Marshall Amp Finally Gets Its Official Plug-in – And a Virtual Recording Studio, Too

The Marshall “Plexi” Super Lead plug-in is the first amp to bear the name Marshall that isn’t actually an amp – the first authorized plug-in. It’s been built by Softube for the Universal Audio plug-in of DSP, arriving in May. This is a reference 1959 Super Lead borrowed from Marshall themselves. The model number is 1959, built in the year 1967. Now, it’s nice to have in UAD format, because you can mix and “reamp” and track and add effects and the lot in real-time on UA’s Apollo hardware. It’s also nice to see Softube doing the development; to my …


Here’s What’s New in Universal Audio’s DSP Software and Hardware System

The line between pain and ecstasy on a computer for music making can often boil down to some key elements. One commonly on that short list is getting the sound you might from a studio. Another is making all your inputs and outputs work in your interface. Universal Audio is one of a handful of vendors that aims to bridge both of those gaps in a single product, with devices that are audio interfaces as well as DSP platforms for hosting high-quality effects. And UA are starting out 2015 with a fairly big benchmark for the company in that software/hardware …


In Living Rooms, Homes, Beautiful Music as a Ritual: Olafur Arnalds; Matthew Flook; Free

For centuries, music was something made in a living room, made at home. It was a brief fluke of the 20th Century that music came out of a heroic process in a hidden-away studio. But if the gold-plated, magical record is threatened, some artists are trying to bring the daily ritual of home music making back. ├ôlafur Arnalds and Matthew Flook are each making gorgeous, cinematic-ambient tracks, and each have made projects that involve doing so on a regular basis in their homes. Let’s listen. Arnalds has been making some of the finest scores anywhere, and now has earned the …


Record a Mic, Guitar with UA’s Apollo Twin, and Model Analog Like Never Before [Thunderbolt, $699]

Universal Audio’s new Apollo Twin (in SOLO and DUO variants, starting at US$699) gives you quite a lot of value on a single Thunderbolt connection to your Mac. It’s shipping now. It’s an audio interface, with connections for line, mic, or instruments. It’s a real-time DSP processor, adding the ability to run UA’s suite of (mostly analog-modeling) sound processing goodies. (SOLO/DUO refers to how much DSP muscle you get.) And it’s a bundle of UA models of analog hardware, including a rather nice pair of limiters, an EQ, amp models, and tube preamps. If you think they’re hoping guitarists and …


Post-Christmas Deals on Apps, Software, More – Even a Game with Procedural Music [Bargain Roundup]

As more sales – particularly software – move online, we’re finding that musicians can save a lot on their tools by waiting on sales. Black Friday / Thanksgiving / Cyber Monday saw steep discounts on some terrific stuff, and now there are loads of sales in the quiet period from Christmas to New Year’s. Half off Lemur (through 19 Jan). One particularly tempting deal – especially if you’ve got a winter project in mind – comes from our friends at Liine. Lemur, my favorite controller app on iOS, is now 50% off. And LiveControl 2 has just added essential support …


Mac Pro On Sale Now, Shipping February; What it Brings to Audio Applications

It looks like a machine from the future. It is a machine you’ll only be able to get in the future. And it may be further off before we really see music applications that reach its full potential. But it does paint a picture of a music machine that’s futuristic, and it isn’t so far off any more. Apple today made its Mac Pro tower available – sort of. It seems the massively-custom machine is taking some time to ramp up production, as delivery dates quickly slid to February for all but the first to preorder. But, while the Mac …


Life After Slots: What the Mac Pro, External Hardware Mean for Production

“Pro” is a funny word. When people say “pros” in contrast to “amateurs,” “producers” rather than “consumers,” they mean something about relative seriousness. And in tech, they usually invoke these words when they’re looking down on tools they feel aren’t up to snuff. That’s fair. Especially in music making and digital art where money is tight, people invest in tools because they deliver, not just to show off. And they’ve usually been burned by something less-than-pro letting them down. So, when people see a machine from Apple dubbed the “Mac Pro,” they have certain expectations. The problem is, the upcoming …


3 Approaches to Accessorizing the Studio: SPL, Softube, UA at Musikmesse

How can hardware make the computer-based studio more productive? Each trade show invariably brings new offerings that seek to answer that problem as vendors hawk their wares. At Frankfurt’s Musikmesse, steps from one another, three well-known names each each offered their own take. It comes at a time when the industry is re-imagining the role of our machines. It used to be that big, metal boxes said “pro” – and the studio was no exception. (Cue flashbacks trying to set up Digidesign expansion racks in the late 90s. Okay, now putting that out of my mind.) That’s still true in …

Thunderbolt means serious I/O for UA's DSP-based processing on the Apollo card - even on a lowly Mac mini. Image courtesy Universal Audio.

The Thunderbolt Age Dawns: UA Ships Thunderbolt on Apollo; More to Come – Where it Makes Sense

Universal Audio is first out of the gate with an audio interface add-on that uses Intel’s Thunderbolt bus, the high-performance, low-latency connectivity option on current iMacs, MacBook Pros and Airs, and Mac minis (though, conspicuously, not the ever-more-outdated Mac Pro). The solution isn’t the most elegant – you need to add in an option card with an included tool – but once installed, Thunderbolt appears right in the box (see image below). And what can you do with all that extra bandwidth? On the Apollo, you get better performance even as you push the envelope with sample rates, and more …


New Mac Laptops: As Apple Expands I/O Flexibility, Just About Any Model Great for Music

MacBook Air, now starting at US$999 and with USB3 and Thunderbolt onboard. Photo courtesy Apple. Apple, of course, rolled out new Mac laptops yesterday. The most desirable of these – new MacBook Pro laptops with ultra-high-resolution Retina Displays – will require a significant budget, with pricing beginning at US$2199. And it could be worth it for those who can afford them: while Apple has quietly eliminated its 17″ machines, the high-density displays should nonetheless make the 15″ real estate ideal for fitting pro app UIs on the go. But the most important thing to say about Apple’s machines from a …