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November 1, 2000

Audio Ease's Nautilus Bundle plug-ins for MAS ($299) are a real-time granular synthesizer, a 24-notch phaser, a 32-band equalizer, and a spectroscope. Both the granular synth and the phaser can be synchronized to tempo for time-based variations.

Riverrun is probably the most dramatic of the three plug-ins: it BREAKs up your audio tracks into tiny, user-definable grains. The grains can then go through a number of sound-mangling processes. For example, you can reorder them, feed them to an envelope generator, play them as chords, and lock them to the tempo of MOTU's Digital Performer.

A Grain Glass display is your window to the portion of grains that you are processing. A Walk slider controls the speed at which the grains are scanned. Scanning can move forward and backward and can even be frozen.

You can load Sound Designer ll files and save them to disk. Riverrun automatically saves its input in this format when you close the song or quit Digital Performer.

The Texture Panel offers two modes: Flowing mode creates dense, continuous sounds (useful for pads), and Rhythmic mode builds beat-oriented patterns that can be locked to Digital Performer's tempo. The Grain Speed slider controls grain density, and the Grain Length slider sets grain size. A Shape window allows you to apply a variety of envelopes to your input, and the Transposition Panel determines the pitch of each grain.

Periscope is an AltiVec-aware, 32-band equalizer. If you're using it on a Power Macintosh G4, the plug-in will take advantage of Apple's Velocity Engine for a 400-percent boost in processing speed over G3 computers. The 32 bands may be distributed at any frequency in the audio spectrum for surgically precise EQ. For example, you can use all 32 bands within a low-frequency range between 0 Hz and 400 Hz, or remove a 10 Hz band at 3 kHz.

Several control modes allow you to shape your EQ curves in different ways. For instance, Free Draw mode lets you define faders that snap to your mouse position, and Magnetic mode lets you create a smooth or drastic bump or dip in the curve by dragging an onscreen fader up or down.

The phaser, Deep Phase Nine, offers 24 notches per channel that you can sweep with a versatile assortment of LFO shapes: sine, triangle, sample-and-hold, one-shot sine, and one-shot triangle. One-shot LFOs allow you to define a place in the LFO's cycle where it will halt. Peaks and notches can be driven to self-oscillation. As with Riverrun, Deep Phase Nine can lock to tempo.

Because Nautilus Bundle is an MAS-only suite, you will need either Digital Performer 2.7 or Audio Desk 1.01. You'll also need a 233 MHz G3 with Mac OS 8.5.1, and a minimum of 4 MB of free RAM.

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