Cognitone has released Akai EWI-USB Control, a utility software for the wind controller hardware EWI-USB from Akai Professional. The tool provides controls for all the hardware's parameters and allows for saving frequently used presets to disk. This way a player can keep multiple settings for different setups. The tool is available for free.
Akai EWI-USB Control can be chained between the controller hardware and a sequencer or synthesizer software in order to filter the MIDI data stream in real-time. Four different key switches can be assigned to individual hardware sensors and trigger specific sound articulations this way.
There is one specialty with the Mac that I never liked: The global menu bar. While on Windows, each application has its own menu, all applications must share the same menu area on top of the Mac screen.
This is quite ok for apps that have a single document window, like a word processor, but fails for apps that have multiple types of windows, each requiring a different menu structure. With Synfire we have Arrangements, Libraries, Palettes, Progressions, the Catalog, Phrase Pools, and Songs. It is next to impossible to squeeze all these into the same menu structure.
I've been nasty
The past two days, I worked on a teaser video for Synfire. It was really great fun and, as you may notice, all its music was made with Synfire, of course.
Since I am neither a professional video artist, nor an art director, the result shows a lot of rough edges, visual imperfections and obvious traces of bad taste. There are for sure countless "dont's" in it. Some of which I am aware of (but am unable to do better in a finite amount of time), some I am simply too unsuspecting to notice. Whatever, as we don't have the budget for an ad agency, we have to live with what we can do ourselves.
This is still work in progress. If you feel there is something I should consider, I'd be happy to get your feedback.
I hope you enjoy it.
This music is full of mesmerizing textures and breathing development. Regardless which style of music you are making, you can certainly learn a lot from this artist, especially how he arranges foreground and background to achieve a deep and wide soundscape.
Tomas previously made the soundtrack of the game "Machinarium", which I very much enjoyed playing and listening to. The game's music (full album length) is worth the game purchase alone. Check it out:
First I thought it would be a waste of time to do a major face lift now, but then after thinking twice, it perfectly made sense to complete this step before creating dozens of new videos, tutorials and other new presentation material. That would have been the real waste of time! Imagine all that suddenly becoming obsolete after an eventual graphical redesign. That said, I very much enjoyed making Synfire a little more sexy at last and am happy with the results so far.
Not a big deal, actually, but an important prerequisite for future development and documentation: We've polished the user interface design a bit and made it look the same on Windows and Mac now.
This came up when planning new tutorial videos. I thought it would be more consistent to have Synfire look (almost) identical on either platform. We also found the current status of Synfire really deserved an improved overall look.
The changes are rather subtle, yet have a very positive overall effect. There will eventually be a "dark" design scheme, too. Although, tweaking an inverse color scheme is really tricky and takes some time to do right. This kind of nice-to-have feature is not currently of any priority, so please don't expect it to come anytime soon.
After more than a year of coding the audio engine, I now enjoy making music again, at last! This is not only a lot of fun, it is also very helpful for testing and identifying usability issues. Before I upload the new 1.5.2 update tomorrow, I wanted to share a piece with you that I remixed today.
You probably already know the "Orchid Project" sample arrangement that ships with the software. I took this one and thinned it out and remixed it using the great EWQL "Play" Gold Orchestra library. That plugin is a true memory hog. I had to order 16 GB of RAM extra for my Mac to make it load the entire orchestra.
Synfire Pro 1.5 will include an additional (experimental) 64 bit host engine to support memory hungry sampler plugins, especially huge orchestral libraries. While from a software engineering perspective, making the 64 bit engine was no more difficult than doing the 32 bit thing, there are various fundamental limitations associated with the 32/64 bit architecture as such.
In this post I want to point out some fundamental facts about 64 bit, and some facts about our coming audio engine, so you can get an idea what is possible and what is not.
The walkthrough video must still wait, because I am ill today and that horrible headache would not let me do anything useful. Anyway, I will post a few screenshots now, and postpone the walkthrough until tomorrow.
These three images show the instrument inspector in the new arrange window. There are four modes of addressing an instrument: Shared Rack, Project-owned Plugin, Direct MIDI Channel and one of the global instruments:
The whole new audio concept is based on the idea that you have one shared rack of sounds used for quick drafts, browsing libraries, etc, and then multiple per-project racks in a DAW or Engine that get loaded and unloaded as you work on them.