Plugin Boutique is offering a 40% discount on the Maximus multi-band compressor, limiter and maximizer effect plugin by Image-Line. Maximus will deliver transparent peak limiting and volume maximization without coloration of the processed sound. However, Maximus is much more than a pristine quality Mastering Maximizer, it’s also a Compressor, Limiter, Noise Gate, Expander, Ducker and […]
Plugin Boutique has announced a sale on the ML4000 Limiter, a plugin suite featuring the M1 mastering limiter and ML4 multi-band dynamics processor designed for music, mastering, post, and live sound. The ML1 mastering limiter uses a flexible brick wall look-ahead design coupled with multiple stages of limiting for superior peak detection. The unique Knee […]
Flux has announced it is celebrating its 10 years in the pro audio business with a sale on the “Pure” series of audio processing plugins. Flux:: have always had the vision of producing hi-end professional plug-ins with uncompromising digital audio quality. Built on years of experience in audio engineering, Flux:: has continuously refined and improved […]
Waves Audio has announced that Waves is now available for iOS. With the release of the latest version of Steinberg’s award-winning sequencer app for the iPad, Cubasis and Cubasis LE users can now purchase three in-app plugins by Waves. Cubasis is Steinberg’s sequencer app for iPad, similar to its Cubase music production system, providing the […]
Plugin Boutique has launched a sale on Geist Expanders, offering a 50% discount on a large collection of drum expansion packs for the Geist drum instrument. Expand your drum sounds with this great collection of Geist expansions featuring Cinematic, Hip-Hop, Dubstep and more. The sale includes popular packs such as Jungle Breaks, Acoustic Breakbeat, Modern […]
By analyzing different sonic qualities of a sound and then modulating the results, Zip has a new take on the familiar compressor/expander..
What do you do when all the basic categories of signal processors have been done? Well, you invent new ones, of course.
So, normally we think of a compressor/expander as taking amplitude as input, and processing the result from that. And we assume if there’s any modulation, it’s got fixed routings. Zip turns that on its head, with multiple ways of analyzing incoming signal (not just amplitude), and then an open system for adding modulation of its various parameters.
Zip isn’t alone. I’d say we’re seeing a whole new direction in plug-ins that’s moving this direction – performing more intelligent digital analyses on sounds, using everything from new DSP to new machine learning techniques, in order to twist around existing signal processing metaphors. It’s a big break from what has been an ongoing avalanche of software that emulates traditional hardware – this is stuff that just wasn’t possible before the computer (or indeed wasn’t available to us unwashed masses until recently).
In the case of Zip, some time playing around with it already has me understanding that I might not apply this compressor/expander the way I would a conventional model. It starts to become a creative tool rather than just a utility – and more ripe for abuse. (Go ahead; turn it up all the way, set the settings wrong, start patching in modulation without a particular plan … you can’t really break anything. Yeah, there’s even a randomize button.)
Even in a fairly compact interface, you’ve really got a multi-effects plug-in as much as a unitasker tool. But it doesn’t feel tacked on – it’s all built around the compressor/expander paradigm. Pushed to the extreme, this thing is gritty and digital – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, and subtler effects are possible.
How it works
To break it down, we can think input to output:
Input analysis: Amplitude, Quietness, Brightness (high frequency bits), Darkness (low frequency bits), Tonalness (think dominant frequency response), and Noisiness (the non-tonal bits) allow you to think in musical terms. That is, there’s a more elaborate digital analysis going on here.
Yes, it’s a compressor/expander. This goes without saying, but having a conventional centerpiece to all these extra goodies helps ground them. There are also four different envelope flavors, which in fact are fairly subtle and let you tune the results to your liking. (The names – Classic, Goopy, Quick, and Extreme – sound a little more radical than they are; think of these more as getting your timing settings just right.)
Patchable modulation: This is really lovely, a signature Unfiltered feature – you can drag patch cords from modulators to wherever you like. That includes:
- Sine, Sawtooth/Triangle and Square LFOs
- Input Follower
- Macro Control
- Sample and Hold Noise
- Step Sequencer
- ROLI Lightpad
- Gain Reduction
Internal effects: Saturation, bitcrusher, and filters are all built in, as well – and combined with the modulation above, get really powerful.
What it’s like to use
I’m just wrapping my head around this having had a few days to play with it – partly because the relatively conventional applications are already more flexible. But I like the creative depth here. The developers send along the following ideas. I think the ability to modulate anything, and to always have access to envelope follower and dynamic settings, is really the key:
Turned a boring bass synth into a rhythmic and punchy sequence by using the modulation system with the onboard bit crusher for some tasty grit.
Use an LFO to modulate the Threshold on a vocal to add rhythmic effect, letting the lyrics duck in time with the rest of the track.
Patch Zip’s LFOs to the Color knob to create tempo-synched filter sweeps and pulsating distortion on guitar and keyboard tracks. Zip sculpts both dynamics and tone.
Here’s me wandering around the basics of the interface – actually, these fairly vanilla effects I already found really useful.
To be honest, it’s cool enough that it makes me both want to use it more and to try some new ideas in my own (bodged-together) DIY efforts.
Here’s Todd Urban with a full tutorial/review:
And the developers made their own hands-on showing how you can sculpt sounds with this:
More details – though the quick way to say this would be, you always have control over the sound and visual feedback on what you’re doing at each stage:
Continuously variable Color control provides post-dynamics processing in seven modes, respectively offering phase-modulated distortion, soft saturation, bitcrushing, and four 2-pole pass filters (two of which feature cutoffs modulated by Zip’s Analysis modes).
Internal and external sidechains are equipped with High Pass and Low Pass filters and an Audition button for hearing the signal the detector acts on.
Controls for wet/dry mix (for parallel compression), lookahead (affecting both sidechains), switchable peak or RMS detection, and automatic makeup gain.
Informative real-time display graphically depicts the current threshold, ratio and knee, and shows multi-colored traces for sidechain, output and gain reduction levels.
Promotions: $99 through the end of November 2017
Available Formats: VST2, VST3, AU, AAX Native
Get it at Plugin Alliance:
The post Getting creative with a different kind of compressor: Zip [Plugin premiere] appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.
Plugin Alliance has launched Brainworx bx_console N, a plugin emulation of the rare 72-channel Neve VXS analog console owned by producer/engineer Dirk Ulrich. bx_console N sports TMT channel randomization and the option to add natural THD saturation on each channel, bringing it closer than ever to a full-on analog console experience right from within your […]
Acustica Audio has announced Ivory3, an update to the analogue hardware virtualization mastering suite. This third version is completely new and made up of six separate plugins in CORE X, with dedicated graphical user interfaces easy and quick operation. This is the largest plug-in suite built by Acustica, providing the customer with a full pack […]
Plugin Boutique has announced a 24 hour flash sale on the SSL G-Channel channel strip audio effect plugin from Waves Audio. The power of the complete Solid State Logic SL 4000 console series is now at your fingertips with the SSL G-Channel, a plugin that consolidates the equalisation and dynamic controls of the SSL G-Series […]
Plugin Alliance has introduced the bx_console G, a channel strip audio effect plugin that emulates the legendary British G Series mixing console used on countless hit records and by top-tier engineers and marquee artists around the globe. bx_console G includes 72 distinct channels of G series British console charm, delivering tight filtering and smooth compression […]