Akai return to mobile with iMPC’s powerful, beatmaking sequel

Akai Professional have been making digital music creation quality at an affordable price for years and the follow up to their brilliant beat-making app takes that power on the road.

There are innumerable music making apps on mobile devices these days, putting the power of music creation in the hands of anyone with a smartphone and allowing them to take that potential anywhere. When it comes to music making apps though, there is definitely a cream of the crop and Akai’s iMPC has sat nicely in that category for 6 years.

Now a sequel to the beloved and powerful mobile beatmaker is only a month away and we are very excited for all of the new opportunities arriving in Akai’s iMPC 2. As with the original iMPC the app brings their renowned drum sampling and beatmaking MPC (Music Production Controller) hardware into a smartphone that is surprisingly capable of replicating it’s dedicated forefathers on a small touchscreen.

The iMPC 2 brings audio track recording, powerful production tools and the iconic MPC workflow to iOS devices better than ever. The app has evolved into a fully fledged song creation tool with it’s second generation thanks to the addition of vocal tracks bringing a whole new layer to your mixes, the integration of Audio Units, a sleek new design for the best performance, and much more.

An entirely new sound kit is included with iMPC 2 , designed just for the iPhone app. The sounds included cover some of the most iconic sounding beats throughout history through to cutting edge new percussive noises. Their expansive sound kit all comes for the Akai Professional vault with samples from punchy 808’s to melodic hits and stabs, designed for the best user experience possible.

Not just new sounds and features are being added in iMPC 2 though, there is an entirely new platform for creators to revel in and hone their skills. iMPC University is a new tutorial section, unlocking a new producer secret every day. Akai promise “an expansive dive into the world of beatmaking and song editing through these courses” that they promise will be fun and valuable whether your a pro or just getting started.

Here’s the full line-up of wicked features coming in iMPC 2:

Audio Tracks: 

  • Record from built in mic, external mics, audio interfaces, instruments, etc.
  • Record from Inter App Audio Apps
  • Warp Tracks and Clips to match tempo
  • Access several quick editing features on Audio Clips (Pitch shift, Time Stretch, Amplify, Crop, Split, Duplicate)
  • Drag to arrange Audio Clips, snap them to an adjustable grid setting
  • Advanced waveform editing

AudioUnit integration:

  • Audio Unit tweak mode with full keyboard support (including 2 dozen scale modes from Chromatic to Blues to Aeolian)
  • 100% New Sound Set, with 4 additional free Sound Packs
  • Sample sounds from Spotify
  • 64 Track Mixer with EQ and 4 FX sends (Reverb, Delay, Chorus/Flange, and one Inter App Audio Effect)
  • Chop-shop provides intuitive multi-touch editing, trimming, auditioning, splicing, splicing and processing samples
  • Tracks View shows an overview of all the tracks in your song
  • 16 Levels mode with attack, velocity, length, and tuning settings for quickly creating variations of sounds
  • Live Sequence queuing for real-time performance and playback
  • Time correct: 1/8 note – 1/32T with variable swing
  • MPC Note Repeat featuring 1/8 note – 1/32T timing with latch
  • IAA and Ableton Link support
  • Share beats and songs seamlessly to YouTube
  • 4 Mute Groups and custom-designed envelope filters for all pads
  • AudioCopy and AudioPaste support
  • Improved integration and support for iMPC Pro Packs and other Sound Packs from the AudioCopy Content Store
  • Expert MIDI support including expanded options, multiple maps, and more
  • Extensive undo/redo capabilities
  • New Song Arrangement workflow and integrated Song Mode makes song creation easier than ever
  • Drag entire Folders and Sound Packs directly to pads to load many sounds at once

Akai Professional’s iMPC Pro 2 for iPhone is expected to release on the Apple App Store on the 10th December. You can pre-order the app now for $4.99.

The best sites for free samples and loops to download

Loops and samples are a producers best friend, providing endless opportunities to use and rework unique sounds, melodies and rhythms into a new surrounding. But quality samples are hard to find without denting your wallet, so we’ve collected the best places to go where they are free to download.

SampleRadar

SampleRadar loops multi loops samples free download royalty free music production

SampleRadar is a giant hub of free loops, hits, and multis offered by music news and tech publication MusicRadar. It’s updated all the time and full of every type of sample you could ever imagine. Whether you’re looking drum hits, acoustic guitar samples, reggae loops, ambient sounds, or really just anything – SampleRadar has the packs for you.

There are over 66,000 samples available for completely free download with SampleRadar. All of the samples are royalty free and come from the discs included with Computer Music and Future Music magazine. We highly recommend you have a scroll through all the packs that they have to offer and expand your library with a whole host of tasty new sounds and samples.

Converse Rubber Tracks Sample Library

Converse Rubber Tracks sample library samples sampling loops hits music production producer

Converse are best know for their shoes but they also have a wicked audio library full of high quality samples that they’re giving away for free. The Rubber Tracks Sample Library is a bunch of professional samples recorded at Converse’s Rubber Track studios.

There are percussion packs, moog synth sounds, clips, blips, trips and much more. All of the samples in the surprisingly extensive library are free download and entirely royalty free so you can use them however you like with no strings attached.

Producer Loops

Producer loops music production samples loops hits sampling

Producer Loops isn’t inherently a free sample site but it does currently offer 86 amazing sample packs at no cost. And their free offerings may not be as regularly updated as the rest of the website but you can be sure that when a new pack is added it will be a quality treat.

The highlighted pack is currently in theme with next week’s festivities and offers a spooky Halloween selection of loops based on recent tracks from producers like Martin Garrix and Steve Aoki. Every pack is up to a premium standard and offers a wide selection of tasty sounds that are completely free to use

Samplephonics

Samplephonics free samples loops music production sampling

As with Producer Loops, Samplephonics offers a premium library of paid for sample packs. But with premium charges comes premium sample packs, so you know that their free offerings are of real worth and the best quality.

You will need to sign up with a free account to take advantage of Samplephonic’s free library of samples, loops, and packs – even synth presets. With packs ranging from amazing brass recordings, future bass effects, professional vocals and much more, Samplephonics has a lot to offer the producer on a budget.

HipHop Makers

Hip Hop makers samples production music producers

Despite the site’s name HipHop Makers have loads of high quality packs for anyone, regardless of style. That said, if you’re a Hip-Hop producer you may have just found your new favourite site for sample packs.

The bread and butter of this site are the numerous drum kits, drum loops, hits and basically the hundreds of percussive possibilities offered in the multiple packs on HipHop Makers. It doesn’t stop there though with Kanye West style loops for inspiration, heavy brass for some fat melodic beats, piano loops for an old school sound, and much more.


Any sites that you use and love for free samples? Share the love and post them in the comments below.

Mix it up with 275 free retro drum machine samples

SampleRadar are back with an awesome bundle filled with great sounding samples that will spice up your mix and it’s totally free to download.

There’s a great new pack out on MusicRadar’s awesome sample site where they offer thousands of samples of all varieties for free. The new pack available on SampleRadar will breathe new life into your percussion with 275 retro drum machine sounds from that go beyond Roland’s infamous TR range with their own unique sounds.

The collection features samples from old and under-appreciated models like the Soundmaster SR-88 drum machine, Pearl SY1 Syncussion drum synth, and the Casio MT40 synth’s rhythm section. The 275 samples are made up of both raw and processed hits and loops for a versatile range of sounds to play with in your mixes.

Check out what sounds you get included in the pack in this SoundCloud playlist:

The pack is divided up into 2 sections of hits and loops that are arranged by tempo so you can easily sort through the type of sample you need and which will suit what you want to create best. The samples are ready to be imported straight into your DAW or sampler in WAV format and are all royalty free so you can use them however you like, even commercially – except you can’t redistribute/sell them.

If you’re looking for even more free and exciting sounds to liven up your tracks and mixes then head to the SampleRadar hub where they’re offering over 50,000 samples in a massive variety of packs sure to inspire anyone of any musical preference to create something new.

Download your pack of free retro drum machine samples now and start beatmaking with some cool, rarely heard sounds.

SoundCloud is coming to 6 DJ programs

Get ready to expand your record collection for spinning as SoundCloud are bringing their giant music catalogue into DJ software.

SoundCloud have just announced an upcoming partnership with 6 different DJ programs that will bring their vast catalogue of nearly 200 million tracks into your mix. The partnership will see SoundCloud directly integrate themselves into some of the world’s top DJ software so that you can instantly select and spin any track from SoundCloud.

The six leading DJ applications that SoundCloud will integrate their library into (soon) are:

  • Native Instruments
  • Serato
  • Virtual DJ
  • DEX3
  • Mixvibes
  • DJuced/Hercules

SoundCloud’s giant music library has been built up over the years by creators all over the world uploading their music for the world to hear. Whether it be budding DJs, underground hip-hop artists, garage rock bands, or ambient producers, everyone has a home on the international, open platform meaning their variety of music is unparalleled and independent. With the introduction of their subscription services SoundCloud Go and Go+ in recent years the service has also added a giant library of label tracks that you’d find on traditional streaming services.

SoundCloud are planning to roll out the integrations over the next few months, but have no specific dates or order for when they will release. To access SoundCloud’s library in any of the selected DJ softwares, users will require a SoundCloud Go+ account to access premium content. This week SoundCloud also announced that high quality audio streaming is now available for Go+ subscribers meaning DJs can access an unparalleled music library in the best possible quality.

This $180 synth plugin is now yours for free

We all love a big, fat, and powerful synth to add to our library. Vember Audio’s quality Surge plugin is amazing, and it’s just received a 100% price cut.

We have an absolute treat for you with a powerful synth plugin that can be yours with the click of a button, at no charge. Vember Audio released their quality Surge synth over a decade ago and it has stood the test of time with endless capabilities using it’s wavetable oscillators and FM-style algorithms.

On launch full access to the beautiful possibilities of Surge would have set you back $180 but now Vember Audio are relinquishing the monetary chains and offering it to everyone for free. Vember have made Surge free and open-source, they say: “For the existing users this will allow the community to make sure that it remains compatible as a plug-in standards and Operating Systems evolve. For everyone else, this is an exciting new free synth to use, hack, port, improve or do whatever you want with.”

They say of their great synth: “Architecturally speaking, Surge is a rather complex synthesizer. But because of how it’s put together it’s still easy to learn. Once you do, you will turn the sounds in your head to audio faster than ever. The effortless workflow, attention to detail and the sound quality can’t really be appreciated without trying it yourself.”

Surge works with most Windows and Mac computers, including many older versions and doesn’t need high computer specs to run thanks to it’s age. However this doesn’t infringe on it’s possibilities as it offers over 1000 patches and 183 wavetables with loads of filter customisation, modulation and effects.

Find out more about what Surge is capable of and get it for yourself, (why not it’s free!), here: vemberaudio.se/surge.php

Learn the bass with Fender’s new online course

Fender are expanding their Fender Play tuition series with bass lessons for budding bassists to hone their chops.

Fender have added bass lessons to Fender Play, the third instrument available to learn through the online tuition course joining guitar and ukulele. The lessons will teach viewers a range of styles and artists techniques with lessons covering influences from James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, Maroon 5, Bob Marley, and others.

The Fender Play courses offer up bite-sized lessons which players will progress through before moving onto new techniques, harder songs, and more advanced skills. New specific lessons will cover bass-exclusive skills like slap bass, hammer-ons, playing bass with a pick instead of fingers, how to read rhythm and ghost notes.

The Fender Play courses are available on iPhone, iPad, Android, and desktop. Anyone can sign up for 30-days free at play.fender.com after which it costs $9.99/£9.99 a month or you can save money by paying for a whole year at $89.99/£89.99.

Here’s what’s new with Bass lessons on Fender Play:
  • NEW BASS INSTRUCTORS: Learn from top bass instructors Pete Griffin, Chelsea Stevens, Ozzy Carmona, Nikki Stevens, Darren McGuire, Dan Ellis, Travis Dykes and Harley Duggan; they join the Fender Play team from prestigious schools, like Berklee College of Music and Musician’s Institute in Hollywood
  • SONGS: Play favorite bass-driven songs, including:
    “Basketcase” – Green Day
    “Everlong” – Foo Fighters
    “I Got You (I Feel Good)” – James Brown
    “Move On Up” – Curtis Mayfield
    “One Love” – Bob Marley
    “Push it” – Salt-N-Pepa
    “Sheena Is A Punk Rocker” – The Ramones
  • MULTIPLE CAMERA ANGLES: Easily see finger placement with “close up” shots designed for new players and a unique “over-the-shoulder” camera angle that captures the player’s point of view
  • VARIETY: Learn a blend of popular styles–including funk, rock, R&B, blues and pop
  • BASS IN CONTEXT: Leverage backing drum loops and click tracks–as featured in Fender Tune Player Pack–and learn how to lock in with the rhythm section. Many bass songs also feature corresponding guitar lessons, designed as complements, so players can practice with friends
  • SKILLS: Explore five levels and hundreds of lessons teaching reading and counting rhythm, slap bass, how to jam with a drummer, slides, walking bass, moveable patterns, playing with a pick, arpeggios, building basslines and more. Learn a skill, then play a song using those techniques
  • TOOLS: Look up concepts with the “Bass Glossary” and easily follow along with song tablature
  • TRACK PROGRESS: See progress in real time on a dashboard tracking number of songs/riffs, courses and lessons completed

Native Instruments tease the follow up to monumental Massive synth

After ten long years Native Instrument’s Massive synth is still a versatile favourite for many producers. But at last we’re getting a sequel to the phenomenal plugin.

Native Instruments have announced a long awaited successor to their amazing Massive synth plugin which has been hailed by producers around the world for it’s quality and deep customisation abilities. Over 10 years of refinement and advancements will go into the newly announced Massive X which will completely redesign itself from the original, with the original Massive team of creators behind it.

Native Instruments announced the new plugin last week to a collective cheer of producers and musicians around the world. Now we’re got our first look of the instrument in an exciting, sneak peek, introduction video. You don’t get a detailed look at it or an idea of just what it will be like but NI are promising “A Next Generation Sound Engine”.

Massive X will feature a whole new host of features and effects packaged into one new powerful instrument that will make sound creation for artists even more diverse and textured. Details are very scarce currently but Music Radar have had a lucky sneak peek at the UI and say it “has a more modular design than its predecessor, which enables synth elements to be changed and rearranged a little like Reaktor Blocks, albeit stopping slightly short of fully modular routing”.

We’ll have to wait until February until we can get our hands on it, though we will no doubt be seeing and hearing lots more before then. Massive X will be a free download to Komplete 12 owners and owners of the original Massive will be offered the new VST plugin at a discounted price.

4 free plugins that will transform your music

Plugins help you transform your music and sounds. Having a good collection of plugins on hand to enhance your music will take your production to the next level. Here are 4 of the best ones you can download without spending a penny.

Each plugin has an example of how it sounds when used on audio. You can hear the raw file below to see how each plugin transforms your sound.

Roughrider 2 (Vintage-Style Compressor)

Audio Damage Roughrider free pluging music production

Add some bite to your rhythmic tracks using Audio Damage’s Roughrider Compressor. Add gentle, parallel compression to your tracks, or instead add some grit and push by pushing the plug in harder. Despite Audio Damage describing the VST as having limited versatility, I adore the vintage style warmth it adds to drums, effected vocals and bass lines.

Download here for Mac and Windows: www.audiodamage.com/pages/free-downloads

Valhalla Freq Echo (Frequency Shifter + Analogue Echo Emulation)

valhalla frequency echo freq plugin free music production

This is a great delay plug in with the capabilities of a chorus/vibrato. The Valhalla Freq Echo supplies multiple changeable parameters, such as low cut and high cut controls for the feedback path, allowing for finer control over the echo decay. Drastically altering the shift and delay cleverly can yield some very weird and interesting results. Or, more simply, small alterations can lead to some beautiful modulating delays.

Download for Mac and Windows: valhalladsp.com/shop/delay/valhalla-freq-echo

Softube Saturation Knob (Saturator)

plugin free music production softube saturation

Softube’s nifty little one-knob saturator fattens up your tracks and adds distortion that works in multiple different contexts. The three modes of saturation give three different characters to the effect. I use it to add a gentle grit to drum lines and vocals, and drive it harder for warmly distorted bass and synth; bringing out certain frequencies into the mix.

Download for Mac and Windows: www.softube.com/index.php?id=satknob

Izotope Vinyl (Vinyl Emulator)

plugin free music production izotope vinyl

Izotope Vinyl is the perfect plug in for any lo-fi producer, along with a vast number of different genres. You can add various different vinyl-style characteristics to your individual tracks, such as crackling, saturation and deliberate warping. Apply as much or as little of each as you want to make your tracks sound warm, nostalgic and intentionally vintage.

Download for Mac and Windows: www.izotope.com/en/products/create-and-design/vinyl.html

Who needs music theory when plugins make songs for you now

Plugins are getting more sophisticated all the time, but when do their abilities go beyond a tool and just start making music for you?

A new MIDI plugin from developers Re-Compose could be music-maker’s best friend of worst enemy, depending on how you view it’s abilities. Their I2C8 plugin is in Re-Compose’s words an “innovative real-time MIDI generator and MIDI sequence generator for both studio and live application” and in other words, a chord generating plugin.

The plugin uses music intelligence algorithms to create patterns and chords in MIDI, essentially composing a chord sequence or even an entire song depending on how you use it. Now this could be used as a really valuable tool for producers who focus more on sound design but it takes away from one of the core elements of creating music – in fact even the core part of writing a song. But music has changed.

Now there’s still room for personalisation. You input options to decide how it creates it’s progression and then, once it has spat out it’s results you can customise each chord manually as much as you like. The plugin uses patterns to determine it’s creations and adding or changing pattern symbols automatically generates new chords for positions and creates a set of eight alternative chord sequences for your current symbols.

It’s easy to see a plugin like this as an attack on music traditionalism, or simply talent and skill. Whilst a chord generator does take away a very human element of creation, it opens up possibilities for a whole new generation of music making. In the age of electronic production music has transformed in many ways and sound design can be just as, if not more important, in certain producers workflow. This plugin isn’t meant to replace musicians but instead aid less traditionally experienced musicians.

If you’re interested in Re-Compose’s IC28 it’s available for pre-order at 30% off it’s $69 price, for just $39 until October 15th. Pre-order and find out more about the plugin here: www.re-compose.com/i2c8-chord-generator-software.html

Create state-of-the-art dance music with Korg’s new ELECTRIBE app

Korg’s powerful new iOS app has just launched for creating deep and layered dance music with a host of incredible features and tools.

It’s almost 20 years since Korg launched their revolutionary ELECTRIBE series. Their new ELECTRIBE Wave app for iOS offers powerful wavetable sounds for creating “state-of-the-art dance music” like EDM, Future, Bass, and Trap whether you’re an amateur or a pro DJ.

The ELECTRIBE Wave app has been created with simplicity in mind so that there are no barriers to creating new and extensive mixes. Whilst accessibility is key with the app it is packed full of features that allow you to explore sounds, expand on ideas and flesh out projects into full mixes and tracks.

Here’s what Korg’s great new app comes packed with:

Powerful wavetable sound suitable for the latest in EDM

ELECTRIBE Wave has a sound wavetable featuring sounds widely used in the latest music creation. Unlike a PCM synth, the wavetable allows you to repeatedly play fragments of short waveforms, and change the waveform position during playback. By combining the wavetable (which features a rich variety of presets) with a powerful filter and two modulation units, you can create an infinite number of innovative and sharp sounds that cannot be produced using standard PCM synths. Even without a deep knowledge of synthesis techniques, the carefully selected parameters make it easy to craft your sound.

Improved user interface for quick composition

The familiar 16-step pad in the ELECTRIBE series enables speedy rhythm production. The ELECTRIBE Wave also features a new keyboard to play chords and scales. Even without musical knowledge, you can have fun making tracks without worrying about wrong notes. The sequencer features Groove, which can be used to breathe life into rhythm parts, as well as a special keyboard to enable smooth step input for synth parts on the graphical user interface.

Convenient chord pad that allows you to play a chord with one finger

ELECTRIBE Wave features a chord pad that allows you to play chords with one finger. If you use the “Fetch” function, it will automatically extract the chords from the song that you are in the middle of creating and assign those chords to the pad for fast and easy song creation. You can also easily assign and save your favourite chords. In addition you can use the arpeggiator to create new phrases!

Motion Sequence records and plays temporal changes in sounds and effects

The ELECTRIBE series introduced a powerful motion sequence function that remembers and reproduces the movement of the knobs. ELECTRIBE Wave now offers this function for the synthesizer/drum parts so you can create a flow of sound overflowing with originality. If you use the built in KAOSS PAD you can change the sound to drastically with a single fingertip, easily storing and reproducing temporal changes. Remember the wave table POSITION to make real time minute changes to the sound performance.

Song mode can combine patterns into finished songs

Use song mode to create a new track by simply arranging the order of existing patterns. Using only the ELECTRIBE Wave, you can take a song all the way from inspiration to completion. With audio file export, you can send a complete song or inidividual patterns to your favourite DAW, or upload to services like SoundCloud.


Korg Electribe is available  from the Apple App Store for $19.99/£19.99.