Monday, 18 June 2018

Pearl Announces North American Distribution Deal with Keith McMillen Instruments Further Expanding KMI’s Reach

Pearl Corporation, a leading provider and manufacturer of acoustic and electronic drum and percussion products, together with Keith McMillen Instruments announce a distribution partnership to grow the availability and awareness of KMI products while expanding KMI’s reach into new markets.

This new distribution connection between Pearl and Keith McMillen Instruments will enhance the availability of KMI products and grow Pearl’s ever increasing footprint in the MI landscape. Pearl will also utilize its expertise in the School and Educational markets to introduce the many benefits of KMI instruments to music students and educators at all levels.
Pearl’s relationship with the Keith McMillen team began in 2015 as the two companies collaborated to develop Pearl’s MalletSTATION powered by KMI’s Smart Fabric Technology. MalletSTATION is a slim, modern, USB powered mallet controller that has been named the Best New Performance Tool for 2018 by School Band & Orchestra magazine and has received a 2018 Editor’s Choice Award from Music Inc. 
Developing MalletSTATION gave Pearl a great understanding of just how disruptive KMI’s groundbreaking Smart Fabric Technology can truly be in the musical instrument space, stated Terry West, Pearl Corporation President and C.E.O. After reviewing KMI’s current product line it became evident to us all that Pearl’s reach and marketing abilities could bring added awareness and availability to the KMI brand. We are honored to represent KMI’s innovative products and extremely excited to see where this collaboration and distribution partnership might lead us in the future.
 
"While working with Pearl on the design of the MalletSTATION we came to appreciate their commitment to the highest quality and playability of musical instruments. Pearl understands what it takes to make an electronic controller behave in a most musical manner. We share that commitment. KMI has always focused on producing these new instruments while Pearl has also created a world class sales and marketing team. It makes perfect sense to have our instruments distributed by people who understand what makes a professional tool and how to support these instruments in the field" said KMI Founder and C.E.O. Keith McMillen.
 
The KMI product portfolio includes such innovative products as the Bop Pad, K-Mix, QuNeo, and QuNexus. Pearl will begin accepting orders for KMI products effective June 18, 2018.
For more information about Pearl please visit www.pearldrum.com and www.keithmcmillen.com for more information about KMI.
Pearl Corporation is a division of Pearl Musical Instruments, a world-wide leading manufacturer of acoustic and electronic drums, concert and marching percussion instruments, hand percussion and flutes.  Pearl Corporation is also the exclusive U.S. distributor of Adams Musical Instruments and Keith McMillen Instruments. Pearl Corporation is based in Nashville, TN.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Waldorf Music makes world’s first fully FPGA powered synth fit to fly for full production launch at The 2019 NAMM Show

Hot on the heels of having turned heads and opened ears with its innovative flagship, Quantum, a high-class hybrid synthesizer showcased to widespread critical acclaim at The 2018 NAMM Show in Anaheim, California earlier this year, high-quality synthesizer developer Waldorf Music is proud to announce a full production launch and general availability of Kyra — the world’s first fully FPGA (Field-Programmable Gate Array) powered synthesizer featuring 128 voices (regardless of settings and effects), each with 10 oscillators per voice, and eight-part multitimbrality (with each part having its own dedicated nine-module effects unit) — at The 2019 NAMM Show, January 24-27, in Anaheim, California.


As an extremely powerful VA (Virtual Analogue) synthesizer literally like nothing else out there — thanks to leveraging the latest FPGA technology to significantly outperform legacy DSP (Digital Signal Processing) powered competition, Kyra’s crowning glory comes courtesy of its state-of-the-art audio quality: think 32x oversampled hardware with dual wavetables providing over 4,000 waveshapes! With 10 oscillators — that can be doubled to 20 by using two voices — each offering a wide range of features, including true stereo operation, hard sync, FM (Frequency Modulation), and ring modulation, Kyra starts shaping up as a serious sonic force to be reckoned with… without even factoring filtering into an already seriously impressive-sounding instrument! Indeed, Kyra’s resonant filters are accurate oversampled emulations of classic analogue ladder filters with 2- and 4-pole configurations (offering -12dB/oct and -24dB/oct of magnitude decrease, respectively). Saying that, two linked or independent filters can be used in Dual Voice mode, making for even more creative options. On top of that, there are three envelope generators, three stereo LFOs (Low Frequency Oscillators) with 64 shapes and MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) clock sync, an arpeggiator, full keyboard microtuning, and true polyphonic portamento, as well as a comprehensive 18-channel modulation matrix to Kyra’s notable name.

Notably, Kyra comes highly specified for effects, each of its eight parts featuring a three-band EQ with sweepable mid, dual tube limiters, formant filter, distortion, six-stage phaser, stereo digital delay, comb/flanger/chorus/doubler unit, and a programmable reverb. All effects units on all parts can be used simultaneously and run at Kyra’s native 96kHz sample rate.

Kyra clearly delivers when it comes to connectivity by boasting four assignable, balanced 32-bit/96kHz stereo outputs, a headphone output, low-latency DIN MIDI, a fully class-compliant USB2 implementation for MIDI, and a stereo 24-bit/96kHz audio stream for each of its eight parts. Production-wise, there is also a USB (Universal Serial Bus) audio return feature, so Kyra can render final DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) audio under ASIO (Audio Stream Input/Output). An ASIO driver is provided for Windows users while Mac support is out of the box.

But if any aspects of this impressive instrument already have a ring of familiarity about them then Musikmesse 2018 in Frankfurt am Main may have played its part. Put it this way: Waldorf Music CEO Joachim Flor found himself transfixed there. “It was more of a coincidence to have discovered Valkyrie during a tour of this year’s Frankfurt Music Fair, but I was immediately aware of the fact that this was probably one of the most exciting synthesizers of recent years,” he admirably admits. “I got into conversation with its independent UK developer, Manuel Caballero, and I’m now looking forward to working with this talented, innovative individual, who is also a great guy! Under the direction of Waldorf Music, Valkyrie flies forth into a joint production project called Kyra, which will be shown and delivered at NAMM in 2019.”

Fortunately for Manuel Caballero, the feeling was clearly mutual — Musikmesse mission accomplished. “After nearly four years in the making, I went to Musikmesse with the intention of finding an established partner for Valkyrie,” he reveals. “There's little doubt that Valkyrie's reveal at Musikmesse caused quite a stir in the synthesizer world and I had set the bar high for potential partners to bring the instrument to market. As a result of this, I'm pleased to announce a partnership with Waldorf Music. Few companies can match their track record of innovation and delivery spanning several decades. Working with Joachim Flor and his technical and design team to achieve this is an exciting and efficient partnership as we work together to launch the instrument at NAMM in 2019. Waldorf's proven heritage in product design, manufacturing, and distribution leaves me to do what I do best, which is applying the most advanced technologies to the art of music, and I look forward to a continued deep working relationship with the Waldorf team.”

Kyra is initially scheduled for full production launch at The 2019 NAMM Show, January 24-27, in Anaheim, California, competitively priced at €1,899.00 EUR as a desktop/rackmount model (with a keyboard version to follow later in 2019).

 
About Waldorf Music (www.waldorfmusic.com)
The well-known Waldorf name has been synonymous with high-quality synthesizers for almost 30 years; indeed, its innovative position in the electronic musical instruments marketplace dates back to 1989 with the release of the wavetable synthesis-based Microwave. This extraordinary reincarnation of the legendary PPG Wave series — arguably amongst the most coveted high-end synthesizers of the early Eighties — was instrumental in bringing the dominance of Japanese and American synthesizers to an end. Waldorf continued this unique technology tradition with successive synthesizer releases ranging from the mighty Wave — perhaps the most impressive, expressive, and user-friendly sound synthesis tool ever built — to raising the bar for VA (Virtual Analogue) synthesizers with the introduction of the popular Q series from 1999 onwards. The new millennium saw the trailblazing company making a timely move into the brave new world of music software with the release of its first VST Instrument, PPG Wave 2.V, a tradition it continues to this day with more recent software releases including its Nave advanced wavetable synthesizer. Subsequent successes in the high-quality hardware arena include the Blofeld synthesizer — forging sound and design into an unbeatable price/performance ratio in both desktop and keyboard versions — and Zarenbourg, a contemporary electric piano par excellence, as well as the cost-conscious Rocket (synthesizer), 2-Pole (analogue filter), and Streichfett (string synthesizer) desktop modules. Meanwhile, Waldorf broadened its appeal further still by introducing Nave to transform any iPad into an advanced wavetable synthesizer. 2018 (and beyond) sees a slew of new high-quality synthesizers set to take the Waldorf name to the hands-on musical masses, whether working with its recently-released Quantum high-class hybrid synthesizer flagship or other hardware (including a welcomed move into the popular Eurorack modular synth system format) or software (including iOS).
© 2018 Waldorf Music GmbH

Friday, 1 June 2018

Spitfire Audio launches LABS as an infinite series of free software instruments with Soft Piano and Strings

Spitfire Audio is proud to launch LABS — an infinite series of software instruments, free and easy to use; made by musicians in London for anyone, anywhere — with the popular Soft Piano and a new Strings library available.

Ever-expanding British business Spitfire Audio has become a formidable force in the wonderful world of sample libraries and virtual instruments by virtue of its dedication to the art of recording and musicality. Company collaborations with the likes of Hans Zimmer and Ólafur Arnalds offer detailed recordings used by composers and music producers alike — albeit with no expense spared in their creation. From full orchestras to synthesisers, pianos to percussion, Spitfire Audio has recorded, in depth, the best players and instruments in the world.

While the company continues its collaborations with the world’s best composers, producers, engineers, and studios to create detailed and realistic recordings of instruments and sounds for use in computer-based music production, LABS lets loose a new series of tools that retain that dedication to quality but altogether remove the barrier to entry by offering a simplistic solution to music-making — instantly-playable, great-sounding instruments, all at no cost!

Commencing with the popular Soft Piano — based around a felted piano (originally recorded in October 2008 by Nick Taylor at Air-Edel Recording Studios in Marylebone, central London using two Schoeps CMC 5/U microphones with MK4 capsules that are still there to this day) — and Strings — a new string ensemble (recorded in October 2017 at Spitfire Audio’s London HQ, where one of the microphones used was a BBC AXB1, an iconic 1940s-vintage ribbon microphone featuring balanced wiring produced by the BBC and Marconi that became an interface metaphor for sound recording), these software instruments are free to install and easy to use. Ultimately, both work within a dedicated (AU-, AAX-, and VST-compatible) plugin possessing a strikingly simple user interface, invented in collaboration with UsTwo, one of the world’s best design and user-experience agencies (also responsible for making Spitfire Audio’s award-winning HANS ZIMMER STRINGS spectacular string sample library so simple to use)… because creativity shouldn’t be complicated.
Watch the LABS trailer video for Strings

Creatively serving as the sonic exploratory arm of Spitfire Audio, new LABS libraries will be released every month. Music makers may expect key traditional instruments alongside more experimental discoveries along the way; made by musicians in London for anyone, anywhere.
Watch the LABS trailer video for Soft Piano

 As such, Spitfire Audio clearly continues to stay true to its ethos of using live performances where possible, but when up against time and/or budgetary constraints, its innovative virtual instruments and sample libraries — LABS included (in the latter scenario, obviously) — are always the next best thing. That said, by paying performers and collaborators royalties, Spitfire Audio admirably assists with sustaining a phenomenal part of our musical heritage while championing innovation within it. Indeed, the LABS tagline says it all: Let’s all become something.

Feel free to join the LABS programme — an infinite series of software instruments, free to install and easy to use, delivered straight to your inbox — by creating an account here: https://www.spitfireaudio.com/labs/

About Spitfire Audio (www.spitfireaudio.com)
Spitfire Audio is a British music technology company producing high-quality virtual instruments and sample libraries. The company collaborates with the world’s best composers, producers, engineers, and studios to create detailed and realistic recordings of instruments and sounds for use in computer-based music production. Prominent collaborators include Hans Zimmer, Air Studios, Eric Whitacre, and many more.
© 2018 Spitfire Audio Holdings Limited

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Audified achieves more intelligible voiceover creation with streamlining SpeakUp plug-in bundle breakthrough


Host application and audio effects developer Audified is proud to announce availability of SpeakUp — streamlining and simplifying the process of voiceover and YouTube show creation by bundling two responsive, purpose-built plug-ins, SpeakUp Sensor (for working with voice tracks) and SpeakUp Performer (for working with video/audio tracks), to automatically and effectively handle ducking such that the spoken word adjusts music volume with carefully controlled fading in and out while also improving speech intelligibility as the background music analyses the speech spectra and attenuates any corresponding spectra within the music track to easily enable smooth blending of voiceover and music.

SpeakUp sprang from Audified acknowledging the need to streamline and simplify the process of voiceover and YouTube show creation. SpeakUp succeeds in doing just that by bundling two responsive, purpose-built plug-ins — SpeakUp Sensor and SpeakUp Performer — with user-friendly controls to free up users to focus on the creative job at hand rather than getting bogged down with time-consuming technicalities. After all, voiceover projects typically take a long time to professionally prepare.

Meanwhile, mastering the multitasking skillset demanded during manual voiceover productions — perfectly adjusting music and advertising volume levels while hosting a radio talkshow, for instance, is far from simplicity itself. If only an easy-to-use tool to allow those radio talkshow hosts to likewise free themselves from those technical stresses and strains was actually available. Actually, it is… SpeakUp succeeds in doing that, too.

SpeakUp can be seen and heard in this informative introductory video here

SpeakUp’s streamlining and simplifying success is down to its core attribute: automatically and effectively handling ducking — a technique for allowing a narrator’s voice to be heard clearly and consistently when there is other audio happening at the same time, such as background music. In principal, it is simple (but in practice, not necessarily so). Say some music is to be used in either a voiceover or video project that will have a narrator, and that this music will play at the same time as when the narrator is speaking, then the voice should take over as the main audio while the music effectively takes a backseat — background music, in other words. When the narrator is not speaking, however, the music should then be both clear and present — the main thing to listen to, in other words. Which is exactly where SpeakUp comes into play… by bundling those two responsive, purpose-built plug-ins. Putting them into action is straightforward (though there can be several instances of SpeakUp Sensor and SpeakUp Performer inserted in a project simultaneously).

SpeakUp Sensor should be inserted at the end of the voice track effect chain, whereupon it analyses the track and switches the reduction/filtering process, offering just the right amount of adjustment via several straightforward controls. These include: Sensitivity, which sets the speech detection threshold value — by between -60 to 0 dB; Lookahead, which can be used to delay the original speech track — by between 0 to 300 ms — so that after rendering the project the ducked audio track appears to fade before the speech starts; Control Bus, which allows for more sophisticated scenarios via two independent control busses; and FORCE TALK, which allows the speaker to be heard immediately regardless of whether the Sensitivity threshold has been reached or not (so users can manually handle voiceovers by pushing the onscreen button). SpeakUp Sensor also allows for frequency analysis, actively sharing information with SpeakUp Performer so that filtering is customised in accordance with the speaking voice concerned.

Conversely, SpeakUp Performer should be inserted on the video/audio track, whereupon — when switched into SENSOR mode — it ‘listens’ to the information received from SpeakUp Sensor in order to reduce the volume and process frequency filtering. Fortunately, making manual adjustments is similarly straightforward, thanks to another suitable selection of creative controls: Ducking Amount, which defines the currently applied amount — 0 to 100% — of desired attenuation (representing the rate of required action to be done in SpeakUp Performer); Fade-out Time, which sets the transition time to between 0 to 100% of the Ducking Amount (affecting the speed of the fade-out process after speech is detected in the SpeakUp Sensor plug-in); Fade-in Time, which sets the transition time to between 100 to 0% of the Ducking Amount (affecting how long it takes the signal to return back to its original level); Hold Time (between 0 to 15000 ms after the last signal is sourced from any SpeakUp Sensor plug-in), which keeps the Ducking Amount value at 100%; Target Attenuation, which sets the target attenuation applied to the music track when the Ducking Amount is 100%; Speech Frequencies Attenuation, which sets the attenuation of speech filtering applied to the music track to enhance intelligibility of the voiceover — not so much reducing the music level, but rather reducing only the part of the spectrum where the speech should not be masked; and Control Bus, which sets SpeakUp Performer to ‘listen’ to SpeakUp Sensor on up to two independent control busses.

However, having written the Ducking Amount parameter automation curve directly to the host DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) in SENSOR mode, switching SpeakUp Performer into AUTOMATION mode means that it is only controlled by the Ducking Amount parameter automation value read from the DAW with SpeakUp Sensor signals having no effect on processing proceedings. Simply speaking, SpeakUp Performer automatically does its magic!

Thanks, then, to Audified’s achievement, adjusting spoken word volume in a video production need not be the time-consuming process it once was — just add music… and SpeakUp!

SpeakUp is available to purchase at an introductory promo price of $99.00 USD until June 31, 2018 — rising to $139.00 USD thereafter — from Audified’s online shop here: https://shop.audified.com/products/speakup (Note SpeakUp requires iLok License Manager 3.1.6 or newer as it is protected by PACE Anti-Piracy Inc.’s software machine license or USB smart key device, details of which are highlighted here: https://shop.audified.com/pages/how-to-activate-ilok-license)

SpeakUp can be directly downloaded as a multi-format (AAX, AU, VST2, VST3), 32- and 64-bit native plug-in bundle for MacOS (10.9 and above) and Windows (7, 8, and 10) — alongside a fully-functional, 30-day trial version — from Audified here: https://services.audified.com/download

For more in-depth information, please visit the dedicated SpeakUp webpage here: https://shop.audified.com/products/speakup


About Audified (www.audified.com)
With more than 20 years of R&D, education, and collaboration connected with its notable name (https://shop.audified.com/pages/history), Audified actively develops software applications, software effects, and hardware processors for musicians, audio engineers, and installed audio. As such, the company’s collective vision is to improve and streamline music production workflow, adding a new aesthetic value to their customer’s work while helping them to achieve the best possible results.

© 2018 Audified

elysia enhances 500 Series hardware range with skulpter 500 sound shaping preamp

High-end studio processor manufacturer elysia is excited to announce availability of the skulpter 500 sound shaping preamp — pushing its range of 500 Series hardware into another area of processing.


The skulpter 500 features gain stages based on single resistors controlling a fully-discrete Class-A amplifier capable of complimenting any microphone with remarkably true and natural sound. Should additional coloration be required then two variable saturation/filters and an intelligent one-knob compressor are at hand to make voices and instruments sound like a finished record right from the start.

Clean or colored, the sonic journey need not end at the mic locker, though. The skulpter 500 provides a balanced DI input with significant headroom of up to +19 dBu, so just about any signal coming from guitars, basses, synths, and effects will benefit greatly from audiophile-class amplification and versatile processing performance.


Put it this way: with ample gain range starting at only 3 dB and extending up to 65 dB of amplification, the skulpter 500 forgoes the technical need for a pad circuit completely. Another standout feature of the preamp is its DC-coupled input stage without a single coupling capacitor influencing the original signal. Saying that, all stages — including the preamp, compressor, sound shaper, and the variable low-cut filter — are realized in discrete Class-A topologies.

“We believe the skulpter 500 is far more than just another preamp,” pronounces elysia CEO Dominik Klassen, concluding: “With all the amazing features in such a small form factor, it’s more a complete recording solution — everything you’ll ever need in front of your DAW.”

The skulpter 500 is made in Germany, exclusively using top-quality components, gold-plated PCBs,
a rugged 4mm aluminum front panel, and solid aluminum knobs. It is available from any elysia dealer for $879.00 MAP ($949.00 MSRP), or 589 € net (plus VAT where applicable), and is shipping right now.

The skulpter 500 can be seen and heard on elysia’s Youtube channel here: www.youtube.com/elysiaTV
About elysia (www.elysia.com)
elysia is a union of creative audio enthusiasts that was founded in Nettetal (Germany) in 2006 by Ruben Tilgner and Dominik Klassen. The company has a clearly defined objective: creating outstanding pro audio gear without compromise, both in the analog and digital domains. elysia stands for highest sound quality, truly sophisticated manufacturing, innovative features without voodoo, and — most of all — creative tools enjoyable for a lifetime.

© 2018 elysia GmbH

NUGEN Audio advances signal flow modification with aptly-named SigMod utility toolbox plug-in

Innovative, intuitive professional audio tools creator for high-end music producers, post-production engineers, and broadcasters NUGEN Audio is proud to announce availability of SigMod — a utility toolbox plug-in that more than lives up to its Thousands of ways to enhance your plug-ins and DAW tagline with straightforward signal flow modification via 11 single-process modules that can easily be inserted, swapped, and moved around, allowing for new options to correct, convert, or tweak audio as required.

 
Put simply, SigMod allows for far more flexibility than is already available in DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) setups by allowing access to creative and advanced production techniques with ease — even if they are not supported natively within its user’s DAW/plug-in collection — courtesy of the following flexible selection of single-process modules: Mid/Side (for converting stereo plug-ins to mid/side operation); Protect (for safeguarding digital equipment via virtual protection ‘circuitry’); Mono (for switching the signal path to mono to check for phase cancellation and image issues); Switch (for switching over the left and right — or mid/side — signals); Delay (for delaying the — milliseconds or samples — signal path); Phase (for inverting either side); Trim (for applying dB offset); DC Offset (for detecting and offsetting accordingly); Tap (for parallel processing); Crossover (for splitting frequencies to apply band-limited effects); and Mute/Solo (for muting or soloing a specific channel).

Combining those modules in any order allows SigMod users to design the precise routing required, resulting in instant inclusion of ‘missing’ features for easy exploration of new creative choices with auto-resizing keeping signal flow and functionality clear at all times. The upshot of all this is that SigMod serves up many useful, creative processes that are otherwise difficult to engage. 

Watch an overview-style SigMod introductory video exclusive here 

Examples include adding mid/side functionality to classic compressor and EQ emulations, or getting creative with mid/side delays, distortion, and many other effects by inserting the Mid/Side encoder/decoder either side of any left/right plug-in instance.

Another useful instance involves inserting Protect across the output bus which will result in this safety module automatically cutting in to prevent bursts of noise or feedback howls due to system errors (with manual or auto-reset options providing protection levels as deemed necessary). Needless to say, this is invaluable when working with headphones while mixing.

Though the wonderful world of parallel processing — namely, a second audio signal running alongside or ‘in parallel’ with the original sound to enhance and enlarge it in some way (rather than simply chaining a series of effects to interrupt the dry sound of an audio or software instrument track via its inserts) — can prove daunting to some, it doesn’t have to be that way with SigMod… simply drop in the Tap module and all is good to go!

Get going elsewhere equally easily using the Crossover module to split the high frequencies from the lows, allowing application of different effects to different frequency ranges — really useful for avoiding muddying up the low frequencies or getting creative with automation or sweep effects.

Endless fun can clearly be had with the time-saving SigMod. Thanks to its interesting creative patching possibilities, putting into practice advanced production techniques can be easily achieved. Also achievable are significant CPU (Central Processing Unit) load savings since SigMod only uses a significantly smaller part of a complex plug-in when solving a simple task, meanwhile making up for DAW architecture shortfalls.

SigMod is available to purchase as a 32- and 64-bit-supporting AAX-, AU-, VST-, and VST3-compatible utility toolbox plug-in for Mac (OS X 10.7 and above) and Windows (Vista and above) directly from NUGEN Audio at an introductory price of $29.00 USD until June 25, 2018 (rising to its regular price of $49.00 USD thereafter).

For more in-depth information, please visit the dedicated SigMod webpage here: http://www.nugenaudio.com/sigmod-modular-signal-architecture-sound-design-aax-au-vst_62


About NUGEN Audio (www.nugenaudio.com)
NUGEN Audio creates innovative, intuitive professional audio tools for high-end music producers, post-production engineers, and broadcasters. Reflecting the real-world production experience of the design team, the company’s products make it easier to deliver better quality, save time, and reduce costs. NUGEN Audio’s tools for audio analysis, loudness metering, mixing/mastering, and tracking are used by the world’s top names in broadcast, music, and audio production. NUGEN Audio is pleased to support the goal of fairtrade and donates a minimum of 3% net profit to the Fairtrade Foundation’s work.
© 2018 NUGEN Audio Ltd

MasteringBOX majorly improves namesake mastering application with 2.0 update


MasteringBOX is proud to announce availability of MasteringBOX 2.0 — improving its namesake application with a sleek and easier to use mastering experience, allowing for simultaneous uploading, editing, and mastering audio with numerous new features for making mastering even easier.
MasteringBOX 2.0 is a drag-and-drop online mastering application armed with smart artificial intelligence that can cleverly detect the dynamic and spectral characteristics of the audio being mastered and apply appropriate adjustments, allowing amateur producers and independent artists alike to master their tracks to a more polished production standard than they might manually achieve otherwise. Often misunderstood, mastering is sometimes seen as a dark art, after all — tough to understand, with a notoriously steep learning curve.

Clearly catering to those still in the dark — or, perhaps, pushed for financial reasons or hard pressed for time, the innovative MasteringBOX mastering website (www.masteringbox.com) was launched in May 2015 to widespread critical acclaim. By building upon that success, the updated MasteringBOX 2.0 online application itself introduces a new mastering environment as well as a whole new set of features and upgrades.

Ultimately, MasteringBOX has helpfully designed a new user-friendly workspace where producers can quickly access all the new features that MasteringBOX 2.0 has on offer from within a one-page application. As such, simultaneous uploading, editing, mastering, downloading, and even ordering are all straightforward, saving time to make mastering a much more productive process than ever before.

Better still, creators can now easily edit their masters, meaning new versions are only ever a click away — no need to repeatedly upload the track to be ‘remastered’ if those editing choices are not to taste after the resultant master is downloaded.

The all-important mastering engine powering MasteringBOX 2.0 has also been updated, providing enhanced processors together with 32-bit floating-point workflow, which significantly improves the quality of the output. On top of that, the new HD WAV (24BIT/48KHZ) format — an industry standard for video and HD (High Definition) publishing — has now been added alongside the CD QUALITY WAV (16BIT/44.1KHZ), WEB OPTIMIZED (MP3 320KBPS), and MOBILE OPTIMIZED (M4A 128KBPS) formats that were already available in MasteringBOX.

Meanwhile, MasteringBOX’s mastering app for Android devices has also been upgraded to MasteringBOX 2.0 status with the new HD WAV (24BIT/44KHZ) format, editing, and all other design improvements included in the app (although the new MasteringBOX 2.0 website itself is now 100% compatible with mobile phones and tablets, working well when accessed using both Android- and iOS-based browsers).

But despite those technological improvements to MasteringBOX 2.0, MasteringBOX has retained — and improved — its flexible pricing options. Firstly, free usage permits processing of one master per day in either WEB OPTIMIZED (MP3 320KBPS) or MOBILE OPTIMIZED (M4A 128KBPS) formats; further up the ‘pay scale’, so-to-speak, a premium subscription is required for CD QUALITY WAV (16BIT/44.1KHZ) or HD WAV (24BIT/48KHZ) format masters. Meanwhile, MasteringBOX has helpfully added a ‘pay-per-track’ option; occasional users can now order an individual master in any format — without having to subscribe to a premium account to do so.

Saying that, permanent premium MasteringBOX 2.0 features access starts with simply signing up for a Basic account at an affordable €6 EUR monthly subscription (equivalent to €4 EUR per month when paid annually) for unlimited masters in WEB OPTIMIZED (MP3 320KBPS) or MOBILE OPTIMIZED (M4A 128KBPS) formats, together with EQ Control and ID3 Tag Editor & Cover Art. Alternatively, a Pro account weighs in at a reasonable €9 EUR (equivalent to €7 EUR per month when paid annually) for up to three uncompressed CD QUALITY WAV (16BIT/44.1KHZ) masters per month, along with all the Basic benefits. Thereafter, those needing unlimited uncompressed CD QUALITY WAV (16BIT/44.1KHZ) or HD WAV (24BIT/48KHZ) masters could consider the Unlimited account option, offering exactly that in addition to everything else in the Pro account for €19 EUR per month (equivalent to €14 EUR per month when paid annually).

MasteringBOX 2.0 is already accessible in ENGLISH, ESPAÑOL (Spanish), and FRANÇAIS (French) and will soon be also accessible in Chinese, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Russian… MasteringBOX’s “Mastering, Made Easy” tagline just got a whole lot easier (and better) with MasteringBOX 2.0.
 
Simply start using the MasteringBOX 2.0 online mastering application at no cost by signing up for a Free account (with restrictions) or via the tiered-tariff Basic, Pro, and Unlimited monthly subscriptions — alternatively available with cost-saving annual billing — priced to accommodate advancing mastering features and usage requirements from here: https://www.masteringbox.com/pricing/

About MasteringBOX (www.masteringbox.com)
MasteringBOX 2.0 is an online mastering application armed with smart artificial intelligence that can cleverly detect the dynamic and spectral characteristics of the program material being mastered and apply appropriate adjustments, allowing amateur producers and independent artists alike to master their tracks to a more polished production standard than they might manually achieve otherwise. Living up to its easy-to-understand “Mastering, Made Easy” maxim, MasteringBOX 2.0 aims to make mastering tracks simpler by providing better sound and appropriate loudness using drag-and-drop uploading and an almost instant, easy-to-use workflow. Indeed, in less than a minute, users can achieve amazing results that can compare to audio mastered in a professional studio environment.
© 2018 MasteringBOX

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Antelope Audio all dressed to impress at Prolight + Sound Guangzhou 2018

High-end professional audio equipment manufacturer Antelope Audio is proud to be exhibiting at Prolight + Sound Guangzhou 2018, May 10-13, China Import and Export Fair Complex, Guangzhou (Canton), People’s Republic of China — connecting the entire supply chain of pro audio and lighting products as a comprehensive industry platform — where it will be showcasing its cutting-edge Edge and Verge modelling microphones and Edge Strip bundle alongside the latest DISCRETE audio interface series, with mic emulation and native plug-in demonstrations, musical performances, and more.

Making its Prolight + Sound Guangzhou debut, Antelope Audio’s Edge large-diaphragm condenser microphone is an outstanding performer in its own right, capturing vocals and instruments with pristine clarity while providing the ideal platform for mic emulation plug-ins. Pushing things even further into the realms of cutting-edge advancement, an update to the Edge modelling mic itself means that all its authentic vintage mic emulations are now available as native plug-ins in all major (AAX, AU, and VST) formats, so users can now deploy its next-level sound from within any DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) on the market!

Meanwhile, Edge just keeps getting better all the time, thanks to these newly-added, cutting-edge mic emulations — just in time for Prolight + Sound Guangzhou 2018: Berlin 49T (classic mic used on great jazz, pop, and soul recordings throughout the Fifties and Sixties, suited to vocals as well as drums and brass, courtesy of its impressive bass response); Berlin 57 (with a specific sound owing much to a large-diaphragm capsule with a PVC membrane, triode tube, and switchable polar patterns); Berlin M103 (modelled after an iconic large-diaphragm condenser mic with a ‘Berlin 87’-style capsule and transformer-less circuitry); Oxford 4038 (bi-directional mic with a clear and natural sound suited to both acoustic instruments and voice that initially gained popularity in broadcast studios throughout the UK); Sacramento 121R (modelled after one of the most commercially used ribbon mics, offering a natural, pure sound and extended dynamic range that is higher than its predecessors); Vienna 12 (modelled after the latest revision of a classic large-diaphragm condenser and highly-sought-after tube mic with wide — 30 Hz to 20 kHz — frequency response, low noise, and switchable polar patterns); and Vienna 414 (flexible multi-pattern condenser mic with unique dynamic range, frequency response, and spatial detailing). 

Watch Antelope Audio’s DISCRETE 8 Thunderbolt™ & USB Interface with 8 Discrete Mic Preamps
and DISCRETE 4 Thunderbolt™ & USB Interface with 4 Discrete Mic Preamp trailer

 Already available as part of the recently released latest firmware for Antelope Audio’s appropriately-named DISCRETE 8 Thunderbolt™ & USB Interface with 8 Discrete Mic Preamps, preamp choices have, likewise, been increased with the following additions as Edge edges ever closer to cutting-edge modelling mic pole position: BA-31 (modelled after a super-rare and super-sought-after classic that manages to preserve the original sound of the Germanium transistors of its hardware inspiration); BAE 1073 (modelled after a ‘gold-standard’ British analogue preamp known for its warmth and musicality with a sonic signature that is ubiquitous to the point of needing no further introduction); Gyraf Gyratec G9 (true vintage tube mic preamp representing a simple yet powerful unit based on a variable-gain input tube stage driving a tube SRPP output stage); RD-47 (authentic recreation of one of Abbey Road Studios’ most iconic valve line amps used to amplify every stage of the audio signal path); and VPA76 (based on a vintage German mic preamp hailed as the ‘Rolls-Royce’ of tube mic preamps).

Thanks to the dual-capsule design of its cutting-edge Edge condenser mic, Antelope Audio can capably model mics in 3D with step-by-step polar pattern adjustment. As such, it also offers control over off-axis response (resulting in a distortion or change in the frequency response of the reproduced audio signal that is not directly in front of the mic) and the proximity effect (increasing low frequency response when a sound source is close). Digging deeper, Edge dual edge-terminated capsules dispense with termination mounts in the centre of the diaphragm itself, freeing up the entire diaphragm to vibrate without interfering with the sound waves (unlike restrictive centre-mounted designs where the diaphragm is necessarily more static). Smooth/natural sound results, reproducing the expressiveness and character of costly classic mics but without excessive expense. Essentially, this gives Edge its competitive edge.

Edge Strip is another new visitor to Prolight + Sound Guangzhou, a true treasure trove of mic emulation made perfectly possible by bundling Antelope Audio’s all-analogue, dual-channel DISCRETE MP Discrete Dual Ultra-Linear Microphone Preamp (designed to deliver the company’s signature pristine audio quality) with the dual-capsule, large-diaphragm Edge condenser modelling mic (designed to reproduce the expressiveness and character of costly classic mics). Moreover, Edge Strip comes complete with several free native-format Fusion AFX Pack plug-ins. Included amongst those is the STAY-LEVIN compressor created by Antelope Audio CEO Igor Levin himself to capture the spirit of its historic hardware namesake that shaped the special sound of a slew of Sixties Stateside classics. Combined with the bundled state-of-the-art hardware, these act as an all-in-one solution for formulating high-quality studio recordings with a vintage sound that is authentically analogue.

Watch Antelope Audio’s Edge Strip ‘in-action’ video

Also making their Prolight + Sound Guangzhou debut, Antelope Audio’s rack-mount DISCRETE 8 Thunderbolt™ & USB Interface with 8 Discrete Mic Preamps and desktop DISCRETE 4 Thunderbolt™ & USB Interface with 4 Discrete Mic Preamps put a whole new level of sound quality and performance power into the hands of project studio owners and mobile recordists alike. As implied by their respective names, the former comes complete with eight console-grade, six-transistor discrete mic preamps while the latter offers four of the same. Both boast 121 dB dynamic range conversion and rock-solid, fourth-generation 64-bit AFC (Acoustically Focused Clocking) technology, together with Antelope Audio’s acclaimed Real-time FPGA FX, modelling iconic gear from BAE, Grove Hill, Graf Audio, Lang, and more. Both bring out the best in the Edge modelling mic’s algorithms by virtue of their perfectly-matched preamps — hence Antelope Audio’s specially created Discrete 8 Bundle and Discrete 4 Bundle both pairing an Edge modelling mic with the DISCRETE 8 Thunderbolt™ & USB Interface with 8 Discrete Mic Preamp and DISCRETE 4 Thunderbolt™ & USB Interface with 4 Discrete Mic Preamp, respectively. The Discrete 8 Bundle is also available packaged with six Verge modelling mics.

Verge visibly differs from its Edge sibling as a small-diaphragm condenser (back electret-type) suited to both nuanced accuracy and high SPL (Sound Pressure Level) recording, exhibiting excellent performance in its own right so it can capably take on the character and personality of the world’s best small-diaphragm condensers and electrets. As a modelling mic, it too boasts a number of notable emulations (already available for the DISCRETE 8 Thunderbolt™ & USB Interface with 8 Discrete Mic Preamps and desktop DISCRETE 4 Thunderbolt™ & USB Interface with 4 Discrete Mic Preamps) — namely, Perth 55 (small-diaphragm, true-condenser cardioid mic with an omnidirectional capsule suited to recording acoustic instruments, overheads, and live performances); Freiburg 6 (cardioid mic focused on capturing voice or musical instruments with enviable attention to detail and no colouration whatsoever); Aalborg 4006 (modelled after an industry-standard omnidirectional mic noted for its natural sound, astonishing sensitivity, linear frequency response, and extremely low noise floor); and Hamburg 40 (versatile condenser mic with low noise floor and neutral directional specs guaranteeing a balanced sound when recording pretty much any sound source).

So clearly Antelope Audio has been far from silent since its previous Prolight + Sound Guangzhou visit. This time it is inviting potential partners, music professionals, and dedicated enthusiasts to visit its booth (H10 in Hall 5.2) at Prolight + Sound Guangzhou 2018, May 10-13, China Import and Export Fair Complex, Guangzhou (Canton), People’s Republic of China. There they can experience its latest developments first hand. And whatever they choose to wear there, they can be assured of a warm welcome while surely being impressed by what they see (and hear)!

For more in-depth product information, please visit the Antelope Audio website here: https://en.antelopeaudio.com

 
About Antelope Audio (www.antelopeaudio.com)
Antelope Audio is a leading manufacturer of high-end professional audio equipment, pioneering the adoption of atomic clock generators in audio master clocks through utilising CEO Igor Levin’s 25-plus years of experience in digital audio. Antelope was the first company to design a 1U 32-channel audio interface and a multi-channel portable interface with 12 mic pres. The company’s customers include many GRAMMY® award-winning sound engineers and some of the most renowned recording, mastering, and post-production facilities around the globe.
© 2018 Antelope Audio

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Rob Papen presents ‘missing link’ Go2 software synthesizer with all controls always in plain sight

Virtual instrument and effect plug-in developer Rob Papen Soundware is proud to announce availability of Go2 — an appropriately-named, go-to synthesizer, set apart from its award-winning software siblings by virtue of all its controls and features always being in plain sight and always available to access onscreen, so simplifying usage for the average user.
 
In the wonderful world of synthesis according to Rob Papen — wonderfully wide-ranging as it is, there was only one type of software synthesizer missing… until now, that is! Indeed, who better to make the formal introductions to Go2, then, than the talented individual to which the company owes both its existence and also its well-known name — renowned sound designer Rob Papen himself: “The Rob Papen brand contains many synthesizers with a different focus and types of synthesis. However, they have one thing in common, which is a vast number of features. A creative synthesizer which has all controls visible, and — in many cases — easier to use out of the box, was still missing. And now it’s here. Welcome to Go2!” Going briefly back in time, though the then-current collection of Rob Papen software synthesizers spanned many types of synthesis, each embracing many features, for some average users they could sometimes appear daunting. Make no mistake: musically-speaking, there is always something tempting about — and fun to be had with — something simple… something like Go2, perhaps?
 
Put it this way: when thinking back to the early Eighties, a time in which groundbreaking (and bank-breaking) synthesizers like Roland’s top-tier Jupiter-8 programmable analogue polysynth flagship flourished alongside a lot simpler — still successful — synthesizers like that same company’s now-classic (and considerably cheaper) SH-101 analogue monosynth, sometimes the less is more maxim also applied to synthesizers. Sure, with a heavily-featured synthesizer it is perfectly possible to create a less complex patch, but more often than not it takes more time to achieve that simpler result.

Watch Rob Papen’s revealing Go2 introductory video
 
Reality bit hard for Rob Papen, producing Go2 as a direct result of this thinking — though Rob Papen himself is keen to put that observation into its rightful perspective. “Just because all controls are visible doesn’t mean that you’ll get bored easily with this synthesizer,” says its instigator, before moving onto its ‘edited highlights’ herewith: “Go2 offers some unique features which will make you feel intrigued to find out more. At the heart of Go2 is the OSC/XY section. This single oscillator offers a choice of two waveforms, and you can Morph in various ways between WAVE A and WAVE B. And, yes, you can use the XY section for this as well. The oscillator also has a SUB oscillator that offers two waveforms, and by using SPREAD the single oscillator turns into two oscillators, which detune from each other. The XY has many additional features, and next to the oscillator Morph you can also address it to the other parameters contained in Go2.”

Going briefly back in time, try doing that with an early-Eighties hardware synthesizer — classic or otherwise! Times clearly change, as do the creative sound-sculpting possibilities offered by always-advancing technology to deliver those stunning-sounding synthesis features found in Go2. Getting back on a more simplistic track, Rob Papen runs through some more familiar features: “We have a FILTER section with different filter types available; high-pass [HP] FILTER; AMP section with distortion that works at voice level; LFO [low frequency oscillator]; envelope [ENV]; and a modulation [MOD] matrix.”

More meaningfully, that eight-way modulation matrix allows users to dynamically alter Go2’s parameters using both internal modules, such as envelopes and LFOs, and external MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) controllers, such as pitch bend, aftertouch, and other control messages defined in the MIDI standard.

Still carrying on with his magical musical tour of Go2, Rob Papen points out that “…the envelopes inside the filter and amp section can be displayed graphically or as dials. You can also set them to exponential, which is the default setting, or linear, which is a great setting for pad sounds.”

Synth sounds, of course, can change considerably depending on how they are played, something that Rob Papen proudly puts into practice with all of its software synthesizers — quite literally in the case of Go2: “The PLAY MODE arranges how Go2 plays — either in 16-voice polyphonic [Poly] mode, Mono [monophonic] mode, Legato mode, or by using the arpeggiator [Arp]. In this section you can also find the UNISON MODE, which can be used in all the play modes. And next to this we have included special unison modes, featuring, for instance, 16 different chord types. Of course, Go2 has a creative arpeggiator [ARP] onboard, which can also work in Sequencer MODE. But what makes this arpeggiator unique is a new row, which is called chord [CHRD]. This means that now each step can have a different unison setting or a chord.”

Crossing the finish line, Rob Papen concludes, “In Go2 we also have onboard our top-notch effects. These are in series, with a CHORUS, followed by a FLANGER or a PHASER, and, last in the chain, a stereo DELAY or a top-notch REVERB. Go2 has all of its controls displayed visually, which makes it fast to work with while offering some very cool and unique features. Last, but not least, Go2 has a BANK MANAGER with some unique features. For instance, if you like a preset, you can give it a star, highlighting your favourite presets.”

Fortunately for most average users, with over 600 perfectly programmed presets sorted into BANK MANAGER folders, there's sure to be a suitable sound or two already in there. That said, tweaking whatever you can see and hearing how whatever you tweak sounds is really what Go2’s all about. As such, it looks like Go2 is the ‘missing link’ in Rob Papen’s now-current collection of software synthesizers — surely set to become the go-to synthesizer in anyone’s musical setup! 

An AAX (32-/64-bit), AU (32-/64-bit), VST (32-/64-bit) compatible audio software plug-in for Mac OS X (10.6 or higher) and Windows (Vista, 7, 8, and 10), Go2 can be purchased from authorised Rob Papen dealers worldwide or as a download directly from Rob Papen for €49.00 EUR/$49.00 USD from here: https://www.robpapen.com/buy-go2.html (Note that this is a serial/license system with activation while registering the product; a second serial/license for a secondary computer is available after registering the product’s original serial/license.)

For more in-depth information, please visit the dedicated Go2 product webpage here: https://www.robpapen.com/go2.html

About Rob Papen (www.robpapen.com)
Self-confessed synth freak and world-renowned sound designer Rob Papen started working with synthesizers at the tender age of 15 when purchasing an analogue Korg MS-20 semi-modular monosynth and accompanying analogue SQ-10 sequencer. Suitably inspired, he subsequently released several albums as part of Dutch electronic music groups Peru and Nova — the latter featuring the same members as Peru, but with a more commercial slant — with whom he enjoyed number one hit singles in The Netherlands (Nova) in 1982 and Austria (Peru) in 1988. Peru disbanded in 1993, by which time Rob had already established himself as a sought-after sound designer, creating presets for the likes of Waldorf, Access, Ensoniq, and E-mu, before going on to found his namesake company in pursuit of creating a sound designer’s dream synth. That software dream soon became reality when Rob formed the RPCX (Rob Papen ConcreteFX) partnership with music software developer Jon Ayres to develop new Rob Papen virtual instruments and effects plug-ins, starting with BLUE — an exciting-sounding, self-styled ‘Crossfusion Synthesis’ affair (combining FM, Phase Distortion, Wave Shaping, and Subtractive synthesis into one powerful dream synth) — in 2005. Today Rob Papen soundware defines cutting-edge contemporary music production: powerful virtual instruments and plug-ins that intermix innovative design, uncompromising sound quality, and musical, production-grade presets to make tracks truly shine, whatever the musical genre… Inspiration Soundware, indeed!
© 2018 Rob Papen Inspiration Software