There are a lot of ways to tweak and process an audio project. EQ, compression, and filters are just some of the tools producers use to improve or alter the overall sound of a mix. One tool that’s been a mainstay for decades in many recording studios is the aural exciter. Aural exciters are used most often to accentuate certain low or high-end frequencies that tend to really catch the human ear. Aural exciters are commonly used towards the end of a signal processing chain to bring the extra clarity and oomph that producers often employ to get the attention of listeners.
Like many things in the audio production universe, there are lots of aural exciters on the market, ranging from under a hundred bucks in price to thousands of dollars per unit. And while it can be good to have a hardware aural exciter in some settings, it’s often just as good to have the software equivalent. That’s what Waves has done with its Aphex Vintage Aural Exciter:
A true groundbreaker, the original Aural Exciter was highly regarded for its ability to increase and enhance presence, brightness, and vibrancy on vocal and instrumental tracks alike. It was even credited as a ‘session player’ on best-selling albums by the likes of Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor, engineered by Val Garay, who worked closely with us on the development of the plugin.
The Aphex Vintage Aural Exciter Plugin is on sale now. It normally retails for $299 but is available for a limited time at the massively reduced price of just $59. Learn more, and purchase the plugin thru the link above.
Recording a multitrack live session, monitoring that session, and mixing it usually requires a bunch of different pieces of gear to get the job done. That’s certainly nothing new and it’s not even that bad if you’ve got a dedicated studio space available when you need it. But it’s not always possible to get access to that perfect combination of dedicated recording space stocked with the right equipment. In those cases, clever producers rely on creative improvisations that might be good enough. But it never hurts, especially in these instances, to be able to simplify things as much as possible.
That’s where the new Zoom LiveTrak L-12 comes in:
With the LiveTrak L-12, you can finally mix, record, and monitor with a single piece of gear. It’s the only digital console that lets you mix your live performance and record up to 12 discrete channels – all while providing five individual custom headphone mixes.
Some highlights of the LiveTrak L-12:
- 12 discrete channels (eight mono plus two stereo)
- 3-band mid-parametric EQ and 16 built-in send effects for each channel
- Mono channels have dedicated compressors
- 12-segment LED metering
- 5 monitor outputs provide unique mixes, so every performer can create and save a mix that’s tailored to their preferences
- Save up to nine different scenes and recall custom settings automatically
- Use the built-in slate mic to record comments or talk-back
- Program the built-in metronome to your desired tempo
- 14-in/4-out USB audio interface with flexible routing options
The Zoom LiveTrak L-12 is available for preorder now and retails for $599. The device is expected to ship next month.
If you have even a remote interest in audio production, you’ve learned that compression is usually an important step in the audio mastering process. In recent decades, certain hardware compressors have stood head and shoulders above the rest, becoming invaluable assets to countless producers around the world. Two such pieces of gear are the Fairchild 660 and Fairchild 670 compressors. These units are known for bringing warmth and vibrancy to any final mix that passes thru them. And while these Fairchild compressors may be highly sought-after, they’re not exactly easy to come by. Especially for independent producers working on tight budgets.
Thats where the Waves PuigChild Compressor audio plugin comes in:
From the recording studio to the record lathe, the Fairchild was renowned for its advanced compression techniques and incomparable sound. We’ve collaborated with GRAMMY-winning producer/engineer Jack Joseph Puig (U2, Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga) to capture every distinctive nuance and harmonic detail of the vintage Fairchild 670 device housed in Jack’s own studio.
The PuigChild Compressor plugin is sold and distributed by Waves. The plugin is compatible with digital audio workstations (DAW) running on both macOS and Windows. Supported host DAWs include Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Ableton Live, GarageBand, Reaper, Adobe Audition, and more.
The PuigChild Compressor plugin normally retails for $349 but it’s currently on sale for the remarkable price of only $29. You can purchase the plugin direct from Waves using the link above.
Audio production plugins. Sometimes, they come in ones and twos. Sometimes, they come preloaded with your digital audio workstation. And other times, they come in bundles. These plugin bundles can be a handy way to get more bang for your plugin buck, as plugin developers will often offer a discount on bundled purchases.
Usually, these bundles are pre-made by plugin developers. So, if you only want one or two plugins from a specific bundle, you’ve still gotta buy the whole pack. Renowned plugin maker Waves is breaking that mold, if only temporarily, by holding a special build-your-own-bundle sale, featuring many of the company’s popular audio processing tools.
The sale works like this: You pay full price for the first plugin you buy, then you get 25% off the second plugin, 30% off the third, fourth, and fifth plugins, and 40% off the sixth plugin and beyond.
Waves boasts that this sale contains more than 180 plugins, which is way too much to try and list here. Just a few of the plugins included in this sale:
- CLA-2A Compressor/Limiter
- Bass Rider
- Codex Wavetable Synth
- NS1 Noise Suppressor
- L2 Ultramaximizer
- IR1 Convolution Reverb
- OneKnob Filter
- NLS Non-Linear Summer
The Waves build-your-own-bundle sale is on for a limited time. Be sure to check the fine print, as some restrictions apply.
If you’re into audio production (and we’re guessing that if you follow this blog, you probably are), then you love plugins. And the only thing better than the plugins you have now, is getting more plugins. Because then, you have more plugins. And as we covered above, you’re an audio producer. Who loves plugins.
The engineers at Germany’s HOFA software company understand this need for MOAR PLUGINS. That’s why they developed a plugin system called… System. Now, you know how plugins work. You add them one at a time to your tracks and then twiddle their various knobs and sliders for days at a time. And that works fine. But HOFA looked at that and thought, “Hey, Dawg. We heard you like plugins so we put more plugins in your plugins.” HOFA System itself is a plugin but it’s made up of a whole series of effects and processors that run inside System, thus giving you a plugin that’s essentially made up of other plugins.
HOFA began previewing System last year and plugin lovers cursed that they’d have to wait for an official release. But the wait is over, as System 1.5 is now officially on the street.
HOFA is offering introductory pricing for System 1.5 at $59.99 euros. This initial price point expires August 31, 2017.
You can never have enough digital audio workstations. But it can be expensive to buy more than one. That’s why it’s great when a new DAW hits the market for the super low price of FREE.
Open Labs, the makers of Stagelight, have partnered with musical equipment retailer Sam Ash to offer the digital audio workstation for free, for a limited time. Stagelight is a cross-platform application that runs on Windows, macOS, and Android (iOS version coming later this year). Open Labs describes Stagelight as:
With Stagelight, you can make beats, mix loops and create multi-track songs without ever having to leave the app. Stagelight comes with a complete sound library that includes a powerful drum machine, onscreen instruments and presets for your voice and other acoustic instruments.
Some features of Stagelight:
- Integrated drum machine with step sequencer, AutoFill function lets users swipe to create simple beats with a single gesture, import samples and build your own kits
- 3-voice synthesizer with 2 LFOs and built-in effects, realistic vintage keyboards and pianos, sampled electric basses, sampled acoustic and electric guitars, vintage organ sounds, 3-voice PWM synthesizer
- Equalizer, compressor, delay, flanger, bitcrusher, chorus, filter, limiter, reverb effects
- Works with built-in sound cards or external audio I/O, including MIDI controllers
You can get your free copy of Stagelight by clicking the above link and following the instructions there. All that’s required for the download is a promo code (available on the linked site), a name, and an e-mail address.
The rise of digital audio production tools has forever changed the landscape of the medium. It might be fun to wax nostalgic over the recording studios of the past, with their rooms of big, bulky gear that looked really cool on photographs inside of a record sleeve. But for all their glory, those studios weren’t accessible to most. You had to be well connected and flush with cash to gain entrance. And while today it’s easier than ever to produce high quality audio with nothing more than a laptop, one thing that many producers long for is that “warm valve” tone that came naturally with all of that big, bulky gear.
Audio engineering companies have worked for decades to try and replicate the richness of valve-based gear using only software algorithms. A recent entrant to this arena is Audified with its inValve Effects plugin. This plugin includes:
- inValve Preamp: A precise software emulation of a tube amplifier. Adds warmth and smoothness you’ll need for analog-sounding mixes.
- inValve Compressor: Emulation of a standard analog tube-based compressor.
- inValve Equalizer: A four-band parametric equalizer with additional hi-pass and lo-pass filters.
The inValve Effects plugin can be used natively on Windows and macOS-based DAWs that run AAX, AU, or VST plugins. inValve Effects normally retails for $49 but the plugin is on sale for a limited time for $19.
When it comes to the audio production process, it’s easy to get obsessed with things like sound treatments, microphones, processors, mixers, and monitors. While those can all be important components of any session, one thing that’s easy to overlook is the headphone amp.
Audio producers have debated for decades about whether it’s a good idea to mix or master audio over headphones. And while it’d be great to always have a fully furnished mastering suite at your fingertips, for many modern producers, that just isn’t possible. And that’s where having a product like NextDrive’s Spectra 32-bit DAC headphone amp can really come in handy:
The combination of a DAC and amplifier, Spectra’s ESS 9018Q2C DAC chip is best-in-class, delivering an unprecedented dynamic range and ultra low distortion for a true high-end Hi-Fi experience. With ultra-low power consumption, Spectra is then ideal for great mobile listening. And with its studio-grade performance, it’s … perfect for your working sound-card for composing and mastering tracks on-the-go.
Spectra is built to deliver not only portability, but performance. Integrating a DAC, headphone amplifier, and audio switch into one, the ESS 9018Q2C chip performs at a level of -110dB THD+N and +121dB DNR. With patented HyperStream Modulator, Revolver DEM, and patented jitter eliminator, it all adds up to better audio clarity, with improved noise reduction, fewer artifacts, and greater instrument separation.
NextDrive Spectra comes in USB Type A and Micro USB versions. It can be purchased directly from NextDrive for $149.
Audio producers usually have a large library of digital samples. But how many times can you hear that same set of sampled drum or bass loops before they start getting stale? One way to breathe new life into those old samples is to manipulate them into something that sounds entirely different. That’s exactly what Accusonus is doing with its new Regroover software:
Create new sounds from old or simply adjust the volume of individual elements inside a loop. Regroover uses Artificial-Intelligence to extract layers from within your previously recorded beats and samples. Once Regroover analyzes the file, you are able to make your own drum kits and combine them with external sounds to make new beats, loops and your own unique Expansion Kits.
Regroover allows you to:
- Unmix your loopes and create new beats and music
- Play or program the sounds from inside your loops to produce new rhythms and grooves
- Dial in volume, panning, and effects of individual layers of your mixed beats for better balance or more variety to your looped patterns
- Extract strange and new sonic elements for experimental grooves and soundscapes
Regroover from Accusonus comes in two versions. Regroover Essential has all of the core features you’ll need to get creative with your samples, while Regroover Pro allows you to experiment with layers, effects, and more.
Regroover Essential retails for $99. Regroover Pro is priced at $149. Both can be purchased from the Accusonus Store.
It’s easier than ever to work on complex audio projects from almost any location. But doing so may still require producers to have to haul around bulky accessories like hard drives, with all of their attendant parts and cables, in order to work in a remote location. At this point in history, we’ve grown accustomed to storing everything from spreadsheets to our personal photo libraries in the cloud. So why not also do the same thing with our audio projects?
That’s exactly what Amped Studio, a digital audio workstation released earlier this year by AmpTrack Technologies, is aiming to do:
Amped Studio is the first Hybrid Digital Audio Workstation that works in the cloud, giving you instant access to all the tools you need to make music like virtual instruments, effects and loops right from your web browser. You can also download Amped Studio to use as a native app that reads VSTs and can work online and off.
Amped Studio platform doesn’t lock you in on how and where you work and allows you to shift away from having to use a single computer. All your projects, instruments and effects are readiliy available for use anytime, anyplace.
Amped Studio has multiple tiers, beginning with a basic free version. If you’d like to try the DAW, you can learn how to get started as well as how to download the native versions of the application by reading the Amped Studio manual.