USB-C is becoming ubiquitous among computers and smart gadgets. Nowadays, almost all new devices, especially smartphones and tablets, generally have a USB-C connection and hardly anything else. The plugs are reversible and easy to use. Good reasons why the new iConnectivity mioXC not only has a USB-C port, but is also compatible with mobile devices. However, this is nothing new for iConnectivity, as the company made a name for itself with interfaces compatible with both tablets and computers. Previously, this type of interface was rare, and either somewhat compromised, or a bit expensive.
The smallest class-compliant MIDI interface?
So far, iConnectivity has offered medium and large solutions with several MIDI ports. But what about a very simple MIDI interface that’s absolutely sufficient for a Live session on the go? This means a MIDI in and a MIDI out connection, with no need to install any drivers because the device is Class Compliant.
The new iConnectivity mioXC seems to cover this ground pretty well. The company says it’s the world’s first MIDI USB-C interface. MIDI clock delay is supposedly a non-issue, as the interface employs a dedicated 32-bit ARM processor. It can also handle SysEx data, so preset ‘dumps’ and MIDI data transfer (oh, the pain!) are a given. The prospect of simple, hassle-free connection for your MIDI controllers or instruments to whatever computer you have is pretty alluring. More time for creativity!
The interface supports all major platforms – macOS, Windows, Android and iOS. There’s also a USB-C to USB-A adapter included. The price is a very fair USD 50.
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HoRNet Plugins has released MasterTool, a new all-in-one mastering plug-in designed for quick results. Are MasterTool’s analysis and processing algorithms intelligent enough to make everything sound good, as the developer says?
HoRNet Plugins MasterTool
It’s no small claim that HoRNet Plugins is making here: MasterTool “makes your tracks sound good without effort”. Haven’t we all at some point wished for a plug-in with a button that magically turns any mediocre mix into a killer track? If HoRNet Plugins is to be believed, its new MasterTool plug-in possesses these supernatural powers.
So what is it? The developer describes MasterTool as a “mastering robot”. It’s an all-in-one EQ and dynamics processor that uses intelligent algorithms to analyze the signal and automatically apply the necessary processing. The signal reaches the EQ first, which ‘fixes’ the frequency spectrum using a frequency unmasking algorithm. Next is the dynamics stage, which consists of a clipper and two limiters, all automatic. According to HoRNet Plugins, the clipper and first limiter cut off the peaks and increase the loudness, while the second limiter helps to achieve the desired final level.
Controls are minimal. The only two dials let you set the EQ Amount and LUFS Target Level. There’s also a Learn button, of which I’m not 100% sure what it does, and a button that engages a special mode for voiceovers and podcasts. That’s it, everything else happens automatically.
It’s hard to imagine that an inexpensive plug-in with a handful of controls will be able to replace the knowledge and skills of an experienced mastering engineer. But at the plug-in’s low price, it could be worth giving it a shot – maybe HoRNet has discovered the magic formula after all!
Price and compatibility
HoRNet MasterTool is available from the developer’s website for EUR 22.99. You can also download a free demo.
The plug-in runs on macOS 10.11 or higher and Windows 7 or higher in VST, VST3, AU and AAX formats.
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