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Chris

Airwindows is one guy: me! I am an audio hacker and computer programmer from way back. I seek only to continue my life up here in Vermont, inventing things and putting them onto the internet, sometimes for free and sometimes for pay. My hope is that people richer than me (i.e. most people) don't rob me. My other hope is for another cup of Aeropress. One out of two ain't bad!

SM57 Mod

I’m prepared to do this mod for people, but you can save money by doing this stuff yourself.

Be aware that in chopping off the ‘ribs’ of one 57 (not shown) with the tin-snips, the ring of the plastic grille cracked! I had to glue it back together and fasten it with the foil tape bearing the SM57 name, before it would hold the little plate securely. The resulting mic is fine, but it underscores the obvious fact that when hacking apart SM57s with tin-snips and pliers, you could just possibly break something.

Cheers! :)

ToVinyl3

ToVinyl3Demo  is a universal binary AU plugin to center and accentuate bass, such as you’d do for vinyl mastering or to make an electronic music mix more efficient over a large PA system. You can cut side-channel bass and tighten and control the extreme lows in the middle, with great-sounding Airwindows filters.

Also, ToVinyl 3 includes high frequency limiting—an invisible digital harshness control, catching anything you choose to do in a mix so that the mix intention shines through but translates to all situations (including lossy compression, which suffers when you throw a lot of supersonic highs at it). Try it out! You may be able to dial back other ‘harshness reducers’ and get more sparkle out of your mixes without edginess.

Lastly, ToVinyl 3 comes with a Groove Wear control. If used to do actual vinyl mastering, you should leave this off, but if the target is a digital format (such as Pono…) you might try it. It breaks up the extreme highs in a characteristic way, scrubbing off some of the fizz and focussing the midrange and presence. You can also crank it, for effect (such as on a submix or drum buss).

I suggest using ToVinyl after most things on the 2-buss, but before a final clipper. For instance, a very analog-sounding output section might be ToTape, into ToVinyl, into ADClip, into Ditherbox (and perhaps Voxengo SPAN for some terrific metering—I swear by Density Mode).

ToVinyl3 is $50.




Noise

NoiseDemo is a universal binary AU plugin for generating naturalistic environment noise, which you can use in sound design for video, or as a texture for music. You have four different tone shaping controls: a lowpass that can chase the envelope of the input sound, two highpass-related controls hooked to the guts of the noise generator algorithm, and a moving average at the very end which also affects dry signal.

The idea is that you can control the environment textures by putting something else underneath that might not be a great environment sound by itself, reinforce it with the noise and then filter both together with the ‘Distance’ filter (the moving average) for naturalness and to merge them sonically.

You can also use it as a terrific percussion broadener, like triggering a white noise generator and gating it along with the drum track but with much more sophistication and better texture. Noise will give you fantastic body and depth when used to do that trick, plus various controls that are immediately useful in an active mix context on such a track.

Noise is $50.

Average

Average is a utility plugin for filtering. It averages adjacent samples, and adds the remaining fraction as a ‘leftover’ sample so you can smoothly fade between values. It uses all the Airwindows audio tricks like noise shaping to the 32-bit floating point buss, to be the best-sounding moving average you could possibly have! Truly an audiophile moving average, inspired by the need to preview Pono moving-average playback processing.

If you look at the output of this plugin in Voxengo Span (or whatever metering program you prefer), you can clearly see that the frequency behavior of this form of EQ is odd. There are extreme, obvious notches in the response. Two things about that: first, that’s sweepable in this plugin and my design lets you dial the notch in to a specific frequency if that helps you do what you’re doing. Second, I’m not convinced that is a fault, just an observed behavior of this type of filter.

By that, I mean that type of response is very similar to acoustic comb filtering. My idea here is that our ears can pick out time domain issues as problems, we seem to be able to hear quantization issues at least part of the time, but all day long we are hearing sounds with comb filtering, and tuning out those problems. I think our ears are designed to make light of comb filtering issues and these sorts of notches and response problems, and for that reason I think moving average lowpasses sound better than ‘they should’.

Hence, I’ll call this freebie ‘audiophile’ because I think its filtering sounds awesome. I’m aware it measures strangely, but I don’t associate those response irregularities with ‘terrible unnatural sound’. Rather, it mimicks nearly all natural sounds heard in real environments, and deserves to be a more common EQ tool.

Righteous

RighteousDemo is a universal binary AU plugin and the ultimate high-resolution mix buss. It was made to produce mixes for Neil Young’s PONO music player. That means some very specific things about how it is to be used.

It goes last on the 2-buss (you can run buss compression, but not limiting or clipping), and provides deep-bass bloom and digital de-glare, adapting itself to whatever type of high resolution output you’re using. If you’re going for the deepest midrange and the warmest tones, it will handle anything you throw at a 44.1K mix and stop it from glaring. If you’re pushing the treble frequencies with a high sample-rate mix, it will adapt its highs to that context and the de-glare shifts up to accomodate the increased capacity for ‘air’.

It expands deep bass and makes it bloom and resonate the way it does on analog gear, through use of harmonics to fill in energy that was lost to tube-style saturation. This causes the soundstage to be both deep, and warm as hell.

You have to use 24-bit output, because it uses the Airwindows ‘Naturalize’ dither to open up 24-bit mixes. There is no provision for 16 bit or lossy compression at all. It’s for mixing to Pono final output, not as an intermediate stage—though 24 bit dither is also optimal as such a stage. If you must generate lower quality audio, just act like you’re remastering from that point and go from there.

You have to keep the body of the mix under -18dbFS or so. It is not any form of peak limiter or safety clipper. It does provide an extremely gentle tubelike transfer function but this does not stop you clipping and you shouldn’t come anywhere near clipping, or the body of the music will get overly tubby and the bass will get overblown. Righteous will only work if you don’t ‘slam the buss’. You can balance mixes so the final output is what comes off your DAW, and even get peaks near to full scale, but Righteous will force you to work in classic album dynamic terms and make it sound desirable in the way a regular DAW mix cannot ever be.

It’s $50.

Logical3

Logical3Demo is a universal binary AU plugin and the definitive Airwindows 2-buss compressor! The way Logical transforms the sound is not subtle. It’s designed to glue the track but also provides a distinctive hit-record ‘presence’ to the highs, allowing a sweet spot to be found where everything really pops and communicates.

This draws on all the things I learned over the years, particularly the ‘black art’ tricks for making effective DSP without destroying CPU in the process: Logical’s generic interface and lack of extraneous code helps a lot there. It uses the latest Airwindows compressor algorithms as developed in ButterComp. And this time, it’s 96K-savvy and works at all sample rates! A perfect ‘set and forget’ buss comp.

Logical3 is $50.

MineSpace

MineSpace is something a bit out of the ordinary: a game ambiance reverb for Let’s Plays.

It came about because I did some Minecraft Let’s Plays, and was interested in applying reverb in giant caves and such. However, normal reverbs tended to be far too strong, and stereo reverb didn’t match well with the twisting, turning nature of gameplay… and there was no way to tell a reverb plugin to pan according to what the video footage showed.

What I settled on was MineSpace. It runs dual mono, very very faintly. If you crank it way up you can just about hear it on speakers (on headphones, it’s easier) and on defaults it’s largely subliminal. Because it’s dual-mono, reverb trails sort of chase sound positioning, in an unrealistic way but one that I think distracts less than the presentation of a single fixed space.

You can’t turn it up, it’s strictly grab-and-go. Just a hint of deep ambience behind the game audio… but a nice touch in post-production, before rendering videos. I recommend it for all manner of podcasting and videomaking… and if you think it’s too quiet, trust me, I may be saving you from a rookie mistake :)

ToVinyl2

ToVinyl2Demo is a version of ToVinyl, before it had the Groove Wear control. This version was about developing better-sounding highpass filtering, and also about making the plugin work more simply. It’s got a single control which sets the general frequency where the bass gathers together to be centered.

There are two versions of the fully working plugin available: when it first came out, it actually gave you a noticeable boost around where the filter cuts off. I fixed it, but then some people wanted that back, so I gave them the ToVinyl2 Bass Bump version (which has the same ID as the regular one, so you have to pick which you want to install). Both are available to owners of the current ToVinyl, just buy the up-to-date version and then ask for a specific old version.

I recommend the current ToVinyl for a number of reasons, but this one’s also available to try.

ADClip4

ADClip4Demo is a universal binary Audio Unit plugin, bringing together everything learned in the original ADClip and 3DClip plus new functionality for the best possible final-clipping plugin.

It works by tracking what samples have clipped, and pulling back the onset and release samples that would have clipped, to transition between the two states more gracefully. ADClip also tracks what information is lost to clipping, and brings it back in two ways- as high frequency energy and bass fill. This is only present when clipping occurs (or briefly after it). Finally, it works to cancel some of the distortion subharmonics and combines this effect with the rearranged energy from the clipped-off bass.

ADClip also switches in and out its antialiasing in such a way that it puts a maximum limit on high frequency content, as if it was an analog circuit with finite slew rate. This, combined with its special clipping behavior, means that extremely loud treble information is never harsh. You can push loud percussive content and never lose the nice airy texture, and it makes crazy-loud stuff hit in a more appealing way.

ADClip4 goes farther than I’ve ever gone to maintain the purity of the unclipped portions of the signal. Big chunks of it literally turn off when not in use- it does not even do needless math operations unless it has to. Since even its bass fill operations are very quickly completed, that means ADClip is constantly reverting to the most simple, untouched floating-point digital passthrough, giving it an unusually transparent digital-domain sound. Since version 4, even the antialiasing turns off when the plugin isn’t actively working. It’s overkill, but it’s correct and is what’s needed for mastering.

ADClip4 is $50.

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