AfroDjMac wrote in to let us know about Laptop Feedback, a free synthesizer for Ableton Live.
One of the things I want to do with this site is to share some of the tools I use to create music. If you are an Ableton Live user, this post is for you.
I created this synth using a sample of my laptops speakers belting out a screeching feedback from the internal microphone. As unpleasant as the sample itself sounds, it makes for a pretty atmospheric and dreamy sounding synth.
The Laptop Feedback instrument rack for Ableton Live is available to download from AfroDjMac.
Novation has announced Dicer, a palm-sized cue point and looping controller developed with Serato.
Plug Dicer in, slot it on your turntable/CDJ, and you can instantly set cue points and use them to trigger ‘Hot Cues’. Or, flip Dicer into ‘Auto-Loop’ or ‘Loop Roll’ modes, to trigger loops, or ‘roll’ sections of the track to create climaxes, drops and glitchy breaks. Each ‘mode’ illuminates Dicer’s pads a different colour, so you can instantly see what mode the pads in, even in dark clubs and venues.
Dicer’s buttons can also ‘learn’ other software functions. So, you can assign different FX to the pads, or trigger samples over the top of your mix, or even browse tracks in your iTunes library!
Dicer was designed by Novation in collaboration with Ean Golden – DJ and curator of DJ Tech Tools. Ean came up with the concept of a controller that fits on the turntable, and his contribution has been crucial in helping Novation design and develop Dicer.
Performance buttons with visual feedback — Backlit, multi-colour, soft touch ‘dice’ buttons, provide immediate LED feedback from Serato Scratch Live software.
Locks straight onto Technics SL 1200/10, and similar decks — Using the 45-adapter hole, Dicer places looping control right where you need it – on your decks, millimetres away from your vinyl.
Attaches to CDJs, mixers and laptops — With Novation’s reusable ‘DJ putty’, your Dicers can slot into even the most cramped of DJ performance set-ups, sticking cleanly and directly onto your CDJs, mixer or laptop.
Default set-up for Serato Scratch Live — Dicer is pre-programmed to take advantage of the cue point and looping functions in Serato Scratch Live, including ‘Hot Cues’, ‘Auto Roll’ and ‘Loop Roll’.
Works with all major DJ software — Dicer is fully MIDI assignable, so it can be set up to control almost any software, including Traktor Scratch Pro. Up to 60 assignable MIDI controls are available from a pair of Dicers.
USB bus-powered — Dicer gets all the power it needs from a single USB cable, with no need for an external power supply. A mini Jack cable transmits power and data to the second Dicer.
A Fully class compliant MIDI device — Dicer is a plug and play device, so no need to install any drivers.
Dicer is expected to be in stores in late June/early July 2010, priced at $99.99 USD / 99.99 EUR / £79.99 GBP.
Make’s definitive guide to open source hardware projects in 2009.
Welcome to definitive guide to open source hardware projects in 2009. First up – What is open source hardware? These are projects in which the creators have decided to completely publish all the source, schematics, firmware, software, bill of materials, parts list, drawings and "board" files to recreate the hardware – they also allow any use, including commercial. Similar to open source software like Linux, but this hardware centric.
Each year we do a guide to all open source hardware and this year there are over 125 unique projects/kits in 19 categories, up from about 60 in 2008, more than doubling the projects out there! – it’s incredible! Many are familiar with Arduino (shipping over 100,000 units, estimated) but there are many other projects just as exciting and filled with amazing communities – we think we’ve captured nearly all of them in this list. Some of these projects and kits are available from MAKE others from the makers themselves or other hardware manufacturers – but since it’s open source hardware you can make any of these yourself, start a business, everything is available, that’s the point.
Flo Kaufmann shows his “satrap activ” portable analog synthesizer made out of a vacuum cleaner.
It contains 2 cmos based VCO’s , a Moog ladder filter, a 555 based ADSR, a cmos based 8 step sequencer, a PIC based vc to midi interface and a PIC based auto trigger unit. There are 4 tunable knobs on top, mostly to play base lines, and 2 conductable wires, which act as voltage dividers to generate variable tones. the wires do not vibrate. so it is not a cord instrument. satrap activ can also control other synthesizers either by midi or cv/gate interface.
For a generation of musicians of nearly every genre, the laptop has become an instrument. It’s easy to take for granted, but the rise of the computer for music has been remarkable. Less than twenty years ago, real-time digital synthesis and audio processing was the domain of expensive, specialized workstations. Now, $700 per seat can buy you a full-blown musical rig, with the computer hardware, gestural input courtesy the Nintendo Wii controller, and even a DIY speaker made from IKEA salad bowls. The next challenge is to make this setup as flexible and reliable as possible. Enter Linux.
Joe Glider of Home Studio Corner has a reivew of the Line 6 JM4 Looper pedal:
I’ve always been absolutely fascinated with looper pedals. Any time an artist uses one in a performance, I’m spellbound. As soon as you introduce a looper pedal into your setup, suddenly all the rules change. You’re no longer a solo performer, you’re an entire ensemble. It’s like you brought a recording studio right on stage with you, and now you’re doing an overdub session for all of us to see. Fascinating.
Needless to say, I’ve wanted a looper pedal for years. Thanks to the good folks at Line 6, now I have one!* What I love about the JM4 is that it’s not JUST a looper. It’s an entire guitar workstation. It has both amp modeling and three different selectable effects.