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March 2021 Magazine Contents

SOS (UK Edition) March 2021

Reviews: SSL UF8 DAW Controller • Ableton Live 11 • Image Line FL Studio 20.8 • Audix A131 & A133 mics • Ex Machina Soundworks Pulsar monitors • Trident Hi-Lo tracking filters • Arturia V Collection 8 • Earthworks Icon Pro mic • IK Multimedia AmpliTube 5 • Erica Synths Syntrx • Celestion SpeakerMix Pro • RME 12Mic preamp • Acustica Audio Gainstation plug-in • Sample Logic Symphonic AI • Steinberg Backbone Drum Resynthesizer — and tons more!

Techniques + People: How To Mic Anything (front cover) • Aaron Dessner: Producing folklore & evermore • Inside Track: Taylor Swift 'willow' • Buying A Vintage-inspired Microphone • Legendary Studio Mics You Can Still Buy New • Dani Bennett Spragg • Mic Polar Patterns — plus Cubase, Logic, Pro Tools, Reason & Studio One DAW workshops.

Reviews

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    4MS Spherical Wavetable Navigator

    Eurorack Module

    The SWN is a fairly big 26HP six‑voice module capable of creating slowly morphing drones, polyphonic melodies, evolving sequences and a vast range of rich textures.

    Reviews .
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    Ableton Live 11

    Music Production Software

    Live 11 introduces new features, improves some old ones, and throws in some exciting new rack devices for good measure.

    Reviews .
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    Acustica Audio Gainstation

    Distortion Plug-in

    The kings of dynamic convolution take on producer Mike Dean’s signal chain.

    Reviews .
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    Apple iPad Air

    Tablet Computer

    Is Apple’s new iPad Air the pick of the bunch?

    Reviews
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    Arturia V Collection 8

    Software Instruments

    V Collection 8 introduces new instruments and completely reworks some old favourites.

    Reviews
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    Auddict Angel Strings Vol 1 & Vol 2

    Sample Libraries

    Auddict’s innovative orchestral strings library marks the legacy of a top London studio.

    Reviews .
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    Audiomodern Opacity II

    Kontakt Instrument

    Rating: **** 4/5 Stars.  This Kontakt‑based library comes with the subtitle Boutique Cinematic Guitars, and that captures the essence of what’s provided in the 6GB of sample content.

    Reviews
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    Audix A131 & A133

    Large-diaphragm Capacitor Microphones

    We try out two diminutive studio mics from respected US brand Audix.

    Reviews
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    Celestion SpeakerMix Pro

    Guitar Cabinet Emulation Plug-in

    If you thought IRs were the closest software could come to the sound of a real speaker, think again!

    Reviews
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    Classical Recording: A Practical Guide In The Decca Tradition

    Book Review

    For anyone with an interest in recording classical performances of any form — whether they’re an amateur, a professional or an academic — this is absolutely essential reading.

    Reviews
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    DJ Swivel Big Distortion Engine

    Distortion Plug-in

    BDE, or Big Distortion Engine for long, is the second plug‑in from producer and engineer Jordan Swift.

    Reviews .
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    Earthmoments 5Elements

    Kontakt Instrument

    Rating: ***** 5/5 Stars. 5Elements utilises almost 6GB of samples sourced from a selection of handmade Indian Instruments, but you won’t find any sitars, tamburas or tablas here...

    Reviews
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    Earthworks Icon Pro

    Cardioid Capacitor Microphone

    Earthworks throw their hat into the podcasting ring, with the chic and refined Icon Pro.

    Reviews .
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    Erica Synths Syntrx

    Analogue Synthesizer

    The Syntrx is not a clone, but its inspiration is clear. Can it recapture the spirit of the legendary EMS Synthi?

    Reviews .
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    Ex Machina Soundworks Pulsar

    Three-way Active Monitor

    The physics of loudspeakers have hardly changed in a century — but DSP and material science have come a long way, and the Pulsar takes full advantage.

    Reviews .
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    Fluffy Audio Spaghetti Western

    Kontakt Instrument

    Rating: ***** 5/5 Stars. Morricone fans will be pleased to hear that his compatriots Fluffy Audio have created a sample collection inspired by the composer’s striking cinematic soundscapes.

    Reviews
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    HD Instruments ZoneMatrix

    Kontakt Performance Tool

    ZoneMatrix transforms a single instance of Kontakt into a multi‑instrument performance environment.

    Reviews .
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    IK Multimedia AmpliTube 5

    Amp & Effects Modelling Software

    We check out IK’s latest refresh of their popular amp and effects modelling suite.

    Reviews .
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    Image Line FL Studio 20.8

    Digital Audio Workstation

    Famed for its speed of use, the latest version of FL Studio is a highly sophisticated music production environment.

    Reviews
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    IO‑Instruments Euporie

    Eurorack Module

    Euporie is a ‘multi‑response’ analogue low‑pass filter whose resonance can be switched between a Moog and Sallen & Key characteristic, giving you two filters for the price of one.

    Reviews
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    Legendary Studio Mics You Can Still Buy New

    True Originals

    Classic equipment doesn’t have to be old and unreliable. Many famous studio microphones are still current products...

    Reviews
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    Mackie CR3-X

    Active Monitors

    We put Mackie’s diminutive multimedia speakers to the test.

    Reviews
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    Qu‑Bit Surface

    Eurorack Module

    Qu‑Bit’s Surface collects together several percussive‑style physical modelling algorithms in one 10HP module.

    Reviews
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    RME 12Mic

    Digitally-controlled Microphone Preamplifier

    RME’s 12Mic packs 12 preamps into a single networked box.

    Reviews .
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    Sample Logic Symphonic AI

    Virtual Instrument

    Sample Logic have teamed up with Red Room Audio to deliver a highly animated orchestral instrument.

    Reviews
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    Sonuscore The Orchestra Complete 2/Horns Of Hell

    Kontakt Instrument

    Rating: ***** 5/5 Stars. Version 2 ramps up the content with new instruments, new articulations, an enhanced Engine browser and new presets.

    Reviews
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    Soundevice Digital DIFIX

    Guitar & Bass DI Processor

    The concept behind the Soundevice Digital DIFIX is, as the name implies, to ‘fix’ your DI recordings.

    Reviews
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    SSL UF8

    Advanced DAW Controller

    In-depth Hands-on Test: SSL’s new control surface is very much the SSL of control surfaces — at an affordable price!

    Reviews
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    Steinberg Backbone

    Drum Re-synthesizer Software

    Drum re‑synthesizer instrument or sound designer’s new best friend?

    Reviews .
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    Synthesizer Evolution: From Analogue To Digital (And Back)

    Book Review

    Synth fans of a certain age will remember the Keyfax books by musician and sometime SOS contributor Julian Colbeck. Back in...

    Reviews
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    Tone Empire Model 5000

    Compressor Plug-in

    This “punchy hybrid compressor” draws its inspiration from both the classic API and SSL hardware designs.

    Reviews
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    Trident Hi-Lo

    500 Series Tracking Filters

    PMI breathe new life into a classic dynamic EQ design.

    Reviews .
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    Warm Audio WA-JP Jet Phaser

    Phaser Pedal

    This delicious‑sounding phaser should fill the needs of funk players or those trying to replicate some of the gentler Jimi Hendrix and David Gilmour effects.

    Reviews

Techniques

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    Choosing & Using Microphone Polar Patterns

    Polar Exploration

    Choose a mic with the optimum polar pattern for the job, and you’re halfway to capturing a great recording.

    Techniques .
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    Cubase 11: The Multiband Squasher

    Steinberg Cubase Tips & Techniques

    We explore four ways to make the most of Cubase 11’s new multiband Squasher plug‑in.

    Techniques .
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    Cubase 11: The Multiband Squasher | Audio

    Hear For Yourself

    Audio files to accompany our Cubase workshop.

    Techniques
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    How To Mic Anything

    Get A Decent Result Every Time!

    Recording an instrument you’ve not encountered before can seem daunting. Here’s a rule of thumb that guarantees a decent result every time.

    Techniques .
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    Inside Track: Taylor Swift 'willow'

    Secrets Of The Mix Engineers: Jonathan Low

    From sketches to final mixes, engineer Jonathan Low spent 2020 overseeing Taylor Swift’s hit lockdown albums folklore and evermore.

    Techniques .
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    Logic: Using Auto Sampler

    Apple Logic Pro X Tips & Techniques

    In Auto Sampler, the main features behind the automatic creation of sample sets are presented in a very intuitive fashion and work extremely well...

    Techniques .
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    Multitrack Recording In Reason

    Reason Tips & Techniques

    Reason is more than capable of traditional multitrack recording. So here we consider how you might run a full tracking project.

    Techniques .
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    Pro Tools & Melodyne Essential

    Avid Pro Tools Tips & Techniques

    Melodyne Essential now comes bundled with Pro Tools 2020.11, so let's explore what it offers.

    Techniques .
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    Studio One: Shortcuts To Efficient Workflows

    PreSonus Studio One Tips & Techniques

    We look at how to improve our workflow with the magic use of key commands, also known as hot‑keys or keyboard shortcuts.

    Techniques .

Sound Advice

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    Buying A Vintage-inspired Microphone

    Classix Nouveau

    Everyone loves classic microphones, but few of us can afford them! We survey the hundreds of modern recreations on the market, and explain what to look for when you’re choosing one for your studio.

    Sound Advice .
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    Q. What Speakers Do I Need For Surround Mixing?

    I wish to do some surround mixing in my home studio. I already have stereo monitors... Can I just add three more of the same speaker?

    Sound Advice

People

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    Aaron Dessner: Producing folklore And evermore

    Taylor Swift's Lockdown Albums

    The pandemic gave Taylor Swift a chance to explore new musical paths, with two lockdown albums co‑written and produced by the National’s Aaron Dessner.

    People .
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    For The Love Of Mic

    Leader

    No‑one can tell you exactly what to buy without knowing more about your circumstances, your preferences, your studio and the things you’re likely to be recording. And the best person to come up with those answers is you.

    People
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    Imogen Heap

    Imogen Heap - The Intersection Of Music And Tech | Podcast

    Imogen Heap chats to Caro C about her music tech projects, including MiMU Gloves, Glover Software, interacting through VR and The Creative Passport Project.

    People
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    Talkback: Dani Bennett Spragg

    Engineer

    In our quickfire survey, we find out more about the recipient of the 2019 MPG Breakthrough Engineer of the Year award.

    People .
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    Why I Love... Video Games

    Chris Korff

    If you care about sound but have previously considered video games a distraction, do yourself a favour: pick a title you like the look of, don your favourite studio headphones, and get immersed.

    People
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