Circle² 2.0.2 (OS X 10.11 El Capitan Support) / Hugh on July 29th

After recieveing several support requests from users of the brand new OS X 10.11 El Capitan Beta, we’ve decided to roll out a Circle² update with full El Capitan support.

El Capitan

OS X users, grab the new installer from the link below if you plan on upgrading to 10.11!

Download Circle² 2.0.2

Circle² Synthesis Tutorial Series, Vol. 1: Future Pop / Hugh on July 28th

Following on from the release of our first free Circle² preset expansion pack last month, we would like to present the first volume of The Circle² Synthesis Tutorial Series on our YouTube channel.

Over the course of these 6 videos we guide you through the sound design process for each preset in the expansion pack, and provide some extra tips and tricks along the way. The video series will give you all the tools required to sculpt your own unique, club ready presets.

Check out the video series in the YouTube playlist below, and stay tuned for more tutorials!

Artist Focus: Tony Lionni / Hugh on July 28th

In continuation of our Artist Focus series, this month we spoke to the house hit maker Tony Lionni.

Tony Lionni

For our readers who are not familiar with you yet, please can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

I am a producer of house music of various styles from techno to house to deep house. I also take street photographs in my free time. I’ve written music for many different labels during a time when only talent got you signed to a major house label, like Francois Kevorkians’ Wave Records for example.

What inspired you to get into making electronic music? Is it something you’ve always known you wanted to do?

I am of mixed parentage, a mixture of Black African and White European roots. Growing up I was educated musically by my fathers’ love of Black music and followed the history and trend in Black music, from the 1970s brass and acoustic days to the development of electronic drum machines and keyboards becoming more popular in Black music with the start of electro. My house was always full of electronic things; oscilloscopes, broken circuitry boards, soldering irons, hi-fi equipment, and Black music records / cassettes everywhere, in every cupboard, attic and living room. It was an evolutionary thing and music was always and is always around me. I was fortunate enough to have friends back in the day who had the money to buy bits of equipment. At the age of 18 I was working for a top guy who was white and was a similar age to my dad who had nuff wicked Black music albums from the 70s that were real rare, like Eugene Mcdaniels as well as classic George Duke albums. After work around the time of 1988 he would invite me over to his home and we would make house beats. He also would bring me along with him and introduce me to many of the top Manchester recording studios of the time.

Many thanks to you Tony and Chris Bird you help put me further along the pathway.

Your track ‘Found a Place’ (Ostgut Ton, 2009) is an absolutely timeless Berghain anthem, and is still a classic internationally. Please could you tell us a bit about how this track came about?

Thank you. I wrote it just after being very nearly homeless, completely broke and unemployed, with no one around me to help or who would help me out at the time. Shortly after I signed a 2 track EP to a label in Detroit and with the little cash got myself back on my feet and wrote Found a Place. I sent it to Len Faki who was a fan of my previous releases and he surprised me when he wanted to sign it for the Berghain compilation he was doing. I was surprised as I didn´t think people would get it; as far I was aware during the time no one else was digging back into the early 90s house and techno records. I wrote it thinking back to The Hacienda, when house fusion crews like Footpatrol would dance to Innercity and battle other house fusion crews from other parts of the country that would come up north.

To what extent has coming from the UK influenced your music? Do you feel your music relates more to the musical textures of Berlin?

Growing up in the UK in the 1970s and being born into a mixed race family the UK was secondary to Black America in terms of leading the way in Black music and modern music trends. Back then society was very divided. Blacks and mixed race families listened to Black music and virtually all whites listened to Punk, indie, and heavy metal. As Ive followed the development of Black dance music from the 1970s, I am very fortunate to have seen and experienced the music evolve, and was exposed to it from when it wasnt played on the radio very much or played in discos, right through to the dance music explosion in the UK at the end of the 80s, for better and for worse. Berlins music culture is a completely different story with a completely different culture.

When writing a track, what is your creative process? (Do you program drums first? Do you sit down at a set time and say “Now I’m making a track” or spontaneously rush to your studio…)

Always drums first and take it from there in what ever path it follows. I write music for different reasons, sometimes I want to feel good about myself and get my swagger on and write something I feel is dope that will put a few heads to rest, other times it’s to eliviate stress or simply to fill time when I don’t feel like doing something else.

Can you tell us about your studio setup?

Very basic portable set up of Macbook, Monitors and a Yamaha Mo6 Full size keyboard.

Ableton live and Reason in rewire mode, don’t need anything else to write music these days.

What were your initial thoughts on Circle²? Are there any certain features you like in particular?

Again thanks for letting me try it out and I must say I am having fun with it. I like being able to layer the different waveforms. The effects are nice too and can really add a lot to the sound and groove. I’ve just scratched the surface and i am looking forward to just playing around with it so I know exactly how to get the best out of it.

Thanks for your time Tony, we can’t wait to hear your next releases!

For Tony Lionni tour booking enquiries please contact
room303@live.com

Free Circle² Preset Expansion: Future Pop Vol. 1 / Hugh on June 25th

* All non percussive elements in this track are generated using the Circle² Future Pop Vol. 1 Expansion presets.

We’re currently in the process of recording our next video tutorials, which will be genre focussed synth recreations using Circle². The first series will be focussing on futuristic electronic pop, and will be followed by chapters focussing on deep house, future garage, drum and bass, dubstep and trap.

To precede the first videos, we would like to present a selection of the sounds that will be recreated over the first series. This powerful 6 preset expansion contains all the leads, pads and chords you will need to create the next hit track!

Future Pop Vol. 1

1. Electro Bassics
2. Square Lead Wobbler
3. Supersaw Power
4. Supersaw Tremor
5. Undercover Plucker
6. Undercover Saw Lead

Download the expansion here

To install the presets, just unzip and paste the folder “Future Pop Vol.1″ in here:

OSX - Application Support > FAW > Circle-2 > Presets
Windows - Program Files > FAW > Circle2 > Presets

Circle² Review Roundup - Part 2 / Hugh on June 25th

Resident Advisor

Overall rating: 4.4 / 5

“Perhaps the most impressive new feature of Circle² is a cutting-edge new oscillator type called VPS. This oscillator gets its name from vector phaseshaping synthesis, a technique in which two sine waves are combined in different ways to create a wide array of sonic textures. What sets this apart from the usual additive or frequency modulation algorithms is that VPS joins the sine waves together end-to-end. By altering the frequency and the point at which the waves are joined together, you gain an immense level of control over the output with just two parameters. FAW reportedly worked at length with some of the original authors of the VPS paper to refine their implementation for a software instrument. Their efforts paid off—the sonic possibilities of the VPS oscillator give Circle² a whole new level of depth and a signature that sets it apart from other instruments.”

Ratings:
Cost: 4.0
Versatility: 4.0
Sound: 4.8
Ease of use: 4.8

Read the review

imamusicmogul

“I’ve been using Circle² for the past couple of days and let me tell you it’s becoming on one my top synths. The sounds this thing produces are extremely gritty, massive and present to where music is today. If you’re an electronic music producer then this is the synth for you.”

Watch on YouTube

Dubspot

“Circle²’s esteemed user-centred design approach is forward-thinking and highly intuitive providing an improved workflow and user experience for both novice and experienced users. The unique interface reveals every parameter in a single window that is very accessible and easy to operate without having to click around to find hidden controls and submenus. The complex sounds crafted from the simplistic operations of this modern looking synth allows the user to focus on creativity rather than technicalities, which makes it a must have tool for your arsenal.”

Read the review

Artist Focus: Fanu / Hugh on June 25th

In continuation of our Artist Focus series, this month we spoke to renowned Finnish drum and bass breaksmith Fanu.

For our readers who are not familiar with you yet, please can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

My artist name is Fanu. I live in Helsinki. and I’ve been releasing drum and bass and related styles since 2003 or so. I started making electronic stuff in 1992, though. I recently kicked off a “hip hop side career” as FatGyver, too. I run a label called Lightless and sometimes I release music wherever. My Bandcamp page should give a decent picture of what I’ve done in the past decade or so, as I’m trying to have most of the worthwhile music up there.

What inspired you to get into making electronic music? Is it something you’ve always known you wanted to do?

I could go for the super corny saying, ”I didn’t choose it – it chose me”. I spent my childhood (till I was 19) in the quietest, most boring countryside town, and hearing electronic music hit me really hard in the early nineties and definitely filled a void as I had nothing else to do (in addition to skateboarding). Hip hop came into my life at the same time and influenced me a lot as well, and I think most of my stuff has a bit of aesthetics from both genres.

I got into sampling with Amiga at an early age and started messing with tunes of my own around 1992 or so, and literally from the first moments I knew that’d be something I’d like to do. Nothing really compared to the magic of making music of your own. I still find it quite magical, to be honest.

How has living in Finland influenced your work?

It’s ”always” dark and cold here. Well, in general. Like right now, mid-June, it’s raining like hell while all I’d like to do right now is go out and skate. It still hasn’t got really warm, to be honest. So I’ll use today making music once again.

Living up north was even colder and darker, and I’ve always said there’s a lot to interpret in the dark, and snow definitely puts you into a different mindstate, and it 100% did shape my imagination when I was young. I’m grateful for having always lived in Finland, as because of that most composers here tend to write this sort of deep, melancholic music. It’s the weather / climate. I can’t even think of what type of music I’d be laying down if I had been born in Brazil or something.

Fanu

When writing a track, what is your creative process? (Do you program drums first? Do you sit down at a set time and say “Now I’m making a track” or spontaneously rush to your studio…)

It varies a lot. For such a long time, I used to start with a break, and you can hear it: most of my D&B tunes are known for the breakworks. When you write a strong break, you’ll sort of have to write the song around it, whereas if you start with something else, the beat may be sort of complementary.

But I’ve always considered the “vibe” important too – the emotion – so I may start with that sometimes because just laying down a deep chord will totally set the vibe for everything else you’re going to do. But if I start with “something other than a break”, I won’t always end up getting that deep with the beats. But I like switching my ways of working in many ways as it keeps it fresh.

Music – finishing songs – is work, and you often have to make yourself work even when watching a movie or going to a pub might feel like a more pleasant option, but in terms of starting a new piece, I need to have a bit of a vibe going. I easily get there by going through sounds I’ve sampled or sounds I’ve created or come up with. I’m always working on ideas and sounds, so I’ll always have material to start a song with when I feel like it. I’ve been keeping a notepad of all worthwhile ideas etc. for a while now so that leaves me a lot of mental space as I don’t have to remember anything. Mental space is key when it comes to creating music.

Can you tell us about your studio setup?

As for hardware: 17” Macbook Pro, UAD Apollo Twin, Adam A7 monitors + Sub8 sub, Moog Minitaur, Arturia Microbrute, Waldorf Blofeld, Akai s3200XL, Akai s950, E-MU Ultra 5000, Akai MPC Renaissance, Ableton Push, Soundcraft desk.

As for software: Ableton Live 9 and a ton of software. I’ll use anything, to be honest. I’m not a master of anything – other than Ableton Live, which I also give a bit of training on – but I’ll vibe off of anything and make it work. Traditionally I’ve been sampling everything that moves pretty heavily but it’s been in recent years that I’ve started using synths more, too.

What were your initial thoughts on Circle2? Are there any certain features you like in particular?


For me it’s important that it looks clear – I can work on my breaks a long-ass time using a sampler from the 90s that’s slow to use, but to be honest I don’t spend hours and hours on a synth patch. I do make my own, but I want to get them down quite quickly, and I need to be able to just rock it without having to read the manual all the time. I mean if the GUI is intimidating, it puts me off, but Circle2 did the opposite when I saw it: it’s really easy to grasp. And the modulation system is the best I’ve ever used on a synth, hands down. Honestly, the design is great – all you really need is laid out for you and all is easy to see. I also love seeing visually where the envelope and LFO are going…one of those small yet big things and it helps you set their speed etc.

All in all, it’s perfect for someone like me who wants to get their hands dirty quick. Definitely one of those I’ll whip out at an airport, come up with a dope sound quickly, and boom, I’ll write a tune around it.

To keep up to date on Fanu’s latest news follow him on Facebook, SoundCloud and Twitter.

Circle² Official Trailer Launch / Hugh on June 25th

We recently launched the first official Circle² trailer, which you might have already seen up on YouTube.

The trailer features a dirty trap influenced beat, that tests out Circle²’s VPS, Wavetable and Analog oscillators.

Check out the trailer below!

Circle² 2.0.1 is Here! / Hugh on May 26th

C2.0.1

This is the first Circle² update, and fixes several minor bugs that had been flagged by you. A big thanks for all your feedback so far, and don’t forget if you come across any issues then don’t hesitate to drop us a line at support@futureaudioworkshop.com, and we will get it fixed up as soon as possible.

Change log:

  • Modulation amount popup positioning on bottom rising panels.
  • “VCA” title changed to “output”.
  • Keyboard tracking assigned to feedback tuning in default preset.
  • Mixer levels made uniform in default preset.
  • Fixed occasional spotlight browser freeze in 32bit FL Studio.

Windows Installer
OS X Installer

Circle² - First Reviews and Feedback / Hugh on May 21st

Ask Audio Magazine

“Despite how high FAW had already set the bar for themselves with the first version of Circle, it’s hard not to be impressed with the enhancements on offer in Circle². Whether building patches from scratch, modifying the growing library of factory presets, or using the handy randomisation controls to chance it, Circle² painlessly delivers high-quality sounds with style. Their commitment to elegant design in service of a fluid user experience make Circle² a joy to use, while the astonishingly flawless, full-bodied sound quality makes the majority of plug-ins pale in comparison. It’s no surprise their team boasts leading mathematicians working alongside innovative designers and clever programmers – the result of their collaboration is an essential piece of virtual kit.”

Read the review

Multiplier

“It allows you to lay ideas down really quickly, really efficiently… I’m just a fan of the workflow the plugin enables, and the visual feedback, that’s what has won me over. You can make some really cool sounds with this. Circle² - I’m a big fan!”

Attack Magazine

Ten Of The Best: New Synth Plugins (Feature)

“The visual aspect of Circle² is so telling because it sums up the synth’s main selling point: this is a complex, powerful synth that still manages to be user-friendly, a feat that should be high up any developer’s list of priorities but all too often gets overlooked in favour of cramming in as many features as possible.

A complete beginner could fire up Circle² and get started making sounds without too much difficulty. The synth engine is based on a combination of wavetable oscillators and FAW’s new VPS (“vector phase shaping”) synthesis engine, developed in conjunction with the audio research group at Maynooth University. It’s a powerful setup that avoids becoming overly complex thanks to the graphically driven approach; the name of the synth comes from the small circles underneath parameters, which can be dragged around the interface to set up modulation routings.

Circle² looks great and sounds even better.”

Read the review

Learning to Design Sounds with Circle² / Hugh on May 20th

Some of you may have followed the Circle sound design tutorials that have been on our website for the past few years. We’ve now updated these tutorials for Circle² and are presenting them in the form of a video series (just over an hour and fifteen minutes in total length). The tutorial playlist can now be found on our YouTube channel.

This video series will be useful both for beginners to gain an understanding of sound design fundamentals, and for advanced users to learn some extra Circle² hints and tips. We recommend watching the videos consecutively, as the complexity level increases with each tutorial. The tutorial patches are available to download via a link in the description of each video, or you can download the whole pack together as a zip from here.

We will be making more tutorial videos in future, so keep an eye on our YouTube / Twitter / Facebook for live updates. Do you want a tutorial on a specific sound design topic or how to make a particular sound?

Let us know via our social media or in the comments below!

Tutorials included in the series:

1. Creating a classic brass sound

  • Get acquainted with Circle²’s main components.
  • Connect modulation paths.
  • Utilize subtractive synthesis techniques.

2. Creating an electro synth bass

  • Use similar techniques used to those in tutorial one, but leading to drastically different results.
  • Use Circle²’s main synthesis modules.
  • Apply effects to make a sound more interesting and effective.

3. Creating a classic synth lead

  • Apply more interesting modulation paths and effects.
  • Use vibrato, filter modulation and multi effects to create more dynamic sounds.
  • Use Circle²’s intuitive modulation system to help make a patch playable and dynamic.

4. Creating a noise based sweep effect

  • An introduction to the building of effects patches.
  • Construct a classic synth sound effect.
  • Shape noise through filtering and EQ.

5. Creating a high passed riser effect

  • An introduction to high pass filtering.
  • Use multiple LFO modulation to create interesting movement in a sound over time.

6. Creating a rising scifi effect

  • Construct a more complex rising effects patch with a tonal laser / sci fi quality.
  • Understand Circle²’s sound design capabilities for non musical applications.

7. Creating sample and hold synth effects

  • Use Circle²’s analogue modelled filter as a sound source through self oscillation.
  • Create “sample and hold” synth effects as made prominent by Underworld in their seminal track “Rez”.

8. Creating an evolving ambient pad sound

  • Create delicate and moving pads.
  • Use layered wavetable oscillators to create harmonically rich patches.

9. Creating an analogue underwater pad

  • Use LFO filter modulation to create an “underwater” effect.
  • Design of sounds for building an ambience that evolves and changes over time.

10. Creating a synced arpeggiated lead sound

  • Use the Circle² arpeggiator.
  • Use analogue sync to add an aggressive, metallic tone to a sound.

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