Tuesday, 17 October 2017

EOS2 - Audiodamage

One of the best, if not THE best reverb plugins out there.Not surprising as this comes from the makers of Valhalla which are also some of the finest reverbs to be had. This one though, unlike some of the those, has a much more simpler interface and just a sprinkling of presets which is just fine to get you tweaking more, and everything comes across as just plain  easier to use in my opinion. The overall sound is just spot on , EOS  reaks quality. The infinity mode is cool by the way! A MUST have!!

Eos 2 is a massive update our Eos algorithmic reverb. With an all-new entirely procedural GUI (featuring full Retina and Windows HiRes compatibility), a new cross-platform preset mechanism, a new reverb algorithm, the addition of crossover controls, the addition of VST3 versions, and a ground-up rebuild for future-proofing, Eos 2 is a worthy successor to our all-time best-selling plugin.

Eos consists of four high-quality custom-designed reverb algorithms, made with the modern production environment in mind. Three different plate simulators and our own Superhall algorithm give you a broad palette of reverb, and the easy-to-understand interface makes adjusting the algorithms to suit your track incredibly simple.

Want a traditional dark plate reverb? Eos can do that. How about a short, dense room sound for your drum buss? Not a problem. But where Eos really comes in to its own is when you drop Superhall on your piano or synthesizer tracks. The incredibly long modulated hall sounds of Eno-style ambience are where Eos thrives, something that is not possible with convolution 'verbs

Monday, 9 October 2017

Maschine 2 - Native Instruments

Not one of the most intuitive  but Maschine remains a real leader in it's field.Although  mainly used as a plugin to your DAW, with the recent updates it is now becoming closer to a fully fledged DAW in itself. The recent additions of a bass synth and the isomorphic keyboard brings it ever closer to the likes of Abletons Push2. With the Maschine Jam hardware this is really a great music making combo!!  

The included MASCHINE 2 software is exploding with cutting-edge technology. Improved browsing, arranging, and sampling, plus a new mixer, plug-in strip, and exclusive drum synths. Get ready for the most responsive, fluid, and musical beatmaking experience ever.

MASCHINE 2.6.8 introduces a monophonic, internal bass synth exclusive to MASCHINE.

MASCHINE 2.6.8 introduces a new monophonic bass synth plug-in. Design and shape rich bass tones with intuitive, fun, and fully-automatable controls directly from the hardware. Morph seamlessly from sine to saw to square – and all spots in between – to create your own unique sound. Or load any of the presets to get bass tones for any genre, including booming sub-bass or dripping acid. Unleash the full power of the bass synth with MASCHINE JAM to program classic acid glides directly from the hardware.

MASCHINE 2.6.8 also introduces an isomorphic keyboard mode to easily play harmonies and melodies on the MASCHINE JAM 8x8 grid. In this mode, the notes on the keyboard are only the notes from the scale. Each chord also has its own hand shape – regardless of key – so you don’t need to know musical theory to play with perfect pitch. Plus, it’s easier to learn and play than on a traditional piano. Learn the shape for a chord in one key, and use the same shape in another.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Vengeance-Sound VPS Avenger

An absolute monster of a synth with more features and modulation / routing than almost any synth out there. Fantastic sounding and with in built drums which all acts like a self contained DAW/synth hybrid. If your into making techno/dance music etc then this is probably all you will need with it's 8 arpeggiators running on 8 different oscillators and up to 4 LFO's /Amps/Shapers  etc. On the surface Avenger is very intuitive with a well laid out un confusing GUI - under the hood however lies some really serious and complex sound design options - that you can get to grips with if you want to delve that deep! Top marks here and one of the very best VST's i can't recommend highly enough !!!!

Vengeance-Sound's first ever virtual synth is nothing if not ambitious.

Coded - like all its stablemates - by Keilwerth Audio, it unites analogue, sample-based and wavetable synthesis in an immense workstation-style architecture, packed with sequencers, filters, effects and modulation. VPS Avenger (VST/AU/AAX), on paper at least, is every inch the 'power synth', then, but let's see how it fares in practice...
New Avenger

Avenger's vector-based and resizable GUI is unfussy in its layout. On the left are the file browser and Effects section; in the middle are the Oscillator section and a tabbed page containing various editors, sequencers and modulation controls; and on the right are the Filter, Amp and Shaper sections, and the Modulation Matrix. At the very bottom of the interface sit the usual virtual keyboard/ wavetable view, and five freely assignable Macro knobs and buttons.

As with any synth, the action starts in Avenger's Oscillator section, where up to eight - yes, eight - source signal generators are loaded. As well as those, Avenger also features a full-on drum machine section.

FM and AM knobs enable instant transformation 
of the sound.

The preset drum library contains over 160 full kits, each with an accompanying sequence, although kits and patterns are mix-and-matchable, too, and you can drag your own samples in. The kit can be played by the Drum Sequencer when a MIDI note is received, or unhooked from the Sequencer for triggering via a keyboard or pads.

The Drum Sequencer is simple but effective. Click notes in with the pencil tool, select them with the marquee tool and adjust the Velocity, Pan, Pitch and Gate time of the selected notes using the so-named knobs. Velocity can also be edited by dragging the stalks under each note, and rolls of up to eight hits can be specified for individual notes.

Clicking a waveform reveals that sample and its editing controls in the main Editor. Adjustable parameters include Volume, Pitch, Pan and Spike, the last for boosting transients (and also included in Avenger's main Amp module). Additionally, the triggering can be offset in either direction, for effortless 'smearing' of claps and snares - a welcome feature that's all too rare in drum machines. Each drum also has its own Route panel, for routing through the Shaper, Step Sequencer, Effects and Master Filter sections, but not the 'insert' Filter or Amp.

Avenger's Drum module is great fun and a worthy inclusion. It's just a shame each channel can only load samples, not synth oscillators - although we're told this is planned for an update.

Rather than simply merging the oscillators into a composite tone in the mixer, as other synths do, Avenger treats each one as a wholly discrete sound source, to be triggered and mixed with others in the traditional way if desired, or sent off down its own path as the basis of a self-contained and separately sequenced 'instrument'.

One oscillator could supply a bassline, while the next two blast out a lead, the next three a pad.

The Oscillator Route panel sets the course of the currently selected oscillator's output signal, passing it through your choice of the potentially many active filters, amps, pitch envelopes, arpeggiators, trancegates, effects racks, etc all the way to final output block. Thus, one oscillator could supply a bassline, while the next two blast out a lead, the next three a pad and so on, each 'instrument' triggered by its own arpeggiator, processed through its own effects, and modulated by its own step sequencer, envelopes and LFOs - and all at the press of a single note on your keyboard! Indeed, with that in mind, the oscillators can even be renamed.

When it comes to modulation, Avenger is possibly the most well-equipped synth we've ever met. The numbers are mindboggling: eight Pitch Envelopes, eight multi-breakpoint Mod Envelopes, eight Step Sequencers, four Amp Envelopes, four Filter Envelopes, four LFOs, three Macro knobs, an array of 'Maths' functions, all the standard MIDI messages and several CCs, and the oscillator Wavetable Envelopes and Vibrato LFOs. Needless to say, the list of targets is even more extensive, covering - we think - every parameter of the instrument, from the oscillators and filters to the arpeggiators and effects.

Up to 256 modulation assignments are made by dragging sources onto targets or selecting both in the Mod Matrix, while amounts are set by dragging the tiny triangles that appear next to modulated parameters or the sliders in the Mod Matrix. Assignments are grouped by mod source in the Matrix and collapsible to reduce clutter, so you can switch any source out to change all of its assignments at once.

The modulators themselves are all well up to scratch. The LFOs feature 17 preset waveshapes and three user-drawn ones; the Mod Envelopes can be synced to cycle over up to 160 bars and include a Loop+Release mode, in which the signal loops to Release marker while the note is held, then jumps to the Release point, continuing until released; and the breakpoint Pitch Envelopes are polyphonic, to give just a few highlights.

You can insert Gain blocks wherever you like in the signal path for volume adjustment, the Shaper (a superb waveshaping distortion module) is freely positionable, and multiple filter blocks in a Route can be arranged in any order. Other than that, the path is fixed - you can't place the Pitch Envelope after the effects, say.

Each module can be bypassed, though, or removed entirely (ie, returned to the module selection menu at the top of the panel). Setting up the signal flow like this feels quite unusual, but it means each oscillator (or a group of them) can effectively serve as a self-contained 'synth within a synth'.

The flow of each oscillator is represented throughout the interface by colour-coded bars at the top of each module - green for Osc 1, pink for Osc 2, etc. With so many of each module type possibly visible at once, this is extremely helpful. You can also right-click any block in the Route list to locate its module in the interface via a nifty animation.
Choices, choices

Clicking the menu above the oscillator waveform display brings up an enormous categorised list of sonic starting points. You get the analogue staples, naturally - Saw, Square, Triangle, Sine and noise waves - but beyond those lies a veritable sweet shop of single-cycle waveshapes, samples (up to four of which can be stacked in a single oscillator) and wavetables.

There are somewhere in the region of 500 waves, 500 wavetables and well over 1000 samples, providing an almost overwhelming 5GB library of oscillator fuel in every conceivable category. While the expected dance and electronic-orientated sounds dominate (this is Vengeance, after all, and that's very much its bag), there are also loads of acoustic and electric instrument samples in there. Oh, and you can draw your own waveshapes freehand using the mouse, too, and load your own samples in as wavetables, so there's really no limit to what Avenger can use as source material in each and every one of its oscillators.

On the left-hand side of the Oscillator section, alongside adjustable volume, panning, tuning and noise, FM and AM knobs enable instant transformation of the sound, each drawing on a range of nine fixed waveforms and three editable ones, while the Vibrato section dials in cyclical per-voice pitch modulation. The confusingly-named V-Saw tab houses Avenger's unison controls, with which a stack of up to seven detuned, spread voices is invoked. The Voicing tab reveals a four-voice chord generator and volume, wave selection and pitching parameters for the dedicated sub oscillator.

With a wave or wavetable loaded, the four knobs to the right of the central oscillator wave display present a variety of shaping options, including 'bending' to the left, right or centre, sync, formant filtering, bitcrushing and sample rate reduction. With one or more samples loaded, these knobs mirror four of the controls in the main Sample Editor immediately below, for adjusting those parameters for all samples in the stack together.

The wave display itself, meanwhile, shows the synthesised waveforms in real-time, so you can always see what effect your wranglings are having on them. It not only looks very cool, but is also hugely informative.
The next wave

The Editor tab of the bottom-centre pane is also contextual. With a sample loaded, it becomes a basic sample playback editor, offering repitching, keytracking depth, start point offset and randomisation, onset delay and bitcrushing/sample rate reduction. With a synthesised waveform in place, it switches to the amazing FFT spectrum filter, where the harmonic make-up of the signal is adjusted, either freely or in terms of harmonic and disharmonic components.

With a wavetable loaded, things get a bit more complicated. The Editor defaults to the multi- breakpoint Wavetable Envelope, which modulates the Index knob, controlling the progression of the playhead through the wavetable. At the same time, the wavetable itself pops up in place of the virtual keyboard, with an overlaid volume envelope. The Wavetable Envelope is manipulated in various ways with the controls below, and features an optional step sequencer for programming time-multiplied envelope repeats.

The other tabbed pages of the central pane host a variety of other interfaces, including a DAW-style mixer (again highlighting Avenger's 'workstation' approach), a key and velocity zoning page, the Pitch and Modulation envelopes, the Arpeggiator and the Step Sequencer.

The Arpeggiator (of which up to eight can be instantiated, each switching between up to four patterns) is much as we've come to expect in any modern synth, with pitch offset, full rhythmic control, buttons for nudging the pattern up/down and left/right, and a big library of preset patterns. The Step Sequencer (also eight in number) does the 'trancegate' thing by default but is available for assignment to pretty much any target in the Mod Matrix.

Finally, Avenger has a ton of effects onboard, mostly taken from Vengeance's various VPS bundles, but with six all-new Vintage emulations, too, courtesy of Arts Acoustic. There are 32 modules in all, including delay, reverb of all kinds, dynamics, EQ, distortion and more, and you can load eight of them at once into each of four insert racks, two Send Racks and a Master insert rack. That, in case you didn't take it in, is a lot of effects.

We'd need the whole reviews section to cover everything Avenger can do - there are so many things we've not had space to get into, such as the extraordinary range of filter types, the tagged browser and the ease with which you can make your own wavetables, to name but three.

Every one of its individual elements is a powerful system in its own right, and they all come together to constitute a synthesiser of dizzying power and flexibility. Its pseudo- multitimbral, semimodular architecture is ingeniously implemented, with only the lack of multiple outputs into the host DAW and the cramped Mod Matrix letting the side down.

Most importantly, though, it sounds absolutely incredible, with that characteristic Vengeance energy, power and richness married to the deep textural nuance that only wavetable synthesis can bring.

Make some room in the heavens, Omnisphere 2, Serum, Massive and Spire, because the pantheon of bona fide supersynths just grew by one. Review from musicradar.com

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Ultraloop - Twisted Tools

Amazing tool for glitching out a bunch of loops at the touch of a button (buttons). Includes many presets to get you going but really comes into its own when you load your own, which is great for anyone with large loop libraries and who wants to breath some freshness into them  

This can go very deep or you can keep it simple.Best to focus on one module at a time. Especially fine stuff for Electronica ,dubstep etc

. ULTRALOOP is a first-of-its-kind loop remixing sampler with a fast and intuitive visual workflow for Native Instruments *Reaktor. ULTRALOOP combines advanced loop layering, comping, effect processing and automation techniques to generate new grooves, riffs and song ideas. You can use ULTRALOOP with the included factory sample library or to remix your own samples, injecting new life into any existing loop library. In addition to the factory library, Ultraloop Expansions are available as part of our Loop Expansion series.  

At the core of ULTRALOOP is an advanced loop layering engine and sequencer, capable of both layering and comping - a production technique that allows you to flip between layered tracks that are playing back simultaneously, by muting and un-muting slices of each layer. Up to eight tracks with loops of any BPM can be layered or comped together in real-time and can be further processed using the all-new Gestural FX engine. The Gestural FX engine automatically generates dynamic effect movements that ramp and modulate over time, using a suite of creative effects designed to produce endless fills, articulations and variations.
To create additional loops and variations, ULTRALOOP features and endless supply of randomization functions, connected to a unique Preset Grid system for each main parameter group. A Preset Grid allows you to store, recall and automate settings by using a dynamic memory grid made up of 17 slots that can be played on-the-fly. The settings for the entire instrument, including all the parameter Preset Grids can be stored and recalled in one of eight Global Scenes, allowing you to create infinite loop variations. All the relevant instrument features can be played with live, without skipping a beat, by using a mouse, MIDI or OSC 

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Blue Cats Patchwork

Another excellent plug in from Blue Cats which hosts your vsts and effects in chains, allowing you to save and load your favourite collection at the click of  button. Splendidly laid out and with great automation features, but the real power comes in routing vst's and effects to seperate channels, which one cannot do in many DAWs.

Blue Cat's PatchWork is a universal plug-ins patchbay that can host up to 64 VST, VST3 or Audio Unit plug-ins into any Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) in one instance.

It is possible to chain effects in series or create up to 8 parallel chains that can be activated independently. This lets you create your favorite effects or instruments configurations within the plug-in, without the need for multiple busses. These configurations can be saved as presets and recalled instantly, or shared with multiple DAWs, using any plug-in format (full list below).

Despite the name, you can forget about wires or cables: configuring plug-ins routing is as simple as adding or removing a row or a column in the rack's matrix. All plug-ins can also communicate with each other or with the host application using the virtual MIDI ports offered by the plug-in.

For each plug-in slot, latency compensation, presets management, undo/redo integration, audio i/o selection and individual plug-in bypass are included for optimal operation. The plug-in also stores the position of the window for each plug-in so that the layout is restored with your session or saved with presets.

Also, sub plug-ins can be automated or controlled with external control surfaces using Blue Cat's PatchWork parameters mapping capabilities.

This product is available as an audio plug-in (effect or a virtual instrument) and standalone application, so that it can used alone or inserted on any type of track in your favorite DAW, with up to 16 audio channels.

Input and output level meters are also available to monitor the signal that is dispatched to inserted plug-ins, including side chain and aux channels.

If you are looking for a multiband plug-ins host for multiband processing, check out the Blue Cat's MB-7 Mixer plug-in. Also, any Blue Cat Audio plug-in is compatible and can be hosted by this software.

V2.0 (2017/02/23)

Brand new GUI design, with improved usability and touchscreen support.
Now supports retina displays on Mac (text using high resolution).
Favorite plug-ins and their settings can be saved to be quickly reloaded later from a menu.
Unused channels for each hosted plug-in can now be muted (instead of default pass-thru).
Load/save native VST, VST3 or AU preset files.
Presets and parameters menus are now split in sub menus instead of a single list.
Additional user VST path to locate VST plug-ins is now available.
Missing VST & VST3 plug-ins are now automatically relocated.
Lock GUI state and in/out gains to prevent changes when loading presets.
Output gain is now always active, even when using a single PRE column.
Exclusive solo mode for parallel chains.
Show or hide all plug-ins editors with single click.
Hide plug-ins slots to minimize the plug-in.
Standalone application: drag and drop preset files on the application to load preset instantly on startup (and create shortcuts to launch app with a specific preset).
Now compatible with most recent Audio Units (Waves for example).
Changed demo limitations: up to 5 instances allowed, bypass time changed to half a second, and bypass parameter is not affected anymore.
Fully compatible with previous versions of the plug-in.Dropped support for Windows XP and Mac OS X 10.6 and earlier.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

PreSonus Studio One 3 Professional

Top notch DAW Studio One is THE way to go especially if you prefer arranging and multi mixing/recording your own stuff and in this respect beats the likes of Ableton Live hands down!! Too many awesome features to list here! With the newly updated version, Studio One is faster than ever and loads/performs at lightning speed. An excellent set of instruments and notes FX etc is also included and its really well worth getting the professional version for these extra features. I'll certainly be using this DAW more often than i have done in the past!!

Studio One Artist and Professional are available direct from both PreSonus and music retail shops worldwide as both upgrades and full versions. Both Artist and Professional come as standard download versions, and can also be purchased with the entire program on an exclusive limited edition 64 GB USB flash drive.

Instantly familiar—yet nothing feels like it. Studio One® 3 contains everything you’d expect from a modern digital audio powerhouse. Once you touch its fast, flow-oriented, drag-and-drop interface, you’ll realize Studio One® 3 was built by creative people for creative music production.

At every step of the musical process, you’ll spend your time creating music instead of fighting a bloated interface. And the sound quality? Well, simply put, it’s unparalleled. In fact, the most common comments from musicians, producers and engineers who have switched to Studio One are “I can just get things done faster” and “Studio One just sounds better.” Let’s find out why.

Version 3.5.1 Release Notes (June 27, 2017)

New features and improvements:
Overall lower latency when playing virtual instruments
Further CPU load balancing improvements
Improved Quick Zoom behavior (alt+shift)
Mixer Undo history logs parameter changes from external devices
Visual bypass state for Mix Engine FX in console
Bouncing Events now keeps routing

The following issues have been fixed:
[Mix Engine FX] Softube Tape not working in 64-bit double-precision mode
[Event FX] Editing tail value in event inspector by dragging mouse is broken
Copy > Replace Arranger section from Scratch Pad back into song creates empty section
Track names cut off when in "Show Automation" mode
Inserts on duplicated tracks stop working
Duplicate / Copy with "Layers follows events" copies wrong range from layers
Copy and paste to wrong track if "Layers follows events" is active
[Auto Punch] punch area not respected, results in merged Event
[macOS] crash in window management
[macOS] incomplete localization when multiple versions of Studio One are installed
[macOS] Stillwell The Rocket compressor (Audio Units) not working
[macOS] crash when using built-in audio device on 10.9.5
Disable Solo from Arrangement not working for multi-out instruments
Browser selection lost after searching
Time offset when bouncing pitch-shifted audio with new algorithms
Mixer Undo not working on Cue Mix sends
Instrument channel direct assign to sidechain not recalled on song load
Instrument Low Latency Monitoring not working with Vienna Instrument Pro
• Latency information for hardware monitoring is incorrect
[Rotor] Drive not stored correctly
[StudioLive Series III] DSP and plug-in sync issues
[Fat Channel XT] Vintage EQ boosts hi and lo shelves on copy
[Fat Channel XT] gain reduction incorrect
Output Level Meter modes not synced
Can't select a plug-in from the Insert Menu with touch
Can't open controller lane (focus issue)
[Project Page] crash when importing from DDP Image
[Project Page] can't update artist name
[Project Page] Analyzer parameter changes don't mark document as edited
Level Meter doesn't store/recall "LU/LUFS" and "EBU+18" settings
Level meter display settings (+18 or LU/LUFS) should NOT reset Loudness values
Replacing instrument results in wrong instrument UI displayed
"Cursor follows edit position" broken in Arranger inspector list
Midi file export with tempo change broken
Fader automation causes noise on fade out
Bounce of external instruments at bar one not possible

Monday, 31 July 2017

Madrona Labs - Aalto

An amazing synth with absolutely amazing sounds. If your looking for some unique and out of this world sounds........look no further!

Aalto is a semi-modular software synthesizer with an innovative, patchable UI, distinctive sounds, and a charming personality

Aalto's sound engine lets you create sounds that have been difficult or impossible to make with softsynths before now. The heart of Aalto is a Buchla-inspired complex oscillator, with FM, timbre and waveshape controls that enable a wide range of expressive sounds. These sounds are uniquely malleable and alive, in part because they are made with dynamic calculation, not static wavetables.

Aalto is designed as much for sequencing patterns as for playing individual notes. Each voice has a separate, built-in sequencer with a patchable, independently controllable rate and offset that make it easy to achieve evolving, chaotic textures.
Each voice also includes a lowpass gate module with a vactrol emulation in the control path. The vactrol equation slows down the response to incoming control signals through a complex nonlinear filter. You can turn the vactrol response down to instantaneous, or up to a pronounced ring.

Following the lowpass gate is a patchable waveguide / delay module with a waveshaper and a peaking EQ built into the feedback loop. Because it has such short and controllable delay times, unlike a typical analog delay, it can be used as an additional oscillator or waveguide.
Aalto's filter is a state-variable topology with mixable simultaneous outputs, tuned to have a similar range to an Oberheim SEM filter. (Though I couldn't resist turning up the resonance just a little more.)

Subjectively speaking, Aalto can make a wide range of sounds, from lush to edgy, including some very complicated ones, without sounding too thick in a mix. Aalto's sounds are not hyped or confined, they are wide-range, open and natural. We hope our approach will appeal to experienced sound designers who have their own favorite EQs and limiters. And for those just getting into synthesis, Aalto is an accurate and honest tool for learning. We have tried to make Aalto a deep instrument that will reward lasting engagement.

Aalto's manual (included) has over 50 pages full of Aalto lore, tips and tricks, and a complete introduction to patching synthesis!