Sugar Bytes says that its Nest DIY MIDI sequencer can make music “with a life of its own”
Sugar Bytes is making no bones about the fact that Nest, its new ‘DIY sequencer’, is a “challenging” beast, but if you can grasp its modular complexities, it could have the potential to help you to make music “with a life of its own”.
The simplest explanation is that Nest is a software environment that can be used to create MIDI, but the fact that there are 20 modules that you can patch together - said to be inspired by “classic integrated circuits and today's computer features” - means it’s inevitable that things are going to get pretty deep, pretty fast.
You can actually generate up to eight MIDI voices and assign them to four targets. There are internal synths and drums, and you can host up to four VST 2 plugins. Up to 12 scenes can be saved and recalled via MIDI, and you can send to 16 MIDI channels. There’s support for MIDI CCs and automation, and you get five stereo audio outs and a “flexible scale system”.
By patching together the modules, you can create intelligent musical contraptions that will spin your music off in different directions. Nest isn’t restricted to software, either - you can also use it to drive your hardware.
As we said at the top, Sugar Bytes is well aware that Nest might take some time to master, but if you’re up for the challenge, you can find more information and tutorial videos on the Sugar Bytes website.
Nest runs on PC and Mac, both standalone and in VST/AU/AAX formats. It costs €99, and there’s also a demo.
I’m the Group Content Manager for MusicRadar, specialising in all things tech. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 20 of which I’ve also spent writing about music technology.
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Sugar Bytes DrumComputer
Sugar Bytes bring their powerful drum machine to iPad.
Sugar Bytes’ impressive virtual instrument product line — whether on desktop or iOS — never fails to combine the deep, powerful and creative with just a touch of madness. As such, they might not be to everyone’s taste but, if experimental electronic music making is what you do, then a dollop of Sugar Bytes might well be in order.
DrumComputer for iPad is a full port of the desktop instrument. That means you get an eight‑channel drum synthesizer (eight separate engines layering resonator, wavetable/analogue oscillator and resynth/sampler sound sources with an impressive collection of presets), choke group configuration, powerful modulation options, filter, compressor, overdrive, reverb and mastering effects, a 16‑step pattern sequencer with multiple controller lanes for each of the eight drum channels, humanise and swing, comprehensive sound and pattern randomisation, fill generation, and MIDI and audio export. For this iPad version, the app can run standalone or as an AUv3 plug‑in and includes Ableton Link support as well as MIDI Learn and host‑based automation.
If that already sounds like a lot of features, then the somewhat ‘busy’ nature of the interface will come as no surprise; minimalist it is not. You can access the different areas of functionality via the tab buttons that run across the screen just below its centre. This includes the detailed synthesis engine controls for each of the eight channels of sound synthesis, a ‘kit’ overview with some sound macro controls (and sound randomisation options), the Sequencer page and (via the ‘stripy downward arrow’ button) the pattern and sound mapping controls for triggering via MIDI. There is a heck of a lot to get your head around; this is a deep and powerful instrument.
However, before you get intimidated by what is undoubtedly a steep learning curve, exploring the presets without touching anything else will quickly convince you that this is a seriously capable drum synth. However, given the comprehensive set of full kit (with patterns) and sound presets, if you start by just exploring the hugely creative, and often inspiring, range of randomisation options — for full kits, individual sounds, patterns and modulation — you might never need to do more than fine tune a few parameters to taste.
DrumComputer for iPad captures everything that is so characteristic of a Sugar Bytes product.
DrumComputer for iPad captures everything that is so characteristic of a Sugar Bytes product. It’s head‑scathingly deep, amazingly powerful, sonically impressive and massively creative. And, despite being just slightly mad, it’s enormous fun to use. For EDM, any form of electronica, or modern film and TV soundtracks, it would make a great addition to any producer’s toolkit.
It will not be for every iOS music maker but, as it’s a free download (with an IAP to unlock the full feature), at least everyone could give it a try. This is as much fun as I can ever recall having with a drum synth. DrumComputer for iPad is fabulous stuff... indeed, so good that I’m now off to buy the desktop version.
DrumComputer for iPad is typically Sugar Bytes; powerful, hugely creative and with more than a hint of madness. There is undoubtedly a learning curve but EDM music makers will find lots to love.
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When geek meets sweet, magic happens.
happy 2021, friends! we made it!! i don’t know about you but i am ready to shake off 2020 and shake up things in the new year. throughout the year, i’m going to be implementing new ideas, new projects, and new products; there are lots of layers to the changes so they will be released as they are completed. I’m seriously excited for what’s coming and i have a feeling you will be too. to kick off these changes, I’m announcing some new menu items:
BANANA SLAMMA - Banana Split cake. Donkey Kong’s favorite saying comes to life in this delicious cake. Banana cake topped with whipped vanilla frosting, chocolate ganache, cherries, and peanuts
BROOMSTICKS & CAULDRONS - Butter Pecan cake with caramel topping. Think Butterbeer, but this won’t get me sued.
ORANGE BLOSSOM - Remember the cutest little friend from Strawberry Shortcake? Orange Blossom was always one of my favorites because her scent reminded me of summer. I’ve done my best to capture that flavor in a cupcake (and I think I hit the nail on the head)
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.Mapping - DrumComputer Tutorial
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