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Video – Introducing Replika

A little after the event, but it just shows how it pays to keep an eye on the different manufacturer’s websites for offers.  Every year, Native Instruments have offered a “freebie” at Christmas time and 2014 was no exception.  Last year, they gave away Supercharger, a tube compressor that you can now buy for £44, (also available in your own currency, I’m sure).  This year, it was Replika, a fully-featured digital delay with extra modulation capabilities.  Like Cinderella’s coach on the stroke of midnight, it’s vanished from their website – for now – but in the video below, I have a look at what you could have had.  And, if last year’s anything to go by, you still might be able to at a point in the future…

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Reamping with VST AmpRack

It’s easy to overlook the software that comes bundled with your DAW, but sometimes, in the wealth of features that the “full-fat” versions of Cubase and the like are endowed with, there’s a real nugget.  VST AmpRack is one of those nuggets, offering the ability to create your perfect pedal board and amp/cabinet combination, even how you would mike it up and the settings you’d have on the virtual desk.  It’s not necessarily as immediate as EZMix and requires more thought than the Waves plugins I’ve looked at over the last few weeks, but it certainly shouldn’t be ignored.

 

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Reamping with JJP Guitars

So you’ve got a recorded guitar that’s already got an amp sound and you want to beef it up, but you don’t want to add any more overdrive or distortion.  Amp-simulating plugins aren’t what you need, but the JJP guitars plugin from Waves might be what you’re looking for.  With genre-specific variations on the theme of each preset, it uses different effects processed in parallel with and blended with the original single to enhance the original recording.

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Reamping with EZMix2

It’s easy to become a little bit snobbish when looking at the multiplicity of plugins available today and confuse realistic recreations of, (say), a classic compressor with “the way it should be done”.  To borrow a phrase from one of my favourite bad guys, “there are no rules”, certainly in how you approach making music.  In this video, I look at one of the simplest plugins around, (for the user), yet one capable of the most powerful end results if used with a little taste – EZMix2 from Toontrack.  A positive case of the ends justifying the means, for once?  You decide.

 

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Question – are you losing your bass?

When I was mixing the Changes set , I noticed that I was struggling to get a solid bass sound.  I was using my trusty Broomstick Bass, but when I put it through a VST plugin to try to add some amp character to the samples, (which were recorded DI), I seemed to be losing the low end.  Surely not, I thought?  Must be me – right?  Wrong.

I hold with the axiom that you mix with your ears and not your eyes, but in this case, I was so frustrated by what I [wasn’t] hearing, that I put a metering plugin across the output to reassure myself it was my imagination.  Only it wasn’t.  The VST plugin in question, (Cubase’s own AmpSimulator), was effectively acting as if there was a High Pass Filter in line and was removing the low end of the signal.  This sent me on a path to find VST plugins that would add the character I was looking for, without costing me that low end energy.

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Using panned reverb to add width to a mono instrument

When you start a song with a solo instrument, the choice of where to place it in the stereo image is not easy.  Leave it in the middle and it will get in the way of the vocal-snare-kick-bass when they come in, so then you have to EQ it so that it occupies what [little] space they leave, or have it move off to one side.  Or, you can start it panned left or right to a greater or lesser extent, but then, in those first attention-seeking moments of the intro, it can just sound like one speaker has stopped working.  You can add width by using various plugins like stereo chorus, but how about adding width by adding depth?  This video looks at panning the reverb send of a mono guitar track to push the balance of the processed guitar to the opposite side of the stereo image to provide a wide, but natural sounding, intro to the song in question.

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Video Tutorial – Copy Automation in Cubase

After I posted the video on sidechaining the Waves Vocal Rider in Cubase, there were a couple of comments on YouTube asking if it was possible to write the automation data direct to the channel volume fader, rather than to its own automation lane.  If you did this, you would be able to remove the Vocal Rider after it had done its work and save some CPU power.  My initial thought was that you can’t, but it is possible to end up with the same result, just by copying the automation data from the Vocal Rider’s lane to the main channel fader lane.  The video below walks through how it’s done.