Categories
(Modulate This) Contollerism Midi/USB Keyboards & Controllers Soundplane

Madrona Labs Soundplane West Coast Demo Tour Starts Tomorrow

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After already presenting Soundplan at Expo '74 in NY, Madrona Labs has set off on the west coast leg of their tour. I pulled this schedule from the news section of their web site.

Robotspeak, San Francisco, Saturday Nov 5, 4pm
CNMAT, U C Berkeley, Monday Nov 7, 2pm
UCSB, Media Arts and Technology Seminar, Tue Nov 8, 5:30 pm
CalArts, Thur Nov 10, 6:30pm

All of these events are free and open to the public. Come play with a Soundplane, and ask questions about anything from capacitive sensing to CNC machining to software! I look forward to meeting you.

They are posting photos on their home page and tweeting as they go. If you are not familiar with Soundplane  I’ve included a video and description below.

The Soundplane A is a computer music controller with the sensitivity and feel of an acoustic instrument. It detects a wide range of touches on its walnut playing surface, from a light tickle to a very firm press. The Soundplane A can be configured as either a 150-note keyboard with position and pressure sensing on each key, or as one continuous surface.

The playing surface is a material custom developed for us, an articulated sheet of walnut veneer bonded to a fiber backing for strength. The case is milled out of alder, a sustainably harvested Northwest hardwood. We have sourced all of the construction locally and test and assemble Soundplanes by hand here in Seattle. The entire instrument is about 28 inches wide by 8 inches deep by 1 inch thick.

Included with the Soundplane is Aalto for Soundplane, a custom, signal-driven version of our patchable software synthesizer. The Soundplane client software can send MIDI and OSC messages to control other software and hardware.

Mark Mosher
Electronic/Experimental Music Artist, Boulder, CO
Synthesist | Composer | Keyboardist | Performer

Synth Geek Blog: http://modulatethis.com/
Artist Site: www.MarkMosherMusic.com

Categories
(Modulate This) Contollerism Midi/USB Keyboards & Controllers

Korg microKEY Hands-On Review

I received a Korg microKEY USB powered as a gift over the holidays – woot! Here is a hands-on review.

Size
It’s bigger than I expected. Here are some shots giving you some perspective. Here it is when compared to an Akai LP2K25.

modulatethis_korg_microkey (4)

Here it is compared to my Novation Remote SL 25.

modulatethis_korg_microkey (11)

modulatethis_korg_microkey (7)

And finally, a shot of it in my laptop back pack.

So as you can see it’s not quite as backpack ready as some of the competition, but it is quite portable considering the number of keys.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mini Keys
DSCN3605

It has the the same synth action 37-key velocity sensitive keyboard as the MicroKorg XL. I like the action quite a bit. Korg says “The proportions of the black keys and white "waterfall" keys have been adjusted for optimal playability, and the key touch makes it easy to play chords, glissandos, and rapid-fire phrases.” – I agree. Unlike the Akai, the white “waterfall” keys on the Korg go down to the case so they are less likely to get snagged when sliding in and out of a gig bag.

Modulation & Pitch Wheels
Besides feel, the mod and pitch wheels are the reason I wanted this controller. I love to do “couch potato” sound design and have been frustrated that all the small controllers don’t have a mod wheel. Well the microKEY addresses this nicely.

Octave Buttons
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You can transpose using the octave buttons. The buttons change color with each press giving you instant visual feedback on the setting.

  • Green = 1 Octave
  • Orange = 2 Octaves
  • Red = Three Octaves
  • Blinking Red = 4 Octaves

USB Hub

DSCN3604
There are two USB ports on the side allowing you to use the keyboard as a HUB. This is a pretty nice idea if you wanted to quickly hook up other nano controllers (or any USB device) without having to bring along another hub. Nice touch Korg!

Editor
As with other Korg controllers, you can use the KORG KONTROL Editor to set velocity curves and and mod wheel range.

Price
At $99, I think the microKey is a great value when you consider it's also a USB hub.

Final Thoughts
The microKey is the best feeling Mini-key keyboard I’ve played to date – much better than the button feel of the original NanoKey or the spongy action of the Akai.

The microKEY seems is a good choice for players and sound designers on the go who want a nice velocity sensitive synth feel with pitch and mod wheels but don’t necessarily need the unit to fit all the way into the pack.

The microKEY is now my controller of choice for “couch potato” sound design work with VSTs!

Link
Official Product Page – http://www.korg.com/Product.aspx?pd=579

Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
www.ModulateThis.com
patchlab.modulatethis.com
www.MarkMosherMusic.com

At $99, I think the microKey is a great value when you consider it's also a USB hub.P
Categories
(Mark Mosher Music News) Ableton Live AudioCubes Computers & Laptops Contollerism Launchpad Midi/USB Keyboards & Controllers Novation Remote SL Synths & Instruments (Virtual) Theremin Video Blog

Overview and Time-Lapse Video of My Ableton Live Laptop Music Rig + Controllers

2010-MarkMosher-Signals-Rig_01

Over the years I’ve played hundreds of shows as a keyboardist using my trusty Apex column with various hardware synths.  In late 2009 I had a vision to create a new Ableton Live laptop-centric rig using only virtual synths running in Live.

While I wanted to play some keys, I was really excited to add alternative visual, tangible, and spatial controllers and selected Percussa AudioCubes, Tenori-On, a Novation Launchpad. I went with my trusty Remote SL 25 for keys as it also doubles as a controller for Live. In the 11th hour I added a Moog Ehterwave Theremin which was clearly necessary to play “They Walk Among Us” live :^).

I’ve played enough shows to know that you can’t always count on basic lighting and P.A. to be adequate, so I added these elements to my requirements as well – just in case. My goal was to be able to run a room of 80 people if needed with just my rig. My other goal was 4 trips from the car load-in max with a 15 minute setup time or less.

The sketch above shows all this on paper (click the image to see a larger view). After months of slowly building up gear, the reality – sans lighting – is shown in the fun little time-laps video embedded video below.

Here is a list of what's in the rig:

  • Laptop: Windows 7 32-bit, HP DV6t-1200 Pavilion w/Core2 Duo P8700 @ 2.53 GHZ, 3G memory, 7200 RPM Drive (Update I now use an HP Envy 14 I5)
  • Soundcard: Novation NIO 2|4
  • DAW Software: Ableton Live 8 Suite
  • Primary Controllers: Novation Remote SL 25 (updated to MKII), Launchpad | Tenori-On | Percussa AudioCubes
  • Primary Virtual Synthesizers: Tone2 Gladiator 2| Native Instruments Absynth 5 | Camel Audio Alchemy | U-He Zebra 2, ACE | Ableton Sampler, Operator… | SonicCharge Synplant | Lennar Digital Sylenth1 | reFX Vanguard, Slayer2 | Image-Line Harmless, Toxic Biohazard | Cakewalk Dimension Pro | FAW Circle | DCAM: Synth Squad…
  • Hardware Synthesizers: Moog Etherwave Theremin, Waldorf Blofeld (not pictured)
  • PA: Bose L1 Compact
  • Stand: Odyssey ATT2 Table, Odyssey L2 Laptop Stand

Links to lots of the software I use here:
https://markmoshermusic.com/links.html

Mark Mosher
Electronic Musician, Boulder, CO
http://www.modulatethis.com
http://MarkMosherMusic.com

Categories
Ableton Live APC40 AudioCubes iPhone/iPod/iTunes Max for Live Midi/USB Keyboards & Controllers Synth: Alchemy Synth: DCAM: Synth Squad Synth: Gladiator Synth: Harmless Synth: Synlpant Synth: u-he ACE

Modulate This! – Best of 2009 Electronic Music Tech

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Despite the economic downturn, 2009 was thankfully a huge year when it came to new technology for electronic music artists. Rather than try and cover every significant release, I’ll instead list some of my favorite products and notable trends.

The Year of Abletonimage
What a big year for Ableton. Live 8 with great new features set, Max for Live, 10th Anniversary of Ableton, launch of Live Intro, dedicated hardware controllers (APC40 & Launchpad). Awesome!

Grid (Matrix) Controllers
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Grid controllers everywhere in 2009. New controllers like the APC40, Launchpad and Bliptronics 5000. Continued development with existing controllers like Tenori-On and Monome. The grid metaphor also became quite prevalent in apps as well. I have the APC40 and Tenori-On and simply love them.

Percussa Audio Cubes “Tangible Interface”
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Not new in 2009 but new to me, Percussa AudioCubes are self-powered wireless computer systems. Cubes can detect and interact with each other and can detect the proximity of your hand near a cube face sensor and send this controller information to your DAW or to various free software apps provided by Percussa. I working with a 4 cube configuration within Ableton Live.

Fantastic Synths
A great year for virtual instruments. Below is a list of new and updates synths that I used over and over again in 2009 for both sound design and for music performance.

  • u-he ACE (Any Cable Anywhere)

    This synth just released by I use it all the time now! It’s a fantastic virtual analog synth with a great UI with patch cables. Sounds like butta’.
Categories
(Modulate This) Contollerism Midi/USB Keyboards & Controllers Synth: Tenori-On

Hands-On with the Tenori-On: First Impressions + Integration with Ableton Live

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Now that REBOOT has released, I’m gearing up to perform these songs live. One of my goals it to make the performances more visually interesting, help the audience connect with what I’m doing musically, and not spend an entire set hunched over a laptop.

I just added a Tenori-On White to my rig to help achieve this goal and to use as a controller and sequencer for composition. In this post I’ll offer some first impressions and notes on use.

Favorite Features

  • Built-in Synth engine, integrated sequencer, built-in speakers and SD card for composition and performance on the go
  • Runs on batteries
  • You can use it as a MIDI controller
  • Fantastic user interface and work flow
  • Visual representation of music
  • Ability to load 48 samples allowing you expand the palette when you are not using it as a controller

First Impressions on Design
image I was actually surprised when I unboxed the Tenori-On. The unit was like 20% smaller than I thought it would be after seeing it in picture and videos – and that’s a good thing. Tenori-On is clearly designed to be held with both hands using the thumbs and fingers to access function buttons plus reach inside to hit "LED" buttons. This being the case the small buttons allow for a smaller matrix so you can access a more with thumbs and fingers on either hand. The case is made of metal and machined by robots. All the controls are flush even with the rounded contours – very nice!

LED Buttons
One of the main reasons I got Tenori-On White was because the LED lights are visible on the front and the back. So when you play, the audience sees the lights as well. This feature is unique to Tenori-On white.

Learning Curve
Tenori-On is a proprietary system and the navigation and functionality is pre-configured. One advantage of pre-configured control schemes like the APC-40 (assuming you don't remap) and Tenori-On is that the learning curve is quite short. With both of these products time from setup to being productive and creative was extremely short for me.

In Use
Tenori-On is simply a blast to play. Beginners will be able to get something musical going right away. Advanced users who spend the time to “transcend” the navigation system will be able to create interesting musical and visual performances as well as use the Tenori-On as a sequencer and controller.

Of course like with any instrument, practice is what’s going to make this a great performance tool. In only about an hour I had 80% of the features memorized. In about 3 hours I was navigating layers, blocks, modes, and tweaking parameters in real-time without looking at the function buttons.

Using Your Own Samples  and Storing Data
Using a free Windows/Mac utility, you can build three customs instruments with up to 16 samples each. Each sample is limited to 900ms and you can’t edit much. Even though it’s no replacement for your sampler, it’s enough to allow you to transform the Tenori-On’s pallet support your needs. Revision… Samples, songs, blocks, layers can be saved and loaded from an SD card. Sample memory is non-volatile so samples remain in memory even if you turn the unit off and back on again! That is good news since it takes about 3 minutes to load 1 user voice containing 16 samples. You definitely will want to get your samples all installed before you perform – either that or you’ll need a Tenori-On roadie :^).

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In Use As a Controller with Ableton Live tenori-driving-absynth5
You can go way beyond the built-in sound set plus add some visual sizzle to your performance by using Tenori-On as a MIDI controller. The picture above is of the Tenori-On and my laptop running Ableton Live 8. The Tenori-On is in slave mode and Ableton is the Master clock. I’m using the MIDI ports on my Novation NIO Sound card to connect the Tenori-On to Ableton.

Each of the 16 layers within the Tenori-On transmit on a different MIDI channel. I created tracks with instances of Gladiator 2, Alchemy, Sylenth1, and Absynth 5 each listening on a different MIDI track number.

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By default different performance modes (Score , Random, Draw, Push, Solo) are hard-coded to each layer. There is a “hack” to override this (see links at bottom of post).

In my test set, I used Solo Mode to sequence a bass line into a MIDI clip in a Gladiator 2 track. The above picture illustrates my use of Draw Mode to play some awesome motion pads in Absynth 5. Push Mode is also great for synths like Alchemy and Absynth.

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In some cases I wanted to switch modes and record all note data into one MIDI clip. When going this route set the track MIDI input to “All Channels”.

Sync
I’ve read that some people have has issues syncing with DAW’s. It must be true as there is a firmware update coming to improve sync.  In my limited use I’ve not had much trouble and it works just fine. My guess is those having trouble are pumping out lots of data from multiple layers.

Price and Tenori-On Orange
Tenori-On White has been out for a few years. The price has slowly dropped and it goes for $999 today. Yamaha recently announced Tenori-On Orange for $699 with availability in January. To get the price down they changed the case to plastic, took the LEDs of the back and took away the battery power capability. All other features are the same. Of course these are some of my favorite features for White was a clear choice for me.

Where these the right choices? Are these prices too high? There are lots of discussion about this on sites like Synthtopia and Create Digital Music. While I would loved to have paid less, I don’t regret the purchase at all.

Conclusion
So far, the Tenori-On has exceeded all my expectations. Once I got it out the box I found it hard to put down. I’m enjoying using it as an alternative to my computer and for making music on the go. Using it as a controller definitely boosts my creativity. It’s unique features make it a it a nice compliment to my ACP 40.

Links:

Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Composer, Sound Designer
Louisville/Denver/Boulder

http://www.modulatethis.com
http://www.markmoshermusic.com
http://www.twitter.com/markmosher

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Download/Buy my album REBOOT

Categories
(Mark Mosher Music News) Ableton Live APC40 Computers & Laptops Contollerism Midi/USB Keyboards & Controllers Novation Remote SL Synths & Instruments (Virtual)

My Studio Setup: 1 Laptop/3 Configurations + Akai APC40 Eye Candy

MarkMosher_APC40_01_filtered

Revised 7-3-2009, changes are in red.

For over two years I've been completely laptop based and loving it. Here are some notes on the three configurations I run with my latpop.

First, I'm running an HP DV6500T running Vista, Ableton Live 8 Suite, and various vsts (Alchemy,Sylenth1,NI
Massive/Absynth 4,Gladiator 2,Dimension Pro, Morphine…)

I run in one of the following states:

1 – Laptop Only – Laptop alone with Ableton Live +  VSTs. I use the qwerty keyboard and touch pad and do composition and sound-design on the go (or from the couch).

2 – Laptop + Korg Nano – Sometimes I want more control or want to user velocity sensitive keys when I'm on the go. I then add a Korg nanoKey or nanoKontrol to config #1.

3 – Laptop Docked – Last year, my awesome wife and kids re-vamped my studio space as a birthday gift. Besides painting and swanky new furniture, they created stand to hold all my gear by cleverly using the old Ultimate Support Apex column I used to gig with and attached two permanent shelves (painted black and attached with brackets). Shelves are  15 3/4"x 47 3/4" and I believe were from home depot. The footprint for this rig is 26" wide from the wall to the outside edge of the bottom shelf, and 47 3/4" wide. Underneath all this is a dock with tons of USB ports that all the gear plugs in to. The laptop is sitting on a mesh filing box turned upside-down that I picked up from Target (see last picture in post). This setup is pictured below. All I have to do is plug the laptop into the doc and the following comes online:

  • HP Notebook Quickdock
  • External Monitor – Samsung SyncMaster 930b
  • Novation Nio USB sound card
  • M-Audio Studiophile SP-5B reference monitors
  • Bamboo Touch Pad
  • Wireless Logitech diNovo Edge keyboard with built-in touch pad
  • Akai APC40
  • Novation Remote SL 25
  • M-Audio Trigger Finger (Still lovin it after all these years. After touch on drum pads and seamless integration with Ableton drum racks are great).
  • Rode NT-1A on an a broadcaster's boom which is fed into Behringer UB802 Eurorack which is routed to the Nio. I mostly use this for voice overs, recording voice related samples, and vocoding. I also record video tutorials through this mic.
  • Sometimes a Korg TR via USB is added to the mix when I want that "triton" sound or want to play a controller with more keys on it.

For me this strategy is simple, elegant, has a small footprint yet is extremely powerful and flexible. With Ableton Live and VSTs accessible in every configuration I can jump in and out of projects in any configuration. I find the combination of the APC40, Remote SL and Trigger Finger to be perfect for just about everything I do.

The APC40 has made this a dream setup really and has almost completely eliminated mousing for me. I'll close with a few photos of the APC40  in my studio setup.

Just a fun shot in a dark room.

MarkMosher_APC40_02_filtered

The  APC40, Remote SL 25, and a Trigger Finger fit perfectly on the bottom tier.

MarkMosher_APC40_03_filtered

Using the APC40 as a Lite Brite – "M" plus pretty colors :^).

MarkMosher_APC40_04_filtered

Picture of laptop docked.
Laptop_docked

Mark Mosher
http://www.modulatethis.com
http://www.markmoshermusic.com
http://www.twitter.com/markmosher

Categories
Ableton Live APC40 Contollerism Midi/USB Keyboards & Controllers Novation Remote SL

Video Tutorial: Ableton Live 8 + APC40 + Remote SL Controllerism

I’m the proud owner of the new Akai APC40. I’ve already integrated it into my workflow along with my Novation Remote SL. I’ve put together a video of how I’m using these controllers with Live 8.


Watch the video on YouTube:




This video is a step-by-step tutorial describing Ableton Live 8’s new custom parameter mapping methodology. The video illustrates how to map select parameters from VST plug-ins into devices and then control these parameters via the Novation Remote SL and the new Akai APC40. The video also discusses how to add and access more than 8 parameters. Lastly, the video covers use of instrument racks and macro controls to map parameters from multiple devices to an 8 knob group.


Stay tuned for more posts on controllerism and the Akai APC40.


Mark Mosher
http://www.modulatethis.com
http://www.markmoshermusic.com
http://www.twitter.com/markmosher


Categories
Ableton Live Midi/USB Keyboards & Controllers

Options.txt: Improved Wacom Tablet Support in Ableton Live 8.0.2 + Entering Text into Kore2 and other VSTs

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Better Support For Wacom Tablets in Live 8.0.2
For the past year, I’ve been using a Wacom Bamboo tablet as an alternative input device for a mouse. It works well with VSTs. However, in Ableton Live, the pen stroke length to move a knob through it’s entire range of values is too short.

In the recently released Ableton Live 8.0.2 update, there is a new improvement:

“Added an option for the Options.txt file to support Wacom Tablets. Adding the line ”-AbsoluteMouseMode” into Options.txt file switches Live into absolute mouse position mode.”

I just installed 8.0.2 on Windows Vista (32) and I am happy to report that pen control is now MUCH better. It takes a much bigger stroke to move a knob through it’s entire range. Therefore, it is much easier to move the knob to the value you want.

Options.txt Parameters
In order to enable this feature you need to modify (or create if it doesn’t exist) a file called options.txt. Live reads the parameters within this file on startup. As the 8.0.2 description indicates, this file supports a new parameter “-AbsoluteMouseMode”. Adding the parameter adds the new Wacom support.

I want to also mention another parameter you may not be aware of,
_EnsureKeyMessagesForPlugins”. Add this parameter if some of your VSTs won’t accept keyboard input when hosted from Live. Native Instruments plugins such as Absynth and Kore2 come to mind.

Adding Parameters to Options.txt

  1. Find/create options.txt
    The file resides in the preferences sub-folder:

    MAC: userxxx/library/preferences/ableton/live 8.x

    XP: C:Documents and SettingsuserxxxApplication
    DataAbletonLive 7.0.15Preferences

    Vista: C:UsersuserxxxAppDataRoamingAbletonLive 8.0.2Preferences

  2. Use a text editor to create or edit the file.
    image
  3. Save the file and restart Live

Links:

Mark Mosher
http://www.modulatethis.com
http://www.markmoshermusic.com
http://www.twitter.com/markmosher

Categories
(Modulate This) Artist News Midi/USB Keyboards & Controllers

Videos of Jordan Rudess and His Korg nanoKEY

Over the holidays I picked up a Korg nanoKey and nanoKONTROL. I was skeptical at first but I have to say that I use them all the time – especially when on the go or when making music with a laptop on the couch. The build quality is no where near what you’d see on an expensive controller, but well within reason for the $50ish price tag. I put them on my Best of 2008 list.

imageI mentioned using them on Twitter and got a few replies about the nano series which made me hunt for some videos of the controllers in use. I found this videos of Jordon Rudess of Dream Theater jamming out with a nanoKey MIDI controller. Enjoy.

 

 

Watch Jordan Rudess and his nanoKEY Part 1

 

Watch Jordan Rudess and his nanoKEY Part 2

Watch Jordan Rudess and his nanoKEY Part 3

Mark Mosher
www.markmoshermusic.com
www.modulatethis.com
www.twitter.com/markmosher

Categories
Ableton Live Artist News Howard Jones Midi/USB Keyboards & Controllers Robbie Bronnimann

Sonic State Behind the Scenes Video – Howard Jones, Robbie Bronnimann, and Laura Clapp On Tour in Australia

Howard_jones I found this series of vides via pedx1ng’s post on the Ableton Live forum, who found it on Matrixsynth. These videos by Sonic State cover Howard Jone's tour in Australia. I've re-blogged them here with annotation.

I've always liked Howard Jones's music and the fact that he's not all about nostalgia but is still writing and experimenting with technology in Live performance.

Also, my first exposure to Ableton Live was at a Howard Jones show back in the day of Ableton 3.0. Like now, he was using it to play scenes on the fly so he wasn’t locked into one arrangement for the whole song. After the show, I ran home and did some research and then bought Ableton Live 3.0 right away. Thanks Howard and Robbie and Ableton for changing the way I compose :^).

Video 1: In this first installment, Howard Jones has Robbie Bronnimmann leave a blizzard strewn UK and head for Australia and meet up with Laura Clapp in Adelaide Australia. He also talks about he now uses the Roland Fantom G8 to simplify his rig and work in a graphical way. He also discusses the polyphony and feel of the Fantom.
http://www.sonicstate.com/tv/flvplayer.swf

Video 2: In this video Howard Jones and Robbie Bronnimmann are in Perth Australia and explain the how they use Ableton Live, and bus powered devices (Motu audio interface, Novation Remote SL, Novation Nocturn) on their tour in Australia. Robbie describes who he uses Live to trigger sequences on-the-fly, do real-time FX processing on backing tracks and live vocals using built-in Ableton Live plugins.
http://www.sonicstate.com/tv/flvplayer.swf

Video 3: Howard Jones has Robbie Bronnimmann, Laura Clapp at sound check in Brisbane. A little taste of "Always Asking Questions". Laura discusses how shes uses TC-Helicon Voice Live and a Novation ReMote SL Compact to create harmonies and vocal effects on the fly. The also explains that he's his own warm-up band as he's doing a 30 minute acoustic set prior to the electronic trio taking the stage.
http://www.sonicstate.com/tv/flvplayer.swf

Links:

Mark Mosher
www.markmoshermusic.com
www.modulatethis.com
www.twitter.com/markmosher

Categories
Ableton Live Midi/USB Keyboards & Controllers Novation Remote SL

Novation Automap 3 Pro Unboxing and Time Saving Installation Notes

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I blogged earlier about the release of Novation’s Automap 3.

I just purchased the Pro edition and thought I’d share my notes on the install. Ok, it’s all software, but the term Unboxing still seems to fit. I took some wrong turns along the way so I hope these notes will save you some time. I highlight my mistakes in red and recoveries in green.

First off, I’m running Windows Vista, Ableton Live 7, and use a Novation Remote SL running at 4.1.09 as my controller.

  1. I purchased online here http://www.focusrite-estore.com/novation/software/automap_30_pro/. I was sent a confirmation email with a download link and a serial number.
  2. I downloaded the software and ran the installer. Usual splash screens and such. Installation ended without talking to my Remote SL. The background app ran and prompted me to verify which VSTs I wanted to wrap with Automap. I clicked ok and it settled into the tray. That was it.
  3. At this point I thought it was odd that my Remote SL didn’t get updated. I went to the download are on Novation Music and it pointed me back to the Automap 3 installer. Hmmm. I thought I missed something at this point so I reinstalled. Steps were the same.
  4. Well, at this point I figured perhaps it might just work with 4.1.09 so I fired up Ableton Live. This was was the step Novation was expecting me to take. Automap’s HUI popped up indicating I was running Automap 3 standard and started talking to my Remote SL and it automatically detected my controller and determined I need an update :^). It then took me through a series of “wizard” screen walking me through the update. Very clear step-by-step wizard – nicely done Novation. I've shown most screens below (click images to see larger version).
     
    2-14-2009 12-38-44 PM 2-14-2009 12-40-53 PM 2-14-2009 12-41-42 PM

    After installing this update, my Remote SL is at version 4.1.12.

  5. 2-14-2009 12-42-41 PM
    I was then presented with a screen that had an button to “Get Automap Pro!”. I clicked it and was presented with “Offline Activation” and “Install License”. I chose “Install License” since I bought online. Wrong.  This popped up a file explorer dialog clearly indicating it wanted me to select a key file on and I didn’t have one. I chose “Offline Activation” which took me to a web page where I could enter the code mentioned in Step 1.
    2-14-2009 12-45-49 PM

  6. I was then taken to an activation page where I was able to download the file needed in Step 5. Note that according to this screen shot you only get 4 activations. I'm going to email support to ask what happens if you need another activation. Look in comments of this post for more info.
    2-14-2009 12-47-13 PM 
  7. I chose “Install License” and pointed at the key file (which I stored in my vst folder so I would not accidently delete it).

 

At this point I was running Automap 3 Pro :^). So, barring a few hiccups it went rather smoothly. My feedback to Novation is that they might want to mention that the firmware update will occur with a splash screen in the 1st installer so I would not have wasted time hunting. Also, the confirmation email should have explained activation so I did not waste time in step 5.

2-14-2009 12-49-12 PM

I’ll report out on features in a future post.

Mark Mosher
www.markmoshermusic.com
www.modulatethis.com
www.twitter.com/markmosher

Categories
(Modulate This) Ableton Live Midi/USB Keyboards & Controllers Novation Remote SL

Novation Automap 3 Is Now Available

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Automap 3 was announced at Winter NAMM 2009 and is now available. As of this release there are now 2 versions, free and pay.

I’ve pasted details in from the Automap 3 Product page below. For me the Pro version seems the most compelling as it includes key stroke assignments and fully Auto-mappable XY Pad control.

I’ll grab it over the weekend and let you know what I think.

Automap 3? (FREE DOWNLOAD)

  • HUI – HUI control is now fully implemented within Automap, allowing control over all HUI compatible DAW's including Logic, Pro Tools and Digital Performer. This includes control over volume, pan, aux sends, track arm, mute/solo and more…
  • Start-up Screen – A new start-up screen now makes managing your plug-ins and setting up your DAW even easier. It also gives you one-click access to online support, tutorials and the latest updates.
  • Automap 3 PRO is now available to purchase for £19.99 / $29.99 / 24.99 EU, direct from the estore, and has a number of benefits over STANDARD.

    • Multiple device support – Automap 3 Pro supports multiple devices, so numerous Novation controllers can be used side by side.
    • Keystroke Assignments – Automap 3 Pro can assign almost any computer keyboard shortcuts to hardware controls. For example arrow key functions can now be assigned to hardware controls, allowing you to flick between tracks using buttons on your SL/Nocturn. You could also zoom in and out, open windows or create and jump to markers in your DAW.
    • XY Pad Control – Fully Auto-mappable XY Pad control, expression pedal, control pedal and drum pad control. The Automap server can now assign parameters to all these controllers using the ultra-quick learn facility. (Pedal/pad control not supported by SL Compact)
    • Drag and Drop – You can now drag and drop control mappings and control map groups in the GUI, allowing you to re-assign knobs, faders and buttons by simply grabbing them with the mouse and dropping them on the new controller.
    • Autoview Mode – Optional Autoview mode means that the GUI only becomes visible when a controller is touched, then it disappears again allowing you to get back to your DAW.

    Mark Mosher
    www.markmoshermusic.com
    www.modulatethis.com
    www.twitter.com/markmosher

    Categories
    (Modulate This) Computers & Laptops Effects Plugins Midi/USB Keyboards & Controllers Novation Remote SL Sound Design Synth: Predator Synths & Instruments (Virtual)

    Modulate This! – Best Products of 2008 for Electronic Musicians

    2008-bestof

    Hope you all are having a restful holiday season. I continuously strive for the leanest rig that will give me the best results. In this post I’ll offer a list products that make up the core of my rig. Consider this my “If I was stranded on a desert island” list for 2008.  Note that some products in my list were not new in 2008, but I’m still using them tons so they’ve made the list. If you want to see all the elements of my rig, check out this photo album on MySpace.

    Best DAW – Ableton Live 7, $499
    01_live_midnightFor me, Live has been become more than a DAW. It’s at the core of everything I do and after years of use feels more like a musical instrument to me than some piece of software. See all my posts on Live here. Official Live site is here.

    Best Hybrid Synthesizer – Camel Audio Alchemy , $249
    imageCamel Audio just released a new synth called Alchemy. They've been working on it for 4 years. It's an additive, spectral, granular, virtual analog synth. The interface is really well done with a clever scheme for routing modulation. I think it’s one of the finest virtual instruments I’ve ever used. I’ll be writing more posts about this synth in the future. For now you can learn more about it here.

    Runner up for me in this category is Native Instruments Absynth 4. It’s not new this year but is also a great synth. I also want to mention Spectosonics Omnisphere. I don’t own it and I haven’t tried it (no demo available), but from what I’ve read and seen in demo videos it’s a monster synth. I went with Alchemy because it has a much smaller footprint and has more features for those like me who want to manipulate our own samples.

    Best Virtual Analog Synthesizer – Rob Papen’s Predator, $179
    predator_advancedPredator is a virtual analog synthesizer for Windows or Mac that runs as a plug-in (VST, Audio Unit, RTAS).  It ships with a huge library of presets, and built-in tools for patch browsing and search.  It also has some innovative features such as preset morphing, intelligent preset variation, and chord memory. Even though Predator didn’t release this year, Rob Papen keeps the synth fresh with free updates. More posts here …

    Best Controller Keyboard – Novation Remote SL, Starting at $299

    02_novation_remotesl25 I still love the way this controller and Automap 2 software helps make using software more like using a physical instrument. Check out official site here. I still get a lot of traffic on my posts on the M-Audio Axiom series controllers so it’s clearly a popular choice if you can’t afford the Remote SL.

    Best Controllers for Those on the Go -Korg Nano Series, $49-59

    image

    This year Korg released USB powered slim-line controllers nanoKey, nanoKontrol, and nanoPad. I have Key and Kontrol and can say they are fantastic if you want more control while making music from your laptop. More here http://korgnano.com/.

    Best Bang for the Buck USB Audio Interface – Novation Nio, $249
    image Microphone/instrument or line-level sources, low latency effects (Direct Mix Monitoring, 'Overloud' Guitar amp and distortion pedal effects, effects from the Supernova II and signal processing from Focusrite), two headphone outputs, four RCA outputs. All this for $249! See official site.

    Best iPhone Music App – iDrum, Ocarina
    image Hmmm. This is a tough one as there is so much innovation going on in this space. My two favorites are iDrum and Ocarina.

    iDrum has a great interface for making beats on the go and synchronizes with iDurm for the PC and Mac. Read more about it here.

    Ocarina turns your iPhone into a true musical instrument. It uses every feature of the iPhone and has some fantastic social connection features. Checkout the official site here.

    Best Field Recorder – Zoom H2, $179
    image I just got one of these back in November. It’s really fantastic. It weighs 4 ounces and has 4 mic capsules onboard for 360° recording in a W-X/Y configuration. You ca
    n also use it as a USB mic. I blogged about it here.

    Buy Online
    Most of these items can be purchased online. Support Modulate This! buy using these links: Musicians Friend, Guitar Center, Zzounds.

    Share Your List
    I’m sure many of you out there have a your own list so feel free to share your list using the comments link at the bottom of this post.

    See You in 2009!
    Have a safe new years eve and I’ll see you in 2009.

    Mark Mosher
    www.modulatethis.com
    www.markmoshermusic.com

    Categories
    (Modulate This) Midi/USB Keyboards & Controllers

    Use Your KORG USB Compatible Synths as Controllers on Vista

    image The latest version of Korg's midi driver for windows, version 1.1.1, is compatible with Windows Vista. This means you can use Korg hardware with USB capability as controller to drive your DAW or virtual instruments. On a side note, I've been running Vista for over a year on my music production laptop and have almost no issues with Ableton Live and my many virtual instruments.

    Off the top of my head, here is a list of Korg gear with USB capability:

    I tested the driver using my Korg TR and it works great. Here is a snapshot of the TR inputs and outputs mapped into Ableton Live.

    image

    You can download the driver for all devices using this link – http://korg.com/SupportResults.aspx?productid=415#ContentTabsContainer.

    If you are looking to purchase any of this gear online checkout Musicians Friend, ZZounds, Guitar Center.

    Mark Mosher
    www.modulatethis.com

    Categories
    (Modulate This) Midi/USB Keyboards & Controllers

    Video Overview of The Sonar V-STUDIO 700

    Cakewalk has announced Sonar V-Studio 700. Here is a blurb from the press release.

    "SONAR V-Studio 700 matches SONAR 8 Producer with the VS-700C V-Studio Console multifunction control surface and VS-700R V-Studio I/O audio interface, which includes an onboard Roland Fantom VS Hardware synthesizer. The VS-700C V-Studio Console provides fast and comprehensive hands-on access to all of the power of SONAR 8 Producer, including for the first time extensive editing operations. It also provides dedicated digital control of the VS-700R V-Studio I/O and with the press of a button the VS-700C can switch functionality to control any V-Link compatible video and image hardware including the Edirol DV-7 line of direct linear video editing systems."

    Below is a video I found which offers an Overview Video of SONAR V-Studio 700 for Modern Music Production.

    http://www.dailymotion.com/swf/k66TAbnRkfFvlPMXOV

    Lean more by visiting this Cakewalks dedicate micros site for the product – http://www.sonarvstudio.com.

    Mark Mosher
    www.modulatethis.com

    Categories
    (Modulate This) Ableton Live Midi/USB Keyboards & Controllers Novation Remote SL

    Novaton Music Automap 2.0 Now Available for ReMote users

    image

    Novation Music announced Universal Automap 2.0 back in January. The first Novation product to utilize Automap 2 was the Nocturn. Automap 2.0 is now available as a free download for Novation’s ReMOTE SL series and ReMOTE SL COMPACT owners.

    I own the Remote SL 25 and just installed the 2.0 update on Vista and all seems fine. Two general tips I can offer when installing updates for Novation controller is to 1) exit the Automap application running in your tray prior to installation 2) turn off or unplug other USB controllers during install.

    I’m still trying to figure out the best way to use this with Live and will offer more posts on this in the future. Also, while the software is available, the documentation hasn’t been posted yet but there is a manual from the beta test listed in links below.

    Links:

    Mark Mosher
    www.markmoshermusic.com
    www.modulatethis.com