October 27, 2011

Professional Audio News Update October 2011

Hi Guys!

So, we are crazy work mode here at UniqueSquared. This, naturally, makes me crawl the web for news in what I call “avoidance mode.” So, while you wait for other stuff we have coming, read that sweet UniqueGeek mixing tutorial from yesterday, then salivate over new things with me.

1. Twitch Live App

There is a new free Application for the Novation Twitch DJ controller called Twitch Live Translator. This Twitch Live application is free for download. It allows Twitch to control parameters and build custom mappings within Ableton Live. Anyone can run the application. This won’t leave users who don’t own Max for Live out in the cold. However, those who do own Max for Live will be able to Customize the application as much or as little as they like. Novation are encouraging users to share their own versions on the Novation Forum.

2. ReCycle version 2.2





Propellerhead have officially dropped the final release of ReCycle version 2.2. Here’s a quick list of what’s new and awesome about it:

  • The program is now fully compatible with 64 bit operating systems.
  • ReCycle 2.2 is also a true Cocoa program under Mac OS and works great with Mac OS X 10.7 Lion.
  • The main window has been redesigned, with new zooming and scrolling. Scrolling is smoother and you can now zoom in further. Some redundant controls have been removed and others added.
  • When exporting AIFF and Wave files, Record/Reason-style tempo information is now included in the file. Also, when importing audio files created in Record or Reason, the tempo information in those files is used for setting tempo and length in ReCycle.
  • The Waveform now indicates graphically what sound will be played back, by dimming silent sections.
  • You can now use the Q, W, E and R keys to select tools, just like in Reason.
  • The Preference dialog has been streamlined and updated.
  • Open Recent (documents) is now a sub-menu on Mac OS.
  • The status bar has been removed.
  • We have removed support for the Sound Designer II, Mixman, SampleCell and Akai (.aka) formats since these are all outdated.
  • The authorization system and copy protection has been changed.
  • Installation under Mac OS is now drag and drop (no installer).

Go get your fresh new version of ReCycle version 2.2.

3. Melodyne Editor

Celemony unveiled their latest offering in the Melodyne range last week at AES. The new Melodyne Editor is offering some features with a focus on improved workflow. Not the least of these is ReWire support for DAWs that don’t support Plug-in hosting. (The Reason users at the back of the class just perked up.) Additionally, there are a number of new scale and temperament functions, including support for Arab, Indian, Contemporary and Microtonal scales. Another exciting feature is the new Scale Detective. This feature is capable of analyzing any sample or piece of music and transferring the tuning to another. In addition, there are new transient and timing shaping features like the Attack Speed tool, which will allow users to adjust the starting transients of individual sounds. Melodyne Editor 2 will be available in November for $399. The update for existing users will be $99, but will be free of charge for those who registered after October 1st of this year. All existing users will be informed via newsletter by Celemony as soon as the new version is available. This existing user is pretty excited.

4. ARA

Speaking of ARA: there are some pretty exciting possibilities on offer from Presonus and Melodyne’s new plugin technology. Rather than re-inventing the wheel to explain it myself, I might suggest you watch these videos:

Carston Gehle explains the nuts and bolts of ARA CelemonySoftware

Here’s a glimpse of the technology in action in Studio One CelemonySoftware

I fully expect people to react to the prospect of a new Plug-in format as though they just got told Blu-Ray is already dead. Who knows if the ARA format will survive and become a new standard, or if the format will just encourage the popular formats already in play to re-approach their relationship with the DAWs/ audio? Either way, progress is underway and ultimately the end users will benefit.

5. Animoog for iPad

If you haven’t already snagged it, there’s a new synth app in town! Moog have released Animoog for the iPad. Apparently, this is either fantastic or the death of music, depending on whose message board flame you favor. It only costs a dollar and is invading comment threads all over the web. Hit the app store and cast your own verdict on the matter. I am downloading mine tonight. I will either be raving about it or dismissing it within the next few hours.

6. The Ladder

Moog Ladder

If you are suffering some kind of crazy purist rage over the Animoog you’ll probably be happier to hear about The Ladder. Those who know their Moogs already can guess that The Ladder is a 500 series (lunchbox) Dynamic Ladder Filter that is built on Moog’s original ladder filter design. The Moog Ladder filter is a transistor based filter design that gives a number of Moogs their characteristic squelch and bite through how the filter’s distortion interacts various means of modulation.

This is exciting not only from a sonic perspective, but because it appears that Moog are returning to manufacturing modular pieces. The pedals released in recent years have been a glimpse of this, but there has been significant demand amongst the people I keep up with for components and desktop pieces that address things a bit less like the Slim Phatty and more like The Ladder. Frankly, were Moog to begin releasing modular Eurorack styled components at a decent price point, we could easily see these systems drift away from being the province of well-heeled producer types and into the hands of the masses. I know I’d certainly enjoy seeing the local kids patch their noodles during a show and it’s always nice to not be looking at bored guys on laptops. In the meantime, here’s the brief rundown of what’s happening in this welcome addition to any lunchbox:

  • Low pass and high pass analog filter modes with cutoff
  • Attack and release parameters
  • Amount (positive/negative), which you can drive hard enough to make compression-like sounds or even reverse filtering, claim Moog
  • Resonance, which you can push into self-oscillation
  • 2Pole/4Pole: (12db per octave/24db per octave)
  • Relay bypass switch
  • Modernized design, including XLR (Via 500 rack) balanced line level

7. “Pay what you want” upgrade

Speaking of bargains: This is the last week of Propellerhead’s “pay what you want” upgrade offer for existing Reason/Record Duo users. This means you can name your price to go to version 6. It seems crazy to miss this. Not to get all fanboy about the latest release, but Echo is the Propellerhead answer to Ableton’s Beat Repeat effect. Between it and Pulverizer, Reason feels like a new program. The improved factory sound bank and Alligator add in to make this one of the better updates in the package’s history. If you ducked out on version 5 that will just mean even more fun for you. I don’t know what the exact cut off date is beyond “this week,” so jump on it while you can!

8. SSL Duende Native

Having mentioned Reason, my mind drifts to the SSL desk emulation that’s making the new version sound so swank (and has been since Record, but somehow has just been really doing it for me lately.) Thinking of SSL makes me remember that the Duende Native collection of effects has been officially ported to the RTAS format. Previously the RTAS solution had been similar to how the LiquidMix VST wrapper had worked. So they were usable in PT, but not in its native format. Some users had reported difficulties encountered working with them this way while trying to use certain bits of hardware and SSL have worked to remedy this.

The Duende line has been a bit troubled. Originally part of a hardware DSP system and purchased in pieces once the hardware was acquired. The cost was certainly prohibitive for some. For those who did have the money to spend, it was either buy this one thing and just use SSL, or get something more like the UAD DSP series and have options for all sorts of nice processors. I’m not sure if going native was an effort to meet the consumer halfway or just a stopgap measure to see to it that the trouble put into making their own emulations wasn’t all for naught, as the firewire driven hosts weren’t selling so well.

I would like to think that SSL are finally grasping the reality that if they want a share of the consumer market they appear to be reaching out to, bringing things down to $2000.00 will not cut it. At best this puts them in a boutique niche where they are basically saying, “buy our expensive thing and not the other more boutique one next to it.” To be fair, I am specifically thinking of some channel strip solutions and the price structure surrounding the Duende hardware. I would confidently state that these are both examples of SSL releasing products made for one market but sold in another. I suppose it’s hard for a company that has been fetching $250,000 for desks to come down here with those of us not willing to mortgage our audio. I’m still waiting for these guys to actually do something truly competitive with their price point.

SSL Duende Native

So, that’s all for this week. I am sure I left some devices out, but I’ll keep my eye out for them and address them next round. If you’re wondering, yes, we are listening to your feedback. So, keep it coming. “Crazy work” here at the office will only delay the other things we’ve got coming for you for so long!