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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » 2020 » April » 29


This vaporwave synth was made with a VHS tape deck – and it’s surprisingly deep

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 29 Apr 2020 11:37 pm

In these trying times… well, we definitely need to hear rare 80s synths with some friendly, fuzzy VHS deck warble, right? Wish granted!

This saga starts with SampleScience’s Vaporwaves, which was a grab-bag rompler/multi-sampled instrument full of 80s sounds – FM mallets, glass pianos, Rhodes, onboard VHS effects. And yes, of course it also came with a triangle and a classical statue and some pink and purple vaporwave graphics.

But Vaporwaves 2 is really more than a sequel. This entire multi-sampled instrument focuses on one fairly obscure 80s FM synth. (I actually now know what it is, because I bugged Pierre until he told me. But I’m sworn to secrecy.)

https://www.samplescience.ca/2020/04/vaporwaves-2.html

$30, Mac + Windows.

There are 45 FM sounds recorded into there, with a full 1.04GB of sound. And whereas this could have just been a sample player with an amplitude envelope, call it a day, there’s more. So you get a preamp processor, multiple voice modes, multiple filter modes, and an LFO with both configurable target and source.

I’ve been playing around with it, and it’s really beautiful. So in addition to being able to get wonderfully retro sounds, I already can imagine it being bent into some other ambient and experimental contexts. Sometimes you just need a simple instrument for some added inspiration – and since we can’t get to flea markets for the moment, this downloadable instant gratification can fill in.

Listen:

This being CDM, of course we need to know more. And – oh God, I’ve used this VCR. (It’s rare now? I hope I didn’t miss my chance.)

Pierre explains:

The VCR I used is the Panasonic PV-S4670, it’s an S-VHS compatible VCR which is rare. The sounds have been recorded on very bad tapes though because I wasn’t getting the effect I wanted with good tapes. I remember that in the 90s broke musicians were using VHS as a way to get “high” quality recordings for cheap. With good tapes and recording in SP mode, the sound is actually quite good.

For Vaporwaves 2, I artificially degraded the tapes by putting them in the freezer. I took the idea from Brian Grainger, a dub techno/idm artist mostly known for his work as Milieu/Coppice Halifax. In his case, he would burry his tapes in his yard for a day to see what would happen. I really like the sound he got by using this technique.

We have some behind-the-scenes photos, taken on a suitably grungy 2000s-era digital camera.

Also, LaserDisc. Courtesy the developer. Someday, maybe you’ll get near such fine studio sound equipment.
Memories, like the corners of my … closet.

The freezer trick was never necessary before; we were able to just keep re-taping Fraggle Rock and Doctor Who over tapes again and again, so I’m glad to know this new technique.

Features list:

  • 45 FM synth sounds recorded on VHS
  • 1.04 GB of sounds
  • Multi-LFO
  • Lowpass/Highpass filter
  • Multi-voice mode and glide control
  • Amplitude range controls
  • Preamp
  • Available as a VST/VST3/AU plugin for Windows and macOS (High Sierra and Mojave, Catalina via the Maize Sampler Player)

Oh yeah, and for more inspiration – Brian Grainger has a YouTube channel. I don’t know how I missed that.

https://www.youtube.com/user/Slowlid

Vaporwaves 2 Plug-in

The post This vaporwave synth was made with a VHS tape deck – and it’s surprisingly deep appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Arturia’s stay home plan: software 50% off and free, tons of tutorials

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 29 Apr 2020 9:59 pm

Sure, we’re inundated with stay-at-home music messages at the moment. But Arturia has one of the biggest menus of offerings – and crucially, they also teach us how to use their stuff. That’s worth an extra check-in.

Software deals

First, the deals –

Free: As I’ve mentioned before, iSpark is free on iPad and a nice little drum machine through April 30 – that’s Thursday, so act quick. Pigments (desktop plug-in) is an all-in-one synth with an unlimited trial through July, and Analog Lab is free in the same time period, for preset access and basic controls from the V Collection.

SYNTH ANATOMY has done an iSpark tutorial for you iPad users:

Pigments I think CDM readers will especially like, in that you get FM, wavetable, sampling, and virtual analog in a single instrument. There are a handful of plug-ins gunning for that territory at the moment, but it does have its own unique spin on the all-in-one notion, and all of the ingredients of Arturia’s software stable. You could do a lot of damage with it between now and July – and if you really decide you like it before May 7, it’s 50% off now.

50% off: There’s 50% off any individual software, effect, or sound pack lasts through May 7, so you’ve got about a week left:

https://www.arturia.com/make-music

Now, you might actually want to pass on these deals in certain circumstances, just because Arturia’s bundle pricing is so aggressive.

I’ve been using a lot of this stuff myself, so my own humble opinions (to take as you will):

On the synth side: V Collection 7 (that’s v the letter, as in virtual, so “vee collection seven”) will run you 499EUR but split payments are available, and you get 24 instruments. That’s a lab-sized museum full of instrument models.

If you wanted to focus on one historical synth model, I’d pay particular attention to the Buchla Easel V or the [Moog-inspired] Modular V. Either of those at 74EUR is a deep instrument and a solid investment. I’m also personally partial to the newer Synthi V and CZ V – especially that last one, as Casio’s synth history hasn’t gotten near enough love in general, and the modulation and effects options Arturia added make it a deep workstation.

Buchla’s Music Easel gets a powerful software recreation, now on sale.

On the effect side: The effect bundle is now pretty irresistible at 399EUR – I’ve been using it the last weeks, and it’s probably one of the best effects deals on the market, even when compared to subscription offerings. Happily this is no longer divided into the “XX You’ll Actually Use” line-ups, but rather one reasonable bundle that gives you anything.

That said, for 49EUR each, a little focus is not a bad thing, creatively or budget-wise. Any one of the filters offers some sequencing options, so it’s down to which flavor you like. Compressors, delays, too, are really a matter of preference in color and interface.

And reverb – well, I think a plate reverb is pretty indispensable, so out of this whole 50% sale, the Rev PLATE-140 is pretty much a must-buy if you don’t have an EMT in your collection. It’s impressed a few friends here who have some other recreations. And including this vintage plate in your arsenal is just one of those things – it can be hugely useful both for really short delay times and light application all the way up to cavernous, wet, long delays.

If you do have a go-to EMT, the next-best must-by may be Arturia’s unique Rev INTENSITY. The combination of a digital reverb with envelope follower, filter, and sequencing and modulation is something really special.

Rev INTENSITY is a different kind of reverb – a multi-effects reverb-based sound processor and instrument, effectively.

All of these have big skeuomorphic interfaces, which I know not everyone loves. But they increasingly do provide some useful visual feedback – especially on the INTENSITY, which uses that real estate with some purpose.

Learning

Okay, deals are one thing – but the main thing is, now is a great time to actually learn to use the stuff. Skill development is a good place to turn even on days when you might not feel as creatively inspired. (Plus, a couple hours in “school” mode, and if you’re the kind of person who doodled on the side of your homework, you may find that creativity returning!)

Arturia have been both hosting live workshops and posting tutorials. You’ll find all of that on their page, too, but I want to draw particular attention to a few items.

Tomorrow Thursday at 6PM Central European Time (that’s noon east coast USA, 9am west coast), you get a run-down of the DrumBrute Impact. That instrument has a really unique sound and tons of playable features, but a stupidly low price. Since it isn’t a clone of something else, you get something different in your tracks. And its user interface is from our generation, rather than the 1980s. Bryan at Arturia will show it off; I’ll be in my studio with mine tuning in to see what he demonstrates:

The Pigments workshop is also don’t-miss since the software is free through mid-summer. Or, well, I missed it, but – time delay, it’s a thing.

There’s a playlist of more tutorials, too:

The MicroFreak is one of the more interesting instruments on the market at the moment, packing a ton of sound and functionality into a small, economical package. So you’ll want to check in on this sound design tutorial:

(You might well find some even better deals on a MiniBrute, so there’s a tutorial on that, too.)

I am right now figuring out what to do with the KeyStep Pro that just arrived, but it offers a lot of power for us keyboardists – especially having waited for this functionality to migrate over from the BeatStep Pro to something with actual keys on it. There are a few short tutorial/demos on that, as well, which gets especially interesting for performance.

But wait – there are no audiences! Well, “performance” is just as relevant when jamming in the studio and improvising in tracks, even if I leave out that whole “streaming” thing.

Lastly, if you make stuff with any of these tools, or learn some specific techniques, we’d love to hear about it.

Hey manufacturers / users – I know a lot of you are doing this, too, especially while we’re all avoiding going out. So if you’re a gearmaker and want to make sure CDMers don’t miss your stuff, do get in touch. And users, if there’s anything you’re keen to see, let us know that, as well.

The post Arturia’s stay home plan: software 50% off and free, tons of tutorials appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Record Companies Respond to FCC Commissioner on Payola – What Should Broadcasters Learn from the Responses?

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Wed 29 Apr 2020 5:19 pm

The responses by the major record labels to Commissioner O’Rielly’s inquiry into allegations of payola practices (see our article here) were published last week while we were all distracted with pandemic issues.  While the responses (available here on the Commissioner’s twitter feed) were perhaps not surprising – saying that the record labels do not engage in any on-air pay-for-play practices where the payment is not disclosed – they nevertheless highlight some practices that should be observed at every radio station.  As I have said in many seminars to broadcasters around the country when talking about FCC sponsorship identification requirements, if you get free stuff in exchange for promoting any product or service on the air, disclose that you got that free stuff. As made clear in these responses, when the record companies give free concert tickets or similar merchandise to a radio station for an on-air giveaway to promote a concert or the release of new music by one of their artists, they agree with the station to reveal on the air that the record company provided the ticket or merchandise that is being given away.

The responses also indicate that these record companies do not provide musical artists to play at station events with any agreement – explicit or implicit – that the station will play those artists more frequently because of their appearance.  While that might happen naturally, it also might not (if, for instance, the band is one of many acts participating at some station-sponsored festival).  The record companies state that their contracts with stations for such events make clear that there is no agreement that any artist appearance is tied to additional airplay for that artist.

The responses also reference settlements with the New York State Attorney General’s office of payola allegations that occurred over a decade ago.  A number of radio companies and record labels entered into settlements with the Attorney General’s office and the radio companies also entered into consent decrees with the FCC to resolve issues raised in these investigations.  One of those settlement agreements with the FCC is available here, and sets out very specific compliance conditions including:

  • Prohibiting stations and employees from exchanging airtime for cash or items of value except under certain circumstances;
  • Placing limits on gifts, concert tickets, and other valuable items from record labels to company stations or employees;
  • Appointing compliance officers who will be responsible for monitoring and reporting company performance under the consent decrees; and
  • Providing regular training to programming personnel on payola restrictions.

Reviewing the specifics of these agreements is an important way for stations to ensure that they are not unintentionally running afoul of the payola rules.  These conditions recognize that there is some interaction to be expected between record labels trying to expose their music and radio companies deciding what to play.  But that needs to be done in a way that is limited to avoid the appearance that money or other items of valuable consideration decide what is played on a station – unless the audience is specifically informed that the programming is sponsored.  With these issues back in the news, be sure to observe these limitations.

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