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29 July 2005

Dr. Fink’s Funk Factory

Filed under: Music software at 10:11 am (1 comment)

Dr. Fink’s Funk Factory is a new sound library from Sony. New sound libraries are released all the time, but this one is noteworthy because the cover design is so groovy. I thought it would jazz up this website. That’s the only reason this is here. Really.

But as long as we’re here, this is some information from the Sony website:, as well as their press release. Beware of the very long sentence in the next paragraph.

For more than ten years, Matt Fink held down the keyboard spot in one of the most influential bands of all time: Prince & the Revolution. Outfitted in surgeons’ regalia, ‘Dr. Fink’ was selected by Prince to partake in the complete vision: writing, recording, and live onstage. Now, Matt Fink is prepared to enhance your vision, with an invitation to the Dr. Fink’s Funk Factory library, a Sony Sound Series Premium Collection library that delivers all the core components of the classic Eighties pop/funk sound: majestic polyphonic analog synth themes, payday grooves captured directly from vintage machines, realtime clavinet licks, searing solos and motifs, those classic orchestral stabs — a complete genre delivered with total authenticity and blazing fidelity. Capture this magical vibe — the same talent, the actual instruments, the studio expertise, and the sound that went around the world in a day — and turn it loose in your own digital workspace: ACID software, and every software and hardware platform that supports .wav files.

“The premise for Dr. Fink’s Funk Factory was to match old school sounds and beat loops with contemporary techno beats and synthesizer sounds so that they could be mixed and matched within this collection,” said Matt Fink. “I really enjoyed creating the Funk Factory, and I hope that others will have a fun and creative experience with it as well.”

Sony Sound Series libraries are delivered in the ACID .wav file format that supports pitch-shifting and time-stretching in the entire line of ACID music creation programs, as well as Live, Sonar, Cubase, Logic, Soundtrack, and GarageBand 2. These loops can also be imported into any other non-linear editor that supports the .wav file format.

28 July 2005

Sony MZ-M100 portable recorder

Filed under: Hardware at 5:34 pm Comments Off on Sony MZ-M100 portable recorder

The MZ-M100 and MZ-M10 Portable Audio Recorders breathe new life into an old format. Remember the MiniDisc? Me neither. I thought they had pretty much died, but Sony has resurrected the format by improving it (more storage, no lossy compression) and releasing some portable recorders. Perhaps they already have others in their range, but these two new ones may be worth a look when they are released next month.

They use the Hi-MD format. Basically, this is MiniDisc, except it can hold 1GB of data without lossy compression. This means you could use it as a replacement for a rewritable CD — you can connect these devices to a computer over USB (though it might be a bit slow transferring 1GB over plain USB). The discs are cheap enough — much cheaper than CompactFlash cards or other solid-state options. You can even reformat old-style MiniDiscs to use the new format, but I don’t think you get the full 1GB then.

The MZ-100 has a bigger and brighter screen, a remote control and longer battery life. Otherwise the two are the same. The blurb on Sony’s website says this: This Hi-MD portable audio recorder is ideal for journalists and musicians who need to make high-quality stereo audio recordings using cost-effective removable storage media. The MZ-M100 recorder comes supplied with an ECM-DS70P Stereo Microphone and MDR-EO931Earbud Headphone. The recorder uses affordable Hi-MD media with 1 GB storage capacity. Three recording modes are supported including: Linear (PCM) 44.1kHz/16-bit, ATRAC3plus 256kbps (Hi-SP) mode and ATRAC3plus 64bps (Hi-LP) mode. The recorder supports USB uploading + downloading with PC (using supplied Sonic Stage software), and USB uploading with MAC (using supplied Hi-MD WAV importer software), allowing transferring audio recordings to a computer in .Wav file format. This Hi-MD device can also be used as a USB mass storage device, allowing storing data files on the Hi-MD disc along with audio recordings.

MZ-M100 Key Features Include:

– 6 line large EL (Organic Electroluminescence) display
– Ability to record from multiple sources (USB, Line In, Mic In)
– Self record uploading allows transferring Hi-MD recordings onto a computer as a .wav file
– Up to 33 hours of battery life with rechargeable battery (supplied) and 1 “AA” battery
– Hi-MD selectable recording time provides 94 minutes of uncompressed PCM linear audio, or up to 34 hours of ATRAC3plus compressed audio
– Compatible with both Hi-MD media and standard MiniDisc media
– Data file storage allows storing data files on Hi-MD discs along with audio recordings
– Music and data transfer powered by USB
– Digital amplifier

MicroTrack Mobile Digital Recorder

Filed under: Hardware at 12:13 pm (2 comments)

M-Audio has announced shipment of their MicroTrack mobile digital recorder. Think of it as a recording iPod. It records 2 24-bit channels at 96kHz to CompactFlash aas WAV or MP3 files. It has the inputs you might expect, including phantom power for microphones. Looks interesting if you need this level of recording quality, but there are recording MP3 players out there that fulfil the basic function.

Another competing product is the Edirol R-1, which doesn’t look quite as groovy but has similar specs and may be slightly cheaper. It also has built-in microphones, which makes it more portable even though it’s a bit bigger.

Only Harmony Central seems to have the press release at the moment. (Oddly, it’s not on the M-Audio site.) They say: Only about the size and weight of a deck of cards, the MicroTrack 24/96 digital recorder is a mobile 2-channel digital recorder that records WAV and MP3 files to CompactFlash media or microdrives. While the unit is designed primarily as a professional field recorder and songwriter’s notebook, it will also be embraced by other markets including business, education and worship.

[Editor’s note: “worship”?!]

Despite its small size, leaps in miniaturization technology allow the MicroTrack 24/96 to deliver the same quality as M-Audio’s audio interfaces–up to 24-bit/96kHz PCM. The unit can record via balanced 1/4″ line inputs or built-in microphone preamps complete with 48V phantom power for studio-quality microphones. Balanced 1/4″ TRS line inputs also make it easy to take a feed directly from a studio or club mixer. S/PDIF input provides for recording the output of digital mixers and doing transfers from other digital recording/storage devices. Monitoring is provided via the 1/8″ stereo headphone jack or RCA line outs.

Edirol R-1 Portable Recorder

Filed under: Hardware at 12:03 pm (6 comments)

The R-1 Portable 24-Bit WAVE Recorder & Player looks like a very nice device for field or live recordings. The best thing is that is has almost everything you could want in one smallish box — it’s (just) small enough to fit in your hand. It has built in stereo mics, and onboard effects if you need to tweak the sound.

I don’t have much use for a portable recorder, but I have been looking at this since the Microtrack was announced. That device garnered lots of attention, but many people were unimpressed and prefer the R-1 instead.

This device seems pretty popular among people who need to do live recordings, or even to use a a sketchbook. Edirol’s R-1 Portable Recorder & Player website has all the details. Here’s what it says.

Top-Grade Components, World-Class Sound

Searching for the highest recording quality in a portable device? EDIROL handpicked the top analog and digital components for the R-1. The unit records and plays back at crystal-clear, 24-bit audio resolution without compression. Electrolytic capacitors provide stable, reliable power to the analog circuits, eliminating DC interference and offering a truly low-distortion sound. Maximum recording time is approximately 137 minutes (MP3, 64 kbps mode) when using the included 64 MB memory card. The R-1 offers nine quality modes ranging from 64 kbps compression to 24-bit linear WAV.

Record via Built-In Mic, External Mic, or Line Inputs

Need to record quickly, easily, with pro results – and without having to buy extra components? The R-1 is equipped with two omni-directional electret microphones for quick and clean capture. It offers superior results using internal microphones because it is completely solid state – the R-1 makes no noise itself for the internal microphones to pick up. Just press the REC button, the level indicator pops up on the display, and you’re instantly ready to record. The R-1 also lets you capture audio through its external line or microphone input.

Internal Effects, Metronome, & Tuner

The R-1 goes above and beyond the competition with its pro-quality internal effects processor, equipped with 13 tools for perfecting your sound (microphone simulator, noise suppressor, hum-cut, EQ, reverb, center canceller, and more). The EQ of the R-1 offers a variety of presets for various styles of music. The R-1 also provides Tuner and Metronome functions, making it an excellent portable music-practice tool!

Take it Anywhere

Robust, rugged, and ready to travel, the R-1 is built to withstand the rigors of the road. Capture the sounds of nature, record live music, use it as an MP3 player, plug it into your studio gear or stereo for pristine playback – the options are vast. The R-1 runs on two AA batteries or from the included AC adaptor.

Convenient Connectivity

In addition to its headphone output and external audio inputs, the R-1 can connect to the outside world via USB 2.0 for importing/exporting WAV / MP3 audio files directly to the computer. The R-1’s headphone jack also doubles as an S/PDIF optical out, so you can stream audio to digital equipment such as digital speakers or DAT/CD/MD recorders.

Main Specifications

Audio Input: Internal Microphone (stereo): Stereo Microphone (1/8″ phone jack : plug-in powered compatible type), 1/8″ Stereo Line Input
Audio Output: 1/8″ stereo phone jack, Headphones (1/8″ stereo phone jack), S/PDIF 1/8″ phone optical type (same port as Headphones)
Recorder/Player: 2 Tracks (1 stereo track) Recording data format WAV, MP3, CompactFlash(tm) card Up to 2 GB capacity
Audio Effects: 1. Easy EQ (11 presets), 2. For Speech, 3. Voice Perform, 4. Editable EQ (10 Band EQ : 32/64/125/250/500/1k/2k/4k/8k/16k Hz), 5. Noise Reducer, 6. Hum Noise Cut, 7. Reverb, 8. Int-Mic Rec. (Mic Simulator Optimized for Built-in Mic), 9. Ext-Mic Rec. (Mic Simulator for External Mic), 10. Mastering, 11. Center Cancel, 12. Tuner, 13. Metronome
Weight: 205 g / 8 oz (excluding CF and batteries)
Dynamic Range: 83dB (S:N 93 dB)
Nominal Input Level (adjustable): Mic input: -40dBu (input level set to maximum), Line input: -10dBu (input level set to maximum)
Input Impedance: Mic input: 6.8 k ohms, Line input: 100 k-ohm
Maximum Output Level (adjustable): 9 dBu (output volume set to maximum)
Recommended Load Impedance: 32 ohms
Frequency Response: 20 Hz–20 kHz (+/- 2dBu)
Residual Noise Level: (input level set to maximum/output volume set to maximum) -84dBu
Signal Processing: AD/DA conversion 24 bit / 44.1 kHz
Power Supply: AC adaptor (included) or Battery Rechargeable Ni-MH AA x 2 or Alkaline AA x 2. R-1 has no charge function.
Battery life: Playback: approximate 6 hours, Recording: approximate 2.5 hours
USB: USB 2.0 Storage device (WindowsXP/2000/Me, MacOS9.2 or MacOS X, OS standard driver)
Display: 20 x 2 character display
Accessories: CF Card 64 MB, AC Adaptor Roland PSB-6U type, Carrying Case, Owner’s manual
Dimensions: 99.25 (W) x 134 (D) x 30.2 (H) mm / 3-15/16 (W) x 5-5/16 (D) x 1-3/16 (H) inches
Options: Headphones Roland RH-200/RH-50

26 July 2005

Soundtrack Pro review — Macworld

Filed under: Music software at 10:16 pm Comments Off on Soundtrack Pro review — Macworld

MacWorld gave a top review to Apple’s SoundTrack Pro audio editing application. They gave it five mice — their top award — for its excellent user interface and powerful, easy-to-use sound editing features. It doesn’t do everything (MIDI, for example) but the sound editing and cleanup tools are fast and comprehensive.

Macworld writes: “Soundtrack Pro strikes a good balance between the needs of musicians, video editors, audio editors, and multimedia pros. There’s no easier or quicker way to perform day-to-day audio-editing chores, repair sound problems, design sound, match audio to video, or automate sound-asset management, on either a Mac or a PC.” And “Its streamlined audio features will make it desirable for music production, as well, especially in combination with a full-featured workstation. Any one of its key features—the sound-effects library, the extensive collection of effects and audio-repair and -editing tools, or looped video scoring—would justify the program’s price, but Soundtrack Pro gives you all of them in one package.”

SONAR Home Studio 4

Filed under: Music software at 12:51 pm Comments Off on SONAR Home Studio 4

Cakewalk has released SONAR Home Studio version 4. The Producer and Studio editions have been at version 4 for a while, so finally the home version has caught up. There are too many different SONARs to keep track of! To add to the confusion, there’s also SONAR Home Studio version 4 XL, which is just Home Studio with more bundled effects, instruments and sounds.

Their extensive press release has all the details: Based on SONAR 4 technology, SONAR Home Studio brings the professional power of SONAR to musicians looking to take the first step into digital recording. SONAR Home Studio provides everything needed to take music from inspiration to finished CD with features that include: 64 audio and unlimited MIDI tracks; 24-bit, 192 kHz audio engine; Master Control Toolbar; Track Presets for easy track setup; Track Icons for quick visual orientation when recording and mixing; Track Inspector; Project Navigator; enhanced loop-based composition tools; music notation printing; customizable Console, color schemes, layouts, toolbars and keyboard commands; ASIOâ„¢, WDM, DirectXâ„¢, DXiâ„¢, VSTâ„¢, ReWireâ„¢ Support; PowerStripâ„¢ multi-effects processor and Cakewalk Audio FX1 and Audio FX2 plug-in suites; SFZ SoundFont player; Virtual Sound Canvas DXi and Dreamstation DXi; CD burning; and hundreds of megabytes of ACIDâ„¢-format loops.

SONAR Home Studio Version 4 Highlights

  • Record, edit, arrange, and mix 64 audio tracks and unlimited MIDI tracks
  • 24-bit, 192 kHz audio engine
  • 32-bit floating point audio engine
  • Dynamic Console view
  • Master Control Toolbar
  • Track Presets and Track Icons
  • Navigator view
  • Track Inspector
  • Project Navigator
  • Loop-based composition tools with enhanced loop construction toolset
  • Universal Bus Architecture (up to 16 busses simultaneously)
  • Advanced MIDI routing & synth layering
  • Audio metronome
  • Confidence recording of audio, MIDI, and automation
  • Music Notation
  • PowerStripâ„¢ multi-effects
  • Cakewalk Audio FX1 and Audio FX2 effects suites
  • Virtual Sound Canvas DXi
  • Dreamstationâ„¢ DXi
  • SFZ SoundFont player
  • ASIO, WDM, DirectX, DXi, VST, ReWire Support
  • Hundreds of megabytes of ACID-format loops
  • CD burning with included Cakewalk Pyroâ„¢ Express

Master Control Toolbar — this view centralizes all common controls needed for recording, providing quick access to all Views, Record, Loop, and Punch transport functions; direct access to Track Presets and Track Properties; shortcuts to the Windows Mixer and File Export for CD burning. The Master Control Toolbar can float or dock to the top or bottom of the screen.

Track Presets — provides an easy and flexible way to create and recall complete track setups including mix, routing, and effects settings. Track Presets can contain any combination of Audio, MIDI, and DXi tracks, as well as any number of Tracks, Sends, and Busses. Hundreds of Track Presets included.

Track Icons — provides quick visual cues when recording and mixing. Track Icons can be assigned to any track or bus and stored per-project, per-Track Preset, and globally. Track Icons can be independently toggled on/off from Track, Console, and Track Inspector Views; Track Icons are also customizable, users can easily add their own Track Icons using Windows Bitmaps (BMPs).

Music Notation — integrated notation tools for the creation and printing of musical scores. Record and transcribe performances using any MIDI instrument, or just point and click to edit notes directly on the staff. Print up to 24 staves per page with chord charts and symbols, lyrics, dynamic markings, and more.

ReWire 2.0 — allows access to additional instrument sounds by patching Project5™, Kinetic™, Reason™, ReBirth™, and other popular ReWire compatible instruments right into the SONAR Home Studio Synth Rack. Also adds advanced audio recording, mixing, and editing capabilities to Kinetic or Reason.

Powerful Editing Tools — perform non-destructive edits on multiple clips simultaneously: nudge, roll out groove clips, add/edit fades, change the tempo and pitch, preview, move, extend or cut certain sections; add track envelopes; normalize or reverse the audio; unlimited undo/redo; multi-track piano roll; and Multi-port Drum Editor.

Loop Construction— the same powerful loop editing and composition capabilities found in SONAR 4 with slice-based envelope control of gain, pitch, pan; slice preview and auto-loop simplifies marker placement/adjustments.

Cakewalk Loops— hundreds of ACID and MIDI loops from leading manufacturers PowerFX, SmartLoops, and X-MiX. Rock, Hip Hop, Dance, and Electronica styles all included.

Additional features powered by SONAR 4 Technology

SONAR Home Studio Version 4 also includes many of the same features found in SONAR 4 including: customizable console, color schemes, layouts, toolbars, and keyboard commands; professional project file management tools: per project audio directories, consolidate project files for fast backup, search for associated files; Windowsâ„¢ AVI and MPEG video support for scoring soundtracks, and adding sound effects to band videos or home movies.

SONAR Home Studio Version 4 XL

SONAR Home Studio Version 4 XL is the premium-edition of SONAR Home Studio that ships with additional instruments, effects, and loop libraries. SONAR Home Studio Version 4 XL includes:

RXP DXi — the new tempo-syncing drum machine and groove box that plays REX and SFZ loops, as well as single hits. RXP DXi features hit and loop preview pads, built-in multimode filter and envelopes, drag-and-drop (drag REX files in/drag MIDI out).

Square I DXi — analog modeling synthesizer featuring warm and classic vintage analog synth sounds—designed for the serious music enthusiast. Easy layout with abundant high quality sounds.

PowerFX Dyad DXi Sampler — the advanced SF2 (soundfont) sample player with powerful tools for sound manipulation.

Reverb XL — based on the critically acclaimed Sonitus:fx technology found in SONAR 4 Producer Edition, Reverb XL provides a range of lush reverbs from subtle plates to grand cathedrals. Clean and intuitive user interface with full parameter automation and built-in Preset Manager.

Content CDs — two additional CDs of content are also included: CD two contains a library of unique and versatile samples from PowerFX. CD three contains hundreds of high quality REX and ACID format loops from Loopmasters and SmartLoops.
Pricing and Availability

SONAR Home Studio Version 4 has a manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) of $149 U.S.; SONAR Home Studio Version 4 XL is $229 U.S. (MSRP), and begins shipping July 27, 2005. All registered Home Studio customers can upgrade to SONAR Home Studio Version 4 for $59.00 U.S. Existing Home Studio XL customers can upgrade to SONAR Home Studio Version 4 XL for $59.00 U.S. For more information call 888-CAKEWALK, +1 (617) 423-9004 outside U.S. or visit Cakewalk on the web at

SONAR 4 — update 4.0.3

Filed under: Music software at 10:50 am (6 comments)

Cakewalk have released a free performance upgrade to SONAR 4. Unfortunately, they still insist on spelling the product name in CAPS. Anyway, the press release describes the SONAR 4.0.3 maintenance release highlights.

Audio engine optimization to improve performance during playback while copying, moving, nudging, splitting and slip-editing clips; moving events in the Piano Roll view; inserting/deleting effects (including delay-compensated effects); enabling/disabling looping; moving the Now Time (in projects without video); inserting/deleting new tracks or buses that route to existing audio ports; enabling/disabling a send on a track or bus that routes to an existing audio port; opening the GUI of an inserted VST plug-in. Additionally, the audio engine has been optimized to withstand heavy CPU loads without drop-outs.

The default auto-punch behavior has been modified to automatically mute previous takes when punch recording audio or MIDI to the same track using Sound-on-Sound (Blend) mode; this behavior can be changed to not mute previous takes.

Set Timecode at “Now Time” command has been added to the Transport menu providing a fast and easy way to sync an audio score to external video.

Availability: The SONAR 4.0.3 maintenance release will be available for download July 29, 2005.

25 July 2005

Ableton Live 5 — out now

Filed under: Music software at 12:47 pm Comments Off on Ableton Live 5 — out now

Ableton Live 5 has been released. The public beta program only lasted about 15 minutes, so I guess they decided very quickly that there were no big problems with the new version. As mentioned here earlier, version 5’s new features include MP3 support, automatic tempo matching, a better sampler, and plugin delay compensation.

From the website, here is the exhaustive list of features.


  • Complete sequencing, combination and reorganization of MIDI clips
  • Straightforward MIDI recording, editing and pattern creation
  • MIDI bank and program change settings for individual MIDI files
  • Graphical MIDI controller data for intuitive drawing and editing
  • Play MIDI notes with the computer keyboard
  • Manipulation of MIDI timing through adaptive quantization and swing/groove settings
  • Drag and drop import of Standard MIDI files and their individual tracks
  • Export of MIDI tracks and patterns as Standard MIDI files

Audio and Remixing

  • Preview and combine AIFF, WAV, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC and MP3 audio files of any sample rate, size and bit depth
  • Real-time time-stretching of any audio file to play in sync with the project tempo
  • Auto Warp — automatically detects the tempo of audio material and sets Warp Markers
  • Sample reverse of individual audio files
  • Rhythm and time warping for audio tracks, notes and sections within audio files
  • Real-time swing and groove manipulation of audio files
  • Clip Envelopes — complete control of volume, pitch, timing and effects for segments or notes within audio files through drawn curves
  • Flexible audio file exporting
  • Clip Transport — scrubbing, nudging and navigation within files
  • Live Clip format for easy storage and retrieval of musical ideas, including associated devices and settings

Recording and Sequencing

  • Comprehensive audio and MIDI recording and sequencing
  • Unlimited 32-bit/192 kHz multitrack hard disk recording
  • Detailed on-the-fly recording and editing (with continuous breakpoint envelopes) of automation for mixer, effects control movements and song tempo
  • Complete nondestructive editing with unlimited undo
  • Track Freeze for conserving CPU resources and simplifying project sharing
  • Track Delay controls for managing human, acoustic and hardware delays
  • Drum machine-style loop/overdub recording for building MIDI patterns
  • Punch-in and -out points for recording
  • Count-In recording
  • Creation of perfectly cut samples and loops through optional record quantization
  • Launchable Arrangement Locators
  • Instant resampling of audio and MIDI while the music plays
  • Multi-selection clip editing
  • Mackie Control support

Playing and Performing

  • Nonlinear audio and MIDI file organization and triggering for imaginative recombination and improvisation
  • Audio and MIDI files can be mapped to MIDI keyboard ranges and computer keys for instant triggering
  • Detailed control over the launch and play properties of individual files
  • Follow Actions — create groups of files that can trigger each other to generate specific or random output
  • Scenes — configure groups of files that play simultaneously, store tempo changes and advance automatically
  • DJ-style crossfading between any number of tracks
  • Hands-on control of any interface element with a MIDI controller or the computer keyboard
  • Flawless recording of all aspects of a set for later in-depth editing

Effects and Instruments

  • Ableton Audio Effects: Auto Filter, Auto Pan, Beat Repeat, Chorus, Compressor I, Compressor II, EQ Four, EQ Three, Erosion, Filter Delay, Flanger, Gate, Grain Delay, Phaser, Ping Pong Delay, Redux, Resonators, Reverb, Saturator, Simple Delay, Utility, Vinyl Distortion
  • Ableton MIDI Effects: Arpeggiator, Chord, Pitch, Random, Scale, Velocity
  • Ableton Instruments: Simpler, for creative sample-based synthesis, and Impulse, for dynamic percussion sound design
  • Endless expansion through VST and Audio Units Plug-in instruments/effects and ReWire
  • Automation and remote control of all instrument and effects parameters
  • Device groups for saving multi-effect combinations together with instruments
  • Plug-In Delay Compensation automatically compensates for delays caused by effects and plug-ins

Routing and Sync

  • Track-to-track I/O routing for complex mixes, post-effects recording, MIDI-to-audio conversion, submixing and synth layering
  • Individual instrument outputs and multi-timbral instrument input and output routing capabilities
  • Private cueing and previewing through separate audio outputs
  • Complete MIDI control of ReWire clients
  • Intuitive signal flow management of effects and instruments by drag and drop
  • Pre- or post-mixer effect grouping/bussing on up to twelve sends/return tracks
  • Tempo sync to any external source through MIDI Clock master or slave; MIDI Timecode slave
  • Audio and transport sync through the ReWire protocol as master or slave
  • Unlimited audio and MIDI tracks
  • Unlimited audio and MIDI inputs and outputs
  • ASIO, MME, DirectX and CoreAudio audio interface support

Also includes…

  • Valuable Live Pack library of clips, device presets and Live Sets
  • Built-in program tutorials and starter sets
  • Printed reference manual (boxed version only)
  • Multilingual program help and PDF manual in English, Japanese, German, French and Spanish

Macintosh System Requirements

  • Any G3 or faster
  • 512 MB RAM recommended
  • Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later

Windows System Requirements

  • 600 MHz CPU or faster
  • 512 MB RAM recommended
  • Windows 2000/XP
  • Windows-compatible sound card

GigaPulse VST — convolving reverb plugin

Filed under: Music software at 12:24 pm (2 comments)

Tascam are about to release GigaPulse VST, their convolving reverb VST plugin. As expected, this allows you to model the reverb from real-life rooms of various sizes and types. It also allows you to model the effects of different microphones, either standalone or combined with room modelling.

On this topic, here’s a quick plug(in) for the SIR Impulse Response Processor, a free convolving reverb plugin. Definitely worth trying to get a feel for how convolving reverb works and sounds. And did I mention it’s free?

As for Tascam’s offering, here’s their press release blurb: Taking advantage of TASCAM’s latest DSP technology, GigaPulse is the first VST plug-in for Windows from TASCAM. Using convolving technology, which essentially “samples” a room or acoustic body, GigaPulse can emulate any room, vintage EQ or microphone. With features like mic modeling, selectable room position and tail extension, GigaPulse sets new standards for reverb plug-ins.

“GigaPulse adds new life to sampled sounds by placing them in a real acoustic environment,” says Pete Snell, GigaStudio Sales and Marketing Manager. “The convolving technology found in GigaPulse blows away traditional reverb plug-ins, and the ability to place a sound in any location of a room gives the mixer an unmatched amount of creative possibilities.”

GigaPulse goes beyond most convolving reverb plug-ins with its built-in mic modeling, which can change the quality of the reverb recording or can be used on its own to add vintage microphone warmth to your recordings. The user can select the position of the sound source in the room with a 2-dimensional grid, the perfect effect for orchestral arrangements and other spacious mixes. And Tail Control technology reduces the processing load on the computer, allowing more instances of the plug-in to be used.

  • Acoustic space modeling via exclusive convolving algorithms
  • Create new impulses from your own recordings
  • 2D mic/source placement – move your source to up to 18 locations in a room
  • Microphone modeling can be applied to the environment or used alone
  • Tail Control reduces computer processing load to free up your CPU for more instances
  • “Move” the mic using the Perspective slider, controlling the reverb amount while maintaining phase and stereo imaging
  • Impulse libraries will be available from TASCAM, or download numerous freeware impulses from the Internet.

24 July 2005

VocalWriter 2.0

Filed under: Music software at 11:04 am Comments Off on VocalWriter 2.0

VocalWriter 2.0 is out now from KAE labs. This is a Macintosh-only vocal synthesizer — you use it like a normal piano roll sequencer, typing in English lyrics, and it sings them in tune in the voice you specify. The voices enunciate quite well, though they all sound a bit, well, computery. Still it’s shareware, so you can play with it before taking the plunge.

The press release on the website says: KAE Labs announces the release of VocalWriter 2.0, an update version now supporting Mac OS X. In addition, this release features increased vocal polyphony to 20 voices, downloadable PDF documentation and a lower shareware registration fee.

VocalWriter is the first music application that can automatically sing unrestricted English lyrics. Combining an advanced software vocal / instrumental synthesizer with an interactive music editor, VocalWriter is a MIDI file editor, player and synthesizer in a single integrated environment.

Most of the tasks involved with entering and editing lyrics have been automated using VocalWriter’s unique music editor. Users simply type the English lyrics for each note and VocalWriter automatically figures out the word pronunciation from its on-line 100,000 word phonetic dictionary, the syllable timing and synchronization, and the required vocal tract model parameters to sing the lyrics.

Besides a full General MIDI set for instrumental accompaniment, VocalWriter includes over 85 different singing voice models. The voice range covers models from the complex but subtle characteristics of human singers to models that extend beyond physical possibilities like singing musical instruments.

VocalWriter can be downloaded for a free 30-day evaluation from the KAE Labs web site at The shareware registration is $39 (US).