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Form is an all-new hybrid sample synthesizer

Native Instruments has been a pioneer in making tools like Reaktor that employ unique synthesis techniques. But more recently, that power has found its way to self-contained instruments. Tucked into the release announcement of Komplete 11 comes some very big news for lovers of creative sound design and synthesis. It’s a new instrument called Form. It’s powered by Reaktor, but it’s been built from the ground up, according to NI. And it lets you drag and drop sounds to manipulate them into playable instruments.

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collidoscope

Collidoscope is a giant table-top granular instrument

Once, weird instruments only made the rounds at exclusive academic conferences. Now, they go viral on Facebook. Such is the case with Collidoscope, the creation of a UK-based mixing and mastering service (out of London label Sunlightsquare Records) and Queen Mary researchers – Ben Bengler and Fiore Martin. It’s a massive tangible table-top interface to a granular instrument.

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The Best App for Exploring Sound Just Got Better: Borderlands 2.0

It looks like a spaceship control panel, and has the futuristic sound to match. Borderlands Granular already set a high water mark for how touch could open up new possibilities in sound creation. With a new version adding live input and more control, though, its latest release may be even more significant than its first. Granular synthesis, which treats recorded sound as a fluid construction of tiny grains, needs an interface to realize its power. It’s not something that can be understood by turning a single knob. It’s defined by the sounds you put into it, by the way you …

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Abuse Sampling for Sound Design: Free Tutorial, Rack in Ableton Live

The response to the breaking Live 9.1 news this week was fast and furious; we were honestly surprised at the vast readership of the story. A lot of you must have multiple displays or virtual desktops you want to use (or, now, even a Push). But sometimes the best upgrade is the one you can install in your brain. Improve your technique, and an array of musical possibilities open up. Take this terrific tutorial from DJ Vespers as an example, which involves varying very small sample slices in Ableton’s Sampler to create unique pads. It works especially nicely with Sampler’s …

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granny

Grains In Your Pocket: microGranny is Compact, Homemade Granular Sampler Hardware

microGranny – pocket-sized handmade granular sampler from standuino on Vimeo. The Czech team of Standuino have been cooking up lots of wonderfully-geeky sonic electronics lately, but the latest might be my favorite. microGranny reads samples from a microSD card (hello, field recorder), and crunches them into granular bits. It’s the musical equivalent of one of those inexpensive compact blenders/juicers. If electronic music had late-night informercials, I’d be telling you what you could do with sound – with this. And just in case you think all this open source hardware stuff is just for the cool kids to use buzzwords, here’s …

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Borderlands Granular Available Now, US$3.99, Visualizing Sonic Exploration

Borderlands Tutorial (iPad version) from Christopher Carlson on Vimeo. What makes the tablet software experience unique on the iPad is the sense of immersive software – touching the screen interface directly, and letting everything else fall away. There’s a cost – you don’t get the flexibility of desktop software or the tangible quality of hardware. But sometimes, that experience becomes something unique. Users have been eagerly waiting since earlier this year for the release of Borderlands Granular because it suggests something really special. It has the feeling of a tool that is at its best in this medium: visual, touchable, …

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Borderlands, Amazing-Looking Granular Sampler [iPad, Desktop, Free Source], and Beautiful Sound

How do you visualize the invisible? How do expose a process with multiple parameters in a way that’s straightforward and musically intuitive? Can messing about with granular sound feel like touching that sound – something untouchable? Music’s ephemeral, unseeable quality, and the ways we approach sound in computer music in similarly abstract ways, are part of the pleasure of making noise. But working out how to then design around that can be equally satisfying. That’s why it’s wonderful to see work like the upcoming Borderlands for iPad and desktop. It solves a problem familiar to computer users – designing an …

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Padshop

Steinberg Padshop, Coming Soon, Granular Synthesis for the Rest of Us? Handy Intro Video Explains

Let’s get straight to it: granular synthesis, and the various processes based on the principle, is one of the coolest things about making music with computers. With the ability to take sounds and stretch, mangle, and reshape them into new textures, it’s one of the fundamental techniques allowing sound software and lots of terrific timbral techniques to work. Of course, explaining it to lay people is a bit of a trick. So that’s why, even before we get into talking about Steinberg’s upcoming Padshop synth, it’s worth watching the first few minutes. Sound designer Matthias Klag explains that coolness really …

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Crafting New Twisted Tools: A Chat with Reaktor Patchers Making New Sonic Instruments

Ed. Twisted Tools are a special breed of music software makers, concocting wild-sounding instruments, sequencers, and effects, all with a distinctively-colorful and graphical approach to interface design. And they do all of this in Reaktor, Native Instruments’ deep toolbox for visual development of soundmakers, a patching cousin to tools like Max/MSP, Pd, and Plogue Bidule. Various patchers take a DIY approach to building musical tools in such environments, but Twisted Tools have successfully turned those creations into a business. That’s part of what makes this interview well worth a read, whether you’re an end user or a developer. Writer Markus …

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From Granular to Free Hadron Particle Synth; Plug-in, Max for Live, and Csound (Plus, Music!)

If you aren’t quite ready to delve into the mysteries of granular synthesis and code, a colorful interface guides you through playing in Ableton Live. Granular synthesis… you’ve heard it before. Famously articulated by experimental composer Xenakis, the process of slicing up sound into tiny bits and reassembling it has produced everything from lovely (or terrifying) synthesized sonorities to the underlying time stretching algorithms in popular music software. But with all the tools competing for your granular synthesis time (one seems to pop up every few seconds on the prolific Facebook page of sound designer Richard Devine), the Hadron Particle …

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