Monday, 31 August 2009
SonicBirth is a free, open source application that allows you to design your own Audio Units and VST plugins on your Mac. It's been around a little while, but it's very powerful, and great fun.....
You need SonicBirth installed on your Mac to run any of the plugins, as well as to create your own (well, you need the Framework at least). Start by downloading it here.
It can be a bit intimidating if you've never used anything like this before, so I've written a walkthrough to create a delay plugin.
1) We'll start by opening an audio file in our Sound Server window. This will be used for testing our circuit. Just click on the Open button, and navigate to something suitable. I'm using a beep, followed by 4 seconds of silence (this is long enough to loop, and gives me time to hear long delay feedbacks).
2) Next, let's set up the Dry signal path. Insert an Addition, a Slider and a Multiplication element in the Circuit window (the slightly orange one). You'll find all these under the Common category.
3) Clicking in the boxes at the sides of the elements allows you to patch them together using "wires". Connect the elements as shown in the diagram below (clicking on the wire allows you to create extra points, so you can keep your patching neat and clear). I've also named the slider "Dry" in the Settings window.
(Multiplication elements allow us to control signal levels - multiply the sample value by a number less than 1, and you turn down the level).
Turn up the Dry pot, and press the spacebar. You'll now hear your test signal.
4) Let's now add our Delay element, and our Wet level control. Insert Delay, Slider and Multiplication elements, and connect them as shown below:
Turn up the Delay and Wet pots, and press the spacebar. You now have a very simple delay plugin, that gives you a single repeat.
5) For multiple repeats, we will need a feedback loop. SonicBirth only allows these when you use a Feedback element. This adds 10 milliseconds latency to any signal passing though it, so we need to be careful where we place it.
Insert Feedback, Mulitplication, Slider and Addition elements, and patch together as shown below:
6) You now have a fully working delay, but before we continue, let's make a couple of modifications: Select the Delay slider element, and tick the Show Value box in the Settings window. I've also changed the Type to milliseconds. It will now be possible to see the delay value on your plugin.
7) Unfortunately, this value will be wrong, as the Feedback element adds 10 milliseconds extra delay. To compensate for this, I've added a Constant Substraction (I assume it's a spelling mistake) element of 0.01 seconds between the slider and Delay elements
8) Click anywhere in the background of the Circuit window, and fill in the Settings window.
We could export this plugin straight away, but it will look very ugly. Let's add a GUI. (Ideally you'll have some kind of graphics application such as Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape). I've designed a simple background and pots that you're welcome to use (just drag the images to your desktop):
9) Click anywhere on the background of the Circuit window. You can now scroll to the bottom of the Settings window, and click on the Custom Gui box. You can now switch between Circuit Design, Gui design and Runtime (try out your plugin). While in Custom Gui, click on [Load], and navigate to your background picture. Arrange the pots in roughly the right places, and move any parameters you don't need below the picure.
Now press [Take Size], and the plugin will shrink to the size of the background pic. All we need to do now is add the pots. Select the pots one at a time, and drag the pot image to the Front box in the Settings window.
Tidy things up a little, and change to Runtime. Give the plugin one last test before we export it as an Audio Unit.
10) It's now time to install your plugin. Go to File > Export as AU. Navigate to Macintosh HD > Library > Audio > Plug-Ins > Components, and press the Open button. You should nw get a little message telling you that export was successful. All that's left to do is open your host application (I'll be using Logic), and try out your own delay plugin.
So, that's got you started. It's time to play around and see what you can do yourselves. Have fun, and let me know if you create anything cool!
"Create your own plugins!" > read the full post
Sunday, 30 August 2009
More details are avialable here and all over the net. The main attractive is the ability to download and store up to 3300 songs on to your iPhone / iPod Touch.
This means that you can listen to that music in the tube or wherever there is no internet access. Brilliant.
But can you copy those songs to your mac? As far as I understand, no you can't (how many weeks before someone cracks it?).
And how long will those songs stay on your iPhone before they 'expire'? It's not clear yet.
All in all I am still happy with the alternative method suggested in this old newsletter. And if something is worth having, the full-quality CD often is on Amazon for less than the equivalent digital download.
I am afraid that, as far as I am concerned, paying for low-quality semi-temporary access to music still doesn't make sense. And I am still looking forward to seeing how much money the artists actually make from this subscription service.
Any comment is welcome.
"Spotify on iPhone Confirmed" > read the full post
Friday, 28 August 2009
Even so, it's quite a shock to the system.
Get your track mastered at Abbey Road for £90 + VAT.
Really? yes, apparently.
Let's consider the implications...
The first and most obvious is that if you had in mind to open a mastering studio, and maybe offer online mastering, you are up against a serious challenge.
Why would anyone choose to master a track with a complete unknown (who, let's be honest, is probably using a pc with a cracked copy of Waves Mercury plugins and two bits of decent outboard) when you can have it done at Abbey-motherf*cking-Road for maybe twenty quid more?
At the same time it is interesting to see how, having already started developing Abbey Road outboard and virtual instruments, now the brand is being used for online mastering. Inevitably one has to consider that this paves the way for a completely virtual Abbey Road, one that doesn't need to have a real brick and mortar facility.
Mmmmh... how the times are changing...
So, should you have your track mastered at Abbey Road (even if it's only online)?
Absolutely, most definitely yes.
For at least two reasons:
1) get it out of your system – have your track mastered in one of the best recording studios of the world and discover that there is more to a great record than mastering; if the end result still doesn't sound right you will have the final proof that what you need is better recording, better arrangement, better mixing.
2) while this is still relatively a new thing, think of the promotional value of having 'mastered at Abbey Road' printed on the credits of your CD! All of a sudden you sound like, you know, someone important :) the whole thing requires you to be a bit shameless, but then Abbey Road offering online mastering is shameless in itself.
Read the official news at http://www.abbeyroad.com/news/story/?newsid=52
Then register for online mastering at abbeyroadonlinemastering.com and remember to tell them where you heard of it.
"Online Mastering from Abbey Road" > read the full post
Thursday, 27 August 2009
Yes, another free plug in for you...
"Prosoniq North Pole" > read the full post
Tuesday, 25 August 2009
Found a goldmine of AU and Mac & PC VST plugins for you....
"Loads more free plug-ins!" > read the full post
Sunday, 23 August 2009
Just a quick thanks to all of you who made it to the Lilygun gig at Electrowerkz the other night. Was great fun, and seemed to go down well.
"Lilygun Live" > read the full post
Light guitar is a free AU plug-in, that emulates the behavior of the Light Guitar by Dr Russell Stoneback....
"Light Guitar" > read the full post
Friday, 21 August 2009
"The problem with temperaments" > read the full post
The Volta plugin from MOTU allows you to use your audio interface as a MIDI to CV converter, and honestly is probably your best choice, but at around $200, is a touch pricey (and is currently unavailable for PC) unless you're going to be using it on a regular basis.
The guys at Peff.com have turned up with another solution - use the virtual CV patching in Reason's Thor. Check out the vid of it in action:
"Reason as A MIDI to CV convertor" > read the full post
Thursday, 20 August 2009
Moldover has an unusual gimmick to sell his new album - he's built a theremin into the CD case. Read on for the vid!
You can order it from his own site (moldover.com). And who knows - maybe the music is cool too....
"Theremin in a CD case" > read the full post
Wednesday, 19 August 2009
1. The Meters - Sophisticated Cissy
Mega laid back street funk from New Orleans, like hanging your elbow out of a yellow Caddie while chewing on a ceegar and chatting up under age poontang...ermmm or maybe thats just what it says to me..
2. Sly and the Family Stone - Sing A Simple Song
A riff so cool even Miles Davis robbed it for his Jack Johnson sound track, this is the most complex riff I can actually play, which shows that I am both a not terribly proficient guitarist and that I have super cool taste.
3. Funkadelic - Standing On the Verge of Getting It On
A riff I have never managed to master despite numerous wasted Sunday afternoons. Funkadelic were basically a black heavy metal band but with funnier lyrics, none more so than on this freaky track.
4. Black Sabbath - Supernaut
Frank Zappa's favourite riff and one of the man in black, Tony Iommi's best. basically a super sped up 60's soul riff, imagine the first two tracks above put through a big ass fuzz box.
5. Television - Venus
Proving not all classic riffs need to be put through a big muff this rhapsodic lilting creation makes me think of being bug eyed on drugs as the sun rises...not that LSS condones drug use in anyway kids, obviously!
6. Velvet Underground - Sister Ray
Probably the easiest riff outside of Louie Louie to master but gosh dang it feels good! "Sucking on my ding dong" indeed...
7. King Crimson - Great Deceiver
This is in because it makes me laugh out loud, god it's just sooooo prog and wiggly, from an album portentously named "Starless and Bible Black" that was one of Kurt Cobains favs, so don't get too cool for school with me about liking prog mate...
8. Black Flag - Slip It In
Classic thug headed proto thrash classic, another one I can actually play...
9. Johnny "Guitar" Watson - A Real Mutha For Ya
I just like the slinkyness of the main riff under the verses, pimptastic! Rhythm guitarists are really under rated compared with guitar wankers, I like my axe work FuNkY.
10. The Stooges - Penetration
This just makes me want to rush out and buy a leather jacket with a leopard on the back like Iggy is wearing on the album jacket...even though I look more like a librarian and could never pull it off, but I can dream can't I?
Thats all for now folks..get practising!
"Guitar riffs to learn and play..." > read the full post
Hospital Records are hosting an event at the British Music Experience that should get all aspiring or expert DJs excited. Hosted by BBC radio's Nerm, three artists from Hospital Records; High Contrast, London Elektricity and Logistics, will be discussing how they go about making their trade mark sounds.
The event will run on Friday 4th September from 7.30pm-9.30pm at the British Music Experience, The O2, North Greenwich SE10 0DX
"Learn DJ Techniques" > read the full post
Another free plugin for you, this time from Ten By Ten Software.....
"Free random panning plugin" > read the full post
Monday, 17 August 2009
1. A Certain Ratio: Shack Up
Four skinny white boys and one awesome black drummer cover obscure "sleep with whoever is about" pre aids funk diatribe with arse wiggerling results.
2. James White and The Blacks: Contort Yourself
Random punk nihilistic foolishness saved by parping bass and beats you need five legs to dance to.
3. Gang Of Four : To Hell With Poverty
God what a fucking racket, and then the bass comes in and all is well. Nice dancing mister insurance salesman!
4. The Bloods: Button Up
These guys only made one tune, but what a classic! Iron fingered bass solo to end all iron fingered bass solos...
5.The Pop Group: We Are All Prostitutes
I can't imagine Coldplay accusing their audience of housewives and Mondeo drivers of all being prostitutes? But then thats why they all have swimming pools and these guys work in Tescos..
6. Delta 5: Mind Your Own Business
NO! MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS!
7. 23 Skidoo: Coup
As sampled by Chemical Brothers, with horns by Aswad, but don't let that put you off! I always thought it was "Coup" as in "Coupe" but its actually "Coup" as in a violent revolution, which is obvious when you hear the explosions and a guy yelling "fuck you GI!"..
8.Liquid Liquid: Cavern
As ripped off by Grandmaster Flash for "White Lines". Cool vid!
9.Shriekback: My Spine (Is The Bassline)
Everything else these guys did was toss but this rocked! Say no to white rap though!
10. The Clash: Overpowered By Funk
The daddies of all things white and funky!
"Punk Funk Top Ten..Slap Bass Guaranteed!" > read the full post
Hauptwerk have updated their virtual pipe organ to version 3.23, and there's a free (slightly) cut-down version available...
"Virtual Pipe Organ" > read the full post
Sunday, 16 August 2009
"Yellow Tools Independence Free Review" > read the full post
Friday, 14 August 2009
Thursday, 13 August 2009
A sad day for sound engineering. Les Paul, has died today, aged 94.
"RIP Les Paul" > read the full post
So IK Multimedia have produced a new sequencer, and yes, it's for the iPhone and iPod Touch.....
"IK Multimedia Groovemaker" > read the full post
"Lilygun Live" > read the full post
"Motorcycle drum madness.." > read the full post
Wednesday, 12 August 2009
The idea is that if you donwnload an album you should also get some additional artwork, as an incentive. Apple is apparently going to do something similar, and as usual it's going to be iTunes VS everyone else to see which one people will prefer (wanna bet?).
But all this seems to be still missing the point for me. The thing I just don't
Compact Disc from record store (also available online for home delivery); it comes in a nice plastic case, there is a printed booklet, IT SOUNDS AS IT SHOULD, and it costs £8.99; from this CD you can create as many copes as you like – it is legal for personal use – and create MP3s, AAC, OGG or any format you want. When a new format comes out you go back to the source and convert it again.
iTunes download; let's say it comes with a pdf of the artwork, let's say it is DRM free, it is not the real thing but a data-compressed version of the real thing, it might sound remarkably good for something that has lost 90% of its data, but it is not as good as a CD; it will get lost as soon as your hard drive fails, your laptop is stolen or you delete it by accident; it can't be converted to another format without a significant loss of quality, in fact I have still to find someone who has been able to play back legal downloads older than three years; and all this for a price which is often HIGHER than the equivalent CD (certainly if you buy one track at a time, but often even with 'album' purchases).
So please someone tell me, why should anyone buy from iTunes? My answer is that the only people that buy downloads is the people that don't care too much for their music.
"Apple to offer digitised artwork with album downloads" > read the full post
Slightly unusual synth idea - Ableton Live with the new Max MSP features, and Bare Conductive ink, allowing you to make noises by touching bikini clad models (no, not those kind of noises)...Read on to see it in action, as well as the making of....
"Calvin Harris and the Humanthesiser" > read the full post
You wait for ages, then loads of these things come along at once!...
"Free Yellowtools Sampler" > read the full post
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
I found this old post on a very enjoyable blog, have a look around for some funny and weird posts about music business, drumming etc.
Of course, making a bass guitar with Lego is just the first step. Once you get the bug it's hard to stop there and it won't be long before you want to build something bigger...
"Lego Bass Guitar" > read the full post
Monday, 10 August 2009
A: Digidesign Eleven Free
OK, we used the free version, which doesn't have a true AC30 emulation (unlike the full version, which retails at £414 ($595), that has a version modeled on a 66 AC30 Top Boost).
B) Waves GTR Solo
As we mentioned, Waves are giving GTR Solo free for a year, but the full version is going for $480 (TDM) or $180 for host-based systems.
C) Guitar Rig
Since this article was written, NI are giving away a free version of Guitar Rig, called Guitar Rig Go, but the full version retails at $379 (€349) - there's 20% off the Kontrol at the moment, putting it at $449 (€399) - well worth the extra cash.
(I'm playing a gig in a couple of weeks, using my laptop and Guitar Rig Kontrol - let's hope it's stability is good enough for live work - wish me luck!)
D) Guitar Amp Pro
As we predicted, the Garage Band amp emulators found their way into Logic 9, but Guitar Amp Pro is still there
E) Sansamp PSA-1
I'm a big fan of the PSA-1, from the days when it was a $500 plug-in, especially on bass and synths, so can't really complain that it's thrown in with Pro Tools 8..
F) Yes, the real AC30.
Most people I played this to got it right - it was the one you "wanted to hear more of" (and you can hear the noise...)
G) Amplitube LE
We've since acquired the full range of IK Multimedia Amplitube emulators, (discounts available to all our students!), and they're definitely worth a second look. $399.99 (€299.99) for Amplitube 2 (£169 with the educational discount).
One person went for this. Seriously? Oh dear.....
This has found it's way into Logic 9 (admittedly with far more features), under the name of Amp Designer. Upgrade for £139 at Digital Village.
Up next - anyone for a real vs plug-in Hammond Organ and Leslie cabinet showdown? Any requests for settings, let us know.
And for those who missed it, get the wav files here.
"Guitar Emulator Showdown Answers" > read the full post
Friday, 7 August 2009
How's this to go nicely with the free Kontakt Player 3 we told you about yesterday: Analogue Drums are offering free download of their Big Mono sample pack......
"Big Mono drums" > read the full post