Monday, December 26, 2011

Binaural 3D Audio

Headphones Required! This video demonstrates binaural audio (3D Audio) along with video. The recording was done using a dummy head with silicone binaural ears, thus creating a completely 3D audio experience. See

Recording 3D audio is easy to do, and amazingly effective at capturing the natural environment. Binaural 3D audio can allow you to relive any situation, with even more realism than with video. All you need to listen back are headphones.

Cobranet. The future of digital audio ?

CobraNet allows realtime transport of uncompressed 24 bit/48/96khz audio over ethernet cable.

Singer/songwriters and small bands might not require such a setup; larger touring groups with a large number of signals going to processors, mixing board, and out to the house speakers require more complicated setups to get the results they need.

CobraNet is aimed squarely at those who need engineers and sound reinforcement
professionals to make their shows work properly.

Slices Tech Talk: Loudness / Compression

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

Dolby Presents Surrounded: 7.1 Cinema & Beyond

Dolby gathered a group of cinema industry leaders and innovators from around the world for an exclusive Filmmakers’ Forum held on Monday, July 11, 2011 in San Francisco, CA.

Our focus will be on how 7.1 surround sound delivers a richer, more immersing moviegoing experience to audiences—and YOU can join the live discussion.

Discussion Topic: The Impact of 7.1 Surround Sound on 2D and 3D Movies.

The content creation community is embracing this new audio format, and more than 25 feature films have been announced or already mixed in 7.1—and a majority of them are in 3D. Discover how 7.1 brings a more exciting sensory experience to 2D and gives content creators even more control over audio placement for 3D movies. Also learn from experts in the cinema industry how they envision the future of surround sound.

Get in the cinema frame of mind by checking out a movie in Dolby Surround 7.1 and/or Dolby 3D at a theater near you.

Panel Moderator:

Stuart Bowling, Dolby Laboratories, Worldwide Technical Marketing Manager, Cinema

Kinson Tsang, supervising sound designer, Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen and The Lost Bladesman

Rohan Sippy, Director, Dum Maaro Dum

Erik Aadahl, supervising sound editor, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Kung Fu Panda 2, and Megamind

Michael Semanick, Re-recording mixer, Cars 2 and Toy Story 3

Eric Brevig, Director, Yogi Bear and Journey to the Center of the Earth

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Red Hot Chile Peppers – ‘I’m With You” vinyl sounds better than CD

Last week Harman Aaron Loučka posted a heads-up that an example of the vinyl release of the new Red Hot Chile Peppers album, “I’m With You”, had been posted on YouTube.

Since vinyl releases often show as having better dynamics (“crest factor”, to be strictly correct) than their CD equivalents in the Dynamic Range Database.

The results were pretty clear, and this is a short YouTube clip to demonstrate the difference. Take a listen, and see if you can hear a difference, and which one you prefer.

This is not a vinyl versus CD thing

Whatever you decide, it’s important to know – what you’re hearing is NOT some inherent limitation of the quality of the CD format.

CD and vinyl do sound different, but with identical masters, they should sound very close to each other. Much closer than this.

These are not identical masters – on the CD, the crest factor is about 6 dB less than on the vinyl, and there are some EQ differences too. (And, the vinyl is playing at a slightly higher pitch)

It’s the loudness war again.

The loudness war is insane

This means that the quality of the CD version, which is theoretically a far superior format technically, is lower (in my opinion) than the vinyl.

This is insane.

At the very least, they should sound similar, so that people who prefer vinyl can choose it for it’s particular characteristics.

As it is, since I prefer the mastering of the vinyl release, the only way for me to hear this version is to buy a record deck or download an illegal rip of the vinyl. Madness !

Why does the vinyl sound different ?

Of course, it’s sadly no surprise that a RHCP CD sounds like this – “Californication” helped kick-start the loudness war in the first place, and producer Rick Rubin is a serial offender, mistakenly believing that people always prefer a more heavily compressed version – they don’t, as research shows.

What’s interesting is to notice that the vinyl was released a couple of months after the CD. Since they were all mastered by Vlado Meller at Masterdisc, the question is, why does the vinyl sound different ?

Was this simply following the ironically perverse trend of “audiophile” vinyl releases ? Or might it be in response to the generally harsh reception of the album’s sound all over the web ?

We can only hope it’s the later…

As an interesting side-note, notice how YouTube’s lossy data-compressed audio sounds worse for the CD version – more artefacts.

This is further proof that higher-quality, more dynamic music actually survives better when mp3-ed, and makes it even more sadly ironic that the CD master was the basis for the so-called “mastered for iTunes” version.

And, a sadly missed opportunity – since there were separate masters for CD and iTunes, the iTunes version could actually have sounded better…

Korg Monotribe schematics

Korg has released schematics for the Korg Monotribe – officially making the new analog synth a platform for synth DIY hacking.

The Korg Monotribe schematics can be downloaded from the Korg site. Note that, to download the schematics, you have to agree that any DIY mods that you do void your warranty.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Create your own Synth

Befaco, this is a place created especially for electronic musicians who feel the need to manufacture their tools. In the gather all the information they have been collecting during the design of their machines and workshops.

Philosophy on intellectual property rights:

All circuits shown are of free use, as they firmly believe that "the free movement of knowledge and want to give back what the community has given us DIY (do it yourself)".

In some cases the circuits shown are based on other sources (appropriately cited) so its use is subject to copyright restrictions.

Our designs are licensed as Creative Commons "share-alike" - allowing any use as long as they share the same way.

Visit Befaco

Voice Lessons Touch Screen Installation

Voice Lessons is an electronic, audio device that interrogates the popular myth that every musical instrument imitates the human voice. Touching the screen allows the participant to manipulate the visuals and vocalizations of the “voice teacher” as he recites vocal warm up exercises.

The piece resides in the space between a musical instrument and voice lesson. Move the touch point left, right, up, and down to explore the visual and auditory possibilities. Rapid high pitched loops occur while touching near the top of the screen while lower pitched longer loops are heard near the bottom.

Voice Lessons
32” interactive touch screen installation
By John Keston 2011

This video documentation was shot while Voice Lessons was installed at the MCAD Whittier Studios for a session of the graduate critique seminar in November, 2011.

The piece, developed in Max/MSP, granulates both sound and video in parallel as the viewer touches the screen. Synchronization between the the audio and visual content is maintained. The piece will be installed again for an open studio night on December 9, 2011 (6 to 10pm) at the MCAD Whittier Studios, 2835 Harriet Avenue South, Minneapolis.

The image above shows the main patch window for Voice Lessons. The X and Y coordinates of the touch-screen are translated into position, frequency, and grain width for the audio and video. When the screen is not being touched video without sound of the subject looking around the environment is played. I call this the idle mode and it serves to attract the viewer into interacting with the piece.

When the idle mode has been active for 1.5 seconds a new video and corresponding sound is randomly selected from a pool of five possibilities. Each video is a distinct performance of vocal exercises that explore a variety of vowels and consonants.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Sound and Music of Angry Birds

Finland based composer and sound designer Ari Pulkkinen seems to be one of the most listened to composers in the world right now with over 250 million people who have heard his original Angry Birds theme. Pulkkine’s catchy theme was also recently performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra which was part of a music festival in the city.

Angry Birds has been praised for its successful combination of addictive gameplay, comical style, and low price. Its popularity led to versions of Angry Birds being created for personal computers and gaming consoles, a market for merchandise featuring its characters and even long-term plans for a feature film or television series. With a combined 350 million downloads across all platforms and including both regular and special editions, the game has been called “one of the most mainstream games out right now”, “one of the great runaway hits of 2010″, and “the largest mobile app success the world has seen so far”.

Ari has also worked on other very popular games such as Trine (PS3/PC), Dead Nation (PS3), and Outland (PS3/360). The games have received rave reviews and praise for their soundtracks and sound design.

Ari Pulkkinen


Synthesizer for Kids

This is a demo of an Arduino-based spaceship-themed synthesizer for kids, designed for the Kearney Area Children’s Museum.

The spaceship synth was created by Nebraska-based interaction designer Jason Webb.

Here’s what he has to say about the spaceship synth:

Several months ago I volunteered my skills to create a large, interactive control panel for an upcoming space-themed exhibit for the Kearney Area Children’s Museum. The project is multi-faceted and took quite a bit of time and energy to create, but in the end it came together very well!

Using the Auduino synth sketch for Arduino as a starting point, I created a synthesizer that uses two rotary potentiometers, two linear potentiometers and one infrared rangefinder to generate fun, interactive music.

The sketch works best when multiple inputs are being used at once (i.e., moving your hand while moving a slider), but will generate some sort of tone regardless.

The circuit board on the back is a simple class A amplifier and parallel 3.5mm audio jack to allow for more control over the volume of the synth.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Roland TR-909 Drum Machine vs iPad NineOnine Virtual Drum Machine

People From The UK Don’t Need To Go To Berlin Anymore

Andreas Schneider created this video tour of the new UK Testsalon to show why synth freaks from the UK don’t need to go to Berlin anymore:

The Testsalon inside Rough Trade East in London is the showroom installed by Schneidersladen, Berlin with the latest news in electronic hardware devices. The Video gives you an overview on how to get started with analogue synthesizers, modular systems, stepsequencers, drummachines, or filters from independent manufacturers like Doepfer, Sherman, MFB, TomOberheim, Makenoise, Cwejman, SND, Vermona and many others.

ll is connected with each other via Midi or cv gate and you can make some music easily .. if you are around.

Remember – “it’s not a shame to touch it”!

Pioneering Electronic Instrument – Rediscovered In France

A pioneering electronic instrument lost since the 1970s was recently recovered from a barn in Brittany, France. The Oram synthesizer, created by British composer Daphne Oram in 1957, was crucial to the development of electronic music but few people are aware of its significance. Mick Grierson, a lecturer at Goldsmiths University in London, is hoping to change that and spent the past few years tracking it down.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Sound of Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Acting as a foundation with an origin story for a new film series, Director Rupert Wyatt takes the audience on the science fiction summer hit, Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The stunning visual effects produced by Weta Digital for the apes are complimented by the wide range of sounds recorded and edited for the film.

Leading the sound team is supervising sound editor and sound designer Chuck Michael and co-supervisor John Larsen with the talents of first assistant sound editor Smokey Cloud and sound re-recording mixers Doug Hemphill and Ron Bartlett.

Chimp Haven serves as The National Chimpanzee Sanctuary. They are an independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide lifetime care for chimpanzees who have been retired from medical research, the entertainment industry or no longer wanted as pets. For more information visit:

Dynamic Range & The Loudness War

Truly excellent Loudness War analysis in Sound On Sound magazine – STOP PRESS:

“There is no doubt about it: contrary to general belief, there has been no obvious decrease in loudness range due to the loudness war, and brickwall limiters have not reduced the loudness range in music production.”

In fact, the article argues convincingly that “dynamic range” is so poorly defined that’s it’s pretty much useless as a way to discuss this issue.

Does this mean we don’t have to worry about the Loudness War after all, or that it’s NOT making modern music sound worse ? No. Over-use of limiting and compression tends to cause…

“…reduced crest factor, envelope modifications… and in the worst cases, distortion. Common sense suggests that although there is nothing wrong with these characteristics as such, they shouldn’t be on virtually all records“

The fight goes on…

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mr Soundman VST: Ear Training for Sound Engineers

Enhance your frequency detection skills, get a precise indication of your abilities, and find out once and for all: who's got the golden ears? Prove your talent and you might win special awards and prizes!

- Play a challenging ear training game
- Improve your frequency detection skills
- Get a precise indication of your your abilities
- Compete with colleagues around the globe
- Win valuable prizes and awards

Mr. Soundman is a bit like an arcade game with an intuitive GUI, and rapidly increasing difficulty. You start the game with three lives. Mr. Soundman will play an audio source with a noticeable boost somewhere across the frequency range. Your mission is to identify the boosted frequency. The closer you are to the boosted frequency the more points you gain. Place accurate answers, pass stages, improve your score, and you might win one of Mr. Soundman awards! Watch the instruction video

Prizes, awards & competitions: who’s got the golden ears?
Depending on your score you can win three different awards: the Bronze Ear, the Silver Ear and the Golden Ear award. Beyond the fame and glory that come with them, these awards grant you special prizes. Sounds fun? Well, it is!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Syntheshredder

What Is The Syntheshredder?

Designer Jesse Chorng thought it would be cool to combine skateboarding and sound synthesis.

So he’s building The Syntheshredder.

It’s a 20ft diameter skate bowl that will house sensors embedded under the surface. These will then be routed to a series of hardware instruments as well as custom software that will effectively turn the ramp into a versatile musical instrument.

By transforming the skater into the musician, the Syntheshredder will have the potential to generate sounds and layered compositions that Chorng believes will be ‘quite powerful and compelling’.

Along with several musicians and artists, Chorng plans to produce several tracks which will be pressed onto a limited edition run of 12″ vinyl records.

Chorng is raising funds for building The Syntheshredder as a Kickstarter project.

Facial Control For Music Revisited

Remember FaceOSC – the app that lets you use the facial ‘gestures’ to control music apps?

Peter Kirn shared another example of facial synth control yesterday, embedded above, which captures some experiments by FreeKa Tet.

If that doesn’t make you want to give up trying to look cool with a keytar and take up facial synth control, check out this video of Kostia Rapoport, experimenting with FaceOSC, TouchOSC & Ableton Live:

There’s actually quite a bit of experimentation going on with the idea of capturing facial movements and translating them into musical control signals.

Here’s a FaceOSC + Ableton Live jam, via Jonathan Hammond:

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Richie Hawtin – Plastikman Live 1.5

Richie Hawtin‘s alter-ego Plastikman will embark on a full live tour in late-2011 in a upgraded ’1.5 format’ - one of the only live shows around where all aspects of the performance – music, lighting, audio, visuals and real-time audience interaction via the SYNK App – are controlled by a single on-stage performer. Hawtin and his team have incorporated new Plastikman music, visuals and interactive technologies.

Plastikman Live will be interactive for any fans with Hawtin’s free SYNK iPhone application, which feature live chat, a live behind-the-curtain camera feed and more interactive elements.

“These dates will represent the last opportunities for fans to catch Plastikman Live in its current form,” says Hawtin, “the 1.5 version of the show we’ve spent nearly a year of fine-tuning. After that, Plastikman will be returning to the shadows to begin work on a brand new 2.0 concept.”


* AUG 05: I Want My MTV Ibiza at Amnesia, Ibiza, Spain
* SEP 02: Electric Zoo festival, New York, USA
* OCT 15: Bonusz Festival, Budapest, Hungary
* OCT 21: Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam, Netherlands
* OCT 22: Dekadance at Komplex 457, Zurich, Switzerland
* OCT 28: LX Factory, Lisbon, Portugal
* OCT 29: Fabrik, Madrid, Spain
* NOV 05: BerMuDa at Flughafen Tempelhof, Berlin, Germany
* DEC 01: Manchester Academy, Manchester, UK
* DEC 02: O2 Academy Brixton, London, UK
* DEC 03: Glasgow Barrowlands, Glasgow, UK
* DEC 07: Pala Isozaki, Turin, Italy

New Virus TI Programming Boot Camp video series

Access has announced a new Virus TI Programming Boot Camp video series.

The first episode looks at working with Pulse Width Modulation.

Here’s what Access has to say about Virus TI Programming Boot Camp:

Ben Crosland, sound design professional and principal sound designer for the Virus, will talk about the tricks of trade and share his profound and in deep knowledge with you. All you need to do is subscribe to the Virus TI Facebook page and you will never miss one of those great videos again. There will be a video every week and an extra treat for Virus TI owners: you’ll get the patches Ben creates in his session the same day.

Additional videos in the series will be available at the Access site.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Vinyl manufacturing process

This video shows you the interesting manufacturing process of a vinyl record.

ALIVE INSIDE: a documentary about music and memory

Alive Inside is a documentary film featuring Oliver Sacks, produced by Ximotion Media, and funded by a grant from the Donald and Shelley Rubin Foundation.

Alzheimer’s disease is terrifying because one loses one’s memory. There is no cure and the numbers of people suffering is on the rise. In the middle of this sad story Alive Inside tells a story of hope and beauty.

It follows Dan Cohen as he discovers the power Personalized Music has to “awaken” minds closed by dementia and memory loss. What Dan Cohen discovers by accident, and scientists have been studying for years, is that a person suffering from memory loss can seem to “awaken” when given music they have an emotional attachment to.

Dr. Oliver Sacks explains, ‘Music imprints itself on the brain deeper than any other human experience, Music evokes emotion and emotion can bring with it memory.

In our time filming with Dan and Dr. Sacks we have been privileged to experience this reawakening of “lost” patients many times. The effect on the patient, the family, the caregiver is both touching and inspiring. Each and every time it seems like magic.

This film is for the 5.6 million people in the U.S. struggling with with dementia and memory loss and the 10 million people connected to them. It is our hope that this film will inspire and educate the general public and create consumer demand for for this innovative approach.

The introduction of personalized music into patient’s lives can open new vistas of experience, especially those with the least ability to interact. It is our hope that this film will encourage widespread adoption of personalized music programs in nursing homes. The reward is enormous and the cost low.

DMT and Music: The Spirit Molecule

The Spirit Molecule explores the enigmatic dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a molecule found throughout nature, and considered the most potent psychedelic.

In 1995, Dr. Strassman completed the first government-sanctioned, psychedelic research on DMT, with results that may answer humanity’s greatest questions.

Favela On Blast Documentary

For 20 years, a subculture has emerged under society's radar. Favela On Blast tells the stories of sex, love, poverty and pride for Rio's marginalized people.

DOCUMENTARY: Llach, La Revolta Permanent (fragment, 2008)

On 3 March 1976 in Vitoria, during the course of a workers’ meeting, police action caused five deaths and more than a hundred injured as a result of bullet wounds.
That same night, Llach composed what was to become one of the most symbolic songs of the Transition: "Campanades a morts", or “Toll for the dead”.

This is the story of a song, the portrait of the person who wrote it and the chronicle of the events that inspired it. A cry and a demand for permanent revolt against forgetting.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

R.I.P. Tonehammer

Sampling powerhouse Tonehammer has announced that they are shutting down, because of creative differences, and creating two new companies:

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are here to make three announcements.

The passing away of Tonehammer. The birth of two separate companies and a final sale at 50% off some of our most popular libraries, which lasts until July 31st 2011.

Essentially we’ve decided to take sampling in different directions, which means you will have even more and diverse sample catalogs to choose from.

Tonehammer will cease to exist on August 1st 2011. All Tonehammer sample libraries however will be carried forward by two new separate companies:

8Dio (by Troels Folmann)
Soundiron (by Mike Peaslee)

The two companies will officially re-launch all Tonehammer products on August 1st 2011 – and don’t worry – you will continue to receive full and ongoing support for all libraries you’ve purchased from us.

To go out with a bang, Tonehammer has put some of its most popular libraries on sale for 50% off, from July 15th until July 31st 2011, at

SoniVox Twist a new Spectral Morphing Synthesizer

SoniVox has introduced Twist – Spectral Morphing Synthesizer, a new software synth, described as ‘a new approach to synthesis and sound design’.

Spectral Morphing Synthesis produces a striking, rich, controllable, and constantly evolving sound, perfect for use in pop, hip hop, and even avant-garde electronic music production.

Sound Design Made Easy - The innovation found in TWIST doesn’t stop with its sound. Users will delight at the speed and ease of sound sculpting and sonic personalization afforded by TWIST’s unique design. Rip, stretch, and contort with a simple TWIST of a knob. Making your own signature sounds have never been so easy!

Realtime Performance Features: - In addition to being completely unique sounding and easy to manipulate sonically, TWIST also includes a nifty pattern generator that transposes to your whim on the fly, as well as SONiVOX’s I.R.C. (Intelligent Rhythm Control), putting your performance in perfect time in realtime.

Factory Sound Bank: - SONiVOX’s world-class team of sound designers and synth tweakers have programmed up a bevy of over 200 mind-blowing patches that you can easily TWIST away into thousands and save as your very own.


* Spectral Morphing Synthesis engine
* Graphical user interface that makes sound creation
and personalization easy
* SONiVOX’s Intelligent Rhythm Control (I.R.C.) technology
* Over 200 factory presets that can be easily personalized into thousands
* Onboard tempo-synced variable resolution pattern generator
* MIDI Learn & Save Function – Lock TWIST’s controls up with any midi
* Onboard chorus, tempo sync delay, and reverb fx
* PC Standalone, VST and RTAS Compatibility.
* MAC Standalone, AU, VST, and RTAS Compatibility.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Rock The Biz - The Movie

Trailer about the documentary ROCK THE BIZ, the documentary is about the new european music business.

Artists going new ways of marketing and working independent. It's about alternative licensing models, independent labels, the crisis of the traditional music industry, hints and tipps and many more.

Don’t Listen Alone: The LugRadio Documentary

Last year we wrapped up LugRadio after five seasons, over 2million downloads and six live events.

For over a year now Tony Whitmore from the excellent ubuntu-uk Podcast has been working on a documentary chronicling the history of the show, and packed with interviews, behind-the-scenes footage of how we planned a show, the studio, LugRadio Live USA and more.

He premiered the hour-long documentary at LugRadio Live 2009 to resounding applause and acclaim, and it is now available online, and freely available.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Trimpin: The Sound Of Invention

Trimpin: The Sound Of Invention is a gem that demonstrates re-connection with one’s inner child need not be an excuse for infantilism. Instead, said re-connection is a renewal of the awareness of unconventional possibility in supposed junk. The viewer can appreciate Trimpin’s genius even if they lack the man’s ear for finding potential music in the sound of glass breaking in the bottom of a dumpster.

The German subject of Esmonde’s documentary is what Charles Amirkhanian calls an intermedia artist. Trimpin’s projects may make music, but they’re also works of idiosyncratic art and unexpected invention. Raw materials for previous musical creations have included turkey basters, toy monkeys, and slide projectors. For the German, finding new ways to experiment with making sound is a lifetime endeavor.

Esmonde’s intimate film provides the closest approach many viewers will have to Trimpin’s life and work. The inventor/musician/artist has never allowed commercial recordings of his work, and he doesn’t maintain a Website of any sort. Prior film crews have used Trimpin and his amazing workshop as grist for mad scientist-style ridicule.

By contrast, Trimpin respects and is fascinated by its subject’s amazing creativity. What ordinary people call junk, the intermedia artist calls seeds for new inventions. The man turns a juice dispenser into a musical instrument because he’s willing to experiment with anything just to see what unexpected sounds he can generate from it. That approach is less deliberation and more a willingness to embrace accidental discovery. The idea for the 60-foot self-playing guitar sculpture came about from an offhanded suggestion.

Trimpin’s fascination with unusual ways of creating music came from a memorable Sunday morning childhood visit to a nearby forest. Listening closely to the sounds of wind and trees impressed on him the habit of listening carefully to the world’s sounds. (Perhaps that habit explains why the German dislikes loudspeakers.)

Over the two year period covered by the film, the viewer sees some of the projects growing out of Trimpin’s listening skills. These projects include a “tree” of musical clogs and a marimba which translates earthquake data into music.

But the most ambitious project involves Trimpin’s creating a concert in collaboration with famed avant garde group The Kronos Quartet. Esmonde doesn’t shy away from showing the personality clashes resulting from two very different creative styles. Trimpin’s proposed musical score, for example, is less ordered bars and notes and more hallucinogenic than anything else. While the collaborators’ creative differences are eventually overcome, appreciation of the resulting piece depends on the viewer’s ability to accept non-traditional classical music.

The German intermedia artist’s personality clashes should not come as a surprise. His life has been marked by an idiosyncratic individualism. Standardized education didn’t interest him, and he came off as unstudious. The “Fuck You” file that Trimpin uses for rejection letters makes one wonder about the addressee of the curse. Most significantly, despite his artistic achievements, Trimpin has never had gallery or agent representation.

What ultimately matters to Trimpin is the result of his newest sonic exploration. Whether or not said exploration meets with public appreciation, the man’s experimentation makes us all the artistically richer.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Zebralette Synth now available for FREE

Zebralette has two LFOs (one per voice, one global), a multi-stage envelope and three on-board effects (chorus, EQ, delay).

Zebralette is just one of Zebra2's oscillators packed into a simple, easy-to-learn framework – but you have everything you need to make some pretty amazing sounds.

Its a very interesting synth for sound design.

Download for Free:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Copyright Criminals Documentary

A documentary that examines the creative and commercial value of sampling in music. Featuring Public Enemy, De La Soul, QBert and more.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Moog Experiment

Song Title: 
Sustain Me
Dorit Chrysler

Dorit Chrysler dynamically plays an original composition on her customized Moog Etherwave Pro, a theremin manufactured by Moog Music from 2004-2006, for an ethereal Moog Sound Lab.

To function as a one woman band, Dorit triggers a prerecorded backtrack on her laptop, adding vocals and Etherwave Pro theremin in real time. At her feet are a MF-104Z Analog Delay and an Akai Head Rush looper to add depth to her sound. Voila!

See other Moog Sound Lab performances:

Learn more about the Etherwave Theremin family:

Learn more about the MF-104Z:

Music Robot Plays The Theremin

Robot HRP-2 follows the guitar and plays the theremin.

Let’s hope that, by the time the robot overlords take over, they’ll have better ears for pitch…

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Sound and Music of “Cars 2″

The busiest man in Hollywood (North), John Lasseter returns to the Directors chair in Cars 2 as Lighting McQueen and tow truck Mater head overseas to compete in the first-ever World Grand Prix.

Helping to bring to life the sound and music of this international espionage adventure include Composer Michael Giacchino, Re-recording Mixer and Sound Designer Tom Myers, and Sound Effects Editor Al Nelson. Git-R-Done!

Making of “Mangled Metal”, The New SFX Library of The Recordist

The Recordist has released Mangled Metal, a collection of 715 sound effects, including metal rips, tears, dents, scrapes, folds, slides, rubs, impacts, crashes, drops and more.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Engaging with Sound

‘Engaging with Sound’ is a documentary exploring pedagogy and sound practice through interviews with professional artists and workshop leaders. Learning and participation is taken as a model for creative practice, not simply as a challenge to traditional one-way presentation models (i.e. exhibitions and performances), but as a means to sustain their practice and to negotiate their role as artists.

‘Engaging with Sound’ explores how artistic production is experienced through a collaborative process. How can pedagogy be creative? How do artists and workshop leaders understand their careers and artistic practice between performing and workshop leading? What is the relationship between the participants and workshop leaders? What makes a good learning situation? How has new technology had an impact in this way of working?

‘Engaging with Sound’ explores practices of workshop leading where the sharing of ideas and knowledge is fostered in open platforms that bring diverse individuals together in a way that it facilitates participation and creativity.

'Engaging with Sound' will be featured on the Sound and Music's web platform for Learning and Creative Resources for creative professionals to reflect on their practice and careers as artists, practitioners and educators. The documentary also provides insight for arts managers and producers in considering their learning and creative programming.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Z3TA+ 2 - Second Generation Waveshaping Synth

Later in July, Z3TA+ customers will be in for a special treat as we release the long-awaited Z3TA+ 2.

With a redesigned user interface, deeper editing controls, new effects, and superior sound quality, Z3TA+ 2 builds on the legendary reputation of its predecessor.

Of course Z3TA+ 2 would not be complete without a new collection of sounds so we retained many of the same sound designers of the original Z3TA+ to create exciting new programs that are sure to spark your creativity. If you already own Z3TA+, then the upgrade to Z3TA+ 2 is a must-have and will be available for a special price.

Z3TA+ 1.5 is included with SONAR X1 Studio and Producer and those customers will also be eligible for this special upgrade pricing.

RIP: A Remix Manifesto

Immerse yourself in the energetic, innovative and potentially illegal world of mash-up media with RiP: A Remix Manifesto. Let web activist Brett Gaylor and musician Greg Gillis, better known as Girl Talk, serve as your digital tour guides on a probing investigation into how culture builds upon culture in the information age.

Biomedical engineer turned live-performance sensation Girl Talk, has received immense commercial and critical success for his mind-blowing sample-based music. Utilizing technical expertise and a ferocious creative streak, Girl Talk repositions popular music to create a wild and edgy dialogue between artists from all genres and eras. But are his practices legal? Do his methods of frenetic appropriation embrace collaboration in its purest sense? Or are they infractions of creative integrity and violations of copyright?

This documentary is released under Creative Commons Attribution — Noncommercial 3.0 Unported license.

Cure for Pain: The Mark Sandman Story Documentary

Cure for Pain: The Mark Sandman Story examines the life and work of Mark Sandman, deceased frontman of Boston “low rock” band Morphine. From his Newton, Mass., roots to his travels across America and around the globe, Sandman left an indelible imprint as one of the most distinctive musicians of his generation. Along with revisiting the “unique and sultry sound” of his music, the film explores the meaning of family through this critically praised and personally conflicted singer, songwriter and innovative instrumentalist.

The pursuit of Sandman’s turbulent story has led filmmakers Robert G. Bralver, Jeff Broadway and David Ferino to New York, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, London and Rome. Among those appearing in the film are members of the Sandman family, Seth Mnookin (Vanity Fair), Nic Harcourt (Los Angeles Times, KCRW), Steve LaBate (Paste), Ben Harper, John Medeski, Les Claypool (Primus), Mike Watt (The Stooges), Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) and members of Morphine: Dana Colley, Billy Conway and Jerome Deupree.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Temple De Hirsch Sinai Shabbat Music Documentary

A short documentary about Temple De Hirsch Sinai's Musical Services.

High On Hope Documentary

Starting out with original footage of the warehouse parties and mixed with interviews, news archive and animation this film is a testament to what happened when ‘acid house music’ arrived from Chicago to northern England in recession hit 1980’s Thatcher’s Britain.

In 1989 Britain was a bland, depressed country. However the nation’s youth, facing a future with no jobs or sense of community, used the derelict warehouses of Britain’s old industrial past in a new togetherness, one based around music and danced all night in these un-policed environments, free from the constraints of the corporate owned night clubs of the time.

By 1991 acid house became the latest underground youth cult to threaten the moral majority. Reacting to the right wing press inspired public outrage, the police, in full body armour, with battons, shields and dogs, put an end to the the warehouse parties using tactics recently perfected on striking miners and previously during the race riots that defined the Thatcher era. The story ends with the largest post war mass arrest in British history.

When Piers Sanderson started making this film he did not know how to make a documentary he just wanted to tell the story of a time and a movement that had changed him irrevocably. He started by tracking down the original organisers of the parties and they told him their incredible stories – how they broke in to the warehouses, organised thousands of people to get past the authorities and in to the parties, the methods they used to get the sound equipment in and out of the heavily policed industrial estates of Lancashire and how ultimately they all ended up giving their liberty for something they believed so strongly in.

He also found ‘Preston Bob’ whose parents in the 1980′s had the local corner shop. The shop had a video camera that they would rent out for weddings and Christenings and when this was not used Bob would borrow it to film the parties. He gave an old box of VHS tapes to Piers and this incredible footage brings these legendary parties back to life!

A 10-year labour of love, this film has been made in the same way as the parties themselves were put together – with passion, enthusiasm and innovation, using collaborations and a collective approach, to tell as story that hopes inspire us to come together more positively in the 21st Century, as this might just be what we all need most.

Against All Odds Documentary

Doug Moore a.k.a. Diadem and Gary Monteleone a.k.a. Status are on a bit of a mission. Their goal, to return the hip-hop genre to its roots. To be positive and relatable, and take hip-hop from its present day manifestation of negativity, an echo chamber of guns-loot-cars and bitches to something more substantive.

Quite a task for two unknown caucasians from New England trying to confront the demons of their past. For Doug it was losing a birth mother to adoption most likely because he was born without limbs. For Gary it's trying to cope with the fact that his mother was savagely murderd when he was just a teen.

They call their group H.u.s.h.h. or Help Us Save Hip-Hop. This film will capture their personal and professinal struggles while they strive to succeed in an industry that's increacingly soulless and over-commercialized.

Graffiti Fine Art Documentary

A Documentary by Jared Levy.

65 Graffiti artists from 13 countries descend upon São Paulo, Brazil for the 1st Biennial International "Graffiti Fine Art" Exhibition at the MuBE Museum.

In an art world where semantics matter, graffiti artists from around the world wonder what exactly is 'Graffiti Fine Art'. After all, once graffiti leaves the street... is it even graffiti at all?

Barraca Music Documentary feat. Ricardo Villalobos, AFFKT & Danny Fiddo

AFFKT, Danny Fiddo, Ricardo Villalobos and Laurent Garnier all appear on this two-part video chronicling the rise of the Valencia's Barraca Music label and club.

Underground TV travels to Valencia to bring you an exclusive insight into Barraca club and music label. Operating for more than 43 years the clubs has had it's fair share of ups and down..

Kill The Record Labels Documentary

For decades hip hop has been controlled by the record companies. They invest millions and profit billions from global cassette, cd, and now ringtone sales. Music moguls afford a lifestyle comparable to what we see on mtv cribs.

Eventually hip hop artist would adapt the record company formula, and start to strategically promote and market there own music. This has created a conflict inside the industry.

The Record companies, in conjunction with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), have declared war. Offices have been raided, Mom and Pop stores have been closed, and many have been arrested.

Hip Hop Artists, Djs, and producers have decided that the only way to survive in the music business is to “Kill The Record Labels”.

Stussy - J Dilla Documentary

Part one of a three part documentary focusing on J Dilla's life in Los Angeles.

On Saturday Febuary 13th, 2010 Stussy celebrated the life of brilliant hip hop producer and rapper James "J Dilla" Yancey, by releasing a limited edition tee shirt produced in conjunction with Stones Throw and the Dilla Estate.

Indie Game: The Movie

The Movie is a feature documentary about video games, their creators and the craft. The film follows the dramatic journeys of indie game developers as they create their games, and as they release those works, and themselves, to the world.

The Movie is about making video games, but at its core, it’s about the creative process and exposing yourself through your work.

Indie Game: The Movie
A film by James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajot
A Blinkworks Production

Influencers Documentary: How Trends & creativity become contagious

INFLUENCERS is a short documentary that explores what it means to be an influencer and how trends and creativity become contagious today in music, fashion and entertainment.

The film attempts to understand the essence of influence, what makes a person influential without taking a statistical or metric approach.

Written and Directed by Paul Rojanathara and Davis Johnson, the film is a Polaroid snapshot of New York influential creatives (advertising, design, fashion and entertainment) who are shaping today's pop culture.

"Influencers" belongs to the new generation of short films, webdocs, which combine the documentary style and the online experience.​influencersfilm

David Byrne: How Architecture Helped Music Evolve

“As his career grew, David Byrne went from playing CBGB to Carnegie Hall. He asks: Does the venue make the music? From outdoor drumming to Wagnerian operas to arena rock, he explores how context has pushed musical innovation.”

Monday, July 4, 2011

Amazing! 24 Piece iPad Performance In School


Synth Britannia Documentary

Documentary following a generation of post-punk musicians who took the synthesiser from the experimental fringes to the centre of the pop stage.

In the late 1970s, small pockets of electronic artists including the Human League, Daniel Miller and Cabaret Volatire were inspired by Kraftwerk and JG Ballard and dreamt of the sound of the future against the backdrop of bleak, high-rise Britain.

The crossover moment came in 1979 when Gary Numan's appearance on Top of the Pops with Tubeway Army's Are Friends Electric heralded the arrival of synthpop. Four lads from Basildon known as Depeche Mode would come to own the new sound whilst post-punk bands like Ultravox, Soft Cell, OMD and Yazoo took the synth out of the pages of the NME and onto the front page of Smash Hits.

By 1983, acts like Pet Shop Boys and New Order were showing that the future of electronic music would lie in dance music.

Contributors include Philip Oakey, Vince Clarke, Martin Gore, Bernard Sumner, Gary Numan and Neil Tennant.

Sonnox Fraunhofer Pro-Codec

Plug-in developers Sonnox and German research organisation Fraunhofer IIS (pioneers of the MP3 format) have teamed up to create a unique and extremely useful-looking plug-in, called Sonnox Fraunhofer Pro-Codec.

Intended for use on your DAW’s master bus, Pro-Codec allows you to audition different audio codecs (MP3, MP3 Surround, AAC-LC, HE-AAC, MP3 HD and HD-AAC) in real time, so you can chose the one that best suits the music you’re working on. What’s more, you can set different bit rates for each codec, to help you achieve the best compromise between fidelity and data reduction.Sonnox Fraunhofer Pro-Codec
Sonnox Fraunhofer Pro-Codec

A high-resolution FFT (fast Fourier transform) graph in the middle of the UI displays the plug-in’s input signal, the output difference (the distortion added by the MP3 codec), and a “unique graphical indication of the audibility of codec-induced noise”. And because the plug-in works in real time, it is also capable of providing peak levels for the decoded audio. Should you find your programme material clipping, you can lower its level via a Trim control.

Next to each codec slot (of which there are five) is a record arm button. Pressing the large record button to the right of the UI will write the outputs of all record-enabled codecs to files on your computer (the names and locations of which can be set by the user). The plug-in also allows you to edit the metadata for recorded files, including ISRC number, track name, artist, and so on.

With its real-time encoding and decoding, the ability to audition codecs, and the option to input metadata, Pro-Codec looks set to become an invaluable tool for mastering engineers, or anyone preparing audio for online distribution. The plug-in is available in AU, VST and RTAS formats.

MashTactic, a new tool for creating mashups

QuikQuak has released MashTactic, a new tool for creating mashups, for Mac & Windows.

Here’s what they have to say about it:

MashTactic was initially designed as a mashup tool. It can separate different parts of a full mix, manipulating different frequencies and stereo location. Up to eight zones can be created that can then be panned, emphasised or cut out completely. It can be viewed as an eight band filter that exists in stereo ranges as well as frequency.

Transients of varying length can be separated from constant sounds, which allows the user to manipulate the initial punch of percussion, either by emphasising or softening the attack, this can be done separately in any of the eight zones.


* 8 stereo areas of sharp cut-off filtering.
* Adjust levels separately in all selected zones.
* A great tool for mashup music makers, as vocals and other sounds can be
identified and manipulated within a full mix.
* Allows the user to emphasise or cut percussive transients giving control over
punch or softness in any zone.
* Each zone can pan separately.
* Great for analysing balance and frequency mix of a track you’re composing.

When You're Strange: A Film About the Doors

A weirdly gripping documentary about the Doors, composed entirely of archival footage of the band in the studio, on stage, and most rivetingly of all backstage, overlaid with a narrative voiceover by Johnny Depp.

Director Tom DiCillo is relatively incurious about the bands' mundane professional and romantic lives, perhaps for fear of importing an injurious Spinal Tap irony. But his film material of Jim Morrison is sensational – particularly a quite extraordinary sequence in which Morrison is mingling with fans out front, at an open-air concert in which the Doors are opening for the Who.

Deadpan, Morrison coolly flicks through a souvenir programme packed with photos of those less pulchritudinous rock gods Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend, repeatedly asking its awestruck salesperson how much the programme costs – all the while an infatuated admirer paws at his hair.

It is gobsmacking to watch Morrison on stage, surrounded by redneck cops, there theoretically to keep order, but openly hostile to this beautiful freak.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Nero's Dubstep Symphony

BBC Philharmonic playing alongside the Dubstep producer called "Nero", creating a Dubstep Symphony.

The Sound of “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”

This trailer shows you some of the techniques and tricks used to create the sound design for the film "Transformers".

Infected Mushroom in the studio

Infected Mushroom take you inside their studio to discuss their work on Pink Nightmares – their upcoming album.

Spectral Layers – New App Like Photoshop For Audio

Can editing audio visually open up new possibilities for sound design?

That’s the promise of a new app, Divide Frame’s Spectral Layers.

Spectral Layers analyzes audio and creates a graphic interface for editing the sound. On the horizontal axis, Spectral Layers represents time. On the vertical axis, it displays the audio spectrum.

Spectral Layers isn’t the first app to explore the idea of ‘Photoshop for audio’. Photosounder is an older app that brings new meaning to ‘photo synthesis‘ – acting as a bridge between the worlds of audio and images.

What makes Spectral Layers interesting, though, is its unique set of tools for working with the audio.

Check out the video demo above for an introduction to the application, its tools and their potential – and let us know if you’re interested in using Photoshop-like tools with audio.


* Advanced audio editor based on spectrum
* Accurately analyze, extract and transform any audio datas using layers and tools in a fully visual approach.
* Extract and transform voices, instruments, noises or any kind of sound
* Reconstruct, enhance and create new effects and raw materials.
* Analyze
o High-quality 32-bit float spectrum
o Realtime transforms and 3D display
o Surround project support
* Extract and Transform
o Non-destructive layer system
o Additive and substractive layer compositing
o Local tools and filters to transfer and modify spectral datas

Tech Specs:

* Cross-platform Windows/Mac OS X
* Open project format
* SDK for custom file formats, devices, tools and filters

More information on Spectral Layers is available at the developer’s site. Availability and pricing is to be announced.

via Peter Kirn at CDM, who features some interesting comments from the developer; see also the developer’s channel on Vimeo for a video tutorial on Spectral Layers.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Keep on Running: 50 Years of Island Records

Damian Lewis-narrated documentary telling the colourful story of Island Records, the Jamaican-founded record label built by maverick boss Chris Blackwell which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2009.

The film features a rare, in-depth interview with Blackwell alongside contributions from former Island artists Grace Jones, Toots Hibbert, Amy Winehouse, Sly and Robbie, PJ Harvey, U2, Brian Eno, Spencer Davis, Yusuf Islam/Cat Stevens, the B52s, Kid Creole, Greg Lake, Ian Anderson, Trevor Horn, Paul Weller, Richard Thompson and Keane.

News archive and rare performance footage are used to tell the story of the label - its part in bringing reggae music into the world; its expansion into progressive rock in the late 1960s; the rise of Bob Marley into a global star; and the label's reputation for consistently signing, producing and championing innovative acts from the UK and all over the world.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Alchemists of Sound

Documentary about the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

What the Future Sounded Like Documentary

Documentary about the the people of EMS (Electronic Music Studios) a radical group of avant-garde electronic musicians who utilized technology and experimentation to compose a futuristic electronic sound-scape for the New Britain.

Comprising of pioneering electronic musicians Peter Zinovieff and Tristram Cary (famed for his work on the Dr Who series) and genius engineer David Cockerell, EMSs studio was one of the most advanced computer-music facilities in the world. EMSs great legacy is the VCS3, Britains first synthesizer and rival of the American Moog. The VCS3 changed the sounds of some of the most popular artists of this period including Brian Eno, Hawkwind and Pink Floyd.

The Origins of Electronic Music

Interesting short documentary about the origen of electronic music.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Live Monster Synth Jam

The World’s First Sampler

The Chamberlin keyboard is a tape-based sample playback keyboard, invented in 1946 by Harry Chamberlin. It’s considered by many to be the first sampler, though it was primarily used as a sample playback keyboard.

According to stories, Chamberlin got the idea while recording himself playing the organ. He figured that if he could record and playback the organ, he could record other sounds and play them back, triggered by a keyboard.

Chamberlin went on to actually build 100 or more of his proto-samplers before his idea was “borrowed” to create the Mellotron. The Chamberlin has 8 tracks (Sound Effects, Trumpet, Flute, Cello, Organ, Violin, Female voice, Organ) and has stereo output.

Chamberlin’s story is featured in the excellent Mellotron documentary, Mellodrama.

MELLODRAMA: Mellotron/Chamberlin Documentary Trailer

From a California garage to Royal Albert Hall, Mellodrama is a documentary film by Dianna Dilworth that explores how the haunting sound of an ingenious contraption called the Mellotron changed the production and texture of popular music, from the Beatles to Kanye West.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Arduino The Documentary

Arduino The Documentary (2010) English HD from gnd on Vimeo.

AFOL A Blocumentary about LEGO

Passion combines with creativity in this documentary that features a selection of AFOLs (Adult Fans Of LEGO) from the Pacific NorthWest.

AFOL A Blocumentary from AFOL on Vimeo.

Its not a music related post, but WE LOVE LEGO!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Vinyl pressing plant short documentary

A short documentary about a new vinyl pressing plant in Cleveland Ohio, called "Gotta Groove Records". They specialize in 7" and 12" Vinyl creation/manufacturing using PVC molding.

NOVA: the film

An inspiring 75min DIY documentary film on new art and the young artists behind it. Directed by Isaac Niemand, and produced by ROJO® in collaboration with BossaNovaFilms, it was all filmed on the heat of live action of the first ®Nova Contemporary Culture which happened in July and August 2010, in MIS-Museum of Image and Sound, and SESC Pompeia, in São Paulo, Brazil.

Cry Baby: The Pedal That Rocks The World

Cry Baby: The Pedal That Rocks The World tells the story of the wah wah effect pedal, from its invention in 1966 to the present day. Musicians, engineers, and historians discuss the impact of the pedal on popular music and demonstrate the various ways it has been used, as well as how its evolution has improved the ability of artists to express themselves musically.

The film features interviews with Brad Plunkett, the inventor of the pedal, plus many other musical luminaries such as Ben Fong-Torres, Eddie Van Halen, Slash, Buddy Guy, Art Thompson, Eddie Kramer, Kirk Hammett, Dweezil Zappa, and Jim Dunlop.

These professionals explain how a musical novelty transcended convention and has become timelessly woven into the fabric of modern pop-culture.

Future Sound: London Underground Music Scene Documentary

Future Sound is a short documentary that looks into a small cross section of London's forward-thinking underground dance music scene, exploring some of the things that define and affect it as it moves into a new age of digital innovation.

Featuring interviews with Roska, Scratcha DVA, Blackdown, Mark Fisher, and Lisa Blanning, plus footage from a live SBTRKT DJ set.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Totally Wired: a tribute to an electric dream


Totally Wired is a DVD documentary film about Schneiders Buero (or Büro), the "infamous" analogue machines store, located in Berlin.

I'm sure most of you know the place, but for those who don't here's how Totally Wired's director, Niamh Guckian, describes her first experience and how the idea of making a film came out: "... first time I went there I couldn't wait to get out. All around me were small beeping machines and a voice box saying Good Morning, Welcome to Schneiders Buero... Walls and walls of modular systems were blinking and making too much noise, and I suddenly felt very unwell. Then a very tall German man with huge hands appeared, rather like a medicine man from the Little House on the Prairie... And suddenly, I had bitten the hook, and was listening intently to Andreas Schneider's Sermon from the Analog Mount, and thinking, who is this person, what is this place and maybe I should make a film about it...".

Totally Wired is an 80-minute tribute to a dream made of electricity, chaos and unpredictability, hard human work, alternative marketing approaches, boutique dirty toys, and of course to the city where the dream started, Berlin.

Featuring interviews with Mr.Schneider, manufacturers (Macbeth, Doepfer, Vermona, Flame, Cwejman, Flower Electronics) and special customers/friends (Ricardo Villalobos, Daniel Miller, Anthony Rother, Junior Boys and many others) Totally Wired is a well shot (classy photography!) and enjoyable document. It's a must-see for all analogue purists out-there, as well as for any electronic music lover.

As Niamh Guckian points out, "this film is all about possibility... Having the vision to keep it going when all around you are telling you to forget it...".

P.s: Totally Wired was shot in 2008, in the meantime Schneiders Buero's showroom (aka SchneidersLaden) has moved from the original location that can be seen in the film (an old Soviet Bloc office building in Alexanderplatz) to a new one.

Deconstructing Dad: Raymond Scott documentary

Deconstructing Dad is a documentary dedicated to Raymond Scott, one of the true geniuses of the past century. As (hopefully) most of you will know, he was an accomplished musician, a very original composer and the inventor of some revolutionary electronic musical instruments.

A detailed description of Raymond Scott's work would take too much space here. I'd recommend having a look at the Wikipedia page and at the lovely official site.

Deconstructing Dad, now available on dvd, is directed and produced by Stan Warnow, Raymond's son from his first marriage. It's a an act of love, a virtual reconciliation with someone who's never been a perfect father. The documentary, while not extremely focused on musical or technical details, is a very interesting journey into Raymond Scott's life and carreer.

It's cool to see the few rare clips of Raymond Scott's bands in action, and to hear some phone conversations (yes, he used to record private conversations, that was part of his technology addiction). Also, the interviews with people like Jeff Winner (co-producer and founder of the official Raymond Scott Archives), Hal Willner, Don Byron, Williams, Herb Deutsch (Moog co-inventor) etc. help understanding Scott's personality and approach to music.

There's a passage in the movie which tells a lot about Scott's approach and evolution: with his bands he was playing jazz, but it was not actually jazz. I mean, the instrumentation and the language could be defined as such, but the approach was completely different. Control is the keyword here. He wanted to be in control. No improvisation, almost a sacrilege for jazz purists!

This clearly explains why later he fell in love with creating and using electronic instruments. In his lab (which looked incredible, by the way) he finally had complete control over the whole musical process. And, as far as we know, the tools he created were really unique and ahead of his time. In the fifties he had created a synthesizer, the Clavivox, and a polyphonic sequencer, before these words even existed.

But he wanted more, he was dreaming of an intelligent machine, able to automatically generate music. And he created one, the Electronium, which was also bought by Barry Gordy, Motown's godfather (which hired Scott at Motown too, as researcher). Raymond Scott was definitely not interested in marketing his creatures. For him they were all a huge "work in progress", he was constantly working to improve them, and that explains why years later he was fired by Gordy, tired of investing so much money on machines that were not ready to be shown to potential customers yet.

Raymond Scott to me is a sort of modern Leonardo Da Vinci: a perfect, rare, visionary mix of art and craft skills.

As said, this documentary is more about the man than about his music or his creations. While this leaves space to other, more specialized analysis of his work as composer and inventor, I'd definitely recommend watching Deconstructing Dad. It's an excellent, intimate and original introduction to Raymond Scott's genius.

Softube Tube-Tech Channel Strip review

Swedish company Softube have just released a Channel Strip plugin based on emulations of the excellent hardware company Tube-tech. Based 2 hours away from Stockholm, the team of four guys have been focused on creating accurate emulations of hardware gear since 2003, picking up many industry accolades and endorsements along the way. Notable companies they've partnered with include Native instruments, Marshall guitar amps, Abbey road studios, and of course Tube-Tech, whose engineers they worked directly with on creating this latest plugin release.

The tube-tech channel strip is a bundle of four plugins: The PE 1C - an emulation of the tube-tech PE 1C, which is itself a modern emulation of the classic passive tube based Pultec EQ. The ME 1B Mid-Range EQ - an emulation of the tube-tech hardware modelled on the Pultec (MEQ-5), and The CL 1B - an LA2A style emulation Opto compressor. The fourth plugin is a channel-strip version of all three together, with bypassing and routing elements added.

I really enjoyed the PE1C - I found it to be the most flexible and useful of the three plugins. I like to think of it as a 'sweetener' eq rather than a surgical tool. You can boost and attenuate the low and high end, including the 'Pultec trick' of boosting and attenuating the low end at the same frequency range, which strengthens and tightens the sound, and has been a technique used on many kick drums and basses over the years. I found I could use this EQ on almost all sources to smoothly boost highs, and warm and fatten up the low end. It even worked well on the 2-buss at the end of a mix. Vocals, guitars, bass, drums, all benefitted from it.

In comparison with the UAD pultec plugin, which I use a great deal, I found it to be a little bit subtler in the way it affected the sound. Here's a comparison of the two EQ's. The track is dry for a bar, Softube, dry, UAD, and then repeated. The sounds are quite different, even though the settings are identical.

It's impossible to say whether one's better than the other, as they're both emulating slightly different things, but I thought it was interesting to pair them up and hear the difference.

The ME 1B is a new plugin released individually at the same time as the channel strip/bundle plugin. It deals with the frequency range the PE1C doesn't deal with. As softube say on their website - it 'is a godsend for getting a modern and focused vocal sound or that extra bite in the guitar track.' I definitely found this to be true - the EQ focuses on the narrower mid range of 200 to 5khz, and is a little more able to sculpt the sound, find the particular frequency you want to boost or cut, to give more bite, or scoop out the wider midrange, to cut some of the honk out. Whereas the previous EQ works well by itself, I feel this one works best in conjunction with the other, and needs the smooth lift of the highs to complement the work done on the midrange. You can boost the low mids and the high mids, and there is a sweepable cut that covers almost the entire frequency range of the plugin. It proved great for adding bite and brightness. Whereas the PE1C is excellent at creating smooth boosts adding warmth, fatness and glisten to a source, The ME1B is great at cutting, helping a track stand out in a mix, adding some brightness, and cutting out any muddiness or honkiness in a sound source.

CL 1B Opto Compressor
This is based on a compressor that has been used in countless records, and alongside the others is definitely considered a classic in the audio world. The elements that stood out to me immediately were the inclusion of external sidechain capabilities, and the fast attack time (0.5ms). Both are very useful attributes that are not always present on other software compressors - there have been many times when I've been frustrated by the lack of external sidechain on the particular compressor I've been using. This compressor seemed to work well on all sources. I think that because it's emulating the hardware faithfully - and as this hardware is tube-based, I found it pretty coloured, and sometimes I felt like it muddied the sound a little. But gentle compression on larger sources, such as room mics, or piano, it sounded brilliant to my ears.

Bypass and Routing Panel
You can bypass any unit to save CPU, and route the EQ before or after the compressor. I loved the routing switch. The order you compress and EQ can have a massive difference on the sound, and it's great being able to A/B them without having to physically move the plugins around on the DAW. That saved a lot of irritation! With the addition of the Bypass switches, I thought that it made having the separate plugins a bit redundant - why not just load the Channel strip up every time and bypass the modules you're not using?

Softube have included quite a few videos on their website, which will help anyone find their way around the software more easily, and even give tips on the best order to use the software in.

Here's a track played without and with use of the Tube-Tech Channel Strip

The EQ was lovely, the midrange EQ even lovelier. The compressor was good, I really loved the external sidechain option - Not many others have these. Not having easy access to the hardware originals, it's hard to give a direct hard to soft comparison - but I'll take comfort in the fact that Tube Tech fully endorse these plugins, and Softube worked side by side with engineers at Tube Tech to create the software. If you love the sound of Pultec, or the outboard from Tubetech, then for the cost, you can't go wrong with the emulation Softube has created. It really does sound excellent.

Sausage Fattener: loudness war gets greasy

The world doesn't need more tools for the loudness war. True, but... who can say no to a good, greasy sausage (sorry vegetarians!)?

Welcome to Dada Life and their Sausage Fattener, a plug-in that, well, compresses, saturates and can get a nice sausage out of your bounced tracks.

The plug-in was actually developed by Tailored Noise, in collaboration with Dada Life (a team of Dj/producers), and it looks like more will follow. I hope they'll keep on making funny videos like this one!

Dance and Electronic music producers may be the main target here, but even other users could find Sausage Fattener good for their tracks, why not? Just be careful when trying it on songs where you want to preserve the original dynamics.

Unfortunately no demo version (yet?). The plug-in is 29$, more or less like a very good homemade sausage.

Roger Linn’s new LinnStrument On The Way?

IR Reverb Comparisons

This is not a comparison of their features but of how each one of them sound.

Deconvolution Comparison:


The Altiverb sweep generator produces a sweep with a start and end beep (which it uses for identification). Since most other deconvolution tools don’t recognize these beeps, we created two versions of the sweep – one with the beeps and one without and normalized them to -0.3dBFS. The recorded sweep at the venue also included broadband noise and AC hum, which Altiverb’s processor did a good job of neglecting. The other plugins weren’t as good and included the noise along with the impulse. To make the comparison easier we used some amount of noise reduction on both versions of the recorded sweep.

1. AudioEase Altiverb:

AudioEase’s IR Pre-Processor needs to be used to deconvolve a sweep that is usable in Altiverb. The process is very simple – select a folder with the recorded sweep (make sure they are stereo-split SDII files), an output folder (your Altiverb preset folder), an input description file (in this case, “Sweeps, not to be equalized”) and hit “Process”. Re-scan your IR directory in Altiverb and it should show up.

Altiverb Pre-Processor

Here’s what the sweep recorded at the venue for Altiverb sounded like (with beeps, noise reduction and normalization). Make sure you aren’t monitoring too loud:

Recorded Altiverb Sweep on SoundCloud

2.McDSP Revolver:

Revolver has its own utility in the form of an AudioSuite plugin. This is even simpler to use. You need to make sure that both your original sweep and recorded sweep files are imported into Pro Tools. The plugin can then be used to analyze both files and the result can be saved as a preset.

McDSP Sweep Analyser

Here’s the edited and processed (noise reduction) sweep that was used:

Recorded IR For Other Plugins on SoundCloud

3. TL Space:

TL Space has no deconvolution utility. A third party utility can be used – Voxengo Deconvolver on Windows, Fuzz Measure Pro or Space Designer on a Mac.

4. Waves IR1

IR1 has restrictions. It only works with the sweep provided by Waves (on the install CD or downloadable from their website). It’s a 15 second sweep from 22Hz to 32KHz. Because of this, it could not used for this test.

Waves IR1

5. Space Designer:

In the more recent versions of Logic, the deconvolution option in Space Designer is hidden. It can be found by switching the view options of the plugin to ‘Controls’ and scrolling down to ‘Decode IR’ menu. It will then ask for both the original sweep and the recorded and sweep and output a deconvolved response. we used the same edited sweep that was used for Revolver.

Space Designer - 'Controls' mode


The SoundCloud clip below shows the results of the sweep deconvolved by the above plugins. All plugins were running flat with no additional processing. The results were normalized to -1dBFS.

Deconvolved Results on SoundCloud

Altiverb does sound closer to the actual recording in the space. Although, it does lack LF and wideness in those frequencies. My guess is it’s because of the noise reduction, as the results in my previous post (with no noise reduction) sound alright.

The stereo spread in Revolver is a bit skewed across the frequency spectrum.

The result from Space Designer are closer to the source but it also has a lopsided image. It does seem to have a litte more depth though.

What do you think? Which of the results sounds closer to the source to you?

Plugin Sound Comparison:

To compare the sound of each plugin, we used Voxengo’s Deconvolver to create an impulse response that could be used commonly across all the plugins (thereby keeping the effect the deconvolution process has on the sound common across all plugins). It’s a standalone application that runs only on Windows and is simple enough to use – select the two files and hit process. It does come with other options that are useful for batch conversions (normalize, fade in, fade out, high cut, low cut, etc).

UPDATE: Voxengo Deconvolver can be used in OSX using WineBottler (thanks to Ayush Ahuja for the tip).

Voxengo Deconvolver


All plugins had no additional processing and the results were normalized to -1dBFS.

Convolution Plugin Comparison on SoundCloud

The results are definitely interesting! Each plugin seems to be treating the IR very differently. Altiverb & TL Space sound closest to the source and also sound similar. Revolver seems to have some sort of smearing again. Waves IR1 sounds more “wet”. Space Designer has a lopsided image again in addition to having a little more depth (not as upfront as Altiverb and TL Space). It’s also interesting to compare these results with the ones above.

What are your thoughts? Which of these plugins do you use and how do they translate and work for you in a mix?

Open Source iTunes Competitor Songbird Officially Released

Songbird is like an open source version of iTunes that handles just about everything that program does, while swapping out the iTunes store interface in favor of the world’s music blogs.

You can stream music from those sources directly within the program (try that with iTunes’ browser), purchasing whatever music you encounter there that strikes your fancy from multiple sources: Amazon, Amie St., eMusic or iTunes. Or, if a blog or other site offers songs as free downloads, those are gathered neatly at the bottom of the screen as well.

At its core, though, Songbird is a solid music playback program — albeit one that can be customized with add-ons from Songbird and other developers, a strategy we’ve seen before from Songbird founder Rob Lord, formerly of Winamp, which itself had a wide variety of plug-ins. Lord set his sights squarely on iTunes when he launched Songbird a couple years back, accusing the program of being "like Internet Explorer, if Internet Explorer could only browse" Songbird, with its emphasis on unfettered access to the web’s music sources, proves his point.

Aside from being a solid local player with Web 2.0-friendly music discovery built-in, Songbird can sync music to your iPod, so long as it’s not protected by Apple’s Fairplay DRM. Although a mechanism exists for playing Fairplay-protected music in Songbird, it didn’t work for us (screenshots below).

Beta versions of Songbird have been kicking around for ages, but today`s official release offers several improvements over the program, including a switch to the open source GStreamer multimedia playback system, which the team says makes this version perform better and with more reliability.

Songbird also added a mashTape feature that harvests images from Flickr, videos from YouTube, artist bios from and news from Google, all related to the currently-playing song. Minor tweaks include revamped keyboard shortcuts, a new Linux installer (the program runs on Windows, Mac and Linux), the ability to find out where a file actually lives, and the ability to nest one smart playlist inside another.


Harman HiQnet Performance Manager Software

At Prolight + Sound 2011, Harman Professional is introducing its HiQnet Performance Manager software, a highly-refined user interface that facilitates the design of touring and live performance venue sound reinforcement systems. Designed especially for touring and theatrical sound engineering, HiQnet Performance Manager is an application-specific iteration of the category-leading HARMAN HiQnet System Architect 2 connectivity and control software application for professional-grade audio system integration.

HiQnet Performance Manager offers a comprehensive, step-by-step workflow that directly corresponds to real-world system configuration, taking the workflow paradigm introduced in System Architect 2 to a higher level of functionality for any live performance audio application. It is fully integrated with JBL’s Line Array Calculator II loudspeaker configuration and acoustic modeling software. The user begins by loading templates of the speaker arrays used in the system, and then runs Line Array Calculator II for each array as part of the initial sound design task of determining how many and which type of loudspeakers are required to cover a given venue. For each array, Performance Manager automatically loads the passive VerTec or powered VerTec DrivePack DPDA line array configuration into the main application workspace—the first of many automated design processes native to the software application. Loudspeakers can also be manually loaded into the templates if desired.

Once the user defines the required amplifier parameters for the passive loudspeakers within the arrays, Performance Manager automatically loads the correct number of Crown Audio VRACK or other user-determined amplifier racks into the audio system. The software then associates the amplifier outputs with the bandpass crossover inputs for the selected array and programs the amplifiers with the correct JBL preset data, as well as gain shading and JBL Line Array Control Panel equalization parameters that are determined in JBL’s Line Array Calculator II as part of the modeling process to optimize sound pressure level and frequency response over the defined audience geometry.