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DIGIDESIGN TRANSFUSER - NOW WITH CONCLUSIONS!


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Well, I wasn't expecting this...but then, I sort of was. It seems like Digidesign has gone through some major changes lately, specifically, implementing "Elastic Audio" (which finally allowed Pro Tools to do serious looping and stretching), and acquiring Wizoo's instrument division, now known as A.I.R. (Advanced Instrument Research). Clearly, Digi is trying to position Pro Tools as not just a tape recorder emulator, but also as a compositional/remixing platform. In that context, Transfuser - their latest RTAS virtual instrument - fits right in to this new direction.

 

A little bit of backstory: Wizoo supplied instruments for Steinberg, such as Virtual Guitarist and Xphrase, as well as M-Audio (KeyRig, Latigo, and Darbuka) but they were also big in content, doing quite a few sample CDs and libraries. In fact, my "Technoid Guitars" sample library for HALion was done through them. They also picked up some of the engineers behind Creamware's SCOPE system, and set up shop in Bremen, Germany prior to being purchased by Digidesign. So Transfuser didn't some out of nowhere; it fits into what Wizoo had been doing for years prior.

 

This Pro Review is unique as it coincides with the introduction of a preview version of Transfuser that is being made available for free, and works for three months. That was a bit surprising, as most time-limited demos run for a month; but I think Digidesign is betting that after three months, you'll be hooked. And based on my experiences so far with Transfuser, I think that's a wise bet. Meanwhile, this will make it easy for anyone with a Pro Tools setup to participate in the Pro Review, and make comments.

 

If you haven't downloaded it yet, you will need a Pro Tools setup (M-Powered, LE, or higher) and an iLok, as it won't run without authorization. As to links so you can download it or find more information, the main landing page is:

 

http://www2.digidesign.com/transfuserpreview/index.cfm?ref=transfuserpreview_hc

 

From there you can go to the download link, as well as get more information about Transfuser.

 

Short form is that Transfuser is a groove-oriented instrument with a drum sequencer, phrase sequencer, the ability to create loops via real-time slicing as well as convert loops to MIDI grooves, mixing, processing, and quite a bit more. A lot of it is oriented toward real-time manipulation as well as groove randomization and processing; it's very much a complete instrument by itself. If I had to draw an analogy, I'd say Reason meets Xphrase - if Xphrase had not been discontinued and was now up to version 27.

 

If Transfuser was released as a stand-alone instrument, I'm sure it would do well. In fact, I predict that quite a few people will buy the cheapest version of Pro Tools they can find just so that they have a "shell" for running Transfuser.

 

I've attached a screen shot to kick things off. Note that I had to reduce it to fit the "no more than 900 pixels wide" art requirement for HC; in future screen shots, we'll focus on specific parts of Transfuser, which will let us do full-size shots.

 

As to the genesis of the screen shot, what happened was I opened up Transfuser, and there was a big blank space that said "Drop Track or Audio Files Here." Well, okay, so I did just that, from the browser on the left. I dragged in a drum pattern, and a drum machine appeared...then dragged in a bass loop, and a phrase sequencer appeared. And then I started editing drum sounds...and then I realized I should probably launch the Pro Review!

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But before I could use Transfuser, I had to do the iLok thang. Now, I'll be fair: 95% of the time, the whole iLok process works just fine. People drop authorizations into my account, I download them to my computer, and all is well.

 

Not this time.

 

Somehow, my computer's year reference had changed to 2010. I'm not sure how, why, or when, as documents I'd done earlier that day had the 2008 time stamp. But when I went to call up Transfuser, I was told there were 0 days left in the license. Same with the Reel Tape Suite and Eleven guitar amp.

 

I contacted Digi tech support, and they obligingly dropped new authorizations into my account. So I downloaded them, but got an error message how the download couldn't complete, and to try again. I tried again, and next thing was a message saying there was a problem, and to click on the Recovery button. Except the recovery process didn't work, and it said to try again. So I did. Nothing, except that the previous authorizations had been removed and the new ones hadn't gotten on the iLok. And I couldn't use the iLok until this was resolved.

 

Back to tech support, and I gotta say, Digi came through. First, I was told "Whatever you do, don't try to recover again" because apparently if you try that too many times, the iLok gets locked. Instead, the tech advised trying to recover on as different a machine and browser as possible. So, I switched from 8-core Intel Windows XP running Explorer to dual G5 Mac running Safari (that seemed different enough), and tried again. It worked!

 

Now, I don't want this to turn into a discussion of copy protection; as far as I'm concerned, companies should protect their intellectual property, and besides, it will be much more fun to talk about Transfuser. But I mention this because Digi really shouldn't have to clean up after iLok messes, yet they did, and their tech support really did right by me.

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One thing I should mention is that preview software is not intended for "mission critical" applications. While it's not a public beta, I'm sure Digi wouldn't mind if you posted any repeatable bugs here :) I should also mention that this is for Pro Tools 7 and above.

 

I also thought you might appreciate my posting the list of known issues that comes in a PDF document with Transfuser. It's encouraging to me that they're fairly esoteric functions, not things like "Crashes if you try to hit play."

 

Known Issues

 

The following section documents some of the important known issues you may encounter when using the free preview of

Transfuser with Pro Tools, along with workarounds if they exist.

 

Deleting Session Audio Files (Issue #101618)

Deleting audio files in Transfuser deletes them also from the session°s audio files folder.

 

Mac OS X: Find and Relink disfunctional (Issue #102866)

Only under Mac OS X: Find and Relink does not work correctly, located files do not load into Transfuser.

 

Automating Track Solo (Issue #101934)

Assigning a track solo button to an automation lane brings no audible result. Pro Tools crashes if you enable solo manually

while automation is active.

 

Mac OS X: Audio Engine Crash (Issue #102049)

Only under Mac OS X: Skipping through the drum presets in the Drums module via right and left arrow buttons crashes the

Pro Tools audio engine.

 

Audio Files Not Saved (Issue #101624)

REX and 32 bit files are not saved when using the Pro Tools "Save session as" function.

 

Problems with Trigger Pads after Loading Tracks (Issue #102868)

The Trigger pads° assignment does not work correctly (wrong highlight after loading/unloading tracks with assignments).

 

Loop Points Not Audible after Editing (Issue #102046)

In the Phrase Module: Edited loop positions are not audible until the loop is triggered again.

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Referring to the screen shot, you can see several modules. Note that the left side is cut off a bit to fit in a 900 pixel wide image.

 

(1) is the browser, and (2) is an info pane. Anyone who's worked with Ableton Live will have a sense of deja vu with these two. FWIW, I like it when standard interface conventions start to develop, and it looks like "browser on the left with info pane below" is turning into one. This also gets across that Transfuser is a single-window interface.

 

(3) is the Tracks Pane, which is home to several modules - going from left to right, these are Track, Sequencer, Synthesizer, Effects, and Mix. This is a logical signal flow: (4) is the Track Module, which is where you manage MIDI channel assignments, keyranges, and select up to 12 sequences for track automation. To the right, (5) is the Sequencer section. You have a choice of three sequencers per track (or Thru): Drum Sequencer, Phrase Sequencer, and Slice Sequencer. Each has an associated module with the sounds triggered by the various sequencers, which is in the Synth section (6). The EFX section (7) modifies the sound with up to four effects, and then the output goes to the Mix section (8) when you set level and panning. Cool feature alert: In addition to Drum, Phrase, and Slicer synths, the Synth section also includes an "Input Synth" module, which allows processing audio from the track into which Transfuser is inserted.

 

The bottom pane (9) is the Module Editor Pane. When you select a Seq, Synth, or EFX module, an expanded GUI shows up in the Module Editor Pane that lets you edit the selected module's parameters. This picture shows the step/pattern sequencer for the Drum Seq module.

 

The area sandwiched between the tracks and Module Editor Pane is the Controller Section (10). It provides knobs, pads, virtual keyboard, and other performance controls. You can play these onscreen directly, or map controllers from an external control surface.

 

Finally, there's a master section (11). This has effects sends, "master groove" (think of it as a groove template), transport controls, and the like.

 

What this review will concentrate on in the days ahead is examining how each of these modules works individually, and as part of a whole. In this respect, the modular nature makes for a logical flow in a Pro Review: We can, for example, get totally into the drum machine aspects before getting into slicing, and then cover that in depth before moving on to the phrase seq.

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Okay, I'm trying to stick to my schedule of one hour at a time per Pro Review, because I need to get to the M3 and Euphonix control surface today as well. But I'll be back tomorrow with more...stay tuned. So far, this is an instrument that really appeals to me and I have some pretty high expectations. We'll see if they pan out or not.

 

Also, as usual, Digi has been invited to designate some poor guy - I mean, some company representative - to be available to answer questions and correct me if I say anything really stoopid. I'm not 100% sure, but I think that person might be Peter Gorges of A.I.R. That's good, because he really knows the product, but because he's in Germany there may be some lag time before questions get answered if he's asleep while we're posting away here in the US. So we may need to be a little bit patient.

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Let's start with drums because, hey, everyone likes drums. Besides when you start a mix, what fader do you push up first?

 

I rest my case.

 

As we saw previously, a track has several elements that work together, including the sequencer, synthesizer, and effects. Let's look at the synth part first, because we need some sounds before we can sequence them.

 

The Drum synth has a little window where you can load content, as shown in the first image. We're about to select "Hands Up Drums." I'm assuming the little number to the left of the drum name indicates the suggested tempo. Also note the two arrows to the left and right of the loading window: They let you step forward and backward through the drum sets. The only thing I'm not sure of is whether you can put the content in your own folders. All the content with Transfuser comes as one big monolithic block (like a .NKI file to Native Instrument fans).

 

You can't really do multisamples on the drum pads, although you can have "A" and "B" samples, as selected toward the top of the window. The pads will show sample names if "B" samples are available.

 

When the Drum Synth is selected, the Module Editor Pane shows your drum kit, as shown in the second image. But you're not locked into the kit you chose; you can select a different kit from the loading window above the 12 pads, and for the selected drum (as chosen by clicking on a pad), the loading window with the two little arrows at the bottom of the pads lets you step through related sounds. Clicking on a pad lets you audition the drum sound.

 

However, note that these sounds are highly editable. The second image shows the wave editor, and here's what you can do.

 

The first set of controls affect the overall sound, regardless of what editor function you've chosen. These are:

 

*Change pitch

*Filter cutoff and resonance

*Hold/Release Envelope

*Velocity response (note that the pads are "velocity sensitive" - click higher on the pad for higher velocities, lower for lower velocities unless you choose a negative velocity value, in which case that's reversed)

*Pan

*Level

 

There are also more specific editors for Wave, Pitch, Filter, and Amp. The following controls are for the pitch editor.

 

*Sample start and end time (drag lines, or use controls).

*Velocity parameter for sample start

*Random start (affected by sample state velocity control)

*Reverse sample, also known as elpmas esreveR. This is handy if you want to check whether the sample contains any backward satanic messages.

 

There are also "master" controls for whatever editing function you choose, namely Solo and Mute, and also, Pitch, Cutoff, and Decay controls that affect all drums. These are duplicated on the Drum Synth module itself, so if the Module Editor Pane is on something other than drums, you can still alter these master controls at the Drum Synth itself.

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The first image shows the Pitch editing section, which is basically an envelope with breakpoints you can draw and erase. The Pitch control sets the pitch; it basically duplicates the function of the lower control, but adds to it – for example, if the lower pitch control doesn’t go high enough for you, you can increase the Pitch editor pitch control and raise it further. The Envelope Depth gives positive and negative amplitudes for the envelope you’ve drawn, and Vel causes the envelope to respond to velocity.

 

The Filter editor, shown in the second image, has the same basic envelope concept as the Pitch editor. However, you can choose among Lowpass, Bandpass, Highpass, and EQ response. I get what all of them do except for EQ…maybe someone from A.I.R. can explain this.

 

The third image shows the Amp editor, which controls amplitude. The envelope options are pretty much the same as the other editors, with the Level control setting a “baseline” level, and velocity affects the envelope depth, positively or negatively.

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Now in case you're thinking "It sure would be nice to be able to control pitch or filter cutoff (or whatever) in real time, or automate them..." well, you can.

 

Check out the attached image, which shows what happens when you right-click (I assume it's Ctrl-click with the Mac) on a knob: You can select Learn CC (i.e., be controlled by the next controller signal you feed to Transfuser), Assign to Smartknob (which chooses one of the knobs in the Controller section we discussed earlier), or Assign to Automation Lane, which is something we'll get into later with automation. You can also set Minimum and Maximum controller excursions, which is cool if you want a hardware knob's full throw to cover only a limited range of values. This gives better resolution when making fine adjustments.

 

All that's left to cover for the drum editing module are the effects for the various drums (which are not the same as the master effects section for a track) - each drum can have its own effect - and output and mute group options. More to come...

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So about those drum effects...

 

You have three effects per drum sound, with the options shown in the attached image. These are pretty much EQ/dynamics/distortion effects, as opposed to, say, modulation or delay/reverb effects, which seem better suited to the effects sends.

 

Speaking of which...note the output stage on the right. This has two effects send to the main output, as well as a Poly and Group parameter. Group is the usual deal - you can assign different drums to one group, set the polyphony to one, and hitting one drum will cut off any drums that are playing. The classic example is grouping open and closed hi-hat so that hitting the closed hi-hat will turn off the open hi-hat.

 

Of the effects, the one that appeals most to my twisted sense of signal processing is the ring modulation, particularly because you can tie the Frequency and Frequency Modulation parameters to controllers :)

 

And that's pretty much it for the drum sounds, unless I missed something. Although I'm still waiting for someone from A.I.R. to chime in and let me know what the "EQ" option is in the filter section...anyway, let's move on to the sequencer section that actually triggers these sounds, if for no other reason than so I can record some audio examples!

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Whoa! We're definitely starting to get into some different kinda stuff here, thanks to MARIO (which stands for Musical Advanced Random Intelligent Operations). At first, I was disappointed, because I though that clicking on the MARIO function would transport me to a world of 8-bit sounds, suitable for Nintendo and Atari video games...or maybe there was a new Mario Brothers video game based on created dance music loops. But actually, it's more like a KARMA Lite function that adds useful variations to grooves. So far, this is an impressive feature that goes beyond the expected.

 

But first, the basics. Tthe first image shows the drum sequencing module, and most of it's straightforward...or at least, it appears that way at first. The deeper you dig, the more you find out that you can live comfortably in this module for quite a while.

 

You can see the usual step sequencer interface toward the right, with individual horizontal "tracks" of drums. But look at what I've circled in red: This isn't just a place to draw in a hit and trigger a drum, as you can choose from Velocity, Time, Pitch, Filter, Decay, and Pan. For example, if you choose pan, you can adjust the pan for each event. Or the decay, or the filtering,*or the pitch...this is wild stuff. Even better: The "time" edit parameter, which lets you lead or lag individual hits, ahead or behind the beat.

 

In fact, this is cool enough that I did a little WMV video. Unfortunately it doesn't include sound, for technical reasons too boring to go into here (I'll explain why if anyone's interested). Still, you can see me choose different parameters with the cursor, and adjust them. Cool beans. But we're not done yet. (FYI: I can do QuickTime movies as well, but they don't look as good as WMV...if enough Mac fans complain, I'll do QT movies but I instead recommend going to http://www.flip4mac.com and getting their free WMV player for QuickTime.)

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Here are some other features I like about the drum sequencer...

 

* Total of 64 steps. Yes, the previous screen shot shows only 16 steps, and that's all you'll see at one time. But referring to the first image, the section in the upper right has a bar/loop/auto-scroll selector. You can click on any one of four bars, so the 16 steps are those in the selected bar. You can loop just one bar, a couple bars, or all four. With auto-scroll selected, the 16-step display will scroll to the next measure that plays. Or, you can keep a static display if you want to, say, edit something happening in the third bar.

 

This is a really intelligent way to manage sequences longer than 16 steps, but I do have a wish list item: Being able to right-click on one of the measure indicators and select Copy or Paste. This would make it much easier if you came up with one good bar, and wanted to turn it into a four-bar loop with variations. You can do this with the Edit drop-down menu toward the top, but it's a little more time-consuming.

 

* Choose different sets of sequences. The second image shows the 12-key "keyboard." Clicking a key selects a different pattern, but note that the change is instantaneous: The newly-selected pattern picks up in the same place in the sequence. There's no way I can find to tell it "wait until the first sequence plays through before changing to the next sequence." I'm also surprised you can choose from "banks" of the sets of patterns as you can in Reason, but you can call up a different sequence for the drum sequencer.

 

* Groove and Simplify controls. The third image shows the Groove and Simplify controls. Of these, Simplify is the more original of the two: You can literally simplify a part by just turning the control clockwise. The Groove control can either pick up the master groove, or choose from several "canned" grooves (swing, laid back, push - what Transfuser calls "ahead" - and random). The control itself determines the influence of the groove on the pattern.

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Interesting...we have over 750 page views (!), but no one has asked any questions or commented on the software. Maybe that's because I'm doing such a fabulous job :) But please, don't be shy if you have comments or questions!

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Craig you are doing a fabulous job!

Keep it coming!

 

I have a few questions:

Will the full version of Transfuser come with a large library? The sounds included are pretty cool and it's easy to just grab any random bunch of sounds and get something useful. I just want more!

 

Editing the steps in the drum sequencer is a bit fiddly, for example changing the pitch of a step to +1 takes quite a bit of trial and error, holding your tongue a certain way etc. Holding shift or ctrl didn't make any difference, any insight on that?

 

MARIO is awesome. not a question, I just wanted to say it. :)

 

Oh yeah, and in the step sequencer you can change how many steps are on each track, up to 32, including triplets and dotted if I recall correctly. Change it where it says 16 below the M and S for each drum.

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Hi Fusers,

 

My name is Wolfram Knelangen. I am the product manager at A.I.R. and I will chime in every now and then to answer your questions. If possible. :)

 

Thanks so far, Craig, for this thoughtful and detailed Transfuser Review - great job!

 

     

    Hope this was helpful. Fuse on!

     

    --Wolfram

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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.

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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.

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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.

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....

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 ....

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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 ....

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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.

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