Archive for the ‘software’ Category

Play drums like a hero

In drums, music theory, push, sample, software on December 16, 2015 at 14:41

Many hip hop musicians are used to play beats with pad MIDI controllers like Ableton Push, Maschine, or MPC. To be honest, hip hop is not my favorite music style, but I’m envious of their dexterity when playing pads.

Today, I stumbled over Melodics. Melodics is an app like Guitar Hero for Mac and PC. The idea is simple, you are trained to press the right button at the right time in order to create something like  music.

The download of the app is free and there are 20 free lessons. The training starts with simple lessons (with kick and snare), but they become more complex with the time.

Yes, it’s really similar to Guitar Hero.

Melodics: guitar hero like interface.

Melodics: guitar hero like interface.

After playing a while, you get a feedback about the precision of your playing. Missed notes and too early or late ones. Gamification, do a job good and reach for that reason the next level.

Melodics: get feedback

Melodics: guitar hero like interface.

The lessons are labelled with musical styles. You get a short explanation, what’s typical for the actual  style. There are even fingering tips for each lesson. Great, although they only make sense when playing complex patters.

Melodics: fingering

Melodics: guitar hero like interface.

From that perspective, Melodics is like Guitar Hero should be. But what I do miss is the opportunity to create your own stuff with the given samples. An export function or (even better) Ableton Live integration would be nice.

The payment model is not my favourite. You have to pay for month or year. I guess, it’s suitable for beginners, who will – after a few weeks – stop learning with that app and start making their own stuff. For me, occasional users will not be pleased with subscription. I guess, Guitar Hero is paid once, isn’t it?

However, this app makes sense and is really fun. So, give it a try.



Understanding massive’s routing

In instrument, ni massive, software, synth on January 12, 2013 at 16:28

Hello folks,

today I’d like to start a small series about Native Instruments Massive – currently one of the most popular virtual synthesizers. Just as many of you I would like to create my own Massive patches, my own distinctive sounds.
There are so many video tutorials. Most of them are step by step tutorials how you get a specific sound. But although Massive is so complex, there are only a few basic introductions. But I think, a fundamental understanding and knowing what’s going on in the background, leads you to good sound design. So let us take a closer look at the routing tab.

Routing tab (red arrow), device and symbol (orange arrow), signal flow (white arrows)

Routing tab (red arrow), device and symbol (orange arrow), signal flow (white arrows)

The routing tab shows the whole circuit diagram of the synth, e.g. the wiring of all elements. After I have shown you some examples, you will understand how the signal flows through the synth. Here is just a taster: Massive has three wavetable oscillators. You find the three symbols OSC 1, 2 and 3 on the left hand side of the routing tab. The oscillators are wired with two filters. The filter outputs are mixed and so on. I think that’s enough for the beginning.


1. Real serial filtering

1. Real serial routing

In the first example I like to route the output from oscillator 1 through filter 1 and after that through filter 2 – the classic serial circuit. Needless to say, the oscillator 1 is switched on. The switch is located at the left of the device title. The lamp light must be blue. The diagram below must be read from top to bottom and from left to right.

Real serial filtering

The fader of OSC 1 is at the top, in order to route the signal only to filter 1. The fader ->F2 at the very top (serial), because filter 2 should get the input signal only from the output of filter 1. The MIX fader is on the very bottom, in order to route only the output of filter 2 to the synth’s output. (By the way, the MIX fader can be in the central position, in case – like in the screenshot – the slider of filter 1 is down.) The white arrows in the upper picture show the flow of the signal.

The next pictures shows how the UI elements and the circuit diagram are related.

Corresponding UI elements and symbols in circuit diagram


1.1 Mixing serial filtering

1.1 Mixed serial routing

But do not let us kid ourselves, the signal flow gets easily more complicated. Just stay at example 1. Real serial filtering and add one signal flow. By pushing up the MIX fader, the output of filter 1 is routed directly to the synth output without running through filter 2. The white arrows in the lower picture show again the flow of the signal and the orange one is new signal flow.

Mixing serial filtering


1.2 Bypassing the filters

If you like to bypass the two filters in order to add a subbass. You can use the Bypass bus.

1.2 Bypassed serial routing

Let’s vary the example 1. Real serial filtering again, in order to get bypassing. I have switched the OSC 3 on and made a kind of trick. I routed the oscillator signal only to filter 2. But the ->F2 fader position shows you, that the signal never will reach filter 2, because of its top position. Maybe you noticed the white B in the circuit diagram (Click it, if it’s not white!). That means, the output of OSC 3 is directly routed to the EQ device. Now there is only one step left. If you switch on and upper the Bypass fader you can hear the output of OSC 3. This approach is generally interessting if want to avoid processing one oscillators.

Bybass the filters


2. Real parallel filtering

In this example I will use two oscillators. Oscillator 1 is routed through filter 1 and oscillator 2 is routed through filter 2 – the classic parallel circuit.

2. Real parallel filtering

The fader of oscillator 1 and 2 are set in that way, that signal of OSC 1 flows through filter 1, and vice versa. The fader ->F2 is at the very bottom, to run the filters in parallel. The two fader of the filter devices are at the top, in order to run their signal to the synth’s output. The fader MIX is in the center position, to mix the oscillators with equal volume. The next pictures shows how the UI elements and the circuit diagram are related.

Corresponding UI elements and symbols in circuit diagram


2.1 Mixing parallel filtering

2.1 Mixed parallel filtering

By pushing up the fader ->F2 a bit, the output of filter 1 is routed into filter 2. So filter 2 is processing the output of OSC 2 and OSC 1 after filtering by filter 1.

That sounds complicated, that’s the reason, why I prefere diagrams. The orange arrow shows the addition signal flow, from filter 1 output to filter 2 input.

Mixing parallel filtering

For the sake of completeness, you can enable more than the bypass (b) in the circuit diagram by clicking on the according symbol: The bypass (B), feedback (FB), inserts 1 and 2 (INS 1 and 2). Apart from the bypass, you can active the device at different places in the diagram. That means you can decide, when signal is routed through the device – for example before or after the filter. Therefore, don’t be surprised, that you won’t hear unplaced devices.

That’s all for day. To be continued. I hope that helps.



In ableton, daw, hardware, software on October 25, 2012 at 19:19

I think, since Native Instruments released Maschine, there is a new generation of powerful controllers and Push is one of them.

And I’m happy that Ableton Live 9 will have some new features like recording automation in session view mode. See the ‘New in Ableton Live 9’ video by AbletonInc for more information.

EDM arena


Exciting news for Electronic Music Producers today!  Ableton Live 9 just dropped with a ton of new features.  In addition to this Ableton has also announced PUSH.  PUSH is a new instrument that solves an old problem: how to make a song from scratch. With hands-on control of melody and harmony, beats, sounds, and song structure, Push puts the fundamental elements of music making at your fingertips – and it fits in a backpack alongside your laptop.

See it in Action here:


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Your first music video #3

In resolume, software, vjing on September 21, 2012 at 20:59

In my little series I sketched, which applications I will use to create a video clip for one of my song, that I can upload to Youtube or Vimeo. The second post tried to use the Syphon Recorder for that purpose.

Today, I will check out the internal recording function of Resolume Avenue. This feature was released with Avenue 4.

You can find the recording button at the right hand side of the application. Just press the button to start and stop recording – sounds simple. Avenue creates a Quicktime movie file and Wav audio file in the Resolumne Avenue 4 Recordings directory. You can adjust the location of this folder with the help of the Preferences dialog. If you like to set the dimension of the movie, you have to open the Composition/Settings menu.

In the beginning the recording don’t work on my machine. Sometimes google is your best friend. I found out, that the speed of your hard disk (SSD is better) and internal RAM limits the dimension of your movie you like to render to disk. Unfortunately, Avenue 4.1.1 don’t shows a hint, that there is a problem. Just the button shows after starting the recording the label “Working..”. I found the missing hint in Avenue’s log file (Resolume Avenue 4 log.txt: “Unable to allocate enough memory, recording will be finalized!”).

I read some discussion about the subject in the Resolume forum. There are so many threads in the forum about that, so I’m not sure, this is the best approach. At least for today, I won’t change my plan to use the internal function. I solve the problem by setting a smaller movie dimension. If I close all other applications, I can record a video with the size 1280 x 720 and that’s for sure okay for upload, but 1280 x 720 pixel should be enough for that purpose.

Unfortunately, the frame rate of the recorded movie is 24.7, although Avenue shows the visual with a higher frequency. I’m afraid that a value under 25 fps is not what I’m looking for. Maybe my machine is to slow for the dimension I have chosen. Anyway.

Logically, the movie is too long, because of starting the recording before beginning the performance and stopping it after the performance has ended. In addition to this, there are two files and the movie itself is silent. So I have to find a way to handle this, without buying Final Cut.

That’s all for today. Next time more!


Update: Today a got feedback from the Resolume Support regarding my questions about its internal recording function.

You’re comparing two similar features with different purposes. The Resolume recorder is a live sampling tool, which is meant to record a short sequence of your main output and then bring it back in the mix. This way you don’t have to keep moving a fader to have a certain look. It’s *not* a full fledged video production tool.

And about the missing message:

This is a bug, and we’d appreciate it if you could contact us directly.

So that means, to achieve my target, I should use the Syphon Recorder.

Your first music video #2

In resolume, software, vjing on August 31, 2012 at 00:51

In my first post of this series I sketched, which applications I will use to create a video clip for one of my songs. You may remember my lengthy and perhaps confusing description of a workflow, which finally results a movie file, that I can upload to Youtube or Vimeo. For this first try, I will check out the third way. Let’s go on.

Keeping the goal ever present means in this case, what video format and compression should I use? Many websites agreed that these settings are useful:

  • Dimension: 1280 x 720 pixel
  • Format: Quicktime movie
  • Compression: H.264
  • Frame rate: 25 per second
  • Audio: AAC, 44.1 kHz

Maybe a dimension of 1920×1080 or 1440×1080 is better for HD video. I learned, that it is useless to set the frame rate to 29.97, because Vimeo converts all HD videos only up to 25 frames per second in order to optimize playback performance. Ok, that means our goal is clearly formulated and we can create a video. Please refere to my first post, if not everything is clear.

We have to activate Syphon in Resolume Avenue. Go to the Preferences/Video dialog and check Syphon Input & Output.

The default dimension of your Resolume project could be not correct, so open the menu “Composition/settings” and set the dimension to 1280 x 720 pixel.

After that start the Syphon Recorder and open the Preferences. Change the Video settings like in the list above. The shown dimensions are just an example. This depends on the power of your system.

Now we are are almost finished. Press Syphon Recorder’s Record button and start Resolume’s visuals. Stop the recording and you will find a move file on your hard disk. Yeah!

Unfortunately, my video didn’t contain any audio. I don’t worried about that, because something just had to go wrong. It was clear to me, that I have to postprocess my recording, for getting the right starting and ending point of the final video.

So, the postprocessing is the last step. I don’t own Final cut, but I helped myself using iMove 11, it came with my iMac. I imported the silent video and audio file into the application. It takes a bit time to find the settings, in order to get the result I expect: Go to the menu Shared/Export using quicktime... Press the Options.. button, than the Settings.. respectively Size.. button and enter the values from above again.

That’s it! You got your first video ready for upload to Youtube or Vimeo, but this is only the beginning. To be continued.


Your first music video

In resolume, software, vjing on August 29, 2012 at 23:35

Today, I have decided to realize a long cherished dream. What about making visuals for my music? It is not my intention to start vjing, I would like to create music videos. I have in mind abstract pictures, so processing computer graphics and effects should be the right starting point. The beginning is, as always, the most difficult, for that reason I would like to share my experiences by some posts and this one is the first.

What do I need for my first music video? Software is always a good answer, when you don’t know how to start.

My prefered DAW is Ableton Live. I would like to trigger, sync and control my visuals directly from Ableton. I read that VDMX 5 or Resolume could do this job. Both are known VJ software programs and regarded as equivalent. Don’t ask me my, I decided to use Resolume Avenue. I found out, that there is a full functional demo version. That is the way things should be.

Resolume supports Quartz composer patches. So I installed the Apple‘s Quartz composer. That was not so simple. You have to know that the Quartz composer is delivered as part of the Developer toolset for Graphics and Animation. I’m running Mac OS X 10.6.8, so I had to search a while on Apple’s developer website in order to find the right version. And I was forced to register myself as developer, but it’s free of charge. That means the second step is done.

The next step should be rendering the visuals to disk. Unfortunately, there are three possibilities. For a beginner like me it is hard to identify, which approach is the best for my purposes. Since Avenue 4 there is a internal recording function, but my first tests and studying the Resolume Forum raised doubts over this feature – in a later post more about that.

The second alternative, buy a HDMI video capture card – in order to get the file – is for a start to expensive. But there is a third solution: The open source software Syphon Recorder it records video from any Syphon supporting application. Unfortunately, the recorder is in beta state. And there are more risks: It’s not a good idea to record to disk while reading video during a performance from the disk, because frame dropping can happen. We will see how good it works.

But, how can Resolume stream into the recorder? The name of this solution is called Syphon. This free application routes the visual output of one program to another.

So, these are my first steps to make my first music video. For my taste there are to many application involved and chained. Wait and see how it works. To be continued.


Continue reading with Part #2.

Create your own ambient & drone sounds

In audio effect, software on January 7, 2012 at 19:08

I few weeks ago I found a open source software called Paul Stretch. This application is build for extrem time stretching of music. Before I take a closer look, I will give you the download URL for many operating systems: Sourceforge.net/paulstretch/

The worst first, the GUI is not very nice, but there are very good smoothing algorithms implemented, so audio could by extremly time stretched without any unwanted artifacts. This tool helps you to create sound you know from drone or ambient music.

First of all here are some screenshots. As you can see there is the option to adjust many parameters.

Here are two examples I made. The first one is generated from a short vocal sample ..

.. and the second one is from a drum loop.

Many thanks to Nasca Octavian Paul!

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