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.
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.
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.
iZotope is a maker of world-class audio plugins. It’s worth jumping on any chance you might have to pick up new iZotope plugins, and this month, there’s a great opportunity to do just that.
iZotope’s suite of Neutron plugins is focused on producing better audio mixes:
Achieve unprecedented focus and clarity in your mixes with Neutron. This new mixing plug-in combines the latest innovations in analysis and metering with award-winning audio processing.
With powerful new features like Track Assistant and Masking Meter, Neutron helps you quickly reach an optimal starting point, clearly identify perceptual frequency collisions, and fully wield creative control over all your mix decisions.
iZotope offers three tiers of this plugin: Neutron Elements, Neutron, and Neutron Advanced. Neutron Elements is currently on sale for a limited time. Here are some features that can be found in Neutron Elements:
- Channel-strip style workflow with over 200 professionally-designed presets
- Instrument detection for guitar, bass, drums, and vocals/dialogue
- Spectral shaping technology
- Equalizer with static and dynamic modes
- Compressor with clean modern or colorful vintage modes
- Exciter with four blendable saturation types and three global modules to fine-tune saturation color
- Transient shaper with three contour shapes and three global modes
iZotope Neutron Elements normally sells for $129 but is available now for $99 until June 30th.
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.
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.