The only thing better than new audio production plugins is FREE new audio production plugins. Plugin Alliance currently has six free audio plugins posted on its website, available as free downloads. Here’s a rundown of these plugins:
- Brainworx bx_cleansweep V2: A plugin that provides hi-pass and lo-pass filtering in one place. From Plugin Alliance: “Brainworx Anti-Crush technology uses analog style filter curves that eliminate common digital sound problems like harshness and aliasing. This advanced filter design is taken from their pro mastering EQ, bx_digital V2. First order filters (6 dB per octave) guarantee an extremely musical-sounding filter set, and a unique joystick interface (taken from the bx_hybrid) gives you fast and intuitive control.”
- Brainworx bx_subfilter: This plugin helps to deal with low-end frequencies that may be troublesome within a mix. From Plugin Alliance: “Polishing your mix’s low end can be tricky. Bass DI tracks can sound mushy, and kick tracks can lose their ‘pop.’ Sometimes everything below 100Hz can become such an undifferentiated soup of noise that you just don’t know where to start! Start here: The bx_subfilter is just the ticket for adding clarity and definition to tracks that have troublesome low frequencies. There are lots of expensive and complicated EQ plugins out there, but when it comes to shaping your low end, the bx_subfilter is unique for its ease and simplicity. With just a few quick adjustments to its four-knob interface, you can breathe new life into those 808s that have been muddying your mix.”
- elysia niveau filter: Another plugin that helps with EQ. From Plugin Alliance: “The niveau filter provides two basic controls: EQ gain and EQ frequency. Together, they allow you to change the proportions between high and low frequencies on your tracks. The principle is similar to a pair of scales. The ‘EQ Freq’ knob sets the center frequency. The ‘EQ Gain’ knob controls the amount of EQ applied to your signal. When the EQ Gain knob is at 12 o’clock, there is no EQ applied. When you turn the EQ Gain knob to the right, you boost frequencies above the center frequency while simultaneously reducing frequencies below the center frequency. When you turn the EQ Gain to the left you boost frequencies below the center frequency while simultaneously reducing frequencies above the center frequency.”
- SPL Free Ranger: This plugin is also EQ-centric. From Plugin Alliance: “The Free Ranger is based upon the Full Ranger-EQ from SPL’s EQ Rangers series. It features four very useful bands: The 16 kHz center frequency band is great for adding very pleasant brilliance; the 1.8kHz center frequency band really brings out lead vocals and guitars or reduces harshness; the 150 Hz center frequency band adds warmth, making tracks fuller & fatter, while the 40 Hz center frequency band adds that sub thump or reduces rumble.”
- Brainworx bx_rockrack V3 Player: A guitar amp simulation plugin. From Plugin Alliance: “The bx_rockrack V3 Player is your ticket to getting stellar guitar tones for absolutely free! By including the same eight immaculate guitar amp simulations as the fully-featured bx_rockrack V3 implemented across 26 professionally designed presets, bx_rockrack V3 Player gives you access to some of the best tones Brainworx has to offer.”
- Brainworx bx_solo: A comprehensive soloing and muting plugin. From Plugin Alliance: “bx_solo contains a stepped M/S Stereo Width Control, so you can get a sense of how M/S technology can be used to expand the stereo width of tracks already recorded. Try it out on subgroups, FX returns, keyboards, or any stereo track that you’d like to spread out. A great pro trick is to use M/S processing on a rock guitar subgroup: just set the stereo width to 150% and the guitars will jump out of your speakers!”
These plugins are available for free from Plugin Alliance for anyone with a free Plugin Alliance account.
Despite the rise in solid state digital gear that’s been prominent in audio and music production over the last few decades, many musicians and audio engineers still long for the warm sound that only a real tube-based amplifier can provide. But most tube amps are large, heavy, bulky things that can be cumbersome to work with, especially in situations that may require a minimalist setup in terms of gear. That’s where the new Ai ProTube preamp/DI box from GMF Music comes in:
Geared towards the acoustic instrument market the Ai ProTube has a real “tube” that will make any acoustic instrument sound warm and inviting with no unwanted signal compression. This isn’t just a tube simulation circuit; it is the real thing with a 12AX7 tube circuit.
The GMF Ai ProTube is an acoustic preamplifier, direct box, and all around solution for connecting your acoustic instrument into a sound source. If you don’t have a built-in pickup on your guitar or other acoustic instrument, no problem we will include a handcrafted transducer pickup to your order.
A few of this device’s features:
- Can be used as a preamp for an acoustic instrument with a built-in pickup or external pickup
- Can be used as a DI box to connect to a PA system
- The Ai ProTube is a high quality acoustic amp without the power amp or speakers, making it easy to connect an instrument to a power amp or PA system
- Add external effects with the built-in effects loop
GMF Music is currently in the planning stages for launching the Ai ProTube thru Kickstarter. Sign up for updates or contact GMF Music directly here.
Last month, we covered the announcement of the new Podcaster Pro audio-production device being developed by Adam Curry’s Small Batch Audio. At the time, we mentioned that the product would be launched thru an online crowdfunding campaign. But, the date of the campaign was not yet known.
In an e-mail update sent today, Small Batch announced that the crowdfunding campaign will go live on Friday, May 26th:
We’ve locked in the kickoff date of our crowdfunding campaign for the Podcaster Pro to Friday May 26th 2017 and we’re very excited! I hope you are as well.
The e-mail also gave some information on how the Podcaster Pro will be priced during the campaign:
As the Indiegogo campaign starts the first people supporting the campaign will have an opportunity to lock in the $497 early bird level. After 48 hours the early bird level will be locked and a higher price level will be available.
The e-mail also notes that prospective buyers who are already on the Small Batch Audio mailing list will be able to put in special requests for the $497 early-bird price, even after early-bird pricing is no longer available. It’s unclear if that offer is only available to those already signed up for the list, or if it’ll be repeated for those who sign up for the list prior to the launch of the campaign on May 26th.
Sound Devices made waves a few years ago with the release of its MixPre-D audio interface. The company is likely to gain attention once again with the recent announcement of its new MixPre-3 and MixPre-6 interfaces. Sound Devices designed these new MixPre units to be as robust, reliable, and easy to use as the original MixPre-D. But they’ve added some exciting new features and functions to these new MixPre offerings:
The MixPre Series feature Sound Devices’ innovative new Kashmir microphone preamps. These high-performance, ultra-low-noise, discrete, Class-A mic preamps were hand-crafted by Sound Devices. The mic preamps feature a -130dBV noise floor, analog limiters, and new 32-bit A-to-D converters to ensure high quality, stress-free, professional-grade audio recordings.
The MixPre-3 features 3 full-sized balanced XLR mic/line audio inputs, while the MixPre-6 features 4 balanced XLR/TRS combo jacks to connect microphones or line-level devices. Both have a 3.5 mm auxiliary input that can be used for plug-in power mics, 2-channel line-in audio, camera return, or timecode.
Sound Devices suggests that these new MixPre models could be used for a variety of applications, including podcasting, field recording, video production, interview recording, or backup recording in conjunction with a computer.
Both the MixPre 3 and MixPre 6 are currently available for pre-order from most audio equipment vendors. The MixPre 3 retails for $649.00 while the MixPre 6 retails for $899.00.
Line 6 is proving its commitment to its flagship Helix line of effects processing tools with the recent release of upgraded firmware for Helix hardware devices. Helix firmware 2.20 works with Helix Floor, Helix Rack, and the recently released Helix LT. According to an e-mail from Line 6, the new firmware includes these features:
…offers guitarists an additional suite of HX amp models, including new amps, cabinets and effects, with a special emphasis on models for bass players. The release will also feature a host of functional upgrades and a newly crafted set of impulse responses.
Included in the update are 6 amp models, 7 cabinet models, and 9 effect models. A total of 11 models are designed for bass players. Highlights in the release include models based on* the Pearce BC-1 bass preamp, a Darkglass® Electronics Microtubes® B7K Ultra bass preamp/overdrive/EQ pedal model, and Line 6 Badonk, an original Line 6 amp model inspired by the original high gain Big Bottom model.
Helix 2.20 also introduces the Line 6 Allure IR Pack, a free download of new speaker cabinet impulse responses created by Dan Boul of 65 Amps fame.
The e-mail also noted that the firmware update will allow owners of Line 6 Variax guitars to use the Helix as a bridge between a Variax and a host computer for connecting to Line 6 Workbench software. The firmware update is a free download for owners of all Helix hardware products.
iZotope makes some of the most versatile and useful audio production plugins available. The company offers its plugins in packages that range in price in order to make its products as accessible as possible. A few times a year, iZotope will sell some of its plugins at reduced prices. And one of those sales is on now.
The iZotope RX Plugin Pack is normally priced at $129. But for the next couple days, this bundle is being offered at 60% off, for a price of $49:
From hit records to Hollywood blockbusters, iZotope’s RX plug-ins have made it easy to quickly clean up audio from less-than-ideal recording scenarios. RX Plug-in Pack includes four essential audio reair plug-ins curated directly from iZotope’s award-winning RX software:
Salvage great dialogue and vocal performances by removing the unintended clicks and other mouth noises that make their way through the pop screen. Treat continuous background clicks on old recordings and vinyl transfers.
Get rid of the electrical hum and line noise of ground loops and buzzes that can end up on multitrack recordings, and often only gets caught later in the process.
Salvage great performances by quickly reducing distortion on a vocal recording and cut down on the need for retakes. Repair digital and analog clipping artifacts to save single-take recordings—especially live shows, rehearsal recordings, and archival material.
Dialogue De-noise Plug-in
The zero-latency Dialogue De-noise real-time plug-in is the most powerful denoiser for working with any voice recordings: voiceover, podcast, sung vocals, and more.
These iZotope plugins are compatible with most modern versions of Windows and macOS. Available plugin formats include Native AAX 64 bit, RTAS 32 bit, Audiosuite DPM 32 bit, AU 32/64 bit, VST 2 32/64 bit, and VST 3. Check out iZotope’s “Master the Mix” store for special pricing on other iZotope products.
Breathing. It’s a necessary part of the biological process if you want to remain alive. And while the proper application of breathing can add depth and humanity to a recorded piece of singing or spoken-word audio, sometimes it can be a distraction to those who are listening. While it may be possible to simply edit out unwanted breath or breathing-related noises, if you’re working on a long project with a lot of problematic breath sounds, fixing the recording by hand could be a lengthy, tedious task. That’s where a handy audio plugins like DeBreath from Waves comes in:
Singers insist on breathing – even when it spoils a perfectly good take! With DeBreath, you can truly take their breath away. DeBreath uses a unique algorithm that automatically detects and separates a vocal take into two distinct tracks: only voice and only breath. Now you can control how much breath you want on your vocal track, and how you want it processed. You can even add room tone where breaths have been removed or reduced. And DeBreath isn’t just for singers; it’s also a great time-saver for voice overs and multimedia.
The DeBreath plugin is included with several high-priced bundles from Waves. The plugin is also available as a standalone purchase, normally priced at $99. But DeBreath is currently on sale for a limited time for just $39. Get more information on the plugin by clicking the link at the top of this post.
In a perfect world, all audio recordings would be made in a controlled studio environment with proper acoustic treatments and sound proofing. That way, the captured audio would be as clean and dry as possible. But, with the proliferation of low-cast audio recording systems, a modern-day recording “studio” could be anything from a cavernous cathedral to a small bathroom. That means that sometimes, the resulting recordings might have some unwanted echo/reverb effects that couldn’t be eliminated at the source. While it’s simple enough to add echo/reverb to a recording afterwards, it’s not always easy to take it away.
Accusonus has worked to solve the problem of unwanted echo/reverb with its new ERA-R dereverberation plugin:
Add clarity to your mixes, clean up your dialogue tracks and tighten up your music performances. ERA-R is the only plugin that attenuates or removes excessive reverberation with a single knob. Based on the accusonus multi-patented audio restoration technology, ERA-R automatically estimates the reverberation profile and offers the means to adjust the reverberation amount in a streamlined interface.
The ERA-R plugin is compatible with most modern versions of macOS and Windows. Accusonus has tested the plugin with Ableton Live 9.7, Apple Logic Pro X 10.2, Steinberg Cubase 7.5 (64-bit only), Avid Pro Tools 11.3 and 12.5, Cockos Reaper 5.32, Presonus Studio One 3.0, ImageLine FL Studio 12.0, and Audacity 2.1.2. ERA-R is currently available at an intro price of $39. ERA-R is also available as part of a few bundle offers from Accusonus that vary in price.
Audio production professionals can never have enough reverb/echo plugins. These effects can often help turn a good mix into a great one. There are plenty of good free plugins out there for reverb and echo. In fact, most digital audio workstations come preinstalled with decent ‘verb and echo sets of their own. But sometimes, a mix needs more than what the base line can offer. That’s where plugins like Echo Farm from Line 6 come in.
Recently, Line 6 released the latest version of Echo Farm (3.0) for ProTools:
Classic Delay and Echo Effects for Pro Tools Systems Bring the same legendary collection of vintage echo effects back to your studio with Echo FarmTM 3.0—now available as a 64-bit AAX plug-in for Pro Tools 11 and higher. Choose from 12 models based on* vintage hardware units like Maestro® Echoplexes, Roland® RE-101 Space Echo®, Boss® DM-2, Electro-Harmonix® Memory Man and T.C. Electronic® 2290—plus Line 6 originals. Each unit delivers the detailed sonic properties of tubes, tape and vintage electronics—so you can add organic warmth and mojo to your mix without the expense and hassle of bulky outboard gear.
Echo Farm 3.0 for ProTools is currently available for macOS only (Windows version coming soon). The plugin requires iLok authentication as well as a qualified Pro Tools HD or Pro Tools system, software version 11 and higher. Echo Farm 3.0 for ProTools costs $199 for first-time buyers. There’s also a $49 upgrade option available to owners of Echo Farm 2.x versions of the plugin.
Smartphones and tablets are more than just communication and consumption devices. They’re high-powered computers capable of doing many of the same things as full-fledged desktop machines. For media producers, that means things like multitrack audio production. And while devices like iPhones and iPads come with built-in microphones that make it possible to record sound, this process can be greatly improved with the addition of a dedicated audio interface. That’s where the new iTrack One Pre from Focusrite comes in:
Capture high resolution audio from a mic or guitar directly onto your iPhone or iPad, wherever and whenever you want.
Never before have you been able to record a professional condenser microphone into your iPhone or iPad without needing any external power, making it even easier to record on the go.
The iTrack One Pre connects to an iOS device thru the Lightning port, where it sends audio into the host device for recording. Live audio monitoring is done thru the host device’s headphone jack. (Devices without a headphone jack, like the iPhone 7, don’t have the ability to do live-audio monitoring, but can still record with the iTrack One Pre.)
The iTrack One Pre is officially Apple MFi certified on all iOS devices up to the iPhone 6s Plus and iPad Pro to ensure compatibility with host devices and apps. The iTrack One Pre can also provide phantom power for condenser microphones that need it.
The iTrack One Pre is available for purchase for $129.99.