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electronic MUSICIAN

Roundup: New Directions In Plug-Ins

By Craig Anderton | June 1, 2010

We review plug-ins from six companies that stretch what plug-ins can do

Here’s the story behind this roundup: Plug-ins are being introduced at a dizzying rate, so how are you going to know what’s worth checking out? By reading EQ, of course. After sifting through the latest releases, these plug-ins were chosen because they’re all classy, well-engineered audio tools—and all have free demos available, so you can decide for yourself what you think of them. Of course, there are other great plug-ins out there; but we only have so much space.

Plug-ins have gone from basic designs intended to provide common processing functions to processors that can do almost anything—from emulate analog gear with uncanny accuracy to mate synth modules with audio. Keep reading to get a handle on the current state of the art.

PSP Audioware Xenon
zplane Elastique Pitch
XILS 3 Modular Synthesizer
UAD Manley Massive Passive
McDSP Retro Pack
Waves Artist Series Collections


Most digital meters measure the amplitude of the samples themselves. However, when these samples are reconstructed via digital-to-analog conversion, a curve might be created between samples that actually exceeds the level of the samples themselves. This is called inter-sample clipping, and can lead to distortion even if the meters themselves don’t show this. For a full discussion of inter-sample clipping, as well as free metering software you can download, go to

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