Retro chip music appeal and the occasional Super Mario Bros. game aside, you probably think of the Nintendo NES and Famicom system as something collecting dust at garage sales. You probably don’t think of this NES running as a self-contained music production workstation, syncing to MIDI and Android, or exploiting new software for producing elaborate musical sequences, drum and bass lines. Think again.
What might to outsiders seem like the nostalgic draw of video music has become something else entirely – the NES is taking its place as a serious, studio synth.
I made a basic Max/MSP patch that allows one to use the Korg NanoKontrol MIDI controller as a periodic waveform editor. Each of the first eight faders controls a point along a periodic waveform. The ninth fader controls the frequency of the waveform.
refreq is a really customable music player. I mean really. You can load music files into refreq, but also images (bitmaps, imgs, pngs). When you load a song, first the program analyzes the track, then it draws its frequency spectrum. After tracking, you can generate the spectral image / bitmap back into music.
At this point, it's getting really interesting. After you have the image of the track, how you want to play it depends on you, You can play with the timeline, to play the sound from an other aspect. You can see where exactly the notes are, but the harmonies are also really visible. You can rotate the player, then the notes will be the same, but the harmonies will be changing
Cecilia is an audio signal processing environment using Csound as its audio engine.
The legendary front-end and sound production platform for the Csound language is back in a fresh set of duds. Cecilia was first launched in 1996 to take advantage of the then emerging real-time audio capabilities of Csound. It has seen a number of iterations since then, because, well, nothing quite does what it does as well as it does. Cecilia is a complete sound production environment for the adventurous audio designer. It proposes dozens of complex and troubling sound-processing modules that invite the composer to revisit the notion of what constitutes spirited sonic matter.
Beyond these highly desirable qualities, Cecilia is also known to cause mild skin rashes and turn small dogs into pickles.
Cecilia is free. Thus you can’t complain if it hurts your feelings. But, with due diligence, Cecilia will bring smiles and good cheer to the most jaded musical mind.
A closer look at the OP-1 portable synthesizer and controller (no release date yet though).
Last week, Ihavesynth.com got the chance to meet up with Teenage Engineering to get a closer look at the OP-1 synthesizer/sampler/controller/you-name-it. Teenage Engineering revealed their eye-catching OP-1 at Musikmesse in 2009 and the hype around the synthesizer has been massive, even though it is not yet released. We have posted about the OP-1 before and offcourse we are as curious about the OP-1 as the rest of the world seems to be.
Teenage Engineering is a great gang of 7 tech guys in a white painted garage filled with wonderful stuff like computers, synthesizers, all sorts of tech gear, an electronics shop, 3D printers, bikes, mopeds and a little dog which you can hear in the interview. The Teenage Engineering crew has experience from a lot of different areas, like the gaming industry, programming, electronic music – and it all comes together in their cozy garage.My mate Bjorn had a chat with David at Teenage Engineering, check it out in this clip.
One of my favorite hacks at last weekend’s Music Hack Day is Tristan’s Swinger. The Swinger is a bit of python code that takes any song and makes it swing. It does this be taking each beat and time-stretching the first half of each beat while time-shrinking the second half. It has quite a magical effect.
This project demonstrates how to use the Xbox Rock Band Stage Kit with Micro framework using GHI's USB Host feature….no Xbox is necessary!
This kit uses USB and it has special requests to set the strobe speed, LEDs and fog. But no worries! This still works with GHI NETMF devices. We use USB host on a low level using USBH Raw Device. This allows us to control the Stage kit as we like! It is actually easy if you know how USB works.
Tom Shear is back with another pack of free samples:
Today's selection is what used to be one of my favorite bass sounds I'd programmed for my old SQ-80 back in the day. It's very digital sounding and can add a nice bite to other bass sounds when layered. (The name of the patch was inspired by the liner notes of a Shriekback album that listed not only the gear used, but the name of the synth patches they used which pleased the hell out of me for some reason…)
The download includes 8 mono 24-bit/44.1k WAV samples of the C and G keys for 4 octaves.
Diego Stocco @ Soundcloud: In the past months I've been working on some new tracks with my Experibass. Since I built it, I discovered many new ways of interacting with it Take a look at this gallery to know more about the Experibass: http://www.behance.net/Gallery/Experibass/312989
David M. just sent us useful information on how to add internal pitch controls for both Kaossilator and the Kaoss Pad, below are his words of wisdom…
After reading about the GetLoFi Tutorial for 1799 oscillator circuit mod on the KORG Mini KP/KO and with a few of the LTC Modules on hand I decided to give it a go on a brand new Kaossilator. The conversion took about 45 minutes to do, but the results just blew me away. A real transformer for this instrument.
The Creators Project event series—a roving global celebration—launches this summer on June 26, when The Creators rolls into 80,000-square-feet of display and performance space honeycombed throughout the legendary Milk Studios in New York’s Meatpacking District.
The event is going to be a groundbreaking combination of interactive art and installations, panels, workshops, screenings, and live performances. As much as The Creators Project is a digital archive of our digital world, it is also a testament to the enduring appeal of the Real. Many of the artists within the program explore the way that digitally manipulated images, sounds, and motions converge in real time, in real spaces.
Ants walking through IR gates manipulate the Auduino synth program. John spotted this at the RobotFest / Mid-Atlantic Mini Maker Faire. He writes:
I went to the RobotFest / Mid-Atlantic Mini Maker Faire yesterday. I saw this awesome project and thought you might like to put it on the blog. Basically it's an ant farm with optointerrupts. When the ants walk through the lightpath, they modify the audio output. The maker's name is Adam Franchino, and he was there with some of his classmates from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) His website is adamfranchino.net.
“This is a Jouney into Sound” is a demo of the RHIFID speaker control system developed for the Physical Computing class. Using a combination of RFID technology, Processing and Arduino, the speakers work as location aware controllers, allowing the user to interact with music and the environment by moving the speakers around.
Jordantron is a new iPad synth app that will include sounds by Jordan Rudess of Dream Theater.
Omenie in the comments:
The core sound generation is the Ellatron engine, and the same 'Toblerone' rotating keyboards have been retained – for now …
Inside it there’s quite a few changes, particularly trading off CPU burden against responsiveness – it’s become clear, particularly on the iPad, that it’s worth burning more CPU to get ultra-low latency for responsive playing, in Jordan’s hands this thing is *fast* and pretty amazing.
We are still shaking out details but the plan is to have different iPad and iPhone versions, slightly more voices in the iPad version as it supports apps with a bigger memory footprint than iPhone.
And yes, all new sounds, and unlike Ellatron all the sounds are stereo (and really immersive and immense) and have been pulled out of Jordan’s live rig, so these are authentic DT voices. So it’s not very much like a Mellotron at all! I think this one will turn out to be a must-have app for the DT fans, but the sounds are so damn PHAT that general synth hounds may end up picking up one of these to add to their arsenal.
Several EQs now have a mid/side mode. This opens up a lot of possibilities, but can be difficult to use effectively. Instead of simply tweaking the sound or the range of the controls, mid/side mode completely changes how the EQ behaves and sets new rules for how it can be useful and effective. It helps to stop thinking about mid/side EQ as an equaliser – but instead to think of it as a surgical frequency-focussed stereo width adjuster. It works best on complex stereo material, such as groups or the mix bus.
I've always been a big fan of K'nex, ever since I was a little kid. Then, when I discovered this website, I felt like I had hit the jackpot. This is a "robot" that I built out of knex, it's designed to play the piano. This version can play up to a 16 note sequence in a 12 note range. I call it "Zeeanobot" (Zach's Piano Robot), corny, I know, but I couldn't think of a better name. I spent a lot of time on this, and I'm very proud of it, so please be nice. Just to be clear, I have not tried it on a real piano, I built it to play my Yamaha DGX-230. You may need to modify the design slightly to get it to work on real pianos or other keyboards.
# Sound Grain, a graphical interface where users can draw and edit trajectories to control granular sound synthesis modules. Sound Grain is written with Python and uses Csound as its audio engine. Csound 5 must be installed on the system to allow Sound Grain to run.
I am pleased to announce that in 2 weeks time we will be selling DIY MidiFighter kits in the web-store. This kit will be the first incarnation of our brand new controller line that allows several different levels of customization. Everything from creating original color combos to adding more analog interfaces and customizing the open-source firmware is possible with this exciting new tool.
MidiFighter kit details
Release Date: November 30th.
Price: Aprox $125 for the Kit + Arcade Buttons ($2.50 each) optional wood case- $40.
Plug and Play-compatible device, compliant MIDI controller.
Must be assembled (no expertise required).
16 programmable buttons.
16 programmable LEDs.
Expandable to 20 programmable buttons and 4 analog controls.
Limited-edition 200-piece run in this configuration (black PCB with blue LEDs).
PyMT is a python module for developing multi-touch enabled media rich applications. Currently the aim is to allow for quick and easy interaction design and rapid prototype development. PyMT is written in Python, based on pyglet toolkit. We are about 10 contributors and ~40000 lines of code (version 0.3).
Jon at Audio Geek Zine offers some free samples from his circuit bent Speak & Math in his weekly series of free sounds.
This time I’m digging into the archives. What I’ve got this week is sounds from my circuit bent Speak & Math, from a few years ago. These are taken straight from my Toys Breaking library, if you like glitchy weird samples check that out.
James at Illuminated Sounds also shares some free samples from circuit bent toys.
Here is a Collection of samples from a few of my own circuit bent toys. I’ve made a quick couple of videos that will show you the method of how I captured these samples. I edited them in Protools at 16bit 441khz as mono WAV files. Feel free to comment or request any more. Enjoy.
More from Illuminated Sounds. Miketron's random MIDI note generation software (MAC/PC) goes hardware:
A couple of months I took my MAX/MSP code for Random7 and rewrote so I could embed it into a hardware version. Random7 Hardware Version 1 (R7H) is a very basic version of the Random7 software. The core element of R7H is still the same, the program pick from 7 different midi notes randomly. As of now the key R7H is preset to the key of A Major, and the only control is a potentiometer that controls the speed of R7H. Output for R7H is a midi port, an on/off switch, and there is also a red led the flashes everytime a note is sent. The some of the next additions I plan to the hardware are a midi input to provide midi sync options, a small lcd to provide useful information such as tempo and key, and allow user to pick from any diatonic major key. The microcontroller I am using for this is the arduino built into a d.i. box housing.
All you need to do is post a picture of you in your studio for a chance to win some Sample Magic libraries.
The only two requirements are: the computer screen must show some Ohm plugins interfaces and you must be in an “audio magician” pose. Each of the three winners will be able to pick three Sample Magic libraries of choice, for free, worldwide shipping or instant download through www.soundstosample.com. The pictures will be judged by the Sample Magicians themselves in their London HQ. Make-up and dressing up allowed. Rabbits and all domestic animals not allowed. The picture (or the link to it) must be posted on the comments section of this blog post, until November 30th 2009.
Mark Mosher shares his first impressions of the Tenori-On.
Now that REBOOT has released, I’m gearing up to perform these songs live. One of my goals it to make the performances more visually interesting, help the audience connect with what I’m doing musically, and not spend an entire set hunched over a laptop.
I just added a Tenori-On White to my rig to help achieve this goal and to use as a controller and sequencer for composition. In this post I’ll offer some first impressions and notes on use.
garagemonkeysan's take on the famous Little Gem mini guitar amp.
All details on the electronics can be found at runoffgroove.com. http://www.runoffgroove.com/littlegem.html The case came from Jameco p/n 11886. The speaker bezel is the rim of a tin can that was epoxied to the case. The disk in the rear serves as a cord reel.
I recently picked up a Novation Launchpad because I wanted the control options of a grid controller, even though I don’t use Ableton live. I plan on using the Launchpad with Reaktor, Audiomulch, and possibly Processing. The price wasn’t hard to swallow either. I’ve seen very little info thus far on people using the Launchpad with anything besides Ableton Live, except for people who are using the “nonome” max/msp patch that allows you to load up other monome applications via the Launchpad. So, I thought I would do a write-up on my thoughts. The way I prefer to work is making my own custom midi mappings with my controllers. Novation’s Automap system might be interesting for others, but I always prefer to have my own configurations because I’m picky about those sorts of things. So I’ll be detailing how I went about that.
Vijiht Assar talks to Pete Berkman of 8-bit band Anamanaguchi:
I recently had a chance to chat with Anamanaguchi, who would probably be the boy-band teen idols of the chiptune world if the scene were to tolerate such things.
Lead songwriter Pete Berkman opened up about his creative process and the digital speed bumps he hits along the way, and guitarist Ary Warnaar is on another planet when it comes to working with Game Boy synths like LSDJ and Nanoloop, but the most freakish technical bits came from bassist James DeVito. He wrote later to describe in detail the customized hardware he’s cobbling together for use on tour, which so far has involved modding the Nintendo for multiple outputs, each with a bolted-on 1/4″ jack and volume knob, and integrating a tiny high-res screen lifted from a PlayStation. He’s even considering a built-in controller for the next version.
Paul Lamere uses the Echo Nest API to find out who is using a click track:
I’ve always been curious about which drummers use a click track and which don’t, so I thought it might be fun to try to build a click track detector using the Echo Nest remix SDK ( remix is a Python library that allows you to analyze and manipulate music). In my first attempt, I used remix to analyze a track and then I just printed out the duration of each beat in a song and used gnuplot to plot the data. The results weren’t so good – the plot was rather noisy. It turns out there’s quite a bit of variation from beat to beat. In my second attempt I averaged the beat durations over a short window, and the resulting plot was quite good.