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Everyone Should Be Able to Make Music – An Audio Modeling Vision Statement 1024 576 Audio Modeling

Everyone Should Be Able to Make Music – An Audio Modeling Vision Statement

Music has been a powerful product of humanity for thousands of years, in fact probably since not long after humans emerged as a species. The positive impact of music is experienced by nearly everyone. But music making has not always been as universally available. Historically, playing musical instruments has required motor skills, vision, and other capabilities that not all could realize. However, the advent of computer technology has altered that equation and opened up many additional possibilities for making music.

At Audio Modeling, we believe the ability to make music should be as close to universal as can be achieved, and that technology is the pathway that leads to broader accessibility and, therefore, wider inclusion in who can make music. This notion has become part of our quest as a company, and something we want to explore and share as widely as possible.

We recently started designing and building our products to work better with screen readers, in order to expand accessibility for those with compromised vision. This has been an enlightening experience and has highlighted for us the scope and complexity of the problem. We see that this action barely begins to scratch the surface of the solution, but it’s a start and has served to dip our corporate toe into the water.

We are not yet close to being experts in adding accessibility in our designs, but our eyes have been opened to how much room for improvement exists in current user interface designs. However, what we have already realized is that a better user interface is only one piece of the puzzle. What is needed is a complete ecosystem aimed at making music technology more usable by people with a broader range of abilities and skills.

Operating systems, code frameworks, voice-driven assistants, protocols such as MIDI 2.0, APIs that collect data, artificial intelligence (AI), and a whole range of products and services wrapping around this basic infrastructure – all of these components will be needed to realize our vision of a new experience of making music that can be enjoyed by the widest spectrum of people, including those with ADHD, learning disabilities, mobility limitations, medical or psychological disabilities, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), PTSD, visual impairments, deafness or impaired hearing, disorders on the autism spectrum, and other issues related to age, culture, or economic status.

We made this short video (and this small pasta lunch) to illustrate one possibility of how much a voice-driven interface could enhance music making:

EVERYBODY should be able to make music. Yes, that’s a tall order and we are under no illusions that we can actually achieve that goal ourselves. But we can move much closer to that objective than we now are. It will take all of us contributing to this effort to succeed, so we want to open a discussion that we hope will involve as many as possible who currently work in the field of audio and music technology. This means YOU!

We invite you all to join us and be part of the change. Enter the conversation by joining us on Discord.

We are wonderfully excited to be doing this and look forward to hearing from you!

The Team at Audio Modeling

 

Automatic for the People
Automatic for the People 1024 576 Audio Modeling

Automatic for the People

There are times when making music that two hands and two feet simply aren’t enough. A guitarist has both hands on the fretboard, one foot on the pedalboard, and the other foot…well, keeping her upright! Sax players, percussionists, keyboard players – everybody’s busy. If you’re a modern musician, using technology in your performance, how are you supposed to make that work?

Camelot has the answer: let the technology run itself, a solution better known as “automation.” There are so many things Camelot can automate for you: starting and stopping playback of prerecorded backing tracks; total reconfiguration of all your software instruments and MIDI controllers with Scene changes; displaying a music score, or lyrics, or performance notes. With Camelot’s Timeline, all these services can be scheduled to happen at exactly the points in each song where they are supposed to occur. Or they can be lined up in order and triggered in order or at will with a MIDI controller, or even a key shortcut.

Camelot is your willing servant, able to act when your eyes and ears and hands and feet and even your mouth are all occupied with other tasks.

And there are bells and whistles, too! You can add fades in and out on your backing tracks control the volume of all the Layers or Scenes in a Song from a single fader, convert backing tracks that are MP3 files into WAV files, and color code components so that one glance tells you what is playing or happening.

You can read all about Camelot’s Timeline and all of its juicy features in this informative and nutritious tutorial:

Camelot Tutorial: The Timeline

Now if we can only figure out how to add an “equipment hauling” automation feature to the Timeline….

camelot infografica audio
The Ins and Outs of Camelot 1024 683 Audio Modeling

The Ins and Outs of Camelot

A favorite riff in very old slapstick comedy movies was a chase scene that took place looking down a long hall lined with doors on either side. Characters would come blasting out of one door only to fly into a different door on the other side of the hall. Back and forth characters would dash, out of doors, into other doors. Even the Beatles referenced this gag in the animated “Yellow Submarine” movie.

One way to think of Camelot is like this long hall of doors – but without all of the comedy. If you know what’s behind each door and how to get from one to the other, you can create for yourself a performance setup that is immensely powerful and sophisticated, yet easy to understand and use.

To help you with this, we have created a new tutorial called, “A Guide to Camelot’s Long Hall Full of Doors With People Dashing In and Out of Them All  of the Time.”

No, we haven’t done that. Well, we have created a tutorial, but that’s not what it’s called. It’s actually called “Camelot Tutorial: Audio Input and Output,” and you can find it here:

Camelot Tutorial: Audio Input and Output

it doesn’t actually deal with all of Camelot’s doors, because it doesn’t really cover MIDI input and output, but we think people don’t realize just how powerful Camelot’s audio input and output structures are, so we have focused on those in this particular tutorial.

And we do present the full picture, from the role of your audio interface and its drivers to Camelot’s audio inputs and outputs and how they are abstracted from your interface. (ab-what? Well, we explain that, too.) Where you set the sample rate and buffer size, where audio I/O shows up in Camelot, plus, of course, a few tips about Very Clever Uses for audio inputs and outputs for those special situations that call for just a little bit more than normal.

What makes Camelot such a useful application is that you can always use it in the simplest, most basic fashion; you can construct complicated, monster setups that do incredible things; or you can mix the two approaches. The resources are there to work in any way that works for you…if you understand what is behind those doors!

Midi_Talk_Dugros
MIDI Talk, Season 2, Episode 2: Andrew Dugros 1024 576 Audio Modeling

MIDI Talk, Season 2, Episode 2: Andrew Dugros

MIDI Talk, Season 2, Episode 2: Andrew Dugros

Andrew Dugros is a native-born Italian, but it would not be inaccurate to say that his first language is music. Having been born into a musical family, Dugros started learning music at the tender age of 6, when he began studying classical piano, often being taught by a cousin who has long been a music teacher.

Barely a year later, Dugros had his first encounter with music technology. “There was an electromechanical organ at my uncle’s home,” recalls Dugros. “When I went to this instrument and was able to change its sound (with the drawbars), that was the moment when I decided that technology and music was unique work. The (role) of technology in music is very important for me.”

Dugros got his first electronic instrument, a Yamaha Portasound keyboard, before he was even a teenager. “It was a little keyboard, but, for me, it was a big experience,” he smiles. In a common pattern for keyboardists, Dugros soon acquired another keyboard, and then another.

At age 15, Dugros’ journey into music technology took another major turn. “The big change was when I bought my first sequencer and learned MIDI. This day changed my life as a musician,” Dugros emphasizes. “When I was able to record a track with the keyboard, and then record many more tracks to create a song with MIDI, it was fantastic! Obviously, I continue to play the piano as my first instrument, but keyboards and synthesizers are very important in my life.”

The first years of the new millennium found Dugros digging in to all these areas by becoming a certified Cubase teacher, studying at Milan’s famed CPM Music Institute, founding AMM (a music and technology academy you can find at http://www.accademiamusicamodernaaosta.it/), and, finally, becoming an engineer at CPM and starting his own recording studio.

Beyond all of his studio work, Dugros has also maintained an active performing career across a broad range of musical genres, including jazz, pop, gospel (Dugros is also an accomplished vocalist, often singing lead), and folk. As if that were not enough challenge for him, Dugros also played solo piano concerts.

His studio work has similarly crossed genre barriers, producing more than 50 albums for artists in classical, pop, folk, and rock.

This broad range of experience taught Dugros key lessons about what the true priorities of a musician and composer should be. With acoustic instruments, the heart of mastering them is endless practicing of fundamentals. With software, that idea translates into having a good workflow.

“We are musicians, not programmers or engineers,” Dugros begins, “We want to play, we want to compose, we want to arrange. When the computer has a problem, this is a situation in which a musician is not happy. So the workflow with a computer is very important.”

During the years when Dugros was really coming of age in music production, the quantity of available musical tools, software and hardware, was exploding. Many musicians loaded their DAWs up with endlessly scrolling menus of software instruments, but Dugros realized that was not a viable path to true mastery.

“I say to my students that it is not important to have a million applications or a million effects in the computer. You must have the instruments that you really use, and you must be able to use them. I have seen students of mine – and other musicians – that have millions of instruments but are not able to use them.

“I have instruments from four or five, maybe six manufacturers. I’ve made all of my productions and my live shows using products from only these five or six developers, plus two or three other synthesizers. If I can use an instrument very well, I can make things that are impossible to think.

“Now, I am curious, so when I see a new product, I’m curious to see it and try it. On my YouTube channel, I try many products, but the number of products I use for real production is very restricted.”

The biggest reason Dugros is so concerned with having full control over his instruments is because he believes that is necessary to expressivity, which is his number one objective.

“You can play the correct notes and you can play the correct chords, but if you don’t play expressively, you don’t play. For me, expressivity is all (that matters) in music. It’s not necessary to play 100 notes, because if you play the correct notes at the correct time with the correct expressivity, the music transmits an emotion, it transmits a sensation.

“This is one of the most important things in all of music, in everything that I do in the studio, in what I do in life, and in what I teach to my students.”

This emphasis on expressivity is what captivated Dugros when he first tried Audio Modeling’s modeled instruments, which enable expressivity through real-time control by modeling the behavior of acoustic instruments. “When I was younger, playing a saxophone sound from a keyboard was just a dream because the sound was very unnatural, very ridiculous in some cases. But when I played SWAM Saxophone for the first time, that dream became reality; I could realize the dream.”

But saying this brings Dugros right back to his argument for truly knowing your instrument in order to be able to get music out of it, because the true sound of each instrument is born largely from the idiomatic differences imposed by its physical mechanisms. “When you play a saxophone or an organ or an electric or acoustic piano, you play them in different ways. You can’t play every instrument in the same way, and expressivity changes with the sound that you use. You need to change finger position, for example, and you need to change your brain and think that you are that musician. When I play a saxophone or trumpet sound, I think like I am a saxophone or trumpet player. You need to change your mind and your technique, because (playing one of these other instruments) is not the same as simply having your fingers on a keyboard.”

While Dugros insists that both the instrument and one’s approach to it must be expressive, both of those are simply means to an end. In the final analysis, it is the approach to the music itself that determines expressivity, and that, says Dugros, comes down to immersion in the music and being in touch with your own musical voice.

“It is important to enter into the soul of the song. It’s not only about the current note or chord, you need to take your mind into the song. Expressivity is unique, so when you play a song, your version is different than any other version in the world because you are a unique person.”

Of course, this is true whether in the studio or performing live. “When you go on the stage, you’re not just a musician, you are saying something emotional. That’s one of the most important things a musician can do.”

When technology is mastered and under control, it can enable great expressivity in performance, but when things go awry, it can destroy the whole message the performer is trying to convey. Many performances today employing a lot of music technology are heavily mapped out and programmed, and Dugros feels that preparing well and then sticking with the plan is the key to everything turning out well in such situations.

“From my experience, it is very important to prepare and then not change anything. If you get on stage and begin improvising, it’s a big mistake. It is vital to go onstage and not change anything that you have prepared. That is important for the MIDI programming, but also for the music. So, when I go onstage, I don’t change a note that I have prepared.”

It was this notion that caused Dugros to put Audio Modeling’s Camelot performance environment at the center of his performance system. “It is a great frustration when you have a big setup and go to play live. It is very difficult to play and change to the correct sound at the right moment in the song. I discovered that Camelot Pro is the solution for all of these problems, both live and in the studio.”

Certainly, there are always situations that force changes, and a performer needs to be prepared to “wing it” when necessary. Dugros remembered an incident where his guitarist suddenly had a problem, which he had to cover up by jumping into a solo, so you must always have one or two things you can grab on the fly, if needed.

That is not to say that Dugros doesn’t believe in improvisation, in fact, improvising is key to his compositional method. “When I compose, I start with an improvisation. I start to play, and an idea might be right for a song. So improvisation is very important.”

The last half-century has seen synthesizers and music technology take hold and then dominate nearly every genre of music and every situation in which music is produced or heard. In all that time, the determinant of technology’s success has rested on a musician’s ability to take sophisticated instruments requiring some degree of electronic or computer savvy and get sounds out of them that evoke feelings in people. Andrew Dugros has fully immersed himself in this effort, recognizing that the mysterious art of extracting human warmth from cold electron flows and digital bits is the real objective in working with music technology. And that can only be accomplished by diving deep and mastering the technology.

Andrew Dugros has learned well that, as the song says, “You gotta get into it if you wanna get out of it.”

 

 

The Biology of Camelot 1024 576 Audio Modeling

The Biology of Camelot

Camelot is like a complex animal with multiple subsystems that all contribute to making up one amazing organism. Oh, sure, you skipped out on biology in school; we all did. But the biology of Camelot isn’t like that. It’s much more fun and nowhere near as technical and difficult.

Let’s just cut right to the heart of the matter. Which, of course, will lead us to the circulatory system. The beating heart of Camelot is its Layers, which must mean that its Items are the circulatory system, because Items are contained and connected in Layers.

Each Layer is a complete signal path made of Items that deal with MIDI, audio, or even both! You can have Layers that change completely for every different part of a song, you can have other Layers that DON’T change for the duration of the song, you can even have Layers that don’t change for the duration of an entire setlist. And you can have all of these at once. Now doesn’t that make your heart beat just a little bit faster?

To be clear, Items aren’t spleens or kidneys, but they can be software instruments, or reverb and delay effects, or MIDI processors, or any of a number of other functions. You can combine all of these and, rather than ending up with Frankenstein’s monster, you can end up with a monster performance rig.

You can see now how much more important it is to understand biology with Camelot than it ever was in school. And you’ll be pleased to know there’s no thick textbook that starts to look like a blur after only a few minutes. Instead, there’s a nice, clear article that lays out the particulars of Layers and Items in a thorough but digestible form. (Please tell me we’re not on to the digestive system now, because enough is enough with the biology metaphor.)

Trust us, when you start understanding what you can do with Layers and Items, it’ll generate some body heat!

Camelot Tutorial: Layers and Items

Omri’s Touring Rig: SWAM, Camelot, and Lots of Talent! 1024 576 Audio Modeling

Omri’s Touring Rig: SWAM, Camelot, and Lots of Talent!

A few months back, we spoke with saxophonist/EWI player Omri Abramov for Audio Modeling’s “MIDI Talk” video podcast series. Recently, we caught up with Omri again as he passed through Italy playing behind Israeil singer Noa on her summer 2022 tour of Europe to talk about how he built his performing rig for the tour around our SWAM instruments and Camelot live performance software.

Omri’s setup provides a great deal of flexibility from a relatively simple configuration. He gave us all of the juicy details, which we pass on to you with a thorough explanation and high-quality graphics, in this video:

Find out how a top musician puts SWAM and Camelot to work in performance!

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The 21st Century Legend of Camelot and the Hardware and Software Instruments 1024 576 Audio Modeling

The 21st Century Legend of Camelot and the Hardware and Software Instruments

A legend of a thousand years past tells of how, after pulling the sword Excalibur from the stone in which the wizard Merlin had placed it, Arthur became king and would gather his knights at a round table. At this table, King Arthur would command his knights to adventures and glory.

Now come back to the 21st century. In this time, YOU are the king (or queen, as you please), Excalibur is Audio Modeling’s powerful Camelot live performance environment, and the knights are all of your instruments, be they hardware-based, software instruments, or even acoustic instruments played into microphones. Using Camelot, you are able to command all of your instruments, in unified fashion, to adventures in performance, and the greater glory of music (ok, yeah, and maybe a little glory for yourself, too, sure, why not?).

Camelot allows you to press a single button (or step on a footswitch) and, in an instant, change presets on all of your instruments at once, for a complete transition to a new section of a song. Or maybe, instead of changing a sound, it might entirely swap out which instruments are being used for that section.

Camelot can cast spells that let you play and make real-time gestures on your MIDI controller and have each instrument be controlled differently, with the gestures scaled or mapped to curves that optimize their effect for each instrument. Camelot even gives you the sorcery to mix and process the audio from all of your instruments; the hardware devices and microphones being connected to audio interface inputs, the software instruments being routed directly.

Camelot’s magic is so awesome that it has Smart Maps which let you recall presets from your hardware devices without any kind of MIDI programming, just choosing your sound from a preset list. It casts such powerful enchantment that, far from being limited to controlling hardware synthesizers, Camelot serves guitarists just as well as synthesists, easily controlling a Line 6 Helix, Kemper Profiler, or Fractal Audio Axe.

Be the king. Be the wizard, too. This is the 21st century, and the magic of Camelot will let you be whoever you want to be. You can start right now with the many incredible magic spells in this tutorial on how to make your hardware and software instruments serve you as knights at your round table:

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

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Camelot for Wind Players: An Example 1024 576 Audio Modeling

Camelot for Wind Players: An Example

As a wind player, performing live with music technology presents a number of challenges, some of the most common ones being:

  • playing with backing tracks
  • recalling the right sound preset for each part of a song
  • using a single lead voice (your horn or wind controller) to generate harmony parts on different instruments
  • setting up MIDI controllers to remotely control software instruments and FX
  • displaying music scores

In the past, accomplishing these tasks could be difficult, and you might have given up on some of them because you couldn’t find the right tool with which to do them. You probably bashed your head against a wall once or twice in frustrating attempts to cobble together several devices or software programs only to get some compromised version of what you wanted.

Yeah, we’ve been there, done that. At the end of the day, we only want to play and have fun, and be able to focus on music-making without being distracted by infuriating technicalities. So we created Camelot to let us–and now, you–have more fun and less head bashing.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

software center blog post image
Introducing Audio Modeling Software Center 1024 576 Audio Modeling

Introducing Audio Modeling Software Center

Introducing Audio Modeling Software Center

 

You are taking the plunge. You’re going to buy upgrades for the SWAM instruments you already own, buy another SWAM instrument bundle, upgrade to Camelot Pro, and wholly commit to live performance with Audio Modeling instruments and whatever other instruments and audio plugins you may have. How exciting!

But…you are afraid. You think it is going to be a long, frustrating process to get everything installed, authorized, updated, and ready to rock.

We say: No, it’s not.

How can we say this so definitely, with such absolute certainty? I mean, we ARE talking about computers here, how can the Audio Modeling team be SO sure?

Easy. Because we have rolled out the faboo Audio Modeling Software Center to handle all of those processes for you with no more trouble (and not much more time) than it takes for you to make an espresso.

OK, we admit, Software Center doesn’t have the rich, strong flavor of espresso, and it won’t give you quite the same jolt of energy. But it DOES have the sweet taste of success, so that, by the time you sit back down in front of the computer with your steaming espresso, your Audio Modeling products will be waiting for you to take that coffee energy and make music with it. And, even BETTER than espresso (if such a thing is even possible), it will keep putting that sweet taste in your mouth as it makes it effortless to always have the most current versions of all of your Audio Modeling apps.

So, fear not. Software Center is here and it will be simple to manage all of your Audio Modeling apps. Which leaves only one question: do you want a little steamed milk with that?

 

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Audio Modeling Names Three New Resellers 1024 576 Audio Modeling

Audio Modeling Names Three New Resellers

Audio Modeling is pleased to announce the addition of three new resellers: SudeepAudio.com in India, Gear4music in the UK, and Best Service in Germany.

 

Sudeep Audio

One of India’s leading pro audio dealers, Sudeep Audio carries more than 100 major brands…and now one more, with the addition of Audio Modeling!

Audio Modeling products are available online at https://www.sudeepaudio.com/.

 

The late Mr. Nikhil Mehta founded Sudeep Studio–Sudeep Audio’s parent company–in Mumbai in 1977, with the idea of providing a resource for talented musicians working to launch or further their careers. In 2003, SudeepAudio.com was created by Metha’s son Aditya to carry on his father’s vision of always being a true friend to musicians.

“We are proud to partner with Audio Modeling as their exclusive Indian reseller,” glows Aditya Mehta, now one of two partners running Sudeep. “Audio Modeling is a global leader in multi-vector expressive acoustic instrument emulation, and technology is what excites us and connects us to our Indian music community. SWAM truly is a breakthrough in the world of music production. In time, we hope to work with Audio Modeling on creating SWAM versions of Indian instruments, which have unique characteristics.”

With 45 years in business, Sudeep is very well-regarded in India, according to renowned Grammy- and Oscar-winning composer A.R. Rahman. “Sudeep Audio has introduced several revolutionary products, in addition to distributing music production software in India from across the globe,” said Rahman in 2008. “Their competitive pricing, quick deliveries, and strong after-sales support are world-class. I hope they go further in the business, contributing to every musician’s success.”

 

For those who are wondering, “Sudeep” is not the name of anyone in the organization or the founder’s family. In Hindi, “su” means “pure,” and “deep” means “light,” so “Sudeep” translates basically to “pure light.” Mr. Mehta decided on this name to encourage the next generation to carry on with the “pure light” of music.

 

 

Gear4music

Since being debuted by sound engineer Andrew Wass in 2003, UK-based Gear4music has grown into a leading retailer of musical instruments and music equipment, with more than a million active customers, nearly 62,000 products available, and distribution centers in Germany, Spain, Sweden, Ireland, as well as the UK. And now Audio Modeling products can be found and purchased at https://www.gear4music.com/, as well.

 

 

 

Best Service

Munich-based Best Service, founded in 1986, was a pioneer in the emerging sampling market. Committed to providing the best possible virtual instruments and sound library experience, Best Service provides access to an exceptional range of inspiring tools for musicians.

“We are beyond excited to offer Audio Modeling’s outstanding virtual instruments through our webshop,” enthuses Managing Director Robert Leuthner. “Authentic sound isn’t the only feature of Audio Modeling’s products we find impressive. We feel that the SWAM instruments’ intuitive workflow and user-friendly graphical interface with smart controls lets musicians focus on making music, instead of worrying about technical considerations. Plus, for those who want to play virtual instruments live, Audio Modeling offers Camelot, a convenient tool that combines a setlist manager, mixer, MIDI processor, and effect host in a single, integrated performance environment.”

Audio Modeling products are available online at https://www.bestservice.com/

We at Audio Modeling are very excited to collaborate with these amazing companies. Welcome aboard, and we look forward to making beautiful music together!