Honourable men­tions

Computer Music - - Make Music Now -


The brain­child of the same de­vel­op­ers who would later cre­ate Pro Tools, Turbosynth was a mod­u­lar con­struc­tion kit that in­vited users to cob­ble to­gether cus­tom syn­the­sis, sam­ple and ef­fects patches by string­ing to­gether var­i­ous mod­ules with vir­tual patch ca­bles and of­fload­ing the re­sults to a hard­ware sampler. It was far ahead of its time, with niceties like multi-seg­ment en­velopes and cus­tom wave­form gen­er­a­tion.


Like it or loathe it, Auto-Tune changed not only how we make mu­sic, but the very sound of mod­ern mu­sic it­self. Used sub­tly, it’s a use­ful en­gi­neer­ing tool that can save pre­cious stu­dio hours. Pushed to the ex­treme, it’s an in­stantly recog­nis­able ef­fect that has man­aged to tran­scend its orig­i­nal nov­elty sta­tus to be­come a mod­ern pro­duc­tion sta­ple.


Once an oblig­a­tory in­clu­sion in any se­ri­ous stu­dio rack, the hard­ware multi-sampler was doomed from the mo­ment Nemesys turned their sights on the mar­ket.

GigaSampler was the first vir­tual sampler to of­fer the abil­ity to stream sam­ples from the hard drive, promis­ing more and larger file sizes and there­fore higher qual­ity sam­ples as a re­sult. Though it­self ob­so­leted by plugin sam­plers, GigaSampler’s file for­mat be­came some­thing of a stan­dard.


Acid pro­vided Win­dows users with a fun and in­tu­itive mul­ti­track au­dio se­quencer into which they could drag spe­cially-pre­pared ‘Acidized’ au­dio loops. Th­ese loops would au­to­mat­i­cally ad­here to the project’s tempo and key. Other de­vel­op­ers would run with the idea and now we have vari­a­tions of Acid’s ap­proach to loop han­dling in most DAWs.


Con­ceived by Brian Clevinger, NI’s clas­sic soft synth was orig­i­nally a Mac-only af­fair, al­beit with many of the features that we’ve come to know and love in its mod­ern in­car­na­tion. Absynth was one of the first soft­ware syn­the­sis­ers to be taken se­ri­ously by pro sound de­sign­ers – and for good rea­son!


FruityLoops is a true suc­cess story. Con­ceived two decades ago by Di­dier Dam­brin, it started life as a sim­ple four-track MIDI drum ma­chine for Win­dows. An in­stant suc­cess, it rapidly ex­panded, with added features like built-in sam­ple-based sound gen­er­a­tion giv­ing way to built-in in­stru­ments and ef­fects that ri­val those of any other DAW on the mar­ket.

Th­ese days, it’s called FL Stu­dio, but its mav­er­ick spirit is still ev­i­dent in ev­ery pixel.


Graph­i­cal mod­u­lar pro­gram­ming en­vi­ron­ments that fa­cil­i­tate build­ing cus­tom ef­fects and in­stru­ments had been around for decades when SynthEdit was re­leased. Yet Jeff McClin­tock’s Win­dows mod­u­lar had an ace up its sleeve: it al­lowed any­thing built with it to be ex­ported as an in­de­pen­dent VST plugin. That meant would-be de­vel­op­ers could build and re­lease plug­ins with­out writ­ing a sin­gle line of code. The re­sults were noth­ing short of seis­mic, with count­less SynthEdit-made plug­ins pop­u­lat­ing VST plug­ins fold­ers world­wide.


IK Mul­ti­me­dia brought the ‘ROM­pler’ fixed sam­ple play­back in­stru­ment con­cept to the desk­top in 2001 with SampleTank, of­fer­ing a large as­sort­ment of bread and but­ter sounds in a pow­er­ful, mul­ti­tim­bral plugin. Other de­vel­op­ers fol­lowed, but SampleTank is still go­ing strong.


By the time Ap­ple ac­quired Emagic in 2002, the lat­ter’s Logic had be­come a much-loved cross-plat­form DAW. Un­der the Cu­per­tino gi­ant, it con­tin­ued to grow – but only for users of OS X. Along the way, Ap­ple tasked the for­mer Emagic de­vel­op­ers with cre­at­ing a self-con­tained, en­try-level DAW to in­clude in its iLife soft­ware suite, even­tu­ally in­cluded with ev­ery Ap­ple com­puter. As a re­sult, GarageBand has in­tro­duced count­less ca­sual users to the world of mu­sic pro­duc­tion.

AU­DIOBUS (2012)

De­vel­oper’s recog­nised Ap­ple’s iPad as a pow­er­ful mu­sic-mak­ing plat­form even be­fore it was launched. When the fruity fondleslab did come out, the App Store was quickly crowded with in­ter­est­ing and in­spir­ing tools from the likes of Korg, VirSyn, Stein­berg and Im­age-Line. The only trouble was that none of them could be in­ter­con­nected. En­ter Au­dioBus, giv­ing users a means by which in­stru­ments, ef­fects, se­quencers and recorders could be patched in, out and through one an­other. De­vel­op­ers quickly adopted it as some­thing of a stan­dard, much to the re­lief of iOS users ev­ery­where.

It might seem old hat now, but Turbosynth’s graph­i­cal patch­ing en­vi­ron­ment was cut­ting-edge stuff in 1988!

It’s hard to be­lieve that the com­pre­hen­sive DAW known as FL Stu­dio grew from a hum­ble drum se­quencer!

Even­tu­ally, GigaSampler gave way to Gi­gaS­tu­dio, be­fore be­ing swal­lowed up and aban­doned by Tas­cam

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