Photo (CC-BY-ND) Bill Selak.

Here Are Your Best Black Friday Deals on Music Tools

Sure, Black Friday may conjure unpleasant images of hordes rushing a Wal-Mart. But with so much of music gear now online in software form, it is a chance to load up with some new music tools for the winter (or, erm, southern hemisphere, the summer), save some money, and make more music. And that’s a good thing. So here are some of the nicest-looking deals in our inbox, too good not to share.

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These Apps Use Quicker Interfaces To Encourage More People to Use Sound

Convincing musicians to make use of sound is easy. And electronic musicians are even content with stunningly-complex interfaces, in exchange for deep control of sound. But what about everyone else? Users on mobile are certainly uploading sounds. Part of the intense interest in SoundCloud even outside music and audio audiences is simple to explain: the site is ridiculously popular. By 2012, it had reached 10 hours of uploads per minute. And once sound is uploaded, it attracts listeners. As of last fall, users had skyrocketed from 200 to 250 million users in just a few months. That’s another reason last …

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Reason 8 Overhauls UI, Adds New Softube Amp Models [Video, Gallery]

Let’s face it: Reason has started to look a little bit crowded lately. What began as a small rack of virtual effects and instruments has grown to add an enormous mixing console. Sequencing features have, since the beginning, been squeezed to tiny lanes at the bottom of the UI. And a browser floated around in a window. Reason 8’s individual parts aren’t so different from Reason versions you’ve seen before. But it’s the way they fit together that has changed – rather radically.

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OS X Mavericks Compatibility with Music and Audio Software: Updates, Resources, Advice

The usual advice applies: if you’re thinking of rushing to update to a major new OS, and you’re a musician, take your time. That’s the advice for OS X Mavericks as it would be for any big update to OS X, Windows, Linux, and now even iOS. But with that disclaimer, OS X Mavericks is so far looking like an uncommonly smooth release. The impact of App Nap, a new power-saving feature, appears to be negligible. (Presumably, it isn’t getting aggressive with apps using the audio system. We’ll need to do more testing, and as always it’s worth keeping your …

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Propellerhead’s Thor Synth on iPad, Redesigned for Touch (And Why That’d Be Nice on PC)

Propellerhead Reason, imagining a virtual rack of gear inside the computer, wouldn’t be successful if the instruments it contained were lacking in personality. Producers like this package partly because of the feeling of using something distinctive. Thor is one of the favorite instruments from that package. Now, it’s more mobile and a lot more touchable. Thor already shows signs the Swedish developer has been learning from its past iOS outings. ReBirth, the techno studio-in-a-box that made the company famous, initially had a shaky launch on the iPhone. The tool, ported almost directly from desktop PCs, was cramped and uncomfortable to …

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Daft Presets? Reason 7 Effect is Instagram for Music; How to Use – or Misuse It – and Why [Video]

Propellerhead’s latest cheeky tutorial makes no apologies. Reason 7’s Audiomatic Retro Transformer is, they say, the equivalent of tapping a filter on a phone camera app like Instagram, bundling lots of different sound attributes together into a single push-button setting. Ironically, their example is a send-up of the distinctive sound of Daft Punk’s poppy, fuzzy disco – meaning, they’ve got a preset for the band that says the problem with computers is presets. (And to think, you didn’t need to pay for all that high-end studio time.) This seems likely to produce some controversy. In fact, I’d for some time …

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Reason 7’s New Tools for Slicing, Stretching, Retiming Audio: Q&A, Tutorial Vid

Far beyond the simple sampling that first appeared in hardware, slicing, re-timing, and stretching audio keeps getting more sophisticated, manipulating recorded sound in musical ways. But a lot of the popularity of this technique traces back to Propellerhead and their ReCycle tool. By bringing together smart digital slicing with its REX file format for loops, ReCycle helped launch the looping craze in software. REX support has always been part of Reason, since the start. But the way sound works in Reason has gradually evolved, particularly as Swedish developers Propellerhead made Reason into less of a rack of synths and more …

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Reason 7 Arrives: Slicing, External MIDI, More – And All Rack Extensions Work [Details, Videos]

Reason 7 is available now, in the full version, upgrades, and entry-level Essentials editions. You can download the new release right away – including, intelligently enough, as a torrent for downloads even if Reason users get overexcited. (Cough, Ableton. Hope you’re paying attention.) There are lots of improvements, but the banner features are clearly integrated slicing and external MIDI sequencing. Those features have been a long time coming. The ability to sequence external MIDI gear seems a no-brainer for a tool with so many great sequencing tools and robust MIDI input control support. And integrated audio slicing is, oddly enough, …

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When Reason Met MIDI Out: How MIDI, Virtual CV Work in the New Reason 7 [Pictures, Details]

It’s been a long time coming, to say the least. But you can be sure that even when Propellerhead do something as basic as MIDI output, they’ll do it in, well, a Reason way. So, it was intriguing to hear Reason was adding MIDI out precisely because in Reason it’s integrated with virtual patch cords and connections that make it work differently than in other hosts. And that means we wanted details. Propellerhead’s Leo Nathorst-Böös answers some of our questions, as CDM awaits the beta version. Most helpfully, we have some new images, so you can see better what’s going …

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Propellerhead Reason 7: External MIDI, Integrated Slicing Get Serious, Overdue Love [Preview]

Happy 2013, everyone! Here’s CDM with the latest news. It seems there’s a new synth called the Korg MS-20! Or you can have a monosynth with filter saturation – that arrangement of three oscillator knobs looks cool. All of these things use a ground-breaking format called MIDI that allows digital instruments to talk to one another. And you can even get software for your computer that now supports MIDI output. So, you can use your computer to talk to your synth – that is, if you aren’t busy taking advantage of the computer’s ability to slice up audio. In case …

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