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


Extreme dub delay, in the new Ninja Tune-Erica Zen Delay

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 18 Sep 2019 1:39 pm

We can talk a lot about engineering. But at some point, you pack vacuum tubes and DSP and chips together, and you get a delay that’s extreme enough to have Ninja Tune and Coldcut printed on it.

Yes, meet the Zen Delay, a new unique stereo delay from Erica Synths, but carrying the Ninja Tune label on it. So, yeah, the record industry is now so bad, we’re making analog delays. Wait – that’s kind of awesome. Stereo delays are more fun to some of us than records, anyway.

Now, I’ve known about this thing for quite a while, so if it seems like I’m raving, I’m not getting that from the press release. Dr. Walker, the underground acid master from Germany, first clued me in to this project with Matt Black, Ninja and Coldcut co-founder. Ninja’s logo is on it, but it’s really both the baby of Ingmar and Matt – part Air Liquide, part Coldcut – with all the sound elements from Riga’s Erica.

The idea is pretty simple: make a stereo delay that you can dial from gentle stereo warmth and space all the way up to extreme dub and screaming overdrive.

Erica sent me a late-stage prototype to test, and I spent a lot of time with it. The trick here is really the combination of analog and digital ingredients:

Stereo delay. You get a precise, full-ranging stereo dub delay, with as little as 1ms all the way up to 5 seconds, and it’s syncable.

And thanks to being digital, you can choose what that delay is – tape, tape pingpong, “digital” (sounding more or less like your basic digital delay), or a special fifth mode. (On mine, that fifth mode was something called “crossover,” which wasn’t terribly useful. Now, it’s a vintage delay with some nice lo-fi touches, I’m told, but I haven’t yet gotten to test it, as it’s actively in development.

Multi-mode filter. There’s a 24dB filter with resonance, which you can use in lowpass, highpass, or bandpass modes.

Valves! Valve saturation and overdrive are what really complete the package – you’ll spot that lovely tube popping out of the top.

Tempo controls. There’s CV in, plus MIDI in, plus tap tempo, so you can use external time, free time in milliseonds, or tap in a tempo.

There’s also clock division, in “beat” mode (which wasn’t available yet on the firmware I first tested). Push and hold the TAP button, and the delay time knob becomes clock divider/multiplier – down to an eighth of the beat, and up to 8 times the beat. (This will actually increase the potential length of the delay up to 50 seconds, so I guess fast bathroom breaks are now possible onstage!)

High-quality digital engine. High-spec ADC and DAC combine with a 24-bit, 48k digital engine.

Stereo (1/4″) jack ins, stereo jack outs, MIDI in, CV in (on full-sized jack, not minijack), plus 12V power.

So in other words, you get the precision and precise timing of the digital delay, plus the ability to choose different delay models in a single unit. But the overall impact is very, very dirty, when you want it to be – thanks to that analog overdrive. So when you want warmth or grime or total insanity, you can dial that in.

“Complete package” and “dialing” are also essential, because Erica have really leaned in to the heavy, vintage, metal feeling of the box. It’s 870 grams of metal here (almost two pounds), with one-knob-per control, and each knob is a big, smooth-feeling dial.

This is a box for your hands, not your feet – something that you do want to reach out and grab and adjust. That makes it ideal for studio and live production. I can absolutely see wanting this live.

Erica have been in this territory before, with their screaming Acidbox (based on the Polivoks filter, and sounding just as angry and Soviet), and the Fusionbox. The Acidbox is terrific, but it’s like having a giant bottle of hot sauce at the ready – it’s just this mental USSR-style filter. The Fusionbox is the nearer comparison, and it might still be the one you want, since it has flanger and ensemble stereo in addition to delay.

But make no mistake – as a dubby delay, the Zen Delay is just about perfect. Easy access to the Drive setting, the useful dubby delay modes, and that magical distortion make it something truly special. And it’s only something Erica could do – it combines their custom DSP, their lovely Latvian-made chips, and this analog into one box.

To anyone who says no one is “innovating,” maybe it’s just a misunderstanding of what musical innovation is. Erica’s creation here is a kind of new vintage. The starting point is some traditions, but constructed into something that you haven’t had before – which is basically what instrument design has always been about.

Pricing: pre-order at €499 + VAT, with the first 300 units with a limited edition Zen Delay t-shirt at a discounted €454 + VAT, from the Ninja Tune and Erica Synth websites.

Ships in December.

https://www.ericasynths.lv/shop/standalone-instruments-1/zen-delay/

Now, you may or may not have half a grand to spend on a delay that you won’t get until Christmas. But, if you do, this is clearly a nice way to go about it.

I’m editing some sounds and will post at the end of the day. But this short video with The Bug sums it up beautifully:

The press release claims this is the first effects unit to be produced by an electronic label, though I’m not entirely certain that’s correct. (Some CDM reader probably has a tiny label that ran off a few pedals, I’m guessing, before I jump out on a limb and go along with the claim!)

The post Extreme dub delay, in the new Ninja Tune-Erica Zen Delay appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

How focusing on one tool cured writers block, and made one sharp, chilly, ‘stoic’ EP

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Tue 17 Sep 2019 5:04 pm

Tools and technology are often described as obstacles. But sometimes focusing on a tool can refine musical process and composition – as main(void) reveals.

And yes, the goal here is, as always, to cure writers’ block and finish something that you feel really happy with. Let’s first hear the finished item, as it’s got the kind of deliciously calculated, precise electronics that first drew me to Europe. It feels chilly, but still sensual – foreplay for cyborgs, you know, putting the tech in techno:

Working musicians all have to balance different gigs. An emerging role for us is working out how to take day jobs in designing tools and sound design, and use that experience to help us make our creative musical experience better.

In the case of main(void), aka Jan Ola Korte, it meant parlaying his work in 2018 designing sounds for Native Instruments’ TRK-01 into honing his music making process. He writes:

When I was working on the sound design for Native Instruments TRK-01 in 2018, I saved a few presets to use in my own music. These sounds and patterns ended up becoming the foundation of Stoicism, my first solo EP that was released Aug 21 on Spatial Cues. I had a little bit of a writer’s block situation, so I tried to resolve it by working within very restrictive parameters. All five original tracks on Stoicism use TRK-01 as the only sound source, processed through a number of effect plug-ins. Limiting myself in this way created a nicely coherent sound palette. Since I only used TRK-01’s internal sequencers, I arranged the tracks via automation in Ableton Live, which switched up my routine in an inspiring way. In the end, this workflow not only resolved the writer’s block but led to my most comprehensive release so far.

The basic idea of TRK-01 is to do just that – it puts some focused modules dedicated to dance production in a single place. There’s a kick module, bass, sequencer, and effects – but it’s not preset territory, as each module has a number of different engines. That is, the clever twist here is removing cognitive overhead (by simplifying and integrating the interface), without limiting your creative choices (since there is still a full spectrum of very different sounds you can get out of each module).

Even with that being said, you still might not be certain how to turn this into a completed track. Now, each person will find a different pathway there, but seeing how Jan works – a bit like working with a studio mate – can often give you that “ah ha, I could actually learn from this” feeling.

Jan asked if he should do a full narrated look at his working method. Answer: aber ja.

By the way, of course this also means that by keeping this focused, adapting the release to a live gig is far easier. You’ll be able to catch main(void) live at Griessmuhle, alongside some very special DJ friends like DJ Pete, Alinka, and Qzen, plus some great names, in late October in Berlin.

More music:

Site: http://www.spatialcues.com/

Oh and yeah, go grab the music on Bandcamp! This is the them problem with promo pools, I see some huge names are playing these tracks out but they got the music for free.

The post How focusing on one tool cured writers block, and made one sharp, chilly, ‘stoic’ EP appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Gorgeous new music from Hainbach, like dreams above radio antennas

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Scene | Mon 16 Sep 2019 5:55 pm

Hainbach may be known to most as the YouTuber with a bespectacled gaze, talking to you about weird old sound gear. But his ambient music is absolutely beguiling.

Gestures, his new LP this month, is a gauzy, sensitive reverie, as ghosts of piano loops slip between washes of delicate oscillator tones. Nothing is overthought or precious; there’s a gentle openness to each sound.

From the description:

Gestures is an album of disappearing and acceptance. The sense of loss is lifted by interweaving piano phrases, harmonized by fragile oscillators. Gentle movements above radio antennas guided the recording process, adding an incorporeal, dreamlike feel.

Cassettes are sold out, but vinyl is still available.

Digital is through today only name what you want, because the artist says he just wants it to be widely heard.

But maybe there’s the resonance between Hainbach’s art and his YouTube channel – he’s someone who is simply glad to welcome you into his home and share what he’s doing. So that transparency is there in his labor-of-love discussions of his tools, but also there in the easy intimacy of his mixes and compositions, too.

Here’s a new music jam from him, as well:

In art it is possible to create a sense of clarity that is difficult to attain in everyday life. That is a huge attraction to me. Here I am playing the Bellinger eKalimba and OP1 into the Ciat-Lonbarde Plumbutter, with Thyme generating lovely rhythms.

And in case you missed it, our last stop by Hainbach with our new MeeBlip geode:

https://seilrecords.bandcamp.com/album/gestures

The post Gorgeous new music from Hainbach, like dreams above radio antennas appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Let’s talk leftfield techno, with moody synth gems from Lars Hemmerling

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Fri 13 Sep 2019 1:09 pm

Known for his collaborations with Dasha Rush, Lars Hemmerling shows off on her Fullpanda label his full spectrum of synthesis and production chops. We spoke to him about how he works.

In turns as murky as a depressive overcast German day, as cosmic as a starfield, as brutal as some smelting action, Lars’ latest is all about electronic range and attention to detail. This isn’t any quick fix production – each track is obsessively focused and exquisitely unique. These synths sounds brood and groove, enveloped in wet, fuzzy reverbs, like so much electronic ooze.

You don some waders and head into a swamp of sound in Lars’ work, in a pleasant way. But that to me also comes from his approach to his machines, in finding their organic, particular character. So I wanted to speak with him a bit about how he has found that direction.

Lars is a Berlin native and has been active since the early 90s raves of Rüdersdorf, but you may know him from LADA, his live duo with Dasha Rush. Dasha helms Fullpanda as a trove of underground techno-related (or at least techno-adjacent) fantasies. But Lars has also been active on DOCK records, a good home for ambient-to-leftfield-techno offerings he co-manages. And speaking of things only the in-the-know know, his under-the-radar duo with twin brother Gunnar has also cranked out unique productions. Gunnar takes on a fascination with vintage digital to match Lars’ digital analog proclivities, as Gunnar collects old chip machines like the Commodore and its SID. (Listening at bottom.)

PK: Can you tell us about your approach to instrumentation, and how you assemble these track?

LH: Well, I used different sequencers and synths, but only hardware and no software instruments. I only used some software plug-ins from Eventide, Sonible and Waves in my DAW for the pre-master mix. Usually I record multitrack sessions with some additional overdub recordings. I also reroute synth lines out of the DAW to do a separate FX mix.

The first recorded FX tracks are mostly a blueprint of the sound character of the piece I am working on. This gives me the ability to work more subtle with EFX.

Gear, track by track

A1. “Bless”:

  • Kick: Elektron Analog Rytm
  • Synths: Yamaha TX802 (which I feed with my self-programmed sound bank from my DX7)
  • Sequencing: Elektron Octatrack
  • Pad sounds I played live

A2. “Releasing Strains”:

  • Drums: Analog Rytm
  • Synth: Behringer Model D (yes, and I am not afraid to say it)
  • Sequencing: polyrhythmic multi-sequencing (filter, pitch, amp etc..) by Wintermodular Eloquencer [Eurorack module]

The Rest is just FX modulation. There was another synth line of my Arp Odyssey, but I took it off.

B1. “Lars Wars”:

  • Drums: Analog Rytm
  • Synths (yes) Behringer Model D again and my Arp Odyssey
  • Sequencing: both Model D and Odyssey sequenced by the Eloquencer.

B2. “Artarpet”:

Here I did not use any sequencer (no MIDI or trigger gate), but instead VCA-Level on the Model D and Arp Odyssey FM, and LFO modulation, with pad sounds on the DX7 live. Surprisingly, the recording went so well that I didn’t need any EQ-ing in my DAW or any pre-master ambitions.

“Running away from myself” (Digital Bonus Track):

Analog Rytm and two Dave Smith Instruments Evolvers. [DSI is now again Sequential]

PK: I know this just because I’ve watched over my shoulder as you mixed my album, and because I know you resist going to plug-in crazy with anything else. You’re still making a lot of use of the Eventide stuff in finishing the album, yes?

LH: Yes. I truly love Eventide! I use the hardware like the Space Reverb and the Time Faktor Delay a lot, and as well the software plug-ins. Mostly I use the Blackhole, H3000 (Band Delays and Factory), and the Omnipressor on the stems of a recording. Eventide just works for me, and it will not change probably to the end of my days. They’re workflow-friendly and creative tools, from my perception. If you work with Eventide, you can feel and see that the engineers and developers are crazy, sound-dedicated freaks like you are. Or even more freaky.

[Ed.-That was not a paid placement in any way. I can vouch for this because every time I ask if Lars has seen a new processing plug-in, he reminds me that he’s perfectly satisfied with the Eventide stuff and tells me the importance of really learning to use one set of tools. -PK]

Can you talk about what inspired this release?

During the production process, I was going through a very difficult time, and I was in a very unstable situation from an emotional perspective. And some tracks were produced under very weird circumstances, as well. I am not getting into details here, because it would be too private.

Many people say that I’, a very kind soul. And at this time, it felt like that my soul was bleeding.

So, the entire EP is truly an imprint of my soul at those times. A valve of emotions. That’s why I called it “Bloody&Soul”. And of course, I liked the word game.

Thanks, Lars. I certainly hear that need to have this valve for our hurting souls – and have a listen, readers, as the results are beautiful and may heal your bleeding spirit, too.

One more wonderful cut from an upcoming VA:

Check this terrific DOCK compilation, including Lars’ work (as “out there”), or also ambient rounds Vol.0:

Lars’ first EP outing with Fullpanda is also essential, with a Space Bolero for you cosmonauts to dance to at your space station’s cantina social:

For a bit of Lars&Gunnar together, check:

More:

https://fullpandarecords.bandcamp.com/album/bloody-soul

The post Let’s talk leftfield techno, with moody synth gems from Lars Hemmerling appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

macOS Catalina will be incompatible with much of your music software; here’s what to know

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 11 Sep 2019 11:36 am

macOS Catalina, the next Mac release, dramatically tightens security and removes 32-bit compatibility. That will cause incompatibilities with music software, requiring updates. Here’s what you need to know.

Catalina compatibility checklist

macOS Catalina (10.15) is expected to ship in October, replacing Mojave (10.14).

What’s impacted:

DAWs and other software using plug-ins: Requires updates to work.

Drivers: Installation and operation requires update to work.

32-bit software, software that accesses 32-bit libraries: Incompatible. Cannot be used past macOS Mojave.

Software using legacy video libraries: Incompatible. Cannot be used past macOS Mojave.

Plug-ins: May require update for full compatibility – but may run inside updated DAWs, and will install if the user overrides OS’ installer requirements.

Hardware: If a driver is required for operation, you’ll need an updated driver and installer. Driverless (class-compliant) audio and MIDI gear is unaffected.

Tightened Mac security

It’s worth acknowledging that security concerns are justified, even for consumer operating systems. Malware tools targeting users may be designed to exploit your computer’s resources, steal data, and impersonate you or even steal your money. At best, they can at least make your system unstable.

It’s also not just “a Windows thing”; recent attacks have singled out the Mac, too. For instance, security researchers uncovered an insidious piece of code found in downloads from a piracy website called VST Crack, embedded in pirated versions of software including Ableton Live. The software would embed itself on your system and start mining cryptocurrency. These threats do not impact the legitimate copies of the same software, so yes, this is an added risk when you pirate software.

All OS vendors regularly patch security holes; the approach in macOS Catalina (10.15) is more proactive. Apple are making some changes to the way the OS itself notifies you of activity by software and asks for your approval, a bit more like you had seen previously in iOS or Android. They’re also implementing tougher defaults for installers. And since malware works by running additional code on top of other code or memory, Apple are adding protections against running that code.

The issue here is not that these changes are unwarranted or even entirely unexpected, but that they bring a lot of change at once that will require you to update software – especially music software – in order for it to work properly, or at all.

Let’s look at those two changes separately: one is the change for installers (called “notarization”), and the second is a new set of requirements for how software is granted access to vital information (the “hardened runtime”).

The two requirements are related, because Apple won’t approve installers unless they also comply with the hardened runtime standards. So let’s take a look at the hardened runtime and entitlement permissions first.

Entitlements and the hardened runtime

Let’s recall here how malware works: it runs additional code that you didn’t intend to run, then gives that code access to something vital on your system (like your data, or microphone). So obviously, what Apple is doing is attempting to prevent those two things.

The first thing you’ll notice on macOS Catalina is that the Mac starts asking you for permission a lot more often. So now, the first time you print a score from notation software or try to open a file dialog to browse the desktop, you’ll get a pop-up asking if you really want to do that. That’s a bit annoying, but it’ll only happen once, and then will remember your permissions. And the reason it’s there is, of course, malware might otherwise perform the same task without your consent. You’re already familiar with this behavior from phone apps on Android and iOS; this is effectively the same idea, now on your desktop computer.

With a common, monolithic app, providing these permissions (called “entitlements”) is fairly easy. But music software isn’t monolithic. Your DAW is running all sorts of libraries and plug-ins and so on. Unfortunately, the exploits Apple is targeting in malware – “code injection, dynamically linked library (DLL) hijacking, and process memory space tampering” – also look a lot like the behaviors your DAW performs normally. And your DAW also needs to handle entitlements for plug-ins. In addition to the DAW needing your permission to access certain folders, for example, it also needs to ask your permission if a sample instrument like KONTAKT wants to access files, as well.

Here’s the bit you’ll really need to care about – if you’re upgrade to macOS Catalina, you will need to be prepared to upgrade your DAW, too. Providing this compatibility is complicated, so it’s likely that most developers will be able to support only their latest release – meaning you may require a paid update to that first.

The good news is, theoretically this burden falls on the DAW, not individual plug-ins. (Plug-ins may still require an update, because of the removal of 32-bit code and other portions of the OS required for compatibility, and because of new installer requirements.) But you will need to update any software working with plug-ins, or you may find software won’t run properly or will fail to run altogether.

It’s also likely that even with updates, some software will not work properly immediately after Catalina’s launch. Developers are still learning how to use this new feature of the operating system, and Apple’s frequent OS updates mean they have little time to do so. Also, an additional side effect of the new security requirements is to break the ability of plug-in developers to debug their plug-ins in DAWs, meaning testing is – for now – more difficult. That may slow compatibility and testing.

If you plan to use an older version of a DAW, you’ll want to avoid updating past macOS Mojave (10.14). If you do intend to update – or to buy a new Apple machine once Catalina is pre-installed and required by default – you should plan to use the very latest version of your DAW, and double-check that Catalina is supported. And even with listed Catalina support, expect there could still be some wrinkles immediately after the OS ships.

Once those pieces are in place, though, you will be able to use DAWs and plug-ins as you always have – just with some more pop-ups the first time you do something like access the file system or connect audio hardware.

(One illustration of how entitlements requirements might surprise you – someone on Reddit noticed the Live “computer keyboard” setting, which passes QWERTY keys to MIDI notes, suddenly broke in the Catalina beta. That makes sense; it would require the entitlements provided by the coming Live 10 update. And obviously, malware would love to be able to take your computer keyboard input and route it somewhere else without asking.)

Installer requirements and drivers

The other change in macOS Catalina is to require installers to be “notarized” by default (whereas previously it was a non-mandatory option). This means developers will submit installers to Apple for verification, and that they fulfill certain requirements for how those installers are built. (These requirements largely have to do with how they link against the Mac SDK and following new guidelines like the hardened runtime.)

Here’s what you see now, on macOS Mojave. (See Apple’s support article on these safety restrictions.) Catalina introduces new requirements for the “identified developer” section – that is, how they require developers to build their installers and verify them with Apple. But as in the current macOS, you’ll be able to control what you run in a similar fashion, even with tougher defaults.

This is not the same as the App Store approval requirements on iOS (or similar stores from Google and Microsoft). Apple aren’t looking at the software itself, only verifying the installer is built according to their standards. The process takes something like an hour currently, not days or weeks as the stores can. And most importantly, Apple will allow users to override the installer requirement. As with Gatekeeper in current versions of macOS, you’ll get a dialog telling the installer or app was blocked, but you’ll still be able to choose to run something anyway. (Right-click, choose open, and you’ll be given option.)

Notarization is the “Apple checked it for malicious software” bit. It’s available in the current macOS, but in 10.15 it’s required by default. That is, Apple developers not only register their ID, but also submit the software for a check with Apple, too.

Apple developer documentation on the notarization feature:
Notarizing Your App Before Distribution

Unverified plug-ins may also continue to work inside DAWs – depending on the DAW you’re using. This means in theory, you’ll be able to install and attempt to use plug-ins, even if they haven’t been updated for Catalina. You would need to override plug-in notarization requirements for the installation from dmg (Disk Image) files, but once a file was installed, a DAW may be able to support it, theoretically. Your mileage may vary when it comes to actual use, however; the advantage of the installer requirement may be that it gives a clue that a developer has tested on Catalina.

PreSonus has just announced for their Studio One DAW that not only will you need to update Studio One itself, but many plug-ins will also need an update. In their case, plug-ins built before June 1, 2019 will still need to be signed (the earlier method of verification for Apple developers). Plug-ins built after that date will need to fulfill Catalina’s tougher requirements – notarization and the hardened runtime.

Drivers for hardware will hit a hard wall. Unverified drivers will not function on the new OS. This means if you have older hardware that doesn’t have updated drivers and installer, you won’t be able to use it. There’s no ability to override this requirement.

Here’s what happens if you try to use a plug-in in PreSonus Studio One if the developer has not fulfilled Apple’s security verification requirements for the software. You’ll need to acquire updates for all of your plug-ins, accordingly.

End of the road for 32-bit and legacy libraries

Just as significant as the security changes, Apple is ending support for 32-bit code starting with Catalina. This is a hard barrier – you won’t be able to use “bridge” tools for 32-bit plug-in compatibility, for instance. Any 32-bit app, library, or plug-in will simply refuse to run.

It may not be immediately obvious that software makes use of 32-bit code, either. A 64-bit application may still make use of a 32-bit library. For instance, Ableton tell CDM that they found their previous versions of Live would attempt to call a 32-bit library on startup. These apps may not fail gracefully; they may simply crash. This means even if you’re using a 64-bit and 64-bit plug-ins, you will want to verify compatibility with the vendor before upgrading.

If you have 32-bit plug-ins or older software you rely on, you will likely want to stay on macOS Mojave. Once you upgrade, this software will cease to work. This may also mean you want to retain an older Mac running Mojave or earlier, for backwards compatibility.

Apple has also ended long-deprecated libraries, including the older video library (called QTKit).

Case study: Ableton Live

Ableton provided CDM with access to their compatibility process. An update to Live 10 will support Catalina’s new requirements at launch. This involved a series of changes, which may be typical for DAW developers. In Ableton’s case, it meant the following updates:

·         Rebuilding the installer with notarization support and its requirements

·         Removing all 32-bit code and libraries (including one 32-bit library that will cause previous versions of Live to crash on launch)

·         Providing full compatibility with Max

·         Transitioning video code to the latest AVFoundation (from a now-unsupported version of QuickTime)

The move to AVFoundation is good news for anyone working with video – even if you use an older macOS version like Mojave. There’s improved video export performance and new codec options.

Ableton also say you should expect that these updates mean you can use Live with existing plug-ins under Catalina. Based on what plug-in developers tell me, though, you should still anticipate there may still be some issues to resolve with individual plug-ins if you upgarde, and DAW developers like Ableton may not be aware of all of these situations on internal testing alone.

Because of the number of changes to be made, Live 9 will not support Catalina. Conversely, as Apple deprecates older OSes, Live 10 won’t support some of the older versions of macOS. Here’s what will be compatible:

Live 9: macOS 10.7 – 10.13 officially supported; 10.14 unofficially supported

Live 10: macOS 10.11 – 10.15 supported (macOS 10.15 requires the Live 10.1.2 update for Catalina, minimum)

Ableton have also published a technical note. The headline is about Live 9, but it also includes useful resources for Live 10 users:

Live 9 is not compatible with macOS 10.15 Catalina

Compatibility with other software

Many developers CDM contacted were not yet ready to make an official statement on Catalina. Off the record, a significant number of developers reported problems.

Native Instruments published a blanket statement saying simply none of their products are compatible:

macOS 10.15 (Catalina) – Compatibility with Native Instruments Products

PreSonus has published a technical note explaining that you’ll need not only an update to their Studio One DAW, but also to most (or all) of your plug-ins, as illustrated above:

Studio One 4 on Mojave and Catalina – Notarization, Hardened Runtime, and how it affects 3rd-party plug-ins

Apple has not necessarily had full support for a new OS even for its own pro software; I’ve contacted Apple to ask if Logic Pro will support Catalina at launch but have not yet gotten a response. (There is a precedent of Apple’s own pro apps sometimes lagging their OS, before you make the assumption that they two will be in sync.)

How should you upgrade, and when?

Here’s a simple piece of advice: don’t update to Catalina immediately. As with any major OS change, music installers, drivers, and DAWs will benefit from more time and testing. Since musicians have complex and diverse setups, odds are you rely on something that won’t be immediately compatible, or that interactions between tools could create unexpected results.

If you do update, you should absolutely make a full backup so you can easily roll back. Time Machine backups can also provide some ability to remove OS updates.

You can also create an external installation of the OS on any drive that is formatted to macOS extended Journaled. It’s probably worth buying an inexpensive drive to test first, especially with an update this significant.

If you’re a developer and want to share your compatibility information, please get in touch.

https://www.apple.com/macos/catalina/

The post macOS Catalina will be incompatible with much of your music software; here’s what to know appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Erica’s Black System II is a full-featured modular

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Mon 9 Sep 2019 6:41 pm

Erica Synths have made a strength out of building a full catalog of modules – and their systems show off how complete that is, at a price that compares favorably.

The Black System is probably the most practical of these rigs, with a versatile selection that can cover a range of experimental or dance genres. (The Techno System I reviewed earlier tends more to the industrial techno sounds, indeed, focused on drums and biting synth sounds; the Dada Noise System for Liquid Sky was more to acquired tastes.)

The Black System II really is a reasonable buy, at least by Eurorack standards – that 2900EUR is nothing to sneeze at for musicians, but it could well save versus a bespoke modular system. And it’s also notable that it’s still less than some flagship keyboard instruments, with arguably a much deeper potential for exploration. (Well, depending on what you want – I mean, if I did have a magic fairy to make something appear, I would probably wish for this over some of those keyboards.)

But even if you never buy one of these Erica systems, I think it’s still a significant exercise for the company. Recall that the likes of Buchla, EMS, Roland, and Moog – not to mention later lower-cost options like PAiA and eventually Doepfer – all built complete systems.

Now, it’s marvelous that we have a marketplace in Eurorack of weird one-off modules or idiosyncratic grab bags of gear from small makers. But even if you plan to mix and match, it’s useful to have a module that came from a bigger picture. It adds to the value of assembling your own custom rig, that is, if you can add some modules that still had a pre-conceived idea of how they’d fit into a complete instrument, even if you then change what that complete instrument is.

And this particular lineup really is rather nice, from the joystick controller (also on the Dada Noise), to the Soviet-inspired Polivoks filter, to a stereo delay:

Black Wavetable VCO
Black VCO
Black Modulator
Black Mixer
Black Multimode VCF
Black Polivoks VCF
Black Quad VCA
Black Output
Black MIDI-CV
Black CV Tools
Black XFade
Black Dual EG/LFO
Black Octasource
Black EG
Black Stereo Delay
Black Joystick
2x84HP skiff case

There’s really all the basics you need for integrating MIDI and working with CV, shaping sounds, and mixing and output. Plus unique to this particular range, you can choose different flavors in different patches – both wavetable and simple analog VCO, both multimode and Polivoks filter, and so on.

Just remember, if this is too rich for your blood, you can also get the Polivoks System for 1400EUR or the adorable tiny Pico System II for 1120EUR. The latter you can even carry along with you on Ryanair for the truly cash-starved modular artist.

Check it out here:

https://www.ericasynths.lv/shop/eurorack-systems/black-system-ii/

And see our CDM review of the Techno System:

The post Erica’s Black System II is a full-featured modular appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

KORG are making Pokémon metronomes and tuners

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Sun 8 Sep 2019 11:30 pm

If there was any doubt that KORG wants to be the Nintendo of music brands, here’s yet another partnership with the iconic game maker – but it’s sadly only skin deep.

Yes, it’s true, you get insanely cute Pokémon metronomes and clip-on pitch tuners. But there’s a missed opportunity here – whereas Teenage Engineering recently made full-on Rick & Morty Pocket Operators, KORG are only changing the paint job on their hardware.

The mind reels at the possibilities. You could have a Tamagotchi-style creature on your metronome. Or you could use Pokémon Go-style real-world capture to find synths for KORG Gadget. (Hang around Kottbusser Tor, Berlin to snag a rare Eurorackosaur; get a Prophetee 5 in Berkeley, California.)

Okay, I guess this may not help you with violin practice. (Maybe some gamification element to music learning?)

The point is, KORG continue to play on their relationship with gaming. So even if it’s just a cute tuner or metronome for kids, I think they’ve been very clever continuing to associate fun with their music tech. And fun is supposed to be part of the point, right?

The tuners (Pitchclip 2)

The metronome (MA-2-PK/EV)

The post KORG are making Pokémon metronomes and tuners appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Revisit the 90s Roland MC grooveboxes with these cringe-worthy videos

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Fri 6 Sep 2019 4:01 pm

90s techno is back, 90s trance is back, 90s Roland is … back. With Roland releasing MC series grooveboxes again, let’s flash back to the oddly entertaining demo videos they produced for the 90s models.

Whatever Roland did to differentiate the MC hardware models, they sure did differentiate the videos – using an oddball selection of a fairly solid if nerdy sound designer for the MC-303, a painful pushy artist sales pitch on the MC-505, and a totally awkward host for the SP-808. (I’ll through in the SP while we’re at it; it was still a related product.)

Roland being Roland, there are some amusing similarities between this week’s MC-101 and MC-707 and its late 90s counterparts, down to certain elements of the synth architecture.

But that said, this is also a reminder that nothing has been nearly as wacky as the MC-505, apart from perhaps the MC-808 with its motorized faders. The 505 is a grab box of features, smashed together with a front panel that looks like an overstuffed 80s boombox.

So the demo video here is somehow appropriate – the 505 was as over-the-top as the dance music scene around it when it launched, and contains a veritable museum of all the wildest sounds of the era with almost jukebox-like access to everything.

And in perhaps the most cringe-worthy moment in all of music product video demos, ever (which is saying a lot), there is the infamous appearance of the “rasta man” out of nowhere in the middle of the product video.

Let’s watch.

I definitely need to do some bluescreen work. The visuals in the 303 video may be the best part.

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KORG NTS-1 is here: A pocket ‘logue voice as $99 DIY kit

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Wed 4 Sep 2019 2:21 pm

KORG is kicking off a new product line – the DIY-focused Nu:Tekt – with a $99 screw-together instrument. And it has the same programmable guts as you find in the prologue and minilogue xd, complete with SDK.

The Nu:Tekt NTS-1 is funny to describe, in that it represents different things to different people. For the very few of you who are actually audio programmers, it’s something special … but it might also be of interest if you just want an inexpensive sound toy or particularly like operating a screwdriver. Let’s break it down.

If you just really love using screwdrivers: Yes, this is a kit. There’s no soldering involved, if you need the smell of hot solder flux more than the calming grip of a Philips head.

But if you do enjoy a bit of assembly, you do get the NTS-1 in pieces you screw together. If you love screwdrivers but also have … misplaced all of them (I feel you), there’s even one in the box.

If you want an amazing pocket instrument for $99: Holy crap. The NTS-1 is very possibly the most synthesizer per dollar I’ve seen. KORG actually don’t even really describe how powerful this is in the press release, sheepishly saying it’s “inspired by the MULTI engine” on the prologue and minilogue xd.

So, you have something that’s small and has some onboard jamming features, like a KORG volca, but with the audio depth of their flagship instruments. And it’s even cheaper than a volca – even if you’re the one doing some of the final assembly, and the case and fit and finish are a bit more ‘rustic.’

It actually is the guts of the ‘logue voice. See the developer section below; the NTS-1 retains compatibility with the prologue and minilogue xd.

So that means you get the single oscillator from the ‘logues, plus a multimode filter, a single envelope generator, three (!) LFOs, and three (!) effects processors – reverb, delay, modulation.

You can play that, volca style, using an onboard arpeggiator. Or you can connect MIDI input. Or there’s an audio input, too, making this a very handy pocket-sized effects units for other gear.

For those of us who love collecting little sound boxes, like the Pocket Operators, volcas, Twisted Electrons, and our own MeeBlip, I can see the NTS-1 doing double-duty as an effects box and extra sound source. Life is getting pretty darned good for us – you can literally put together a full studio of gear for the price of one high-end Eurorack module, you know.

That’s already worth a hundred bucks, but the really interesting bit is that the NTS-1 is supported by the ‘logue SDK. This means you’ll be able to load custom effects and oscillators onto it, almost app style.

There are 16 custom user slots for loading your own oscillators, plus 16 slots for custom modulation effects, 8 reverb effects slots, and 8 delay effects slots.

That’ll be fun even if you aren’t a developer. As a non-coder, you probably don’t want to mess around with GitHub and the SDK, but KORG is planning a librarian and custom content page you’ll be able to use on the Web. which will eventually be here:

https://www.korg.com/products/synthesizers/nts_1/librarian_contents.php

And if you are a developer, well –

If you’re a developer: This just solved two problems for you in getting into KORG’s SDK for the ‘logues. First, it makes your price of entry way cheaper. (And even developers I know who own the keyboards are considering buying this, too, because it looks like fun.)

Second, if the NTS-1 takes off, the installed base of people who can make use of your creations also expanded.

The SDK here supports both custom oscillators and custom effects, as with the full-fledged keyboards. Check out the dedicated SDK page:

https://www.korg.com/us/products/dj/nts_1/sdk.php

Full details:

  • Ribbon keyboard
  • 1 digital oscillator, 1 multimode filter, 1 EG, 3 LFOs
  • Multiple effects: Mod (chorus, ensemble, phaser, flanger), delay, reverb
  • Minijack audio in and out
  • Minijack MIDI in jack
  • USB port (definitely necessary for loading custom programs, but I think also supports USB MIDI – I’ll check)
  • Runs on USB bus power (< 500 mA)
  • 129 mm x 78 mm x 39 mm / 5.08” x 3.07” x 1.54”
  • 124 g / 4.37 oz
  • USB cable, manual, and screwdriver in the box

The NTS-1 ships in November. I’ll definitely try to get one. US$99.

https://www.korg.com/us/products/dj/nts_1/index.php

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Hydrasynth is a no-compromise polysynth, and a key Akai, Arturia alum designer was involved

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Tue 3 Sep 2019 7:09 pm

It calls itself a “dream synth” for sound designers and performers alike. It’s got polyphonic aftertouch. And it signals a return of the designer of the Arturia ‘Brutes and Akai APC40.

Today is the first time I think most of us have heard of Ahun Sound Machines. Evidently, it’s a new synthesizer brand backed by Hong Kong-based Medeli Electronics Co. If you were watching Glen Darcey’s LinkedIn, you might have noticed that Medeli was where he left after departing an epic run at Arturia.

Who’s Glen? Well, you might or might not know him from CDM and YouTube, but you definitely know the products he worked on. At Akai, he led design of the MPC5000 and software/hardware MPCs, the APC40 (in collaboration with Ableton), the MPK keyboards (a couple of which get used way more than I might ever have expected around my studio here), and the somewhat unsung MAX49, which got a patent and heralded the CV control of products to come.

At Arturia, there were iPad apps, V-Collection instruments, and crucially the ‘Brute line of synths (through the MicroFreak) and BeatStep Pro.

Product design is always a team effort. But Glen did lead the way in tapping into some key trends – in particular, how digital controllers (like the BeatStep Pro) might thrive in a reinvigorated age of analog. The module I mentioned yesterday, the MOK WAVERAZOR, has MIDI minijacks on it for a reason – it can easily connect to the BeatStep Pro, which has become oddly ubiquitous as an inexpensive add-on to so many Eurorack rigs.

The Hydrasynth is more in line with the MatrixBrute – it’s a no holds-barred keyboard synth chock full of wish fulfillment. Think deep sound creation engine meets extensive live performance controls.

And while a few other recent polysynths have nodded in this direction, it’s also something else – a futuristic keyboard, in a landscape that at the moment remains dominated by retro features.

On the performance side:

There’s a four-octave ribbon controller. (Shades of Kurzweil, even?) There’s the polyphonic aftertouch I know many of you have been clamouring for on forums. There are pitch and mod wheels – but ones that seem designed by people who like wheels. There are a ton of fabulous knobs. And there are little colored pads… because I guess we need them.

(By the way, if you just want the sound side and not the keyboard, there’s also a desktop version.)

On the sound side

…you get 3 oscillators with “advanced wavetable synthesis.” (That’s way better than “primitive wavetable synthesis.” Oh, wait… actually, I like that, too; I sort of run a business on it. But yes, advanced.)

219 single cycle waveforms can be morphed from one into the next, or stacked (via what they call Wavestack – a kind of swarming engine), with some intriguing takes on pulse width and slicing and harmonic sweeping, in addition to the usual hard sync and so on. If that sounds familiar, yes, the module I wrote up yesterday has some parallel ideas. Clearly, the epoch of wavetable and polysynth is upon us.

You also get elaborate filter and mixing options, with two filters that sweep SEM-style between modes.

And then of course there’s tons of arpeggiation and modulation and mod matrix and envelope control and the rest. In some unique twists, you also get 5 low frequency oscillators and mini step sequencers, so you can create some sophisticated rhythmic morphing sounds.

It all seems very cool. If there were still a print Keyboard Magazine, I would love to read (write?) a cover story of this, with Herbie Hancock at the keys, smiling. Ah, those days.

SonicState were also given a look at this:

And Loopop are out with a review:

Check the product site, which inexplicably tells us “digital is the new analog.” I … guess they’re being ironic?

The post Hydrasynth is a no-compromise polysynth, and a key Akai, Arturia alum designer was involved appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Clubnacht sounds: heavy techno from Jessica Kert,

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Fri 30 Aug 2019 5:24 pm

Let’s transport you to Berlin for a while – with three of us who share interests in techno and experimental electronic music, drawn from broader music and technological background.

I’m fortunate to get to join Jessica Kert, Lana Lain, and SDX tonight at Berlin’s Suicide Club. I’ve been a fan of Jessica’s music ever since first giving it a deep listening on her Detroit Underground outing. And as Jessica is deep into technology, it’s also worth noting that Lana Lain’s backround in techno is drawn from classical education. I think the days when there was a line drawn between such things are over. (That also means, in turn, erasing the attitude toward dance music as being a lesser form of expression, which speaking as an American to me suggests some fairly racist overtones.)

But let’s skip directly to the music. I’ve also got a new mix out this week, revealing some of the heavier sounds I’ve been into.

Jessica Kert (pictured at work, top) is a familiar face as one of the experts staffing Schneidersladen, but you should know her music as well – both solo and as half of the duo ZV_K.

Her outing on Detroit Underground DW is a modular magnum opus and one of my favorite DU releases of late:

But she’s also an adept live performance improviser – which will be on showcase tonight.

Check out her mix, too:

She’ll be joined on live visuals by defasten, who has been up to some superb alien eye candy, produced with software (modular, of sorts) Notch:

Lana Lain was born in Russian Karelia, but established herself in Stockholm before recently moving to Berlin. She’s been hyperactive in the music scene, including building her ФОМО party series (and accompanying radio show on the UK’s Fnoob Techno Radio. That has carved a space in Sweden for international art friendly to gay, queer, and fetish culture. I hope to talk to her more about that network soon, but in the meantime, here’s the terrific techno mix she did recently for Fast Forward:

I’ll also share a new mix of my own, channeling some harder, driving sets and favorites – and digging through this, I’m encouraged by how the darker, weirder sides of electronic music have gotten some real popularity in techno. These artists aren’t fringe any more, at least getting a growing following around the rich networks of fans in parties in Europe and abroad.

ˈYO͞ONƏˌSEKS is the new podcast and party series from ANRI, the Yokohama-born, prolific producer, DJ, and party organizer. Her work got her deep into Tokyo’s underground, before bringing that sensibility to Berlin, where she’s served as a bridge between the techno communities in Japan and Germany. So it’s a pleasure to reflect a bit of what I’ve gotten to experience from her circle into my own response:

Track listing – go find those folks and labels on Bandcamp or your favorite store (like Rotterdam’s Mord, who I didn’t repeat her intentionally, but whose Bandcamp page is well worth a splurge):

  1. Pris – Ad Infinitum [Avian]
  2. Donato Dozzy – Parola featuring Anna Caragnano (Rework) [Spazio Disponibile]
  3. Judas – ID 14 [Arts]
  4. Th;en – Modular (Mike Vath & Robin Hirte Remix) [Tabula Recordings]
  5. Sawlin – Oblique [Arts]
  6. Ansome – Bearded Lady (JoeFarr Remix) [Them Recordings]
  7. Blawan – 993 [Nutrition]
  8. Oscar Mulero – Texture (Cassegrain Remix) [Warm Up Recordings]
  9. Rebekah – Code Black (Slam Remix) [Soma Records]
  10. Ethan Fawkes – Barricades Did Not Burn [Corresponding Positions]
  11. Fjaak – Drugs [Seilscheibenpfeiler Schallplatten Berlin]
  12. Dave Tarrida – Bound To You [Mona Records]
  13. Albert Van Abbe – In Rotterdam [Mord]
  14. Uun – Destruction of Heaven and Earth [Mord]
  15. YYYY – Repent [Weekend Circuit]
  16. Scalameriya – Crucible [Perc Trax]
  17. Thomas P. Heckmann – Bodywrap [Monnom Black]
  18. Paula Temple, Fever Ray – This Country (Paula Temple’s INSTRUMENTAL Version) [Rabid Records / Co-op]
  19. La Fraicheur – Eaux troubles (VTSS Remix) [InFine]
  20. Hiro Ikezawa – Spiral Arm [Murasame Industrial Records]
  21. Ket Robinson – The Fear (Mab Remix) [Taro Records]
  22. A001 – Cyprido [Mord]
  23. Nicolas Bougaïeff – Cognitive Resonance [novamute]
  24. Air Liquide – Semwave [Blue]
  25. Sleeparchive – Wood [Tresor Records]

Enjoy!

And if you’re in Berlin and want to stop by and say hi, that’ll be here, by Warschauer Str S-Bahn:

https://www.residentadvisor.net/events/1299870

https://web.facebook.com/events/2411618512416477/

More on music and visual artists from – well, this week, even, as Atonal is also on – very soon. Now excuse me; I may squeeze in a disco nap.

The post Clubnacht sounds: heavy techno from Jessica Kert, appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Bob Moog plus Moog imposters on a 70s game show is one of the best things ever

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Thu 29 Aug 2019 1:26 pm

Will the real Dr. Robert Moog please stand up? Early 70s panelists on the game show “To Tell The Truth” were stumped by an imposter.

It’s just – gold. I have no idea how we’re only seeing this now. There’s so much here.

You can hear people continue to mispronounce Moog even after hearing it a few dozen times, including pronounced by the man itself.

The imposters look and sound straight out of central casting (even the attorney), and the ones who are not Robert Moog are surprisingly adept at ad libbing answers.

Dan Lavery from Dymo Industries, one of the fake Bobs, may have been in the label/embosser market — but clearly if he were alive today, would be running a Eurorack business in his spare time. The guy is so uncannily good at being Bob you half expect him to try to go work for Moog following this panel and not to return to his normal life! Watch him grin ear to ear at what he’s pulled off.

Probably Bob misses out just because of his mild-mannered humility when answering.

At the end, Bob demonstrates the Minimoog. Listen to whoops of delight when he moves that filter, coming from legendary actor Peggy Cass. (“It sounds like the ocean” is also perfectly apt for shaped white noise.) The magic worked then just as it does now.

I also like the notion from Bob that what defines the term synthesizer is putting together sound from component parts. (I am simultaneously comforted that like the rest of us, he stumbles on explaining what an oscillator is in lay terms. I mean, it’s the thing that makes this sound.)

So, this blog business – sometimes you get scooped. And Synthtopia wins this round:

I think I owe Synthtopia a brand new Whirlpool washing machine for acing the best YouTube share of the year, while i take home a tennis racket bag this round. But it’s terrific.

E-I-E-I-MOOOG.

Now, can we figure out a way to get Laurie Spiegel on Jeopardy?

The post Bob Moog plus Moog imposters on a 70s game show is one of the best things ever appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Reverb are giving away their complete $841.58 drum machine sample collection, free

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Tue 27 Aug 2019 1:15 pm

Maybe they’re feeling generous after getting bought by Etsy for $275 million. But whatever the reason, now you can have some 50 libraries of classic drum machine samples, for free, from Reverb.com.

Rare, popular, iconic, forgotten – it’s the full gamut, from Suzuki RPM-40 and Hammond Auto-Vari 64 to, you know, 909.

I would say this would hurt some other sample library providers, but frankly there’s a ton of stuff in there that I just have never seen sampled, so it’s more like – get ready for some tyranny of choice in your next drum kit assembly.

No idea how long this is going, so worth grabbing now:

https://reverb.com/software/samples-and-loops/reverb/3514-reverb-drum-machines-the-complete-collection

The post Reverb are giving away their complete $841.58 drum machine sample collection, free appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

The new Renoise stretches samples, scales UIs, shapes curves, more

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Tue 27 Aug 2019 12:53 pm

Renoise, the gorgeous, obsessive production tool that makes the tracker modern, gets a point release with some very good stuff. High res UIs, custom envelopes, native time stretching – and yeah, it’s a host and a plug-in, too.

It’s fitting somehow that Renoise 3.2 and its plug-in version come on the heels of Reason 11 and its Reason Rack Plugin. Renoise had the same idea – Redux is the plug-in version of the production tool, reimagined in this case as a self-contained instrument. That means you can drop Redux (Renoise) into Reason if you like the Reason workflow and patching. Or if you’ve ever wished you could take Reason’s excellent instruments and effects, but control them with the precision of a tracker interface, now you’ll be able to take Reason Rack Plugin instances and run it inside Renoise. Whoa.

Re re re re ….

But whether or not you get into that, Renoise is just… well, awesome. And 3.2 is a free update (alongside Redux 1.1) that adds a ton of major stuff that would probably be a full, paid, whole number version update from some other developers.

Let’s talk:

Custom GUI scaling options and full high density display support (HiDPI or what Apple calls Retina). No more blurry UIs.

Native time stretching of samples, with Rubberband in the sampler.

Detachable mixer.

Custom curves: custom exponential, per point scaling in all automation editors and the AHDSR modulation device. Because, really, trackers deserve curves now.

Audition sample editor selections with a MIDI keyboard or your computer keyboard.

In other words, you’ll now be able to work with samples and curves more fluidly, and you won’t have to squint at your display. And all of this runs in Mac, Windows, and Linux, plus 32-bit and 64-bit plugins for VST or AU (and Linux VST, too).

Full details:

https://forum.renoise.com/t/renoise-3-2-redux-1-1-released/58011

The post The new Renoise stretches samples, scales UIs, shapes curves, more appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Reason 11: tons of new devices, features, and now it’s a plug-in, too

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Mon 26 Aug 2019 12:20 pm

Reason 11 unveils a bunch of new stuff – and the company that brought you ReWire is finally lets you use Reason as a plug-in. Oh, also – that company is no longer “Propellerhead.”

This is the most news from the Props in a single day for a while, at least in my recent memory. Let’s do the run-down.

Reason 11 is coming, with some changes to how it’s delivered:

  • Reason 11 is in beta now, coming September 25.
  • Reason will come with a plug-in covering just instruments, effects, and sounds, called Reason Rack (VST3 in September, AU later this year).
  • There’s now a Suite version, which adds 16 of their own Rack Extensions (including one new addition).
  • New pricing – Reason Intro (€79), Reason (€349) and Reason Suite (€549).

Buried in the fine print, Suite gets you – Scenic Hybrid Instrument [new], Complex-1 Modular Synth, Umpf Club Drums, Umpf Retro Beats, Reason Electric Bass, Reason Drum Kits, Processed Pianos, Layers Wave Edition, Layers, Parsec Spectral Synthesizer, Radical Keys, Polar Dual Pitch Shifter, Rotor Rotary Speaker, PolyStep Sequencer, Quad Note Generator, Drum Sequencer.

To me, having the Buchla-inspired Complex-1 modular, the step sequencer and quad note generator, Drum Sequencer, and Parsec are enough for me to recommend Suite to enthusiast producers. Those are already to me the main reason to fire up Reason these days.

Reason 11’s availability as a plug-in is the feature that will get everyone’s attention in the new release, but there are a lot of improvements to functionality.

New features and devices:

  • There are a bunch of new devices: Chorus Ensemble, Sweeper Modulation, Master Bus Compressor, Channel Dynamics, and Channel EQ (the last three emulating landmark analog gear – and adapted from the existing mixer, but now possible to use in Combinator patches and the new plug-in)
  • Curved automation and audio clip crossfades (finally is definitely called for here)
  • Improved vertical zoom
  • New MIDI editing features (mute, multiple notes, selection enhancements)
  • Scenic Hybrid Instrument is a “cinematic dream machine.” It feels a little bit like a Swedish take on Omnisphere, with a fresh Nordic UI but – will check it out soon.

So, to translate there – Reason 11 gives you the ability to use another DAW, but it also gives you a bunch of reasons not to do that. Finally having curves and automation, plus rounding out the dynamics processing options, should make doing your track inside Reason way more fun.

What’s new in Reason 11

And lastly…

Propellerhead is dead. Long live Reason Studios. There’s no actual corporate change here, but there is a name change: the company we know as Propellerhead will now be Reason Studios. Plus, there’s a new logo, which reminds me of time spent playing Q*bert. Here, let me demonstrate:

Fun fact: I do all my measurements in units of lowercase ‘n.’

@!*?@! is something you’ll hear me say sometimes while working.

What’s it all mean?

So, fast take on this – all of this was a long time coming. And it’s great news for loyal Reason users.

The plug-in idea is a long time coming. ReWire was a clever idea, and it introduced at least some producers to the idea of combining different tools. It let you use Reason as a rack of instruments and effects in a DAW – and originally at a time when Reason’s own arrangement and audio facilities were limited. But ReWire hasn’t really survived as a technology, as operating systems advanced and security changes even make it untenable. (As far as I know, ReWire won’t even be possible in the imminent next version of macOS.)

Meanwhile, a plug-in does what you really need, by letting you keep your favorite instrument/effect racks inside software like Ableton Live. FL Studio already does this, so it’s not even uncharted territory, and those FL users seem really happy with it.

This also means that Reason’s excellent console tools and West Coast modular instrument are available in your DAW, which is a big deal – just to name two examples, among many. (I can’t wait to use the Complex-1 everywhere.)

The demise of Propellerhead as a name is a little bittersweet for all of us. The name Propellerhead was quirky, unique … “Reason” we’ve gotten used to, even if there was already a “Logic.” But sure, the logo looks overly 1990s, and there was always this Web domain problem of the company Propellerhead being at Propellerheads.se (plural).

And Propel– uh, Reason Studios – really has just one product. After unsuccessful efforts in hardware (an audio interface that never took off), plus Web and services (that effort was spun off as Alihoopa, then shuttered this year), the company is focusing on the one tool that never fails. That’s Reason, plus the flourishing ecosystem of instruments and effects that sits on top of it. And people really stick with the name of the tool they use every day – Pro Tools, “Ableton” (since most people don’t call it “Ableton Live”), Cakewalk (not SONAR, not 12 Tone Systems – eep).

This has been an end of an era for the company in a lot of ways – CEO and co-founder Ernst Nathorst-Böös turned over the reins to Niklas Agevik in June.

Now, the one big disappointment to me is, it still sounds like Reason lacks a proper scalable interface. I expect that will be a major architectural change, since it also will impact Rack Extensions. But it’s needed, and I’ll try to find out more.

Otherwise, Reason 11 looks like another compelling release from a company that continues to inspire passion in its users.

Product manager Mattias Häggström Gerdt weighs in:

Announcing Reason 11 – a word from the Product Manager

The post Reason 11: tons of new devices, features, and now it’s a plug-in, too appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

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