Plugin Boutique offers the Klang SYMPHONIC: Black Wood Flow (€5.99 value) clarinet sound library by Cinematique Instruments as a free download by the end of October (requires the full version of Native Instruments Kontakt). SYMPHONIC: Black Wood Flow is a clarinet sound library for Native Instruments Kontakt. The full version of Native Instruments’ flagship sampler […]
The new Neural DSP Quad Cortex floor modeller was first demoed during Winter NAMM. Back then it was in Beta, and we were told that it used machine learning to make its models even better than its competitors. Since the Quad Cortex is going to be launched at the end of the month, I thought it was time we revisited this unit.
Neural DSP Quad Cortex
The Helsinki based company claims its Neural DSP Quad Cortex is “the most powerful floor modeler on the planet”. The unit is based around the 2GHz Quad-Core SHARC architecture, and this dedicated DSP is essentially the heart of the unit, providing it with a lot of realtime processing power. Add to that a 7” multi-touch display and it should also make the Quad Cortex super simple to navigate for users. It even has a built-in WiFi module that can be used for wireless preset sharing, or cloud backups, over-air firmware updates, and more.
The modeller comes with over 50 amps, 70 effects, and 1000 IRs, so there should be plenty to keep you occupied and up and running. You get 11 footswitches on the front and one big Volume dial. The footswitches can also be used to control virtual knobs on the amp and effects models, by turning them to adjust the parameters. Combine this with that massive touch screen, and this should be a breeze to use.
Neural DSP Quad Cortex
The floor unit itself has a robust anodised aluminium unibody, and at only 1.9 kg, is lightweight and portable, but also very strong. You should have no issues transporting it to gigs and rehearsals, and it should be able handle the rigours associated with the road.
Neural DSP Quad Cortex is lightweight and compact
Capture, share, and download any rig’s sounds using the Neural Capture function. Neural DSP is using its own biomimetic AI technology which allows the Quad Cortex to learn and replicate the sonic characteristics of any physical amplifier, overdrive, or cabinet. This is what the company hopes will set it apart from its competitors. And if it works, it could put them way ahead of the competition.
IRs and EQ
With over 1000 impulse responses at your disposal, plus a parametric EQ, this unit should have enough ways for you to tailor your virtual rig. However, if you need more, then it can also handle any third party IRs you want to add to it.
With a pretty extensive input and output section, the Quad Cortex has you covered for just about every scenario when it comes to plugging your gear in and out of the unit. All the inputs and outputs are high-quality Neutrik parts where appropriate. So again, it is built to tour with.
It features dual combo inputs, with TS, TRS, and XLR. You also get variable impedance and level controls, with built-in microphone preamps and phantom power. A dual effects-loops can handle external mono or stereo effects in your signal chain.
Neural DSP Quad Cortex rear panel with a host of connectivity
For outputs, you have two mono, balanced (TRS) jacks along with two mono, balanced XLR output jacks, and a headphone output. Capture Out is used for the biomimetic AI technology, Neural Capture function. The unit also has MIDI In, Out/Thru, and dual expression inputs for two expression pedals, along with USB for any firmware updates, etc.
Neural CNS Mobile & Cortex Desktop Controller
Neural CNS Mobile & Cortex Desktop Controller
You can explore and share your presets on the cloud with the Neural CNS Mobile, which syncs up to your device using the Quad Cortex’s built-in WiFi module. Once synced, you can send presets to and from your device with no cables involved, making back-ups or adding new sounds to your unit, a hassle-free process. The Cortex Desktop Controller then allows you to control the floor unit in real-time. Or you can use it to access the Neural CNS which is used for exploring, sharing, and downloading presets.
There are three main switching modes available for users: Stomp Mode allows you to assign and activate any block in a rig to a footswitch, just like you would with a normal pedal board. Scene Mode lets you easily select any footswitch, and instantly activate it and control the settings of any number of blocks within a rig. Finally, with the Scene Mode, you can choose any footswitch to instantly activate and control the settings of any number of blocks within a rig.
Setlists and Gig View
The Quad Cortex usesSetlists to make the various Presets easy to organise. Simply put, you make your sets and then access them. Each Setlist can contain 32 banks of 8 Presets, which should be plenty for most players. The Gig View will let you see all three Stomp/Scene/Preset modes, making it even easier to see what’s on the display when you’re standing above the unit. Gig View uses the whole 7″ screen and shows you what is assigned to each footswitch.
It looks like the new Neural DSP Quad Cortex could well be the latest must have all-in-one floor modeller. Shipping is expected to start between the end of October and beginning of November, and I for one, am really looking forward to hearing it in action, as on paper it sounds pretty amazing.
You can follow the link below to read the full specification and and hear it in action in the demo video below.
Although the dominance of streaming and the establishing of LUFS as the loudness measurement standard did good to bring an end to the “loudness war”, it seems that different streaming platforms still haven’t come to an agreement on an appropriate audio loudness. This means that you end up potentially having to make separate masters for each platform. Enter the ADPTR Audio Streamliner, which should help make your job a lot easier.
The establishment of LUFS might have ended the loudness wars, but it still hasn’t completely dealt with what I like to call “fragmentation”. That is, each popular streaming platform has its own understanding of appropriate audio loudness. Which means, if you want your masters to translate well across all of them, you have to do separate masters for each – at least when it comes to loudness.
Alas, this doesn’t even touch the territory of how streaming platforms’ different codec settings impact your master’s audio quality. This time, the mastering headache is not caused by excessive limiting, but rather by trying to figure out how your master will sound after uploading to Spotify or Apple Music, before you get to uploading. So that you have the liberty of making necessary adjustments beforehand, if needed.
ADPTR Audio Streamliner
Released under the Plugin Alliance umbrella, the ADPTR Audio Streamliner plug-in aims to take all that guesswork away. It’s Codec Auditioning lets you easily preview your master through the same audio compression algorithms used by the likes of Spotify, AppleMusic, YouTube, SoundCloud, etc. What’s more, Streamliner is also a capable metering suite in itself. It has state-of-the-art meters for loudness, dynamics, and true peak levels to help you dial in the most crucial loudness maximization parameters more confidently.
Other useful features, such as automatic loudness matching, target levels, and reference track comparison, are also included. This way, you can audition your tracks together with reference mixes and masters, at the same loudness. So you can make the necesarry adjustments all the more precisely and with less second-guessing over levels.
Streamliner also lets you quickly export your audio with the same compression settings used by major streaming platforms. Thanks to this, you can preview your masters on other sound systems and under more listening conditions than what your studio normally allows. Or send them straight to clients for feedback and approval.
All in all, Streamliner seems like a great little problem solver. I expect such functionality to be built into mastering suites like oZone and T-RackS in due time. But for the now, Streamliner will surely do.
Price and availability
ADPTR Audio Streamliner is sold by Plugin Alliance at an introductory price of USD 170, down from USD 199. It’s available in AAX Native, AU, VST2, and VST3 64-bit formats on Windows 7 through 10 or macOS 10.11 through 10.15. A free trial version is available and a .PDF user manual can be downloaded from the product page.
Universal Audio has just released its first major update to its analog-inspired DAW – Luna. Version 1.1 is UA’s response to a number of user inquiries, with lots of new and interesting features. Looks like Luna is finally catching up with competing products and is on the right track to carving a niche for itself.
Universal Audio Luna Update Version 1.1
We rarely write about updates like these. However, the Universal Audio Lunaversion 1.1 includes enough new functions and bug-fixes to justify the attention. For example, there are important new functions like track grouping and the ability to edit various parameters of several tracks at the same time. On the more interesting side, “Session Versions” lets you save different versions of your song in separate “versions”. This way, you can do quick A/B comparisons or return to previous versions. There’s also the new bookmarks function that lets you set permanent markers for any important changes you’ve made to the session.
The new version now has comprehensive MIDI clock output, too. Latencies can be adjusted separately for each MIDI track. Stability and performance have also been improved with the addition of bug-fixes and clean-up of errors. You can learn more about the changes in the videos below.
Of course, this won’t be the last significant update to this relatively new DAW. There’s still room for improvement. But the combination of Luna, coupled with UA’s esteemed range of audio interfaces, and its collection of DSP-driven plug-ins already makes for a powerful recording and production setup.
Prices and dates
Luna is free for all owners of UA’s Thunderbolt audio interfaces, such as Apollo x16, x8p, x8, x6, x4, Twin MkII, Twin X, and Solo. You can download the DAW from the manufacturer’s website, and if you’re looking to purchase a UAD audio interface, you can follow this link here*. The installation of UAD software version 9.11.1 is also required and you’ll need macOS 10.14 or higher.
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