Wednesday 22 December 2010

Shift updated to v2

And Shift v2 is out: go transpose some pitches. Shift v2 is a huge update (although rewrite is perhaps a more accurate description) of the original Shift. Why a rewrite? Why not a minor upgrade? Real-time harmonizing with zero latency, the most requested feature by a long way, just wasn't going to happen with Shift v1.  Rather than shoe-horn the feature in, we took a step back, looked at what did and didn't work with the first Shift, and redesigned it.

Some of the many improvements in Shift v2:
  • Better diatonic tracking. Not only is the tracking faster and more accurate, we've added filters to reduce the signal bandwidth (and hence, make it easier for the tracker to guess the pitch), as well as a real-time tuning indicator to help you finely hone the tracker settings. Plus you can save tracking presets independent from the main preset; if you've found a setting that works great with your particular style of playing, you can easily bring it into any preset.
  • Better interface: most noticeable the XY Grid control for real-time simultaneous 'playing' of two parameters.
  • Grain engine parameters: tweak the fundamental grain settings to improve latency and quality.
  • Improved preset browser, with all the usual features such as tagging, annotations, quick searching, and hot-swap previewing.
  • 64-bit: Shift v2 is native 64-bit for Windows VST, and Mac OS X Audio Unit. Other 64-bit formats coming soon...
So Shift v2 is a vast step forward from Shift v1. But don't take my word for it, listen to the audio samples here. Or even better: judge for yourself, grab the demo here. Shift is available for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux, in all the usual formats (Audio Unit, VST, RTAS, and Standalone application.)

Registered users of Shift v1 can claim their free licence upgrade here.

Friday 17 September 2010

Zen and the art of preset sharing

Big Tick Audio Software have just released 1.0 of Zen, an online preset browsing wrapper. Zen, currently available on Windows, is a lightweight VSTi plugin which wraps existing plugin instruments, adding the ability to share and browse Zen's repository of online presets. Aspect support has recently been included, so feel free to grab Zen, and upload any presets you've created. (And once you've created an account, be sure to take a look at Big Tick's impressive range of previously-commercial-but-now-free older plugins.)

Monday 6 September 2010

Sequent updated to 1.1.2

Sequent 1.1.2 for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux is now available.

This release add the following fixes and features:
  • Native 64-bit versions for Windows (VST) and Mac OS X (Audio Unit).
  • Integrated Preset Browser, with meta-data, tags, searching, and hot-swap support.
  • Component Level Preset Support: create partial presets for each Effect.
  • Effects in the Modular routing window now can be toggled on and off by double-clicking them.
  • Unused Effects can be removed from the Routing window.
  • Cables in the Routing window can be removed by right-clicking on them.
  • A cable can now be created by dragging from an Effect's Input to another Effect's Output.
  • Fixed: Gate Depth or Slew Time would jump to 0% when linking the Gate Depth or Gate Slew Time sequencer.
  • Fixed: Editing the Delay Time Sequencer would sometimes cause the current Delay Time to change.
  • Fixed: The same connection could be made multiple times from an Effect to an Output.
  • Fixed: Rare crash could occur when loading several presets in quick succession.
  • Fixed: Synced Delay time in the Sequencer window is now displayed correctly.
  • Various host compatibility fixes.
Sequent 1.1.2 is available for Mac OS X (Audio Unit, VST, RTAS, and Standalone formats), Windows (VST, RTAS, and Standalone formats), and Linux (VST and Standalone formats). Download Sequent 1.1.2 here.

Tuesday 27 July 2010

Aspect 1.6.1 released

We are pleased to announce the release of Aspect 1.6.1 for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux. This release adds the following fixes and features:
  • Native 64-bit versions for Mac OS X Audio Unit, and Windows VST.
  • New built-in Preset Browser with support for xml, fxp, and fxb preset files.
  • Presets can now have meta-data, such as author name, notes, and tags. Use meta-data to search your preset library.
  • Hot-swap preset browsing: quickly step through and preview presets in context.
  • Various host compatibility fixes.
  • Audio-rate pitch modulation of Oscillator 1 from Oscillator 2 now works.
  • Sample & Hold module's latched value is now correctly reset when the the input source is removed.
  • Much faster GUI response.
  • Slight reduction in CPU usage on particularily complex presets.
  • Vastly reduced start-up time.
  • Clearer font rendering: a larger font is now used for menu items.
  • Additional and improved factory presets.
And here is the new Preset Browser (click for full-size):

Aspect 1.6.1 is available for immediate download from

Friday 4 June 2010

Pure Data MIDI Step Sequencer (2)

I've spent a little time improving the Pure Data MIDI Step Sequencer patch that was originally posted here. This new version adds selectable step divisions, and a fairly decent swing algorithm. The code has been tidied up somewhat too; in many places, lists provide a much more cohesive data structure than the separate pitch and velocity streams that the first version used.

 Download the updated patch here.

Thursday 3 June 2010

String 1.1 released: 64-bit / Effects Plugin

We are pleased to announce the release of String 1.1 - download the updated version here.

String 1.1, a free update for registered users, contains the following fixes and features:
  • Native 64-bit versions for Mac OS X Audio Unit, and Windows VST
  • Separate "Effects Only" plugin: use String's Effects as a general multi-fx unit
  • Phaser and Chorus now automatically disable themselves (saving CPU) when the plugin is idle
  • Each Layer now has an overall Volume control
  • Increased polyphony
  • Much faster GUI response  
  • Vastly reduced memory usage
  • Various compatibility fixes for certain hosts
  • Fixed bug where Delay Link status sometimes isn't persisted
  • Fixed minor audible click that could be heard when changing Chorus mode
The effects only version, "StringFX",  is a separate plugin which can be used to process any external instruments with String's effects section:

And as a bonus, KVR's HunterKiller has kindly provided over 150 fantastic new presets for registered users of String - download them here. Many thanks to HunterKiller for the hard work he put into these awesome sounds.

Wednesday 26 May 2010

String reviewed by Computer Music magazine

Another positive review of String, this time courtesy of Computer Music magazine. When you're reading the review, which can be found online here, be sure to listen to the audio samples: they do a fantastic job showing how well Loomer String does classic Solina String Ensemble and Elka Rhapsody style sounds.
"Loomer Synth's sound quality is superb, with just the right balance of vintage tone and digital clarity. The sound could best be described as cinematic, albeit in a late-'70s sci-fi/horror fashion. String can easily stretch from Vangelis-like soundtrack to Prodigy-esque sound module strings."

Friday 14 May 2010

Manifold and Resound 1.4

We've recently released upgrades for a couple of the earlier product line, Manifold and Resound (download the updated versions here). As well as some fixes for compatibility with a few misbehaving hosts and general stability, (and, in the case of Resound, a much needed improvement to the feedback algorithm), the most interesting thing about these releases is that they mark our first foray into native 64-bit territory: both the Windows VST and Mac OS X Audio Unit versions now run as native 64-bit plugins.

64-bit native builds of the remaining product line will be available soon...

Wednesday 5 May 2010

Rekkerd reviews Sequent have posted a short review on our latest release, Sequent. Aside from the overwhelmingly positive text, it's also worth checking out for the short demonstration video. Thanks!

Saturday 17 April 2010

MIDI Step Sequencer in Pure Data

Presented here is a very basic MIDI Step Sequencer for Pure Data. It's locked to playing 16th notes, but the tempo and number of steps can be changed. The pattern can also be transposed. Finally, it comes with a decent random pattern creation system, ideal for that 'dead batteries in a 303' style sequence.

The top right window displays the pitches for the steps, selectable between -12 and +12 semitones. The center right window the velocity (where 0 means no note is played). The bottom window shows the currently playing step. Obviously, as a MIDI Sequencer, it doesn't actually produce audio on it's own: you'll need to route the MIDI to the instrument of your choice.

The patch itself is fairly simple; there's nothing in there a novice Pure Data-er familiar with basic messaging and lists couldn't grasp. Adding multiple pattern support would be a simple, yet interesting addition for the eager coder.

Here's a short audio demo of it at work: here, MIDI is output from Pure Data using the Mac IAC MIDI Driver (use MIDI Yoke on Windows) into Aspect, which is playing a nice analogue mono synth bass sound.

Download the patch for Pure Data here.

UPDATE: New version posted here.

Friday 9 April 2010

Sequent 1.0.2 for Linux

A short note to mention that Sequent for Linux has been updated to version 1.0.2. This fixes a rather nasty bug that slipped through the cracks of our testing: sometimes the interface would lock, or indeed crash, when changing presets in certain Linux VST hosts. Download it here.

Tuesday 30 March 2010

Sequent released

Sequent is now available, and in a wealth of standalone and plugin formats: Windows EXE, VST, and RTAS; Mac OS X Audio Unit, VST, RTAS, and App; and Linux VST and executable. There are a few audio demos here to whet your appetite, download the evaluation demo here, or buy it directly from our online store.

And finally, big thanks again to Kev at for a stunningly beautiful interface. Kev is available as a freelance graphic designer, so feel free to drop him an email.

Wednesday 17 March 2010

Sequent: Sequenced Modular Beat Looper and Multi-Effect

Sequent is a modular multi-effects unit, the perfect tool for mangling audio on stage or in the studio. The effects - including a flexible beat looper and a pair of filters capable of self oscillation - can be connected in practically limitless combinations by simply dragging virtual cables between them.

Each effect parameter can be sequenced with a step sequencer (or which there are twenty-two), controlled live via a midi controller, or even left to chance by using the random mode. Sequences are combined into patterns which can be switched instantly between using either the on-screen interface or the notes on a midi keyboard.

Sequent will shortly be available to purchase at the Loomer website for £49 GBP, for Mac OS X (Audio Unit, VST, RTAS and Standalone), Windows (VST, RTAS, and Standalone), and Linux (VST and Standalone). An free evaluation version will be available for download at launch.

Hear Sequent in action with this short demo of an Amen loop being mangled.

Sunday 28 February 2010

Karplus-Strong guitar string synthesis with Pure Data

Presented here is a Pure Data patch that generates, without samples, a fairly decent acoustic guitar sound. This uses the Karplus Strong algorithm, in which an initial noise burst is fed into a tuned delay line (a delay line whose length equals the period of the desired frequency). The string's vibration is damped by a lowpass filter in the delay's feedback line.

The synth is built from six instances of this karpluck~ abstraction, one instance representing a single string. Each is synthesized in complete isolation: in this simple model there is no sympathetic resonance crossover between the strings.

Patch articulation comes from a simple strummer sub-patch. This generates a random sequence of chords in a pattern typical of an acoustic guitar player. A very small latency (strum_speed) emulates the short time delay between each string being plucked as the plectrum moves across all six strings. Width effects the width of the initial noise burst, with higher widths producing a brighter sound. Decay and cutoff set the amount of attenuation and filtering, respectively, in the delay feedback.

Here is the patch in action:

Download the patch for Pure Data here.

Thursday 4 February 2010

Linux Format praise Aspect

"Aspect has a wonderful GUI, a beautiful sound and is immensely flexible. If you love synths, this one is well worth the money."

And so concludes Linux Format magazine's devastatingly accurate review of very own semi-modular software synth plugin Aspect. Pick up the latest issue to read the full review (which also contains a short - and equally positive - write-up about String). Thanks Linux Format!

Thursday 28 January 2010

Manifold and Resound Audio Units crashing in Ableton Live 8.1.1 on Mac OS X

A particularily nasty bug can be found with the current public version of Ableton Live: Ableton Live will crash when adding either a Manifold or Resound Audio Unit to a track. The latest Live beta sees a fix for issue, but for those users who are loath to upgrade we recommend either using the corresponding VST plugin of Manifold or Resound, or performing the steps outlined here as a workaround.

For more information, consult the Ableton Forum post here.