Carbonformed developments

•15/04/2014 • Leave a Comment

So the getting down of vocals has proven to be no easy feat. It always sounds good and right when the idea is running through your head but to then transfer that to ‘tape’ for the first time opens up so many issues, foremost of which is the kind of voice you have!
Not having a bad voice (so i’m told) but having the lack of confidence of a true vocal noob, i entered this phase with a few doubts and wasn’t expecting wonders first take. Also, not wanting to sound like a karaoke singer on a dark, industrial track, i quickly realised i need to do a bit of processing before committing to the final mix.

I guess in a way i’m lucky in that the vocal needs to be quite gritty and harsh, and so a little crushing and distortion add a fair bit of protection to any ego i had, but it adds a world of hurt when mixing such harsh sounds with the vocal track. Swings and roundabouts! So not yet having the confidence to drive through the Darklight vocals i allowed myself to get sidetracked by some new demo’s to practise on.

With the new demo’s under my belt, it’s time to put what i learned in to practise and get back to finishing off Darklight and getting it completed.

Watch this space….

20140415-093813.jpg

Carbonish on the A&E Weekly Podcast!

•15/11/2013 • 1 Comment

Carbonish on the A&E Weekly Podcast!

The guys at the Weekly Podcast.net Alternative and Experimental Oddcast have seen fit to plant one of my tracks, ‘Darklight’, into their Oddcast show and given me a fantastic warm feeling this morning.

These guys check out Independant Soundcloud artists and put out weekly shows for listeners via their website and on soundcloud catering for both the more ‘regular’ indie scene as well as their ‘Oddcast’ which focusses on more alternative styles and genres.

Go give these guys a listen!

Catchup and update #1 – Free Music!

•07/11/2013 • Leave a Comment

First things first – nope, there’s no catch… Free music from Carbonish is now available on the web right now!

So much has been happening over the last few months, and so I need to do a catch up.

I guess the first big news is that all my ‘early’ works are either already or very soon to be (for the ones not there yet) to be released on Bandcamp for download on a Free/Pay What You Want arrangement.

Currently there are 2 EP’s up, Carbonism and Uploader. Both are demo level EP’s covering some of the work from the first 18 months of production. An additional5 track EP will be ready soon with the third installment of my early material. This will draw a line in the sand ready for the next EP… more news soon!

These 3 EP’s are basically what the bigger established bands do once they make it famous, to release early demo’s and rarities, except I can’t be doing with that and so i’m getting it out of the way now. If you head to my BandCamp page it’ll be there, waiting. And if you like it enough or feel so inclined you are able to offer me cold hard cash for my efforts too! No catch. So get on there and enjoy it! You’ll find my page and a hint to further news here…

Carbonish on BandCamp

Thanks for listening.

Carbonish.

 

 

Working towards the first EP… Thalassofrantic

•13/04/2013 • Leave a Comment

The time came along where I felt a break in my initial set of tracks had occurred, and a line drawn in the sand ready to prepare for something new.

The time has come to go on and master the selection of tracks i’ve produced for the ‘ThalassoFrantic’ EP over the coming months while working on sessions for something new.  I’ve already got ideas which kicked off with the dark ambient track ‘The Bergman Query’, but in my usual style the second session has ended up with an upbeat ‘dark disco’ bit of electronica due to be demoed soon. I love the way things evolve, I never go into a session with preconcieved ideas, its all about the flow…

Auria – a true ‘Pro’ DAW on your iPad.

•21/02/2013 • 1 Comment

image

Auria by WaveMachine Labs has been reviewed in depth by a number of pro bloggers and reviewers before so i wondered what i might be able to add for us users, looking at this incredible piece of software, that doesn’t repeat whats been written before – it wasn’t easy, but…

Auria is a pro level multitrack recorder capable of up to 48 tracks at up to 96khz (24bit) on iPad4 (24 track on iPad2).

Auria loading - mixer screen

Auria loading – mixer screen

So much has been said about the quality of the app and FX and believe me it is the dogs bollocks as far as anything released on iOS so far, both the sound quality and manipulability (if thats a valid word) really do knock everything else well down the list! The in-app purchases may seem pricey for iOS standards, but this IS a pro quality app and as such, the prices are cheap in comparison to PC/MAC based features.

Down to the nitty gritty and setting up for a session, when initially running up Auria the time stamp is given as actual time. If like me you’re more used to bars/beats, hit the transport position (top right) for the transport controls dropdown. This gives you the basic controls you’ve been looking for and its good to familiarise yourself. Tempo is found under the Menu>Settings option.
All of these are very handy to know once you’re flying!

"Beats and Bars"

“Beats and Bars”

Set the positioner snap (# type symbol dropdown), metronome and count-in. If importing loops and samples, the count-in and metronome may not be so important.

One key feature of Auria is everything is carried out in one of two windows, mixer and edit (waveform tracks) view, making location and manipulation a total breeze.

If using either audiobus or external recording via usb interface, set loop mode on and use the locator button (top menu button bar, arrow pointing at vertical line) to set the in/out points for where you wish to record.

Audiobus recording takes a little time to get used to, but before long it hangs together quite sweetly. Use the ‘Input Matrix’ (from the main menu), select Audiobus input on the track you require for inputs 1 & 2 only, arm the recording on the track and you’re ready.

Input matrix set up for Audiobus recording

Input matrix set up for Audiobus recording

ACP works superbly, as with virtually all apps, being called from the ‘Edit’ dropdown. Select your file, set its track and position and even how many copies/loops you require and hit ok. Job done.

Once you get your recording completed, editing and moving the sections around is an equally simple process. Edit if the section outline is blue (tap once) and move if red (second tap). For something so complex, things have been made pretty simple. Editing options are exactly what you might need, all the basics are there and all recordable, including the additional manipulation of all the usual mixer functions, fades as well as your main channel strip effects (expander, EQ and compressor) parameters.

Dealing with the effects, the simplest way i’ve found to use them is to initially rely on the various default settings to get the basic effect and then tune it furter from there. Certainly this seems the best way until you have a better understanding of the parameters action. Or you are a pro and already know.

Effects and FX

Effects and FX

Now we start hitting the niggly problem for lower spec iPad users, memory issues. I’m running on iPad2 so regularly see the low memory warning popup regularly. Most of the time this can be ignored, but it can cause crashes.

Track freezing is an ideal way to cease the constant processing required for each track you’re working with, once you are satisfied with where it is then freeze it, freeing up resources for what you are currently working on. You can unfreeze anytime, all with a single touch of a button.

One hint i found to clear extra memory space is to clear the ‘other’ data that shows in the usage bar on itunes (this has been reported up to 16GB of space unusable). It contains iOS amongst other things so 1-2 GB is expected, but extra space can be cleared by the following… http://osxdaily.com/2011/10/18/itunes-other-capacity-taking-up-tons-of-space-fix/

When running Auria, keep your other app usage to a minimum, especially if also using audiobus. Use just the apps you need, forget twitter/email/facebook whilst doing this, you need the space for the important work you’re doing.

If you follow this advice you’ll have a far better chance to complete your work with only a few minor issues and not lose your changes. Or get an iPad4 (not an opton for most)!

Once the tune is ready to go, mixdown the song and export in the same process to either Soundcloud or your Dropbox or even return it back into Auria as a single track (bouncing). You even have the option of selecting the bitrate at either 16, 24 or 32 bit resolution giving you true pro quality masters.

Mixdown & Export in one operation

Mixdown & Export in one operation

There are a lot more features here i haven’t touched on, but the idea here is covering the basics and showing how simple it is, not the big scary beast that the specs lead you to believe.

Conclusion.
Ignore the price, this app is worth the money its costing. The sound quality and effects are unbelievable but on iPad2 the memory issue can really grind you down if you let them.
The procedures and processes carried out on this app are far simpler than the technical specs hint at, work flow is straightforward once you get to grips with where things are in the menu’s, but even that is not a challenge.

image

Personally, my use for Auria is as a mastering tool, creating my tracks elsewhere with sequencers of one brand or another, and then importing the track here for final mastering, not for the soundcloud demo’s i put up, but for the final stage before i might hopefully release my own EP etc some day.

This really is a fantastic iDAW app. The best. Hands down. The only question in my mind for people is are they ready to take their productions to a pro level, if so then the money is extremely well spent.
The developer is shit hot on updating the app with fixes and deveopments, and the support/forum is espcially useful and very active for hint, tips and assistance.

Check the WaveMachine Labs website HERE

Go check out/buy Auria here… badge_appstore-lrg

For one of the best and in depth set of reviews on all aspects of Auria, see Smite Matter’s set if app and IAP reviews HERE

Enjoy and keep going with that music making!
Carbonish.

Audiobus/sequencing/recording tests – Beatmaker 2 vMidi Sequencing

•13/01/2013 • 3 Comments

Well, after my last blogpost (Audiobus sequencing post) i thought it only fair to investigate the options for supporting Audiobus with a currently available linear virtual midi sequencer running on iPad2.

Seeing as i’ve had Beatmaker2 sitting on my ipad for an eternity it’s the perfect choice for the test (being virtual midi enabled and linear in its recording/sequencing method). My initial concern regarding this app is all the additional features it has available and the amount of CPU this would grab, especially as the whole purpose of this experiment is to run as much synth power as possible and record the combined (and sequenced) output.

In Beatmaker (BM2 from here on), opening a new project and using 3 instances of the keyboard sampler instrument, I selected no sound or presets for the instruments which instead were set for virtual midi outputs on channels 4, 5 & 6 respectively.
Sunrizer, Sunrizer XS and Magellan were opened up and configured each to one of the vMidi channels, BM2 was checked to be sending to the iSynths and a simple sequence assigned to play on each synth.

So far so good. Everything sequenced is running through and playing back with 100% clarity. Now for recording…

Apps running under Audiobus

Apps running under Audiobus

Ran up Audiobus app, set the 3 synths up in the input slots (one restriction, 3 inputs maximum when recording) and set the output destination as the AudioShare app. My gut feeling is AudioShare has the smallest CPU drain of the current selection of output apps, plus the recordings can be ACP’d directly or even posted straight to soundcloud.

Ready to rock and roll – switch back to one of the synths, use the audiobus panel to start recording, fast switch to BM2, hit play… and… relax. Everthing fell in to place seamlessly. Switching mid recording over to Audioshare to watch to sequence fade and stop the recording caused no glitch, nothing. So we’ve got a successful test run recording the three synths, so what’d i do next?? Upload of course🙂

So this got me thinking. We have been given a single effect slot on audiobus. And the NLog synths have the ability to fill this… then i wonder if the NLog could also be used as a forth sequenced synth? Interesting thought…

Killed off Audioshare for the time being, set up NLogPro in the Audiobus effects slot, vMidi channel 7. Added a new instrument in BM2 set up to suit and programmed an additional sequence for it. Noticed a bit of audio glitching, but nothing horrendous. Opened Audioshare and the glitching became far worse, unworkable.

Swapped out Magellan for its smaller iPhone counterpart, Magellan Jr. Also swapped NLogPro for NLogMini. Audio improved and playback was far far better.

Four sequenced synths

Four sequenced synths

This is where things become slightly confused. i tried this twice, identical setup and everything. The first time when i switched back to Audioshare, the audio glitching returned but only while recording. It took 1:30 to record the 45 second sequence, however undeterred i replayed the recording to find it perfect! My belief is the glitch comes from the overworked CPU which carries out both audio rendition and recording function simultaneously, hence the glitches are in time are synchronised across the board and therefore not apparent in the final recording. Interesting, still usable but a bit hit and miss.
Here is the second test result…

Take 2 of the second test came the following day. I expanded the sequence from 16 to 24 bars and reselected some of the sounds. Actual setup was no different whatsoever. This time there was no glitching either on playback ir recording, no issues at all. Perfect sound, perfect rendition. And here it is…

So, it is possible to run 4 iSynths, using the smallest CPU footprints possible, using BM2 as the sequencer for them and to record them using Audiobus.
Other iSynths that i did try during Audiobustest 1 but were immediately detrimental to the process were: Cassini, Samplr, PPG WaveGenerator and iPolySix. These all came out as being a bit too CPU heavy when it comes to multitrack recording, but they will pr.

Whilst carrying out these tests i’d been discussing my goings on on twitter, taking advice and ideas from others as the procedures progressed.
One interesting test carried out by Clif Johnston ( iClif.me ) is that he setup and tried ‘#Audiobustest 1’ but used MultiTrack DAW as the output (recording) device to find each synth was recorded on a separate channel within the DAW! Something i was completely unaware of, and a very handy feature!

Prognosis (conclusion):
So it looks like the possibility of multiple synths with a linear sequencing package is already a reality, so long as you can put a bit of time in to BM2. Still having a hard time recording & manipulating controller movement. Some work, some dont.
Hardware/processing power is always going to be the hold-up factor with regard to what you might want to do, but certainly running the smaller synths it is possible to put together a backing track (and more) and record it in Multitrack, and then add additional live or sequenced parts, drums, whatever.
The process is not as impossible as i had originally believed, but there are still a few things in the way.
In these times of getting by I, like many of us, cant afford to keep upgrading my iPad, and i won’t ask for that to be thought of as any kind of urgent need at home. I will get by with what i have, use what is available to me and see how it can be abused and moulded into something useable. But i still don’t know if i’ll get along with BM2…

Epilogue.
You may have noticed there are no drum apps included in the testing here. A while ago i tried testing Genome with as much as i could. One thing which that testing taught me was that drum apps seem very greedy when it comes to CPU hogging so for now i’ve ignored them. On a real track, i’d sequence the synths as usual, but would carry out the recording of the drums seperately, either from a sequenced track within BM2 or sequenced patterns within whichever drum app i was to use.

And a final set of Thanks…
Many thanks must go to Clif Johnston , Upright_Music , Sinapsya , Paul Collins , SmiteMatter and of course AudiobusApp AudiobusApp for encouragement.

Audiobus – revolution starts with a fizz… waiting for the BANG

•06/01/2013 • 3 Comments

I know this is possibly going to come across (or be taken) as being negative by some, but it is not meant to be. Hopefully it will be appreciated for what it is, a pointer to what is still missing from the world of app support for Audiobus and hopefully a plea to the Dev’s who put such excellent apps together… This is what i think we (the Users) are crying out for.

image

The introduction of Audiobus has indeed been an auspicious event, pretty much unprecedented, certainly in the iOS music world. But for me there is still so much missing to deliver the completely new working environment and potential for the users… the customers.
Yes, we have a large number of synths, drum machines and micro-composers squirting a channel of audio through a seperate effect app and into either another synth (or sampler), a looper or into a MultiTrack DAW channel. We can do this with individual sequences or through live performance on some truly excellent synths. We can even put together a sequence on a synth and record that through Audiobus with it sync’d through WIST or virtual midi with other apps running other sequences in the background.
In isolation the Audiobus feature is fantastically impressive, the ability to do these things, but to compose a complete song like this is thoroughly impractical. There is more mucking about than there ever was using Audio Copy/Paste and currently for me it really is just not worth the hassle. If i find this a problem, i really wonder how many others are too.

As a purely electro composer (of many varieties), writing on my travels with just me and an iPad, when i write a song i get a riff or a tune going, add harmonies, a beat, maybe some sound effects if i have any ready and in mind, working on sections and segments of the song as i go, jumping around as things come to me. I tweak the track on the fly, i edit and alter the sounds as i go, this i cannot do with Audiobus.

The only thing i believe we need though (if any Devs are reading this) is a low cpu impact virtual midi sequencer. Able to record and edit both Note and CC data (midi learn type function would be ideal) is all it should need and keep it within a tiny cpu footprint. Something like Genome but timeline based (like all the typical and best selling DAW’s there are). I want to record my modulations so i can edit and perfect the performances before committing to the audio file, then i can revisit later to edit and remix the midi file if needs be before creating a fresh recording. I can sequence an entire song, even sequence effects settings if the app is virtual midi enabled… How awesome would that be?
By the time i’m ready to record i have a track written with all the midi control done, all that’s needed is the recording (track by track) into an iDAW for which we really hope the choice will increase soon. From there we add lyrics or vocal effects through ACP or recording through Audiobus to the iDAW and then master the track from there.
The two methods, Audiobus and ACP, will never replace the other and both will always be required, no matter what you think of them.

Currently Audiobus is a wonderful tool if recording live performance or a looping progressive ambient/trance track (listen to the AudioBus soundcloud group) but composing a regular, structured track remains an absolute headache, Audiobus does not yet come into it.

We need this last piece of support, this simplistic virtual midi sequencer to write our compositions and really explode the possibilities of Audiobus’s potential and drive iOS music up to a level not yet achieved.

Come on guys, give us what we need (please!!!), or give us an inkling that something like this is on its way.

I hope this does not disuade poeple from investigating Audiobus. Check out whats happening with it on YouTube and Soundcloud.

Appstore_audiobus

P.S. i know Genome is a virtual midi sequencer which could do this, but it is pattern based and a bit of a pig to bash out your inspiration on. Try it and tell me i’m wrong. Plus, not a great method.

P.P.S. it is also heavily rumoured that Cubasis and BeatMaker2 (still in Beta) are due to implement Audiobus alongside their current virtual midi possibilities, however both of these have features eating up resources and leaving less cpu for the synthesis we want to be running while composing. Plus we are still waiting for more news on these updates. Not a great method.

P.P.P.S. Auria. With Audiobus is a wonderful idea. With a virtual midi sequencer too means you’ll have to run this massive, hungry package when you need your resources for the sound generating apps while composing. Not a great method.

Disclaimer… If i do have any key points incorrect, please let me know and i will revise and apologise. If i do have errors it is due to the many different news posts and rumours flowing around the iOS world, however the base point of this post still remains.