lion

Mac OS Lion 10.7 is Here; The Obligatory Take-Your-Time Post, with NI and Apogee Info

King of the jungle, as seen at the British Museum. Photo (CC-BY-ND) wootang01/mckln (Uninteresting side note – I happened to be at this location yesterday.) It’s become something of a tradition here on CDM. Apple releases new OS. Music developers – one or more – release notes that suggest you might want to wait to upgrade. It happens every time, and so you should be cautious every time. This time, it may be even more serious: developers are describing symptoms that they say they haven’t seen in previous updates. Native Instruments, often some of the first out of the gate …

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Madrona’s Randy Jones on Aalto Soft Synth, Designing a New Instrument, Small Makers

Patching together unique sounds on the classic Buchla 100 was an impetus for a new software instrument by Randy Jones – just released for Windows. Photo (CC-BY) guiltyx/roll_initiative. Software can easily enough emulate, down to each knob and patch cord, a vintage synthesizer. But can a genuinely new software synth incorporate the ideas about instrument design beloved in a classic synth like the Buchla modular? How do you balance open-ended sound design with the sorts of limitations that give an instrument personality, limitations that inspire? And could all of this be meaningful even for someone first discovering synthesis, who may …

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imeasequencer

Indie Music Devs Band Together with Deals on Synths, Effects, Tools, through 5/23

Game makers and (particularly Mac) utility developers have joined forces to do various bundles of their software. I have to say, I generally like the model – particularly the fantastic Humble Bundle of indie games. That collection not only encouraged people to try adventurous (often experimental) independent game titles, but gives some of the proceeds to relevant charities. Linux users have been buying up the bundles disproportionately, contrary to the idea that they won’t spend money on software, and some of the developers even set a goal to earn enough money to open source their tools. (The open source software …

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HALion 4, Steinberg’s Sampler + Synth Soft Workstation, Gets Deeper

Sampler? Synth? Workstation? Or just big bucket of sound? There are some impressive rabbit holes for sound designers out there, and Steinberg’s offering just got a big refresh. While looking at the latest flagship from a music hardware giant (Roland’s Jupiter-80), it’s revealing to compare the software side of the fence. Computer software instruments may not be directly equivalent to all-in-one keyboards, but they do each embody the latest thinking in how to build expressive instruments and new sounds. German maker Steinberg is at home at this week’s giant Messe trade show, and they’ve taken the wraps off the upcoming …

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Maschine 1.6 Sample Workstation, Now with Plug-ins, Makes a Standalone Workflow Solution

I’ve been following Maschine since prototype stages. The idea was at once obvious and welcome: build a software workstation, tightly integrated with pad hardware control, that fuses hardware sampler working methods with the on-screen flexibility of software. It’s software that focuses on working with sounds and patterns, outside the DAW-style metaphors. Of course, there’s one thing you might quickly miss about your DAW – certain software instruments or effects that are available as plug-ins. That makes 1.6 the version a lot of people have been waiting for. With plug-in hosting capabilities, it could now be your all-in-one production and performance …

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FL Studio “Fruity Loops” 10 Adds 64-bit Savvy, Smarter Editing, New Pitch, Time, and Harmony Add-ons

The infamous FL Studio “giant screenshot.” Go ahead – eat up our bandwidth and have a closer look at what’s in FL 10, visually; click for the full-size version. FL Studio, aka Fruity Loops, has always been like opening a toybox of sound goodies for sound nerds – up to 30 instruments and 40+ effects in the latest edition. Just about every tool offers deep control for serious sound programmers, but there’s also a sense that those tools can be fun and immediate. And oddly, while developer Image-Line does introduce some instruments and effects as add-ons, all the functionality in …

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Native Instruments Updates Make 64-bit Macs Happier

MacBook Pros, 64-bit, all. Photo (CC-BY-SA) Benjamin Nagel. I’m not one to post every single minor software update, but with the latest handful of free upgrades for Native Instruments software, I think it’s safe to say the 64-bit age has come to the Mac musician. Windows developer Cakewalk heralded just this sort of advance for years on the PC side, with largely little company (even beyond the music world), but today, the technology is finally a reality for average users. 64-bit computing means a marginal performance boost on capable machines and more flexible memory usage. The 32-bit Mac has had …

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crystalipad

Powerful Crystal Synth is Free for Windows, Mac, 64-bit; 99 cents on iPad, iPhone

For years, anyone with doubts that soft synths had become commodity needed only to look to Crystal. Not only is this proprietary synth completely free-as-in-beer for Windows and Mac, but it could easily be your only synth if you so desired. Crystal is a semi-modular instrument with the usual trimmings – subtractive and FM synthesis, modulation, multi-stage, graphical envelopes, tempo sync, chorus, flanger, comb filter, delay, and even a band splitter for adding effects per frequency band. If the bread-and-butter stuff doesn’t satisfy, Crystal also has Granular and Wave Density parameters for wavetable synthesis that can be used for granular-style …

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Customization-Friendly Renoise 2.6 Arrives; Duplex Controllerism Explained

The tracker for the rest of us – now more customizable. Click for full-sized version. Ever wish your music software could do something your way, something it can’t do now? Wish you could just get in there and change it yourself? That’s some of the ambition of Renoise 2.6, the multi-platform music creation tool. By opening up the entire music tracker to scripting, users can create custom functionality and control surface. But scripting – while it sounds like the domain of hard-core geeks – doesn’t have to be daunting. That’s important, as presumably you want to spend some time making …

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Cakewalk SONAR X1 Rethinks Windows DAW’s User Interface

Cakewalk’s SONAR has always been a compelling choice of DAW on Windows. Under the hood, its 64-bit processing, 64-bit mix engine, balanced complement of editing features, and quite-nice array of instruments and processors has held enough appeal. But then there’s the interface, which hasn’t held up to the tools underneath. Being pretty isn’t only cosmetic; a visually-refined interface is just easier to look at and use. And aside from aesthetics, moving between editing views or just managing what’s visible on-screen in SONAR can be a chore. It’s a problem not unique to Cakewalk’s DAW: the leading music workstations now simply …

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