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Video: Introduction to DB33 Organ in Pro Tools LE February 20, 2009

Posted by ConnorSmith in : Pro Tools, Videos, Virtual Instruments , add a comment

This is a short introduction to DB33, Digidesign’s new B3 organ instrument in Pro Tools LE. I go through the basic functions of each section and show you how each alters the organ’s sound.

AOTD: VI December 9, 2008

Posted by Damon Sink in : Composing, Digital Audio Workstations, Virtual Instruments , 1 comment so far

VI: Virtual Instrument. This can be an emulation of a real instrument like a trumpet or violin, or a strictly synth-based sound. It’s called “virtual” because your computer is creating the sound from digital information and instructions in the VI programming. You play a keyboard controller and the instrument responds. All of this sound generating used to be done strictly by “standalone” (now sometimes called “outboard”) synths–either with keyboards (think DX7) or without (think Roland 1080).

A great resource: Virtual Instruments Magazine

Examples are Garageband instruments, Spectrasonic Triology Bass instrument, NI-Kontakt (sampler), or Play (from East West Soundsonline). Yours truly has too many of these to count. If you are in the market, ask a question and I’ll be glad to help.

The Studio Files

Fix for Audio Glitch: GarageBand, Logic & OS 10.4.11 April 22, 2008

Posted by PJ in : Digital Audio Workstations, Digital home recording studios, GarageBand, Troubleshooting, Virtual Instruments , 2comments

After recently installing Software update 10.4.11 for OSX, I found that some of my Logic and Garageband software instruments produced a crackling, distorted sound during playback and recording. Audio from other sources (iTunes, Quicktime, etc) seemed to be working fine. Oddly enough, the quickest solution was to turn OFF AirPort while using Logic or GB. I’ve since installed an older version of the AirPort software and after repairing permissions and rebooting – everything seems to be in order. For anyone having similar problems, try the two solutions mentioned above and let us know how things work out. I’ll keep you all posted on an update. 

Update: It has been reported on the Apple Support forums (thread here) that the July 2008 Airport update does indeed fix this problem.  The update (for OSX Tiger only) can be found here. 


Add Nintendo sounds to GarageBand with this free 8-bit Plugin March 31, 2008

Posted by PJ in : Digital home recording studios, GarageBand, plugins (plug-ins), Virtual Instruments , 5comments

NES GarageBand

If you’ve ever found yourself humming the overworld theme from The Legend of Zelda or have the title track from Battletoads on your iPod, then you should definitely check out the “Magical 8-bit Plug” for GarageBand (or any app that supports AU plugins). (more…)

Video: Introduction to Instrument Tracks in Logic Studio Pro March 28, 2008

Posted by ConnorSmith in : Logic Studio 8, Videos, Virtual Instruments , 1 comment so far

This video will show you how to create, setup, and use instrument tracks in Logic Pro. First, I show you how to pick instruments from the library browser. Then, I show you two different ways to create instruments in the Mixer window (first with manually inserting instruments, and then by using the channel strip settings). (more…)

Logic for Pro Tools users Part 6: Creating and Using Virtual Instruments March 10, 2008

Posted by ConnorSmith in : Logic Studio 8, Pro Tools, Virtual Instruments , 3comments

Virtual instruments are awesome in Logic Studio 8.

Logic comes with a TON of instruments and sounds. Plus, it is very easy to get started making music with the media/loop browsers. Whether you are new to virtual instruments altogether and need a tutorial, or are switching to Logic from another DAW (like Pro Tools), this article should help you become fluent in setting up and making great sounds with Logic’s virtual instruments. (more…)

GarageBand update: 4.1.2 March 4, 2008

Posted by Damon Sink in : Apple, Project Studio, Virtual Instruments , add a comment

Looks like a winner:

Apple – Support – Downloads – GarageBand 4.1.2
About GarageBand 4.1.2
This update improves overall stability and addresses issues with the automation of software instrument parameters, FireWire and USB based audio devices and Magic GarageBand.

Composition: MIDI Makes the Difference March 1, 2008

Posted by Damon Sink in : Composing, Notation, Virtual Instruments , add a comment

Composers have always pursued talented musicians in the hopes of convincing them to perform new pieces of music. The main challenge is communicating some sense of our musical ideas in a way that will let the performer know what we are all about–that is, we try to answer the questions in advance: “So, what is your music like?” “In what style do you write?”

The real question behind these polite, superficial questions is, “Will I, as a performer, find it rewarding to spend the time necessary to learn and perform your new piece?”

This is a really good question. If your art form is painting or sculpture, then you can produce new works on your own, fully formed, without ever really relying on the (more…)

Digidesign Virtual Instruments box set updated (for Leopard) February 28, 2008

Posted by ConnorSmith in : Digidesign, Leopard, Virtual Instruments , add a comment

Hmm… maybe this is old news, but I just learned about it today.

Anyone who uses Pro Tools with Digidesign (AIR) instruments in Leopard has probably seen the “yellow interface” problem before. For some reason, Strike, Velvet, Hybrid, and even XPand had an odd, bright yellow interface window in Leopard. This made working with the synths literally impossible. (Structure has been running without this yellow interface for most people.) There is an update available from Digidesign for each of the four programs mentioned above that will supposedly fix the interface problems.


Composing: Virtual Instruments 101 February 12, 2008

Posted by Damon Sink in : Composing, Notation, Virtual Instruments , 3comments

If you want to write music with a computer, no matter what software you decide to use, you will probably want to start employing virtual instruments to let you hear the most realistic playback of your sketches in real time. Virtual instruments are essentially computer programs designed to respond to MIDI messages and then play the sound(s) of a particular instrument back for you. Most often, this is accomplished through a detailed process of sampling (recording) the notes of the instrument and then programming an interface that will mediate the MIDI performance information (turn this note on, hold it for this long, make it louder, etc.) and “trigger” the appropriate samples.

For many years this sort of functionality was the province of external hardware synthesizers or the synthesizers built in to a MIDI keyboard. You would record or notate (more…)

So your Virtual Instruments don’t work in Pro Tools… February 12, 2008

Posted by ConnorSmith in : Leopard, Pro Tools, Virtual Instruments , 2comments

Apple just released 10.5.2. Hours later, Digidesign announced an update for Pro Tools HD that will make it compatible with 10.5.1. ???? Why would they do that?

For all of the LE users out there (including myself), Pro Tools incompatibility with Leopard has been a big headache. This is obviously not all on Digidesign, as Leopard CoreAudio is buggy and 3rd party plug-in/VI companies are also having a hard time getting compatibility.

However, most of us have the “audio part” of Pro Tools working just fine. I get the occasional weird buffer error or CPU spike, but for the most part, recording audio into Pro Tools with Leopard 10.5.1 has been no problem. But using virtual instruments?? Big Problems. Even Digidesign’s own VI Box Set is shaky.  With a little patience and creativity, you can still be very productive in your studio.

Composing with Finale® February 9, 2008

Posted by Damon Sink in : Composing, Notation, Virtual Instruments , add a comment

The blank measures stare back at me, defying me, mocking me…

Well, not exactly. But I am getting started writing a piece for piano quintet that I am going to talk about here. Maybe even post snippets. The main thing is to go through the process of using a notation program to create a piece for live musicians to play. For me, this is where music technology started… way back in 1993 when I got my first computer. (more…)

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