Your Identity as a Sound Designer: A Quick Cheatsheet for Using Plugins to Find Your Artistic Identity

It’s hard to find your identity as a guitarist. Whilst it may seem as if there are no more legends along the lines of Steve Vai or Eric Clapton, the meaning of being a guitarist is still constantly changing. Now the ease of digital sound design means everyone has access to similar gear, it’s up to the individual to use it creatively in order to convey a unique sound. Read on for how sound design can help do this and quick tips as to developing your own unique sound.

Sound Design Identity: Understand How DAWs Affect Artistic Identity

In the age of analogue, much of an artist’s sonic identity could come from their gear, whether that was a quirky, refurbished guitar, or the amps and cabinets available in the studio. The shape of the room, it’s furnishings, and the number of people present would all have affected the way the finished product turned out. On a DAW, consistent and controlled settings prevent this variability, thus the ability to create a unique sound belongs to the artist themselves. This means when using a DAW sound designers must get creative with adding the things which would come naturally with an analogue recording- layering reverbs, equalising, and mixing and mastering so their sound has just the right amount of distinctiveness – something especially important for guitarists where so much is reliant on tone and feeling to get the musical message across.

Sound Design Identity: Learn From Your Idols

How did your favourite producers, sound designers, or guitarists get to where they are today? None of them would have been perfect from the get go. What separates them from the thousands of guitarists who give up is the fact that they not only continued trying but that they fine-tuned and adapted their creative processes to avoid ever making the same mistakes twice.

As sound designers- whether you have a small bedroom set up and are just starting out or a personal studio and you may be wishing to reinvent your sound, using plugins to experiment with adding and subtracting things from your sound is one way of ensuring all your tracks are unique and carry that distinctive fingerprint which sets them out as yours and yours alone.

Sound Design Identity: Use Reference Tracks

Reference tracks are a heavy part of the production process, but for any sound designer there is always the risk of sounding too much like your inspirations. It can be frustrating when you don’t have access to the same gear as them and you may spend your time in the studio trying to find that perfect sound. The important thing to realise is that any alternatives you choose will mark you out as separate from your influences and therefore give you more of a creative edge. As a result, embracing differences and realising it’s impossible to sound exactly like your idols is one of the best ways forward – it can separate you from the hundreds of other guitarists who get stuck at this stage. Reference tracks are just that – references, and expecting your work to sound exactly like them limits your creative possibilities. Whether a producer or sound designer yourself – or a guitarist working with a team of other creatives – understanding this can be one of the most freeing parts of developing a creative identity.  

Sound Design Identity: Repurpose Plugins and Sounds

Default plugins on DAWs such as Logic are often geared towards some of the most crowd pleasing and popular sounds. This means harking back to the heyday of guitar with rock and hard rock oriented amps which are versatile enough to still be used in modern genres such as indie rock. But what if you want something different? Before shelling out on specialist gear to sound just like your influences, see if repurposing the default plugins on your DAW can achieve similar sounds at a fraction of the price and whilst simultaneously giving your music a distinctive edge. That metal plugin you bought on a whim and have now forgotten about as your band changed direction? Some of the reverb could sound great for one of your darker, moodier tracks, even if it doesn’t strictly fit into the genre.

Think Outside of the Boundaries of Genre

Out of the wealth of plugins available, many are often geared towards specific genres, especially in niches known to sell consistently such as blues. However, these genre labels need not limit you if you truly want to break boundaries a bit. If you’re a rock guitarist, why not use an indie style reverb for a ballad? Or taking that same reverb heavy noise of underground and indie music and using it for experimental or noise music? By looking at your own genre through the eyes of another, you can get a more accurate picture of where you stand within wider sound design and make creative movies which pinpoint your sound yet keep it familiar enough that it can draw in new listeners.

Know What You Need

There is a lot of advice out there on the internet and ultimately every sound designer ha their own way of working. If you haven’t yet found yours, it can be hard to tell what’s relevant. Knowing what you need can bring exponential growth in both your artistic and technical development. Are you a bedroom producer who simply wants some decent reverb to make those low key, soft guitars sound more emotional? Or are you knee deep in technical shred guitar recordings and are looking to ensure every note of a guitar solo shines through? By focusing on what you love, it’s easier to find what you need- and find plugins which really work for you in the process.

Overall, these are just some of the ways in which the process of sound design can help you define a distinctive identity as an artist. By seeing your artistic identity reflected in the plugins you use, waveforms you see, and creative choices which you make, you can further hone and develop your sense of yourself as a musician so that all your work has your own distinctive stamp on it – a compilation of the gear you use and the way you use it in a pattern completely unique to you.

Pluginboutique MEGA Spring Sale 2022

Hello guys, today is your luck day as Pluginboutique is running their annual VST Plugin Spring Sale. On the menu we have fresh deals from £3.95 / $5 + get UJAM’s PHAT 2 free with your purchase. Most of the offers end on the 1st of May so you better hurry and finish stocking up on virtual instruments for your studio.

The deals that are available right now on Pluginboutique.com’s 2022 Spring Sale:

  • Wavesfactory Plugins Spring Sale (Exclusive) – For 11 years, Wavesfactory plugins have provided pristine sound quality and a clear focus on user experience. They design their plugins to be innovative and evocative, crafted with love and care. Save 25% off their entire plugin range at Plugin Boutique.
  • Plugin Boutique Scaler 2 + Excite Audio Lifeline Expanse Lite Bundle Sale – For a very limited time only, pick up our flagship music theory workstation Scaler 2 and Lifeline Expanse Lite, the intuitive and powerful multi-effect, in one single collection. Available for a limited time only.
  • Relab Development Spring Sale – Relab Development create premium quality software that meticulously emulates professional and well-known audio hardware. For a limited time only, save up to 64% on their authentic reverb emulations including upgrades with prices starting at just £26.95 / $35!
  • Sampleson & Plugin Boutique Stage54 Introductory Sale (Exclusive) – Stage54 is the virtual emulation of an extraordinary and hard to find 54-key electric tine piano. Created through meticulous spectral modelling, Stage54 captures the organic warmth and essence of this rare vintage electric piano and brings its iconic sound directly to your DAW. Buy now at the limited-time introductory price of £23.95 / $29, exclusively at Plugin Boutique.
  • Plugin Boutique 3 Plugins for £5 / €5 / $5 Bundle Sale (Exclusive) – Plugin Boutique are proud to present this incredible bundle featuring 3 essential plugins at an unprecedented price point. Get bass processor Bass XL, mind-blowing multi-fx Convex and powerful yet intuitive wavetable synth Union for only £5 / €5 / $5 – 98% off, exclusively at Plugin Boutique.
  • UJAM Manufacturer Focus Finisher FLUXX Sale (Exclusive) – Finisher FLUXX is a creatively supercharged effect plug-in that will transform, deconstruct and animate your sounds. Save 60% off exclusively at Plugin Boutique in our UJAM Manufacturer Focus promotion.
  • UJAM Manufacturer Focus Beatmaker Sale (Exclusive) – Create huge festival anthems with UJAM’s HYPE Beatmaker or bring the rhythms of a dystopian cyberpunk future with NEMESIS. Save up to 72% in the UJAM Manufacturer Focus promotion, exclusively at Plugin Boutique.
  • UJAM Manufacturer Focus Virtual Bassist ROYAL 2 Sale (Exclusive) – ROYAL 2 is a session bass professional – effortlessly fitting into any popular styles and genres with its rounded electric fingerstyle tones. Perfect for pop, ready to rock, impressive on indie and smooth on singer/songwriter material. Buy now in our Manufacturer Focus promotion with 69% off!
  • iZotope Neoverb Spring Sale (Exclusive) – iZotope Neoverb is the most intelligent reverb plug-in for music producers. Leave the trial and error behind and design unique spaces for vocals and instruments in seconds, without muddying the mix. Save 80% for a limited time only exclusively at Plugin Boutique!
  • iZotope Elements Suite Spring Sale (Exclusive) – The iZotope Elements Suite combines 4 powerful, award-winning audio technologies in one package: RX Elements, Neutron Elements, Nectar Elements, and Ozone Elements. Buy now for only £38.95 / $40 in the exclusive Plugin Boutique Spring sale.
  • KV331 Audio Spring Sale – Synthmaster is a ‘must-have’ for all synthesizer enthusiasts! Save up to 82% off in this special Spring Sale. Starting from only £10.95 / $14! (Includes Bundles & Upgrades).

If deals are what you want, what you really really want, then remember to check our Deals category regularly!

Native Instruments Guitar Rig 6 Honest Review

Guitar Rig 6 from Native Instruments comes in two separate forms: Pro and Player. Whilst Pro is the paid for version, Player is so great for the novice musician that it is equally popular and can be a welcome addition to any collection of plugins you have begun to build.

What is included in Native Instruments Guitar Rig 6?

Guitar Rig 6 has all the things provided to create amazing sound that hits the mark, emulating true to life instruments in an astounding way, and packed full of bonafide, real instrument modelled plugins – both modern, vintage, and boutique amps as well as effects from both Native Instruments and Softube. It also contains Native Instruments’ Patented Intelligent Circuit Modelling, the ability to colour code and personalise presents, and the chance to discover Native Instruments’ own FX which can be found with no other company on the market – plus turn it up to eleven by running multiple amp heads at the same time (with the Pro version).

How does Native Instruments Guitar Rig 6 differ from other products out there?

There are a lot of options out there and it’s sometimes hard to wade through the mass of similar VST products. One problem is that many products claim to be all encompassing. However, any great piece of studio software will have stand out features which set it aside from the rest. For Guitar Rig 6, this is the Intelligent Circuit Modelling. Native Instruments have gone so far as to work with the creators of the corresponding analogue products to perfectly simulate each individual component in the circuits of their amps, pedals, and effects. This means that every single part of the FX chain on Guitar Rig 6 is completely true to life. For the musician who may not have the space or money to amass such a collection, it’s an amazing way to see what gear there is out there plus use it in your own projects without having to fork out a hefty fee or track it down. And because of the ICT, unless you are a hardcore audiophile with a need/desire for analogue instruments, it’s as good as the real thing – and having so much true-to-life gear in one place means that you can compare and contrast different sounds to really find something which ties all tracks together.

Check out the latest price and possible deal on Guitar Rig 6 by clicking here (redirects to the official Native Instruments website)

How can Native Instruments Guitar Rig 6 be used?

Guitar Rig 6 contains digital copies of real amps favoured by all your favourite guitarists, and it is set up in such a way so as to be completely intuitive for the creative minded player looking for analogue quality from their digital equivalents. Guitar Rig 6 allows you to build a wall of sound out of many different amps, meaning that you can combine sounds to create the perfect medley of different FX. In discovering this feature, I was almost reminded of the way the legendary producer Butch Vig mixed the four different layers of guitar for Smells Like Teen Spirit on Nirvana’s classic album ‘Nevermind’. The sounds involved in Guitar Rig 6 would actually be perfect for this kind of grungy, effects heavy production, yet the rig is so versatile it can add to everything. At first it appears there is a vintage bent, but the sounds are such classics they can be used in all genres and the rig also contains specialised amps created directly with Native Instruments alongside some of your favourite legendary guitarists and companies. Scroll through the NI browser to find hidden gems and refine your sound – Guitar Rig 6 has something for every mood.

Guitar Rig 6 Pro vs Guitar Rig Six Player

Guitar Rig 6 is split into two different models: Guitar Rig 6 Pro and Guitar Rig 6 Player. The difference lies mostly in the price and amount of features. However, Guitar Rig 6 Player is just as useful for musicians on a budget. It may not contain as many effects and pedals as Pro but if you use it creatively you can easily design fantastic walls of sound and boutique, specialised effects which can add verve and colour to your music.

Native Instruments Guitar Rig 6 – not just for guitarists!

Native Instruments Guitar Rig 6 stands out in containing all of the above plus plugins with unusual variants of noise such as radio effects which can be used for more creative, avant-garde production. In some ways this is a package primarily aimed at rock, blues, funk, and indie musicians, which leaves out the heavier and more technical, crisper, cleaner sound of metal and shred guitar – but some individual plugins have been modelled with legendary musicians from all genres including Richard Z. Kruspe of Rammstein.  And despite it’s name, Guitar Rig 6 is not just for guitarists. In fact, the Native Instruments site has a demo video that shows how FX such as the eerie ‘Area 51’ can be used for violin, creating ethereal and unearthly sounds which can be extremely atmospheric. More natural FX such as reverb and delay are also there to enhance almost any instrument. This is one of the biggest plusses of the rig – its insane ability to adapt to other instruments which, through present FX chains, can be used for just about anything.

Check out the latest price and possible deal on Guitar Rig 6 by clicking here (redirects to the official Native Instruments website)

Final thoughts

Why buy Guitar Rig 6? Whether Pro or Player, it does not hurt to have something this all-encompassing on your side when producing. And though the bias towards classic sounds could be considered restrictive it actually makes this plugin super easy to apply to any genre of music – with enough care taken in its creation that it is not merely a vanilla, one size fits all piece of technology but instead something which gives way more bang for its buck than you would expect from the surface. The sounds are great crowd pleasers – but all have been displayed, chosen, and arranged carefully enough that they give a real fresh spark of creativity to any musician in need of some new kit.

If you enjoyed this piece of gear review, we have a full category waiting to be explored, so dig in by clicking here!

IK Multimedia AmpliTube 5 honest review

Billed as the industry’s favorite amplifier and effects modelling software, this is a totally honest review of the IK Multimedia AmpliTube 5 guitar processing pack, which has recently been updated to version 5.3 with a bunch of new features. With obvious reasons why it is so popular amongst the industry, AmpliTube 5 turned out to be intuitive and easy to use in terms of interface and a design. It works with the flow of the average musician and it has really been created with the thought processes of the user in mind.

How is IK Multimedia AmpliTube 5 set up?

What stood out to me first was the way the entire signal chain has been modelled, with a crisp, clean overview of the chain including everything from direct input to pre-amps, gain, stomp-boxes, and more. You can see the whole thing from a bird’s eye view and drag and drop the different parts around to experiment with positioning. Different lines are color coded – and you can go with dual input or even three different parallel lines of FX connected to the same DI, which makes it extremely nonlinear and versatile. I was refreshed by the way that AmpliTube 5 seems to go above and beyond in terms of having a layout which explicitly works with the way most musicians seem to think and practice. It almost feels as if it was designed for guitarists, by guitarists. The gear selection process has been updated to drag and drop, and the gear view window is photorealistic and designed to be as hands on as it can possibly be without having the actual gear there in front of you – with a mixing window which is along the same lines too.

What makes IK Multimedia AmpliTube 5 stand out?

This is software which isn’t messing around. It’s been designed with a wholistic view of the production process and includes the following features:

  • The entire signal chain is covered from start to finish in terms of modelling.
  • Sound is hyper realistic due to IK using its own specifically trademarked DIM and VIR technology.
  • 8 track recording software allows the creation of nuance, layers, and walls of sound.
  • Set up and ease of use speed up each part of your workflow and thus minimizes processing power needed to create great sounds.
  • All FX are based on real gear and IK Multimedia has worked with real manufacturers including Orange, Mesa Boogie, and Fender thus allowing them to focus on what they do best with intuitive interface design while simultaneously including pro-level sounds created by those who have already hit the sweet spot with tone and popular appeal.

What does IK Multimedia AmpliTube 5 include?

The FX themselves are extremely well chosen. Some modelling software tends to have a bias or bent towards one side or another. AmpliTube 5 is a clean, neutral territory. There are over 400 different bits of gear and the designers have taken their time to work with classic, crowd-pleasing companies such as Fender to hit the sweet spot between familiarity and the ability to spice things up enough to spark ideas. IK Multimedia has split it into three sections, with the signal/FX chain modelling being the main focus and a mixing window which is positioned above, as well as the gear selector window to one side which contains AmpliTube 5’s magnetic selection of options bound to draw in any gear lover.

Why purchase the IK Multimedia Amplitube 5?

Personally, I found it was in the realm of inspiration where the AmpliTube really comes into its own, and while I investigated it, I realized this is not just FX modelling which attempts to cram as many different options into one rig as possible but instead includes carefully chosen collections of software which bring new options and idea combos to the table. AmpliTube 5 has focused on user interface and managed to combine creativity, a format that actually works for musicians, and an excellent level of variety, so it doesn’t feel just like a set of different VSTs and tech. Instead, it’s an interconnected ecosystem of sound design which works equally well for indie rock as it would for hardcore punk. I also found because of how different components are deliberately linked, they connect to each other in a way that ensures your workflow won’t be interrupted. As a result, this is a setup which works for both beginners and pro sound designers in separate ways. Beginners will find the fact that it is easy to use – without much technical detail needed to create amazing blends of sound – a real bonus when struggling for inspiration. On the other hand, anyone with a deeper grasp of the production process will be pleased with the sheer level of different plugins available for creative use, and how IK Multimedia has laid them out to spark new combinations of ideas.

Pricing and availability

Amplitube 5 can be bought off IK Multimedia’s website at $299.99. At this kind of price, it’s beyond the budget of the average bedroom producer or beginner, but it is a bit of software which is well worth investing in – in terms of sheer density of different options per unit of cost plus the way it frees up workflow and creates a smooth, easy-going sound design process.

Click here to check the latest price on their website!

Final Thoughts

I found everything about the AmpliTube 5 to stand out in terms of care and consideration taken to make a top tier product which focusses on the user as opposed to bunching a lot of different techs together. It has two main points of appeal – the variety of FX and thus possibilities in sound design and chain modelling – and the creative, non-linear set up designed to release workflow issues for speedier and more enjoyable music production. Personally, the workflow and interface design make it sold for me – but it’s the sheer number of options in terms of how you want to work with sound that means it has an appeal beyond any single genre. And if you want to read more reviews by us, head on down to our Reviews category by clicking here!

Expressive E Early Spring Sale (up to 55% off til 31st of March)

Hey deal hunters and welcome to the hottest early spring deal in the music business. If you haven’t heard about Expressive E then you really need to. They make a lot of hardware and software tools that shine when you want to some extra layers of innovative control.

We hare big fans of the Touche MPE device, and of the MPE virtual instruments that they released previously. These instruments are a very nice addition to any music production studio so we can’t recommend them enough. We are also waiting on a (very early) preorder for their revolutionary new MPE keyboard, Osmose.

This time, the guys from Expressive E are offering some very nice VST Plugins with a huge discount of up to 55%. We recommend them all if you want to have a different/new experience in making music in the box. The offer ends on 31st of March so get your instruments ASAP:

  • Expressive E Imagine – 83 €/$ instead of 139 €/$ – Imagine digs deep inside the body of real life instruments, modifies and combines their acoustic characteristics to create an imaginary acoustic landscape. Thanks to a playful multidimensional approach, Imagine offers texture manipulations, mysterious unknown sound dimensions that still sound familiar.
  • Expressive E Noisy – 89 €/$ instead of 149 €/$ – A hybrid between physical modelling and subtractive synthesis, Noisy uses the principles of acoustic resonance to bring life to both electronic and acoustic sounds. Noisy was designed to generate highly playable, multidimensional sounds, whose textures and articulations can be easily combined and manipulated.
  • Expressive E Instruments Collection – 197 €/$ instead of 435 €/$ – This one is a collection of their most famous instruments, including the ones above. The instruments that are contained here are Imagine, Noisy, Violin, Viola, Cello. The last three instruments are based on Physical Modelling and do a really nice job. Already own parts of the bundle? log in and put this offer in your cart to see your special upgrade price!
  • Expressive E Touche Sounds Collection – 239 €/$ instead of 533 €/$ – If you own the Touche controller, then you really must have this collection. It is made to be fully compatible with it and contains the instruments previously presented in the Instruments Collection (Imagine, Noisy, Violin, Viola and Cello) plus two more: Mercury and Helium. As longtime users of the last two, we can fully recommend them if you are looking for new ways to do sound design.
  • Expressive E MPE Collection – 71 €/$ instead of 119 €/$ – The MPE Collection combines four banks of exclusive sounds into one versatile suite, ready to play with any instrument that supports MIDI Polyphonic Expression. The banks are Helium, Mercury, Patchwork and Carbon.
  • Expressive E Arche Collection – 71 €/$ instead of 119 €/$ – Arché is a plug-in suite by Expressive E, containing three exquisitely crafted physical models of a violin, a viola and a cello.

We hope you will find this piece of Deal news useful and actually complete your studio with this!

Complete Beginners Guide to Music Production – VST plugin REVIEW

Hello and welcome to our review of the Producertech Complete Beginners Guide to Music Production VST plugin available on Pluginboutique.com!

Making music is incredibly rewarding, but it can also be extremely stressful – especially for beginners. DAWs, MIDI, chords, tempo – with so much to understand, where do you even start? Created by the pros at Producertech, The Complete Beginners Guide to Music Production from Producertech is a VST plugin composed of eight software programs, and eight courses with over twenty-five hours of tutorials to get you started making music. It also includes notes and quizzes to help strengthen and test your knowledge along the way. This is an extensive and comprehensive package, so what’s it comprised of? First, let’s touch on some of the courses.

And if you are interested in more on the topic of music theory, then head on down to our Music Education category by clicking right here, and then take a stroll through our Tutorials section.

Beginner’s Music Production Guide to Beats Production

This one starts beginners’ off with one of the fundamental elements of making music – making beats. It introduces MIDI and digital instruments for beginner musicians and gives users a basic understanding of musical concepts like rhythm and timing. It also explores more complex elements of composition like looping and how this works in a variety of DAWs.

Beginner’s Music Mixing Fundamentals

The Beginner’s Music Mixing Fundamentals provides beginner musicians with a good understanding of what mixing is and why it matters, covering fundamental topics such as level balancing, frequency and dynamics; and how changes to the shape and balance of different frequencies affect the overall mix. It also covers the use of effects, such as reverb.

The Art of Sampling

Starting from the very basics of what a sample is, beginners in music production will gain practical understanding of how samples are created and implemented. This course provides understanding of a variety of topics including musical fundamentals like notes and pitch, to techniques which allow beginners to start creating and implementing their own samples in their music.

The Art of Filtering

From the basics of what filters do and why we use them, users are guided towards an understanding of how filters implicate the overall quality of the sound we create. This course also explores more advanced topics like modulation, and how envelopes and LFOs are used in music production.

What about the software?

The Complete Beginners Guide to Music Production VST Plugin also comes with eight software programs, which include: a free sample workstation, the Zampler//RX; a real-time spectrum analyzer, the Voxengo SPAN; a modern motion filter, the Filterstep by Audiomodern; and the WaveWarden Odin 2 – a 24 voice synth. It also includes Scaler 2 – great for beginners and advanced musicians alike.

The Complete Beginners Guide to Music Production VST Plugin: Scaler 2

This is a powerful VST plugin that can really expand the creativity of your composition – especially for beginners. Scaler 2 detects your audio and MIDI signals, determines the key and scale, and then suggests chords and notes to match. Even beginners who lack theoretical knowledge are quickly able to create melodies, chords, and baselines using this powerful software. Also included, The Producer’s Guide to Scaler 2, outlines the many ways this plugin can improve your compositions. For beginners who are not well versed in musical theory, Scaler 2 is a powerful tool to have in the toolbox.

What’s the takeaway?

If you are interested in making your own music, but lack the knowledge, theory, or confidence to get started, this course just might be the perfect solution for you. Available for purchase and download from Plugin Boutique, the courses and accompanying software really set new musicians on the path of success with a variety of tools and practical knowledge. With everything you need to get started, this program is exactly what it says it is – The Complete Beginners Guide to Music Production.

DEAL ALERT: Pluginboutique 10 year anniversary VST sale

This one is huge, friends. Pluginboutique, probably the best and most complete outlet for all your VST needs is having a blast sale. Indeed, they really want to celebrate their 10th birthday by giving you a lot of options, so if you want to round off your studio virtual gear, now is the time.

Don’t forget that buying anything from Pluginboutique gives you Virtual Cash, their own way of saying thanks for shopping with us. You can use all this Virtual Cash for the next purchases on Pluginboutique.com

Without further ado, this is the list for the Pluginboutique VST Sale, celebrating 10 years of Pluginboutique.com. Most of the offers are available until the 28th of February 2022, so hurry up!

  1. IZOTOPE SALE, UP TO 95% OFF: Pick up 10 unmissable FX plugins from both iZotope and Exponential Audio individually, or get the entire collection of ten plugins in one bundle. CLICK HERE FOR THE IZOTOPE OFFER!. But wait, there’s more. I am talking about a huge IZOTOPE BUNDLE, discounted 96. CHECK OUT THE BUNDLE BY CLICKING HERE!
  2. SOFTUBE SALE, UP TO 76% OFF: Save big on Softube products such as Tape, Parallels and more in the Plugin Boutique Anniversary Sale! Prices from €15 / $15. CLICK HERE FOR THE SOFTUBE OFFER! Not satisfied with the 76% discount? SEE THE SECOND SOFTUBE OFFER, UP TO 88% OFF BY CLICKING HERE!
  3. PLUGINBOUTIQUE BUNDLE SALE, 96% OFF: This one is for the budget oriented, for less than 10 USD you can get a lot of great plugins that may just be everything you need to get started. CHECK OUT THIS ONE BY CLICKING HERE! There is a second bundle offer, 78% off. This one is a bit more expensive but much more powerfull than the first. CHECK OUT THE SECOND BUNDLE OFFER BY CLICKING HERE!
  4. LOOPCLOUD DRUM & PLAY SALE, UP TO 51% OFF: Whether you create kits from scratch or intricately edit loops, Loopcloud DRUM will enhance the way you work with beats. Loopcloud PLAY gives you access to an endless gallery of top-quality sounds from global genres and industry experts, packaged in a focused and easy-to-use interface. CLICK HERE FOR THE LOOPCLOUD OFFER!
  5. ARTURIA PIGMENTS 3, 50% OFF until the 17th of February 2021: Pigments 3 is a state-of-the-art software instrument that gives you the power of every shade of synthesis. With colourful sound engines, effortless modulation, professional utilities, and studio-grade FX explore an infinite spectrum of sound. CHECK OUT THE OFFER FOR ARTURIA PIGMENTS 3 BY CLICKING HERE!
  6. ARTURIA V COLLECTION 8, UP TO 50% OFF until the 17th of February 2021: The most comprehensive anthology of classic synth and keyboards ever made just got an update. V Collection 8 now features even more timeless instruments, lovingly recreated in software. CLICK HERE TO SEE THE ARTURIA V COLLECTION 8 OFFER!
  7. ARTURIA FX COLLECTION, 50% OFF until the 17th of February 2021: An inspiring array of software effects that combine music industry heritage with futuristic features, and unparalleled sound quality with intuitive workflow. CHECK OUT THE ARTURIA FX COLLECTION OFFER HERE!

Native Instruments Massive X: The NeXt Generation of Synth Plugins

Hello Friends, and welcome to our honest review of the Native Instruments MASSIVE X VST synth. In the digital audio space, it can be easy to overlook just how much great software is available to us with only a few clicks. Gone are the days of relying on expensive hardware and studio-time alone to make great music. For most of us, a laptop and a MIDI controller is all we need to open an entire world of musical possibilities. I often find myself in front of a laptop, with a MIDI controller next to me and a VST synthesizer loaded into my DAW. So, what options are available to us as home producers, and what’s new in the world of digital synth plugins?

What is Native Instruments MASSIVE X?

Native Instruments, a well-recognized name in the world of audio production, brings us MASSIVE X, a follow-up to their highly successful and appropriately titled software MASSIVE. Available for download and as a demo from their website, it doesn’t take long to see why so many people love this next generation synth.

Early impressions of the software are very positive. The well laid out user interface isn’t just functional, it’s familiar. MASSIVE X is a plugin that prioritises the modular aspect of synths, and it does so very effectively. For a definitive list of the BEST VST Plugin synths we have a huge article right here.

What makes Native Instruments MASSIVE X stand out?

The power of synths largely comes down to two core elements: oscillation and modulation, and how much control users have over these parameters. With dual wavetable oscillation at its core, MASSIVE X is a ton of fun for seasoned producers and beginners alike. MASSIVE X gives users all the conventional wavetables we expect, but also provides a wealth of new options for creative inspiration.

Here is an example of the complex modulation possibilities with this VST synth

For users already familiar with MASSIVE, Native Instruments has included remastered versions of their wavetables as well. MASSIVE X allows users to manipulate the wavetable position, level and pitch easily. The interface is well thought out and retains separation between sound generation and various effects, including routing and modulation.

For other reviews you should check our dedicated REVIEWS section by clicking right here.

What are the key features of Native Instruments MASSIVE X?

MASSIVE X allows users to connect inputs and outputs without restraint, just like it should be. Routing in MASSIVE X allows users to bypass, feedback and reroute modules with total control, and without sacrifice. The level of controllability in MASSIVE X is arguably it’s best feature, and the software comes packed with tons of presets to get you started.

The oscillators in MASSIVE X provide endless options for producers with over 170 wavetables and 10 different oscillator modes to read them. Each wavetable mode is completely adjustable, and two-phase modulation provides even more opportunities for mixing and layering. Effects can be applied in series, parallel or at random anywhere along the signal chain. For users who want full functionality of plugins with a MIDI controller, MASSIVE X is fully compatible and provides 16 assignable controls for your DAW.

A great overview of Massive X, straight from Native Instruments

Pricing

While not cheap, Native Instruments MASSIVE X is more than worth it, in our opinion. Worth arround 200 USD, you may get a deal from time to time by checking the NI official website: click here to check the current price.

There is also a special price if you already own the first MASSIVE VST Plugin Synth, and you can see this crossgrade price on the official website by clicking here.

Last but not least, Pluginboutique.com is offering a lot of presets for MASSIVE X – see them all by clicking here.

Final thoughts

Native Instruments has packed MASSIVE X with an incredible number of user controllable options in a familiar, modular interface. Producers who are already familiar with other synths will appreciate not just the clean aesthetics of the user interface, but also the familiar functionality of the software as well. MASSIVE X is not simply a digital imitation of a modular synth, it is a modular synth, and it’s right there in your DAW.

Eventide Split EQ: A new approach!

Welcome to our review of the Eventide Split EQ VST product! There are few things more crucial to a good mix than equalization (EQ-ing). As the digital audio marketplace continues to grow, it becomes much easier to find new tools to add to your production toolbox. However, it becomes harder to find new products and plugins that do something that is in fact, well, new. With this in mind, Eventide sought out to solve some longtime problems in audio mixing and production with their latest offering, Split EQ.

What is Split EQ?

Eventide, a well-known name in the world of audio effects and digital production, brings us their latest VST plugin Split EQ, and it doesn’t take long to see why producers are so excited. For a home user like myself, well versed in DAWs, and VST plugins, Eventide Split EQ goes well beyond the parameters of others I’ve used. Equalization is a fine art, and our final mix is often limited by the quality of recordings available to us. Where conventional equalizers often come up short, Eventide Split EQ rises to the occasion, offering new mixing possibilities by approaching equalization in a whole new way – a split way.

What makes Eventide Split EQ different?

SplitEQ is two equalizers rolled into one. Through a literal ‘split’ of the audio signal – using a patented technology Eventide calls Structural Split – SplitEQ provides users with two controllable signal parameters – two entirely independent equalizers. Eventide calls these parameters Tonal and Transient.  Where conventional EQs alter the entire sound envelope as a whole, SplitEQ provides two signal paths. This is the magic behind this plugin.

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How does Eventide Split EQ work?

Signal splitting allows users to adjust individual elements of a track with much more control. The tonal signals are in many ways the body and soul of the track – they are ambient, resonant, and sustained. The transient signals are the more dynamic elements of a track – attack, harshness, and hiss. With SplitEQ, users can mix these distinct elements individually without sacrificing the overall mix. Signal parameters are easily adjustable through a click and drag user interface which is very intuitive and allows for easy audio monitoring. Most producers can appreciate how quickly things get muddy when trying to reign in a harsh treble response on a track; by using Evende SplitEQ, users gain a whole new level of maneuverability within a particular aspect of the sound envelope, thereby eliminating many of the concessions inherent to other EQs.

Where does SplitEQ really stand out?

Audio producers are always trying to find that sweet spot of a mix. With Eventide SplitEQ, users can preserve distinct elements of a track, maintaining clarity and crispness to vocal melodies without suffering top-end harshness or sacrificing bass response. SplitEQ also provides new options for spatial dynamics which are especially useful in high energy mixes, helping create motion for drops and adding variation to heavy electronic bass-lines.

Here is a very nice comparison between Split EQ and Fabfilter Pro Q3

Final thoughts on Eventide Split EQ?

Split EQ provides a wealth of new possibilities for home producers and addresses many of the limitations of conventional EQs. It’s clear the designers at Eventide know what users need and expect from their software and Split EQ is no exception. Eventide has managed to change the way we interact with equalization, and I look forward to adding Split EQ to my regular toolbox.

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