I took a look at Slate Digital’s (or is it Slate Media Technologies?) new Virtual Recording Studio Experience session. It features recordings of various instruments using their ML-2 instrument microphone and ML-1 large diaphragm microphone.
Watch the video about this very neat trick that helps gel a mix together:
Here is my review of Krotos Weaponizer –
Script notes are as follows:
MIDI virtual instrument
24-bit/192 kHz library. Machine guns, sniper rifles, semi automatic rifles, handguns, shotguns and even some scifi weaponry is all included in the Total version. Basic version 1/3 of the guns.
Bullet fly bys, bullet impact, reloading and for some reason drums as well. Actually, I think the reason they include drums is to remind people that Weaponiser can also be used for sound design tasks besides weaponry.
A variety of nice microphones were used at a great variety of distances.
Back in college, we had to design a composite sound effect. This plugin definitely brought me back to that lesson.
Single vs. Burst mode.
File Browser is the best way to navigate the factory library.
Page 9 C:\Program Files\Krotos\ Weaponiser/Factory Assets (spaces and the forward slash before Factory)
Library tab is the default factory. File tab is for your own custom sound files. After selecting a file, click then drag to a bank. Files/folders can also be dragged/dropped from Windows Explorer.
Tag filters are handy.
File Preview, click speaker icon.
Use single shots in burst mode.
Tails from burst or single can be used interchangeably.
The sound design portion of this plugin is broken into four color coordinated main parts. Onset, which is the beginning of the sound. Body, the main part of the sound effect. Thump, the bass layer. Tail is the final part of the sound.
These are what Krotos calls engines. Each can be routed through separate outputs for further mixing.
Custom impulse responses can be loaded in the tail.
Burst cuts off sounds. Different than just clicking the FIRE button manually.
Randomizer control. White circle on the dials. Drag up and down while clicked on the circle. The variation appears in blue.
Pitch, frequency modulation and amplitude synth. Very important when designing sci-fi sound effects.
Rever convolution engine.
Upper right, the timeline. Allows change of timings.
Underneath the Timeline is the Mixer. Includes 8 different effects
Future sound packs, interior recordings would be interesting.
Demo is available.
Watch this video…then make the right decision to NOT go to Recording School/college!
sE Electronics updated their $300 large diaphragm condenser microphone in November 2017. They updated the internals a little, added additional attenuation and high pass options plus include their Isolation Pack (shockmount + pop screen) in the deal.
I got a chance to put it through its paces and the results are in this video:
And here are the script notes:
Thanks sE Electronics for sending the sE2200 my way for this review. It’s a classy looking microphone that comes with shockmount and pop screen accessories. How does it sound? Let’s take a listen right away!
The drums and cymbals sounded great to me. My drums aren’t great but that’s how they sound and the sE2200 captured them quite nicely. Onto some guitar samples.
Whoa, whoa whoa. If you’re thinking Adam WTF is up with all the noise? Well, the guitar player had one of those instruments with built in digital effects. Now, I’m about to play the same tracks with noise reduction turned on which unfortunately takes most of the presence and high end out of the signal.
OK, now onto acoustic guitar.
Finally, the samples you have all been waiting for: vocals. Now, the release of this video was delayed for a few weeks because I’ve been trying to record a female vocalist and a nicer sounding drum set. Unfortunately I couldn’t make that happen so you’re going to have to settle for this…
Those songs sound like hits to me! Somebody sign that girl to a record deal before Warner Brothers does! Seriously though, here are the rest of the vocal samples.
Go right to looking at sE’s web site.
Record vocals on and off-axis (45 degree angle and out of the path of wind blasts). Also, with pop screen on and off.
Solid build. Switches don’t feel cheap.
Shock mount made it easy to position. Hard to twist knob sometimes when fingers were sweaty/greasy. Came with extra band.
Be mindful of the pop filter ridges. The sE logo should be facing out or it won’t go in properly.
Reminds me of an AT4040 but less harsh.Did not like it on my voice. Did not like the Proscreen XL with it.
I really wanted to love this microphone on vocals. If you boom it and use a dark/muddy mic preamp it works better.
Great clean guitar mic
Great for finger picked acoustic guitar. May be too harsh for picked.
Great for drum overhead or room mic. It has a lot of transient detail and low end so it should be fine for kick drum as well.
Couple it with a dull sounding preamp for best results. It did not go well with the Audient pres.
Here’s my review of the AZURE mastering equalizer plugin:
There weren’t really any script notes for this one. Other than it is based on the Knif Audio Soma passive tube EQ. It was created by Analog in the Box and Zino Mikorey.
Based on the D.W. Fearn VT-5 vacuum tube equalizer. Here is my take on it:
And here are the script notes:
Officially licensed D.W. Fearn VT-5 emulation.
The hardware will cost you $9,100. It’s handmade and not mass produced.
The plugin was two years in the making.
A very simple EQ. High and low shelves with separate cut and boosts. Mid-range cut.
Preamp on/off is the lamp button. Tube amps are used, much like a Pultec EQ.
Acustica recently added high quality plugin sets to their latest Core12 tools.
High cut for digital aliasing removal.
Here’s my review video of sE Electronics supercardioid dynamic instrument microphone, the V7 X!
And here are the script notes, as per the usual:
In this video I’m going to review sE Electronic’s V7 X super cardioid dynamic instrument microphone.
By request sE Electronics kindly sent me the V7 X to make this review possible. Let’s get right to the raw samples! First up, harmonica.
I thought it sounded pretty good although the highs would have to be tamed a little. Next up, acoustic guitar.
The acoustic guitar I used has a bright characteristic. I thought it worked well and if you’re looking for a more mellow tone then the V7 X would work well. Finally, let’s listen to it on rap vocals and drums. Bear in mind, the drums I used aren’t very good quality.
Now that you’ve heard it, let’s take a look at the marketing material on sE’s web site. *turn around in chair towards computer
Turn away from computer, look back at camera.
Final thoughts on the V7X? It is a solid instrument microphone. I’d certainly choose it over an SM57 for everything except vocals.
It feels like it could withstand a lot of abuse as well although I did not do a durability test because it had to be returned to sE in good cosmetic and working condition.
Is this $500 software compressor worth the price? Watch the video review here:
As usual, here are the script notes:
Softube, 1:1 digital code translation.
Weiss can be purchased for $419 at EveryPlugin.com
DS1 sounds great on the mix buss. Sounds natural/transparent.
Works well on tracks as well, particularly vocals. Just automate breaths!
Missing AAX DSP.
You can get the limiter by itself cheaper.
It’s a de-esser, compressor and limiter.
Linear phase crossover filters
Upward expansion (helps with over-compressed signals)
Parallel Compression button
Limiter gain reduction meter
Waveform Display View
3 Limiters: Hardware, Type 1 (highest RMS) and Type 2 (True Peak)
The easier to use MM-1 limiter is included
Bob Katz presets
3 page Options menu
Bob Ludwig mode…parameter settings are always displayed. Unfortunately they are in the shadow.
What makes this processor unique and work well is its release measurements/settings. You have four settings that control the release’s behavior. Average, fast, slow and delay.
Ganged mode? When stereo processing you usually keep this on. In
M/S mode it may be preferable to turn Gang off.
The Monitor button is very useful in M/S mode.
Every studio should have at least one nice hardware compressor. The SA-76 could be that piece. Here’s my review of Stam Audio’s new 1176 Rev. A clone:
And here are the script notes:
In this video I’ll be reviewing Stam Audio’s SA-76 feedback style FET compressor. It’s a hand assembled replica of the iconic 1967 vintage Urei 1176 Revision A.
Thanks to Stam Audio for making this review possible. They kindly sent me the compressor to review and keep. Therefore this is not an Audio Skeptics Society review but the SA-76 will be honestly evaluated.
The 1176 Rev A, nicknamed the blue stripe, is perhaps the most sought after compressor in the world. Engineers love how it evens out audio volume levels and brings track details out with added mid range frequencies. It even has its own Wikipedia page!
1176 style compressors are also famous for the British mode or all buttons in trick which can work well on drum room mics, bass guitar and certain vocal styles.
Vintage units will run you $2,000 or more. Some have sold for over $10,000. Stam Audio sells theirs for a little under $700 plus shipping.
The SA-76’s front panel features Input and Output knobs. Four ratio buttons along with an analog VU meter. Meter display buttons can be found on the far right side.
On the back is a power switch, fuse and ground connector. Balanced XLR and ¼” phone inputs and outputs round out the back panel.
Stam’s web site they talk about Transformer replicas, Vishay capacitors, Phillips capacitors and New Old Stock Carbon resistors. I honestly don’t know what any of this means other than the parts are combined to closely match the original hardware blueprint.
But enough talk, let’s listen to some samples!
Reviewing the SA-76 was part fun and part learning experience. Since my only previous hardware compressor experience was with FMR Audio’s Really Nice Compressor and an Aphex 320D Compellor, I didn’t know what to expect going in.
Pictures don’t do this thing justice. It looks so small on a computer screen but in real life it is big. 3 ½ inches tall and 19” wide.
The attack and release knobs were not as expected. On the original hardware, the fastest settings are the highest numbers. Joshua, Stam Audio’s owner, on Gearslutz wrote that by request buyers can have their units set to the old way.
Speaking of attack, it goes from very fast to ridiculously fast. The slowest is 800 microseconds. There are one million microseconds in a second…800 microseconds is FAST!
The release is slower, at 50 milliseconds through its slowest 1.1 seconds timing.
Getting the routing in REAPER set up was easier than expected but still required more steps than a regular plugin. The Reainsert plugin is very useful for gainstaging and track alignment purposes.
Another thing I learned was don’t trust the meter. Don’t even look at the meters. Many if not most software meters are nothing like real hardware. You can hear compression happening even when the gain reduction needle isn’t moving.
Before unplugging it, turn your speakers off and then press the meter off button.
Tweaking an EQ plugin before compression, while the SA-76 was processing audio, is how I got things to sound good. The importance of feeding the compressor good quality audio cannot be understated.
Gainstaging is also very important, so I tried to stay under -8 dBFS as much as possible on the output and less than -12 dBFS on the way back into the audio interface.
Find the loudest part of your track to check for unwanted distortion.
With hardware you can use two hands at once!
I read that the Revision A was noisy. The SA-76’s noise floor is quite low, even at the highest Input level settings.
There are no hardware presets. You twist the knobs until it sounds good. Then twist them until it sounds better. You have to use your ears, it is as simple as that.
Engineers love the Release on fastest. Particularly vocals. Try 3 and 7 (5 and 1 on the SA-76)
All Buttons in, try Attack slowest, Release fastest. Also try Release fastest (1) and Attack at 5 (3 on the SA76)
Just as everyone said all along, this compressor works best with vocals, bass guitar and drums. I didn’t like it on piano at all.
Tone shaper. Especially with kick drums.
Sharp edges. Once it’s racked this isn’t an issue.
Fingerprint magnet. I tried using Windex to clean it up before getting the product shots but that didn’t work.
No extended warranty option available.
Worth it over plugins? This is ultimately up to you and your budget. If you run a studio people will take you more seriously when they see pictures of your control room with rack gear.
More gain reduction can be applied vs. plugins.
Using the compressor while recording will save time later on. Just a few decibels of gain reduction, slowest attack and medium release.
If you mix it will only process in real time and obviously uses more electricity than just your computer. 10W isn’t too bad though…it’s less than some LED bulbs.
Twisting real knobs is a more gratifying experience than moving a mouse scrollwheel.