September 20, 2007

And they're off to the races... Fluid now available...

by Chris Randall

As the title says, Audio Damage Fluid is now available. (Adam pointed out that "Fluid release" is a little bit unnerving. So was "Liquid release.") In any event, if you like chorus, you'll like Fluid. We will literally guarantee it. US$29.00 brings it home. Product page at the AD site.



Sep.20.2007 @ 9:00 PM
brandon daniel
crankin' 'em out. I'm really loving liquid, BTW, it's got a great tone.

Sep.20.2007 @ 11:11 PM
You also used the words "crap" and "cleans the floor" in your marketing spiel. Fluid release indeed.

"works better than your juno 60 chorus, bitch." would have also been good.


Sep.21.2007 @ 10:24 AM
:-) Got IT (-:
I'm a compulsivebuyerofcheapbutgreatsoundingplugins!

Sep.21.2007 @ 10:53 AM
beauty pill
At my studio, we are Audio Damage "subscribers." We'll buy anything you guys make, the day it comes out. We're fully onboard.

And Fluid is a great addition to the catalogue. Thank you!

This one makes me wonder why a good chorus sound has, previously, been so elusive?

Chorus seems like such a simple thing to implement in software. I mean, people are doing much wilder, crazier stuff with sound design, but for some reason software chorus is always terrible. You're totally right about that. But why?

It's baffling, considering that the concept of chorus is so simple. Or am I wrong about this?

- c


Sep.21.2007 @ 11:48 AM
Adam Schabtach
Thanks, everyone, for your kind words and your continued patronage. We really do appreciate it.

beauty pill: it's a good question, and we don't know the answer. I have a theory: lots of people don't know what a good chorus sounds like. I don't mean to be denigrating when I say this, but consider this hypothesis: lots of plug-in users and plug-in makers have not heard really nice hardware chorus units. They have no point of reference. Hence plug-in makers build blah-sounding choruses based on the simple concept that you allude to. Just about every book on music-related DSP will describe chorusing as a simple one-delay/one-LFO process, so many plug-in makers will code that up as their chorus plug-in, listen to it and figure that's what it's supposed to sound like, and leave it at that. End-users hear the result, go "bleah!" and move on to some more interesting-sounding plug-in. Thus it becomes a vicious circle: people who buy plug-ins have lost interest in chorusing because they haven't heard it done well, and people who sell plug-ins haven't tried to make better ones because they don't perceive a demand for it.

Another observation: good chorusing is often a subtle effect. It's not like delay or flanging that really leaps out at you. Everyone who has heard a professionally engineered rock/pop CD from the 20th century has heard chorusing, and yet they might not recognize it as such. Often chorusing just makes something sound better, and you might not even know it's there until you turn it off again.

Also, I'll submit Fluid as proof that while the _concept_ of chorus is simple, the _implementation_ is not. Fluid isn't simple inside, and it took several design iterations followed by several tweaking iterations before we settled on something we both liked. (E.g. I'd hand a new version to Chris and he'd say "well, you fixed the parameter problem I told you about, but the previous version sounded more spacious" and so I'd try to restore the spaciousness I'd somehow lost while fixing the problem.) Its internal structure is not based on any existing design; it has similarities to other chorus algorithms--I mean, nobody works in a vacuum and of course I examined existing respected chorus designs while designing Fluid--but it's got tricks of its own. Of course, if I may be so bold as to say so, it also has some of that Audio Damage secret sauce that makes our stuff sound so tasty.

So, long story short: as CR put it, we don't know why other software choruses sound bad. We just set out to make a good one. We're happy with it and we hope other folks will be, too.



Sep.21.2007 @ 12:35 PM
Chris Randall
For what it's worth, I'm of the opinion that a lot of software engineers aren't musicians, so, as Adam says, the book goes "here's how to make a chorus" and they do, and that's that.

I'll use the StudioChorus in Cubase 4 as an example. That plugin has 18 controls on it, versus the 5 on Fluid. No matter what I do, and I'd like to think of myself as fairly competent in these matters, I can't get that plugin to sound good. Why is there tempo sync? For that matter, why are there two tempo syncs? Chorus is an effect that doesn't need sync of any sort. WTF is "Spatial"? Why are there two separate mix controls? Why is there a switch to change the LFOs from sine to triangle? There's no real difference in actual application between a triangle and a sine.

That's just the sort of thing that annoys me. You compensate for the fact that your algorithm doesn't work very well by putting on a control for every single parameter in that algorithm, and blinding the customer with so many options that he thinks he must be doing something wrong.

If we gave a knob for every possible parameter of the 9 delays, four LFOs, and numerous filters in Fluid, it would look like this:

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But there would still be a very narrow range of settings in which it sounded "good." So we just remove all that nonsense from the equation. If you have the time and the patience, you can certainly build some monster ChorusZilla in any number of programs (Reaktor and Plogue Bidule come to mind) which will fulfill that need. But what's the point? Let's save some time and just allow it to be modified within the "good" range, right?



Sep.21.2007 @ 1:23 PM
no op
This is a great plugin. I am really loving these last two plugs, I'm a big fan of the simple-but-sounds-great school of effects (cheap price is nice too!)... which is probably why DubStation is your other plug that I use the most.

Previous to this, the UAD Roland plugins were the only choruses I was really happy with. They are fantastic, but were modelled after specific hardware effects with very, very limited controls. Fluid strikes an excellent balance between too many controls and too few, while sounding great which is of course the most important part.

I'm looking forward to the third in this trio... (I think you said there'd be three?)


Sep.21.2007 @ 1:30 PM
Chris Randall
Yes, there will be three. The third one will be more conceptual, rather than being based on a specific thing, though. It'll be called Vapor. Adam is taking a well-deserved break for a week or so, then we'll get down to it.



Sep.21.2007 @ 5:44 PM
beautiful. nicely done once again, boys. can't wait for the next one (and i still have to catch up on a couple of the others as well)!



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