‘R is for Roland’ is Coffee Table Pr0n For Synth Lovers

Blah, blah, the influence of the Roland drum machines, their musical/cultural significance… I’ve actually written those words before, so I’ll skip doing it this time. In case the YouTube subtitles aren’t working, let me translate the German from the making-of video below: “We decided to make a giant bit of pr0n for you because these … Continue →

The post ‘R is for Roland’ is Coffee Table Pr0n For Synth Lovers appeared first on Create Digital Music.

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Watch These Videos and Make Musical iOS Apps with Pd, Free

The challenge in making tools, as in making anything else, is really the making. It’s one thing for an idea to exist in your head, another to really get down to construction. And very often great engineering means testing, means building the idea and then refining it. So prototyping is everything. That could explain the … Continue →

The post Watch These Videos and Make Musical iOS Apps with Pd, Free appeared first on Create Digital Music.

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New Audac system for Fulbridge Academy

New Audac system for Fulbridge Academy

UK integrator Playfords and service provider Audiologic have supplied audio equipment for a series of immersive themed areas at the Fulbridge Academy primary school in Peterborough.

Fulbridge wanted to add a separate audio element for each of the 23 themed areas in three separate corridors, as well as another for the communal hall.

An Audac R2 multi-zone audio distribution unit with POW2 internal amplifier was rack-mounted alongside a group of eight CMP30s at the end of each corridor. An 8 x 8 digital audio matrix system based on a powerful DSP processor, the R2 is fully digitally controllable and the built-in digital matrix makes it possible to patch any of the input signals to any of the output signals. All of the R2 units were connected to each other via fibre to create a 24 x 24 matrix, which could broadcast in any combination from 24 separate audio feeds down to one individual feed across the whole system.

Two Audac DW5065 wall panels were included in the system as well. The first, located in the technicians office, facilitates the use of a microphone (Audac M86) for general announcements, which could override the entire system, while the second, located in the hall, allows for the easy connection of an external source, such as an iPod, and would override only the audio feed to that area. Procab cables and connectors were used throughout and a combination of 18 Ecler IC6 two-way ceiling speakers and six Audac ATE06 wall-mounted speakers were also provided, along with 24 Audac CMP30 media players for sending the required audio to all areas.

"When Fulbridge put their idea to us, we weren't immediately sure of a solution that would fit the bill and so we contacted Audiologic to consult with them over the possibilities," said Paul Smedley, project engineer at Playfords. "They are an ever-reliable source of great products and advice and as we'd expected, they were quick to make a suggestion. They invited us and the school's project director to a demonstration of the Audac products that they had recommended and that visit sealed the deal.

"The install itself was swift and trouble free and although there were some minor teething problems at the commissioning stage, these were quickly overcome with support from Audiologic's technical team. It's fair to say that the success of this project can be measured by the reactions of visitors to the school as they move between the zones. Audiologic were great partners in helping us fully realise Fulbridge's vision."

Rhys Maddox, digital learning co-ordinator at Fulbridge, added: "In the early stages of developing the idea we had some sounds in some of the corridors but it quickly became apparent that to create the holistic experience we were seeking, we needed to look for something more sophisticated. We really wanted a system that would be dynamic and easily changeable and thanks to Audiologic, that's exactly what we got.

"We are at the beginning of a journey with what we can do with the system and we look forward to developing the use of the technology even further as the months progress. Both Playfords and Audiologic went above and beyond in ensuring that we achieved precisely what we were looking for. Inspired by the success and popularity of the installation, we now are considering a plan to install a similar system in a new-build on the site, this time involving indoor and outdoor speakers."

Andy Lewis, sales and marketing manager at Audiologic reflected on the project: "Sometimes one becomes so focussed on the technical nature of projects that it's easy to overlook the impact that the finished results actually have," he commented. "We become wrapped up in the specifications and the kit and striving to ensure that we achieve operational and functional perfection. Of course there's nothing wrong with that, it's critical that we sustain the highest possible technical standards...In the case of Fulbridge, having solved some initial commissioning problems I took a step back and was struck by the sheer creative force that had been brought to life by the application of technology to a bright idea."


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Soundcraft reveals Si Impact digital mixer

Soundcraft reveals Si Impact digital mixer

Harman’s Soundcraft has introduced its new Si Impact digital mixing console.

Designed to be as simple as an analogue mixer, the Si Impact features workflow enhancements and DSP power for the stage and the recording studio.

The 40-input Soundcraft Si Impact offers live sound digital mixing with ViSi iPad control and built-in Stagebox connectivity for I/O expansion. In addition to its live sound components, the Si Impact has a 32-in/32-out USB recording and playback interface that provides multitrack recording and playback directly from a DAW. A free download of Ableton Live 9 Lite is included.

Its fully motorised faders come equipped with Soundcraft FaderGlow illumination technology and LCD channel displays or ‘scribble strips’ for visual feedback and operation.

The Si Impact provides 32 mic/line inputs, 40 DSP input channels (32 mono inputs and four stereo channels/returns) and 31 output busses (all with full DSP processing and GEQ) with 20 sub-group aux busses and four mono/stereo matrix busses.

Eight XLR/quarter-inch combi-jacks are available for line inputs and instruments, while a four-band fully parametric EQ is available for each channel and bus. The Si Impact also offers studio-grade effects and dynamics from Soundcraft’s sister companies BSS, Lexicon and dbx.

The Si Impact supports up to eight VCA masters and eight Mute groups, plus 26 motorised input faders and LR/Mono (fully motorised with four fully customisable fader layers). The console also features a 5in colour touchscreen display for access to show setup, patching, FX, and security.

“The Si Impact is the first of its kind in that it truly combines analog workflow with digital flexibility at a lower price than ever before,” said Sean Karpowicz, product manager at Soundcraft. “Most importantly, the Si Impact features the absolute best sound quality of any product in its category, on par with consoles many times larger and costlier. And thanks to the USB interface, it’s equally at home in the studio or on the road.”


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AES Warsaw team teases Technical Program

AES Warsaw team teases Technical Program

The 138th Audio Engineering Society Convention is set to begin tomorrow (7 May), running through to Sunday 10 May at the Sofitel Victoria Hotel in Warsaw, Poland, with a wealth of sessions on offer.

The show will feature a comprehensive Technical Program specifically assembled for the AES138 Convention – the AES’s first dedicated event in Poland.

The Papers and Engineering Briefs sessions will showcase the work of over 100 researchers on topics ranging from 22.2 multichannel to accelerometer-based motional feedback. There will be workshops bringing together panels of experts to discuss a range of provocative and practical topics, including music production for film, live sound and automotive sound. Tutorials will provide an overview of important audio fundamentals for both seasoned professionals and begineers, while Special Events will offer both entertaining and thought-provoking, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to hear from industry icons, the organiser says.  

Paper sessions will focus on a range of issues at the forefront of digital audio, some of which combine more than one area of concern, such as subjective loudness of impending 22.2 multichannel-format programs, and the use of convolutional neural networks for spatial audio classification. Workshops will be held focusing on areas of cinema sound, such as the panel of film-sound mixers featuring Kacper Habisiak, Marcin Kasinski and Filip Krzemian – three of Poland's leading cinema sound mixers – who will discuss their craft for professionals currently doing sound for picture, as well as students considering cinema sound as a career path.

Other workshops will look into audio for games, recent developments in sound field synthesis, and offer a discussion about new cinema audio standards under consideration and development. Tutorials across the four days of the event will touch on topics including audio forensics, mastering the home/personal studio environment and object-based audio for broadcast applications.

Attendees will also be able to participate in a number of Technical Tours, including visits to the Teatr Wielki Polish National Opera House, a tour of Polish National Public Radio, leading film sound post production facility Dreamsound, and the World Hearing Center.  


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Review: Resident Audio T4

Review: Resident Audio T4

Alistair McGhee checks out the world’s first bus-powered four-channel Thunderbolt interface from the new NYC-based manufacturer. 

The death of the ISA bus, the lack of Windows 7 drivers and beer. All have taken out much-loved audio interfaces. With two of the three untimely demises down to obsolescence, buying outside the crowd takes a bit of courage, which punchy newcomers Resident Audio seem to have by the bucket.

The upstart firm out of New York City has launched not one but two affordable Thunderbolt-based audio interfaces. And boasting a design guru with a backstory at ESI, Resident may be new but there’s plenty of audio interface experience under the hood.

Now you can probably shake your cynical old head and reel off 20 reasons for ignoring Thunderbolt – but I’m going to be contrarian and cheer for the underdog. If Apple in cahoots with Intel can be called the underdog.

Why is Thunderbolt a good idea? Well, first because Thunderbolt is PCIe-configured for outside the box and that means cool things – big bandwidth, low latency and an adapter cable to your existing firewire interface is twenty quid. Pretty neat from the legacy perspective. Of course every new Mac, bar the new MacBook, that rolls off the line has a Thunderbolt port and much of our industry is OSX-centric. And as Thunderbolt is not just PCIe but also DisplayPort it doesn’t necessarily even add an extra port. Not last or least, the Thunderbolt power bus offers 18V and carries 10W of power.

What can you do with a mighty 10W of power? Well, Resident Audio can make a T4 interface with four mics amps – all with 48V phantom – and power them all down the interface cable and then throw one of them in with the T4. Now Resident’s silicon supremo (the enigmatically named ‘Chess’) claims that even with the extra electrons provided by Thunderbolt, Resident has had to implement some custom chip wizardry to get this to work. I suppose time will tell. At the moment Zoom’s TAC 2 seems to be the only bus-powered alternative, but offers only two mic amps.

Call me lazy but not having to plug in a wall wart makes me feel like a better person, so bus power is good news. The T4 is at the affordable end of the market and I wasn’t expecting the rather satisfying heft of the product in my hand. This is well made kit.

The front panel has four combi XLR/jack inputs (MIDI in and out round the back) with individual gain controls, some switches for selecting line or instrument inputs and a 48V phantom switch. There are also two more controls – the big one labelled monitor and a smaller knob for ‘input mix’. The T4 does need a driver on OSX and the software comes on a rather neato folding credit card-style USB stick. My Mac has Yosemite 10.10.2 and the install was painless.

In Use

Let’s start with inputs. Open your DAW (Reaper in my case) and select the T4 and you will have four inputs available for recording. The software panel has some metering for inputs and outputs and gain control for outputs. The panel also allows sample rate selection; buffersize is controlled by your DAW.

Each input knob has a wrap-around tri-colour LED (as does the input to mix control), which indicates signal level. It’s enough visual feedback to get you in the zone – use your DAW’s meters for fine grain adjustments. The mic amps are clean and capable of getting your audio goodness down. Against my Nagra LB using a Neumann KM 184, I thought the Resident was possibly a shade brighter and a tad thicker in the low mids. Moving to dynamics I tried SM58s and my SQN mixer. Again, the T4 did a fine job but was slightly noisier than the SQN. As you might expect, all in all high-quality sound.

At 44.1 and 24-bit I worked my way down the buffer sample size. The absolute bottom seems to be about 14 samples. At 16 samples I was able to record all four inputs and record a three-minute song without problems. This was into a clean EDL. Having got four tracks down, I was able to play them back with no processing or effects and record another four tracks. Reaper declares this latency to be round about 1ms, which we will take with a ladle of salt. But not too shabby. More complex EDLs are going to require an adjustment to the buffers. And with just the Thunderbolt connection, phantom to three Neumanns and an AKG wasn’t a problem, and often overlooked there was ample headphone drive.

And so on to outputs. You have five – four line level (with output three doubling as a second headphone output) and one headphone output. In stereo mode, your monitors are plugged into outputs one and two and the level is controlled by the monitor knob on the front panel – as is the volume to your headphones.

When you plug up all four outputs then you automatically engage multichannel output mode. Now the monitor knob controls the headphone levels while the line outputs are controlled from the software panel. In multichannel mode the input mix control feeds only the headphones, while in stereo mode it also mixes the inputs with the stereo line output. Confused? I kind of am too, but it all seems to work and keeps things clean and simple.

I like the T4 – it is an intriguing blend of high-quality sound and finish with functional and operational simplicity. There’s no digital I/O or word clock but the sound, convenience and usability make it a worthy flag bearer for Thunderbolt. And if you want that package cheaper and smaller and only need two mic inputs, then the T2 is a steal.

Alistair McGhee began audio life in Hi-Fi before joining the BBC as an audio engineer. After 10 years in radio and TV, he moved to production. When BBC Choice started, he pioneered personal digital production in television. Most recently, Alistair was assistant editor, BBC Radio Wales and has been helping the UN with broadcast operations in Juba.


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Review: Samson RXA5 Active Studio Monitors

Resolv_RXA5_angleA great sounding set of studio monitors can do wonders for our productions. We’re not looking for something to add magic to our tracks; instead we want an honest representation of the music. Most people will be listening on systems that color music in one way or another. Clear sounding monitors with a flat response will help us sculpt a mix that sounds good on any system. Today we look at a set of affordable studio monitors that do just that, the Samson Resolv RXA5 Active Studio Monitors.

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Music Production: Ten Methods for Increasing Productivity in the Studio w/ Curl Up

Have you ever had a session that just didn’t go anywhere? We’ve all been there, and that’s quite alright! It’s all part of the process. However, there are a few things we can do to keep these types of sessions to a minimum or turn ‘em around into something useful. In this article, Dubspot’s Dan Salvaggio (aka Curl Up) explores ten methods for increasing productivity in the studio.


1. Environment

This tip is an easy one. Your studio should be a place where you can focus and aim to enter what is known as a Flow State. A common misconception here is that cleanliness is an automatic boost to productivity. However, as Albert Einstein once said, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then what are we to think of an empty desk?” As a fairly messy person, this statement has always stuck with me. The point is that your studio environment should be a positive, comfortable, inviting, inspiring space.

2. Minimize Time Away from the Studio

The best weapon you have to combat this is solid preparation. Instead of starting your day by rushing to the computer and trying to force out a song, consider taking care of anything that’ll surely pull you from your project. Have to feed the cat? Take the dog out? Go grocery shopping? Do your laundry? Taking care of these tasks before entering the studio eliminates many potential distractions. Are you a coffee addict? I sure am! Purchasing my own coffee maker and absolutely massive coffee mugs has removed the need for hourly deli trips.

3. Take Breaks

While maximizing the amount of work completed in a session is key, taking small breaks is a healthy necessity and will actually help support that goal in the long run. Frustrated with a project that just won’t come together? Take a break, but keep it brief! You want to break long enough to feel refreshed when you return to the project, but not so long that you lose any inspiration or momentum. I utilize something akin to the Pomodoro Technique. I set a timer on my phone for 55 minutes and when it goes off (*dogs barking.wav*), I take a 3-5 minute break to stretch, pet the cat, grab a snack, or maybe even pop outside for some fresh air. How you spend your breaks is important as well. You don’t want to get pulled into a compelling YouTube video or engage in a heated Facebook debate when there’s work to be done!

4. Structure

I’ve been fortunate enough to meet and speak with many producers I am fond of. When speaking of production, one thing seems to be common amongst all of them. Many say that while in the studio, they almost always go in with a game plan or goal they hope to achieve by the end of the session. This approach could be as simple as, “I’m going to make a Garage track today.” I’m sure we’ve all had those moments when we stare at a blank session in our DAW, and the first move to make eludes us. Having a plan of action is excellent for avoiding that whole mess. Mind you, this doesn’t exclusively pertain to genres or even full songs; set goals for designing sounds or deconstructing your favorite tunes. There’s never nothing to do in the studio. Setting goals is not only a great way to get the ball rolling, but it also feels good. In many ways validating to achieve them, no matter how small they may seem.


5. Set up Templates

If you aren’t utilizing templates within your DAW, prepare for a HUGE boost in productivity! Inspiration often hits us at very inconvenient times. Even when we’re able to act on these ideas immediately, there’s that whole step of finding workable sounds to use to get said ideas down into the software. This method can be detrimental, as it pulls you away from your idea, running the risk of losing it forever. Having a template already set up removes this step entirely. Simply create one or several new project files loaded with kits and sounds you’ve made or just enjoy. When that great idea manifests itself in your brain, pop open a template and get to work! That’s all there is to it! You can always come back later and edit/replace sounds as you see fit. The most important thing here is that you’re able to get your ideas down quickly so that you can immediately begin developing them into full songs.

6. Stay Organized

Organization is by far easiest thing to lose sight of, especially these days when we’ve got terabytes of sample libraries and synths at our disposal. Knowing where your best, favorite, go-to sounds are can quickly become a valuable producer skill for a number of reasons. For one, being able to keep your momentum up is a beautiful thing. Second, less time spent browsing folders and fiddling around with synths leads to more time spent focusing on composing robust content. By no means am I suggesting foregoing any experimentation in a general sense. When your goal is to complete a project in question in a timely fashion, it’s very easy to get caught up playing around with new things and losing sight of the true task at hand.


7. Less is More

A long time ago when I was just beginning to transition from instrumentalist to producer, I made the very common rookie mistake of investing in far too much gear and software without knowing what I actually needed. This mistake led to countless months of toying with gear and my output (in terms of actual songs) suffered greatly because of it. Over time, I learned that less is more. By that, I mean having fewer tools at your disposal, ones that you know like the back of your hand, is far more beneficial than having every hot new device on the market. As with many of the points made in this article, the less there is to think about outside of producing quality songs, the better. When you’re in the middle of composing a new work, throwing your momentum out the window to learn a new synth is going to throw off your whole flow. Use fewer tools and use them well.

8. Finish Your Songs

One of the most common things I’ve heard budding producers say is “I have a folder of loops I made, but when I come back to them, I can never turn them into full, finished songs.” A method I picked up at a lecture from super-producer ill.Gates a while back was aim to finish your composition in one session. As I’d mentioned before, you can always come back and edit/replace sounds. When it comes to the writing stage, ‘striking while the iron’s hot’ is crucial. This approach leads to more songs written, more ideas explored and, as a result, more progress made! Additionally (a bit of advice I picked up from my friend and awesome house producer, Alex Burkat), finish ALL your works whenever possible, even the songs that aren’t very serious. Developing ideas is a skill in itself and practice makes progress, especially if it’s outside of your comfort zone.

9. Make a LOT of Songs!

I am a firm believer in that every artist needs to produce hundreds, maybe even thousands of terrible pieces before getting to ‘the good stuff.’ “It takes 10,000 hours to become an overnight success.” As any successful person will tell you, failure leads to new perspectives (i.e., seeing what works and what doesn’t) which leads to future successes. As long as you’re learning from them, making mistakes is one of the most beneficial things you can do. The creative portion of your brain is a muscle, and you should exercise it like any other. Eyal Levi, an accomplished metal producer, wrote a fantastic article about just this for the metal blog, MetalSucks.net. I highly recommend reading it. Eyal makes a compelling argument for working whether you’re inspired or not. The more often you work at your craft, the more likely you are to see a return on your investment in the form of quality work.

10. Put Yourself out There

Full disclosure: this is and has always been my greatest struggle. If I could, I’d spend months in the studio toiling away at all kinds of weird songs I’d never show anyone. As Mr. Carmack, “make music like nobody’s listening,” and that’s very true when it comes to the creation aspect of making music. Beyond that, there are immense benefits to be reaped from allowing others to hear your work, be it privately or on a larger scale. Feedback from producers and fans alike is a valuable resource. Not only is it extremely validating and inspiring when people respond positively to something you posted, but putting your work out there brings a sense of closure. The project is complete, it’s out there. There’s no need to go back and change anything. It’s time to work on new music, grow, and explore new ideas!

EDU Summer Sessions

Music Foundations

The best producers, DJs, and musicians in the world strive to be well-rounded. So should you. In Dubspot’s Music Foundations Program, you’ll explore three major aspects of music: rhythmic theory, melodic theory, and critical listening.

Unravel electronic music’s origins, build your chops, learn musical language and theory, and make and play music the way you want.

Click here to view the embedded video.

What’s Included:

  • Music Foundations Level 1: Pads & Rhythmic Theory
  • Music Foundations Level 2: Keys & Melodic Theory
  • Music Foundations Level 3: Critical Listening

“This course exceeded my expectations. I went through everything I needed to have a solid knowledge of basic music theory.” – Jonathan Crespo, Miami

“MF has been an amazing experience! I didn’t realize I was going to learn so much about electronic music history, something my generation missed.” – Yianno Koumi, United Kingdom

Start dates and information about payment plans can be found here.

Or if you have questions, please call 877.DUBSPOT or send us a message.


The post Music Production: Ten Methods for Increasing Productivity in the Studio w/ Curl Up appeared first on Dubspot Blog.

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