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Renoise 2.6 “Geek Edition” released, multi-platform DAW

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Renoise, the multi-platform digital audio workstation software, was updated to version 2.6.

It’s official. We are pleased to announce that Renoise 2.6 is ready for production. Over three months of community driven beta testing has put the software through the ringer. User feedback has resulted in our most innovative release to date. Rock solid stable, as usual.

Changes in Renoise v2.6

  • Script everything using a truly open API: Lua is a light-weight programming language, which together with the Renoise API allows you to build add-ons quickly and easily. Lua scripting, introduced as part of the beta cycle in July, has already resulted in a plethora of new tools, as well as native support for the following hardware: AlphaTrack, BCF-2000, BCR-2000, KONTROL49, FaderPort, microKONTROL, nanoKONTROL, Launchpad, Remote SL-MKII, Nocturn, Monome, Ohm64, iPad via TouchOSC.
  • Sample Autoseek: Samples have a new setting, “Autoseek”, which will, when enabled, make them behave like a traditional audio channel. You can start playing back the song at any position, and the sample will automatically seek to the current position in the song without having to be triggered.
  • Open Sound Control (OSC) Server Support.
  • Duplex – MIDI/OSC controller framework.
  • DSSI Support on Linux, 64-bit Linux Version.
  • Support for CAF, AIFC, SND and AU Files.
  • Linux & Mac OSX Performance Tweaks.
  • Minor usability and functionality refinements galore!
  • The full scoop, here:

Renoise is available to purchase for Linux, Mac, and Windows, priced at 58 EUR excl. VAT.

More information: Renoise

Sonimus updates SonEQ to v1.1, Mac AU/VST now available

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Sonimus has released version 1.1 of SonEQ, a free equalizer effect plug-in modeled from two analog equalizers.

Sonimus SonEQ
Sonimus SonEQ – modeled after the Pulteq EQP and API 550

Changes in SonEQ v1.1

  • New GUI.
  • Mac AU / VST versions added.
  • Fixed CPU usage problem on some processors.
  • Band gain now shows dB instead of Hz.
  • The “VU Meter” is softer, and some host-specific bugs were fixed.
  • Mono tracks now supported.
  • Includes two new high quality filters: High-Pass and Low-Pass.
  • Fixed problems with noise when moving some knobs.
  • Many minor bugs fixed.

SonEQ is available to download as a freeware effect plug-in for PC and Mac (VST/AU).

More information: Sonimus

Elysia xpressor 500, hardware stereo compressor (API 500 series format)

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Elysia xpressor 500

Elysia has released the xpressor 500, an extremely versatile stereo compressor available in API’s 500 series format.

Its discrete audio path running in constant class-A mode provides a superior audio quality which combines a clear and open sound with a good lot of punch. With its many unique features taken from our flagship products, the xpressor 500 shines in many different applications: stereo buss compression, processing single signals, approaching dynamics in creative ways …

xpressor 500 features

  • Discrete Class-A Topology — As a true elysia specialty, the audio path of the xpressor 500 is completely based on discrete circuitry and does not use any integrated circuits at all.
  • Auto Fast — Inspired by its big brothers: the switchable semi automation for a perfect attack on the basis of the value set by the user.
  • Log Release — This alternative characteristic of the release curve follows a logarithmic course instead of the standard linear progress and results in a very gentle kind of compression.
  • Negative Ratios — The characteristic curve bends and goes back down! Heavy pumping, backward sounds, etc. – perfect for very cool compression effects.
  • Parallel Compression — Available directly on the unit: the direct and the compressed signal can be blended in any desired relation by simply turning the mix controller.
  • Sidechain Filter — A tunable low cut filter in the sidechain of the xpressor 500 avoids overcompression and pumping when there is a lot of low end energy in the mix.
  • Gain Reduction Limiter — This novel limiter is not placed in the audio path as usually, but restricts the control voltage of the compressor instead.
  • Warm Mode — The xpressor 500 offers a second switchable sound flavor by altering its frequency spectrum, harmonics and transient response.
  • Analog Dynamic LED Meter — The gain reduction meter modulates its LEDs in their brightness in order to show the action of the compressor in an analog way: fast and with smooth transitions.
  • Made in Germany — High grade components, solid aluminum knobs.

The xpressor 500 is now available to purchase for for $975 USD / 649 EUR (excl. VAT).

More information: Elysia / xpressor 500

Alta Moda Audio Hippo, VCA-based stereo compressor

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Alta Moda Audio Hippo

Alta Moda Audio has announced the Hippo, a high performance bus compressor designed for the API™ 500-series compatible rack systems.

The Hippo is based on the same VCA topology made popular in highly successful recording consoles of the 1980′s, but includes many modern features not found on typical bus compressors.

Hippo features

  • Extended attack, release and ratio settings for wider control ranges. Rotary switches allow for simple recalls of settings. Selected controls are continuously-variable for enhanced resolution and versatility.
  • High Pass Filter on side chain for better control of bass-heavy material.
  • Warmth control adds rich harmonic distortion to fatten tracks.
  • Channel linking options allow for better control of stereo imaging, including the ability to run the channel detectors independently of one another (Dual mode).
  • Dual, 20-segment gain-reduction meters monitor both detectors with 1dB resolution.
  • Blend control allows varying the output between dry and compressed signal for more subtle compression effects.
  • Hard-wire relay bypass.

The Hippo is now available to purchase for a special pre-order price of $1,175 USD (first 20 units sold only, US domestic only; regular price $1,295 USD).

More information: Alta Moda Audio / Hippo

Phoenixinflight releases 10EQ Graphic Equalizer

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Phoenixinflight 10EQ Graphic Equalizer

Phoenixinflight has released 10EQ, a free graphic equalizer effect plug-in for Windows.

10EQ is a VST plugin based on the API 560 Graphic Equalizer. Originally developed in the 60′s, it was used in many API consoles in the 70′s and 80′s.

Just like its hardware counterpart, 10EQ is a very versatile tool and can be used for many mixing and mastering purposes. It features 10 bands of equalization with a special “Proportional Q” design, which automatically narrows or widens the filter bandwidth. The CPU usage of the plugin is very low, so it can be used in large quantities at the same time. 10EQ contains 20 presets, which provide useful starting values for further adjustments.

10EQ Graphic Equalizer features

  • 10 EQ bands: 16 kHz/8 kHz/4 kHz/2 kHz/1 kHz/500 Hz/250 Hz/125 Hz/63 Hz/31 Hz.
  • Every band has a boost/cut range of 12 dB.
  • Instead of constant Q values, the filter bandwidth widens at lower boost/cut levels and narrows at higher settings.
  • Low CPU usage.
  • 20 presets included.

10EQ is available to download as a freeware VST effect plug-in for Windows PC.

More information: Phoenixinflight / 10EQ Graphic Equalizer

Review: Wave Alchemy Drum Tools 01

Wave Alchemy Drum Tools 01

Wave Alchemy has recently released another drum sample library, Drum Tools 01.

Drum Tools 01 by Wave Alchemy offers over 1950 exquisitely produced electronic drum samples. All sounds in the collection have been built from the ground up using a jawdropping array of analogue circuitry and exclusive highend outboard gear.

Great care has been taken to capture the tone / vibe and warmth of the equipment used and all sample editing and file naming has been done by hand for maximum precision.

The drum samples in Drum Tools 01 have been created by the creative layering and processing of drum machines, exotic synthesizers / modulars, field recordings and the recording of live drum and percussive instruments.

Ah… just what I need: More creatively layered and processed drum machine, exotic sound sources and field recordings.

Of course I don’t really need another drum sample library… ToneBuilder’s Driven Machine Drums, various Goldbaby Productions titles, and Wave Alchemy’s own Drum Machines 01 already provide me with thousands of high quality samples.

So why Drum Tools 01? The beauty of sample libraries like the ones I just mentioned is that they feature sampled material from a unique combination of analog sound sources processed with high end outboard gear, so Drum Tools still sounds “different” from everything else I already have.

The list of gear used is quite impressive:

  • Sound Sources: Future Retro XS, Korg MS20 & ER1, Jomox XBase 999, Airbase 99 & Mbase 11, Vermona DRM MK11, Elektron Machinedrum UW, Roland TR808, TR606 & TB303, ARP Odyssey, Minimoog Voyager, Nord Lead 3, Waldorf Pulse, and various live recordings & percussive instruments
  • Sound Shaping: Thermionic Culture Vulture Mastering Version, Sherman Filterbank 2, Moog Filters & Envelopes, Korg MS20, Empirical Labs Distressor, SSL E Series EQ & Compressor, SPL Transient Designer & Gainstation Preamp, API 512c Preamp

So what does all this gear sound like? Check some high quality audio demos below to get an idea.

With close to 2,000 samples it is no luxury to have things well ordered. Wave Alchemy shows attention to detail by creating a clear folder structure; main folders like claps, kicks, snare drums, etc., and subfolders within most main folders to help you find exactly those samples you are looking for. Granted there are some folders containing samples with _001, _002 etc. file naming, most samples have very descriptive names, e.g. dt01_layeredsnare_heavenslam.wav, or dt01_clap_odysseyclap.wav.

Besides claps, hihats/cymbals, kicks, snares, and percussion samples, a bunch of perhaps not so obvious sounds are included in this library as well:

  • Drum Tools, includes almost 60 sub enhancers and transient snaps/clicks.
  • Glitch, beautifully processed little bleeps, clicks, crackles & pops and whatnot.
  • Sound Effects, 88 totally unique and well designed sound effects.
  • Xtra Bonus Sounds, a bunch of TB-303 licks and 60+ high quality chords and stabs.

Can hardly wait to get started? Wave Alchemy also included an Ableton Live 8 pack and 13 drum kit patches in all popular sampler formats for your instant gratification.

Wave Alchemy Drum Tools 01 - Drum kit in Kontakt
A drum kit patch in Native Instruments Kontakt

Still need 16-bit? A complete dithered copy of all 24-bit samples ready to rock your 16-bit hardware like your MPC.

Let me quote the Drum Tools product page once more:

After many months of creative sound design and sonic manipulation we are extremely proud to announce the release of our first Drum Tools library – Minimal Techno & Tech House.

Wave Alchemy really took the time to create a package of both a high quality *and* quantity of samples. I’d be proud of this release too, well done guys!

So what do I think?

Product: Drum Tools 01 by Wave Alchemy
Format: 24bit/16bit wav samples, Drum kits patches: Battery/Kontakt/NN-XT/HALion/EXS24/sfz/Ableton Live 8 pack
Price: £39.95 GBP (currently ~$60 USD)

The Drum Tools 01 library is subtitled “Minimal Techno & Tech House”, but of course these drum samples are well suitable for any electronic music genre. The sample quality is of the same high standard I have come to expect from Wave Alchemy: superbly recorded, processed and edited.

Almost 2,000 unique samples for a little under $60 USD… If you do not yet have a comprehensive sample library for electronic drum sounds, Drum Tools 01 would certainly be a great choice.

For those like me, who already have more sounds than they will ever use, Drum Tools 01 still offers some interesting material. The glitch, sound fx, and chords and stabs folders include many unique and usable samples that I found very inspiring.

Wave Alchemy is offering a very generous Drum Tools Teaser pack, featuring 150 samples from the full release. So go check it out and see how you like this library. I think it’s the bee’s knees!

More information: Wave Alchemy / Drum Tools 01

FXpansion releases BFD Heavy

FXpansion BFD Heavy

FXpansion has announced the release of BFD Heavy, a BFD2 expansion pack containing a pair of immaculately recorded Yamaha birch drumkits, supplied with a set of presets perfect for heavy rock, metal and other styles that require powerful, weighty drums.

The Recording Custom is the kit that signalled Yamaha’s arrival as one of the dominant forces in the world of drumming. This all-time classic birch kit comprises 2 powerful kicks, played with felt and wood beaters, alongside 4 toms featuring superb attack and sustain, and played with sticks. The Birch Custom Absolute, meanwhile, is the culmination of Yamaha’s 25 years of experience in crafting birch shells. Offering a great alternative to maple, birch shells feature excellent mid and low end, with a sharp and vibrant attack. The 5 toms are played with sticks and mallets, while the kick is provided in wood and felt beater versions.

A bonus ‘lite’ Yamaha Jimmy Chamberlin signature snare is provided to complement the kits. This steel-shell snare is provided in 4 versions played with sticks and mallets, with the snare strainer on and off. Full-detail versions of this snare are available in the Yamaha Signature Snares vol.2 expansion pack.

BFD Heavy’s expressive articulations include rim shots and rim clicks on the Birch Custom Absolute toms, while the bonus snare kit-pieces feature half-edge samples for expressive programming and electronic drums positional sensing support. The recording sessions took place at Omega Studios in Maryland, USA, using premium mics and preamps by Neumann, ATI, Neve, API and Violet, amongst others. Recording conditions were identical to those for other Yamaha-based downloadable expansions and the BFD Jazz & Funk, Percussion, B.O.M.B. and JEX libraries. BFD Heavy is also designed to sound great with BFD2′s built-in sounds as well as with BFD-compatible libraries recorded in other locations.

BFD Heavy features

  • Low-cost, download-only expansion pack for BFD2
  • 3 Kicks played with felt and wood beaters
  • 9 Toms variously played with sticks and mallets
  • Bonus snare with strainer on and off, played with sticks and mallets

BFD Heavy is available to purchase for all registered BFD2 users, priced at £35 GBP, €49 EUR / $70 USD.

More information: FXpansion / BFD Heavy

Wave Alchemy releases Drum Tools 01 – Minimal Techno & Tech House

Wave Alchemy Drum Tools 01 - Minimal Techno & Tech House

Wave Alchemy has announced the release of Drum Tools 01 – Minimal Techno & Tech House, a collection of electronic drum samples.

Drum Tools 01 offers over 1950 exquisitely produced electronic drum samples. All sounds in the collection have been built from the ground up using a jaw-dropping array of analogue circuitry and exclusive high-end outboard gear. Great care has been taken to capture the tone / vibe and warmth of the equipment used and all sample editing and file naming has been done by hand for maximum precision.

The drum samples in Drum Tools 01 have been created by the creative layering and processing of drum machines, exotic synthesizers / modulars, field recordings and the recording of live drum and percussive instruments.

Drum Tools 01 is an essential purchase for anyone looking for high quality, 100% original drum samples. Although designed with Minimal techno & Tech House music in mind, Drum Tools 01 would also make an essential toolkit for producers of House, Trance, Electro or even down-tempo / hip-hop styles.

Drum Tools 01 – Minimal Techno & Tech House features

  • 1950 24-bit 100% royalty free electronic drum hits!
  • A professionally dithered 16-bit version of the full library for hardware sampler enthusiasts
  • 472 premium kick drum samples arranged by tone (deep, punchy, solid, processed, 808 & fx)
  • 251 snare drum samples arranged by type (classic, layered, punchy, processed & noise)
  • 594 exotic percussion samples created with a wealth of highly sought-after studio gear and divided into such folders as ‘blips & pops’ ‘toms & tones’ ‘world’ ‘analogue synth’ ‘driven digital’ & ‘miscellaneous’
  • 125 luxurious claps and snaps
  • 141 hi hat & creative noise samples
  • 75 glitch shots devised from exclusive analogue circuitry
  • 62 minimal stabs and chord hits
  • 88 sound effects samples
  • 26 uniquely layered crash cymbal sounds
  • 58 drum creation tools including snaps & sub enhancers
  • Ableton Live 8 pack (requires latest version of live)
  • 13 drum kits including sampler patches for Battery, Kontakt, Reason NNXT, Halion, EXS24 and SFZ
  • 42 bonus tb-303 licks + much more

Drum Tools 01 – Minimal Techno & Tech House is available to purchase for £39.95 GBP. A generous selection of free sounds from Drum Tools 01 is available to download from the product page (free registration required).

More information: Wave Alchemy / Drum Tools 01 – Minimal Techno & Tech House