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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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Lovely, Ethereal Music, Made from New and Updated Reaktor Patches You Can Download

The wonderful, sometimes-inspiring, sometimes-daunting capability of the computer is to make any sound you like. Give someone an open toolbox, and they really limited only by skill and imagination. Graphical modular environment Reaktor by Native Instruments has a reputation for crunchy granular sounds and elaborate, multi-layered glitches, and those are to some of us certainly a good thing. But here’s some music made in Reaktor that tends in another direction. The creatoors give us some nice tools, to be sure, but they also give us some actual music and sounds to explore. At top, our friend Peter Dines has been …

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Displayed On Tubes, Digital-Analog Hybrid Visuals, Reaktor Video Synth

Mickael Le Goff is a DSP developer by day for Native Instruments. By night, he imagines signal as an element of video synthesis, dancing and flickering on tubes. In a new music video for Berlin-based producer Bill Youngman, those skills are put to eerie effect against tubes, as the analog signals fire a lonely oscilloscope tube. The “analog” conception, though, applies just as much to digital sources as strictly analog ones: NI’s own Reaktor, one of the best examples of modular creation on a computer, gets into the visual game, too. Mickael writes: I’m a French DSP developer and spend …

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Expanding Touch and MIDI, Mobile iOS Control Gets More Mature in New and Updated Apps; Round-Up

The Molten drum machine meets MIDI and sync, via the Camera Connection Kit. It’s just one of a number of improvements that have made iOS tools more mature, more powerful – and easy to integrate with other, less Apple-y hardware and software. Image courtesy One Red Dog. It’s nice to think software gets better, not worse, with age. And so it is that if you use an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad in the studio, your mobile gizmos are getting more powerful and useful. Expanded support for MIDI – using both wireless and wired connections to interface with gear of …

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DIY Ribbon Controller, Creative Commons-Licensed, with Arduino, Reaktor, Crackling-Good Case

Ribbons are so in this year. Thanks to Trent Reznor picking up the Dewanatron Swarmatron, they’re even winning Oscar Awards (after a fashion). Coagula aka Giuseppe Di Cillo has been in touch with me for some time about his evolving DIY ribbon controller. Now he’s pulling out all the stops: his full version includes a professional-looking case, extensive touch sensors, and even a display and menu system. It’s not quite the gorgeous, analog-savvy Eowave Persephone, but it’s a beautiful DIY project and a terrific learning opportunity, as well. He’s shared a complete tutorial, specifications, and tips, all under a Creative …

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Native Instruments’ Razor Synth: Dubstep to Ambience, Free Tutorial and Loops

Native Instruments has a new synth based on the Reaktor engine, and it’s one about which to be genuinely excited. Taking additive synthesis to a new conceptual level, it works with the concept of per-partial control but adds functions like wavetables, enveloping, and effects to each partial individually. The result is a synth that gets sonically surprising in a hurry, and it represents the sort of multi-dimensional thinking I hope catches on in synthesis. In a step forward for Reaktor, this synth doesn’t just sound different – it looks different, too. Whereas incredible sonic creations have been hidden too often …

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Reaktor Sampler Pack Gives you Granular Power Over Sound; Tips for Maschine, Ableton

Producer/composer and Reaktor super-guru Peter Dines is back with a new concoction for Native Instruments’ graphical development environment for sound. Entitled the Reaktor Sample Pack, it’s a collection of three granular sampling instruments. Updated with new download links (no more divshare!) Frame is a looping sampler with smooth/crossfading, envelope controls, and built-in saturation, plus graphical loop point selection. Free | download Loupe is a “polyphonic looping slicer,” which is to say you can slice up a sample and assign it to different MIDI keys. Press a note, then graphically set loop playback parameters from reverse to envelope to filter. US$15 …

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How to Get Poor with Prototyping: Advice from MPC, LinnDrum, AdrenaLinn Creator Roger Linn

New ideas and invention are wonderful things – so long as you don’t have any illusions about cost and payoff, that is. So, with that cheeky headline, here’s Roger Linn. He writes us: I thought you might get a kick out of this and maybe some of your DIY readers might find it useful. Occasionally I get an email from someone who thinks he has a great idea for a music product that will make millions, and asks for advice on how to make a prototype, or wants to tell me his idea so I can make it for him …

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NI Gives Away Version of One of the Best Reaktor Instruments, Free: Mikro Prism

Here’s an early Christmas present for Mac and Windows synth lovers: Native Instruments is giving away a simplified version of its Prism instrument for Reaktor as a free (as in beer), self-contained synth. You’ll get access to Prism’s lovely “modal bank” synthesis method, which creates some unusual, shimmering timbres. (In fact, having a simpler version may be the best way to get a taste of what Prism’s deep sound engine can do.) You also get 70 sound, including what NI describes as “seasonal” bells and chimes – perfect for any last-minute holiday music projects – plus bass, more bells, keys, …

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Tim Exile’s “The Mouth,” Reaktor-Built Creation for Your Voice

Tim Exile is a mad, Reaktor-patching genius. What I love about his instruments is the emphasis on performance. THE FINGER put you at the helm of wild, keyboard-based effects. THE MOUTH continues the MIDI keyboard triggering, but focuses, as the name implies, on using your voice and microphone as the main input. See some of the effects in the goofy video below, but know this: a wide range of sonic mayhem is possible with this instrument. I got to spend some time with Tim in Berlin early in the summer as he was still building The Mouth, and it was …

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