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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!

VinylDither

TL;DW: Retro ‘groove crackle’ dither with fuller sound.

VinylDither

To explain this dither, I’ve got to talk about SACD (DSD) a little.

There’s a super-hi-fi digital format known as DSD (direct stream digital). It uses a sample rate in the megahertz, but not as many bits (as few as one, even!) and is tricky to work with. It’s a bit like having Class D amplifiers: those also use an incredibly high frequency switching system, and produce a clear, fluid sound that totally lacks some audio flaws.

DSD is like that. There are some things it does incredibly well, and other things it gets wrong. Notably, it’s incredibly good at delivering accuracy on deep bass notes, but it’s all over the place on supersonic frequencies and can produce a ‘splat’ of high-frequency overreaction if you drive it too hard there. The performance of DSD increases as frequency lowers. All its ugly is reserved for the super-highs, but nothing comes close in the midrange, low mids, bass and so on. That’s fundamental to how the format works: accuracy becomes a statistical pitch-related thing and the deeper you go, the more of a lock DSD has on the sonic truth.

What if it was possible to emulate this behavior in a dither? First, you’d need to use a really intense noise shaper, not just dither noise. Then, you’d have to make it have the same frequency-related thing where lows get increased accuracy. And lastly, you’d pay the same price: it’d drive the error of the system into the highs and do a lot of unpredictable, ugly things there.

Meet VinylDither! It’s the extension of an old dither I had called Ten Nines, which does exactly this. With Ten Nines I was able to get a noise floor under -200db on 16 bit audio (if I remember correctly)… but only at frequencies ten hertz and below! It also spit out loudish crackling noises at high frequencies. The experiment worked, but not everybody loved it.

However, if you weren’t paying close attention, the noise behavior was kind of like record surface noise, and that gave me ideas.

VinylDither is the result of pursuing those ideas. It’s a dither/noise shaper which completely removes the ‘steady white noise’ noise floor of normal dithered digital, and replaces it with a more crackly, surface-noise kind of sound. That’s produced from storing up error energy that would mess up your midrange and bass, and releasing it in bursts and sparks. VinylDither is the first of three dithers I’m releasing that are professional quality, boutique dithers and sonically better than TPDF. If it’s really important to you for your noise floor to be featureless and sound like white noise down there, you won’t want this. However, if you’re an analogophile and like vinyl records, you’ll instantly recognize the ‘vibe’ of this one. It does an incredibly good job at giving ‘vinyl’ clues down at the threshold of hearing (especially at its 24 bit default: use BitShiftGain to get 16 bit performance out of it, or buy the Audio Unit Ditherbox which includes VinylDither at 16 bit) but this is not a ‘sound effect’ being added, it’s the natural digital error being rearranged to get that effect.

So, if you want ‘vinyl’ effects added to your mix so it sounds like a retro vinyl record coming off the computer, this is the single subtlest way you can do that, plus you could combine it with other things (like the Audio Unit ‘ToVinyl’ which does elliptical EQ and has an amazing groove wear emulation built in) and get a completely different vibe. Wrecking your sounds with heavy overprocessing isn’t necessary! You can just pick specific things to give a more subtle vinyl feel, and VinylDither is the perfect dither choice for it. Yes, it’s got more depth and warmth and vibe than plain old TPDF (or truncation), but I think the interesting part is examining the faults of VinylDither (crackling noises, not smooth noise) and understanding how they can be turned into advantages (crackling noises OK, do not correct! As it says on my vinyl copy of Live At Leeds cooge )

If you want me to be around doing this kind of thing, please support my Patreon. If it gets to $800 a month (to live on! Airwindows is my only job and has been for a decade!) I start releasing the for-pay plugins this way, as free VST and AU. This includes Ditherbox, and ToVinyl. So that’s an exciting goal to reach for. Also, I’m considering an intermediate goal: $600, and I port everything VST to Linux VST, both what’s out already and what’s to come. Links to how one makes Linux VSTs, welcomed (I’ve already installed Linux and am setting it up to do this, but it’ll be a lot of work to do the porting, there are already dozens of Airwindows VST plugins and more are coming).

HighGlossDither

TL;DW: If you like truncation and artificial vibe, try this!

HighGlossDither

Here’s an Airwindows science experiment!

The idea here was to identify things about truncation that some people (maybe crazy people, but people nonetheless) like, and build them into a dedicated dither. This video includes extensive exploration of truncation, TPDF and flat dithers besides HighGlossDither, so there’s an educational value as well. As for audio value, the important thing to remember is that this one is designed to act like truncation in important ways… so it’s ‘broken’ and you shouldn’t use it for naturalistic things, and you probably shouldn’t use it unless you’ve ever chosen truncation instead of dither, on purpose, because you wanted the edgier, crunchier, different-textured sound of truncation for what you were doing.

If that’s ever you, this is an alternate way to get your sounds.

The deal with truncation is that it turns the fine details of your mix into a roaring, grunging mess of unnatural noise. The secret of it is, that stuff can act like some horrible sort of parallel compression. It’ll hang onto the tails of notes way longer than it should, and it’ll add intense bit-crusher-like effects to quiet sounds.

HighGlossDither uses a special, more uniform-sounding quadratic residue sequence instead of real randomness to sorta ‘diffract’ sounds into crunchier versions of themselves, and applies it at a quieter level than true dither. The result is a hybrid between dither and truncation: rather than dropping quietly into a sea of noise, quiet sounds get hyped and distorted, but they still behave a lot more normally than truncated sounds do. You get the crazy tonal hype, but a better approximation of the proper relative volume levels of the sounds. And you get a sort of noise but it’s quieter than TPDF is, and also serves a purpose of interacting with the sounds.

Most people shouldn’t like this. I’m introducing it first to get it out of the way… but who knows? Maybe you’re looking to bring out the next generation of Finnish forest psy trance, and the last thing you want is for the molecular structure of your music to sound natural. Well, HighGlossDither might be right up your alley! You don’t have to resort to truncation to have the finest details of your audio sounding weird and unreal. Take it up another level, with my blessing.

Or maybe you’d prefer your audio sounding, you know, good. If so, stay tuned :)

To support these kinds of researches, and protect my ability to be honest about this stuff (no sense trying to put this out as if it was normal!) please support my Patreon. As you can see, I’m able to try things outside the boundaries of normal commercial behavior, and because I’m not selling the plugins I don’t have to pretend they’re more generally useful than they are: if I’m trying something really strange I’ll say so. HighGlossDither is strange. Enjoy playing with it, and there’s more relevant stuff coming soon. :)

PaulDither

TL;DW: Single pole highpassed TPDF dither.

PaulDither

As long as we’re making TPDF dithers, here’s something worth noticing, and a shout-out to a great person.

In a public Facebook discussion on dither, Paul Frindle (Sony Oxford, and the DSM 2 ‘prismatic compressor’) suggested his own preferred solution, in general terms: “The one we use most is triangular single pole high pass dither. It not freq bent enough sound odd, but is slightly less audible that flat dither. It can also be easily made by taking one sample of dither away from the previous one – this gives you the triangular PDF and the filtering in one go :-) “

The great thing about this is, we don’t have to get his code to be able to do that. In fact, I’m not: I’m using a sample of dither, storing it to be the previous one, then taking it away from the next sample of dither (which is backwards from what he suggests). However, the effect is the same: TPDF single pole high pass dither.

The coolest thing about this is, it’s actually twice as CPU efficient as normal TPDF! You store a dither sample (random generation is a pretty CPU-hungry process when done properly, and it sounds better when you don’t half-ass it) and then you use it again for the highpass! So not only is it just as good as regular TPDF, it’s cheaper to use.

Thank Paul for that, not me. (though I do have some ideas about ways to tweak it: I think I can put a cancellation node right where the ear is most sensitive and make the noise ‘quieter’. Paul’s no doubt already tried this and didn’t like it as well, but hey, I’ll try it too and let you all try it, for free. Paul would know exactly what I’m proposing to do as soon as I mentioned a ‘node’, and it’s nearly as cheap to run as his highpassed dither, but not quite)

So what do you get? Well, this is still a TPDF dither, so you get mathematically correct dither that doesn’t fluctuate in volume. You don’t get ‘the Sony Oxford’ dither, because I don’t have Paul’s code. But you do get the Airwindows implementation of this general concept, and I probably have it sounding pretty good in my own right.

The tone is brighter because it’s highpassed. That makes it a quieter bed of noise, and there’s a sort of silky, not-harsh quality to it that’s nice. I think it does affect perceptions of brightness and the tonal quality of the mix, so it’s a choice, not ‘the automatic correct option’. It’ll give a ‘sound’, and focus your attention differently, towards detail and a subtle revoicing of the track. If you mix through it, your choices will be conditioned by this way of hearing (remember, use 24-bit dither like this when monitoring on a DAC that takes 24 bit input, and your 24 bit files will also match what you hear: putting dither only on mixdowns is silly and misleading)

If I was going to use just a TPDF dither, it would be this one every time, because it’s not just a TPDF dither, it’s silky and sweet and a bit quieter than the usual kind. And just as Paul told us freely what the basic concept was, so Airwindows PaulDither is free. Thanks, Paul :)

TPDF Dither

TL;DW: TPDF Dither.

TPDFDither

This kicks off a pretty big Airwindows project: porting all of my dither and noise shaping algorithms to VST for free. Technically, I have a for-pay plugin that contains them, and ought to wait for that funding goal: however, Ditherbox has always contained stuff that’s in other free plugins and serves as a convenience thing, so I can reserve that and let people have the stuff that does the work.

Oh, and Naturalize: that one’s neither a dither nor a noise shaper, and it’s the best of all, and was formerly available ONLY in Ditherbox, which was a specialized tool that sold in very small numbers. So, I’m sitting on something pretty explosive, and you’ll have it well before Christmas unless I get hit by a truck :) then, you can hear all your new goodies for 2017 better than you’d ever imagined, because all these work at 24 bit for high-res file making and monitoring through great converters that take 24-bit audio.

But I digress (because it’s exciting to be doing this). Back to TPDF Dither.

TPDF is the industry standard technically correct boring dither. It does nothing strange or interesting, makes no effort to optimize the sound in any way (generally if you make it better for something it’s worse for something else: even Naturalize only has a limited amount of output bits to work with.)

TPDF uses two sources of noise to make what’s called a Triangular Probability Density Function, which gives it its name. If you had only one noise source, you’d get what’s called flat dither (I’m not offering that, but it’s in Ditherbox, along with truncation.) When you only have one noise source (at the correct volume, which is one bit wide) you get dithering and sounds correctly transition into silence instead of going insane with grating gnarlyness (which is what happens with truncation, anywhere and everywhere it happens) but with only the one noise source you get an effect where the noise level flutters and shifts depending on what the audio’s doing. I demonstrate this in the video, it’s quite noticeable.

With the two noise sources, TPDF transitions sounds into silence, and still keeps a totally unvarying noise profile. In a very real way, this is more analog-like. All analog circuits get some noise, and all analog circuits let sounds drop beneath that noise exactly like TPDF dither does.

That’s not to say it’s the only choice you can have for dithering: I’ll be offering up different ways to dither for weeks, each with their own interesting sound signature. I’m just saying, for what it is, TPDF dither works extremely well. If you don’t have good reasons to use something fancier, or you want something guaranteed to work on everything in any situation, TPDF dither’s the one for you. Airwindows TPDF dither is a nice high-resolution well-coded implementation, one that does the truncating for you so you can compare it (for instance, with BitShiftGain like in the video) but it’s also exactly the same as any other properly done TPDF dither out there. There’s no fancy tricks, it’s just the boring but useful TPDF dither.

I guess there are a few Airwindowsy things about it but they’re not sound quality related. If you’re using the AU on Macs, it’s ‘N to N’ meaning it works on quad and 5.1 channels automatically, and is more efficient on mono channels. And just like all the Airwindows dithers that are coming out, it is 24 bit only and has no controls. That means if you want 16 bit you could get the AU Ditherbox, wait for it to be ported to VST, or use two copies of BitShiftGain that I just released. (I’m discouraging emphasis on 16 bit because I think it’s obsolete and should be deprecated.) This also means if you’re using TPDFDither as intended, it’s a ‘non-fiddly’ plugin that won’t distract you. There’s no window, no GUI, no reason ever to open it in the DAW: if you’ve placed it in the correct spot you can see it there (clearly marked TPDFDither) and that’s all you need to know.

Making plugins that simple and self-effacing is a very ‘Patreon-supported‘ thing to do. When you have to sell plugins to stay alive as a company, you’ve got to keep them in your users’ faces and distract people to make them think about you, lest you be forgotten. This competes with the creative urge and gets in the way. Making plugins that are ruthlessly minimalistic to the point of being almost not there, is the opposite. Your music has to be the focus, so the plugin has to have the goods sonically but also be non-fiddly, because it’s sort of ugly and boring and not fun to play with.

I continue to delight in the latter. Let your music be the focus. Hope you enjoy TPDF Dither, and expect a lot more plugins of this nature, as fast as I can reasonably release them :)

BitShiftGain

TL;DW: The ‘One Weird Trick’ perfect boost/pad, with a catch!

BitShiftGain

Just when you thought we were done with gain…

In order to support the next set of Airwindows plugins, which are dither plugins both common and bizarre, here is one final trick for clean gain aficionados.

Turns out the only way to get cleaner gain trim than PurestGain, with its high mathematical precision and noise shaping… is not to do any of that. No fancy math, no noise shaping or dither. Just a very narrowly defined boost or cut, in the form of a ‘bit shift’.

Doing this means your waveform is scaled up or down by increments of 6 dB exactly. No 3 db, no 9, no 7 or even 6.001! Only 6 or 12 or 18 and so on, up or down. Select the number of bits you want to shift, and BitShiftGain applies the exact number, not even calculating it in floating-point through repeated operations: from a look-up table to make sure it’s absolutely exact and precise.

And when it does, all the bits shift neatly to the side inside your audio, and whether you lose the smallest and subtlest or gain up and fill it in with a zero… every single sample in your audio is in exactly, EXACTLY the same relative position to the others. Apart from the gain or loss of the smallest bit, there is literally no change to the audio at all: if there was a noise shaping, it would have nothing to work with.

Perfection, at exclusively increments of 6 dB. That’s the catch. You probably can’t mix with gain changes that coarse (though it’s tempting to try!) but here’s what you can do: you can take 24-bit dithers, gain down 8 bits in front and 8 bits up after, and have a perfect 16 bit dither. Or a 17 bit, if that pleases you… or shift 16 bits down so you can hear what your dither’s noise floor acts like (we’ll be doing lots of that when I start bringing out the dithers). +-16 bits of gain trim is a very big boost or cut. The overall range of BitShiftGain is huge. But the real magic of BitShiftGain is the sheer simplicity of the concept. Provided your math is truly, rigorously accurate and your implementation’s perfect, gain trim with bit shift is the only way in digital (fixed OR floating point) where you can apply a change, and the word length of your audio doesn’t have to expand, AND every sample which remains in your audio continues to be in exactly the same relation to all the others.

Digital audio is like some crystalline structure: it’s fragile, brittle, and suffers tiny fractures at the tiniest alterations. There’s almost nothing you can do in digital audio that’s not going to cause some damage. But as long as you stick to 6 dB steps and rigidly control the implementation (BitShiftGain doesn’t even store the audio in a temporary variable!), you can chip away at that least significant bit, and the whole minutes-or-hours-long crystalline structure of digital bits can remain perfectly intact above it.

BitShiftGain is free, of course. It’d be weird even to consider charging for a position on every DAW’s fader. But if you like knowing that I’ve brought you a refined and super-strict version of this magical perfect-gain trick, as AU and VST, and especially if you’ve learned something through it, please support my Patreon. My job is working out this stuff and bringing it to you in plugin form, even (or especially!) if it seems like not the most commercially trendy plugin ever seen. Your job is to pitch in a buck a month (or more if you like) and find other people who can spare a small totally voluntary contribution, and keep ME on the job. :)

PurestGain

TL;DW: High-res noise shaped gain, with smoothed fader.

PurestGain

Marking the 200th plugin in Airwindows’ ‘AU’ category (not perfectly accurate, but yay anyhow) is PurestGain, in VST-enabled form!

What’s to explain? It’s a gain utility. :D

No, seriously, that’s what it is. Here’s why some folks are a fan of this plugin anyway, even though every DAW has this as a utility plugin, plus the DAW faders built in.

Firstly, gain is processing. When you apply even a simple gain change, it expands the word length of your digital audio out to arbitrary size. PurestGain comes from a set of plugins I did to experiment with the extremes of digital audio accuracy. You might think digital audio is automatically accurate, but that’s far from the truth. We hear degradation in the resolution domain as flatness, cardboardy-ness, and it’s cumulative. I don’t think anybody can hear the difference between PurestGain and a DAW utility gain plugin, when just a single plugin is in the signal path… but it’s cumulative.

Also, you can’t be sure that a gain plugin is truly minimalist. If a plugin takes in floating-point audio of great quietness, and multiplies it by 1.0… that’s a math operation that can force the result into the same floating-point ‘level of resolution’ as the 1.0. Floating-point is treacherous, and the damage done is still very subtle but again is cumulative.

PurestGain takes the input audio and does the gain processing at ‘long double’ resolution. It then noise shapes the result back into the DAW audio buss, whether that’s a 32 bit buss for normal VST and AU, or a double-precision 64 bit VST buss, if available. The result is an ultra-high-precision gain plugin that refuses to lose any audio quality. It’s the plugin equivalent of using switched attenuators with precision resistors in a mastering console, rather than potentiometers.

There’s one more trick PurestGain has up its sleeve: a second control especially for fades. The trouble with DAW faders is that they must serve two masters: they’ve got to adjust smoothly and avoid zipper noise (crackling while you move the control, most clearly audible if you get a low-frequency sine wave going and then manipulate the control) but they’ve also got to snap instantly to a position if asked. The second slider in PurestGain runs in series with the dB gain control, but it functions very differently. One way to resist zipper noise is to have the gain smoothly ramp between volume settings, and that second control is designed for human-performed gain rides. Map the fader on a control surface to it, do your active mixing, and PurestGain will smooth every fader motion until it’s as fluid as any real-world analog console: try it with sinewaves and see how flawless the result can be.

That’s a surprising amount to say about a gain plugin, but that’s Airwindows for you :)

PurestGain is free. The way I get compensated for these plugins, after a decade of commercial work, is through Patreon. Why? Because it’s that important to me to put working, useful, high-quality plugins in the hands of musicians and producers. Back in the day when I got started, people were getting paid and were able to pass that along to software and hardware makers. I think people should keep getting good tools whether or not the industry’s really thriving well enough to support it, so Patreon is my choice: when enough people hear about it, the cost of me doing this work can be spread out among so many people that it’s not a burden. Also, it’s steadier than the boom-and-bust economics of releasing individual plugins for $50, which tends to force you to only release really mass-market types of plugins, and pander to only what’s most popular.

Distance

TL;DW: Sound design or reverb far-away-izer.

Distance

Here’s another utility plugin: Distance is specifically set up to mimic through-air high frequency attenuation. It’s from my initial wave of Airwindows plugins, come to VST and with a new twist: though in the video it’s a one-knobber, when you download it you’ll find that it’s got a Dry/Wet control, just to expand the things you can do with it. That’s new! I try to listen to people, even when it’s tempting to make it a super-dedicated one-trick pony.

As you can see from how it behaves, Distance is a lot more complicated than just running a shelf. For that reason, I suggest this plugin for sound design and creative mixing purposes. Don’t try to use it for mastering or 2-buss, I feel it’s too intensely colored. However, for creative use it’s exactly what it says on the tin! Stick it on anything that’s supposed to ‘read’ sonically like it’s super far away, and you’ll be able to hear for miles and miles. Works on anything from pads to thunder to basses to reverb returns (I suggest using it on reverb returns rather than sends: it will be able to add thunder and size to the output of the reverb algorithm)

Distance is free, AU and Mac and PC VST: if it’s useful to you, rather than pay $50 to own it or something like that (you already own it! enjoy! <3 ) you should instead go to my Patreon and support that. My hope is that it continues to grow steadily as more and more people discover what I’m doing. If you can’t deal with putting a digital leech (a benevolent one, that I get to eat later! OK, ew, never mind that analogy) on your credit card or don’t have a credit card, I want you to use my plugins anyway, and get the word out to other people who might be able to join my Patreon with no trouble or concern. The whole point is to spread it out so much that I’ll be okay, but no one person feels burdened by the cost. So get the word out! The point where I’m doing pretty okay is the same point where I start porting the Kagi commercial plugins for free: around $800.

SurgeTide

TL;DW: Surge and flow dynamics plugin.

SurgeTide

I’m a little distracted today (I’m an American from Vermont, which normally is a fine thing to be). And a little freaked out that the plugin I had waiting to release is named SurgeTide: I swear I named it a week ago based on what it does to the sound, never thinking it’d come out the day after a historic, er, ‘event’.

But it’s what I’ve got and it’d take a bit of work to change… and right now it means a lot to me to carry on with what I do, and have that not change. So, let me tell you about SurgeTide. This is a sort of dynamics plugin.

It comes from an experiment, where I had to find a way to make a behavior useful: SurgeTide runs on three different compression time constants stacked onto each other like the waves in an FM synthesizer. You don’t usually see a compressor work with the rate of the rate of the rate of change, because for normal sounds and time constants, the result sounds bizarre and unmusical.

BUT, it turns out if you set it up to run a very deep and slow change, like tidal forces on the mix, it can do really interesting things. You end up with a mix that seems totally uncompressed, because small variations just don’t alter the sound at all… but as the pressures of the music affect the compressor, it can ease off or boost volume.

And because the behavior’s so odd, it can react to an easing of pressure by swinging up very quickly. This behavior can be timed, sort of. You can end up with an effect that’s a little like EDM compressor pumping for effect, except it swings up to accentuate the downbeat. And not just the downbeat: a huge surge of bass underneath the downbeat. You can practically pull any degree of thump out of a track, but it’s tricky to dial in because mostly you can’t hear it working. It’s like an invisible size boost for subs.

The way to get SurgeTide working is to adjust the Surge Node until it squishes away the sound on the beat, then find the right speed for Surge Rate to work, and then back off Surge Node until it’s no longer inverting the dynamics. (unless you really want to: I’m not the boss of you.) It works really well as a subtle accentuation of mix low-end movement, giving some of the effect of a buss compressor but in an unusual and much cleaner way. Also works to subtly act as a level control and restrain dense mix moments so they can hit something like loudenation with more consistency.

It doesn’t work in any useful way on isolated tracks, particularly not staccato drum tracks: just maybe it would do helpful things with say, a lead vocal or a synth pad. Just remember that SurgeTide is for powerful, whole-mix movements rather than the usual compressor things, and that it can have effects on the extreme low bass, and build up the swing and flow of a mix. It’ll work on some things and be useless on others. I hope you like it.

I don’t feel like linking to my Patreon right now because today the important thing to me is being generous and helping people. SurgeTide, like all the Airwindows plugins, uses no DRM or copy protection and like the other VST era plugins is free. At a time when people are trying to sell you stuff that’s designed so it can be taken away if the developer or DRM decides you’re bad or a deadbeat, it matters a lot to me that Airwindows plugins can’t be taken away. Download ’em and you’re good to go, forever or until our DAWs crumble to dust. And that hasn’t happened yet, either to our DAWs or to me, so here is another free plugin from me to you, whoever you are. :)

Point

TL;DW: Explosive transient redesigner.

Point

WARNING: Point goes critical and explodes at 1:36, in the video! I turned it down -12dB in post to spare my YouTube audience (still quite loud), but you get to watch my reaction!

The one, the only! Point was introduced in 2007, just ahead of an amazing series of spatializers, analog modelers, and stompbox-style FX that consumed months of work. The curious thing is, Point didn’t. It’s one of those odd plugins that only required an idea: ‘what would happen if I did this?’, and an afternoon of coding. And ever after, it’s lived on as a mysterious and untameable plugin monster, secret weapon and mixer’s friend, always just as an obscure Audio Unit…

…until now.

You get three controls: an input trim, the Point control, and a reaction speed. Point goes from -1.0 to 1.0 and ‘dry’ is 0.0. Reaction speed goes from 0.0 to 1.0 and there’s nothing to particularly suggest where anything should be set, so I’ll tell you now, and I’ll also tell you where NOT to set it if you know what’s good for you.

For squishing off the fronts of snaredrums to make them huge, use Point -1.0 and a reaction speed around 0.166.

To spotlight cymbal attacks while rounding the drums, use Point -1.0 and a reaction speed around 0.14.

To hype up kick drum attacks and suppress the sustain in a gatey sort of way, use a reaction speed of around 0.3 and carefully add positive Point until you have the effect you want.

To blow up the DAW and kill your ears, do that and crank Point to 1.0, then stop the transport, and then start it up again with Point still at 1.0…

That’s your warning. Point is kind of like a ZVex Fuzz Factory or some such mad hardware device: the range of settings DOES include ‘out of control’, and it’s such a simple ‘circuit’ that it does little to restrain things when you Go Too Far and operate it in a state that will explode. It won’t just do it out of nowhere, but don’t make it transition between ‘off’ and Point 1.0: even if you have the fader buried, it can still clobber you.

The reason I leave behaviors like that in there, in a plugin like Point, is that some people will want the full range of Point’s output, and will be following it with something to manage Point’s outbursts. If you’ve got it surrounded with plugins to tame it, I want you to be able to use Point settings near or at 1.0, and if you set it near that, you’ll immediately hear how intense it’s being so it won’t come as too much of a shock to discover it’s become an unstable isotope of transient destruction.

:)

Also, I don’t always mention this, but all my new Patreon-supported plugins are created as AU, Mac and PC VST. All the Mac ones are compiled to run on at least 10.6.8 if not earlier, and run on 64 bit Intel, 32 bit Intel, and 32 bit PPC (yes! PPC!). The PC VSTs contain 32 and 64 bit versions, and will certainly work as far back as Windows 7 if not earlier: I’m not sure how far back you have to go to make these not work, but I’d be curious to find out considering that the AUs run on PPC Power Macs!

Also also, no subscriptions or DRM. EVER. That has never changed and won’t ever change. Patreon doesn’t count as a subscription because it can’t take the plugins back from you, which all true subscription based systems must be able to do (even if it means hacking the heck out of your poor DAW).

Point doesn’t count as hacking the heck out of your poor DAW. It counts as blowing UP your poor DAW if you set it to explode on startup. :)

I don’t intend to make blow-up-your-DAW plugins as a regular thing, but if you want to support and sustain the person who thinks up algorithms that literally explode like no math ever should, you should sign up for my Patreon. I’m looking to use it in such a way that I can earn a living doing my work while never asking more than about $12 a year from anybody (compare to $50 a year, if you bought just one Airwindows plugin each year). That said, people do pledge more, from $2 to $20 a month as they feel comfortable doing. (to some, $20 a month is not too much to ask for hundreds of the best plugins)

Drive

TL;DW: The angry overdrive!

Drive

If you know how to use Airwindows Density, you know how to use this. It’s exactly the same layout, except that it doesn’t go to negative values: this one’s just for slam.

Why bother with such a similar plugin? Because of the tone!

Density gets a thick, full, fluid tone because it’s got a super-smooth transfer function. In fact it’s the theoretical optimum distortion transfer function for having no grit or crunch: it ‘hides’ the distortion very well.

Drive hides nothing. It’s all about grit and crunch, not smooth. Go ahead and try it and see. If your sole purpose for an overdrive plugin is to make stuff ‘big and fat and thick’ then you want Density. But if you’re reaching for a distortion because you have some sound, a bass, a snaredrum, and you just want to make it sound ANGRY: not so much fat or forward or gritty or edgy, but just plain straight up pissed off… then you may want to have Drive around.

It does have the highpass, the output trim, the dry/wet just like Density does. That means it can be adapted to different contexts. But the sound remains the same: angry overdrive, a real nasty bark. Neither too smooth, nor too edgy and trebly. Drive will work on pretty much anything you want to make really mad, and the ease of getting that tone color will make you the opposite of mad. :D

Drive is free. That means you don’t have to support my Patreon to have it, nor do I consider you less-than if you are broke and can’t afford to do that, or if you just don’t like the plugins. I’m doing this to support the musician community, and because frankly everybody’s broke these days and I understand. I’m in an unusual position because I’m not sure it’s that possible to start doing plugins and get ten years of experience experimenting around and learning, anymore: to make it in business now you’ve got to confine yourself to what sells super-well, which is very limiting. I got to be Chris from Airwindows by releasing literally hundreds of plugins over the years, most of which didn’t make sales. Things were different then: a $50 plugin was considered really cheap. Heck, I started at $60! It’s kind of like the music business in the Seventies, there was this historical moment where you could learn by doing, and get good enough without being constantly in danger of going bust if the latest plugin/record tanked, or if you took on over-costly projects.

Things are different now, so Drive is free. I owe it to the industry that’s given me a career and a bunch of awesome and inspiring friends, and somebody’s got to be looking after the interests of the musicians, DJs and producers, because it’s the same with them: only the most mercenary will even see any income, and if I want to see people able to invent new and cool music, it’s MY job to give them the tools with which to do so. I’m certain there are enough of them to eventually build up the Patreon. My job is to get people the tools, and I’m enjoying it more than ever. :D

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