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Brainworx announces bx_console_e – a flagship plugin based on the classic E series mixing consoles — September 20, 2017

Brainworx announces bx_console_e – a flagship plugin based on the classic E series mixing consoles

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LEVERKUSEN, GERMANY: industry-leading pro audio plugins developer Brainworx is proud to announce availability of bx_console E — their trailblazing flagship plugin that pairs a 72-channel emulation of the high-end, hit-making British E Series console complete with comprehensive COMPRESS (compressor/limiter), full-featured EXPAND(expander/ gate), powerful four-band parametric EQ, and wide-ranging (high pass and low pass) FILTERS, together with incredibly flexible signal routing (just like the original console), and much more besides — exclusively from Plugin Alliance.

bx_console E is available for purchase — as an AAX Native & DSP-, AU-, VST2-, and VST3-supporting plugin for Mac OS X (10.8 through 10.12), Windows (7 through 10), and Pro Tools 10.3.10 (or higher) — exclusively from Plugin Alliance typically priced at $299.00 USD. (A fully-functional, 14-day trial is available to anyone registering for a free Plugin Alliance account here )

Note that the proprietary Plugin Alliance Installation Manager means users can select, download, and install only the products and formats needed for their system.

For more in-depth information, including several superb-sounding audio demos, please visit the dedicated bx_console E webpage

Watch Plugin Alliance’s tantalizing trailer for bx_console E here

Watch Plugin Alliance’s teaser trailer for bx_console E here

The bx_console E is based on classic British mixing desks such as the SSL 4000 E. However, it is not a direct emulation as such because Brainworx have added further modifications based on consideration of different EQ revisions, adding additional software functionality and used their patent pending TMT – tolerance modelling technology. This effectively considers the inherent tolerance in electronic components such as capacitors and resistors. If you’ve ever built electronic circuits or used an analogue synth, you’ll probably know that tolerance of components can vary widely from 0.1% up to about 20% which can affect timing circuits such as oscillators and produces differences in sound between two exact same models of the same analogue synth. This means that on analogue mixing equipment no two channels sound exactly the same and it is these variances that TMT simulates. bx_console E has 72 channels – each of which sound slightly different and collectively they (re)produce all the complexity, depth, nuance, and width which high-end analog consoles are held in such high regard for. It is also possible to randomise one channel or all channels for increased variations.

The additional functionality makes bx_console E stand out from being just another SSL strip plug. These include 2 modelled VCAs for the compressor – the original E series and one from the later G series; 2 different EQ modes – the original ‘brown’ and later ‘black’ revision which can be used pre- or post the dynamics section or routed to the dynamics sidechain; an adjustable noise floor to add vintage character along with THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) for extra presence and texture; parallel compression, high pass filtering and a second release time on the compressor; the filter section has x3 and /3 settings which expands the frequency range considerably.

The bx_console E has a great GUI which is clean and easy to use. The top section has presets, copy/paste undo options etc.

The main part of the display is effectively split into three sections. The left hand side has filters at the top with compress / expand beneath.

bx_console E filters.jpg

The middle section is the EQ section

bx_console E EQ.jpg

The right hand side has the VU meter, input / output gain, stereo mode and randomise channel options.

bx_console E VU.jpg

For someone like me who is learning new and different mixing techniques, considering the complexities of the plugin it’s very easy to use and get to grips with. There are a number of presets for different instruments – bass, drums, vocals, guitars etc. and whilst very good in their own right, they also provide an excellent starting point for you to further sculpt and fine tune your sound.

My main experience with mixing is using Neutron by iZotope. This has intelligent features and a degree of automation where it can ‘listen’ to a track and suggests settings. The main drawback with this approach is that you can sometimes rely too much on the suggested settings and less on your ear. Conversely, you do sometimes need a reference to ensure that your ears are working along the right lines.

Comparing the two on a drum bus, there was very little if any difference in sound quality, both bx_console E and Neutron are excellent. The track assistant settings in Neutron produced a sound with more top end but this was easily replicated by adjusting the EQ slightly in bx_console E.

Using the two on a bassline, the bx_console E ‘bass synth a’ preset produced a much warmer and more vibrant sounding bass than the track assistant in Neutron. On a synth, the same preset also produced a warmer, more vibrant sound. Clearly you’re not limited to only using the track assistant in Neutron, the suggested settings can be adjusted.

It feels like bx_console E produces a more vibrant analogue sound whilst Neutron produces an ultra modern, tighter more compressed sound. There’s no right or wrong between these two, sometimes one will be more suited to the style of music that you are producing.

In summary, this is a powerful and flexible plugin that can be used as a channel strip or as a mastering tool. It does an excellent job replicating the sounds you’d get from an analogue mixing desk whilst offering additional, useful and essential functionality. It produces more of a classic sound than a modern compressed sound and that’s exactly what Brainworx set out to do. How they’ve packed all of the functionality into an interface that is clean, easy to navigate and simple to use and which produces such an excellent sound is a fantastic achievement. It may also encourage you to dig a bit deeper into techniques to improve your mixes which is never a bad thing.

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Schmidt-Synthesizer announces availability of Schmidt Eightvoice Analog Synthesizer (25 units) — September 18, 2017

Schmidt-Synthesizer announces availability of Schmidt Eightvoice Analog Synthesizer (25 units)

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LANGENAU, GERMANY: Schmidt-Synthesizer, makers of the no-expense-spared namesake Schmidt Eightvoice Analog Synthesizer thoroughbred, is proud to announce that it is taking orders on a third batch of 25 units — with upcoming availability in both black and white colour finishes.

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That no-expense-spared Schmidt Eightvoice Analog Synthesizer was, without doubt, a showstopper when namesake hardware and software designer Stefan Schmidt’s hand-crafted first prototype unit debuted at Musikmesse 2011 in Frankfurt, Germany. Subsequently supported by e:m:c (electronic music components) — German distributor of several key electronic musical instrument brands (including Mellotron, Moog, and Vintage Vibe), Stefan Schmidt’s ‘one-off’ dream machine made it into production as a sound designer’s dream — albeit bravely built as a limited 25-unit batch of what was quite possibly the most expensive analogue eight-voice polyphonic synthesizer the world had yet seen and heard! However, a cursory glance at its complex four-oscillator structure clearly convinced even the most skilled synthesists that the Schmidt Eightvoice Analog Synthesizer was capable of creating complex timbres that go way beyond the capabilities of conventional analogue synthesizers, so Schmidt-Synthesizer’s first batch (slowly) sold out… onwards and upwards, ultimately, a second 25-unit batch was billed as being the last.

Who better to put this third batch of 25 (unplanned) units into its rightful perspective, then, than Schmidt-Synthesizer Product Manager Axel Fischer: “Last year we assumed that the second batch would also be the last. The Schmidt Eightvoice Analog Synthesizer’s sound engine electronics are mainly of ‘old school’ stock, with through-hole mounting technology, and pricing for those components have been rising steadily for years. Yet since the second batch of 25 units — ultimately, we ordered some extra components, so there were actually 27 — sold out within 14 months, those component prices are acceptable. So since the Schmidt Eightvoice Analog Synthesizer still enjoys serious support, we’re happy to announce that additional units of this wonderful instrument will be available in 2018. At the moment, we’re still finishing fulfilling orders for the second batch, but orders for the third batch can be placed as of now.”

No need to necessarily order one (or more) in black, though. This time the Schmidt Eightvoice Analog Synthesizer is back in black, but also available to order in white, which looks stunning — sounds stunning, too, with the same seriously well-specified feature set as the original. Oscillator 4 is worth highlighting, however; thanks to its chain of five ring modulators fed by six pulse-waves, each with different pulse-widths, it can create colder, wavetable-like sounds — despite being fully analogue! These truly unique features are unavailable in any alternative analogue synthesizer out there, let alone any alternative analogue polysynth! Subtractive synthesis clearly knows no bounds here, helping to make the Schmidt Eightvoice Analog Synthesizer a shining example of no-expense-spared synthesizer design, deploying discrete sound generation circuitry throughout — no integrated oscillator/filter circuits on a single chip, for instance, in keeping with the highest possible production standards. Still better, each and every parameter is directly accessible via dedicated controls on a seriously spacious front panel with adjustable angle and user-adjustable coloured LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes).

Back in black and white, the Schmidt Eightvoice Analog Synthesizer sounds and looks like the sum of its pricey parts. Put it this way: this is synthesizer history in the making. Making one is a tall order. Making 25 more is subtractive synthesis manna from heaven!

Schmidt Eightvoice Analog Synthesizer pricing remains stable at €19,900.00 EUR (including German VAT) for a black unit, with white weighing in at €20,900.00 EUR (including German VAT). Either way, e:m:c (electronic music components) are accepting orders here: info@emc-de.com

For more detailed information, please visit the dedicated Schmidt Eightvoice Analog Synthesizer website here: http://www.schmidt-synthesizer.com

Review of Stage stereo toolkit effect by Fiedler Audio — September 11, 2017

Review of Stage stereo toolkit effect by Fiedler Audio

stage is available for purchase — as an AU-, VST2-, and VST3-supporting plugin for Mac OS X (10.8 through 10.12), Windows (7 through 10), and Pro Tools 10.3.10 (or higher) — exclusively from Plugin Alliance typically priced at $179.00 USD. (A fully-functional, 14-day trial is available to anyone registering for a free Plugin Alliance account: http://www.plugin-alliance.com/en/registration.html)

Note that the proprietary Plugin Alliance Installation Manager means users can select, download, and install only the products and formats needed for their system.

SANTA CRUZ, CA, USA: Plugin Alliance, a new ‘Über-standard’ supporting all major plugin formats and uniting some of the best-known international audio companies under one virtual roof, is proud to announce availability of stage — seriously enhancing the inherent ambience in any source signal by applying advanced spatial and stereo panning algorithms, adding valuable texture, depth, and nuance to stems, mixes, or masters as the plugin premiere from Plugin Alliance partner fiedler audio.

In essence stage gives control over width, panning and m/s balance; provides modulation options with LFOs and has a ‘colour’ module with 4 intelligent filters. The technical explanation is that stage utilizes sophisticated spatial processing techniques to take a good mix or master and make it better. By using sophisticated stereo panning, delay lines, and phase modulation, stage smoothly serves up what would otherwise require routing schemes of a confusingly complex nature and multiple plugins to achieve. As such, stage waves goodbye to copying tracks and setting up the Haas effect delay — when a sound is followed by another sound separated by a sufficiently short time delay (below the listener’s echo threshold), the listener perceives a single fused auditory image with a perceived spatial location dominated by the location of the first-arriving sound while the lagging sound also affects the perceived location (though its effect is suppressed by the first-arriving sound) — or panning stereo tracks within a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) while using another plugin to control stereo width. By bringing these tried and tested techniques under one virtual roof, stage enables efficient stereo workflow with maximum flexibility and accuracy… all of which yield greater perceived width with new levels of musical clarity.

With stage, stereo imaging is fatter without sacrificing dynamic range, and individual tracks can be positioned with extreme precision — perfect for instantly intensifying substance and adding tactility to the user’s sound. Stylish, thanks to its gorgeous GUI (Graphical User Interface) implementation, and benefitting from low CPU (Central Processing Unit) consumption, stage seeks to take centre stage as a go-to plugin for satisfying spatial augmentation and manipulation needs. Needless to say, stage is needed by anyone and everyone involved in music and audio production… professional or otherwise!

It’s very easy to use, the GUI is clean and well designed using 5 separate sections with a flow of left to right.

Input section

stage_in.jpg

This has a gain input slider, tilt control which corrects the difference between left and right channels and an MS control which determines whether the mid, side or blend between the two is sent to the output.

Panorama section

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Pan control to adjust the stereo position and width to adjust the distance between 2 channels all the way down to mono. Pan delay determines whether amplitude is used to delay the signal or internal delays are added. Pan wet invert reverses the direction of panning and the pan dry bypass routes the dry signal from the input direct to the output so pan section only affects the wet signal.

Ambience Section

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Allows you to adjust the 3d properties of the sound.

Size changes the internal delay time.

Feedback controls the internal delay circuit increasing the subtle reverb / delay effect.

There are 2 coupled LFOs (left and right) which modulate the size of the ambience delay circuit. Frequency controls the speed, amount controls the modulation depth and phase adjusts the offset between left and right LFOs.

The colour section has 4 adaptive filters designed to adjust the spectrum. Brilliance adjusts the top end, presence adds more grit / warmth, body adds fullness and bass adjusts the low end.

The output section contains a wet gain control, a wet on/off for A/B comparison and a similar dry on/off.

I have been using a couple of Soundspot plugins to adjust stereo width and m/s panning. These gave ok results but I found that Stage gives a much better sound, you can definitely hear the 3d properties and spatial separation. I’ve used it whilst mastering my last 3 albums and I was delighted with the results.

 

 

 

I have to also say this is definitely a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Whilst I was delighted with the stereo enhancement properties, this is the polite, cultured side of Stage. Exploration of the LFOs reveals that it can also be somewhat of a beast, producing more extreme modulations and effects which were completely unexpected. It can produce offset delays, rotary type effects, flangers, ‘dark room’ and slap types of reverb, resonance, vocoder and a dub type delay with a speed up / slow down effect.

Initially I was using it on the master strip but it is light on CPU usage and is versatile enough to be used as a channel strip or send/return effect.

 

Because there isn’t a direct comparison or before and after with the above albums as examples, I’ve created a couple of demo tracks above which use as Stage as the only VST to give an idea of its potential. I’ve used a clean intro and then processed sounds with stage as an insert effect and also used it on the master strip for these processed effects. I’ve used sample loops from Terry Grant Dark Dub Odyssey, Mode Audio’s Lost Archive and the Ghosthack free female vocals pack.

Review of Vortex sample pack by Mode Audio — September 5, 2017

Review of Vortex sample pack by Mode Audio

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Mode Audio has introduced Vortex, a 426Mb collection of royalty free ambient loops and stab samples ideal for a wide range of ambient, downtempo and minimal styles available in Wav, Rex2, Reason (also contains 4 NN-XT presets and 5 combinator effects patches) and Ableton Live pack (also contains 1 Ableton Live 9 set and 5 audio effect racks) available from Mode Audio’s Website (£18 regular price).

This review is for the Wav sample pack which features 150 loops ranging from 80 – 124 bpm and 60 stab samples arranged in 3 folders.

‘Vortex kits’ contains 4 sub folders comprising ‘Ambiences’, ‘Noise’, ‘Rhythm’ and ‘Subs’ each of which contains 20 samples which are tempo labelled;

‘Vortex Loops’ contains 2 sub folders comprising ‘Ambiences’ and ‘Atonal ambiences’ each of which contains 35 loops which are tempo labelled;

‘Vortex stab samples’ contains 60 samples in total.

Vortex kits

ambiences have a great warmth and saturation. There’s a variety of cinematic, string, synth and piano type sounds with a subtle movement and a great tension..

Noise

A variety of crackles, hums, hisses, rain type sounds, percussive and glitchy type sounds

Rhythms

These are excellent rhythmic loops, some of them are drum sounds but not your typical drum loops, these are excellently processed with saturation to give a unique sound. There are also found sound or percussive impact sounds which give further variety.

Subs

Again these have excellent processing, a subtle movement in the sound and a great bass presence.

All of these layer together really well to give a great sound with interesting variety and movement.

The Vortex loops have a variety of cinematic sounding string, synth and piano type sounds with a really good selection of tonal qualities. The atonal loops have a great edge of tension and dissonance to them.

The Vortex stab samples are very similar sounds to those in the loops – string, synth, piano, sub and percussive sounds with a short decay which add an excellent element to the loops.

Verdict

This is an excellent value sample pack which contains a variety of sample loops and stab sounds with a warm, saturated sound which have a kind of nostalgic quality. The sound quality is excellent and by focussing on ambient sounds the samples layer and mix together really well giving inspiration for a huge range of sounds.

These loops lend themselves to being used in samplers or as a starting point to create something new and original through further processing, manipulating and mangling. They can be used as is although I found that I needed a reverb or delay to provide a natural sounding decay which is to be expected. I really enjoyed using these loops and experimented with further processing to produce an EP titled ‘the white ship’ which was created using only sounds from the pack and is embedded above.

This album was inspired and is named after the short story ‘The White Ship’ by H P Lovecraft. I’ve recorded the album in Sensomusic Usine Hollyhock III using a number of the inbuilt samplers including U-drone, x-fade looper, grain voyager, groove mangle and processed these with various VSTs –

Ultratap (Eventide)

Outer Space (Audio Thing)

Incipit, Litote, Amalgame (Inear Display)

Teufelsberg Reverb (Balance Mastering)

Hornet Spaces (Hornet)

Dreamscape (Minimal System Group)

I’ve also used a couple of third party samplers – Polygon (Glitchmachines) and Dust (Soundmorph)

The songs were mastered in MuLab 7 using Overtone (Soundspot), Stage (Fiedler Audio) and Neutron (iZotope).

Review of Ultratap delay effect by Eventide — August 28, 2017

Review of Ultratap delay effect by Eventide

 
Eventide have introduced Ultratap, a versatile multi-tap delay effect capable of a huge range of effects from rhythmic and glitchy delays, volume swells, tremelos and many more. It is available from Eventide’s website in VST, AAX and AU formats in 32/64 bit versions typically priced at $79 although is currently available at the discounted price of $49 for a limited time. A demo is also available. Ultratap uses iLok activation.

Ultratap started life way back in 1982 with the world’s first rack mount programmable audio processor, the Eventide SP2016, where a flexible 64 tap delay debuted as part of its Factory Program suite. By the late 80’s UltraTap had migrated to the legendary H3000 Harmonizer effects processor and then to the DSP4000 and H8000. Thanks to advances in technology, Eventide were able to include UltraTap in a portable compact form factor, the H9 Harmonizer stompbox. And now UltraTap has come back to the studio via your DAW and FOH environment, where it all began 35 years ago!

In summary, Ultratap is an excellent plugin which is very easy to start using and get to grips with. It comes with a very generous selection of presets which are excellent in their own right but also help you to learn how to shape and create your own effects. As well as the standard reverb / delay effects I especially like some of the more unusual glitchy and swell type effects that it can produce. I’ve really enjoyed using Ultratap and have created an album, unseen consequences which is embedded at the top of this post. I’ve used Cataract (Glitchmachines), Cassette 909 (BPB), Grain Voyager, U-Drone, Groove Matrix (Sensomusic Usine Hollyhock 3), Synthmaster 2 (KV331 Audio), Noisetar (Nusofting) and Subvert (Glitchmachines). It was recorded live in Sensomusic Usine Hollyhock 3 and mastered in MuLab 7 using Overtone (Soundspot), Stage (Fiedler Audio) and Neutron (iZotope).

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Ultratap has a clear, well defined interface although it isn’t resizable. The control knobs are large and allow easy adjustment of the controls to shape your sound as desired. There are 2 additional controls which give you further control over your sound. The ribbon allows you to program 2 settings for any controls and morph to any sound between the two. Hotswitch is programmable to instantly change to an alternate sound. The controls are designed to emulate manipulating hardware and I’d say they achieve this.

The input level is on the left hand side with a meter above and the output level is on the right hand side also with a meter above.

The signal flow is essentially input -> pre-delay -> tone -> slurm -> chop -> tap delay -> out.

The controls are pretty self explanatory.

Mix is the dry/wet setting. This control has a non-linear taper which puts most of the knob travel in the most usable range.

Length is the total time of the tap spacing with sync settings of your host or timing up to a maximum of 4 seconds.

Taps is the number of delay taps from 1 – 64.

Pre-delay is the amount of time before the taps start up to 1 second.

Spread is the rhythmic spacing. This can be a constant interval or a speed up or slow down setting.

Taper controls the fade of the taps. You can have equal gain, fade up or fade down.

Width – for stereo instantiations, this can be from centre panned to alternate hard left / right panning.

Tone is a simple control adjusting from darker to brighter sounding taps.

Slurm is a setting which adds slurring and modulation. Essentially as you increase the setting you lose attack and definition to get an increasingly ‘smeared’ sound.

Chop is a pre-tap chopping tremelo or auto-volume. The tremelo has several waveform options; auto-volume can produce swells or a gated effect.

Chop speed, ride or release is determined by the setting chosen on the chop dial. It’s a multi-functional control which sets the LFO speed for chop waveforms, the swell rise time or release for the trigger setting.

Tempo sync has 3 settings. When off, the tap button adjusts values for length and/or chop LFO waveform speed. You can also choose sync to sync to your host DAW tempo or manual to set times as required.

ultratap

The Ribbon is an innovative feature designed to emulate hardware. You can program left and right ranges and morph between them with the ribbon which looks like an electric arc.

It’s as simple as clicking on the white dot in the arc which shows the position of the knob dial in the range of travel and dragging it to the left hand side of the ribbon. You then click the blue dot on the opposite side of the arc and drag it to where you want the right side of the ribbon to represent. You can then adjust the range of ribbon settings by moving the dots or right click to delete them.

Active turns the effect on and off.

Hotswitch allows you to adjust settings so that you can switch between effects. It’s easy to set up, long-press to enter programming mode, make the required changes and then long-press to exit programming mode. When you press the hotswitch button you toggle between the two settings.

Tap controls are determined by sync mode. If tempo sync is off, tapping this button will update length and/or chop LFO waveform speed value to match a quarter note at the tempo being tapped. If tempo sync is manual, pressing this button updates the tempo value. It has no effect in sync mode.

The top part of the display has presets. There are about 150 arranged by effect type – delay, modulation, pad and ambient, glitch and stutter, artist name. These are excellent quality sounds and give some great starting points to experiment with, tweak or use as they are.

You can load/save from this menu bar and there are handy options to ‘compare’ whioh toggles between current settings and the last saved or loaded preset. Mixlock enables all presets to be loaded at a specific mix setting.

Review of Amalgame multi-fx (filter/delay/glitch) VST by Inear Display — August 24, 2017

Review of Amalgame multi-fx (filter/delay/glitch) VST by Inear Display

Amalgame is a multi-effect plugin aimed to streamline the creation of complex signal processing chains.

It is available as VST and AU formats for Windows and OS X in 32/64 bit versions from Inear Display’s website typically priced at 59 Euros plus VAT. A demo version is also available.

It features a library of 23 effects from filters and delays to more esoteric and glitchy processors. You can select upto 6 effects which can be dropped onto an X Y pad where the X and Y parameters of each pad can be sequenced with independent rate and length for each sequence.

Starting the review with the conclusions, Amalgame is very easy to use, has a great sound and really encourages you to dive in and start experimenting. It can produce a massive range of sounds from reverbs and delays, harmonic type effects to glitchy metallic sounds, filter sweeps to distorted saturated sounds.

It works really well on a whole range of sounds – synths, drum loops, pads in fact pretty much any sound can be processed in interesting ways, for instance drum loops can have a subtle glitch, metallic or distorted effects to filter sweeps and more unusual effects.

I’ve created an album embedded above which was recorded in Sensomusic Usine Hollyhock III using a number of the in-built samplers – u-drone; grain sampler; x-fade looper along with Synthmaster 2.8, Noisetar and random triggered samples all processed with instances of Amalgame. The album was mastered in MuLab 7 using Overtone, Stage and Neutron.

As with other Inear Display plugins, the user interface is clearly laid out and easy to use and navigate.

The top section contains the preset controls – load, save, settings etc.

fx library

The section below is the effects library. These are sorted by coloured thematic groups and are simply dragged into a slot below. Each slot has 3 tabs. The PAD tab enables the XY view where moving the pad will alter the parameters of the current effect; X SEQ and Y SEQ tabs allow you to sequence XY pad movement. These tabs have a dot on the right hand side which toggles the sequence on and off. Sequence data can be edited by clicking and dragging over the steps. You can also adjust the rate and length of each sequence using the dedicated controls below.

The bottom section has very handy randomise controls as well as global controls for input / output and mix controls.

Amalgame comes with 34 presets which give a good idea of the sort of effects that can be produced although it really encourages you to jump in, start experimenting and see what sounds result.

It’s very easy to start using Amalgame, the effects are colour coded into categories of utility, filter, delay, modulation / timbre alteration, distortion and special processors (there’s also a THRU which acts like a bypass) which gives you some idea of the range and possibilities of Amalgame.

Once an effect is dragged into a slot, the little bar changes colour to that of the effect group and displays its name. Clicking on the title turns the effect on and off. Above the title bar are the three buttons to select the PAD, X SEQ or Y SEQ tabs with the PAD the default view.

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The coloured circle represents the XY parameters which are automatable in your DAW or can be assigned to a MIDI controller. The XY parameters can also be controlled using a dedicated sequencer.

Sequences are inactive by default, you need to enable them by clicking on the dot on the right side of the tab. There are controls for rate which adjusts the duration of one step according to host tempo and length which sets the number of steps in a sequence from 2 to 16. There’s also a play mode button which has left to right, right to left and random settings. There’s also a RND button which sets all steps to random values.

Sequences offer many possibilities from simple automation, LFO type effects, arpeggiator effects to evolving sounds with sequences that play at different rates with different numbers of steps.

The randomiser is a very handy feature. There are 4 randomisation options – XY to randomise X and Y positions; FX to randomise effect types; SEQ to randomise sequence settings and steps; ALL to randomise all 3 of these.

Review of ‘Ghost in the Polaroids’ album by Jubilee Club on Ramber Records — August 17, 2017

Review of ‘Ghost in the Polaroids’ album by Jubilee Club on Ramber Records

 
It’s really difficult to pin down the sound of this EP, it’s got future garage, dubstep, electronic and indie influences blended into Jubilee Club’s own unique sound. The EP is really well arranged and produced with excellent synth and guitar sounds and superb vocals.

Ghost in the Polaroids
Delayed panned percussive sounds, strings and bell / chime riff to open create an atmospheric opening. The vocals enter to set the scene and the bass gives a good momentum. The processed vocal snippets add an excellent element. The drumming / percussive pattern is processed with distortion / bit crush which adds a great edge.

Reasons
Atmospheric opening from pad, background conversation and electric piano chords. The vocals have a great presence and add an edge of tension. The drumming pattern enters with a bell / chime riff and give a solid momentum. Nice change of feel when the kick and bass enter. There’s a great ambience to the synth riff.

Actions
Another atmospheric opening with background sounds, shaker type sound, electric piano and guitar riff. Superb vocals again, a great angst to them. The opening has a pensive quality given a defined momentum when the drumming pattern enters. Great contrast between the laid back and more uptempo elements.

Move Over
Distorted, delayed percussion with emerging strings to open, the vocals aren’t as upfront as other songs, sitting quieter in the mix and having a more ethereal feel. A great contrast between the drive of the kick and more laid back atmospheric elements. The vocals take a more spoken style and are more upfront with a great presence.

 
Ramber Records website | facebook

Jubilee Club twitter | facebook

Review of ‘These Small Things Rebuild’ album by Ghost Signs — August 15, 2017

Review of ‘These Small Things Rebuild’ album by Ghost Signs

 
This is an excellent album, there’s a superb ambience from drones, guitar riffs and strings. The songs are excellently arranged, often with contrasting elements and an edge of tension. There’s great use of tape loops and subtle use of spoken vocals.

Black and White Dreams of a Distant Faded Past
A slow evolving opening with drone and rattling wind chime type of sound, there’s a barely audible voice in the background which adds a great element. A subtle movement in the sound, an excellent ambience.

Angelflicker Dying on the Cold Cathode Ray
Guitar riff sits low in the background with a similarly subtle drone a bit like a buzzing insect. The strings similarly emerge subdued and there’s a background looping recording. Bass drone slowly evolves to give a pulsing type of effect. It’s a captivating sound, kind of draws you in as the different themes and elements emerge and grow.

This Town was Built on Landfill and Salt
Evolving drone with subtle bass and almost reversed harsh string sound, there’s a ringing bell that adds contrast and a movement in the sound like a looping quality. The emerging guitar lead adds an excellent element. Another excellent evolving soundscape, the feedback and noise to end builds a great tension.

What Comes After the Bomb?
Slow evolving opening with subdued strings which ebb and flow with a distorted, subdued feel. Emerging vocals have a distant feel building tension to a release.

Hazy Recollections of Another Miami Morning Coming Down
Another brilliantly evolving soundscape, the piano has a pulsing looping quality with a bass drone. A melody emerges and the spoken words have a distant, ethereal feel. Distorted guitar adds a great element. Tension builds slowly to a final release.

Ghost Signs website | twitter | facebook | soundcloud

Review of ‘Ether’ by Demian Castellanos on Cardinal Fuzz and Out Of Phase Frequencies — August 10, 2017

Review of ‘Ether’ by Demian Castellanos on Cardinal Fuzz and Out Of Phase Frequencies

 
Cardinal Fuzz and Out Of Phase Frequencies are proud to announce a new release by Demian Castellanos of ambient and otherworldly music. The album is released on Black Vinyl in an edition of 250 and comes in a sumptuous Metallic Gold screen printed sleeve with full colour insert. It’s also available as a digital download from Cardinal Fuzz and is embedded above.

Demian Castellanos is best known as the man behind the London psyche rock outfit The Oscillation. Recorded in Cambridge 1995 Demian returned to the recordings in the winter of 2015 where the tapes were transferred and mixed at Xibalba Studios.

This is presented a single piece, 30 minutes in length. Ether has a superb flow, an excellent ambience and hypnotic sound. The arrangement and production is spot on, each sound has its place and has space to evolve.

The opening creates a superb tension with delayed guitar creating a swirling, ebb and flow feel accompanied by deep bass and sound effects which create a great soundscape. The tension resolves to a more ambient feel with a riff, swelling bass and percussive sound effects. A really subtle change with a distorted trem guitar and swirling background sounds. The reversed guitar works really well too. A shimmery riff and distorted phased / flanger sound builds the tension and is propelled by bass and delayed strummed chords with a great release to a more laid back feel with a slow solo and just an edge of tension with a slow release to end.

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Review of Yagow s/t album on Crazysane Records — August 8, 2017

Review of Yagow s/t album on Crazysane Records

 
This is an excellent album with a psych / stoner feel and a hypnotic sound. There are some excellent grooves propelled by solid drumming and bass. A great variety of guitar sounds from cleaner to a heavy distorted sound. There are some excellent background sounds and great use of delay / feedback. The vocals tend to sit low in the mix and have an ethereal kind of feel which suits the style of the album really well.

Horsehead Nebula
A pulsing, swirling opening from bass and background sounds, the riff has a brooding quality, slowly building tension to the introduction of drumming which gives a great momentum. The vocals sit low in the mix and have a laid back, ethereal feel. The song has an excellent psych / stoner vibe.

Snake Charmer
Delay and feedback leads into a riff accompanied by drumming and percussive rhythm. The song has an Indian feel, it’s another excellent groove with a shimmery, repeating riff and laid back vocals. Some excellent sound effects lead into a more distorted riff and superb change to an uptempo groove.

Moss and Mint
Slow Distorted riff to open leads into an excellent groove propelled by solid drumming and bass with a more acoustic sounding lead. The vocals again have a laid back feel. There are nice changes in feel, some excellent background effects and a solo / lead which really compliments the vibe.

Time to Get Rid of It
Opens with a slow riff then is propelled with solid drumming and bass and superb heavy, distorted guitar. Vocals again are laid back and sit low in the mix, it’s a solid groove with a heavy feel and nice contrast with the less distorted riff. There’s a great release of tension before the heavy groove returns to round out the song.

Non-contractual
A pulsing opening propelled by drumming, a slightly distorted guitar riff is accompanied by vocals leading into a solid groove. It’s a hypnotic sound.

Nude-on-the-Moon Dance
There’s almost a tribal feel to the opening with bass drone, drumming, subdued guitar riff and shimmery guitar chords which create an excellent layered sound. This leads into a more uptempo groove with a heavier sound and great vocals again.