1. UNIVERSAL AUDIO
Until now, UA’s Apollo series of DSP-packing audio interfaces topped out at four processing cores. The Apollo X line breaks that barrier, with a 50% increase thanks to new Hexa processing – in other words, six cores. These 19" rackable beauties hook up via Thunderbolt 3 and now feature improved conversion (UA call it “Elite-Class”), Surround Sound monitoring, and switchable +24dBu operation (for increased headroom). The models are: Apollo x6 (16 inputs x 22 outputs, two Unison mic preamps, $1999), Apollo x8 (18 x 24, four Unison pres, $2499). Apollo x8p (18x22, eight Unison pres, $2999), Apollo x16 (18x20, 16-channel analogue I/O, $3499).
2 . IZOTOPE
The wondrous audio repair suite iZotope RX is something of a legend in audio circles, and RX 7 certainly looks like it could continue that trend. Repair Assistant is an “industry-first intelligent repair tool” that sniff s out noise, clicks, clipping, etc, then proffers solutions in three levels of processing intensity.
Next, Music Rebalance promises the Holy Grail of audio processing: separation of fully mixed stereo audio. You can adjust/enhance vocals, bass, percussion and “other instruments”, “making it possible to adjust a mix without multitracks”, or even remove/isolate vocals.
For spoken dialogue, Dialogue Contour reshapes intonation to “rescue or improve” a performance – for example, turn a rising inflection into a downwards one. Dialogue Dereverb, meanwhile attenuates reverb on vocals. Other key features include multichannel support, all the way up to Dolby Atmos 7.1.2, and Pro Tools AudioSuite compatibility. The full-fat RX 7 Advanced is $1199. Standard is $399.
The original Gladiator came out fighting back in 2008, with its novel HCM synthesis technology responsible for its sonics behind the scenes. Then, what do you know, Version 2 rattled ears worldwide all over again the year after that.
Now, over a decade since that first debut, Tone2 unleash Gladiator 3. Headlining the gargantuan feature list is a whole new interface with four sizes, and a “comfortable” new patch browser with preset ranking. Sonically, there’s a new “high-end” quality mode, 18 extra unison modes “with a diverse selection of chords”, six more LFO shapes, new loop modes, more phase modifiers, and loads more. It should be out by November, priced $169.
4. MASTERING THE MIX
This four-stage effect promises to help imbue your mixes with “the perfect flavour of punch and movement”. Expand offers “pristinely clean” upwards expansion, increasing the volume of signals exceeding the threshold, for greater dynamic range. Punch bolsters transients and Ignite delivers harmonic distortion. And Grow increases stereo width via a “psychoacoustic precedence effect”. Each of the four processes can target a specific frequency range, with stereo or mid/side operation and threshold-based dynamic operation. It’s £59.
5. PLUGIN ALLIANCE
AB referencing – comparing mixes-in-progress to top-drawer commercial mixdowns – is an essential part of today's mixing and mastering process, helping to ensure that your track is in the same sonic ballpark as what you're comparing it to. MetricAB helps out with this exact task. Stick it on the master bus, load up to 16 reference tracks, and then instantly flick between them and your own effort. Features include volume matching, cue and loop, multiple monitoring modes, and DAW position sync. There are five analysis modes including spectrum, correlation and stereo image. Go compare right now for the price of $239.
The Pultec EQP-1A is one of the most sought-after classic EQ units out there, as proven by the number of software emulations available today. Klevgrand's take on the concept goes a lot further, though. GotoEQ brings you the famous Pultec 'low-end trick', sure, but it also offers a 'high-end trick', with a similar formulation of intentionally mismatched high-shelf filters. That's not all, as GotoEQ adds an extra mid band to the original's one, with both of Klevgrand's offering dynamic attenuation, making this not only a Pultec emulation but a dynamic Pultec emulation. All this will cost you $59.99 as a VST/AU/AAX plugin, or $19.99 for the iPad version, so you can mix like your heroes but with even more power!
Amp sim aces Mercuriall already brought us spot-on British (Marshall), German (Engl), and US (Mesa/Boogie) tones. Their latest release, though, offers a sound straight outta their Russian homeland: SS-11X is an official emulation of AMT Electronics’ SS- 11B tube preamp. Using new Neural Hybrid Engine tech, they say it’s “virtually impossible to distinguish the sound difference between hardware or software”. It’s got Clean/Overdrive/Lead channels, a Treble Shift switch for brightness, and three-band tone controls. Extra plugin-only goodies include a noise gate, overdrive pedal selection and more. It’s $39.99, out soon.