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.
The iPhone has become a valuable tool for media producers. And while the device can do a lot on its own, it can be improved dramatically with external add-ons like microphones. Simply plugging a high-quality, dedicated microphone into an iPhone can raise the sound quality of audio and video recordings noticeably. But, it’s not always easy to find a microphone that’s compatible and/or easy to use with an iPhone. That’s where the new Lolly microphone comes in:
Lolly is the first portable 3D recording device that gives listeners an immersive feeling. Our three dimensional sound makes it seem like you’re hearing the music live!
Lolly is compact and portable so you can easily slip it in your pocket. It’s also very user-friendly. You don’t have to be an audio engineer to have professional quality!
Lolly records in 48kHz/44.1kH. The response frequency ranges from 20Hz to 20,000kHz. & sensitivity is -42dBFS/Pa at 1kHz
Lolly connects to an iPhone thru the phone’s Lightning port, so there’s no dongles or adapters to worry about if you’re using the microphone with a newer iPhone model. Lolly also works seamlessly with all iOS-based media production apps, including GarageBand, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and Voice Memos.
Lolly is set to be released in the next few days. Follow the link at the top of this post to sign up for release announcements and more information on the Lolly microphone.
macOS has proven to be an essential tool for media producers. The operating system’s overall stability, combined with its implementation of Core Audio have given media-focused developers a solid foundation for building robust, full-featured media-production applications. But macOS still has some limitations when it comes to the internal routing of audio. Some things can be configured thru the Sound pane in System Preferences. But sometimes, that’s not enough. That’s where SoundSource, an audio routing application from Rogue Amoeba comes in.
Rouge Amoeba recently announced the release of SoundSource 3, the latest version of the app:
From SoundSource’s menu bar icon, you can instantly configure the audio devices your Mac uses for Input, Output and Sound Effects. In seconds, you can adjust the volume for each of your audio devices or switch between connected devices. SoundSource can also enable the soft play-thru of audio from input devices. Use the Play-Thru window to monitor any connected input, such as a microphone, right through your headphones or other output.
SoundSource is a superior sound control in a tremendously convenient package. It tucks out of your way in the menu bar until you need it, then provides easy access to swap audio devices, adjust volumes, and more.
SoundSource is available as a $10 download direct from Rogue Amoeba. The company is also providing a special offer for existing customers of any Rogue Amoeba product that allows those users to get SoundSource for free.
Nobody likes noisy audio tracks. They can be particularly problematic in spoken-word productions. And while it’s obvious that the best way to solve a noise problem is to cut it off at the source, that’s not always an option. Fortunately, there are a number of tools available to audio producers for reducing or (hopefully!) removing unwanted noise from recordings. But even with the variety of these denoising tools available today, there’s still plenty of room left for improvement.
And making a better denoiser is exactly what Accusonus is aiming for with its new “single knob” ERA-N audio plugin:
Enhance your voice-overs, repair your music recordings and restore your damaged audio files. ERA-N is a single-knob high-quality denoise plugin that just works. Based on accusonus’ multi-patented noise removal algorithms, ERA-N offers a quick and efficient workflow and allows you to rescue audio recordings that you would have previously considered unusable.
ERA-N will be available for digital audio workstations that use AU, VST, and AAX plugins, ERA-N is expected to go on sale at a special early-bird price of $39, with a final retail price of $59 after that. Check out this video for more information on the Accusonus ERA-N denoising plugin.