MIT invent AI that extracts each instrument from songs

It could be a dream for music sampling as MIT reveal their new tech capable of finding and editing individual instruments from tracks.

When a track is recorded, all of it’s different elements, sounds and instruments are separated and then come together into one file for release. Whilst we are able to isolate certain frequencies and elements once the separate elements are combined digitally isolating each instrument from the rest of the track has been near impossible – until now.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have just announced their new AI, PixelPlayer, which can identify instruments individually from music files. In case that wasn’t impressive enough by itself the AI has made it possible to alter the isolated element, remix it, or even just remove it from the track.

This creates a world of possibilities especially for DJs and producers using samples who could use this technology to completely rework tracks and take single elements to use in their compositions. MIT also see the potential for sound engineers reworking old tracks or concert footage so that they can manipulate each element and optimise their sound for cleaner, better mixed recordings.

PixelPlayer works completely unassisted from human interaction and uses it’s own AI knowledge to locate and isolate each instruments parts. The software has been trained on over 60 hours of videos to identify each specific instrument “at pixel level” to be able to extract it from the rest of the mix.

A PhD student at CSAIL, Zhao said: “We expected a best-case scenario where we could recognise which instruments make which kinds of sounds. We were surprised that we could actually spatially locate the instruments at the pixel level. Being able to do that opens up a lot of possibilities, like being able to edit the audio of individual instruments by a single click on the video.”

MIT explained how it works:

PixelPlayer uses methods of “deep learning,” meaning that it finds patterns in data using so-called “neural networks” that have been trained on existing videos. Specifically, one neural network analyzes the visuals of the video, one analyzes the audio, and a third “synthesizer” associates specific pixels with specific soundwaves to separate the different sounds.

They admit that as the technology is “self-supervised” deep learning that they can’t completely understand how it works or how it learns which instruments are making which sounds. Zhao says that it recognises actual elements of the music like certain harmonic frequencies which correlate to instruments like the violin or quick pulse-like patterns corresponding to instruments like the xylophone.

The technology isn’t going public yet but it’s potential is incredible.

New plugin changing the sound of World Cup Football

A new plugin from Zynaptiq that can eradicate the sound of World Cup horns on TV Broadcasts changes the sound of football for thousands.

After complaints coming in from many football fans that the sound of loud horns at matches is too noisy, the tech company Zynaptiq have come to the rescue. They have created a new plugin that can be used across any broadcasting networks allowing them to cancel out the sound of the horns.

The 2018 World Cup has so far been a joyous celebration of the sport and all that it involves. However the sound of horns being blasted by fans is one of the few annoyances of the sport and so with this new plugin fans are able to watch the games with peace of mind, and ears.

The Zynaptiq plugin is already in action on Denmark’s TV2 with much success. Jens Lyd, Sound Engineer at TV2 said “We were getting complaints about the compressor horns being too dominant in the audio of our FIFA World Cup transmissions, and there really wasn’t a lot that could be done about that with traditional tools. So we contacted Zynaptiq – and within days, they provided an easy-to-use solution that quite simply completely fixed the issue for us.” 

Zynaptiq GmbH are an audio software company based in Hanover, Germany and are well known for their UNVEIL de-reverberator which allows users to de-mix tracks, change the reverb on mixed tracks and boost sound quality of live music performances. Zynaptiq also have a host of other plugins designed to increase the audio quality of live and mixed performances.

Any broadcaster can get their hands on this horn suppressing software by heading to the Zynaptiq website and applying for a FREE 3-month World Cup Horn Suppressor License. This software is easy to use and FREE, why wouldn’t you want to get your hands on it?!

GarageBand gets free lessons from artists + loads of cool new stuff

Garageband is a wicked way to make music on the go and it’s getting even better with their new chock-filled update.

Apple are updating their music sketchbook-cum-DAW-cum-fun app with a load of wicked new features sure to appeal to everyone from amateur to pro. The music-making app is getting a host of new sounds, instruments, and loops to play around with and potentially create a new track or ringtone with.

GarageBand 10.3 brings with it two new drummers to play along with which will play a mixture of roots and jazz-influenced brush styles. The update also brings with it 1,000 new electronic and urban loops across a range of genres like future bass and chill rap. In addition 400 animal, machine and voice sound effects are being added to play with.

On top of their fun new sounds, loops and AI drummers there are some wicked new instruments to play with. Anyone who’s played around with GarageBand knows their Asian instruments are the funnest ones and now there are 3 more to jam with. Traditionally Chinese and Japanese instruments the Guzheng, Koto, and Taiko drums are now free to play with on GarageBand. Kotos are the national instrument of Japan and are pretty special. We haven’t played with them yet but GarageBand are good at faithfully recreating instruments in a digital format that’s easy to remember.

The Japanese Koto GarageBand instrument
The Japanese Koto

A big part of the update brings Apple’s Artist Lessons to everyone on GarageBand for free. The lessons get popular artists like Death Cab for Cutie, Rush, Sarah McLachlan, Sting and many more to personally teach you how to play their tracks on piano and guitar. Artist Lessons have until now cost $4.99 but all of the Basic Lessons are free to play and learn with now.

In addition Artist Lessons have come to users around the world in over 150 countries whereas before they were available only in 20 lucky countries.

What DAWs do the world’s top DJs and producers use?

All music software is slightly different and every producer has their favourite that works for them when they’re mixing up a plate of fresh sounds – these are the favourites for the world’s top producers.

Whilst each producer is unique and works in a different way there’s only so many tools out there to bring your ideas to life. We think it’s best to explore and try as many as you can to find the one that works for you, when you know you know, but you can take inspiration from what your favourite artists are using.

The worlds biggest producers and DJs are still working on the same select few programs that most of the world are using. Although many of them will use multiple programs, here are there main ones that they come to for inspiration and creating banging new beats.

Here’s a list of what the biggest producer’s in the world right now are using to create their hits:


Flume producer DJ music software DAW production program

When it comes to creating wonky electronic beats Flume is the man at the helm of weird and wonderful EDM with a pop-appeal. Flume has always touted Ableton as his top choice of DAW, saying: “For me I like to work really quickly. Ableton Live, yeah, I’ve been using it for quite some time now.”

Beyond Ableton Flume users Native Instruments Komplete and Kontakt instrument plugins as well as their Guitar Rig software. Flume says: “I like NI Guitar Rig as an effect on things like vocals… I do that quite regularly. It’s great running things through the amps, and even if I’m not using much distortion you can get some really cool, different sounds.”


Disclosure production producers EDM mixing software production music DAW program

Electronic duo Disclosure have been influencing EDM music since their debut album Settle sent shockwaves to parties around the globe. The English brothers use Apple Logic Pro X as their main program for creating music but say about playing gigs: “For live we use Ableton on one laptop to run stuff we can’t play, but we try to play as much as we can.”

When it comes to gear the boys love Akai Professional using a range of their launch pads, keyboards, and controllers. They say: “We run everything through Ableton and control it with the APC stuff Akai makes which is great. We also use bass guitar, a couple of drum machines, MPC for vocal samples, a synth and percussion at [the] moment.”

Martin Garrix

Martin Garrix producer production music EDM mixing creation DAWS software

When it comes to Dutch producer extraordinaire Martin Garrix he prefers Image Line’s FL Studio as a canvas for his creations. Garrix has said that he uses multiple versions of FL Studio because he hasn’t put all of his synths and samples into one version – producer problems.

Garrix says that he also uses “a bit of [Apple] Logic sometimes”. In a tweet Garrix listed some of the Plugins he’s bought now he can afford official music software including: Nexus, Sylenth1, Massive and Gross Beat.

Find out what software your favourite producers and DJs are using as well as in-depth looks at their gear and equipment on EquipBoard:

All these guitar amp modelling and effect pedal plugins are yours for free

This site offers a whole bunch of effects plugins for you to download free including Mesa Boogie and Ibanez modelling pedals.

Mercuriall have just added the awesome WS-1 Chorus pedal to their list of free effects plugins. Their site offers up a whole set of effects pedals, pre-amps and cabinets for taking your guitar sound to the next level in your DAW or music software.

Each plugin is available to download completely free for both Windows and Mac computers in VST/AU/AAX. The full list of Mercuriall’s free plugins is:

  • WS-1: Stereo Chrous
  • Greed Smasher: Mesa/Boogie® Grid Slammer modelling.
  • TSC: Ibanez® TS-808 modelling.
  • JCM800: Marshall® JCM800 preamp section modelling.
  • JCM800 Hot: Modded JCM800 preamp. More gain than original JCM800.
  • Harlequin: Based on The Harlequin MK1 (Cornford Amps).
  • Tomato: Dual Triode preamp with simple schematics. Best choice as target for newbies for build first tube preamp.
  • Mercuriall Cab 3.0: Hiwatt 4×12 cabinet modelling
  • Mercuriall Cab 2.1: Marshall AVT50 1×12 Cabinet modelling

Download them all now for yourself, totally free from Mecuriall’s website:

FL Studio 20 is here and Fruity Loops is on Macs at last

FL Studio have just jumped from version 12 to 20 and with it their bringing their acclaimed music software to Apple computers for the first time.

To celebrate 20 years of their acclaimed Fruity Loops music production software and digital audio workstation (DAW), Image Line have skipped 13-19 and launched FL Studio 20. The launch brings a bunch of wicked new features to play with and also sees Apple Macs gain access to one of the world’s favourite music software.

What’s new and improved:

Advanced Audio: Multi-track audio recording Time-stretching and pitch shifting pristine audio editing.

Sequencing: Industry leading Piano roll editor MIDI recording and control Pattern or Linear workflow.

Mixing & Effects: Multi-track mixer Automation control VST plugin support.

The Mixer

Mix and master music to the highest professional standards. All the features you need to create today’s most complex productions including, effects chains, audio sends, side-chain control, advanced automation, plugin delay compensation and more…

Piano Roll

FL Studio’s Piano roll has the well deserved reputation as the best Piano roll in the business. The Piano roll’s is used to send note and automation data to plugin instruments (sequencing). It includes a wide range of tools to aid complex score editing and manipulation.

Browser and Playlist

No other DAW matches the flexibility of FL Studio’s Playlist. Sequence all elements of the project to make the final song. Tracks can hold notes, audio and automation. Place any data type anywhere and even overlay them. Use the Browser to organize all the data in your project. Free your workflow and your mind!

Over 80 plugins included

FL Studio Producer Edition includes over 80 instrument and effect plugins covering automation, sample playback/manipulation, synthesis, compression, delay, equalization filtering, flanging, phasing, chorus, reverb, distortion, bit-crushing and more. With FL Studio you will be ready to create just about any style.

Instruments & FX

If the huge array of native instruments and effects are not enough for you, FL Studio supports all VST standards 1, 2 and 3. VST gives you access to the wisest range of 3rd party plugins currently available. You can even use FL Studio itself as a VST plugin in another VST host.

  • Vectorial Interface
  • Automation Recording & Editing
  • VST & ReWire Support
  • Multi-Touch
  • Live DJ Control
  • Advanced Help System
  • MIDI Learn
  • Visualizer effects Plugin
  • Lifetime Free Updates

FL Studio 20 is available for free to existing Fruity Loops users thanks to Image-Line’s lifetime updates policy. New users can download FL Studio 20 for as cheap as $99/€89 for the entry-level ‘Fruity Edition’. Purchase here:

Get “awe-inspiring” stereo width with this free plugin

Getting width in your mix can bring a whole new level to your music and this brand new plugin does it incredibly and for free.

A new plugin from Infected Mushroom and Polyverse promises true stereo width effects and is being released completely free to download. The plugin is based on the stereo section from the two company’s massively popular Manipulator plugin.

The plugin, aptly named Wider, gives you the ability to expand the stereo image of any signal to an awe-inspiring amount of width. However, Wider is a unique stereo plugin in the sense that it is completely “mono-compatible”, meaning that any signal that has been extended will always remain in phase with itself, even if summed to mono.

Many stereo effects currently in use have the nasty habit of knocking signals out of phase, which can quickly make mixes sound muddy and unbalanced, or make sounds seem flat and lacking dynamics if one isn’t mindful of the effect. Thanks to Wider’s one-of-a-kind all pass and comb filtering algorithm, no phase in any mix or affected audio will be compromised, even at its broadest setting! Instead, Wider cancels itself out when summed to mono, so the original signal is left intact:
a feature you won’t find in any other stereo plugin.

Wider can be used to increase the stereo image of any signal up to 200% of full stereo for an extra wide, exaggerated effect. No matter how far out and experimental Infected Mushroom’s sounds get, they always keep their mixes clean, crisp, and translatable without sacrificing power. Now you can achieve the same depth and clarity, absolutely free.

You can check out Wider and download it completely for free here:

Get 16,000 of the BBC’s sound effect samples for free

As you can imagine the BBC have a massive collection of sound effects for use in all of their shows, now they’re free for you to download and do anything you like with.

The BBC are releasing 16,000 samples to everyone for free WAV download out of their giant library of sound effects. They are releasing them under a RemArc license which means that they can be downloaded and uses for “personal, educational or research purposes”.

The archive is available on their website and can be easily searched by keywords to look for the sounds you’re after. There is a massive variety to the samples, as you can imagine with 16,000 of them, ranging from simple sounds of the sea to parrots talking to a creepy doll saying ‘Mama’ over and over again for a minute. You’re sure to find something interesting you can use.

The samples range from anywhere to the past year to nearly 100 years ago so you can even access some archaic, archive sounds from the BBC. You can play any of the sound effect samples on your page and download them all individually for free.

The website is currently in beta and unfortunately doesn’t seem to work very well at all. It’s slow to load, hard to access and once you do it’s luck whether the samples will play or download but hopefully the BBC will work on making the site usable as this could be a great resource for musicians, filmmakers, and beyond.

If you have a minute for it to load, you can check out the giant list of samples here:

How to create your own iPhone ringtone on GarageBand

Bored of your iPhone’s plain ringtones? This guide will show you how to make your own straight from your phone for that custom touch.

If you’re not familiar with GarageBand then you’ve been missing out. It’s a free music creation and production software that has been a staple of Macs for years and has since found it’s home on iPads and iPhone’s as well. It’s super easy, super intuitive, and super-free.

There’s lots you can do with GarageBand, including making your very own custom ringtone on your iPhone which is then right there on your phone after creation. AppleInsider created a great guide to doing this which you should check out:

If you already have reasonable grip on GarageBand or even have some tracks you’ve made already that you’d like to add we’ll give you a quick run down on how to export your music for a ringtone.

First you have to select what track/project you would like to use. Then get up the ‘Share’ button which will present you with a set of options: Export as a song, a ringtone, or a project.

Of course you want to select ringtone which will bring up the export screen where you can change the name of the project for it’s export by tapping on it. Then press export to start the process.

Once it is done  a notification will pop-up on your screen allowing you to select okay and now it’s in your ringtone library, or you can choose ‘Use sound as…’ and set it as your ringtone straight away.

If you select ‘Use sound as…’ then you choose to set it as your standard ringtone, your text tone or put it as a custom ringtone for one of your contacts for that personal touch.

Either way your track will now be available in your tone library for use whenever and however you like.

FL Studio Celebrate 20 Years With Anniversary Edition

To celebrate FL Studio’s 20th anniversary Image-Line are skipping version 13 and the 6 after to launch FL Studio 20 later this year.

After rumours Image-Line have confirmed that they will be releasing their first full version update for 2 years in 2018. In celebration of 20 years of the famed music production software FL Studio they will be releasing an anniversary edition which promises to be the best FL Studio yet.

Whilst it will continue to look much like the same FL Studio we know and love it’s optimisation under the hood and expanded features look to make it the smoothest experience yet. Image-Line have been beta testing the new version secretly under the guise of FL Studio 12.9 so we have some idea of what’s to come.

DirectWave means that a Zone’s loop type can now be set for every selected Zone at one time. The Mixer has been increased to 125 Mixer tracks which can be added to with a new system that dynamically adds them as you need. They’ve also improved visibility of Clip borders in Solid view mode which they are looking into enhancing further.

Here’s the whole list of what we know is coming new to FL Studio:

  • Automatic PDC – Automatic PDC should now work for all normal use-cases (please report issues). We still need to fix these cases: Multi-out plugins, Multiple generators feeding a single Mixer track, each with different latencies and the wet/dry mix knob on FX slots. These should be resolved in coming betas.
    • Automatic PDC now works with Generators.
    • APDC applies to inter-track routing and side-chains.
    • Manual and Auto-PDC can now co-exist. Manual PDC is applied as an offset to Auto PDC.
    • Manual PDC – Negative values – delay the selected track, positive values – delay all other tracks.
    • There’s a new audio input delay control on the INPUT menu to fix latency issues with individual audio inputs.
    • PDC icons now light orange when a track reports latency, not when it’s delayed (as before). This will help you to quickly identify PDC inducing plugins.
  • DirectWave – A Zone’s loop type can now be set for all selected Zones at once. New ‘Copy to selected zones‘ option for some Zone parameters
  • Fruity Reeverb – Is now a 64 Bit FL plugin.
  • GUI – The ‘Song/Pat’ switch is a placeholder. The main purpose at the moment is to show you are using the FL Studio Beta. We are working on converting all tool panels to 1-unit high to allow for a more streamlined tool-bar for those who want it. More later…
  • Help – FL now uses the online version of the help file. You can download an offline version here (although FL 12.9 won’t open this anymore).
  • Mixer – Increased to 125 Mixer tracks. You will get a lot more later, if you are good. Rather than fill the mixer with 500+ tracks, we need to implement a system to dynamically add-as-you-need.
  • Patcher – Reduced memory usage.
  • Playlist – Improved visibility of Clip borders in Solid view mode. This one’s for you Kaitav…guys are we overselling this? I had a look and I think we need to turn it up some more.
  • Time Signature Support – PlaylistPiano rollProject Settings and Time Markers. Right-click Time-markers and select ‘Time signature’. Shift+Alt+T to set time-signatures over a selected time-range. Use the on Pattern Clip Menu ‘Use current time signature’ to set a time-signature based on Playlist position.
  • Plugin manager – Locating plugins is faster, in some cases
  • Sampler Channels – Legacy precomputed effects are back. New: Playback – ‘Start offset‘ (automatable), will get a position visualization in the next update. Precomputed – ‘Sample start‘, and ‘Length‘ effects.
  • Tap tempo – Sync option for tempo tap is now off by default.
  • Unicode Text – Most FL plugins now support unicode characters when exchanging filenames and other text with FL Studio.
  • ZGE Visualizer – Layers can be collapsed. Buffered layers are more obvious now. New ‘SplinePeaks’ effect.

Image-Line haven’t talked an exact release date yet but have confirmed FL Studio 20 will launch sometime this year in 2018.