Tyler the Creator and ASAP Rocky Release Merch for Joint Tour
Category: Gear
Tags: clothing hoodies tshirt pants shoes online store tour Tyler ASAP Rocky Odd Future Exclusive

Released through Tyler’s Golf Wang clothing brand, the joint merchandise is compromised of graphic tees, long sleeve shirts, crew necks and hoodies. Available in three primary colors – pink, white and black, the tour merch has the Odd Future touch with its graphic print image of Rocky and Tyler on the front chest portion of the shirts. On the back of the shirts the brand features all of Rocky and Tyler’s tour stops, along with the website used for the tour. Starting at just $20 for the tees, the long sleeve shirts are priced at $30, while the hoodies are being sold for $40.

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Category: Gear
Tags: DJ native instruments stems

These days, new forms of technology and software seem to be saturating the dance music circuit on a weekly basis, with DJs, producers, and fans getting to reap the benefits of the current revolution. When completely new additions are made to commonly used pieces of equipment and proceed to become the norm, it’s often difficult to remember what it was like beforehand. We never truly realize the potential of new technology until we can compare it to its previous absence in the marketplace. This week, Native Instruments may have just catalyzed the next big step for DJs everywhere.

The format. . . will allow DJs for the first time to be able to purchase not only complete songs but also the individual track parts that make them up.

NI has finally put out a new music format file type that they’ve dubbed a “STEMS File.” Inside, producers are able to include up to four stems. The song’s components can be divided up in any way, giving the artist the capability for endless creative leniency. For instance, after making a complete track, the drums, lead synths, vocals, and harmonies can all be sectioned into different stems. Then, using NI’s Traktor or any other STEMS-compatible mixing tools, the DJ will be able to strip away and mangle multiple tracks together like never before. Imagine the percussion from one track, completely devoid of any muddy crossover from the other instruments, soloed against the crisp vocals of another song. Until now, a capellas and instrumentals have been the only real way to get a perfectly clean mashup, unless you have the official stems. Now, with the STEMS file, the world of mixing is our oyster.


GearFest 2015 Is Almost Here
Category: Gear
Tags: News Computer iOS DJ Live Sound Keyboard Drums

GearFest 2015 is Almost Here!


On Friday, June 12 we’ll open the doors to Sweetwater’s GearFest 2015, and it’s our biggest GearFest yet! We have over 10,000 visitors pre-registered, and as always the doors are open to the public so we expect even more guests than that. If you haven’t heard, GearFest is the largest customer-focused tradeshow of its kind. Thousands of musicians and engineers will be able to talk directly with manufacturers, get their hands on the latest gear, and take advantage of some great deals too.

Of course GearFest is about more than gear too – guests will be able to attend dozens of seminars, workshops, and educational sessions with top mix engineers, producers, songwriters, synth programmers, guitarists, drummers, and many more. GearFest is free of charge and open from 9am to 6pm on Friday and from 9am to 5pm on Saturday. Don’t miss out, there’s still time to register and to make your plans to join thousands of gear and music lovers from around the globe!

The Case Against Half-Height Modules
Category: Gear
Tags: Moog

The Case Against Half-Height Modules

In theory, modular synthesizers have independent modules for individual functions - oscillators, filters, envelopes. Modules can be moved, replaced, serviced. If we want extra oscillators, no problem. If we want sequencers on the bottom left or the top right, no problem. Modularity is a fantastic idea because it allows us to create our own instrument. It allows us to create different work flows and gives us the creative freedom to do our own thing unlike any other instrument.

Even though Moog systems are the most celebrated example of modularity in synthesizerdom, they fall short in one important way - half-height modules (actually, about 64% the height of a regular module). Moog systems have a single row of half-height modules along the bottom. These are mixers, utility modules and power switch panels. You've probably seen them but wasn't sure what to think. After all, it's a Moog, who's to question.

Since the late 60s when I first saw pictures of a Moog system, these dwarf modules haunted me. I hoped that one day I would understand some deeper meaning behind them but nope, they really are just half-height modules that can't be moved. They're stuck in the bottom row.

I wish I was there when this decision was made, maybe we'll never know the whole story, but it's a first-world tragedy. It was probably a combination of needing a place to put the power supply since full-size Moog modules consume most of the cabinet space, full-size modules bumping into the bottom of a tilted cabinet, expecting everyone would want/need mixers, and underestimating the value of full modularity that we cherish today.

Half-height modules violate the principle of modularity and limits the flexibility that makes modular synthesizers so amazing. A mixer should be able to go in any place in the system just like any other module, but half-height modules prevent that. Half-height modules makes systems more expensive, reduces functional density, and limits options - needlessly.

Half-height modules are one of the reasons I decided to build modernized modulars and not replicas of Moog modulars. I believe modularity should be taken to its logical conclusion, so in systems, all modules are full-height. This makes everything simpler, more logical, more free. You can move any module to any location in the cabinet, even the power modules. Modularity is one of the core principles in modular synthesizers and I believe full-height modules honors that in the truest way.

A compressor reborn
Category: Gear

German mastering compressor reborn as a plugin

Audified unveils the U73b

The U73b was a famous German broadcast compressor that was used for mastering purposes during the '60s to the '80s. It featured an all-tube design with adjustable release time.

Now it's back as a plugin courtesy of Audified. Promising the same 'circuit' as the original, this emulation adds input/output gain controls, a VU meter and a sidechain option.

Although the U73b has a simple interface and looks pretty easy to use, it's said to offer an immediately audible sound and can be used not only for mastering, but also when you're mixing drums, bass, guitar and vocals.


Find out more on the Audified website, where U73b can be purchased for $149, and a demo downloaded. It's available in VST, AU and AAX formats for PC and Mac.



Audio Comparison – Black Lion Audio mod for Digi-002R by matthew mcglynn
Category: Gear

Jon from Audio Geek Zine pointed out a thread on the DUC that gives readers a chance to compare a stock Digi 003 to a Black Lion Audio-modded Digi 003. I’m a big fan of aftermarket mods for audio hardware, so this is a question that I have a lot of interest in — in part because I spent about $1200 getting my Digi 002-Rack modded by BLA earlier this year.

Is the mod worth the money?

The Black Lion Signature Series mod includes a complete rebuild of the mic pre’s, line inputs, headphone amp, and line outputs, using upgraded opamps from Burr-Brown (TI). According to BLA, “these modifications result in a cleaner signal, with much more high end definition.”

Next, the master clock is replaced with a new, low-jitter design. Clock improvements are said to deliver “improved signal clarity, fuller harmonic extension of the instrument you are tracking, an apparent increase in volume over the stock design (because of lower phase cancellations), and pinpoint image placement during mix-down.”

The ADC and DAC are upgraded by swapping “low-grade ceramic capacitors” for premium units. This reduces distortion and phase cancellation during conversion. Additional noise-reduction circuitry is installed as well.

Finally, the power supply is upgraded. I believe a fully separate supply is installed for the analog circuitry. This brings an increase in headroom that BLA claims gives audio more “heft” and “presence.”

Last month I had an opportunity to record a quick A/B comparison. I’ve just now circled back to do some comparative listening.

It was a very limited test. But I can’t hear any improvement at all.

My test was small: I recorded one track of a single acoustic instrument. I can imagine that different instruments or voices might reveal sonic improvements that this test does not. But still, I’m not sure I’d have spent the money if I knew I would only hear a difference sometimes.

Two mics, one shockmount

For this test, I took a matched pair of 3 Zigma CHI microphones with small-diaphragm cardioid capsules. These are transformerless FET mics with low-noise amplifier circuits. We rubberbanded the two mics together and hung them from a single shockmount.

We positioned them so the capsules were about 18'' from the 12th fret of Michael Capella’s acoustic guitar.

We plugged one mic into my BLA-modded 002 Rack. We plugged the other mic into Michael’s stock 002 Rack. We matched the audio levels visually as best we could. No, this was not a scientific test; I left both my tone generator and my oscilloscope in some other reality in which I’m an even bigger audio nerd.

We recorded a single performance simultaneously on both DAWs at 24-bit, 44.1kHz.

In my experience, performance differences tend to produce greater changes in the audio signal than would a swap of preamp or converter, or even microphone in many cases. So while it’s true that these two mics would have recorded subtly different signals by virtue of being in slightly different locations, the difference is far smaller than it would have been if we’d recorded two different performances with a single mic.

I copied the raw audio file from Michael’s DAW to my own, imported it to a new track in my Pro Tools session, and gain-matched it to the track I’d recorded. I first played them back through my BLA 002R into good headphones. On that first listen, the track recorded by the BLA unit sounded warmer in the mids. The last chord of the piece had more midrange presence than on the track from the stock 002R. It was a subtle difference, but favorable.

Later, in a blind playback test through a different DAC into the same headphones, I preferred the stock 002R track. Oops.

Playing the tracks back through the modded 002R and a pair of Mackie HR824 monitors, in a blind test I again picked the stock 002 track for its articulation — for example, in that final chord, I could hear the attack of the pick on every string. In the track recorded by my modded 002R, the chord seemed to have a softer attack, less articulation. Is the warmth I perceived in the BLA track really just a lack of high-frequency extension?

These differences are minor, and will evade notice by casual listeners. That’s a problem. I’m damn disappointed to not be hearing dramatic improvements in the modded unit.

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Reaper DAW
Category: Gear
Tags: Music industry DAW Reaper music production audio engineer

Much like video editing systems, the tools for crafting, mixing, and multi-tracking digital audio projects - be they music, audio or sound for video endeavours - have reached a very mature stage in their development and evolution as technologies. The Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) market has grounded itself in all-digital workflows and common production practices whilst, at the same time, diversified into an array of major players. Each major software DAW has its own strengths and weaknesses, each has an established market share and there is consistent (albeit too often tentative) innovation pushing ever forward.

From ProTools as a staple of professional audio multi-tracking, to the music, composition and MIDI strengths of Logic, Sonar and Cubase. Into this mix we also see the likes of AcidPro, Digital Performer, Audition and even the synthetic power of Ableton Live, as well as the light-weight but highly effective integrated production-suite tools of SoundtrackPro and Soundbooth. It's a dense and mature market with each of these apps more than capable of professional work in a variety of different contexts.

And then there's Reaper

Like the others above, Reaper presents itself as a multi-track DAW but before we get into the nitty gritty of what Reaper can do and how it works there are three elements of Reaper that need to be stated up front. The first is that it costs just $250 to buy and can be used indefinitely as a 'trial' without ever timing out or being disabled in any way. The second is that the entire application is less than 7MB (the PC version is just 5MB!). Yes, that's not a typo. The entire application to download and run is less than 7 megabytes. The third is that there is no system 'install'. The program does not insert any files into your operating system what so ever, it just copies itself to your hard drive clean and simple. Reaper is an entirely self-contained and executing application. It can, as a result, be run from a memory stick on any computer almost instantly without any traditional install process.

Now, the above three features are not particularly impressive if the application they are attributed to is a simple, entry-level and rudimentary tool. If Reaper were the equivalent of Garageband then the fact that its just 7MB and doesn't need to install would make a large cohort of gung-ho music mixing teenagers happy but raise no eyebrows amongst professional audio producers.

But let's imagine a fully comprehensive DAW -- one able to hold its own against any pro audio multi-tracker on the market - one that is cross-platform and works with both audio and midi tracks with powerful recording tools and a highly advanced routing system of unlimited tracks, busses and sub-mixes. Imagine that system with the above properties; Cost = $225, Size = <7MB, No Install required.

On the surface the interface of Reaper appears to lift a lot from the pages of the venerable Sony AcidPro. The way tracks and audio waveforms are laid out and the position of their controls for fade curves, gain level, envelopes mute/solo buttons and region selections will all be very familiar to Acid users. Similarly, Adobe Audition owners will also find the GUI familiar but those coming from DAW's with a more traditional 'sequencer' background such as Logic, Cubase and Sonar may find themselves not so familiar. Still, it's a largely logical layout as far as DAWs go and you shouldn't find yourself lost for very long. All the expected windows and functions are there; a built-in media browser for internal drag and drop importing, a navigator pane for seeing a color-coded macro-view of your sequence arrangement, large timecode display, virtual keyboard for MIDI instruments and an undo history palette similar to that employed by Adobe applications.

As an audio multi-tracker, Reaper delivers a highly functional and detailed toolkit. Waveforms are drawn instantaneously and accurately and can be zoomed and scaled freely without any lag. Reaper is an exceedingly snappy program to use and in regard to sheer efficiency it blows away any other DAW on the market. Envelopes are applied much as they are in Apple's Soundtrack Pro with envelope sub-track beneath each audio track that can be used to control and shape automation for volume, pan and plugin fx, As a recording system Reaper delivers a quite remarkable level of flexibility. The usual 'arm-track and record audio with waveform' drawn on the fly is standard fair in any DAW and works superbly well in Reaper. But Reaper goes further with the ability to record wet or dry; lay down the signal directly from the input or record the signal after its passed through any effects, gates and busses associated with that input. You can even record different tracks at different sample rates and in any audio format you want - MP3, OGG, WAV, etc - within the same project and timeline. Whilst the use of these kinds of options might not be common, or even best-practice, it certainly speaks volumes of the robust, ultra stable and highly flexible engine under the hood of Reaper. Dare I say it puts most other DAW's to shame for being so inflexible by comparison.

Where Reaper comes into its own is the superb routing system it possesses for patching multiple tracks, busses and effects together in complex arrays. Using a surprisingly easy to follow matrix-grid, Reaper quite literally allows you to push a signal around the DAW in any fashion you can possibly imagine - track to track, through busses, split signal across external hardware, the master output and any combination of fx plugins. It's arguably the most fluid and infinitely configurable routing system on the DAW market. Such routing of course is only really useful if Reaper can take advantage of a variety of plugin formats and soft-synths and it certainly does just that. Reaper can seamlessly work with VST and DXi plugins and virtual instruments as well as JS and AU fx. Reaper is REX compatible and supports ReWire, allowing other virtual instrument engines like Reason to be plugged straight into Reaper and be routed in any way you wish. 

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Apple buys Synth Plug-in Company
Category: Gear
Tags: apple synth plug-ins

Apple reportedly buys digital instrument effects firm Camel Audio [u]


Apple has seemingly purchased UK-based digital audio effects maker Camel Audio, best known for the popular Alchemy synth plug-in, suggesting the firm's software may be included in a future version of Logic Pro X.


In early January, Camel Audio appointed known Apple Europe lawyer Heather Joy Morrison as its director and relocated to 100 New Bridge Street in London, which is listed as Apple's official UK address, reports MacRumors. The information was discovered in a recent filing published by UK company registry Companies House.

While Apple has not acknowledged the potential acquisition, a report from digital music blog MusicRadar lends credence to the claims. On Jan. 8, one day after Morrison took over as director, the publication reported that Camel Audio shuttered operations, leaving behind a website containing only a user login page for contacting customer support and miscellaneous legal information.

A note from Camel Audio posted to its webpage on Jan. 8:



We would like to thank you for the support we've received over the years in our efforts to create instruments and effects plug-ins and sound libraries. Camel Audio's plug-ins, Alchemy Mobile IAPs and sound libraries are no longer available for purchase.

We will continue to provide downloads of your previous purchases and email support until July 7, 2015. We recommend you download all of your purchases and back them up so that you can continue to use them (Instructions: How to Download and Backup Your Products).

The shutdown came after an uncharacteristically long dry spell between plug-in software updates.

If Apple did indeed purchase Camel Audio, it is unclear if the company's technology has been integrated into the Logic Pro X digital audio workstation. Apple's DAW most recently received an update in late January, with one highly touted feature being new synth effects.

Update: Apple issued its usual boilerplate statement to The Loop, saying, "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans." The statement is typically offered when an acquisition rumor is legitimate, suggesting Apple did in fact purchase Camel Audio last month.


EverTune Bridge
Category: Gear
Tags: Guitar EverTuneBridge

Anyone who pays attention to music industry trade shows can tell you how some company is always introducing a new gizmo designed to make the electric guitar better. Aside from the work from a few legitimate firms, most of these devices are bird-brained, non-production-ready, untested heaps of crud. So, when producer/engineer Sean McDonald called to tell me aboutEverTune, a device that guarantees to keep your guitar in tune, I had a hard time believing him. Now, Sean, whose credits include Aretha Franklin, Patty Griffin, and Sonny Landreth, is not easily awed by gear. And he's never given me bad advice in the eighty years I've been bothering him. So out of politeness, I agreed to take three of his EverTune-equipped guitars to test here at Treelady Studios.

Many of you won't believe me, but these things just WORK. This is one of those "see it to believe it" things. In plain speak: anEverTune guitar will not go out of tune! I know. It sounds like science fiction. I couldn't believe it. We sat around on the floor like kids. Pulling on strings. Trying to make EverTune mess up. No luck. EverTune just works!

So how exactly does it work? Unlike robotic tuning pegs, EverTune is a passive mechanical system. It replaces the stock bridge on your guitar and manages the tension on each string.

(Brief physics class: The frequency of a resonating string is based upon three factors: length, mass, and tension. Since the mass and length of the string are generally constant, tension changes are the most common source of pitch drift.)

EverTune works by supplying constant tension to each string. Inside each EverTune bridge are six modules, one per string. Each can be set to any tension ranging from 10-28 lbs. Adjustments can be made with a standard 2.5 mm hex key. Since these are independent tension devices, if one string breaks, the others aren't affected. Try that, non-flush Floyd Roses!

Guitar players are probably asking, "That's great for strumming, but what if I want to bend notes?" Well, EverTune can be configured to react accordingly when the player bends a note, and thus, allow the string's tension to change, otherwise theEverTune will keep the string in pitch. Without getting complicated, each string has three tension zones. The first, called the Back Stop, is the furthest back the saddle will be rocked. Zone 2, the sweet-spot, is where the string retains constant tension; and Zone 3, the front stop, is used for bending and solo playing. The tuning peg at the headstock is used to move the saddle between the zones. So the trick to setting up for fast bends is to put the saddle in Zone 2 very close to Zone 3. Videos and specifics can be found on the company's website.

Because I'm not a dedicated guitar player, I asked Scott Mellinger, guitarist for Zao, to use an EverTune-equiped guitar for a demo session. After a few hours, Scott had this to say: "I am amazed at the stability of the tuning, I literally pulled the strings and picked up the guitar with them and it stayed perfectly in tune. This bridge feels great to play on; I am an avid fixed or Tune-o-matic bridge player, and the EverTune felt very comfortable instantly. The resonance this bridge offers is great; the bridge really allows a lot of vibration from the string to go through the guitar. The new Zao record is rich with very expansive chording. Tracking with an EverTune bridge on my guitar will eliminate all tuning issues period. The intonation on these things is unmatched!"

Presently, EverTune is available for electric guitars only. Three bridge models, named FT, and G, for the three most popular electric styles: Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster, and Gibson Les Paul. Four color options exist: chrome, gold chrome, black chrome, and nickel. In the future, the company hopes to release units for bass, tremolo, and B-Bender electric, acoustic, and 12-string guitars. As of this writing, a seven-string version is in production. Installation requires removing some wood in the bridge area, so vintage and prized instruments may not be the best candidates for the process. I'm also concerned thatEverTune could encourage lazy playing or inhibit ear development, but each player is responsible for his or her proficiency. Finally, I've heard some purists do not like the "looks" of the non-standard bridge, but no one really cares about that in a recording environment. In fact, in low light, it's difficult to tell that EverTune is installed on some guitars.

I don't know what else I can write to explain how amazing the EverTune system is. For recording studios, having these installed on house guitars could be a time and session saver. When you get a chance, you have to try one of these for yourself!



How To Sell Beats Online Like A Pro

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