Recording - December 2010 - 12

Sonnox Oxford Reverb $400 native, $980 TDM; www.sonnoxplugins.com Convolution reverbs have been the toast of the town ever since Yamaha and Sony released their $10k-plus hardware units over a decade ago. As computers got faster and stronger, the allure of being able to place individual tracks and complete mixes inside Allaire Studios or even the Grand Canyon has made many engineers forgo—or forget—the artistic value of using “artificial” reverbs. No one ever thought that the spring device in a Fender Deluxe Reverb produced a “true” sound— it just sounded cool! Same with the old plates, and when Lexicon was perfecting its hardware devices their products were being used to open up the sound of snare hits, for example, rather than convince the listener that he or she was sitting in a specific environment.

No mix engineer, save perhaps the one who deals exclusively with classical recording, should be without a traditional reverb device. In the convolution era, hardware boxes continue to be built, and they still have their advantages. If you’re an all-in-the-(reverb)-box aficionado, the Oxford Reverb is worth considering and highly recommended.—GE

Abbey Road Studios RS 124 Compressor Plug-in $335 Native, $560 TDM; www.abbeyroadplugins.com Kevin Ryan and Brian Kehew, the authors of Recording The Beatles (Curvebender Publishing, 2006), consider the EMI RS 124 Altec Compressor to be the “Secret Weapon” of the Beatles engineers. One of the holiest of grails in Abbey Road Studios’ hallowed halls, the RS 124 was used on every Beatles session. While historically referred to as the Altec, it was so customized by EMI’s engineers that it was really its own unique beast with unique functions and sound. Today at Abbey Road Studios, only three original functioning units are known to exist, and serial numbers 60050A, 61010B, and 60070B are each imbued with their own sonic quirks. Lucky for us Abbey Road Studios has released all three variants in its latest product, the RS 124 Compressor Plug-in. It’s available as a TDM plug-in for Pro Tools|HD system, and as a native plug-in for RTAS, VST, and AU hosts on Mac and Windows. Like most vintage compressors, the RS 124 is a simple input/output or push/pull style compressor. The harder you push signal into the compressor, the more it gets compressed and boosted, and the output was used to attenuate the signal back down to the input level, rather than provide makeup gain as on a modern compressor design. The Altec’s original attack and release times were fixed and on the slow side and EMI’s initial modifications were to gently speed up the attack and add a 6-position recovery (release) knob. This last mod also included a unique Hold function in between each of those 6 settings. When engaged it would grab the recovery time and hold it in its last position to avoid the unnatural buildup and noise of quiet passages of music such as decaying notes and fade outs. Slightly later, a balance control and priming button were added to the unit to keep the valve circuits in alignment and lessen the phasey rumbling of low frequencies. This balance button, when held down,

Over the last several years a number of companies have released reverb plug-ins that provide the sound sculptor with tool sets that provide the jumping-off point for sound design as well as models of traditional spaces. Let’s take a look at Sonnox’s Oxford Reverb.

In addition to the Input section and an equalizer tab that opens up to reveal five band controls (great for deconstructing environments), the Oxford Reverb sports independent control sections for both the Early Reflections and Tail. Four Shape buttons affect the sound in ways that are palpable, even though I didn’t completely understand how they work. Tailoring the size of your reverb, including its width and front to rear placement, is straightforward and quite helpful, particularly when you want to place an individual track or track group in its own space. Building a sound field from scratch can be daunting, so the presets—well over 100 of them—are a welcome addition. Drum rooms, concert halls, and quirky spaces like “Box,” suitable for post production, are included. Studying them is a tutorial in the potential of this application.
12
RECORDING DECEMBER 2010

would return the release back to zero, and could therefore “prime” the unit at the beginning of quiet passages to avoid the initial pumping effects of fast transient sounds. All of this has been retained in the plug-in, and in keeping with their tinkering tradition, the current Abbey Road Studios techies have chosen to add a special faster/louder—i.e. more modern—setting which is engaged by clicking on the unit’s fuse cover (it’s known as Super Fuse mode). In use the RS 124 is pure vintage goodness. It is on the slow side, loves to be pushed hard, and is the sonic equivalent of smooth, thick butter. While each unit has sonic variances, they are subtle and subject to taste. Each one works its own magic on almost any source. It is especially suited to bass guitar, drums and the 2-bus, and Super Fuse mode adds a nice edge and aggression to electric guitars, rock vocals and room mics.


http://www.sonnoxplugins.com http://www.abbeyroadplugins.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - December 2010

Recording - December 2010
Fade In
Contents
Talkback
Recording’s 2010 Holiday Gift Guide
Theme Music for TV—A Production Report
Royer Labs R-101 Ribbon Microphone
Recording SFX—A Career Option?
Primacoustic IsoTools
Avenson Audio IsoDI
Getting Your Music Heard In Today’sCommercial Culture
Preview: Yamaha AvantGrand
It’s Your Music—Know Your Rights.Chapter 9: Trademark Basics
Sonoma Wire Works GuitarJack Model 1and FourTrack 4.0.1
Readers' Tapes
Advertiser Index
Fade Out
Recording - December 2010 - Recording - December 2010
Recording - December 2010 - Cover2
Recording - December 2010 - 1
Recording - December 2010 - Fade In
Recording - December 2010 - 3
Recording - December 2010 - Contents
Recording - December 2010 - 5
Recording - December 2010 - Talkback
Recording - December 2010 - 7
Recording - December 2010 - Recording’s 2010 Holiday Gift Guide
Recording - December 2010 - 9
Recording - December 2010 - 10
Recording - December 2010 - 11
Recording - December 2010 - 12
Recording - December 2010 - 13
Recording - December 2010 - 14
Recording - December 2010 - 15
Recording - December 2010 - 16
Recording - December 2010 - 17
Recording - December 2010 - 18
Recording - December 2010 - 19
Recording - December 2010 - 20
Recording - December 2010 - 21
Recording - December 2010 - 22
Recording - December 2010 - 23
Recording - December 2010 - 24
Recording - December 2010 - 25
Recording - December 2010 - 26
Recording - December 2010 - 27
Recording - December 2010 - 28
Recording - December 2010 - 29
Recording - December 2010 - 30
Recording - December 2010 - 31
Recording - December 2010 - 32
Recording - December 2010 - 33
Recording - December 2010 - Theme Music for TV—A Production Report
Recording - December 2010 - 35
Recording - December 2010 - 36
Recording - December 2010 - 37
Recording - December 2010 - 38
Recording - December 2010 - 39
Recording - December 2010 - Royer Labs R-101 Ribbon Microphone
Recording - December 2010 - 41
Recording - December 2010 - Recording SFX—A Career Option?
Recording - December 2010 - 43
Recording - December 2010 - Primacoustic IsoTools
Recording - December 2010 - 45
Recording - December 2010 - Avenson Audio IsoDI
Recording - December 2010 - 47
Recording - December 2010 - Getting Your Music Heard In Today’sCommercial Culture
Recording - December 2010 - 49
Recording - December 2010 - 50
Recording - December 2010 - 51
Recording - December 2010 - 52
Recording - December 2010 - 53
Recording - December 2010 - 54
Recording - December 2010 - 55
Recording - December 2010 - Preview: Yamaha AvantGrand
Recording - December 2010 - 57
Recording - December 2010 - It’s Your Music—Know Your Rights.Chapter 9: Trademark Basics
Recording - December 2010 - 59
Recording - December 2010 - 60
Recording - December 2010 - 61
Recording - December 2010 - Sonoma Wire Works GuitarJack Model 1and FourTrack 4.0.1
Recording - December 2010 - 63
Recording - December 2010 - Readers' Tapes
Recording - December 2010 - Advertiser Index
Recording - December 2010 - 66
Recording - December 2010 - 67
Recording - December 2010 - 68
Recording - December 2010 - 69
Recording - December 2010 - 70
Recording - December 2010 - 71
Recording - December 2010 - Fade Out
Recording - December 2010 - Cover3
Recording - December 2010 - Cover4
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