towards stateful saturation

the static waveshaper y = tanh(x)

Still today, most developers are sticking to static waveshaping algorithms when it comes down to digital saturation implementations. This wasn’t very convincing to me from the very beginning and in fact it was one of the motivations why I’ve started my own audio effect developments – to come a little bit closer to what I thought what saturation and non-linearity in general is all about.

And so the Rescue audio plug-in was born in summer 2007 and was already an approach to relate audio transient events to the signal saturation itself. Not that much later TesslaSE appeared which was a different exercise leaning towards a frequency dependent non-linearity implementation coupled in a feedback structure. I still really love this plug-in and how it sounds and prefer it over much more sophisticated designs even today in quite some cases. Following, the pre-amp stage in BootEQmkII then focused on “transformer style” low-end weirdness and did feature oversampling on the non-linear sections of the device. A really great combination with the EQ – smooth and very musical sounding. The TesslaPRO thingy sums up all this and puts it into one neat little device with an easy to use “few knob” interface. Don’t let you fool by this simplistic (but so beautiful) design: It already features everything which makes a saturator to stand out from the crowd today: transient awareness, frequency dependency, dedicated low-end treatments. Sound-wise this results in a way smoother saturation experience and a better stereo imaging en passant.

With FerricTDS not only the notion of  subtle frequency dependent compression got extended to a core saturator algorithm. Since revision 1.5 I’ve ditched the oversampling based core and included a version which premiered the notion of memory into the non-linearity which transforms it from a stateless into a stateful algorithm. One could basically see this as a system which reacts different on the very same actual input signal depending on the recent history of events (on a very microscopical level). The input stage algorithms which I’ve included in NastyVCS and NastyDLA (both are actually the same) are a cpu and feature wise stripped down version of that to have the basic sound of it already as an option when mixing the tracks and its according fx.

Quite recently, I’ve started to look into implicit stateful models where memory is not applied from the outside of the algorithm but the algorithm itself contains a sort of memory. As an example, I’ve implemented a stateful version of the well-known tanh() function so that it is aware of recently occurred events but provides the very same harmonic structure compared to the original. Given some analyzer plots it even shows the very same transfer curve but in fact it does not limit strictly anymore but allows some minor overshots of some peak signals. Interestingly, the sound appears a little bit brighter (without letting you see that through the analyzer plot) and the low-end appears not to be that hard “brickwalled” but a little bit smoother. Lets be assured that I’m going to follow this path and then lets see where this will lead to in 2011.

BootEQ mkII updates to version 2.1

… and finally adds support for higher samplerates.

BootEQ mkII - analog style equalizer and pre-amp simulator

Release notes:

  • support for higher samplerates
  • faster loading times on systems with large amounts of system fonts
  • VST vendor tag changed to “Variety Of Sound”
  • stability improvements when deleting the plug-in from effect slots
  • stability improvements in cubase hosts
  • VU display issue on mono tracks fixed
  • less CPU consumption if GUI is closed
  • slightly increased 2nd order harmonic in “TUBE ON” mode
  • resetting the DRV knob with <ctrl>+click w/o any audio artifacts now
  • reset position for the left LF frequency knob corrected to 250Hz
  • audio crackles while switching preamp section on/off eliminated
  • improved HF shelving filter with freq dip and asymetric behaviour
  • changed pop-up displays version number now
  • some EQ code optimizations added
  • preset and manual update

Known issues:

  • some display/knob rendering issues mainly in samplitude (compiler bug)

BootEQ mkII is available as freeware for Win32 and VST compatible systems – to download just refer to the download page or just click here instead and please acceppt the end-user license agreement.

Additional links:

NastyVCS – released today

NastyVCS

NastyVCS - Virtual Console Strip

[Read more...]

NastyVCS – I can has dynamics

NastyVCS - compression controlThe upcoming NastyVCS virtual console strip VST plug-in will feature three pristine and complementary tools to shape the audio dynamics. This allows a vast variety of different dynamic treatments and here is a very first and brief overview: [Read more...]

NastyVCS – virtual console strip

NastyVCS

virtual console strip

I’m really proud to announce the NastyVCS virtual console strip which finally brings the beloved “nasty” signal coloration series onto the next level.

Build entirely new around an opto-electric style compression unit, NastyVCS offers everything you need to shape your channels dynamics and tone. It offers a dedicated input stage featuring crunchy pre-amp saturation and a brickwall safety limiter  in the output stage while everything is set up to work in zero latency and so to have it available for hassle free tracking and mixing. Two dedicated filters can be used in either the audio path or in the compressors sidechain which can be external as well. [Read more...]

poll results and some confusion

votes

Last week I had asked about some feedback through the polls here. The results on the polls about samplerates and SSE1 support where unsurprisingly straight forward and so I skip those here.

More confusing to me was the result to the other poll in which I’ve asked: “If NastyCS would be extended to be a complete pre-amp/channelstrip emu, which features would be a must-have?”.

A cumulated 31% of all votes went to saturation/distortion type of things (Tape  (12%), Tube (10%), Pre-Amp (9%)) and afterwards there is showing up a 8% demand for transient shaping – why do you expect such things in a channelstrip that much? I would have had expected to see sophisticated compression options to be on top of the list but this just appears in 7% of the total votes.

‘BootEQ mkII’ released

As of now the “BootEQ mkII” musical EQ and pre-amp simulator is released under freeware license and a copy is ready to download for you. Release info and download locations are maintained in the sticky “latest versions / downloads” post. Please read and accept the enduser license agreement before downloading and installing.

Requirements: SSE compatible PC, VST host running at 44,1 or 48kHz samplerate.

Download here.

‘BootEQ mkII’ – LF shaping

BootEQ mkII

BootEQ mkII - new LF controls

[Read more...]

‘BootEQ mkII’ – preview and release info

[Read more...]

modelling pre-amp goodness

pre-amp

I’m just thinking loud here about pre-amps and all their different sounds and how they contribute to todays recordings and overall production aesthetics.

There are actually two types of such devices in general which are coming to my mind. On the one side there are the more unobtrusive ones which are adding almost nothing to the sound but just tighten and focusing the lowend a little bit or enhancing slightly the mid range in a good way. The other ones (mostly tube/valve types) are tending to saturate and distort the incoming signal if driven with higher input gain which may contribute to the desired sound in some cases while in others not. [Read more...]

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,136 other followers