Rhythmic Robot SpecTone – Chip music tone synthesizer for Kontakt

Rhythmic Robot SpecTone

Rhythmic Robot has released SpecTone, a sound library for Kontakt featuring the sounds from the onboard sound chip of a Sinclair ZX Spectrum.

SpecTone puts instantly familiar early 80s computer tones into the sonic toolkit of the producer, either for local colour in other styles of music, or to complement chip-music style productions.

It provides additional control in the form of an ADSR envelope, onboard effects (including a filter to tame aliasing artefacts), and velocity control of noise samples.

SpecTone features

  • Sinclair ZX Spectrum sound chip samples at 24-bit.
  • Further samples of the Currah MicroSpeech vowel sounds, with blend control.
  • 5 vowel sounds can be selected, with or without vibrato.
  • “Drum” sounds in the form of pitched and noise-based samples from the Spectrum.
  • ADSR envelope allow pad-style sounds.
  • Onboard effects include Drive, Compression, Filter and Bit-crushing.

SpecTone is available to purchase for £2.50 GBP. Requires Kontakt 4.2.3 or above (full version).

More information: Rhythmic Robot / SpecTone

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Rhythm Robot releases SpecTalk sample library for Kontakt

Rhythm Robot has announced SpecTalk, a sampled version of a genuine 1980s computerised speech synthesiser.

Rhythm Robot SpecTalk

It creates monotone robot voices, robot sound effects, 8-bit vocal phrases and glitchy stutter effects. It includes a complete phoneme set allowing the user to create any vocal word or phrase imaginable, plus four banks of pre-prepared words and phrases covering a variety of styles (from dance floor ad-libs to old science fiction quotes). The sound is entirely 8-bit and far more authentic than using a vocoder to emulate “robot voices”.

It also includes a built-in drum kit made by the speech synthesiser “saying” drum sounds (so the bass drum is “buh”, the snare is “tshh” and so on). This is cooler than it sounds here: check out the audio demo on the website for proof!

The source for SpecTalk was the Currah MicroSpeech hardware add-on for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum home computer. This was an 8-bit hardware speech synthesiser that converted any key press on the Spectrum to a spoken word, and also allowed for specific word and phrase creating via simple BASIC programming. All the component phoneme sounds, plus full words and phrases, have been sampled.

SpecTalk is ideal for sound design, glitch, experimental and dance music, where its phonetic components can be treated as musical or rhythmical elements in their own right (they respond particularly well to further processing); and of course for creating robotic-style ad-libs, shout-outs, voice-overs, vocal phrases and stutter effects with a uniquely old-school 1980s flavour.

Rhythm Robot SpecTalk
SpecTalk 1980s-style 8-bit computerised speech synthesiser for NI Kontakt.

SpecTalk features

  • Complete phoneme set allowing the creation of infinite original vocal phrases.
  • Built-in library of pre-recorded phrases and words.
  • 8-bit quality throughout (sampled at 24-bit!).
  • True 1980s-vintage robot voices.
  • Phoneme components ideal for sound design and further manipulation.

The SpecTalk sample library for Kontakt (full version 4.2.3 or later) is available to purchase for £4.95 GBP. Previous Rhythm Robot customers can get SpecTalk free of charge (check your email).

More information: Rhythm Robot / SpecTalk

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Pethu SpecDrum, free vintage Cheetah SpecDrum sounds for Kontakt

Pethu SpecDrum

Pethu has released SpecDrum, a free sample library for Native Instruments Kontakt.

All the 32 sounds from the 4 drumkits available for the vintage Cheetah SpecDrum drum sampler.

The Cheetah SpecDrum was a poor man’s Linn alternative – an 8-bit, 3-channel sample player that bolted onto the back of a Sinclair ZX Spectrum computer. Both sequencer program and drum samples had to fit in 48KB’s of RAM, so no wonder long cymbal crashes are in short supply! Despite that, the sounds are surprisingly good.

This set was captured using the Spectaculator 7 Spectrum emulator which includes an emulation of the Cheetah SpecDrum hardware.

SpecDrum for Kontakt 4.1 or higher is available as a free download from the Pethu website.

More information: Pethu Music

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Short links for June 9th, 2008

Some interesting things I found on June 9th, 2008:

Intua BeatMaker

# Intua BeatMaker

The first music creation studio for the iPhone and iPod Touch

BeatMaker introduces a new generation of mobile instruments and music creation software. Inspired by hardware beatboxes, loop samplers and software sequencers, it combines them to turn the iPod into a unique, inspirational software instrument.

# Playing the Building | An Installation by David Byrne – a 9,000-square-foot, interactive, site-specific installation by renowned artist David Byrne. The artist transforms the interior of the landmark Battery Maritime Building in Lower Manhattan into a massive sound sculpture that all visitors are invited to sit and “play.”

# Radiohead Nude remix on Sinclair ZX Spectrum – A remix of Radiohead's Nude played by a Sinclair ZX Spectrum computer, Epson dot matrix printer, HP Scanjet scanner, and an array of hard drives.

# Roland TB-303 # Roland TR-808 # Roland TR-909 – Pattern Library – Erik Zimmermann's "very happy" acid website

# Nine Inch Nails – New band, new tour sampler – I am proud to announce the final personnel lineup of nine inch nails for the foreseeable future. We’ve added, we’ve subtracted and we’ve wound up with unquestionably the strongest lineup I’ve EVER had.

# Music Thing: Chimera BC16 mini synth review – Tom Whitwell shares what he's thinking after a week with the Chimera BC16.

# A short review of the Tascam DR-1 – Brad Linder's friend and colleague Eugene Sonn recently purchased a Tascam DR-1 handheld digital audio recorder. He wanted to put it through the paces before deciding whether this low-cost recorder was a keeper.

# The Gerbil’s Revenge – Sasha Frere-Jones on Auto-Tune

Sacha writes:

No one has used Auto-Tune’s zero speed setting more consistently and successfully than the R. & B. singer T-Pain. Born Faheem Najm, in Tallahassee, he has become such a common guest on pop records that in a single week last year he was featured on four singles in the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, including the No. 1 song, Chris Brown’s “Kiss Kiss.” In the same way that the dry, flat drum sounds in Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” will forever say “mid-seventies,” T-Pain and Auto-Tune will forever remind people of the late aughts.

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