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Wusik Sound Magazine April 2012


Wusik Sound Magazine Issue April 2012. Managing Editor: MoniKe Assistant Editors: David Baer A. Arsov Production Manager: MoniKe

Staff: A. Arsov Adrian Frost - aka anzoid Ben Paturzo - aka Astrin Danny Danzi David Baer - aka dmbaer David Keenum Ginno '' Legaspi Jeffrey Powell Rishabh Rajan Rob Mitchell - aka Examigan Robert Halvarsson Tomislav Zlatić WilliamK Proof-readers for this issue: Adrian Frost David Baer

Hello, everyone. As Ben Paturzo mentioned here in the last issue, I’ve been asked to be the new assistant editor for the magazine. Given that this publication is entirely put together by volunteer writers, I have new appreciation for the phrase “herding cats”. I just started writing for WMS last summer, and, honestly, it’s been and continues to be a blast. Let me briefly introduce myself. I use the byline “dmbaer” here because that’s my ID on several music forums. I’m a professional geek. That is, I’m a software engineer who’s been designing and writing code for over 40 years. I adore music and I love cool technology. For a period of time, I wrote for several software development publications, most notably The Delphi Magazine, so writing has become fairly effortless for me. But I’ve never had so much fun doing it until now. That’s me pictured below with my assistant Gio Gio. I’m especially pleased to be writing this welcome message because I get to introduce a new writer that we’re all very excited to have joining us. Danny Danzi (pictured below ... good thing he’s holding a guitar or you’d never guess he’s a rock musician) is someone I became familiar with on the Cakewalk forum. Over the several years that I’ve been reading posts there, it became clear that Danny is someone who really knows his stuff when it comes to audio and computer music production. Not only that, he writes prolifically and with great clarity (plus he must be the fastest typist I’ve ever encountered, given his often epic posts on the Cakewalk forum). What took a little while longer to realize was the fact that Danny is a thoroughly stand-up guy ... a real gentleman who’s invariably generous in sharing his knowledge and expertise with others. We all feel very lucky to have him contributing. Hope you enjoy this issue. David Baer

Covers and Some Pictures: EVE’s Advertising: Henry Gibson

Some of the products reviewed in Wusik Sound Magazine are copies provided free of charge for reviewing purposes.

David Baer

A. Arsov


Table of Contents Table of Contents Creating Sounds: FM Synthesis Part 4 - Complexity by Adrian Frost

DanziLand Dispatch: Monitor Correction by Danny Danzi

Freebie You Shouldn't Have Missed Last Month: Part 1 - Free Software Part 2 - Free Software Part 3 - Free Soundware by Tomislav Zlatic Interview: Joshua Penman from Akara by Robert Halvarsson


Articles: Reason 6 by A. Arsov Perfect Song by Ben Paturzo Tutorial: Working on the (Effects) Chain Gang by dmbaer

Reviews Patchpool - ChromaZone Soundbank by Jeffrey Powell SynthMaster by dmbaer

Voxengo Crunchessor an Ultimate Compressor by A. Arsov Galaxy X by A. Arsov

CoreBass Pear and Cherry Electric Bass by Jeffrey Powell In Depth Fxpansion’s DCAM: Synth Squad Part 2 - Amber by Adrian Frost Aurora 3D GRAF-X - Making Logos Fly by Ben Paturzo Resonance - Emotion Mallets by Robert Halvarsson Orchestral Essentials by A. Arsov

4Front - TruePianos 1.9 by Adrian Frost Desert Winds by Ginno Legaspi Emu Proteus Pack by A. Arsov

Mini Reviews: Soundware Roundup by Ginno Legaspi Mini Reviews by Ginno Legaspi

Pianoteq 4 from Modartt. We'll be doing a full and in-depth review in the June Issue.

C reating Sounds FM Synthesis by Adrian Frost

Part 4 - Complexity Figure 1

This month we're pretty much going to leave FM theory behind and concentrate on some practical applications of what we've already learned. We are however going to take things to the next level. Up until now we've concentrated on what could be called "simple" FM. We've used one carrier and one modulator to create sounds. The next step is to throw more operators into the mix and see what can be done - we'll call this "complex" FM. When you start using multiple operators it becomes a lot harder to do all the calculations that would tell you what your final waveform or frequency spectrum would look like, this isn't a problem though as we're now more concerned with the sound than the maths. Having said that, all of the principles that we've looked at still apply C:M ratios in particular still have their role to play. Mixin' it up One of the major complications of using multiple operators is knowing how to arrange them so as to produce usable sounds. It is very easy when dealing even with only four operators to end up with a mush of sound. When Yamaha released the DX7 back in 1983 they came up with a novel way of hiding some of this complexity. Their solution was to provide a series of 32 hard wired 04

February 2012

Figure 2 as having the majority of the DX7's algorithms, Rob Papen's BLUE has a few algorithms that you won't find anywhere else. Building blocks

configurations that organised the DX7's six operators into useful, pre-defined patterns. These configurations are more usually called algorithms. Figure 1 shows the DX7's 32 algorithms more or less as they appeared on the synth's top panel. Each algorithm (algo for short) was numbered and you chose your algo via the DX7's membrane switches and LED panel. Not ideal but still not too difficult to grasp. Yamaha also released the DX7's little brother the DX9 in the same year. The DX9 had four operators and a suitably cut-down selection of algorithms as seen in Figure 2. If you compare the two sets of algos you can quickly see that the DX9's algos are, basically, a subset of those of the DX7. I've highlighted the DX9's algos within the DX7 algo set in Figure 1. High resolution (600 dpi) copies of these two diagrams are available at and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

As previously mentioned, up until now we have been working with only a pair of operators So what are the advantages of one carrier and one modulator. This having algorithms? The main pair constitutes a basic stack; we can attraction is that they simplify the push that stack further by adding work of creating new sounds. You more operators. The DX7 offers a have a limited number of number of algos with stacks of three configurations to use but still have or four operators. This is our first pretty much unlimited possibilities "building block". As you can imagine, within those limits. One thing to having a stack of modulators/carriers note is you only ever hear the means you can quickly end up with output of the "lowest" operators noise, so restraint is required. You the ones at the bottom of each may already have noticed in your own diagram. So for the first of the explorations that small tweaks to an DX7's algorithms you hear only op's level can create big changes. This Op1 and Op3 - as they have been principle becomes even more acute affected by the other operators. when dealing with a stack of three or Matrix based synths, which we'll more ops. Small changes and small look at next time, don't have this levels are called for. particular limitation. After the stack the Many virtual FM synths that use other configuration of algorithms provide either the note is the "many into complete set of DX7 or DX9 one" as seen in a algorithms, depending on the number of the DX7's number of operators. Yamaha's algos. This is our designs have become the de-facto second "building block". Here you standard used by most developers. have multiple modulators acting upon There are, obviously, some one carrier. It is possible to create exceptions - for instance, as well February 2012


C reating Sounds very rich sounds very easily. However, This means that you can, if you want the same small changes, small values to, produce very complex sounds principle applies here too. where one block looks after the attack phase, another is responsible for the body of the sound and the third (again, Stacks and "many into one" are the depending on your synth) takes care basic building blocks of the DX7's of the high, or low, end of the sound. algos. Many configurations also include self-modulation - generally at the top of the stack. Self-modulation, For example, to create a wind again, creates some very rich tones. instrument you can use a stack of two Feeding back the full output of an op operators to create the "chiff" as the results in noise - as would happen if note starts - this is where selfyou modulated a carrier using the full modulation is useful as it can give you output of the modulator. However simple noise that you can then shape self-modulation, as used in a stack using the synth's ADSR envelopes to often produces a sound that has more make a short but explosive sound. movement and "fizz" than a regular The body of the note can then come modulator/carrier pair. Selffrom either single operators modulation isn't a "building block" per or from careful use of a se, it's either used or not and a block many-into-one block. can work with or without selfDown to Business modulation. When you put all of these building blocks together, even with only six operators, you can create an amazing range of configurations. For example, the DX7's algo 10 incorporates a stack of three operators, one of which allows self-modulation, and a 2 into 1 "block". This arrangement gives us a clue as to how best work with complex FM synthesis. Making Something When using an algorithm-based FM synth, a methodical approach to sound design is helpful. On the DX7 (and most any virtual FM synth) you can mute the output of any block so that you can concentrate on one block at a time. This means that you can focus in on one particular part of a sound, get it exactly how you want and then work on the next part, and so on, before bringing everything together.


It's all well and good to talk about these things, it's time now to look at some real virtual synths and try to put some of this stuff into practice! We'll be using De la Mancha's freeware "FMMF" ( uk/FMMF.htm) and DiscoDSP's "Phantom" ( hantom/). Phantom costs €45 including tax/VAT. Both synths are Windows only VSTs, they are also both 4 op synths but have quite different capabilities. We'll start with FMMF. FMMF De la Mancha created FMMF for KVR Audio's 2009 Developer Challenge. He won 3rd place for this superb little synth. According to the February 2012

synth's web page there were two aims for FMMF: ♪ Make FM synthesis as accessible and user-friendly as possible. ♪ Use multi-stage envelopes and LFOs to make give lots of movement and modulation. Personally, I would say that those aims were achieved, and then some... FMMF is an accessible synth that comes with a full complement of high quality presets. There are 17 different algorithms available and a well implemented multi-stage envelope for each operator which dominates the centre of the synth. The algorithm

FM Synthesis

display in the top right hand corner of Each operator has a choice of 11 different waveforms. FMMF allows you to see a graphic representation of your chosen algo. A Yamaha's early DX model FM synths used only sine waves black box indicates that you won't but later examples also offered hear the output of that particular various other waveforms. Much operator whilst an orange box means can be achieved just using sine that you will hear it. A number of waves but where having a FMMF's algos have an operator that you can hear also modulating another selection of different waveforms is useful, however, is when you are operator that you can hear. This using an algo that outputs each operator opens up new sound design directly with no modulation possible - the DX7's possibilities because you have, in effect, an extra operator on hand 32nd and FMMF's 8th algos are examples of this you can hear it and it's doing the work idea. of an "ordinary" modulator.

We'll deal with Ops 1, 2 & 3 in one go as they make up one part of our sound. We're going to leave all three operators using sine waves. Operator 3 we'll leave at 0 Throw in an Arp, an LFO and a decent selection octaves but will make Ops 1 of effects and you have a very capable synth in & 2 higher pitched - 3 & 4 your hands. Let's see what octaves respectively. Based on our knowledge of C:M it can do. ratios, and without accounting for the semitones that have been added, the ratio of Op 3 (C) to Op 1 (M) is 1:8. Each increase in octave doubles the frequency, hence the 8. The C:M ratio of Op 3 to Op 2 is 1:16. These ratios allow us to predict that the output of Op 3 is going to be quite high pitched. In reality, because we're introducing semi-tones, the ratios are Starting from the INIT going to produce enharmonic preset which is the last tones. I've backed off the one in the list we'll select amplitude of Op 1 slightly algorithm number 14. and Op 2 quite drastically, Operators 1 & 2 both this is so that the higher, modulate Operator 3 and almost squeaky tones of Op Operator 4 stands on its 2 don't dominate the sound. own. We don't hear the The result is a sound vaguely output of Ops 1 & 2. FMMF reminiscent of an organ, but isn't a particularly loud it doesn't have much weight, synth but click the circle it's a little on the thin side. labelled "limit" so that an orange dot appears - just to be on the safe side.

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C reating Sounds that box for the setting to be accepted. That's our first envelope. What it will do is increase Op 1's amplitude over 0.35 s until it reaches the max value that we set previously. This means that one of our higher frequency components will fade in reasonably quickly once we hit a note. This is where Op 4 comes in. Figure 3a From the waveform drop down (the down pointing grey arrow) I've chosen "Peak Ramp". It's a fairly mellow sound that complements the tones we've already created. I've also dropped it down by an octave to add some "oomph" to the overall sound. This is not, however, the end of the story. To spice up our sound a little it is time to turn to FMMF's envelopes. Figure Firstly we'll deal with Op 1's envelope. So that we can hear what is happening properly reduce the amplitude of Ops 2 & 4 (Figure 3a). Now all we're hearing is how Op 1 affects Op 3. By default FMMF has quite short envelope times, to lengthen them you'll need to click and drag to the right on the small box in the bottom right hand corner of the envelope window. It's a small target and you made need to, depending on your screen size, click and drag a couple of times to get the total time up to around 740 ms. As you increase the length of the envelope the Attack portion (or stage) of the envelope, the first section, will shrink. To increase it click the black area of the stage and then click the number in the box labelled "stage" at the bottom of the window. Type "350" in the text box that appears and then click away from



Figure 3c

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For Op 2 (Figure 3b) we want a long release time but a very short attack time. In total we also want the envelope to last for the same amount of time as Op 1's. So, again, drag the right hand, lower corner of the envelope out to about 740 ms but this time leave the attack stage alone. We

FM Synthesis

actually want to set up Op 3 in the same way. Op 4 (Figure 3c) doesn't need to have such a long envelope time as the other three operators - 200 ms or so should be sufficient. This means that Op 4 will fade out when we release a note whilst the other part of our sound rings on for a little while longer. Add the filter, dirt and delay to suit your own tastes! It can also be quite fun to play around with FMMF's envelope's by setting them to be tempo based and using the "step" shape for the different stages. Try this

on Op 3 to create an interesting beating sound. Phantom DiscoDSP's "Phantom" has been around for a while now. It was first released back in 2004. This doesn't mean though that it is out dated or should be passed by. It’s a very capable 4 Op FM synth that has an added extra hidden up its sleeve: Phantom can import SysEx data from Yamaha DX100, DX27 and DX21 synths. Although not officially supported, it can also load SysEx data from the Yamaha TX81Z.

February 2012

A great place to start your hunt for such SysEx data is 4 OP H.Q., a website dedicated to all things related to Yamaha's 4 operator FM synths. You can find the site at: Amongst a whole pile of fascinating information you'll find a range of patches available via the "Resources" menu. Most of them work in Phantom though some do give quite weird results. One patch worth trying out from the first SysEx file for the TX81Z (tx81z_1.syx) is "LoTine81Z" - instant Doogie Howser!!


C reating Sounds FM Synthesis brightness of the sound. Keyboard (Kbd) Scaling makes sure that the basic timbre of the sound stays the same across the whole length of the keyboard. Attack is set low for both Ops to give a more percussive edge when a note is played. Sustain and Release are both relatively long so that the bell doesn't sound dead when 'struck' and so that it rings in for a short while after the note is released.

Rather than creating a new sound in Phantom I'm going to spend a moment deconstructing one of the Turn Op 4's volume back up and turn available factory presets to see how the whole is, somehow, more than the off Op 2. This sum of its parts. We're going to be looking at preset 118 - Tremolo Z. It's allows us to a fairly simple preset that uses two hear stacks of two operators - as you can Stack 2, see from the accompanying image. the We'll call the Op 1 / Op 2 pair Stack 1 other and the Op 3 / Op 4 pair Stack 2.

half of Tremolo Z's sound. You will, I imagine, instantly notice that the second stack produces a significantly lower tone than the first although the Octave controls both show "0". Click and hold the mouse cursor over each Tune control and you will The first thing to do is turn off one half see that Op 3's frequency multiplier is 1.250 whilst Op 4's is 0.750. It's this of the sound by turning down the second value that gives the second volume (Amount) of Op 4. This turns stack its lower tone relative to the off Stack 2 and leaves us with a first stack. The sound is still higher pitched bell sound. enharmonic because the frequency multipliers are not integer numbers. The basic bell sound is created by Again, this gives us a bell like sound setting the tuning of both Operators as we would expect. to decimal values - in Op 1's case the basic frequency is multiplied by 8.533 and Op 2 by 1.25. This gives us a C:M Ops 3 & 4 have longer Sustain values ratio of 1.25:8.533 which will produce than Ops 1 & 2 so the sound of the second stack lasts slightly longer an enharmonic sound. when a key is pressed before fading. Op 1 has a small amount of feedback Release times are similar so that the applied which contributes to the 10

February 2012

whole sound fades at the same rate once you let go of a note. The wobble in the sound comes from use of Op 4's Amp LFO. The LFO is velocity sensitive so the harder you hit a note the faster it wobbles. Now that we've looked at both halves of the sound simply turn Op 2's volume back up to hear the whole thing. Beauty in complexity That's all for this month. I hope that this article has given you something of a taste for what you can do using Complex FM synthesis. The use of multiple operators in a variety of configurations opens up a whole new world of sound design to the budding FM synthesist. Being able to create individual sounds using independent stacks or groups of operators means that you can concentrate on the elements of a sound before finally bringing everything together. Both FMMF and Phantom give a good idea of what can be achieved with only 4 operators but there are many more instruments available on the soft-synth market that go even further - 6 operators are on offer in a number of commercial synths and LinPlug's "Octopus" puts 8 operators at your disposition. We'll be looking at some of those synths, including Octopus, in the last two articles in this series. Until next time - happy synthesizing!


You Shouldn't Have Missed Last Month

by Tomislav Zlatic

After a bit of pause, the Freebies You Shouldn't Have Missed Last Month are back, and hopefully here to stay. Needless to say, there were many notable freeware releases in the past few months. If you're not following the freeware scene, oh boy have you missed some cool freebies! But don't worry - we'll take care of that now. Relax, close your eyes, breathe deeply, think about a safe place, and when you hear us whisper WSM, you'll wake up in freebie land... Sorry, wait... Erm, it seems our resident hypnosis therapist is on a coffee break. Ah bummer, I guess we'll just put the links below then and you can, well, continue reading.

Certainly one of the best freeware virtual synthesizers out there, Tyrell N6, has been updated to v2! The updated version introduces a great chorus effect (modeled after the Roland JUNO-60 synthesizer's legendary chorus), a new skin, and some slight changes to the sound engine. The chorus unit sounds phenomenal, making this one of those updates you should hurry up and grab ASAP. However, the new skin wasn't exactly warmly welcomed by the majority of the user base. If it turns out you don't like it either, just Google Tyrell N6 80s skin or Tyrell N6 1978 skin for some great alternatives. le_id=3978

Variety Of Sound has released the long-awaited ThrillseekerLA compressor, which is the first plugin to use their newly developed Stateful Saturation technology. VOS raises the bar with each new release and ThrillseekerLA continues that trend. It still remains a mystery how these absolutely brilliant plugins are released as freeware. ekerla-released-today/ Speaking of compressors, Tokyo Dawn Labs has released several beta versions of TDR Feedback Compressor, a freeware bus compressor in VST plugin format for Windows. It's still in development phase but already pretty useful, especially if you're on the lookout for a

transparent compressor for the mix bus. The main problem at the moment is a slightly higher CPU hit. -feedback-compressor/ Have you had enough free compressors? The correct answer is NO! Klanghelm has released DC1A, a simple oneknob compressor plugin suitable for various tasks. We love it, it's a great unit to have around and it works brilliantly on everything from vocals to drum busses. 1A.html Blue Cat Audio has released Blue Cat's Freeware Pack II, an updated version of their legendary freeware plugins bundle. The plugins have been redesigned and improved, so make sure you don't miss this great collection. Our favorite part of the Blue Cat bundle is the stereo chorus unit which works very well on electric pianos and acoustic guitars. oducts/Bundle_F reewarePack/

April 2012



with by Robert Halvarsson

First listening to Akara, this writer was simply put blown away. The Akara project is a mix and hybrid of classical, psychedelic and electronic music. All created by a number of very talented musicians. Wusik sound magazine decided to contact the producer Joshua Penman of Akara for a little chat. WSM: Tell me a bit about your background and what drew you into music to begin with? Joshua: I went to school for a long time for music, I have a doctorate in classical composition. I wrote music for lots of different groups orchestras, chamber ensembles, wind ensembles - and had these pieces performed a lot. I started playing piano when I was five, and performed in a bunch of different kinds of musical groups including several classical choirs, an industrial band, and a Balinese gamelan. I also studied Indian classical singing pretty in Varanasi... I come from a musical family - my mother was a cellist, so being in music (though not necessarily doing it professionally) was very much a part of my milieu growing up. 12

WSM: What made you want to work with digital and form Akara?

Joshua: Psychedelic ambient, West coast bass music, classical minimalism, Maurice Ravel, Indian classical music, Balinese gamelan, medieval polyphony, Claude Vivier, old-school jungle...

Joshua: Listening to lots of dance music and psychedelic ambient music and realizing that I couldn't get that sound unless I brought in synthesizers WSM: You have a lot of other and production. collaborating musicians as well. Among others the very talented WSM: I can definitely hear an Femke Weidema, how did you go amalgam of many influences on about recording all these the album Extradimensional musicians? Ethnography, how would you describe it in your own words?

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Joshua: Femke and Noam, the Indian mandolin player, I recorded at my home studio. The string quartet, flute, and horn, I recorded at a wonderful LA studio called Entourage. The harp, I recorded in my friend Jason's studio. A Neumann U87 was often involved. There was a wonderful Sony stereo pair and I think AKG stereo pair in the string quartet recording, as well. WSM: What kind of production setup do you use?

the sounds that it ships with terribly useful (there must be some kind of alternate IDM universe in which those kinds of patches have some musical application but that universe does not intersect mine), and it's often a lot of work to do simple things. So I tend just to use Reaktor to solve very particular production problems (I've used it to generate MIDI to send to Omnisphere, for example).

to start them when you're young. But I think that many producers could study some more music theory and find something really useful in it. And also, they could think about starting to work classical instruments into their productions... It's a deep study unto itself to write effectively and creatively for instruments, but learning how to use notation, make parts, etc., is totally doable and incredibly rewarding. That said, there's a lot of electronic music (probably the majority!) that works perfectly well without any more music theory or instruments...

However, what modular systems like Reaktor excel at are doing things that no one has thought of before... My main use of Reaktor is the massive patch I created to run the Akara Lightship, our onstage lightshow. The WSM: What kinds of obstacles and patch generates OSC data based on opportunities do you see for MIDI sequences, which gets converted people making a transition into to DMX and sent out to the lights. either one direction?

Joshua: Cubase, Omnsiphere, NI Komplete, Waves, Altiverb, a few PSP, Sonalksis and SoundToys plugins, Stutter Edit, the DestroyFX plugins, a Moog Voyager, and an Eventide DSP7000. 75% are of my synths are Omnisphere, the rest some mixture of FM8, the Moog, and assorted sample libraries. WSM: You went from classically trained into the digital, do you WSM: I know you program your think people starting in a DAW own patches in Native milieu would benefit from going in Instruments Reaktor, how do you the opposite direction – to look find working in a modular studio? into starting to play classical instruments and incorporate it Joshua: I actually use Reaktor very into their productions? little. It's of course extremely powerful but I find it generally Joshua: It's probably too late at that uninspiring to work with compared to point to learn to play them. Classical Omnisphere, which I love. I don't find instruments are really hard - you need April 2012

Joshua: Well, classical music is really hard, as I said, so that's a huge obstacle in the one direction. And even if you don't try to play one of the instruments, there's an incredible amount of technical stuff that has to go in to just working with them properly, and knowing how to communicate with the players, how the instruments want to sing.


Interview In the other direction, I think that most people in the classical tradition simply aren't exposed to what is really great about digital music. Also, there is a deep transition that needs to go on from thinking about music as notes to thinking about it as sound. Classical composers write melodies to be interpreted but in the electronic realm, we can't just sit back and give a few notes to a synthesizer and expect it to sound as good. We need to get on the knobs, modulate it, cut it up, etc. Also there is a legacy of absolutely awful experimental electronic music associated with "classical composition" and that stuff needs to be conceptually pitched into the wastebasket if a composer is going to do anything musically worthwhile.


WSM: What are your thoughts on the future and where do you plan on taking Akara next? Joshua: Well, I've been working very hard on our onstage light installation, the Akara Lightship. We've got a lot of shows this summer, and I think the show is going to blow people's minds. We've also got two incredible music videos that we're shooting, and I'm plugging away on the second album. It's all happening, and I'm just looking forward to doing this more, for more people, in bigger venues, etc... Down the road I hope to have a big integrated touring show with dance, bigger sets, etc. But the Lightship is a great step in that direction and I'm just unbelievably excited to start taking it out...



April 2012

WSM: As a last question, what kind of feelings would you like a listener to take with them experiencing your music? Joshua: I'd like the listener to be taken on a mystical journey, to hear songs that they have never heard before but sound achingly familiar, to lose themselves and let themselves be transported into a magical other world...

Quote: "... kaleidoscopic passageways for the truth-seeking multi-dimensiontraveling soul. The music hypnotizes your mind and overloads your senses with luminous dreams and psychedelic visions."


You Shouldn't Have Missed Last Month

by Tomislav Zlatic

Remember Molot, that green freeware compressor plugin which looks like something you'd expect to find in a WW2 soviet tank? Well, it's getting a younger brother soon, since the developer is working on a freeware limiter called Limiter6 (although that name will probably be changed, according to the developer). It's still a work in progress, but even the early versions show that this is going to be one great freeware limiter. Sound Magic has released Piano One, a free piano virtual instrument. It's an emulation of the Yamaha C7 concert grand, available in VSTi plugin format for Windows. A Mac version should be released in April 2012, according to the developer's website. The latest update adds key release modeling to the list of features. Voxengo has updated OldSkoolVerb to v2.0. It's a great freeware reverb plugin, best suited for less percussive sounds like vocals and synthesizer pads. oolverb/ Tek'it Audio has released Genobazz 2, an updated version of their monophonic bass synthesizer for Windows. It's a useful tool for quickly making different bass sounds, easy to program and sounding pretty decent. Now here's something we didn't expect to see in VST plugin format - a virtual kazoo! Japanese developer

g200kg has MyKazoo, it's a weird little virtual effect for Windows and we love it! Grab your microphone, load up the plugin and kazoo your way into ultimate kazooiness! April 2012


w e i v Re In our last issue of Wusik Sound Magazine, I reviewed Applied Acoustic Systems' newest virtual instrument Chromaphone, which physically models all types of acoustic plucks, hits, clangs, wind instruments, and more. If you're not familiar with Chromaphone, then you can check out the full description and review in WSM at Soon after the release of Chromaphone, Simon Stockhausen of Patchpool released the first preset pack for it entitled ChromaZone. In this review, I'll be taking a deeper look at the sonic goodness inside. The Preset Designer Simon Stockhausen is the man behind Patchpool. If the name doesn't sound familiar to you, then you might be surprised to learn that you likely have some sort of connection to his work. If you own a copy of Absynth, type his name in the search box and you'll see quite a number of factory presets that were programmed by him. You'll also find his name quite a bit in the user libraries at Native Instruments particularly in the Absynth and should definitely check the Reaktor user libraries. Alternately, if you're overview of his impressive work familiar with avant garde music of the 20th at his biography on his official century, then you're likely familiar with the family name due to his well-known father, Karl page at http://www.simonstockhausen.c Stockhausen. om/portrait.htm. Simon's more than a preset maker with a wellknown pedigree, however. He's been a longtime musician and composer who has done a notable array of musical work in the realm of electronic music, film, orchestral music, theater, jazz, and performance art. You 16

In 2009, Simon started his Patchpool site to sell some of his presets, sound banks, and musical creations. Since that time, the number of products

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has grown exponentially. Not surprisingly, his sound products, much like his musical endeavors, lean toward the experimental end of the spectrum. So, many of his products are for effects and synths like Absynth, Metaphysical Function (for Reaktor) and Alchemy that allow you to create unusual sounds, textures, and atmospheres.

ChromaZone Soundbank by Jeffrey Powell

comments to be really helpful as they often either give you (i) the idea behind its creation or (ii) tips of getting the best sound from the patch. For many patches, the notes point out that you can get some very different, but still useful, sounds by playing different ranges. I'm extraordinarily appreciative when preset designers take the time to put together useful manuals. Secondly, as Simon is an accomplished musician and composer, he has some great demo tracks to show off the presets and his composing talent as well. In fact, there are (get ready!) 32 different demo tracks, and to my ears, each of them is a miniature masterpiece. At this point, I must confess that when I've been in the mood for some interesting music to listen to while at work, I've gone to the Patchpool site and just listened to the demo tracks. Check them out, even if you don't have the corresponding synth. It's nice to have some great demo tracks to get an example of how to use the patches in action. What about the Presets!?

With all that in mind, it's clear to me that his interests and experimental music background are ideal for working with an instrument like Chromaphone that practically begs for experimentation and imagination. Going the Extra Mile Before going into the sounds found in ChromaZone, let me

bring up a couple of things that Simon does well right from the start. First of all ChromaZone comes with a very detailed .pdf manual with installation instructions and a patch list with helpful comments on nearly every patch. These comments can also be seen in the preset browser in Chromaphone (see the nearby screenshot). I find these

ChromaZone consists of 100 core patches and 22 variations on those patches. The presets are organized into five categories: Achromatic Percussion, Chromatic Percussion, Hybrid Instruments, Synths & Keys, and Textures. The presets are in five different bank files (corresponding to the categories) and are delivered in a .zip file along with the manual. Installation is relatively painless thanks to the installation instructions and the fact that the Chromaphone preset manager has a button which opens the folder in which you need to copy the banks. If you're on Windows, note that the

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w e i v Re

ChromaZone Soundbank

presets are stored in the AppData folder, which is hidden by default.

Synths & Keys is the next category, and you'll find 33 different patches in it. This is probably the most diverse In the Achromatic Percussion category, category in the whole sound bank as it you'll find 32 patches with a wide runs the gamut from clavinets, guitars, variety of timbres. Here you'll find and basses to pads and choirs. You some typical sounds like bongos, get a good feel for Simon's range as a congas, toms, tablas, and taikos preset designer as he shows you that alongside some unusual and Chromaphone is adept at making even previously unheard sounds like a a Moog-sounding bass. In this group, "barking tom" and a "glass timpani" I especially enjoyed the pad presets (two of my favorites). In the with the "Plucked Pad" being my Chromatic Percussion, you'll find 15 favorite thus far. It basically works as patches covering primarily bell and an ambient guitar patch, and I mallet-type instruments. The "real" imagine I'll have a few tracks that instruments sound fantastic, but I feature that beautiful sound in the found myself once again going for the near future. unusual patches, like the aptly named "String Beam Mallets." With that patch, The last category is Textures, and in you get one of those great hybrid these 16 patches, Simon really let his sounds where Chromaphone really imagination go wild. While words will shines. fail me in my attempts to describe these unusual but awesome patches, I In the Hybrid Instruments, you'll find find that the patch names go a long 26 instruments, and as the name way in giving you an idea of what to implies, these patches blur the lines expect. Here are a few patches: between struck, plucked, and blown "Drunken Mallets", "Ethereal Tinkle", instruments. They also blur the lines "Tubular Chimes", and "Mars Chimes". between metal, wood, and ceramic Many could be categorized as materials. There are several excellent sustained bell effects, but that's really flute and organ sounds in this bank. too simplistic of a description. The This category also contained one of "Tubular Chimes" patch stands out to my favorite patches of the whole me as it could easily fool someone collection: "Strummed Harp." It into thinking they were hearing a field provides one of the clearest, playable, recording of those huge wind chimes and best string patches I've heard you see here and there. from Chromaphone. In it, Simon uses the velocity to control the "pluck" of The Verdict the string. So, by varying velocity, you can go from a gentle, smooth All in all, ChromaZone is an incredibly strum of the string to a strong, impressive set of patches. In it, you'll forceful pluck. It's a great patch. find a huge variety of realistic instruments that sound as good (and often better) than any sample library, 18

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and on top of that, you get a large set of fun and useful instruments not found in any form on the planet. Simon has done an outstanding job on these. His work shows off his great skills and also the great sounds that can come from Chromaphone. I have to also add that while the sounds are great, the playability of the patches is perhaps even better. Simon has used velocity and key tracking to make these instruments dynamic, fun to play, and so realistic in response that you'll fool yourself into thinking you're listening to a real instrument being played. While those that program the parts on the tracks will find this set useful, it's really made for those that love to play, improvise, and jam. ChromaZone is an inspiring set of patches, and it's worth your time to check it out. ChromaZone is available for purchase at the Patchpool website (the link is below) for 20 Euro. Considering how much it would cost to buy sample libraries for all of these types of instruments, the price is a bargain. Plus, in my opinion, the "Plucked Pad" patch is worth 20 Euro on its own. While you're at the Patchpool site, be absolutely sure that you check out the great demo tracks for ChromaZone, and check out all of the products for sale. You can also check out the Patchpool forum at the KVR Audio site. Website: Product Link: phone.html


You Shouldn't Have Missed Last Month Total Composure's recently released African Slit Drum is a free slit drum sample library for Native Instruments Kontakt. In case you're wondering, the slit drum is a percussion instrument made of hollow wood or bamboo and used throughout Africa and Oceania. slit_drum.shtml Next, loops de la crème has released a free version of World Sounds Deluxe, featuring 60 samples and 1 Kontakt patch from the full World Sounds Deluxe sample library. Grab this one and African Slit Drum above, and you'll have yourself a great little collection of tribal instrument sounds! Tim O'Grady has released O'Grady's Old Dirty Wurli, a free Native Instruments Kontakt library featuring the sounds of his Wurlitzer 200A electric piano. It really sounds a bit dirty and Lo-Fi, but that's exactly what we love about it. Music needs character! If you're short on acoustic drum kit sounds, check out the Salamander Drumkit released by RytmenPinne. It's a nice collection of acoustic drum samples which even comes with included SFZ mappings.

by Tomislav Zlatic

Ongelegen has released Binaural 03 | Household Motors, an outstanding collection of various motor and electrical device sounds. These sounds can be very useful for making weird sounds effects, drones, etc. tion/household_motors

Hardballs Records are continuing their series of free soundware releases with the Beatbox Drum Kit. It's a handy Kontakt/EXS24 instrument library, featuring beatboxing-style drum sounds (you know ‌ the thing when you make drum sounds with your mouth). /2012/03/14/beatbox-drum-kit/ Commodore 64 Synthesizer Sessions Part 1 is a collection of sounds made on a Commodore 64 running the MSSIAH Mono Synthesizer application. The download also includes Kontakt 5 and Shortcircuit 1 instrument patches. What's interesting is that these samples were actually made by me, so if you download the pack and absolutely hate it, simply direct the hate mail to WSM and they'll forward it to me. :) dore-64-synthesizer-sessions-part-1-free-sample-pack/

And that's all for this time. Enjoy reading WSM and use these freebies to make some great music. Oh, it seems like our hypnotist has finished the coffee break, he's coming back. Hi doctor, no, the article is already finished, we don't have to start the hypnosis now... No I'm not joking, hey, wait, ohhh... The article is.... zzzzzzzzzzz. April 2012


w e i v Re SynthMaster by dmbaer

Just Another VA Synth ... Not! I suspect that a lot of you find yourselves in the same situation as I do. In a few short years you've acquired a large number of synths ... far more than you could ever realistically learn well enough to even do some meaningful preset tweaking. Fine instruments are to be had these days for not much more than a hundred dollars and by exercising a little patience, quality synths can sometimes be purchased in sales or group buys for fifty dollars or even less! At least some of us accumulate instruments just because we can do so cheaply, not necessarily because we need them or even have a plan on how we want to use them. Eventually, though, we wake up to the fact that we've simply pigged out and say "no more". Or at least we say "no more" unless a new instrument has a unique story behind it (Harmor and DIVA come to mind as recent examples). And that thought brings me to SynthMaster. I have been aware for some time that there was a synth of that name available, but why, I thought, should I be remotely interested in yet another run-of-themill VA-type instrument when I own far too many already? Then I got my hands on a copy of SynthMaster to review, and before long I was wondering why it had never appeared on my radar. 20

From the very start, I was wowed ... literally. I read through the manual and once I got past the installation and generic user interface material, I don't think there was a page that didn't cause me think "wow, that's powerful" or "wow, that's elegant" or "wow, that's flexible". SynthMaster is a seriously inspired creation. SynthMaster is the brainchild of Bülent Bıyıkoğluwho founded KV331 Audio. The initial version of SynthMaster was released in 2007. In late 2011 the latest version, 2.5 debuted which is what we're looking at here. SynthMaster 2.5 runs as a VST instrument/effect on both Windows and Mac OSX, and as an Audio Unit instrument/effect on Mac OSX. The purchase price is $129.

Conventional Architecture, Luxurious Furnishings From the 30000 ft. view, SynthMaster (Fig. 1) looks fairly vanilla. We have two layers, each with two oscillators, two filters that can be configured in serial or parallel and five effects slots. Additional global effect slots are available for the combined signals of the two layers. There are reasonable numbers of ADSR envelope generators, LFOs, M-seg envelope generators, and the like. From afar, there's nothing here you haven't encountered before.

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It's only when we take a close look at the components that we begin to appreciate how much consideration and effort went into the design and implementation of this instrument. In fact, there are so many features throughout that I can't possibly cover them all in a few short pages. Despite the feature-rich nature of this software, however, the logical and thoughtful design makes it easy to grasp how everything fits together. The current manual is only about 42 pages long, the first quarter of which talks about installation, alternate skins, etc. So we're left with maybe forum.php?f=98 32 pages of real documentation. While I think more comprehensive Furthermore, go to Youtube and do a documentation would definitely be search on "synthmaster". You'll find a beneficial, it's a tribute to the number of instructive how-to videos. interface design that you can probably get by just fine without a lot of Oscillators documentation in the first place. For the most part, things in SynthMaster Let's start by looking at the oscillators just make sense. To any extent the ... briefly! A discussion of the documentation is lacking, there is an oscillators alone could easily occupy active forum on KVR where questions the remainder of this review. The can be quickly answered: oscillators can use single cycle wave forms or multi-samples defined in sfz

April 2012

files. The factory single cycle offerings contain the usual saw, triangle, etc. but these are supplemented with some excellent additional offerings. To the extent that one can say single cycle waves have interesting characters, some of these truly do. Oh yes, and one other modulation sound source is external audio. But it's how one can use the sound source that gets interesting. For single cycle sources, in addition to the oscillator playing one waveform (including a unison mode with


w e i v Re Fig. 2a

multiple detuned instances), we have these capabilities:

Additive configuration (Fig. 2a): up to eight individual single oscillators, each with their own wave form, phase, detune, etc. (SynthMaster "additive" should not be confused with the additive synthesis capabilities of synths like Alchemy, Razor or Harmor, which is something else entirely).

Vector configuration (Fig. 2b): four oscillators variably mixed under the control of an XYpad-type interface element.

Wavetable configuration (Fig 2c): the oscillator scans a table of up to sixteen single cycle entries, continuously interpolating between them. This will look very familiar to Zebra owners (although SynthMaster does not provide the spectral transforms capability seen in the Zebra oscillator).


If all that's not enough (but wait ... there's more!), each oscillator has a preoscillator that can be used to modulate the sound source doing frequency, phase, pulse width or amplitude modulation at audio rates. Or, these modulators can be pointed at the filters to modulate them (presumably filter cutoff, but this is one area where the documentation is a bit sparse).

Fig. 2b

Filters and More Having learned of the richness of the oscillators, it will come as no surprise that the filters are also richly multifaceted. You have your choice of digital (Fig. 3) or analogmodeled LPF, BP and HPF options. Add to those comb and multi-mode filters. The multi-mode filters are continuously switchable between LPF, BP and HPF modes.

Fig. 2c

One more thing, look at either of the Fig. 3 screen shots and you'll see a distortion element that can be applied locally to the filter, either before it, inside it or after it.

April 2012

This is a recurring theme in SynthMaster with local distortion elements popping up all over the place in some of the effects. Note also the limiter inside the digital filter. Wow-factors? I rest my case. Fig. 3 Completing the offerings at the layer level is an effects chain with slots to accommodate up to five effects. SynthMaster provides all the usual offerings in this area and then some. Among the effects are chorus, phasor, delay, reverb, lo-fi, EQ, tremolo, and distortion. Also on offer are a vocoder effect and an effect called Ensemble (hard to describe in one sentence, but, trust me, it's nice). Once the signal is out of a layer, it's routed to two parallel buses in which the layer outputs are mixed and which offer additional slots for five more effects on each. The possibilities here are so extensive, an instrument with this much flexibility could easily be intimidating. And yet, somehow, it's all very accessible. Once again, this is a tribute to the excellence of the SynthMaster interface design. Moving on to modulation, the good news continues. The possibilities are overwhelming: nearly one hundred modulation sources and in excess of 600 targets. And yet setting up modulation routings is easily

accomplished via the modulation matrix. This has a browser capability that can limit what's showing to specific sources or targets. It also has a "smart mode" that alters what

The preset page offers a way to customize presets with eight "easy" controls and two XY pads (Fig. 4). This will look very familiar to Alchemy owners. Alchemy takes this idea further with its four dedicated envelope controls and the powerful remix pad, but the easy controls and XY pads are a great feature in any case.

appears in the matrix to the control most recently clicked.

Where KV331 Audio and Camel Audio differ more prominently is in their philosophy on how these should be used. In Alchemy, Camel Audio has published detailed recommendations on how to use their eight "easy" controls and XY pads and all their factory and add-on sound offerings follow these guidelines faithfully. In the SynthMaster factory presets, these are left unassigned, presumably assuming the user will want to configure them. However, there is an auto-assign feature

Presets and the Preset Browser Finally, let's look at two more key elements of the interface. The first is the preset browser which like a number of other current synths, has a filtering capability with categories of Instrument Type, Attributes, Music Styles and Author. There's nothing revolutionary here, but neither is there anything lacking.

Fig. 4

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w e i v Re SynthMaster that (allegedly) makes an intelligent guess as to what assignments best serve the preset. I didn't have time to look into this capability enough to form an opinion on how useful it is.

more to come in the future) available for $30. I did not have it on hand to audition, but the demo track on the KV331 site sounds wonderful.

In spite of the minor reservations I have about preset quality, I hold SynthMaster in very high regard. In So far, I've said little that's negative any case, what one likes in a preset is about SynthMaster, but if I had to a rather personal thing, and as the state my biggest disappointment, it saying goes, "your mileage may vary". would be with some of the factory The instrument itself is magnificent. sounds. Oh, there are many gems So, do you need SynthMaster? If you there, to be sure. But I found all too already have a collection of VA-type many that seemed uninspiring or synths, the answer is probably "no", ordinary. This superb instrument especially if one of the ones you own deserves better. But it's not just the is Zebra (which offers the wavetable quality of the sounds that's the capability which is similar to that in problem, it's also the consistency. SynthMaster). But just because you There are significant variations in don't need it doesn't mean you're not preset loudness, suggesting going to want it! And at $129, it's insufficient quality control in this area. certainly fairly priced. And if you like As to the music style tags assigned for creating sounds from scratch, browser selection ‌ well let's just say SynthMaster is a sound designers I'd like to have some of what the dream. preset authors were smoking when they came up with some of those. If you're just starting out collecting virtual instruments, this highly To be fair, there are probably a good capable synth with its lengthy list of number that are legacy presets from competencies should be considered a earlier versions of SynthMaster. top contender. In fact, if you had only Furthermore, there are a generous SynthMaster and Alchemy, which also number of presets, nearly 850 of has extensive competencies that are them if I counted correctly. for the most part complementary to those of SynthMaster, you'd have At this time, there is one add-on most of your synthesis bases covered preset library (with the promise of (OK, maybe also throw in a synth that Is SynthMaster for You?


April 2012

specializes in FM and now you've really got it all). In any case, SynthMaster would be a wonderful choice with which to start your collection. Purchase SynthMaster at: ster.aspx There are extensive demo tracks of factory sounds you can listen to on the site and a free demo version is available for download. You'll find everything you might need there to evaluate SynthMaster more thoroughly.

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CoreBass Pear and Cherry Electric Bass by Jeffrey Powell

Loyal Wusik readers will recall that When you load up the basic default Greg Schlaepfer and Orange Tree patch for the library, you're Samples first made an appearance greeted with a great looking, in WSM in our December 2011 multi-page interface. Check out issue. In that issue, I reviewed the screen shot for a glimpse of it. Mesa Winds, their Native American The interface consists of three flute library. All in all, I was really distinct pages: Mapping, impressed as I found it to be a Instrument, and Levels. The realistic, expressive, and highly Mapping page is really the heart of playable instrument. If you're this instrument as it contains the interested, then you can check out main playability controls. I don't that review at have enough room to list the details, but I'll give you a quick _dec_2011/48. overview. You can control the timing of note releases (to make a As noted in that review, Orange smoother sounding performance), Tree Samples has a wide array of choose between five (!!) different sample libraries, and in this issue, pitch bend behaviors, select the we're going to take a look at two MIDI CC number to enable slide of their more traditional Kontakt mode, and specify the interval so libraries: their upright bass known that overlapping notes will be as CoreBass Pear and their electric interpreted as legato. How's that bass library known as Cherry for control? Well, there's more Electric Bass. Can they deliver just where that came from! like Mesa Winds? Let's find out! On the Instrument page, you'll find CoreBass Pear ways to adjust your hand position (which affects the playing range As noted above, CoreBass Pear is and the string selection), choose Orange Tree Samples' upright among multiple tuning presets, acoustic bass library. It weighs in and control the slide speed and with a reasonable 300 MB of pre-roll amount (which contribute samples, which have been to a realistic sound). To finish out compressed to half that size using the interface, the Levels page Kontakt 4's lossless NCW format. allows you to specify the volume of As a side note, this means you'll the releases, fret slides, legato need the full version of Kontakt 4 noises, and pre-rolls. So, needless or higher to use CoreBass Pear. to say, the interface gives you a surprising amount of control. 26

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and legato playing (which is of course adjustable). I'm not sure if it's the result of analyzing hours of bass playing or just "straight up" intelligence on his part, but the scripting certainly goes a long way in helping you produce great sounding bass performances.

Honestly, though, even with such a fantastic interface, the magic of CoreBass Pear isn't in the interface; it's in the scripting. Under the hood, there are, no doubt, lines and lines and lines of scripting code with one goal in mind: to make realistic acoustic bass lines. As a result, the sounds that come out of CoreBass Pear sound great. You can simply load up one of the patches, leave the interface alone, and start playing. If you close your eyes and play, then you'll hear a real upright bassist playing from your speakers. I don't know how Greg does it, but I think there's something akin to magic in his scripting. It makes intelligent choices over string selection, playing position, timing of the string and fret noises,

Oh, but there's even more! If you disagree with the string selection made by the scripting, then you can override it by using a key switch. You'll also find a key that will allow you to repeat the last played note, which will allow you to easily play repeated notes. To me, that's essential for playing realistic lines so I'm glad to see it included. As a last note, the scripting also includes dynamic key colors in the Kontakt interface. That is, as you play your bass line, the keys on the Kontakt keyboard display a color corresponding to the bass string on which that note is being played. So, if you need to make sure the notes are being played on certain strings, this library makes it extraordinarily easy to make that happen. I can't recall seeing that color coding in many other libraries, but I think it's a brilliant feature. You'll notice that the size of this library is small compared to a number April 2012

of other libraries dedicated to acoustic instruments. Note that even with this small size, you do get 2x round robin samples with multiple articulations and natural decay on the samples. Perhaps in some contexts that prominently feature acoustic bass the level of sampling might not be enough. I'll be surprised if it isn't, however. As noted above, the scripting really makes the instrument playable, and I didn't at any point notice any machine gun effect or other signs of fake sounding sampling. In fact, I'd say it's remarkable that they can get such an incredibly realistic sound out of such a compact sample pool. Plus, you get the benefit of fast loading times, so you won't find yourself losing inspiration waiting for the samples to load. So, to recap, with CoreBass Pear, you have a reasonably-sized but wellsampled acoustic bass library with scripting that allows it to sound remarkably like a real player and with an interface and additional controls that allow you to have significant control over the sound. You'll also find several preset patches ready to go for certain genres of music included with the library. CoreBass Pear is certainly a step up from most (if not all) of the acoustic upright libraries out there, and when you consider the measly price of $64.95, then I'd see this as an essential bass library to own if you do any work with acoustic bass.


w e i v Re Cherry Electric Bass Cherry Electric Bass, as the name implies, is Orange Tree Samples' electric bass library. Previously, Orange Tree Samples had three different electric bass products (slapped, picked, and fingered if I recall correctly), and this new product combines all of those articulations plus several new muted articulations into the same Kontakt instrument. The sample library weighs in at 2.5 GB of samples, which have been compressed 1.4 GB of samples using Kontakt's lossless compression to NCW format. As with CoreBass Pear, this means you'll need the full version of Kontakt 4 or higher to use the library.

CoreBass Pear and

Wheel knob changes the pitch wheel's functionality between traditional pitch bend and slides. The slide control on the pitch bend allows you to slide two semitones up/down or four semitones total (if you start with the wheel in the lowest position). Also, on the main interface, you'll find a button labeled Resonance. This toggles sympathetic resonance modeling which supplies more realism (and a lot more CPU).

The right hand side of the interface provides a few drop-down menus that are the heart of Cherry Electric Bass. The top drop-down menu allows you to choose from the five different articulations, and a power button to the right of the articulation "turns on" that articulation. The five articulations Once again, you'll find a wellare: fingered, muted fingered, designed, great-looking interface picked, muted picked, and slapped. upon loading the instrument. You'll also find slides in this menu Check out the included screenshot. as well, and this gives you the For this library, you'll find a oneability to trigger the types of page interface that gives you sound effects that come from access to further controls through sliding your hand down the fret compact drop-down menus. I find board at the end of a phrase or both interfaces (the CoreBass Pear similar such actions. Note that the and the Cherry Electric Bass) to be samples needed for an articulation equally functional even though the are not loaded unless that approach is slightly different. articulation is turned on, so this allows you to use only the On the interface, you'll find three minimum RAM required to use the different knobs labeled Legato, specific articulations that you need. Release, and Wheel. The Legato knob allows you to determine the As you can have several different interval over which legato playing articulations loaded to use, the will occur. As noted in the second drop down-menu gives you documentation, you can automate a number of ways to switch this control to vary the interval between the different articulations. during your performance. The In particular, you can use velocity Release knob sets the volume of ranges, user assigned key the release samples, and the switches, or MIDI control changes 28

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Cherry Electric Bass

to switch between them. These are the most common ways for any library to swap between articulations, so it's a very versatile system that allows you to work with whichever type of control you feel most comfortable.

As always, the real question is: "How does it sound?" It sounds incredible. Once again, the samples sound great (and you get 8x round robin here), but the secret is in the scripting. When you play the notes on your keyboard, the sound that comes out has incredible realism. The notes flow together well, there's plenty of realistic variation in the sound, and all the little touches are there so you really feel like you're hearing a live bass player and not simply playing a MIDI controller. I am honestly in amazement at how good this library sounds. In fact, it's actually difficult to think of any way to suggest how to improve it. I do want to point out, though, that the sound of the samples is clean and clear. That's a good thing for most contexts as it makes the bass quite versatile, but if you're looking for an electric bass with a lot of character, then you'll either need to use this library with some of your favorite effects or perhaps consider another product. Cherry Electric Bass is an amazing product, but it might not be ideal choice for some specific contexts.

Before getting to my impressions, there are yet more useful features included with Cherry Electric Bass. As with CoreBass Pear, you have repeat keys which allow you to repeat the last note (for quick repeated note bass lines), and you also have included a number of extra effects sounds (like harmonics, string slaps, muted notes, and fret noise) to help add realism to your recordings. You'll With that being said, it will certainly also find vibrato (connected to the work for a quite a wide range of mod wheel) and some override key genres and styles. When working with switches which will override the this library, I find that I most prefer playing direction using velocity to switch between (upstroke/downstroke) that is articulations. I like to set up a mute selected by the scripting. Once again, layer for the lower velocities, the the amount of control available here standard layer for most of the is really impressive, and amazingly, remaining velocity values, and (with all the control is set up intelligently so fingered bass) a slap layer at the that it's not overwhelming like some really high velocities. Even without other Kontakt instruments I've used. any tweaking or much planning ahead, April 2012

that setup gets me most of the way to laying down a great sounding electric bass line. Based on sound and playability, this library certainly stacks up with the best electric bass libraries out there, and if you're in the market for a versatile electric bass library, I'd start (and likely end) your search with Cherry Electric Bass. Its $129 price makes it an incredible bargain relative to its competition that deserves serious consideration by hobbyists and professionals alike. The Final Verdicts Both CoreBass Pear and Cherry Electric Bass are phenomenal libraries that have the potential to cover most musicians' acoustic and electric bass needs with ease. They sound clear and realistic, and the playability is first-rate. For less than $200, you can own both of them and feel confident that you've got all of your (nonsynth) basses covered. For more information, be sure to check out the Orange Tree Samples website below. On the product pages, you'll find a number of sound demos and a link where you can download the well-written .pdf manuals for them. As noted in my last review, you'll find Greg of Orange Tree Samples to be a very responsive developer who's willing to answer questions via email, on Facebook, or at their support forum at KVR Audio. Of course, while at their site, be sure to check out all of the other great libraries! Website:


w e i v Re

In Depth Fxpansion’s D Part 2 - Amber

Figure 1

In February's issue of Wusik Sound Magazine we started our exploration of FXpansion's DCAM: Synth Squad set of virtual instruments. We took a look at Strobe, the Squad's single oscillator performance synth and also began to get to grips with the TransMod modulation system that is built into each member of the Squad. This month it's Amber's turn to feel the heat of the spotlight. Of the three synths that comprise FXpansion's magnum opus, Amber could possibly be considered the odd one out it's modelled on the classic divide-down string ensemble machines of the 70s rather 30

than being based on a typical analogue synth from the same period. Don't let the fact that Amber is a string machine fool you though. It is capable of much more than just reproducing the sounds of the likes of the Eminent 310 or the more famous ARP Solina String Ensemble. Before we dive into Amber it's probably worth taking the time to explain the basic architecture of the kind of instrument that Amber emulates. There are two key terms associated with string machines: divide-down and paraphonic.

February 2012

Divide and Conquer Most, if not all, string synths used a divide-down system to turn the output of a bank of oscillators into all the notes that one might want to play. The bank of oscillators would be set to produce the highest octave of the keyboard generally one oscillator per note. Then, by use of dividing circuitry, the next lower octave would be generated by halving the frequency of the original oscillator's output. Divide that frequency in half again and you have the next lower octave and so on (see figure 1).

DCAM: Synth Squad by Adrian Frost

In the 70s, string machines used this "divide and conquer" methodology for the simple reason that it was cheaper to produce than building a synth with a dedicated oscillator (and filter and envelope) per note which would have been the only other realistic way to achieve the desired result. The main down side to this system is that the same notes in each octave are perfectly in phase with each other which tends to lead to a flat sound hence the wide use of choruses, reverbs and phasers to get the sound moving.

Paraphonia So, the typical 70s string machine, by virtue of its divide-down technology, was capable of producing all of the notes that we might want to play. Most of these synths were paraphonic synths. A paraphonic synth is one where you can, basically, play every single one of the available notes in one go, if you so desire and presuming that you have at least 49 fingers, yes, you could lay your arm on the keyboard but where's the fun in that?

Incidentally, the term "Paraphonic" seems to have originated with Roland who used it when they released the Paraphonic RS-505 in 1978. The previous synths in the series, 1974's RS-101 and 1976's RS-202 were just known as "Roland Strings".

generators and these were connected to the keyboard's highest notes. This meant that lower octaves didn't benefit fully from the effects of the envelopes and this led to certain limitations when playing fast runs of notes. This is probably why string machines came to excel at slowly evolving, lush pads - they simply couldn't effectively do anything else. Amber

So, let's turn our attention to Amber. It is a paraphonic synth that uses a divide-down architecture. Where it departs from a typical string machine is in the addition of a dedicated synth section with associated filter, a formant filter bank for the ensemble section and the TransMod system which allows us to modulate any part of the synth.

Paraphonic synths were the first polyphonic synths, although the technology would be developed further in the late 70s and 80s when it As before we'll concentrate on the became practical and cost effective to centre section of the synth and look at produce the kind of polyphonic synths the TransMod system and that we are used to today. Paraphonic performance controls a little later on. synths were limited in one key aspect compared to true polyphonic synths. There was only one set of envelope

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In Depth Fxpansion’s DCAM:

Mixer/Amplifier Section that comes at the end of the signal chain although there is more to say about that section in a moment.

The Master section offers only two controls "Pitch" and "Fine" that affect the whole synth - both Synth and Ensemble sections. Moving on, next up is the Synth Section. Here we have two sliders that control the level of the 8' and 4' octaves. The Synth's oscillators produce sawtooth waves as can be seen in the Visualiser if you hover the mouse cursor over one of the sliders. The third slider is for noise, or serves as the audio input when Amber is used as an effect. It's worth noting that all Synth Squad synths come as an FX version too. There are three filters in this section LP and HP are, respectively, 1-pole low-pass and high-pass paraphonic filters. Their controls allow you to adjust the cutoff frequency. Then there is a "full on" polyphonic filter that offers a number of different filter types along with resonance and cutoff controls. The paraphonic filters affect each paraphonic note whilst the polyphonic filter acts upon the summed paraphonic notes. In practice... the filters just sound good. The Ensemble Section operates in parallel with the Synth Section. You can mix their respective levels using the appropriately named 32

scope of most string synths." It is possible to route the Synth Section through the Formant Filter by adjusting the "Syn Route" control in the Mixer/Amplifier section.

You have control over the 8', 4' Both the Synth and Ensemble and 2' octaves in the Ensemble Sections have their own dedicated Section. If, like me, you've ever envelope. For the Synth this is a full wondered what those numbers ADSR style envelope whilst the actually mean you may be Ensemble has a simpler Attack and surprised to know that they come Release envelope. The envelopes can from the world of pipe organs. An both be used in conjunction with the "eight-foot pitch", written as 8', TransMod system. refers to the length of the pipe for the lowest C (two octaves below middle C) on the pipe organ keyboard. The 4' is one octave higher with the 2' being a further octave above that, i.e. middle C. Again, as for the Synth Section, the Ensemble's oscillators produce sawtooth waves. There are also paraphonic low-pass and high-pass filters. The key component of the Ensemble, and something you won't find on any "real" string machine, is a After the two noise producing sections Formant Filter bank. According to we come to the chorus, an essential Amber's manual the Formant Filter feature on any string machine, as stage "is provided primarily to impart mentioned previously. Amber's chorus more realistic string-like gives you the choice of three different characteristics on the Ensemble chorus types that are named 1975, section ... This allows for a versatile 1981 and 1984. The choruses are of range of string timbres, as well as more experimental sounds beyond the the Bucket Brigade Delay type and each definitely imparts its own character to Amber's sound - 1975 being the "fuzziest" up to the relatively clean sound of 1984. You get to control both "Rate" and "Spread". There is also a "Brt" button for brightness that gives a bit of clarity and crispness to the high end. The brightness control can February 2012

Synth Squad -

Part 2 - Amber

also offset some of the high-end signal loss caused by the formant filter. By default the chorus only works on the Ensemble section though, again using the "Syn Route" control you can add chorus to the Synth Section.

keyboard whilst the Ensemble provides a higher pitched pad sound. A number of Amber's presets showcase this feature.

time working through all of Amber's presets to get a good feel for what can be done. The general impression I have of Amber is that it is gritty and has a rough side that, whilst it can be tamed, is the synth's basic character. It likes rough, even harsh sounds and the presets ably demonstrate this. But as I said, Amber can be tamed and is capable of some beautiful washes of lush, dreamy sound that will have you playing huge chords just for the sheer fun of it.

Secondly, you can decide how Amber responds to note input. It's worth quoting the manual as, frankly, it Finally we have the Mixer/Amplifier explains it better than I could: "The Section that gives us control over the Performance Mode settings allow both overall sound levels of both of the Synth and Ensemble sections to Amber's "halves". The "Analogue" follow one of several behaviours control "simulates the effect of noise paraphonic, monophonic notes, and mains hum in certain parts of the monophonic envelope attack or audio and control signal paths, monophonic envelope release. The combination of Synth and something that always occurs in real 'Paraphonic' emulates the playing style Ensemble opens up a whole world of analogue synth circuits. At lower of string machines such as those by possibilities for sound design and settings, it leads to a subtly gritty and Logan and Korg, featuring an you'll find that you're not just limited slurring character, while higher individual VCA for each note on the to string based sound. Amber is able settings create a more unstable and keyboard. The 'MonoAtk' and to do some pretty funky brass sounds noisy sound." The effect is subtle but 'MonoRel' modes each involve a too, amongst others. adds realism to Amber's already different style of single-VCA impressive sound. paraphonic playing response. SingleOf all three Squad synth's Amber is VCA synths, such as the Solina and (or was) the one that didn't "click" Omni series, possessed their own feel with me immediately. But time spent Other Bits and Pieces... and sound due to their limitations, fiddling around and exploring just

Amber has the same LFO, Ramp and Mod. Env. Sections as Strobe but has a slightly different performance control area. The main difference is found on the left hand side in the "Perform" section.

heavily influencing the way they had to be played. Setting both sections to 'MonoNote' results in Amber responding like a conventional polyphonic synth: each voice can generate only 1 note for both sections."

Firstly, you can adjust the Synth's and the Ensemble's range. In effect you That 70s Sound can split the keyboard and assign each part to a different area of the Once again we come to the key keyboard. The split occurs between question about Amber. How does it G4 and G#4. This means that using sound? In a word... superb, but with a the Synth you could dial in a bass caveat. This instrument takes a bit of sound played on the lower end of the "getting into". It pays to spend some February 2012

what Amber can do has made me fall in love with this synth. Amber is not a particularly complex synth but once you move through to the TransMod system you'll find that you have a wealth of possibilities beneath your fingers (or mouse or other pointing device...). Creating new sounds for Amber isn't too difficult and it's relatively easy to coax fresh and interesting sounds from Amber's depths.


w e i v Re

In Depth Fxpansion’s DCAM:

To demonstrate the use of Amber's TransMod system I have created a simple pad that I'll now explain, along with a few screenshots. One thing worth mentioning here is that if you have already bought a copy of DCAM: Synth Squad you can, from your FXpansion account, download the latest beta of the Squad that will give you access to a brand new feature interface resizing. Being able to increase the size of Amber's (and the other synth's) interface is wonderful, it makes things simpler and once you've done it you won't want to go back.

control round to, set the sliders in the Mod and Synth about, the 3 Envelopes as shown in the o'clock point. accompanying picture. We're doing this to create a pad that rises slowly and has buckets of sustain with a long release time. It's a bit heavy on the CPU but produces an amazing, long lasting sound.

3. In the Chorus section reduce both the Rate and the Spread slightly.

Using TransMod We'll start from Amber's "--Init--" preset which gives us a fairly basic, quite pleasant, classic string machine sound to work from.

1. In the Synth section bring the 4' slider right up to the top of its travel. This gives us a bit more high end in our sound. Also drop the Vel control down to zero. In the filter section bring the Res control round to the 1 o'clock position and decrease the Cutoff a tiny amount.

4. In the Mixer/Amplifier section turn the Syn Route control fully round to the right so that the small window underneath shows "Chorus" - this makes sure that both the Synth and the Ensemble can benefit from Amber's wonderful chorus. You can also turn up the Analogue control to introduce a bit of grit and randomness to the sound.

2. In the Ensemble section move the 4' slider down to the bottom. We're going to be using one of the TransMod 5. Finally, at least slots to modulate this section a little until we hit the later to build the sound. Move the LP TransMod system, 34

February 2012

6. Now into the TransMod system... We're only going to be using one slot the one labelled ModEnv+. Click on this button and all of the other controls will change to show a gentle orange background. We can now start adjusting the controls that we want the Mod Env section to affect. 7. Firstly we're going to adjust the Synth section's Filter Cutoff. Hover your mouse over the orange control background to the right of the control's handle. The cursor should change to a double arrow-head without a spot in the middle - see image. Click and drag upwards to increase the amount of modulation applied to the Cutoff control. When you play a note you'll hear that, as time progresses, the

Synth Squad -

filter opens up. When you release the note the filter closes back down. Quite usable but we'll go a little further.

Part 2 - Amber

In the End In this article we've only really just dipped our toes into the waters of Amber's, and the TransMod System's, capabilities. Anzoid's Super Synth Sound isn't much to write home about in terms of what could be done using the TransMod system. Hopefully, however, this will have given you a taste of what Amber can do, the sounds it can produce and the fun that can be had.

As I've worked with Amber over the last while, I've grown very fond of its slightly raw sound. There is a lot more to discover in this synth and it's 8. In the Ensemble section set the 8', certainly worth taking the time to 4' and 2' sliders as shown in the explore properly all the nooks and image. As the synth's sound builds crannies of Amber's functionality. On because of the filter opening up we're first look Amber can seem a little also adding more sound fromthe uninspiring. When you fire it up for Ensemble section. the first time the default --init-preset doesn't exactly scream out "Love Me!!" But a little bit of time and 9. Finally, and if you like the sound a little bit of effort reveals Amber to you've created, save it! be a superb string machine with many

February 2012

possibilities for sound design. It's also a very playable synth that offers a lot to those who just want to get on and do stuff. The range of presets seems to, in my opinion, lean towards showing Amber's harsher side but there are some real gems tucked in there - particularly in the String and Pads sections. Overall? If you have any fondness for the classic String Machine sound then run, don't walk, to pick-up your copy of FXpansion's DCAM: Synth Squad. FXpansion offer a demo of DCAM: Synth Squad from their site at: DCAM: Synth Squad is available from all good music retailers as well as from the FXpansion Online Shop for USD $249, EUR â‚Ź189, GBP ÂŁ165 including VAT where applicable.



so much more. I'd also like to open up part of my column to you guys who may have specific questions This is the first time I'm writing as a columnist here, regarding things you experience as well as things you may have questions on what you learn from me. so please go easy on me. Haha! Allow me to So we can try a little something different. But before introduce myself. My name is Danny Danzi. I'm a signed recording artist, engineer/mastering engineer, we get down and dirty into all this stuff, I want to teacher and all around good guy. My friend David talk a little about something that I feel is super important to everyone in this field. It matters not if Baer (aka dmbaer) approached me and asked me if you are a beginner engineer working out of a I would be interested in contributing here and I bedroom or an experienced engineer with a well thought it was a great idea. So, here I am! It's nice built studio. What I am going to cover here can and to meet all of you and I really look forward to WILL change your life for the better. That's not only explaining some of the methods I use as well as a threat, but a promise. things that I think will allow you to enjoy this field

Hello Everyone!

Monitor Correction "I constantly struggle with my mixes to the point of frustration"

ARC to the Res We all know this drill all too well, don't we? I'm sure you have mixed things for days, weeks, months, and even years, right? Tired of falling on your face? Are you starting to wonder if you are just wasting your time in this field? Do you burn CDs just to throw them in the trash after you listen to them in your car? If any of this sounds like you, there is nothing wrong with you at all! Most times, the problem is your room and the fact that your


Some of the ways you can correct monitors are not corrected. Each this would come by way of foam, set of monitors needs to be bass traps and all that other stuff corrected no matter how much you can put in a room that in my they cost. Each room will play a role in how the monitors send out opinion, just looks downright ugly. sound. If the sound How many of you have this and representation is not correct, you each time someone new comes into your home, they ask you can be spinning your wheels for "what the heck is that on your the next 10 years trying to wall?" It's almost embarrassing to compensate. Trust a man that have to answer them, isn't it? I lived that way for way too long! It's not fun and it made me want just don't like that stuff in my room unless it's in my REAL to give up on this totally. studio. In my home where I do

April 2012


by Danny Danzi

lots of post production, I have none of that stuff and I'm really glad about that. It just looks bad and hey‌this is where I live, I don't need that stuff making my home look worse than it already does! Haha!

a sub connected to their monitors. Preferably one that is made by the same company that makes your monitors if possible. There are many pro engineers that will tell you they do not feel a sub is needed in all situations. I say don't listen to them. The Fix: Now the rest of this may These are guys that usually work in sound like an advertisement to you. I rooms that are built for recording with assure you it's not meant to be, but it gear we can only dream about. A sub sure will sound like I work for the will give you the low end response company. I do not. However, I feel it that you can't quite get out of your is of the utmost importance to brag monitors. Though some will tell you about something when it works. What they go down to 20 Hz or whatever, I'm about to tell you is something that it's not the same as having a changed my life forever. It's the one dedicated sub give you the right low thing that made me NOT give this end. It's made an incredible difference stuff up because it made an instant for me, honest. I'd be lost without my difference and everything I could sub even with my incredible monitors. never hear was now completely That sub just throws the right amount audible. of bass into my projects so I never have to second guess it. How many I read a little ad in a magazine one times have you fought with bass time about a plugin made by IK guitar and kick drums? Right‌all that Multimedia called ARC. I was a bit goes away now. So let's talk a bit skeptical at first, but at this point, I about ARC. had just purchased an incredible monitor rig with a sub that STILL was I can't say enough about this not helping me get the results I was incredible plug and how it has after. Before I go on, I must also changed my life. I could go on and on stress to you‌I feel it is super about it really, but instead of doing so, important for everyone to always have I was bragging about it on a forum


when the people at IK Multimedia contacted me about writing up a testimonial and they offered me a job soon after. LOL! I didn't take the job, but here is my testimonial which can be viewed on their site on page 4 of the testimonials page, which I'll paste below so you don't have to go there. But go there anyway because you can see a picture of me! Haha! imo ... hp?Id=1052 "I also wanted to say thanks for the opportunity to do this, and thank IK for creating a wonderful product that really and truly works. I understand that some people will be skeptical about this the same way I was, but figured it was worth the shot. I'm really glad I took the chance on ARC and enjoy my mixing experience once again because of it. We are supposed to love this field. When we can't enjoy it due to our room or our monitors creating a false picture, frustration sets in. Once we become frustrated, there is no way we can enjoy the recording field and all that goes with it. ARC brought me back to life again, literally. I've been in the recording field for over 25 years. I've always found my mixing to be decent, but there was always something missing and mixes took me days, weeks, or months to be happy with due to not having the right room correction. Enter ARC and all this goes away no matter what monitors I have and it matters not whether I have bass traps or other room correction gizmos. If a person takes the time to really map out the mic positions with ARC, I'd bet them anything to own this gem would

April 2012


DanziLand totally fix their world as it has mine. Better yet, if I was an employee at IK or had some sort of power there, I would challenge anyone in ANY studio to have a room EQ done by a professional and then try ARC. You will NOT tell a difference and you will literally get more corrected sound using it. Why? Because with ARC you have multiple mic placements. With a room EQ, the procedure just works your sweet spot only. IK would sell a million of these things with a statement like that. Trust someone that didn't believe, became a believer and then made others believe as well. ARC to me is plug-in of the decade. You have 4 choices. 1. Sit home and complain that you feel the price is too expensive for software and a mic. 2. Go out and buy new monitors and spend the money for proper room correction and all that goes with it for 5 times the amount of ARC. 3. Keep on struggling with your mixes while you burn loads of CDs testing your mixes on several systems, driving over to friends houses, sending mixes to other engineers over the net and stay frustrated while wasting time. 4. Take the shot and purchase ARC and end your frustration with ANY set of speakers in ANY room without the ugliness of room correction as part of your decor, $5000+ monitors and EQs for each set and everything that goes with it. If I owned stock in this company, I'd challenge you to compare this plug against true, real room correction. If you can tell a difference that makes you sincerely 38

choose real room correction over this, In every pro studio, they have a I'd give you your money back. I say monitor correction procedure they this because we tested it in 2 multihave done which is known as million dollar studios that had all the "room/monitor analysis." What bells and whistles and some of the happens is, we have a guy come in best monitors and room correction with a scope and a mic. You must money can buy. The engineers knew supply an EQ which I'll get to in a their stuff and either could not tell a second. But anyway, he sends a noise difference when we A/B'd ARC against signal through your monitors and the their room correction with Rane EQs noise is picked up by the mic he uses. or they actually thought ARC sounded From there, it creates a curve of the better and more correct. I wasn't paid frequencies your room is putting out to take part in anything and I don't and he sees this on his scope. The praise software or hardware unless it object is for him to set the EQ you truly works and this one really does. provide so that everything is flat. So Thanks IK for ending my frustration once and ARC Measurement for all with this incredible product. I not only support ARC, I put my reputation on the line to endorse it." Ok, so now that you have read just how passionate I was when I posted that, I want you to know I am still as passionate today. I want to explain a little something else to you in regards to something I mentioned in that testimonial. When I mentioned "room EQ done by a professional" and mentioned "sweet spot", some of you may be wondering what that means. So I'd like to explain it to you. April 2012

Dispatch while he messes with the EQ you gave him (which is hooked up to your monitors) he is flattening out things that may be too hot, and raising things that are too low. So at the end of his analysis, you have a flat sounding (as well as good looking) monitor curve. The down side to this procedure is it only works that one sweet spot he analyzed in. If you have people sitting in the back of your room or people off to the side a bit, they may not hear good stuff. This is where ARC is

different because it does SEVERAL corrections and positions, not just your sweet spot. You basically run your corrections along the lines of what you see in the picture captioned "ARC Measurement". See all the little numbers? Those are the spots in which you would place your mic for ARC to correct that position of the room. I'll cover all this a bit later, but for the most part, you install it, set your mic the right way, get a

good level, and start correcting! From there you must use symmetrical placements for ARC to work. At the end of say, 18 positions on the mic, you're done. It saves the file and then you can use this in your DAW. To use it in your DAW, you open your DAW, put the ARC plug on your master bus, load up the correction you saved, and you should hear an incredible difference. That's the basic idea of it, but of course it goes a bit deeper than that. The downside is you have to remove ARC each time you export your audio. If you leave it on, it will add the correction to the mix. You don't want that…it's meant to correct your monitors, not your mix. Another downside is "well Danny, ok, now I've used it, it sounds great…but when I just listen to something through Windows Media player or something else, ARC is not on there to correct my monitors! How can I listen to something outside of my DAW?" Simple fix. You can either bring all the stuff you listen to into your DAW and add ARC to the bus, or you can get Winamp and have ARC load up automatically as a plugin. This way ARC will always be correcting your monitors…even for CD's that you listen to. I'll get to this later though. Let's go through what you would need to do if you bought ARC and wanted to do the procedure. I'll talk you through what worked for me and has worked in every room and monitor system I have used ARC on. Those of you that do not have ARC may not find this section of any use. So you may want to skip it. But all the other stuff I have mentioned above should at least get you in the right frame of mind and you may even decide to purchase this. If you do, you'll have the rest of this to get you through it the right way. If you don't have ARC and will not be reading further, thank you for reading this far. I hope this was helpful to you.

April 2012


DanziLand Some important information for you ARC users. ARC pre-prep: First, make sure your monitors are set up in a perfect triangle and are as many feet apart from each other as they are from your favorite listening sweet spot. This is important. Next, make sure they are not up against the wall. I know that some of us don't have a choice when in a bed room or spare room, but try to be as far away from the wall as possible without losing too much of your space.

to work with ARC! Read the manual really well and the steps it tells you to take, then keep all that in mind and do these steps. This is the best I can tell you about it and what worked for me below.

issues with the earlier versions I mentioned as far as doing the correction procedure. You can update to the latest after the correction if you want to. But I stick with 1.1.1 after my corrections due to a strange problem that I am experiencing in Sonar. I think I may be the only one having this problem as no one else has ever complained. If you find ARC is not correcting your monitors while it is in your Sonar master bus even though it is turned on, this is a version problem. Switch to 1.1 or 1.1.1 and it will work again. You shouldn't have to worry about this though because I believe it to be one of those "Danny Gremlins". Also, any time you update the software to a newer or older version, you do NOT have to do a re-correct on your room. Just make sure to save the filter files it creates in your ARC folder. As long as you have not changed the position of your monitors and changed your room around, you can use these corrections forever using any version of the software.

**Note** If you do your room corrections using the latest software and get an illegal operation when the software tries to save your room correction, it's a bug that hasn't been fixed yet. For me, here's what worked and what you'll need to do. If you do not get a crash when you do the room correction procedure, skip this next If you have a sub: If you have a sub, section. listen to a CD you know and love. Mix enough of the sub in to where it just *Alt correction method is ONLY adds some low end thump. Be careful FOR THOSE WITH FAILED where you put the sub frequency CORRECTION ATTEMPTS!* selection. Most rooms are going to need 75Hz to 85Hz brought in using a Alternative correction method: A failed sub. Sweep through the frequencies of correction attempt means you went your sub with the sub turned up through all the correction stuff, went pretty good so you can hear where it to save the correction and you get an is accentuating. Once you find the illegal operation. Unfortunately this place you like, back the sub level means you need to do the entire down so it just gives you nice low end correction procedure over again. But The Correction Procedure and compliments the CD you are don't do it with the same ARC version. listening to, to where you say "yep, Go to your user area at the IK site 1. Make sure your mic is set pointing that sounds fantastic to me!" Also, and grab one of the older versions to straight up to where it is equal to your make sure no settings on your do the correction. nose and ears (get a mirror or have monitors are being enhanced. Some someone else set it) and right in the monitors have EQ controls on the First, make sure you are using ARC center for your sweet spot which is back of them for boosting or cutting software 1.1 or version 1.1.1. Trust placement 1. Set your latency on your frequencies. Let ARC do all me on this; with failed attempts using soundcard as low as possible and that...make sure these are flat. Also, the latest software, those earlier listen to the test tones. If you hear and this is important, DO NOT use any versions will fix the problem. I'm any drop outs, raise the latency sound enhancers like bass boost, using 1.1.1 right now but did my samples a little at a time until you surround or anything like that. Those corrections using 1.1 and earlier. We have no drop-outs and the lowest tools come in Windows media player have a few issues that are known to latency possible. From there, run the and a few other players. Real IK at this time with the later versions test tones again and make sure the "K" engineers don't need that stuff of the software for *some* users. A in "OK" is flickering. No louder, no messing up their mixes and you are a few of those issues I have reported lower. This is important. real engineer now. So you don't need myself and am keeping in touch with them either. Now you are ready IK on the situation. But there are no 2. Next, (and this is SUPER important) 40

April 2012

Dispatch My My My My

make sure when you tap on the mic that you cannot hear it coming back through the speakers. You must disable input monitoring on your soundcard so that sound can send, yet not be heard. If you don't know how to do this, neither do I because I use a mixing console, so I have other options that you may not have. 3. Next, map out all your placement numbers by taping the floor and be as symmetrical as humanly possible by using a measuring tape for your number positions. Try to do at least 18-20 symmetrical placements if you can. If you have a bigger room and can do more, do as many as you can. When you go to do the correction tests, move yourself out of the line of fire for each test burst ARC sends out. It gives you a few seconds to clear the area. That's all there is to it. Once you get done the correction, it will allow you to save this correction. Name it something cool, pick your monitors from the pictures they offer and press the save button. You're now done with the correction procedure. It should take anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour to do an entire correction procedure. Don't go through it fast or cut corners. You will affect the outcome in a bad way. When you open your DAW, make sure it scans your VST library so that ARC will appear. Once it does, you will need to select the correction you just saved in the drop-down menu. Once you do this, you'll never have to do it again unless of course you have several correction files for different monitors. The stock setting of "flat" is your best bet. So try to use that if you can. If by chance you are having a hard time accepting this new sound, you can try some of the presets in the

Site: Band: Audio Services: Recording Lessons:

menu that may improve things for you. Now that you have it all working, do NOT toggle ARC off and on to hear what you had other than a few times when you first start using it. You have to get used to this sound and toggling back and forth will be the death of you. Also, if you don't have a sub, you may want to get one because it really does help. Just my NS-10's didn't work too well with ARC...but once I used my sub and did the corrections, it all worked perfectly. That's really all there is to it! Now let' talk about where else we can use ARC so that you don't have to always run them through a DAW with ARC on to hear what you're supposed to hear.

have ever used and they allow me to monitor in a really good consumer environment. Ever so slightly bitey at about 6k, but nothing that sticks out to you as "uggh!".

For wave files, I use Winamp and run the plugin add-on that Zo told me about. This auto loads ARC permanently with the correction I want for my Adams or I can change it to my NS 10's, Genelecs, Tascam's, Tannoy or whatever else I want to listen through. I usually leave this set to my Adam A-7's though. If I want to play an mp3 through here, I can do that also. But having both players is kinda cool and I also have the file associations and icons looking Using ARC in Winamp different so I know in an instant that a wave file has the winamp icon, mp3's Since ARC is a plugin, you are going have the Windows media icon. It just to have to bring your tunes into Sonar keeps things tidier for me and allows or some program to listen to them me to toggle better. The link for the properly. This to me is a complete plugin loader for Winamp can be downer and something that bothered found here: me. I don't know how it was brought up, but I was talking about something n/programs/winamp/ on the Sonar forum and my friend Zo comes out of nowhere while on a I was not able to use the latest skiing trip or something and tells me version of the plug for Win 7 x64. So about a VST plugin add-on for Winamp that allows you to run ARC in for me, it's 1.4 I believe... if not 1.4, it automatically! So years later, thank it's 1.3. This will stop you from having to load CD's and other audio files into you Zo for bringing this to my a DAW to hear them correctly using attention (hugs my friend)!! ARC. That about covers everything folks. I hope this helps, best of luck The key to this, and how I run things and thanks for reading! Until next here, is to run 2 media players. I'll explain the method to my madness as time... well as give you the plugin link. I run Rock On! all mp3's using Win media. All EQs Danny Danzi and performance enhancement are disabled. Win Media player runs off of Questions for Danny? Send them to my Realtek soundcard which powers and he'll try to Altec Lansing 5.1 speakers not being answer them in the next issue of WSM. used in surround mode. These speakers are the best pc speakers I April 2012


6 6

Reasons Why You Should Consider Buying



Easy to use

by A. Arsov

amplifier provided by Line 6 will cover all your guitar and bass needs. Kong, Reason is one of the easiest programs Redrum and Dr.Octorex will fulfil all with an intuitive learning curve. your rhythm dreams. You can make Whether you are a beginner or wonders filtering, changing and professional, you can start composing manipulating drum loops on the fly in less than a few hours. Beginners with Dr.Octorex or producing pure will find it a great starting tool, a madness with drum sequencer everything can be connected with program that can grow up with them Redrum, changing sounds and everything. For snobs and quibblers without the chance of outgrowing it. disfiguring mad rhythms from dawn there are even a few new fancy high Professionals can use it as a great until dusk (ask my senior son if he quality multiusable effects. The Echo – composing, arranging, editing or even knows something about that), or just nomen est omen – analog and digital. just as a sketch tool. Thanks to the express yourself with one of the best And then there's Alligator, a three overall quality of the last version, drum samplers in the industry – The band pattern-based gate effect, especially if we take into consideration Kong. It can sample everything, same Pulveriser – offering a mixture of the new fully implemented mixing as old samplers. One click and you compression, distortion, a multimode desk, it can also be used for finalising have new kick from your old pot. Do filter and flexible modulation in one and mastering. Many professionals you know anything about farting kicks component. It is really a useful and already used Reason in the past, and spewing snares, oh memories, heterogeneous tool with one body and mainly because Reason allowed them memories, how they fade so fast. OK, many, many minds. Maybe they to work fast and effectively without you have a drummer? No problemo, should have called it Schizofrenier. breaking their work-flow. The truth is just record him. Synths, samplers and Have we already mentioned the that many of them used another other instruments were already well Neptune, a pitch correction and synth sequencer for mixing and mastering covered in previous versions. So, voice device? It's the ideal tool for all purposes or for adding additional what's all this about stability? It is the boys and girls having good breath vocal tracks, but as Propellerhead's simple. As there are not any third but having big problems with foul flying team decided to add the party effects and synths, the whole pitch deviations (count me among aforementioned mixer along with system is as stable as a rock. them). The new version of Reason audio recording ability, the Reason 6 Everything is compatible. No crashing, even has a comp editor, a great tool became that “another” sequencer – no resetting, no swearing. Just smile for compiling the good and bad takes first and last at the same time. as you work and work as you smile. in one awesome take. Composing a That's my experience with Reason 6. track, it is really hard to find anything that you might miss in a new version Stability of Reason. I presume that in a future All Inclusive version they will only add an Espresso It doesn't support third party plug-ins. Coffee Machine as an optional No VST, no RTAS, no DXI, no, no and The only thing missing in a Reason 6 hardware addition, allowing us to no. As soon as you start tweaking is an Espresso Coffee Machine. choose between macchiato, café latte Reason you will realise that Everything else is already there, and cappuccino, and everything in everything is there. A good guitar delays, compressors, reverbs, filters, between.

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Quality of Implemented Components

my dear reader. There are plenty of Reason Refills available around, offering you a whole universe of Reason is definitively not a toy. We sounds and sights. Some of them are can just say that you can't recognize if even free. Others are cheaper than a song is made with Reason compared they are in other formats. Some of to one made in Logic or Cubase, FL them are from Propellerhead, while Studio or Sonar. Reason 6 is an others are from various third party equally entitled member of the partners. Choirs, additional orchestras professional sequencers community. (did we mentioned already that you OK, it's a lie, because the new Reason get a decent orchestral library along 6 mixer is a bit better than the ones with this version of Reason?), synths, from the competitors. Included synths loops, beats and hits, kits, etc., etc. ... and samplers are on the same level as you name it – you can find it. the best ones from the other products, while some tools are rather unique offerings. The only one that comes Support and Video Tutorials close to Reason's loop manipulation ability is FL Studio. Cubase, Logic and It is a pure joy to collaborate with Pro Tools can only dream about such Propellerhead. They even haven't capability. All included effects are also complained that I missed a whole of a very high level, so they can easily issue with this article (guilty as be used as the final solution in your charged!). If you have a problem, music production. they will try to fix it (the damn thing with Reason is that there are no problems at all – you will have to wait Numerous Add-Ons a long time before you'll find a single one). Secondly, on Propellerhead's Yes, I know, you are someone who main site you will find a good amount always wants more. Whenever your of videos covering almost everything. grandma told you the story about the My son (age 13) and I learned to work land far, far away, lying after the nine with Reason just by watching the hills, you started screaming: There getting started tutorial by was a tenth hill! Yes it is, only for you, Propellerhead's Bernard, and the



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same for more advanced techniques. So even if you already have the sequencer of your choice, buying Reason 6 is still a good option because it offers you an easy and joyful variation for making fresh new songs, breaking your old habits and making something a bit different that you never did working just with your familiar sequencer. The main reason why I'm working with Steinberg Cubase is that I can make a song really quickly with it. I know the program inside out, but after few hours with Reason 6, I can also create a song very quickly. The interesting thing is that the songs I make with Reason don't sound like the ones I do with Cubase. It is not quality in question, it is just a matter of habit, the way we work. I simply don't start with the same musical elements in Reason as I do in Cubase. So whenever you are out of inspiration, try something different, try it with Reason. And what if you are inspired? Then also do it with Reason. It will be a pity not to have it. Reason 6 costs 405 Eur – more info: By Arsov, the man with a Reason.


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Making Logos Fly by Ben Paturzo

Figure 1

A Bit of History Way back in the days of—good grief—DOS, there was some very expensive graphics software, such as CrystalGraphics TOPAS Professional, that would allow you to create sequences of 3D "flying" text. That is, the text would move across the screen, rotating, changing size, etc. Amazing stuff. You betcha. This type of text (and object) animation came to be known as Flying Logos. Since I couldn't afford the thousands of dollars for TOPAS Pro, I waited until CG came out with Flying Fonts Pro (first for DOS, then— new and improved—the Windows version), a program that was more fun than a barrel of these guys (Figure 1). By the way, that's David our editor in the center, when he's presented with yet another opus by your humble scribe. I won't harangue you with the "Iused-to-walk-20-miles-in-thesnow-barefoot-to-create-flyinglogos" speech, but I am sorely tempted. So, from those early days of flying text—even Pixar (yes, that Pixar) used to sell Typestry for this purpose—we now have very low-cost software to do what I had to walk in the snow, etc. etc. You, my friends, are lucky to be alive. Hyperbole is my middle name.


Figure 2

Aurora 3D Software Aurora means dawn, but not Dawn (Figure 2; I hope to get a crate of the stuff, once this appears online). Aurora 3D Software (http://www.presentatio makes some very easy to use, creativity-inspiring programs that will have you creating your very

April 2012

own Flying Logos in no time. The folks at A3D are enthusiastic about their products and have a gorgeous web site (Figure 3) that has user guides and video tutorials for all their products. You probably won't spend too much time reading the guides and viewing the tutorials, especially if you're familiar with graphics programs, but it is nice to have the help when needed. I had a chance to try out the Aurora 3D Text & Logo Maker and the Aurora 3D Animation Maker.

Figure 3

Figure 4

Figure 5

Figure 6 Aurora 3D Text & Logo Maker As you can see in the opening dialog box (Figure 4, 5, and 6), you can start with premade text, logos, and buttons templates, for use in such work as presentations, movies, web sites—even those music videos that WSM writer Alex was telling you about. By the way, that's Alex on the end, Figure 1. Did you see the Clone Wars template in Figure 4? Worst— spinoff—ever! (Figure 7). Ah George, weren't the toy deals enough? Back to the review. In Figure 8, I've selected one of the pre-made logo examples and replaced the "Company Name" text—by doubleclicking the text—with one of Mr. Addams's (Figure 9) favorite companies.

Figure 8 Figure 7

Figure 9

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w e i v Re Figure 10

GRAF-X Figure 11

Figure 14

Figure 12

Figure 13 On the right-hand side you will see some of the styles for both text and objects. Click Template (next to Style) and you get many more choices, as shown in Figure 10. For text, you can change font, shape, bevel, color, size, texture, and more. For objects you can change shape, size, color, texturing, more. So many combinations, but wait there's more: you can even change how things are lit. In Figure 11, I've edited the position and colors of the lights, resulting in a more dramatic and colorful look to the scene. These lighting changes, when viewed as an animation, look great.


each element in your scene, down to animating letter-by-letter, and light animation. This is so easy to do and—dare I say it—fun to play with. At $49.95, this software is a steal. Speaking of animation, Figure 12 and 13 are two frames from the finished animation. You can export your finished work as video, flash, or gif animation—or even a sequence of frames. It's hard to tell in Figures 12 and 13, but the texturing on each object's bevels is also animated! Figure 14 shows the animation properties that can be selected for

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Aurora 3D Animation Maker As much fun as the Aurora 3D Text & Logo Maker was, for an extra $20 spent for Aurora 3D Animation Maker, you get what I consider absolutely essential—a timeline, with key-frame capability (Figure 15, green arrow).

Making Logos Fly Figure 15

Figure 18

Figure 16 Figure 19

Figure 17

Also, for that extra 20, you get a nifty particle feature (Figure 15, red arrow), so you can add fireworks, rain, and such to your project. Remember kids, a $20 bill is what Mac users light as they look over and under their MacBook Pro, trying to find the Blu-ray slot. Good luck with that. [cards and letters to dear-jerk-mac hater@ bla bla] In Figure 16, I've selected the text, clicked the Design tab, and (upper

right) turned off the reflection. Then I grab hold of the frame indicator (lower left) and drag it all the way to the end of the timeline. In Figure 17, with the frame indicator at the end of my animation (lower right), I position the text with the rotate/scale/move tool until my text is in front of the other objects and at the center of the screen. The fact that I've moved the text automatically creates a keyframe here. In Figure 18, I slide the frame April 2012

indicator all the way to the beginning of my animation, click the Shape tab and make with the changes—that is, I change the scale of the text to ten times the final size and rotate the text around the Z (or depth) axis. But wait, there's more: in Figure 19, with the text still selected, I click on the Color tab and give the text a different color. All of this automatically creates another keyframe, at the beginning of the animation.


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Figure 20

Figure 21

So why-a-keyframe? [in the spirit of why-a-duck/viaduct routine between Chico and Groucho, ODePT6VHM] Why a keyframe is because the frames between the keyframes get created automagically by the software. This technique instantly put all the in-between artists


out of work, hence creating the Great Depression. Seriously, there were (and still are) the in-between artists who basically do the grunt work creating all the frames between the keyframes, which are made by the big-time artists. This was true when Bugs Bunny was on celluloid until now, when Batman cartoons are created by

April 2012

"tweeners" in such labor-friendly places as China and Korea. What this gives us is the results shown in Figures 20, 21, and 22; these are the beginning, middle, and end of this animation. The text color changes from red to black (with in-between shades, natch) and the text changes scale and rotation, creating the effect

Making Logos Fly Figure 22

Figure 23

of flying into position. Honestly, this takes longer to explain than to actually do. The icing on the cake is adding a fireworks particle effect, shown in Figure 23, that is preanimated and is only two clicks away.

Final Thoughts Both of these programs are fun to use and can easily create animations for web, movie, and video work. In addition, you could also use them to create high-quality 3D still images,

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complete with lighting control. At $49.95 and $69.95 they are also a bargain. Check out the website for more info and to try out the demos. Cheers!


w e i v Re

Impact Soundworks’

by Robert Halvarsson

Box Playeth a Lonely Music Organic and metallic otherness abounds in Impact Soundworks offering named Resonance: Emotional Mallets. Andrew & Will are the duo behind the enterprise, which is perhaps more known, judging by their demos, for an outstanding take on the Koto. They make deep sampleinstruments in the widely used and recognised Kontakt format. The idea is to have several velocity layers and round-robin samples to make the samples themselves appear less static. The principle is not theirs alone, but it usually sets simpler sample-libraries apart from their more advanced counterparts.

themselves been done with close mics, which makes the feeling quite intimate. This is something that is bound to appeal to some, while others may want to treat the audio to fit into their normal production style.

The attention to detail and the less then "perfect” quality it has should not be mistaken for poor craftsmanship. All points to the fact that they are made to be like they are deliberately. In this sense, I've come to appreciate even the instruments that I didn't like at first. Precisely because of what they are: instruments in their own right.

The materials they used as sources of their sounds tell something about them. There's glass, stone and metal. Soft swooshy pads are contrasted by harsh metallic strikes, natural and as In the writings that Impact well as synthetic – all crafted in a way Soundworks have done to promote that makes them stand out. The their own library, they mention patches are organized into designed Thomas Newman and Danny Elfman and natural ones. Both categories are as sources of inspiration: both very in themselves split into impact & FX, prolific composers to be sure, being keyboard & mallets, leads & basses, associated with a great many wellpercussion, textures & ambience and known movies. They are hardly the tonal pads. And there are an worst people to draw inspiration from These sampled instruments in abundance of them, all in all either. Emotional mallets may most Emotional mallets have lots of skewed, numbering in 33 "Natural" patches likely find fewer homes than some of intentionally less-than-perfect and 49 "Designed" ones. The number its competition. But this may not be character – aimed for the person of samples? More than a whopping such a bad thing from the user's point looking for something out of the 4,000. of view, since it will increase the mainstream. At the same time there is uniqueness of the sounds for those a kind of visual quality found here, I did not find all of the instruments to that take them to heart. And there are which could work well for a person blow me away, but at the same time I reasons to do so, just listen to their scoring a sound-track – or a producer must say that most were very good or gorgeous demos and you will know wanting to add organic layers to their fascinating. Often I questioned: "what why. otherwise too polished sound. can I do with this?” Since what is on offer differs from the synthesizers I Website: Here we have instruments centred on usually go to, it provoked my playing pot lids, music boxes and a established way of working, in a good variety of pads. The recordings have way. 50

April 2012

Looks like Site?

Shhh… Only you know that it’s a Blog! Site-Blog: Looks of Site, soul of Blog.

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April 2012

al Essentials

by A. Arsov

by ProjectSAM available through

This is a “Hans Zimmer� starting pack on a budget, containing all you need to make realistic film scores or music for video games. Of course you can use it also for spicing up your own noncinematic songs, but all in all it is one of the most "up to the point" libraries I've come across to date. ProjectSAM compiled sounds for the Orchestral Essentials (hereafter OE) library from all their bigger sound libraries also adding a few new, unique sounds just for this collection. The end result is an impressive, small and effective collection of well-chosen tools which will help you to fulfil your cinematic dreams. If you are trying to be an upcoming Brahms or even Wagner, then you will soon realize that some sounds, or as they call them in the symphonic library world – articulations, are missing. The reason is pretty simple, cinematic music is not exactly the same as classical music. They may sound similar because they use similar instruments (symphonic instruments) but the structure, tempo and arrangements are different. There are no unsolved murders or chase scenes in classical music. So, no Brahms, but what about Zimmer? Absolutely, it is definitively one of the most Zimmerready packs in this universe. Zimmerize Yourself If you have ambitions to enter the world of cinematic music but you are a bit short on a budget, then this packet is just the right one for you. All elements are well chosen and what impressed me most is the relation between the size and sound quality. Most of the sounds are very small, at least compared with other symphonic libraries. There are a few exceptions April 2012

but otherwise particular sounds take between 20 to 60 MB of your valuable RAM. For that reason I even installed OE on my laptop so that I could make my cinematic scores when I'm away from home. In other symphonic libraries you need a PhD in layering science because they give you all elements separately and you are free to make your wall of sounds according to your wishes and imagination. That's good and pretty normal, except when you need some instant solutions, when you are tight on time or if you are not a skilled composer, how and which instrument should you layer together to get the desired results? OE offers you a great number of good sounding combinations which can be easily compiled in a great composition an instant solution for the problem of sound pollution. Action, Suspension or Epic orchestra patches sound as their names suggest. All patches have that movie character and I've managed to finish a new cinematic tune in less than hour. A touch of fast staccato strings for the intro, a few dramatic hits from an Action full orchestra patch, adding a brass section and a few Suspension chords along with a few cinematic effects and the composition was ready to go. The most important thing is that the end result doesn't sound cheap, especially if you are ready to change a thing or two if you run into any limitations, for example if the tempo or melody is not right for the patch or something like that. This is not a special issue concerning this library, it is a pure fact attached to every orchestral library. Most orchestral libraries have impressive demo clips on their home pages. The big difference with this library is that you don't need to be so skilled a programmer to achieve good results.


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Orchestral Essentials

All Inclusive OE is a true Lego-block cinematic collection. It offers various full orchestra patches, even those with major and minor chords for all one finger virtuosos. But don't worry, it is an excellent collection even for the skilled ones. It provides all sorts of cinematic effects, orchestras doing this and that. I found all these effects to be a big time saver, the result being getting something that it is impossible to reproduce without having a real orchestra in your basement. OE includes all essential string articulations along with nice additional effects, all manner of percussion elements and effects, grand piano, harpsichord, church organ, concert harp, Brass and Woodwinds directories with a few really nice combinations. I know it doesn't sound like much when you write about it but all the elements fit together really well. Some groups of instruments are joined in common patches, bringing the library to a whole new level and making it dead easy to use, and all the additional effects are a great cinematic builder. I was initially a bit sceptical but soon realized that it is not just another fairlypriced, goodsounding product, but that it is also a big time saver and excellent tool for beginners. It is not hard to achieve good results layering some elements together in the same way a professional 54

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would. Pro results can be had in a quarter of the usual time needed for such productions. If you have aspirations to be a Brahms, ProjectSAM has bigger and more expensive packages. This one is not, it being made with a clear purpose, and I must admit that OE fulfils all expectations. The whole package is like a racing car: as long as you are not trying to use it as a golf cart, you are on the right winning route. I've already spiced up a few of my tracks, adding a touch of "action" and intend to cook few additional cinematic Zimmer soups in the future. Orchestral Essentials is a killing weapon even in the hands of a beginner, so how could it not be even more dangerous in the hands of a professional? Take care, Hollywood. New musical forces are on the way. Become a cinema or videogames composer for 415 Eur. More information at: .asp/project_sam/orchestral_esse ntials/en st by 21 Century Arsov.


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Voxengo Crunchessor an Ultimate Compressor by A. Arsov

It's not so easy to find a compressor which is simple to use, not too expensive and goodsounding at the same time. A few weeks ago I tried this one, and after testing a dozen or so various compressors, I have found my new one. As I have previous experience with Aleksey's products, maybe I could have saved a whole afternoon by just downloading his Crunchessor straight from his site without losing my valuable time testing all the other candidates. The thing that impressed me mostly with Crunchessor is how easy it is to find the right settings for a particular instrument, ones that really change the character of the sound the way I wanted it. Sound changer effects are often more or less placebos. I remember plenty of occasions when I tweaked some "warmer," "shaper" or similar parameters without noticing anything changing in a sound or colour area. And the most annoying thing is that I have found in manuals later that changes should be almost unnoticeable. For that reason, I was never sure if I actually heard that difference or it was just my


imagination. Nevertheless, I put Crunchessor on a bass channel using the "punch drum" preset, as there was no preset for the bass guitar, changed the style parameter from snappy to warmth and got perfect bass sound. I was so happy because finally I've got the proof that I'm not deaf. I heard the difference between the Snappy and Warmth parameter. The first thing that you will notice using the Crunchessor is the fact that the compressed sound is not much louder than the uncompressed one. I didn't find anything about that in manual and to tell the truth I don't even care how Aleksey achieved it. I'm just plain thankful for that fact. The Parts Crunchessor is a compressor that you can only dream about. You can fine tune it and you have a great number of options, but at the same time it is ultraeasy to navigate the interface, even if you are not a skilled producer. I've learned how to compress things over the years, but I'm still a bit of a bozo for all those parameters, and it still happens that I mess things up if

April 2012

the developer made a tool for experts, putting a million options in the hands of the end user. Presets are always a good starting point in all Voxengo plug-ins. There are a solid number of essential ones, but I would love to see even a few more. I miss presets for strings, various guitars (electric, acoustic and bass) and other similar essential, every-day instruments. Thankfully Crunchessor has a great preset browser so it is not hard to add new ones. Secondly, it is really not so hard to find the right option even without the presets. The Drive button is some sort of thresholdlike control for adding an amount of gain to compressor. More drive gives you more compression. The next two buttons are Attack and Release, essential ones for every compressor. The things that make this compressor so special are two dropdown menus: Mode and Style. The first one offers various combinations of processing modes; from clean one to the Valve-type with fast and slow attack options. The Style dropdown menu offers various types of colorations from which you

can choose the general sonic character: from warm to clear to dark to bright and all sorts of others. Even normal settings are presented for the traditional sort of user that hates adventure in his life. The Key Filter switch gives you an option to isolate the frequency range which you intend to compress. Low pass, high pass, snare, hihat and similar options are offered here along with a monitor knob for isolating and monitoring just the desired filtering range. This function is a life saver and it is implemented in many Voxengo plug-ins. The Dry Mix button is for achieving parallel compression, mixing the dry and compressed sounds. There are also appropriate level meters for "what you see is what you get" monitoring. For all the tweaking freaks there is also a Routing window for choosing between all of the mono/stereo combinations and as a nice addition for the end of our compressor story we should mention the A/B comparisons option that lets you see if and when you go too far with your "tweak-like a madman" bad habits. Facts and Fiction Everything mentioned above is the gospel truth, but what is most important for us is that Crunchessor sounds better than most of its competitors. It is not too heavy on the processor and it is idiotready into the bargain. No higher education in compression is required. What's more, it costs only 60 US dollars. It is PC and Mac compatible. Available on the Voxengo site: runchessor/ by squeezed A. Arsov April 2012


w e i v Re Galaxy the Convolution Synthesizer by Best Service by A. Arsov For everybody who is after new spaces, almost industrial loops from sounds. That is a sentence from the the beginning of time and similar Best Service site, and this is an sounds that are so popular today. excellent description for this But I discovered that the sound synthesizer/sound-library. The designers who compiled this whole concept is maybe not all that collection made most of the sounds revolutionary, but it definitively that are presented in this collection offers a different approach to sound from more or less, let's say, almost programming and the end result is normal instruments, adding to them pretty attractive. Almost all the some additional sound dimensions. sounds have a kind of dreamy but The result is a library that has a pleasant, distorted quality, but not great measure of character. You will the sort of distortion that you can find a really nice collection of get just simply adding some third abused pianos floating in some part distortion effect. I'm not so distorted delayed space, same for sure how much of the sound is a beat boxing loops pleasantly result of the so-called convolution drowned in all sort of combinations technology, where two or even more that the main general interface sounds are combined, one as a offers. I'm always in search of fresh, carrier and second as convolution. different sounds. I'll bet you already But I get the impression that all the figured that out from my previous charm is largely due to good articles, and yes, I found some programming with the nice addition again. I like “Galaxy X�, not because of the sound essence that the it just sounds different from the convolution technology offers. other instruments or libraries I already have, but mainly because it All in all, this is a 15 GB collection of has dimensions that bring some standard groups of instruments in emotions and memories. It could be pretty non-standard sounding guises. that it is just me finding this I was surprised at first because I dimension, but the library itself was expecting some exotic, nondefinitively has some special, unique standard sounds, drones from other character.


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April 2012


w e i v Re Galaxy Content

not so drastically as you can by layering different source sounds. In the pack we have over 1400 Thankfully the set of controllers is not various convolution combinations, or the usual, common one that is used just call them what we are used to: for more familiar synthesizers. Yes, presets. The whole thing is divided there is still a good old filter, but the into three main sections: Keys, FX other controllers are more a collection and Loops. In the loop section we can from same bizarre multi effect than a find various loops inside one preset, conventional synth. Along with normal usually it is filled with various different things like the compressor or reverb, and really versatile variations of the there is also a "Dirt" section for main loop. All in all over 5000 various adding various distortions. Or using loops are compiled in the loop section. the beat crusher, the deeper we go Loops also have that common Galaxy the more interesting things we can X character. Then there are the 2000 find - various arpeggio presets, effects and 1000 keys. groove selector for choosing various rhythmical chord patterns, and a The Eye collection of X controllers for changing the way source sounds interact with The package is squeezed into a yellow each other. At first glance it might tools "Engine" sample player and, as sound complicated to you but the with every other Best Service library, truth is quite the opposite, Just by has its own editor specifically reading a few sentences in the manual developed for the library. This one is or simply by tweaking the buttons you called X Eye. As the whole convolution will soon find your way around. concept is about meshing and/or overlaying sound sources with others, The The it is pretty logical that the whole main window is designed to serve to this Galaxy X is fun to use. It's pretty hard purpose. At the top we have three to find a bad sound and it definitively drop menus for choosing up to three offers a robust collection of a different source sounds for layering. That's a sounds. There are pianos which are good starting point if you are after a not really pianos as we know them or totally new sound. All other controllers as we are used to. The keyboards are more or less for changing the don't sound exactly like real character of the current sound, but keyboards. The drum loops sound


April 2012

somewhat abused and so forth. The library is full of real, commonplace instruments that don't sound at all ordinary. Somewhere deep behind the sound you are hearing when you play the preset, you can identify the source, but it is not that source any more: celesta after the third world war, marimba under water, piano inside a tornado and things like that. Sounds are very playable and usable, so you can play normal harmonies with them, and what's more, they are very inspirational ... different in a good way. Definitively for all of you who are looking for new fresh sounds with a dissonant and memorable character, Galaxy X should be of interest. It can be yours for 250 Euros. Just visit the Best Service site and enjoy the audio and video demo clips. The next step is up to you. I have no regrets. /best_service/galaxy_x/en by A. Arsov

Wusik Station Improving by the minute.

Perfect Song by Ben Paturzo


April 2012

On a night when I should have been sleeping, I trolled the pages of Amazon, initially looking for a specific song. That search led to other groups, other songs, other performers. I found myself re-living the 1980's. A favorite band, The Cure, figured prominently in my search, just as it had in that earlier time. Once again, Just Like Heaven filled my consciousness. The bass jumping in with authority, the drum insistent and not to be ignored, like youthful demands for relevance. Robert Smith's quavering semi-wail perfect for this song and its poignant lyrics, the lamentation of passion and its loss, the combination showing youth's terrible certainty of immortality, of endless experiences of desire and despair, pushing us headlong into a life that cannot be ignored, or life ends. Rock is almost always about love, lust, desire, and the eventual loss of all, ending in disbelief, because it cannot end this way. It just can't. The liquid fire running through our veins making us dance uncontrolled, directing us to a distant light, an event, which we are absolutely certain will fulfill our dreams and provide meaning to all that we've experienced. Show me show me show me how you do that trick It isn't a thing you do, but a trick. This can't be happening, because it almost never happens, so it must be a trick. Not real. But can I trust it, because I want to believe, because I've ached for it so long?

Show me how you do it And I promise you I promise that I'll run away with you I'll run away with you Which is youth's belief in its invincibility, of its absolute ability to control the feelings of others, so that: Spinning on that dizzy edge I kissed her face I kissed her neck And dreamed of all the different ways I had To make her glow But those ways are fleeting, just as they are rare. We live lives devoted to re-capturing those ways, of making love return in ways: Strange as angels Dancing in the deepest oceans Twisting in the water You're just like a dream Youth's follies, the passions of the fire left unchecked, are in the end, just like a dream. But must it end this way? Must it always be that: Daylight licked me into shape I must have been asleep for days And moving lips to breathe her name I opened up my eyes Eyes opened, the days of youth grow short, the light that beckoned to meaning becomes ever so fixed, far away, a bright spot perhaps, but only against the darkness of approaching maturity. We forget the dance, the fire cools, responsibility increases, and

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we slowly forget the true meaning of our existence: And found myself alone alone Alone above a raging sea That stole the only girl I loved And drowned her deep inside of me Some of us will be lucky enough to realize that the loss, but also the passion, is still within us. What seems to have been extinguished still lives deep within us. The raging sea is the responsibility that dulls our sense of the fire within; it is the fight that continues until the end of our lives, the battle between living and mere existence. All to show: You Lost and lonely You Just like heaven This is such a lovely song, and it still brings me to tears. The lyrics are sung poetry. The melody seems as eternal as it did some thirty years ago. Amazon is a welcome repository of all that made me who I am now. There is an instrumental version of this song, one dated 1986, that could be an alternate take of the released version, which I found online. The instrumental song is every bit as wonderful as the vocal version, which indicates the power of this beautiful music. What you read is my own take on this perfect song, what it has meant to me and what it continues to mean to me. Just Like Heaven


s w i n Mi Revie Soundware Roundup by Ginno Legaspi

5Pin Media MIDI Focus: Dubstep Synths It's clear that dubstep is now everywhere. You can hear it on the radio, it's featured in commercials and Skrillex just grabbed 3 Grammy Awards recently. Yup, there's been a downpour of 'wooble' as of late, even in sample libraries. 5Pin Media takes advantage of dubstep's popularity by releasing their seventh MIDI Focus sample pack called Dubstep Synths - a pack that I think, goes hand in hand with Dubstep Beat (another separate pack). Dubstep Synths comprises 514 multi samples, FORMAT: 112 MIDI files, 23 various soft Wav, Ableton Live Pack, Halion, sampler patches, 33 Lives sampler Kontakt, EXS, SFZ, Ableton Live patches, 34 NNXT patches and 15 Presets, NNXT, MIDI Files and Synth Native Instruments presets. The first Presets 30 MIDI files are part of the 5 construction kits that includes subPRICE: basses and phrases. The next 82 files are known as 'elements' that includes ÂŁ 19.95 basses, leads and pads. This is a perfect package for producers that are into massive sounding synths, mutant Big Fish Audio Rock Cinema basses and terror noises. Melt your woofers with Dubstep Synths! Don't you just love a soundtrack with attitude in a film score or video WEB: game?! Better yet, the one that has 64

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all the energy that fuels an action sequence or music that's so epic that it will keep you at the edge of your seat. The music should capture the essence of the moment it is composed for, in my opinion. This is where Big Fish Audio's Rock Cinema comes in - a library chuck full of epic guitars, driving drums, emotional piano hooks and more. Weighing in at almost 8 GB (4.2 Gb of WAVs alone), Rock Cinema contains loops and phrases in 16 construction kit format. Each kit has all the instruments loops to construct a song along with multiple sections,

fills and variations that are clearly labeled with tempo and key information. My favorite for example is the kit named "A Dark Love" (110BPM Key: Em). It consist of a full mix file, bass drums, guitar, lead guitar and organ with intro verse, chorus, fills and ending. Jon Beal's (producer) performance on the guitars and basses are particularly impressive in this collection. They sound organic with just the right amount of warmth. Rock Cinema is big and epic if that's what you're looking for. There is enough material here to keep you busy and even if you augment this library with any rock sub-genre (alternative, pop) it is doable! WEB: FORMAT: Apple Loops/REX/WAV/RMX/Acid/Kontakt 4 PRICE: $99.95 Monster Sounds Kanji Kinetic - Drumstep and Mutant Bass Vol. 2

Loopmasters Phaeleh - Ambient Dubstep This Loopmasters installment is part of their ever-growing Artist Series, and continues with some airy and spacy dubstep samples. Phaeleh fuses the heaviness of DnB beats, the dark sounds of dubstep and the melodic and soundscapes of electronica resulting in his unique signature sound. Ambient Dubster includes 240 loops and 233 one-shot samples in high quality 24-bit format. There are dubstep, breaks, drum and bass or also ready-to-play patches (57 total) electro. Weighing in at 563 MB, this for soft samplers such as Halion, library includes more than 500 files at Kontakt, EXS, SFZ and Reason NNXT. 24-bit format. The samples are You'll find fantastic music loops for offered in different audio formats such layering, bass tones, synth tones, FX as WAV, Apple loops and REX with 34 and stomping drum loops that are well soft sampler patches included for programmed and executed. I'm Reason, Kontakt, Halion and EXS24. particularly impressed by the many The things that stand out in this pack drum hits and percussion loops, and are the drum loops. They are just the punchiness nature of the programmed and seasoned with just the right amount of dirt. The basses and synths are also superb with a lot of nastiness and filth. Of course, we are talking about drumstep here, right? The WAV loops pack for ÂŁ11.95, this is hard to beat. WEB:

Focusing on bruising drum and bass style, Kanji Kinetic's Drumstep and FORMAT: Mutant Bass Vol. 2 delivers a selection WAV, 24-bit, GB of pounding rhythms, cone-shattering bass lines and nasty leads and more PRICE: to help craft your own tune. The ÂŁ19.95 content is plenty of good original loops and highly versatile that it covers all ground - whether it's April 2012


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sounds. This is a flexible, versatile and streetcore hip hop. Price is not that bad either. inspiring material ready for inclusion across any genre. WEB: WEB: FORMAT: FORMAT: Apple Loops/REX/WAV/RMX/Acid Wav, Acid, Rex2, Reason Refill, Apple Loops, Halion, Kontakt, EXS, SFZ, PRICE: Stylus RMX, NNXT, GarageBand, $49.95 Ableton Live Pack and Ableton Live Presets PRICE: £14.95 - £24.95

Big Fish Audio Grind Mode: The Hip Hop Installment 15 construction kits from eCITY's producer For'Son, Grind Mode: The Hip Hop Installment has loops, samples and one-shots geared for anyone who is into hip hop with a street sound in mind. The tempo ranges from 70 to 115 BPM, and kit loops include all the elements needed to construct a track from scratch. Each kit also has the drum tracks and drum hits folder for total control, allowing users to build new drum patterns and drum kits. Weighing in at 836 MB (24-bit WAVS with other audio formats duplicated), there are some really good sounds included that were programmed skillfully. The drum beats sound huge and the synths have a warm quality to them. Some are very useful and some are so-so. But this is really a good arsenal if you want to make anthemic,


for you. This soundware includes 64 presets for Propellerhead Reason's Thor virtual instrument as well as 64 MIDI files for song starters. A lot of the patches have that darker D'nB feel, yet are very useable in any electronic context. Some of my favorite patches include 'AnacondaReese' (a wobbly, heavy bass patch), FatalRadiation (a wind FX with crystalized spiky percussion sound) and 'MetallicReverse' (a good FX patch for transitions between song sections) in the FX category. For £14.95, the price is about right considering you also get 64 MIDI files. DnB Synths - Thor brings fresh new sound to Reason's Thor synthesizer. WEB: FORMAT: Propellerhead Reason, MIDI files PRICE: £14.95

Loopmasters Presents: DnB Synths - Thor Sometimes it can get very frustrating when it comes to sound design, especially if you can't nail that perfect patch to fit with your next working masterpiece. I know, I've been there. But if you're a D'nB producer or musician who just want to concentrate on making music and don't want the hassle with designing sounds then this is April 2012



Sample Magic SM101 Vintage Breaks This groovy sample pack pays homage to the sound of golden era 60's jazzy style, 70's funk and 80's old-skool hip hop. Vintage Breaks features loops - all breakbeats - with a big and dynamic sound ready for electronic music productions. It's all good material, with sounds that were captured employing recording techniques of the 60's and 70's (2-3 mic setups). The results are 101 drum loops with undeniably warm sound, old-skool vibe and retro character. Created by Hal Ritson, drums played by Alex Reeves and engineering by Steve Honest this has got to be one of the best vintage drum library I have ever reviewed when it comes to authenticity. Big beat and breaks producers will be ecstatic to get their hands on this studio gold. Gwwwreat stuff.

drones, soundscapes and FX. Its aimed users are the ones who produces cinematic, atmospheric and cutting edge experimental music. Even film composers for horror, sci-fi and suspense will benefit from the dark sounds of 312 Combinator instruments included.

soundbank I've done. Expect this soundbank to turn your Reason (version 4 and up) softstudio into a completely sinister machine. Here are the patches in detail; 63 Atmosphere and Drones, 40 Pads, 103 FX, 25 Leads, 15 Real World Sounds, 3 Kong Kits and 62 Bonus Sounds. Dark Scape is, you guessed it, an expansion for Propellerhead Reason packed full of eerie atmospheres,

This has got to be one of the best 'dark themed' soundbank offerings I've tested. I love how the instruments were programmed from the ground up, and the playability also rocks. What's nice are some of the big sounding Combinator patches. For example, Aeolian Drone utilizes 17 instruments and FX wrapped in one Combinator. I know it's layers and layers of sound but the patch sounds big. Playing and auditioning the patches in Reason, I think they are quite functional. The Combinator 'Pads' such as 'Aftermath' are particularly impressive to my ears. WEB: FORMAT: Propellerhead Reason Refill


PRICE: ÂŁ19.95

FORMAT: Wav, 24-bit LIST PRICE: ÂŁ14.90 (digital)

Loopmasters Dark Scapes I've already seen and auditioned many soundscapes libraries in the past, but Dark Scapes from Loopmasters is the first ReFill-only April 2012


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Freaky Loops Swedish House and Big Room Anthems Swedish House and Big Room Anthems is a WAV format library sample library suitable for house, electro house and progressive house productions. The 24-bit loops are broken down to folders of chord & synth loops, bass, combi, drum, fx, glitched perc, lead loops and vox loops. This 804 MB library is packed with good sounds ranging from fat basses to supersized beats & glitched-out percussion loops. Inspired from the sounds of house artists such as Axwell, Avicci and Steve Angelo, this pack also contains 3 special construction kits, namely, My Soul, Don't Stop and Big Beat with key and tempo information for flexibilty. What I really love about this package is that the 53 chord and synth loops are well recorded and programmed. The drums are excellent as well..they pack a lot of punch. Worthy of admission alone. Anyhow, this is a good starter library for those who want good samples at a good price. WEB: FORMAT: Wav, Acid, Rex2, Reason Refill, Apple Loops, Halion, Kontakt, EXS, SFZ, Stylus RMX, NNXT, GarageBand, Ableton Live Pack and Ableton Live Presets PRICE: ÂŁ29.95


Big Fish Audio Brush Artistry 2


Apple loops, REX and RMX format. The WAVs alone weighs in at almost 3 GB with plenty of inventive and inspiring loops. With all of that being said, I think Brush Artistry 2 is a good investment sampling material if you want loops with feel and emotion. With its price tag you can't go wrong with it.

WEB: When composer/producer Kent Carter saw that there was a lack of quality brush samples available in the FORMAT: sampling market, he and drummer Acid, Wav, Aiff Apple loops, REX, RMX Patrick Campbell decided to produced and Kontakt their own brush sample library, thus Brush Artistry was born. Now with PRICE: volume 2, both Kent and Patrick $99.95 wanted to continue to build on its success. Brush Artistry 2 offers a variety of sounds available for composers created to provide an alternative to bright, tinny and thin sounding loops Organic Loops out there. It contains 68 construction Live Dubstep Strings kits and two sampled drum kits. The kits styles include ballad, bosa, Organic Loops is a sample developer country waltz, samba, swing, train, that I really love. The sample packs world, soundtrack with a bunch of they offer are well, very organic and time signatures such as 3/4 & 6/8 on real instrument recordings. Usually, the loops. All construction kits are in when it comes to the dubstep subdifferent time signitures and styles of genre the commercial sample packs 3-4, 6-8, backbeat shuffle 80-180, out they are all about drums and backbeat straight 82-155bpm, ballad, wobbly synths and basses. This time bossa, country waltz, drum kit 1&2, they bring something unique to the groove of 85-150, samba, soundtrack, table with Live Dubstep Strings. LDS swing, train, waltz and world. weighs in at over 500 MB, featuring Supported formats includes WAV, 137 string loops recorded at 24-bit. April 2012


The pack includes folders of ensemble, fx and single string loops. They are all played by live studio musicians giving you a flexible sample set with natural reverberated sound as well as a nice live feel, lots of dynamics and emotive. From strong melodies to inspirational fx parts, these loops will fit their way in different productions, like, world, electronic and film music. LDS is a recommended sample pack that is beautiful, lush sounding and overall an excellent package. WEB: FORMAT: Wav, Acid, Apple Loops, GarageBand and Rex2 PRICE: ÂŁ19.95

Sounds-of-Revolution Kick Free Revolution Vol. 3 ...And here we are in the third volume of Sound-of-Revolution's famous series called Kick Free Revolution. As usual, there is plenty of nice sampling material in this collection. Volume 3 contains 2.1 GB (2391 files) of loops no one-shots. There are 777 Hihat, Kit, Synth and Live Percussion, FX, Minimal, Tonal, Mixed and Noise loops in this collection that are waiting to be dropped, processed, sliced and diced or just plain augmented into your own arrangements. The best things about

Delectable Records Smooth Deep House

the loops are that they sound great, yet offer plenty of room to add your own processing. Kick Free Revolution Vol. 3 is recorded in 24-bit with all loops with tempos of 127 BPM for easy integration into the most common dance/electronic genres out there. Also, a nice bonus of sampler patches for Kontakt and EXS24 are available to users. My only gripe is the price, but still, it is a superb collection with plenty of inspiring loops.

Delectable Record's range of sample libraries expands with Smooth Deep House, a good addition to their already impressive lineup. This pack comes loaded with 215 WAV/AIFF along with MIDI files that is aimed at electronic dance music producers looking for that funky, smooth and deep house workouts. It is broken to 10 different folders of chord, pattern, bass, triads, levare, tonal short, tonal long, tonal transition, percussions and hat lines. The loops are recorded in tempo of 125 BPM, 16-bars long and 44.1/kHz/24-bit rate format. The big draw here are the inspiring synth lines, the nice chord progressions and the instant melodies

WEB: FORMAT: Wav, Rex, Apple Loops, Kontakt 4, EXS24, Stylus RMX PRICE: â‚Ź54.61

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score scenes or give impact to Acid, Wav, Apple loops, REX, their film music. RMX, Kontakt 4 All is recorded using natural sources, Darkness includes PRICE: sounds such as hits and impacts, $69.95 drones, metal effects, dark soundscapes, risers, industrial noise and twisted strings. These Drumdrops sounds were the result of heavy Funk Drops processing using software plugins and effects units. The Groovilicious! From Drumdrops samples themselves have a good comes this collection of funky sonic quality, with plenty of loops in Wav and Rex audio depth and punch - ready to be format. Funk Drops has all the dropped into any arrangements. beats to get you shakin', with you can augment in your arrangement. This is one horrifying library that will pure 70's retro vibe and classic As far as the programming goes give you goose bumps, especially the sound. This sample pack is Delectable Records did an excellent dark soundscapes. If paired with the comprised of 199 loops and 32 funk job with lots of bouncy percussions, first volume (called Cinematic Sound grooves totaling over just 400 MB. and sound-wise it is spot on to the Design), you've got yourself a very You get high quality samples that genre. The loops, of course, are potent package that will cover you for were recorded in LA's now-defunct beautifully crafted with plenty of a very long time. A great buy! Hollywood Sound Recorded Studios usuability. using 70's Neve console and analog WEB: tape machines. The vintage Ludwig WEB: and Gretsch were capture using vintage mics and classic outboard FORMAT: processors such as Fairchild FORMAT: compressor and Pultec EQ. Wav, Rex2, Apple Loops, MIDI Files The result is some slamming and GarageBand loops that sound old and new, because of its 24-bit format. PRICE: There are 32 folders included ÂŁ22.95 in this pack and the samples have tempo information of 67-126 bpm. It's a good pack Big Fish Audio to be had for any style of Darkness: Cinematic Sound music, really. Design WEB: Darkness is a 2.8 GB library primarily designed as a tool to encourage dark ambient, ambient, experimental, FORMAT: cinematic and soundscape producers Wav, REX2 to add dark, eerie samples to their compositions. This library can also be PRICE: a good aid to film makers wanting to ÂŁ19.95


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FORMAT: WAV/AIFF, 200 MB, 206 files PRICE: â‚Ź10.95 (digital download)

Loopsmasters Utku-S: Electro House Bass Reason Combinator Utku S has become quite a sound designer and producer in his own right, one who's been dropping sample packs left and right. He lends his talents this time in Electro House Bass Reason Combinator. This Bluezone Corporation release in the Patchworx series Hard Techno Core delivers 64 Combinator patches for use in Propellerhead Reason softstudio The Bluezone Corporation team aimed at electro house, tech, dubstep, delivers a hardcore slice of no-holdsdrum and bass and glitch electronica barred samples in Hard Techno Core. producers everywhere. An all bass Influenced by the heavy sounds of affair, this soundbank includes many Angerfist, DJ Shrapnel and Neophyte screaming basses, deep wobbles, bitand Ultraviolence, this pack has all the crushed vocal basses and modulated ingredients to produce kick-butt bass arps such as the hardcore techno, gabber and hard style such as drum loops, kick-free loops and percussion loops. This bundle has over 200 files, recorded at 142 BPM and is available in both WAV and AIFF formats. As you might expect from this library, there are plenty of mangled sounds, distortion applied to the loops and lo-fi processing. It's all about distortion, grime, speed, etc. and Hard Techno Core has lots of them. WEB: www.bluezone-corporation

'EHB_Jackers_US' patch. Also included in the pack are 64 MIDI files to accompany the sounds. Taking advantage of Reason's modular environment, Utku has created some amazing Combinator patches using clever routing and use of Subtractor, MClass Compressor, Redrum, Scream, MClass Equaliser, Thor, RV7 Reverb, ECF42 Filter, BV512 Vocoder, MClass Maximiser, Malstrom, and the PH90 Phaser. Some of the coolest patches I've auditioned are made using formant-type filters - as in the case of bit-crushed vocal bass sounds. Electro House Bass is inspiring with lot of juicy, filthy, grimy, lo-fi goodness that's guaranteed to be useful in many years to come. WEB: FORMAT: Propellerhead Reason PRICE: ÂŁ14.95

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Sounds-of-Revolution Abstract & Weird Vol. 2 This second installment to Sounds-ofRevolution micro pack focuses on sounds that can add bold and sweeping character to your drum mixes. It's definitely for dance are split between 10 construction kits. production, yet is valid for use in In each kit, you can find flexible other electronic sub-genre such as elements (bass, pads, etc.) to jump IDM, complextro, spiky ambient and experimental noise. Again, the man at start your imagination. Another professionally produced pack by 5Pin the helm is Oliver Schmitt cooking up these creatively experimented sounds. Media that is destined for the dance floor. If you're looking to augment some of your drum loops to make them 'full WEB: sounding', this pack of 200 files can get you started. WEB: FORMAT: Wav, Rex, Kontakt 4, EXS24, Stylus RMX PRICE: â‚Ź 16.80

5Pin Media MIDI Focus: Mainroom House

The Off the Hook Series from Big Fish Audio is nothing but quality releases. And expect this title to have great set of samples. Radio Pop is a construction kits affair, with urban, dance and electro pop flavors. Produced by Anthony Myers, this 5.08 GB library is spread across 32 FORMAT: construction kits that are ideal as Wav, Halion, Kontakt, EXS, SFZ, NNXT, song starters. Each kit consists of a MIDI Files, Ableton Live Pack and full mix, drum parts, strings, synths, Ableton Live Presets pads, leads, FX, guitars and rhythm loops with tempo and key information. PRICE: Most of the synths are spot on to the ÂŁ19.95 genre. The drum loops boast huge sounding kicks and the guitars and strings could work their way into many arrangements. Overall, you'll get an excellent library with an inspiring content to choose from.

Re-Zone burst on to the dance music world with his impressive floor rocking sound. He now has teamed up with 5Pin Media for this MIDI file-centric sample library called Mainroom House. It contains some 407 MB of multi-samples, MIDI files, soft sampler patches, Live 8 pack and synth patches. All the pumping beats, progressive arps, hot synths & leads are floor rocking-ready. Since Mainroom House features MIDI loops, there are 107 MIDI files provided that 72

Big Fish Audio Off the Hook Radio Pop

WEB: FORMAT: Apple Loops/REX/WAV/RMX/Acid PRICE: $ 87.96

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nu-disco and house productions, but the loops can pretty much take a beating for use in different electronic subgenres. The thing that I like most about this library is that the drums are upfront and punchy, and yet they give you room to add your own effects. WEB: FORMAT: Wav, 24-bit LIST PRICE: ÂŁ12.90 (digital)


Quanum Loops Drum Construction 001 Sample Magic SM101 Indie-Dance Drums A 103 MB collection of beats, IndieDance is a micro sample pack from Sample Magic intended to supplement your drum cravings. There are 101 24-bit drum loops in this pack that were recorded in 125 BPM. All drums are delivered in full, stripped and variant versions. Ideally this would be for EDM such as indie, dance, electro,

snare punchy, snare deep (102 files), perc acoustic, perc glitch, toms and etc. included. They were created with perfection using some of best analog and digital high-end gear and processors money can buy. Furthermore, the 'Kits' folder features pre-selected one-shots (from the included drum hits, of course) for deep house, acoustic, dubstep, electro house, minimal and vocal productions. It's been cherry picked for you so you can concentrate on making music not sorting out samples. I have to say that this is an insane collection not to be missed.


Constructed and designed by the team of Ben Wilson and Dom Kane, PRICE: Drum Construction 001 was ÂŁ24.95 assembled as a one-stop drum source in mind. It is packed with thousands of drum hits that would benefit producers looking for a little variety. In this collection, there are folders of kits, loops and oneshots. There is also a dedicated bonus folder offering extra sounds such as FX, reverse sounds, synth blips, vocal hits, genre-specific kits, drum loops and fill. The one-shot drum samples is the selling point of this library as there are countless of single samples such as claps, cymbals crash, cymbals reverse, kick tools kicks punchy (398 files), kicks saturated, kicks deep, percussion miscellaneous (processed congas, cowbell, rim shot, tabla), April 2012


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4Front - TruePianos 1.9 I am not a pianist. At best I am a somewhat mediocre, self-taught, keyboard player. So why do I get to review 4Front's "TruePianos"? Is it enough to say I love the sound of the piano and that when the opportunity arose to take a look I jumped at the chance?

TruePianos computer requirements are surprisingly modest given what must be going on under the hood TruePianos is a physically modelled instrument rather than a set of samples. According to the website the minimum you need is a 2.0 GHz processor and 256 Mb of RAM whether you're on a PC or a Mac. Most of us are going to surpass that spec without First released back in January 2007 too much difficulty. Using TruePianos TruePianos has seen a number of updates and additions over the last in my current DAW of choice had the five years most notably the addition of processor use hovering happily around the "Atlantis" piano module which is a 7% - nothing to complain about there technical preview of version 2.0 - we'll since I'm not using the most modern of machines. take a look at that later.


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When you fire up TruePianos you're greeted by a nice image of a classy black grand piano with its lid open kind of an obvious image really, but nicely executed. Play a key on your MIDI controller keyboard and TruePianos responds by showing the appropriate key being pressed. Simple but neat. Underneath the piano you have access to the five piano models and their respective presets. Each piano has its own character and the presets - varying from 7 for Amber to 11 for Diamond do a good job of showing off the possibilities. On my system flipping between the different models take a second or two which is no big deal.

by Adrian Frost

A quick click down in the bottom left corner takes you to the "Advanced Interface" which offers a range of tweaking options for your chosen piano. Of most interest is the Velocity Control section which allows you to adapt TruePianos' response to your controller's velocity input - particularly handy if you don't have different response curves available to you on your controller.

down to zero and play with a staccato style and you end up with an effect that would be totally impossible to reproduce on a real piano, it sounds almost like a harpsichord‌ almost. Finally there is an options page that offers a grand total of four settings.

The "Keyboard Dynamics" setting here allows you to set up a global response for your MIDI controller whereas the same option mentioned a moment ago belongs to each preset. The nice thing here is that you can, basically, "set and forget" these options.

"Keyboard Dynamics" affects how lively your piano sounds, the higher the value the more TruePianos reacts to your controller, set this too high and you'll have a hard time getting any kind of subtlety in your performance. "Release" does what it says on the tin, so to speak. High release settings will have the piano's sound ringing on for what seems like forever, slide it

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4Front - TruePianos 1.9

Well, that's the interface tour Let's take a look at each individual completed. As you'd expect there piano. I'm commenting only upon the aren't a huge number of parameters "default" sound as presented, generally, to tweak and you haven't got a huge in the first preset that is selected number of effects at your disposal when the piano loads. Each preset is although the reverb is sweet and changing parameters that we, the highly usable. This is a piano after all user, don't have access to since none and they're not renowned for their of the visible controls change between massive numbers of options! Having presets. This means, in effect that we said that, I was recently at a friend's actually have 43 different pianos at house and he took his piano apart to our disposal! show me the guts - yes, I'm nearly (but not quite) 40 and I've never had Amber a good look at the inside of a piano. Amber is a grand piano and because Anyway, it was actually quite of that has quite a large sound. The fascinating and made me appreciate sound is rich with a full body that is the work that must have gone into creating an instrument like TruePianos particularly noticeable in the bass registers. After Atlantis this is my - there's a lot of moving bits and second favourite. complex interactions going on under those staid wooden exteriors. So, Diamond onwards to the sound‌ 4 gems and a fictitious city TruePianos 1.9 ships with 5 different piano models and, as mentioned previously, each one really does have its own character. All of them sound good and I'd have a hard time picking a favourite, I suppose it depends on what you're trying to achieve. In the end though, if I was forced, backed into a corner, I would have to say that "Atlantis" just about beats the others to the finishing line in the race for my affections. It has a slightly fuller, broader sound that is simply delicious to listen to, so far I've spent far too much time just playing and not doing proper review type things like testing stuff out.


Sapphire Sapphire has a very wide stereo field compared to the first three pianos. It's not quite as up front as Emerald but sounds bigger than either Amber or Diamond. This is another piano that is just crying out to be allowed to go solo where it'll give a wonderful sound that eats up the available space. Atlantis

Finally we come to Atlantis. It's in a category of its own since it is classed as a technical preview for the, hopefully soon to come, version 2.0 of TruePianos. If Atlantis is any indication of what there is in store for version 2.0 then that version is going to be an absolute killer in the world of modelled pianos. When I was a kid back in the 70s my Diamond is, in my opinion, probably dad recorded a bunch of tunes off the the mellowest of the provided pianos. radio. Sometimes there would be It's gentle and would be well suited to short bits of DJ commentary mixed in quieter, more intimate pieces. Even with the music. I listened to that tape when you hit it hard it retains a fairly so many times that it is ingrained in mild character. Diamond comes with my memory to the point that when I the largest number of presets and is hear those tracks now I can still "hear" therefore, possibly, the most versatile the comments that often came of the pianos. afterwards, or the funny squeaks as dad rushed to stop the tape recorder. Emerald After one song in particular, 10cc's "Mandy", I think, the DJ chimes in with Emerald is the bold, brash piano of "Full, complete and..." That's the the bunch and has the most forward phrase that comes to mind when I sound. Quite possibly the hardest to play Atlantis. The sound is rich, so fit into a mix, but it would be perfect rich. It breathes and moves and is for a standalone piece where it would simply a delight. Without difficulty I really shine. The more I listen to it the think that you could justify buying more I like it even though at first it TruePianos for Atlantis alone. didn't "do it" for me.

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Got to catch 'em all... One of the things that becomes clear as you play with TruePianos is the range of sounds on offer. Yes, they're all pianos but you've got everything from honky upright through to luscious grand at your fingertips. There really is something here that will grace most styles of music without difficulty. The thing I most like about TruePianos is that it's inspiring. Every time I sit down to play I end up recording and keeping something of what I've created. Sometimes drums and other instruments get added, sometimes not, it doesn't really matter since TruePianos both stands on its own and fits well into a mix. So, TruePianos is a worthwhile investment for those who are looking to get away from sampled pianos and dip a toe into the dynamic waters of modelled instruments. It's lightweight and it sounds good - what more do you want? Well, in my case, it made me want to buy a proper sustain pedal so that I can get more of a real piano feel when I play. Pedal duly ordered and should be arriving any day now. Take the time to visit TruePiano's website at since there are quite a few demo tracks available that show just what this instrument can do. Once you've listened to the demos you can purchase TruePianos directly from the site for $180. Truly a gem (and a fictitious city...)!

April 2012


w e i v Re Best Service

Desert Winds by Ginno Legaspi

What is Desert Winds? Desert Winds is another sample library by composer Eduardo Tarilonte, the creator of blockbuster libraries like 'Forest Kingdom' and 'Epic World'. Desert Winds features four ethnic solo wind instruments, namely the Armenian Duduk, Turkish Ney, Persian Ney and the Zourna. To round out this library, it comes with 21 expertly programmed soundscapes for composing pads and atmospheres. Copy protection and Activation My review copy came in the mail. Installing the DVD is a piece of cake. Since I already have 'Epic World' and 'Klanghaus' (both Best Service products) installed in my DAW, all I had to do was copy the actual library folder from the DVD to my 'samples' hard drive. I then started the Engine 2, pointed to the Preference pane, clicked on Libraries and 'Add Library' Desert Winds. The first time you load a layer or patch, Desert Winds will prompt you to activate the library with an E-License Manager system, which is essentially a C/R protection scheme. Needless to say, online authorization is required to use Desert Winds but it's very easy and doesn't take a lot of time.

very intuitive and easy to navigate. On the Quick Edit page, you will find the necessary parameters for fast and easy editing such as Volume, Pan, Pitch, EQ Color, EQ Switch, Reverb Amount, Reverb Switch, Expression, Speed, Speed Switch, Automation Presets, Metering and Release Buttons. There are also other sections in the Engine 2 player. Other pages included for further tweaking, preferences and customization are the Pro Edit, Mixer, Browser and Preference sections which I am not going to discuss here (see my August 2011 review of Epic World for further info on these sections/pages at An important note though is that every knob and button has been assigned to a control change. If you want to assign them to a different control change, just right click on them. The Instruments/Sounds This library weighs in at 2.5 GB and comes with 2000 individual samples. There are 6 different legato types per instrument for true playability. All legatos in this library are real legato recordings according to Best Service. Desert Winds features 4 ethnic solo wind instruments and here are the breakdowns and some brief information about these instruments:

GUI and Edit Page Since this is a library that runs off Yellow Tools' Engine 2 sample player, the interface (which was done by Andreas Rocha) and edit pages are


- Armenian Duduk is double reed instrument with ancient origins. It is said to be 1500 to 300 years old. It is the only truly Armenian instrument that has survived through history. It is

April 2012

made of wood with a large double reed, but the instrument's body varies in length. The duduk has been used in many film scores and has a mournful sound. - Turkish and Persian Ney are endblown flutes that are widely used in Middle Eastern music. Ney are an ancient wind instruments believed to have been played for more than 4,500-5000 years. Typically, a Ney consist of a piece of hollow cane or reed with five or six finger holes and one thumb hole. But the Turkish Ney may have 7 holes. The Persian Ney is held with two hands and has 6 holes, one of which is on the back. - Zourna (also called zurna) is a woodwind instrument that is used to play Anatolian and Middle Eastern folk music. The Zourna is a conical oboe, made from the fruit tree Apricot (Prunus Armeniaca), and uses a double reed which generates a sharp, piercing sound. Thus, it has historically been played outdoors during festive events such as weddings and holidays. It has 8 holes on the front, 7 of which are used while playing, and 1 thumbhole which provide a range of one octave. As far as the patches go, there are 4 main instrument patches. With each instrument, you will find a sub-folder of 'microtuning' patches including Arabic and Turkish microtunings from 17-tone down and up to 3 A and B 12-tone, as examples.

When it comes to pads and atmospheres, Eduardo is known to excel in creating some beautiful, sonic landscapes. And in the bonus 'Soundscape' category, there are 21 patches that are just fabulous to listen to with a press of a key on the MIDI keyboard. I love 'Talking with the Wind' with its lush pad and wind sound combined. 'Mirage' reminds me of a patch ready for those 90's new age tracks. It has this undeniably present bell sound layered with a thick pad and airy flute. It's a good accompanying sound for creating fantasy worlds in game music. Meanwhile, 'Doomed Sands' is nothing but a sinister sound that evokes suspense, thrills and danger with its distant bell sound, twisted pad and dark low rumbles. These soundscapes are great but I can easily customize each sound to my own liking by adjusting the 'Envelope' in the Quick Edit page with its AHDSR parameters. Not only that, as I've stated, Pitch, Reverb, etc. are accessible for immediate tweakability.


What do I think? No doubt this is a unique, specialized library. That's cool and all, but I have to say that the detail and realism of the sounds are out of this world. I've been a fan of Eduardo's libraries ever since he released 'Sampled Landscape' a few years ago. His work always speaks quality, of which I think Desert Winds is among his best. This library is heaven-sent for those of us who do not know how to play these wind instruments. I know it takes time to practice and get acclimated with an instrument, but with Desert Winds' you get convincing sound and amazing playability that you can incorporate into your own arrangements. Producers like you and me have finally found the missing piece that was once buried in the sands of time. Best Service and Eduardo Tarilonte deliver a sure winner here.

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Price: $179.00 System Requirements: (Mac OS) Mac OS 10.4, 10.5 or higher Min. recommended: G5 or Intel Mac 1.8GHz, 1GB Ram Interfaces: Standalone, AU, VST, RTAS (32bit) (Windows) Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, 32bit & 64bit Min. recommended: Pentium/Athlon XP 3.0GHz, 1GB Ram Interfaces: Standalone, VST (32bit and 64bit), RTAS (32bit only) DVD drive An internet connection for product activation required (on any computer) Additional hard disc space according to the library size Best Service ENGINE 2 Sample Player is included in this product!


w e i v Re My first sound module was a Proteus 1. After that I bought my first sampler. It was an Emu Esi 32, and later I also bought few additional libraries which are now mostly presented here in this pack. A friend of mine had a Proteus 2000 module and he used it a lot in his recording studio. Getting all those libraries back, they are only in a new disguise - they came with Cakewalk's Dimension Lite - brings back a lot of memories. All I have to do is just to listen to all those sounds after all those years. Well, they sound the same as they did. Of course you can't compare those sounds with new ones from big sound libraries weighing in at a ton of gigabytes, but it doesn't mean that they are useless. They are far from that. The truth is that many of those sounds ended up on numerous hits in the past and, as many of you know, in a crowded arrangement sounds that are too wide and too fat are rather obstacles than rewards. Anyway, they are punchy and fat enough to do the job, a great job. We have 3,500 sampled sounds taking just 300 to 400 MB of space on your disk. Pretty fascinating. The overall quality reminds me of my old Roland JV 1080 (same engine as XP50) which ended up on many of my songs. Details The whole Emu Proteus Pack is compiled from six libraries which can


Digital Sound Factory’s

be also bought separately. Most of the packs contain more or less similar subdirectories where instruments are sorted by appropriate group: Bass, Brass, Drum Kits, Effects, Guitars, Hits, Keyboards, Layers, Miscellaneous, Percussion, Strings, Synths, Vocal, and Winds. Inside you can find much variety, from "wow, that's really cool" to some funny, tinny sounds that could find their place in a sparse pop production. During all those learning years I developed one funny rule: if basses sound right, then probably the whole library will sound good. True or not, in most cases you can easily find that the library sucks if the basses are without any use. You will be surprised how many good basses hide in this library. All kinds, all colours, deep and juicy and useful. Of course this is a blast from a past, so you can also find plenty of those thin and "who the hell will need this?" kind of bass. But no matter since there’s still a nice number of really inspirational ones. Inside the other subdirectories you can find a lot of those classical work horse sounds useful for any pop production along with some really funny and unusual material inside the Effects and Hits section. Examples are sampled and manipulated vocal parts, unusual parts of strange musical phrases to the most ordinary synth effects. The whole of the Effects and Hits experience is like having Mellotron

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Proteus Pack by A. Arsov

on dope. For all those people with twisted imaginations (something that every successful musician should have) this could be a gold mine. In short, we have a nice collection of those unusable nonsensical small things that can make a hit if you use it right.

need a voice which is not a voice, then this is the right place for you. Wind section is a yes, yes and no, no collection, but many of those sounds can sound good if you add some delay and a touch of a hall reverb. They are not up to today's standards but are far from being useless. The last one is Keyboard sub-section which is more Enough about that, let's go further than good in all presented libraries. into the subdirectories. Synths are a Included are a lot of nice digital and bit 80-ish, but adding an effect or two, analogue pianos, a much better you can make them fly. Guitars collection than you can find elsewhere. contain a few fine acoustic ones, They are not so wide and fat, but are useful for spicing up a pop versatile as hell. And adding an effect arrangement. Strings are pretty cool or two gives you your fat and wide and can be used, not exactly the version. same as the ones from some 50 GB collection, but nevertheless sound All in all, I'm glad that I got this surprisingly good for that size. collection as it contains a lot of basic, Nobody will complain if you use them workhorse sounds along with a good in a pop production. Drums are really number of interesting sounds that good in all the presented collections, ruled the world twenty years ago and all so versatile and so different. I have now can be used again to add that a million drum hits around on disk but odd, retro feeling to your use mostly the same ones because I compositions. The main attraction of don't have time to try them all, but this collection is versatility. It is hard here in Dimension it is just a matter to find a sample collection these days of a click and a new kit is loaded and I filled with a wide variety of material. was impressed by versatility of these kits. Punch enough to just put them in Promised Details a production and forgot about them. I like it. Then there’s the percussion So far I’ve written about the sounds in section. Bells, congas, bongos ... general without presenting the everything is there. The vocal section included libraries. So, ladies and is the "Holy Jesus!!!" collection. You gentleman, here’s what you’ve been can't believe what you can find there. waiting for. The first one is almighty Let's just say: everything except the Proteus 2000 pack. Some of you may normal: all those vocal sounds from remember the same hardware module old samplers and synthesizers. If you which wasn't so cheap back then.

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w e i v Re

Emu Prot

Anyway, it is now available in the same quality except that it requires only modest amounts of disk space. The original module had stunning 128 megabits of ram reserved for its sounds and now it takes even less space on disk – 56 MB. It is a real workhorse collection of all sorts of sounds you can use to spice up your productions. Maybe it would sound a bit silly if you tried to make the whole song just with it (however, it could be done). But using these elements in combination with modern virtual analogue sounds or even live ones can produce wonders. Definitively a nice combination of sounds that you can't find in most of the modern beasts. 1000 patches in one pack. The next one is the Mo' Phatt library, or pack as they call it, containing 500 patches. It is aimed for hip hop urban sort of music, but it is up to you to abuse it. It has a really nice collection of urban drum kits and bass sounds along with other similar (not in a bad sense) elements as all the other collections. Planet Earth pack brings us the next 500 patches mostly collected from various world instruments. While maybe not all instruments sound as completely realistic as they could, there are still plenty of good sounding percussive and plucked instruments that make the whole pack a lot more interesting than it looks on first impression. As with all such kinds of sounds, it is important to marinade them in a juicy soup with a lot of delay and reverb a day or two before using them. Emu Proteus Virtuoso pack is filled with a good measure of wind and brass instruments which are mostly not especially authentic compared to modern libraries. But they can do the job if you use them in crowded arrangements. The string section is very decent and can be used in many


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teus Pack different genres and capacities. The same can be said of percussive sounds, where we can find various celestas, harps and the like along with classical percussion elements, big drums and similar orchestral joy. Even if you own some other big libraries, you can find this one still useful for making sketches. PX7 Drum and Percussion pack contains some basses, effects and hits and large number of drum and percussion kits. This is a very useful and versatile collection with an enormous number of hits ranked over the keyboard range. XL1 or Xtreme Lead pack is a nice collection of "everything except normal" basses and leads along with percussion, hits and drum kits, vox and other electro dance sounds. OK, it contains also some normal sounds, but on the whole, it is very inspirational and a really versatile synthesized collection. The whole pack will cost you 199 US dollars, while individual packs are all available for 49 dollars each. No matter that all those sounds were made many years ago, there is still a lot of timeless material inside that is worth your time and money. The whole pack is a combination of workhorse, essential sounds along with some special ones that are almost impossible to find elsewhere. I found it pretty inspirational for those moments when you are running out of ideas. Also, it is very usable when you are running out of memory or processor power but you would like to add additional instruments. One thing is for sure, you can't find an instrument in this collection that is bigger than two or three megabits. That's how people used to sample things, with their head and not just their RAM... By a sample man - Arsov April 2012


s w i n Mi Revie

Mini Reviews

by Ginno Legaspi

Sasha and the AudioRaiders team definitely did a good job in the recording, sound design, programming and scripting of this library. I find the sounds very inspiring and fitting in any electronic dance production. The use of high-end gear and vintage synths has created such a wonderful (creamy analog) tone on the instrument patches - with Sasha's signature style stamped on them, of course. The drum loops aren't over-processed either, having just the right amount of compression. Creating your own custom sounds with Soundlab is easy and there is room to manipulate them. Overall, this is a good pack with ultra-high quality samples. This will be a good source of sounds for DJs who want to take a shot at production. Highly recommended.

AudioRaiders Sasha Soundlab When it comes to DJing, plenty have hailed Sasha as a master on the decks as well an accomplished producer. He has been featured in various publications, being named as one of the most relevant DJs of our time. His solo album releases speak volumes, and his production style exemplifies the sound of electronic dance music (EDM). Although this may be the frosting on the cake to an already accomplished artist, California-based sample developer AudioRaiders commissioned Sasha's services to come up with sounds for their first Soundlab release. Simply called Sasha Soundlab, this library is a limitless source of various materials for Techno, House, Minimal, Electronica and Electro producers and desktop musicians. Weighing in at over 2 GB (uncompressed), this library features plenty of bass, drums & percussion, FX, loops and synths that were created using vintage gear such as Roland Jupiter 6, Korg MS20, ARP 2600, etc. The result is over 4000 sounds, 100 loops and grooves and 200 fullycustomizable instruments that are built upon the Native Instruments Kontakt engine. Depending on the sound category, each patch is provided with different sound-shaping controls for you to customize your own sound. For example, in the 'Loops' 86

category there are several parameters you can tweak such as Tone Control, Format: Kontakt/Kontakt Player Filter settings and Beatmash, Triplet (Mac/PC) and a Glitch knob that creates Web: grooves at random. In the 'Bass' Price: $99 category the usual parameters are present: ADSR, Filter cutoff and resonance, Effects, Chorus, Detune Wave Alchemy and Dirt. For those who want filthy Pro-II bass sounds, the bass patches come with extra Fat, Warm and Rude on/off The guys at Wave Alchemy are best switches. You will also find some very known for releasing SFX, drums and warm synth patches in the genre-specific sample libraries. So 'Instrument' folder, some nice when they released Pro-II, the transitional FX sounds and useful company's first analog-hybrid drum kits, glitches and percussion instrument outing for Kontakt, Reason sounds that are all primed for the Refill and Live Pack, it was a bit of a dance floor. surprise.

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Pro-II comprises Price: £ 39.95 Kontakt 4, £ 24.95 6587 multi-sampled Reason 5 ReFill and £27.95 Ableton 24-bit WAV samples Live 8 in total. The core sound library is about 3.9 GB that Native Instruments can be purchased & Evolve downloaded at the When Heavyocity's Evolve library was Loopsmasters site. released in 2008, it caused quite a stir The 195 expertly amongst film composers and sound programmed presets make use of designers. But what's not to like? It's a great virtual instrument specific for Kontakt's editing soundtrack composition, the interface capabilities and extensively scripted is easy to use... full of tweakability. Most of all it's got all kinds of inspiring instrument panel patches made by a team of TV/film with all the composers and professional sound parameters available. However, designers. the Refill version, For the first time, it is now available which I have, from the Native Instruments shop. consists of NN-XT Pro-II is inspired by Sequential Evolve was previously only available patches only. It's still pretty superb, Circuits' Pro-One synthesizer (1981). from Heavyocity. But now, with the but I wish there were Combinator Pro-One sported the same patches included in the Refill. Still, the new Kontakt version, it has been architecture (VCOs, VCFs, VCAs and optimized to work seamlessly with Refill offers plenty of punchy basses, Envelope Generators) as its bigger Maschine - allowing users to browse gritty synth leads, analogue SFX and brother the Prophet 5 - which was quirky tones that would be perfect for and load patches directly from the also a popular synthesizer. We all hardware. an electro, EDM, house and know that these synthesizers back electronica compositions. then cost a lot of money, but thanks Evolve is a sweet 6 GB instrument to Wave Alchemy's expertise, they Overall, Pro-II provides an excellent, powered by Native Instrument's have faithfully reproduced the original flexible representation of a cult analog Kontakt 5/Kontakt Player engine. A yet at the same delivered a very cross-platform instrument supporting classic. A great buy if you want to versatile product. Sampling Pro-One both Windows and Mac in VST, Audio impart that Sequential Circuits was a mountain of a task and Units, RTAS and standalone formats, character to your tracks. challenging I'm sure, but Wave Evolve can pretty much run on Alchemy has gone to great lengths in Format: Kontakt, Reason Refill, everything. It is a mind-boggling creating, designing, programming and Ableton Live Pack, EXS24 instrument with almost 4,000 scripting (in Kontakt). I love the end individual samples and more than Web: result as Pro-II is innovative, highly 1,100 NKI instruments capable of playable and has plenty of analog bite. offering different styles of sounds. April 2012


s w i n Mi Revie Finally, a folder called EXPANDED CONTENT offers additional patches and sounds for preset junkies out there. Sub-folders such as 'Quirky and Cartoony' and 'Rock/Pop' provide fun while being useful at the same time.

From shimmering ambiences to airy textures, rhythmic loops to dramatic hits and melodic riffs to otherworldly FX, Evolve can be a one-stop full-scale resource for cinematic sounds. With unmatched sound quality, it can be immediately ready with or without additional processing. All the sounds are divided into 4 components for easy user experience and patch navigation.

need massive impacting hits and booms that are production-ready there are more than 40 kits to choose from. STINGS and TRANSITIONS is packed with plenty of patches focusing on pads and sonic textures from both tonal and atonal percussive sources. Sounds such as metal scrapes, fractured odd noises, sweeping and layerable pads will help captivate the attention of the audience. The five sub-categories of otherworldly sounds like Uncharted Metals, Odd Noise and Buildups, and Atonal Stings are perfect to heighten emotional impact.

With Evolve, you can pretty much compose a track without any additional instruments or effects processors. Everything is there right at your fingertips. The GUI is inviting and very intuitive. All the necessary controls such as ADSR envelopes, Filters and Effects are fully integrated into the browser. For those who enjoy performing live and tweaking controls in real time, Evolve is customized with the highly addicting (and innovative) Trigger FX engine. The 12 Trigger FX (lo fi, panner, glitcher, pitch env, etc.) can be activated/deactivated by pressing the corresponding MIDI key or by clicking on the respective switch on the instrument interface - radically transforming the original sounds into something new!

RHYTHMIC SUITES are tempo-synced beats and huge-sounding percussions mapped across the keyboard (low for booms and kicks, mid for snares and toms and high keys for hi hats, metals and clangs). These were designed and If there is one word to describe Evolve, programmed with cinematic TONALITY & FX are elements designed it is stunning. Brilliant sound design, exploitation in mind. After auditioning to give your arrangements an edge or highly playable content and it ships some of the sounds, all the materials the high impact it needs. Most of the with plenty of patches. This is a mustincluded are guaranteed to give sounds have a twisted mood or eerie have for every producer and instant gratification. feel. But there are some very useful composer. sounds in the Melodic sub-folder that PERCUSSIVE KITS provides all the were slickly programmed. It features Format: Kontakt-powered library for modern percussive and drum sounds piano, guitar, synth and vocals. I'm Kontakt 5 and Kontakt Player Free from traditional to off-kilter flavors particularly impressed with the patch (Mac/PC) (some of the raw sounds are obtained called 'Guitar Clean Angels'. It is so Web: Price: $229 (Download/DVD) from warehouses, amusement parks, beautiful and stunning that I could murky stairwells, and more). If you play with it all day. 88

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Wavearts Tube Saturator

overdrives the input signal, giving you that compressed sound that guitars can benefit from. Lightly applying it to Wavearts claims that Tube Saturator is other sources such as drums gives it a the "world's most accurate real time nice subtle but punchy effect. Tube tube amp plug-in" yet. That's a pretty Saturator also has two on/off switches big claim if you ask me. But for a on the front, namely, EQ and FAT. The company that's been making pretty EQ switch bypasses/engages the EQ good quality plug-ins since day one, it while the FAT, if turned on, gives a might be true. Let's take a look. pleasurable bass enhancing effect to the signal. Finally, Tube Saturator Tube Saturator has a GUI second to sports a master Output knob to none. Everything is laid out well and is increase volume and a large analog easy to read, there are plenty of style VU meter. controls for you to tweak. Firstly, it has a Baxandall 3-band EQ (+/-12dB) With all the specs written and with high and low shelves filters and a showcased, I would say that Wavearts mid-band. The EQ is smooth and has created a very impressive plug-in. musical - unlike others I have heard It sounds good but Tube Saturator is that are harsh. The EQ is then fed into one heck of a CPU hog. In order to two 12AX7-based tube preamps enjoy this plug-in a fast multi-core emulations. The preamp circuits are computer is recommended. On my similar to the one popular with guitar AMD Phenom II 3.2 GHz quad-core PC, amplifiers. Wavearts, on their website, opening up an instance of Tube states that this is an accurate tube Saturator registered a 35% spike on preamp simulation using the latest Synapse Audio's Orion CPU meter. 64-bit circuit simulation technology. Inserting another instance processing Second, the Drive knob controls the a guitar loop made the CPU jump up amount of distortion. Cranking it to 71%...then I started getting a April 2012

crackling sound. Of course, I could always render the processed sound to WAV or freeze it - that's no problem. Overall, Tube Saturator is a good plug-in with an exceptional sound. It is best used for subtle processing to impart that nice old tube sound. System Requirements/Format: (Macintosh) OS X 10.4, 10.5, 10.6, 10.7 (32-bit) A host program that supports the AU, MAS, VST, or RTAS plug-in architecture. All Mac plug-in formats compatible with Intel-based Macintosh computers (Universal Binary). (Windows) Windows 2000, XP, Vista or 7. A host program that supports the DirectX, VST, or RTAS plug-in architecture. A fast multi-core computer is highly recommended. WEB: PRICE: $99.95



Working on the (Ef

Mono-to-Stereo with No Remorse

summed back to mono. The beauty of the technique I'm presenting here is We're going to look at a couple of that summing to mono results in a things in this article. The first is an signal that's 100% intact. elegant technique that's widely known Readers who are familiar with the for "stereoizing" mono sound sources concepts of M/S will want to skip in a way that is 100% compatible with ahead to the next paragraph. For subsequent mono playback. The those who aren't familiar with it, second, probably only of interest to here's a super-short tutorial. A pair of Sonar users, will be to show how an stereo signals (L and R) can have that effects chain can be set up to create information represented as mid and an easily accessible, home-grown DAW side (M and S) where M=(L+R)/2 and effect plugin that implements this S=(L-R)/2. We can precisely convert technique. M/S back to stereo with L=M+S and R=M-S. M is what you hear in the I first learned of this procedure in a middle and S contains the information fascinating article in Sound-on-Sound you hear at the extremes. Once a magazine. That article covered many stereo signal is converted to M/S, we aspects of stereo sound; the mono-to- can manipulate the center and the stereo trick was just one of several extremes individually for all kinds of topics discussed. You may read the interesting purposes and later convert entire piece at the following link (and back to L/R. In the case of a mono I recommend you do so as all of it is source panned centrally, L and R are enlightening): identical and therefore S is null. If we alter with S so that it has content and ov10/articles/stereoprocessing.htm convert the M/S back to L/R, we will now have differences in the two Briefly, the technique uses mid-side stereo channels. (M/S) processing, delaying the side signal such that it creates Here is the how M/S manipulation can complementary comb filtering in the work to turn mono into stereo. We left and right channels when the M/S start with a mono source, using the information is reconstituted as stereo. original signal as the mid content. We Many common mono-to-stereo tricks take a copy of the original and delay it potentially introduce phase between five ms and 70 ms. incompatibilities between left and Increasing the delay above 70 ms right signals that sound just fine as puts a perceptible interval between long as the playback remains stereo. the original signal and the delay and But the sound can degrade when the the illusion begins to fall apart. We phase-mismatched signals are use no feedback in the delay and use


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a 100% wet setting on the output. This becomes the side signal. Convert M/S to L/R (stereo) and, presto, we've achieved our goal. The strength of the stereo affect depends on how much of the S content you feed into the M/S to L/R converter. The more you attenuate S, the more the result collapses back to mono. That's all there is to it. Well, that's almost all there is to it. There's one potentially nasty side effect for low frequencies. They can build up on one side and make the result sound unbalanced for frequency cycle lengths that are longer than the delay length. The problem is easily remedied by putting a high-pass filter on the delayed signals with a cutoff in the neighborhood of 100 to 200 Hz. Does the result sound utterly natural and organic? Not entirely, it's best applied to non-acoustic material, but it nevertheless adds some space irrespective of the type of track content that's less obvious than overt delays or reverb. It's a bit subtle ‌ in fact you may ask yourself if it's doing anything at all. But just turn the S content down to zero and you'll absolutely hear a difference as the stereo collapses back to mono. This is a great trick to have up one's sleeve. And as stated earlier, it avoids the possibility of your final mix sounding anemic when played in mono due to destructive phase cancelation.

ffects) Chain Gang by dmbaer

So Let's Build One While the technique is straightforward, putting the plugins in place and configuring the setting can be a little tricky. Sonar effect chains to the rescue! That's the good news for Sonar owners. The bad news is that this feature is only available in Sonar Producer X1d extended.

The first Channel Tools instance is just a safety measure to ensure we have exactly the same signal coming in on both the L and R channels, which we treat as M/S channels until we The original Sonar X1 had an get to the second effect chain capability, but it was Channel Tools pretty light weight. Using it to instance. Configure create a stereoizer component it as shown in Fig. 1. was the first thing that crossed I'm not at all my mind when I read about it, but worried about CPU it proved rather too crude to load of two Channel make a usable one. But X1d came Tools instances with the announcement of since the enhancements to effects chains computations they are tasked to that promised: perform require insignificant New "Mod matrix" number crunching. Assign up to four parameters to one knob/button Next we configure the delay as Set ranges for controls shown in Fig. 2. The left side Ability to invert direction delay (the mid) is left 100% dry, so it really doesn't matter When I read that, my immediate what the other settings are. reaction was "you had me at mod But it's essential to disable the matrix". The stereoizer is back on Link button since we don't the table. want adjustments to the right side settings to be mirrored on In spite of the fact that this was the left. On the right (the side) the first time I had ever we want 100% wet and zero experimented with effects chains, Feedback and zero Crossfeed. I was pleased at how fast it all Finally, we want tempo sync came together. To begin, you disabled. We'll leave the left place three effects plug-ins into Delay Time and the Low the effects bin of a track: Channel Frequency Filter setting for Tools, SonitusFX Delay and a later when we set up the mod second Channel Tools. matrix. April 2012

Figure 1

Figure 2



Working on the (Ef

We are fortunate that the SonitusFX Delay only applies filtering to the delayed signal. This works out for us in this case since we have 100% dry on one side and 100% wet on the other. Few (if any) Sonar effects have separate left and effects right controls, so we're limited in just how far we can use M/S manipulation in Figure 3 effects chains without bringing in third party plugins that do offer such finesse (more on this later).

now see it listed in the VST page of the Sonar browser. Next comes the final configuration which involves adding control knobs, setting up the mod matrix and setting default values for the controls. We'll add two essential controls and one

We'll also put in one more control, just because we've got more control knobs available. In this case, I thought it might be useful to offer the ability to thin out the stereo by raising the cutoff of the delay's high pass filter. I'll call that one "Gravitas". Fully clockwise will give the lowest cutoff (deepest sound).

Our third plug-in in the effects bin is another Channel Tools instance, this one to convert from M/S to L/R (Fig. 3). So let's create our new effect chain plug-in. Simply right-click on the effects bin (Fig. 4), select "Save as Effects Chain Preset", which will ask us to name it. I went with "Demonizer" ... de-mono-izer ... get it? [wait for laughter to subside]. Once saved, you should


more control just because we can: delay amount control, side signal HPF cutoff and level of stereo effect. I'll call the amount of stereo effect control "Mojo". We want turning the knob clockwise to increase the stereo effect. The other essential control will regulate the delay time. Here there's no more/less manipulation based on control position. Different settings will alter the sound, but only in quality, not degree, so, I'll use the ambiguous term "Timbre" for this one.

Figure 4

Figure 5

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After the three control knobs are in place, the effects chain looks like what you see in Fig. 5.

ffects) Chain Gang

Figure 7 The Finishing Touches Finally, it's time to hook our controls to the underlying plug-ins with the mod matrix. The initial Channel Tools instance will never need tweaking. Two of our control knobs will regulate settings on the delay and the third will regulate gain levels in the second Channel Tools instance. To bring up the property page of a control, right click and select "property page". On that page, we can specify up to four underlying effect controls (slave controls, if you will) to manipulate and specify the range of that manipulation. The slave controls can be moved in a contrary direction to that of the effect chain master control.

The Gravitas control (Fig.7) lowers the HPF cutoff as we turn it clockwise. Therefore the properties setting does an inverse sweep of the underlying delay control.

For Mojo (Fig.8), I'm going to take advantage of being able to alter multiple plug-in controls with one control on the effect chain. I'll use it to move the second Channel Tool's mid gain in an opposite direction from the side gain. As we turn the Mojo control clockwise, we get more side and less mid. The loudness isn't linear (it gets quieter near the 12 o'clock position) but it's an improvement over not attenuating the mid as the side level increases.

The Timbre control will sweep the delay time between about 5 and 70 ms. This is a very small range on the delay: fully left gets us to 0.1% of the delay slider range and fully right gets us only to 1.75%. Where did I come up with Figure these numbers? I just used trial and error to zero in on settings that worked. The narrow range on the delay slider amply demonstrates why the original Sonar effects chain capability would not have delivered the goods. We really need the mod matrix to introduce these subtle variations in the underlying delay plug-in. See Fig. 6 to see what the control's property page looks like.

Figure 8


April 2012



Working on the (Effects) Chain Gang The final detail is to assign default settings to the three Demonizer controls. To do so, just position the control to the setting you'd like to be the default, right click and select the "assign default value" option. These do not seem to govern how the effects chain controls are initially positioned when adding a new instance to a track's effects bin (I think they should ‌ but, whatever). Double clicking a control causes the control to move to its default setting, however. There you have it! Just right click on Demonizer in the effects bin, save it and we're done.


Effect Chains 3.0? Most (probably all) of the "factory" and the other to wet, that would fully effects chains shipped with Sonar bypass one channel, but all kinds of conform to what was probably the other possibilities would be available envisioned usage wherein one can with this kind of device. It also would capture commonly used groups of be convenient to have a built-in L/R to effects in a way that makes them M/S converter which could be enabled easily reusable. What we've done with prior to the first effect slot and a Demonizer is to effectively create a complementary M/S to L/R converter new pseudo effect plug-in. The simple after the last. nature of the "schematic" made it possible to do the requisite mid-side While we're dreaming of new features, manipulation. how about the ability to replace two But any fancier M/S manipulation adjacent controls with an X/Y pad? would not be possible, at least with That could certainly be useful in some the standard effects shipped with cases. Sonar. In nearly all cases, Sonar effects have no capability to Finally, what about a couple of effectmanipulate stereo channels using per- chain-level LFOs to modulate channel settings. Too bad! We could underlying effects settings? With create some extremely useful pseudo these, even more sophisticated effects doing all sorts of interesting pseudo effects become a possibility. M/S sound manipulation if the component chain effects had perWell, I need to be going. I'm feeling channel settings. the urge to visit the Cakewalk web site to log some feature requests! So, my first feature request in the You may download Demonizer from next version would be the ability to monizer.fxc. Just copy it into your bypass a left or right (or mid or side) Sonar effects chain directory, which signal, leaving the only other passing for a default install will be: through component effect. Even C:\Cakewalk Content\Sonar X1 better would be a dry/wet control on each channel. With one side set to dry Producer\FX Chain Presets

April 2012

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WSM April 2012 (96 dpi)  

WSM April 2012 (96 dpi)

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