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  • #16
    First of all, if you live in the USA, I hope you had a great holiday weekend

    Second, welcome Wolfram! Feel free to add any comments you'd like.

    Third, let's get into MARIO, which is an algorithm-based variation generator for the drum, slicer, and phrase sequencers (or as I prefer to call it, the "Shapeshifter" module). Let's look at how it affects drums.

    Referring to the attached image, MARIO can affect your choice of targets: Rhythm, Level, Timing, Pitch, Filter, Decay, and Pan. You can choose as many or as few as you want.

    The way it works is you set the amount of "MARIO-ization" you want with the knob, from minimum (fully counter-clockwise) to maximum (fully clockwise). Each time you click on the Apply button, it creates another variation.

    But what happens if you click it 12 times, then decide that the 8th variation was the one you really wanted? That's the purpose of the back/forward buttons to the left and right, respectively, of the MARIO knob. You can step backward and forware through MARIO's history of variations until you find the one you want.

    Now check out the WMV and Quicktime videos (note that the WMV version offers better quality for a given file size, so if you can open WMV, so much the better). I've used a split-screen video technique that places the MARIO button in the upper right corner, so you can see it being clicked, and see how it affects the pattern in the main part of the screen. Toward the end of the video, I used the back button to return to the original pattern.

    I like Mario a lot, but I do wish the minimum position could be even more minimum. Sometimes all I want is a really minor variation, and it seems that MARIO likes to be a little aggressive sometimes...maybe you could dial the minimum back a bit before the final release? Then again, I suppose I could always just change the pattern a bit manually, and save a different version.
    Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

    Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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    • #17
      Well, that's all for today...it's kind of time-consuming to do the videos, so that limits the number of posts I can do in the allotted time. On the other hand, if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is probably worth 20 posts

      If you have any problems viewing the videos, please post and let us know what browser you're using. If you can only download something that says "attachment.PHP," just change the file type to what it's supposed to be (e.g., .MOV) and you should be able to open it.
      Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

      Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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      • #18
        So...is anyone else out there using the software? What do you think? I'm curious what opinions y'all might have about Transfuser.
        Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

        Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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        • #19
          I downloaded the Transfuser preview as soon as it became available - I think it's incredibly exciting. I've already got several "ideas" files percolating away that I plan to turn into songs.

          Though I haven't completely gotten into it, with the time I have spent, this looks to be a great tool for working with loops. But I see applications for it beyond "standard" rhythm loop sorts of things. I'll try to post back as I work with it more.

          I'd love to hear what others are doing with it. It would also be great to get more Transfuser tips and suggestions from Wolfram and Peter Gorges -- straight from the developers!

          I'm looking forward to the full release.
          Mitch Gallagher
          Editorial Director
          Sweetwater
          -----
          www.mitchgallagher.com

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          • #20

            ....
            I'd love to hear what others are doing with it. It would also be great to get more Transfuser tips and suggestions from Wolfram and Peter Gorges -- straight from the developers!
            ...


            Here ya go, Mitch - I've asked my guys for a bunch of simple but useful tricks. Paul Kellett, our senior mastermind and the guy behind a lot of stuff in Transfuser, including the effects, goes ahead:

            Insert a reverb effect before the Gater effect. This fills in any gaps in the audio so makes the gating effect stronger, and is especially good on an Audio Input track used as a send effect for your other tracks in Pro Tools

            For a vintage drum-machine sound, insert the Lo-Fi effect, switch on Anti-Alias and adjust the Sample Rate to between 8 and 16 kHz. This will add a vintage "crunch" without the hard edge of normal bitcrusher/decimator effects.

            Load a vocal sample into a Phrase track (or any sound that is both pitched and rhythmic), switch Tempo Sync OFF and adjust the speed knob to zero or a very low value. Now move the sample start marker while playing to find interesting textures within the sample. The different Mode settings will also play the sample with different textures.

            Crossfade between drum sounds with velocity: In the Drums module, load samples into both "Sample A" and "Sample B". Then on the Amp tab set the Vel knob to 100% for one sample and -100% for the other. [check terminology matches user guide]

            Add a sub-octave using the BeatCutter effect as a send. Turn down Repeat, Reorder, Gate and Freeze, but set Scratch to 100% and "Oct Down" Type.

            ....to be continued ....
            -------------------
            Peter Gorges
            Director - Digidesign A.I.R. Group
            www.digidesign.com/air

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            • #21
              Next in line: Mario Reinsch (yes, the guy behind M.A.R.I.O) - part 1 of 2:


              ***Applying complete FX sections to an existing track***

              Many of the the tracks you find in the tracks folders have complex and perfectly worked out FX sections. To apply their complete sections to an existing track browse to a folder you expect to have tracks with cool fx settings, such as "Percussive Textures" and drag one of the tracks, dropping it onto the fx section of the existing track. You will find TF extracting all FX settings and applyig them to your track. Notice that in a similar way you can copy FX section between existing tracks.

              *** Burn audio ***

              If you prefer to work with Audio rather than MIDI-triggering loops, just replace MIDI-triggered Transfuser tracks by audio - using the Recorder Module:
              Once you’ve created a bunch of loops, sequences and variations for your song in Transfuser (which may already be ALL the material for your song), solo a track, start playing inside Transfuser and drag the result from the recorder module into ProTools. Set an adequate bar length in the recorder before. Repeat for all tracks – done.

              Save the TF setting to be able to re-create stuff or add more variations later, then close TF and work with Audio Regions only.


              *** A few words about M.A.R.I.O. ***

              We’re getting asked many times about what the difference between M.A.R.I.O and conventional randomization is. The full answer would be complex and give away proprietary secrets, but I can give away some:

              M.A.R.I.O algorithms analyze what the user has programmed so far. Then they tag the material with properties in terms of musical meaning, use these properties for a search in smart tables containing all kind of musical styles to find sort of similar (or less similar when Depth is high) phrases resp. rhythms, randomly select some of them and merge them randomly to create one unique but still similar phrase or rhythm. Finally that result gets merged with the original phrase. Sounds complex, is complex – but real easy to use.

              I’m a dance musician, and M.A.R.I.O allows me to skip inventing new basslines. Here’s what I do: I’d just program a bassline that`s typical for my style. Then, with target=phrase and low-medium depth, I start applying M.A.R.I.O.. Bassline galore, and most of them are real good.

              ....to be continued ....
              -------------------
              Peter Gorges
              Director - Digidesign A.I.R. Group
              www.digidesign.com/air

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              • #22
                This is great stuff, Peter!!! Thanks for pitching in while I'm on the road...I'll be back home on Friday, when I can get back to posting movies and other fun stuff
                Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

                Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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                • #23
                  I am thinking of adding Hd to my setup for certain projects.

                  How can I "try" this software out ?
                  www.myspace.com/memyselfandus

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                  • #24
                    To try out Transfuser, follow the link in the first post of this thread.
                    Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

                    Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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                    • #25
                      It's good to be home, so it's back to Pro Reviews. Having pretty much nailed the Drum Synth and Drum Sequencer (we'll cover some more details later), let's move on to Phrase-land. First, a little background.

                      The Phrase section is designed to load audio clips into the Phrase Synth shown in the first image, and beat-match them to the tempo. You can think of this as the "Sony Acid" or "Ableton Live" module, but there are additional interactions with the Phrase Sequencer. (The Slicer section also allows time-stretching, but it uses the REX "slice the audio into little bits and sequence them" model instead of the DSP-based time-stretching used in the Phrase Synth. We'll cover the Slicer section after we've finished up with the Phrase section.)

                      Once the audio is in the Phrase Synth, you can open up the GUI as shown in the first image, and do a whole bunch of stuff - from changing the stretch mode to adding envelopes for Amp and Filter, as well as alter pitch. There's also a corresponding Phrase Sequencer, seen in the second image, that allows changing the phrase itself as well as filtering, decay, level, and panning via MIDI or the most excellent MARIO control we met while in Drum-land.

                      The PDF that comes with the Preview version isn't very specific about the Phrase section, so I'm probably going to miss a fair amount of stuff. Hopefully the A.I.R. guys will chime in to give a more complete picture.

                      Overall, it seems to me that the Phrase Sequencer is more about creating rhythmic patterns based on the phrase loaded into the synthesizer via step-sequencing type techniques. Think "Power chord played through AdrenaLinn with step sequencing applied," but that's only one element (although it's the one I gravitated to first, because I like the whole MARIO thing). Let's dig deeper into the Phrase Synth and Seq.
                      Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

                      Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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                      • #26
                        Let’s look at the Phrase Synth. First off, though, I think I found a bug: When I loaded the Rich Strings Cm7+9 phrase (a lush string pad) and set play mode to loop, it only played through once and then the audio died – even though the sequencer continued to play. I noticed that the sound was being triggered by a long MIDI note from the Phrase Seq that extended through all four bars, which made me suspect that the Phrase Seq was seeing the note-off, but the next note-on happened so quickly thereafter it was missed when the loop returned to the beginning. Sure enough - if I shortened the note, even by just a tiny bit, all was well.

                        Anyway, looking at the Phrase Synth in the attached image, you see the waveform used to construct the phrase at the top of the window, and below it, envelopes for filter and amplitude. As expected, the filter offers various responses – lowpass, bandpass, highpass, and EQ. There are also master filter controls for cutoff, resonance, envelope, and level.

                        Where it gets interesting is the Mode option. I think these are different stretching algorithms and playback options, as they all have a major effect on the sound. Sample seems to be your basic change-sample-rate-to-change file sort of thing; I don’t know for sure about Vocodize, like whether you get an input from somewhere else, but it’s all very interesting. There’s also a Tempo Sync button and Pitch controls for Semitones (plus and minus 24 semitones) and cents (plus and minus 100 cents).

                        I’m hoping someone from A.I.R. can give a brief description of the purpose of each algorithm, but I’ll just add it seems that “wrong” settings can produce some great results if you’re into strange processing effects. For example, check out the attached videos (WMV or QuickTime) to see/hear what happens when, in Lo-Fi mode, you change the Grain setting while a sustained file plays (and remember, the Grain setting, like just about everything else, can be tied to a continuous controller for real-time fun). The little added yellow highlights indicate when I’ve clicked on a button to make it more obvious.

                        But what really makes the Phrase thing come alive is when you get the Phrase Sequencer into the action. But I've already gone way over my allotted time for today, so...see you later!
                        Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

                        Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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                        • #27
                          As mentioned previously, the Phrase Sequencer really gets interesting when you use it to create rhythmic patterns. There are quite a few "canned" phrase patterns that come with Transfuser, as shown in the first image.. Of course, I expect there will be a lot more when the production version of Transfuser is released with the full set of content. The main value of the Phrase Sequencer is that when used with the drums, it's great for generating a rhythm section from scratch. I find it inspirational, much better than just having a metronome click, and the combination makes me want to come up with melody lines and chord progressions that work with the rhythm.

                          Now would be a good time to check out the Swing option, as well. Check out the attached video. What's happening is that you'll hear the pattern just by itself, then I'll kick the Groove amount up in the master Groove section (after varying it first, so you can see in the display how the timing is affected). Then, note how you can "dial in" the precise amount of groove you want with the Groove control on the Phrase Sequencer itself.
                          Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

                          Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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                          • #28
                            The MARIO "algorithmic fun and games generator" comes into play with the Phrase Sequencer as well. Referring to the first image, you can have MARIO affect affect any one of several parameters - Phrase (the actual notes used in the phrase), Level, filter Cutoff, Decay, and Pan. In the screen shot, all are selected except for Level and Cutoff.

                            I found that with melodic lines, it takes more "tries" with Mario before coming up with something I liked compared to using MARIO with drums; random rhythmic variations seem to have a better chance of working than random melodic variations. But as often happens with MARIO, you can hit Apply a bunch of times without getting interesting results, and then - wham! - it dials up something great.

                            Check out the attached video (in WMV or QuickTime format) to see MARIO in action. Thanks to the miracle of split-screen video , you can see when MARIO gets applied (in the upper left corner) and how this affects the notes (the rest of the screen). As you'll see, it took quite a few tries before I got something I liked. I did go past that point, but then used MARIO's "go back through the changes" the revert to the one I liked.

                            I don't know if there's a way to do this, but I think MARIO would be more effective if you could specify a min/max range for a parameter. That would avoid situations like bass notes going too low or too high, or filter cutoffs going so low that you can't hear the note. There is a Note Range function that does allow some degree of constraint, but I'd like something more universal.

                            Also note that there's a constrain to scale option, as shown in the second image. This is really cool if you just want to draw in a bunch of notes, and then decide you want them all to fit in, say, an E minor scale. However, your only scale choices are Major or Minor. In a future update, I've love to see two drop down menus under Constrain to Scale: One for key, and one for mode. That would allow other scale options, like Pentatonic, Blues Scale, various ethnic scales, etc.
                            Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

                            Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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                            • #29
                              We still have one major synth/seq module to go - the slicing section. Rather than use the included content, I thought I'd drag a REX file into it to see what would happen. Surprise (well, at leat to me!): The first image showed up, and let me decide how I wanted to import it. So of course, I selected Sliced Audio and Slice Sequence.

                              Transfuser recognized it, and Slice Seq and Slicer appeared (second image). You can see that the MIDI aspects of the imported file translated over perfectly into MIDI data, as shown in the Slice Seq screen.
                              Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

                              Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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                              • #30
                                Well first of all, it works! Now referring to the first image, let's check out the options in the Slice Seq section.

                                if you hit the Play button, the loop will simply repeat ad infinitum at the host tempo. But there are also ways to trigger from the keyboard, as specified by the three options under "Note Range" parameter (the name doesn't make any sense to me, maybe someone from AIR can explain). These options are:

                                * Trigger loop. This means that if you play any key, the loop plays. If you hit a key before the loop has finished playing, it re-starts from the beginning.
                                * Transpose loop. This does the same thing as trigger loop, except different keys transpose the loop to different pitches. Of course, the tempo remains constant, so this is a decidedly cool feature for when you want the loop to follow a chord progression. But it's also handy when you're composing, as you can hit different keys and try out different chord progressions.
                                * Play slices. The maps each slice across the keyboard, so you can trigger individual slices and treat them as one-shots, or a way to "deconstruct" the loop.

                                To the right of the Note Range options, you'll find Groove and Quantize. Groove determines the amount of groove added from the master groove section, but also offers seven other preset groove options (second image). By the way - are my eyes starting to go, or do these menu items need more contrast? Dark blue against black doesn't work for me...how about a lighter shade of blue?

                                The third image shows the Quantize options. I'm surprised there are only four; an eighth note option would allow "collapsing" 1/16th notes on top of each other, which could be interesting. And while the triplet options are welcome, I find dotted note values to be really useful for propelling dance tracks. Maybe AIR can add a few more quantization options before the final version drops.

                                Both of these techniques are non-destructive, by the way. But what about MARIO? And editing? And if you import a standard WAV or AIFF file, will Transfuser attempt to slice it, or do you have to use REX files? Let's find out.

                                Both Groove
                                Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

                                Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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