Novation’s Launchpad S: Brighter, Faster, Driverless, Friendlier with Other Apps [Artist How-to]

Novation’s Launchpad may have begun its life focused mainly on controlling Ableton Live. But a new update, while not radically different from the original, is more flexible, working with more software and more operating systems – including the iPad. It’s also brighter and refreshes faster than the original. Updated – for a newer Launchpad, check out our hands-on guide to the Launchpad Pro. The Launchpad S is, generally speaking, still a Novation Launchpad. It has the same complement of controls, and unlike some recent hardware, it lacks features like velocity sensitivity and full-color RGB LEDs. This is still just a …

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From a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree, Endless Synthy Sonic Variations: Free Ableton Pack

At this time of year, we come together, hearts aglow, and celebrate the simple pleasure of how much fun field recording and sampling can be in sound design. Or something like that. If you want a broader or more religious message, I’m sure you’ll find no shortage elsewhere. Having successfully weathered Armageddon (whew!), our friend AfroDJMac is back with a set of Ableton Live synths sampled from a Charlie Brown Christmas tree snowglobe. And as in the classic television Charlie Brown show, a single branch becomes a lush, full tree with some love. No, really: this is a perfect demonstration …

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A bare-bones UI belies a powerful engine - and a tool that could finally jump-start sound designers embracing an open format. Proprietary lock-in, no more.

Software Instruments, Freed From Sampler Formats: SFZ, Free Sounds, Free Sample Player

“Free As In Free Me From Proprietary Formats.” If you’re ready to explore sounds – as a novice sampler user or as an advanced sound developer – SFZ brings tidings of great joy. When they move from defining mere sounds or samples to describing whole instruments, sound designers need file formats. The problem has been that those formats tend to be particular to one sampler or another – just Kontakt, or just Logic’s EXS24, or just Gigastudio. Yes, there are converters, but because these samplers have different capabilities, converters cause problems. Being able to create instruments for these samplers is …

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Armageddon-Themed Pack for Ableton Live, EP, Featuring Korg Poly800 MKII

I can see exactly how this goes. Me. A Korg Poly800. One MIDI cable. A quiet moment in the studio. A completely ridiculous mis-interpretation of Mayan history that some have decided is the end of the world. Let me just light some candles to set the mood. “Hey there, Korg. So… this could be our last night on Earth. I know this is my friend’s studio. But — who knows if the sun is going to come up tomorrow. Let me just find out where you’re connected in the patch bay.” Actually, let me just stop there before I get …

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Or, Download a Free Ableton Live Pack Made By a Cat

In speaking about iPad apps this week, I mentioned the possibility of music made by cats. And, of course, today we look at the possibility of going inside Machinedrum’s musical technique. So, it’s only appropriate to offer you the opportunity to produce music with a sonic toolbox … developed by a cat. (Apologies, Mr. Stewart and Mr. Eno.) AfroDJMac writes: I was reading your post on Brian Eno and the blurb about cats making music, and I have something kind of relevant. I just put out Free Ableton Rack #65, which features my cat playing a rubberband, recorded with a …

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clapbox

Vintage Clap Trap Synth, Now a Unitasker iOS App; I Love the 80s

Here’s an iOS app antidote to those desktop plug-ins that do everything, to elaborate virtual synths with eighteen separate modulation envelopes. It’s an app that just … makes clap sounds. And it brings your iPhone or iPad boldly into the 1980s. The handclap sound you hear in so much electronic music, particularly that originating from the 1980s, is none other than the Simmons Clap Trap. And soundware boutique / developer Puremagnetik, the folks who have built a reputation sampling classic instruments for the likes of Ableton, has emulated that tool on iOS. It’s certainly … specific. But that could make …

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crowd

A Choir Made from a Chrowd: Hundreds Contribute to Charity Choir Sample Instrument

We hear a lot about the “wisdom of crowds.” Now, here’s the voice of the crowd. Photo (CC-BY) James Cridland. Every choir is, in a sense, crowd-sourced. In this case, a set of choir samples were composed from “choir members” from around the globe who never met each other. In Soniccouture’s new Chrowdchoir instrument, over a thousand people contributed individual sounds, which were then put together to produce the ensemble instrument. As the developers describe it: The ‘Crowd-choir’ was an idea for a crowd-sourced sampled instrument, partly inspired by the 10cc track ‘I’m not in love’, which famously featured a …

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Cloud in a DAW: Free Plug-in Lets You Browse, Drag-and-Drop to and from SoundCloud

From iPads to desktop, apps have been adding SoundCloud integration. But this plug-in goes one better: you can navigate SoundCloud from an in-DAW browser, then drag and drop sounds to hosts like Ableton Live. (You can upload, too, also via drag-and-drop.) The plug-in is free for native hosts on Mac and Windows. One major criticism: without the ability to see SoundCloud’s licensing terms, you can’t be sure if the samples you’re grabbing are something someone wants you to use. Unless I’m missing something, it’d be great to have Creative Commons search support – indeed, it’d help people who do want …

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remixdeck

Traktor 2.5, Kontrol F1 Arrive with Live Features; Hoping for More Live DJing

Features come and features go. As upgrades go, Traktor 2.5 has plenty to recommend it – plus, it’s free for current Traktor 2 users, meaning you probably don’t need anyone’s advice to try it out. So, then, the question is: will tools mean that the DJ gigs you hear be any different? There’s nothing wrong with DJs who simply smoothly mix records, whether on vinyl or digital. But that doesn’t stop music fans from sometimes longing for more of a performance. Traktor 2.5 is clearly focused around those “live” features – remixing music rather than just beat-matching and playing. As …

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triqtraq

triqtraq, a Fun iPhone Jam Sequencer – And Yes, You Can Use Your Own Samples

We hear you: amidst the various music doodling tools calibrated for casual taps on a phone screen, you want something you can actually make your own with your own sounds. Here’s one example of that: triqtraq. It’s got the “tap it on the bus to improvise a pattern” feel of some of the apps we’ve seen lately, but without sacrificing the sort of control that might keep you coming back to it. And because it lets you include your own samples, there is some depth. (No Audio Copy/Paste, though, before some reader chimes in and points that out.) Creators Sebastian …

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