Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Streakulator Max4Live Device by Audiomodern - DCSI overview

New Max4Live devices are always welcome by Ableton users, craving for new stuff to melt down their tracks dna, and this new STREAKULATOR device seems won't disappoint their expectations.


Streakulator is designed by AudioModern and Ernesto Cecco D’Ortona aka StrangeLines.
First of all, its requirements to run are Ableton Live 9.5 as host and Max for Live 7.1  (or higher).

After being installed in the proper folder, you're going to find available within Live 9 a brand new mangling audio effect, which is midi driven and modulated.
Whats does this means?
Once launched, you'll find Streakulator consists in two modules: the bigger main one you can see above, which gives you all the controls and parameters available with this multi effect (and where you will actually squeeze the hell out of your sounds/loops/track), and the other tiny which one has to be placed in a midi track.

The midi events recorded in that midi track will trigger various Streakulator effects and their parameters.
Which ones? Let's have a look at its main interface.
On the upper part you find available in 3 separate zones, form left to right:
the amp envelope, the filter, and the filter modulator, like you may find in some way on a synthesizer.


Below: the effects gui, and the gate section.



The amp envelope hosts a variety of 5 different preset envelopes to chose from, plus another one customizable, and the option to bypass this section. In details these are:
5 points, 7 points, Sidechain, Waveshaper, Twinpeaks, Custom.


In every one you can grab each node and move it around to shape your chosen envelope.

The filter section gives you 4 kind to chose from: LP, HP, BP and Notch, with the relative cutoff and resonance knobs. Finally you find the four knobs to control the usual filter envelope:
Attack, Decay, Sustain Release.

The effect section "Streakulator" shows up a Sample and Bit reducer and a modulation effect which can work as: Vibrato, Flanger, Chorus, WChorus and Doubler.


These are presets recalled by simply clicking on the their name listed on the right side.
You can however achieve several degree of variations of these by tweaking parameters on your own.
The knobs will allow you to change Depth, Rate, Delay, Gain, FF and FB of the modulation effect, and select how much of the whole process you'll add back to the original sound, with the dry/wet fader.

To spice up things there's the Gate section. Here the left and right audio channel will be affected in sync with the BPM of the track you're working on, several timing choices, channels linked or unlinked, depending on your choice. Dry/wet fader available here too.


On the bottom of the gui you can store and recall up to 8 different Streakulator configurations plus with 2 last different knobs you can tweak/warp the overall pitch and set the output volume.


Cool, that's the stuff, but, how it sounds?

Well, being midi triggered you're going to sound design your audio track/audio samples rhythmically, synced to your host/daw tempo, and as said befor, triggered and automated by midi events placed on the midi track.

The sonic results will be varying from simply spicing things up in a subtle way, to drastically morph, destroy, decompose and recompose every possible frequency in otherworldy ways.

You can automate each sort of filtering, gating, wobbling, chorusing, flanging, pitching up and down, bitcrushing, doubling in various dynamic way, metallizing, destroing things, distorting or growling things, widening even, thanks to the possibility to vary the synced gate tempo differently for the left and the right channel.
To allow everything being correctly connected don't forget to set the same letter (A, B, C, D...) in the Streakulator "MIDI TO" setting, within the mini midi module, and in the main effects module, in the "MIDI FROM" area.

Streakulator comes with a bunch of presets to start with and a demo projects, where simply lauching and playing it will immediately give you the feel of how it works.


All in all is really fun and easy to use, the gui is neatly organized, allowing to do a big deal of sound design, letting your creativity flow freely.
Don't forget to do and save your own presets each time you'll find some settings you really enjoy.

For what it gives the price is right too, accessible, and you're supporting the work of independent developers, which is honorable.
Go ahead to the Audiomodern website and grab it.

https://audiomodern.com/shop/max-for-live/streakulator/

Thanks for reading and see you soon with the next DCSI review.

Cheers
DCSI - Diego

Thursday, 31 March 2016

10 DCSI presets free for VBox 3 new freeware vst by Krakli

A good news! The well known freeware vst instruments wizard, Krakli, active since years, recently started again working on many nice brand new vst.


Just to name the latest 3 you can find:

K400
based on PD synthesis
K200
inspired by FM synthesis

VBox3
 a kind of choirs emulator vst

For practical reasons Krakli is now active on Facebook and no more accessible on his old website He's hosting all these brand new vsts and the old ones too on his Facebook page and on a dropbox folder .

You can find all the info and links going here
https://www.facebook.com/groups/Krakli/
As a pinned post on top of the page you'll find the direct dropbox link to where you'll be able to find and download all his awesome vst for free!!

While in the middle of preparing new software/vst/sample libraries and apps overviews
for the DCSI blog, I took 1 hour break yesterday and another 1 today to relax and had fun designing 10 original Dcs presets for the Krakli Vbox 3.

You can download them here directly on Krakli FB page or here on my Dropbox folder.

To use them as usual just load the Krakli Vbox 3 vst on your vst host and from there load the presets directly into the vst. Hope you like it.
I suggest you to download and try all the other Krakli vst too.
They are really of any kind: from additive synthesis to phase distortion, frequency modulation, more experimental and many others.
The little catch is they're all 32 bit...but with all the free vst hosts that nowadays can load 32 bit vst even on 64 bit os you will not find difficult to use and enjoy his virtual synthesizers.

Would be really nice if you join his facebook page (granted you're a social guy ;-)  ) and drop a greeting, a thanks or some feedback over there. I bet he will appreciate that.

Meanwhile stay tuned guys as I'm coming pretty soon with the next 2 brand new music software DCSI reviews.
Thanks and take care.
Diego - DCSI

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

inValve effects by Audified - DCSI Overview


About AUDIFIED




Audified is an experienced Czech audio software development company producing an interesting plug-ins and stand-alone products line, focused on effects, amp and recording solutions, at times inspired and modelled after real hardware units.

After reading this overview I invite you to a visit their website where you will find a bunch of really neat and good quality freebies including:
GK Amplification 2 LE, a very nice bass amp and speaker simulator based on the well known Gallen - Krueger hardware, ampLion Free, another for guitars, inTone 2 Solo, a live fx multieffects processor, MultiCabinet, a simulation of several cabinets and microphones to match accordingly to your needs, and many other stuff usch as free phasers and overdrive pedals.
These all fully working streamed down free versions of the ful commercial related versions, which are very good (try them your own) and allows you to get a glimpse of the Audified plugins quality and philosophy.

Being involved in following  also some hardware development and teaming up at times with some Czech academies and universities they got really serious and effective during years.They've been one of the first company to release dsp based plugins for e.g.
TC Electronic’s hardware.
If you have a couple of minutes more read about their history. We all dig and use tons of vst, au and such daily, without really knowing who's behind them and how they work, so spending just a minute on reading a developer's background and history (whenever you have the time and will)  is always a nice way to get a more vivid feel about this "digital stuff", made by humans and for humans.
There's always more than digits only behind music software, there's passion, experimenting, studying, development, skills, creativity, days, months and years of energy and commitments spent on it.
 
inValve Effects


In this quick article we're having an overview of one of their latest and affordable modeled audio plugins (available both for Mac and Windows) the inValve Effects.
It's composed of three different effects modeling some valve outboard gears.



inValve preamp

 

inValve equaliser
 

inValve compressor
 

About the interfaces

Each gui is pleasant to the eye, though one may observe that their size could be a bit excessive on the preamp and the compressor, considering the minimal amount of needed controls, well...specially on the preamp, were actually there is only one knob you're going to use. Would be a nice option to have a resizable version or be able to chose among a big and a medium/little gui too.

Nevertheless is understandable the need of keeping a similar view on each effect to visually replicate real outboards, in fact they're nice to look at.
Specially when you have all 3 of them opened it gives really the impression of tweaking on a real stack of hardware.
Eyecandy and pretty realistic are the power switch with the green led light reflected when on, the screws at the 4 corners and the valve hidden behind the grid getting visibly warm when processing the incoming audio signal, kinda looking at a real bunch of valves working. The knobs too have a nice visual feedback, you'd really like to touch them. The color choice for each interface is good as doesn't tire the eyes even after hours of use.

Parameters and how they sound

The specific purpose of each one is to color sounds adding a warm saturation tone given by the valve through its related knob.
The effect can go from very subtle to quite drastic depending on the chosen amount.

Let say while working on a project you have a drum track and you use some light warm compression on it, then you have very cold and static digital synth part, and you warm it up with some touch of valve, like adding some spices.
Even though could be not so much noticeable on the single track, when summing up all of those in the master you'll feel the whole song starts to breath and is less "static".
That said obviously only if and when you want to achive this on a production).

Each plugin brings clearly visible the save and load presets option right at the bottom of the gui and a clip led on the left next to the on-off switch, pointing you if the audio treated gets too loud and clips.



The inValve preamp as said gives you mostly one knob to use, the valve saturation amount.
 

The inValve Equaliser again brings a nice valve saturation color, well..that's the goal of these 3 plugins you know ;-).

Being a 4 bands parametric it gives you the possibility to work on Low, Middle-low, Middle-high and High frequencies.
On each them you're centering the specic frequency you're going to work with,
how much you'll increase or decrease it, and its nearly affected frequency range, widening the shelf or narrowing it down thanks to the Q knob.
The first LOW SECTION and the last HIGH SECTION can either be set to work as Peak or Shelving.

Happy choice the presence of two independent high pass HF and a low pass LF filters, besides the 4 parametric equalisers.

Again you have many presets as a starting point to use as well as make your own tweaks.

The compressor has its typical parameters: threshold, ratio, attack, release and make up gain.

A quick explanation about compression for those not so keen on it:
the threshold sets at which point of the sound pressure intensity you want the compressor to start working, pushing down the level of those volume peaks, as much as you'll set with the ratio knob, from 1 on 1, to 1 on 50 times, from very lightly to heavily.
The attack sets in milliseconds when the compression will start to work and the release when it will stop (at times there's a "look ahead" parameter too, in some compressors, but not here).
When you squash a lot the overall track because you want to narrow its dynamics, the resulted sounds will get very low if compared to the pre-compressed one, that's were the make up gain come handy, pulling up back the general volume after being compressed.


Try it out starting to load some of the presets, you will instantly hear how it works and its effectivness.
I kinda like how it works specially on drums or some clean guitars, both acoustic and electric, and on vocals too.


 

Meant to be used in a single chain I guess, I tried all together (although quickly for lack of time during these past days) on a drum part and on some guitars I was having on an opened project. I must admitt are really working well.
Starting from material dynamically a bit weak or dull, after warming it up, equalising it properly and with the right amount of compression, I eneded up bringing back life and the right breathe to the overall song mood.
The eq filters are well sounding and the compression behave as expected, while on each of them the valve tone deliver a nice outcome.

On my personal opinion the limited investiment on the inValve Effects will pay you back in a satisfactory way.

On their website you can find youtube clips showing you a bit of how they work, though being valve emulations I feel it's not 100% the proper way to listen to how they work, going through compressed youtube audio quality in some case is not the best solution.
So I encourage you to get the demo and experiment on your own as well as again while you're there get all the awesome freebie. (Pretty handy about performing live the inTone 2 Solo).
Audified is a reliable team and committed to follow and make their customers happy, so go ahead peacefully.
Thanks for reading and as always go have some fun making music.
Cheers


Diego - DCSI