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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » 2018 » June » 26


If a classic 303 sound is what you need in your iOS set up then read on

Delivered... Ashley Elsdon | Scene | Tue 26 Jun 2018 11:40 pm

If what you really need is a typical TB303 sound in your iOS set up, then you may have just found exactly what you’re looking for. If it really isn’t anything that’s going to set your heart all a flutter then perhaps skip to something else for now. I know that for some the classic sound of the 303 is a big deal. Personally I found them awful to program and limited, so anything that anyone can do to make the sound without the issues of the original is a good idea in my book. Having said that, I’m not sure of too many situations where I’d want to use one right now.

However, if it’s what you want then 2XB303 could be just right. Here’s everything that the developer says about the app including all of the relevant iOS specs:

A creative bass synth sequencer for electro melodies or dirty phat & funky acid techno basslines. Look at the video tutorial for a how-to guide. Listen to what you can create easily with 2XB303. With sequence manipulation features, effects, external syncing & audio routing. Inspired by the acid house music scene. An IOS exclusive. Create sequences using standard step functions as seen on various sequencers like the Roland SH-101 or use one – button generation. Sound tweaking by familiar means: filter cut-off & decay Env-Mod & glide & accent etc for those classic sweet-spot acid growls.

Controls are per channel except the global/master effects (yellow ).

  • METRONOME: Toggle basic drum beats -better than cowbell or tick-tocks to accompany your basslines!
  • MEMORY: Next memory to load. If playing, it loads at the next loop else it will load immediately. Make sure you have saved your current sequence!
  • 1-32 steps
  • OFFSET +1 to +31
  • COPY, PASTE & CLEAR sequence
  • RANDOMIZE all or choose just NOTES (auto chooses notes if none chosen), SHUFFLE rearranges pattern, EXPAND repeats length to fill all 32 steps. PRESET loads pre-programmed sequences.
  • TRANSPOSE key changes the pitch of both sequences for cool melodies.
  • SWING A global level . Some step values like glide or rest are ignored with this

MOD:

  • LFO auto controls FILTER CUT-OFF as well as PITCH. The pitch level can give a vintage effect subtly detuning pitch with low LFO SPEED. Or faster for chaotic random pitches.

SOUND

  • Select WAVE from SAW, SAW + harmonics, SQUARE, SQUARE + harmonics & NOISE
    DETUNE, TRANSPOSE & GLIDE speed.

MIXER

  • PAN, BASS cut/boost, MUTE 1, 2, “I” (INPUT) & METRONOME. Input = mic/Audiobus filter etc
  • PHAT= pre low-pass filter via high pass returned to low pass mix. A nice fresh modern sound. The PHAT cut-off & resonance is synced to the main filter & env mod.

EFFECTS

  • OVERDRIVE, COMPRESSION adjusts threshold, ratio, & gain. This is a global effect.
  • ECHO feedback & wetness. SPEED = tempo synced.
  • SAVE ALL. When not playing, save to memory.

SYNCING

  • Ableton Link syncs other apps or use without for precise timing. Press LINK button at the bottom for settings.
  • MIDI. External, virtual or Audiobus. You can sync with your favourite hardware using a MIDI interface or other apps. 2XB303 can be a master or slave. ( any simple class-compliant USB should work but some may need to be power assisted)
    Virtual MIDI Input is always on. If you send to 2XB303 virtual MIDI from another app AND have 2XB303 receive MIDI clock then you will be receiving both MIDI CLOCKS. Choose only one unless you want double tempo (which can be interesting).
  • While Ableton Link is enabled you can send MIDI out. This means you can use one app to control 2XB303 with your external hardware.

AUDIO

  • Record a fixed length, default to 32 steps. Can be changed in settings.
  • Arming the SAMPLER (flashing). Starts at counter 1 (ON).
  • PLAYBACK to hear sample.
  • Audio can be routed using inter-app audio into apps like Apple’s Garageband. Garageband will also sync your sequence for excellent multi-track recording.
  • Audiobus 3. Route 2XB303 to mix or record into other apps
  • Audiobus Filter. Audio from Audiobus 3 will travel through channel 1 filter & echo. Sound is gated by 2XB303s sequencer.
  • Mute Channel 1 to hear just incoming audio. Play your vocal loops or guitar riffs with the synced filter & delay effects set in 2XB303!

SYSTEM

  • BACK ENABLE: If disabled, will shut down background processes to preserve CPU.

The acid sound can be close to a TB-303 but was first compared to a Cyclone Analogic TT-303 & then tweaked to extend sound shaping for further uses & not just bass. For instance, waves have an optional harmonic version, there is noise, LFO, glide speed & PHAT/ BASS levels to play with plus effects. 2XB303 is, of course, digital, & doesn’t contain a vital transistor. But, it is designed to give much more freedom for creativity and sound beyond the acid sound.

2XB303 costs $4.99 on the app store

The post If a classic 303 sound is what you need in your iOS set up then read on appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Trump’s tariffs could be costly for made-in-the-USA music gear

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Tue 26 Jun 2018 8:45 pm

Industries like automative (and motorcycles) may be getting the attention, but music gear and even Eurorack could feel the impact of trade restrictions in the United States.

This is CDM, not the Economist, so let’s back up and review the issue but stick to the impact on makers of synthesizers, guitar pedals, and the like.

First, it’s important to note that for now, this is all talk – a threat by the Trump Administration meant to provoke rival China. Specifically, we’re talking about a the Trump Administration threat last week to impose stiff import tariffs on $200 billion in goods produced in China. But even the talk is relevant, as tensions between the superpowers can turn a threat into reality – especially if they cause the negotiations to fail.

Here’s what’s happened. Early last week, the Trump Administration threatened new tariffs on Chinese goods:
U.S., China Rattle Trade-War Sabers in Vowing Harsh Tariffs [Bloomberg]

Bloomberg immediately speculated that electronics could be hit hard. The result could be higher prices for consumers of those goods in the USA – presumably including some Chinese-made electronic music gear. CDM readers from South America, for instance, can attest to this reality – ask someone from Brazil, for instance, how expensive it is to get a popular music controller or mixer. Those tariffs hit the bottom-line cost of goods, so the penalty is passed on to the consumer, not necessarily the manufacturer (though more on that in a moment).

Then things got more specific – and interesting. The US Trade Representative (USTR) – essentially the office that both develops the President’s trade policy and represents the US on behalf of the Administration – published a list of just which Chinese goods it had in mind.

There’s a lot in that document, if you feel like reading it:
https://ustr.gov/sites/default/files/files/Press/Releases/301FRN.pdf

According to the USTR, this exhaustive list of products is selected based on goods that “benefit from Chinese industrial policies, including Made in China 2025.” (That in itself is a pretty striking statement – even in a western country like the USA, it’s hard to imagine that industries don’t benefit from government policies.) Then, from that list, the USTR claim they’ve removed products that would disrupt the US economy.

And then the whole lot of these products gets a proposed 25% increase in tariffs – on top of what’s already there.

The whole process of identifying this list is based on public hearings and comment. So if you’re a US citizen, you can actually participate in a public comment process if these tariffs would impact you.

And then you get into the list. The way the global trading system works is, you have a set of codes that describe specific categories of goods, to an absurd level of detail. Here, you have pages of particular kinds of steel and aluminum and machinery.

But one thing the list has a whole lot of us is electronics components: motors, batteries, but also LEDs, capacitors, diodes, transistors and the like. There are also a whole lot of machines and components used in the manufacture of electronics, from injection molding to electronics assembly.

There are also weird things, like electrical particle accelerators and nuclear power reactors, but we can forget about those.

The bottom line is, a lot of the ingredients of electronics are included under the tariffs, but then a lot of the assembled goods – including, as near as I can tell from this list, musical instruments and music and sound electronics – are excluded. Assembled TVs and (perversely) tape VCRs are taxed. But most other finished goods aren’t.

So if you thought your made-in-China pocket recorder or keyboard would be slapped with a tariff, that’s not what’s happening – not in the proposed list. In fact, it’s the made-in-the-USA gear that winds up getting more expensive, because American makers use components purchased from China.

The tech press has responded accordingly:

Gadget makers are bracing for Trump’s trade war: Trump’s tariffs could spell doom for small hardware startups [The Verge]

But maybe even more interestingly, DIY-focused site Hack-A-Day weighs in:
MAKING ELECTRONICS JUST GOT 25% MORE EXPENSIVE IN THE US

For example:

This will hurt all electronics manufacturers in the United States. For a quick example, I’m working on a project using half a million LEDs. I bought these LEDs (120 reels) two months ago for a few thousand dollars. This was a fantastic buy; half a million of the cheapest LEDs I could find on Mouser would cost seventeen thousand dollars. Sourcing from China saved thousands, and if I were to do this again, I may be hit with a 25% tariff.

(Emphasis mine.)

Potentiometers are included. PCB components.

A 25% increase in parts costs is fairly significant. It’s eating directly into profits. And what’s strange to me is, an easy way to avoid the tariffs would be to assemble the product outside the United States, since for most product categories – as ours are in music – the components are impacted but assembled products are not.

Sourcing from China saved thousands, and if I were to do this again, I may be hit with a 25% tariff.

For now, all of this is hypothetical. And I don’t want to overstate the case here. Trade and economic instability would likely threaten boutique music gear makers far more than these kinds of tariffs. That is, those boutique synth makers might be able to work out a way around the increased tariffs, and/or adjust prices. But if a massive trade war between the US and China erupts and crashes the economy, lost demand for synths would hurt more.

I do think this illustrates two important points, however.

One, even as electronic music offers some respite from politics and headlines, the news will inevitably reach electronic music and gear. You can’t escape the news in the end.

Two, it’s more clear than ever that the world is an interconnected place. DIY music and independent boutique music gear makers have exploded thanks to both the Internet and global trade. That’s included cheap access to prototyping, cheap components and machinery – even for those makers producing in the USA. For other engineers, cheap and expanding Chinese manufacture has allowed people to become manufacturers who otherwise never would have done so.

That’s not to get into the deeper questions of how positive these trends have been, or what impacts they may have had along the way – societal, environmental, human.

But the world of 2018 sees musicians and inventors tied together across borders and distance in ways they never were before. And with that world order shifting fast, those connections are likely to change along with them, in unpredictable ways.

Okay, you’re now free to go apply some unpredictable modulation to an oscillator if all of this made your head hurt.

All comments welcome. (I’ve reached out for comment to some manufacturers; I expect an ongoing conversation here around these issues, especially as we get more news.)

Feature photo (CC-BY Paul Downey.

The post Trump’s tariffs could be costly for made-in-the-USA music gear appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Pioneer’s $250 DDJ-400 will appeal to DIYers, iOS users, too

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Tue 26 Jun 2018 6:00 pm

We’re flooded with cheap DJ controllers. But the new Pioneer is interesting for two reasons: one, it’s a home accessory for CDJ users, and two, its driverless functionality means you can plug into anything.

Okay, first, the obvious: the DDJ-400 is a US$249 (279 €) controller with audio interface. And the massive “Rekordbox” logo applied to the side of it means it works with Pioneer’s preferred DJ software. For beginners, the idea is, you plug this thing in and the controller and software teach you basic DJ chops – playing techniques and how the technology works – via an included on-screen tutorial.

Gradually, Pioneer have done what was obvious to most of us for them to do – they’ve made that controller work as much like their expensive club DJ players do as they can. A CDJ-2000NEXUS2 will set you back US$2199 each, so out of range of even most moderately successful DJs. This duplicates the rough layout of the wheels, the play/pause and cue buttons, Beat FX, and looping controls of the full-sized CDJ.

Now, why I need to get this in to test is, the key variable is the feel of the wheels. What a lot of DJs presumably would be practicing, at least in part, is beat-matching – the security to turn off that dreaded sync button. I don’t want to get too far into that, other than to say, whatever the musical utility of your ability to do that or whether it makes you a “real” DJ, it does have the potential to make DJing “really” less boring for the human operator.

My hope is that Pioneer has taken the improved low latency performance of the latest revision of their high-end controllers and brought it to this model, too – but we’ll see. Low latency and low jitter will make this more fun to play.

But either way, as a prep tool, this looks like a good investment. The latest Rekordbox is included free, which already amounts to half the purchase price here. (That license is 139 €). If you’re organizing your catalog in Rekordbox to drop on a USB stick, you might as well have a play and mix a bit, too.

But that’s not why I think the DDJ-400 is interesting.

Driverless and hacker/DIYer friendly

No, this is the interesting part. Pioneer says the DDJ-400 is driverless and class-compliant. That means you have an audio interface, with cuing, and a MIDI control surface, that work with any device.

So… let’s say you’re a fan of the iOS app Soda. That’s the app that I claimed in December might make you take DJing seriously again. Soda didn’t catch on, but … it also didn’t have a good controller and audio interface to go with it.

The DDJ-400 plus Soda are actually more flexible as musical tools than what you get with a $5000 DJ hardware setup… but the total purchase price here, with some recent iPad revisions, is more like $500. And it’s more portable.

Or, let’s say you’re sick of controllers and laptops in the DJ booth – as you should be. Now you can add a Linux DJ tool, throw it on a small computer (like a Raspberry Pi), and DIY fashion your own case.

That should be priceless for the reaction of people in a DJ booth alone.

“Aw, look, another n00b with a laptop and controller because he can… hey … the… where’s the computer?”

I wish Roland had done this with their recent DJ controller line, but … now Pioneer have, so we’re sorted.

I’m not endorsing it yet, as I haven’t tried the hardware yet or seen how MIDI mapping works, but suffice to say – I’m interested.

And even if the above is really the use case, this one is … fun.

By the way, if you’re wondering why makers like Native Instruments and Serato haven’t come up with their own integrated hardware, instead of making us plug in unwieldy laptops in the middle of a party like we thought we were looking for an Internet cafe instead of a booth, well…

I wonder that, too. Constantly.

In the meantime, if anyone will turn a controller into some wild all-in-one DIY solution, and even come up with novel, out-of-the-mainstream ways of DJing in the process, it’s readers here.

Enjoy.

And for everyone else, yeah, the ubiquity of Rekordbox and CDJs means this is probably the $250 controller to beat. (Rival makers, you knew already this was the challenge.)

Specs:
24-bit sound card
2-channel control surface
Pad FX
High/low pass filter (software)
Sampler (software), 16 slot / 4 bank
8 hot cues
Manual looping
Beat jump
Fader start / adjustable crossfader
USB port
1 mic input (1/4″ TS)
RCA master out
Dedicated headphone monitor (minijack) (note that you can also use this for cueing even as your computer speakers or other connected speakers handle output)

Pioneer DDJ-400

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