Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category
Exponential Audio offer three fantastic sounding reverb plug-ins. Phoenixverb, R2, and Nimbus. R4 ups the ante with unprecedented features to shape the early reflections and tail portions of the reverb signal independently. It is the culmination of “clean” and “character” reverbs rolled into one easy to use reverb plug-in that does everything you need and didn’t know you needed from reverb. Let’s take a look at what makes R4 unique.
Before you ask, this is a “character” plug-in. Yes, you can generate interesting and complex delays with Logic Pro X’s Delay Designer, Tape Delay, and Stereo Delay. But the new EC 300 Echo Collection plug-in from McDSP has so much character, colour, and vibe; that to me, it’s in a class of its own.
Every once in a while a new plug-in comes out that really does something, well, new! And Eventide Fission is one of them. I have had the great pleasure of being able to give it a spin, and it is fantastic. The only thing that comes even a little bit close to doing what it does within Logic Pro X’s suite of built-in plug-ins is the Enveloper.
And only just barely.
Ample Sound is a relatively new company. I hadn’t heard of them until recently, and have since discovered that they make fantastic sounding software instruments. Guitars and basses are their specialty. The Yinyang ll is the latest addition to their collection of electric bass instruments.
IK Multimedia creates products we need and want before we know that we need and want them. Their now ubiquitous iOS hardware and software broke new ground. The subject of this review is IK Multimedia’s new iLoud Micro Monitor system. They’re a fresh take on near field monitors, designed for use on the go as well as in the studio.
In the following video, Eli Krantzberg takes a look at the new McDSP 6050 Ultimate Channel Strip plugin. The 6050 Ultimate Channel Strip includes all the modules from the 6020 Ultimate EQ and 6030 Ultimate Compressor plug-ins, with new modules including saturation, overdrive, distortion, gate, expansion, and new EQ effects.
In the following 2 videos, MatKat Music’s Charles Schiermeyer – a NYC-based horn & string arranger and Logic Pro X user – takes a look at the Samar VL37 handcrafted ribbon microphone.
Since the release of MainStage 3.1 users have discovered Auto Sampler. It allows the user to sample external and software instruments, then creates an EXS24 instrument for use in both MainStage and Logic Pro. Creating custom instruments can save RAM and CPU by loading fewer instruments and/or samples, as well as eliminating the need of having external instruments connected. All of this is a bigger advantage to MainStage users, who are typically using smaller computers and hauling everything to the gig.
The following is a Focusrite Clarett 8Pre Review by Ben McAvoy, a new Logic Pro Expert team member (welcome Ben!).
Ben is the owner of WMP, a music composition and sound design house based in Leeds, United Kingdom. WMP provide bespoke music composition and sound design services to music supervisors, production companies, music libraries and non-broadcast media creators.
Team Pro Tools Expert have taken a good look at Audient’s iD14 High Performance USB Audio Interface that features a pair of world-class Audient console mic pres, class-leading Burr Brown converter technology, console style monitor control, JFET D.I and the revolutionary ScrollControl that can be used to create automation in Logic Pro X.
Babylonwaves Art Conductor 1.5 is designed to allow the user to view and modify articulation changes as automation in a track’s automation lane. It can use either MIDI note, MIDI channel or UACC information (Universal Articulation Controller Channel – created by Spitfire) to achieve this. It comes with generic and custom scripts and a manual that helps you through the process.
Apogee’s first Thunderbolt 2 audio interface for Mac, the Ensemble Thunderbolt, was recently reviewed at Pro Tools Expert. The new Ensemble includes 8 advanced stepped gain mic preamps, monitor controller functionality including talkback, front panel guitar I/O, two headphone outputs and digital connectivity for a total of 30 x 34 Inputs/Outputs.
2014 is a great year to be a DAW owner. New plug-ins of all sorts keep coming fast and furious. Some are hardware emulations, some are hybrids using existing technology to enhance older paradigms, while some are completely new and unique. And the prices are lower than ever. Enter multi platinum producer David Bendeth and Boz Digital Labs; one of the crop of great new up-and-coming plug-in developers. They have just released a new plug-in called +10DB (the DB stands for David Bendeth), a faithful recreation of the rare and sought after Compex Vocal Stressor.
The Bad Cat Pack is a collection of samples (6 Sample Packs Bundled Together £42 – 33% Discount) put together with loving care and attention to detail by Marcus Huyskens of the Bad Cat Media Group. What makes these instruments of particular interest is that they not only sound great and feel great to play, but are also created with sound design in mind. The interface and controls provided are set up to allow simple and intuitive shaping of the sound with extremely imaginative and pleasing results. They are all beautifully recorded with great mics and preamps, and are set up with plenty of velocity layers and round robin samples. I’ll describe each briefly, and then show you them in action.
You are probably thinking – do we need yet more emulations of hardware processing at this point? If you aren’t, you probably should be, because it is a perfectly valid question. Steven Slate and Fabrice Gabriel have added new Neve EQ, SSL EQ, 1176 compressor, and VCA compressor emulations to the party with the release of Virtual Mix Rack. The answer of course isn’t a simple yes or no. It depends on what you may already have in your plug-in collection, and what your needs are aesthetically.
Session Horns Pro Review – In the following article, Logic Pro Expert team member Eli Krantzberg takes a look at Native Instruments Session Horns Pro. Session Horns Pro was created in partnership with e-instruments – the specialists for intensely detailed sampled instruments.
Lindell PEX 500 review: Russ at Pro Tools Expert has been stacking up on outboard gear lately, and he’s filling his racks with a vengeance. The latest addition to his 500 Series rack is the Lindell Audio PEX-500, a hardware clone of the Passive Pultec Equalizer: Pultec EQ sound at a fraction of the price.
There is a new era emerging in the plug-in EQ universe. We’ve all seen and heard the emulations before, and they’re great. But IK Multimedia is breaking new ground with their EQ 73 and EQ 81 T-RackS modules. Based on classic Neve 1073 and Neve 1081 channel strips, IK Multimedia have beautifully and faithfully modelled not only their tonal characteristics, but also the preamp stages of these units. This may not sound like a big deal, but it is.
In this Big Kick review, Russ at Pro Tools Expert had an early look at Plugin Boutique’s first venture into audio plug-in development. With this new plug-in, you can combine samples of kick drums with basic synthesis, to ultimately help you find the perfect kick – with the right click and bottom end.
Our friends at Pro Tools Expert have taken a good look at Audient’s ASP880, a single rack unit 8 channel microphone preamplifier and Analog to Digital converter that makes an excellent high-quality front-end to your audio interface.
After having spent many an hour on the Lexicon MPX-1 in my early days, and the luxurious times spent on the 960L after that, I’ve recently had the honor to take an early close look at version 2.0 of Phoenix Verb by Exponential Audio, a company founded by one of the brightest minds in the world of reverb. Here’s my review of Phoenix Verb 2.0 that was released a few days ago.
“Logic Pro X How it Works”, available on iTunes (iBook) and on Amazon, explains Apple’s Logic Pro X with rich illustrations that are not found in the official manual. The 765 page book helps you understand all the new concepts and Logic Pro X workflows, and best of all, it will be updated by the author with every future update of Logic Pro X. The iBook currently reflects all changes and updates that were introduced in Logic Pro X 10.0.5.
I’ve never been much into wrapping VST plug-ins in Logic Pro until I heard about Blue Cat’s Patchwork plug-in last week. Patchwork can host up to 64 VST plug-ins (audio effects and virtual instruments) in a single instance, while giving you the options to use these plug-ins in series and in parallel. The latter option caught my eye. Time for a quick review.
I’ve finally had some good times with Flex Pitch, one of the most exciting new features Logic Pro X has to offer. I’ll walk through the user interface, have a look at workflow, and point out why I think it’s nearly perfect.
The ScoreCleaner Notes app for iOS ($0.99) can turn any recorded monophonic melody into written musical notation. ScoreCleaner Notes, one of the best-selling apps in Sweden for the last few months, was developed by Sven Emtell at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, along with Sven Ahlbäck, a professor at the Music University of Stockholm.
Why use compression when you can use distortion?
It’s funny how a non-intuitive interface can make you shun a plugin altogether. For me that was the case with Ohmicide, Ohmforce’s multiband distortion plugin, that’s been around for quite a while now. With the introduction of Fabfilter’s Saturn plugin on March 8th, the concepts of multi band distortion, compression, modulation, and mid/side processing have been put together in a big bad blender with a straightforward interface. How will it all blend? Let’s have a look in this Fabfilter Saturn review.
Before I begin this review I must admit that I’m kind of late to the ‘make music on the iPad’ train, although I’ve kept my eye on it since the development of music making apps really started taking off for the iPad. Playing with apps like these on the iPad lets you break free from your usual working environment, i.e. it’s an escape from sitting behind your DAW all day long juggling plugins and softsynths with a mouse, occasionally twisting your torso to reach for outboard gear. I never go out to play with my DAW for half an hour to check out a couple of presets of a synth, or make something from scratch. Half an hour always turns into hours so I consider my DAW environment to be a working environment. The iPad is a far more playful environment to just be loose and fool around on. So, hello Sunrizer!
Learning how to equalize sonic material is an ongoing process. It takes hours and hours of practice before you’re at the point where you’re comfortably identifying areas by their number (250Hz, 2Khz, 6Khz etc) before even touching your equalizer.
EQ sweeps, Spectrum Analyzers and Ear Training software are tools to help you become better at equalization. For the iPhone, Quiztones (Appstore, $4.99) is a great addition to the Ear Training software category. Using this tool will sharpen your ears and frequency recognition skills, and improve your mixing and equalization abilities.
The Air Display application turns an iPad into a wireless computer monitor with a touchscreen. Avatron, maker of the app, was founded by a former Apple software engineering manager, and a team of veteran Mac OS X programmers. I’ve been test-driving Air Display some more recently, to see how it would work together with Logic Pro. My findings are below, along with some images of the iPad displaying various Logic Pro plugins and windows.