If you want a quick round-up of some of the hottest new software 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:
ADAM Audio SP-5 Studio Headphones
What ADAM Audio Say About SP-5 Headphones
“Its sound characteristics are best described as analytically precise, being developed to satisfy the exacting demands of pro audio monitoring and mixing. This premium headphone integrates Ultrasone´s S-LOGIC technology, employing transducers spatially arranged to exploit the natural form of the human ear and utilizing the natural acoustics of the wearer’s pinna to channel sound into the ear canal. The result is a superbly natural sound experience with startlingly realistic spatial imaging of a quality typical of a stereo monitoring system installed and calibrated by experts. This system makes mixing on the SP-5 easier than on traditional headphone designs that simply point directly at the ear canal.”
What We Think About ADAM Audio SP-5 Headphones
Without a shadow of a doubt, ADAM Audio’s SP-5 headphones are in my books a big hit. Yes, these are what I consider to be an expensive purchase but the benefits of the smart S LOGIC tech and overall comfort outweigh the outlay. For me the SP-5 compliment my current ADAM monitoring setup as the two share tonal similarities which saves me a little time in my tracking workflow from second guessing my preamp choices in tracking situations.
I do have some concerns regarding the adjustable arms on the sides. However as with any new studio gear, time will tell, so I’m going to hold on to these headphones and report back regarding their durability in around six months. I’ll be putting these through their paces in my daily studio work to see if ADAM Audio’s first set of studio headphones are as durable as their monitors. I’m sure these will be… but let’s wait and see.
For more information about ADAM Audio SP-5 Headphones do visit the ADAM Audio Website.
Read our full review of ADAM Audio SP-5 Headphones.
LiquidSonics Illusion Reverb Plug-in
What LiquidSonics Say About Illusion
LiquidSonics’ Illusion is a revolutionary new reverb plug-in and introduces Fusion-IR | Synthesis, a groundbreaking evolution of the industry leading Fusion-IR modulated convolution technology.
Illusion goes beyond the abilities of traditional algorithmic reverbs by using a totally new approach to reverb simulation with a suite of highly advanced reverberation technologies that are impossible to implement with any other system. It represents nothing less than a revolution in contemporary reverb design.
Experience incredibly realistic chambers and rooms, expansive halls and cathedrals, classic non-linear reverbs and vintage plates.
What We Think Of Illusion By Liquidsonics
When I first heard the news that LiquidSonics were about to release a new reverb I thought their work would have been cut out for them to beat their previous product Seventh Heaven, which at the time I praised for sounding amazing. Truth be told, I still use Seventh Heaven regularly in my mixes, though I have one small gripe with it… it takes up nearly 10GB of space for the IRs on my system drive. Illusion isn’t Seventh Heaven, it’s something very different indeed. The UI features a great set of common controls that I found myself fully utilising, unlike other reverbs plug-ins which typically feature pages upon pages of dials that make me feel as though I need a science degree to fully appreciate and exploit. The digital footprint required for Illusion on my system drive is also greatly reduced compared to Seventh Heaven at 500MB. This digital weight saving is down to a new technology in Illusion called “Fusion-IR Synthesis”, here’s what LiquidSonics say about this:
Illusion pioneers a breakthrough approach to reverb simulation known as Fusion-IR | Synthesis.
A suite of highly advanced reverberation technologies synthesise Fusion-IRs to your precise specifications without the use of an external library of sampled impulse responses. Its beauty truly comes from within and it is perhaps the most versatile reverb processor available today.
Like other LiquidSonic reverbs, Illusion makes it easy to get great sounding reverbs sat in a mix. There is a slight hesitation between moving a control and hearing the change but this is a fairly typical behaviour of convolution reverbs. It’s something I got used to quickly so it’s a deal breaker.
The Flux effect is a nice addition as well, though to my ears it does sound quite subtle throughout the range. Part of me was expecting the flux modulation to be more pronounced, creative and chorus like.
If you are a stickler for quality reverbs in your mixes then you have got to consider Illusion. Like previous LiquidSonic reverbs, Illusion will not disappoint.
Three EQ modules:
EQ for reflections
EQ for tail
Wealth of presets to get going with
No unnecessary controls, LiquidSonics have given us just the meat and potatoes we hunger for in a reverb plug-in
Tiny amount of hard drive space required compared to previous LiquidSonic reverbs
Slight hesitation between adjusting a control and sound changing. It’s something I got used to quickly so it’s a deal breaker
All in all, Illusion is a serious reverb plug-in for those that take reverb seriously. The sounds of the reverbs are easy to place in any mix and you’ll find that subtle amounts of short room reverbs within Illusion work brilliantly at adding context and depth that, for me at least, suit my style of mixing.
Visit LiquidSonics for more information and to download the 14 day free trial.
Read our full review of LiquidSonics Illusion.
Harmonics By Softube
What Softube Say About Harmonics
Guitars, vocals, drums, bass, even synths often need some extra grunt to push them over the edge, but distortion can destroy dynamics and cause more problems than it solves. Too little and your sound doesn’t cut through and fill its space. Too much and you lose the light and shade, the attack and decay. Transients blend into tails, and detail and definition go out the window.
Five genuinely different component-modelled distortion sounds
Revolutionary ‘Dynamic Transient Control’ technology
‘Amount’ knob to control the amount of saturation
‘Character’ knob controls tone or color of the distortion
High and low cut filters can be placed before or after distortion
Wet/dry blend knob for parallel processing
THD meter allows fine control of subtle saturation
All of the grunt, none of the drawbacks
Includes presets by Joe Chiccarelli and Howard Willing
What We Think About Harmonics By Softube
Saturation is such an important ingredient in the mix process as it imparts interest, excitement, character, colour and indeed focus to tracks that struggle to find their place in amongst busy mixes. There are countless saturation plug-ins on the market, many of which are like-for-like recreation based on popular studio gear of old… others are more modern complex distortion tools that often over complicate the process. Harmonics is neither of those, instead I feel as though it sits mid table within the saturation plug-in genre. It provides familiar sonics without boasting a connection (or licensing deal) with any pro audio brand while remaining an extremely easy to use and fun plug-in to operate.
Like Softube’s Tape, Harmonics sounds purposeful on just about every track type you through at it. Subtle amounts of drive across a large number of tracks makes for a glorious colour enhancement at the mix bus end, however, if you are feeling fruity and you are looking for attitude, grit or even aggression then push the input trim, max the drive and fiddle with the character dial until you hear and feel a breakup in the sound of your tracks like you’ve never heard before from a plug-in.
Discover our full verdict by reading our full review of Softube’s Harmonics.
Instantly transforms boring sounding tracks into tasteful toned tracks effortlessly
Includes 5 very different sounding flavours of grit.
So easy to use, within seconds you can achieve and apply the perfect style of saturation to your tracks
As far as we can tell, none!
For more information about Harmonics visit the Softube website.
Steven Slate Drums 5 By Steven Slate Drums
What Steven Slate Drums Say About SSD5
SSD5 makes editing your kits a breeze. Select individual drums, customise the mics and routing, choose your MIDI maps, customise your velocity and dynamic curves for each drums, and build your custom tone exactly as you want it.
SSD5’s mixer allows you to get the perfect mix of your drums, with easy access to ambient room mics and close mics. It allows you to easily route your drums discretely to your DAW so you can use your favourite plugins to get the ultimate drum tone. We also added a new master volume control to the entire plugin.
Customise your MIDI Map with SSD5’s completely reworked MIDI MAP converter. Everything in a kit preset is easily mappable and re-mappable plus you can quickly load mapping presets.
Experience a taste of SSD5 with full functionality and one incredible Deluxe 2 Kit for FREE. Not an expiring demo!
All New User Interface Built from the Ground Up
New Master Volume Engine Control
New SSD5 Physically Modelled Drum Playback Algorithm
Deluxe 2 Drum Library Adds 50 New Instruments
77 Snares, 84 Kicks, 58 Toms
11 Hi-Hats, 14 Crashes, 6 Rides, 4 Splashes, 3 Chinas
9 Percussion Instruments (1 Clap, 1 Tambourine, 1 Cowbell)
4 Sound Effect Instruments
Analog Processed and Unprocessed Samples
Famous “Artist Modeled” Kits
Drumkit or Pad Cells View Allows Up To 32 Drum Instruments
Completely Reworked Routing/Mapping System
macOS Support in AAX/VST/AU Formats
Windows Support in AAX/VST Formats
What We Think About SSD5 By Steven Slate Drums
Once I finally managed to get my SSD5 installer downloaded (there is a known issue with the installer on Windows that the team at Steven Slate Drums are working very hard to fix) I was very impressed. The “new” GUI is simple to navigate and intuitive. The new Grooves section is fun and the ability to drag grooves straight from the SSD5 GUI to the timeline is very sweet. This allows you to quickly build up the drum track for your song. You can then edit the grooves in your DAW timeline to build up a groove that is perfect for the track.
The new kit (Deluxe 2) sounds really nice, if not a little over processed for my tastes. SSD have of course kept compatibility with the older SSD4 libraries like the SSD Blackbird Drums library but you will have to download an update patch to your libraries to make this work properly, which will not be a major issue.
Very quick and easy to create great sounding processed modern rock and pop drum track
There is a lot more “tweakablilty” to SSD5. You can really dig in and craft the drum sounds exactly how you like them.
The interaction between the elements of the kit is really nice. If you hit a tom you hear just enough snare rattle to make sound “real”.
If you like your drums a little less processed it might take you a little while to tweak the presets to get a kit you are happy with.
Currently there is an issue when installing on some Windows machines. There is a work around but it is a little long winded involving downloading the installers on a machine running Mac OS. But we are assured the development team are working on this issue as their top priority.
You can find out more about SSD5 at the Steven Slate Drums website.