Thrillseeker XTC – behind the scenes

The basic idea to build a VoS style Enhancer/Exciter was already there way earlier but to that time it simply wasn’t doable until my ‘stateful saturation’ approach emerged. Later on and when I asked “how a modern exciter/enhancer should look like“, several concepts were laid out on the drawing board and I knew that with this exciting (sic!) new approach they all would be accomplishable w/o any compromises. Finally, one of them made it into a prototype which led to ThrillseekerXTC.

Old or modern approach?

So, is the audio Enhancer/Exciter just an ancient relict from the days of dull tape recordings or still a valid concept today? In the digital age, technology and production techniques completely changed and of course the production aesthetics did also. Opposed to the old approaches of audio excitation which mostly were focusing on high frequency loss restoration, the demand shifted towards other tasks as well. Presence and definition in the (upper) mid range is the name of the game and getting the low-end right is the key in a modern production. Instrument separation in a busy mix is a tough challenge, also.

What the heck is Mojo?

In some other cases (mostly digital productions) – definition, presence and transparency is all there but at the cost of a rather thin or sterile sounding production. Even worse, the HF department might be exaggerated too much during the processing chain and taming and sweetening is a challenge then. Some of the artifacts that we’ve found in certain analog devices might add tonal qualities described as thick, fat and round by ‘pleasingly degrading’ a sound source. This is what Mojo is all about. Whether that’s some circuit crosstalk, tape flutter or transformer distortion stuff alike. [Read more…]

major mkIII update for Density bus compressor released

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announcing Density mkIII – providing depth and dimension, mastering grade

As hinted earlier in a facebook post, the TesslaPRO update will be delayed and probably released after the summer break – it is just not there yet. Instead, a major update for the Density compressor plug-in already made it and it will going to see the light somewhere later this month.

So, lets talk about the Density mkIII update. During the last two years or so I’ve received quite a lot of feedback to the Density mkII release – mostly coming from mastering engineers – on how to improve its dynamic response towards todays mastering needs. Some very early efforts did not made it but with the learnings from the ThrillseekerLA compressor design and the emerging stateful saturation approach everything was possible, all of a sudden. [Read more…]

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!

distortion in transformer cores, N. Partridge, 1939

This is the first of a series of articles in which the question of amplitude distortion arising in the iron core of a transformer will be dealt with on a quantitative basis. Information on this subject is scarce and the design data given is the outcome of original research by the author.

Be aware that tis articles appeared in the The Wireless World magazine from around 1939 (!). I’ve found some decent scans here: 1, 2, 3, 4.

Related

quote of the day

IMHO, its not about randomness (noise) in components at all. Its about the (very short) memory some circuits can deploy, depending on the overall load of the system. The shortcoming of the component modelling approach is still that the whole modeled system is deterministic (which is not). – bootsy

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…]

towards stateful saturation – very first audio shots

Around a year ago or so I’ve already started to look into a couple of stateful non-linear models which could be more suitable for a musical and convincing digital saturation experience. To make it even more harder, they should avoid the usual drawbacks such as huge latency or insane cpu consumption – if ever possible of course.

Meanwhile, my journey into the non-linear DSP land has made an important stopover with a first prototype implementation for such an approach, yielding a DSP core for musical harmonic distortion generation based on a stateful model. This opens the door for quite a number of interesting applications such as harmonic exciters or devices which needs convincing amp models whether thats a compressor output stage or even part of a guitar amplifier effect. [Read more…]

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…]

transformer signal path distortions – part 1

transformer circuit symbol

Introduction

“Audio-frequency transformers are used mainly for matching impedances and transmitting audio frequencies. They also provide isolation from direct currents and present balanced impedances to lines or circuits.” (cited from Reference Data for Engineers: Radio, Electronics, Computers and Communications from Wendy Middleton, Mac E. Van Valkenburg)

In other words, they are most commonly used for two purposes: One is the isolation between two sections of an electric system which have different ground levels and another one is to change voltage levels (as is typical for tube circuits for example). [Read more…]