Whoa looking at this on my MacBook WHERE IS REALITY? Photo: UA.

The 1955 Fender Tweed amp now lives in software

The art of modeling at a handful of the best software shops continues to progress. And so it is that Universal Audio say they’ve simulated every tiny detail, “from speaker paper and heat dissipation, to filter caps and transformers,” of one of the world’s best-known amplifiers – the Fender Tweed. It’s the cranked sound of Neil Young; it’s the clear lead of Larry Carlton. It’s a lot of other things. It’s now on a computer, too.


Modstep is now a hub for everything; learn how to use it

Modstep, the step sequencer on steroids on iOS, just got a huge pile of new features. It hosts AU plug-ins (yes, iOS plug-ins). It adds per-track MIDI, for hardware and apps. It has loads of new features for clips and arranging. It is, basically, a MIDI daw with built-in instruments that’s unlike nearly anything on desktop – only it was designed from the ground-up for the iPad. In fact, it does so much that it’s a bit overwhelming. So, let’s take a birds-eye view of what’s new – and then turn to the singular educational force that s Jakob Haq …


Shiftee takes us inside his latest virtuosic laptop DJ routine

Master turntablist Shiftee has posted a sharp routine. It’s a clever product placement for Razer’s laptops, but – well, it’s more than that. It’s an ad for laptops in general, at a time when DJing has increasingly come to mean “showing up with a couple of USB sticks.” And it’s sort of an ad for being DJ Shiftee. So, we asked Mr. Shiftee to show us what was going on.


Tested: Chromaphone 2 has kinder, gentler acoustic modeling

If it feels at times like everything has been done in sound synthesis, every new sound uncovered, then look to physical modeling for a way forward. This collection of techniques simulates the way sound is produced by acoustic objects. Applied Acoustics Systems (AAS) of Montreal has been one of the leaders in that field – and they’ve got a new product out that might be the friendliest offering in this field yet.


iZotope’s Dynamic Delay is free – and wonderful

iZotope has a new delay out, and like many plug-in developers of late, they’re using a limited time free offer to rise above the din of Internet noise. But while the new “DDLY Dynamic Delay” is free, it’s not something cut-down. On the contrary: you might fall in love with this delay right away.

It's all acoustic technology. But, at last, it's 21st century acoustic technology. Photo: CDM.

Watch Una Corda, a software piano with a difference

The piano has been living with a beautiful legacy, but that legacy can double as tyranny. The Steinway Model D, favorite instrument of mine that it is, has also frozen the technological development of the keyboard instrument. And that’s why the Una Corda is different. Built custom by David Klavins, and associated with that builder’s collaboration with pianist Nils Frahm, this lightweight piano is unlike any you’ve seen or heard before. And now, you can get a taste of playing the real thing with a software instrument.


Celemony Melodyne can now dive into overtones and spectra

Celemony’s flagship Melodyne audio editor has long been reaching past the limits of what most people imagine as pitch correction. It was clear the mission of the software was no less than seamlessly transforming audio – shaping sound as directly as you can MIDI notes. Well, now it’s gone even further. Now we’re not just talking about moving polyphonic notes around. In Melodyne 4, we’re talking reaching into the spectra of polyphonic sound material itself. It’s like playing God with a recording.


Play reverb roulette with this wild free u-he plug-in

Urs Heckmann just combined “reverb” with “experimental, possibly sonically unstable plug-in with unpredictable results.” And it’s free. Urs – how did you know exactly what I wanted for Christmas?


IRCAMAX 2 effects put sonic science into your Ableton Live sets

IRCAM is Paris’ legendary research center. It’s the place where the original Max was born, and it’s still a hub for some of the brightest minds in sound in the world. IRCAMAX 2 is a new set of effects and instruments for Max for Live. And it does some amazing stuff – though maybe the best way to demonstrate that is not to explain, but to let you listen. They’ve made not just demos but some beautiful music, via artist Najo:


Use a hardware synth like it’s a plug-in – in a $60 DAW

With a little setup, you can integrate a hardware synth with Reaper as if it’s a software plug-in. Check out the video tutorial from The Reaper Blog to see how. Reaper is a terrific “indie” DAW for the budget-conscious. Just $60 buys you an individual personal license with a bunch of free upgrades. (“Commercial” use is described as anyone making more than $20k a year – plenty of very serious musicians make less than that.)