It’s been over a year since we last looked at the best unusual software titles and we felt it was time for a fresh batch to help shake things up in your studio and try something a little different. Refresh your memory with 2017’s best examples.
Eventide has always tried to push the boundaries when it comes to audio quality and manipulation and Fission is no different. It’s based around Eventide’s ‘Structual Effects’ technology, which splits incoming source sound into its transient part (that is impactful, unpredictable or jagged) and tonal part (the sustaining, stable and smooth parts) properties. The two parts are then independently processed and mangled to produce a new sound.
We said: “Fission is a highly innovative, groundbreaking effect that will delight you with its intuitive interface and creative, sound possibilities. From lush textures to sonic mayhem, this is an essential sound designer’s tool.”
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There’s a lot of software for vocal effects out there and a lot of it designed to edit pitch or keep it in tune. While Revoice Pro 3 can handle those pitching duties, it’s also about aligning them, too, being initially developed for TV and film, where dialogue would be recorded to replace guide tracks. There are more time-correction tools, plus doubling, loudness and intonation editing options, too.
We said: “Revoice Pro has the potential to be an absolute must-have studio tool – even if you already have and regularly use other tools for pitch and time manipulation, or for creating doubles. It’s a brilliant tool, and one that’s sure to become almost standard practice for many engineers when comping and editing multiple vocal tracks.”
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We tested the Max For Live version of this creative plug-in, although it’s also available as an AU and VST. You draw in a succession of single notes and the software will generate chords or harmonies around them, based on either presets, or on your own customised settings. You simply drag it onto a MIDI track, load in an instrument afterwards and it does its creative-composition stuff. Just add some initial note ideas…
We concluded: “This a unique product, and a must-have for anybody either struggling to compose their own MIDI parts, or seeking new composition and programming techniques. An authentic creation tool and at no point does it feel like you’re ‘cheating’. The ‘For Live’ version is particularly impressive.”
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Sonarworks makes calibration software, but before you switch off and do something rather more interesting, this software calibrates your speakers and headphones to ensure they deliver a flat response so you can mix properly with them. Sounds like black magic? Frankly, it probably is… The Headphone Edition features a long list of averaged calibration files for various headsets, which load in a specific frequency curve to help give the smoothest and flattest response. The speaker version does the same, with added gubbins to test your room, too. All great stuff.
We said: “It’s now easier than ever to start tuning your ears to your setup, whether writing, recording or listening. Easy to set up, easy to use, flexible and transparent calibration software for getting the absolute best out of whatever setup you have.”
Pitching and tuning in software is nothing new, but zplane reTune’s big draw is simplicity, real-time processing and the ability to read all the tuning information within your source files, so that not only the main component is transferred, but artefact and chordal info is, too. The beauty of the software is that even though there’s a lot of hard labour going on behind the scenes, it does everything in an intuitive way, becoming a creative process along the way.
We said: “The real creativity starts here, taking this plug-in many steps further into both the live and studio arenas. A magical plug-in that might not look pretty, but is both revolutionary and creatively inspiring. Brilliant!”
Soothe is another unusual one and difficult to sum up. It is described by Oeksound as a “dynamic resonance suppressor” and is a tool for reducing unwanted frequencies in your material. So it’s a multi-band compressor, dynamic EQ and de-esser all in one – and it allows you to target particular ranges of frequencies and control them to your liking.
We said: “Soothe works like no other plug-in and brings something new to the table in terms of multi-band dynamics and resonance control. It’s a game-changer.”