Izotope enters the iPhone music app game.

iDrum for iPhone from Art Gillespie on Vimeo.

iZotope kicked Beatmaker’s ass” was the title of a forum thread at Ableton.com by user beats me that made me click and read further. After I watched the video above I think beats me may be right at least as far as usability and interface are concerned. I’m a superfan of Izotope Ozone and Trash and this new iPhone app sure looks like fun.

The most interesting thing here is the interface. The way you move from loop to sequencer, pattern edit, then pattern record is all well thought out and how can I put this? Fun and swooshy!

For more info head to Izotope’s iDrum for iPhone page:

Do any of you guys have an iPhone and music apps yet?

Faber Acoustical sound measurement iPhone apps.

The iPhone is a device that can combine and replace so many useful tools. Today you can add another tool to that list: an SLM (sound levelmeter). Faber Acoustical based out of Utah has been making signal analysis software on Mac OS-X for a while and they have just ported some of their sound measurement code to the iPhone. You no longer need to break out the a RadioShack SPL meter to prove your neighbor’s sex antics or too loud. Here are some of the features of SoundMeter:

  • Measure time-weighted and equivalent sound levels.
  • Employ Flat, A, or C frequency weighting.
  • Time-weighted measurement options include Fast, Slow, and Impulse weightings.
  • Keep track of peak and maximum sound levels.
  • Save high-resolution sound level display images to the iPhone’s Camera Roll photo album. Descriptive text may be added to the image before it is saved.
  • Calibration controls enable automatic calibration, relative to a calibrated sound level meter, or manual entry of the microphone sensitivity.
  • SoundMeter supports rotating the iPhone upside down, so the built-in microphone sits on top of the device when measuring sound levels.
  • With the iPhone’s built-in microphone, SoundMeter can measure peak sound levels of up to approximately 105 dB. With the iPhone’s included headset microphone, SoundMeter can measure peak sound levels of up to approximately 100 dB.

SoundMeter is available via the iTunes App store for $19.99. So far the reviews from people who bought it are positive.

Be sure to also check out SignalScope and SignalSuite at the FaberAcoutical website: www.faberacoustical.com

Adjust volume automation using Utility.

Here’s a quick tip that may save you time and a headache. Most of the time when I am arranging in Ableton Live I create a large amount of volume automation. When I get to the final mixdown stage I watch the mixer in Session View to see if any channel is too loud or soft. Often a channel that needs an overall adjustment contains large amounts of volume automation envelope breakpoints. Instead of selecting all the automation envelope breakpoints and lowering them I add the Utility plug-in at the end of the channels device chain and lower the gain a few db.

“You are the music while the music lasts.” – T.S. Eliot

Utility is found in the Live Device Browser in the Audio Effects folder. It can also help you with Phase issues, add or remove Stereo imaging and apply DC offset filter.

Happy mixing!

Audiotuts 50+ Great Lyric Writing Resources.

Before the internet I relied on my monthly magazine subscriptions to get a fix of the topics that interested me. Every blue moon a tidbit of music tech would appear on television but I was starving for more. Today there is so much great information I can’t possibly read or process it all. It seems there is a new website full of content tailored just for me created everyday. Today I found Audiotuts which is another musician’s resource site which has many numbered list style posts (fun to read, easy to scan). They have multiple contributors to their site and today Joel Falconer posted 50+ Great Lyric Writing Resources.

Want to get started writing your own lyrics? There’s a long way between the beginner’s “violets are red” debut and award-winning wordsmithing, so here’s a bunch of great resources to help get you on your way. Includes tools, how to guides, communities, recommended books and sources of inspiration. – audiotuts.com

Songwriting posts on Wire to the Ear: click here

photo credit: ayumina

I have synesthesia.

When I was in elementary school I used to have screaming fits at my mother if she would cover my books with the “wrong” color paper. What you say? Well it goes like this. In NY State, elementary school students in the 1970s were required to cover text books in paper. This way they could be handed down for a few years to the new students without them becoming all shabby. Normally one would use brown or newspaper to do the job but ma was a hippie so she liked to get colored paper from CVS. So why was I screaming my head off? Well to me Math is the color red, Science is the color green, Social Studies is yellow, English is blue. I could not understand why she was covering the books in the wrong colors! I have synesthesia.

Not only do I associate school subjects with colors but also days of the week, numbers, letters and you guessed it: sounds. The number 2 is yellow. Alpha Juno-2 mentasm sounds are purple, 808 snares are white, flutes are yellow, the word brother is blue, etc… It’s said a lot of musicians have synesthesia and that makes sense.

While cross-sensory metaphors (e.g., “loud shirt”, “bitter wind” or “prickly laugh”) are sometimes described as “synesthetic”, true neurological synesthesia is involuntary. It is estimated that synesthesia could possibly be as prevalent as 1 in 23 persons across its range of variants.[12] Synesthesia runs strongly in families, but the precise mode of inheritance has yet to be ascertained. – Wikipedia.org

A few years ago I exchanged emails with a writer doing a report on synesthesia for the NY Times. He asked me to test myself by writing down some color associations, wait a few months, write them down again and compare. I picked the same colors for the same numbers and words 100% accurately.

The reason I wrote this today is Tara Busch on her nice blog Analog Suicide posted an article titled, “Are You a Synaesthesist?“. If your interested in more info about synesthesia head to her story where she has posted some videos on the subject. Head on over: click here

photo credit: studiotamar

Free Roland TR-727 samples from Kent Williams.

Over at the Ableton forums Kent Williams has posted a link to a nice set of Roland TR-727 samples he recorded using four different methods. I own a TR-707 and love it’s sound and design. It’s quite a lot of fun flicking the little mixer’s channels up and down.

The TR-727 is, of course, the ‘Latin’ version of the TR-707 — same hardware, but Latin percussion samples instead of a trap set.

Many sample sets have been made of the TR-727, starting with the ‘Music Machines’ set at Hyperreal.org, which is nearly 10 years old, and 16-bit only. see http://machines.hyperreal.org/manufacturers/Roland/TR-727/

I was inspired to do this set by the guys at Goldbaby — http://www.goldbaby.co.nz — who have done some obsessively loving sampling jobs on many old drum boxes, through a wide variety of gear.

I don’t have as snazzy a studio as GoldBaby but I think I’ve done pretty well with what I’ve got. – Kent Williams

His recording method is included in the readme.txt file that accompaniments the sample pack. To download click here: 727_Samples.zip

Moldover shows us how to mod an Oxygen 8.

By now we all have a bunch of old spare controllers lying around so why not hack the hell out of the them? Luckily Brooklyn native Moldover has posted this video showing us exactly how to do it. You need controller (duh), a screwdriver, some plastic, rubber, scissors, glue and a permanent marker. The marker is optional because it’s only to make things, “look cool”.

The hilarious thing is all he does is pull out some keys, glue rubber on the rest of them, draw on the case and assign controllers to stuff. I have to say this is completely stupid and awesome all at the same time!

Related post: To perform live with controllers: Controllerism

Vocal manipulation with Ableton Simplers.

Vocal manipulation with Ableton Simplers. from wiretotheear on Vimeo.

There are thousands of ways to mangle audio in weird and wild sound. Here’s a screencast of a trick I sometimes put to work. Here is the end result (4 samples are loaded in this player):

Here is the original sample I used:

The technique uses multiple Ableton Simplers in a Device Group. If your an Ableton wizard you will know this stuff  but if your not a regular user of Simpler and Macros you will learn something.

Sample credit: Incarnadine

Fill out a form and get free karma.

I’ve been asked by a California startup to help get musicians to take their survey. They use the data to get VC funding and make their product better. They do have something unique in the works for musicians so I agreed to post the request. I also get access to the data which could help grab a few advertisers on this site. The good thing is the survey is one browser screen, eleven multiple choice questions. It will take you less than a minute so take a clicky and please help us out:

Take the survey: click here

photo credit: tray