for the early June 2012

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XOXOS Special 'Mega www.xoxos.net

Figure 1

Special

How about Water (Figure 2), with this audio demo: http://www.xoxos.net/vst/mp3/water. mp3

Rurik Leffanta is imaginative, creative, and generous. Overly generous. Okay, generous to  distraction―my distraction. He appears to have no Another is Aurora (Figure 3), with the desire to be a millionaire. Perhaps he following audio demos: already is. His muse takes him into a http://www.xoxos.net/vst/mp3/aurora number of directions―at all times―for demo.mp3 a variety of creative pursuits. I do http://www.xoxos.net/vst/mp3/aurora believe it is theoretically impossible to demo2.mp3 keep up with him. Maybe Tesla had a chance. Continuing, here's Naive Lead (Figure 4), with the following audio demo by The Big Sale TaoteKid: http://www.xoxos.net/vst/mp3/naivel You want generous? Figure 1 is a ead.mp3 prime example. Notice the tag line 'for all vst.' Notice also that the price goes How long does this list go on? How down for previous customers. So low much time ya got, brother? You got that I refuse to quote the prices. Nope, straight instruments to convoluted not going to do it. What do you get? (non-straight); synths to effects to

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June 2012

Figure 2

unspeakable (Elder Thing, Figure 5, audio demo: http://www.xoxos.net/vst/mp3/ETind ahows.mp3). More fun than a barrel of existential monkeys. Now where did I put that picture of ol' Jean-Paul Sartre at the zoo? Never mind. The Point If you are hesitating to purchase this enormously fun and useful group of instruments, consider this: Rurik will eventually get out of his straitjacket. Master Leffanta did train a young Houdini (Figure 6), after all. So, before he comes to his senses, accept this generous offer from the Master of Xoxos. Cheers!


a' Sale

Figure 3

by Ben Paturzo

Figure 4

Figure 5

Figure 6

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w e i v Re

Africa, Afric

I bumped into one lost tourist in our small town last summer. I helped him to find his hotel. We talked while we were walking and soon we realized that we are both musicians. He came to play in our Okarina Etno festival and later that evening behind the stage he introduced me to the guitar player from his group. It was Jeannot Bell. We started a

conversation and soon discovered that we had many common interests: guitars, recordings, studio equipment, software and of course music. We became friends and on his next visit to Bled, Jeannot brought me DVDs with his lessons of Soukous guitar techniques. As I was in between two projects, waiting for my collaborators to record their parts, I had some spare time. And that's how I fell into ... African music! I started a new project with Jeannot.

As I worked on our first African track I realized that all those African rhythms could be very useful, and not just for African music. So, I started searching the net for some additional Afro loops and I came across the Big Fish Audio site, discovering that they offer the whole African heaven. They also have a few additional packs of African rhythms specially prepared for dance, techno or rave music, but I decided to try more raw variations as, even in a dance, techno or rave music original, nonquantized loops bring a lot of more character and originality than those polished and predefined to a specific genre. Obvious is sometimes too obvious. After all, the whole of modern music is based on a mixture of eclectic elements, and the brave ones always push the boundaries using some elements that you'd never have thought would fit together. Regarding the quantization issue, don't underestimate African drummers. No matter what they do they are always perfectly in time. I met one of them, Felix Ngindu, and trust me, no matter how wild, fast

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ca

and

Africa

(with a little help from Big Fish Audio) by A.Arsov

and furiously he bangs on his snare, hats and toms, his kick is like a metronome. So, the fact is that you can't go wrong if you use those raw rhythms high passing them and adding additional kick. I did that even for the African music I'm working on. Once Electro, always Electro, I can't help myself changing some elements inside the loop since I been doing that for the whole of my musical life. The main point is, all those African rhythms are so funky, vivid and exotic that they can bring life into any musical genre. If you are looking for some new, fresh elements for your ethno, downtempo, hip hop, electro or even pop and rock music, this is the way to go. Indian musical elements are already used (and abused) in all sorts of modern music, so the next undiscovered place is Africa.

contains 130 drum loops plus 20 additional shaker loops ranging from 125 to 130 beats per minute. Fills, percussion loops, mixed loops, Sabar (the traditional Senegal drum played with one hand and one stick – it is also popular in Gambia) and shaker loops. The whole thing ranges from wild variations to even more wild variations. Very vivid and very essential, especially for this price. There are a lot of mid and What do we get high notes in those loops, so they are literally crying and begging you I decided to try three of the Big Fish Audio loop packs. The first and to use them along with your everyday bread and butter loops. the cheapest one is the "African Rhythms" pack costing only 9.95 The next loop pack is the World US dollars, a great "starting pack" Drum Sessions vol. 3 - Africa, for spicing up your production. It

costing 49.95 US dollars, which will bring you 148 drum loops recorded by top world drummer Yoav Bunzel. The funny thing is those loops share almost the same speed range as those from the African Rhythm pack, being between 110 and 140 beats per minute, but it sounds very laid back, while those African Rhythm pack sound almost like a "drum and bass" version compared to this one. This is a very relaxed and joyful pack suitable for all kinds of pop, rock, world and similar genres. Of course, feel free to abuse it in any other genre, especially those more complex loops where we can find

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w e i v Re some very interesting, danceable, lively higher elements that go well with any genre you like, even the electro hip hop techno and similar blip blip genres. There are also a nice number of additional loops in a 6/8 time signature. All loops in this pack are sorted inside various directories where the loops are arranged from the simplified rhythms, extremely laid back rhythms to complex ones containing various drum variations filled with all sort of toms and other toys for big boys. The last pack is Mahadhi – African Rhythms costing 59.95 US dollars containing 1,837 loops ranging between 90 and 170 beats per minute. The whole pack is pure exotic heaven. Everything is there, almost twenty assorted drums, from agogo, shaker and talking drum to the Sakara and Saworo. Don't ask, but it sounds good. An enormous number of polyphonic rhythms are on offer sorted by drum elements, agogo, shaker and all other drum

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tested and exotic collection of spices for seasoning and fine tuning your arrangements. No matter how odd some of those elements sound, it's wonderful how nicely they fit with other rhythms. All three packs are the product of top notch recording, and you will not have any problems incorporating elements from these packs into any of your music. They are definitely not intended for African music only. Feel free to use them anywhere your imagination takes you. Any of these packs can add a significant measure of originality to your tracks. Standing out from the crowd is the only thing that counts since the first man appeared on this planet, and these exotic packs are definitely "not in line" with current music, so it's an opportunity for you to put the things back in line.

elements organized in separate directories accompanied by one common demo for every main tempo directory. This way you can easily get an idea of what you can expect from the various elements while being free to use them in any combination you want. A nice and very handy By Arsov "small audio fish" Alex solution. This pack is the most native and authentic sounding of all three I've discussed here. It is like having a very big, well-

June 2012


You Shouldn't Have Missed This Month

by Tomislav Zlatic

Nine Volt Audio has released Solo Guitaret, a free Hohner Guitaret sample library for Kontakt. A very interesting instrument, with a sound somewhere between a music box and an electric piano. This Kontakt version comes with some additional features and a handy set of built-in effects. [http://www.ninevoltaudio.com/products/solo_guitaret .php] More Kontakt freebie goodness comes from Wavesfactory. They have released W-MusicBox, a free Kontakt instrument featuring the sounds of a music box recorded with a pair of AKG 414 microphones. The samples are of very high quality, on par with previous releases by Wavesfactory. [http://samples.wavesfactory.com/?p=1313] A small but good acoustic drum sample pack comes from Indie Drums. They have released Slingerland Drum Kit, a free collection of 23 drum samples in 24-bit WAV format. Some very nice sounding Ludwig Black Beauty snare drum and Sabian cymbals samples inside, recorded through a Neotec Elite Mic preamp. Oh, a preamp! Did we mentioned how much we... Ok, ok, we did. [http://www.indiedrums.com/slingerland-drum-kit/]

Here's a nice gift for Ableton Live users. Oh Drat has released Future, a free Ableton Live rack with a collection of drum sounds suitable for use in speed garage and other UK bass music genres. [http://ohdratdigital.com/downloads/free-ableton-liverack-future-the-garage-beats-and-bass-music-drumkit/]

June 2012

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w e i v Re

Sugar Bytes

Turnado www.sugar-bytes.de by Ben Paturzo

Mr. B Meets Mr. T No not this guy (Figure 1). But I pity the fool who don't get no Turnado demo (Figure 2). What's wrong wit you sucka (Figure 3)? Sugar Bytes brought their A-Team (Figure 4), I mean, A-Game, when it came to designing Turnado. Okay, no more references to really bad 1980's TV shows. Promise.

Figure 2

Figure 1

Figure 4 Figure 3

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First Glance Turnado, at first glance, appears quite simple. In Figure 2, you have 24 types of effects, and you drag any effect into one of the eight slots. Rinse and repeat. Rotating the big knob engages that effect; more rotation, more pronounced is the effect. The knobs can be assigned to physical knobs on a midi control surface. I set up my trusty old Akai MPK mini (Figure 5) so that each knob corresponds to a control knob in Turnado. I love it when a plan comes together, which is what Hannibal (Figure 4, guy with cigar) used to say. So much for my promise. By the way, in Figure 4, you have a

half-naked black guy, and a white playboy guy, putting the moves on a man with a cigar, with a creepy white dude behind the guy with a cigar. Homoerotic Sausage Fest? Naw, no way! Back to reality. The Akai MPK mini also has eight velocitysensitive touch pads, which can also be assigned to the effects controls. This gives the added functionality of increasing the effect with increasing pressure on the pads. Nice. By the way, Akai, my “Pad Bank 1� button doesn't always light up, so it's on the fritz (please don't make me do that one again). How about a new mini? Crickets, all I get are crickets!

Figure 5

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w e i v Re

Turnado

Figure 6

Setup In Figure 6, I've set up a new song in PreSonus Studio One Version 2. Let's go over the process. From lower right, I drag over a synth clip from one of Studio One's loop libraries, and drop it into the main window. I click on the i (for inspector), and this displays the Inserts box for the synth clip. Now, I can either click on the + sign to add Turnado, or just drag and drop Turnado into the Inserts box. Either way, Turnado is added as an effect for the synth clip. Now, to add midi control, I add a blank instrument track (Track 2), with my MPK mini directing Turnado. Finally, I assign the MPK mini's eight rotary controls to the Turnado effects knobs. Wow, that was easy. I think I'll go lie down now. Now, as the clip plays, I can interactively adjust the sound via the MPK mini's knobs. You will note that the preset shown in Figure 6 is just

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for show. Guess I like a field of green defaults. Go figure. Oh, and if one of the knobs has cursor “focus,” you can use your mouse's scroll wheel to adjust Turnado. Play

sound, reminiscent of Mr. Hayes/Shaft. Yes it always comes back to that, kind of like the separations of Kevin Bacon thing. Only with scratchy/glitchy guitars.

Adding in a bit of modulation, gives Figure 11. Here, I've clicked the + under “Comb” and engaged LFO 1. In Figure 7, I drag over the Filter effect and drop it into the first slot. As Adjusting LFO 1's rate, and playing the synth clip gives me both cycling of the the clip plays, I can turn knob 1 on comb filter effect and manual control the MPK mini to get a normal-to-thin quality, ending up sounding like an old via the big knob. The orange line time radio. We'll investigate, but first connects the LFO 1, the blue line connects LFO 2, and the green line check this out: Figure 8. By clicking connects the Envelope Follower, in on Filter, I get these variations of the case you're wondering. Note that all Filter effect. You can create and save of the knobs seen in Figure 11 can be your own variation as well. On to assigned via midi learn. Also, take a Figure 9. By clicking on Filter's EDIT button, I get behind the curtain, so to look at the red arrow at the bottom speak. Here, in Figure 9, I can see left in Figure 11. This is the shape of LFO 1's rate change, the choices that the big knob controls the filter shown in Figure 12. With all this cutoff. Since Highpass is currently tweaking possibility, Sugar Bytes has selected, I click on Highpass and get provided an exceptional effects tool. this list (Figure 10); I choose Comb. Now the synth has a wobbly wah-wah

June 2012


Figure 7

Figure 8

Figure 9

Figure 10

Figure 11

Figure 12

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w e i v Re

Dictator One of coolest features of Turnado is the Dictator mode, shown in Figure 13. By clicking on the Dictator button, I can load one of the Dictator presets (including one of my own), like “CenterLine� shown in Figure 13. You can set your own points in the window on the left, that will define when the effects kick in (and out), then drag the fader to control up to eight effects in realtime. This will come in handy until you mutate to eight arms.

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Turnado

Final Thoughts Turnado is priced at $179. Not cheap, but you need to compare it against other effects plug-ins that are in this league. This instrument allows amazing control of its effects, and is so customizable that it is incredible. The interface is pretty intuitive, which lets Sugar Bytes get away with having a woefully-thin, 31page manual. The manual still needs to be expanded, guys, including specific, real-world examples of setting up Turnado. I can appreciate the work it took in creating this plug-in, because it is self-evident. This is probably the

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highest praise I can offer. Try the demo, and decide for yourself if a month of giving up latte's is worth Turnado. Don't be a fool, sucka!


You Shouldn't Have Missed This Month

by Tomislav Zlatic

What goes well with acoustic drums? Bass guitars! Project16 has a great free bass guitar sample library, made with recordings of a Rickenbacker 4001 bass. It is available in SFZ and Kontakt format and comes with all sorts of articulations, from fingered to pops, and even includes slides and some weird noises. Highly recommended! [http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=34974 5] ONGELEGEN is continuing his series of weird binaural sample packs with Binaural 04 | Metal Scratch, a weird collection of samples made with metal objects. Weird, creepy, and highly useful! Just slap on a long plate reverb effect and you'll be making fantastic soundscapes in no time. [http://www.ongelegen.com/soundpacks/binaural_collecti on/metal_scratch] Hardballs Records has released a pack containing all the drum sounds from the Yamaha PSR-R300 performance keyboard. You'll find 10 individual drum kits inside, formatted for Kontakt and EXS24. [http://www.hardballsrecords.com/2012/06/06/yamahapsr-r300-total-drums-set/]

Finally, yours truly has released Mini Analogue Collection, a set of free samples from five different analogue synthesizers I used to own. Each included instrument comes with SFZ and Kontakt patches, for ultimate ease of use. [http://bedroomproducersblog.com/2012/06/13/bpbmini-analogue-collection-free-sample-pack/]

And that's all for this month! Hopefully we've pointed you to enough freebies to have fun with this summer. Enjoy your holidays, send us some nice pictures from the beach, and while you're at it you can also send us pictures of your tube preamps. We really kinda like those. June 2012

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w e i v Re MORPHESTRA by sample Logic through Bestservice.de by A. Arsov

I know what was your first thought, seeing the title: "that is not such a new instrument!" Yes, it will be three years in September since Sample Logic released it, but they dropped the price recently and offered Morphestra as a downloadable product. And that's how you get Arsov knocking on your door. The whole library still sounds fresh and good no matter that we've heard sounds from Morphestra in many movies. The sad story is that directors usually ask you: "Could you make me something similar to this?", and thanks to being able to share the same tool as the original composer, you can easily say: "Yes, I can!" In researching Morphestra, I ran across some forum comments in which some people claimed that using such a specific tool will lead

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to similar end results. First of all, I presume that this will not be the only instrument you have, and secondly, the entirety of modern (pop) music is based around five instruments: guitar, bass guitar, drums, vocals and keyboard. So it is up to you to make something new out of it. It is just a tool, but it's a hell of a good one.

programming knowledge. A few clicks and you get another cool version of an included sound. All sounds and all loops are very cinematic in a positive sense: strong, memorable with plenty of character, they have a dramatic quality.

Soul

Morphestra is a pretty fat library containing more than 25 GB of atmospheres, melodic instruments, pads, impacts, percussive elements, great numbers of unusual drum loops and all sort of other things. The whole library is like an endless book library of the short stories of Borges. It is really easy to find what you're looking for since everything is well arranged. The directory structure starts with

OK, but what is so special about Morphestra that it is still worthy of a purchase after all these years? Answer: the combination of included instruments, pads, loops, textures and especially the included set of effects that allow you to easily transform those sounds in a very musical way even without having any sound

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Pluck


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w e i v Re

MORPH

three main directories: Atmospheres, Instrumentals and Percussive. Than we go deeper and deeper through the subdirectories. There are many very well arranged subdirectories with selfexplanatory names. A pure musical heaven, it could easily become the only library you will ever need. The second thing that pleased me is the character of particular instruments. No matter that they made it as a cinematic library, I found that some melodic instruments, arpeggiated sounds, pads, atmospheres and even loops or impacts are great for colouring your arrangements no matter the genre. So, it is not mainly the "cinematic" library. It is compiled for that purpose, but it is so versatile and so musical that it would be a shame using it for that purpose only.

the ones that are produced from the atmospheres and pads abound as well samples of a real piano but sound as all those melodic instruments, from totally fresh and airy anyway. They creepy ones to the bell-like heavenly have the attack and impact of a real ones. piano but they sound like a best digital-analogue hybrid from some Along with all those versatile cheerful, other space. The only criticism can be creepy, happy and sad sounds, we get pointed to the fact that here and there also a nice number of so-called it happens that some instruments or multies where you can find different even loops inside the same single patches combined in a bank subdirectory sounds a bit too similar. with the same MIDI channel in which you have almost the whole movie Drum loops are top notch regarding score under single notes on your the overall sound and very versatile, keyboard. but rhythmically some of them are a bit too close. However, we can forgive Metabolism them that small omission because there are still so many different We have already mentioned effects. subdirectories with so many versatile The fact is that the general interface sorts of sounds inside that we still get of this library offers some really fast, many more original and versatile instant and "can't be easier" solutions sounds than we expected. Additionally, for changing or simply adapting the Basically many of the instruments that the thing that impressed me mostly included sounds to your needs. For are in collection are produced by was the general usability of the every sound or preset, we get attack manipulating some very common sounds. Those great impacts which and release controllers along with six classical instruments. So, we have a come and go are ideal for all sort of knobs for switching on or off six great number of piano-like sounds, breaks, fills, intro or outros. Great essential effects: distortion, chorus,

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HESTRA phaser stereo widener, reverb and delay. Pressing some of the additional knobs on the bottom of the interface gives us new windows for fine-tuning those effects along with additional arpeggiators featuring presets and various easy-to-edit controllers. Very simple to use and very effective. There is also a filter, equalizer window, with an almost DJ friendly interface for easy tuning. The whole effects section gives very good results and doesn't demand any effects programming skills. It works mostly with on/off combinations. Spirit

must have collection. I know, it is a crying game to pay 499 Euros for a sound library, but after you play with it for a while, you will not regret the expenditure, especially if you are looking for some additional tonal colours to make your compositions a bit more professional and to give them something to stand out. OK, you get the point. I was really impressed with this library. The only thing that didn't impress me was the repetitive rhythmical structure of some of the included drum loops, but I found more than enough other goodies to take comfort in and if we take into consideration all those included effects that allow us to instantly cook some new versions of the implemented sounds, we've got a really fresh, and after all those years and still highly usable, "the alphabet of music production" library.

All in all, there are over 1200 instruments in one package, and most of them are really useful and have a strong recognizable character (not so unusual for cinematic libraries – they have to be impressive, to support and, consequently, to sell the images). The By Morph-Arsov Alex library is organic, versatile covering all moods and all genres. It is definitely a

P.S. Don't get the wrong impression, this library maybe has "Orchestra" in its name, but it does not contain any classical instrument patches, at least not in their raw versions. If you need a String section for a Jupiter, then Morphestra is the right thing for you. Same can be said for the piano from the Milky road. Mother Earth is not a part of the package. Not this time.

More info and instructions how to spent 499 Euros can be found at: http://www.bestservice.de/detail1.asp /sample_logic/morphestra/en

June 2012

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Rob Papen

Blade

Blade is the latest, eagerly awaited synth from Holland's favourite synthesist, Rob Papen. With this new release Rob and Jon Ayres - formerly of ConcreteFX - have created something new and quite startling. To describe their synth they even came up with a new word to describe the synth's underpinnings - say hello to the Harmolator. Although the name doesn't give much away - harmony, maybe - I confess that it's ripe for Arnie jokes, or puns... just try saying Harmolator with an Austrian accent and a straight face - one or other will crack. Now, it has to be said, whether those jokes and puns are good or bad I'll leave up to you, dear reader.

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I'll be back‌ OK, that was the first and most obvious one. And to build upon it, it is certainly good to see Rob and Jon back with a new synth and one that doesn't tread the well-worn path of subtractive synthesis. Rob and Jon have produced a new take on a notoriously difficult to master synthesis technique - additive synthesis. My own experience with additive synthesis thus far has been, shall we just say, disappointing. All of the additive synths I've tried seem to be geared up to re-synthesis - taking an existing sample of a sound and reproducing it. Creating your own sounds from scratch with nothing June 2012

by Adrian Frost

more than a handful of partials (see Ben Paturzo's excellent series on additive synthesis for the technical details) has been, for me, an exercise in frustration. So, until now I've pretty much given up on this form of synthesis - and yes, I realise I didn't dive in too deep and there are more possibilities out there than I've had a chance to try out. I gave up... so sue me. Rise of the machine So what is Blade? Firstly it is, in my opinion, totally digital in character. For some this will be a turn off, personally I've grown to very much like it. Blade can sound a little thin but


this works to its advantage in a large number of the presets that ship with the full version. Before getting my grubby mitts on a full copy of Blade I tried the demo and, to be brutally honest, I don't think that the selection of presets provided with the demo do this synth justice. Once you take the plunge and get your own copy home then head into the "Synth 01" and "Voltage Disciple 01" banks and prepare to be dazzled. There are some stunning presets in there that will have you merrily playing (rather than writing reviews, ahem) for a long time, long past the time when you should have done the washing up or helped put the kids to bed... I've said too much.

is clickable and generally reveals a drop-down menu of some sort. Anyway, after the first half-hour playing with Blade and listening to some of the intense pads and effects sounds I thought that maybe it should have been called 'Alien'. But when you already have a Predator in your lineup that's only going to lead to trouble. So Blade it is, and my sci-fi is showing... Before heading into a more detailed look at what Blade has to offer there are a couple of bits and pieces that are worth pointing out "up front", things that make you go "Oooh, nice".

First up is the "Chord" feature that When you load Blade up for the first appears in the upper left hand corner time you're presented with a rather of Blade's interface. There are two unique looking synth. It's not going to parts to this feature - the "Strum" be to everybody's taste though I like control and a drop-down menu with it. It's different and, again, is a step three options "Off", "Record" and off the heavily trodden track (I'm "Play". Select the Record option and running out of metaphors) of your play a series of notes - this is better average subtractive synth. The look is than just playing a simple chord as pure digital, shiny with a hint of you get to choose the order of the menace. It's worth pointing out that notes which is important for the nearly all of Blade's glowing blue text Strum control. Once you've played your notes select the play option and June 2012

press just one note. Your series of notes will be played back as a chord where the root note is based on the first note of your series. All well and good. Now turn up the Strum control and play a note - your chord is now spaced out (man...), with the Strum control offering up to a 16.4 second gap between notes. Try this out on a preset such as "Silk Bell" from the Synth 01 set and I believe you'll be very pleased with the result and the possibilities on offer. Secondly, we have Blade's arpeggiator which can be found bottom centre of the interface when you fire the synth up. It's a fairly standard arp but comes with a killer feature - you can record the sequence that you want the arp to use. First you'll need to set Blade into Arp mode from the control in the top left hand corner and then click the "Key" button to the right of the Arp itself. The Arp is now in record mode and any notes you play will be set in consecutive steps up to a maximum of 16 steps. When you've finished click the "Key" button again and then play a note - your whole sequence will be played back for you. Neat and kind of cool. www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

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Thirdly, as seen in the accompanying image, Blade has an easy mode for the likes of me who get easily overwhelmed. There are still quite a few knobs visible but the important ones, and the ones that you may well want to map to your MIDI controller using the brain-dead easy ECS "click and twiddle" system, are the six knobs related to the Harmolator. Hasta la vista, baby!

guessing that Spec stands for I'll be back... again, or Harmolator Spectrum, Spectrograph or some such, salvation but this is one not to be missed. Now onto the Harmolator. This is the As previously mentioned Blade is beating, mechanical, nuclear powered based around additive synthesis heart of Blade. There are definitely a techniques and the Spec tab shows few megawatts of power lurking you what is happening to your sound behind the rather innocuous facade. in terms of the harmonics/partials (discrete sine waves) that make up that sound. It's a great way for seeing how the individual Harmolator

As usual on a Rob Papen synth things are kept neat and tidy. A lot of functionality is actually hidden away at the bottom of the synth, accessed by a set of buttons that serve to open a series of "tabs". There are Pitch controls, Modulation controls, Advanced Controls which deal with certain global settings, FX controls and, my favourite - the Spec tab. I'm

controls, that are a little opaque in their naming, are affecting your sound. There are two static displays and one dynamic display on offer. "Harm" (Harmonics) and "Wave" give you a static representation of your sound in terms of harmonics and as a waveform whilst "Dyn" shows your sound as moving harmonics. It's kind of mesmerising...

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Blade You have 12 rotary knobs and 5 dropdown menus packed into quite a small space. If you want to know what every control does the best thing you can do is go and read Blade's manual. It gives a full and concise explanation of how each control works. Me, I'm just here for the sound. The bottomIn space no-one can hear you line with the Harmolator is that you scream... um... wrong movie really do need to just try it out, tweak some knobs and listen to what Blade's centrepiece is the XY Pad that happens. Blade doesn't really abide by dominates the synth's interface. It's any of the rules of classical additive huge and has a shiny, spacey feel to it. synthesis, in fact Rob and John have There are also a ton of knobs. You'll pretty much chucked out the rule notice that those knobs correspond to book and given us something that is the majority of the Harmolator's totally new and very engaging. Your controls with the addition of a few basic starting point is one of Blade's others for good luck. There are twelve "Timbres" - roughly analogous to the controls for each axis although they oscillator waveforms in a more are spaced round the entire pad. traditional synth. There are over 100 different Timbres provided and once The XY Pad is very simple and works you've chosen one you use the in one of three modes - Off/Live, Harmolator's controls to shape it as Record and Play. Most presets use the you see fit. Play mode and as you play you'll see luminous blue orbs (how evocative...) It sounds like swirl around the pad. In reality they're something of a copsimply following a path that has been out to say "You just determined by the preset developer need to try it", but nothing particularly mysterious - but you really do. The as they move around they move process is through the range of values set by the surprisingly organic controls. and you'll find yourself heading off When creating your own presets, flip very quickly into the pad into Record mode and use uncharted territory. your mouse or controller's XY pad to You can plan to trace your own paths. Off/Live create certain sounds, disables any preset paths but also particularly as you enables you to control the XY pad as get used to how the you play your own tunes. Harmolator operates, but, again, I think It's all very simple but stunningly you'll often find effective when you actually use it. yourself moving off in a different direction Judgement Day from the one planned. Serendipitous Blade has loads of more "normal" discovery is the controls and an extensive array of name of the game! sources and destinations for modulation - I gave up counting them. The 26 built in effects are well up to June 2012

scratch. Although you can do a surprising amount with just the Harmolator, Blade's effects are very much the "cherry on the cake". They sound really good. So, where does Blade stand? Will it survive the oncoming machine apocalypse or is it doomed to be crushed beneath the feet of our advancing robot overlords? Hyperbole aside, Blade is one fine synth. It's new and innovative but retains enough that is familiar from "ordinary" subtractive synthesis that the average plug-in user isn't going to be (too) terrified. Blade may be something of an acquired taste in some ways, it is, as previously mentioned, unashamedly digital and synthetic, but that doesn't mean that it isn't musical. There are some very sweet and lush tones hiding behind that cold, shiny exterior. Give your inner robot a chance and go Harmolate! Blade is available in a number of different formats: PC: 32 & 64 bits VST and RTAS for Windows XP / Vista / Windows 7 Mac: 32 & 64 bits AU and VST and 32 bit RTAS for OSX 10.5 or higher Mac: AAX for OSX 10.5 or higher very soon Mac: 32 bit AU, VST & RTAS for OSX 10.4 (Tiger) Price is a very reasonable 119 Euros (VAT included) or USD 139 For more info and to download the demo head on over to www.robpapen.com www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

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Why do I need a Web site?

A week ago I saw the post on Facebook explaining that "being a musician today means composing, writing, playing, singing, arranging, recording, producing, mixing, mastering, videoing, uploading, designing, promoting, booking, performing, blogging, messaging and filling tax returns. And all we wanted was some sex." Sad but true. In a previous issue we covered the topic of how to make your music video. Today we will go through the web site pro and contra issues. So, do you really need a website? You already have your songs on Soundcloud. Don't get me wrong, it is a really great site, but I visit it only if my relatives or my close friends ask me to check their music. Other than 60

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that, you are only one of a million who shares their music through this site. It is a bit of a shabby solution for spreading the word about the existence of your music (to put it in a biblical manner). The main problem with music today is that if you spend any amount of time in music making than you should spend at least double that time for marketing and representing that music. The next solution is Facebook. The main problem is that you need to be member of fb to see a particular page, the next problem is that fb is becoming more and more a psycho show where everyone just yells their own story without listening to anyone else. Band promotion is also not the best solution on fb as they only offer you one option to make your fan June 2012

base: sending invitations to become a fan of your band. Come on! Even if I like your music I'm not a fan! I get requests on a daily basis to become a fan of some more or less simpatico groups and would be glad to get further information about them, but I really don't need their name alongside the bands that I'm really a fan of. So, having your own site has got some advantages. First one is that you can represent yourself as you really want to. No restrictions, no sharing of the common issues or statements of the site where you are hosting now. It is some sort of fancy business card that represents your work letting other people know that you exist. To put it in a short line – it looks far more professional. With a web site, you simply do exist.


Why do I need a Web site? (with a little help from our Magix friends - Xara Web Designer providers) by A. Arsov

You don't know much about web programming and we all know that web pages are not cheap. Even if you learn this and that about HTML and CSS you still need to find a place for web hosting, which also costs. The good programs for web design are expensive while the free ones are not much help if you don't have any essential programming knowledge.

But there is a cure for every disease in this world. On the Magix site I've discovered a program called Xara Web Designer which allows you to build a fancy web site without any previous HTML or CSS knowledge. It looks like those drawing programs. Pick a picture and drag it to the main

window, pick a text tool and write some text. There is also a great number of templates where you can change everything, adapting things to your personal tastes and needs. A template for pictures, whole sites, even for Facebook buttons, PayPal and similar things. A various palette of navigation buttons, there is even a nice number of professional photo images that you can use as a background or for any other purpose.

track for a moment. Xara Web Designer supports Javascript and Flash. There are a lot of free Flash MP3 players, picture scrollers and similar beasts on www.flabell.com. It is dead easy to add gadgets anywhere on your site. All you need to do is to draw an object with the drawing tool, right click on it, choose web properties, choose the sub menu called placeholder and simply copy Javascript code into it. Xara Web Designer has already implemented some Javascript functions, so your pictures will pop up and your buttons will change colour automatically as you go over them, even without pushing them.

Xara Web Designer also offers templates for making web presentations. The best thing is that with this program you also get free space on their server, enough for all of your songs, pictures and similar files. With this software you can easily After installing the program I took one create professional looking sites in a coffee break watching the getting few hours. To tell you the truth I even started video clips that are on the Magix site and half an hour later I was became a little obsessed with this ready to go. Within the first few hours program, putting music on a side I almost finished two sites. Of course June 2012

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Why do I need a Web site?

a few days later I wanted more, to do some advanced things I saw on a A few days ago a new version of Xara some fancy net sites and wondered if Web Designer popped up. Version 8. It that was possible to do with Xara Web comes in two shapes. There is the Designer. So, I went on to the Xara basic one, which could well cover all site where I found two forums, one your needs and costs only 40 Euros. magazine with additional tutorials, and started bothering people in the Even if a friend was willing to do you a forum. I wanted to make some website it would cost you much more additional, not typical fancy than that. The MX version adds a few backgrounds, therefore I asked a additional professional tools, widgets question about that in the for e-commerce, some flash Talkgraphic.com web forum animations, animated product recommended from Xara, and got very exhaustive answers. It is one of showcases, support for online and it the most pleasant and most costs 90 Euros. supportive forums I've seen till now. A lot of professionals are there and they During my musical carer I've learned not only post you an answer but in a few HTML and CSS tricks, just most cases they will even make you a enough to make my own site and now Xara file representing the solution to after all that time I've finally got your problem and some of them are program that doesn't require any even willing to shoot a short tutorial previous HTML skills. What's more, video. the sites made with Xara Web Designer looks much more up to date and fancier than the ones I made with my HTML and CSS knowledge. OK, I'm not a designer, but hey, this is the software for us, for non-designers. Of course I noticed that it is used also by many professionals. I presume that such software can save them a lot of

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time. It is so refreshing to just drag and drop and draw the whole thing instead of writing all those mad signs into the code. As soon as you finish with your drawing art you can publish it on the Xara server. 500 MB is more than enough for your site and all of your songs. Magix is a doctor for all sort of tools that help common people to fulfil their dreams doing things that used to be reserved only to professionals. I became a video master, thanks to their Magix Movie Maker Pro and now it looks like I'm a skilled web programmer using the tool that they are selling through their site, Xara Web Designer, and ‌ all I wanted was just some sex. Yes, Freud was right, sexuality is a great motivator. By Web A. Arsov.net

For more information about Xara Web Designer visit: http://www.magix.com/gb/xaraweb-designer/


Wusik Station Improving by the minute. www.wusik.com


w e i v Re

Linplug

relectro Part 3

by Adrian Frost

In the February issue of WSM I spent some time looking at the sound mangling possibilities of LinPlug's "relectro" effects plug-in. Combined with the same developer's "RMV" drum machine plug-in, we got some of the way towards creating, from a fairly innocuous acoustic beat, a zippy, gritty electronic sounding groove. This month we're going to finish off by looking at the modulation options offered by relectro. To the phatmobile!!

LinPlug instrument you'll recognize what is on offer here. In that sense there's nothing new here but what there is works well. You have two 16-step modulators available and you can adjust both the tempo and the number of steps to be used. This latter option means that if you want to just make a short, repeating sequence you only have to adjust the Length value rather than fiddling around with dividing up the steps and working out which ones to

Figure 1

Continuing from where we left off last time - we've worked our way through relectro's selection of filters, pitch tracker, wave shapers and EQs. Now it's time to look at the Step Modulators, LFOs and Mod Matrix (Figure 1). LinPlug have pretty much kept to their tried and tested formula for both the Step Modulators and the Mod Matrix. If you've used more or less any other 64

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use to create the effect that you want. Tempo goes up (or is that down‌) to 1/64 of a beat. It's via the Mod Matrix (Figure 2) that you apply the Step Modulators to your sound. As you can see from the image I've set a fairly regular June 2012

Figure 2

pattern for Modulator 1 and then for number two I've selected the alternate steps. Step Mod 1 is then applied to the Low Pass filter's Cutoff and Step Mod 2 to the Wave Repeat parameter of the Wave Shaper. The centre column of numbers indicates how much of each Step Modulator is being used. Obviously, the higher the value, the greater the effect. If you've been following along and have, perhaps, saved all of your previous settings you'll find that the Step Modulators set up in this way add a new movement to the sound that we've created. The use of the Wave Repeat parameter also adds pitch to the, normally pitch-less, drum sound making for a bouncy, electronic‌ thing.


Figure 3

Figure 4

Relectro offers a good range of both sources and destinations for the Mod Matrix as you can see from the associated images (Figures 3 and 4). One useful trick for creating a bit more randomness is to route one of the LFOs to the same destination as one of your Step Modulators. Set the LFO's tempo to a different value than that of the Step Mod and you have instant pseudo-randomness. Finally, a quick comment on the LFOs (Figure 5). Actually teaching you about LFOs would be akin to teaching my

Figure 5

grandmother to suck eggs (as they say) but I just wanted to point out that relectro has an exceptional range of tempos on offer for the two built in LFOs. I've not tried them all out as yet but there's plenty there to keep one occupied.

particular advantage that it comes from a good company that is dedicated to producing high quality effects and instruments. Peter and Pavel also stand by, and support, their work. Get 'em here‌

That's all folks! This final article on relectro was never intended to be too long. More of a reminder that this plug-in is out there and worth taking a look at. Although there are many similar sound mangling effects on the market (FSUs as they seem to be called, I'll let you look it up‌) relectro has the June 2012

relectro and RMV can both be purchased from http://www.linplug.com Demos are also available. relectro costs 79 US$ / 59 Euro and RMV (as used in this series of articles) costs 179 US$ / 139 Euro

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Coleman Hawkins by Ben Paturzo

l u o S d y an

Bod

If I close my eyes, I can remember it all, as if it were yesterday. Taking a long pull on my Gauloises, I leaned back, and sent the smoke trail up towards the ceiling. A bad habit I'd picked up from a gal on the train, the tobacco was especially strong, considering I'd never smoked before. But she had been particularly fetching, with lipstick so red it looked like blood, and a way of holding the cigarette with her gloved hand, lips barely touching the end, puffing lightly. Mesmerizing. And, in between the puffs, that smile. It took a while before I noticed she was saying something, repeating over and over, about a man in town, a musician, someone I just had to see, a Mr. Hawkins. Except she said Monsieur Haw-keens. In exasperation, when it became obvious that I was taking an awful long time studying her silk stockings and the lovely gams encased therein, she offered me a 66

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Gauloises. Caught, I smiled sheepishly, the heat creeping up my neck, and I took one from her pack, having trouble meeting her amused gaze. She laughed softly, and my heart moved in my chest, I swear it did. The year was 1935 and I was in Paris. At the club, walking past the lobby placard (Coleman Hawkins, from America!), I found the room filled with smoke. The sounds of Zippo's flaring and the skrrtch of striking matches met my ears, mixed in with soft, feminine, crystalline laughter and the low, answering rumble of their beaus. I got a table close to the stage. Perfect. I lit the Gauloises, and thought of the babe from the train. She had refused, ever so sweetly, my increasingly urgent attempts to have her join me that night. Even the tug-at-the-heartstrings, I'm-astranger-in-a-strange-land, help-a-Joe-out, look of sadness had no effect. She must have loved it.

June 2012


Coleman Hawkins 1943

Coleman Hawkins, Spotlite (Club), New York, NYC, Sep 1946

Coleman Hawkins, from America!

The house lights began to dim, and a lone spotlight came up just as it got quiet, and an impeccably-dressed man stepped into the light, his hat shading his eyes from the spotlight's glare. A tenor saxophone he held tenderly, like a long-lost love, came up to his lips slowly and purposefully. The first few bars sounded familiar, as I'd had my share of piano lessons; it was Johnny Green's Body and Soul. But the song was different, transformed into something I'd never heard before, played in a way that had never been played before. Hawkins improvised on the melody, treating the chord progressions as pieces of an experimental ballet, the notes his dancers, his sax the choreographer. Green might not have approved, but the crowd

found it electric, and I was left with a very satisfied grin. Hawkins's set was a revelation to me, and a demonstration to the European world of what jazz was all about. American music, pure and simple. And Hawkins was there as a sort of musical ambassador, playing to audiences that came to adore him, one more man of color appreciated in a way that he was not, in his own country. While I saw Europe, he toured the continent, playing in England, the Netherlands, even Switzerland. Germany was different, as Schicklgruber and his goons put the kibosh on Hawk's travels there. Guess the Master Race couldn't stomach a negro with so much talent. So much for the whole Aryan superiority gag.

Benny Carter 1946 NYC

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Coleman Hawkins Max Roach 1947

Coleman Hawkins and Charlie Parker

And, oh yes, it was Hawk. After his set at the club in Paris, I approached him, somewhat in awe, and offered my hand. I started to do the Mr. Hawkins that was really something, but he stopped me, his warm eyes smiling, as he said, Hawk, call me Hawk, and continued to hold my hand. Politely asking if I played, I might have mentioned the piano, with an embarrassed shrug, and he chuckled softly and nodded. A voice called from across the club, saving me any further embarrassment. As he made his way to the voice, he did turn back, still smiling that smile I would see a thousand times as I followed his career, playing with the greats, Lady Day (Billie Holiday), Charlie Parker, Chester Gordon, Django Reinhardt, Miles Davis, Thelonius Monk, Benny Carter, Max Roach—so many to remember, so easy to lose count. He smiled that warm smile that showed the humanity of a true stranger in a strange land, and, right before he shook hands with the caller, I saw a quick wave, and it took everything I had not to turn around, to see who he was waving at, because it couldn't have been me. And it's all so clear, even now, that it could have been yesterday. The smoke, the laughter, the intoxicating smiles of too many gorgeous females, almost too much to bear for a barelyout-of-high-school boy, seeing the world on the old man's dime. Make a man out of you, the old man had winked, with my mom pretending not to notice. 68

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Lester Young 1946 New York City

Coleman Hawkins, Miles Davis 1947 NYC


Billie Holiday, Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, Gerry Mulligan 1957

Thelonious Monk, NYC 1947

And, above all, the glorious music that filled my body and soul, night after night, as I wished, dear God, that it would never end. Hawk would return to New York City, to continue a long and remarkable career that had started in the 20's and that would remain musically relevant to the day he finally tossed the ol' mortal coil and met up with Gabriel. Man, that jam session must have had them jumpin'! Those he touched, nurtured, would become famous in their own right. And all musicians seemed to gravitate towards him, famous or not. All wanted to share the stage or be in studio with the man. Hawk would become master of the tenor saxophone, just as he helped define jazz, from swing to bebop to the music of the 60's. The man could blow, the notes spilling sweet and pure, like from Heaven's own spring.

Hawk in the 60s

Brother, take my advice and listen to some of the music Hawk and friends laid down together. You'll hear the grace of the man, playing from a place as honest as we mortals can offer each other, from deep within his body and soul. Body and Soul

Hawk in the 50s June 2012

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Native Instruments

Damage by Ginno Legaspi

Another issue and another Kontaktbased library reviewed courtesy of Native Instruments, and Damage is this month's featured ROMpler - part of NI's extensive line of sample-based instruments. A joint effort between NI and Heavyocity, Damage, as the name suggests, offers bruising percussive sounds. It is a cinematic library created by sampling heavyweights Heavyocity. As we all know, Heavyocity are the same people behind the massively successful Evolve and Evolve Mutation series libraries, which I happen to like a lot. They've also done a bunch of soundtracks, commercials and game music. Needless to say, these guys know their chops and are serious at what they do.

library, you have to authorize it online through Native Instrument's Service Center. Needless to say, it was a piece of cake.

and assigned across the keys, covering two to three octaves. These loop menus are titled by genre such as Epic Organic, Epic Tech, Industrial and Mangled Pop for flexibility and easy navigation. The Single Loops sub-folder on the other hand has more than 800 single sounds, with each slice broken down and assigned to different keys for easy rearrangement.

Let's start with the sounds first. Heavyocity went to extremes in recording the sounds for Damage. They brought a studio drum kit (toms, snares, kicks, cymbals) and various percussion instruments (guiro, blocks, ethnic) into the studio and sampled them using the best microphones and The other category in Damage is high end studio gear available around. called Percussive Kits contains 200+ They've also sampled cool percussive sampled percussive elements and materials such as wooden and metal 500+ one-shot sounds. There are 5 objects, church octabans, plastic sub-folders altogether ranging from drums, a spring drum, sheet metal, Ethnic to FX kits. You'll find hugeetc. It doesn't stop there. What's sounding epic drums suitable for big really jaw dropping is that they went budget movies, 'damaged' kits that to junkyards to capture the sounds of are just strong for industrial and With Damage, the concept is very exploding cars, objects being dropped electro music and FX kits for adding clear: Native Instruments and from great heights, capturing the drama and impact to any Heavyocity wanted to put out an alldevastating impacts when they hit the arrangements. My personal favorites purpose percussion library with an ground. We're talking about awesome are the 'Dark Impacts' and 'Broken aggressive edge, employing various junkyard rhythm objects here. Pianos' kits for adding weird spooky powerful sound-shaping controls for elements in horror films. cinematic, game, TV, film and Damage is divided into two soundtrack producers. categories: Rhythmic Suites and Next are the GUI and controls. The Percussive Kits. Much like the similar good thing with Damage and the My review copy of boxed Damage category in Evolve, the Rhythmic Kontakt sampler itself is the vast came in the mail. There are two discs Suites provides 700+ unique tempocontrol it offers. In the Global Control in the box with 30 GB worth of sounds. synced loops. The Rhythmic Suites window of Damage, each loaded An additional disc installs the stripped category is further split into two subpreset or kit contains three pages for down Kontakt Player. The installation folders of Loop Menus and Single editing and tweaking. The Main button went rather smoothly (although it Loops. In the Loop Menus, there are gives you access to controls such as took a long time to install the whole 16 menu-style presets, and each Master effects (distortion, lo-fi, delay, thing), then, in order to use the preset includes plenty of loops spread reverb, compression), Amp Sequencer

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and Amp Envelope. The EQ/Filter button has various controls that enable the user to tweak the 3-band EQ and the Low/High Pass filters. If you want to push your sound to cut through the mix, a signature big dial called 'Punish' is available for adding saturation and compression. It gives this nice coloration and warmness to the sound. For live performers and tweakers, the T-FX button offers the excellent Trigger FX - a realtime, triggerable set of FX while playing with the loops. You can add these effects (delay, distortion, lo-fi, etc.) on the fly using the upper keys of your simple MIDI controller. The Stage page is another cool feature in Damage in which you can place drum kit elements within the stereo field. It allows you to quickly and easily place

a drum sound in 1 of 35 positions on a 'stage'. Furthermore, sound designers and crazy loop 'manipulators' alike can dive deeper in editing each loaded loop. You can do slice edits, control level, pan, tune and do real-time glitched stuff such as reverse, randomize, freeze and drops with a push of a button. And you thought Damage was only for contemporary orchestral and cinematic stuff, eh? It does more! There are loads of percussion libraries out there but few of them have the appeal of being a very powerful library, capable of filling every composer's need for great cinematic percussions and various esoteric hits and elements. Depending on the impact sounds you're after, Damage offers many of June 2012

them. The selection is enormous, the quality of the loops is amazing and the Heavyocity team did very well in applying every magic there is in programming this mind-blowing Kontakt instrument. Without a doubt, Damage is a very strong contender in the percussion library arena and poised to make a dent in the market. Thumbs up. Format: 16GB/30 GB (uncompressed), PC/MAC, For use with Kontakt 5 Player and full Kontakt 5 Web: www.native-instruments.com Price: $339 (Box) www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

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DanziLand

Hi everyone! Well it looks as though I’ve been accepted into the family here. So far no hate mail and that’s a good thing! In this article we’re going to talk about frequencies, personal bias and artistic creativity. Now that you have your monitors all set up and you’re using ARC, we can get a bit deeper into this topic. I write quite a bit for my own forum and will be borrowing some of my favorite things and sharing them here with you. A friend of mine on another forum posted some pretty good questions. I wanted to share my responses as I felt this would make a great read for those interested as well as talk to our Wusik readers about this stuff. There are 3 parts to this article. Let’s deal with frequencies first.

“Dealing with Frequencies” Question: I've heard pro-mixes here and on monophonic radio ... where there are smart EQ delineations between electric guitars, vocs, and snares. I constantly experiment with the carradio equalizer to help get ideas of how to repair "tinny" or boomy masters. Danny started explaining his inverse techniques. But I hope to regain strategies from everyone (great or small). Please explain your strategies clearly: like: "I reduce the guitar buss 3 decibels, at 72

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2.2 KHz, q=1", to allow snare and voc timbre. "My band likes boomy toms, so I raise these 6 decibels, at 580 Hz, q=2.5" "Etc." Danny’s Answers: This one is really a tough call. The reason being, the instrument prints/captures (print=record, same as “capture”) are never the same. Some sounds may have mids accentuated that literally make the sound what it is and you don't want to curb that, so you have to be careful. One thing that I have always done when working with kick and bass guitar is I like to map out my sounds before I record. If the song in my

June 2012

head should have more of a "boom" type kick drum, then I know that the bass guitar I use will have less low end in it. If I'd rather more of a snappy kick with a bit more beater in it, I know I can have more low end in my bass guitar. If keys/strings etc will be in the mix, I decide if they will be dominant or filler type keys. If they will be dominant, I can get away with more mids in them...if they will be fillers, I know the mids and low end will need to be curbed if rockin' guitars will be in the mix. It's tough to just say "well, I cut this and this in order to allow something else to be heard more" because unless you are using the exact same instruments for every print, there's no way to determine what to cut or boost. It depends on the instruments you


Dispatch

by Danny Danzi

printed as well as what you expect out of your mix. For example...

decide where you want the low end in the toms to be. This will dictate the decisions you make on the bass and In one tune, you may want your bass kick. But the other side of the coin guitar to have a bit more 80 Hz than it here is this: the toms will not be would normally have. You may want sounding throughout the entire song, to add a bit of bass guitar clack so you have to find a happy medium (percussive higher end) at 2 or 2.5 to where they have impact when they KHz...it depends on the sound. You hit, have the low end that you need, may need to cut out 300 Hz ... you but aren't adding this "whoommmfff� just never know until the sound is in of low end that crushes the mix when place. But if this were the case, it tells they DO appear. They can also easily you what you'll need to do to your be masked by a bass guitar or a kick kick drum because you can't have that drum to where you have less same boost or they will mask each impact...so you have to be careful. other. So we may have to add some low end at 50-60 Hz for the kick to For someone to come out and say have some low end meat and add a "Well, you need to high pass this and little 6-8k for some beater this, and remove mids here and curb clack/presence....but again, unless we highs here by default" would be pretty can hear what the kick drum is doing, much a waste in my opinion. You just all these numbers are just numbers. can't make that call without hearing the instruments in question. In order for backup vocals to shine Sometimes, the instrument sounds through a mix, you want to thin them themselves accentuate things that out a bit from like 600 Hz to 800 Hz. most people take away by default. By This removes some of the thickness, doing this and living by "EQ templates" but it also removes the blanket that or however they may be set in their could stop these from being masked ways, they are depriving the within the lead vocals. But again, it instrument of "its natural sound" depends on the mic used, how many which is what we want at all times. backup vocals, what the timbre of the Something shouldn't have to be so voice is, how much natural low end curbed that you no longer like what it comes from the voice, is it a female sounds like. However, you do have to vocal to where it may be lacking a bit fit it in the mix and sometimes this of low end and it sounds a bit thin? can be challenging. These are all the things to consider, but again, meaningless unless we are Another example: If we have a listening to the sound that is being kickin' rock tune with a beater-present tweaked. kick drum and we have a nice low "ooom" sounding bass, what do you do If you like boomy, cannon sounding with the killer string pad you just toms, for the right impact, you make added that has left hand bass notes? them have the most low end in the You have 2 choices. You remove the mix and thin out the bass guitar and left hand bass notes because they are the kick drum. You'll also have to not really needed with a bass guitar

June 2012

that has the nice lows we need already, or you high pass the heck out of the string patch until the low notes are not walking on anything. Or, you curb the lows in the bass guitar, give it a bit more "clack" and allow the string patch lows to be the emphasis of your low end. But again, and I stress this, it depends on the instrument print as well as what frequencies you decide to push before we can even make a decision on what to cut or boost. We can give starting points as to what we remove, but this isn't the same for every project and it shouldn't ever be the same unless you are working on an album where the same instruments appear. Even there, sometimes what you use on 5 songs may not work on 3 additional songs on the same album. This is also due to what keys the songs are in. If we have a bass guitar playing one of those low B strings, you'll need to set up a different EQ for that or you may need to automate for each time that low B shows itself in the mix. 8 out of 10 times, that low B is going to leap out and say "I AM A BASS PLAYING A LOW B NOTE, HEAR ME ROAR BABY!" So keep in mind that there are lots of things that need to be considered when doing this stuff. If you compiled the info from 10 guys here on Wusik that gave you the techniques they use for this, I would bet that only a small fraction of their info would apply to you based on their instrument sounds vs. the ones you are coming up with. The more you do this and learn how to deal with EQ as well as what to expect out of it, the better you get at making

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DanziLand the right decisions. Another thing to keep in mind is there are certain frequencies that are not needed in some instruments. Removing them completely actually cleans up the instrument. Do this on all your tracks and the mix suddenly sounds like a million bucks because it doesn't have the garbage in it any longer.

need a little more meat in the low mids, dance snares, not so much.

needed in any guitar tone. Some people high pass from 100 Hz on down...I've gone as high as 200 Hz on Cymbals: Remove lows and selective down. Again, it depends on the sound, low mids completely. Sometimes we the player, the guitar, the amp and want a little beef in a cymbal that may how it was captured before I can be thin, so you can add a slight bit of determine this. Boosting 600-800 Hz low mid to enhance this. Remove 16 for warm mids, 2-5 KHz for KHz on up if you can depending on highs...anything else higher, will give how much sssss or "air" you want. you "sizzle". Watch 200 Hz to 300 Hz Let's look at a few instruments. That said, you can usually remove for mud, and 400-500 Hz for boxiness. some hiss in your cymbals at 12 KHz 400-500 Hz can also give you a bit of Kick drums: These are difficult to and replace what you remove there thickness if used in moderation to handle at times because you can with 10 KHz in moderation for a sculpt the sound. literally tweak frequencies successfully different type of “brilliance” so to from 40 Hz up to about 6-7 KHz But speak. It always depends on what Bass guitar: Most bass guitar low after 7 KHz (which some might think you’re faced with. Abiding by rules end is heard from 75 Hz to about 120 is too high to work, however you can can be the death of you really. Hz. I don't like sub lows in my bass get a bit of air in your beater in that guitar, so I'll remove all that stuff. area) you don't need anything there, Toms: Depending on how many and Watch for the 300 Hz range ... this is so you could remove it all from 7 KHz what sizes, you don't need any high what muds up a bass. You shouldn't on up. That said, depending on the end after about 7-8 KHz in these most need any high end frequencies above kick you are using and the genre of times. But again, it depends on the 4 KHz or so...most times, you won't music you are mixing in, there really sound and you may want a bit of a hear high end going into a bass after aren’t any rules. You may add 10 KHz “stick strike” type sound which will 3 KHz, but at 4 KHz, you can get a bit to a kick or a bass drop for techno show up from 7-8 KHz. Remove some of air in there. 5 KHz on up, get rid of just to make it sound weird. Or you mids and low mids if you want them a it totally. But again, this depends on may layer a digital kick sample with a bit more punchy for a less classic rock the bass. Maybe you want a real one and do what we call “hybridsound...more low mids and mids for percussive type bass...if so, you may ing” and mix both samples at once more of warmer classic rock sound. want it a bit clacky or airy in the highs. with two completely different EQ Watch for sub lows. I like to remove curves. anything under 90 Hz on these other Piano: Treat it like a guitar on the low than a floor tom that may need a bit end. Depending on the sound, high Snares: Not much low end needs to of low end. Other times, I’ll kick 90 Hz pass until it sounds like the low end be in a snare, but it depends on how up depending on the drum. Some mask has been removed and it sounds thick you need it to be. Most times, toms are low sounding and resonate like "tickled ivories" instead of piano you can remove 150 Hz on down on their own. This may be too much. with a low mid or low end bass mask. because it's not needed in a snare. Other times it may not be enough. For Mids and high end here depend on the Other times, you may feel this extra dance toms, we always like those sound of the piano. Most times though, low end is what you need. There are having low end in them for impact. curbing the mids at about 860 Hz will no rules other than the ones you You’ll usually get what you’re looking do wonders for a piano...but this make yourself. But when you notice for somewhere between 80 Hz and depends on how much low mids it certain instruments are just not 120 Hz. may have. Again, 300 Hz can kill ya. playing nice together, this is when you need to alter things a bit. Rock snares Guitars: Nothing under 80 Hz is Strings: Watch low notes if there is a

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Dispatch bass guitar in the mix. High pass until rules really, just starting points “Personal Bias” you don't hear the low end notes and guidelines. fighting with the bass guitar. Again, Accepting mixes for what they are not pinpointing where to cut depends on Soloing Tracks: This to me is what you think they should be: Did you what we're faced with. We might be extremely important and one of ever listen to a pro mix and not really like able to let a little 110 Hz slide the biggest mistakes people it? When this happens, chances are quite a through here. It depends on the make in this field. Why is it a few others will not like it either. However, sound we're using. Cut mids if this mistake? I’ll tell ya. When it is our job as engineers to try and get a will be filler instrument, if it's the you mix an instrument to sound little something out of every mix. Remain dominant one, EQ to taste, but watch good on its own, you are mixing positive and listen to the mix for what it is the lows and low mids. Strings can that instrument as an entity. without bias. We should always try to like easily engulf an entire mix and mask When you mix an entire song this something about every mix and try not to everything if you're not careful. way and press play, you wonder discard it as bad. That's a good way to be. Anything after 6 KHz will be giving why it didn’t sound as good as The reason being, this allows artistic flair you air type high end. However, you thought it might. This is to be accepted in your world. I'm like that sometimes it's nice to back down 4 because you didn’t carve the as well. I try my best to take something KHz a bit and bring in some of the instruments to work in a mix. good from a mix or a style of music that I upper air frequencies for texture. Any of us can make an individual may not be down with. The reason being, Again, yep, you guessed it, it depends instrument sound good on its that is the artist/producer's take on artistic on the sound. own. But once you bring in all creativity and if a majority of people do the others, something strange not like the mix or instruments chosen, So in all honestly, none of the above happens. he's probably gone against the grain and means a thing really because it will broken some rules. But to HIM, his depend on what your vision will be for Now, there are seasoned instruments and the mix sounded good. these instruments as well as what engineers that can do this. Just sounds you have recorded. The great like there are engineers that can It took me a good 20 years to stop ripping thing about this field is the ability to destructively record with effects mixes apart in my own image. It can experiment and go against the grain. and know just how much to use, literally destroy your ability to enjoy music. As long as nothing is masking and some can solo up instruments Here’s a good example of that. I listen to everything is audible, you're right and make them work. For everything and love all styles of music. But where you need to be. We can't just example, I can solo something my heart belongs to rock, classic rock, do something because we read that up and make it work. From doing heavy metal, pop etc. Let’s take a classic we are supposed to do it. We need to this for so long, you sort of get a rock example like the band YES. Great try it with the instruments we are grasp on what works and what band! Just about no one will dispute that. using along with the vision we have doesn’t. But even I wouldn’t solo However, some of the guitar tones used on for this particular mix. Some up individual instruments and set that album annoyed me to the point of not instruments just sound cool when we the EQs of an entire song this being able to listen to them as often. leave what would normally be way. The purpose of solo is to Steve Howe is and always will be an "offending frequencies" in the mix. We hone in on an instrument. This is incredible guitarist. But some of the tones then fix the others to accommodate. more for problem areas where on some of the YES albums will always That's another method to use. you can’t hear the instrument remain questionable to me because they Sometimes we hear this killer sound, clearly enough because of all the just sounded bad to my ears. but it may not work in the mix. You others playing along with it. So either make it work by tweaking it, or solo can be your friend but it The same can be said about some of the you tweak all the others to also can be your enemy if you screaming metal bands. There are quite a compliment it and find a happy don’t go about it the right way. few bands that are insane in their medium. Just remember there are no performance and writing ability. But the June 2012

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DanziLand Dispatch singing is so harsh that it can sometimes degrade my listening experience. The same with some of the gangsta rap. I think it’s brilliant, but some of it is a bit extreme and over the top to where it degrades my listening experience.

“Artistic Creativity”

Your artistic take: There will come a time when you may create a mix that you love that the majority may not like. That doesn't mean it's a bad mix. Even if people you hold credible respond that it's a bad mix or they When you are faced with something may not like a particular instrument, like this, you take whatever good you it's still not a bad choice if you like can from the performance and dial out what you hear. This going against the what annoys you. Don’t try to listen grain stuff as well as breaking the and judge the performance in your rules is important for growth as well own image. Listen to it how it was as your artistic creativity. It really is. delivered and try to enjoy where the It gives you a chance to say "well, artist was coming from. Removing guess what, I made this tune for ME your own personal bias will literally based on MY vision, world!" allow you to enjoy music a whole lot more, trust me on that. The day I All of the above is perfectly acceptable stopped being overly critical was the as long as you don't have any blatant day I learned to enjoy music again. issues, masking, or artifacts. To me, if I’m sure you have all been through a mix is audible and is pleasant to this. You loved music until you listen to without annoying high end, learned what to listen for and then the too much mid range congestion for music you loved wasn’t as appealing the sake of "warmth" and sub low end to you like it used to be, right? booming all over (unless it's rap, hip Sometimes learning how and what to hop or some R&B) it's a good mix. I listen for can be a blessing and a don't like some of the instruments in curse. Learn when to be critical and some Beatles songs, but I love the when to enjoy something. It can really Beatles and their tunes. It’s just that make a difference. some of those sounds didn't sit well with me. We can say this about any mix in creation really, but there comes a time to where we need to be less subjective and just say "is this good or isn't it" without someone mixing the tune in their own image.

My My My My

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Site: http://www.dannydanzi.com Band: http://www.myspace.com/dannydanziband Audio Services: http://dannydanzi.com/aud.php Recording Lessons: http://dannydanzi.com/rec.php

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June 2012

That totally ruins the vibe in my opinion, don't you think? I love when people can help you with problem areas and state the specifics when things are blatantly obvious to them, but to just give an opinion for the sake of "Well, I would have done this instead" just to me, doesn't really hold as much clout as it used to. I think how we listen to something is extremely important while accepting something for what it is instead of what someone may want it to be. This is of the utmost importance in my opinion. So keep on doing your thing and enjoy this field, people. Don't be afraid to experiment and don't be afraid to show the artist in you. At the end of the day, most people (unless you’re a signed artist releasing to the world) will listen to your tunes on Sound Cloud or Reverb Nation 5 times more or less and they may never revisit the tune again. You on the other hand as the creator, will have to live with it forever. So you make sure you please yourself first and foremost at all times, keep your frequencies and personal bias in check and never be afraid to let your artistic creativity out of its cage. In my next column, I think compression may be a good subject to cover as well as a few of my favorite compressors. What do ya think? Until next time, thanks for reading! Rock on! -Danny Danzi


Wusi label.com


w e i v Re Digital Sound Factory's

Orchestral Collection SoundFont Bundle by Adrian Frost

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In 2005 I started making music on my computer. I quickly discovered the wonderful world of samples and ROMplers. I purchased one of the, at the time, top sampler VSTs whose name I shall not mention. In 2006 for a whole variety of reasons I stopped making music on my computer. I deleted all my instruments and samples and consigned the boxes to the attic. It would be another four years before the bug would bit again. In 2010 I resumed making music on my computer. This time I decided that I wanted everything to be "au naturel" - no samples. I wanted to learn synthesis and learn it properly. So I did, and I am. But I was missing one thing - good string sounds. Even the best synths can only take you so far towards the sound of massed violins, violas, celli and basses. Samples it would have to be, the "purity" of my music be damned. I need strings, and more than just a general wash of string sounds. There are a huge number of orchestral strings libraries available. The range is daunting, the prices equally so. Most of what is on the market is beyond my modest music making means. What to do? In April's issue of WSM Alex reviewed some Dimension LE compatible samples from Digital Sound Factory. The sound pack he looked at was dedicated to E-MU's "Proteus" sampler. Which funnily enough included string samples... hmmm, could be something here. Coincidentally I had purchased the Mega Pack of 1500 instruments in SoundFont format only a day or two before reading Alex's article. A quick trip back to DSF's site

and a scout round of what was available rather piqued my interest. Subsequently Timothy Swartz of DSF very kindly provided me with the Orchestral Collection SoundFont Bundle for review.

This is pretty much the definitive source! The only one I'd add to the list is Prodyon's "Phenome" player which is available from http://www.prodyon-virtualgear.com/crbst_12.html Onto the review...

Before diving into the bundle a word about SoundFonts. SoundFonts first appeared on the music scene way back in the 20th century. According to

The Orchestral Collection

The collection is composed of five Wikipedia, fount of all knowledge, "The elements: ♪ E-MU Virtuoso Orchestral 1 original SoundFont 1.0 version of the file format was developed in the early ♪ E-MU Virtuoso Orchestral 2 1990s by E-MU Systems and Creative ♪ Saint Thomas Orchestral Labs. A specification for this version Strings was never released to the public. The ♪ Vocal Expressions first and only major device to utilize ♪ Studio Orchestra this version was Creative's Sound Blaster AWE32 in 1994." Each element can be purchased individually from DSF's website but Who remembers Sound Blasters? As the bundle is a highly attractive deal. far as I remember - my memory is The whole collection weighs in at 2.47 hazy - I never reached the giddy GB, 1.79 GB of which is dedicated to heights of Sound Blaster ownership. I had to be content with a "compatible" the Studio Orchestra alone. The two Virtuoso libraries consume only a sound card, which meant it never miserly 62.9 MB between them! The played SoundFonts. C'est la vie. Vocal Expressions and Saint Thomas Orchestral Strings libraries are about Many consider SoundFonts to be outdated and pointless in this day and 300MB each. age of multi-gigabyte sample libraries. E-MU Virtuoso Orchestral 1 & 2 Au contraire. They still have their place and can be very useful, and We'll start with the Virtuoso libraries. detailed, sound sources. Virtuoso 1 consists of strings whilst If you chose to use SoundFonts these Virtuoso is packed to the gunnels with wind, brass and percussion days you'll need to find yourself a player. Many synths allow you to load instruments. You get 128 instruments in each library. As well as supplying SoundFonts as oscillators, but to get the libraries Tim was very forthcoming the best from them you'll need a with information about each of the proper SoundFont player. DSF offer a sample libraries. The Virtuoso libraries list of such beats on their website: http://www.digitalsoundfactory.com/x are taken from the hardware ROMs and are of the Seattle Symphony tra_info.php Orchestra recorded in Benyrora Hall. June 2012

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w e i v Re When you consider the size of the SoundFonts it is tempting to dismiss them and say "Well, they've got to be missing something or other..." It's true that they may not have the depth of some other libraries but what you do get are beautifully recorded instruments that sound way bigger than their actual size might suggest.

its proper range and overlaps Legato : notes played smoothly together. There is no pause or silence appropriately with its fellow instruments. This gives a nicer effect between notes. ♪ Spiccato : applies only to bowed than just having everything smooshed together into one bland "woodwind instruments. The bow is bounced off section" that takes no account of the the string as each note is played component parts. Do you get the leading to short, distinct notes. feeling I like this stuff? ♪ Pizzicato : plucked notes, probably one of the most well known It's worth pointing out too that each "other" styles. The most attractive thing about the individual instrument covers its string side of the collection is that you ♪ Marcato : notes played loudly or correct range - there appears to be no, with force, a heavy attack on the note or very little, stretching of the actually do get a decent range of group sizes, different articulations and giving quite a brash sound. samples. This means that they sound playing styles. The complete list is "right" and you're not going to find ♪ Tremolande : rapid backward available at the website. For each yourself disappearing into the musical and forward bowing of the strings. group of instruments you get Legato, equivalent of the "uncanny valley" by Great for suspense. Spiccato, Pizzicato, Marcato and going outside of an instruments Tremolande styles. The groups are proper range. This is a real bonus for For each style there is generally an violins, violas, celli and basses. You the orchestrally clueless - i.e. me. You "ordinary" version and a layered also have available a couple of full version that gives a bit more depth to can't go too far wrong and your orchestra "instruments" plus the orchestra is always going to sound the sound. As well as these styles whole orchestra playing a number of like an orchestra. there are also some general string styles. instrument noises available - knocks, Saint Thomas Orchestral Strings scrapes and an instrument called I've just reeled off a list of "molecules" which could be samples of articulations as though I'm a great Next up is the Saint Thomas the whole orchestra shuffling their authority on this stuff... I'm not, but feet and coughing, it's hard to tell but Orchestral Strings SoundFont. This I'm learning and may be able to help one is delicious. You 'only' get 53 it's great for ambience. All that is you along the way. When I started instruments within the SoundFont but missing is the conductor tapping the thinking about getting back into they are good. The Saint Thomas lectern, and I have the feeling that samples I wanted to be able to, Strings samples come from sessions Tim probably has a recording of that eventually, put together some proper that were recorded by Tim in a squirreled away somewhere. orchestrations for my music rather cathedral in Northern Washington. than just settling on a generic, There was, apparently, an old Virtuoso 2 is the winds, brass and "everything playing the same note" cathedral that was used by... well I'll percussion SoundFont and contains a orchestral sound. To this end the let Tim tell the story: "A friend told complete orchestra's worth of wind, Virtuoso library is a dream come true. brass and, amazingly enough, me about this old Cathedral in Maybe not being able to key switch Northern Washington where guys percussion. All of the typical between articulations could be from LA go to record epic movie orchestral instruments are present considered a disadvantage, but maybe and correct and sound astonishingly scores. They actually drive up in a bus not... there is so much here to work and use huge snakes to plug into the life-like. Whilst you can play each with. prewired hall. The hall was awesome, instrument solo there are also a but had a major problem regarding number of different groups at your First things first though - those Italian command. The nice thing about the critical recording - it rained a lot, words... I had to look them up. there were airplanes overhead, the whole "section" instruments is that each individual instrument is placed in stain glass ticked as it changed 80

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temperature. We did quite a few string sessions and cleaned them up (lots of DSP) to create St Thomas Strings...and they do sound great!!!!"

of brilliant little details that will add spice and flavour to any track that you decide to use it on. As Maurice might say, "I like that".

One thing that makes the Studio Orchestra particularly interesting is that some of the sounds have been layered with more modern If you play with the Saint Thomas Vocal Expression was born from the instruments, namely some classic Orchestral Strings you'll be hard merger of E-MU and Ensoniq. Tim's synths such as a Taurus, an OB-Xa, a pressed not to agree with Tim's counterpart at Ensoniq, sound Mellotron and a Juno, amongst others. assessment. They do sound great and designer Ray Legnini, shipped him This gives a big, fat sound that is come with a real sense of space and over 50 cartons of source material actually quite unusual. "being there". Fire up your SoundFont when the Ensoniq plant was closed. In The String Trems and Trills SoundFont player, load in the "Large Orchestra" his own words: "I never had the time offers a range of major and minor instrument and let rip. The basses to go through it because we were trills that are most usable. They're thunder, the cellos (can't get my head always onto the next project. When something I've never come across around 'celli') hum and the violins sing we were doing the final E-MU clean up, anywhere else either. out. It's beautiful. I ran into a box that had vocals scribbled on the outside of the box. It The Studio Orchestra sounds come The only problem with this library was a box of 18 ADAT tapes - no docs, from the same sessions that produced you'll spend so much time fiddling and so I streamed them off into my DAW. the original E-MU Virtuoso libraries listening that you won't make much Could not believe what I was hearing - that I've already looked at. music. I can live with that. great stuff, and Vocal Expressions was born." Something for everyone Vocal Expressions That was just one box. One wonders The DSF Orchestral Collection Vocal expressions... where to begin. what other treasures are waiting to be SoundFont Bundle is, in a word, It's a choir, and then some. You have discovered and made available. superb. Will it replace all of those all of the standard "ohhs" and "ahhs" huge, multi-gigabyte sound libraries I either from a full male and female Studio Orchestra mentioned earlier? Maybe not, but it's choir or in sections. You also get of such a size and quality that you'll "Dooos" and "Mmmms" which adds in Finally we come to the Studio find yourself reaching for it, writing some nice variety. But that's not the Orchestra SoundFont. There are something and going to get yourself a end of it. actually seven SoundFonts in the zip coffee in the time that other libraries file containing different parts of the take to load. Basically, you can't go There is a whole range of different orchestra. This is the big one, the wrong with this collection and it's vocal noises and expressions (hence whole kit and caboodle, everything already finding its way onto a number the name) on offer from vocoded you need and more for scoring your of tracks that I'm working on. sound snippets to short phrases - you own productions. There are 330 dig? I'll let you search out that last instruments available that cover a You can purchase the complete bundle phrase on your own - ask Maurice. whole range and combination of from the Digital Sound Factory sounds, groups, sections and styles. website www.digitalsoundfactory.com My favourite preset has to be "Vocal for $199. You have a large string section, a Surprises". I'll not spoil the surprise, small string section, solo instruments, suffice to say that it doesn't quite do Many thanks to Tim Swartz for the string trems and trills, winds and extra info on the collection. what you might be expecting and a percussion. Is that enough? Oh yes, gentle touch is required. But it is fun. there's brass too. And lest I forget, in And I think that sums up this the Large String Section you also get particular SoundFont - it's fun and full a very nice grand piano. June 2012

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w e i v Re

Quiver 1.1

Figure 1

First the Congrats In Computer Music 177, the latest issue here in the Colonies, Ralph Brorsen's Quiver got a 9 out of 10, together with those cool-looking award stickers. But even more important, Ralph's baby girl got a 10 out of 10 in awesomeness. So go congratulate him on both his achievements (well, one-and-ahalf, as mom did something too) at the Straightarrow KVR forum (www.kvraudio.com/forum/view forum.php?f=192). Well done!

Figure 2

Quiver 1.1 First Steps Quiver's default preset, Figure 1, shows an oscillator feeding into a filter; the filter output is shaped by an envelope. Figure 2 shows the parameters for the filter and the envelope. Not shown is the use of Reverb in the Effects section. This preset is a basic saw synth with a 84

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Figure 3


quiver 1.1

by Ben Paturzo

www.straightarrow.dk/quiver

Figure 4

minimum of modulation. In Figure 3, I've selected the Modulation section, and by right-clicking, I can choose from the list presented. I choose an LFO, unsync Lfo 1 (Figure 4),and choose Filter 1's Resonance as the mod target for the LFO (Figure 5). I've also added, in Figure 5, an Envelope Generator, and set its mod target as Filter 1's Cutoff. The result is a nice analog synth with some bite. Pretty easy.

Figure 5

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quiver 1.1

Figure 6

Figure 7

Leslie Effect Organ In Figure 6, I've gone back to the Voice Section and clicked on one of the seven operators for Posc1; the list shown here shows some, but not all, of the choices. I select Add Triangle for the first two operators. Then I change the second triangle's starting harmonic to 21 and drop the output 7.2 dB. Finally, I select “Stereo x 2.” The result (Figure 7) is a nice, clean organ sound, with a subtle Leslie effect. All the tweaking is visible in the harmonic display in the upper right. Again, very easy.

86

Wah Voice Choir Going back to the Default preset, I again add an LFO and Envelope Generator, and tweak until I'm happy. The result, shown in Figure 8, drops Env 2's Attack to zero— no clicks by the way—and the modulation in the negative. This, with LFO 1’s pretty hefty modulation of Filter 1's Resonance, produces a very nice choir sound with some light wah-wah. Do we still say wah-wah? Just in case you think I'm slathering on a bunch of oscillators with all kinds of strange harmonic structures, take a look at Figure 9. Very easy.

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June 2012

Figure 8


Figure 9

Figure 10

Enter the Paderizer Anyone who gives Paul Nasca his proper due, Figure 10, is all right in my book. Going back to the Default preset, turning on the Paderizer (Figure 11), and we begin our journey into pad heaven. Judicious use of the Bandwidth, BW Scale, and Pitch Scale controls will reward you with some very pleasing sonic results. As always, it is easy to produce these pleasing results. You can produce wind instruments Figure 11 complete with breath effects, or channel your inner Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. Seriously, I kept looking around for the Too-Much-Fun-Police. Some Warts and an Amazing Offer Ralph is a delightful fellow to correspond with. Early on, we discussed some issues regarding the User Interface. He agreed the Modulation workflow could be improved—having to go to a different screen to see what is modulating what breaks up your creative flow. There are some other issues, but they are minor in terms of what you can do with this instrument. Now comes the good part. Quiver is available right now for $45, and that's good for up to version 2.1 (but not including 2.1). This is beyond Impulse Buy territory—this is No-Brainer territory. Try the demo and you'll see why Quiver is worth your time and (relatively little) money.

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In Depth Fxpansion’s D Part 3 - Cypher

sliders and virtual LEDs that can Over the last few months we've make you feel overwhelmed spent some time looking at Strobe and Amber - the first two but Cypher isn't actually too members of FXpansion's DCAM: difficult a synth to get your head Synth Squad. This month it's round. There's a lot going on but it's all quite logical and Cypher's turn in the spotlight. Cypher is the "Big Daddy" of the understandable. We'll start off with a look round Cypher's Squad - a three oscillator synth with a stunning array of original interface before turning our attention, once again, to the features and options for the TransMod system. weary analogue synth user. Cypher brings a whole bunch of new ideas to the table that, in Oscillating this writer's opinion, sets it above much of the competition. As already mentioned, Cypher is a three oscillator synth. Each oscillator can be continuously <Image : Cypher.png>On first look Cypher's interface is varied between triangle, saw, square and pulse waves. This somewhat daunting. There is a gives an incredible range of plethora of knobs, buttons, 88

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June 2012


DCAM: Synth Squad by Adrian Frost

sound options from each oscillator. You can also turn oscillators on and off, presumably saving some processing power in the process.

synthesis controls - the SCI Prophet 5 and Roland Jupiter are cited in Cypher's manual. Both Buchla and Doepfer have also created analogue FM synthesis modules. Now, obviously, and strictly speaking, Cypher is a "digital" synth in as much as it is working on your computer but it is modelling an analogue synth so anything we say about analogue FM applies to Cypherâ&#x20AC;Ś and Cypher goes to great lengths to get FM synthesis right. It features "thru-zero FM" or what could probably be called "True FM".

The Visualiser enables you to see the current form of the waveform for any oscillator in this case about a quarter of the way between a triangle and a saw waveform. Oscs 2 and 3 can both be synced with Osc 1 for a more hard-edged sound. Whilst there is a pitch and "fine" control for the whole synth, you have a "Scale" knob for each oscillator that scales the oscillator's pitch in relation to everything else. By rightclicking the scale control you can set it to "harmonic" mode which means that you then control harmonic pitch ratios instead of semitones. This is invaluable when you come to try out Cypher's FM capabilities as it simplifies the whole process of setting up C:M ratios and the like. I'll be looking at the FM side of things in some detail in Part 6 of my series on FM synthesis because Cypher is capable of some very neat stuff in that regard. Generally FM synthesis has been restricted to the realm of digital synths though there are a number of hardware analogue synths that have included FM

June 2012

According to the manual: "The term 'thru-zero FM' refers to the ability to modulate the frequency of an oscillator beyond zero into negative frequency values. Negative frequencies are vitally important for a stable pitch response with any

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In Depth Fxpansionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s DCAM:

possible amount of modulation, and is and, as we shall see, a little later, Cypher is great for producing a prominent characteristic of the rhythmic sounds and effects. Yamaha DX-seriesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; implementation of FM. Cypher's implementation gives you digital FM-style sounds rendered "S&H - Osc - Noise" is a multi-function by a realistic analogue circuit model, control that blends the oscillator with with the convenience and polyphony either itself, white/pink noise or of a software instrument." another oscillator in a classic "Sample & Hold" arrangement. In a word - nice! The final thing to point out in "Phase" does what it says on the tin the oscillator sections as it controls the oscillator's phase in relates to each individual conjunction with envelope controls. oscillator is the Filt 1/Filt 2 Turning "Rset" off gives you, slider control. This control effectively, a free-running osc. determines where you send the output of the oscillator "Beat" is quite a special little control. It Filter 1 or Filter 2. This is allows you to detune an oscillator with where you'll find my only respect to the other oscillators whilst complaint about Cypher - it's keeping control of the beating that is not clear enough, in my created because of the detuning. This estimation, as to how this feature is useful for creating rhythmic effects works. The layout of the labels leads you, due to slight overcrowding, to easily overlook the "Filt 2" at the bottom of the slider and the info that shows up in the Visualiser labels the control as going from 0 to 100% which is counterintuitive when at 50% (or is it 49%?) the osc's output is split evenly between the two filters. There you go, (minor) complaint over. I guess if that's all I can find to quibble about there's not much wrong with this synth!

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Shaping and Filtering Leaving behind the oscillators we move onto the shaping and filtering sections of Cypher. There are two shapers and two filters and you can route your oscillator signal wholly to either one or mix things up a little.

First up is the Shaper which, funnily enough, allows you to shape your signal before sending it along to the filter. It's basically a drive control/wave shaper with four modes: "Diode", "OTA" (Operational Transconductance Amplifier), "OpAmp" (Operational Amplifier) and "HalfRect" (half-rectifier). In the DCAM: Synth Squad manual you'll find a section devoted to explaining the four modes in some detail. It's worth pointing out yet again, that the Squad's manual really is a great piece of writing. There's so much detail available that will help you get the best from the three squad synths that I can't recommend highly enough that you take the time to at least work your way through each synth's own section. The Shaper enables you to give your sound a bit of grit and distortion. It can be placed either before or after the filter.


Synth Squad -

Part 3 - Cypher

effects. This is most noticeable in Cypher but what it does is it makes you think more carefully about the sound that you are trying to create. You can't just drench it in reverb, stick on some delay, dial in a bit of chorus and call it a day. Of course, you could do all of that using external effects, but Cypher encourages you to get your sound right without effects. And that is its strength. Cypher is a sound designer's playground of a synth. It requires some reflection, a dose of concentration and a steady hand to get a good result - and here I'm certainly not claiming to be an expert,

When we come to Cypher's filters it's Enveloping, LFOing and... this is hard to find enough adjectives and getting ridiculous superlatives to describe just how good they are. You get the full complement Enough with the titles already. of controls including key tracking and filter FM. I admit that I had to look up filter FM because it's not something that I've come across before. Again Cypher's manual comes to the rescue: Cypher puts two LFOS, one ramp, two there is a depth to Cypher that is, well, "Another classic use of analogue FM is modulation envelopes and an deep! You could spend all of your to modulate the cutoff frequency of a amplitude envelope at your disposal. music making time with Cypher, never filter at audio-rates such as that of an This gives you a grand total of 23 again touch another synth and still not oscillator. Cypher allows you to sliders to play with! Fun is in the run out of things to do and sounds to modulate both of its two filters at making! I don't need to explain to you make. audio-rate, using Osc3 as the how all of these controls work, all I modulator. need to say is that they give you But the sound, how is it? It's raw, tremendous amount of control over sometimes thin and at times harsh Again, this technique is used in order Cypher's sound, particularly when but there is a mellowness and to obtain a change in timbre by used in conjunction with the TransMod richness hiding just beneath the modulating the filter cutoff at very system. surface that can be coaxed out, if you fast speeds. Turning up the FM3 take the time. So, do I like Cypher? control on the filter reduces the action Well, there is one thing ... each of the Absolutely, it's taken a while and I still of the filter while introducing envelopes is loopable. This means feel like I have a lot of work to do but additional harmonics, resulting in a that you have, in effect, 5 LFOs Cypher is worth the effort. buzzy and aggressive sound. available to you, three of which aren't exactly ordinary. I'll be putting two of Now it's TransMod time... The effect tends to be more them to use in my TransMod sound example in a few moments. pronounced at higher resonance Using TransMod settings, especially as the filter begins to self-oscillate â&#x20AC;&#x201C; in such situations, The sound As usual we're going to be starting filter FM is effectively like performing from the --Init-- preset - just to prove FM on a sine wave." Apart from Amber none of the DCAM that starting from scratch is no biggie, Synth Squad synths has built in even with a synth such as Cypher. June 2012

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w e i v Re We're not going to be doing a huge amount of tweaking of the oscillators but will be heavily using Cypher's FM controls.

Firstly, in Osc 1, right-click the "Scale" knob and set its mode to "Harmonic". Once you've done that turn the knob to the left until the Visualiser displays "Osc1Scale 1/2.000 hm". Also move the "Wave" control fully round to the left as we want to use a simple triangle wave. Finally, adjust the phase to about 260°. That's all for Osc 1.

In Depth Fxpansion’s DCAM:

Osc 3 can be left "as is". Next up is Shaper 1. Switch the "Mode" to OpAmp and increase the "Drive to about 13 dB, also click the "Post" button to off. Shaper 2 can be left alone.

In Filter 1 all we're going to be doing is backing off the "Drive" slightly and increasing the "Res" (Resonance) control to around 85%. Filter 2 needs no adjustment - it gets fun trying to find different ways to say "Don't change anything...". Now for the actual TransMod stuff. Select the "OnVel+" TransMod slot. The only thing we're going to change here is the Amp's "Level" control. All of my previous comments about cursor arrows, positioning and the like apply here. I'm guessing that if you've been following along for the last two articles you'll have grasped

For Osc 2 likewise set the mode to "Harmonic" and set "Scale" to 4.000 hm. The "Wave" control also needs to be turned all the way round to the left. Set "Gain" at about 50%. Phase should be set to around 90° - this, along with the phase change in Osc 1 adds a little bit of movement to the sound. Route Osc 2 to Filt 2. Finally, turn the FM control up to the 2 o'clock position (70%). As you increase the FM control you'll hear the sound change quite dramatically.

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how to work with the TransMod system from a practical "hands on the mouse" point of view.

Click the "Lfo2+" TransMod button and set the Amp's "Pan" control as shown in the picture. This creates a LFO controlled panning of the sound. I've kept it fairly subtle but feel free to go wild.


Synth Squad -

Part 3 - Cypher

Here endeth the lesson. Concluding remarks

We're now going to work on the effect in the sound. By turning on "Env1+" slot. We're using the MOD "Sync" you can control the speed of ENV 1 to control the gain of Osc 3, the beats in terms of note lengths. If thus increasing the perceived affect of you leave "Sync" off then you'll be the FM control over time. One thing to working in milliseconds. The "Dcy" note here - the top handle shows an (Decay) control is the one that sets upward pointing arrow. This is the speed. "Sus" (Sustain) controls because I started with the control at the depth of the beats and "Atk" the bottom of its range and dragged (Attack) is responsible for how quickly the top handle upwards. You can start you hear the beat at each repetition. with the whole control at the top and drag the lower handle downwards Don't forget to save your preset, this will give a different effect. You presuming you're happy with the can see this difference in the result! The sound that we've created Visualiser by hovering the mouse is quite brash and you might want to cursor over the control as you play a look into ways of toning it down using note. Cypher's filters, I've left it "as is"

Cypher is an interesting synth. It has huge potential but also requires a bit of work to get it to do what you want. Of all the Squad members it is certainly the hardest to use, however, your effort is well rewarded. Cypher has, generally, a gritty but appealing sound. It's great for long evolving pad type sounds and highly rhythmic effects but also is quite capable of producing some very subtle, mellow lead and keys sounds. As with all the members of the Squad it pays to spend some time getting to know the ins and outs of Cypher's design. Don't let first appearances put you off and don't be discouraged by the lack of on-board effects. If you're looking for an analogue synth to get your teeth into, one that you won't get bored of anytime soon then Cypher is well worth a look (and a listen). FXpansion offer a demo of DCAM: Synth Squad from their site at: www.fxpansion.com

We're almost finished, our basic sound is complete, all that remains is to add a bit more movement using a loopable envelope. Select the "Env2+" TransMod slot. Firstly adjust Osc 2's gain as shown in the left hand side of the picture then set "Sync" and "Loop" to on in MOD ENV 2. When you play a note you should get an instant beating

more to show the techniques involved than anything else. Loopable envelopes are just one element in Cypher's formidable arsenal of sound shaping features and we could spend a lot more time digging into all of the possibilities, but you have to stop somewhere. June 2012

DCAM: Synth Squad is available from all good music retailers as well as from the FXpansion Online Shop for USD $249, EUR â&#x201A;Ź189, GBP ÂŁ165 inc VAT where applicable.

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w e i v Re Electro Suite by UVI by A. Arsov

Electro Suite by UVI is a sound powerful DJ mixer, it can serve library pack, but also a lot more as a DJ tool for live than that. It contains a lot of performance. (I was at a construction kits that I usually concert where a friend of mine, don't like and don't use. But a certain well known Slovenian this one is different, let's say it DJ, performed the whole is much more than that. It concert with a very similar tool, could be a bit pricey if this was an hour and a half and no one only a loop collection spiced up complained, so it looks like it with separate hits and beats, wasn't so bad solution at all!) including the previously mentioned construction kits, At the same time Electro Suite but should we say it again: It is is also a very useful and much more than that. powerful tool for professionals. OK, you can never have enough Actually it is so tempting a of well-produced and straight to collection that it should be a the point baked bits and loops, must-have for all electro or a moment when construction dance producers. I see a lot of kits come in handy â&#x20AC;&#x201C; kick, packs, libraries aimed at electro snare, percussion and hat loops dance producers, but this one is separately along with their different, it offers a new accompanying "bits", but that's approach, it is an "all in one" not the point, the main bait for collection combining all the pros is the UES Drum Shaper, tools that a producer or dance one of the most powerful and musician needs under one roof. most user friendly drum tools I I like this collection because it have seen so far. Can you can help the lazy ones, as you imagine the heaven where you can use various elements from can construct the kick from the construction kits to make a three different elements? Using fresh dance anthem in a minute. three different kicks, one for Also, regarding the so called attack, second one for the body UES Mission Control, which is a and one for decay, and that's

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just to start! Can you imagine the keyboard in that heaven where you can tune every element by pressing just one note, and all those additional controllers. Tweak left, tweak right, whatever you do, you can't go wrong. Filtering, decaying, sparkling, panning those elements. When you fry all the elements, kick, snare, clap and hi hat, then you can combine all those elements in a pattern window where you can go old fashioned with a TR sort of sequencer. If you think that you are in heaven manipulating the bass drum than you haven't seen what can be done with the claps.

I've been gone a bit too far, but this Drum Shaper is really an impressive tool. Chapter II

So far we've got an impressive collection of loops, beats and hits, a mighty DJ mixer - UES Mission Control - where we can mix all those included elements, the three drum loops (combining the kick and snare loops with percussion and hi-hat loops), bass loops (yes, also a nice number of bass lines), the lead and arpeggiated synth loops (as you may have noticed, the whole Electro Suite thing became more and more impressive). Solo, mute, Dear Martin, I'm really afraid commute - just kidding - filter, that through the whole existence pan, tune, all in real time. Every of human kind we will never see construction kit contains also a the day when every single bass and lead line which can be person will be free on this planet. modified on a keyboard as none Put it simply this way, there are of the loops change the tempo still too many people that have when you change pitch, so all heads too small for such a big you need to do is to play in time cap, but at least here comes a and you can get some fresh day when every single drum hit fancy lines out of those and beat is set free, at least in instrumentals loops, nicely done an isolated UVI heaven. OK, OK, UVI.

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We've already mentioned UVI Drum Shaper, so is there any additional bait for pros and a bit less pro musos? There are two analogue synths which are sample based, but still very powerful and very easy to operate or even to program. I'm not a "build your sound from scratch" type of musician, but have to admit that these two beasts are so simple to use, that even an idiot can get something useful out of them. (Don't feel offended if it happens that you can't, because it just means that you are not an idiot...) Yes, you get it, I'm a bit of a programming idiot, but figured out the whole thing in a minute. No 96

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Electro Suite

matter that it is a pure joy to tweak UES Carmine Poly and UES Dirty Mono, there is a still place for the only complaint that I have regarding the Electro Suite. Both synths come with only a few presets, as it is really easy to get very versatile results with both of them, I can't see the reason why the UVI folks didn't provide us with more presets. I presume that their argument could be that they give us presets which use different samples as a base, trying not to confuse us with variations, but this could be easily solved with subdirectories.

June 2012

My biggest complaint is about the fact that you cannot save new presets you've made with any of the synths or even with Drum Shaper. You can drag the samples into your sequencer, that's the bonus of UVI Workstation, but I would love to see a place for saving all those things for use in my other arrangements. The professionals always say that every song is a case unto itself. That's a nice explanation for the public, but we are all cheating here and there. Both synths share a similar flexibility where you can manipulate samples in a way that was only possible in non-


sampled synths by changing everything through filters. UES Carmine Poly features dual VCOs and it reminds me of an Access Virus (not only by its colour) and you can go totally mad with all those excellent sounding filter types, cut-offs, ADSR octave goodies and other bacon and vegetables. Flexible and versatile as hell. (But yes, we want more presets, please) UES Dirty Mono brings a bit different character, having only one VCO but it comes with really handy arpeggiator, powerful and easy to operate, it even has a step by step sequencer offering really impressive results, also the included effects give the right colour. Both synths are really electro dance oriented and we can get those Anthem sounds in a minute, but have I already mentioned that it would be nice to see more presets along with the "save" possibility? Hmm... probably not. Chapter XXI Along with those almighty synths, loops, beats, drum tool and DJ mixer we also get a UES Sweep Machine. A small but powerful sweep tool, flexible like chewing gum, where you can build ultrashort or long as Monday sweeps that could last until Sunday evening. Sub noise, metal, various noises, filters, delay, sparkle, speed, flanger, you name it and you will get it. Gold medal I know that I made one or two complaints during our Electro Suite ride, but the whole pack is so powerful, well June 2012

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recorded and prepared, so straightforward and decked out with all the things that electro dance producers can only dream of. It is so very far from being just another sample pack or tool for dance market that the creators, Alain, Emmanuel and Damien deserve a gold medal for achieving the best "all in all" tool for attacking the dance chart, no matter your skills, being a professional or just being me - just kidding. It is definitive a collection that will break your heart without killing your wallet. (Not so cheap, but almost every element separately can cost at least two thirds of the full price.)

Electro Suite

Medal of honour We shouldn't forget to give a medal of honour to Elisabeth who finally puts in order all those previously mentioned recording, programming and collecting UVI animals, showing them a new direction. (Fly Robin Fly, up, up to the sky...) The gold medal she will get when she includes links to the product page for all those videos, reviews and other goodies from the UVI Blog net. I spent some quality time trying to find old mails with UVI Blog news amongst all my daily mails just to watch again those excellent video clips

More info at: www.uvisoundsource.com/electro-suite/product_info.php/ products_id/68 98

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June 2012

where this product is represented in the best manner. Happy ending Beam me up, Scotty, directly to the dance chart. UVI's Electro Suite will cost you 199 USD. (sandwiches with Gorgonzola and pickles are excluded from that offer)


Looks like Site?

Shhh… Only you know that it’s a Blog! Site-Blog: Looks of Site, soul of Blog. www.katcinco.com


w e i v Re It's big, it's drums and it'sâ&#x20AC;Ś frightening, formidable, fabulous, fantasticâ&#x20AC;Ś Whatever the 'F' really stands for in BFD2 one thing that will become clear is that FXpansion's monster drum workstation is well worth considering if you're looking for a high quality sound and rhythm plugin. BFD Eco, BFD2's little brother, was reviewed back in September 2011 by Tomislav. He had some very favourable things to say about the quality and functionality of BFD2's diminutive relation. Well, BFD2 is Eco times ten, at least. If you order a boxed copy of BFD2 you receive a nicely printed carton plus five DVDs in a lovely fold-up package. BFD2 comes with 55 GB of drum multi-samples. All samples are in 24-bit, 44.1 kHz audio. However, you don't have to install everything if you don't want to. If you're lacking hard-drive space you can install a subset of what is available - but you'll obviously miss out on the full experience. The three possible installation sizes are: Small, which is approximately 24 GB. Medium, which 100

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Fxpansion

BFD2

Figure 1

weighs in at about 43 GB and Large which takes up the 55 GB of space just mentioned.

So, the difference in quality is pretty much insignificant. If you want your BFD2 instantly, can't wait for the post man, have a reasonable broadband connection for the 14 GB download and don't mind not getting a shiny box, then the download option is definitely for you. Personally, I'll be hanging onto the DVDs and pretty box.

Installation is simple though takes a while - about 20 minutes on my PC, if you go for a full installation. The only problem with such a long install time is my own impatience. FXpansion do now offer BFD2 as a download from their website. This is a fairly recent Once installed you need to authorise innovation, I learned about the BFD2 using FXpansion's dedicated download possibility about two days "License Manager". You can authorise after my boxed copy arrived. The only directly in the manager, via your web difference between the boxed and browser or by generating an "Auth downloadable copies of BFD2 is that Request" file to transfer to another the samples included with the latter computer. The whole process is quick are 20 bit rather than 24 bit. and painless. That job done, you're ready to go make some noise. FXpansion themselves say that: "20-bit audio offers a dynamic When you finally get to opening up range of around 120dB. This is BFD2 this is the screen that you'll see greater than the dynamic range of (figure 1). Everything is neatly laid most professional-grade out and fairly logical. At the top of the preamps/A-D converters, so there screen you have access to five pages: is no perceptible loss of audio Kit, Mixer, Grooves, quality. Any noise introduced due Keymapping/Automation and to the bit-reduction process is well Preferences. Nice and easy. The rest below the analogue noise floor of the screen breaks down into five inherent in the recordings, and major sections. To the left is a toolbar leads to much smaller downloads." that contains all the controls you need for basic kit operations. To the right June 2012


Fxpansion

BFD2 by Adrian Frost

you have detailed controls related to to the right. The further to the right the currently selected kit piece and you go along the bar, the higher the the, at the bottom on the right there "velocity" of your click - useful for is a mixer for balancing out the checking out the piece's range. different sound sources that are Depending on the kit piece you'll have available for the kit. It's the control a range of different articulations that over the direct drum sound, the you can try out. Filtering and search overhead mics and the options are also helpful here room/ambiance sound that gives particularly if you've added a whole BFD2 its great flexibility and realism. pile of extra kits. For example, if you want to make it sound like your drummer is playing in There's also some interesting, if not the next room simply turn down terribly useful, info concerning the "Direct" and "OH" and set "Room" and piece you're looking at. The fact that "Amb3" to suit. that information is there points to the

meticulous care that has gone into creating BFD2. Whilst we're on the subject of the care that has been taken over BFD2 it's worth pointing out that there is also an excellent reference manual available. It was written by Mayur Maha who I interviewed in the February 2012 edition of WSM. It's easily as good as the DCAM: Synth Squad manual, which is, as far as I'm concerned, the Gold Standard for synth manuals.

Figure 2

The majority of the kit page is taken up, funnily enough, by the drum kit. At the top you have a representation of your kit and underneath the actual pieces that go to make up your kit. When you load BFD2 up it is instantly ready to go - you can play right away but BFD2 carries on loading kit pieces in the background. This means that you don't instantly get the full range of velocity layers but can get grooving as soon as you like. By clicking on the folder icon above and to the left of each kit piece you can open up a new window (figure 2) that allows you to replace the current kit piece with another one from the library. If you've installed the full 55 GB set you'll have a wealth of choice here and you can audition each piece by clicking on the audition bar, or bars, June 2012

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BFD2 Figure 3

Moving onto the Mixer page (figure 3) there is, again, a toolbar of handy function on the left and the rest of the page is taken up by the mixer. The bottom half of the page contains the mixer channels and the top half is dedicated to effects slots - four insert effects per channel.

The mixer itself really doesn't need much explanation, it has the usual volume sliders plus mute, solo, pan and phase invert buttons that you'd

Figure 4

There are also 4 sends available (figure 4). You access these by clicking the "FX sends" on the left hand toolbar or the "Send" button on the right hand side panel. You can then set up your sends as you see fit. 102

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expect to find. At the bottom of each channel strip you have a small label which gives you access to the routing options (figure 5) of the channel. You can add as many Aux channels as you like so can group your drum kit and apply effects in one hit to keep processing to a minimum. This becomes important if (a) your computer isn't too powerful and (b) you're using the larger 18 or 32 piece kits.

Figu


ure 5

Figure 6

BFD2 ships with a good number of song. This is connected to your host's high quality effects. For figure 6 I've "Play" control - start your track and loaded up four so you can get an idea BFD2 will keep time. Secondly you of how they look. From left t right have a the "Palette" window that there is: EQ, Channel Compressor, takes up three quarters of the Chorus and TinCanVerb. Each effect Grooves page which allows you to has its own controls and presets. And they sound good. You could, if you so desired route channels to external effects but it's really not worth the effort when the on-board effects are already so good. Included are also four reverbs based on Overloud's "Breverb" and a multiband compressor based on PSP's "Vintage Warmer" - quality stuff though they don't come with any presets. This is a minor point but it seems a little bit of a missed opportunity to show how these effects can really shine.

write your own grooves and finally, to the right you can assign grroves to notes on the virtual keyboard and then play the groove as a "one shot" by playing the appropriate key. There is something for everyone! All the parts are interconnected. You can edit a Drum Track segment by double clicking it to open it in the palette. You can do the same with a groove assigned to a note, although here only a single click is required.

Figure 7

Moving along to the Grooves page (figure 7) we find BFD2's beating heartâ&#x20AC;Ś and there is a lot packed into a small space here. You have three main ways of getting a beat going in BFD2. There is the "Drum Track" where you can layout a series of the provided grooves to make up your June 2012

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BFD2 Figure 8

Notes that are already assigned to grooves are inaccessible but everything else is up for grabs. You simply drag a kit piece picture onto the keyboard to assign an articualtion to a certain key - once you've dragged a kit piece to a note you are given the option of which articulation to assign (figure 10).

Figure 10

A double click will open up a new The Keymapping/Automation page Groove/Palette window (figure 8) (figure 9) is another part of BFD2 Grooves and Palettes are, basically, that is absolutely packed with two ways of looking at the same features and things to play with. information. Palettes simply group Of all the pages this is probably, grooves into sets of styles. BFD2 ships along with the prefs page, the one with an absolutely massive number of you'll use the least as it's pretty grooves that you can use "as is" or much "set and forget" unless you edit to suit your own particular tastes. are a compulsive tweakerâ&#x20AC;Ś Who? I've not managed yet to work through Me? It's also possibly the most even half of what is available. The technical part of what BFD2 has Grooves supplied with BFD2 cover a to offer and, thankfully, the whole range of different styles so you defaults are very reasonable. should be able to find something that Figure 9 works for you. For the Grooves part of BFD2 it really pays to take some time to read through the manual because there is a lot of functionality available that is kind of hidden. For instance, on the toolbar on the left you can assign one tool to the left hand mouse button and another to the right hand button. The tool that is assigned to the right hand button isn't highlighted but a small blue dot lights up to show that the tool is assigned. There are loads of little bits like this that make for a smooth and comfortable work flow but that are also easy to miss if you're not paying attention.

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Figure 11

Automation is an absolute breeze. You have a huge number of parameters that you can assign using a simple two paned browser (figure 11). There's also a "Learn Mode" available that makes the process even more painless than it would otherwise be. For completeness' sake we'll take a quick look at the Preferences page

There is so much more to be said about BFD2 than one can fit into a review. The bottom line for me is that if you want absolute control over your drums then BFD2 is the one for you. The sound is superb and lifelike, the grooves are funky and fresh, those things go almost without saying when you're dealing with FXpansion, but what really makes BFD2 a winner is that you can really dig in and make BFD2's sound your own. The possibilities for shaping and molding "your" sound are almost limitless and that's before you even start looking at the extensive range of expansion packs available from FXpansion and other developers.

(figure 12). There are a whole bunch of options accesible through the prefs page and most of them are fairly self explanatory. The thing to note here is again the incredible control that is on offer. If you so desire you can adjust the hi-hat's shank's tightness. I'm not BFD2 is pretty much a "must have" if you want to create realistic and 100% sure what that actually means but I like the fact that I get the choice. attractive drum lines in your music and the price for what you get is more than reasonable. It costs €199 Figure 12 and is available, as previously mentioned, as either a download or in a nice shiny box with five DVDs. There are currently 20 expnasion packs available direct from FXpansion and they range in price from €39 to €109. In addition, and if the supplied grooves aren't enough, there are a couple of Groove Packs available, one of which requires the Japanese Taiko drums expansion. The rock, metal and pop-punk pack costs €35 whilst the Taiko drum pack is €22. Head on over to www.fxpansion.com for more details and to make a purchase.

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Soundware by Ginno Legaspi

Loopmasters Miami Tech

Zero-G Nu Metal

Ahhh...Miami...Florida's swinging city. It's a beautiful, sun-washed city with lots of beautiful women baring their skin for that perfect tan, a place full of diverse people, home to some of Hollywood's famous actors, a destination to enjoy good food (Cuban sandwich, anyone?) and a hot spot for never-ending parties. And if there are parties, there's music everywhere.

After a two year hiatus from my Soundware Roundup rotation, it's good to have Zero-G sample libraries back in the lineup. This month's sample pack is called Nu Metal.

useful in any situation and can be chopped, effected and reused over and over again. The one-shot drum hits folder gives you a huge creative potential to create your own drum loops. Simply a good investment.

Meet Loopmasters' new pack "Miami Tech" as a new sampling material standard for that Miami tech house sound. This 1 GB library is full of lead riffs, music loops, keys loops, oneshot drum sounds, drum loops and sunshine-sprinkled percussion loops - WEB: all delivered in 24-bit superior quality. www.loopmasters.com Drawing influence from the modern FORMAT & PRICE: sound of Miami's clubs and the music catered at the annual Winter Music Apple Loops / LivePack / Conference, Miami Tech is geared for Refill / Zip (main) ÂŁ29.95 the production of Progressive, Mainroom, Tech, Electro and Tropical WAV Loops Pack / Oneshots & Sampler Patches House. There's lot to love about this ÂŁ16.95 library, especially the 62 drum loops and 107 synth leads. They are very 106

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As the title suggests, this sample library from the UK-based sample developers is geared to producers who are into metal, rock, indie, industrial and big beat. There are lots of 24-bit samples and loops that are definitely heavy music-wise. As one might expect from a sample library, Nu Metal comes in a variety of audio formats. The DVD includes ACID WAV, AIFF Apple Loops and Rex2 (Stylus RMX compatible). It also supports soft samplers such as EXS24, Kontakt


Roundup

Roundup and Reason 6's NN-XT sample player. Nu Metal is a 1.1 GB construction kitbased library that is separated into 7 folders full of powerful guitars, thunderous drums, nasty basses and raw FX samples. These construction kits are good as song starters (all you need are lyrics and vocals), but most of all something that can spark your creative juices. Additionally, an 8th kit of 6 guitar loops can be found on the DVD. What I really like about this library is the 'Bonus Drumtools' folder. Big Fish Audio It has some really tasty drum fill loops Ambient Skyline 2 in 90, 100, 105 and 120 BPM. The performance is quite good and I think This new release from Big Fish Audio they're very easy to add into your is the sequel to Ambient Skyline which own arrangement. A library wouldn't was released last year. It is simply a be a library if there were no single fantastic 9.9 GB (6 GB WAV) library. drum hit samples included. And Nu Ambient Skyline 2 or AS2 is a sample Metal offers a very generous amount pack that is full of ambient, cinematic of single drum hits that can be used and chill-out loops, rhythm beds and to create your own drumrack in your inspiring subtle textures. In fact, this DAW. The only thing that I find less second volume contains 796 loops and useful are the vocal samples, but 892 one-shot files in pristine 24-bit apart from that Nu Metal is a good format. All major audio formats are value library with lots of skull crushing supported and soft sampler patches contents. for Kontakt 4/5 are represented as well. We all know that sequels are WEB: never as good as the first but the www.timespace.com Funk/Soul Productions team have kept things fresh and interesting by FORMAT: offering yet more original and worthyAcid Wav, Kontakt, EXS24, REX2, Aiff to-be-looked-at versatile content. New Apple Loops, Reason NNXT to AS2 are several loop and one-shot categories such as ambient pedal steel, PRICE: tonal percussion atmospheres, guitar ÂŁ60.95 including vat arpeggios and wood flutes. The selection is large, especially the June 2012

ambient drum loops, and the quality of the samples are superb. If you need a fresh set of sounds for creating film, TV, ambient, EDM and experimental music look no further than Ambient Skyline 2. WEB: www.bigfishaudio.com FORMAT: Apple Loops/REX/WAV/RMX/Acid/Kontakt 4 PRICE: $129.95

Loopmasters Radiophonic Synth Workshop Vol. 2 Radiophonic Synth Workshop 2 is a nice sequel to the original volume, having been upped to meet the demands of every producer everywhere. Compared to the first

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volume, this new pack focuses on long evolving textures and sequences. In fact, there are 73 of them in 24-bit WAV format totaling a startling 1.35 GB.

FORMAT: WAV/AIFF

Drawing influence from ambient, new age, experimental, and electronic artists such as FSOL, Orbital, Leftfield, Biosphere, The Orb, Brian Eno, Kraftwerk and Vangelis, Radiophonic Synth Workshop 2 offers cutting edge sounds that can take your next track to the next level. To create these textures, plenty of help from analog beasts was incorporated. Retro machines such as Roland System 100, Oberheim 4 Voice, Korg Mono/Poly, Elka Synthex and Octave Cat were pressed into service for analog experimentation. All the recorded materials were then processed using high-end outboard gear for the best quality sonic result. Included are inspiring spacey drones, chimes, bleeps, stale machine FX, non-static textures, rich pads and scifi sounds that you can chop, manipulate or just plain use in any productions. I love this library because it includes 24-bit quality samples of pure analog goodness. Folks, Loopmasters have a winner here.

Big Fish Audio Quirky Guitars 2

WEB: www.loopmasters.com FORMAT: Wav PRICE: ÂŁ29.95

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PRICE: â&#x201A;Ź16.95 (digital download)

Bluezone Corporation Chillout Jazz - Drum Loops & Samples Bluezone Corporation, a developer known for releasing quality ambient and atmospheric sample packs has upped the ante with this good library (302 MB) for smooth jazz, nu urban, chillout, downtempo and everything in between. As indicated by the title, this pack is an all-drums affair, in which percussion loops, drum loops and one-shot hits are included in the download. There are more than 500 files offered in WAV and AIFF formats, and all of the loops are recorded at 100 BPM. With a couple of different loop variations to choose from, constructing your own drum mixes is very easy especially if you want subtle changes in the arrangement. The material here could work as breaks also. You just have to speed up the tempo a bit. Anyhow, I love the programming and the quality of this pack. Not a single dull moment when I auditioned a bunch of them. WEB: www.bluezone-corporation June 2012

Guitar-based sample libraries are never the same again compared with this construction kit-style pack called Quirky Guitars 2. I loved the first volume's content when I reviewed it and this time Big Fish have gone fullthrottle in bringing producers an amusingly eccentric palette of guitar sounds ranging from acoustics to electrics and banjos to mandolins. Quirky Guitars 2 is a 2.9 GB library (1.2 GB of WAVs alone) that features recorded live instruments that were played with a happy, funny vibe. Sometimes so giddy that they would be great if you compose music for kids or one of those Saturday morning cartoons for toddlers. On a serious note, QG2 is nothing short of beautiful,


Roundup there are melodies, solid chord progressions and inspiring riffs that can be mixed and matched with any of the 328 WAV loops on offer. It also has a bunch of natural sounding piano loops that are fitting for any instrumental composition. Bottom line, a worthy purchase when you pair it with the first volume. WEB: www.bigfishaudio.com FORMAT: Apple Loops/REX/WAV/RMX/Acid PRICE: $69.95

Undertone Tools Northern Tech House Respected DJ/Producer BSC aka Kuni has been in the dance spotlight for producing some great EDM tracks. He is respected among his peers and his style has evolved constantly - making him an adventurous producer in delivering good music. Northern Tech House is geared for genres such as tech house, deep house, minimal and deep techno. In this pack, you will find 1.67 GB of content in 24-bit quality, but what's cool about this library is that it has 4 complete tech house tracks that can serve as a performance tool for live PAs. Included are bass loops, hat loops, synth loops, drum and bass mix and the full mix, of course. Short loops version for Traktor Sample Deck is also available for Native Instrument's popular DJ gear. With all the necessary elements

available, DJs can also remix the fully mastered tracks on the fly in front of an audience. This pack reminds me of Loopmasters' DJ Mix Tools series, in which you get the same set of samples ready for release, remixing or for a DJ or live set. This is something DJs/live PA should consider to maximize their performance.

patches for popular soft samplers such as EXS24, HALion, Kontakt and NNXT. Firstly, there are lots of superbly WEB: programmed grooves. These smooth www.loopmasters.com and laidback beats (93 files) are armed with 'true organic character', FORMAT: as Sample Magic calls it. They've done WAV an excellent job in processing these drum loops by re-sampling and PRICE: “retrofying” them, even down to 10£14.95 bits. Secondly, this library contains a bunch of inspiring music loops that are good for starting off an idea. Sample Magic Thirdly, if you're having a hard time Chillwave figuring out what chords to stack, the 100 chord loops will help you Chillwave is a 1.2 GB collection of laid construct the backbone of your back, warm and sun-drenched loops arrangement in no time. As always, and one-shots that captures the drum hits are very convenient to have essence of chillout, downtempo, dub for the creation of your own groove and lounge. It features 771 24-bit and Chillwave has 300-plus of them WAVs, 451 Apple loops, 451 REX2 and included in the pack. Bottom line, I Stylus-RMX Rex loops, sampler find this library very useful in many ways, not just for drag and drop in an arrangement. The nicely designed sounds are engineered to perfection, giving you maximum control for further sonic manipulations. Explore your inner coolness with this latest sample pack from Sample Magic. WEB: www.samplemagic.com FORMAT: Wav, Apple Loops, Rex2, Stylus-RMX, EXS24, HALion, Kontakt and NN-XT LIST PRICE: £34.90 (digital) June 2012

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Soundware

Wave Alchemy SFX Collection 02

FX, Soundscape & Ambience and Analogue Synth FX really push the boundaries of creative Aside from making excellent drums sound design. The quality here and dance packs, Wave Alchemy is is superb and the selection back doing what they do best, and varied, making SFX Collection that is making effects sample libraries. 02 a heavyweight amongst This new 2.1 GB pack boasts plenty of effects libraries. Another highly sampling material that is geared to recommended library from modern dance and various electronica Wave Alchemy. sub-genres. Even other styles of music can benefit from a little impact WEB: from the special effects in this www.loopmasters.com collection. Spec-wise, SFX Collection 02 consists of 826 samples in 24-bit FORMAT: quality. Most of the soft sampler Wav, Halion, Kontakt, EXS, formats are supported (samples SFZ, NNXT mapped accordingly), and audio delivery is in standard WAV. SFX 02 is PRICE: ÂŁ7.95-44.95 (different bundles somewhat similar to 01 but for me this library is more geared towards, or available) at least tries to capture, the cinematic crowd. We all know that sound effects Big Fish Audio such as stabs, uplifters, impacts and Off the Hook West Coast 2 FX hits bring arrangements to the next level, but new categories such as Cinematic Slams, Downshifters, Noise Similar to the first volume but with so Tools, Twisted Transitional FX, Cymbal much more content, Off the Hook West Coast 2 is a whopping 7.84 GB library with 879 files of sampling material in WAVs with duplicates in Apple Loops and REX files. Using the traditional to Big Fish library approach, this fine collection of urban sounds is delivered in constructiontype format. In fact, there are 40 of them comprising diverse sounds ranging from sexy synths to fat drums and organs to acoustic guitars recorded in pristine 24-bit format to deliver the best, most consistent sonic quality. The production of Anthony Myers, the sound design and performance is good with 110

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lots of sophisticated West Coast sounds. And most of the loops can be seamlessly integrated in any RnB, Hip Hop, Downtempo, Chill and Soul productions. If you want to bump your track with that serious edge, infuse your tracks with this incredible sequel from Big Fish Audio. Two thumbs up. WEB: www.bigfishaudio.com FORMAT: Acid, Wav, Aiff Apple loops, REX, RMX and Kontakt PRICE: $99.95

Audio Boutique Tribal Elements 2 Tribal Elements 2 picks up where volume 1 left off with more all-new content. It is the result of the smart minds of Ramon Zenker and Harald Aufmuth - two of the most soughtafter producers in the area of electronic music. Tribal Elements 2 is


Roundup

Loopmasters House Percussion Loops

punchy overall. Considering there are numerous percussion libraries out there on the market, House Percussion Loops stands out really well in the programming side of things.

As much as I like electronic music, it can sound so sterile and cold sometimes, especially if the beats are programmed, quantized and have dynamics like a brick. That's why a lot WEB: of people who listen to electronic www.loopmasters.com music (but not all) are immediately put off by its lack of organic feel. This FORMAT: a WAV/Aiff Apple Loops/REX-format Wav, Acid, Reason Refill, Ableton Live is where Loopmasters' House sample library with soft sampler Pack, Apple Loops, Rex2, Halion, Percussion Loops comes in - to give a programs for EXS24 and Kontakt. The drum mix the live feel it needs. This Kontakt, EXS, SFZ, Stylus RMX, samples come in 44.1kHz/24-bit Ableton Live Presets and NNXT 758 MB library is a construction kit format and all loops are recorded at base, consisting of 10 kits of PRICE: 128 BPM for fast and easy integration percussion ensembles. All the ÂŁ19.95 into common electronic sub-genres. percussion here was played live, With this library, you mainly get killer sampled and looped properly. Usual percussion loops, such as bongos and percussion congas and top loops (kick-free suspects include material) that you can add to your the conga, agogo own drum mixes. Plus, there are four bell, claves, folders of drum hits should you want tambourine, to program your own drum patterns. cabassa and Finally, 45 fresh one-shot transitional shakers. You get FX provide a finishing touch for breaks 134 loops off the and between song sections. Producing bat along with 68 EDM such as house, tech house and one-shot progressive house can be a lot easier percussion samples if you have the best samples available, which you can use and this 487 MB library proves to be to program your nice little tool, worthy to be had. own grooves. The loops are highly WEB: useable in any www.resonance-sound.com context though it is primarily geared FORMAT: for Soulful, Funky, Wav, Rex, Apple Loops, Kontakt 4, Tribal and Disco EXS24, Stylus RMX House, etc. I think the percussion PRICE: loops are nicely â&#x201A;Ź25 + VAT recorded and June 2012

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s w i n Mi Revie Big Fish Audio Ol' Skool: Vintage Hip Hop

Soundware

loops and the funkyjazzy horns. This is hot.

There's nothing like a good sample WEB: pack that brings back the sounds of www.bigfishaudio.com 90s hiphop. Ol' Skool: Vintage Hip Hop is a library chock full of funky, FORMAT: groovy and head-movin' samples that Acid, Wav, Apple loops, will take you down the 90s memory REX lane. It draws influence from the chart topping sounds of popular groups PRICE: such as Bone, Thugs-N-Harmony, $39.95 that the 253 audio files are not for the Naughty by Nature, A Tribe Called faint of heart. I even get chills just by Quest, Wu-Tang Clan, Heavy D and auditioning the included samples. the Boyz, Digital Underground and Bluezone Corporation Bottom line, for a fast and convenient Dark Cinematic Textures and EPMD. In detail, this new urban pack way to compose music on the fly with Sound Effects from Big Fish Audio includes 575 MB its handy loops, you can't beat this. of 24-bit WAVs (300 files) duplicated Be sure to tweak to your heart's Over 500 files of droning atmospheres, content. in REX and Apple AIFF loops for a mangled sounds, huge hits, massive total of 1.4 GB. The samples are very impacts, dark rumbling elements, earauthentic, stamped with a 90s vibe. busting explosions, motion textures From the pack I think the beats are WEB: well programmed, the use of 909/808 and many more in this 910 MB sample www.bluezone-corporation pack by Bluezone Corporation. From drum machines was a good choice. FORMAT: Other standouts include real funk bass the title and the cover art it seems WAV/AIFF that this pack is specifically created and compiled for PRICE: composers and â&#x201A;Ź18.95 (digital download) producers of drones, horror, fiction, sci-fi thriller, cinematic and mostly M rated video Delectable Records games. But the Strictly Melodic FX 2 material here is so Brought to you by the creators of the versatile that it can be excellent Smooth Deep House sample injected into any pack, Strictly Melodic FX 2 simply genres such as glitch, serves up innovative sound effects for gabber, soundtrack, use in any EDM - be it house, electro, chillout and dubstep. There are great progressive or dubstep stuff. This is a libraries out there follow-up from last year's offering. Though smaller in size it still has similar to Dark Cinematic Textures and plenty of material to choose from. It includes dedicated melodic FX divided Sound Effects but I into several categories of falling, pitch love how the elements are heavily processed down, rising, pitch up and transitional FX. The 287 files are available in with modern effects. standard 24-bit WAVs and Apple loops Bear in mind, though, 112

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Roundup since it offers various grooves - from electronica to hip hop, including beats that were programmed and combined with live percussions using the latest technology. But not all drum loops come from the East per se. In fact, only a format with key info on them. As with handful since this library concentrates other Delectable Records libraries, this on Hip Hop and RnB. But Eranga has one is created with attention to detail - teamed up with studio percussionist in Sri Lanka to record various percussion the programming and sound shaping to make up some of the samples tools they used are top shelf equipment. The sounds are also clean, nonetheless. The 24-bit sample DVD is broken down into 9 folders of Dance, balanced and wide-sounding. Strictly Ethnic Fusion, Hats and FX, Hip Hop, Melodic FX 2 can give your songs the Pop Rock, RnB, Six Eight, Variations potential to be energized, can give and Others. Except for a few, each your track the edge it needs and it folder contains at least 100 or so can add tension and release in loops that are genre specific. The different song sections in no time. majority of the 1,150 loops, especially Good stuff for dance music indeed. the electronic loops, are well WEB: programmed www.loopmasters.com and are sure to provide dance FORMAT: floor impact. On Wav, Acid, Reason Refill, the other hand, Ableton Live Pack, Apple the Loops, Rex2, Halion, ethnotronica Kontakt, EXS, SFZ, loops (mixed Stylus RMX, Ableton Live loops) will Presets and NNXT enhance any arrangements PRICE: needing a touch ÂŁ17.95 of "world groove". Lots of great sampling Zero-G material here to Beats from the East be excited about if you This release from Zero-G need that extra concentrates on the spice in your sound of different beats drum mixes. programmed and Just don't produced by Eranga expect too Jayawansa. It's a many ethnic uniquely titled library drum loops. June 2012

WEB: www.timespace.com FORMAT: Acid Wav, WAV, Kontakt, RMX, EXS24, REX2, Aiff Apple Loops, Reason NNXT PRICE: ÂŁ49.95 including vat

5Pin Media Epic House Riffs Produced by Andre Touhey (MIDI producer for the award winning Classic House Piano and Soulful House Sounds from 5Pin), Epic House Riffs taps into the melodic front of house that's currently destroying dance floors across the globe. As the name suggests, this library gets you on the right track of making groovy, swelling and pumping EDM tracks in no time. With all the right elements included, just sprinkle these sounds with tons of inspiration and imagination, and you're off to making essential rifftastic house. Epic House Riffs consists of 10 dynamic construction kits with all kinds of drum, basses and music licks in 24-bit WAV and REX formats. Additionally, the source MIDI files from which all the loops have been made are also included in the pack. In fact there are 164 of them. By having the original source MIDI files, this will help you, the producer, easily edit parts to your own liking, move notes around and reconstruct the MIDI sequence or patterns to fit into your arrangements. Also, there are 22 bonus groove templates to kick-start ideas. What I like about this library are the synths and basses because they sound current and provide plenty of inspiration. Yup, Epic House Riffs delivers the goods. www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

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s w i n Mi Revie WEB: www.loopmasters.com FORMAT: Wav, Rex2, MIDI Files PRICE: £24.95

Audio Boutique Electric Elements 3 After two volumes of Electric Elements, producers Ramon Zenker and Harald Aufmuth are back offering more samples in this, the latest chapter of the Electric Elements series. It is similar to the previous titles but packs 805 MB of total sampling material in WAV, AIFF and Rex format, plus

Soundware

Roundup

EXS24 and Kontakt patches. All the right ingredients for the construction of TechHouse, Minimal and Electro House tracks are here but with fully up-to-date and fresh loops/one-shots at 127 BPM. The usual sounds include solid SFX, down and uplifters, thumping drums and sizzling hi-hats, rough bass loops as well as atmospherics that can make a track full-sounding. Given the attention to detail of the production, Electric Elements is ready to be dropped into any EDM construction because the quality is just hard to beat. WEB: www.resonance-sound.com FORMAT: Wav, Rex, Apple Loops, Kontakt 4, EXS24, Stylus RMX PRICE: €25 + VAT

Organic Loops Studio Bass Ultimate Collection Anyone familiar with Organic Loops knows that when it comes to daily bread and butter sounds, these guys know how to deliver the goods. I was really digging last issue's Live Dubstep String and this month proves that they can present another useful pack that would have you covered in the lowend area. Just under 1 GB in size, Studio Bass Ultimate Collection was created using only the best bass guitars, vintage speaker cabinets, recording mics and preamps; all flavored with the best signal processors available. Coupled

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www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

June 2012

with a great performance, and all the little 'organic elements' thrown in (fret noise, ghost notes, slides, etc.) you have a library that's authentic and playable. It includes 2, 4, 8 bar loops, 3 bass multi-sampled, 1 pulls, slaps, harmonic hits and bass FX riffs that are suitable for funk, house, pop, electro, drum and bass and all sorts of other styles. What I really like about this library is that it exhibits the full sound of the bass guitar, not something that is thin and fake. It's clean, crisp and has plenty of dynamics. A good inspirational collection. WEB: www.loopmasters.com FORMAT: Wav, Acid, Reason Refill, Ableton Live Pack, Apple Loops, Rex2, Halion, Kontakt, EXS, SFZ, Stylus RMX, Ableton Live Presets and NNXT PRICE: £19.95


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Wsm June 2012

Wsm June 2012  

Wsm June 2012

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