Ah, Internet rumors: so adorable, so not actually true. But this one does demonstrate that people eagerly await the ability to edit audio with more flexibility. Something about Melodyne fires up the imagination.

Celemony caused a big stir last year with a video demonstrating Melodyne DNA technology – Direct Note Access. The YouTube video itself went semi-viral, demonstrating a kind of holy grail in computer audio: the ability to seamlessly edit audio note-by-note, even in a polyphonic texture, as easily as you can MIDI patterns.

Then, this month, a rumor started spreading through the forums that Celmony was “in a panic.” An alleged copy of a magazine I’ve never heard of, “Real Music,” claimed the mad scientist behind the technology had failed. The copy:

Celemony in trouble over DNA promise
"The technology demoed in Celemony’s upcoming Melodyne Editor used prefabricated loops and edits to illustrate a ‘what if’ scenario.
An insider told us: Everyone’s panicing behind the scenes at Celemony. Peter used a mock-up of proposed technology for live demos. In reality, producing a fully working version is proving to be impossible. When he produces a mini demo for one sampled phrase the whole thing breaks for other phrases. He’s panicing because very soon he expects Celemony to retract the promise of the holy grail DNA feature and apologize to the userbase. Peter has taken a month off work after a row with Editor’s project manager over his persistent failure to make the feature a reality."

Now, I find this all strangely alluring: Peter Neubaecker, the mad genius behind Melodyne, locked in a basement cursing his audio algorithms, perhaps with a computer hooked up to a giant lightning rod. His elongated beard only helps him fit this role. Betrayed by his assistant, Melodyne DNA becomes an utter failure. (“Are you saying that I put an abnormal brain into a seven and a half foot long, fifty-four inch wide GORILLA?”) You know, something like this:

Strangely alluring – just not terribly plausible, and, according to Melodyne, entirely made up. A representative for Celemony points me to this quote from forum host and site webmaster Claudio d’Allere, who tries to dispel the speculation:

Nobody is panicking at Celemony. We know we are late, and that may have raised some speculations. However, DNA still works as intended, and we are happy to invite you to our public beta test that we expect to start in late May or early June. Feel free to try this beta with your own audio files and not just "prefabricated loops"."

So, yes, the story – sit down for this one – is that the software is late. Let me explain something: late is much, much, much better than early. Early means that someone has shipped software before it’s entirely baked. I know this comes as a shock, of course. Just as we know it’s utterly unheard of that software or other technology be delayed (the horror!), we certainly have a hard time imagining anyone shipping any music technology with some features missing or lingering bugs or anything like that. Jeez.

Anyway, all my sources say Melodyne DNA is very much on track, and still looks fantastic to me. I’m sure, as with any audio algorithm, you’ll find audio that doesn’t work perfectly, but that’s true even of simple things like a Compressor.

The good news is, if you don’t have enough to do or have extra time on your hands, you can use the affordable Melodyne Uno to have fun right now, by recreating the spooky voice of the GLaDOS computer from the video game Portal. Behold:

Lately, I’ve had a number of conversations with audio and music tech industry figures in which they complained about the untamed wilderness of the Internet. These chats didn’t necessarily start with “You crazy kids and your…,” though I suspect that may have been implied. I’m sure that odd twists like this rumor were what they had in mind.

The Web does indeed give the power to transmit inaccurate information quickly – but it’s equally quick at correcting it. And it does gives us things like this awesome GLaDOS tutorial, so to me, it all balances out.

I am a crazy kid, though. Guilty as charged.

Stay tuned for that beta.