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TECHNO ARTIST SPECIAL

DAVE CLARKE
IN-DEPTH INTERVIEW

TOM HADES
May 2018 / CM255 90-MINUTE VIDEO

HOW TO
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www.youtube.com/computermusicmag and hypnotic grooves, we’ve got a techno artist special:
the legendary Dave Clarke discusses his career and
artistry on p78; and Belgian badman Tom Hades creates
an entire techno track from scratch in this issue’s
Producer Masterclass feature (p42) and
90-minute video session.
Before I head off to tinkle those
ivories, I’d like to bid a fond farewell to
Production Editor James Russell, who’s
Subscribe to flying the nest after five years on
Computer Music! the mag. We’ll miss his quips each
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ISSUE 255 MAY 2018

contents
Cover feature

PLAY
KEYBOARD 42 86
LIKE A PRO
Flex those digits and
Producer
Masterclass
master this essential skill, p22
42 TOM HADES
The Belgian techno titan writes
us a track from scratch on video

Interview 94
Features 78 DAVE CLARKE
The Baron of Techno on his latest
50 SCALE PLAYER MIDI PLUGIN album, The Desecration of Desire

RF Music’s VST/AU MIDI processor is free this issue


53 ARTURIA V COLLECTION 6 Free samples
Get up to speed with VC6’s awesome new synths 104 ULTIMATE
SHAKERS & TAMBS
59 COMPUTER CLINIC Bag yourself this essential collection
How to keep your studio machine fighting-fit of shaker and tambourine sounds 78
Essentials
Reviews
10 NEWS

/experts 86 ABLETON LIVE 10


90 FABFILTERPRO-L2
14 FREEWARE NEWS

Your guides for the 16 WHAT’S ON YOUR


ever-expanding world 92 SUGAR BYTES HARD DRIVE?
of production are here APARILLO 40 SUBSCRIBE
72 EASY GUIDE
Get to grips with strings
72 94 KORG
ARP ODYSSEY
52 BACK ISSUES

and articulations
58 NEXT MONTH
96 WS AUDIO
TRUENO 114 BLAST FROM
74 STUDIO THE PAST:
STRATEGIES 988WAVES SCHEPS KORG POLY 800
Ed:it shows how to keep OMNI CHANNEL
transitions interesting
101 MINI REVIEWS
76 DR BEAT
Our doc builds liquid
DnB funk beats
74 114
4 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018
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PLAY KEYBOARD
LIKE A PRO
Get better at
playing and
improve your
theory know-how
Read the full 1 Basic hand 2 How to recognise 3 Playing a
article on p22 positioning the keys C major scale

4 Tackling major and 5 A tricky finger 6 Major - minor scale 7 Using a


minor triads independence exercise arpeggio exercise sustain pedal

8 The minor 9 Playing a 10 Setting up and using 11 Setting up the mod


blues scale monophonic synth the pitchbend wheel wheel to control vibrato

12 Organ technique 13 Clavinet technique 14 Making a synth patch 15 Assigning MIDI knobs to
respond to aftertouch software parameters

6 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


video

Producer Masterclass

TOM HADES
Take a trip to the Belgian techno guru’s studio and watch as he
creates a track in Ableton Live before our very eyes
Note: this video is only available using the link on page 43
Read the full article on p42

May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 7


video
This issue’s videos are now available from FileSilo – see p5
LOGIC PRO 10.4
Take a look through some of the high points
of the Apple DAW’s packed point-release
Read the full article on p65

2 A brief tour of Logic Pro 4 Logic Pro 10.4’s Phat FX


10.4’s ChromaVerb and Step FX

SCALE PLAYER CM V COLLECTION 6


Take a trip down memory lane with Arturia –
Struggling with scales? This month’s freebie here’s a selection of videos to show you how
from RF Music gives you a head start
Read the full article on p53
Read the full article on p50

2 Exploring Arturia 5 Spectral synthesis with


Buchla Easel V’s sequencer Arturia CMI V

/experts
Our resident music production
gurus walk you through their Exploring string Creating liquid funk drums
specialist field every month articulations from scratch

Read the full Read the full


article on p72 article on p76

8 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


> news

NEW RELEASES • COMMENT • INDUSTRY HAPPENINGS

BandLab acquires Cakewalk


At the very least, a stay of execution for Sonar, Z3TA+ and their stablemates
Following Gibson Brands’
announcement last year that they
would be ceasing development of all
Cakewalk products, including their
flagship DAW, Sonar, and the popular
Z3TA+ 2, Dimension Pro and Rapture Pro
softsynths, BandLab – the investment
group behind a rapidly expanding range
of music hardware and software – have
relieved them of “the complete IP of
Cakewalk Inc”.
Gibson Brands’ recent debt issues have
been well publicised, and in a statement,
CEO Henry Juszkiewicz clarified the
reasoning behind the sale. “We have been
monetising assets like stock holdings, real
property and business segments.”
The news will come as a huge relief to
users of Sonar in particular, although what
the future holds in terms of any potential
plans to merge the Windows-only DAW with Thanks to BandLab, hopefully this fella won’t have to switch to a new DAW in the near future…
BandLab’s own online music production
system remains to be seen. commented, “We are very excited to be around the world for more than 30 years.
BandLab themselves seem to be on bringing Cakewalk Inc’s products into the We have immense respect for Cakewalk’s
something of a shopping/relaunching spree, BandLab Technologies stable. legacy and the incredible community of
having recently bought and revived DJ “Cakewalk has been an industry leader in people who love the brand and rely on its
streaming platform Chew, and the Harmony professional music software, delivering products in both their personal and
and Teisco guitar brands. BandLab cutting-edge technology that has professional lives.”
Technologies CEO, Meng Ru Kuok, empowered producers and artists alike URL cakewalk.bandlab.com

Softube Weiss DS1-MK3 and MM-1


Softube have released two mastering plugins in collaboration with
high-end hardware manufacturer Weiss Digital Audio.
The DS1-MK3 mastering compressor/limiter/de-esser is a “line-by-
line code port of the original hardware”, said hardware being a
$10,000 compressor/limiter/de-esser described by mastering legend
Get the famous
DS1 limiter with
Bob Katz as “the most transparent, refined, flexible, and least ‘digital-
the MM-1, or the sounding’ dynamics processor I have ever used.”
whole darn box
with DS1-MK3 Also based on the algorithms
algorit of the DS1-MK3 unit, the MM-1
Mastering Maximizer features five styles
of limiting, “intelligently progressing as the
‘amount’ knob turns.”
DS1-MK3 and MM-1 are both available
now, priced $549 and $199 respectively.
URL www.softube.com

10 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


news <

App watch
We report on the latest
developments in phone
and tablet music making

Discord4 looks and sounds better than ever, with newly added saturation, FLFOs, reverb and more
Grand Finale
Originally released for desktop platforms
Audio Damage Discord4 original modulation sources with their new at the end of 2017, Klevgrand’s Grand
It’s hard to believe it’s been 15 years since FLFOs (the ‘F’ stands for Flexible). Finale has now arrived on iOS. Designed to
Audio Damage’s superb stereo pitchshifter As before, Discord4 features three put “the icing on the cake” of your
Discord first landed, but we couldn’t be distinct algorithms – Vintage, Modern and productions, it comprises a set of pre-
happier that it’s still being developed. Granular – and up to a whopping six octaves routed modules (including compression,
Discord4 adds to the dual tempo-synced of pitchshifting, at the extremes of which stereo width, EQ and distortion) with
delays and band-pass filters that have been “some truly strange aliasing and artefacts adjustable parameters, and offering
central to Discord’s functional premise since can be had”. selectable algorithms. When combined,
day one, with a reverb in the feedback loop, Discord4 is available now for Mac and PC, they can be used to finalise a single track, a
stereo panorama controls, a soft-saturation priced $59. bus or a complete mix.
circuit and a limiter, and replaces the URL www.audiodamage.com For a quick, easy ‘polisher’, this is just
the thing. Grand Finale operates
standalone, currently available for
£7.99/$7.99 (half price).
Zynaptiq Orange www.klevgrand.se
Vocoder 4
Still considered by many to be the industry
standard software vocoder, Prosoniq
Orange Vocoder – originally released in 1998
– was bought by Zynaptiq, along with the
rest of the Prosoniq IP catalogue, in 2013. Ableton Link
It’s been a rather long time coming, then, It’s not easy to achieve widespread
but Orange Vocoder 4 at last sees Zynaptiq adoption of a new music technology
capitalising on their acquisition. A complete standard, but Ableton have done it with
top-to-bottom rebuild, it features a Link. This syncing system – which enables
“streamlined multi-view UI with killer you to hook up a multitude of iOS and
workflow features” including section presets desktop apps – has been a roaring success
and “smart” randomisation. More and, as of version 3, can handle start/stop
importantly, though, the vocoder itself now Orange Vocoder 4 for Mac and PC is transport commands. What’s more, this
boasts 22 algorithms, while the synthesiser scheduled for release in early Q2 2018, at a functionality can be supported in
includes unison and mono legato modes, price yet to be announced. Audiobus, too.
and plenty of modulation options. URL www.timespace.com www.ableton.com/en/link

Universal Audio UAD 9.5 The headline addition in UAD Software


The latest update to Universal Audio’s v9.5 is the Helios Type 69 Preamp and EQ
UAD Software brings with it the usual Collection, relegating the earlier Helios Type
slew of groovy new DSP-powered 69 EQ to ‘Legacy’ status, as UA usually do.
plugin effects. The new version is said to improve greatly
on the algorithms of the original, and adds
Unison emulation of the Lustraphone mic
preamp, for zero-latency tracking. It’s £249. Snap
UAD Software v9.5 also includes the Want to turn your dance moves into tight
Brainworx-developed A/DA Flanger, aping grooves? Take another look at Snap,
the classic 70s analogue bucket brigade Reactable’s iOS drum machine. This now
stompbox flanger; and the Friedman Buxom offers support for motion control – you can
Betty Amplifier, bringing the authentic change patterns on the fly using circle,
sound of that hand-wired single-channel infinity, punch and shake gestures. If you
50W amp to your desktop. Both also feature have Snap installed on an iPad and an
Unison technology, and cost £115 each. iPhone, and they’re both connected to the
UAD Software 9.5 is available now as a same wireless network, you can use the
free download for UAD-2 and Apollo users. latter as a controller for the former.
URL www.uaudio.com www.reactable.com/snap

May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 11


> news

Get with the Krotos Audio Weaponiser


From hardcore hip-hop to dubstep and
beyond, the sound of gunfire has always

programmers played a part in music production, and


Krotos Audio’s new virtual
instrument looks to be the ultimate
source of such cacophony.
How do the pros craft sound-design software for film Aimed primarily at video-game
and movie sound designers,
and game creatives? Krotos Audio’s GM reveals all… Weaponiser combines sample
playback and synthesis in a slick and
impressively feature-packed engine. Two
What challenges do you face when versions are available: Basic (£181), drawing
designing sound-design tools for gaming, on 515 weapon recordings (900+ samples),
broadcast and post-production pros? and Fully Loaded (£265), with 1596
MC “Our users need to be as creative as recordings (2000+ samples).
possible, at high speed, in high quality. Our URL www.krotosaudio.com
design aesthetic is to make this process real-
time, and to minimise the distance between a
creative thought and a tangible sonic result. DDMF Plugindoctor
The tools need to be CPU-friendly, stable, A “cross-platform and cross-bitformat plugin
intuitive and compatible with industry- analyzer for VST and AU plugins”,
standard processes.” Plugindoctor gives developers (or seriously
curious end-users) the means with
How is Dehumaniser tailored for which to “thoroughly test the audio
Krotos Audio vocal manipulation? quality” of their effects plugins.
MC “The modules are a combination of Functions and features include a
Matthew traditional pitchshifting, ring modulators, EQ, double precision FFT engine,
compression, etc, combined with more independent stereo channel analysis,
Collings experimental tools like granular processing, THD analysis, processing speed
plus our own Spectral Shifting and Scrubbing analysis, an oscilloscope,
Convolution creations. We wanted the user to be able to easily combine compression/expansion envelope testing, a
and route subtle transformations, as well as create extreme vocal-melting built-in screen-grabber and more.
effects. All modules are available in one window, so new users can quickly Plugindoctor can be yours now for the
create powerful sounds, and pro users can dive into an endless world of princely sum of £14.
custom setups. Each module also features a gate, and each module’s URL ddmf.eu
output can then be routed anywhere in the larger system, to help set up
complex dynamic structures.”
Wavesfactory Spectre
Reformer Pro can trigger and ‘perform’ sound design libraries A VST/AU/AAX plugin effect for mixing and
from a different input source. How does this technology work? mastering, Spectre “combines the best
MC “The plugin analyses and matches an input to sections of pre- features of an enhancer coupled with a
recorded audio, and recompiles them in real time with ultra-low latency. graphical parametric equaliser”. It
You can use your voice (or any other audio input) to ‘perform’ the growl of works by adding harmonics to the
a tiger, gory foley, a futuristic source material, based on the
electronic mechanism, or any difference between the input and the
“Producers are using combination of sounds on your hard EQed output, generated using any one
drive! Reformer’s engine is very of eight saturation algorithms.
our products in ways sensitive to this range of inputs, Wavesfactory claim the results are
meaning that different performers will “full of color, with bigger and warmer
we never expected” get different responses to the same low frequencies, shiny shimmering highs
library of recorded sounds.” and powerful mids that any other processor
just can’t give you.”
How does your new Weaponiser instrument facilitate weapon Spectre is available now, priced €99.
sound-design, and what challenges did you face when creating it? URL www.wavesfactory.com
MC “After a huge amount of research, we wanted to create a tool that
could create any type of weapon sound with just a few clicks. It’s a
sampler/synth hybrid – the processing workflow is familiar to those Acustica Audio Azure
working in games or interactive audio. Each engine and synth is Emulating Berlin-based mastering engineer
customised to play a specific role in a layered design, so you keep your Zino Mikorey’s custom-built passive four-
layers clean and separated. Putting together the immense sound library band (plus LP/HP filters) tube mastering EQ,
was a huge challenge – our Fully Loaded version contains more than Acustica’s latest plugin uses their new
2000 edited weapon recordings from a vast range of mic positions, Core 11 convolution technology to
sweeteners, IRs, foley and more!” faithfully model every component of
the signal path. Operating in regular
How can your technology be used and abused by musicians? stereo and mid-sides modes, Azure
MC “Although these tools were initially created with a specific workflow even improves on the original topology
in mind, they are hugely powerful and inspiring devices, because they by running its frequency bands in series
weren’t made with a traditional plugin mentality. We’ve been excited to rather than parallel, making for “easier
see Weaponiser used for musical sound design, beat-making, synthesis evaluation of the applied processing”.
and music production – producers such as Richard Devine are using our Due for release soon (possibly even by the
products in ways we never expected.” time you read this), Azure can be pre-ordered
now for €169.
URL www.krotosaudio.com URL www.acustica-audio.com

12 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


years
back
What was the buzz in music
software a decade ago?
We put your mixes on a diet in April/May
2008 (CM125), explaining why trimming
them down could make them sound
bigger and better. A decade on, we’re
Arturia’s new filter
and preamp plugins
considering fighting the musical flab
promise analogue once again: we all have to deal with
flavours in your DAW middle-aged sonic spread sooner or later.
In News, we reported on Apple’s
decision to let third-party developers
create iPhone software for their new App
Six new Arturia EQs and preamps Store. What a game-changer this would
turn out to be! In fact, we speculated
Known first and foremost for their superlative range of classic synth elsewhere in the mag that Ableton,
and keyboard emulations, Arturia are moving in a new direction with Steinberg and Cakewalk wouldn’t get
their latest simultaneous release: two bundles of three self-contained “We all have to deal
effects plugins, one a trio of filters, the other three preamps.
The first bundle comprises models of the filters from Arturia’s SEM V, with middle-aged sonic
Mini V and Matrix-12 V, while the latter features emulations of three spread sooner or later”
prized hardware preamps: the Neve 1073, the Trident A and the
involved with Apple’s mobile platform:
Telefunken V76. Both bundles are available now, priced €199. wrong on all counts. Still, we did accurately
URL www.arturia.com predict that GarageBand would come to
iPhone. We also heralded Windows Vista
Service Pack 1’s arrival. Heady days indeed.
In Reviews, we looked at Digidesign’s

Ins & outs archly-named Eleven guitar amp sim – we


refused to play along with the joke and
awarded it a still solid 8/10. Meanwhile,
LIVE 10 LARKS SINGLE SPEAKER (PUT A RING our Out There gadgets section featured a
Some nice lampoonery from ON IT) USB cassette deck for digitising your old
producer Kill The Noise, who’s An Apple product launch wouldn’t C90s. These days, tape is hip again, so
redubbed the Ableton Live 10 trailer be complete without some kind of trend-setting producers are more likely to
with a very different soundtrack. controversy; in the case of the be doing things the opposite way round.
Watching earnest musicians pour HomePod, it was the fact that it Vinyl is so last year, after all...
their souls into CBeebies-style might leave a white ring on yourr
bleeps and pings never gets old. wooden furniture. Not such a
http://bit.ly/2CYWk9d smart speaker after all, then…

CARD TIMES PURPLE PAIN


Who’d have thought 2018 would be However well-intentioned, Justin
the year of the cardboard musical Timberlake’s recent Super Bowl
keyboard? First Nintendo halftime Prince ‘duet’ show wasn’t
announced one as part of their particularly well received, not least
Labo kit, then the origami-style, as the Minneapolitan funkster had
build-it-yourself Kami-Oto expressed his dislike for such
arrived on Kickstarter. Just be technology-powered artist
careful not to get it wet. revivals when he was alive.

GET YOUR FREK ON ANDROID ANGST


What happens when Ikea and Compiled by JUCE, the Mobile
Teenage Engineering work Quality Index was sobering
together? You get Frekvens, a new reading for Android users. With a
music range designed for “getting few exceptions, Android devices
the party started”. Prototypes are still trail iOS phones and tablets
currently in progress, and we can when it comes to latency levels
expect the results of this and glitchiness. Will they ever
partnership to appear next year. catch up, we wonder? CM’s 125th issue was all about eating your cultural
vegetables – with found sounds and clean tones!

May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 13


> news

freeware news
It’s another month of fantastic freebies – we’ve got a pair of packed
ROMplers, an MPC-style beatbox and an awesome cross-platform DAW

SoundBridge
DAW
SoundBridge DAW is the rarest of
rarities – a fully fleshed out, cross-
platform DAW, released free of charge
Our monthly roundup of the best
freeware is often jam-packed with
effects and instruments, and we’re
grateful for each and every one. Far rarer,
though, are free digital audio
workstations – so when a new one
appears, we sit up and take notice, SoundBridge DAW is cross-platform, and is compatible with multiple plugin formats
particularly if it’s as slick as SoundBridge
DAW is! launch, SoundBridge DAW can indeed be are included with the program, and an
SoundBridge DAW has been in run offline. You’ll need to be connected if additional bundle may be downloaded
development for a while now, beginning you want to take advantage of its online from the developer’s site.
life as the commercial Lumit before being collaboration features via the built-in If you’re looking for your first DAW, or
renamed and retooled. Would-be users support for SkyTracks.io. simply feel the need for a change, you’d
need to set up an account before digging Other SoundBridge DAW features do well to give SoundBridge DAW a look.
in, but it should be noted that, though it include support for both VST and AU What’ve you got to lose?
does nudge the user to sign in on each plugins. A generous collection of effects soundbridge.io

SampleScience SoundBridge AudioKit Pro


SampleScience Player RitMix FM Player
A big, bountiful bonanza, Yet another SoundBridge As this iOS instrument’s
SampleScience Player is, we’re freebie: this time, RitMix is name implies, FM Player
told, the biggest free ROMpler an MPC-styled drum isn’t a frequency-
you can get. With 200 machine with a built-in modulation synthesiser in
instruments in 14 categories, 16-step sequencer, loads of the truest sense, but is
this slick collection of open- editing features and a built- instead a sample-based
source and CC 3.0 audio files in mixer. Included are 31 kits, ranging from 8-bit ROMpler designed to
has been converted to FLAC format for optimum grungeboxes to dancehall and dubstep. You can provide instantaneous access to 68 of the best
sound quality. There are more than 2GB of add insert effect, humanise your beats, tap in sounds from history’s most famous FM
samples included, from simple analogue tempos and more. The Edit Window offers a synthesisers, including Yamaha’s DX 7 and TX81z
waveforms to full-on orchestral instruments. A graphical envelope, distortion, EQ and option to synths. Free and open-source, FM Player virtually
smattering of sound-shaping parameters and tweak a loaded sample’s playback mode. Plenty to encapsulates the sound of the 80s – go and grab
effects allows them to be fine-tuned as needed. help get your groove on! it right now!
bit.ly/SampleSciencePlayer soundbridge.io audiokitpro.com/fmplayer

CLASSIC FREE SOFTWARE


RASMUS EKMAN COAGULA
Aphex Twin’s classic Windowlicker caused idea, to be sure, and one that would
quite a stir back in ’99, not least because a reappear in the free Windows-based
few frightfully obsessive fans discovered Coagula, billed as an ‘Industrial Strength
that actual images could be seen when the Tone Organ’. Using a form of additive
audio was run through spectral analysis synthesis, Coagula converts image lines and
software. As it turned out, Mr James had pixels into sine waves and vice-versa. Paint
made use of a pricey image-to-sound tools allow you to tweak the image, altering
application called MetaSynth. An unusual the sound as you go. Neat stuff.

14 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


ISSUE 255 MAY 2018
Future Publishing Ltd.
What’s on your
hard drive?
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Email:computermusic@futurenet.com
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Editor: Joe Rossitter, joe.rossitter@futurenet.com
Art Editor: Mark White, mark.white@futurenet.com
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CONTRIBUTORS
Tim Cant, Scot Solida, Dave Clews, Danny Scott, Ronan Macdonald,
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Dapayk Solo
The techno producer and label boss – real name
Niklas Worgt – drops his favourite software bombs
LOGIC PRO X dirty sounds of the 90s’. The workflow, too.
“I grew up in East Germany and started A very easy synth to work on.”
making music before the wall came down.
Getting hold of studio equipment was near ARTURIA JUPITER-8V
impossible, but there was one guy who had “It’s difficult to pick one synth from the
Future plc is a public Chief executive Zillah Byng-Thorne
a small studio with an early version of Arturia Collection. They were used on
company quoted on the Non-executive chairman Peter Allen Cakewalk. Wow – the computer was making virtually every track on the new album. I
London Stock Exchange !ǝǣƺǔȇƏȇƬǣƏǼȒǔƬƺ Penny Ladkin-Brand
٢ɵȅƫȒǼ‫ي‬IÈÁ«٣
music! The reason I now use Logic is that, chose the Jupiter because of the string
www.futureplc.com Tel +44 (0)1225 442 244 when I first saw it, it reminded me of

All contents © 2018 Future Publishing Limited or published under licence. All rights reserved. No
Cakewalk. It felt very familiar to me… like I
was coming home.”
“Getting equipment
part of this magazine may be used, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any way without the
prior written permission of the publisher. Future Publishing Limited (company number 2008885)
ǣƺǕǣƺƺƳǣȇ0ȇǕǼƏȇƳƏȇƳáƏǼƺِ«ƺǕǣƺƺƳȒǔƬƺ‫ي‬ªɖƏɵRȒɖƺًÁǝƺȅƫɖɵً Əǝ ᒇ NATIVE INSTRUMENTS REAKTOR
was near impossible
1UA. All information contained in this publication is for information only and is, as far as we are
aware, correct at the time of going to press. Future cannot accept any responsibility for errors or
inaccuracies in such information. You are advised to contact manufacturers and retailers directly
“I bought this because I liked the idea of
trying to create a new modular in East Germany”
with regard to the price of products/services referred to in this publication. Apps and websites
mentioned in this publication are not under our control. We are not responsible for their contents environment every few weeks. It’s not quite
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any way with the companies mentioned herein.
as good as a hardware modular, but it’s sounds. The main problem for me is that my
If you submit material to us, you warrant that you own the material and/or have the necessary
pretty close. Of course, as time passed, I computer takes a couple of seconds to load
rights/permissions to supply the material and you automatically grant Future and its licensees never continued with it. These days, I pretty a sound when I’m scrolling through the
a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in any/all issues and/or editions of
publications, in any format published worldwide and on associated websites, social media much use it for the preset sounds because… presets. I have to be in a patient mood.”
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liable for loss or damage. We assume all unsolicited material is for publication unless otherwise IZOTOPE 6
stated, and reserve the right to edit, amend, adapt all submissions.
NATIVE INSTRUMENTS MASSIVE “I like to do all my own mastering. It doesn’t
“When Massive first exploded, it never feel right to send it to someone else. With
We are committed to only
using magazine paper
captured my imagination. It was very iZotope, that isn’t a problem because the
which is derived from popular, but I dismissed it. Maybe I wasn’t results I can get are pretty damn good. My
ƺ ȒȇǣƫǼɵȅƏȇƏǕƺƳًƬƺǣƺƳ
forestry and chlorine-free ready. Then, when I really started to find out one piece of advice would be, ‘experiment.
ȅƏȇɖǔƏƬɖƺِÁǝƺ Ə ƺǣȇǝǣ
magazine was sourced and
more, I thought, ‘Yeah, it reminds of those Take time to learn what you can do’.”
produced from sustainable
managed forests, conforming
to strict environmental and
socioeconomic standards. The Calling by Dapayk Solo is out April 3 on Mo’s Ferry Productions.
ÁǝƺȅƏȇɖǔƏƬɖǣȇǕ Ə ƺ
mill holds full FSC (Forest www.mosferry.de/dapayk
Stewardship Council)
ƬƺǣƬƏǣȒȇƏȇƳƏƬƬƺƳǣƏǣȒȇ
/ burning question

How do you
feel about monthly
subscription pricing
models?
Scott Powell down stuff that I know I will
“If I own the software after a set definitely use, and either get it
period of time, I’m totally down free, or pay for it as a download.”
for it. But like with Slate, where I’m
just paying and paying, that Renyar Ttam
doesn’t interest me at all.” “I think the ‘rent-to-buy’ model is a
fantastic idea for people who like
Lee Whitfield to invest in their hobbies, and
“It would be fine for a short-term support companies that provide
lease of an otherwise expensive the software. A one-off purchase
piece of software that you only for something like a DAW can be
need on occasion, and in short prohibitively expensive for some,
bursts (eg, for audio restoration), especially as ‘lite’ versions are
but not for continuous usage of very restricted. Just a plain rental
workhorse plugins. I have option isn’t the way forward – the
software from tens of separate possibility of losing a product
developers – it would cost a small you’ve paid for is very anti-
fortune to rent from them all!” consumer, as it means never
owning something you’ve
Matt Black actually paid for.”
“I think they’re great for samples,
because you get to keep them. Mark Davies
But with software, I only like the “If you’re just starting out then I
idea of ‘rent-to-buy’ – I don’t see think it’s a good idea. It will
the point of paying for VSTs for a probably save you cash in the
number of years, then when I stop long run.”
paying, I lose access to all of them.
What happens if I want to revisit James Wiltshire, F9 Audio
an old project, when I paid for the “As a developer of soundware, it
plugins at the time?” doesn’t work for us here at F9, as
the development costs incurred
Rob Mitchell in our releases means they only
“Subscriptions are not for me. I’d work as ‘packed’ products. Also, I
like an option to buy as well, and can’t ask our featured artists to
not have to wait a whole year to have their amazing talents
get just one plugin (cough, cough, available for mere pence per loop.
Roland…) after paying more than As a producer, I can see it may
$200 over 12 months.” seem handy initially, but these
systems can lead to quality issues
Hadge Hughes over time – I’ve seen some
“I question if it’s really necessary. shocking stuff out there already,
The problem is that often you end including drum sounds not
up with a hard drive full of stuff trimmed, and blatant copyright
Illustration by Jake

you’ll never use. I prefer to hunt infringement.”

Join us on Facebook to have your say in the


mag every month – computer.music.mag
> roundup

roundup
Artist-endorsed plugins
Get the sound of the

Infected Mushroom
The psytrance duo pair up with
Polyverse to create I Wish,
Manipulator and Gatekeeper
ww.polyverse.com

Chris Lord-Alge
Sweeten and sculpt with the mixing
legend’s boiled-down processing chains
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18 / COMPUTER MUSIC May 2018


roundup <

Dada Life
Beef up and cheer up your dancefloor
bangers with the duo’s pair of effects
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Sick Individuals
All-in-one compression, midrange boost,
Nicky Romero drive, widening and synced tremolo
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Get the perfect pump with the EDM
star’s volume-ducker plugin, Kickstart
www.kickstart-plugin.com

Hans Zimmer
Cinematic vibes aplenty
with the legendary
composer’s custom-built
update of Zebra 2
www.u-he.com

May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 19



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> make music now / play keyboard like a pro

PLAY
KEYBOARD
LIKE A PRO
22 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018
play keyboard like a pro / make music now <

Get better with your black ’n’ whites,


and master your MIDI controller for
performing, composing, and making DOWNLOAD
See it in action in video

your most expressive patches ever on your PC or Mac via


filesilo.co.uk/computermusic

When it comes to making music with your makes sense to get acquainted with it at least to Just like with the guitar, there are many
computer, the keyboard is surely the the point of being able to play in simple riffs, different techniques that can be adopted
number one choice for capturing MIDI data. chords and melodies. Over the next few pages, depending on the kind of keyboard instrument or
Sure, you can program notes in one at a time then, we’ve put together a complete beginner’s part you’re dealing with. Playing a synth solo uses
in step input mode, or paint them into your guide to the keyboard. You’ll find advice on what a very different skillset to performing a classical
DAW’s piano roll editor using a brush tool, but to look for when buying your first keyboard, piano piece, for example, and effective clavinet
for getting your musical ideas out of your some pointers on basic technique, a few and organ parts all require their own specific
head and into the computer quickly and exercises to get you started and increase your version of the basic piano technique.
efficiently, there’s no question that the overall dexterity, lots of useful information Add in extra controls and considerations like
keyboard (in the ubiquitous form of the MIDI about chords and scales, how to optimise your sustain pedals, pitchbend and modulation
keyboard controller) is the ultimate weapon synth presets for control over particular wheels, and you have a fair variety of different
of choice. performance parameters, and how to get to skills to get to grips with. So if you’ve ever wanted
Besides which, playing keyboards is just an grips with all those mysterious knobs and to conquer the keyboard and become the next
incredibly fun thing to do. So, if you really want buttons that you’ll find on the average MIDI Jools Holland or Alicia Keys, but not really known
to take proper control of your DAW, we reckon it controller keyboard. where to start, you’ve come to the right place!

May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 23


> make music now / play keyboard like a pro

Key moments in keyboard history


The earliest known piece of music written for today as a velocity-sensitive keyboard: the
keyboard dates from around 1360, about the time player could vary the volume depending on how
that the first keyboard instruments – the hard the keys were struck, and the strings were
clavichord and the harpsichord – began to whacked with hammers rather than being
appear. It’s sobering to think that the classical plucked. However, these early pianos had light
composers of the Baroque era – notable wooden frames, lightly-sprung key action,
examples of which include JS Bach, who leather hammers and short sustain; compared
composed some of the greatest keyboard music to the iron-framed, weighted-action, felt-
ever written – did not have access to the modern hammered, long-sustaining version of the
piano as we know it, or indeed any form of piano, instrument we know today.
as the earliest examples date from the late 18th

© Getty
century. Pipe organs became standard in Piano power
churches, while string-based keyboard The piano was a big hit with performers and
instruments like clavichords, harpsichords,
spinets and virginals were fashionable for well-to-
composers of the time, pushing clavichords and
harpsichords to the sidelines. It wasn’t until the Greatest
do drawing rooms of the day. 20th century and the advent of electricity that we
started to see new instruments and innovations players of the
“Early synths played a such as the Hammond tonewheel organ, the
Ondes Martenot (a sort of early keyboard 20th century
synthesiser/theremin hybrid), the Fender Rhodes
note at a time” and Wurlitzer electric pianos, the Mellotron (a
tape-based precursor of the modern sampling
1950s
Jerry Lee Lewis (Rock ‘n’ roll pioneer)
keyboard) and early synthesisers such as the EMS Little Richard (Rock ‘n’ roll legend)
The clavichord was a small, rectangular VCS3, Roland Modular and Moog Minimoog. Fats Domino (Blueberry hill icon)
wooden instrument that contained a set of These early synths were monophonic – ie, only Ray Charles (Rhodes innovator)
strings that were plucked with a small blade or able to play one note at a time, which was great
‘tangent’ whenever a key was pressed. The for basslines and solos – but it wasn’t until the 1960s
design of the keyboard itself evolved from having Yamaha CS80 and Moog Polymoog appeared in Thelonious Monk (Bebop legend)
seven keys per octave to the current design that 1976 that synths became the mainstay of two- Oscar Peterson (Blues maestro)
features 12, including the black notes, or handed keyboardists the world over, culminating Ray Manzarek (Doors keysmith)
‘accidentals’ as they’re known. in iconic milestones of the digital era such as Stevie Wonder (Pop/soul hero)
The more sizeable harpsichord was largely an Yamaha’s DX7 and the Roland D-50.
attempt to produce a greater volume of sound. Today’s keyboardists have a huge list of 1970s
Many harpsichords featured double keyboards, influential players to take inspiration from, going Herbie Hancock (Jazz supremo)
but still lacked the ability to vary the dynamics back almost 100 years to the jazz greats of the Rick Wakeman (Prog rock wizard)
of the performance, due to the fact that the 1920s, through the rock ’n’ roll era of the 1950s, Elton John (Glam rock royalty)
strings were plucked. 70s prog rock and beyond. Here’s a timeline of Jon Lord (Deep Purple)
The forerunner of the modern piano was some of the great players from the last century – Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake
invented around 1780, mainly in response to this check out some of these guys’ work and you’ll & Palmer)
lack of expressiveness. It featured what we know definitely pick up plenty of pointers. Chick Corea (US fusion giant)
Joe Zawinul (Weather Report)
Billy Joel (Pianist / Songwriter)
George Duke (Genre-hopping jazzer)
Bernie Worrell (Funk magician)
Jean Michel Jarre (French synth icon)
Geoff Downes (Asia / The Buggles)
Tony Banks (Genesis)
Richard Tandy (ELO)
Jools Holland (Squeeze, Jools Holland
Big Band)

1980s
Greg Phillinganes (Session supremo)
Billy Currie (Ultravox synthman)
Jan Hammer (Miami Vice icon)
Thomas Dolby (Mad professor)
Mike Lindup (Level 42)
Nick Rhodes (Duran Duran)
Richard Barbieri (Japan/Porcupine
Tree)

1990s
Bruce Hornsby (Pianist/songwriter)
Harry Connick Jr. (Modern jazz pianist)
Alicia Keys (Singer/pianist)
Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater
virtuoso)

2000s
Norah Jones (Jazz singer/pianist)
© Getty

Jamie Cullum (Jazz singer/pianist)


Norah Jones is a noted Matt Bellamy (Muse genius)
piano and organ player

24 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


play keyboard like a pro / make music now <

KEYBOARD BUYER’S GUIDE


There are many different types of keyboard keyboard that makes no sounds on its own, but you’ll be comfortable with is a 49-key option,
out there. So when buying, you’ll need to is designed to be hooked up to a computer via as even with octave-shift buttons, you’ll find
consider exactly what it is you’ll be using it for. USB or Bluetooth in order to control the the range of a 25-key model fairly limiting.
There are hardware synthesisers designed for softsynths that run within the confines of your Above that, the more keys the better – it’s
live performance or for the studio. These DAW, and generate the MIDI data that your always good to go for as many keys as you
generate their own sounds internally, and thus host records and plays back whenever you have the room for, we say.
need to be connected either to a PA system for enter a keyboard part. The other question is whether or not to go
use on stage, or plugged into an audio for full-size keys or micro keys. Micro
interface so the sounds they make can be How many keys? keyboards are conveniently small enough to
recorded into a computer. A standard piano has 88 keys, spanning over squeeze into a laptop bag, but although that’s
Then there are the personal home seven octaves, and while there are plenty of handy for inputting keyboard ideas on the
keyboards, generally targeted more towards controller keyboards out there of this size, in move, small keys are more fiddly and harder to
the home entertainment market, such as many cases the average home or project play than full-size equivalents. If you have the
Yamaha’s Tyros range, with hundreds of built- studio keyboardist will be able to get away space, we’d always recommend a unit with full-
in sounds, auto-accompaniment features and with something with a much smaller footprint. size keys for studio use, simply because they
built-in speakers for monitoring in a domestic Controllers start from 25 keys (two octaves), have a more conventional feel – important if
environment without the need for any through 49 (four octaves), 61 (five octaves) and you want to take your playing to the next level.
additional hardware or computer. 76 (six octaves). A 25-key unit will be fine if all All in all, we reckon you should look to spend at
It’s a fair bet that most readers of this you need to do is bash out the odd drum, bass least £100 or so for a decent spec, full-size
magazine will probably be more interested in a or solo part with one or two fingers, but if 49-key controller; or more if you want one with
MIDI controller keyboard. This is the type of you’re a two-handed player, the minimum other modern features.

Korg SV-1 £1399 Akai LPK25 Wireless £59


The fabulous Korg SV-1 stage keyboard is available in both 73 and This dinky controller fits in a laptop bag and connects via Bluetooth
88-key versions for ultimate portability

ROLI Seaboard RISE 49 £1000 Nektar Impact 88+ £249


Like a row of hotdogs in a wetsuit, the innovative RISE 49 ofers Remarkable value for money for a full-size, semi-weighted action
boundless realms of expression 88-note board

NI Komplete Kontrol S49 / S61 MkII £499 Nord Stage 3 88 £3459


Native Instruments’ newly-updated, S-series controllers feature The ultimate all-rounder for live/studio use, with a hammer-action,
twin hi-def LCD screens and illuminated keys fully-weighted 88-note keyboard

May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 25


> make music now / play keyboard like a pro

Anatomy of a keyboard
We’re all familiar with black and white notes – but what do all
those knobs, sliders and flashing buttons do? Let’s find out… FADERS
Assign these
to variable
ROTARY ENCODERS parameters,
PITCHBEND DRUM PADS LCD DISPLAY Assign these knobs to such as
WHEEL Smackable pads for Shows info about the control parameters in channel volume
Allows you to bend programming drum parts currently selected control your DAW
notes while playing

KEYS SWITCHES
Standard-size, OCTAVE SWITCHES TRANSPORT
MODULATION WHEEL CONTROLS Programmable
piano-type keyboard Shift the notes you’re switches for
Apply vibrato or other for inputting notes playing up or down one Navigate your
parameters to the DAW project DAW functions
octave at a time like mute/solo etc
current sound directly from your
controller

PSU SOCKET
For plugging SUSTAIN PEDAL INPUT
in an external Connect a sustain pedal for
power supply realistic piano-style playing
MIDI IN/OUT
Traditional EXPRESSION
five-pin sockets PEDAL INPUT
USB SOCKET Plug a pedal in here
Connects to your computer for for transmitting
and receiving to control volume and
both MIDI data and power other parameters
MIDI data

26 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


play keyboard like a pro / make music now <

Beginners, start here!


When starting to learn the keyboard, Similarly, if you’re standing, adjust
it’s a good idea to get basic hand the height of your keyboard to Throughout this feature, we’ll be referring to
positions nailed early on, as it’ll make achieve the same result. finger positioning using this numbering system
playing easier in general, and Generally speaking, if you’re
prevent you from falling into bad playing two-handed, you’ll be
habits in the long run. In terms of focusing your right hand on the 4 3 3 4
simple ergonomics, it area of the 5 2 2 5
might seem obvious, keyboard around
but you need to be
sat (or standing)
“Get basic hand middle C and
above, and your
facing your keyboard,
positioned roughly in
positions nailed left hand will be
positioned mainly
1 1
in the lower area of
line with the centre –
around middle C. If early on” the keyboard to
you’re sitting, make the left of middle
sure that the seat is high enough that C, taking care of the bass notes. This
your wrist and elbow are slightly will often be played in octaves,
higher than the level of the keyboard using your thumb and pinky an
when your fingertips are on the keys. octave apart.

> Step by step 1. Basic hand positioning

To begin with, start with your right Draw your fingers back a little so that Maintaining this position, press down

1 hand. Keeping your hand and fingers


relaxed, place your right hand lightly on
the keys, with the left side of your thumb
on middle C and the tips of your fingers
2 they’re slightly bent, keeping each
fingertip resting lightly on its own key,
positioned equally between the left and
right edges of each key. Make sure your
3 with just your thumb to play middle C.
Keep the other fingers as still as you can,
and avoid sticking your fingers out
straight in weird directions as you play. Lift
resting on the next four white keys wrist is relaxed, but not so much that it’s up and press down again to play the note
(that’s D, E, F and G) to the right. completely drooping down below the a few more times, getting used to not
level of the keys. Keep it raised slightly. moving the rest of your hand as you do so.

Next, as you release your thumb up Now try the same thing going from D As you get more confident, add the

4 from middle C and let the key rise up


again, press down with your index finger
to play D. To avoid the notes overlapping,
think of it like how you’d use the pedals
5 to E, lifting the D up as you press
down on the E with your middle finger,
again keeping the rest of your hand as
still as possible. Then go from E back to
6 notes F and G into the equation,
playing them with your ring and little
finger. As you play up and down the five
notes C-D-E-F-G-F-E-D-C, try to make your
when changing gear in a car – C is the D again, then down to C, in reverse fingers ‘walk’ from one key to the next, so
clutch, and D is the accelerator. As the order. Keep playing slowly up and down that the notes transition together
clutch comes up, the accelerator goes through C-D-E-D-C a few times to try and smoothly. Keep things really nice and slow
down, and vice versa. get the feel of it. and even to start with.

May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 27


> make music now / play keyboard like a pro

> Step by step 2. How to recognise the keys

As you look down at the keyboard, The white note immediately to the There are seven main note names

1 check out the black keys. Notice how


they’re arranged in a regular pattern – a
group of two, followed by a group of three,
followed by a group of two, another group
2 left of each group of two black notes
is a C – the one situated in the centre of
the keyboard is middle C. C is important
because it’s the starting point for anyone
3 for the white notes, starting with A
and continuing through B, C, D, E, F and
G. Travelling along towards the right end
of the keyboard, the next white note up
of three and so on. In fact, they’re learning the keyboard. The key of C from C is D, then E, F, and G. After G, it
arranged in alternating groups of two major contains no sharps or flats in it, just wraps back around to A, followed
and three like this all the way along so it has no black notes for you to by B, and finally a repeat of C one
the keyboard. worry about. octave higher.

> Step by step Interval patterns


3. Playing a C major scale for major and
minor scales
Love ’em or hate ’em, there’s no
better method of keyboard
practice than scales for improving
overall dexterity. Major and minor
scales are specific sequences of
eight notes, defined by the
patterns of intervals between
those notes. By applying this
pattern as a kind of formula, we
can work out the major or minor
scale for any key. The formula for
a major scale is T-T-S-T-T-T-S, where
Moving on, it’s time to adopt the Now, move the thumb up from C to F,
S stands for an interval of one

1 proper fingering for a C major scale.


This lets you play all of the white notes up
to the octave above middle C (C-D-E-F-G-
A-B-C) smoothly and evenly. Start with
2 keeping the middle finger on the E,
passing your thumb under your first two
fingers. As you release the E, press the F
key with your thumb and move the rest of
semitone (the smallest possible
interval on the keyboard, between
any two adjacent keys) and T
stands for tone (an interval of two
your hand in the starting position your hand back over to the right to adopt semitones). So, using C major as
described previously and play C, D and E the starting position once again, this time an example, we’d start on C, move
with your thumb and first two fingers. with the thumb on the F key. up a tone (two semitones) to D,
another tone to E, then a semitone
to F, another tone to G, and so on
until we get the whole scale; C-D-
E-F-G-A-B-C. Apply the same
formula to the key of D major, and
we get D-E-F#-G-A-B-C#-D. For a
natural minor scale, the formula is
T-S-T-T-S-T-T, so C minor would give
us C-D-Eb-F-G-Ab-Bb-C, and D
minor D-E-F-G-A-Bb-C-D.

You can now play G-A-B-C with fingers If you’re feeling brave, you can go for

3 2-3-4 and 5, ending with your pinky on


top C to complete the scale. To descend,
simply play C-B-A-G-F with fingers 5-4-3-2
and 1, ending with the thumb back on F.
4 the two-octave version – 1-2-3 (thumb
under), 1-2-3-4 (thumb under), 1-2-3 (thumb
under), 1-2-3-4-5, ending up with your
pinky on C5. The critical thing with all
Then bring your fingers over your thumb scales is to start out slowly, and master
and hit E with your middle finger, followed playing the scale evenly at a slow tempo
by the index finger on D and thumb back before speeding up. Don’t be tempted to
on middle C. go too fast too soon!

28 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


> make music now / play keyboard like a pro

Chord formulas for major and minor triads


Now we know how to construct major triad, we need the notes numbered 1, 3
and minor scales, we can take the notes and 5 from the major scale; in other
within them and start stacking them up words, C, E, and G = C major. The same
together to play chords. While it’s idea works when building minor triads
possible to form simple two-note chords, from minor scales, too. Take the scale of A
the most basic form of chord in common natural minor (which uses all the white
usage contains three notes, and is known notes too, from A to A): A-B-C-D-E-F-G-A.
as a triad. Like scales, triads come in Taking the notes numbered 1, 3 and 5
major and minor flavours, depending on from this scale – A, C and E – gives us an A
the scales their notes (also known as minor triad.
chord tones) are taken from. Looking at it from the point of view of
Take the C major scale as an example. the intervals between the chord tones,
It contains the notes C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C, as the formulas are root + 4 semitones + 3
we’ve seen. If we use numbers to label semitones for a major triad, and root + 3
the notes (or degrees) in the scale from 1 semitones + 4 semitones for a minor
to 8, we can use these numbers to create triad. Using a combination of major and
formulas to build chords from. For minor triads, it’s possible to play
instance, in a C major scale, C=1, D=2, E=3 thousands of popular songs, so they’re
and so on, until B=7. So, to build a C major pretty useful things to know! Get to know major and minor triads – the building blocks of popular music

> Step by step 4. Tackling major and minor triads

So far, we’ve only been playing single Once you’ve got the hang of pressing It sounds different due to the minor

1 notes, so let’s try some chords. We’ll


start with a C major triad – a chord made
up of three notes from the C major scale,
namely the root (C), major third (E) and
2 down these three keys without your
other two fingers getting involved, move
the whole thing up so your thumb is on D
and play D, F, and A. That’s D major, right?
3 third interval between the D and the F.
The quality of the third – major or minor –
determines whether the triad is a major or
minor chord. Here, the minor third
fifth (G). This can be played from our basic Wrong! Hear how it sounds sadder between D and F produces that sad, minor
starting position shown in the previous somehow? That’s because you’re actually sound. To make it a major third, move the
tutorial – thumb on middle C, middle playing a D minor triad, made up of D third finger a semitone up to F#. Try it now
finger on E and pinky on G. (root), F (minor third) and A (fifth). to play D, F#, A – that’s D major!

So, major triads consist of root, major There are three ways to play each triad, To get the first inversion of C major, we

4 third and fifth, while minor triads are


made up of root, minor third and fifth. Try
it with an F chord – F major is built from F,
A and C, while F minor is made up of F, Ab
5 depending on which note you put your
thumb on. Go back to our C major triad for
a second. As played in step 1, with our
thumb on C, middle finger on E and pinky
6 move the thumb to the next chord tone
up: E. The G is now covered by the index
finger, and the pinky moves to the next C
note up – E, G, C. Move up again, with the
and C. The only change is that third going on G, we’re in root position – so-called thumb on G, middle finger on C and pinky
from major (A) to minor (Ab). because our thumb is on the root. on E, to get the second inversion – G, C, E.

30 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


play keyboard like a pro / make music now <

> Step by step 5. A tricky finger-independence exercise

To grow as a keyboard player, you The idea is to hold down a different Keep holding your thumb down on the

1 need to get used to your hands doing


different things at the same time, and
fingers as well. Remember the beginner’s
exercise where we walked through the
2 note each time and play through the
notes that surround it, without lifting off
the held-down note. Sounds easy, but it’s
actually pretty tricky, and is a great
3 C key, but lift off the D and play the E
with your middle finger, followed by the F
with your ring finger and G with your
pinky – holding C down with your thumb
notes C-D-E-F-G-F-E-D-C? To help develop exercise for developing finger the whole time. Then walk back down
finger independence, we’re going to independence. Start by playing the C and again from G through F, E and D without
revisit this, but with a twist. First, assume D together with your thumb and index lifting your thumb, so that the C note
the position shown above. finger. Easy enough so far… sustains throughout.

POWER TIP

>Two-finger
challenge
A fun variation to help with this
exercise is to place your hand on a
tabletop and get a friend to call out
random pairs of numbers – say, ‘2 &
5’, or ‘1 & 4’ – then lift up only the
corresponding pair of fingers,
keeping the others flat on the table.
This can be quite a challenge, even
for experienced players! After a bit
of practice, you can do one hand at
Play through this sequence four times Continue moving on through the

4 5
a time, or both at once if you want
or so, then play the C and D together other fingers, holding down E and to make things more interesting.
once again, only this time lift your thumb playing around that, then F and playing
off C while keeping D held down with your around that, and so on. It’s much harder
index finger. Play the notes either side of D than it looks, and it doesn’t sound very
in a smooth up/down sequence once nice while you’re playing it, but stick at it.
more, this time skipping the held-down D Keep it slow at first, and eventually you’ll
note and playing C-E-F-G-F-E-C, keeping train your finger muscles and motor
that index finger held down. response accordingly.

> Step by step 6. Major-to-minor scale arpeggio exercise

One way to practise scales is to When you’re back on the C you started Having completed the A minor scale,

1 alternate major and minor scales


while simultaneously moving down the
keyboard from right to left. Here’s an
exercise that does just that. Starting from
2 on, don’t stop there – continue down
another two notes, through B, to land on
A. Do this by crossing over your thumb
while on C and landing on the B with your
3 keep descending through G to F
(crossing over the thumb) and play an F
major scale (F, G, A, Bb, C, D, E, F). Continue
dropping down a couple of notes each time,
the C above middle C, play a one-octave C index or middle finger, before shifting until you’re at the bottom. You can alternate
major scale up and down the keyboard, your thumb onto the A. From there, you’re between major and minor scales like this, or
using the fingering 1-2-3, 1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1, poised for a one-octave A minor scale, so play all major or all minor scales in one pass
3-2-1. go ahead (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A)! to vary things up a little.

May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 31


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Sustaining interest
A real acoustic piano actually has three pedals envelope, but the effect is turned on and off at
– from left to right, the soft pedal, sostenuto will by operating the pedal. There’s a knack to
pedal and sustain pedal – but when you’re combining the timing of the pedal moves with
tackling piano parts on a computer the way your hands are playing the keys – it
music setup with a controller keyboard, has to be timed so the notes don’t all merge
the only pedal that’s essential to together in a clangy, stodgy mess.
getting an authentic result is the Most keyboard controllers don’t
sustain pedal, which is used to make come with sustain pedals as standard,
the notes ring out longer. so you’ll have to invest in one
On a real piano, there’s a row of felt separately. A decent one should only
dampers that prevent each string from ringing set you back around £20 or so, but you’ll
out when it’s not being played. If you hit a key A sustain pedal, such as the Casio SP-20, can be need to check that the polarity is compatible
briefly with the sustain pedal up, the note bought for a minimal outlay with your controller. A pedal wired with the
won’t sustain after the key is released, wrong polarity will work the opposite of how
because when you release the key, the out for as long as the string continues to it’s supposed to (notes will sustain with the
damper for that note falls back into place, vibrate, or until the pedal is released and the pedal in the ‘up’ position and be dampened
cutting off the note. With the pedal down, dampers return to their normal position. with it held down), so make sure you buy the
however, the row of dampers is moved away In synth terms, it’s the equivalent of correct pedal, or one that can be switched to
from the strings, so any note you hit will ring increasing the release time of your amplitude suit your keyboard.

> Step by step 7. Using a sustain pedal

Most keyboard controllers have a The main purpose of the pedal isn’t to As a further illustration, the above

1 sustain input jack that will take a


sustain pedal. As long as your pedal is
switched to the correct polarity for your
keyboard, once connected it should
2 make your playing louder, but to
prolong notes while your hands are
moved away from the keyboard in
readiness to play the next note. This
3 diagram shows the same piece with
the pedal down all the time this time. The
status of the pedal – which is basically an
on-off switch – is shown in this editor
behave so that notes ring out with the makes for a smoother transition between window at the bottom of our DAW’s piano
pedal down, and are cut off when you notes and chords, but you need to be roll editor. As you can hopefully hear, it all
release the pedal back up. Some careful not to overdo things. Here’s a full- starts to get a bit much, especially in the
controllers can be switched to suit. on, two-handed piano part with no pedal. low end.

The answer is to find a compromise As well as closing up gaps between The sustain pedal isn’t just reserved

4 between the two approaches. Use the


pedal sparingly, but effectively enough to
enable a smooth transition between
chords. Usually, lifting it up in the fraction
5 chords, sustain is also useful for things
like flourishes, big finishes and swanky
cocktail-bar arpeggios up and down the
keyboard. Check out this example of a
6 for piano parts, though – it’ll have the
same effect on 99% of other keyboard
sounds too (Hammond organs being the
exception, in which case it usually
of a second before you play the next chord Rick Wakeman-esque arpeggio played controls rotary speaker speed). Use it to
in a sequence is the way to go. As it’s a with and without the sustain pedal. It create eerie, sustained plonky textures,
continuous controller message in your works here because all the notes are or to smooth the transition between
DAW, you can touch up any mistakes or versions of the same chord played in chords in a pad part, like in our
overhangs in the MIDI editor later. different octaves. example here.

32 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


play keyboard like a pro / make music now <

> Step by step 8. The minor blues scale – the one extra scale you need to learn

The easiest jump-off point for learning That’s far too many notes, so let’s Finally, to get our E minor blues scale,

1 how to play keyboard solos is the


minor blues scale. To build it, we just take
a regular natural minor scale. Here’s E
minor as an example – E, F#, G, A, B, C, D
2 convert it into a minor pentatonic
scale. Pentatonic means ‘five notes’, and
our scale currently has seven, so we need
to lose two. To make a minor pentatonic,
3 a sharpened fourth degree. The fourth
degree of the E minor scale is A, so we
need an A# in there. This gives us E, G, A,
A#, B and D – the E minor blues scale. To
and E. The intervallic pattern for this scale, we just remove the second (F#) and sixth apply it to any key, the formula is 1-3-4-4#-
as described earlier, is T-S-T-T-S-T-T. (C) degrees, leaving E, G, A, B and D. 5-7. Practise this a lot – it’ll serve you well!

Basic synth solo


techniques > Step by step 9. Playing a monophonic synth
Although basic competency on
the piano is key, playing synths
demands the adoption of one or
two extra techniques you won’t be
able to practise on the piano. Like,
what are these weird-looking
wheels to the left of the keyboard?
What’s aftertouch and how do I
use it? For now, we’ll address one
of the main differences between
synths and the piano – the fact
that some synth sounds are
monophonic. This means they’re
only able to play one note at once,
and this in turn means there’s a Here are a few special techniques you Here, our notes are played distinctly,
range of techniques you can
adopt when putting together a
rip-roaring synth solo or a funky
1 can bring to bear while playing
monophonic synth sounds, to achieve
specific effects. In this example piece,
we’re using SynthMaster CM’s LED 80s
2 separated out so that each has its own
attack portion – each note retriggers the
synth’s amplitude envelope. There are
gaps between each note, and none
synth bassline. How they work
depends on how the synth sound Rock Saw preset to solo over a backing overlap. This means that portamento
track, using notes from the C minor blues won’t have any effect, as the notes must
you’re currently playing has been
scale (C, Eb, F, F#, G, Bb, C). overlap to work.
set up – whether or not the
amplitude envelope retriggers
whenever you play a new note, for
instance, or whether or not
portamento (glide) has been
enabled. You can make
monophonic sounds respond
differently in subtle ways.

If you play the part legato, by running This means that, rather than playing

3 the note lengths together so that the


end of each note overlaps the start of the
note that follows, the synth’s amplitude
envelope is only triggered at the start of
4 short notes on the C each time, you
can make things easier by simply holding
down the C key and playing all the other
notes in the part. When you release each
the first note. This results in a smoother note, the C resumes. This is great for
sequence – great when you dial in playing fast trills more easily, as you only
portamento (or glide) for extra ‘slidiness’. need to move one finger instead of two.

May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 33


> make music now / play keyboard like a pro

> Step by step 10. Setting up and using the pitchbend wheel

Bending the rules


In the early 70s, there was a fair
amount of ‘expression envy’ from
keyboard players towards
guitarists. After all, guitarists Most synth presets are programmed Now, if you play a note and move the
could coax maximum
expressiveness from their
instruments, bending strings to
1 so that your pitchbend control bends
the pitch of the notes, but often the
amount of bend applied at full stretch
needs to be adjusted. To do this, set the
2 pitchbend wheel to its fullest extent
either way, the pitch of the note will shift
up two semitones or down 12. Hold down
a C and bend the pitch up by moving the
produce a cool, smooth shift in
pitch – awesome for soloing, in synth’s pitchbend range. Here’s Bazille wheel fully upwards. We’re now playing a
CM’s HS Bass Punch Bag preset, set to D – 2 semitones higher. Bending it all the
particular. So, to even things up a
+2 / -12 semitones. way down, however, produces a low C.
little, the Minimoog introduced a
pitchbend wheel so that
keyboardists everywhere could
emulate that. The knurled plastic
wheel to the left of the keyboard
was used to shift the overall pitch
of the whole instrument, but
early adopters needed to be a bit
careful, as although there was a
central detent position for
returning things to the normal
pitch, initially these wheels
weren’t spring-loaded, so had to
be returned to the centre position
manually – tricky! Other designs
sprung up – ribbon controllers
and joysticks, for example – but it Now you can incorporate bends and A manual vibrato effect can be
wasn’t until the 80s that Jan
Hammer finally nailed the
combination of keytar, distortion,
3 manual vibrato into your leads and
basslines. So, for a Stevie Wonder-style
Moog synth bassline in the key of E minor,
you can apply upward bends to the third,
4 achieved by holding a note and
rapidly flicking or tapping the pitchbend
wheel just enough to change the pitch
slightly, like how a guitarist applies
pitchbend and modulation to fourth and seventh degrees (G, A and D). vibrato to a note by wiggling the string
really make a synth sound like a You can also do a full 12-semitone back and forth. We’ve applied this to the
guitar solo. downward bend to achieve octave slides, long G note at the start of bar 2 of our
like we’ve done here on the A note. bassline riff.

> Step by step 11. Setting up the mod wheel to control vibrato

The modulation wheel’s traditional Let’s set it up to control vibrato. The target for the modulation will be

1 use is for adding vibrato to a sound by


increasing an LFO’s depth of control over
oscillator pitch – but it can be used for
other things, such as adjusting filter cutoff.
2 Vibrato is achieved by using one of the
synth’s LFOs (low frequency oscillators) to
modulate the pitch of the main oscillators.
The Mod wheel is already linked to LFO
3 the pitch of oscillator 1, so we draw a
virtual cable between the LFO’s output and
the Freq Mod Depth control (PM Coarse)
in the Osc 1 panel. Turn this control fully
In our example, Bazille CM’s Init default Depth, indicated by the orange text field right, then select Cents from the 50 Semi
sound has no parameters assigned to the below the Amp Mod control in the LFO 1 menu. Moving the wheel introduces vibrato,
mod wheel, so moving the wheel has no section – we just need to turn the control the speed of which is controlled by LFO1’s
effect on the sound. up to the max. Rate control.

34 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


> make music now / play keyboard like a pro

> Step by step 12. Organ technique

Vintage vibes
Thanks to the genius of software
developers, who’ve managed the
mind-boggling task of replicating
almost every vintage keyboard
made in plugin form that can be
Organ keys are like on/off switches – Organs have no pitchbend feature, so

1 2
loaded into a DAW and conjured
up with the click of a mouse, the only way to make them sustain is to emulate guitar strings being bent,
to hold them down. The sustain pedal is organ players started including grace
today’s computer muso has
instead often used to switch the speed of notes, rolls and slurs into their playing. To
never had it so good when it the Leslie speaker effect. Here’s an NI play a grace note, quickly flick the note
comes to getting their hands – Vintage Organs B3 Kontakt Player preset, one semitone to the left of your target
literally – on pretty much any playing sustained chords while switching note, using the finger to the left of the one
exotic or esoteric keyboard from speaker speeds with the pedal. you’re about to use to play the main note.
days of yore. Manufacturers such
as Native Instruments, Arturia
and Modartt have come up with
brilliant products like Komplete,
Analog Lab and Pianoteq to name
but a few, meaning that the entire
gamut of sought-after keyboard
sounds from Wurlitzers and
Rhodes to Mellotrons and
Minimoogs are accessible at a
fraction of the cost of the real
thing. If you want the real
shimmering tones of a Hammond
B3 organ through a Leslie rotary
speaker, or a Stevie Wonder clav
sound, you got it! However, for a
This approach blends well with Another classic organ technique is the

3 4
really authentic sound, it pays to
staccato, funky, rhythmic chops, glissando, achieved by running your
know a little bit about how each
particularly when using the sharpened hand up and down the keys. You can use
would actually be played, as they fourth degree of the minor blues scale (as the side of your fingers or the back of your
each demand their own different described on p33) as the grace note, hand for this, but the trick is to merge it
piano/keyboard technique. sliding from there onto the fifth. Combine smoothly into whatever follows. Here
this with a held-down flattened seventh, we’re sliding up the keyboard with the left
and you have the beginnings of a classic hand, hitting a pre-shaped C minor chord
organ riff, as shown here. (C, Eb, G) with the right.

> Step by step 13. Clavinet technique

Perhap the funkiest of all keyboard With your left hand, form an octave on Split the chord in your right hand

1 instruments, the clavinet responds


well to short staccato playing. We’ll add a
clav part to the example from a previous
tutorial, using Pianoteq 4’s Clav CL1 Basic
2 two low E notes, effectively making an
Em7 chord when both hands are played
together. Imagine playing bongos with a
16th note pattern, but only connect with
3 between your thumb on B and your
index and pinky fingers on D and G, then
rock between the two halves of the chord.
The key to a good clav part is the ‘bounce’,
preset, with some compression added to the keyboard on some beats. Alternate hitting the keys with short, clipped strikes.
harden up the attack of the sound. Start by between the two notes in your left hand, Once the basic rhythm part is established,
forming a G major triad (B, D and G) with working them into the rhythm individually we can fill the gaps with right hand riffs
the right hand, as shown. along with the right hand. and runs from the E minor blues scale.

36 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


play keyboard like a pro / make music now <

Aftertouch explained
Aftertouch – also known as pressure – is another the keys of your
type of MIDI controller message that keyboard controller measures
controllers can generate. Like pitchbend, the average pressure
aftertouch isn’t grouped in with the continuous being applied to the
controllers that constitute CC numbers 1-127 (like keybed and produces
pan or MIDI volume), but instead has its own a MIDI control signal
classification as an independent type of MIDI based on this changing Keith McMillen’s QuNexus supports polyphonic aftertouch
signal. It produces information based on how value. Effectively, this
hard you press the keys down after you’ve means that the harder you
initially played them, and it’s this data that can press, the higher the value of the generated rare, owing to the amount of data it can
be assigned to various parameters in your synth signal. The second type, known as key or generate, but is now supported by an increasing
to control things – eg, changing the LPF cutoff polyphonic aftertouch, relies on the same number of devices like Keith McMillen
frequency for making more realistic brass principle, but this time each key on the Instruments’ QuNexus and CME’s Xkey USB
swells, altering the pitch of a guitar sample for controller generates its own signal, outputting a Mobile MIDI Keyboard.
string bend effects, or increasing the depth of an value that corresponds to that key, rather than Many synth presets will already have some
LFO for adding vibrato. the average of the keyboard as a whole. This kind of aftertouch response built in, but
There are two types of aftertouch, the most increases the expressive potential considerably, knowing how to add this facility to tailor the
common of which is channel aftertouch. This is as every key can send different values as you behaviour of a particular sound that doesn’t
when a series of force-sensing resistors beneath play. This type of aftertouch used to be quite already feature it is definitely worth knowing.

> Step by step 14. How to make a synth patch respond to aftertouch

Most modern keyboard controllers If the test works, you know you can We can use aftertouch to open the

1 are capable of generating aftertouch,


but to check whether or not yours does,
launch your DAW and press down firmly
on some keys on your controller, while
2 program aftertouch response into a
patch in any synth that supports it. For
example, if we load up Dune CM’s 022
Earth Views RL preset and play a few
3 filter, so the sound gets brighter as we
press down on the keys. In Dune CM,
aftertouch is labelled as ATouch, and is
assigned to your desired parameter in the
watching your computer screen. If your notes, we can hear that there’s no change main modulation matrix window in the
DAW’s MIDI activity indicator flashes as to the sound when we press down on the LCD panel in the centre of the synth’s
you press down and release, you’re keys after the initial impact, so no control panel. Click the button labelled
generating aftertouch data. response to aftertouch has been set up. Mod Matrix 1>12 to access this.

Clicking on the Source column in We want the aftertouch data to control Now, when we hold a note down, we

4 the first empty row of the matrix


(row 4 in this case) reveals a list of all
the applicable sources for us to choose
from. To select aftertouch, choose the
5 the filter’s cutoff frequency, so select
Filters > Filter Cutoff in the Destination
column. The routing is now all set up, so
set the amount of effect generated when
6 can control the opening and closing of
the filter by how hard we press on the key.
In the case of channel aftertouch, since
the effect is generated by one long sensor
ATouch item from the menu. It can be we press down on the keys. A setting of beneath the keys, you only need to press
found by looking for the fifth one down about +50 is a good starting point. Enter with one finger, not all of them, when
from the top. this in the centre column. holding down a chord.

May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 37


> make music now / play keyboard like a pro

Setting up > Step by step 15. Assigning MIDI knobs to software parameters
those knobs
on your
controller
When synthesisers first appeared,
the thing that players loved most –
apart from their sound, obviously –
was their tweakability. Those rows
of knobs and buttons on the front
panel just itched to be messed with
during a performance. The modern
computer-based equivalents of
analogue synths are much less Let’s look at how to assign a hardware Click the cog icon in the upper right
tactile by comparison. Moving
virtual knobs on screen with a
mouse just isn’t the same – not to
1 control on your controller keyboard to
a particular software synth parameter. In
our first example, we’re going to assign
filter cutoff in Bazille CM to a rotary
2 corner to enter the MIDI CC Learn
mode, in which we can match the MIDI
controller messages transmitted by
hardware controls to any parameter that’s
mention tricky to accomplish in the
middle of a solo. encoder on our Akai MPK249. To begin, illuminated green. We want to assign filter
load an instance of Bazille CM into your cutoff, so click the filter cutoff knob in
Luckily, controller keyboard
DAW and select the Antivirus preset. Bazille CM’s central filter panel.
manufacturers have caught onto
this, and many current models
sport a generous array of user-
assignable hardware controls that
can transform your favourite
software synth’s flat, virtual control
panel into a properly tweakable,
hands-on experience.
The controls on your keyboard
will most likely fall into three main
types: rotary encoders, faders and
switches. If you need to adjust
within a set range of values, a fader,
with its easily visible start and end
points, is a good bet. However, if the
current parameter setting differs
from the fader’s physical position,
there may be a big jump in values
when you move it. Conversely, Next, simply move the desired control As another example, here’s how to do
rotary encoders rotate
continuously through 360 degrees,
incrementing or decrementing
3 on your device to set up the link –
doing this lets the synth know to map the
controller message transmitted by the
knob you just moved to the parameter
4 the same thing in NI Massive. It’s a
similar approach, but this time each
control has its own separate ‘learn’ mode,
as opposed to a global mode for the entire
values by one from wherever the
you just selected. If you play the sound synth. In this case, simply right-click on
current parameter value is set, so if
and wiggle the control, you’ll see and hear the control you want to assign and select
you need to adjust settings without the filter opening and closing accordingly. MIDI Learn from its popup menu.
a big jump, a rotary encoder will do
the trick. Meanwhile, switches are
more suited to on/off controls like
mute or solo buttons.
All you have to do is tell the
synth what it needs to do when it
receives a continuous controller
MIDI message from a particular
control. Here’s how to set up the
knobs and faders on your controller
so that you can use them, not just to
perform and change sounds in real
time, but to record those changes
into your DAW for posterity.

Again, wiggle the control you want to Once assigned, you can record the

5 use on your device for that parameter.


Here, we’re assigning one of the macros in
the 1991 preset to a rotary encoder on the
Akai MPK249. If your controller has
6 changes into your DAW as
automation, meaning that they’ll be
played back in all their glory. This is such
an easy way to get movement into your
enough encoders, try assigning all eight tracks that once you’ve worked out how to
macros to a separate control and see what assign your favourite controls in your
kind of fun you can have, tweaking them favourite synths, you’ll never want to go
as you play. back to static sounds again!

38 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


play keyboard like a pro / make music now <

Eight more keyboard tips


SLOW IT DOWN
If you’re trying but struggling to capture a
really tricky keyboard part, remember that
technology is on hand to help. Using a DAW has
the huge advantage of being able to slow
down the tempo of your tune. Capturing more
difficult parts at a slower tempo, then speeding
things back up again, will make you look like
one of Jordan Rudess’ lesser-known cousins.

PADDY POWER
Generating notes from a set of drum pads,
(such as Maschine’s note mode or the MPC-
style 4x4 grid of pads found on Akai’s MPK
series of controllers) can yield interesting
results, as it divorces the normal relationship
you hold in your head between note pitches
and the piano keyboard and frees you up to
create truly random phrases.

LEARN YOUR SKALES


Native Instruments’ Komplete Kontrol series of
controller keyboards feature coloured LEDs
above the keys, that can be used to indicate the Looking for a keyboard to help you learn scales? Komplete Kontrol’s coloured LEDs will guide your practising
notes that make up different scales – useful
when practising. You can set them to a visual
guide, showing you the notes you need to hit an expression pedal will let you create
to play the scale, or you can set the keyboard HARPEJJING ON authentic swells, both in and out, when
to map any note to the next nearest note in the The harpejji is an innovative electronic playing organ parts. You can also use one to
selected scale, making it impossible to hit a stringed instrument that’s kind of a add ultra-realistic crescendos to brass
wrong note. There are MIDI software keyboard-guitar hybrid, played by tapping and strings patches.
remappers that can do this for you too, such as or ‘hammering’ on the strings at particular
AutoTonic or Mosaic’s AutoTheory. locations. Why is this of interest to
keyboard players? Because the fretboard is
SEABOARD SHUFFLE marked with white and black notes in a
One of the more radical innovations in the MIDI keyboard layout, giving keyboard players
controller world recently is the ROLI Seaboard, access to a whole new way of achieving a
a collection of versatile sensors swathed in a guitar-like sound – plus techniques like
neoprene outer skin, transforming the vibrato, string-bending and slides – but with
conventional keyboard that we know and love notes arranged in a familiar format.
into a single slab of rippled, squishy silicone.
Each ‘keywave’ responds to five different STAY IN TIME
gestures that can control vibrato, pitch bend or To ensure that you end up being able to play
key pressure, opening up a whole new world of in time as well as hitting all the right keys,
expressiveness. It takes a little bit of work to practising with a metronome when doing
get the best out of it at first, as the lack of a exercises will go a long way to helping you
distinct physical boundary between notes lock down your timing. Or, if you find this too
means that you’ll need to step up the accuracy boring, try programming little sketch tracks
stakes when playing, but the enhanced in your DAW to groove along to, made up of a
expressive potential is more than worth it. tasty drum beat, a bassline and maybe even
some accompanying chords.

HAMM IT UP
Assigning the faders on your controller to
the drawbars on your virtual Hammond
organ plugin will allow you to vary the tone
of the sound as you’re playing – a classic
technique employed by veteran players of
the real thing. Many software emulations of
Hammond organs are also programmed to
use input from a sustain pedal to switch
between fast and slow Leslie rotary speaker
speeds.

EXPRESS YOURSELF
Getty Images

Adding an expression pedal to your lineup


will allow you to use it to control volume.
Essentially a foot pedal devoted to the
Unlock creativity by programming melodies with pads transmission of MIDI volume (CC#7) data, The legendary Stevie Wonder is a fan of the harpejji

May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 39


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May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 41


Producer Masterclass

TOM HADES
The Belgian techno badman reveals his
workflow secrets – and creates an entire
project for us from scratch in Ableton Live

42 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


producer masterclass / make music now <

Belgian waffle
Traditionally, Belgium has produced : Moving on, you have an extremely
some of the battiest techno around, impressive studio here. Kit List
and carrying on that grand tradition is TH: “I was a hardware guy from day one. I
warehouse veteran Tom Hades. With love hands-on music making. We used to HARDWARE
releases on Drumcode, Suara and record everything from hardware into Apple Mac Pro
Harthouse, he’s established himself as Cubase VST, then process those signals with Auratone Active Mixcube
Focal SM9
one of the Low Countries’ premier plugins – that was my way of working back Yamaha NS10
producers, so naturally jumped at the then. But like a lot of things, you want to Yamaha HS8
chance to have him make us a complete change your way of working as time goes Yamaha HS8S
track from scratch in his stylish studio. on... I get bored quickly! I’m always Presonus Monitor Station v2
challenging myself to find something new: iConnectivity Mio10
Roland SBX-1
: How did you get involved in making new methods, new ways of making sounds.
Soundcraft Signature 22 MTK
electronic music? That’s why I gradually migrated over to the Ableton Push 2
TH: “I began experimenting when I was 12 digital world – and also because I started to Evolution UC33
or 13 years old. I had a neighbour who had perform live. I’d already been a DJ for a Native Instruments Maschine Studio
an Amiga 500, and we tried OctaMED, while, but I liked the production side more, Native Instruments Maschine Jam
which was tracker software – we thought it hence the live stuff – I used a lot of hardware Novation Remote SL
Access Virus TI2
was a game! The process triggered – I would have two flightcases with me, and Boss DD-7
something within me. I was like, ‘Heck, it’s everything was connected via MIDI, which Boss DS-1
nice you can get something out of a brought plenty of problems. But then I tried Roland RE-20 Space Echo
computer! It’s not real music… but it’s the first version of Ableton Live. Sequencing Cyclone Analogic Bass Bot TT-303
electronic music!’ I saved up and bought a patterns in there and combining them with Elektron Analog Four
Elektron Analog Rytm
Roland MC-303 Groovebox, plus more gear. the hardware seemed so natural.” Korg Minilogue
Then, when I was 15 or 16, a school friend, Korg PolySix
: How long did it take for Live to Korg Volca FM
become your primary production Moog Sub 37
“I’m always challenging software choice? Moog Slim Phatty
ProCo Rat 2
TH: “I only switched from Cubase when
myself to find version 4 or 5 came out. The reason why I
switched is maybe a little bit lazy to be
something new” honest: I had to export everything out of
Cubase to Live for my live show… so I said, channels: the obvious, professional ones
‘why don’t I just make all my tunes in like Computer Music; but also guys who
DJ/producer Redhead, got me in contact Ableton?’ I see Live as a jamming tool for make their videos at home, people who just
with [Belgian techno stalwart] Marco Bailey. making electronic music. You can get play around with plugins and approach
We started working together, and made our started in seconds if you know what them in a different way.”
first release together – which was four you’re doing. That gives me such a
tracks – in one evening! From that moment, creative feeling.” In this exclusive tutorial and video session,
everything moved quickly: we signed the Tom Hades creates an entire slammin’
tracks, and he was at a distributor with a : How do you keep on top of music techno track for us from scratch. You’ll find
DAT tape two days later, asking me for an technology developments? the included Live project in the Tutorial Files
artist name which I only had about five TH: “There are plenty of channels… on folder to tinker with as you please – but
minutes to come up with…” YouTube alone I’m signed up to 200 you’ll need the plugins he used, of course.

WATCH
THE VIDEO
In this exclusive
90-minute video
session, Tom
builds a brain-melting
techno stomper from
scratch in Ableton Live
for your viewing pleasure

Watch the video on your


PC or Mac at this URL…

bit.ly/PMHadesCM

May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 43


> make music now / producer masterclass

Tom’s rumbling techno kick drums


Tom begins by revealing the secrets behind his banging
warehouse vibes: by starting with a rumbly kick. To
demonstrate, he sequences a 909 kick on every beat, and
sends this to a Return track in Live, on which he places an
Overdrive to distort the signal. A Convolution Reverb Pro then
provides a boomy, warehouse-style echo signal, then Filter
Delay creates rhythmic movement. Finally, an Auto Filter filters
out the signal’s high end, leaving just a pounding, subby throb.
Tom explains further. “This rumble isn’t a ‘character’ sound;
it’s not a bass sound that needs to be a specific tone, but will
give you the power of the kick underneath. I bounce this, then
use [Xfer Records] LFOTool as a sidechain efect, because
for me, it’s an easier way to sidechain, rather than routing
anything, and it makes it automatically pump all the time.” Tom
then adds a Soundtoys Decapitator and UAD Pultec EQ before
LFOTool, and uses these to sculpt the sound and give him the
tone he desires. “I’ll add some extra saturation with Decapitator
or similar. Most of the time, I use emulations of old EQs, like the
ones from UAD, for extra colour.”

Tom uses this processing chain to turn a raw 909 kick sample into a roaring, warehouse-style monster bass drum

Melody with
Arturia DX7 V
and SEQ32
With the kick and sub in place, Tom turns
his attention to melody. “I need some kind
of direction, and eventually define the
‘chord’ of the track. I usually just take a
synth... for example, let’s use Arturia’s new
DX7 V, which is a cool emulation.”
Efficient workflow is important. “I’ve
created my own sets of things which I
reuse: MIDI effects, audio effects, patches,
things I have made myself. It makes life
easier, as I don’t have to scroll through
plugins. So I have bespoke ‘go-to’ presets
which help me out to find quick ideas. For
example, I use a Max for Live 32-step
sequencer by HY-Plugins. It makes it really
easy to find some quick ideas.” Tom selects
a seven-step sequence which he
randomises, then begins experimenting
with DX7 V to create a new patch that fits
with his randomised notes.

44 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


producer masterclass / make music now <

Tom’s incredible studio is stuffed with


classic synths – but he’s not afraid to
use in-the-box alternatives, either

Chord tricks with Scaler


Tom has a clever technique for working out
the chord his randomised DX7 V sequence
will fit to. First, he bounces out a version of the
sequence to audio, without any efects on it, to
get it as clean-sounding as possible. He then
extracts this audio to MIDI notes via Ableton
Live’s Convert Melody To New MIDI Track
right-click option.
Next, Tom places Plugin Boutique Scaler on
the resulting MIDI track. “You click on Detect, Arturia’s mighty Jup-8V softsynth spits out the minor chords in Tom’s techno track

click on Start, and just play the MIDI,” Tom


explains. “It’ll tell you how likely it is to be based Tom loads Arturia Jup-8V on this MIDI track,
on a particular scale. Since this is techno, I tend and auditions presets from the
to go for the minor scale it identifies; it will instrument’s Leads menu. Once he’s found a
even suggest a set of chord progressions that patch he’s happy with, he creates a chord
I can use.” pattern based on Scaler’s suggestions.
May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 45
> make music now / producer masterclass

Tom’s techno bomb in Ableton Live


Download the project to deconstruct the arrangement for yourself

Atmospheric send/return effects


with Resonator and Live devices
To create atmospheric efects from existing track elements,
Tom places a bespoke Audio Efect Rack efects chain on a new
Return track. “These are all basic Live devices – I’ve got a Ping
Pong Delay focused on a really narrow band, so I can restrict
the frequency spectrum. I usually try between 1-3kHz, because Multiband saturation beefs up Tom’s 909 hi-hats

that’s where I find the tension of a sound can really build. Then, Tip-top hi-hats with
I’ve got Auto Pan, which I’ll adjust to get a little bit more iZotope Trash 2
stereo movement. Naturally, Tom needs hi-hats to hype up
“After that, Resonator has a bunch of nice presets based his beat, and he doesn’t have to look too
far to find suitable sounds. “The TR-909
on chords that can give you additional harmonic layers. At closed hi-hats that are included in Ableton
Live Suite are pretty good. I like to give
the end, I bandpass the signal again, this time using EQ Eight. them more character with, say, Saturator.
All the parameters that I want to change are mapped to this First, I always low-cut bottom end,
because it’s a sample and there’s quite a
Audio Efect Rack’s Macros.” Tom routes the Jup-8 V to the bit of rumble in there. I’ll make a typical
return track, experiments with the EQ Eight’s parameters, then 16th-note pattern, and I’ll try to put some
swing on it via Live’s onboard grooves. I
bounces the results to a new audio track. tend to go for 55 or 56% 16th-note swing.”
Tom lowers the hat’s Decay levels to
tighten it up, and modulates the Decay a
small amount with a Max for Live LFO. To
saturate the signal, Tom calls up iZotope
Trash 2, using tape saturation on the mid
band and and amp emulation on the high
band to heat up and thicken the sound.

Tom creates FX by placing this chain of devices on a return track, then sending elements of his track to this return

46 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


producer masterc make music now <

Tom’s top five


hardware
synthesisers

Korg Volca FM
“I love FM synthesis. It’s so techno; so
unnatural-sounding. I usually dial in a blend of
detuned, out-of-tune tones… but eventually it
spits out pure techy vibes!”
www.korg.com

Hands-free filtering with M4L LFO


In order to generate movement in his freshly-created Access Virus TI2
“This epic VA synth is so versatile; it can do
atmospheric part, Tom uses another of his pre-built device literally everything. It’s nicely integrated as a
chains. This one is an Audio Efects Rack that features two software plugin, which speaks to the hardware
synth – but on the hardware side, you still have
Auto Filters – one set to high-pass mode, the other to low- all the knobs that you need. It’s hands-on
straight away.”
pass. The frequency cutof parameters for both of these are www.virus.info
assigned to macros, and rather than automating these
directly, Tom assigns a Max for Live LFO to the macro
controls. He sets the LFO to a slow speed, and assigns it to
the low-pass filter cutof so the sound sweeps and evolves
gradually over time. Korg Minilogue
“I bought this thinking I’d get some really nice
pads out of it, but it has a really raw sound –
surprisingly, I’ve actually got more lead sounds
out of it. I like the step sequencer, as you can do
all sorts of motion recording and hands-on
automation with it.”
www.korg.com

Waldorf Blowfield
“I found an editor for this called Blowfield
[filthyfilterz.com] which connects via MIDI. You
can jam with randomisation on every pattern at
Timbre-altering fades Echo-driven open hats once; or groups, like just the oscillators or
To characterfully fade elements into and out Next, Tom calls up an open hi-hat sample filters. I’m so happy with the sounds I get out of
this thing!”
of the track, Tom reaches for another from the Live Suite library, but rather than
custom rack, this time based around Live’s simply placing it between the kicks in a www.waldorfmusic.com
Grain Delay, combined with other typical rolling techno fashion, he varies the
previously-seen devices such as Auto Filters, timing so that every other open hat plays on
EQs and Filter Delays. “It’s a pretty complex the second 16th-note rather than the third.
rack setup for such a basic job, but I’ve built “For me, this is much more interesting if I
it in such a way you can use it on any type of use it in combination with delay or reverb.”
sound.” The rack is controlled via a single He fishes out AudioThing’s [Roland Space
macro knob which, when automated, Echo emulation] Outer Space for this task: “I Roland SH-01A
modulates parameters in every effect in the really like the reverb on this, because it’s “It’s a good synth, but it’s not the best, to be
chain. This filters the sound and alters its based on a classic tape delay, and adds honest. It does the typical sound. I used to have
timbre in a unique way. additional retro character to the sound.” an SH-101 and I loved its sound and the depth it
has, but I got pretty bored of it after a while.”
www.roland.com

May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 47


> make music now / producer masterclass

Tidy room, tidy mind: Tom reckons an


effective system helps you get creative

You better work(flow) it


Having started with OctaMED on the : You must generate a lot of sonic or reverse elements in the sequence.
humble Amiga 500 and worked his way material. How do you organise it all? And it’s all in combination with the signal
up to a studio full of desirable gear, Tom TH: “I have a network storage setup that I in question – it’s always unique because
has seen music technology change can access from anywhere… even from a it’s a combination of two different
beyond recognition. While he uses a lot of hotel! Everything is on it: not only my variables, the signal and the processing.”
the latest and greatest plugins to achieve samples, but also all the tracks that I DJ
his trademark techno sounds, Tom also out. It’s mirrored, too – I also have backups : You’re a big fan of Roland TR-909
loves to work efficiently, particularly with at a remote site and on Amazon. In the sounds. What do you think it is about
regard to studio workflow. We probed him past, I’ve lost plenty of data; projects, these sounds that has given them
further to find out why this is so important samples, etc. Speaking of samples, I try to such longevity?
to him, and learn what tricks he’s picked stay organised. Take the standard things TH: “That’s a hard question! For me, it
up over the years. like kicks, hi-hats, percussion sounds, bass always feels like the right hi-hat, the
sounds, synths, strings, FX and so on – I correct ride, and the perfect clap. Why?
: You’re passionate about workflows! try and put them in those relevant folders, Probably because they’ve been used for
TH: “The reason why workflow is important and organise them by date so I know so many years! The 909 has an aggressive
to me is that I don’t want to lose time setting what’s old and what’s new.” feel to it… an uptempo feel, maybe? For
stuff up, or finding out why things aren’t my style, it immediately gives you the
working, because then I will lose interest and : You also seem to have a lot of pre- feeling of ‘yeah, let’s go!’”
in turn lose that creative spark. When I sit made instrument and effects chains. Do
myself down in the studio, I just want to you worry that approach could lead to : Do you have any advice for other
start jamming!” formulaic results? aspiring producers?
TH: “No, because I mess around with them TH: “There’s only one piece of advice that
: What is it about Live that makes it – it’s always more as a starting point. For I can give, and that’s ‘stay true to yourself’.
great for workflow? example, if I was making the typical If you try to make what you should make,
TH: “I know a lot of people that work in the ‘techno rumble’ which everyone likes, I’ll you’re already trying to copy something.
Arrangement View, and there’s nothing use the same principle; but I’ll add, change Get creative, and try to inspire yourself by
wrong with that. But for me, the concept of listening to other styles of music, but be
Live was built on the Session View – clips that
then form an arrangement. Jamming,
“The Roland sure to create your own identity, and stay
true to it. People seem to only accept
creating different versions of clips without
thinking of the arrangement – it’s a quick TR-909 gives you things now that are labelled and put in
boxes, so producers do exactly that – and
creative tool. With the right mindset, you can that’s a bit sad, because I feel like there
find literally a thousand ways to use a delay.
It’s nice that you can create something cool,
the feeling of ‘Yeah, are producers capable of doing unique
things, but they don’t dare to do it under
freeze the track, bounce it to audio, then do
something else... it’s all so fast!”
let’s go!’” their name! So my advice is to stay true to
yourself. Let the music speak.”

48 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


producer masterclass / make music now <

Kick EQ and compression


48:42 Tom employs SoundSpot’s Kickbox
processor on his bass drum. Starting
with the Warmth section, Tom boosts the 50Hz
region by 3dB with a broad band. He then cuts the
320Hz region with the Boxiness section, and
enhances the attack with the Click section with a 3dB
boost at 1.5kHz. Rather than using Kickbox’s built-in
Sidechained return-style effects compression, he opts for Waves CLA-76. “I use this on
kicks because it’s a really fast compressor, and that’s

22:53 Because Tom prints each of his


parts ready for mixing, he likes the
stems he bounces to include the entirety of the
as using a return track, but now, when the stem is
bounced, the delay is included in the signal.” He
then calls up a Compressor after the delay device,
what you need. You can hear the kick immediately
starts to ‘bounce’ a lot more.”

sound, effects ’n’ all. To facilitate this, he inserts an and sidechain-compresses the signal, with the
Audio Effect Rack on the Jup-8 V track. To process input set to the unprocessed source signal. This
the Jup-8 V part, Tom adds a Ping Pong Delay to causes the wet signal to duck when the dry signal
that first wet chain. “It’s giving me the same effect plays, resulting in a clearer sound.

Bouncing clap edits

“If you listen to [the low percussion] on its 57:54 A rolling groove is an important
part of any techno track, and Tom
has a trick up his sleeve which helps him keep
his looped drums sounding fresh. “I always want
own, it’s boring – but that doesn’t matter, as it’s to add one more element, to accentuate the fact
that it’s a loop. So to counteract this feeling, I

just filling up space in the bass area” tend to use either a clap or a snare or something
at the end of a loop, to announce the start of the
next section is coming.”
Tom selects a 909 clap from the Live Suite
library, creates a MIDI clip and programs notes
Balancing kick and bass so the clap plays on the final 8th-note of the bar.
with vintage EQ He uses Live’s Duplicate Loop function to
duplicate the loop, then adds extra clap triggers
in a somewhat random fashion to keep things
46:50 Like many producers, Tom likes to mix
clashing elements as he goes. “If
frequencies are fighting, I try to find the best way to
interesting for the listener. He then adds a Ping
Pong Delay to the claps, which fills up space in
balance them straight away, because otherwise I’ll the mix and provides stereo flavour.
focus on it without even wanting to focus on it! For
example, I can hear the bass and kick aren’t quite
working together.” To remedy this, Tom loads UAD
Pultec EQP-1A on the bounced ‘bass rumble’ track,
and sweeps a band to locate the harmonics that are
clashing. He then carves away the 60Hz and 200Hz
elements that are interfering with the track’s kick. HEAR MORE
Beefing out bass with
low percussion
40:35 Tom needs some low percussion
in the mix to supplement the
kicks, so he selects a 909 kit from the Live Suite Stars & Shines (with Marco Bailey)
library so he can jam with the tom sounds via http://bit.ly/StarsShines
his Ableton Push 2 controller. In a similar way to
the kick earlier, he routes this element to a I’m Not What You Think You Are
return track; and delays, reverbs, filters and http://bit.ly/NotWhat
ducks the toms to create a bassline, which he
then bounces to audio. “If you listen to it on its WWW

www.tomhades.com
own, it’s boring – but that doesn’t matter,
because it’s just filling up the space in the bass soundcloud.com/tomhades
area.” He then uses MeldaProduction’s
MBassador to generate subharmonics under twitter.com/tomhades
the signal and fill up the low frequencies. facebook.com/tomhades.official

NEXT ISSUE Tech-house dons Solardo break down the creation of one of their club bangers May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 49
> free software / rf music scale player cm

DOWNLOAD
Get the plugin and the video

> Free software


tutorial on your PC/Mac at
filesilo.co.uk/computermusic

Scale Player CM
channel. Once Scale Player CM is receiving
MIDI signals, select it as the input for the other
instrument, and activate input monitoring for
the target instrument. Check out your DAW’s
manual to find out its specific method for
Jam out complex scales with RF Music’s routing MIDI plugins.
In the tutorial over the page, and its
pumped-up MIDI plugin. Zero talent required! accompanying video version, we’ll show you
exactly how to get up and running with Scale
Player CM, getting results like a pro keysman
We may be teaching you how to Play ‘current note’ value, with different key presses with very little effort.
Keyboard Like a Pro this issue, but this adding to, subtracting from or resetting what You can get the full version, Scale Player,
awesome MIDI plugin can do it for you! Built that note is. It’s a different way to create riffs and on the RF Music website. This allows further
by RF Music, Scale Player CM is an AU/VST melodies, but once you get the hang of it, it’s an in-depth editing of the target scale, with saving
MIDI effect for Mac and PC. Rather than inspirational way to play. and loading functionality. While you’re there, be
making any sound of its own, this plugin Scale Player CM loads as an instrument in sure to check out RF’s Chord Player plugin,
process MIDI notes, turning your input into your DAW of choice. Depending on the host and their excellent Comp87 line – Comp87 is a
an output that’s always in key. software you’re using, the setup will be slightly compressor with inbuilt saturator, while
So what is Scale Player, and how does it do its different to get the plugin working. Most often, Comp87 MB adds multiband operation into
thang? Well, instead of passing the right scale you load your target instrument as usual, and the bargain.
notes through to your DAW, the plugin uses a place Scale Player CM on a separate instrument www.rfmusic.net

SCALE ROOT HOME CURRENT NOTE OTHER FUNCTIONS


Choose from a list of Set the root note Your Home key is where Shows the note that’s Stop processing,
commonly-used scales of the scale everything starts – set which been played – work define MIDI note
degree of the scale it is here out where to go next numbers, plus menu

OCTAVE
Transpose
the output
octave up
or down

NOTE SELECTION OUTPUT MIDI INPUT MIDI


Select your notes, and choose The keyboard display shows you Two octaves of notes light up
how each will change the what the plugin’s outputting when you play, and are labelled
MIDI along the bottom with their functions

50 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


scale player cm / free software <

> Step by step Getting started with RF Music Scale Player CM

Once you’ve downloaded Scale Player Try and play your MIDI keyboard now, Play the note B5 a few times, and you’ll

1 CM, installation is a simple matter of


dragging the VST and/or Component files
into their correct folders on your system.
The MIDI plugin loads up as an instrument
2 and you’ll probably fail spectaularly!
Scale Player CM has a different way of
doing things. To get it right, locate the
MIDI note A5 on your keyboard or in your
3 see what happens: B5 adds one to the
note value, C6 adds two, G5 subtracts one,
F5 subtracts two, and so on. At any time,
or if you get lost at this point, hit A5 again
in your DAW, although it produces no DAW’s piano roll and play that. You’ll see in to return to that safe Home note. Be aware
sound – rather, it’ll be routed to a track the very centre of the interface that A5 is that A#5 is designated Rep, meaning it
that does. Check your DAW’s manual for designated as the Home note. The white repeats the same note as before, whether
how to do this. notes either side of A5 are designated as that’s the home note or another.
positive or negative numbers.

Anyone with keen ears may have You can change the scale using the Let’s look at some more controls. You

4 noticed that our A5 note wasn’t


actually playing an A – it was playing a
C all along! You can change this using
the Root note selector on the very left
5 Scale selector above. Let’s put it to
Blues for some moody soloing. Start
slowly to get the hang of things, and learn
to get comfortable with this different way
6 can set your home note to be a
different degree of the scale using the
Home selector. It’s set to 1st by default,
but you can change it to, say, 2nd, to use
of the second-highest row of buttons. of playing. When you’ve got your mind the C Dorian mode when set to a major
Raise the note value to get a different around single notes, it’s time for some scale. You can also change the Octave of
scale going – D major, F major, even chords. Multiple notes will sound together, the home note using the selector to the
A# major… the world of major scales is and the current note (ie, A#5) will be right of this.
your oyster! changed by the total of their positive and
negative values.

We’ve already seen the Scale selector Once you’ve got the middle strip of Here we’ve set up multiple definitions

7 in the top row. To its right are three


switches set to Off. The first two map MIDI
notes of your choice to the left and right
arrow selectors; the third lets you choose
8 notes that do all the work, you can
delve deeper into them. Select the current
assignments to define which notes do
what. You can select multiple Home notes,
9 of Home and Repeat, as well as other
options like Home: + Oct, Home: -Oct, and
Home: Don’t Play, leaving only a few
positive and negative numbers still in the
a whole octave to select the Scale used – Repeat notes, and define the positive and mix. With a G minor pentatonic scale
ie, C for major, C# for minor, D for melodic negative values applied. selected, all that’s left is to do is bang
minor, and so on. These three controls are around on the keyboard and come up with
seen on the Root, Home and Octave something we never would have arrived
selectors, too. at without Scale Player CM!

May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 51


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52 / COMPUTER MUSIC / August 2013
the cm guide to v collection 6 / make music now <

The guide to
V Collection 6
Retro synth lovers, prepare to get excited – Arturia’s vault of
vintage synth emulations gets four new additions to the roster.
Get up to speed with our history lesson and hands-on tutorials
In their ongoing quest to provide us threaten Minimoog sales when it was The Fairlight CMI came at a ghastly price
with every cool keyboard we could released in 1973. Nevertheless, it would be of $40,000 – and that was just to start! A
never afford, Arturia have added a killer cherished by a few outsiders before being more down-to-earth digital option came
quartet to their ever-expanding V rediscovered by analogue aficionados, and courtesy of Yamaha, whose FM-based DX7
Collection. Version 6 of the Gallic grab bag eventually re-issued by the company that became the first synthesiser to experience
adds bang-on interpretations of four bears Buchla’s name. Expressive and what might be called ‘blockbuster’ sales
legendary digital, analogue and expensive, Arturia’s Easel V truly brings this figures. A truly massive success, its chiming
electromagnetic keyboards. From the awesome oddity to the masses. electric piano patches and sharp, spiky
far-out funk tones of the snappy Hohner All-but-unobtainable upon its release – basses were the perfect antidote to a
Clavinet and a brain-bending Buchla unless, of course, you were backed by a decade of nothin’ but analogue electronics.
brainchild to a digital duo that defined the major label – the Fairlight CMI was one of Each and every one of these instruments
80s, this update spans three full decades. the very first dedicated computer music were unusual for their time, and went about
The Hohner Clavinet first hit the scene in systems. Featuring what was then-cutting- things in an individual way. As such, they
1964, but it didn’t make a big splash until the edge synthesis and sequencing, it shook up can be real head-scratchers for the
end of the decade, when it was used by such the industry with its ability to record and uninitiated. With all of that in mind, then,
disparate artists as Garth Hudson (The play back samples. Elegant white cabinetry what better time to take you step-by-step
Band) and, of course, Stevie Wonder. and a glowing CRT (with a light pen!) made through the basics.
Similarly, Don Buchla’s unusual all-in-one this awesome Aussie export a true icon of Let’s turn the page, and begin with the
analogue Music Easel didn’t exactly the MTV age. exquisitely experimental Easel V.

May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 53


> make music now / the cm guide to v collection 6

> Step by step 1. Percussive patching with Arturia Easel V

Easel V
The West Coast
suitcase synth
2
The two most important components

1
Thanks to avante album classics like
Morton Subotnick’s Silver Apples of the of the Buchla bongo are FM synthesis,
Don Buchla’s electronic instruments Moon, Buchla are known for their which determines the timbre; and the Lo
were different by design. Embracing percussive patches. To create a classic Pass Gate, that provides the percussive
Buchla bongo on Easel V, start with the envelope. We’ll start with the former. The
the Californian counter-culture, his
default patch template. A cable connects Easel has two oscillators: a Complex
machines bore little resemblance to Oscillator and a Modulation Oscillator.
the Wheel to the Complex Oscillator’s
the Moogs and ARPs of the day – he timbre mod input. We’ll click and drag on Throw the Modulation switch on the
even disliked them being called the latter to remove it. latter to the FM Osc position.
synthesisers! Intending to encourage
new forms of music, Buchla shied away
from such tropes as the organ-styled
keyboard, preferring to present a
touch-plate interface that could
facilitate new levels of expression. Still,
much of its workings would be familiar
to electronic musicians once they got
past the odd nomenclature. For
example, Buchla’s infamous Source of
Uncertainty module was really a
dressed-up noise generator and
provider of semi-random voltages.
The Music Easel is a superb
distillation of all things Buchla. The
ideal blend of accessibility and avant-

3 4
Reduce the Modulation Oscillator’s We’ll set the Envelope’s Mode Select to
garde, its colourful look is a combo of second-from-left Frequency slider to Transient. Envelope sliders should be
chaos and convention that invites between 55 and 110. We’re going to use it in the topmost (or shortest) positions. The
rather than intimidates. It looks fun to modulate the Complex Oscillator’s envelope is now activating the Lo Pass
and, in point of fact, it is fun. Perfectly pitch. We’ll do this by clicking and Gate with a transient. Now run a cable
dragging a cable from the Mod CV Out from the orange jack under the Complex
capable of standard synthesis fare, it is
jack in the upper-right to the Complex Oscillator to the black one just to that
also a source of unusual, self-playing Oscillator’s Pitch modulation input, jack’s left – this connects the envelope to
textures and timbres that burst and setting its slider halfway. Set the Complex the Oscillator’s Timbre. Reduce the
bubble with life. Oscillator’s Timbre knob to 10 o’clock. Timbre slider a bit for the classic sound.

> Step by step 2. Exploring Arturia Easel V’s sequencer

Now that we’ve whipped up our The sequence kicks off immediately. The Sequential Voltage Source

1 percussive patch, it makes sense to


put it under the control of the Easel’s
sequencer. This is a simple five-step
affair, but it’s enough to get a good
2 Go to the section labeled Sequential
Voltage Source. There we see a row of
five switches, all toggled to their ‘up’
positions. Let’s toggle the 4 switch down.
3 widgets are all blue. This corresponds
to the blue output patch points under the
controls. As in the previous tutorial, the
black patch points are inputs. Let’s patch
percussion pattern going. We’ll start with Change the pitch of the sequence by the blue patch point under the Modulation
our bongo patch. We’ll go to the Envelope playing different notes on your keyboard. Oscillator to both its Frequency and
Generator and set the Trigger Select However, adjusting the Sequencer Modulation inputs. Adjust the clock and
mode to Sequencer. Voltage Level sliders has no effect. add a bit of reverb for a classic sound!

54 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


the cm guide to v collection 6 / make music now <

DX7 V
A legend reborn
FM synthesis – especially as implemented by with having kick-started the entire third-party presented a synthesis engine with six sine wave
Yamaha via its legendary DX7 – has a rep for patch industry. ‘operators’ (erm, oscillators) per voice. These
being difficult to program. However, FM’s Yet if the user is allowed a clear view of things, operators could modulate one another to create
legendary impenetrability is due primarily to FM synthesis isn’t really that difficult to get (yes, more complex tones. The modulators themselves
two factors. First, the DX7 was released in 1983, we know the DX7 was, in reality, based on phase could be modulated by envelopes, LFOs, and
when cheap(ish) analogue polysynths reigned. modulation rather than frequency modulation, various performance controls, producing ever
Preceding digital synths were very expensive, but this is the terminology Yamaha chose, so more complex timbres in the process.
meaning the DX7 wound up in the hands of we’re sticking with it). In the DX7, Yamaha The DX7’s envelopes often leave synthesists
users exposed only to analogue synthesis – scratching their heads. Rather than the familiar
which had remained all but unchanged for ADSR envelopes of the typical analogue synth,
nearly two decades. With its newfangled tech, those on the DX7 were complex time/rate jobs.
the DX7 might as well have been dropped from a Yamaha graciously printed graphics across the
passing UFO. front to help explain them, but to little effect.
The other big obstacle to the would-be FM Fortunately, modern software GUIs make them a
programmer was the DX7’s interface. Yamaha lot easier to understand.
swept the DX7’s front panel clean, leaving only a The subject of FM synthesis is complex, and
tiny LCD and a single data slider. Most users would take up an entire magazine to explain in
simply called up the presets and got on with it. With only a single slider and a ridiculously small depth. Luckily, it only takes a few short steps to
Quite unsurprisingly, the DX7 is often credited display, no wonder DX7 owners turned to presets! get a feel for the potential of FM – let’s dive in.

> Step by step 3. Exploring FM synthesis with Arturia’s DX7 V

The DX7 V is a 6-op FM synth, meaning In the centre, we see the currently With all of these operators in play,

1 that we have six operators – or


oscillators – to deal with. Traditionally, these
operators need only to produce a sine
wave: interesting timbres are created by
2 selected algorithm. This shows which
operators are routed to which, and the ones
that are are routed straight to the outputs. In
this case, operators 1 and 3 are the audio
3 we nevertheless hear only a simple
sine wave. Only operator 1 is illuminated
in the display, indicating an active signal.
Let’s dig deeper by either double-
modulating the frequencies of some of operators, while operator 2 is modulating clicking the operator in the algorithm,
these sine waves with others. Let’s fire up operator 1. Operator 3 is modulated by 4, or clicking the double arrows in the
the synth and start off by loading the which itself is modulated by 5 and so on. upper right. Now we can see inside
Default template. Operator 6 is modulating itself and op 5. our patch.

Here, we see all of our operators This has a big effect on the sound, and This has a big effect on the sound,

4 arranged in a column on the left. We


can select each one, revealing its settings
in the process. Operator 1 is selected and,
in fact, is the only one with the Level
5 the waveform’s shape in the display. Try
increasing operator 2’s Freq amount to 3.
This is much more dramatic. Notice there’s
an envelope display in the lower middle of
6 providing an exciting attack and decay
segment that settles to a muted sustain
segment. Knowing how envelopes and
other mod sources are used to shape our
turned up. Let’s select OP2 and increase the panel – let’s tweak that envelope a bit. modulation operators unlocks the power of
its level, noting the effect on both the We’ve reduced the Sustain node FM synthesis. Now bring in other operators
sound and the waveform display in the dramatically and dragged it to the left to and tweak their envelopes, frequencies and
lower-right corner. create a short decay. ratios to develop the sound further.

May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 55


> make music now / the cm guide to v collection 6

CMI V
> Step by step 4. Having fun with Arturia CMI V

The original Fairlight CMI gave us our The default interface presents all of the To really get into the patch, we can click

1 first big alternative to analogue


synthesis. Not only did it offer a clever
digital synthesis engine, it complemented it
with a then little-known thing called
2 original Fairlight’s components. We can
tweak the presets quite a lot with just what’s
on hand here. The MIDI Controller panel on
the keyboard’s left offers a number of
3 on the CRT monitor. This will zoom into
the display and provide access to various
pages of the CMI V’s software. We can see
the sample waveform up top, and tweak the
sampling. Let’s fire up the CMI V and listen controls to tweak for this preset. We’ll synthesis parameters below. Go to the
to the default patch. That could be the most increase both the Attack and Damping 1 Tune/Filter section and reduce the Octave
familiar vocal sound in music! sliders to create a pad. and Filter sliders for a darker pad sound.

Page R sequencer
The original Fairlight CMI Series I
> Step by step 5. Spectral synthesis with Arturia CMI V
brought sampling to the well-to-do
musician, but sampling wasn’t the
only Fairlight feature to dominate
the airwaves of the 1980s. 1982 saw
the release of the Fairlight CMI
Series II and with it the introduction
of the legendary Page R sequencer.
Replacing the clunky Music
Composition Language of the earlier
incarnation, Page R looked
remarkably similar to the software
sequencers and trackers that would
come to dominate desktop music
studios a decade later. Eight tracks –
each capable of playing different
instruments – were arranged in a CMI V has a nifty synthesis engine The Sarrar choir patch becomes a digital
vertical column along the left and a
horizontal timeline that displayed
notes occupied most of the screen.
1 called Spectral Synth. Somewhere
between wavetable and additive synthesis,
it gives tons of potential for dynamic digital
timbres. Start with the Default patch, then
2 tone. Likewise, we now see 32 partials
and a waveform display. Below the display,
we see an Evolution module with unusual
parameters and a place to choose the
You’d be forgiven for thinking little
click the faux CRT monitor to edit. We’ll waveform which builds the sound –
has changed since.
choose Spectral Synth mode. currently a sine. Choose Square instead.
Notes and other commands could
be entered and edited with the
Fairlight’s light pen – this was the
pre-mouse era – and both pattern
looping and quantization were
supported, making it possible for
even untrained
musicians to have a go
– and rest assured, in
the post-punk era of
MTV-ready pop sttars,
there were plenty of
’em around!

The new waveform has a drastic impact Reduce the Envelope Attack to 0, and

3 on the timbre. Above the wave selection


slot are a number of parameters with which
to play. Try reducing Bias to reduce the
emphasis on high frequencies. Likewise,
4 decrease Filter level. Click the
Functions tab and choose a preset
envelope for Function A (top right).
Random1 is good. Click the Assign tab and
reducing the Spread gives us a little more note that Function A is quite active! Click its
‘oomph’ in the lower frequencies. Increasing MAP button, then click on the Filter slider
the Center shifts the partial balance. and drag right to assign the envelope to it.

56 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


the cm guide to v collection 6 / make music now <

Clavinet V
> Step by step 6. Tailoring Arturia Clavinet V’s tone

From acid rock to furious funk, the The rocker switches on the left of the The final control in the default panel

1 Clavinet D6 cut through many a classic


tune. Lean and mean, it was an instrument
for the modern performer – circa 1972 – who
didn’t want to commit to new-fangled
2 keyboard offer great timbral flexibility.
At least one of the first four should be in the
down position, or the Clav will make no
sound. Clicking the Brilliant rocker out of
3 view is a Mute slider. Pushing this one
up mutes the sound – nice when you’re
looking to mellow things out. Try it, then
bring it back down. This being Arturia, there
synths. Still, much could be gained from its the action impacts our preset’s tone a lot. are plenty of sound-shaping features not
tight, truncated tones. Fire up the Clavinet V. The C/D and A/B switches let us simulate found on the original. Access them by
The default patch is fine for a start. different combos of the Clavinet’s pickups. clicking the double arrows (top right).

Under the hood, we see controls for Some variations made by these In addition to tweaking the string’s

4 shaping the modelled electromagnetic


components that produce the Clav’s twangy
timbre. Like a piano, a Clavinet makes its
sound with hammered strings, vibrations of
5 parameters are subtle, but add realism
overall. For instance, a real Clavinet’s
hammers make a mechanical sound after a
note is released: the Key Release Noise
6 characteristics, we can adjust the
hardness of the hammers that excite them,
along with how much mechanical noise
from the hammers is mixed in with the
which are captured by two pickups. The adjusts this noise’s volume. Similarly, the output. Here, we’ve decreased the former,
‘twang’ is adjusted by tweaking the String Release Time simulates the time it takes the while increasing the latter. The result is
Resonance. Let’s turn it down. Clav’s dampers to stop the strings vibrating. reminiscent of an electric piano.

Three Clavinet V effects

AUTO-WAH OVERDRIVE VOCAL FILTER


The Clavinet V offers nine different effects The Clavinet D6 was favoured by Clavinets go hand-in-hand with filter
pedals, including two different wah-wah keyboardists for its ability to cut through a effects, so it should be no surprise that
options. While the basic Wah pedal is cool, it’s mix, giving the erstwhile ivory-tickler the Arturia have provided a dedicated filter pedal
the Auto-Wah that steals the show. This ability to compete with the stage-stealing in the form of their Vocal Filter. An unusual
squelchy stompbox is to a Clavinet what jelly is guitarist standing up front. It could, in fact, stomper, it provides a selection of vowels that
to peanut butter. It’s a combo that has fuelled replace the rhythm guitarist – assuming the can be rearranged and reordered to create
countless classic cuts, including Stevie Clav was plugged into an overdrive pedal. custom formant effects. You can also employ
Wonder’s Superstition. Arturia have provided a humdinger, too! the built-in LFO to cycle through them.

May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 57


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cm computer clinic / make music now <

Give your studio machine some TLC with our


tips for clearing space, reducing noise and more
It’s easy to dismiss your studio vintage Strat, or a drummer puts into we’ve put together ten essential tips for both
computer as just another piece of keeping their kit tuned. As software becomes Mac and PC users, covering topics such as
faceless electronic equipment but, as ever more complex and resource hungry, latency, hard drive space, OS tweaks and being
computer musicians, our production keeping your computer fighting fit and ready more efficient with your music-making software
machines are not only our equivalent of a to roll is key to making the most of your of choice. All of these will help you squeeze
musical instrument, but also our way of music-making time. After all, nothing’s more more power and performance from both your
expressing our creativity. of a buzzkill than audio dropouts, DAW computer and DAW, without spending big bucks
Therefore, it’s vital that we look after our crashes or running out of processing power! on upgrades. So, if you’re fed up of not getting
computer with the same care and attention To give you a helping hand with keeping the most out of your production rig, read on as
that a guitarist lavishes on their priceless your studio machine on the straight and narrow, we divulge a few computer tips and tricks.

May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 59


> make music now / cm computer clinic

01 (Don’t) make
some noise
One way of making the sound clearer in your
studio is to mitigate the noise coming from
your computer as much as possible,
particularly if you’re running a fan-filled Mac or
beastly gaming PC as your production rig. The
first port of call for making things quieter is to
find a more suitable location for your
computer to reside in. If you’ve got a big
enough cabinet or cupboard, placing the
computer in there with some soundproofing
on the cabinet panels will reduce the amount
of computer noise you hear, as will placing
your machine in another room – though this
option means you’ve got to drill through the

Storage
02
wall to extend your cables. If these options
aren’t viable, you can reduce the noise of your
machine by purchasing quieter fans, a fanless
graphics card, or – if you’re feeling flush – a
super-quiet liquid cooling system.
hunters
Running an SSD drive? You can install libraries for
monster-sized music software packages like
Omnisphere or Komplete on a separate storage drive,
avoiding filling precious SSD space with files you don’t
use all the time, while leaving room for your operating
system to work at its fastest. If you’re running a laptop
or all-in-one computer that’s difficult to upgrade with
extra internal storage, we’ve found a USB 3.0 external
hard disk is plenty fast enough for library storage.

03 Be more efficient in your DAW


Although computers are much faster than even a decade ago, it’s still easy to
max the CPU in a complex synth- and plugin-laden project – so here are a few
ways to take that processing power back using your DAW’s CPU-saving features

Most DAWs have a channel freeze Using effects with an automated wet/ The best way of making a resource-

1 function, which bounces the frozen


channel to audio before unloading the
plugins on the channel from memory. If
you need to tweak the frozen channel
2 dry mix is an easy way to add variation
to a sound, but leaves the effect running in
memory, eating up CPU. Using your DAW’s
bounce in place function allows you to
3 hungry project more efficient is to
stem the entire thing to audio before
starting again in a ‘v2’ project. Not only
will you have a big smash of CPU power
later on, unfreezing it reloads the channel print the edits to audio, before turning off available, but you’ll also have a handy
and plugins in their previous state. the effects to save CPU. archive of your track parts to boot.

60 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


04 Latency
101
Getting your latency settings right can make
your DAW more usable for recording,
production and mixing. But what’s latency? Well,
it’s the amount of time (in milliseconds) between
your DAW being asked to do a task, such as
starting playback or triggering a synth, and the
resulting sound emerging from the speakers.
Lower latency times cause signals to pass more
quickly through your audio interface and DAW,
but use more processing power, which can lead
05 Know when
to update
to distortion and glitching as the CPU and audio
system struggle to keep up the pace.
OS updates are a necessary evil if you’re looking to
The best way to balance CPU use against low run the latest software on your machine, but our top
latency is to be flexible with setting your latency
times. Low latencies of 64 to 128 samples are tip is to avoid upgrading to the latest Mac OS or
perfect for recording live instruments, vocals
and MIDI input, particularly if you’re setting up a Windows version until the manufacturers of your
headphone mix in your DAW. Once you’ve
moved on to mixing, pushing the latency time
audio interface, DAW and plugins have all given it the
up to 512–1024ms will free up CPU power at the
expense of latency. It’s also worth knowing that
official thumbs-up. New OS updates are notorious for
most audio interfaces with recording preamps causing issues with audio software, so we’ve found
offer a zero-latency internal mixer that’ll let you
set up headphone mixes without signals having staying at least one version behind is best for
to pass through your DAW – ideal for recording
vocalists or musicians. keeping your computer working at its best.

06 Space
savers
A top tip for keeping your audio computer
running smoothly and reliably is to make sure
you leave enough free space on all your internal
hard drives. Leave around 10-15% free on each
drive to clear some room for the OS to work – this
helps the computer run smoothly and avoids any
glitches or dropouts during recording sessions. If
you’re struggling to trim down your data, a great
place to start is to empty your Trash/Recycle Bin
and check through your internet browser’s
download folder for any unwanted downloads
you can delete.
If you’re a Windows user, there’s a Disk
Cleanup tool that’ll help you wipe temporary
internet files and other junk from your machine.
For those looking to get more organised with
hard drives, freeware apps such as Grand
Perspective (Mac OS) or SpaceSniffer (Windows)
allow you to see a graphical representation of
the contents of your hard disk. Once analysed,
your files will be shown as a collection of blocks,
making it easier to select any unwanted blocks
Unsure what to delete next when you need more space? Freeware apps like Grand Perspective lend a hand for deletion.

May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 61


> make music now / cm computer clinic

07 08 Bridge
the gap
Modern 64-bit DAWs – that’s most of ’em – don’t

Optimise
support 32-bit plugins any more, which is a
problem if you’ve used legacy 32-bit-only plugins
such as Focusrite’s Liquid Mix or an old-school

your OS Powercore in any projects prior to upgrading. A


solid workaround is to use a program such as
jBridge (Windows) or SoundRadix 32 Lives (Mac
OS) to bridge between the 64-bit DAW and 32-bit
Fine-tune the basics plugin in real time, letting you open those old
projects without losing processing. We
with these three tips recommend you find 64-bit replacements long-
term, however, as bridging uses a fair chunk of CPU.

09 Pull
the cord
Onboard sound It’s well known that browsers are one of the most
resource-hungry programs you can run on a
When using your PC’s built-in audio computer, so it’s worth closing your browser and
outputs, you may suffer glitches, crackles turning off your WiFi connection when using your
and unacceptable latency times thanks to
machine for any audio-related tasks. Not only is
default drivers that aren’t made with music
production in mind. Fix this issue by having the net turned off better for productivity, it
grabbing ASIO4ALL, a highly optimised also means that your computer’s full attention is
(and free) universal ASIO driver. focused on that club banger you’re mixing down.
This tip is even more useful for the laptop DJs
amongst us, as high-quality yet low-latency audio
playback requires a lot of juice. You wouldn’t want
a Facebook inbox notification to mess up your
live set, would you?

10 Get with crashes when running a complex DAW project


stuffed with synths, plugins and RAM-hungry
the times multisampled instruments such as Kontakt or
Backing track For many years now, PC and Mac computers
Addictive Drums – a real waste of resources
when most modern production rigs have at
By default, Windows 10 allows a few apps have featured 64-bit processors so, if you least 8GB RAM on board! In contrast, a 64-bit
to run in the background in case you need haven’t already, make the most of this by system can address up to a mindbending 16
them. See what’s loaded by opening your
installing 64-bit versions of your operating exabytes, meaning that your OS and music
Start Menu, hitting Settings, selecting
Privacy then Background Apps. Now, system, DAW and plugins. 32-bit operating software can use every spare bit of system
you can uncheck any apps that aren’t systems and software can only address a resource available for your expert
relevant to the cause… like that annoying maximum of 4GB RAM, leading to vibe-killing beatmaking endeavours.
Adobe Acrobat updater!

Recording al fresco
If you’re using your laptop and audio
interface to record somewhere without
mains power, make sure you’ve disabled
all of your machine’s power-saving
features. When running on batteries,
laptops will throttle CPU speeds and turn
off hard drives after a short time, which
can lead to unwanted glitches.

62 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


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what’s new in logic pro 10.4 / make music now <

What’s new in
Logic Pro 10.4
Apple calls it a point release, but Logic Pro 10.4 is packed with the
sort of high-end add-ons we’d expect from a major upgrade…
It’s almost unfathomable that Apple enhancements and powerful new plugins musicians will be thrilled to find that a much-
could think of something else to add to that’ll leave you wondering how you ever got missed pair of plugins from the defunct Camel
Logic Pro X’s comprehensive list of features. along without them. Audio have made a welcome return, and a few
The ex-Emagic DAW is one of the most This version of Logic seems tailor-made for more of Logic’s own plugs have been given a
complete music software packages on the pro studio users. Features such as Smart Tempo boost thanks to new design and content.
market, offering literally everything one allow producers to bend Logic’s timeline to the There are thoughtful tweaks to the overall
might need to achieve full, professional- will of their client, while new plugins such as program: some major, some minor. Over the
quality productions without ever firing up a Studio Horns, Studio Strings, ChromaVerb and next few pages, we’ll take a look at the best of
single hardware unit or buying another the Vintage EQ Collection provide the polish the new features and even provide a few step-
piece of software. Yet Logic Pro’s latest and sheen one expects from a world class by-step walkthroughs of the most interesting
update is brimming with awesome facility. Meanwhile, veteran computer additions, starting with Smart Tempo.

> Step by step 1. Exploring Logic Pro 10.4’s new Smart Tempo feature

Smart Tempo is a new feature that We’ve got an old Oberheim drum Note the new Tempo track up top. It

1 allows Logic’s tempo to automatically


conform to anything you play, and vice
versa. Let’s try with a bit of sloppy finger
drumming. Tempo is 120bpm. The word
2 machine connected, and an empty,
armed audio track to record it on.
Metronome is off. Hit record and do some
drumming with the Oberheim’s panel
3 now displays our wayward tempo on
the Tempo Track. Zoom into the clip’s start
and edit out the silence before the first
beat. Drag the clip to the left so that the first
Keep appears below the tempo display. buttons. Recording done, we’ll decline the beat is at the project’s start. The new tempo
Click it and choose Adapt from the options. option of showing the File Tempo Editor. track follows along. Awesome indeed!

May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 65


> make music now / what’s new in logic pro 10.4

> Step by step 2. ChromaVerb – a brief tour More new


toys in 10.4
New plugins? You bet –
Logic 10.4 has some ace
new devices and upgrades
SPACED OUT
We’ve already shown you the cool,
colourful ChromaVerb, but Apple’s
developers haven’t neglected Space
Designer. It gets a brand new
modernised and scalable Retina-
ready interface.

Here’s a simple drum beat to demo the There’s a Damping EQ curve built into BRUSHED OFF

1 new ChromaVerb plugin. ChromaVerb


is an algorithmic reverb, though with
modern features not found on your granny’s
old Lexicon. Give it a listen. The default
2 the display. Just like with the popular
FabFilter Pro-R reverb, we can use this to
tame the reverb tails in particular frequency
areas. We’ll drag down on the leftmost node
A great track starts with great groove,
and Logic now offers a pair of new
brush kits for Drum Designer, as well
as a pair of new Drummers dedicated
Room patch sounds great straight off the to hear it (get rid of the light show by to roots and jazz-based beats.
shelf – check out the incredible visuals! clicking the button in the lower-right).
ORCHESTRAL MANOEUVRES
10.4 also offers a pair of session-ready
instruments in the form of Studio
Horns and Studio Strings. Each one of
these sample-based instruments
provides multiple instrument options.
Studio Strings offers four different
string sections and five individual
instruments (two violins, viola, cello,
double bass) while Studio Horns
provides three sections, and no less
than 13 individual instruments
(various trumpets, trombones, saxes).
Each offers plenty of articulations for
astonishing realism.

Like most algorithmic ’verbs, We can do the same with reverb Decay

3 ChromaVerb lets us adjust Predelay


time. We find this in the lower left.
However, ChromaVerb also gives us the
option of adjusting the Predelay time by
4 time. Here, we’ve activated the Beat
Division option and set the Decay to ring
out for 1.5 bars. When mixing, we often rely
on the wet-to-dry signal ratio to gauge how
musical divisions instead of milliseconds. closely the listener perceives the signal.
We’ve adjusted it to 1/64th triplets. ChromaVerb has a Distance knob. A 16% Hey maestro! Logic Pro 10.4 includes
setting moves our drums nearer. some seriously superior Studio Strings

Logic Pro 10.4’s new Vintage EQs


Logic has historically ofered nice but unremarkable EQs. Now,
however, there is an included trio of awesome emulations of
some of the most famous equalisers ever built, as seen here

VINTAGE CONSOLE EQ VINTAGE GRAPHIC EQ VINTAGE TUBE EQ


The Vintage Console EQ brings the sound of This one looks rather like an API 560 EQ No collection of vintage equalizer
Neve’s vaunted 1073 to Logic. We see four module turned on its side, though with the emulations would be considered complete
bands including Low Cut (parametric, but with aforementioned Output Model feature added. without a Pultec clone. Here we have the
fixed gain reduction), Low Gain (parametric, On the face of it, it looks like a 10-band job, and familiar slate blue panel with a handful of big,
shelving), Mid Gain (parametric) and High Gain indeed that’s what it is. However, a Tune chunky knobs used to perform the fairly broad
(shelving). Like others in the collection, the function will allow you to incrementally bump strokes for which the Pultec is known. And yes,
output model is selectable between that of any the affected frequencies up or down by a full you can do the Pultec trick of boosting and
of the three included units. octave each way. cutting simultaneously.

66 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


what’s new in logic pro 10.4 / make music now <

’Phat and ’Space replaced


Once a shining ship in a not-so-deserted domain,
Ben Gillett’s Camel Audio produced some of the
finest instrument and effects plugins on the
planet. Their additive Alchemy synth was a firm
favourite for its evocative atmospherics, and their
effects processors were equally beloved, with the
crushing CamelPhat spitting out delectable
distortion and dynamics – not to mention fuzz-
fused filtering. It was joined by CamelSpace, a
galloping, gated multieffects processor that The old CamelPhat and
offered sequenced effects galore. CamelSpace are reborn…
Alas, Camel Audio faded from view like some as Phat FX and Step FX!
glorious mirage, leaving users pining for the
much-loved devices. Much to the delight of Logic We needn’t have worried. Apple has once the weakest signals. And like CamelSpace, Step
users, then, Apple snatched up the Camel’s again breathed some life into our familiar furry FX provides all manner of modulated effects
collection of killer code in 2015 and began friends, giving them a new coat of paint and and allows them to be used with powerful gate
including the company’s previously premium rebranding the former CamelPhat as Phat FX sequencers.
synth, Alchemy, in Logic Pro X’s built-in bundle. and CamelSpace as Step FX. Like the classic We’re going to take a quick look at both of
We were thrilled, though we couldn’t help feeling plugin that inspired it, Phat FX is a big, beefy these reborn plugins in our following step-by-
a bit wistful about our beloved Camel Audio drive machine with loads of filtering and flexible step tours, so break out your beats and let’s fire
effects. Where were CamelPhat and CamelSpace? distortion options. It will make monsters of even ’em up!

> Step by step 3. Phat FX – new filter types and more

We’ll take a brief look at Phat FX. Here, Activate the Filter. There are more One of Phat FX’s best features is the

1 we’ve got our drum loop cycling and


we’ve opened Camel… erm, Phat FX on an
insert. Let’s crank up the rightmost Dirt
knob. We can click Dirt to select another
2 than 30 types to choose in the Filter
module (top right). Select LP 12dB Clean.
Set Cutoff frequency to around 1900Hz
and Resonance to about 34%. The X/Y
3 unassuming Bass Enhancer. Activate it
and give the Amount knob a shove to
instantly tighten up the bass. Activate one
of the LFOs. Set the waveform to Random
type of distortion. How about Tube? pad is linked to the Filter’s Cutoff and Hold, Rate to ¼ and crank up the Depth
Resonance. Adjust the Depths and play. knob for some rhythmic filtering.

> Step by step 4. Rhythmic modulation with Step FX

The other Camel Audio throwback is Start by activating the Filter module. Our sound really pops when we start

1 Step FX. This too is a multieffects


processor, but less focused on grit and
girth, instead targeting rhythmic
modulation. Fire up Retro Synth, put down
2 We’ll set Cutoff frequency to around
630Hz and Resonance to 37%. We’ve now
got a warm but dull sound. With the region
looped for playback, activate the Filter
3 drawing in the Step Modulator’s grid. We
can adjust the height of the blue blocks to
affect the filter’s Depth. Reduce the Cutoff in
the main Filter section to hear the effect.
a few sustained chords, then load up Step Cutoff power button just above the left Dragging to the side changes the length of
FX on Retro Synth’s channel. side of the Step Modulator grid. time the step is active. Great stuff!

May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 67


> make music now / what’s new in logic pro 10.4

Best of the rest


UNDO… EVERYTHING!
Well, pretty much. Though Logic has always
offered undo/redo functions for most
operations, there was no similar safety net for
the mixer. That has changed with this update.
Plugins opened in 10.4 now have undo/redo
buttons up top – and some third-party plugins
are included – plus, the mixer’s Edit menu
likewise offers undo/redo commands. Now any
mixer actions you perform will be easily
reversible. Sweet!

AUDITIONING LOOPS
In previous versions, the browser was, well
Apple-centric. While you could audition audio
loops that had been saved in any popular
format, only Apple Loops would sync to the
project’s tempo when selected in the browser.
Now, non-Apple loops can be auditioned at the
projects tempo before dragging them in. This Logic’s browser brings a bounty of new functionality to make digging through and audition files much easier
makes it a heck of a lot easier to figure out if a
given loop will work with a track. Oh, and they
can actually be played back looped in the at any time and blend between them. There are
browser. Handy! other modern niceties like velocity and basic
envelope functions. All of them are looped, so
UNTAGGED LOOPS points off for that – and there’s no bass
Logic now offers a means to more easily accordion tapes, so you won’t be playing that
manage your library of older, untagged loops – spot-on rendition of ‘Watcher of the Skies’. Still,
that is, loops not already embedded with meta- you won’t find a groovier retro choir sound.
data such as tempo, loop markers, etc (Apple
Loops would be considered tagged loops). THE ALCHEMIST’S VISIONS
Right-clicking allows untagged loops – or entire Film-goers might have noticed that film
folders full of untagged loops – to be added to a composers love Alchemy, Logic’s built-in
specific untagged loops folder on the hard powerhouse additive synthesiser. Well, they’ll
drive. All such loops are then available via a tab The new Vintage Mellotron plug puts a clutch full of love it even more when they get a taste of the
at the top of the Apple Loops browser. classic retro atmospheres within easy reach new Visions sound library. A vast collection of
instruments, atmospheres, and incidentals,
BOOKMARKS editor. Here, you can key assign switching Visions was designed with film scores in mind.
We can’t begin to express our appreciation for inputs and external MIDI controllers to apply
this singular, simple feature. Logic’s browser various articulations to your performances. BEST OF THE REST
now offers the ability to instantly bookmark Any articulations you’ve set up dutifully appear There are plenty of other additions and tweaks
any location on your drive and add a widget in the Piano Roll. we haven’t room to describe, but shouldn’t go
next to those already included at the top of the unnoticed. For instance, Logic now supports
browser itself. KEY COMMANDS WINDOW the ARA standard, so Melodyne integration will
You’ll want a quick way to call up your favourite be easier (once Melodyne is updated, too).
NEW ARTICULATION EDIT WINDOW new features. If you’re a fan of shortcuts, you’ll Additionally, the Audio Track Editor can now
We’ve already lavished praise upon the new love Logic Pro 10.4’s newly revamped Key operate as a standalone window. Also, the
Studio Strings and Studio Horns instruments Commands editor. It’s similar to the old version, Transformer, Transform Window,
and their astonishing realism. Much of that but with filter tabs across the top for zeroing in Environment Faders and Step Editor can all
comes from the many articulation options on commands that meet specific requirements now edit MIDI fader events. Oh, and Logic can
written into the instruments. However, these such as modifiers, unused, customised and now automatically set a new colour for each
sorts of advanced articulations aren’t limited those associated with the Touch Bar. audio and MIDI track you instantiate. The list
to the new Studio instruments, but can be goes on and on. We will doubtlessly be
applied to any instrument you like, thanks to RETRO SYNTH FILTER UPGRADE exploring all the new features for a good long
Logic’s brand spanking new Articulation Set There are now a whopping 18 different filter while – maybe even beyond the next point
types available within Retro Synth. These run update!
the gamut from Creamy and Gritty variants of
LP, HP, BP, and BR modes to four different Lush
lowpass jobs. Interestingly, the knob formerly
dedicated to Filter FM now changes function
depending on which filter is selected, becoming
a Drive parameter when more aggressive filter
modes are called up.

MELLO’D OUT
Yeah, we know we could’ve played Mellotron
samples with Logic’s sampler, but it’s really nice
to see this gorgeous, dedicated ’Tron
instrument included in Logic’s bundle. There
Now say it with passion – Logic 10.4’s new Articulation are ten different sets of tapes from which to Retro Synth has been given a look in, with a massive
Set editor lets you set articulations for any instrument choose, and you can set up two different tapes upgrade to its already excellent filter selection

68 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


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72 String
articulations

Get authentic orchestral string


Easy Guide sounds with Dave’s tutorial on
Music theory
with Dave Clews using articulations like a pro

74 Groove-
switching tricks

Stuck in a loop? Ed:it suggests


Studio Strategies
Advanced production
some new ways to mix up your
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76 Liquid funk
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May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 71


Dave Clews’

#64

String articulations
DOWNLOAD
Download the accompanying
video and the MIDI/audio files at
filesilo.co.uk/computermusic

This month’s Easy Guide has strings attached – and using


articulations can make them sound more authentic than ever
If you’re new to string or brass arranging, has a name, and can be indicated with symbols libraries to create convincing-sounding string
the term ‘articulation’may be unfamiliar. It on a musical score to give the orchestra an idea arrangements, it helps enormously if you’re
describes the use of a different technique to of how to play the part. aware of what all the different articulations
play the instrument, achieving a particular When composing realistic orchestral sounds actually mean. Both brass and string
sound or effect in the process. in software, most samplers or ROMplers allow instruments have their own articulation sets, but
With a violin, for example, there are many you to switch between different playing styles this time I’ll focus solely on string articulations.
ways to play it – you can pick the strings with on the fly via MIDI, to quickly change the way So, using the new Studio Strings instrument
your fingers, play smoothly with the bow, the instrument is virtually ‘played’. in Logic Pro X 10.4 and the ace Spitfire Audio
bounce the back of the bow off the strings, and If you’re thinking of using one of the many Albion ONE string library, let’s delve into the
so on. Each of these techniques or articulations commercially-available orchestral string mysterious world of string articulations.

>Step by step Exploring string articulations

TUTORIAL
FILES

When programming with a string Accented notes are played louder than Staccato notes are played shortened,

1 library, you’ll be able to choose your


articulations, each reflecting a style or
technique. The most commonly-used will
probably be simple sustained notes,
2 surrounding notes, and are marked on
the stave by an open horizontal triangle
pointing right. This is sometimes called
Accented Sustain – not to be confused
3 with a sharp attack, resulting in a
bouncy, spiky sound. The symbol for
staccato is a dot placed above or below the
head of the note on the stave. When
played smoothly with long, slow strokes of with marcato, where accented notes are programming strings, this articulation is
the bow as shown here. This might be played louder than they would be with a good for both rapid runs of notes where the
called legato (smooth), sustain or arco, regular accent. The symbol for marcato is attack of each note needs to be well defined,
which simply means ‘with the bow’. an open triangle pointing up. or for spaced-out, stabby string parts.

Spiccato (also known as staccatissimo) When you pluck with your fingers, it’s Col legno is an instruction to play the

4 is an even shorter, spikier version of


staccato, where the notes are even more
clipped and shortened in length, and are
played by bouncing the bow quickly and
5 known as pizzicato – one of the most
familiar string articulations. Pizzicato is
notated on a score simply by adding the
abbreviation pizz above the notes. When
6 part with the wooden, back part of the
bow, resulting in a bouncy, much more
percussive part than you’d get with a
regular bowing style. Here we see it
lightly off the strings. On the stave, spiccato programming with this articulation selected in Albion ONE. It’s effective in
parts replace the staccato dot with a small, selected, MIDI note length is usually movie scores, as it’s quite an unusual sound
filled-in, downward-pointing triangle above irrelevant, as you’re simply triggering a – ideal for conveying mystery and tension
or below the head of the note. short pluck sample with each note. with insistent rhythms.

72 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


easy guide / make music now <

RECOMMENDED LISTENING PRO TIPS Dave Clews


REGINA SPEKTOR - ARTICULATION REVELATION In a studio career
FIDELITY Certain apps or libraries let you attach different spanning almost 25
Eighth-note pizzicato string articulations to different notes within the same part. years, Dave has
chords used to full effect Logic Pro 10.4’s Studio Strings, for example, lets you
throughout. assign articulations on a per-note basis. With this setup,
engineered,
you can drop a bar of pizzicato into an otherwise programmed and
sustained legato part, say, or select one note to be played keyboards on
played as a tremolo or a fall. This makes programming records for a string of
http://bit.ly/RegFidel easier, and keeps your project tidy, as you don’t need to
load a separate instrument instance per articulation. artists including
George Michael, Kylie
BIFFY CLYRO - THAT
GOLDEN RULE GLISSANDO Minogue, Tina Turner
Epic staccato strings round off this Glissando is a smooth transition of pitch from one note and Estelle. These
noisy rock anthem spectacularly. to another. As a string library articulation, it’s open to
interpretation depending on the library – the glissando days, in between writing articles
in Logic Pro, say, slides down a whole tone before for and other magazines, he
sustaining on the note you’re playing. So if you play a C collaborates on occasional songs
note, the resulting sound will start on a D note, then slide
and videos with singer/songwriter
down to the adjacent C note and sustain there.
http://bit.ly/BiffyGolden Lucy Hirst, aka Polkadothaze.
www.daveclews.com

Con Sordino literally means ‘played With stringed instruments, tremolo is a Trills are created when you switch

7 with a mute’, a sound achieved on a


violin with a small rubber disc with holes
for A and D strings to pass through. This
clips on the bridge, reducing vibration and
8 short, rapid change of direction in
bowing, giving a stream of very short bowed
notes. The shuddery effect this produces is
especially good for building tension in
9 quickly between adjacent notes on the
fingerboard. When notes you’re flicking
between are an interval of a semitone apart
in pitch, you get a semitone trill; with two
producing a softer, more muted sound. movie scores, among other things. The semitones, you get a whole-tone trill. You
Albion ONE’s version of this articulation notation used for tremolo is a series of short, don’t have to program alternating notes
equates more or less to a quieter version angled straight lines stacked onto the stem individually, as many libraries include
of the Sustain or Legato articulation. of the affected note, as shown. ready-sampled trills.

A fall is what happens when you slide Fortepiano (indicated by the letters This showcases the articulations I’ve

10 your hand along the string towards the


headstock, resulting in a downward slide or
‘falloff’ in pitch – great for disco string riffs!
Since the samples aren’t dependent on the
11 fp above the stave) indicates that a
note or passage should be played loudly,
then softly. Logic’s interpretation equates
to a sort of swell, where the initial attack of
12 described, using a combo of Albion
ONE and Logic’s own Studio Strings. Over
a strings-only intro, I’ve started with col
legnos, then a bar of tremolo to introduce
song tempo, articulation menus in sample the note is loud, followed by an immediate a spiccato section. Then it’s sustains, a
libraries often offer a choice between short drop in volume and a subsequent rise semitone trill, some pizzicatos and a
falls and long falls, so you can pick the one back up again. You have slow and fast fortepiano swell, before the main spiccato
that best fits your project. fortepiano to pick from here. riff comes in over the full track.

NEXT MONTH Dave goes on and on about ostinatos May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 73
Studio
strategies
with Ed:it
DOWNLOAD
#20 See the tutorial files
on your PC/Mac at:
filesilo.co.uk/computermusic

Groove-switching tricks
From subtle turnarounds to glitched-out fills, an electronic beat
needs variation. Here’s how our resident pro gets it done…
A looping drum groove quickly becomes breakbeats. For the first, I’ll make use of Cubase’s I like to group my individual drum tracks to a
repetitive. That’s why I like to design clever audio editing features to slice, reverse, pitch and single drum bus for collective processing. Sending
turnarounds, fills and edits – even simple filter. I aim to splice the break so it fits the the new glitchy breakbeat edits to the main group
switch-ups can add tons of interest. surrounding track perfectly. For the second drum helps combine them sonically, add weight, and
Once happy with my core drum groove, I break, I’ll trigger it via MIDI using one of my save time at mixing stage. This way, I can spend
usually review the rhythmic phrases at the end of favourite virtual instruments, Spectrasonics Stylus hours creating weird drum textures and shifting
eight- or 16-bar sections, then switch things up by RMX. This time, instead of slicing and sequencing through various grooves to split from the track’s
altering the existing beats, adding in a new the break as audio, I’ll process it with various orderly drum beat. The possibilities are endless –
breakbeat or sample, or both together. In this creative plugins such as iZotope VocalSynth, but sometimes, less is more. Mix up the techniques
tutorial, we’ll see this with two processed Illformed Glitch and PSP Nitro. to find something that fits your own style!

>Step by step Designing turnarounds and edits for dramatic effect

To start, here’s my eight-bar drum Next, I’ll chop up the break into For contrast, I’ve reversed several hits

1 beat, coloured green. At the end of the


first four bars, I’ve placed an audio file of a
breakbeat (red) onto a new audio channel.
I’ll cut out and delete all elements of the
2 individual hits. You can see here that
I’ve applied fade-ins and fade-outs to the
start and end of each slice to prevent
clicks. After that, I’ve swapped round the
3 to give the breakbeat a weirder,
glitchier sound. This jolts the listener’s
attention away from the overall groove’s
repetitiveness. For a less obvious effect,
main beat, to ensure the new loop has its slices so that the hits work better with the I’ve chosen to reverse the break slices that
own space in the mix. main beat. occur between the kick and snare hits.

Transposing certain hits up or down Next, to create sweeping and To finish the edit, I route the signal to my

4 will create excitement and more of an


individual sound. There are no hard or fast
rules here – I’ve simply selected hits at
random and tried out different pitch values
5 aggressive motion throughout the
loop’s frequency range, I’ve called up a
resonant high-pass filter (FabFilter
Micro). I’ve recorded in my sweeps by
6 main drum group, and send its signal a
reverb return. This cements the break with
the rest of my drums. For stereo movement,
I automate the channel’s pan amount
to see what works. Sometimes I’ll even twisting a MIDI knob. This is then sharply from right to left for a quick spin
pitch the entire loop in one go. quantised after to smoothen the filtering. around the stereo field. Job done!

74 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


studio strategies / make music now <

PRO TIPS Ed:it


DAW TEMPLATES REFERENCING WITH HEADPHONES With releases on labels
When creating a new project from scratch, I always If you’re a night owl like me, and you like to hit the such as Hospital, Med
turn to one of my custom DAW templates. Using studio in the early hours, noise is almost always a School, Critical, CIA
templates seems obvious, but it can be a huge factor. Turning your speakers off and reaching for
workflow booster. In my main template, I start with those headphones is usually the only option when
and Dispatch, and now
four folders: drums, bass, music/vocal and FX. Inside annoyed neighbours and angry flatmates come signed exclusively to
all these folders sit pre-routed group channels and knocking at your door. But headphones aren’t just for Shogun Audio, Ed
auxiliary buses, and alongside will be ready-loaded keeping that booming bass down – splashing out on a Warrener’s brand of
plugins with my own saved presets. For other good pair of cans has really improved my mixdowns
templates, I’ve routed tracks to particular groups and general production chops. deep, dark drum ’n’
– for example, I’ll have saved snare and kick I like to use headphones to assess sounds with a bass is making waves
channels already funneled into my drum bus, and wide stereo image (such as high percussive sounds or in the scene. Between
pre-piped to aux reverb and parallel compression synths), as you feel a lot ‘closer’ to the music – but DJing around the
buses. With this, I can simply throw in sounds, load there are things to watch out for, such as the
synths and easily manipulate inserted plugins to overenthusiastic need to EQ everything, or getting globe and topping up his studio
save time. It might seem tedious to set up at first, your bass balance perfect. tan, Ed brings you insight into his
but I’ve found it can really influence the way that Plus, don’t forget to watch your volume levels and cutting-edge production tricks
new sessions and ideas come together. give your ears a break!
and tactics every month in .
www.soundcloud.com/edit-music
www.facebook.com/edit0dnb

For my second breakbeat edit, I’ve By editing MIDI notes, I can I now mess up the loop for maximum

7 called up Spectrasonics Stylus RMX.


Each hit is separated across the keyboard
for easy MIDI manipulation. Like before,
on the eighth bar of my track, I cut out a
8 resequence the loop’s individual slices
to fit the broken-beat style of my track. I
then go on to pitch up the entire break
within Stylus RMX, to give it a little bit
9 drama. Here, I’ve inserted Illformed’s
Glitch on the channel, then tweaked the
plugin’s various effects to adapt the
break’s overall timbre. Adjusting the wet/
bar of the main drums and place the new more character and contrast against the dry Mix level to around 75% retains some
loop in the gap. main beats. of the original signal.

Next in the chain, I’ve inserted iZotope Next, two more insert effects. The first Again, I’ll route the channel to the main

10 VocalSynth for additional graininess.


Keeping the mix at around 50%, I’ve used
the Polyvox, Vocoder, Talkbox, Delay &
Transform modules to refine my effect.
11 is Endless Smile’s Helium Jumping
preset – automating this from high to low
creates a sweeping rise over the loop. PSP
Nitro is next, adding gentle chorus with a
12 drum group to glue the dynamics of the
break with the main drums. I’ve precisely
adjusted the channel volume to work within
the mix; and again, subtly automated pan
Yes, I know I’m not processing a vocal… 50% mix amount. These both add from left to right for additional width. To
but using a plugin outside of its remit excitement and flow, and allow the main end, I’ll send a small amount of the break to
can produce unique results! beat to breathe into the next section. my aux drum reverb for ambience.

NEXT MONTH Ed shows you some simple tricks with hardware synths May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 75
Dr Beat
with Ronan Macdonald

#42

Liquid funk DOWNLOAD


See it in video and get the
tutorial files on your PC/Mac at

The doc gets his breakbeat on with some classic DnB drums filesilo.co.uk/computermusic

Ronan Macdonald Liquid funk, or liquid DnB, is a form of


drum ’n’ bass intended as much for
part. A high-pass-filtered break (the Amen or
one of its ilk) is often layered in for top-end
Having listening as dancing to, characterised by ‘splash’, too.
previously emotionally stirring, jazzy melodics, rolling In this tutorial (and accompanying video),
served as Editor basslines and the frequent use of vocals. I’m going to show you how to program a
of drummer’s Renowned exponents of the form include liquid-funk drum pattern from scratch, and
bible Rhythm as Fabio (who ‘invented’ and named it in process it to get it sounding on point. I’m
well as 2000), High Contrast, Calibre, Lenzman, DJ using Toontrack’s EZdrummer 2 virtual
Computer Marky, Nu:Tone, Logistics and Commix. acoustic drum kit in Ableton Live 10, although
Music, Ronan is The drums in liquid funk are similar to you can easily achieve similar results using a
clearly the right those of intelligent DnB and other less well-chosen handful of samples loaded into
man for this aggressive styles, with chopped-up any sampler or drum machine.
particular gig. He’s been playing drums breakbeats and sampled live drums taking Alternatively, for a more retro-inspired
for over 30 years and making music precedence over electronically generated sound, don’t be afraid to mix and match
with computers since the 90s. sounds – although the latter certainly play a classic breakbeat samples with one-shots.

>Step by step Designing punchy liquid-funk drums from scratch

TUTORIAL
FILES

First, I need to select a suitable drum With the project tempo set to 170bpm, The hi-hats take a straightforward

1 kit. The drum sounds in liquid DnB are


tight and punchy, with tuned-up snares.
The John ‘Jabo’ Starks kit from Toontrack’s
Funkmasters EZX has just such a snare, so I
2 I program a standard four-bar liquid
funk kick and snare pattern, repeating for
the first three bars with a variation in the
kick drum at the end of bar 4. Notice that
3 eighth-note pattern, with the velocity
alternating between 127 on the beat and a
lower value for the hits between,
emulating the emphasis that a real
call up its Dirty Funk preset and turn the the kick in this particular kit doesn’t have drummer might apply, and preventing the
Reverb channel down in the mixer page, as the requisite DnB power and presence, but overly robotic feel that inevitably comes
I’ll be adding my own ambience later. don’t worry – we’ll fix that shortly. from constant-velocity hats in any music.

To bring that breakbeat vibe to the Let’s get some oomph. Loading Live 10’s The snare needs liquid DnB-style ‘air’. In

4 part, and make it sound more like the


kind of thing a real drummer might play,
all I need to do is add some ghost notes on
the snare. It’s important not to go
5 new Drum Buss device and activating
the fixed Compressor evens out dynamics.
The bassline root note is D, so setting the
Frequency control in the low-end
6 EZdrummer 2, I route the snare to its own
output in the Mixer page, then create an
audio track in Live, with the new snare
channel as its input. Sending the snare to a
overboard with these and keep the enhancement section to 70Hz and raising spacey reverb on a return track gives nice
velocity very low, otherwise the part will the Boom parameter tunes the kick drum to ambience, and raising the global Brightness
end up sounding too busy. the track, and gives it power and presence. EQ boosts the top end of the whole kit.

76 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018 NEXT MONTH Ronan revisits how to program hyper-real fills
Photograph Marilyn Clark

78 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


dave clarke / interview <

DAVE
CLARKE
At last, technology has caught up with his
imagination, and The Baron of Techno is
back with his first album in 14 years

If you’re reading a magazine like to keep those musical dreams alive. A couple of
Computer Music, the chances are that you DJ residencies helped him get a foot in the door,
have a keen interest in music and technology. and he immediately started bombarding record
But when Dave Clarke – the Baron of Techno, labels with early demos.
as John Peel used to call him – was growing One landed on the desk at XL Recordings –
up in Brighton, music and technology then home to The Prodigy. They liked what they
became much more than an ‘interest’. heard, and Clarke released I Like John under the
This was his place of refuge: a safe haven. name Hardcore in 1990. It was the start of a
They offered sanctuary when his young life was journey that’s taken him from underground
being turned upside down. labels to Top 40 singles, big-name remixes and
“My family situation was pretty hardcore,” festival success. Based in Amsterdam since
explains Clarke. “There was a lot of stuff going 2008, he’s also heavily involved in the annual
on between my parents, and I wanted to escape Amsterdam Dance Event, home to his
from that. Even before the invention of the legendary Dave Clarke Presents nights.
personal stereo, I used to walk around with this Clarke has long been associated with all
giant Ferguson tape machine. It took massive things techno, but his recent album, The
batteries, and only had one tiny earpiece. It was Desecration of Desire, was a beautifully
a sort of ‘impersonal’ stereo. experimental suite of songs that you’d struggle
“But when I was listening to that tape to stuff into any single pigeonhole. One of the
machine, I felt free. It allowed me to retreat into guest vocalists is Mark Lanegan, formerly of
my own mind. When it came to thinking about post-grungers, Screaming Trees, and occasional
the future and a career, I’d already decided it member of Queens of the Stone Age. His dark,
was going to be music.” gravel-coated voice sounds perfectly at home
Leaving home at 16, Clarke went through a amid Clarke’s sinister, semi-industrial grooves.
series of odd jobs, always trying to earn enough Despite almost three decades in the business,

May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 79


> interview / dave clarke

there are some things that don’t change. Dave


Clarke is not afraid to speak his mind. Yes, he’s
put a few famous noses out of joint over the
“I’ve never been interested in synths. I’m not a
years, but that no-nonsense honesty means
that sitting down with him for an hour is
musician in that sense. I was more interested
always… interesting.
in rhythms, samples and production”
Computer Music: I think a lot of people
reading this will recognise and immediately
identify with the idea of music being a place The music became a lot more interesting, much system, but not have to be part of the
of ‘refuge’. more introspective. greater system.”
DC: “I still feel like that, even after all these “There was an early synth band called Visage
years. Everyone has difficult times in their life, [masterminded by the late Steve Strange and : At what point did you think, ‘I fancy
but, unfortunately, I’m not someone who finds it featuring various names and faces of the late- having a go at making my own music’?
easy to lift my mood when the difficult times 70s/early-80s]. People know the hit single, Fade DC: “Right from the earliest days. Even in my
happen. Music has helped me in those darker to Grey, but the whole of their debut album was Lego years, I used to build Lego guitars so I
periods. it’s helped me change the feeling in my very influential for me. John Foxx, too. The could play along to Top of the Pops. My father
head. I use the music as a catalyst to help lift Metamatic album. I remember seeing it in WH saw that I had an interest in music and he
my mood. Smiths and thinking, ‘that’s a cool cover. I actually sorted out piano lessons for me. As I
“It’s almost as if you’re DJing with your own wonder what it sounds like’. I hardly had any look back now, I realise my father had a bigger
emotions. If you’re feeling sad and you know albums at the time, so the ones I bought would impact on things than I thought at the time.
that you’ve got to bring that sadness out, there be played over and over. The sound of the synth “I wasn’t great at piano – my hands were too
are tracks that will help. It might sound a bit pulled me into myself, in a good way. I found small – but the main problem was that I found it
fake as we’re sitting here talking about it in the that I was happy existing in that internal space. all too emotional. I would hear a wonderful
cold light of day, but I honestly think that music “That sense of introspection also collided piece of music and I would start crying. There
can influence your emotions. OK, it won’t cure with punk. Bands like the Ruts and Damned. was a piano at home, but my father eventually
all your ailments, but it can often open a door; it Together, synths and punk gave me the energy swapped that for an electronic organ. This was
can lift you just enough to give you a bit more to get through each day. It helped me another of those strange, life-changing
perspective. Enough to make you think, ‘C’mon, understand the world for what it was. Not the moments. For a start, I could listen to it on
time to get yourself together’. world that was portrayed in post-Industrial headphones… again, this idea of being in my
“Music has also been part of my education. Revolution education. I started taking an own world. I had no idea what a ‘reed’ sound or
It’s taught me things about myself. Things about interest in the social situation of various parts a ‘string’ sound was, but I was fascinated by
the world. I will forever cherish and value the of the country… the huge divide between the what I heard. The organ also had a rhythm box
effect it’s had on my life.” north and the south. with an output that allowed you to record it to a
“Then there was John Peel. Crackling out of tape machine.
: Were there certain tracks and artists that the AM radio at night. Hearing Joy Division for “The techie inside me started wondering
stood out in those early days? the first time. Wanting to be so close to the what I could do with these rhythms. What could
DC: “Before synths made it into the mainstream, radio, just so I could hear every little sound. I record on top of them? Soon I was pulling
it was pop music. The Top 40, same as Music saved me. And, as I got older, it gave me together every bit of audio equipment we had
everybody else. But once synths were involved, direction; it put food on the table and a roof in the house and recording my own radio
the whole atmosphere changed. over my head. It allowed me to be part of a shows. I even used to include adverts that I
recorded from the new commercial radio
station in Brighton.
“The cherry on the cake was a little red
‘recording’ light outside my bedroom door.
When that was on, no one was allowed in!”

: Any of those shows knocking around?


How about a covermount CD?
DC: “‘Rare Archives Of Young David’? Sadly,
there aren’t! Ha ha. I’ve got a few early four-
track demos, but I think I’ll keep them locked
away for the time being.”

: We were wondering about those early


demos around the time you got picked up by
In his early years, the Eventide
Harmonizer grabbed Dave’s attention XL. What were they made on?
DC: “Some of my father’s hi-fi stuff. He had a
nice JVC tape deck and a top-of-the-range
record deck. I’d managed to get myself a little
Yamaha four-track, a drum machine and my
first big investment, which was the Ensoniq EPS
sampling keyboard.
“Bang the demos off to the record company,
wait three months to hear anything back. Get
yourself an answering machine so you don’t
miss that important call. It was all quite
demoralising at the time because everything
happened in slow motion.
“That whole side of the business happens so
much quicker today, but it sometimes means
that people aren’t prepared to invest time, effort
The Ensoniq EPS was Dave’s first big investment and money into getting their tracks heard.

80 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


Photograph Marilyn Clark
dave clarke / interview <

Dave Clarke’s fave studio gear?


His ATCs, Crane Song Avocet…
oh, and his chair!

People don’t bother spending €120 for a year’s


WeTransfer, which means that their file expires
not a musician in that sense. I was more
interested in rhythms, samples and production.
Kit list
after seven days and I don’t get to listen to it. After XL, I was invited over to Ghent to record HARDWARE
“When I was putting those demos together, I some stuff in the R&S studio. Yes, they had Mac Pro 24-Core
hardly had any money, but what I did have was synths, but I was drooling over the compressors ATC monitors
invested in my music. If buying some more and the Eventide Harmonizer. On some of those Crane Song Avocet
cassettes meant that I couldn’t eat next week, early Trax Records tunes like 7 Ways to Jack, monitor controller
then so be it. The music always came first. they had this huge, deep, God-like vocal. That
“In fact, my father was so impressed by how was the Harmonizer.” SOFTWARE
little I was eating that he used to offer me the Logic Pro X
chance to earn a little bit of extra money by : Does that mean that, when the software Arturia V Collection
trying to beat him at pool. At the time, I thought thing started happening, it was a relatively Native Instruments
I was just fantastic at pool, but, as I got older, I easy and painless move for you? You weren’t Komplete
realised that he was probably letting me win so having to worry about syncing up all your Soundtoys plugins
I could afford to eat.” analogue keyboards? GForce plugins
DC: “Unfortunately, even though I didn’t use Waves Platinum
: We haven’t mentioned one synth yet. keyboards, my studio was still hardware- Eventide Omnipressor
DC: “I’ve never been interested in synths. I’m heavy, and a lot of that was running via MIDI.
I’d invested a lot of my money into outboard,
sampling technology, speakers, mic preamps,
“Songs are like DAT machines… I was running an old Mac G3
with 265 channels of MIDI! That was the setup
relationships. I used right up to the Devil’s Advocate album
in 2003.
“Eventually, I started moving into the box,
At some point, but the problem was that everything was so
fucking slow! It was always crashing. Even
you have to though my MIDI setup was fiddly, it was
rock solid.
commit.” “After that album, I ended up taking a break
for various reasons. My marriage broke up; I

May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 81


> interview / dave clarke

Commit or quit
“I recently read a book called The Great British Recording
Studios, and realised that British producers have often had to
work with limitations. When the Americans had eight-track,
we had four-track; when we had eight-track, they had
16-track, and so on. That meant British producers had to
make decisions about the music there and then. If you were
bouncing down the guitars to one track, you had to commit.
“And I quite like that. Commit to your sounds and your
song. A lot of the time, I sample myself fart-arsing around the
studio, then I’ll layer that with something else and layer it
again, resample it, and work with that new sound. In the
computer, I can fiddle around with it to a certain extent, but I
have committed to that sound. I have decided I want it in my
song. If you’re spending ages on that sound once it’s in the
computer, then it’s probably not the right sound.
“Music technology has given us a lot of great

Photograph Marilyn Clark


opportunities, but it’s also leading a lot of producers and
students astray. They don’t know when to finish a song.
Modern production can accentuate FOMO. You become so
worried that you haven’t got this sound or this loop, that it
becomes impossible to finish a song. You lose the positivity
of flexibility because there is literally too much choice.
“Songs are like relationships. At some point, you have
to commit.”

had to sell the studio. Obviously, something like : Any hardware favourites? “What I’m hearing isn’t techno; it’s tech-
that can take time to get over. I was still DC: “This is going to sound a bit boring, but it’d house. I’m embarrassed. Tech-house has a
interested in what was happening, and I probably be my ATC monitors, my Crane Song different mission statement to techno. Tech-
remember having a play with Logic, Ableton Avocet monitor controller and my chair. I do house doesn’t challenge people… it sells units. It
and Cubase, but things still felt unstable. And have a mixing desk, but actually adjusting all sounds very similar. Sidechain everything
everything took so long! faders and controllers isn’t necessary these until it brings tears to your eyes.
“The arrival of Logic Pro X was the moment days. I leave everything set for optimum “Commercialisation. That’s not techno. For
for me. That was the one I’d been looking for.” compression, and adjust the dynamics inside me, techno is about pushing the envelope. It’s
the computer.” the music of the underdog. The music of
: So, all the hardware has gone! revolution and rebellion.”
DC: “God, no! Still loads of hardware on the : The Desecration of Desire was your first
production side. It’s an in-and-out setup. The ‘proper’ full-length album in 14 years… Dave Clarke’s latest album, The Desecration of
outboard gives me the character I’m looking for, DC: “As I mentioned before, there was the Desire, is out now. A new single, IVT? (feat.
and the computer gives me an incredible divorce and losing the studio, but I think I was Louisahhh), is released on March 23, with remixes
amount of flexibility and control.” also waiting for technology to catch up with from The Mad Professor and Chloe.
what I had in my head. I remember getting an
: Are you still anti-synth? 8-core Mac Pro and still being seriously
DC: “I was never anti-synth; they just didn’t disappointed. Again, it was all about stability.
appeal to me. Softsynths are more… enjoyable. I’ve got a 24-core now… no problems at all.”
For me, a synth is still a fairly basic tool, but I use
the Arturia collection a lot. Anything from : Do you still call your music ‘techno’?
GForce. Native Instruments, of course. Waves, DC: “Hmm… techno is now a tough genre to
too. They’re known for processing and explain to the outside world because it’s been HEAR MORE
production, but their synths have definitely hijacked. If I talk to people inside the genuine
piqued my interest. techno world, there’s a lot of pride in what we
“I do use software FX – there are some lovely do because this music feels ‘real’. But following
EQs out there, anything by Soundtoys, the the collapse of EDM, you’ve now got a lot of
Eventide Omnipressor, maybe the odd Chandler people trying to cash in on the credibility of
plugin – but it’s mainly hardware.” techno. Suddenly, everybody’s going ‘techno’.
Is Vic There (feat Louisaaah)?
http://bit.ly/IVTbyDaveClarke
Exquisite
http://bit.ly/ExquisiteDaveC

WWW

www.daveclarke.com
soundcloud.com/dave-clarke-dj-sets

twitter.com/djdaveclarke

facebook.com/DJDaveClarke
Dave’s a big fan of the deliciously assertive Eventide Omnipressor

82 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


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reviews <

Our promise
We bring you honest, unbiased
appraisals of the latest computer
music products. Our experts apply
the same stringent testing methods
to all gear, no matter how much
hype or expectation surrounds it.

What the
ratings mean
1-4 A seriously flawed product
that should be avoided
5 This product’s problems
outweigh its merits
6 A decent product that’s only
held back by a few flaws
7 Solid. Well worth considering
8 Very good. A well-conceived
86 ABLETON LIVE 10 and executed product
9 Excellent. First-rate and
A long time coming, v10 nonetheless has lots to get among the best you can buy
your teeth into, with new devices, sounds and more 10 Exceptional. It just doesn’t get
any better than this!

90 92 94
FabFilter Sugar Bytes Korg
Pro-L2 Aparillo ARP Odyssey

96 98 101
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Awarded to products A product has to really If the product In the opinion of the
that challenge existing impress us with its exceeds expectations Editor, the best product
ideas and do something functionality and for its price, it will reviewed in the
entirely new features to win this one receive this gong magazine this month

May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 85


> reviews / ableton live 10
NESTED GROUPS
COLLECTIONS ZOOMING CAPTURE Place Groups within
Colour-tagged filters Finally, Live supports Live 10 is always recording other Groups for
for all your Live stuff wheel/trackpad zooming! MIDI in the background intricate bussing AUTOMATION
MODE
Automation
now has its
own mode

NEW LOOK
Live’s new
GUI is a SPLIT
feast for STEREO PAN
the eyes Take control of
the left and
right channels
independently

WAVETABLE
Live 10’s
wavetable EQ EIGHT
synth Live’s stalwart
balances EQ can now
power with reach down to
ease of use 10Hz
PEDAL ECHO
Step aside Overdrive, there’s A stunning delay plugin for
a new stompbox in town mixing and sound design

Ableton
Live 10 €349/599
With a lengthy list of enhancements and changes, and a collection of
powerful new devices, the latest Live has been a long time coming
It’s been four years since Live 9 ( 190, panel houses seven colour-coded, renamable Echo effect is an instant classic. Featuring
9/10), was released, and two years since the ‘filter folders’ into which anything – devices, Stereo, Ping Pong and Mid/Side modes, it offers
significant 9.5 update, so expectations for samples, plugins, presets, projects, etc – can be independent offset of its two channels by up to
version 10 of Ableton’s ubiquitous DAW couldn’t placed for instant access. For example, bung all 33% either way (ideal for stereo widening), low-
be higher. As ever, Live 10 is available in your favourite synths into the red folder and and high-pass filters, optional distortion, an
Standard (€349) and Suite (€599) versions, the name it ‘Favourite synths’. The folders are just onboard reverb (positionable Pre-delay, Post-
differences between them being in the bundled coloured tags, so nothing is actually moved; delay or in the Feedback circuit), and stereo
sounds (10GB for Standard and 70GB for Suite), objects can be assigned to multiple Collections, widening. The Echo Tunnel graphic gives at-a-
the number of devices included (47 vs 69), and and coloured dots next to their names indicate glance visualisation of delay timings and
the fact that Max For Live, which is now built into their membership. Hugely useful. feedback amount in totally intuitive style.
Live itself rather than effectively plugging into it Delay time and filter cutoff frequency are
(meaning increased speed and efficiency, Earth to Echo modulated by a stereo LFO (six waveforms; 0.01-
multiple outputs and more), only comes with Live 10’s headline new device might be the 40Hz, plus a x4 option) with phase offset, and/or
Suite. There are some real gems in Suite’s Wavetable synth (see ’Tabling motions), but the an envelope follower. The Character tab
soundware libraries, and it’s safe to say that it contains four further processors. Gate and
continues to be by far the better option. Ducking gate the wet signal with up to 3s of
Live 10 makes a winning first impression,
thanks to the implementation of a tasteful “Live 10’s headline new Release time and duck it when the dry input is
present, while Noise and Wobble emulate the
graphical makeover. The new font is lovely, background noise and hum, and timing
keylines around clips are much thinner, colour is device might be fluctuations of old analogue delay units. The
applied to the whole of clips rather than just the morphable noise-generating algorithm is
title bar, MIDI notes are the same colour as their
clips (yay!), and the colour scheme has shifted to
Wavetable, but Echo is particularly tasty.
Echo is a triumph of creative effect design.
a more pastel space. It looks really cool.
At the top of the Browser, the new Collections an instant classic” Equally at home generating simple repeats and
high-feedback modulated soundscapes, it

86 / COMPUTER MUSIC May 2018


ableton live 10 / reviews <

“[Echo’s] Boom section


works rather like a sub
synth. Trap and hip-
hop heads will love it”
sounds superb and is ridiculously easy to use.
Our only complaints are that the Mid/Side mode
would be better with level balancing controls
and separate feedback circuits for each channel.
Billed as an “analogue-style drum processor”,
Drum Buss is a multieffects module for
enhancing and ‘gluing’ drum kits. It combines
fixed compression, distortion and separate Here’s Wavetable in Polar wavetable display mode and Expanded view
sections for blowing up the high-mids (hi-hats
and snares) and low end (kick). The former
features more distortion and a low-pass
’Tabling motions
damping filter, and the Transients knob boosts Wavetable is Ableton’s most ambitious diverse modes for randomising, phase
or attenuates transients above 100Hz, also synthesiser yet, featuring two sync and more.
increasing the decay when turned clockwise wavetable oscillators, a sub oscillator, The dual filter can be set up for
and reducing it anticlockwise. For low-end two filters, all the expected LFOs and serial, parallel or split routing (Osc 1 to
processing, the Boom knob controls the amount envelopes, and the ability to expand its Filter 1, Osc 2 to Filter 2, Sub to both),
of tuned resonant low-pass filtering (30-90Hz) UI into the main window for close-up and incorporates all the fabulous
applied, with the Decay control extending the editing, á la Sampler. analogue filter models introduced in
length of the resulting tone. Wavetable’s sizeable library of Live 9.5.
Despite its lack of compressor tweaking, wavetables is divided into 11 categories Modulation sources are assigned in
Drum Buss is very usable and sounds fantastic. (Basics, Distortion, Formant, Vintage, a straightforward mod matrix, and
The Boom section works rather like a sub etc), and viewed in linear top-to- comprise three envelopes, two LFOs,
synthesiser (trap and hip-hop heads will love it), bottom mode or polar mode, the and Note, Velocity, Pitchbend,
the transient-shaping algorithm is great for second representing the wavetable as a Aftertouch and Mod Wheel MIDI
adding punch and/or reducing clutter, and dry/ loop, with time running clockwise. As signals. The envelopes and LFOs are
wet mixing enables parallel deployment. well as movement and modulation of incredibly detailed and versatile.
Lastly in the new devices department, Pedal the wavetable index, other oscillator- Wavetable sounds awesome,
is a stompbox-style distortion that serves as a related options include FM, PWM, sync offering an infinite playground of hard-
serious improvement on Live’s aged Overdrive and wave folding. Up to eight unison hitting and evolving sounds, and is
device. It’s got Overdrive, Distortion and Fuzz voices are on tap as well, with six admirably easy to use.
algorithms, three bands of adaptive EQ, and a
250Hz shelving Sub filter.

Work it
Shiny new devices are all well and good, but stopped – and clicking the Capture button Although most would say it should never
what the Live faithful will be most interested in creates a MIDI clip of everything you’ve played have been absent in the first place, Live 10 finally
are the improvements made to the UI and recently on each one. It seems like such a small adds the ability to create Groups within Groups,
workflow. At the top of that particular pile is the thing, but Capture genuinely changes the way with no limit in terms of numbers. There’s not
amazing Capture function. Live 10 is constantly you approach creating MIDI parts, eliminating much we need to say about this, really, except
recording MIDI input to all monitoring- and ‘red light’ syndrome and making all those happy that it works exactly as expected. Oh, and the
record-enabled tracks – even when playback is accidents instantly retrievable. Genius! Browser now gives full access to Groups and
their contents, too.
Automation lanes and chooser menus are
now hidden in the Arrangement View by default,
giving it a cleaner look and preventing
accidental automation changes. Flipping to the
new Automation mode invokes said elements as
before. Now, double-clicking an automation lane
in the Arrangement or a Clip Envelope creates a
breakpoint at the position clicked, and
breakpoints snap to the horizontal grid by
default when dragged, with optional vertical
constraining. New Fade handles let you change
the lengths of fades from both ends, as it were,
and placing the mouse on an automation
envelope breakpoint pops up its value.

Re-Arrangement
Back in the regular Arrangement View, clips are
now dragged by grabbing anywhere above the
centre line, and region selections are made by
dragging below the centre. At long, long last,
Shift+dragging the right or left hand end of a
Live 10 brings handy new automation upgrades, as well as the ability to view multiple MIDI clips in a single editor warped audio clip timestretches it; and the

May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 87


> reviews / ableton live 10

“Honestly, Live 9
already feels archaic
in comparison”
‘windowed’ contents of a clip are now freely
movable left and right within it by dragging with
modifier keys held. Reverse and silence/
unsilence functions are instantly applied to the
selected region within a clip at the press of a key.
It all adds up to a fairly impressive degree of
audio editing and manipulation directly within Ableton’s Push 2 MIDI
the Arrangement View itself. controller gets a whole
MIDI gets a boost, too, with the ability to edit new performance and
up to eight MIDI clips together. Select your clips sequencing mode
to have all their notes appear in the Note Editor
at once, coloured by host track – click a note to Push it real good
switch to editing that track. This makes life so
much easier when programming drums across Push 2 (and, to a lesser extent, Push) to highlight all of the notes playing on
multiple instruments; drums and basslines owners are in for a few extra treats with that step in the bottom bank, where
together; and so on. Live 10. For starters, Push 2’s display they can be removed if needed. Holding
Finally, mousewheel/trackpad zooming has now visualises EQ 8’s spectrum and the Layout or Note button switches row
at last been added, along with Z/Shift+Z filters, Operator’s envelopes, Echo’s 5 to the loop length controls. It’s a fast,
shortcuts to zoom in on the current time Echo Tunnel and Wavetable’s fluid system, although the lack of an
selection and back out. Alt+scroll, meanwhile, wavetables in all their highly option to make the top pad bank only
now narrows and widens the selected informative glory. show active steps for the currently
Arrangement View track. About time, too. The new Melodic Sequencer + 32 selected note is surprising.
Notes mode for Push 1 and 2, however, Less transformative but welcome
Live and direct is the big story, opening up real-time nonetheless is Push 2’s displaying of
Live 10 is a deceptively extensive update, sequencing and real-time play at the MIDI notes in the selected clip (no, you
making plenty of meaningful changes, most of same time. Accessed via the Layout can’t move them or anything), the
them to the Arrangement View, which has long button, MS+32 mode divides Push’s 64 addition of the Crop and Audio to MIDI
been in need of some developmental love. pads horizontally into two banks of 32. functions to the button array, and
There’s plenty more that we’ve not had space to The bottom bank is used for real-time folding/unfolding of nested chains. A
mention, of course: Chase MIDI Notes; MP3 and playing, and hitting a pad or multiple couple of Live 10’s new features also
FLAC export; automatic backup of the last ten pads also selects it/them for step get Push support: Split Stereo Pan in
saved versions of a Set; input/output naming; sequencing in the top bank of pads, as Track Mix mode, and navigation of
adjustable metronome beat divisions; Live Pack single notes or chords. Hold a step pad Collections in Browser mode on Push 2.
update notification and installation in the
Browser; MIDI note chasing; global MIDI Editor
Preview and Fold; Split Stereo panning; routing
of individual Drum Rack pads to their parent audio and MIDI editing, Nested Groups,
Rack’s internal returns, numerous tweaks to automation, zooming, Push 2 functionality and
Alternatively
existing devices and much more… loads more minor but effective tweaks for the Bitwig Studio 2
While Wavetable, Echo, Drum Buss and power user. Honestly, Live 9 already feels 243 » 9/10 » €379
Pedal have been grabbing the headlines, the archaic in comparison. Live 10’s most obvious rival still has
most profound draws of Live 10, for us, are the the edge in architectural depth
workflow-related improvements: souped-up Web www.ableton.com
Steinberg Cubase Pro 9
240 » 9/10 » €579
A far more complex virtual studio
aimed at a different kind of user

Verdict
For Tons of small changes add up to a
much improved workflow
New devices are excellent
Max for Live now properly built in
Suite is packed with great sounds
Capture might change your life

Against Still no comping


Some new features are long overdue
catch-ups rather than innovations

With copious workflow enhancements, a


stellar synth and the amazing Echo, Live 10
is an unmissable upgrade

Get analogue vibes and lush visualisation with Echo, Live 10’s new flagship delay device 9/10

88 / COMPUTER MUSIC May 2018


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> reviews / fabfilter pro-l 2
PEAK GR CHANNEL
See significant gain LINKING TRUE PEAK METERING LOUDNESS METERING
reduction values over time Adjust the stereo/ Detect inter sample peaks LUFS metering with
surround analysis at a click preset targets

ATTACK AND
RELEASE
Accessed in the
Advanced
section

LIMITING
OUTPUT
STYLE
SECTION
Eight tailored
Click to reveal
algorithms, four
various functions
are new to v2

LOOKAHEAD
Detect those
transients before
they happen!
TRUE PEAK LIMITING OVERSAMPLING Now E E
Get rid of inter sample peaks goes all the way up to a
whopping 32x

FabFilter
Pro-L 2 €149
The original blew us away in 2011, and somehow the new version of this
legendary limiter manages to improve on perfection…

Way back in 160, the Pro-L limiter plugin, reaches the right hand end; and Infinite existing standard (-16dB, -32dB and -48dB) and
from renowned Dutch software house compresses the waveform by half every time it K-metering (K-12, K-14, K-20) options, and True
FabFilter, bagged top marks in our review fills the display, in order to keep everything Peak metering and limiting.
thanks to its innovative level display, simple played back thus far visible. Also new are the The new limiting Styles – found in the
control set and amazing sound. Seven years ‘handles’ that appear on significant peaks, Advanced slide-over, which still also contains
later, version 2 improves on many of the showing the amount of gain reduction applied the Lookahead, Attack and Release controls –
features that made its predecessor such a at that point. take the number of genre-tuned algorithms up
success, and adds enough new ones to easily Pro-L 2’s biggest new features, though, are its to eight. Aggressive is a “near-clipping”
qualify as a generational advance. new limiting Styles, the addition of modern LUFS arrangement for use on IDM, metal and other
(Loudness Unit Full Scale) metering to the in-your-face genres; Modern is the new Pro-L
Pro-L plus go-to for transparency; Bus is for gluing drum
The first thing upgrading owners of the original busses and individual tracks; and Safe is for
Pro-L will notice upon launching its souped-up
sequel is the new widescreen GUI. Pro-L 2 (VST/ “V2 improves on many when you need no distortion whatsoever –
classical, acoustic, etc.
AU/AAX/RTAS) still offers the same range of Switching the Meter Scale to Loudness slides
sizes and, of course, full-screen mode, but now of the features that out a whole new metering section next to the
includes three new view modes for the central Output and Gain Reduction meters, where you
level display for which Pro-L is known. Slow is a
half-speed version of the original behaviour
made its predecessor can select from a choice of four industry
standard preset target levels (-9, -14, -23 and -24
(which is still onboard); Slow Down has the
display snap quickly left when the waveform such a success” LUFS) or use the Custom option to input your
own, and switch the scale between Absolute and

90 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


fabfilter pro-l 2 / reviews <

“Pro-L 2 is a snap
to set up, and
presents its
information clearly
and attractively”
Relative for convenience. Three meter strips
show the Momentary (accurate at any given Say hello to the
moment), Short Term (a wider, slower analysis new Output
‘window’) and Integrated (continuously section and its
averaged until the meter is reset) LUFS values quartet of helpfuls
together. Selecting one of the same three
options from the Time Scale menu makes that
the widest, left-most strip (complete with
Loudness Range bracket for Integrated mode) Output options
and assigns its numeric value to the big readout
at the bottom. Like any good loudness metering Pro-L 2’s Output Level knob now shares while adjusting either, the new Unity
setup, Pro-L 2’s is a snap to set up, and presents a space with four buttons, each Gain (1:1) button disables the Output
its information clearly and attractively. activating one of the plugin’s new Level knob and makes the same
‘secondary’ features. adjustment for you in the background.
Inter city On the left, the DC button applies A much easier way to keep a consistent
The original Pro-L included the useful Inter subtle pre-limiting DC offset filtering final output volume.
Sample Peak metering option, with which the for the correction of asymmetrical Most interesting of all, the Audition
peaks often generated between individual 0dB displacement. Limiting function solos the difference
samples by the analogue waveform Next to that, the Side Chain button between the input and processed
reconstruction process of any digital-to- activates an external sidechain input – output signals – ie, it isolates the effect
analogue converter could be monitored. Pro-L 2 useful when mastering stems that need of the limiting, letting you hear just the
goes a big step further with the addition of EBU to be limited to match a full master, or ‘gain reduction’ and distortion. This can
R128/ITU-R BS.1770 True Peak metering (the for creative purposes. be surprisingly useful not only for
same thing, to all intents and purposes) and – As well as the previously available setting Attack, Release and Lookahead
more importantly – True Peak Limiting, giving ability to automatically counter input times in the Advanced section, but also
the initial concept a whole new level of purpose. Gain increases with Output Level for comparing Pro-L 2’s limiting Styles
True Peak Limiting is simply a dedicated post- attenuation by holding the Alt key to fully appreciate their differences.
limiting process, whereby inter-sample peaks
are flattened out, ensuring undistorted
conversion back to analogue in even the
shoddiest of DACs. With True Peak metering on
(and there’s really no reason to turn it off), the blighters, and if you are, increase oversampling Alternatively
overs readout above the Output Level meter and perhaps Lookahead to get them hitting at
shows the level of any inter-sample peaks that +0.1 or so prior to True Peak Limiting; then hit DMG Audio Limitless
might occur. Turn on True Peak Limiting in the the True Peak Limiting button to flatten down 230 » 10/10 » £150
bottom to bar to squash them. that last 0.1dB. As with any True Peak limiter, Incredible multiband limiter plugin
True Peak Limiting works hand in hand with depending on the program material and other with intelligently divided dual
oversampling, which also reduces ISP levels by settings, it may still be possible for the odd ISP to processing stages
effectively increasing the interpolation slip through when you’re really pushing the
resolution of the waveform. To that end, Pro-L 2 ceiling. However, Pro-L 2’s system works very AOM Invisible Limiter G2
also increases the maximum oversampling rate well, and leaves as little room for doubt as we’d 235 » 9/10 » $119
from x4 to a CPU-murdering 32x, via 2x, 4x, 8x imagine you’re ever going to get. Shockingly transparent limiter with
and 16x. Lastly, we should also mention that Pro-L 2 is Easy and Advanced modes
Now, then, doing away with inter-sample fully geared up for surround sound up to Dolby
peaks couldn’t be easier: check True Peak Atmos 7.1.2, with the Channel Linking section
metering to see if you’re getting any of the little controls updating appropriately when surround Verdict
input is detected.
For Eight diverse limiting Styles
L, yeah! True Peak metering and limiting
With Pro-L 2, FabFilter have brought their LUFS metering
superb limiter up to date with modern External sidechain, Audition Limiting,
standards, and have measurably improved the Unity Gain and DC Offset
quality of its processing. The new Styles add to Surround compatible
the foundational arsenal, loudness metering
and True Peak Limiting are hugely empowering Against Still no knee control
additions, and the extra Output functions aren’t
to be sniffed at, either. One of the best, most What was already a first-choice limiter is
versatile and most popular limiters around just now even more essential, with expanded
got even better. scope for both mixing and mastering

In the new Infinite view, every second of input, output


and gain reduction remains visible in the level display Web www.fabfilter.com 10/10

May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 91


> reviews / sugar bytes aparillo

FM ALGORITHM ARPEGGIATOR FX PAGE ENVELOPE PAGE ORBIT


Choose one of three Pick out individual voices Access the Filter, Adjust the two Aparillo’s powerful
operator routing/ for arpeggiation Spacializer, Panner, envelopes and performance
mod algorithms Delay and Reverb switch to Poly mode controller

SHIFT
Detune the 16 LFO DISPLAY
unison voices by Keep your eye on
modulating this the movement of
the 16-voice LFOs

FM CONTROLS GRAVITATION
Adjust each Influence the
operator with Ratio ‘bounce’ kinetics
and FM sliders of each LFO

JITTER SAMPLE & HOLD


Offset the 16 LFO voices with Raise to push LFO 2 towards
these all-important knobs random stepped output

Sugar Bytes
Aparillo €99
With its imaginative unison modulation setup and big-sound sensibility,
this new FM synth wants to be the star of your next big production

As previous offerings Cyclop (9/10, 181), harmonic modes determine the ‘snapping’ of Unison mode to the whole Aparillo concept, it’s
Obscurium (10/10, 223) and Factory (9/10, the Ratio: Off (full spectrum, for inharmonic the default state rather than a secondary option.
235) make apparent, when Sugar Bytes set sounds), Quantized (the Farey Sequence) and Detuning of the 16 Unison voices is done with
their sights on building a softsynth, the end Harmonic (40 specifically-selected harmonic the Shift slider and the pop-out Scale Editor,
product is invariably like nothing we’ve ever ratios). The Op Balance slider mixes between the where you load various preset transposition
seen before. Their latest, Aparillo (VST/AU/AAX/ outputs of the two operators. scales or design your own, spreading the 16
standalone), is billed as primarily intended for While Aparillo’s 16 voices can be used for voices out over up to three octaves. Voices can
“cinematic sound design”, and one look at its regular polyphony, they’re really meant to be be dragged smoothly between chromatic
unearthly interface makes it clear that this is yet stacked for wild ensemble patches using the pitches for disharmonic unison, or snapped to
another curveball from the German developers. synth’s unique voice modulation setup, which them for chords.
we’ll come back to shortly. Indeed, so central is The Form parameter applies either or both of
Aparillo talk two waveshaping effects (Formant and Shaper,
Aparillo is a 16-voice, two-operator FM synth,
with the operator parameters accessed in the “Aparillo’s 16 voices are the last narrowing or broadening the waveform)
to one or both operators, followed by optional
Synth page of the tabbed GUI. The Ratio and FM wavefolding. Think of it as a highly manipulable
sliders control the harmonics and modulation really meant to be ‘distortion-plus’, and you won’t go far wrong.
intensity, while a choice of three algorithms The Jitter slider controls the depth of a
enable each operator to run in parallel; Op I to
modulate Op II with the Op II Ratio applied to Op
stacked for wild randomising algorithm that knocks the phase of
each wave cycle around a bit, resulting in what
I; and the same again but with the sum of both
Ratios applied to Op I’s modulator. Three ensemble patches” Sugar Bytes very accurately describe as “a
rather granular noise”.

92 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


sugar bytes aparillo / reviews <

“More than
anything, Aparillo
is about
modulation’”
To the right of the Synth page, Brightness
controls the FM feedback circuit, pulling
Aparillo’s sine waves into saws at the top of its
range. In loose terms, it makes the synth sound
more ‘traditionally analogue’.
The bank of signal processing modules in the
FX page comprises a multimode resonant Filter,
the Spacializer delay/comb filter, an auto Panner,
a feedback Delay, and a very passable reverb.
Take your patches to another universe in the Orbit page
Sweet 16
More than anything, Aparillo is about In Orbit
modulation, most notably that generated by its
two polyphonic LFOs. These are visualised in the The Orbit page is a sort of XY macro MIDI notes for keyboard-controlled
central panel of the Synth and Env pages as a controller on steroids, for the design of operation. The X and Y axes are also
row of 16 dots – one for each voice. At default elaborate synth-wide modulations. MIDI CC assignable, of course.
settings, they all move together – in a sine wave, Fifteen of Aparillo’s parameters are Right-clicking an object reveals
or linear up/down, looped or one-shot – at the laid out as ‘objects’ in the Orbit controls for adjusting its modulation
set Rate and Phase. Tweaking the Jitter knobs ‘cosmos’, including Operator Balance, Amount, Radius, Level and Pan, and all
for those parameters offsets the speed and start Reverb Mix, Formant, Brightness, Arp Amounts and Radii are randomisable at
position of each voice, for unison modulation, Mix, Jitter and Filter Cutoff. Moving the a click, as are the Mouse and Key
visualised by the movement of the dots in the red Orbiter puck towards one within its recorder buffers, and object positions.
LFO display, and the meter array behind the ‘radius’ (the dotted circumference) Dragging in the cosmos background,
slider of any targeted parameter. From 0-50%, increasingly applies its effect, so by meanwhile, moves all objects at once,
the offset is increasingly random; from 51-100%, moving the objects around, specific bouncing each on back inwards when it
it transitions from random towards a areas of multi-parameter modulation reaches any edge.
progressive, even spread from voice 1 to voice can be defined within the Orbit. You can The Orbit is pure Sugar Bytes:
16. Further to that, LFO 1 can modulate LFO 2’s record Orbiter movements for brilliantly innovative, deeply powerful
phase, and both LFOs can be set to stepped triggered playback (looped or not), and and – more than anything – endless fun
output via their respective Quantize and S&H up to 128 positions can be assigned to to play around with.
parameters. The Gravity knob is a novel
addition, too, messing with kinetics of the LFOs
over time, ‘bouncing ball’ style; and the option to
have each voice retrigger only when it collides
with the same voice in the other LFO is genius. arpeggiated ‘plucking’, depending on which of Alternatively
The LFOs are truly spectacular, seamlessly the four modes it’s set to. Clock mode is your
merging unison voice pitching (through standard rate-controlled arp, while Threshold Dmitry Sches Thorn
modulation of Shift) and conventional (LFO 1 or 2) and Collision modes see the 119 » 9/10 » £89
parameter modulation. They aren’t the only Arpeggiator triggering only when the LFO for There’s no direct equivalent to
modulation sources, though. There are also two each voice crosses a user-defined threshold Aparillo, but Thorn can sound
ADSR envelopes, a range of fixed curves, MIDI in the LFO display, or the two LFOs for a given similarly grand
velocity, and pitch and mod wheels. As for voice meet. The Arp output is a separate audio
targets, almost every slider in Aparillo accepts (a stream with its own operator balance control, Native Instrument Razor
single) modulation input – Shift, Jitter, Op mixable back in with the main output, and 165 » 9/10 » £89
Balance, the Filter and Spacializer, all envelope also available as a modulation source. NI’s stunning additive synth has a
stages… and the aforementioned meters give similarly adventurous, sound
instant feedback on their per-voice activity. Lost in space design-y approach
Closely related to the LFOs, the Arpeggiator With its highly individual architecture and
picks out certain voices from the 16 available for workflow, Aparillo isn’t the easiest synth to get Verdict
into, but perseverance brings great rewards. The
sounds it makes run from epic pads, drones and For Well-implemented FM
soundscapes to monolithic basses, delicate keys Mind-blowing 16-voice LFOs
and alien percussion, and its pervasive Quality effects and Arpeggiator
‘modulated ensemble’ ethos gives it a cinematic Orbit controller is awesome
character all its own. Messing around with those Phenomenal sounds
amazing LFOs never gets old, and the Orbit
controller serves as an intuitive performance Against Not easy to get into
layer for effective manipulation of the whole Only one mod source per parameter
instrument via mouse or MIDI. Just like Sugar
Bytes’ other synths, Aparillo is an inspired A sound designer’s dream synth, Aparillo
concept, beautifully realised. presents a unique technical proposition
and sounds absolutely incredible

The FX page houses a simple but effective collection of Web www.sugar-bytes.de


(per-voice modulatable) signal processing tools 9/10

May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 93


> reviews / korg arp odyssey
LPF HPF AND DRIVE
PRESETS LFO High-pass filter,
Including skinned The LFO has two waveforms Resonant low-pass VIEW BUTTONS
filter with three followed by a Three GUI sizes –
Rev1 and Rev2 banks and can sync to tempo distortion circuit
revision modes FX and arpeggiator
are located above
POLYPHONY
AND UNISON
Up to 16 NOISE
simultaneous GENERATOR
voices! Choose from white
and pink noise

OSCILLATOR FM
Apply two ENVELOPES
independent FM AR and ADSR
sources per oscillator envelope generators
for modulation
PULSE WIDTH
LFO/envelope-
controlled PWM for
both oscillators
MIXER
Balance your audio
and modulation
signals in one place

SAMPLE & HOLD


Mix two signals in the S/H
Mixer for use as a mod source
Korg
ARP Odyssey $100
Korg’s updated Collection brings this software remake of ARP’s famous
duophonic synth, and proves that some classics really are timeless…

Back in 2015, Japanese music tech megacorp they’ve also added to it with the ARP Odyssey, Gadget virtual studio. Presumably built on the
Korg teamed up with ARP co-founder David available as part of the full Korg Collection same code base as those, ARP Odyssey is an
Friend to bring back one of the most sought-after bundle ($249) or on its own. emulation of Revision 3 of the legendary
instruments in the history of electronic music. Really, the launch of ARP Odyssey (VST/AU/ synthesiser, unashamedly recreating and
Created in response to the gamechanging AAX/Standalone) came as no great surprise, adding to its unusual control layout, and, most
Minimoog, the original ARP Odyssey analogue given that Korg have already ‘done’ the Odyssey importantly, capturing that uniquely powerful,
synthesiser found huge success in the 70s with in software with the outstanding Odyssei for iOS edgy sound with uncanny accuracy.
its superior stability and feature set; and Korg’s (9/10, 238) and the Lexington module for the
2015 hardware remake brought all of its sound Stranger things
and functionality, plus a few modern While the original ARP Odyssey was a two-
enhancements, to a whole new generation of
players and producers.
“The results achievable oscillator synth limited to monophonic or
duophonic play, and Korg’s reimagined hardware
While that was happening, it looked like
Korg’s Legacy Collection of software synth with this quirky stuck to that same spec, all of the software
versions are polyphonic, up to 16 voices in this
emulations was slowly dying on the vine, having case. Mono, Legato and Duophonic voicing
not been patched for yonks, and requiring machine are unlike options are also available, of course, as are up to 16
attention in terms of new OS compatibility and voices of detunable, spreadable unison stacking,
AAX support. Recently, though, not only have
Korg updated the MS-20, Wavestation and
anything you’d get out although these ‘steal’ from the voice count, rather
than maxing out at 256 voices in total.
everything else in the Collection (the ‘Legacy’ bit
has been dropped) to address said issues, but
of any other synth” Described literally, the architecture seems
decidedly conventional. Two oscillators and a

94 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


korg arp odyssey / reviews <

“Sounds supremely
authentic, with all the
snarl, screech and mad,
modulated attitude of
the real thing”
noise generator (pink or white) output your raw
signals, which are shaped with separate low-pass
and high-pass filters. Amp and filter modulation
sources come in the form of an LFO and two
envelopes (ADSR and AR), and the oscillators The effects section and Arpeggiator in all their Rev2-skinned glory
feature frequency, pulse-width and ring
modulation, and sync. It’s the way that it’s all New tricks
brought together – and the fact that the rulebook
for this kind of thing was still being written when Scrolling the main panel downwards kinds of movement, width, depth and
it was originally conceived – that makes it so reveals ARP Odyssey’s effects section, wobble to the sound. The Phaser’s
special, though. which houses six signal processors, Resonance parameter is a nice touch.
For those unfamiliar with the layout, ARP each one adjusted using the same style The three-band EQ is as basic as they
Odyssey will be a little puzzling to navigate at first, of sliders as those festooning the synth. come, but is certainly useful for quick
but the quirks of its slider-based setup soon make The Distortion module features frequency tweaks.
sense. Oscillator waveforms, for example, are Valve, Soft Clip and Hard Clip modes, a The Delay is similarly rudimentary,
selected in the mixer rather than each oscillator Tone slider for tilting the frequency with separate left and right delay times
section, and frequency modulation comes from a response, and a Mix slider for parallel (set synced or free, the latter on a 1-10
mix of two sources – sine or pulse LFO and S+H or processing. Even with the Drive all the scale, rather than Hz, slightly
ADSR envelope. The S+H module also offers a way up, it’s not the most shredding unhelpfully), and adjustable feedback
variety of sources, two of which can be active at distortion we’ve ever heard, but it’s and output level.
once, including oscillator outputs and noise. The great for rubbing a handful of grit into Finally, the Reverb packs passable
aforementioned mixer sits alongside a modulation overly polite basses, leads and FX. Hall, Room and Plate algorithms, plus
section, where sources and depth levels are set The two modulation-based effects – the enigmatic but colourful Apollo,
using sliders and switches. It might all seem Phaser and Chorus/Flanger/Ensemble – which doesn’t even get a mention in
charmingly old school, but the point is that the make a fine fist of adding their various ARP Odyssey’s half-hearted manual.
results achievable with this quirky machine end up
being quite unlike anything you’d get out of any
other synth. It’s just brilliant.

ARPing on
As well as the polyphony, other ‘new’ features Gate time), and modulation of up to three
added to ARP Odyssey include a bank of six parameters from anywhere in the synth, including Alternatively
onboard effects (see New tricks) and an the effects. It’s powerful and fun to program.
arpeggiator. These all live in a panel over the main Also note the three low-pass filter options, GForce Oddity 2
controls, accessed by scrolling your mousewheel switching modelling between the VCFs from the 214 » 10/10 » £139
and/or clicking the Full Size View button (top right). Rev I, II and III versions of the hardware. All are Expanding significantly on the
The Arpeggiator/sequencer is a 16-step, slider- capable of self-oscillation, but sound very different Odyssey template, GForce’s
controlled affair geared for regular arpeggiation, to each other, with I being the toughest, II the amazing synth is a must-have
note and chord sequencing (Semitone, Octave and ‘fullest’ and III the darkest. And then there are the
Rev1 and Rev2 preset folders, which contain Arturia ARP 2600 V3
skinned patches (white for Rev1, black and gold for NA » NA » €149
Rev2) representing the two earlier editions of the An emulation of the beefier ARP
hardware. Strange that you can’t switch skins 2600 semi-modular from which the
without loading a preset, but no matter. Odyssey was originally born

Feels like home(r) Verdict


Our only major gripe with ARP Odyssey is that the
GUI feels pretty cramped on a high-res display – it’s For
a shame Korg haven’t taken the opportunity to As genuinely ‘Odyssey’ as they come
switch to a scaling graphics engine for this and Sixteen-voice polyphony and unison
future releases. Don’t even get us started on the Cool arpeggiator and very usable effects
almost unusably small GUIs of MS-20 and Polysix…
Like its iOS and Gadget stablemates, ARP Against Needs a ‘big’ GUI mode
Odyssey sounds supremely authentic, with all the Unison voices ‘steal’ from polyphony
snarl, screech and mad, modulated attitude of the Perfunctory manual
real thing. The effects and arpeggiator bring bags
of new creative potential to the party, too, The most authentic software ARP Odyssey
modernising and further animating one of the money can buy, Korg’s excellent synth is
greatest synths ever made. Epic. the new flagship of their Collection

Scrolling all the way up in Full Size mode reveals every


part of the synth at the expense of the keyboard Web www.korg.com 9/10

May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 95


> reviews / ws audio trueno
WAVEFORM FILTER MOD ENVELOPES LFOS
Select one of three Analogue filter with LP/BP modes Four ADSRs for assignable Four syncable, retriggerable
analogue waves or and a dedicated envelope modulation duties LFOs with five waves
256 additive ones

PULSE WIDTH
VCO 1 features AMP ENVELOPE
manual adjustment A dedicated ADSR
of pulse width envelope controls
the amplifier

MODULATION
VCO 3 can modulate EFFECTS
VCO 1’s PW or AM, Delay, Reverb
or the filter cutoff and the delay-
based Multi FX

MOD DEPTH
Drag modulators to
these sliders and
adjust the depth

MIDI CONTROL
Assign a MIDI CC to the last
‘touched’ synth parameter

WS Audio
Trueno £140
Packing a full-on analogue setup into a plugin-controlled USB stick,
could this groundbreaking new synth be the ultimate hybrid?

Despite the fact that, sonically, the best of plugin. Everything is digitally controlled, and the Getting going is easy enough. Install the
today’s virtual analogue softsynths are LFOs, envelopes and effects are entirely digital, but software, plug in the USB stick, and launch the app
effectively indistinguishable from the real thing, the filter and oscillators themselves are genuinely or plugin. The interface is uninspiring, and suffers
the beneficial organic instability and immediately analogue (although the former also have a digital from being undersized on a high-res display, but
physicality of physical instruments continues to additive mode – see It all adds up), which is, it’s usable and relatively intuitive. The oscillators
hold huge appeal to many electronic musicians. of course, the main thing. It is, quite literally, are stacked on the left, the filter, envelopes, LFOs
Attempting to bridge the gap between plugin the world’s smallest analogue synth. And and effects are on the right, with global
convenience and hardware authenticity, Trueno, that’s impressive. transposition and legato controls at the top, along
the innovative analogue-synth-on-a-USB-stick with a Mode switch for flipping between Mono and
from WS Audio, is a remarkable product, but also Paraphonic behaviour, the latter separating the
something of a white elephant. Let’s start at the
beginning…
“This analogue-synth- oscillators for playing up to three notes
simultaneously. At the bottom of the GUI, the

True believers on-a-USB-stick is a orange field allows for assignment of a MIDI CC to


the last ‘touched’ control.
On paper, Trueno does look like a pretty great idea. The oscillators offer a choice of three analogue
A three-oscillator monophonic/paraphonic remarkable product, waveforms – saw, square and triangle – and up to
analogue synth stuffed into an eyebrow-raisingly 24 semitones of stepped transposition up or down,
small USB-connected aluminium ‘block’
(65x31x7mm), complete with filter, modulation and
but also something of with the Fine control smoothly detuning by up to a
semitone. Oscillator 1 features a pulse width
effects, and controlled via a software front-end
loading as a standalone application or VST/AU
a white elephant” control for altering the square wave (this stays
awkwardly in view but devoid of function when

96 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


ws audio trueno / reviews <

“It is, quite literally, the


world’s smallest
analogue synth. And
that’s impressive”
any other wave is active), and oscillator 3 is
available as a modulation source as well as an
audible signal generator. Targets for VCO 3 in Mod
mode are VCO 1’s PWM control or amp, or filter
cutoff, and being able to apply audio-rate
modulation to any one of these three parameters
is a real boon for sound design.
Trueno’s resonant filter is based on a “soviet The Spectral Editor is tiny, but you can zoom in to make life easier
Russian design” (the Polivoks, we assume), and
offers low-pass and band-pass modes. It howls and
squelches nicely with a signal going through it, but It all adds up
is surprisingly tame when self-oscillating, emitting
a gentle whistle, rather than the ear-piercing shriek As well as their bona fide analogue the Spectral Editor, where dragging
we were expecting. waveforms, Trueno’s oscillators can upwards in the graph display increases
Alongside VCO 3, Trueno’s other modulation also each be set individually to Digital the amplitude of the partial under the
sources consist of dedicated ADSR amp and filter mode, turning them into additive mouse pointer, and dragging left and
envelopes, four assignable ADSR envelopes and generators drawing on up to 64 sine right sets multiple partials together, in
four LFOs – a very healthy showing. Modulation wave partials. Not only that, but these standard additive synthesis style.
targets include all three oscillator Fine and Gain partials are fully user editable, making Being absolutely tiny, as it is, the
controls, filter Cutoff and Resonance, and output it possible to design your own raw Spectral Editor is extremely fiddly to
Gain, each of which can have two sources each, tones from the ground up, for discrete work with in its default state, but the
with assignments made via drag and drop. We’re usage and bolstering of the analogue zoom in/out buttons alleviate this
disappointed not to see PWM, the effects waves, not to mention as modulation somewhat, as you’d hope.
parameters or LFO Freq and Gain on the target list. source signals in VCO 3. Having said that, with 256 preset
The LFOs output sine, square, saw, triangle or To access Digital mode, just step the waveforms onboard, including
noise waveforms, and the envelopes can be linear waveforms past the three analogue resampled basses, bells, guitars,
or exponential. forms, or click the D button. Clicking keyboards of various kinds, flutes and
Trueno’s digital effects comprise Delay, Reverb the S button that appears in Digital more, you may never need to get your
and the Multi FX module, which switches between mode changes the waveform view to hands dirty with it anyway.
flanging, phasing, and four/eight-voice chorus. The
Multi FX and Delay are pretty good, but the
Reverb’s nothing to write home about.
With audio generated by the synth’s onboard
24-bit/44.1kHz ADC, capturing Trueno’s output in Alternatively
your DAW is done by recording or resampling There are a few notable issues, though, the first
– bouncing in place won’t work. This isn’t as quick being a lack of onboard preset management – u-he Diva
as offline rendering, obviously, but it’s a mild patches can only be stored using your DAW’s 178 » 10/10 » $215
inconvenience rather than a ‘problem’. In all other internal system (ie, as .fxp or Totally convincing semimodular
regards, Trueno works like any other plugin synth, .aupreset files). This makes it very difficult to build virtual synth that sets the standard
with no additional latency over what your system up your own preset library. for analogue emulation
gives you, and audio output appearing on its Compatibility is a little iffy, too. Changing preset
mixer channel. in Logic Pro X, for example, kills the audio output, Synapse Audio The Legend
requiring plugging and unplugging of the USB 238 » 9/10 » £79
stick. In Ableton Live 10, meanwhile, the audio Another incredible virtual analogue
disintegrates at times for no apparent reason, synth, this time a model of the
again requiring a reconnect. Hopefully these can Minimoog D
be ironed out with software updates, and by and
large, Trueno is stable. Verdict
It’s all True For Analogue oscillators and filter
Despite Trueno’s undeniable success on its own Lots of envelopes and LFOs
terms, for us, its strange half-and-half nature Latency not an issue
outweighs the minor sonic gains it brings. It has a VCO 3 works as a modulation source
sound of its own, and the analogue noise, grit and
wobble are palpable (indeed, overbearing at Against No preset management
times), but using it is a bit of a faff, it has none of Some compatibility issues
the tactility that’s such a big selling point for true Feels like a needless compromise
analogue synthesis, and it doesn’t do anything compared to high-end virtual analogues
compelling enough in sonic or functional terms to
make us want to use it over virtual analogues Trueno sounds good, but the trade-off in
costing the same or less. workflow isn’t worth it for most, we suspect

The Trueno USB stick is tiny – it’s quite amazing to


think there’s a complete analogue synthesiser inside! Web www.truenosynth.com 7/10

May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 97


> reviews / waves scheps omni channel

Waves
Scheps Omni
Channel $149
This all-in-one plugin channel strip comes from the mind of one
of the world’s most revered engineers – but will it make waves?
Waves’ clearly successful partnership with more controls – sidechain parameters, for shapes – just the thing for targeted dynamics
Grammy-winning producer/engineer Andrew example – and gives access to separate strips for control of any source signal. Lastly, EQ is
Scheps (Adele, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jay Z et al) the Left and Right or Mid and Sides channels, discussed in All things being EQ, below.
continues with the release of this all- depending on the stereo mode currently
encompassing channel strip plugin. The design selected for the module. Omni-potent
brief was to create a comprehensive modular A clever feature that we hope Waves will roll With its flexible routing and stereo functionality
suite of processors to deliver the “classic out to future plugins, Focus Mode highlights (there’s no restriction in terms of per-module
definition of a channel strip” along with the those controls that the designer of the current L/R or M/S – Gate the mids, EQ the sides, then
flexibility of a “mixing and matching” approach. preset (the illustrious list of which, incidentally, Compress the decoded end result, for example),
Scheps Omni Channel (VST/AU/AAX) is hardly includes Scheps and Visconti) has deemed the stellar sound, admirable ease of use and handy
the first plugin to do either – or both – of these most pertinent for adjustment based on the Focus Mode, Scheps Omni Channel is another
things, of course, but production legend Tony intended source material and usage. The winner for team Waves-Scheps.
Visconti already rates it as his favourite channel highlighting is a tasteful orange glow, and Focus
strip, and we really liked Waves Scheps 73 (8/10, Mode is genuinely helpful and educational. Web www.waves.com
203), so expectations are high. On to those modules themselves, then, and it
should come as no surprise, given the parties
Omnipresent involved, that they all sound delicious,
Scheps Omni Channel’s five main modules individually and collectively. The Pre module Alternatively
comprise Pre, EQ, Compressor, Gate and DS2, all features two harmonic distortion modes (Odd
of which are freely reorderable by dragging. and Even) and a modified clipper (Heavy) Slate Digital Virtual Mix Rack
There’s also an insert slot into which any one of algorithm, filtering, and 2dB or 4dB of optional 214 » 9/10 » $119
your other installed Waves plugins can be low-frequency boost. Gate flips between gating Build your own channel strips from
instantiated; and at the very end of the chain is and expansion, and enables adjustment of a growing library of powerful
the Master section, where I/O levels are (internal or external) sidechain filters and lunchbox-style modules
adjusted, monitoring is controlled and brickwall hysteresis. Compressor is also fully sidechain-
limiting is applied. tweakable and made super versatile with its LVC-Audio T-Chain
When first launched, all five modules are VCA, FET and Opto modes. DS2 is like a two- N/A » N/A » $20-30 per module
visible, but clicking the button at the top right of band de-esser, fed by an internal or external Another modular strip plugin with
any one of them pulls it out into the Expanded sidechain, but with each band able to target any a handful of units included and
View. This not only makes certain knobs bigger frequency range from 20Hz to 20kHz for more to buy as required
and thus easier to manipulate, but also reveals adjustable gain reduction with one of four filter
Verdict
For Fabulous sound and response
All things being EQ Mid-side mode available to each
module individually
Every one of Omni Channel’s five processors boost. All four can be used as parametric bell Focus Mode is ace
is a thing of beauty, but our favourite is the filters, but each band also offers two VCA, FET and Opto Compressor modes
EQ, which we’ve found ourselves using on its alternative modes. The top and bottom bands
own (within the main GUI – sadly, you don’t double as shelving filters, with ‘standard’ and Against Modules would make great
also get the modules as separate plugins) on Resonant variants, the latter applying single plugins, too
almost everything we’ve done since writing resonant bumps to the front and back of the Only one insert point
this review. shelf. The central Mid and Tone bands,
You get four frequency bands to work meanwhile, include Wide and Narrow bell A versatile channel strip that sounds
with, every one sweepable all the way from shapes. Narrow is a fairly sharp peak, and gorgeous and is a delight to use
16Hz to 21kHz, rather than each covering its Wide differs in width between the two, being
own range, and yielding up to 18dB of cut or tighter and more focal in the Tone band. 8/10

98 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


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mini reviews / reviews <

mini reviews
A rapid-fire round-up of sample libraries, ROMplers and music gear

AudioSwift
AudioSwift $24

Web www.audioswiftapp.com key and Touch Bar commands


Format Mac maintain transport control while
AudioSwift is active.
Turning your MacBook Pro trackpad or Magic The remaining three modes
Trackpad into a MIDI and mix controller, all output MIDI data. Trigger
AudioSwift sits in the MacOS menu bar, waiting to mode turns the trackpad into a
be awoken with a four-finger tap, whereupon it bank of up to 12 MIDI pads, up to
takes control of your trackpad and keyboard until three of which can be played at
put back to sleep via the Esc key. There are four once – although there’s a
distinct modes of operation, accessed via menu hardware-based ’crosstalk’ issue
selection, keyboard shortcuts and the MacBook with recent Macs, where pads on
Pro Touch Bar. Each mode divides the trackpad the middle row occasionally
up into a number of zones for dragging and/or trigger when the bottom row is
tapping, and there’s an optional ‘training’ window, played. Scale mode divides the trackpad into
which overlays the control zones on a virtual eight vertical columns, each representing one
trackpad with live touch feedback. note of a selected scale – tap or ‘strum’ through
Mixer mode (currently compatible with them to send MIDI to your pitched instruments, o use. While we don’t find the Mix mode
to
Ableton Live, Logic Pro X, Pro Tools and Reaper) with aftertouch if your trackpad supports Force massively useful (with the exception of
m
features six views, each offering a particular set Touch. And, finally, XY mode enables up to three recording automation to two faders at once,
once itt
of mixer controls, including level faders (one at a separate fingers to send individually assigned doesn’t save you that much effort over just
d
time or in adjacent pairs), pans, sends, mutes, MIDI CCs on the X and/or Y axes, and/or with using the trackpad the usual way), the three
u
solos, record arm, and even a jogwheel. Stepping contact/release. MIDI triggering and control modes are brillian
M nt
through mixer channels is done using the track AudioSwift is incredibly well designed and, h
for on-the-go i i and
composition d sound
dd i
design.
selection ‘buttons’ in the top corners, and a set of after an acclimatisation period, admirably easy n8/10n

Native Instruments Audiority


Session Guitarist – Echoes T7E €45
Electric Sunburst £89 Web www.audiority.com
Format PC/Mac, VST/AU/AAX
Web www.native-instruments.com
Format PC/Mac, Kontakt/Kontakt Player A favourite of Pink Floyd’s
Dave Gilmour, the Binson
The latest in NI’s Session Guitarist line Echorec T7E was an Italian
puts 6GB of multisampled Gibson Les delay unit from the 60s that
Paul electric guitar under the control of used a motor-driven steel
their Kontakt Player-based strumming drum for magnetic ‘storage’
engine, as seen in Strummed Acoustic 1 of its repeats, rather than
(cm215, 8/10) and 2. This makes it conventional tape, yielding
possible for timing and pitch of the 154 unrivalled stability and a
patterns to be manipulated in real time unique sound. Echoes T7E, by also-Italian developer Audiority,
while maintaining realism well, with is the world’s first complete Echorec emulation plugin,
strums, riffs and arpeggios in many replicating its four configurable playheads and three main delay
genres. The browser’s Rhythm Search function makes compiling modes (Echo, Repeat and Swell), and adding to them with freely
compatible patterns easy, and Humanize and Swing controls variable (up to 1100ms) and host-synced delay times, the ability
deliver instant rhythmic tweaking. Patterns can’t be edited down to tweak the Tone, volume and timing offset of each head
to note-level, but each pattern can be shifted and shortened. The independently, and the transformative Age control, for dialling
Auto Chords feature, meanwhile, lets you trigger chords from in decrepitude.
single notes. Echoes T7E is so vintage you can almost smell it. Sonically,
Plenty of sound shaping tools are onboard, too, including amp it’s dark, psychedelic and quantifiably ‘different’, capable of
simulation and effects; mixable Neck, bridge and mic channels; everything from swirling multitap delays and accelerating
fret and background noise; and tuning accuracy adjustment. As washes (push the Length of Swell knob too high and you get the
ever, the USPs here are superlative samples and the fluidity of awesome self-oscillation effect for which the Echorec was
the playback engine. Far more flexible than at first glance, known) to punchy slapbacks and odd reverberations. We love it,
Electric Sunburst is an authentic one-stop rhythm guitar shop. although it needs a wet output level control, as it’s far too quiet.
n9/10n n9/10n

May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 101


> reviews / mini reviews

Soundware round-up
Sample Magic
Paranoid Techno £30
This chunky, funky library centres on 17 sets of
stemmed drum loop variations (332 files) and 32
cone-pushing sub loops, serving as the backbone
elements for all manner of techno/tech-house
workouts. These are supplemented with two folders
of ‘acid’ loops (bass and top), more than 50 ear-
warming chord one-shots, 39 percussion loops
(toms, rides, etc), a host of superb FX and vocal loops,
and all the usual bass and drum hits. It’s techno of the
more up-tempo (128bpm), aggressive variety, and if
that’s your bag, there’s plenty to get your teeth into.
www.samplemagic.com
n8/10n

ModeAudio
Microphone Soul £18
Mode’s first ever vocal library draws on the
formidable laryngeal talents of singer Sian Chandler
to create 116 loops and 141 one-shots (single words).
Chandler’s voice is very distinctive, with a particular
tonality that makes it sound almost pitched up at
times – we’re really not sure if we like that aspect of it
or not. From soul and R&B stylings to more poppy
deliveries, Microphone Soul covers a fair bit of lyrical
ground, although, as with any vocal phrase library,
your actual mileage will vary, vocals being the highly
context-dependent consideration that they are.
Ghost Syndicate www.modeaudio.com

Shinobi Beats £20 n7/10n

Shinobi Beats is 818MB of ninjutsu- Zero-G

inspired loops and shots, “blending Hauntology £50


Thankfully, the title of Si Begg’s new organic
together hip-hop and future beats”. electronica library has no bearing on its content – the
expected phantasmagorical angle never materialises.
Everything is at 170bpm but with a half- What Hauntology does deliver is 3.2GB of gorgeous
evocative loops, FX (our favourite section) and “tonal
time feel to the drums and bass – high textures”, inspired, says Begg, by the work of Delia
Derbyshire, John Carpenter and Tangerine Dream.
The gear used to create the 553 samples includes
points of this fantastic library. The drum vintage synths and drum machines, tape decks and
circuit bent effects, and their dust and distortion is
loops are fierce, hard-hitting and palpable. By turns cinematic, musical and
programmatic, Hauntology is an inspiring resource.
nuanced, while the basses make great www.timespace.com
n9/10n
use of distortion and modulation. The
FX, atmospheres and synth loops Sample Diggers
Urban Pop £25
provide plenty of great melodic and Kicking off with a tasty assortment of stemmed drum
atonal material, and the only downside loops and mostly-synth basslines, this commercial
R&B/hip-hop library doesn’t put a foot wrong when it
comes to the melodic elements that follow. The
is the folder of ‘sword’ one-shots, most music loops are mostly Rhodes progressions, and the
piano loops include some remarkably catchy riffs.
of which sound more like bells and You also get 18 composite string section loops, each
comprising an ensemble mix, and separate low, low-
finger cymbals than they do weaponry. mid, high-mid and high stems. Again, these are
extremely well written and thoroughly memorable –
www.loopmasters.com almost worth the price on their own, in fact.
www.loopmasters.com
n 9/1 n9/10n

102 / COMPUTER MUSIC May 2018


mini reviews / reviews <

Sample Tools by Cr2 Artisan Audio


Deep Tech Tronica £16 Indelible Techno £30
Cr2’s latest bargain-priced dance music samples, This 124bpm techno sample pack spends no time at
MIDI files and Sylenth1 presets vaguely cross deep all messing about. 52 relentlessly-driving drum loops
and tech-house, and dust the results with a sprinkling are simply labelled Drums_1-52 – none of your fancy
of ambient electronica. The 20 stemmed drum loops stems here – and each is a standalone unit in
(120 files) are bright, punchy and interesting, and production terms, some spectacularly mental. 100
their attendant basslines head off In all directions. similarly diverse percussion loops provide top-end
The synth loops include riffs, gated pads and more, interest. Oddly, the bass and synth loops are
and five Song Starter construction kits each give you descriptively named, making it easy to sort the pads
ingredients for a full track, to do with as you will. and stabs from the leads and strings. You never really
Deep Tech Tronica has, perhaps, a lack of stylistic know what you’re going to get next with Indelible
focus, but at this price and quality, we forgive that. Techno, but almost every sound it makes is a winner.
sounds.beatport.com www.loopmasters.com
n8/10n n9/10n

J-Kits Sample Magic


Kevin Ross Vocals Jazztronica 2 £30
Subscription The jazz element of Sample Magic’s 1.8GB hybrid
The fast-rising Motown singer/songwriter presents a library comes into play in its sultry, smoky mini
pack of 99 ready-to-go vocal loops and 83 one-shots. construction kits, which use double bass, piano,
As well as the solo phrases at its core, there’s a trumpet, sax and other ‘real’ instrumentation for the
sizeable collection of powerful non-verbal (ie, “oohs” production of 30 supremely-usable stemmed loops.
and “aahs”) harmonies, and 20 beatbox kit elements The rest of Jazztronica 2 is essentially focused on
for loading into your drum sampler. Ross’ voice and establishing a downtempo hip-hop vibe, from the
the production is first class, but the distinction crisp, swung (and stemmed) beats and sinuous
between loops and one-shots is iffy – what makes a b-lines, to the crusty synths/keys and spacey FX. It all
two-word phrase a loop but a single word a one-shot? comes together beautifully, and the 100 Serum
Quibbles aside, this is a solid lyrical grab-bag. presets don’t hurt, either.
www.noiiz.com www.samplemagic.com
n8/10n n9/10n

Gothic Instruments Prismo


Dronar Brass Module £60 No Limits Subscription
The Dronar line of Kontakt instruments keeps The American EDM producer gives up 199 of his
expanding with Brass Module, built on 5.4GB of brass “freshest sounds” – 124 loops and 75 one-shots – for
band samples recorded in a church hall in Lancashire. his soundware debut on the subscription-only Noiiz
Anything but your traditional brass library, these label. There are no drums in this tightly compiled
samples are the base for endless drones, pulses, pads, collection; just basses, arps, vocal cut-ups and synths
textures and ambiences; layered, manipulated, (chord sequences, plucks, pads, leads, etc). Prismo’s
processed, keyswitched and auto-chord-triggered in peppy sound design ethos, keen melodic ear and
one of the best Kontakt-powered engines around. polished production style shine through, particularly
However, it’s the least attention-grabbing entry in the in the spikier basslines and more animated arpeggios
range so far, perhaps because of the comparatively and musical structures. No Limits is intense and high
bland nature of the source sounds. in energy from start to finish.
www.timespace.com www.noiiz.com
n7/10n n8/10n

ModeAudio Samplestate
Silhouette £14 Essential Lo-Fi House £30
Fifty trap-orientated presets for Xfer Records’ As the name suggests, saturation and distortion play
ubiquitous Serum wavetable synth, referencing 18 a major role in Samplestate’s knockout new house
custom wavetables. The 10 bottom-heavy bass library. Vintage drum machines and synths, old
patches are the stars of the show, taking the low-end mixers, tape decks and analogue outboard have
tropes of trap to places new; but the 15 epic leads, 17 been expertly handled to craft a smorgasbord of
melodic ‘synths’ and eight pads are equally worthy of rhythmic and musical treats, taking in full-fat
praise, with lots of tonal variety and WT Pos- stemmed beats, snarling basslines, sweeping pads,
modulating flavour. All four macros are assigned for pulsating Rhodes licks, smashed-up disco loops and
every preset, giving great scope for quick tweaking, some of the most original vocals we’ve ever heard.
and a set of matching MIDI files for demonstration One for the producer seeking real analogue dirt and
purposes or as editable starting points. Excellent. soul, Essential Lo-Fi House is also exceptional value.
www.modeaudio.com www.loopmasters.com
n9/10n n10/10n

May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 103


> free samples / ultimate shakers & tambs

SAMPLES GIVEAWAY

ULTIMATE
SHAKERS
& TAMBS
When you’re looking for
rhythmic inspiration, nothing
quite beats (get it?) the
552 EXCLUSIVE SAMPLES
skipping, grooving sound of a
including… shaker or tambourine part.
80 Shaker hits
50 Shaker loops This issue, then, we’ve got a
77 Tamb hits DOWNLOAD
48 Tamb loops Get these exclusive samples
on your PC/Mac over at
bumper collection of shaker
filesilo.co.uk/computermusic
148 Shaker loops by BPM
150 Tamb loops by BPM and tambourine one-shots
and loops, all ready to be used
in your tracks, royalty-free.
Download the pack from
FileSilo (see p5), or find it on
the print edition’s DVD.

Workstation Samples Part 3


In this third and final installment of our
Workstation Samples trilogy, we bring you 442 WAV SOUNDS
a collection of electric bass and guitar 102 Bass loops
loops to help bolster your virtual band, as 66 Beat loops
well as a few acoustic drum grooves for 105 Guitar loops
good measure. Add that to a bevy of 51 Filtered Clavinet multis
17 Dry Clavinet multis
clavinet, harpsichord and Mellotron
63 Harpsichord
samples, and you’re all set. Find the pack
WORKSTATION on the print edition’s DVD, or download
21
17
Mellotron Flutes
Mellotron Strings
SAMPLES PART3 them from filesilo.co.uk/computermusic
right now.

104 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


loopmasters / free samples <

Loopmasters CM255 samples


Get them on the DVD or download from filesilo.co.uk/computermusic

01 Kissy Sell Out Extreme House & Bass 05 Rasta MC Vocals Vol 3
02 Funk Constructor Vol. 3 06 Sylenth Fiction
03 Dabro Music 3 Drum & Bass 07 Ghost Syndicate Shinobi Beats
04 Lo-Fi Hip Hop and Downbeat 08 Singomakers Slo-Mo Electronica

May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 105


BONUS DIGITAL CONTENT WITH
INCLUDES OVER 3 HOURS OF VIDEO AND EXCLUSIVE
E O
EVERY ISSUE

Future Music is the mag for the latest gear and how today’s cutting-edge music makers use it.
We’ve been making the future since 1992. Make sure that ou’re part of it.
plugins <

PLUGINS
You get more than 75 instruments and
DOWNLOAD
As well as on our DVD, you’ll
find all these plugins at
filesilo.co.uk/computermusic

efects with every issue of . Keep on top of


this exclusive plugin suite with our directory
The Plugins collection is a just drop into your plugin folders. What happened to…?
suite of complete, limitation-free FREQUENTLY There’s a bit more info on p113, As of 209, almost all Plugins
instrument and effects plugins. It’s ASKED and there are specific installation are 64-bit compatible. The few
an incredible resource, boasting QUESTIONS instructions for each in the How To older Plugins that remain
more than 75 pro-quality plugins Install file in the CM Plugins folder. 32-bit-only – such as Amplifikation
that you won’t find anywhere else, Enough talking! Where do I get CM, Rhino CM and KR-Delay/
all for PC and Mac, in VST and AU these plugins? What do I need to use them? KR-Reverb – are now included in
formats. All of the included You can grab them all on the cover A PC or Mac and a music program the 32-bit only subfolders. These
software is created exclusively for DVD with our print edition, or as a (aka DAW) to host them. You need plugins require either a 32-bit host
us by respected commercial download from FileSilo (see p5 for a DAW that can host VST or AU or a suitable ‘bit bridge’ (eg,
developers such as D16 Group, instructions on how to access). plugins, such as Ableton Live, jBridge) for use in a 64-bit DAW.
u-he, AudioRealism, Ohm Force, Reaper, FL Studio (PC), Cubase,
KV331 Audio, Cableguys, XILS-lab, How do I install Plugins? Sonar (PC), Logic (Mac) or Still got questions?
AudioThing, Vengeance-Sound, Rob It depends on the plugin. Some have GarageBand (Mac). One free option See the full FAQ at
Papen, zplane and more. dedicated installers, while others is Tracktion 6. bit.ly/cmpluginsfaq

FEATURED PLUGIN

XILS-lab
StiX CM
Get better beats with this all-in-one
groovebox. StiX CM brings analogue
synthesis and sample playback
together in a powerful three-oscillator
architecture, complete with onboard
sequencing, hands-on mixing,
modulation and effects processing.
www.xils-lab.com
May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 107
PLUGINS

INSTRUMENTS
HYBRID SYNTHS
Our synths have been created
by the best software developers
in the world to bring you a
suite of sound-making tools for
all music production scenarios u-he Zebra CM
s Blendable oscillator waveforms
Enzyme CM
s Scanned synthesis sound generator
KV331AudioSynthMasterCM
s Dual wavescanning oscillators
s Super-programmable step LFOs s Easy-to-use preset-based synth s Multimode filter and built-in effects
s Slick delay, reverb and chorus s Assign parameters to controls s FM/AM synthesis modes
s Original synth designed just for CM s Based on the full Enzyme synth s Based on SynthMaster 2.5
s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit
www.u-he.com humanoidsoundsystems.com www.kv331audio.com

Cableguys Curve 2.6 CM Synapse Audio Dune CM Klevgränd Enkl CM u-he Bazille CM
s Design-your-own-waveforms synth s VA and wavetable oscillators s Classic monosynth design s Patchable modular synthesiser
s New waveform capabilities for v2.6 s Powerful per-voice modulation s Modulation, arpeggiator, effects s Sequencer and Mapping Generator
s Phat 16-voice Unison mode s 12-slot modulation matrix s FM, AM and LFO/envelope combo s Audio-rate modulation, Fractalizer
s Based on Cableguys Curve 2.6 s Based on the full version of Dune s Based on the full Enkl synth s Huge how-to guide in 232
s AU/VST/RTAS, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST/RTAS, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST 32-/64-bit s AU/VST 32-/64-bit
www.cableguys.com www.synapse-audio.com www.klevgrand.se www.u-he.com

VIRTUAL ANALOGUE SYNTHS


Get the sounds
of sought-after
circuits with our
classic collection LinPlug Alpha CM XILS-lab PolyKB II CM Madrona Labs Aalto CM XILS-lab XILS 3 CM
s Dual oscillators with wave blending s Models the ultra-rare PolyKobol s Unusual oscillators with FM s Modelled on the EMS VCS 3 modular
s Mod matrix, slick chorus effect s Packed with mix-ready presets s Intuitively patchable modulation s Authentic circuits of the original
s Polyphonic glide between notes s Assign knobs to main parameters s Onboard reverb s Step sequencing s Added chorus and delay effects
s Based on the commercial Alpha s Based on XILS-lab’s PolyKB II s Based on the full Aalto synth s Pin matrices to ‘patch’ signal flow
s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST/RTAS, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit
www.linplug.com www.xils-lab.com www.madronalabs.com www.xils-lab.com

DRUM MACHINES
Get heads
nodding
and design
better beats DopeVST Beat Machine CM
s 50 ready-mixed royalty-free kits
AudioRealism ADM CM
s Old-school-style drum machine
brunsandspork Grooove CM
s Load in two samples per sound
XILS-lab StiX CM
s Drum synth with sequencer
s 50 MIDI beats included s Emulates Roland’s TR-606 and set their velocity response s Load preset kits and grooves
s Kick, Snare, Hi-hat and Misc parts s Also contains custom samples s 50 built-in Micro Kits to play s Apply effects and mix each sound
s Level, Pan, Pitch and Reverb s Based on the full ADM s Based on the full Grooove s Polystep modulation and more
s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit
www.dopevst.com www.audiorealism.se www.brunsandspork.com www.xils-lab.com

108 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


plugins <

SAMPLERS
Import, slice and loop your audio
files with these creative and
highly customisable instruments

Expert Sleepers Loomer Cumulus


XFadeLooper CM s Granular sampler with sequencing
s Creative crossfade-looping sampler s Scenes function to sequence slices
s Hard Sync mode and modulation s Not based on an existing plugin
s Saturation section, flexible looping s AU/VST 32-/64-bit
s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit s RTAS/Standalone 32-bit
www.expert-sleepers.co.uk www.loomer.co.uk

OTHER

DopeVST Bass Engine CM Kirnu Cream CM Camel Audio Eisenberg Einklang CM AutoTonic CM
s 45 authentic hip-hop bass patches s Get more out of plugin instruments Alchemy Player CM s Morph between a trio of oscillators s Always stay in key with this MIDI app
s Three eras of faux-sampled bass and master arpeggios with this tool s 200 awesome ready-to-play patches s Envelope and timbre controls s White keys play notes while black
s 50 MIDI riffs included s Program and store complex patterns s Loads SFZ patches, often included s Modulate tone with the LFO keys select the scale you’re in
s Envelope and note controls s Musical controls for rhythm/notes in our own CM sample collections s Based on the full Einklang synth s Choose from a variety of scales
s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit s Standalone, acts as your MIDI input
www.dopevst.com www.kirnuarp.com www.camelaudio.com www.eisenberg-audio.de www.autotonic.net

Rob Papen RG-Muted CM AudioThing miniBit CM zplane vielklang 2 CM Squaredheads Nora CM Monoplugs B-Step CM
s Create realistic funk guitar grooves s 15-waveform chiptune synth s Pitch-correct and retune audio s Input up to four notes, s Step sequencer for beats and chords
s Onboard sequencer s Envelope and LFO modulation s Harmonise melodies with ease output chords and arpeggios s Easily creates chord progressions
s Effects and modulation options s Bit-depth/sample rate reduction s Level and pan harmony voices s Program velocities & store patterns s Seven pages of controls to dial in
s Based on Rob Papen RG s Based on the commercial miniBit s Algorithms by zplane’s experts s Mac users require macOS 10.8+ s Based on the commercial B-Step
s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit
www.robpapen.com www.audiothing.net www.zplane.de www.squaredheads.com www.monoplugs.com

> Step by step


plug ns reloaded / make mus c now <

11 Piano and vintage syn h sounds

CM PLUGINS TUTORIAL BANK


versat e nsp r ng synth the atest
P ug ns fam y
We turn our at ent on to th s

V DEO
add t on to the

Satson and on

1 2
foc

To help you get the most out of our immense with tutorial PDFs and videos on using Plugins
CURVE 2 CM

plugin collection, we’ve assembled the Plugins for sound design, mixing, and even creating entire
3 4

> Step by step 12 Risers and e fects with Alchemy Player CM


Tutorial Bank, containing over 100 guides and tracks. You’ll find all of this as a handy download
tutorials for our Plugins, specially selected from from FileSilo – go grab it now and start getting
>

V DEO

1 2 3
past issues. You’ll find Getting Started PDFs and more out of your plugins!
videos for most of the individual plugins, along www.filesilo.co.uk/computermusic

May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 109


PLUGINS

EFFECTS
DYNAMICS

Check out this huge collection of


processors – from classic
compressors to modern digital
creations, we’ve got everything eaReckon CM-COMP 87 LVC-Audio Transector CM Audiority TS-1 CM
you need to shape your signals s Slick, punchy compressor
s Mix knob for parallel compression
s Transient tweaking and saturation
s Define and process envelope stages
s Flavoursome transient shaper
s Set attack and sustain gain
s Limiter to keep the output in check s Useful metering/display functions s Blend control for parallel processing
s Clear VU- and LED-style metering s Mix control for parallel processing s Based on the full TS-1 plugin
s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit
www.eareckon.com www.lvcaudio.com www.audiority.com

Unfiltered Audio G8 CM HoRNet Fat-FET HoRNet DrumShaper audioD3CK SunRuys CM Toneboosters


s Get tight dynamics or creative FX s FET-style compressor s Instant EQ & compression for drums s Characterful bus compressor Sibalance CM
s Includes advanced gating controls s Similar to the classic Urei 1176LN s Dial in effect amount & in/out gain s Dry/wet mix and blend controls s Pro-quality de-esser and de-harsher
s Real-time waveform display s Ultra-fast attack as low as 0.02ms s 7 algorithms: kick, snare, loops, etc s Advanced options to go deeper s Four modes for different use cases
s Use MIDI as a trigger or output s Based on HoRNet MultiComp s Based on HoRNet TrackShaper s Based on the full SunRuys plugin s Select Reduction & Attack amounts
s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST/RTAS/AAX, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit
www.unfilteredaudio.com www.hornetplugins.com www.hornetplugins.com audio.d3ck.net www.toneboosters.com

D16 Group Frontier Ignite VST Vice One Toneboosters SKnote Snap
s Superb mixing/mastering limiter s Talented compressor sold for $49 Barricade CM s Boost or tame transient brightness
s Set Threshold and Output s Choose between analogue or s Intelligent mastering-grade limiter s Brighten or dull a sound’s sustain
s Choose detection and release styles digital response characteristics s Dynamic response controls s Uses two intelligently-linked filters
s Soft Clip control for drive/distortion s In/out and gain reduction metering s Stereo options, versatile metering s Not based on any existing plugin
s AU/VST/AAX, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit
www.d16.pl www.ignitevst.com www.toneboosters.com www.sknote.it

ANALYSIS

Rule the waves and make


your music come alive before
your very eyes with the help
of these pro visualisation tools Blue Cat Audio Photosounder Spiral CM Vengeance-Sound Scope
FreqAnalyst CM s Musical, note-based analyser s Spectrum for frequency analysis
s Pro-quality, feature-packed analyser s Useful for figuring out notes in s Oscilloscope for waveform view
s Numerous customisation options audio and grasping music theory s Stereo phase and level metering
s Based on Blue Cat FreqAnalyst s Based on the full Spiral plugin s Tons of advanced analysis options
s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit, RTAS 32-bit s AU/VST/AAX, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST/AAX, 32-/64-bit
www.bluecataudio.com www.photosounder.com www.vengeance-sound.com

110 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


plugins <

EQ/ FILTERS
From basic clean-up filters to
juicy, analogue-style EQ units
and creative efects, get your
spectrum sorted with these
Acustica Audio Pink CM DDMF CM EQ Pack Vengeance-Sound Philta CM
virtual signal-sculptors s Analogue-modelled API-alike EQ
s Four EQ bands, two with shelf toggle
s Two superb equalisers
s IIEQ Pro CM: 19 filter types
s Dual high- and low-pass filters
s Four slope settings: 12/24/48/96dB
s Output adjusts to match Input Trim s LP10 CM: Linear phase EQ s Resonance and width controls
s Cut from the full Pink channel strip s Based on commercial DDMF plugins s Link function and notch mode
s AU/VST/AAX s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit
www.acustica-audio.com www.ddmf.eu www.vengeance-sound.com

More EQ/ Filter plugins


eaReackon CM-EQUA 87
Three-band EQ with high/low shelves
(AU/VST, 32-/64-bit)
www.eareckon.com

AudioThing The Orb CM OverTone DSP AudioThing ValveFilter CM Overtone DSP


s Morphing vowel formant filter Program EQ CM s Gorgeous filtering and drive AF2-10 CM
s Choose five vowels from a list of ten s Pultec-style vintage EQ emulation s Low-pass filter circuit emulation s Four-band EQ with ten filter types
s Move the dot to change the sound s Dual bass boost/attenuate knobs s Vintage valve saturation section s Band gains adjustable +/-24dB
s Smooth, Gain and Mix to refine s Tube amplifier circuit-only option s Based on Valve Filter VF-1 s Flatten and clear curve, resize GUI
s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit
www.audiothing.net www.overtonedsp.co.uk www.audiothing.net www.overtonedsp.co.uk

DELAY/REVERB
Add space
and ambience,
or throw your
sounds into Acon Digital CM Verb
s Simple-but-versatile operation
LiquidSonics
Reverberate CM
PSP Audioware cmDelay
s Modulatable delay with LFO
Ignite VST Areena
s Beautiful algorithmic reverb
a completely s Five modes: hall, plate, studio, etc
s Built-in high- and low-pass filters
s Convolution reverb with real-world
presets and processing controls
s Dial in delay time, filtering and width
s Feedback and ping-pong operation
s As sold for $49, but yours for free!
s Room and plate algorithms
new dimension s Based on Acon Digital’s Verberate
s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit
s Import your own impulse response
s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit
s Based on the full stompDelay
s AU/VST/AAX/RTAS, 32-/64-bit
s Width, Damping and Modulation
s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit
www.acondigital.com www.liquidsonics.com www.pspaudioware.com www.ignitevst.com

MULTIEFFECTS
Get your
creativity all
in one place
with these
LVC-Audio T-Chain CM Subsonic Labs Inear Display Eurydice CM Tek’it Audio CrossDr CM
all-purpose s Take your choice of six effects
s DynoPhuzz CM distortion effect
Wolfram CM
s Pitchshifting, distortion, phase-
s Stutter, buffer and edit signals
s Buffer override, repeat, delay,
s Three independent bands of drive
s Drive, Warp, Crush and Clip signals
plugin efects s Two dynamics processors to try
s EQ, ClipShifter and filter effects
shifting, panning, delay and filter
s Flexible modulation
bitcrusher and filter with modulation
s Custom signal routing
in three parallel bands
s Per-band Balance and Level
s Customisable waveform display s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit
www.lvcaudio.com www.subsoniclabs.com www.ineardisplay.com www.tekit-audio.com

May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 111


PLUGINS

EFFECTS Continued

DISTORTION/SATURATION

Fuzz up your signals with custom


dirt – from waveshaping
to saturation and soft clipping,
this diverse bunch of plugins are
Mercuriall U530 CM Lindell 6X-500 CM Cableguys WaveShaper CM
guaranteed to play as rough as s Emulation of ENGL’s E530 preamp
s Customisable Clean & Lead circuits
s Classic preamp emulation with EQ
s High/low boosts for musical tone
s Graphically editable distortion
s Design curves by dragging nodes
you like with any audio material s Presence, Contour, Chorus & Gain
s Changeable mic/speaker position
s Modelled on Lindell’s 6X-500
hardware preamp/EQ
s Input vs output oscilloscope
s Not based on an existing plugin
s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit
www.mercuriall.com www.lindellplugins.com www.cableguys.com

Plus…
Kuassa PreMix CM
Get subtle saturation or screaming
overdrive from this preamp model
(AU/VST, 32-/64-bit)
www.kuassa.com

Audiffex STA Enhancer CM


Audio Assault Valve-style signal exciter/enhancer
Sonimus Satson CM Rop Papen RP-Distort CM HoRNet Graffio CM (AU/VST/AAX, 32-/64-bit)
s Classic mixer channel emulation s Five crunchy distortion algorithms s Flexible three-flavour distortion GrindMachine CM
s Five amp and ten cab emulations www.audiffex.com
s Subtle warming saturation s EQ, dynamics, widener, modulation s Saturator module with DC offset
s Gentle, musical high/low filters s Filter and parallel s Exciter with odd/even harmonics s 3-band EQ plus depth and presence
s Djentbox to toighten low tunings Audio Assault
s Full Satson Buss also available processing controls s Bit reducer to degrade sounds BassAmp CM
s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST/VST3/AAX/RTAS, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit
www.audioassault.com Ampeg-inspired bas amp simulator
dsp.sonimus.com www.robpapen.com www.hornetplugins.com (AU/VST/AAX, 32-/64-bit)
www.audioassault.com

OTHER
More esoteric
and incredibly
useful plugins
from recent
issues of Auburn Sounds JST & Boz SideWidener New Sonic Arts Freestyle CM Nyrv Agent CM
Panagement CM s Add stereo width to mono sounds s Host and chain together s Create custom effects chains
s Psycho-stereo toolkit plugin s Signal retains mono compatibility your Plugins VSTs with this valuable utility plugin
s Place sounds with Binaural Pan s Goniometer for stereo visuals s Route and split signal paths s Host your VST/AU plugins
s Edit perceived distance and width s Three widen modes, Width & Tone s Event Player to simple sequences s Design your own interface
s Stereoise mono sounds s AU/VST/AAX/RTAS, 32-/64-bit s Save snapshots of whole setups s Based on the full Agent plugin
s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit www.joeysturgistones.com s Runs as AU/VST/Standalone s AU/VST/AAX, 32-/64-bit
www.auburnsounds.com www.bozdigitallabs.com www.newsonicarts.com www.nyrvsystems.com

Dotec-Audio DeeMonitor Inear Display Litote CM HoRNet FreMo Audio Vitamins Life CM
s Handy monitoring utility plugin s Granular effect to slice and dice s Mini frequency modulator effect s Modulation and widening plugin
s Emulate NS10, Genelec and signals on a microscopic level s Oscillator frequency can be set s Vary pitch or amplitude with LFOs
Auratone 5C speakers in your DAW s Tweak speed and introduce jitter manually or follow input pitch s Widen, sweeten and improve audio
s Invert and Solo left and right feeds s Adjust the Timbre Frequency, s Scale the oscillator from 1x to 10x to a mix-ready state
s Mid/Side balancing + Output gain Feedback and Diffusion s Set mod amount and osc waveform s AU/VST/AAX, 32-/64-bit
s AU/VST, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST/AAX, 32-/64-bit s AU/VST/AAX, 32-/64-bit www.audiovitamins.com
www.dotec-audio.com www.ineardisplay.com www.hornetplugins.com

112 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


plugins <

Loading plugins in your DAW


Though there are a wide variety of DAWs, each
with its own unique interface, there are
similarities when it comes to loading up and
using plugins, and most stick to one of two
approaches. The first – as seen in Steinberg’s
Cubase, Apple’s Logic, and Cakewalk’s Sonar –
involves insert slots on a track or mixer channel.
These are used in the same way as an insert
effect would be used on a hardware mixer. In
other words, the effect is placed ‘in line’ on that
mixer or track channel. Plugins might be loaded
in by use of a dropdown menu tree or right-
clicking in the effects slot. Clicking in the insert
or effects slot in some DAWs – Cockos’ Reaper,
for instance – will reveal a dedicated browser
from which the desired plugin may be selected.
It’s common to stack multiple effects plugins
together to form an effects ‘chain’, much in the
way a guitarist might connect various
stompboxes together to form a custom sound.
In some DAWs, these effects chains may be
See how to load plugins in eight different DAWs with our videos at the URLs below
saved and recalled at a later time.
If your DAW uses a sidebar browser, here you
can find your plugins displayed and possibly dropped from a browser onto a specific track. We’ve prepared videos for eight major DAWs
arranged into categories. The plugins may be However, many DAWs distinguish between showing you the basics of loading plugins, along
dragged into the project and placed directly instrument and audio tracks, so you’ll need to with a few handy tips you won’t want to miss:
onto a track or channel. Ableton Live, Bitwig keep this in mind. Those that allow you to drag > Cockos Reaper – bit.ly/LPIreaper
Studio, Cakewalk’s Sonar and PreSonus Studio instruments in from a browser might offer the > Cakewalk Sonar – bit.ly/LPIsonar
One can all open effects and even instrument choice of using an existing instrument track or > PreSonus Studio One – bit.ly/LPIstudioone
plugins in this manner. creating a new one. Some DAWs (Cubase, Sonar) > Apple Logic – bit.ly/LPIlogic
On the subject of instrument plugins, we allow you to open instruments in a ‘rack’ and > Image-Line FL Studio – bit.ly/LPIflstudio
should discuss the different methods you might then connect to them from MIDI or instrument > Steinberg Cubase – bit.ly/LPIcubase
encounter when loading up instruments. As tracks. Others (Logic) make a plugin menu > Bitwig Studio – bit.ly/LPIbitwig
mentioned, sometimes they can be dragged and available from the track itself. > Ableton Live – bit.ly/LPIableton

Plugin folder locations


So how does your DAW know where to look One is for all users, the other is for requires little more than putting the
for your plugins? Actually, it might not. Mac administrator use. If your DAW has trouble Component or VST file in the Trash.
users have it easy, as there are OS-specified seeing a plugin, you might need to move it Sometimes an uninstaller will be offered,
folders into which plugins are installed. These though.
folders can be found by going to your Library On Windows, you can choose the location
folder (if you can’t find it, go to the Finder’s Go of your VST plugins folders. Some DAWs will
menu, hold Alt, and a Library option should create one when you install them, but both
appear). find the Audio directory, and then DAW and plugin installers will often give you
the Plug-Ins folder within. There you will find an option of pointing to the plugin directory
more folders still. One will be labelled you’d like to use. It usually looks something
Components – this is where your AU plugins like C:\Program Files\Steinberg\VST Plugins.
reside. Other folders will be found alongside it Some plugins are delivered as only DLL
for VST and VST3 plugins. If you’re a Pro Tools files, and need to be copied to your chosen
user, you’ll find your plugins in an Avid or directory. Once you’ve installed your plugins,
Digidesign folder. If your installers don’t If you’re using Apple’s OS X, all your VST, VST3 and think twice about moving them. Some plugins
automatically install the plugins into the Audio Units go into pre-determined locations rely on support files installed into the same
proper folder, you should manually copy them directory. To duplicate plugins elsewhere on
into the relevant folders listed above. from one Library to the other, though the the drive, use shortcuts on Windows (right-
One caveat: there will likely be two sets of system folder is usually the one to use. click to create one) or aliases on Macs (Cmd-
folders under two different Library locations. Uninstalling plugins from OS X usually Alt-dragging).

May 2018 / COMPUTER MUSIC / 113


> make music now / blast from the past

BLAST
Cheap, cheery, and sporting a very curiou
FROM
THE PAST © Image cou
rtesy of per
fec tcircuitaudio
.com

approach to waveform generation, the


puny, peculiar Poly-800 packed a
powerful punch well above its price point

Korg Poly-800 TECH SPECS


Year of manufacture
1984-1986
If you think electronic music is popular affair, it allowed complex timbres to be built up Original sale value
now, you should have been here in ’84. by mixing the levels of individual pitches (16’, £575
Despite decades of bleak Orwellian 8’, 4’, 2'). A choice between saw and square Current price
predictions, 1984 was bathed in vibrant waveforms was provided. One or two £150-£250
colour and sound, much of which was oscillators could be used for each patch, Number made
approximately 100,000
produced by New Wavers of the newly- though doubling the oscillators would halve
christened MTV Generation. Forward- the polyphony.
thinking post-punk popsters embraced the Once the desired waveform was dialled in, it
latest technological wonders, infusing the (along with noise, if needed) was then pumped the third was given over to filter cutoff.
soundtrack of the era with echoing electronic through a resonant lowpass filter. This, alas, Finally, a nifty chorus could be used to fatten up
drumbeats, stuttering samples, and was where the Poly-800’s price point came to the sound. A MkII model added a programmable
skittering staccato sequences. Synthesisers betray itself. You see, there was only one filter digital delay. With eight-voice polyphony, a built-in
had come of age and prices were to be shared across all of the voices for that 256-note sequencer and a left-hand joystick for
plummeting, allowing entry to even the patch. Various retriggering modes were offered modulation and pitch-bend, the Poly-800 packed
skintest of neon-clad wannabe. to make up for that limitation, but the Poly- a lot of performance power into its small frame.
With the Poly-800, Korg set its sights 800’s filter nevertheless played more like a At £575, the Poly-800 was quite affordable, and
squarely on the financially-challenged, would- paraphonic string machine than a fully it’s even more so on the secondhand market.
be video star. With garish green buttons, a polyphonic synthesiser. Unfortunately, many remaining specimens are in
panel labeled in a futuristic LED-style font, and Another letdown came in the form of the dire shape, with battery leakage just one common
a truncated 49-note keyboard, it exemplified LFO. Control over speed and onset delay were issue. Also, proprietary processors can’t be
the style of the time. Plus, this battery-powered provided, but waveform selection was limited replaced, making it something of a risky purchase.
bantam weight sported pegs that allowed a to precisely one – a sine wave. Thus far, the Poly-800 has escaped Korg’s
guitar strap to be attached for instant Keytar Korg were a bit more generous with the recent spate of virtual re-issues, and there have
action on stage (or in front of the mirror). envelope generators, providing three six-stage been few softsynths based on the little fellow,
Beyond style, there’s serious substance jobs with added Break and Slope segments though admittedly most of its features are easy
beneath the bonnet. First and foremost was the between Decay and Sustain. Two of these enough to emulate with any synth that offers
unusual oscillator design. A pseudo-additive envelopes were attached to the DCOs, while user waveform creation.

Three great plugin alternatives


EE

EE
2
£1

FR

FR

MANX XS-4 OSIRIS SYNTHS POLLY8 MORGAN VISCONTI MORG POLY 700
One of the few remaining commercial synths Another Windows-only affair, this has been While dedicated Poly-800 plugins are few and
taking cues from the Poly-800, XS-4 was, around for yonks. Created with Jeff far between, Reaktor users can avail
according to the developer, likewise inspired McClintock’s SynthEdit software, it has a themselves of this fabulous facsimile from
by the Siel DK-80 and Suzuki SX-500. All of the strikingly similar feature set to that on the Morgan Visconti. Freely available from the
above drew upon DCOs and subtractive filters. Poly-800, despite the fact that the developer vast online Reaktor User Library, it has all of
They certainly sounded of their era, and the facetiously insists on never having heard of the features of the original, minus the
Windows-only XS-4 captures that character the thing. While it may not be pretty, if you’re sequencer and battery leakage. It’s an oldie
quite nicely. running an older machine, it’s worth a shot. from ’04, but it still works and sounds a treat.
www.manxsynthesizers.com bit.ly/osirissynths bit.ly/reaktoruserlibrary

114 / COMPUTER MUSIC / May 2018


9000
9001