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  • #31
    Turns out Transfuser does indeed slice incoming WAV and AIF files if they aren't already Let's try it with an MP3...nope, that doesn't work.

    Okay, now let's look at the Slicer synth editing options. There's actually quite a lot going on here, and this is definitely one of those "if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth 29.97 pictures per second."

    Looking at the first image gives a general idea of what's going on, with the track's Slicer synth at the top, and its associated edit view below (I moved the lower module up in Paint so the image wouldn't be too large). We'll concentrate on the "waveform" view for now.

    First up, I can't find any way to zoom in on the waveform, which makes it hard to position slice markers really exactly. Maybe I'm just missing it...AIR people, is there a zoom in function?

    Anyway, if you're familiar with Propellerhead Software's ReCycle, this will all make sense. If not, here's the deal: You want to position a slice at each percussive transient to create discrete "blocks" of audio. Each slice is triggered by a MIDI note. So, if the host tempo speeds up, the slices are triggered at a faster rate and play "closer together," whereas if you slow the tempo down, the slices are triggered at a slower rate and play "further apart." This is how slice-based time stretching works.

    Slicing is not effective with sustained parts that don't have easily recognized "blocks" of sound. However, what I have found is that you can slice sustained parts to create special effects, like slicing up a pad to give it rhythmic qualities.

    Now let's look at the slice editing options.
    CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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    • #32
      Referring to the video (WMV or QuickTime), the arrow tool lets you play individual slices.

      You can use the cross tool to move slices, and the X tool to mute particular slices - this last tool is very handy, as it can help thin out a part.

      There's also an eraser tool, but I can't quite figure out how it works as it seems to erase not just the slice marker, but associated audio. Check out in the video what happens when I erase the second eighth note in the pattern: The sound itself goes away. Ditto the pencil tool: If I add a slice, it seems to mess up the rhythm. Maybe the problem is I'm expecting this to work like ReCycle, and I'm missing something.

      In any event, if you screw things up too bad, you can always hit Reset and start over.
      CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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      • #33
        If you select Level to edit instead of Slice, little lines show up for each slice, which you can then drag up or down to change the slice's level. The video (WMV or QuickTime) shows this process in action, as the level is changed to emphasize the kick downbeat and snare backbeat.
        CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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        • #34
          Okay, here's something I haven't seen before - check out the WMV or QuickTime video.

          If you select "Flag" as what you want to edit, slices are shown "flagged" with high, medium, and low indicators. Three buttons to the left of the waveform indicate high, medium, and low; by clicking on these buttons, you can choose to hear only particularly combinations of these (e.g., only high, only medium, only high and low, etc.). However, note toward the end of the the video that you can also alter the flag level for individual slices.

          So what does this mean? Well, it's the ultimate DJ kill switch! You could select, say, only the slices with kick as the high flags, and when you want to remove the kick, just disable the high flags. Or, come up with different permutations of slices, and select between them. It's pretty cool, and again, something I haven't seen before.
          CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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          • #35
            Referring to the video (WMV or QuickTime), let's check out some of the filtering options. You can choose any one of several filter responses, then vary cutoff, resonance, and envelope for every slice (this doesn't seem to work with individual slices, which doesn't surprise me).

            As the video shows, you can vary all of these parameters seamlessly, in real time - a nice touch for live performance. Also note toward the end of the video, where I apply negative envelope filtering for a "whoop-whoop" kind of sound.

            You can also see there's an amplitude envelope that works similarly, so you can make slices more percussive or, say, add an attack time.
            CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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            • #36
              Well, that's all for now because I'm off to Summer NAMM. One of the things I don't like about Pro Reviews is that going on the road pretty much puts a halt to the Pro Review process; NAMM is even worse, because when I get back, I need to spend a lot of time editing videos. So, I'm hoping that while I'm away, the People of AIR can answer some of the questions I've posed...and also, that other Transfuser uses can post their experiences, and hey, post some music if you have it!

              I will be checking this thread while I'm away, and will answer any questions posed to me to the best of my ability, given that I won't have Transfuser on my laptop. But I'm really curious to see your comments.

              Also, are any of you having problems seeing the videos? I noticed that the view counter isn't working quite right, because I've downloaded the videos to verify they're working yet some of the counters show no views, and some do. But as long as y'all are able to see them, that's all the matters to me
              CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

              Subscribe, like, and share the links!


              • #37
                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

                Bunch more tricks from Mario:

                *** Use Pumper FX for pumping pads like a "kick in the sidechain" ***

                The Pumper effect was designed specifically for imitating the sound that you get when you feed the kick drum into a compressor’s sidechain. But that doesn't mean you can't get creative with it:
                Turn off automatic triggering, assign the manual trigger pad to an automation lane and create your own trigger pattern. Or assign it to MIDI and trigger it from ProTools.

                *** "Never" ending automation variations ***

                To get a "never" repeating automation in track automation, assign 3 parameters like filter, resonance or decay to 3 automation lanes. Use 3 different loop lengths and step (mostly long) resolutions there, and maybe one lane even working in alternating direction.

                *** Create a DrumSeq pattern from a slice track **

                In the pattern section of any sequencer you can drag the current pattern data into any others sequencers pattern editor display. If it`s a sequencer of a different type the pattern gets converted intelligently. It`s nice to use this feature to drag any slice track's MIDI Pattern into a DrumSeq pattern. It will get converted into a sequence with kick, snare, HiHat, OpenHat in the first 4 lanes.

                *** Using send FX master input for performing dub delays **

                On the preferences page you`ll find the send FX' master input dials. In case you like to perform dub delays or similar things to more than one track at once, assign them to a CC, and keep the track's Send FX Level constant.
                Peter Gorges
                Director - Digidesign A.I.R. Group


                • #38
                  Hi Craig,

                  here come my comments and answers to your questions:

                  Q: 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.

                  A: What you already wrote about the Phrase Sequencer and Synthesizer says pretty much everything you need to know. This module is meant to creat mostly melodic patterns out of simple tonal samples. Drag in Vocal Phrases, Guitar Chords, one-note samples...

                  Q: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. [...]

                  A: Eagle eye! This is a bug valid in the free preview of Transfuser. It is fixed in the final version.

                  Q: I’m hoping someone from A.I.R. can give a brief description of the purpose of each (Phrase) algorithm, [...]

                  A: The Mode setting determines how Transfuser analyzes and processes audio for beat matching (time compression and expansion).

                  Solo/Vocal Select this option for monophonic vocal or solo instrumental material (such as a flute).

                  Mix/Chords Select this option for polyphonic harmonic material, such as a guitar chords, piano, or even full mixes.

                  Drum/Perc Select this option for non-pitched rhythmic material, such as drum loops.

                  Vocodize Select this option for vocoding-type time compression and expansion where the pitch of the audio is forced to match the MIDI notes you play. Vocodize works best on solo material, otherwise the pitch mapping can be obscured.

                  Lo-Fi Select this option for low fidelity re-sampling for “grainy” sounding time compression and expansion. Lo-Fi uses granular synthesis for TCE.

                  Sampler Select this option to simply play back the audio without time compression and expansion processing.

                  Q: 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.

                  A: This is a great idea and will be on our feature wish-list for future Transfuser versions. As you already found out, you can at least constrain the scale of your Phrase sequence which comes also in handy after applying Mario to squeeze the reult into your harmonic context.

                  Q: 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).

                  A: The Note Range selector simply gives you options for what the "Note Range" (as opposed to Pattern Switches) of your MIDI keyboard does. Sorry for no better naming.

                  Q: I can't find any way to zoom in on the waveform, which makes it hard to position slice markers really exactly. Maybe I'm just missing it...AIR people, is there a zoom in function?

                  A: With the multi-tool that is selected by default you just click and drag. Horizontally to move through or vertically to zoom in to the waveform.

                  Q: There's also an eraser tool, but I can't quite figure out how it works as it seems to erase not just the slice marker, but associated audio.

                  A: It deletes the slice marker AND the corresponding event in the Slice Sequencer. Otherwise - because markers are subsequently mapped to MIDI notes in the sequencer - any removing of markers would immediately screw up the whole loop timing.

                  I hope this was helpful and I'm looking forward to more questions and feature proposals. As always, have fun transfusing! And kind regerds from the AIR group.

                  -- Wolfram Knelangen


                  • #39
                    Thanks Wolfram! I'm back from NAMM and working with Transfuser right now so I can post more material.

                    And thanks Peter for the tips and techniques. I'm sure that as more copies of Transfuser get out into the world, people will check back here for that type of information.

                    Okay, let me figure out what to cover next...
                    CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

                    Subscribe, like, and share the links!


                    • #40
                      We've covered most of what's going on with slicing, but of course, it's always fun to see what MARIO does to a function and the Slice Seq is no exception. The attached video, as usual in WMV or MOV format, shows a typical drum sequence in the process of being MARIOized. You can definitely hear that the results are reasonably interesting, no matter what you do - it certainly seems to support AIR's contention that this isn't a totally random process.
                      CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

                      Subscribe, like, and share the links!


                      • #41
                        After covering what the three main modules are about, let's check out something different before moving on.

                        When you click on the little wrench button, it opens up a preferences-type screen where you can make some basic settings. Also, note the block diagram that shows the signal flow - very helpful. I also like the circuit board "look" - fun stuff. (You can tell it's not one of my circuits, though, or one of the diodes would be all charred.)

                        Anyway, if you look at the attached image, the options are pretty obvious: Trigger pads MIDI input, send FX routing, record quantize on/off, click level, show warning messages (yes! you can turn them off!), where the content is located, etc.

                        Okay, so this isn't the sexiest part of Transfuser, but the window looks so cool I had to figure out an excuse to at least post this picture!
                        CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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                        • #42
                          You know, I just keep finding more stuff in this program...sort of like going through an attic, and uncovering some really cool magazine from the 50s or whatever.

                          Take automation. The way it works is you have 12 assignable lanes of automation per module (Drums, Slicer, or Phrase). To assign a control for automation, you right-click on it, and select the desired lane. Check out the first image, which shows the assignment process for a drum's pitch control (I was going after a sort of tabla or talking drum effect, where the sample changes in pitch). I also assigned the snare cutoff frequency to another lane.

                          But what's really interesting is that this an exceptionally flexible system. In fact, I'd say it's the first time I've seen automation re-invented for the world of step sequencing and groove music instead of following the same ol' protocols.

                          Look at the second image to see what I mean. This is the window that shows up if you click on a module's automation button (circled in red).

                          The first lane is set up to control pitch. The control section circled in blue has three main parameters: The top one determines the step value, which includes 1/32, 1/32 triplet, 1/1/6, 1/16 triplet, 1/8, 1/8 triplet, and 1/4. The important thing here is this is a per-lane parameter. Not only that, but you can set a loop point so that one automation lane can repeat, say, every 4 beats while another repeats every 5 beats, for interesting polyrhythmic effects.

                          The middle field determines the direction of the "automation step sequencer." It can either play to the end and loop back to the beginning, or play to the end, reverse direction, and play backward to the beginning whereupon the process starts over again. You can also think of this as extending the duration of the automation control. For example, suppose you want a parameter to rise, and then fall. Rather than draw a pattern that rises and falls, you can just draw a pattern that rises, and use forward/backward looping to have the pattern rise and fall over time.

                          The bottom field chooses between having discrete steps, or having a curve that goes smoothly from one value to the next. Again, very cool.
                          CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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                          • #43
                            And as the late-night paid programming commercials say, "But wait! There's more!"

                            Indeed. The first image shows the undo history for automation, making it easy to "get back to where you once belonged." Whether MARIO or automation, this seems to be a theme for Transfuser: You can mess around as much as you like, but you can always get back to a state that you preferred if you mess around too much. Note that there's also an option to revert automation to its initial state when just want to clear everything out and start over.

                            You can also select specific steps (or all steps) and alter them in specific ways. The second image shows that part of the sequence is selected, and now, it's going to be inverted.

                            The Edit button opens up additional options. The third image shows the Event/Selection Edit options:

                            Set All Steps to Default
                            Randomize Step Values
                            Increase Dynamic Range
                            Decrease Dynamic Range
                            Create Crescendo
                            Create Decrescendo

                            The other crucial point is that this is all real-time stuff. Transfuser absolutely will not hiccup when you do these kinds of transformations. From a performance/recording standpoint, this means that you can just sit there all day and keep hitting the "randomize" option for a particular parameter and enjoy the changes

                            More and more, I'm seeing the live performance aspects to this...
                            CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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                            • #44
                              At this point, I feel I have enough understanding of what Transfuser is about to offer some preliminary conclusions.

                              First of all, the reaction I get from a lot of people when talking about Transfuser is "So what? I know about drum machines, step sequencers, and slicing. So it's another virtual instrument. No big deal."

                              That attitude might explain why this thread has less interaction than I expected at first. Admittedly, around 100 page views every day since the review started isn't bad at all, but I get the feeling people think they know what Transfuser is about...but they don't.

                              And frankly, when I was first told about Transfuser, I had a bit of the same attitude. However, I also knew that it was an AIR instrument, and AIR doesn't do anything unless it has something significant up its sleeve. When I started working with Transfuser, it all seemed pretty straightforward but the deeper you dig, the more you find.

                              Although we still have many features to cover, one aspect that keeps popping up is integration. Everything works together smoothly. Although Transfuser is designed as a series of modules, they all snap together into a unified whole. What you learn about Drum automation applies to Slice automation. MARIO works the same on all the different modules. You don't have to think when using the browser; whatever you pull in, Transfuser will create the appropriate module. And when I've imported my own samples, Transfuser acts like they were there from the issues at all.

                              So while I'm still in "learning mode," I think the most striking aspect of Transfuser so far is that it is a re-invention of very familiar elements. For example, you might think you know about step sequencing, but Transfuser puts an entirely different twist on it. And you may think you know how randomization works, but MARIO doesn't seem to be straight randomization, but has some intelligence behind it. I suspect that when I get into the groove and control options, I'm going to find the same kind of original thinking.

                              The second very interesting aspect is that Transfuser seems just as much for someone who doesn't have a clue of what they want to do as for those who have a specific compositional idea they want to implement. Transfuser encourages experimentation and just plain messing around. I've come up with a bunch of happy accidents, and things that sound really cool, without even trying. The rich undo and clear options encourage that "play" element even further..."Sure, do whatever you want, we can return you to safe territory if needed."

                              So here I am, into my second month of the review, and I'm finally starting to feel like I "get" it. Hopefully others reading this will find this kind of info useful!
                              CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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                              • #45
                                I have been using transfuser for a few days now. I think that most people do not know what to make of Transfuser. I can tell you my personal experiences.

                                First let me explain a few things. I have never been a big Protools fan. Mainly, because I thought that the HD system was too overpriced and the LE system was to overrated. So, I had not looked Protools for many years. That is, until Transfuser came around. There is actually two things that came about that made me reevaluate my opinions on Protools.

                                The first thing that occurred was that Digidesign came out with the mbox2 micro that I thought would be a good audio device when I was on the road and didn't feel like lugging around my Apogee Duet (People look at you funny going through customs, when you travel with the Duet). I mainly got the device for Logic 8 and Ableton Live. But... It came bundled with Protools 7.4.2. So, I decided to reevaluate Protools. During my evalutaion, I saw this neat little instrument on their sight called Transfuser.

                                The Transfuser days: During the next few days I became very intrigued with this new plugin called Transfuser. Honestly, the plugin could really be a standalone application. It is extremely powerful! One of the nice things about it, is that there is so many different methods for music creation. In addition there are so many different ways to accomplish the same task.

                                Lets start out with how i like to use it. If you just start out with the built-in sounds and samples, you can accomplish alot. Lets say you drag a instrument(track) into the track window. You now get some kind of sound with a sequencer piece too. If you press play in the Transfuser's master section or on the track, the sound will play with a pattern defined in the sequencer. There is so many ways to use this audio. You could send it out to a bus and record it to a protools track. You could click on the record tab in the master section and record a 1,2, or 4 bar loop and then drag it onto a protools track, or have it create a new track automatically.

                                During my creation process, I find that i usually create multiple tracks and send them out to different busses. When i like what i hear, I arm all of the tracks that i want to record in protools and then press the master play on Transfuser. This gives me a rough draft of how it will sound together. After I find a mix that i like, I then go clear the previously created tracks and then go back to Transfuser and record each track seperately and drag the clip onto the protools track for sequencing. It sounds like an arduous process, but it really isn't.

                                I will add some more comments and details as i go along. I would just like to reiterate that I was not even interested in protools until Transfuser came along. Because of Transfuser, I now have another method of creating music and a new found love for protools. A matter of fact I have a Digi 003 coming tomorrow.


                                Mike Chenetz