Jamming standard: Ableton is opening Link to everyone, starting today

Ableton Link is coming to desktops, and going completely open source. And that means the best tool for wireless sync and jamming is about to get a lot more popular. On iOS and for Ableton Live users, Ableton Link is already a revelation. It allows any number of different apps to sync up with one another without fuss. That includes two more machines running Ableton Live, of course. But it could also be two apps on an iPad, or an iPhone and an iPad, or an iPad and a copy of Ableton Live. It completely changes live jamming: instead of …


Learn what’s new in Reason 9 in these videos

Reason has cooly, quietly evolved into the thing it said it wasn’t – namely, a DAW. (Okay, we won’t call it that – let’s just say it’s one tool that lets you do all your production for a wider audience.) And it’s done it in a way that retains its Reason character. And that’s given it a uniquely dedicated core audience. How dedicated? Well, dedicated enough that they shoot their own videos showing you what’s new. And actually, the best video series demonstrating what’s changed in Reason 9 didn’t come from Propellerhead at all. Instead, it comes from YouTube user …


Watch ten hours of Reason 9 presets, played on a road trip

Included sounds: if you care about them, you probably care about them a lot. Now, to some of us, sound design is an essential part of the pleasure of music making. Give us an INIT preset and let us muddle our way to making something work – even badly. But then there are people who don’t enjoy that, or simply don’t have the luxury. (You do not want to fall down a sound programming rabbit hole when you’ve got a TV score deadline looming on the clock.) And so the folks who make music software routinely focus on lots of …


This amp and FX pack shows what you can do with Reason

In music software, you have things that are modular, and things that aren’t. Modular environments like Reaktor and Max/MSP let you build things from scratch with essentially unlimited flexibility. DAWs tend to lock you into fairly rigid options for how you combine different instruments, effects, and other tools. Well, Reason sits somewhere in between. Every virtual synth, effect, and signal tool can be patched into another in a single, integrated environment – even as it still remains a production tool with a timeline and mixer (or mixers). In a great example of why that’s cool, hard-core Reason expert Marco Raaphorst …

Reason 9 is available to download now.

Why you should care that Reason 9 just arrived

Reason 9 is here, updating that singular virtual rack of instruments and effects combined with song recording and arrangement. And a quick look at the features will likely have some people saying “fine, sure, but my DAW can already do that.” But – exactly. And also – can it, really? Because Reason has a of doing things in a, well, Reason-y way – one that keeps its die-hard fans uniquely loyal. And it sometimes has a way of doing things best.

Michal at work.

Conversations in live techno from the Polish underground

Techno is a thread in Europe that can bring people together, and be a lingua franca. That phenomenon can earn detractors and champions alike; the common currency threatens to devolve into sameness. But one thing I’ve found looking beyond centers like Berlin: there’s extraordinary talent on the horizon, answering to the beacon capital techno cities. If techno is giving people musical commonality, it’s also encouraging people to push their music such that they can extend beyond a hometown or home residency.


Add a Free Softube Saturation Knob, Anywhere: Plug-in for Mac, Windows, or Reason

The Christmas gifts keep coming. On top of an excellent free NI delay, a free clap plug-in, and a free retro-inspired Max for Live drum machine, now you can add a free saturation effect – anywhere. Softube are making, simply put, some of the best amp and saturation models anywhere. I’m routinely using their stuff, as I’m sure many of you are, in Ableton and Propellerhead releases on top of dedicated Universal Audio UAD plug-ins. But having the convenience of a single saturation effect, with adjustable parameters, means you can create custom effect chains quickly. Toss some saturation on just …


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 …


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 …


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 …