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Digital Audio Workstation on Android - Preview of Caustic 3

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

New Features & Upgrades Coming in Caustic V3

Caustic is, in my opinion, the Digital Audio Workstation for Android smartphones and Android tablets.  I have used a number products in the past to help create digital audio, from the first version of 'Cakewalk', by Twelve Tone Music Systems (now owned by Roland), to the onboard sequencers found in the Kurzweil K2000 professional synthesizer, to LMMS, a Linux based multimedia system.  And I can tell you without a doubt, that Caustic gives you more ability to create music for the money than any of these products from the past.

And, you can take it all with you in your pocket or bag!

To whet your appetite, take a look at the main screen of Caustic Version 3 below:

Caustic Version 3

I know what you're saying to yourself right now: "Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh!"  Believe me, I felt the same way when I got my first look at it too.

Refresher on Current Version of Caustic

For those who are new to Caustic, the current version (version 2, at time of writing) is described in this way by it's developer, Single Cell Software:

"Caustic 2 is a rack-mount simulation that combines synthesizers and samplers to create music.  Everything is optimized for real-time performance, no internet connection required.

Create your rack by adding any 6 of these machines:

  • Virtual analog subtractive synthesizer
  • PCM synthesizer
  • BassLine synthesizer (303-like synth)
  • Sampling drum machine

The app also includes:

  • Effects rack supporting 2 effects per machine. (8 effect types)
  • Mixer desk with global Delay/Reverb
  • Song Sequencer

All files are stored on the SDCard, and users can supply their own WAV files for use in the PCMSynths and BeatBox."[1]


Sounds pretty awesome doesn't it?  It is!  I've made some really cool music (I think) with this app, and with the soon to be released version 3, I'll probably revisit some of my prior works and see what new things I could do with them.  What might some of those things be?  Let's take a look!

Padsynth

Caustic 3 Padsynth
   
Caustic 3 Padsynth 2

According to Wikipedia[2], a Pad Synth is "...a sustained chord or tone generated by a synthesizer, often employed for background harmony and atmosphere in much the same fashion that a string section is often used in acoustic music."

That is exactly what this synth gives you.  And to make sound creation super-easy for you, you simply swipe your finger across the screen over one of the two harmonic wave displays, to create any shape wave you want, then on the control screen (the one with the dials), you control your low frequency oscillators, the amount of morphing between the two harmonic waves, and finally a couple gain dials along with your standard ADSR controls.

This is the synth to use and give that 'what-should-I-put-here' spot in your music a little boost, or to help embellish a song's introduction or end.  -Looking forward to using this synth soon.

8-Bit Synth

Nintendo NES or Game Boy Sounds Anyone?

Caustic 8-Bit Synth 1

When you have a need for an 8-Bit sound in your electronic musical composition, let Caustic's 8BITSYNTH come to your rescue.  With preloaded patches from "PC LOAD LETTER", to "BROKEN TARDIS", you'll be sure to find a noise; I'm sorry, sound that works for your needs.  And if you don't find anything you like, then feel free to begin programming your sound, old-school style:  by code!

MODULAR

-Check this out:

Caustic Modular 4

Doesn't that look awesome?

That's the patch cable view of the all-new, Modular synthesizer in Caustic 3.  I'll bet you could spend entire sessions (if you felt like it) just coming up with sounds on this thing.  It's really cool how the developer accomplished the graphical representation of how you connect everything.  To make connections, you touch the jack you want to start with, and drag your fingertip over to the jack you want to connect to.  As you move your finger, a cable follows, and automatically adjusts the color, to help keep everything somewhat manageable.  I say 'somewhat', because let's face it: any time you start piling a bunch of cables on top of each other things are going to look busy.  Then you press the 'FLIP' button, to bring up the front side of these virtual modules, and your screen looks like the one below.

Caustic Modular 3

 This is your controls screen, where you tune in and adjust the output created by the connections you made on the patch cable side of the modules.  Press the 'KB' button to bring up a virtual keyboard.

At any rate, this monster of a machine gives you a lot to work with.  You get six different types of signal generators, three different envelopes, four filter types, three mixers, two effects, and seven miscellaneous modules, such as Arpeggiator, Cross fader, and Oscilloscope.

I think this machine is going to be a lot of fun to work with, and provide some unique sounds for users of Caustic, and I'm looking forward to hearing some tracks utilizing the Modular synth.

ORGAN

Caustic users, we are about to be given a dedicated organ synth!  Have a look at this:

Caustic Organ 1

Depending on what genre of music you tend to compose, this may or may not be a big deal to you, but I think it's great.  I tend to compose music with a strong back beat, and it falls somewhere between rock and some type of electronic music.  So the addition of the Organ synth is a welcome sight in my book.  I have some existing music I've written that I always thought was missing something and maybe this is what it needs.

VOCODER

Caustic Vocoder 1

If you have been wishing there was an easy way to get some vocals into your tracks, this is it.  This will take care of your needs to have a Transformers-style voice, or some Daft Punk type lyrics.  You can record voice (or anything, really) using your device's on-board microphone, or you can import .wav files to work with.  You can run the voices through the saw tooth or square wave internal oscillators, or use one of your other machines as the carrier.  A great deal of potential here for unique sounds.  You can have 6 different sounds loaded per each Vocoder machine at a given time.  You also are going to be getting some sample editing capability within this machine, which will let you normalize, fade, reverse, crop, and more.

FM SYNTH

Caustic FM Synth 1

The all-new FM Synth in Caustic is a throwback to the first commercially successful digital synthesizer, the Yamaha DX7[4].  I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that probably a great deal of the popular music from the 80's used one of these babies.  Think of Harold Faltermeyer's "Axel F", "Take on Me" by A-ha, and "Broken Wings" by Mr. Mister You can read more in-depth about FM Synthesis on Wikipedia.[3]

EFFECTS

Caustic Effects

Caustic 3 brings 8 all-new effects to the user, shown above in the bottom 2 rows, so you now have a total of 16 effects to pick from.  Below are the control views for the new effects.

Caustic Effects 2

You can still apply 2 effects to each instrument, but you can now also use 2 effects and apply them to all instruments at once, as explained in the next section.

MASTERING

Caustic now features a dedicated mastering screen, where you can apply delay, reverb, equalization settings, and a limiter to your entire mix.

Caustic Mastering 1

You can also now add 2 more effects to the whole output by selecting from the 16 available effects.  That is what the two empty slots are for in the lower-left portion of the mastering screen.  In the image below, 2 additional effects have been selected and added.

Caustic Mastering 2

The red light in the corner of each module lets you turn them on or off.  Just because it is there does not mean you have to use it.

MORE, MORE, MORE!

Caustic 3 will also feature:

  • a metronome:

Caustic Metronome
  • Option to use piano-roll for the Beatbox
  • Option to have the sequencer start at beat 1, instead of beat 0
  • Ability to setup the global default note velocity
  • FTP Server for transferring data
  • Effects, Mixer, and Master automation, accessible from the Sequencer

I am really looking forward to Caustic 3's release.  I hope if you are not currently using Caustic in your musical creative endeavors, you give it a try.  I think you'll be very impressed with what it allows you to create.

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Bibliography

  1. Rej "Caustic 2." Single Cell Software. 25/10/2013 <Web >
  2. Various "Synthesizer." Wikipedia. 20/10/2013. 25/10/2013 <Web >
  3. Various "Frequency Modulation Synthesis." Wikipedia. 28/10/2013 <Web >
  4. Various "Yamaha DX7." Wikipedia. 28/10/2013 <Web >

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