“The Wobblatron. Wobble, tweak, modulate, filter, scream, wibble, wub wub streaming audio into new exciting things. Run any audio through it and turn it into sub-atomic bass!!!” – Ned Rush
The Wobblatron by Ned Rush is a very cool new Ableton device that lets you do more than just Wobble your sound. Check out the video to see it in action. I can see this getting a lot of use. Available now for $25.
Ned Rush contacted me this morning leting me know about his new Max 4 Live device The Knobulator. I’ve mentioned another one of his devices Supacut previously (link). I like simple fast inspiring effects and putting a bunch of wild parameters on one knob makes a lot of sense. The key to make loops continually interesting/not repetitive is a thousand little edits and effects here and there. This guy can help make that process some fun. $20 USD.
“MaxForLive device for mashing up audio in realtime. Turn the knob and the effect comes on, stop turning it and it turns off. There are other options. Great for live performance as well as audio productions.” – Ned Rush
If you read this blog you know I like song writing helper software. Cthulhu is a VST plug-in thats a simple/complex chord generator and arpeggiator. I would say it reminds me a little bit of the Max for Live Device Schwarzonator. Cthulhu is $39.
“Cthulhu is firstly a chord memorizer and player, allowing you to experiment with creating and reworking chord progressions with single-note presses. Included are over 150 factory chord presets allowing for a near-unlimited amount of possible musical-sounding chord progressions. Import MIDI or ‘record’ chords straight in, Cthulhu is able to analyze the chords you play and allow for various sorting options (Circle of 5ths, Chromatic, low note, etc) allowing for easy access over your chords! The other half of Cthulhu is a unique pattern-based arpeggiator, allowing incoming notes or chords to be manipulated in various rhythmic ways. The 8 tabs of the stepsequencer allow you to completely reshape the incoming MIDI notes, even a single note fed into the arp can become a unique and rhythmic riff! Even if you have other arpeggio software plug-ins, Cthulhu’s arp is unique and powerful with advanced features such as chord-arpeggio mode, ties, duration / velocity sequencing, intelligent transpose, harmony, and more!” – xferrecords.com
Wave Alchemy are sound designers from Nottingham in the UK. In the past 5 years Dan Byers & Steve Heath have built up a reputation for producing some of the better sample packs especially when it comes to drum sounds. Recently they released a very ambitious project called Transistor Revolution which uses 22,000 samples to recreate a Roland TR-808 and TR-909. Some people will ask why do we need more 808/909? I think theses specific drum machine sounds are the pencil and pen for electronic music. They are important backbone sounds that can be used a million different ways. Real 808s and 909s are continually going up in value. Last time I checked an 808 is about $2500 on eBay. Transistor Revolution is currently less than $100 USD (introductory price) so if it sounds good it’s value is apparent. “TR” uses Native Instruments free Kontakt Player and is a 6GB download. That’s 6GB of essentially 20 different drum sounds! When you turn a knob in Transistor Revolution changing each of the sounds parameters the drum samples are actually changing from one to the next behind the scenes. In addition, “7 variations of each drum sound… cycle randomly each time a key on the keyboard is played”. Within the custom TR Kontakt player there are 7 effects: EQ, Compression, Tape Saturation, Transient Designer, High Pass Filter, Low Pass Filter and Bit Crusher. Each effect has it’s own page with multiple parameters that can be edited and saved. There is a full mini mixer within the plug-in so you can mix and place drum sounds on separate virtual outputs and add Send Effects. Send Effects inlcude the ones mentioned above and others including a Phaser, Flanger, Chorus, Delay, Rotator, Stereo Modeller, multiple Distortion types and Convolution and standard Reverbs. The interface reminds me of Propellerhead’s Reason. Each drum sound has it’s own rack piece which can be closed and opened. Without reading the manual I was able to find my way around.
So how does it sound? Very good. Different model 808s sound different from each other. However, in my own opinion when listening to hardware or software clones there are things to look for. You want super clear white metalic high hats, rides and crashes. Snares and claps should have a very sharp transient attack. Kicks should go from tight to boomey. Transistor Revolution does an excellent job. I have one criticism and two things for the wish list. There are 4 “multis” which are basically a full 808 or 909 group of samples with some settings. For example there is an MP60, S1200, Lite and Analog version of the 808. I’m not sure if they use different sample sets or just the effect settings are different. Either way I want to see many more Multi presets. As I said above 808/909s lend themselves to treatment very well. Give us 50 flavors of each please! For the wish list I would like to see a TR style sequencer and MIDI file player. Why just give us the sounds? Part of what makes a the drum machines great is the patterns. Give us a few hundred MIDI patterns built-in and give us 16 lights going from left to right please.
Wave Alchemy are on the right path here. I suspect we will see more drum machines meticulously multi-sampled by the UK duo. In short of a real 808/909 or maybe the Tiptop Audio modular stuff this is the best sounding and certainly most affordable convient way to the TR sound.
“Our aim with Transistor Revolution was always to produce a product that could completely replace the hardware in our own productions.” – wavealchemy.co.uk
Today is a good day to get some deals on pro-audio software. The best place to see a list of what’s going cheap is over at: rekkerd.org/deals-deals-deals. Native Intruments, Izotope, Waves, Slate Digital, Ableton, IK Multimedia, Cakewalk and many others are on the list. The only thing tempting me software wise this year is Izotope Trash 2.
“Cyber Monday is a marketing term for the Monday after Black Friday, the Friday following Thanksgiving in the United States, created by companies to persuade people to shop online.” – Wikipedia
So there is an all new version of Izotope’s Trash (Trash 2) that was just released. It’s certainly good and has hundreds of paramaters you can mess with. Sometimes however you just want a really good distortion unit with a few killer presets. Think about guitar pedals and imagine if they had a hundred options. That wouldn’t make sense. kiloHearts from Linköping, Sweden have plug-in called Faturator. It’s really nice, lightweight and with a great sound. This reads like a sales pitch and they did give me a NFR license however I really am using the plug-in a lot. Besides the “right” sounding fuzz and distortion there is a great stereo widener which I actually used a few times on its own (turning off the fuzz altogether). $19 USD Mac or PC.
“Faturator can do everything from adding subtle and warm gritty character to your sounds to slam them into a wall of heavy saturation and digital fuzz. Contrary to many distortion effects, Faturator will preserve the dynamics of your sound and work its wonders on it regardless of input gain. For the heck of it, it can also color the input to emphasize a specific tone of the sound, or throw some stereo width into the mix. Everything to give you a fast and easy way of making any input come alive.” – kilohearts.com
I was asked to make some official presets for D16’s LuSH-101 software synthesizer. It’s a very easy synth to program. You get 8 full synth layers, effects and arpeggiation (with shuffle) per layer and master effects. You can do some really great things with that. Take a listen to some of my presets. These of course swing towards weird and techno such as that’s what I do. I think I had as much fun naming the presets as I did making them. There is a free demo of LuSH-101 so try it out for yourself!
“LuSH-101 is a synthesizer created from modules that can be found in many modern virtual synthesizers, all combined into a single compact and logically intuitive design. However, this basic simplicity combined with its multilayer architecture turns it into an easy-to-use but extremely powerful instrument that can be programmed and tweaked quickly, almost effortlessly leveraging its maximum potential.” – d16.pl
On a few occasions I was going to pick up the original Vielklang. Instant Harmony V2 was just released and it looks really good. Imagine Melodyne with auto-harmony creation. I like how you can drop audio from your DAW directly into Instant Harmony’s plug-in window. Price: $149 USD
“Vielklang Instant Harmony generates harmonies with 2-4 voices. It is packed with musical intelligence and music theory: it detects the best fitting harmonies for each individual input melody, and automatically synthesizes up to four voices with the voices not merely running in parallel but with their voicings selected to sound most natural (voice leading). The advanced pitch editing controls (full version only!) give you fast and easy access to pitch, timing, vibrato control, formant shift, and to many more editing options.” – zplane.de
Peter and Pavol from LinPlug have released a new version of their Cronox sampler/synth plug-in called CrX4. It really is an all new plug-in adding a lot of new features but also dropping a few Cronox items. I love samplers and Linplug’s mod matrix has always been awesome. One feature I like is the Wavetable Generator that can be modulated. There is a demo so try it for yourself. $149 USD.
“CrX4 mixes up your samples in realtime like no other instrument. If you start with a kick sample you may end up with getting a fascinating pad from it, and you should not be astonished to get some punchy drums just from your vocal samples. Its CrX4, samples are only food for its versatile and unique engines, featuring 3 different specialized sample processing generators, an oscillator, a sophisticated noise generator and all the filters and modulations you expect from a fully fledged synthesizer.” – Linplug
Is this is a software Oto Biscuit? Maybe not but it’s from Sonic Charge so it’s 100% going to be useful. 12bit delay, analog saturation, limiter, etc… Permut8 is available now for $66 (25% off if you own any of their other products). I’m going to try it tonight when I get home from work and will update this post with some thoughts. Please do tell me what you think!
“Permut8 is an effect plug-in that embraces the sounds of primitive signal processing hardware. At its core is a 12-bit digital delay with variable sample rate from 0 to 352 khz. The delay is controlled by a programmable processor that allows you to change and modulate the delay time with various “operators”. The input and output stages offers virtual analog components for saturation, limiting and filtering. The sound of Permut8 is raw and complex but noisy and warm at the same time.” – soniccharge.com