Admittedly, one of my favorite music production plug-ins is RealGuitar by MusicLab. I use it daily for creating production music tracks in my project studio. It’s relatively inexpensive (like $200), and sounds great, is easy to use, and I’ve been able to fool a lot of people into believing they’re hearing an actual guitar. MusicLab announced the release of RealGuitar 3, and it looks great. Now, you can take that Guitar Hero axe from your xbox or Playstation video game, and play it into your sequencer like a guitar. The results of such an interface capability rival the expression and realism (well in performance, anyway) found in the old MIDI wind controllers, only this time with better sample quality. I was blown away by what I saw on the video and can’t wait to try this with my own production music in the project studio. Check it out:
It’s not new — there are tons of free sound effects sites out there that give away sound files. The idea is simple, sound designers can upload their collections to these massive libraries, and then the masses flock to the site to download them. Perfectly legal, and perfectly free.
It seems like a win for the consumers, and the average joe looking for a quick booooiinng, but where is the sound designer in all of this? It’s quite surprising to see several big name sound designers giving away their product for free because it’s “good advertising.” Sites that database and archive sounds and allow free downloads by the masses seem to think that they are doing the world a huge favor, when in fact, they are merely hurting the artists and creative production professionals that they’re building their audio file archives upon (leaving sound effects pirates out of the mix here, no pun intended).
Sound designers invest a lot of money into buying expensive audio recording equipment. They spend years training, and more years perfecting recording and editing techniques. If a user is not willing to shell out a few cents for a sound effect, or even a couple of dollars to use royalty free sound effects in their projects, they should have to record the sounds themselves. They’ll quickly realize the hard work it takes to create a sound.
As phones and mobile devices get smaller and smarter all at once, the nature of electronic music production and audio production is changing dramatically. Even more groundbreaking is Apple’s iPhone. As many of you know, I’m a big fan of the iPhone (I don’t leave home without mine). And now I’m an even bigger fan, as more and more apps are being developed for the iPhone that are geared towards music production, writing, and recording. Here are 5 seemingly random super-cool apps to get your iPhone rocking.
1) Studio Devil – The makers of the Virtual Guitar Amp tube modeling plug-ins have teamed up with Quixonic to create an authentic tube amp modeling app for the iPhone. (coming soon)
2) Quixpin DJ – Yeah, so Quixonic makes a few — this one’s a true DJ app that allows you to mix and beatmatch music without all the heavy equipment, and then output a stereo mix to use at parties, or even cue and beat match songs while another is playing. ($1.99)
3) Noise.io Pro Synth – by Amidio, has a deep learning curve, but gives you countless waveforms and processing tools to create your own sounds. Custom sequencer and effects processor make this one an awesome mobile instrument and production tool. ($14.99)
4) VoiceBand – so this isn’t really a pro app, but it is pretty cool stuff. Using your voice, this app plays a real sampled instrument that files what you sing. Control 10 virtual instruments at once using only your voice. ($2.99)
5) Xewton Music Studio – this is a complete music production studio in the palm of your hand. Full 128-track sequencer, 21 pro-quality sampled instruments, realtime effects, sustain, reverb, eq and more. Track settings include tempo and time signature, measure level copy/paste, delete, repeat, transpose, MIDI import and export…. This one is pretty wicked. ($14.99)
MOTU Updates Performer, Plugs
MOTU showed off their new plugins on a new version of Digital Performer (that thing is still around???) — some high quality stuff. Directly competing with Apple’s built-in plugins for Logic Pro, MOTU’s line of plugins features the following:
Electric Keys, a low latency 40GB keyboard sound library of electric pianos, organs, clavs, tape samplers, string machines and more classic and vintage instruments. Nearly all are sampled at 24 bit, and the plugin is 256-note polyphonic, and is complete with an effects rack and amp simulator.
BPM, which looks remarkably similar to Apple’s drum sequencer, gives you the ultimate rhythm programming experience. Includes plug-and-play support for hands-on pad controllers like the Akai MPD32, which is good news for many sample pad enthusiasts, but now with unlimited sample layers per pad (or as much as your computer can handle). Awesome tool for electronic music performance and beat sequencing.
Ethno2 delivers stunning ethnic and exotic instrument sounds from Africa, Asia, Australia, India, South America, and more. I may have to buy this just for the penny whistle and Celtic instruments, and the Flamenco Percussion and guitars.
I didn’t get to hear the Symphonic instrument, and I have a hunch that it may fall a little short compared to other libraries (ie Vienna and EastWest). If you’ve heard it, let me know what you think.
BigFishAudio and Vir2 Instruments Ready to Release Electri6ity
Electrici6ity is the most epic electric guitar virtual instrument to hit the market (ok it’s not out yet, but get ready). This awesome instrument contains some of the most advanced, detailed, and versatile collection of guitars ever. The plugin features the Strat, Tele, Les Paul, P90, Rickenbacker, Danelectro, ES335, and L4 and uses 24-bit samples from each, with three pick up options for each. Every, and I mean every fret of every string was sampled for this library. Downstrokes, upstrokes, ghosting, mutes, hammer-ons, slides, pulloffs, and more are included for every guitar. Articulation and Velocity morphing adds depth and seamless transitioning between effects, while the advanced AI adapts to your playing, allowing for fluid lines, 2000 different chords and positions, and more. If you sequence guitars, this one is a must have.
Piano Sounds from Synthogy
If you’re looking for some fresh Piano samples that hit the spot with realism and features, you have to check out Synthogy’s new Ivory II virtual instrument. Featuring tons of pianos and synths from uprights to grands to synth combos, this piano instrument has half-pedaling, pedal noise, lid position effects, tuning tables, and even sympathetic String Resonance. Check it out at Ilio.