Sep 19

I don’t know if you have ever seen this before or like me if you believed it was possible for one person to sing two notes at the same time. Well the very talented Anna-Maria Hefele shows us in this live video that polyphonic overtone singing is possible and that every human being is capable of doing this.

Apparently, you can sing the overtone scale on one fundamental. Another fundamental has its own overtone scale, so in order to have more overtones to sing nice melodies, you can use different fundamentals and change them while singing.

You can do this with different movements of your tongue, lips and jaw and by changing the shape of the resonant cavities of the mouth, larynx and pharynx to produce the harmonics (fundamental and overtones) of a sound wave.

Wiki states “Overtone singing—also known as overtone chanting, harmonic singing or throat singing—is a type of singing in which the singer manipulates the resonances (or formants) created as air travels from the lungs, past the vocal folds, and out of the lips to produce a melody”.

If that all sounds too complicated, Anna-Maria Hefele shows you how at her site :- http://www.openculture.com/2015/10/anna-maria-hefele-presents-a-6-part-lesson-on-how-to-sing-two-notes.html

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Sep 12

Amongst the new recent products released by Roland, I couldn’t help but notice a colourful green synth from their AIRA range – the new System 8. This is the second Plug-Out synth from Roland that features their Analogue Circuit Behaviour Technology (ACB) to create a wealth of sounds. Have a listen to the great Scott Tibbs at Kraft Music demo the System 8 in the Youtube clip above.

The System 8 however, can control up to three Plug-Out software synths. Two of which are included in the price. One of which is the Jupiter 8 and the other which will not be available until Spring 2017 is the Juno 106 Plug-Out. This will leave a space for a future Plug-Out synth that they may release or one of their existing ones already available such as the SH-01 or SH2. You should note that the Plug-Out synths are separate from the internal engine. These plug-outs of these classic synths have been recreated with all their analogue character using ACB.

The Roland System 8 has a 49 note velocity sensitive key-bed, 8 voice polyphony, three powerful oscillators, powerful hi-res filters, very versatile LFOs, a built-in vocoder, an arpeggiator, polyphonic chord memory functions, CV/GATE outputs, a large selection of great effects, and it can be used as a USB/MIDI interface for easy integration with your DAW – all sounds good to me. But, how much does it cost I hear you say?. Unfortunately, this will set you back £1239.00.

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Sep 10

roland-vdrums-td-50-module-brain-front

At last, Roland after all these years, have upgraded the TD-30 drum Brain to the TD-50. It has been a while and I wasn’t sure if they ever were going to do it. Their 909 day although I am sure has been a great success took a little flak from the people who commented on this on-line. One of the main comments was their ability to market and recycle all that they have done in the past and this is definitely true. Although, we all love the sounds of the 808 and 909, it makes me wonder when they are going to invent something new. That said, I am all for improvements and if Roland can build something further on the Roland TD30 by way of the TD-50 then I will be very pleased that it exists in this world. However at a cost of £1939 for the TD-50 module or £6599 for the TD-50KV kit, we are talking some serious money. The smaller TD-50K is £4129 which makes me think that the TD-50 module is over-priced being half the price of the whole kit. I think £1400 – £1500 is more realistic.

I sincerely hope that we don’t hear their repetitive saying that “it has been built from the ground up”, because it clearly has not. It has been built up from its predecessors the TD7, TD-10, TD20 and TD30 but yes it will without a doubt be their Flagship V-Drum sound module. At this stage it is hard to properly comment on how it sounds and feels and to do any comparison with the TD-30 but the most obvious advantage I can see is the ability to play your own samples via an SD card. I never understood why this was not on the TD-30 as it was crying out for it.

Roland’s information on the SD card tell us that it’s easy to trigger your own WAV files using any of the TD-50’s drum pads, and you can loop or layer them alongside the internal sounds while controlling volume and tone via the TD-50’s front panel. There’s even a choice of audio sampling formats: 48 kHz, 96 kHz, and the standard 44.1kHz – all sounds great to me.

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Aug 19

Here is something that caught my eye, not because it is a Roland / Boss product but simply because of what the person is doing with it. Watch Youngr in the youtube clip above. I know this sort of thing has been done before but he really demonstrates a variety of skills with using technology, playing various instruments and singing – great stuff.

The Boss RC-202 is a tiny but powerful little unit that I am sure will be great for club performers, electronic musicians and beatboxers. It is based on their RC-505 Loop Station which everyone loved but whilst it is just a two-track it does have a whole load of new features. Four Input FX and four Track FX are available at once, and loops can be saved to memories in real time. It is therefore ideal for looping musicians who have their hands occupied with guitar, keyboards, and other instruments like Youngr on the youtube clip.

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Jun 23

Here is something right up my street – a new electronic drum module, no it is not from Roland and Yamaha but from Pearl Drums. I have always loved Pearl Drums and I grew up near to where they had a factory.

I must admit I did not think they would venture out into the electronic market but I suppose today you just have to cober all bases to stay in business. Having said that it looks like Pearl have made a wise decision teaming up with Steven Slate to create what they call “the world’s most advanced electronic drum module called the Mimic Pro as a dedicated hardware host for Steven Slate Drums”

Have a look at the You Tube clip. I obviously haven’t heard the on board 60 Kits that it has but although I am pleased and excited about this module, I was disappointed with the You Tube Clip. It starts off by indicating that all other modules are stuck in the 80s. I agrere with this statement to some extent but what I then wanted to hear is drum sounds of 2016/2017 instead the clip goes on to explain how it can reproduce real drum sounds mimicing the original kits, hense the name Mimic Pro. Whilst this all sounds great, I still think it should have some up-to-date sounds (maybe it has?). If its aim is to Mimic Drums, why not mimic some of the computer generated drum sounds that have been created with filters, exciters, compressors and transient shapers that end up on so many hit songs or TV themes today.
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Jun 16

NI MASCHINE Update to 2.4.5

Well here is some great news from Native Instruments – If you are lucky enough to own MASCHINE 2 software then you are entitled to this FREE software update of MASCHINE to version 2.4.5. All you have to do is download from their Service Center.

This packed update gives you some great new features including tools for working with samples. Native Instruments explain that:- their latest update to Maschine includes a new option for working with samples in Manual slicing mode. Users can now insert slice points on MASCHINE’s pads while the sample is playing – a fast and intuitive way to begin the process of turning a sampled piece of audio into an original composition. A new Variable Scene Length feature allows Scene lengths to be set independent of the length of patterns, making polyrhythms easier to create and freeing producers from extending a pattern just to fit the scene it resides in. Internal plug-in settings are now savable as defaults, accelerating workflow by instantly loading with popular settings defined by the user.

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Jun 16

HyperSound Innovations

Here is something I was not aware of – an audio company called Turtle Beach Corporation (famous for its HyperSound technology), has achieved another great breakthrough by creating directional audio using a transparent pane of glass.

This innovation could be used in such a variety of situations, in fact anything that is made of glass like the windscreen on your car for example. Have a look at the Youtube clip. Even better if you have been at the 2016 Electronics Entertainment Expo at the L.A. Convention Center for the last couple of days or you are there today, Turtle Beach will be showing an early prototype of their HyperSound Glass directional speakers.

So what is good about HyperSound? Well it has Improved audio quality and frequency response, low voltage cables and lower overall power consumption and emitter panel design have improved the ratio of audio volume to panel size, allowing for the production of much smaller panels.
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Jun 13

Here is something FREE that you maybe interested in, three plugins to spice up your recorded songs. These are called Abletune Knobs and they seem similar to the Waves OneKnob series (except they are Free) in that they blend and map a number of parameters to one knob allowing you to get quick instant results. Have a listen in the YouTube clip above.

Abletunes Knobs are described as follows:-

Drive: Distortion unit that delivers some nasty wide-band distortion (stereo). Great for when you quickly want to add some tone and color to your sound. Sounds good on drum groups and percussion tracks, adds grit to bass lines, leads, keys, you name it.

Space: Mid-sized room reverb (stereo). Pretty bright one, creating a mid-sized space, somewhere in between a large room and a small hall. Works well on almost anything, from percussion to synths and acoustic guitars.

Attack: Simplified transient shaper (stereo) with only ATTACK section of the waveform being affected. Adds bite to the drum loops, enhances percussive transients, makes guitar solos sound more solid and confident to name a few applications examples.

Abletunes Knobs are compatible with all major DAWs
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Jun 12

cakewalk_sonar_daws

What did you think of the new deal from Roland Cakewalk for Sonar? Yes, lifetime monthly updates for a one-off payment (Sonar4Life). This really surprised me as I thought the idea was for them to keep receiving payments every year from us so that they could use this for development costs.

I suppose I won’t have to think about finding another £100 for next year’s updates or indeed any further years and I suppose this does keep me loyal to Cakewalk and not consider going over to Pro Tools for example.

The Monthly updates have been great and provides you with something to look forward to each month, something to learn and greater stability with your product with improvements and bug fixes. It is therefore really worth the money.

I think priorities for me are less CPU drain when using plugins. The better this is the more plugins you can use without it falling over.

Carry on the good work Cakewalk – I wonder what next month will bring?

May 17

audified_mixchecker

I hear a lot about how to get your mix to sound better but it is an art and can take years to master. There are youtube clips to assist you, some that confuse you, some that sound convincing but still do not get you to where you want to be. Maybe one day the computer will do it all for you and make all your decisions for you to compensate for your room, your ears, your judgement and understanding.

Until that day, many of us that do our utmost to get a great sounding mix, need all the help we can get. This is why there will always be new products like the one that Audified have just announced. They call it “MixChecker” which is a plug-in to transform your studio monitors into classic reference monitors.

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