compressor aficionados (9) – D.W. Fearn

Doug, when and how did you arrived in the music business?

I have had an interest in electronics ever since I was a kid growing up in the 1950s and 1960s. I built a crystal radio  receiver when I was 8 and my first audio amplifier (tubes, of course) when I was 10. I passed the test for an amateur radio license when I was 12 and that experience of communicating using Morse code was excellent training for  learning to hear. I built a lot of my own radio equipment, and experimented with my own designs.

The high school I attended had an FM broadcast station. Most of the sports and musical events were broadcast, and I learned about recording orchestras, marching bands, choirs, and plays. Friends asked me to record their bands, which was my first experience working with non-classical music.

Another major factor was that my father was a French horn player in the Philadelphia Orchestra. As a kid, I would attend concerts, rehearsals, and sometimes recording sessions and broadcasts. I learned a lot about acoustics by walking around the Academy of Music in Philadelphia during rehearsals.

It would seem logical that my musical exposure and my interest in electronics would combine to make the career in pro audio I have had for over 40 years now.

I was a studio owner for many years before starting the D.W. Fearn manufacturing business, which started in 1993. [Read more...]

announcing Thrillseeker VBL – Vintage Broadcast Limiter

Bringing mojo back – Thrillseeker VBL is an emulation of a “vintage broadcast limiter” following the classic Variable-Mu design principles from the early 1950’s. They were used to prevent audio overshoots by managing sudden signals changes. From today’s perspective, and compared to brickwall limiters, they are rather slow and should be seen as more of a gain structure leveler, but they still are shining when it comes to perform gain riding in a very musical fashion – they have warmth and mojo written all over.

Thrillseeker VBL is a “modded” version, which not only has the classic gain reduction controls but also grants detailed access to the amount and appearance of harmonic tube amplifier distortion occurring in the analog tube circuit. Applied in subtle doses, this dials in that analog magic we often miss when working in the digital domain, but you can also overdrive the circuit to have more obvious but still musical sounding harmonic distortion (and according side-effects) for use as a creative effect.

On top, Thrillseeker VBL offers an incredibly authentic audio transformer simulation which not only models the typical low-end harmonic distortion but also all the frequency and load dependent subtleties occurring in a transformer coupled tube circuit, and which add up to that typical mojo we know from the analog classics. This would not have been possible with plain waveshaping techniques but has been realized with my innovative Stateful Saturation approach, making it possible to model circuits having a (short) sort of memory.

Release date is not yet confirmed but most probably will be in May this year.

Bootsy does Musikmesse 2011

Last year he missed the show but this year, Bootsy (Chief Technical Dude of Variety Of Sound) is sneaking around again (unrecognized) in one of the largest music equipment trade shows. Lets see which secrets he obtained by fraud this time ;-)

Vertigo Sound

[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.

TesslaPRO revealed

TesslaPro

TesslaPRO

[Read more...]

‘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...]

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