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Plugins Galore at NAMM

Cool new vintage processors, and two free plugins By Frank Moldstad

A diverse range of new audio plugins and virtual instruments was on display at NAMM, from new ?vintage models of classic analog hardware to newly created flavors. There were even two free plugins debuting at NAMM, one from SSL and the other from Digidesign. Since everyone likes free stuff, well start with those.

Digidesign was passing out CDs at the show with the free Xpand! instrument plugin, a new RTAS format instrument developed by its Advanced Instruments Research group for Windows XP and Mac OS X. Described as a ?sound factory workstation synthesis/sample-playback and effects plug-in, Xpand! offers Subtractive synthesis, wavetable, FM synthesis, sample playback, virtual tonewheels and effects.

It includes more than 1,000 factory patches and 500 combinable part presets. Users will be able to order the Xpand! CD installer from the online DigiStore for a small handling fee. It will also included with all Pro Tools|HD and Pro Tools LE systems, Pro Tools M-Powered software, the Music Production Toolkit and DV Toolkit 2, Pro Tools 7.x updates and upgrades, and the Pro Tools 101 Official Courseware. www.digidesign.com

SSL, which previously released the free LMC-1 compressor plugin for the Mac, has now posted a PC version. Digitally modeled from the Listen Mic Compressor circuit in classic SSL E series consoles from the '80s, the LMC-1 plugin can be downloaded free for either PC (VST) and MAC (VST & AU) here.

Speaking of SSL, WAVES announced at NAMM that it has developed a new series called the Waves SSL 4000 Collection under license from Solid State Logic. Three plugins are included -- the SSL G-Master Buss Compressor, SSL E-Channel and SSL G-Equalizer. Based on the SSL 4000 series console, they were modeled by Waves with the aid of SSLs engineering staff, who provided SL 4000 factory reference consoles and components.

G-Master Buss Compressor
The SSL G-Master Buss Compressor is modeled from the master buss center compressor of the SL 4000 G console, including its IC input and twin VCA gain-reduction amplifier design. The SSL E-Channel consists of an EQ section and a dynamics section. The EQ section is based on SSLs renowned Black Knob equalizer, while the dynamics section incorporates a soft-knee compressor/limiter and an expander/gate modeled on the SSL LS611E. The SSL G-Equalizer, modeled on the SSL G Series EQ292, has more gain than the original four-band EQ and a slightly different curve. Pricing and platform availability for the Waves SSL 4000 Collection was unavailable at press time. www.waves.com

Waves also announced that its GTR (Guitar Tool Rack) now supports Pro Tools 7 for both Mac and Windows platforms. GTR 1.0 for Windows has been tested and certified for proper operation under Pro Tools 7, while GTR 1.1 for Mac OS X makes GTR Pro Tools 7-compatible on Mac. Pro Tools 7 users can download the new Mac installer here. Users of other hosts supported in 1.0 should continue using 1.0. http://www.waves.com/content.asp?id=1684

Meanwhile, Universal Audio announced a licensing deal with one of the other legendary names in analog audio processing: AMS-Neve. Universal Audio will develop plugins based on classic Neve hardware, with a Neve 1063 compressor as the first product to bow. The plugins will run on Universal Audios UAD-1 DSP Card and Powered Plug-Ins system. Universal Audio also announced that v4.2 software for the UAD-1 DSP Card & Powered Plug-Ins system will be available for download by March. The upgrade will include a 14-day fully functional demo of the Roland RE-201 Space Echo, the third product in UAs Roland Classic FX series. www.uaudio.com

Digidesign made more news on the first day of NAMM by announcing that it had acquired the plugin assets of Trillium Lane Labs, developer of a number of high-quality plugins for the Pro Tools platform such as the TL Space convolution reverb and the TL EveryPhase phaser. All the currently shipping Trillium Lane Labs plug-ins are available for Pro Tools 7, and a TL Utilities bundle is shipping soon. In addition, there are two other new plugins developed by Trillium Lane coming in early 2006. These are TL Drum Rehab (a multi-sample sound replacement plug-in) and TL AutoPan.

DV Toolkit 2
Several new Toolkits were announced by Digidesign for Pro Tools LE users, including the Music Production Toolkit and the DV Toolkit 2. The Music Production Toolkit ($495) includes five plugins, the Beat Detective rhythm analysis and correction tool, a Pro Tools MP3 option, and an upgrade to Pro Tools 7.1 software from any previous version of Pro Tools LE or Pro Tools M-Powered software. The included plugins are the new Hybrid synthesizer (see below), TL Space Native Edition convolution reverb, Smack! LE compressor/limiter, SoundReplacer drum replacement tool, and the DINR LE intelligent noise reduction tool. The Toolkit also permits recording of up to 48 mono or 48 stereo tracks at up to 96 kHz.

Also introduced was Digidesigns DV Toolkit 2 ($1,295 US) for Pro Tools LE systems. The successor to the previously released DV Toolkit, the new version has an even larger collection of tools designed for users wanting post production features previously available only with Pro Tools|HD systems. DV Toolkit 2 includes three plug-ins designed for sound-with-picture applications: the TL Space Native Edition convolution reverb, DINR LE intelligent noise reduction tool, and the Synchro Arts VocALign Project for Pro Tools time-alignment tool. In addition, it includes the DigiBase Pro file management tool, the DigiTranslator 2.0 option for importing and exporting with video editing applications and the Pro Tools MP3 Option for exporting mixes as MP3 files.

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Related Keywords:audio plugins, NAMM, Digidesign, Pro Tools, SSL, TDM Effects, McDSP, Universal Audio, URS, Waves, Cakewalk, SoundToys,

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