modeling the distortion in Thrillseeker VBL

It’s so important to get the non-linear modeling right if we would like to have a sort of analog feel in the digital domain. I can’t stress this ever enough since it still seems to be a common practise in todays audio plug-in design to just throw in a static waveshaper, oversample it and hope this will make everything alright. Not! Even worse, in a recently released plug-in I saw the static waveshapers curve not being continuous again and I’m not going to talk about the sound.

But what should one expect to hear if the analog modeling is just done right? Only by driving the gain of the unit but way before we notice the obvious distortions there appear different by-products caused by circuit side-effects. Depending on the actual device, circuit and components, it might be that the signal starts just getting thicker and more mid-focused, as an example. Or, the signal might appear much deeper and bigger in other cases.

Whatever it might be in particular, I do call this the “Mojo” of the device – it’s not the primary intention of the device but turns out to be a sort of an added sugar. Such effects are highly frequency, transient and gain structure dependent and this is what makes the processed signal to be much more vibrant and alive. Furthermore, the obvious harmonic distortions are not introduced abruptly but they emerge gradually.

tasty meal preparations with Density mkIII

Since precise routing and stuff like that is not taken down into the cookbook as of now, here are some exciting tips and tricks to experiment with and maybe to obtain a different approach to cook audio with Density mkIII.

Starter

As a starter just use the default preset and dial in huge amounts of compression right with the DRIVE knob. Now mix this back to the dry signal by using the DRY:WET option to obtain a thick sounding result (New York style compression). Since the COLOR option ignores any DRY:WET settings one can dial it in afterwards to thicken the soup even further. Hmm, tasty!

Second course

Set DRY:WET back to a 100% wet signal but also pull RANGE back to the left so that there will be no gain reduction anymore. There is no compression anymore now but one can still use the MAKEUP knob to drive the gain of the non-linear circuits. Use this and experience a hot (driven) meal.

Main course

By finishing the second course, you not only have a sophisticated non-linear amplifier now where you can dial in the coloration with the COLOR knob to taste. You also can use this in M/S mode to adjust the stereo imaging in a quite unique fashion just by adjusting the amounts of saturation per channel right with the MAKEUP knobs. Omph, I’m feelin so wide now!

Dessert

Just dial in again some amounts of compression by turning RANGE clockwise, maybe full to the right but RELAX the attack times so that some transients can pass. Those will be eaten now by the non-linear amplifier as an added sugar.

Espresso, anyone?

announcing mkII versions for NastyDLA and TesslaPRO

Variety Of Sound announces mkII versions for NastyDLA and TesslaPRO to be released during Q2/2012. By this, all the sonic bliss of stateful saturation algorithms will be made available for both, the highly regarded classic chorus echo device with tape-delay simulation and the critically acclaimed “transient aware” signal saturator.

Stateful Saturation takes advantage of some sought after analog qualities and preserves them accurately during their transfer into the digital domain:

  • high frequency shimmer and sheen without digital harshness
  • depth and ’3d’ imaging side effects before distortion itself becomes apparent
  • audio transient dynamics that remains vibrant and alive
  • natural and impressive bass response

NastyDLA mkII remains feature wise the very same but introduces the input stage modelled by this new and exciting technology and also redesigns the tape compression algorithm for an improved IM distortion performance. TesslaPRO mkII will go way further by introducing a variety of different signal coloration options, ranging from console style distortion models up to typical mic/preamp colors.

More details will be unveiled during this month. Stay tuned!

ThrillseekerLA – released today

[Read more…]

introducing ThrillseekerLA

ThrillseekerLA – digital stereo leveling amplifier with truly analog qualities.

At a glance

  • Sophisticated and deep gain riding full of musical character and attitude but with virtually no inter-modulation (IM) distortion artifacts
  • Feedback compression design w/o any samplerate based delay in the loop
  • Classic input level driven two knob design with additional manual attack and release time interventions
  • Highly program dependent envelope timing adoption offering attack times ranging from “instantaneously” up to around 100ms and release times from 30ms up to several seconds
  • Mix level switch to adopt the plug-ins internal gain staging to mixing levels at around -18dBFS
  • Custom SC filter option to attenuate the SC bass response while slightly boosting the HF spectrum
  • Additional one pole (6dB per octave) SC low-cut filter adjustable from 20 to 500Hz
  • External sidechain support
  • Switchable Input/GR/Output metering display
  • Variable compression range control from 0 to 100% [Read more…]

announcing the “Thrillseeker” audio plug-in series

I’m bringing sexy back

The brand new and upcoming Variety of Sound Thrillseeker audio plug-ins series is going to be a plug-in collection premiering Stateful Saturation which is a sophisticated DSP core system for musical harmonic distortion generation based on authentic and truly stateful non-linear models.

Stateful Saturation takes advantage of some sought after analog qualities and preserves them accurately during their transfer right into the digital domain:

  • high frequency shimmer and sheen without digital harshness
  • depth and ‘3d’ imaging side effects before distortion itself becomes apparent
  • audio transient dynamics that remains vibrant and alive
  • natural and impressive bass response

Stateful Saturation opens the door for quite a number of amazing applications ranging from smooth harmonic exciters up to convincing amplifier effects and the DSP core can easily be set in context whether it’s a compressor output stage or a preamplifier circuit, just to name the two. [Read more…]

preFIX – getting those alignments done

getting those alignments done - finally is easy and fun

The upcoming preFIX audio plug-in was originally designed to meet the recording engineers needs and is all about audio alignment tasks: fix all that stuff that can’t be fixed outside the box (anymore) and do that fast and with highest quality right before the mixing starts itself.

preFIX is a pre-mixing and audio alignment tool which typically takes place upfront the mixing process. It provides a clever tool set to clean-up, fix and align audio tracks (typically taken from recordings) concerning overall frequency correction, phase alignment, spatial stereo field corrections and routing. It contains a complete gate/expander solution with a dedicated and comprehensive sidechain filtering path as well.

Though, preFIX is not only tailored to the recording engineers environment but delivers a truly great performance when shaping and lifting poor sample sources, sculpt electronic softsynth instruments or just by dialing in that super tight drum bus sensation as well. [Read more…]

introducing NastyDLA

There are just a few audio effects available that are capable of instantly turning a small and wimpy riff into something big and meaningful. One of them is the classic chorus/echo combination. Beside the individual classic echo or chorus devices these combined devices were historically build around true tape or bucket brigade delays.

From today’s production standards perspective they might be easily overseen (feature wise) but on the other hand they are still pretty much demanded due to their specific and warm tone and this unique sound quality is probably the charm which still today attracts producers and audio engineers to use them in their actual music productions.

NastyDLA is going to follow this path and recreates all the specific tone qualities while adding just some few but well selected modern features. The plug-in implements some of the most distinctive and much appreciated sonic effects generated by these devices:

  • classic chorus and echo effects
  • authentic signal path coloration
  • tape-delay style feedback and saturation

NastyDLA applies gentle feedback driven delay effects, performs smooth audio signal modulations and adds extra harmonics and saturation effects. It will be available as a freeware VST plug-in for Win32 compatible systems later this autumn.

related links: the classic chorus echo device

quote of the day – phase shift

Quoted from the Manley Massive Passive EQ manual talking about “phase shift”:

“This is probably the most misunderstood term floating about in the mixing community. Lots of people blame or name phase shift for just about any audio problem that doesn’t sound like typical distortion. We ask that you try to approach this subject with an open mind and forget what you may have heard about  phase for now. This is not to be confused with “time alignment” as used in speakers, or the “phase” buttons on the console and multi-mic problems.”

I couldn’t agree more as already shown in the brief article on about audio signal coloration.


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:

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