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Software @ AES

Highlights from the 131st AES Convention

For those of you that weren’t able to make it to the Big Apple this time around, here are a few of the most notable software manufacturers and products that caught my attention.

Avid Pro Tools 10 Digital Audio Workstation:
Certainly one of the big buzzes of the show was the release of Pro Tools 10 and the upcoming HDX system. Pro Tools 10 software delivers a useful Clip Gain feature; the ability to use multiple audio formats in a session; an enhanced disk handler; the ability to record in low-latency mode with direct monitoring while using third-party interfaces; a new Avid Channel Strip plug-in; and more. Pro Tools|HDX is basically an HD Accel system on steroids, with up to five times more power per card; for those of you that need 768 voices, you can do it! It also has four times more automatic delay compensation, greater dynamic range and headroom, a new AAX plug-in platform and more responsive feel with RAM-cached record and playback, among many other features.

Dolby Media Emulator for Broadcast Audio Formats:
For us “surround heads,” this software tool for Pro Tools (RTAS) and VST platforms delivers media emulation for Dolby broadcast audio formats, enabling users to approximate how your mix will sound on TV or through a set-top box. Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital, Dolby E and HE AAC metadata can be monitored and dial norm values using the ITU-R BS; 1770-s algorithm can be determined using the included meter; and decoding can be done using Dolby Pro Logic II.

Eventide Native Plug-ins:
Eventide is moving its previously TDM-only plug-ins to the Native platform, starting with the Reverb 2016 Stereo Room and the Omnipressor. Available soon, they will run as AU, VST and also on the new Pro Tools AAX format.

iZotope Ozone 5 Mastering Plug-in:
iZotope was showing the latest version of Ozone, its complete mastering solution plug-in. It features a loudness maximizer, paragraphic EQ, multiband dynamics, multiband stereo imaging, harmonic exciter, dithering and mastering reverb. Besides its great-looking GUI, it also has over 100 presets (with an undockable preset manager) and new MacroPresets, as well as M/S processing tools, Global Amount Control for single control processing, Fader Compare, a new “Intelligent II” mode for transient processing and complete K-System metering support.

Massey Plug-ins Updates:
I was certainly impressed with the sound of a few nuggets that Massey has cooking. The upcoming MQ2 for RTAS, AS and TDM (slated for early 2012) should do very well, as their new EQ plug-in that models transformers’ input and output stages. What I really liked was the resonance control, which I will certainly use on guitar and snare tracks. Also showing was DRT Version 2 (shipping before 2012) plug in for drum replacement work. V2 adds audio track generation to its MIDI track export, as well as a variable noise gate for the trigger detection algorithm, pro- viding more accuracy on tracks with a lot of noise bleed. They also updated the CT4 compressor to the CT5 by adding on a highratio compressor curve option, sidechain input capability and a wet-dry control.

Softube Summit Audio TLA-100A Plugin:
This one sounded fantastic to me, both in headphones and even out in the open (and noisy!) “show air.” The first-and-only Summit Audio plug-in, it’s based on the popular TLA-100A leveling amp. It features builtin parallel compression and detector filtering and even modeled output distortion, controlled with the saturation knob. While the Vintage Section retains all the original controls, additional enhancements have been made in the Modern Section, including Low Cut (Off to 600 Hz), Saturation (Clean/Normal/High) and Parallel Inject (Wet/50/50/Dry).

Sonnox Oxford Fraunhofer Pro Codec Plug-in:
Designed for real-time auditioning, encoding and decoding of audio using Fraunhofer codecs, this useful tool allows for simultaneous export of up to five audio stream in real time. Users can do A/B auditioning in real time between codecs, or between the codec and input signal. Supported codec’s include mp3, mp3 Surround, AAC-LC, HE-AAC, HE-AAC v2, mp3- HD and HD-AAC (lossless). It’s Mac- and PC-compatible with Pro Tools, Logic, Cubase, Nuendo, Sequoia and Wavelab.

SSL Duende RTAS Plug-ins:
SSL announced that its Duende software package would be available as an RTAS plug-in for Pro Tools. This spring, the company also released the full Duende suite as a completely Native (VST/AU) version, which did feature an RTAS wrapper. However, since SSL is now an Avid development partner, the new native RTAS version will offer full plug-in control. The package includes the EQ and Dynamics channel, stereo bus compressor, Vocalstrip, Drumstrip, X-EQ, X-Comp and X-Verb.

SoundToys Plug-ins’ Student Deals:
The gang at SoundToys announced a cool deal if you’re a college student; you can pick up the full SoundToys Native Effects and Devil-Loc Deluxe for $249. So, here’s betting many of you are suddenly going to become “students.” SoundToys also noted that the nasty little Devil-Loc Deluxe “Audio Level Destroyer” will soon be released as a TDM version.

TC Electronic LM6 Radar Loudness Meter:
The radar display on the new LM6 shows loudness history (which can be logged as a standard formatted text file), and each revolution can span from 1 minute to 24 hours. It’s supported on both Mac and PC platforms for Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Media Composer, Final Cut Pro, Nuendo, Wavelab, Cubase, Sequoia and so on. It also conforms to all major broadcast standards including ATSC A/85, ITU BS.1770-2 and EBU R128.

Waves Bass Rider Plug-in:
The companion to its Vocal Rider plug-in, Bass Rider is optimized for the frequency range and envelope characteristics of DI, amplified, synth and upright basses. Note that this is not a compressor, so Waves recommends that it be used prior to EQ or compression. It uses note detection for attack, sustain and release to determine the appropriate gain levels. Adjustments can be made for Sensitivity level, Note Detect Response, Spill (for bleed) and Artifacts (Lo to Hi). Additional adjustments can be made for Effective Range (upper and lower movement range) and Output (trims the bass output gain +/- 12 dB).

Rich Tozzoli is a producer, engineer, mixer and composer as well as PAR’s software editor.