Free Unique Percussion, Morse Code for iOS, New Maschine Expansion

We’ve been on the hunt again, and for this week’s Around the Web we’ve found you a couple of free gems as well as news of a brand new expansion for Maschine from Native Instruments.

Icebreaker Audio’s Akebono

First up, an interesting an unique set of samples from Icebreaker Audio: the Akebono. The Akebono is a rare Japanese suitcase instrument that has some great sounding taiko percussion, chimes, and really wild sounding vocal ‘yo’s and ‘ow’s that we can hear sounding amazing in the new wave of house, juke, bass music and more.

It’s a free download from Icebreaker – if you have Battery 3 you can load up pre-made kits, but the wav files are provided too. In fact while you’re there you can pick up a few other free and unique sample packs!


Next we’ve got something that’s perhaps a little left-field, but interesting nonetheless. iToneMaker is a free app for iOS that will turn any text into Morse code; if you have a hankering for some covert ops in your music, this could be perfect. There’s plenty of ways to effect the tone, and you can get some pretty musical sounding bleeps out of it even without focusing on getting recognisable code. When you’re done you can export to the web, where you can save an mp3 or even an iPhone ringtone.

Get it here free!

Maschine Platinum Bounce

Maschine’s Expansion series keeps on going, and the main thing that the format has going for it is the way that if you have Maschine, all the sounds slip into the library like a hand in a glove. Platinum Bounce is pretty much perfectly timed in terms of sounds, with trap music stretching to booty tech and encompassing everything from new deep house to juke and footwork styles.

At €49 it’s not the cheapest pack you’ll ever buy but the quality of NI Expansions combined with the convenience for Maschine users could just be worth it – take a look and listen here. Let us know what you think – will you pay for this kind of convenience?

That’s all for this week – make sure to Like our Facebook page and join up to our club to get more regular deals and free stuff!

iPad 2

Apple Announce iPad 2 – What Does it Mean for Music Production?

When the iPad was released in April last year, I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that it took the world somewhat by storm. Despite not being the first to do a lot of the things it was lauded for doing (companies like Jazz Mutant were releasing multi touch screens for musicians much earlier, for instance) it was certainly the most conspicuous; perhaps the iPad’s greatest feature was the way it opened peoples’ eyes and imaginations to the realities of the progress of consumer level technology. Whilst the traditional keyboard and mouse paradigm of computing is some way from being shaken out of its position as the power user’s choice, light, touch friendly apps on the iPad are capturing peoples’ imaginations.

light, touch friendly apps on the iPad are capturing peoples’ imaginations

The way I see it, there are two main barriers to the adoption of the iPad (or of course any other multi touch tablet – right now the focus is on Apple because I genuinely think they’re the only ones doing it right at the moment): power and connectivity. There’s a possible third, too, and I’ll get onto that later.

When it comes to power, even computer nerds are starting to find it difficult to keep up with the colossal speed at which progress is being made. We’re a long way from the simpler times when a bigger number meant a faster processor, and what with multiple chips, cores, faster buses and all the other wizardry that’s being squeezed out of silicon, the number of mHz written on something isn’t really relevant anymore – especially where custom chips built for bespoke computers with matching software are concerned. No, the reality is that technology is moving forward at such a frightening rate that in less than a year, processing power of the iPad 2 is reportedly double that of its predecessor. iPad was already fast enough to run software like Korg’s iElectribe, a very convincing virtual remake of one of its most successful groove boxes, and Akai’s SynthStation, a full studio in a box tool that really proved that iPad meant business when it comes to audio.

When iPad 2 is launched, GarageBand for iPad will follow shortly.

When iPad 2 is launched, GarageBand for iPad will follow shortly. New hardware, from Apogee’s JAM to Alesis’s StudioDock and the Akai SynthStation 49 are all pieces in the puzzle that provide solutions to connectivity issues of such a standalone piece of equipment, with more, I’m sure, to follow.

Predictions? A future update of iOS will improve app to app interoperability, increasing the practicality of investing in the burgeoning iOS synth market and paving the way for Apple to release an iPad version of Logic with a plugin system. Propellerhead, one of the kings of the studio in a box world, will bring out their own studio in a box iPad app and Imageline, the other king, will up their game after testing the water with their recently released ‘in name only’ FL Studio. I’d also be surprised if Akai weren’t to bring out an MPC like sampling workstation and pad controller with audio input for sampling.

But what does that mean right here and now? The truth is, iPad 2 still doesn’t have the power to compete seriously with a desktop operating system when it comes to the kind of quality and quantity we’ve come expect from home studio software. However, it’s more portable, more tactile, and has a much shallower learning curve – if you already own both a computer and an iPad and want to simply enjoy yourself with music, then the iPad 2 is beginning to look like it might be an even better choice than traipsing through the minefield of computer software decisions. And, one day soon, we won’t even have to choose…

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