So far 2019 has been a great year for studio gear. We’ve had the privilege to test quite a lot it. From plug-ins to outboard, microphones to audio interfaces, monitors to computers… check out our product tests below of some of the best studio gear of 2019.
The Boss Bundle LED Distortion is a perfect recreation of the first "amp in a box" pedal that replicates the tone and distortion character of famous black and gold British guitar amps. In this video, I test it out on a lead guitar, fretless electric bass, and drum buss. In each instance, it's got character and drive to spare.
Antares recently released a new addition to their Auto-Tune range called Auto-Tune Artist that replaces the old Auto-Tune Live plug-in. Rather than just test the new Auto-Tune Artist on its own we thought it would be more helpful to measure its performance and capabilities against a rival real time tuning plug-in, the Waves Real-Time Tune.
In this article we take a close look at the new Orion 32HD Gen 3 from Antelope Audio. James Ivey and band ‘The Studio Rats’ use the Orion 32HD Gen 3 to record their new track ‘Falling Deeper’ featuring the voice of Abi F Jones.
Plug-ins that promise to speed up mixing workflows and sound good in the process generally catch our attention at Production Expert. We’ve tested a number of intelligent plug-ins, many of which work quite well though some AI compressor plug-ins can struggle to perform well across a wide range of different mix applications. Sonible, the makers of smartEQ and other intelligent EQ plug-ins has just released their latest plug-in smartComp which promises to dial in automatic compression with results that sound transparent.
I have had the great pleasure of having one of the new SSL SiX desktop mixers at my studio for the last couple of weeks. During that time I’ve been testing it and putting the SSL SiX through its paces both in the studio and at live events. When it was first launched I think some thought that this is just a small mixer with an SSL badge on it, why buy the SSL SiX when there are mixers with more features and considerably cheaper? Having used it in anger in a variety of applications, here are my 7 reasons as to why you should seriously consider buying the SSL SiX.
Some equipment you buy because you like how it sounds. Some equipment you buy because you like how it works and some equipment you buy because it allows you to work faster. And then there is the gear you buy because it does all three. I’m quite new to the Amp/Speaker switcher party, but I’m in now and I’m staying. In this article I’ll tell you how the Amp/Speaker switcher works, show you how they can speed up your recording workflow and tell you about two units I have had the opportunity to try in my studio.
In the first of this pair of articles, I talked about the studio clean-up operation and the physical relocation of my studio toys getting ready for the addition of the Flock Audio Patch into my studio workflow. In this article I’m going to talk about setting up, routing and managing the Patch, some of the choices I had to make early on in the process and how Patch has changed my recording, mixing and mastering world.
This article could easily have been titled “the great studio spring clean of 2019” as one of the major issues I had to deal with was a mass of extra cables in my rig. You know the sort of thing that was not really installed properly to “fix” an issue or run in a piece of gear for a demo or review session. But the main reason for this studio overhaul was to install not only a new piece of kit, but also a new and exciting way of working. Introducing the Patch, digitally controlled analogue patch back by Flock Audio.
The NDH 20s are the first headphones Neumann have ever made. Do Neumann make headphones as well as they make microphones? Julian tries a pair and in this article shares his thoughts and experiences.
In this article, James Ivey takes a look at the new Orion 32+ Gen 3 from Antelope Audio. Read the article and watch the video to find out what James thinks of the new orion interface from Antelope.
HEDD have announced a pair of headphones to complement their growing range of monitor speakers, which like their monitors feature the AMT driver for which they are best known. These open backed headphones feature a redesigned AMT driver which has been adapted to deliver full range performance rather than the HF only duties the AMT tweeters cater for in the monitors.
I was asked by a friend just the other day why I set up my drum overhead mics the way I did. I explained my ideas and methodologies and he said “Haven’t you tried anything more conventional?” This article is the story of my experiments including audio examples for you to listen to and compare for yourself.
Did this recording rig work or did we break it? On paper this rig should work, however, experience has taught us that in the real world these sorts of setups can throw up an issue or two. In this test we placed several microphones around a drum kit in order to test the performance of two Focusrite Clarett’s paired using ADAT connected via USB-C to an Apple iPad Pro 2018 in an input heavy tracking session example.
The team at Slate Digital are very pleased to announce the amazing sounding TH-U Slate Edition guitar amp, cabinet and effects emulations is now available as part of the Slate Everything bundle as well as a stand-alone purchase. I love a good amp-sim so check out the video where I dig in and create 3 very different, yet classic guitar tones.
At NAMM 2019 Antelope Audio announced the Edge Go, a USB microphone which features internal FPGA chips, which allows the Edge Go to process it’s own microphone emulations of many popular vintage mics. But does it work and is it any good? Let’s find out.
Online collaboration makes today's modern music production world go round but it’s not without it’s pain points. The most frustrating aspect of online collaboration is project management, more often than not it’s organised chaos… Not anymore, ladies and gentlemen, welcome Bounce Boss which is a powerful cloud based platform that enables users to manage all their collaborators in one place. Watch our video review to learn more.
Back in January 2019 at the Winter NAMM show, our friends at console, mic pre and interface manufacturer Audient announced the new Sono audio interface. Sono forges a new path for the UK based company as it is firmly geared towards guitar players who want to produce high quality recordings with a minimum of extra kit. We have been using Sono not only to record guitars using the built in room, microphone and speaker cabinet simulation by Two notes audio engineering, but also vocals and drums for this demo session. Take a look and listen to how this small, yet powerful interface is able to adapt to all of your studio requirements.
I have lost count of the number of times I have seen vintage ribbon mics used as drum overhead mics, but have you seen the prices for mics like the Coles 4081 go for on the second hand market? Not to mention that vintage mics have a habit of packing up when you least expect it and most need them. I decided to try some modern ribbon microphones by Sontronics and Audio Technica and put them over my kit and let you hear how they fair. I might have just found a new favourite set of overhead mics.
I have been trying to squeeze every last centimeter out of my recording and mixing chain, which led me to the RME ADI-2 Pro which amongst other things has a stunning sounding stereo Analogue to Digital converter. Perfect for the final A/D in my hybrid studio workflow. In this test we take a look at what else this very powerful half U rack unit can do.
We take a look at the new Gates Bundle for Virtual Mix Rack from Slate Digital. In the video we first test the Drums gate on Kick drum, Snare and Toms, before trying the Classic gate on a Vocal track.
In this article we test and compare 3 Ambisonics plug-ins, the Sennheiser AMBEO A-B convertor, Dear Reality AMBI MICRO and Noise Maker’s AMBI HEAD HD to see how they performed side by side in Ambisonics workflows.
Eventide has released Instant Flanger Mk ll, a free update to registered owners of Eventide’s Anthology X or Anthology Xl software bundles. Instant Flanger Mk ll emulates to iconic sounds of the original 1975 Eventide Clockworks Instant Flanger hardware unit. We try it on an electric guitar part to see how well it stands up to the original hardware it is based on.
In this video for Production Expert made with the support of Universal Audio, Technical Editor James Ivey invites 2 friends to record a track with him using 2 Universal Apollo X16 audio interfaces. James also shows how he uses the UA Apollo 16 Generation 2 in a console workflow allowing him to access many great UAD-2 effects emulations. We also answer the question about which sounds better the new Apollo X16 or Gen 2 Apollo 16 interface.
In this test we put three popular de-clipper plug-ins up against each other in a blind listening test. Quality de-clipper plug-ins, such as the three products featured in this test, will repair and reconstruct clipped peaks lost (or not recorded) in the tracking process resulting in audio that sounds cleaner and, most importantly, usable. Clipping is a form of distortion artefact… not the type you want. Vote for the example you prefer the sound of.
In this free video tutorial Dan Cooper shows you a mastering EQ plug-in he’s really enthusiastic about. It’s utterly transparent and always manages to add that sheen to music through its simple to set EQ controls and the resulting masters don’t sound overly harsh or overdone.
GetGoodDrums is an impressive new company. Their purpose built Smash and Grab drum compressor brings a surprisingly fresh, intuitive, and musical plug-in to the table in an already extremely crowded market. In this video, you’ll see and hear how it works on more nuanced and complex drum parts; that use grace notes, dynamics, fills, rolls, and more.
When we heard that our friends at Create Pro has done the impossible to get a Thunderbolt card running in a Mac Pro Cheese-grater, we knew we had to bring it to you.
The new NDH20s from Neumann look like a lovely set of headphones, of all the stats the one which caught our eye was the high impedance. What difference does the impedance of a pair of headphones make?
Most of us working in home studios use 2-way nearfield monitoring. 3-way monitors in smaller home studio environments are often impractical for three reasons. First, is cost, second is the physical size of the monitors and third is the size of the room. Eve Audio have a unique solution to 3 way monitoring with their SC305 model, that addresses all these obstacles.
Chord Composer from Intuitive Audio is a chord generator plug-in which allows you to create fully customizable chord progressions, based on varying amounts of input from the user. It’s part chord progression “generator” and part chord progression “builder”. In this video, I test it out to see how it works in terms of the different ways it can generate chord patterns and rhythms based on varying degrees of user input.