Nov 282012

This NI Reaktor synth slipped below my radar when it first came out a year ago.  It was recently recommended by a friend and the demos look pretty sweet.  The sound character definitely has a similar glossiness that some of the other recent NI synths like Razor and Laserbass have.  The  quality I’m talking about is thin and lacks punch, but when dropped into a mix it has no problem staking out it’s own territory in the frequency spectrum.  It can be not only present but really FORWARD in a song without stepping on the toes of any other instruments, synths included.  I also just love these synths for their uber future-y sound appeal.

It seems that right now this is where the evolution of synthesis technology is the most exciting.  I love modern analogs too, but when it comes down to it they’re really nothing more than yet another reinvention of the wheel with a few extra bells and whistles.  Check this video and decide for yourself . . .

Nov 272012

This is a video overview by Brent Kallmer of Antonio Blanca’s DRON-E – an atmosphere generator that uses samples as the building blocks for unreal textures and drones. This video takes you on a flyover of Antonio’s creation and gets you set for your own explorations.

After downloading it and looking it over I was initially confounded by the interface.  But the description in this video makes the GUI resemble some of Twisted Tools’ software.  So I might have to give Dron-E a second chance.  The demos definitely sound appealing.


Oct 232012

Studio Wormbone hasn’t jumped on board yet with the new fangled touchy-feely computers like the iPad.  But viddies like this one present a compelling desire.  Visually speaking, this interface looks absolutely stunning.  It appears to our eyes to be about 1000 years ahead of it’s time.

Demo video for the soon-to-be-released interactive granular sampler. More info here:

Oct 032012


Universal Audio (UA), a leading manufacturer of professional audio recording hardware and software, is pleased to announce a complete re-imagination of the popular UAD-2 Powered Plug-Ins platform. Highlighted by the new flagship UAD-2 OCTO DSP Accelerator card, featuring eight SHARC processors, the UAD-2 Series offers new Custom and Ultimate software bundles and more affordable pricing for all UAD-2 SOLO, DUO, and QUAD DSP Accelerator models. 

New OCTO DSP Accelerators — Heavyweight Processing Power
The new top-of-the-line UAD-2 OCTO DSP Accelerator ($1,499US) features eight SHARC processors on a single PCIe card and easily installs into a PCIe-equipped Mac or PC workstation or compatible expansion chassis — giving music producers and engineers twice the processing power of its UAD-2 QUAD DSP Accelerator counterpart. For UAD power users running large audio sessions with high UAD plug-in instances and/or high sample rates, the UAD-2 OCTO DSP Accelerator is the uncompromising professional solution.

New UAD-2 “Custom” Bundles — Pick Any 3 UAD Plug-Ins
For just $400US more than a UAD-2 DUO, QUAD, or OCTO “Core” DSP Accelerator model, UAD users can now step up to UAD-2 Custom bundles, selecting any three individual UAD plug-ins within 45 days of their new UAD-2 hardware registration. With a world-renowned UAD plug-in library that includes Ampex®, Manley®, Lexicon®, Studer®, EMT®, Empirical Labs®, Neve®, SSL®, Roland®, and more, UAD-2 Custom bundles deliver a potential software value of more than $1,000US (depending on UAD plug-ins selected), at significant savings to new UAD-2 users.

New UAD-2 “Ultimate” Bundles — The Definitive Collection
Combining the most powerful UAD-2 DSP Accelerator hardware with the most complete UAD plug-in bundle available, the new UAD-2 OCTO Ultimate (PCIe card format) and UAD-2 Satellite QUAD Ultimate (FireWire format) packages offer an extensive library of more than 55 UA-developed plug-ins, up to and including UAD Software v6.3*. These UAD-2 Ultimate packages represent the definitive collection of more than 10 years of UAD plug-in development.

More Affordable UAD-2 SOLO, DUO, and QUAD Core Models
Alongside the new UAD-2 hardware and software introductions, UA is debuting new, more affordable pricing for the “Core” models of UAD-2 SOLO, DUO, and QUAD PCIe hardware and UAD-2 DUO and QUAD Satellite FireWire hardware. All UAD-2 Core models include the popular “Analog Classics” plug-in bundle, featuring the LA-2A Classic Audio Leveler, 1176LN/1176SE Classic Limiting Amplifiers, Pultec EQP-1A, and RealVerb Pro plug-ins. Additional UAD plug-ins can be purchased from UA’s Online Store.

Sep 102012

Sonic Charge Patternarium

From their website:

What is this?

What you are experiencing above are computer generated patterns for µTonic created through principles of evolution. All the sounds and rhythms you are hearing are produced by algorithms running on our servers (even the names are made up by random). Think of Patternarium as a giant collaborative patch randomizer.

How does it work?

Our servers are regularly spawning new generations of a thousand unique patterns, each one being the cross product of two other patterns picked at random. The higher votes a certain pattern receives, the more likely it is to get picked and bear offspring into the next generation. This means that you may participate and influence the outcome of Patternarium simply by voting.

Please, click “vote up” on the kinds of rhythms you would like to hear more of and click “vote down” on the kinds you can live without.

How can I use the patterns?

If you stumble upon a preset that you would like to use you can save it to disk as an “.mtpreset” file and load it into the µTonic plug-in. Even slicker, if your µTonic is up and running, simply click the “copy” button and paste it directly into µTonic (using the “main menu” in µTonic). Once loaded into the plug-in it is easy to tweak the pattern to make it sound just like you want it to.

Where can I find µTonic?

You can download a demo version from our download section by following the link below. µTonic is a plug-in that require a host application that supports VST 2.4 or Audio Unit 2 plug-ins. If you do not have a host application you can still try µTonic by downloading a free host such as VSTHost for Windows or VSTLord for Mac.

Sep 012012

Pretty much every sound that comes out of Studio Wormbone has passed through a minimum of at least two Universal Audio plugins.  Here’s an interesting article about the process that UA uses to create their software emulations of renowned signal processors.

Aug 132012

Here at the ‘Bone we’ve been working for the past week straight with the newly released program called S-Layer from Twisted Tools.  Let me just say at the outset that this is an absolutely fantastic bit of software wizardry!  This post isn’t intended as a tutorial (there’s already one available here) or a full review, but rather a summary of first impressions.

The idea behind S-layer is one shot sample layering – hence the name.  At first glance this sounds static and unappealing.  But this NI Reaktor ensemble takes the notion to radical extremes by providing a wide variety of synthesis control options.  The result is a wildly creative way to simultaneously meld, mold, and modulate new one shot samples comprised of up to eight stacked individual source samples.  A generous amount of features are available for making the end results come alive.

Because of the complexity of what S-Layer is capable of, the interface takes a few hours to get comfortable with and a few sessions to get fluent with.  (Having prior exposure to other Twisted Tools programs definitely helps to figure things out since all of their programs tend to be consistent with design and layout, thankfully.)  I was able to establish an understanding of almost everything before having to open the user guide to figure out a few remaining questions.

Perhaps the strongest aspect of this program is it’s functionality for harnessing serendipitous chaos.  Most of it’s settings are able to be left to chance with individual function and/or global randomization options.  This means that it can be told to find inventive new combinations of sounds without having to be tediously programmed.  This is accompanied by a user definable range per setting so that there is an appropriate amount of ‘steering’ the results in any desired direction.  So what you end up with is a wonderfully usable balance between creative control and rolling the dice to see what fate hands you.  The randomization allows enough user input for the results to feel gratifyingly personalized to the user’s own taste.

So which one is it – a sampler, an effect plugin, or a softsynth?  Well the short answer is . . . yes!  It embodies attributes of all of these.  It’s main intent isn’t for use as a tonal instrument for writing chord progressions or noodling out melodies or basslines.  But if you feed it pitched samples and turn on the transpose button then it can be used in that fashion.  What it excels at however is quickly generating new theme and variation versions for synthetic style drum kits, colossal cinematic impacts, and liquid technological sci-fi robot mechanization sound effects.  It can also manipulate loops and generate rich ambiances.

After working with it for a week I’m only getting warmed up to all of it’s possibilities.  The presets are quite usable.  But admittedly after only hearing a handful of them I was immediately inspired to launch off into conceive-your-own-sounds territory, and haven’t looked back since.   I’ve already stockpiled a metric ton of recorded one shot sample hits to be edited and sorted for future musical applications.  Soon I’ll be loading in my own samples in order to create new content for sound pack releases akin to Cybernetic, Animal Robotix, and Droid Artworkx.

If you’re a sound designer that’s into drastically warping existing sound files into exotic and bizarre new flavors with every minor knob tweak and slider nudge, then S-Layer should become your next Twisted Tool!



Jul 102012

The new Twisted Tools product called S-Layer looks very cool indeed!  I’m a big fan of past Twisted Tools releases like Scapes, Buffeater, and Vortex.

What I like about the brand (among other things) is it’s originality of sonic character.  Though all of their releases do different things in different ways, most of the results end up with a liquid metallic sort of flavor about them.  This can be heard most evidently in many of the alien robot technology elements used for the sound design in the Transformer movies.  This is serious FSU (f*ck sh*t up!) territory, like obscenely modulating effects, wildly warping a sequence, or . . . well TWISTING sounds in all variety of manners.  Take it from me the company is appropriately named.  This is sound designer’s heaven where the tiniest of knob tweaks takes you to drastically new territory.

One limitation is that all of Twisted Tools’ programs are Native Instruments Reaktor ensembles meaning they are basically sub-programs that only run within Reaktor.  But if you haven’t given yourself the gift of exploring Reaktor yet it’s well worth the sticker price since it’s essentially an entire world of synthesis and sound design unto itself.  Reaktor is more like a DAW within your DAW that contains hundreds of instrument and effect plugins.  The option to create your own is possible too which is what the fine folks at Twisted Tools do to bring us awesome programs like this: