Tuesday, September 28, 2021

SOUNDWARE: ANIMAtronic Workshop. Vol 1. Full Demo Video. Finally Here.

 



It's taken a long, long time, but ANIMAtronic Workshop Vol 1 for Steinberg's ANIMA wavetable synthesizer is finally complete with a full demo video. 

64 synthesizer patches and 64 'electronica' arpeggiator loops. 

ANIMA is great for synth arpeggios. The wavetable oscillators combine with the on-board arpeggiator make for a bunch of sounds with edge and bite. 


Steinberg ANIMAtronic Workshop Vol 1. Demo Video. 

..... and here, finally, is the demo video. If you use HALion/ANIMA and have a spare thirty five minutes and fifty four seconds, then why not check it out...... 






The main ANIMAtronic Workshop Vol 1 page can be found below alongside the download links and other related videos. 




So why not head over there and grab yourself a copy. 


If you like my work, use the products, would like to support future projects, or buy me a drink,  then please donate via my Paypal.me page via the image/link below. Many Thanks. 






Disclaimer:

The information contained within this blog post is offered on an informal basis and is correct to the best of my knowledge. I accept no responsibility for outcomes arising from the mis/interpretation or use of this information and/or associated download files. Always download files via security/scanning software. 

Saturday, September 25, 2021

DAW REVIEW: Bitwig. Part Three. Unified Modulation System, Instrument Containers, and The Grid.

 



In this part of our journey through the latest version of Bitwig, I'll take a look at three great features that help Bitwig stand out from other music production platforms (DAWs) and may help you if you're considering going for Bitwig as your first DAW or if you are considering switching. 

In part two I took a look at some of Bitwig's major instrument devices, in this part, I'll look at the The Unified Modulation System, the concept of Instrument Containers, and The Grid modular patching feature. 

Bitwig Unified Modulation System. 






You will notice that on many of Bitwig's major instruments, e.g. Polysynth, FM-4, etc. that they are equipped very few modulators. Polysynth, as standard, has filter and amp EGs but that's about it. There is a reason for this. 

Bitwig employs a system of unified modulation which allows all instruments to access the same comprehensive 'suite' of modulator devices. So instruments such as Polysynth, FM-4, and Phase-4 can draw upon the resources of all the modulator devices. 

The little circle with an arrow coming out of it (see image above) represents all things pertaining to The Unified Modulation System, so if you this symbol you know what you're dealing with. Using this system, you can add any of the modulator devices to your instrument and use them to modulate any fully variable parameter of the instrument. 

It's almost a form of virtual instrument creation. You can create a version of FM-4, Polysynth or Phase-4 with your own suite of modulators. When you've created a sound, all the modulation devices, routings and values are stored within the patch so, of course, it sounds exactly the same every time you load/recall it. 

The list of modulator devices are many and varied. They include, as you would expect, ADSR and AHDSR envelope generators and various types of LFOs but there are also other modulators such as XY Pads, randomness generators, simple buttons and step sequencers. 

You can also use the Unified Modulation System to create a set of Macro Controls that give you grouped and instant access to a collection of the most used parameters of an instrument. 

Simply use the the little arrow symbol on the left hand side of any instrument, then use the 'plus' button to add a modulator from the pop up list. Double click the modulator window, and the instrument will enter a modulation routing mode. You can then select any parameter on the instrument to select modulation routing and amount. So modulation types, routings, and values can be set up in just a few clicks. 


Bitwig Instrument Containers. 


Bitwig also allows you to connect and 'embed' other FX devices and Note FX devices within a single 'Instrument Container', so you can create your own effects suite within an instrument patch alongside Note FX devices. Note FX devices include such things as arpeggiators, chord memory devices, etc. 






Bitwig's major instrument devices have tow boxes on their right side marked FX and Note FX and these allow you to add additional devices to the instrument. These additional devices and their associated controls and graphics the appear to the right of the instrument so you can create 'nested' device chains. 

So you could, for example, create a sample based instrument using Bitwig's Sampler instrument, then add a reverb, a powerful 5 band EQ, a filter, and maybe a compressor. You can then edit all the associated FX parameters to create a variety of patches and then save them to your library. When recalled, all the patches will have their associated FX devices and parameters recalled and set as they were when you saved them. So you've created your own 'effects suite' to go with the instrument.

Similarly, if you wanted to add an arpeggiator to a Phase-4 patch, for example, you can. Simply drag Bitwig's arpeggiator into the 'Note FX' box and write your arpeggiator patterns. Again, the pattern is stored when you save your creation to your library. Other 'Note FX' devices are available such as 'chord memory' type processors that allow you to memorise a chord and then play it with a single key. 

This is all part of what Bitwig describes as 'modular thinking'. Allowing all devices to interact and combine to maximise the creative possibilities. 

 

Bitwig's 'The Grid'. 





The final major feature of Bitwig we'll take a brief look at is something available from version 3 onwards and that's The Grid. This takes Bitwig's 'modular thinking' to it's ultimate conclusion and allows the virtual construction of modular synthesizers (Poly Grid) or modular audio effects processors (Audio Grid). 

A 'library' of 150+ modules are available to The Grid. There are sound generators, filters, mixers, modulators, note processors, effects, and audio processors. These can all be combined and connected in almost any way imaginable to create your own unique instruments. A module version of Sampler is available as a sound generator here, so sample based instruments are possible as well as 'synthesizer' creations. 

You can construct your modular sample or synth creation using The Grid editor. This shows a categorized 'palette' of devices at the top, which you can drag into the main editing space. Devices are connected for audio via patch cords. Bitwig will often intelligently provide a pre-cord for regularly used connections between devices. Of course, other types of signal paths are required such as data for logic, phase, and pitch information and these use a system of colour coded cords. Zooming and scrolling are possible for larger instrument creations. 

As with the Unified Modulation System, modulation devices can be used to modulate almost any parameter(s) from The Grid instrument. FX and Note FX devices can also be nested within the Grid instrument to form an 'effects suite' for your instrument and, like, the other major instrument devices, your Grid creation can employ Note FX devices such as the arpeggiator. The instrument you create within The Grid essentially becomes another instrument device and can be used in exactly the same way with the 'nesting' of additional FX. 

So, once again, Bitwig is really adding to the recording and mixing function of a music production platform, and adding 'instrument creation' to this list of functions. Through The Grid it is now possible to create an endlessly varying collection of sample and synthesizer based instruments. This really makes Bitwig a platform for sound design as well as recording and sequencing in a single software package.

Whilst you can experiment and play with The Grid in the 8 Track and 16 Track versions of Bitwig, you can save your creations, so you really need the full version of Bitwig Studio to fully experience it.  


Conclusion. 

So as well as being a powerful recording and sequencing platform, Bitwig is also a sound designer's dream, delivering creativity and flexibility in spades, but that doesn't mean it's for everybody. All of this does come with a price, and that's really complexity and a learning curve. Bitwig have clearly gone to great lengths to make their software, despite it's flexibility and creative possibilities, as accessible and as quick to learn a possible. It's also produced a great deal of written and video support resources for it. But it's never going to be for everyone. If you're a singer/songwriting looking for a tool to quickly produce piano/guitar/vocal/drum based song demos then it may not only not be for you, but also provide much that you will never use. 

I think it could also be argued that 'hardcore' electronic sound designers and producers may wish to get their inspiration from a variety of sources rather than just one. Many software designers specialise in some of the things that Bitwig does as a whole. Would it be more interesting and creative to put together a 'suite' of tools from a variety of sources rather than a single 'do it all' box? The full version of Bitwig Studio isn't cheap, and it may be more creative and fun to build something from a variety of suppliers. A more basic DAW, a modular synth VST from one supplier, a wavetable synth from another, etc, etc. 

Having said all that, Bitwig is an impressive and powerful creative tool, and really is a sound developer's and experimenter's dream. It's fast becoming the DAW of choice for committed electronic music producers and sound designers. Just make sure it's for you.

In Part Four, we'll take a look at Bitwig's recording and sequencing facilities.  

Links:

More information, tutorial videos, user manuals, and information on the different Bitwig products is available from their website at:



Here are the links to the other parts of this review. 





For updates on all my blog posts, reviews, new product news and soundware products, including sample libraries, synth patches, loops and breaks, you can follow/like my Facebook Page. 


Disclaimer:

The information contained within this blog post is offered on an informal basis and is correct to the best of my knowledge. I accept no responsibility for outcomes arising from the mis/interpretation or use of this information and/or associated download files. Always download files via security/scanning software. 
  

Friday, September 24, 2021

SOUNDWARE: Jazz Club Double Bass for Reason NN-XT Sampler.

 



Double Bass Samples and Patches for Reason NNXT.


The Jazz Club Double Bass soundware pack for Reason NN-XT is now ready to download and play.

Sampled in detailed across three velocity layers with a detailed 'twangy' attack, this pack is a must for all jazz, ambient, and instrumental composers of all genres. 

In addition to the raw samples, Jazz Club Double Bass features eight upright bass sounds for Reason NN-XT. Offering alternative filter, envelope and modulation parameter settings to produce a range of ready to use patches. 

Jazz Club Double Bass for NN-XT Demo Video. 


I've produced a short demo video for the soundware pack which you can find at my Youtube channel. This was produced using the Zampler version of the soundware, but the NN-XT version was produced with the same raw samples and soundfont, and sounds virtually identical. There is no on-board effects suite for NN-XT so you'll need to add any required effects from Reason's suite of effects processors. 




Please do consider a subscription to my Youtube channel. I produce loads of soundware every month for both software and hardware platforms and this is where you'll find all the demo tracks.  

Jazz Club Double Bass for NN-XT Download Link. 

You'll find the patches for NN-XT at the following link. The folder contains both the raw samples as well as the eight patches for NN-XT and you'll need all of these files, so download the whole folder to your hard drive, then use NN-XT's 'browse' function to locate the patches. The folder for the raw samples is nested within the whole project folder so Reason should locate the samples immediately. 




Optional Donation. 

If you like my work, use the products, would like to support future projects, or buy me a drink,  then please donate via my Paypal.me page via the image/link below. Suggested donation for this soundware pack: £1-2. Many Thanks. 





Disclaimer:

The information contained within this blog post is offered on an informal basis and is correct to the best of my knowledge. I accept no responsibility for outcomes arising from the mis/interpretation or use of this information and/or associated download files. Always download files via security/scanning software. 





Thursday, September 23, 2021

SOUNDWARE: Korg Kross 2. Performance Keys. Updated File.

 


I've now updated the Korg Kross 2 Performance Keys soundware pack to a .pcg file. 

Loads of great sounding organs, electric pianos, clavinets, and pianos, all making full use of Kross 2's great sounding effects section especially the distortion, talking modulator, and phaser effects.  

The original collection were as individual .krs.pr files which some people had a problem using. I think maybe these types of fils can only be loaded into a Kross 2 via the editing software. Maybe. 

Anyway you can download all 64 sounds/patches as a .pcg file. Be careful when using it. This file re-writes all 512 user programs, so don't overwrite anything valuable accidentally. 

Korg Kross 2 Performance Keys Demo Video. 


Here's the little demo video I did for the soundware pack. 





Download Link. 


You can download your Performance Keys soundware pack from the following link. The single .pcg file contains all the patches. Download the entire file then transfer it to the 'Data' folder in your Korg Kross 2 formatted SD card. You'll need a computer with an SD card slot, or the Kross 2 editing software.  



Optional Donation. 

If you like my work, use the products, and/or would like to support future projects then please donate via my Paypal.me page via the image/link below. Suggested donation for this soundware pack: £3-5. Many Thanks. 





Disclaimer:

The information contained within this blog post is offered on an informal basis and is correct to the best of my knowledge. I accept no responsibility for outcomes arising from the mis/interpretation or use of this information and/or associated download files. Always download files via security/scanning software. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

VST REVIEW: Cherry Audio Mercury-4 Virtual Analog Software Synth

 


Cherry Audio Mercury-4 Review. 


Virtual analog doesn't get much more instant, fun, and accessible as this. 

Cherry Audio's latest addition to their collection of vintage virtual analog products is a recreation of Roland's 4 voice proto-poly Jupiter 4 synthesizer with some enhancements, not least of which is that it's now 16 voice polyphonic. 

Users of the Jupiter 4 included Vince Clarke and the early incarnation of Depeche Mode and Yazzo, I believe it features on some early Duran Duran tracks courtesy of Nick Rhodes. The Cars also had one, as did The Human League, and Thomas Dolby. 

I recently took a look at their Oberheim Eight-Voice recreation, and whilst it sounded great, I did feel the enhancements and implementation were a little 'cumbersome.'. No such problem with the Mercury-4. I'm pleased to say, it's instant, accessible and loads of fun. 

Don't be fooled by the single oscillator plus sub signal source. Mercury-4 is capable of plenty of big, fat, bass, lead and poly sounds. The 16 voice implementation helps with this, as you can use Unison mode and still be polyphonic. The faithful reproduction of the original ensemble/chorus (the only 'effects' section from the original hardware version) offers additional assistance in the 'fatness department.'

Mercury-4 Basic Architecture. 


Saw, square and pulse waves are available from the oscillator with width modulation for the pulse wave. The sub produces the same waveform simultaneously an octave down. A noise generator is also provided with level control. 

Dual mode low pass and high pass filtering are provided with ADSR envelope alongside the usual amplifier ADSR envelope. 

LFO modulation can be applied with level controls for all three major sections with square, sine, saw, and inverse saw. A separate LFO dedicated to 'sample and hold' modulation is also available and can be applied simultaneously to the standard LFO. Of course, all LFO frequencies can be synced to your music production platform's master tempo. 

Some great features are available along the front keyboard strip (which doesn't exist on the original hardware version), including the aforementioned ensemble/chorus with width control, the basic Jupiter 4 arpeggiator which, of course, can now be synced to your DAW's master tempo, chord memory function (!), I love chord memory facilities, a Roland Tape Echo recreation with time and level controls, and reverb with decay and level controls. 

Controls to the side of the keyboard cover pitch bend/mod wheel controls and polyphonic portamento with time control is provided. 

How Does it Sound?


Well.....I have to confess I've never owned or played a Jupiter 4, so I can't really say how authentic it sounds, but I can say it sounds great! Certainly sounds like I'd imagine a Jupiter 4 to sound, if that makes any sense. Certainly sounds very analog. If you know what I mean. 

Loads of great sounding presets are provided which ably demonstrate the instrument's capabilities to the full. Some of my favourites include:


All Our Eighties.
Angelic Glider.
Brash Brass.
Bright Side. Eighties arpeggiator.
Soft Focus. Analog pad.
Canadian Thunder. Sample and Hold LFO patch. 
Cascades. great sounding arpeggiator patch. 
Funky Clav. analog clavinet. 
Choral Pad. analog choir. 
Fat PWM Sweep. fat analog filter sweep.  


The 16 voice capability certainly helps in this regard, allowing you to stack voices whilst maintaining at least some polyphony, and it also allows bigger chord for the chord memory function!

The additional effects also enhance things. 

Conclusion. 


I really like Mercury-4. You can download a 30 day demo version that has full functionality but just produces a burst of noise now and again, and the full version is a steal at $39. 

It sounds great, and Cherry Audio have added all the right 'virtual extras' without over-complicating things. 

The instant, accessible nature of the instrument should have you playing around, programming, and saving your creations in no time, but even if you don't you'll find plenty of useful noises in the comprehensive, great sounding list of presets. 

Mercury-4 is available as an AU, VST, VST3, AAX plug-in, or standalone version for PC or Mac. 

Links.

More information, download, demo version, and user manual are available from the Cherry Audio website here:



For more DAW and VST reviews, new product news, and technical information as well as loads of free sample libraries, synth patches, and loops, follow me at my Facebook Page




Disclaimer:

The information contained within this blog post is offered on an informal basis and is correct to the best of my knowledge. I accept no responsibility for outcomes arising from the mis/interpretation or use of this information and/or associated download files. Always download files via security/scanning software.