Digidesign Transfuser Excited about Ableton Live

I really love Transfuser, but couldn’t help but LOL at this clever video.

Join in on the discussion of Transfuser in Craig Anderton’s Harmony Central Pro Review

More awesome programs that make my life easy(er)

A while back I wrote about 6 essential free programs for Windows XP, I still use most of those on a daily basis. The exception would be Yahoo Widget Engine, as I have since switched to iGoogle for my Firefox homepage giving me basically everything I need in one place. More on that later. Everything listed below is free and some are cross-platform.

  • AVG Free antivirus. Daily scans before I wake up keeps my computer running smooth.
  • Pidgin Instant Messenger. Lets me use my MSN, Yahoo, and Gtalk instant messanger accounts (and more) with one program, as well as new mail notifications.
  • iGoogle. Not a program but a customizable homepage from Google, giving you quick access to whatever you need. Reader, Notebook, Gmail, To Do List, Weather, Google Docs, Google Calender, and Oblique Strategies all in one place. It’s really awesome.
  • FlacDrop WAV to FLAC converter. Very simple drag and drop conversion from WAV to FLAC and back.
  • RazorLame WAV to MP3 converter. As you may or may not know, LAME is an open source MP3 encoder which requires a ‘front end’ such as RazorLame. It’s an excellent, easy to use mp3 converter. Please for the love of god stop using iTunes to convert! Actually stop using iTunes entirely!
  • Picasa 2 Photo organizer. Another awesome Google product, Picasa is the best (IMO) photo organizing program. Tagging, editing, uploading and loads of other neat extras. Maybe iPhoto is better, but hey, it’s not free either.
  • OpenOffice Suite. Who needs Microsoft anyway! I mostly use the word processor (writer) and spreadsheet (Calc) programs. Open office Calc is great for making budgets, or any sort of chart. To bring this to the recording world: Tracking expenses during recording, charting the progress of the recording or editing and how about your gear wishlist.

Once again, these are all FREE!

Got any favorites that make your life easier?

Phantom Power and Ribbon Mics

Jon Ulrigg of Shinybox Ribbon microphones has posted a quick tutorial video about phantom power and ribbon mics, a subject of of much debate and speculation. Jon makes it all crystal clear.

Check it out!

Skullcandy TI Headphones Review

My main pair of headphones are Audio Technica ATH-M30s. Awesome tracking headphones, very durable, long thick cord, great sound, but unfortunately fatiguing to wear for longer than 30 minutes, they really compress your cartilage. This makes them less than ideal for casual listening.

I’ve been interested in Skullcandy headphones since the first time I saw them in the trendy overpriced surf shop I sometimes go in. They look pretty cool, they are nicely packaged, the price however kept me from buying them. Until now.

Last weekend I finally broke down and bought the TI model headphones.

Continue reading Skullcandy TI Headphones Review

Vocal Tuning and Correction Tools

There are many different ways to process vocal tracks for tuning and timing. Each method has pros and cons and varying degrees of effectiveness.

Celemony Melodyne: Melodyne is incredibly power software. It analyzes audio and splits it up into blobs you can freely move up and down in pitch and left and right timestretching. It’s processing is not in realtime however. Melodyne makes creating harmony parts extremely easy. Melodyne is a great tool, but I don’t feel that the sound quality is quite good enough yet.

Antares Auto-tune: Antares Auto-tune is one of the most hated and abused effects of modern recording. It is available in both hardware and software versions and can automatically correct monophonic audio in real time. Used gently it can be pretty transparent (especially in Graphical mode), pushed to its limits results in some unique effects that very obvious. Think Cher’s robotic vocals on ‘Believe’ and T-Pain’s whole gimmick.

Roland V-Vocal: Included with Cakewalk Sonar Producer Edition, V-Vocal has the best integration within the DAW of them all. It works very much like Graphical mode in Auto-Tune, but with some additional features like pitch to MIDI conversion. I can’t comment on the sound of this one yet as I haven’t used it.

Digidesign Elastic Audio: While it doesn’t correct pitch (yet), it’s become an essential part of my vocal editing. I use it for adjusting the phrasing of a lead vocal, then on any doubled and harmony tracks to get them uber tight. I essentially use it as one would use Vocalign.

Synchro Arts VocALign Project: Very simple to use Pro Tools Audiosuite (non-realtime) plugin. You select a region and set that as the guide track, now select the track you want to conform and set that as the dub track, process. Its very easy, once again though, this is not pitch correction, just timing.

These powerful tools, as intuitive as they may be, take some time to get professional results. When you haven’t got the time, or the tools, its nice to know there is now an online service for this sort of thing.

VocalTuning.com: For $39 per file your vocals are professionally re-tuned and ready for mixing. The vocals can make or break a song, you don’t want the vocal tracks ruined by careless Auto-tune artifacts. For a very reasonable price you get engineers with years of vocal correction experience on your side. If T-Pain is your thing, well they can do that too!

What are your favorite tools for fixing up vocal tracks?

New theme

I’ve just spent the last couple hours finding, editing, and tweaking a new theme for the site.

Its based on RevolutionCars by AdivorBlog. I mostly just hacked out the adsense stuff and some other unnecessary parts. I like that the site now looks the same on both Internet Explorer and Firefox, a problem I could never fix with the previous theme.

What do you think?

Digidesign A.I.R. Transfuser RTAS instrument Free Preview

Copy and pasted from Digidesign:

Digidesign is excited to introduce the Transfuser™ Preview — a free three-month prerelease version of Transfuser, a brand new, upcoming RTAS® virtual instrument plug-in for Pro Tools® from the Digidesign Advanced Instrument Research (A.I.R.) group. Transfuser is an innovative, real-time loop, phrase, and groove creation workstation that allows you to quickly and easily create, manipulate, and perform loop- and rhythm-based music on the fly. Ideal for electronic, hip-hop, and dance music production, remixing, and anyone working with loops, Transfuser comes packed with a variety of loops and phrases to get you started creating right away. It also offers a great way to quickly and easily modify your existing loop libraries to breathe new life into your creations

  • Easily develop and tweak grooves on the fly within Pro Tools
  • Offers unique tools for working with audio files, including:
    • Real-time slicing and tagging of loops
    • Automatic conversion of loops into
      MIDI patterns/drum kits
    • Sound replacement in existing loops on the fly
  • Musically intelligent randomization of loops for instantly crafting variations on a whim
  • Offers a wide range of real-time effects for electronic, hip-hop, and dance music creation
  • Includes a variety of loops and phrases, and breathes new life into existing loop libraries
  • Supports full drag and drop of Pro Tools regions and audio files from your computer browser
  • Powerful live performance-oriented features allow for both creative arranging and performing of grooves

As Great as Native Instruments stuff is, they’re pretty unstable in the current version of Pro Tools. Rather than waiting for NI to get the plugs working right, Digidesign’s Advanced Instrument Research department has given the Pro Toolers another reason to forget about NI. Transfuser looks to be in competition with Kontakt. Looks pretty awesome to me, and judging from the samples it sounds awesome too.

I can’t wait to try it out.


Thanks to Dr. J for the heads up on this.