June 15, 2014

I Downloaded This Amazing Free Plug-in, And You Won't Believe What Happens Next...

by Chris Randall

I'm experimenting with clickbait-style post titles. Other audio blogs appear to be testing the waters with this information abortion, so I figure "hey, why not join the crowd?" How am I doing?

Anyhow, this is just a general info-dump of goings-on in my little corner of the world.

1. Unless you live under a rock, you know about the Eventide freebie, UltraChannel. I actually wouldn't normally bring it up here at all, as even though the Eventide guys are BFFs of ours and make stupifyingly good plug-ins (and even better hardware), their plugs are iLok only. However, as a result of a UI contract I'm currently doing, I had to install and tame an iLok. (And, god forbid, PT11.) Since I have one now, I was all "fuck it" and furthermore "whatevs." And got myself an UltraChannel. (And all the other Eventide native plugs while I was at it.) I'll say this much: UltraChannel is almost worth sucking it up for iLok. A fantastic, creative channel plug that is light on the CPU, yet extremely capable. If you have an iLok, or are thinking about buying one of those little buttplugs, here's where you get the Ultrachannel; use coupon code 0F736710. It'll be like $249 or something in a month or two, so if you're gonna do it, do it now.

2. Just in case you think I might have changed my mind or am in any way endorsing it, fuck PACE and fuck iLok.

3. I'm pleased to report that my schedule, which was a bit hairy there for a while, is returning, slowly and surely, to its normal lazy, meandering ways, which means I'll be able to finish off the Audio Damage DRM Removal Event, and also bring the next Audio Damage plug-in to the finish line while Adam flails about in his Code Hole whipping Sequencer 1 in to shape. It was a little ridiculous there for a while, but I've cleared a majority of the nonsense now, and am back to being my usual self.

4. And finally, a question: what constitutes an "album" these days? Throughout my (first) career, I was all 10 SONGS OR BUST but the idea of a complete record seems to be slipping through the cracks in favor of a burst mode kind of release system. I tried this out a couple years ago, by pooping out 4 of what our oldsters call "EPs" in a row, and it was somehow... uh... unsatisfying? Even without physical media, there's just something about a cohesive chunk of music that is more visceral, at least to the maker. So my general takeaway: it is far easier to come up with 5 cohesive songs than 10, and the consumer seems to be indifferent. My forthcoming release that I'm just finishing up now is 10 tracks, but I'm left with the lingering impression that I should strip it to a pair of 5-track releases. Thoughts?


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Jun.18.2014 @ 7:29 AM
Chris Randall
I was thinking more along the lines of "23 Screenshots Of Astounding Old Music Software (Check Out #6! You Won't Believe It!)"

Basically, any power word that starts with "A" (amazing, astounding, astonishing.)


Jun.18.2014 @ 7:41 AM
Someone at FACT Magazine just gasped to a coworker "Guess who just exposed our best tricks."

Jun.18.2014 @ 9:40 AM
I prefer LP length albums (~44min) to CD length albums.

Jun.18.2014 @ 10:44 AM
@CR: Sounds like MusicRadar click troll bait!! But I do get misty eyed when I see screenshots of Opcode etc.... but memory is highly reconstructive... but your current headline "did" create clickbait for me, but you had me at ratschack...

NO UAD type dongles please! I've watched a producer partner of mine pay himself through 4 or 5 generations of that stuff... And it appears their latest clusterfrag is amazing with the new powermacs...

btw: i took me until NOW (a friend had to show me) that you did some/all of the gui on IRIS, had no clue. Nice work. I tried the demo way back and while loved the concept, didn't spend as much time with it in the middle of a project in the demo period to embrace it. Now seeing wonderful things coming out of it.... underrated for some reason, as it combines so many things simple and evocatively and is pretty butt easy to use... Does Izotope consider it a popular item?

Jun.18.2014 @ 2:39 PM
Chris Randall
Iris is doing quite well. Can't say any more. But yes, I did the UI for Iris, and RX3 and Trash2, as well.


Jun.18.2014 @ 4:26 PM
The Beta Band made one of the greatest albums ever recorded. It was called the 3 E.P.s or something. It sounded like one big epic album, but was in fact, 3 of their earlier E.P.s repackaged. Maybe it was their idea or their record company's I don't know, but it was pretty much 'second album syndrome' for them after that.

It didn't sound incoherent or disjointed, it sounded as if that was the plan all along.

The Album is one thing and the E.P. is another. They are distinct artforms. I have almost exclusively worked in the E.P. domain as my stuff has never been released. It has helped me focus and really come up with something special. Very very few albums hold my attention all the way through, but I suspect that is because I have Attention Deficit What was I saying?

Hell, I can hardly get through a whole track without finding something to whinge about. Maybe it's my OCD or the notorious 'Producer's Curse'. Who knows. I love the E.P. format and it has not been exploited enough in my book.

I even bought one of the Micronaut E.P.s

I was over the moon. The artwork was just right, and the music was spot on. Varied, yet within a theme, but not meandering too much. I aim to grab a few more.

As for Pace/iLok. I will be giving it a miss with this freebie. I am a big fan of older plugins, but I already have a few channel strips of my own. Time is the most precious thing we have. That and health. I have plugins that I have bought that I have not even had time to install yet. But, Pace/iLok are the enemy. The sooner they die a death and are no more, the better.

So nobody has cracked the latest Cubase? Well, in a little while, maybe, I don't know, we will see 'OVERALL' interest in that, as a program, wain? Studio One? Ableton? Logic? When they stop talking about you behind your back it's time to worry.

Pace/iLok have abused their position as a monopoly. I will not buy any software or use even FREE software that makes me have to do something that validates their existence. Or the companies that use them. Sorry, it's just how I feel. I will continue to favour companies with reasonable protections. I will buy their software. We are more than spoilt for choice these days. I am already set up for life with all the software I own. No, I don't trust you, and I won't jump through your hoops, iLok!

AudioDamage removing the DRM is just another step in the right direction. Damn these kiddies are on a roll. Pretty soon, there'll be no stopping them!

Jun.18.2014 @ 5:24 PM
As a musician I like EPs, but as a consumer I am more likely to buy albums. I think a fairly short (33 minutes-ish) album is a good compromise of "long enough to call an album, and not so long that the artist or the listener loses focus." I don't have time to sit around at home and listen to albums, I am listening while driving, mowing, or at the gym...and I like to listen to a set "order" of music, ie: complete albums, versus just hitting the shuffle button.

Maybe I've just been really lucky (?) but I have ran my iLok on at least 3 different Windows and Mac based computers over the last 8 years without a single glitch. I've also never lost it, ran it through the wash, etc... Yeah its expensive relative to the manufacturing cost...but my understanding is that in this type of product (like say...the software it is intended to protect!) the cost has very little to do with the physical medium involved and more to do with their costs to create and maintain the whole thing. For the initial cost of the thing for me, its really hard to argue with the value of it working every day for that period of time, makes for quite a low cost of ownership IMHO.

Jun.18.2014 @ 8:21 PM
I'm one of those folks for whom iLok/PACE is an instant no sale, but I admit I'm probably not in your target market. I mess around with music and sound design as a hobby. I never expect to make money from this, and I 'm not even that interested in sharing it with the world at large. I do this to relax and unwind, and to exercise parts of my mind that maybe don't get used all that much in my day job. I've been burned in the past on a couple of plugins that used iLok/PACE, where install problems meant that I never used the software (unless I felt like downloading a cracked version of said software).

Ultimately, a software manufacturer using iLok/PACE is asking me to trust a third party whose entire business model is based on making the software not work unless X happens. I don't need any extra hoops to jump through just to do something I enjoy.

I'm also surprised no one has mentioned the fact that iLok/PACE don't really stop software from being pirated. I just checked, and was able to find cracked copies of Soundtoys and H3000 Factory after the most cursory of searches. What exactly does iLok/PACE actully get you as far as protection from piracy goes? Do they reimburse you if your software gets pirated despite their copy-protection?

Jun.18.2014 @ 9:48 PM
Chris Randall
I think we can accept as a given that almost all software is pirated almost as soon as it is released. Once we accept that, and that we can't do anything about it, our goal becomes to shower people that _do_ pay for software with hugs and kisses, and ensure we create more of those.

While, of course, withholding hugs and kisses from the crackin' masses.

Ain't nothing to it but to do it.


Jun.20.2014 @ 5:14 AM
Ooh. Dave Smith has an AEVerb in his Eurorack. Nice. (And I want a Pro2...)

I'd be quite happy with an EP; or even just one, amazing track by itself.

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