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WelcomeMT
MAGAZINE December 2013 | 3
Many years ago I sent a cassette of my music off
to a music library inthe hope that it wouldend
upinaTVprogramme onone of the three
channels of the time. There were very fewsuch
library companies aroundthenandI remember
there was a certainstigma attachedto them.
Library music was associatedwiththe sort of blandller
music that soundtrackedthe night-time, withCeefax
providing the images. So evenif my music hadbeen
accepted(it wasnt clearly not blandenough, I Iike to
think) Idhave hadmixedfeelings
Nowthe world of library music has changed beyond recognition. Ceefax has
gone, the bland ller music has gone... all replaced by actual programmes that
people really do watch throughout the night across hundreds of TVchannels. Also,
the video games industry is bigger than ever, more production companies are
producing more dramas and documentaries so more people than ever before are
producing content that needs exciting music. Everyone glued to a screen which
seems to be pretty much the whole world these days expects a pumping
soundtrack and that soundtrack could have been produced by you. That stigma I
possibly imagined, has completely vanished
So if you are not already involved in library music production, then the ideal
feature awaits on p12. Rob Boffard talks about howto produce the music and,
importantly, we also list some of the companies to get in touch with and detail the
sort of music they are after. After reading the feature Imsorely tempted to give it
another go myself. Nowwhere is that cassette?
AndyJones Senior Editor
Email andy.jones@anthem-publishing.com
Sendyour tweets @AndyJonesMT(although dont expect much tweeting fromme)
Readmy blogs at www.musictech.net
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Expert Panel
CubaseTimHallas
Timsamusictechnologyconsultantand
educationexpert. AsCubaseEditorhewill be
bringingyouarangeoftechniquefeaturesforthe
popularDAWoverthecomingmonths.
Mixing/Mastering/LogicMarkCousins
Markspecialisesinsounddesignandcinematic
productions. Hehasrecordedwithorchestras
acrossEuropeandisheavilyinvolvedin
soundtrackcomposition.
Recording&GuitarTechHuwPrice
Arecordingengineersince1987, Huwhasworked
withDavidBowie, MyBloodyValentine, Primal
Scream, DepecheMode, NickCave, Heidi Berry,
FadGadgetandcountlessothers.
Scoring/Orchestral KeithGemmell
Keithspecialisesinareaswheretraditional
music-makingmeetsmusictechnology, including
orchestral andjazzsamplelibraries, acoustic
virtual instrumentsandnotationsoftware.
AbletonLive&DJingLiamOMullane
LiamhasworkedasaD&BscratchDJaswell as
releasingdubstep, D&Bandhardcoretracks. His
passionistomastertheproductionstylesofthe
latestgenresusingLive.
Reason&MobileHollinJones
Aswell asteachingmusictechnology, producing
andwritingsoundtracks, Hollinisanexperton
everythingApple, mobileorcomputer-related, as
well asbeinganaccomplishedkeyboardplayer.
ElectronicMusicAlexHolmes
Alexhasbeenacomputermusicianfor15years,
havingakeenpassionforbeats, bassandall
formsofelectronicmusic. Hescurrentlyinvolved
inthreedifferentdancemusicprojects.
StudioHardwareJohnPickford
Johnisastudioengineerwithover25yearsof
experience. Heisakeensoundrecordinghistorian
andhasapassionforvalve-drivenanalogue
equipmentandclassicrecordingtechniques.
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todoingjust that, coveringhowtomake
it and, importantly, whotosendit to
12GETPAIDFOR
YOURMUSIC
Advance
06 32
MTInterview
MTContents
Issue129 December 2013
Blancmange
Re-recordingaclassicalbumwiththe
latest technology. Howhardcanit be?
APPLE MAVERICKS
What Appleslatest OSoffersthemusician
MTContents
4 | December 2013 MAGAZINE
DAWTutorials
GenreFocus
BECOMEAPOWERUSERIN
ALLTHEMAJORDAWs...
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COVERFEATURE:
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ContentsMT
MAGAZINE December 2013 | 5
any given application so that it doesnt mess with the
audio engine if you hide your DAWfor a fewminutes to write
an email.
Music onthe move
Apples MacBook Pros are hugely popular with musicians and
the specs are nowso goodthat for many people they are a
true desktopreplacement. As of November 2013, they were
all ttedwith Retina displays (the MacBook Airs dont as yet)
andwhile these are gorgeous, some apps havent yet been
updatedto take advantage of them. Put simply, this means
t a higher screen resolution, graphics can
htly fuzzy andblocky. Most DAWs dont
y support Retina yet after all, it exists only
me Macs, andMacs are only a proportion
all music machines in use. In my
experience, the fuzzy graphics are more of
an annoyance than a genuine hindrance.
In truth, however, many things have yet to
be optimisedfor Retina screens
including most websites andnon-music
apps for the same reason. As the
technology spreads (some Windows
laptops offer similarly high-resolution
screens now), youdhope to see more
Retina-compatible graphics around. As it
is, many third-party plug-ins look slightly
blocky. Apples own Logic ProXis pretty
odin this respect, though its legacy
ins havent yet been optimised, which
little remiss...
MTAdvance
Round-ups Analysis&comment Industryinsight
Appleslatestoperatingsystemhashittheweband
itsnowfree. Butshouldmusiciansdiveinorhang
back?HollinJonesoffershisopinion...
Mac OSX can nowconsider itself a fully mature
operating systemand it can be found at the
beating heart of many peoples studio setups.
Innitely more stable and powerful nowthan OS9
and its ilk ever were in their day, its telling that gripes tend
to be limited to relative trivialities like translucent menu
bars, when not so long ago an Extensions conict could
take down a days worth of sessions or even fry your
machine completely. Mavericks is an evolution of Mountain
Lion thats seen an awful lot of tinkering under the hood,
with the aimof improving performance, resource
management and battery life in laptops. Lets look at what
the key issues for musicians are
Whats new?
First off, any Mac that can run OSX10.8 shouldrun 10.9 in
the same way. In fact, even if your Mac is a fewyears oldor a
little underpowered, you may well see a performance boost
fromthe newsystem, as features like memory compression,
AppNapandSafari Power Saver are all designedto reduce
systemstrainandprioritise foregroundapps. This is a great
stepforwardfor musicians, since your DAWloadedwith some
heavy-duty plug-ins can easily start to eat upRAMandCPU
power, and the last thing you want is Sa
irritating power-sapping animatedadin
windowin the background. Resource
management has become a huge issue
andthe vast majority of Macs I see that
are supposedly on their last legs
are actually just chronically short
of memory.
Memory compression in
Mavericks is a particularly big plus
for musicians. Previously, apps
couldfail to release RAMproperly
even after they hadbeen closed
down, resulting in excessive
swap-le usage andgeneral system
slowdown. Mavericks is amazingly
goodat managing andallocating
memory andthe results are much bette
performance fromthe hardware you alr
have. Incidentally, you can disable AppN
OSXMAVERICKS
FORMUSICIANS
a
INFO
AppNapcanput
backgroundappstosleep, but it
canbedisabledluckilyfor
musicianswhodont want whole
projectsunloadedwhenplaced
intothebackgroundfor awhile.
b
RAM
RAMusageisprobablythe
singlemost limitingfactor inany
musicsetupandMaverickshas
advancedwaysof allocatingRAM
tominimiseswapping, which
slowsyoudown.
a
Applesmuch-
anticipatedMavericks
OSisnowwithus
anditsfree...
MTAdvance
6 | December 2013 MAGAZINE
Lookbefore youleap
Andso we come to the question of
whether you shouldupgrade or not.
Its not a cost issue any more since
Mavericks is free, andnot so much
a hardware one either since it
shouldeke out extra performance
on existing hardware. There are
the usual caveats about not
upgrading in the middle of existing
projects or if youre unsure about
compatibility of your key apps and
plug-ins. Developers take time to update
drivers, plug-ins andapps for compatibility with a
newOS, since Apple tends to tinker right upuntil release
date. Check with the makers of your specic kit, andhang re
if theyre not ofcially supportedas yet. Oldkit may stop
working if it has become unsupported, but it might work too,
so its a bit of a gamble.
The performance optimisations in Mavericks are
excellent and will denitely benet musicians of all avours.
We can all use more power, and tantalising features in the
latest MBPhardware such as ABVthat can send audio and
video through Ethernet connections hint at what may be
coming in the future. Despite constant claims that Apple is
dumbing-down its apps and forgetting pros in its quest to
sell iPhones (an argument with which I have some sympathy),
Mavericks shows that the Mac is still the premiumplatform
for content-creation, and Apple understands that we want
power and lots of it. As ever, developers will play catch-up
but eventually it will all settle down. The future of the Mac
seems to be in fairly safe hands.
FORMORE
OFTHE
LATESTNEWS
CHECKOUT
MUSICTECH.NET
Send us your music
and get it rated!
Your music to be rated by the MusicTech teamand
industry experts
This month were launching a brand-newservice where you
sendus links to your music andwe rate it. Simple, eh?Well
critique your music ourselves and also put it infront of our
industry contacts, who will offer feedback, too. If youwant to do
library music, for example, well get some of our contacts from
our great feature onp12 to proffer advice.
But the best thing or most terrifying, whatever your
perspective is that the critique will be done onour website
andvia the magazine so that everyone can hear your tunes and
readthe ensuing and highly constructive, we might add
criticism. Well put links to your music on our home page at
www.musictech.net and, where possible, put a different
selection on the DVDso everyone can joinin and see if they
agree or disagree with the expert feedback.
If youwant the industry andus tocritique your tunes,
simply email your music (mp3s or links) toandy.price@
anthem-publishing.com
To celebrate the termstarting inJanuary, Point Blank is
offering one lucky MusicTechreader the chance to winone
of its Pro-Producer courses.
Point Blank Music School has been voted Best Music
Production &DJ School. Based inShoreditch, London, this is the
centre of the electronic music universe, withmusic andmedia
companies spilling out fromOld Street in whats knownas
Silicon Roundabout. Youcan learnmusic production, sound
engineering, music business, singing, radio production, DJ skills
andlmproduction fromtopBritishmusic producers andmedia
professionals, with regular visits fromlegends in boththe music
andmedia industries. Whether youstudy online or inthe college
in London, your tutors are UKproducers including Grammy
Award-winners, Ivor Novello-winning songwriters, producers
andremixers.
The competition courses runover a number of weeks but
involve study fromhome, so anyone can enter. Inorder to win,
simply check out the courses at www.pointblankonline.net/
courses/pro-producer-courses.phpandchoose a course.
Then simply email us
editorial@
anthem-
publishing.com
explaining why you
want to go on that
course. The most
interesting wins!
Checkout the full
range of PB
courses online at:
www.point
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or www.point
blankonline.net
WinaPoint Blank
courseworth395!
c
AVBSUPPORT
Hintsat possible
futureproductsfor
advancedaudioandvideo
networkingover Ethernet.
d
ENERGY
Mavericksisdesignedtodirect as
muchpower andasmanyresourcesas
possibletowardstheappsyouareusing,
andnot thoseinthebackground.
b
c
d
AdvanceMT
MAGAZINE December 2013 | 7
Upcominghardwareandsoftwarereleases
under thescrutinyof MusicTechsexperts
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AdvanceMT
MAGAZINE December 2013 | 9
12 | December 2013 MAGAZINE
MT Feature Get Paidfor Your Music
MAGAZINE December 2013 | 13
Get Paidfor Your MusicFeatureMT
T
here are a lot of names for library music, such as sync, production
music, stock music... In general terms, it refers to the use of music in
TV and film, in video games, on the radio, in online videos
anywhere that requires a little dose of music to shine. But
irrespective of what its called, it remains one of the most underused
weapons in any producers arsenal and a good way to make additional income
from your productions. A single hit can make a musicians name; think about the
use of Imogen Heaps Hide And Seek in the television series The OC. And anyone
can make library music (were going to stick with this term for now to avoid
confusion), so although there are a few things to bear in mind, youre not going
to be using any production techniques that differ from what youre doing
already: chances are that youve already made some music that could work in a
library, and which would also be quite comfortable sitting under the credits of a
hot newTV series.
Of course, theres also
bad news when youre
trying to make a living
from music, theres always
bad news. While it can be
a nice way to generate
income and cement a
reputation, cracking the
library music safe is a very tough job. Youll face immense competition, a
massive industry that can often be rather set in its ways, and like any producer
youll often have to fight to get paid! More importantly, you have to get used to
the fact that once your music is being used, its no longer your own. Youre not
releasing a track under your own name; its going out under the name of a
production company.
In this feature were going to walk you through everything to do with library
music how its made, where its used, who uses it (and why). Well chat to
composers, library owners and music supervisors, finding out what they do and
getting their tips on how to get called back again and again. Weve also built our
own library track from scratch a classical monster that would quite happily
work in the credits sequence of any Viking or crusader film. Well use it to break
down the things you need to remember when creating a library track, including
Librarymusiccanbeagoodway
tomakeadditionalincomefrom
yourproductions
MTMasterclass Career Opportunities
Fact:youremorelikelytomakeadecent incomefromsyncmusicthatsmusicinfilm,TV
andvideogamesthanyouever will withchart fame.Another fact:itseasier thanyou
might thinktoget into.RobBoffardhastheadviceandthecontactsyoull need
14 | December 2013 MAGAZINE
MT Feature Get Paidfor Your Music
how to create shorter versions and how to separate
out stems, and at the end, well turn it over to a
music library to see whether it passes muster.
Inprocess
Lets say that you want to get in on the library-music
game. Youve got a bunch of tracks together a good
demo that shows off your versatility and musical
chops. First step is to find a home for it. In most
cases, that means going to a music library, which is
where the term gets its name from. A music library is
just that: a library of music, sorted by styles, tempo,
length, keywords and whatever other metadata can
be dreamed up. Today, nearly all library companies
are online, although quite a few still create CDs of
music to send out to industry contacts.
If it works out well, the library bigwigs like what
you present, and offer to put you on their roster. That
means your tracks will appear on their website,
MTStep-by-Step Buildingalibrarytrack
01
Were going to showyouhowto buildan
example library track fromscratch. In
this case, were going to be building a track
for lmsomething that couldbe usedfor a
trailer or, better yet, over the opening credits.
But since we dont knowwhere its going to
be used, we have to keepit exible, andwere
going to go over a fewways of doing that. We
built the track inProTools, relying primarily
onNative Instruments Kontakt sample
libraries, as well as Battery 4 for the drums.
04
One thing youll notice is that our track
has very clear divisions betweeneach
set of four bars. This is deliberate once you
sell your track, youmay get a call froman
in-house engineer wanting youto remix your
material, or wanting to do it themselves. Yes,
it sucks its hardto let someone else ddle
withwhat youve made but it does happen,
so keeping eachsegment as a self-contained
unit will make it easier if it does (not to
mentionmaking your sequencing a breeze).
02
Agoodway to builda library track is to
have anidea of what it might be usedfor
this will helpguide youwhenyoure
sequencing it. For example, since weve
envisagedthis track being laidunder a credits
sequence, we needa slightly subduedintro
sectionbefore our maintheme kicks in. Our
intro is sparse, withjust the lowhorns and
some incremental percussionelements. Weve
pannedthe drums out to increase the stereo
eld, adding to the cinematic feel.
05
Once were done, we addjust a touchof
compressionandcorrective EQto eachof
our instruments. Weve kept things very
low-key if theres going to be a voiceover on
our track, whoever does the mix will want to
scoopout some vocal frequencies for
themselves to make room. Ingeneral, youcan
treat the mix of a library track as youwouldany
other song; the only real rule is to be as gentle
as possible withthe processing.
03
We want our track to buildover time, so
our strings come ingradually rather
thanall at once. To make things as lushas
possible weve layeredour strings, giventhem
a dose of reverbandplayedwithenvelope
values to make themsoundnatural. They
dont start the track: we like the horns leading
the charge, whichkeeps things nice and
dramatic, but youmay want to leadwith
something entirely different, suchas an
heroic horntheme or a synthline.
06
Make absolutely sure that your track is
compatible inmono itll helpto avoid
those nasty calls froma music supervisor
wondering why her perfect track for the
credits-roll goes screwy whenshe plays it
througha single channel. Use a phase meter
like that foundiniZotopes Ozone to
check the stereo spread, andensure that you
export your track inmono as well as stereo.
That way, youll eliminate any issues before
they become real problems.
available to listen to. Maybe they ask you to make
more, or focus on a specific style that they can hear
youre good at.
Someone hears your track and likes it. They
contact the music library and ask to license the track
ie, to purchase its use for a specific purpose.
Depending on what the track is being used for, you
could end up being paid a few quid for the use of a
track in a small radio ad, for example or a hell of a
lot of money if a company like Electronic Arts wants
it for the next Dead Space (very unlikely, we should
point out, but nonetheless a possibility!).
In addition, youre also paid by the MCPS/PRS
(Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society/
Performing Right Society). Theyre the organisations
that collect money when music is used, and if theyre
doing their job, youll get paid there as well. Well
deal with them in more detail a little later.
PROTIP
NETWORKING
What youdooutsidethe
studioisjust asimportant as
what youdoinside. Whileits
perfectlyacceptabletowork
withemail, youll ndthat
your career asalibrarymusic
producer progressesmuch
faster if youget out of the
studioandphysicallygoand
meet people. Takesometime
tondeventswhereindustry
professionalshangout. Even
if youdreadnetworking,
simplyhangingout inthese
placesandbuyingsomeone
adrinkor twocouldleadto
anynumber of jobscoming
your way.
Get Paidfor Your Music MT
They may want it exclusively, or they may want
you to tweak a few things. If you become well-known
enough, companies may begin asking specifically for
your services. Music supervisors who are in charge
of selecting music for film and television may
commission you to produce something especially for
them. You may be signed on a freelance basis to work
on a particular project. Sometimes, music used in
this fashion may have nothing to do with a library at
all it could simply be a piece of your music that
someone has come to you to use.
Very obviously, this is an extremely simplified
version of what actually happens, but, in general,
thats how the industry works.
Its a demo
You might reasonably ask the question of why you
should have a library representing you in the first
place. Think of this like writing a novel. The music
libraries are like literary agents: they form the
middlemen between you (the writer) and the people
wholl use your music (the publishing company).
They have the industry contacts, know-how and
sales expertise you might not have. You have the
musical skills they need.
Putting together a demo of your material to send
to potential music libraries isnt as easy as slapping
a few tracks together and firing them off. There are a
few key things to bear in mind. Remember: libraries
get tracks from producers all the time. Their inboxes
are full of the stuff. To make yours stand out, there
are a few things that youll need to do.
You need to spend some time finding the right
libraries for you. Before you even think of submitting,
you should know who their clients are, what styles
they offer, and how you could fit into their roster. In
Becomewell-knownenoughand
companiesmaybeginasking
specificallyforyourservices
PROTIP
BEREALISTIC
Chancesareyourenot going
tobescoringthenext Ridley
Scott lmright away. It will
takealittlebit of timefor you
tobuildupthecontactsand
musical qualitynecessary
toget thereallybigjobs. But
theresnothingtostopyou
startingsmall: target things
likeindielms, small games
developersparticularly
mobilegamesdevelopers
andanycompanythat
regularlycreatesvideosor
radioads. It might not be
veryglamorous, but theres
alwaysachancethat your
musiccouldenduponthe
next Cut TheRope.
buildaprofileandgetyournameknown.
MT Feature Get Paidfor Your Music
www.shure.co.uk
addition, make sure that
youre aware of current
trends within the
industry if you plan to
write music for national
radio ads, you should be
listening to as much
national radio as your
time permits.
When getting your
tracks together, you should
aim for nine to ten tracks th
showcase a wide variety of
genres. If you produce only electro-house, well, good
for you, but it really narrows down what you can do
with your music. If, however, youre confident with
your DAW and your instruments and you can put
together music from a wide variety of genres, youve
already made huge strides towards getting noticed.
A busy producer is likely to spend very little time
flicking through your tracks. Keep them short and
make sure that the main ideas and audio elements
are communicated right away. You want anyone
istening to have a feel
or the mood, style and
temp of your tracks
within seconds of
clicking play.
Put your songs online
somewhere like
SoundCloud is ideal. It
should be a single place
where someone can
ccess the music you want
them to hear. Beyond that, all
youll need to do is write a friendly email
(personalised, not blanket, if you please) telling why
they should check you out and what youve got to
offer. This is a good time to mention those industry
trends you looked up earlier.
Gettin money
Licensing laws and
procedures vary
from country to
country. While every
country will have an
organisation
dedicated to helping
you get paid, were
going to focus on the
UK in this feature.
Knowwhoyourclientsare,
whatstylestheyoffer, andhow
youcouldfitintotheirroster
PROTIP
BEWEB-AWARE
Youneedawebsite. Wetrust
thisshouldbeobvious, but
what might not beobvious
istheamount of hosting
youaregoingtoneed. Even
if youhaveonlymp3son
your websitetoshowcase
your material, theamount
of storagerequiredcan
escalatereallyquickly.
Shoparoundalittlebit for
awebsiteplanthat gives
younot onlyenoughstorage
for your current needs, but
enoughstoragefor future
onesaswell. Thereareplenty
of servicesout there, most of
whichwill offer veryexible
payment plans, either one-
off payment or servicesthat
usesubscriptionmodels.
Either way, get onit: nothing
will turnpeopleawayfaster
thanwebsiteaudiothat
doesnt work.
Findareliableandflexibleinternetserviceproviderto
hostawebsitethatcanreadilyadaptandgrowshould
yourmusicprovepopular...
Get Paidfor Your Music MT
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with exceptional digital audio clarity. Automatic
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change of frequencies in case of interference. Shure
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Find out more at www.shure.co.uk
Available from Shure Centres only
MTIndustryInsight Thelibraryproducer
Barry Short came up with a unique way of getting his
music into productions.
If youve listened to any UKradio or watched any
local TV, chances are youve heard some of Barry
Shorts stuff. He runs Shorties Music, his own library,
and its rather unique: anyone who wants to use a
track fromit can do so, for free...
Its sort of niche, he says. Everyone would love to
be making loads and loads of money fromhaving an
MCPSlibrary, with everyone using it and you sitting
back and seeing the royalties coming in. In reality, it
isnt that simple. It costs you to set up for an MCPS
library, and you have to work to distribute it big
overheads. I didnt have the bank balance to do that.
Shorties Music supplies 30-second tracks created
by Barry himself and available for download online. If
youre making aTV or radio commercial, you can use
these for free all Barry asks is that those who want
his tracks register with him(also free) and supply
details to PRSso he can collect royalties. Dozens of
companies have taken himup on his offer.
On the surface, its madness, but it gives Barry an
enormous amount of freedomand gives himaccess
to a market that cant always afford production music
frombigger libraries:A lot of stations dont have the
PRSblanket license, whereas when a group had one of
those, they could use any music fromthe MCPS
libraries they
wanted. Fewer and
fewer stations
started to have that
luxury; they were
trying to nd
alternatives. Now,
you could
download a track
for $25 or
whatever, royalty-free,
but they tended to be a
bit shit and really,
whos got the budget?
The sheer range of music on offer at Shorties is a
perfect example of why it pays to have variety in your
music. While his library doesnt earn Barry an
enormous amount of money, PRSstill pays hima few
hundred quid every quarter.
Strangely, his advice to producers newto the game
is to think carefully before going down a route similar
to his:There are people out there who would be
willing to take on your stuff, but they do take quite a
big cut. If theyve got everything established, then Id
suggest going with themrst. That way you can get
feedback and see which tracks are popular and what
people are using.
PROTIP
THENEEDFORSPEED
Speedneedstobeyour
watchword. If aclient calls
youat 6pmwantingtwoor
threeworkableideasby
9amthenext day, youneed
tobesurethat youcanstep
uptothechallenge. Workon
gettingtoknowyour DAW
backtofront, sothat youcan
leapinandstart composing
themoment ajobcomes
throughwithout havingto
ddlearoundwithsettings
andPreferences. If youcan
demonstratethat youcan
pull off thejobonatight
deadline, clientswill come
backtoyouagainandagain.
distributinghisworkdoesmake
himmoney, butmaynotbe
suitableforeveryone.
MTStep-by-Step Creatingdifferent-lengthversions
01
So nowweve got our library track a
nice, fat orchestral monster. Perfect for
a movie credits sequence. But what if the
producers want to use the track elsewhere?
What if theyve decidedto track the trailer as
well?Or aten-secondsting for anadvert
thatll play onastreaming service?Any library
worthits salt will ask for different versions,
sothats what were going todohere.
04
Timefor aten-secondclip, for areally
short radioad. Inmany ways this is
easier thancreating a30-secondversion, as
youdont havetoworry about any build-up
whatsoever. Wevetreatedours likethemain
sectionof thetrack, funnelling everything into
ahugewall of noisethat climaxes witha
crashing cymbal followedby ahornfade-out.
Let theelements of your track dictatewhat
youdo, andwhether youwant tofollowour
exampleor put inthebareminimum.
02
Our original track is just over twominutes.
Lets create a 30-secondversion. To do
this, were going to have to sequence things
carefully, truncating our long intro andmaking
sure we include all the relevant elements of
the track. As youcansee, we bring inour main
strings almost immediately, without waiting for
any sort of build-up, but weve still left a very
short intro, whichhelps us to create a sense of
anticipation. So far so good.
05
Inextremely rare cases youmight be
askedto make something shorter ve
seconds, for example. Whenthat happens, pick
the elements thatll leave the greatest
impressioninthe shortest space of time. In
this case we have time only for the cymbal
crash, the horns andthe drumrolls. Inaddition,
weve bumpedour maindrumroll upa few
seconds, bringing it inright after the rst
crash. To maximise the impact weve removed
our last three kick drumhits.
03
It may be worthhaving a different mix
for a shorter versionof your track. For
example, inthis case weve chosento fade-in
our vocal choir over the rst four bars it felt
a little jarring to have themcome infull-blast
at the start. Similarly, weve endedthe track
withfading horns as opposedto a cymbal
crash. Alot of this is downto taste if
possible, get some guidance fromthe library
or music supervisor youre creating it for.
06
While we havent done it here, bear in
mindthat youmay also be askedto
compose a muchlonger versionof your track,
or combine tracks for a medley. Inmany ways
this is a goodthing as it gives youa lot more
space to try out some freshideas. When
youre putting your track together, make sure
youkeepa recordof every experiment youtry,
evenif youthink youll never use it you
never knowhowuseful it might become.
18 | December 2013 MAGAZINE
MT Feature Get Paidfor Your Music
The Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society and
the Performing Right Society have done their very
best to merge into a single body accessed through a
single website (www.prsformusic.com), but try as
they might, theyre still dealing with two different
types of bringing in money from music, and
untangling who pays you what, when and how much
can often be frustrating.
Definitely consider signing up with the PRS part
of the programme. Theres a small fee around 30
to join up. PRS collects royalties for performance
every time a track of yours is played; the amount
varies depending on when and where this happens.
They pay out quarterly, and you have to have a
minimum of 30 in royalties before you can get paid.
The MCPS is somewhat trickier. They deal with
what happens when your track is reproduced
recorded onto CD, say, or downloaded online. They
have a different set of rates and payout schemes
from PRS and they also collect the mechanical fee
the fee paid to license the track and distribute it to
the publisher and writer (the library and you). This is
then split, depending on what youve agreed with
your particular library.
Not all libraries are signed up to MCPS: some,
such as Synctracks (which weve spoken to elsewhere
in this article) are PRS-only. Its worth checking very
carefully what arrangements your library has before
signing over your music to it. And of course, if you
dont actually go through a library if, for example,
a TV producer has sought you out directly to get one
of your songs on their show then youll almost
certainly be paid a flat rate, along with royalties
from PRS in those quarterly segments. In addition,
some libraries specialise in royalty-free music,
which lets users download a track for a one-off fee.
For these, obviously, you can expect a single flat rate.
PROTIP
KEEPTRACKS
Letssayyouhadabadday:
thetracksyouworkedon
arent soundinggreat and
youknow, deepinyour heart,
that nooneisgoingtowant
them. Savethosetracks
anyway(onanexternal drive
if youneedtosavespace) as
younever knowwhatsgoing
tohappenandsomething
that soundsabit dodgy
nowmight beabsolutely
perfect for ajobyouget later
on. Trust us: whenthat job
comesalong, youll bevery
gladyousavedyour work.
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divorced from whatever happens after your music is


picked up. For everyone but Ima Robot, Greenback
Boogie is the Suits song.
Theres a corollary to this: if your song is
particularly good, you will suddenly find yourself
deluged with curious fans who are Googling the
theme song of whatever youve made it onto, hoping
to find it and add it to their collections. While its
certainly true that in most cases the song in
question was never designed as a piece of library
music usually its an existing piece of music an
artist or band has put out already theres nothing
to stop the right piece of music from taking off. This
is quite rare but it does happen, and you really want
to be around when it does your fan base can
explode literally overnight.
Range of samples
Making library music demands not only a high level
of quality, but speed as well. You need to be able to
create a variety of tracks in a very short space of
Finally, dont expect to get paid immediately. It
can often take months to see any of the money.
Bottom line: if your track is sold you will get paid,
but dont expect to write a track this month to pay
the rent next month. That just aint gonna happen
Taking ownership
Its worth stressing a point we made earlier: once
you sell a piece of music, its no longer yours. Your
name will appear next to it on the library-music
website, the person who picks it will know who made
it, and if there are credits on whatever its appearing
on, itll pop up there as well. But once its bought?
Forget it. You no longer have ownership.
Psychologically, this can be quite difficult to
process. After all, you made the thing as obvious as
that sounds and why shouldnt you take credit for
your hard work? But for whoever hears the finished
product whether its a radio ad, film score, TV
series or whatever is not going to associate that
piece of music with you. You think that people watch
the opening credits of TV series Suits and think of
Ima Robot, who produced the disgustingly catchy
Greenback Boogie that underscores it? You are
Ifyourtrackissold
youwillgetpaid, but
dontexpecttowritea
trackthismonthtopay
therentnextmonth
MTIndustryInsight Thefilmandgamescomposer
Chris Green has a CV that most producers only dreamof. As a
composer and sound designer, hes worked on big-budget video
games (Need For Speed: Most Wanted, TomClancys EndWar), TV
series (X-Factor) and lms (Fade Away, Lost Tracks). He also happens
to be thoroughly nice chap.
Chris began his work at Electronic Arts as a sound designer and
since then hes been freelance, creating bespoke music for his
clients. While he isnt a traditional library producer in that hes
rarely created music for actual libraries hes a walking
encyclopaedia of howto get your music out there.
The industry is 50%your ability at making music and doin
the job, and 50%meeting the people
and getting the contacts, he says. It
doesnt matter howgood you are in
your studio at home if youre not out
there networking, meeting people
and letting themknowwhat you can
actually do.
One of the most important things,
he says, is not to be too focused on
nabbing the big projects right away.
You need to be aware of trends in the
industry:Theres a big shift towards
mobile and pick-up-and-play gaming, he says. Thats mirrored in
sound, especially with iOSgames. You need music that has an
impact and instantly engages the player. Theres also a big push
towards interactiveness people expect sound to do things. It has to
match what happens in the game very precisely, and theres a lot
more thought that has to go into it.
Chris runs Logic 9 on a Mac Pro, surrounded by Neve preamps and
a solid mic collection, including several unusual models such as
contact and hydrophone mics. His secret weapon, he says, are the
plug-ins fromSoundtoys, such as the Decapitator, which he likes to
use tiny amounts of in his tracks. But,
more importantly, its his use of
nusual sound elements and unique
extures that really wins himthe
work a living example of howyou
should always be looking for ways to
make your tracks stand out:Every
sound has a particular texture, and
its interesting when you take a
sound away fromsomething, he
says. Water, for example. You take
that, put it with strings and it gives
you a whole newsound.
pocketcantaketime, sobepreparedtowaitanddontpegyour
dreamsonseeinganimmediatereturn.
PROTIP
GETTINGPAID
Wecant stressthisenough:
it cansometimestakean
absoluteagetoget paid
for anyworkthat youdo.
Whenever atrackisused, it
hastogothroughapretty
labyrinthianbureaucratic
system, whereproducersll
out cuesheetsandlethem,
theMCPS/PRSgoesthrough
themandworksout how
muchmoneyisduetoyou,
then, nally, getsaround
topayingyou. Thiscan
takemonthsor evenyears.
Makethat sureyour nance
gameisjust asgoodasyour
productiongame...
MAGAZINE December 2013 | 21
Get Paidfor Your Music MT
PROTIP
PROCEEDWITHCAUTION
Youmaywant toshowcase
what youcandobyproducing
somethingthat resembles
thesongsinthechartsor
aparticular pieceof music
youheardinalm. Thats
nebut becareful. There
isaverynelinebetween
soundalikesandreference
tracks, andif thepieceyou
producedistoosimilar toits
inspiration, theresnoway
that anylibrarywill ever take
it. If youhaveanydoubt, play
thetwotracksside-by-side
tosomeonewhodoesnt
knowthem. If theyarenot
convincedtheresenough
difference, youneedto
reworkthings.
ChrisGreen: Its50%
yourabilityatmaking
musicand50%
meetingthepeople.
MTIndustryInsight Firstcontact...
There are literally hundreds of music libraries out there for you to
submit tracks to indeed, it could become a full-time job just
making contact with them...
Our advice is to concentrate on a fewat a time and not attempt
blanket coverage. Try to nd those that may specialise in your
particular style of music (although most cover just about everything)
and get as much feedback and advice as you can fromthemon your
music then followit.
A good starting point is the PRSwebsite itself (head over to
www.prsformusic.com), which lists all the libraries currently
afliated with them. Heres a selection of the bigger or more
welcoming companies.
EXTREMEMUSIC
Contact5thFLoor, KentHouse,
1417MarketPlace, London, W1W8AJ
Tel 02036671555
Email info@extrememusic.com
Webwww.extrememusic.com
MusicRequiredThebadboysof productionmusic sayitsalwaysbeen
our dutytoshakeshit up, riptheindustryanewoneandcreatemusicso
sexyyouregonnaneedasafeword. If itsinour cataloguethenits200%
legit, high-caliber audioammo, andwhenit comestoproductionvalue,
compromiseisfor pussies!
WeSayWithsomebignamesontheir roster, youmight bebetter off
makinganameelsewherebeforegoingagainst toughcompetition.
ABSOLUTEMUSICLIBRARYLTD
Contact43HeathRoad, Ashton-in-Makerfield
Wigan, GreaterManchesterWN49DY
Tel 01942704047
Email info@absolutemusiclibrary.com
Webwww.absolutemusiclibrary.com
MusicRequiredTodaystrendsneedtobeconsideredandweare
constantlylookingfor aunique soundor styleof musicthat will attract
our clients interest. Wewant musicthat hasacurrent, commercial edge,
andthechallengeistodevelopnewgenresnot yet coveredadifficult
task, weknow, but letstrytore-invent creativityfromawholenew
perspective. Wewant tobedifferent!
WeSayVeryclear submissionguidelines; well worthcontacting.
MUSINC
Contact8690Paul Street, London, EC2A4NE
Tel 01618831469 Email info@musinc.co.uk
Webwww.musinc.co.uk
MusicRequiredOriginal musicindifferent
genres. Generally, thecompositionshavetobe
well scoredandcreatedwithasmuchreal instrumentationaspossible.
Mixingandmasteringshouldput thepolishonaproduct without
saturatingit. Final mixesmust bekept fairlydryasEditorswill be
requiredtoaddtheir owneffectsbasedontheproductionthepieceis
usedfor. Weoffer afantastic50/50split onour licensedeals(50%of net
licensefee) andweonlyever takethepublisher shareof royalties.
WeSayVeryopenandverywelcoming. Denitelyworthpersuing.
CINEPHONIXLIMITED
Contact2024BroadwickStreet, Soho,
London, W1F8HT Tel 02070607151
Email hello@cinephonix.com
Webwww.cinephonix.com
MusicRequiredWespoketoAnthonyWalters
whosays: writeinthestyleyouremost comfortablewith, asthiswill
produceyour best work. Dont tryandbetoocuttingedgeasthisdates
you. If youfill anobscurenichethiscouldalsobeanadvantage.
WeSayGoodKnowledgeBaseonthewebsite. Anthonymadeit clear
that, whiletheyarenot activelylookingout for composers, theywill take
onqualityso, if youthinkyouareupfor it, email toget thecompanys
guidelines(dont sendyour musicbyemail, though).
MUSICRANGE
Contact38UnionTerrace, AberdeenAB101NP
UK Tel 01224379703
Email info@musicrange.com
Webwww.musicrange.com
MusicRequiredWeoffer amoreselective
servicethanother librarycompanies. Wedont aimor intendtocompete
withlibrariesthat carrytensof thousandsof tracks. Weseeourselvesas
moreof aselectiveservicethat iseasier tonavigate, withtheoccasional
surprisethat canprovideamorecreativeedge.
WeSayMost of their composersalreadyhaveabackgroundinTVand
lmwork, but theyareworthcontactingif youwant toworkwithamore
bespokeoutt.
DEEPEASTMUSIC
Contact6HoxtonSquare, LondonN16NU
Tel 02077297285
Email info@deepeastmusic.com
Webwww.deepeastmusic.com
MusicRequiredIndie, rockandguitar-based
hybrids. Bangersfrom-the-dancefloor crossovers. Contemporary
orchestral, filmic, dramaticandemotivegems. Quirky&vibrant acoustic
ear-catchers.
WeSayNewwebsiteseemstobeabout designover practicalityand
theresnot muchinthewayof submissionguidelines, but therearelots
of different stylesof music, sotheydoseemtobetakingsubmissions.
SYNCTRACKS
ContactThePlayrooms, 2ndFloor, 311312
UpperStreet, Islington, London, N12TU
Tel 02076831211
Email info@synctracks.com
Webwww.synctracks.com
MusicRequiredOur musicisexclusiveanduniquetoour catalogue; and
wevehome-grownit all withour talentedcomposers. Themusicwe
offer coversabroadrangeof popular stylesandgenresalsofeaturing
somemoreexperimental numbersfor themoreadventurous.
WeSayVeryopentosubmissionsyouevenget toseewhowill be
checkingout your music!
DEWOLFEMUSIC
ContactShropshireHouse1120CapperStreet
London, WC1E6JA
Tel 02076313600
Email info@dewolfemusic.co.uk
Webwww.dewolfemusic.co.uk
MusicRequiredWespoketoFrankBarrettawhosays: demosshouldbe
original (un-published), well written, interestingandwell produced.
Havealistentoour libraryitstheminimumstandardwearelooking
for. Writeinthestyleandgenreyouaremost confident in.
WeSayDeWolfeisoneof theoldest companiessohasmanycomposers
onitsbooksbut alsomanyclients, soitsworthemailinglinkstoyour
music(theyprefer streamingsitessotheydont havetodownload).
WESTONEMUSICGROUP
ContactA&RDepartment, WestOneMusic
28PercyStreet, London, W1T2DB
Tel 02079071500
Email hello@westonemusicgroup.com
Web
MusicRequiredWemakeall kindsof musicfor everyconceivable
purposeandwestopat absolutelynothingtomakesureitsof the
highest standard. Wearealwayslookingtodiscover freshnewmusic. If
youdliketosubmit your work, sendusanaudioCDandashort bio. The
demoshouldrepresent your strongest styleof musicandcompriseno
morethanfour tracks.
WeSayObviouslyopentosubmissionsandwell worthapunt!
22 | December 2013 MAGAZINE
MT Feature Get Paidfor Your Music
time. To that end, you should equip yourself with a
huge range of weaponry. You should already be
comfortable producing using a number of different
synths and software instruments and know your
DAW like you know your front door.
Sample libraries are a great way to add quality
and, more importantly, diversity to your sound. They
come in a huge range of flavours, and while wed love
to say you should get as many as possible, they can
often be quite expensive, so what weve done here is
highlight a few of the better options. Any or all of
these will immediately set your productions apart.
Companies such as Loopmasters and Prime
Loops are often perfect for this once youve bought
sounds from them, theyre completely free for you to
use from there on. They have an absolutely
enormous range of collections to choose from and
are often very reasonably priced.
MTStep-by-Step Separatingstems
01
So youve got multiple versions of your
track at different lengths, all mixedand
ready to go... Think youre done?Not even
close. Insome cases particularly for
projects like video games youmay be asked
for separates, or stems. These are simply the
individual elements of a track, presentedin
sucha formthat they canbe combinedinto a
brand-newwhole. This might seemarduous,
but its actually a lot less work thanit sounds.
04
What about the mix?Chances are, your
tracks have a bunchof effects onthem,
as well as some volume automationand
panning data. While the effects canusually
be left alone while exporting stems, its worth
making sure that all automationis turnedoff
before exporting, as well as ensuring that the
level fader is consistent throughout (put it at
unity gainif youneedto). Turnoff
sidechaining, too, unless specically
requestedthe personwho wants your
stems canaddit inlater for themselves.
02
For starters, its not something youhave
to do withevery track youmake. As long
as youmake sure that it canbe done at a
moments notice, youre goodto go. For
starters, make it easy for yourself to select and
export a specic track inyour mix. Some DAWs,
like Cubase 7, offer batchexport, but some, like
ProTools Express, do not. Since thats what
were using here, we create a copy of our
sessionandconsolidate our clips. That way,
exporting themindividually is only a click away.
05
Sub-mixes?Its rare, but it does happen.
Inthis case, just followthe principles
weve mentionedso far, taking special care to
make sure that everything is at anacceptable
level. Also, ndout if the personrequesting
your stems is using the same DAWand
plug-ins as you. Theres nothing moresatisfying
thansending themthe entire sessionfolder,
witheverything ready to go. If youdo that, hide
anything non-essential andmake everything
as clear as possible. Label everything.
03
Evenif youre not consolidating clips,
one thing youll want to do is make sure
youre exporting full bars. That way, no matter
what anyone else does, your tracks will line
upwhentheyre importedinto a newsession.
Take our crashcymbal, for example: although
wevenormally got afadeonit, weveremoved
that andextendedit to the endof the bar.
Alternatively, if youhave a fade andwant to
keepit, use a marker or snap-to-gridfunction
to make sure youcapture the full bar.
06
Weve touchedonthe right formats for
export inthe mainbody of this tutorial,
but theres one thing worthemphasising here:
if youre exporting stems to sendalongside
your full track, make sure theyre exportedat
exactly the same sample rate andbit depth
andthat the people receiving themknow
what these are. Programs that addmetadata
to audio are perfect for this, althoughif
everything youre sending has the same
settings, thats probably not necessary.
PROTIP
CURBYOUREMOTIONS
If youreaperfectionist, you
might ndyourself getting
veryfrustratedveryquickly
whendealingwithclients.
Not onlymight youhave
differingcreativedirections,
but sometimestheclient will
caremoreabout meetingthe
deadline(reasonably, it must
besaid) thanproducingthe
best pieceof musicpossible.
Thisissomethingyouare
just goingtohavetoroll with,
andyouneedtobeaware
that at somepoint apieceof
musicyouarefar fromhappy
withmight bedeemedgood
enough. Takeadeepbreath,
takethemoney, andmoveon
tothenext one.
MAGAZINE December 2013 | 23
Get Paidfor Your Music MT
The wonderfully namedViolence, by Vir2, will give
you some fantastic string sounds to work with. And
were not talking traditional sounds here the guys
at Vir2 took string instruments and did some very
unusual things to them, resulting in a library
brimming with different textures, hits and stabs. The
presets in Violence are absolutely extraordinary, and
you can also tweak a whole bunch of effects to adjust
the sounds to suit your needs.
For drums, Wave Alchemy has put together a great
(and relatively cheap) library of synth drums called
wait for it Synth Drums. Ten synths from
companies such as Sequential Circuits, Roland and
Korg have been sampled and are ready to go. There
are more than 5,000 drum hits here, and although
theyre all electronic sounds dont expect acoustic
stuff in this collection theyre very versatile and
will find a home in any of your tracks.
For something really out-there, weve fallen in
love with Glass Works, by Soniccouture. Among other
things it captures the sound of cloud chamber bowls
an instrument so rare that they had to build their
own to record it. The textures on offer are nothing
short of breathtaking, and if you have Kontakt, youll
find that Glass Works slots right in. Its a little bit
pricier than some of the other options, but we think
its well worth checking out.
All of these options are royalty-free. Whatever you
use, you need to be absolutely sure that this is the
case. If not, it could come back to bite you later on...
Backcatalogue
You also need to pay attention to the matter of
exporting, which can be a real headache if you arent
managing it correctly. When youre showing off your
wares to companies, you can probably live with
320Kbps mp3 files its high-quality enough to show
off what you can do while still remaining portable.
When it comes to delivering the real thing,
however, youll need to make sure youre clear about
what your library expects. Most people we spoke to
said that WAV files, delivered at 24-bit and 48kHz,
are the standard way of doing things. You should be
delivering both a full-length version of your track as
well as 30- and ten-second versions. Once youve
sent a track to your library theres no harm in
archiving the session on two hard drives somewhere
(always keep multiple backups). Just make sure its
easily accessible in case changes are needed.
Music libraries live and die by how easy they
make it to find material. Producers and music
supervisors looking for a specific track are far more
likely to use tracks from a library if they can easily
find what theyre looking for. Most libraries tag their
tracks with a range of data and you should too.
DAWs such as Pro Tools let you add metadata and
tags to your bounced-down files, and if you need
more organisation, you can always check out
programs like Jaikoz, which help you sort and tag
your audio files. If youre a Mac user, the latest
version of OSX, Mavericks, allows you to add tags to
files. Consider tagging audio by tempo, style, mood,
genre and even specific instruments. MT
MTIndustryInsight Thelibraryowners
Liz Robin Williams and her partner, Mikey Panting,
run Synctracks, a London-based music library with
hundreds of tracks on its roster. Shes fromToronto
hes fromBirmingham. Theyve had several big
successes, including getting their music onto
productions by the likes of Disney and Channel 5,
such as the documentary Killers Behind Bars.
Unlike many others, Synctracks is a PRS-only
library they take a small initial fee for licensing
the track to someone, and the tracks composer is
then paid fromPRSroyalties.
Liz and Mikey are passionate about everything
they do, and they have some good advice about
howto approach libraries with your music. As Liz
points out:There are people who can write
really interesting music, but its not always
appropriate for our purposes. It has to be accessible.
It has to be cross-platformand appeal to more than
one use. You really want something thats going to work well for an
advert or a documentary.
Doing thorough research into a company is really the most
important thing, continues Mikey. We always try to make sure that
people understand howwere set up, in the fact that we are not an
MCPS library. I dont think that everybody has a full understanding of
the difference, and it certainly affects composers. Its a much
different structure.
Liz jumps back in:Ideally, composers would
be sending us SoundCloud playlists and a little
bit of information about what they do, which is
linked to our company and relevant to what we
do. As in:these are tracks I put together, and
which I think would work with the kind of things
youre working on. Theyd contact us by email.
Showing an understanding of the business is key
when it comes to contacting libraries.
However, while theyre both positive about their
uccesses, theyre cautious about promising huge
arnings to composers. The key, they say, is to
make lots of music. For it to be your sole income,
z says, Youd have to land something like the title
music of Countdown. Its really tricky, but the name
of the game is quantity and quality. Weve got
composers that have ve tracks with us, and I think their
expectations are not in-line with reality when it comes to
what theyll actually earn.
Want to get in with Synctracks now?Theyre looking for pop
music. If we could get a handful of good pop writers Liz says,
rolling her eyes slightly.
Pop is really hard to do, Mikey admits. Some of the stuff we get
sounds like bad library pop, thats the problem. The problemis that if
you really were an incredible pop producer, youd actually be working
in the pop industry!
Whenyoureshowingoffyour
wares, youcanprobablylive
with320Kbpsmp3files
agoodwayofattractingattentionanddemonstratingawiderrangeof
skills, butbesuretokeepitbriefandconcise.
PROTIP
ATTRACTINGATTENTION
Whilewerecommended
uploadingyour demo
trackstosomethinglike
SoundCloud, theresno
reasonwhyyoucant get
creativewithyour demo. If,
for example, yourelookingto
target aspeciclibrary, why
not makethemabespoke
YouTubevideo?Eventhose
withlimitedvideo-editing
skillsshouldbeableto
createsomethingbasic, and
it giveswhoever receivesit a
chancetohear what youcan
doinasingleconcentrated
burst. Keepit short andif
thereisanycommentary,
keepit light.
24 | December 2013 MAGAZINE
MT Feature Get Paidfor Your Music
LizRobinWilliamsandMikey
PantingrunLondon-basedmusic
librarySynctracks.
MTIndustryInsight Themusicsupervisor
Amanda Street is all thats standing
between you and lmmusic success so
be nice to her.
As the company director of DNA Music,
Amanda Street has enormous amount on
her plate. She handles all the back-and-
forth between composers and production
companies, manages a roster of
composers, books studios and, most
importantly, acts as a score supervisor for
every project her company takes on. Shes
played a signicant hand in getting her
composers music into lms like
RocknRolla, Shopgirl and Killer In Me,
among several others. She is, as you may
have gathered, rather busy...
We start very early on, sometimes at
script stage, she says. Aside from
attaching our own roster of composers to
lmand television projects we can also
broker score nance deals, and these are
often done once the lmis fully nanced or
sometimes actually nished.
DNA Music is interesting in that they dont have a library of music,
but instead a library of composers who create bespoke tunes for a
particular project. Although Amanda says she very rarely takes on a
newcomposer and that many directors prefer to work with the
me ones over and over there are
rtain things she looks at when
aluating someones music:I look for a
und that I dont already have; a sound
at surprises me and is not predictable;
sound that evokes emotion and a sound
hat I want to listen to. Lots of composers
an produce a competent, predictable
ound, but my advice would be to nd
our individual sound.
One of the ways to get into Amandas
eld of vision is when shes working on a
project that needs a lot of music and
doesnt have an enormous budget. DNA
occasionally does commercials as well,
which often call for actual library
music. Its no guarantee youll gain a
permanent place on the roster, but it
denitely means youll be on her radar.
Evaluating someones music is a
personal thing, she admits, but what
I would say is that a good piece will
mthe rest something you havent
heard before or cant get out of your head, something you know
clients would like and something that would work with the score or
commercially. Its all subjective, I guess, but essentially it has to be
distinctive and memorable.
Get Paidfor Your Music MT
AmandaStreet:
Myadvicewould
betofindyour
individual sound.
MT IndustryGuruChanel Summers
Industry
Guru
F
rombeing part of the teamthat developedth
Xbox to lecturing aroundthe worldon video
game sound-design, Chanel Summers is at t
vanguardof pushing interactive audio and
games soundas an art form. Chanel kindly shared
with us her unique perspective on this fascinating
area of music-making
MT Tell us howyougot startedinthe worldof
audioproduction.
Chanel Summers Prior to starting my audio-producti n
company Syndicate 17, I spent half of my professional
career in the video games industry. I started off as a
designer and producer, working on everything from3D
vehicle simulations to platformgames. Then I was
recruited by Microsoft when they were just starting to
push into video games. And after I helped ship their
rst massively multiplayer online game I transitioned
into the Windows side of the house where I launched
innovative interactive audio technologies such as
DirectMusic and DirectSound 3Dand dramatically
increased the use of Windows as a platformfor
audio-creation, at a time when Mac really ruled the
audio world.
I was a very early member of the original Xbox
development teamand I
helped to develop the
specications for the
consoles ground-
breaking audio sub-
system, helping sound
designers, composers,
game designers and
graphic artists take full
advantage of the Xboxs
capabilities. So I was
doing a lot of work with
others in a kind of
advisory and educational
capacity, but I wanted to
take my knowledge and
experience of dynamic,
adaptive audio, sound
design, music
composition and
songwriting and create
and produce audio for projects
myself. So after I left Microsoft I
started my own company,
Syndicate 17.
MT Interactive audiois an
ntriguing area. Howdoes
approaching the designing of
nteractive audiodiffer from
making non-interactive audio?
CSBecause games are non-linear,
he audio too should be non-linear.
n a lot of ways, the games audio-
roduction process does resemble
the lmaudio process, but there are
also signicant differences. In a linear mediumlike
lm, there are a fewthings that dene the parameters
of audio design. A movie contains a xed set of
actions, each scene is perfectly planned and the
nd designer knows exactly what to create and
ere to take the audience emotionally because its
scripted the timing and progression of events are
known beforehand. One of the biggest challenges
in games audio-design is that unlike other media,
the player controls the pace and timing of how
the narrative unfolds. Emotional moments arise
as a result of user actions, so games audio really
needs to be able to adjust as players navigate
ugh a game environment regardless of what order
they do it in and without bringing any undue
attention to itself.
Non-linear musical scores need to smoothly change
intensities and musical styles without the advance
precise knowledge of when those transitions will take
place. Also, since the overall length of gameplay can
be indeterminate, it has to survive high levels of
repetitiveness in order to combat listener-fatigue.
MT Sohowwouldyoutechnically construct dynamic
audioandwhat software doyouprimarily use?
CSIt involves some combination of manipulated sound
that varies pitch, time and volume randomly and in
real time through lters or other effects. In addition to
recombining sounds and layers to generate new
variations you can also set markers within the audio
n have multiple possible start
points. In this way, you dont have
to split your le into small
chunks.
So, we need to determine all
the actions and events that
require sound or a change in
sound state within the game
often called triggers, cues or
events. We will then create a
parameterised sound for each
action for example, not just a
punch, but howhard the punch
is. The game constantly provides
the audio engine with these
triggers, based on events in the
game at non-specied times. So
games sound design often
s of a collection of sound les and
s for when and howthey should be
Chanel
Summers
Chanel Summershashadamulti-facetedcareer
intheworldof gamesaudiodesignandhelped
developtheXbox. AndyPricehasthequestions
26 | December 2013 MAGAZINE
Thelatestincarnationof
Microsoftshugelysuccessful
Xboxoriginallyconceivedby
Chanel andher team.
Theinterfaceof Firelight
TechnologysFMOD.
PlaydeadGames Limbois, in
Chanelsopinion, oneof the
bestgamesouttherefor audio
rightnow.
MAGAZINE December 2013 | 27
Chanel SummersIndustryGuruMT
played or, in the case of procedural audio/
physical models, an algorithmthat does
the same.
Tools for the creation and
implementation of interactive dynamic
audio range fromproprietary in-house
applications to those developed by
third-party middleware companies.
Audiokinetics Wwise, Firelight
Technologys FMODand RADGame Tools
Miles Sound Engine allowaudio creators to
dene sound behaviours within the game, build
interactive music structures and edit and i i
real time.
MT Are there any particular games out
there that standout toyouas having
exemplary audioandgoodexamples
of this dynamic aural versatility?
CS One of the best games out there for
audio right nowis a game called Limbo,
by Playdead Games. Its a 2Dside-
scrolling, monochrome game about a
boy searching for his lost sister in a dark
forest. The game is just unbelievable
the focus is on minimalismwith an
emphasis on silence and subtlety. The
audio designer is a man called Martin
Stig Andersen and he basically creates this experience
where the music emerges fromthe sounds of the
environment. Rather than relying on a
traditional music soundtrack that could be seen as
overtly manipulative, the game instead uses sound
effects for their musical qualities.
Theres a really fantastic movement thats taking
place where developers have started making games
where sound is the game. They are sonic adventures
and augmented audio experiences that tell their story
through sound. You see through your ears.
There are a fewgreat examples out there. Papa
Sangre is a sonic adventure/horror game which
utilises binaural audio. Youhaveyour headphones on
andyouhavetolistentotheaudiocues tohelpyou
navigatethroughtheadventure. Theres alsoagame
calledPugs Luv Beats, whichis fromanEdinburgh-
baseddeveloper namedLucky Frame. This particular
gamemarries elements of resource-gathering games
withthegrid-basedmusic- sequencing interface.
MT Youre part of the teamthat developedthe
Xbox. Howdo you reect onyour time working on
this iconic console?
CS I reect back on those times really fondly
they were amazing and wild times for sure. We
were really making something historical. Its not
every day that someone creates a console, let
alone a really successful one. The audio
subsystemwas way ahead of its time. We sawthe
Xbox as a machine that was created by artists for
artists. We wanted to have the best quality
games. It felt a little bit like the wild west at that
time. I really had a blast!
MT Sothe at the nucleus of the Xboxs creation
there was a manifestoof progress andpushing
the envelope?
CS Oh yes! We sawit as a platform
for artists to express themselves
primarily. We strived for the highest
evel of creativity.
MT Canyou tell us more about the
work you do at Syndicate 17?
SSyndicate 17 is my audio
roduction company, based in
eattle and Los Angeles. We
specialize in writing and producing
riginal scores, cues and sound
ffects for everything fromlms
nd television shows to video
ames and websites and even
ideo art installations and pop
ongs for recording artists. I think
eally the fact that Ive worked in
so many diverse areas of both
video game and audio production
has given me an understanding of
all sides of most issues that I
encounter on a daily basis. All
these experiences, working in
these different capacities with a
diverse group of people, cant
p perspective and certainly forced
me to develop some unorthodox skills and work
systems. I always say that having a narrowfocus isnt
good for anybody in this industry!
MT Doyouthinkthat videogames will eventually be
perceivedinthe public consciousness ina similar
state of reverence that great art, literature and
lm-making is?
CS This subject is particularly near and dear to my
heart as I do believe video games represent a newway
of interacting with an audience with the potential to
do so in a much more meaningful and intimate way
than any other mediumhas been able to do so far. I
think games and games audio in particular should
aspire to far greater artistic goals than any other
medium. Gameaudio can and should aspire to
delivering more impactful experiences than any other
mediumthats come before. Now, games audio is
no longer little bleeps and bloops and synthetic
musical melodies. Weve got all of these
wonderful tools and technologies out there, such
as procedural audio, real-time effects processing
and dynamic, real-time mixing. Composers are
recording epic scores with live, large orchestras
at sample rates comparable to lmsound. So,
despite all our technical advancements and all
this cool-sounding stuff, games audio today is as
technically well-executed as a feature lm, but I
sincerely believe that games audio hasnt even
begun to scratch the surface of whats possible.
As in any art form, real innovation in game audio
doesnt come fromtechnology, but rather from
the creativity and experimentation of the artists
who wield it.
Headover toMusicTech.net toreadmore chat
withChanel Summers
Chanel isalsoarecordingand
touringdrummer.
LuckyFramesPugsLuvBeats
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F
or most people, it was the first piece of purely
electronic music they had ever heard. For
many children, it had the power to send them
scurrying behind the sofa in anticipation of
the Doctors battles with Daleks, Cybermen and a
whole host of other monstrous enemies. Written by
respected film and TV composer Ron Grainer, the
original Doctor Who theme music was created by
Delia Derbyshire, a talented young member of the
Radiophonic Workshop, a creative-sound
department of the BBC. As a unit specialising in
unusual sound effects, the Radiophonic Workshop
team not only used musical instruments to create
sound, but also utilised various oscillators and
test-tone generators, more commonly employed to
test and calibrate electronic equipment; this,
remember, was in the days before synthesizers.
Musique Concrte recording sampling acoustic
sounds was also employed and, once committed to
tape, audio could be manipulated by using
techniques such as vari-speed, reverse audio,
repeat-echo, editing and looping.
The Doctor Who score that Delia Derbyshire was
presented with in the summer of 1963 consisted of
little more than Ron Grainers basic melody and bass
line, along with sonic descriptions that
suggested certain types of sound
effects. With this, Derbyshire and
assistant Dick Mills set about building
the track, note-by-note. The iconic bass
line was achieved by recording a single
plucked string not from a bass guitar,
though, simply a piece of string
stretched over a wooden box acting as a
sound chamber. This single note was
looped, then re-pitched using vari-
speed until all the notes required for
the part were available. The sound was
reinforced with a bass-swoop from a
low-frequency oscillator, then the bass
line was constructed one note at a time
Tocelebratethe50thanniversaryof TVs
Doctor Who, wetakealookat howits
iconicthemetunewascreated.
by editing together inch-long pieces of tape. This
technique was also used to create the melody, which
featured swoops and single notes from the
Workshops tone-generator, affectionately named The
Wobbulator. These oscillations were treated with
tape-echo and overdubbed with a thin, high-
harmonic tone, believed to have been derived from a
note played on a melodica. Further sounds were
concocted by filtering white noise to make hissing
sound effects (given names such as clouds and wind
bubbles by aficionados), some of which were
reversed for a pulsating, rhythmic effect.
With the elements in place, sub-mixes were
created so that the completed parts appeared on
three separate lengths of mono tape, each consisting
of a multitude of tiny edits of individual notes, all
recorded at different levels to achieve dynamic
contrast. The first featured a combination of the
plucked and swooping bass, the second had a mix of
the two main melodic themes, while the third held
the various electronic hisses. These tapes were then
manually synchronised, using three tape machines,
to create the final mix.
First aired at tea-time on Saturday 23 November,
1963, Delia Derbyshires ethereal, haunting
soundscape served as the Doctor Who theme music
until 1980, when a new version of the tune was made
using synthesizers. Over the years, Derbyshire was
required to alter her original arrangement (much to
her displeasure) to accommodate new title sequences.
The most significant of these occurred in 1967 with
the addition of electronic spangles a rising
arpeggio sequence along with tape-echo on the bass
line. In 1970, the famous electronic scream or sting
was added to the beginning of the closing credits to
emphasise the cliff-hanger at the end of each episode.
Although Delia Derbyshire is now regarded as a
pioneer of electronic music, her name
never appeared on-screen: BBC policy
dictated that while the Radiophonic
Workshop could be credited, its members
must remain anonymous (Ron Grainer
tried in vain to get Derbyshire a co-
writing credit for her huge contribution).
Legend has it that on hearing the finished
work, Grainer expressed amazement and
asked Derbyshire, Did I write that?, to
which she replied, Most of it!
50 years on, Grainers melody is still
used for the digitally manufactured
theme heard today; however, Delia
Derbyshires original work remains one of
the all-time iconic TV themes and a
pioneering piece of early electronica.
DOCTORWHOTHEME
BBCRADIOPHONIC
WORKSHOP
Realisedby DeliaDerbyshire
Therstoftwo
arrangementsofthe
original DoctorWho
themewasreleasedas
asinglein1963.
Oneoftheall-timeiconicTV
themesandapioneeringpiece
ofearlyelectronica
MAGAZINE December 2013 | 31
DoctorWho MT
Landmark
ProductionsNo24
32 | December 2013 MAGAZINE
MT InterviewBlancmange
B
ack in the early 80s, Blancmange was a bandat a
peak creatively, commercially andtechnologically.
They were scoring regular chart hits, selling
records by the bucket load, enjoying the success
(not so much the fame) andemploying the then
cutting-edge synths, drummachines andrecording
technology to produce their rst album, Happy Families. Its
an albumthat has achievedclassic status in the intervening
years, with lush down-tempo tracks acting as a ne
counterpoint to the up-beat andenergetic singles that
include the bands biggest hit, Living OnThe Ceiling.
Peakperformance
Cut to 30 years later and were sitting in the incredibleTwin
Peaks Studios in the heart (and height) of the Brecon
Beacons to discuss the re-recording of the album. Lead
singer Neil Arthur is joined by long-time producer Adam
Fuest to discuss the project, and while you might think that
modern technology would help to smooth the process, it
didnt solve all the problems. But before we get in too deep,
lets step back a moment and ask why the project is
happening in the rst place
We were asked to go out and do a classic albumtour,
Neil explains. I wasnt happy about going out to repeat
myself but what I said would do is go out and give it a fresh
interpretation, whether people liked it or not, because that is
howwe are and that is like it was the rst time. I dont have a
problemwith the original or howit was recorded in 1982, I
can live with that, but I dont want to cheat people or myself
by just repeating the past.
The project was completed with the blessing of long-time
Blancmange member Stephen Luscombe (Hes part of the
happy family but is not well and has to be careful with
movement so touring is out. Hes contributed a small bit,
some stuff on Gods Kitchen and Living OnThe Ceiling) but
mostly withgreat mate AdamFuest, and original
Blancmange touring players David Rhodes (guitar) and
Pandit Dinesh (percussion) both guesting.
I thought wed re-record it with todays technology and
thats what we set about doing and its been a heck of a
journey! Neil says. The weird thing was that when we
started I imagined that wed not recorded the albumthe rst
time around. I imagined that the songs had been written with
It soundslikeadreamassignment inmanyways: usingthelatest softwaretorecorda
classicalbum. But asBlancmangesNeil Arthur reveals, there-imaginingof thebands
debut albumHappyFamilieswasnot all plain-sailing, asAndyJonesfindsout.
Aclassicalbum
re-recorded
Teaservideo
ofthelive
performance.
lyrics and melodies and nowthey were going to be recorded.
So I didnt listen to any of the original songs I knowthemall
anyway. I analysed parts of the demos but only small parts.
You end up going into the audio with a microscope and it
brought back very specic memories like one where me
and Stephen were standing over the LinnDrumof 808 and
both programming at the same time.
So, no listening to the original tracks nor revisiting the
original multitracksfor good reason:They are lost, Neil
reveals. Living On ACeiling is lost. Paul Oakenfold was going
to do a remix and London Records asked us where the
multitrack was and neither of us had them, so that has been
missing a long time. It is somewhere but we dont know
where. Its not frustrating nowbut it was when Oakenfold was
looking for it!
Trackspecic
While Neil triedto re-create the songs with just the melodies
andlyrics in place, he was very much aware that certain
characteristics of the originals hadto be preserved
I wanted to absolutely understand the originals by
analysing an early demo or anelement, he says. With the
percussion on Living OnThe Ceiling, for example, I looked at
the hi-hat pattern and realised that no one would normally
programthat pattern because we did it as non-musicians
but just recorded it anyway. But that pattern actually makes
the song, so on the newversion that pattern stayed
absolutely faithful to the original. And apart fromthe bass
MTStudioSession
I wasnthappyabout
goingouttorepeat
myselfbutwhatI said
woulddoisgooutandgive
itafreshinterpretation
MAGAZINE December 2013 | 33
Blancmange MT
drumnowbeing four-to-the-oor, the rest of the percussion
stays faithful to the original too. With the bass line I added a
sub and a bass line with more movement that is easy to open
and close [the lter] now, but would have been harder to
control back then.
What I also wanted to do was pare everything down and
make performances very direct, he continues. So Ive
stripped back all the extraneous stuff to get a more direct
delivery. I imagined each time that it was like a live
performance. For example, I Cant Explain is all about the
groove, essentially an ad lib in terms of a song, just a groove.
With Feel Me, I stripped it right down and my daughter did
backing vocals through a vocoder! I just wanted a different
take. She was just in the house so I asked her! She has a
lovely voice
Time travel
Neil has already mentionedthe memories that revisiting
these three-decade-oldsongs triggered, andthe process
became even more personal andemotional at times
Adamand I recorded all the vocals in three days at my
place, start to nish 11 songs in total, as Ive nowadded the
track Running Thin, which wasnt on the original album. That
was incredible as a person who is 31 years older than the
person who sang theminitially. And some of the songs, like
Cruel and Kind, I havent sung in 30 years. It was bizarre
meeting myself again, really bizarre I was like:Neil, this is
fucking weird. It was really moving for me to go through that
experience but the thing is it wasnt me I was seeing; it was
the other people who were there. It was very weird and very
moving and quite a journey
He is clearly back in the moment as he describes the
memory but quickly quips, And were only having a thousand
copies pressed! Ima fool!
AdamFuest (left,
owner of TwinPeaks)
andNeil Arthur.
(Right) Neil plays
some classic
Blancmange gear.
MAGAZINE December 2013 | 35
BlancmangeInterviewMT
Moving further into the technology and we have Logic
rmly at the heart of the process (Ive used Logic since it
was Notator, so I knowmy way around that. Many people look
at it and say its not logical, but Ive worked with it for so long
that I knowwhere to go with it.) but it wasnt all newtech
some of the bands original equipment had to be used,
specically two items
The rst keyboard that Stephen bought for Blancmange
was the Roland Super Jupiter, and the rst thing we ever
bought was this TR-808. In fact, we had two of them. The
reason we got themwas that it was before computers were
used so this was the way you sequenced, so youd send the
output of the 808 to trigger a synth, for example. So wed use
the cowbell part, which we never used, turn down the volume
and it would trigger 16 beats in the bar, sending it, for
example, into the Korg MS20 synth. And that would be the
bass line on Ive SeenThe Word.
But the 808 also has a lovely sound which we nowtake
out and sample, morph it with other bits and pieces, and use
it in with other things. This Super Jupiter was bought a bit
later. Its called a Super Jupiter though its actually slightly
different, but it has the most amazing sound. People have
this and nd it a bugger to program, but the beauty of it is
that it plugs into this, the MPG-80, which does all the
business. That is obviously MIDId so you can set it to an
external MIDI device so as long as Logic sees it, then great.
It has some fantastic sounds. So those theTR-808 and
Roland Super Jupiter were the backbone as far as theold
technology goes.
Thats the older kit out of the way, but what about newer
additions to the Blancmange setup?
My default soft-synth is the G-Force impOSCar 2 and the
Oddity, just for its oddness its just so out there as soon as
you put it on, says Neil. I worked with both the originals,
particularly the latter. Playing around with a synthesizer like
that, its just amazing what you might come up with. I write on
a guitar I can play enough to get an idea down but the
amazing thing with a synth is that you just put a bass part in
and ddle around, and its like:wheres this going to take
me? Its lovely; I can have a great beer and just sit and ddle
and its a lovely thing, likeIll have half an hour of that until
its like, suppers ready!
Neil lists various other plug-ins used across the album:
Weve got Waves, Logics Bass Amp, ES1I tell you what I do
use: Audio Damage Filterstation; Smart Electronix LiveCut,
that gets used quite a lot. It gives you a random, weird,
chop-up on different parts of audio. I like that and it was
used on [the last and most recent Blancmange album] Blanc
Burn and on this record.
Problems solved?
So has the latest studio technology eradicatedall of the
original problems the bandfacedthree decades ago?
Actually, its created problems, Neil laughs. I nowdont
get think time. When you used to have a tape machine
running with a sync tone on it and you were trying to get
whatever it was to run in time whether it was a LinnDrumor
an 808 or a sequencer there wasnt just the rewind time
that gave you pause for thought, there was the moment the
tape got back to the front and decided whether it was going
to go forwards again, and then you had to wait for everything
else to jump in and that was your think time. Now
he turns to Logic, presses the space bar to start, stop
and start again for instant rewind to start
The heart of TwinPeaks is a superbTLAdesk. AdampreferredCubase for mixing the album, porting
the audiostems over fromNeil's Logic set-upandshownhere onthe screens above the desk.
MTInsight Alimitedrun
You wont be able to buy Happy Families Too unless you see
Blancmange live, as Neil explains
The albumis only available at gigs, which I thought was the
honest and best thing to do. I dont want it to go out for reviewand its
not going to go out for sale to the general public. Next year theres
been talk about doing a remix album. Vince Clarke has done one and
Greg Wilson, plus my sonJoe who goes by the name Applebottom
and is doing pretty well for himself musically is doing one. He does
electronic stuff, remixes and DJs. He loves music and hes been
around it all of his life, but he didnt knowanything about
Blancmange until we did the tour in 2011. When he sawus, he went:
ooh, Dad!.
The808hasalovely
soundwhichwenow
takeoutandsample,
thenmorphitwith
otherbitsandpieces
36 | December 2013 MAGAZINE
MT InterviewBlancmange
album, where it kind of goes in and out and it feels so
delicate at times and that tension is there, then that would
be bloody brilliant.
Andthe future?
And although this particular project is nodding back to a
30-year-old album, Neil already has his sights xed on the
future for Blancmange
Ive already written the fth Blancmange album, which
Stephen will come in and help with, he says. Imalways
looking around the corner, looking for the next thing and
getting ideas. Sometimes they are musical or from
something someone says. Youre sitting on a bus, on the train
or in the pub and something someone says you thinkthats
funny and I have several notebooks and Imalways doodling
some bloody rubbish!
It is good fun, he says of the bands continuity. Its up
and down and you certainly wouldnt do it for the money but I
absolutely love doing it it helps keep you young! Back in the
day youd meet people on tour and it was a much different
game; you were always being whisked off to be somewhere
that you probably didnt really want to be. NowI meet people
at the merchandise stand and its great to meet people and
they tell me their stories; we just chat and I get more
ammunition for songs. MT
Stay up-to-date withBlancmange tour dates, music and
merchandising at: www.blancmange.co.uk
SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/blancmange
there is no think time! It was something that was
built-in to your session. Recording sessions back then were
actually quite long, but the actual recording time wasnt
always the biggest part of it.
Adamadds:And people would make judgements entirely
on what they heard, while nowthey often look at the screen
for conrmation.
Neil:Yes, there was nothing to look at so you had to listen,
and a lot of people nowlook at audio.
Adam:Its like they check their timing by looking at it, not
listening to it.
Neil:Ive spent so many years quantizing stuff that I do
think I can hear when something is even slightly out and it
will take something to convince me otherwise. But Imnot a
square-basher. I was lucky enough to get to see Kraftwerk
playing at theTate, and what was really interesting about the
sound is that when they did the melody lines, sometimes
there was some movement. They are such bloody good
melody lines: really considered, so bloody good and yet so
simple. The most simple things are often the most difcult
we all knowthat. Its so difcult not to add something but
they dont.
But when they were playing not on every song but on
some of the songs they would just move it a little bit and
somehowgive it that kind of humanity. It wasnt the velocity
or the touch-sensitivity, it was just a little bit forwards or a
little bit behind, so good that it made it feel just so fragile,
that it was going to fall to bits, but that I absolutely love in
any kind of music where its just holding together I just love
stuff like that. If we have achieved anything like that on this
MTInsight FromLogictoCubase
Producer AdamFuest reveals what happened to the audio after the
songs were (re)composed in Logic (Living OnThe Ceiling shown right).
Whats interesting is that the composition was all put together in
Logic but we mixed in Cubase. I like Cubase, but also we were using
UADs and UADplug-ins and sticking to the same palette and
outboard that we were using in the 80s, basically, so 1176s and EMTs.
Theres something straight down the line with Cubase that is just nice
and I like the Mixbus in Cubase.
Part of the process of doing that is that you rene the
composition work in Logic. You need the stems with a nished album,
you cant just leave the edited arrangement, so that process is a good
focus point. You start to cut away the things you dont need. Its
taking on the idea and some of the practices you used when this
albumwas made in the rst place, which was that it was all about
decisions. Youd have 24 or 48 tracks if you could sync two machines
together so it was all about decisions.
Itsupanddownandyou
certainlywouldntdoit
forthemoneybutI
absolutelylovedoingitit
helpskeepyouyoung
WithHappy Families
Too inthe bag, Adam
andNeil canrelax at
TwinPeaks.
is lle all-reW lasli rcce
rc1tclicr slt1ic 1elierir 1elrilie lar1s-cr ccrlrcl ar1 lrilliarl, li-res cclcr 1isla,s.
Blislerir MASONlNE Z.J sclWare lrirs a lil lisl c cWer irrcererls lc lle erlire
MASONlNE aril,. N,er-irltilie Wcr|lcW. Ullra-le\ille sarlir ar1 slicir. Brar1-reW
ri\er ar1 1rtr s,rlls. A1arce1 KOM|lE!E irleralicr, ar1 rcre. !le tllirale rcce
arries Ncerler l, ZJlJ. lir1 ctl lcW MASONlNE is clarir lle are . aair.
www.beat-these.com
BEAT THESE.
S
coring is one of those music-related activities
that everyone seemingly forgets that most DAW
software is capable of, to a greater or lesser
extent. In fact, the majority of DAWs now
integrate it as part of their MIDI setup, and in
recent years major developments have taken place in this
area due to links and partnerships formed by parent
companies that have cross-pollinated their platforms. Pro
Tools developer Avid, for example, also owns Sibelius, and
the company ported some of the tools into its agship DAW
and made the export facility more simple Equally it is well
known that Steinberg is, in fac
corporation, which has taken a
many of its products compatib
with Cubase. Much of
Yamahas output involves
traditional notation of
some kind (creating sheet
music e-readers as part of
some of the higher-end digital pianos being a good example),
therefore Steinberg has a natural link to some of this
development, which is bound to nd its way into Cubase.
But while scoring might not rank too high on your list of
priorities, you may suddenly have a need to create a score
for a live performer at the last minute, perhaps after a
session is already booked, so knowing your way around this
area of the software can be very useful, even if you dont
use it very often.
Musicians who do a lot of scoring will usually invest in
dedicated software such as Sibelius, Finale or Notion.
However, anyone who has imported an existing MIDI le into
one of those pieces of software will knowjust howlong it
can take to turn that MIDI le into a presentable score. The
main problemI nd is that when the MIDI data is imported
by score-writing software it interprets it exactlyas is rather
than quantising both note positions and note lengths.
Fortunately, most DAWs do quantise this data in their
Score Editor and Cubase is no exception MT
ThemajorityofDAWsnow
integratescore-writingas
partoftheirMIDI setup
New
Series
Part4
Score-writing&
editinginCubase
Accompanying
projectfileincluded
ontheDVD
If youhavent exploredthescoringtoolsinCubase, youremissingout onagreat deal of its
overall capabilities. TimHallashitstheright notes.
FOCUSON
IMPORTINGAND
EDITINGMIDI
It maybethecasethat aMIDI
lefor apart that youwant
alreadyexistsor youhavefound
somethingclosetoit onthe
internet. Inthisscenario, you
simplyneedtotidyit upand
print it.Toopenit inCubase,
clickonFile>Import>MIDI File,
locatetheleandopenit.
Cubaseusuallyasksyouif youd
liketoopenanewproject, which
issomethingI generallydoasa
matter of course. Oncethele
hasbeenimportedit canbe
editedinexactlythesameway
asanyother.Thisisthepoint at
whicherrorsarelikelytobe
encounteredasMIDI doesnt storeti
signatureinformation, somakesure
correct, otherwiseitll lookveryweir
Cubase BecomeaCubasePower User
38 | December 2013 MAGAZINE
MT Technique Score-writing&editinginCubase
MTStep-by-Step BasicoperationoftheScorewindow
01
To openthe Score Editor youneedto have some MIDI data inyour
Arrange window. This canbe either existing MIDI notes or an
empty box that youcanpopulate inthe score. Either select anexisting
recording or drawanempty regionwiththe Pencil tool andselect
MIDI>OpenScore Editor [Ctrl]/[Cmd]+[R] (PC/Mac) to openthe
score. This canbe done individually or withmultiple parts.
02
Setting the basics for the document, suchas time signature and
key signature, is done onthe left via the tabs. Select the key or
time signature youwant andclick onthe staff at the desiredpoint
(bothat the start andat any subsequent changes). The key needs to be
addedto all staves separately andit doesnt transpose for Bb/Eb
instruments, so be careful!
03
The basic inputting of notes requires the Note tool, whichcanbe
foundalongside the cursor andother tools andlooks like a little
musical note. To input a note, select the durationof the note youwant
andsimply click onto the score at the relevant place inthe bar. Unlike
inscoring software, youdont needto specify rests as Cubase creates
these automatically fromany gaps that are left.
05
To addother important musical directions, suchas dynamics and
expression, go to the dropdowntabs onthe left-handside of the
window. Cubase caters for some quite esoteric dynamics, so from
pianissimoissimo right throughto quadruple forte, it has got you
covered. To addto your score, select the expressionyouwant andclick
it onto the score withthe Pencil tool.
04
Cubasedisplays all of thecommonnotelengths at thetopof the
window, but if youneedtoaddatriplet or adottednoteyoucan
ndthemtotheright.Tomakeatriplet, select thenoteyouwant tobea
triplet andthenclickontheTbuttonanduseas before.Toaidaccuracy,
set thequantisegridtothesamelengthas thenotebeing written.
06
To addlyrics to a part, select the Lyric tool fromthe Other tabon
the left andclick onto the note youwant to addit to. Simply type
inthe wordyouwant andthenpress [Enter]; it will be attachedto the
chosennote. If youwant to change the font or size, right-/[Ctrl]-click
andselect Set Font to change fromthe default text settings.
MAGAZINE December 2013 | 39
Score-writing&editinginCubaseTechniqueMT
MTStep-by-Step Editinganddetailedscorework
01
It is possible that youare arranging for a transposing instrument,
suchas clarinet, andwant to print a transposedpart without
altering the MIDI data so that it still plays back at concert pitch.
Cubase cando this: right-/[Ctrl]-click onthe key signature at the start
of the piece, select Properties andyouwill see anoptionto transpose.
This changes only the key of the score andnot the MIDI data behindit.
02
Similarly, if youre looking for more complex time signatures
beyondthe commonones providedinthe dropdowntab, select a
time signature andplace it at the start of the sectionyouwant the
change to take effect from. Right-/[Ctrl]-click andalter it fromwithin
the Properties window. Whenyouleave the window, Cubase will have
placedyour oddtime signature inthe right bar.
03
To edit anexisting note, simply grabit withthe cursor alter the
pitchby moving vertically, or intime by moving horizontally. Via
the Properties windowyoucanalso alter the appearance of the notes
to make theminto percussionparts or convert themto grace notes
andother alternative note types.
05
Whenadding dynamics andother expressioncommands, Cubase
doesnt x theminthe same way as other scoring software, so
youcanadddynamics literally anywhere onthe score. Firstly, be
careful withyour clicking! Secondly, Cubase has a tool to helpyouout.
If your dynamics are all slightly off, select them, right-/[Ctrl]-click and
select Align. Cubase arranges themall ina neat line.
04
Certainnotes may require specic performance directions such
as staccato these canbe addedeither individually or enmasse.
To addanaccent to a note, select the accent that yourequire andclick
over the appropriate note. To addto multiple notes, rst select the
notes by drawing a box aroundthemwithcursor andthenaddthe
accent to any one of the notes; it will appear onall of them.
06
If youwant to addchords to your project, do it inthe same way as
adding lyrics, via the Other tab. Youcanright-/[Ctrl]-click to have
Cubase automatically addguitar boxes for ngering by clicking on
Make Guitar Symbol. Cubase allows these to be movedseparately and
locatednext to eachother.
40 | December 2013 MAGAZINE
MT Technique Score-writing&editinginCubase
MTStep-by-Step Makingyourscorepresentable
01
Ultimately, youll want to print your score, so withthis inmindit is
worthat this stage switching to Page Layout. This canbe foundin
Scores>Page Layout. It doesnt change the content andcanbe
switchedonandoff. I tendto use it only whenImready to distribute,
anduse the Panoramic viewwheninputting data.
02
The default inmusic is to have stems pointing upbelowthe
middle line anddownabove it. However, incertaininstances it
makes sense to alter this (inmy lower part I want themall to point up
to make it easier to read). To do this, select the relevant notes andclick
onFlipinthe Functions tool at the topof the window.
03
Whenadding nal performance directions trills, slides,
arpeggios andso onmake sure that they cover the correct
distance. Select themfromthe left-handtab(labelledLine/Trill) and
apply it to the note youwant it on. Two small boxes will appear at either
endfor editing the length(andangle inthe case of slides).
05
The Layout controls canbe foundinthe Informationwindowby
clicking onthe letter I inthe Functions list andselecting Layout.
This gives youoptions for the size of the staves andto convert the
whole project into different musical styles. This is the windowfor the
settings that affect the score as a whole, so its worthchecking it
before printing.
04
Check throughandmake sure that accidentals have the correct
enharmonic it is mucheasier to readEbthanFdouble-at or A
natural thanGdouble-sharp. To correct any that are wrong, click onthe
relevant note andselect the relevant Enharmonic Shift fromthe list.
Cubase will automatically change it to anything that it can.
06
Youare nowready to print andthis is done inthe same way as
inany other programby choosing File>Print. Do, of course, make
sure that youhave set upthe page correctly andthat it will print to the
appropriate paper size. Youhave nowcompletedyour score!
42 | December 2013 MAGAZINE
MT Technique Score-writing&editinginCubase
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A
lthough most users will spend their time
playing with the Arpeggiator, Logic Pro Xs MIDI
plug-ins systemoffers some intriguing new
ways of looking at MIDI data within your Logic
projects. As youll see in this tutorial, the
application of MIDI plug-ins oats part-way between live,
on-the-y MIDI editing and a more creative role that almost
touches on a generative approach to music-making.
Certainly, its an exciting newway of looking at your
composition process, and a great way of extracting real
musical potential fromnewer plug-ins such as DrumKit
Design and Retro Synth.
To explore the full potential of the MIDI plug-ins system,
this tutorial examines three practical applications. The rst
application looks at an important part of the MIDI plug-ins
concept that of real-timeperformance tweaking.
Although its possible to edit MIDI data using the Piano
Roll, MIDI plug-ins offer an intriguing newway of tweaking
your MIDI data, especially when it comes to plug-ins like the
Velocity Processor. As well see, the results can be
transformative, and certainly demonstrate that you
shouldnt think of MIDI as being merely a sequence of note
data.
Froma creative standpoint, MIDI plug-ins are a dream
come true for musicians working in the eld of dance music.
Rather than programming or performing note data from
scratch, you can use features such as the Arpeggiator, Chord
Trigger and Note Repeater as a means of actually creating
your musical parts. For example, what might start as just a
single note could end up as complex patterns of rhythmic
chords, or swatches of notes ying around a given chord
sequence. As with the extremes of audio processing, you
soon start to realise that what you do with an input is as
important as the source itself!
Although this tutorial covers all the dening techniques
of using MIDI plug-ins, its worth remembering that this is
just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what you can achieve,
especially when it comes to the Scripter plug-in. Ultimately,
MIDI plug-ins are an exciting part of the Logic universe, and
something that all styles of music can actively exploit in one
way or another. MT
Thistutorial isendorsedbyPoint BlankMusicSchool, whichspecialisesin
coursesonproduction, soundengineering, themusicbusiness, singing,
radioproduction, DJskillsandlmproduction, all runbytopBritishmusic
producersandmediaprofessionals, withregular visitsfromlegendsin
musicandmedia.
All stylesofmusiccanactively
exploitMIDIplug-insinone
wayoranother
Mastering
MIDIplug-ins
Accompanying
projectfileincluded
ontheDVD
Aswell astheArpeggiator, LogicProXsMIDI plug-inssystemhashost of powerful features
upitssleeve. MarkCousinsgetspluggedin.
FOCUSON THESCRIPTERPLUG-IN
If yourefeelingreallybrave, itsworthtakingacloser lookat theScripter
plug-in. Inessence, theScripter providesameansfor Logicuserstocreate
their ownMIDI plug-insusingasimpleJavaScript editingsystem.Toget a
better ideaof what youcanachieve, takealookat someof thepresets
includedwiththeScripter plug-in, someof whichreplicatefeaturesfound
inthemainMIDI plug-inslist, whileothershint at unexploredpossibilities,
liketheHarpeggiator. Interestingly, theopen-sourceapproachmight be
usedinconjunctionwithsamplelibraries, wherethird-partydevelopers
couldcreate Scripter presetstofacilitatecomplextriggeringtasks.
LogicProX BecomeaLogicPower User
Poweredby
New
Series
Part4
MT Technique MasteringMIDI plug-ins
44 | December 2013 MAGAZINE
MTStep-by-Step UsingMIDI plug-ins
01
Inthis rst example were going to explore howa single MIDI
plug-incanhave a signicant affect onthe musicality of a
performance. The starting point is a basic drumsequence routedto
DrumKit Designer. Instantiate theVelocity Processor into the MIDI FX
Slot foundtowards the topof the channel strip. Note the green
colouring to indicate that its a MIDI plug-in.
02
All MIDI plug-ins work by changing the MIDI data streaminreal
time just like anaudio plug-inmodies anaudio signal. Inthis
case, theVelocity Processor is working withvelocity data, applying a
formof MIDI compressionto the data stream. As a result, notice how
the dynamics of the drumperformance have immediately changed.
03
Nowlets start adapting some of the parameters to see what
happens whenwe use theVelocity Processor. Increasing the
Ratio, for example, increases the strengthof velocity reductionover
andabove the threshold. Notice howthe performance becomes
immediately quieter, as well as having the dynamic range of velocities
reducedslightly.
05
As anexample of something radically different, try using an
expander-like setting withtheVelocity Processor. Use a lowRatio
(0.125), a negative Make Up(-110) andthenexperiment withthe
Threshold. Tune theThresholdcorrectly andits almost like parts of the
performance are removedintheir entirety, lending the drumtrack a
simpler, more direct feel.
04
Try adapting theThresholdnext andlistento what it achieves. At
lower settings, the performance becomes quieter andorientated
towards a single dynamic. Raising theThresholdmakes a louder
performance, withthe reductiondirectedmore towards the louder
hits. Finally, try increasing the Make Upto restore any lost level.
06
The Comp/Expmode always delivers great results, but its also
interesting to note the other modes available withtheVelocity
Processor. Add/Scale is aninteresting alternative for simple
modications. Use Scale at around69%, for example, to bring inthe
extremes of the performance, so that bothloudandquiet velocities are
brought more in-line withanaverage setting.
MasteringMIDI plug-insTechniqueMT
MAGAZINE December 2013 | 45
MTStep-by-Step Multipleplug-ins
01
Just as withaudio plug-ins, we canuse multiple MIDI plug-ins in
a cumulative fashion, eachplug-inadding to the results of the
last. Using multiple plug-ins, yousoonstart to see the real potential of
the MIDI plug-ins system. Inthis case, start by instantiating the Chord
Trigger plug-inacross the Retro Synthinstance ontrack two.
02
The ChordTrigger plug-inis similar to the oldChordMemorizer
object foundinthe Environment. By pressing the Learnkey you
canmapa givenchordshape, either using the mouse (clicking onthe
notes inthe lower orange keyboard) or simply playing a chordonthe
keyboard. The chordwill nowtrack the keyboardchromatically.
03
Following onfromthe ChordTrigger, try instantiating the Note
Repeater plug-in. The Note Repeater is a formof MIDI delay line,
playing a repeat of the original input several beat divisions later. Inthis
case, set the Repeat count to 3 andthe delay time to 1/8d. Now, from
just a single note, we hear three perfectly formedchords!
05
To addanother element into the equation, try instantiating the
Modulator as the next device inthe chain. Rather thanmodifying
existing data, the Modulator creates newMIDI CCinformation, using a
free-running LFO, for example, or anenvelope triggeredfromnote
events. Inthis case, the default setting produces a simple tempo-
syncedLFOmovement.
04
The two most intriguing controls of the Note Repeater have to be
theTranspose andVelocity Rampparameters. Transpose shifts
the chordpositionfor eachrepeat, so that a +12 setting, for example,
shifts eachrepeat upanoctave. The best is theVelocity Rampcontrol,
whichweve set to 85%so that eachrepeat is slightly quieter.
06
As withall of the MIDI plug-ins, its well worthbeing clear onhow
your eventual virtual instrument responds to the data youcreate
whether its velocity data or MIDI CCcommands. Retro Synth, for
example, has velocity sensitivity pre-wiredto its amplier andlter,
but youcanalso addother modulators suchas the modulation
wheel via the Settings page.
MT Technique MasteringMIDI plug-ins
46 | December 2013 MAGAZINE
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MTStep-by-Step Randomizer&Arpeggiator
01
The last example pushedthe MIDI plug-ins concept to an
extreme, to the point at whichthe music is almost completely
formedby the MIDI plug-ins. Working againwiththe Retro Synthtrack,
remove all the existing MIDI plug-ins andplace aninstance of the
Arpeggiator onthe rst insert. Use the default 1/16 rate for now.
02
The key component in this exercise is the Randomizer plug-in,
which were going to use twice in the MIDI signal path. Placed
after the Arpeggiator, the Randomizers default setting is achieving
what we needat this stage, taking the existingat velocity messages
fromthe Arpeggiators output andrandomising over the full MIDI
range of 0127.
03
FollowtheVelocity Randomizer withandanother Randomizer
instance, but this time change the Event Type fromVelocity to
Note Number. Notice howthe pitchwildly varies for eachstep. Try
tailoring this by setting the Randomparameter to around30 (this is
almost three octaves) witha slight weighting towards Highvalues. This
is a goodexample of tailored randomness!
05
Nowtry going back to the Arpeggiator andexperimenting with
the Input Type. Move over to Gridandcreate a pseudo-random
rhythmso that were not just dealing withswathes of 16th-notes. Also
try some steps withthe Chordmode active andtry holding downmore
thanone note to kick-start the sequence.
04
Randomnotes are ne, but theyre not very musical! To solve this
problem, try placing aninstance of theTransposer plug-inafter
the two Ramdomizers. As well as transposing MIDI data, the
Transposer is also useful inthat it canprovide scale-correction. Try the
Cant Go Wrong setting or programyour ownpreferredscale type.
06
Setting the nal result inthe right context is animportant part of
the task. As withthe secondexercise, make sure that Retro Synth
is responding to your controller informationadding a touchof lter
movement withvelocity, for example, as well as some resonance. Delay
andreverbare also important, creating space andevenmore
movement inthe sequence.
MT Technique MasteringMIDI plug-ins
48 | December 2013 MAGAZINE
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L
ast month we looked at howyou might go about
tidying up a drumperformance using Beat
Detective and the Strip Silence tool. This month
were going to delve deeper into editing
techniques, exploring some of the other tools that
we use on a regular basis when editing audio. Modern drum
editing involves more than just making sure that everything
is lined up to the grid: samples have become commonplace
even in rock tracks, with many kicks, snares and toms being
completely replaced in the mix with sampled alternatives.
Its not uncommon these days to hear of rock tracks with as
many as ten different kick and snare samples blended in
with the original recording.
In this step-by-step guide well be taking a kick track and
lining up a sample to layer alongside it. Learning to edit and
sample/replace drums in this way is just one application for
these tools and techniques, and while there are plug-in
tools such as Drumagog, Sound Replacer andTrigger that all
automate this task to some extent, it is still worth mastering
the manual methods for those occa
techniques can be applied elsewhe
the newkick track, see if you can us
similar tricks to extend the intro
section of the song fromeight bars to 16 cutting after
eight bars of drums, moving the latter section back by eight
bars, then duplicating the intro to ll the eight-bar gap.
Many of the techniques discussed make use of Alphabet
mode, a ProTools option that turns the standard alphabet
keys on a keyboard into single-key commands. Many of the
commands are also accessible via more complex multi-key
commands, but learning the Alphabet mode alternatives
can speed up heavy editing sessions considerably. Copy, for
instance shortens from[Ctrl]+[C]/[Cmd]+[C] (PC/Mac) to
simply [C]. To toggle Alphabet mode on/off, click on the A/Z
icon in the top right of the Edit window. MT
Drumeditinginvolvesmore
thanjustmakingsurethat
everythingislineduptothegrid
New
Series
Part4
Blendingaudio
andsamples
Accompanying
projectfileincluded
ontheDVD
Editingisnt alwaysabout removingsoundsthat youdont want, it canalsoinvolveadding
soundsintoyour mix. MikeHillierlayersit up.
ProTools BecomeaProToolsPower User
PROTIP
Blendinga4060Hzsinewave
under akickdrumisa
tried-and-testedmethodof
addingsomeheavy-dutylows
intoamix.Todothisweuse
theSignal Generator plug-in
onanewauxchannel followed
byaGate. Set theSignal
Generator to40Hz, andset the
Gatetotrigger usinga
sidechainsent fromthe
sampleor recordedkick
channel. Weprefer tousethesam
channel asotherwisethereisachanceof thesnarebleed
accidentallytriggeringthegate.
FOCUSON
BROWSINGSAMPLES
Onceyouveamassedalargesample
library, theWorkspaceandProject
Browsersareuseful meansof keeping
tabsontheles.TheWorkspace
Browser [Alt]+[;] showsall theleson
your drives, whiletheProject Browser
[Alt]+[O] showsonlythelesinyour
current project. Whilethismayseem
toduplicatetheOSFileBrowser, it also
showssomeuseful informationabout
audioles, andcanbeusedtoaudition
audiolescontainingtempodata
(suchasREXles) at theproject tempo.
TheBrowsersarealsouseful for
searching, andhavebeenextensively
optimisedinProTools11.TheFileCommen
isparticularlyuseful for quicklyndingsam
50 | December 2013 MAGAZINE
MT Technique Blendingaudioandsamples
MTStep-by-Step Beefingupadrumtrack
01
Openthe 04 Editing pt 2 sessionle fromthe DVD. The session
continues fromwhere last monthleft off, withthe drums brought
more into time withthe gridandthe toms heavily edited, suchthat
theyre silent whenthe toms arent being hit. Weve also createda
quick balance to hear howthe drums shape up.
02
Thedrumtracks haveasmall-roomvibe, whichis great for some
rockstyles; however, modernrockkickdrums tendtohaveamore
solidsoundthanthis one.Theres plenty of 45kHz attackinit, but its
not consistent, andthelowendis alittleabby. Zoominontherst
coupleof bars andusetab-to-transient tolineuptheEdit cursor with
therst kickdrumbeat.
03
To enhance the kick were going to import a newsample. Using
[Shift]+[Ctrl]+[I]/[Shift]+[Cmd]+[I] (PC/Mac) or File>Import>Audio
fromthe menu, openthe Import Audio dialog. Fromhere, navigate to
the04Editingpt 2/AudioFiles folder andndtheleKickReplace.wav.
Select this leandaddit tothesession.
05
The newkick sample is a little longer thanthe original soundand
wedneedto overlapthe clips to line it upwitheachof the kick
drumhits. To shortenit, rst were going to use theTime Compression/
Expansiontool. This canbe selectedeither by clicking ontheTrimtool
iconandselecting it fromthe dropdownlist, or by pressing [F6] and
scrolling throughthe variousTrimtool options.
04
Inthe Audio Import Options dialog, select NewTrack as the
destinationandSelectionfor the location. This will addthe
sample to a newaudio track inProTools, starting at the current
locationof the Edit cursor.
06
UsingtheTCEtool, weshortennot only thelebut theenvelopeof
thekick. Onceyouvematchedthenewkickwiththelengthof the
oldone, theclipwill still most likely betoolong.Tocut it, placethe
Selector tool suchthat theclipis shorter thanthedistancetothenext
beat, thenpress [S].This removes audioafter theselection(pressing[A]
removes audiobeforetheselection; [B] cuts at theselection).
MAGAZINE December 2013 | 51
BlendingaudioandsamplesTechniqueMT
MTStep-by-Step Beefingupadrumtrack... contd
07
Althoughthe kick shouldmostly have fadedout by your edit, its
important to apply a fade at the endof the clipwhere youhave
cut the audio. This will ensure that clicks dont creepinto the mix later
on. Select a small sectionof the endof the audio clipusing the
Selectiontool andpress [F] to apply a fade.
08
Zooming inonanindividual kick waveform, youshouldsee that
the two kicks have opposite polarity. The recordedkick starts by
rising, while the sample kick begins by falling. Highlight the sample clip
andselect Other>Invert fromthe AudioSuite menu. Reduce Padding
from2.00 to 0 andRender to invert the polarity (if youinvert the kick
andnot the sample it will be out-of-phase withthe rest of the track).
09
That gives us one goodkick, but we needit to be onevery hit.
Copy the sample clipby highlighting it andpressing [C]. Using the
tab-to-transient functiononthe recordedkick channel, move the
cursor to the secondkick hit. Move back onto the Kick Replace
channel using [P] to move the cursor upand[;] to move it down. Press
[V] to paste the sample into the newposition.
11
We cannowblendthis newkick track into our mix. Roll off some
of the lows onthe recordedkick andadjust the balance to taste.
We like to keepinmore of the original kick thanthe sample to maintain
some of the dynamic performance, while introducing some
consistency, especially inthe lowend.
10
Repeat this patternto place a kick sample onevery kick hit.
Assuming the Kick Replace channel is directly belowthe
recordedkick channel, theres a steady repeatedpatternof [P], [Tab],
[;], [V], whichexperiencedengineers will performincredibly quickly,
adding a sample to every kick ina song inonly a fewseconds. Watch
for stray snares catching out the tab-to-transient function.
12
Finally, we like to buss the two channels to a single kick buss.
This enables us to process the two sounds together, which
(especially withcompression) helps to glue the sounds together so
they soundmore like a single kick andless like a kick anda sample.
52 | December 2013 MAGAZINE
MT Technique Blendingaudioandsamples
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R
eason was always a supremely capable MIDI
sequencer, but it was only when it gained the
ability to track audio that it became a truly
all-round package for music production. With
version 7 it has become even more powerful,
including things like automatic slicing of recorded and
imported audio and the ability to quantize sound as easily
as MIDI. You can even bounce audio parts to REX loops
inside a project or export themfor use in other
applications. REX (Propellerheads own format) essentially
slices up audio using its transients as markers so that it
can be time-shifted to t with a newproject tempo. The
transients are also the basis for quantization, letting you
pull markers towards a musical grid.
You might be a great performer, but, realistically, no one
manages a perfect take each and every time. To address
this inherent human shortcoming, Reason features some
excellent compositing tools that enable you to comp
together the best parts of different takes in order to come
up with the perfect end result a far more achievable
proposition than continually re-recording takes until you
nally get it absolutely right. These tools also enable you
to get really detailed, so that you can, for example, set tiny
crossfades between different takes, ironing out any
glitches that occur as a result of transitioning between
two individual audio clips. Its therefore easy to replace a
single word, a note or a chord thats been performed
incorrectly with a better version. When comped parts have
been nailed down you can leave themeditable or bounce
themto newclips.
One of the other cool things about the way in which
Reason deals with digital audio is that any les that you
import can be time-stretched to adjust to the project
that great drumloop at 102BPM, for example, can now
easily be tweaked to run faster or slower without altering
in pitch. Conversely, its also possible to make Reason
ignore stretching for any given clip say, for example, if
you need a sample to stay at its original speed regardless
of the project tempo. Reason records at the highest
quality, of course, but you can also import MP3s and other
compressed formats straight into a project. Read on to
uncover the secrets of audio editing... MT
New
Series
Part4
Audioediting
inReason
Accompanying
projectfileincluded
ontheDVD
Theremaybeaninitiallybewilderingarrayof options, but gettingtogripswithaudioeditingin
Reasonisactuallyeasier thanyouthink. HollinJonesrevealshowit all works.
FOCUSONPRE
Dont forget howuseful theto
kindof data, includingaudioc
sequencer andthetoolbar
displaysaseriesof
numerical eldsthat can
beusedtoenter precise
datatoalter the
behaviour of theclipina
waythat canbemore
accuratethandragging
withthemouse.Theres
theabilitytoset the
preciselocationof the
clipaswell asset fade
handlesfor thestart and
end.Theoverall level of
theclipcanbeset here
independentlyof the
mainfader, tooagood
waytoalter levelsona
trackwithout needingto
automatethetracksfader.
Last but not least, youcanset
real-timetransposeamount f
tempo, whichcanbeincredib
Reason BecomeaReasonPower User
WhenReasongained
theabilitytotrack
audioitbecameatruly
all-roundpackagefor
musicproduction
54 | December 2013 MAGAZINE
MT Technique AudioeditinginReason
MTStep-by-Step Audio-editingtechniques
01
The rst thing youwill needto do is import or recordsome audio
onto anaudio track. Here we have importeda drumloop, which
as it happens was originally faster thanour project tempo. Reasonhas
automatically stretchedit to t. If for any reasonyouwant to disable
stretching youcando it using the right-click menu.
02
Double-click ontheaudiocliptoopenit inEdit viewandyouwill
seethat Reasonhas automatically addedslicemarkers. These
may look familiar if youveusedReCycle, andthey work inmuchthe
sameway. Zoominandnotethat slicemarkers havebeenplacedat
transients. Themorerhythmic thematerial, thebetter theslice
detectionwill be.
03
Try picking upa marker andmoving it. They obey the projects
snapsettings, whichyoucansee just above andto the left, so if
youwant to keepa beat or a note in-time it makes sense to use a snap
setting of something like 1/16. To move a marker withmore precision,
switchto a ner resolution, like 1/32 or 1/64.
05
If youhave editedthe slices but gone a bit awry or youhave a clip
that just needs tidying up, youcanquantize it. Select the clipin
Edit mode, right-click onit andchoose Quantize. This will pull the
slices into time basedonthe currently selectedsnapvalue.
04
To make a completely free edit to a transient marker, disable
snapping fromthe Snaparea by simply unticking the box. This
will enable youto zoominandmove any transient freely, whichis great
for making small corrections, especially if a soundneeds to be off the
beat. Remember to re-enable snapping after youre done.
06
If youright-click ona clipwithslices selectedyouhave the option
to split the clipat the slice markers. Try this out andyouwill nd
that it creates multiple separate clips fromyour slicedaudio. This is
useful for extracting a loopor a soundfromanaudio clipandusing it
elsewhere ina project.
MAGAZINE December 2013 | 55
AudioeditinginReasonTechniqueMT
MTStep-by-Step Audio-editingtechniques... contd
07
If youhave made slice edits anddecide that youwant to go back
to the original versionof the clip, right-click andchoose Revert
Slices. This will undo any quantizationandother movements youhave
performedandsimply play back the clipinits original state.
08
Next, try recording anaudio clipina loop, as we have outlinedina
previous tutorial. Youshouldendupwitha fewdifferent takes
andyoucanviewthese inthe CompEditor by double-clicking onthe
mainclip. Double-click onany take ina lane andit goes fromgrey to
green, indicating that it is audible.
09
At the left-handedge of the clips youwill see the comphandles.
Moving one of these will change the portionof the take that is
audible again, greenmeans audible andgrey means silenced. Drag
the handles to change the parts of eachtake that is heard. Youcan
re-order the take lanes by dragging the bar next to the volume fader.
11
It may be the case that ipping betweenaudio takes introduces
glitches or unwantedartefacts, as different takes may not be
perfectly aligned. To x this, use the fade handles present inthe Comp
Editor. Move the mouse over the topof a compmarker andyouwill see
a newiconappear, pointing left or right.
10
Youwill probably want to make more thanone edit, so use the
Razor tool or hold[Cmd]/[Ctrl] (Mac/Windows) andclick to insert
another compmarker anywhere inside the clip. This canbe freely
draggedto ipbetweentakes, andyoucanaddas many of these as is
necessary to compthe perfect take.
12
Fromthis position, drag the mouse left or right andyouwill see
fades introduced, covering the transition. The further youdrag,
the longer the fades will be. The trick here is to get the fade to cover
any glitches but not make it so long that it sounds strange by
over-fading betweentwo sounds. Youcanenter a precise fade length
using the numeric eldif required.
56 | December 2013 MAGAZINE
MT Technique AudioeditinginReason
MTStep-by-Step Audio-editingtechniques... contd
13
If for any reason you decide that you want to hear an original take
in isolation, again you can press the button at the far left of a
take lane (the one witha speaker icon on it). This mutes all edits
temporarily andputs the track into SingleTake mode, whereby just the
original is heard. To return to Compmode andhear your edits again,
deactivate this button.
14
Whenyouhave the perfect take youcansimply returnto Song
mode andleave it as is. But if youwant to make the edit more
permanent perhaps to move the clipto a newtrack for processing
click the Bounce buttoninCompview. This leaves your edits intact but
mutedandcreates a new, single versionof the compedtake.
15
For any clipinanaudio track youhave various bounce options
regardless of whether youhave performedany edits. If youselect
a clip, right-click onit andthengo to the Bounce menu, youwill see
youcanbounce it to a newsample, bounce out to disk or bounce to a
newaudio track withinthe same project. These are all useful tricks to
knowas they create newversions of your part.
17
TheTool windowwill appear, openat the Samples page. Locate
the REXloopyoujust created, thendouble-click onit or click on
theTo Rack buttonandit will be placedinside a Dr. Octo Rex inthe
Rack, ready to be usedina project. This is a quick-and-easy way to
take a time-correctedvocal, guitar or other recording andthenmashit
upusing the power of the Dr. Octo Rex.
16
If youdouble-click to opena clipinEdit viewandthenaccess the
Bounce menuyouwill see it gains a newoption: bounce to REX
loop. If youselect this it will create a REXloopof the part andplace it
into the projects audio library, thoughnot automatically place it into
the project timeline.
18
Youcanevenoutput a REXloopfromReasonby going to theTool
window, nding the loopandpressing the Export button. Choose
a name anda destinationandoutput the le. Using this methodyou
cancreate your ownsample collections andlibraries without having to
use ReCycle as a separate application.
MAGAZINE December 2013 | 57
AudioeditinginReasonTechniqueMT
F
L Studio comes in several editions and the
Producer Edition is the one that has full audio
tracking and recording capabilities. As good a
MIDI sequencer as FL Studio undoubtedly is,
most users will nd it incredibly useful to be able
to capture audio parts into their projects, whether its a
simple guitar line, a full vocal track or even multitracking a
live drumkit or a band. Its often in blending real and
synthesised sounds that the most interesting results are
achieved, and you can, of course, subsequently process any
audio you record using the many excellent audio effects
included in the software.
FL Studio Producer Edition has tw
recording audio, plus a third techniq
internally. If you are working with on
of audio parts or working with
a loop its recommended that
you use the Edison recorder
module. This acts as a sort of
mini wave recorder/editor and
has a range of sample-editing tools. It can then be triggered
inside the Playlist, a bit like a very advanced version of a
MIDI keyboard/hardware sampler setup. Naturally, you can
use as many instances of Edison as you require.
If you are recording longer parts or multitracking audio
through a multi-input interface perhaps a drumkit or
several musicians at once it is often a better idea to
record-armmixer tracks in the Playlist and record directly
into these. This is a more conventional, linear approach to
recording and is preferred by some. Although it doesnt have
all the bells and whistles of Edison, its better for some
kinds of audio-recording tasks. Last but not least, using the
softwares internal routing features you canfreeze or print
down audio internally to new, simple audio parts. This is
useful for conserving CPUpower on tracks where you might
have lots of effects running, so that you can lower your
buffer size for more latency-free recording of newparts.
However you approach audio recording in FL Studio
Producer Edition, theres sure to be something for you to
learn, so read onMT
Mostuserswill finditincredibly
useful tobeabletocaptureaudio
partsintotheirprojects
New
Series
Part4
Audiorecording
inFLStudio
Accompanying
projectfileincluded
ontheDVD
Havingmasteredthefundamentalsof workingwithMIDI whichFLStudioisveryadept a
dealingwithletsturnour attentiontoaudio. HollinJonesgetsyoustarted.
FOCUSONAUDIO
Itspossibletoprint audioparts
internallyinsideFLStudio.Thiscanbe
doneinreal timeor non-real time
modes, withthelatter providingaslower
but higher-qualityrender. Detailed
instructionsareavailableinthemanual,
but essentiallywhat youdois
record-armthemixer tracksyouwant to
record, then, intheMixer menusDisk
Recordingsubmenu, select AutoCreate
AudioTracks;thiswill placeacopyof the
trackintothePlaylist after recording
hascompleted. FromtheDiskRecording
submenu, chooseRender toWaveFile,
set therequiredoptionsandpressGo.
ThereisalsoanoptionintheExport
Project menucalledSplit Mixer Tracks,
whichwill createaseparateWAVlefor
eachtrackinaproject great for
creatingstemsfor movingaproject to
another appor for backup.
FLStudio BecomeanFLStudioPower User
58 | December 2013 MAGAZINE
MT Technique AudiorecordinginFLStudio
MTStep-by-Step Recording&editingaudio
01
AlthoughFLStudio shouldrecordfromyour computers built-in
soundcard, youreally needto use a dedicatedaudio interface for
recording andplayback, evenif its just a simple 2 x 2 USBdevice. To
recordmultiple tracks at once youwill needthe corresponding number
of physical inputs. Go to Audio Preferences andcheck that your device
is correctly set up.
02
Set the buffer size so that youget as little latency as possible
whenplaying a soundinfroma mic or a guitar. Generally this
means a smaller buffer. Remember that to avoidfeedback youwill
needto switchoff any speakers while recording anduse headphones
to monitor with. The exceptionis whenyouDI aninstrument, perhaps
by plugging a guitar straight into the interface.
03
Unless youhave customisedyour setupyoushouldndEdison
inside the Misc folder of your PluginDatabase inthe Browser.
First we will look at recording into Edison, so create aninstance by
dragging it into your project. Alternatively, click onthe Recordbutton
onthe transport to see the recording options.
05
There are various options for recording: oninput, onplayback or
now being the mainones. To recordalong witha click, activate
the metronome or have a beat playing ina track, thenpress the record
buttoninEdisonandperform. The sounds youmake will be captured
andyouwill see the waveformdisplay update.
04
Click to choose to recordinto the Edisonmodule andone will be
created(if youhavent already createdone). FLStudio will show
the audio input level at the topleft andalso inthe mixer, if youhappen
to have that open. Check your levels youshouldbe aiming for a
decent signal, into the yellowbut not hitting the redat the top.
06
The other options are goodto knowabout.Oninput allows youto
set a thresholdtrigger level by left-clicking onthe peak meter
anddragging up/down. Youwill see the level displayedinthe Info area
at the topleft of the app.OnPlay will start recording whenplay is
pressedonthe transport (useful for recording multiple takes).
MAGAZINE December 2013 | 59
AudiorecordinginFLStudioTechniqueMT
MTStep-by-Step Recording&editingaudio... contd
07
Inthe Max box inEdisonyoucanset the maximumrecording
time. Since it operates inRAM, its better suitedto working with
shorter sections of audio thanlong takes. For that, use the Mixer
recording mode. Activate the LoopbuttononEdisons transport if you
want to loopplayback withinthe module.
08
There are lots of tools inside Edisonfor working withaudio. If you
click onthe buttonwiththe spanner iconyoucanaccess a range
of functions, including time/pitch-stretching, normalization, noise
gating andmore. Interestingly, at the bottomof this list is the optionto
analyse the clipandsendit to the Piano Roll as Score data.
09
Under the Sequencing sectionat the base of this menuis an
optionto sendthe audio clipto the Playlist or to sendit to the
selectedchannel. These are bothways to take capturedandedited
audio clips andmake thempart of a project. Use Edisonto work on
audio clips prior to sending themelsewhere ina project.
11
To edit other parameters of anaudio part, suchas envelopes, use
the tiny buttons running underneaththe mainwaveformdisplay.
Here youcanset things like panning, volume andstereo envelopes as
well as anall-purpose envelope that canbe assignedto different
parameters. Use these for things like setting volume fades or pans
withina clipindependently of the mainmixer.
10
At the bottomleft of Edisonis a tiny buttonthat, whenclicked,
provides access to a File menu. As well as getting to the
audio-processing functions fromthe previous step, this allows youto
import a sample fromyour harddrive into Edisonandalso export the
current sample as a le to your Desktop.
12
Use Regiontools to slice andanalyse audio clips so that they can
be made more exible withinyour project. InEdisons toolbar,
click the Regions buttonto reveal the options. These include audio
slicing, loopselectionandthe ability to manually identify a downbeat.
These will helpFLStudio more accurately incorporate rhythmic and
other loops into a project.
MAGAZINE December 2013 | 61
AudiorecordinginFLStudio TechniqueMT
MTStep-by-Step Recording&editingaudio... contd
13
The secondmainway to recordaudio is to place it straight into a
mixer track. Youcando this by using the shortcut of clicking on
the Recordiconinthe transport andchoosing it, or opening the mixer.
For a giventrack, select it, thengo to the Input menuat the topright of
the mixer andchoose the relevant input. To multitrack, assigneach
input to its ownmixer track.
14
Click onthe tiny disk iconat the base of anaudio track andyou
will be promptedto set a recorddestinationlocationfor the audio
that is capturedto that track. This canbe handy for sending different
takes to different locations all drums to one folder, for example, all
vocals to another andso on.
15
Its possible to sendthe signal fromone channel directly to
another by using the Sendbuttoninthe mixer. Using this trick you
could, for example, recordseveral versions of the same take, but
process eachone differently using effects. It wouldalso be possible to
set a separate recordlocationfor eachone, giving youmore control
over your recordings.
17
To recordina loopinthe Playlist, do as follows. Go to the
Recording Panel andselect the buttonfor BlendRecording/
Overdub. Select Song mode andcreate a looparea using the markers
inthe Playlist. To toggle audibility of recordedparts as youloop, go to
Options andturnBlendRecordedNotes on/off.
16
Whenyoupress Recordinthetransport your audiois captured
directly as aclipinthePlaylist. This is perfect for longer
recordings sinceit records directly todisk. Thetools that youuseto
edit MIDI clips inthePlaylist canalsobeusedtomanipulatetheaudio.
18
To edit a recordedaudio clipinthe Playlist, simply double-click
onit andyouwill openits Control Panel, fromwhere youcan
change almost anything about it. Fromthe waveformdisplay at the
base of this windowyoucandrag anddropthe clipanywhere into the
Playlist area to duplicate it.
62 | December 2013 MAGAZINE
MT Technique AudiorecordinginFLStudio
S
ince part one of this Become a Power User
series, weve covered programming techniques,
getting the most out of Push and composition
and experimentation. But although we covered
the ins and outs of setting up low-latency
performance in Live in part one, its not until nowthat
weve focused specically on the recording process itself.
Like many aspects of Live, theres more than one way to
skin a cat, and when it comes to recording audio, the main
option is whether to record in Arrangement or Session
View. The rst two walkthroughs will guide you through
both approaches, but like the different approaches to
editing described in the third step-by-step, one size does
not t all. So take the techniques discussed onboard, but
its only through repeated use that youll gain a personal
context for their use. This time is needed to decide which
approach best suits your own preferences for workow
and the tasks you will typically undertake. For instance,
pitch-correction (covered in the third walkthrough) can be
applied by using many of the excellent Warp modes
available. While these will allowyou to preserve the timing
of your recordings, a side effect can be that the sound
quality is compromised as it stretches or condenses your
audio to keep it in-time after re-pitching. You can minimise
this by using different Warp modes on either a global or
edit-by-edit basis as required, but the good, old-fashioned
vari-speed approach can also come in handy when you
want to completely avoid any time-stretch-based
artefacts. But this isnt artefact-free, either, as the sound
will suffer fromtiming distortions as you alter pitch. So
after hearing the differences between the two, youll have a
better idea of which approach is the most appropriate for
the task at hand.
Before hitting record, also make sure that youre set up
for the desired bit-depth and sample rate. Bit-depth
dictates the available dynamic range in your recordings,
with 24-bit being a typical choice. Sample rates represent
the highest frequency limit (once halved) of your
recordings, and there are all sorts of arguments as to
which setting is best. In general, the higher the delity you
want, the higher the sample rate needs to be. Orchestral
recordings tend to be recorded at 88.2kHz or above. Most
electronic music can be set to anywhere from44.1kHz and
above. Sample rate can be altered after opening
Preferences fromthe Options/Live (PC/Mac) menu and
selecting Audio fromthe left-hand tab. For bit-depth, click
the Record Launch Warp tab. MT
Itsnotuntilnowthatweve
focusedspecificallyonthe
recordingprocessitself
New
Series
Part4
Audiorecording
andeditinginLive
Accompanying
projectfileincluded
ontheDVD
Whether youintendtorecordamulti-micedperformanceor just theoddfoundsound, youll
needtounderstandhowrecordingandeditingworksinLive. LiamOMullaneexplains...
FOCUSONCUEMIXING
Whenrecording, youmayneedtocreateacustomheadphonemixfor a
performer that differsfromthemixyouwant tolistentoasyourecord.This
headphonemixcouldincludelotsof reverbfor avocalist, helpingthemtofeel
comfortablewhileperforming, andperhapsaloudmelodicinstrument tohelp
themstayin-tune. Adrummer maywant everythingbut themselvesintheir
headphonesastheir drumsarealreadyloudenough. Whatever your
requirements, youwill most likelyneedtoroutetheCueoutput of Livetothe
relevant output onyour interfacetofeedtheheadphones.Thisneedstobea
different output fromthat usedfor theMaster output of Live, otherwiseit will
merelycopythemainmix.TheCueoutput will playbackanypre-count andthe
metronome, if required, but it canalsosendother audiofromyour project tothe
performersheadphones. ACueoptionappearsabovetheCuelevel control after
selectingitsseparateaudiooutput settings. Whenenabled, thiswill turnall
solobuttonsintoaheadphoneicon. For quickset-upyoucansimplyenablethe
relevant icontosendthosechannelstotheheadphones. For anindependent
mixof tracks, sendonlyasinglereturntracktotheCueout andinsteadusethe
other tracks sendcontrolstoblendthedesiredbalanceof instrumentstothe
headphonesviathisreturntrack.
AbletonLive BecomeaLivePower User
MT Technique Audiorecording&editinginLive
64 | December 2013 MAGAZINE
MTStep-by-Step RecordinginArrangementView
01
Youcanchoose to recordinbothSessionandArrangement
Views. This canbe whenLive is already inthe middle of playback
or youcanuse a pre-count to count inthe start of bothrecording and
playback at the same time. The metronome buttonhas a menufor
tailoring the durationof pre-count for the performers needs.
02
To capture a natural performance, its best not to focus on
smaller sections andlooparoundthem. Instead, use Live ina
purely linear mode by making sure that LoopSwitchis disabled, then
recordthe performance fromstart to nish. This will result ina much
more natural-sounding recording thanworking insmall sections.
03
If youwant to recordmultiple takes withthis non-looping
approach, its best to recordeachnewtake to a different track.
Youcanthenaccurately split eachpart by disabling SnapTo Gridfrom
the Options menuandusing Split fromthe Edit menu. The [0] key can
be usedto disable takes whendetermining the best ones.
05
Another approachis to track multiple recordings by cycling over a
small sectionrepeatedly. This is useful if youwant to ad-liband
try out multiple different ideas. Start by looping aroundthe area of
focus, thenrecordvarious times until youthink there are sufcient
decent parts to work with.
04
If a performer cant quite nail a full take or dida goodjobbut
small sections might benet froma re-take, youcanuse Lives
punch-in/-out function. Click andhighlight the area to focus onand
select LoopSelectionto move the LoopBrace. Press the Punch-In/-
Out Switch(inyellow) to mapto the LoopBraces start andendpoints.
Recording will nowtake place only betweenthese two points.
06
The audio clipthat youve recordedwill have aninternal Loop
Brace thats the lengthof your clip. To auditionthe other takes,
simply move the LoopBrace aroundto change the content of the clip.
This avoids the alternative, lengthy approachof moving andextending
the clipto gainaccess to the other takes.
MAGAZINE December 2013 | 65
Audiorecording&editinginLiveTechniqueMT
MTStep-by-Step RecordinginSessionView
01
SessionViewcanbe useful for Arrangement View-like cycle
recording, except that clips are recordedto separate slots, which
keeps things easier to deal withvisually. If youintendto work ina
linear way youcansimply hit recordinanempty clipslot andrecord
continuously, thendrag the le into Arrangement Viewfor editing.
02
Multiple takes canbe recordedseparately by creating multiple
tracks withtheir Armbuttons enabled. Then, as long as Start
Recording onScene Launchis enabledfromthe Preferences menu,
youjust trigger a scene to start playback andrecording of your
multiple takes. Alter eachclips LoopBrace positionas inStep6 of the
previous walkthroughso that they represent eachtake.
03
Nowthat youhave your recordings, youcaneither drag theminto
Arrangement Viewfor editing, or use anexclusive methodwithin
SessionView. This technique is muchmore hands-onandless
graphically-based. Once youve set upyour LoopBraces to represent
eachtake, drag the recordings to one track so youcanplay back only
one take at a time.
05
Next, assigncomputer keys or MIDI notes to eachclipusing
either Key Mapmode or MIDI Mapmode fromthe topright of the
screen. Nowyoucanlaunchthe takes withyour ngers andjamout
potential edits of the recordings. We ndthat this helps youlistento
howthe edits alter the performance, andyoucanpractice until you
think it sounds right.
04
Highlighting your recordings, openthe LaunchBox, enable Legato
mode andset Quantizationto none. Legato allows youto move
fromplaying one clipto another without losing the playback position.
This lets youjumpbetweenone take andthe other like a manual edit.
The lack of Quantizationmeans launching of clips will be immediate.
06
Whenyoure ready to commit your compiling to Live, hit the
Arrangement RecordButtonto capture your performance in
Arrangement View. Fromhere youcanne-tune andedit between
parts. Drag the takes back to SessionViewif necessary after
consolidating it to a newaudio le via the Edit menu.
66 | December 2013 MAGAZINE
MT Technique Audiorecording&editinginLive
MTStep-by-Step Editingtechniques
01
There are several key tools youll needto work withwhenediting
a performance. If youve already compedfromvarious takes youll
have multiple clips sequencedone after another. Live will
automatically smooth-out the edits youve made witha crossfade. To
viewandedit these, select ShowFades fromthe Create menu.
Fade-ins/-outs canalso be controlledinthis way.
02
Whentrying to improve the timing of smaller edits, rather than
trying to move the clips, move their content insteadjust grab
the Start Marker inthe Sample Editor windowto move the content and
disable SnapTo Gridfor more accuracy. Re-size the clipto avoid
abruptly chopping off the sounds start or endpoints.
03
Disabling Warpmode fromthe SampleViewallows youto
re-pitchyour audio clips for correctionpurposes using vari-
speed. This means that the audios durationwill expandor contract as
yougo downor upinpitchrespectively. Use theTranspose andDetune
amounts to correct your audios pitch.
05
Like tuning a non-warpedclip, Transpose andDetune canbe
usedwithWarpmode enabledas long as its set to anything but
Re-Pitchmode. Finer tuning throughDetune is best for minor
corrections, but this canhave only a static setting per clip, so Split
eacharea to be correctedandset the Detune ona part-by-part basis.
04
Lives Warpmode canbe usedwhenyouwant to edit the timing
withinanaudio clipbut leave the pitchinformationintact.
Pseudo WarpMarkers will appear above the waveforminthe Sample
Editor. These canbe double-clickedanddraggedto condense or
expandthe clips content.
06
If youplanonwarping a multi-audio recording like drummics or
various instruments froma live performance, rst ensure that all
audio to be editedis the same length(Consolidate all pieces to a new
lengthfromthe Edit menuif needed). Highlight the parts, edit one
clips WarpMarkers andthe others will follow. The stripedpattern
across the topof the clipconrms youare ina groupedWarpmode.
MAGAZINE December 2013 | 67
Audiorecording&editinginLiveTechniqueMT
A
longside genres such as techno and trance,
drum&bass is one of the more mature styles
that has constantly pushed the boundaries of
electronic music production. And although
many people regard dubstep to be the most
innovative and perhaps less rules-driven genres of modern
times, D&Bstarted its life in much the same way.
During the rst half of the 90s, a large part of the rave
scene was splintering off to become hardcore, and as
another offshoot of this development, jungle was born. From
jungle through to its evolution into D&Bin the early-to-mid-
90s, the genre has always pushed the boundaries in terms
of howtechnology can be used creatively.
In this two-part series we will be looking at the four core
elements that apply to all the sub-genres that have emerged
over the years bass design, drumproduction, decorative
sounds/melodies and arrangement dynamics. Unless you
are planning to produce yet another for
to compete with the existing big comme
you will be aiming to create music that will have the
necessary production values to sit happily in your list of
respected artists. But in a genre this mature, many styles
and ideas have already been done to death, so you will also
need to strive for originality in your work.
Your key focus should be to experiment until you stumble
on something unique, so the bass and drumtechniques
were about to discuss will give you the baseline knowledge
needed to successfully take an exploration into sound, then
package that into a balanced musical production. It can take
an artist years to craft and perfect the sound that ends up
dening them, so dont expect to bang out deep, detailed
tracks which conjure up vivid imagery to the listener after
just reading this. But do note that although there are many
tutorials out there that aimto teach you howto sound like
big-name artists who already own the rights to the sound
theyve carved in the genre if you stick with the
fundamentals we cover here youll nd it much easier to take
experimentation and make it work as a nished track. So set
your sequencers tempo to between 170180BPM
(depending on your mood!) and lets get started. MT
Thistutorial hasbeenendorsedbyACM, TheAcademyof Contemporary
Music, worldleadersinmusicindustryeducation. ACMsAudioProduction
School providesDiploma(one-year) andDegree(two-year) coursesin
ContemporaryMusicProduction, ElectronicMusicProduction, Creative
SoundDesignandTour Production&Management.
wwwacm ac ukT: 01483500800
Yourkeyfocusshouldbeto
experimentuntil youstumble
onsomethingunique
Authenticandoriginal
drum&bassPart1
Accompanying
projectfileincluded
ontheDVD
Arguablyoneof themost difcult electronicgenrestomaster, D&BveteranLiamOMullane
explainsthecoretechniquesfor achievinganauthenticproductionsound.
FOCUSON
PROGRAMMINGDETAILS
Althoughcopyandpastearefunctionsthat
areembeddedinmoderncomputinglife,
usingthemor aduplicate-part functionas
ageneral writingandarrangingtechnique
isnt thekeytoachievingtrackswithadeep
senseof detail. However, werenot saying
that youcant start ageneral ideaasaloop,
but youshoulddenitelykeeptheloop
minimallyshort 1, 2or 4barsbefore
extendingtheidea. Anythinglonger will
inviteyoutobelazywhenit comesto
addingvariationanddetail toyour workat a
later stage. Instead, trytoexpandanideaby
writingnewpartsoneafter another.Youcan
copysmaller sectionsfromthecontent of
previousparts, just trytoavoidglobal
copyingof all partsandtheir content. A
better approachistopinchandborrow
littlebitshereandthere, thenvarythemas
youprogress.
Poweredby
Technique Genrefocus
MAGAZINE December 2013 | 69
Producingauthenticdrum&bassTutorial MT
MTStep-by-Step Drumwork
01
The only requirement for the maindrumsounds inD&Bis that
they needenoughpresence to soundstrong enoughontheir own
before youadddecorative sounds. For the kick andsnare were starting
withtwo samples chosenfor their weight andgoodtransient snap.
Weve thenprogrammedfour bars withvariation.
02
Fromhere were going to explore layering possibilities to lendan
individual tone to our drums. Due to the faster tempo inD&Bthan
other genres, its important to keepthe lower-frequency elements
quite short induration. Keepa keenear onthis by using fades or ADSR
amplitude control. These canbe usedto carefully tighteneachnew
soundas youaddit.
03
Whenadding newdrumlayers, utilise high-pass, band-pass or an
EQlter to remove any unnecessary frequencies that may clash
withother drumsounds andmix elements as the song progresses.
Weve achieveda woody-sounding kick andpiccolo snare tone were
happy withby creating a fewlayers, but dont be opposedto changing
sounds as your song andmix demand.
05
As youmay have guessed, layering is going to play a pretty large
part here too. Weve duplicatedour leadtrack, whichgives us six
sawwaves to play with. Its sounding really nice andbuzzy now, so we
dial ina little reverbto give it evenmore space andcharacter. We dont
actually have our leadplaying all the time rather, it kicks inevery
secondbar or so.
04
Anything fromhi-hats to slicedbreakbeats canbe usedto add
more rhythmic informationto your core sounds. Alteredbreak
slice is oftenusedas a textural layer to the kick andsnare, but weve
usedit betweenthe mainhits ina sparing fashionandlteredthemso
they dont soundtoo dominating. Also try high-pass-ltering long
sounds to give a sense of space to your drumsoundas a whole.
06
Althoughthe commercial side of D&Bbecame very loudover the
last decade, modernundergroundreleases allowmore roomfor a
mix to breathe. So dont overdo processing like limiting, hard-clipping
or any other effects designedto max-out a signal. Try achieving more
power by sidechaining sounds other thanyour kick andsnare having
these dropby just 24dBis enoughfor a solidyet dynamic sound.
MAGAZINE December 2013 | 71
Producingauthenticdrum&bassTechniqueMT
MTStep-by-Step Bassdesignandre-sampling
01
Whether youplanto keepaninstrument live throughout the
productionprocess or intendto re-sample it (whichtends to be
the case inD&B), bothapproaches start witha soundsource of
discernible pitchor more noise-like andpitchless character. The latter
canbe achievedwithdrastic pitchvariations or heavy use of FM,
ring-modulationor any other heavily discordant processing.
02
Theres no set rules for the type of waveforms youcanselect here,
but youll generally ndthat a bigger soundis achievedby using
square waves withinyour mix of synthlayers. Sawwaves offer a lot of
edge that cuts across a mix; highly pitchedsine or triangle waves are
useful for achieving softer tones. Make sure that youalso explore the
best octave for eachlayer as youstack synths or oscillators.
03
The next stepis to addmovement to your sound. The best
starting point is to play withany controls as youlistenfor
something interesting. Use the more coarse-sounding changes to
developa unique character. At this stage, try to assignanenvelope or
LFOto these parameters so they canbe triggeredas youplay.
05
Re-sampling is the most practical way to deal withthese large
effects chains andautomationrecordings. Before sampling,
explore the best note to recordas some will have a certainsonic
sweetness over others. After recording theminto your DAW, drag the
audio into a sampler andexplore the possibilities withthis (andany
other re-sampledbass sounds youve created).
04
If youplanonre-sampling your sound, this is the point at which
youcanpile onprocessing effects without worrying about getting
ina tangle withautomationlater on. Explore parameter changes with
effects as youdidinthe last stepandrecordthemas automation.
Commoneffect choices are phaser, notch-ltering andstereo width/
widening tools. But here, anything goes.
06
Adesignatedsub-layer is essential for the low-endweight
neededinD&B. These are oftenstackedsine waves with
octave- or harmonic-basedintervals. Alternatively, triangle waves can
be quite useful whenlow-pass-lteredfor a thicker sound. Keepthe
subas a separate instrument rather thana layer withother sounds so
it caneither play inunisonor be variedfromthe other parts.
72 | December 2013 MAGAZINE
MT Technique Producingauthenticdrum&bass
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L O N D O N
D
escribing a dance track asclassic might seem
slightly odd, but Chime is close to a quarter-of-
a-century old and its simplicity, history and
longevity put it right up there with the best. It
was the rst track to be recorded by Orbital
apparently to cassette using an old four-track recorder
but the simplicity of the riffs, the solid bass and acid
beats eventually pushed it into the UKtop 20 and made it
an almost permanent constituent of the duos live set.
In these monthly Deconstructions weve seen how
simple melodies can make records that stand the test of
time (stand up Kraftwerk) and howrepetition can bring the
message home to outstanding effect (your turn, Daft
Punk). This time its a bit of both, tied around a two-part
chord progression (one short, the other an extended
version). The original song was recorded using Alesis
MMT8 sequencers triggering a RolandTB-303 andTR
drums. This is a step sequencer that would trigger
individual sections of the song that the duo would drop in
and out when playing it live, rather like you trigger clips in
Ableton Live, so its that software that we have used here
a modern DAWthat perfectly emulates hardware
sequencing of old.
Indeed, its software that the duo nowuses, as Paul told
us in a recent MusicTech Live Focus:For live performance
it is the winner hands-down.
In conjunction with the
Novation SL MKII it is the rst
setup to lure me away from
my old tried-and-tested
preference for using three
MMT8s in a row.
For this Deconstruction
weve concentrated on the
bass lines in the song. The
beats are fairly standard
four-four TRkicks. Rather
than the snare coming in every
second and fourth beat it
comes in on the off-beat,
which was very typical back
then. Theres a liberal amount of clapping in there, too. The
main bass line provides the backbone to the track and also
follows the main chord progression so basically, where it
goes, the song goes! Theres also a 303 bass line as if the
tracks not already acidic enough that comes in a little
later and gives the track a lot more movement.
Overall, though, Chime is a fairly simple construction
which is probably more down to those limiting four-track
roots than anything else but it should act as a warning to
you if you believe that piling on track after track of music in
your unlimited-track DAWis the right thing to do. Heres a
message froma quarter of a century ago that says:Hey,
sometimes limitations are a good thing. Oh, and great riffs
and sounds. As Paul Hartnoll says:Try not to get bogged
down with technology. Its very easy to do with electronic
music. But always remember that some of the worst music
has been made with the best equipment, and some of the
best, with the worst MT
Thearticlewasput together withthehelpof Point BlankMusicSchool,
London. Theschool offersarangeof coursesfor all aspectsof music
production, coveringeveryaspect of themusic-makingprocessand
exploredinahands-onenvironment focusedondevelopingskillsand
buildingcreativecondence. Inspirational tutorsmanyof themsigned
tolabelsandactivelyperforming, DJingandreleasingtracksprovide
continual support throughout, creatingauniquehothouseof knowledge,
learningandopportunity. Morefromwww.pointblanklondon.com
Thesimplicityoftheriffs, the
solidbassandacidbeatspushed
ChimeintotheUKtop20
MTDeconstruction
OrbitalChime
ChimewasOrbitalsrst hit andhasbecomeamainstayof their liveset. But thankstoits
hardware-sequencedorigins, it caneasilybere-createdinsoftware
THEBANDBEHINDTHETRACK
Orbital brothers Phil andPaul Hartnoll areoneof thesuccess stories
of theearly ravescene. Wheremany breakthroughacts of thetime
wouldscoretheoddhit single, they producedhit albumafter album,
fromtheir self-titleddebut throughtoBlue, whichlookedlikebeing
their nalewhentheduosplit in2004. Fittingly, after havingbecome
well knownfor amazingliveshowat festivals likeGlastonbury, Orbital
returnedin2009, headliningTheBigChill.This ledtovarious live
appearances aroundtheworldandanalbumof newtracks, 2012s
Wonky, which, unlikesomecomebackalbums of late, contains someof
theduos nest moments.They havesincepennedthesoundtracktothe
2012gangster lmPusher andcontinuetotour.
Technique ClassicTrack
Poweredby
On-the-yimprovisation
wasatrademarkof
Orbitalsliveshows.
Orbital ChimeDeconstructionMT
MAGAZINE December 2013 | 75
Music Recording, Made Easy www.olympus.co.uk/audio
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The LS-14/12 feature a single front dial that lets you choose between the tuner and various
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TUNER MODE - an integrated chromatic tuner for instruments
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QUICK MODE - to record immediately without optimising sound quality in advance
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better than cd quality recording
MTStep-by-Step Keyelements
01
Looking at the elements of the original, were back inclassic-
gear-land. Orbital famously triggeredhardware suchas the
RolandTB-303 andTR-909 live via Alesis MMT8 sequencers. These
sequences were thentriggeredaroundparticular bar lengths, andthis
approachcanquite easily be replicatedinsoftware like
02
Ableton Live. Here, the various tracks of the song are broken
down fromleft to right (drums, chords, two bass lines) while the
aforementioned sequences sit as clips within each one. The tracks
bass line follows the chord progression throughout, so we need to
work out what that is, but rst, lets get the key of the tune.
03
To ndthis out its a goodidea to loadinanmp3 of the original
andsimply play along, but weve done the hardwork andcan
reveal that it is Eat major (notes Eat, F, G, Aat, Bat, C, D, Eat).
Nowto look at the songs structure ina little more depth...
05
The mainbass soundwas createdwitha classicYamaha FM
module, theTX81Z, using a preset calledthe LatelyBass. If you
want to re-create this it sounds rather like a pluckedbass soundwith
richandmellowtones a soundthat underpinnedmany a dance track
back inthe day.
04
The opening sequence is a set of chordal stabs. The easiest way
to re-create this is to sample the sequence andloopit as it plays
solo at the start. But thats cheating, so youcouldsample anindividual
stabandtrigger it inLives sampler as shownhere (the patternrepeats
over a couple of bars). If youwant to re-create the original chords, go
for a string-like soundwitha short attack basedaroundEat major.
06
The soundis available insoftware instruments like NIs FM8
(shownandfromthe FM7 bank) or a freeware synthfor Windows
calledOXEFM(fromwww.oxesoft.com). Any bass soundwitha
pluckedattack andmiddling decay will do. Over the rst part of the
track the only notes the bass plays are Eat andBat, whichfollow
the chordprogressionover two changes.
MAGAZINE December 2013 | 77
Orbital ChimeDeconstructionMT
MTStep-by-Step Keyelements... contd
07
The secondsectionof the song follows a longer progressionof
the chords, however. These six chords are: G, Bat, Eat; D, F, B
at; C, Eat, Aat; A, C, F; B, D, G; andG, Bat, Eat. Rhythmically,
think of eachof the six chords inthe above order as numbered16 and
play andrecordthemas 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 2, 4, 4, 5, 6.
08
As before, theTXbass line follows these chords as the following
sequence of single notes: Eat, Bat, Aat, F, G, Eat (one
octave down). Youll notice this is the topnote of eachchordabove.
Rhythmically, againthink of eachbass note numbered16 andplay
andrecordthemagainas the 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 2, 4, 4, 5, 6 combination.
09
Thats the mainchordsequence andbass line sorted. Theres also
a squelchy 303 bass inthere as there was onjust about every
track back then. There are many free synths that will give youthis
soundandyoull probably ndit inthe arsenal of synths that come
withyour DAW, but here weve usedthe Analog synthinLive.
11
More onthe sounds. The beats ina lot of classic dance (and
indeedmoderndance!) come viaTR-808 and909 drumsamples,
andwedbe very surprisedif youdont have these kicking (sorry)
aroundinyour sample library or withina druminstrument.
10
This squelchy line initially follows the rst bass line over Eat
andBat, but insteadof falling just goes upto note C. To be
honest, this is where youcanfreestyle a little, andas yourecord, feel
free to recordautomating the frequency onwhatever synthyouare
using for extra acidsquelchiness.
12
Finally, the mainchordal soundcomes by way of ananalogue
leadandLives Chorddevice, whichfattens it out into chords
following the Eat major. Andthats it. The great thing about using Live
is that youcannowtrigger these sequences inpretty muchthe same
way as Orbital didoriginally the perfect marriage of oldandnew.
MAGAZINE December 2013 | 79
Orbital ChimeDeconstructionMT
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9
9
A
lthoughit was only back in
2009that we reviewedthe
rst Maschine release, it feels
like the optionof making
music withMaschine has beenaround
for alot longer. There have beenvarious
hardware updates andmany signicant
software updates since, but Maschines
core purpose has remainedthe same:
its ahardware/software-based
groove-productionsystem(most
features canbe controlledfromthe
hardware) andsimplicity is key to the
user experience.
While the systemis designedwith
hardware inmind, youcanuse the
software without the controller handy
whentravelling withjust alaptop. Its
also worthnoting that iMaschine for iOS
has beenintegratedinto the Maschine
family as well, so youcansketchout
ideas onahand-helddevice then
import theminto Maschine onyour
computer for further development.
As well as having various hardware
options to choose frominthe Maschine
range, until the latest 2.0software
release that were looking at here,
upgrades have beenfree to owners of
hardware fromany generation.
Althoughthe latest upgrade does come
at acost, most of the 1.x updates have
receivedsignicant changes. If youlook
at what other major music-making
software packages offer, its easy to see
that NI arguably gives the best
user-loyalty. We also imagine well see
the same free updates for 2.0inthe
future. Althoughwell discuss whats
newfor all users of v2.0, our mainfocus
is onthe Maschine Studio hardware
andthe potential to do away withyour
computer display altogether.
Inthe Studio
Before Maschine Studio, youhada
choice of either the regular-size
Maschine or the smaller Maschine
Mikro, but
LiamO MullanegetshishandsonNIslatestgroove-production
studioandgetsatruehardwareexperiencewithasoftinterior
fromthe moment youget Maschine
Studio out of the box youcantell that
this is the Big Daddy of themall, taking
upthe desk space of a more classic,
fully hardware-basedgroove-
productionsystem. The two gloriousTFT
screens are a big change fromthe
monochromatic screens of the other
models, but withthis feature comes the
responsibility of taking care of them
we imagine that just sliding this unit
into any oldbag couldpotentially cause
a lot of surface scratches, so wedadvise
investing ina suitable paddedbag or
case if youplanontravelling withit.
Alevel meter withdedicatedbuttons
sits onthe topright of the unit, andthe
dedicatedbuttonaspect is something
hat sets Maschine Studio above other
models. The 16drumpads are the same
s those onother Maschine MK2
odels, but theres anoticeable lack of
ending betweenthem. This is
because Studio has most multi-
functionoptions coveredelsewhere by a
dedicatedbuttonrather thanrelying on
giving the drumpads many other
functions another aspect that helps to
improve workow.
Whenwe sawapre-productionunit
afewmonths back, we were amazedby
the screendisplays, but our next areaof
attractionwas the jog dial. This is
surroundedby relevant functionkeys
andis acontrol that oozes the feel of a
classic sampler. Its the only click-based
encoder onthe unit, making it useful for
any grid-basedmovements as well as
general ner adjustments. We must
also mentionthe bright white circle
aroundthe dial, as its striking inboth
dark andlight conditions andcanonly
be describedasTron-like.
Newfor all
Before reporting onour experiences of
making a track withStudio, lets look at
whats newinthe 2.0software update.
NI has built this newsoftware fromthe
groundupto remove certainrestrictions
that the previous architecture imposed.
Most notably, the audio engine is more
efcient andnowhas multi-core CPU
support to make the most of your
computers resources, while the
software comes witha healthy library
that has growninsize by 2GBsince v1.0.
Many different styles of music are
coveredandquite a fewof the included
plug-ins like a goodchunk of computing
KeyFeatures
2colourTFT
screens
8GB+content
Includes
Massive,
Reaktor, Prism,
Scarbeeand
more
MaschineDrum
Synth(new)
Standaloneand
plug-inmodes
Canrunas
VST, AUorAAX
plug-in
2footswitch
connections
5-pinMIDI in, 3
MIDI outs
UseiMachine,
MPC, WAV, AIFF,
REXfileformats
Details
Price 999. 2.0
softwareupgrade
toexisting
MASCHINEusers
99(freeupgradefor
purchasesmadeafter
1October)
Contact2twenty2
08452994222
Web
www.native-
instruments.com
elackof anaudiointerfaceinaproduct at thisprice
will annoysome, but it doesat least offer much
moreMIDI connectivitythanyour current
interfacemost likelydoes.
9/10
MTReviews
Hardware Software MobileTechnology Samples
NATIVEINSTRUMENTS
MaschineStudio
MTReviewsNativeInstrumentsMaschineStudio
82 | December 2013 MAGAZINE
power, so efciency is important here.
We experiencedvery low-latency
performance onour bottom-of-the-
range MacBook Pro, without needing to
alter any settings until we were well into
the song-writing process.
But its not just computational
improvements we have to talk about:
the biggest update interms of bundled
features is the arrival of the new
Maschine DrumSynthmodules. Based
betweenbothacoustic modelling and
drumsynthesis, these are great
additions to analready extensive drum
library. Eachdrumtype has starting
characteristics to choose from. For
instance, kicks have names like Bold,
whichdeliver various varieties of
forward-sounding tones; Maple gives a
lot of choice for modelling alive drum
kit; andSubis great for 808-esque
oor-rumblers andso on. The sound
quality of these is excellent and, more
importantly, they have consistent
quality as youtravel throughparameter
changes. This is something NI is keento
highlight, andwe canconrmthat there
are no deadspots as youexplore
parameters. This makes it very easy to
create drumvariationby automating
these controls over time without
worrying about losing presence or
power. Snares, claps, toms, shakers and
other percussionare all available and
the tonal range of the controls is vast.
We spent a lot of time playing with
these andwere sure youwill lose
yourself inthemtoo.
Althoughwere focusing onthe
combinationof the newMaschine 2.0
software alongside Maschine Studio, its
important to note that the softwares
functionality does not differ inthe
slightest for other Maschine hardware
users. We decidedto put the Maschine
Studios screen-ledcontrol to the test
andworkedpurely instandalone mode.
This involvedahardenedrule to never
use the computer screenduring the
process of creating asong, working
purely fromthe hardwares feedback.
Groove-maker
As well as working without the
computer screen, we also decidedto
proceedwithout consulting the manual.
Acknowledging NIs claims of simplicity,
it really is easy to grasphoweverything
works. Sounds can nowbe stored
across an innite number of groups,
which holdupto 16 sounds each. The
newsidechaining function is similarly
easy to understand: simply select a
soundor groupto be usedas the
external key-input fromthe plug-in to
be triggered. The number of insert
plug-ins per soundandgroupis now
limitedonly by your computing power,
andthis applies to auxiliary tracks as
well. The small graphical images that
represent your effects andinstruments
are very useful to helpyou understand
whats going on as you add, bypass,
move andgenerally explore sonic
possibilities with plug-ins. This also
works in tandemwith the newmixer
view, which makes it easier to navigate
as you mix andbalance your work.
Programming patterns fromasound
per pad, playing sounds like akeyboard
across pads andstepsequencing are all
easy to gure out, performandedit. The
sequencing andarrangement aspect is
vastly different inStudios case as you
wouldpreviously have to look at the
computer screento understandwhat
was going on. Sample-editing also
benets fromthe high-enddisplays and
youcanzoominonthe smallest detail
to carefully edit asample or loopslice.
Not everything is quite as uid,
though. For instance, external VSTs not
made by NI cannot yet be loadedfrom
the hardware. Also, pressure sensitivity
(aftertouch) canbe usedonly for note-
repeat velocity control. Its afeature that
is otherwise not onoffer for any other
element of the Maschine library. We
discussedthis withthe NI teamand
they do have thoughts onhowthey can
resolve theVSTissue inaway that will
seamlessly integrate into the Studio
experience, but theres no ofcial word
as yet. If youswitchMaschine Studio
into MIDI mode youcanoutput
aftertouchCCdataper pad, but this is a
user-denable aspect of using the
hardware. Onthe one hand, it offers alot
of potential power, but at the same time
it cannot be classedas part of the
otherwise uidStudio experience.
By the endof our time withMaschine
Studio we canreport that we hada
mostly positive experience andthat we
managedto work completely without
the computer screenfromstart to nish
(at least whenusing the integrated
library content). This makes what is
quite big nancial investment attractive
to those who are sick of looking at
computer screens every time they make
music. It will also meanthat live
performers cando away withalaptop
onstage. As aperformer youcaninstead
concentrate onthe essential visual
elements infront of you.
Whether youre performing onstage
or composing elsewhere, Maschine
Studio offers atrue hardware
experience plus all the advantages that
software brings. NI has well andtruly
usheredinaneweraof hardware
control andcomposition. MT
MethodSpot
Note-repeat is
oftenusedasa
drum- or melody-
inputtingdevice
andlittlemore.Try
somethingcreative
withit bysettingup
adrumsoundwith
one-shot triggering
andcreatepreset
note-repeat ratesof
128, 128Tand128D
toplaywith.These
will repeat asound
fast enoughto
generatea
grindy-sounding
synthtone.Youcan
manipulateits
character further by
switchingbetween
ratesandchanging
thegatelengthof
thesample.Thejog
dial canalsobe
usedtochangethe
samplespitchas
youplayfor yet
morevariationin
tone, thenyoucan
set upMaschineto
re-sampleand
capturesomeof
your newsoundsas
youimprovise.
NI haswellandtrulyushered
inaneweraofhardwarecontrol
andcomposition
Alternatives
Themost obviouscompetitor inthehardware/
software-hybridworldisAKAIsRenaissance
(699), whichisagreat deal cheaper andincludes
itsownaudiointerface.Thisisalsoapowerful unit, but without the
benet of colour TFTscreensit feelsalittlebit likecomparingapples
withorangesintermsof displaydetail andfunctionality.
Themulti-coloured
drumpadsarethe
sameasthoseon
theMaschineMK2.
Theyhaveagreat
feel tothemandare
incrediblysensitive
for dynamiccontrol.
MTVerdict
+Fewer multi-functionbuttons to
deal with
+TFTscreens are clutter-free
+Newmixer view
+Excellent range of instruments,
samples andeffects
+Maschine DrumSynths
soundfantastic
+Highly responsive drumpads
+Solid, low-latency performance
- Extra features require external
power adaptor
- Nointernal audiointerface
- Twoaux sends per sound/group
- Nouseof padpressure-sensitivity
intheMaschinelibrary
Ahardwareandsoftwarecombo
that feels likehardware. The
screens andlarger rangeof
dedicatedbuttons seriously
improveworkowandthenew
features of Maschine2.0marka
promising newerafor the
Maschinefamily.
9/10
NativeInstrumentsMaschineStudioReviewsMT
MAGAZINE December 2013 | 83
M
-Audios rst entries inthe
Axiomrange offeredalot of
compact controls ina
typical MIDI controller
footprint. Fast-forwardto this latest AIR
release, though, andthe format has
changedquite abit infact, the rst
thing we noticedwhenwe took this
25-key controller out of its box was its
sheer size. This is because most other
controllers out there either have drum
pads placedintwo rows, or shrink each
pads size to accommodate abatchof
16while keeping the depthof the unit
fairly shallow. The Air eschews such
compromise, having adepththat
measures just over 42cm. This allows
for 16full-size MPC-style pads and
gives it more of afull-onsynthfeel than
that of atypical MIDI controller.
Clear spread
Were reviewing the 25-key model, but
larger spreads of 49and61keys are
available. The drumpads are pressure-
sensitive andthe light-actionkeys also
feature aftertouch. This gives the user
more ways to express themselves,
rather thanhaving just velocity-
sensitivity to play with. Eight endless
encoders andasingle medium-throw
fader are includedinthe 25-key model,
but nine faders are featuredonboththe
49- and69-key options. Asides fromthe
pitchwheel, modwheel, octave-
switching andthe large raisedLCDin
the centre, the rest of the smaller
buttons are for specic operating
modes, whichwell get to inaminute.
The rear of the unit includes 5-pin
MIDI I/O, so this can act as an interface
for external hardware MIDI gear; if you
KeyFeatures
IncludesLive
LiteandIgnite
sequencing
software
Expressionand
sustainpedal
inputs
5-pinMIDI I/O
Velocityand
aftertouch/
pressure-
sensitivekeys
anddrumpads
HyperControl
Mixmodeand
Inst/Mixmodes
Details
Price 250
Contact
inMusicBrands
01252896010
Web
www.m-audio.com
run it froma power supply it couldbe
wireddirectly to other hardware for live
use, without the needfor a computer.
Connections for expression andsustain
pedals are also included.
More control
The AIRs padsection is interesting as it
includes three different banks that can
be cycledthroughusing a single button.
The pads note output can be custom-
mappedin Edit mode, whichis really
handy if you want to jamwith sounds or
samples that arent necessarily in
chromatic order. Adrum-roll function is
also included, andthe repeat rate can
be controlledvia functionkeys on the
main keyboard. The pads feel solid
enough but theres a bit of give in the
centre of the casing, which gives a
slightly different feel to the pads on the
lower left. This also makes the
pressure-sensitivity slightly uneven.
Note length andswing for drumroll can
be controlledusing the cursor keys in
the central control panel. Having
note-length/gate adjustment is great
as you dont always want to use just
drumsounds with a roll feature. For
instance, it offers creative control when
working with momentary sample-
playback or melodic instruments.
HyperControl is anewname for
M-Audios previous DirectLink mode and
it allows for automatic mapping setup
withyour choice of DAW. We managedto
set it upquickly withCubase 7and
couldimmediately cycle through
controlling the mixer levels, pan,
instruments andeffects by switching
throughvarious modes onthe AIR. We
also triedit withAbletonLive 9andhad
asimilarly painless experience, so this
couldreally helpyour workowif you
wouldrather use the controller more
thanthe mouse as youwork.
Play time
We usedthe Axiomto input various
ideas into Live andto navigate around
both Session andArrangement Views,
nding a goodlevel of control available.
Dedicatedtransport controls are
always a boon in any software when
working with a linear arrangement
page, andgenerally we foundthe other
controls on the unit were also quite
easy to become familiar with.
This unit isnt pitchedinthe budget
price range, but it delivers onthe kinds
of features youdexpect at this level. The
knobs, buttons andpitch/modulation
wheels all feel solidto work with, and
the drumpads andkeys are OK, but
dont feel quite upto the standardof the
other features. As usual, wed
recommendyoutry themfor yourself
before youbuy. However, considering
the features this unit offers (it includes
Live Lite as well as the full Ignite DAW
package), its goodvalue for money and
couldbe agoodrst investment for
those just starting upastudio. MT
Alternatives
For aroundthesamemoney
astheAIR25youcanbuyan
Impulse25(240) fromNovation.Upthisto
300andyoucouldhave49keysandnine
faders,withthecompromiseof havingonly
eight drumpads.Bothmodelsalsoinclude
abuilt-inarpeggiator andhavearmfeel to
thekeyboard.ArturiasAnalogExperience
Laboratory(429) isanicepackagethat
includesemulatedsoundsfrommanyclassic
analoguesynths,but it doesnt featureas
manydrumpadsor thehigher level of control
mappingthat theAIRor Impulseproductsoffer.
M-AUDIO
AxiomAIR25
TheAIRrangecontinuestoexpandliterally... LiamOMullane
checksoutM-Audioslatestandlargestflagshipcontrollers.
MTVerdict
+HyperControl functions
+Size gives it a sense of purpose
+Canoperate as standalone
MIDI controller
+Drum-roll feature has a fewgood
creative possibilities
+Includes Ignite DAWsoftware
+Drumpadnote-assignments are
practical touse
+Keyboardfeels light
- Casing designslightly awedfor
universal drum-padfeel
- Large size makes it less portable
Therearealot of features herefor
theprice, most of whicharehighin
quality. As arst investment, the
bundledsoftwarerepresents an
economical way tohelpabeginner
get off theground.
7/10
84 | December 2013 MAGAZINE
MTReviewsM-AudioAxiomAIR25
M
aking music with other
people can be both
creative and educational.
Ive learned many good
and bad! ways in which to work while
writing music with other people and
seeing howthey operate. It has been a
while nowsince the internet started to
change the way we can interact and
therefore collaborate with each other
in theold days you were forced to
share projects via analogue or digital
media and physically get themfrom
one location to another. If you wanted
to discuss any changes, youd need to
pick up the phone and talk to the
people involved. In todays internet-
orientated world, of course, you can
simply drop project data into a
le-sharing systemsuch as Dropbox
and use existing communication tools
such as Facebook or Skype to discuss
ideas as you work.
However, a problemthats inherent
with either of these approaches is the
rather touchy matter of project
compatibility. If youre lucky or wise
(and theres often a ne line between
the two in these kinds of situations),
you will be using exactly the same
software as everyone else involved in
the project. If this isnt the case, though,
you will need to either constantly
commit to audio to pass parts back and
forth, or keep things much more exible
by working solely with MIDI.
Another approach, of course, is to
use one of the fewonline DAWsystems
that are available. Sadly, though, these
tend to be comparatively basic in terms
of features and functionality so they
will often feel somewhat limiting to
more advanced users or experienced
musicians. But aside fromthe various
audio-streaming services out there,
Collaborationisntnewinonlinemusic-making, butOhmStudio
maywellchangethewayyoudoit. LiamOMullanerevealswhy
this has been about as advanced as
you could get when programming
music is involved.
Anewera of collaboration
The other important factor with the
methods already mentioned is that
none of themallows for multi-user
editing of the same project at the same
time. This is why OhmStudio has been
causing such a stir. Although Ableton
announced plans for a similar function
in Live a fewyears ago, its yet to appear.
BitWig Studio also announced this as a
feature in the rst promo video a while
back. Were still waiting for a release
date on BitWig and this feature has
been pushed back to thefuture
features category on its makers
website. So again, this may or may not
materialise. It seems that OhmForce,
then, has come up with OhmStudio at
a time when people are obviously
hungry for a higher level of
collaboration and we need to nd out
whether it does the job or not.
Humaninteraction
Fromthe free version of OhmStudio
upwards to Pro andProXXL, you can
immediately start collaborating after
installing the main software. The
software may be installedlocally on
your computer, but your project data
will live in the Cloud, so an internet
connection is neededat all times.
Once loggedin you are greetedby
the Dashboarddisplay. This is a
dedicatedarea for creating projects,
tagging themas you woulda music le,
setting their privacy or public settings
andgenerally interacting with others. A
Chat area lets you talk with other Ohm
Studio users or directly with specic
project members. These are also
available in the main project area
where youll do your music-making
andcan be incredibly useful for a
number of reasons. With themyou can
get to knowothers, their interests and
work with them. You can also relay
messages to each other as you work on
a project (the rst of which will almost
inevitably be:Oi! What are you doing?
Imediting this part at the moment!). A
Sticky Notes systemis also included
within the project, so as with
Itsthecommunityaspectthat
will reallysetthisapartfrom
anythingyouveusedbefore
KeyFeatures
Integratedchat
andprofile
facilities
16-/24-bit
recording
MIDI import/
export
Track-by-track/
masterbuss
audioexport
ThoroughHelp
functionality
Supports
third-partyVST
plug-insand
collaborative
bounce
Details
PriceOhmStudio0.
OhmStudioPro39.
OhmStudioProXXL
99
Contact contact@
ohmstudio.com
Web
www.ohmstudio.com
Thevariousdifferent rectanglesintheSequence
Overviewat thetopof thescreenenableyoutosee
whereeachcollaborator iscurrentlyworking
withintheproject.
ForPC
&Mac
$ 9/10
OHMFORCE
OhmStudio
MTReviewsOhmForceOhmStudio
86 | December 2013 MAGAZINE
SoundCloudcomments, you can add
notes to the timeline to let each other
knowyour thoughts.
Before we get into the specics of
the project window, its features and
howit may function when comparedto
your current DAWof choice, lets look at
what you get with the free andother
two purchasable versions. OhmStudio
includes most of the core functions
includedin the Pro andProXXL
editions; the main attraction of those is
additional plug-ins (andOhmForce
tells us that youll never have to pay for
subsequent upgrades, which is a rarity
these days).
OhmStudio includes an amp
simulator, reverb, a large palette of
sounds (via the UVI-basedcollection of
instruments) andtwo OhmForce-
basedlters. You are also limitedto
recording at 16-bit andproject export is
restrictedto compressedaudio only.
This alone is likely to encourage you to
upgrade at some point. All versions
include a base pack plug-in collection
for compression, ange andvocoding.
Pro andProXXLextends this collection
with additional effects andsynths that
are too numerous to list here. But the
more you spend, the more of a rounded
plug-in package you get. In all versions,
however, youcan use third-party
plug-ins, which can be usedlive
between all who own them. If this isnt
the case, a clever collaborative bounce
function lets you free themto share the
resulting audio.
Another factor to be aware of with
OhmStudio is the ten-project maximum
for free users. This includes anything
youve created, joinedor beenamember
of. This is asimultaneous limitation,
though, so youjust leave projects to
make space for others as needed. If
youre going to get serious about
collaborating, the server canbe
upgradedto increase your limit to 200.
The commitment canbe onamonthly,
quarterly or annual basis andcosts: 9,
8and7per monthrespectively.
Multiple users
Weve been using OhmStudio
extensively during the beta stage until
its current release and it has proven
itself to be a genuinely unique way of
working. The main project windowhas
a mixer view, plug-in list, Help view,
Module view(for audio routing) and a
main editing window. Weve recorded
our own audio tracks, sequenced audio
samples, recorded MIDI and performed
a variety of other editing tasks
numerous times. We found a good
basic level of control and many
professional DAWfeatures are
included, yet cycle recording isnt, so
you cant compile or just edit out the
best take, which we admit is a pain. We
have been told by OhmForce that this
and various other higher-end features
will be coming in forthcoming updates,
so its something to look out for.
The collaborationexperience itself is
bizarre, mainly because project datais
representedonthe collaborators
screens inreal time. I likenit to how
gamers felt whenrst experiencing
real-time online gaming.
There isnt too muchof ateething
periodfor anyone newto the interface
as it shares many commonshortcut
keys, has asimple-to-understand
layout andavery useful Helpsystem,
andyoucanalways ask onthe public
chatroomfor helpor invite themto look
at your problemas well.
After using OhmStudio for awhile
its the community aspect that will really
start to set this apart fromanything
youve usedbefore. Its avery capable
tool for working withpeople youalready
know, but there is so muchto be gained
frombeing social, especially if youre
sick of working onyour own!
Whenit comes to mixing there are
advancedfeatures suchas drag-and-
dropinsert FX, aux channels and
sub-grouping viathe modular routing
view. This makes it more advancedthan
alot of other software, especially as
most if its features are includedfor free
there are evenadvancedchannel strip
controls like integratedM/Scontrol.
However whenwe rst startedto use it,
functions like zoomwere initially abit
ddly, but giventime youbecome uid.
The future is here
So OhmStudio is potentially free and
offers the rst pro-grade optionfor
multiple editing of aproject. But if you
also want something that does
everything your DAWcando, youwill be
disappointedandmay be missing the
point. Beginner andintermediate users
will ndOhmStudios features ample;
advancedusers will love the fact they
canuse existing plug-ins fromtheir rig
while working withanyone else. We
foundafewbugs (whichare being
ironedout) but these canalmost be
forgiveninsuchanambitious and
future-thinking piece of software. Its a
huge stepforwardinencouraging
people to work together andwe cant
argue withthat so if youve ever
consideredon-line collaboration, then
try it, simple as that. MT
MethodSpot
If youwant to
collaboratebut
dont want tohave
toabandonyour
DAWof choice, you
canuseOhmStudio
asatool tohelp
separatethe
compositional and
mixing/production
stagesof making
music. Byworking
together and
discussingideasvia
theprojectsChat
window, itseasyto
construct the
frameworkof a
songwhile
temporarilyusing
thesoundswithin
OhmStudio.You
canthenexport the
MIDI datafromthe
project alongwith
anyaudioyoumay
want tokeepand
import it intoyour
DAWtodevelop, mix
andnish.
OhmStudiofreesusfromthe
limitationswemaynothave
evenbeenawareof
Alternatives
For real-time, online, multi-user collaboration, Ohm
Studioistheonlyseriousoptionwevecomeacross.
SteinbergaddedtheVSTConnect Performer feature
inversion7of Cubase(488), whichallowsa
performer elsewhereintheworldtorecord
themselvestoyour ownCubaseproject. If
collaborativesequencingisyour thing, theclosest
optionwevefoundareonlineDAWssuchasSoundationStudiofrom
PowerFXSystemsAB, of whichthereisafreeeditionavailable.This
makesaccessingacollaborativeproject veryeasy, but itsquitesimplein
termsof featuresandonlyoneuser canaccesstheproject at atime.
TheDashboardarea
isyour portal for the
communication
sideof things. Here
youcanopenlytalk
withother members
or privatelychat
about project-
specicwork.
MTVerdict
+Profeatures
+Privacy settings
+Advancedpanandmid/side
controls per rack
+Users canbuilda prole tond
like-mindedpeople
+Collaborative freeze works
aroundthe problemof third-
party plug-ins
- Noofine versionavailable yet
- Nocycle basedrecording
- OrganisedVSTfolders not
detected
- Plug-incollectioncouldbe more
comprehensive
Aneweraof onlinecollaboration
has begunthat will satisfy most
peoples needs andcouldopenup
many newpossibilities toall. We
seeabright futureaheadfor Ohm
Studioandwholeheartedly
encourageyoutogiveit awhirl.
9/10
OhmForceOhmStudioReviewsMT
MAGAZINE December 2013 | 87
E
veninaworldof pristine digital
recording, its not uncommonto
ndaudio quality degradedin
some way, whether through
highlevels of noise, mains hum, clicks,
crackles or arange of other audio
gremlins. The task of audio restoration,
therefore, is something fewof us can
completely avoid, while for others
notably, those working inforensic audio
or amastering engineer re-mastering
vintage recordings the ability to coax
audio back into amore listenable form
is aday-to-day necessity.
Alongside solutions fromCedar and
Sonnox, iZotopes RXhas received
plenty of praise over the years for its
audio-restoration abilities. RXs
strength is in the diversity of tools it
offers, making it suitable not just for
vinyl restoration (using the familiar
click- andcrackle-removal algorithms)
but also a range of audio-restoration
activities, including de-clipping and
spectral repair. In short, RXis a veritable
Swiss Army knife of audio restoration,
which is why the latest version RX3
has garneredplenty of interest in
post-production circles.
Three G
RX3 works as both a standalone
application andas a series of plug-ins
covering many of its principal repair
functions. While the plug-ins are a
welcome addition for those not wanting
to leave the comfort of their DAW,
theres little doubt that RX3 really
shines when youre using it as an
application. The RX3 environment is
designedspecically for the task of
audio restoration, with a prominent
spectrogram/waveformdisplay
alongside various modules foundalong
the right-handside of the interface.
Time andspace
One of the key qualities of RX3 is its
ability to select audio in both the
time- andfrequency-baseddomains,
which explains why the spectral display
is so important to RX3s operation.
Rather than just highlighting the audio
over a given timeframe, therefore, you
can use a variety of selection tools to
grabjust a part of the frequency
spectrumacross the whole audio le,
for example, or magic-wand a specic
harmonic or number of harmonics
iZotopesaudio-restorationtool gainsnewmodulesandevenmore
spectral prowess. MarkCousinsappliessomeforensicanalysis.
within a given sound. While this
approach isnt completely unique, its
clear that RX3 has been built fromthe
groundupwith this functionality in
mind, making audio editing akin to
picture editing in Photoshop.
Reverbkiller
Some of the biggest interest in RX3
stems fromits newmodules most
notably, the Dereverb and the all-new
Dialogue Denoiser. The Dereverb
module can performthe seemingly
impossible task of reverb-removal,
offering the ability to attenuate or
enhance the reverberant components
of a signal. As with all audio-restoration
tasks, it works best when the Dereverb
module is given a slice of audio to
learn characteristics from(in this case
a portion of audio with discernible
direct and reverberant elements), but
even with a relatively reverb-heavy
sound, the module performed an
admirable job, even if it was just to
tame the reverb.
AlthoughRX3comes withahighly
effective Denoise module, its also
interesting to note the additionof the
newDialogue Denoiser. The Dialogue
Denoiser uses asimilar formof
noise-reductiontechnology to the
Denoiser modules, but is optimised
specically for the task of dialogue
removal. One of the principal
differences betweenthe two modules is
the number of frequency bands used
64bands insteadof the thousands
usedfor FFT-basednoise reduction
whicharguably results inareduction
of bell-like artefacts andalso means
that the module canrunwithzero
latency. As the bandpositioning is
optimisedfor dialogue, the results are
quick andeffective, making the Dialogue
Denoiser agreat tool for dialogue mixing
inpost-production.
Of course, for more challenging noise
problems across awide range of audio
sources, the Denoiser is probably the
better choice of module to use.
Ultimately, though, its great to see
iZotope understanding the diverse
requirements of noise reduction, and
appreciating that one tool might not be
ideal for every application.
RXhasreceivedplentyof
praiseovertheyearsforits
audio-restorationabilities
iZOTOPE
RX3Advanced
KeyFeatures
7repairmodules
8utilitymodules
Plug-inand
standalone
operation
iZotope64-bit
SRC
MBIT+dithering
iZotopeRadius
forchanging
timeandpitch
Details
PriceRX3Advanced
909. RX3259
Contact Time+Space
0183755200
Web
www.izotope.com
ForPC
&Mac
9/10
MTReviewsiZotopeRX3Advanced
88 | December 2013 MAGAZINE
Beyondthese key newfeatures,
though, theres plenty of depth to RX3,
some of which is derivedfromearlier
versions but augmentedby a host of
newworkowimprovements. One
interesting development is the newle
format an RXdocument that you
can use to save your work. The key
advantage of the RXdocument format
is that the undo states remain in place
andremainundoable even after the
le has been subsequently closedand
reopened. Given the destructive nature
of ofine audio restoration, this is a
welcome newaddition.
For newusers, there are plenty of
powerful features in RX3 present from
the older version of the application that
are worth identifying. Modules such as
Deconstruct (which separates the
signal into tonal and noisy component)
as well as the Declip function really
indicate the spectral prowess of RX3,
often performing audio feats that many
would have previously thought
practically impossible. The batch-
processing feature also means that
repetitive tasks can be kept to a
minimum, which is essential for busy
sound designers needing to work with
hundreds of sound les in the same
way for a given project.
Ultimately, the deeper you explore
the RX3 universe the more you begin to
realise what it can achieve. For
example, using RX3s ability to select
elements on a spectral level combined
with support for third-party VSTand
Audio Units plug-ins really takes the
application to a whole newlevel. In our
experiments, we achievedsome great
results feeding spectral parts of a vocal
through various modules in Native
Instruments Guitar Rig. Indeed, you
soon realise that theres far more to RX
3 than just audio-restoration activities!
Although theres a clear bias
towards RX3 as a standalone
application, its goodto see eight
plug-ins also includedwith the
package, covering the Declicker,
Declipper, Decrackler, Denoiser, Hum
Removal, Spectral Repair, Dereverband
Dialogue Denoiser modules. For music
applications where ofine le
rendering is much less important and
real-time plug-in operation is essential
the ability to use RX3s repair tools in
plug-in formis welcome.
Cleanslate
Although its easy to dismiss RX3 as
just another audio-restoration tool, its
clear that iZotopes intentions are far
greater than this broad-brush
description might suggest. For those of
a creative persuasion, RX3s spectral
approach is an eye-opening windowon
a newway of working with sound,
making it a very unique and interesting
tool for sound-design. Whether youre
using the Deconstruct module, for
example, or literally painting with
spectral sound, theres an opportunity
for sound designers working in the
games or lmindustries to get plenty of
mileage fromRX3.
Lookedat purely fromanaudio-
restorationangle, RX3has afair degree
of competitiontheres Cedar at the
very topendof the market, but also
plug-ins fromthe likes of Sonnox and
Waves. Inkeeping withmany of these
products, RX3is apremiumproduct
withaprice tag to match, but as with
the older versionof the application,
iZotope has thoughtfully offeredRX3in
two avours: the fully-edgedRX3
Advanced, whichincludes all the
modules andoptions weve described,
andaslimmed-downRX3, whichomits
the DereverbandDialogue Denoiser
modules andsome of the other less
essential features.
Along withOzone andInsight,
iZotope has producedarange of
impressive, professional products that
demonstrate ameticulous attentionto
detail withrespect to audio quality. RX3
is ashining example of this
methodology inaction, providing
forensic-level analysis and
deconstructionof your audio that no
other plug-insolutioncancurrently
match. Moving onfromRX2, its also
pleasing to see the applicationreceiving
atimely facelift andvariousunder the
bonnet performance tweaks, all of
whichmake RX3anefcient and
productive audio tool. MT
MethodSpot
Alongsidethehost
ofrepair modules,
RX3alsoincludesa
number of useful
Utilitymodulesthat
cover variousaudio
tasks, including
equalization,
gain-changing, M/S
operationsand
phasealignment,
amongother things.
Of particular note
aretheDithering
options, which
includesiZotopes
ownMBIT+
dithering
technology, and
TimeandPitch
controls, whichuse
iZotopesRadius
time-stretchingand
pitch-shifting
technologies.These
arebothpowerful
anduseful tools
that havemany
applications
beyondthat of
audiorestoration.
iZotopehasproducedarange
ofproductsthatdemonstrate
meticulousattentiontodetail
Alternatives
If youremainlyafter thebasicaudio-restoration
toolsinplug-informat, SonnoxsRestore(1,195) is
agoodalternative.TheSonnoxplug-insarereally
intuitivetouseanddoanexcellent jobintheir
application, but theyrestill ontheexpensiveside.
Ultimately, though, youneedtoturntoadedicated
audio-editingapplicationtoreplicatesomeof the
spectral-editingfeaturesofferedinRX3. Inthat
case, SteinbergsWaveLab8(448) includesaspectral-editingmodein
additiontoitsmaintime-basedwaveformediting.
FormerlyafeaturelimitedtoRX2Advanced, plug-inhostingisnowincludedasastandardfeature
inRX3.Youcanalsousethird-partyplug-instoapplyaudioprocessingtofrequencyselections.
MTVerdict
+Powerful spectrum-basedsound
editing package
+Great newDialogue Denoiser
+Dereverbis surprisingly effective
+More thanjust anaudio-
restorationtool
- Full versionis expensive
- Steeplearning curve
iZotopes RX3is oneof thenest
audio-restorationsystems
currently available, but its scope
andcreativepotential is
considerably greater thanyou
might rst imagine.
9/10
MTReviewsiZotopeRX3Advanced
90 | December 2013 MAGAZINE
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Cross-platform compatibility with Mac OS X and Windows, runs with iPad www.steinberg.net/ur44
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E
arlier this year, Novation
revealedthe LaunchpadS, a
bells-and-whistles versionof
the original Launchpadthat
includedFLStudio support, brighter
pads andamuchsmoother experience
all round, so it was something of a
surprise to hear of yet another iteration
of the Launchpadsome ve months
later. This latest, re-sizedmodel was
revealedas part of atrilogy of
announcements that expanded
Novations Launchrange. The compact
MIDI keyboardLaunchkey Mini was also
announced, as was the mixer/controller
LaunchControl (well be bringing you
reviews of bothinupcoming issues).
Novation promotedthe trio with a
slick andfocusedmarketing campaign
that emphasisedthe appeal of
composing in the great outdoors, the
companys target audience being the
iPadGeneration a roaming horde of
homeless nomads who never know
when inspiration may strike, be they on
a park bench, in a taxi or halfway upa
ight of stairs.
The LaunchpadMini is perhaps the
most user-friendly of the three, andone
that is perfectly suitedto this kindof on-
the-go music-making, yet also works
just as well inahome studio context.
Like its siblings it features 64 bright,
three-colour pads (arranged8 x 8) that
activate loops, effects andsounds, with
a lightning-fast response time (despite
not being velocity-sensitive). The
customisable performance buttons
that run down either side are labelled
AHand18. The unit draws power
KeyFeatures
185 x185x
16mm
428glighter
thananiPad!
Drawsbuss
powerfromiPad
orMac/PC
Fastresponse
time
64LEDpads
16performance
buttons
Details
Price 79/$99/98
Contact Focusrite
01494462246
Web
http://uk.
novationmusic.com
Minimumsystem
requirements
PCWindows7
MacOSX10.7
iPad2orlateris
recommended, iOS5
fromyour iPador computer, so leads
that wouldnullify its mobile nature are
absent. While the LaunchpadMini
uidly connects withLive, FLStudio and
DJ software such as Serato and
Numerology, whats integral to the iPad
Generation ethos is the interaction with
the (free) Launchpadfor iPadapp.
Connecting to the iPadis
straightforward, but you will needto
purchase the iPadCamera Connection
Kit (25), which mind-bogglingly isnt
includedin the box.
Pads toPad
Once connectedto your iPad,
LaunchpadMini becomes aversatile
instrument, triggering the Launchpad
apps vast range of loops andsamples
that come courtesy of Loopmasters,
althoughwitharecent appupdate, its
nowpossible to addyour ownto the
app. Youcanimport WAVandAIFF
samples organisedby bpmviaa
DropBox account to create whatever
libraries youwant.
Inastudio environment the
LaunchpadMini works well, boasting
effortless integrationwithLive 9. Clip
andscene triggering inLive is adoddle;
controlling volumes/sends feels natural
andis anorganic way of interacting with
your projects. The LaunchpadMini
comes withAbletonLive Lite, so if youre
newto the DAWyouwont feel left out.
Noticeably, Novationhas done away
withthe Abletonbranding that the
LaunchpadSsported, going insteadfor
its ownlogo andimagery. Users of FL
will enjoy using the Minis gridto
activate loops andsamples; youalso get
packs of customoverlay stickers to
make things more straightforwardfor
bothFLandLive. Adding the Launchkey
Mini to your studio setupvery much
completes the Novationjigsaw;
however, the LaunchpadMini is auseful
standalone tool as it is.
We rst got our hands onthe newly
announcedinstruments inthe Launch
family at the Novationstandat this
years BPMShowandhadawonderfully
funtime, triggering loops withthe
LaunchpadMini while constructing
elegant melody, leadandbass lines with
the Launchkey Mini, thentweaking
lters andeffects withLaunchControl.
The harmony betweenthe instruments
inthe Launchfamily is something that
Novationhas beenkeento trumpet, and
whenall three are working together you
canunderstandwhy. The three
instruments, althoughall goodintheir
ownright, click together well, resulting
inahighly versatile control systemthat
inspires newmethods of composition
andperformance possibilities.
One downside of the smaller pads is
that they couldbe more difcult to
trigger those withbigger ngers might
needto be careful not to trigger two at
once. But overall our experience with
the LaunchpadMini was agoodone. Its
remarkably simple to use and
undeniably fun, practical andintuitive,
withplenty of options to satisfy your
creativity evenonthe stairs! MT
Alternatives
TheLaunchpadS(150) was
alreadyveryportablebut
haslarger padsthat make
performingmuchsimpler.AbletonsPush(429)
isverymuchthederigueur Livecontroller
andhasaridiculousamount of exibility.The
QuNeo,fromKeithMcMillen,(199) isanother
controller that featuresagreater rangeof
optionsthantheLaunchpadMini.
NOVATION
LaunchpadMini
NovationsnewslimlineLaunchpadisaimedattheiPad
Generation. AndyPricegetsmobile
MTVerdict
+Live andFLStudiointegration
+Compact size
+Nopower leadrequired
+Impressive bankof
performance-aiding effects
+Colourful LEDs useful for
low-lighting scenarios
- iPadCCKnot included
- Requires more precisionto
operate ina live environment
thanits bigger brothers
Awickedly funmobilecontroller,
withall thefeatures of its larger
paddedbrothers but for afraction
of thesize.
8/10
NovationLaunchpadMini ReviewsMT
MAGAZINE December 2013 | 93
W
hile it may not feature in
the headlines quite as
oftenas some other DAWs,
Cakewalks Sonar has a
lineage that canbe tracedback many
years, to whenworking withdigital
audio oncomputers rst became
possible. For some years it suffered
fromanoutdatedandconfusing
interface, but withtheX1version
receivedacomplete graphical overhaul
to complement the under-the-hood
changes that hadalready takenplace.
Nowat versionX3, Sonars newlook and
feel is very well established, and
Cakewalk has beenable to turnits
attentionto other areas of the software.
Diving deep
Sonar is Windows-only andthat seems
unlikely to change, but it does have a
reputation for being one of the most
technologically advancedDAWs around,
permanently at the cutting edge of the
latest CPUandOSdevelopments. The
systemrequirements have risen a little,
specically in that Windows 7 or 8
(32- or 64-bit) is nowrequiredandXP
andVista are no longer ofcially
supported. Thats fair enough, since
theres no excuse not to be running at
least Windows 7 given its performance
andusability enhancements if youre
making music in any kindof serious
way. Youll needan Intel Core 2 Duo at
2.67GHz or AMDPhenomquad-core
2.4GHz and2GBRAMas a base, but, as
ever, a faster systemwill give you a
smoother ride. The minimal install is
4.5GBandthe full whack of all content
is 20GB, which is actually not bad
comparedto some of the others.
Sonar has long beenone of the most
catch-all DAWs, having abewildering
array of tools andfeatures, andthat
traditionis continuedhere. Youget
unlimitedaudio andMIDI tracks, a
maximumsample rate of 384kHz anda
maximumbit rate of 64bits, as well as
Cakewalkneverrestsforlongandnowitsbackwiththebrand-
newSonarX3. HollinJonesdivesdeeptofindoutwhatsnew.
64-bit internal mix engine resolution.
Interestingly, these core features are
sharedacross all three versions of
Sonar, so evenif youopt for the
entry-level X3versionyoustill get them.
Some features are reservedfor the
Studio andProducer editions, though
the difference is pretty muchthat with
Producer youget all of the plug-ins; in
the other versions theres amore
moderate selection.
We praisedSonars newSkylight
interface when it was revealeda couple
of years ago andit remains a vast
improvement on thebadolddays of
cluttered, confusing graphics. Here it
has receivedmany small tweaks and
enhancements, though nothing that
couldbe classedas a major overhaul.
There isnt space to discuss everything
that Sonar does so well concentrate on
whats new(a full explanation of its
many talents is on Cakewalks website).
Sufce it to say, its a comprehensive
music-production environment.
Truly unlimited
The rst of the big newfeatures comes
in the formof a newaudio-comping
system. Perhaps a little overdue, this is
nonetheless welcome andstreamlines
the process of recording multiple takes
then compositing the pieces together.
Sonars Smart Tool is particularly handy
here (as elsewhere) because it is able to
automatically switch mode depending
on where you place the cursor. Comping
is well implementedandslots nicely
into your workow.
VST3 is nowsupportedacross all
versions of Sonar. VST3 has many
advantages such as the ability to
suspendplug-ins when they are not
processing sound, thus saving
resources andVST2 and3 plug-ins
are shown in separate browser folders.
Whats particularly nice is that
Sonar nowautomatically detects new
plug-ins, meaning no re-scanning, and
it will always swapto aVST3 version of
a plug-in usedin a project if both are
available. Sonars 64-bit audio engine,
Sonarhasareputationforbeing
oneofthemosttechnologically
advancedDAWsaround
CAKEWALK
SonarX3Producer
KeyFeatures
Unlimitedaudio
andMIDI tracks
Skylight
interface
Newcomping
workflow
Full VST3
support
64-bitdouble-
precisionaudio
engine
GobblerCloud
saving/sharing
Addictive
Drums
(Producer)
Touchsupport
LoungeLizard
Session
(Producer)
Overloudamp
sim
Melodyne
Essential with
ARA
Masteringtools
Details
Price SonarX379
SonarX3Studio169
SonarX3Producer
385
Contact Roland
01792702701
Web
www.cakewalk.com
Minimumsystem
requirements
PCWindows7, Intel
Core2Duo2.67GHz/
AMDPhenomQuad
Core2.4GHz
PC
TheMatrixViewletsyouorganiseaudioandMIDI
loops, phrasesandone-shotsintocellsand
columnsfor real-timetriggering.
9/10
MTReviewsCakewalkSonar X3Producer
94 | December 2013 MAGAZINE
renownedfor its quality and
performance, is nowavailable in every
version of the software.
DAWs are increasingly gaining
online le-sharing capabilities and
Sonar is no different. In addition to
SoundCloud upload of nished tracks
you nowget integratedYouTube upload
as well. For more collaborative working
theres nowGobbler integration from
inside the app. This lets you upload
entire projects complete with audio
les frominside Sonar and also back
up incrementally as you go (you get 5GB
of storage with a free account). You can
do some of this with Dropbox, but the
difference here is that its built right
into the toolbar. It also keeps track of
your les even if theyre not all stored in
a single folder.
Track colours can nowbe
customised, andalthough this might
soundtrivial, its actually really helpful
for managing larger projects. When you
apply colour to a buss, Sonar auto-
colours connectedtracks, andall of the
colours can be customised.
Choose your weapon
Formhere on, many of the changes are
specic to the Studio and/or Producer
editions since they are plug-in-related
(a full list is available online). The
Melodyne Essential plug-in is now
integratedinto Sonar X3 Studio and
Producer andenables advancedaudio
pitch-correction, time-stretching and
audio-to-MIDI conversion in your
projects. By supporting Audio Random
Access technology, Cakewalk has
placedMelodyne directly into the
software simply click to start working
with it, no extra editor windowis
requiredto open. To convert audio to
MIDI, just dropan audio cliponto a MIDI
track. Its really nicely implementedand
will save many users a great deal of
time. Both the Studio andProducer
editions also get the NomadFactory
BlueTubes FXbundle, a comprehensive
studio mixing suite of 19 processors
inspiredby vintage gear.
The Producer edition comes with the
full set of plug-ins andthere are some
noteworthy newmodels to be found.
The QuadCurve EQZoom, for example,
is a gorgeous-looking EQplug-in with a
large interface andbuilt-in spectral
analyser. It expands fromthe mixer and
provides slick andintuitive control over
the frequencies of any sound.
TheTape Emulator sits in the
ProChannel andadds the warmth of
classic tape machines to your tracks.
Tone2s BiFilter 2 brings 47 models of
lter ranging fromvintage to futuristic
to any project andthe full version of
Addictive Drums nowships with the
Producer edition of Sonar X3. Its easy to
use andoffers some great-sounding
drumkits as well as more than 100
presets by pro drummers.
There are also more new
instruments, such as Lounge Lizard
Session, a compact electric piano
emulator fromrenowneddevelopers
AAS. The Rhodes models are lush,
authentic andperfect for all kinds of
music. Last but not least is Strum
Acoustic Session, a physically modelled
guitar instrument that you can play
directly fromyour keyboard. Fully
tweakable, it boasts integratedeffects
andmix controls.
Upscope?
As well as the newplug-ins already
mentioned, Sonar Studio and
especially Producer also ships with
the same huge selection of instruments
andeffects that have been bundledfor
a while, covering practically all
eventualities. With every newversion
you accrue even more instruments and
effects, meaning that by this point
Sonar offers arguably the most
comprehensive set of plug-ins within
any DAW. For the most part they are
highly usable, andyou get everything
fromheavy synths through classical
pianos to guitars andbeats. The effects
are similarly plentiful andcan be
expandedvia the ProChannel system.
Workowin Sonar is goodandthe
Skylight interface makes everything
both powerful andapproachable,
particularly in regardto the extensive
use of dockable windows. Tools and
functions are easily accessible andX3
has hadmany small tweaks that
iron-out the interface even further. The
integration of Melodyne, colour-coding
of channels andcompediting features
are all welcome additions, andthe new
plug-ins in the Producer edition will nd
a home in any setup.
Considering the attractive price, the
Producer editionseems like excellent
value whenyoufactor inthe bundled
content. Evenif youopt for one of the
other versions youre still getting almost
all the core technology, andthat will
keepyour music-making fast and
productive for some time to come. MT
AddictiveDrums
nowshipswith
Sonar X3Producer.
MethodSpot
Sonar isoneof the
veryfewDAWsthat
istouch-enabled. Of
course, for thisyou
will needa
touch-capablePC
suchastheHPEnvy
seriesaswell as
Windows8. If you
havethehardware
youwill ndthat
manypartsof Sonar
canbeoperated
usingyour ngers
rather thana
mouse.Thisisa
reallyinteresting
waytointeract with
thesoftware,
thoughfor best
resultsyouwill
needtoreturnto
themouseand
keyboardsomeof
thetime.
Alternatives
SteinbergsCubase7isdual-platformand, like
Sonar, comesinthreeversions. It hasagood
selectionof plug-insandinstrumentsanda
friendlyapproachtoworkow.ThenewMixConsoleishighly
customisableandsupportsVST3, videoplaybackandadvancedscoring.
Overall, youprobablyget morebundledcontent withSonar, but thetwo
appshaveadistinctlydifferent lookandfeel, sothismight besomething
that inuencesyour decision.
Producer andStudioeditionsincludetheStudioMixingSuiteaset of 19dynamic, EQandeffects
processorsfromNomadFactory, suchasthe3DTempoDelayshownhere.
MTVerdict
+Astonishingly complete
music-productionsolution
+Tons of great bundledcontent
+Skylight interface approachable
+Goodworkowoverall
+ARAMelodyne integrationon
StudioandProducer works well
+ProChannel is powerful
+Great tape/console emulators
+ACTcontroller technology
+VSTenhancements inc. VST3
+64-bit mix engine
+Cloudintegrationfromtoolbar
+ARAandComping are great
+Audiosnap
- Installationslightly long-winded
- Touch-control is not designedto
replace your mouse
Aworthy updatetoacompleteDAW
for PCusers. Loads of content and
all thetools youcouldpossibly
needtorecord, edit, programand
mix music.
9/10
CakewalkSonar X3Producer ReviewsMT
MAGAZINE December 2013 | 95
T
his year shall henceforthbe
knownas the year of the synth,
as weve seenanear endless
streamof shiny newunits
deliveredto the MTofce. Reviewing
duties have mostly fallento editor Andy
andyours truly, withrecent knob-
twiddling time being spent onthe
Waldorf Rocket andthe KorgVolca
synths. Not long after we were wonover
by the Rockets tactile, hands-on
controls, Waldorf is back withthe
long-awaitedPulse 2analogue
synthesizer. The rack-mountable Pulse
1was releasedback in1996, andwas
praisedfor its solid, powerful and
upfront sound, but this time Waldorf
has shrunk everything downto aslightly
weighty but compact desktopunit
housedinasturdy metal casing.
Mini me
Despite its size, the Pulse 2 is a
oscillators, each capable of playing
different combinations of waves,
including saw, square, triangle, PWM
andAPW(anAlternate Pulse Wave with
more constant energy anda suban
octave below). There are also four
unison modes that play monophonic or
polyphonic clusters of eight pulse
oscillators, plus two paraphonic modes
(as foundon the Rocket, where chords
can be played, but they share the same
envelopes). On topof this, you also have
PWMcross-modulation for creating
rich andcomplex sounds, oscillator
sync andthe ability to use osc 3 as a
Waldorfslong-awaitedfollow-uptothePulseishere, butdoesit
deliverthesamepowerful sound?AlexHolmesdelvesinside...
the oscillators can yielda massive
range of sounds that exceeds what
most analogue mono synths are
capable of. Andalthough it can be tricky
playing tight-sounding chords in
paraphonic mode because of the
sharedenvelopes, this is nonetheless a
fantastic addition that opens upmany
possibilities froma music-writing
perspective, whichis what really counts.
Next upwe have the multi-mode
analogue lter with24dBand12dB
low-pass, 12dBhigh-pass and
band-pass modes for sculpting the
sound. Its afairly robust lter that
doesnt lose too muchgirthwhenyou
crank the resonance, andit also goes
into self-oscillation, whicheffectively
adds asine wave to your sonic arsenal.
Other features include two envelopes
withdifferent trigger andloopmodes
for the lter andamp, two LFOs (one
withmultiple syncable shapes andone
withjust atriangle), plus glide withfour
modes. Finally, youcanaddanoise
oscillator, control volume, velocity and
pan, andfeedthe whole signal through
either atube or fuzz overdrive for added
grit. Althoughthis distortionis anice
additionfromasound-design
perspective, we foundit alittle difcult
to dial inthe saturationsweet spot
without losing some of the tasty
analogue character. However, youcan
achieve apleasing, more subtle
distortionsimply by raising the volume
of the individual oscillators, whichwill in
turnhit the lter alittle harder.
Enter the matrix
don the front
r matrix, with
the side and
steel knobs
bottom. You
have a 128 x
4-character
backlit LCD
screen with a
le of extra
uttons for
navigation. Its
majority of the
a giant preset
more useful
aldorfs
nth, although
Afeature-packedsynththat
couldeasilygivethebigboysa
runfortheirmoney
WALDORF
Pulse2
KeyFeatures
3analogue
oscillatorswith
PWM, APW,
unisonwaves
andmore
Paraphonic
modeforplaying
chords(upto8
notesintotal)
Multimodefilter
with12dB/24dB
low-pass, 12dB
high-passand
band-pass
2LFOs, 2
envelopesand8
slotmodmatrix
MIDI viaUSB,
stereoand
headphoneout,
CV/Gateout
Powerful built-in
arpeggiator
500presetslots
Details
Price 419
Contact HandInHand
01752696633
Webwww.
waldorfmusic.de
9/10
MTReviewsWaldorf Pulse2
96 | December 2013 MAGAZINE
there are a fewexceptions to this that
well come to later. The endless
encoders have been cleverly
programmedto move more quickly
through the settings depending on the
speedwith which theyre turned, which
is great for quick programming but not
so great if youre trying to perform
accurate live lter sweeps andthe like.
You could, of course, hook upthe synth
to a MIDI controller if youre looking to
use it onstage.
Despite the lack of dedicatedknobs,
editing the Pulse 2 is fairly quick due to
the logical layout, while a Shift button
gives access to further global settings,
editing, preset storing andutility pages.
Amodulation matrix page makes better
use of the screen real-estate, with eight
slots anda wealth of sources and
destinations for building complex
patches. There is also a software editor
in the pipeline, which shouldspeed
things upsignicantly.
Perfect patterns
One of the Pulse 2s many aces up its
sleeve is its comprehensive built-in
arpeggiator, which thankfully also lls
the screen with its many parameters.
You have the usual control over tempo,
beat division, range and direction mode
via the main steel knobs, plus step
duration, swing, delay and pattern
length and a grid with glides and
accents on the main screen. This allows
for some fairly complex patterns to be
saved alongside your preset, which can
then be recalled while working on other
patches. In fact, the Pulse 2 has a total
of 500 preset locations, with some of
the best making excellent use of the
arpeggiator. It can take a while to
navigate to a specic preset, but
searching by category helps to speed
things up, and the majority of the
included patches are varied and well
designed, perfectly showing off the
units capabilities. As a nice additional
touch, one of the presets is a random
generator for those moments when
inspiration runs dry. Our only gripe with
the arpeggiator is that the internal
tempo can bizarrely be set only to
even BPMnumbers. We also had a few
issues syncing with Logic via USB, but
this has been sorted in an OSupdate.
Alook aroundthe back will reveal
another hiddengem, as youcanactually
output CV/Gate messages (inbothV/
octave andHz/V), meaning youcould
use the Pulse as aMIDI hubto control
older analogue kit. Youcanalso adjust
various parameters suchas CVtune to
take into account tuning differences
betweenthe synths, plus youcouldalso
drive your oldgear using the arpeggiator,
andcanevenmodulate the CVout from
the modmatrix. Other nice features
include alegacy mode, whichswitches
controller numbers back to their old
Pulse 1assignments so youcan
transfer oldpatches across viaMIDI
dump, as well as amenuitemthat will
re-tune the lter incase it drifts out of
line over time.
We were especially excitedto nd
out that theres space for aneffects
boardto be addedat alater date.
Exactly what this will be is currently
kept rmly under lock andkey, but even
just ahigh-quality delay wouldbe a
fantastic addition.
Alive andwell
The rst time we redupthe Pulse 2 we
were immediately struck by howbright
andlively it sounds. The resonant
oscillators give out a far more
aggressive andclinical soundthan
something like a Moog, but thats not to
say its a badthing. Its still a beautiful
andrich analogue sound, just more
renedandcontrolled. Its particularly
goodat big, tight bass sounds, andits
solidnature means it wouldarguably sit
better in the mix than a softer and
warmer synth equivalent.
As mentionedearlier, the smooth
stainless-steel dials are goodto
programwith, but there is a sense of
disconnection when comparedto
one-knob-per-function synths. You
almost feel like youre programming a
soft-synth, but luckily your ears tell you
otherwise. Also, its worth mentioning
that one of the knobs occasionally
stoppedworking properly, but this
seemedto be a very rare occurrence.
Finger onthe Pulse
Despite its quirks andthe sometimes
ddly editing, the Pulse 2is really rather
special. Inatime whenwere seeing an
endless streamof warm-sounding and
predictable subtractive analogue
synths, the Pulses exible oscillators
offer something alittle different. Rather
thanseeing it as analternative, it sits
nicely alongside the warmer synths,
adding additional colour to your palette.
Whether youre looking to buy your rst
hardware synthandare after something
versatile but affordable, or planon
adding to your collection, we highly
recommendgoing to your local dealer
andgiving the Pulse 2ago the sound
might just take youby surprise. MT
MethodSpot
Waldorf hasalready
releasedseveral
rmwareupdates
for thePulse2that
addresscertain
issuestheunit had
at launch. Luckily,
updatingisaseasy
asdownloadingthe
updater programor
MIDI lefromthe
Waldorf site, and
runningit onyour
computer whilethe
synthisconnected
viaUSB. Roughlya
minutelater and
youregoodtogo
just remember to
re-tunethelter
viatheUtilitymenu.
Pulse2sitsnicelyalongsidethe
warmersynths, addingadditional
colourtoyourpalette
Alternatives
Thereisnowplentyof competitioninthe
mid-pricehardwaresynthmarket.TheDSI
Evolver (399) isarguablymorefeature-packed,
havingbuilt-ineffectsandbothdigital and
analogueoscillatorsbut not atrueanaloguesignal path. Alternatively, for
alittlemore, theDSI Tetra(559) hastruefour-voiceanaloguepolyphony.
Youmight alsoconsider WaldorfsRocket (185), whichfeaturestwo
exibleoscillatorsandaparaphonicmode.
ConnectivityincludesUSB, MIDI I/O, external analoguesignal input, lineout andheadphoneoutput
alongsideCVout (supportingboththeV/octaveandHz/Vstandards) andGateout.
MTVerdict
+Bright, lively analogue sound
+Highly versatile oscillators
+Paraphonic mode allows chords
ona monosynth
+Well-featuredarpeggiator
+CV/Gate out canbe usedto
control other synths
- Editing is a little ddly
- Endless encoder dials canmake
youfeel a little disconnected
- Arpeggiator tempodoesnt allow
odd-number BPMs
Arich, complex andbeautiful-
sounding synththat may besmall
andalittleddly, but certainly
packs areal punch.
9/10
Waldorf Pulse2ReviewsMT
MAGAZINE December 2013 | 97
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FIRSTWITHREVIEWS
FIRSTWITHNEWS
HAVEYOUCLICKED?
T
he AdvancedTransmissionLine
(ATL) cabinet is aPMCstaple,
but the twotwo Series has
features that represent abit of
adeparture. By andlarge, PMChas
maintainedthat acoustic issues are not
its responsibility, andconsequently
didnt provide EQ-adjustment controls.
Thats all well andgoodif youspend
your life working intreatedacoustic
environments, but most of us nd
ourselves recording andmixing in
less-than-perfect rooms fromtime to
time. So the big news is that the twotwo
series has equalisationadjustment; the
evenbigger news is that the signal is
processeddigitally. Infact, the twotwo
Series are the only PMCnearelds to
feature EQadjustment other thanthe
ultra-high-endAMLSeries monitors.
Analogue anddigital
The twotwo.6 accepts analogue and
AES3 digital inputs upto 192kHz.
Analogue signals pass through a gain
stage that shouldbe adjustedto utilise
the full scale of the 24-bit A/Dconverter
that follows. Next in line is the DSP
controller for volume, driver response,
EQ, crossover andoverloadprotection,
after which the signal is convertedback
to analogue to feedtwo Class-Dpower
amps, with 50Wand150Wallocatedto
the tweeter andwoofer respectively.
After sample-rate conversionthe
digital signal is sent directly to the DSP
stage. The overloadprotectionis
KeyFeatures
Black/bluefinish
Crossover
frequency:
1.8kHz
Dimensions: 406
x194x364mm
(HWD)
Driveunits: 6.5
inchLF, 27mm
softdomeHF
Frequency
response:
4025kHz
Amplification:
200WClassD
Weight: 8.4kg
Details
Price 4192/pair
Contact HHB
02089625000
Webwww.pmc-
speakers.com
interesting because it reacts only to
transient peaks, rather thanapplying a
blanket limiter to the programme
material. Once again, the DSPstage
makes this possible.
High- andlow-frequency shelving
adjustments can be made in 0.125dB
increments. The shelf frequencies are
1kHz and500Hz. You can also set a
low-frequency slope at ve frequency
points with a 6dB/octave lter. The
twotwo.6 has four push-buttons for
adjusting settings, along with a small
LCDscreen onthe back panel to let you
see what youre doing.
Two or more twotwo Series speakers
can be connectedvia In/Thru RJ45
sockets. The rst speaker in the chain
provides volume data anddigital audio
to subsequent speakers, andan
optional remote control (due for release
later this year) can be connectedto its
In socket.
The manual is replete with
placement tips anddiagrams. The
twotwo.6s can be usedupright or
placedon their sides. In both cases, the
offset tweeter must be positioned
towards the centre, so the left speaker
in sideways mode becomes the right
speaker in upright mode.
Openwide
Effortless clarity is the order of the day.
We hadour usual monitors set upright
alongside the twotwo.6s andby
comparison they soundedmufedand
indistinct for the recordtheyre not,
but the twotwo.6s just took things to
another level of transparency.
The detail resolutionis phenomenal.
One of our reference tracks features a
jazz guitarist who occasionally taps the
topof his pickups withhis plectrum
while playing. This barely noticeable
detail soundedclear andobvious.
Bass content is handledsmoothly
andevenly withnot evenatrace of wind
or mechanical noise. Inour roomthe
response appearedto start rolling off at
around50Hz, but the twotwo.6s were
still able to reproduce clear bass tones
downto 30Hz. Watchthis space,
because PMCtells us that amatching
subwoofer is scheduledfor release.
If we were to get really picky about
the bass we might say that some
speakers may convey the rhythmic
aspects of dubby bass lines with
marginally more speedandtightness,
but were really talking about large and
expensive innite-bafe types.
The principal reasonthe twotwo-6s
are outstanding is that nothing stands
out. Theres no low-midhump, forward
midrange or glassy treble sheenandthe
balance remains constant regardless of
level. The depthof the soundstage is
incredible andleft/right imaging is
about as crispas it gets. If youprefer
listening to your speakers rather than
listening to the music, these may not be
for you. But if youwant aclear and
neutral windowinto whats going on
withyour mix, the twotwo-6s deliver
everything youcouldask for. MT
Alternatives
PMCisprettymuchout there
onitsownasalarge-scale
manufacturer of compact
transmission-linemonitors.
Other modelsincludethe
twotwo.5andtwotwo.8.If youfancybuilding
your ownpassivetransmission-linespeaker,
IPLAcousticsoffersseveral kits(344727/
pair).DSPsignal processingisbecomingmore
commoninmonitorsandother manufacturers
usingthistechnologyincludePreSonus,
GenelecandEVEAudio.
PMC
twotwo.6
PMCacceptstherealitiesofmodernmusicproductionwithnew
monitorsfeaturingDSPEQadjustment. HuwPricetriesthemout.
9/10
MTVerdict
+Outstanding clarity
+Pinpoint imaging
+Extendedbass
+Analogue anddigital inputs
+OnboardEQ
- Power switchat rear
- Noautostandby
- Nooptical digital input
Outstanding soundquality with
DSP-controlledequalisationand
extendedbass response.
9/10

PMCtwotwo.6ReviewsMT
MAGAZINE December 2013 | 99
A
phex, along with API, was
among the rst manufacturer
to take advantage of the
500-Series format with its
versions of the 602 Aphex Aural Exciter,
the EQF-1 andEQF-2, back in the early
80s. Nowthat the format has achieved
such popularity, its no surprise to see
the company back with a range of new
modules, as well as an upcoming
USB-equippedrack.
Preamps
Three of the newmodules shippedto us
by Aphex are mic preamps, comprising
the two-channel Dual RPAvalve
preampandtwo mono solid-state
preamps with different transformer
options, theJ Pre andAPre.
The Dual RPAtakes a unique,
patentedapproach to valve
amplication inspiredby the Aphex
Channel and207Dpreamps. This
technology, which the company has
dubbedReective Plate Amplication,
is actually a hybriddesign employing a
discrete, transformerless solid-state
front endfeeding a 12AT7 valve output
stage running on low-voltage power
rails. Asingle 12AT7 valve amplies
both channels at xedgain, with a
single triode stage for each. The Dual
RPAalso features Aphexs unique Mic
Limiter technology, which limits the
signal before the preampstage,
ensuring that the preampisnt
overdriven by high-transient inputs.
The APre andJ Pre are largely
similar the APre using acustom
Cinemag input transformer, theJ Pre
using aJensenJT-11K8input
transformer. Bothhave aJensen
JT-11DLoutput transformer. Like the
Dual RPA, theJ Pre also utilises Aphexs
Mic Limiter at the front to limit the
incoming signal before the preamp
stage. Aphex also claims there are other
differences inthe circuitry betweenthe
APre andJ Pre, designedto give a
slightly different avour to each.
We began testing the preamps on
vocals, using a Shure SM58, and were
impressed with the response of each
preamp. The Dual RPA brought out the
proximity effect quite strongly so we
engaged the 75Hz high-pass lter,
which really cleaned up the signal,
revealing a smooth, rich sound that
Aphexhaslaunchedarangeof500-Seriesmodules, comprising
threepreamps, EQ, compressorandexciter. MikeHillierplugsin.
was strong in the lower-mids and
exhibited none of the brittle harshness
usually associated with low-voltage
valve designs. However, neither did it
have the silky warmth of more
expensive valve designs. The A Pre
performed admirably on vocals:
everything was clear and the lowend
still beneted fromthe engaging of the
high-pass lter, but not as noticeably
as the Dual RPA. The low-mids seemed
a little less pronounced, too, with a
slight nasal quality around 2kHz a
common complaint of ours when
working with the SM58.
Of the three, though, it was theJ Pre
that we likedmost. It hada similar
quality to the APre but with slightly
more polish. On softer vocalists the
Dual RPAmight have edgedit over the
J Pre, but on this specic male voice the
J Pre was a clear winner.
Switching to a Sontronics STC-1
with an omni capsule andan acoustic
guitar we again optedfor theJ Pre. The
APre arguably pickedout a little more
detail fromthe strings, while the Dual
RPAagain brought subtle colouration
that wouldsuit some recordings, but
theJ Pre hadthe focus in all the right
places. The low-mids were big but not
boomy andthe topendwas smooth
perfect for strummedfolk guitar. The A
Pre, on the other hand, may be a better
choice for capturing a more detailed
pickedperformance.
TheDual RPAtakesaunique
approachtovalveamplification
inspiredbytheAphexChannel
APHEX
500-Seriesmodules
KeyFeatures
Approvedbythe
VPRAlliance
Analogue
circuitry
3different
preampoptions
Details
Price Comp500325
Dual RPA500520
APre500325
JPre500390
EQF500325
EXBB500162
Contact MSL
Professional
02071180133
Web
www.aphex.com
Aphex500-SeriesmodulesReviewsMT
MAGAZINE December 2013 | 101
Finally, we testedthe three preamps
as instrument inputs. Each has a
1/4-inch Hi-Zinput on the front, so we
pluggedin a bass guitar anddrove the
units a little harder to see what sounds
we couldget. Again, theJ Pre was our
favourite, providing a strong, deep
punch with a smooth midrange that
couldbe easily EQedto provide a range
of great bass sounds. The Dual RPAhad
less lowendthan theJ Pre but a
stronger, more pushedmidrange, which
wouldreally shine in mixes where the
kick was carrying a lot of the sub-
frequency information. However, we felt
that the topendof the Dual RPAwas a
little brittle comparedto the other two,
andwedprobably want to lter this a
little stronger.
EQ
The EQF500 is a three-bandsemi-
parametric analogue EQwith high- and
low-bandlters. Its basedon the
original EQF2 module from1982 but
with modern components (including a
JensenJT-11DLoutput transformer)
andan improvedlayout to make using
EQeasier than ever. The high andlow
bands of the EQdefault to shelving-
style EQ, but can be switchedto
peaking EQ. There is no variable Q; Qis
xedat one octave at maximumboost
andthe lters are xedat 12dB/octave.
The lters andEQcanbe bypassed
separately, whichis auseful touch,
enabling youto experiment withyour
settings andquickly bypass either the
lters or EQwithout affecting the other.
The EQF500is agreat tool the
lters are smoothandincredibly useful
whentracking, especially when
combining the EQF500witha
compressor like the Comp500as they
enable youto roll off the frequencies
youdont want before the mix hits the
compressor, ensuring unwanted
frequencies dont trigger compression.
The semi-parametric bands are
simple andeffective andtheres no
harshness inany of the bands when
boosting. However, without any control
over the Qit is difcult to notch-out
specic problemfrequencies. Instead,
the EQFshouldbe thought of as more of
ageneral tone-shaper while tracking,
leaving more specic EQing to the mix.
Tracking avocal throughtheJ Pre
into the EQFwe were able to tightenup
the performance, removing low-end
rumble fromthe bottomwiththe
high-pass lter, bringing out the clarity
withahigh-endshelf, andadding alittle
more weight withthe lowfrequency set
to peaking rather thanshelving.
Onacoustic guitar we appliedboth
lters to top-and-tail the soundinto the
mix, andagainusedthe low-frequency
bands to bring out weight inthe bottom
end. The mids were thencut around
2kHz to leave more roomfor the vocal.
Dialling inthe EQcurve youwant is
quick andeasy, andwhile anextramid
bandandbetter Qcontrol wouldprove
useful insome cases, for most tracking
we prefer to go withonly asmall amount
of EQanyway, leaving most of the tonal
shaping until later inthe mix.
Compressor
The Comp500 is an optical compressor
with a customopto-cell, again
employing aJensenJT-11DLoutput
transformer. The opto-cell has been
designedto respondas fast as possible
for an optical compressor, but Aphex
has built a Release control into the unit
to slowdown the response andbehave
more like classic optical compressors,
such as theTeletronix LA-2A.
Optical compressors are versatile
units, andits great to see one available
inthe 500-Series format at this price.
Onvocals, withaslowrelease, the Comp
500canhelpsmoothout aperformance
without it sounding overly compressed;
at faster settings it canbe usedto
handle the dynamics alittle better
without sounding too spiky, but we
foundthis also brought out some of the
unwantedvocal sounds that were kept
lowinthe mix at slower release settings.
Unlike some other optical units weve
used, the Comp500doesnt impose a
strong soundof its own, andtheres only
asmall amount of top-endroll-off. The
unit also comes withastereo link switch
that will make it possible to use two
Comp500s onyour drums or mix buss.
Exciter
The EXBB500combines the latest
iterationof Aphex Aural Exciter andBig
Bottomtechnologies inasingle mono
500-Series module. The Aural Exciter
enhances the highendof the signal
while the Big Bottomdoes asimilar trick
inthe lowend. Usefully, it responds
dynamically, enhancing the lowend
more as the level drops andbacking off
whenthe input rises, ensuring that the
bottomendremains consistent.
The Big Bottomis great for adding
depthto akick or bass instrument,
especially if the recording lacks inthis
dimension. It canbe auseful alternative
to the NS-10subkick mic trick. We also
enjoyedusing it onsome sampledhorn
parts we were mixing. The Big Bottom
brought out agrowl inthe samples that
made themmore realistic thanthe
samples ontheir own.
By contrast, the Aural Exciter
brought out mostly noise andbleed
fromother instruments onour kick
channel, but placedonthe vocal it
helpedto raise the air aroundthe voice,
enhancing not only the clarity but the
sense of space. It wouldbe very easy to
overuse aproduct like this apply it on
too many channels andany benet is
lost as the tracks once more mask each
other. But whenusedsparingly onvocal
or aleadguitar it canbe sensational.
Eachof these modules has its own
uses andmerits, but its together that
they become most useful. Link one or
other of the preamps withthe EQ,
compressor andEXBBandyouhave an
incredibly versatile channel strip. The
EXBB, though, is unique, andwe cansee
plenty of engineers wanting to
incorporate it intheir racks. MT
MethodSpot
TheBigBottom
processor isagreat
tool for putting
somelowendinto
your kick. Weoften
ndthat after being
compressedbythe
drumsbussthat the
lowendcanstart to
disappear slightly.
Tobringit backwe
processedthebuss
intoM/Sandput
theBigBottomon
themidchannel
beforeprocessing
backintostereo.
Thisensuredthat
thelow-end
enhancement was
kept tothecentre
andnot spreadout
acrossthestereo
eld, creatinga
stronger, more
stablemix. Be
careful tokeepthe
phasealignedwhen
doingthis, asany
latencywill disrupt
thestereoimage.
Eachofthesemoduleshasits
ownuses, butitstogetherthat
theybecomemostuseful
Alternatives
Onceyouhavea500-Seriesframe, theoptions
availabletoyouarehuge. Someof our favourite
preamps, EQsandcompressorsarenowall
availablefor the500-Series, but fewcanmatch
theAphexmodulesonprice.TheLindell Audio
modules, however, aresimilarlypriced, andtheEQ
andcompressor inparticular offer quitedifferent avoursfromthe
Aphexoptionswevereviewedhere.
MTVerdict
+Three different preampavours
+Optical compression
+Stereolinkoptiononcompressor
+Exciter andBig Bottomunits ina
single module
- NostereolinkonEXBB500
- FixedQEQ
TheAphex 500-Series modules
makeagreat additiontoany rack.
Whether usedindividually or
together tocreateacustom
channel strip, they all havetheir
ownplaceinthestudio.
8/10
MTReviewsAphex500-Seriesmodules
102 | December 2013 MAGAZINE
100%PURE
ABLETONLIVE
DVD. Digital version5.99.
Available at WHSmith(UK), Barnes &Noble (USA) andall good
bookstores inAustralia, Canada, andthroughout Europe.
Or order online at www.musictech.net/tag/focus
104 | December 2013 MAGAZINE
MTReviews
Manufacturer Loopmasters
Price 29.95
Contact info@loopmasters.com
Web www.loopmasters.com
A
fter the human voice, and
possibly the violin, the piano
is one of the most
emotionally chargedmusical
instruments, capable of making grown
men andwomen cry with its vast
dynamic range, rich harmonies and
layeredmelodies. Atmospheric Pianos
is a newpack fromLoopmasters that
features 129 emotionally chargedpiano
loops andriffs in WAV, MIDI andREX
formats, with an Apple Loops version
available separately.
The pack has been written and
performedby musician, producer,
songwriter andmusical director Sarah
DeCourcy, who has workedwith some
of the biggest names in popandhas
playedthe piano since the age of three.
Theres around570MBof 24-bit audio
in total spreadacross four folders, with
duplicate loops in separate MIDI and
REXfolders. While theres
a fair amount of stylistic
variety, the overall mood
is fairly serious, with
tempos ranging from
75120BPM.
All of the samples
were performedon
DeCourcys top-end
electric piano, which
gives thema clear and
relatively upfront sound. You could
argue that the electric piano is
somewhat colder-sounding than a real
upright or concert instrument, but
given the emotional andmoody nature
of the harmonies andthe playing style,
this works well.
DeCourcys playing is tight, but with
a goodsense of weight to adda human
touch to the riffs. First upare the atmos
andFXloops, which have been treated
with a liberal dose of reverb, delay and
reverse effects, giving thema modern
feel. We then have the chords, melodies
andriffs, which contain a range of rich
progressions, arpeggiatedphrases and
strong octaves, with gooduse of
invertedchords to create longer and
less repetitive loops. Our only gripe is
that the tails on some are cut short to
make themt the bars, andsome of the
electric piano sounds are a little thin,
although this may t well in a fuller-
sounding arrangement. However, all
these things can be resolvedby using
the MIDI les andyour own choice of
instrument andeffects.
Its rare that a piano andkeyboard
pack avoids cheesy chordprogressions
andmelodies, but nearly everything
here is packedwith drama, making it a
perfect choice for media composers
working on thoughtful productions or
more mature popandRnBartists
looking for a song-starting riff. MT
Manufacturer PrimeLoops
Price 19.95
Contact info@primeloops.com
Web www.primeloops.com
W
eve seen plenty of drum
libraries over the years,
fromthe variedexpansion
packs for Superior
Drummer andEZdrummer to live
grooves fromthe likes of Beta
Monkey Music andThe
LoopLoft. However, the
majority of these packs
focus on the soundof
more traditional kits for
metal, funk, soul or rock.
Essential Studio
Drums, newfromPrime
Loops, takes a different
approach, with a heavily
processedlive sound
that has been specially
engineeredto work with
electronic music styles.
The teamtook a
classic Pearl Export kit
and ran it through Neve
channel strips, Thermionic Culture
compressors and PrismConverters to
create an incredibly tight and powerful
sound that is used for all the loops in
the pack. The hats and cymbals will
rattle your eardrums, the kick is solid
and heavy but with plenty of space for
a large bass line, while the cracking
snare will cut through your mix like
butter. We hate to think howmany
drumsticks were broken during the
aking of this loud and
punchy pack!
Youll nda total of
57 drumgrooves and21
lls spreadacross four
folders of 100, 110, 120
and128BPM. Each le
has both dry andwet
versions, andthe whole
collection is available in
your choice of WAV, Apple
Loops, REX2, Live Pack,
andReFill formats.
The actual grooves
themselves are relatively
straight andsafe,
without a great deal of
variation bar a fewmore interesting
tom-basedrhythms. You couldargue,
though, that this solidity wouldwork
well for dance music styles as you
probably dont want anything overly
complicated.
Ideally, we wouldhave likedto see
more versions of the same groove, both
with andwithout hats andcymbals, to
aidin building an arrangement. We
especially enjoyedthe blistering lls,
though, which wouldbe perfect for
anyone looking to addsome excitement
to the dropon a harder-edgedbreaks or
DnBtrack. In addition to those already
mentionedyou also get a collection of
35 heavy-sounding one-shots, with
several variations for each kit piece.
Although this isnt a massively
exible library, it has its own unique,
brutal soundandwouldbe a good
choice for adding a live, energetic edge
to electro punk, breaks or other
electronic genres. MT
AtmosphericPianos
MTVerdict
Abeautiful andmaturepiano
collectionthats packedwith
inspiring andemotional riffs for use
inanumber of genres. Theaddition
of MIDI andREXles massively
opens uptheexibility of thepack.
9/10
KeyFeatures
570MBof24-bit
WAVsorApple
Loops
Alsoincludes
REX2andMIDI
versions
75120BPM
Writtenand
performedby
SarahDeCourcy
Performedona
top-endelectric
piano
MTVerdict
Apackof simplebut solidgrooves,
withablistering, snappy and
upfront drumsound.
8/10
KeyFeatures
420MB+of
24-bitaudio
57groovesand
21fills(with
dryandwet
versions)
35one-shots
InspiredbyThe
Prodigyand
TheChemical
Brothers
Essential StudioDrums
9/10
ReviewsMT
Manufacturer PrimeLoops
Price 14.95
Contact info@primeloops.com
Web www.primeloops.com
F
romscary moments in
lms to epic musical
intros, the dramatic
impact sample can be
usedto addweight and
excitement in a number of
wildly varying situations. Heavy
Impacts is a newpack from
Prime Loops thats packedwith
sinister strikes for you to use in
your productions: fromindustrial
metallic blows to rumbling tremors and
dissonant orchestral hits.
The 270MBpack contains 178
samples in total andcomes in WAVand
Apple Loops formats. Being a hit library,
theres not a huge amount of variety, but
the pack is dividedinto four sections to
helpdifferentiate between samples.
First upwe have DistortedImpacts,
which contains big sounds suggestive
of large explosions or heavy machinery.
Some are more
distortedthan others,
with the added
saturation only
contributing to the
perceivedsize. Each
sample has been
carefully sound-
designedand
comprises several
ayers, froman initial
whoosh to echoing and
ecaying textures.
sightly cleaner and
smaller Noisy Impacts, which have a
little more detail andvariety, andthe
Subsonic Impacts, whichfocus on
longer, low-endrumbles andtonal
synth noises. Where things get more
interesting, however, is in the Orchestral
Impacts folder, where we have a range
of creepy short andlong, dissonant and
percussive hits. Theres a sub-folder
calledHorns FromHell, which features
epic andsinister lowhorn noises
resembling those foundin the
memorable soundtrack to the recent
Prometheus trailer. There are also some
excellent chromatic piano andstring
impacts with layeredpercussive strikes,
which couldbe loadedinto a sampler
andplayedontopof a track or piece.
This is a nice touch that opens upthe
creative possibilities of the library.
Heavy Impacts is a simple and
concise pack that does exactly what
you wouldexpect of it. Theres nothing
especially original or surprising to be
found, but the sounds are solidand
eminently usable. The sounddesign is
also top-notch throughout, meaning
that any of these samples couldbe
usedin both cinematic lmandgame
projects, or for adding a sense of
sinister drama to your musical tracks,
especially if youre writing more
aggressive styles of dubstep,
moombahcore or neuro DnB. MT
MTVerdict
Aconciseandhigh-quality
collectionof carefully craftedhits.
Everything hereis big, weighty and
alittlebit sinister.
8/10
HeavyImpacts
KeyFeatures
270MBof
24-bitaudio
178samplesin
WAVorApple
Loopsformats
Big-sounding
cinematichits
Distorted,
Noisy, Subsonic
andOrchestral
folders
Expertlylayered
andsound-
designed
$
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ReviewsMT
MAGAZINE December 2013 | 107
Manufacturer Groove3
Price $30stream($15/monthfull site
access)
Contact viawebsite
Web www.groove3.com
C
apturing andmixing the
perfect vocal soundcan be a
tricky business, with different
singers andstyles needing
different approaches. Multi-platinum-
selling engineer andproducer Kenny
Gioia has teamedupwith Groove 3 for a
concise video course on howto get the
best out of your vocal recording.
The tutorial is split in to ten chapters
ranging fromaround410 minutes in
length, with a brisk total running time of
just over an hour. Although this initially
seems a little short, Gioias presenting
is snappy, quick-pacedandto-the-
point, resulting in an information-
packedhour that youll probably endup
revisiting to get the most out of it.
Gioia begins by discussing preamps
andmic placement, before moving on to
setting the right levels andworking on
g p p ,
effects. At rst we were a little
confusedby this approach, as it seems
to skipthe actual recording part, but all
becomes clear as Gioia explains howhe
is setting upa more polishedsoundto
go to the singers monitor mix in an
effort to inspire a better performance.
We then move on to recording takes,
comping andworking with backing
vocals, with everything presentedin Pro
Tools 11. This is arguably one of the
most useful sections, as were shown
Gioias own tried-and-testedmethods
for organising takes. The overall
techniques are applicable to any DAW,
but those working in ProTools will get a
lot more workowtips andshortcuts.
The nal chapters look at de-essing
andtidying upby drawing in volume
curves, using AutoTune to track and
ne-tune the pitchmanually, andtaking
a look at the overall vocal mix.
Theres gooduse of diagrams and
overlays to helpexplain things
throughout, while practical A/B
demonstrations enable you to hear the
effect the plug-ins are having. This
tutorial wont answer all of your
questions about howto work with
vocals it really just focuses on one
pop/rock track, andachieving a clean
vocal soundwith EQ, compression,
reverbanddelay. It is, however, an
excellent starting point, especially in
terms of watching howa pro soundis
built without over-processing. MT
Manufacturer Samplephonics
Price 34.70
Contact info@samplephonics.com
Web www.samplephonics.com
J
azz guitar, as a music genre,
isnt the most popular style of
music aroundtoday andis often
associatedmainly with
mid-20th-century greats such as
Barney Kessel, Joe Pass and, later, jazz
fusion players such as George Benson,
Larry Carlton andPat Metheny. Despite
that, jazzy guitar loops nds their way
into myriadmodern productions.
To meet the ever-growing demand,
UKsession guitarist Andy Baker has
recordeda collection of loops that are
suitable for many styles of music,
including hiphop, funk, soul, RnBand
cinematic. Playedon a Gibson 335, Les
Paul anda Fender Strat, there are 254
loops in all, in 24-bit WAV, REX2, ACID
WAVandApple Loopformats.
With a tempo range of 64174BPM,
the loops are between four to eight
bars long and in many cases have been
g g
example, in the rst folder (64
105BPM) we nd four loops suitable
for a ballad composition one
containing chords, two with lead lines
and a fourth containing a run. Because
they all followthe same chord
progression they can be used in
combination if need be. Some, such as
the aptly named and very cool West
Coast set contain more loops, in this
case six variations.
As a sessionmusician, Andy clearly
knows his onions, andas a producer he
instinctively knows howto create
usable material that will formthe basis
for a wide variety of loop-based
compositions. As for dropping these
loops into existing productions, that
may not be so easy because eachone
has its owndistinct chordprogression.
That said, if youcancut the mustard
withMelodyne-style editing youmay be
able to tailor themto your requirements.
Thats easier, of course, withthe loops
containing monophonic leadlines.
If youre unsure about the
usefulness of a jazz looplibrary, pay a
visit to the Samplephonics website and
listen to the audio demo, which breezes
through various jazzy genres. MT
RecordingVocalsExplained
MTVerdict
This isnt theultimatevocal
recording tutorial, but it is concise
andinformation-packed, especially
for thoseworking inProTools 11.
8/10
KeyFeatures
10chapters
66minutes
runtime
Shows
recording,
compingand
engineering
vocals
Writtenbymulti-
platinum-selling
producerand
engineerKenny
Gioia
PresentedinPro
Tools11
MTVerdict
Awell producedandbeautifully
playedlibrary containing avariety
of jazz guitar styles that will adda
touchof class tojust about any
styleof loop-basedproduction.
9/10
KeyFeatures
WAV/REX2/
ACIDWAV/Apple
Loopsformats
254loops
Widetempo
range
Useful formany
musical styles
AndyBakerJazzGuitarSessions
9/10
MTReviews
Manufacturer LeapMotion
Price 79.98
Contact viawebsite
Web www.leapmotion.com
L
eapMotion Controller is a tiny
device that weve been itching to
play with since we sawthe rst
promotional videos. This was
because it seemedto offer low-latency,
hands-free control that couldreally
benet those in the studio or onstage.
The device can detect between your left
andright hands, X, YandZmovements,
tilting of your wrist, nger movements
andmore. For detection it effectively
creates an invisible half-sphere on your
desktopfor you to interact with.
The unit plugs in via USBand, after
the Leap Motion software is installed,
you can visit the Airspace app store and
explore whats on offer. There are plenty
of cool apps available but well focus on
those that might benet your music-
making. Many apps in the music
category are little more than toys
which we soon realised within a minute
or so but one app that is causing a
stir is Geco MIDI ($9.99), which enables
you to set a customMIDI CCoutput for
any of the available hand movements
and gestures.
After watching a fewtutorial videos
it is easy to grasp howGeco MIDI works.
Asolo button per assignment can be
used so you output only one MIDI CCas
you try to assign it to a parameter in
your MIDI-mappable software or
device. This is a great feature and
avoids a lot of potential misring of
other CCmessages.
As with all newtechnologies,
controlling LeapMotion takes practice.
We soon learnedthat its best to keepa
body-widths distance between your left
andright hands so they dont falsely
trigger each others assignments. After
20 minutes or so of having your arms
heldout you do start to feel some
muscle-burn in your shoulders, so there
are the physical demands to get usedto
as well. However, we managedto set up
interesting expressive setups such as
lter cutoff via the left handand
saturation via the right.
The response time of LeapMotion is
impressive andis always the make-or-
break aspect of any audio control
system. The detection is also quite
sensitive, which enabledboth slowand
controlledor fast andrhythmic
detection with a high level of accuracy.
With two assignments per handwe
couldeasily control more parameters
than is possible using a conventional
controller, andwith time you may nd
you can master the control of many
more assignments. MT
MTVerdict
Hands-free, multi-gestural control
that will augment any studioor live
setupfor highlevels of expression
andsomething visually stimulating
for others.
9/10
KeyFeatures
Hands-free
operation
80x.7mminsize
Largerangeof
appsinAirspace
SupportsMIDI
andOSC
Includesboth
shortandlong
USBleads
LeapMotionController
9/10
ReviewsMT
MAGAZINE December 2013 | 109
Manufacturer D16GroupAudio
Software
Price 69
Contact contact@d16.pl
Web www.d16.pl
D
elay plug-in effects can be
dividedinto two extremes. The
rst is the super-simple delay
that offers delay time,
feedback control andmaybe a
modulation control to colour the sound
of the delay over time. Then you have
the all-bells-and-whistles delay
processors that have more than these
basics, providing many other effects
offeredby other plug-ins you may also
own. Sigmunddenitely offers the
latter as it includes four separate delay
lines, M/Sprocessing, distortion,
ltering, limiting, tremolo andvarious
other sound-shaping tools.
Sigmund is quite a beast to get to
grips with, and although its
architecture is quite complex, the
various routing options available are
graphically represented through signal
block diagrams. This includes
lter to being pre- or post-distortion
for example. The delay line routing is
also interesting and offers many
combinations to choose from.
Our tests began by exploring the
preset selection. This is important as
many people will just audition presets
in the context of their mix, stopping
when something seems to aurally slot
in. There are quite a fewpresets on
offer, andalthough the collection isnt
the biggest weve experienced, it has
sufcient variation for numerous
different situations.
We then useda looping snare-hit
sample as a trigger soundto test the
programming side of Sigmundas well
as its sound-design possibilities. This is
when the exact architecture of
Sigmundbecomes a little less obvious
to understand. The graphical
positioning of the GUI as a whole
doesnt relate to the running order of
the signal chain. We therefore hadto
readthe manual to fully graspthis.
Between the routing options,
independent L/Ror M/Sandgeneral
layering possibilities with Sigmunds
four delay lines, theres a high level of
richness available. This works very well
for both intricate decorative delays
within a mix as well as being strong
enough to standalone when creating
newsounds. The only negatives we had
with Sigmundwere operational for
instance, elements like automation
needsetting uprather than being ready
to use out-of-the-box. But they can be
savedas newdefaults, so with a little
work, Sigmundcan be a highly creative
anduidplug-in to use. MT
MTVerdict
Asonically interesting delay
machinewithmany different
potential applications for mixing
andsounddesign.
9/10
KeyFeatures
Functionsas
delay, tremolo,
limiter, filterand
distortion
Flexiblerouting
200+presets
2modulation
LFOs
L/RorM/S
operationper
delayline
Delayline
copy/paste
Manufacturer Patchworks
Price 15.49
Contact viawebsite
Web www.conductr.net
A
t the moment, Ableton Live is
probably the most-supported
DAWin terms of customised
controllers. Even before
Abletons own Push instrument came
into being, various hardware and
iOS-basedsystems have been created
to control nearly all aspects of Live. One
of the latest releases for this task is
CONDUCTR, aiming to offer live-
performance control fromyour iPad.
The competition for iPad-based
control of Live is pretty stiff. There is
already anall-bells-and-whistles
option in the formof an appcalled
touchAble. This gives you control over
Live as if your computer is in front of
you. Version 1 of touchAble has been a
great success, andthe forthcoming v2
looks like it will take things to the next
level in terms of control anda user-
denable GUI design.
Liine has also recently released
LiveControl 2, which is technically free
but does require you to own the pricy
Lemur app. This also offers a good
degree of control andgives you plenty
of input options for composition.
So, does CONDUCTRoffer anything
newwhen it costs just a snippet under
the price of touchAble?Well, yes, but no,
as it actually offers less than the other
two, but this is intentional: CONDUCTR
focuses purely on controlling Live in live
performances. It also offers this in a
customisable way: rather than just
chucking all options at you to gure out
anduse as you ndrelevant, you build
the controls you need, bit by bit. This
can also be done with Liines appand
the forthcoming touchAble release,
but CONDUCTRlets you simply click
andmove the parameters you want
fromany relevant plug-ins within Live,
making the task simple to implement.
Setting uprequires installing server
software onyour computer, then
connecting to your computer viaWi-Fi.
We really enjoyedthe interface layout
as it canbe split into four areas,
dividing the screeninto quarters. These
canbe magniedhalf- or full-screen
as required. The only issues we hadwith
the appwere afewscreenglitches on
opening, resolvedby rotating the iPad.
Also, the landscape layout workedin
only one orientationwhichhappened
to be upside-downwithour iPadcase/
stand(these shouldbe addressedina
forthcoming update). Overall, this appis
agoodconsiderationif youwant to
performlive withasimple interface to
work with andminimal clutter. MT
MTVerdict
Agreat start for this newappwitha
strong focus oncontrolling only
what youneed, whenyouwant to, in
aliveperformance.
7/10
CONDUCTR
Sigmund
KeyFeatures
Specifically
focusedonusing
Liveforlive
performance
RunsoniPad1
upwards
Full, halfor
quarterscreen
splitbased
interface
User-definable
modules
Clickand
addcustom
parameters
fromLive
9/10
ReviewsMT
MAGAZINE December 2013 | 111
MTReviews Whatourratingsmean
Letsbehonest
thisproduct
is, at thevery
least, thebest
initsclass.
Attractively
pricedaswell
ascapableof
delivering
great results.
Averygood
product one
that wewould
singleout.
Indicatesastep
forwardinthe
implementation
or applicationof
atechnology.
Manufacturer SCRIBBLEMEDIA
Price DVD$30Blu-Ray$35
Contact info@idreamofwires.org
Web www.idreamofwires.org
M
any of you will be familiar
with the large range of
synth-emulation plug-ins
available today. You may
also be aware of the better-known
classic analogue machines like the
Minimoog, Arp2600 andso on, but once
youve viewedthis extendedHardcore
edition of the I Dreamof Wires
Documentary, you will be made aware
of the full history of modular synths, as
well as being shown an in-depth viewof
the current modular synth movement.
Part one of the disc is titled The
DawnAnd Near ExtinctionOf The
Modular Synthesizer andit begins right
back at the beginning, covering the
initial harnessing of electricity andhow
Manufacturer Plogue
Price 38.08
Contact info@plogue.com
Web www.plogue.com
B
oth the newandolder
generations seemto love the
sonic qualities of the
machines usedin the 80s
gaming andhome computer revolution.
Plogue is a company that feels the
same it has already meticulously
emulatedthe tiny details of many a
classic machines soundchips for the
chipsoundvirtual instrument.
chipcrusher is an extension of this love
of authentic-sounding old-school, but
rather than being a soundsource, it is
insteada processing effect that offers
DACemulation, speaker IRcapture and
many other lo-attributes that helpto
create the old-school magic.
Exploring the presets demonstrates
that this plug-in also covers any general
lo-audio equipment fromthe 80s
domestic home, such as telephones
andchildrens toys. The rst main
modier offers a choice of DAC
encoding. This allows for anything from
slight to horrendous digital quality
reduction-baseddistortion. Next,
among typical bit- andsample-rate-
KeyFeatures
Approximately
fourhours
runtime
Fantasticrange
ofhistorical
footage
Manysynths
shownwithgreat
visual detail
Limitededition
electricity was
then turned
into a newtype
of sound. This
section has a
runtime of
almost an 90
minutes and
includes plenty
of great
historical
imagery and
footage.
ary fromsome
familiar faces, andTrent Reznor also
has a lot to say alongside many people
who were essential to the early
embracing of synth music. Many rare
classic machines are shown here as
the lmtalks to the people keeping
themalive, thus the lmincludes a lot
of exclusive access material, which is a
real treat.
is a control called
Monotonicity. This lets you control a
xedpitch resonance that works in
tandemwith quality-reduction. At its
most extreme it will override any pitch
information in your audio. An RCFilter
is also useful, which effectively controls
another avour of delity.
Many capturedbackgroundnoises
are available, including the screen
buzzes of a computer pluggedin to a
domestic CRTTV. The nal stage of
processing is speaker emulation, which
covers some great resonant old
computer boxes, a history of hand-held
games machines andeven classic
arcade machine cabinets. The general
tone of chipcrusher is the same nasty
ones that were a byproduct of their age,
andtherefore represents a unique
sonic avour for your toolbox. MT
IDreamofWires:HardcoreEdition
chipcrusher
EXCELLENCEAWARD10/10
Thebest inits class. This product produces superbresults, is well
implementedandsensibly priced.
CHOICEAWARD9/10
This product comes highly recommendedandhas aneffective
balanceof features andperformance.
8/10
Arecommendedproduct withfeatures, performanceandpricing
that meets theneeds of its target market.
7/10
Agoodproduct but withoneor twoquestionmarks over easeof
useor price.
6/10
This product has merit, but someimprovements or amore
competitivepricewouldbring it closer toits target market.
5/10
Certainoversights inthis products designandperformancecould
limit its usefulness.
4/10
Buyer beware: this is asliding scaleof poor quality, overpricing
and/or disappointing performance.
OURREVIEWSPOLICY
At MTwetakeour reviewsveryseriouslyindeed. Weaimtooffer
younothingbut thebest informationandexpert opinion, helping
youtomaketheright purchasingdecisions. Our reviewersare
expertsintheir eldandtalktothemanufacturersthroughout the
reviewingprocesstoensureaccuracy.
Part two is titledThe Resurrection
And Phenomenal Resurgence Of The
Modular Synthesizer. This section runs
for more than two hours andreally gets
in-depth on the resurgence of modular
synths. Analogue anddigital are shown
here alongside their respective
strengths andweaknesses, while
developers, collectors andperformers
tell their stories to a point where their
enthusiasmbecomes infectious.
The movie is accompaniedby a
bespoke soundtrack createdusing
modular synths andis a treat fromthe
opening titles to the end, so we
recommendedthat you watch this
movie on a full-range speaker system(it
made very gooduse of the subwoofer
during our viewing). MT
Excellence
MTVerdict
Arecommendedwatchfor those
withany degreeof interest in
synths andsynthmusic.
10/10
MTVerdict
Anexcellent tonal sculpting tool
whenusing all or just oneor twoof
its features onaselect choiceof
sounds inamix.
8/10
/
Excellence
MTNextMonth
RIBBONMICS
MUSICTECHMAGAZINE
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Whatsin Issue130 Onsale19December
NEWFEATURE!
YOURMUSIC
RATED
Feedback
Technology
Arturia
microbrute
Everythingyouneedtoknow. How, whyandwhichone!
Take a walk on the wild side with our exclusive
collection of psychedelic guitar loops or hit the
ghetto with a massive pack of hip hop one-shots.
Youll also fnd producer interviews, pro tips, the
latest demo software, promo videos and more.
YourDisc
SAMPLEHITS//ROYALTY FREE &EXCLUSIVE
//HIP HOP
ONE SHOTS
//SOFTWARE
Size 195MBFormat 16-bit/44.1kHz WAV
Although sample loops can be good for
inspiration and getting down ideas, the one-shot
sample ofers a lot more freedomand potential for
creativity. With that in mind, our friends at Equinox
Sounds have put together a collection of drum, FX
and instrument one-shots for use in hip hop and
urban-style tracks. Youll fnd kicks, snares, claps
and percussion sounds alongside big bass hits, FX
sweeps and atmospheric synth stabs. For those
who want to add some ghetto favour to their
tracks, youll also fnd 64 bonus gun-shot sounds!
Web www.equinoxsounds.com
DVD129 4GB+PC&Mac
IZOTOPE NECTAR VOCAL
PRODUCTIONSUITE
(Windows, Mac OSX)
The latest version of iZotopes vocal
channel strip has a slick newGUI and
improved metering. Theres also a
Harmony Module with MIDI input, a new
FXmodule, and Pitch Editor and Breath
control plug-ins. www.izotope.com
MELDAPRODUCTIONMCOMB
(Windows, Mac OSX)
An extremely powerful multi-comb flter plug-in capable of creating
unique fltered sounds that react to input level, MIDI or input pitch.
Features include two versatile modulators, M/Sand surround
processing, automatic gain compensation, built-in limiter, 116x
up-sampling, randomisation and more. www.meldaproduction.com
D16SIGMUND
(Windows, Mac OSX)
Sigmund is a state-of-the-art delay
unit with four discrete delays, each
of which features a multimode
flter, overdrive module and
amplitude modulator. There are also
two multi-purpose LFOs for
modulating various parameters.
www.d16.pl
PLOGUECHIPCRUSHER
(Windows, Mac OSX)
Chipcrusher is a bitcrusher, speaker simand noise
machine for adding lo-fgrit to your sounds. Input
audio is fed through a simulation of early lo-fdigital
n grit and background noise are added before outputting
through a selection of speaker and flter impulse responses. www.plogue.com
SAMPLE LOOPS//ROYALTY FREE &EXCLUSIVE
VIDEOTUTORIALS//14 MINS
DEMO//SOFTWARE
DEMO//SOFTWARE
FULL//SOFTWARE
FULL//SOFTWARE
Size 145MBFormat 24-bit/44.1kHz WAV
Long before computer plug-ins began
efecting instruments in weird and wonderful
ways, the humble guitar was the focus of
much experimentation. Sound designer
Richard James has channelled his inner hippy
to craft an astonishing pack of 60 heavily
efected guitar loops at 120BPM, inspired by
the 60s, 70s and later. All the rifs were DIed
through a TLA Audio Fat 1 compressor before
being fed through AmpliTube, Logics Amp
Designer and u-hes Satin Tape Machine.
Youll fnd classic plucked loops alongside
more modern-sounding rock grooves, all in
pristine 24-bit/44.1kHz quality.
DEMO//SOFTWARE
Size 60MBFormat gPlayer (included)
Recording and mixing the perfect vocal is a tricky business,
but multi-platinum-selling producer and engineer Kenny Gioia is
here to help with three chapters taken fromhis recent Groove 3
tutorial, Recording Vocals Explained. The frst video looks at mic
preamps, choosing the right microphone and howbest to position
your singer. Next up, Gioia ofers up advice on setting the
optimumrecording level within Pro Tools and, in the fnal video,
discusses howto work with singers and record takes, with a focus
on punch-in recording and creating crossfades. The videos run in
Groove 3s own gPlayer program, which youll fnd on the disc.
Web www.groove3.com
MINIMALSYSTEMINSTRUMENTSFILTERBANK
(Windows)
An analogue-modelled, multimode flter for both producers and
DJs, with low-pass, high-pass, band-pass, notch and peaking
types. Also features an LFO, input and output controls, lowCPU
usage and an Analogue knob for dialling in analogue dirt.
www.minimalsystem.com
//LOOPED
PSYCHEDELIC
GUITARS
114 | December 2013 MAGAZINE
MT YourDisc
//RECORDING
VOCALS
//PIANOS, INDIAN
VOCALSAND
MORE
Size 413MBFormat MOV
Point Blank is renowned for its enviable links to the industry, with
top-name producers regularly dropping in to present exclusive
masterclasses. This time round, up-and-coming UK producers Brodanse
take the hot seat to discuss their collaboration with Groove Armada and
to take a look at the track Sweat For The Money. Theres also an interview
with electronic pioneers Paul and Phil Hartnoll otherwise known as
Orbital which sees the brothers reminisce on the making of their frst
big hit and classic track Chime.
Be sure to copy the fles to your HDbefore viewing.
Web www.pointblanklondon.com
VIDEOTUTORIALS//40+ MINS
Size 1.14GBFormat MOV
This video collection fromLoopBlog kicks ofwith
producer CAPSUNofering creative tips for working with
his recently released MIDI Focus Trap Beats pack. There
are also three videos fromEDMproducer DomKane
exploring the inner workings of three plug-ins. First he
crafts ring-modulated synth tones using the Modular V
fromArturia. Next is an overviewof Voxengos
Drumformer compressor, followed by a look at the
dynamic functions of Voxengos GlissEQ. Copy the fles
to your HDbefore viewing. Web www.loopblog.net
VIDEOFEATURE//20+ MINS
//LOOPBLOG
SAMPLELOOPS//DEMOSAMPLES
Size 242MB Format 24-bit/44.1kHz WAV
Loopmasters continues its eclectic release
schedule with a range of live, instrumental, vocal and
electronic packs. First we have inspiring and emotional
piano loops taken fromthe Atmospheric Pianos pack,
which youll fnd in this months Reviews section. Next is
a handful of pristinely recorded male and female Indian
vocal chants taken fromIndian Vocal Sessions, plus
jazzy sax, horns, trumpet and vocal licks fromLive Deep
Jazz House. There are also live breaks, bass and keys
fromLack of Afro Analogue Soul, house synths and
beats fromDeep Groove House 2, and cutting-edge
electronic sounds fromKasra Critical Drumand Bass.
Web www.loopmasters.com
DVD129 PC&Mac
SAMPLE LOOPS ROYALTY FREE &EXCLUSIVE
Heavily efected guitar loop
with a vintage vibe and a
modern twist...
SAMPLEHITS//ROYALTY FREE &EXCLUSIVE VIDEOTUTORIALS//14 MINS
ORBITAL
INTERVIEW&MORE INDIANVOCALS
461 HIPHOP
ONE-SHOTS
VIDEOFEATURE//40 MINS +
LOOPED
PSYCHE
GUITARS
RECORDING
VOCALS
If your DVDis missing
pleasecontact your newsagent
//POINT BLANK
MUSICSCHOOL
MAGAZINE December 2013 | 115
YourDisc MT
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Distributed in the UK by Sound Technology Ltd | 01462 480000 | www.soundtech.co.uk | info@soundtech.co.uk
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