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  • #46
    Well I gotta say, being on the road really messes with the rhythm of a Pro Review...but I'm back, at least until early August, so let's jump right back in with one of my favorite features: The Beatcutter.

    This is one of the many processors, and it basically screws up a file in totally wonderful ways. There are five main modifier options: Repeat, Reorder, Gate, Scratch, and Freeze. These can be applied automatically (which we'll get into next), but for now, we'll take advantage of an option that can "force" a particular modifier on to the sound by clicking a button.

    Again, the best way to demonstrate this is by watching the attached video, where you can hear the various functions applied to a drum beat. There's picture-in-picture so you can see which button is associated with which effect.

    As you watch the video, the first process being applied is Freeze, which seems to apply a really short loop and creates a sustained "buzz" of the sound. Second is Scratch, which sounds like it's changing sample rate to do quick pitch changes. Next up is Gate, which in this case, is applying a gated autopanning function.

    Reorder basically changes what gets hit when, and Repeat "doubles" (rhythmically, as opposed to, say, chorusing) the hits in the beat. Finally, the video closes out with hitting a whole bunch o' stuff. Beatcutter is a really, really totally fun and awesome function that makes it ridiculously easy to avoid "loop boredom" by letting you add some real life to a loop.

    Obviously, the potential for live performance modification of loops is exceptional. And yes, these buttons can be tied to the Smart controls we'll be covering shortly.

    This just keeps getting cooler...
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    • #47
      I like this effect so much it's going to get some more videos

      One thing that really appeals to me about Beatcutter is that it's very live performance, real-time oriented. The attached video shows manipulating several Beatcutter options in real time.

      The Freeze dial lets you add in the desired degree of "Freeze," while "Rate" determines the Freeze repeat rate. Higher rates give buzzier, more tonal effects whereas low rates are like really fast tremolo effects.

      Random rate, probably note surprisingly, changes the rate on a random basis. Sweep can sweep the frozen tone up or down, or you can introduce random sweep changes.

      Incidentally, thanks to the IT folks, we can now load longer, higher quality movies...enjoy! Also, there's an additional video format (.3GP) that's iPhone-compatible.
      Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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      • #48
        Here's another Beatcutter goodie that requires a bit more of an example. The Scratch option creates a pitch-shifting effect, and it can happen in various ways. For some reason my screen capture program isn't capturing the pop-up menu that shows up when you make a selection, but the attached video is zoomed in far enough that you can see which rhythmic option has been chosen: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, random, octave up, and octave down.

        Again, there's a choice of MOV, WMV, and iPhone (celllular) formats for the video.
        Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

        Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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        • #49
          Well...a couple big changes. First of all, I now have the full version of Transfuser, not the preview, with all the content.

          Second, I now feel I know enough about the individual elements to start using Transfuser as a complete instrument.

          I thought I'd do the type of playing I do with Ableton Live: Load up 16 loops, connect the levels to faders and solo buttons to switches, and just improvise. Transfuser does this sort of thing very well. But what really surprised me is shown in the attached image - check out that CPU meter! Yes, all 16 tracks are loaded, playing, slicing, and dicing, and that includes three of my own loops I just dragged in to the project. Either Transfuser is extremely friendly to your CPU, or it really knows how to take advantage of my multi-core computer.

          In any event, it's very cool that you can "fold" and "unfold" tracks - when you want to really mess with a track, unfold it and take advantage of the various editing options. You can do an awful lot with Transfuser in terms of real time playing; I keep forgetting that Pro Tools is loaded in the background, because Transfuser is so self-contained.

          It seems strange that despite having Transfuser for a couple months, I feel like I'm just getting a handle on its gestalt, and what kind of playing and attitude works best. Think "Live meets Reason" and you're pretty close.
          Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

          Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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          • #50
            Warning: Subjectiveness Alert

            As far as I'm concerned, it's not even worth opening Transfuser unless you have some kind of hardware controller. You really can play Transfuser like an instrument, and using a mouse gets really old after a while. A hardware controller is essential if you want serious expressiveness.

            Sure, you can set up Transfuser to just do loops and the like. But the analogy I'd use is like never taking a Porsche out of second gear. It still looks like a Porsche, feels like a Porsche, has the same controls as a Porsche, and its engine purrs like a Porsche. But what fun is it to have a Porsche if you never take it out of second gear?!? Well, what fun is it to have Transfuser if you don't play it? The AIR people clearly put a lot of real time control options in there (and there's no hiccuping when you use them), so you might as well take advantage of them.
            Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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            • #51
              I'm still mystified as to why there isn't more discussion. Is it just working really well for everyone, so you're too busy making music to jump on an internet forum?
              Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

              Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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              • #52
                Hi Sensei
                I've been showing Transfuser at my clinics lately. Nice instrument and your "Live Meets Reason" description is kinda accurate.


                Would you use it as your only source of loops/tracks for one of those awesome solo performances you do?

                This time you would be able to record that solo button...
                www.guslozada.com

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                • #53
                  Would you use it as your only source of loops/tracks for one of those awesome solo performances you do?


                  Yes, I probably could. I haven't tried out running long one-shots or multiple audio loops, but I'm pretty sure Transfuser could do that. The most important part is the hardware controller...I've even done that type of set with Reason, which is quite different compared to Live or Transfuser.

                  I also haven't tried running into audio ins (e.g., for guitar and voice), but I could do that in Pro Tools since you have to have that running anyway to use Transfuser.

                  The one thing that keeps blowing me away about Transfuser is how little CPU it takes!
                  Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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                  • #54
                    I am really using Transfuser a lot. I find there are so many ways to use it. The real-time capabilities are extremely useful and expressive. I have a Novation SL Remote that i use. The mapping of controls is extremely easy and it makes it very intuitive to implement a hardware control. The only thing that i can compare it to is the NI Kore in terms of control. I will definitely put up some examples of some of the ways that i use Transfuser and some example clips tp help illustrate it's capabilities. I strongly believe Transfuser is to good a tool to overlook.

                    Mike

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                    • #55
                      Continuing on with the hands-on control theme, let's take a look at the Controller section shown in the first image.

                      On the left side are six "Smart Knobs" that you can assign to Transfuser parameters, and can in turn be tied to MIDI controllers. The second image shows what happens when you right-click on a knob: The "Learn CC" option appears, so you just wiggle your MIDI hardware control of choice, and the knob responds to that hardware control.

                      However, note something else of interest: Along the bottom, you can see that a parameter has already been assigned to this Smart Knob. You can in fact assign multiple parameters to one knob, even to the point of, for example, having one Smart Knob control all filter cutoffs in all instruments.

                      But how does it do this, as the instruments are on different MIDI channels? Easy: The Smart Knobs are "above" MIDI, and talk directly to the instruments they control.
                      Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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                      • #56
                        Now let's turn our attention to the controller section Virtual Keyboard, as shown in the first image. Note the section circled in red: In the Slice Sequencer (or all sequencers, for that matter), you can store 12 patterns and recall them by clicking on the sequencer's small virtual keyboard. However, you can also switch patterns on all instruments simultaneously by clicking on the Pattern Switch section of the controller section keyboard (circled in blue), which can of course be triggered from an external MIDI keyboard as well.

                        In the second image, the section that's circled in red shows the note range and channel section of the virtual keyboard. Now, follow closely...

                        The section circled in blue lets you specify a note range for a particular instrument; just above the circle, you can see the MIDI channel to which the instrument is "listening." If this matches the channel next to the virtual keyboard, and you play on the keyboard within the specified note range, then the keyboard key will trigger that instrument.

                        For example, suppose you have three instruments, all tuned to the same MIDI channel; one has a note range of C2-C2, one D2-D2, and one E2-E2. If you play C2, the first instrument will trigger. If you play D2, the second instrument will trigger. If you play C2, D2, and E2, all three instruments will be triggered.

                        Or take it one step further: We've already shown that you can load up a bunch o' instruments. One group could be set to channel 1, and another to channel 2; by switching the virtual keyboard's MIDI channel assignment, you could play one group from the keyboard, then switch over and play the other group from the keyboard. And of course, the virtual keyboard can be driven from a physical keyboard, thus affording more hands-on control.
                        Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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                        • #57
                          The Trigger pads in the first image can send MIDI notes between 48-71 to Sequencer and Synth modules, and like the Smart Knobs, can target multiple instruments. Perhaps more importantly, they can trigger patterns (or stop patterns that are playing), again in multiple Sequencer modules.

                          The second image shows the assignment options for the trigger pads. The significance of using trigger pads for pattern selection as opposed to the keyboard pattern select notes is that a single pad can trigger different patterns, whereas the keyboard selects the same patterns in all instruments.

                          As with the keyboard, only those instruments set to the same MIDI channel shown in the display to the right of the virtual keyboard will respond to the trigger pads.
                          Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

                          Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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                          • #58
                            Face it...what's something that DJs can use without a crossfader? Well, of course Transfuser has one.

                            Here's how it works. Check out the attached image; the area circled in red is where you choose the output bus assignment for an instrument. As you can see (if you can read the dark blue against black lettering...) there are eight output buses and a cue bus, which of course, can terminate in Pro Tools.

                            The crossfader (X-Fade) is circled in blue, and crossfades between bus 1 and bus 2. Wish list alert for Transfuser 2.0: It would be cool if the "Bus 1" and "Bus 2" labels to the left and right of the crossfader respectively had drop-down menus so you could crossfade between any two buses, not just 1 and 2.

                            And yes, you can assign the crossfader to a MIDI controller, as well as set a minimum and maximum range.
                            Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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                            • #59
                              That's about it for the Controller section, so let's look at its neighboring Master section.

                              Anyone who's worked with a sequencer lately is likely aware of the concept of "groove templates" that allow adding timing changes to straight quantization, such as swing, or "leading" or "lagging" the beat. Transfuser has a couple ways of dealing with this.

                              Referring to the attached image, the area circled in red is the master groove section. You can choose from five templates: 1/16 swing, 1/8 swing, 1/4 swing, "laid back," and "ahead." However, you can also import an existing Pro Tools groove template, so you're not limited to only those five options. Note the slider below the "groovemeter"; it lets you apply an amount from -100 to +100.

                              So what happens at the target? Check out the area circled in blue for the answer. Each instrument has a choice of groove sources: The Master groove, or the same options as the master groove section with the addition of 1/32 swing and random. An additional knob controls the amount of groove.

                              So you could, for example, specify a maximum amount of groove effect at the master, but dial it back on each instrument to whatever degree you like. However, what I've generally found is 1) a little swing is a Good Thing (even a little bit makes a big difference), and 2) I like applying the same amount of swing to pretty much everything, so the timing doesn't "fight" among the various instruments.
                              Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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                              • #60
                                The Master Section has two send FX sections. These are the same as the other effects sections - four possible effects, in series or parallel. The difference, of course, is that if you want to apply the same effect (e.g., reverb) to multiple instruments but save CPU power, you can send them all to a single send effect rather than have an effect inserted in each instrument.

                                Incidentally, we haven't looked at the GUI for too many effects but the attached image shows not only the send effect 1 section (circled in red), but the GUI for the compressor effect.

                                The FX2 section, and the Insert effect section (which allows placing an overall master effect on the overall output) are both identical to the FX1 section described here so we won't spend any time on them.
                                Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

                                Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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