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Spirit Reverb [read all reviews]
Reviewed By Krakatau [read all by] on 22nd February 2016
Version reviewed: 10.9.5 on Mac.
Last edited by Krakatau on 3rd June 2016.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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This spring reverb emulation is like no others, highly inspiring to me.

Rather than trying to emulated spring reverbs accurately, that still seems to be an unreached challenge in the virtual world at the present time to some expert's judgement, the folks in Aegan music managed to capture some of the typical, coloured aspects of these vintage reverbs and gave to the users something highly tweakable, leaving the possibility to modify the most inspiring aspects of spring effects (rather than properly called "reverb") that no real spring reverb would be able to offer.

So there is here a wide palette of different colors ans characters in these emulated springs that IMO compensate very honourably the lack of accuracy that some might feel...and i'm not one of them.

I own already both Overloud Springage and PSP Springbox, both are very good sounding spring emulation in themselves, but this one IMO, gives the best set of parameters and flexibility for innovative creativity.

really excellent and among the best sounding but more that that, the most flexible in relevant manners for creative purposes..and that makes a significant difference for me .

... also considering the very reasonable price. among the three mentioned in this review, it's the cheaper of them for a same level of quality .

PSP MixTreble [read all reviews]
Reviewed By Krakatau [read all by] on 7th September 2014
Version reviewed: 2.1.0 on Mac.
Last edited by Krakatau on 7th September 2014.
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Let say that, despite the fact that it isn't a brand new product at the time these lines are written, it is undoubtedly of a brillant conception if, like me, you're into sound design (i would say even more precisely : sample design) as a skilled amateur or a professional, you will really love such a well-concieved tool to manipulate the details of the hi-end contour of any of your audio files (either master tracks or single samples inside a sound library) with an unsuspected flexibility, .

This involving four successive stages that, assuming you have downloaded the trial version, i won't detail all the included parameters that if needed, you might have studied though the user manual easily, so let me just describe the whole process chain here briefly.

First a hiss remover, noise reduction system working at the crucial frequency bandwidth (from hi-end to 500hz) to be then treated by the following stages. Second a, so to say « transient enhancer » ...a bit mysterious for me but very effective stage to determine and enhance the formant frequencies of a voice or any acoustic instruments and signals. Third a stereo enhancer and finally the harmonics section based on a classic but very cleverly conceived exciter, plus an « output saturation » switch at the very-end of the chain as an option to prevent signal peaks.

To be honest, in practice i had time after time the tendency to favour some stages and neglect some others, something that could be perfectly considered as a bad habit. not that these stage where useless (as the proverb goes « Bad workers always have bad tools »), just because there is one kind of process involving the combination of the two first sections, in where this plugin totally shines.

Indeed : suppose you've got for instance an afuche/cabasa (or a guiro) percussion on a track, depending the way you're adjusting both « hiss remover » and « transient » section, you can modify with a great flexibility the harmonic contour and textures of such instruments, making the sounding friction (of course) brighter but also smoother or sharper with a bunch of possible nuances, this mainly due to the combination of the threshold's opening/closing speed of the (improperly called in the case) hiss remover before overall formant frequencies enhancement.

...if you're into field soundtakes the same process can be applied for instance, with all possible locust and grasshopper's stridulations. independently of the brightness of the source, it can litterally smooth out any rubbing, creaking, warbling, gurgling, etc... or in the contrary increase such reliefs with many possible variations, keeping perfectly a natural feel to all these sound sources.

So in summary : a must have for high-end contour modeling, whatever is the purpose.

(complemented with both Mixbass2 and especially, Mixsaturator2, for low end polishing, all being part of the mix pack)

Discovery Series: West Africa [read all reviews]
Reviewed By Krakatau [read all by] on 2nd September 2014
Version reviewed: 1.0.0 on Mac.
Last edited by Krakatau on 2nd September 2014.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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I won't enter into a too detailed description of the plugin itself, but being experienced on western African cultures, i might have a good critical view on this instrument.

Regardless of it official focus (giving an african colors to western music production) i admire here something that isn't obvious judging by the demos songs that you may listen on NI site, ...but these guys have made a tremendous work in reproducing as accurately as possible the original grooves and scales of traditional musics of this area of subsaharian Africa.

For the Insiders, populations of Mali and Guinea are mainly from Manding cultures that own likely the most compatible scale to be adapted to chromatic intervals, This to say that it was an intelligent choice because the majority of negro-african scales, (as the Senoufo ones from instance, that lives in the same area) are frankly achromatic, also to consider that manding scales are probably the only ones in entire Black Africa to be heptatonic (rather than pentatonic)...so very obvious to adapt to a corresponding diatonic scale (among the melodic instruments, listen to Bolon and especially the Kora tuned in a root scale, almost identical to a C Myxolidian, and of course all the balafons that nearly matches a C major scales natively !)

As said above i, for one, appreciate the accuracy in reproducing all the traditional music listed, especially the ones written into complex signatures, that are very typical from western africa, (but perhaps less compatible with all the invading binary signatures of almost all international/commercial musics)

The articulations are brilliantly laid out and let you recreate with incredible fidelity you own interpretation of these rhythms, i have instantly the feeling to be back in Burkina Faso when playing it !, ... this is where this library really shines and apart some short sampled phrases, the very well conceived, included sequencer is undoubtedly the main responsible of the crime .

A few regret though, some western-african instruments are missing, the Kunde, (a plucked string instrument common in Burkina Faso) for instance and, way more emblematic : Longa, tama, etc...all the talking drums of these african countries...too bad !!.

Also, the multisampling and articulations of all these instruments are very well made for the peculiar context (to emulate traditional western-african bands efficiently), but poor for a use out of this ethnomusical context as lead, single solo instruments interpretation in a foreign context, as a skilled performer of the real instrument would be capable. On that purpose the Djembes included into Culture, for instance, benefit of both a more effective multisampling and key's distribution through the keyboard (for both hands) to reproduce a djembe's solo interpretation easily at your fingertips.

Nevertheless, i just think it' would be unfair to not underline that this plugin reach fully it challenge, considering it primary purpose to give a touch of authentic traditional black-african feel at most aspects (sounds, phrases and complete grooves) to a modern production, and this at a reasonable price...

Pianoteq Studio Bundle [read all reviews]
Reviewed By Krakatau [read all by] on 26th August 2014
Version reviewed: 5 on Mac.
Last edited by Krakatau on 2nd September 2014.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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In short : This instrument has become something wonderful both to play and to tweak, .

Updates after updates both acoustic behavior and sound quality has become more and more closer to the real instruments, almost accurate in many aspects and on that respect I' for one, am very impressed by gain in quality and accuracy of some of the add ons (Marimba/Xylophone and Steel-bands ones in particular) in this last major update.

If you're not necessarily looking for accurately modeled instrument, the colour palette (how can it described in such a subtle instrument !) offered by all the parameters can give totally uncharted result with still a very sensitive touch under the keys and a vast nuances of expressivity in almost any circonstances (you may try the free patches i've uploaded here to judge it by yourself...)

Among the last implemented parameters, the "conditions" will give you with extreme ease a variety of detuned instrument, and this one isn't bounded to the pianistic-like ones...all are affected in each of their peculiar ways and this is extraordinary (try it with bells, xylophone steel-bands or rhodes emulations)

"Mallet Bounces" is an exciting addition to add ons like cimbalom or steel bands to easily increase their accuracy in performance, but nothing oblige you to restrain yourself to these primarily targeted instruments.

And though i didn't yet dig into the brand new mic choices and placements, it is obvious that it offers an exhaustive palette of emulated recording situation, similarly to the big drum emulation (BFD, Superior Drummer, etc...) in their own area.

I'm persuaded that this plugin just proves that, slowly but inexorably acoustic modeling will definitely surpass sound libraries in a near future.

Allow me this little joke to conclude, folks (kvr insiders will certainly appreciate !) .

This plugin is (really) amazing !

AradazMaximizer5 [read all reviews]
Reviewed By Krakatau [read all by] on 2nd July 2014
Version reviewed: 1.6.5 on Mac.
Last edited by Krakatau on 3rd July 2014.
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In short :

Though it is likely designed as a mastering tool it is extremely effective to get almost any tracks clearer in a mix with a very few and short adjustments, so in term of workflow it can be of an enormous bargain, ...and an absolute no brainer being free.

To be honest i never had myself on that purpose much use of both "character" knob and "normal/fast" switch, but both maximise and output level have been well enough for me and it tend to replace any compressors on separate tracks as the useful adjustments just take a few second to achieve .

Maybe a rough technique for some, but i just can strongly recommend it, if for instance, your time is limited and need fast ans satisfying results for track's signal level and mixing equilibrations.

Brass [read all reviews]
Reviewed By Krakatau [read all by] on 7th April 2014
Version reviewed: 2.0.5 on Mac.
Last edited by Krakatau on 5th May 2014.
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- They are a few reproach i need to mention about this instrument, unfortunately :

According to what has been said under their forum development of it has been stopped, so.

1)- There won't ever be a 64-bit version for this plug-in.

2)- There's no chance for any CPU optimisation, because it can be insanely consuming processor's ressources.

That said :

Being the only brass emulation based on pure acoustic modeling (with GSI Miles'tone, AFAIK), it is the only one that potentially emulates some behaviour of real instruments that even the WIVI brass collection or the famous (and beautiful) sample modeling brass and wind collection (this being inherent of both their hybrid synthesis techniques), won't be able to offer, so far...

Most of these erratic/chaotic behaviours aren't perhaps the most musical for classic styles of composition and alike, but if you're into free-jazz, ethnic or avant-garde style and anything similar, and especially if you're into some of the "Tradimoderne" afro-beat styles that sometimes include ethnic (and more or less achromatic) instruments, in where then, a brass section that behaves with a certain, unpredictable misrepresentation of chords and harmonies, but still at a controlled degree can be desired, ...they might be totally irreplaceable .

Perhaps some sampled instruments would make illusion on the hands of a skilled composer, but for the most it won't replace it.

BRASS offers also many interesting variations in their models (trumpets, trombones, saxophones) as well as a performance mode in where you can place 4 instruments of your choice from a large list of presets anywhere on a 3D modelled stage, you can choose also the transposition of each instruments,audio and MIDI routing, etc...that let you the possibility to create a bunch of different brass sections of 4 (or less) instruments. not to also mention the riff mode that i didn't explore so much to be honest, mainly because i'm generally reluctant to use predefined phrases when composing but are likely an excellent base for some, especially for more distinctive musical styles...

In summary :

- considering it price drop (119 Euro if you pick it up from "the one" option, even less at jrrshop for instance),.

- considering also the constant increase of CPU power of our Platforms,.

- considering the possible workaround of 32-bit limitation (using for instance,the new 32lives app. on mac)

i think it can be an excellent value if you're into the musical styles mentioned above, despite it distressing flaws, IMHO.,.

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