Looping Technique: New BOSS, VOX Loopers Will Do One-Shots

So, you’re the fastest one-shot sampler in the West, huh? We’ve got good news for you, then – you can now proceed to spend money on new gear. Photo (CC-BY) William Clifford. What was the most-asked question around new music tech announcements earlier this month, coinciding with the industry’s NAMM trade show? Was it, “What’s the best accessory for my iPad?” Was it, “what was the game changer for music workstations?” Nope – not among CDM readers, anyway. It was, “can I do one-shot samples with the new loopers? A one-shot sample – for those of you thinking of True …


iZotope Stutter Edit: Can you Make BT Software Performances a Product?

Hardware greatly eclipsed software among music tech announcements and last week’s NAMM trade show. But the one software release that has been generating buzz amongst producers may be iZotope’s Stutter Edit. BT told me in an interview some years ago about how he was using software in beta that he said would change the world, as he claimed credit for the stuttering, sliced editing style that has since become so popular. Now, in a release from iZotope, BT’s Stutter Edit is available as a finished, polished product. Note: The conversation made an impression on me, personally, but I’m recalling something …


Cubase 6: Amidst Familiar Leapfrog Features, A New Approach to Note-by-note Expression Editing

Users of Cubase seem to be a kind of silent majority. Web data suggests this may be the most popular DAW on the planet, thanks to Windows and Mac support, over 25 years in the business, and the absence of any particular hardware requirements. But the Cubase users I know, while fiercely loyal, just aren’t as evangelical about their choice. “Oh, yeah, I use Cubase.” One basic problem is that Digital Audio Workstations have been locked for years in leapfrog-style, me-too feature battles. These mature, do-everything, kitchen-sink products add tweaks that evidently matter to their users but are hard to …


For the Digital Guitarist, a Roland Synth, Processor, and MIDI in One Box

I remember seeing Roland’s guitar-to-computer connectivity for the first time. It seemed almost magical. Guitarists could pick up their main instrument and enter lines into notation software, or replace the sound of an instrument with a synthesized one, or track into a sequencer. It didn’t distract from their musicianship, because it showcased that skill. It was remarkable partly because it was so intuitive: why shouldn’t a guitarist benefit from the same flexibility I’d enjoyed as a keyboardist? The GR-55 is now Roland’s tenth-generation guitar synth. There’s a particular reason to pay attention to this iteration: it’s both a synth and …


Korg’s Kaoss Pad Quad is a Touchable Multi-Effects Box for Under $350

In what is proving to be a NAMM week bonanza for lovers of hardware effects, Korg’s Kaoss Pad Quad may be the best bang-for-the-buck. You can control up to four effects simultaneously, all via the trademark KAOSS-style touchpad, triggering effects you want via single-button toggles. (In fact, this device reminds me in a good way of the superb but sadly now-defunct Entrancer KPE-1 video device, in that everything is neatly accessible.) Plug in your input from an external source or use the onboard mic input, then control effects from the touchpad with multi-color LED effects for visual feedback. There are …


Korg Revises Portable USB MIDI Controllers; What’s New in nanoSERIES 2?

Cheap, ultra-slim, and easy to pop in a backpack, Korg’s nano Series were a big hit. The only real blemish on this line has to be the original nanoKEY; some people managed to use it, but key caps chronically fell off and it wasn’t a whole lot of fun to play. The nanoPAD and nanoKONTROL fared much better, providing pads and faders in a laptop-ready form factor. And since they don’t require drivers, these will also work with new devices like the iPad. With the nanoSERIES2, Korg mainly sticks with the original formula, but adds a few adjustments. They have …


Eventide for the Rest of Us: A Legendary Effects Processor, Now in Compact Reverb Form

“Reverb” seems too vanilla a word to describe a box from Eventide. Regarded as one of the best hardware effects processors ever, Eventide’s brilliant sounds have sadly been out of reach to most musicians. Eventide’s new stompboxes finally make those effects portable and affordable. The latest is Space. Room, plate, spring, hall. Special effects / combo effects: Shimmer, ModEchoVerb, DualVerb, Blackhole, MangledVerb, TremoloVerb, DynaVerb Mono and stereo operation. Tap tempo, MIDI clock sync. (Yes, that’s right – a tempo syncable reverb.) Instant program change, which makes this ideal for live performance use in a way many reverbs, hardware or software, …


VOX Gets in Looping Game with Dynamic Looper – 90 Seconds, But with Live Features

For one candidate to challenge the reigning BOSS Loop Station line, there’s rival VOX. While they’re both loopers with some things to stomp on, the designs are quite different. The BOSS units can store up to three hours and 99 phrases; the VOX VDL1 stores two loops with a total recorded time of 90 seconds. Nor do you get the utility of the BOSS’ USB storage transfer. And the Vox is mono, whereas the BOSS is stereo. In place of those features, the VDL1 focuses more on live looping and effects: Live effects: Pedal/Wah (Clean/Comp/Crunch/Overdrive/Distortion), Mod (Chorus 1/Chorus 2/Flanger/Phaser/Tremolo), Bass …


Tonight in LA, Music and Tech Talks, Richard Devine, Jimmy Edgar, and Reflecting on Performance

Photo courtesy Curious Josh. If you’re in Anaheim for the NAMM music trade show, or elsewhere in the LA area, it’ll be worth the trip tonight to downtown LA to catch the fourth annual Wham Bam. Jimmy Edgar and Richard Devine headline music performances that include WE ARE THE WORLD, Thavius Beck, Drumcell, Laura Escudé, DJ Kero, Derek Michael, Eezir, and Professor Nalepa vs It’s Not Over Quebec. CPU, CELL, KERO, and VJ Culture provide visuals and installations. You’ll also get a healthy dose of tech, as Laura Escude, Thavius Beck, Steve Nalepa, and Moldover talk about live performance techniques …


DSP Goodies on New Macs, as Universal Audio Does Firewire

It’s difficult to describe Universal Audio’s plug-ins until you’ve tried them. It’s a bit like having chocolate sauce at your disposal, sonically speaking. Whatever your higher-level brain may have to say, somewhere deep in your mammalian brain, you hear only … mmmmmm. Chocolate. It’s the word I get from UA users, and I’ll also have an interview with UA to post next week in which we get deep into the philosophy of sound, software design, and modeling, a conversation that transcends any one product. They’re not for everyone – they demand a price premium, to be sure, versus rival CPU-native …