Results for Tom Shear

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Review: Waveformless Soundware DIVA Prima

Waveformless DIVA Prima

Waveformless Soundware’s latest offering is DIVA Prima, a collection of sounds for u-he’s virtual analog DIVA software synthesizer for Windows and Mac.

DIVA Prima is a testiment to the flexibilty of u-he’s creation. Chunky Minimoog basses, Kraftwerkian synth percussion and drums, raspy mono-leads, lush Solina-like synth strings, massive, Jupiter-esque pads, delicate, glassy plucks, and even digital, FM-type sounds.

On top of that, we’ve included some sound-alike patches. Need the resonant synth sound from Yaz’s “Only You”? We’ve got it here. Need the famous Yamaha TX81Z “Latelybass” preset? We’ve got a pretty convincing version of that, too. Gary Numan-esque strings? Gotcha covered.

But we don’t stop there. Amidst all of the beautiful sounds are their ugly cousins, using crossmod, filter FM, and other unusual techniques to give you startlingly original and edgy sounds sure to stand out in a mix.

The soundset includes 128 patches (plus an Init to create your own). Unfortunately they aren’t categorized or tagged as such, which is a shame because I do like my patches neatly ordered when possible. With this amount of patches it’s alright though, also since many patches have good descriptions.

Waveformless DIVA Prima
Part of the patch list of Diva Prima, with a lovely OSCar like lead patch selected, that is similar to the type of leads Ultravox often used.

Many patches have useful modulation mappings, allowing for more expressive playing. Diva’s patch information panel is used to describe the patches and show which controls are mapped.

When you audition your new patches, be sure to check out what the mod wheel or aftertouch does. It might be something subtle like opening the filter or adding vibrato, or it might be something much more striking via crossmod or filter FM, but almost every patch has some sort of modulation assigned to it for more expressive sounds.

Have a listen to the demo tracks below to get a good idea of what’s included. These are all DIVA only (with just minimal mastering processing).

So what do I think?

Product: DIVA Prima by Waveformless
Format: .h2p patches for u-he DIVA
Price: $9.99 USD
Like: Well programmed, good variety, cheap
Don’t like: –
Verdict: 8/10

With DIVA Prima, Tom Shear delivers a solid set of sounds for u-he’s virtual analog synthesizer.

Tom’s industrial/EBM background shows, but I am always pleasantly surprised by the versatility of his sounds. As with previous Waveformless soundsets, this collection includes a well balanced amount of bread & butter patches, as well as more unusual sounds.

Diva truly is a superb synthesizer – I reckon one of the best virtual analog’s at this moment – and the sounds of DIVA Prima do shine on this beast. Also, the $9.99 price tag is not likely to be a deal-breaker. Check out this great value for money soundset at the Wavefromless website, and make sure to pick up the free demo pack with 10 patches.

More information: Waveformless Soundware / DIVA Prima

Review: Waveformless DUNE Spiceflow

Regular rekkerd readers will likely recognize the name Tom Shear. I frequently post links to Tom’s excellent blog Waveformless, where he shares tons of tips and tricks, ebay finds, free sample packs and more.

Waveformless DUNE Spiceflow

A few months ago saw the launch of Waveformless Soundware, a site where Tom shows his expertise in sound design by – to quote the website, providing high quality presets for popular softsynths at extremely reasonable prices.

After releasing a soundset for reFX Vanguard, Waveformless Soundware’s second title is Dune Spiceflow, a collection of 128 presets for the Dune virtual synthesizer by Synapse Audio.

Packed with musically useful sounds perfect for electrohouse, trance, dubstep, EBM and more. Thundering basses, scorching leads, widescreen pads, evolving arps, wavetable and wave sequenced sounds, useful effects, punchy drums – this is a soundset that covers all the bases for electronic musicians looking for inspiring new sounds.

Check the demo tracks below to get an idea of the kind of sounds included in this soundset. Note that all sounds in these demos (including the drums) are from the Dune Spiceflow set.

If you like what you just heard you should probably just skip the rest of this review and go buy the set. Really.

In detail, Dune Spiceflow includes 18 arps, 23 basses, 6 chords, 8 drums, 3 keys, 20 leads, 18 pads, 6 sound fx, and 26 synth sounds.

The soundset takes advantage of Dune’s category tagging feature to assist you in finding specific types of sounds. Many patches also have patch information detailing modwheel assignment and general info on what the sound is all about.

I took some of my favorite patches from the set and created a few loops with them. Everything you hear is Spiceflow, no effects used.

If you like these loops you can download them here.

So what do I think?

Product: Waveformless DUNE Spiceflow
Format: fxp/fxb patches
Price: $9.99 USD
Like: usable and inspiring sounds, use of modwheel, low price
Don’t like: –
Verdict: 8/10

My first impression of Spiceflow is very positive. There is lots of material in this bank that suits my music. I don’t consider my tunes to fit into electrohouse, trance, dubstep, or EBM genres, so “and more” is rightfully denoted on the product page.

To be honest, I am not likely to ever use patches like the drum hit sounds, but they do demonstrate the overall sound design quality and variety of this set. Spiceflow does a good job balancing both classic and more modern sounds. I am most excited about the pads, chords and keys. The whole set feels like a collection of handpicked favorites from a private stash of “best of” sounds.

This is my Waveformless soundset, but I think I already recognize a signature sound. Even when working with a synthesizer that is relatively easy to program (such as Dune), you are not likely to come up with the exact same sounds. For me, new patches are an opportunity to get inspired and I often let sounds direct the development of a track. Spiceflow is certainly going to serve me well in this respect.

In short, priced at just under 10 dollars, Dune Spiceflow offers incredible value for money. I reckon it is a worthwhile soundset for any Dune user.

More information: Waveformless Soundware / Synapse Audio Dune

Short links for February 16th, 2011

Some interesting things I found recently:

# Visualized: 37 years of Roland synths in one awesome animated GIF

88 Roland synthesizers

Engadget reports on an animated gif which holds a collection of 88 Roland synths:

You know how much we love our vintage MIDI gear, and apparently our friend Ronny from Das Kraftfuttermischwerk is every bit as big a fan as we are. To that end, he's taken Music Radar's recent guide to all-things Roland and turned it into an awesome (and headache-inducing) animated GIF.

Apparently the collection lacks the TR and TB series instruments, otherwise everything the company has produced between 1973 and 2010 should be there.

Check the Das Kraftfuttermischwerk site for the animated gif and a large image with all synths included.

# The Kitten sample pack (analog synth)

gnome at dubstepforum.com writes:

A small sample pack of The Kitten by Octave. This was recorded and compiled by me. I would like to do some more packs with this synth. So please let me know what you think of this curent pack and how it can be improved.

# KVR: new skin (Triple Cheese)

New skin for u-he's freeware Triple Cheese software synthesizer.

u-he Triple Cheese
u-he Triple Cheese in a new skin

Download Triple Cheese for Windows and Mac (VST/AU) from u-he

# 72 New Hacks From Music Hack Day NYC 2011

Synthtopia has a round-up of the 72 hacks fro mthe Music Hack Day NYC, held this weekend in New York, NY.

The events are an opportunity for music geeks to get together and create new hacks, combining music + software + mobile + hardware + art + the web.

# The MC-20 Controller

The MC-20 Controller. Special build for iMS-20 APP from Korg, to use with the iPad.

MC-20 Controller

With iPad Slot to keep the iPad inside the case, and remove it, when ever you want, without opening the case.

# Waveformless: Free Sample Friday: Washer & Dryer

More free samples from Tom Shear:

Today's free samples are various sounds made with a washer & dryer. I slammed lids, dropped coins on it, twisted the knobs, removed the lint trap, and a bunch of other stuff to provide a bunch of metallic percussion sounds or just good fodder for sample manipulation. 8 24-bit, stereo WAVs weighing in at 3.3 MB.

… and some more free samples from Dan303

# Microkorg and Monotron Basslines

Dan writes:

Here's some new samples for all of you music production lovers out there.
It's just a small pack this time but I hope you'll find them usefull.

This pack contains: 10 basslines made by running the Microkorg through the filter on the Korg Monotron. There's a little bit of background noise from the Monotron filter but a little bit of grit never hurt anyone.

# MPC Poster

MPC users rejoice with this lovely poster by Hip Hop Makers.

Hip Hop Makers MPC poster

# C64 LIVE DEMO – SID bassline (commodore cynthcart mssiah prophet64)

Live demo of one of my songs.
Bassline is played by an good old C64 equipped with Cynthcart.
Tune is called "we ain't finished yet" and has been featured on DEAD PIXELS long play.

In 2009 I began experimenting with SID chiptune (built-in sound generator chip of Commodore 64), and Cynthcart to create a blend of original 8bit sound from the 80's and Rock music.

More info at SH Music

Waveformless Soundware releases Vanguard Phoenix Bank

Waveformless Soundware has launched with the release of the Vanguard Phoenix Bank, a collection of patches for the Vanguard virtual synthesizer by reFX.

Waveformless Vanguard Phoenix Bank

Why is our debut product a bank of sounds for a relatively old soft-synth? Because we believe that every good programmer knows that just because a synth is a little long in the tooth, that doesn’t mean there aren’t still great sounds to be found within it. With that in mind, “Vanguard Phoenix” aims to breathe new life into Vanguard and take it places you never knew it could go.

Floor-rattling Moog basses, thick, lush pads, searing leads, convincing vintage synths, icy, digital tones, complex, evolving arps – you’ll find them all here in a bank of 128 brand new patches programmed by Tom Shear. These sounds go well beyond the expected trance leads (which you’ll also find here) and would be equally at home in electro-house, minimal, synth-pop, EBM, and even old-school vintage styles.

All sounds included both as a full bank (.fxb format) and as individual patches (.fxp format). Also includes a PDF installation guide. Requires Vanguard 1.8.

The Waveformless Vanguard Phoenix Bank is available to purchase as a download for $9.99 USD. A demo bank with 10 free patches is available to download from the Waveformless Soundware website.

More information: Waveformless Soundware

Short links for November 12th, 2010

Some interesting things I found recently:

# The Bit Blob 2 and Bit Blob Jr.

Bleep Labs is back with some more Bit Blob noise makers.

The Bit Blob 2 and Bit Blob Junior are now available to order ($225 and $55-$80 USD respectively), ships by December 6th.

# Handmade Music NYC 11/14

Handmade Music is part party, part science fair. Come meet people who make things that make music.

Glockhand

This month:

  • A duo of classical guitarists who play video games with their instruments
  • A project that sequences beats as you play a game of checkers
  • Chip music on Game Boy
  • Surf rock meets speed metal on glockenspiel, Casio, drums, bass

…plus

The official launch party for the MeeBlip, new, affordable open source synth hardware for everyone.

More info at the Handmade Music blog.

Korg iMS-20

# Korg iMS-20 Review

Synthtopia rounds up some first impressions, like this one from ipaddj:

Anyone who has used the Korg Legacy plug-in will know what they are in for and the fact that you can grab patch cables and route them using the touchscreen is almost mind-melting. Like a childhood fantasy come true.

The huge sound of the MS-20 is totally there and I couldn’t stop making Daft Punk patches for the first few hours using the beast.

# Free Sample Friday: Virus Drums

Access Virus

Tom at Waveformless celebrates his birthday (happy birthday, Tom!) with another free sample pack:

Today is my birthday, and in the spirit of "it's better to give than to receive", here are some free synthesized drum sounds from the Access Virus. I made these quite some time ago, so they were recorded at 16-bit through an E-mu E6400. As a result, some of them have a little noise in them, but around these parts, we like to call that "character". The source of the sounds is a mix of factory patches and third party patches.

u-he ACE

# U-HE ACE TIP: Pulse Width Modulation Basics

Mark at Modulate This! explains how to the OSC modulate pulse width on u-he's splendid ACE synth.

After watching my YouTube video “u-he ACE Tutorial: Patch Cables 101”, I had a viewer ask “How can i modulate the pulse width of? the osciliator?”, so I thought I’d do a quick answer here in text form. Click the image above to see a larger version of the synth. Annotation numbers in diagram match steps below.

Short links for August 24th, 2010

Some interesting things I found recently:

# The World’s Biggest Drum Machine

If you ever wonder what we do at night here at the PHQ, here it the answer: We build large, silly drum controllers and haul them across town.

# Find, Remix and Reuse – SoundCloud Style

SoundCloud gets advanced search, browse by tag, and Creative Commons integration.

Choice is good, right? We just love that we can pick our favorite ice cream flavor or favorite color for a new shirt. When it comes to audio creation, it’s even better when your choice creates more choice for others.

Today, SoundCloud is opening up a bit more to allow you to find and share more sounds to use and reuse. With new search and discovery features for Creative Commons tracks, your creations can go much further. More options give you more freedom over your audio content on the web. It helps expose your work and find people to collaborate with that you perhaps wouldn’t normally find. We’re excited about this update and we hope you are too. We say “New features!” you say “Yay!”

Some of my music and samples (both Creative Commons licensed) are available from SoundCloud as well.

# Incredible vintage lucite organ for sale

Wersi Electronics Delta Digital DX500
Wersi Electronics Delta Digital DX500

From Boing Boing:

Over at ye olde Submitterator, Pea Hix points us to this magnificent c.1970 lucite Wersi Digital DX500 organ and speakers for sale.

“The Delta Digital DX500 organ comes replete with all manuals, control panel templates, music stand, amplified speakers, lucite dollies, pedal board, adjustable bench and chromed keys. And it works beautifully!!!” Just $85,000 at 1stdibs.com.

# Free Synth Patch Friday: 12 New Patches for Camel Audio Alchemy

Tom @ Waveformless is back with some free sounds:

We have a little something different instead of Free Sample Friday this week. Instead, we have Free Synth Patch Friday. Below are 12 weird, original patches for Camel Audio Alchemy programmed by yours truly. Enjoy!

More patches from Tom are available on Waveformless

Mark Mosher's setup

# Percussa AudioCube Production and Performance Notes for “I Hear Your Signals”

Mark writes:

For my original music album “I Hear Your Signals” (download the album free) I use Percussa Audiocubes as performance controllers. In this post I’ll give you all the geeky details about how the controllers were applied in the project.

I used 4 AudioCubes plus Percussa’s free MIDIbridge app on Windows to configure and route AudioCube signals to Ableton Live. I use the same MIDIbridge patch for every song which allows for consistent and predictable data mapping from the cubes to Ableton Live.

In general, I play a lot of the notes on you hear on the album via keyboards, Theremin and Tenori-On live. I tend to use the cubes as controllers, for scene launching, and for real-time modulation of effects and synth parameters and only use them for triggering notes from time to time.

# V-Synth GT Richard Devine Patches

Roland has released a free collection custom V-Synth GT Patches from Atlanta-based electronic musician, composer and sound designer Richard Devine.

Short links for August 10th, 2010

SONION + SuONOIO

Some interesting things I found recently:

# Interview, Workspace Tour: Alessandro Cortini’s SONOIO Album and Synth

Peter Kirn talks to Alessandro Cortini:

Call it cable addiction. Italian-born musician Alessandro Cortini, known for his live keyboard work with Nine Inch Nails, retreated into the studio with classic and contemporary Buchla modular synths to make “SONOIO.” Guided by his uniquely personal compositional style, he was able to wrangle that mess of chords and layers of analog sound into a genuine collection of beautifully-written songs, stacked high with Buchla timbral goodness.

Check some tracks from Alessandro’s new album below.

# Why Use High Sample Rates?

Tim Prebble writes:

This is a question I see often: if the final form of the project is 44.1kHz or 48khz, why bother recording at high sample rates? There isn’t any one answer to that question, there are lots of answers. But I thought it might be useful to illustrate a reason by using a real world example…. And if you cannot be bothered reading all of this, then just remember this: Plugins LOVE dense data!

Korg MonoTron

# Review: Korg Monotron

Tom Shear has had some time with the Monotron and shares his thoughts.

Whether or not the Monotron is for you really depends on your expectations. I've already outlined what it does best and if that sounds appealing to you, I can recommend you just place your order and get one now. You'll have an amazing amount of fun with this thing. If you're looking for a budget MS-20 to blast out some wall shaking basslines or other melodic bits, you're probably going to be disappointed.

Tom has also posted a free sample pack with some percussion sounds, sweeps, shrieks, and some tonal sounds from the Monotron. Get them here.

# The definitive Beastie Boys sample source collection

If you're a Beastie Boys fan Christmas has come early, folks. The brain/brains behind the sample source blog Miscreant Productions have compiled pretty much every single song that has been sampled by the Beastie Boys from Licensed to Ill to To The 5 Boroughs. As if that wasn't enough, they've even gone and thrown said samples on Megaupload for y'all to download. I know epic right.

In the words of the trio themselves “ch-ch-ch-ch-check it out”:

# Good-looking Ikeahacked speakers

Ikeahacked speaker by Charles Visnic

From Make: Online

Inspired by the classic spherical speaker array Instructable from user mzed, Charles Visnic created these cool wireless speakers by transplanting the guts of a pair of RocketFish speakers into some birch bowls from Ikea, mounted rim-to-rim.

# Makunouchi Bento – Swimé

Makunouchi Bento has released a free 8-track album, Swimé. Headphones listening recommended.

<a href="http://makunouchibento.bandcamp.com/album/swim" onclick="javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','outbound-article','http://makunouchibento.bandcamp.com/album/swim']);">Rain Dragon, Hidden Genius by Makunouchi Bento</a>

Short links for August 4th, 2010

Some interesting things I found recently:

# YouTube – Beardyman – Live in the Underbelly: The Full show

Gotta love Beardyman! via Waveformless

# Cellular Automidi – Audio App

Actionscript developer Lawrie Cape created a cellular automata based AIR app:

Cellular AutoMidi is a generative music app, making “music” based on a modified Cellular Automata algorithm.

Pulse Code DB-303

# iPhone Beats and Bass, Free This Week, More Fun with Mic Input on iOS

Peter Kirn writes:

Ah, Mondays. If you’re looking for a way to brighten your work week and you’ve got an iPod touch or iPhone you can drop into your pocket, iOS music and audio developer Pulse Code tells us they’ve made four of its apps free for this week only, through August 8. That includes BtBx [iTunes], a simple and fun drum machine, DB-303, a simulation of the Roland TB-303 bass line synth and a particular favorite of pocket iPhone musicians, as well as a couple of fun toys – a robot tone synth and sound effects maker called Android FX and a text-to-speech “robot comedian.” These will all run on iPad, too, of course, though none has yet been adapted to iPad’s native resolution.

# Waveformless: Free Sample Friday: Arp Axxe Samples

Another great summer weekend is upon us, and that means it's time for another Free Sample Friday. We have another guest entry today sent to us by reader Psychpoppet. (You can check out his stuff here and here…)

These samples are from an Arp Axxe he's restoring, which just so happens to be one of the black and gold models. 8 sounds in all, including raw waveforms as 24-bit/44.1k WAV files.

Enjoy, and if you dig them, be sure to give Psychepoppet a shout out in the comments!