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Review of Chimera sample pack by Glitchmachines — July 19, 2018

Review of Chimera sample pack by Glitchmachines

Background
You’ve probably noticed that I’m a huge fan of Glitchmachines. I’m extremely lucky to have beta tested and designed presets for their most recent VST – Palindrome, a granular morph plotting sampler that I’ve previously reviewed – and I use a number of their plugins extensively.

So you may not realise that they also produce a number of sample packs. Some of these are free (Teratoma, Seism, Spore, Shadows, Cybernetics, Proximity and Exophora) and some are paid packs.

Introduction
One such paid pack is Chimera and it is currently on sale at PluginBoutique for £1 until the 5th of August (usual price £19.96).

Chimera is a large sample pack, approx. 2.5Gb and features 200 sounds. It’s comprised of field recordings that have been edited, combined and processed. The recordings include aggressive material such as stone and metal impacts, fire bursts, electric arcs, low frequency air drones, land and air vehicles, bowed and scraped metals, unusual crowd chatter and animal sounds, ghostly atmospheres and strange ambiences to name a few.

The samples are arranged into 3 sub-folders –

CATACOMB contains a variety of ghostly and demonic gestures and composite effects;

OMEN contains a collection of vivid drones, long textures and atmospheres;

PARASITE contains a broad selection of disturbing and sinister composite effects.

Review
Chimera is an excellent sounding and very dark sample pack. The Catacomb samples contain a range of textures, some of which have an edgy sound, some have aggressive noisy qualities and others have haunting, ghostly voice qualities.

Omen contains a number of drones that typically have great movement to their sound. There’s a solid bass presence, often a metallic edginess and haunting qualities too.

Parasite contains a range of sound effects such as impact type sounds, strings and disembodied voices. These often sound demented and at the very least slightly crazy, they’re very evocative sounds.

It’s a superb pack for creating horror or dark ambient type sounds. It’s instant Lovecraft – it summons up horrorscapes, twisted images of nightmares and demons. I really like how the samples are such excellent quality and can be used as they are but are also ideal for further processing with samplers and/or effects. Other Glitchmachines products are excellent for this and you can read more about them in previous blog reviews – Cataract and Polygon; Quadrant; Fracture XT; Cryogen; Convex.

It’s also an absolute bargain whilst it is on sale.

I’ve used a number of the samples to create the album embedded at the top of the review. It’s naturally a dark ambient sound, the opening track is ambient horror dub, if such a thing exists.

I’ve recorded the album live in Sensomusic Usine Hollyhock 3. I’ve used some of the samples in Palindrome, used several instances of the joggle sampler as well as the UDrone sampler contained within Hollyhock 3. I’ve used multiple instances of STA Delay by Audified (you can read my review here) and also Blackhole and Ultrachannel by Eventide. I set up a controller to trigger the joggle samplers and control their playback speed (-400% to 400%) as well as change parameters of various instances of the STA delay effect during recording. The songs were subsequently mastered in MuLab 7 using Magnetite (Black Rooster Audio), Stage (Fiedler Audio) and Elevate (Newfangled Audio).

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Review of STA Delay effect by Audified —

Review of STA Delay effect by Audified

Introduction
Is it possible to have too many delay effects? It has to be said I have a number of them already and I have reviewed several favourites on my blog already. But when I saw PluginBoutique have an exclusive sale on this one until July 29th for only £1 (Normal price £35.95) I couldn’t resist…

Audified STA Effects
STA Delay by Audified is one of a number of STA effects designed to be used as insert effects because they use a tube summing process. That said they can be used as parallel send effects as long as you enable the wet only mode. There are a number of other STA effects – phaser, flanger, chorus, enhancer and preamp.

The tube summing process takes a processed signal and an unprocessed signal and mixes them on a vacuum tube. There are 5 modes that change the tube circuit and hence the tonal qualities:
P (Presence) – the higher amount of mid-high frequencies allows better cutting through the mix;
V (Vintage) – has smoother highs and more even harmonics;
B (Brown) – has an almost flat response with only light high frequencies roll off and nice higher harmonics punch;
W (White) – has higher amount of higher frequencies and the ratio between the even and odd harmonics is balanced;
L (LoFi) – contains less low and high frequencies.

STA

In-depth review
The GUI has the look of a classic hardware unit and has clearly laid out controls that are easy to use.

STA_Delay

On the left hand side is the level in control and the corresponding level out control is located on the right hand side of the display that also features VU meters, in/out meter display option and effect bypass.

It’s a single delay effect with a handful of controls:
tempo – you can use the dial to set it manually, use the tap to tempo button or sync to your host DAW tempo;

decay setting controls the decay time of the delayed signal repetitions, or the amount of time it takes the delayed signal repetitions to fade from full to inaudible volume (0 – 20 seconds);

Intensity adjusts the phaser effect and wet to dry signal ratio;

The ping pong mode button alternates the delayed sound between the channels. When enabled, the stereo parameter expands or contracts the stereo image from 0 – 100%. When the ping pong mode is off the stereo parameter controls the panorama (left, centre or right).

HPF and LPF are the high pass and low pass filter controls for the delayed signal;

A wet only button;

The five different STA modes with a tube display that fades out when you bypass the effect and fades back in when enabled. It’s good to see attention to detail.

Saturation drives the tube circuit into saturation.

The strip at the bottom of the delay shows the value for each of the controls that you can also click on and enter a manual setting. This is where the sync option can be found with a range of values – 1/1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/4T, 1/8, 1/8T, 1/16, 1/16T along with load / save presets and settings.

There are only a handful of presets but to be honest you don’t really need them. As with a lot of delays the best option is to adjust settings to your requirements, it’s easy to learn the basics and then you can fine tune the sound.

Conclusions
This is a very impressive delay. It has a great tone and can produce a range of echo and dub type effects. The combination of the tube summing process, saturation, intensity and filters really help shape your sound and produce great results.

It also offers scope for creativity, for example manually setting the bpm gives the option of a more analogue feel if you set it a few beats higher or lower or you could even automate some movement. You could use two instances with slightly different bpm settings panned left and right.

I’ve used it extensively on the album embedded at the top of this review. I’ve used a number of samples from the Chimera pack by Glitchmachines (you can read my review here) processed with multiple instances and configurations of STA delay. The album was recorded live in Sensomusic Usine Hollyhock 3 using the in-built UDrone sampler, several instances of the joggle sampler and Palindrome VST also by Glitchmachines.

I set up a controller so that I could trigger and adjust the controls of the joggle samplers as well as various parameters of some instances of the delay. The only other effects used were Blackhole and Ultrachannel by Eventide, all songs subsequently mastered in MuLab 7 using Magnetite (Black Rooster Audio), Stage (Fiedler Audio) and Elevate (Newfangled Audio).

I realise I haven’t answered the question at the start of the review yet. I would say that you can’t have too many delays. If you need special or unusual effects or modulation then delays such as Outer Space, Incipit, Ultratap or SphereDelay would be better suited to those specific tasks. But if you want a great sounding delay that you can use as a workhorse then STA Delay more than fits the bill, it’s especially a bargain whilst on sale.

Mode Machines introduce SEQ12 analogue and midi sequencer — July 16, 2018

Mode Machines introduce SEQ12 analogue and midi sequencer

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SEQ12_logo

NUREMBERG, GERMANY: innovative electronic musical devices brand MODE MACHINES is proud to announce availability of its SEQ12 ANALOG AND MIDI SEQUENCER — a multi-channel MIDI(Musical Instrument Digital Interface) step sequencer in a truly tactile, tabletop (rack-mountable) console-type housing that lends itself to creating and arranging pattern-based music as a live performance-capable standalone sequencing tool or working alongside a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) to enhance production possibilities.

As implied by the 12 TRACK MATRIX SEQUENCER ‘subtitle’ boldly blazoned across its expansive top panel — pressed into play by the 12-line (and 16-column) arrangement of (red) backlit LED (Light Emitting Diode) buttons that musically mark out the namesake matrix laying claim to the majority of that top panel, the SEQ12 ANALOG AND MIDI SEQUENCER is a 12-track affair, with each track arranged numerically below the next in the matrix. More meaningfully, each track can freely address one of three MIDI outputs (OUT 1, OUT 2, and OUT 3) to ensure optimal timing (by avoiding serial chaining of connected MIDI devices) and additionally be assigned to one of three track types: MONO (monophonic) — plays only one note per step (sending note, velocity, and note length) and offers three controller tracks (C1, C2, C3); POLY (Polyphonic) — plays back multiple notes per step (sending note, velocity, note length, and chord) and offers two controller tracks (C1, C2); and DRUM — optimised to address drum machines (or similar) with the matrix forming a pattern where each line can be set to transmit a definable note to 12 so-called subtracks (with adjustable velocity and accented notes) from within a single track with two controller tracks (C1, C2)… 12 different drum sounds can be arranged from a single track, in other words.

While the term step sequencing can conjure up mesmerising musical images of repetitive note patterns pioneered and popularised by the likes of Germany’s homegrown Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream in their heyday — the likes of which the SEQ12 ANALOG AND MIDI SEQUENCER of course can capably emulate, even down to the latter’s ‘trademark’ ratchet effect (of outputting multiple triggers per step) but bettered by enabling easy creation of rolls, flams, and comparable complex rhythmical functions courtesy of six selectable trigger patterns and a note value to adjust the length of the trigger pattern, there is so much more to this truly tactile step sequencer than might meet the (untrained) eye… eye-catching as all of those 192 flashy (red) backlit LED buttons already are!

Although the SEQ12 ANALOG AND MIDI SEQUENCER is at heart a pattern-based step sequencer that generates MIDI data, multiple modes make it stand out from the sound of the (step sequencing) crowd — to partially paraphrase the early-Eighties British breakthrough hit from synth-pop pioneers The Human League, no strangers to the lure of spellbinding step sequencing themselves.

The self-explanatory SEQ mode is used to program a sequence — the smallest ‘unit’ within the SEQ12 ANALOG AND MIDI SEQUENCER (containing up to 16 steps) — using the matrix or an external MIDI input device, such as a master keyboard controller connected via the single MIDI IN (input). 16 sequences per track can be stored with parameter values such as velocity, controllers, or step length displayed as backlit LED (button) bars in the matrix.

Meanwhile, JAM mode makes live performance pleasurable and also inspirational with the SEQ12 ANALOG AND MIDI SEQUENCER. This time the matrix displays 12 tracks with 16 sequences each, all of which are freely switchable on the fly for immediate playback while the function buttons to the left of the matrix mute and activate the corresponding 12 tracks. And assuming that the tracks are tasked with handling different musical parts — playing a melody with track 1, a bass line with track 2, chords with track 3, and drums with track 4, for example — then it is perfectly possible to create a song on the fly. Flexibility further abounds since switching from JAM mode to SEQ mode only involves a couple of (almost instant) clicks; once there, users can, likewise, edit the selected sequences on the fly.

Finally, SONG mode is where the SEQ12 ANALOG AND MIDI SEQUENCER sings for its supper, so-to-speak, allowing for the creation and playback of longer and more complex arrangements or even full songs. Each track is allocated an individual series of up to 64 sequences (or sequence chains in ‘SEQ12-speak’). Still better, there are 12 sequence chains — one for each track; these combine to create a part, with the SEQ12 ANALOG AND MIDI SEQUENCER storing up to eight parts. Parts can also be changed on the fly while the sequencer is running, so, given that those parts could effectively equal song parts, users could choose from, say, an intro, verse, bridge, chorus, or outro, each of which could be called up to be played anytime.

All data that can be changed by the user — namely, sequences, parts, and sequence chains, as well as global settings (with further visual guidance coming courtesy of an informative backlit LCD working in conjunction with various clearly labelled control functions) — is stored as a setup. The SEQ12 ANALOG AND MIDI SEQUENCER stores up to 32 setups. So it is ready and willing to be put through its interactive musical paces onstage or in the studio, thanks to its robust rack-mountable (19-inch/6 HE) design that also includes rubber feet for non-slip tabletop usage.

Ultimately, then, the truly tactile SEQ12 ANALOG AND MIDI SEQUENCER surely ranks as an ultimate pattern-based step sequencer, limited only by its user’s imagination rather than ‘traditional’ step sequencing’s limited note pattern repetition. Reach out and touch… as Depeche Mode sang on their way to sequencer-driven superstardom!

The SEQ12 ANALOG AND MIDI SEQUENCER is available to purchase directly from MODE MACHINES’ online shop at an introductory promo price of €999.00 EUR (inc. VAT) or through MODE MACHINES’ growing global network of authorised dealers.

For more in-depth information, please visit the dedicated SEQ12 ANALOG AND MIDI SEQUENCER webpage.

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About MODE MACHINES (www.modemachines.com)
MODE MACHINES was founded in 2010 by Michael Thorpe as an innovative brand for synthesizers, filters, and other electronic musical devices. Its inventive origins can be traced back to 1993 and an association with Touched by Sound, the first vintage dealer in Germany. Having worked with many MI (Musical Instrument) brands along the way — MAM Music and More (famed for its MB33 Analog Retro Bass Synthesizer), Stanton Magnetics, HDB electronic/VERMONA, and more, today its employees are all active musicians and DJs, dedicated to making instruments for musicians from musicians. All are always happy to receive feedback from current customers and like-minded individuals alike.

Review of Midnight Sounds EP by Melanie Crew — July 15, 2018

Review of Midnight Sounds EP by Melanie Crew

I was delighted when I found out Melanie had released a third EP, Midnight Sounds, after reviewing Melanie’s previous two releases – Further Away and Until the End.

Melanie Crew is a singer and musician from London, writing gentle acoustic music with soulful melodies. Having spent over 10 years playing classical clarinet, Melanie turned her attention to her guitar, and has spent the last few years writing songs inspired by favourite artists including Kathryn Williams and Elliott Smith. Her third EP was released in October 2017.

Melanie has played at several acoustic nights and folk clubs, including Half Moon Putney, Harrison, Epping folk club and Loughton folk club, and her songs have been played on BBC 6 Music, including the prime-time Saturday evening Tom Robinson show, BBC Kent, BBC Essex (live session) and many local stations.

And Midnight Sounds is another excellent release that continues with the elegance, beautifully crafted songs and Melanie’s superb vocals seen on previous releases.

Evening Light
A superb laid back groove with bass, strummed acoustic guitar and natural drumming. The vocals are excellent with just an edge of tension reflecting the theme of the song.

Visions
A slow vibe from bass and picked guitar riff, the vocals tell a story edged with sadness, emphasized by a subtle dissonance in the chord change.

The Place I Knew
A more uptempo feel to this song, it’s a superb arrangement again with subtle bass and strummed guitar.

Out of Sight
Opening with a picked guitar riff with a slow triplet feel accompanied by vocals, bass enters to give a subtle momentum and the arrangement really highlights the superb vocals.

Stay All Night
Lovely trem chords to open with vocals and subtle bass, it’s a song of loss and regret. There are lovely harmonies too.

Melanie’s social links:
twitter | facebook | website

Review of Abstractithica by Max Hall on Evil Hoodoo — July 11, 2018

Review of Abstractithica by Max Hall on Evil Hoodoo

Abstractithica came about while travelling around the world, also in and around the UK, using nothing but a stereo field recorder, gathering sounds, atmosphere’s and conversations, noises, anything that vibrated the airwaves over a period of 4 years. Coming from boredom and lack of inspiration with formula production and seeking a new angle of creativity.

Experimentation then ensued in the studio for about a year, putting all these gathered recordings into a collage of Atmospheric sounds to create “40 minutes of beautifully sculpted field recordings”, and the result is a mind bending mixture of recognisable and alien sounds that will drag the listener into a dream like state, confusing the brain and wondering at times what actually happened over the last 42 minutes. Not like anything you’ve heard before, this is a truly unique, one off record.

Abstractithica is available as a 250 vinyl pressing, super limited edition release from Evil Hoodoo.

Abstractithica is an excellent album, it’s a superb soundscape with ambient, drone, noise and cinematic qualities. There are lots of subtleties and complexities, excellent layering of sounds, seamless transitions and an edge of tension at times.

Part One
Like an evolving siren with metallic drone, it’s an edgy opening propelled by recorded conversations and field recordings blended with drones and interspersed with fairground / park / vocal sounds to create a complex, intricate and captivating soundscape. There are lots of subtleties, great use of delay and a superb flow contrasting between drone, ambience and tension, often a blend of all 3 ending with a very ancient cinematic type of sound.

Part Two
Opens with a fairground ride recording leading into an edgy drone / soundscape retaining large elements of the fairground ride sound which gives a haunting, decaying feel. Various recordings contrast against a wall of harsh noise evolving into a dark ambience, pulsing and swirling with disembodied voices evoking some strange place straight out of a Lovecraft story. A seamless transition to a more ambient soundscape follows, retaining just an edge of tension with subtle use of recordings. A change of feel follows, a more edgy sound with disembodied vocals, background sounds and swirling noise returning to a fairground feel with superb haunting qualities.

Doepfer Musikelektronik announce availability of Dark Energy III analogue synthesizer — July 10, 2018

Doepfer Musikelektronik announce availability of Dark Energy III analogue synthesizer

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GRAEFELFING, GERMANY: having wowed North American audiences with a pre-production prototype at The 2018 NAMM Show in Anaheim, CA, then turned heads and opened European ears with a must-see showstopper closer to home at SUPERBOOTH18 in Berlin, Germany, esteemed electronic musical device designers Doepfer Musikelektronik is proud to announce availability of the Dark Energy III Analog Synthesizer — a worthy successor to its critically-acclaimed desktop Dark Energy II monophonic analogue standalone synthesizer with wide- reaching CV (Control Voltage)/Gate, MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface), and USB (Universal Serial Bus) connectivity that it effectively enhances.

Dark_Energy_III_front

Like its Dark Energy II predecessor, released to widespread critical acclaim back in 2012, Dark Energy III is a desktop monophonic analogue standalone synthesizer with wide-reaching CV/Gate, MIDI, and USB connectivity. Continuing that intriguingly-named lineage, likewise, Dark Energy III’s sound generation and all modulation sources are 100% analogue, with only its inbuilt MIDI/USB components entering the digital arena (as is obviously necessary, naturally). Needless to say, everything is built into a rugged black metal case with wooden side plates, while high-quality potentiometers with metal shafts are used; ultimately, each potentiometer is mounted firmly to the chassis, so no wobbly shafts and knobs — unlike some cheaply-constructed competing (non-Doepfer) designs. Dark Energy III is, indeed, essentially an enhanced version of Doepfer’s desktop standalone synthesizer so central to the company’s product line for so long, but boasts several notable differences.

Notably — not least audibly, although also apparent from the front panel’s waveform Shape switch labelling, a triangle Shape waveform is now central to the VCO (Voltage-Controlled Oscillator) core, which now no longer requires a warmup period for optimal operation over a 10-octave frequency range (with 1V/Oct tracking over at least eight octaves).

On top of that, there are now separate Reset LFO1 and Reset LFO 2 Inputs for the two resettable LFOs (Low Frequency Oscillators). These sockets synchronise both LFOs to external gate signals, so when a gate signal of +5V (or higher) is applied at a socket then its positive ramp sets the corresponding LFO wave shape to zero and the LFO restarts with a rising ramp.

All analogue synthesizers use a VCA (Voltage-Controlled Amplifier) to dynamically control loudness (or volume); Doepfer’s Dark Energy III design differs from its predecessor — and also many other analogue synthesizers — by virtue of its VCA having a linear control scale, so lends itself to scaling control voltages.

Several signal routings and functions are additionally available to any adventurous ‘Doepfer DIY’er’ willing and able to modify Dark Energy III’s front panel sockets by removing jumpers and rewiring the pin-headers for the VCO PW, Reset LFO1, Reset LFO2, and VCA Inputs. For example, the VCO PW input can be converted into a linear FM input, or LFO/ADSR signals can be used as outputs instead of one of the resettable LFO inputs. Indeed, (almost) anything is possible, including various VCO outputs (triangle, sawtooth, rectangle); VCO hard sync input; VCO soft sync input; various VCF outputs (lowpass, highpass, bandpass); various LFO outputs (triangle, rectangle); ADSR output; and two inverters with input/output (to invert any signal, such as ADSR or LFO).

Effective enhancements notwithstanding, the favoured filter found in Dark Energy II remains unchanged in Dark Energy III. Indeed, its sound- defining VCF (Voltage-Controlled Filter) is centred around a 12dB multimode filter with lowpass, notch, highpass, and bandpass settings, together with a filter Mode control for continuous transition from lowpass via notch and highpass around to bandpass; its XFM (Exponential Frequency Modulation) control also has a polarization function, whereby the modulation source (LFO2 or ADSR) selected by the Source switch can affect the filter frequency with a positive or negative behaviour (by rotating rightwards or leftwards, respectively).

Meanwhile, mounting of two or more Dark Energy — original, II, and III — units is possible, with or without wooden side plates between them. Though there is still not sufficient space to accommodate a dedicated MIDI output socket on the Dark Energy III rear panel, it is still possible for those adventurous ‘Doepfer DIY’ers’ to link two or more Dark Energy — original, II, and III — units via MIDI out/MIDI in using the two pin-headers available at the supply/interface board mounted at the rear panel. (Fortunately for them, Doepfer has helpfully posted a downloadable document with additional technical information.

Put it this way: with Dark Energy III, Doepfer delivers another effective enhancement of a highly-capable monophonic analogue standalone synthesizer, continuing to make its musical mark with a compact desktop design dating back to 2010 (when wowing audiences around the world with its original Dark Energy entry).

Ending on a high note, who better to tender tasty food for thought, then, than Doepfer Musikelektronik CEO Dieter Doepfer, the esteemed electronic musical devices designer who lends his notable name to the renowned company and has been known to look beyond our world for inspiration: Dark Energy III is not a tool for space research, neither is it suitable for studies in astrophysics. Yet, we find these topics as fascinating as music technology — reason enough to celebrate ‘Hubble & Co.’s amazing discoveries a bit and call our brand-new synthesizer Dark Energy III.”

In Germany, Dark Energy III can be ordered online from Doepfer Musikelektronic GmbH or via one of its German dealers for €479.00 EUR. (An optional user-installable Glide control kit — containing a prewired potentiometer with two nuts and a Dark Energy-style rotary knob — is available for €10.00 EUR.)

Outside Germany, Dark Energy III can only be ordered from Doepfer dealers in listed territories  (That said, residents in countries without representation can order directly from Doepfer Musikelektronic GmbH.)

For more in-depth info, please visit the dedicated Dark Energy III webpage

NUGEN Audio announces new website with new music production and post-production bundle launches — July 6, 2018

NUGEN Audio announces new website with new music production and post-production bundle launches

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LEEDS, UK: modern tools for today’s production environments developer NUGEN Audio is proud to announce its new website with the launch of six new bundles — Focus, Modern Mastering, NUGEN Producer, Loudness Toolkit, NUGEN Post, and Surround Suite — specifically designed to deliver their respective proprietary algorithms in inspiring, workflow-enhancing combinations for music and post-production engineers.

In total, there are three new bundles aimed at music production: Focus features three award-winning plug-ins, proffering precise stereo positioning (Stereoplacer), reliable, full-frequency stereo widening and enhancement (Stereoizer), and essential bass management (Monofilter); Modern Mastering makes mastering with confidence and precision in today’s world of digital consumption through music streaming services an effortless experience, thanks to three perfectly positioned plug-ins, including an intelligent look-ahead brick-wall limiter that provides highly-transparent True Peak limiting (ISL), a streaming service auditioning and metering toolset (MasterCheck), and comprehensive audio analysis utility (Visualizer); NUGEN Producer delivers deeper control over full production workflow with eight plug-ins, including the previously-mentioned MasterCheck Pro, Monofilter, Stereoizer, Stereoplacer and Visualizer bolstered by a mono and stereo audio production version of ISL (ISL st), a modular signal modification utility plug-in (SigMod), and a linear phase spline ‘Match & Morph’ EQ for mono and stereo audio production (SEQ-ST).

Similarly, there are three new bundles aimed at post-production: Loudness Toolkit is the leading workstation solution for loudness compliant delivery with three products working in concert to deliver unsurpassed quality and workflow efficiency, comprising an automatic, quick-fix compliance plug-in (LM- Correct — now updated to include the DynApt dynamics extension) and an industry-standard loudness metering plug-in/standalone application (VisLM) alongside the aforesaid intelligent look-ahead brick-wall limiter (ISL); NUGEN Post is an uncompromising collection of 11 plug-ins for high-quality broadcast, film, and game audio production, including the previously-mentioned ISL, LM-Correct, Monofilter, SigMod, Stereoplacer, Stereoizer, VisLM, and Visualizer bolstered by a precise downmixing and surround rebalancing tool (Halo Downmix) and a stereo to 5.1, 7.1 and 3D upmixer (Halo Upmix) alongside a linear phase spline ‘Match & Morph’ EQ (SEQ-S); Surround Suite comprises four previously-mentioned plug-ins — Halo Downmix, Halo Upmix, ISL, and SEQ-S — to upmix, downmix, create, hone, and reshape the sound of its user(s) for mono, stereo, and surround audio.

The Focus, Modern Mastering, NUGEN Producer, Loudness Toolkit, Nugen Post andSurround Suite bundles are available to purchase directly from NUGEN Audio for $199.00 USD, $299.00 USD, $499.00 USD, $899.00 USD, $899.00 USD, and $1,499.00 USD, respectively. (Upgrade pricing can be found in individual user’s NUGEN Audio account information.)

For more in-depth information, please visit NUGEN Audio’s new Product webpage.

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Review of Advice to Hill Walkers album by E-Gone on Sunrise Ocean Bender — July 1, 2018

Review of Advice to Hill Walkers album by E-Gone on Sunrise Ocean Bender

This album slipped through the net somewhat being released back in 2016 but its well worthy of your attention.

It’s available on CD for US customers from Sunrise Ocean Bender and also CD / digital version from E-Gone’s bandcamp page, embedded above.

It’s not an easy one to describe, sitting somewhere between psychedelic, electronica and folk with a heavy Eastern influence. What makes it so good is the way that the music draws you in and then takes you somewhere else. The Eastern vibe is present in many of the songs but it also conjures up images of France, being lost on a mountain, and even a TV program theme where you even start imagining the opening credits and characters.

I’m not sure what all of the instruments used are, there seems to be sitar, banjo, harmonium type sounds as well as guitars, synths, drums and natural percussion – all of which blend and fuse together seamlessly.

Mark the Spot Where you Leave the Injured
An almost Celtic feel to the opening with a drone, swirling background sound, string riff and subtle percussion. There’s a brooding quality to the song with a great tension.

Your Goal is to Know Everything and Say Nothing
Picked riff and natural percussion is given solid momentum by the bassline, its an Eastern infused groove with superb build and release of tension, the organ adds a solid 60s psych vibe.

Follow Moonmilk Rivers
An uptempo feel with a solid groove from drumming, natural percussion, bass and guitar. Great variety of sounds and nice changes of feel, the song has excellent jam qualities.

Build your Camp out of Alpine Moss
Drone to open with subtle movement, there’s a distorted / bit crushed drone type sound too. The guitar riff has a mysterious almost menacing feel at times. Superb building of tension and some great sound effects.

Dwell in Tents by Day, Hike at Random
A choppy sounding riff to open leads into a dub vibe. Guitar lead line and shimmering chords give great changes in feel. The lead organ is an excellent element, it suits the song really well. Some subtle sound effects too with great use of delay.

Fast Before Stalker Season
A dub vibe to the opening with psychedelic sound effects, great interplay between synth lead and a banjo type of sound. Great evolution with some acid sounding synths, it has an Eastern feel at times too.

You Don’t Know it Yet but We Are Losing You
An Eastern feel to the opening with uptempo riff, natural percussion and bass drone. An urgency to the sound.

Find New Methods for Compass Use
Opens with a field recording of rain, an emerging drone creates a great contrast against the field recording. Nice release of tension towards the end as the drone fades out.

Bring Ice and Rope
Great momentum to the opening from drumming, nice tension from drone and sound effects complimented by strings and picked riff.

Record the Humming of Melodious Caves
An excellent jam quality to this song with shimmery guitar, banjo sounding riff, natural percussion, subtle synth lead and a guitar lead. It has a solid groove with an air of mystery.

Continue Your Ascent Blindfolded
Shimmery trem guitar with synth riff and slow bass, there’s a jazzy feel to the song, it could easily be the theme tune to a TV show, it conjures up images of something mysterious or intriguing.

Reach the Summit, Egg
A slow opening with drones, lead organ and sitar type of sound. It’s a captivating sound, great movement and build / release of tension with a range of riffs and lead lines evolving and leading into an ambience with an edge of tension with a slow release.

Review of Bass Master – a 64 bit VST/AU synth dedicated to bass from Loopmasters — June 28, 2018

Review of Bass Master – a 64 bit VST/AU synth dedicated to bass from Loopmasters

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Introduction
Heavy, speaker-shaking tones are just a few clicks away with Bass Master. This synth is totally dedicated to bass, and it’s built on Loopmasters’ award-winning sonic history.

Whether you are making House, Techno, Drum and Bass, Trap, Hip Hop or other electronic music, Bass Master’s huge variety of source sounds provide the inspiration for a weighty, powerful bass tone.

Bass Master is available in 64bit VST/AU versions at the introductory price of £49.95 / €59.00 / $69.00 until 1st August 2018 (standard price: £69.95 / €85.00 / $99.00) from PluginBoutique.

In-Depth Review
In essence Bass Master is a 2 oscillator sample based synth with filter, filter LFO, 3 effects (distortion, reverb, chorus), a frequency booster and 3 parameter mod-wheel macro.

BM Full GUI_preview

The interface is clean and well designed, in fact they’ve designed it so well that you can start using Bass Master straight away without needing to read the manual. Don’t be fooled by this apparent simplicity though because it is incredibly versatile and has excellent sound quality.

gui_preset

The top section contains the preset load / save options. There are an impressive 350+ presets in a number of categories including simple, sub, modulated and percussive. These are an ideal starting point to explore what Bass Master can do and there are lots of great sounding, very usable presets.

GUI top

The sample based oscillators are located in the top left part of the display. The top layer has an ADSR envelope and a handy feature to change the starting point of the sample. There are 217 waveforms sampled from the best modern and vintage bass sources. The second layer is the sub-layer that has an A/R envelope, option to change octave and a direct out option.

The middle section has the mix control. It’s easy to overlook this but it can be used to shape and create some interesting results.

The right hand part of the display has the filter with 13 filter types, a mix of low pass, high pass, band pass and comb. There are the usual filter controls and an excellent pre-drive control. There’s a dedicated ADSR envelope and LFO modulation that has the usual shapes as well as the more unusual random and drift shapes.

gui bottom

The bottom left has play mode – legato or portamento with glide time and mod-wheel macro assignments.

The effects occupy the middle bottom of the display which also has a keyboard display. There are a number of different effect modes –
Distortion – desk, drive, fuzz, crush, dual;
Chorus – gentle, detune, widen, uber;
Reverb – bright, mid, dark.

The bottom right of the display has a cool frequency booster than can be applied to the bottom, mid and top parts of the signal to add crispness, body and bass. This section also has the master volume control.

Conclusion
I love the analogue vibe with a modern feel of Bass Master. Loopmasters have created a very well designed synth that is easy to learn and use but can produce a huge range of great sounds including subs, 80s synths, plucks, modulated sounds and many more. The included 350+ presets mean that you can start using Bass Master straight away and if you want to tweak them it’s a straightforward and very quick process – it takes less than two minutes to create your own patch from scratch.

I’ve created two songs embedded at the start of the review to highlight some of the sounds that Bass Master can produce, they’re somewhere between techno, house and rave. Bass Master is the only sound source apart from the drum and vocal loops.

Educe uses 4 instances of Bass Master, a drum loop and vocal loops processed with Ultrachannel, H3000 Factory, Blackhole, H949 Dual Harmoniser (Eventide); Cryogen (Glitchmachines).

Warp uses 4 instances of Bass Master and a drum loop processed with MuLab step sequencer, Octavox, Ultratap, H3000 Factory, Blackhole and Ultrachannel (Eventide).

Both songs arranged and recorded in MuLab 7; both songs mastered in MuLab 7 using Magnetite (Black Rooster Audio); Elevate (Newfangled Audio); Stage (Fiedler Audio).

Avatone Pro brings ‘back’ to market much-loved nearfield studio monitoring mainstay with closely-matched CLA-10 — June 26, 2018

Avatone Pro brings ‘back’ to market much-loved nearfield studio monitoring mainstay with closely-matched CLA-10

TALLMAN, NY, USA: affordable high-quality audio products producer Avantone Pro is proud to announce availability of its CLA-10™ classic studio reference monitor — manufactured as a full-range, two-way passive pair for fixed or remote locations while also accurately recreating an iconic studio monitoring mainstay, much loved in the music industry among pop and rock recording engineers to this day as a valuable mixing tool with which to reveal shortcomings in recordings.

Times change, as does technology. That being said, today’s newly developing age of high-definition audio does not necessarily negate recording shortcomings. Studios still primarily use two- or three-way large monitors designed to represent a wide range reference viewpoint at higher listening levels and there is still a need to hear what a mix will sound like when played back over small systems, such as car stereos, clock radios, computer speakers, and televisions. Indeed, it is important to make mixing judgements based on listening to reference monitors that will not impart tonal anomalies caused by crossovers or inferior full-range drivers. Paying particular attention to the critical midrange vocal/guitar/keyboard areas is always advised.

As such, over a year of R&D (Research & Development), comparative listening, and tweaking went into voicing Avantone Pro’s CLA-10™ while working in close collaboration with five-time GRAMMY® Award-winning mix engineer Chris Lord-Alge — hence having his signature grace the finished, familiar-looking cabinet. The result is a very accurate recreation of an iconic studio monitoring mainstay, much loved in the music industry among pop and rock recording engineers to this day (despite discontinuation of the original product in question back in 2001). Much more recently, listening tests in studios show that recording engineers accept the CLA-10™ as a transparent replacement — just ask Chris Lord-Alge, an assuredly talented and incontrovertibly impressed individual, as evidenced by his following flattery: “I put my mixing reputation on these great speakers… I am mixing on them as I write this.”

The CLA-10™ clearly meets its engineering and performance objectives, attributed, in part, to a 10.4-litre sealed design cabinet constructed of non-layered, high-rigidity MDF (Medium-Density Fibreboard) — chosen for its natural low-resonance characteristics — finished with an outer layer of real wood veneer. Visually and tonally fusing the past with the present, Avantone Pro utilised the latest in FEA (Fine Element Analysis) modelling to achieve its custom-designed 180mm AV10-MLF low-frequency driver based on paper cone construction with ‘old-school’ speaker design artistry, thanks to the finest pulp material that performs as closely as possible to the original by being press formed rather than die cut for tonal consistency. Cloth surround material is made in Japan for added authenticity and has unique damping characteristics, enabling a predictable compliance over the lifespan of the driver. Avantone Pro’s custom-tooled frame supports the driver/cone combo to minimise mechanical transfers while the 35mm AV10-MHF high frequency silk dome-based tweeter is as close a match to the original as can be made, making for both a frequency (60Hz – 20kHz) and voicing match to the classic sound so admired by the likes of Chris Lord-Alge — hardly surprising since those aforesaid AV10-MLF and V10-MHF critical components have been extensively field-tested in top LA and NY studios to universal acclaim as drop-in replacements for both Avantone Pro’s own CLA-10™ and also the iconic studio monitoring mainstay it recreates so accurately.

Anyone seeking a transparent replacement for their much-loved nearfield studio monitoring mainstay as a valuable mixing tool with which to reveal shortcomings in recordings should seriously consider investing in Avantone Pro’s CLA-10™. Clearly its sound should be as familiar as the distinctive looks it also accurately recreates. Indeed, its (381.5mm x 215mm x 197.5mm) cabinet dimensions and (6.3kg) weight will make transitioning to the carefully crafted CLA-10™ when waving goodbye to the ‘dearly departed’ seem seamless. Some studio visitors may even do a double take when told that the same speaker stands or console bridge boast new classic studio reference monitors!

The CLA-10™ arrives at Avantone Pro’s US Dealers in August 2018, priced at $699.00 USD per pair. Worldwide Distributors are listed by country here.

For more in-depth information, please visit the dedicated CLA-10™ website.

Watch five-time GRAMMY® Award-winning mix engineer Chris Lord-Alge’s compelling CLA-10™ introductory video.

About Avantone Pro (www.avantonepro.com)
As a producer of affordable, high-quality microphones, studio monitors, and accessories, Avantone Pro is a different kind of audio company — a creative vehicle, in effect, enabling its core team to bring to market the things viewed as missing in the industry. Indeed, this could be anything as simple as meeting a particular price point to give excellent quality for reasonable pricing to a product that simply does not exist until built by that team. Far from using the shotgun approach to creating a product line, however, each and every product produced has passion and purpose driving it forward. Regardless of whether attracting a two- or four-figure price tag, attention to design is consistent throughout all Avantone Pro products. Performance comes first, of course, but a great deal of design time is spent creating visually attractive products. Put it this way: the company collectively enjoys classic, timeless designs itself; it is convinced, therefore, that others feel the same way! With its microphones and monitors used in studios around the world — whether within home-based project setups or world-renowned multi-million-dollar facilities, Avantone Pro is sensitive to the real-world operating budgets of bigger and smaller studios alike but also appreciates struggling songwriters/artists who are passionate about creating great music yet must adhere to budget limitations based on common sense spending. Since it strives to offer products that anyone would be proud to own and have long-term use of in the quest for creating great music, even those on a budget can comfortably access Avantone Pro’s world-class sound.

© 2018 Avantone Pro