Kinesotronic Intros Refractor, A New Max For Live Device For Performing With Modular & Analog Gear

Kinesotronic has introduced Refractor, a new Max for Live device designed for performing with modular synthesizers and CV/MIDI hardware and software.

Refractor was created by Chris Pratt (Ableton Certified Trainer) and Matt Ward (dBs Music Electronic Music Production Programme Leader), and is designed to offer Ableton Live users expressive control, modulation and transformation via CV and MIDI.

Refractor can be used with a DC-coupled soundcard or the Expert Sleepers range, and lets you convert MIDI inputs into 8 shapeable channels of CV, MIDI or internal mapping within Live.

Features:

  • Precision macro control of musical parameters (any hardware capable of accepting control voltage signals or MIDI CCs, Ableton Live devices, virtual instruments and effects)
  • Distribution for a range of input sensors (MIDI mappable) to 8 x CV destinations
  • Gesture Recorder
  • Full customizable envelope based control of output shapes via function editor
  • Visual feedback via three output monitors
  • CV output routing
  • Preset management for instant recall and MIDI triggering of settings
  • Direct/convergent mapping mode
  • Internal parameter mapping
  • Customizable interface
  • Modular: Expandable to 64 simultaneous (individually shapeable) control signals

Here’s a look at shaping and routing CV with Refractor:

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Pricing and Availability:

Refractor (+ Free MIDI expander) is available with an intro price of £15.00 (normally £20.00).

Ableton Cancels Loop 2021 Because Of Pandemic

Ableton has announced that is canceling Loop 2021, its international Summit for Music Makers, because the company determined that it’s unmanageable to hold an event like this while ensuring the safety of attendees.

Early on in the pandemic, they postponed Loop 2020 into next year. At that time, there were hopes that governments would quickly get the Coronavirus pandemic under control.

Since then, though, Covid-19 cases and deaths in the US have skyrocketed, forcing the postponement or cancellation of most large events for the rest of 2020. Many events in early 2021, like the 2021 NAMM Show, have also been cancelled. Several EU countries have had high per-capita death rates like the US, including Belgium, the UK, Spain, Italy and Sweden.

EU countries have banned US travelers and Germany, where Loop was scheduled to be held, has restricted travel from many countries outside of the EU.

Because of the current situation, Ableton is refunding ticket holders in full.

Here’s their official announcement:

Loop Summit for Music Makers 2021 Cancelled

We have taken the difficult decision to cancel the Loop Summit in 2021.

It is increasingly clear that we cannot guarantee the level of health and safety that our event demands. In addition to the welfare risk, the ongoing global pandemic has continued to cast unmanageable doubt over all aspects of our event planning.

Loop’s aim is to bring together an international forum of music makers. We take great pride in curating an event that represents the kind of diversity we want to see in our global music making community.

Uncertainty in future travel and event restrictions has made it impossible to confirm bookings, and to assure the quality of the event and diversity of voices to a degree that’s acceptable for us to move forward.

All ticket holders have received an email from us and will be refunded in full. If you hold a ticket, check your inbox and contact us if you need help (loop@ableton.com).

Whilst we’re saddened that a full Loop Summit cannot move ahead, our team is excited to redirect efforts towards Loop’s impact at a time when our community is in more need than ever.

We will refocus towards providing greater access to Loop, developing new ways of bringing music makers together online, exchanging ideas and inspiration in localised community settings, and exploring how we shape the future of music making to meet our new global reality.

We look forward to getting creative with you again soon.

The Loop Team

Here are images from previous Loop Summits:

New App, OSC/PILOT, Turns Your PC Into A Customizable Touchscreen MIDI Controller

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OSC/PILOT is a bi-directional control surface application for Windows, created as a performance tool for digital artists and musicians.

It’s in the tradition of customizable MIDI controller apps like Lemur and TouchOSC, and lets users create original touchscreen control designs for OSC & MIDI, based on a collection of customizable widgets.

In the video above, producer Joel Zimmerman (deadmau5) demonstrates how you can start from scratch and use OSC/PILOT to create a custom controller design.

“OSC/PILOT has been in development since October 2013,” notes Zimmerman, “and I’ve been field testing and using it in shows since that time. It’s a vital component to our live production, both on stage and front of house.”

Features:

  • Make custom UIs in minutes
    • Simple drag interface means laying out a new UI takes no time at all.
    • Multiple workspaces allow for different UIs to be used from within one project.
    • Multi-Touch fully supported. Drive the UI with as many fingers as your touch display supports.
  • Supports sending and receiving OSC (Open Sound Control) data
    • Send OSC data to control other applications and devices that support OSC
    • Control visual applications such as TouchDesigner, vvvv, Resolume, VDMX, Notch etc.
    • Receive OSC data from external sources to drive the content currently shown in the UI
  • Supports sending MIDI.
    • Connect to devices directly plugged into the computer
    • Send MIDI to other computers and applications using network MIDI tools tools such as rtpMIDI
    • Control Ableton Live, bitwig and other audio applications using your own custom UI.
  • Supports Windows 8.1 and 10
  • Show Ready
    • Used for years by deadmau5 on tour as his control surface for shows.

Pricing and Availability:

OSC/PILOT is available now for $49.99 USD.

New Max For Live Tool, Ratcheteer, Lets You Easily Generate Trap Rhythms & More

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midierror has introduced Ratcheteer, a MIDI note pattern generator for Ableton Live + Max For Live.

Ratcheteer is designed to generate complex MIDI note patterns, based on your MIDI control input and in sync with Ableton Live’s transport.

Here’s what they have to say about it:

“Assign a MIDI Note to ratchet and choose from 5 types of time division to hear the note re-triggered from a steady pace to rapid fire mayhem. Select an output velocity with fixed, random between a range or LFO controls.

Turn the knob or play your keyboard to play the ratcheteer at different speeds. It’ll output expressive MIDI notes which can be recorded as clips and stored in your track.

The Ratcheteer is ideal for Trap Hi Hat petterns, but can be used on any drum or synth hit. It can also be used on multiple channels for entire rhythm track making.

Time divisions include triplets, whole notes, dotted notes, all combined and free (unclocked).”

Note: Ableton Live 10 Suite is required to run this device.

Pricing and Availability

Ratcheteer is available now for 17.50 Euro.

Novation Intros Updated Launchkey Keyboard Controller Line

Novation today introduced an updated line of four Launchkey keyboard MIDI controllers, available in 25-, 37-, 49- and 61-key models.

The Launchkey mk3 controllers combine a velocity-sensitive keyboard and extensive control features with deep integration with Ableton Live, along with support for Logic, Reason, Studio One, Cubase, Pro Tools and other DAWs.

Here’s what they have to say about it:

Working closely with Ableton, Novation have ensured that Launchkey [MK3] provides deeper and more immediate access to Ableton Live’s controls than any other controller in its class.

There’s a dedicated button for activating Ableton Live’s Capture MIDI function, plus track arm, quantise, click and loop controls, for flying around Sessions faster than ever. Drum Mode provides immediate access to Drum Racks. Inspirational features include Scale and Chord modes and an arpeggiator, which together expand users’ musical capabilities. Scale Mode transposes keys played to notes in the scale selected. Three chord modes trigger chords played with one finger, while the powerful arpeggiator — with rhythm settings and Arp Mutate — gets creative melodies moving, fast.

Launchkey [MK3] controllers are available in 25-, 37-, 49- and 61-key variants, making it easier than ever for creators to pick the size that suits. For the first time in the Launchkey range, there’s a 37-key model, which answers the requests of music makers who want a compact controller large enough for two-handed keys work. Its pitch and mod wheels are relocated to the top panel so the three-octave keyboard can fit into a small form factor, so it’s ideal for users with space limitations. The 25-key model is perfect for mobile producers and performers, and for those in tighter setups. 49- and 61-key versions are well suited for larger systems, and for those who want more keys and greater hands-on control with faders and fader buttons.

All Launchkey [MK3] controllers feature a full-size five-pin MIDI output, which works with any MIDI-compatible device. Novation Components can be used to configure MIDI parameter assignments of Launchkey’s knobs, faders and pads, to take control of anything MIDI. Launchkey [MK3] works standalone, so it’s the perfect controller for any music-making scenario, with or without a computer. The Scale and Chord Modes, arpeggiator, and Custom Modes — set up in Novation Components and stored on Launchkey — can all be used to control a whole studio or live rig.

Features:

  • 25/37/49/61 velocity sensitive keys
  • 16×2 char screen
  • 16 RGB backlit velocity sensitive pads
  • Pitch bend and modulation wheels
  • 8 knobs
  • 9 sliders (49/61 key models)
  • 5 pin MIDI out socket
  • Arm/select buttons (49/61 key models)
  • Arp/scale/fixed chord buttons
  • Octave up/down buttons
  • Play/stop/record/loop buttons
  • Track navigation buttons
  • Capture MIDI/quantise/click/undo buttons
  • Stop/solo/mute button
  • Scene launch button
  • Device select/device lock buttons
  • USB B socket
  • Sustain pedal 1/4” jack socket
  • Kensington security slot

For a deeper look at the Launchkey mk3 line, check out this playlist of Novation’s official demo videos:

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Pricing and Availability

The Launchkey mk3 line is available now, with pricing ranging from $159.99 for the 25-key model to $259.99 USD for the 61-key model.

Free Sound Library A Tribute To Florian Schneider Of Kraftwerk

Symplesound has released a free sound library, Honoring Florian, as a tribute to the late Florian Schneider of Kraftwerk.

“Kraftwerk was one of my primary influences as a young artist getting into electronic music,” notes SympleSound sound designer Francis Prève. “Florian Schneider helped create the template for much of the electronic music we listen to today, so I wanted to honor his legacy with this free pack for the fans.”

Honoring Florian includes:

  • An Ableton Drum Rack (inside a Live Intro compatible project file);
  • Roland TR-8S kit and pattern (with installation instructions); and
  • A collection of 18 .wav loops, derived from the Ableton and TR-8S patterns, for use in other DAWs.

“What’s most striking about Kraftwerk’s music is that from Autobahn (1974) to Tour De France (1983), nearly all of their drum sounds were created using analog synths and sequencers, not drum machines,” adds Prève. “So the drums in these packs were also synthesized in my studio, then sampled and used to create the libraries.”

Ableton Live Preview:

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Roland TR-8S Preview:

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In addition, Prève let us know that he’s posting regular updates to his Watch+Learn video series, which features mini-tutorials for Phase Plant, Serum, and Ableton Live. The series is aimed at the beginner and intermediate crowd, with one minute tutorials for iconic sounds like 808 basses, supersaw plucks, and 303 acid sounds.

You can view these on Youtube or via the embed below:

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Prève also let us know that he’s permanently lowered the prices for his commercial Symplesound products. See the Symplesound site for details.

Free Sound Library Of African Instruments For Ableton Live

Johannesburg-based producer Emile Hoogenhout (a.k.a Behr) has shared a free sound library, featuring four African instruments, developed into unique Ableton Live Racks.

The Live Racks are based on samples made over five days in Nairobi. The Racks are set up so that you can morph from pure, multi-sampled recordings to heavily treated, filtered and arpeggiated forms.

“I wanted to approach this project with the utmost respect to the culture and history behind the instruments and musicians, but with the ability to push the sonic boundaries with the use of Ableton Live. I sat down with all the artists and asked them about the history of all the instruments – everyone was very happy this vision of cross-pollinating the traditional with music technology.”

Audio Demos:

The behr – Santuri Safari – Instruments Pack is available now as a free download.

Vintage Typewriter Mod Turns It Into A Drum Machine

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William Sun Petrus shared this video demo of his custom, Arduino-based Remington Portable Drum Machine/MIDI Controller.

“This is a Remington Portable typewriter, made in the 1920’s,” he notes. “I’ve attached a lot of wires, an arduino and plugged it in. It now makes cool noises.”

Here’s what he shared about the technical details:

“Whenever a typewriter hammer contacts with the “live plate”, it sends a signal to an Arduino microcontroller. The Arduino recognizes which hammer has been pressed and sends a MIDI signal into his PC and into Ableton Live, where it triggers specific sounds.

The song is composed of 17 difference sounds, played live.”

The Arduino code for the project is available on Github.

Free Generative Music Tools For Ableton Live

Berlin-based Ableton Certified Trainer Madeleine Bloom has shared a collection of free generative music tools for Ableton Live, SB ReGenerators.

Here’s what she has to say about them:

“I’m currently teaching someone how to make generative music with Ableton Live. This has inspired me to a little challenge of my own. To create MIDI effect racks that generate notes in various ways.

The result is SB ReGenerators. 3 fully macro mapped MIDI effect racks for Ableton Live 9.7 Intro (or even Lite) and up. Add them to a MIDI track with an instrument preset, create a MIDI clip with a note, press play and the music magically appears. Parameters to adjust the key and mode of the generated notes – amongst others – are mapped to the macros.”

Here’s an example of SB ReGenerators in action:

Pricing and Availability

SB Generators is available now as a free download.