Listen to First Sounds of Elektron’s Analog Rytm Drum Machine

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Elektron’s upcoming hardware drum machine, the Analog Rytm, is silent no more.

The Swedish maker has posted audio samples of this 8-voice box, covering a range of styles. And you can see some specs now on the product page:

What you can’t do is order the Analog Rytm – not yet. There’s a waiting list so you can be notified when it goes on sale (not really a waiting list for the preorder, so much as a “now you can buy it” list):

We expect to be on top of a review before the beginning of summer. In the meantime, let’s have a listen.

I’ve seen a number of complaints about gear fetishization lately, and I do tend to agree that this isn’t really the point. So, um… yeah, don’t do that. Breathe deeply. It’s just some SoundCloud samples. No need to get all excited. There, did that work? (On the other hand, this is better than the completely silent AKAI demo unit some weeks ago… I look forward to later in 2014 when everything is in hand for reviews and making proper noise. That’s not a fetish thing, more the whole point of electronic musical instruments.)

The post Listen to First Sounds of Elektron’s Analog Rytm Drum Machine appeared first on Create Digital Music.

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Review & Video: Serato Video Plugin For Serato DJ 1.6.1

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Serato DJ users have just been treated to an updated version of the Serato Video plugin that brings with it some neat new features as well as full compatibility with the latest Windows and Mac OSX versions. The post Review & Video: Serato Video Plugin For Serato DJ 1.6.1 appeared first on Digital DJ Tips.


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Today Is Your Last Chance To Join Digital DJ Masterclass

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It only seems like yesterday we opened Digital DJ Masterclass, but the course is very nearly full and so we’re closing it down today... The post Today Is Your Last Chance To Join Digital DJ Masterclass appeared first on Digital DJ Tips.


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Build a Classic Synth, Reissued: Hands-on with KORG’s MS-20 Kit [Gallery]

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Call it the MS-20 “Biggie.”

A year after remaking their classic 1978 MS-20 synthesizer in a hugely-popular “mini” version, KORG surprised everyone by unveiling a second reissue this year, the limited-edition MS-20 Kit. Its innards are entirely identical to the MS-20 mini; component-by-component, the sound circuitry is the same. And since the MS-20 was a fairly convincing replica of the original, inaccurate mostly in that it can’t reproduce the aged components we’re now used to, that’s a good start.

Now I’ve had the experience of assembling and playing the kit, following up our debut with the mini last year, and can share what I’ve learned.

The differences in the special edition this year are mostly to do with size. Instead of the miniaturized keybed, enclosure, and jacks on the mini, you get an MS-20 that is physically indistinguishable from the original – full-sized keyboard, full-sized audio jacks. (Oddly, I read people complaining about the plastic sides. Sorry, everything old did not use Moog-style wooden endcaps; that is authentic.) There are only two things that are a giveaway this isn’t a vintage MS: one is the USB and MIDI port conspicuously added to the back, and the other, more telling sign, is that the thing is physically so darned clean, as it is a 2014 creation rather than late 70s / early 80s. Just as before, though, you even get a copy of the vintage manual and patching examples.

There was also one subtle change: you can switch between two analog filter circuits, choosing either the more unruly original MS-20 filter, or the cleaner, revised design included on later units. You select the different filters using a DIP switch inside the hardware. That means unscrewing the back panel – easily done, but still necessitating a screwdriver. Fortunately, KORG has also enabled a three-key startup sequence: depress those keys on the keyboard as you power on, and you can swap filter models on the fly. This appears not to be possible on the mini – certainly not without voiding the warranty.

Also changed is how the MS-20 Kit is delivered: as the name implies, you assemble it yourself. In fact, fully-assembled, it doesn’t quite fit in the box in which it’s packed.

In exchange for these differences, KORG significantly up-sized the price along with the physical hardware. The kit is going for a street of around 1300€ / US$1400. That’s roughly double what the mini costs. Think of this as a collector’s edition for die-hard enthusiasts. Given used MS-20 prices have climbed sky-high, it means you can still save a bit of money, and get a new unit that will function more reliably and hold its tune than the sometimes-unpredictable vintage hardware.

This is also why I expect the ARP Odyssey remake to carry a premium price. The MS-20 mini seems to be the one mass-market play.

In pieces... the Kit, as shipped. All of this arrives in little boxed compartments. You'll notice most of the analog-ness of the MS-20 is already in place, though: you're mostly assembling the enclosure and keybed, connecting ribbon cables, and attaching pots and jacks.

In pieces… the Kit, as shipped. All of this arrives in little boxed compartments. You’ll notice most of the analog-ness of the MS-20 is already in place, though: you’re mostly assembling the enclosure and keybed, connecting ribbon cables, and attaching pots and jacks.

You'll get up and close with the keybed. This one feels substantially different than the mini; size matters. (The cat joins for a bit of a paws-on review.)

You’ll get up and close with the keybed. This one feels substantially different than the mini; size matters. (The cat joins for a bit of a paws-on review.)

For the extra collectors' feeling, you get a note from the engineers.

For the extra collectors’ feeling, you get a note from the engineers.

IKEA Meets KORG: Grab the Hex Key, Synth Lovers

KORG delivered a kit to CDM to try out. To be honest, giddy a I was to get the box in hand, I was skeptical about the experience of using this MS-20. I was already pleased with the mini, meaning I would still tend to recommend that to most musicians wanting to add an MS to their rig.

But, now that I’ve spent time with it, I have begun to appreciate the logic of KORG adding this follow-up to last year’s mass-market mini. The size really does make a big difference. It’s hard to describe. You have the feeling of owning and playing the original, and yet … everything works perfectly. The instrument stays exactly in tune, combining the sound of the original MS-20 with the reliable performance of well-built modern hardware. And, oh yeah, it’s almost unnervingly clean, as in the level of grime on the outside. (Berlin air will probably solve that problem quickly, but still.) I expect purists will still be dissatisfied, but oddly, pragmatic purists may have finally found their match.

I don’t doubt that the price will – and should – limit the audience. But it’s best to think of the MS-20 Kit as a limited edition for enthusiasts, and the MS-20 mini as the model for the mass market. That would also explain the difference in price: it’s presumably down to a smaller production run, combined with the added costs of using full-sized parts. (Parts like pots can make a difference: I’ve had that experience as a manufacturer, and in the process of building the MS-20 Kit, you really notice how many bits and bobs go into this thing.)

Since the mini was extensively documented, I’ll focus here on the physical feeling of assembling the unit, which is the main change.

“Kit” to many synth enthusiasts means breaking out a soldering iron, so that audience may actually be a bit disappointed here. All you need is a couple of screwdrivers and the included hex key. Accordingly, the assembly process feels nothing if not like making something from IKEA – down to the printed instructions with graphic explanations.

It is fun to assemble the unit, no question; you get a feeling of being a bit more intimate with the synth. But most of the time in assembly is spent on the myriad knobs and patch points; there’s a whole lot of nuts-and-bolts assembly, literally. You can see some of that process in the images.

Analog though it may be, the real magic of the MS-20 is inside circuits that are already pre-manufactured on circuit boards. There just isn’t a lot for you to do apart from the mechanical assembly of those boards, the keyboard manual, and lots of physical controls and jacks. I think if you wanted to get closer to synthesizers as a DIYer, you’d probably want a bit of whiff of soldering. Of course, at the same time, you’d want to do that with a simple instrument, not an MS-20 that cost you well over a grand. And you won’t get anything that sounds like this once you’re done, either. So, the decision makes sense, even if it means you’re assembling the hardware from a much higher level.

Gear pr0n time, regardless:














Note the DIP switch for the different filter models. And, if you did want to do a hardware hack, clearly-labeled contact points.






On balance, the novelty of putting the thing together added to the fun, and gives you a feeling of being closer to the instrument once built than if you pulled it directly from the box. But the real investment in an MS-20 Kit won’t be motivated so much by that as the resulting synth. And there, this is something special.

Of course, KORG can’t keep going on with reissues forever. It’ll be equally nice to see new instruments, analog or otherwise, in the works. And that’s a challenge for our whole industry: we have to keep making history. Hopefully, the availability of this piece of history in more convenient form will inspire people to that challenge, perhaps looking back will drive some to look forward, as well.

But in the meantime, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the MS-20 mini as one of the better deals in synths right now, even with some tough (and more modern) competition, and the MS-20 Kit really is a gem for collectors willing to make a larger investment.

Gone in 60 Seconds… or, Patching in 60 Seconds

As for sounds, we’re working on some music and a sound library with the MS, so stay tuned – hopefully we make a drum kit that has a fresh take on some of the noises this beast can make, which we can share with you. And that’ll be free, in case your budget for synths at the moment is zero. (I know the feeling.)

While we work on that…

KORG USA’s Richard Formidoni, the talented and inventive product specialist, just sent me an examples of how weird and wild you can get with patching. (This is a mini, too, but as I said, the sounds and routings are identical.)

He calls it “hot-wiring” aka “Grand Theft Auto.” You’ll hear why. The MS-20 is really more semi-modular than modular, but it has just enough patch points for a vast array of what you would normally want to do.

If you want to try this yourself:

Pink noise – ESP Signal In
ESP Band Pass Filter Out – Ext. Signal In
Mod. generator saw/tri out – VCA In
VCA out – Total in
VCA Control Input – Button
VCO 1+2 CV in – Mod wheel
Trig. In and Trig. Out are the hot wires

And here’s “Hugo,” the track Benjamin Weiss and I produced as NERKKIRN with the original MS-20 mini – providing here, of course, all the synth sounds (not the percussion). Whether or not the mini sounded exactly like a particular vintage MS-20 to me isn’t even exactly the right question. Hardware quality tolerances aren’t the same in 2014 as when the MS-20 was made, hardware varies from unit to unit, and you can’t actually emulate the effects of age. (You also wouldn’t especially want to.) What we have found in producing with the MS-20 is that this is an instrument with real character, one we can push to find undiscovered sounds. It’s a pleasure to do it with one that has the feeling of the original, even if some of those effects are psychological. Psychology is really what instruments are about; they’re expressive devices, not scientific instruments. And the MS holds up, in a way that should indeed challenge creators of new electronic instruments, software or hardware, analog or digital, today.

“HUGO” | DIMENSION / Series video feat. NERK/KIRN from Peter Kirn on Vimeo.


More MS sounds coming soon.

The post Build a Classic Synth, Reissued: Hands-on with KORG’s MS-20 Kit [Gallery] appeared first on Create Digital Music.

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How To Play Long (5+ Hours) DJ Sets

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dj-harvey-long-dj-setsMost DJs who play a lot of gigs will at some point get the opportunity to take on a marathon gig, spinning tracks for upwards of 5 hours. As the length of a set increases, the more it differs from a "normal" set. How can you prepare for sets that last all day or all night? Read on for our tips, including advice from experienced long-haul performers Elite Force, David Morales, and DJ Harvey.

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Export Audio Mixdown Part 1: Understanding the Settings

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If you ask me how to increase your fan base or make more money out of your music business, I would give you a very important tip: sharing. Your music won't spread if you don't share it. 

The best way to improve your music is by sharing it, and receiving other people’s feedback and reviews. The tracks that you create, edit, mix and master needs to be exported to a common format for other people to listen to. This is where Cubase’s Export Audio Mixdown function is handy. 

In this tutorial, I will show you how to properly use this feature so that your music will be accessible to many more people.

Types Of Channels

Before you get into exporting audio, you need to know about the various types of channels that you have. They are:

Output Channels

Output channel are where all the audio that is routed to the Stereo Out bus is sent. Mixing this channel down will give you a file containing all of the audio data that was sent to the output channel. It also contains other types of output channels that you might have created, like Mono channels, LRCS, 5.1, etc.

Audio Channels

Audio channels contains all the data from the tracks with effects and EQ added. You can select different channels via checkboxes. If you have enabled Channel Batch Export, you have the option to mix each track to different files. You can also use them when you have an effect on a channel that takes up a lot of memory. You can export the track, and then reimport it as an audio file with the effects already added to it, which will greatly reduce the CPU usage. This is similar to the Bounce option in Pro Tools.

Other Channels

Other channels include FX Channels, VST channels, and ReWire Channels. You can use them to reduce CPU usage, or convert the VSTs and ReWire channels into audio files.

Prepare for the Mixdown

The first step in a proper mixdown is to set the locators. You must set the left and right locators to the areas that you need to be mixed. Use the shortcut keys Ctrl+Pad1 for the left locator and Ctrl+Pad2 for the right locator. If you have a selection that needs to be exported, select the section and press P, and the complete selection will be within the range of the locators.

If you find that the color between the locators turns red, it means that the location of the right and left locators are reversed. Exporting audio like this will show the error, “Not enough space on disk available for export.” Switch the positions of the left and right locators, and this problem can be avoided.

Once you have set the locators, you are ready to export. Make sure that you are happy with the sound. This includes all the automation, effects, inserts, etc.

Adjust The Settings

Now click Export > Audio Mixdown  and select the channels you want to mix from the Channel selector. Use Channel Batch Export if you want to export many channels at once. If you have many channels and want to find a single channel, use the Filter to type in the name of the channel.

In the File Name section, you can specify the name of the file and set the location for the file in the Path section. If you have selected Channel Batch Export, the file name will the changed to the prefix for the file names. 

To the right of the file name, you will find two options for naming:

  • Set To Project Name: This will set the file name as the name given to the project.
  • Auto Update Name: This will automatically update the name of the files with each export. It adds sequential numbering to the file each time it is exported. You can switch off this function by select this option again so that the check box besides it will go.

The next section is the File Path, where you will be able to define the location of the file. Onto the right, you can find a pop-up menu. This gives these options:

  • Choose: This opens up a dialog box where you can manually browse to the folder of your preference and type in the name of the file. The name will be automatically changed in the File Name field.
  • Use Project Audio Folder: This exports the audio file into the location where the project is stored. This is useful when you have to send the project files, backups, and rendered audios to the client.
  • Recent Paths: As the name suggests, you can select a previously used location for the file to be stored. You can also clear this list by using the Clear Recent Paths option.

Now select the file format from the drop-down menu. Each format has different options that can be adjusted. The detailed settings of each of these settings will be explained in the second part of this article.

You can activate the Mono Export option if you want to export a channel as a single mono file. The Split Channels option can be used to separate each channel of a bus into different files. For example, if you have a stereo channel, the files will be split into left and right files. Note that the Mono Export option is not available if the Channel Batch Export is activated. If you want to listen to your project in mono while mixing, read this quick tip.

Realtime Playback exports the file as it is played in realtime. This function can be useful if certain plugins or VSTs need to be updated correctly. Activate this option if you find any glitches or errors in the resultant file. But using this option might increase the load on the CPU and can cause errors. If an error occurs, the process is stopped and fewer number of channels are selected and processed. This process is repeated until all the channels are exported and thus can take a long time if there are many tracks and a not too powerful CPU.

The Update Display option can be used to watch the meters for any clipping or for other visual cues.

Import Into Project can be used to import the exported files into the project. Use the Pool option to import the exported files into the audio pool of the project. Activating the Audio Track option will import the files as an audio track into the project. The Create New Project will be activated only for uncompressed audio formats, and if the Use Project Audio Folder function option is deactivated.


With the knowledge you gained from this tutorial, you are at the point where you understand the various options of Cubase’s Export Audio Mixdown feature. In Part 2, you will learn the different formats that Cubase offers and which of them to choose for your project.  

Practice with the various values of these settings, and watch out for the next tutorial to learn how to choose the correct formats and the changes and adjustments that you can make to them.

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Watch Flappy Bird Make Ambient Music, Billiard Balls Bounce, in Lemur Hacks

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If Brian Eno were scoring the dreams of a gaming addiction, it might go something like this.

Yes, we already told you previously that Lemur 5 adding a canvas object would mean anything could be a controller. It makes the iPad controller app as much a blank, well, canvas, as your Web browser window, more or less.

But with relatively scant documentation, Lemur 5 assumed a lot of its users. I mean, it seems like you’d almost need some ingenious coder/hacker to turn this into something completely ridiculous, right?

Okay, that didn’t take long.

Someone going by the name “saveas909″ has appeared on the Liine Lemur forums, with some quick hacks that already demonstrate the possibilities. Flappy Bird, the nail-biting addiction, is transformed into zen-like ambient beauty. Riffing on the familiar ball physics seen in a traditional Lemur control (one going back to the original hardware), a billiard ball collision simulation both makes those circles bounce off one another and, in turn, generate lovely music.


If you weren’t already inspired to make use of the Canvas object, this might change your mind. And even if you aren’t the hacking type yourself, it’ll be fascinating to watch if this tool inspires more content for the Lemur as a platform.

Let your iPad Look Like Anything, Sequence Anything, with Lemur 5

And the developers:

The post Watch Flappy Bird Make Ambient Music, Billiard Balls Bounce, in Lemur Hacks appeared first on Create Digital Music.

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