6 of the Best Unusual Software Titles (2017)

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This time around, we’re rounding up some of the more unusual software titles that we’ve looked at in recent months: everything from DIY mixing to robot vocals…

Best DIY Mixer – iZotope Neutron

Unusual Software DIY

Price £185 (£259 Advanced)
Contact Time+Space – 01837 55200
Web www.timespace.com

What kind of nightmarish future will we have if a piece of software can do our mixing for us?” screamed reviewer Alex Holmes on booting up Neutron. Quite a good one, as it turns out, as iZotope’s Neutron takes some of the housekeeping work out of your mixing.

It ‘listens’ to your tracks, analyses the dynamic and spectral content and then recommends the placement of EQ nodes, and makes optimal settings elsewhere. “It will also always turn up on time and won’t spill drinks on your mixing desk,” said Alex, before concluding: “You can use it to tidy and refine what you have, leaving you with more time to get creative. Possibly iZotope’s best product since Ozone, Neutron is packed with innovation and excellent design, and with a little tweaking, can intelligently improve your mixes.”

Best Choir – Aeris: Hybrid Choir Designer

Unusual Software Choir

Price £265.05
Contact Time+Space – 01837 55200
Web www.timespace.com

The clue is in the name here – yes, you can construct your own choirs… You get six vocal types, vowels, ‘mms’, oohs’… in fact, everything you need to put your vocals together.

But there’s more, plenty more, including patches and pads to create complex timbres. “This is a beautiful sounding and powerful library. There are more expensive choirs out there – each with strengths and weaknesses – but I really like how easy to use and expressive Aeris is,” said reviewer Matthew Mann. And his conclusion was: “It’s well thought out and implemented and sounds excellent. Open-ended future-proofing (as long as you have Kontakt) means Aeris should keep you busy for ages…
even millennia.”

Best Kick – Sonic Academy Kick 2

Price £49.95
Web www.sonicacademy.com

A piece of software that just does kicks might seem a tad indulgent but when you consider that kicks are the backbone – literally – to countless dance tunes, it’s not surprising that Sonic Academy has turned its attention to creating them.

“Kick 2 is a serious upgrade on the original plug-in, and is now more flexible than ever,” said Alex Holmes. “Whatever the weather, this will no doubt be getting some serious use in our future tracks. It’s a more nuanced instrument and it’s an essential purchase for anyone writing music destined for the club.”

Best Dreamland – Toontrack Dream Pop EZX

Price £47.95
Contact Time+Space – 01837 55200
Web www.timespace.com

We could have included a lot of Toontrack’s EZX packs in this mini round-up. They’re unusual in that they are specific to certain genres or, in this case, more of a musical ethos. It “promises a mixture of acoustic drums and drum machines – as well as foley sounds and hybrid percussion samples that should give you an unusual arsenal of sounds and colours to work with”, said Matthew Mann, and it certainly delivers, as he concluded.

“Overall, I was impressed with this expansion pack. I think it will be my new favourite, as I find more and more ways to exploit these unusual sounds. A fun and interesting collection of hybrid drum kits. Ideal for anyone looking for an unusual collection of percussion.”

Best Future Nightmare – Big Fish Audio Cyborg

Price £139
Contact – Time+Space – 01837 55200
Web www.timespace.com

Inside this mechanised monster is the beating heart of something that was once human,” Matthew Mann said, with some terror in his voice, as he reviewed Cyborg.

It’s a collection, as you might have guessed, with a dark and twisted side, full of drones, atmospheres, crunchy guitars and effects. It’s suited to anything that you want to infuse with a touch of menace – so probably not bro country, then – and Mann concluded: “The results worked wonders on some ‘less than stellar’ tracks that I’d been working on – adding grit, grime and cybernetic excitement and making my tracks much more interesting. This is an excellent library of useful sounds and can be used in lots of styles. Strongly recommended.”

Best 8-bit Gamer – Impact Soundworks Super Audio Cart

Price $149

The sound of 8-bit video gaming may not be your thing, yet it certainly does have a hardcore fanbase. Impact Soundworks’ Super Audio Cart opens up the world of 8-bit, shakes it up, updates it and turns it into a proper instrument.

And you know what? It actually sounds rather great. “The genius lies in just how well the developer has achieved this, and quite how much power SAC delivers,” we said. “It doesn’t get much more geeky – nor better – than this. We’ve not had more fun and finally, our two favourite pastimes perfectly come together as one. Now we all get to have a go at chiptuning and it’s far more musical than you’ll believe.”




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