Computer Music 197 – Easy Guide to Ornaments, Clean Up Your Recordings Cover Feature, KMI QuNexus Review

Computer Music 197 – Easy Guide to Ornaments, Clean Up Your Recordings Cover Feature, KMI QuNexus Review

CM197 Cover 500The November 2013 issue of Computer Music is now with us, and in a bumper issue for me this month, I have a total contribution of 10 pages in there. Starting with the huge ‘Clean Up Your Recordings’ cover feature beginning on page 34, it’s an info-packed guide dedicated to rescue remedies; procedures to turn to when things haven’t gone so well at the recording stage and you find yourself needing to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, so to speak. I contributed six pages to this feature, complete with video, detailing how to smooth out harsh guitars with EQ, create double-tracked parts from a single take, fix snare resonance and hi-hat bleed on drum tracks, and replace dodgy drum sounds with high-quality samples.
Elsewhere in the issue, my regular music theory Easy Guide deals with ornaments this month, and we’re not talking about the antique Belgian ceramic cats on your mantelpiece either. To find out what I’m on about, turn to page 74 or watch the accompanying video (on the cover DVD or downloadable from the CM vault), in which all is explained.
Finally, I round off the issue with a double-page review of the remarkable KMI QuNexus USB MIDI controller. An intriguing, rubbery keyboard with all manner of tricks up its tiny sleeves, you can read what I thought of it on page 90.
Loads of other good stuff this issue as always, so check it out today!

Computer Music 192 – Pentatonic Scales, Modulation Cover Piece, Dune CM, WaveShaper CM

Computer Music 192 – Pentatonic Scales, Modulation Cover Piece, Dune CM, WaveShaper CM

CM192 Cover 500Big news today here at – I’m really happy to announce that I’m now officially a columnist! Yes, the July 2013 issue of Computer Music magazine is finally here, and it contains the first instalment of my regular monthly ‘Dave Clews’ Easy Guide’ music theory column. This first one is about the power of the pentatonic scale, and it spans two pages with two six-step walkthroughs that outline how to construct and use pentatonic scales within a practical production context, accompanied by a video that you can find on the covermount DVD (or download from the CM vault if you have the digital edition). I even get a photo byline, a small bio and a link to this page, so if you’ve come here via CM193, welcome!
Elsewhere in the mag, I’ve contributed quite a bit of other stuff to this issue too. Apart from my column on page 70, I’ve written the first five pages (33-38) of the cover feature, a massive guide to modulation. Looking in-depth at the way different kinds of modulation are used in synth sound design, and featuring lots of practical examples, with video, of how they can be applied in  real world music-making scenarios, the feature covers:

LFO’s – what they are and how to use them

ADSR Envelopes and how they can be used to modulate a sound

Complex, multipoint envelopes – now these are very cool!

… and lots more besides.

I also have the DVD tutorial this month, found on page 6 and detailing the features of the rather marvellous Cableguys WaveShaper CM plug-in, a combination of a digital oscilloscope and waveshaper that you can’t get anywhere else – it’s only available from CM, either on the cover DVD or as a download with the digital edition!

As if that wasn’t enough, starting on page 16 I’ve also done the CM Plug-ins Quick Guide, which this month is a four-page guide to the ins an outs of the fantastic Dune CM soft synth that’s also given away free (along with about 30 other plug-ins) every month.
Quite a landmark issue for me this, and I’m proud to say that I take up a total of 14 pages in this one. And with the second instalment of my column already written and the video already shot and edited, I can confidently say that you’ll be seeing at least two pages of me in the mag every month from now on!

Computer Music 190 – HorNet Fat-Fet & LinPlug CM-505

Computer Music 190 – HorNet Fat-Fet & LinPlug CM-505

CM190 Cover 500Computer Music magazine hits the shelves with a particularly high-viz cover this month, and all of my bits and pieces can be found near the front of the issue this time around. In the DVD Tutorial section, I get to introduce you to this month’s free plug-in, the excellent HorNet Fat-Fet. This virtual analogue compressor plug-in is modelled on the famous Universal Audio 1176LN Blue Stripe hardware compressor from 1967, and even though the front panel bears no resemblance to the original, it sounds pretty great. You’ll find a full description and in-depth 18-step guide to how to use it on pages 6-8, together with an accompanying video on the cover DVD.

Elsewhere, the CM Plugins Quick Guide feature delves into the innards of the LinPlug CM-505, an exclusive, custom-built analogue drum synth offered as part of the free suite of plugins that comes bundled with each issue of cm. A detailed four-page breakdown of what all the knobs and buttons do, this is the first time I’ve had a go at this kind of feature, and you can see how it turned out on pages 16-19.

So don your shades and get stuck into CM190, available from today in both print and download editions.

Computer Music Issue 187 – Creative Gating (With Video)

Computer Music Issue 187 – Creative Gating (With Video)

CM187 Cover 500As another year rolls around, so another feature-packed edition of Computer Music magazine rolls off the presses and slithers unobtrusively onto the shelves of your local newsagent and the screen of your nearest iPad. My contribution to issue 187 is a five-page tutorial on how to use software noise gates in a more creative manner than simply removing unwanted noise.

The noise gate is often overlooked as a utilitarian remnant of the analogue age, but the software versions available today have many more uses as creative tools in their own right. Here you’ll find detailed walkthroughs that demonstrate how to gate off guitar amp noise, recreate the classic 80’s gated drum sound, use sidechain inputs and free third-party plug-ins to produce rhythmic gating effects and set up your own custom multiband rhythmic gating system. You can find the piece on page 63, and the accompanying video walkthroughs can be found on the cover-mounted DVD, along with a host of other cool stuff.

So, if you want to explore new ways to ‘gate creative’, pick up a copy today – your tracks will love you for it!

Computer Music 186 – Shortcuts to Success

Computer Music 186 – Shortcuts to Success

CM186 Cover 500The latest issue of Computer Music magazine features my four-page tutorial on the effective use of keyboard shortcuts and how they can radically speed up your music production workflow. Entitled Shortcuts to Success and found on page 60 it focusses on some of the features offered by Logic, Cubase and Ableton Live that enable you to customise your keyboard layout in a way that puts your most-used tools and commands directly beneath your fingertips. So if you’re looking for some cool ways to increase your productivity when producing your productions, check it out!

Computer Music 184 – Expressive Synth Lines (with Video) and 2CAudio B2 Review

Computer Music 184 – Expressive Synth Lines (with Video) and 2CAudio B2 Review

Two contributions from the writing desk feature in the November 2012 issue of Computer Music magazine, now appearing front-and-centre on the shelves in all good newsagents, not to mention available to download digitally. Firstly, on page 60 you’ll find my four-page guide to adding expression to programmed synth lines – we’re talking how to add pitch bend and mod-wheel vibrato after the event to make it sound as if your lead parts were recorded by a seasoned keyboard pro. There’s even a section dedicated to getting the most out of your synth’s portamento control, and the whole thing is backed up with audio examples and video walkthroughs to be found on the cover-mounted DVD.

Also in this issue is my review of 2CAudio‘s new B2 spatial processor plug-in, which is to all intents and purposes a very high-quality algorithmic reverb unit. If you thought early reflections were what greet you in the bathroom mirror first thing in the morning, this thing will change that perception forever. Find out exactly what I thought of it on page 96. (Hint: I kinda liked it!)

Strike a Chord with Computer Music 182 – Video Now Included!

Strike a Chord with Computer Music 182 – Video Now Included!

Hitting the ground running today after a few days break from all things digital, what’s been going on in my absence? Well, first issue of note – literally – is number 182 of Computer Music magazine, which hit the shelves on the 14th August.

Nestling within its feature-packed pages is a four-page guide from me about how to get things moving again if you get stuck in the middle of writing a chord progression. Highlighting some simple, yet tried-and-tested manoeuvres for moving your sequences forward, this issue also marks a personal milestone for me, in that it contains not just the printed walkthrough steps, but also video versions of each tutorial included on the cover-mounted DVD.

Produced and narrated by yours truly, this is my first foray into video tutorials, so if you want to check them out, nip down to Smiths today and pick up a copy of the print edition, or you can download the digital Zinio or Newsstand versions for the Mac and iPad, as the DVD content is now included with the digital versions too!

Computer Music 180 Out Today

Record Great Vocals is the title of my 5-page contribution to the August 2012 issue of Computer Music magazine that hits the shelves today. A guide to getting a terrific-sounding vocal, from choosing and setting up the mic through to editing the final result, this feature is packed with handy tips and step-by-step guides to getting a great, professional-sounding vocal. Not only that, but the pictures all look very nice too!
Lots of other good stuff from the team this month, including a special FX masterclass, a focus on how to use Native Instruments’ FM8 soft synth, and loads of reviews. Check it out at all good newsagents today!

Novation Impulse 49 Review – Computer Music 179

In all the excitement over my cover feature this issue (see below), I almost forgot about my review of the Novation Impulse 49 Controller Keyboard that also appears in this month’s issue. The mid-range, mid-size all-rounder from the highly-regarded chaps at Novation combines with their AutoMap 4 software to provide a compelling package for those who need hardware control of third-party plug-ins with added on-board arpeggiation and a semi-weighted keyboard with polyphonic aftertouch. To read the full review and what I really thought of the unit, catch the new issue of Computer Music that hits the shelves today.

Steinberg Releases Cubase 6.5

German sequencer kings Steinberg yesterday announced a sizeable update to their flagship Cubase Digital Audio Workstation software. Incorporating two substantial and impressive-looking new software synths (Retrologue and Padshop), new plug-ins (DJ EQ and MorphFilter), new comping and warping tools, FLAC file format support and an update to the VST Amp Rack guitar amp emulation system, Cubase 6.5 also includes 64-bit support and the ability to export mixes directly to SoundCloud. It’s available as a £43 upgrade from previous versions of Cubase, or can be purchased outright for a shade over £500. For more info on what’s new, check out
I’m a big fan of the original Cubase as it appeared on the Atari in the early 90’s, and I’ve never since found a sequencer that has surpassed it in terms of breadth of features and ease of use – and I’ve tried just about everything out there over the years.
I’ve been asked by Computer Music magazine to review this newest release over the weekend, so I’m really looking forward to putting this latest version of my old friend through its paces. Will it be like slipping on an old pair of shoes with new soles and laces? Or will I get bunions and blisters within the first few hours? Watch this space…