Maschine 2.2 Proves Playability Matters: Scales, Chords, Arp for Your Pads

There are plenty of things computer drum machines / groove workstations can do to show off. There are plenty of long feature lists they might add. But actually coming up with something you can play? That’s what can really make music better in the studio and live. And that’s why Maschine 2.2 is a welcome update. First off, let’s admit something. Amidst all the clever functionality with grid-based controllers, there’s something that remains useful about a big, 4×4 grid of pads and MPC-style workflows for certain kinds of music. Those bigger targets don’t require a lot of accuracy, and it’s …


30 Days of Free Ableton Push Tutorial Videos, Now Also Downloadable

Ableton’s Push really is growing on me; it’s astounding to have lots of the working methods from software integrated on a piece of hardware, in pads and buttons and knobs. But because it does so much, because it’s open to so many tasks, it isn’t something that reveals itself in just a day. From mapping harmonies across the pads to understanding every last edit workflow, it takes some time. Josh Weatherspoon took an interesting approach this summer and spent 30 days both teaching himself to better use the hardware, and sharing techniques one at a time, for free, on YouTube. …


Cubase 7 Brings Mixing, Harmonic Chord-by-Chord Features to Steinberg’s DAW [Preview]

It must be the season of the DAW. After a bit of a quiet spell, we have DP8 (and moving in on Windows turf), SONAR X2 (announced at about the same time), and Live 9 all coming into relief. And now, it’s Steinberg’s Cubase 7. The surprise: these audio tools that seem to do everything keep finding more things to do. Generally speaking, you have to twist yourself into a pretzel to describe all those “it does this new stuff” features. That’s okay – developers and users alike built a list of stuff they want, and getting it, under-the-Christmas-style in …


Web Songwriting with Like Online GarageBand, But With Chords

Apple’s GarageBand is a powerful tool for recording MIDI and audio and arranging loops. It can be puzzling to songwriters, though, because it doesn’t really understand chord changes. Sure, you can transpose MIDI loops or (more problematically) audio, but that process is a bit clunky and rarely sounds right. Many beginner-level GarageBand songs (especially by students) simply stay in one big, long I chord for an entire piece, which, by astounding coincidence, is what I sound like playing guitar. (Come on, I went to the trouble of getting my fingers on these frets — now you want me to move …