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Plugin for Pro Tools
By Erik Hawkins
The number of mind-blowing,
incredibly useful plugins flooding the market continues to amaze me. It
seems there are plugins for almost every task, from basic dynamics to
outlandish effects and invaluable editing tools. Although its hard
to pick a favorite, I particularly appreciate software that helps automate
mundane, laborious editing tasks. Digidesigns new AudioSuite plugin,
SoundReplacer, is just such a plugin.
As its name implies, this software can take just about any sound and replace
it with another. Pretty straightforward, nothing that exciting here, right?
But SoundReplacer is deeper than its name implies. For this Field
Test, Version 1.1 was put through the paces on a 24 MIXplus system
running Pro Tools 5.0.
Installation of SoundReplacer is completely routineyou simply run
the installer program on the CD. The plugin is plunked into your DAE folders
plugins folder, and a Presets folder is put into the plugin Settings folder.
The Settings folder is a bit larger than most (324K), as it contains actual
audio files, the samples that go along with its demo presets.
The tutorial session, which takes up about 15 MB of disk space, is also
dropped into your hard drive. Its nothing to write home about, but
its helpful if you have no idea what the program is good forprobably
not the case if you actually went out and bought it. However, this plugin
is a breeze to navigate, and most folks will be able to get right to work
on it with hardly a glance at the manual. If you need the SoundReplacer
manual, however, it is one of several in the Digidesign plugin Users
Guide; a copy of the booklet comes with the program. Its well-written
and has some solid user tips. I recommend flipping through it.
Copy protection is via key disk, as usual. You get one install, so dont
As many as three samples can be loaded into SoundReplacer simultaneously.
Each sample can be set to trigger at a different threshold. Dedicated
sliders, one per sample, allow easy adjustment of the thresholds. The
threshold zones are visible in scales of gray, from light (most sensitive)
to dark (least sensitive). Individual trigger points are delineated by
different colored horizontal lines: yellow for sample 1, red for sample
2, and blue for sample 3. The colors and controls combine to make a user
interface thats a breeze to work with.
A dynamics slider controls how new samples trace the original tracks
velocities. Settings range from 0.25:1 (1Ú4 the original velocities) to
4:1 (four times more dynamic than the original velocities). A 1:1 ratio
is the plugins default setting. The dynamics control is global,
affecting all three sample zones. (Discrete control over each zone, via
individual sliders, would be particularly coolmaybe in the future.)
The ability to tweak the velocities of your replacement samples is invaluable
for music production. For example, replacing a live snare with a 909-type
snare, but without the velocities of the live track, will produce a more
electronic, drum machine-like, sound.
The mix ratio between the original track and the replacement samples is
fully adjustable from 0 percent to 100 percent. The mix function, like
the dynamics function, is global, affecting the wet/dry ratio of all the
samples. (Discrete mix control of each sample would be a nice feature
to include.) The ability to blend the original tracks sound with
the replacement samples is a nice option, opening the door to some great
creative sound mangling possibilities.
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© 2000 by Intertec Publishing.