W.A. Production releases Puncher 2 Lite, a freeware transient shaper effect in VST, AU, and AAX plugin formats for digital audio workstations on PC and Mac. Puncher 2 is an ultra-lightweight transient shaping and multi-band compression tool. It is based on the same DSP engine as W.A. Production’s flagship Puncher 2 ($69) plugin, but the […]
Tiny Dist from developer EXE Consulting is a distortion pedal emulation for guitar and bass. I’m sure it’ll be useful on other signals like drums or vocals, as well. You can set the input level and gain and adjust the sound with the tone knob. There’s also an output level control, and of course a bypass switch. Like most guitar distortion pedals in the real world, Tiny Dist is a single channel effect. The GUI is resizable, with six sizes to choose from.
WarmApp by Truality Audio is an effect plug-in that adds subtle warmth to an audio signal. We don’t know exactly how it works and what kind of processing it uses, but the developer says that its effectiveness depends on the harmonic content of the sound source. There’s only one knob, which controls the intensity of the effect, and a bypass switch. If you’re looking for a quick way to add warmth to your audio signals and bring them to life, give WarmApp a try.
3x Deluxe by Infected Sounds is a free software synth with three oscillators. Each oscillator offers 46 waveforms to choose from. It also features a multi-mode filter with low pass, high pass and band pass modes. For modulation, 3x Deluxe offers two LFOs and three envelopes for pitch, filter and amp. There’s also AM modulation for oscillators 1 and 2. The synth also has an effects section with six effects. 3x Deluxe comes with a variety of presets, including basses, plucks and leads.
Red Panda has a new updated bitcrusher pedal set for release in February. The Bitmap 2 uses fractional bit reduction and sample rate modulation to crush your guitar tones into weird distortion oblivion. If you’re looking to mangle your tone, this pedal may be for you.
Red Panda Bitmap 2
The new Red Panda Bitmap 2 is a compact, made-in-the-USA pedal with the ability to destroy your tone, but in a good musical way. It does so by fractional bit reduction and sample rate modulation, which crushes your bit rates and distorts your guitar’s signal to make them weird and wonderful. For example, if you set the bit reduction from 24-bits down to 1-bit and the sample rate reduction from 48 kHz down to 110 Hz, it will seriously degrade your pure signal.
You can run anything you like through it, not just guitars, so feel free to bitcrush your ukulele (yes please) or your favourite synthesiser or drum machine. It has stereo ins/outs via TRS cables and should handle most signals with ease.
The pedal has controls for Mix (this blends how much of the effect you have with your dry signal), Crush, Freq, Filter, Rate,and Depth, along with Drive and Env, plus Preset and Wave buttons. It is well laid out and fairly self explanatory to use. The Aux footswitch is assignable to tap tempo or preset selection.
Red Panda Bitmap 2 Bit crusher stompbox
Modulate and Filter
Now throw in the ability to add an envelope control that can be set to modulate your sampling rate or mix, and a 4-pole low-pass filter. The latter can also be assigned to an external footswitch to control the filter sweep, which should make it even more fun to use. You also have tap tempo available, and Red Panda says there are some hidden parameters accessible through a web-based editor. That sounds pretty intriguing and I look forward to finding out more upon release.
Presets and MIDI
The Bitmap 2 has four onboard presets you can save on the actual pedal. But, if you require more, you can save up to 127 via MIDI (this is also available for MIDI clock sync). This would be ideal for players who like to build their own patches/presets to call at a later date. The pedal requires a 9V 250 mAcentre-negative power supply and has an analogue buffered bypass.
The Red Panda Bitmap 2 is out on 5 February and you can pre-order via the link below.
Having Reason under your literal fingertips lends a new dimension of tactility to the software’s famous hardware-inspired workflow. To that, developer ZenDAW introduced Cloudkeys – software that enables touch control for Reason Studios’ famous DAW.
ZenDAW Cloudkeys – touch control for Reason
Cloudkeys requires a computer with a touchscreen display running Windows 7 or later. It lays out many important parameters and functions on the screen, such as the sequencer, Editor tools, file handling, zoom, transport, navigation, and more. There are over 130 pre-mapped Reason touch screen actions, including touch gestures, and all of them are color-coded. This makes working with Reason quicker and more intuitive, perhaps giving new creative possibilities through the use of touch.
Cloudkeys uses the native Windows touchscreen interface, so no drivers or additional hardware/software are required. If you have a touch-enabled display and use Reason, give the free Cloudkeys demo a try – it sounds like fun! Note that the software also works with a mouse, which is still an option if you don’t have a touchscreen but want to try a different interface.
Price and availability
ZenDAW Cloudkeys is available now at an introductory price of USD 29, down from USD 65. The promotion is valid until January 31, 2021. A demo version can be downloaded from the product page.
Cloudkeys runs under Windows 7 or later and is compatible with Reason 9 or later. A 16-inch to 24-inch 1080p-resolution (or more) monitor is recommended, though the software is said to work with even larger screens.
VocAlign is a go-to for getting those air-tight double and multi-tracked vocal performances without the tedious editing. Up and running for over two decades now, its legacy gets expanded with the new VocAlign Ultra. Developer Synchroarts has merged technologies from its Revoice Pro pitch and timing correction software with VocAlign’s tried and true algorithm to come up with some serious vocal and instrument editing mojo.
Synchroarts VocAlign Ultra
Following the Revoice Pro tech injection, VocAlign can align longer and more complex audio tracks in terms of both time and pitch. Furthermore, a new tightness control lets you add as much of the effect as you actually need. Although vocals are still its primary forte, the plug-in handles instruments and sound effects too. To that, a collection of 60+ alignment presets covering most working scenarios lends you a helping hand.
VocAlign Ultra also introduces two new displays to visualize the waveform and pitch of your audio tracks before and after processing. The GUI overhaul includes a completely resizable window as well.
The plug-in features complete ARA2 integration with compatible DAWs for a sped-up workflow. Another workflow enhancement is the addition of Sync Points and Protected Areas. Sync Points let you target specific areas of your guide and dub tracks to ensure they remain in sync after processing. Protected Areas allow you to select portions of audio that won’t be processed by VocAlign Ultra. Finally, Formant Shifting is available to change the timbre of a performance without affecting its pitch.
If basic vocal and instrument time alignment is what you need, VocAlign Ultra might be overkill. For others, the new VocAlign could be an essential purchase.
Price and availability
A new license for VocAlign Ultra costs EUR 220, which is a 30% off introductory price down from the regular EUR 315. Rent-to-own is also an option with three monthly payments concluding to a full license. Upgrade prices are possible for owners of Revoice Pro 4, VocAlign Pro 4 and VocAlign Project.
A free demo version can be downloaded. An iLok account is required for authorization (no USB dongle needed). The plug-in is available in Audio Suite, Audio Unit, VST3, ARA, and AAX formats for Windows and macOS computers.
Gibson has worked with Swedish tech company Zoundio to create the new ‘Epic’ Gibson App for iOS and Android devices. This new app is billed by Gibson as “the only guitar app you will need” and includes some impressive-sounding features, including Audio Augmented Reality – whatever that is, exactly – and the ability to book a consultation with a Gibson guitar tech.
Gibson App with Audio Augmented Reality
The new app will run on iOS and Android phones and tablets. Additional hardware is required, all you need is your device, your guitar and some headphones. The app is completely free to download and use, but Gibson does charge a fee for the guitar lessons. There’s a free 14-day trial on songs by artists like Eric Clapton, BB King, Tom Petty, Dolly Parton, Santana, Aerosmith, Billie Eilish, The Beatles, Foo Fighters and Thin Lizzy.
A handy feature is the in-built tuner, which can handle alternate tunings and chromatic tunings, too. You also have a direct line to the Gibson TV YouTube channel, which has some great content. Gibson curates the channel well and uploads content frequently, a huge plus when you need some inspiration or guitar-related entertainment.
Gibson App with Audio Augmented Reality
Audio Augmented Reality
This new Audio Augmented Reality technology allows users to interact directly with the app and not just watch lesson videos. Gibson says the app will respond to your playing as you learn, so you can progress more naturally, as your virtual lessons become more interactive. Sounds great! An app that can deal with my playing will need the patience of a saint! Lessons cover electric and acoustic, so the Gibson app has you covered for all styles of music. You can play along to tabs and get feedback as you go. We haven’t tried it but from what Gibson says it’s surely worth downloading and trying out.
Gibson App with tab lessons and Audio Augmented Reality
Virtual guitar tech
Gibson also allows you to have a free one-on-one consultation with a Gibson pro guitar tech. This takes the form of a video call on your device and covers basic guitar tune-up and maintenance tasks. Again, this is a great little feature and I have a few friends that have used this service with Gibson and really enjoyed their consultations. Follow the App App Store and Google Play Store links below to download your Gibson App today.
RRP – Free to download the app with a 14 day trial for artist lessons
From Sensel the makers of the Morph MPE touch controller comes express MPE, free presets designed for a range of MPE software and hardware synths that are usable by everyone.
It’s a free bundle of presets covering a bunch of popular MPE enabled synthesizers. There are presets for Aalto, Kaivo, Quanta, Pigments and Serum software synths, presets for two MPE enabled DAWs, Bitwig and Ableton Live and one hardware synth, the ASM Hydrasynth.
In the bundle there are at least 5 presets for each and are a brilliant way to witness and understand how MPE works and how you might get the best out of it. Here’s an example:
Sensel say that they are giving these away for free simply to generate some interesting in the Morph and MPE generally. You don’t need a Morph in order to enjoy these presets, you don’t even need an MPE controller although it would be handy. You can use these presets in any MPE enabled DAW and explore the expression through the onscreen editors.
Sensel express MPE
Sounds like an interesting idea. To find out more you can head over to the website or check out the playlist of videos below for a full tutorial on MPE and how you install and use the express MPE presets with your chosen synth.
Surge Synthesizer Team released the 1.8.0 version of Surge, an open-source virtual synthesizer for digital audio workstations on Windows, macOS, and Linux. Surge is a digital synthesizer for sound design enthusiasts. It features oscillator algorithms (Classic, Sine, Wavetable, Window, FM2, FM3, S&H, and Audio In) with unison. It also offers multiple filter models, a robust […]
Once again, Apogee has teamed up with mixing engineer and producer Bob Clearmountain for a new plug-in. ECS Channel Strip combines analog-inspired equalization, compression, and saturation done the Clearmountain way.
Apogee Symphony ECS Channel Strip
The equalizer is derived from 1970s hardware and is laid out as follows: 3 fixed bands (120Hz, 4kHz, 8kHz), High Pass (20Hz – 300Hz), Lo Shelf (35Hz – 300Hz), Mid Peak (250Hz – 8kHz), High Shelf (4kHz – 16kHz). The High Pass filter can be routed to the equalizer or the sidechain signal to give the compressor an easier time. A Q-switch (peak/shelf) is also available.
The compressor is born out of modern console dynamic processors and comes with Threshold, Ratio, and Dry/Wet controls. Make-up gain is adjusted automatically. Saturation is dialed-in from a single Drive knob. Below it are the Output level control and presets menu.
Compared to more involved channel strip plug-ins, ECS goes for the essentials which is not a bad thing. The number of parameters may be less, but each is tuned by Bob Clearmountain to do what it’s supposed to. That’s one way of doing high quality audio without technical over-complications.
Price and availability
Apogee is selling ECS Channel Strip for USD 99. Rent-to-own is also an option at 14 monthly payments of USD 7. A free trial version is there, but you’ll have to enter bank card information. The plug-in is available in native AU, VST, and AAX formats for Windows and Mac computers. It also works with DSP-equipped Apogee interfaces, coming included with the Apogee Symphony Desktop.
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