M Interactive Composer: Retro Software, Now Intel Mac Native, Core MIDI-ready

Here’s a blast from the past — an algorithmic compositional blast from the past, that is. M is a unique piece of software for “interactive composition.” With patterns, cycles, and conducting options, you can create algorithmically-generated music, adjusting various parameters for sophisticated results rather than sequencing directly. It’s a totally different approach to working, something that’s easier to experience than to describe. M launched way back in 1987 and eventually support Atari, Amiga, Mac, and Windows; it was a big hit in the years afterward. The creators were David Zicarelli (now with Cycling ’74, and a sort of father to …

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Sibelius 5 Notation Preview: Plug-ins, Ideas Hub, More

Sibelius 5’s Ideas Pad aims to change the way you track thoughts and compose in your notation software. Or you can cut and paste from its presets, bringing “presets” to scoring for the first time. Hopefully you’ll err on the side of original ideas, but the next time Don Music can’t think of a cadence — you’re in luck. (Help! How does a plagal cadence go again?) Sibelius 5 is a big upgrade to the notation tool, now part of Avid. The biggest change of all: real VST and Audio Unit plug-in support on Mac and Windows. This merging of …

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Ardour 2, Open Source DAW for Mac and Linux: But Can You Make Music With It?

Ardour, the free, open-source audio workstation for Mac and Linux, received a major 2.0 release on April 30. Now, this is the point where you’d normally expect to see the same, boring list of feature improvements that commercial manufacturers release as bullets in each release. But when I asked the Ardour project lead Paul Davis to say something about the new version, he responded with something — well, unorthodox: Audio on Linux sucks, you can’t make music on it, there are no soft synths, my plug-ins don’t run, nobody can configure Linux, my hardware doesn’t work on Linux, it can’t …

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Free: Find DRM-Free Music, Make Glitchy Sounds, Built in Max

And you thought all Max/MSP/Jitter could do was make sound and visuals. Stephen Lumenta writes in to let us know he’s created a Max patch for searching various DRM-free music stores: i just saw the drm/other music thread. maybe i have too much time on my hand but i built a little max standalone app that will search drm-free stores (juno, bleep, 3beatdigital, emusic, othermusic). maybe useful, maybe just for fun. Mostly interesting as a demonstration of some of Max’s more unorthodox capabilities, but fun nonetheless. You can download a free version for Mac standalone (Universal Binary), or a patch …

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Berrtil, Free Circuit-Bent Modeling Plug-in. Plug-in Smash. Sound Crush.

Bertill is an insanely glitchy distortion unit based on models of circuit-bent hardware, as a free VST for Windows and Mac (Universal Binary). Actually, whether you should really believe that or not, I’m not certain: I’m only vaguely sure of the relationship of the massive digital mangling this plug-in causes and the obscure Handycam shots uploaded to YouTube of a circuit-bent setup. Regardless, the thing sounds wonderfully awful. The knobs are straightforward and will demolish your sound entirely if you like; dial different “types” for a variety of different settings. Some of the higher type numbers are actually fairly subtle. …

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NI Elektrik Piano 1.5: Universal Binary, New Features

Native Instruments has tweaked their Elektrik Piano, finally adding Universal Binary support for Intel Macs. Unlike the Vokator and Spektral Delay updates, though, there are some new features for everyone to enjoy. The samples are the same, but everything else has gotten an update:

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NI VOKATOR, SPEKTRAL DELAY Now Intel-Native for Mac

Let the spectral madness begin, all speedy and Intel-y on your MacBook: VOKATOR and SPEKTRAL DELAY are finally here, rounding out NI’s Intel-native lineup and gathering the last of the stragglers onto Apple’s faster new machines. Vokator 1.2 and Spektral Delay 1.6 each add Intel-native support for Macs. That’s it; there’s nothing else here for you. Windows users, move along. (Too bad, as it would have been nice to get some little present in the update. New presets, maybe? Anything?) Nonetheless, these are two of my favorite processing plug-ins, and having them ready for Intel Macs is truly a great …

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New Wave Editors: BIAS Peak Pro 6 for Mac, Sony Sound Forge 9 for PC

Two long-time favorite audio editors have gotten big updates recently. BIAS updated the Mac-only Peak Pro at the Messe show with an upgraded UI, ducking, mastering and playlist tools. And yesterday, Sony announced Sound Forge 9, with multichannel features, new mastering effects, and other features. That was quick: Sound Forge 8 and Peak Pro 5 only recently came out. Here are the quick highlights:

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NI KORE2: Could Take Two be a Perfect Sound Design and Management Platform?

KORE2’s new face reveals its second generation is already looking much closer to our original desire for the tool: give us a powerful, accessible environment for treating plug-ins like modular building blocks. The first KORE may be hanging out in my closet at the moment. But the new KORE2 makes it look like someone got into my brain and imagined my wish list for the tool. I’ll know in June, when KORE: the sequel ships. Here’s a first look. I’ll be honest: KORE was one of the bigger disappointments of 2006 for me and many of my colleagues. Being ambitious …

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Adobe Soundbooth CS3 Coming Summer; $199 Standalone; Soundbooth vs. Audition

Adobe’s new audio application, compatible with Intel Macs and Windows PCs, has been formally announced today. CDM was one of the first sites to look in-depth at Soundbooth CS3 back in the fall, and we broke the story that the software would be available as a standalone. Now we have a little bit more in the way of details: Soundbooth will ship in “third quarter” or “summer” (depending on which language you read), and it’ll ship with the CS3 Production Suite. I’m a little disappointed that Adobe chose not to ship it as part of the Design suite, since part …

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