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03 December 2014

STEINBERG UNVEILS CUBASE PRO 8 & ARTIST 8 | News

Latest iterations of Steinberg’s music production systems, Cubase Pro 8 and Cubase Artist 8, combine best audio quality and smooth operation with "endless number" of advanced audio and MIDI tools for composition, recording, editing and mixing

HAMBURG, Germany — "Steinberg Media Technologies GmbH today announced the immediate availability of Cubase Pro 8 and Cubase Artist 8.

"For the past quarter of a century, Cubase has been the go-to DAW for many professionals around the world. Today, Cubase delivers a considerably higher performance, puts users more firmly in control, and incorporates more serious tools and innovative technologies than ever before. Adding “Pro” to the biggest version of the latest range represents the evolution of Steinberg’s award-winning music production system.

"The new line-up of Cubase witnesses a performance boost owing to its entire audio engine rebuild, extending the buffering ASIO-Guard to improve the audio processing performance for multi-timbral and disk-streaming featured instrument tracks.

"Exclusive features of Cubase Pro 8 are VCA faders and virgin territories. The all-new VCA faders emulate the control of channel gain with DC voltage, moving an entire fader group through a single master fader. Taking it a step further is the Combine VCA fader automation feature, which combines the VCA fader automation curve with that of a controlled fader or fader groups. Another addition to automation tools is virgin territories, omitting redundant automation data between automated events.

27 October 2014

AI: WILL MUSICIANS BECOME ROBOTS? | Guest editorial

Last August, Tesla chief executive and PayPal payment system pioneer Elon Musk tweeted his view that artificial intelligence (AI) is “potentially more dangerous than nukes”. And, in a recent address to students at MIT, likened it to “summoning the demon”. Such doom-mongering is all very well, but we musicians have more than just songs of the apocalypse to write in the meantime. Could AI assist us in this, or will we all end up miffed with the machine?

FellKlang collaborator Roland Trimmel (left) of Re-Compose, developer of AI-esque songwriting assistant Liquid Notes, echoes Elon’s concern: “Finally, we see the rise of the machines and with it develops a fear that artificial intelligence will render humans useless.” However, having ruminated long on the potential for a robotic Rapture, Roland suggests answers to some of the Qs at large in Mass...
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"Is the world ready for the perceptional battle that AI in music poses?" This question was posed at Boston’s A3E Conference last month by a team member at Landr. The company had received death threats from people in the mastering industry after it released a DIY drag-and-drop instant online mastering service powered by AI algorithms.

19 September 2014

GROOVE 3 MAKING TRAP WITH REASON Review | $30*

Bah! Them young folk calling that awful noise music? What is it, this 'trap'? In my day they had stuff you could sing along to, like that nice young Paul Hardcastle chappie with his N-n-n-n-19. Trap? They got the first letter wrong. And it was with this attitude that I approached Al Swettenham's Groove 3 videos, Making Trap with Reason.

Did I mention that it's for Propellerhead Software Reason 7? Hmm, Reason 8 is out on 30 Sept. And did I reveal that I flirt with Reason, but use another DAW for most of my work? So it was with predudice and disdain that I sat down to discover how to create a song in a genre I know little about. This series has its work cut out...

02 June 2014

8DIO HYBRID TOOLS 3 Review | $249

If you've spent time auditioning the rapidly growing range of sample-based instruments created by 8Dio, you'll be in no doubt there's an emphasis on the cinematic. From deep-sampled orchestral instruments to the atmospheric, edgy timbres of modern devices, sampling stuff for soundtrackery appears to be the company's calling. And Hybrid Tools 3 is a 4.5GB Native Instruments Kontakt 4.2+ (full) collection of what the company does best.

It's the latest in a series of tools aimed at film-scoring professionals which, along with Hybrid Aura rhythm collections, is to be found at large in numerous screen-drama productions. However, the series is also a temptation for those engaged in composing cinematica - songs taking in progressive, modern metal and heavy-duty dance genres. And if you're wondering why FellKlang has not yet reported on HT1&2, patience is a virtue. But not when it comes to absorbing a small-screen taster of what to expect from HT3...

19 May 2014

TOONTRACK EZDRUMMER 2 Review | £99 / €139

Toontrack's newbie EZdrummer 2 has been looming large in the music-tech media for more than a month now, but then we did get our fingers on this latest incarnation of the Swedish dev’s leading, nay legendary, percussion suite in March. And has it ever encouraged a fest of finger-to-keyboard since.

Such pre-launch prestidigitation is a relatively common phenomenon known as 'Toontrack offers pre-release copies to the media on the understanding that reviews will appear at launch'. It certainly freshens the blood of tech journos as we clamber over each other trying to deliver a product review first.

Of course, the benefit of holding back from publication means one can to assess what it is that others have digested which, as it turns out, appears a satisfying concoction of meaty, beaty, skin-on plug-in (and yes, it’ll run stand-alone in the gratis Toontrack Solo).

Here's video of Toontrack's take on what wordsmiths have been rattling on about, offering some clue as to the consistency of their passages...

25 March 2014

ROB PAPEN BLUE-II Review | £109 / €137 / $179

Rob Papen's soft synth Blue-II comes nine years after its predecessor, which is a long time in polysynths. Stroll down the page for the instant thrill of audio demos, or stick around for sagacity, the least gaseous of which is a claim right here on FellKlang, which you are now reading, with your eyes, that Muneer Papen has coded a synth that will set cinematica alight. Or, at least, make it squirm inappropriately, as did the original Blue, but now with more digital stimulation thanks to enhanced hands-on control.

Sound-wise, Blue-II is more than capable of producing the sizzles, pungent flarps and bubbling bloops of EDM (if you can bear the term) in its many guises. Amid the more than 3,000 patches of the factory banks, there’s a wealth of techno/complextro/dubstep, brostep, naughtystep/blah - you name it. However, the synth looks set to become a must-have for movie soundtrackery, ambient weavings, new-age atmospheres and, oxymoronically, progressive.

06 March 2014

IZOTOPE BREAKTWEAKER Review | £165 / $249

Boston MA developer iZotope has forged quite a reputation for hitting the nail squarely on the head. On launch, its Ozone mastering suite received praise left and right for the wealth and quality of audio-enhancing modules presented, while audio-repair tool RX is an essential part of many a production pro's arsenal. However, the company also appears adept at devising shiny new hammers.

More elegant than a Birmingham screwdriver is Stutter Edit, a sample-stammering signal processor designed in association with 'name' DJ BT. And this 2014, hyped to the hilt prior to its unveiling at Winter NAMM, we've the latest BT collaboration, the aptly named BreakTweaker. Yep, it's for tweaking breaks, and does it ever.