Native Instruments free Maschine update adds a new view mode to enhance your workflow

Native Instruments have launched Maschine 2.6.5 adding a new view that gives you even more ways to perfect your music.

Maschine 2.6.5 is the first update for Native Instruments’ music creation software since launching 2.6 in February this year. Whilst this update isn’t as large as 2.6, which introduced various new features and tools, the main addition of 2.6.5 is Ideas View – and it’s awesome.

Ideas View introduces a new layout for your workflow that allows you to take a different perspective on your music. With Ideas View you can mix and match patterns together independent of your timeline. This new view lets you experiment freely in the middle of a mix, trying out new beats, vamps, and fills to audition new elements and combinations to add to your mix.

Maschine 2.6.5 also lets you use MIDI to change Scenes in Ideas View directly from your DAW of choice. You’ll also be able to change kits or load new Groups on the fly while audio and MIDI routings stay preserved.

Native Instruments’ Maschine 2.6.5 is a free update to all Maschine 2 customers. You can get it now via Native Access.

Get the sound of Adele’s ‘Hello’ with this grand piano plugin

Wave’s new grand piano plugin takes high quality samples for the Fazioli F228, the grand piano used in Adele’s chart-smashing hit ‘Hello’.

Sampled from the Fazioli F228 grand piano housed at London’s Metropolis Studios – the very piano played on Grammy-winning hits such as Adele’s “Hello.” Like a sleek Italian sports car, the Fazioli F228 model was engineered from the finest Italian parts and craftsmanship, taking its wood from the same red spruce forest where Antonio Stradivari cultivated his rare and celebrated violins.

The deep bass, rich resonance and crystal clear tonal qualities produced by the wood have made the Fazioli a highly coveted instrument for the most discerning ears in music. Recorded at Metropolis with 8 different pairs of state-of-the-art microphones and the highest-quality preamps and converters, Waves’ Grand Rhapsody virtual piano delivers the same majestic sound as the studios’ original Fazioli piano, with added features that only a plugin can provide.

From pop/rock songwriting to electronic production to intimate jazz and classical piano, Grand Rhapsody offers a wide range of tonality for musicians and producers. You can blend up to 3 mic pairs of your choice and choose their position; control how much of the pedal, key up and sympathetic resonance you mix into the overall sound; and apply Waves’ award-winning effects including EQ, compressor, limiter, delay, and reverb based on Waves’ state-of-the-art H-Reverb.

Whether you prefer to load one of the expertly programmed presets or create your own sounds from scratch, Grand Rhapsody furnishes you with all the warmth and richness you’d expect from one of the most luxurious pianos in the world – plus a little extra, from Waves.

Full feature list:

  • Perfect sampling of the Fazioli F228 grand piano housed at London’s Metropolis Studios
  • The very piano played on Adele’s “Hello” and countless other hits
  • Meticulously recorded using 8 pairs of microphones
  • Blend together 3 different pairs of microphone recordings
  • Control the level of key up, pedal and sympathetic resonance in the overall mix
  • Includes EQ, compressor, limiter, delay, and reverb based on the H-Reverb algorithm
  • Can be used as a plugin or as a standalone instrument

The Grand Rhapsody is available to download for $29 from Waves website: www.waves.com/plugins/grand-rhapsody-piano

130 amazing drum machines for Kontakt now available as free VST/AU plugin

This awesome plugin gives you access to 130 of the rarest classic drum machines and is no longer exclusive to users with Kontakt.

We wrote about the Mega Drum Machines collection earlier this year when it was available as a Kontakt instrument full of great drum machine samples. Now the pack, which features a selection of roughly 130 “old, vintage, obscure, rare and hard to find drum machines”.

The plugin comes from Autodafe, who wanted to release the instrument for anyone to use after it’s “huge success” on Kontakt. The AU/VST version of Mega Drum Machine is available for both Mac and Windows computers in 32 and 64 bits.

Instruments included within the Mega Drum Machines pack includes samples from legendary kits by Korg, BOSS, Yamaha and many more. Before you ask, yes Roland’s classic drum machines are included as well such as their famous TR-808 and TR-909 machines.

Here’s how the classic drum machines pack is presented to you:

  • Each kit has been mapped in a General MIDI format (more or less, many old drum machines only have 4-5 sounds)
  • Each kit has been divided into 5 groups: Kicks, Snares, Hats, Cymbals and Toms
  • Each kit has custom controls for panning and volume

The plugin is available for free, however is only available thanks to hours of hard work from the Autodafe team so donations are suggested to help them out and keep them creating more wicked instruments and packs. Find out how to download it here: www.autodafe.net/virtual-instruments/mega-drum-machines-mac-win-au-vst-32-64bits

Can you use mobile applications to actually make GOOD music?

With music technology always moving further forward we’ve seen a revolution of mobile applications that give you the ability to write, record, create, edit music and much, much more. But just because you can doesn’t mean you should – so is it all just for fun or can you make proper, good music using apps?

The abilities of the devices in our pockets have come an incredibly long way in recent years. These days you can record clear audio from a phone, download an entire Digital Audio Workstation into your pocket, access hundreds of instruments from a tiny screen and even plug guitars, microphones and more in to record anywhere you like.

The capabilities have come a long way, but has the quality? As with anything it of course depends on how you use it, but the simple answer is – definitely. In fact, mobile music making isn’t just for lowkey musicians and enthusiasts anymore and has spread into the A-star league of music makers as the possibilities and functions continue to improve and open up more and more opportunities.

For example Damon Albarn of Blur and Gorillaz fame decided to make an entire album on his iPhone back in 2011. Following the launch of Gorillaz’s spectacular album ‘Plastic Beach’ Albarn went on the road to tour the album, and decided to create another on the way. Afterwards Albarn came out with an entire album named ‘The Fall’ and, whilst it may not be his most spectacular work, it was a well received, studio quality album that showed just what can be done with the phone in your pockets. And that was 6 years ago.

Prolific music maker and YouTuber Andrew Huang recently released a video where he set himself the challenge of also creating music from scratch using mobile applications. Watch below to see how it went, and just how easy it is to record real music with a phone and some apps.

Do you know any great mobile apps? Let us know what your favourites are.

Lyrebird is an AI that can recreate your voice from 60 seconds of speech

The ability to make anyone say what you want is quickly becoming a reality with fresh startup Lyrebird propelling voice synthesis further than ever before.

Lyrebird is a massively impressive AI that beats out all of it’s competition with crazy-fast voice scanning and surprisingly accurate results. With just 60 seconds worth of speech samples Lyrebird can accurately clone any voice to a mind-bogglingly accurate copy, reproducing accent, inflection and tone for an almost-lifelike replication.

The AI’s algorithm can cleverly process and manipulate the sounds of speech to translate it into a framework for how that voice sounds in techy terms. This is a massive leap forward from many speech synthesis projects which have seen the vocals programmed to create it’s sounds, rather than being able to understand and create it’s own (to an extent).

Other companies have made major developments in the area, such as Google who have been leading life-like AI voice development with their sophisticated project WaveNet. Additionally Adobe have been working on a similar project called ‘Project VoCo’ which allows editing and tweaking of speech similar to how their other programs work on other formats.

However, this Canadian startup blows even major company Adobe out of the water, with Project VoCo requiring 20 minutes of voice samples to recreate a voice, as opposed to Lyrebird’s 1 minute process. The recreations, whilst still tinged with robotism, are surprisingly accurate given the process – check out Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton discussing how impressed they are with Lyrebird:

Lyrebird’s technology is so advanced in fact that it can implement emotion into it’s speech, changing whether the voice is angry, sympathy, stress and more. Of course, with accurate voice replication comes a lot of potential issues and privacy conundrums, which the company acknowledge in an ‘Ethics’ section on their website, reading:

Lyrebird is the first company to offer a technology to reproduce the voice of someone as accurately and with as little recorded audio. Such a technology raises important societal issues that we address in the next paragraphs.

Voice recordings are currently considered as strong pieces of evidence in our societies and in particular in jurisdictions of many countries. Our technology questions the validity of such evidence as it allows to easily manipulate audio recordings. This could potentially have dangerous consequences such as misleading diplomats, fraud and more generally any other problem caused by stealing the identity of someone else.

By releasing our technology publicly and making it available to anyone, we want to ensure that there will be no such risks. We hope that everyone will soon be aware that such technology exists and that copying the voice of someone else is possible. More generally, we want to raise attention about the lack of evidence that audio recordings may represent in the near future.

For now however, the AI isn’t quite realistic enough to trick you into thinking that Trump has declared war – you can just wait for him to do that in real life. The project is currently still in development and information on a release seems vague, but the technology is fascinating and gives us an exciting (and potentially terrifying) glance into our future.

Want to learn how to sing? There’s a free app for that

There’s an app for everything nowadays, and Vanido is a fantastic new app that teaches you to sing through a variety of engaging and precise exercises and challenges – oh and it’s totally free!

Vanido offers a new unique and fun way to learn singing and acts as your personal coach for guidance, motivation and pitch-perfect feedback. With lessons and workouts that are designed to train both your ear and voice the app will personalise it’s sessions based around your progress and capabilities.

Vanido’s exercises are designed in collaboration with vocal coaches and it is based on scientific research. Real-time visual pitch detection has been shown to result in improvement in pitch by 90%, compared to when no such visual feedback is given. The app allows you track your pitch in real-time as you sing, review recordings of your voice and evaluate your progress as recorded by the app.

Vanido features:

  • Personalized: Each singing exercise is tailored to your vocal range so that you’re always comfortable.
  • Daily sessions: Every day, 3 different vocal exercises are delivered right to your mobile phone.
  • Goal-based exercises: Exercises that cover a range of essential singing skills like foundational singing, head voice, chest voice and flexibility. And we are always adding more!
  • Real-time visual feedback: Get feedback on your pitch as you sing. Helps train your ear, improve timing, and know when you’re off the pitch.
  • Stay disciplined: Track your progress, set challenging goals and practice every day.
  • Recordings: Review your exercise performance by listening to key-specific recordings.
  • Listen as you sing: Listen to your own voice in real-time as you practice singing exercises.
  • And more to come!

You can download Vanido from the Apple App Store for free now. The app is coming to Android soon.

DJ straight from Spotify, as Djay finally comes to Windows from Mac

Djay’s awesome DJ-ing program has finally expanded beyond it’s Mac origins and has launched for Windows computers.

Djay has built a reputation over the years for being a solid, powerful DJ software app whilst remaining accessibly easy to get to grips with. With recent introductions like video manipulation and our favourite new feature, Spotify integration, it’s the perfect time to expand the app to Window’s millions of users.

The Windows version of Algoriddim’s DJing app remains much the same as the macOS version with a few small tweaks to make it fit better on Windows OS. Djay will have to go up against established Windows DJing apps like Serato DJ and Traktor Pro, however has an advantage in it’s Spotify integration which allows users to access Spotify’s 30 million strong catalog to chop, screw and mix as they wish.

The biggest addition to the Windows version of Djay is Surface Studio integration which allows you to use the Windows’ Surface Dial. The Surface Studio can be used for a variety of functions depending on the dials position on the screen. For example you can place it on top of the decks to scratch and spin, or place it on your music library to scroll through your songs.

One of the company’s co-founders revealed that it took about a year to develop a Windows version of their app. Djay Pro is available now from the Windows Store for the same price as on Mac, $49.99.

Tracktion launch massive new DAW for modern producers – ‘Waveform’

Tracktion have launched a brand new music production software that they claim is “the most creative, inspirational and affordable digital audio workstation ever created”.

The all new MIDI composition tools available in Waveform are designed to empower and inspire the creative process. Tools which demystify complex musical structures and allow non-untrained enthusiasts to explore composition. Synchronized pattern generators allow you to dive into chord progressions with matching bass lines, melodies and arpeggios. Real time chord players turn one finger keyboard players into musical maestros. Don’t let your instrumental abilities restrict your creative flow.

Waveform features an expanded modular mixer that can take advantage of multi screen setups. The customizable interface allows you to quickly switch from editing to mixing workflows and desired viewing. Waveform’s powerful ‘racks’ environment allow you to build limitless DSP chains and save/recall them as presets, whether it be your favorite DSP for a particular vocalist, or deep sound design patch. Embrace the power and flexibility of digital modular.

Unlike other apps, Waveform supports all major plugin and loop varieties and runs on all major desktop operating systems – now including Raspberry Pi. The beautiful user interface has been carefully crafted to guide the user through the deep capabilities of a digital audio workstation. Dive in and start creating today.

Tracktion Waveform DAW music production software producers music dj making creation make recordingAll Tracktion DAWs feature a single screen interface and an ever-growing list of premium features. They’ve been designed specifically for use by musicians, artists and composers in need of a powerful, easy-to-use and affordable recording platform. The differences between T5, T6, T7 and Waveform are shown on the comparison chart.

FEATURES WAVEFORM T7 T6 T5
Support for macOS 10.9 or later 10.7.5 or later 10.7 – 10.11 10.7 – 10.10
Support for WINDOWS 7 / 8 / 10 7 / 8 / 10 7 / 8 / 10 7 / 8
Support for LINUX Ubuntu 14.04 Ubuntu 12.04 Ubuntu 12.04 Beta
Support for Plugins VST/AU/Linux VST VST/AU/Linux VST VST/AU/Linux VST VST/AU
Unlimited Audio Tracks Yes Yes Yes Yes
Unlimited MIDI Tracks Yes Yes Yes Yes
Automation Yes Enhanced Yes Enhanced Yes Enhanced Yes
Keyboard Shortcuts Yes + User Scripts Yes + User Scripts Yes + User Scripts Yes
Color Editor No No Yes Yes
Video Sync Yes Yes Yes Yes
Timestretch Algorithm Professional Professional Professional Basic
Latency Management Yes Yes Yes Yes
Step Sequencer Enhanced Enhanced Enhanced Yes
Freeze Point Technology Yes Yes Yes Yes
Edit Clips Yes Yes Yes Yes
MIDI Learn Yes Yes Yes Yes
Audio Comping Advanced Advanced Advanced Basic
Free Online Support Yes Yes Yes Yes
In-App MARKETPLACE Yes Yes Yes Yes
Warp Time Yes Yes Yes
Track Tags Yes Yes Yes
Hardware Insert for Plugins Yes Yes Yes
Pitch Fades Yes Yes Yes
Blue Steel UI Yes Yes
Clip Layer Effects Yes Yes
Integrated Setup Assistant Yes Yes
Multi-Browser Sync Yes Yes
Slimline Transport Bar Yes Yes
Animated Panels Yes Yes
Visual Plugin Selector Yes Yes
Grouped Clips Yes Yes
Linked Clips Yes Yes
Automation Patterns Yes Yes
LFO Generators Yes Yes
Edit Previews Yes Yes
Quick Zoom Yes Yes
Melodyne Essential (Pitch) Yes
Collective Sampler/Synthesizer Yes
Master Mix DSP Yes
Modular Mix Environment Yes
MIDI Pattern generators Yes
Realtime MIDI chord player Yes
Detail MIDI Editor Yes
Crashed plugin assistant Yes
Variable color schemes Yes
Support for Raspberry Pi Yes

Get a pack of Radiohead grooves for Ableton completely free

Transform your clips with the weird rhythms and time signatures of Radiohead thanks to this great, free pack of Radiohead grooves for Ableton.

Radiohead are known for balancing accessibility with experimental techniques, most notably interesting rhythms and unusual time signatures. In fact, rhythm is so important to their music they often utilize two drummers. You only need to watch the excellent live from the basement sessions to know how tightly this band plays.

Now you can use Radiohead’s unique timing and grooves for yourself in Ableton:

For this pack I extracted grooves from every song of every radiohead studio album and consolidated them into a collection of .agr files you can apply to any track in Ableton Live.

To be clear, this pack won’t make you sound like Radiohead. It will, however, allow you to humanize, swing, & otherwise alter the timing of your tracks based on the songs of one of the best bands of modern times.

What’s more, the various overlapping time signatures of these songs can serve to apply a polyrhythmic feel to your tracks’ rhythms & velocities. If you aren’t using Live 9.7.1 or later, these may crash your session.

Download the Radiohead Groove Pack here

Groove in Ableton Live

If you haven’t used Ableton’s grooves system, it’s a convenient tool with a startling range of subtle & dramatic transformative power. They’re extremely flexible as you can select & apply groove on a clip-by-clip basis. The best way to add a groove is by clicking the hot-swap icon to the left of clip view. This will automatically send the browser to the groove folder of the core library where you’ll find useful stock .agr files, like standard swing & mac grooves. Once the hot swap is open, however, you can navigate anywhere in your browser & select an .agr you have stored elsewhere, such as one of the songs in the Radiohead pack.

Every groove that has been added to your track will appear in Live’s Groove Pool, & you can access it by pressing the wavey button in the bottom left corner of the browser section. Inside, you’ll be able to adjust the degree to which your grooves affect timing & velocity of your clips. I particularly like the “random” parameter – it not only keeps your tracks feeling natural, it can also add a double track/glitchy feel to MIDI clips. It’s worth adding a groove to your clip and setting the timing & velocity parameters to 0% just so you can play around with random. Keep in mind you can also work with the “global amount” parameter to scale back the application of all grooves if necessary.

Your ears are the best way to get a sense for how various grooves affect your track, of course, but if you’d prefer some visual feedback of what’s happening, press the commit button under the groove selector to write the changes into the clip. I recommend keeping it “selected”, however, as it will be the most flexible since you will still be able to swap out & adjust grooves.

Launch Buttons – A free launchpad app for controlling Ableton Live DAW

Launch Buttons is a new free app for iOS and Android that works as a pad controller for Ableton remarkably well, meaning you can keep yourself busy whilst saving up for a Launchpad.

Launch Buttons is a MIDI controller that lets you perform your tracks wherever you go. You don’t need to carry your expensive gear, your phone/tablet is just about enough. Works with virtually any DAW after a very simple set up. Ableton Live + Launchpad 95 script is recommended for this MIDI Controller emulation to work.

This free version gives you access to all 64 buttons of the 8×8 grid, 8 scene launch buttons, 8 buttons to navigate and 7 buttons for transport controls. The Launchpad95 script gives you a step sequencer, scale mode, and many more functions.

Launch Pads Ableton Live app launchpad controller MIDI DAW

The app’s developer, Alexander Nowak, says: “The free version’s only purpose was to find out whether your wireless network supports the paid version – now it’s become a reasonable controller.”

It includes the ‘old’ colours (red-orange-yellow-green) – if you want to upgrade, Launch Buttons Plus is an emulator for a more sophisticated controller and provides you with:
– Full colour support (more than 100 RGB colours)
– 16 more function buttons (in addition to the 16 you already have
– 16 freely assignable knobs

You can get Launch Buttons now for free on the Apple App Store for iOS and iPad, and the Google Play Store for Android. The advanced “Launch Buttons Plus” is also available for $4.99 on iOS and Android.