If you want a quick round-up of some of the hottest new software and hardware releases for use in music and post-production then at Production Expert we've created this summary. We tell you what the brand says and what we think, we also include links to help you find out more.
This week we take a look at...
Console 1 American A Class From Softube
What Softube Say About American A Class
The team at Softube has once again developed a powerful channel strip emulation based on what they consider to be the greatest American mixing console, we believe there's something API about this but we'll never really know for sure.
American A Class features many of the main controls found in previous Console 1 emulations such as gate/transient designing, four-band EQ with proportional Q and range control, a fascinating compressor design which, unique to this emulation, can be switched between feedback and feed forward operations along with a warm, crunchy output drive section. Softube believes no modern studio is complete until this sonic option is at hand.
What We Think About Softube American A Class
What we like about any new Softube Console 1 emulation is operational familiarity. If you use a Console 1 then you'll know exactly what we are on about here. Whenever we demo or purchase a new Console 1 emulation, such as the American A Class, we instantly know how to use it, the only differences are in the characteristics of the tone and dynamic sections. There is something very sweet sounding about the American A Class EQ section which is different from previous emulations. The output drive has a girth and presence to it that's quite addictive.
Putting performance and usability aside, the best news is that for the first time non Console 1 users can use this emulation in plug-in format within their DAW which we think is a smart move as not everyone is a fan of control surfaces. It would be nice one day to see previous Console 1 emulations also port over the standalone plug-in format.
In the coming weeks we'll publish a free video tutorial showing how you can use Softube's new Console 1 American A Class plug-in to mix a song.
- It's the first time that Softube have provided a plug-in version of one of their console 1 channel strips
- Output Drive is lush sounding, try it and you'll hear what we're on about
- Could be seen as quite a niche product in a world that has plenty of outstanding console emulation plug-ins on offer
Learn More About Softube American A Class
To learn more about American A Class from Softube
INTENSITY From Zynaptiq
What Zynaptiq Say About INTENSITY
Zynaptiq says INTENSITY is a new kind of audio processor for mixing, mastering and sound design that was built on techniques typically found in facial recognition algorithms, INTENSITY brings out a sound’s inherent detail, increases its perceived loudness and density, and adds insane amounts of clarity. The unique algorithm carves out important signal features – making sounds sound more like themselves – and is operated with essentially one control. Between the proprietary algorithm and an optional soft-knee saturating limiter in the plugin’s output stage, INTENSITY also excels at attaining maximum loudness and creating a beautifully aggressive tone.
What We Think About Zynaptiq INTENSITY
I absolutely adore INTENSITY because it adds immense clarity and body to mixes that usually can only be achieved with a large number of plug-ins chained together, for the life of me, I couldn’t tell you what types of plug-ins you would need to use to get results to sound anything like what INTENSITY can produce - Dan Cooper
Read our full review of INTENSITY
- Extremely easy to use, in fact, INTENSITY is the easiest Zynaptiq plug-in to use to date
- Adds depth, clarity and dimension without sacrificing dynamics
- No other plug-in or plug-in chain we can think of can produce the amazing results that INTENSITY can achieve
- Pricing may be out of reach for many
- Level Comp feature could do a slightly better job at matching pre and post processed levels
Learn More About Zynaptiq INTENSITY
To learn more about INTENSITY by Zynaptiq
Product ERA Bundles From Accusonus
What Accusonus Say ERA Bundles
Accusonus say the purpose of these plug-ins is to provide users with high-quality audio repair processing in seconds with just a turn of a single dial. They believe these plug-in are best suited for non-post production experts such as videographer enthusiasts on a budget, content creators, podcasters, musicians, all these types of users who may need at some time or other high-quality audio repair plug-ins. Don't doubt the capabilities of these plug-ins as they may appear simple, these are very powerful plug-ins, well suited for post-production and recording professionals who work to tight deadlines and demand great sounding results with fast workflows.
What We Think About Accusonus ERA Bundles
The two new audio repair plug-ins in this Accusonus one-knob style series are very powerful. In testing I was pleasantly surprised at how well both performed across a variety of poorly recorded audio examples. ERA Plosive Remover does a great job of attenuating pesky low-end rumbles in Ps common in spoken word recordings. To my ears the results of ERA Plosive Remover never sounded touched or mangled. I can report similar findings with ERA De-Esser. This plug-in seems to automatically detect where the problematic sibilance is in the frequency range and by use of the single dial enables me to push down the sibilance in very transparent ways.
What I love about all these ERA one-knob audio repair plug-ins is that they all, in their own way, force me to use my ears. These audio repair tools make it very easy for me to hear when I'm overcooking any of the processes which enables me to work quickly to get troublesome audio into shape. ERA Noise Remover and ERA Plosive Remover are my top picks from this suite only because I can think of several applications where both of these will be extremely useful in both mixing voice-overs in post-production and mixing vocals in music production.
Read our full review of Accusonus ERA Bundle
- Two new welcome audio repair additions to the one knob plug-ins series
- Audio repair plug-ins don't come any simpler than these, for the price they are an absolute no-brainer
Learn More About Accusonus ERA Bundles
To learn more about ERA Bundle Standard and ERA Bundle Pro by Accusonous
Slate Digital ML-2 And Classic Instrument Microphones Collection
What Slate Say About The Slate Digital ML-2 And Classic Instrument Microphones Collection
The ML-2 is a small-diaphragm fixed cardioid pattern condenser microphone which is at just over 3 inches long and is the little sister to the original ML-1 large diaphragm condenser. It needs the software in the form of a new plug-in module for the Slate Virtual Mic Rack or VMR. The Classic Instrument Microphones Collection is 18 of the most commonly used mostly small but some large diaphragm mics (Condensers, Dynamics and Ribbons) found, used and loved in recording studios all over the world. There are 18 different models to choose from including a vintage and modern sounding SM-57 model to a Royer R-121 Ribbon to studio favourites like the AKG- D112 and C414.
The Slate Digital ML-2 is priced at $149 with the mic models coming as part of the Slate Digital Everything Bundle at $14.99 per month.
What We Think About Slate Digital ML-2 And Classic Instrument Microphones Collection
"The Slate mics sound fantastic working through the preamps on my console. I've also tried the Slate mics with some Crane Song, API, and Neve hardware, and they all work really well.
I love the new models, I love the microphone model choices they've made and they offer considerable variety, and that's what matters. Quite frankly whether you think they sound like the mics they're supposed to be, I don't believe it matters.
The Slate Digital ML-2 Microphone And Classic Instrument Mics Software combination is a very useful and powerful tool. Check it out!" James Ivey
- The addition of the smaller ML-2 mic and new microphone models makes this an even more versatile and attractive package for those who want a locker full of mics but don't have the money to buy the real things.
- The use of the term 'dynamic' may confuse some.
Learn More About The Slate Digital ML-2 And Classic Instrument Microphones Collection
To learn more about the Slate Digital ML-2 And Classic Instrument Microphones Collection you can read James' article in full, watch his in-depth review, listen to additional audio examples and watch two tutorials where James shows how he used the Slate Digital ML-1 and ML-2 mics to mic up a drum kit and a guitar speaker.
Output Arcade Loop And Sample Synthesiser
What Output Say About Their Arcade Instrument
Eli has stated his admiration for Output publicly here before. Their plug-ins are creatively designed and unique sounding. They are a youthful company not afraid to think outside the box and take chances. Their latest offering, Arcade, which has been in the works for two and a half years, breaks new ground not only for them but for the entire industry.
This is not simply another subscription service looking for sign-ups. Arcade is a playable loop synthesizer, with new content every day. The idea behind Arcade is to streamline workflow by eliminating endless folders and subfolders and websites from the search process when looking for content to work with.
Arcade is free for the first 100 days (that’s over three months!) and then $10 per month after that. With the promise of regular feature updates, product lines, and loop content, this looks to be a fantastic, stimulating, and continually evolving creative tool.
What We Think About Output Arcade
"To be honest I have probably lost two afternoons to Arcade getting my head around what is going on. If you want to get down and dirty with your samples and loops this is a great place to be. The cool thing is that Arcade is being developed all the time and as long as you keep your subscription up to date there will be more lines, kits and loops being added as we understand it daily. This is definitely one to check out for yourselves if you are in any way shape or form curious." James Ivey
"I love this thing, it's incredibly powerful, its only limited by your imagination and quite how far you want to take things really." Eli Krantberg
- Very playable
- Enormous fun
- Great resource for sound designers and musicians alike
- The pricing model may put some people off.
Learn More About Output Arcade
Sennheiser Apogee Ambeo Smart Headset
What Sennheiser Say About The Apogee Ambeo Smart Headset
Owners of iOS devices can now produce binaural recordings just by wearing a headset. To achieve that, the microphones are positioned to pick up the sound just like your ears would. With the Smart Slider, you can adjust the mic sensitivity to normal or loud, i.e. concert, environments. This results in a three-dimensional and immersive sound experience, which can be enjoyed with any headphones on any stereo-capable device, allowing the listener to experience audio as if they were actually there.
Physically the headset could be described as being somewhere between an overengineered set of earbuds and a set of IEMs. The over-the-ear-and-in format is very IEM like, the headset comes with three alternative sizes of silicone tip. The semi-rigid cable strain relief was sturdy and inspires the confidence of long, dropout-free service.
The other end of the package terminates in a lightning connector for connection to a suitable iOS device (Android support is promised in the future). In between is a chunky control box for volume, stop, previous and next - standard phone stuff and there is a mic on the cable for voice calls.
The price for the Sennheiser Ambeo Headset is $299.95 in the US and $259.99 including VAT in the UK
What We Think Of The Sennheiser Apogee Ambeo Smart Headset
"I love the Ambeo Smart Headset. It's a useful replacement for my earbuds and as such, I always have it with me. With the first generation of quality smartphone cameras, all of a sudden you actually have a camera on you when that magic moment presents itself. In the same way, if I have the Ambeo headset on my head (fairly likely) and something interesting happens I have the means at the flick of a (smart) slider to launch my camera app and I can be videoing with high-quality video and immersive audio. Capturing moments is about timing and for me, that's where this wins every time. One unexpected bonus of this arrangement is that these headphones function in a noise cancelling mode too!" Julian Rodgers
- Capture moments with minimal fuss.
- Works as a normal headset
- Great way to get into Binaural
- Maybe somewhat niche for some
Learn More About The Sennheiser Apogee Ambeo Smart Headset
If you want to learn more about the Sennheiser Apogee Ambeo Smart Headset then check out our news story and Julian's demo and review will be out shortly in which you will be able to hear exclusive recordings made by Julian as well as a video titled a "POV of a Day in the life of Bob Clearmountain."
Beatmaker From UJAM
What UJAM Say About Beatmaker
UJAM Beatmakers upgrade your production with genre-authentic sounds and grooves of impeccable quality.
Beatmaker EDEN is a dance music and EDM specialist. For any genre from small sweaty Berlin clubs to ginormous global festivals, EDEN provides the driving beats that keep the party going.
Beatmaker HUSTLE is your fixer for bass music styles like Trap and Grime. On the money for all types of modern urban style genres from Dirty South to Hip Hop to Big Room Bass Music, HUSTLE adds a wide range of basement-shaking grooves and gritty sounds to your production.
Think of Beatmaker Dope as your friend who works at the local record store and has been digging through classic records for the past 20 years to create the most authentic drums you could ask for, but on top of that he's also great at mixing.
What We Think About Beatmaker
Creating very genre specific virtual instruments seems a natural progression. With Drum Instruments the first generation set the template of a "do-anything" plug-in. These are alive and well in the form of the vast top end drum instruments of today. However, with flexibility comes complexity and bloat.
If you only make one style of music then why be presented with options you won't use? In the same way as some sample libraries have become very genre-specific why not specialise in on very specific genres when developing Virtual instruments. We like it (even if we don't make much Trap or EDM!)
- Carefully chosen, style appropriate sounds and patterns.
- Easy UI and workflow which is common to all the UJAM Drum Instruments
- While a tool which delivers results quickly which conform to the conventions of a style is desirable, the danger always exists that it could encourage you to write stuff which sounds the same as everyone else. But ultimately that's up to the user!