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Entries in AAX (166)
There’s a lot of tape emulation plug-ins right now for Pro Tools users and many of them are very good. Is it a case of taste or are there some tape emulations that are better than others.
Here is our round up of the contenders, then take our favourite plug-in poll at the end for you to have your say, please also add your comments.
Rob is known for not only making very tweakable and complex products, he also spent a long time writing a very detailed training guide on synth programming. The good news is that thos who just want to grab cool synth presets for their Pro Tools sessions now have this option.
They say: “As cool and tweaky as modern virtual instruments can get, most keyboard players and composers spend little time under the hood of their favorite soft synth or sampler and more time looking for the perfect preset. So, when Rob Papen approached us with this Sweetwater exclusive Predator-PL virtual instrument synth, we jumped at the opportunity to provide you with a what we think you’ll find to be an invaluable songwriting tool. Among its 4,400 preset sounds, you’ll find all the essential sounds covering everything from laid-back ambient sound beds to wild and frenetic dubstep drops. And thanks to Predator-PL’s extremely user-friendly interface, there’s nothing standing between you and the sounds you need.”
We’ve been getting some real plug-ins gems to review recently in the Pro Tools Expert office, in fact some of the best EQs around, here are 5 from Russ for music and 4 from Mike for post that you should definitely check out.
- Maag EQ4 - AAX Native, AAX DSP, RTAS and UAD Powered
Available both in native and UAD powered format this is perhaps one of the sweetest EQs around, famous for its AIR band, those looking for some fairy dust to add to their mixes should not miss this one.
- Abbey Road Brilliance Pack - AAX Native, AAX DSP, and RTAS
Softube have re-released this pack of three simple to use, but super sweet vintage classics, if you’ve got vocals you can’t sit in a mix, this may be the set you are looking for. More
- McDSP 6020 Ultimate EQ - AAX Native, AAX DSP, and RTAS
The 6020 Ultimate EQ is a collection of ten equalizer models using the popular 500 module format, there’s something for every application in this baby without making it a jack of all trades and master of none. More
- Softube Focusing Equalizer - AAX Native, AAX DSP, and RTAS
Part of the Softube Passive/Active bundle, this one is a go-to equalizer in my arsenal when I need to sort out a frisky vocal that won’t behave, but equally at home dealing with other material. More
- UAD Pultec Passive EQ Collection - UAD Powered
In particular the EQP-1A, famous for being a go-to trick for top producers and engineers who want to add something very special to the bottom on of either single tracks or entire mixes. More
Here is my view from a post perspective. It could be argued that Post users use EQ as much, if not more, for fixing problems rather than as a creative tool.
- Avid EQIII - AAX Native, AAX DSP, and RTAS
I do not want to discount this plug-in. It is available in both Native and DSP formats, the EQ that comes with Pro Tools is a very useful tool. More here But if you want more from an EQ plug-in then check these out…..
- Sonnox - AAX Native, AAX DSP, RTAS and UAD Powered
The Oxford EQ is based on the original EQ section of the Sony OXF-R3 large format digital mixing console. The variable slope low and high pass filters are great for starting to clean up tracks. More
- Flux - AAX Native, AAX DSP, and RTAS
The Epure v3 plug-in is another great sounding eq with a very good GUI too. As time is often very tight in the post workflow, ease of use is a key factor in choosing your tools. More
- Waves - AAX Native and RTAS
The Renaissance EQ is an old favourite of mine but I use it less and less but only because their isn’t a DSP version of it anymore and for those post users that have invested in the HDX hardware we want DSP versions of as many plug-ins as possible. More
So are any of these in your list, if not then what is in your list?
We recently ran a story on the news of Avid having 700 plug-ins now ready for AAX. That number of plug-ins seems high, but it would seem not high enough for most Pro Tools users to take the plunge and go fully to using Pro Tools 11.
In our poll we asked “Do You Have The Plug-ins You Need For Pro Tools 11“ just 15% said “Yes - I have all the plug-ins I need and I now use Pro Tools 11 all the time”. Of the remainder the largest group was “No - So I switch between Pro Tools 11 and Pro Tools 10”, in fact 17% are relying on third party apps such as Blue Cat MB-7 and Patchwork or Vienna VEP5. In fact Avid may want to send the likes of Blue Cat and Vienna a box of champagne for helping a high proportion of Pro Tools users switch, without them the number would be significantly lower.
Around 80% of those polled are using Pro Tools 11 in some way, that may put money in Avid’s bank, but it’s still not all plain sailing for most users. It also adds some weight to the concerns of some Mac users that to move to Mavericks is utterly impossible if a co-install of Pro Tools 10 is not supported, some users report that a co-install will work in OS Mavericks but if a user makes that plunge and has support needs then Avid have no obligation to offer it, hence the term ‘is not supported’.
What this result seems to indicate is that it’s not how many plug-ins you have available in AAX, but which plug-ins. Whilst there are some big brands like Softube, Sonnox, Native Instruments, AIR, McDSP and Waves already in the AAX camp, there are still some hugely popular developers such as the mighty Universal Audio, Slate, Massey and Fxpansion with either all or most plug-ins to port. Add to this the fact that some popular developers currently have no plans to port to AAX, you can see what a challenge Avid have.
It just goes to show, that for any DAW manufacturer the support of their third party developer network is essential for continued success, even for the mighty Pro Tools.
For some it has been frustrating waiting for their plug-ins to arrive for Pro Tools 11, for many of us we’ve now got all we need or are getting by with the awesome Blue Cat and VEP options.
That said we’ve got hold of some of the latest AAX numbers and they do look encouraging:
- Over 700 plug-ins are now available for Pro Tools 11
- That includes 210 virtual instruments* (During our last audit we found that each UVI library was being regarded as a VI by Avid, this is not the case, but this still puts the VI count at north of 170)
- Over 75 companies are now developing AAX for Pro Tools 11
By any standard that’s an impressive number for a new plug-in platform - irrespective of if we think it was a good idea or not.
So, are you now moved to Pro Tools 11, or are you still waiting for your plug-ins? Take the poll and comment.
Just posted on their Facebook page, head over to McDSP to download Windows AAX for Pro Tools 11.
For use with Pro Tools 10.3.6 or higher. Windows support for Revolver (AAX) will be coming soon.
Synchro Arts have just announced the public beta of VocALign Project 3 and VocALign Pro 4 as AAX plug-ins. They say:
VocALign Project 3 and VocALign Pro 4 are now available as AAX plug-ins.
They are designed to work with Pro Tools 11 and later. They will not work with Pro Tool 10.
They are available for Windows and OS X and support the same operating system versions as Pro Tools 11.
The look and function of the plug-in is nearly identical to the earlier Audio Suite plug-ins which work on Pro Tools 10 and earlier and so the same operating manuals and tutorials can be used.
The AAX plug-ins use the same licences as other plug-in versions of VocALign Project 3 and Pro 4 so current owners of the iLok licences for these products can use the AAX versions at no extra cost.
You must have an VocALign Project 3 or Pro 4 iLok license to use the beta plug-ins.
Very Important Note
There is an issue in the current versions of Pro Tool 11 which can result in the length of the output audio created by VocALign being to long. The signal will be followed by an area of silence.
Updated for version 2.0, Russ is back with this highly anticipated ‘Explained’ title. Russ takes you through the Hybrid power synth plug-in from start to finish, exploring every part of the synth and finishing off with some sound creation examples that will get your creative juices flowing.
“Not only does Russ deliver in his usually great fashion, but he has a knack for picking sounds which are entirely appropriate for the type of effects that Hybrid can produce.” David R
Russ begins with the important basics such as navigating the GUI, and loading and saving presets and patches. He then gets into the powerful sequencer section and insert and master effects. Up next is the heart of the synth, the oscillator sections with all of its filters, amps and mods.
Russ then shows you how to control Hybrid with Morph Groups and MIDI CC messages. Next, Russ gives several sound creation tutorials, showing you how to make various patches from scratch, that will be sure to get your mind racing with creativeness. Wrapping it up, the new version 2.0 features and functions are examined in detail, giving you full coverage of this amazing virtual synth.
If you use Hybrid for your productions, you must add this to your video arsenal. See how to harness the power of Hybrid today… Get “Hybrid Explained”.
Xfer Records have updated LFO Tools to version 1.2 adding AAX support for Pro Tools 10 and 11.
LFOTool is an FX utility plug-in for both Macintosh OS X® and Windows®. It empowers music producers to create tremolo, auto-pan, trance-gate, side-chain compressor simulation, and dubstep-type wobble effects with minimal effort.
LFOTool will process incoming audio as well as generate a MIDI message stream for controlling other instruments.
This unique plug-in also allows users to sculpt custom LFO curves and shapes and comes equipped with dozens of presets to achieve desired results quickly.
Consistent with other products in Xfer Records’ software lineup, LFOTool is coded entirely in C++ in order to minimize the CPU load during operation.
You can spend alll the hours in the world working on client work but if you don’t take care of getting paid then you may as well be working for free. HOFA is offering ProjectTime v2 for FREE. This handy freeware plugin with which you can measure the time spent for your productions is now to be found on thier homepage - with a brand new interface and useful new features.
- shows the time which has passed during a DAW project
- time measurement in hours, minutes, seconds
- pause function
- writes log to see when you worked on the project
- every log entry can be commented
- works on Windows and Mac with any DAW, VST, VST3, AU, RTAS, AAX.
You have to love the guys at Softube, not content with simply porting their entire plug-in line ot AAX they took the opportunity to improve and optimise the plug-ins. The prices remain the same and the upgrade is free to current Softube users.
Summary—Softube plug-ins version 2.0:
- Same world class sound as before
- Vastly improved CPU performance for most plug-ins on all plug-in formats
- AAX 64 bit support
- Free upgrade
- Unchanged prices
- 20 day trial license available to all (requires iLok)
You may recall our favourable review of the Scuffham S Series Amp emulations a few months ago on the blog.
They have just emailed us to let us know that they have now released version 2.2.
We’re pleased to announce that S-Gear v2.2 is now available for Pro Tools 10 and 11 as a Native AAX plug-in. S-Gear v2.25 installers include both 32bit and 64bit AAX format plug-ins for Pro Tools 10 and Pro Tools 11.
New in S-Gear v2.2:
- Wayfarer - 3 channel amp;
- Amp A & B switching;
- Tap temp and tempo sync on the Delay fx unit;
- Improved Noise Gate;
- Phase invert switch on the Pro Convolver; and
- Several other enhancements.
Our friends at Celemony have announced an update for Melodyne.
The free update to Version 2.1.2 makes Melodyne editor, assistant and essential compatible with Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks and improves interaction with all DAWs. To the download
Our friend Dave Hill at Cranesong has announced a new Vintage Emulation plug-in Peacock. He writes:
“Peacock can be used on a stereo bus to create the classic vinyl sound. On individual tracks it is also very useful in creating large fat sounds, smoothing of the harmonic content and making a nice smooth vintage sound on vocals and other instruments.
There are three main controls; Harmonic, Dynamic and Color. The Harmonic and Dynamic controls interact and control the level of the harmonic distortion. The Color switch changes the character / interaction of the controls and sets the maximum amount of midrange / LF color and the HF compression characteristic. The Dynamic control is the tricky one, what is does is time modulate the distortion components which are very frequency dependent due to the RIAA curve.
We reached out to AIR today to ask them if their was a definative list of bugs fixed in the new versions of the AIR IEP instruments. For example Structure no longer has the annoying browser hang bug and Strike now exports MIDI without it losing time in our tests.
Their response was interesting;
“Bug fixes from v1.3 to v2.0? It’s not that simple as Structure 2.0 is not simply a maintenance update, but rather a port to a completely new framework (RTAS to AAX). So many issues one could consider as “fixed” in 2.0 were not fixed but just do not appear in the AAX framework. Let me try to compile something for you, but maybe you have a list of issues from your users that I could review and indicate what is still an issue and what is no longer there.”
So it seems that AAX offers more than simple porting but the possibilty to remove issues that RTAS presented by its architecture. We already know that other developers are using AAX as an opportunity to streamline, improve existing plug-ins or both, one developer has told us their AAX versions will be far more efficient.
It’s also nice to see the AIR development team being so open to community feedback about possible bugs. So please use the comments to report any issues, either those you think remain from previoous incarnations or new ones. We will then complie the list and send it to them.
Native Instruments have today released Guitar Rig 5.2.0 which includes support for AAX 64 bit for Pro Tools 11.
Users must update via their Support Centre
We got a press release from Avid last week suggesting that AAX plug-ins had now exceeded 600 plug-ins. We do hope the counting did not include the somewhat odd claim that Avid made on their Facebook page of UVI now having over 40 plug-ins, as this actually meant the UVI Workstation engine that powers 40 libraries. If this is the case then you would have to count every Kontakt library in the same way, if everyone did that kind of counting then their plug-ins would now be in the thousands! The actual AAX count for UVI is 2 plug-ins, Workstation and Spark.
However this article is not to take apart the Avid quoted numbers, however the 600 AAX plug-in number was arrived at. It can be hard to get a sense of how successful the AAX adoption has been. We could make a comparison with VST3, the most recent other format (as we did in an earlier verson of this article) but as many will point out that is not really a fair comparison, no one has to buy VST3 plug-ins to carry on using VST. We could also make comparisons to previous new formats for Pro Tools, such as RTAS, TDM etc. for which our contacts tell us was slower.
Blue Cat owner Guillaume Jeulin suggests this ”AAX and VST3 are so different that I don’t think they should be compared. The reason why AAX is not compatible with RTAS is to support new HDX hardware and 64-bit (a radical change compared to RTAS/TDM). Avid had no choice but break compatibility. The reason for VST3 to exist is not clear, technically speaking, as it could have been done as a VST 2.5 or whatever compatible format. That’s why developers are not migrating: not worth the trouble. Why support the cost of an entirely new format for no additional customer benefit?”
There is of course the fact that Pro Tools users have no choice but to move to AAX 64 bit if they wish to use Pro Tools 11 and above, whereas other formats such as VST and AU plug-ins continue to work in most versions of your favourite DAW, unless of course that DAW happens to be Pro Tools.
Making users switch to a new format so they can use the latest version of your DAW is a brave strategy, what if developers don’t support you, what if users resist it, then you are screwed. However developers have supported AAX and the speed at which new AAX plug-ins arrive is accelerating every week - it is perhaps time for the AAX naysayers to find something else to predict failure for, I have no doubt they will.
A second factor why developers may be throwing their development money at AAX is that the security is built right into the AAX plug-ins using PACE technologies. Love or hate software protection if you are a developer it’s important to do all you can to protect your income stream from crackers. We are not sure if other formats offer the same level of protection. A cursory Google of AAX cracks and the list is almost empty. That will appeal to developers, even the most liberally minded ones.
What some people fail to appreciate is that developers are not simply sitting on their hands waiting to port to new plug-ins formats, they have other competing priorities such as the other formats and of course new product R&D, their daily shedule is not simply AAX. So setting aside the question mark over the AAX numbers, it’s no mean feat to get a plug-in format from a standing start to the kind of numbers we see for AAX. For Avid to have AAX done this is a seriously big achievement. Discuss.
To learn more about Sonnox and AAX visit this page.
MOTU have realeased Mach Five 3 in version 3.2, it includes:
- Mac, Windows 32 and 64 bit versions
- AAX 64 bit for Pro Tools
- New WahWah filter effect
- Enhanced performance
- Updated soundbank libraries
For those who made it to AES last week then you may have seen that Universal Audio were showing AAX versions of their hugely popular UAD plug-ins.
Our understanding is they are now in final testing and we’ve also had a tip off that there is something extra coming too… watch this space.