Ableton Link, iPad and external equipment…alltogether!

Ableton Link is an amazing technology developed by Ableton, that lets musicians play music together, staying in sync and using the a WIFI network. The power of this technology is that, when integrated inside a musical application it becames seamless: the musician only has to activate the external sync. It’s became widely diffused in a short period of time in such a way to be considered quite a standard nowadays, especially for what concerns the various apps programmed for the iOS environment to make music.


Let’s take a brief look at how it works, considering all the possible scenarios, standard ons and “non standard” ones, eheheh.

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Novation Mininova programming part 2 – A synth bass

After our first discussion about programming a synth lead on the Novation’s baby, the Mininova, in this brand new appointment we’ll try to program a punchy synth bass taking advantage of the powerful and efficient synthesis engine of this machine.

Programming a synth bass is generally a quite straightforward process because the rules to follow are not too many, but I think one good rule to follow is “simple but with a lot of possibilities under the hood”. What does it mean? Well, it means that the timbre should be built using few sound sources but many modulation sources in order to let the musician variate the timbre “on the run” and give his execution much more character and fun. 

In other words, a synth bass is quite different from an acoustic bass or electric bass so don’t try to hide the fact that it’s produced from a synthesis engine but use this last one to produce something that would not be possible instead. Obviously, don’t forget the kind of timbre you need for the music you’re playing/composing/recording so…always search for the right compromise.

So let’s start with our programming: DAW opened, Mininova AU editor loaded and we’re ready to go!

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Roland Super JX-10 programming…nowadays

The Roland JX-10 is a 12-voice polyphonic analog synthesizer, with a semi-weighted 76-key keyboard sensitive to both velocity and aftertouch. It’s a vintage beast, considered by Roland its flagship product from 1984 to 1989. Despite of its power, it suffered a lot of the lack of MIDI implementation that, in conjunction with the need of the programmer PG-800 to fully appreciate the synth, was the main reason that kept the machine “blurred”…in a way.


Starting from 2012, the interest for this synthesizer started to increase, due also to the increase of the interest of electronic musicians and keyboard players towards the vintage world. The first milestone of the “resurrection” of this machine was without doubt the firmware 2.x made available by Colin Fraser: he introduced a good sysex implementation making the synthesizer “mangageable” using the MIDI protocol and making the users beeing able to send sounds to the machine using sysex dumps started from a PC.

The work of Colin was the entry point of the main work made by Fred Vecoven who performed a full rewrite of the assigner code of the keyboard: the firmware that deals with sound programming, tuning, MIDI, patch management and so on. Fred realized the 3.x version of the firmware that not only fully implemented the MIDI protocol making the synthesizer react to CC messages and making it fully programmable via MIDI, but also introduced a lot of new features, giving in this manner “new glory” to this marvellous machine.

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Novation Mininova programming part 1 – a synth lead

Mininova is a powerful mini synth-vocoder made by Novation whose popularity has rapidly grown between musicians, due to it’s extremely versatile character, to its very good sound quality, to the goodness of the materials used to build it and, last, but not least, to its very affordable price.

Furthermore one of the most exciting features of this “small monster” is the very efficient vocoding system it offers…let’s say it, definitely an icing on the cake for the “Novation baby”.


Having choosen one of these toys as a part of my own setup and having appreciated it’s power in addiction to the easiness of programming it, I would like to show you how to build sounds using its synthesis engine.

And to do this, I would like to use the Mininova VST/AU editor that, instead of using the buttons and the encoders embedded on the synth, lets the programmer use the mouse and his computer supplying to him a software interface that shows the whole set of parameters in a more affordable way.

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Live jamming with Ableton Live! – first steps

Live! is a digital audio workstation (DAW) made by Ableton that changed the life of a lot of musicians with its unique workflow. Compared to other softwares as Logic, Cubase, Sonar, Audition or whatever you use, Live! offers to its users, in addition to the classic workflow,  the capability to organize the song as a “sequence of scenes”.


In this article I would like to discuss with you about this technique and give you a series of “tips and tricks” to start live jamming with your equipment and this beautiful piece of software. Since there are a lot of things to say and a lot to take a look at, let’s proceed step by step.

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