IntroductionIt seems like everyone and his dog is releasing plug-ins for Pro Tools these days, including Digidesign itself. Here is a selection of the latest releases that let you create lots of useful special effects. Reverb 1 is Digidesign’s latest offering for Pro Tools TDM users. Plenty of visual feedback is provided, with individual graph displays for Reverb EQ and Colour, and a third display showing the Reverb Contour. The graphs can be edited directly within the displays, and you can use the EQ graph to control the three-band equalizer to shape the tonal spectrum of your reverb. The Reverb Colour graph lets you set decay times for the different frequency bands for additional tonal shaping. The Reverb Contour graph displays the envelope of the reverb, showing early reflections and the reverb tail in different colours. Dynamics and Chorus controls let you refine the reverb decay and effects. Reverb One compares favourably with the Lexiverb plug-in – although LexiVerb has a wider selection of presets – and blows the humble D-Verb right out of the water. With Reverb 1, all the presets are of high-quality and instantly useable – with everything from large arenas and cathedrals to halls, theatres and small wood rooms, plus a fair selection of special effects. The Orange Vocoder is a digital simulation of a high-quality 24-band analogue vocoder. Vocoders were originally developed for speech encryption. However, they are now used mostly to create musical effects where the characteristics of one input signal are imposed onto those of another. With the Orange Vocoder plug-in for Pro Tools, you can use any input or audio track as the modulator signal and use any input, audio track – or the built-in 8-voice analogue synthesizer – as the carrier signal. There are two banks of Band Pass filters that you can apply to the Modulator and Carrier signals. Using these, the frequency spectrum of the input signals is divided into 24 narrow bands of frequencies. The amplitude settings of the filters in the Modulator filter bank are then used to control the amplitude settings of the filters in the Carrier filter bank – thus, the spectral shape of the Modulator is superimposed onto the spectral shape of the Carrier. Bruno and Reso are a pair of real-time TDM plug-ins that process audio using a sound generation technique known as cross-synthesis. Cross-synthesis generates complex sound textures by using an audio track as a tone source, then applying a variety of synthesizer-type effects to it. Bruno uses time-slicing for tone generation, extracting timbres from the audio track during playback and cross-fading them together at a user-selectable rate. This crossfading creates a rhythmic pulse as the timbre of the sound changes. In harmony
Reso uses a resonator, which adds harmonic overtones to the source audio through a short signal-delay line with a feedback loop. It also features velocity-sensitive resonance, damping, gain, and detuning, and allows harmonic switching using envelope triggering or a MIDI beat-clock. You can use side-chain processing to control the rate at which Bruno performs sample switching. Maxim provides peak limiting and sound maximizing functions in TDM, RTAS, and AudioSuite formats. You can use this on individual tracks within a mix, and it’s particularly useful when applied to stereo mixes for mastering. The user can set an absolute ceiling that the dynamic range cannot exceed using the peak limiter, or set a threshold for the limiter beyond which gain reduction is applied according to the settings chosen. The look-ahead design allows Maxim to anticipate signal peaks and respond instantaneously, thus preserving the attack transients as transparently as possible while preventing clipping of the peaks. If you apply limiting to your final mixes to remove any occasional large peaks in the music, then you are free to raise the overall level of your mix to much higher levels without risk of clipping. Limiting can also be used with individual instruments to smooth out peaks or to change the sound of the instruments radically. A typical task in both music and post-production is replacing a particular drum sound or sound effect. To go to each instance of a sound in the Edit window and manually replace it can take ages. Now there is a solution. Sound Replacer matches the original timing and dynamics of the source audio, while providing three separate amplitude zones per audio event. This allows you to trigger different replacement samples according to performance dynamics. Each replacement sample is assigned its own adjustable amplitude zone. Variations in amplitude within the performance determine which sample is triggered at a specific time. For example, you could assign a soft snare hit to a low trigger threshold, a standard snare to a medium trigger threshold, and a rim shot snare to trigger only at the highest threshold. Sound Replacer is also a powerful tool for sound design and post-production.