Archive for January, 2009

SonicState also released videos from Omnisphere update (new sounds, two times more than in the initial version) and impOSCar 2.

SonicState provides a new video (high quality) featuring the Roland V-Piano, where we can hear more distinctly the sound, expression (and customization), than in the previous first official videos. Notably it seems more realistic than Pianoteq, less muded, and notably each note has its own distinct character (as on a real piano), instead just declining the same tone.
On that point we can read a very interesting comment at musicplayer forums :

I’ve got to say, I’ve been working with physical modeling since the VL1 (1995) and did heavy amounts of programming of that beast. Over the years, I think I demoed/bought nearly every PM synth (soft or hard) that I’ve come across. My conclusion is that PM is most successful when a) the waveform is simple and unchanging and b) the tone is expected to be the same note-to-note. Examples are VAs and organ clones. As the waveform gets more complex and is expected to evolve over time (e.g. brass, woodwinds, strings, pianos), PM, in my experience fails to deliver the goods. Also, with real EPs and acoustic pianos, each note has a somewhat distinct character. When adjacent notes sounds identical, my ears hear it as something is amiss, especially in chromatic passages. There is a nauseating sameness to the tone, because the notes are generated in the same fashion.

I would be more optimistic about PM if I had seen serious evolution in the past 15 years, but I can’t say I have. I do think PianoTeq’s piano model is noteworthy. I just don’t think it sounds accurate enough. When I play against QL Pianos or Bluthner Digital One there is no comparison to my ear.

I’m of the opinion the best solution might be a hybrid approach. Digidesign’s Velvet seems to use sampling for waveform accuracy but allows much of the control you’d find in a PM EP. The Trumpet is sample-based but allows the continuous control of timbre you’d find in a PM horn—but The Trumpet sounds infinitely better than PM trumpets.

A year ago at this time I was cautiously optimistic about the ‘modeled’ EPs in the new RD700GX. After working with the 700GX for a week I came to the conclusion the EPs offered nothing usable for me. Had they been on the level of Mr Ray 73 or Lounge Lizard, I’d probably own a 700GX. I am cautiously optimistic about the V-Piano and look forward to playing one (if I can find one).

I might well be in the market for a V-Piano IF it’s an outstanding instrument. It has to top my software pianos. But I’m expecting issues. Roland does have, IMO, a good track record for continuous improvements. The Fantom and V-Synth have had numerous, free updates.

Native Instruments released ACOUSTIC REFRACTIONS, a new Kore Soundpack, based on ABSynth, FM8 and Kontakt (samples) KORE modules. The 100 included sounds are morphings from base elements created with ABSynth and FM8, and from 500 Mb original texture samples : ice instruments, spinning washing machines, traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge, carpets being ripped, underground parking garages, and rain on a car windshield. Then we are close to Omnisphere concept. The provided demos are great (notably Morning Lullaby and Train Wreck, whose bass line reminds a song from Myst 2/Riven).
It is priced 79$ (through download).

GForce impOSCar 2

Posted: January 26, 2009 in Audio

GForce presented impOSCar 2, that brings le PWM (Pulse Width Modulation, as with the D-20 and D-50) on both oscillators, additional LFOs, new modulation and routing options, a pink noise generator, an enhanced arpeggiator, a revamped interface (3 sizes available), etc. Video demos are provided, and an upgrade plan from the first version of impOSCar is planned (no pricing yet, nor release date, but the MusikMesse timeframe is suggested).

An alpha version of CP2JavaWS 0.3 is available here. It uses Objective-J categories to encode/decode full objects graphs (any depth, with nested collections – CPArray/List and CPDictionary/Map, and with heterogeneous collection elements) to/from JSON, allowing customization and cleaner code. The server-side manages decoding of the JSON parameters (full object’s graphs support, also including nested collections and heterogeneous collection elements).
Encoding of the return (result) graph isn’t completed however (has to be modified to add the objjClass).
Now the client sends/receives objjClass information in JSON strings, so it is independant from server language, and we can plan other implementations (PHP, etc.) 
The final 0.3 version is due in a few days.

EastWest SILK demos available

Posted: January 22, 2009 in Audio

Demos of SILK are now available on the description page at soundsonline. The first reviews about these are very positive (and the verb is PLAY :-)). Ethno World 4 still included phrases besides the playable instruments, in order to show the particular playing techniques.

EastWest provides a 1.1.13 update to PLAY. We can read the details here :
– added impulse responses for convolution reverb
– fixed doubling of drop down menus in Pro Tools 8
– fixed crash when turning streaming on/off with certain instruments
– PLAY window can be moved in Logic 7 at lower resolutions

Apple published a security guide for MacOSX. It is very comprehensive (260 pages), very technical, and targeted for advanced administrators, for sensible context (administrations, defense, etc.) :
This document is intended for use by security professionals in sensitive environments. Implementing the techniques and setting found in this document will impact system functionality and may not be appropriate for every user or environment. 

The document introductory lists the new security features added by Leopard :

Better Trojan horse protection. Mac OS X Leopard marks files that are downloaded to help prevent users from running malicious downloaded applications.

Stronger runtime security. New technologies such as library randomization and sandboxing help prevent attacks that hijack or modify the software on your system.

Easier network security. After you’ve activated the new Mac OS X Leopard application firewall, it configures itself so you get the benefits of firewall protection without needing to understand the details of network ports and protocols.

Improved secure connectivity. Virtual private network (VPN) support has been enhanced to connect to more of the most popular VPN servers without additional software.

Meaningful security alerts. When users receive security alerts and questions too frequently, they may fall into reflexive mode when the system asks a security-related question, clicking OK without thought. Mac OS X Leopard minimizes the number of security alerts that you see, so when you do see one, it gets your attention.

A lite version of the adventure game 1112 Episode 01 is available at the AppStore. We can also find a lite version of HydroTilt (5 levels among the 30 levels of the full version), and LightBike Free (only one level in that lite version), a Tron like game.
Finally Rolando price drops from 9,99$ to 5,99$.

Finally Garritan presented a new library (ethnic), Garritan World Instrument collection, that includes the following instruments families : flutes (native American flutes, bamboo flues, Irish flutes, Chinese and Japanese flutes, Indian flutes, clay flutes, pan flutes, nose flutes), percussions (Taiko drums, Gamelan ensemble, Log drums, tablas, ewe drums, balaphon, Udu drum, talking drum, steel drums, Latin percussion), plucked and bowed strings (including Indian Sitars, Japanese koto and shamisen, African kora, Middle Eastern oud and santoor, and erhu). We also find a didgeridoo, Middle Eastern reed instruments, accordions, Tibetan bowls, harmonium.
The temperament can be adjusted, as well as the playing (dynamics, vibrato, tongue/slur techniques, airflow, auto legato, auto-variability, auto-portamento, trills), and wind instruments can be controlled using a breath controller like the new AKAI EWI USB one. Pricing will also be provided later.

Garritan also unveiled Garritan Orchestral Strings 2, that will be available during the first quarter (pricing will be provided later). This library includes solo strings instruments (Stradivari violin, solo Pallotta viola, solo Gofriller cello, solo Amati double-Bass), sections (1st violin section, 2nd violin section, viola section, cello section, double-Bass section), and Full strings. Ther ARIA player offers a new dynamic morphing feature between articulations, that allows to control the amount of vibrato. Provided articulations are : sustains (many), staccato, marcato, spiccato, martelle, pizzicato, sautille, portamento, ricochet, col legno, tremolo, trills (many intervals), harmonics, altra corda, con sordino.
Some advanced playing effects are available (Penderecki), as well as advanced settings : bow position control (sul tasto and sul ponticelli), up and down bowing, realistic legato and portamento, body/sympathetic resonance behavior modeling, adjustable noise (bow, pluck and snap noise) and controllable loose/tight articulations.

Garritan presented during the NAMM Personal Orchestra 4th Edition, based on its new 64 bits ARIA player. It includes strings, brass, woodwinds, percussion, keyboards (including a Steinway piano), Stradivari violin (with controllable vibrato), brass sounds – new in GPO – derived from Project SAM library (solo and sections), concert harps, celesta, concert pipe organ, etc. It is priced 149$ (through download).