Recording - December 2010 - 24

PSP Audioware PSP 85 Delay Plug-in $149; www.pspaudioware.com This little virtual toy is all about strange. First, it’s strange that in the highly saturated world of plug-ins, most of the development and face time goes to an endless sea of compressors and equalizers—by comparison, time-based and modulation effects seem to be either fewer in number, taken less seriously, or both. Stranger still, most of the existing time-based effect plug-ins rarely move beyond vintage recreations of time-honored delay, chorus or phaser units. While these are cool, it’s also refreshing to see a company like PSP Audioware continue its trend of multi-effects plug-ins whose inspiration, while rooted in vintage effects, pushes beyond into the truly unique. Meet the PSP 85, which is an updated and slightly redesigned version of the well-respected and now venerable PSP 84, which was itself an outgrowth of the Lexicon PSP 42, the authorized reproduction of Lexicon’s classic PCM 42 delay line. We reviewed (and loved) those plug-ins in June 2003.

At its core, the PSP 85 is a plug-in representation (VST, RTAS, and AU, for Mac and Windows, 64-bit ready) of an old-school rackmount-style digital delay unit with dual lines of delay (1 second max) and controls such as LFO, speed, wave shape, sensitivity, and phase inversion. These parameters allowed a rack delay like the PCM 42 to be a delay unit as well as a chorus, a flanger, or a slapback echo/doubletracking machine, all in one. The PSP 84 had all these features, DAW-friendly modern additions like BPM/host tempo sync, and more esoteric accoutrements such as a harmonic drive section, a VCO, and even a simple yet effective reverb with a choice of spring or plate emulation. In its new incarnation, the PSP 85 adds two new features to this arsenal along with a tweaked front panel design. The first new feature is ducking, which allows you to set a threshold so that the effect is only triggered when said threshold is reached or exceeded. This creates the possibility for cool rhythmic and stylistic variations that only sound on loud phrases and beats. The second new feature is a full-on filter section just like that of an old synthesizer, complete with cutoff, resonance, and a choice of low-, high-, and bandpass filtering. The PSP 85 offers unique inline and post routing configurations as well individual channel tweaking, so at some point reading the manual is a good idea. To get you going, however, the PSP 85 comes with 60 factory presets, and none of them is “ordinary”! This plug-in is a sound designer’s dream as well as a great mangler for any modern mix needing some cyberdelic melting. While the PSP 85 owes its lineage to delay and multi-effects units of the bucket brigade ‘80s, it adds just the right amount of new features to be equal parts strange and wonderfully musical.—PV SM Pro Audio Q-Series Audio Tools $99.99 each; www.smproaudio.com; dist. in USA by MV Pro Audio, www.mvproaudio.com SM Pro Audio recently updated its Q-Series, a collection of basic studio tools in a convenient half-rack form factor that’s perfect for traveling musicians and studios short on space. The Q-Series units all share the same solid metal chassis design and offer affordable functionality. For my review, I received the Q-DI, Q-Pre, and Q-Amp.
24
RECORDING DECEMBER 2010

The Q-DI is a 4-channel DI and line mixer with level and pan controls, a ground lift switch and a –20/–40 dB pad per channel. Each channel has discrete XLR balanced outputs on the rear panel, and a single stereo unbalanced output on RCA sums all four inputs together. The stereo output and individual level and pan controls make the Q-DI ideal for keyboard players. Each input can be individually fed to a mixer or interface while the stereo output can be used to monitor all inputs in a stereo mix. A headphone jack and level control on the front panel provide easy access to quick monitoring. The mix level settings don’t affect the XLR outputs, so monitor mix adjustments don’t change what’s sent to the main board. In use the Q-DI performed just as expected with plenty of level for most situations. I did have a bit of trouble getting enough level out of an active Tobias bass, but the signal was certainly usable. Admittedly, this particular bass usually takes quite a bit of gain to come alive. For other sources such as keyboards there is plenty of clean usable level. The controls on the Q-DI are well laid out and allow quick adjustments without fumbling around. The build quality of the unit is good with a nice metal casing that stacks nicely on top of other Q-Series units (or you can rack them side by side with an optional adaptor). The Q-DI is probably not the right choice for guitar players since it lacks instrument pass-through outputs, but for direct to DAW recording it works like a charm. Keyboard players looking for a clean DI that won’t break the bank won’t go wrong with the Q-DI. The Q-Pre is a basic 4-channel preamp in half-rack form. A simple layout and control set make for a very friendly work experience. The front panel has 4 XLR inputs with individual knobs for gain and a simple LED peak indicator for each channel. The rear panel is similarly sparse, with four 1/4" balanced outputs, a grounding lug, and two switches for phantom power (switchable in banks of two). I put the Q-Pre through its paces on a variety of drum, guitar, bass, percussion and vocal tracks, with a handful of mics. The Q-Pre delivers plenty of gain and I rarely had the input turned up past 12 o’clock even with a modern ribbon mic. The Q-Pre doesn’t have a particular “sound”, but it delivers a clear noise-free signal. The sparse singleLED metering might be bothersome if you’re accustomed to watching


http://www.pspaudioware.com http://www.smproaudio.com http://www.mvproaudio.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
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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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