MIDI Step Sequencer For iPad

There are so many cool music making and recording apps for the iPad that it's hard to keep up with them all. Here is a recent one that is a 4-track MIDI sequencer called the Nord Beat CoreMIDI Step Sequencer. IF you don't know what sequencer does - well, it's sort of like the drum machines of old (though the sounds a sequencer uses don't have to be drums). There is a tempo and time signature you can assign to a box (in this case, an iPad app). Then there are buttons that correspond to up to 16 beats in one "sequence." You can assign a sound - usually a drum hit - to each button to create a pattern over the sequence. Then you can build songs by stitching together a bunch of sequences. Anyway, here is some info on the Nord Beat: … [Read more...]

What is Auto-Tune, and is it OK to Use in Your Home Recording Studio?

You've been hearing it for more than 10 years, even before Cher released "Do You Believe in Love," though you may not realize it. Antares Auto-Tune is an audio manipulation program that allows a user to change the pitch (another way of saying "tune") of any sound. It started out life as a tool to make audio production easier and faster. And for folks doing home recording studios to record their voice, it was the holy grail. Auto-Tune is a brand name, but the effect it produces is becoming so wide-spread that it's getting to be a generic term for pitch-correction software tools. Probably its biggest competitor is Celemony Melodyne . They all do pretty much the same thing - namely, move out-of-tune musical notes to where they were supposed to be. For example, if a singer recorded a song, … [Read more...]

How To Be Your Own Glee Club – Queen Harmony Demo

What do you do when you don't have anyone else to sing harmony with? You sing harmony with yourself! Okay, what the heck is Ken talking about this time? Well, I was watching Glee recently, and one of the songs in the show was the Queen song, Fat Bottomed Girls, which opens with a killer a capella harmony. I couldn't get the song out of my head, so I decided to sing it (the intro anyway)...all 9 parts...myself...at the same time. Normally one person can't sing harmony with themselves, though I think there ought to be a surgery that allows it:). But with a computer and a mic, you can literally be every person in a Glee Club! If you're curious about how it came out, click on the audio player below for the intro to Fat Bottomed Girls as sung once again by me, myself and me 2. [jwplayer … [Read more...]

Free Small Percussion Virtual Instruments For Kontakt

Kontakt, by Native Instruments, is a pretty standard software sampler and virtual instrument player.  Once you own a copy of Kontakt, you can purchase tons of virtual instruments that are designed for it.  Sampleism (http://www.sampleism.com) just announced a library of small percussion instruments designed for Kontakt - and it's free.  It contains sounds such as drum sticks, shakers, and some rather unusual sounds like the "rusty old iron plate." If you have Kontakt, check out the free small percussion instruments here: http://www.sampleism.com/lssamples/ls-small-percussion … [Read more...]

The iVoxel iPad Vocoder App

This is very cool. I love iOS audio apps, and there are quite a few out there.  This one is a combination of plain fun and serious sound design tool.  It's iVoxel, from iDesignSound.  It's an iPad vocoder app that lets you turn your voice into all manner of strange and fun versions of itself.  A vocoder is a tool that uses your voice to control some other sound, usually a musical instrument (think Peter Framton's cool guitar thing where he would play while putting his mouth over a tube by his mic). Check out the iVoxel, as well as other awesome iOS audio tools at iDesignSound here: http://www.idesignsound.com/iVoxel/ … [Read more...]

New Versions of Mixcraft Recording Software

Someone asked me this morning if I could talk a bit about Mixcraft recording software (technically a DAW - digital audio workstation) by Acoustica.  Since I am always going on about Reaper (my favorite DAW), which is my go-to recording program, he wanted to know if I could sort of compare and contrast the two. Recording Magazine has a blurb in the FASTFORWARD section of the September 2012 issue telling us that Acoustica has shipped the new version of Mixcraft - Mixcraft 6 and Mixcraft Pro Studio 6.  Like Reaper, Mixcraft 6 is in that category of affordable audio software that delivers professional recording capability.  Both would be terrific for any home recording studio.  In looking at the description of Mixcraft features, I didn't see any that Reaper didn't have except for the loop … [Read more...]

How to Build a Home Recording Studio, Pt 4: Software

This is part 4 in our How to Build a Home Recording Studio series that shows you how to set up a computer-based studio capable of recording pro-quality audio. In part 3, we talked about microphones and sound cards and other type of interfaces. Today, let's talk about audio software. The Software I left this part until the end because if you get everything else right, the software is probably the least important part of the equation. There are tons of programs to choose from, so it can be tough to figure out what you should get and how much you should pay. My suggestions will be based on my experience and will enable you to sound professional even with a limited budget. Audacity For most voice-over stuff, you can probably do most (if not all) you need to do with the free program called … [Read more...]

New Home Recording Bundles: Rode and Pro Tools Vocal Studio

I just found out about some killer home recording studio bundles now available from B&H Pro Audio. Both use the Rode NT1-A large diaphragm condenser microphone, which is one of the most amazing vocal mics on the market for recording your voice.  And both of these bundles fall into my home studio classification of "configuration 2," which means they are standard XLR microphones that get plugged into an audio interface, which in turn gets plugged into a computer, via USB in this case. Mbox Mini Vocal Studio The Avid Mbox Mini Vocal Studio (the "mini" is for the product called the Mbox Mini) consists of the awesome Rode NT1-A large diaphragm condenser mic, along with the Rode shock mount and integrated pop-filter and 20-ft. mic cable; the Avid Mbox Mini audio interface with ProTools … [Read more...]

Another iOS Mobile Recording App: The FiRe 2 Field Recorder

There are several audio recording apps for iPads, iPhones and iPod Touch devices (which is what I mean when I say "iOS"), and I have reviewed several of them (Review of iRig MIDI, Review of AmpliTube iRig guitar amplifier app to name a few). Sometimes you just need to quickly record something while you are out-and-about ("in the field" as they say), and if you don't happen to have your Zoom H4 digital recorder handy, wouldn't it be nice to be able to record high-quality audio on your iPhone? I don't know about you, but my phone is one thing that is always with me.  How convenient is that? Enter the FiRe 2 Field Recorder app.  Read a full review or this app here: http://www.prosoundweb.com/article/in_the_studio_review_of_the_audiofile_engineering_fire_2_field_recorder/ … [Read more...]

Why Reaper Audio Software Rocks

Reaper, by Cockos, is what I use for my digital audio workstation (DAW) software every day of the world. There are so many things about it that I love, I find it hard to narrow down what makes it so awesome. But I'll try. I think what I like the most about Reaper is how fast it allows me to work. When I think about work-flow with Reaper compared with any other method I ever used for recording and mixing audio, it makes my head spin. Want to add a new track?. "Control-T" BAM! Done. You want to fix a buzzing guitar on one measure? No need for fancy "punch-in" techniques. Just record that same bit of audio on another track (which you just added with a swift "ctrl-T"), peel back the buzzy bit from the original track, drag the new part from the track below into the space where the old, buzzy … [Read more...]