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 already presented their VSM-2 “Mix Satellite” distortion weapon last year but still this is one of the coolest devices around, even on this years show. Beside the two insert hooks and M/S routing options in the standard version, the extended version features two distortion units namely one 2nd order “FET Crusher” and a 3rd order “Zener Blender”. Using internal bandpass filtering, the distortion can be limited to specific frequency ranges and the distorted result can be lowpass filtered on top. The device is not intended to replace your fuzz box or amp but rather designed to add some texture and grid on your tracks. The distortion products are very mellow sounding and due to the M/S and filtering options, detailed and smooth sound treatments in the stereo field are possible – a truly addictive device but unfortunately insanely priced.
Their discrete VCA compressor was presented as well and they confirmed that a digital plug-in version is already in the making which will be implemented by Brainworx. Lets see how they succeed on that (and more interestingly how they will do on the VSM-2). If you did not know the Vertigo brand yet you’ve might already know their “Neue Heimat” stuff.
As if this is the trend also for 2011, quite a lot of companies are continuing in transferring their brands into the digital realm or joining the train right now. This year, Tube-Tech is showing their analog stuff right beside their digital copies made by Softube. The Pultec EQ and the compressor clone were already available for some time but brand new is a kind of channelstrip version which also includes the Pultec style mid-range EQ as well.
Still, all those copy companies are lacking of some new and innovative concepts. Which brings me straight to that company with those large and ugly dongles. Beside the Lexicon 224 copy they are presenting some already in native format available stuff wich is migrated now to their new SDK and DSP platform. But why should someone use such a version (which natively could be used in numerous instances) on a limited DSP architecture which clearly limits the instance counts? This is beyond Bootsies limited mind for now but lets see how long the DSP card approach will gonna survive.
Dave Hill is demonstrating his stuff on the Crane Song booth as well. He also joined the digital train and for the first time he presents a “RA” digital saturation plug-in. It’s basically a static waveshaper but with some detailed options added to sculpt the waveshapers curve. Dave appeared as if someone had beamed him out of the seventies right into our decade – Bootsy likes that 🙂
This year, Bootsy finally met Jonathan Little from Little Labs who actually appeared to be a real gentle person. While mentioned how small most of his boxes actually appear he just answered: “Well, that’s why it’s called Little Labs” and laughed (a little). His new VOG – “voice of god” – thingy is a (little) bit larger though but also with a clearly focussed usage concept. It’s basically a 24dB/octave highpass filter with some amounts of resonance in the transition band. Originally designed to focus on improving (little) speaker voices it meanwhile emerged to a secret weapon for all kind of purposes ranging from boosting (little) kick drums up to entire listening environments such as lounge or music club locations. He seems to have no plans in doing digital. Maybe Bootsy should take care of that a (little) bit?
And so, lots of others are not ambitious to step into digital. They stick to analog but even just in this domain quite a lot of copying is still done. Lots of Pultec and 1176 stuff is “re-build” and imitated up to Fairchild clones. The 500 series format still gains more and more momentum and seems to be very attractive for both, developers and engineers. Just as an example, AnaMod presented their XF Tube thingy which basically is a two stage tansformer/tube stage coloring or sound sculpting tool. The concept is somehow similar to the VSM-2 but the execution is completely different. A really interesting device as well!
There is so much more to see and hear on Musikmesse but Bootsy is so tired and needs a rest right now.