My main vocal chain is an API 512c Micpre, Shure SM58, Wavearts Track5 into Izotope Nectar. By using a great Micpre and mic I have a great sounding base but Nectar gives me a lot of styles to work from. Nectar 2 will be available soon and it adds to an already good plug-in a Harmonizer, Pitch Editor, Plate Reverb and creative effects like a Repeater and others. I have no deal with Izotope and highly recommend this one.
“With the new Nectar 2, flawless vocal production is just a click away. Bring your vocal tracks to life with a new modeled plate Reverb, a new Harmonizer, an overhauled Pitch Editor, an out-of-this-world new FX module, and a fully-redesigned user interface. From quick corrections to limitless creativity, Nectar 2 treats your voice to sweet results.” – Izotope
For those of you who still have not grabbed some modular stuff but want in on the sounds Izotope has released a Sound Library called Modular for Iris. Iris is on my list of interesting plug-ins to get when I have the chance. This library has 600 samples and 300 patches for $34 USD.
“From the vintage classic, the ARP 2600, to modern Cartesian sequencing, the Modular sound library stems from a wide range of both musical and chaotic sources. Start experimenting and you’ll find that any Modular patch could inspire your next track, from pulsing tones to lush effects to glitchy rhythmic syncopations to fat bass sounds.” – izotope.com
Today is a good day to get some deals on pro-audio software. The best place to see a list of what’s going cheap is over at: rekkerd.org/deals-deals-deals. Native Intruments, Izotope, Waves, Slate Digital, Ableton, IK Multimedia, Cakewalk and many others are on the list. The only thing tempting me software wise this year is Izotope Trash 2.
“Cyber Monday is a marketing term for the Monday after Black Friday, the Friday following Thanksgiving in the United States, created by companies to persuade people to shop online.” – Wikipedia
Izotope has released a “sampling re-synthesizer” called Iris. Many years ago I was at Sam Ash in White Plains. There was a guy demoing some IRCAM software. He told me it was top secret. You could see audio; not in a waveform sense but spread like an image with varying colors as parts of the sounds. You could then draw on the image and filter out audio. That product was never released to the public. I suspect the French government was using it in it’s crime labs. Iris reminds me of that software and a bit more. Some of the tech from Iris certainly comes from Izotope’s own amazing RX audio cleaning software. Check out the videos above as they will show you what Iris can do better than any text. I’m going to get this one and first thing put my own vocals into it. It’s $149 USD and comes with a 4GB library.
“Evolve your sounds rapidly with Iris?s diverse and intuitive visual selection tools. By drawing shapes in the Iris spectrogram, you can isolate speciic audio frequencies within a sample and play them back immediately on your MIDI keyboard.” – izotope.com
I absolutely love audio mangling software. I cherish plug-ins like Effectrix, The Finger and Stutter Edit. The amount of wiring, tape splicing, copy, cutting, pasting, and effort you would have to go through to get some of the output these plug-ins can produce is massive. While you can go nuclear using these tools with wet at 100% I also love to kill loop monotony in subtle ways with these tools. The video above is a demo of the new kid on the block Linplug’s Relectro. I’m not sure I like the loop used but you can hear this plug-in definitely can produce some interesting stuff.
“If you’re looking for a new kind of beat/sound mangler you really should check out the manual or the description on their site. It sounds completely different than one would imagine. If you like hardcore, noise, glitch, power electronics, idm… this is a neat tool too kick the crap outa your ol’ drum loops!” – salzmanufaktur
Dave Smith Instruments Tempest. An all new analog drum machine. Awesome. If you listen carefully the demo goes from all the way from 606 to 909ish with some nice Simmons tom emulation and synth stabs. There are a lot of specs but does it matter? A lot of buttons and analog stuff. $2000. link
Avid Torq 2. I secretly always liked Torq better than Traktor. I don’t know why I’ve keep it a secret. It’s just more fun to use and I like the flat interface a lot. I’m not sure 4 decks is better than two. Can you say tiny things to see in a big display? The new Traq Morph feature “blends music tracks in exciting new ways by intelligently applying audio effects during crossfade.”. That could be cool right? Lastly, the software is decoupled from any hardware so you can use it stand alone or with any controller. $250 link
Akai Synthstation 49. I want my car dash to be an iPad. Just the same let’s make my keyboard interface and sound source and iPad too! It’s from Akai so a few MPC pads are included. This will win or loose depending on quality. link
Alesis Studiodock. Professional audio and MIDI I/O for your iPad. Oh… and composite video out. I’m getting very close to being able to play an entire live show off my iPad! link
Izotope Stutter Edit. I love plug-ins like this. Stutter, a Stutter Matrix, Buffer Tricks, Bit Reduction, Pan, Gate, Delay, Filters and more take normal audio and mess it up. $149 link
Arturia Spark. I’m going to tell you right now that this new drum machine from Arturia won’t sound as good as the DSI Tempest. Your going to pay a lot less though and it does have a super fun TR style roll by sequencer. All drum machines are awesome. All of them. $600. link
Rob Papen Punch. I sense a theme at this year’s Namm. I remember it used to be work making killer electronic drum sounds, loops and patterns. Boy to kids have the toys today! If your not an analog purist Dutch Papen’s new VST punch could be of use to you. Will it compete with products like uToniq? Time will tell. link
M-Audio Venom. I wasn’t excited about a new VA synth. Then I learned the price would be $499. I also learned it came with a VST editor. The marketing hype is pretty good for the new Avid synth too. link
MORE UPDATES TO COME. I will be adding things I find worthy to this post as the weekend continues.
Izotope will be releasing a vocal plug-in this month called Nectar. The software will have Pitch Correction, Breath Control, Compressors, a DeEsser, Doubler, Saturation, EQ, Gate, Limiter, Delay and a Reverb. It will be $199 at launch then jump to $299 shortly after. I use Ozone and Trash quite often and considering every song I have is graced with my voice (subject to opinion I know) Nectar could end up in my AU folder. As with other Izotope plug-ins there will be an extensive preset browser too.
“Nectar offers dozens of professionally designed vocal production styles powered by eleven processing modules. Users will select an included style and then customize it with faders tailored to that style. For further customization of their vocal sound, users can switch to the Advanced View and access all of the controls of the underlying modules that power the plug-in… iZotope Nectar is ideal for audio engineers, voice over artists, singer/songwriters, recording enthusiasts, podcasters, and anyone else who records sung or spoken vocals. Its dozens of styles cover genres including: Alternative & Indie, Blues/R&B, Classical, Country, Dance & Electronica, Hip Hop & Rap, Jazz, Pop, Rock, and Spoken Word.” – izotope.com
Here’s clip from a song I am working on. Drums are Vermona DRM1 MKIII, Synth is layers of a Yamaha CS5 no real effects except I’m running the track through Altiverb but only for a Neuman mic IR (Impulse Response) not for reverb and Izotope Ozone for widening. Eventually the song will be longer with vocals.
“Synthpop is a genre of music in which the synthesizer is the dominant musical instrument. It originated as part of the new wave movement of the early 1970s to the mid-1980s, and it has continued to exist and develop ever since. The genre has seen a resurgence in popularity in the late 2000s/early 2010s.” – Wikipedia
“iZotope kicked Beatmaker’s ass” was the title of a forum thread at Ableton.com by user beats me that made me click and read further. After I watched the video above I think beats me may be right at least as far as usability and interface are concerned. I’m a superfan of Izotope Ozone and Trash and this new iPhone app sure looks like fun.
The most interesting thing here is the interface. The way you move from loop to sequencer, pattern edit, then pattern record is all well thought out and how can I put this? Fun and swooshy!
A few months ago I performed at a club called Rumours in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands. This required us to get picked up from Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam and be driven about two hours north. In the car I was shocked to see there was no CD player or MP3 jack. Staring me in the face was a cassette deck. Looking around some more I noticed about 50 cassettes stuffed in various places. About an hour into the drive I realized how good these cassettes sounded. There was some very nice high end going on that I had not heard in years. The bass sounded warm and sincere.
There is hardware software that will emulate tape saturation. On the hardware side check out Robert Neve’s 5042 True Tape FX unit.. Software wise there are lots of options including Digidesigns Reel Tape Suite and PSP’s Vintage Warmer.
But what if you want to bring back some good old fashion tape noise? Adding a few seconds of noise before your song starts will trigger your listeners mind into believing your song was recorded in the 1980s or earlier. My favorite plug-in for the task is Izotope’s free plug-in called Vinyl. Here’s a list of some of the “sounds” you can add into your song using Vinyl:
You can also adjust “Warp Models”, year and RPM of the Vinyl emulation. Lastly, there is a mono/stereo switch. Using the Dust and Scratch settings you can get a nice Portishead sound. I have to say I really love this plug-in and if it cost money I would buy it. Big thanks to Izotope!
There are many other ways to get some noise into your tracks. Sometimes I turn off a synthesizer’s Oscilators and turn up only the Noise Generator. Adding a filter modulated by the LFO to the Noise makes some nice wave or storm sounds. Sonic Charge has a superb software drum machine called uToniq. I use it as a noise generator by clicking the oh so ever awesome random button. Or why not record some real noise with a microphone? Even aiming a mic at your computer’s fan while it edits a large Photoshop document will do the trick!