software

Audiophile Output on Mac OSX

Audiophile Output on Mac OSX

Well, I was reading a bit about the Core Audio driver, which is the heart of the Macintosh OSX audio system. This driver is one hell of a trick piece of kit; in fact it has been optimised for use in studios i.e. capable of some pretty nifty bits of trick, with a host of options that once discovered, reveal some startling quality and flexibility. For some reason, I’d never even investigated the settings for either the audio driver or iTunes, which for someone who fiddles as much as me is unusual. Usually I walk every path until I find one I’m happy with.

Now my DAC is capable of accepting several different sample rates on the input side, which it then clocks twice (once per clock) and then upsamples to either 176.4Khz or 192Khz, whichever relates to the input. Apparently, according to the tech guys at Apogee, whatever input is used (i.e. Toslink, Coax, AES, Firewire, etc., etc.), the results will always be the same. I’m mildly sceptical as I just changed my Toslink cable yesterday, and once again, another lift in quality. Maybe once they release the Leopard Firewire drivers, I will receive another happy augmentation in the quality department. read more…

An Overview of using a PC as a Music Source

An Overview of using a PC as a Music Source

“I tried using my computer as a player. I achieved good results, but not as good as my dCS gear.” – quote from a member of an on-line forum.

A person would have to know a little context about the quote above to realize why it may be of interest. The context is as follows: The author of the quote was comparing a personal computer equipped with an above average six hundred dollar sound card and quiet case, against roughly forty thousand dollars worth of dCS gear composed of a separate digital transport, upsampler, wordclock, and digital to analog converter. I’m not surprised that the dCS gear was preferred as much as I am surprised that the owner of the gear thought the comparison was worthwhile . An interesting outcome of the comparison was that the owner kept the wordclock, upsampler and DAC but no longer uses the transport. The computer now performs the duties of a digital audio transport.

There are a number of benefits that can be realized by using a computer as a digital music source, as well as a few problems that need to be overcome. Some of the benefits are as follows: read more…

Kind Of Loud Smartcode Pro.

Digidesign’s Pro Tools has become a way of life for most modern recordists, and with the recent release of version 5.1 software, it has become a full-fledged surround sound production tool. Of course, to get your surround masterpiece to most of the public, you’ll almost certainly have to first encode the data in Dolby Digital and/or DTS format. Up until very recently, this required the use of either an expensive hardware real-time encoder or a Windows-based software system — the latter of which first necessitated conversion of a 5.1 mix into six discrete .wav files. But now, Kind Of Loud’s SmartCode Pro allows you to do Dolby Digital or DTS encoding from directly within Pro Tools, thus saving you both time and money — two very important factors to any working engineer! read more…

Minnetonka Discwelder Steel.

Two of the major problems with high-resolution audio formats are the relative cost of entry and ease of use. Anyone who has gone through the process of creating a DVD-Audio title knows that the authoring stage (where the interactivity, graphics, and audio are stitched together) is a long and expensive process. A full-blown DVD-A authoring job (after production is completed) usually takes from two to three days and costs in the neighborhood of $10,000. This is because the current DVD-Audio authoring packages are closer to C+ programming than the slick, graphically oriented user interface now available in even the cheapest DVD-Video authoring application. And the high cost of the workstation ($30 to $50K) along with the steep learning curve has kept many facilities, as well as would-be DVD-A producers, effectively on the sidelines waiting to get in the game. Add to this the fact that the costs don’t change much even to make a few ref discs, and you can see why the format is languishing. read more…

TC electronic unwrap. Professional stereo to surround conversion.

There are bound to be few products in the surround world that will be more controversial than UnWrap, a new plug-in for the TC System 6000. Simply put, this is an algorithm designed to derive a 5.1 or LCRS mix from a stereo (or even a mono) signal.

Surround mixing engineers everywhere are bound to be in an uproar about this, but TC is careful to explain that UnWrap is not designed to replace the true 5.1 remix; instead, it is meant to present a viable alternative when either the original multitrack masters are unavailable (or, in the case of older recordings, may have never existed at all), or where it is preferable to retain the original effects of the stereo mix (as in, for example, a remix of Beatles classics like “I Am The Walrus” or “Tomorrow Never Knows,” where many of the key effects were flown in live during mixdown). read more…

DigiDesign Revibe. A digital reverb that takes advantage of the HD Accel card’s power.

DigiDesign Revibe. A digital reverb that takes advantage of the HD Accel card’s power.

Digidesign has recently released a new TDM plug in called ReVibe, designed exclusively for the HD Accel card. This reverb-modeling tool includes nine new reverb algorithms and over 200 room types/early reflections, all running up to 96 kHz, natively. The reverb algorithms can process audio at 96 kHz without sample rate conversion.

ReVibe runs in mono, stereo, and surround, and is built upon the user interface of Digidesign’s Reverb One plug-in. It features a flexible set of room modeling controls, allowing the user to adjust room colorations, early reflections, ambience, density, and presence. It was engineered to utilize the power increase provided by the 321 DSP chips on the Accel card, so it won’t run on previous-generation TDM systems. read more…

Sony Oxford Plug-ins.

Sony has entered the world of plug-ins with their new OFX-R3 EQ release, with optional GML 8200 emulation. Currently for Digidesign TDM use only, with an HD version in the beta stage, Sony engineers are working on expanding the availability to other platforms in the near future. read more…

SRS Circle Surround VST Pro Plug-in.

Although many audio professionals may not be aware, in the last ten years SRS Labs has become a behind-the-scenes audio technology powerhouse, creating over a dozen audio, voice, and surround sound technologies that have been licensed to large consumer electronic manufacturers like Microsoft, Sony, RCA, Philips, Pioneer, Marantz, Mitsubishi, Hitachi, Sharp, and Samsung. Indeed, over 350 million products, from televisions, DVD players, mobile phones, computer software, audio/video receivers, and portable audio systems, already feature one or more of SRS’s audio techniques. One of these technologies, Circle Surround, is now being used by broadcasters such as ABC, CBS, NBC, ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN HD, FOX, FX, TNT, PBS, and over two dozen programs, including the 55th Annual Prime Time Emmy Awards, X Games, NFL, and NBA telecasts. Broadcasters are fond of Circle Surround (or CS for short) because it enables any program telecast in stereo to deliver up to 6.1 surround sound to its viewers without any change to their distribution or broadcast infrastructure. Now, with the new Circle Surround VST Pro plug-in, it’s now possible for anyone with a VST-enabled DAW to deliver CS-encoded audio content without the need of outboard hardware. read more…

Waves 360° Surround Toolkit

Waves 360° Surround Toolkit

Designed exclusively for Digidesign’s Pro Tools HD and Mix Systems, Waves LTD recently released their 360° Surround Tool kit for the Mac platform. Covering a wide variety of multichannel needs, the Toolkit consists of seven separate software elements: Surround Reverb, Limiter, Manager, Imager, Panner, Compressor, and Mixdown plug-in, plus a few extras. read more…

Measuring Room Response with TrueRTA Freeware

Measuring Room Response with TrueRTA Freeware

True RTA is a real time audio spectrum analyzer for the PC. It is a useful and inexpensive tool that can give a good picture of speaker response at the listening position. The software package can aid in positioning speakers for the smoothest response, or when used in conjunction with a digital equalizer such as the Behringer DEQ2496, can give quick feedback on needed frequency adjustments and their overall effectiveness. read more…

Lexicon 960L Software Upgrade. Lexicon adds additional packages to their digital effects system.

In an ongoing program to provide additional features for their end-users, Lexicon has released several software upgrade options for their popular 960L digital effects system.

The three additional offerings are the Delays and Additional 96 kHz Reverbs Package, Automation Package, and LOGIC7 UpMix Package. The Reverbs and Automation Package will work with V 3.0 system software, while LOGIC7 requires V4 software. The V4 software upgrade is free to all registered 960L users. All three packages were easily enabled on my 960L via individual software System License Keys. read more…

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