Sunday, October 22, 2006

I need more Cowbell

You perfect your tone, your timing. You practice relentlessly and then all your hard work can't be heard over the racket of electrifyed instruments. According to Radmonkey the revolution in cowbell technology starts with them. Radmonkey have just released the worlds first digital modelling cowbell.

"Cowbellists around the world are turning to Radmonkey....to level the playing field...active pickups provide ear-drum splitting power."

Sometimes you just gotta get more ear-drum splitting cowbell power.

Native Instruments Goes Massive

Native Instruments have released 5 new products including FM8, Battery 3, Absynth 4, Komplete 4 and the entirely new Massive. Probably the most anticipated from the new line up are the FM8 and Massive.
The FM8 is a revision of NI's extremely popular FM7. Given the completely new interface it would almost be fair to say it is a completely different synth. Along with the standard 6OP DX7 style FM synthesis you now get improved effects, a very fancy arpeggiator and a new morph section. The FM8 comes packed with 960 presets. Now you can see this as 960 jumping off points or 960 obstacles to creating your own patches. Whatever your outlook it is still is a huge sound library illustrating a synth of great flexibility.

The completely new soft synth in NI's arsenal is the appropriately named MASSIVE. Massive is a 3 oscillator Wavetable synth with 2 filters in series or paralell, a step sequencer and an interesting parameter automater called Performer. Again NI have included a huge sound library with 420 presets. A refreshing feature is the possibility of feedback routing but by far the most powerful feature for me is the Performer. The performer allows you to assign beat synced modulation curves to almost any parameter. As you can change the modulation curve type for every beat the results are fantatically tight and complex rhythmic modulations.

Check out these 2 presentation movies and see what you think yourself.

Massive Quicktime Tutorial
FM8 Quicktime Tutorial

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Waldorf Promises New Synth

Waldorf have been promising a comeback for quite sometime now. Famous for their brightly coloured range of synths including the XTK and the Q both of which employ various forms of wavetable synthesis. Their massive Wave synthesizer is probably the largest and best of all wavetable synthesizers supporting 2 analogue filters a 24dB Low Pass and a 12dB High Pass. Digital signal generators and analogue filters are a common architecture for a Waldorf synths and is one of the reasons behind their continued popularity.

All we have to go on so far is this rather hazy picture of a possible synth, which seems to have been floating around for a while, and some vague declarations of work in progress from the people at Waldorf. Hopefully more details will be let out soon. Waldorf are reknowned for being a creative company geared towards creative sound design and employing new technologies. With their history of wavetable synthesis maybe we will see the first implementation of a hardware wavetable granular synth.

For those of you who want to check out wavetable synthesis maybe you could look at Waldorfs VSTi emulation of PPGs Wave synth or test the waters with BK SynthLabs free Hybrid Wavetable synth Intro, just scroll down the page a bit to find it. Another interesting free option is Curve from CableGuys also a wavetable synth however this one allows you to draw your own waveshapes.

Friday, October 20, 2006

EAR Group introduces the Space Case



Like the tittle said the EAR Group has just introduced the Space Case by SynthBox. It's made of 3/4" acrylic sheeting which is more durable than wood or metal. As you can see it's in the Doepfer 6U format but is almost twice as long as a standard Doepfer rack. Coming in at 168HP wide you should have no trouble getting a fairly juicy mid sized modular together.

One soothing idea was to put fish in it. Imagine the ambient music that might inspire.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Synthi AKS and VSTi emulation compared

This is a very cool YouTube video comparing the EMS Synthi and the AKS VSTi emulation. First up for comparision is the AKS VSTi...


You can download the AKS VSTi Synthi demo and check it out for yourself here. At €350 for the full version I might prefer Reaktor or Max but who knows it might be for you.

And then the real thing. Both synths modulation routings are identical.


EMS although under new ownership are still producing the Synti A Here. It's €2400 and the waiting list is apparently very long indeed. Of all the synths out there I think it's gotta be either the Synti A or the Buchla Easel for coolest little synth ever.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Deaf Festival Oct 25th - 30th

In local news this years DEAF Festival, or the Dublin Electronic Arts Festival, kicks off this years Bank Holiday celebrations on Wed 25th Oct. As always the Deaf Festival is an interesting mix of live performances, experimentalism, DJ sets, discussions panels and workshops.

For their 5th birthday the DEAF festival is making changes and maturing into an exlusively Irish affair. D1, Decal, 2Bit, Alpha Omega, Beta 2, Zero Tolerance, Donnacha Dennehy, Ambulance, Herv and many others. One of the more interesting events is Dennis McNultys Anti-Tour where he shuns normal venues and instead is performing in a number of Dublin apartments. If you're interested in letting him wreck your gaff then go to his website here

Ableton Live 6 Finally Arrives

Live was already a fantastic audio sequencer so what have Ableton done to improve on what was already extremely good.

Firstly they introduced a new device. The pragmatically named Sampler is by and large a traditional sampler but has a few controls specifically geared towards creative audio mangling. The Sampler is an add-on like the Operator so it doesn't come bundled with Live 6 which is a pity.

Also a new Rack device. The Rack unit is very similar in concept to the Combinator in Reason 3. Essentially you can have many devices in a Rack. Devices in the rack can be controlled like normal or their controls can be routed to the Racks Head unit. The Head unit has 8 controls which will match nicely with most peoples MIDI controllers.

Live can now load Quicktime Movies. Tentative steps into the Audio Video market and a great tool for live performance. Are Ableton going to start introducing the possibilities of cut-up video mashes into Live something live Coldcut's VJAMMs... sweet!

New Crossfader curves. Live is a powerful DJ Tool and now it has included 6 new crossfader curves. This has got to be a good thing and surely reflects most hardware DJ mixers which usually support multiple curves and reverse switchs.