Welcome to the Time+Space Blog

This blog is a resource for music producers supplying interviews, tutorials and information on the latest developments in the music and audio software industry.

The Story of the Mellotron

Mellotron the brain child of inventor Harry Chamberlin, was born in Birmingham in 1963, hailed as a ‘band in a box’ the Mellotron was quickly picked up by The Beatles and other big name acts soon followed suit making the Mellotron the notable sound in progressive rock. The Mellotron, who name comes from a combination of ‘mellifluous electronics’ features on many iconic songs including David Bowie’s Space Oddity, The Beatles Strawberry Fields Forever and Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir

The unmistakable sound of the Mellotron is achieved by unique technology, pulling off the sounds through a magnetic tape loop, running inside the keyboard. It extracted sounds from string instruments, pianos, flutes, brass amongst others.

For me a part of the revelation of the Mellotron was to put my hands on a keyboard that allowed me to get very close, in a sense, to things I was hearing in my head. And that right there was quite an incredible thing- Mike Pinder (The Moody Blues)

The unique nature of the Mellotron has earned it a cult following and a resurgence in the 90′s, and featured on The classic Oasis album ‘What’s the Story Morning Glory’ and ‘Ray of Light’ from Madonna’s 1998 offering and now Toontrack have harnessed the sound of this revolutionary keyboard and created EZKeys Mellotoon. Carefully sampled directly from a model M400 Mellotron using a blend of direct and amped signals. On top of that, it includes a generous selection of custom effect and sound chain presets, giving you a completely new, creative outset to an already seemingly bottomless pool of awe-inspiring sounds.

EZkeys Mellotoon is available to buy now for £104.99 / €131.48

Posted in General | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Delphic’s James Cook talks Spectrasonics

Manchester based James Cook is the lead singer of indie electro outfit Delphic and the composer of the official single for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Currently in the studio working on material for various exciting projects, he took some time out to answer a few questions about using Spectrasonics virtual instruments.

 

You had previously been in indie bands, what drove you to steer Delphic in a more electronic direction?

It felt like the natural progression for bands and musicians when we were starting out with Delphic. Growing up we had been used to guitars & drumkits in the rehearsal room, and the early digital sequencers we were able to afford could barely handle audio, let alone plug-ins, which made the decision to be more ‘band-focussed’ for us. However, around the time we started Delphic, technology had moved onwards so much and gear become so affordable that most people we knew had a home studio set up. From here on in, we no longer felt the need to limit ourselves to traditional instruments – hence stepping into the world of synthesisers, samples and of course plug-ins.

Aside from Delphic you also create music for film, TV and adverts, can you tell us about that and what you have worked on?

It’s early days on that front, and I’m currently building up a library of sounds and a portfolio of tunes that are yet to be used alongside other writing. Fingers crossed I will have some used in the near future! This is a common venture for many musicians in the industry, the amount of advertising we are all exposed to is mad if you sit down and take note and a large amount of that is composed specifically for the sole purpose of those adverts. Composing in this way helps us to challenge techniques and learn skills we can use in other compositions.

You are currently in the studio working on new Delphic material using Spectrasonics Omnisphere how has this contributed to this process?

When you first use Omnisphere you realise that your options are limitless – whether you want to find an exact instrument or you want to create an amalgamation of sounds for yourself. The great thing when creating your own music using Omnisphere is that the preset sounds are only templates for you to explore further and the amount of exploration possible will lead you down really interesting paths.

What features within Omnisphere do you find yourself using time and again?

You know, aside from the obviously brilliant sampled sounds and the equally great FX racks, the best feature is the ability to layer and manipulate multiple sounds. Many soft-synths allow you to layer and manipulate, of course, but to be able to delve into such depth with sample based synthesis is something which is really rewarding.

OmnisphereCan you explain your process of merging real instruments with virtual ones?

Sometimes I use virtual & real instruments to occupy totally different areas within the soundscape and sometimes I would map the midi from a real bass performance and back it up subtly with a Trillian bass part. The enviable dilemma that both Omnisphere and Trillian give you is that the core sounds never feel solely virtual.

How does the way you use Ominsphere differ between creating for TV and for Delphic

Although it is early days on the advertising composition front, the main difference is that more often than not, advertising music is made to order and genre specific. This means that if I want to make something soul/jazz/retro stylistically, you can turn to one of Omnispheres many Rhodes patches for example and If I’m making something more abstract, I know where to turn for an atmospheric sound bed. When you have a reference point, Omnisphere is fantastic at giving you a place to start from a historical library of industry recognised instruments and synths. The difference when creating my own music is that you lose your stylistic reference point and can use Omnisphere much more as a hands on tool, from which you can hopefully achieve the sound you hear in your head.

We know you have recently been using Trillian in your music, can you tell us a bit about your experience with this virtual instrument?

The main point is that it doesn’t feel like a virtual instrument in comparison to the hardware versions, if anything, its more stable and less frustrating. Obviously that is part of the charm of using the real MS-20 for example, but you don’t lose any intensity or depth in Trillian and features such as the special articulations allow you to really hone performance elements. Many people sneer as virtual synths for feeling too digitised, but it really depends on how you process your sound when you have found it. I often send it out through pre’s or re-amp it to add the ‘air’ that it sometimes needs.

There was a photo on Instagram which hinted to a collaboration with Shadowchild, can you confirm this and who else can we expect to have contributed to Delphic’s latest offering?

Haha, yeah Simon / Shadowchild is a lovely chap who is so supportive of us and probably wouldn’t mind too much if I said he was as much a gear anorak as we are. He remixed a single from our last campaign and we have stayed in touch since, maybe we’ll collaborate again in the future, who knows..

You can find out more about Delphic over on their facebook page

Posted in Artists | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

iZotope’s Senior Product Manager Rob D’Amico tells us what we can expect from RX 4

Just a year has passed since iZotope released RX 3, in that time it won an Emmy Award and received high praise from reviewers and many were left wondering what could possibly be added to RX 4, so ahead of its release on 11th September we caught up with iZotope Senior product manager Rob D’Amico to find out what we can expect.

 

It’s been just a year since the arrival of RX 3 – what are the main reasons for releasing a new version so soon afterwards?
It is really as simple as, after talking with many of our customers over the past year, we were able to develope a lot of great new capabilities that will speed up their workflows with higher quality, and enable more time for creative tasks/experimentation, while leaving the manual mundane tasks up to the software to handle. With iZotope’s ability to quickly develop complete valued solutions for our customer’s workflow issues or pain points sooner, there is no need to make them wait for them longer than they have too. Actually, I look forward to the day when we develop a new feature/solution, which will improve our customer’s workflows/quality of production, and make it available as soon as it is qualified.

What are the key main features?
With the majority of our customer using DAWs/NLEs that do not host external editors (like RX) we developed an offline plug-in (AudioSuite, VST, Audio Units) called RX Connect. This plug-in enables the editors to send a clip from their host editing product and send it over to the RX standalone application for repair and enhancements. Once all editing is done in RX it is then very quick and easy to send the new audio back to the plug-in to process it in place of the original clip. Also RX Monitor is another plug-in that enables you to monitor your audio in the RX 4 application through your host application for when the audio hardware is being used by the host app.

Here are a few other features that will improve quality and speed up the workflows: EQ Matching (learn the EQ from a source audio clip and easily apply it to a target audio clip), Ambience Matching (Quickly learn the environment noise from a source clip and apply it to a target clip, or create a bed of room tone for those ADR clips), Non-Destructive Clip Gain (Node base gain adjustment to quickly level out your audio), Automatic Leveling (Quickly set a target RMS value and RX 4 will automatically draw out the clip gain to have smooth leveled audio), Set Loudness (RX 4 will now process your mixes to be loudness compliant with the all networks specifications) , Adaptive Hum Removal (As an offline process RX 4 will now track and reduce hum frequencies that change over time), and Dialogue Denoiser available in RX 4 Standard…plus a few other cool improvements…

Were these new features a result of user feedback?
Absolutely. I personally met with many of our customers at the different trade shows, at their studios/facilities and talked with them on conference calls to really understand some of their pain points they have throughout their workflows. Talking with our customers is something we constantly do and is vital to making sure we are developing products that matter.

Can you run us through some typical examples of audio tasks that will be made all the more easier with this new version?
After talking a lot with our customers over the year, there was a common trend that they all wanted to be able to use the RX application more for spectral repair and cleanup, but it was always very challenging (workflow took too long) to do with most host DAWs. From those conversations we developed RX Connect to quickly and easily round trip your audio between a DAW/NLE and the RX application. Now all the power of our application can be utilized as if it was a plug-in in your host. Also, some of the new features like EQ/Ambience Matching, Automatic Leveling and Loudness Correction are all big time savers if as an editor you needed to do this manually.

What types of users will benefit most from this new update/version?
The new features developed in RX 4 will benefit a wide range of our customer base (Audio Post-production editors/mixers, Audio Recording and Mixing Engineers and Mastering Engineers), and will also start to reach out more to other adjacent markets like (Video editors working with audio, podcasters/audio-book editors)

Does the update also make RX more appealing to a new user base?
Absolutely…as you just read above with some of the new features like RX Connect, Loudness, Automatic Leveling, EQ/Ambience Matching and the Dialogue Denoiser now part of the standard offering is a very compelling product offering for folks working with production audio that need to repair or enhance it.

Posted in Software | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

4th September 2014 – This week’s new sample library releases

Boom Library Prairies

Boom Library are breaking new ground with this new nature recording library. Gordon Hempton ventured out into the wide fields of the American prairie to successfully return with this superb and fascinating sound material.

Formats: WAV

RRP: £149.99 / €179.00

 

Big Fish Audio Electro Club

Inspired by the musical genres of Martin Garrix, Zedd, Steve Aoki and deadmau5, Big Fish Audio´s Electro Club offers varied and high quality sounds that will both inspire new music ideas and fit into existing tracks seamlessly.

Formats: MIDI Files, Apple Loops, REX, WAV, RMX, Acid & Kontakt

RRP: £40.95 / €52.95

 

Soundiron Dhol Drums

5,147 samples and more than 110 distinct articulations, played with sticks, mallets, brushes, hands, fingers, palms and more. Each was recorded in extraordinary detail. Two professional Punjabi Dhol Drums were deep sampled for this library, each with distinct characteristics and tuning.

Formats: Kontakt

RRP: £33.95 / €48.95

 

Samplephonics Ghosting Season

This stunning sample library from electronic pioneers Ghosting Season is an absolute steal, bursting to the brims with absolutely essential loops and samples ranging from 90bpm right up to 155bpm.

Formats: Apple Loops, ACID, Rex2, WAV

RRP: £34.70 / €40.95

 

 

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ALL THE LATEST RELEASES AT TIMESPACE.COM

Posted in Samples, Software, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We talk to award winning songwriter Simon Aldred about Omnisphere

Ivor Novello and ‘Q’ award winning Simon Aldred is a songwriter and producer with an impressive list of credits, including collaborations with major label soul singer Sam Smith and million selling songstress Birdy.

We caught up with Simon to talk about using Spectrasonics Omnisphere in his projects and his songwriting top tips. Continue reading

Posted in Artists, Software, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A quick catch-up with Omnisphere fan and guitarist Massimo Fiocco from ‘One Minute Silence’

One Minute SilenceLondon-based One Minute Silence are a four-piece band whose sound combines metal, hardcore punk and rap music. Over the course of their career together, the band have sold over half a million albums worldwide, won the ‘Best British Live Act Award’ from Kerrang Magazine and have had their music used on the Hollywood blockbuster ‘Catwoman’.

When we heard that they were using Spectrasonics Omnisphere on their forthcoming album we got in touch with lead guitarist Massimo Fiocco, who has also released a number of solo tracks, to find out more… Continue reading

Posted in Artists, Software | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

iZotope announce powerful new RX 4 audio repair software

iZotope RX 4When Computer Music magazine reviewed iZotope’s RX 3 last year they concluded the review with a 10/10 score and this statement…

“…we’re honestly at a loss to imagine what more can be added for v4.”

Well, it seems they won’t be waiting long to find out as iZotope have just announced that RX 4 will be with us in September!

Initial product details are limited but there is clearly a focus on speeding up the user’s workflow, a deeper integration with your DAW and more editing functionality. Continue reading

Posted in Software | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Garritan Abbey Road Studios CFX Concert Grand – A Pianist’s Perspective

Garritan Abbey Road CFX Concert GrandOver the last couple of years, professional pianist and long-time friend of Time+Space, Tony Cliff, has been generous in spending some time sharing his thoughts and opinions on the virtual pianos that we sell, with Synthogy’s Ivory II pianos and Toontrack’s EZkeys both reviewed by him for the Time+Space blog.

Following the release of the Garritan Abbey Road Studios CFX Concert Grand a few months ago, we approached Tony to ask for his verdict on this latest virtual piano and he has kindly obliged with the following review.

Over to Tony… Continue reading

Posted in Software | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment