Learn How Pantha Du Prince Combines Acoustic Instruments with Ableton Live, In C

Before triggering clips and samples on the computer, Pantha du Prince and The Bell Laboratory “trigger” the musicians. Yes, before there were machine clips, there were human patterns, and in performing Terry Riley’s legendary classical new music composition “In C,” the ensemble has to do just that. In a beautiful chorus of chiming tones, that orchestra is augmented with digital embellishment. The result makes for a live performance that expands the role of the computer into a large-scale instrumental ensemble, venturing into territory perhaps not as often associated with Ableton Live as genres like dance music are. But Ableton has …

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Putting the PC in MPC: The Next Akai Drum Machine, Numark DJ Products, on Windows Embedded

The dedicated drum machine is at a crossroads. Computer hybrids are simply capable of more than dedicated hardware – and that, in turn, has changed user expectations. You can go retro, as analog machines have done. You can go small, as boxes like the volca beats and upcoming Akai Rhythm Wolf do. You can stay the course, as Elektron does with their boxes. You can go hybrid, as Native Instruments’ Maschine, Arturia’s Spark, and Akai’s Renaissance and MPC Fly do. Or, there’s one other option. You could put the soul of a computer – and the touchscreen interface – in …

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Control, Shortcuts for Ableton Starting at $99: A Look at the New AKAI APC Line

For any tool that has “live” in the name, physical control will always be important. And so even with a broad market for controllers targeting Ableton’s flagship software, now including the slick Push hardware from Ableton themselves, AKAI’s re-vamped APC line earned intense interest when it debuted at Musikmesse this month. Let’s make sense of what the new APCs can do and how you might choose between models. I got some hands-on time at Messe, and now even in advance of a review of finished, shipping hardware, it’s worth teasing out the breakdown of the 2014 APC line. The original …

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Hands on with Akai’s $199 Rhythm Wolf Drum Machine, More Details

As I suspected, Akai did not have a working, sounding model of the upcoming Rhythm Wolf drum machine. But I did get my hands on a prototype with sequencing firmware, got a sense of what the build will be like, and got to talk with Akai more about the design ideas behind this groove machine. Here’s what it feels like to pick it up: This thing feels great – not toy-like. This was the big (and pleasant) surprise for me. Whatever the Rhythm Wolf may sound like, at least it feels serious. In fact, it’s: Real metal. Fake wood. The …

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CDM’s Exclusive Guide to Bad Akai Rhythm Wolf Puns

— before they’ve even happened. Here at CDM headquarters, there’s nothing worse than the sinking feeling when other publications scoop us with content like exclusive reviews. So, we’ve decided to pre-empt all coverage of the sure-to-be-hot Akai Rhythm Wolf. In case you hadn’t heard, the Rhythm Wolf is a $199 analog drum machine with an actual picture of a wolf on it. Now, sure, it’s hard to review a product that so far doesn’t make sound. But after years of experience in this business, I can at least anticipate that lots of headlines and subheads in these reviews will make …

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Akai’s $199 Analog Drum Machine with Bass Synth: Rhythm Wolf Details

Remember when a $200 budget used to buy you a metronome and flight case, if you were lucky? Now, you have a range of great synths you can choose from. And now it’s Akai’s turn. The Rhythm Wolf is an integrated analog groove box – a 32-step sequencer, an analog drum machine, and a bassline synth in one. And it’s just $199 street. We’ve got all the details on the box, and should have more hands-on impressions later this week.

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Photo (CC-BY-NC-ND) Magic Trax.

Loe Pesci Sings Love Song to MPC60; MPC Complains It Doesn’t Get Enough Love [Video]

Loe Pesci loves his sampler. No, really loves his sampler. (Video omits any NSFW parts, though; you only see smoking in bad afterward.) Lyrics in this number are — well, complex. It seems there was more sampling going on early in the relationship. That didn’t stop AKAI from sharing the video, even if there is a brief glimpse of Ableton. The music: http://www.OGHinduKush.bandcamp.com http://www.AGLisAGoodLook.com Montreal-based Loe Pesci also surely deserves credit for working “12-bit sampling engine” into a rap. That’s some nerdcore action, right there. A forum posted complains that they wish the tune were more serious, apparently because love …

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Samples, No Computer: $99 Akai MPX8 Combines Pads, SD Card, MIDI and USB Port

Sometimes, there are designs that seem almost impossibly like an answer to a specific need. Let us illustrate. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a box that you could play, independent of a computer, that just let you mess about with samples directly from an SD card? And wouldn’t it be nice if it had MIDI jacks on it, too, and not only USB, so that you didn’t need the computer handy? That’s the MPX8 from Akai Pro. It’s dead-simple, so you’ll do most of your sample manipulation away from the hardware. (There’s a free Mac and Windows sample editor …

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MPC in Your Pocket: iMPC Comes to iPhone [Hands-on, Gallery]

Say “MPC,” and what comes to mind is a big, solid piece of hardware – a pickup truck of a drum machine, all metal beneath its rubber pads. And yet, a whole lot of what an MPC can do is now on your phone. Akai’s iMPC is available now for the iPhone. At a US$2.99 intro price, this one’s pretty much a no-brainer, but here’s a look at what the app does. As with Akai’s other iOS efforts, the app is developed by seasoned iOS devs Retronyms, so you get a beautiful, polished app from the makers of Tabletop. The …

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C64s, Control Voltage, MIDI … iPads, Keyboards and Audio: NAMM Saturday [Gallery, Impressions]

Everything old is new again. And everything new is everywhere – at least if we’re talking iPads and so on. At Anaheim’s massive gathering of music gear, there were some definite themes. Photographing for CDM, James Grahame and Marsha Vdovin give us a look at the tools on the floor. James has stumbled upon various fascinating oddities, and of course the booth celebrating MIDI’s 30th anniversary. (We’ll be talking more about MIDI’s history and legacy in the coming weeks.) From top, the keyboard models that made the history first connection, and a Commodore 64 talking to an iPad. Synthtopia has …

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