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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!

Compresaturator

CompresaturatorDemo is a universal binary Audio Unit plugin (PPC/32/64 intel) that uses a completely original algorithm: not really a distortion, not really a compressor, it’s kind of both! Dial in qualities unachievable with normal dynamics processors!

Here’s how it works. It starts with the classic Airwindows ‘softest possible saturation’, as found in PurestDrive. This is a distortion that clips completely at 0 db, is still having a tiny effect even as quiet as it’ll go, and has a perfectly smooth transition between these states (a sine function).

We take what’s distorted off the wave (always present, but more as the gain increases) and we run it into a time buffer, like a storage tank. Rather than running a time constant in the usual sense, the turn-down factor is just the average of all this. No time constant abruptly turning down the signal as you exceed a certain threshold! There is no threshold, it’s perfectly fluid and smooth. Not only that, the range (given in the ‘expansiveness’ control) chases up and down depending on how intensely driven the signal is.

What does this mean? Under normal circumstances, compressor gain gets modulated by the signal in an obvious way, and it changes the tone of the audio. With Compresaturator, as the time range is getting shorter (one sample at a time) it’s making each sample count for more. But then, on the release as the time range relaxes, the change in gain level is only whatever the new sample is (could be silence!) and on the trailing edge, the time range is expanding, so the gain’s not being modulated by trailing edge samples either.

What this means is, Compresaturator’s gain stage is smoother than anything. It just doesn’t modulate to audio waveforms at all, especially at higher ‘expansiveness’ values. The gain manipulation is totally fluid, and sounds that way. (It’s also very, very CPU-efficient)

Here’s the trick. This can only work in a saturation plugin! Without that, you’d have crazy transient spikes as the gain stage refuses to kick in with the speed of a normal compressor. Not only that, by design this can only clamp down on the tail end of a wave, so it reshapes everything to hit with more dynamic impact and thickness on the front, and then cleans up right away. And since it’s the softest possible saturation, even the ‘cleaning up’ is extremely fat and thick, extra up front and punchy.

So, this is an extremely simple and well-designed process that only works because all of its elements work together. It’s perhaps the ultimate ‘glue’ processor, conditioning the tone even at zero boost, or if you attenuate going into it. Compresaturator makes stuff impactful, dimensional, makes tracks jump out of the speakers and sound more alive, and it’s truly ‘the bomb’ but it’s all those things at a level of purity and sonic honesty that can stand up to complete overkill and smashing stuff aggressively into the plugin. Compare beating up on Compresaturator, and how it sounds when you make its effect exaggerated, with other current plugins which do “impactful, dimensional, wide, and exciting”. Hear the sonic signature of what the plugins do when you hammer them. Then dial it way back (as one’s frequently advised to do) and consider how much better the ‘glue’ effect is when you know it’s not a bad tone coloring. That’s Compresaturator: the latest in tone hyping and impact enhancing, making the front of the wave hit with real solidity, but keeping your textures and tones intact.

Compresaturator is $50.




StarChild

StarChildDemo is a universal binary Audio Unit plugin (PPC, 32 bit Intel and 64 bit Intel) that does a variation on the old Ursa Minor Space Station, but different. It’s a high purity stereo-only rendition of a raw and grainy antique digital spacemaker, all vibe!

Here’s how it works. Back in the really crude old days there were only delay lines. StarChild is doing a series of delay lines in a primitive, fixed point digital delay with a subtle pitch shift applied in an interesting, crude, grainy way characteristic of these really old processors. Is it low bit, for that low-res grit and crunch? Yes and no… that’s what the ‘grain coarse/fine’ control is for. It uses sustain duration to give roughly the amount of ‘hang time’ on the effect, but then the grain control determines how densely packed the delay taps are.

It’s implemented in such a way that coarse grain is insanely CPU efficient, and the fine grain is up to 162 distinct delay taps (more than antique digital processors could have done directly) and still very efficient for modern DAWs. The spacing of these taps is done using a set of hard-coded prime number delay times to keep overtones from reinforcing, so the only coloration you get is the overall ‘reverb’, and it’s done at four points in stereo to give you a spacious effect.

What does it sound like?

Like nothing else in this world. There’s a really strong ‘droning’ quality like certain Eno multitap delay effects, but concentrated on a fundamental ‘ring’ without affecting all possible harmonics of the sound. The pitch shift adds another level of strangeness and fuzz, barely noticeable but you’d miss it if it wasn’t built into the algorithm. There’s an airy quality that can also be a grungy quality at coarse grain… and the onset is softer than the rest of the sustain, making it a weird and amazingly unnatural sound that still blends with the dry signal in a very special way. And the way the attack is designed, the effect always ‘blooms out’ of a distinctly low-bit onset, which blurs and fuzzes out the attack of the ‘reverb’ keeping it from interfering with the dry signal. It’s like there’s always a little noise built into the attack of the thing, at whatever level you use, and the grain control determines how much of that you’re hearing.

It applies a super-strong flavor, but in a strangely useful way that doesn’t ruin the tone, just makes it richer and weirder. Both of the controls, sustain and grain, work to adjust the rough pitch center where all the jittering delay taps sit (they shift in ripples, one sample at a time for maximum scrunch, and one at a time rather than all at once for added texture).

For that hybrid of old-school and ultramodern electro madness, StarChild can’t be beat. It’s a true secret weapon, a bizarre little algorithm that sits sneakily in a mix just adding its alien mojo. You can have it barely audible and still it has a huge effect, or you can crank it right up and whack people with StarChild’s peculiar skronk, a texture that’s sure to jump out of any mix. You can make robot voices, electro drums, techno soundscapes, all with a glorious fuzzy digital obnoxiousness that screams ‘oldest of old school hardware box’.

StarChild is $50.




Aura

AuraDemo is a universal binary Audio Unit plugin (PPC/32/64 bit AU, for Mac) for dialing in the sparkle or sonority of a sound. It gives a kind of presence peak never done before in software, along with attenuation past that peak. Defaults to natural tone, or exaggerate it for hype!

Here’s how it works, and why you can’t do this by using the same response curve (seen in the video) on any EQ, digital or analog, no matter whose it is.

Aura’s not a complicated peak-and-notch maker, doesn’t operate with normal EQ algorithms or even ‘analog modeled’ EQ algorithms. It’s almost a Purest-line plugin. The ‘circuit’ being done in code is very simple and involves very few operations, much like a high-end preamplifier that works using very few discrete components. The operations it does do, however, increase the richness and sonority of ALL the sound, not just the stuff around the ‘aura’ voicing.

It averages out the rate of change OF the rate of change OF the waveform, and then lets you blend that result with the dry signal. That’s it, but nobody else has this (it would be extremely obvious if they did). One possible reason is the algorithm’s tricky? It took some real hacking to get it to act right as you adjust the voicing control: it doesn’t automatically work like a DSP cookbook EQ algorithm. I didn’t even know what it would do until I got the thing working and started to experiment.

Why’s it called Aura? Because using it, you get to wipe out information above a certain highlighted frequency (it’s sample-rate dependent so the voicing will tend to emphasize the highest reaches of whatever sample rate you’re using) but KEEP the information if it’s legitimately part of a waveform. Aura only keeps harmonics, and throws out noise and garbage. And it’s a very finely tuned cutoff, a real scalpel for singling out specific overtones. It does in a very simple algorithm what would take dozens of poles of DSP filter to not even do, and makes it sound amazing.

Consider that for a moment. How could you tell a steep lowpass, ‘get rid of only the stuff that’s not part of the harmonics of my waveform, okay? If it’s part of the big waveform, please keep it kthx, otherwise axe it. Oh, and give me a really steep notch over that because I want to take a nasty overtone out, but I don’t like the sound of really high Q digital EQ so leave that plasticky tonality out please. Oh and one more thing. Please run zero latency so I can track into you’.

You can’t, regular EQ (especially digital) tends to show the strain when you make it do crazy things like that. Regular digital EQ is better off doing broad cuts very cleanly. But Aura isn’t even an EQ algorithm, it’s something much simpler and this is what you get out of it: by its nature you get this tendency to hype and retain harmonics of musical waveforms, that’s at the heart of what it does. By its nature it does potentially extreme things without sounding overprocessed because it’s not overprocessed: it’s very simple in design. And it’s zero latency, just to drive home how different it is from typical plugins. It provides definition and intensity/sonority of tone beyond any EQ, for this one common EQ-like behavior.

The video shows it working on sounds from a Korg synth, such as strings and piano and banjo, but did you notice it’s also on my headset mic? To evaluate what Aura means to you, I’d advise grabbing the (Audio Unit) demo and trying it on sounds you normally use. It ought to be killer on any sort of vocals, particularly if there’s a high presence peak that’ll work for the sound. You can increase the voicing and bring it down into that high-middy obnoxious range that wouldn’t work for airy sounds, if your sound is darker like a piano or perhaps a bass, and it’ll refine the mids and give you loads of definition and articulation. And of course, any guitar sound, particularly heavy guitar sound, can become amazing through using Aura to dial in just the right presence peak slightly higher than the guitar speaker naturally puts out, so it extends the range while also notching out artifacts above that peak. You can get a whole range of flavors on cymbals, you can invent new sonorities for entirely digital synths… treat it as a kind of lowpassing, a very useful and common class of effect, but one that brings out your harmonics rather than dulling them and choking them off.

If I can make the same thing happen in a highpass, that will become a free update for anyone who got Aura (because it would be the most natural and best thing ever to bring Aura the ability to ‘trap in’ sounds on both frequency extremes). For now, I bring you the ultimate ‘lowpass kind of thing’ that’s technically not an EQ, but behaves a lot like one.

Aura is $50.




OneCornerClip

OneCornerClipDemo is a universal binary Audio Unit plugin (PPC/32/64 bit AU, for Mac) and one of the coolest things I’ve done in years.

It’s basically a special clipper where you can RADICALLY shape the tone of extremely distorted output without so much as touching any samples that aren’t clipped. The voicing control has a huge impact on the tone of the thing. The secret is this: once you clip, the waveform starts from where the last good sample was and begins rounding off the corner until the signal passes it going the other way. This means high frequency stuff gets well damped down, and it means you can reinforce low bass under conditions of super-obscene hyperclipping.

Then, exiting the clip, you get one perfectly sharp corner (much like if you were lowpass filtering a square wave). Hence, OneCornerClip. The corner becomes part of the waveshaping and stops sounding as much like digital clipping, because there’s only one per wave rather than two, and it’s in a more regular spot rather than being pairs of corners spaced at arbitrary intervals.

That part is true even for massively oversampled clippers: they’re still producing corners that are irregularly spaced depending on how far into clipping you went. OneCornerClip doesn’t do that, so it sounds like LOUD! not like plugin clipping. It feels like you’re cranking some physical device up, but without altering any sample that’s not clipped, without any kind of convolution or EQing or blurring. Clean samples are bypass, period.

For anybody who is trying to get fat EDM grooves to smash through all imaginable loudnesses forever, this is the tool. Dial in the voicing real low to bring out the kicks, you literally can’t lose kicks through smashing this thing. It depends on how you set it.

For anybody who likes taking a mix element like drums and going all NIN on them, producing an intense driving beat, this is also for you. The default voicing of 0.618 is quite good here but you can push it higher for a real aggressive rowdy top-end, or lower to produce drum-machine like effects on cymbals. As the voicing gets lower, cymbal overdrive will get more ragged and synthetic.

At very low or zero voicing settings, you get a dirty, grunged sound because you’re getting digital flat-topping but at many different output levels, never the same one. I’m pretty sure nobody else can do this yet and it doesn’t exist in anybody’s synths either. At a voicing of 1.0 you get literally raw digital clipping, nothing more: you can always hear what that’d be like, just by moving the slider.

Lastly, OneCornerClip can be used anywhere anytime: it’s very efficient, is coded ‘N to N’ so it can work on anything from mono to stereo to 7.1 surround channels (most of my plugins can do that!) and it has zero latency and zero delay. It’s like an analog device that does all this on the fly without getting bogged down in calculating and processing. Like the Purest line of plugins, it runs an 80-bit buss when it’s doing its thing, and when it’s not clipping it passes through the input value totally unprocessed, like bypassing the plugin completely. Heavily oversampled clippers can’t do that, and can’t match the rawness and pureness of OneCornerClip passing through normal audio.

I’m real excited about this one. I’m going to have a lot of fun with it, I think, and so will a lot of other people. Play with the demo and you’ll soon discover some amazing things are possible. And enjoy the video! I did! :)

OneCornerClip is $50.




ADClip5

ADClip5Demo is a universal binary Audio Unit plugin for loudness maximization. Bear in mind that CDs and Loudness War are going out of date and you don’t necessarily want loudness maximization anymore! I’ve made several versions of Righteous for aiming a mix/mastering at targets like YouTube or anywhere that applies replay gain. Though ADClip is still one of the most intense loudness maximizers around, I’m supporting it with new versions because it’s out there and still being used, not because I think it’s the future of mastering. It’s not (though it’ll still catch stray peaks exceptionally well).

However, for those of you who use it differently or still slam levels like old school, ADClip5 has some amazing new features. The big one is a popup menu that lets you audition ONLY the clipped content (turn your monitoring down first!) or the treble/bass supplementing. Because that’s only safe to adjust if you can hear it, the ‘trim’ controls are back for both those features. They default to 0.1 which is the same as before, but now you can crank the effect up ten times as high. Reinforcing clipped-off highs gets you a ‘spikey’ harsh loudness like FG-X crapping out, reinforcing bass sort of spreads the bass out. Neither one should be at a significant amount of loudness compared to the regular track, especially the highs reinforcement, but since you can control it now it’s up to you. Being able to monitor it lets you hear exactly what’s being used, which might be a precaution.

The Clip Only setting lets you quickly find a max smashing level even if your ears get fatigued from too much loud smashy: if you can hear recognizable stuff on Clip Only, it’s going to be extra ugly when you listen back later with fresh ears. If Clip Only is in constant use but you can’t make out anything more than sputtering, you’re reasonably safe.

ADClip5 still uses its special ADClip entry/exit softening to suppress digital glare when pushed hard. It now declares no latency so you can track with it as part of a zero-latency setup, but it will delay the signal by exactly one sample: I figure that’s not going to affect performance timing, and on the 2-buss it won’t affect relative positionings of tracks. We might be able to see better DAW performance when all the plugins used are declaring zero latency, so I’ve made this change. For use in submixes and places where you’re smashing tracks with a clipper to get specific tones, I recommend looking at the new plugin OneCornerClip, which is more of a waveshaper and delays zero samples. ADClip needs to soften the exits from clips, so it can’t do that.

ADClip5 is $50.




Righteous3

Righteous3Demo is a universal binary Audio Unit plugin for the 2-buss, and it is the first and only plugin that can do loudness maximization on YouTube AFTER they put in their ‘replay gain’ function.

And it does it perfectly honest and legit, too, by delivering what Google wants: but optimized. It was originally designed to force people to mix dynamically, at a lower target level than YouTube’s -13db RMS. (it’s now adjustable, so if they change it you can retarget!)

It was originally designed as a final output stage for targetting Pono, so it has an Airwindows fancy wordlength reducer set to 24 bit for such use (or any 24 bit export). It uses Naturalize out of Ditherbox, which is a $50 value already. It also includes a simplified version of Airwindows ADClip 4, without the techniques for sneaking clipped bass and treble energy back into the sound, and without the fancy bypassing when not actively clipping. That’s okay, all we really need is to soften the onsets and exits of clipping energy (most obvious at 44.1 or 48K)

And now with Righteous3, you can morph between the tighter, more well-behaved performance of Righteous2 and the luxurious bloom of the original ‘mix everything super quiet’ Righteous, with the Asymmetrical Bloom control! Turn it up to get more lushness and bass warmth, cut it back to rein in things if you’re pushing Righteous3 a little harder.

And finally, Righteous3 has opened things up to all sorts of workflows, not just the super-idealistic focus of the original Righteous! Use 24 bit to produce your hi-res output. Switch it to 16-bit and output CD-optimized audio using the same Naturalize dither (exclusive to Airwindows). Or, set it to 32 bit and get the same noise shaping to the CoreAudio buss that all the Purest series of plugins use, so you can use Ditherbox or ADClip or literally any other mastering-type plugin you wish! The stuff Righteous brings to the table is too important to restrict it to just one workflow. You can have everything Righteous was designed to be, or you can swap in anything else you like!

By the way, just because you CAN use Righteous3 to maximize YouTube loudness (no matter what they change: just target the RMS level they want you to hit) doesn’t mean you should. -13db is by no means obnoxiously overloud, but you can still allow for more open and dynamic sounds. You might like them! -13db is probably your best bet for not having your balances altered by YouTube, though.

Righteous3 is $50.




Gatelope2

Gatelope2Demo is a universal binary Audio Unit plugin for the 2-buss. Sound coming in triggers a gate which sweeps two very transparent and natural filters across each other to cut off the sound. Can cut mostly treble for toms, or tighten bass on kicks and snares. Startlingly useful!

This plugin was inspired by Ola Sonmark, who continues to enjoy it many years later. It’s like an audiophile version of an envelope follower, the original purpose being to gate toms in such a way that their roundness could hang on even while cymbal bleed is being filtered away from them. I also found that you could tighten up things like kick drums by using Gatelope and cutting down the bass sustain. Or, of course, you can do both at once.

The changes are as follows. Now, Gatelope uses the 80 bit internal buss and noise shapes to the 32-bit CoreAudio buss inside the DAW. That is a very tiny increase in resolution I started doing with the Purest series of plugins. More noticeably, Gatelope2 now runs zero latency! The original version used 256 samples of latency to do the lookahead. This version instead uses an attack speed control, to suppress clicking sounds on cut-off attacks. You can also use it for sound effects, taking the front transient right off if you like! Works best (most obviously) with very aggressively gated settings.

Gatelope2 is $50, and you can have the original version (with latency and lookahead) if you buy version 2: just email and ask once you’ve got the current version.




Kit B

Kit_B is an EXS24 sampler instrument, a heavy, ambient, darker kit with tons of multisampling and a very quiet background. It’s a little more open and ringy than Kit A. Check out the video for more!

If this helps you, support Airwindows 32 Bar And Grill by paying $10 with the blue button below. If not, delete it. If you want others to try it, don’t torrent the stuff, send people here!




Kit A

Kit_A is an EXS24 sampler instrument, a heavy, ambient, darker kit with tons of multisampling and a very quiet background. It’s a little cleaner and tighter than Kit B. Check out the video for more!

If this helps you, support Airwindows 32 Bar And Grill by paying $10 with the blue button below. If not, delete it. If you want others to try it, don’t torrent the stuff, send people here!




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