Axoloti makes any music hardware you can imagine

Meet a new, special creature. So, you’ve got your own special dream for a musical tool – the instrument or effect or sound machine you want. Traditionally, you’ve had a few options for realizing that – apart from going to the shops and hoping you can buy something that fits. You could develop in software and run that on a computer (via Max/MSP, Reaktor, Pd, SuperCollider, and so on). You could patch together some hardware rig (as on a Eurorack, for instance). But what if a tiny board could be the computer and the hardware? That’s the third category in …


Here’s a visual tour of what’s new in Reaktor 6

Reaktor 6 arrives today, and it’s the most significant update to Native Instruments’ deep modular environment in years. Blocks, which we cover separately, are clearly the banner feature. But there’s a lot of new functionality both apart from Blocks and underlying it. Let’s take a tour. First, it’s worth saying: Reaktor is a vital part of NI’s DNA. It’s the software that really launched the company (as Generator, back in 1996). And Reaktor is a prototyping and development tool for the company. Of course, the flipside would be, if NI weren’t taking care of Reaktor, you should fear for the …


Watch These Videos and Make Musical iOS Apps with Pd, Free

The challenge in making tools, as in making anything else, is really the making. It’s one thing for an idea to exist in your head, another to really get down to construction. And very often great engineering means testing, means building the idea and then refining it. So prototyping is everything. That could explain the increased passion for hacking. Whereas big development efforts are a morass of meetings, or traditional prototyping could mean elaborate distractions from testing what we really works, “hacks” work to get something usable more quickly. And that means testing the usability of an idea happens faster. …


Kyma 7 Wants You To Discover, And See, New Sounds

Kyma 7 in Four Minutes from Symbolic Sound on Vimeo. Somewhere apart from the general purpose computer, the standalone electronic instrument, the racks of modulars, there is Kyma. For nearly a quarter century, this boutique digital instrument has opened up sonic realms to a scattered illuminati of artists. And this week, it hit a new milestone, with functionality and resources intended to make sound exploration still broader and more accessible. Three years in development, Kyma 7 is here. The buzz around modular often comes back to the same refrain: modular is cool because it’s open ended. That rat’s nest of …


Add a Physical Knob to Your Max Patch with Arduino: Video Tutorials

Patching on a computer involves plugging something into something else virtually. In this video tutorial, you can extend that by adding a physical knob to control your custom creations, for Max/MSP (and Max for Live). It’s just a quick tip, but I know this gets asked a lot. (Greetings, students – happy spring semester to you!) And there’s something really fun about seeing a knob in the real world controlling something. Bonus points for using a toilet paper roll as a custom “housing.” It’s also nice seeing this accomplished in the all-new Max 7. And this is just the start, …


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 …


Reaktor Users Can Start Playing with Komplete Kontrol Now – Even Without Hardware

Pretty lights are no fun if they’re off limits. So, Reaktor gurus, your fun starts now. As promised here, you get some example patches to begin working with those light-up keyboards from Native Instruments (Komplete Kontrol S-Series, to be technical). And they’re available now: Here are two example ensembles showing how to control the KOMPLETE KONTROL S-series LEDs and key properties from Reaktor. HWControl_BasicUse.ens – can be used with an S-series keyboard to directly control the key LED colours and note properties. HWControl_KB-LED-Simulator.ens – includes a keyboard LED simulator instrument so that you can test your Reaktor HWControl messages without …


Max 7 Shows Off New Interface – And Explains What It’s For, with Mushrooms

Max 7 is the newest version of Cycling ’74 visual development to… um… erm… Well, actually, it’s really hard to explain what tools like Max, Pd, Reaktor, Plogue Bidule, and the like can do. Sure, they’re nerdy environments for making stuff. But because they’re open ended – because what they do is really up to you – just calling them a “development tool” doesn’t really say a lot. So, in a cute new video, Cycling ’74 shows off Max 7. It’s really stuff you could do with previous tools, showing visual and sonic capabilities. But if you didn’t fully grasp …


Free Patching Tool Pd (Pure Data) 0.46 Released: Native OSC, Jack

Pd: Ugly. Hugely useful. Free. The open-source, free graphical patching environment can do everything from simple MIDI tasks to building synths and effects to advanced multimedia. And because it’s free software, it’s also been adapted to run places other tools can’t – it’s been used in commercial iOS apps with millions of downloads (via libpd), and will run happily on a Raspberry Pi or even a hacked e-reader or ancient iPod. Contrary to popular belief, it’s also getting a healthy stream of updates. And while those usually don’t merit specific mention, 0.46 is very cool. (It’s the “vanilla” version, so …


Vuo in Beta: A New Hope for Visual Development? [Resources]

So, without a line of code, you want to make something new, visually. You’ve got Max, you’ve got Pd, you’ve got vvvv. But for quickly cooking up generative visuals, dynamic interaction, live animation, and more from a clean slate, the other option had been Apple’s Quartz Composer, a tool that has lost a lot of steam (and acquired quite a few bugs) lately. Somehow, many people want some fresh blood on this scene. And that’s where Vuo comes in. From the creators of the Kineme plug-ins, it’s a chance to start anew. We’ve been eyeing Vuo with interest for a …