Mark Batty Publisher announces Toy Instruments: Design, Nostalgia, Music

Eric Schneider Toy Instruments: Design, Nostalgia, Music

Mark Batty Publisher has announced Toy Instruments: Design, Nostalgia, Music, a book written by the German author/toy instrument aficionado Eric Schneider.

Toy Instruments comprises an eye-popping collection of musical toys from around the world made between the 1950s and today. Culled from author Eric Schneider’s personal collection, Toy Instruments is the first book to explore this niche of the toy industry doing so with an informative and humorous approach. With an intro from the author and a foreword from world-renown experimental electronic and hip-hop musician Paul D. Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid, the book collects the toy instruments you may remember from your past, and the wacky ones you’ll find hard to believe ever existed.

From the late 70s to the early 80s, the heyday of these bleeping, chirping, thrumming and keening devices, while children were busy driving their parents crazy with battery-powered sounds, adults were incorporating the unique tones into the earliest samples of electronic music and techno. And, just as dazzling as the cacophony of sounds produced by these toys are the designs of the toys, as well as their packaging. Made all over the world, the predominately gender-neutral design applied to the products and packaging is at times more fascinating than the toys.

Toy Instruments: Design, Nostalgia, Music is available to purchase for $19.95 USD.

More information: Mark Batty Publisher

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Magix releases Music Maker 16

Magix Music Maker 16

Magix has announced the release of Music Maker 16, a music production software for Windows.

Step-by-step to your own song: Simply combine samples and loops, add effects, and export it – your own hit is just a few clicks away!

MAGIX Music Maker 16 includes over 1,500 diverse sounds and loops from the studios of internationally successful top producers.

New in Music Maker 16

  • New Loops – Originating loop based music production for the PC, no other company has the experience nor the library of these completely revised sound loops.
  • Essential FX – Brand new effect modules that guarantee the best results.
  • Vandal SE – Use it like you would any guitar amp, or apply it to an already existing track!
  • Object inspector – Quick access to the most important and popular effects that can be applied to any audio object.
  • Microscope mode – Zoom in and out of detailed, incremental editing. Apply small cuts, or apply effects and treatments to miniscule parts of an audio object.
  • Direct uploads to MySpace – Upload your creations directly to your personal or band MySpace page.
  • Interactive Workshop – Learn the tricks of the trade from our online how-to interactive videos.

Music Maker 16 is available to purchase for Windows PC, priced at $49.99 USD (50% discount) until February 4, 2010. A Premium edition featuring more sounds, more realistic instruments, and more effects, is currently available for $89.99 USD (36% discount).

More information: Magix

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Short links for February 1st, 2010

Virtual Piano

Some interesting things I found recently:

# The Virtual Piano for Songwriters, Singers, Producers and aspiring musicians

Not Only is The Virtual Piano a Virtual instrument that you can play chords and melodies on, it also shows you how to play all the chords (triads) in all twelve keys.

It's an excellent tool for you to learn to play piano, to transpose songs into any key or for writing songs.

# Kent ‘sound sculptor’ unveils ‘sharpsichord’

From the BBC:

A self-styled "sound sculptor" is looking for a home for an unusual musical instrument that he has spent almost four years making. Henry Dagg created the pin barrel harp, nicknamed a sharpsichord, at his workshop in Faversham, Kent. Pegs put into one of 11,520 holes on a metal roll push levers which pluck strings to create the music. It was commissioned for a garden in London but Mr Dagg now feels it is too precious to be left outside.

Mark Mosher's AudioCubes in Ableton Live

# In-Depth Review of Percussa AudioCubes in Use with Ableton Live

Mark @ Modulate This! reviews Percussa's AudioCubes in Ableton Live:

Back in November I purchased a set of four Percussa AudioCubes. I've spent quite a bit of time working with them as a an interface to Ableton Live.

In this hands-on review I'll explain what they are, how they work, how I'm using them with Live and also offer some tips along the way.

# Illuminated Sounds » Roland TR-626 Sound Library

From Illuminated Sounds:

Recently I picked up a used Roland TR-626 from ebay. I finally got around to sampling beeps and buzzes that this guy makes. Here is a sound library of all the sounds this drum machine makes. Each sounds has 15 different pitch levels that I label -7 to +7, 0 being the original sample. All the samples were recorded into Pro Tools at 44.1/16 bit. Also I circuit bend the hell out of this thing, so expect future posts with pictures and samples of it glitched out.

SIDstick

# SIDstick – 100,000 chiptunes in your pocket!

The SIDstick is a pocket-sized chiptunes player featuring:

  • Removable Storage supporting microSD cards, 1 card can hold 20,000 songs
  • 20+ hour battery life
  • Super Hi-Quality hardware-based playback at 31kHz sample rate, >16 bit resolution
  • Completely Open, hardware and software are available under the MIT license
  • Upgradable with connections on the board

# Hiphop Orchestra

A generous pack of free samples by Cyberworm:

Acoustic cellos and violins, pianos, ensembles. 54 loops at all. 80-120 bmp, all keys in filename. Good for hiphop and similar styles. Basically it was commercial pack, but I change my mind and release it for free. :) wav format, 24 bit, 44100 hz, stereo, 154 mb

Bleep Labs Nebulophone

# Nebulophone Kit Pre-Order

Now available to pre-order from Bleep Labs:

The Nebulophone is an Arduino based synth with a Stylophone like keyboard. It has adjustable waveforms, a light controlled analog filter, LFO, and arpeggiator that can be clocked over IR.

This is a beginner kit and does not require an Arduino programmer board.

# Free Nebula Power distortion effect

Hnery Olonga shares another effect for Acustica Audio’s Nebula:

Mega distortion is a distortion type effect that adds power and warmth to any instrument or mix. I made it using a unique signal chain. There is a slight levelling that happens as well allowing details buried deeper in the mix to come to the front. This effect is also useful in beefing up thin recordings. Try it on lame drums or a weak piano.

Sampled at 96 khz using Prismsound Orpheus convertors this is a no nonsense – no compromise effect. Ten distortion kernels means that this is a CPU hog so if you don’t have a fast machine – God bless you.

# Multichord Hybrid Musical Instrument, a single-stringed instrument that plays multiple notes via varied tensioning rather than fretting.

Multichord

From the project page:

The Multichord musical instrument is an acoustic stringed instrument with a single string, constructed from wood, a hard drive, 20-lb monofilament, and assorted electronic components. It was the culmination of a project to build an acoustic instrument capable of playing multiple notes without fretting or manual, time-consuming retuning. The Multichord achieves this by attaching a hard drive read/write head assembly between the resonant string and a tensioning spring to adjust the tension of the instrument's string. Careful adjustment was made to the tension of both the string and the spring with the hard drive head in a neutral, unpowered position to ensure a bipolar application of voltage within the safety ratings of the hard drive's coil could cause the string to cover a full musical octave. In the end, the Multichord was tuned to a C-major scale (no flats or sharps) running from A at 220Hz through (but not including) A at 440Hz.

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Eigenlabs announces Eigenharp Tau

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Eigenlabs Eigenharp Tau

Eigenlabs has announced the Eigenharp Tau, the third instrument in Eigenlabs’ groundbreaking portfolio of musical innovations, bridging the gap between the ultra-portable Pico and the professional level Alpha.

Around the size of an electric guitar, ideal for gigging. At less than half the price of the Eigenharp Alpha, the Tau brings the enormous expressive potential of the Eigenharp to within the reach of any musician. The Tau has a minimalist contemporary aesthetic, available in black and silver finishes.

With 72 main keyboard keys, 12 percussion keys, a strip controller and breath pipe it can do almost everything that its big brother, the professional level Eigenharp Alpha, can do – it uses exactly the same software system. Its keys are amazingly sensitive, to within a micron, the wavelength of light. Like the Alpha and the Pico, it plays a limitless range of sounds.

The Eigenharp Tau is available for pre-order for £1899 GBP and will be shipping from 10 May, 2010.

More information: Eigenlabs / Eigenharp Tau

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Short links for January 5th, 2010

Some interesting things I found recently:

# Reactableton

reactable final Prototype, used with ableton didnt need ir filter or any of that, light does not hinder the pick up of the fiducial by way of blocking out the light with frosted plexi. , made out of cardboard , plexi and christmas lights!

# Trifonic’s Music, Beat Slicing Technique, Free Bass Patch

Peter Kirn writes:

No more secrets: that could well sum up the zeitgeist of music making in 2010. So it is that Trifonic, aka virtuoso beatmeister brothers Brian and Laurence Trifon of San Francisco, share their technique for chopping up and glitching out audio. Their new blog, Next Step Audio, is entirely dedicated to sharing their production techniques: http://nextstepaudio.com/

# Stompolin – Mike Rotondo's Stompolin is a digital instrument created at a Physical Interaction Design workshop at CCRMA.

It is designed to allow the player to create music by involving their whole body, instead of focusing on the hands as many traditional instruments do. My goal was to accurately capture the emotional content of full-body movements, whether gentle or vigorous, and transmit it as music.

# A Visual History Of Loudness – Christopher Clark graphed the peak levels of and RMS levels of three hit songs a year over the past three decades in "A Visual History Of Loudness."

# The free RTAS plug-ins list

Stiff @ ProToolerBlog has listed a collection of free RTAS plug-ins:

I have compiled a list of all the free RTAS plug-ins I could think of. The list is nowhere near as long as a free VST list would be but nonetheless there are quite a few handy plug-ins here. Needless to say, while this is an RTAS plug-in list, most of them should be available in VST and AU as well.

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