epicCLOUDS public beta testing started

A public beta version of epicCLOUDS is available for testing. As already announced, the beta testing will be supported by the new VoS Discord server to gather feedback and discuss issues as best as possible. Feel free to join, its open for everyone!

Click here to join the VoS Discord server. A Discord login is required. Once on my server, you must agree the welcome message just shown to you by ticking it with a “thumbs up” to get full rights for posting etc.

what I’m currently working on – Vol. 13

1. Finalizing epicCLOUDS

When epicVerb got discontinued in April last year, it was already clear that after the brand new plate reverb there would have to be a worthy successor for really large rooms at some point, and it was also clear what it should be able to deliver: Representation of large rooms up to epic dimensions but with accurate stereo imaging. The reverb should also surround the source signal as best as possible, avoiding the feeling of just being attached to it. On the other hand, the so-called ambient reverbs have impressed me very much and influenced my work – I also really like their simplicity. But how do you realise all this and get everything under one hat? That was still completely unclear last year and there were only a few sketches and experiments. But this challenge is also the most fulfilling part of the whole thing, which always excites me anew. And now it has taken shape, already got a beautiful UI and I’m polishing the last bits. If only it weren’t for the manual!

2. NastyDLA mkIII

Can you do any better than the mkII? Not really, and so there will be no changes to the concept or the feature set, but just an update of the technology. The internal routing will be fixed, the filters optimised and internal oversampling added. The biggest change under the hood will be an update of the input stage. All in all, the changes will bring about subtle improvements in sound, but this will also break backwards compatibility, sound wise. The mkIII version therefore gets its own plugin ID and can also be operated in parallel to the old one.

3. VST3, public beta via Discord

VST3 versions could be next and to ensure the stability of the updates, a public beta will be held. The beta will be available shortly via a new Discord server.

Stay tuned!

something epic is coming

Stay tuned!

simplify music making for everyone

ThrillseekerLA mkII released

ThrillseekerLA mkII – bringing mojo back

ThrillseekerLA is an optical stereo compressor optimized for gentle mix bus coloring. It combines smoothest optical compression with vibrant coloration options that deliver a unique box tone in their own right, including thrilling bass and elegant top end void of any harshness in the mids. Its compression not only glues things together effortlessly but also enhances the stereo image by increasing depth and dimension.

10 years after – new in version 2:

  • Technical redesign with advanced opto cell emulation
  • Simplified gainstaging including automatic output gain compensation
  • Streamlined coloring options: Interstage, Tube and Loudness
  • New compress/limit option and reworked sidechain filtering

The mkII update is available for Windows VST in 32 and 64bit as freeware. Download your copy here.

Related Links:

the beauty of opto-electrical compression – volume 2

When I was looking for a sophisticated stereo compressor for the outboard studio rack a year ago, I was surprised to see how many of the more interesting models now use opto-electric compression technology. Whether transparent or coloring, tube or solid-state amplifiers, transformer or transformerless, even two-channel layouts in mid/side encoding: far advanced compared to all the classic mono replicas.

Optical compressors are usually characterized by their distinct program-dependent compression behavior, mainly based on a physical memory effect in the detector itself. Other subtle nuances are found across the frequency spectrum that affect timing and curve characteristics, creating a complexity that cannot be reduced to simple two-stage controlled release curves, and which is the beauty of opto-electrical compression in its entirety.

Significant audio signal colorations, however, are shaped not by the gain reduction circuitry but by the make-up gain amplifier, whether it is tube or solid-state. Here, the audio transformer also plays an important role in polishing the transients and creating a cohesive sound.

ThrillseekerLA was designed from the beginning in 2012 as a modern stereo compressor with exciting sound coloring possibilities. It is a compressor with authentic opto-electric control behavior in feed-forward circuit topology.

The upcoming mkII update is a technical redesign dedicated solely to improving the sound. It delivers a unique box tone with thrilling bass and elegant top end void of any harshness in the mids. The compression not only glues everything together effortlessly, but also enhances the stereo image by adding depth and dimension.

The release is scheduled for mid-December.

ThrillseekerVBL mkII released

ThrillseekerVBL mkII – bringing mojo back

Even though extensively revised, ThrillseekerVBL remains true to its credo and combines musical gain-riding and thrilling distortion. The mkII version improves both the user experience and its technical implementation, giving more sonic control and a versatile sound. Being able to reproduce quite a range of tonalities now, ThrillseekerVBL has become a true tonebox that can deliver Variable-Mu style tube compression whether soft and mellow or punchy and raw.

The mkII update is available for Windows VST in 32 and 64bit as freeware. Download your copy here.

Related Links:

bringing mojo back – volume 2

ThrillseekerVBL is an emulation of a vintage broadcast limiter design that follows the classic Variable-Mu design principles from the early 1950s. These tube-based devices were initially used to prevent audio overloads in broadcast transmission by managing sudden level changes in the audio signal. From today’s perspective, and compared to digital dynamic processors, they appear to be rather slow and can be considered more of a gain structure leveler. However, they still shine when it comes to gain riding in a very musical way – they’ve written warmth and mojo all over it.

ThrillseekerVBL is a modded version that not only features basic gain control, but also gives detailed access to both compression behavior and the characteristic of tube circuit saturation effects. Used in subtle doses, this provides the analog magic we so often miss when working in the digital domain while overdriving the circuit achieves much more drastic musical textures as a creative effect.

ThrillseekerVBL offers an incredibly authentic audio transformer simulation that models not only the typical low-frequency harmonic distortion, but also all the frequency- and load-dependent subtleties that occur in a transformer-coupled tube circuit and that contribute to the typical mojo we know and love from the analog classics.

new in version 2

Conceptually, the mkII version has been refined in that the peak limiting itself is no longer the main task but versatile and musically expressive gain control as well as a thrilling saturation experience. The saturation is now an integral part of the compression and is perfectly suited for processing transient-rich material. Both compression and saturation can be individually activated and controlled.

The circuit-related frequency loss in the highs has been almost eliminated and the brilliance control – originally intended just for compensation – can now also perform exciter-like tasks. The bias control has been extended to shape the harmonic spectrum in much greater detail by allowing the contribution of second order harmonics as well as the adjustment of the saturation behavior in the transient area of the signals. The transformer circuit has also been technically revised not only to resolve all the subtleties realistically but also to reproduce an overall tighter sound image.

ThrillseekerVBL has become a real tonebox, able to reproduce a wide range of tonalities. It provides access to the attack and release behavior and all compression controls can also affect the saturation of the signal, even when the compression function is turned off. This allows specific textures of signal saturation to be realized. As with the good old outboard devices, the desired sound colorations can be achieved just by controlling the working range. And if too much of a good thing is used, the DRY/WET control simply shifts down a gear.

To further improve the user experience some additional UI elements have been added giving more visual feedback. Although oversampling has been added, the actual cpu load was significantly reduced thanks to efficient algorithms and assembler code optimizations.

ThrillseekerVBL mkII will be released October 14th for Windows VST in 32 and 64bit as freeware.

TesslaPRO mkIII released

the magic is where the transient happens

The Tessla audio plugin series once started as a reminiscence to classic transformer based circuit designs of the 50s and 60s but without just being a clone stuck in the past. The PRO version has been made for mixing and mastering engineers working in the digital domain but always missing that extra vibe delivered by some highend analog devices.

TesslaPRO brings back the subtle artifacts from the analog right into the digital domain. It sligthly colors the sound, polishes transients and creates depth and dimension in the stereo field to get that cohesive sound we’re after. All the analog goodness in subtle doses: It’s a mixing effect intended to be used here and there, wherever the mix demands it.

The mkIII version is a technical redesign, further refined to capture all those sonic details while reducing audible distortions at the same time. It further blurs the line between compression and saturation and also takes aural perception based effects into account.

Available for Windows VST in 32 and 64bit as freeware. Download your copy here.

next level saturation experience & still missing VoS plugins

The magic is where the transient happens.

Since a year or so I’m not just updating my audio plugin catalog but also focusing on bringing the original Stateful Saturation approach to the next level. That concept was already introduced 2010, embracing the fact that most analog circuit saturation affairs are not static but a frequency and load dependent matter which can be best modeled by describing a system state – hence the name Stateful Saturation.

The updated 2022 revision is now in place and got further refined regarding the handling of audio transient states while reducing audible distortions at the same time. It further blurs the line between compression and saturation and also takes aural perception based effects into account. This was profoundly influenced by working with audio exciters over the recent years but also by deep diving further into the field of psychoacoustics.

This important update was also the reason why I actually did hold back some of the plugin updates, namely TesslaPRO and the Thrillseeker compressors since they heavily rely on that framework. Meanwhile, TesslaPRO has been rewritten based on the framework update already and will be released early September. ThrillseekerLA and VBL are in the making and scheduled for Q4.