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Airwindows plugins are modular, graphic-less, stripped-down, Audio Unit plugins for the Mac (and some VST plugins, for Mac and PC).

Airwindows' reputation was built out of generic-interface plugins, which typically focus on doing only one thing, often with very simple controls, labelled to help understanding but not to encourage formulaic work. There are two reasons for the generic, non-GUI interfaces. One, because it improves reliability a huge amount (many audio plugin bugs, including showstopper bugs, have to do with the GUI part). Two, because time that could be spent debugging the GUI or tweaking its look—or writing copyprotect code—can be better spent improving the sound. That's how Airwindows rolls, since 2007.

Airwindows is about listening. It's about the sound being far more exciting than looking at the screen, because that's all your audience will have to go by. If you get good feelings, it had better be about what you hear! The plugins naturally lend themselves to MIDI control, assigning sliders to control surfaces. Doing that, you can mix without watching pixels, and listen without being distracted by nonsounds.

Products by Airwindows

Latest reviews of Airwindows products

Desk
Reviewed By Barry Hufker
May 5th, 2020

Chris Johnson's plugins are always effective and unique. Desk is a fine example of his philosophy. The ideas behind the plugins are carefully thought out and are implemented simply but completely. You can tell that from the description he's given here with Desk. Chris does things no one else is doing or does them in a way that is refreshingly different. If you are looking for exciting graphic images of gear for your plugin you won't find it here. Instead you'll find software that uses minimal CPU, sounds good and is reliable.

There is a large range of Airwindows plugins which I have found to be useful in all my work whether I want to keep the sound clean or color it. Desk is another such tool. And Chris is always revisiting/re-working the software searching for improvements and useful features which enhance creativity. If you start here with Desk you will soon add others he has designed to your toolbox.

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Iron Oxide
Reviewed By markmann
June 2nd, 2007

I agree with MInx that this plug-in is fantastic. I also own the DUY Tape and while it is better for a few sounds, the vast majority of the time I find myself going with Iron Oxide. And now that the developer has added a gain knob, you can drive the "tape" as much or as little as you want. This feature is really helpful and makes the thing sound even better because you can really fine tune to a particular sound.

I graded features at an 8 because it just does the one thing. But that's all you want in a tape emulation. There is no need for documentation. You just move the speed and drive knobs until you find a combo that's right for the sound you're working on. And who needs presets when it's this simple. The developer is one guy and the support has been fantastic.

But the plug (like all his stuff and I have several others) is totally stable and EXTREMELY CPU efficient. It basically uses the host GUI thing. It doesn't have a pretty interface. But those "vintage" GUIs are totally superfluous to me. I'm so glad he kept it simple. You've got two knobs and they make a great sound. Who cares how they look.

Once you get this thing on many of your tracks the whole mix just stands up and wails. I've tried every native tape emulation I can find for PC and Mac and this one just blows everything else away. When used in conjunction with Airwindows Hard Vacuum plug-in (a tube emulation), you can get great sounds quickly.

The tape speed slider control is really important. You can slide it until Iron Oxide emphasizes the sound you're working on. For drums and bass, lower speeds of 8-14 ips seem to bring out the fatness. For piano, vocals and guitar, speeds between 15 and 30 ips work better. This control is almost like an EQ and it's very effective.
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Iron Oxide
Reviewed By minx
May 16th, 2007

Anyone who is looking for a fat tape tone really owes it to themselves to buy this plug in.
I A/B it against the Duy Tape emulation and Iron Oxide clearly won the shootout.
Airwindows really do have some unique plugs that dare I say have a real analogue flavour to them.

After buying the Oxide I went crazy I bought loads of other plgu ins including tape tone which gives more of the
color that tape imparts and is great for fattening up thing cold signals.
There are no demos of the Airwindows plug ins which is a shame but as the Developer states he offers a slew of free plug ins whihc should give you a clear idea of the quality of his plugs.
There are still a few plug ins I have nto yet bought but sadly my bank balance will not let me purchase the last few and once Ive got those Im sure there will be more new AirWindows plugs.Ahhh the never ending cycling of what to buy next.
Finally there are no fancy Gui's with thses plug ins whihc in a way I like as it really makes your ears focus on the sound and also is one of the reasons these plug ins are so stable and cpu effecient.
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