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Entries in review (154)

Review: Waves SSL 4000 Collection

Waves have added the SSL 4000 Collection their special offers this month. They have never reduced the SSL 4000 collection this low.

In this video James puts the SSL 4000 Collection through its paces whilst mixing a funk rock style track he uses all 4 plug-ins in the pack to see if you can get that classic SSL sounds from software alone.

This is what Waves say about the SSL 4000 Collection…

Developed under license from Solid State Logic, the SSL 4000 Collection includes four meticulously modeled plugins based on the legendary SSL 4000 Series: the SSL E-Channel, the SSL G-Master Buss Compressor, the SSL G-Equalizer and the G-Channel.

You can check out the other offers Waves are running on their Specials Page too.

Review: Line 6 Amplifi iPad App and Amp

In this video James leaves the comfort of his studio to present a show & tell review of the Line 6 Amplifi 150 and finds out that it is much more than just a guitar amp.

Review: Dynaudio BM Compacts & BM9S Active Monitors

Recently I have become aware that my beloved Rogers LS3/5a monitors, that I have had since 1977, are not as good as I thought they were. It may be their age or the design limits of the speakers, but it has become clear to me that they were not as neutral as I thought they were.

What To Replace My BBC LS3/5a Monitors With?

So I started to research what I could replace them with. For me the most critical feature in studio monitors is that they are neutral and present to my ears an accurate representation of the audio I am listening to, neither flattering, or understating what I am monitoring. The LS3/5a speakers became a standard in broadcast here in the UK along with a number of BBC designed speakers and I wanted to retain that pedigree and so when I learnt that some of the Dynaudio ranges of monitors had been chosen by the BBC Radio and Music division to become their standard monitors I decided to investigate and try some of them for myself as these Dynaudio speakers would be replacing LS3/5a speakers in the BBC.  So if they had chosen some of the Dynaudio speakers then it would be worth seeing if they suited me too before considering casting the net wider.

Which Dynaudio system To Choose?

The AIR 6, AIR 20, and BM5 reference monitors had been chosen by the BBC and because I have a smaller room I ruled out the AIR20s and decided to try the BM series and the AIR6s. Dynaudio were very helpful and have let me borrow two 2.1 systems, a pair of AIR 6s with an AIR Base 12 as well as a pair of BM Compacts and a BM9S II and it is the BM system that I have chosen to consider first.

Dynaudio BM Compact & BM9S II System

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Pro Tools Expert Editors Choice Products Of 2014

We live in great times when it comes to creating great audio recordings and producing great music, there’s never been more choice for music making.

As Editor I got to review a lot of new stuff this year, the rest of the team will have their own favourites but here are my top picks, many of which I went and bought myself to use. In no particular order they are.

Universal Audio Apollo Twin

If you are in the market for a new interface for your Thunderbolt-equipped Mac then you must check out the Apollo Twin, this is one of the easiest Editors Choice Awards I’ve ever had to give… it’s a bloody beautiful miracle!

Read the whole Universal Audio Apollo Twin review here

Softube Console 1

It still seems that the jury is out on the future of mixing, but the for me the Console 1 seems to do something that many of the other solutions seem to still fail to manage and that’s taking us back to mixing with our ears. Anything that achieves this has got to be a good thing in my book. It’s not cheap at around £650/$1000, but it is a lot cheaper than the alternatives, it’s easy to use, works with the minimum of fuss and promises a lot more iterations in the future… it’s a new way of mixing which I don’t think most will understand until they use it. An utterly brilliant invention from the Swedes, it gets my Editors Choice.

Read my Softube Console 1 review here

Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt Audio Interface

Does the Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt deliver on the sound and ‘ultra low latency’ performance? The simple answer is yes. Enough for me to have gone and purchased this unit, it’s not coming out of my rack any time soon. In the words of Victor Kiam “I liked it so much I bought the company.” Well not quite, but it is now my new interface, bought and paid for with my hard earned. When I first saw the Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt I thought this unit was made just for me, now having used it I was right. It’s not going to be everyone’s choice, especially of you are a PC user, but I think for those Mac users wanting a flexible, great sounding and low latency audio interface this one has to be on your short list.

Read the Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt review here

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TritonAudio Fethead Review - In-line Microphone Preamplifier

You may recall some months ago Dan did an excelent review of the Cloudlifter CL-1 Mic Activator.

I’ve had the CL-1 on my shopping list for some time and then last week Neil pointed the team to an alternative the TritonAudio Fethead high-end in-line microphone preamp.

So we contacted TritonAudio and they sent us both the TritonAudio Fethead and the TritonAudio Faehead Phantom, the only difference between the two units is that the latter allows for phantom power to reach the microphone.

The TritonAudio Fethead

FetHead is a low-noise, high quality, in-line microphone preamplifier. It provides improved sound for Ribbon and Dynamic microphones. The electronics are housed in a robust metal chassis with a balanced 3-pole female XLR input and a balanced 3-pole male XLR output, rugged enough for use at home, in the studio or on tour.

FetHead is available in three versions
  • Fethead: A regular version for Ribbon and Dynamic microphones
  • Fethead Phantom: A FetHead for Condenser microphones
  • Fethead Filter:A FetHead with high-pass filter for Ribbon and Dynamic mic’s

The TritonAudio Fethead In Use

Setting up is a cinch, you simply put the The TritonAudio Fethead inline with your microphone and then turn on your phantom power to give the unit some juice. There are going to be obvious comparisons between the The TritonAudio Fethead and the Cloudlifter CL-1 and the first is that in terms of use the The TritonAudio Fethead sits better inline as it simply adds an extension to the cable, whereas the Cloudlifter CL-1 is a small box and so more obtrusive in use. The TritonAudio Fethead can be plugged in at any stage either at the end of the microphone or the cable depending on what suits your application.

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Antares AutoTune 8 Review - Flex-Tune And Low Latency Monitoring

Russ takes the latest version of Antares AutoTune for a spin to see if the new features in AutoTune 8 are worth exploring. Watch the video review of Antares AutoTune 8 as we check out both of these new features.

What Antares Say About AutoTune 8

Building on over 17 years as the overwhelming choice of professional musicians, producers and engineers, Auto-Tune 8 is the new generation of genuine Auto-Tune pitch and time correction.

New in Auto-Tune 8 is Antares’ revolutionary new Flex-Tune real-time pitch correction technology. While providing the seamless, natural pitch correction and audio quality that Auto-Tune is known for, Flex-Tune correction gives singers unmatched freedom to exercise their vocal creativity.

In addition to the option of Flex-Tune, Auto-Tune 8 features a new ultra-low latency mode for use during tracking or for live performance, along with a variety of workflow enhancements designed to let you address your pitch and time correction tasks with a maximum of creativity and a minimum of frustration

More about Antares AutoTune 8

Boz Digital Labs +10dB Review - Compex Vocal Stresser Plug-in Emulation

Boz Digital Labs are fast becoming well known for good quality, low cost plug-ins. They make some great plug-ins at good process and have a really nice ‘small-developer’ attitude.

Eli Krantzberg has just done an extended review, including their cool new A/B sound examples over at our sister site Logic Pro Expert. Eli writes;

2014 is a great year to be a DAW owner. New plug-ins of all sorts keep coming fast and furious. Some are hardware emulations, some are hybrids using existing technology to enhance older paradigms, while some are completely new and unique. And the prices are lower than ever. Enter Boz Digital Labs; one of the great new crop of up and coming plug-in developers. They have just released a new plug-in called +10dB, a faithful recreation of the rare and sought after Compex Vocal Stressor. This unit has a unique sonic signature and vibe to it; and has not already been emulated to death by every other plug-in developer. And no, it is not just another hardware channel strip emulation. With the absence of physical hardware restraints, Boz Digital Labs have gone beyond simple imitation. The plug-in comes in three flavours. Dynamics section only, Equaliser only, or the bundle that combines them together into a single channel strip. Here I’ll take a look at the bundle version.

It’s a great review and well worth a read, check it the Boz Digital Labs +10dB review over at Logic Pro Expert

Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt Review - Thunderbolt 2 Audio Interface For Mac

Updated on Sunday, December 14, 2014 at 11:08AM by Registered CommenterPro Tools Expert

We sometimes get people saying how amazing it must be to get gear to review all day. To be honest it’s a bit like working in a chocolate factory, the novelty soon wears off and in fact it can have the opposite effect and leave one cynical and unmoved by most new offerings.

So when Apogee announced the new Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt, I even surprised myself by how excited I was after reading the specification. As I’ve already said I’m rarely excited by new product announcements, but I wanted to be the one reviewing the Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt.

Why? It seemed to tick all the boxes for what I needed in terms of an interface, I was days away from moving to a second Apollo, but neither the Apollo or the Apollo 16 had exactly the I/O I needed for my workflow. Thankfully I have an Apollo Twin and a 4-710D, as well as an Octo card so I still have an Apollo tracking workflow when I need it, I couldn’t live without my UAD stuff.


  • 30×34 Thunderbolt™ 2 Audio Interface for Mac
  • 8 Mic preamps with up to 75 dB of gain and Advanced Stepped Gain circuit
  • Thunderbolt connectivity for ultra-low latency (1.1ms round trip with Logic Pro X)
  • Front panel Guitar I/O with Class A JFET inputs, dual mode re-amp outputs
  • Talkback functionality with built-in mic and control button
  • 2 PurePower headphone outputs
  • 10 separately assignable analog inputs
  • 16 analog outputs of premium Apogee conversion
  • Core Audio optimized DMA engine frees up Mac CPU for plug-ins and software instruments

However the large I/O count on the new Apogee Ensemble along with the flexible connectivity looked like it was designed just for me…how often does that happen? I have to be honest and say that I’ve become less and less happy with my Avid Omni interface, not because of the sound, but because I’ve always seemed to be working around it to get what I need, including if you recall having to replace a noisy fan. The only other reason for owning the Omni was that it gave me an easy way into Pro Tools HDX, which to be frank for a composer using a lot of virtual instruments (of which there are zero running AAX DSP) was becoming somewhat of a waste of time and money for my needs - I use the Apollo solution when I need to track with plug-ins at low latency. I’m not tracking orchestras or mixing Hollywood blockbusters so I’m really not going to miss the HDX. This is not to say that HDX is not of use to some such as large studios or sound stages, but in my experience and for my needs it offered no real benefit. I’m also unable to use it when working in other DAWs as they can’t take advantage of the DSP, so I wanted an interface that was not just limited to a single application. A recent survey we ran showed that around two thirds of us are using two or more DAWs in our work so interfaces need to be able to deal with that.

Anyway back to the review, getting hold of the new Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt was proving difficult, right now it’s easier to find unicorn poo, they seem to be in short supply. However thanks to Richard at Eastwood Sound and Vision one finally arrived at Pro Tools Expert HQ.

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Drobo Mini External Hard Drive Review And Tested With Pro Tools

More and more of us are working from home, many in a single room with no machine room where we can put our noisy and hot gear, it’s all in the same space. I’ve been on an ongoing mission to try and create a one-room ‘silent’ studio, regular readers of the blog will have seen my other efforts to achieve this, such as replacing the fan in my Avid Omni interface, hard drives are another area where noise can emanate.

I’ve been a listener of the ‘Mac Observer’s Mac Geek Gab Podcast’ for several years. One product they have been waxing lyrically about for several years is the Drobo. I’ll let the Drobo people explain how it works.

In a nutshell the Drobo connects to your computer or network and provides redundant data protection without the complexities of traditional RAID. Dynamically expand storage any time. Drobo currently holds up to 36TB, depending on the model, using any combination of 3.5” disk drives or 2.5” drives for the Drobo Mini. The Drobo family offers Thunderbolt, USB 3.0, Ethernet, iSCSI, and other connectivity options, so you get the data protection you need along with the speed and interface you want.

Through a series of upgrades and other buying decisions I’ve found myself with 3 2.5” SSD drives and so I decided to see how the Drobo Mini would work in my studio environment. In short the Drobo Mini is a 4 bay 2.5” drive host with Thunderbolt and USB3 connectivity, so it seemed the ideal Drobo for me to test. In addition to the 4 drive bays in the front the Drobo has a 5th mSATA SSD drive bay on the base where you can install an mSATA SSD. Drobo call this the ‘Accelerator Bay’ and claim it can give the Drobo a further speed boost.

Setting Up The Drobo Mini

I got it out the box, then I popped open the front cover and pushed and clicked the drives into place, no tools required. One thing to note, once you push your drives into place then as soon as the Drobo starts up for the first time it will format them, so make sure you’ve got all your data off any existing drives before you do this. Then I plugged in the external PSU and had a small battle to line up the PSU (it’s one of those one’s similar to the one used on the UAD Apollo Twin that locks in place) and getting them in can be a bugger. This was in fact the hardest part of setting up the Drobo.

Then I downloaded the Drobo Desktop software and installed it on my Mac.

I connected the Drobo to my Mac Pro ‘Trash Can’ via Thunderbolt and then powered it up. After a cool little light show the Drobo lit up with the Green surround lights and blue legend at the bottom to tell me that all is well, and hey presto it showed up on my desktop.

Best of all it was running and super quiet - giving my ultra-quiet Mac Pro a run for its money in the silence stakes.

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Review Of Eiosis AIR EQ Premium Plug-in

Russ takes a look and listen to the new Eiosis AIR EQ from Fabrice Gabriel. He gives a full show and tell of the features and some of the things he likes about it. Is it just another EQ plug-in or is there something special about this EQ? Find out by watching this extended review.

They describe it as “AirEQ, Beyond Analog - AirEQ was designed with a vision of achieving musical, technical and sonic excellence.

Simple, intuitive and quick to use, AirEQ is a musical equalizer plugin at its best.

The Water and Fire curves, as the Character and Strength parameters were adjusted by ear, so mixing engineers can focus on one thing - making music sound great.

With its unprecedented Character and Strength parameters, Air and Earth bands, ease of use, intuitive and musical features, AirEQ is an equalizer which is truly unique in design.

Additionally, with its transparent and precise sound, zero-delay processing and low CPU, you will always get the best quality processing without any compromise.

That’s why AirEQ is ideal for Mastering, Mixing, Post-Production, and any situation where getting the best musical EQ sound, fastest performance, and intuitive workflow is of the utmost importance.

Plugin for AAX32 & AAX64, VST3, VST2, AU, RTAS, OSX and Windows, 32 and 64 bits formats. Check our Hardware Requirements before purchase.

Watch the Review Of Eiosis AIR EQ Premium Plug-in here