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Electronic Musician

Electronic Musician December 2020

The new ELECTRONIC MUSICIAN is a “must have” resource for anyone who makes music, plays music, and shares music. Every issue includes "gig tested" product reviews on music gear, tons of how-to's, and interviews with today's stars revealing the secrets of their songwriting approaches and audio-production concepts.

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United States
Future Publishing Limited US
$8(Incl. tax)
$40.07(Incl. tax)
12 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
something for nothing

On a day-to-day basis we're conditioned to believe that nothing comes for free, but when it comes to music production there's actually a whole host of excellent tools out there that can be had for nothing. Whether you're after analog-styled synths, experimental effects, workhorse EQs and compressors or modern beatmaking tools, it's entirely possible to kit out your virtual studio without opening your wallet. Sounds too good to be true, right? Music software has a long tradition of quality 'freeware' releases though, and there are a multitude of reason developers might offer up plugins for free. In some cases, free plugins are cutdown or older versions of contemporary paid plugins, released to offer users a taster in the hope they might move up to the more advanced version in the future.…

5 min.
new gear

A standalone version of Native Instruments’ Maschine beatmaking platform has long been rumored – particularly in light of Akai’s decision to take the MPC range back out of the box – and now it’s here. Maschine+, as it’s known, is a pad-based groovebox that can be used with or without a computer. This is a Maschine that’s been a long time coming. NI tells us that it had a proof-of-concept prototype as long ago as 2014, but only now has it created a product that it’s happy to put on release. We’ve got our hands on one, and ahead of a full review next issue, let’s take a look at how it works… A familiar face From the outside, Maschine+ looks strikingly similar to the Maschine MkIII, but under the hood it’s a…

7 min.
this month in software

Native Instruments goes back to Guitar Rig as it announces Komplete 13 Having skipped an update in 2019, Native Instruments has announced a new version of Komplete, its chunky collection of software products. Komplete 13 adds some of NI’s biggest releases of the past couple of years, and includes a surprise update to Guitar Rig, the company’s suite of guitar amps, effects and cabs. Guitar Rig 6 Pro promises an overhauled interface, new amps, new effects and Intelligent Circuit Modelling. The last ‘full’ update was way back in 2011, so a new version wasn’t really on our radar. Intelligent Circuit Modelling is “a machine-learning technology that can provide greater realism when emulating classic hardware.” In Guitar Rig 6, it’s used to power a range of boutique and vintage amps. Komplete 13 also adds several instruments,…

2 min.
newfangled audio pendulate

One recent soft synth release stood out above all others recently – not least because it was free. Newfangled Audio's first foray into synths, Pendulate is distributed by Eventide, as is the paid-for version Generate, over the page. Pendulate takes its oscillation inspiration from the physics of a double pendulum – a theoretical setup where a pendulum dangles from the end of another pendulum, with the oscillation of each feeding back into the other one's movement. When used as an oscillator source, the idea is pretty functional, but by turning up Pendulate's Chaos sliders, you can introduce more real-world unpredictability to the signal. The signal runs through a West Coaststyle combo of a wavefolder and a low-pass gate, and there's modulation on tap for most parameters thanks to envelope and LFO signals…

2 min.
…and generate

The commercial half of this synth pair, Generate houses new choices of oscillator algorithm, of which the 'Double Pendulum' is only one. The Wavefolder section also has a choice of algorithms and the ability to switch in an analog-modeled VCA. Another difference between the two synths is that Generate adds in a set of effects (EQ, Chorus, Delay and Reverb), and performance controls like Mono, Legato, Poly, Unison and Voice settings to give you plenty more to play with. The additions combine to be more than the sum of their parts, of course. Again, Generate has a very specific sound – a distorted, raspy quality that would be great for lead and bass work in many up-front genres, although more subdued tones are still possible here. When considering the two, it's possible…

5 min.
12 essential freeware synths

01 DISCODSP OB-XD 2 Mac/PC, 32/64-bit We’d stress that this list is ‘in no particular order’, so this number one does not actually mean ‘the best’, but DiscoDSP's faithful emulation of Oberheim's iconic OB-X is certainly up there with the top tier of freeware synths. Sonically, this can sit alongside the most convincing analog emulations on the market. OB-Xd builds on the design of the original too, adding a blendable multimode filter and chorus, reverb and delay effects into the mix. A must have! discodsp.com 02 GREEN OAK CRYSTAL MAC/PC, 32/64-BIT Almost as old as this magazine’s editor, Green Oak software Crystal has, like Synth1 after it, been a mainstay in the freeware music scene for many a year. And it’s easy to understand why… at least once you look past those aged…