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

Bleep Drum Makes Bleep Better!

Dr. Bleep, Bleep Labs, Bleep Drum, Rad-fi, arduino drum machine

Remember the Dam [Funk] Drum from Bleep Labs? Probably not, since it was so limited and sold out immediately. Well you’re in luck, my little sickies, because now Dr. Bleep has a new little bleeping machine to cure the common tone lust: The Bleep Drum.

I’ll take two and call you in the morning, Doc.

Be sure to read the prescription from Bleep Labs:

The Bleep Drum is an Arduino based lo-fi rad-fi drum machine designed by Dr. Bleep.

– Four sounds, two with pitch control
– Four selectable sequences
– Record patterns just by playing them
– Tap tempo
– Reverse mode
– Hyper Noise 30XX mode
– Stereo 1/8″ output

Is it available as a fully built device?
It will be starting early April. You can order it now and we’ll ship it as soon as it’s ready.
The kit currently ships in 1-3 days.

Can I add my own sounds?
Yes but you have to mess with the code a bit. We’ll be releasing a tool to convert .wav into text that can be copied into the Bleep Drum code.

Where is MIDI it should have MIDI and CV and GPS.
It can take trigger pulses for the pads and tempo. MIDI is just a hack away. See the hacking guide for more on the expansion port on the left side.

How is this different than the Dam Drum 2.0?
The Dam Drum 2.0 was a limited edition device for Dam Funk that is all sold out. The Bleep Drum is the same hardware but has different sounds as well as HYPERNOISE 30XX mode.

Dr. Bleep, Bleep Labs, Bleep Drum, Rad-fi, arduino drum machine

Dr. Bleep, Bleep Labs, Bleep Drum, Rad-fi, arduino drum machine

Drums By Asrodot: Not Your Average iPad Drum App

Drums By Asrodot, drum app, iPad drum

If you’re like me, people have been telling you to “stop tapping!” your whole life. Trouble is, I can’t. I’m not even really aware I’m doing it. Table tops just bring it out of me. They lure me in with their subtle sonic nuances and before I know it, I’m tapping away.

Drums By Asrodot, a new iPad app, capitalizes on this behavior and takes it one step further. It’s not just another drum machine with squares for you to tap. The interface is a zen dream: just one wood grain rectangle for your hands to caress. So simple, it’s refreshing.

You get 6 different kits: Cajón, Xylophone, Jazz, IDM, Drum&Bass 1 + 2, tweakable with Gain/Distortion and Delay.

The sounds of each kit are spread across the XY axis, and change dynamically depending on where your fingers fall. Touch response is very quick and natural feeling.

Take a look at this video demo and you’ll see what I mean:

According to the app’s creator, Arno van Goch, “every pixel sounds just a little bit different.”

Get Drums By Asrodot

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.

MR-808 Reproduces 808 Sounds With Robots

Often, digital emulations of analog instruments are just horrid. It’s far more interesting when someone attempts to reproduce sounds of digital origin with analog instruments. This is exactly what Moritz Simon Geist pulls off with the MR-808, the first drum robot that recreates the classic sounds of the 808 drum machine in the physical realm.

Electronic music is usually repetitive by nature. Our brains get bored very quickly of hearing the same exact sounds over and over, and tend to tune them out. To create something interesting, composers are thus compelled to introduce variation and randomness, so called “human” qualities, into their music.

By turning what was once just a computer generated sound into a mechanical process, Geist has managed to inject a bit of unpredictability into what has by now become a recognizable artifact of eighties music.  And he does it with style, building it all into a large scale model of the well-known little drum box. The MR-808 uses an Arduino Microcontroller and MIDI to trigger motors and solenoids which hit drums and percussion instruments. MAX/MSP was employed to deal with latency and a lighting control system.

MR-808 – mechanic drum robot Filmography: David Campesino on Vimeo.

Read part of Geist’s Sonic Robots manifesto “Robot Vision”

What would Asimov say? The vision is to have a decent electronic pop-band where no sound is generated inside a computer, but where robots play the structures humans are not able to. We want the haptics, the error and the visual behavior of machines playing the beats and notes! We want a crowded and dirty stage with cables, machinery and lights all over, pulsating like a single heart. Drums are the base of music, with the “MR-808″ we created an awesome drum machine to start with.

I think the key phrase here is “robots play the structures humans are not able to,” for what would be the point other than to relieve humans of the job of keeping the beat? It’s interesting and a little bit scary to think of what the next steps for computers and robotics will be once artificial intelligence is fully realized. There are already computer programs that can analyze music and write new pieces based on learned qualities and patterns. What happens when a computer is so powerful it can analyze all music in existence and spit out something no human would be capable of producing? And what happens if it’s actually good?

Learn more about Sonic Robots at http://sonicrobots.com/mr808-eng/

Bleep funk

Need to rock a beat fast and can’t be bothered with complicated computer tomfoolery?

Bleep Labs, in collaboration with Stones Throw Records and the artist known as Dam-Funk, has the solution to your hi-tech blues.

Dubbed the ‘Dam Drum,’ this little critter packs 4 sounds, 2 knobs for pitch control, and is able to store 4 patterns at a time. With an extremely limited run of only 100, you’d better hurry to http://www.stonesthrow.com/news/2012/08/dam-drum and get some lo-fi love.

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***UPDATE*** 8/28/12

Aaaaaaaaand SOLD OUT