Friday, January 16, 2015

Building Reaktor Synthesisers, Download Scripts, and Re-Spin Revenue

After a bit of fiddling I've figured out how to build non-trivial Reaktor software synthesisers. By the looks of things, you can do quite a lot but there seems to be some gaps in the software which makes building a full blown synthesiser ready for sale to the public (which they will want to buy) a non-option for the moment (unless there is some information that I'm missing which is likely the case)...

For the lazy among you the easiest Reaktor Synthesisers that can be built can be made as so. Right click in the workspace, Instrument -> Synthesizers -> Option and then hook up to correct/relevant Voice Combiner. My designs obviously start from scratch though, as I'd like to be able to design some both for educational purposes, for resale, and if that's not possible simply to give away.

You can download my updated experiments from here:

I've been looking to build some Android software applications for a while now (curious to know whether this is a viable long term option). It's interesting how many people actually Open Source their software on the various web stores.

I recently wanted to download al the applications/archives from a particular website, so I looked at various website download programs (HTTrack, Teleport Pro, wget, curl, etc...). In spite of the filters/wildcards that were available they were too slow to be realistic.

####Start Quote####
Use wildcards to exclude or include URLs or links. You can put several scan strings on the same line. Use spaces as separators. Example: +*.zip -www.*.com -www.*.edu/cgi-bin/*.cgi

+*.png +*.gif +*.jpg +*.css +*.js*

+*.zip +*.exe +*.msi +*.tar.gz +*.tar +*.rar
+*.css +*.js*
####End Quote#####

What did I do? I built something because I noticed patterns in the way files were encoded.

####Start Quote####
Range for Instrument VSTs
was the same as
which converted to
which could then be parsed for automated download.

Range for Effects VSTs
was the same as
which converted to
which could then be parsed for automated download.

Range for Midi VSTs
####End Quote#####

You can download my script from here:

As I've stated previously I've been thinking of re-spinning some versions of Linux for fun and possibly profit. The irony is that it's actually much easier to go down than it is go up. Namely, the smaller distributions such as DamnSmall don't really lend themselves to customisation going up because there are too many dependencies that need to be remedied prior to being able to come up with something workable. This has led me to work on scripts to achieve the exact opposite on smaller (but large such as Knoppix) DVD/CD based live distributions. They work based on class of program based on yum or apt package information. It'll be interesting to see what we can do.

Several of the ways in which I was thinking about making revenue was:
  • distributing/re-sale on chosen media such as USB, CD, DVD, etc...
  • creating custom versions for who ever wants them. After all, if I'm currently building the code to allow for this why not? (You need to send a portion of payment now and rest on delivery.) Working perferably only on smaller distributions at this point unless the project is really interesting.
  • donations
  • figuring out what the public wants and then attempting to build that for them
  • figuring out what the best possible distribution is and attempting to build that for the public
  • support via of these distributions
Interesting stuff in general I came across during the week.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Some Fun

It's been a while since we've done one of these...

Animals in Africa get drunk by eating ripe Marula fruit
Alcoholic Vervet Monkeys! - Weird Nature - BBC animals
Mourinho on Setanta - Gangsta Sven
ATM Theft Backfires as Explosion Knocks Down Robber

Some articles...
Some quotes...
  •  "Two friends are talking: "Say, buddy, could you loan me 100 Euros?" "Well, you know I only have 60 on me." "Ok, give me what you've got and you'll only owe me 40."
  • A young teacher is interviewing for a position. He is asked: "Can you give me three reasons why you wanted to be a teacher?" The interviewee promptly answers: "December, June, and July. 
  • "An attacker could simply download the My Satis application and use it to cause the toilet to repeatedly flush, raising the water usage and therefore utility cost to its owner," it says in its report. "Attackers could [also] cause the unit to unexpectedly open/close the lid, activate bidet or air-dry functions, causing discomfort or distress to [the] user."

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Printing, Re-Spinning, and Musical Experimentation

I've been meaning to purchase a new toner cartridge for my Brother HL-2140 laser printer for a short while now but noticed that the price of cartridges are multiples of their cheapest laser printer at 'Officeworks'.

The only problem is that you may need to update your drivers. I wasn't able to find any relevant Debian packages after a quick search online. I converted from what was available of RPM packages online. The existing driver for the Brother HL-1110 prints nothing but blanks at this stage on some version of Linux.

root@system:~/CUPS# alien *.rpm --scripts --to-deb
hl1110cupswrapper_3.0.1-2_i386.deb generated
hl1110lpr_3.0.1-2_i386.deb generated
root@system:~/CUPS# ls
hl1110cupswrapper-3.0.1-1.i386.rpm  hl1110cupswrapper_3.0.1-2_i386.deb  hl1110lpr-3.0.1-1.i386.rpm  hl1110lpr_3.0.1-2_i386.deb

Download my Debian packages from here...

Information on the difference between the 'Sampler' and 'Simpler' on Ableton.

I've been looking at these (online payment systems) for a while now to see what ways there were of efficiently transferring currency across the Internet for various projects I've been working on.

I've been investigating some of these as a means of online distribution of larger content (re-spun Linux distributions and other content). Note, that I do not have the ability to be able to use P2P style technologies because of various limitations at this moment in time..

There's been some work that I've been meaning to upload to GitHub for a while now. Surprised how much it has been streamlined...

Locations for free wallpapers that I've been looking at for re-spun Linux distributions.

These are some of my first attempts at Reaktor Software Synthesisers. It's interesting how much customisability there is within the software actually. I thought I may have to venture into other software (or direct programming) to be able achieve this level of power.

Download my Reaktor Synthesisers from here...

This is where I learnt how to build them. It'll be intresting to see whether I can build anything worth selling/purchasing...

Ever wondered how those URL breakdown systems work and who actually supplies such services? So did I?  Curious to know though whether they can be used for downloads. Think of the difference between a stealthy, a semi-stealthy, and a transparent proxy for an idea of what I mean...

I've been looking at some young House producers/composers of late looking for furher indications into how they actually build up/layer a track. If you've spent enough time looking around then it's clear that the sound of many of these young producers is quite immature. In terms of sounds intermingling it's quite complex but with regards to actual structure it's quite simplistic. Think of the song 'Icarus' from 'Madeon' as a good example (very reminiscent of Daft Punk's 'Around the World', in terms of structure)(it exudes innocence, young, vibrancy, and is 'poppy'. It's not exactly my cup of tea but hey it works right?). It basically has a bunch of clips goign over the top of one another and doesn't quite complement but actually builds up. It has an introduction, has a period in which it sets the stage, the main storyline, without much of an outro, it simply just fades out... Moreover, the main storyline is just like a chorus/choir joining in on a solo. It's not quite as difficult as you think to build something like this.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Updated Playlists, Tutorials, Linux Re-spins/Custom Distributions

Updated and added a few more playlists to my YouTube account.
  • Classical-19-Dec-14
  • Soundtrack-19-Dec-14
  • Opera-4-Dec-14 
  • Disco-4-Jan-15

Some of the software that I use:
  • Ableton
  • reFX Nexus and associated libraries
  • Rob Papen's Synthesisers 
  • Native Instruments Komplete 8
  • Akai MPC Studio and associated libraries
  • Native Instruments Maschine
  • Sylenth1
  • U-He's Synthesisers
  • Cakewalk's Rapture
  • Best Service Engine2 and associated libraries
  • Spectrasonics Omnisphere, Trilogy, Trillian
  • Vir2 VI.One
Some of the hardware that I use:
  • Native Instruments Maschine
  • Korg Triton Taktile 25
  • Novation XioSynth25
  • Roland A-49
  • Audio Technica ATH-M50x
Some of the cheaper, smaller, hardware synthesiser options out there:
  • Korg MicroKorg, Triton Range
  • Novation's XioSynth, MiniNova, UltraNova Range
Most of them will have systemic problems associated with them  but a lot of the time they're easily fixable and service manuals are available online.

What people are actually buying out there.
How to build something simple has been bugging me for a while now. 
How to build something simple has been bugging me for a while now.

Fitness tests for entrace to the ADF. Interesting for those of you out there.

If you've ever used sampling software such as Akai MPC and like the functionality, simplicity of a single click to create a note inside the piano roll there's also the 'Ctl+B' shortcut inside of Ableton.

Been re-thinking my strategy of selling MIDI clips and so on. Basically, I've been thinking of creating a library of small clips in Ableton and then using this as the basis for personal music and/or reselling this on to others. An example of this is using the 'Vinyl Scratches' VST plugin to learn how to create a group of unique clips for later reuse.

Have been involved (or have been researching) various forms of online money making in recent times (options for those tired of the standard office work work). These are some of them.

Thinking more about musical bridges in music. Think of note progression, more short notes into passage and slow out (particularly into 'breakdowns') , using effects as a means to keep things blended in.
Interesting for those 'vocalists' out there (it's a vocal sampler CD. A lot of websites also provide a lot of free or paid vocal samples on-line as well) 

If you are a vocalist, watch out for over eating. It can have some strange impacts on your body and voice.

A long time ago at University, I was playing around with automated deployment of software (reasonably sophisticated. Think about Windows automated deployment and so forth) and so on. Now there are many options out there including many distrobutions which are designed with customisation included.

Some interesting electronic artists.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Music Players, Production, and Experimentation - Part 5

Updated and added a few more playlists to my YouTube account.
  • Alternative-Hip-Hop-23-Dec-14
  • Classic-Disco-24-Dec-14
  • Classical-19-Dec-14
  • Foreign-Hip-Hop-and-R&B-19-Dec-14
  • Lounge-24-Dec-14 overlaps Chillout-4-Dec-14 because style is very similar at times
  • Latin-and-Tango-4-Dec-14 has become Latin-Chillout-and-Tango-4-Dec-14
After the recent end of production of the Apple iPod Classic it's become clear that the total number of options available in the high capacity digital music department have dwindled drastically (everyone is basically going to Flash or SSD based storage). There are some options from Fiio, an extremely option from Sony, plus using smartphones with support for high capacity flash based storage. If you're willing to buy used products other options may be the Tonium Pacemaker or old iPod Classics (they're selling for multiples of what they were selling last at retail now on eBay and Gumtree).

Another option are high storage wireless based devices.

Been struggling with sound engineering of late. Have wondered whether or not it's simply easier to go for transiest shaper VST's across the board.

Someone questioned why it seemed easy for me to improvise. I was curious about this as well. I think for the most part it's been about listening to heaps of music since I was young.
Been having major struggles of late how to relate percussion to melody. The best music I've come across seems to have tracks and sections which blend perfectly  into one another and where the relative complexity and tempo remains roughtly the same. A bigger toolkit (software or hardware) also helps. Look at work of 'Groove Armada', 'Artful Dodger', and 'Kaskade' and you'll understand what I mean.

A lot of software allows for automated scale selection (useful for me because I tend to select notes based on ear rather than selecting a key first). For those who don't who just prefer the old fashioned mechanism please consider the, 'circle of fifths'.

Think about use of Melodyne and Antares Auto-Tune for easier composition if you're lazy. Record whistling or singing as a 'WAV'. Import it into Melodyne and then convert the notes into MIDI for import into Ableton or other DAW software.

Some interesting stuff I've come across recently. Possibly worth reworking/remixing them (looking around for good stems for remixing but am willing to work with existing songs if necessary).
  • Nice track but could have really done something with some note changes here and there. Strange use of panning at times, bit muddy, could have been clarified a bit in multiple frequency ranges. Could have done with master bus (or simply another layer) over the top to add some common effects to the overall track that are common to Latin and Tango tracks (Vinyl distortion, bitcrushing, equalisation, compression, etc...). Some sections don't blend into one another as a stronger song should, could be interesting for samples. 
  • Great overall. Some beautiful sections but a little bit disjointed. Bridges (personally, currently struggling with this) into breakdowns use heavy delay, reverb. Breakdowns similarly awkward at times (feel and emotion is just way off). More active strings/harmonica in parts, realy bring out the best in the musician/clip/instrument in question. Rain effect possibly replaced with heavy vinyl distortion effect? Just strange with that muddied sound. Bring up velocity or mixing volume of the piano in some parts? Better use of velocity/dynamics in some parts. Could have used some light scratching in some sections and some glitching if you going for an Alternative Hip Hop and Latin feel to it, made more use of panning and other effects to create better atmosphere. The best tracks that I've come across you can often close you're eyes and you're sitting right in front of the ochestra or band itself. You can't do that here. Ripe for sampling or remixing.
  • Ripe for sampling/remix... Heavier percussion in sections. Overlay scratching in parts. Some glitching. Perhaps electrical guitar over top. Vinyl distortion, bitchrushing for greater character. Really bring out some instruments and dynamics of them... Aware that lazy feel is common to this particular style/genre of music though.
  • Overall nice, downtempo track. Slow down vibrato/tremolo rate on some synthesiser sections. Suffering from distortion in the mix in the lower end bass and percussion area. Could have done with some extra complexity/variation in the percussion/synthesiser pad area. Am using monitor style headphones (Audio Technica ATH-M50X) so believe it may be the mix rather than equipment. Deals with high frequency harshness nicely. Feels like, low pass (or multi-band) filter, EQ, compressed, etc... Extra reverb plus some delay across the board on the bus to emphasise atmosphere?
  • Lacks oomph, character. A bit lost at times but that is particular to this genre. Greater dynamics across the board. Extra complexity on percussion, staccato shorter, more sincupated rim. Violin string section slightly more active at times. Clarify sound, enhance detail or is that just this particular copy?
Looking to try some remix competitions. Looking for stems...
Note that there may be a lot of restrictions depending on where you get the stems from. Also that many competitions force you to forfeit right to royalties. You may get prizes/recognition though.

Interesting stuff from these guys (from a song that I found elsewhere).

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Blogging, Music Production, and Experimentation - Part 4

A follow on from:

Have been struggling to come up with ideas for establishing myself within the music sector. Have been going through the possibilities and some of the following options look interesting.

When you are ready (have something worthy of selling to the public), submit your work to various music aggregators (and media outlets) for more advertising.

Hook up with relevant social groups to get you some interest.

Other options include the usual web specific blogs. 

I've sometimes seen MIDI files being sold online. Who's to say that up and coming artists can't do the same for themselves. Even if you are just a composer or soemthing who's beginining to learn the business you still need to create stems and samples that may be worthy of selling (sample some of the discs from some music magazines) and you'll understand what I mean. Besides, a lot of the time you need composition pieces to be able to audition for music school (if you ever intend to do so). The easiest way that I can think of at the moment to gather interest is to basically, stick the sample on loop and then stick it on YouTube. You can sell it via an online market or else via something like,

You may need to think about copyright difficulties if you decide to 'cover/copy' from another artist though.

Sell sound samples if you have anything worth sampling.

Sell synthesiser patch sets. Problem is that you often may not be able to sell anything if you don't have any music to be able to advertise your 'wares'. Stick the sample on loop on a group of notes and then run it through a presets at regular intervals to provide a sample of what the customer is being offered on YouTube.

Sell music making templates. Problem is that like a lot of other things there is a huge market to that you need to deal with. It's a bit of a chicken and egg problem here. You need music to have people want to purchase the template?

Another way is to simply make synthesiser software which is easily possible via Reaktor, create sample packs via Kontakt. A lot of the required documentation actually comes with the software to enable you to be able to create.

Have been having significant troubles with regards to running CPU load when running certain software synthesiser VSTs. 'Freezing' seems like the easiest option without having to upgrade hardware.

If you can't figure anything else for the moment try to monetise you're musical journey in the meantime.

Which reminds me there are some interesting options out there for those of you looking to simplify you're blogging environment (if you're running multiple blogs. Note that some of these options are no longer relevant and some services such as Tumblr and YouTube already have such facilities builtin).

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Music Production and Experimentation - Part 3

A follow on from:

Have created 'Classical', 'Foreign Hip Hop and R&B', and 'Soundtrack' playlists on my YouTube profile. Not much there at the moment. I'll add more as time goes on.

I've been looking at doing a music course of some sort for a while now (short course or even a degree). Fees can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars.

There may be some government help but you must fit specific criteria.

There are, of course, some online options which will also provide certification of skills if you aren't keen on spending too much time on campus and/or don't have the time/dedication to go the other way. In most cases, you'll have to pass an audition of some sort though which involves a demonstration of proficiency, a portfolio, as well as possibly an academic pedigree (high school or private tuition).

There will be some websites which will often place there reference materials behind walls of some sort but with intelligent searching you can often find a way around these limitations without having to register/signup for further marketing material.

Some material on programming synthesisers.

A place where you can purchase parts to experiment with .

There are a lot of tablet based music making applications now .

Sometimes you don't have a vocalist nearby. An option is to try computerised vocals.

Sometimes, I have difficulties with getting the type of sound that I want and/or need. Here are some itneresting manuals.

Having being having some frustrations with sound libraries being built with later versions of Kontakt/Reaktor. Has been frustrating me to the point where I thought is there a way to bypass the checks (easily possible with many simple system checks. I only investigated as I'm on a mobile prepaid connection at the moment which means that I am trying limit my downloads.).

Some interesting tips with regards to 'House Music'.

Setup a new Tumblr account. Basically, a mirror of my Twitter account.