The Band Velvet Acid christ

Synths: Software: Tyrell Nexus 6, Hexfix93’s take.

December 13th, 2011 by Hexfix93


http://www.velvetacidchrist.com/synth/junolikenexus6.wav.
^ above is my lead demo of how I can get old school juno sounding leads with great portamento and great resonance with tyrell nexus 6. I think this synth is amazing. Not only that, it is free. It is a little weird to program, the way the lfos and modulations are set up took me a while to get used to. The presets are kind meh, but if you take the time to program your own sounds you can get very juno and jx 8p type of sounds out of it. From pads, to strings, to leads and bass and acid. I simply love the way the filter is set up where you can smoothly transition from low pass to high pass, and man the high pass is so aggressive and great for software. Really blown away. The resonance is pretty damn realistic as well. This is like only 15% away from sounding like a true real analog poly synth. Still get aliasing on some stuff, nyquest filter of dacs and software will always damn every digital synth a little when it comes to sync sounds and fm sounds and playing really high octave notes. Nexus 6 can really be a cpu hog as well. This is ok by me because man the raw sound is great. No fx and it sounds great. The oscillators and filters are brilliant, full, and alive. Most software synth oscillators are not as vibrant and big. Even compared to some of the hardware VA’s that I still love like the nord lead, and jp8080, and virus B. This thing seriously gives all of those hardware synths a run for their money. Great filters, and great osc. I heard a rumor that they are going to put this engine into a hardware synth. I would defiantly be in line to buy it. Forget those stupud 8080 clone soft synths. This is a cpu killer, so be sure you have a high powered quad core or 8 core machine. This sounds ANALOG. It’s my mks 80 killer. I give this a 8 out of 10. A must.

You can download this soft synth for free by clicking here.

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I am now adding new articles weekly on the media blog, Reviews, and shining the spotlight on things I like. VAC writes all of these reviews and articles..
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Category: 08-Synth Reviews! | Comments Off on Synths: Software: Tyrell Nexus 6, Hexfix93’s take.

Synth: Novation Bass Station, Hexfix93’s take.

May 7th, 2011 by Hexfix93

Novation_Bass_Station_Rack

I was told a long time ago, “Just get a bass station” From one of the label A and R’s I worked for long ago. I finally did and wow. He was right. This thing covers a lot of ground on the bass and lead front. I loved the sync sounds, not like a pro one, more like a roland. I could make some really aggressive bass sounds, the attack is plenty fast. The resonance is great, think tb 303. Very roland resonance. Still though, I could program some huge sounding moog type bass sounds out of it as well. Honestly, I wish I had gotten one of these long ago instead of all the big vintage gear I had. One rack space, and very fat and snappy. Sounds like a moog meets a sh 101 synth. Amazing. The build quality is decent, could be a bit better though. I give this a 4 out of 5. Can get these on the used market for about 350 to 500 us dollars. I have one for sale actually.

Category: 08-Synth Reviews! | Comments Off on Synth: Novation Bass Station, Hexfix93’s take.

Synth: Ipad: Electrify, Hexfix93’s take.

November 17th, 2010 by Hexfix93

2010-11-16 22.36.52
Intro: Saw some videos of this over on Matrixsynth, yes again, my Ipad news source for audio apps. I needed a mpc like app to load in my samples and make beats. Something easy, with a good interface and straight forward. Electrify fit the bill with a couple of short comings.

Functions: 6.0
When you buy this, there are some sounds that you get with it, in my honest opinion for the style of music that I write, it is rather disappointing if you want to make industrial, dance, techno, goa, ebm, idm, or glitch. If you like hip hop and slow tempo stuff, yes the sound set is great. The thing is, when you have your Ipad connected to your pc via itunes, you goto the ipad, then to the apps section, then select the electrify folder, you can drag and drop .zip files that you make with your sounds, .wav files you wish to use. I have a really great library of drum sounds, as you can see from the video, I have gold baby and my custom kits that I have made since the beginning of Velvet Acid Christ from the roland w-30, asr10, asrx, emu e6400, akai s5000 samplers. I was able to load all of mine in it no problem, converted all my sounds with chicken systems long ago into .wav format from all my gear ages ago. What sucks is, there are not kits premade, you have to just load in all your sounds for each song project you make. It’s pretty easy to do. Once you do this, you can make this thing sound amazing. I can do any style with my sound libs. I have almost every drum machine sampled and a ton of custom fx drenched drums I made myself over the years. You can only load 8 drum sounds per song. This is pretty limited but I found it adequate for basic beats. Every voice has its own filter, pan, pitch and fx send settings, you can normalize sounds, but I found this not to work very well, it seemed to do very little and the display did not get filled up after I normalized sounds. There are 2 master fx, you can make one fx a run into fx b as well to chain two. There is no performance pads or drum triggers that you can trigger with your fingers, so you cannot play beats in while recording. THIS SUCKS. Basically it is like a tr808 with out being able to play it live. You can push in the notes on the 16 entries on the music screen on the bottom half of the screen. Above that are controls for volume and pitch, you have to toggle between, pitch, decay, filter, volume etc etc. Above that are the instrument slots that have mane rows for making different patterns for each instrument, this is very well done. You can have up to 8 patterns for each sound that you can switch to in real time. It is easy to mute and solo tracks, there are only 8. You can also export the mix to a .wav file and copy it from Itunes onto your desktop and into any daw you might use.

2010-11-16 22.37.12

Interface: 8.0
Getting around is very easy. This app is laid out really well and looks pretty cool. Its neat that you can control the filter for each sound with your finger like a koas pad. Its easy to load up a sound, and you can preview them before you load them. This is very cool. Tweaking knobs works well, but you have to get used to its orientation. I wish the editing when putting notes in the sequencer was more responsive like on the Ielectribe. Some times it feels really sluggish when programming it. It is pretty easy to get a beat up and running if you know how to use a 808 style hardware sequencer.

IndustElectrifyHexfix93 by Hexfix93

Sound: 9.5
This is what matters over all. With my drum libraries, I was able to get really good sounding renders out of this. They blew the Ielectribe and IMS20 out of the water on sound quality. More full, more bass, more solid and punchy sounding. I load these loops I make into renoise, throw on a bus compressor and some eq, and WOW this is it. This sounds better than battery on the pc, hands down, it sounds better than Idrum vst. The filters sound so usable. The fx are pretty great as well. It sucks that there is not more individual fx for each sound, and the lack of a really good distortion, and the complete lack of limiter/compressor really makes me scratch my head, these are essential for drum processing. Still, I am able to get great sounding stuff out of this if the sounds I put in it are top notch. It sums the drums pretty damn good. About as good as renoise does. I do like the verb ok, and the delays. The chorus and phaser flange stuff was meh, as was the distortions. The distortion never gets mean enough. The electribe has way better fx, way better.

2010-11-16 22.36.26

Overall: 8.5
I really hope that he updates this app, adds real time recording mode into it, this is a must. Add some compressors and tube saturation stuff. This is really easy to use, and it really renders top notch audio quality for a software app. I think it sounds much better than logic and cubase for drums 🙂 I think the sound quality is great. Love this for taking all my custom drum libs, and making beats ANYWHERE ANYTIME. I like to program drums, so this is cool, I just hope they update this and add more features. I highly recommend this app!

Pros: Amazing Audio quality, Good interface, can load your own sounds in via Itunes, Easy to get beats up and running if you know how to use 808 909 style hardware sequencers. I am using this for Velvet Acid Christ, and Toxic Coma.

Cons: No real time record and playing of sounds, everything is programmed.
Some of the FX are Lackluster. It is missing a lot of key features for a percussion box style sequencer. I am also bummed out that no one makes sequencers with 32nd and 64th note capabilities for doing glitch and super fast percussion rolls. Pisses me off I am always stuck in 16ths. This is a problem with most all apps these days. You can cheat, double the tempo and make 2 bars 1, and then you can have 32nd notes, but still, I find this annoying.

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Category: 08-Synth Reviews! | Comments Off on Synth: Ipad: Electrify, Hexfix93’s take.

Synth: Ipad: Korg IMS-20, Hexfix93’s take.

November 12th, 2010 by Hexfix93

korm-ims-20

Wow. My jaw dropped when I saw this app on Matrix Synth blog. I left Apple a year ago for Android and the future of touch tablets only to find an extreme lack of 3rd party software. I missed the iElectribe a ton. My envy grew and grew when Gravy showed up in Denver with his, making beats with it for the newest Toxic Coma track “DIGITAL GRAVY”. Already jonesing for an ipad for the iElectribe, seeing the ims-20 videos on Matrix Synth sent me over the top (I HAVE TO SELL STUFF TO PAY FOR THIS NOW). I bought an ipad again. And immediatly bought the ims-20 app. This is a xox style sequencer drum synth groovebox app.

mzl.vimeivcj.480x480-75

Functions: 9.0
Think of this as rebirth. Except this time it’s a pure synth engine doing all the work. Not pcm sample drums, but rather that all the drum sounds are made with the ms20 VA sound engine. This rocks. The iElectribe was a hybrid engine, half VA and half pcm samples, which does offer more variation for the percussion, but for some reason I really love how this synth engine sounds. Then there is one dedicated true mono synth engine that replicates the ms20 vintage analog synth from korg. I have actually used the ms20 a bit at a friend’s house years ago and thought it was over rated next to my sh2 for bread and butter sounds. The thing is, for out there sci-fi, buzzy, aggressive in your face sounds, the ms20 can scream bloody murder in the right hands(think old aphex twin, and most goa trance). Although it still retains most of it’s sonic character, the VA ims20 is not as beefy or as raw sounding as the real thing. The synth is very easy to use. The mono synth that is. It’s straight up like a real analog synth. The drum parts are pretty much the ms20 engine as well, and you can edit the sounds for each drum sound by hitting the edit button in one of the sections of the drum edit sections. So essentially this is a 7 voice VA. You can use the drum parts for synth sounds and sequence them as well. Some of the demos that it comes with show this off. There are only two fx engines. Very limited. The typical korg fx, delays, chorus, verbs, and grain shift etc. The effects can change from pattern to pattern as well. They sound pretty good though. The sequencer is modeled after the old korg sequencer that came out about the same time the ms20 did, the Sq-10. Except you get 16 steps instead of 12. This took me some time to get used to. You have 3 knobs. The bottom one is the gate, which determines the length of the note. The middle knob is the octave, which controls which octave to play. The top knob is the note to play. As you turn them text appears on the screen and tells you what the value is. There is no slide and accent like on the 303 and rebirth, so no super acid for you here. You get those 3 knobs for each step of the sequence, which is 16th notes for one measure. There are also patterns, and you can make songs out of the patterns. While in pattern edit modes you can use the utility button on the top right of the screen to copy patterns which contains the seq for drums and synth parts for one measure. You can also render the patterns to a .wav file and import them into your favorite daw and do whatever you want to them, loop them etc. In order to accomplish this you have to connect the ipad into a mac or pc via usb, then run itunes, under apps you should see if you scroll down the files section for the different apps, there you can drag and drop the .wavs to any dir on the computer. This app also supports Soundcloud, so you can export to Soundcloud from the app itself. Below is a clip I made for Toxic Coma. It will be in one of the new songs I am working on.

toxiccomaims20.wav by Hexfix93

Interface:9.5
This is where the Ipad apps always shine: the ease of use, being able to tap the screen, use your finger on a knob and tweak it more like real hardware, in some cases better. In this case, I am floored. It’s a little strange at first look. At the top of the of the screen there are tons of these buttons, like synth, drum, effects global utility, etc. These navigate you to all the sections you need to jump to. What is really cool is that this is a semi modular synth, and you can tap and drag to connect virtual cables to the cv matrix on the right hand of the synth. You can really jack the sound up if you know what you are doing. You can also cv in and out of the seq to get really cool results. There are two virtual keyboards, a small one that is default and a bigger one you can call up; and two, yes, two, koas pads to tweak the sound. TWO KAOS PADS. You wont find that on any real MS20. You scroll the screen on the synth screen to scroll up and down to and from the seq. Its laid out pretty well. Because the Ipad is multi touch, you can mess with two kaos pads and tweak the knobs at the same time. KILLER for tweaking stuff. You can record all the tweaks into the pattern so it plays back your tweaks! This is AMAZING. You can play live into the seq then edit and tweak, or you can use the step editors. The drum sequencer is cook. It’s like the Roland tr808 etc.

korg-ims-20-app-ipad-storypic

Sound: 8.5
This is where I was surprised. I thought the iElectribe could sound a little hollow in the 60hz to 200hz, but this is a little thicker and more present down there and in the midrange. I love both of these Korg Ipad apps. They both sound pretty good. With enough post production you can get it to sit in a mix pretty well, but only when you render it to .wav and bypass the ipad’s DAC headphone/line out. The Ims20 sounds like the little brother of a real ms20, I can make it scream and sound aggressive, especially with the fx. The ms20 was always more of a lead/ sound fx acidic synth. It can do bass pretty good on this version. I thought the real version was a tad weak on bass compared to the ms10. This thing can do dance lines and aggressive industrial no problem. It still has that plastic sheen that most software VAs have, but if you put enough saturation vst plugs on it, you can make it sound more like the real thing, just a tad fainter with less juice on the resonance. I think this is the sound of trance / techno and old school industrial / glitch. This is not a super fat synth. This is good for melodic, weird acid lines, and grooves. What makes this better than the iElectribe is the 2 osc setup, hp and lp filter at the same time, ring mod, and the mod matrix with the semi modular patch bay. You can really make strange and messed up sounds with this synth engine. The lame synth presets don’t even scratch the surface. The main character comes from the two resonant filters, hp and low pass, mess with them just right and you can make it scream in this really cool way that no other synth or VA can.

mzl.blzxttii.480x480-75

Overall: 9.1
Because this is on the Ipad it makes it so easy to pick up and use anywhere to get ideas out, simple beats and synth lines. I find this a very inspirational tool. The iElectribe is more for beats. There is no real synth engine with a keyboard. This is the game changer. This is for real. Delivering on both fronts of a drum machine that is highly customizable and uses a real analog synth style engine. The sound is pretty good for a software VA.

Pros: Very easy to use, sounds great, laid out very well, touch screen, Soundcloud support built in, can export seqs to .wav files. This is a powerhouse seq, drum machine, synth with the ms20 character.

Cons: Not as good as a real ms20 sound wise. Sometimes the timing is glitchy when switching screens and doing certain actions while using the program. Hope they fix this in a future update. Lacking presets compared to the iElectribe. What is there does not show off the beef of what this has to offer.

Bottom line: If you have an Ipad, got it for music, and are into dance style anything, this is a MUST HAVE. I am very impressed. Right now it is $15.99, Sixteen dollars. WOW, this will only last until jan 2011. So get this soon, before the price goes up to 30 bucks!!!

Category: 08-Synth Reviews! | Comments Off on Synth: Ipad: Korg IMS-20, Hexfix93’s take.

Renoise 2.51: Music Tracker Studio.

October 31st, 2010 by Hexfix93

[screenshotsrns25matrix_s
Before I get started check out Toxic Coma(VAC side project) all done on renoise tracker.

Overview: What makes a tracker so cool is that it is old school and written to the hardware in old school code. The code is more efficient than today’s modern sequencers and can do more without sacrificing audio engine quality. This DAW looks, feels, and operates cryptically. The interface is not at all like other mainstream sequencer applications. It always seems to be the new users who are used to cubase & logic styles of sequencing. This is not for the faint of heart. This style of sequencer started in the 80s on the Atari st and Amiga computers. I used to use these on the Amiga and Atari back when we made music for our joke band Toxic Coma. I am very proficient in using this interface. I can even use the hexadecimal code commands to pull off live sample manipulations. I don’t think any music application is easy to use, but honestly this one is particularly difficult at first but don’t be put off as this is one of the powerful audio manipulators on the market and its dirt cheap, 59 bucks or something. There are Renoise tutorials on youtube, so if you plan to use this, I recommend searching on YouTube. What you have to understand about Renoise, first and foremost, is that it is a SAMPLER. It plays samples in its native mode. Think Sampler Sequencer. It started out as an audio sample sequencer, unlike cubase and logic that started out as midi sequencers then added in all the audio later. I think this is why the sound quality is so much better. It was programmed that way from the ground up.

Below: Toxic Coma Using Renoise.

Interface: 9.5
The interface is weird. It looks like code from an 8-bit computer. There are plenty of buttons and menus. The selection interface is pretty easy to navigate. Once you get used to it, it’s actually better than cubase for setting things up. Renoise has really beefed up the tracker, modernizing it in many ways, except the main notation interface is columns of letters and numbers and the whole screen scrolls. It defaults to a 16th note grid. Its a pattern sequencer. The default sequencer is 0 through 63, so 64 notes in each pattern per channel(you can change the patter lengths as well). You can add a ton of channels if you need them. Each column is a channel. It is really easy to step edit notes. It can record you live and in loop mode. The cool thing is that this is made for the computer. This makes the main qwerty keyboard your instrument. You can play a couple of octaves on the keyboard by default. This rocks if you have no real gear to use. This is how we managed Toxic Coma all those years at everyone’s house. All you need is a computer. I honestly love this interface. I am so used to it, been using it since 1989. So I understand it completely. Through the ages they have modernized this through the addition of effects, midi, high midi resolution, and vst plugins for instruments and effects. I love how the music is scrolling down the screen versus left to right which is typical of other sequencers. The big patterns by default force me to be more creative and stay out of looping 4×4 bars like you end up doing in cubase. So when you record audio into it, you have to edit it with the sample editor, assign it to an instrument slot, and then, trigger it with a note. You cannot lay audio down like a virtual tape recorder as you would in Cubase. I prefer everything being samples and not tape like chunks of audio, it makes me feel like sequencing and cutting up and looping anything how ever I want to. This style makes me edit and tweak everything way more than I ever do in cubase. In a way, I like how everything is accessible with out too much digging, intelligently placed tabs, the upper screen and lower screen contain important track and song functione. I love the track scopes, so cool, I love how the main pattern editor and sequencer is in the middle, and on the left is the pattern seq, on the left is all the cut, copy, past tools, set up for copying a whole pattern, track in pattern, track in song, everything you need to navigate and edit. You can highlight notes and programming data in a track and cntrl c and v them to copy etc. Once you figure this out, it becomes a breeze. I prefer this sequencer setup in all honesty.

Below: Industrial!!!

Effects: 8.0
The default effects actually work well. I love the delays and the compressors. They work ok, better than Cubase fx. I don’t care for the reverbs much. The chorus is ok. The flange is usable. The phaser is pretty damn good. I like the eqs as well. Everything is pretty usable. The cool fx come from being able to manipulate the samples with the numbers on the grid next to the note value. You can do amazingly crazy, high resolution pitch bends(256 resolution, twice that of logic and cubase). Think plague of babies on that Toxic Coma song. You can restart the sample position point with the code as well. Think Attack of the Wheenies by Toxic Coma. This is something you cannot do with modern DAWS. You can do automation as well.

Below: Fast Twitch tweaking with midi interface, Bad ass.

Functions: 9.5
Supports Rewire, supports VSTi, and VST fx, has plug in compensation, high resolution timing thats tight, multi core/processor support, tons of keyboard shortcuts, a sampler and sample editor, Low Latency Sound Engine, instrument editor where you can select a slot and easily make a drum kit, split up the keyboard and put different samples on different keys, and supports many sample file formats. It also renders to wav file. The way it handles VST instruments is great, only puts a load on the processor when it is playing and using the synth. It is amazing. This has the best mixing engine I have ever used. The sound quality is amazing. I can get things so loud with this, and I never need mastering for loudness. You can stack up sample tracks. This is amazing, even when you over drive the mix bus. It gets mean and warm, not cold and crunchy like good old Cubase does. The core of this code was written in Assembler, and is efficient, using a simple graphic and making audio the priority. It sounds better than any DAW on the market. I’m not joking around. This thing renders audio way better than any other daw on the market. Way better sound quality. The sequencer is pattern based. You can cut, copy, and paste to and from any pattern. On the left hand side of the screen is where you find the controls to set the play order of the patterns. You can copy a pattern to a new one, etc. You can use higher resolution than 16th notes. I still don’t know how to though. When exporting your mix to a wav, this is called rendering. Always be sure to select the high setting, this is how it gets the best sound quality. It spits out .WAV files. You can make music so HOT with this, by stacking tracks, and using tons of compressors and limiters. The last two Toxic Coma LPS were -4 rms, that is super fucking hot. MEGA LOUD!!!!! It manages this and keeps it warm and aggressive, not cold thin and sterile like cubase does when you try to make things really hot. I all most forgot to mention that this thing pitches samples better than any hardware sampler, any software sampler on the market. Meaning, taking one sound and playing it up and down a keyboard, it is great with super low aliasing. AMAZING!

[screenshotsrns21rewire_s

Ease of Use: 7.5
The learning curve is high, like any DAW. This one takes some getting used to. It is very unique. To us old school tracker users, this is not a problem. To the newbies who are used to Cubase and other similar programs, yes, this will be hard for you to grasp at first. I highly recommend the Renoise tutorials on youtube.

Below: Even others can make Toxic Coma like shit with Renoise :).

Overall: 9.7
For me it is the best sounding computer application. It makes vsti instruments actually sound decent, unlike logic and cubase. The sound quality is amazing. This thing sums amazingly well and handles hot signals very well. It is easy to use and fast once you learn how to use it. I have made many lps with this software, and recently made Mental Twitch, which was on the last VAC Single. I am going to use Renoise a lot on the new VAC LP and make a more electronic record with it. I don’t think I will use Cubase or Logic ever again, I hope. Sick of the bad sound quality on those other DAWS. What really sucks is that I don’t write music as much as I should. Maybe with powerful laptop and Renoise with a lot of plugins, I will actually get things done. Portable as hell, I don’t need big midi keyboards. I can use the computer keyboard quite well because of how much better they mapped it for playing music. BUY THIS, LEARN IT, GET THE BEST SOUND QUALITY FROM A PC OR MAC! IT ONLY COSTS 58 EUROS!!!!!! Cheap! You can get professional results with this. MAC, PC, AND LINUX!!!!!

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Category: 08-Synth Reviews!, 09-ProAudio Reviews | Comments Off on Renoise 2.51: Music Tracker Studio.

Apple: Ipad 16gb wifi model, Hexfix93’s Review.

April 11th, 2010 by Hexfix93

apple-ipad
Why did I take the plunge and become an early adoptee on the iPad? I was so skeptical of most of it’s features when they announced it. Over time I kept my eyes on the matrix synth web blog and saw all these ipod touch apps and iPad apps that made me really go wow, cool drum machines and soft synths with touch controls, no mouse crap like computers offer. I also always wanted a touch gaming console as well, but the nintendo ds is too much fluffy crap and kids stuff to bare, plus the tiny screens. I was very skeptical of apples mp3 players because I always hated their sound quality on the iPods. I have really expensive in ear headphones. I would always go to the stores and demo the units, and sony’s walkmans always came out on top in my tests. Not to mention the fact i hate using iTunes, and not being able to browse my mp3s by folder and files like on a computer. These things kept me away from the iPod touch. The video below shows me messing around with the Ielectribe, putting together a beat, tweaking it, running it through my EMU E6400 Sampler’s filters.

So what was it that made me impulsively buy the iPad? I decided to go to the apple store on the launch day. I have been wanting another laptop to use around the house so I am not always in the studio. I mostly wanted it to read, surf the net, and write up reviews and things. I also wanted the iPod touch for the games and nothing else. I also wanted the iPod touch for some of the audio apps I had seen over the last year. Especially the drum sequencer type drum machines. Very cool with the touch controls as are the soft synths. The idea of being able to be any where with my headsets banging out beats with automation and good sound quality really appealed to me. I am working on the new LP already and didn’t want to wait for the next gen ipad. I picked up the unit, loved how it felt in my hands, then I plugged my headphones in, listened to the iPod part while surfing the web and noticed how the sound quality was a lot better, when over to the ipod touch and listened to that too, the iPod touch sounded worse. DACs are a big deal to me.

I was amazed at how fast it was browsing the web, that this 1ghz arm processor felt faster than my 2.16 duo core MacBook pro. So this is life with out flash? A fast browser? Bring on html5. Death to flash, that slow inefficient processor hog. The swipe gestures you use to scroll the screen is so fast and responsive, as is pinching to zoom in and out. Some times on web pages, I would have to zoom in to hit the link I wanted but only when i held the iPad in the thin horizontal view angle. Launching apps is weird, sometimes it will think I am swiping instead of selecting. Typing is great actually, except if you need numbers all the time, then its a major issue, so doing math stuff in a text editor is really annoying because you have to switch back and forth to the number mode or letter mode. No arrow keys to move the cursor around either. So you have to hit the pad on the text and hold and then this magnifying glass thing pops up and you move that around then it lets you drag the cursor to where you need to go, this is kind of annoying.

synth_screenshot

I plan on reviewing games and audio apps on this device for the VAC site and e EDT site. Games were lack luster at first. I first downloaded this diablo like dungeon rpg. It had this fake analog stick control, and it sucked. It wasn’t for a few days that I realized that I could us tap controls on that game, and that instantly made it better. Then i downloaded the need for speed game, and it looks ok, kind of a bad frame rate, and is fun and controls well by tilting the iPad to steer it like a steering wheel. kind of cool. It wasn’t until I downloaded Flightcontrol HD, and Mirrors edge for the ipad that I really was kind of impressed with it as a gaming device. Mirrors edge looks great and is fun to play. Flightcontrol HD is a simple game where you draw flight paths with your fingers to land air planes. If two planes collide its game over. This is surprisingly fun, I saw the review for this on the Iphone via AREA5 and thought I’d give the iPad hd version a shot. It didn’t disappoint. The games are really cheap compared to DS and PSP and this is a real plus for me. Comparing the games on iPad isn’t fair though, the iPad games are shorter on average than a psp or ds game. So far as a gaming platform, it has potential, but it’s not even close to worth it for that yet. The video below shows me messing around with the ipad and all the stuff I have for it.

Overall how do I feel about the iPad?
Music Tools:
Audio apps kick major ass, the Ielectribe software drum machine from korg is worth the price of the iPad alone $9.99, a used electribe costs a little less used on the second hand market but I feel the software with the ipads DAC sounds better to me than the old electribe I used to own. Not to mention it’s easier to use with the drag menus. Other apps are coming as well. Being able to control a daw with it via Bluetooth is really cool. Using it as a drum pad, mixer controls. This thing is amazing for this kind of thing. Seriously, using the Ielectribe is way better than using the hardware. Easy to name stuff, and i love turning knobs with the touch screen, takes a little getting used to, but its kick ass like real hardware finally as far as the interface goes. For Audio apps, I give is a 9 out of 10.

Internet Device:
I do hate flash but the lack of flash on the iPad really is a hinderance if you want to look at sites like hulu and fail blog and media based sites that use a lot of flash players for video. I really like the touch interface for web browsing, so as long as you are reading sites its fine. This is a double edged sword, great interface but a lack of content due to the lack of flash support, so no flash games on Facebook or myspace, i hate those any way. I want html5 to take over because it is open source and flash is not. So in the end I think if enough ipads sell, flash could come to an end, and I couldn’t be happier about that. The lack of a good free chat i’m chat program that runs in the background is a big minus as well. Internet features gets a 7 out of 10.

Media:
Too big to be an effective iPod player, even though it has way better sound quality over the iPod touch. The iPod portion lacks cover flow as well, WTF apple? The screen is 4:3, not wide screen, so movies have a huge black bar, that really sucks. I think the 4:3 is a throw back to old computer screens, which i prefer for web viewing honestly, but for movies, epic fail. Media gets a 6 out of 10.

Games:
It’s to early to say weather or not it will succeed. I will say the fake analog controls have got to go, they are awful. The games here now are um, ok, not great, not terrible. kind of generic and no where near sony or nintendo, but way ahead of the zune and the other phone companies touch phones. The. Video a card in this reminds me of old pc stuff, like a few generations back. Reminds me of a dreamcast on roids in higher resolution. Nothing ground breaking other than the battery life. As a gaming platform I give this a 6 out of 10. I must say though, I see a lot of potential for god games and touch games.

Apps:
The lack of a number pad really ruins this for many types of applications. I have not tried pages, or iworks. It’s on here though so that really says to me that this is serious, because the windows media apps for phones are awful. These apps are very polished compared to the competition. The PDF stuff on this is garbage. I could not even. Read the manual for my access virus snow on this thing. They have a lot of bugs to fix on this thing, even the text app it comes with is buggy and has word wrap issues when typing large text files, I am experiencing this as I type this. It gets stuff wrong but the stuff it gets right is spot on, the Marvel comics app is amazing. The Book store and reader is great. There is a lot of promise here. I give the apps for the iPad a 7 out of 10. Lots of potential, but not there yet.

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The Hardware:
The screen is gorgeous, this is what attracted me to it in the store. WOW. It’s a little heavy, but not a problem for me. Playing certain games does get tiring tho, because of holding it up, its not heavy, but its heavy enough that after an hour, its tiring. The motion controls are great. The touch interface is great, typing is pretty good, the keyboard is ok, but having to hit a key to switch the keypad to numbers and symbols is really annoying. Ok for text, but bad for typing in numbers. The battery life is amazing, i can use it all day and still have charge the next day for a while before I have to charge it, more than 10 hours and 1 month on stand bye. WOW. The interface is very responsive. No camera, so what, I don’t care, bad viewing angle because of how you hold the device, camera up your nose is not a good thing. I give the hardware a 9 out of 10.

Overall:
Apple is wrong, this is not revolutionary. It is good, but fails in many areas. It is great because finally we have a tablet that reminds me of star trek. The lack of being able to multi task apps is a major downer(yes it’s coming, but not till fall). It lacks flash, needs a bigger screen for wide screen two work. It’s not perfect. I must say though, It has apps other devices don’t like some of the games, Iworks, and Ielectribe that are all priced just right. This is a multi media device that has some functionality of computers. This is not a laptop. This is more like a Ipod, nintendo ds, Sony psp mixed into one device, with a big screen and a touch of osx thrown in. Does it live up to apple’s hype? sort of. If you like audio apps, or iphone apps, its a good thing. If not, you want and internet laptop device? Stay very very very far away from this thing.

What does apple need to do to fix this? We need flash, we need directional control, and screen stretching functions, in word press(no arrow keys), i cannot do any real editing because of this on the ipad. If it was not for me liking the ielectribe so much, i might actually sell this thing. I only like this 100% for the audio apps, everything else needs a ton of work. They have to fix this shit! I will say it though, I really love this thing, the Ielectribe, taking beats any where with 10 hr battery life, man this alone makes it worth it for me. I do use it for media, internet and everything despite thinking it is kind of weak at some things. By no means is this a bad review. Its a good device, but it is far from perfect. I give this overall a 6.955555 out of 10.

Category: 07-VAC StudioVideo, 08-Synth Reviews!, 09-ProAudio Reviews | Comments Off on Apple: Ipad 16gb wifi model, Hexfix93’s Review.

Sequencing: Atari ST Cubase 2.0 :)

March 8th, 2010 by Hexfix93

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The Atari STe is mono chrome in 640×480 max res, 8mhz, yes, 8mhz motorola 68000 processor, with 720k floppy drive and no hard drive, external mouse and monitor, a space hog. Doesn’t make noise though. Cubase 2.0 is a dream. If you don’t have a lot of gear daisy chained this is a great sequencer. It’s tight, records midi in very well, it’s midi only. The timing is super tight with drums, if you put the drums on midi channel 1 and bass on midi 2, and put the hardware for the drums and bass 1 and 2 on the midi out chain, the drums and bass will be super tight. You can throw 170 bpm 32nd and 64th notes at it and doesn’t choke. It’s amazing. If you are doing aggressive electronic, high temp, or glitchy stuff with hardware, these are the best sequencers. No PC or modern MAC can match it.
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I got this Atari STE off ebay for 160 plus shipping, so around 200 bucks. It’s a 4 mb expanded version. I had to buy a cable off ebay from the UK to let me use a standard vga flat screen monitor that does 640×480 mono. That cable was about 30 bucks plus shipping. I looked and looked for an Atari ST of any kind with cubase with midex output expander to give me more midi outs. I seem to be able to find Notator with Unitor more often on EBAY, but no matter how hard i have tried to use it, I hate notator, I hate the interface. I prefer cubase in every way. When a midex does pop up for the atari, it is always in europe :(. I have not tested the midi with a unitor or midiex on the atari st. So I am not sure it is as tight. One of the things that really matters when you have a lot of gear is having more than one midi out. Buy any more than 4 outs is pushing it, 5 to 8 midi outs on the 8 midi out boxes usually have sloppy timing. The first 4 are solid midi timing wise. It is not good to choke up one midi out with tons of notes, this will screw up your drums and bass timing. The midex on the atari would be good because its 4 total outs i think. I have not tested them so I am not sure.

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My midi timing test with cubase 2.0 yielded 2ms max and 1ms average with my high hat test at 16th notes. So this is as tight as the ASQ-10, and a Little Tighter than Cubase 2.8 with a serial interface on the high hat 16th note test. Cubase 2.8 seems to have quite a few more options than 2.0. 2.0 is really stripped down compared to 2.8. Who cares though because the timing and recording is so damn good. This thing records me playing drums better than cubase 2.8 on the PC, but just a little bit. Still, the ASQ-10 is better than both at recording. One thing that I prefer on my ASQ10 for sure is the ability in loop mode to delete the keys played in to the recorded out, with out deleting anything else when recording in loop mode. Like if i record the bass kick, snare and high hats, and i want to change the snare, i hold erase and then hold do the key or pad for the snare i want to delete, and it only deletes the snare. This is so cool. On Cubase, you hit the B key while in record loop, and it deletes everything since you hit record and starts over with out having to stop and delete it manually. This is great, and was lacking on the new cubase SX and beyond, but I prefer the ASQ10 way of deleting while in real time record loop mode. Although there is no way on the asq10 to delete all unless you hold down all the keys you played. Cubase 2.0 has a phrase synth, and midi FX like echo. I never used them though. I prefer to just write my own arps and phrases. If you like to run outboard gear, and only have like 3 synths. This is all you need. If you run hardware and have 8 to 10 synths, you need something with more outputs, either a midex for the atari ST (which I cannot find), or an ASQ10, OR Cubase or Logic on an older windows 95 setup with a serial interface. For slim downed gear set ups, Atari ST is perfect. Records great, and is tight as hell on playback. I Give this a 10 out 10 if it meets your needs.

Cubase 2.8 with serial on win 98 is tight(you have to put the comptuer in 256 colors, and tweak the os a little), but not this tight. Atari is slightly tighter than the ASQ10, but by a hair. These three sequencers kick the crap out of any modern software on the market today. So if you want tight timing on your hardware like I do. This is the only solution.


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Category: 08-Synth Reviews!, 09-ProAudio Reviews | Comments Off on Sequencing: Atari ST Cubase 2.0 :)

Sequencers: Cubase 2.8 on Windows 98. Hexfix93’s take.

March 4th, 2010 by Hexfix93

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Now I have a hard choice to make. So I bought an atari STE, a Dell Pentium 2 laptop with windows 98, and an ASQ10. I used Cubase 2.8 on fun with knives and remember it being tight. I remember decypher having fast arpeggios that sound tight. I remember moments of that lp being really tight. This is why it sold well, this is why it got the club play, it was the midi I am sure of it. I used cubase 2.8 with a pentium 1 processor first. Even on the 486 dx 66 mhz, and it was tight. I used a motu micro express that had a printer port interface that was serial. I tweaked windows 98 for optimum performance. This is the midi only version of this application back then. Using this again brought back memories, it’s just like the atari version I used way back in the day. Has so much more midi control and features than any modern sequencer you can buy for the MAC and PC. Was it tight? Does it deliver like I remember it?
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I swore to hate microsoft to the end of time. Now that I have this old laptop that I bought off ebay for 50 dollars plus shipping I am having fond memories, it is all coming back to me, all the old games I played when I first got my pc back in the day, like magic carpet, fall out, adventure games like space quest and leisure suit larry, doom, quake, what fond memories. A lot of the games then ran in dos and were a pain in the ass to set up your autoexec.bat and config.sys files. Still I remember how much I loved my PC back in the day. Those were the days of BBS systems(personal computers in homes set up to accept modem calls, with a database of file downloads, message boards and online text networked games, a totally different time in computer history that most young people know nothing about), the internet was a baby then. Piracy was not the big issue it is today then. I realize what a magical time it was then to own a PC. PCs were more of a pain in the ass back then, but the rewards were very high.
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So did this deliver on my new set up, my p2 dell laptop with amt8 via serial port set to max baud, no flow control, with a tweaked windows 98? IN SPADES! OMG it is close to how the atari was but I have 8 ins and outs instead. My new test with this set up on this pc was 3MS max 2MS average of midi jitter(my 16th note test of hi hats or bass line, mono). I am so damn happy. I have a hard drive, usb memory sticks, cd, self contained unit with display and mouse. I have p2 233mhz processor, 80mb of memory, 2 gb hard drive, and 13 inch display and 800×600 resolution.
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Does Cubase 2.8 record what I play in accurately? YES, close to how the atari does. Doesn’t drop notes, and is really manageable. I think the ASQ10 is a little better though. The asq10 only has 2ms of jitter max on my test. So it is a tad bit tighter and a lot harder to use. In some ways I do prefer the asq10, it has the swing. Cubase 2.8 isn’t as funky. It’s still really musical though. I am now leaning towards Cubase 2.8 on this laptop. The interface is just so much better. So many edit modes, List(like grid), Score, Piano roll and a ton of midi things that other seqs don’t have. One thing though, notator on the Atari ST is like 1MS of jitter on this test. It is the tightest seq ever. Don’t believe me, go listen to the “virus ep” by front line assembly, or caustic grip. That is all done on notator and it is tight as hell.
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So what happened? I remember it well, it was on TTG, I upgraded to cubase vst 5, this was when they introduced “AUDIO” into the application. This is when cubase started to suck, not record midi right and have really sloppy timing. It got even worse when they release Cubase SX. This is when usb took over, and they stripped most of the midi functions out of the application, it was more like another program than cubase at this point and basically remains the same to this day. It doesn’t record midi right, especially with USB midi interfaces and controllers, its a joke. The combination of windows XP and its background services(much of that didn’t exist in win 98) really made midi timing even worse on top of USB. USB writes and reads in bursts, not a steady stream like serial or DMA or pci does. Still, I even bought an rme fireface 800, and hdsp9652 and used the midi on that, and it was still sloppy, so it was not just USB. It was windows, and OSX that have so many background tasks running in the os, that midi is thrown to the dogs. This has ruined my interest in making electronic music over the last few years, because I could never get my hardware to sound right with the sloppy midi on playback and record. Seriously, making aggressive music with lousy timing does not work. In speed metal it is timing and speed that makes it so mean, its the same for industrial to the 9th degree, without real hardware and good timing, the aggression is lost. You can hear that in the last 3 VAC records. I bitched and moaned so hard on the cubase forums, and so many other echo’d my girpes and showed the midi to be faulty as I did. On cubase sx, it was 5 to 10 ms on the best days, on the worst sometimes up to 20 to 32 ms of jitter, horrid. If you put a big system load on modern pcs, get tons of audio running, tons of midi, tons of plugin fx, and plug in instruments, the external midi timing goes to hell, and it records midi in really bad. If you think I am crazy or the only one who freaks out about midi timing, just look up what BT and Vince Clark have to say about MIDI on google.
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Most people think they suck at playing when they write with logic and cubase and all the modern daws of today. I think if they got this version of cubase, or an ASQ10, or and atari, they would see the difference and understand what a lot of people like me are complaining about. Timing is crucial in music. These jack of all trade and master of none music applications fall short on sound quality, external midi timing, and midi recording. I am over expecting software to do it all. These do it all devices suck. The dedicated devices and software, were they do one thing, and do it really well tend to sound the best and record and sequence the best. When we were making lust for blood, we constantly had to edit our midi recordings, it would stop the flow of work, this is how it was on hex angel, this is how it was on the art of breaking apart. It made things take longer, it made us uninspired after a while. Always having to fix the poorly recorded midi. NO MORE. I refuse to put up with it ever again. I went to the mac thinking it would be better with logic, and it was, until i started recording the audio, and the tracks would not line up and everything was slightly out of sync. My conclusion, pre audio cubase is way better at midi than new cubase. Win95, win98 with cubase 2.8 is great for live midi seq and composing. I cannot say that about anything I have used since on modern computers. Oh, and I think this is what Astral projection, the super tight trance band uses still. I give this a 10 out of 10.

Category: 08-Synth Reviews!, 09-ProAudio Reviews | Comments Off on Sequencers: Cubase 2.8 on Windows 98. Hexfix93’s take.

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