Pro Tools Goes To 11!

Pro Tools, Protools, 11, Avid, DAW

Am I the first to make this horrid joke? I don’t know, but Pro Tools now goes to 11, which means of course it’s more better.

All joking aside, this update might be a very necessary move on Avid’s part to stay on top of the DAW game. While fears have been circulating about Avid’s financial trouble, Pro Tools still remains the industry standard for audio production, though it might be losing it’s foothold. Although I still think Pro Tools is the best for recording and editing live music, I must admit I’ve come to appreciate some of the benefits of Logic and Ableton Live over the years. If Apple’s Final Cut software displaced Avid from it’s video world throne, the apparent lack of development on Logic Pro might allow Pro Tools to reign supreme for a while longer. Pro Tools 11 has a few very important new features that bring it up to par with its competitors.

So, what’s new this time? Well, everything really. Pro Tools 11 has a totally redesigned audio engine, promising loads more processing power. And who doesn’t want that?  Users who need MOAR POWER will be happy to know that the revamped Avid Audio Engine is now built on 64-bit architecture. All of this simply means you can run more plug-ins and virtual instruments, making Pro Tools a comparable composing environment to its adversaries.

Another amazing new feature is OFFLINE BOUNCING. Why we had to wait this long for something common to other DAWS is beyond me, but it has been a major point of contention, so it’s a very welcome addition.

Other improvements are new metering options and the ability to  playback HD video. These may not seem like a big deal, but it’s the little things that make all the difference you know.

Pro Tools 11 will be available sometime later this year at these price points:

  • Pro Tools 11 software (full version) – $699 USD
  • Pro Tools 10 to 11 upgrade – $299 USD
  • Pro Tools 9 to 11 upgrade – $399 USD
  • Pro Tools Express to Pro Tools 11 cross grade – $499 USD
  • Pro Tools HD 10 to 11 upgrade – $599 USD
  • Pro Tools HD 9 to 11 upgrade – $999 USD

Rob Papen Limited Edition EDM & Urban Synth Bundles

Rob Papen, EDM Synth, Urban Synth, synth bundles, Predator, Punch, Blade, SubBoomBass

World-renowned Dutch soft-synth designer Rob Papen has two LIMITED EDITION software bundles available UNTIL 3/31/13 ONLY, so get on this deal QUICK!!!

Rob Papen, EDM Synth Bundle, Blade

The EDM Synth Bundle contains 3 virtual instruments to shake that dance-floor. Blade is an additive synthesis engine loaded with sound sculpting effects and a programmable XY control pad. The schwanky graphical interface is clean, futuristic, and has a bad-ass blade up top! What more do you need to make cutting edge sounds? (ugh sorry couldn’t resist pun). Anyway, you actually need a lot more, and thankfully, it’s all here. Papen has packed Blade full of so many options, it’s a veritable sonic swiss army knife. At the core is what Papen has dubbed the Harmolator – an oscillator system that allows precise, varied control of harmonic content and timbre. Next there is a mangling section that offers 21 distortion and 14 filter options. Then there is a sequencable arpeggiator, where each pulsing note’s pitch and velocity can be finely tailored. The centerpiece of Blade is the aforementioned XY control, which makes it possible to inject that oh so important human element. You can record modulation, then loop it backwards and forward, adjust and sync speed.

Rob Papen, EDM Synth Bundle, Urban Synth Bundle, Predator

Common to both bundles are Predator and Punch. Predator is a classic triple oscillator synth with filters, LFO modulation, arpeggiator, and a whole slew of effects. Also included is the PredatorFX plug-in, which allows you to use all these functions as a sound processor in your DAW. Punch is a drum synth/sampler/groove-machine. You can mix and match preset sounds or add your own to create a custom kit. Tweak, filter, add envelopes, LFO’s, and modulation to each individual sound. Trigger built-in key-mapped sequences, all programmable on a grid similar to the arpeggiator found in Papen’s other instruments.

Rob Papen, EDM Synth Bundle, Urban Synth Bundle,  Punch

Finally, SubBoomBass replaces Blade in the Urban Synth Bundle. As the name clearly states, this synth brings some serious sub to the equation! SubBoomBass features dual oscillators (each with sub-oscillation), pre-filter distortion, two filter stages, amplitude, envelope, LFO, a mappable modulation matrix, and of course, Papen’s full range of FX (if your bass isn’t quite phat enough). There are several different play-modes: mono, legato, poly, and seq. This brings us to the sequencer that seems to be the running theme of Papen’s suites. The 16-step pattern sequencer offers detailed control of each note, as well as “swing” and “slide”, to make your sub more slanky. This is perfect for building groovy bass-lines or rhythmic parts with some of the included sub-tuned percussion sounds.

Rob Papen, Urban Synth Bundle, SubBoomBass

The bottom line is all four of these instruments are seriously function deep. The sonic possibilities go way beyond my simple descriptions, but the way they are laid out makes everything intuitive. You can easily play around for hours just trying out different combinations, or start with the already great sounding presets and quickly fine tune them to your taste.

Both EDM Synth and Urban Synth bundles cost €199.00 EUR/$239.00 USD/£169.00 GBP (a combined savings of around 45%) and can be purchased online at http://www.robpapen.com

Reason 7: New Features Keep This DAW in the Running

Reason 7, Propellorheads

Looks like music-software makers are all racing to push out updates these days, with the recent release of Ableton Live 9, followed by the announcement of Native Instruments Komplete 9, and now Propellerheads Reason 7 is on the way.

I must admit I haven’t used Reason in quite a long time. I moved on before they even added Record. That was the ultimate reason really: Propellerheads was too slow to add features which seemed like obvious necessities. However, I do remember fondly the ability to just whip up a track in no time flat. Reason is great for this. The ease and flexibility of connecting or rearranging devices is awesome, and the graphics are just adorable. I remember thinking that Reason would be an awesome tool to demonstrate the principles of electronic music technology quickly and comprehensibly in the classroom.

Reason has come a long way since the early days, and version 7 has added some interesting features, albeit rather late in the game. These include an External MIDI device, for controlling all your outboard gear (that maybe you don’t use anymore?), slice-able audio, for quantization or use with REX player devices (which Reason pioneered 13 years ago!), some age old mix features like buses, groups, and the new Spectrum (graphic) EQ. They’ve also added Level and Pan functions within Racks, the neat-o Audiomatic Retro Transformer, to give your tracks that vintage vibe, and a whole new bunch of sounds “from dubstep to even metal”! Not only that, but more audio file formats are supported, like mp3, wma, and aac!

Not sure if Propellorheads is being tongue-in-cheek with their copy (surely they must be right? “There’s a rack for that”???). I do think these additions bring Reason up to date though, making it a real contender again in the audio world. It just seems weird to me that they allowed themselves to fall behind in the first place, when they seemed so far ahead right out of the gate in the year 2000. In any case, I am happy to see them making strides, as users new and old will no doubt have countless hours of fun banging out tracks with Reason 7.

See all the new stuff in action:

Reason 7 is currently in beta-testing and will be released in the second quarter of 2013.

Native Instruments Komplete 9

Native Instruments, Komplete 9,

Turns out Native Instruments Komplete 9 is what was being hinted at with their recent teaser videos.

Those dazzling animations were ever so surreptitiously advertising the new Monark synth and Battery 4.Monark is what NI calls “the king of monophonic analog synths…the holy grail of analog modeling.” The Battery 4 Drum Sampler update has new sound library “tagging” for easy organization, and snazzy drag & drop effects, including updated Solid Mix effects EQ, Bus Compression, tape saturation, LoFi, and convolution reverb.

The basic Komplete 9 includes 33 instruments/effects in a 120GB+ package. But that’s clearly not enough, if you’re at all serious about making music! Komplete 9 Ultimate offers 65 NI products in a whopping 370GB, which comes on a USB hard-drive.

Included are:

  • MONARK
  • BATTERY 4
  • SOLID MIX SERIES a complete studio effects suite for creating polished, release-ready productions.
  • SESSION STRINGS is an easy-to-use contemporary string ensemble for quickly adding modern arrangements to all styles of music.
  • THE GIANT delivers the immense sound of the world’sbiggest upright piano, plus an additional cinematic mode perfect for atmospheric textures and soundscapes.
  • KONTAKT 5
  • GUITAR RIG 5 PRO
  • REAKTOR 5
  • PRISM
  • SPARK
  • MASSIVE
  • FM8
  • ABSYNTH 5
  • TRANSIENT MASTER
  • REFLEKTOR
  • THE FINGER
  • TRAKTOR’S 12
  • KOMPLETE 9 ULTIMATE features all products included in KOMPLETE 9, plus the REVERB CLASSICS and PREMIUM TUBE SERIES studio effects, the essential cinematic strings collection ACTION STRINGS, the playable horn section SESSION HORNS, and the Rickenbacker®- approved SCARBEE RICKENBACKER BASS. Also included are the epic DAMAGE industrial percussion instrument, the 11-piece SESSION STRINGS PRO ensemble, the futuristic RAZOR and SKANNER XT synthesizers, and many more.

Komplete 9 ($599/update from $149) and Komplete 9 Ultimate ($1099/update from $399) will be available March 27th. Pre-order now at http://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/komplete/

 

Ableton Live 9 + Push Out Now!

Ableton, Live, Push

For more than a decade, Ableton Live has been the DAW de rigeur for loopers, DJ’s, live electronic performance artists, and anyone wanting to take a more improvisational approach to building sequences of sound. Live stands apart from other popular software, with its loop launching layout and eccentric family of controllers.

Today, Ableton released version 9 of Live, along with its very own hardware, Push.

Ableton, Live, Push

This 64-square control surface is slim, portable, stylish, and oh so lustworthy.

Push was created in conjunction with Akai, and bears some resemblance to the APC40‘s button matrix, mixed with the elegant minimalism of the Monome or Tenori-On. Like Native Instruments’ Maschine, Push promises the ability to make music without having to look at your screen, as all sequencing controls are onboard. Unlike Maschine, Push contains no sounds of its own.

Live 9, however, includes over 1,100 sounds (11GB) in its Standard edition, while the full Suite offers 3,000+ (54GB!).

See what’s new:

New in Ableton Live 9

Ableton Push

Order yours now:

https://www.ableton.com/en/shop/

If you’re interested in attending an Ableton meet-up with your fellow music geek (I might be at the LA event March 10th):

https://www.ableton.com/en/blog/ableton-live-9-and-push-premiere-events/

I Dream Of Wires: Hardcore Edition Trailer

I Dream Of Wires, modular synth documentary

I Dream Of Wires, a forthcoming documentary about modular synthesizers, featuring interviews with luminaries such as Chris Carter and Trent Reznor, has released an official trailer for its extended cut, ‘Hardcore Edition.’

This juicy 12-minute hardcore synth porn clip is but a sliver of the full 4-hour version of the film, which is available for pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD at idreamofwires.org.

Also for sale on their site is the exclusive IDOW edition batteryACID, a voltage controlled analog distortion module by hexinverter.net.

batteryACID, hexinverter.net, I Dream Of Wires

batteryACID is “loosely based” on the classic MXR Distortion Plus guitar pedal circuit. What makes this unit special for modular enthusiasts is that it comes in eurorack format, so it can be integrated right into a modular rig, and distortion can be modulated using a control voltage from another module. It also has a built-in compressor to keep those clipped peaks in check, which can be disabled if desired, or used on its own with distortion bypassed.

And now without further ado, here comes the trailer. Keep your pants on y’all.

“I Dream Of Wires (Hardcore Edition)” – 2013 official trailer.

“I Dream of Wires” (IDOW) is an upcoming, independent documentary film about the phenomenal resurgence of the modular synthesizer – exploring the passions, obsessions and dreams of people who have dedicated part of their lives to this esoteric electronic music machine. Written and directed by Robert Fantinatto, with Jason Amm (Ghostly International recording artist Solvent) serving as producer and co-writer, IDOW is set to receive it’s festival premiere, May 2013.

Preceding IDOW’s official theatrical release, we will be releasing this special, extended cut: “I Dream Of Wires (Hardcore Edition)” (IDOW-HE) will be released independently on BluRay / 2xDVD, and shipped to all IndieGoGo and pre-order customers, June 2013. IDOW-HE is for the hardcore modular synthesizer and electronic music fanatics, and will run approximately 4 hours long (!).

IDOW-HE is a strictly limited-edition item, available to order exclusively through idreamofwires.org from 2/11 – 5/31, 2013. It’s bound to sell out in pre-orders, so don’t sleep…
IDOW-HE BluRay / 2xDVD is available to pre-order now:
idreamofwires.org/order

“Themogene (I Dream Of Wires theme)”, from the forthcoming IDOW original soundtrack album by Solvent, is available to listen/download in its entirety via Ghostly International on Soundcloud:
soundcloud.com/ghostly/solvent-themogene

Additional music/sounds featured in this trailer: Container, Jack Dangers (Meat Beat Manifesto), Richard Devine, John Elliott (Spectrum Spools/ex-Emeralds), Gert Jalass (Moon Modular), Richard Lainhart, Solvent, Jon Sonnenberg (Travelogue), Keith Fullerton Whitman.

“Who said that?” (in order of appearance): Brad Garton, Dean Batute, Maggie Payne, Bernie Krause, William Maginnis, Terry Pender, Jack Dangers (Meat Beat Manifesto), Benge (John Foxx and the Maths), Vince Clarke (Erasure), Daniel Miller (Mute Records), David Kronemeyer, Jon Sonnenberg (Travelogue), Carl Craig, James Holden, Richard Devine, Luke Abbott, Tony Rolando (Make Noise), Flood, Trent Reznor (NiN/How To Destroy Angels), Dieter Doepfer, Dominic Butler (Factory Floor), Paul Schreiber (Synthesis Technology/MOTM), David Kronemeyer, Eric Barbour (Metasonix), George Mattson, William Mathewson (WMD), Tony Rolando, Eric Barbour, Daniel Miller, Drew Neumann, John Elliott (Spectrum Spools/ex-Emeralds), Andreas Schneider (SchneidersBuero), Eric Barbour, Scott Jaeger (The Harvestman), Andreas Schneider, Dieter Doepfer, Chris Carter (X-TG/Chris & Cosey), Charlie Clouser, Danjel Van Tijn (Intellijel), John Tejada, Drumcell, Legowelt, Alessandro Cortini (SONOIO/ex-NiN), John Foxx, Deadmau5, James Husted (Synthwerks), Paul Barker (Malekko/ex-Ministry), Container, Cevin Key (Skinny Puppy), Robert A.A. Lowe, Trent Reznor, Gur Milstein (TipTop Audio), Gary Numan.

idreamofwires.org
vimeo.com/idreamofwires
facebook.com/idreamofwiresdocumentary

Orange OPC: A Computer/Amplifier Mashup

Orange, Orange Amplifier, Orange Personal Computer, Orange PC, Orange OPC, OPC

 

The Orange OPC is a strange beast indeed. What we have here is a classic Orange Amplifier exterior, but instead of tubes and all that good stuff, they PUT A COMPUTER INSIDE. Yes, you read that right. Yup. MIND BLOWN.

It’s hard to get your head around the idea of an amp company building personal computers, but the more you think about it, the OPC starts to make sense. This is a machine for a guitarist that just wants to make some music, like NOW. If you’re cool with an all-in-one-stop-shopping solution, then you’re all set.

The OPC is packed with a solid state Orange amplifier and a stereo pair of JBL 6.5″ studio reference speakers. The dedicated audio interface has guitar/bass & mic jacks that provide 24bit recording with only 1ms of latency. There is also 5.1 surround support and a way to plug your iPod/MP3 player directly to the speakers, bypassing everything else.

Then there is the actual computer part of the thing. The OPC features the Intel Core series i3 processor (i5 and i7 options also available). A 7200RPM/500GB hard drive sits inside a thick rubber shock resistant mounting, which fits full size desktop or laptop sized drives. There is built in Wireless-N and Ethernet, and a slot-loading DVD drive. The AMD Radeon 7750 graphics card is good enough for gamers and includes 1 VGA and 2 HDMI outputs. If you feel like upgrading, all the parts are easily accessed and swappable. Best of all, the OPC comes preloaded with an interesting selection of music software: Amplitube 3 with (additional Orange Amplifier models), Presonus Studio One (Orange Edition), Acoustica Mixcraft 5, Toontrack EZdrummer Lite, and LickLibrary Guitar Lesson Center with pre-loaded video guitar lessons! The OPC is a Windows 7 machine, but let’s not hold that against it (while I do use PC I’m still a Mac snob at heart); it seems like a pretty complete package for someone who wants to get into guitar and digital music production.

Orange, Orange Amplifier, Orange Personal Computer, Orange PC, Orange OPC, OPC Orange, Orange Amplifier, Orange Personal Computer, Orange PC, Orange OPC, OPC

The OPC will be available by end of April for $1,125 and can be ordered from Orange in the US.

Arturia SparkLE Shines

Arturia, SparkLE, drum machine

I’m a sucker for sparkly things, and the Arturia SparkLE is certainly no exception.

SparkLE is a sleek hardware/software hybrid drum-machine that is bound to light up your life (nyuk nyuk) in a few different ways. Spaceship-LIGHTshow aside, this little beatbox is LIGHT, weighing in at only 1 kg (2.2 lbs.). And of course, it will simply deLIGHT you. (End of horrible pun.)

You can build beats using the step sequencer buttons or pound them out in realtime on the pressure sensitive pads. Throw down a groove with the Looper and then introduce variation with the touch sensitive XY pad, which can control 8 filter modes (including the classic Oberheim SEM filter) and 7 different Slicer modes. Engage the TUNE mode and play a synth melody on SparkLE’s 16 keys, or simply add pitch to a percussion sound.

SparkLE, Arturia, hardware software hybrid drum machine

The SparkLE sound engine boasts a wide range of ever expanding sounds, with layering, Virtual Analog, and Physical Modeling for further tweaking. The software component offers a Mix view, effects, automation & editing capabilities, and can be used as a standalone program or AU/VST/VST3/RTAS plug-in (without the hardware connected). Alternately you can map the hardware to control your DAW via MIDI, or use the included templates for Ableton LIve and Reason.

All this functionality is built into a seriously compact (284mm x 171mm x 17 mm) and portable (comes with a travel case) package. SparkLE is a truly versatile tool for a musician on the go!

Arturia’s SparkLE is an obvious competitor to Native Instruments’ Maschine Mikro. In the race to get smaller and smaller, it wins; the Spark drum controller is thinner, takes up less desk space, and the price tag is lower ($299 vs. $399 for Maschine). Although Maschine might fair better with MPC drum pad enthusiasts, I must say I prefer Spark’s keyboard/’TR’ style layout. I’d love to get the two of them in a room for a real sonic shootout sometime.

Moog 500 Series Analog Delay

Moog Analog Delay 500 Series

Moog has announced the late December release of it’s flagship analog delay designed specifically for 500 series studio rackmount systems. 

So now producers will have the option to insert Moog’s famous all analog echos into their hardware chain right next to their “lunchbox” API or Neve microphone pre-amps. In addition to being more studio fitting than its Moogerfooger counterpart, the Moog 500 series Analog Delay will have an accompanying VST/AU/RTAS plug-in editor, which can be used to control “Tap/CV input routing, Keyboard Control settings, Clock Divisions and a Delay Multiplier for access to illegal times up to 4x the front panel position.” Illegal times! So wrong it feels right! Now that is just downright sexy.

Here’s more detailed info from Moog:

The Moog Analog Delay is the world’s first delay designed exclusively for the 500 series format. It is a MIDI syncable module that features a 100% analog signal path, front panel MIDI, and an assignable Tap Tempo/CV jack. Included with each unit is a free VST/AU/RTAS editor for easy implementation into any recording, live, and performance situation.

Out of the box you get 800ms of the warmest, and most musical delay on the planet. No emulation plugin can impart depth and life into your mixes like the Analog Delay.

The Analog Delay has been designed with tone, connectivity, and flexibility at the forefront. Moog’s engineering team worked tirelessly to deliver a 500 Series module with an incredibly clean front end that could easily pushed into a warm, natural overdrive for saturated delay trails or beyond for more distorted effects.

Though not on the front panel, the Analog Delay features a 6 Waveshape LFO that allows you to create other time based effects such as tape delay, chorus and extreme modulated sounds. The LFO can be easily accessed via MIDI or the free VST/AU/RTAS Analog Delay plug-in editor.

Also accessible via the editor are advanced features like Tap/CV input routing, Keyboard Control settings, Clock Divisions and a Delay Multiplier for access to illegal times up to 4x the front panel position. The Tap/CV input also can be fed audio from a click track to act as a tap tempo source.

The 500 series Analog Delay combines the sound of the ultimate analog delay with convenient digital control and flexibility to create the perfect recording and live sound tool.

Features:

• 40-800ms Analog Delay Time

• .5x/1.0x time and filter switch

• 32dB of input Drive

• Assignable ¼” Tap Tempo and CV input

• MIDI control

• 6 Waveshape LFO

• Free VST/AU/RTAS editor (AAX coming soon)

• Stereo Linkable