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February 2021 Magazine Contents

SOS (UK Edition) February 2021

Reviews: Korg Opsix FM synth • Zoom H8 recorder • Cranborne Audio Camden EC1 mic pre • Grace Design m900 headphone amp/DAC • Sequential Prophet-5 & 10 synthesizers • Roland TR-06 & TR-6S drum machines • iZotope Neoverb • Inspired Acoustics Inspirata • JZ BB29 mic • Output Frontier nearfields • RME AVB network audio interfaces • Little Labs LL2A comp/lim • Pope Audio BAX2020 EQ • Manley Labs Nu Mu valve comp/lim • Reproducer Epic 5 monitors • Orchestral Tools LA Sessions sample library — and tons more!

Techniques + People: Martin Garrix (front cover) • SOS Awards 2021 Results • Recording Drum Kits With Only 2 Mics • Inside Track: Steps 'What The Future Holds' • Marcus Hamblett — plus Cubase, Pro Tools, Logic, Digital Performer & Studio One DAW workshops.

Reviews

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    SOS Awards generic header

    2021 SOS Awards Results

    Chosen by the Readers of Sound On Sound

    This year’s SOS Awards results celebrate the ‘best in class’ products launched or reviewed in the period from September 2019 through to the end of August 2020. You’ll see all the Winners you selected here as well as the very worthy close contenders in each category, who have been awarded our Highly Commended accolade.

    Reviews
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    Book Review: Major Label Mastering

    The Professional Mastering Process by Evren Göknar

    Mastering is often considered a mysterious black art, but while there is certainly a lot of artistry involved Evren Göknar’s book (Routledge/Focal Press) dispels the mystery in a very readable and understandable way.

    Reviews
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    Cranborne Audio Camden EC1

    Microphone Preamplifier

    Though billed as a high‑quality single‑channel mic preamp, the EC1 is a whole lot more.

    Reviews
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    FireSonic FireCharger

    Enhancement Plug-in

    Distributed by UnitedPlugins, FireSonic’s FireCharger is another take on the ‘make everything sound a bit better’ concept. It...

    Reviews
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    Grace Design m900

    Headphone Amp & D-A Converter

    We check out Grace’s compact, mastering‑quality solution for monitoring on the move.

    Reviews
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    Inspired Acoustics Inspirata

    Immersive Reverb Plug-in

    The evolution of convolution takes several steps forward with Inspired Acoustics’ awe‑inspiring immersive reverb.

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    iZotope Neoverb

    Reverberation Plug-in

    Your virtual assistant is here to help you find the perfect reverb...

    Reviews
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    JZ Microphones BB29

    Cardioid Capacitor Microphone

    Boutique Latvian company JZ Microphones have earned a reputation for their classy mics, and their latest design doesn’t disappoint.

    Reviews
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    Klevgrand Skaka

    AU, VST, AAX & AUv3 Plug-in

    Rating: **** 4/5 Stars. Klevgrand’s Skaka is a sample‑based instrument complete with multiple sequencers designed specifically for creating shaker‑style rhythms.

    Reviews
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    Korg Opsix

    FM Synthesizer

    Korg’s Opsix takes FM synthesis to places it’s never been before.

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    Little Labs LL2A

    Compressor-Limiter

    Ever wondered what a ‘four‑quadrant analogue multiplier compressor’ might sound like? Neither had we — but it turns out to be something a bit special!

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    M-Audio Keystation 88 Mk3

    Controller Keyboard

    Can £175$229 really buy you a usable 88‑note controller keyboard?

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    Manley Labs Nu Mu

    Stereo Valve Hybrid Compressor-Limiter

    We check out a modern take on Manley’s classic valve compressor.

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    Melda Production MSpectralDynamicsLE

    Spectral Processing Plug-in

    Melda Productions MSpectralDynamics is a spectacularly useful plug‑in that uses spectral processing in a number of ways...

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    Modal Electronics Cobalt 8

    Virtual Analogue Synthesizer

    The Cobalt 8 is a beautifully judged virtual analogue synth.

    Reviews
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    Orchestral Tools LA Sessions

    Sample Library

    LA Sessions is a studio production toolkit of 27 instruments and two vocal ensembles aimed squarely at songwriters and professional producers.

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    Output Frontier

    Nearfield Active Monitors

    Output’s affordable new speakers were made with the help of one of the most prestigious brands in studio monitoring.

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    Pope Audio BAX2020

    500-series Baxandall EQ

    We test this stylish take on a classic EQ design.

    Reviews
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    Reproducer Epic 5

    Active Nearfield Monitors

    We put German company Reproducer’s unusual debut nearfield speaker to the test.

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    RME AVB Tool & Digiface AVB

    Networked Audio Interfaces

    RME deliver affordable and reliable Audio over IP with two new boxes.

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    Roland TR-06 & TR-6S

    Drum Machines

    Roland’s unsung TR‑606 is the inspiration for their newest drum machines.

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    Sample Logic Trailer Xpressions III


    Kontakt Instrument + WAV

    Rating: ***** 5/5 Stars. The sounds in TXIII don’t veer too far from the previous versions. As well as raw WAV files (for direct dropping into your DAW), these are organised in 28 helpfully named Kontakt nki instruments.

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    Scope Labs Periscope

    Omnidirectional Microphone

    With its built‑in compressor set to ‘smash’, the Periscope earns its place in more sessions than you’d think.

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    Sequential Prophet-5 & Prophet-10

    Polyphonic Synthesizers

    A conquering hero returns to the fray after long years in exile. Does the new Prophet Rev 4 still have the power to take on the world?

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    Steinberg SpectraLayers Pro 7

    Spectral Editing Software

    Steinberg’s clever use of AI has made spectral editing and unmixing more accessible than ever.

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    Steinberger: A Story Of Creativity And Design

    Book by Jim Reilly

    We review Jim Reilly’s biography of Steinberger, pioneers of carbon fibre headless guitars.

    Reviews
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    Synchro Arts VocAlign Ultra

    Vocal Timing & Pitch Matching Plug-in

    After a major overhaul, is Synchro Arts’ VocAlign still an essential part of the vocal producer’s toolkit?

    Reviews
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    Toontrack EZkeys Hybrid Harp


    EZkeys Expansion

    Rating: 5/5 Stars. Featuring a folky line‑up of ocarina, two harmoniums, a bowed glockenspiel and a Swedish nyckelharpa, these are woven together in a set of unique hybrid sounds which include some fabulous electronic textures.

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    Wavesfactory Echo Cat

    Analogue-modelling Delay Plug-in

    The Echo Cat mimics the famous Watkins hardware tape delay, but is capable of more besides.

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    Zero-G Ethera Gold 2.5


    Kontakt Instrument

    Rating: 5/5 Stars. This update features some brand‑new content with all the features and content of v2.0: an impressive collection of synth, pad, sound effect and drum options sitting alongside the vocals of Clara Sorace.

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    Zoom H8

    Digital Multitrack Recorder

    Zoom’s modular approach makes this unique portable recorder far more versatile than others.

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Techniques

Sound Advice

People

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    Abbey Road Studios Spatial Audio

    Abbey Road Studios Spatial Audio Forum | Podcast

    SOS Technical Editor Hugh Robjohns chats to Mirek Stiles about the Spatial Audio Forum and how everyone can get involved in creating 3D audio environments using basic recording equipment.

    People
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    Olivier Alary & Johannes Malfatti

    Inspiring Creativity With VoIP | Podcast

    Olivier and Johannes go behind the scenes on the techniques that they used to create their latest collaborative album featuring the use of VoIP technology to process sound.

    People
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    Martin Garrix: Superstar DJ

    From Bedroom Producer To International Star

    Martin Garrix’s extraordinary career has seen him graduate from bedroom producer to international star, label owner and proprietor of one of the world’s most advanced Dolby Atmos studios. He tells us how it happened.

    People
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    Talkback: Marcus Hamblett

    Producer / Multi-instrumentalist

    Brighton‑based producer and multi‑instrumentalist Marcus Hamblett is in our Talkback hot seat.

    People
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    Vintage Vice!

    Leader

    Like all love affairs, love of vintage gear isn’t entirely rational. Old equipment is often unreliable, noisy and limited. But...

    People
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    Why I Love... My DAW

    John Walden

    I’m addicted to YouTube. A couple of weeks ago, its slightly scary algorithms coughed up a video clip from the BBC’s 1980s ‘...

    People
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