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Month: February 2012

Review: T-RackS Black 76 and White 2A

Earlier this month I reviewed T-RackS 3 Deluxe. This review is for the two newest (already a year old) additions to T-RackS. The Black 76 and White 2A are modelled on classic hardware units that have been around for decades and are some of the most used mixing tools used in professional audio production.

There’s still some time left for the T-Racks Double Deal group-buy, the deals has even been sweetened with a freebie at 1000 users and 2000.

Black 76
The T-RackS Black 76 is an analog modelled recreation of the classic Urei 1176 Peak Limiter. Introduced in 1968, it was the first true peak limiter with all solid-state circuitry. The 1176 is not often used for mastering but is an essential tool for modern pop and rock production, that works on just about any source. It’s a timeless piece of audio hardware with a distinctive sound, especially when pushed hard.

Hardware 1176’s are not cheap, especially vintage ones in good condition. Luckily there are half a dozen software versions that do the 1176 mojo very well, plus you can use as many as you want, use them in stereo and without any noise.

The attack time ranges from about 20microseconds to 800 microseconds, significantly faster than most dynamics processors, even modern designs. Release time is adjustable from 50 to 1,100 ms. Ratios are selectable on buttons for 4, 8, 12, and 20:1. An ALL mode is also available which is the same as pushing all the ratio buttons in on the hardware, resulting in a ratio between 12 and 20 with much more aggressive slope and overdriven sound.

There were 8 revisions of the 1176 design, the current Universal Audio Re-Issue hardware is based on the D and E models, T-RackS Black 76 is modelled on revision E.

T-RackS Black 76
T-RackS Black 76

Compared to the Waves CLA-76, overall I like the T-RackS Black 76 more, both for sonics and features. When I compared Waves to the two Universal Audio UAD versions, I preferred Waves by far. This is just my opinion, both the CLA76 and Black76 (and UAD versions) are great tools but the T-RackS does something I like a little more, and is really something else when used in MS.


Using Guitar Pedals For Mixing

Today I’m sharing something I’ve been doing a lot lately and can make mixing a lot of fun.

Electro-Harmonix Memory Boy
Electro-Harmonix Memory Boy analog delay pedal

Use guitar pedals for mixing

Plugins are great but its just not the same as running sounds through real analog circuits. You can send sounds out of your audio interface, tweak the pedal settings and even ‘play’ the pedal to do realtime automation. It can be a lot of fun to work this way.

For the demonstration I’ve recorded an electric guitar directly into my DAW with Amplitube for amp and cabinet simulation. I’m going to then run the signal through an Electro-Harmonix Memory Boy analog delay pedal.

Here is the sound of the direct guitar.

Direct Guitar
[audio:|titles=Direct Guitar]

Here is the guitar with the Amplitube 3 plugin added (stereo, amp+speaker+mic)

Guitar + Amplitube
[audio:|titles=Guitar + Amplitube]

Now I’m going to run the sound through the pedal. To do this in your home studio you need an audio interface
with a couple spare analog outputs, if your interface has 4 analog
outputs, that’s perfect.


Guest Post: How to Create a Duplication-Ready Master in Wavelab

This is a guest post from Samuel Allen of Extreme Studios in Perth, Australia. This article has been edited, the original can be found here.

This is a quick how-to for the technical aspects of preparing a master CD in Wavelab. This article does not explain audio processing techniques for mastering such as How to make a song louder in mastering, How to use Ozone for mastering, or How to use Multiband Compression.

I personally master in Wavelab, which is pretty straightforward for Cubase users, as it supports VST plugins. Although, it can be a bit counterintuitive when coming from Cubase if you expect it to work in the same fashion. If anyone is interested I can go into a more in depth tutorial about fade ins/outs on tracks, crossfading, etc, but for this one I’m just going to show how quick and easy it is to create a duplication ready DDP or physical master with ISRC code, EAN/UPC code and CD text embedded and ready to go.

New Audio Montage
Step 1 is creating a new Audio Montage, do this from the floating panel by clicking the button as per the image below, after which you want to select Stereo, CD compatible, 44.1khz from the dialogue box which pops up afterward


Audio Recording Bootcamp – 99 cent eBook for charity

Producer, engineer and host of Ronan’s Recording Show, Ronan Chris Murphy has released Audio Recording Bootcamp, a 99ยข eBook for charity. Go get it: Audio…


Review: IK Multimedia T-RackS Deluxe

T-RackS 3 is a suite of high-quality digital and analog-modelled VST/AU/RTAS Dynamics and EQ processors, for mixing and mastering. T-RackS can also be used outside of your DAW as a standalone mastering application. Version 3.5.1 is the latest at the time of this review.
T-RackS Standard comes with the 4 ‘classic’ processors and metering suite as individual plugins also available within the T-Racks Shell or standalone.
T-Racks Deluxe has all the same functionality but adds a few more processors for a total of 9 including two analog modelled devices, the Fairchild Limiter and Pultec Tube Equalizer.
Each of the processors are also available for $99 each. The two newest additions to the T-RackS family – Black 76 Limiting Amplifier (modelled after Urei 1176), and White 2A Leveling Amplifier (Modelled after Urei LA2A Tube compressor/limiter), are only available as add-on purchases.
The decision to offer the individual processors was based on user feedback and common use. When T-RackS 3 was first released it was considered a mastering plugin, but users started liking the effects for mixing as well. Splitting up the system outside of the T-RackS Shell has made things much more convenient.


Review: TC-Helicon VoiceLive Rack

This post is adapted from my review published on The Home Recording Show episode 154

Back in November, Craig from TC Helicon sent us one of their new products the VoiceLive Rack, to try out and review. I got to play with it first and here’s what I thought of it.

TC Helicon VoiceLive RackOverview
The VoiceLive Rack is the latest vocal processor from TC-Helicon, a company who have a long history of building excellent harmonizers and vocal effects. The VoiceLive is a complete vocal processor for live and studio use with eight effects such as delay, reverb, harmony, in addition to the global tone control and chromatic pitch correction. This is the bigger brother of the VoiceLive Touch, TC-Helicon’s mic stand-mountable vocal processor. It has many of the same features but with more in-depth control, and more i/o options.

Physically the VoiceLive Rack is a shallow 2-space rack. The top and bottom panels have a curved finger groove making it easy to move the Voicelive around when not in a rack.
On the front panel there is large, very bright backlit display, 5 rotary encoders, an 1/8″ headphone jack and power button. The majority of the front panel is covered by a large touch sensitive interface.
The rear panel includes a wide array of i/o options. From left to right, XLR mic input, 1/4″ Line input, Guitar input and guitar thru, 1/8″ stereo aux input. The output are stereo on XLR and 1/4″ TRS. A ground lift is available for the XLR outputs. Next there are S/PDIF in and out on RCA jacks, a footswitch jack, 3 MIDI ports – Thru, out, in and lastly a USB port.