Archive of the Software Category

élastique C’est Magnifique!

tweaked.pngClick here to check out our MINI review of the slick élastique pitch plug-in from zplane. Be sure to download the files comparing élastique to Digi’s TCE – there’s no contest.

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Microsoft at NAMM 2007

Hey, our friend Dan Moore from Microsoft is here to check in with old NAMM friends, spread the word about Vista, and overall, help make Microsoft easier for developers to work with…in his words:

I had the pleasure of enjoying my first NAMM in nine years not having to demo anything, sell anything, yell over the din of guitar amps and control room monitors…and yet my voice is still shot! To make things more fun, I was joined by two NAMM first-timers and they soaked it all up. Overall we had a great time, walked the floor and reached out to our partners, listened to what our partners need from Microsoft, and eventually will turn that feedback into a tighter worknig relationship between Microsoft and the audio/music development community.

After developing recording and computer audio products for Mackie for last eight years of my life, I really enjoyed having an objective perspective on the needs and wants of our partners as it applies to the Windows platform. I feel incredibly lucky to be in a position where I can apply the years of experience in pro audio to bear on what I perceive to be some of the biggest undiscovered business opportunities we have yet to realize.

There are so many compelling stories to tell around creativity and technology, and NAMM is great place to capture those. With Vista hitting the streets shortly, there will undoubtedly be more. I was amazed when I first learned about the new audio stack in Vista, the fact it was completely re-written to be more efficient, powerful, and reliable, and overall easier with which to work for the audio/music developer community. The launch of the Crossfader web site ( at CES provides a channel to tell those user stories, and highlight some of the great video content our partners have been doing for years.

Overall you get to the larger goal by hitting the smaller goals along the way. Having a presence and visibility at NAMM, reaching out to the partner community, and building these relationships was a necessary first step in reaching the larger goal of bringing the audio/music communtiy closer to what Microsoft has to offer. I am incredibly proud and grateful to be a part of that effort.

Bob Martin, Bob Martin, Bob Martin

Hi Bob – What you seeing here at the show that’s interesting?

The most interesting thing I’ve seen is the Chandler Abbey Road line of hideously expensive, insanely great processors and plug ins.

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News on the plug-in front

A couple of interesting developments in the effects plug-in market, both of which concern established plugs being offered in formats in which they were previously unavailable. First, the Sony Oxford plugs, which are very highly regarded, are now being offered in AU versions. This will open them up to a whole new market of sequencer users, including those using Logic and Digital Performer.

Along those same lines, Sound Toys, makers of such cool effects plugs as FilterFreak and EchoBoy announced that their Native Effects bundle (which recently won an EM Editor’s Choice award) will soon see a version 3 release, which will add AU support. The bundle, which was previously only available to Pro Tools users, is now opened up to a wider market.

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Allen Sides Puts Out the Hits!

Drum hits that is. In a collaboration with Dave Kerzner and Sonic Reality, the famed producer/engineer and owner of Ocean Way Studios has taken some of the world’s greatest drummers and put them in his legendary Studio B (home to hits from Green Day, Radiohead, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton and the like), with his world-class collection of mics. Then he and producer Steven Miller captured the best snares, kicks, toms, hats and cymbals using a multimic technique in a big room. The result, at least what we heard on the show floor, is icredibly deep and spatial. Ocean Way Drums, the product, is available with individual presets or submixes, all at 24-bit/96 or 24/48. But wait! There’s more! Allen is also making his unique monitoring mains, developed over the last 30 years, available for purchase through GC Pro. We’ve heard them in his rooms; nothing else like it. And the price? Well, if you have to ask…

SSL Has You Covered

We’re here with Fadi Hayek, new to SSL, but you may remember him from his days at Yamaha/Steinberg. SSL is showing FIVE new products! At a NAMM show! My, how our world is changing. Fadi, whaddya got?

Quite a bit actually. We’re rolling out a series of three 48 channel A/D and D/A converters. The Alpha-Link is a two space 24 Channel 24bit 96khz Analog to digital converter with an additional 24 channels of digital I/O for a total of 48 channels. There are 3 varieties. The MADI SX ($3595.00) includes 24 of AES/EBU, the MADI AX ($3595.00) includes 24 of ADAT light pipe and the AX ($2695.00) excludes the MADI I/O option. All versions come with word clock I/O, MIDI I/O and a 64 channel buss connector.

The next product is the SSL Mixpander ($1295.00). The Mixpander is a PCI card that mates with the 64 channel buss connector on the Alpha-Link providing a complete I/O solution for all Windows based native DAW systems. The mixpander includes full DSP capabilities that allow the user to host Soundscape Plugins inside their favorite Software workstation.

Our final MADI product is the the cost effective Delta-Link ($3595) which provides 128 channels of Pro Tools HD to MADI conversion. Th Delta-Link is ideal for any one using a MADI based console. Also, if you connect it via MADI to the Alpha-Link SX or AX, a Pro Tools user can get 48 channels of SSL I/O at $7200.00

The Xrack is getting a new 8 channel line mixer ($850.00). This new addition to the Xrack lineup provides 8 channels of summing with insert point on the first 4 channels and mono or stereo panning. The 8 channel module along with the rest of the Xrack modules provides a fantastic front and back end to any DAW. Utilizing SSL acclaimed Super Analog technology, it’s like having the best part of an SSL console right in your digital audio workstation.

Lastly during the next quarter we’ll be releasing a new Plugin for Duende called Drum Strip ($299). With this powerful SSL channel strip , DAW users can attain increased presence, clarity and detail in their drum tracks; reduce spill in individual tracks; restore natural brightness and achieve greater perceived loudness.

Melodyne is DYNamic!

I just got back from a champagne press event at the Celemony booth and saw the new Melodyne 3.2 with improved algorithms for polyphonic use and some GUI tweaks. One cool thing is how the slider on the scroll bar has a rendition of your audio waveform and it can be used to zoom. They played a guitar playing some chords and took it up a 4th, changed the formant and voila, you’ve got a new part. Very impressive. So much so that a bystander commented that somehow Satan was involved.

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FXpansion FXpands

I just dropped by the FXpansion booth and saw a couple works in progress that grabbed my attention. The first was a suite of three soft synths called the D-CAM Collection (D-CAM stands for Discrete Component Analog Modeling). FXpansion says that they model analog circuits right down to the level of resistors and capacitors, and you can even bend the virtual circuits by changing their component values. What I heard sounded really good and looked like loads of fun for all the synthesists in your familyl

The three synths are Strobe, Amber, and Cycper. Strobe is a single-oscillator lead and bass synth (I’d swear it sounded like more) with an arpeggiator and multi-stage saturation. I saw something in Strobe I’d never seen before: an LFO that gives you the ability to specify a swing value (now, why didn’t I think of that?). Amber also does something I’d never seen: it emulates paraphonic instruments like combo organs of the ’60s or string machines of the ’70s. Cypher offers a very flexible sound engine that employs all kinds of modulation capabilities. The D-CAM Collection is still over the horizon, but FXpansion promises completion well before Summer NAMM rolls around.

The other ultracool software at FXpansion is BFD 2. The programmers have rewritten the virtual drummer BFD 1.5 from the ground up, with a redesigned user interface, new onboard effects and dynamics processing, integrated groove composition, and a new sample library. One thing I heard about (but didn’t actually hear) is that the BFD 2 team has sampled one of Ringo’s old drum sets from the late ’60s. Now you too can get that Beatles sound. Gotta have it, right? I can headly wait for that one.

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East West Putting Out the Goods

We’re here with Doug Rogers of East West, who says the company is releasing six new virtual instruments at the show, and about to announce an arrangement with a very big manufacturer. Doug?

We are happy to be at NAMM showing some of our new products, including the first 64-bit sample engine. The show is full of people seeking out all the latest products and we have welcomed quite a few of them at our booth. One of the new products is called FAB FOUR, which I produced this past year with Beatles’ engineer Ken Scott. We faithfully recreated over 40 instruments and used the exact same signal chain and instruments as the Beatles used to create their music. These are all multisampled instruments that we hope will find their way into new music. Other products include Quantum Leap Ministry of Rock, a huge 18 gigabyte virtual instrument for the rockers out there, for film/TV/Game composers we have released Voices Of Passion, Gypsy, SD-2 (the sequel to Stormdrum), and Quantum Leap Pianos, a huge ultra detailed virtual instrument containing 4 of the world’s best pianos. Make sure you stop by our booth #6630 in Hall A.

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The Synth Gods Bestow Thor to Propellerheads Reason

Propellerheads did not show a new version of Reason, however, I did get a sneak peak at a new Reason synth that will come out in the next version. It’s called Thor, and it’s a semimodular soft synth that lets you combine virtual analog, FM and wavetable synthesis with infinite routing possibilities and a built-in step sequencer. Thor’s hammer of justice will crush you with booming bass! Seriously, it sounds very good. Bass patches can be some of the hardest things to get out of soft synths, but Thor had some seriously deep and funky bass thump. On the flip side, its billowing synth pads were also gorgeous and airy. A few other details include filters that are new to Reason, one based on the ’80s sound similar to the Roland Jupiter-8 and another based on a warmer, richer ’70s sound. Thor figures to add a huge amount to Reason.

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