This Saturday there is a free event any musician in the NY area will enjoy. At IMSTA Festa you will see booths and rooms where music tech companies set up. This year Ableton, NI, D16, Alesis, Arturia, M-Audio, Propellerhead, SSL, Steinberg, Celemony and many more will be there. In addition there are panel discussions through out the day. I’ve been on a panel in the past but this year I will just be watch and playing with the new toys on display. Registration is free!
“On September 28th, the International Music Software Trade Association and SAE Institute New York will partner to host IMSTA FESTA, a celebration of music technology. IMSTA FESTA brings a collection of top music technology companies together in an environment where they can interact with music makers face-to-face. IMSTA FESTA is known for bringing heavyweight music industry professionals under one roof for this limited engagement. Our panels bring together an array of industry experts to discuss the state of the music business, technology and much more. IMSTA FESTA is a FREE event open to anyone interested in the art of music making; professional and semi-professional musicians, songwriters, music producers, and audio engineers, as well as music students and educators.” – imsta.org
My main vocal chain is an API 512c Micpre, Shure SM58, Wavearts Track5 into Izotope Nectar. By using a great Micpre and mic I have a great sounding base but Nectar gives me a lot of styles to work from. Nectar 2 will be available soon and it adds to an already good plug-in a Harmonizer, Pitch Editor, Plate Reverb and creative effects like a Repeater and others. I have no deal with Izotope and highly recommend this one.
“With the new Nectar 2, flawless vocal production is just a click away. Bring your vocal tracks to life with a new modeled plate Reverb, a new Harmonizer, an overhauled Pitch Editor, an out-of-this-world new FX module, and a fully-redesigned user interface. From quick corrections to limitless creativity, Nectar 2 treats your voice to sweet results.” – Izotope
I keep mentioning UVI’s sample libraries on this blog. The German French company doesn’t pay me or give them to me free they are simply really good. You can sample an instrument different ways but these guys must like the same type of music as I do as I’m consistently reaching for their sounds. I haven’t yet tried their latest library called WaveRunner which covers wavetable synthesis ala PPG and Waldorf. At $299 you could buy a Eurorack module or two Volca’s but when you’re writing songs on a laptop away from the studio you want some good sample libraries.
“A multitude of synths, drum machines and rare prototypes of esteemed German heritage come together in this massive and unparalleled retrospective. WaveRunner presents you with a wondrous collection of authentic and fascinating sounds from over 30 years of wavetable synthesis. Everything from the raw and strident origins to the wild evolving tones of more modern, full-featured machines. Each system addressed was serviced, meticulously multi-sampled and artfully designed into 7 unique hybrid instruments driven by over 30,000 samples. Both a historical archive of sound and a collection of new and unique instruments with hundreds of presets and limitless sound design potential, WaveRunner is a suite not to be missed.” – uvi.net
I have always wanted a modular style analog sequencer in software form. There have been a few tries at this by various developers but none have really captured the essence of the real thing. The latest to take a stab at it is Orwell Digital. They have just released the OR-1m Step Sequencer and it looks very feature full. Just last weekend in German I was recording two female vocalists on my laptop. They wanted proper EBM backing tracks and this would have been extremely useful to create the basslines. There is an intro price of about $25 so I’m going to give it a try this weekend. Let me know if you have given the OR-1m a try and what you think of it.
“The OR-1m delivers the performance and flexibility expected from a pro-level step sequencer, while introducing several innovative features in terms of realtime modulation shaping and controlled randomness. At its most basic, the OR-1m is a standalone sixteen-step sequencer with per-step controls for note pitch, duration and velocity. In addition, each step features four knobs for generating MIDI continuous controller data of the user’s choosing.” – orwelldigital.com
One of the best software filter plug-ins Sugar Bytes WOW has been upgraded to WOW2. They have added more filter types, distortion, an improved LFO section, step sequencer and randomize function. I really like what they have added here as you can tell these Berliners also make music. $99 USD.
“21 incredible filter types with the famous vowel mode. With distortions that cover your tracks with gas and put them on fire. Modulations that cause more trouble than your modular dark room.” – sugar-bytes.de
In the Eurorack Modular world I was introduced to the 4ms Rotating Clock Divider. This module takes a pattern and then starts moving or “rotating” or shifting it around. In this months issue of Sound on Sound (July 2013) there is a review of Soniccouture’s Konkrete 3. It’s a drum sample library created with things like a Buchla or Telemark paired with a sequencer and glitch effects. We have seen other software like this but Konkrete has a really cool feature called The Beat Shifter. The Beat Shifter is similar in idea to the 4ms RCD but with more control. Check out the video above to see it in action. I also included a video of the glitch parameter which is also nice. $129 USD.
“A powerful sample-based drum synth for all kinds of electronic music. A creative beat generator – The Beat Shifter. An incredible sonic arsenal – 90 kits | over 5000 sounds. Huge sonic range – acoustic recordings to analogue hits. A massive range of custom convolution effects. Real time glitch module” – soniccouture.com
SonicLab’s Cosmosƒ is the first plug-in I have been really excited about in a long time. I’m not sure how to describe it exactly so be sure to watch the videos above. According to Wikipedia Stochastic means “sequence of random variables.”. Well this plug in takes a bunch of LFOs and puts them through a Stochastic morphing engine and has a modern interface. Mac/PC for $205 USD.
“Cosmosƒ V2.2 offers a unique preset morphing mechanism. With 2D / 3D control interface + homogeneous and heterogeneous micro waveform handling, it “rethinks” for you what you know as “morphing“… A sonic morphing process defines a metaphor of exploring the sonic shape and timbral evolution on intermediate levels.Cosmosƒ V2.2 gives the possibility to manipulate its composants responsable for its bottom-up sonic construction within necessary correspondance, precision and smoothness.It delivers an unheard medium by reaching the untouched points of the sonic universe.. Stochastic morphing with distribution range for altering the morphing position, speed and interpolation control. Built-in mathematical functions to automatically and precisely move the morphing pointer in the space.” – sonic-lab.com
For those of you who still have not grabbed some modular stuff but want in on the sounds Izotope has released a Sound Library called Modular for Iris. Iris is on my list of interesting plug-ins to get when I have the chance. This library has 600 samples and 300 patches for $34 USD.
“From the vintage classic, the ARP 2600, to modern Cartesian sequencing, the Modular sound library stems from a wide range of both musical and chaotic sources. Start experimenting and you’ll find that any Modular patch could inspire your next track, from pulsing tones to lush effects to glitchy rhythmic syncopations to fat bass sounds.” – izotope.com
I really like this new Max 4 Live Device Spectrum Sampler. It’s great for breakdowns, into/outros or the basis for an entire track. I remember when it would take half a day to create glitch results like this. Mac or PC for 4 Euros.
“Spectrum Sampler is a Max for Live device which samples and holds spectral components of the incoming signal. It can create inharmonic resonances, artifacts, dusty noises, drones, gliding sounds: a wide palette of amazing noises.” – amazingnoises.com
PSP Audioware are one of my favorite plug-in makers. From Poland they create my all time favorite plug-in PSP N2O which used to be called Nitro. They have just released a spring reverb emulation called SpringBox. I have an Ekdahl Moisterizer but I still have my eye on finally getting a spring in plug-in form. Let me know if you tried this and if you think it sounds like hardware. $49 until May 1 then it goes to $69.
“PSP SpringBox is an emulation of a hardware spring reverberator (VST, AAX and RTAS for Windows; AudioUnit, VST, AAX and RTAS for Mac OSX). It recreates several features typical of a spring reverb, such as a convincing “boing” on transients and a repeatable resonating musical character with an adjustable presence. A selection of configurations from two to six springs total is provided, as well as the ability to set stereo spread and pan/balance configured to suit various mix setups – from a typical guitar reverb to a creative uses as a send reverb in the mix. Thanks to PSP SpringBox’s two channel A and B settings setup and range of presets operation is fast and easy.” – pspaudioware.com