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

Will your M-Audio Axiom work with Windows Vista?

Vista_ready_axiom Article Update: Check out this article for M-Audios announcement about compatibility.

According to the M-Audio knowledge base, "Currently, M-Audio does not offer Vista drivers or Vista software updates (beta or otherwise)."   Despite this information, some users on the Ableton forum are reporting that they are able to use their Axiom keyboards with Vista. I decided to do some hands-on testing with my Axiom 25 on a Vista system and see for myself how well it worked.

I plugged my Axiom into the USB port of a HP Pavilion dv9000t laptop running Vista. Much to my surprise,  Vista auto-detected the Axiom and installed two ports – one port the Axiom controller  itself, and another port for external MIDI in/out.

I was able to map the ports within FL Studio 7 and Ableton Live 6.0 and the keys, knobs, pads, assignable buttons all work as expected.

So, while this is not officially supported, it seemed to work for me.

I did not have a chance to test the Enigma editor (I was testing this on a friends system and ran out of time).  If any of you readers out there have done so, feel free to add a comment to this post and let us know how well it worked.

Copyright 2007, Mark Mosher

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

M-Audio Axiom Lessons for Live

Axiom_lessonsArticle Update: Check out this comprehensive tutorial I’ve written on using the Axiom with Ableton Live and the Impulse Drum Sampler.

Ableton now has released lessons to teach you how to configure and use your Axiom series keyboard with Live 5.2.2.

The lessons contain patches for the axiom, information on how to configure, as well as usage information.

Grab the lessons here http://www.ableton.com/livepacks

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

Ableton Releases Free Update – Live 5.2.2

Livefreeupdates Cool yet surprising news from Ableton – Ableton 5.2.2 releases. I was a bit shocked by this with Live 6 just around the corner.

Registered users can download the update for free here:
http://www.ableton.com/downloads.

So what's new in Ableton Live 5.2.2?

M-Audio Axiom 25 25-Key USB MIDI Controller Live 5.2.2 provides Axiom (check em out here). users with instant and automatic control of many of Live's features via built-in control mapping. When users select an Axiom keyboard as a remote control surface in Live's preferences, the Axiom automatically locks in to provide full control of Live's Session and Arrangement Views, effects and devices. Once locked in, the Axiom follows the musician's focus, providing fast, sure control wherever they're working in the Live interface. To download a Live Pack lesson on using Live with Axiom controllers please go to:  To download a Live Pack lesson on using Live with Axiom controllers please go to: http://www.ableton.com/livepacks

Frontier TranzPort Wireless DAW Remote 5.22 Also supports dedicated support in Live 5.2.2 for Frontier's popular TranzPort wireless DAW controller ($199). To learn more and to see a movie about Live and TranzPort, please go
to: http://www.ableton.com/tranzport-support.

I'd love to hear comments about how people are using these controllers in their rigs.