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 …

The Analog Four, stuff of dreams, as immortalized by eBoy in a parallel universe with a lower polygon count. (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Elektron Analog Four Preview: Four Voices, Step Sequencer, All The Trimmings [Video, Audio]

Following its endless teasers and science fiction mini-movies, Swedish machine maker Elektron this week has announced features, specs, and preorder pricing for its Analog Four synth/sequencer, along with some sample sounds and a promo vid. It’s also been immortalized in a wonderful image, above, by artist eBoy. Just in case you needed a version to tack up above your bed. Ahhhh…. The damage: US$1099 / 1099,– € including VAT, shipped. The date: December 3. Yes, it’s analog, and even the early sound samples suggest a color of its own. And that’s a good thing. But, of ourse, that can’t be …


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 …


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 …


MeeBlip Open Synth: Read Reviews, Hear It, See It

CDM, working with Reflex Audio in Canada, makes hardware. We would love for you to have it, so we’re doing two things. Through Sunday night, 11:59 PM North American Mountain time, we’re shipping our flagship synth for free. And, oh yeah, we’ll also start talking more about it. The sale is now over, but thanks to all of you who responded! We look forward to getting a lot of MeeBlippery to you!) Lately, I’ve been having a surprising, repeat conversation. It’s a reason you should never, ever hire me to do your PR. It goes something like this: “Oh, and …


Beats for Eva: Production Goodies Help One Woman Fight Cancer

Facing a health crisis, whether your own or a loved one’s, can be a serious challenge. It can make music making seem a remote activity. But here’s a case in which music production talent, the power to put together loops and tools, can help fight for someone’s health. What’s unique about this is that just using these tools in your own music – or contributing your own loops and tools – can get you involved, too. CDM reader Stefan Weise, a musician from Dallas, Texas, writes: My friend Jason and I run a label together called “Evoked Recordings” and he …


Free Analog Modular Drum Kit, Creative Commons-Licensed

fugwhump has uploaded a fantastic free kit of drum sounds, built with a Eurorack modular synth. It’s licensed as Creative Commons, so you can use it free. ccMixter even includes features for linking your own work (remixes, podcasts, videos, webpages, albums), in case you do decide to use it. It’s nice, fat, raw sounding stuff. There are a few loops – mostly useful for previewing – and nine single-shot samples. Enjoy! Analog Kit Lite by fugwhump [ccMixer] Found via Jacob Joaquin’s Twitter. What are your favorite finds from ccMixter (or other Creative Commons samples sources)? Sample packs you’ve uploaded? Ones …


Buildings as Musical Instruments: Chicago’s Whistling Cabrini-Green in Ruins

The excellent architectural resource BLDGBLOG reports that the ruined husk of the recently-demolished Cabrini-Green in Chicago has been transformed into an eerie wind instrument of sorts. Geoff Manaugh writes about the image we see here: The old tower blocks of Chicago’s Cabrini-Green, transformed by demolition into totem pole-like wind instruments, flute-ruins, a musically-active wasteland whistling to itself behind security fences. Chicago’s Inner Flute-Ruins [BLDGBLOG] You know what this means: who in Chicago has a good field recording setup and time to stop by on a windy day? (As a former resident of the area, I know the city can live …


Soundware Goes Creative Commons: Free Sample Packs

Creative Commons advocate and sound designer/musician Marco continues a stream of useful links at his blog Melodiefabriek. The latest: sample libraries composed entirely of Creative Commons-licensed material: ccMixStar Sample packs The Freesound Project, CC-licensed sound via ccMixStar Sample Packs [Melodiefabriek] What’s great here is that the remix site (ccMixster) is teaming up with sample sound libraries (ccMixStar and Freesound) to create an entire community built around sound, resampling, remixing, and music creation. The Creative Commons license ensures that that community will continue to mix new sounds from its members, in a big, communal, sound sharing universe. I don’t really see …


Free, Geotagged Sound Samples from Around the World

While on the topic of locating yourself using sound, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point to Freesound, the fantastic community sound library (currently pushing some 17,000+ Creative Commons-licensed samples). If you’re not yet familar with Freesound, you can broadcast your recordings to the planet, free for use in music worldwide, and pull recordings without attracting the attention of intellectual property lawyers. Rather than dig through samples by abstract categories, you can use Freesound’s geotags to pull the exact ambience of certain parts of the world. It gives you the power to soak up the vibe of the beach at …