October 25, 2016

digital audio hacks – Hackaday

Death To The 3.5mm Audio Jack, Long Live Wireless

There’s been a lot of fuss over Apple’s move to ditch the traditional audio jack. As for me, I hope I never have to plug in another headphone cable. This may come off as gleeful dancing on the gravesite of my enemy before the hole has even been dug; it kind of is. The jack has always been a pain point in my devices. Maybe I’ve just been unlucky. Money was tight growing up. I would save up for a nice set of headphones or an mp3 player only to have the jack go out. It was a clear betrayal and ever since I’ve regarded them with suspicion. Is this the best we could do?

I can’t think of a single good reason not to immediately start dumping the headphone jack. Sure it’s one of the few global standards. Sure it’s simple, but I’m willing to take bets that very few people will miss the era of the 3.5mm audio jack once it’s over. It’s a global episode of the sunk cost fallacy.

In the usual way hindsight is 20/20, the 3.5mm audio jack can be looked at as a workaround, a stop over until we didn’t need it.  It appears to be an historic kludge of hack upon hack until something better comes along. When was the last time it was common to hook an Ethernet cable into a laptop? Who would do this when we can get all the bandwidth we want reliably over a wireless connection. Plus, it’s not like most Ethernet cables even meet a spec well enough to meet the speeds they promise. How could anyone reasonably expect the infinitely more subjective and variable headphone and amplifier set to do better?

But rather than just idly trash it, I’d like to make a case against it and paint a possible painless and aurally better future.


Let’s say you had to design a consumer facing device that goes in someone’s pocket. A pocket is dusty. It’s moist and sweaty. You know your stuff so you’re already thinking about gaskets and IP ratings. Then someone hands you the spec sheet. They let you know that they want you to drill a hole right in it and put an unserviceable deep hole in the case. Now rinse repeat for every portable device on the planet and it seems like an odd mass hallucination.

I guess if someone were having a really bad day they could spill coffee at the swtichboard... [CC Joe]I guess if someone were having a really bad day they could spill coffee at the switchboard… [CC Joseph C.]There is no good way to seal or maintain a 3.5mm headphone jack. Some phone makers have tried by adding a little gasket or a flap, but this doesn’t last. There’s also a chance that it could be sealed off, but since it has to have little springs inside and holders it’s still susceptible to damage from liquids and dust by nature. I’ve even seen some get irreparably corroded by the salt from sweat alone.

It’s like we all agreed to ignore the fact that these connectors were designed to be used in a switch board. A nice clean dry switchboard in a professional location where it would be used by trained personnel and serviced regularly. It was designed to be an easy to use connector that could be plugged in and removed quickly for low-quality audio phone switching. It was never designed to be the end-all connector for quality audio signals. Moving it out into the world could arguably have just been a quick hack. Using a connector that was already adopted and manufactured on a large enough scale when home audio began to be a common thing.

Since we’ve already gotten rid of the keyboards on mobile devices (which is a shame, but that’s another article). Since every manufacturer seems to be horribly committed to irreplaceable batteries. There’s just no reason not to move towards fully waterproof and dustproof devices. There could at least be a bright side. The audio port is holding us back.

Cable Strain

A story as old as time, which incidently is about as old as the headphone jack.It’s not the cord’s fault. It was sent to the frontlines without the right equipment.  [CC Paul Hussey]Next comes cable strain. People like to complain about how the iPhone earbuds would constantly break at the joint. This is true, and other brands had better strain relief. However, it’s also true that all audio cables that go into a pocket will break before any of the other components will reach their end of service life. By nature, a pocket exceeds every reasonable expectation of in-tolerance cable strain. It is a hostile environment. My last set of headphones went through two cables during regular use. Which segues right into the next design flaw, force.


As mentioned before, the audio connector was designed to be easily inserted inside a switch board room. It would see no dramatic force on it. So it’s a tall connector that is easy to hold and easy to use. It also is supposed to be a low insertion force connector. So it’s unreasonable to expect it to be able to hold a cable in place reliably.

However, when put into a pocket it suddenly sees forces perpendicular to its axis. This can cause some extremely large moments on a very tiny plastic and spring-metal socket. We all know that the longer we own our phones the less able our headphone socket will be to hold the jack in place. There’s simply no way to design something that small to take that much force and keep it cost effective. Rather it looks like we’ve just adjusted our expectations and then forgot that we even made that adjustment.

This seems even more insane from a design perspective when you consider that this connector which sees dramatic forces is actually attached to the mainboard of your device (to be fair, most smartphones do use spring connectors for jack to mainboard but think about laptops and other gear). Solder connections are not flexible. The metals we use for solder are very susceptible to work hardening and breaking under cyclical forces. So not only do you flex the connection of the port to the board itself, you also flex all the surrounding components. So It’s no mystery that one of the most common repairs on mobile devices are the audio and USB ports.

Sound Quality

Bluetooth's latest codec actually does better than 320kbps mp3. Bluetooth’s codecs perform comparably 320kbps mp3. Which is beyond the ability of most listeners (including the author) to distinguish. From Serene Audio.

Right now there is still a difference in sound quality between Bluetooth and wired. There’s no reason to expect it to last long. Bluetooth is now capable of some seriously impressive bandwidth and with an actual market erupting for the headsets, it won’t be long before this is a moot point. I’m picking on Bluetooth specifically because it’s the only standard that’s both universal and intended, at least, for hooking peripherals up.

There’s a big argument for the sound quality aspect of the 3.5mm headphone jack. I think that, frankly, most of them make no sense against the transition. If you’re sitting still in your home-listening-chamber with a perfectly tuned preamplifier connected to quality headphones while listening to FLAC audio from your dedicated music computer you might be able to hear a perceptible difference from hooking directly to your phone with a Bluetooth headset. But you’re not. You have a noisy connection from a worn out port to a low quality cable with an unamplified signal to some cost engineered headphones. It’s a wash I think.

Plus, it’s not like switching to a wireless standard is going to absolutely kill the wired headphone market. You’ll still be able to get wired headphones for when the wire matters. People who are paying a hundred dollars plus for quality sound out of a wired headset will still have their toys. That market is very far from death. People who were paying ten bucks for whatever are not going to notice at all.

Most phones and portable devices waste zero energy trying to amplify the signal in a meaningful way. So if you want the full range of your headphones you have to add an amplifier. Then there’s the fact that they’re already class D audio amps trying to maximize the device’s battery life. By the time it gets to your ear it’s been triple digitized to death. Fortunately, we now have more processing power inside greeting cards than we reasonably know what to do with, so it’s unlikely that most would notice the difference.

However, the modern Bluetooth audio chips are actually really great, they’re only getting better. They’re ultra-low power class D amplifiers which were built and optimized for sound quality. With a lithium battery right there inside the headphone there’s no reason not to expect engineers to take advantage of that and stop designing every driver in the world to run off the two or three magic pixies a cell phone is willing to give it. It should actually be possible to have significantly better sounding wireless headphones than wired.

Convenience and User Experience

It's a cultural joke at this point.It’s a cross-cultural joke at this point.

I bought a very cheap set of Bluetooth headphones off Amazon. I have rarely been so pleased with a purchase. Did they sound good? Not really, but I don’t expect any ten dollar headset to sound good. What I did get was an average of ten days of on and off use before the battery needed charging. I could go to the climbing gym and leave my cellphone on the ground while I climbed. When I worked on projects in the hackerspace I could walk up to thirty feet from my phone and not miss a word of my audio book. It connected automatically. It played nice. It was a better experience in every way.

With my headphones I’m always fighting with the cable. I’m always arranging my phone in my pocket so the cord isn’t flexed too much. It’s a cultural meme that headphones know more knots than we do.

Sure there are some flaws of the Bluetooth. Will we cover battery replacement hacks in a few years? Probably. Will there be growing pains? Of course. Will they be ironed out in the next few years? Most likely.


So how do we transition? Well, the first step is done. Have a big player finally give up on the port. It’s time. But what about all the things that are nice about corded headphones? The global standard? The fact that you can contribute to the complete devastation of our planet by buying them cheaply by the pound instead of being a grown adult who can hold on and take care of a quality item? How about their universal integration with every device that wants to put a sound out?

It's not like we don't have other really nice global standards that could power a headphone set. [CC It’s not like we don’t have other really nice global standards that could power a headphone set. [CC Maurizio Pesce]But we do have other global standards that can transmit sound signals. We have USB. While I hedge to give Apple too much credit after they threw their lot in with Beats, in this regard they are also showing the way. A dongle is an inelegant example, however, only as a transition out of the 3.5mm port. What if your headphones just had a USB C port on one end and you could plug the cable of choice right into your mobile. The phone has the ability to power some accessories and as long as it’s designed to switch off the charging circuit while it’s at it, there’s no reason it won’t work. We can all transition painlessly. We really won’t miss it.

Laptops could definitely simultaneously charge and play. If your battery is running low, just hook it up to USB. You get the cord experience and the universal standard experience we’ve all come to love. Just without a weird analog connector from the birth of electronics. All the LEGO pieces are there, we just need to build the spaceship.

All that is pedantic though. Portable audio has never been a power-hungry game and in the end I just don’t think people will notice the cable woes. I thought I would and I don’t. I’m already so used to plugging things in when the situation requires that I just do it and that’s that.

It’s time for the 3.5mm legacy to go. I hope others follow Apple’s lead. I hope all the major headphone makers turn their eyes to wireless audio and the possibilities it offers. There are already quality sets out there and it will only get better. I won’t miss it. I don’t miss magnetic hard drives. I don’t miss CDs and Mini Disks. I haven’t tuned the bunny ears on a television in at least a decade. I don’t even own an Ethernet cable nor have I used a DB9 serial cable for hardware development in years. The future moves on and this time I think it will show itself to move in exactly the right direction.

Filed under: Current Events, digital audio hacks, Featured, rants, slider

by Gerrit Coetzee at October 25, 2016 02:01 PM

October 24, 2016

Libre Music Production - Articles, Tutorials and News

Newsletter October 2016 – LMP Asks interview, four tutorials and lots of FLOSS news!

Our newsletter for October is now sent to our subscribers. If you have not yet subscribed, you can do that from our start page.

You can also read the latest issue online. In it you will find:

  • 'LMP Asks' interview with Marius Stärk
  • Four new tutorials
  • Lots of new software release announcements

and more!

by admin at October 24, 2016 11:23 PM

October 21, 2016

open-source – CDM Create Digital Music

Watch an amazing unboxing and jam with MeeBlip triode

Working in the synth business is basically one of the most fun things you can do. So in addition to the pleasure of getting reports from owners, we wake to total surprises like this video from Olivier Ozoux, who has made a terrific stop motion unboxing video and live jam with the synth.

MeeBlip joins the Korg electribe sampler and Squarp Pyramid sequencer for a rather fine all-hardware setup. You watch the triode emerge from its box, where it’s been hand-packed by MeeBlip creator James Grahame, then dive into the jam. (He manages to make the resonance sound like an extra percussion part at one moment.)

Wait for it – around 1:13 the sub kicks in. I do this for a living and I still get irrational glee out of bass.

The second batch of MeeBlips triode are about to hit assembly and shipping now.

I hadn’t seen Olivier’s series, and now realize it’s full of charming videos like this. Subscribed – for real.

For instance, speaking of open source hardware, here’s a film of the PreenFM2, assembled into a gorgeous, futuristic white 3d-printed case:

Subscribe to his Musique Électronique on YouTube

The post Watch an amazing unboxing and jam with MeeBlip triode appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

by Peter Kirn at October 21, 2016 05:11 PM

Libre Music Production - Articles, Tutorials and News

LSP Plugins version 1.0.14 released!

LSP Plugins version 1.0.14 released!

Vladimir Sadovnikov has just released version 1.0.14 of his audio plugin suite, LSP plugins. All LSP plugins are available in LADSPA, LV2, LinuxVST and standalone JACK formats.

by Conor at October 21, 2016 08:07 AM

October 20, 2016

Linux – CDM Create Digital Music

PiDeck makes a USB stick into a free DJ player, with turntables

There’s something counterintuitive about it, right? Plug a USB stick into a giant digital player alongside turntables. Or plug the turntables into a computer. What if the USB stick … was the actual player? In the age of rapid miniaturization, why hasn’t this happened yet?

Well, thanks to an open source project, it has happened (very nearly, anyway). It’s called PiDeck. And it radically reduces the amount of gear you need. You’ll still need an audio interface with phono input to connect the turntable, plus the (very small, very cheap) Raspberry Pi. But that’s just about it.

Connect your handheld computer into a turntable, add a control vinyl, and you’re ready to go. So your entire rig is only slightly larger than the size of two records and some gear the size of your two hands.

You have a rock-solid, Linux-based, ultra-portable rig, a minimum of fuss, essentially no space taken up in the booth – this all makes digital vinyl cool again.

It works with USB sticks (even after you yank them out):

And you can scratch:

Their recommended gear (touchscreens these days can be really compact, too)

  • A recent Raspberry Pi (only Pi 3 model B tested so far) and power supply. First generation Raspberry Pi’s are not supported, sorry
  • Touchscreen (single-touch is enough), or a HDMI monitor and keyboard
  • Stereo, full-duplex I2S or USB soundcard with a phono input stage, or line input and an external pre-amp, soundcard must be supported by ALSA
  • Micro SD card for the software, at least 2GB in size, and an adaptor to flash it with
  • Control vinyl, Serato CV02 pressing or later recommended
  • USB stick containing your favourite music. FLAC format is recommended (16-bit 44100Hz format tested)
  • Non-automatic record player that can hold speed, with a clean, sharp stylus. It helps scratching if the headshell and arm are adjusted correctly
  • Slipmat, made from felt or neoprene
  • Sheet of wax paper from the kitchen drawer, to go under the slipmat

Previously from this same crew (more just a fun proof of concept / weird way of DJing!):

This is how to DJ with a 7″ tablet and an NES controller

Check out the project site:

And you can download this now – for free.



Developer Daniel James writes us with more details on what this whole thing is about:

Chris (in cc) and I have been working on the project in spare time for a couple of months, here on the Isle of Wight. Chris built the hardware prototype and did most of the work on the custom Debian distro.

The idea behind the PiDeck project is to combine the digital convenience of a USB stick with the hands-on usability of the classic turntable, in a way which is affordable and accessible. The parts cost (at retail) for each PiDeck device is currently about £150, not including a case or control vinyl. There is no soldering to do; the hardware screws and clips together.

I used to run DJ workshops for young people, and found that while the kids were really happy to get their hands on the decks, a lot of them were put off by having to use the laptop as well, especially the younger kids and the girls. The teenage boys would tend to crowd around the laptop and take over.

Then there’s the performance aspect of real turntables which some digital controllers lack, and the sneaking suspicion that the computer is really doing the mixing, or worse still, just running through a
playlist. PiDeck doesn’t have any mixing, sync or playlist features, so the DJ can take full credit (or blame) for the sound of the mix.

We’ve deliberately put no configurable options in the interface, and there are no personal files stored on the device. This helps ensure the PiDeck becomes part of the turntable and not unique, in the way that a laptop and its data is. This makes the PiDeck easier to share with other DJs, so that there should be no downtime between sets, and should make it easier for up-and-coming DJs to get a turn on the equipment. If a PiDeck breaks, it would be possible to swap it out for another PiDeck device and carry right on.

Although the DJ doesn’t have any settings to deal with, the software is open source and fully hackable, so we’re hoping that a community will emerge and do interesting things with the project. For example, multiple PiDeck devices could be networked together, or used to control some other system via the turntable.

Yeah – this could change a lot. It’s not just a nerdy proof of concept: it could make turntablism way more fun.

The post PiDeck makes a USB stick into a free DJ player, with turntables appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

by Peter Kirn at October 20, 2016 07:22 PM

Libre Music Production - Articles, Tutorials and News

October 19, 2016

Libre Music Production - Articles, Tutorials and News

Using AVL drumkits with a-Fluid Synth in Ardour

Using AVL drumkits with a-Fluid Synth in Ardour

In this tutorial I will show you how to use Glen MacArthur's fantastic AVL Drumkits sample pack with 'a-Fluid Synth', Ardour's built in FluidSynth plugin. I will also show you how to load midnam files to make it easier to do drum programming within the DAW.

by Conor at October 19, 2016 09:12 AM

AVL Drumkits updated to version 1.1

AVL Drumkits updated to version 1.1

Glen MacArthur, maintainer of AVLinux, has just announced version 1.1 of his AVL Drumkit sample pack intended to bring an "authentic acoustic, organic drum sound to your MIDI DAW arrangements and preserve real-world characteristics such as tom ringing and overtones unlike many General MIDI kits that sound sterile."

by Conor at October 19, 2016 08:31 AM

October 14, 2016

News – Ubuntu Studio

Ubuntu Studio 16.10 Released

We are happy to announce the release of our latest version, Ubuntu Studio 16.10 Yakkety Yak! As a regular version, it will be supported for 9 months. Since it’s just out, you may experience some issues, so you might want to wait a bit before upgrading. Please see the release notes for a complete list […]

by Set Hallstrom at October 14, 2016 11:26 PM

OSM podcast

MOD Devices Blog

MOD at Waves Vienna

Hello music-makers!

It’s me, Adam again - MOD Devices mad resident music hacker & polymath at your service. If you’ve been at basically any music-focused hackathon in the last few years, chances are we’ve met already. I’m also going to be at a bunch of the amazing upcoming music hacking events, including Music Hackday Berlin along with my awesome colleagues from MOD. Quite a treat considering we were just at the amazing Waves Vienna Music Hackday a few weeks ago, where we challenged participants to come up with the best way to transform gestures into sounds using the MOD Duo. If you haven’t already, check out the video above for a little taster of what the day was like!

Ignore the knuckle tattoos, I’m not really a thug

Now, as you can see, I’m a pretty recognisable person so if you spot me at a conference, festival or hackathon please don’t hesitate to come and say hello! Perhaps you’ll spot me as part of a motley crew, all sporting MOD Devices T-shirts. Come and meet the team!

A captivated audience at our MOD Duo demo session

Waves hackathon attendees loved the MOD Duo, and after our demonstrations we lent out Duos to teams & individuals from all backgrounds, disciplines, and parts of the world. There was such a talented group of hackers in attendance at the event and the Duo ended up becoming an integral part of many of the amazing projects that were created in just a single day.

Sweet Spotting by Johannes Wernicke

As you can see from Johannes Wernicke’s project Sweet Spotting the MOD Duo managed to find it’s way into some projects of full “Mad Scientist” calibre. Johannes constructed a device which utilised an Acouspade ultrasonic directional speaker array, microphone, Kinect camera and a Duo to create an augmented-reality sonic environment. Thanks to a motorised mount, it follows a listener around and consistently aims the processed sounds of the space around them directly at that one person, creating a bubble of beautiful sonic impossibility to be enjoyed by one person at a time.

My hack utilised a MOD Duo, Novation Circuit & Numark ORBIT

My project at the Waves Music Hackday utilised a MOD Duo, which was processing the sound of my microphone as well as the audio output from a Novation Circuit sequencer & synthesizer. The MIDI output of one of the channels on the Circuit was also controlling a synthesizer, vocoder and autotune pedals within the Duo. The Numark ORBIT is a wireless MIDI controller with multiple banks of buttons, dials, and perhaps most importantly a 2-axis gyroscope. I strapped the controller to my wrist and used the large rotary encoder and the gyro output to control the parameters of my pedalboard.

My performance at the end of the hackathon

Naturally, I then donned a pair of EEG-controlled animatronic wiggling ears, fired up some audio-reactive visuals created in Max MSP and performed one of my songs. Now, I’m a big fan of vocal effects & processing (especially vocoding & autotune) and having the freedom to use those types of effects without processing the microphone via a combo of audio interface & laptop like I usually would at my gigs was really refreshing. Both the Novation Circuit & Numark ORBIT are class-compliant MIDI devices, which meant I was able to connect them both via a USB hub and utilise their output within my MOD pedalboard with ease.

The winners of our ‘Gesture to Sound’ challenge

The winners of our ‘Gesture to Sound’ challenge were Richard Vogl & Daniel Hütter for their project Metal Stance, which enables guitarists to control elements of their MOD pedalboard by changing their pose or stance. Their demonstration performance was incredibly engaging and the audience clearly understood the relationship between the musician’s body movements and the sounds being produced. Richard & Daniel won a MOD Duo for their amazing work on this great project!

I’m more used to a 24-hour hackathon format, such as those at Music Tech Fest and most other Music Hackday events, but this one-day event really blew me away. It didn’t feel like an 8-hour hackathon, it felt like the final 8 hours of a longer hackathon because all of the hackers just knuckled down and started creating amazing things right from the beginning. It was amazing to see all of the fantastic stuff that people came up with - whether they used a MOD Duo in their projects or not. Thanks to everyone who attended, and for anyone who wants a chance to hack a MOD Duo, our next stop is Music Hackday Berlin - I hope we’ll see you there, and in the meantime keep making music, keep loving life, & keep enjoying your MOD Duo!

  • Adam @ MOD HQ

October 14, 2016 05:20 AM

October 12, 2016

Libre Music Production - Articles, Tutorials and News

Linux Show Player 0.4.1 released

Linux Show Player 0.4.1 released

A new version of Linux Show Player is now available.

What's new:

  •  Add:Translation support (currently: English, Italian, Spanish, Slovenian) [! Help wanted !]
  •  Update: UI Improvements, in settings dialogs
  •  Minor improvements & fixes

Linux Show Player (or LiSP for short) is a free cue player designed for sound-playback in stage production.
The goal of the project is to provide a complete playback software for musical plays, theater shows and similar.

by yassinphilip at October 12, 2016 09:12 PM

October 11, 2016

Libre Music Production - Articles, Tutorials and News

Guitarix 0.35.2 released

Guitarix 0.35.2 released

Guitarix 0.35.2 has just been released. The changelog for this release is as follows -

by Conor at October 11, 2016 11:35 AM

New open source project, Flo's Audio Plugins, bring flexible cabinet simulation

New open source project, Flo's Audio Plugins, bring flexible cabinet simulation

There is a new suite of open source (GPLv3) plugins on the block, Flo's Audio Plugins. The suite currently consists of 3 miked cabinet simulation plugins, based on various freely available impulse response collections.

by Conor at October 11, 2016 10:56 AM

MOD Devices Blog

Pre-order shipping update

Good news, music maestros! If you’re one of the people who have already placed a pre-order for a MOD Duo, your wisdom & foresight will soon be rewarded - the shipment of pre-ordered units has now begun! Who else is excited? I certainly am. The first units from this batch will be off to begin their new lives in your studios, stages & gig-bags this friday, and the remaining units for all current pre-orders will be on their way next week.

Assembly & testing has been going on at our Berlin headquarters with a level of efficiency & attention-to-detail that perhaps only the skilled team of a German electronic engineering company like Schleicher could provide.

Jess assembling MOD Duos at Schleicher

Jess from Schleicher is seen here assembling some Duos, and has been described by MOD boss-man Gianfranco (a.k.a. “The MODfather”) as an electronic artisan.

falkTX deploying your new MOD Duos

Some Duos being set up & tested through the deploy machine by our talented colleague Filipe Coelho, a.k.a. falkTX and known throughout the Linux music community for his tireless work as the creator of the KXStudio distribution and many amazing Linux audio applications. Your new MOD Duo has come from the hands of master craftsmen!

To all of our backers from Kickstarter, plugin developers, pedalboard sharers, and all the lucky people out there that have already been enjoying a MOD Duo, thank you so much for being part of the wonderful community that has been creating and sharing amazing content - a community to which we’re about to welcome a whole bunch of new members. All the lucky Duo newbies will benefit from access to the pedalboards already shared by other musicians and by having the Duo in so many sets of talented new hands, we’ll all discover & share even more amazing ways to get the sounds from inside our minds out into the real world.

Keep making music, keep loving life, & keep enjoying your MOD Duo (or get ready to start enjoying your new MOD Duo) - Adam @ MOD HQ

October 11, 2016 05:20 AM

October 08, 2016

open-source – CDM Create Digital Music

Kastle is a 65€ micro modular that’s the size of three AA batteries

It runs on three AA batteries. It’s not really much bigger than those three AA batteries. And yet somehow, it’s a modular. You can use it like a synth, or even plug it into other gear. It’s the Kastle, from Bastl Instruments, those wizards from Brno, Czech. And at 65€ (79€ fully assembled), it’s going to sell like hotcakes. (Makes me hungry for hotcakes, even.)

The heart of the Kastle is a complex oscillator with three modes – phase distortion, phase modulation, and track and hold modulation. Where this gets modular is the way you control it – pitch, timbre, and waveshape can all be patched, as well as the LFO. There are two patch points.

And it’s open source hardware. (Actually, I think Bastl are one of the few other makers apart from us with MeeBlip making end user music gear. But if I’m wrong – if you are – give us a shout!)


complex oscillator
3 synthesis modes: phase distortion, phase modulation and track & hold modulation
pitch control with offset and CV input with attenuator
timbre control with offset and CV input with attenuator
waveshape control with offset and CV input
voltage controllable LFO with triangle and square outputs and reset input
stepped voltage generator with random, 8 step and loop 16 step mode
2 I/O CV ports are available and can be routed to any patch point
the main output can drive headphones
3x AA battery operation with power switch
open source
possibility of exchanging different LFO and OSC chips
the pattern on the sides changes and every unit is an original



The Bastl team have a busy weekend, as this is rolling out in both Brno and Brooklyn. (There are two locations on the map that weren’t routinely put together before the rise of Bastl.)

If you’re in New York, you might have already bought these, as yesterday it went on sale:

Detective Squad Party
11 Stanwix Str.11206 Brooklyn, NY

But it’s also coming to Queens as of today, with an event running Saturday and Sunday:

Machines in Music
Knockdown center
52-19 Flushing Avenue
Maspeth, NY 11378

Still, dear Czech friends, no need to fear being left out – of course, it’s also at Bastl’s own Noise Kitchen store in Brno. I’m trying to convince this crew to bring some down to Lunch Meat Festival in Prague on Friday, so anyone else going, feel free to join the chorus.

For the world not in New York City or Brno, you can also order and have it shipped from Czech via the friendly Czech Post.

So, that’s a matter of walking down Kounicova 23 in Brno, or … sitting right where you’re at now on these here Internets and making it rain some synthesis:

79€ assembled, or get the kit version for 65€. Outnow.

The post Kastle is a 65€ micro modular that’s the size of three AA batteries appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

by Peter Kirn at October 08, 2016 05:58 PM

October 07, 2016

MOD Devices Blog

MOD Duo 1.1 update now available!

Music lovers from around the world, the team here at MOD are very pleased to announce the stable release of update 1.1.0 for your Duo, packed with new features & fixes! Check out some of the awesome new improvements we’ve been making:

  • Bluetooth network support
    Now you can interface with your Duo via a wireless connection using a Bluetooth 3.0 (or higher) USB stick. WIRELESS STUFF IS AWESOME!

  • Tuner
    Hold down the right knob of your Duo and you’ll now see a tuner appear on the right display. Great tone from your instruments starts with the instruments themselves, so let’s take care of them and keep them in tune. INSTRUMENTS THAT ARE IN TUNE SOUND AWESOME!

  • Save & reset pedalboard directly on the Duo
    Check the left display menu on your Duo and you’ll see the new ‘Current pedalboard’ option - no need to connect to your computer to make small adjustments anymore, and you can also reset the pedalboard to the previously saved state. LEAVING YOUR COMPUTER AT HOME IS AWESOME!

  • Restore MIDI device connections
    If you like to use a wide variety of different MIDI controllers & equipment (like I do), then you’ll be pleased to know that connections to MIDI devices are now saved even after devices are disconnected. Reconnecting the device will cause it to reappear in the web interface, and restore the connections it previously had so that you can swap between different MIDI devices easily. EASY THINGS ARE AWESOME!

  • Control outputs for modguis
    It’s now possible for plugins to send information for visual feedback from the Duo to the web interface. Currently only the AT-1 and Step Sequencer make use of this feature, but it will allow developers to produce more complex visual interfaces for plugins and let you know more of what’s going on behind the scenes. KNOWING THINGS IS AWESOME!

These are just a few of the awesome new features we wanted to highlight, but there are a whole load of other improvements. For the changelog and discussion about the update, please see this post on the MOD Forum The next time you open the MOD web interface you’ll receive an update notification, and the update process is simple to initiate.

That’s all for now, so from all of us on the MOD team, thank you for being part of the revolution in effects processing and please let us know if you have any problems. You’ll be hearing more from us soon, including news from our time at the Waves Vienna Music Hackday and in the meantime keep making music, keep loving life & keep enjoying your MOD Duo!

“Everything is AWESOME!” - Adam @ MOD HQ

October 07, 2016 05:20 AM

October 06, 2016

Libre Music Production - Articles, Tutorials and News

Setting up and using a TerraTec DMX-6Fire-USB external soundcard

Setting up and using a TerraTec DMX-6Fire-USB external soundcard

I cannot comprehend that people who have been making this, no doubt enviable, piece of hardware (DMX 6Fire details here) for almost 10 years, all of it without Linux support or an all-inclusive manual, haven't to this date so much as written up something like this page, and that I, a total novice, have to fumble my way through mountains of gossip spread all over the net! Nor can I stand 2-yard names so I'll abbreviate the interfaces name to 6fire.

by Conor at October 06, 2016 08:45 AM


Tina Mariane Krogh Madsen installation in Aarhus Denmark

From October 15. until November 6. Tina Mariane Krogh Madsen creates a performative installation in the project space Spanien 19C. The installation includes activations and events inclusive a concert evening with TMS and Elektronengehirn. More info at

by herrsteiner ( at October 06, 2016 06:17 AM

October 04, 2016

Pid Eins

systemd.conf 2016 Over Now

systemd.conf 2016 is Over Now!

A few days ago systemd.conf 2016 ended, our second conference of this kind. I personally enjoyed this conference a lot: the talks, the atmosphere, the audience, the organization, the location, they all were excellent!

I'd like to take the opportunity to thanks everybody involved. In particular I'd like to thank Chris, Daniel, Sandra and Henrike for organizing the conference, your work was stellar!

I'd also like to thank our sponsors, without which the conference couldn't take place like this, of course. In particular I'd like to thank our gold sponsor, Red Hat, our organizing sponsor Kinvolk, as well as our silver sponsors CoreOS and Facebook. I'd also like to thank our bronze sponsors Collabora, OpenSUSE, Pantheon, Pengutronix, our supporting sponsor Codethink and last but not least our media sponsor Linux Magazin. Thank you all!

I'd also like to thank the Video Operation Center ("VOC") for their amazing work on live-streaming the conference and making all talks available on YouTube. It's amazing how efficient the VOC is, it's simply stunning! Thank you guys!

In case you missed this year's iteration of the conference, please have a look at our YouTube Channel. You'll find all of this year's talks there, as well the ones from last year. (For example, my welcome talk is available here). Enjoy!

We hope to see you again next year, for systemd.conf 2017 in Berlin!

by Lennart Poettering at October 04, 2016 10:00 PM

October 01, 2016

Libre Music Production - Articles, Tutorials and News

Ardour 5.4 released

Ardour 5.4 released

Ardour 5.4 has just been released. The main news with this release is support for Ableton's Push 2 control surface. This control surface is designed to work with, and complement, Ableton Live's clip/scene workflow. Ardour does not currently support this type of workflow so Ardour's support, at least for now, is in relation to mixing, editing and musical performance.

by Conor at October 01, 2016 07:06 PM


Ardour 5.4 released

Ardour 5.4 is now available, with important bug fixes for MIDI (including looping), dozens of less significant but still noteworthy fixes and new features, plus the first version of our support for Ableton's Push 2 surface.

For full details, read more below ...


read more

by paul at October 01, 2016 03:25 PM

September 30, 2016

GStreamer News

GStreamer Core, Plugins, RTSP Server, Editing Services, Python, Validate, VAAPI, OMX 1.10.0 release candidate 1 (1.9.90)

The GStreamer team is pleased to announce the first release candidate of the stable 1.10 release series. The 1.10 release series is adding new features on top of the 1.0, 1.2, 1.4, 1.6 and 1.8 series and is part of the API and ABI-stable 1.x release series of the GStreamer multimedia framework.

Binaries for Android, iOS, Mac OS X and Windows will be provided in the next days.

Check out the release notes for GStreamer core, gst-plugins-base, gst-plugins-good, gst-plugins-ugly, gst-plugins-bad, gst-libav, gst-rtsp-server, gst-python, gst-editing-services, gst-validate, gstreamer-vaapi, or gst-omx, or download tarballs for gstreamer, gst-plugins-base, gst-plugins-good, gst-plugins-ugly, gst-plugins-bad, gst-libav, gst-rtsp-server, gst-python, gst-editing-services, gst-validate, gstreamer-vaapi, or gst-omx.

September 30, 2016 10:00 AM

September 29, 2016

Libre Music Production - Articles, Tutorials and News

John Option release new song, "Lifestyle obsession"

John Option have just released a new song called "Lifestyle obsession", accompanied as always by a video. Their new song, as with all of John Option releases, is published under the terms of the Creative Commons License Attribution Share Alike.

by Conor at September 29, 2016 11:10 AM

AMSynth sees new release

AMSynth sees new release

AMSynth version 1.7.0 has just been released. AMSynth is an open source realtime software synthesizer for Linux. Its operation is similar to analog Moog Minimoog and Roland Juno-60, which are considered classic synthesizers from the 1970s. It is available in various formats, including LV2 and DSSI plugins as well as JACK/ALSA standalone clients.

Changes in this release include -

by Conor at September 29, 2016 11:02 AM

September 28, 2016


Ardour Solar Powered Development

Some Ardour users and other interested readers may be intrigued to know that almost all of Ardour's lead developer's work on the program right now is powered by photovoltaic panels. 540W panel capacity and 510Ah of lead-acid AGM batteries generally provides enough power to keep a 4 core i7-3370US 3.10GHz system running, with occasional use of a Mac Mini. It also runs the fridge, lighting, music and pump systems in the Sprinter van that he and his wife are living in until June 2017. With the exception of the Mac Mini, all other computing equipment is 12V DC native (no power bricks), including the 40W Topping amplifier used to power a pair of Micca monitors.

It is unlikely that the solar power available in the UK during the winter (where the van will be located) will be enough to keep things running, so at some point reverting to a cable and mains power seems likely. But for now, all of Paul's work is powered by the sun. Welcome to the future!

(ps. as a footnote, the other systems intimately involved in Ardour development, while connected to the grid, are also powered via contracts that guarantee 100% renewable energy sources.)

read more

by paul at September 28, 2016 10:16 PM

September 25, 2016

digital audio hacks – Hackaday

Sending Music Long Distance Using A Laser

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen DIYers sending music over a laser beam but the brothers [Armand] and [Victor] are certainly in contention for sending the music the longest distance, 452 meter/1480 feet from their building, over the tops of a few houses, through a treetop and into a friend’s apartment. The received sound quality is pretty amazing too.

In case you’ve never encountered this before, the light of the laser is modulated with a signal directly from the audio source, making it an analog transmission. The laser is a 250mW diode laser bought from eBay. It’s powered through a 5 volt 7805 voltage regulator fed by a 12V battery. The signal from the sound source enters the circuit through a step-up transformer, isolating it so that no DC from the source enters. The laser’s side of the transformer feeds the base of a transistor. They included a switch so that the current from the regulator can either go through the collector and emitter of the transistor that’s controlled by the sound source, giving a strong modulation, or the current can go directly to the laser while modulation is provided through just the transistor’s base and emitter. The schematic for the circuit is given at the end of their video, which you can see after the break.

They receive the beam in their friend’s apartment using solar cells, which then feed a fairly big amplifier and speakers. From the video you can hear the surprisingly high quality sounds that results. So check it out. It also includes a little Benny Hill humor.

And when have we seen laser communication before? Why yours truly demonstrated a shorter range transmission using a dollar store pet toy laser sending to a solar cell and homemade amplifier. If you want to dig deeper, Gigabit laser Ethernet is the one for you.

Filed under: digital audio hacks, laser hacks

by Steven Dufresne at September 25, 2016 05:01 PM

September 24, 2016

digital audio hacks – Hackaday

Now is the Golden Age of Artisanal, Non-Traditional Tube Amps

Earlier in the month, [Elliot Williams] quipped that it had been far too long since we saw a VFD-based amplifier build. Well, that dry spell is over. This week, [kodera2t] started showing off his design for a VFD headphone amp.

Here’s the thing, this isn’t using old surplus vacuum fluorescent displays. This is actually a new part. We first covered it about 18 months ago when Korg and Noritake announced the NuTube. It’s the VFD form factor you would find in old stereo and lab equipment, but housed in the familiar glass case is a triode specifically designed for that purpose.

Check out [kodera2t’s] video below where he walks through the schematic for his amplifier. Since making that video he has populated the boards and taken it for a spin — no video of that yet but we’re going to keep a watchful eye for a follow-up. Since these parts can be reliably sourced he’s even planning to sell it in his Tindie store. If you want to play around with this new tube that’s a pretty easy way to get the tube and support hardware all in one shot. This is not a hack, it’s being used for exactly what Korg and Noritake designed it to do, but we hope to see a few of these kits hacked for specific tastes in amp design. If you do that (or any other VFD hacking) we want to hear about it!

And now for the litany of non-traditional VFD amps we’ve grown to love. There is the Nixie amp where [Elliot] made the quip I mentioned above, here’s an old radio VFD amp project, in this one a VCR was the donor, and this from wayback that gives a great background on how this all works.

Filed under: classic hacks, digital audio hacks, slider

by Mike Szczys at September 24, 2016 11:01 AM

September 21, 2016

Qtractor 0.7.9 - A Snobbier Graviton release

So it's last equinox'16...

And the ultimate last of the Qstuff* End of Summer'16 release parties.

Qtractor 0.7.9 (snobbier graviton) is now released!

Release highlights:

  • Audio/MIDI metronome anticipatory offset (NEW)
  • Current clip highlighting (NEW)
  • SFZ sample file archive/zip bundling (NEW)
  • MIDI transpose Reverse tool (NEW)
  • MIDI (N)RPN running status and NULL support (NEW)
  • MIDI Controllers catch-up algorithm (FIX)
  • MIDI track Instrument menu (FIX)
  • JACK shutdown and buffer-size changes (FIX)

Qtractor is an audio/MIDI multi-track sequencer application written in C++ with the Qt framework. Target platform is Linux, where the Jack Audio Connection Kit (JACK) for audio and the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA) for MIDI are the main infrastructures to evolve as a fairly-featured Linux desktop audio workstation GUI, specially dedicated to the personal home-studio.


Project page:


Git repos:

Wiki (help wanted!):


Qtractor is free, open-source Linux Audio software, distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2 or later.

And the boring complete change-log follows:

  • JACK buffer-size change handling has been deeply improved, now doing an immediate session restart, while preserving all external connections as much as possible.
  • Introducing an audio and MIDI metronome anticipatory offset, kind of latency compensation, to respective option settings cf. View/Options.../Audio, MIDI/Metronome/Offset (latency).
  • Fixed LADSPA plug-in preset switching, incidentally broken as NOP, ever since late Haziest Photon's crash-landed.
  • MIDI Track/Instrument cascading menus have been found empty broken on Qt5 builds, now fixed.
  • MIDI RPN/NRPN running status and RPN NULL reset command are now supported (input only).
  • Fixed a sure immediate crash on removing audio buses that are current targets of any active Aux-send inserts.
  • Fixed yet another old bummer that was reaping off assigned MIDI controllers on existing track's gain/volume or panning controls, when adding any single new track.
  • Fixed missing feedback on MIDI controllers assigned to any of monitor, record, mute and solo track/bus state buttons.
  • Eye-candy warning: the current clip, not necessarily the one currently selected, is now highlighted with a solid outline; linked MIDI clips are also highlighted with an alternate dashed outline.
  • SFZ file conversion, and bundling of the respective sample files, is now supported when saving as zip/archive (*.qtz).
  • Fixed track monitor, record, mute and solo dangling states, on Track/Duplicate command.
  • Slight regression on the LV2 State Files abstract/relative file-path mapping, trading QFileInfo::canonicalFilePath() for QFileInfo::absoluteFilePath(), and thus skipping all symlink dereferences in the process.
  • Fixed a one first linking/ref-counting glitch, affecting recently recorded MIDI clips which might have their initial clip length still un-quantized to MIDI resolution (BBT).
  • A brand new and discrete MIDI clip editor command tool has been added: MIDI Tools/Transpose/Reverse.
  • Discretely fixed MIDI Controllers catch-up algorithm.
  • Fixed a borderline mistake on plug-in parameter port index mapping to its corresponding symbolic name, especially if newer plug-in versions are loaded on older saved sessions.

Flattr this


Enjoy && Have (lots of) fun.

by rncbc at September 21, 2016 05:00 PM

Libre Music Production - Articles, Tutorials and News

Qtractor 0.7.9 - A Snobbier Graviton release

Qtractor 0.7.9 - A Snobbier Graviton release

Rui Nuno Capela continues his end of summer release frenzy. This time around he is pushing out Qtractor 0.7.9.

Release highlights include -

by Conor at September 21, 2016 03:50 PM

September 20, 2016

Sratom 0.6.0

sratom 0.6.0 has been released. Sratom is a library for serialising LV2 atoms to/from RDF, particularly the Turtle syntax. For more information, see


  • Add sratom_set_env() for setting prefixes
  • Fix padding of constructed vectors (thanks Hanspeter Portner)
  • Support round-trip serialisation of relative paths
  • Support sequences with beat time stamps
  • Fix warnings when building with ISO C++ compilers
  • Upgrade to waf 1.8.14

by drobilla at September 20, 2016 02:25 AM

Lilv 0.24.0

lilv 0.24.0 has been released. Lilv is a C library to make the use of LV2 plugins as simple as possible for applications. For more information, see


  • Add new hand-crafted Pythonic bindings with full test coverage
  • Add lv2apply utility for applying plugins to audio files
  • Add lilv_world_get_symbol()
  • Add lilv_state_set_metadata() for adding state banks/comments/etc (based on patch from Hanspeter Portner)
  • Fix crash when state contains non-POD properties
  • Fix crash when NULL predicate is passed to lilv_world_find_nodes()
  • Fix state file versioning
  • Unload contained resources when bundle is unloaded
  • Do not instantiate plugin when data fails to parse
  • Support re-loading plugins
  • Replace bundles if bundle with newer plugin version is loaded (based on patch from Robin Gareus)
  • Fix loading dyn-manifest from bundles with spaces in their path
  • Check lv2:binary predicate for UIs
  • Fix documentation installation
  • Fix outdated comment references to lilv_uri_to_path()

by drobilla at September 20, 2016 02:24 AM

September 19, 2016

Vee One Suite 0.7.6 - The Eleventh beta release

Hello again!

The Vee One Suite aka. the gang of three old-school homebrew software instruments, respectively synthv1, as a polyphonic subtractive synthesizer, samplv1, a polyphonic sampler synthesizer and drumkv1 as yet another drum-kit sampler, are here released on their eleventh beta iteration, joining the so called Qstuff* End of Summer'16 release frenzy.

All still available in dual form:

  • a pure stand-alone JACK client with JACK-session, NSM (Non Session management) and both JACK MIDI and ALSA MIDI input support;
  • a LV2 instrument plug-in.

The common change-log says:

  • MIDI RPN/NRPN running status and RPN NULL reset command are now supported (input only).
  • The core engine implementation is now delivered as a shared object library, common to both the JACK stand-alone client and the LV2 instrument plug-in.
  • Discretely fixed MIDI Controllers catch-up algorithm.

The Vee One Suite are free, open-source Linux Audio software, distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2 or later.

And here they come again!

synthv1 - an old-school polyphonic synthesizer

synthv1 0.7.6 (eleventh official beta) released!

synthv1 is an old-school all-digital 4-oscillator subtractive polyphonic synthesizer with stereo fx.




git repos:

Flattr this

samplv1 - an old-school polyphonic sampler

samplv1 0.7.6 (eleventh official beta) released!

samplv1 is an old-school polyphonic sampler synthesizer with stereo fx.




git repos:

Flattr this

drumkv1 - an old-school drum-kit sampler

drumkv1 0.7.6 (eleventh official beta) released!

drumkv1 is an old-school drum-kit sampler synthesizer with stereo fx.




git repos:

Flattr this

Enjoy && have (lots of) fun ;)

by rncbc at September 19, 2016 05:00 PM

Libre Music Production - Articles, Tutorials and News

Vee One Suite 0.7.6 released

 Vee One Suite 0.7.6 released

Days after his Qstuff* end of Summer'16 release frenzy, Rui Nuno Capela releases the Eleventh beta release of his Vee One Suite, version 0.7.6. This suite of plugins includes -

by Conor at September 19, 2016 04:35 PM

open-source – CDM Create Digital Music

MeeBlip triode synth gets even bigger bass

Our MeeBlip synth is back. It’s still a tiny box you can add to a synth setup. It’s still just US$139.95. But now, it packs some improved features – and bigger-than-ever bass.

The most important thing I can tell you about this is, when you flip the “sub” switch on and enable its new third oscillator, its bass sound is simply enormous.

And that makes me really glad to share it with you, the latest fruits of CDM’s collaboration with engineer James Grahame — the brains behind MeeBlip.

James has selected some sounds I made with it. A few seconds into that first sound, I power up that sub oscillator. You’ll need something other than laptop speakers to hear.

We sold out of the Triode’s award-winning predecessor, the MeeBlip anode. So it’s been impossible to get a MeeBlip for a few months unless you were buying second-hand.

But if you missed out, you’ve got a second chance with Triode. And there are some improvements – apart from just the red color.

NEW sub oscillator
NEW red color
NEW 8 additional custom wavetables, for 24 in total
Tuned envelopes for more response
Front-panel glide
MIDI control of analog filter resonance

All of this digital grunge is combined with the same Twin-T analog filter from the anode. It’s a vintage filter design intended for things like guitar pedals, which adds aggressive resonance to your synth sound.

And you can now add Triode alongside other stuff you might find useful as a mobile musician – like our new BlipCase (which is designed to fit instruments like the Korg volca series), and an excellent driver-free USB MIDI interface.

When we started developing the MeeBlip project, there really weren’t compact MIDI synths you could get for this price. But every time I switch the MeeBlip on in my studio, I’m reminded of why I believe in this project. Apart from the fact that the MeeBlip remains open source hardware – every circuit, every line of code – it’s still an instrument with a personality all its own. There’s nothing dirty in quite the same way. And when you need a box to add something grimy and heavy on top of all the other wonderful toys we’ve got, it’s there for you.

In stock.

Shipping now, worldwide, direct from us – hand-tested by the engineer at his studio in Calgary, Canada.





The post MeeBlip triode synth gets even bigger bass appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

by Peter Kirn at September 19, 2016 02:37 PM

MOD Devices Blog

MOD travels around the world

MOD team has participated in numerous international events throughout the years of the company. Events like NAMM and Linux Audio conference are of great importance for us as it gives great insights of what is happening in the music industry in a global perspective. Linux Audio Conference was actually the very first event we participated at in 2013 and have been coming back every year since.

These events are important for us not only to showcase our device and find investors but also to meet and discuss with the community that has always been the biggest part of our project. On events like this you never know who might stumble upon your booth and say “wow, this is amazing!” - that’s how new friendships begin. We would like to dedicate this post for these wonderful people that have been pushing us towards our goal, thank you for believing in us.

Linux Audio Conference

Let’s start with the previously mentioned Linux Audio Conference.

“The Linux Audio Conference (LAC) is the international conference about Free/Open-Source Software for music, sound and other media with GNU/Linux as the main platform.”

MOD Duo runs the linux based operating system, audio, and plugins, therefore, LAC event is just a perfect fit for us. Most of the plugins we have on MOD Duo come from the developers of linux audio community. The same developers are participating in the LAC on a regular basis.

It’s very nice to meet the developers whose software you are using daily. It’s a community of small teams and the bond between the developers and the users is close. Some developers communicate with the users every day.

We have been in contact with the developers over IRC channel and emails but met them personally only in the conference. Some of the great connections we made in LAC includes our two team members Filipe Coelho and Jeremy Jongepier. As well as that, we’re happy to have friends in the developer’s community, including, but not only, Harry van Haaren and Robin Gareus.

We are very much looking forward to attending next year’s LAC, we are awaiting for the announcement of the date and place of 2017 LAC.

LAC 2015 group picture


Here’s the official NAMM description from their website:

“NAMM, the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), commonly called NAMM in reference to the organization’s popular NAMM trade shows, is the not-for-profit association that promotes the pleasures and benefits of making music and strengthens the $17 billion global music products industry. Our association — and our trade shows — serve as a hub for people wanting to seek out the newest innovations in musical products, recording technology, sound, and lighting. NAMM’s activities and programs are designed to promote music making to people of all ages.”

NAMM is one of the biggest trading shows in United States. Since a big majority of our audience is from the US, it’s only natural that we would go to where we already have interest in our product. The event is great for meeting possible distributors, learning about other great events, for example Stompbox show NYC in which we hope to participate next year. The summer NAMM was a great success and we are happy to announce that we will be going to next winter NAMM show on January 2017 in California.



Musikmesse in Frankfurt is the international trade fair for musical instruments, sheet music, music production, and marketing. Our company is located in Berlin so it comes as no surprise to go showcase MOD Duo to the biggest music fair in Germany. Musikmesse is a great place to meet a broad scope of people in the music industry. Actually, we met our current testing intern Jesse Verhage in Musikmesse while he was visiting the event with his friends from University. We would like to attend the event in 2017 as well.

Check out this great video that AinTheMachine produced for us in Musikmesse.

Music Tech Fest

Music tech fest is an event of many great things and different creative disciplines. Here’s a description from their website

“Music Tech Fest is the global festival of music ideas and a giant creative laboratory featuring cutting edge performance, music hacking, and industry showcases that connect artists, technologists and business in a vibrant environment. Unique collaborations, new works created on site, premieres of future technology, and a visionary community, make each event an exciting landmark gathering. MTF is cross-genre, international, enriching, and inclusive.”

This is the event where music meets technology. In short, that’s what MOD is all about. It connects musicians with engineers. The music tech fest hackathon, which we sponsored, brings the people with technical and musical background together. In 24 hours they create ideas and prototypes of what could possibly become the next big thing in the music industry.

We met many talented musicians and had a chance to catch up with our friends that joined the event with us. Few musicians that had the chance to try MOD Duo didn’t want to let go of it and now have fully integrated it to their sets, musicians such as Steve Lawson, Eska, and Simon Goff. We met Thomas Lidy, Waves Vienna hackathon organizer and as a result, we are also sponsoring and going to the hackathon in Vienna on October 1st, 2016. As well as that, one of the connections has lead to a new team member in our company - Adam John Williams. We are so happy to have made all of these friendships that will hopefully last years to come. We are looking forward to the next Music Tech Fest and the organic joys that the festival brings.



Over the years, Sonar has become one of the biggest and well-known electronic music festivals in Europe.

“Created in 1994, Sónar is a pioneering cultural event with a unique format and content. Its first class reputation as a leading reference for international festivals is thanks to its attention in curation, combining a playful nature, the avant-garde, and experimentation with newest trends in dance and electronic music.”

It’s the second time we were participating in Sonar+D. The first time, in 2015, we only had the prototype of MOD Duo. When we got back in 2016 we already had a working Duo which was in production and available for purchase on our website. Many of the participants are coming back each year. It was a pleasure to meet new and familiar faces that came to our stand to see and test MOD Duo.

In 2015 we had success in the investor’s round and in 2016 we started collaborations with Perfect Entropy Productions and Elektron. Sonar is definitely a valuable event to make great connections and meet musicians from all over the world. It’s a great possibility to learn first hand about the great musical technology that is emerging - from ideas, prototypes, to working projects. We are planning to come back to Barcelona for 2017 Sonar.


Futur En Seine

Futur en Seine is an event about innovation, happening yearly at the beginning of June in Paris.

“Futur en Seine is the largest free and open meeting on innovation in Europe. An event where creators, developers and other major players in French and international innovation gather from around the world. Demos, conferences, workshops, business appointments: Futur en Seine is an immersion in the world of digital innovation.”

We were invited to participate in Futur en Seine Start-up Boot Camp organized by ACE Creative. We had a unique opportunity to practice pitching for investors and meet other start-ups and innovative technology.


Betahaus summer party

This summer we participated in Betahaus summer party.

“Betahaus is a coworking space for individuals who want to choose and share their ideas of work.”

Our previous office was located in Betahaus Berlin, where we made many great connections and got introduced to Berlins Start-up scene. We are still very close friends with people from Betahaus and are happy to get invited to their events.


Start-Up Night Berlin

We were invited to participate in Startup night by Schleicher, the company where we assemble our MOD Duo units and also we are part of their Sizzle office space.

“Startup night is THE event for the Berlin startup scene, where startups have the chance to present themselves. It was launched in 2013 and will take place for the fourth time this year<…>”


Our next upcoming event where you can meet us and try MOD Duo will be in Waves Vienna festival on September 30 - October 1st.

Waves Vienna hackathon

If you know interesting events where you would like to see us, please don’t hesitate to contact us with your suggestions over

September 19, 2016 05:57 AM

September 17, 2016

Pid Eins

systemd.conf 2016 Workshop Tickets Available

Tickets for systemd 2016 Workshop day still available!

We still have a number of ticket for the workshop day of systemd.conf 2016 available. If you are a newcomer to systemd, and would like to learn about various systemd facilities, or if you already know your way around, but would like to know more: this is the best chance to do so. The workshop day is the 28th of September, one day before the main conference, at the betahaus in Berlin, Germany. The schedule for the day is available here. There are five interesting, extensive sessions, run by the systemd hackers themselves. Who better to learn systemd from, than the folks who wrote it?

Note that the workshop day and the main conference days require different tickets. (Also note: there are still a few tickets available for the main conference!).

Buy a ticket here.

See you in Berlin!

by Lennart Poettering at September 17, 2016 10:00 PM

September 15, 2016

GStreamer News

GStreamer Conference 2016: Last chance for early-bird discount on tickets

This is a quick reminder that registration for the GStreamer conference 2016 is open, and if you register today you can still benefit from the discounted early-bird registration fee, which is only available until Thursday 15 September 2016 (inclusive). After that the registration fee for professional tickets will rise to 340 EUR.

Register now for the GStreamer Conference!

GStreamer Conference 2016 Berlin

About the GStreamer Conference

The GStreamer Conference 2016 will take place on 10-11 October 2016 in Berlin (Germany), and will take place in the same week as the Embedded Linux Conference Europe. More information and details how to register can be found on the conference website.

September 15, 2016 10:00 AM

September 14, 2016

The QStuff* End of Summer'16 Release


Modesty on the side, this is the ultimate Qstuff* End of Summer'16 release frenzy.

Nothing less than the following gems:

are now released to the masses.

Enjoy and have (lots of) fun!


QjackCtl - JACK Audio Connection Kit Qt GUI Interface

QjackCtl 0.4.3 (end of summer'16) released!

QjackCtl is a(n ageing but still) simple Qt application to control the JACK sound server, for the Linux Audio infrastructure.

Project page:

Git repos:


  • Fix build error caused by variable length array.
  • Fix some tooltip spelling (patch by Jaromír Mikeš, thanks).
  • Translation (not) fix for the default server name "(default)".
  • Old "Start minimized to system tray" option returns to setup.
  • Dropped the --enable-qt5 from configure as found redundant given that's the build default anyway (suggestion by Guido Scholz, while for Qtractor, thanks).
  • Late again French (fr) translation update (by Olivier Humbert aka. trebmuh, thanks).

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Qsynth - A fluidsynth Qt GUI Interface

Qsynth 0.4.2 (end of summer'16) released!

Qsynth is a FluidSynth GUI front-end application written in C++ around the Qt framework using Qt Designer.

Project page:

Git repos:


  • Old "Start minimized to system tray" option returns to setup.
  • Dropped the --enable-qt5 from configure as found redundant given that's the build default anyway (suggestion by Guido Scholz, while for Qtractor, thanks).

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Qsampler - A LinuxSampler Qt GUI Interface

Qsampler 0.4.1 (end of summer'16) released!

Qsampler is a LinuxSampler GUI front-end application written in C++ around the Qt framework using Qt Designer.

Project page:

Git repos:


  • Fixed a race condition on creating sampler channels that ended in duplicate channel strips; also fixed channel auto-arrange.
  • Dropped the --enable-qt5 from configure as found redundant given that's the build default anyway (suggestion by Guido Scholz, while for Qtractor, thanks).
  • Automake: set environment variable GCC_COLORS=auto to allow GCC to auto detect whether it (sh/c)ould output its messages in color.

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QXGEdit - A Qt XG Editor

QXGEdit 0.4.1 (end of summer'16) released!

QXGEdit is a live XG instrument editor, specialized on editing MIDI System Exclusive files (.syx) for the Yamaha DB50XG and thus probably a baseline for many other XG devices.

Project page:

Git repos:


  • Dropped the --enable-qt5 from configure as found redundant given that's the build default anyway (suggestion by Guido Scholz, while for Qtractor, thanks).

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QmidiCtl - A MIDI Remote Controller via UDP/IP Multicast

QmidiCtl 0.4.1 (end of summer'16) released!

QmidiCtl is a MIDI remote controller application that sends MIDI data over the network, using UDP/IP multicast. Inspired by multimidicast ( and designed to be compatible with ipMIDI for Windows ( QmidiCtl has been primarily designed for the Maemo enabled handheld devices, namely the Nokia N900 and also being promoted to the Maemo Package repositories. Nevertheless, QmidiCtl may still be found effective as a regular desktop application as well.

Project page:

Git repos:


  • Dropped the --enable-qt5 from configure as found redundant
    given that's the build default anyway (suggestion by Guido
    Scholz, while for Qtractor, thanks).

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QmidiNet - A MIDI Network Gateway via UDP/IP Multicast

QmidiNet 0.4.1 (end of summer'16) released!

QmidiNet is a MIDI network gateway application that sends and receives MIDI data (ALSA-MIDI and JACK-MIDI) over the network, using UDP/IP multicast. Inspired by multimidicast and designed to be compatible with ipMIDI for Windows.

Project page:

Git repos:


  • Dropped the --enable-qt5 from configure as found redundant given that's the build default anyway (suggestion by Guido Scholz, while for Qtractor, thanks).

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All of the Qstuff* are free, open-source Linux Audio software, distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2 or later.


Enjoy && keep the fun, always!

by rncbc at September 14, 2016 07:00 PM

Libre Music Production - Articles, Tutorials and News

QStuff* End of Summer'16 Release

Fans of Rui Nuno Capela's Qstuff* take heed, he has just released the following end of summer updates to his suite of software -

  • QjackCtl 0.4.3
  • Qsynth 0.4.2
  • Qsampler 0.4.1
  • QXGEdit 0.4.1
  • QmidiCtl 0.4.1
  • QmidiNet 0.4.1

For a full run down of the changelogs, check out Rui's announcement over at

by Conor at September 14, 2016 03:46 PM

GStreamer News

GStreamer Conference 2016: Collabora Platinum Sponsor

The GStreamer project is pleased to welcome back Collabora as Platinum level sponsor at this year's GStreamer Conference in Berlin.

Collabora ( is a consultancy with more than 10 years of experience in open source technologies. As well as employing several core contributors, they have been sponsoring the GStreamer conference for every year since the very first conference.

Thanks Collabora!


About the GStreamer Conference

The GStreamer Conference 2016 will take place on 10-11 October 2016 in Berlin (Germany), and will take place in the same week as the Embedded Linux Conference Europe. More information and details how to register can be found on the conference website.

September 14, 2016 01:00 PM

Linux – CDM Create Digital Music

Jamming standard: Ableton is opening Link to everyone, starting today

Ableton Link is coming to desktops, and going completely open source. And that means the best tool for wireless sync and jamming is about to get a lot more popular.

On iOS and for Ableton Live users, Ableton Link is already a revelation. It allows any number of different apps to sync up with one another without fuss. That includes two more machines running Ableton Live, of course. But it could also be two apps on an iPad, or an iPhone and an iPad, or an iPad and a copy of Ableton Live. It completely changes live jamming: instead of needing tech and setup, you only need friends.

And this is what was unique about Ableton Link. Almost from day one, it was something that embraced developers outside Ableton’s own offices.

Well, that’s about to accelerate – a lot. Ableton Link goes from being a tool for Ableton Live that happens to have an iOS mobile SDK to a lot more. You can actually look at this as several things happening at once.

Ableton Link is desktop-ready. There’s now a complete desktop SDK available on GitHub, complete with example apps for Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Ableton Link is open source, free software. All the source code for Ableton Link is available on GitHub. (It’s written in C++.) It’s also liberally licensed, under a GPLv2 license – free as in freedom. And if you do want to build proprietary software, there’s a licensing option. (There’s more to discuss here for those of us in the free software community as far as license compatibility, but I’m also less worried about that precisely because I feel the team at Ableton are flexible enough to have a discussion if the legal license itself doesn’t answer a question.)


Meet “other platforms.”

There are desktop partners – Propellerhead, Cycling ’74, and Serato. Um, wow. Not only are these the developers of three flagship apps, but they each represent essential music making communities (the Reason, Max, and Serato DJ communities being some of the most passionate anywhere). And they mean the launch partnership covers three categories of tools (a music studio, a DIY music toolkit, and a DJ app).

And each has been involved in various kinds of innovation. Propellerhead have played a key role in the evolution of the ideas we have today about software as instruments, as well as how software could interoperate (with ReWire). Max/MSP has been an environment where new ideas in music software often emerge, and was even the playground used by the founders of Ableton before they founded Ableton. And Serato is notable because they helped contribute to how sync works in Live today. (The planned integration for The Bridge having failed is itself significant; I think these days, we’d be happy just to have simple sync and not worry about something so over-ambitious.)

Obviously, more will follow. I’m disappointed not to see Native Instruments here, for instance, as I think being involved is important to NI’s stated mission of pushing standards.

Serato joins Ableton. All photos courtesy Ableton.

Serato joins Ableton. All photos courtesy Ableton.

The iOS SDK has also been updated, and will continue to grow. There’s a 2.0 SDK, improved example apps, and of course Link is becoming a standard in iOS tools that use sync.

More platforms can follow. Now, here’s where things get interesting. Linux support means all kinds of unique platforms, like the Raspberry Pi. (The Link team has already tested a RasPi; I will, too, for sure.) That opens up sync-able hardware. And while there’s no official Android SDK or example apps, I’m certain we’ll see some intrepid Android developers make their own in a hurry – there’s already everything they need in the SDK.

Just making something open source doesn’t magically make stuff happen. (Trust me on this. Apart from using open source tools every single day, I’ve been involved in the management of both open source hardware and software.) So this isn’t a “build this and they will come” sort of deal. And that’s why I’m excited by the team at Ableton working on this. Not only did they create the best technology in the business for sync and jamming, but I trust them to manage this as an open source tool. Florian Goltz, with whom CDM spoke on background for this article, is now Link Open Source Project Owner, and Michaela Buergle remains Link Product Owner. (Michaela was I think one of the most eloquent speakers at Loop, which is important – making technology successful is not just an engineering problem, but a communication problem, as well.)


Now, having heaped that praise on Ableton, I think the next step is up to us. We have to build interesting apps with this tech, and find ways of playing with tools and with each other to make better music. I also hope those of us advocating open source software and education (cough, uh, like me) can find ways of helping people realize their own ideas for new tools with this platform.

For users:

For developers:

Find software:

The post Jamming standard: Ableton is opening Link to everyone, starting today appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

by Peter Kirn at September 14, 2016 11:18 AM

Libre Music Production - Articles, Tutorials and News

Ardour web presence: developer wanted

The Ardour project is looking for help with development in relation to the projects websites. Ardour currently uses 5 independent web sites, the main site, forums, manual, bug tracker and nightly builds sites, and they are looking for someone to help them with the following tasks -

by Conor at September 14, 2016 06:19 AM


Ardour web presence: developer wanted

Ardour is an open source application for recording, editing and music music & sound for Linux, OS X and Windows. The project started over 16 years ago, and has seen contributions from more than 70 programmers. It recently reached its 5.0 release milestone. It generates sufficient revenue to pay its lead developer a reasonable salary, as well as covering all costs associated with its network presence. We're looking for someone to do a little bit of website administration and development for us. Read on below for more details...

read more

by paul at September 14, 2016 01:26 AM

September 12, 2016

digital audio hacks – Hackaday

“Nixie” Tubes Sound Good

A tube is a tube is a tube. If one side emits electrons, another collects them, and a further terminal can block them, you just know that someone’s going to use it as an amplifier. And so when [Asa] had a bunch of odd Russian Numitron tubes on hand, an amplifier was pretty much a foregone conclusion.

A Numitron is a “low-voltage Nixie”, or more correctly a single-digit VFD in a Nixiesque form factor. So you could quibble that there’s nothing new here. But if you dig into the PDF writeup, you’ll find that the tubes have been very nicely characterised, situating this project halfway between dirty hack and quality lab work.

It’s been a while since we’ve run a VFD-based amplifier project, but it’s by no means the first time. Indeed, we seem to run one every couple years. For instance, here is a writeup from 2010, and the next in 2013. Extrapolating forward, you’re going to have to wait until 2019 before you see this topic again.

Filed under: digital audio hacks, misc hacks

by Elliot Williams at September 12, 2016 02:00 AM

September 08, 2016

MOD Devices Blog

Create LV2 Plugin Series (Part 1)


MOD Duo provides a platform for you to express your musical creativity. There are infinite ways of combining audio effects into Pedalboards, each one producing its own unique sound. Finding that unique sound can be as much fun as playing itself. The Duo ships with 50 plugins pre-installed and another 120 can already be found in our Plugin Store for free. One of the most interesting thing about the Duo is that you can not only combine a multitude of audio effects but you can also create your own!

The purpose of these articles is to walk you through the tools and steps necessary to create and publish your own plugin, in LV2 format. We will explain how to start an LV2 plugin from scratch, how to gather the tools to build it and how to push it to your MOD for some fun time.

The requirements to follow these series are:

  • Familiar with Linux command line tools
  • Basic C knowledge
  • Be curious

These series will be composed of multiple posts. Part 1 will cover the basics of LV2 and discuss the overall idea behind creating an audio plugin. Part 2 will walk through the development of a plugin with a full source code example, plus the tools and steps to build it. Part 3 will show how to build and deploy specifically to MOD Duo and how to create a nice interface for it using our SDK wizard.

If you’re not a professional programmer don’t be scared. Just follow the steps in this series and by the end of it, you will have the sound of your instrument flowing through your own code inside MOD Duo’s metal and soul.

Even though this article will be running examples on a Linux box, thanks to Docker it’s perfectly possible to run them from any Windows or Mac computer. You don’t really need to have a full Linux distro installed as long as you can run the Docker engine in your computer. A standard Virtual Machine would work as well but using docker is a lot simpler as there’s already a Docker image for our mod-plugin-builder project which we’ll talk about later.

Before we start it’s worth mentioning that a lot of the content discussed in this post is explained in more detail in the following wiki pages (which will be more up-to-date than this blog post later on):

If the steps are not working for you or if you want to find alternatives you should definitely explore the wiki pages. Also, do not hesitate to join our MOD Forum where you can engage with the community and ask for help.

What is LV2 anyway?

From the wikipedia: “LV2 is an open standard for audio plugins. It includes support for audio synthesis (generation) and digital signal processing of digital audio and MIDI”.

And from the LV2 official page: “LV2 is an open standard for audio plugins, used by hundreds of plugins and other projects. At its core, LV2 is a simple stable interface, accompanied by extensions which add functionality to support the needs of increasingly powerful audio software”.

In short, what all this means is that you’re accepting a trade-off. In order to simplify the amount of work involved in implementing an audio plugin, you will be adopting a standard which enforces certain rules that you must follow.

Basically, a plugin will be running on a host which supports the LV2 standard. The host is responsible for capturing the audio input and delivering the signal (samples) to each plugin using a pre-defined contract. The audio data received depends on the audio in and out connections. As an LV2 plugin developer all you care about is receiving the audio samples (input); doing your magic, and then sending them to the output.

On the other side of the trade-off the developers have few responsibilities:

  • The source code must be implemented using the lv2.h definition
  • Every plugin must have an RDF file descriptor (manifest.ttl) defining the meta-data (including plugin name, description, control ports details, user interface definitions and more)

There are some other small details but those two are the key points.

The MOD Duo uses mod-host which is an open-source LV2 host running on top of Jack. That host is responsible for creating what we call a Pedalboard which is nothing but a bunch of plugins interconnected.


Other than the audio processing code and meta-data, plugins usually have their own UI (user interface) which allows you to change its parameters and eventually see some of its internal states. Because the Duo provides a single web UI specification for all plugins it means there’s an extra trade-off for developers: they have to provide a specifically-made web UI if they want their plugin to work nicely with the MOD. Luckily that there’s a wizard in our SDK which greatly helps in this regard. Some plugins have pretty simple UI and others take a step further and provide a very rich user experience.


As you can see there’s a lot to cover. This blog series only present a viable entry point to anybody that is interested in building an LV2 plugin. After that, it’s up to you to find ways to change the sound, experiment, test, and take it that extra step forward to discover the true power of software audio plugins.


September 08, 2016 05:57 AM

September 05, 2016

GStreamer News

GStreamer Conference 2016: Registration now open

About the GStreamer Conference

The GStreamer Conference 2016 will take place on 10-11 October 2016 in Berlin (Germany), and will take place in the same week as the Embedded Linux Conference Europe.

It is a conference for developers, decision-makers, and anyone else interested in the GStreamer multimedia framework and open source multimedia.

Registration now open

You can now register for the GStreamer Conference 2016 via the conference website.

September 05, 2016 09:00 AM

September 04, 2016

GStreamer News

Orc 0.4.26 bug-fix release

The GStreamer team announces another maintenance bug-fix release of liborc, the Optimized Inner Loop Runtime Compiler. Main changes since the previous release:

  • Use 64 bit arithmetic to increment the stride if needed (fixing crashes in certain libgstvideo functions on OS X)
  • Fix generation of ModR/M / SIB bytes for the EBP, R12, R13 registers on X86/X86-64 (fixing crashes in compositor on Windows)
  • Fix test_parse unit test if no executable backend is available
  • Add orc-test path to the -uninstalled .pc file
  • Fix compiler warnings in the tests on OS X

Direct tarball download: orc-0.4.26.

September 04, 2016 10:00 AM

September 01, 2016

GStreamer News

GStreamer Core, Plugins, RTSP Server, Editing Services, Python, Validate, VAAPI, OMX 1.9.2 unstable release

The GStreamer team is pleased to announce the second release of the unstable 1.9 release series, which marks the feature freeze for 1.10. The 1.9 release series is adding new features on top of the 1.0, 1.2, 1.4, 1.6 and 1.8 series and is part of the API and ABI-stable 1.x release series of the GStreamer multimedia framework. The unstable 1.9 release series will lead to the stable 1.10 release series in the next weeks. Any newly added API can still change until that point.

Binaries for Android, iOS, Mac OS X and Windows will be provided in the next days.

Check out the release notes for GStreamer core, gst-plugins-base, gst-plugins-good, gst-plugins-ugly, gst-plugins-bad, gst-libav, gst-rtsp-server, gst-python, gst-editing-services, gst-validate, gstreamer-vaapi, or gst-omx, or download tarballs for gstreamer, gst-plugins-base, gst-plugins-good, gst-plugins-ugly, gst-plugins-bad, gst-libav, gst-rtsp-server, gst-python, gst-editing-services, gst-validate, gstreamer-vaapi, or gst-omx.

September 01, 2016 09:00 AM

August 29, 2016


Ardour 5.3 released

Ardour 5.3 is almost entirely a bug fix release that corrects a number of issues noticed and corrected since 5.1.

There was no 5.2 release, due to a mistake during the release process.

If you're looking for information about Ardour 5.0, you'll want to read the release notes.


Read the full details below ...

read more

by paul at August 29, 2016 01:30 AM

August 28, 2016

MOD Devices Blog

Creating pedalboards with MOD Duo - part 2

From the very start of the MOD project, one pack of plugins I’ve always been hooked on is the “CAPS” - developed by Tim Goetze. Tim did an amazing work and has been supporting and enhancing the plugins ever since I’ve known them. For the guitar players the “CAPS” package is literally a candy shop. Most of the important effects are there, all of them fine tuned and polished.

The basic set-up for the guitar is the “AmpVTS” - which simulates one single tube response and multiple different tone stacks (or EQs) - followed by “Cabinet IV” - simulator of different cabinets - plus the “Plate Reverb” in the end of the chain. With this simple set-up one can already do a lot.

If I were to explain very briefly, I would say the “CAPS” guitar combo is a “Fender Sound” simulator. It is great for clean to slightly saturated sounds and it does it beautifully. Here are some very basic examples:

CAPS Basic guitar 1

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In this pedalboard I am changing the different tone stack models. Another dimension is to change models on “Cabinet IV” as I do here:

CAPS Basic guitar 2

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The palette of options is quite big. All these are filter based simulators and they have a response that sometimes I find to be more pleasant.

My favourite feature is the “Low Cut” control, which sits right in the beginning of the Amps’s internal path and does the magic of removing/adding a thick bass body while still retaining that “Fender style” bright sound. Check this example, where I was first using the Low Cut to the maximum and then take it to the minimum:

CAPS Basic guitar 3

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One of the things I really enjoy about the “CAPS” suite, especially the “AmpVTS”, is that it handles the incoming signal really well, taming the volume and always doing a good job out of it. This is a loop with the very basic setting. I used a stronger pickup for the second part of the improvisation to show how gracefully it slightly saturates.

CAPS Basic guitar and loop

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And, of course, it is wonderful for adding pedals, both before as after the “Amp” + “Cabinet” combo. Here are some distortions:

CAPS Tube Screamer Guitar

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Big Muff CAPS Guitar

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And some traditional effects:

CAPS Multi effects

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As you can see, one can do really a lot with this suite. I personally resort a lot to the “CAPS” package once I want a clean guitar sound. Next blog post I will talk about the “Guitarix GX-Amp”, the plugin that was meant to saturate.

Step onto the future!


MOD Devices CEO

August 28, 2016 05:57 AM

August 26, 2016

open-source – CDM Create Digital Music

BlokDust is an amazing graphical sound tool in your browser

Just when you think you’ve tired of browser toys, of novel graphical modular sound thing-a-ma-jigs, then — this comes along. It’s called Blokdust. It’s beautiful. And … it’s surprisingly deep. Not only might you get sucked into playing with it, but thanks to some simply but powerful blocks and custom sample loading, you might even make a track with it. And for nerds, this is all fully free and open source and hipster-JavaScript-coder compliant if you want to toy with the stuff under the hood.

Here’s a teaser to give you a taste:

The tasteful, geometric interface recalls trendy indie games, a playful flat world to explore. The actual geometric representations themselves are a bit obtuse – it seems there was perhaps a missed opportunity to say something functional with the shapes and colors – but it’s easy enough to figure out anyway, and makes for a nice aesthetic experience. (And, indeed, some three decades into visual patcher software, why not play around with making them attractive?)

And then there are the modules. These are indeed simple enough for a first-time musician to play around with, but they sound good enough – and have enough necessary features and novelties – that the rest of you will like them, too.

Crucially, it’s not just some basic synths or pre-built samples. There’s a powerful granular and wavetable sound source, for instance. You can load your own samples into the granular source, and the generative wavetables are actually themselves worth giving this a go. (They’re really delightful. Try not to smile while messing about.)

And you can use a microphone. And there are a dozen clever effects, including a convolution reverb (with Teufelsberg impulse, no less).

You can play with MIDI (thanks, Chrome) or a computer keyboard, but there are also a section of automatic triggers the developers call “power.” These include particle emitters and the like, and they seem in fact the best opportunity for open source development, because they could take this all in some new directions.

In fact, really the only disappointment here is that there’s not a whole lot of advantage to running in a browser, apart from this being free. Sure, there’s a share feature, but this is nothing that couldn’t be in a standalone app – and you lose out on touch interactions since it’s built for desktop Chrome, unless you have capable hardware.

As design experiment, though, it’s brilliant. And you could still use a third-party audio recorder to capture sound, thus making this a real sketchpad.

I’m very interested to see where this might go. It’s perhaps the most compelling use of browser audio yet, through sheer force of the intelligence of the interaction design, looks, and sound.

The project is developed by Luke Twyman (Whitevinyl), Luke Phillips (Femur Design) and Ed Silverton. It’s made in the UK – Brighton to be exact – with Tone.js and of course the Web Audio API. And yes, it works best in Chrome. (Come on, Apple and Microsoft.)

Try it yourself:

That library (good stuff):

Genius work – congrats, lads.

The post BlokDust is an amazing graphical sound tool in your browser appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

by Peter Kirn at August 26, 2016 04:51 PM

August 25, 2016

digital audio hacks – Hackaday

Seeed Studio’s ReSpeaker Speaks All the Voice Recognition Languages

Seeed Studio recently launched its third Kickstarter campaign: ReSpeaker, an open hardware voice interface. After their previous Kickstarted IoT hardware, such as the RePhone, mostly focused on connectivity, the electronics manufacturer from Shenzhen now tackles another highly contested area of IoT: Voice recognition.

The ReSpeaker Core is a capable development board based on Mediatek’s MT7688 WiFi module and runs OpenWrt. Onboard is a WM8960 stereo audio codec with integrated 1W speaker/headphone driver, a microphone, an ATMega32U4 coprocessor, 12 addressable RGB LEDs and 8 touch sensors. There are also two expansion headers with GPIOs, I2S, I2C, analog audio and USB 2.0 and an onboard microSD card slot.

The latter is especially useful to feed the ReSpeaker’s integrated speech recognition engine PocketSphinx with a vocabulary and audio file library, enabling it to respond to keywords and commands even when it’s not hooked up to the internet. Once it’s online, ReSpeaker also supports most of the available cloud based cognitive speech recognition services, such as Microsoft Cognitive Service, Amazon Alexa Voice Service, Google Speech API, and Houndify. It also comes with an SDK and Python API, supports JavaScript, Lua and C/C++, and it looks like the coprocessor features an Arduino-compatible bootloader.

respeaker_addons respeaker_micarray

The expansion header accepts shield-like hardware add-ons. Some of them are also available through the campaign. The most important one is the circular, far-field microphone array. Based on 7 XVSM-2000 respeaker_meow2digital microphones, the extension board enhances the device’s hearing with sound localization, beam forming, reverb and noise suppression. A Grove extension board connects the ReSpeaker to the Seeed’s current lineup on ready-to-use sensors, actuators and other peripherals.

Seeed also cooperates with the Meow King Audio Electronic Company to develop a nice tower-shaped enclosure with built-in speaker, 5W amplifier and battery. As a portable speaker, the Meow King Drive Unit (shown on the right) certainly doesn’t knock your socks off, but it practically turns the ReSpeaker into an open source version of the Amazon Echo — including the ability to run offline instead of piping everything you say to Big Brother.

According to Seeed, the freshly baked hardware will ship to backers in November 2016, and they do have a track-record of on-schedule shipped Kickstarter rewards. At the time of writing, some of the Crazy Early Birds are still available for $39. Enjoy the campaign video below and let us know what you think of think hardware in the comments!

Filed under: Crowd Funding, digital audio hacks

by Moritz Walter at August 25, 2016 03:31 PM


Ardour 5.1 released

Ardour 5.1 is primarily a bug fix release that corrects a number of issues (some notable, some minor) that were discovered after 5.0 had been released. There are a few new features and some improvements in the GUI, Lua and OSC support. Most users will want to upgrade to 5.1 as soon as possible.


Read the full list of changes below...

read more

by paul at August 25, 2016 01:08 PM

August 22, 2016

Scores of Beauty

Google Summer of Code 2016: cross-voice spanners

This summer, I’ve had the special opportunity to participate in the Google Summer of Code (GSoC) program with Lilypond. To describe GSoC briefly, students worldwide are paid a stipend by Google to work on coding projects for various open source organizations. My project deals with spanners, musical objects that start and end in different places, like slurs and crescendi. Specifically, I’ve been working on allowing users to create cross-voice spanners—spanners that start and end in different voices.

Suppose we want this crescendo to start in the first voice and end in the second voice:

<< { g\< a } \\ { f e d c\! } >>

Of course, this won’t work, since the start of the crescendo never knows about the end—which occurs in a different voice—and vice versa. The current solution to this problem is to end the crescendo in the same voice, using hidden notes:

<< { g\< a s s\! } \\ { f e d c } >>

Although this works, the code doesn’t express our intention well: we want to start a crescendo on the G and end it on the C. Moreover, this workaround can be unwieldy to use in more complicated situations. With the changes I’ve made, however, this result can be achieved with the following clearer code:

<< { g\=Staff.1\< a } \\ { f e d c\=Staff.1\! } >>

The key command here is \=, which sets the spanner id and share context of an event—in this case, the crescendo start event \< and stop event !. As of version 2.18, this command can already be used to write overlapping slurs. Now, we could also use \= just to write overlapping crescendi:

{ c\=1\< d\=2\< e f\=1\! g\=2\! }

In this case, only the spanner id needs to be set, which serves the purpose of indicating which start and stop events to match together. To understand what the “share context” Staff means, however, suppose the snippet from before belongs to a larger score:

  \new Staff { << { g\=Staff.1\< a } \\ { f e d c\=Staff.1\! } \\ { a a\< a a\! } >> }
  \new Staff { << { a b\=Staff.2\< } \\ { g f e\=Staff.2\! d } >>

Although both the first and second Staff have crescendo events, the events in each Staff are processed separately, because Lilypond is only matching start and stop events in the same Staff. In other words, the “share context” indicates the context within which Lilypond looks for matching start and stop events. So in this case, we could have used the same id in both Staffs, since each crescendo is limited to starting and ending in the same Staff.

I’ll briefly describe my general progression in developing this project. Throughout, I often asked questions and discussed ideas with the lilypond-devel mailing list, which was a great help.

  • First, I had to understand the overall process that transforms user input like \< and \! into the objects seen in the final output. This included learning Scheme (which fortunately didn’t take too long), as a lot of the relevant code is written in Scheme. From this, and with some clarifying answers from the the mailing list, I learned why the code limited spanners to starting and ending in the same voice.
  • Next, I brainstormed and tried some different approaches to get Lilypond to connect start and stop events in different voices as part of the same spanner. I chose to experiment with the dynamic engraver, which was simple enough for me to easily understand and try changing. With the help of the mailing list, I eventually settled on an approach that seemed promising. Essentially, when a spanner is started, it may be stored in a context above (the “share context” described earlier), allowing another voice to end it when the stop event is received.
  • Although this did work for dynamics, when I submitted my code to be reviewed, I realized that I would have had to write a lot of similar code for other spanners. To get the dynamic engraver to support cross-voice spanners, I also had to change it to manage multiple spanners at the same time (e.g. overlapping crescendi). However, a lot of the code for doing so resembled already-existing code for the same purpose in the slur engraver. It was therefore suggested that I separate out the code for this, so it wouldn’t be repeated in all engravers that support cross-voice spanners.
  • To implement this, instead of having one engraver in each voice be responsible for multiple spanners, multiple engravers are created that each handle one spanner. Basically, instead of having to rewrite an engraver to keep track of multiple spanners at the same time, I wrote code to make multiple copies of the engraver; since the engraver can already deal with one spanner, having multiple copies effectively allows for multiple spanners to be created simultaneously. The details took some time to work out, but having finished, the dynamic engraver can now create cross-voice spanners with just a few changes needed.

All the code I wrote for GSoC is found on my GitHub fork of Lilypond.

  • Any branch beginning with experimental contains unfinalized, often work-in-progress code that will not directly be included in Lilypond.
  • The gsoc-2016-spanners-old branch has my first attempt at cross-voice dynamics. Although (as mentioned above) this patch ended up requiring more refactoring, it contained a small change that was accepted as part of a different patch. This change has made it into Lilypond (12b68a3) and will be included in version 2.19.48, though not much will visibly change since only the internal representation of spanner id’s was altered.
  • Finally, the gsoc-2016-spanners branch has the code I completed at the end of GSoC; at the time of writing, it is not in Lilypond yet, but has been submitted for review.

I’ve learned a lot about both Lilypond and coding as I worked on this project. Although I was only able to make dynamics and slurs cross-voice during the timeframe—and to clarify, at the time of writing (2.19.47), this is not yet available in any release—I intend to continue contributing even after GSoC is over. Thank you Jan-Peter Voigt, for being my mentor, guiding me, and checking my code; Urs Liska, for helping me find a mentor and with the GSoC application; David Kastrup, for answering many of my questions and reviewing my code; everyone else who helped me on the mailing list; and the Lilypond community for creating Lilypond and providing me with this opportunity this summer.

Jeffery Shivers, another student working on Lilypond for GSoC, will also be posting his experience with GSoC soon. This will be updated with a link once it’s ready.

by Nathan Chou at August 22, 2016 06:43 PM

August 21, 2016


Ardour Pong

Ardour Pong from Robin Gareus on Vimeo.

A console classic for your console. Sample-accurate automation and all :)

read more

by paul at August 21, 2016 02:28 PM

August 19, 2016

GStreamer News

GStreamer Core, Plugins, RTSP Server, Editing Services, Python, Validate, VAAPI 1.8.3 stable release

The GStreamer team is pleased to announce the third bugfix release in the stable 1.8 release series of your favourite cross-platform multimedia framework!

This release only contains bugfixes and it should be safe to update from 1.8.x. For a full list of bugfixes see Bugzilla.

See /releases/1.8/ for the full release notes.

Binaries for Android, iOS, Mac OS X and Windows will be available shortly.

Check out the release notes for GStreamer core, gst-plugins-base, gst-plugins-good, gst-plugins-ugly, gst-plugins-bad, gst-libav, gst-rtsp-server, gst-python, gst-editing-services, gst-validate, or gstreamer-vaapi, or download tarballs for gstreamer, gst-plugins-base, gst-plugins-good, gst-plugins-ugly, gst-plugins-bad, gst-libav, gst-rtsp-server, gst-python, gst-editing-services, gst-validate, or gstreamer-vaapi.

August 19, 2016 10:00 AM

August 18, 2016

OSM podcast

August 17, 2016

digital audio hacks – Hackaday

Bone Conduction Skull Radio

There are many ways to take an electrical audio signal and turn it into something you can hear. Moving coil speakers, plasma domes, electrostatic speakers, piezo horns, the list goes on. Last week at the Electromagnetic Field festival in the UK, we encountered another we hadn’t experienced directly before. Bite on a brass rod (sheathed in a drinking straw for hygiene), hear music.

The TOG Skull Radio demo boxThe TOG Skull Radio demo box

This was Skull Radio, a bone conduction speaker courtesy of [Tdr], one of our friends from TOG hackerspace in Dublin, and its simplicity hid a rather surprising performance. A small DC motor has its shaft connected to a piece of rod, and a small audio power amplifier drives the motor. Nothing is audible until you bite on the rod, and then you can hear the music. The bones of your skull are conducting it directly to your inner ear, without an airborne sound wave in sight.

The resulting experience is a sonic cathedral from lips of etherial sibilance, a wider soft palate soundstage broadened by a tongue of bass and masticated by a driving treble overlaid with a toothy resonance before spitting out a dynamic oral texture. You’ll go back to your hi-fi after listening to [Tdr]’s Skull Radio, but you’ll know you’ll never equal its unique sound.

(If you are not the kind of audiophile who spends $1000 on a USB cable, the last paragraph means you bite on it, you hear music, and it sounds not quite as bad as you might expect.)

This isn’t the first bone conduction project we’ve featured here, we’ve seen a Bluetooth speaker and at least one set of headphones, but our favorite is probably this covert radio.

Filed under: digital audio hacks, Hackerspaces

by Jenny List at August 17, 2016 08:01 AM

August 15, 2016

Pid Eins

Preliminary systemd.conf 2016 Schedule

A Preliminary systemd.conf 2016 Schedule is Now Available!

We have just published a first, preliminary version of the systemd.conf 2016 schedule. There is a small number of white slots in the schedule still, because we're missing confirmation from a small number of presenters. The missing talks will be added in as soon as they are confirmed.

The schedule consists of 5 workshops by high-profile speakers during the workshop day, 22 exciting talks during the main conference days, followed by one full day of hackfests.

Please sign up for the conference soon! Only a limited number of tickets are available, hence make sure to secure yours quickly before they run out! (Last year we sold out.) Please sign up here for the conference!

by Lennart Poettering at August 15, 2016 10:00 PM

August 14, 2016

MOD Devices Blog

MOD DUO on acoustic instruments - Trumpet

Most musicians know from the gear history that pedals and stompboxes are usually meant for guitar players, however with MOD Duo you can connect any instrument, even the acoustic ones. All you need is a pick up or a microphone with a jack connection.

In this series of blog posts we’ll show how you can use various acoustic instruments together with the MOD Duo. We will be talking in detail about how to add, enhance or weaken different aspects of the sound coming from an acoustic instrument. For the first entry we chose the trumpet.

Let’s see what are the core aspects of the sound from a trumpet:

  • The frequency range is in the mid-high: E3 (165 Hz) to B5 (988 Hz)
  • It has a potential and rich harmonic structure
  • The formants are:
    • 800 Hz
    • 1750 Hz
    • 2800 Hz
  • 55 - 95 dB(SPL) of dynamic range
  • There is a windy noise

Frequency range

Frequency range is the difference between the lowest and highest perceived tone (pitch). The best way to increase this is by using pitch shifters. The Duo has two pitch shifters, the “OC-2” and the “GX detune”. The “OC-2” is used if you want to sound an octave lower and the detuner is good for going an octave up.


Trumpet range

Let me explain it a little bit the pedalboard above. The trumpet sound goes into a switch, it decides if you want dry sound of the input, without the effect or wet sound with the effect. The other switch decides whether you want to go an octave up, using the detuner “GX detune”. Or an octave down, using the “OC-2”. This is all connected to a master volume gain and that’s basically it.

Harmonic structure

The harmonic structure tells something about the spectral structure of the sound. This might be a little hard to understand but basically it is all the aspects of the sound that change together with the pitch. If we talk about a rich harmonic structure it means that it has a lot of aspects that change together with the pitch. A poor harmonic structure means that it doesn’t have that much of other aspects that change together with the pitch. One way to increase the harmonic structure is to use distortion. A way to decrease the harmonic structure is to use filters.


Trumpet harmonics

Once again we have the system with two footswitches here. One is for dry, input sound without effect, or wet, input sound with effect, and the other footswitch is to increase or decrease harmonic structure. Please note the extra volume gains I put after the filter and distortion. This is because you’re also increasing or decreasing volume when you change the harmonic structure. The filter values are based on the minimum and maximum frequency of the trumpet.


The formants on an instruments are the tones (frequencies) that are always in the sound. They come independently from the perceived pitch. Although you don’t notice them very well, as soon as you change them the sounds changes a lot. One way to increase formants is with a ring modulator. A way to decrease them is with an equalizer.


Trumpet formants

We use the two footswitches here again and also the master volume gain stays the same. The ring modulator adds an extra sinewave and multiplies the sound of the trumpet by the same wave, creating some other formants. The equalizer is set in a way that the natural formants of the trumpet (see the beginning of this post) are completely silent but the rest of the sound stays the same. Please also note the levels of the volume gains after the ring modulator and the equalizer same as in the pedalboard before.

Dynamic Range

The trumpet has quite a broad dynamic range. This means that the difference between the loudest and the softest a trumpet player can play is quite big. To increase this range we can use an expander, to decrease we use a compressor. These are the basic ways to do this but not the most compelling ones, this should be the job of the mixing guy on a stage and not yours. What’s more interesting is that there is a number of plugins that use the input volume to change the sound. For example, the “Autowah”. This plugin controls a filter by using the input volume of the trumpet. It’s used quite a lot by trumpet players.


Trumpet volume

So here I put the compressor to actually decrease the volume range of the trumpet. This is to make the “Autowah” more controllable. Play with the volume gain on the end of the setup and change level of the compressor to see what fits best.

Windy noise

The noise we are talking about is the one that made Chet Baker famous. A classical trumpet player will try to have as little of it as possible while some of the jazz players will try to have as much as they can. So how to increase or decrease this sound? For decreasing we will use some filter and gate plugins. For increasing we will use a noise generator and the envelope filter.


Trumpet wind noise

Let’s start by decreasing it. At first we take a gate, this mutes the sound if it’s below a certain volume. Then we add a filter that will kill all the noise below the first frequency of the trumpet. And another filter is to kill high clicks. Sound increasing is done by a “pink noise generator”, which mixes the trumpet with noise. To get this mix right we also use the envelope filter again. This time we use the sidechain option from the envelope filter. With this you allow a second signal to control the filter (see previous part in the blog). Which in this case is the compressed trumpet.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post.

Pjotr Lasschuit

(if any questions please mail:

August 14, 2016 10:57 AM

August 12, 2016

Libre Music Production - Articles, Tutorials and News

New major release of Ardour, version 5 is released!

New major release of Ardour, version 5 is released!

The release of Ardour 5 has just been announced. This new release comes with some major new features and is a significant upgrade from the 4.x series. It is also the first release that officially supports the Windows platform. The following is a rundown of some of the latest features.

VCA faders

Ardour now includes VCA faders, a long requested feature.

by Conor at August 12, 2016 05:56 PM


Ardour 5.0 released

Ardour 5.0 is now available for Linux, OS X and Windows. This is a major release focused on substantial changes to the GUI and major new features related to mixing, plugin use, tempo maps, scripting and more. As usual, there are also hundreds of bug fixes. Ardour 5.0 can be parallel-installed with older versions of the program, and does not use the same preference files. It will load sessions from Ardour 2, 3 and 4, though with some potential minor changes.

Windows is now a supported platform

This is the first version of Ardour with official Windows support. Several years of products based on Ardour and our own nightly builds for Windows have made us confident that Ardour runs just as well on Windows as other platforms. We will not be providing support with:

  • installing Ardour on Windows
  • issues with audio hardware
  • system- or user-specific issues
These are out of scope for our developers and user community. However if you have issues actually doing stuff with Ardour, or there are generic problems affecting all Windows users, we will try to provide Windows users with the same kind of assistance that we do on Linux and OS X.

Read more below for the full list of changes ....

read more

by paul at August 12, 2016 10:23 AM

August 09, 2016

MOD Devices Blog

The 1.0 is here!

Dear MOD Duo users,

We are happy to announce that the 1.0 release is finally out! For those of you who have been following our journey from the very beginning or those who joined us on our kickstarter campaign, you know what a big deal it is for us. We finally got MOD Duo to the stage it was meant to be. We have an incredible team of dedicated people that has achieved a lot. As we keep mentioning we would be nowhere close to where we are today without the community that comes with this project. Thank you so much for your feedback, bug reports, feature requests and general interest in what we do. Without more ado, the following text tells about many great features we added since the very first batch.

First of all, auto-updates have been implemented. It will be much easier to install the following updates, compared to the previous manual method. An icon in the bottom right of the web interface will inform you when there’s a new update available.

Secondly, and we have already bragged about this, sharing pedalboards is now working smoothly so you can share and check what other users have been uploading so far in Our forum is integrated with the pedalboard feed, allowing you to leave comments and questions about them. If you like a pedalboard you can also load it directly on your MOD Duo by clicking the “Try Now” button. It will update and install any extra plugins needed.

Next, we finally fixed the x-run problem! This was a hard task, working with the sunxi kernel has been a big pain, so we hope to move to mainline soon. We made quite a few optimizations to the audio backend and host code to generate less CPU load per plugin. The base CPU load has dropped from 10% to 7%. More optimizations yet to come.

We added a virtual “All” bank, so you can now browse all your pedalboards from within the controller without having to pre-set banks in advance using the computer. This “All” bank is hardcoded as bank 0.

You can now load pedalboards using MIDI program messages. Pedalboards are loaded from within the currently selected bank. If you haven’t selected a bank via controller yet it will assume you want all (i.e. bank 0).

In the table below you can see some of the most important features that have been implemented with each of our release since February 2016.


You can download the latest release and see the complete changelog in our releases page here:

August 09, 2016 05:57 AM

August 07, 2016

MOD Devices Blog

Creating pedalboards with MOD Duo

One of the very cool things about using the MOD Duo is the staggering number of different pedalboards that can be assembled. For those who are new to the system this enormous number of options can sometimes turn into a hassle and, because of that, I will write here a description on some of my favorite pedalboards to be used as a starting point.

Being a guitarist myself, they are obviously aimed at the guitar, but some techniques can be explored for many other instruments as well. The first one is a basic clean guitar tone.

Now, when we allude to a clean guitar tone we are normally referring to a guitar amplifier + cabinet sound and the Plugin Library offers some different simulations for that purpose. Please be aware that such plugins are NOT meant to be used when you have your MOD Duo connected to a real guitar amplifier – which in this case would have its own tone - and should only be used when the musician is:

  • Connecting the MOD Duo to a computer audio interface for recording;
  • Connecting the MOD Duo to a mixing desk or even a PA system;
  • playing with headphones.

Currently we have multiple options for this purpose and my preferred one is this:

Basic clean guitar nr1

Here we have the GX Alembic - simulation of the famous Alembic F-2B preamp – followed by the GX Cabinet which is an impulse response based cabinet simulator with multiple cabinet options. I played with the same settings using the three pickups of my strat to show the differences.

The GX Alembic provides a nice response with a bit of a punch and the following cabinet adds the desired tonal signature. The reverb in the end of the chain is to add a bit of body to the sound.

Here is the same pedalboard played with lots of different cabinet models to illustrate how they impact the tone:

Basic clean guitar with multiple cabinets

The very first riff has the Cabinet deactivated. Checkout what a difference it makes. Because this is a digital processor, preventing clipping is a must so I always have a volume plugin at the very end of the chain in order to control the output volume and make sure I am not clipping the DAC. This can be checked with the LEDs on the top face of the MOD Duo: blinking red light means it is over 0dB, red light is between -3dB and 0dB, yellow light is between -12dB and -3dB, green light is between -30dB and -12db and under -30dB the light is off.

For me, the most important controls to be addressed in this pedalboard are:

  • GX Alembic Bright switch
  • GX Alembic tonestack – bass, mid and treble
  • GX Cabinet models
  • Reverb Mix
  • Reverb On/Off
  • Output Volume

You can of course use this pedalboard as a basic block and then add some other effects to it. Here are three different examples using a Chorus, a Phaser and a Tremolo.

Basic clean guitar with multiple cabinets

Hope you all enjoy.

Best regards,

MOD Devices CEO

August 07, 2016 05:57 AM

August 04, 2016

digital audio hacks – Hackaday

Keytar Made Out Of A Scanner To Make Even the 80s Jealous

Do any of you stay awake at night agonizing over how the keytar could get even cooler? The 80s are over, so we know none of us do. Yet here we are, [James Cochrane] has gone out and turned a HP ScanJet Keytar for no apparent reason other than he thought it’d be cool. Don’t bring the 80’s back [James], the world is still recovering from the last time.

Kidding aside (except for the part of not bringing the 80s back), the keytar build is simple, but pretty cool. [James] took an Arduino, a MIDI interface, and a stepper motor driver and integrated it into some of the scanner’s original features. The travel that used to run the optics back and forth now produce the sound; the case of the scanner provides the resonance. He uses a sensor to detect when he’s at the end of the scanner’s travel and it instantly reverses to avoid collision.

A off-the-shelf MIDI keyboard acts as the input for the instrument. As you can hear in the video after the break; it’s not the worst sounding instrument in this age of digital music. As a bonus, he has an additional tutorial on making any stepper motor a MIDI device at the end of the video.

If you don’t have an HP ScanJet lying around, but you are up to your ears in surplus Commodore 64s, we’ve got another build you should check out.

Filed under: Arduino Hacks, digital audio hacks, musical hacks

by Gerrit Coetzee at August 04, 2016 11:00 AM

July 27, 2016

Pid Eins

FINAL REMINDER! systemd.conf 2016 CfP Ends on Monday!

Please note that the systemd.conf 2016 Call for Participation ends on Monday, on Aug. 1st! Please send in your talk proposal by then! We’ve already got a good number of excellent submissions, but we are very interested in yours, too!

We are looking for talks on all facets of systemd: deployment, maintenance, administration, development. Regardless of whether you use it in the cloud, on embedded, on IoT, on the desktop, on mobile, in a container or on the server: we are interested in your submissions!

In addition to proposals for talks for the main conference, we are looking for proposals for workshop sessions held during our Workshop Day (the first day of the conference). The workshop format consists of a day of 2-3h training sessions, that may cover any systemd-related topic you'd like. We are both interested in submissions from the developer community as well as submissions from organizations making use of systemd! Introductory workshop sessions are particularly welcome, as the Workshop Day is intended to open up our conference to newcomers and people who aren't systemd gurus yet, but would like to become more fluent.

For further details on the submissions we are looking for and the CfP process, please consult the CfP page and submit your proposal using the provided form!

ALSO: Please sign up for the conference soon! Only a limited number of tickets are available, hence make sure to secure yours quickly before they run out! (Last year we sold out.) Please sign up here for the conference!

AND OF COURSE: We are also looking for more sponsors for systemd.conf! If you are working on systemd-related projects, or make use of it in your company, please consider becoming a sponsor of systemd.conf 2016! Without our sponsors we couldn't organize systemd.conf 2016!

Thank you very much, and see you in Berlin!

by Lennart Poettering at July 27, 2016 10:00 PM

July 26, 2016

OSM podcast

July 25, 2016

Libre Music Production - Articles, Tutorials and News

Autotuning & pitch correction with Zita-AT1 in Ardour

Autotuning & pitch correction with Zita-AT1 in Ardour

Be it for correcting those slightly out-of-tune notes from your singer, or going all the way to a Cher effect, an auto-tune plugin might come in handy. There’s not a lot of those designed for Linux, though choices do exist :

by Conor at July 25, 2016 08:20 AM

July 24, 2016

News – Ubuntu Studio

Ubuntu Studio 16.04.1 Released

A new point release of the Xenial Xerus LTS has been released. As usual, this point release includes many updates, and updated installation media has been provided so that fewer updates will need to be downloaded after installation. These include security updates and corrections for other high-impact bugs. Please see the 16.04.1 change summary for […]

by Set Hallstrom at July 24, 2016 09:55 AM

July 19, 2016

open-source – CDM Create Digital Music

Feel the beat on a Magic Trackpad or MacBook with free tool

Don’t like clicks or beeps or other sounds when using a metronome? Try some haptic feedback instead, with this free utility.

First, you’ll need an Apple trackpad that supports haptic feedback. Pretty soon, I suspect that will be all the new MacBooks – most of the line is badly in need of an update (another story there). For now, it’s the 2013 MacBook Pro, and so-called “New MacBook.”

Alternatively, you can use the Magic Trackpad 2. That’s perhaps the best option, because it’s wireless and you can position it anywhere you like – say, atop your keyboard or next to your Maschine.

Then, fire up this free utility, direct MIDI to the app, and you’ll feel as if someone is tapping you with the beat. No annoying sounds anywhere – perfect.

Since it listens to MIDI Clock, you can use any source, from Ableton Live (in turn synced to Ableton Link) to hardware (if it’s connected to your computer). It uses start/stop events to make sure it’s on the beat, then taps you on quarter notes.

The app is open source if anyone wants to check out the code. And you’ll find complete instructions. (Don’t download from the links at the top of the page; look at the beginning of the documentation for a ready-to-run app.)



Next, Apple Watch? (Also with “Taptic Engine™” support.) There are some entries out there, like this one, though they seem to be slightly hampered by the current restrictions on apps from Apple. (I like my Pebble, too!)

The haptic feedback-specialized Basslet, upcoming after a Kickstarter campaign, might actually be the best bet – and I could see people who didn’t buy into the music listening application still buying it for this.

The post Feel the beat on a Magic Trackpad or MacBook with free tool appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

by Peter Kirn at July 19, 2016 01:55 PM

July 18, 2016

Pid Eins

REMINDER! systemd.conf 2016 CfP Ends in Two Weeks!

Please note that the systemd.conf 2016 Call for Participation ends in less than two weeks, on Aug. 1st! Please send in your talk proposal by then! We’ve already got a good number of excellent submissions, but we are interested in yours even more!

We are looking for talks on all facets of systemd: deployment, maintenance, administration, development. Regardless of whether you use it in the cloud, on embedded, on IoT, on the desktop, on mobile, in a container or on the server: we are interested in your submissions!

In addition to proposals for talks for the main conference, we are looking for proposals for workshop sessions held during our Workshop Day (the first day of the conference). The workshop format consists of a day of 2-3h training sessions, that may cover any systemd-related topic you'd like. We are both interested in submissions from the developer community as well as submissions from organizations making use of systemd! Introductory workshop sessions are particularly welcome, as the Workshop Day is intended to open up our conference to newcomers and people who aren't systemd gurus yet, but would like to become more fluent.

For further details on the submissions we are looking for and the CfP process, please consult the CfP page and submit your proposal using the provided form!

And keep in mind:

REMINDER: Please sign up for the conference soon! Only a limited number of tickets are available, hence make sure to secure yours quickly before they run out! (Last year we sold out.) Please sign up here for the conference!

AND OF COURSE: We are also looking for more sponsors for systemd.conf! If you are working on systemd-related projects, or make use of it in your company, please consider becoming a sponsor of systemd.conf 2016! Without our sponsors we couldn't organize systemd.conf 2016!

Thank you very much, and see you in Berlin!

by Lennart Poettering at July 18, 2016 10:00 PM

July 16, 2016

digital audio hacks – Hackaday

Hacklet 116 – Audio Projects

If the first circuit a hacker builds is an LED blinker, the second one has to be a noisemaker of some sort. From simple buzzers to the fabled Atari punk console, and guitar effects to digitizing circuits, hackers, makers and engineers have been building incredible audio projects for decades. This week the Hacklet covers some of the best audio projects on!

vumeterWe start with [K.C. Lee] and Automatic audio source switching. Two audio sources, one amplifier and speaker system; this is the problem [K.C. Lee] is facing. He listens to audio from his computer and TV, but doesn’t need to have both connected at the same time. Currently he’s using a DPDT switch to change inputs. Rather than manually flip the switch, [K.C. Lee] created this project to automatically swap sources for him. He’s using an STM32F030F4 ARM processor as the brains of the operation. The ADCs on the microcontroller monitor both sources and pick the currently active one. With all that processing power, and a Nokia LCD as an output, it would be a crime to not add some cool features. The source switcher also displays a spectrum analyzer, a VU meter, date, and time. It even will attenuate loud sources like webpages that start blasting audio.


muzzNext up is [Adam Vadala-Roth] with Audio Blox: Experiments in Analog Audio Design. [Adam] has 32 projects and counting up on His interests cover everything from LEDs to 3D printing to solar to hydroponics. Audio Blox is a project he uses as his engineer’s notebook for analog audio projects. It is a great way to view a hacker figuring out what works and what doesn’t. His current project is a 4 board modular version of the Big Muff Pi guitar pedal. He’s broken this classic guitar effect down to an input board, a clipping board, a tone control, and an output stage. His PCB layouts, schematics, and explanations are always a treat to view and read!

pauldioNext we have [Paul Stoffregen] with Teensy Audio Library. For those not in the know, [Paul] is the creator of the Teensy family of boards, which started as an Arduino on steroids, and has morphed into something even more powerful. This project documents the audio library [Paul] created for the Freescale/NXP ARM processor which powers the Teensy 3.1. Multiple audio files playing at once, delays, and effects, are just a few things this library can do. If you’re new to the audio library, definitely check out [Paul’s] companion project
Microcontroller Audio Workshop & HaD Supercon 2015. This project is an online version of the workshop [Paul] ran at the 2015 Hackaday Supercon in San Francisco.

drdacFinally we have [drewrisinger] with DrDAC USB Audio DAC. DrDac is a high quality DAC board which provides a USB powered audio output for any PC. Computers these days are built down to a price. This means that lower quality audio components are often used. Couple this with the fact that computers are an electrically noisy place, and you get less than stellar audio. Good enough for the masses, but not quite up to par if you want to listen to studio quality audio. DrDAC houses a PCM2706 audio DAC and quality support components in a 3D printed case. DrDAC was inspired by [cobaltmute’s] pupDAC.

If you want to see more audio projects and hacks, check out our new audio projects list. See a project I might have missed? Don’t be shy, just drop me a message on That’s it for this week’s Hacklet, As always, see you next week. Same hack time, same hack channel, bringing you the best of!

Filed under: digital audio hacks, Hackaday Columns

by Adam Fabio at July 16, 2016 05:01 PM

July 15, 2016

digital audio hacks – Hackaday

Baby Monitor Rebuild is also ESP8266 Audio Streaming How-To

[Sven337]’s rebuild of a cheap and terrible baby monitor isn’t super visual, but it has so much more going on than it first seems. It’s also a how-to for streaming audio via UDP over WiFi with a pair of ESP8266 units, and includes a frank sharing of things that went wrong in the process and how they were addressed. [Sven337] even experimented with a couple of different methods for real-time compression of the transmitted audio data, for no other reason than the sake of doing things as well as they can reasonably be done without adding parts or spending extra money.

receiverThe original baby monitor had audio and video but was utterly useless for a number of reasons (French).  The range and quality were terrible, and the audio was full of static and interference that was just as loud as anything the microphone actually picked up from the room. The user is left with two choices: either have white noise constantly coming through the receiver, or be unable to hear your child because you turned the volume down to get rid of the constant static. Our favorite part is the VOX “feature”: if the baby is quiet, it turns off the receiver’s screen; it has no effect whatsoever on the audio! As icing on the cake, the analog 2.4GHz transmitter interferes with the household WiFi when it transmits – which is all the time, because it’s always-on.

Small wonder [Sven337] decided to go the DIY route. Instead of getting dumped in the trash, the unit got rebuilt almost from the ground-up.

inside_full_2Re-using the enclosures meant that the DIY rebuild was something that looked as good as it worked. After all, [Sven337] didn’t want a duct-taped hack job in the nursery. But don’t let the ugly mess inside the enclosure fool you – there is a lot of detail work in this build. The inside may be a mess of wires and breakout boards, but it’s often a challenge to work within the space constraints of fitting a project into some other device’s enclosure.

The ESP8266 works but is not a completely natural fit for an audio baby monitor, as it lacks a quality ADC and DAC. But on the other hand it is cheap, it is easy to use, and it has plenty of processing power. These attributes are the reason the ESP8266 has made its way into so many projects, including household gadgets like this WiFi webcam.

Filed under: digital audio hacks, how-to

by Donald Papp at July 15, 2016 11:00 PM

July 14, 2016

Libre Music Production - Articles, Tutorials and News

LMP Asks #20: An interview with Marius Stärk

LMP Asks #20: An interview with Marius Stärk

This month LMP Asks talks to Marius Stärk, Linux enthusiast and musician who produces all his music with FLOSS tools.

Hi Marius, thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Where do you live, and what do you do for a living?

My name is Marius Stärk, I'm 28 years old and I live in the city of Aachen, a medium-sized city at Germany's western border, adjacent to Belgium and the Netherlands.

by Conor at July 14, 2016 03:02 PM

July 12, 2016

GStreamer News

GStreamer Core, Plugins, RTSP Server, Editing Services, Python, Validate 1.9.1 unstable release (binaries)

Pre-built binary images of the 1.9.1 unstable release of GStreamer are now available for Windows 32/64-bit, iOS and Mac OS X and Android.

The builds are available for download from: Android, iOS, Mac OS X and Windows.

July 12, 2016 12:00 AM

July 07, 2016

News – Ubuntu Studio

Backports, the benefits and the consequences.

Ubuntu Studio is happy to announce that backports are going to be rolling out soon and the first one will be Ardour. Backports are newer versions of applications, ported back to stable versions of the system. For example in the case of Ardour, Ubuntu Studio users running 14.04 or 16.04 will be able to have […]

by Set Hallstrom at July 07, 2016 10:11 AM

Libre Music Production - Articles, Tutorials and News

July 2016 Newsletter out now - Interviews, News and more

Our newsletter for July is now sent to our subscribers. If you have not yet subscribed, you can do so from our start page.

You can also read the latest issue online. In it you will find:

  • 3 new 'LMP Asks' interviews
  • News
  • New software release announcements

and more!

by admin at July 07, 2016 12:27 AM

July 06, 2016

GStreamer News

GStreamer Core, Plugins, RTSP Server, Editing Services, Python, Validate, VAAPI, OMX 1.9.1 unstable release

The GStreamer team is pleased to announce the first release of the unstable 1.9 release series. The 1.9 release series is adding new features on top of the 1.0, 1.2, 1.4, 1.6 and 1.8 series and is part of the API and ABI-stable 1.x release series of the GStreamer multimedia framework. The unstable 1.9 release series will lead to the stable 1.10 release series in the next weeks. Any newly added API can still change until that point.

Binaries for Android, iOS, Mac OS X and Windows will be provided in the next days.

Check out the release notes for GStreamer core, gst-plugins-base, gst-plugins-good, gst-plugins-ugly, gst-plugins-bad, gst-libav, gst-rtsp-server, gst-python, gst-editing-services, gst-validate, gstreamer-vaapi, or gst-omx, or download tarballs for gstreamer, gst-plugins-base, gst-plugins-good, gst-plugins-ugly, gst-plugins-bad, gst-libav, gst-rtsp-server, gst-python, gst-editing-services, gst-validate, gstreamer-vaapi, or gst-omx.

July 06, 2016 12:00 PM

July 01, 2016

digital audio hacks – Hackaday

1024 “Pixel” Sound Camera Treats Eyes to Real-Time Audio

A few years ago, [Artem] learned about ways to focus sound in an issue of Popular Mechanics. If sound can be focused, he reasoned, it could be focused onto a plane of microphones. Get enough microphones, and you have a ‘sound camera’, with each microphone a single pixel.

Movies and TV shows about comic books are now the height of culture, so a device using an array of microphones to produce an image isn’t an interesting demonstration of FFT, signal processing, and high-speed electronic design. It’s a Daredevil camera, and it’s one of the greatest builds we’ve ever seen.

[Artem]’s build log isn’t a step-by-step process on how to make a sound camera. Instead, he went through the entire process of building this array of microphones, and like all amazing builds the first step never works. The first prototype was based on a flatbed scanner camera, simply a flatbed scanner in a lightproof box with a pinhole. The idea was, by scanning a microphone back and forth, using the pinhole as a ‘lens’, [Artem] could detect where a sound was coming from. He pulled out his scanner, a signal generator, and ran the experiment. It didn’t work. The box was not soundproof, the inner chamber should have been anechoic, and even if it worked, this camera would only be able to produce an image or two a minute.

back8×8 microphone array (mics on opposite side) connected to Altera FPGA at the center

The idea sat in the shelf of [Artem]’s mind for a while, and along the way he learned about FFT and how the gigantic Duga over the horizon radar actually worked. Math was the answer, and by using FFT to transform a microphones signals from up-and-down to buckets of frequency and intensity, he could build this camera.

That was the theory, anyway. Practicality has a way of getting in the way, and to build this gigantic sound camera he would need dozens of microphones, dozens of amplifiers, and a controller with enough analog pins, DACs, and processing power to make sense of all of this.

This complexity collapsed when [Artem] realized there was an off-the-shelf part that was a perfect microphone camera pixel. MEMS microphones, like the kind found in smartphones, take analog sound and turn it into a digital signal. Feed this into a fast enough microcontroller, and you can perform FFT on the signal and repeat the same process on the next pixel. This was the answer, and the only thing left to do was to build a board with an array of microphones.

4x4[Artem]’s camera microphone is constructed out of several modules, each of them consisting of an 8×8 array of MEMS microphones, controlled via FPGA. These individual modules can be chained together, and the ‘big build’ is a 32×32 array. After a few problems with manufacturing, the board actually worked. He was recording 64 channels of audio from a single panel. Turning on the FFT visualization and pointing it at a speaker revealed that yes, he had indeed made a sound camera.
The result is a terribly crude movie with blobs of color, but that’s the reality of a camera that only has 32×32 resolution. Right now the sound camera works, the images are crude, and [Artem] has a few ideas of where to go next. A cheap PC is fast enough to record and process all the data, but now it’s an issue of bandwidth; 30 sounds per second is a total of 64 Mbps of data. That’s doable, but it would need another FPGA implementation.

Is this sonic vision? Yes, technically the board works. No, in that the project is stalled, and it’s expensive by any electronic hobbyist standards. Still, it’s one of the best to grace our front page.

[Thanks zakqwy for the tip!]

Filed under: digital audio hacks, FPGA, slider

by Brian Benchoff at July 01, 2016 08:01 AM