Peter Kirn talks with Sebastian Dittmann, CEO of developer Audanika, developer of SoundPrism, the app they describe as something they are not entirely sure of what it is. From audanika.com: "We think it might be a musical instrument but we're learning new stuff playing with it every day… which sometimes goes beyond the scale of that."
Peter Kirn writes:
Using an array of rectangles arranged in a harmonically useful way, and color coding for pitch, SoundPrism is a glimpse of a more graphical future for music software design. (Nor is this necessarily limited to the iPad in the long term – in addition to Windows 7, Ubuntu 10.10 is getting official multitouch support, which I think both validates Apple’s work and suggests we’ll see more platforms for this kind of interface.)
And, bonus, it all demonstrates why arranging pitch by the Circle of Thirds can be ideal. I got a chance to talk to the developers of SoundPrism about the thinking behind the software.
Resampling is an incredibly simple yet powerful technique in digital music production. The idea is straighforward: Record the output of one or multiple tracks into a new, editable audio file. It’s not much different than rendering your composition, except here you’re actually going to incorporate the new file into the current song.
Leon Theremin (born Lev Sergeyevich Terme) was born on this day, August 15th, 1896. To help celebrate I’m going to do a bit of a stream of consciousness post and will offer some links on Leon and his wonderful instrument and some notes on my use of it.
Hang in there till the end of the post as I’ve created a Soundcloud set called “Theremin Action” which is a collection of all the songs from REBOOT and I Hear Your Signals that use that Theremin sound or Theremin as a Controller.
Mark controls virtual synths in Ableton Live using the Theremin and Percussa AudioCubes
If you woke up this morning thinking, "Gee, I wish I could download two gigabytes of 120 BPM modular synth loops", I have some good news for you.
I've been using the TipTop Audio Z8000 for a while now, collecting material for a video, but I also kept a DAW file handy and recorded bursts of interesting output at various intervals. This process generated a lot of materal, but it is clear to me it would be more useful in someone else's hands.
Beatseqr is an arduino mega based computer interface by Steve Cooley.
It is aimed at electronic musicians and visualists. By itself, it connects to a desktop app that runs on mac or windows and can send out OSC messages to arbitrary network ports. However, combine beatseqr with a tightly integrated sequencer like Dajis Systems' Steppa (included in the price) and you have a powerful interface to create a MIDI loop which you can use to control sounds from pretty much any music software that accepts incoming midi data.
We've tested it out with Logic, Live, Reason, Quartz Composer, Max/MSP, PureData, and Processing. It works great!
The CodeOrgan analyses the "body" content of any web page and translates that content into music. The CodeOrgan uses a complex algorithm to define the key, synth style and drum pattern most appropriate to the page content.
Matt Pacyga and I have teamed up to release some free sample downloads resulting from our respective field recording experiments. Matt has put together a superb set of crunches and splats which originally emanated from his kitchen and some very unlucky food items. The recordings are high quality and super-creative, so I highly encourage you to take advantage of his generosity and download these sounds!
I've also got a number of samples on offer here that came from some contact microphone experiments, but I'll defer to the official description (after the jump) for the details
Hubert is small but powerful device to use with your modular synthesizer.
On each hand side there is one force sensing resistor turning applied pressure into a steady CV output. Each channel has three outputs: CV Out, Inverted CV Out and Gate out. Each side is capable of holding the current voltage on CV Out, whereas the inverted CV appears on Inverted CV Out. If a CV is held in the CV Out you still can use the inverted out, even switching from positive to negative voltage as often as you want without disturbing the held CV output. In addition each of the two channels fires a gate signal every time pressure is applied to the pressure pad. The CV can go from 0V to +/- 8V and can be controlled in sensitivity.
Mark Mosher of Modulate This! talks with AudioCubes inventor Bert Schiettecatte:
I recently conducted a phone interview with Percussa founder and AudioCube inventor Bert Schiettecatte.
I think music artists, visual artists, sound designers, those interested in tangible interfaces for installations, and music technology fans will all enjoy this interview – even if you are not in the market for a tangible interface.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
AudioCubes designer Bert Schiettecatte will be hosting a series of one day workshops at his private workspace, for a select number of artists, starting November 10th 2009.
Workshop description: Starting with some theory, you will discover the history of AudioCubes, tangible interfaces, and their applications. The practical part of the workshop will let you master the technical aspects of using AudioCubes in sound, music and visual creation, and let you work on your own project using AudioCubes.
history of audiocubes
overview of tangible interfaces
why were audiocubes created / fundamental ideas
how audiocubes work
the audiocubes hardware
audiocubes software for live performance, sound design and music production
how to use audiocubes to control MIDI software and hardware
Google plans to launch a music service, Wired.com has confirmed with sources familiar with the situation. Next to nothing is known about the service at this point, rumored to be called “Google Music,” “Google Audio,” or “One Box,” although we have confirmed that it will be announced next Wednesday, and that it will link out to two music services: Lala and iLike.
What excites me most about Chipsounds is the possibilities for the future. I’d love to see a couple options that weren’t present in the original machine introduced here. A filter section would definitely expand the possibilities (a handful of chips have filters available as their chip-specific settings), a more useful and flexible Portamento function would be great, and, as mentioned before, a wider array of effects would be a nice addition. That said, imposing the limitations of the original chips is not a bad thing in my opinion. It encourages the same kind of creative thinking and workarounds the original programmers used to use back in the day to get sounds you wouldn’t expect to be possible with such limited means. Plogue has approached this softsynth with a palpable sense of reverence and their affection for these outdated sound makers shines through in abundance. An exceptionally fun and unique instrument! [8/10]
This demonstration uses my crude DIY flux capacitor for the Livewire AFG, basically 5 switches and 10 jacks corresponding to the flux cap pins. Two pin pairs are attenuated by two VCA's controlled by the makenoise/wiard wogglebug, crosspatched with the malekko/wiard noisering, which drives the melodic noodling, via a A-189-1 used as a bitcrusher, to perform cheap quantizing.
The sine output is sent to an input of a makenoise QMMG, driven by the A-143-1 envelope. About halfways through, a feedback path from the animated pulses, animated by A-143-1 LFOs, into the A-106-6 xpander filter (wogglebug controlled) goes into one of the pins on the flux cap expander, resulting in strange noises and unpredictable overtones.
This is a simple sequencer machine which uses Capacitative Sensing Code for input to the Arduino. It is is a combination drumpad and sequencer. It has just two modes, record, and playback, and needs very few components; an Arduino (of course), and just 3 resistors and a piezo speaker. If you're feeling decadent, you can add an LED (with a resistor) for more "ooomph".
For those starting out in electronics as a hobby there are some tools that are required for the job. To begin with, a soldering iron, some screw drivers, perhaps tweezers and of course a multi-meter are probably what you would consider essential.
After a while though, you are going to be looking for more. Amongst the other goodies out there to help you on your way are oscilloscopes. In the past, advice on forums has always tended more towards purchasing a second hand scope. These tend to be had for around £100 on places like E-bay and most certainly will be a few years old if available at this sort of price. Well that is changing and I was excited yesterday to get my hands on a “Scope” that may just re-write the forum advice. Meet the Nano DSO from Seed Studio…
Eric posts some samples of his mini space rockers analog percussion synthesizer.
Here are over 80 different electro drum / noise samples from the mini space rockers circuit… but you should really build it because its analog and it sounds a little different every time. and its cheap, so no excuses. I am offering these samples under a Creative Commons Attribution license. That means you are free to use them for whatever, but please credit me where appropriate.
Kseniya Simonova is an Ukrainian artist who won Ukraine's Got Talent 2009. She uses a giant light box, dramatic music, imagination and "sand painting" skills to interpret Germany's invasion and occupation of Ukraine during WWII.
Testing m4l interfacing capabilities with arduino through max's [serial] object. A simple 4-sensor controller for an FM synth. Analog and digital information is mapped onto midi control messages that can be routed inside live for events or modulation.
Percussa’s AudioCubes meets Deckadance in DeckaBridge, a software designed with the digital DJ in mind.
Deckabridge is a software application developed specifically for the Percussa AudioCubes hardware. It lets you use the AudioCubes with Deckadance, well known professional DJ software from Image-Line, the company that created FL Studio.
DeckaBridge allow you to:
Control the transport (CUE, seek fwd / backw)
Control EQ and effect sections (bit crusher, lowpass filter, …)
Control loop length and enable/disable
Control various parts of the relooper beat slicer (a unique feature in DJ software!)
Here's how to make a little pedal for electric guitar. The idea is to connect the Arduino pedals, and using software to control sound processing, we made ourselves with Pure Data. Here I show you an example of a looper, but it can also be a rack of effects without problem.
Nick Maxwell takes a look at some more sound-shaping tools that will aid you in your quest to develop unique timbres.
Continuing the series of posts I began last week, let’s take a look at some more sound-shaping tools that will aid us in our quest to develop unique timbres. As usual, I’ll be using Ableton Live to illustrate when needed.
The Berlin Hack Day, which wound up earlier today, offers still more projects focused on the creation side of music hacking. Having Ableton and Native Instruments as sponsors likely helped the mood. And as you’d expect from one of the world capitals of creative hacking, Berliners don’t disappoint.
Among the projects: a beautiful, elegant 3D sequencer, a fun bird-and-sky multitouch soundmaker with multitouch trackpad input, and a robotic xylophone controlled by monome. Someone even worked out a way to turn NI’s Maschine into a rhythm game, complete with Street Fighter sounds.
Percussa has released LoopShaper, a software application developed specifically for Percussa AudioCubes.
LoopShaper is a standalone application, hosts your VST instruments, and lets you interact with them in a hands on fashion through AudioCubes. With LoopShaper, AudioCubes and a VST instrument (some are freely available), you have everything you need to create interesting sound material and loops.
The software will loop and record, and will let you record your interactions and play over them continuously. There are various controls available for the loop memory and to freeze the loop once you are satisfied with it and only want to control the notes or the parameter changes, for example. There is also a loop memory deck available to store and recall loops, which facilitates using LoopShaper with live performance or with lengthy recording sessions.
The resulting sound can be recorded to WAV files on your computer’s harddisk. If necessary you can import the files into your favourite DAW for further editing and mixing.
LoopShaper works with ASIO for low-latency sound output. If your audio interface doesn’t support ASIO you can always use the built-in sound card of your computer using a freely available ASIO driver such as ASIO4ALL.
To help with timing, there is a built-in metronome in loopshaper.
LoopShaper is available as freeware for Windows PC and Mac (requires two Percussa AudioCubes).