January 19, 2007

NAMM: Oxford Native...

by Chris Randall

I have a kind of a love-hate thing going on with Sony. Their consumer electronics division is really fucking annoying, and pretty much everything I've ever bought from them has broken at some point and needed to be replaced. Their music division continually inflicts terrible shit on an unsuspecting (and somewhat stupid) public, and is one of the leading lights of the "let's sue our customers" method of business. They're also the ones that thought it was a cool idea to deliver a payload of spyware when you tried to import your CD, and in the process broke a lot of people's computers.

Now, do the sins of the fathers pass on to their children? Dunno. I've mastered dozens of records using CD Architect, and still use it. Vegas is a fantastic cheap NLE for video. And the Oxford plugs are some of the highest quality plugins you could ask for. And now they're native. UB AU ships immediately, with VST around the corner. Expensive as shit. Quite frankly, I don't think I'll be buying them, but this is large-format-console quality EQ and dynamics, for sure, as both the EQ and compressor are lifted directly from the excellent OXF-R3 console. Info at KvR.



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Jan.19.2007 @ 12:09 PM
I am pretty sure that all the software from Sony that you like was from companies that were bought out by Sony. So they aren't so much Sony products, as they are Sony-branded products.

Jan.19.2007 @ 12:10 PM
Chris Randall
You're right about that.



Jan.19.2007 @ 12:31 PM
The KVR post says that the plugs are 'based on' and 'modelled after' their counterparts in the R3... so I'm actually not so sure if they'll be as good...

The R3's DSP was specifically designed for the console, so a simple re-compile of the code for x86 might be very CPU-unfriendly?

I expect them to sound good, but I wouldn't expect them to be the same :(


Jan.19.2007 @ 1:09 PM
have you seen the add-on plug in for the DUENDE ?
I was kinda looking into Oxford's transient plugin, which isn't ready yet for AU but now this drumstrip might be a nice replacement...
although not sure since the DUENDE wasn't a cheap solution and the plugin is about the same price as an oxford plugin.
Isn't sony oxford ILOK ?

there should be an introductory price of : ?127 + tax
after that 150 pounds.


Jan.19.2007 @ 1:38 PM
Adam Schabtach
I think that the Sony Oxford plugs are Sony products, no? I mean, didn't Sony build the consoles from which they are derived? SoundForge and Vegas were done by Sonic Foundry; CD Architect may have been also.



Jan.19.2007 @ 1:45 PM
Yeah, CD Arch and the Batch Converter were both SF apps.

There was an interesting article in Wired a while ago about how Sony is basically a company at odds with itself. That the technology branch has all the assets and the technology to do whatever with media content (as seen in a lot of the Japan-only Sony products), while the content branch is trying to lock itself off from these same technologies. Interesting in a trainspotter sorta way.


Jan.19.2007 @ 2:02 PM
Chris Randall
FWIW, Sony aquired Oxford in much the same manner as Sonic Foundry.



Jan.21.2007 @ 10:50 AM
mike kiraly
i have two racked powercore firewires just so i can run my oxford plugs. the eq is the best in-the-box solution for basic, everyday use (the uad neve 1073 being my first pick for an in-the-box eq for special occasions). i have tried almost every native and dsp card audio unit plug-in and i always always always come back to the oxford.

the oxford dynamics is also something that i use multiple instances of in every single session. again, a great everyday dynamics strip. my only complaint there is that there isn't any signal sidechain functionality. and i hate to say it (because i can't stand when someone uses a non-quantifiable parameter definition), but the "warmth" knob actually does impart some nice characteristics on the signal.

i also own the trans mod and inflator, and although they don't get used every day, they have come in handy many times.


Jan.21.2007 @ 12:10 PM
Chris Randall
If I might ask a question...

I've been putting off buying a FW PoCo because I've heard that I can't run at low latency with my audio card when it is in use. Is this true? What buffer size do you run at, and do you have to change it for recording v. mixing?



Jan.21.2007 @ 3:19 PM
mike kiraly
Of course you can ask a question - it's your blog!

I run a dual 2.5 Mac G5 using 2 PoCo firewires, 2 UAD-1's, and 2 Motu 828 mkII's with all synths, external fx boxes, and mic's coming in throught the 828's - no external mixer.

As you would imagine, to optimize this system, I run my buffer at the max (using Logic, that's at 1024 samples). And of course, that means that because of the dsp boxes, that's doubled to 2048. and by the way, this system is completely stable - I rarely, if ever experience a crash.

Now, hopefully I won't elicit a ton of booing and hissing when i admint this, but my studio's main cash product is dance music that relies very little on live playing. But when I do need to play something in live or record something in the room, I have several workarounds.

1. As you mentioned, change the buffer. This takes about 30 seconds and diesn't require any sort of opening/closing of the session, so it's not a hassle to me a small price to pay to use things like the UA Neve plugs and the Sony Oxford stuff. If I am far into the project and already have plugs instantiated from any of the dsp boxes, then this is obviously not an option. So....

2. The 828's cue mix functions are a godsend - as mentioned above, all of my hardware synths and fx and mic pre's are going straight into one of the two 828's. It takes 10 seconds to send any of those inputs straight to the monitors or phones and bypass the buffer all together. Of course, this does mean that I will have to manually realign the recording when it hits the arrange page in Logic, but I usually start each take with a loud and clear count in played on the synth, drum, voice, etc. Helps line up the performance quickly.

Probably not for everyone, but most of my production life is spent on processes like sound design and mixing which don't get hindered at all by having my buffer the size of a small canyon.


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