slate

Subscribe, Click, Collaborate: The New Ways to Buy Music Creation Software

It’s been a long time coming, but the month of January has brought more new ways to pay for music creation software than we’ve seen in a few years. When you want to share a playlist with a friend, you can count on giving them full-length tracks with Spotify. (Sorry, Taylor Swift fans, but everyone else.) If you’re on a tight deadline to finish a video edit, you can pay a small monthly fee to use Adobe Premiere – and send it to the film composer knowing they can do the same, rather than having to buy it outright for …

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Talk_family2

How A Plug-in Recaptured the Robot Voices of Your Childhood

I’ve just gotten lost making my computer sing. And now I can’t stop. You see, a funny thing happened on the way to the future. As speech synthesis vastly improved, it also became vastly more boring. Intelligibility robbed synthesized words and singing of its alien quality, which was what made it sound futuristic in the first place. Chipspeech takes us back to speech synthesis as many of us remember it growing up. It’s weird-sounding, to be sure, to the point of sometimes being unable to understand the words. But it’s also loaded with character. And there’s a history here. To …

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clapmachine

Get a Free All-Clap Plug-in for Mac or Windows

Clap your hands say clap! And the holiday gifts keep coming. Next up: an all-clapping plug-in. Yes, Clap Machine does just what it says: it makes claps. Think four octaves of them, even, all very natural-sounding. Now, at first this is the sound of one hand clapping – okay, two hands clapping. You’ll probably want to use multiple notes to get more. (It’s actually a shame there isn’t a control for that, but … well, you’ll figure it out. I might actually whip up a quick Max for Live device to use single inputs from a step sequencer but generate …

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replika

Download An Amazing New Delay Effect for Free from Native Instruments

Miracle on Schlesische Stra├če? Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a frame of mind. It also means that Native Instruments is giving away a delay effect for free before it goes on sale at full retail – so now’s the time to grab it. (There’s also a download voucher, some Remix Sets, and a gear giveaway, but it’s the delay that I think rises to the level of newsworthy.) The thing is, delays are very often as useful if not more indispensable than reverbs – whether it’s dark, dubby techno you’re producing or experimental soundscapes. And this one is really, …

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numerology

Numerology 4 is the Deep Modular Sequencer You Didn’t Know You Needed [Mac]

Numerology is a ray of hope, proof that there’s more than one way to build software for making music live and in the studio. Instead of locking you into yet another multitrack recorder, it’s an open canvas for combining sequencers into note-making machines. But maybe the idea of using some idiosyncratic modular step-sequencing environment just hadn’t quite won you over. Quietly working away in New Mexico, developer Jim Coker has been working away on a new Numerology to change your mind. What’s different about this fourth revision? Well, a whole lot of details, but here are the important new developments: …

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max7collage

DIY Tool Max 7 Arrives; Here Are The Best New Features

Being “software about nothing” isn’t easy. Max has for years been a favored choice of musicians and artists wanting to make their own tools for their work. But it’s been on a journey over more recent years to make that environment ever more accessible to a wider audience of people. The aim: for beginners and advanced users alike, work faster, producing tools that work better. Okay, those are easy goals to set – a bit like all of us declaring we’re going to “get in better shape” in a few weeks from now on New Year’s Eve. But Max 7 …

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Meet Bazille, the Obscenely-Massive Monster Modular Synth Plug-in from u-he

Simple, lightweight, minimal. No, not really. This is a total monster, the grandest synth yet from plug-in maestro Urs Heckmann, aka u-he. ACE, aka “Any Cable Everywhere,” already introduced us to computer plug-ins with massive tangles of virtual cables – in a good way. Bazille, then, is the plug-in that ate the plug-in that ate Chicago. And after first making an appearance in 2009, it’s finally here, like a beast foretold in legend. Its oscillators are digital, with FM (frequency modulation) and phase distortion and the wild-sounding fractal resonance. And then it has analog-style filters. And then it has effects …

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Oh, so that's where it's been hiding. Click Smart Controls (top) and then the Inspector (bottom); you might need to adjust a preference (below).

How to Make GarageBand Work with Your Plug-ins – Even Though Apple Hid Them

GarageBand is a pretty amazing no-cost tool. You get a solid, reliable production app built on the same framework as Logic. It has loads of built-in sounds – instruments and loops. It has easy-to use but capable editing, complete with notation view. There’s now a virtual Drummer which can be fun for sketching out song ideas and backing tracks. And it’s very guitarist/instrumentalist friendly: there’s a big tuner (cough, Ableton), amps and effects. And did I mention it’s free? Just one problem: you might not immediately work out how to use third-party plug-ins. GarageBand 10 got rid of some features …

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It covers just the basics, but sounds the business - and it's free with the SYSTEM-1. The SH-101 plug-in. (Yes, plug-in - we're not to the plug-out bit yet.)

Roland’s PLUG-OUT SH-101 Doesn’t Work in Many Hosts; What You Need to Know

Roland’s PLUG-OUT introduces a new way to deliver electronic musical instruments. You get a plug-in you run on your computer, but then the same sound-making code can be loaded onto hardware – the AIRA SYSTEM-1 synth keyboard. The good news is, the future-y stuff all works perfectly well. As we reported in our initial hands-on, when the installation works, you can use the software alone, the SYSTEM-1 alone, or a combination, which is a nice arrangement. The bad news is, the old-fashioned “install the plug-in and it works in your DAW” part? Well, for some – not so much. We’ve …

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Hands-on: How the SH-101 Plug-Out for AIRA SYSTEM-1 Works – And Sounds

Somewhere, some editor has probably already written the headline “Turn On, Tune In, Plug-in, Plug-Out.” After all, back when Roland introduced the AIRAs, the reaction was something like this: “An 808/909 drum machine! A 303! And – some other things!” So, it fell to the SYSTEM-1 – a neon-green, slim-line keyboard synth – to make PLUG-OUT the big draw. You know, like “plug-in,” but … uh … out. The notion is this: load software models onto your computer, then copy that same model to the SYSTEM-1 hardware. While the keyboard is physically connected to your computer, the software makes it …

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