Klevgränd brings us another retro AUv3 for your iPad with DAW LP

Klevgränd produkter AB is a truly fine developer with some seriously good apps out there. I’d have to say that some of Klevgränd’s apps are in almost constant use in my iPad, mainly Haaze – Stereo Tool, and also, Svep – phaser, flanger, chorus. Yeah, I’m a big fan. The latest app to come from Klevgränd is DAW LP.

DAW LP is a vinyl player simulation plug-in iPad (AUv3), also for Mac & Windows (AU/VST/AAX). DAW LP simulates various artifacts associated with vinyl – all the way from the vinyl record surface, to the output cable of the RIAA amplifier. Tune in anything from an old 78:s player to a modern HiFi sound.

Here’s how to use DAW LP:

Set the level of hum, scratches & noise along with the quality of amp, needle & cable. Fine-tune using the in, out & mix level.

Features

  • Scratches/crackles rate, level and ducking.
  • Control vinyl noise, amplifier noise and low frequency hum levels.
  • Continuous control of amplifier, pickup needle and cable quality.
  • Switch between 50 Hz and 60 Hz hum.
  • Additional input gain, output gain and dry/wet mix parameters for convenience.

DAW LP is currently on introductory sale price of $7.99

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Little Rocker – distortion is the latest app from Aleksandar Mlazev

Aleksandar Mlazev has brought us a number of interesting iOS apps, my favourite of which is Jack the beat maker, but today he’s brought us Little Rocker – distortion. Like all of Aleksandar Mlazev’s apps Little Rocker – distortion looks a lot like all of the others. He seems to favour a very consistent style of interface. Which is fine.

Little Rocker – distortion is explained by its developer as:

Whole guitar sound with innovative distortion effect, speaker simulation and reverb. You can control the speaker simulation mode using a slider. The effect has huge amount of low end and a nice smooth sound.
Little Rocker can work as an audio unit effect AUv3 and also as a stand alone app so you will need nothing more than this app and a connection to your guitar to rock hard.

The virtual speaker is not a simple impulse response simulation but a complex algorithm adding resonances and multiple phase changes to the signal.

Controls:

  • Gain
  • Level
  • MOD – virtual speaker mode.
  • Reverb

Little Rocker – distortion costs $4.99 on the app store now

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Solidarität mit dem Havanna 8!

Havanna 8Ein Marburg ohne das Havanna 8 – für uns unvorstellbar! Als linke Szenekneipe stellt das Havanna einen der wenigen öffentlichen Orte in dieser Stadt dar, in denen eine emanzipatorische Praxis angestrebt und betrieben wird. Die Kneipe dient für uns als ein Ort des Rückzugs, der Vernetzung, der Wissensweitergabe, der Entspannung und des Hedonismus. Die Kneipe stellt aufgrund der geringen Anzahl an linken Räumen in Marburg ebenfalls einen wichtigen Veranstaltungsort dar, welchen wir selbst als Gruppe schon häufig genutzt haben.

Wir wollen unsere Stadt nach unseren Wünschen gestalten und nicht danach, wie es durch die kapitalistische Verwertungslogik erzwungen wird. Anstatt dass uns unsere Räume genommen werden, die wie das Havanna von Gentrifizierung bedroht sind, brauchen wir mehr kollektive Räume, in denen ein Hauch der Freiheit des Kommunismus und des Feminismus zu spüren sind.

Wir fordern den Erhalt linker Freiräume! Wenn sie uns genommen werden, leisten wir Widerstand!

Worum zum Teufel geht es II

Wenn einem kein neuer erbärmlicher Titel für einen Blogeintrag einfällt, nimmt man römische Zahlen. Cicero Wenn einem kein Einstieg für einen Text einfällt, nimmt man ein klassisches Zitat. Heine Die meisten Zitate im Internet sind gefälscht. Lincoln Sieh an, der bayerische Ministerpräsident und erwachsen gewordene Kinderstar Markus Söder hat „die Katze aus dem Sack gelassen“...
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Aus Anlass: PolG NRW – „Gegen das neue Polizeigesetz und seine Welt“

Wir geben folgenden Aufruf hier wieder: Gegen das neue Polizeigesetz und seine Welt Update: Das Gesetz wurde grade bis auf nach der Sommerpause verschoben! Kommt dennoch natürlich nach Düsseldorf und werdet aktiv! Die NRW-Landesregierung plant eine massive Verschärfung des Polizeigesetzes. Noch vor der parlamentarischen Sommerpause soll sie ohne große Diskussion verabschiedet werden. Das neue Polizeigesetz...
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Relive Legowelt’s radio show, Astro Unicorn Radio

For a few glorious years, Legowelt had a radio show, Thursday evenings on Intergalactic FM internet radio. But while the show is gone, the sounds live on.

Why am I bringing this up now? Well … I owe that notion to Xeni Jardin of Boing Boing, back in the heyday of the blog from whence this site came. Any extended period of, say, reading legal filings surely deserves a unicorn chaser.

And Legowelt comes to our rescue.

The show ran from 2007-2011, and was as eclectic and glorious as you’d expect from Legowelt. Brazilian Moog Cruisin’? Nigerian boogie disco? Check. Or, for instance:

Another radio reportage, this time from the cold snowy Rotterdam were we investigate Mono-Poly’s & Dr.Albert Putnam’s research in Biorhythms using modular synthesizers such as the Fenix and Buchla.

It’s a perfect template of what nerdy music things should be.

There’s a full archive of the tail end of the show in MP3 form, which you can grab as long as it lasts.

http://www.moosleybay.com/astro.htm

Episodes are on Mixcloud, too, from the source – from the beginning:

You’re welcome.

And thanks, Legowelt.

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Behringer responds to reports, defends reverse engineering

MUSIC TRIBE and Behringer responded early today to CDM’s request for comment, following revelations that company had targeted a Chinese website and Dave Smith Instruments with threatened or real legal action over criticism of the company’s business practices.

Uli Behringer, company CEO and founder of holding company MUSIC TRIBE, shared the following, which I’ve included in its entirety. (He also shared the same message to their Facebook group.)

In the message, Behringer doubles down on the claim that comments posted by a Dave Smith Instruments employee to the Gearslutz forum, as well as by Chinese news site Midifan, are false and constitute illegal defamation. He also defends the practice of what he describes as “reverse engineering” in their product development process.

Here’s their side of the story, as represented to us:

Hi Peter,

Thank you for reaching out and giving us an opportunity to respond in detail which we appreciate.

This is actually a first in our history with CDM and we welcome the change. As usual there are always two sides to any story and in the spirit of transparency and fairness we believe both sides should be heard. Since much revolves around “Defamation,” please find a quick Wiki link.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defamation

Chinese Media Case
Allow me to first comment on the previous story related to the Chinese Media case. While you had claimed to have reached out to us for comments, there is no such record in any of our systems. You only contacted me and Michael Lapke last weekend after the news was already a week old.

Let me start by saying that we don’t have any problem with people criticizing us. In fact we appreciate constructive criticism as that’s the only way to learn. What we have a problem with is when our employees are being called highly offensive and insulting names by media outlets. Unfortunately your article did not properly reflect the full content and background of the language used, which in the Chinese culture has a highly different sensitivity and legality.

This was not only raised by our Chinese colleagues but also customers of this media site who felt compelled to contact us. Also publishing pictures of a cancer-fighting colleague in a hospital bed has caused deep concerns among our people.

We sent the owner of the publishing site a Cease-and-Desist letter, but he was never sued as wrongly reported. We have since spoken with the publisher and they have promised to remove the offensive language and refrain from posting such slur in the future. We consider this case to be resolved and he also has standing invitation to visit us.

Since our employee welfare and integrity has been severely questioned by this Chinese magazine and whose accusations have later been repeated by CDM and other publishers without fact checking, I like to post a link to a local job portal that may give you a different impression. We also invited you Peter (and everyone else) to visit us, both in Manchester and Zhongshan.

We are very proud that we have been ranked Zhongshan’s No. 1 employer by the leading and independent job site (http://www.jobui.com/company/35895/)

Our factory MUSIC Tribe City is ranked:

· No 1 most popular electronics company
· No 1 most popular recruiting company
· No 1 most employee caring company

I am very proud of our local leaders who go out of their way to make a difference for our employees. If you like to learn more about our MUSIC Tribe City here is a video.

DSI Case

Some time ago an employee of DSI had posted incorrect and slanderous statements about our company on multiple forums. We put both the employee as well as DSI on notice and received a signed Cease-and-Desist letter from the employee where he assured us that he would refrain from such future comments. I have attached a copy of the undertaking of the employee to stop making such comments. In the reply of DSI, the company stated that it has instructed all employees to stop making any false or derogatory statements against us.

It is important to understand that this is not a legal action against a mere individual but a representative of a competitor. Any such false and disparaging comments made by DSI’s employee, are damaging and inappropriate in a highly competitive market such as ours. Unfortunately and despite the signed declaration, the individual working for DSI chose to continue to make such claims and hence we were forced to take legal action. If the employee had stopped his actions as agreed, the case would have never been field. While I am not a lawyer, I can only assume that including 20 “John Does” is part of a standard legal procedure to include other potential individuals related to the company. For clarity purposes, this case has nothing to with any particular forum or individuals other than those related to DSI.

Misconception around IP

Allow me to post an article about IP (Intellectual Property) as this is an important one to us. Especially because we have been accused of not honoring the IP of other manufacturers. I have heard and read over the years many accounts of lawsuits, judgments and sanctions against our company that are frankly based in fiction and not fact.

Technology is free for anyone to use unless it is protected

This is the fundamental principle of every industry and how we as a society progress and evolve. Imagine there was only one car or guitar manufacturer. I welcome this opportunity to set the record straight not only on past cases but to also clarify our view on IP and what constitutes fair competition as well.

About 30 years ago, as a small garage operation, we became involved in a patent dispute with Aphex over a processor we were building. At that time there were several companies who produced those exciters, such Akai, SPL, D&R, etc. Our patent attorney advised us that the Aphex patent was invalid and I also applied for my own patent (DE3904425), with sponsorship from the acclaimed Fraunhofer Institute, the inventors of MP3. Despite assurances and our own beliefs, we ended up in court where the judge ruled in Aphex’s favor and we lost the case. We paid damages and moved on.

This case illustrates very clearly what I came to understand over the ensuing nearly 30 years about patents and IP. Disputes over intellectual property are commonplace in many industries and especially so in the technology industry. IP is a grey area, as it deals with patents, trade dress, copyrights, designs etc. where not much is black and white.

Just look at cases with Roland versus InMusic, Gibson versus PRS, Peavey versus QSC, Microsoft, Blackberry, Yahoo, Google, Samsung, Apple etc. Lawsuits are often used as “guerilla tactics” and especially common in the US where legal fees are sky high and each party has to pay its own fees regardless of the outcome of the case. This, along with the fact that IP litigation is often used as a tool to push a competitor out of business, are reasons why there are so many cases in this area of law.

Misconceptions around IP

One needs to be clear about the distinction between blatantly copying someone else’s product and the principle of reverse engineering. Copying a product 1:1 is clearly illegal, however reverse engineering is something that takes place every day and is accepted as part of a product development process known as benchmarking.

Often one company will establish a new market opportunity for a unique product and others will follow with their versions of that pioneering product. Think iPhone followed by Samsung Galaxy. This is the principle of competition.

The Article from Berkeley Law School gives a great read and provides valuable background information. A quick excerpt demonstrates why public opinion often differs from the law.

“Reverse engineering has a long history as an accepted practice. Lawyers and economists have endorsed reverse engineering as an appropriate way for firms to obtain information about another firm’s product, even if the intended result is to make a directly competing product that will draw away customers from the maker of the first product.”

One of the cases that endures in people’s memories is when we were sued by Mackie over alleged infringement of their IP. After a series of very costly and bitter court cases which we all won, Mackie reached out to us for a settlement which did not involve any money. It was proven in court that we had not copied their schematics or PCB layouts, nor had we infringed on any patents as there were none. Nor had there ever been any legal cases brought by BBE, dbx or Drawmer as claimed by Mackie as part of their marketing campaign against us and which was later erroneously reported by Wikipedia and even CDM.

In our first two decades, most of our products were designed to follow market leaders with similar features and appearance, at a lower cost. This value proposition upset many of our competitors while at the same time earning us a huge fan base among customers. I fully understand that many of those competitors would be frustrated by our ability to deliver equivalent or better products at significantly lower prices and that is the source of much of the anger directed at us by them.

Since the Aphex case we have been sued several times and we equally had to sue competitors over infringement of our IP. This happens in every industry and is part of a fierce and competitive landscape.

However, to be clear, we have not lost any substantial IP case since the Aphex case 30 years ago and legal cases are a matter of public record.

We are committed to never engage in any activity that willfully infringes on the intellectual property rights of any company or individual. However, we are also aware that legal wrangling will continue as we press on with our philosophy of delivering the best products at the lowest possible cost.

We welcome criticism

I am a big believer in free speech and welcome any form of constructive criticism, as this is the only way for us to learn and improve. We also don’t mind any comments made or language used by individuals as this is a matter of personal choice.

It becomes sensitive when incorrect or defamatory statements are made by competitors and the media. While there is free speech, words do have consequences and since we are all bound by the law, the rules should be applied equally to everyone.
Once again, I understand that people have their opinions and preferences and I fully respect that. I also understand that some people don’t like me or our company, and chose not to buy our products which I respect, too.

Since we started our company 30 years ago, we have always carefully listened to our customers and built what they wanted us to build. Sometimes people would request us to improve an existing product in the market, sometimes they would come up with a complete new idea. In fact many of the ideas for our most successful products have actually come from our customers and for that we are immensely grateful.

However, we are also aware that legal wrangling will continue as we press on with our philosophy of delivering the best products at the lowest possible cost.

This is the philosophy I started the company on 30 years ago, and this is the philosophy that will carry us into the future.

Thanks for listening.

Uli

Pictured: a mock-up of Music Tribe City.

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Album of the Day: X-Altera – X-Altera

X-Altera

Es ist Sommer und da darf’s auch gerne mal etwas leichter und rollender sein. Wer auf Drum & Bass der alten Schule steht kriegt mit X-Altera’s Album dann wohl genau das richtige für sommerliches Gechille. Läuft hier seit 2 Tagen und ist reinster Balsam für die Seele

Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram

The Hertzsprung-Russell diagram is located in its own lower right corner, unless you're viewing it on an unusually big screen.

Behringer sued Dave Smith Instruments, forum posters, and lost

In addition to sending a cease-and-desist letter to a popular Chinese music gear site, court filings reveal Behringer tried to sue rival manufacturer Dave Smith Instruments – and unnamed GearSlutz users. And they lost.

We’re seeing the tail end of those filings now, as Dave Smith Instruments file to recover their six-figure legal costs from MUSIC GROUP, in effect for MUSIC GROUP having filed what the courts found to be a lawsuit without grounds.

Last week, CDM reported that Behringer’s global entity, MUSIC Tribe, had sent a cease and desist letter to Chinese news site Midifan, threatening a criminal defamation lawsuit would be the next step. However, as of this writing, no lawsuit has been served.

CDM was tipped off today that court filings are available showing MUSIC GROUP (in the USA) proceeded with legal action against Dave Smith Instruments and various defendants for libel per se, libel per quod, and product disparagement, in the state of California, seeking damages in excess of US$250,000. The filings are dated 9th of June 2017.

The twist here is that in addition to Dave Smith Instruments, the manufacturer, and employee Anthony Karavidas (an engineer at DSI), the lawsuit added as defendants an additional twenty individuals posting in the same forum thread. Since the identity of those individuals is unknown, they’re named as “DOES 1-20.” In the words of the lawsuit, “the true names and capacities, whether individual, corporate, associate or otherwise … are unknown to Plaintiff.”

Behringer also included reference to Dave Smith’s Prophet Rev2 as a competitor to the Behringer Deepmind 12 in the suit.

Court filings are available as public record of the San Francisco County Superior Court (that’s the state trial court of the county of San Francisco). Expect a large pile of legal findings from the two companies and their lawyers, but those are located here:

https://sfsuperiorcourt.org/

(All documents related to the proceeding are located under case CGC17559458.)

The lawsuit was directed exclusively at commentary published by a DSI employee and commenters on the Gearslutz forums.

But to review: Behringer attempted to turn a selection of comments by a single engineer and twenty unnamed individuals into a quarter-million dollar-plus defamation claim against a manufacturer, an individual, and pseudonymous forum posters. That thread is still up – it reached the 153-page count before a Gearslutz moderator closed the discussion, on the 4th of July of 2017. One sample:

Behringer Mini model D? A good idea?

(Whereas some threads were initiated by forum user Uli Behringer himself, this one came from a third party, before it ballooned.)

Dave Smith Instruments declined to comment for this story.

What the lawsuit says

According to evidence presented in the lawsuit, Tony, appearing as Tonykara, wrote a series of messages in a thread in early 2017 on Gearslutz forums, and later identified himself as an engineer working for DSI when a user asked him who he was. In the same thread, DOES 1-20 [users identified only by handle] chime in with other sentiments tilted against Behringer. (This thread itself was not entirely one-sided – even in the court evidence provided, you’ll read other form posters criticizing Dave Smith Instruments and Tonykara.)

These observations range from general complaints about Behringer products copying other products or characterizing business practices as “underhanded,” to specific allegations – particularly, a post by Karavidas that claims the Behringer CT100 cable tester is a “blatant copy” of a product by Ebtech.

Some of these complaints may indeed be factually questionable or genuinely inaccurate. Other claims, however, would be harder to disprove. For instance, the lawsuit highlights a comment by Paul Ditherl who says “it’s not a secret that Behringer has ripped off products in the past and is planning to do so in the future.” The lawsuit characterizes that as “false, defamatory, and libelous.”

It would be hard to prove or disprove what Behringer will do in the future (obviously), but note that past lawsuits by Roland and Mackie in fact claimed some past Behringer-branded products were deliberate copies. Whether or not those makers won those lawsuits, it means that they did product a significant amount of material evidence as a matter of public record.

There are three charges made in the lawsuit:

Libel per quod. Paraphrasing: claims about Behringer’s business practice and alleged history of copying other products are false and have hurt the company’s reputation. This category requires demonstrating specific legal damages in court.

Libel per se. This is a related set of claims, but because of US law forbidding attacking someone else’s business profession falsely, might not require damages. [Very big disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer. If I were a lawyer, I would probably advise you that you shouldn’t take this description as legal advice. But you can get this literally from what “per quod” and “per se” mean.]

Product disparagement. Here, because potential customers read these statements, and they refer to the Behringer brand and products, there’s a specific claim of damages to the brand and the products, beyond

If you can find your way through the court documents, you’ll find exhibits reproducing the complete forum thread, plus a cease and desist letter sent on the 7th of March 2017 – and an agreement by Tony Karavidas to comply with the letter.

Incidentally, if you’re interested in those other, pseudonymous posters to Gearslutz, they remain unnamed. The lawsuit says these “Does” 1-20 will be amended to the lawsuit once their identities are known. That may mean attempting to obligate the forum to reveal those identities. (Historical footnote: when Apple attempted to unmask sources and authors of stories on its leaked “Asteroid” audio interface over a decade ago, courts ruled it couldn’t, in a case called Apple versus Does. This is a different set of circumstances, but it gives some clue to how courts handle unidentified users in legal cases.)

Behringer had not yet responded to CDM’s request for comment as I published this.

How the suit failed

If reading the description of the Behringer decision sounds chilling – as in, anyone could raise this kind of suit and silence dissent – then you may appreciate understanding what anti-SLAPP rules do.

Here’s a blog post explaining:
Why, Yes, I AM Into SLAPPing

Anti-SLAPP, or rules against Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, are designed to protect against frivolous tort lawsuits, are specifically designed to make sure that only serious defamation cases get to court.

The complaint filed by Dave Smith on October 19 of last year argued:

1. The statements were posted on a forum – that is, a public forum.
2. They’re in the public interest – you should be free to discuss products’ design and quality, and the business behind them, which Behringer themselves made public.
3. Since Karavadis was not himself in the business of selling instruments – just working for DSI – he didn’t fall under an exception to the above.
4. These were subjective statements.

Point four is the kicker – we’re free to have opinions about instruments, about music, about any matter of public discussion. And that combined with a public forum is the essence of free speech. Lawyers for the defendants also argued these statements about MUSIC GROUP didn’t constitute malice.

The case is proceeding, but because the defendants prevailed in the anti-SLAPP motion, it’s now down to damages awarded to Dave Smith Instruments, not the other way around. (DSI are demanding $119,250 in legal fees.)

And that’s the way the system should work. I would hope we continue to have opinions – even strongly-worded ones – about music and music technology. (I know some people have expressed a few of those about me and this site.)

We are bound to be accurate about the facts of products from makers like Behringer and the history of how they were made – and free to be impassioned about opinions.

I’m still digging through a very slow-loading site via a VPN (since I’m blocked from the US site here in Germany), but I welcome additions or corrections. If you’re a lawyer, in particular, please feel free to correct me and I’ll amend this story as I know more.

Related:

Late last week, I shared news that Chinese news portal Midifan had received a cease and desist letter from Behringer, via Music Tribe.

Behringer threatens legal action against a site that called it a copycat

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