Point Blank intros free Monster Timestretch device for Ableton Live

Point Blank has announced Monster Timestretch, a free Max for Live device for Ableton Live by Daniel Herbert.

The new Max for Live device from Point Blank is a timestretching plugin based on a technique known as phase vocoding and can time stretch sounds in realtime. It’s similar to the fantastic Paul Stretch and is ideal for creating slowly evolving drone-like textures as well as more futuristic sounds.

There are four different modes which allow you to play through and explore the sound in a variety of ways and literally freeze the sound.

The plugin is limited to processing the first 30 seconds of an audio file and only works within Ableton as a M4L device and will not play in any other DAW. We recommend you use resampling if you need to record the effect to a new audio file.

The plugin is a free download at Point Blank.

More information: Point Blank / Monster Timestretch

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MOTU shipping MachFive 3.0 sampler

MOTU has announced it is now shipping MachFive 3.0, a major upgrade to their universal sampler for creative music production.

Rebuilt from the ground up, version 3.0 includes a new user interface design, an extensive 45 GB sound library, seven signature instruments based on new scripting technology, a new hybrid synthesis engine, licensed algorithms from the IRCAM research institute, and many other new features and enhancements.

“With exciting new features and unified, cutting-edge technologies, MachFive 3 achieves our goal: to deliver an inspiring creative sampler and sound design tool for musicians, producers, engineers, DJs, remixers, and sound designers,” said Jim Cooper, MOTU Director of Marketing.

MOTU MachFive 3.0

Design and features

The MachFive 3 window displays a tabbed list on the left-hand side, main controls across the top, and a tabbed main area in the rest of the window for access to all other features. Sections can be resized, shown, or hidden as needed, to streamline operation for any task or workflow. MachFive’s window is designed to operate at various sizes, from a compact plug-in running inside host software to a full screen application taking full advantage of cinema-sized displays.

To load sounds into MachFive’s unlimited parts, a multi-column preset browser fills the MachFive window and remains open while loading multiple parts to save time. “Favorite” locations are listed along with hard drive volumes, frequently accessed folders, sound banks, and 3rd-party sampler disc images. Type a word or phrase into the new search field to instantly list all matching presets from all sound banks and libraries.

Once sounds are loaded, users click any part to view basic settings in the Info tab, including a representative graphic of the sound currently loaded into the part, a virtual keyboard for playing the sound, several basic “macro” controls for tweaking the sound, and text hints for using the macro controls.

Most of MachFive’s thousands of factory-supplied presets provide macro controls for direct access to the sound’s most crucial and interesting parameters, from reverb time to filter cutoff frequency. This allows users to tweak sounds quickly, without having to dig through complicated screens full of controls. Some macros even adjust several parameters at once to completely transform the sound with a simple knob twist.

MOTU MachFive 3.0 Mixer

For deeper editing and sound design, additional tabs are available for the Oscillator Editor, Mapping Editor, Tree Editor, List Editor, Mixer view, Performance (multi) view, Effects Rack, Event Processor Rack, modulation settings panel, and other settings.

Sounds and Instruments

MachFive 3 includes 7 DVDs with 45 GB of multi-sampled instruments, synth patches, loops, phrases, sound design elements, and sound effects. The Universal Loops & Instruments sound bank is the most versatile, spanning a wide variety of acoustic and electric musical instruments, genres, eras, geographical regions, and cultural styles. The MachFive Biosphere™ sound bank provides hundreds of fresh, rich synth textures, including sweeping arpeggiations, enveloping atmospheres, soaring leads, anthem stacks, resonating pads and many other sounds developed by leading programmers. From car crashes to space storms, the 8 GB Xtreme FX bonus library developed by ultimatesoundbank.com provides 5000 creative sound effects, foley effects, and provocative sound textures that are ideal for music production and sound design alike.

MOTU MachFive discs

All of these multi-sampled sounds can be used side by side — or even combined — with MachFive 3’s new synth engine, which produces twelve milestone forms of synthesis developed over the past 40 years, from classic additive and subtractive, to frequency modulation (FM), wavetable, and even granular synthesis. MachFive’s granular synthesizer has been licensed from the IRCAM institute in Paris and represents one of the most advanced, yet easy-to-use forms of this technology currently available. Users can load any sound and quickly transform it into completely new material. Further dynamic sound morphing can be be easily applied by simply automating or modulating granular synth controls such as speed, direction, density and grain size.

MOTU MachFive FX Rack

MachFive’s effects architecture has been redesigned to facilitate the use of effects processing both in sound design and in MachFive’s conventional mixer. 47 different effects, including convolution reverb, can be applied to sound design objects such as individual oscillators/keygroups, keygroup layers, and programs (presets), where they essentially become part of the sound itself. Alternately, effects can be applied throughout MachFive’s mixer as channel inserts, aux bus inserts, and even as master effects on the master fader, limited only by CPU resources.

Rounding out MachFive’s included sound library are seven signature acoustic and electric multi-sample instruments, developed in partnership with acousticsamples.net, that showcase MachFive’s new scripting technology. Together, these instruments deliver a complete rhythm section to any computer desktop, including guitar, bass, keys, drums, and percussion.

Acousticsamples

Like a real player, MachFive’s scripted instruments add expressive nuance that faithfully reproduces not only the sound but the playing characteristics of the instrument, including finger picking techniques, string hammer-ons, note-bending, and chord strumming. The electric guitar and bass instruments play proper fingerings and inversions for guitar chords, regardless of how they are played on a keyboard or other MIDI controller. MachFive’s signature instruments set a new standard for virtual instrument realism and ease of use:

  • Telematic™ — a dynamic recreation of the Fender® Telecaster® electric guitar with 9500 samples, five velocity layers, four round robin samples per note, separate up and down strokes, hammer on, pull off, slides up and down, mutes, fret noises, chord recognition, strumming engine, chord sequencing, automatic hand position, and solo mode string detection.
  • Star Drums™ — a complete drum set in both acoustic and processed versions with multiple mics, mixing, adjustable sample cycling, and easy setup with support for General MIDI and other industry standard MIDI controller mappings.
  • J-Bass™ — a deeply sampled and scripted electric bass with a variety of playing techniques, including finger and pick (with or without muting from the right hand), legato, hammer, and slide.
  • The Upright™ — a world-class acoustic upright bass supplied with multiple miking positions and many playing techniques including hammer, slide, legato, slap, release volume, and sensitivity.
  • F Grand 278™ — expertly crafted Fazioli concert grand with release volume, pedal volume, key noises, resonance volume (the sound of the body of the piano), room ambiance (convolution), velocity sensitivity and velocity amplification.
  • Mark 79™ — richly-sampled classic Fender® Rhodes® Mark II suitcase piano from 1979, including 2500 samples across ten velocity layers with time-based release samples for accurate staccato, resonance, effects such as tremolo and spring reverb, and adjustable key and pedal noise.
  • Percussiv™ — a comprehensive latin/world percussion set with both General MIDI and default mappings.

Technology

Built on the 3rd-generation UVI Engine XT, MachFive provides a host of advanced features for high-end music production, such as on-the-fly upsampling and downsampling, so that users do not need to be concerned with the bit depth or sample rate of their sample material. Other advanced features include an enhanced, highly efficient disk streaming engine, support for HD audio, and full support for up to 7.1 multi-channel surround sound.

IRCAM

MachFive 3 excels at audio time-stretching and pitch-shifting with algorithms licensed from the renowned IRCAM research institute. Audio material can be stretched as much as four to five times slower or faster with no noticeable or harmful artifacts, while maintaining stereo phase coherence and rhythmic accuracy. For example, a guitar pick can be heard slowly scraping across each string in the strum of a chord that has been slowed down to 25% of its original speed, with audio clarity akin to the vivid visual clarity of slow-motion high-definition video. Several modes are provided to produce optimum results for various types of audio material. Time-stretching examples can be listened to here.

To fully support its advanced, flexible synthesis, sampling and sound design environment, almost every setting in MachFive can be automated, modulated, or both, with an unlimited number of internal sources (syncable LFOs, unlimited multi-point envelopes, rhythmic step envelopes, user-programmable macros, etc.) and external assignments via straight-forward MIDI Learn. Advanced external sources include unipolar random, unipolar unison, organ pan, and poly aftertouch. Mappers provide additional shaping of automation control. The open-ended architecture allows for unlimited modulation connections, available at every stage in the synthesis engine. MachFive’s Tree Editor is an ideal place to view and manage modulation connections, as it shows everything in orderly hierarchical fashion.

For multi-sample instrument development, MachFive 3 provides a colorful, full-screen graphic Mapping Editor with many convenient tools for quickly building multi-sample, multi-layer presets. Performance View provides a straightforward graphic interface for programming key switches, key range crossfades, velocity crossfades, and other dynamic multi-layer behaviors. The Layer Rules Editor provides a hierarchical, rules-based system for more complex behaviors between sample layers, based on MIDI input characteristics such as note duration, playing speed, same-note cycling, and others.

For professional sound designers with programming chops, MachFive provides a scripting engine to support custom scripted instruments written in MachFiveScript™, a straightforward programming API based on an industry-standard programming language (www.lua.org) used heavily in the gaming industry. Script processors perform advanced, customized transformations and analysis of MIDI data streams, as demonstrated by MachFive’s included signature instruments. For example, MachFive’s Telematic script, developed by acousticsamples.net, can generate authentic chord strumming.

Script processors and event processors are managed in MachFive’s Event Processor Rack, which looks and works just like the Effects Rack: users choose a part and then load processors into the rack. Preset event processors include an advanced arpeggiator with dozens of presents, a user-editable micro tuner that supports the open-standard Scala microtonal scale standard, a chord recognition module, a chord generator, a unison generator, and an ensemble generator.

MOTU MachFive 3.0 Loop Edit

Additional MachFive 3 Feature Highlights

  • LoopLab™ — An advanced slice loop editor that supports REX, ACID, UFS, Apple Loops, and custom loops.
  • Universal 3rd-party sample library support – Directly reads all major 3rd-party hardware/software sample formats and sample discs (Kontakt, Giga, EXS24, HALion, Kurzweil, Akai, Roland, Ensoniq, Sample Cell, and many others) with no conversion, for consolidated sound library management.
  • Complete mixing – Graphic mixer with faders, FX inserts, and unlimited channels.
  • New Xpander filter — Based on the venerable Oberheim Xpander, this new filter provides 37 modes, each a separate filter in its own right.
  • IR Verb™ — A CPU-efficient convolution reverb processor that provides hundreds of presets for acoustic spaces, classic high-end studio reverbs, vintage plates and spring reverbs, plus eclectic impulse responses for sound design. Drag and drop your own IRs, and you can even edit IR waveforms directly.
  • Drag and drop operation — Supports easy drag and drop importing of audio files, loops, and samples to and from the computer desktop or a host software application.
  • Multi-sample import — Drag and drop multiple samples in one operation to map them intelligently into layers or splits. With straightforward sample-naming conventions, hundreds of samples can be precisely mapped in seconds with a single drag and drop operation.
  • Multiple outputs – Submix to 17 stereo output pairs.
  • Unlimited polyphony – Includes ultra-low software latency.

System specs, availability, and pricing
MachFive 3.0 supports Mac OS X (10.5 or later) and Windows 7/Vista. It operates stand-alone or as a plug-in (AU, VST and RTAS). 64-bit operation is available for supporting systems and hosts.

MachFive 3.0 is now shipping. Price remains the same at $495. Registered version 1 and 2 users can upgrade to version 3 for $179. A competitive upgrade is also available, with proof of ownership, for $295.

More information: MOTU / MachFive 3.0

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Short links for December 15th, 2010

Some interesting things I found recently:

# Nintendo NES Does MIDI and Live Music, Integrated into Your Studio

Peter Kirn at Create Digital Music:

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.

Below a video of NES tracker Pulsar.

# Free Max for Live devices

Christian Kleine has released a number of Max for Live devices, including timestretching, delay, extreme chorus, spring reverb, ringmod, drum synth, comb filters, audio recorder and more.

The devices are available at no cost. Donations are welcome.

# OpenKinect – Keyboard Anywhere

Made possible by libfreenect (http://openkinect.org) and coded in python.

# little-scale: NanoKontrol As Simple Waveform Editor

Sebastian Tomczak writes:

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

Daniel Feles writes:

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

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Review: Native Instruments George Duke Soul Treasures

Native Instruments George Duke Soul Treasures

Native Instruments has recently released George Duke Soul Treasures, a Kontakt Player powered virtual instrument featuring sounds by the legendary George Duke.

GEORGE DUKE SOUL TREASURES is a treasure trove for producers looking for instant soul for their tracks.

Exclusively recorded for Native Instruments by American soul and jazz legend George Duke, over 500 soul-drenched keyboard loops are ready to go, and without the need to dig for samples through crates of dusty vinyl.

Even if you don’t know George Duke there’s a good chance you have heard some of his work. Check this lovely interview with George below.

Made it through the video? You probably already went on over to the NI Online Shop to buy this library, right? Hello?

George sums up this library pretty well when he explains about the project:

“I was trying to figure out exactly what to play and eventually I just said you know what? I’m just gonna play, because you never know what these guys may wanna use, and so I just let my mind just go, and I mean I played for hours in here. Just playing, okay keep the tape rolling, just rolling just playing… and whatever came out came out.”

And that’s exactly what Soul Treasures provides. Tons of authentic soulful sounds that are just dying to get chopped up and manipulated to fit your own productions. No crate diggin’ required.

Soul Treasures offers loops in four categories: Electric Piano (Rhodes), Grand Piano (acoustic), Wurlitzer and Clavinet. The phrases were recorded using vintage equipment, with both “clean” and “tubes and tapes” signal routing. The tubes and tapes versions were done with lots of analog outboard gear to get that authentic warm vibe. Check the diagrams for details.

The library comes with an advanced Kontakt instrument interface, allowing instant access to various tools to re-arrange phrases and extensively tweak these sliced and tempo-synced loops.

Native Instruments George Duke Soul Treasures
Soul Treasures performance view in Kontakt

In the “Waveform Display” you will notice four buttons in the top middle: tune, volume, attack, and stretch. To change values for these you simply click and drag in the appropriate slices. Very intuitive. Under each slice is a button for reversing the sample and you can drag MIDI sequences to your DAW directly from the waveform display. A handy audio preview button is located in the top left of the display.

Below the waveform display are two page buttons. The Sound page includes controls for:

  • Signal chain selection, clean or tubes & tape.
  • Time strech, which activates Kontakt’s Time Machine – syncing loops to the tempo of Kontakt or the host application.
  • Filter section with 8 filter types.
  • Echo & Room section with various reverb (impulse response) and delay effects.

The Trigger page is where you control the way the instrument behaves when triggering the slices and effects with your controller, or via the keyboard in the Kontakt interface.

  • Keyboard sections for FX Chain, Tuning, and Tigger. A white dot indicates an active preset/tuning/slice, and dropdown menus are available for selecting different chains and root tuning.
  • Latch section with toggles for the fx chain and tuning so that the setting will stay active after releasing the key.
  • Trigger modes include Loop, One-Shot, and Choke (when a new slice is played it mutes the previous sound).

All these controls make for a pretty flexible instrument, though there are some downsides. Using time stretching on the loops inside the Kontakt has its limits (things sound quite warbly once you move away too far from the original bpm a phrase was recorded in), and you can’t set slices manually.

This can be a minor or major issue depending on how you want to use these sounds. However, Native Instruments provides an additional full set of 24bit wav files for use in other applications. Brilliant!

So what do I think?

Product: Native Instruments George Duke Soul Treasures
Format: Kontakt/Kontakt Player NKI’s + 24bit/44kHz samples
Price: 99 EUR / $119 USD
Like: authentic sound, intuitive and versatile interface, wav files included
Don’t like: no manual slicing, timestretching limitations
Verdict: 9/10

This is definitely one of my favorite Kontakt instruments. Soul Treasures delivers some outstanding original soulful & funky samples. In combination with Kontakt it becomes a proper instrument with various ways to manipulate the sounds on the fly.

The range of sounds and melodies is more versatile than you might expect. I love hearing subtle nuances in the phrases and I can just imagine George as he was recording these sounds, for hours and hours. It feels and sounds like a labor of love.

In short, I think Soul Treasures is a true gem. When you think of it, it’s really amazing that you can actually buy a set of performances by this legendary musician. The samples are truly inspiring and I reckon the sounds of Soul Treasures will be used in countless modern day productions.

More information: Native Instruments / George Duke Soul Treasures

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Short links for April 9th, 2010

Eskamon - Fine Objects

Some interesting things I found recently:

# ESKAMON "Fine Objects"

ESKAMON is the new colaboration project between Amon Tobin (Ninja Tune) & Eskmo (Warp, Planet Mu, Ancestor). “Fine Objects” is the first single by the duo that’s set for release on Eskmo’s own imprint “Ancestor.”

“Fine Objects” is the result of the pair’s unique take on sonic exploration and the manipulation of field recordings. From the onset, the two went out with a recorder, gathering sounds from around the house, yard and studio. Material recorded out of the studio included sounds from a parking garage elevator, a broken harp and the droning tones from a discarded piano. These were combined with more home-centric sounds to form the central theme to the song. With lumbering alien bass and intentionally dry, off-kilter percussion, “Objects” quickly grew into it’s own symbolic representation of taking “odd pieces” and allowing them to grow into something a bit more “refined and ablaze.”

Fine Objects is out now, just $1 USD for the mp3, $2 USD for a wav copy.

A wav sample pack of the sounds created for the song + an Ableton pack and 10 minute tutorial video by ill. Gates utilizing the material from the original pack are available to download at no cost (in exchange for your email address). A remix competition is apparently in the works as well.

# Should rekkerd.org have a general (email) newsletter?

I thought it would be interesting to see if you think a general rekkerd.org newsletter would be a good idea. After a few days of having the poll up it seems there isn't much interest at all (judging by the low response rate) but I have decided to set up this newsletter anyway. It will occasionally go out with info on contests, new sample packs, promotions and more.

Visit rekkerd.org/newsletter to subscribe.

Note: since there were already separate announcement lists for contests/giveaways and sample packs I have merged these with the general newsletter. There is now only one announcement/newsletter list.

Knowledge Sabre Remix Competition

# Knowledge Sabre Remix Competition

Kmag, Sabre and Critical Music are running a competition for producers to remix Sabre's One Hundred Teeth. Not only do you get to download the original tune for free but also all the stems needed for remixing.

The winning remix will receive £1000 of Addict clothing and a SoundCloud Pro Plus and three runners up will get SoundCloud Lite accounts. Deadline for entries is Sunday May 2nd 2010 and the winner will be announced by May 12th.

Sabre recently spoke about the track he made for the competition and his new album. He also gives a brief to point producers in the right direction for the competition and talks about how he approaches remixes himself.

# Free Loops.us – 500 (royalty) free drum, bass, synth and other loops, in wav 16-bit 44.1 khz format.

Little-Scale Periodic Waveform Editor for iPhone via TouchOSC

# Periodic Waveform Editor for iPhone via TouchOSC

Sebastian @ little-scale writes:

This is a simple periodic waveform editor for the iPhone / iPod Touch made using TouchOSC. The waveform has sixteen steps. There is also a slider that controls the frequency of the waveform. This is not supposed to be something useful; rather, it further explores the idea of touching sound, something that I have been fascinated with. If someone wants the Max/MSP patch or the TouchOSC template, please let me know.

# PaulStretch — New Build For the New Decade…

Kent Williams has released an updated version of PaulStretch for Mac:

Judging from the WP Stats, my posts about the PaulStretch extreme audio timestretching application are by far the most popular blog posts I’ve ever made, indeed I think people will be downloading it after I’m dead if this domain outlives me. Well, today I took the time to ‘refresh’ the PaulStretch stuff. This means I updated all the libraries it depends on to current versions and rebuilt the program. I don’t mess with the program source code itself — nothing has changed in appearance or tools. The one thing that has changed — and it’s a biggie! — is that it now can load MP3 files for processing without crashing. Huzzah!

Note that this one is Intel-only, a PPC version is now available here.

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Short links for November 6th, 2008

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