Loopcloud is offering the Chillwave Vocals ($13 value) sound library by Vital Vocals as a free download for a limited time only. Chillwave Vocals is a collection of royalty-free vocal loops and samples by Vital Vocals. The library contains vocal performances and harmonies for use in electronic music. The main focus is on retro-inspired music […]
IK Multimedia has unveiled the forthcoming AmpliTube 5 Custom Shop, a freeware guitar amplifier simulation suite. The company will also release upgraded AmpliTube 5 SE ($99.99 intro price), AmpliTube 5 ($149.99 intro price), and AmpliTube 5 MAX ($299.99 intro price) versions of the software. AmpliTube 5 brings new features and improvements across the board. IK […]
Function Loops launched its Halloween Sale, offering six best-selling sample libraries for $6 each. The deal is available for a limited time only. After offering two free sample libraries last week, the Function Loops team is now running its annual Halloween Sale. The offer includes six best-selling sound packs that are now priced at $6 […]
A Mars-themed teaser from Ik Multimedia raised our eyebrows earlier this week – it turned out to be the AmpliTube 5, rather than the alien invasion predicted by some of the Gearnews staff. This new version scales up the gear, the features and – hopefully – the sound quality. With Amplitube clocking up nearly 20 years, this new version looks to be a very nice upgrade for fans of IK’s flagship virtual guitar rig.
Amplitube 5 brings 129 new gear models, taking the total to over 400. It features IK’s new rely designed cabinet section that uses their VIR (Volumetric Impulse Response) technology and an improved power amp / speaker cab interaction, to make it all sound more realistic. The VIR is based on measuring 600 IRs per speaker of every existing and new cabinet model, for a total of 143,000 IRs. IK used its own method and while the details remain a secret IK says this will give you a massive, 3D array of mic placement options. Sounds good! Users can now also import and load their own IRs into AmpliTube 5 as well.
New User Interface
I’ve used AmpliTube since its very first version and I am thankful to see that IK has finally redesigned the user interface. The old look was getting a bit long in the tooth. AmpliTube 5 has a resizable interface, making it easier to see what you are doing. IK says its engineers have improved how you select gear, implemented drag & drop placement as well as support for one, two or three-amp rigs with up to 57 simultaneous effects. They have also updated the interface for AmpliTube Custom Shop, so I look forward to giving these new interfaces a go and comparing it with the old system.
AmpliTube 5 new user interface
T-RackS 5 influence
Another new aspect are the virtual racks, taken from their T-RackS 5 suite. That’s a nice feature and will hopefully make it easier to get a more polished tone in your virtual guitar rigs. The developers have also added a new mixer window to the 8-channel onboard DAW, plus an enhanced Looper with two simultaneous tracks along with infinite layers of sound. That feature will be great for both studio and live use. As you’d expect, AmpliTube 5 can work either as a standalone application or as a plug-in in your DAW.
Pre-Order & Pricing
IK Multimedia is offering AmpliTube 5 in four versions across all price points: AmpliTube 5 CS, AmpliTube 5 SE, AmpliTube 5 and AmpliTube 5 MAX. There is some nice introductory pricing discounts on offer for both early adopters and existing users. I would suggest you head to the IK site for more details, as there are a lot of price variations on offer, including hardware bundles with the AXE I/O and AXE I/O Solo.
AmpliTube 5 for Mac/PC will be available in the last quarter of this year and is currently available for pre-order from the link below.
Analog Obsession has released BUSTERse, a freeware bus compressor effect in VST, VST3, and AU plugin formats for compatible digital audio workstations on PC and Mac. BUSTERse is the upgraded version of the previously released Buster compressor from the same developer. It introduces several improvements and new features that allow more control over the compressor’s […]
The new THR30IIA from Yamaha is a neat, compact 30-watt stereo acoustic guitar amp and the newest member of the brand’s popular line of THR amplifiers. This acoustic amp features wireless capabilities and a host of other useful functions. If you’ve been looking for a portable acoustic guitar amp with all the bells and whistles, keep reading.
I’m a big fan of the Yamaha THR amps. I own one of the older models for electric guitar, which I keep in my lounge for when I want to noodle. I also liked the earlier THR acoustic model enough to include it in my best mini practise amps roundup back in April. The THR30IIA is the newest model in the series and comes hot on the heels of the Blackstar ACOUSTIC:CORE 30 announced earlier this week, which, at £200, is significantly cheaper than this new Yamaha model.
This new model has the familiar metal casing used throughout the THR series and sports a 30-watt stereo amplifier with two 3.5″ speakers. That should be plenty of power and provide a decent spread of sound. You get a nice smattering of onboard effects that are well suited to an acoustic guitar including compression, chorus, a studio-quality delay and a reverb. But that’s not all, it also includes modelling for three microphone models: dynamic, tube and condenser, plus tone modes for nylon string guitars and a Flat setting for when you want to bypass all the extras.
You also get Yamaha’s D-PRE mic preamp on board for your vocal mic, if you want to sing and play along. The amp has a 1/4″ and XLR combo mic inputs, a stereo 1/8″ aux input, a headphones out, and 1/4″ line-level outputs. There is also a MIDI input for a footswitch control.
You choose your amp models with a five-way rotary dial, then sculpt your tone further using the three-way Stereo Imager switch, three-band EQ and Tone Blend control, which adjusts how much of the EQ’d signal is blended in. There are five buttons across the top for user presets, and a button for Bluetooth connectivity lets you stream music to play along with. There’s also a tap-tempo button for time-based effects which doubles as the built-in tuner when held down.
THR30IIA Top Panel
The amp has a built-in rechargeable battery and can also operate with an optional Line 6 Relay transmitter, allowing you to play totally untethered and cable-less! It’s obviously nice not to have a clutter of wires, and should make performing way more fun.
Apps, DAWs and more
You can connect to the Yamaha Rec’n’Share app, which works on both iOS and Android, or adjust settings via the THR Remote app for Mac, PC and mobile devices. The amp comes with a free copy of Cubase AI for PC/Mac and Cubasis LE for the iPad. It has the usual USB connectivity for recording and playback, so plugging into your DAW of choice should be hassle-free.
The THR30IIA is a lot more expensive than the Blackstar ACOUSTIC:CORE 30, but it offers a lot more too. If you need an all singing and dancing, yet compact acoustic guitar amp, this is certainly worth checking out. You can buy an optional carry case for it, the THRBG1, but I reckon you could just stick it in a regular bag and save a few quid. If it’s built as sturdy as my THR10C, then it will be pretty bomb proof anyway.
It may be a bit of an investment, but I think it offers some great benefits for acoustic players on the go. And if the demo videos are anything to go by, it sounds quite impressive. The Stereo Imaging technology and 30-watts of power should really help get a nice full sound. You can read the full amp specifications by clicking the link below.
Update: The Neural DSP Quad Cortex is now available to order on Thomann. You can follow the links below if you’re interested in getting one for yourself.
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.
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Nearing October’s end, developer KiloHearts of Phase Plant and Snapin system fame brought some goodies to our attention! First off, kHs is making its ONE software synthesizer free for a short time. There’s no contest or anything like that involved – just a free download! Also, the developer is taking up to 60% off the prices for its paid plug-ins. And mind you, that’s a lot of interesting, creative plug-ins you can grab at bargain prices!
Kilohearts kHs ONE
Free for a moment, kHs ONE is a subtractive polyphonic synthesizer that goes a long way. It features two oscillators, a sub oscillator, two filters, per-voice waveshaping, two LFO generators and three envelopes. These are complemented by an effects section with chorus, delay, EQ and limiter. The unison mode goes up to 8 voices. Yup, this one’s a beast. Did we mention it’s going free?
Kilohearts effects on sale
In addition, the following Kilohearts effects are on sale at the moment: Ring Mod, Distortion, Reverser, Formant Filter, Pitch Shifter, Trance Gate, Tape Stop, Haas Effect, Filter, Reverb, Phaser, Gate, Comb Filter, Disperser, Compressor, Faturator and Ladder Filter. They are available at pretty much bargain prices, starting from EUR 7.90. You can grab the ones you want from Kilohearts (use the coupon APGONE) or dealers like Thomann (affiliate link).
Blackstar has just unveiled its new ACOUSTIC:CORE 30 acoustic guitar amp. Keen to plug acoustic guitar playing into the 21st century world, the company has included some decidedly modern features to do things like live streaming your acoustic performance to the web. But it has the functions and sounds you’d expect of an acoustic guitar amp, too, and comes in at a pretty darn competitive price point.
Blackstar ACOUSTIC:CORE 30
Part of Blackstar’s reputation is to try to do amp design a bit more imaginatively. I own a little Blackstar Fly amplifier and it’s one of my go to amps when I just want to work out a riff or chord sequence quickly without annoying my neighbours. These award-winning little amps, I think, put Blackstar on the map in terms of guitar gear that’s useful beyond playing live gigs. Since most players are now in some form of a lockdown due to COVID 19, Blackstar has added some features to its new acoustic guitar amp that makes it easier for them to reach online audiences.
Blackstar ACOUSTIC:CORE 30
Before we come to the 2020-relevant stuff, let’s take a look at the standard amp functions. The ACOUSTIC:CORE 30 has a simple control panel with controls for Gain, Low, High for each channel and central Master output control, along with dedicated controls for the onboard effects.
Blackstar ACOUSTIC:CORE 30 Top Panel
Super Wide Stereo
The ACOUSTIC:CORE 30 has Blackstar’s Super Wide Stereo technology, based on 30W of power with a 2 x 15W setup, along with built-in Enhance and Vocal Clarity controls. These allow players to dial in sounds to make them sound fuller and wider. There’s also a dedicated input for your vocals, so you could stage your own gig with this one amp. It has three channels, with four-channel USB recording capabilities and effects built in as well. The FX include a stereo reverb and two chorus effects.
USB Recording paths
• USB Channel 1 + 2: Main stereo output • USB Channel 3: Pre EQ D.I for Channel 1 • USB Channel 4: Pre EQ D.I for Channel 2
On the input side, there are jacks for for Microphone, Instrument and Line In, plus an XLR DI output. A neat feature is the adjustable tilt-back stand. Blackstar also offers an optional PA stand adapter. You can also use a TRRS cable to connect to your smartphone and the apps running there. This lets you take your acoustic performance directly into the digital realm and stream via Instagram Live. There is even a footswitch option, so you can use it hands free – a big help when you’re performing.
Blackstar ACOUSTIC:CORE 30 with tilt back stand
Value for money?
This new acoustic guitar amp from Blackstar has some very useful features for players looking to make the most out of digital tools for reaching their audience during the Covid era. It certainly packs a punch feature-wise, especially for the price point. The option to directly connect to a smartphone for use with apps like Apple’s GarageBand and Instagram Live makes it an appealing solution for the modern player.
On paper, this acoustic amp certainly has a lot of very nice features and I could see it being a very useful little amp to have around, especially if you need to integrate into your smartphone, or if you would like to stream online. The price point is very reasonable. If this amp sounds as nice as in their demo, it should be on your radar if you want an app that does more than just produce a nice sound in a room.
Waves and W. A. Production are offering the OneKnob Louder ($49 value) loudness booster plugin as a free download until October 30th, 2020. Waves OneKnob Louder is a single-knob audio effect for boosting the loudness of an audio track. It does so by using a combination of limiting and dynamic range compression with auto-gain. In […]
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