Inside BeatStep: $99 Step Sequencer and Controller Looks Compact, Versatile [Q+A, Videos]

Every new season brings new music tools. Some of these designs, of course, are splashy and grab headlines. Some just look like no-brainers that will see heavy use in your work. Arturia’s BeatStep stood out at the recent NAMM trade show as just an insanely-great use of a hundred bucks, in a tiny box that sort of does everything you’d want. It’s a pad controller. But it’s also a step sequencer. It connects to your computer via USB. But it also does analog CV and MIDI (via breakouts) when your computer isn’t around. It works as a controller. It works …

READ MORE →

2 V-P Makes Performing Live with Quartz Composer Effortless, Powerful

Apple’s Quartz Composer has long enabled beautiful, intricate generative and responsive visuals, often even with simple patches. But assembling its compositions into something with which you can perform is more of a chore. 2 V-P isn’t the first attempt to wrap Quartz’s interactive visualizations into a performance tool. But it might be the most practical. The work of Ali Demirel, with developer Pascal Lesport, it embodies a lot of Ali’s approach to thoughtfully-morphing imagery. It’s been torture-tested in the real world of performance, particularly in Ali’s ongoing collaboration with Richie Hawtin. What’s promising about 2 V-P is that it centersentirely …

READ MORE →

DRON-E Creates Ambiences, Cinematic Sounds – Now Free for Reaktor [Sounds, Tutorial]

Composition and invention are two tasks that always blur – there’s some engineering to making music, and that extends to sound design. But let’s get real: when you come across someone like Antonio Blanca, you reach a whole other level. Blanca does exquisite work in Reaktor ensembles and carefully-crafted Lemur templates to match. And DRON-E is a masterpiece, a Reaktor ensemble capable of generating entire universes of ambient sound. Eerie drones will transport you to feeling like you’re crawling about a distant asteroid or entered a convent that has retreated to an alien mineshaft. (I wasn’t the only person who …

READ MORE →

Learn Max for Live and Control Ableton: Exclusive Book Excerpt Download and Discount

Max for Live represented an important milestone in music making software. It paired one of the most popular music production tools, and easily the most popular real-time workflow, with one of the most popular tools for users wanting to realizing their own musical software ideas. Max for Live, as a result, can become a window into making Ableton Live your own. Of course, figuring out how to begin doing that can be a daunting task. For many Live users, it ends somewhere around downloading some neat patches someone else has made. What do you do when you want to attack …

READ MORE →

A DIY Multitouch Music Controller, monome-Style, Built From Scratch [Instructables, Arduino]

Complete with color LED display and interactive sensing, this clever DIY project from Amanda Ghassaei is the real deal: a multitouch table used for music, constructed from scratch. And step-by-step instructions on Instructables mean that you can try the same idea yourself. The 8×8 matrix and the notion of independent light-up LEDs, along with some of the firmware, come from the monome project (and the open arduinome clone). But here, that idea is extended to seamless touch sensing, measured by infrared. Multitouch Music Controller from Amanda Ghassaei on Vimeo.

READ MORE →
Look, two monitors! (And this could explain the popularity of this update - for many, the laptop is one display.) But there's more in 9.1, including some subtle but critical bug fixes; now we get those details. Photo courtesy Ableton.

Live 9.1 Arrives; Get the Most Out of Its Push Sequencer, Get Ideas Going [Free Resources]

Live 9.1, in beta for some weeks, is now available to everyone. We’ve covered in some detail what 9.1 includes. But if you’re a Live 9 user, you shouldn’t hesitate to grab this. I’ve been splitting time between 9 stable and 9.1 beta, and the beta has been operating perfectly for me. If you have two monitors, of course, you get dual monitor support – or dual window support on bigger displays. (Sadly, I don’t have either at the moment, so haven’t been able to test that). But everyone will benefit from enhanced audio rendering and stability improvements – the …

READ MORE →

Vuo in Beta: A New Hope for Visual Development? [Resources]

So, without a line of code, you want to make something new, visually. You’ve got Max, you’ve got Pd, you’ve got vvvv. But for quickly cooking up generative visuals, dynamic interaction, live animation, and more from a clean slate, the other option had been Apple’s Quartz Composer, a tool that has lost a lot of steam (and acquired quite a few bugs) lately. Somehow, many people want some fresh blood on this scene. And that’s where Vuo comes in. From the creators of the Kineme plug-ins, it’s a chance to start anew. We’ve been eyeing Vuo with interest for a …

READ MORE →
livecontrol_inaction

How to Use the iPad for Music Control: Cables, Wireless, MIDI, OSC

You know the possibilities are significant, but how do you explore them? iPad, Ableton Live, MIDI, OSC, Wi-Fi, MIDI … how can you connect your iPad to other tools for music control? We brought in an expert, Nicolas Bouga├»eff, Creative Director at Liine, to explain the different routes, including not only wireless, but wired solutions, too. Liine is the maker of Lemur and popular Ableton Live control apps (LiveControl 2 being the most recent). Nicolas naturally builds on that expertise, but the lessons here apply to a range of iOS apps. This tutorial should answer some questions for beginners and …

READ MORE →

Abuse Sampling for Sound Design: Free Tutorial, Rack in Ableton Live

The response to the breaking Live 9.1 news this week was fast and furious; we were honestly surprised at the vast readership of the story. A lot of you must have multiple displays or virtual desktops you want to use (or, now, even a Push). But sometimes the best upgrade is the one you can install in your brain. Improve your technique, and an array of musical possibilities open up. Take this terrific tutorial from DJ Vespers as an example, which involves varying very small sample slices in Ableton’s Sampler to create unique pads. It works especially nicely with Sampler’s …

READ MORE →

Try FL Studio on Mac Right Now; Or Touch a New Image-Line App on Windows 8

In one fell swoop, Image-Line has given computer musicians two things they might have thought they’d never see. One is a version of FL Studio that runs on the Mac – something the developer once actually vowed openly would never happen, but which is now actually happening in beta. See video, above. The other is a full-featured music app for Windows 8 touch devices you can download from the Windows Store. It turns that touch-enabled Windows tablet or laptop into something that’s more than a Windows PC you jab your finger at, wishing your finger were a mouse. See video, …

READ MORE →