Massive X is a great synth

NI’s new flagship VST, the Massive X, was surrounded by controversy and buzz months before launch. Some claim it was a dissapointment, but I gave it a chance and it surpassed my expectations. As a matter of fact, Massive X might be my new favourite 🙂

NativeInstrumentsMassiveX_01-9kyL90Cf9j6d9HzeOTId2Pga.kDmMrkL

Massive X is the holy grail combining ease of use, quick operation and vast possibilities. Beyond standard envelopes and LFOs there are also numerous handy features and options, such as “switcher LFO” or modulation bar next to every control, even synced delay times. An unbelievably flexible “performer” sequencer is accompanied by note-dependent, velocity and random modulators – all of them immediately available for quick use. No modulation matrix and no menu diving whatsoever.
In terms of synthesis options, everything is here – phase modulation / FM, sync and even wavefolders – till now rarely found in virtual synths, especially not all at once. Massive X also offers great sound quality for moderate CPU usage thanks to (brave) implementation of AVX instructions. These are commonplace in every CPU released since 2011, though many people already complained their machine is even older and thus completely incompatible with new synth. But hey, I’m up for latest tech advances!

Continue reading

Transient shaper – a breakthrough

Thanks to recent NI Komplete Ultimate purchase I had a chance to try praised Transient Master. It is nothing new is the world of music production, neither in my studio setup. However, I figured out something clever and got great results with it.

img-ce-intro_paragraph_facelift_transient-master-d8322e4002eb054df41f91c5ac98ad7b-d

First of all, unlike compressor or expander, it allows to recreate dynamics in completely flat audio material – that’s because it is level-independent. This also means it can work equally good for quiet and loud input, especially in already processed track with automated volume level and so on. Last but not least, NI Transient Master precisely targets transient or sustained portion of a signal, which is relevant to human listener – unlike simple compressors, which are only a mathematical volume processors.

That seems to be a lot to say about a plugin, which has only 3 knobs, one of them being a volume control – no automate volume compensation here, unfortunatelly.

So let’s give some examples, real word examples:

  • Add dynamics to heavily distorted acid lead
  • Add attack to drums
  • Tame starting click in gated synths
  • Add sustain to short claps
  • Completely redesign the impact of various one-shot FX

As a conclusion, it lead me to ultimate mix discovery: Which tracks should have powerful transient impact, and which should not. Apparently, not everything in the mix can or even should be very dynamic – and I overdid this in the past, as it turns out.

All in all, Transient Master is now my go-to tool for pretty much everything. I already used in on a latest uplifting remix, coming out in January. Can’t share any details yet, but it’s just right, as all my tracks should have been. Expect a real bomb!

4K in a DAW – appendix

My previous post about 4K in a DAW is still getting many hits, so I decided to continue this topic. Especially since a lot has changed since then in DAW & VST world. I also discovered some new tricks and issues that make it even more important topic to discuss.

  • Ableton 10 got very nice automatic high-DPI scaling, which takes system settings and resizes each plugin’s windows accordingly – possible to enable or disable per plugin. However, it does have its caveats. Namely, jBridge plugins don’t work with resizable windows, neither plugins which already offer free drag-to-resize feature.
  • To enable internal Ableton scaling under Windows, the automatic Windows 10 scaling system needs to be turned off and use application internal scaling instead. Without it, some plugins receive incorrect DPI or try to upscale twice at a time, leading to heavy distortion and unusable GUI.

Additionally, over last two years many plugins have received or are going to receive high-DPI scaling. Massive X, Dune 3 and the newest Cableguys bundle in particular offer drop-down menu with predefined sizes, while Ozone 9 offers free scaling via mouse drag. It is expected that also the rest of iZotope family gets it, as well as AAS – Ultra Analog just enabled this feature, though I’m only waiting for their Chromaphone 2 update. It is knows that Native Instruments also considers it – they recently even ran a poll, which suggested possible GUI resizability for Reaktor.

There are of course many others plugins with scalable GUI, which I don’t own or use however.

All in all, high DPI is getting more accessible and useful. It’s also just easier for eyes to get high-DPI monitor, such as mine 4K at 27″. So, if you consider gear upgrade anytime soon, just go for it with no hesitation.

Alhena – Overload (Warmonger Remix)

Another remix has been out for some days – once again on Tecnomind Music, this time for popular Russian producer Alhena. I went all into oldschool hard trance. No extraordinary quirks, just hard drive!

And drums, never enough drums.

Get in now at:

Beatport
Juno
Apple Store
Google Store

Spotify
Deezer

I’ve now got so many projects at various stages of production that it’s difficult to grasp. Either way, the music won’t stop!

Freebie: Warmonger – Excursion

I decided to give away this piece from last year:

An attempt at banging tech track, drawing from multiple styles – from dubstep and electro to even psy. Also features my signature uplifting lead.

Even though I put a lot of time and effort in this track, the result is less than a sum of its parts. Probably it comes from me not listening to my own adivce: If you have five great ideas, make five separate tracks. Putting too much content in a single piece makes it one hell of a mess.

I believe many people are going to enjoy this track nonetheless, but labels appear not interested. Well, better luck next time ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.