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Sound Magic updates Neo MasterTool for Windows and Mac to Version 1.1

Sunday, March 1st, 2015

Sound Magic has updated its Neo MasterTool for Windows and Mac to Version 1.1. Changes: Add supports for the latest extension pack. Fixes an issue on latest OS X10.10. Improved CPU performance. [Read More]
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Reveal Sound updates Spire to v1.0.19 – incl. AAX for Mac OS and Windows

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

Reveal Sound has updated Spire to v1.0.19. Changes: Add: Release AAX version for Avid Pro Tools 11 Win. Fixed: AAX crash issues. Fixed: Improve stability. Fixed: Improve GUI performance and fix [Read More]
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Igor Vasiliev releases SoundScaper – Experimental Sound Mini Lab for iPad

Monday, February 16th, 2015

Igor Vasiliev has released SoundScaper, an iOS application that turns your iPad into an experimental sound mini lab. SoundScaper can be used for creating unusual soundscapes, atmospheric textures, [Read More]
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Ample Sound Releases “Ample Guitar II” Virtual Guitars for Mac & Win

Monday, February 16th, 2015

Ample Sound has released Ample Guitar II, a completely recreated program with loads of new features, including: New sample engine with significant performance improvement: Multiple [Read More]
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Vengeance Sound Essential FX Bundle 2

Monday, February 16th, 2015

Read more about Vengeance Sound Essential FX Bundle 2 at MusicRadar.com


Best known for its ubiquitous sample packs and preset libraries, Vengeance Sound also produces a range of excellent instrument and effects plugins, developed in partnership with Keilwerth Audio. The latest is Essential FX Bundle 2 (VST/AU/RTAS/AAX).

Like its predecessor, Essential FX Bundle, EFX2 comprises 15 separate plugins, but while volume 1 handled the bread- and-butter likes of chorus, delay, distortion, EQ and so on, volume 2 is rather more adventurous.

For the purposes of this review, we’ll categorise the plugins as ‘creative’ (Autofilter, Fuzzbox, Smear Shifter, Talkbox, Trancegate, Spectral-Q, Waveshaper, Timefreeze and Vinylizer) and ‘functional’ (DeEsser, Noise Gate, MB Stereo, Pitch Shifter, V-Verb and MB Transient Designer).

The creatives

Autofilter features high- and low-pass resonant filters (12 and 24dB/octave), alongside a pair of multi-point envelopes and two editable LFOs; plus a two-band EQ.

“There’s certainly no doubting the price-per-plugin value of Essential FX Bundles, or their ease of use, clear layouts and excellent sound”

Modulation targets include filter, pan, volume and EQ parameters, and both LFOs can be modulated by the envelopes. Onscreen editing of envelopes and LFOs, and various tempo sync options, make rhythmic, ear-grabbing filter effects super-easy to achieve.

Talkbox is a formant filter-based processor that makes the input sound like the human voice. It has five main parameters: overall Mix, Vowel LFO with tempo sync, Formant filter position, left/right Offset and the Robotize rate reducer.

These can all be modulated by two multi-point envelopes and an envelope follower, and we found that the plugin works well on monophonic sources, particularly bass and voice (adding synthetic colour to regular vocals). It can also be used to elicit cool effects from beats and keys.

Fuzzbox is a simple proposition, with its two- band pre EQ helping to deliver a reasonable spread of effects in conjunction with the Fuzz level and output Mix blend controls.

Smear Shifter is a twin-band FFT-based pitchshifter (+/-2 octaves per band) with adjustable Split Frequency point, adjustable FFT size (128 to 4096 bands), Oversampling and Vibrato. Beyond typical pitchshifting duties, it can conjure up a variety of creative results when blending the source and processed signals.

Waveshaper is built for serious distortion duties. The XY displays (one for everything above the zero-amplitude line, the other for everything below) enable reshaping of the waveform by mapping input values on the X axis to output values on the Y axis. The plot can be rounded using the Smooth control, and range-limited with the Noisefloor parameter.

Trancegate is a port of the module of the same name from Vengeance’s VPS Phalanx, and it’s a belter of a plugin. Typical parameters such as Speed, pattern Length, Shuffle and start Offset are augmented by Gate time, Decay time and in-display control of step Levels and Linking. The left and right channels can be viewed and edited independently, and step transitions are smoothed with the Contour parameter.

Timefreeze is a powerful processor for real-time modulation of speed and pitch. It includes multi-point envelopes for Time and Pitch, plus four Miscellaneous envelopes. Our favourite element, though, is the 64-step Sequencer, with which you can automate the Freeze triggering.

Vinylizer emulates the sound of vinyl records and the turntables playing them back. It’s packed with parameters, including frequency response (Age, Tone and Horn), Crackle, Scratch, regular Noise, wobble (Engine), Hum and Rumble, and is quite possibly the best plugin of its type that we’ve ever come across.

Spectral-Q is a very powerful FFT-based EQ with up to 4096 bands. The EQ shape can be drawn directly in the display using Free mode, but there’s also a ‘standard EQ’-like mode that provides regular peak and shelf bands.

Its four EQ memories can be morphed between using the onboard automation system, and rounding things off are four envelopes and two LFOs, for extensive modulation of the EQ parameters.

The functionals

On the more utilitarian side of things, EFX2 includes an excellent DeEsser with display-based editing of Threshold, processing Range and upper and lower Detection circuit settings. The latter can be soloed to help with setup.

“Even if your DAW has lots of built-in plugins, there’s still plenty here to justify the spend”

The Noise Gate is quite straightforward, including a real-time waveform display with a yellow tracer showing gate activity.

MB Stereo is a multiband stereo widener running up to four bands. It’s very easy to use, with crossover points and levels for the Mid and Side signals set in the interactive display.

MB Transient Designer is a two-band job with Attack, Sustain and Sensitivity controls for each band. Responsive and flexible, it’s also one of the best transient shapers we’ve heard.

Pitch Shifter is a grain-based shifter with +/-2 octaves of range, plus Grain Size, Feedback and output Mix controls, that does nothing more or less than what it says on the tin.

And finally, V-Verb is an algorithm-based reverb with Modulation, Diffusion, Damping, and Filters. Useful features include Pre-Delay tempo Sync, and in-display adjustment of Decay (up to 18 seconds), Size and Pre Delay.

Essential, too?

There’s certainly no doubting the price-per-plugin value of both Essential FX Bundles, or their ease of use, clear layouts and excellent sound, but Bundle 2 just feels more useful than the first one. Its 15 effects have far greater creative potential, and even if your DAW has lots of built-in plugins, there’s still plenty here to justify the spend.

Read more about Vengeance Sound Essential FX Bundle 2 at MusicRadar.com







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Alonso Sound releases “Joachim Garraud Sylenth1 Soundset” for LennarDigital Sylenth1

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

Alonso Sound has released Joachim Garraud Sylenth1 Soundset for LennarDigital’s Sylenth1. Here’s what they say: As one of the most influential pioneers in the scene, Joachim Garraud’s signature [Read More]
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discoDSP releases “Pad Love” sound bank for Discovery Pro

Friday, February 13th, 2015

discoDSP has released a new Discovery Pro bank, Pad Love, exclusively focused on pad sounds. Pad Love has got 50 presets, mostly multi-layered, with a broad palette valid for any music production. [Read More]
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Particle Sound announces Carbon series and JNO I for Kontakt

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Particle Sound has announced their Carbon series of Kontakt formatted classic synthesizer instruments with the release of JNO I, 477MB of lovingly sampled sounds from the Roland Juno 106 arranged [Read More]
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Sound Radix Drum Leveler

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

Read more about Sound Radix Drum Leveler at MusicRadar.com


Drum Leveler is, as the name suggests, a plugin (VST/AU/AAX/RTAS) focused on the levelling of drum tracks. However, like Sound Radix’s previous plugins, this is no ordinary dynamics processor.

Drum Leveler employs beat detection to analyse the signal, then applies simultaneous upward and downward compression/expansion on a hit-by-hit basis.

Rather than offering traditional threshold and ratio settings, it combines two thresholds (Hi and Lo) with a Target level and Compression amount (+/-0 to 100%). Lo works much like a typical compressor threshold, while Hi acts as an upper level limit.

“Drum Leveler does a great job of levelling user-targeted beats and it’s surprisingly easy to get to grips with”

Together they define a signal level range within which beats can be targeted. The Compression amount sets the percentage by which any beat falling within this range will have gain individually applied to it to match the Target Level, 100% representing a 1:1 mapping. Further to that, negative Compression settings result in expansion.

For fine-tuning the process, there’s a fully adjustable sidechain filter with band-pass and band stop options, and separate high and low frequency settings.

Four further controls flank the Compression knob, too: Gain Range puts a cap on the gain applied (0-80dB), while Minimum Retrigger sets a minimum time (0-500ms) before the detection algorithm is allowed to detect the next discrete beat. Hold Time and Recovery Time both influence how long the gain change is applied for.

Drum Leveler includes Dual Mono, Stereo and M/S operation, and a zoomable, colour-coded waveform display which indicates gain changes.

Does it work?

Not only does Drum Leveler do a great job of levelling user-targeted beats, it’s also surprisingly easy to get to grips with. The adjustment of the three levelling parameters – Hi Threshold, Lo Threshold and Target Level – directly in the main waveform display makes pinpointing thresholds a doddle; and thanks to the colour coding, you can easily see any gain change and whether it’s positive or negative.

On a full drum kit mix, it’s quite possible to reduce or even totally notch out individual hits. At the other end of the usage scale, if you want to boost levels for specific beats, that’s an option, too.

The Hold and Recovery settings have a considerable influence on how Drum Leveler sounds, and much like the release stage on a regular compressor, with time spent here, you can achieve everything from heavy, gate-like pumping to smooth, transparent gain reduction.

There are times when Drum Leveler catches beats you don’t want it to, but we found that when their frequency content is specific enough, the sidechain filter can help.

We also tried the plugin on other transient-heavy sounds, such as picked electric bass and guitar, and found it surprisingly effective at sorting out tricky or problem transients.

Nevertheless, Drum Leveler’s forte is clearly ‘mixed’ material (ie, a mixed drum kit recording), with which other traditional dynamics processors struggle to isolate elements.

Sound Radix’s innovative new plugin does require you to rewire your brain a little, but that doesn’t take long, and once you’ve got used to its approach, it’s a really great tool that neatly sidesteps many of the frustrations of conventional level-based dynamics processing.

Read more about Sound Radix Drum Leveler at MusicRadar.com







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Sound Radix releases free updates to Auto-Align, SurferEQ, Pi and Drum Leveler

Friday, January 30th, 2015

Sound Radix has released free updates to Auto-Align, SurferEQ, Pi and Drum Leveler. The latest installers are available for download in the user area. Here’s what’s new: General Updates (AutoAlign, [Read More]
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