Andrulian's Blog – all things music: Musings, Understanding theory, Software tools, revIews, Commentary

Creating sounds | Making music | supporting fellow musicians | reflections in time

Plugin Alliance goes Subscription: The MEGA bundle (includes Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor Class A and review of Purple Audio MC77 limiter) — January 26, 2020

Plugin Alliance goes Subscription: The MEGA bundle (includes Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor Class A and review of Purple Audio MC77 limiter)


Plugin Alliance is proud to announce the availability of the new MEGA Bundle Subscription Service. The MEGA Bundle is the new gold standard for subscription based plugin-bundles, offering an impressive collection of 100+ plugins from 28 Alliance brands including SSL, Ampeg, Brainworx, Focusrite and many more shown on the logo cloud below:

The MEGA Bundle is available for $24.99 per month or $249.99 per year, which is a 17% saving over the month-to-month price.
($24.99 x 12 = $299.88 per year // Prepaid Annual plan = $249.99 per year)

The MEGA Bundle contains an ever-growing collection with 100+ state-of- the-art plugins:

  • Best-in-class TMT console-emulations from SSL, Focusrite and more
  • Brainworx M/S Mastering tools
  • Several Virtual Instruments from DS Audio, Brainworx and more
  • 3D mixing from DearVR / Sennheiser
  • Innovative modular FX from Unfiltered Audio
  • Dozens of branded and officially endorsed analog-modeled units
  • Guitar Amps (ENGL, DIEZEL, Chandler…)
  • Bass Amps (Ampeg…)
  • EQs (Mäag, SPL, Millennia, Dangerous Music…)
  • Compressors (Shadow Hills, Purple Audio, Vertigo, ACME, elysia…)
  • Effects (ADA, Noveltech…)

All these plugins are being offered in multi-platform versions, working on Mac and PC (VST 2/3, AAX and AU). 70+ of our plugins even work on professional AAX DSP systems. Plugin Alliance offers a simple and unified, dongle-free activation scheme, so one activation will give users access to ALL of the tools at once, and every license for the bundle is good to activate up to 3 machines!

A convenient and professional installation manager sums up the system, allowing users to download and install any and all plugins in one go. For specific formats only, or for all formats at the same time.

“It makes me happy and proud to finally be able to offer ALL of our best plugins to a much bigger audience than ever, via a very affordable subscription plan!”

“Today is a very special day for Plugin Alliance, all of our brand-partners and most importantly, for all of the existing and new members of our ever-growing PA family!” says Dirk Ulrich, founder and CEO of Plugin Alliance. “Our partner brands have been developing and releasing dozens of award-winning plugins over the last 12+ years. It makes me happy and proud to finally be able to offer ALL of our best plugins to a much bigger audience than ever, via a very affordable subscription plan. Plugin Alliance is already hosting close to half a Million user accounts and literally Millions of plugin licenses, and we can’t wait to see and hear what an even bigger community of audio creators will be able to achieve for their art, whether it’s commercial 3D & Surround audio studios, Grammy-winning music producers, or ambitious musicians, DJs and bedroom producers around the globe.”

“This is incredible!“ says producer, engineer & mixer Romesh Dodangoda (Bring Me The Horizon, Motorhead, Funeral For A Friend etc.). “This is not just a whole studio in the box… this bundle actually gives you access to many different studio consoles and instruments, plus all the outboard gear and amps you need. So many of these plugins are a huge part of my tracking and mixing sessions!”

My perspective on subscription services

I must admit that I have very mixed views on subscription services. The main issue is that most musicians I know do not make much money from their music nor do they have a huge amount of disposable income. Subscription models are gaining popularity seemingly everywhere – TV services and music streaming services are probably the most established but we’re seeing an increase in the number of these as well as phone apps and sample / plugin services like Plugin Alliance. Because there’s only so much money available this limits how many services you can sign up to and then you’re tied into specific brands or products.

That said, you don’t have to subscribe, you can still purchase plugins individually and Plugin Alliance regularly offer discounts and sales on their plugins through their mailing list. However, if you purchase 2 or 3 plugins a year then the subscription service is by far better value for money and to be honest in these circumstances, a no brainer. I also like how Plugin Alliance are continually adding new plugins to the mega bundle.

The Plugins

Plugin Alliance have a huge number of great sounding plugins that I’m certainly not going to do justice to in the following few paragraphs. The range is outlined above and I’ve previously reviewed SpecOps, Stage and bx_console-E (this was subsequently replaced).

The continual addition of new plugins is an excellent feature. For example, when the subscription service launched in July 2019, 6 new plugins were added, namely namely, Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor (;

Brainworx bx_console Focusrite SC (;

Ampeg V-4B (;

ProAudioDSP DSM V3 (;

Diezel VH4 ( and

Purple Audio MC77 (

They have since added a further 9 with more to follow.

Purple Audio MC77

The 1176 is one of the most popular hardware compressors of all time, first introduced in 1968. Roll forward to the late nineties and Purple Audio created an exacting recreation of the “E” revision. From there, all modern, high performance components were used to match the unit to the original to create a flawless, discrete signal path.

This is a software recreation giving you access to the same unrivaled functionality and lightning-fast response as the original 1176. As with many previous products, Brainworx didn’t stop after finishing the pristine emulation. Additional plugin-only features like patent-pending TMT (Tolerance Modeling Technology, which effectively gives you many different analog units of the MC77 in one plugin), onboard M/S processing, a high-pass side-chain, Brainworx mono-maker and a stereo width control make this compressor all the more powerful and customizable and there’s also a dry/wet control that makes it very easy to use the MC77 in parallel setups.

You have input, output, attack, release controls. There are four compression ratios – 4:1 8:1 12:1 20:1 with a hold button to create combinations of these and if you turn the attack off this disables the compressor and allows you to use the MC77 as a saturation plugin. There are also metering controls for both left and right channels.

There’s a handy link button that links the input to the output to maintain a constant volume, a key-in button that sets the input to an external side-chain signal and an SC-Link button that links the sidechains of the left and right channels in stereo mode so both channels are compressed by the same amount.

The controls at the bottom have been added by Brainworx. The TMT module takes the real-world tolerances of audio components found in audio circuits into account and offers various channels of analog audio which have realistic variances in frequency response, time constants in dynamic sections, etc. The result is digital audio that sounds as analog as possible, whereas even the L/R channels of a stereo instance will react slightly different. You have 20 different channel strips and you can use the same channel for both units or two adjacent channels. You can also randomise these.

You can disable parameter link so that you can process each side separately and there’s also a button to engage mid/side processing. The headroom control acts like a threshold, high pass sidechain filter, stereo width and parallel mix.

What I like about the MC77 is that it sounds excellent on pretty much anything you feed into it. Drums, vocals, keys, guitars can all be processed in many different ways – grit / saturation; warmth and depth, tonal shaping – it’s easy and quick to use too. It will benefit any mix, adding dynamics and improving the sound.

Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor Class A

This is the most recently added plugin.

Available exclusively via Plugin Alliance, and enhanced by Brainworx with patent-pending TMT and more, we are happy to add this plugin to the growing line of Shadow Hills plugins. The Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor Class A Limited Edition is one of the most exclusive and powerful compressors ever built. Vintage King released the Class A in 2012, limiting production to only 50 units!

The VCA section is much punchier on this version. Brainworx added even more features to the emulation of the already modded hardware version. The RED version is punchier, faster, and more versatile than the GREEN.

With the limited edition, Shadow Hills Industries included an updated Class A discrete compressor section utilizing Lundahl input transformers as well as hand wiring each compressor with Mogami Cable, an important factor when Brainworx Audio modeled one of these limited units as it gave the limited edition version a different character to the original.

During rigorous shoot-out tests against the Shadow Hills Industries Mastering Compressor, our pro audio engineers observed time and time again that the Class A features a smoother compression sound, punchier VCA, a more pronounced sonic dimension, and overall larger size and perceived depth. Another interesting difference between the Shadow Hills Industries Mastering Compressor and the Class A version is that with the gain set to identical values on both units the Class A version clocks in roughly 1 to 3 dBs higher, matching the emulated hardware, and, as a result, delivers a thicker and richer tone to whatever is running through it.

For this limited edition, Brainworx included its well-known retractable Extra Unit. The BX Extra Unit provides the following features: Brainworx’s TMT (patent-pending Tolerance Modeling Technology), M/S processing, Mono-Maker, Stereo Width, Parallel Mix, Sidechain Filter, continuously variable 12 dB per octave high pass filter, and a Headroom parameter.

Visually, this version can also be distinguished by red LEDs on the front panel versus the green ones found on the Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor — GREEN for the Drum Buss, RED for the Master!

Added to the MEGA Bundle at no extra cost. 

Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor Class A 
is available for purchase (as an AAX AudioSuite-, AAX DSP-, AAX Native-, AU-, VST2-, and VST3-supporting plugin for MacOS 10.9 through 10.14 and Windows 7 through 10) at an attractive introductory price of $199.99 USD — rising thereafter to an MSRPof $329.00 USD — from here: (Upgrade for GREEN version owners: If you already own the green Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor, you’ll get the new RED edition for $99.99 USD.)

A fully-functional, 14-day trial of Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor Class A is available to anyone registering for a free Plugin Alliance account here:
Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor Class A is included in Plugin Alliance’s monthly MEGA Bundle subscription ( and annual MEGA Bundle subscription ( at no extra cost!

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 Plugin Alliance’s dedicatedShadow Hills Mastering Compressor Class A webpage here:

Review of Driving Me Stoned Album by Parades Against Parades on Cardinal Fuzz — January 23, 2020

Review of Driving Me Stoned Album by Parades Against Parades on Cardinal Fuzz

This was released by Cardinal Fuzz way back in July 2018 so as you’d expect, the vinyl has long since sold out.

It’s an excellent album with a superb jam quality, parades Against Parades have a tight knit sound somewhere between blues, rock and roll and post punk. You’ll find superb high energy riffing and grooves, vocals with attitude propelled by solid drumming and bass. 

Heading up to Head Down

A slow building groove with lonesome vocals and a bluesy feel, a subtle tension builds and releases to a final crescendo, it’s an excellent jam. 

Some Sort of Problem

Distorted riff propelled by solid drumming, it’s an uptempo opening leading into a more laid back groove that returns to the more uptempo feel. An excellent brooding quality with a simmering tension in the vocals. 

Driving Me Stoned

Superb opening groove somewhere between post punk, rock and blues, there’s an excellent energy to the song, a solid vibe with a great passion in the vocals and great solos too. 

Sonic Reaction

Strummed chords and riff to open, edgy vocals and drumming / bass propel the song with momentum. It’s a rock and roll vibe with attitude and energy. 

Love’s Addiction

Distortion / feedback leading into an uptempo groove with edgy vocals, it’s another high energy song with attitude, great solo and just enough control. 

Heading up to Head Down (Steve Reed mix)

Similar to the original but with a. Cleaner, less distorted sound. 

Wasting All My Time

Sparse chords and vocals build a slow rock groove, drumming and bass also build slowly, distorted chords add a great tension. Excellent control, it feels like it’s gonna go with a solo leading to feedback but releases and builds tension again with another solo with feedback and effects. It’s intense with a final release. 

Ashun Sound Machines (ASM) advances Hydrasynth digital wave morphing synthesizer with welcomed Version 1.3.0 firmware update —

Ashun Sound Machines (ASM) advances Hydrasynth digital wave morphing synthesizer with welcomed Version 1.3.0 firmware update

Musician-empowering musical instruments creator Ashun Sound Machines (ASM) is proud to advance its innovative Hydrasynth digital wave morphing synthesizer — launched late last year to widespread critical acclaim as its inaugural hardware product, produced as a keyboard variant (featuring a proprietary PolytouchTM 49-note polyphonic aftertouch keybed and a user-assignable ribbon controller) and desktop variant (with 24 velocity- and polyphonic aftertouch- sensitive pads, plus an included 19-inch rack-mount kit) — with welcomed new features, thanks to a major firmware update, ultimately coinciding with the first day of The 2020 NAMM Show, January 16-19, Anaheim, CA, USA, where both variants of Hydrasynth will wow visitors for the first time for sure.

Anchored around a unique digital wave morphing synthesis engine as an eight-voice polysynth whose three oscillators can all make use of any one of the 219 single-cycle waveforms available, while flexibly facilitating defining eight waveforms into a list and then morphing from one to the next using extensive movement-inducing modulation sources with Wave Scan mode (for OSC 1 and OSC 2 only), ASM’s avant-garde Hydrasynth made musical waves when unleashed upon an unsuspecting world with keyboard and desktop variants late last year. Said synthesis engine also features four mutators for further tonal modification, while two filters can be configured in parallel or series. Perfectly paired with an equally powerful effects section comprising four fully-independent modules, all creatively combine to produce sounds that have to be heard to be believed! Better still, the Hydrasynth keyboard’s proprietary PolytouchTM 49-note polyphonic aftertouch keybed instantly struck a major (and minor) chord with musicians wishing to better express themselves without having to master a new keyboard technique, while connectivity to the wider world is as far reaching as it comes, courtesy of a full-blown MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) implementation — including the usual connection compliment of MIDI INMIDI OUT, and MIDI THRU on five-pin DIN, as well as USB — complimented by conveniently-positioned CV/ GATE connections for mini-jacks (so playing nicely with the likes of today’s ever-widening world of Eurorack modular gear, vintage synthesizers, and more, is perfectly possible).

As ASM advances both Hydrasynth variants with the timely introduction of the Version 1.3.0 firmware update at The 2020 NAMM Show, its innovative instruments now support MPE (MIDI Polyphonic Expression). An advancement of the MIDI specification used by many alternative controllers, this allows for true polyphonic pitch bend as well as two dimensions of control between compatible controllers and sound generators. Get this, though: those musicians wishing to better express themselves are going to have a field day with Hydrasynth as ASM advances its innovative instruments ever closer to performance perfection! With Warm mode’s musically-pleasing arrival — also a result of the Version 1.3.0 firmware update, shaping the sound to better emulate the frequency response of some vintage synthesizers by rounding out the high end of any patch while giving it a gentle boost in the low end to create characteristic ‘warmth’ overall, surely sound designers are also going to be happy bunnies! Both performers and sound designers will welcome Hydrasynth’s MPE modulation additions via Version 1.3.0 — namely, new modulation sources, such as MPE-X (normally pitch bend control), MPE-Yabs (absolute mode, referred to as controller 74 in some devices), MPE-Yrel (relative mode, also referred to as controller 74 in some devices), and MPEoffVc (note off velocity).

Timed to coincide with those welcomed advancement announcements, ASM is also offering its inaugural artist patch bank of 128 sounds — courtesy of Matia Simovich (a.k.a. INHALT) — as a downloadable creative collection focusing on classic, stable, and highly-playable, expressive synthesizer tones to complement Hydrasynth’s factory presets.
Privileged attendees of The 2020 NAMM Show surely owe it to themselves to swing by Booth 10405 there to see and hear ASM putting the advanced Hydrasynth through its impressive paces. 

Hydrasynth is available to purchase through ASM’s growing global network of authorised dealers at an MSRP of $1,599.00 USD ($1,299.00 USD MAP) for the keyboard variant and at an MSRP of $999.00 USD ($799.00 USD MAP) for the desktop variant.

For more in-depth info, please visit the dedicated Hydrasynth keyboard webpage

Review of Ascend! album by The Cult of Dom Keller on Little Cloud Records and Cardinal Fuzz — January 16, 2020

Review of Ascend! album by The Cult of Dom Keller on Little Cloud Records and Cardinal Fuzz

Ascend! is the latest release by The Cult of Dom Keller released by Cardinal Fuzz and Little Cloud Records on Vinyl, CDr and all digital platforms from January 17th 2020.

Ascend! is a 600 Vinyl Pressing (175 x Solid Orange, 425 x Colour Marble Vinyl) and is presented in a 350gsm reverse card sleeve with full colour/size insert and download code available from Cardinal Fuzz (UK based) or Little Cloud Records (US Based).

Ascend! is a superbly intense, heavily distorted affair packed with riffing, solos, feedback and a great energy. There’s superb control too – whilst high intensity and full on at times, it’s reigned in just enough to keep you teetering on the cliff edge. 


Slowly evolving alternating distorted chords with a disembodied voice leading into a metallic drone / feedback type of sound creates an edgy anticipation, an excellent opening. 

Hello Hanging Rope

Bursts forth with distortion / feedback and uptempo drumming, it’s an edgy, high energy jam with intense distortion and feedback, superb solos too. 

Interlude I

Gnarly guitar and slowly building drums are given atmospheric backdrop with keys (an organ type sound). 

I Hear The Messiah

Another brooding jam, distorted guitar propelled by solid drumming and bass give an urgency, an uptempo feel. It has vocal qualities at times with intense soloing creating a build / release of tension and some excellent psych sound effects too. 

Beautiful Sickness

Plucked strings and drone create an atmosphere given depth by bass, spoken vocals are subtle and disconcerting. The keys riff and strings give an excellent change of feel, 

The Blood Donor Wants His Blood Back

Superb jam with distorted riffing propelled by drumming and bass, it’s an uptempo vibe with subtle movement and a great brooding quality with superb build of tension to a final release. 

Interlude II

Picks up where Interlude I left off with a gnarly, pulsing sound. 

We’re All Fucked (Up)

An excellent groove from riffing and more laid back drumming and bass, guitar has a huge sound teetering on the edge of feedback. Vocals and keys add excellent elements. 

Jam For The Sun

Keys and distorted guitar propelled by drumming and bass, it’s a superb groove with hypnotic solos, excellent changes of feel and a building tension to a final release. 

Flock Audio propagates PATCH digitally-controlled, 100%-analog patch bay routing system selection with LT and XT hardware — January 15, 2020

Flock Audio propagates PATCH digitally-controlled, 100%-analog patch bay routing system selection with LT and XT hardware

KELOWNA, BC, CANADA: having revolutionized recording studio setups worldwide with its innovative PATCH system’s killer combination of (PATCH APP) software and 64-point connection-providing (PATCH) hardware working together in perfect harmony as the world’s most advanced digitally-controlled, 100%-analog patch bay routing system allowing anyone to easily control analog audio routings without having to resort to the use of manual patch cables, pro audio manufacturer Flock Audio is proud to introduce its (impending) PATCH LT and PATCH XT hardware releases — respectively representing ‘light’ (condensed) and ‘extra’ (expanded) selections anchored around the same award- winning architecture as the original, offering reduced and increased I/O count — at The 2020 NAMM Show, January 16-19, Anaheim, CA, USA…

Revolutionary as it incontrovertibly was when turning heads and opening musical minds with a show-stopping showcase at The 2019 NAMM Show, subsequently being adopted by hundreds of audio engineers worldwide with workflows benefitting from a design that just makes sense, today the original PATCH hardware remains revolutionary, beautifully built but simple and sleek in operation. On the face of it, becoming the hub of any studio setup is at its creative core, thanks to 64-point (32-input/32-output) connections via eight standard 25-pin D-SUB connectors allowing analog routing control courtesy of the accompanying MacOS- and Windows-compatible PATCH APP routing software, so users can create, store, and recall complex routings in seconds as well as create complex multing combinations with no impedance issues and no AD/DA conversion with a 100%-analog signal path using Flock Audio’s patented Matrix Technology. Simply speaking, the USB 2.0-equipped hardware works with the software in perfect harmony. Furthermore, Flock Audio sensibly saw fit to also include 32 independent channels of 48V phantom power — and allows or denies the ability to enable 48V on any input connected to the PATCH system, so accidental damage to any costly microphone investment is thankfully avoidable. Additionally, two front panel-positioned TRS/XLR Combo inputs and two XLR outputs for quick hardware, microphone, or instrument integration into the routing system are always available — and all without having to unplug anything already connected to the rear of the rack-mounted unit itself. Moreover, multiple PATCH expansion is perfectly possible for those needing more connections.

Conversely, perhaps, PATCH’s 64-point connection capability could conceivably be deemed overpriced overkill for those whose studio setups are a little lighter on the analog audio hardware front. Fortunately, Flock Audio always aims to accommodate, as evidenced by the timely introduction of its (impending) PATCH LT hardware at The 2020 NAMM Show. Small but mighty sums up PATCH’s perfectly-formed simple, sleek, and spectacular sibling, with just enough I/O to create a musical masterpiece. This time, however, Flock Audio allows access to the analog routing matrix of anyone’s dreams as a 32- point (16-input/16-output) connections-adorned affair featuring four standard 25-pin D-SUB connectors, 16 independent channels of 48V phantom power, and one front panel-positioned TRS/XLR Combo input and one XLR output. Out of sight, out of mind, the same reliable connections that seriously cemented PATCH’s recording reputation so speedily are also built into PATCH LT. Indeed, it includes the same external five-pin 24V DC power supply with IEC cable and 10-foot USB 2.0 (USB-A to USB-B) cable. Conveniently, it also works with the same PATCH APP routing software — relatively recently upgraded to instantly identify the connected PATCH hardware model, meaning quick creation, storage, and recall of complex routings as well as creating complex multing combinations with no impedance issues and no AD/DA conversion with a 100%-analog signal path using Flock Audio’s patented Matrix Technology remains the same. Should that smaller studio setup grow, then multiple unit expansion with any PATCH model is perfectly possible, so no need (necessarily) to trade up!

Ultimately, of course, more serious studio setups more often than not have more serious patch bay routing requirements. Really representing everything that is great about PATCH… expanded, PATCH XT packs 192-point (96-input/96-output) connections via 24 standard 25-pin D-SUB connectors into a 3U eye-catching casing that means business but also acts as a reminder that analog routing need not be be the ugly part of audio production! Put it this way: with 96 independent channels of 48V phantom power, lockable USB 2.0 connector with included 10-foot USB 2.0 (USB-A to USB-B) cable, more room to house an internal power supply with included IEC cable, cooling-without-compromise redesigned airflow, and (optional) CAT5 Ethernet host control for bridging longer distances between the hardware unit itself and the PATCH APP routing software host, PATCH XT is extra extraordinary! And as if this is not enough to keep the most serious studio owner seriously satisfied with Flock Audio’s ultimate development of the world’s most advanced digitally- controlled, 100%-analog patch bay routing system allowing anyone to easily control analog audio routings without having to resort to the use of manual patch cables, multiple unit expansion with any PATCH model is also available.

As company founder and Flock Audio CEO Darren Nakonechny notes: “We believe every audio engineer, whether developing their craft in the basement or award-winning professional studio, deserves superior recording tools.” Thanks to the timely introduction of PATCH LT and PATCH XT at The 2020 NAMM Show — uniting over 115,000 registrants from 130 countries and regions at the global crossroads of music, sound, and entertainment technology, the trailblazing Canadian pro audio manufacturer has taken two selective steps towards making that happen for even more audio engineers worldwide with workflows benefitting from ‘light’ (condensed) and ‘extra’ (expanded) designs that make more sense than ever! 

PATCH LT is scheduled to ship in Summer 2020 with an MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) of $1,499.00 USD — pricing subject to change without notice — through Flock Audio’s growing global network of authorized dealers or online directly from Flock Audio.

For more in-depth information, please visit the dedicated PATCH LT webpage

PATCH XT is scheduled to ship in Winter 2020 with an MSRP of $9,999.00 USD — pricing subject to change without notice — through Flock Audio’s growing global network of authorized dealers or online directly from Flock Audio.

For more in-depth information, please visit the dedicated PATCH XT webpage

How 5G Will Change the Music Industry: Elk in discussion with Alan Parsons, Verizon, PreSonus and Ericsson —

How 5G Will Change the Music Industry: Elk in discussion with Alan Parsons, Verizon, PreSonus and Ericsson

For this year’s NAMM show ​Elk,​ the company behind the ​revolutionary ​Elk Audio OS, ​will host a panel on ​5G​ and how it will change the music industry. Fresh off an exciting 2019 where the company not only had their technology used on stages all around the world by British mega band ​MUSE​ in the shape of a custom made synth guitar, but also released an open-source version of the award winning Elk Audio OS now highlight another segment in their sights.

For the last 1.5 years ​Elk​ has been working together with 5G network provider Ericsson to bring remote real time music making over ​5G​ to the market. The mutual project has been showcased with great success all over the world. Staging the world’s first ​concert in real time over a ​5G​ in Spain last year among other things.

5G​ networks, which will provide massive increases in bandwidth and reductions in latency, are beginning to roll out in the United States and around the world. The music industry will be transformed by an entirely new generation of ​5G​ enabled internet of things (IoT) musical instruments and audio tools. Tools that will be connected to exciting new services like real-time jamming and collaboration over the internet, remote real-time recording, and online music and audio education.

At NAMM 2020, ​Elk’s Matt Ward​ will host a panel titled “How 5G will change the music industry. The panel will include: ​Alan Parsons​ (Music industry veteran with a career spanning 6 decades), ​Kunal Jathal​ (Verizon Lab’s ENVRNMT project), ​Jim Odom​ (Founder and President of PreSonus) and ​Bill Goodman​ (Director – Solution Architecture at Ericsson). The panel will discuss the upcoming possibilities, obstacles and the future of the music industry.

“After working together with Ericsson and seeing the reactions from the showcases its clear to me that 5G will transform everything about how we create music together. It is a change that will affect every part of the process and that’s why it is so exciting to bring all these different aspects together on stage to discuss the future of our industry.” ​- ​Michele Benincaso, CEO at Elk

The panel will take place on the ​Hilton, Level 2, California Ballroom B​ on Saturday, January 18, 2020 — 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Analogue Solutions stocks first batch of Vostok2020 as an augmented semi-modular masterpiece fit for new decade —

Analogue Solutions stocks first batch of Vostok2020 as an augmented semi-modular masterpiece fit for new decade

British boutique electronic instruments innovator Analogue Solutions is proud to announce that it is the sole stockist of the first batch of the newly-launched Vostok2020 — the latest (fourth) incarnation of creator (and company founder) Tom Carpenter’s semi-modular masterpiece that takes some of the best parts of its iconic Vostok V2 and V3 Deluxe predecessors and brings them together as an augmented ANALOGUE POWER SYNTH fit for a new decade.

As implied by the tell-tale ANALOGUE POWER SYNTH subtitle boldly blazoned across a spacious front panel that knowingly nods and winks at its Russian ‘roots’ — for the benefit of the uninitiated, Analogue Solutions’ (decade-plus) long-lasting Vostok semi-modular synthesizer series is named after a series of six manned Soviet orbiting spacecraft, the first of which, when launched in April 1961, carried the first man in space (Yuri Gagarin), Vostok2020 takes one giant leap for ‘synthkind’ as Tom Carpenter’s semi-modular masterpiece takes some of the best parts of its iconic Vostok V2 and V3 Deluxe predecessors and brings them together as an augmented analogue semi-modular monster fit for a new decade!

Naming notwithstanding, Vostok2020’s venerable sonic footprint faithfully follows Analogue Solutions’ 25-plus-year (musical) mission of producing products with a great vintage analogue sound for which the celebrated company name itself is inextricably linked, largely thanks to the real analogue circuits involved. Indeed, when reiterating that ‘real analogue’ wording in its introduction to the Vostok2020’s user manual, Analogue Solutions state that the entire audio path — including the real mechanical SPRING REVERB (reliant on three actual springs) — and all of the extensive modulation signal routings — courtesy of the flexible MATRIXSYNTH matrix panel (reminiscent of the breakthrough British EMS VCS3, which made musical history upon its introduction in 1969 by being the first commercially portable synth available anywhere in the world, thanks to its innovative modular matrix-based patchboard dispensing with the telephone exchange-like cabling of other much larger modular systems in favour of making space-saving connections with removable coloured pins) — are absolutely analogue using circuits based on superlative-sounding Seventies-vintage designs, so no quantisation for CPU (Central Processing Unit) reading required! Reality dictates that some essential elements are digital, however — hence the MIDI-CV/NOTE SEQUENCER section (acting as a MIDI-to-CV convertor and a simple yet effective note loop sequencer) and associated rear-side MIDI T (Thru) and (In) connections, yet Vostok2020 essentially is real analogue through and through. The resultant sound benefit is immediately apparent. And it is powerful, perfectly entitled to that ANALOGUE POWER SYNTH subtitling, supplying all the often-needed music electronics circuitry necessary to make a potent music synthesizer in one compact — 450mm (W) x 145mm (D) x 305mm (H) — forward-facing desktop module. (It is also rack-mountable when replacing its wood side panels with optional 7U rack ears.)

Exactly what is it that makes Analogue Solutions’ Vostok2020 so special? Certainly it sounds as good as analogue gets. Given that it is designed by company founder Tom Carpenter, this should surely not surprise. As a fervent fan of electronic music and also an active electronic musician himself, he naturally knows a thing or two about programming synthesizers. So his latest creation clearly was not simply the result of engineering design decisions driven by a steering committee of besuited number-crunchers, compulsorily constrained to maximise profit for faceless shareholders. Far from it, in fact. Fortunately for anyone willing to invest in this semi-modular masterpiece, its extensive modulation options and the resulting wide range of tones that it can consequently create have all been carefully thought through. Spanning synth leads and huge-sounding basses through to percussion, effects, and beyond into the weird and wonderful world of modular-style sounds… with Vostok2020 almost anything can be creatively crafted to sound as good as analogue gets!

Giving the (almost) all-analogue — remember: real analogue! — game away, Vostok2020’s spacious, space-age-looking front panel puts some fanciful features that are all (patchable) at arm’s length, listed as follows: MIDI-CV/NOTE SEQUENCER — see above; VCO 1VCO 2, and VCO 3 (with sawtooth, square, and pulse width wave shapes); VCO-patchable RING MOD (ring modulation); two voltage-controlled low frequency oscillators — VC LFO 1 and VC LFO 2 — each with sawtooth, inverse sawtooth, square, and triangle wave shapes, the frequency of which can be controlled by the F CV (x15) input; looping eight-step analogue CV/GATE SEQUENCER; moving coil SIGNAL METER — more for control voltage than audio; JOY STICK controller for realtime control (with patchable RANGE X and RANGE Y controls); SPRING REVERB — see above; EXTERNAL sockets (for patching signals into or out of the MATRIXSYNTH panel); two ADSR-style envelope generators — EG 1 and EG 2 — that can also act as an LFO with programmable wave shape; SH/NOISE sample-and-hold and white noise generator; six-input audio or CV mono MIXERMULTIMODE FILTER/VCA 12dB diode ladder filter, similar to Korg’s classic Seventies-vintage MS20 semi-modular synthesizer, with separate voltage-controlled amplifier (that needs to be patched in to operate); and (above- mentioned) MATRIXSYNTH matrix panel with an LED (Light Emitting Diode) inside the socket of each signal destination… design-wise, achieving that cool feature in an analogue synthesizer was far from easy, unlike in the digital domain!

Far from shortchanging on the cool and fanciful features front, Vostok2020’s new decade-designated design will certainly keep even the most ardent analogue aficionado musically occupied throughout the ‘Twenties’ and beyond! Best get patching, then… though not necessarily so since Vostok2020 is, after all, a semi-modular analogue affair. And also a monstrous masterpiece! 

The first Vostok2020 batch is in production and available to order for purchase — priced at £3,200.00 GBP (excluding tax and delivery) — directly from Analogue Solutions via the dedicated Vostok2020 webpage