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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » apps


Streamlabs is an easier, free all-in-one streaming app, now on Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Fri 3 Apr 2020 5:40 pm

Start with OBS, the now industry-standard streaming app, and add a bunch of special sauce to make it easier and friendlier. Now you’ve got Streamlabs – and it just added Mac support to its other platforms.

Mention live streaming any time in the past year or so, and someone no doubt told you to use OBS. Open Broadcaster Software, aka OBS Studio, is indeed free and powerful – not only for streaming but live recording, too. (It quietly displaced a lot of pricey and often incomplete commercial screencasting software, too.)

OBS has gotten a lot easier – a cash infusion from Twitch, Facebook, NVIDIA, and Logitech no doubt helped. But it’s still a bit intimidating as far as configuring settings for recording, to say nothing of the manual settings required to then make it upload to various streaming platforms.

That’s where Streamlabs comes in. It’s got its own desktop apps based on OBS, plus apps that let you easily stream from Android and iOS, too. So while you could do all of this on OBS desktop, Streamlabs makes it easier – basically, it’s a bit like having a custom distro of OBS. And then by adding mobile access, those platforms become easier, too.

Looks like OBS – but 100% less intimidating.

So in addition to all the things that make OBS powerful – using any video source or onscreen inputs, switching between them, handling resolutions and recording as well as connecting, you get:

  • Pre-configured streaming platforms and easy login (think YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, etc.)
  • Auto-optimized video settings
  • Custom alerts (so you can also beg for donations, add engagement)
  • Themes and widgets for customizing your stream
  • Built-in chat (normally requiring you to open another window in OBS, which gets surprisingly clumsy fast)
  • Easy recording
  • Cloud backups (so you don’t lose your recording)

https://streamlabs.com

Honestly, having played around with it a bit, maybe the best part of Streamlabs is that all the power of OBS is there, but easier to use. So it doesn’t feel like a dumbed-down version of OBS so much as a polished, beginner-friendly interface with all the same features – and some useful additions.

The easier-to-follow Sources dialog alone is probably worth the price of admission. And price of admission is free, anyway.

The mobile apps also feature a lot of nice integrations on these lines, too. Think similar cross-platform streaming support, importing OBS settings from desktop, and adding widgets for events, donations, and chat.

https://streamlabs.com/mobile-app

The spin here of OBS is open source, like its sibling. It’s based on Electron, so I hope that now that macOS was added, we’ll see Linux, too. Linux users should meanwhile note that OBS packaging has improved a lot across distros, and Ubuntu Studio for instance even bakes a pre-configured OBS right into the OS. I have no idea how much work would be required to do the same with Streamlabs. (PS, you can beta test 20.04 LTS right now and help them squash bugs before what I think will be a very essential global pandemic stay-at-home OS release!)

So, since this is free and open source, what’s the business model?

Basically, you can grab this for free and have a nicer version of OBS. Tips and donations to content makers go 100% to you – no cut for Streamlabs. (Good – and a major difference with a lot of horrible startups.)

Then for a monthly fee, you can add additional effects (US$4.99/month, “PRO”), or a bunch of custom widgets, custom domain and website, and other extras (Prime, $12/mo billed annually).

https://streamlabs.com/pricing

I hope they allow month-to-month billing, but regardless, it’s nice to see a business built on open source software and that still has sustainable business support. (CDM is possible because of just that idea – thank WordPress.)

I’m sure some people are groaning at me even sharing this information, given how many streams are out there right now. But”streaming” doesn’t necessarily mean to a wide audience – it’s useful in any case where you want to teleport yourself around the world (while under stay-at-home orders, for instance) even if it’s to a small group. Plus, even if you haven’t been struggling with this yourself, now you can tip off your friends so they don’t a) bug you for how to set up their stream and/or b) stream really low-quality material you have to then watch.

And I think just as with blogs, the question is not really quantity or openness, but quality – and whether there’s a model for supporting the people putting out that quality. More on this soon.

The post Streamlabs is an easier, free all-in-one streaming app, now on Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Learn how to live stream your music with these two easy, quick videos, gear tips

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 1 Apr 2020 5:25 pm

Okay, so everyone is suddenly live streaming. But the thought of setting this up hurts your brain. Fortunately, two of our friends have put together concise videos to get you started.

Live streaming music performances hardly started with this pandemic era – and to be fair, a lot of us have been putting off working out how to do it anyway. So let’s do it properly. Live streaming can be a good way to connect with people and to try out material. Its main enemy is often technical trouble. Michael and Tom to our rescue!

Tom Cosm has a desktop guide that takes just two minutes – he captures both from his screen and a webcam, which could also work for tutorials, live coding, and more creative ideas.

Tools:

OBS https://obsproject.com

Streaming platform (Twitch, Facebook Live, etc.)

Desktop platforms (mobile and custom options coming soon)

Michael Forrest has a live streaming how-to – from August 2019, and a reminder that this can be a good idea that you genuinely enjoy rather than an endtimes substitute for live performance as civilization collapses and you abandon hope of ever playing for a crowd of more than two people or within 2 meters of a human. (I mean – let’s definitely not think about it that way.)

And there is a ton of useful gear here. From his list (and his affiliate links). Crucially, since the OBS part is pretty straightforward, having a good stand and lighting is essential – and based on my cursory research, you can ship from a lot of electronics providers at the moment even given lockdowns (and not only Amazon, in case you want to protest that company).

Best of all, he’s got a terrifically useful scene switcher script:

https://github.com/michaelforrest/obs-scripts

Rest of the gear:

Streaming software - https://obsproject.com/
Audio Mixer with USB out - http://amzn.to/2eu59iW
Audio limiter / compressor - http://www.fmraudio.com/rnla.html
Wirelessly receive video to computer from phone -  http://bit.ly/2f6ti0A
iPhone app for clean camera feed - http://apple.co/2f6t21J
Tripod - http://amzn.to/2dVuhON
Tripod phone mount - http://amzn.to/2eKAGeV
Lighting LED lighting - http://amzn.to/2ePZxMw
Lighting stand - http://amzn.to/2feGJe8
Video from DSLR
Thunderbolt video capture - http://amzn.to/2eu3iKP
Connect camera to video capture - http://amzn.to/2eKDHfl
Connect video capture to computer - http://amzn.to/2f6vBB5
My DSLR Camera Body - http://amzn.to/2dJ0GF3
Prevent camera from sleeping after 30 mins - http://www.magiclantern.fm/
Wide angle lens if you’re in a tight space - http://amzn.to/2ePXh8e
50mm lens for portraits-style shots - http://amzn.to/2eu37PD
Macro lens for close ups - http://amzn.to/2eu3iKP

Lots of little relevant tips in this video, as well.

And some more gear…

A few more bits of kit I’ve had an eye on. IK Multimedia have started daily livestreams:

https://www.ikmultimedia.com/news/?item_id=9290

But it’s also worth noting they have some rather useful looking kit for podcasting and streaming, particularly solving this on mobile:

iRig Stream is a useful interface, and

iRic Mic Video bundle (and the associated grip and mics in their Creator Series)

…all look useful.

Roland have their GO:LIVECAST which I’ve mentioned, though it seems to lack stereo line input (still trying to get hold of one of these). See also their GO:MIXER.

Sometimes it’s the stuff not specifically directed at streaming that looks most useful for audiovisual use cases. In particular, one friend clued me into the ZOOM U-24 – 2-in, 4-out interface, with preamps:

https://www.zoom.co.jp/products/production-recording/audio-interfaces/u-24-handy-audio-interface

I’m still not entirely seeing the perfect solution I’d imagine here, so I’m keen to hear what you’re thinking.

And this being CDM, absolutely taking your ideas – and intend to discuss some different approaches to online performance, not only the traditional video Web stream. Watch this space.

The post Learn how to live stream your music with these two easy, quick videos, gear tips appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Endlesss is a musical jam app; Imogen Heap, KiNK, Matt Black, more join a stream today

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Scene | Tue 31 Mar 2020 9:51 am

If you’re bored of just video chatting with Zoom, Houseparty, and the like, Endlesss might be the musical switch-up you need. And some big personalities are joining in a day long stream today to give you a taste of what it’s about.

First, Endlesss – it’s an iOS-only (for now) collaborative music creation app. The idea is, you get started right away building loops, using built-in instruments, playable pads, and add-on effects. That makes it accessible to first-timers – so it could be ideal for introducing your friends and family to some music jamming now, especially as an antidote to grainy underlit camera footage of all of us in sweatpants.

Plus, hey, slick visuals, for things like this:

Some apps might just dead-end there. But if you are a musician, you can push Endlesss further. There’s an all-critical microphone input, meaning skilled vocalists and rappers and beatboxers can blow this thing away. Instrument and effects packs go fairly deep. And for musicians, you can connect via Ableton Link, export materials (even as stems, at last), and choose custom key, scale, tempo, time signature and quantization.

Yeah, it’s almost like this thing was made by real musicians. And, of course, it was – Tim Exile has led the Endlesss team; he’s known to us as the ultra-virtuoso mega-geek behind Reaktor tools such as The Mouth and Flesh. And that sensibility is here, too – build on looping facilities to let your musical fancies take flight.

So it’s fitting that some key personalities are joining the stream today.

Imogen Heap is of course another defining artist in modern looping-vocal technique.

KiNK has proven that virtuoso live performance has a place on dancefloors, too, even in the age of linear CDJ mixing.

Matt Black and his act Coldcut built some of the software and performances that showed what audiovisual sampling cut-up culture could be.

And there’s more. Flux Pavilion is a major name in EDM at that meeting point between mainstage and producer, singer-songwriter and electronic production. Dan Le Sac is another legendary UK name (and also crossing into game production). And from our Internet music tech world, Gaz Williams of Sonic State is there both as a presence from journalism and synth and bass musicianship – hi, Gaz!

Twitch.tv, while first established for gaming, has of late become a refuge for musicians. Higher-quality streams, better community features that actually work properly, and proper monetization that might not drive artists further into the poor house all set it apart from the major US tech oligopoly providers. (You know who you are.) So this feed is appropriately launching on the channel by touring app Bandsintown with Twitch, just as artists look for ways to keep some trickle of funds and activity coming in during global lockdown.

https://www.twitch.tv/bandsintown/

Tune in today Tuesday daytime UK time. (I’m inquiring about replays for the USA, which will be slowly waking up toward the end of the programming.) If you’re personally puzzling on how to stream while dealing with competing platforms, they’re using the most popular tool for that, restream.io.

And if you’ve got an iOS gadget (iPad and iPod touch work, too), head to:

Endlesss – Multiplayer Music

The app is free, with in-app purchases of additional content.

https://endlesss.fm

The post Endlesss is a musical jam app; Imogen Heap, KiNK, Matt Black, more join a stream today appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Patterning is as unique and as circular as drum machines get – now on your iPhone

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Mon 23 Mar 2020 7:10 pm

Stuck for ideas and inspiration? Maybe you just need something on your iPhone that brings its own groove and is more, um, circular.

It’s a match that was waiting to happen – the handheld interface of an iPhone meets the drum machine and pattern maker that runs in a circle. That’s a beautiful way to visualize time, waiting only for the modern smartphone screen. (And Star Wars fans, am I the only one who finds this reminiscent of the episode IV radar displays? In a good way.)

It does meters. It does polyrhythms. It has a sophisticated sound engine. It sequences parameters as well as the beats themselves.

Patterning 2 had already matured into a rich, circular interface for exploring rhythm and beats and grooves. And if you want to kick back with a big interface and explore, the iPad is still the way to go. Patterning then becomes an instrument on its own, or a sequencer for other iPad apps, or – thanks to full-blow export and Ableton Link – a sketchpad for your DAW. Ashley Elsdon wrote about this back in the day:

Patterning 2 arrives with a host of new features to play with

But if you’ve got an iPhone handy, and you like having this palm-top based, Patterning 2’s arrival for iPhone will be just as welcome. Okay, “mobile” is not really a thing on planet Earth for most jobs at the moment, but that could mean doing this while cooking, or leaning back in your chair and away from home office and conference calls for a quick groove exploration.

One other bonus on the iPhone version – haptic feedback. That circular interface looks like it belonged there all along.

It’s been amazing to see how iOS has matured. When we started, it was all about simple toys and experiments. Now, the iOS tools sometimes can seem more sophisticated than many desktop counterparts – and they’re all about spawning ideas, jamming with others, and connecting ideas to other apps (whether on mobile or desktop).

That is, basically, what you see in this list:

  • 8 Independent Loops Per Pattern
  • Unlimited Patterns
  • Automation Layers like Coarse Tune, Ratcheting, and more.
  • MIDI Output
  • Export to Ableton Live Set – Comes with Ableton Live 10 Lite
  • Export Perfect Audio Loops in WAV or AIFF format, Stereo or Multitrack Output
  • Export Songs to Patterning 2
  • Import Songs and Drumkits from Patterning 2 (some limitations apply)
  • Ableton Link
  • MIDI Clock Send and Receive
  • Inter-App Audio Clock
  • Multi-track Inter-App Audio Output
  • Hundreds of free factory and user created drum kits
  • Quantize Pattern Launch
  • Haptic Feedback!

http://patterning-for-iphone.app

The post Patterning is as unique and as circular as drum machines get – now on your iPhone appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Recreate the sounds of the rare 70s optical organ Optigan on iOS – free this week

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Tue 17 Mar 2020 7:08 pm

Cue the “Bossa Nova Style” rhythms and get ready for warbly, lo-fi melodies, because you can make your iPad or iPhone party like it’s 1971 – free this week only.

The Optigan is deliciously dated. The contraption used optical discs and photodiodes packed in “Temperite” molded plastic and covered in switches and buttons. (The optical approach puts it on a timeline with early Soviet synthesis, among other things – see Derek Holzer’s history of tonewheels, or for another app recreation of the technique, the gorgeous ANS, as seen on CDM.)

The sound is less Tarkovsky score, and more like what you’d expect of an organ advertised in the Sears catalog and promoted by The Donna Reed Show star Carl Betz. And iOptigan can reproduce all of that kitschy oddness, as in this fantastic demo tune. (I love the creators for the period jetliner footage. Book me a ticket on 1971 United, please.)

iOptigan adds a recreation of the optional spring reverb, metronome, MIDI I/O, MIDI chord detection, Inter-App Audio, file sharing, a sequencer with MIDI file import, built-in help throughout, and tons of thoughtful, historical details.

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/ioptigan/id1143470101#?platform=ipad

Here’s the chord detection and how to use it:

You should spend money on this. You would spend money on this. But take this free opportunity to really set a different mood and transport back to the 70s.

The app itself has a nice lineage, too. Stefan Stenzel of Waldorf teamed up with Pea Hicks of optigan.com to make it. And in addition to grabbing the app, you can give yourself some nice linkhole time on that site to explore the instrument’s history and future, complete with obsessive details of all the variants and an exhaustive catalog of optical discs.

https://optigan.com/

And if the kitsch factor didn’t win you over, a small group of makers has taken the wild set of creating a new Optigan instrument – the Panoptigon, which sounds as sophisticated as its Jeremy Bentham reference would lead you to believe. It’ll set you back a cool $3999, but to be honest, wouldn’t it be better in a way to splurge on this rather than a conventional keyboard or modular? Well, if I had such money, that is.

The results of that invention are poignant, not kooky – fuzzy, irregular piano loops are simply transcendent on their demo video.

Take a listen, as I was entranced – it’s almost a shame that this says “disc demo” on it or has a picture of gear:

Here’s the new instrument in action:

And maybe that’s the lesson of this whole phenomenon – the beauty of technologies that others might simply have forgotten or literally tossed in a bin. It sounds, eerily, almost futuristic.

Something to think about as I noodle around on the iOptigan recreation tonight. As with the other stuff mentioned today, don’t be shy if you make something and want to share.

iOptigan for iPhone, iPad at the App Store

Bonus freebie – the great piano samples you hear in the disc demo are open source.

Photo credit / CC-BY-SA 3.0 (nice Wikipedia article, actually!):

Main and chord keyboards of a model 35002 Optigan Music Maker optical organ, ca. 1971. Owned and photographed by user PMDrive1061.

The post Recreate the sounds of the rare 70s optical organ Optigan on iOS – free this week appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Bored? Broke? Get Minimoog Model D on iOS, KORG KAOSSilator on iOS + Android for free

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Tue 17 Mar 2020 11:14 am

Get some synth therapy for free from Moog and KORG on mobile. And do send us your music. Deals this week only.

KORG’s KAOSSilator and Moog’s Minimoog Model D are some of the most accessible, fun soundmakers on mobile – and they integrate well with other stuff – so you definitely owe it to yourself to pick these up while they’re free.

iOS users can grab both the Minimoog and iKAOSSilator. Android users get their own version of KAOSSilator which – literally I just started using on my Huawei handset as I write this. You’ll notice, because suddenly I’ll get distracted, and instead of writing words I whwwooooooooseeeeeeee whooopppp wadaddle weeeerrrrrrwwwww wherw wherw wherw wherwwww wherwww whoosh ! — uh, sorry. Okay, I see why some people communicate about synths on YouTube.

These are some steep discounts – the Android edition of KAOSSilator alone is normally US$17.99. (That’s why I didn’t buy it, since I own it on iOS already. But now – synth noises on my Android phone, too!)

Just please remember to disinfect your phone regularly with alcohol wipes or applying a bit of sanitizer to a lint-free cloth or paper.

KAOSSilator

KAOSSilator is a simple X/Y synth. Pick a sound, map a scale/tuning, make gestures with your finger, and record them with a phrase recorder.

It’s simple stuff, but that to me is the whole reason to grab it. And it’s one of the few apps that runs on both iOS and Android.

There is a weird phenomenon with free apps; they seem to garner more negative criticism than positive ones. My theory is, people who buy something are a self-selecting group. Some people seem to feel motivated to troll everyone, and free apps allow them to do that. So I do see a negative review on the Google Play Store. Let me disagree:

KAOSSilator, especially with its bass sounds, is genius for creating spontaneous little phrases you could use later to start a song. The constraints are a feature, not a bug.

I’m inclined to use it for sketching little phrases for later, but it also looks handy for jamming – and many people use it for that.

That said, KORG, I’m sure we would love to see a real KAOSS effect on mobile, too, if you’re up for it – especially routed into larger setups.

Also, major kudos on Android – this app is responsive and fun on my Android smartphone, which can be said of only a handful of apps. But between this and the stuff from warmplace.ru, plus the ability to actually navigate folders of media rather than fight with the iTunes prison, makes me a very happy Android smartphone owner.

Even on iOS with more choices, iKAOSSilator is a fantastic choice for your iPhone – handheld fun.

KORG iKAOSSilator on the App Store [iOS]

KORG KAOSSilator for Android [Google Play Store]

Minimoog Model D for iOS

The Minimoog Model D is simply a must-own. It’s one of the most beautifully crafted apps on iOS – and impressively competes with other hardware and software as one of the best ways to add a Minimoog to your rig, hands down. It does things the real thing can’t, like 4-note polyphony – and it adds an arpeggiator, loop recorder with overdub, stereo ping-pong delay with sync, and stereo modulation effect. But the core of it sounds and looks authentic.

And it supports everything. iOS developers should have a copy just as a reference.

• All 64-bit iOS devices
• AUv3 Audio Unit Extensions (Including GarageBand)
• Note-per-channel MIDI controllers (MPE)
• Ableton Link
• Inter-App Audio and Audiobus
• 7 and 14-Bit MIDI
• MIDI Program Changes
• Bluetooth LE MIDI controllers
• Share over AirDrop, Mail or other iOS applications

It also runs on both iPhone and iPad, though it really feels best as an iPad app.

Go deeper with modulation if you choose:

And yeah, someone compared it to the real thing:

Moog Music Minimoog Model D on the App Store

Also, it’s now cheaper to buy even a decent iPad and this app for less than the price of a certain hardware clone. If you’ve got the iPad already, it’s free. (And a lot of iPads support it; see the notes in the link above – so long as you’re on iOS 10.3 or later.)

Of course, given the likely duration of this quarantine period, what you really want is probably the Model 15 modular.

https://www.moogmusic.com/products/model-15-modular-synthesizer-app

Have fun, make some noises, send us some tunes!

The post Bored? Broke? Get Minimoog Model D on iOS, KORG KAOSSilator on iOS + Android for free appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Here’s how to update KORG’s wireless nano controller, and use it with iOS 13 (and more)

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Mon 24 Feb 2020 1:43 pm

In case you missed it, in November, KORG fixed issues with their portable Bluetooth MIDI controllers/keyboards and iOS 13. Wireless operation works with desktop OSes, too – and it’s really cool.

Firmware updates I know can be a bit scary, and it’s possible some owners of the KORG wireless devices didn’t even know that there was a fix (or that you can do this, for that matter)! So it’s worth sharing this video KORG posted at the end of last week.

iOS changes have kept developers scrambling lately, but at least this catches you up. And it’s tough to beat the iPad and a wireless nanoKEY as an ultra-portable rig on the road.

Wireless Bluetooth MIDI operation is a strong, low-latency solution on desktop OSes, too, though – useful if you have your computer handy and just need some input device to sketch in ideas or try our your latest virtual modular patch. (That’s me, anyway!)

KORG’s wireless controllers do support both Mac and Windows, too. (I’ll check if there’s a way to get this working on Linux; I suspect someone ported over Apple’s implementation. I also don’t see Android officially supported, but there’s some version there – or you can just use USB and an OTG cable, in a pinch.)

There are a few features that make the nanoKEY Studio easy to recommend, specifically. Everything is ultra-low-profile, so it’s more optimal for tossing in a backpack. There’s still velocity sensitivity on both the pads and keys, and back lighting for dark situations. But I think what’s especially winning is – not just knobs, but also an X/Y pad (KAOSS style), onboard arpeggiator, scale and chord mapping.

KORG push the notion that this helps when you’re not a skilled keyboardist but – obviously, even if you’ve got years of piano training, on a little controller like this you’re in a different mode.

https://www.korg.com/us/products/computergear/nanokey_studio/

Also quite useful on the go, nanoKONTROL Studio:

https://www.korg.com/us/products/computergear/nanokontrol_studio/index.php

In fact, I can imagine nanoKONTROL Studio with the new (wired) Novation Launchpad mini would be ideal. The Launchpad mini has input but not anything that works easily as a mixing layout – other than a somewhat crude mode that uses the pads for that, but doesn’t give you continuous control. Both would fit in a slim-line backpack with literally nothing else, for an easy iPad or notebook computer studio.

Or couple the Launchpad mini and nanoKONTROL Studio, because then you can lock individual controllers to particular instruments without swapping (useful!), or separate clip triggering and instrumental playing.

I just personally love being able to work when traveling and to fit live rigs into small spaces.

The post Here’s how to update KORG’s wireless nano controller, and use it with iOS 13 (and more) appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

SoundCloud mobile app is now an equal citizen – including enabling uploads

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Tue 18 Feb 2020 6:14 pm

SoundCloud have been gradually adding or restoring features to mobile users – and now uploading is available on iOS (and soon, Android).

I remember at some point, the fear of things like instant SoundCloud uploads was that users would dump a ton of horrible music on the service. But that really misses the point of a lot of why a lot of people presumably want this. (Well, plus, horrible music is not really something that can be avoided – let’s focus on where the good stuff goes.)

Uploads

Let’s say you’re working on a project on the go, and want to send a bounce to a friend or a client. Or you’ve recorded some interviews, and you share with someone doing transcriptions. Oddly, the original purpose of SoundCloud when it launched eons ago was stuff like this – it was an escape from what was at the time using FTP and other draconian solutions.

Here’s how it works:

Uploads are now in the release of the SoundCloud app that’s out today for iOS; we’re waiting on an Android version.

But even if you don’t use that, SoundCloud have been fixing other features.

Track and profile management

January updates on iOS added other missing, oft-requested features – the ability to edit tracks, the ability to edit your profile, and the ability to change what’s in your Spotlight.

This stuff is really invaluable. I can’t count the number of times I bounced a master, sent it to someone via SoundCloud (so they had a quick player, which they don’t get if I use WeTransfer, for instance), and then needed to make an edit.

I’ve already been using this from essentially the day it came out. It’s not in the main SoundCloud app on Android yet, but was delivered at some point on SoundCloud Pulse, the creator-side app. (I just tried to check version history, but it’s fairly impossible to find. I do remember the SoundCloud app and Pulse app being frustrating when they both lacked this.)

You can’t upload from it, but Pulse does let you edit tracks, as here on Android. Sorry, real screenshot, real dumb working track title.

The same is true of managing your profile and spotlight. With so many platforms to juggle, and many of them (cough, Facebook) a total pain, the ability to quickly tweak your profile or what’s in your spotlight while you’re waiting for a bus is great.

(Note – waiting for a bus. Please don’t do this on the toilet. Gross.)

I’ve asked SoundCloud to let us know when to expect this on Android, and what the added features on the SoundCloud app itself mean for the Pulse app.

For now, Pulse remains useful for keeping tabs on interactions from other users and looking at stats.

SoundCloud hasn’t had the pace of innovation that marked its early years – nor, for that matter, would we say that I think of most of the social platforms we now use online. So I do suspect we’ll continue to hear some user gripes about the brand, particularly when we shell out money each month. On the other hand, some of that innovation was even more disruptive – like the removal of groups. I’m keen to hear more from what our neighbors in Berlin are up to, and whether it can serve what producers really want.

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The latest attempt to make digital music tangible: NFC-powered Muse Blocks

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Mon 10 Feb 2020 10:08 pm

We are living in an immaterial world. Muse Blocks, tiles with embedded NFC chips, are one idea, and now team up with a popular electronic music label.

Berlin-based Senic, a hardware startup focused on smart home solutions, devised the tangible product Muse Blocks. And they’ve recruited underground tech house label Katermukke, Dirty Doering’s label, which has its own grungy Berlin afterhours vibes – fitting to its home base of the Kater Blau nightclub.

Launch video (German with English subtitles):

Basically, you can think of these tiles as connected art objects. Tap them to your phone (provided you have an NFC-capable smartphone), and up pops a streamed album or playlist. You can program the tiles yourself, meaning that you can have a physical object to go with your mixes – so it’s the 21st-century streaming equivalent of a mixtape, in theory.

https://www.senic.com/en/museblocks#faq

The pricing mirrors what we used to pay for CDs – 15EUR is the “special introductory price.” If you want them to look smart in your living room, you can buy a set that includes a bar to mount to a wall, and 7 Muse Blocks to put up on it, for a 69EUR bundle price. That of course makes them expensive for the promo use case.

Since the music is streamed, these are purely decorative, but then I suppose we buy all sorts of objects that are indeed purely decorative. It changes the streaming experience, at least, in that the ephemeral experience of streamed music gets its own object permanence and spatial location. By default, there’s support for Spotify, Apple Music, SoundCloud, and Tidal, but they also suggest Netflix, YouTube, and more interesting stuff like Apple Homekit and IFTTT.

Uh, so then you can do this. Yes, I see that she’s also tapping her phone almost from the first interaction. Shhh. The design objects still look very cool.

I don’t know if this solves any problems here, but it does at least reframe the ongoing lack of tangibility in streamed music. And so that was obviously the appeal to Katermukke.

Now, if you’re wondering if you could DIY something like this – like maybe you want to release your next streamed album or mix inside a furry toy rabbit or a potted cactus – you can, of course. There are kits available from Identiv, tons of NFC and RFID stuff from Adafruit, and more. The mind boggles, actually, given the amount of stuff in our world constantly transmitting data.

Even on Senic’s devices, you can use a free app to write your own data. It’s certainly more fun, if a lot more expensive, than a cut up paper giveaway, so – yeah, you could absolutely use this for a Bandcamp code if you wanted.

Here’s an example of the write process:

The problem with all of this remains that there’s no actual data on the object, so it is effectively, well, useless. I still wonder what delivery medium makes sense for digital downloads. Most easily-bought USB keys and SD cards are pretty unattractive, and arguably they don’t offer anything that a download link can’t do. CDs are at this point about as dead as a format as cassette tapes and vinyl, but lack the collectability of either of those.

And so… oh, actually, I have nothing to say beyond that. If I come up with a conclusion, maybe I can embed it on an NFC object, and then… uh, never mind.

Let me just go dig up what NFC powers my Huawei phone has. See you.

The post The latest attempt to make digital music tangible: NFC-powered Muse Blocks appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

One of the best granular apps just got a huge update – Borderlands 2.1 for iPad

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Sun 2 Feb 2020 1:32 pm

Borderlands was already a breakthrough – an instrument that lets you explore all the timbral frontiers of granular synthesis. “2.1” sounds small, but it brings major improvements and feature requests.

First, if you’d missed granular synthesis, the idea is to create rich new evolving textures and timbres by piecing together sounds from smaller bits – the grains. It’s well suited to digital audio and even underlies a lot of the time- and pitch-manipulation software capabilities you know. But really adventuring into playing it as an instrument means managing more parameters at once. Using knobs, or worse, pointing at those knobs with a mouse, can feel limiting – like driving without a steering wheel.

Borderlands by developer Chris Carlson was one of the apps that changed all that, exploiting the multi-touch iOS paradigm to give you more freedom to push sounds to the edge. And Borderlands for many is even a reason to own an iPad. For all the apps on the App Store, it seems musicians often settle on a few beloved favorites like this one. “When is Borderlands getting an update?” has thus become a common refrain.

Great developers are often meek, so let’s just call this Borderlands 3, because that feels about right. You get a ton of tools for better controlling sound, new modes and sound design tools, new connection and synchronization, plus even contributions from some terrific artists.

New in this release:

● Tempo synced grains with Ableton Link
● Semitone pitch tuning option per cloud
● New waterfall-style streaming input mode
● Overdub level control for real time inputs
● ADSR mode with automatable trigger pad for each grain cloud
● Automate sound position, size, and rotation
● New ring modulation, vibrato amount, and probability controls per grain cloud
● Proper scaling on new, larger iPads and iPads with different aspect ratios
● Scene contributions from Cristian Vogel, Electric Indigo, King Britt, Mikronesia, and Tom Hall. Presets from Arovane coming soon.

And Chris has more planned, with ideas like AUv3, MIDI and OpenSoundControl (OSC), and the ability to run on iPhones, among others.

Yes, like many of you, Chris uses this live in performance. Here’s a recent set with three instances of the instrument:

https://cloudveins.bandcamp.com/album/flock-2-bg-1018

Follow mainly on Instagram:

instagram.com/borderlands_granular

http://www.borderlands-granular.com/app/

The post One of the best granular apps just got a huge update – Borderlands 2.1 for iPad appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Now your smartphone can livestream with proper audio and more, using this new Roland gadget

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Thu 9 Jan 2020 5:26 am

The GO:LIVECAST promises to transform your smartphone from a craptacular lo-fi hassle into an all-in-one multitasking studio.

Webcasting, livestreaming, livecasting, broadcasting, recording, podcasting … let’s drop all the buzzwords and put this into one category. You know the drill: if you’re a one-person show, or you’re on the go, there’s a lot to juggle. And going mobile means doing exactly that – juggling.

The smartphone should be a great solution, until you realize it isn’t. Sound is the main issue, in that it’s a chore to get past the internal mic – even worse if you need to mix, say, voiceover and an instrument. And then the other tasks you have to solve tend to multiply from there.

The funny thing is, these problems now span a big group of people and use cases, blurring together “casual” and pro. Let’s not ever use the word prosumer again – this is really about mobility and autonomy. Smartphones have given us the promise of recording and broadcasting in all places. And people are doing it, regardless. The question now is, will we get tools so that the creation process isn’t frustrating and the results don’t look like crap.

Roland is one of the companies most aggressively vying to fill that use case, and crossing traditional audio production with new consumer uses. (See also: Zoom/Samson.)

GO:LIVECAST does aim to solve a lot of your problems, and it looks like it might pull it off.

Roland’s GO:MIXER is already a solid solution for mobile audio mixing, and if it’s just audio you’re dealing with in your smartphone recording, it might already be enough. But GO:LIVECAST also lets you easily integrate multiple audio feeds with your stream, and has an ambitious list of other functionality:

Add in audio inputs. No more relying on the internal mic on your phone. You get multiple ways of merging your phone’s high-quality imagery with (finally) higher-quality sound:

  • Built-in mic. (Roland claims this captures “high-quality” sound, so we’ll have to compare their hardware with popular phones to find out.)
  • External XLR input so you can use a proper microphone.
  • Stereo line input (for your synth or instrument or an external mixer, etc.)

Plus, there are actual knobs for adjusting levels, not to mention a reverb option for if you want to sing.

Monitor what you’re doing. GO:LIVECAST has the headphone jack that your phone now probably doesn’t, and the ability to monitor the other audio inputs, too.

Trigger titles and media. Radio has long had “soundboards” for triggering audio buttons or sound effects or IDs. This is that for not just sound, but also titles, photos, and videos, since you need this capability for AV generally. It appears the push-buttons on the device integrate with Roland’s app.

There’s some pre-built content (ewww) or you can make your own libraries (oooh).

Multi-camera support, with phones! You can use wifi to add a second camera, not only with the app, but even – didn’t expect this part – with the hardware.

Photo: Roland.

An app to solve all those problems logging in, starting, and monitoring. Anyone who’s tried to do a live stream knows this agony, especially as one person. There’s dealing with logins for streaming services. Then you have people commenting and want to respond. It’s a major pain bouncing between different interfaces.

Roland says they solve all of this with their app. The app logs you into popular services. (That’s YouTube, Facebook Live, and Twitch plus other “major” options – have to find out which.) And it lets you handle the camera and other features alongside checking comments in-app.

There’s in-camera mirroring so you can see yourself, and automatic switching between portrait and landscape modes (another major pain). There’s even a skin filter (took me a second to work out what they mean – I think as in the skin on your face, though some of these features are controversial elsewhere, so we need to see how they implement that.)

I/O: Runs on USB power, connects to Android and iOS devices, stereo minijack line in, XLR and 1/4″ TRS phone input with phantom power.

I’m a little concerned about those buttons and having them locked into Roland’s app. And it’s annoying that Roland is still on microUSB and not USB-C (though they have an adapter cable in the box). But the functionality looks useful, especially if paired with the existing GO:MIXER.

It all looks great – will it deliver? Roland definitely has the right idea. I’m keen to test this to see if it delivers on its promises.

And actually, far from being experienced pros, I think as musicians we’re even more desperately in need of help. Music making doesn’t necessarily prepare you for video production tasks. It makes you more demanding of sound quality, but you also have to deal with, you know, trying to play music and be inspired at the same time, leaving little bandwidth for streaming headaches.

Roland’s GO:MIXER was great, which gives me hope. And the basic features here really do look useful. Plus Roland in general – via their Edirol brand – have been on top of these kinds of production needs at the mid- and high-end, too.

I’m sure there are other streaming tools around CES this week, too. Stay tuned.

Check Roland’s product page, meanwhile:

https://www.roland.com/us/products/golivecast/

The post Now your smartphone can livestream with proper audio and more, using this new Roland gadget appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Tesla just added music-making tool Trax to their car dashboard

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Fri 27 Dec 2019 1:05 am

Update your Tesla, get a (simple) DAW. Trax 0.1 has simple percussion, melody, and step-sequencing and arrangement tools for the car dashboard.

You get pads and a keyboard for playing, a small selection of instruments (pad, synth bass, TR-808), and basic step sequencing and arrangement tools. It looks for all the world like a really simple iPad app, but you will notice the Tesla touchscreen has a fair bit of latency compared to an Apple tablet:

Engadget has the story, though I suspect they got some coal sent to them from Apple for saying GarageBand isn’t professional. (I think it is; I know Apple believes it is. But I digress.)

Tesla puts a music-making app in your EV

My car is the S-Bahn, but maybe someone out there has a Tesla and can tell us how export and other features work. The “0.1” in the version suggests they might add more in the future if people like this thing.

It’s part of the Tesla 2019.40.50 Update, in time for the holidays.

I, uh, do have a driving license if someone from Tesla wants to think of me as a powerful music tech influencer to try this out. Uh huh. Totally.

So why the heck would you want a DAW in your car? Well, Tesla are adding lots of gee-whiz features to their software to show off, obviously. But presumably as Engadget speculates, maybe this is ” a way to capture a flash of musical inspiration while you’re sitting in the parking lot.”

Or mainly to show off your fancy car, as you’re still more likely to use an iPad or iPhone or even Android smartphone with better latency and vastly more storage. That said, it’s nice to see Tesla thinking of music-making as something to add – on that note, I agree with the first tweet.

Now, just give us the ability to hook the dashboard arrangement tool to the car horn, and think we’re really talking.

The post Tesla just added music-making tool Trax to their car dashboard appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Hey Metronome: this $1 iOS app doesn’t threaten privacy or require online access

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Mon 23 Dec 2019 7:13 pm

Now you can get hands-free metronome features while you practice and play – without worrying about privacy or needing signal.

Hands-free music makes sense. If you’re an instrumentalist, it means the ability to use your music gadgets along with your instrument, without taking your hands off the keys, string, bow, and so on.

But there are some issues with the way major tech providers generally provide voice recognition.

Big corporate Internet-powered online assistants pose some real privacy risks. For just one example, The Guardian surveyed the use of human contractors and other privacy worries around big five Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft – with a particular focus on Amazon. That may not be a big priority for musicians. But as I wrote when Roland adopted some (otherwise very cool) Amazon Alexa features on its digital pianos, those consumer concerns will bleed over in music manufacturing as the two industries partner.

Oh, yeah, and another problem – what if you don’t have any signal in your studio? Lots of musicians practice when touring, or in basements without cell phone reception or wifi.

Audiokit, the makers of friendly and open source developer tools for music and audio, have a solution. Their app ‘Hey Metronome’ uses voice recognition that works on the device, rather than connecting to the cloud. And given you’re using simple commands, that makes sense. You can set meter and tempo or even tempo and range simply by saying “Hey metronome, set tempo to allegro” or whatever bpm or time signature you want.

The iPad version is also looking really nice.

For musician users, you get a one-buck music app that’s likely a must-have. For developers, the code is open source – and if you’re learning how to develop apps, it also represents a simple app you can use to learn to code. (Audiokit promise a “free coding tutorial series, teaching students and enthusiasts how to build their own music app.” Looking forward to that!)

Synthtopia gets the first scoop on this, and say that the developers plan more voice-controlled music applications in the future. That’s thanks to a partnership with speech recognition experts KeenASR Research.

By the way, if you’re a developer, KeenASR has an on-device voice control SDK (it’s also right on GitHub). It works on Android as well as iOS; Audiokit is focused exclusively on Apple platforms (iOS, macOS, tvOS, and Apple Watch).

https://keenresearch.com/

Grab the app on the App Store, of course:

AudioKit Hey Metronome [iOS App Store]

Previously:

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L7 is what the Loop Station would be like as an iOS app, not hardware – and now it’s just $4

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Tue 10 Dec 2019 4:22 pm

For years, musicians have asked for software to do what the BOSS RC-505 Loop Sta­tion does, and make looping easy. The Audiokit L7 does just that.

Okay, before this sounds like it’s an emulation of the RC-505 with some fake pedals and knobs and such, don’t worry – they didn’t do that. Coming from the makers of iOS sound framework Audiokit, the L7 has the sort of simple, standard visual interface you’d expect from an app, not hardware. So you get high-contrast visuals and waveforms and all that.

But they did adopt the RC-505 looping workflow, combining it with the convenience of touchscreen, visual interface, and – so long as you’ve got an iPad or iPhone handy, always-available mobility. (Heck, since this makes sense as a dedicated device, it might even be worth picking up a cheap iPod touch so your phone doesn’t do double duty.)

So you layer loops successfully as you play – the magical Loop Station formula. The difference is, now you can also layer effects easily on top of that, without losing track of what you’re doing (since there’s more visual feedback on both audio layers and effects).

Step one: layer loops as you play, Loop Station style.
Step two: add effects to each layer, and perform with them live.

And yes, if that seems like a missed opportunity for Roland/BOSS – it is. (There’s still time. They have to call this L7, not Loop Station, so Roland still has an opportunity – plus Audiokit don’t support popular Android phones.)

Meanwhile, Audiokit are a model for other developers. You buy the app once – no ads, no subscriptions, no in-app purchases, no nonsense. US$19.99 is the regular price, which seems reasonable – major caveat, I haven’t tested it fully yet. But they’ve got an intro price on for US$3.99, which basically means you shouldn’t wait for my review. (That’s the point where I start to just pay four bucks to save the trouble of waiting for a promo code.)

And wow, the features definitely show they’re listening. I can’t wait to give this a spin on the iPad.

+ Record up to 16 tracks
+ 8 ef­fects per track + mas­ter ef­fects & in­put ef­fects
+ Pan
+ Re­verb
+ Tremo­lo
+ Tem­po de­lay
+ Pitch shift (± 12 semi­tones)
+ Comb fil­ter
+ High pass fil­ter
+ Low pass fil­ter
+ “Voice ­tune” (inspired by Auto-tune) with 144 dif­fer­ent scales, con­trol amount & speed
+ Au­to­mat­i­cal­ly trig­ger ef­fect changes hands-free
+ Vari­able loop length with auto-stop
+ Mute / un­mute in­di­vid­ual sec­tions of a track
+ Over­dub tracks
+ Save ses­sions and ex­port wave files and mixdowns to use in your fa­vorite DAW
+ Im­port au­dio from any file for­mat (wav, mp3, aiff, m4a, etc.)
+ Au­diobus com­pat­i­ble
+ Sync with oth­er apps us­ing Able­ton Link
+ Works with most USB au­dio in­ter­faces
+ Best with wired head­phones

Hardware is still desirable in a lot of situations, but I bet a lot of people will just do both.

US$3.99 on the App Store, starting now. Check out this app, their other work, and their stuff for developers, on their site:

https://audiokitpro.com

Here is, I hope, a great looping performance (I am embedding this from 40,000 feet on Japan Airlines, so you’ll find out probably before I do what happened):

iPad Pro is how I would use this – and it looks really great in large format.
Effects look even more usable on iPad.
Of course, having this in your hand is also great.

What do you think? Got a looping app (or hardware) you prefer, and want to hold it up against this? Let us know in comments.

The post L7 is what the Loop Station would be like as an iOS app, not hardware – and now it’s just $4 appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Watch KORG Gadget on Nintendo Switch prove music can be multiplayer fun, too

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Fri 6 Dec 2019 12:00 pm

In many, many languages, the word for “playing” music is the same as “playing” a game. So it’s fitting KORG has invaded the Nintendo Switch console with music-making – and that you can share with friends.

The translation of KORG Gadget to Nintendo’s Switch handheld is mostly novelty and fun convenience – you’re probably still going to find the iPad version easier to use solo. But where the Switch stands out is some of its multiplayer, collaborative twists. Since on key feature of the Switch (though not Switch Lite) is TV output, you can jam on a large screen or projection image. It’s the old gaming split-screen mode, like in Mario Kart and (back in the day) Goldeneye. Combine that with the “this is just for fun” feeling you get from holding a game console, and you get something you probably wouldn’t get quite so easily with other platforms. This is literally something you might bust out at a party.

The team at online tool Splice decided to give the mode a workout, and produced a video and short blog piece sharing their experiences:

Now, of course, instruments, bands, choirs – all of these provide the same social experience. And none of those things is going away, either, judging by the ongoing market for sheet music, acoustic instruments, accessories, education, and conferences in those fields (really, look it up). So maybe it’s not about production replacing traditional music. Maybe it’s more that we have this new form of musical activity – electronic production – and so far, we haven’t had a good way to share it.

Ever tried to work with a friend in something like Ableton Live? You can easily jam together by adding extra synth gear or drum machines. But using the actual tool Live often means “fighting” over the controls, because both the mouse/keyboard interface and things like Ableton Push tend to assume a single user. (Push will even regularly override other controllers and inputs, but I digress – this isn’t just a Live problem, but a limitation with the computer/user metaphor generally.)

So it seems like a small thing, but even this crude setup shows how you might think about this differently.

More from KORG on Gadget as used for educational purposes, and demonstrating its multiplayer features. (By the way, I was consulted, via New York’s Dubspot, with Rockstar Games on how to make a handheld gaming platform work in music education. The idea has been floating around – but today’s Switch is far better as a choice than the then-current Sony PSP Rockstar was using – sorry, Sony.)

English subtitled, go further into that classroom. I will just assume that in Japan it’s normal for all music teachers to wear lab coats.

Oh, and – another thing. Gaming in general offers an alternative paradigm for how we think about widespread access to music creation, and difficulty level. Not to harp endlessly on Amazon this week, but part of why I was triggered by their keynote was how tired the “everyone can make music without any skill or effort” refrain was.

Gaming has had to tackle this perception, too. But consistently, actual gamers ask for experiences that last. That might be a so-called “casual” game that still sucks up time and ramps up difficulty, or it might be punishing “hard-core” games. But one thing gamers have generally resisted is games that play themselves – which is why the “AI makes music for you” model is so screwed up. (The exception perhaps proves the rule – some mobile games now leverage the data on your usage to essentially squeeze money out of you, leaving the user doing little. Most everyone hates this, and even Apple and Google have had to intervene by changing the underlying business model.)

So back to multiplayer music – Korg GADGET doesn’t take out any of the fundamental work of music production in any other tool. What’s fun about it is making mistakes, screwing up together with other people. And even though theoretically someday this could work online, you can also see in the video that there’s something invaluable about being in the same room together with friends.

I personally think as music production does reach further and further around the world, it’s less and less likely you’ll need to connect online just to find someone else. But of course online multiplayer is there, too, when you want it – still with the large-scale visual feedback of splitscreen. It’s also not hard to imagine that soon the Twitch video streaming phenomenon will grow bigger in music, with some early first indications of crossover already.

Just look for installed base. The iPad is the assumed go-to for this sort of idea, and has its own jam-friendly Ableton Link protocol for just this use case. But iOS has limitations of its own, and it’s clear there are some different ideas possible even where you wouldn’t expect it, on Nintendo Switch.

I think there’s a lesson here for being creative with computing platforms, or even offering devices with video out – people do still own TVs and projectors.

Alternatively, print out this story, stick it in a file folder with your taxes, and tell your accountant that yes, you do need to deduct the cost of a Nintendo Switch. You’ve got just a few shopping days left until the end of the year if you want that to get taken off your tax bill for 2018.

You’re welcome. (Oh, you might want to redact this last bit. Guten Morgen, Finanzamt!)

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