It’s 606 day – remember when Roland made a drum machine like a 303?

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808 day, sure. But let’s pause for 606 day – the logical anniversary of the 1982 TR-606, a drum machine squeezed inside a tiny enclosure that looks like a 303 but isn’t. It’s the lesser known runt of the Roland family, and you kind of love it for that alone.

If you think about it, the 606 was way ahead of its time. Now selling customers on buying a little bass machine, then buying a little drum machine to go with it is par for the course. But in the early 80s, the music that would make the 303 and even the 606 desirable … hadn’t been made yet.

Why 606?

The TR-606 is certainly simple. It’s got all analog circuitry inside, for seven parts – kick, snare, two toms, open and closed hats, cymbal. There’s an accent control. It isn’t the most sought-after sound of the TR series, by any stretch, but now that you’ve heard way too many 808 and 909 hats, you might appreciate this just for some variety.

It can trigger other gear. It’s got accent. It was designed so you could chain 606 models together. So it’s not a terrible little machine. And it is – I’ll stand by this – the cutest drum machine Roland ever made. (I have to admit, I just went back to my boutique TR-09 this week and had a blast. Sometimes getting something tiny and restricted is oddly inspiring. An itsy bitsy teenie weenie silver TR drum machine-y?)

It’s famous, and yet mercifully no one has ever called it iconic. It just is what it is. Here’s Tatsuya of KORG fame giving it a one-over – as he should, as nothing channels the spirit of the 606 (even from Roland) quite like the entry of the KORG volca series he helmed:

And here’s Reverb.com giving it the once over:

The 606 has been in some great music – Aphex Twin, Nine Inch Nails, Autechre, Orbital, plus one favorite artist that shares its name – Kid606. Moby I think also used one, probably in that spell when he and I were dating that he doesn’t like to talk about. (Man, did that beetroot smoothie we shared together while programming 606 patterns mean nothing to you? Nothing?!)

It’s also been heavily modded and copied. It’s a reminder, basically, that drum machines need not look like a truck. They can be a funny sidecar you can easily squeeze into spaces where no one else can parallel park. When people talked about buying unloved Roland drum machines for $50 in pawn shops in the 80s – the TR-606 was one likely candidate. This was one of the machines cheap enough to enable people without cash to change music.

You know the sound. Because it was tinnier than the 808 and 909, the 606 often stood in when someone wanted something with an even thinner Roland sound.

Put that sound with the 303, and you really do get a combo that makes sense.

Bonus – this bit. You can swap between PLAY and WRITE pattern modes while the TR-606 is running – so you can edit as a pattern is playing. The other TRs would ideally work that way, but they don’t.

Here’s a guide to the controls:

Samples and software

There have been numerous software recreations, too, like this iOS app mR-606:

Or this one, which also runs on iPad:

EGDR606 Drum Machine

Most famously of all, there is Propellerhead’s ReBirth, which cloned the 303 and 606 and launched, arguably, the entire electronic dance music production revolution on computers. Roland must have taken note, because they convinced Propellerhead to remove the iPad port. (Okay, that was probably more about the TB-303. But still.) If you’re ambitious, you can still run ReBirth on recent Windows versions, with some effort.

And here’s a free sample set:

http://www.rolandclan.com/library/tr-606/

Samples From Mars also have a sale on their much broader sample library, which resamples the 606 through various gear. Check it:

https://samplesfrommars.com/products/606-from-mars

Adverts

It may not have translated into sales, but Roland had a slick presentation for its 1982 product line.

Check out those specs:

Dear advertisers – please create stuff like this, which is what people saw if they flipped open a glossy issues of Keyboard Magazine in 1982:

Source: https://retrosynthads.blogspot.com/2010/08/roland-tb-303-and-tr-606-keyboard-1982.html

And yes, Roland at various times has brought this back in … strange ways, like on the SP-606 which really … has nothing to do with the TR-606. But here it is, because D-Beam! It’s also been spotted inside the recent recreations like the TR-8S and even the Serato-collaboration DJ controllers.

Image at top:

Roland TR-606

The post It’s 606 day – remember when Roland made a drum machine like a 303? appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

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Why Mixing on Headphones Is Better Than You Think

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I often see introductory mixing guides that stress the importance of not relying on headphones for mixing music.

While they make a lot of good points, it’s not completely true that you should never mix on headphones.

In fact, I think a lot of beginner and intermediate producers and engineers could benefit from mixing on headphones.

These are the top reasons why mixing on headphones can be better than mixing on nearfield monitors. But first…

The case against headphone mixing

The reasons that you shouldn’t mix on headphones seem pretty clear and compelling at first.

The reasons that you shouldn’t mix on headphones seem pretty clear and compelling at first.

The main ones I usually hear are:

  • It’s less realistic
  • Your ears get fatigued much faster

These are both true and I’ll address them here before you grab your pitchforks.

Monitor crossfeed

First off, there are some fundamental differences between mixing on headphones and mixing on monitors.

The direct sound from a nearfield monitor isn’t completely isolated when it reaches your ears like it is on headphones.

The sound emanating from each speaker blends together a little bit in the air.

This phenomenon is called crossfeed.

speaker crossfeed

It means that a small amount of sound from the left and right speakers will mix together and make the stereo image seem a little narrower.

This is what leads engineers to claim that mixing on headphones gives your tracks an unrealistic feel.

On headphones you have no awareness of how the sounds from the two speakers blending affects your mix.

It’s true that the absence of crossfeed while mixing on headphones can potentially lead to problematic stereo field choices.

But as long as you know it’s a risk you can avoid it!

There are some interesting plugins that can simulate the effect of crossfeed in your DAW, but why not keep it simple?

Just be aware of your panning and the width of your sources in the stereo field and you won’t have a problem—don’t be afraid to pan wide!

Ear fatigue

The next main issue I normally hear is that headphones can cause bad ear fatigue more quickly.

This is also true, but it depends on a lot of different factors.

Ear fatigue can be an issue in any listening setup if you’re monitoring too loudly or sitting too close to the speakers.

Ear fatigue can be an issue in any listening setup if you’re monitoring too loudly or sitting too close to the speakers.

It’s extremely easy to lose track of your listening levels while mixing, but it’s incredibly important for your ears. Don’t mix too loud!

And no matter where you mix you have to take regular breaks for a variety of reasons. That won’t change even if you have the best listening chain in the world.

But most importantly, not all headphones are created equal. I am certainly not suggesting you mix your album on a pair of consumer closed-back cans, or (heaven forbid) earbuds.

You’ll need good quality open-backed reference headphones to mix effectively

Open-backed headphone designs are much less fatiguing and much more transparent.

That might sound like you have to spend a lot, but in comparison to the other options…

Headphones are the best value for money

Have you checked out monitor prices lately? There’s a huge variation.

It seems like there’s a lot of great options in the sub-$1500 range.

But if you’re looking for a more serious pair many seasoned engineers will tell you to save until you can afford something in the $3000-4000 range.

That’s a lot of money!

By contrast, the most expensive headphones in Sennheiser’s pro audio range top out at $1699 USD.

headphones vs monitors price

Still a huge amount, but those are the best headphones money can buy!

Clearly headphones provide the best value in monitoring. Even a $500 pair is considered high end pro!

The base price before you start seeing diminishing returns in functional quality for a pair of headphones is much lower than monitors. That’s a huge bonus.

The base price before you start seeing diminishing returns in functional quality for a pair of headphones is much lower than monitors.

You need a good pair of headphones in your studio anyway

Even if you have nice nearfield monitors, you’ll still need a pair of headphones for other studio tasks like tracking or mix referencing.

Why not start with a pair that are good enough to mix on? It’s the perfect investment if you’re just starting out with mixing.

If you know you won’t be able to afford monitors for a while at least you’ll have capable headphones to see you through.

And once you get there you’ll have a great way to get a second opinion on your mix.

Mix referencing is one of the most important processes for getting your mix closer to the sound of a polished professional product.

Good headphones should be your number one choice for referencing your mix somewhere other than your monitors.

Good headphones should be your number one choice for referencing your mix somewhere other than your monitors.

They’re a key part of any mature studio workflow!

Room acoustics have more impact than speaker quality

Most of the mixing environments that beginner and intermediate producers work in have very poor acoustics.

That sounds judgemental, but I know you can’t help it. Unless your room is meticulously designed with acoustic treatment in mind it won’t even be close to flat or transparent.

Even if you bought top of the line monitors that cost as much as a new car, you would still have issues if you mix in a bad sounding room.

mixing on headphones

Headphones let you take your room out of the equation entirely. That’s a huge win.

The single biggest issue plaguing non-acoustically treated spaces is inaccurate low end.

EQing kick and bass wrong can mean your track has no foundation. That’s’ why even pros with high end mix rooms check their lows on headphones periodically—I’ve seen it happen!

Headphones let you take your room out of the equation entirely.

Headphone hi-fi

Headphones are a vital piece of your gear arsenal, but there’s no reason they can’t be your main mixing tools.

It’s true that they probably shouldn’t be your only option in the long-term, but until you get set up with a good listening chain, headphones are a perfectly workable solution.

Next time you feel depressed that you can’t afford a high end pair of monitors remember that you can still improve your work a lot by getting better at mixing on headphones.

The post Why Mixing on Headphones Is Better Than You Think appeared first on LANDR Blog.

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Cannabis has gone from a criminalized drug to a multibillion-dollar global boom in just a few years. Here’s everything you need to know about the emerging legal cannabis industry.

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marijuana

  • Legal cannabis is one of the world’s newest and most dynamic industries. Since Colorado legalized the drug in 2012, the previously illegal plant has birthed multibillion-dollar public companies, minted billionaires, and brewed social change not seen since the end of Prohibition.
  • As cannabis companies scale up, they’re seeing interest from institutional investors, major consumer corporations, and Group of Seven governments. 
  • Business Insider reports regularly on the latest developments of the cannabis industry. You can read our stories by subscribing to BI Prime.

Here’s what we know about what’s going on inside the world of the fascinating legal cannabis industry right now, from the largest publicly traded companies, to venture-backed startups, to the rapidly shifting federal policies around the drug. 

Marijuana M&A

Weed on Wall Street

The CBD boom

Startups, venture capital and private equity

Policy

Profiles and interviews with industry leaders

Lists 

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: WATCH: The legendary economist who predicted the housing crisis says the US will win the trade war

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The ‘Fold’ wallet is a completely seamless card, currency, and coin carrier!

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The Fold is as simple as it’s functional, say the guys at Lemur Design. They’re right. When packaged, the Fold wallet comes as an open, unfolded piece of leather, secured to a packaging board that also contains the instructions to assemble the wallet together. With two simple fasteners, the Fold wallet comes together, transforming from a flat piece of leather, to an incredibly useful, classy, zero-compromise wallet that’s sure to spark conversation.

The Fold wallet is one of Lemur Design’s many single-piece-foldables, and comes crafted from a single piece of full-grain vegetable-tanned leather. Its unfolded, flat form folds together in three quick steps, going from a mundane piece of leather to a feature-laden wallet that holds your cards, banknotes, and even your coins! The wallet comes with two access-points, allowing you to quickly reach your cards or bills via the main flap, and access your coins in their dedicated coin-pouch via a secondary flap.

The straightforward, fold-to-assemble design looks deceptively simple, but is, in fact, an ingenious piece of origami-inspired artistry that goes from flat to fully-functional in less than five seconds. Its one-piece design not only makes the Fold wallet last longer than most conventional wallets that come assembled with stitches or glued seams, effectively bypassing all their weak points; but also gives it a unique design language that unites Lemur Design’s other fold-centric products. Besides the entire act of assembling your wallet is definitely the very highlight of owning this absolute beauty, is it not?!

Designer: Lemur Design

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This AI-powered subreddit has been simulating the real thing for years

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Can the human discourse on social media in 2019 be properly captured by a group of well-programmed bots? Of course it can. r/subredditsimulator is a subreddit — three years in the making — that consists solely of neural network bots. It works by generating random submissions and comments based on posts from other popular subreddits. The bots are each assigned to a specific subreddit, and the selection ranges from Reddit’s darkest (r/theredpill) to fluffiest corners (r/cats, r/adviceanimals).

The bots comment on each other’s posts, and things can quickly get heated. Topics range from politics to food to relationships to completely nonsensical memes. While many of the posts are incomprehensible or nonsensical, it’s hard to argue that much of life on social media isn’t. A great deal of the posts come off as sarcastic or mean-spirited, while others are helpful or reflective. Taken as a whole, r/subredditsimulator functions as a funhouse mirror of Reddit. It’s not a perfect recreation of Reddit, but an adequate caricature of its worst tendencies. Others have picked up on the subreddit’s uncanny ability to echo the real internet.

As observers of the subreddit have pointed out, the bots stay in character, sometimes to hilarious effect. For example, look at this post from the r/adviceanimals bot entitled "My reaction to my wife forced me to cut warehouse workers’ Christmas bonus program." Within minutes, the r/atheism bot responds defensively with an anti-Trump rant. r/boardgames is more supportive, writing, "I might have to pass even if it’s a good game, but I’m with you on this." The r/Mexico bot chimes in, but of course in Spanish.

The GPT-2 generated threads such as "There is nothing wrong with buying a used car" are almost a work of art. "I don’t think it’s right to just buy a used car. I believe people are just looking for a cheap way to get rid of old cars. But I do think the purpose of a used car is to have a car that you can travel and get you around," writes the original poster. "That’s the dumbest thing I have ever read," responds another bot.

According to the subreddit’s moderator, the posts are generated using "markov chains", a mathematical system that tells you the probability of future outcomes based on knowledge of a previous event. It’s the same science that informs tools like autopredict. "If you’ve ever used a keyboard on your phone that tries to predict which word you’ll type next, those are often built using something similar," wrote the moderator.

Source: Reddit

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Less than 1% of people can hit the perfect score on this color test

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Less than 1% of people can hit the perfect score on this color test

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If you’re a photographer or retoucher, perhaps you perceive color better than an average human. But is it really the case? The UK-based vision care company Lenstore has created a test that lets you check your color perception. It’s super-fun but pretty difficult, so the results may surprise you.

The test is creatively named Colour is in the eye of the beholder. And this is pretty accurate, considering that several factors affect how we see colors. First of all, it’s our age and gender. I believe you’ve seen tons of memes showing the difference between guys and girls and their perception of color. Then there’s the factor of language. Some linguistic theories suggest that the language we speak also affects our color perception.

According to the test, most people who took it scored 6 out of 10, and less than 1% of people got the perfect score. You can take it below or via this link. And after you’re done, let us know your score.

I scored 9 out of 10. According to the test makers, it’s higher than 98% of people who took it. What was your score? Let us know in the survey and in the comments below.

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Bunq launches travel card to make foreign exchange fees disappear

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Fintech startup Bunq provides full-fledged bank accounts. But if you’re happy with your existing bank, the company is launching a new free tier so that you can cut down on banking fees.

The Bunq Travel Card is a Mastercard without any foreign exchange fee. The company uses the standard Mastercard exchange rate but doesn’t add any markup fee — N26 also uses Mastercard’s exchange rate. Most traditional banks charge you 2 or 3 percent for foreign transactions.

When you get a card, you can then top up your account in the Bunq app. You can also send and request money with other Bunq users. But it isn’t a full bank account.

While there is no fee on foreign transaction, you still have to pay €0.99 per ATM withdrawal. It also costs €9.99 to order a card, but there’s no monthly fee.

The company insists on one thing in particular. The Travel Card is a credit card. Revolut has been issuing prepaid cards for years, and it can create some issues. For instance, some hotels, rental car companies or gas stations don’t accept prepaid cards.

It isn’t a normal credit card as you can’t spend money you don’t have. You have to top up your Bunq account before using the card and overdrafts are disabled. In other words, if you don’t have enough money on your account, the transaction gets rejected.

The Bunq app lets you freeze and unfreeze your travel card. You can receive a notification every time a transaction is processed and you can set your own limits.

This new offering should boost signups for Bunq. And it could be a good way to attract premium subscribers. If you have bigger needs beyond a travel card, you’ll have to subscribe to a premium account for €7.99 per month.

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With ‘Striking Vipers’, ‘Black Mirror’ embraces the complexity of human relationships

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Black Mirror is not a show we turn to for optimism, victory, or sex positivity, but Season 5’s “Striking Vipers” somehow has all three. An episode that could have been stigmatizing or even homophobic instead leaves us to unpack a rich friendship and open our minds to new relationships and how to make them work.

“Striking Vipers” starts with college sweethearts Danny (Anthony Mackie) and Theo (Nicole Beharie), and their roommate Karl (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II). Years later, Danny and Theo are married, and Karl makes a sporadic reappearance in their lives to gift his old bestie the video game Striking Vipers for his birthday. 

That night, the old friends enter into Vipers’ simulated reality together (still unclear what the controllers are for), intending to beat the shit out of each other’s avatars – Roxette and Lance (Pom Klementieff and Ludi Lin) – but instead find themselves sharing a passionate kiss within the game.

They play it off as a fluke, which is easy to do since they themselves did nothing. But when they re-enter the game, there’s no time wasted: Their avatars smash faces immediately and have wild, passionate sex. And so begins a virtual affair in which neither man is physically cheating on his significant other, but his mind wanders off to what turns out to be the best sex he’s ever had.

This is where “Vipers” deconstructs and challenges the very language we have to describe what’s going on with Danny and Karl. Is it an affair if you haven’t physically touched anyone? They are quite literally friends with benefits, and have achieved the impossible goal of keeping those benefits entirely separate from their “real” lives. None of the messages they exchange in the real world are sexual; they read exactly like two buddies scheduling video game night, and what happens in the game stays in the game.

In the game of Striking Vipers, Karl becomes Roxette (Pom Klementieff), and Danny becomes Lance (Ludi Lin).

In the game of Striking Vipers, Karl becomes Roxette (Pom Klementieff), and Danny becomes Lance (Ludi Lin).

And of course, the ultimate question, which Black Mirror gladly turns on its head: “Fellas, is it gay if…” Is it gay if you have crazy intense sex in a simulated reality video game with your bro’s avatar? Is it gay if the avatars have heterosexual sex? Is the whole thing just next-level phone sex – creating physical sensations with virtual scenarios?

Danny and Karl ask themselves these questions and communicate up front. They quickly dismiss any qualms about their sexuality, but doubts resurface as game nights continue, as they grow distracted and pull away from their real-life partners, thinking about nights in the game with Roxette and Lance. This is the most Black Mirror aspect of the entire episode, the notion of technology creating distance between relationships in the physical world, even if Danny and Karl’s friendship grows stronger. 

In its greatest twist of all, “Striking Vipers” does not end in devastation.

Danny ceases all physical intimacy with Theo, and only over their heartbreaking anniversary dinner does he realize how precarious his situation has become. There is no one else, he tells her, but he cannot bring himself to say that he still wants her physically. The hidden world of Vipers, which he thought he had compartmentalized, is proving to be his detriment.

The men finally conclude, in a display of surprising emotional maturity (and after an impulsive “I love you” from Karl via Roxette), that they should kiss in real life to see if their chemistry exists outside of Vipers. If they do feel an emotional connection, they’ll reassess their sexualities and relationship. If not, they have to face these unusual circumstances head-on.

The kiss builds up with believable confusion and nerves from both men, and in the end it yields nothing. It’s not, as Danny suggests, “an us thing,” at least not an “us” that doesn’t also include Lance and Roxette. While Danny is ready and willing to reset their friendship, Karl can’t let go of the game. “It’s burrowed right in here,” he says, jabbing at his temple, and then his best friend decides to beat that burrowed thought right out of him.

The brief fight is difficult to watch, harkening to the bullying and physical fights we’ve seen fictional characters and real people suffer due to sexualities that society doesn’t accept or understand. Even the poster for “Striking Vipers” directly recalls Moonlight, in which a young black man hides and ignores his sexuality before quietly accepting it.

Image: mashable composite / a24 / netflix

In its greatest twist of all, “Striking Vipers” does not end in the devastation of two relationships, but in their successful integration. Once a year, Danny gets to join Karl in Striking Vipers, and Theo gets a night off from married life to explore the desires she admitted to cutting herself off from in order to prioritize their family. The arrangement carries shades of polyamory and open relationships, but with rules and time limits that work – at least for now.

In a generally toothless season, “Vipers” at least provides comfort in its ending. It’s one of Black Mirror‘s most hopeful episodes, placing faith in our capacity as humans to adapt to technology mutating relationships. We may already live in a world where the best, most “transcendent” sex a person experiences is alone or involves a screen of some sort, and “Vipers” suggests that this can coexist with established practices like monogamy and marriage. It’s a wild ride that gives us plenty to think about, and a new reference point for unique relationships the world might finally be ready to accept.

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