Looking back over 2017 it's hard for me to think of a single plug-in, hardware unit or Pro Audio application that I can say I've learnt or is better than any other product because over the last year there have been so many incredible Pro Audio releases. What I can report though is that over the last year I've taken a strong interest in "Machine Learning" A.I. algorithms and applications that embrace this new form of technology from brands such as Accusonus, Audionamix, iZotope and LANDR.
In 2016 we predicted that A.I. would be seen in more Pro Audio applications - that prediction wasn't far wrong. Coming out of 2017, I would go as far to predict that 2018 will explode with even more new and exciting A.I. algorithms that hopefully do more amazing processes that could speed up our audio production workflows and make us more efficient in the studio.
The A.I. algorithms I'm most impressed with are in iZotope Ozone 8 Master Assitant, LANDR's online mastering bot, Sonibles smart:EQ live and Accusonus's Drumatom 2 suite. Those A.I. products proved to me that the audio production landscape is changing and I'm excited to experience what else A.I has in store for us in the very near future.
For a number of years, we were being fed plug-in emulation after emulation - this trend was always going to run its course one day and I believe we're getting closer to that day as the months go by. There are only so many worthy audio hardware units left to emulate that people actually want emulations of... and I personally think we're there, really... what else is left to emulate? Check out Have All The "Classics" Been Modelled?
Machine Learning A.I. plug-ins and applications, from what I can tell, are writing new rulebooks that do away with presets. A.I. plug-ins have the potential to be whatever they want to be and hopefully help us in ways we never thought possible before in audio production.
There's a great article on the Avid blog called Artificial Intelligence in Music Making: is a Jobless Future Ahead of Us? If you are not entirely sure what Machine Learning is or how it can benefit us then I strongly recommend you read this article as it was this very post that confirmed why I find A.i. exciting and why I'm looking forward to embracing it more in my audio production workflow into 2018 and beyond.