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Category Archives: Features

Those of you familiar with Aviary will know that in recent years they have made it their mission to make creativity tools more accessible by offering their own free to use online solutions.

Although better known for their visual editing tools they also now have an sequencer and audio editor called (in their tradition of naming their products after our feathered friends) Roc and Myna respectively, and its the first of these solutions I’ll be taking a look at in this article.

roc 1.jpg

 

Roc is essentially a basic and easy to use sample based sequencer which allows you to build patterns from provided sample sets or either record or import your own. As you can see from the screenshot simplicity is key here – although I have to admit it took a little bit of exploring to get a grasp of how to access some of the available features.

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Since the launch of the iPhone a few years ago mobile platforms have begun to take shape as a dynamic and stable means of personal computing and with the mobile tablet looking to soon also become a popular accessory its no surprise that music producers are starting to get some seriously impressive applications to help them compose and practice on the move.

In this article I will examine the current tools available and what individual platforms have to offer as well as sharing some thoughts upon what may be coming in the future…

Apple

Not merely are Apple the real innovators in the world of mobile computing they also know their audience very well indeed and are no doubt aware that music producers have for many years now been serious aficionados of their products.

Its no surprise then that their iOS platform is currently well ahead when it comes to music production focussed applications and accessories with an offering of mini-studio and performance tools that have been created by some of the worlds leading names in music production software and hardware such as Korg, Akai and IK Multimedia.

 

One of Nanostudio's synths

 

For those looking to sketch out or indeed completely produce tracks on the move then Akai’s SynthStation and Blip Interactive’s Nanostudio both offer a great set of features including programmable synths and FX as well as sequencers. Both apps offer well designed interfaces that make producing a track on a smartphone screen far easier than you’d expect. Read More »

This was a rather interesting discovery – a mixture of synthesis and biology and a highly addictive and fun one at that.

Seaquence describes itself as an “experimental musical petri-dish” and adds “Adopting a biological metaphor, Seaquence allows you to create and combine musical lifeforms into unique, dynamic compositions”.

You can check it out its Alpha-release here

Although a useful tool in its day its seems Myspace has got itself stuck between being a weak competitor to Facebook and a promotional service for bands that falls short of doing much more than being a cumbersome scrolling billboard for other peoples music.
With so many new and upcoming social media tools that they can make use of its no surprise that bands and artists no longer rely upon Myspace as a means of serious promotion. In this article I will address how musicians can reach out to their audiences and what the future holds for those willing to get experimental and creative with their music promotion.

What’s out there right now?

Twitter

Naturally Twitter is a great means of sharing short, sharp bursts of information about what’s going on and linking to other media such as blogs, pictures or videos – not to mention some witty banter or incendiary comments. Surprisingly however a lot of research points to the fact that teenagers, who are more likely to benefit from it when promoting their bands, are just not really that into Twitter – perhaps because its not as social as services like Facebook or Bebo. Read More »

This past weekend saw the second Music Hack Day event in London, held once again at the rather plush offices of the Guardian Newspaper in Kings Cross.

The event is a 24 hour hacking marathon where budding developers can access API’s from music services such as Soundcloud, Echonest and Songkick to create new applications around the available data.

As with previous years the results ranged from the very useful to the somewhat ridiculous and since I was lucky enough to attend yesterdays hack presentations I’ve created a list of my top five hacks below, as well as an honorary mention for another piece of music software development that I think deserves covering.

We are Earth Destroyers

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I’ve seen a fair few posts on web forums recently discussing online collaboration and the best methods currently available to music producers, so I thought it might be worthwhile sharing some of the experiences and knowledge I’ve picked up over the past few months regarding this subject.
Whilst direct DAW to DAW collaboration is still something in the pipeline, hopefully the first true example being Ohm Force’s forthcoming Ohm Studio solution  there are still a couple of tools and services available that allow easy collaboration via the web.

All of the below are free tools, although they do offer additional features such as increased storage space and promotional tools through paid subscription packages –

Dropbox

Apart from being one of the most useful tools I’ve come across for general computing in the past year or so, Dropbox is also a relatively easy and direct means of sharing DAW project files, WAV files and any other data relevant to your music production and composition. Read More »

You’ll be pleased to know that the Audiotool update announced last week is now live. I had a quick play around with the new features and devices included and here are my impressions…

Samples

Up until now using samples within Audiotool involved a head scratching process that required creating a device and then dragging a sample into it. Thankfully this has now been replaced with a more intuitive means of adding samples – you just simply drag them to the desktop and said device is now created for you. Very handy.

Crossfader

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The streaming of live sets has always been something of a chore for those of us not familiar with the technology behind it but thankfully a new online service has emerged which will make it easy for just about anyone.

mixlr allows you to stream directly from your computer using a simple client  (Mac at present – Windows coming soon) and share your live or recorded mix via social media tools.

A recent update lets you use the client with all Multi-Channel devices  – allowing streaming from almost any hardware setup or club sound system as well as opening up easy broadcasting from tools like Traktor Scratch, Serato and Final Scratch. 

You can request an invitation to try it out at http://mixlr.com/

When someone gets described as “the music industries Mark Zukerberg” its difficult to not have your interest just a little bit piqued. Well that’s whats been said about Aidan Nulman, the man behind new online collaboration tool YouPhonics following a presentation recently – I guess time will have to tell.

Putting comparisons to internet entrepreneurs aside for a moment – YouPhonics offers a new take on online collaboration by allowing you to attach tracks or “stems” together using a visual interface. Once a track is imported or recorded within the tool itself you can share it with other users or via social networks.

Although still quite light on features the current alpha version is certainly worth a look – especially since Aidan and the team seem very receptive to suggestions for their new product – he has even provided Audio Silver Lining readers with their own code to allow them to try it out.

So why not head over to http://youphonics.com/users/new and register using the invite code “YOURSILVERLINING” right away?

Looks like there is a new player in town – Audio Orchard.

Boasting  a slick and well laid out interface this new online DAW is looking like its set to become a major player in the world of cloud based recording. It currently runs on Microsoft’s Siverlight platform and offers a very stable means of recording, a drum machine with a wide range of drum hits available and the ability to import loops – including your own. Also on offer is the means of promotion via social media and sharing with potential collaborators – as we have come to expect from our online DAW’s

Audio Orchard is still in beta and is due to have additional features such as FX and audio editing added in the near future. In the meantime you can find it, and I recommend you do, at www.audioorchard.com

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