ReBirth, Reborn, as Synths in your Hand: Q+A with Ernst Nathorst-Böös

The software synthesizer has come full circle. What was once possible only with a mid-range desktop computer is now easily accomplished with a sub-$200 device that rests in your hand and sips power. That transformation, once something people regarded in some vague time in the future, is now one that’s very present. I expect a lot of the hand-wringing about the future (some of it from me) comes from the uncertainty about just what it’ll mean. For some small glimpse, though, it’s nice to get to talk to Propellerhead CEO Ernst Nathorst-Böös. ReBirth is a tool that convinced a lot …

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ReBirth Arrives for iPhone, iPod touch; $6.99

ReBirth, the Roland groovebox emulation that helped launch the popularity of soft synths, is now on Apple’s mobile devices for US$6.99. (I woke up to a note from Propellerheads’ CEO Ernst left in my inbox overnight, so thanks, Ernst, for the tip!) This is not the native iPad version MusicRadar predicted after an interview with Ernst. For now, iPads scale up the iPhone interface. But a version with “native” resolution for the tablet seems a no-brainer down the road. Feature list: 2 x TB-303 Bassline synths TR-808 Drum Machine TR-909 Drum Machine Pattern Controlled Filter Distortion unit Compressor Mixer 5 …

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iPhone Gets New Groove Boxes: Is it Live Synthesis, or is it Canned?

The iPhone has become an almost absurdly-popular platform for music apps this year, even given more capable, more plentiful PCs. But to those who don’t yet “get” the appeal, talk to a mobile music addict: having the ability to be creatively musically in corners of time that would otherwise go unused, like a cramped bus ride, can be a beautiful thing. (Now, you start talking about taking away my PC/Mac experience, and I will start screaming in agony – but that’s a topic for a separate post.) The question is, what form should that app take? Today, I’ve got an …

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Arturia Origin, Guest Review: From Soft Synth to Hard Synth, at a Price

Ever wished you could pack the sonic goodness and programming power of a soft synth into a hardware box? Dreamed of software that lived in a road case and had the stability and power-on capability of your outboard gear? You’re certainly not alone. That meant many of us were intrigued when soft synth emulator house Arturia showed off the Origin, a DSP-based hardware box that put their emulations in a box that wasn’t a PC. There’s plenty to recommend this device, with an onboard step sequencer and terrific sounds. And then you hit the US$2500 street price – hardly recession-friendly, …

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Universal Audio UAD-2 SOLO Will Add DSP Power to Your Laptop for $499

I’ve been waiting for the near-ubiquitous ExpressCard slot on laptops to see some audio goodness, so one of the more welcome announcements of NAMM is that there’s now finally an ExpressCard-enabled version of the Universal Audio platform. The UAD is a DSP platform for computers, with an emphasis on high-quality, boutique mastering and effects plug-ins, including some recent, familiar emulations of classic Roland and Moog gear. UA’s stuff really does sound great, and host support has been improving (look for the key words “latency compensation” in your host of choice). So it’s about time that laptop users get in on …

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Authentic Chipmusic Soft Synth Emulation: Plogue Chipsounds Scoop from NAMM

  From top: ComputeHer, 8 bit Weapon. You’ve heard the chip hype. But there’s something behind it: vintage digital chips can make wonderful sounds. And I’m thrilled that someone has painstakingly reproduced those sounds in an upcoming package. Emulating analog circuitry, from amps to classic synths, has been long understood. But we’ve finally reached an age when people begin to appreciate the odd idiosyncrasies of digital technology, too. There hasn’t ever been a comprehensive attempt to emulate each detail of a range of 80s sound chips before – until now. Plogue (makers of the highly underrated Plogue Bidule patching environment) …

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Goodies for Guitars: IK’s Wah Pedal That’s Also an Interface, Official Fender Software

Today is set to be an orgy of computer music-y, Abletronic, drum machine-loaded, Max-patching news, so let’s throw one out to the guitarists. IK Multimedia has two new announcements today that are actually quite cool. The StealthPedal is a Wah pedal that’s actually an audio interface, sort of like a James Bond pen that’s also a gun. And IK also landed the only official Fender-endorsed software amp emulation. Here’s a quick look at the specs. By the way, I’ve consulted everyone I know (especially as I’m not a guitarist), and basically what we’ve come up with is that a whole …

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