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All reviews by digitalboytn

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Reviewed By digitalboytn [read all by] on May 1st, 2022
Version reviewed: 2.1.0.5 on Windows.
Last edited by digitalboytn on 1st May 2022.

I've been involved with playing and producing music for a very long time and I grew up in the analog world before a gradual progression to working ITB...

There's always a little hardware involved to get the signals into the DAW, but for many reasons, I much prefer the flexibility of the digital domain...

The two most important tools for me are EQs and compressors and I'm a fan of good channel strips...

Over the years, I've tried a lot of different effects plugins and there are some great choices out there...

So when I tried the new version of the SSL Channel Strip, I was expecting it to be good....

But not THIS good...

I dropped it into a few channels of an existing project and immediately felt an openness in the top end and a clarity in the bottom...

A few touches here and there and things were sitting in the mix like never before and it was quite a revelation...

Using this channel strip has been really inspiring and extremely productive...

I read up on the SSL 9000 consoles and everything I heard is what people like Michael Brauer have been saying for years...

The sound is more transparent and less compressed in the mids than the 4K and 6K consoles and the EQ is more like a Focusrite ISA-110 to me...but even better...

So what is the verdict here ?

Well...if I could only take one effect plugin to a desert island, it would be this channel strip...

A comprehensive EQ, compressor, expander and gate in a zero latency plugin with a sound that is so damn good that it feels like your ears have been unblocked...

It is 100% useful in every way and I have never been as inspired by any plugin as much as this one...

5 Stars and a million kudos to the guys at SSL...

Reviewed By digitalboytn [read all by] on December 18th, 2021
Version reviewed: 1.006 on Windows.
Last edited by digitalboytn on 19th December 2021.

I want to start by saying that this synth really is a DX7....

I played a few notes and was immediately transported back to DX7 land...

I had a few of those synths back in the day and OPS7 nails the sound and the feel exactly...

Being able to load all of the Sysex files is brilliant because there are so many banks of great sounds available that weigh in at just a few KB each...

The editing inside OPS7 is streets ahead of what was available with the hardware and having access to all of the parameters is an invitation to actually program FM sounds...something that was painstaking with the original miniscule LCD...

On a purely practical level, OPS7 is my sort of synth...

The install is only a few MB and it uses a minimal amount of CPU, but the sound is huge with a ton of attitude...

It sits great in the mix and blends and layers well with other instruments, yet it still maintains it's sense of character and definition...

One of the bonuses, is that you can layer two independent engines together a la DX1 and create some very interesting textures with the layers...

I like the focus that Plogue bring to their soft synths...

Their focus is on the sound engine and the dynamics of the instrument with a minimalist GUI and a straight foward interface...

I'm really enjoying using OPS7 and it was easy for it to slot into my existing workflow because it sounds so damn good...

Anybody looking for an FM synth should check out OPS7 because I believe that it is the best DX clone out there and with the improved editing fuctions, one of the finest FM synthesizers ever released...

Thanks for the OPS7 Plogue...

This one's a winner and it gets 5 Stars from me :).

Reviewed By digitalboytn [read all by] on August 21st, 2021
Version reviewed: 4.4.6 on Windows.
Last edited by digitalboytn on 21st August 2021.

I agree with J1000 that this is a great plugin and one of the most useful tools that you can have in your audio toolbox...

As an EQ it is complete, but when you add a touch of compression at the frequencies where it is needed, this dynamic EQ becomes a one stop solution so much of the time...

It's not the only game in town, but it has become indispensable in my workflow along with most of the other audio tools from Toneboosters...

EQ4 is highly recommended and it's a 5 star winner in my world...

Thanks Jeroen...

Reviewed By digitalboytn [read all by] on July 7th, 2021
Version reviewed: 1.0.1 on Windows.
Last edited by digitalboytn on 8th July 2021.

This is a really well designed synth....

Everything is laid out on one page so it's easy to drive once you get familiar with the setup...

There are lots of modulation options that bring a range of dynamics into play and help to give real character to the voices and the ability to load your own wavetables is a powerful feature...

One of the things I like about Bjorn's synths is that they have a slightly "raw" sound and this is a positive thing when it comes to the mix...

I got lost for a few hours playing with WhispAir and then used it in a track and it was all good...

Tightly coded with a small install size, a powerful sound and a resizable GUI, what's not to like ?

Thanks Bjorn....this one's a winner....

Reviewed By digitalboytn [read all by] on May 22nd, 2021
Version reviewed: 2.0.98 on Windows

ANA 2 is getting a whole lotta love in my world...

It's easy to tweak and sits well in the mix...

Powerful oscillators, tone shaping and modulation options and a killer arpeggiator and effects section...

The main guys who did the the DSP coding are no clowns and they've created a seriously good synth that is a programmer's delight...

Anybody who can't make great sounding tracks of any genre with ANA 2, should be looking in the user error department...

This synth is a 5 Star winner in my world...

Reviewed By digitalboytn [read all by] on February 28th, 2020
Version reviewed: 1.21 on Windows.
Last edited by digitalboytn on 28th February 2020.

There is not much to say about Thorn that has not already been said...

Everything about this synth is top shelf...

This is coded by a very smart cookie who knows a thing or two about DSP and the importance of having a clear and functional layout...

Because everything is basically on one page, the workflow of Thorn is fast and efficient...

This synth is capable of producing so many different sounds - from warm analog to harsh digital - and it has it's own "character" which blends well with other instruments in the mix...

Because of it's unique nature, when you are tweaking things to sit it in the mix, you can find so many nice surprises and that makes this not only an enjoyable, practical tool but a fun toy as well :).

The glitch sequencer is extremely cool and you can really dial up some rhythmic goodness there...

I am a fan of Tantra, so to basically get Tantra built into a synth is a serious bonus...

One of the smart features is that you can save the presets for the sections separately, so importing those into other patches is really easy and so helpful...

This is a desert island synth for me...

I have some solid soft synths that I use and most of them have been with me for some time, but Thorn has quickly become a real workhorse and part of the handful of synths that I consider indispensable....

5 Stars to Dimitry for coding such a wonderfully inspiring piece of software...

Thank you...it is greatly appreciated....

Reviewed By digitalboytn [read all by] on October 2nd, 2018
Version reviewed: 2.0.5 on Windows.
Last edited by digitalboytn on 2nd October 2018.

The B4 II from Native Instruments was the very last x86 plugin in my toolbox and I was hanging onto it until a replacement finally came along...

I tried EVERYTHING out there and nothing hit the spot for me and I can't stand the sampled organs...Truly horrible...

I almost pulled the trigger on the original Blue3 and although it was close, there was no cigar...

But after just a few moments with v2 of Blue 3, I knew that I had finally found the B4 II's replacement....

This organ is wonderful to play and it has that really organic sound of the tonewheel organs...

From angelic purity through to dirty, filthy grime....it's all there...

I just wish I had a double manual keyboard with pedals to capture all of the magic wrapped up inside this plugin...

I remember a few years ago being backstage and watching a keyboard playing with a top international act closing his laptop and taking his B4 II home to the hotel...

I was impressed and I thought..."Man, that is so cool and it sure beats lugging the beast and the Leslie around everywhere"...

Nothing can truly replace a real B3 with a revolving Leslie, along with the service charges and the chiropractor sessions, but GG Audio's Blue3 is the closest yet...

I'm pretty sure that Jimmy is dialing up some soulful sounds on his Blue3 at his Chicken Shack gig in the heavens :).

5 Stars to GG Audio for this magnificent virtual instrument....

Reviewed By digitalboytn [read all by] on July 25th, 2018
Version reviewed: 1.0.4 on Windows.
Last edited by digitalboytn on 30th August 2018.

I like channel strips, so I thought that I would give this one a go, especially as you can insert each plugin individually....that's a bonus...

The same team that are involved in the ASR project were responsible for Bus Comp and that one's a winner...In fact it shares some of the same features and probably much of the same code...

In many ways, ASR represents the "best of" Nomad Factory's development over the years.

A bit of the valve stage, into an EQ, some channel comp, a touch of exciter and widening and then into the bus comp....very nice....

When you bypass the rack, you notice just how much those little subtleties add to the overall sound..

All in a single package with almost no CPU hit and zero latency...Impressive...

It's important to pay attention to the gain staging to get the most out of ASR and Bus Driver...

(In fact, proper gain staging is one of the crucial factors in making any mix sound good...).

Some "SSL purists" made some rather unkind comments about ASR when it was first released because they were unable to disassociate themselves from their elitist preconceptions...

It doesn't matter if is not exactly an SSL or a Pultec or whatever...

In the brave new world of digital coding, we've moved beyond the constraints of hardware...

All that really matters, is if something works or not and the ASR delivers the goods...

It's versatile, efficient and effective...

What more you need in your toolbox ?

Thanks for an inspiring plugin...It is really appreciated....

Reviewed By digitalboytn [read all by] on November 28th, 2017
Version reviewed: 1.0.6 on Windows.
Last edited by digitalboytn on 28th November 2017.

This is a very sweet sounding reverb....

It is difficult to describe what makes a reverb sound great, because as listeners, we are more absorbed in the emotional response, rather than considering the algorithms and the technicalities involved...

The TB Reverb v4 has a lovely density to it and like most well coded reverbs, it adds the ambience you need within a perfectly natural soundstage....

You can create virtually any reverberation you can imagine with this plugin....

One thing is for sure....

Jeroen knows how to code top quality plugins that are some of the best audio tools on the planet...

I've been using the Toneboosters tools since their inception and even though I have many great plugins to choose from, the TB plugins are permanently on the top shelf of my toolbox...

I just bought the update for Reverb 4 and it is going to be used extensively...

Thanks once again to Jeroen for coding these very high qualty, practical plugins :)

Reviewed By digitalboytn [read all by] on December 21st, 2016
Version reviewed: v5.30 on Windows.
Last edited by digitalboytn on 21st December 2016.

After Henry da Vandal AKA Gibson bought out Cakewalk, I knew that it was time to get out of Dodge...

I had been a Cakewalk user since the stone age and a Sonar Pro user since it's inception and I knew the program pretty well and I thought that they really got it all together with the X3e Pro x64 update...

So I have started using REAPER 5 and I love it !

The install is minuscule, it loads faster than a speeding bullet and it is very well coded...

The workflow is extremely fast and it has never crashed or given me any grief...

Of course there is a learning curve, but like anything, if you log in the hours and check out the manual and the menus, it's not that painful...

Step by step and it all makes a little more sense...

Also, the tutorials that Kenny Gioia did are really great...very informative...Take a bow Kenny G :)

One of the things I have noticed through changing DAWS and adopting a slightly different workflow, is that I am using a lot less plugins and the sound is more "open" as a result of this...

I used to use the channel strips in Sonar X3e Pro extensively and they sounded great, but by using less effects in REAPER I feel that the results are much better...

It really does reinforce that the quality of the sound at the source is vital...

Anyway, I am happy to be using REAPER and it's great that Justin has this project on his menu..He made mega miilions out of Winamp and is blessed to be able to now spend his time pursing his passions..

That's a very cool thing...

REAPER is one of those passions and we are fortunate to be able to enjoy the fruits of his labour...

5 Stars for REAPER :)