By Rich Tozzoli.
As we start another year of fun, I thought it would be interesting to reach out to some of my industry friends to find out what their favorite “new” software was (with a few hardware treats thrown in). These are all professionals who make records for a living, so it's always an eye opener to see how we all work in different ways.
John Holbrook (Brian Setzer, B.B. King, Todd Rundgren)
• Slate Trigger: Great for snare replacement, or adding stereo ambience, fast enough to run live. And the instrument editor lets me use my own samples.
• UAD SSL 4K Channel Strip: Pretty convincing! I've been using it on Kick quite a bit.
• SoundToys Decapitator: Great for adding "character." I also like Tremolator.
• Shout out to MDW EQ: Not new, but I still use it a lot.
• And Hardware: I still love my Thermionic Phoenix compressor!
Bob Power (Erykah Badu, India.Arie, D'Angelo)
• Isotope Ozone 4: It sounds as if they've rewritten some of their code, and the limiter is fantastic.
• Waves CLA compressors: The 1176 sounds like the best hardware units that I've used.
• BFD 2: A big upgrade from original, especially with DSP (compression, EQ) functions.
• Logic Pro 9's Amp Designer: Wow, really sounds like what it is supposed to emulate and very customizable.
• Sonnox Oxford Reverb: It’s not new, but the EMT plate is luscious.
• McDSP parametric EQ: Meat and potatoes, and very precise
D. James Goodwin (Norah Jones, Devo, Natasha Bedingfield)
• Universal Audio EP-34 Echoplex for UAD: Used a ton on vocals and guitar. It really sounds just as good as any old Echoplex I've heard. And the beauty is you can sync to tempo if you want, and do subdivisions on the fly. I actually used it on a drum mic the other day, and it was awesome.
• Sound Toys Decapitator: I've been using this all over the place. You name it; it's been used. It’s a really quick way to juice up bass and synth tracks.
Paul Antonell (Rusted Root, Natalie Merchant, The Wailers)
• Sonnox Oxford SuprEssor: The best at "de-essing."
• Sound Toys: Love the whole bunch.
• Universal Audio for UAD: The EMTs are awesome.
• Neve EQ: Yeah, it's hardware, but you can't beat it.
• My favorite toy is the AEA-A440 active ribbon microphone. It's been here for a while, but I am using it every day. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on the AEA KU4 this January.
Pete Moshay (Hall & Oates, Barbra Streisand, Average White Band)
• Pro Tools 9: Finally!
• Waves C6: I use this live and in the studio on every session.
• Izotope Alloy and Nectar: An amazing amount of effective tools in one plug-in.
• Sound Toys Decapitator: Powerful and fun.
• iPad: Could computing get any more user-friendly?
• Kush Audio UBK Clariphonic: How did I live without this before?
• Focusrite ISA828: 36 LiveFromDarylsHouse.com shows, and I still love them.
Steve Pageot (Aretha Franklin, Bone Thugs & Harmony, Snoop)
• Native Instruments Maschine: It sped up my workflow, the drum sounds are tight and I'm really impressed with the drag-and-drop function that converts your MIDI sequence to audio into your DAW.
• Fxpansion's BFD2: Japanese Taiko Percussion. All I have to say is WOW!
• Overloud Breverb and TH1: Can't go wrong with them both.
• Arturia's Analog Laboratory: Will blow your mind.
• Universal Audio 1176 for UAD: A must have, it always brings life to my tracks.
• Spectrasonics Omnisphere: Still awesome for film scoring, pop music and sound designing.
• Pro Tools 9: My DAW of choice.
• Celemony Melodyne: An oldie but goodie, the things that I can do with this software are breathtaking—from tuning a vocal track to adjusting or changing a note within a chord after the musicians have left the session, it's invaluable.
Chris Athens (Beastie Boys, N.E.R.D, Ozzy Ozbourne)
• Logic Pro 9: For giving so much for so little; and elastic audio, and for kickin' Pro Tools’ ass.
• Pro Tools 9: Native? WTF? Thanks for coming to their senses after feelin' the heat from Apple, and for finally making PT the killer app it was meant to be. All hail the king!
• Ableton Live 8: You dirty little bi*ch. My nights and weekends are all about you (sometimes my afternoons, too. Shh...)
• Flux Alchemist. WTF? You are the first plug-in to ever thoroughly confuse me. I gotta a little crush on you now that we know each other better.
• My One-O-A-Kind Custom Tube Console: The warmest, softest piece of hardware ever.