It's time again for our roundup of everything cool we heard about over the past week. Enjoy!
Find of the Week: Deskew Technologies Gig Performer 1.83
Deskew Technologies Gig Performer is a robust, object-oriented VST plug-in host and one of the only viable alternatives to the mixer-like paradigm of Apple MainStage. Instead of a mixer, you cable together instrument plug-ins, effects plug-ins, and internal utility blocks (like gain stagers and balance controls) with virtual patch cords onscreen: orange for MIDI and blue for audio. The above image shows a simple example. The lead image up top shows the Rackspace view, where you create custom and macro controls for synth and effect parameters, pretty much in any configuration you choose. Version 1.83 improves patch transitions as well as MIDI note-on and note-off handling. It runs on Mac or PC (Windows machines need to have OpenGL graphics). I'm making it our find of the week because I reviewed it for, uh, another publication before joining Synth Expert and was properly blown away. Best of all, you can get a free 14-day demo from U.S. distributor ILIO. The usual price is a more-than-fair $149 USD. More specs ...
- - INSTANT SWITCHING: Switch between Rackspaces instantly and with zero glitches!
- - LOW CPU USAGE: The programmers spent countless hours making sure that Gig Performer uses as few CPU cycles as possible
- - Performer's built-in tuner is accurate, large and just a click, tap or push away.
- - MIDI & OSC SUPPORT: Use your existing MIDI and OSC devices and apps (iOS/Android). Map any control to any controllable parameter.
- - MIDI CLOCK SYNC: Slave Gig Performer from your external DAW or MIDI device.
- - CROSS PLATFORM: Works on OS X and Windows devices. Your GIG files can be opened on both platforms.
- - ADVANCED MIDI FUNCTIONS: Associate specific MIDI devices with particular plugins easily and visually. Use transpose, channel mapping, MIDI out settings and more.
- - USER FRIENDLY: Gig Performer is user-friendly. You will be able to create complete setups in no time.
- - FLEXIBLE: Connect any plugin to any other plugin in any configuration. Parallel or serial—no AUX busses needed.
- - VARIATION SUPPORT: Easily create variations of your Rackspace. Switch between variations seamlessly— even while holding notes or chords on your keyboard or guitar.
Spitfire Audio Orchestral Swarm
This Kontakt Player-powered virtual instrument is an orchestral library with a difference, not to mention an interesting backstory. Bleeding Fingers, the composers' collective that did the music for the BBC's Blue Planet II nature series, wanted something unique to score the many ocean scenes. So instead of sampling the usual long notes and garden-variety articulations, they teamed up with Spitfire to draw upon the pointillistic effect of having multiple players perform short notes at random intervals to create an undulating swell of sound. On top of this, they added even greater detail by utilizing a huge variety of articulations and playing styles. One analogy would be that it's like granular synthesis, only with orchestral instruments. You can hear see video walkthroughs and hear audio demos here, and the introductory price is $199 USD.
Eventide is a name synonymous with high-end studio hardware effects, and MangledVerb was originally an algorithm for their popular Eclipse unit. Now, they've made it a plug-in for musicians and producers who prefer to work entirely "in the box." Drawing from code in their H9 stompbox, MangledVerb is meant for real-time tweaking, with the horizontal ribbon area acting as a macro for morphing between two sets of parameter settings. It's also can get nasty enough that would have to address Janet as "Miss Jackson." Lawson white, musician and producer for Ben Folds and Shakira, describes it thusly: “MangledVerb is one of the most interesting reverbs I’ve ever heard; it’s like running an EMT plate or outboard reverb through a vintage tube amp or analog distortion, but with infinite control over all the parameters of both.” It's available from Eventide for an introductory price of $49 USD until November 30; $79 thereafter.
This collaboration between Sampleism and Cavaricci Records is a straightforward set of WAV files intended for use as license-free song construction blocks. And retro they are indeed -- almost as much as the eponymous flared trousers from the 1980s. There probably is no quicker way to that Stranger Things meets Blade Runner vibe. Peek the video above for a taste, hit the product page for much more.
When San Francisco-based Neyrinck did a soft launch of BeatsBot at the end of September, we ran this story. They've now announced that it's ready for prime time, and it's on our short list of apps to review fully very soon. It's a drum machine for iPhone and iPad that has an "Ableton-like" interface (the developer's words), and its mission is to make it super easy for singer-songwriters, guitarists, keyboardists -- anyone, really -- to create custom rhythmic accompaniment. Loop mode and song mode support jamming and more long-form song construction, respectively. Best of all, it's only $4.99 at the App Store. FYI, Neyrinck is also the maker of V-Control Pro, the iOS and Android tablet-based DAW control environment.