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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Roland’s SH-101 PLUG-OUT Integrates Hardware, Software, Looks Rather Convenient

Hardware makers have tried different ways of fusing those tools with software for years. Now, we get to see just how Roland’s PLUG-OUT scheme will work, as the company shows off the SH-101 plug-in for the AIRA SYSTEM-1 keyboard synth that just began shipping. The SH-101 PLUG-OUT ships on the 25th of July, available for free with purchase of a SYSTEM-1. And, just as I’m enthusiastic about Elektron’s direction this year with Overbridge, I have to say PLUG-OUT looks really convenient. The name might be a gimmick, and I don’t know that everyone will want to swap models regularly, but …

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Get a $250 Eventide Channel Strip, Free, for Any Platform

You know those infomercials that tell you to call now – though it makes absolutely no difference when you call? This is the opposite of that. Basically, you can buy a new 64-bit channel strip plug-in from Eventide for US$249. Or, act now, and it will cost … nothing. It’s free, through the 8th of July. I had to read this twice; I thought maybe it was an older version or an existing plug-in. It’s not. Their intro price is zero, and then it goes up to two hundred fifty bucks. And coming from Eventide, this is especially big news, …

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K2

Pianoteq 5 Improves Piano Modeling, Without Eating Up Your Hard Drive

If you want a fake piano, you can have a fake piano. You can have increasingly-good models and samples in hardware, but you can really get a fake piano on your computer. You can buy entire hard drives just to store the gigabytes of samples. You can load massive instances of Kontakt with different recorded sounds for every note, every articulation. You can have new pianos, old pianos, countless Steinway samples. You can even have a ridiculously-tall upright. Or, you can have Pianoteq. Whereas others gobble hard drive space, Pianoteq uses sophisticated modeling techniques that skip the samples, meaning it …

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LIQUID RHYTHM 1

Rhythm, Recoded in Plug-ins, Ableton Live: A Conversation with WaveDNA

Music software is at its best when it goes beyond cookie-cutter regularity, and spawns something creative. And sometimes, the path there involves retooling how that music is made. That’s why I’m pleased to get to share this interview with WaveDNA. Liquid Rhythm is something unlike just about anything else in music software. It looks like a music theory class collided with a mandala. In colored patterns, arrayed in bars and wheels, you can produce all kinds of new rhythms, then integrate deeply with your host software. If you use Ableton Live, the integration goes further still. Whether you’re using Drum …

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Hexonator Resonator Makes Any Sound into Harmonies, Sequences

Resonators are a breed that could use some new life. Let’s not even talk about Ableton Live – use one of the presets in the built-in effect in that software, and any producers are likely to perk up their ears – and turn up their nose. But that’s why it’s nice to see the latest effort from Artemiy Pavlov and Sinevibes. The Ukrainian developer has just been on a roll lately with clever, Mac-friendly (Retina Display, even) creative plug-ins. And the latest is a fresh twist on a resonator. Six tuned resonators already makes a nice resonator plug-in, but Hexonator …

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The boys of Elektron, jamming out. The analog lineup at the booth was a big hit at Messe, but the news story was making that analog play nicely with your lappy.

Elektron, Bridging Gap Between Synths, Drum Machines and Computers: Overbridge Explained

It’s a funny thing about this latest hardware resurgence: everyone kind of expects to use that gear with their PC and Mac. Elektron isn’t the first ever to attempt to make their gear integrate smoothly with computers; some of the techniques they use in Overbridge we’ve even seen before. (Roland and Virus spring to mind.) But with complete features for making their hottest, latest equipment behave well with software, they’re firmly in the territory of “why wasn’t everyone doing that before?” Elektron unveiled their approach this week at Musikmesse. It’s called “Overbridge,” and it applies to their latest analog equipment …

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Get a Multi-Sampled Mellotron, Free [Mac, Windows]

At 350 pounds (159 kg), the original Mellotron is not an easy instrument to acquire … or lift. But its 8-second tapes helped define a classic sound – Strawberry Fields, forever. Sample house UVI have been doing a lot of nice work lately – including some real rarities like the prepared piano at Paris research center IRCAM. They’re giving away their multi-sampled Mello emulation. It’s always tough to know how to best capture as a digital instrument something as idiosyncratic as the Mellotron; in this case, they’ve multi-sampled dozens of tapes on three different machines for the 28 sounds. It’s …

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Logic Pro X Brings iPad Control, New Features and Refinement [Gallery, Details, CDM Hands-on]

It’s been four years since we saw a significant update to Apple’s flagship music production suite. But the wait today is over. Logic Pro X is here, along with MainStage 3 and a new, free companion iPad app called Logic Remote. First, if for some reason you’re a loyal Logic user who has been dreading this upgrade, you can officially relax. As I suspected in 2011, this isn’t the sort of radical departure from previous versions of Logic some had feared. With the exception of the long-discontinued WaveBurner and Soundtrack Pro, you’ll be hard pressed to find any “legacy” feature …

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Ardour, For the Rest of Us: Free DAW Gets Plug-ins, MIDI, More as 3.0 Arrives

Ardour has long been software that you probably wanted to want to use. Fully free and open source, supporting standards for plug-ins and file interchange, Ardour is software that arguably the whole industry needs to exist. That is, even if you don’t use it, you might benefit from having a reasonable competitor that pushes openness and interoperability, that can innovate with open source code as much as commercial options do. Now, Ardour is here in a version you may actually want to use. It’s not that there haven’t been people getting work done with Ardour in the past. (Don’t forget …

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