Sunday, August 19, 2012

More EWI tricks - adding 4 part harmonies with EWIVoicing

Got some time to play more with the Akai EWI-USB MIDI wind instrument and put together a funk piece. Still getting the techniques down but used some very interesting software in this one:

I put the piece together in Logic 9 and used WIVI Band for the sounds (Trumpets, trombones, Tenor Sax and Clarinet). WIVI Band is a scaled down version of the Wallander software modeled instruments giving you several of the best instruments in the set which sound pretty realistic particularly when you can use breath controls for expression.

I also came across a very cool application (Mac only), that creates harmonies for any scale you specify and lets you spread them across multiple MIDI channels and consequently multi instruments. This lets you play a brass section all at once in harmony! Very impressive program and its free. Its made in Japan with a semi-broken english page available but I got most of it figured out. The program is EWIVoicing and runs as a stand-alone application on OSX.

This makes using it in Logic a little different than a plugin. You have to use a virtual MIDI port which you set up in the MIDI control panel:

The 4 MIDI channels for the 4 parts is perfect for WIVI band which provides 4 MIDI channels for each instance of the plugin. All you have to do is select one instrument in each tab in WIVI Band, fire up the EWIVoicing and select the desired scale, octave and algorithm to use. Now when you play on the EWI, all 4 parts come right in! 

I used it for the ensemble part of the piece above. I also added solo tracks for Tenor sax and Trumpet. Still learning the tool but I was pretty happy with the sound. Won't fool any jazz musicians but I think the parts sound reasonably realistic. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

House cleaning

Just a quick note if you notice that many of my old posts have broken soundcloud links. I've had to do a little housecleaning since I'm a cheap bastard and won't upgrade beyond the first tier paid membership on soundcloud (I'm out of minutes!).

That's what happens when you're more prolific than talented. In any event, for any fans of archeology, I also have MOST of my stuff dating waaay back to 2004 available on:

Making room on soundcloud for more new noise!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The new Cat

One thing I can be counted on to do is to ignore most advice about safely upgrading my system. After a  very quick survey of Google, I went ahead and upgraded to Mountain Lion on my circa 2009 iMac. Common wisdom is to wait until all plugins and DAWs have certified that they work and have had the bugs shaken out. Hey, who wants their wisdom to be "common"?

So after allocating an hour (and taking 3 hours), upgrade is complete. I ran into a few updates that had to go along with it. My virtual machine software (Parallels) had to be replaced with a newer version as did the drivers for my Canon printer. Easy, but time consuming - particularly parallels since I had to then update the virtual Windows XP version I run under it - just a reminder why I don't enjoy Windows quite so much!

So after all that what broke? Sadly there was one casualty. I use a now defunct utility called "VSTAU" to allow me to run Mac VSTs under logic. The middleware coverts them into an AU wrapper so they can be used in Logic which sadly does not support VSTs. One of my favorite freeware synths (Synth1) no longer works. There are rumors that they will put out an AU version eventually so I'm ok waiting.

The good news is that all of my "mainstream", AU plugins seem to work without issue. I am using the Korg M1, Arturia Mini and Modular, Aalto and many others without any problems. I'm sure I'll see many updates and patches following on but so far so good.

So, since I don't make a living with my iMac and don't make a living with my music software, no reason not to upgrade. If your circumstances differ...well, maybe wait awhile to see what shakes out.