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NAMM Coverage--What Do You Want To See?

Hey everybody--
As the years have gone on and more and more outlets are covering the NAMM show each year, we thought it would be a good idea to take the pulse of the community and find out what you like and don't like about the way NAMM is covered, not only by HC but in general. Obviously, we want to do more of the former and less of the latter.

For several years now, the focus has been on producing the short, from-the-floor demos and product overviews with folks from each manufacturer. Sometimes quantity is placed above quality, but the goal has always been to show you as much of the show and new products as possible.

Oftentimes, producing so many videos means late nights in the hotel room with room service, editing and rendering until the wee hours. As you probably know, there's a whole other side to NAMM, which is what goes on after hours at private events and parties, and our focus on show-floor videos means we really don't take part in any of that.

So, we're putting it to you. When NAMM rolls around in January, what's going to get you excited and make you feel like you're part of the action? Continue to crank out product vids? Less video, more photographs? After-hours coverage? Celebrity encounters/performances? Let us know!

We welcome your thoughts and suggestions and are looking forward to Harmony Central being the premier destination for NAMM coverage in 2015.
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  • #46
    Hey everybody! New stuff from UA. I'm particularly interested in the ATR-102 and Vitalizer, and also, how the plugs work with Pro Tools now that the wrapper is gone. (Unfortunately I won't be testing this with Lion because I haven't upgraded my Mac to Lion yet, and won't be until some of the incompatibility issues are resolved.)



    Anyway, following is the official press release but note that there's also an introductory special for the month of September on the UA site.



    The long-awaited UAD Powered Plug-Ins v6.0 has landed, with UA's stunning emulation of the Ampex® ATR-102 Mastering Tape Recorder, Direct Developer plug-ins from Brainworx® and SPL®, significantly enhanced Pro Tools® integration, and support for Mac® OS X 10.7 Lion.



    New v6.0 Software Features:



    Ampex® ATR-102 Mastering Tape Recorder Plug-In

    The ATR-102 plug-in can turn music recordings into records, faithfully replicating the unique dynamics, saturation, head configurations and tape formulas used on the best-sounding mastering tape machine in history.



    Brainworx® bx_digital V2 EQ Plug-In

    This integrated audio toolkit provides precise 11-band equalization and M/S (mid-side) processing — letting you add presence and transparency to mixes.



    SPL® Vitalizer MK2-T Plug-In

    A spot-on emulation of the popular tube-based hardware unit, this longtime staple works in both the time and frequency domains to effectively unmask overlapping sounds and bring life to mixes.



    Significant Pro Tools enhancements

    UAD v6.0 streamlines the UAD plug-ins workflow in Pro Tools, via removal of the VST-to-RTAS wrapper, and numerous control and automation improvements.



    Mac® OS X 10.7 Lion compatibility

    UAD v6.0 software ensures that customers running Mac OS X 10.7 Lion will have a seamless experience with their UAD Powered Plug-Ins.
    _____________________________________________
    There are now 14 music videos posted on my YouTube channel, including four songs by Mark Longworth. Watch the music video playlist, subscribe, and spread the links! Check back often, because there's more to come...

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    • #47
      Here's some more info from a separate release about the Pro Tools enhancements.



      • UA-developed RTAS plug-ins, replacing current VST-to-RTAS Adapter


      • Full support of all Pro Tools control surfaces, including customized control layouts


      • Fully automatable plug-in parameters, with values and ranges displayed in automation lanes and on control surfaces


      • Plug-in names clearly displayed in the Pro Tools Mix and Edit windows


      • Plug-ins sorted by category in the Pro Tools plug-ins menu


      • Quick installation process


      • Many other workflow improvements



      I don't know about you, but I think that's pretty significant stuff. I did a video at NAMM awhile back with a UA representative about how they were planning more collaboration with Avid, and it seems that really has come to fruition.
      _____________________________________________
      There are now 14 music videos posted on my YouTube channel, including four songs by Mark Longworth. Watch the music video playlist, subscribe, and spread the links! Check back often, because there's more to come...

      Comment


      • #48
        This is good stuff. I'm looking forward to trying these new features and plugins.

        Comment


        • #49
          There was a REALLY interesting comment on how the whole "sounds like a record" could be taken one step further, posted by bookumdano2 in my Sound, Studio, and Stage forum (I've included excerpts here). But be careful what you wish for...seems like the folks at UA like challenges...



          Model a vinyl cutter lathe. And I'm not even too sure it can be done.



          For my interest.. not for that cliche vinyl sound that kids can not fully understand... but with real controls modeled so that I can .. cut hot 45s. In the virtual world.



          It's so dang expensive to go over to Bernie Grundman, but there is such an art to standing there, experimenting with pushing the process just far enough go get that cool, over the top, magic of old 45s. Not the scractches (think we have enough plugins for that), but the vibe. Something even 33 1/3rds don't have when stacked up against 45 mastering.



          So far in 2011, tape doesn't get you that last half mile, plug ins don't get you there. The only way you get there is if you stand there with the cutting engineer, and push the cutter until "I'm givin' it all she's got Captain". And then throw out the idea and start over for another couple of hours until you hit the magic zone.



          The way it is now, you get a cut you like the sound of, make a lacquer, and you're already in the $ past the point of no return. You either play the lacquer to capture it back to digital archiving (ruining the lacquer), or high tail it over to a pressing plant to spend even more $ making 10,000 records. And that's for one song. Or two in the case of 45s.



          And I don't even think most artists even spend time with the cutting engineer to participate in that vital part of the process. At least for those who still do vinyl.



          Maybe a software version of this will be something out of Celemony's mind at some point rather than a company like UAD. But this is something I would love to dive into. It's one of the few secret-guru areas remaining.
          _____________________________________________
          There are now 14 music videos posted on my YouTube channel, including four songs by Mark Longworth. Watch the music video playlist, subscribe, and spread the links! Check back often, because there's more to come...

          Comment


          • #50
            :-D now that would be interesting! Haha I'm convinced they could do it ... be it UA or Celemony

            Comment


            • #51
              The CS-1 channel strip, another part of the Analog Classics, bears further scrutiny. Note that to conserve on DSP, you can also load individual CS-1 elements. For example, the EX-1, which is just the equalizer and compressor, takes 2.3% of the DSP with a stereo track, while the complete CS-1 needs 6.4%.



              Regarding the EX-1, the EQ has five bands, but is more versatile than you might expect. All bands can provide a parametric response, but with the bottom two bands, if you rotate the Q control all the way counter-clockwise, the EQ switches to a low shelf response. Rotating the Q control all the way clockwise switches the response to high-pass and of course because you can do this with two stages, you can “stack” the responses.









              Similarly, the two high bands are basically parametric, but you can use the Q control to switch each stage’s response to a high shelf or lowpass response.



              The Compressor lacks the finesse of UA’s other compressors, but it’s great for getting totally over-the-top, “psychedelic 60s” squashed sounds. If it had a sidechain, I bet dance music producers would use whenever they wanted that ton-of-bricks-landing-on-a-snare-drum sound. It is possible to get more subtle sounds, of course, but if I want a compressor from the Analog Classics, I’d reach for the LA-2A.



              There is one item of interest with the compressor: You can choose four different modes for the meter (off, input, output, and gain reduction).



              So, is the EX-1 UA’s finest hour? Well, probably not, given all the other plug-ins they make. But does it do a good job for basic EQ and compression, while needing very little DSP? Absolutely—don’t ignore it just because it came bundled with the package. It makes some sounds I can’t get easily with other processors.



              For example, listen to the short audio example of a drum loop. The first loop iteration is without processing, while the second iteration has seriously nasty EX-1 compression and a little bit of a high shelf, courtesy of the EQ. Both have been normalized to the same peak value.



              I think this sound would fit in perfectly on Beck's next album
              _____________________________________________
              There are now 14 music videos posted on my YouTube channel, including four songs by Mark Longworth. Watch the music video playlist, subscribe, and spread the links! Check back often, because there's more to come...

              Comment


              • #52
                I’ll let you in on a little secret: The DM-1 Delay Modulator is a wonderful processor with some serious personality. It can do flanging, chorusing, stereo delay up to 300 ms per channel, ensemble effects, resonators, rotating speaker effects, and really strange sounds that are more for sound design than anything else. I love it.



                I particularly like two features that everyone else seems to leave out of their modulation effects. First, the Recirculation control has center = 0; clockwise gives positive feedback, and counter-clockwise gives negative. Second, the Wet/Dry mix control works similarly in that you can mix the wet signal in-phase or out of phase. This is crucial for flanging sounds, as you can get excellent positive and negative flanging.



                The chorusing can have a sort of syrupy, thick vibe. The Recirculation control works in conjunction with a Damping control so you can do things like pull the damping way down, and add strange ambiences to kick drums. Each channel also has a pan control, so you can bring the output more toward center, or reverse channels if you want.



                The sync option affectcs both the left and right delay times (although they can be adjusted independently) as well as the LFO rate. The LFO waveform can be sine or triangle, and because the LFO drives each channel independently, there’s a phase angle choice of 0, 90, or 180 degrees.



                The presets are okay, but this processor really comes into its own when you start messing around with it. For example, I loaded a distorted guitar power chord and sent it to two send buses. One went through a DM-1 set for flanging, with the LFOs offset by 90 degrees. The other send went through a DM-1 set for dual delay, with about a 1ms delay per channel. Both were set for wet sound only so I could get through zero-flanging and the top of the flanger passed through the straight line’s delay and canceled--the settings are shown in the picture. Listen to this in stereo! Headphones are highly recommended.



                _____________________________________________
                There are now 14 music videos posted on my YouTube channel, including four songs by Mark Longworth. Watch the music video playlist, subscribe, and spread the links! Check back often, because there's more to come...

                Comment


                • #53
                  Before moving on to the Massive Passive, let's wrap up the Analog Classics with a look and listen to the RS-1 Reflections Engine.



                  Actually, the name says it all...this is about reflections and echo, not reverb - although after you watch the video, you may think the name should have been DM-1 (for "Dub Master" - reggae fans, take note).



                  This is another UA plug-in that may not be getting the attention it deserves, because it's one of the "freebies." Like the DM-1, ignore it at your own peril. Not only is it good for sound design and echo effects, but you can set up dense reflections and put them in parallel with a reverb plug-in to augment the overall sound with some really nifty early reflections.



                  Anyway, the controls are delay time, size, recirculation (feedback), damping, reflection engine "shape" (room, tunnel, spring, etc.), and the usual wet/dry mix, pan, and output controls. But I figured the simplest way to hear what this baby does is to create a couple videos, one for drums and one for vocals, where the preset changes every few seconds so you can hear the sonic difference, as well as see the knobs move so you can see how they affect the sound.



                  The videos are about two minutes each, and run through lots of presets Check 'em out!



                  The drums video (Drums courtesy Discrete Drums, distributed by Sonoma Wire Works)...






                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBgAJGJUDj8





                  The vocals video (vocals courtesy Alyssa Atherton)...






                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTXnSfm8JiE





                  Unless anyone has questions/comments, we'll move along to the Massive Passive next.
                  _____________________________________________
                  There are now 14 music videos posted on my YouTube channel, including four songs by Mark Longworth. Watch the music video playlist, subscribe, and spread the links! Check back often, because there's more to come...

                  Comment


                  • #54






                    Quote Originally Posted by Anderton
                    View Post

                    Unless anyone has questions/comments, we'll move along to the Massive Passive next.




                    Can't wait!!

                    By the way, as a blind user of Sonar, I'm very grateful for your Sonar columns in Sound on Sound. Many visually-impaired folks out here are Sonar users.



                    Suggestion for the Manley EQ section: Could you compare audio examples of similar EQ curves in the Manley, and in something really transparent like the LP64 EQ in Sonar Producer? I'm used to the lovely clear sound of linear-phase EQ for mastering, but not so familiar with something colored and apparently magical like the Massive Passive. A comparison between it and something digitally pure like LP64EQ would be eluminating.



                    thanks.

                    Chris

                    Comment


                    • #55






                      Quote Originally Posted by BlindGuyEars
                      View Post

                      Can't wait!!

                      By the way, as a blind user of Sonar, I'm very grateful for your Sonar columns in Sound on Sound. Many visually-impaired folks out here are Sonar users.




                      Thank you for the compliment. Is there a particular reason why visually-impaired folks gravitate to Sonar?



                      For what it's worth, I've known several musicians with visual problems over the years. When I do instructional videos, I try as much as possible to have the narration stand on its own, with the visuals underscoring the points I want to make. I also did a manual for a company once where their product involved lots of color-coding. I brought up that if someone was color-blind, they'd have a really hard time and the company made some changes to the interface so while color-coding still made parsing things easier, there were alternative ways to identify functions. What I've found is sometimes it's not necessary to make too many changes to a product to have it be applicable to more people.








                      Suggestion for the Manley EQ section: Could you compare audio examples of similar EQ curves in the Manley, and in something really transparent like the LP64 EQ in Sonar Producer? I'm used to the lovely clear sound of linear-phase EQ for mastering, but not so familiar with something colored and apparently magical like the Massive Passive. A comparison between it and something digitally pure like LP64EQ would be illuminating.



                      That's an excellent idea, but implementing it will depend on how closely the settings truly match each other. But it probably would still be instructive anyway.
                      _____________________________________________
                      There are now 14 music videos posted on my YouTube channel, including four songs by Mark Longworth. Watch the music video playlist, subscribe, and spread the links! Check back often, because there's more to come...

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        Hi there.

                        Your reviews are well-written, and I appreciate the extra descriptions and so on.



                        I don't want to take anything away from the ongoing pro review, but I do want to satisfy your curiosity about how some of us are working with midi and audio out here. So, I'm going to probably go way more indepth than you want, to answer your question about blind folks and sonar. I'll include some links.



                        You ask why do more blind people use Sonar? Well, I wasn't around early on, but I gather that Cakewalk were very open to dialoguing on accessibility issues.



                        Most of us use a particular screen-reading package called Jaws (which stands for job access with speech). Basically, text-to-speech software with lots of features, scripting capabilities etc.

                        http://www.freedomscientific.com/pro...oduct-page.asp



                        Apparently one of the things Cakewalk implemented for us early on was an "invisible text string". It doesn't show up on screen, but it is visible to screenreaders like Jaws. I gather it gets updated with all kinds of things that can then be read out, track names, peak meter values, etc. I don't know the ins and outs really, i'm just an end user.



                        A company called Dancing Dots created some rather involved scripts to greatly improve our access, plus a lengthy tutorial. Basically, we do everything from the keyboard, and control surfaces are handy too for more intuitive control of things, fader automation, etc. We work a lot with parameter values, rather than moving on-screen EQ sliders or whatever. We have alternate ways to manipulate clips, for example.

                        http://www.dancingdots.com/prodesc/C...ngForSONAR.htm



                        Many plug-ins are completely invisible to screen readers like Jaws. Those polished aluminum faceplate replicas look great, but don't really give our software anything to read out or latch onto.



                        We get around this, usually, by going into Sonar's Track Inspector, and adjusting anything that happens to be exposed for automation to the VST host.



                        For example, all the Waves plug-ins expose enough parameters that we can adjust things, albeit a little clumsily, through the inspector, or through an attached control surface.



                        I haven't yet made the leap to UAD-2, but a friend who is blind assures me that lots of their plug-in parameters show up in Sonar's Inspector, which is good to know. I'm sure the actual plug-in interfaces aren't as accessible, although they might be. We're a small bunch of users out here, and nobody has really looked into the UAD stuff yet to see if we can customize our screen readers to work with it yet. But the Inspector is a great alternative that is usually available.



                        Often, it's a matter of "which program can we get at with our access technology", not always "which one sounds best". and, who has the time/money/skills to adapt things.



                        In recent years, one rather smart Jaws user developed a set of scripts that allow us to label and then virtually click on items on the screen that would otherwise be invisible to the screenreader.

                        http://www.hotspotclicker.org



                        For example, I used that to label the load and save preset buttons in all my Waves plug-ins, so I can at least now check out the factory presets (and then edit parameters to taste in sonar's Inspector). This involved a few hours over Skype with a sighted friend connecting to my PC remotely so he could move the mouse around and see my screen. He'd position the mouse on a button, I'd label it and assign it a keystroke. we'd move on to the next button, plug-in etc.



                        If I could find someone with the necessary skill set and time, not to mention compensate them financially, I'd try to get something workable happening with Melodyne, just as one example.



                        Sonar isn't the only game in town for us though.

                        Many blind folks are using Audacity, some are using Reaper, and thanks to Apple including the VoiceOver screenreader in OS X, access to ProTools is slowly taking shape. (nothing for Logic yet). It's not where we can walk into a studio and get right to work on their ProTools rig yet, but that day is approaching.



                        Lots of us use Sony Sound forge as well.



                        ok, hope you found some of that interesting



                        Looking forward to the next parts of your review!



                        Chris









                        Quote Originally Posted by Anderton
                        View Post

                        Thank you for the compliment. Is there a particular reason why visually-impaired folks gravitate to Sonar?



                        For what it's worth, I've known several musicians with visual problems over the years. When I do instructional videos, I try as much as possible to have the narration stand on its own, with the visuals underscoring the points I want to make. I also did a manual for a company once where their product involved lots of color-coding. I brought up that if someone was color-blind, they'd have a really hard time and the company made some changes to the interface so while color-coding still made parsing things easier, there were alternative ways to identify functions. What I've found is sometimes it's not necessary to make too many changes to a product to have it be applicable to more people.



                        That's an excellent idea, but implementing it will depend on how closely the settings truly match each other. But it probably would still be instructive anyway.




                        Comment


                        • #57
                          hmm, i sent a long reply to your Sonar and visually-impaired question but it hasn't shown up yet.

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Perhaps instead of getting things off-topic talking about accessibility as it relates to music software, fire me an email csmart8@cogeco.ca.

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              Thanks very much for the lengthy reply, Chris. Granted it's not UA-specific, but that's what I like about Pro Reviews - we have the time and space to go off on the occasional tangent. Then again, knowing that you've been assured UA's plug parameters show up in Sonar's track inspector is very useful information anyway.



                              I had no idea that Cakewalk had taken such an interest in helping those who are visually-impaired. Kudos to them, and to the manufacturers of the other programs you mentioned as being suitable.
                              _____________________________________________
                              There are now 14 music videos posted on my YouTube channel, including four songs by Mark Longworth. Watch the music video playlist, subscribe, and spread the links! Check back often, because there's more to come...

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Craig, thanks for your interest in this stuff.



                                I tried to make my reply sound very positive/optimistic.



                                Two things that get in our way when we try to push for accessibility are:

                                1. The company involved has never considered us and, economically speaking, we are a minority within a minority. We can't say "you'll sell a whole 5-10 more coppies of your program if you make it accessible". So, we can only hope that they have a sense of good will and an open mind to those of us not using a mouse and a screen. Now, if they want public colleges in the US to use their software, then we can at least point to legal reasons why they should think about accessibility. That one needs to be tested in court though. A big legislative hammer from the US Gov't or the European Union would really help there.



                                or



                                2. Sometimes the toolkit or underlying code they use has no accessibility provisions built into it. Kontakt is an example of this. Native Instruments rely on it, as do so many other first-rate sample collections and synths. Kontakt is completely unworkable for us so ... we can't use anything that relies on it. Kontakting Native Instruments gets us nowhere, because they're not about to abandon it.



                                Anyway, I just try to focus on and use the tools that do play more nicely with our access technology.



                                For example, if you have Cytomic's excellent compressor "The Glue" there, load it up and look at the exposed parameters in Sonar's Track inspector. The parameters are there, but Andrew Simper made sure they have meaningful values displayed, in decibels!!!!! Many other plug-ins just show percentages or other scales which aren't as human-readable. For example, imagine adjusting a compressor ratio displayed as a percentage.



                                Anyway, "The Glue", for my money, is a better SSL master bus comp emulation than either the Waves or UA versions, with an attack that goes down to 0.01MS, and a unique "Range" control you can't find elsewhere. It's only $99, it has great oversampling, it's 64-bit ... and like I said, the parameters show up in useful real world dB, ratio, etc. for us visually-impaired folks. Andrew's one of the good guys, and I have no qualms about shamelessly plugging his plug-in.



                                Another thing you might not have considered, and then I'll shut up and eagerly await the Manley review. :-)



                                Often, we can't load and check out included presets with plug-ins, because we can't access the buttons within the plug-in itself. So, often I end up trying to find where the presets are stored, and if they are simple XML files which is often the case, I look at them in a text editor.



                                Two things can happen at this point.

                                1. The parameters are all there, but not in a way easily grocked by humans. Example:

                                Ratio: 0.213242555555523

                                or similar... makes no sense to me. *LOL* OR



                                2. In the case of Cytomic's the Glue, because Andrew took that extra step to make the parameters human readable, right in the XML preset files you get DB values, ratios, etc. So while it's clumsy, I can at least read the values, and go back into Sonar and adjust the parameters to match. Extra steps to be sure, but I can at least try out the presets that way.



                                If you go into Sonar with one or two UAD plugs loaded on a track or bus, I'd be curious to know what shows up in the Inspector and what sort of form the parameter values take. To get things to show up, you may have to click on "display" in the inspector, and turn things like the 4 bands of EQ off, to make room for the plug-in parameters to show up. If enough things show up and can be edited there, I am certainly more likely to go the UAD-2 route in the near future.

                                as in, before my w---- update plan needs renewing *muttering*





                                pssst: you'd be a powerful ally in our corner you know ... *evangelical bit snipped*



                                OK, i've taken up enough space and time, more than enough. back to our great pro review...

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