Blue Cat Audio releases free updates for “Multi” series plugins + Analysis Month Promotions

Blue Cat FreqAnalyst Multi

Blue Cat Audio has released an update for its multiple tracks audio analyzers, Blue Cat’s FreqAnalyst Multi, Oscilloscope Multi, and StereoScope Multi. The new versions of the three plugins come with an updated zoomable graphical user interface to improve readability on any type of screen. And audio analysis is now performed in the background, which […]

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Plugin Boutique updates Scaler with new chord sets, sounds & arpeggio modes

Plugin Boutique Scaler 1.8

Plugin Boutique has announced the release of Scaler 1.8, an update to the creative chord composer MIDI plugin for Windows and Mac. The update comes with new chord sets and sounds, new arpeggio modes, random strumming, voicing lock and more. Scaler is a unique and inspirational MIDI effect that makes finding chords and progressions intuitive […]

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W.A. Production launches Imprint transient designer at 70% OFF

WA Production Imprint

Plugin Boutique has introduced the new Imprint audio effect plugin by W.A. Production, a multi-band transient designer that gives lifeless tracks punch, power and definition. Transient shaping is the key to getting your audio upfront and punchy. Whether it’s adding extra power to your kicks, or taming the tails of your synth lines, a decent […]

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Venn Audio releases V-Clip soft clipper effect plugin

Venn Audio V Clip

Venn Audio has announced the release of V-Clip, the commercial sequel to the highly regarded Free Clip. V-clip is a high quality multi-algorithm soft clipper that is equally well suited as a creative saturation tool as it is as a mastering stage professional clipping maximizer. V-Clip is here! Finesse your distortion with multiple waveform displays, […]

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Reverb Foundry lets you control your Bricasti M7 with M7 Link plugin

Reverb Foundry M7 Link

Reverb Foundry has announced the release of M7 Link, a plugin that allows you to take control of your Bricasti M7 stereo reverb processor via MIDI. M7 Link makes it possible to manage hardware settings and presets from your DAW. With full program recall and whole system management for all major DAWs there’s never been […]

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Rob Papen releases B.I.T. analog modeled synthesizer plugin

Rob Papen BIT

Rob Papen has announced the release of B.I.T., a new virtual synthesizer with a focus on analog modeled synthesis. Why this move you might think? The idea behind it is that the classic analog type of synthesis has its own charm and simply has not yet been covered by the Rob Papen brand. So, no […]

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Tritik Audio launches KrushPro audio crusher plugin public beta

Tritik Audio KrushPro

Tritik audio has announced a public beta of KrushPro, an extended version of the Krush bitcrusher plugin, with more fx, filters, modulations options and more. KrushPro features a bitcrushing module with crunchy drive stage, bit depth and sample rate reduction. It also has a wavecrushing module that lets you explore new distortions and audio dislocations. […]

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HoRNet Plugins updates TheNormalizer to version 1.1.0

HoRNet TheNormalizer

HoRNet Plugins has announced an update to the TheNormalizer, an auto gain staging and volume leveling plugin. TheNormalizer is a plugin designed to help you get proper gain staging and set each track of your mix and each bus to the level you want automatically. It’s the plugin that encapsulate our auto-gain technology in a […]

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SubLab is an 808 bass synth and more, from makers of Circle

Hard-hitting sub bass and percussion is the focus of SubLab, a new instrument from Future Audio Workshop. And it puts a ton of sound elements into an uncommonly friendly interface. Let’s get our hands on it.

This begins our Tools of Summer series of selections – stuff you’ll want to use when the nights are long (erm, northern hemisphere) and you need some new inspiration from instruments to actually use.

We hadn’t heard much lately from Future Audio Workshop. Their ground-breaking Circle instrument was uniquely friendly, clean, and easy to use. At a time when nearly all virtual instruments had virtually unreadable, tiny UIs, Circle broke from the norm with displays you could see easily. Beginners could track signal flow and modulation, and experts (erm, many of them, you know, older and with aging eyes) could be more productive and focused.

SubLab takes that same approach – so much so that a couple of quick shots I posted to Instagram got immediate feedback.

And then it’s just chock full of bass – with a whole lot of potential applications.

Sound layers, plus filter, plus distortion, plus compressor – deceptively simple and powerful.

So, sure, FAW talk trap and hip-hop and future bass and sub basslines – you’ll get those, for sure. But I think you’ll start using SubLab all over the place.

If you just want a recipe for 808 bass, this instrument is there for you. You can layer and filter and overdrive and distort sounds into basslines made from punchy drum bits. Then you discover that this produces interesting melodic lines, too. Or that while you have all the elements of various kick drums not only from Roland but sampled from a studio full of drum machines (Vermona to JoMoX), you … might as well make some punchy kicks and toms.

It’s just too fast. And that’s not because the interface is particularly dumbed down – on the contrary, it’s because once all the chrome and tiny controls are out of the way and the designers focused on what this does, you can get at a lot of options more quickly.

The synth has an easy-to-follow structure – sound, distortion, compressor. Sound is divided into a simple multi-oscillator synth, a sample playback engine, and then the trademarked ‘x-sub’ sub-oscillator. You can then mix these separately, and route a percentage of the synth and sampler to a multi-mode filter. (Don’t miss the essential ‘glide’ control lurking just at the bottom, as I did at first.) Pulling it all together, you get a ‘master’ overview that shows you how each element layers in the resulting sound spectrum.

Also in the sound > synth section, you can easily access multiple envelopes with visual feedback. (Arturia, who I’m also writing about this week, have also gone this route, and it makes a big difference being able to see as well as hear.)

The sampler has essential tracking, pitching, and looping features for this application. The x-sub bit is uniquely controllable – you can set individual harmonic levels just by dragging around purple vertical bars. It’s rare to sculpt sub-bass like this so easily, and it’s addictive.

X-sub (trademarked?) means you can sculpt the harmonics inside the sub-oscillator section just by dragging.

The interface is easy enough, but a couple of characteristic additions really complete the package. The sampler section is full of inspiring hardware samples to use as building blocks – great stuff that you might use for your non-melodic kicks, or try out for punchy percussion and melodies even in higher registers. The Distortion also has some compelling modes, like the lovely “darkdrive” and convincing tube and overdrive options.

Tons of hardware samples abound for layering.

There aren’t a lot of presets – it looks like FAW’s plan is to get you hooked, then add more patch packs. But with enough sound design options here, including custom sample loading, you might be fine just making your own.

Really, my only complaint is that I find the filter and compressor a bit vanilla, particularly in this age of so many beautiful modeled options from Native Instruments, Arturia, u-he, and others.

I figured I would be writing this glowing review and telling you, oh yeah, it’s definitely worth $149.

But — damn, this thing is $70, on sale for $40.

Sheesh. Just get it, then. There are lots of deeper and more complex things out there. But this is something else – simple enough that you’ll actually use it to design your own creative sounds. As FAW has shown us before, visual feedback and accessible interfaces combine to make sound design connect with your brain more effectively.

https://futureaudioworkshop.com/sublab

Here’s me messing around with it to prove it can do things other than what it was intended for:

And more hands-on videos from the creators:

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Zynaptiq updates Adaptiverb reverb plugin to v1.2.0

Zynaptiq Adaptiverb 120

Zynaptiq has released version 1.2.0 of its Adaptiverb harmonic tracking reverb effect plugin for Windows and Mac. The update adds much-requested value-locking for some parameters, GUI zoom, and 75 new artist presets by renowned sound designers Simon Stockhausen and Julius Selbach. In a nutshell, Adaptiverb is designed to be a unique, “smart” reverb that adapts […]

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