How to setup a hardware synth in Ableton Live

When making electronic music you are no doubt going to use synthesiser. Software synthesisers are much easier to setup, cheaper to obtain and more convenient to use. But hardware synths feel nice, look nice and sound nice. Theres something about touching the actual device thats infinitely more appealing over a plugin with a MIDI controller.

Sometimes setting up hardware can be a nightmare. I have used almost every digital audio workstation (DAW) on the market and Ableton Live is without a doubt the easiest DAW to setup with hardware. In this video I go through the steps of setting up a hardware synth within the software.

 

Maker Faire Adelaide 2016

I recently went to the Maker Faire in Adelaide and I was pretty impressed with what I saw. It’s great to see such innovation and creative ideas in my home town. There were 3D printing everywhere! I think I saw five stalls dedicated to just 3D printing so I’m guessing it’s going to become very affordable in the near future. The drones that I saw from Drone X Labs had their parts actually created by printing them using a 3D printer.

I also saw a lot of gadgets using micro single board processors such as the Arduino and Raspberry Pi. I remember learning about this when I was studying at university. It’s becoming more and more common for young kids to be learning this technology so it is pretty exciting to see what young inventors are going to come up with in the next few years!

 

Should you update to macOS 10.12 Sierra?

I have been a long time Mac user. It started when I was in high school with my first laptop running System 7. But it wasn’t until I went to university and bought a Powerbook G4 that I became a serious user. Throughout my time as a student and as a working professional, I have predominantly used this platform over others in the industry.

I started on Mac OS X 10.3 and over the years have observed ten iterations of Apple’s operating system. I started with the big cats and then moved to places in California. For the most part I have been very happy with Apple’s computers. Their computers are in a league of their own being very well designed with exceptional build quality. Although, in recent years Apple has shifted their focus more towards iOS.

One thing thats has remained consistent throughout the life of macOS is the need to be cautious when upgrading. It’s not unusual for some software to have problems after updating macOS. Sometimes the developer will simply release an update, but other times certain applications or plugins just won’t work.

After the release of OS X 10.11 El Capitan, this became more of an issue due to an increase in security within the operating system. Even though I experienced some problems at the start, I’ve had no problems since the developers released updates for their software. I suspect that macOS 10.12 Sierra has similar security measures to its predecessor.

In this video I take a look at macOS 10.12 Sierra and test it with some of the most common music production software.

 

Audeze EL-8 Review & Lightning Headphones Discussion

Apple recently announced their new iPhone 7. Personally I don’t see this iPhone as a significant update from the iPhone 6s. Usually when the iPhone has a full number incremental update, the design is quite different. However the iPhone 7 has an almost identical form factor as the previous version.

Perhaps the most significant change is decision to ditch the headphone jack. Apple are trying to push wireless as the future of listening to music. Perhaps they are right, but in this video I wanted to look at another trend that has only just started. That is using the Lightning Connector on the iPhone to connect headphones.

I’m not really convinced that this is going to be the way of the future. My main reason is that the iPhone is only one part of the market. There is a huge market of Android smartphone users who may want to make use of a digital output for audio. In this scenario I predict headphones manufacturers making headphones to connect via USB-C.

I believe it would have been a smarter move by Apple to use the USB-C port on their iOS devices. They can still use all the benefits of power and data transfer using a digital connection but at the same time make it easier for headphones manufacturers to stick to a single port. The Macbooks use USB-C for this purpose. Wouldn’t it make sense to do the same with their iOS devices? This was more a business decision than anything else. Headphone manufacturers now will need to pay a licensing fee to use the Lightning Connector.

In this video I take a look at a set of Lightning Headphones, the EL-8’s by Audeze. I also outline what I see as the benefits and drawbacks of using this connector type for music.

Ableton Live with the Virus TI Snow

I first started using the Virus TI Snow years ago but it has taken me a while to learn how to use it properly. It has some amazing sounds and I love the ease of the plugin user interface. I think its a great synth for music production and sound design.

In this video I take you through how I set up this synthesiser in Ableton Live. I find this method quite efficient because it keeps your session organised and allows you to use all four voices of the synth.