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766MB OF SAMPLES | TOP 40 SYNTHS | BASS STATION II FIRST LOOK | 20 PAGES OF TUTORIALS

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Issue 124
July 2013

CREATE HUGE LEADS, DEEP DUBSTEP & MASSIVE PADS PLUS The 40 greatest synths in the world! Hardware Software Apps Freeware

MASTER YOUR SYNTHS

20

PRO TOOLS FREE PLUG-INS CUBASE HARMONIES REASON HARDWARE LIVE BASS DESIGN LOGIC DRUMS

PAGES OF TUTORIALS

The Latest Reviews

BASS STATION II
EXCLUSIVE HANDS-ON PREVIEW
SAMPLES
Future Transition FX & Sweeps (24-bit/44.1kHz WAV, Kontakt, EXS24, NN-XT, Structure) Equinox Sounds Funk & Jazz MIDI Construction Kits (MIDI) Prime Loops Taster Pack (24-bit/44.1kHz ACID WAV) Samples Tasters (24-bit/44.1kHz WAV)

Moog Sub Phatty, Discovery Pro, Zynaptiq Unfilter


GLUE FLAP

DVD124 4GB+ PC&Mac DVD124 4GB+ PC&Mac


TUTORIALS & VIDEOS
Point Blank Music School Ableton Live Push Challenge, Kate Simko Logic Masterclass (MOV) Rob Papen The Secrets of Subtractive Synthesis (MP4, MOV) LoopBlog Producertech Maschine with Logic Pro (MOV) LoopBlog Producertech Novation Launchkey Review (MOV) LoopBlog DSP Project How to Build an Acoustic Diffuser (MOV) LoopBlog Plugin Boutique Cableguys Volume Shaper 3 Overview (MOV)

Issue 124 July 2013

5.99

DEMOS
Sound Radix Pi (PC, Mac) KiloHearts Disperser (PC, Mac) Voxengo Shinechilla (PC, Mac)

/ /FUTURE TRANSITION FX & SWEEPS


766MB of adrenalin-fuelled futuristic sweeps, metallic rising drones and pulsating LFO workouts
VIDEO TUTORIALS/ /60+MINS

SAMPLE LOOPS/ /ROYALTY FREE & EXCLUSIVE

FREEWARE
Saltline Lisc-step (PC) Sleepy Time DSP Lisp (PC)

TUTORIALS
Logic Pro Cubase Ableton Live Reason Pro Tools Incredible Synths

PROMOTIONAL

AMS Neve 1073N (MOV) Anymode PDJ DJ Pad (MOV) Sound Radix Pi (MOV) Sugar Bytes Turnado iPad Edition (MOV) Waldorf Rocket Synthesizer (MOV) 8DIO 8Dioboe (MOV) Synth Promo Videos (MOV)

/ /ABLETON LIVE PUSH CHALLENGE


MIDI LOOPS/ /ROYALTY FREE & EXCLUSIVE

/ /CUTTING-EDGE SYNTH LOOPS


VIDEO TUTORIALS/ /15+MINS

SAMPLES LOOPS/ /148MB ROYALTY FREE

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COPYRIGHT ANTHEM PUBLISHING 2013

/ /FUNK & JAZZ MIDI LOOPS

/ /ROB PAPENS SYNTH SECRETS

GLUE FLAP

ATH-M50

More Colour In Your Mix


Audio-Technicas acclaimed ATH-M50 studio monitor headphones deliver natural response throughout the entire frequency range, without hyping or diminishing sounds along the way. Wherever your passion for music leads you, listen for more.
Now offered in a new limited-edition red, in addition to the original black and white models. Natural response ideal for professional monitoring and mixing Collapsible design for easy portability and convenient storage Proprietary 45 mm large-aperture drivers with neodymium magnet systems Closed-back cushioned earcups for isolation Adjustable padded headband for comfort during long mixing/recording sessions

www.audio-technica.com

Welcome MT

Expert Panel
Meet the team of experts behind the magazine
Cubase Tim Hallas
Tims a music technology consultant and education expert. As Cubase Editor he will be bringing you a range of technique features for the popular DAW over the coming months.

Mixing/Mastering/Logic Mark Cousins


Mark specialises in sound design and cinematic productions. He has recorded with orchestras across Europe and is heavily involved in soundtrack composition.

Recording & Guitar Tech Huw Price

A recording engineer since 1987, Huw has worked with David Bowie, My Bloody Valentine, Primal Scream, Depeche Mode, Nick Cave, Heidi Berry, Fad Gadget and countless others.

Scoring/Orchestral Keith Gemmell

Keith specialises in areas where traditional music-making meets music technology, including orchestral and jazz sample libraries, acoustic virtual instruments and notation software.

Ableton Live & DJing Liam OMullane

Liam has worked as a D&B scratch DJ as well as releasing dubstep, D&B and hardcore tracks. His passion is to learn the production styles of the latest genres using Live.

Kraftwerk, Hammersmith Odeon, 1981. Thats when I fell in love with the synthesizer (although it was actually a vocoder and a drum machine from the track Numbers, but lets not split hairs I was only 14). It was one of those life-changing moments that you use the word literally about a lot when recalling it. And with that rather robotic vision of the future firmly lodged in that young brain, I went on to spend half my student grant on a synth. (For younger readers a student grant was a rather quaint cash sum students used to get to spend on beans on toast while they studied. A much thinner me bought a Roland D-20 with his arguably the first ever workstation, although the only arguments Ive ever had on that have been with Korg M1 fans.)
Ive now spent the last three decades veering between hardware synth setups, software setups, mixes of the two and, more recently of course, app-based setups. But all the time the sound of the circuit has been lodged up top in the music I listen to and produce plus pretty much everything I write about. One of my kids is even called OSCar. So it was only a matter of time before this rather special issue of MusicTech was going to happen, and pretty much every page is stamped with some kind of synth specialness from our exclusive hands-on action with the Bass Station II right through to my review of the Moog Sub Phatty. Not to mention our massive tutorial on creating huge synth sounds and the 40 best synths in the world today. So I would say weve pulled out all the stops, but isnt that organ-speak? More like weve pushed the envelope, LFO and filter. Kraftwerk, envelopes, OSCar and an argument over two 1988 workstations. If youve ever read a more geeky page of magazine then please let me know Andy Jones Senior Editor andy.jones@anthem-publishing.com

Reason & Mobile Hollin Jones

As well as teaching music technology, producing and writing soundtracks, Hollin is an expert on everything Apple, mobile or computer-related, as well as being an accomplished keyboard player.

Electronic Music Alex Holmes

Alex has been a computer musician for 15 years, having a keen passion for beats, bass and all forms of electronic music. Hes currently involved in three different dance music projects.

Studio Hardware John Pickford

John is a studio engineer with over 25 years of experience. He is a keen sound recording historian and has a passion for valve-driven analogue equipment and classic recording techniques.

Pro Tools Mike Hillier

Mike spent five years at Metropolis Studios, working alongside some of the best-known mix and mastering engineers in the world. He is now building his own studio in south London.

Head to our constantly updated website for the latest news, reviews and 10 years worth of quality content musictech.net

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Bag yourself a Studiospares S580 vocal mic worth 47 when you subscribe see page 64 for full details.

magazine July 2013

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MT Contents

MT Contents
Issue 124 July 2013

1 2 THE WORLDS BEST SYNTHS


Whether hardware, software or mobile, we round up our top synth choices

Advance

06

MT Interview

30

DOWN & DIRTY


4 | July 2013
magazine

We visit Novations HQ and get hands-on with the much-anticipated Bass Station II

Rob Papen

The visionary sound designer and synth guru talks to MT

Contents MT p83 p66


MT Issue 124 Full listings
006 | Advance Opinion, predictions and upcoming reviews, including a Bass Station II first look

The Latest Reviews

Waldorf Rocket | Avantone CV12 & CV28 | Sound Radix Pi |


Software Tutorials
p81

SUB PHATTY

p86

012 | Cover Feature The worlds greatest hardware, software and mobile synths revealed and why... INTERVIEWS 030 | Industry Guru Synth guru and sound designer Rob Papen 032 | Landmark Productions The Human League Reproduction TECHNIQUE 034 | Cover Feature Create unique and cutting-edge synth sounds 044 | Cubase 7 Creating convincing harmonies 048 | Live 9 Bass design with the Operator synth 052 | Logic Pro 9 Processing and mixing drums 056 | Pro Tools 10 Free plug-ins to augment your PT setup 060 | Reason 7 Using MIDI hardware with Reason

HARMONIES, MIXING DRUMS, PT PLUGINS, BASS DESIGN, REASON HARDWARE


p52 p44

p48 p56

064 | Subscribe to MusicTech and receive a Studiospares S580 mic worth 47! REVIEWS 066 | Moog Sub Phatty 071 | Zynaptiq UNFILTER 072 | discoDSP Discovery Pro 074 | 8DIO 8Dioboe 077 | sE Electronics Magneto

p60

CREATING SIGNATURE SYNTH SOUNDS


DVD124 4GB+ PC&Mac
SAMPLES
Future Transition FX & Sweeps (24-bit/44.1kHz WAV, Kontakt, EXS24, NN-XT, Structure) Equinox Sounds Funk & Jazz MIDI Construction Kits (MIDI) Prime Loops Taster Pack (24-bit/44.1kHz ACID WAV) Samples Tasters (24-bit/44.1kHz WAV)

Tutorial

079 | Adam F5 081 | Sound Radix Pi Phase Interactions Mixer 083 | Waldorf Rocket 084 | AMS Neve 1073N 086 | Avantone CV12 & CV28 089 | Mini Reviews 096 | Next Month in MT 098 | On your MT DVD
GLUE FLAP

DVD124 4GB+ PC&Mac

TUTORIALS & VIDEOS


Point Blank Music School Ableton Live Push Challenge, Kate Simko Logic Masterclass (MOV) Rob Papen The Secrets of Subtractive Synthesis (MP4, MOV) LoopBlog Producertech Maschine with Logic Pro (MOV) LoopBlog Producertech Novation Launchkey Review (MOV) LoopBlog DSP Project How to Build an Acoustic Diffuser (MOV) LoopBlog Plugin Boutique Cableguys Volume Shaper 3 Overview (MOV)

34
DEMOS
Sound Radix Pi (PC, Mac) KiloHearts Disperser (PC, Mac) Voxengo Shinechilla (PC, Mac)

/ /FUTURE TRANSITION FX & SWEEPS


766MB of adrenalin-fuelled futuristic sweeps, metallic rising drones and pulsating LFO workouts
VIDEO TUTORIALS/ /60+MINS

SAMPLE LOOPS/ /ROYALTY FREE & EXCLUSIVE

FREEWARE

Saltline Lisc-step (PC) Sleepy Time DSP Lisp (PC)

TUTORIALS
Logic Pro Cubase Ableton Live Reason Pro Tools Incredible Synths

PROMOTIONAL

AMS Neve 1073N (MOV) Anymode PDJ DJ Pad (MOV) Sound Radix Pi (MOV) Sugar Bytes Turnado iPad Edition (MOV) Waldorf Rocket Synthesizer (MOV) 8DIO 8Dioboe (MOV) Synth Promo Videos (MOV)

/ /ABLETON LIVE PUSH CHALLENGE


MIDI LOOPS/ /ROYALTY FREE & EXCLUSIVE

SAMPLES LOOPS/ /148MB ROYALTY FREE

/ /CUTTING-EDGE SYNTH LOOPS / /ROB PAPENS SYNTH SECRETS

COPYRIGHT ANTHEM PUBLISHING 2013

/ /FUNK & JAZZ MIDI LOOPS

VIDEO TUTORIALS/ /15+MINS

GLUE FLAP

magazine July 2013

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MT Advance

MTAdvance
Round-ups Analysis & comment

Industry insight

NOVATION BASS STATION II EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOK


To open our synth special, what better than a visit to Novations HQ to get hands-on with a very blacklooking Bass Station II? Andy Jones reports
Weve just visited Novations HQ to have an exclusive first look at the companys new Bass Station II a synth that has been turning heads and making headlines since its announcement at Frankfurt Musikmesse in April. The synth, designed by veteran synth pioneer Chris Huggett (also responsible for the OSCar and Wasp synths), is a follow-up, albeit a rather slow one, to 1993s original Bass Station, a synth that answered the demands of the acid house scene of the time. We first saw the Bass Station II at Frankfurt and it has certainly moved on, not least because it is now a very cool-looking black. Novations Nick Bookman and Giles Orford were on hand to talk us through the latest developments: Since Frankfurt the synth has had about 80 to 100 firmware changes, says Nick, and were now at the stage where were narrowing down the masses of presets we have to the best 64, which well ship with the unit this summer along with 64 user presets. The architecture of the synth is similar to the original. Its audio path is analogue but sources are digitally controlled, so the filter is analogue but under digital control, likewise

the modulation sources. There are two oscillators with four waveforms each and a sub oscillator with a fixed narrow or square pulse that follows the pitch of oscillator 1. A noise generator and ring modulation complete the sound sources. Bass Station II has two filters: Classic and Acid. The Classic is similar to the original Bass Stations, a statevariable filter with two slopes, but unlike the original it has high- and band-pass shapes (see below for more on the Acid filter). Connections include a line out, headphones, a line in for processing external signals, sustain pedal in, MIDI in/out and a USB port that supplies power and MIDI but not audio.

The TB-303 has a distinct filter. Ours has the same topology not a clone but it really does evoke the acid sound
The synth is monophonic and mono so very much has bass written all over it, although, of course, thats not to say it cant be used for other sounds. First and foremost it is a bass synth and the presets will reflect that, says Giles, but instrumentalists will make it do whatever they want it to do and it can do a lot. So we will focus on basses as far as the presets that ship with it, but there could be more banks released down the line. Its been 21 years since the announcement of the original Bass Station, so why has it been so long for the follow-up? Theres been a resurgence of interest in analogue synths over the last couple of years, says Giles. After a period when we did very well with VA synths, people then went on to use a lot of soft synths, but now theres definitely a move to people wanting something a bit more tangible. Its fair to say that the original Bass Station had a lot of fans and we were always getting asked to do a follow-up so the timing was right and we finally succumbed to the pressure. Weve added several features and really believe it significantly moves the synth up a few levels.

The Bass Station II: Instrumentalists will make it do whatever they want it to do and it can do a lot.

6 | July 2013

magazine

Advance MT

MT Navigation Bass Station II


OSCILLATORS Select from four waveforms plus sources and destinations for the two LFOs.

MIXER Where to blend the sound sources: two oscillators, ring, noise and a sub linked to oscillator 1.

DISTORTION Within an effects section you get a Distortion circuit to add a bit more dirt.

b a

c e

f
COOL BLUE LIGHTS Not technically a feature that makes a jot of difference to music production, but whats not to like about the cool blue lights beneath the pitch and mod wheels?

ENVELOPES Switchable between standard amp envelope (for volume over time) and mod (pitch for the mod env) plus a combination of the two.

BLUE, GREY OR BLACK Bass Station II was grey, now its black but the final colour is still TBC. The plate beneath is bright blue maybe the final colour?

We first saw the Bass Station II at Frankfurt and it has certainly moved on, not least because it is now a very cool-looking black
One of the things that could have stalled the project was access to the abundance of analogue components needed to bring a synth like this to market in what is now a very digital age: It was a risk we had to consider, says Nick. The main component we needed was an OTA operational transconductance amplifier. These are getting rarer, but we managed to secure a supply of them. And another big addition to the Bass Station II is that of the Acid filter, a circuit designed to give the synth a TB-303-like edge: Its a sound that is still in demand even after all this time, says Nick. The 303 has a particular filter type so weve designed a circuit with a similar topology called the diode ladder and it has a particular frequency characteristic that allows us to get close to the acid sound. Its not a clone it is our design

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but it really does evoke that acid characteristic. We wanted to go beyond what the original Bass Station had and this certainly does that. Following this comprehensive introduction to the new Bass Station we were treated to a demo of its various presets, including the 303 sounds and a stack of different basses and very impressive they were too. What was memorable about the original was how big the sound was despite coming from such a small unit, and this certainly replicated that surprise feeling. Nick also included a demo of the step sequencer (which enables you to store four sequences, each with 32 steps to trigger very much like an arpeggiated sequence). We were certainly impressed, but you can judge for yourselves as the full demo is on our website at www.musictech.net. Were even more keen to get one in and put it through its paces ourselves, so look out for the full review in a couple of issues time and online. One last question, then: are we going to see a new Drum Station any time soon? Nothing is planned at the moment, says Nick, but never say never! Price 399 Web www.novationmusic.com www.musictech.net
magazine July 2013

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Advance MT

The Irish Are Coming!


MT helps AudioTechnica launch Me And My 510
Ten Audio-Technica mics are up for grabs just tell us how youll use them! We love ideas that might promote more unusual musicmaking activities, so when Audio-Technica came to us with this one we jumped at the chance to run with it. Basically, AT is offering ten readers an ATM510 mic simply for telling us how youll use it if you win. The winning ten will get the chance to mic up their entire studio or band with AT gear to the value of 1,000 simply by blogging about their ATM510 via MusicTech.net. The best of the blogs win the AT gear. Easy, eh? When he reviewed the mic last month, Mike Hillier concluded: The ATM510 is a great-sounding microphone easily a match for the SM58, so its clearly a mic thats at home in whatever situation it finds itself in. If you fancy a chance to win one of the ten mics simply tell us how youll use it by visiting our home page (www.musictech.net). Fill in the entry form and go for it! Web www.musictech.net/510compo MusicTech meets the Irish companies set to blaze a music technology trail over the coming year... Predicting the future of music-making is becoming harder. Apps are improving to tempt us away from the studio, hardware quality soars to keep us in the studio, while computers are so powerful that we sit between the two making music on a laptop. Its great, then, that we often get the scoops on new developments so you can read about them here first. A couple of weeks ago we were invited to Dublin by Enterprise Ireland for a Showcase of Innovation in Irish Music Technology, where we met eight start-up companies from the countrys burgeoning tech scene. Companies included Seevl (technology that profiles your musical trends for easy access to new music); Huggity (huge hi-res photos of concert crowds allowing fans to tag and share experiences); Mobanode (an app for festivals); and TicketFriend (expanding the ticketing experience for fans and promoters). More interestingly from a music-creation point of view is WholeWorldBand. This is an app conceived by Kevin Godley (10cc and Godley & Creme) that allows you to record a seed track that others can join and play along to. Its video-based and several high-profile artists have recorded seeds, including Ronnie Wood and Gemma Hayes. Importantly, it claims to offer an income from released tracks and for people paying to play. Next up is 45sound, a way of getting decent-quality audio on video footage shot by fans at gigs. Before you complain that this will encourage more people to film gigs rather than enjoy them, stick with us. The idea is that fans help bands create videos and that the filming could then be limited to just one or two tracks so the rest of the concert is not destroyed by the usual arm-raising phone action. Which is worth the ticket price alone in our book... Riffstations concept is simple: play any track in and the software analyses it and comes up with all the information you need tempo, chord changes etc to learn it by playing along. Its guitar-orientated so you see the chords to play and can slow it down to make learning easier. With tie-ups to YouTube, expect to see this one soon (and an upcoming review). Finally, we have Soundwave, an app that effectively works out what the world is listening to. It enables you to connect to like-minded friends, share info on new music, or even pinpoint the trending music in specific locations. With Apple impressed by the tech back end, its imminent launch could be a biggie. Remember: you read it here first. More info from www.enterprise-ireland.com

MusicTechs crazy summer giveaway


Photography by Jamie Tanner, The Sixpence Studio

If you havent checked out MusicTech on an iPad, now is certainly the time to do it. Not only is the app itself completely free, but for a limited period if you subscribe for at least six issues youll get three back issues completely free! Thats a mere 16.99 for nine issues, which has to be great value in anyones book! The offer is available through www.pocketmags.com. Just search for MusicTech and download your free app today. The back issues included are 120, 121 and 122 (MarchMay 2013). Among the highlights are Mark Cousins in-depth guide to composing music to picture, an insight into mobile musicmaking technology present and future, our recommendations for monitors to suit all budgets, plus all the usual tutorials, reviews and industry news.

Above: Kevin Godley entertained with WholeWorldBand. Left: The rest of the delegates.

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MT Advance

Company Vengeance-Sound Price TBC First impressions The Vengeance Producer Suite is getting considerably bigger with the addition of this latest Sampler plug-in. If its anything like previous releases from Vengeance it should offer the dance music producer all the tools they need for a fast yet creative workflow. Were just getting into it now and so far, so good! Contact info@vengeance-sound.com Web www. vengeance-sound.com

PHALANX

Company Universal Audio Price $349 First impressions UAD-2 card owners already have an amazing range of plug-ins to choose from for tracking, mix processing and mastering. This release is somewhat different, though, aiming to model the fabled tones and vintage mics of Ocean Way Studios, one of the worlds most famous recording venues. Its been developed in conjunction with well-respected engineer/producer and Ocean Way owner Allen Sides and UA is a company that actually delivers on the hype, so this looks to be very promising. Contact Source Distribution 020 8962 5080 Web www.uaudio.com

OCEAN WAY STUDIOS

Company MOTU Price 349 First impressions MOTUs once Mac-only DAW has finally made the move to Windows (7 and 8). Is it too late in the game to acquire a new following among the PC set, or will the enticing new features and tools of version 8 see off the competition? Well be taking it for a test drive soon and will report back. Contact Musictrack 01767 313447 Web www.motu.com

DIGITAL PERFORMER 8

MTTest Bench

Upcoming hardware and software releases under the scrutiny of Music Techs experts now read the full reviews next issue!

Company Steinberg Price 448 First impressions So many DAWS are capable of undertaking mastering duties these days that you might ask why you would spend yet more money on a dedicated piece of mastering software. Weve already downloaded and installed WaveLab 8 so well let you know how it fares after weve put its tools and features to work on some mixes of our own. Contact via website Web www. steinberg.net

WAVELAB 8

Company Ample Sound Co Price $169 First impressions Weve been checking out the audio examples on Ample Sounds website and reckon this promises to be a very convincing solution for anyone needing pro-sounding guitar parts but lacks a performer, great guitar and the necessary mics. Well let you know how it performs in terms of authenticity and ease of use as soon as we can. Contact via website Web www.amplesound.net

AMPLE GUITAR T

10 | July 2013

magazine

MusicTech

02476 36 98 98

MAGAZINE

MT Feature The worlds greatest synths

From warm and resonant analogue waves to complex digital sound design, theres no shortage of choice when it comes to software and hardware synthesizers and you dont always need deep pockets to enjoy them. Alex Holmes explores your options.

THE WORLDS GREATEST SYNTHS

MT Cover Feature Synths & Synthesis

12 | July 2013

magazine

The Worlds Greatest Synths The worlds greatest synths Feature MT

he actual birth date of the synthesizer is hard to pin-point as so many technological developments were made in the early 1900s, but the building blocks for subtractive synthesis as we know it appeared around the 30s and 40s. Fast-forward to 1960 when Harald Bode created the first modular synthesizer and youve got the template for subsequent designs by Donald Buchla and Bob Moog. These early modulars were so large they filled a room and resembled some sort of space-craft launch console, which by todays standards seems rather excessive as you can get the same sound-design capabilities from something that fits in your pocket! Over the next couple of decades synths got smaller and more advanced, with the introduction of MIDI, digital control and the subsequent explosion in software and VSTs. You have only to look back at the development of musical styles over the last 40 years to hear how influential the synthesizer has been in shaping our musical landscape, from the analogue-sounding 70s and the crisp, digital 80s to the detailed sound design of recent times due to the use of complex modern soft synths. But what is it about the synthesizer that makes us love it so? As producers and composers, there can be no greater thrill than getting hands-on with a synth and crafting a unique sound from scratch that you can call your own. However, with so many potential products on the market, choosing the right one for the job can be a daunting task. With that in mind, weve rounded up what we believe to be the cream of the crop, highlighting both hardware and software synths that will suit all tastes and budgets. Whether youre after an affordable analogue unit, a complex, modern beast or a tactile iPad synth for live use, read on...

There can be no greater thrill than getting hands-on with a synth and crafting a unique sound

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MT Feature The worlds greatest synths

Hardware synths
keyboard? Many synths come in both rackmount and keyboard formats, and although you may not think you need keys, having a self-contained unit can make things much easier when performing live. It also means you dont have to go via a computer to use the synth if your controller has only a USB connection. That said, many of the keyboard-less units have a small footprint, so if space is an issue, this may be the way to go. The other thing to consider is whether you want a polyphonic workstation or just a stripped-back, monophonic analogue monster. And you might consider building your own modular system from individual units, but dont blame us if you have to eat rice for a year to afford it! Finally, youll note the lack of a Nord Lead in our top 10. This is because the 3 has recently been superseded by the 4, which well be reviewing next issue.

espite the huge number of software synths available, there is still a massive market for more expensive hardware synths. This is in part due to the gratification of instant feedback when tweaking knobs and sliders, along with circuitry and operating systems that have been optimised for a single job. Its much easier to get lost while sound-designing using a piece of hardware, as youre not so easily distracted by other effects and plug-ins, and touching controls directly feels much more intuitive than using a mouse to fine-tune parameters. You may also be buying a hardware synth for its analogue circuitry something that cant quite be matched by software or simply to integrate a quality keyboard into your studio and live setup. This is one of the first things you need to consider when choosing a hardware synth: do you already have a controller keyboard that you intend to use with your new synth module, or do you require a built-in

Touching controls feels more intuitive than using a mouse to fine-tune parameters
MT Technology The analogue sound and modular setups
While some will choose to continually strive for cutting-edge and unique new sounds, others seek out the familiar warm tones of true analogue hardware. Theres just something indescribable about the feeling of being blasted in the face by a pure-analogue square-wave bass line through a large PA that cant be matched by even the most complex of squealing digital synths. The only real drawback apart from the price is that youre often fairly limited by the layout and feature set of these analogue hardware synths. One option is to build your own modular system from individual units, so you can choose exactly how many oscillators, envelopes, LFOs and filter types you have, then patch them together in ways limited only by your imagination. This means that you can mix and match a range of different-sounding units to build a system thats unique to you, and, money permitting, change and modify the modules as your programming skills improve. Companies such as Modcan, Doepfer, Curetronic and Synthesizers.com offer a range of different modules as well as cabinets to house and power them. Doepfer even makes a module that offers MIDI via USB, so you can still get things working with your computer if you so desire. If you want to build a more unique instrument there are smaller, more boutique companies such as The Harvestman (www.theharvestman.org) and Livewire Electronics making specialist modules such as the Vulcan Modulator. There are currently three main modular formats: the Frac-Rack, Eurorack and MOTM/Synthesizers.com solutions, which have different-size modules, power supplies and patch input sizes. Ideally, youll make your life a lot easier if you pick one and stick to that, and its worth considering how much space youve got as the Eurorack and Frac-Rack systems are a little smaller. A good starting point would be to check out www.modularplanner.co.uk, which enables you to try out various setups by dragging modules from different companies onto a virtual rack. It will also usefully inform you how much of a dent your dream modular monster A relatively modest modular system will make on your bank balance.
from Modcan comprising 12 units.

NOVATION MININOVA

Price 299 Contact Novation 01494 462246 MiniNova is designed for use both in the studio and on stage, with the sound engine of the Ultranova but in a smaller, lighter form. The 37 keys are bit too small for chord work, but there are plenty of controls for tweaking, plus an arpeggiator and a Chord mode. Other features include the ability to route external audio through the effects section, a mic input for use with the synths vocoder and VocalTune functions, and an excellent Animate mode in which snapshots of a preset can be triggered by hitting one of the eight pads. The MiniNova is a superbsounding synth that has the bonus of coming with a software editor that can run inside your DAW. Also worth noting is that MiniNova and Ultranova owners can currently download a Supernova sound pack for free. Web www.novationmusic.com

14 | July 2013

magazine

The worlds greatest synths Feature MT

MT Buyers Guide Ten of the best MOOG MINITAUR

Price 4,549 Contact Source Distribution 020 8962 5080 Moog celebrated its 40th anniversary with this ultimate version of its Minimoog Voyager, which ups the keyboard to 61 notes and throws in a CV patchbay, additional ribbon controller and second LFO. Anyone familiar with the Minimoog layout will be right at home there are the usual three super-fat oscillators, smooth ladder filter and external audio in. Its monophonic and doesnt include any form of arpeggiator or FX, but the Voyager XL is the still the Rolls-Royce of synths. Web www.moogmusic.com

MOOG MINIMOOG VOYAGER XL

Price 499 Contact Source Distribution 020 8962 5080 If youre after the Moog sound but want something a little smaller and more affordable, you might want to check out the Minitaur a monophonic analogue bass synthesizer with two oscillators, an incredibly smooth and fat filter, two envelope generators for modulating the filter and amp, plus two LFOs hardwired to the VCO and VCF. Each knob on the front panel has a one knob per function design, making sound design quick and easy. An extended set of parameters and preset management system can be accessed from the editor software when connected to a computer via USB. The Minitaur is tremendous fun to play and capable of producing some gorgeous, earth-shaking basses, while the CV and audio inputs mean its also more capable than it may first appear. Web www.moogmusic.com

ARTURIA MINIBRUTE

Price 449 Contact Source Distribution 020 8962 5080 The MiniBrute marks the surprise entry of software experts Arturia into the world of analogue synths, and features a pure analogue signal path with a single VCO and flexible Steiner-Parker multimode filter. Other unique features include a Brute Factor control that can be used to add crunchy feedback saturation to your sounds, an Ultrasaw for generating shimmering sawtooths, and a Metalizer for adding triangle harmonics. When you factor in the USB connectivity, arpeggiator and external audio input you actually have an interesting sound-shaping machine thats much more capable than its singleoscillator design might have you believe. The filter is particularly exquisite, with the BP and HP modes allowing for some MS-20-style resonant squeals. Web www.arturia.com

Price 1,999 (61-key) Contact Korg 01908 304601 Since the original M1 Korg has been at the forefront of the workstation keyboard world, and its latest offering, Kronos, is no exception. Available with three different sizes of keyboard, Kronos boasts a wealth of connections and features, from the ability to stream audio direct to your DAW via USB to the internal 30GB SSD drive, large touchscreen and multiple faders, dials and controls. You have the option of nine different sound engines, which can be routed through 16 simultaneous effects to create a massive range of lush and powerful sounds. Add to this a comprehensive onboard sequencer with 16 MIDI and 16 audio tracks plus Korgs amazing KARMA system for generating new phrases on-the-fly and youve got a highly complex but powerful system. Web www.korg.com

KORG KRONOS

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MT Feature The worlds greatest synths

MT Buyers Guide Ten of the best, continued

Price 1,254 Contact Yamaha 0844 811 1116 For those of you looking for the main functions of the Motif series but not in a position to make the kind of investment required, Yamaha has released a scaleddown version in the shape of the MOX8 and MOX6. The combination of a USB audio interface, step sequencer, real-time controllers and MIDI via USB alongside the versatile sound set makes it an ideal production machine in conjunction with a DAW. A Category search function makes it easy to browse through the 1,127 voices, with Song and Pattern modes for fleshing out your ideas. Theres also a powerful arpeggiator with 6,720 types, an excellent FX section and a software editor that can turn the MOX into a VSTi. Web www.yamaha.com

YAMAHA MOX8

Price 1,405 Contact DSI +1 707 963 7006 Tempest is a six-voice analogue/digital hybrid drum machine designed by pioneers Dave Smith and Roger Linn. Each drum kit consists of 16 sounds, with each sound using two analogue oscillators and two digital. Theres also a large bank of digital waveforms with samples taken from the Prophet VS, alongside one-shot samples from the 808, 909, LM-1, the LinnDrum and more. Tempest features extensive modulation options and can also function as an excellent monophonic synth. Although you cant process external audio, the 16 touch-sensitive drum pads, two slider controls, intuitive sequencer, master buss compressor and distortion help to seal the deal. Web www.davesmithinstruments.com

DSI TEMPEST

Price 2,441 Contact via website The Virus sound has been with us for years and has indeed, as Access claims, shaped the sound of music. Whether you access this sound from within the Polar (shown), the Snow or even through the TC Electronic PowerCore you will instantly be blown away by the depth, sonic interest and ageless beauty of it. TI stands for Total Integration in that the synth can be used on its own or can act like a virtual instrument in your desktop environment. A great idea that hasnt always worked 100% smoothly. Nevertheless, the Virus is a sure-fire classic, but dont expect to find it discounted anywhere, such is its greatness Web www.access-music.de

ACCESS VIRUS TI2 POLAR

Price 549 Contact Roland 01792 702701 Gaia is Rolands follow-up to the SH-201, with 37 full-size keys, a host of real-time controls and two USB sockets one for storing patches and one for streaming audio to a computer. The presets are mainly geared towards dance and electronica bowel-shaking basses, acid leads and hard techno sequences alongside more restrained pads and bleeps. Despite lacking a screen, the clever layout and colour-coded buttons and controls make editing the oscillators, filter and four effects fairly intuitive. Theres also an arpeggiator, phrase recorder and assignable D-Beam controller for hands-free sound-shaping. Web www.roland.co.uk

ROLAND GAIA SH-01

DSI MOPHO KEYBOARD

Price 645 Contact DSI +1 707 963 7006 The Mopho Keyboard is the much-needed progression from the Mopho desktop synth, which gave us a single lush voice from the Dave Smith Prophet 08. It comes in an all-metal case with a 32-note, velocitysensitive/aftertouchenabled keyboard with two digitally controlled analogue oscillators, each of which has a suboscillator. Theres also a 4 x 16-step sequencer and an arpeggiator that can be comfortably edited to create fat-sounding synth patterns or complex, sweeping pads. The Mopho Keyboard is a superbly built, great-sounding and easy-to-use mono synth. Web www. davesmithinstruments. com

16 | July 2013

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1073N

mono microphone preamplifier & EQ module

The standout microphone preamplifier, now standalone.


The award-winning Neve 1073 mic preamp & EQ is the undoubted mic preamp unit of choice. No other mic preamp can match the sheer quality of recording results or achievements throughout the last 40 years. Originally supplied in Neve consoles, the classic 1073 delivered that special Neve sound to recordings and became instantly sought after. Inventive audio engineers who craved that essential sound removed classic 1073 modules from old Neve consoles and inserted them into racks, to allow them to be easily used in studios and locations that didn't have Neve consoles available. The new 1073N module changes the game completely. Input and output connectors, a DI input, phantom power and an external PSU allow the 1073N to be used anywhere mains power is available. There is no need for a rack or a compatible console to plug it into. And if you do have a rack or compatible console, the 1073N can be plugged into these too as it retains the original rear connector in addition to the new rear connectors. The best of both the old and the new. Perfect for location recording, small project studios or large commercial studios, the new 1073N delivers instant results in an elegant standalone & mobile package with minimal preparation or adjustment.

Retaining the same circuit design, premium quality (and unique) components, physical size and the incredible sonic performance as the classic 1073, the new 1073N module introduces extra features to make it even better.

Simply place the 1073N on a surface, apply power, connect to a recorder and plug in a microphone, instrument or line level audio source and inject the legendary Neve sound into your recordings.

MT Feature The worlds greatest synths

Software synths
spectrogram display using an array of drawing tools, then use this as an oscillator sound source. Theres also Camel Audios Alchemy, which has a powerful additive synthesis engine that can accurately resynthesise audio, allowing you to manipulate it in ways that are impossible with sampling alone. If youre looking for an instrument for cutting-edge sound design, these kinds of soft synths are good starting points as they excel at creating complex and detailed sounds. However, if youre intending to write warm, analogue-sounding house, you might find these textures a little too complicated and end up cluttering your mix. Ultimately, youll probably want to select several synths for different tasks. Just be wary of mixing and matching too many different flavours of synthesis together as you may end up confusing your listener and yourself!

he rise of software synths has been nothing less than meteoric, with thousands of developers large and small offering up their take on synthesis techniques alongside new and innovative designs. Whereas hardware synths are limited in terms of number of oscillators, filters and other components, in the software world we can combine a huge number of such elements, perhaps excessively stacking oscillators for massive-sounding waveforms. Although an analogue-modelled Minimoog soft synth might not equal its hardware counterpart, consider the fact that you can layer up multiple instances and also use it in polyphonic mode. However, while many companies look to offer more flexible, software versions of classic synths, others endeavour to create new techniques for sound-design using resynthesis, convolution and granular techniques. Instruments such as iZotopes Iris enable you to select a portion of an audio file from a

Thousands of developers large and small are offering their take on synthesis techniques
MT Technology Types of synthesis
There are many types of synthesis beyond traditional subtractive techniques, and there are plenty of synths out there that offer a whole range in a single unit or software instrument. The most common types are additive synthesis, which builds sounds by adding waveforms together, and frequency modulation (FM), which uses one or more oscillators to modulate the tonal and amplitude characteristics of another oscillator. These types excel at brash, digital-sounding bells and metallic sounds, and are also capable of creating more complex waveforms than subtractive techniques alone. Native Instruments FM8 is a prime example of a modern FM synth and is capable of some incredibly rich and detailed sounds. Beyond this we have things like phase-distortion synthesis (which is fairly similar to FM), physical modelling, which uses a set of equations and algorithms to simulate a real instrument, and wavetable and sample-based synthesis. Things get more interesting, though, when you get into the realms of granular synthesis, which works on the same principles as sampling, but the audio file is split into tiny pieces called grains and replayed in a different order at varying speeds and volumes. Low-speed playback results in dissonant soundscapes or clouds, and high speeds in a note or unique timbre. There are plenty of granular synths and processors available, from the freeware HourGlass, by Xenakios, to Steinbergs Padshop Pro, and these are perfect for creating dark soundtrack ambiences. Some companies claim to have come up with new techniques, not least Tone2, whose recent inventions include Harmonic Content Morphing (HCM) Synthesis, Impulse Modelling Synthesis (IMS) and Fractal Synthesis. Although these can seem like buzz terms, in Tone2s case they are genuine innovations in design. That said, although the results could arguably be called unique, its not something that will leap out of the speakers like nothing youve heard before. And this is probably the most important point to remember when getting exited about the latest gadget or technique: ultimately, its your own skill at designing sounds that will create something interesting and new, not the Steinbergs Padshop Pro is granular technology that powers it. synthesis in a single, easy-to-use package. Price 99 Contact 2twenty2 0845 299 4222 Razor has been designed by German producer Errorsmith in conjunction with Native Instruments and works with the latest version of Reaktor and the free Reaktor Player. At first glance Razor looks much like a traditional subtractive synthesizer, having two oscillators, a filter section, envelopes, LFOs and effects. However, behind the scenes it is creating and sculpting its output purely in the additive domain, using 320 partials to assemble sounds on a harmonic-byharmonic basis. Overall, Razors sound is edgy and digital but not at the expense of power, depth or beauty and it comes with a range of presets catering for everything from heavy dubstep wobbles to eerie pads. On the downside, the well-designed GUI and unique additive-style output comes at the cost of a high CPU hit. Web www.nativeinstruments.com

NI RAZOR

18 | July 2013

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The worlds greatest synths Feature MT

MT Buyers Guide Ten of the best


Price 99 Contact Sonic8 08701 657456 Tremor is an analogue-modelled drum synth with eight voices and a grid-based pattern sequencer. Each of the voices is based on a specially tuned D:CAM oscillator with eight partials that behave either like a membrane or a harmonic source. A sub-oscillator and stereo noise source can be mixed in with the signal, which is then directed into a multimode filter with both pre- and post-filter drive stages. Any of the parameters can be modulated by a range of sources, and the 32-step pattern sequencer contains some interesting features, such as the ability to add randomness to your groove. Web www.fxpansion.com

FXPANSION TREMOR

Price 129 Contact Time+Space 01837 55200 Iris is a little different from your average synth as its a sampling resynthesizer that uses sampled digital audio to generate sound. There are three sample layers available per patch as well as a Sub layer that lets you add lower frequencies to a sound, plus a main display that shows either a waveform or a spectrogram view. Iris works by enabling you to select parts of a sound, both from its waveform and also within its spectrum, using the same technology that you find in RX, with a comprehensive set of tools that let you home in on a particular part of a sound. This intuitive synth is an amazing resource for sound designers, and layering up samples makes it easy to create breathtaking sound effects. Web www.timespace.com

IZOTOPE IRIS

Price 138.04 Contact via website Diva is based on a number of modules that closely model components of classic synths from Moog, Roland and Korg. You can mix and match each section, with options for voltage- or digitally controlled oscillators and envelopes, plus a selection of multimode, ladder, cascade and bite filters. This opens up a wide range of combinations and its easy to get great-sounding results. Along the bottom is the Global section, from where you can set up and tweak LFOs, tuning, amp, pan, voice stacking and much more, as well as selecting from two FX slots including phasing, chorus, reverb and delay. Diva consumes a fair amount of CPU in high-quality mode, but represents the current pinnacle of analogue-modelled sound. Web www.u-he.com

U-HE DIVA

Price $199 Contact via website Rayblaster is based on Impulse Modeling Synthesis and aims to offer more of a synth behaviour to a form of sound manipulation that usually lacks any serious real-time controls. Each of the two oscillators is focused around an eye-catching waveform display and starts from one or two audio files. There are plenty of factory options here as well as the option to import your own waves, which can be anything from instrument waveforms to vocals, sound FX or drum loops. The central area of the synth lets you twist your sounds with formant and tuning controls, and theres a highly flexible arp/gate section to the right. You might not always know what youll get from this synth but you can guarantee that the results will always be unique. Web www.tone2.com
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TONE2 RAYBLASTER

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Price 49.99 Contact customerservice@sonicacademy.com Sonic Academy tutors Phil Johnston and Bryan Spence have created a synth that aims to balance features, sound quality and ease of use in a single, reasonably priced package. ANA comes with Analog, Advanced Noise and Attack oscillator types, plus 23 filter types including some especially tasty vintage and saturated models. Other features include three envelopes, a graphical envelope, two LFOs, two modulation slots and built-in effects. Web www.sonicacademy.com

SONIC ACADEMY ANA

Price 119 Contact Sugar Bytes +49 306 092 0395 Fans of Skrillex, Boys Noize and Knife Party should be sure to check out Cyclop, as its a one-stop shop for creating twisted complextro bass and lead lines. Theres a stack of features and oscillator types including Saw Regiment (for super-saw waves), Analog Sync (for classic wave, sync and pulse sounds), a dual-carrier FM source, Transformer (for granular/wavetable tones), Spectromat (an additive synth) and Phase Stressor (phase distortion). Theres also a large knob on the left for controlling wobbles and another on the right for FX, which can be switched using the automation lanes section for creating instant, complex-sounding patterns. Web www.sugar-bytes.com

SUGARBYTES CYCLOP

Price 99 Contact via website Oxium is a performance synthesizer sporting a fast and intuitive interface while offering creative modulation options such as Le Masque, ported from the companys Le Masque: Delay plug-in. Many of the functions are based around what XILS-lab refers to as a Flower design, with the two cumulative oscillators allowing you to select up to four waveforms located around a central tuning knob. Simply exploring waveform layering, unison modes, stereo spread and stereo tuning can result in some monstrous, thick lead sounds in just a few mouse clicks. The LFOs also benefit from the stacked waveform design, allowing for some interesting modulation curves. Web www.xils-lab.com

XILS-LAB OXIUM

Price 89 Contact Time+Space 01837 55200 Blade is Rob Papens latest synth creation, which aims to combine the complexity of additive synthesis with a more typical synth layout. The main section is the Harmolator oscillator, which has nine parameters for controlling the additive synthesis, plus there are also the usual envelopes, LFOs and filters alongside a superb FX section that can help to shape mix-ready sounds. Another unique feature is the ability to set up modulations on an X/Y pad and record your movements, which is great for complex pad and soundscape design. Web www.timespace.com

ROB PAPEN BLADE

Price 199 Contact 2twenty2 0845 299 4222 While wed like to include only one soft synth from each company, its hard to when it comes to Native Instruments as it has such a rich portfolio FM8 and Reaktor were also in the running. Massive is certainly the analogue to Razors edgy digital, the two together offering a great spectrum of sound. Huge basses and leads are what you get; the very elements that can make or break a track and in this case most definitely the former. With more than 1,300 sounds to choose from you certainly wont go wanting. Put simply: all the highs and lows you will ever need. Web www.native-instruments.com

NI MASSIVE

20 | July 2013

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The original Bass Station was a cult hit in 1993, finding its way onto countless early dance music classics. Its now back: bigger, fatter and bassier. With a fully analogue signal path featuring two oscillators, a sub-oscillator, two filters, overdrive, arpeggiator, step sequencer and much much more - Bass Station II is set to blow a new generation of subwoofers...

www.novationmusic.com/bassstationII

MT Feature The worlds greatest synths

Mobile synths
medium, and its the options for tactile control and performance that ultimately make this a more expressive synth than many of its computer-based counterparts. This being the case there are several things to consider when choosing a mobile synth. If youre after just a high-quality sketch pad on which to draft your ideas youll probably want to go with a more traditional subtractive-style synth. On the other hand, if youre sick of traditional techniques and are seeking inspiration, you might want to explore some of the more avant-garde apps that will have you thinking about programming in a different way. Finally, you may also want to consider how the synth might work in a live situation and whether it would be easy to edit while on stage, with some, such as Korgs iPolysix, offering two X/Y Kaoss pads for quick modulation control.

ablet and mobile synthesizers are becoming increasingly ubiquitous and more capable, as developers find new and innovative ways to best utilise the touchscreen medium. For the most part were seeing the same kinds of high-quality synths that we find in the computer world, albeit with slightly larger controls. As the iPad has developed, more and more companies are offering surprisingly complete DAWs in which multiple instances of instruments can be combined to create the ultimate, portable composition tool. This has taken a giant leap in recent months thanks to the release of Audiobus, which lets apps talk to each other and allows you to feed the audio output of one app into another, offering much more advanced sound-design possibilities. However, the areas in which the best apps excel is in the innovative use of new interfaces and touch control. Synths like Moogs Animoog simply couldnt exist on any other

As the iPad has developed, more companies are offering surprisingly complete DAWs
MT Technology The future of synthesis
Theres no way to predict exactly which directions synthesis will take in the future, and its highly possible that someone will come up with something mind-bendingly different that wed never have dreamed of. However, there are definitely a few things that we can see happening over the next few years. Firstly, analogue emulations will continue to get better as the ability of computers to crunch numbers improves. Hopefully, though, this will be used in new and interesting ways that dont seek simply to copy the designs of yesteryear. Its only a matter of time until one of the big guns finally delivers on our dreams and brings out a true polyphonic analogue hardware synth (were looking at you, Moog, and we dont care if it costs as much as a car!). Dave Smiths new Prophet 12 is on the right track but its not 100% analogue. Someone will also make a hardware synth with an iPad Dock for complex editing, arps and sequencing, offering the best of both worlds. This could potentially have a pure analogue output from the unit or could be routed through the iPad for additional processing. As were becoming more accustomed to touchscreens and multi-touch gestures we can see this being incorporated into synths as a way of controlling multiple parameters with as many fingers as possible, along with hands-free control using technology similar to Microsofts Kinect system. This could also lead to exciting new interfaces where you push different shapes together to form sounds. Were already seeing a lot of cheaper mini-synths and DIY kits, and it would be great if these smaller companies adopted a standard along the lines of the 500-Series Lunchbox for interfacing modules on a smaller scale. Wed love to see a mini-modular whereby items like the Korg Monotrons could be slotted together to build a larger, more complex system. Similarly, you could have a modular iPhone/iPad system where each one does its own processing, with individual oscillators, filters, modulators and FX. In the more immediate future its analogue all the way. Last month we looked at some of the new synth releases coming up the Bass Station II (see also p6), the trio of Korg Volcas and the Nord Lead 4, all announced at Frankfurt. The first two are pure analogue, while the latter Nord represents the best of virtual Bass Station II: analogue, so for the forseeable future were looking to the past in re-worked for the 21st century. terms of sound. Well be reviewing these in upcoming issues.

MOOG MUSIC ANIMOOG

Price 10.49 (Apple/ Blackberry) Contact via website Animoog is powered by Moogs new Anisotropic Synthesis Engine (ASE), which enables users to move through an X/Y space and morph between different timbres captured from a range of classic Moog kit. The main screen features a keyboard on which each key essentially acts like a ribbon controller, allowing polyphonic modulation of individual notes. Theres also a glorious X/Y pad where the wave morphing takes place. What makes this such a joy to use is the visual feedback; each time you strike a key a coloured dot dances across a predefined path on the grid, which can be modulated by a range of sources. Other features include envelopes, LFOs and 4-pole filter, making it a unique, expressive synth. Web www.moogmusic.com

22 | July 2013

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The worlds greatest synths Feature MT

MT Buyers Guide Ten of the best


Price 2.99 (Apple App Store) Contact via website SynthX is a touch-based performance synth that uses vertical lines or a harmonic grid to represent the notes you can play via a set of specific scales. The analoguemodelled sounds can then be processed through a range of effects. Interestingly, it allows the user to pass real-time audio into the iPad to make use of this processing as well. Theres an excellent selection of presets, from aggressive synth guitar tones with digital crunch to subby basses, 70s funk and sci-fi sounds. Web www.wayoutware.com

WAY OUT WARE SYNTHX

Price 6.99Contact via website iMini is a re-creation of Arturias Minimoog soft synth, itself a copy of the classic Moog hardware. The app re-creates the three oscillators, mixer, noise generator, filter and envelopes of the original but, this being software, there are additional effects, performance tools and a Poly switch to increase polyphony. Purists would argue that the clean sound cant compete with a real Moog synth, but the 500+ presets are still excellent and include deep basses, smooth leads and other classic 70s synth sounds. Web www.arturia.com

ARTURIA IMINI

KORG iMS-20

Price 20.99 (Apple App Store) Contact via website Korg has crammed a whole load of features into this app, with an MS-20 synthesizer, six-part drum machine, analogue sequencer, mixer and song/pattern composer. At its heart is the classic MS-20 monosynth complete with patchbay and fat analogue sound. There is a small keyboard at the bottom that can be enlarged, along with two Kaoss Pads for better real-time control. One out of 14 possible inserts effects can be added to each synth and drum sound, alongside another for use with the mixer. Highlights include EQ, compression, Talking Modulator, valve distortion and bit-crushing effects. With an SQ-10-style analogue sequencer and a pattern and song arranger that can accommodate up to 256 bars, this app could potentially be all you need to create a full-sounding track. Web www.korg.co.uk

BLIP INTERACTIVE NANOSTUDIO

Price 9.99 (Apple App Store) Contact via website NanoStudio remains one of our favourite tools for creating tracks while sitting on a bus. This complete virtual studio contains a comprehensive MIDI sequencer with automation, mixer section with high-quality insert FX, and TRG-16 drum sampler. The star of the show, though, is the dualoscillator Eden synth, which is well laid-out and offers a wealth of modulation/programming options. You can also load in samples, which, when combined with NanoStudios audio editor, makes sampling, resampling and processing easy tasks and the perfect means to create your own unique sounds. An in-app purchase allows you to add ten more instrument channels to the original five, making this is a great tool for layered composition. Web www.blipinteractive.co.uk

Price 6.99 (Apple App Store) Contact via website Sunrizer is an iPad-only app with a front end that will appeal to fans of the Roland JP-8000. It delivers some strong trance-like lead lines, too, with an emulation of the supersaw wave so you wont be disappointed. Core MIDI is supported and internal recordings can be pasted into other apps. Sadly, there isnt an onboard sequencer, so we had to make full use of the onboard arpeggiator. The filter types are varied and overall it has quite a forward sound due to the tube saturation added at the output. The effects include distortion, chorus, EQ and stereo delay, and the bottom end is quite thunderous. Web www.beepstreet.com

BLEEPSTREET SUNRIZER SYNTH

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MT Buyers Guide Ten of the best, continued...

Price 6.99 (Apple App Store) Contact via website This single-part synth has four oscillators, PWM, ring mod and FM synthesis, plus plenty of modulation and performance options including an X/Y pad and arpeggiator. We were quite surprised by the sounds available, from crunchy 303s to new-age digital sounds and ethereal, glassy pads. The onboard reverb and delay helps to add depth and ambience, while a waveshaper distortion provides a modern Virus or Vangaurd-style sound. Web www.temporubato.com

TEMPORUBATO NLOGSYNTH PRO

Price 20.99 (Apple App Store) Contact Korg 01908 304601 This app consists of two virtual Polysix synths, two Polyseq sequencers to drive them, a drum machine and mixer. It also includes user-friendly features such as SoundCloud integration, AudioCopy and WIST (Wireless Sync-Start Technology), allowing you to sync to other devices. The two synths are based on the original Polysix from the early 80s, and the drum machine features big, chunky sounds sampled from the same unit. Although the preset library is small, this encourages you to program patches, which is where the real fun begins. Web www.korg.com

KORG IPOLYSIX

Price 10.49 (Apple App Store) Contact Sound Technology 01462 480000 ReBirth is a back-to-basics setup with two TB-303 synths alongside a TR-808 and TR-909 drum machine. All of these machines feature their own pattern or step-based sequencers, with further processing available via a compressor, a pattern-based low/ band-pass filter, delay and distortion. The larger iPad display is much more suitable for an app with so much detail, and having the whole program fit on one screen makes it easier to see whats going on. Those who enjoy making progressive, pattern-based music with classic sounds will love it. Web www.propellerheads.se

PROPELLERHEAD REBIRTH

REACTABLE SYSTEMS REACTABLE MOBILE

Price 6.99 (Apple App Store) Contact via website Based on the table-top synth championed by the likes of Bjrk, the iOS version of Reactable offers visually stunning ways to control various sound generators, effects and mod controllers, otherwise known as Blocks. The layout is based around the central blue circle with a white circular pulse representing the project tempo. Dragging Blocks into the circle activates them, which unfortunately makes for some roughsounding transitions. The editing options for each Block are also a little tricky to grasp, but over time things become more instinctive. Web www.reactable.com
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24 | July 2013

MT Feature The worlds greatest synths

Freeware synths
download for free is quite staggering. Quality varies enormously, so weve rounded up our ten favourites, trying to include as many for both Mac and PC as possible. Several are emulations of classic hardware, and one or two are becoming classics in their own right, so get clicking and try this lot for free

ou might be on a tight budget, but you neednt miss out on some great synths: the freeware community has been happily programming some excellent plug-in instruments and effects over the last couple of decades and the number of synths that you can now

MT Buyers Guide Ten of the best CRYSTAL Mac/PC One of the best Mac and PC freeware synths out there (and now available for iOS for $4.99) Crystal has been at the top of the freeware charts for many a year and won its large fan base through great sounds featuring subtractive and FM synthesis, so has a wide and varied palette. Web www.greenoak.com WOLLO DRONE PC One of the top-rated synths at the excellent Plug-in Boutique (www. pluginboutique.com) and we certainly agree. Its a Juno-style analogue synthesizer with some great sounds and enough polyphony to build some great walls of electronics. Web www.wollo.com/vst.htm

FREEALPHA Mac/PC This is a cut-down version of LinPlugs Alpha synthesizer and is essentially an advert for it but so what? Its a proper, fully functional synth that is very capable and fat-sounding thanks to dual-waveform oscillators, a multimode filter and a great modulation matrix that lets you hook up mod sources to various destinations. You get a wide variety of sounds programmed by the pros one of the best freebies out there. Web www.linplug.com

MINIMOGUE VA PC Continuing the theme of free synths based on classics, heres one based on one of the best of all the Minimoog. And when this synth sticks to its guns, producing those original sounds, it scores highly. Basses are deep, leads piercing and, all told, its hard to believe its free. If you want to find out what the fuss is about regarding the Mini, its all here Voltkitchen, the developers, is also responsible for the Arppe2600va, which is based on the ARP2600 (www.glenstegner.com). Its rather good, too. Web http://home.no/gunnare SYNTH1 Mac/PC Like Crystal, Synth1 is widely regarded as one of the best freeware synths of all time and it does sound incredible as long as you explore and play with it. Its presets dont show it off to its best, but start programming yourself easy for anyone familiar with analogue synths and you will achieve wonderful results. Web www.geocities.jp/ daichi1969/softsynth
26 | July 2013
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CAKEWALK/RGC AUDIO TRIANGLE II PC

Simple to use, easy to understand and as synthy as you can get, Triangle II is a great giveaway. You can tell it was put together by professionals (originally RGC Audio before they were snapped up by DAW specialists Cakewalk) and you get a wide variety of sounds to suit many genres of music. Web www.cakewalk.com

The worlds greatest synths Feature MT

SOLICITO MUSICA SUPERTRON PC

Any title with the word Tron in it works for us, but this freebie is an electronica marvel, too. The best thing about it is that its step features add a lot of movement to proceedings, with lots of arpeggiation all round. If you like your synths beefy, retro and macho, look no further. Web http://solcitomusica. blogspot.com.ar

DAHORNET Mac/PC Based on the Wasp synth from the 70s, one of the first affordable synths (affordable because it was basically a bit rubbish unless you wanted buzzing-bee noises). With stacks of presets that really will rock your productions, forget the original and bask in the glory of this one instead. Web http://nusofting.liqihsynth. com/freeplugins.html TAL-BASSLINE Mac/PC Anyone familiar with classic synths will know exactly which one this is attempting to emulate: the Roland SH-101. The simple signal path will appeal to synth newbies, while the sounds themselves will appeal to both veterans and dance-heads alike fat basses, searing leads and some real dirt. Its a shame you cant add a handle and play it while on the move, just like the original. Web http://kunz.corrupt.ch/products/tal-bassline

TUBEOHM ALPHA-RAY PC Alpha-Ray is a relatively new (well, relative to Crystal and Synth1) ten-voice synth with plenty of features, lots of controls and a lovely looking fascia. Its got some great atmospheric sounds, too, many with plenty of movement and atmosphere. Controls and features are typical VA and the whole thing can be livened up with optional effects, which at just 4.95 are well worth the outlay. Web www.tubeohm.com

Final thoughts G
etting carried away when buying synth is all too easy some enthusiasts build up whole rooms of old keyboards and racks. And while this is all well and good, its worth thinking about whether youre buying all this kit and software simply for the love of exploring synthesis itself or to actually make music. If its the latter, you should ask yourself whether youve truly got all you can from your current synths, and whether youve learned them inside out. Having a couple of go-to instruments that you can program well will lead you to be more creative with your sound design, thus lending your music a more unique edge than if youre simply using and tweaking presets made by someone else. It will also help with your workflow, as theres no worse a mood-killer than having to plough through a manual when you get stuck. On the topic of workflow, if you find youre working with an older hardware synth that doesnt play well with your DAW, you might consider

multisampling your favourite sounds and building a sample instrument. Granted, youll lose a lot of control over the modulation of the sound, but this is made up for by the speed with which youll be able to load up the patches, and youll also open up a whole range of other sound-shaping possibilities. Weve covered a lot of different options here, but the best thing to do is try them out for yourself by downloading a few demos or getting down to your local dealer. Make sure you consider the sound quality, but, more importantly, how well you gel with the editing process. Most synths will probably take a while to learn, but you ideally want a system that feels intuitive and fun, otherwise it doesnt matter how good it sounds as you wont want to use it. Also, have a think about what style of music you want to write and read up on what tools your favourite artists are using. Once youve considered all these things you should be ready to part with some cash and get tweaking! MT
magazine July 2013

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MT Industry Guru Rob Papen

Rob Papen
In a world with possibly too many virtual synths, one man has established and maintained an enviable reputation for quality and unique products...
The D-Beam controller on the Jupiter-80 offers Rob some tantalisingly interesting sound-design opportunities.

Industry Guru

here can be few computer-based musicians, composers or producers who havent heard of Rob Papen. Widely regarded as something of a visionary in the worlds of sound design and software synthesis, his products have become staple tools in countless home and commercial studios thanks both to their unique, inspirational sounds as well as the successful marriage of innovative approaches to workflow and more traditional methodology. Indeed, it was back in December 2005 that Robs first release after the acclaimed Albino (now sadly discontinued) graced our review pages. That was BLUE, a virtual analogue-digital hybrid that set the standard for everything that was to follow. But what was the genesis of Robs devotion to synthesis, and how has he managed to maintain the innovation and quality that his products have become renowned for the world over? We talk to the man himself to find out... MT Give us a brief history of your company. RP My company was formed in 1997 but I was already releasing sound sets in the early 90s. I created factory patches for Access, Waldorf, Ensoniq and a lot of stuff for E-mu. With the rise of processing power, the virtual world opened new doors for me. In 2006, alongside my developer, Jon Ayres, I formed RPCX and together we built all the current Rob Papen products. We are still a small company, but we have passion and we continue to do our own thing. MT What was your original goal and have you managed to achieve it yet? RP There is always something to achieve, but the original goal was to make useful and great sounds with a musical cutting edge. The goals changed from making great presets for various brands to becoming a brand of my own, with new and fresh ideas. There are plenty of ideas still in my head, but many of them are not ready yet. MT: Which have been your most successful software products? RP All of them have done very well, except perhaps for RG [Rhythm

The 4 Element Synth is Robs comprehensive guide to subtractive synthesis, complete with 10 hours of accompanying video material.

Guitar synth]. But that is a one-trick pony and not always useful in each song. However, what it does do well is very cool. The most popular is Predator, since it is a great go-to synthesizer that covers every musical style. SubBoomBass is also on countless tracks and has become very popular. BLUE is our deep synth that combines FM and subtractive synthesis this has many fans. Punch became popular because it combines samples with top-notch synthesis and sounds just like its name suggests! Of course, Blade is our latest baby and overall I am surprised that many synth players picked it up so easily. It has some new ideas which always means you have to wait to see if musicians pick it up. The FX range is also very popular; RP-Distort, RP-Delay and RP-Verb are loved by many top artists, including George Michael and Rob Fabrie. MT If you were asked to make certain sounds, how would you go about it? RP First I explain that a good sound is part of a good song, but this good sound is not always a good sound in your own song. Great sounds in a bad song dont stop it from being a bad song. Some people are maybe too focused on sounding the same as their favourite music or musical legends. So be inspired by your examples and legends and do your own thing. Music is magic and cant be calculated; good music is something that just happens. MT Similarly, what is the biggest production mistake that you hear and what is your cure-all advice for it? RP Our part of music-making has a trap called technique. Our style of music-making can easily lead to forgetting the music flow and too much focus on technique! The people who listen to music do not care if you made it with Logic or Ableton or Cubase or Fruity Loops or Reason and so on they listen to music and that is where the heart should be! Very often, songs that are worked at endlessly end up being nothing special. Songs made in a flow that come together quite fast tend to be the gems.

Rob demonstrates the ring mod talents of the Yamaha CS-50.

30 | July 2013

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Xxxxxxx Industry Guru MT

The DIY modular setup gets a workout, with Rob explaining the ins and outs (literally!) of patching.

MT Whats your take on the never-ending desire for companies to produce software that accurately models analogue kit? RP Analogue sounds analogue, and I have plenty of old stuff here to check things out and compare it to digital I dont see it as Holy Grail as others maybe do. Still, many synthesizers like the Minimoog, Jupiter-8 and so on are my benchmarks. For me it is more down to audio quality and the sound that comes out of the speakers. Analogue has a certain magic, especially in the high frequencies as it is not limited by the sample rates of digital synthesizers. For me, analogue sounds different and I focus more on what is possible today. Analogue has certain behaviours which are nice for the sound, so we use this knowledge, but we dont use this for our marketing as other companies do. With SubBoomBass or Predator you can make fantastic Minimoog-style basses that are as solid as a rock in a music track. Inside Predator I have a few Jupiter-8 pad sounds; I dont put the real Jupiter-8 on and emulate those settings, Im happy to take the feel of those settings I would have previously done on the real synth and keep them inside Predator. Ive made plenty of Oberheim-inspired sounds in Predator as well. Ive never heard a digital synth that sounds exactly the same as my analogue gear, but thats not necessarily a problem I mean, does it make your music sound bad? MT What software or hardware products have really excited you over the last couple of years? RP I was very excited about Blade, because it is so different from other synthesizers. Because it involves a certain level of trial and error while programming it, it encourages you to make new and unique sounds. I love it that analogue is back in hardware form: Moog Music, Dave Smith Instruments, Synthesizers.com, MacBeth Synthesizers and many others being active is a great thing. They had a hard time in the world after the release of the Yamaha DX7 and all the samplebased workstations, so its nice to see analogue finally coming back. MT Finally, a gratuitous plug for your company and any upcoming products! RP We are currently working on a very cool new product called Prisma, as well as new presets for our existing products. MT

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magazine June 2013

| 31

MT Landmark Productions The Human League Reproduction

Engineers The Human League & Bob Last Producer Colin Thurston
As its synth month here at MusicTech, our Landmark Production simply has to be one of the first all-synth albums from one of the first all-synth bands

REPRODUCTION THE HUMAN LEAGUE

Landmark Productions No20

electronic version of one of the most soulful tracks ever in their cover of Youve Lost That Loving Feeling. Theres even a four-four single Empire State Human that really should have been massive, so to hear it was all recorded without even a digit of MIDI or a track of multi is extraordinary. Its even more unbelievable that the band managed to tease so many different sounds out of such a limited setup (see below for just how limited!). The opening track Almost Medieval conjures up some medieval pictures with an opening melody and suitably almost medieval synth patch. The aforementioned Youve Lost That Loving Feeling has a big dripping bass that underpins a wonderfully sparse arrangement (probably simply because it had to be given the lack of instrumentation and multitrack facilities). Theres even a bit of sampling as a London Weekend Television (remember that?) presenter introduces Circus Of Death, although its not sampling as we know it more like a straight recording of a TV.

he Human League hit their pop stride in 1981, exploding into millions of homes with the album Dare and the huge hit Dont You Want Me? But thats boring and you probably knew that. Far more interesting are the recordings the band made, albeit under a different incarnation, back in the 1970s. These tracks veered from the hugely experimental Dignity Of Labour (think Tangerine Dream on a downer) to the now classic Being Boiled (several versions of a track that would later become a hit), connected all the way by a completely electronic, futuristic and, it has to be said, bleak sound. So while Dare might be The Leagues landmark in terms of sales, the real landmarks are the first two albums: Reproduction and Travelogue. These were the sounds of a band Phil Oakey, Martyn Ware, Ian Craig Marsh and visuals man Philip Adrian Wright wrestling with experimentation versus pop success and accidentally coming up with two of the first completely synthetic albums ever made and, indeed, two of the finest Reproduction, then, is more of a landmark simply because it came first. With a striking cover depicting a couple of girls dancing with a man (on glass, over some babies, as you do) ironic now, given the later line-up of The League it certainly looks striking. And while the albums sound was and arguably still is cutting-edge, the studio technology of the time certainly wasnt Can you imagine a world without MIDI for a start? laughs Martyn Ware. Our first recording setup was a stereo tape machine, a microphone, two synths and thats it literally! The only way we could create multitrack recording was to record on one side of the stereo and then bounce, adding at the same time onto the next track, which of course would degrade it to a certain extent. Which makes the final results on Reproduction all the more staggering were talking complex arrangements, big beefy beats and even a fulsome

Synth action
As its our synth issue weve got to touch on all those classics the band used back in the day, but before we get to ask, Martyn reveals I was asked recently have you got a studio full of analogue synths? and I said well, really, all I have now is the original Roland System 100 and the rest is virtual. Alongside the System 100 the band simply used a Korg 770 and Roland Jupiter 4. The Korg 770 is a 1976 monophonic synth very basic but still capable of making some odd noises. The Jupiter 4, on the other hand, was one of the first polyphonic synths (the first produced by Roland) and went on to be used by Martyn on Heaven 17s first album Penthouse & Pavements, when the two bands went their separate ways after Travelogue came out. The fact that he didnt hang on to it but did keep the System 100 certainly implies that the latter remains one of his favourites Yes, absolutely, he replies, just because it taught me so much, by its modular and patchable nature it taught me how to create my own sounds from scratch, really, which is an important thing; the process of sound design. So, almost by default, using it was akin to a university course! On the job. Nowadays, of course, the equivalent is to start with presets. Finally, the band did play many of the tracks from both Reproduction and Travelogue live back in the late 70s incredible considering the early synths and technology used so what are the chances of the old line-up getting together to revisit both of these ground-breaking albums? Ive been trying to persuade Phil to do this for about eight years! says Martyn. But, unfortunately, hes not having it. I think his concern is that thered be no role for the girls [from the newer line-up] in it. Adrian wouldnt be involved anyway because he and Phil dont get on, but Ian would come out of retirement and Id be extremely keen to do it. I do feel like its unfinished business.

Reproduction was recorded at Workshop Studio, Sheffield, in 1979.

32 | July 2013

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MT Technique Creating unique synth sounds

Creating unique and cutting-edge synth sounds

Production Step-by-Step

On the disc
Accompanying project file included on the DVD

Making your music stand out from the crowd is a lot easier if you start with some sounds you can truly call your own. Rob Boffard shows you how.
etting a decent sound from a soft synth doesnt exactly take a lot of work. A tweak or two here, a few nudges to the LFO there, a little messing around with the filters and... boom! Youve got a workable sound. Its almost too easy, in all honesty. And thanks to the sheer number of synths available these days, youre never more than a minute or two away from some wonderful, inspirational noises. But of course, when everyones doing it, its all too easy to get lost in the ever-growing crowd of soundalikes. Exactly how do you make your synth sounds stand out? How can you make sure that youre not just labelled Generic Dubstep Artist No 567? Wed love to say that we have the one-size-fits-all, magic-wand solution to these questions. Unfortunately, we dont. What we do have, though, is a set of techniques to create some truly amazing, monster synth sounds that will help your track to stand out from all the others. In this tutorial were going to use a variety of synths to create a lead, a bass line and a pad sound that will simply blow your mind. Youll find that these techniques which dont rely on anything too complicated or

Youre never more than a minute or two away from some wonderful, inspirational noises
unfamiliar, incidentally are highly customisable as well. Youre at step three of the bass line walkthrough and think you know better? We encourage you to crack on!

In control
Lets do a quick refresher course. Were not going to delve into the basics here we trust that if youve got to this point youre reasonably familiar with what an oscillator is but we are going to spend a little time talking about how to apply certain techniques. For example: an oscillator makes noise, yes? And multiple oscillators make a bigger noise. But what a lot of musicians dont always realise is that to get your noise even bigger you need to detune your oscillators. This isnt just about selecting different

PRO TIP
Remember to view your sounds in the context of your mix, not just as individual sounds. The greatest synth sounds are always those which complement surrounding instrumentation think MGMTs Kids. You can spend your time building an absolutely enormous, whopping monster of a synth, but if it takes up the entire frequency spectrum, youre going to find it very difficult to put other elements in there. So when youre experimenting, always keep in mind what else youll be doing with the track.

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Creating unique synth sounds Technique MT

MT Navigation Native Instruments Massive


OSCILLATORS These are the bread and butter of any amazing synth sound, so be sure to spend a little time tweaking and detuning them.

LOW-FREQUENCY OSCILLATORS Think about whether you want subtle vibrato or a wobbling demon of modulation. This largely depends on the kind of track youre making.

FILTERS No fun until theyre automated or modulated. An automated filter cutoff can turn even a pedestrian synth sound into an amazing one.

NOISE Dont forget about white and pink noise. It might be a little pedestrian on its own, but when used effectively it can kick your sound up a notch.

A detuned synth will have a bigger and more colourful tone than one that has been left alone
waveforms, although, of course, that always helps things along. Its about taking the pitch of your oscillators and making them different. There are a few ways of doing this. You could push them apart by a few semitones or cents for a slightly warmer and thicker sound, or you could detune them by whole octaves, which will give you a vastly different result. In all cases, a detuned synth will have a much bigger and more colourful tone than one that has been left alone. You can get immensely technical with this different octaves and semitones will have different relationships with each other, and you can use finely tuned intervals to re-create classic instruments. This is probably another tutorial altogether, although if you get deep into your synths, its well worth checking out. Its worth quickly revisiting LFOs as well. It might be instinctive to always apply an LFO to your sound it gives movement, and movement is almost always desirable but you may want to look carefully at how you apply it. You can get immensely creative with LFOs, chaining them

PRO TIP
Dont try too hard to be original you can handicap yourself by trying to find a synth sound that no one has used before. While its possible to do this especially with something like Synplant youre better off getting a great sound that bares a passing resemblance to something someone else has done. After all, most dubstep is built on a fluctuating, wobbling growl, and that element alone results in thousands of very different tracks. Focus on making a great track, not just a great sound.

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MT Technique Creating unique synth sounds

together and having them modulate each other to create amazing effects. But simply because you can doesnt mean you should; its always worth remembering that the oscillators are the bread and butter of your sound, and in some cases youll want to mess with them as little as possible. Keep in mind the sound youre aiming for and youll stay on the right track.

this is definitely something you should be spending time on. Try, for example, using LFOs to modulate the cutoff frequency and the resonance in opposite directions, very quickly. Itll sound odd to start, but with a little tweaking you can achieve some incredible results.

Preset puzzle
One of the most exasperating debates still raging among synth aficionados concerns presets. Drop into practically any online forum and youll find two camps: one which says that you should delete the presets the moment you install the program in order to aid learning and exploration, and another that says you should freely use presets to create your music. Heres the thing: while were not completely down with the latter camp, we cannot think of a single instance when youd be justified in simply deleting the presets of your chosen synth. These are sounds that have been created not only by the people who built the plug-in and therefore know it inside out, but usually by extremely

One of the most exasperating debates still raging among synth aficionados concerns presets
Finally, lets turn our attention to filters. You should really, really fall in love with modulating your filters. Whether its only a little creating some subtle movement or the full whack to give a sweeping tone,

MT Step-by-Step The biggest dubstep bass ever

Were going to make one of the most monstrous dubstep growls known to man. Were going to do it in Reason, where the Malstrm synth is just perfect for this sort of thing. Create a Combinator and load it with an initialised (reset) Malstrm, two Scream units and a reverb of your choice. Draw some notes into the sequencer and by the way, it really helps if you have a drum beat to set the rhythm, as we do here.

01

Lets start with the oscillators. Set Osc A to a sine wave and Osc B to Throat. Play around with the Shift, Motion and envelope values until youve got something sounding reasonably fat, then adjust the Throat synths Index to taste. Weve added some legato, polyphony and portamento as well, though thats entirely up to you. This part of the process is all down to personal taste, so spend some time experimenting.

02

Its sounding OK, but it could be a lot better. Lets do some final adjustments before we move onto effects. Some Shaper (on Saturate, with the Amount set to around halfway) and a little LFO will do it. Were looking for consistent sound here, so go easy on the LFO as were trying to avoid it jumping around all over the place. Finally, spend a little time tweaking the filters just enough to give it a bit of flavour.

03

Time to add some Scream. Set both to Overdrive, with the Damage quite high. The parameters on the first Scream can be set to full, while the second can have its P1 and P2 knobs around the halfway mark. Tweak the EQ of each to your liking. The Res and Scale knobs can both be halfway too, but wed suggest setting the Auto of Scream 1 to 60 and Scream 2 to 0, and selecting different Types.

04

Reverb can be set largely to your taste. Wed recommend no more than the tiniest touch of Dampness here, just enough to saturate things. More important are your Combinator controls. Select the Malstrm, then tell Rotary 1 to target the Osc B Index, and Rotary 2 to target the Pitch Bend Range (although be aware that if youre ever going to experiment, this is the best place). With this all set, theres only thing left to do: automate.

05

Wed suggest automating the rotary knobs you picked in the previous step, as this can give you control over a wide range of parameters. Try setting it to Write, playing the track and going nuts! One final note: when youre mixing, be careful, because this is a bass line that will take up a lot of space. Use sidechaining and careful EQ to mix it in.

06

36 | July 2013

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Creating unique synth sounds Technique MT

skilled external musicians as well. Youre going to ditch all their work because of some high-faluting ideals about forcing yourself to learn? No, youre not. You can use these presets as inspiration for what can be accomplished. You can reverse-engineer them to understand the finer workings of your synth. Perhaps

prevent you from using them in myriad creative and interesting ways. Deleting them is not creative and it certainly isnt interesting.

Pick your weapon


The quality of soft synths has shot through the atmosphere in recent years. For a very reasonable sum of money you can find yourself in possession of a VST that will almost certainly give you sounds to be proud of. It becomes difficult to recommend soft synths simply because there are so many different styles available, some of a very specialised bent. What we can do, however, is explain why we chose the synths weve used in this tutorial, as well as shine a light on some slightly more unusual synths that are available. Lets start with Native Instruments Massive, arguably the most popular synth on the planet. Its the flagship of the NI stable and come to think of it, stable is a good way to describe it, because this is a synth whose operation is rock-solid. Massive stands out not only

For a very reasonable sum you can find yourself a VST that will give you sounds to be proud of
most importantly, though, you can use them as a launchpad for your own endeavours, tweaking them further to create new and better sounds. While wed say that using presets as they come to make music is arguably a little bit on the boring side, theres nothing to

MT Step-by-Step Take the lead

Building a synth lead for a track is easy. Boot up a synth and hit any high key on your controller. There you have a lead. But making a truly fantastic one takes a little bit of work. Were going to use Native Instruments Massive to build our lead, as there are very few synths that offer the level of tweaking and control that Massive does. Boot up your DAW, load Massive into an instrument track and draw in a MIDI note.

01

Detuned oscillators are absolutely key to a good lead, but theres a trick to it. Get three of them going and detune the first two about ten cents each (so -0.20 and +0.20, for example). Take the third and detune it by a whole octave, taking it up to 12.00. Nothing will create a fatter sound than a little bit of detuning, but this particular trick can turn it into something truly extraordinary.

02

Envelopes are important in this instance as well, but Massive lets us do some amazing things with them. Find an envelope you like a falling one with a fast attack and short decay works well, if you need inspiration and assign it to the Intensity values on your oscillators. Hold and drag the little number in the box until the blue line circles the knob, then adjust the values until youre getting something truly special.

03

Pull a different envelope to the filter section, which youve loaded with a low-pass filter. Assign it to the Cutoff and start tweaking, making sure youve pulled the blue line all the way around the knob. Its best to do this with your lead playing so you can hear the effect. The beauty of this is that you now have two different envelopes affecting your lead in different ways, which gives a huge range of colour to your sound.

04

There is only one thing to say with regard to adding LFOs: as many as possible. When it comes to really kicking your sound into the stratosphere, youll want to try assigning some fast and slow LFOs to different parts of your synth. We particularly like taking a sine wave LFO, attaching it to two oscillator amps and pulling them in opposite directions, as in the picture above.

05

Sounding OK, but there are a couple of things you can do to push it further. Remember those detuned oscillators? They love distortion, so add some in. A little reverb, too, would be nice. And dont forget to layer up your notes, which will have the effect of fattening the sound even further. Wed suggest spacing out a few lengths apart, as in the picture, which will give a depth of timbre to your sound.

06

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MT Technique Unique synth sounds

because of its intuitive and easy user interface, but for the sheer flexibility and control it gives the user. Its incredibly easy to get envelopes, LFO and voicing to modulate any aspect of the sound, and as a result, the sounds it makes can be truly spectacular.

Find the synths that give you the most jaw-dropping sounds and which you can have a blast with
Were suckers for classic synths here at MusicTech, and given how far soft synth emulations have come itd be remiss of us not to include one. We love Arturias Minimoog V. While its knobs may be a tad fiddly, the sounds it makes are simply out of this world. Weve used it to create our pad sounds, relying on its extensive

motion controls to create sweeping, epic audio. Weve also relied on the synths found in Reason specifically, the Malstrm wavetable synth. Its a testament to the programs quality that its trademark synths have hardly changed in almost a decade. That covers the mainstream, but its worth highlighting a couple of other funky contenders just for the variety they give you. Chief among these is Synplant, by Sonic Charge. You wont find a more peculiar synth you literally grow the branches of your sound from a single seed. You can clone your sound into a new seed whenever you like, as well as delving into its genome structure (read: fine-tune its parameters). There are few synths that are this much fun to use. We also like u-hes ACE. Its a little old now, but its premise Any Cable Everywhere means you have an almost infinite number of sounds to create. The point is this: these are fantastic synths, but theyre just the ones we like. Go out and try as many as you can. Find the ones that give you the most jaw-dropping sounds and which you can have a blast working with.

MT Step-by-Step Cool pads

The key to a great pad is movement but movement over a lengthy period of time rather than immediate, in-your-face jittering that you might find in a lead or bass. Were going to use the Minimoog V soft synth to create one of these pads. To begin with, we start as you might expect with some detuned oscillators. Were going for a very warm, full sound, and the more this is done early on, the easier itll be to build an awesome pad.

01

An LFO is a great way to introduce movement, but for a truly magnificent pad youll need to know where to apply it. Wed suggest one of two strategies: either get a super-slow LFO (sine wave, maybe) and send it to the filter cutoff at a high rate, or use many LFOs sent to multiple parameters at low individual rates. The latter can give you a really clean, precise pad sound, while the former is good for warmth and depth.

02

If your synth has a vector section or something similar, youre really in business. The Minimoog incorporates a motion section allowing for on-the-fly automation, and we can use that to really widen the movement and evolution of our pad. To use it, we assign it to the Pan Mod, then draw in a curve which will get our pad moving left to right over time. This widening of the stereo field is crucial to a good pad.

03

Envelopes are less important in a pad than you might think. As long as you have a reasonably slow attack and release youll be fine. If you really want to make a difference, try playing around with the sustain and decay settings. There are no hard and fast rules here just go with what sounds good, and dont get too hung up on trying to get things exactly right.

04

Pads love unusual effects. The Minimoog V has a vocal filter which enables us to add a little human element to our cycling pad, which is perfect if youre looking for something a little more off-the-wall. And dont forget to add in chorus, delay and reverb, too the latter in particular can really saturate a pad and warm it up, so dont be afraid to push the dry/wet knob a little harder than you normally might.

05

So far, weve focused on a long, evolving sound. But what if youre going for short, sharp pads? These are actually reasonably straightforward to make. Youll need to play with the envelope values, creating a fast attack and a medium decay and release, and you probably wont be able to rely as much on modulation as you would normally, but its still no more than an envelope-tweak away.

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40 | July 2013

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MT Technique Harmonies in Cubase

Harmonies in Cubase

Cubase Tutorial

On the disc
Cubase project file included on the DVD

Cubase is blessed with all the necessary talents for generating convincing harmony parts even if you arent. Tim Hallas shows you how.
echnology offers us a unique approach to making and recording music as its no longer necessary to enlist the services of bandmates to fill the roles of drummer, guitarist, bass player and so on, or studio staff to man tape machines and mixing desks. Indeed, a single person equipped with the necessary software and hardware can perform all those roles on their own. But this solitary approach has downsides, too: creating complex arrangements and interaction between instruments is now all down to you alone, and an authentic-sounding performance becomes harder to physically re-create. You wont, however, fall out with said bandmates over creative differences... And on the subject of musical interaction, anyone who has worked in a band will know that one of the hardest skills to develop and from personal experience one of the last is the ability to create/ perform harmony lines, and vocal harmonies in particular. Even for those of us who are sufficiently blessed to be natural multi-instrumentalists and vocalists, the ability to create harmonies takes no small

PRO TIP
When working with harmonies in Cubase you can of course use the traditional route and look at the notation view. Many people forget about the score functions within Cubase, but they can be used to generate harmonies by clicking in the musical notes and using Chord Track to follow them. Alternatively, write the harmonies into a MIDI part for instrumental lines.

measure of knowledge and skill not to mention practice. But if you dont fall into that camp, dont despair: Cubase has been equipped for some time with the kinds of tools youll need to create convincing harmonies and in version 7 its even easier.

Making tracks
One of the most talked-about new features in Cubase 7 is the Chord Track, and with it the ability to generate harmonies for both MIDI and audio tracks from its chords. Now, Hollin Jones explored its capabilities only a few months ago (Issue 119, February 2013) so I wont repeat too much of what he wrote, but a quick recap is worthwhile before we move on. Once you have recorded the audio part you want to harmonise you need to make sure that Cubase knows what the chords below should be to enable its underthe-hood algorithms to operate accurately. Start by adding a Chord Track: select Project>Add Track>Chord Track and it will appear in the Arrange window. 1 To add chords, select the Pencil tool and draw in chords at the locations you want them, clicking on each again to select the chord that you want. 2 Once the chords are in place you are ready for the clever bit. Select the segment of audio you want to harmonise if you havent trimmed the chunk you want,

The ability to create harmonies takes no small measure of knowledge and skill
1 2

Create a Chord Track by selecting Project>Add Track>Chord Track. It will appear in the Arrange area.

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Harmonies in Cubase Technique MT

3 4

Choose Generate Harmony Voices from the Audio menu and specify the number of harmonies you want. These will be displayed in the Arrange window.

do so now, either with the Scissors tool or via the blocks at the end of each chunk in the Arrange window. If you dont do this now, Cubase will generate harmonies for the entire take (which you may want, but if you dont, it will take a long time to process and will have to be edited later anyway). Once selected, choose Audio> Generate Harmony Voices 3 ; Cubase will ask you how many harmonies you would like and create that number of parts, based on the chords in the Chord Track. Your newly created harmonies should now be displayed in the Arrange window and, depending on the source material, they should be relatively similar in musical shape to the original part. 4 However, to my ears at least the parts do sound very processed and auto-tuned, but when mixed appropriately within a track their synthetic qualities arent that obvious and you should find that the original line masks any such shortcomings. By default Cubase presents them all at an equal volume, so you may need to balance the volumes of the parts against one another as well as the original to make the whole sound more natural. Something I enjoy doing is creating harmonies of harmonies. This is different from creating more harmonies from the original melody via the dropdown menus and gives quite different results. When created from the original melody, all of the resulting shapes will be based around it, but if you create harmonies from a harmony select one of the harmonies youve already created and repeat the process described above Cubase generates different shapes that can fill out a track and add texture.

PRO TIP
Cubase has some pitch tools within the Inserts that can also be used for harmony generation the pitchcorrect plug-in, for example, can be set to generate some degree of harmony, but it does require automating the Transpose slider from the Arrange window so it follows the chord correctly. Its a bit rough-andready, but a handy workaround if youre desperate.

Once you have isolated the section you want to use, create a new audio track by clicking on Project>Add Track>Audio Track and choosing one with the same settings as the original audio youre working with. Once its in the Arrange window, copy ([Ctrl]/[Cmd]+[C]) and paste ([Ctrl]/[Cmd]+[V]) the original audio recording onto the new track. 5 Its this duplicated part youll be working with. Double-click on the copy to open the Sample Editor and gain access to the advanced audio-editing tools. Click on the Vari-Audio tab to the left of the window and select Pitch & Warp to analyse the pitches within the file. 6 The waveform in the main part of the window will now contain blocks similar to the Piano Roll for MIDI overlaid on the waveform; this is next to a piano keyboard for pitch reference. Before you move the notes into different positions, select the blocks in the main window and, in the menu to the left, move the Quantise Pitch slider by the desired amount to make the original pitches as accurate as possible. This can also be done

Custom harmonies
The harmonies that Cubase creates are what music theorists would describe as standard SATB (Soprano, Alto, Treble, Bass) harmonies, but there might be occasions when you want a very specific harmony line. This might be one that doesnt follow the chord structure behind it, for example, or jumps between the various standard lines. This is possible in Cubase, but the process is not as straightforward. Start off in the same way, recording an audio track into the Arrange window and selecting the piece you want to work with. As we saw earlier, shorter sections are easier to work with, in terms of both the required processing power and head space of the operator!
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MT Technique Harmonies in Cubase

Adjust the Quantise Pitch slider by the desired amount to make the original pitches as accurate as possible.

7 6
individually rather than en masse. 7 Once the pitches have been quantised, listen to the part to make sure it has been done correctly; if not, use the editing tools to the left to correct individual note lengths and pitches. Once the part is as you want it you are ready to create your own custom harmonies. To simply get your ear in, start by dragging the notes into a simple pattern of major and minor thirds above and below the original melody based on the chords this should be pretty easy. Once you have done this, more adventurous harmonies can be created. If you can hear a particular line in your head, move the blocks to match it. 8

Using MIDI is a handy technique if you need to create a string section and have only one violin
Instrument track. 11 The resulting note data can then be edited into harmonies either musically or by following the Chord Track. The advantage of this approach is that the data, being MIDI, can be moved around without unwanted audio characteristics appearing; it can also be copied multiple times. Again, as is the case when working with audio, although the sound wont be quite the same as the original, it can, with appropriate mixing techniques, be blended into the track seamlessly. I have used this technique of mixed audio/virtual instruments many times for professional work and it sounds fine.

The MIDI method


Going beyond using audio alone for generating harmonies, lets turn our attention to using MIDI as a source. Arguably the most obvious target for this technique is vocals, but it can work just as well with other instruments they have to be monophonic, but its a handy technique to know if you need to create a string section and have only one violin (or any other instrument, for that matter). Rather than copying the tracks and editing them you can add some software instruments and create harmonies using these. Start by opening the Sample Editor displaying your original audio and analyse it as before. Once thats done, click on Extract MIDI 9 ; select Paste to New Track in the resulting pop-up window. 10 A new MIDI track will be created in the Arrange window which you can then link to a software instrument, either via VST Instruments or by copying the MIDI file to an

Perfect harmony
Now you have an insight into the various ways of generating harmonies within Cubase, I encourage you to head off and develop a range of parts within your music. Although the parts often sound quite artificial in isolation, in context they work well and can really give a track a lift. And while getting the results to sound good takes almost as much work as recording the track itself, it does mean that your computer does the hard work rather than you having to teach your musicians all the various parts. So, lets go harmonise... MT

11

Extracted MIDI is placed on a new MIDI track displayed in the Arrange area.

10

46 | July 2013

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MT Technique Bass design with Operator

On the disc

Bass design with Operator

Ableton Live Tutorial

Ableton Live project file included on the DVD

W
Got rithm

Operator offers a great deal more than just FM leads and pads. Liam OMullane has the low-down.
ith the topic of this months lead feature being synths, we thought wed show you around Lives very own hybrid synth, Operator. Although its name comes from the FM synthesis-based term for an oscillator, Operator can function both as an additive and subtractive synth. In fact, given the less than predictable nature of the alternative Analog synth (which is, of course, part of an analogue synths charm), we tend to reach for Operator to create any synth-like sounds when we want 100% predictability. On that note, well look at it as a subtractive synth first to keep things simple while investigating its features.

PRO TIP
Subtractive and additive synthesis can usually benefit from some modulated filtering from the filters own envelope or the LFO (when assigned). For FM work, try using it as an EQ to hold back excessive top end with a low-pass filter.

The four divided sections to either side of Operators central display are called Shells. After clicking the bottom right-hand Shell this Global Shell will reveal 11 colourful algorithm symbols across the top of the central display. Although they look like the puzzle pieces from Tetris, they are in fact routing diagrams flowing from top to bottom. 1

We tend to reach for Operator to create synth-like sounds when we want 100% predictability
1

All of the algorithms apart from the very last one on the right are either FM-based or a mixture of FM and subtractive synthesis, so we need to click the horizontal shape on the far right. This represents each oscillator running in parallel to each other (ie, not modulating each other like an FM synth). Operators four oscillators are the four Shells to the left-hand side. The Coarse parameter sets ratios of the input MIDI note, so if youre playing a concert-pitch A3 and the first oscillator is set to a ratio of 1/1 you will hear A3 being played back. The technique of layering up a second oscillator an octave above the first can therefore be achieved by turning up oscillator B and setting it to 2/1. As some ratios are odd, like 3/1, theres also a predefined selection of harmonics on offer. To tune an oscillator to a specific note, use Coarse to find the nearest note below the one youre after, then use Fine to sweep up to the desired semitone. Although its named Fine, it offers a full octave range and isnt limited to semitone adjustments as its calibrated in cents, making it useful for detuning oscillators to thicken a sound. You can view either oscillator or envelope info at the top of the central display; oscillator type is available to the lower right. Lets go through the layout by making a Reese bass. Select a Saw D waveform for oscillators A and B from the dropdown waveform list (see Image 6, bottom right). Set their Level parameter to 0dB and raise the Fine control for oscillator B up towards 25 cents. As long as youre playing MIDI notes between C1 and C2 this should already be quite nasty-sounding. To give it more bottom end, raise the level of oscillator C but leave it set to its default sine wave as this pure wave is perfect for reinforcing your existing sound. Need even more weight? Raise the level of oscillator D and set its Ratio to 0.5 for a lower octave of sine power. Now re-balance the sounds using the Level control on each oscillator. 2 The LFO Shell to the upper right is set up by default to control the pitch for all oscillators via its Dest.A section. To give this Reese more of a Hoover-esque rave stab tone, set the LFO waveform to SwDown (Saw Down) from the first pop-down menu. Choose Sync from the next menu (LFO Range) and set a Rate of 1 bar. Now raise the Amount while pressing keys higher than C2 to get that familiar descending Hoover bass. 3

The central display is key to seeing more detail for each Shell when you click on them. This is also where you select MIDI and modulation assignments.

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Bass design with Operator Technique MT

6 7
Modulation can be used for subtle or dramatic effects like most audio parameter settings, use the most extreme settings to fine-tune parameters before backing off to a suitable amount.

4
The LFO can be assigned to many other modulation destinations via Dest.B. In most cases youll want to disable its default assignment in Dest.B by clicking the A, B, C and D buttons. Although the filter cutoff can be assigned here, setting its Depth to 100% wont move the cutoff from its minimum to full. A workaround to achieve a full-range cutoff sweep is to assign Dest.B to filter cutoff. With both assignments set to 100% and the LFO set to SwDown, you can achieve that tight and defined rhythmic modulation sound that has been recently made famous by the artist Datsik. 4 Returning to the Hoover-esque sound for a moment, you can get a more authentic upwards and downwards pitch change over time by using the Pitch Envelope in the next Shell down from Filter. With a positive setting between 1050%, shape the envelope to create a medium attack slope and longer decay time. 5

two oscillators alone with a little vibrato from the LFO can create a nice, organ-style bass that gains a harder edge over time. 9 Envelopes can also be looped for creating rhythmic modulation shapes. The bottom right of the oscillators central display has a Loop pop-up menu: select Sync, then set Repeat to 1/12 for a triplet feel. 10 As long as Lives main transport is playing, the envelope will now begin to repeat. Just make sure that the envelopes shape is short enough so it can be heard changing before it loops around again. Experiment with the Time<Vel amount to the right of the envelopes Release amount as this will shorten or lengthen the envelope duration via MIDI note velocity. A negative value will shorten the duration with lower velocities, which makes sense to us when playing expressively from a MIDI controller. 11

Additive approaches
If you move the mouse over the central display when an oscillator Shell is in focus you can draw in harmonic partials on the Waveform Editor. This is where Operator behaves like an additive synth, letting you decide which harmonics are present and at what volume. Try setting the harmonic amount to 16 (the uppermost block to the right of the Editor) and draw in a combination of harmonics. Weve gone for just a few lower harmonics as this will be our bottom-end oscillator. 6 Weve then edited oscillator B and right/[Ctrl]-clicked on the waveform display to set it to odd harmonics only. We can now create an upper frequency layer that has the odd harmonic characteristic of a square wave. 7 As were still using the subtractive synthesis algorithm meaning that oscillators arent modulating each other you can choose to feed back oscillators on themselves. Explore the Feedback amount below the oscillator-type menu. Harmonically rich oscillators are sensitive to this control so small amounts will make a big difference between distortion and noise. Weve gone for 6% before the sound breaks up too much. This is now a sonically interesting layer that we can modulate. 8

Frequency modulation
Of all the available algorithms, the backwards-shaped L is the most relevant for getting started with FM for creating bass parts. 12 The bottom part of the L holds the two oscillators you hear directly. The block colours correlate to the oscillator colour, so here, oscillator A in yellow is on its own, without any other oscillators above it. This means that no oscillators above are there to modulate it, so its a subtractive oscillator. Well use this for a bottom-end sine wave.

PRO TIP
Many sounds can be given an extra dimension through octave-based pitch-bending. Just set Pitch to +12 or +24 semitones from the central display for the Global Shell.

Perfect harmony
Each oscillator has an envelope that modulates its level like any normal synth, letting us slowly introduce this higher harmonic layer with a slow attack stage. These
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MT Technique Bass design with Operator

10

11

Assigning modulators to velocity enables you to easily program in variation within your General MIDI Editor page.

Oscillator B, however, has two other oscillators wired into it in series. The pitch of oscillator D at the top will modulate oscillator C, then the resulting sound will be used to modulate oscillator B. In simple terms, oscillators D and C are acting like an LFO to the pitch of oscillator B, but the rates are very fast (in the audible musical range) so the rate is fast enough to add new, audible pitch changes to oscillator B. With oscillator A remaining at a Coarse ratio of 1, raise the Level to full for oscillator B after setting its Coarse ratio to 2. Youll now have two sine waves an octave apart. Next, increase the Level of oscillator C and youll start to hear a dramatic change to oscillator Bs output. Change the Coarse ratio to be lower and youll hear a watery, super-fast tremolo effect; move it upwards and the sound will become increasingly metallic in tone. Now explore the Level control to hear how this acts more like a timbre control than a simple fade-in and out. Using this oscillators envelope for Level control or the LFO suddenly opens up a lot of drastic tonal change. Welcome to the wonderful world of FM synthesis!

particularly musically tuneful. For bass, try copying these settings with only sine waves to shape the aliasing effect into a vowel-like sound. 13

Down and dirty


FM synthesis can also generate some really nasty bass tones if you carefully tune each modulator by ear to create a non-harmonic that has a slightly discernible pitch. This time well use the very left algorithm to create a layer for higher frequencies that we can run in parallel with a sine wave from another instance of Operator for the low end. The first thing to do is to choose an interesting waveform for oscillator A as this is where your sound begins. Weve gone for the SW8 wave (saw wave) to provide a bright sound, then weve chosen an oddharmonics-based sound for oscillator B with the Sq8 wave. This creates a very demonic beehive-type of sound when detuned a little and applied with a low Level. Weve then added a sine very high up in the register with a ratio of 39 to create a very high, buzzy tone. Finally, to lose a little definition weve added a noise oscillator for D and applied it very lightly. 14 Of all the options here, FM needs to be approached with some restraint, adding one oscillator at a time as its very easy to go from a solid, desirable sound to something thats just fatiguing to the ear. So take the time to switch oscillators on and off as you go, checking that youre not going too far. Then, when youve made a sound, explore switching algorithms as this can often yield some very surprising results. MT

Know your limitations


FM can create some incredibly high frequencies so high, in fact, that they reach the limitations of the devices sample rate. These are pushed back into the audible spectrum in a non-harmonically related way this is called aliasing. When set up correctly this can create dense clusters of information, which is great for cymbal sounds, bells and anything else that isnt

12

13

The Algorithm menu lets you choose from various oscillator routing options. Just click the different shape and immediately hear a difference in your patch.

14

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MT Technique Mixing drums in Logic

Mixing drums in Logic

Logic Pro Tutorial

On the disc
Logic project file included on the DVD

Logics signal-processing tools can transform an average drum recording into a powerful, polished kit sound. Mark Cousins shows you how.
here are numerous ways in which a drum kit can be mixed and each is perfectly viable some engineers might adopt a loose sound that favours overheads, for example, while others might gate and compress each part of the kit to create a super-tight feel. Although the precise objectives of each approach differs somewhat, there are some broad overarching principles that span all of these different methods, especially in respect to the application of processing such as compression and equalisation. Applying these practices within the realms of Logic reveals how adept the system is at mixing, offering a precise and flexible set of sonic tools to meld an otherwise incoherent collection of sources into a finished, polished kit sound. In this tutorial, therefore, were going to explore drum mixing using Logics primary mixing tools namely, the Compressor, Channel EQ and Space Designer plug-ins as well as seeing how a touch of creative routing can make a significant improvement to the overall sound of your kit. The recordings included on the coverdisc cover kick, snare, hi-hat and overheads,

PRO TIP
If youre suffering from a lot of bleed between the elements of your kit, consider using the Strip Silence command found under the Audio local menu. Strip Silence will automatically edit your recording, so that each hit becomes its own region and the bleed is removed.

but you should also try applying these same techniques to any drum recordings you have, as the results should largely be comparable.

Kick into action


The foundation of a mixed drum kit is arguably the kick and snare, and in this respect the application of both compression and equalisation are vital as a means of sitting the sounds correctly. When youre using compression or equalisation, for that matter try to be clear on your objectives rather than just applying them because its the right thing to do. In this example, we want to ensure that the transient details of the kick drum are enhanced, giving it a tight sound that translates well through small speakers. Lets start by instantiating a Compressor across the kick channel. On the whole, my favoured Circuit Type for all drum mixing is the FET option. The FET Circuit Type delivers a musical response that really suits drum sounds, and, when pushed, can exhibit a pleasingly fast

The application of compression and EQ are vital as a means of sitting sounds correctly
1

The Compressors FET Circuit Type delivers a musical response that suits drum sounds.

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Mixing drums in Logic Technique MT

3
Attenuate the main snare hits and enhance the ghost notes to add interest and drive to the drum pattern.

attack time in response to aggressive transient reduction (although that isnt our objective here). The key parameters in relation to the kick compression are a relatively slow attack time (80ms) combined with a responsively fast release time (around 57ms). Set the ratio to around 4:1 and the threshold to -29dB to achieve around 6dB of gain reduction. 1 Set in this way, the compression has a deliberately laissez-faire approach to the transients of the kick drum, instead directing its energies towards the body of the sound. Try adding around 6dB of gain make-up to account for the gain reduction youve applied, and listen to the results before and after the compression. Notice how the kick is much tighter, with the slap of the beater being particularly prominent. Adding equalisation should be the icing on the cake, further accentuating the beater with a 4.5dB boost at 3,500Hz as well as adding a more rounded bottom with a similarly sized boost at 80Hz. 2

built-in analyser. Notice the peaks in our snare at around 220Hz and 500Hz, which form a big part of the snares timbre. 4

Head case
When it comes to the overheads, its worth lending a critical ear to their stereo width, as all too often this is left the same as the original recording. Instantiating the MultiMeter in Goniometer mode is the best way of visualising the use of stereo, either patching the plug-in across the main output fader or the second insert path of the overheads channel strip. 5 Use the Direction Mixer as a means of controlling the stereo width of the overheads, adjusting the Spread control to a figure lower than 1.0 to narrow the width, or setting it to greater than 1.0 to push the sides of the kit further out from the centre of the stage (although this is often at the expense of mono compatibility, so be careful). Although super-wide presentation might seem like a good idea, youll often achieve a more powerful sound by reducing the stereo width. In the context of the whole mix, it might also be that you dont need the kit to spread the full width of the soundstage, so having some control is always good option. 6 Of course, an option at this stage is to explore the application of compression across the overheads, but instead, lets take a look at a two-stage approach to compression. As well as compressing individual channels, its worth exploring compression across the drums as a whole. As well as gaining a degree of dynamic control, youll also lock together the sound of the kit audio glue, in other words. To do this, youll first need route the entirety of the kit to a spare buss (Logics Bus 1, in our case), using the output assignment for all the drum channels. 7 With the entirety of the kit across the buss, instantiate a new compressor across the drum submix. Use the FET Circuit Type and attack and release settings similar to the snare compression attack 13.5ms, release 86ms. Use a lower ratio around 2.3:1 as this time we want to massage the kit, and nudge down the threshold to around -26dB to yield around 4dB of
magazine July 2013

PRO TIP
The Compressors extended parameter set includes a Side Chain Filter, which is useful when youre compressing the kit as a whole. Use the high-pass filter to roll off any excessive pumping from the kick. Remember, though, that youre affecting only the key to the compressor, not the actual audio path.

Snared prey
In theory, the same transient enhancement could be applied to the snare (using a combination of a slow attack and fast release), but on this track we want to explore a different objective. One of the most pleasing aspects of the snare in this performance is the use of ghost notes, used to add interest to the snare pattern and drive the groove further. With this compression setting, therefore, we want to attenuate the main snare hits and enhance the ghost notes. Set attack to 12ms, the release to 100ms (or whatever feels natural with the tempo of the song), the ratio to 3.2:1 and threshold to -28.5dB to yield around 6dB of gain reduction. 3 As with the kick drum, restore the gain to make up for the lost level and compare the results both before and after. Notice how the ghost notes are brought up in level, as well as the snare having slightly more body. You can also tighten up the sound by treating it to a little EQ, applying a high-pass filter around 68Hz, adding some warmth at 220Hz, and a touch more bite with a boost at 8,900Hz. To get a better understanding of the snares frequency range you can always use the

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MT Technique Mixing drums in Logic

5
Route the entire kit to a spare buss, using the output assignment for all the drum channels.

compression. Of course, the precise threshold figure will vary depending on how hard youre driving the buss, and indeed, its interesting to note how the compression changes across the drum buss as you rebalance the relative levels of the channel faders. 8

Space race
The application of reverb has always been of benefit to drum mixing, even if its just to add a subtle sense of ambience and acoustic space. Whats interesting here is to look at different ways in which we can introduce ambience into the equation for example, what mics we choose as a source for the reverb and how the reverb gets routed to the final mix. To start with, lets create a number of buss sends (routed to buss 2) for all the source drum tracks, as well as a new reverb across aux master 2. Space Designers 03 Small Spaces folder is probably the best choice for drums, with plenty to choose from in the 01 Rooms folder (weve chosen the Live Stage, for example). Set the buss sends to 0dB for all of the channels and try switching the sends in and out using the [Alt] key. Contrast the reverb being fed from just the kick and snare, for example, against the reverb fed from the overheads. Probably the most natural sound comes from using the overheads, but dont be afraid to experiment with other options. 9 Whats particularly relevant here is the choice of routing. At the moment, the drums are being routed directly to the main stereo output, which sounds sonically pleasing as the reverb seems to nicely envelop

the sound of the compressed kit. Another option is to route the reverb return to the drum submix buss. This has merit for two reasons: firstly, the compression is subjected to the same compression as the kit, arguably locking the kit and room together; secondly, any adjustment to the drum submix also has a knock-on effect on the level of reverb in the mix. Of course, if you do decide that you like the reverb separate from the drum buss, consider setting up a fader group for the two aux master faders. 10

Drum magic
Hopefully, this tutorial has introduced you to some of the key concepts of mixing drums in Logic and, in particular, the importance of having a clear rationale behind what youre doing. A compressor, for example, can achieve a lot more than just dynamic control, so its worth delving a little deeper to see what you can achieve. Likewise, the way that you route signals is often just as important as any of the plug-in settings, so experimentation (and careful listening) is key. Its well worth exploring further, therefore, particularly in respect to previous tutorials that have touched on drum production and mixing. For example, drum replacement which we covered in plenty of detail in Issue 67s tutorial on multitrack drum editing is an invaluable means of enhancing an otherwise lacklustre drum sound, enabling you to swap-out or double parts of the drum kit. Certainly, if you cant achieve what you want using compression and EQ, it might be the only recourse. MT

Set up a fader group for the two aux master faders if you decide you want the reverb separate from the drum buss.

10

54 | July 2013

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MT Technique Free plug-ins for Pro Tools

Free plug-ins for Pro Tools

Pro Tools Tutorial

On the disc
Pro Tools project file included on the DVD

Want to augment Pro Tools plug-in arsenal but not sure where to start? Mike Hillier is your guide.

ne of the criticisms often levelled at Pro Tools is that there are fewer free plug-ins for it by comparison to those available for other hosts using the VST or AU plug-in formats, and to a large extent this is true. Hundreds of free plug-ins in both VST and AU format can be readily found and downloaded, but they can be as much of a hindrance as an aid to creativity. It is usually far more useful to have just one or two quality plug-ins that you can rely on and that you know well rather than having hundreds of plug-ins that you dont. The plug-ins bundled with Pro Tools 10 are a great starting point for your collection, covering all the basic mixing and mastering requirements. Adding third-party plug-ins is mostly a matter of preference, but there are several free plug-ins we would recommend you seek out irrespective of any others you may have.

PRO TIP
While it is very easy to duplicate a track and use Brainworx bx_solo to create the sum and difference channels for an M/S matrix, youll still need to buss the channels back together and add the difference channel out-of-phase to one side to get your L/R stereo again. See the tutorial in Issue 122 (May 2013) for details.

Softube Saturation Knob


Available as a free download from forms.avid.com/ forms/AAXpluginoffer2012, Saturation Knob is an analogue modelling distortion plug-in. 1 Despite

There are several free plug-ins we recommend irrespective of any others you may have
1

appearing fairly simple, its actually a very useful tool, having a single large knob for dialling in gain and a Saturation Type switch that can be used to flavour the saturation. In the Neutral position the saturation is applied equally across the spectrum; however, in the Keep Low position the low end is kept clean while the high end is saturated. Conversely, in the Keep High position the high end is kept clean while the low end is saturated. This deceptively simple feature makes Saturation Knob an incredibly useful plug-in. Copy and open the Pro Tools project file on the coverdisc and youll see a simple synth bass and drum loop. Add the Saturation Knob to the synth bass and dial it up. Subtle low settings can be used to simply add a little energy to a part, but in this instance were going to dial it right up to around 4050% 2 to really get some drive from the plug-in. Dont worry about the clip light illuminating: were looking to deliver a highly clipped, overly saturated signal. Keeping the Saturation Type switch in Neutral creates a gloriously dirty synth bass, but the low end can lack a little weight. Switch to Keep Low 3 mode and the low frequencies will be

When soloed, the Saturation effect can often seem too much, but in a dense mix it can be just right for bringing certain instruments to the fore.

2 3

56 | July 2013

magazine

Free plug-ins for Pro Tools Technique MT

Thump is an incredibly creative approach to drum synthesis, and is an excellent tool for working with electronic music.

Add a gate before Thump to control the shape of the material feeding the envelope followers
pushed through untouched, leaving all the weight and clarity in the low end while still providing a dirty, aggressive synth tone through the mids. You can perform a similar trick on the drum loop, which will create a filthy drum tone, but leaving the lows clean will enable the kick to continue delivering the necessary weight.

Metric Halo Thump


Like Saturation Knob, Thump 4 from Metric Halo is an AAX-only plug-in available direct from Avids website at apps.avid.com/metric-halo. Thump is a subharmonic synthesizer designed to enhance or even replace kick drum tracks or to generate synth bass parts. Unlike a conventional synthesizer, Thump isnt triggered by MIDI data, but by the amplitude of the incoming audio signal. An amplitude follower triggers an amplitude and pitch envelope in a similar way to the classic sidechained gate on a 40Hz sine wave trick. The difference here is that not only does the sidechain trigger the gate to open, it also triggers a pitch envelope, which opens up possibilities for far more interesting sounds than a standard gate. A real drum generates a pitch when hit, but as the skin is stretched the pitch rises, falling again as the skin tension is reduced. Synthetic drum machines emulate this with a pitch envelope, raising and lowering the pitch of the drum as it is triggered. Thump copies this, enabling you to generate a much wider range of kick sounds than using a simple static-pitch sine wave. Whats more, Thump expands the sonic palette by providing not one, but two synth oscillators. Weve included a mono kick loop on an Inactive channel in the tutorial project folder. This is the same kick loop as found in the main drum loop. Make the channel active by right-clicking on the channel name in the either the Edit or Mix windows and selecting Make Active from the

PRO TIP
By applying multiple instances of elysia niveau filter you can create your own multiband EQ. Throw in Brainworx bx_ cleansweep V2 and you have a very advanced EQ section.

pop-up menu. Add an instance of Thump to the channel. As this channel is duplicating the kick from the main drum loop, set Thump to 100% wet. 5 Well start with a single oscillator, so disable the second oscillator using the button marked Ena. 6 Now tune the starting pitch, called Atk Freq. Start around 3540Hz and set the Sustain Freq a little higher (around 50Hz). 7 This can all be tuned to taste and will depend on the space in the mix you are working on and the kick youre looking to enhance or replace. This sets the oscillator pitch, but the tempo of the pitch and amplitude envelope is set using the Envelope Atk, Envelope Sust, Pitch Atk and Pitch Sust controls. The two Atk controls set the speed of the envelope attacks in milliseconds, while the two Sust controls set the release time in milliseconds. In our example weve set the amplitude attack moderately fast with a slow release, while the pitch is set moderately fast on both attack and release. 8 The full envelope, however, will depend to a large extent on the material being fed to Thump, so it can be interesting to add a gate before Thump to control the shape of the material feeding the envelope followers. Of course, theres nothing to prevent you from breaking the rules and setting a lower sustain frequency than attack frequency and in fact, some quite useful sounds can be created in this way. Try adding the second oscillator starting at 50Hz and going down to 1Hz. 9

Brainworx and elysia


The Plugin Alliance has four free plug-ins available for download from plugin-alliance.com Brainworx bx_cleansweep V2, Brainworx bx_ solo, elysia niveau filter, and SPL Free Ranger. Brainworx bx_solo 10 is the most basic, but also in some ways the most useful. If youve followed the last few tutorials on M/S processing youll notice that bx_solo provides some of these functions, including a single stereo width control and mid/side monitoring options, enabling simple set-up of M/S matrices. Try it on the drums channel to hear the effect. Brainworx bx_cleansweep V2 11 is another very simple plug-in providing little more than very clean high- and low-pass filters. The filter
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MT Technique Free plug-ins for Pro Tools

10

11
bx_solo (top) has a single stereo width control and mid/side monitoring options, enabling simple set-up of M/S matrices.

cutoffs can be controlled from either the two knobs or from the joystick, which assigns horizontal motion to the high-pass filter (moving up the frequency range as you move from left to right), and vertical motion to the low-pass filter, moving down the frequency range as you move from top to bottom. The niveau filter 12 from elysia is a single-band EQ based on the filter section of the mpressor compressor. While the EQ was designed to work in the sidechain of a compressor, it can be very effective in a mix. The plug-in has two main controls: (centre) Frequency and

PRO TIP
If youre missing some of your favourite VST or AU plug-ins, it is possible to host them inside other plug-ins, such as Nomad Factory Magma, which can run both as an AAX plug-in and VST host.

versa) when the Gain control is set to attenuate. This can be used for some incredible sonic manipulations, and is worth considering even when combined with a more advanced EQ control. At extreme gain setting the niveau filter becomes a more traditional low- or high-pass filter. These filters can create some incredible sounds, as well as make considerable space in the mix for other instruments.

SPL Free Ranger


The last freeware plug-in were going to look at in this tutorial is the SPL Free Ranger 13 , a cut-down version of SPLs Full Ranger plug-in. However, while the Full Ranger has eight EQ bands, the Free Ranger is limited to just four 40Hz, 150Hz, 1.8kHz and 16kHz. While comparatively restrictive, this is still a very useful EQ tool to have to hand. Try applying it to the drums and boosting at 40Hz to produce a much stronger kick sound; cutting at 150Hz will create more room in the mix for the synth bass track. The 1.8kHz band will give a little more crack to the snare sound, but is a little too low to bring out the beater attack in the kick. Finally, the 16kHz band can put that all-important air around the kit. We like to boost this frequency on vocals while cutting it elsewhere in the mix, so the air around the kit and vocals really shines. MT

Free Ranger is comparatively restrictive but still a very useful EQ tool to have to hand
Gain. The centre frequency can be adjusted further by using the Freq x10 button, which multiplies the centre frequency position by 10, so the lowest setting becomes 260Hz and the highest becomes 22kHz. This provides you with the option of controlling the centre frequency anywhere from 26Hz22kHz. Using the Gain to boost the EQ doesnt simply produce a parametric boost around the centre frequency, but instead creates a balance shift around the centre frequency, with higher frequencies being boosted and lower frequencies being attenuated at the same time (or vice

PRO TIP
We often add the bx_solo plug-in to our master buss for monitoring purposes. Creating a mono mix like this for monitoring purposes lets you quickly check the mono compatibility of your mixes. It can also be useful when listening to just the sides to determine what is going on in those channels.

12

elysias niveau filter and SPLs Free Ranger may seem basic but both can be very useful in a mix, making them invaluable additions to your plug-in collection.

13

58 | July 2013

magazine

MT Technique External MIDI hardware in Reason

Adding MIDI hardware to Reason

Reason Tutorial

On the disc
Reason project file included on the DVD

Reason 7 can send MIDI to the outside world, opening up a wealth of creative possibilities in your studio. Hollin Jones sends the signals.

eason has always been very good at getting MIDI in from keyboards, control surfaces and other devices to enable you to play and program its many instruments. Version 7 brings a new feature in the form of MIDI out and its integrated in typical Propellerhead fashion: unobtrusively and efficiently. Before we go into detail about how it works, lets briefly think about why MIDI out is such a big step forward for this much-loved DAW. Although Reason is particularly good at generating sounds and effects virtually, many studios still have a lot of MIDI-triggered hardware lying around. Vintage kit such as drum machines and synths are generally equipped with MIDI, and anything more recent like a workstation definitely will be. Indeed, new hardware offering MIDI as a means of controlling it is being developed all the time. Reasons sequencing tools are especially fun and powerful to work with, and devices such as the RPG-8, the Matrix Pattern Sequencer and the ReGroove system for real-time groove quantization make it easy to create great-sounding parts. And the sequencer itself makes

PRO TIP
Reason supports MIDI clock sync, which can be used to synchronise the application to external sources or to sync those sources to Reason. It also has an Offset option which enables you to correct any latency introduced in the signal chain. Although you may not use this in everyday situations, it is great for incorporating Reason into more hardware-centric setups comprising more unusual kit.

New hardware offering MIDI as a means of controlling it is being developed all the time
1 2

MIDI and pattern editing a breeze. So while this is all well and good for triggering stuff in the Rack, imagine if you could also use it to program your classic drum machine or vintage keyboard. Well, now you can, and it doesnt end there. Unless you are running your mix through a hardware desk you will almost certainly want to record the results of external MIDI triggering back into Reason, and this is easy to do using a simple interface so the whole thing becomes a loop. And thanks to the new audio-slicing tools, you can turn recorded parts into REX loops with just a few clicks.

First steps
The first thing you will need to do is tell Reason which MIDI interface to use, which you can do in the Preferences>Advanced section. Most audio interfaces also have hardware MIDI in/out ports, so make sure that

Create an External MIDI Instrument module and route it to your hardware via an interface.

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External MIDI hardware in Reason Technique MT

4 6 5

Route the hardwares sounds back in to an audio channel in Reason and you will be able to record, slice up and work with clips.

you select the relevant interface. 1 If you are using a MIDI-only interface, choose that. Theres nothing to prevent you from using separate MIDI and audio interfaces, though in many cases one unit will do both. Now go into your project, locate the Create menu and choose to create an External MIDI Instrument. 2 Once created, a small module will appear in the Rack. In the EMIs output selector, choose the MIDI interface you specified in the Preferences and the module will be routed to it. 3 Of course, you will also need to make sure that you have a MIDI cable connected from your interfaces MIDI out port to the MIDI in port on your keyboard or drum machine and that it is set to receive on the correct channel (typically channel 1 unless you are using several devices). You may also have to set the instrument to external rather than local MIDI control and connect its audio outputs to something so it can make noise. In many cases this could mean routing it back into Reason, in which case you need to create a new audio track. Make sure that this is set to receive audio from the inputs to which you have connected your instruments audio outs. 4 With these steps completed you should find that sending MIDI from the EMI or its sequencer track triggers the hardware and the resulting sound plays through the audio channel you just created. You will probably be able to hear the audio from the instrument without creating an audio track for it since it is playing through your interface, but to actually capture its output you will need to create a track to record it.

The EMI has a few more tricks up its sleeve apart from simple triggering, pitch and mod wheels. To the right-hand side you will see a row of buttons, the first of which is for sending Program Changes. Click on the up and down arrows here and you can cycle through presets on your external kit without having to leave your chair. As well as being useful for auditioning sounds, this can be automated like pretty much everything else, which can be very handy.

All change
Imagine that you want your drum machine to use one patch for one part of a song but a different one for another part. Simply automate the Program Change control by [Alt]-clicking on it and changing the Program number at the relevant point during playback. The EMI gets a new automation lane in the sequencer, and you can use the Pen tool to manually draw in Program Changes or to edit existing ones. Here we have told Reason to send a Program Change from preset 5 to 48 at a specific point. 8 Like all automation data it can be freely moved, and in this case its also saved with a project. This means that

PRO TIP
The new Spectrum EQ window can be called up from any view in Reason and provides a much more hands-on way to control the EQ of any channel in the mixer. Its contextual meaning that it can be assigned to show the EQ settings for any channel and has shortcut buttons both on the Mixer and on audio track modules in the Rack.

Get with the program


Now you need to generate some MIDI notes, which you can do either by simply playing notes in from a MIDI keyboard/pad or by connecting an RPG-8 or Matrix to the EMI device in the Rack. 5 Remember that this will be sent outside Reason to your external kit, but it behaves in the same way as if you were triggering one of Reasons own modules. Matrix data remains virtual until you choose Edit>Copy Pattern To Track, at which point it is treated like any other sequencer data. 6 What you now have is an external instrument effectively integrated into your Reason Rack. It can, of course, be recorded as audio by hitting record with the relevant audio track record-enabled and as a bonus its now automatically sliced-up. 7
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MT Technique External MIDI hardware in Reason

Take advantage of Reasons excellent MIDI programming tools and use them to trigger your studio hardware. You can also automate Program Changes and CCs.

on opening a project, Reason will automatically set any connected external instruments to the correct patch for the current song position. The next option down is CC Assign, and the knob is contextual depending on which of the available CCs you choose, meaning it can be set independently for each one. Control messages like these are used for all MIDI kit to send various types of changes, such as sustain, velocity, breath and all manner of other parameters that can be controlled. In order to see what each CC corresponds to you can try hovering the mouse over the knob with a specific CC number selected; alternatively, go to the Track Parameter Automation dropdown menu in the sequencer and click on it to see more clearly. 9 You can customise CC assignment on your hardware by mapping specific CC numbers to parameters and so set up custom maps to automate anything you like from within Reason.

Incorporate MIDI-triggered instruments into your productions with the minimum of fuss
reality you might only need things such as volume, sustain, pan or filter frequency, but its always useful to be able to automate these kinds of things on your external hardware. In fact, its usually far easier than trying to do any real-time parameter changes on the hardware itself, and enables you to creatively program and record the results back into Reason without having to involve yourself in fiddly menus on your workstation or drum machine.

Out and about


The External MIDI Instrument module may look small and somewhat inconsequential, but in actuality it opens up your Reason system to a whole new world of easy MIDI programming of external kit and the recording of its sounds straight back in. Now, therefore, in addition to all of the excellent bundled instruments and Rack Extensions, you can incorporate vintage or upto-date MIDI-triggered instruments into your productions with a minimum of fuss and using equipment that you very probably already own. This is great news for anyone running Reason, and makes it an even more powerful tool for working with sound and MIDI in your studio or on the stage. MT

Auto pilot
Automation of CCs works in a very similar way to Program Changes, except that here you automate the knob when a specific CC number is selected. [Alt]-click on the dial or right-click and choose Edit Automation and an automation lane is created in the sequencer for that particular CC channel. Any changes that you enter while recording are now recorded as automation and can be edited as usual. 10 Since each CC can have its own automation lane, you can theoretically have more than 100 parameters being automated for each EM1. In

10

Configure your hardware to map specific CC messages to your desired parameters and you can have more than 100 channels of control automation going on for every instance of the EMI.

62 | July 2013

magazine

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MT Reviews Moog Sub Phatty

MT Reviews
Hardware Software Mobile Technology

Samples

MOOG

Sub Phatty
Details
Price 859 Contact Source Distribution 020 8962 5080 Web www. moogmusic.com

The latest in Moogs synth arsenal is monophonic, has just 16 presets, and no screen. Whats not to like, asks Andy Jones...

Key Features
25 semiweighted keys 16 presets (4 x 4 banks) Mod sources: triangle, square, saw, ramp, SH, filter envelope Destinations: pitch, osc 2 pitch only, filter, waveshape 1 x TS audio in, 1 x TS out and TRS headphone out MIDI I/O via DIN and USB MIDI (not audio) CV/Gate inputs: filter, pitch, volume, KB Gate

he brand-new Moog Sub Phatty is analogue, monophonic and described as Moogs grittiest synth yet. This is down to it being the first Moog to feature a Multidrive circuit, sitting just before the amplifier section, offering a few extra stones for the aforementioned grit. This, combined with a couple of other extras under the sonic bonnet, gives Sub Phatty an edgy Moog sound you might want to sell your gran for. Fortunately, you wont have to because, as well as being Moogs grittiest synth, its also one of the companys cheapest yet.

designers have added to give the synth more interest. At its heart are two main oscillators, a sub and a noise generator. The two oscillators can move gradually between waveforms (unlike many other synths, where you switch between them) so you can sit between two

generator where the better action lies. This square wave oscillator is locked one octave below that of oscillator 1s pitch, so dialling it in creates a huge base for your sound to sit on and obviously more bass, too! Its tempting to dial it in on everything but its probably best left to the end of your creations. The Mixer section simply comprises four dials to adjust the levels for each internal generator, so straight to the Filter section. Here you get a low-pass filter with four slope types. The biggest knob on the Phatty is Cutoff that dial you go to, along with Resonance, to instantly show off acid-stylee.

Sub Phatty is Moogs grittiest synth as well as one of the companys cheapest
waveforms. Already we have that little extra flexibility and weve barely started. A Hard Sync button locks oscillator 2s phase to oscillator 1s so that its shape and their combined timbre become a lot more interesting, especially when 2s frequency is modulated. The Noise source obviously brings what it says to proceedings but its perhaps the sub oscillator a fourth Resonance does what it says on the tin: emphasising frequencies at the cut-off and feeding them back in basically making any changes you make to the frequency cut-off that bit more dramatic for instant results. Filter cut-off can also, of course, be controlled by other factors, including two envelope generators. The EG Envelope controls how the filter cut-off

First impressions
Out of the box, the quality is clear. Sub Phatty is reassuringly heavy, built well and has a rock-solid feel. I especially love the end plates and that curved back cool, modern but retro all in one. Its a subtractive synth with a layout that will be familiar to many but there are several tweaks that Moogs
magazine

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Moog Sub Phatty Reviews MT

is modulated by the shape youve dialled into the filter envelope ADSR (Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release) section. Give it a short attack, for example, and your note will reach the filter cut-off frequency quickly. KB Envelope gives you a similar reaction, but this time dependent on the note played. Both offer some fantastic note movement options over both pitch and time. The last dial in the Filter section is the aforementioned Multidrive circuit. Its quite a simple concept basically, a drive circuit for added distortion and aggression placed between the filter and amp. But add it to the sub oscillator and those sweepable waves and you have three factors that already give this synth some extra sonic character. Finally, on the right-hand side of the front panel is a standard ADSR for the note volume-over-time level and dials for master and headphone levels (plus a front-panel headphone socket).

modulation walkthrough that will have you pushing a waveform to its limits while remaining in time with the LFO. In fact, on first use of the Phatty Id recommend everyone to initiate one of the presets (ie,so its silent again, this is clearly detailed in the manual) and then follow the walkthroughs. Theres an excellent kick drum one in there that re-creates a classic 808. I took it further to create the ultimate bass kick well, in my mind it was anyway...

Alternatives
The Arturia MiniBrute (409) is an obvious alternative in terms of looks if nothing else. Sound-wise it features only a single oscillator but does have a Brute Factor control to supply feedback crunch. It can certainly be filthy but probably not as low and rounded as the Sub Phatty, although it does have a more varied range of sounds overall.

Shifting up
Finally, we come to Shift mode. This is where you can go a lot deeper into the Sub Phatty programming by adding functions to existing buttons and dials. So, for example, in Shift mode the filter envelope Decay dial becomes an additional hold parameter, adding a stage to the ADSR and making it AHDSR, so your note can linger between attack and decay. Other additional features in Shift mode include the Noise dial changing to control the external signal input level; the filter and amplifier envelope Attack dials both becoming a delay; and the Hard Sync button becoming an oscillator reset so they start their cycle when you hit a key, which results in an edgier sound. You can also access and change several other hidden parameters in Shift mode, such as those filter slopes I mentioned earlier. In Phattys normal setup the filter is a classic 24dB per octave one, while in Shift mode you can access 6, 12 or 18dB slopes. There are also additional hidden parameters to

The low-down
The LFO section is the last major one to cover, and again its simple on the surface at least. You get five waveform sources plus the aforementioned filter envelope so you can get more hands-on with the LFO shape using the ADSR dials. The rates at which these oscillate are determined by the LFO Rate dial, and what they oscillate pitch, filter and waveform are determined by the remaining three dials. The excellent manual takes you through how these can be used in practical situations theres a particularly good pulse wave

access for transposition, legato, glide, the LFO and both envelopes, plus a huge amount of MIDI and system information. Shift mode is clever, but constant reference to the manual to determine which dial does what soon becomes tedious differently coloured labels for each extra parameter next to the dials might have made it easier to use. Everything you change in Shift mode can be saved with the preset, something that I havent touched on yet. The Phatty comes with 16 presets and you will have to save over them a simple two-button-press process if you come up with a great sound. Just 16 presets does sound limiting and Shift mode is a little clunky. Luckily, Moog has supplied free software to add unlimited

Sub Phatty has a splendid, smooth back panel...

MT Navigation Free Phatty software


SUB OSCILLATOR A square wave oscillator locked one octave below osc 1 the first element to help give Phattys deep sound.

FILTER CUTOFF A classic Moog low-pass with four slope types to choose from.

c a d
MULTIDRIVE The Grit section! This drive circuit sits just before the amp stage and adds punch and weight.

LOWER PANEL The lower panel in the free software is dedicated to the features found in Shift mode, such as the external input level dial shown here.

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MT Reviews Moog Sub Phatty

presets and make programming a lot easier. As you can see in the Free Phatty software box, the software replicates the Phatty front panel and shows more of the Shift mode functions as well as the load/save preset options. It makes using all of this extra functionality (and preset management) a breeze.

Drive time
So what do all of these parameters give us in terms of sound? It would be very easy for me to simply say really fat sounds and move on, but you deserve more and, in fact, the synth is capable of more. But first lets concentrate on the low end. Ive already touched on the sub oscillator and this will give you plenty of bottom. Thats not to say that the two main oscillators are lacking anything down there, but its the Multidrive section that really enables you to add grit and grit is what this synth is all about. One of the presets no names included, but its number three has a fantastic filter envelope that takes it from an almost punchy lead to a deep bass in a second. The grime you get with it is palpable and its all from the Multidrive there is almost no sub oscillator on it as it simply isnt needed (well, there wasnt until I got my hands on it!). The next preset is all bass; again, a lot from the Multidrive and this time with heaps of sub, short attack times and long releases for a sound that could be the backbone of any bass tune. Other sounds include a fantastic punchy, almost metallic bass that was produced, on further discovery, by two pulse waveforms, plenty of sub for a massive analogue finish and almost no Multidrive. It would have been nice to have different banks of 16 different presets to load in to really hear what the

synth is capable of from the off but I suspect that these will come with updates to the software. All of which leads me to conclude that the bass is big, yes, but the Sub is capable of more than that. Within the 16 presets are superb examples of this, both the biggest basses you can imagine along with incredibly punchy leads. Once again I ask you to reach for the manual and tweak, tweak and tweak some more. Try their examples and delve into Shift mode for the extra programmability that it brings because you will get great results very quickly.

Sounds right
It would be easy to focus on negatives with the Sub Phatty. Certainly, the lack of a screen will put many post-1985-synth users off, as will the number of presets and their selection. But hook it up to a

come across sounds you will want to return to. And I really do see its home within a creative programming environment like this, something to take your sounds higher, and in that respect it fills its tight brief superbly and your sounds will benefit hugely. And the word your is probably the crux of Moogs argument and, to a certain extent, mine. If you want your sound to be the same as that produced

Not only does the Sub Phatty sound gorgeous, it looks gorgeous, too...

Its the Multidrive section that really enables you to add grit and grit is what this synth is all about
computer and both negatives are pretty much negated and who doesnt use a computer in music-making these days? And, sure, the keyboards not exactly a playing vehicle two octaves does not a Richard Clayderman make but do you need more than that to play bass or lead? These sounds are where this synths strengths lie, so it will be used for playing either bass or occasional tearing leads, not both simultaneously. The Sub Phatty excels at sound creation and manipulation exact and effective tweaking, dramatic dialling and almost constant saving as you by everyone else with a similar set of VA soft synths, look elsewhere. But if you want one item to take elements of your sonics to another level and make you stand out that little bit, the Sub Phatty is a great option. It might cost to do that 859 is not cheap for any synth these days but it once cost a lot more to make music and that resulted in people being more creative with their kit. So perhaps if we spend more on higherquality beasts like the Sub Phatty we might get more original results and rediscover our creative selves in the process. I can only dream... MT

Method Spot
We havent covered the fact that you can put external signals through the Sub Phattys architecture. Simply connect your input signal with a standard TS jack. Make sure you have your levels low by keeping both your input signal low at source and the input level low. This cant be done from the front panel straightaway youll have to enter Shift mode or use the software (weve highlighted where it is in the Free Phatty software box on the previous page) then gradually raise the levels and enjoy getting hands-on with Sub Phattys features with, well, pretty much any signal you want.

MT Verdict
+ Stunning sound + Easy signal flow + Great drive circuit and bassy sub oscillator + Extra layer of options for deep programmability + Easy preset management within the software - Could have done with more banks to show off the sounds A boutique synth that will give you some great lows and punchy highs. Use it in conjunction with the accompanying software and you wont look back...
At 859 the Sub Phatty might seem a little on the expensive side, but for the legendary Moog sound and the companys enviable heritage its actually a bit of a bargain...

8/10

68 | July 2013

magazine

B M L

MANUFACTURED IN G R E AT B R I TA I N B Y

T H E BRI TIS H M ODUL A R LIB R AR Y

S P I T F I R E
C AT N o . 3 0 1

Sable
1

strings

SPITFIREAUDIO.COM

Zynaptiq UNFILTER Reviews MT

Alternatives
As there is nothing currently on the market to directly compare UNFILTER to, here are some other options you may want to consider. Dynamic Spectrum Mapper V2 ($329) from Pro Audio DSP could be an alternative option as it enables you to apply a dynamic frequency curve to an audio source. MAutoEqualizer (199) from MeldaProduction is also worth checking out for EQ matching tasks.

UNFILTER
Details
Price 372 Contact via website Web www.zynaptiq.com

ZYNAPTIQ

For PC & Mac

10/10

Excellence

Innovation

graphical display feedback as the Transfer Function changes shape in front of your eyes. A click-and-shape EQ curve sits over this display which can be used in the regular manner to re-balance the frequency content of the original sound. Alternatively, it can be used as a bias control to direct the focus of the Transfer Function. This is key to focusing on where new information needs to be added to restore heavily filtered sounds.

Magic moves
Once installed, we jumped in at the deep end and tried the most extreme unfiltering you can think of: a low-passfiltered breakbeat with no higher-mid information, just thuds from the kick, snare and hi-hat. We filtered this ourselves so we knew what the original should sound like. After some experimenting with the Learn function to ensure it dynamically followed the drum parts in real time, we achieved a very close approximation of the full break before filtering. Even the higher-end character of the kick, snare and hi-hat were accurately emulated, which is an incredible feat. We tried it on all manner of sub-par dialogue and instrument recordings and achieved full-bodied tones without noticeable side effects until pushed to extremes. In general, the tonal quality of UNFILTER is its second charm, alongside its ability to fabricate large chunks of missing frequency information. This opens up many new options for repair and creative EQ work across a broad range of disciplines. MT

With a proven track record to date, can Zynaptiq work its voodoo magic again with this latest release? Liam OMullane tries it out.

Key Features
VST/AU/RTAS/ AAX and standalone formats Static or adaptive behaviour Trackball sliders for main functionality Built-in limiter Internal bias or normal EQ modes

he advent of digital has been both a positive and negative force in the music industry. On one hand, it offered a new level of clarity and dynamic range when first introduced, but it has also been responsible for the more smashed sound that has characterised various genres in modern times. A recent saving grace for the reputation of digital is its ability to challenge the rules of what can and cant be done polyphonic pitch manipulation of a pre-mixed audio file being one. Both Celemonys Melodyne and Zynaptiqs PITCHMAP can do this, and when first announced everyone thought it was snake oil, but they have both since proved that some rules can indeed be broken. Although Celemonys efforts are fantastic, Zynaptiq hasnt stopped there weve already reviewed the companys UNVEIL plug-in, which enables you to remove or reduce the amount of reverb in a pre-mixed file. This was another task we all thought couldnt be done until Zynaptiq proved us wrong, and although UNFILTER may not sound as revolutionary as the previous two releases, it does offer new ways to approach audio processing.

additive or subtractive EQ work. Of course, its always better to get it right at source and when possible re-record the signal, but this isnt always an option for a variety of reasons: the performance may have been a one-off, or so good that you cant possible recapture the vibe. The sound source may also be a sample, meaning youre definitely stuck with what youve got. So whether youve got a sub-par piece of dialogue, a poorly miced signal with comb filtering or audio thats less than ideal due to being ripped from the internet, UNFILTER could be the tool to help get you a more full-bodied sound.

Filter fun
Like UNVEIL, the bread-and-butter controls of UNFILTER are in the Process section, depicted by iconic Zynaptiq trackball-style faders. These remain easy to adjust while taking up less GUI space than traditional sliders. The main graphical display shows a few different pieces of information: input signal, output signal and transfer function, all shown via a spectral shape to indicate what is going on as you work. These really help you understand how the unfiltering process works. A Learn section analyses the incoming audio to estimate what filtering has been applied to the original signal. It then creates a Transfer Function shape to undo it. This is also quite easy to grasp thanks to the

MT Verdict
+ Achieves subtle to extreme frequency restoration very well + Extreme settings in the wrong direction create unique starting points for sound design + Load/save impulse responses - Very CPU-intensive Another unique processor is born. Useful for less sexy tidy-up jobs and those who want to explore new sonic possibilities.

Mix and match


Many of us will have tried to make a bad recording sound good or match one recorded mic signal with another when necessary through broad or narrow

10/10
| 71

magazine July 2013

MT Reviews discoDSP Discovery Pro

Alternatives
There arent any commercially released Nord Lead copycat plug-ins we can compare DP to the only virtual Nord Lead we can find is the freeware Synth1 created by Ichiro Toda, but as freeware, updates have been slow to appear and you may have to sift through the developers Japanese website if you have any issues. For aggressive and deep sounds with a unique edge you could try Gladiator 2 (138) from Tone2 or Predator (149) from Rob Papen. Both of these have a unique edginess and can deliver a variety of sounds.

Discovery Pro
Details
Price 119 Contact via website Web www.discodsp.com

discoDSP

tones. There isnt a mod matrix so its a take what youre given approach for assignments and routing. This isnt always a negative, though, as it can push you to squeeze more out of less.

For PC & Mac

Power of three
The feature that distinguishes this as being more than just a Nord clone, though, is a third oscillator hidden in the lower right-hand section under the Wave tab. This enables you to load in waveform samples and can run in parallel to the existing oscillator sounds or be used as an FM modulation source. This is where unique textures are in abundance. Like the main preset library, theres a huge library of waveforms included that covers classic synths plus much more. A Pad Freeze mode can also be enabled for ethereal pads. It spectrally spreads the waveform and works really well for FM modulation as well as lush pads. The layering options in DP are nothing unique by comparison to other synths, but a new stacking option does make it easier to audition the preset library for a single layer only. Unique sounds are therefore quite easy to create, even though youre working from a library the combinations are endless. This is possibly the only workflow-friendly feature we can shout about which is a shame, as this is an otherwise excellent-sounding synth. MT

In a crowded world of cutting-edge synths and analogue emulations, Liam OMullane finds something that sits somehere in the middle...

Key Features
32/64-bit AU & VST WAV & SF2 import Morph assignments for two-state preset fading Key-split functionality for layers Stacking function for easy layer auditioning Gate and modulation step sequencer Import Nord Lead SysEx presets

ere in a time when a lot of the digital hardware of the 90s and early 00s has gained legendary status. The Virus range from Access Music and Nord Lead from Clavia, for example, are digital hardware synths that originally aimed to re-create some of the desirable tones of the analogue era, but ended up carving a niche all of their own, with their sounds gracing countless records. This offering, Discovery Pro, is an offshoot of the original Discovery virtual synth from discoDSP, which was based on the Nord Lead 2, and a quick glance between the Nord and DP shows the similarities. Accordingly, a flick through the presets will bring you many of the bass, arp, lead and pad sounds youd need to make a 90s retro dance track. But before you start thinking one-trick pony, theres more to DP than just the sound of a modern classic.

and the Nord Lead, all of which sound superb. Our favourite, however, is the Phaser 8tp, which has a very aggressive edge, sounding like a unique form of FM when pushed hard. Nord Lead owners out there will be pleased to hear that your hardware will almost 100 per cent directly control the same controls in DP, giving you immediate familiarity with the software. For other controllers, MIDI isnt click-and-learn, so unless your DAW makes this an easy task, you may find it slow and tedious to implement.

Small is...
Topping our list of functionality gripes is the size of DPs GUI quite small overall, and very small in certain places. For instance, the lights for the modulation target or waveform shape of LFO 1 are either a click-the-buttonto-cycle affair, or you can click on the small red indicator lights to pick one setting in particular. This should make things fast to implement, but as the light is only a few pixels wide it often requires a few attempts to successfully engage. Whats more, most functionality apart from the main parameters is hidden in menus and sub-menus. In the drag-and-drop methodology of today, this approach makes for a clunky, non-fluid user experience.

MT Verdict
+ Can cut through or fill out a mix like a true Nord Lead + Wave oscillator section opens up a lot of sonic options + Excellent filter section + Efficient CPU consumption - Some buttons are far too small - Menu-driven system - Delay effect only DP wouldnt be our go-to instrument purely due to workflow issues. But as an occasional colour to paint with, it may be worth the pain.

Building blocks
Nord Lead owners may want to skip this section, but for those of you who arent familiar with the iconic red hardware synth, heres DPs main architecture. To the left of the GUI are two LFOs, buttons to access the four synth layers available per programme, and an attack/decay staged mod envelope. The middle panel has two oscillators that have FM and ring mod capabilities. Amp and filter ADSR envelopes are placed to the right-hand side along with the filter section. These emulate filters for Moogs

Twos company
The two oscillators may seem simple but the waveforms are rich and make for some excellent subtractive or FM

7/10

72 | July 2013

magazine

LS-12/14
Record Loud

LS is more
www.olympus.co.uk/audio

The LS-14 has a long list of strong features, its build quality is rst class, and its simple to use. Olympus has done it again. (Jerry Ibbotson, AudioMedia 2013)

MT Reviews 8DIO 8Dioboe

Alternatives
Solo oboes are not easily sourced, but Wallander Instruments includes nine physically modelled oboes in its Woodwinds & Saxophones collection ($329). Going beyond just woodwind, UVIs truly extraordinary collection of IRCAM Solo Instruments ($399) includes a modern oboe. VSL has a French oboe full (110), extended (60) and standard (51) available from Best Service (www.bestservice.de).

For PC & Mac

8DIOs virtual instruments can be heard on many a film soundtrack. Can its latest make the grade? Keith Gemmell finds out.
Details
Price $139 (download only) Contact via website Web www.8dio.com

8Dioboe

8DIO PRODUCTIONS

9/10
Oboes are tricky instruments to sample. The instrument is tiring to play for extended periods and sampling sessions can be tough on the player. The results can all too easily sound choppy, particularly across the wider legato intervals. Being fully aware of this, Colin and Troels sampled the oboe with a natural flow into vibrato. By way of a test we played a few different notes and held them for their duration, which in the case of sustain is about ten seconds. In each case the vibrato creeps in after about two seconds and intensifies a little before returning to a non-vibrato sound and fading down to silence. For most solo oboe work particularly for slow melodies this approach works beautifully and the results are very close to how a real performer would play the instrument expressively. The marcato expressivo articulations with shorter durations generally proved to be the most useful. Again, like the articulations, the controls are minimal, comprising three rotary knobs for Dynamics, Expression and Legato speed. These are set by default to CC1, CC11 and CC16 respectively but can be changed. As mentioned earlier, crossfading is a dirty word at 8DIO, so, instead, dynamics are dealt with using the mod wheel (CC1), which brings into play filters and volume curves. This eliminates the risk of chorusing and

Choice

phasing sometimes caused by crossfading between dynamic layers. It works very well, especially when used in conjunction with Expression (CC11). The trick here is to duplicate CC1 as CC11 and have them work in tandem. Using Expression within a Dynamic curve can also be very effective. Two microphone positions are available close and room. The spot mic, as you would expect, is very detailed and intimate. The room mic, too, provides plenty of detail and we are advised to use this option most of the time. For a touch of reverb, a third option is the room mic processed through an early reflection reverb chain.

Key Features
Emotional sampling approach Single instrument patch Fluid legato Expressive control

ew instruments carry a lyrical melody above a full orchestra better than the oboe Ennio Morricones Gabriels Oboe is a perfect example. To reproduce the emotional intensity of such a solo using a sampled oboe is no mean feat, and finding an instrument thats up to the job is equally difficult. Colin OMalley and Troels Folmann reckon theyve cracked it, though, with their latest virtual instrument, the 8Dioboe. Their aim was to capture the raw emotional intensity of a top-class performance. Absolutely no crossfading of dynamic layers was used in the programming, a technique that they feel is fundamentally flawed.

Express yourself
Tonally, 8Dioboe is rich and assertive, just the ticket for a solo instrument of this kind. However, we found it a touch harsh for passages of a sweeter kind and it wouldnt be our first choice if anything of a baroque nature was required. For writing and recording film music, though, its ideal, especially for slower tunes where the use of expression is paramount. If you own an orchestral library then the chances are that you already have a decent solo oboe to hand thats suitable for classical work and general orchestral use. They may or may not satisfy your expectations in an expressive sense, that is. If not, then its worth paying a visit to 8DIOs website, where you can listen to several demos. When it comes to solo instruments, its always good to have a choice. MT

Go solo
With just a single instrument patch for Kontakt 5 and only four keyswitched articulations (sustains, marcato expressivo, marcato short and staccatissimo), 8Dioboe is brilliantly simple to get to grips with. Legato can be triggered on or off by pressing a sustain pedal. When its on you can choose which articulation to play both before and after the legato intervals, which provides a great deal of phrasing flexibility. Staccatissimo, for instance, works well with legato for grace notes. When legato is switched off the instrument becomes polyphonic particularly handy if youre sketching out two oboe parts sectionally.

MT Verdict
+ Brilliantly simple to use + Fluid legato + Natural flow into/out of vibrato + Expressive dynamic control - Minimal articulations A clever, well implemented virtual oboe with a vibrant tone thats ideally suited to film work. Brilliantly simple to use.

9/10

74 | July 2013

magazine

Raising the standard. Again.

Apollo and Apollo 16. The worlds most acclaimed audio interface is now a series. With ultra high-resolution 192 kHz sound, Realtime UAD Processing, Thunderbolt connectivity*, and multi-unit cascading for up to 32 x 32 channels of analogue I/O. Apollo is raising the standard, again.

uaudio.com/apollo
2013 Universal Audio Inc. All features and specifications subject to change. *Apollo and Apollo 16 interfaces are Mac/Win7 compatible; Thunderbolt Option card is Mac-only. Individual UAD Powered Plug-Ins sold separately.

Exclusively distributed in the UK and Ireland by Source www.sourcedistribution.co.uk/uaudio T: 020 8962 5080 facebook.com/sourcedistribution twitter.com/sourcedist

TAKING AUDIO TO PERFECTION


NEWLY AVAILABLE IN WAVELAB 8:
Powerful loudspeaker management system Advanced EBU-loudness measurement and processing iZotope MBIT+ dither, Voxengo CurveEQ and Brickwall Limiter SuperClip, plug-in management and rened user interface New transport panel and extensive meta data support More than 150 new features and enhancements

All product and company names are and of their respective holders. All rights reserved. All specifications are subject to change without notice. 2013 Steinberg Media Technologies GmbH

Learn more at www.steinberg.net/wavelab8

sE Electronics Magneto Reviews MT

140dB 15dB higher than the X1. The back-electret design means the capsule itself has a constant static charge, but phantom power is required to power the internal preamp, although because it isnt charging the capsule, the mic can operate with as little as 12 volts.

Alternatives
The Magneto is a very inexpensive microphone and easily outperforms most similarly priced condenser mics weve come across. Costing a little more at around 99, the sE X1 comes across a little more bold-sounding, with a big low end and bright, clear tops. It also has a built-in pad and high-pass filter.

Down to business
On male vocals the Magneto has an open, natural character. The high end is smooth and unhyped, while the mid frequencies display none of the nasal qualities prevalent in many low-budget condensers. If youre upgrading from a dynamic such as the Shure SM58, the Magneto will be a huge leap up in quality on vocals. The signal is clearer, more open and considerably more lifelike. This is typical of largediaphragm condensers, which are strong, forward tone, capturing all the detail of the amp. Paired with an SM57, both pushed right up to the grille, the tone became bigger and bolder, and would provide a fantastic, solid foundation for a rhythm track.

Mic matters
For small home and project studio owners working to a very tight budget the Magneto represents a great investment its open, natural and

Magneto
Details
Price 79 Contact Sonic Distribution 0845 500 2500 Web www. seelectronics.com

SE ELECTRONICS
sEs latest mic aims to satisfy the every need of the project and home studio owner. Mike Hillier sounds it out.

For home and project studio owners the Magneto represents a great investment
commonly used for vocals in the studio as they cut through the mix with less EQ than dynamic mics, and in general reveal far more detail in the vocal. Many entry-level condensers exhibit a boost in the top end, which in isolation can make one mic seem like a better choice than another. The bright, open character seems to enhance vocals in isolation, but often makes them harder to place in the mix. The Magneto doesnt make this mistake and has a more restrained sound, which while not particularly exciting on its own will make for less brittle-sounding mixes when used for recording multiple tracks. balanced character will work well on a wide variety of sources. While it doesnt have the high-end sheen of some large-diaphragm condensers or the low-end weight of others, its neutral, reserved flavour means it can be used to layer multiple instruments without problematic frequency build-up in any area. This makes it a greater starter microphone, keeping you going until you can build up a mic cabinet where mic selection becomes varied enough that layering is no longer a requirement. However, once you do have a more extensive mic cabinet the Magneto is likely to get less and less use. It is a workhorse, a jack-of-all-trades and that is both its strength and its weakness. There may always be a better mic for the task, but whatever task you give it, the Magneto is likely to perform admirably. MT

Key Features
Largediaphragm back-electret capsule Frequency response: 20Hz20kHz Max SPL: 140dB

nnounced at this years Musikmesse, the sE Magneto is the latest large-diaphragm condenser to emerge from the sE stable. Designed and manufactured at sEs cutting-edge factory in China, the Magneto utilises a new back-electret capsule design and joins the X1 and X1R in sEs entry-level range. Mics at this price point dont tend to come with too many accessories, and in this case you dont get a fancy wood box or flightcase or even a shockmount, just simple foam packing and a swivel clip. Other than the colour, the mic housing looks a little like the X1s; however, closer inspection reveals that the grille has been slightly remodelled, with more of a rounded taper than the X1. To keep the price down the electronics inside the Magneto are fairly simple built-in pads and high-pass filters are omitted. It should be able to handle high SPLs without distorting, though, having a quoted max SPL of

Fret work
On acoustic guitar, the Magneto again produced a very usable, open and natural sound. Pointed towards the 12th fret as a mono mic, it captured plenty of string detail without too much fingering noise, and we were able to angle the mic to capture just the right amount of body without any boominess coming from the sound hole. However, the low end didnt have the boldness that we often associate with largediaphragm condensers, and there was a slight muddiness in the low-mids that we had to notch out with EQ. Similarly, on an electric guitar cabinet there seemed to be a slight muddiness in the low-mids, but other than that the Magneto produced a

MT Verdict
+ Inexpensive + Neutral sound + Great workhorse - No shockmount - Doesnt stand out Considering its price, Magneto is an excellent mic, easily outperforming similarly priced mics and even some costing twice as much.

8/10
| 77

magazine July 2013

Digital Village Studiospares

Thomann

The UKs single source supplier.


CELEBRATING
1983 2013

YEARS OF EXCELLENCE

Adam F5 Reviews MT

used in the AX series, and described as the next step in this continuous evolution in tweeter design. A 5-inch woofer made from carbon and paper and a 25mm voice coil handle the lows. Input connections can be made via an XLR/TRS socket or an RCA. Power switching is located on the rear panel but the F5 automatically switches to standby mode after a short period of inactivity and switches back to operating mode when it receives an incoming audio signal. Setup can be horizontal or vertical and the rear panels have M6 screw threads for wall/stand-mounting. Controls are fairly minimal, with plus or minus 6dB adjustment at 5kHz and 300Hz. Theres a centre-detented Level control (- to +6dB) plus a high-pass filter switch set at 80Hz that should be activated when the F5s are being used in conjunction with a subwoofer.

Alternatives
Competition in this area of the active nearfield monitor marker is fierce. By and large, all of the options are two-way units with magnetic shielding and ported cabinets. Here are some examples (detailed specs are easy to find online): Yamaha HS50M (127), Mackie MR5 MK2 (140), KRK RP6 RoKit G2 (151), Monkey Banana Turbo 4 (162).

over the F5s in terms of smoothness, refinement and low-level detail, but its a close-run thing and its also worth bearing in mind that the F5s are not far off half the price. So, Brownie points are awarded for clarity, imaging and bass extension just make sure that the high-pass filter is switched off if youre not using a subwoofer. By comparison to some monitors the F5s may seem a bit lean in the midrange. Having said that, however,

ADAM

F5
Details

9/10

Choice

Adams F-Series hits a price point below the successful AX-Series, but can it still do the business? Huw Price is all ears...
Price 349/pair Contact Adam 0207 737 3777 Web www.adamaudio.com

Given its very competitive price point, the F5 is a remarkable and accomplished monitor
Despite the fact that Adam is trumpeting the affordability of these monitors, their appearance is so consistent with many of Adams other monitors that you cant tell their price point just by looking. Of course this is a good thing, but the crucial test is whether you can tell by listening. it could be attributed to the fact that lots of small-box nearfield monitors tend to have relatively forward mids. So its more an observation than a criticism, but a familiarisation period may be required before you can judge snare and vocal levels with precision. However, we also noticed that very low-frequency dubby bass lines tended to drag a little with the F5s. The frequency content is there, remaining strong down to around the 50Hz mark, but the rhythmic integrity of fast, low-frequency parts does become a bit lost. Even so, given its very competitive price point, the F5 is a remarkable and accomplished monitor. MT

Key Features
Input connectors: XLR/TRS & RCA Frequency response: 52Hz50kHz Woofer: 25W RMS Tweeter: 25W RMS Weight: 6.8kg

dams new F-Series comprises a pair of two-way ported nearfield monitors, the F5 and F7 (we reviewed the bigger F7 in Issue 120, March 2013, and it scored a very respectable 9/10), plus a dedicated subwoofer designated the SubF. Were informed that the F-Series is designed in the tradition of the legendary Adam professional monitors. The aim is to focus on the essence of Adam speakers at a new, lower price point. Retailing for around 155 each, the F5 makes the ambition to own a set of Adam monitors a more realistic prospect for project studio owners. Measuring 290 x 185 x 230mm (HWD) theyre compact enough for smaller environments yet at 6.8kg theyre reassuringly weighty. Other suggested applications include desktops, mobile facilities, post-production edit bays and connection to MP3 players and gaming consoles. Adam speakers wouldnt be Adams without the companys signature X-ART tweeter aka Air Motion Transformer. It is slightly smaller than the X-ART tweeter

Great expectations
The answer to that has to be not really. Having become very familiar with Adam monitors over the last few years we tend to expect a relatively bright tonal characteristic with impressive clarity and sharply defined imaging. So were pleased to report that the F5s fully lived up to expectations. Our previous experiences with Adams has also led us to expect a certain degree of port-chuffing, which is the sound generated by air turbulence at the opening of the cabinet ports. To be fair this was absent from the last set of non-F-Series Adams we reviewed (the A77X) and chuffing is absent again. Perhaps the waveguide and oval port have helped in this regard, but whatever the cure, it seems Adam has overcome this issue. For a long time now the Focal CMS 40 has set our benchmark standard for small nearfield monitors. They score

MT Verdict
+ Very transparent sound + Excellent imaging + No port-chuffing + Auto standby mode + No bass hype - Slightly slow low bass response - Power switches at rear - Not magnetically shielded Adam looks and Adam sound quality at an entry-level price. We expect the F5 will be a big success.

9/10
| 79

magazine July 2013

NEWSFLASH:
u-he pushes free synthesizer onto unsuspecting victims!

Zebralette is FREEWARE
Spectral oscillator playground offering: Freehand Wavetable Drawing, Spline-based Spectrum Morphing, Additive and Subtractive Synthesis, Phase Distortion, Spectral Expansion, Wave Scrambler, Polyphonic Phaser, Harmonic Chop/Lift, Sync Mojo & much more Why are we advertising freeware? Our devilish plan is to get you hooked on Zebralette rst, then sell you Zebra2. Although Zebralette has just one Zebra2 oscillator, you have everything you need to make some amazing sounds. Sounds that can be loaded into Zebra2 later. And should you eventually decide to upgrade, you will already know everything about Zebra2`s main oscillators. Megasaw? Zebralette also goes to eleven. Because those oscillators are so powerful, Zebralette is a great little synth in its own right. It has the same pristine audio quality as the mighty Zebra2. Try out the new presets and see for yourself! Grab your fully functional Zebralette for all common plug-in formats and platforms here*:

www.u-he.com
Urs Heckmann - Audio Software
*while youre at it, why not check out the award-winning ACE, Uhbik, Filterscape and More Feedback Machine too. Same developer, same website, same fun factor.

Sound Radix Pi Reviews MT

Alternatives
There are several plug-ins on the market that can help to correct phase problems, such as Sound Radixs own AutoAlign ($149), Waves InPhase ($200, pictured) and MeldaProductions MAutoAlign ($65). These all help to correct problems with multitracked instruments and to line up out-of-phase tracks. However, Pi is unique in the way it works on every channel of a mix and makes adjustments in real time as the track progresses.

Pi Phase Interactions Mixer


For PC & Mac
Details
Price $249 Contact via website Web www. soundradix.com Minimum system requirements PC Windows XP, AAX/RTAS/VSTcompatible DAW Mac OSX 10.6, AAX/RTAS/VST/AUcompatible DAW

SOUND RADIX

Innovation

If phase issues are detrimentally affecting your mixes, it might be time to reach for the Pi. Alex Holmes chews it over...

ound Radix has made a name for itself with innovative ideas and useful software tools such as the SurferEQ in which individual EQ bands can be set to follow melodies and its latest product is no exception. Pi is a multi-channel Phase Interactions Mixer that aims to minimise the frequency-cancellation that can occur between instruments due to phasing issues. If your mix lacks definition in the low end or the drum transients arent quite snapping out as they might, its possible you may have some phase-cancellation, where the frequencies of layered sounds are battling for attention.

across the whole frequency spectrum or just below 800Hz, with additional dials for Channel Gain, Group Gain and Channel Weight (more on these later). The GUI is well laid-out and easy to use, with the central window giving graphical feedback on the 360-degree phase of each channel, or the different shifts across the frequency spectrum. Although this is handy, we occasionally found it tricky to decipher as things happen quite quickly, and the display seems to change depending on which instances of the plug-in you have open.

Users of the first release of Pi reported issues relating to warbling or wobbling pitch on sustained instruments when the software was trying to match one channel to another. The addition of a Channel Weight dial in a subsequent update minimised this by allowing you to assign a channel more importance, thus reducing how much it is affected by the others. In practice we still occasionally found that certain neighbouring instruments simply wouldnt play nicely with each other, at which point you have to decide whether the increased definition is worth the subtle pitch artefacts.

Piece of the Pi
We achieved the best results when using Pi only on select groups of instruments to aid in separation of layered sounds, especially on both multitrack drum stems and electronic beats. The process of setting up multiple instances combined with the large amount of latency incurred by the plug-in doing its job means that Pi wont suit everyones workflow. The results are often very subtle, but if it can get you that little bit closer to a professionalsounding mix, its time well spent. Some purists may argue that phase relationships are a natural part of many recordings and to remove them can result in a sterile mix. However, if youre after a powerful, modern finish, Pi might get you one step closer. MT

Balancing act
To get the most effective results you ideally want to feed Pi the correctly balanced volumes for each channel in the mix, which is why Sound Radix recommends placing the plug-in post-fader. As this isnt going to be a viable option in some DAWs, the alternative is to keep your faders at unity gain and use the built-in Channel Gain control to set the levels of your mix. This could prove a pain if youre planning to use Pi at the start of a mix, but isnt so much of a problem if youve already set most of your levels. We loaded up several old mixes and instantiated multiple instances of Pi to see what would happen. Its fair to say it wasnt exactly the eureka moment we were hoping for, but there was a subtle increase in punch in the tops of the drums and the kick and bass, plus a widening of the 3D image. Usefully, theres a global on/off switch that affects all copies of the plug-in and enables you to A/B the results.

Just a phase
The system works by placing Pi as the last insert on every channel in your DAW. Each of the instances then speaks to each other and the phase of each track is dynamically rotated as the mix plays out to achieve maximum correlation, the results of which are improved mono-compatibility, greater spatial depth and better-defined transients. You can choose to place channels into one of 64 possible groups, which enables you to match instruments such as a guitar amp and DI or a set of multitracked drums to achieve the best possible relationships within each group. Processing can then be set to either balance phase solely within the group, or within the group and also the rest of the mix. Theres also the option to phase-lock the entire group. Other controls allow you to select whether you optimise relationships

MT Verdict
+ Helps to improve mix definition + Great on layered drums/bass + Light on CPU + Unique design - Not especially cheap - Requires time to set up - Can cause warbling artefacts - Adds a large amount of latency A unique plug-in that wont work on all material, but when used carefully can increase the depth and definition of your tracks, giving clearer-sounding results.

Key Features
3 grouping modes for setting up related instruments Full-range and low-frequency optimisation modes Clear and easy-to-use GUI with four modes of correlation display Internal, interchannel, sampleaccurate routing

7/10
| 81

magazine July 2013

COMPAC T STUDIOS

Even more Portastudio than ever before


DP-32: The 32-track luxury class among Portastudios

32 audio tracks (8 mono, 12 stereo), best-take function with additional virtual tracks, 40 channels during mixdown (32 playback channels + 8 input channels), dynamic and send effects, mastering effects including EQ, compression and normalisation, CD burner for mastering and backup, intuitive ease of operation

DP-24

24 tracks on SD/SDHC card, high-contrast LC colour display, dynamic and send effects, dedicated controls for direct access to EQ, panorama and effect send channel, CD burner for mastering and backup

DP-03

8 tracks + stereo master track on SD/SDHC card, built-in stereo condenser microphone, 2 XLR inputs with phantom power, reverb processor plus mastering effects, CD burner for mastering and backup

2012 TEAC Corporation. All rights reserved. All speci cations are subject to change without notice.

TEAC UK Limited Suites 19 & 20, Building 6 | Croxley Green Business Park | Hatters Lane | Watford | Hertfordshire WD18 8TE | UK Southern Area Sales Manager: Alex Farrell | Mobile: 07779-795656 | Mail: alex.farrell@tascam.co.uk Northern Area Sales Manager: Russ Fitton | Mobile: 07836-329281 | Mail: russ.fitton@tascam.co.uk | www.tascam.co.uk

www.tascam.co.uk | www.tascam-europe.com

Waldorf Rocket Reviews MT

Alternatives
You can pick up a Korg Monotribe for around 125, which features a true analogue mono synth plus drum sounds and a step sequencer, but the sound design is much more limited. You might consider the more powerful DSI Mopho (278) or the feature-packed Shruthi kit synth from Mutable Instruments (165), although it doesnt have quite the same number of front-panel controls or the same immediate gratification.

Rocket
Details
Price 199 Contact Hand in Hand 01752 696633 Web www. waldorfmusic.de

WALDORF

Innovation

stepped intervals, with increasingly more complex chords depending on how many layers are present. With both knobs at full you can actually play your own eight-finger chords (although this isnt true polyphony as all notes use the same envelope). In practice this is fine as long as you press and release the keys at the same time, although you have to be fairly accurate otherwise you get other notes popping in. Even so, this is a fantastic feature.

Massive attack
A criticism that many will level at the Rocket is its lack of attack on the envelope. Although this was a deliberate design decision, it reduces the sound-design possibilities, particularly being able to create pads using the layered chords. We also occasionally found the attack a little clicky and would have preferred a knob to dial in the perfect amount of saturation instead of just an on/off switch. Waldorf has now released a free app allowing you to tweak and play the synth from the iPad, as well as load and save presets. We assume and hope that this will also be made available soon for Mac and PC. Small negatives aside, we had a whale of a time with the Rocket. Although the digital oscillators lack warmth, the excellent filter and saturation provide a bright and lively sound, and the well thought-out controls make live tweaking a joy. MT

The Rocket is the latest mini-synth to emerge from the acclaimed Waldorf stable. Alex Holmes takes it for a test-flight.

Key Features
Monophonic oscillator with Ultra High Density Sawtooth and unison for chord play Multimode analogue filter with LP/ BP/HP and self-oscillating resonance Arpeggiator, LFO and envelope Booster circuit adds crunchy saturation USB/mainspowered, with MIDI via USB Free iPad editor app available

an there ever be too many hardware synths? We would argue no, although it seems as though everyone is going mini-synth crazy at the moment. And the German synth experts at Waldorf are no exception, entering the fray with the compact Rocket Synthesizer. The Rocket has a digital oscillator (actually eight oscillators), which runs though a voltage-controlled, multi-mode analogue filter, and is housed in a sturdy plastic case with a metal faceplate.

Blast off
The unit can be powered from the mains or via USB, which can also send and receive MIDI from your computer, but not audio. For that you have a slightly noisy 3.5mm headphone output with a dedicated volume control, plus a thankfully much cleaner 1/4-inch jack output. Slightly baffling is the lack of a volume knob for the main output, although how essential this is will depend on your setup. You also have a 1/4-inch input for processing mono signals through the tasty filter section, plus standard 5-pin MIDI I/O sockets. For modulation theres an LFO with three shapes for affecting either the filter or the oscillator, plus a hidden LFO for vibrato that can be triggered with the mod wheel. There are also envelopes for the VCA and VCF, plus an envelope for the sync, which is ingeniously tucked into the oscillator section.

The analogue filter is a lovely beast, offering LP, BP and HP modes plus three settings for keyboard tracking. Particularly nice is how the LP mode retains low-end weight even at high Resonance settings. Other features include a Glide control you have to play legato for this to work a Boost on/ off that adds analogue saturation after the filter, an arpeggiator with three directions, an octave control and several preset patterns, and a Launch button for triggering notes without a keyboard or sequencer plugged in.

Ground control
Although the oscillator sounds a little pedestrian, it has a few tricks up its sleeve. Theres a Wave selector that enables you to choose from pulse or sawtooth shapes, plus multi-function Wave and Tune knobs. Set to pulse, the Wave knob will change the pulse width as its turned up to 12 oclock, then begin to modulate the pulse width and depth as its turned further. Similarly, with the sawtooth, the Wave knob works as an envelope for the Sync mode, whereby Tune selects the pitch of the second oscillator. Turning the Wave knob further brings additional oscillators into play up to eight for a big unison sound, with Tune adding thickness by detuning the extra layers. Things get really exciting when you turn the Tune knob further to the right and the oscillators start to form

MT Verdict
+ Well-designed and sturdy + Great-sounding and flexible filter + Surprisingly versatile oscillator + Chord functionality - No attack envelope - No master volume knob - No preset saving - Post-filter saturation is either all or nothing The Rocket might be too limited for some, but innovative design and a lively sound make it great fun to use. The fact that you can play chords is an unexpected bonus.

8/10
| 83

magazine July 2013

MT Reviews AMS Neve 1073N

Alternatives
AMS Neve still manufactures the original 1073 modules as well as rackmount chassis for these. Chassis and clones of the 1073 module are also available from thirdparty manufacturers such as BAE. As well as the original design, AMS Neve makes the 1073 DPA and DPD models, which lack the EQ section but provide two 1073 preamps in a 1U rack unit. The DPD model also includes A/D conversion. More recently, AMS Neve introduced the 1073LB and 1073LBEQ 500-Series modules. The 1073LB is a mono 1073 preamp without EQ, while the 1073LBEQ omits the preamp section, providing only the EQ.

1073N
Details
Price 1,795 Contact AMS Neve 01282 457011 Web www.amsneve.com

AMS NEVE

10/10
components. This enables the circuit to remain otherwise identical and fully discrete, while creating enough room for the additional connectors.

Excellence

AMS Neve has revisited the venerable 1073 preamp and EQ design once more. Mike Hillier charts the changes.

Key Features
Discrete Class-A preamp 3-band EQ Built-in Hi-Z input Can be chassismounted or used standalone

o the layman it may only be a four-digit number, but mutter ten-seventy-three to a sound engineer and youll get a knowing response. The Neve 1073 preamp has achieved such legendary status that even now, 43 years after its launch in 1970, it remains in production and is the first-choice preamp for many recording engineers. The transformerbalanced inputs and outputs, discrete Class-A circuitry, high-pass filter and musical three-band EQ work together to create a rich, larger-than-life sound. It would take a keener eye than ours to spot the differences between the 1073N and an original by looking at the front panel alone. However, peek around the back and anyone familiar with the original unit is in for a surprise. The original 1073 had an Amphenol connector on the rear that provided power, audio and control connections when plugged into a console or rack chassis. The 1073N still has this connector, but breaks all of the connections out to their own ports and has switches to replace controls that would otherwise be built-in to the console or chassis. This means that the 1073N can be used in existing compatible Neve consoles and rack chassis, but can also be taken out on the road or installed in a studio without a compatible chassis just like any other piece of rack gear. In order to accommodate these additional connections AMS Neve has had to shrink the 1073 circuit considerably. This is of course possible with integrated circuits, but the folks at AMS Neve werent going to sully the 1073 design with anything but discrete circuitry. To shrink the circuit, therefore, AMS Neve moved from through-hole components to smaller surface-mount
magazine

Testing times
We tested the 1073N on an indie rock song we were recording, shooting it out against a Neve 1081 and a Classic API

On male vocals, through a Neumann U87, the 1073N again sounded stunning, and by engaging the EQ we were able to radically shape the vocal without the EQ sounding forced. It isnt as flexible as the four-band 1081 but it sounds glorious. Not everyone likes to EQ on the way in, so the 1073 also accepts line-level signals, which enables you to use the EQ as a standalone unit, making the 1073N doubly useful in the studio. For our final test we plugged our bass into the DI input on the rear of the 1073N. This isnt an option on original

If youre looking for a desert island preamp, this has to be on your shortlist
VP28 on kick drum via an Electro-Voice RE-20 mic. Although very similarsounding, the 1073N had a stronger low end than the 1081, with plenty of sub-frequencies as well as more definition in the upper mids, making for a stronger, punchier kick. Against the VP28 the Neves demonstrated a brighter top end and the low-mids were cleaner. However, it was in the sub-frequencies where they really stood out, producing a weightier bottom end than the tighter-sounding VP28. To ensure a test fair we kept the output stages of both the 1081 and VP28 at unity. However, it is worth noting that both these preamps could be driven harder to get preamp saturation and then attenuated to prevent them from overdriving the A/D converter, which gives them a slight advantage if thats the sound youre after. The 1073N would have to be used with a rack chassis or console to gain the passive attenuation stage, as including this in the standalone mode would have meant altering the 1073 circuit something AMS Neve was unwilling to do. 1073s or our other preamps, and is one of the few changes to the original 1073 circuit. The hefty low end and largerthan-life sound of the Neve again shone. The bass sounded big, clean and punchy, a perfect starting point for almost any situation. The 1073 circuit is famous for a reason: it sounds great on everything you throw at it. The new 1073N variant brings greater flexibility and is sure to see the preamp appear in even more studios than before. If youre looking for a desert island preamp, this has to be on your shortlist. MT

MT Verdict
+ Larger-than-life sound + Incredibly musical EQ + Portable + Includes DI input - No output attenuation The 1073N brings portability and extended flexibility to the legendary 1073 design.

10/10

84 | July 2013

PERFORMANCE

CAPTURED

16ch mULTITRACK recorder + USB / FireWire interface


Record direct to USB drive
16 analogue inputs (1/4 TRS jacks) 16 analogue outputs (RCA connectors) Front USB socket for quick capturing to USB mass storage devices Hybrid FireWire (IEEE1394) / USB2.0 16x16 audio interface Industry standard, broadcast WAV file format Up to 6 hours of 16 channel audio on a 32GB USB stick Signal present and peak LED metering on each channel

digital multitrack from AN analogue desk

16 x16 interface

ICE-16 makes multitrack recording easy. Forget all that fiddling around at the back of clunky HD recorders or messing about with soundcard drivers. ICE-16 lets you capture a high quality 16 track digital recording straight to a USB drive. ICE-16 is also a powerful 16x16 audio interface capable of studio quality recording over high-speed USB or FireWire, so you can record and play back multichannel audio with or without your computer. Whether its a live band, a studio session, a conference or a rehearsal, ICE-16 captures the performance.

www.allen-heath.com

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allen_heath

ALLEN&HEATH

MT Reviews Avantone Pro CV12 & CV28

9/10

Choice

CV12 & CV28


Details
Price CV12 444 CV28 420 Contact SCV London 020 8418 1470 Web www. avantonepro.com

AVANTONE PRO

Two new multi-pattern valve condensers have emerged from the Avantone stable. Huw Price puts them through their paces.

Key Features
CV12 12AX7 valve 9 patterns CV28 6J1B valve Interchangeable cardioid/ hypercardioid/ omni capsules

ack in the day, studio engineers invariably referred to microphones by number, so when a tape op was ordered to put a 47 on this or a 57 on that it was fairly straightforward. For some reason, many modern retro-style mics share the same numbers as their forebears, which gives the potential for confusion. These Avantone mics are a case in point, sharing both numbers and looks with iconic models from AKGs distant past. However, this may be misleading because Avantone tells us that the CV12 is actually based on the Sony C800G, and the CV28s onboard electronics are based around a 6J1B pentode valve rather than a 12AY7 triode or nuvistor. Both mics are transformer-balanced and the CV12s capsule is a Neumannstyle design with centre termination that feeds a circuit driven by a Chinese 12AX7. This should produce a high output level, but, depending on the transformer, mics with 12AX7s may be quicker to overload.

The CV12 has nine polar patterns, all selectable from the power supply. Following in the AKG/Schoeps tradition, the CV28 allows users to swap capsules to achieve up to three pickup patterns cardioid, hypercardioid and omni.

We started testing with the CV28 in cardioid mode and it blew us away. The tone was very full but also incredibly detailed and natural. There is a trace of a lift in the treble, but this just provides a bit of air and theres no trace of harshness or metallic ringing. In fact, this gentle lift corresponded with the frequency range that wed usually boost with EQ anyway. Output level dropped very slightly with the omnidirectional capsule installed, but the noise floor is so low that its of no consequence. The tone lost a bit of low-mid girth, but if anything the omni capsule sounded even more open and transparent. It also managed to pick up a slight vibration from one of the tuners on an acoustic guitar that was inaudible with the cardioid cap. The hypercardioid capsule sounded very different because the high frequencies were very rolled-off, but we enjoyed the full mids. The tone responded really nicely to a bit of EQ, restoring the treble without detracting from this capsules chewier mids and larger-than-life quality. To provide a bit of context we put the CV28 up against an Elation KM201 and an Oktava MK012, both of which can also be purchased with a variety of interchangeable capsules. The Elation is a solid-state microphone that does an uncanny impersonation of a Neumann KM84.

All things considered, these are very impressive packages for the money
Although they both come in identical metal cases, the CV28 is like a scaled-down version of the CV12, with a correspondingly scaled-down power supply, shockmount and wood box. All things considered, these are very impressive packages for the money. The Elation sounded a little softer than the brighter CV28 but there was little to choose between them. The treble characteristics of the CV28 and the Oktava were similar, but the CV28s low-mid focus made the Oktava sound a tad woofy.

The valve sound


Valve microphones are generally associated with fat and coloured sonic characteristics maybe with a hint of harmonic overdrive that some might describe as warmth. However, anyone who has experienced the enhanced realism and even the occasionally forensic detail of some of the legendary small-capsule valve condenser microphones will know that theres more to it than that.

CV12
Suitably impressed, we turned our attention to the CV12. As expected, its tone differed substantially from the CV28. For starters, theyre out-of-phase with each other, probably because the CV12 has a cathode follower output that reverses polarity. Sonically, the CV12 delivers more of what you might expect from a largecapsule valve condenser. It has a rounder and smoother quality through

Rock n roll-off
No worries on that score because the CV12 trumps much of the competition with its -10dB pad and switchable 80Hz bass roll-off both of which should keep the transformer from saturating. Ditto the CV28.

86 | July 2013

magazine

Avantone Pro CV12 & CV28 Reviews MT

the mids with a bit more weight but less transparency. Even so, the CV12 has a very likeable treble response that provided ample detail. Switching to omni mode opens the midrange right out, with the treble shining that little bit more. However, if we were to keep this microphone it would probably spend most of its life with the pattern selector set somewhere between cardioid and omni. We liked the extra treble sheen and the way that the bass takes on a little extra roundness. Figure-8 displays a bit of a midrange scoop and is the

fairly resistant to plosives, but you might notice a hint of sibilance with some vocalists.

Alternatives
Valve-driven small-capsule condensers are rare beasts at any price point, but its clear that the Advanced Audio Microphones CM-28 ($535) originates from the same factory even if the specs are slightly different. The Sterling Audio ST44 (205) is another example, but the circuit board shows some differences. The CV12 shares certain physical characteristics with the Alctron HST-11A (160) but the components are higher quality, the circuit board has been redesigned and the CV12 has pad and HPF switching. In other words, most of the common upgrades have been done for you, plus you get extra features.

Twos company
Its worth considering that a pair of microphones like these two could conceivably cover all your condenser microphone needs. The small-capsule CV28 does a fine job as an instrument microphone and the omni capsule makes it suitable for use as a room mic. The hypercardioid capsule is a bit of a secret weapon because, despite needing a little EQ assistance, it

A pair of mics like these could conceivably cover all your condenser microphone needs
least natural-sounding of all the settings, yet its perfectly usable as well discover later. The CV12 certainly distinguished itself on vocals, generating a fullbodied sound with plenty of low-mid girth and clearly defined consonants. As long as you dont get silly, the CV12 is provides a very useful contrast to the other capsules and could be used to roll off the sharp edges. The CV12 may lose out to the CV28 in sheer fidelity, but it certainly redeems itself with sonic character. Although vocal recording may end up being its main application, we wouldnt

hesitate to try it in any recording scenario where a little softening and smoothing-out may be required. Then, if you ever needed to record something in stereo, the CV12 and CV28 can be used for mid-and-side stereo. MT

Method Spot
Changing capsules on the CV28 is easy: unscrew the capsule grille housing, unscrew the incumbent capsule and replace it with the one you need. Lastly, screw the grille housing back on take care as the threads are fine and may become crossed. If youre wondering how the CV28 might sound without its grille housing we can advise you that it shields the capsule from noise as well as knocks, and the resulting LF hum will render the mic unusable.

MT Verdict
+ Impressive sound + Competitively priced + Fine build quality + Versatility + Excellent accessories - Nothing! Two very serious valve microphones and both at an incredibly competitive price point.

9/10

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Reviews MT

Shinechilla
Manufacturer Voxengo Price $59.99 Contact via website Web www.voxengo.com

istortion comes in many guises, from warm-sounding tube overdrive to aggressive and digital-sounding bit-reduction, but they all share something in common: the generation of harmonics based on the input signal. Shinechilla is a unique creative distortion plug-in that allows you to generate and blend 2nd, 3rd and 4th harmonics with the original dry sound. The plug-in is available as an Audio Unit or VST for Mac and Windows, with plenty of standard Voxengo features such as a resizable interface, A/B preset switching, flexible routing (including surround and M/S modes) and up to 8x oversampling. Rather than process the incoming signal as a whole, Shinechilla divides it into 32 spectral bands and processes them independently, which results in less intermodulation

Innovation
distortion and a more precise sound, but unfortunately also a fairly considerable CPU hit. The GUI is well laid-out and very intuitive, with a large set of 32 frequency bars showing the spectral content of the track as it plays. You can draw nodes on a threshold line to specify the strength and position of the harmonic generation, although care needs to be taken as any signal passing over this threshold will get nasty very quickly. You then have three further split point envelope lines where you can draw in the volume for each of the harmonics, so you could add some gentle 2nd harmonic warmth to the bottom end

Key Features
2nd, 3rd and 4th harmonics generator Spectral control of threshold, harmonic level and saturation Stereo and multi-channel processing Up to 8x multisampling Easy-to-use and clear GUI

while adding some more complex 3rd and 4th harmonic tones to the midrange. Additional controls allow you to draw in the threshold of an output saturation limiter for additional distortion and the output volume itself, along with some very useful solo buttons enabling you to focus on just the sound of the extra harmonics. Although we found the lack of an independent control for dry and wet signals a little frustrating, Shinechilla is an original and fascinating take on distortion. It wont suit all needs as it can sound aggressive if overused, but for subtly warming bass sounds and for sound-designing unique pads its a useful and intriguing tool. MT

MT Verdict
Despite a high CPU hit and a tendency to sound harsh if pushed too hard, Shinechilla is a unique take on distortion that offers unparalleled control for adding specific harmonics to a sound.

8/10

Acoustic Soundscapes
Manufacturer Big Fish Audio Price 83.95 (download) Contact Time+Space 01837 55200 Web www.timespace.com

10/10
four files for each riff offering variations in chord progression, intensity and playing style. As each is named with the BPM and key, you can fairly easily match up the different parts if you want to build up the construction kit tracks yourself. We find this to be a more creative method of working as youre more likely to take just the odd riff rather than rely on using pre-written layers. As weve come to expect from Big Fish Audio, the quality of the performances and the recording is top-notch, with wide stereo micing techniques offering a big sound and just enough hints of captured ambience to make the instruments feel live. Youll find a large range of sounds, too, from earthy upright basses and deep

Excellence

lthough the humble acoustic guitar is relatively easy to record and a fairly versatile instrument, you may need to broaden your palette if you want to evoke a wider range of emotions using stringed instruments. Big Fish Audios Acoustic Soundscapes does just that, being a giant collection of not just guitar loops but mandolin, banjo, ukulele, upright bass, fiddle, female vocals and more for creating the kinds of sounds heard on TV and films such as True Blood, The Walking Dead and Brokeback Mountain. The library contains around 3.6GB of 24-bit audio in ACID WAV, Apple Loops and REX formats, comprising 945 loops in total. Rather than opt for the construction kit layout, the riffs are split into folders of instruments, with around

Key Features
3.6GB of 24-bit audio Apple Loops, ACID WAV, REX & Stylus RMX formats Huge range of plucked and bowed string instruments Also available with 35 Kontakt instruments and a custom GUI

baritone guitars to twanging banjos and delicately fingerpicked 12-strings. There are also some excellent fiddle and string riffs, around 100 female vocal ad-libs, some percussive sounds where held chords are struck rhythmically, and various SFX including slides, scrapes and hits. We would definitely recommend that those of you with Kontakt opt for the Kontakt version, which helps greatly to organise the mass of instruments, folders and extras with custom GUIs, BPM sync and pre-sliced loops across 35 patches. Acoustic Soundscapes is a superb pack of unassuming, simple and highly usable riffs that could easily be dropped into an arrangement or composed around. Its also an excellent resource for media composers wanting to evoke feelings of middle America and the Wild West. MT

MT Verdict
A huge collection of evocative loops played on a wide range of string instruments. We found the simple riffs a pleasure to work with and easy to fit into arrangements.

10/10
| 89

magazine June 2013

MT Reviews

Turnado iPad Edition


Manufacturer Sugar Bytes Price 13.99 Contact info@sugar-bytes.de Web www.sugar-bytes.de

10/10 $
Key Features
Multi-FX and performance app Assign any of 24 effects to 8 knobs New X/Y pads and audio player Audiobus support, AudioCopy/ Paste and iTunes file sharing New presets by Beardyman

Excellence

ugar Bytes has ported its award-winning Turnado software over to iPad, giving it a few new additions and some extra presets from that beatbox champion and famed Turnado user, Beardyman, in the process. First up, a recap of whats on offer. The main screen of Turnado enables you to drag any of 24 effects onto eight MIDI-assignable knobs turning the knob clockwise triggers the effect; turning it further adjusts parameters and applies modulations. Click on the Edit button and youre presented with another screen for editing the effects, with a range of syncable LFOs, step sequencers and envelope followers. The effects are excellent, ranging from filters, distortions and bit-crushers to rhythmic, glitching buffers, ring mods and talking vowel filters.

Value

So what does the iPad version add to this? You get four X/Y pads that control two effects each, with toggles to select whether they either snap back to the off position (bottom left) or remain in the current position, plus a useful button that instantly switches off all effects. You also get a tap tempo control in the middle for the temposynced effects (although we found this a little temperamental) and an audio player that can play and record audio loops and tracks. Its obvious that Sugar Bytes has thought long and hard about how best to integrate the app into the iPad workflow, and youll find Audiobus support, AudioCopy/Paste, the ability to load tracks from iTunes, plus iTunes file sharing for transferring audio to a computer. If youve got some sort of audio interface you can also route audio in for mangling live performances and

DJ sets, and you can control everything via a MIDI interface or route MIDI internally in/out. The app is locked to portrait mode, with the original GUI in the top half and the new controls below. This arrangement can be a little fiddly, and it would be nice to have the option to switch to landscape, but the simple double-touch zoom function helps greatly when editing parameters. Were actually amazed that Sugar Bytes has managed to cram all of this incredible FX plug-in into an app that costs so little, and the new additions only improve on an already winning formula. MT

MT Verdict
Incredibly, Sugar Bytes has improved on an already excellent product. The most comprehensive and fun sound-mangling app available and at this price, an absolute no-brainer.

10/10

SM White Label East Coast House


Manufacturer Sample Magic Price 16.90 (individual folders available separately) Contact via website Web www.samplemagic.com

$ 9/10
elements, and while theres not huge variety in the sounds and vibe, the well programmed grooves are as funky as hell. Next we have the kick-free top loops and the drums, which include a full mix plus component parts for maximum flexibility. You wont find much out of the ordinary here, but theyre characterised by a solid yet spacious sound. Things get a little more interesting with the music loops, which include a variety of garage-style organ and piano

Value

ast Coast House is a recent entry in Sample Magics White Label series, comprising jackin drums, pumping bass lines and classic organ riffs inspired by 90s New York House and New Jersey Garage. The pack contains a total of 361 24-bit loops in WAV, Apple Loops and REX 2 formats, plus 213 drum and chord one-shots spread across six folders. You can also choose to purchase each folder separately, although this would prove much more expensive. As weve come to expect, the loops and sounds have been mixed and mastered to perfection, nicely balancing lo-fi 90s crunch with modern production sheen. Lets start with the bass loops. These are big, rounded and with very little top end to allow space in the mix for other
magazine

Choice

Key Features
361 24-bit loops 213 one-shots Includes WAV, Apple Loops and Rex2 formats All loops at 122BPM Inspired by 90s New York House and New Jersey garage

stabs alongside deeper synth chord progressions, combining an old-skool vibe with tight, up-front production. As with the drums, many of these appear in several versions, so you can work with the individual layers. Last up on the loops front are some decent chopped-up vocal snippets that could be used to add extra flavour to your grooves. Our favourite part of the pack, however, is the one-shots, where youll find a highly usable collection of thuddy basses, a blend of both garage and house-style claps and snares, and some sizzling lo-fi cymbals. There are also some superb, deep-sounding chord one-shots, although youll need to build your own sampler patches to get the most out of these. All in all, this is a fantastic pack of on-point house sounds that fans of artists such as Disclosure and Dusky should consider essential. MT

MT Verdict
A great-value collection of classic house loops and sounds with infectious jackin grooves and a modern production punch.

9/10

90 | June 2013

MT Reviews

System1000M
Manufacturer Tronsonic/Synth Magic Price 19.99 Contact via websites Web www.tronsonic.com www.synthmagic.co.uk

9/10
Key Features
525+ presets Choice of 10 waveforms plus pink/white noise Bank 1 recorded to vintage tape for maximum analogue texture Extensive random modulation capabilities Dual-polarity keytrack and dynamic pitch-bend Dual-interval section for 3-oscillator simulation Extensive arpeggiator section Vintage-style effects section

Choice

ylie and Will.i.am, Tom and Cerys, Frank and Nancy... theres a long tradition of musical partnerships to get die-hard fans wetting themselves with glee. And now we present to you Synth Magic and Tronsonic so is this a match made in heaven or purely a marriage of convenience? In a nutshell, Tronsonics design concept and sampling of waveforms from authentic vintage analogue sources has combined with Synth Magics digital knowhow to produce a patchless modular-style soft synth. Cunningly named the System1000M, this is a sample-based interpretation of the classic Roland System100M semi-professional modular synthesizer that runs under Native Instruments Kontakt 5.1.

The 1000M features ten waveforms plus pink and white noise. More than 500 bundled presets cover everything from 50s sci-fi soundscaping to authentic acid house arpeggios, with the developers working to provide further banks and patches for registered users. However, this is an instrument that demands you look beyond its presets. Its modules can be configured to give a vast palette of analogue-driven timbres and textures, with complex modulation via the envelopes and LFO section. While the layout may at first look perplexing to the mod-synth novice, its underlying logic becomes clear after just a little experimentation, and a neat colourcoding system helps you to keep track of what is driving what. Among the System1000Ms innovations are a random patchcreation button, a dual-interval section that can generate complex arpeggio variations, a very usable Brit-Grunge amp simulation, dual-polarity keytrack control, and the ability to set the mod wheel to give anything from micro detuning to a four-octave sweep.

The 1000M will inspire the current generation of music producers while giving the old guard something to celebrate, delivering the depth, sound and complexity of analogue modulars but without all the cables, headscratching or, indeed, the cost. MT

MT Verdict
A well thought-out modular synth emulation that produces an astonishing range of analoguedriven sounds, with plenty of scope for real-time manipulation.

9/10

Glitch 2
Manufacturer Illformed Price 47.94 Contact via website Web www.illformed.com here are certain pieces of software that gain iconic status, and this can happen for a variety of reasons. Version 1 of Glitch gained its reputation for two: firstly, due to its simple sequencerbased implementation of applying effects, allowing for immediate, often drastic sonic change; secondly, it was a free product! However, it was available only to Windows users. Version 2, though, opens up the software to both Mac OSX and Linux users, and brings a new feature allowing the use of more than one effect at a time in parallel. The distinctive colour scheme is retained from version 1 but the layout is now much more logical as it employs a left-to-right sequencing grid. Each preset is blank left for the user to define and contains up to 128 scenes each; these scenes can be triggered via

Key Features
Flexible grid divisions and length per scene MIDI note switching of scenes Good variety of effect types Well integrated random options

MIDI notes. Each scene contains effect parameter settings and the order in which they are sequenced, so good starting points for a scene can easily be duplicated and subsequently modified, giving you an immediately broad palette to experiment with. The MIDI launching time between scenes can also be quantized for mechanically perfect triggering. Nine effects run down the left-hand side which can be punched-in via note-like blocks on the grid. These can easily be created, moved and re-sized for accurate control and predictability.

Modulator, Distortion, Lofi and Delay are useful for simple textural changes. For more extreme transformations the Tape Stop, Retrigger and Stretcher can mutate your audio into something quite different. Gate and Reverse effects are also included. What we really like about this plug-in is the various degrees of randomisation that can be applied. True randomness the type that never repeats in the same way twice can be applied from the top sequencing row, but one-click randomness that then stays in place can be applied to scenes in severe or light doses very handy for practical examples of the old (and highly underrated) happy accident technique. A tool like Glitch should be in anyones armoury regardless of whether you make music with a heavily edited sound or just need some subtle variation to run in the background. MT

MT Verdict
Version 2 represents a great re-design of an already iconic audio-manipulation tool. The layout is much improved, making it even easier to learn.

8/10

92 | June 2013

magazine

MTM Classifieds
Alchemy Mobile V2
Manufacturer Camel Audio Price Free app. Pro upgrade 10.49 Contact via website Web www.camelaudio.com

www.sae.edu
Reviews MT
parameter states. The Pro version allows the remix pad to be controlled via tilt and inertia, which is even more fun. The GUI is nicely laid-out, comfortably straddling the fine line between sufficient features and not being too difficult to control via a mobile screen (we tested this on the iPhone version). Expression can be accessed through velocity by striking the keys at different vertical points the higher up the key you press, the lower the velocity becomes. Patches feature aftertouch, making it easy to vary the sound simply by sliding up and down a held note. The main benefit of the Pro version is that you get the option to save projects, which makes sense if youre building up song ideas. However, Audiobus and AudioCopy/Paste are supported by the free app so its more than capable for spur-of-the-moment work. MT

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MT Verdict
One of the truly pro-sounding synth apps out there for iOS. The free app has most of the features of the Pro version, so be sure to give it a go. Thoroughly recommended.

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| 93

MT Reviews

Neon Synths
Manufacturer Prime Loops Price 16.95 Contact via website Web www. primeloops.com hose of you who recall the 80s may weep with nostalgia when browsing this collection of loops which is a good thing considering that they aim to capture the sound of retro artists such as Electric Youth and Kavinsky. Of course, these artists pay homage to some of the best soundtracks of the era anyone whos watched a classic 80s teen-angst flick or a futuristic movie of the time such as Bladerunner will recognise the musical and production styles this series is going for. Ranging from 80140BPM, arpeggios, bass lines, chords, lead lines and pads all sound quite authentic in Key Features
520.3MB 80140BPM Large range of musical keys Authentic melodies for given style

both production value and the style of melodies they play. Some are drenched in digital-sounding reverb, which works for the era. There are FM bell patterns, brash brass-sounding leads, portamento square leads and also more blip-like, small and delicate melodies. Nearly all of the loops put you in the right headspace on first listen, but for some reason a few of them are pretty much doppelgangers of some very recognisable releases. To make matters worse, an awkward-sounding note is inserted here or there, presumably to avoid potential copyright issues. This sadly renders them almost unusable as they are both too recognisable yet at the same time spoiled by these changed notes. However, they represent only a small percentage of the pack.

Otherwise, if you want some authentic loops to work with or inspire your next composition, these are worth a look. MT

MT Verdict
Successful in giving the listener an authentic experience of moody 80s synth music, though some of the loops are a bit too reminiscent of some big tunes for comfort...

7/10

Dubstep-Electro Vol2
Manufacturer reFX Price 55 (NEXUS 2 required) Contact via website Web www.refx.com

MT Reviews What our ratings mean


Excellence Lets be honest
this product is, at the very least, the best in its class. Attractively priced as well as capable of delivering great results.

Choice

he production aesthetic of dubstep and electro can be quite hard to achieve, even for a seasoned pro. The task of creating huge sounds that remain tight and defined in a punchy mix is no mean feat, so this pack could be a welcome helping hand for users of the ROM synth NEXUS. NEXUS owners will already know that the included library and add-on extensions like this one have a polished, mixed sound right out of the box. While loop packs may also deliver that, they suffer from a lack of flexibility should users want to make them their own. At the other end of the spectrum, synth presets can give you some superb and flexible sounds, but they often need additional mix processing, which requires production knowledge. And even if you do have that knowledge, time constraints may not allow for it, so whichever camp you fall in, having great sounds on-tap can always be useful.
magazine

For the most part the pack covers recognisable sounds such as Dutch leads, vocalised basses, blips and so on, but theres quite a lot of variety to choose from. NEXUS is a lot more programmable than many users might think, so its perfectly feasible to customise the sounds as required, offering you even more variety. The only thing really lacking here for an out-of-the-box experience are the uninspiring mod wheel assignments. These can be custom-assigned, but many of the presets simply put a low-pass filter to hand in an increasingly wobbleless world this could have been set up in a much more creative way. Overall, this is a worthwhile investment for NEXUS owners who want to work on any electro-influenced bass music just be prepared to go under the hood and shape modulation assignments to suit your needs. MT

A very good product one that we would single out. Indicates a step forward in the implementation or application of a technology.

Value

Innovation

EXCELLENCE AWARD 10/10 The best in its class. This product produces superb results, is well implemented and sensibly priced. CHOICE AWARD 9/10 This product comes highly recommended and has an effective balance of features and performance. 8/10 A recommended product with features, performance and pricing that meets the needs of its target market. 7/10 A good product but with one or two question marks over ease of use or price. 6/10 This product has merit, but some improvements or a more competitive price would bring it closer to its target market. 5/10 Certain oversights in this products design and performance could limit its usefulness. 4/10 Buyer beware: this is a sliding scale of poor quality, overpricing and/or disappointing performance.

MT Verdict
Well-produced synth sounds that arent as immediately ready for mod wheel use as wed like.

OUR REVIEWS POLICY


At MT we take our reviews very seriously indeed. We aim to offer you nothing but the best information and expert opinion, helping you to make the right purchasing decisions. Our reviewers are experts in their field and talk to the manufacturers throughout the reviewing process to ensure accuracy.

8/10

94 | June 2013

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A huge collection of over 60 inspiring Q&As, informative seminars and insightful panel sessions covering a wide variety of topics

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DIGITAL PERFORMER 8 STEINBERG WAVELAB 8


Two of the software old guard reach version 8. Can they still do battle with the big boys?
Technique

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Issue 125 On sale 18 July

MASTERING IN REASON

Orchestral manoeuvres on the cheap


Contributors Rob Boffard, Mark Cousins, Keith Gemmell, Tim Hallas, Mike Hillier, Hollin Jones, Andy McLaughlin, John Pickford, Huw Price Cover photography Pete Canning www.viewpoint-photography.co.uk Managing Director Jon Bickley jon.bickley@anthem-publishing.com Art Director Jenny Cook jenny.cook@anthem-publishing.com Subscriptions & Back Issues Tel 0844 844 0398 (UK) Tel +44 (0)1795 592849 (overseas) Price (12 issues) 64.95 UK basic annual rate Printed by Polestar UK Print Limited +44 (0)1582 678900 Distributed by Marketforce (UK) Ltd, The Blue Fin Building 110 Southwark Street London SE1 0SU Tel +44 (0) 20 3148 3300 Licensing enquiries Jon Bickley +44 (0) 1225 489984 jon.bickley@anthem-publishing.com All content copyright Anthem Publishing Ltd 2013, all rights reserved. While we make every effort to ensure that the factual content of Music Tech Magazine is correct we cannot take any responsibility nor be held accouxntable for any factual errors printed. Please make every effort to check quoted prices and product specifications with manufacturers prior to purchase. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or resold without the prior consent of Anthem Publishing Ltd. Music Tech Magazine recognises all copyrights contained within this issue. Where possible we acknowledge the copyright holder. Music Tech Magazine, ISSN number 1479-4187, is published monthly (12 times per year) by Anthem Publishing c/o USACAN Media Dist. Srv. Corp.at 26 Power Dam Way Suite S1-S3, Plattsburgh, NY 12901 for US$129.99 per year. Periodicals Postage paid at Plattsburgh, NY and at additional mailing Offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Music Tech Magazine c/o International Media Services, 3330 Pacific Avenue, Suite 500, Virginia Beach, VA 23451-2983
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magazine November 2010

| 98

THE ULTIMATE MUSIC TECHNOLOGY RESOURCE


1000+ TUTORIALS, 500+ REVIEWS, 450+ FEATURES & INTERVIEWS

PLUS MORE NEW CONTENT EVERY DAY

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MT Your Disc

YourDisc
SAMPLE LOOPS/ /ROYALTY FREE & EXCLUSIVE

DVD124 4GB+ PC&Mac

This month we bring you whooshes and sweeps to sprinkle over your tracks, plus funk and jazz MIDI loops and cutting-edge synth sounds. Youll also find tutorials and videos covering Push, Live 9, Logic and more, the latest demos, software and promo videos.
Size 766MB Format 24-bit/44.1kHz, WAV, Kontakt, EXS24, NN-XT, Structure Transition effects are almost essential in modern electronic music, and good use of rising and falling sweeps can really help with the flow of a track, leading the listener to the next section and papering over any cracks. For this months lead pack, Prague-based producer Richard P James has called on his trusty SH-101 alongside the Access Indigo, Logics built-in synths and a host of SoundToys plug-ins to produce a range of pumping noise sweeps, metallic rising drones and pulsating LFO workouts. Youll find 180 loops at 125BPM, chopped and divided into folders of 4, 8 and 16 bars.

/ /FUTURE TRANSITION FX & SWEEPS


MIDI LOOPS / /ROYALTY FREE & EXCLUSIVE

MT PRO TECHNIQUE/ /15 MINS

/ /FUNK & / /ROB PAPENS JAZZ MIDI LOOPS SYNTH SECRETS


Size 291K Format MIDI Following on from last months inspiring MIDI loop collection, Equinox Sounds turns its attention to funk and jazz with a whole load of soulful melodies and grooves. There are 48 loops split across six construction kits, which include drum rhythms, funky bass lines, tinkling piano top lines, grooving keys, organs and clavs, plus gentle, melodic strings and pads. Folders are named by key and tempo (9299BPM) although, of course, you can easily import these MIDI loops and change the speed and pitch as you choose. Web www.equinoxsounds.com Size 786MB Format MP4, MOV To accompany the interview on page 30 weve got a few snippets from Rob Papens Secrets Of Synthesis book-and-four-DVD combo, which is one of the most extensive courses available on subtractive synth programming. First up, Rob introduces his 4-Element Synth approach, which divides the main parts of a subtractive sequencer into four separate sections, following with chapter tasters on waveforms, noise generators, detuning oscillators and filter types. Web www.timespace.com

/ /SOFTWARE
SOUND RADIX PI (Windows, Mac OSX)
A unique take on phase correction. Place instances on multiple tracks, then let Pi dynamically rotate the phase in real time to achieve maximum correlation, with the result of improved mono compatibility, greater spatial depth and better defined transients. www.soundradix.com

DEMO/ /SOFTWARE

VOXENGO SHINECHILLA (Windows, Mac OSX)


Shinechilla is an experimental harmonics generator that splits the audio into 32 bands, then generates 2nd, 3rd and 4th harmonics, with the ability to blend each back in with the original signal. www.voxengo.com

SALTLINE LISC-STEP (Windows)


DEMO/ /SOFTWARE

FULL/ /SOFTWARE

DEMO/ /SOFTWARE

KILOHEARTS DISPERSER (Windows, Mac OSX)


Disperser is an innovative phase-based plug-in that uses all-pass filters to add different delay to different frequencies. It can smear frequencies and sharp transients to help give you more headroom, and can also be used as a creative sound-design tool. www.kilohearts.com

Lisc-step is a state-variable filter with LP, HP, BP and BR modes that allows the user to create modulated filter patterns. You can control the cutoff with either an LFO or a 16-step sequencer with controls for rate, amount, direction and glide. www.saltline.co.uk

FULL/ /SOFTWARE

SLEEPY TIME DSP2 LISP (Windows)

Lisp is an automatic sibilance detection plug-in that can be used to de-ess your tracks. It uses a transient-detection algorithm coupled with fast frequency detection and phase-cancellation methods to remove unwanted sibilance. www.sleepytimedsp.com

98 | July 2013

magazine

Your Disc MT

SAMPLE LOOPS/ /ROYALTY FREE

/ /PRIME LOOPS CUTTING-EDGE SYNTHS


DVD124 4GB+ PC&Mac

Size 148MB Format 24-bit/44.1kHz WAV Prime Loops has become something of a specialist in modern, multi-genre synth loops, offering a huge range of products in different styles. Weve got tasters from seven of its finest synth-based releases, starting with the retro-tinged Neon Synths pack (reviewed on page 94). There are also screaming 303s taken from Acid Synths, pumping mainroom chords from Electro Synth Sessions, and tech patterns from Progressive Synths. If youre after something more urban, there are aggressive basses from Official Dubstep Synths and bouncy, melodic lines taken from the Trap Synths and Urban Synths packs. Web www.primeloops.com

/ /FUTURE FUTURE TRANSITION FX & SWEEPS


766MB of adrenalin-fuelled futuristic sweeps, metallic rising drones and pulsating LFO workouts
VIDEO TUTORIALS/ /60+MINS

SAMPLE LOOPS/ /ROYALTY FREE & EXCLUSIVE

If your DVD is missing please contact your newsagent

/ /ABLETON LIVE PUSH CHALLENGE


MIDI LOOPS/ /ROYALTY FREE & EXCLUSIVE

SAMPLES LOOPS/ LOOPS/ /148MB ROYALTY FREE

/ /CUTTING-EDGE / CUTTING-EDGE SYNTH LOOPS


VIDEO TUTORIALS/ /15+MINS

/ /FUNK & JAZZ MIDI LOOPS


VIDEO TUTORIALS/ /60+ MINS

/ /ROB PAPENS SYNTH SECRETS

/ /ABLETON PUSH CHALLENGE


Size 865MB Format MOV London-based Point Blank set its tutor, producer Ski Oakenfull, the task of creating a vocal house track in under an hour using only Push to control Ableton Live. Part 1 sees Oakenfull lay down drums, bass and synth parts to create several sections and record in vocals, written on the spot by vocalist and former student Viv May. Part 2 looks at fleshing out the arrangement. As an added bonus weve also got highlights from the Kate Simko Logic masterclass, which looks at adding effects to a plucked sound and building a drum groove. Web www.pointblanklondon.com

VIDEO FEATURE/ /30+ MINS

/ /LOOPBLOG
Size 398MB Format MOV LoopBlog has provided another helping of the latest producer content videos, including a review of the new Novation Launchkey and iPad app controllers, two great tutorials on Cable Guys Volume Shaper VST plug-in with producer Dom Kane, plus a guide to making your own acoustic diffuser treatments for your studio with The DSP Projects Rupert Brown. We also have Producertechs Rob Jones taking a look at using Maschines audio and MIDI outputs within Logic. Web www.loopblog.net

magazine July 2013

| 99

NEW!

With innovative new live features, advanced layering and synchronization options, new lter simulations and powerful effects, the new Nord Lead 4 is a exible synth thats just as brilliant on stage as in your studio.
OSCILLATE! Nord Lead 4 is a virtual analogue synthesizer with 2
oscillators per voice and 4 slots. New features include Wavetables with formants, Hard/Soft Sync, Noise-generator with dedicated lter and a true Unison-mode for meaty leads!

MODULATE! 2 LFOs and a Modulation Envelope can control anything


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sample-rate reduction, comb- ltering, a talk box-effect and a compressor. Each slot also features a tweakable delay with analogue-mode plus reverb.

Nord Lead 4R - Rack mountable table-top version

SYNCHRONIZE! Arpeggiators, LFOs and delays can all be


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