"New MacBook." Photo (CC-BY Maurizio Pesce.

Feel the beat on a Magic Trackpad or MacBook with free tool

Don’t like clicks or beeps or other sounds when using a metronome? Try some haptic feedback instead, with this free utility.

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nativekontrolddc

Get dedicated hands-on control of your Ableton Live set with DDC

So, we all know we’d like to get our hands on software music making with something other than the mouse. Now — how? How do you actually make that physical knob or button do something useful on screen, and at the right moment? There’s the brute-force method, manually applying MIDI learn. There are fancy dynamic ways of assigning controls. But the former is inflexible and requires extra work, and the latter means that you typically can’t “lock” every control where you need it. (That is, the automatic methods sometimes “outsmart” you to the point of not allowing you to do …

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audiomux

Audiomux V2 Turns Your iPad, iPhone into the Ultimate Plug-in

Audiomux already changed how we use our iPhones and iPads. Out: juggling cables and audio interfaces just to record an app. In: using apps seamlessly on your computer via just a Lightning or (30-pin) Dock cable. Well, if that didn’t make you interested in plugging your iPad into your DAW, this should. Using an app as a synth or effect on iOS is now about to be as easy as adding a plug-in — even on Windows. Audiomux isn’t the only game in town. Apple announced this month at its developer conference that was baking some basic functionality into iOS …

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Spectral_03a

Free Audacity Audio Editor Gets Spectral Edits, Live Plug-ins

Dedicated wave editor Audacity has found enduring popularity, as a free and open source tool for working with sound. It runs on Linux, Windows, and OS X – with support for older Mac operating systems, which these days is sometimes tough to find. But just being free and open isn’t reason enough to use something, particularly when a lot of DAWs do a pretty decent job of wave editing. This latest version of Audacity, 2.1.0, comes with some additions that might make it worth revisiting. First, there’s spectral editing. In most software, audio editing is performed by time only. Here, …

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audiomux-midimux

MIDI and Audio Over iOS Cable: Here’s How, Available Now

We’ve seen the future, and it’s … back to wires. First, we saw midimux connect any MIDI app or hardware on your iOS device to any MIDI software or hardware connected to your Mac. Plus in a 30-pin or Lightning cable, run some software on each end, and connect anything. Then, we saw the promise of audiomux – doing the same thing for audio streams. Now, audiomux is available on the App Store, not only individually, but as a bundle with midimux. (The developers initially asked midimux users to wait while that bundle became available, to avoid overspending.) And, as …

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audiomux

Now, Across iOS and Mac, Everything is Musically Connected [Video]

There’s a high-bandwidth cable connecting that iPad or iPhone to your Mac. And yet … and yet, until recently, music apps treated that very connection as an impossible-to-cross canyon. No more. We already took a look at midimux, a tool that makes everything that speaks MIDI on an iOS gadget available to your Mac, and visa versa. That’s already cool. You can use a keyboard controller plugged into your Mac to play a soft synth on your iPad. You can sequence an instrument on your computer from an iPad step sequencer, with touch control. Hardware and desktop software and apps …

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october

Make DJ Charts from Traktor, and More Free Playlist Tricks

If DJing with vinyl leaves traces in our memory, recollections of physical handling of album sleeves and crates, then for digital DJing, we must rely on data. Traktor DJ is quietly noting everything you do as you play – at the gig, in the studio. The key is how to do something with that data. The coolest trick came last month from our friend Tomash Ghz – he of the superb Digital Warrior, among others. (Very keen to get back to my desk in Berlin to muck about with the latest step sequencer there, but I digress.) Tomash has whipped …

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Need a Tempo, Fast? Grab Your Web Browser

It’s the little things. This just got added to my bookmarks; maybe it’ll be on yours. http://www.tempotap.com Press the spacebar repeatedly, and you get an accurate BPM count for a song. It’s actually useful to help learn to recognize BPM, as well, if you listen frequently when at your computer. (The trick used to be to look at the second hand of your wristwatch, as two ticks would be 120 bpm – but that requires an analog wristwatch.) And yes, surely this will be one of the first native Apple Watch tools when its native SDK ships next year. Thanks …

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Yeah, so put them together, and then, you know, stuff.

Midular are the Free MIDI Modules Every Ableton Live Setup Needs

Forget fancy effects or sophisticated plug-ins – day-in, day-out, it’s those simple MIDI modules you wind up using again and again and again and again. It’s like having a bucket of paperclips on your desk. It doesn’t have to be exciting. It’s the simple stuff that gets used. So, one of my favorite demos from the jam-packed sessions at MIDI Hack Day in Stockholm in May was unquestionably Midular. The idea was simple: make some basic modules that do stuff to notes and control events, then combine them in useful ways. It deserved an ovation. And now, you can get …

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Audiobus 2: Chain, Multi-Channel, Presets, and More in iOS Audio Routing Tool

It’s been a long, strange, mobile trip. Part of the appeal of iOS apps for music when they first arrived was doing just one thing at a time. But what if you want that focus on music making – and still have multiple tools working at once? Audiobus was the app that popularized the notion of interconnecting apps on mobile, patching together effects and instruments and mixers and production tools. And now, more than ever, the idea of a device like an iPad as an all-in-one studio is starting to seem pretty reasonable. Apple’s latest iPad Air delivers on the …

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