NAMM: Calm Before the Storm

'Twas the nights before NAMM, and all through the house, not a press release was stirring . . . well, no, that's not true. In fact, I have a huge stack of new releases, but they're all embargoed (meaning I can't tell you about them) until Thursday or Monday. So get ready. Lee Sherman, our CDM correspondent in LA, is standing by for NAMM coverage. I'll be typing up what I can. And we expect a flurry of major announcements Thursday and Monday which we'll (naturally) have a hard time keeping up with and will probably continue to leak into …

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MetaSynth 4 Visual Audio Software: Very Close

Exclusive! Returning to our regular programming of geeky stories that appeal to a tiny fraction of the population (PowerBook G5 rumors? What was it, sweeps week?) and ill-conceived puns (see above), I bring you: MetaSynth 4. MetaSynth is a graphic sound design and music creation environment that lets you paint with sound, using color imagery for high-quality synthesis, filtering, and effects. Creator Eric Wenger is beloved by Mac fans for giving us the ground-breaking (excuse the pun) 3D landscape app Bryce. If you haven't heard of MetaSynth, it's probably because the program has been languishing in a Mac OS 9-only …

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GarageBand 2 Details, Interface MIA

As I await further comment from Apple, here's what I'm able to tell about GarageBand 2: Multitrack: If you have a multichannel audio interface, you can now record eight tracks at once, plus one virtual instrument track. Notation view: Display and edit your music as real-time notation; essentially a score view you can have on the screen at the same time as the traditional track view. This apparently does not print. (I'm getting more details on that.) Timing and pitch correction: Displayed as a simple fader for each, plus a 'constrain to key' for more sophisticated pitch correction, a la …

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More Links: Control MIDI with Graphics Tablet

OS X users intrigued by the possibility of controlling sound with a Wacom graphics tablet, here are more resources for you, helpfully offered by a guest comment: Music Unfolding's µMIDI Controller, US$15 shareware (which also works with your mouse, if you prefer) works with the Wacom tablet, though looks like it hasn't been updated since 2002. Max/MSP Wacom support external for OS X, free SuperCollider audio synthesis language for OS 9/X, free; includes Wacom support Let me know how it goes, if you've got a Wacom handy! (I'll worry about getting one for myself cheap.)

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Free Effects Round-Up (Mac, Win)

This week brings a number of new free effects for both Mac and Windows: Mac OS X / Now in VST (previously AU-only): Expert Sleepers has a Multitap Delay with filter and saturation, Phaser, Ping-Pong delay, and a delay called Meringue that runs both forwards and backwards. Simple, straightforward controls, but handy tools and you'll find other free and shareware OS X goodies at the same site. Windows VST gets a brand-new four-pole analog modeled Auto Filter by Kjaerhus Audio. This one looks near-perfect with full automation and syncable LFO, and clean, vintage-style controls.

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Macworld Rumors: GarageBand 2, Orchestral Jam Pack

Times have changed: some of the Macworld Expo rumor mill's hottest buzz is all about audio. Think Secret reports that the Mac shindig this month will be host to a new version of Apple GarageBand as well as a new orchestral loop and instrument library, Jam Pack 4. (What will orchestral loops sound like, though, I wonder?) Believability on this one is pretty high: iLife is due for an update and Apple is nearly certain to introduce an audio interface given that it's going after Web sites over that rumor. Are you going to Macworld Expo? If you are, join …

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MOTU DP 4.51: Multi Bounce, Dynamic CPU

Normally, I don't like to cover 'point-one' releases, but MOTU's Digital Performer 4.51 is a major upgrade for users of this popular Mac-only digital audio workstation: Dynamic CPU Management frees up the CPU when plugins are idle. All MOTU plugins have been updated; third party MAS and AU plugins have to be updated by the developer. Saved Bounce and Multi Bounce lets you instantly bounce and batch process audio. User plugins are better organized into subfolders and a user folder, a boon to those of us loaded with plugins. Enhanced DirectMIDI support means more MIDI communication with RTAS plugins. Marker …

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Gestural Music

Sometimes the best interface for music is no interface at all. The international S.S.S. trio (Sensors Sonics Sights) has adopted three different gestural interfaces for their work: ultrasound, traditional Theremin, and EMG electrical 'bio-signals' that measure muscle contractions. None of these are unique in themselves, but seeing the visual artist, Theremin virtuoso, and electronic music inventor making arm motions together onstage is entertaining. It's incredible to consider: the Theremin was invented in 1919, but in 2004, with all the technology we have, there's still novelty to someone magically waving their arms and producing sound. (First seen on networked_performance)

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Rosegarden Hits 1.0 PR (Linux)

Rosegarden, the flagship digital audio workstation for Linux (see an interview with the developers), has hit 1.0 PR1, making this the first release on the road to the final 1.0 release. This version is mostly bugfixes, but there's a significant addition: latency compensation for plugins, a feature Apple's Logic still lacks. Rosegarden is the most full-featured audio program for Linux currently, and it's free to boot. (Things may really get interesting if this hits OS X. Stay tuned.)

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Cubase SX 3.01 Adds RoomWorks Reverb (Mac/Win)

Steinberg says they have a "Christmas gift for all of our Cubase SX3 customers": the free 3.01 update announced today includes a new RoomWorks reverb. It's surround-capable, "studio-class," includes 60+ presets, and scales CPU usage to your machine and project usage. Many minor updates, too, some that will make a big difference — the MIDI device panels system now controls effects and not just instruments and a 'ping' can be used to measure processing delay of any external effect for automatic delay compensation. That's external as in hardware effects, adding to existing delay compensation features. (Apple's Logic, by comparison, still …

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