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iZotope Mobius and the crazy fun of Shepard Tones

I always figure the measure of a good plug-in is, you want to tell everyone about it, but you don’t want to tell everyone about it, because then they’ll know about it. iZotope’s Möbius is in that category for me – it’s essentially moving filter effect. And it’s delicious, delicious candy.

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Tested: Chromaphone 2 has kinder, gentler acoustic modeling

If it feels at times like everything has been done in sound synthesis, every new sound uncovered, then look to physical modeling for a way forward. This collection of techniques simulates the way sound is produced by acoustic objects. Applied Acoustics Systems (AAS) of Montreal has been one of the leaders in that field – and they’ve got a new product out that might be the friendliest offering in this field yet.

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Skram app sounds great, navigates rhythm and harmony

Skram is the latest iOS app that claims to bridge fans curious about making music and expert producers, giving you “all you need” to make music on an iPad. So – what’s unique about this one versus everything else that claims to do that? Well, first, there’s the team behind it: Liine are the folks behind the Lemur app and various other software, performance rig, and interactive installation projects. Second, while this initial release represents just a first step, there are already some amazing sounds coming out of the included instruments. And third, Skram builds on the work of other …

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Got a (bit) crush on you: TAL-Sampler, Lil’ Kim, and digital crunch

For me, it goes back to Lil’ Kim. Let me back up. Much as we take it for granted in 2015, once upon a time in a far-gone decade called the 80s, sampling was a new technology. Groundbreaking (and expensive) instruments such as the Fairlight CMI and Synclavier brought new possibilities for playing with recorded audio. Suddenly, sounds and sequences which used to take days of work from skilled tape manipulators became keyboard-mapped.

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Launchpad Pro Grid Controller: Hands-on Comprehensive Guide

Novation’s Launchpad Pro is here. It shares the same compact footprint as earlier Launchpads, but adds full color, pressure-sensitive pads, and MIDI inputs and outputs, plus the ability to operate without a computer. So, with other grids to choose from, where does this one fit? The Launchpad line of controllers has always been about simplicity. Even when the original Launchpad was introduced, it did less than its nearest rival, the AKAI APC. But it was popular partly thanks to being simple, light, small, and affordable. That fits many users’ needs, and can be nicely combined with other hardware. The Launchpad …

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Hands-on: Universal Audio’s UAD-2 Satellite, a DSP Box for Macs and MacBook Pros

With all the horsepower computers are now packing, you might be surprised at the idea of adding on dedicated hardware for sound processing. Or, you can look at it another way: with computers more powerful than ever, with digital processing sounding more convincing both as emulation of traditional gear and in imagining never-before-possible sounds, the digital studio in a backpack is even closer. Into that picture, enter the Universal Audio UAD-2 Satellite. Enclosed in a metal housing about the size of a large-ish external hard drive, the Satellite could absolutely fit into the side pocket of a computer backpack or …

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Track Master Makes Your Trackpad a MIDI Controller; A Must-Download for Mac

You’ve heard all the complaints about laptops onstage. But since there are many arguments for a laptop, why not put all that powerful hardware to use, and make your Mac laptop part of a musically-expressive performance? Track Master, a Mac-only application available on the Mac App Store (and one of the few serious music offerings we’ve seen there), is a great place to start. It transforms the built-in, multitouch-capable trackpad on recent MacBooks, MacBook Pros, and MacBook Airs into a MIDI controller. The trackpads on those are actually impressively sensitive and accurate, tracking as many as eleven fingers at once. …

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Moog’s Filtatron for iPhone Indispensable in Pocket; 1.1 New Features

What good is a sound app on a phone or iPod, really? Just ask a Filtatron user. As with plug-ins and desktop software doodads, I find out of the sea of apps on iOS, a tiny handful are genuinely useful. But those select few can prove indispensable. I would count the Moog Filtatron in that category. Sure, in case there was any doubt, the app contains a subtle link to the Moog hardware catalog, an effort to upsell you to the company’s sound gear. And sure, owners of said gear might turn up their nose at the idea of something …

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Allen & Heath Xone:DB4 DJ Mixer: Hands-on Preview with Ambivalent (Minus)

Ambivalent gets his hands on the DB4 for the first time – and doesn’t want to let go. Photo courtesy Allen & Heath, who snapped this while he was testing it out. Can a digital mixer change how you work and perform? After getting a hands-on introduction to one, globe-trotting electronic DJ Kevin McHugh, aka Ambivalent (on m-nus), thinks so. I’m pleased to welcome Kevin to talk about why he’s so excited about this particular kit, not only for DJs but potentially as a useful tool for anyone who needs live mixing. And we hope he’ll come back and talk …

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AmpliTube 2 for iPhone, as the Handheld Music Workflow Gets Clearer

AmpliTube 2 arrives today with new effects, recording, bounce to audio, export/import, practice tools, and in-app purchase of extra stomp modules. I’ve been playing with a pre-release version for the last few days. Combined with an audio interface like IK Multimedia’s own iRig, AmpliTube 2 turns your iPhone or iPod touch into a handheld, pocket-able workstation. But let’s step back for a moment and consider what that means. What would you want a device to do for your music if that device fit in the palm of your hand? Last week, I raised the question of physical size, inspired by …

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