Commodore 64 Synthesis, Revisited

The Commodore 64 computer is no longer legendary for, er, performance and power, but it is legendary for its built-in synthesizer chip, the SID. Lovers of this phat-sounding analog chip will go to great lengths to feed their nostalgia: Butcher an actual C64 and build your own MIDI-capable SID synthesizer (via hack-a-day) Add a real […]

Free Audio Hosts/Editors (Windows/Mac)

As part of CDM's ongoing construction of the "Completely Free Studio," I'm working on assembling good freeware hosts for Windows and Mac. (Linux, of course, being a no-brainer!) Here's what's on my recommend list at the moment: Audio editor: Audacity (open source), Win/Mac/Linux, with the addition of the VST Enabler / LADSPA bridge for Linux […]

Build Your Own Neuron Patches

Hartmann is making its MODELmaker software free to software Neuron VS users, so they can take their own samples and convert them to Hartmann's fascinating Neuron format. Huh? What? What did that just say? Erm? Imagine a synth package that uses new adaptive algorithms to create new sonic morphing possibiltiies, and you're beginning to scratch […]

Save NYC Music: Tonic, WKCR

It's a rough time here in NYC for people presenting live music. Tonic, the primary venue in the city for experimental live music (including, especially, out-there electronics) is in big trouble: rent that's doubled in 7 years, tripled insurance rates, a robbery, failing facilities, and a collapsed sewage line. (Plague of locusts? That may be […]

DP and Logic Both Win Key Buy (Keyboard)

To add further fodder to software choice discussion on this site: both major Mac-only DAWs have won Key Buy awards from Keyboard Magazine, Apple's Logic Pro and MOTU Digital Performer. DP won its Key Buy in my review of version 4.5, which came out in the February Keyboard; for excerpts see MOTU's site. Francis Preve […]

Cantor Virtual Singer Adds German, MIDI Lyrics

Virsyn's virtual singer software Cantor has now added voices and pronunciation for German (which Virsyn says works nicely for Latin pronunciation, too). Version 1.6 includes German support with 100,000 words, which handily beats my own 23-word vocabulary in German, most of which is related to food. There's also a new choral generator feature and the […]

MOTU Revises MX4, MachFive

We missed MOTU's NAMM announcements in my travels, though in the meantime they've had time to put details up on their site, so here you go: MOTU's MachFive sampler version 2 adds standalone operation, unlimited parts, a full-screen preset browser and expanded views of many other sampler components, a groove-slicing engine called LoopLab (related to […]

New Virtual Orchestras At-a-Glance

NAMM was host to a bevy of new virtual orchestra products. Here's a quick summary: Garritan Personal Orchestra (Windows/Mac) now comes in three versions adding more sounds and articulations: the Second Edition update adds various enhancements and patch additions, while a new Advanced (US$499) version includes more instruments and articulations like harmonics and a Lite […]

US Invasion: Linux Studio-on-CD

Fervent Software is now shipping a US-localized version of its Studio-to-Go Linux CD software, and has updated their Web site over the last month with more information. (Runs on Mambo, just like CDM — interesting.) The idea is this: load in a CD, boot up, and you have an entire studio filled with Linux music […]

The OS X Transition is Over

I remember running into a top Apple music rep at Macworld. I said something involving the phrase "OS X transition." "Can't we stop referring to it as a transition now?" said the Apple person. I think at the time Digital Performer lacked AU support, Pro Tools wasn't available, things were crashing, audio support was undocumented […]