If you missed the earlier parts of this new series then to reiterate.
In this series I'm going to share the plug-ins I JUST LOVE. Some of them are going to be popular, some not so. Some plug-ins do amazingly complex things whilst other very simple things. These are the plug-ins that you will almost always found sat on my mix somewhere because when I'm mixing I think 'I know what is going to help that' or in some cases rescue it!
I'm going to choose a different type of plug-in for each post and I hope you will also suggest a similar plug-in that you use for the same job. What I hope we achieve with this series is sharing of our favourite plug-ins.
I'm not expecting you to agree with my choices, or to go out and buy every plug-in I talk about. You may want to try them, but like me you may already have a plug-in that's a faithful friend to you, if that's the case then keep on using it.
As I say what I hope the articles and the comments do is point all of us to some real gems that we may never have tried. Enjoy!
Air Music Technology originally created Xpand! as part of the Creative Collection of instrument plug-ins included as part of Avid™ Pro Tools™. With the release of Pro Tools 8, this widely popular workstation was given new controls, improved features, an additional Gigabyte of sounds, and a new name: Xpand!2. As the popularity of Pro Tools grew, more and more musicians and producers came to rely on the incredible sonic firepower of this amazing workstation. Xpand!2 continued to evolve, and demand grew. Finally, Xpand!2 is now available on its own, available to anyone who hungers for the finest sounds—instantly.
Xpand!2 is a multitimbral workstation offering four active sound slots, or parts, per patch. Each part is provided with its own MIDI channel, Note Range (Zone), Mix, Arpeggiation, Modulation, and Effects settings—an excellent method for creating individual parts. Harnessing the four parts together to build one amazing Patch is where Xpand!2 reveals its true power. The Voice Mode for each part can be set to polyphonic or monophonic. Polyphonic parts can have up to 64 voices; monophonic parts offer First, Last, Highest, or Lowest priority making it easy to designate a bass, lead, or solo instrument.
Why I Love AIR Xpand!2
I'm a songwriter so I need to get ideas down with as little distraction as possible.
Part of that process is having great sounds I can call upon fast without all the rigmarole of loading a sampler then a library - Xpand!2 is just that, it gives me access to all sorts of sounds I can use in my ideas. They are good enough to keep the inspiration on tap and often remain in the track to final mix, sometimes I will substitute or augment with something more specialist such as a bass or piano library.
In many ways Xpand!2 reminds me of the Emu Proteus I used to own, which was a hardware rompler that gave me a library of sounds I could use when writing. However Xpand!2 is in software format. AIR Xpand!2 used to be exclusively a Pro Tools VI but is now also available in AU and VST for use in your favourite DAW - I use it all the time in Studio One, now I have a favourite synth I'm comfortable with.
Granted there are more powerful synths and sample libraries you can buy, but when it comes to bread and butter sounds then Xpand!2 takes a lot of beating.
Agree or disagree? Let me know your go-to sound source for all around sound generation.