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Posts from October 2006

SONAR 6 Fast Forward Tour - Windows Vista Features for Musicians


Thinking about buying or upgrading to Sonar 6? Here is a chance to see it first hand. Cakewalk announced a multi-city tour to "spread the word that SONAR 6 will be ready for Windows Vista, coming in 2007." The announcement including a list of cities and dates is here.

This tour is sponsored by Microsoft and indicates what Microsoft believes to be the key features in Windows Vista that would appeal to digital music enthusiasts.

With a completely re-designed audio infrastructure that provides better sound quality, greater processing resources, increased performance and reliability, and an overall heightened user experience, Windows Vista sets a new standard of excellence for the audio & music creativity experience on the PC.

  • New prioritization of audio/video streaming for seamless, glitch-resilient playback experience.
  • Integrated support for SONAR’s 64-bit audio engine for unprecedented sound quality and fidelity.
  • New UAA driver class for simpler installation of audio interfaces into the Windows environment.
  • 64-bit editions with extended RAM access (128 GB) that enable larger and more realistic sample content, lower latencies, and a more responsive mix environment with SONAR 6

Polysics - For Young Electric Pop Video

I've been getting more and more into the Japanese band Polysics lately. If you are not familiar with them, they are synth driven band that is heavily influenced by DEVO. I've found some pretty great videos of them online. Here is one of them playing live. Their web site is here I'll follow up with another post of one of their rock videos.

If you have trouble with the video plug-in, just use this link -

I am self-determined (MTV) by CME

Yamaha is distributing midi controllers and hardware made by CME in China. CME  has some pretty interesting products, like the VX Series that supports motorized faders. Checkout CME's web site here .

Now here is the fun part - CME produced a rock video to promote their product line. The song is called "I Am Self-Determined" and the lyrics are Chineses with English sub-titles. I found a copy of it on youtube.

If you have trouble with the embeded player, use this link.

Ableton Live 6 - Uses for Instrument Racks

The concept of creating a patch with splits and layers is missing, or is difficult to configure on a lot of software-based virtual studios. With Ableton Live 6 this is now easy to achieve by using Instrument Racks.

What can you do with this feature? Well you can create a patches that are made up of a combination of instrument sounds that are layered and split across the keyboard. This allows you to play multiple sounds without having to switch patches in mid-performance and is a must for live gigging.

For example, you could assign a bass instrument to the bottom third of the keyboard, a piano/string layer to the middle keyboard, and a synth lead to the top third. You might want to set the middle piano/string layer so that that it uses velocity cross fade so when play lightly only the strings sound,  if you play with medium velocity both the piano and the strings sound, and if you play hard only the piano sounds. Another use for layers is to build lush, fat, and or rhythmically complex sounds by layering a lot of instruments over the same keyboard zone.

Ableton_burton_splitLets checkout a presets created by Ableton so you can hear this for yourself.

Go to the Device Browser-> Instruments -> Instrument Rack -> Performance. Then drag Burton Split  into a track or onto the clip/device drop area. This Instrument Rack has bells on the top-half of the keyboard, and a metallic/breathy choir sound on the bottom half of the keyboard.

There are a lot of other presets to listen to and experiment with in the device browser - so have it it!

Ableton Live 6 - Overview of rack types, rack presets, and how to insert a preset

Rack_presetsOne of my favorite new features of Ableton Live 6 is the new "rack" feature. According to the manual, there are three different types of racks:

  • MIDI Effect Racks contain only MIDI effects, and can only be placed in MIDI tracks
  • Audio Effect Racks contain only audio effects, and can be placed in audio tracks. They can also be placed in MIDI tracks, as long as they are downstream from instrument.
  • Instrument Racks contain instruments, but can additionally contain both MIDI audio effects. In this case, all MIDI effects have to be at the beginning of the Instrument Rack’s device chain, followed by an instrument, and then any audio effects.

Ableton has provided some interesting rack presets in Live 6. You can access them via the Device Browser.

To insert a preset, just drag it from the Device Browser into a track or onto the clip/device drop area.