Recording - September 2015 - 46

PLUG-IN OUTLET
Toontrack Rooms & Verbs
and Lo-Fi EZmix Packs
by Mike Metlay

It's always fun to try out the newest offerings for Toontrack's
EZmix. For the uninitiated, EZmix is a plug-in that's designed to
be strapped across any track, group, or master bus in your DAW
to provide overall mix shaping and tweaking. As is the case with
Toontrack's famous EZdrummer rhythm software, EZmix is
designed to be quick, almost foolproof, and wonderfully musical.
In EZmix, you use the built-in browser to select appropriate
mix chains based on criteria that you can choose to display:
effect type, instrument or instrument group, genre, and so forth.
You click on a preset, adjust the input and output levels so
you're not clipping, and turn the two provided knobs (each of
which controls one or more parameters of the effects in the
chain in a musical way) until you hear what you like. It lets you
get solid and truly usable results very quickly.
For example, let's say that you've got a metal mix with thundering drums that you want to bring across with power and precision.
You add EZmix to your drum subgroup, jump into its browser, and
select Drums as your instrument and Metal as your genre. EZmix
suggests Metal Drum Bus. Adjust the two knobs (in this case,
EQ/Compression and Tape Saturation) and you're good to go.
The whole point of EZmix is that in these effect chains, which can
have as few as one or as many as a dozen effects in serial and
parallel arrangements, the two user controls are preset to give a
range of musical results, and the rest of the process is hidden under
the hood. That gives you speed and efficiency when you work.
It also means that individual effect parameters aren't directly
adjustable by the user. If you want to expand your options and
go deeper into a particular type of mixing, then you can add
one or more appropriately-created EZmix Packs of your choice.
We've reviewed a bunch of these EZmix Packs in the past; the
catalog is now up to a whopping 33 titles, with emphasis on
particular genres (Reggae, Alternative Rock, and a whole
bunch of Metal variants), sound sources (Lead Vocals, Bass),
applications (Mastering, Songwriter's Tools), or even famous
producers (Chuck Ainlay, Randy Staub).
This time around we're giving a listen to two new EZmix
Packs: Lo-Fi, which offers heavily processed effects to add grit
and grunge to your tracks, and Rooms & Verbs, which specializes in ambient spaces for buses or mixes. Note that both of
these Packs require EZmix 2; they won't run on the original version of EZmix.
Lo-Fi
The term "Lo-Fi" conjures up visions of broken gear, old and
dusty equipment that doesn't quite work properly any more, or
simply the best-quality audio one could manage in a bygone
era when it was cool to wear polyester and your choices were
LP or 8-track tape. Those can be powerful associations; sprinkle just a touch into a mix and it can work real voodoo.
In this EZmix Pack, we're treated to 50 presets involving anywhere up to seven effects at a time-tape saturation, bit reduction, vinyl crackle, hum and hiss, distortion, amplifier modeling,
and more. Each preset is designed to evoke a particular sort of
"lo-fi" experience, with imaginative names to guide your choices: Broken Tube, Humming Vinyl, 12-Bit Verb From Tape, On
The Phone, Bitcrush That Bass....
46

RECORDING September 2015

A fair number of the presets have suggested applications for guitar
(nasty amps and broken stompboxes), vocals (telephone lines, crackly old records), drums (bitcrushed fuzzes, oddly-filtered tape hiss), and
bass (there are so many ways to mess up a bass amp!). By and large,
though, your imagination's the only real limit, and you may well find
that an effect originally designed for vocals might work wonders on a
piano track. Add to that the fact that at least a few of the presets evoke
the "lo-fi" vibe with tube warmth and analog sweetness rather than outright distortion and grit, and there are even more possibilities.
The Lo-Fi Pack won't appeal to everyone. It's very much aimed at
musical styles where dirtier is better-rock, punk, alternative, even
some kinds of EDM and Hip Hop. But if you're interested in giving
your mixes a touch of something unusual, attention-getting, and
maybe even a little scary, you'll want to give this Pack a hard listen.

Delivery: Web download
Format: EZmix Packs of models and presets for EZmix 2
Copy Protection: online challenge/response code
License: can be added to any registered and activated
install of EZmix 2
Documentation: online web description
Prices: $49 each (require EZmix 2, $179)
More from: Toontrack, www.toontrack.com


http://www.toontrack.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - September 2015

Contents
Recording - September 2015 - Intro
Recording - September 2015 - Cover1
Recording - September 2015 - Cover2
Recording - September 2015 - 1
Recording - September 2015 - 2
Recording - September 2015 - 3
Recording - September 2015 - 4
Recording - September 2015 - 5
Recording - September 2015 - Contents
Recording - September 2015 - 7
Recording - September 2015 - 8
Recording - September 2015 - 9
Recording - September 2015 - 10
Recording - September 2015 - 11
Recording - September 2015 - 12
Recording - September 2015 - 13
Recording - September 2015 - 14
Recording - September 2015 - 15
Recording - September 2015 - 16
Recording - September 2015 - 17
Recording - September 2015 - 18
Recording - September 2015 - 19
Recording - September 2015 - 20
Recording - September 2015 - 21
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Recording - September 2015 - 24
Recording - September 2015 - 25
Recording - September 2015 - 26
Recording - September 2015 - 27
Recording - September 2015 - 28
Recording - September 2015 - 29
Recording - September 2015 - 30
Recording - September 2015 - 31
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Recording - September 2015 - Cover3
Recording - September 2015 - Cover4
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