Recording - June 2016 - 44

ears!) are to be believed, this is a very fast, aggressive and grabby compressor.
On vocals the soft knee works best, but the Look Ahead control takes a bit of
adjustment to find the best settings. I will admit that after using the Advanced version I found Finality Lite a bit limited; for the small difference in price, I don't see
why one wouldn't spring for the whole package.
There is a fantastic video manual/introduction online at the Joey Sturgis Tones
website. Although I hadn't heard of this company before, I found Finality a very
impressive introduction and a bargain at this price. There are other plug-ins available from Mr. Sturgis, and I am very much looking forward to checking them out
in the future!-PV

Audio Damage Basic
$39; www.audiodamage.com

It doesn't matter if you're a novice just getting into analog synthesizers, or if
you're an expert who's been living and working with them for years. Sometimes
all you want is a synthesizer that's great-sounding and easy to program and use,
without an overwhelming number of bells and whistles. We're talking about the
sort of straightforward design that pretty much everyone can use at some point or
another... and it's surprisingly hard to find.
Lots of DAWs have built-in "simple" virtual instruments. In almost every case,
they may sound great, but they're not really what the doctor ordered. Either
they're oversimplified and rely on calling up presets from a huge library, or the
DAW maker's idea of "simple" involves all kinds of features that are usually
buried in a user interface that looks gorgeous but indecipherable. Help?
Audio Damage to the rescue! Basic, the newest software synthesizer from Chris
Randall and Adam Schabtach of "the world's most l33t plug-in maker" (and
designer of Eurorack synthesizer modules in the hardware world as well), is an
inexpensive and easy-to-use analog-style virtual synthesizer with everything you'll
need for a variety of straightforward synth sounds, and nothing else. Oh, and it
sounds great, too.
Basic was originally developed after a conversation with a music educator, who
bemoaned the fact that there were simply no analog synth plug-ins out there that were
well designed for teaching synthesis-everything was either too simple, too complex,
or too slavishly devoted to "looking just like the real thing" (i.e. a hardware synthesizer like the Minimoog or Korg MS-20) to be a good teaching tool. Basic, designed to
be easy to learn and take in at a glance, is wonderful not only for students but also
for any recording musician who wants to be able to see what a patch is doing at a
glance, with no hidden menus, subpages, popups, contextual controls, or hovertips.
Check out the screenshot. What you see is what you get, and what you get is
plenty to make all kinds of fantastic sounds. There are three oscillators, each with
44

RECORDING JUNE 2016

six available waveforms: triangle, saw,
narrow/square/wide pulse, and an interesting "digigrit" waveform sampled from
an unidentified 1980s wavetable synthesizer. There's also a white noise source,
glide control, and the ability to hard-sync
the waveforms of OSC 2 and/or 3 to
OSC 1. Detuning is displayed numerically,
up to ±1 octave.
Then there are two filters in series, each
highpass, lowpass, or bandpass, with resonance control that will self-oscillate beautifully if cranked up. From there, the signal
goes through a Dirt module that adds a bit
of harmonic distortion and EQ control, and
finally the amplifier.
Modulation is provided by two ADSR
envelopes, one for the filters' frequencies
and one for the overall loudness, and an
LFO with four shapable waveforms. The
Amp envelope is velocity-sensitive and can
retrigger with every keypress or work in
legato mode; the Filter envelope is always
legato. The LFO can control the pitch of
any or all oscillators or the overall loudness. It can sync to your song tempo in
your DAW if desired, and can be controlled with the mod wheel or aftertouch.
And that, as they say, is it! The center of
the plug-in window has an animated display that shows the current state of both
envelopes and the LFO in real time; touch
a key and watch the envelopes open and
close, and get visual feedback of what the
LFO is doing. It ties what you hear to
where the controls are set in a very intuitive way-a great learning tool.
Basic is monophonic, and it delivers a
wide range of analog sounds from polite
and sweet to powerful and aggressive. The
filters are based on the MS-20 paradigm
and are appropriately raunchy-sounding
when required and deliciously smooth
when not. The modulations are easy to use
and very straightforward-setting up patches, or tweaking one of the 48 included
presets, is a breeze. There's practically no
CPU load, either... I was able to load 20
instances of Basic without breaking 20%
CPU usage in Live 9.6 on my dual-core i5
MacBook Air.
I found myself using Basic pretty much
everywhere. It's so easy to program and
sounds so lovely that it became my go-to virtual analog synth on a variety of tracks and
mixes. It stacks with itself amazingly well, so
building polyphonic tracks gave beautiful
results. The Dirt function is surprisingly subtle
with many waveforms, and while real purists
might gripe at the fact that there's a hidden
soft limiter on the output that holds signals
below -2 dBFS, I personally love the fact
that I know Basic's not going to blow anything up when I'm in a hurry.


http://www.audiodamage.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - June 2016

Contents
Recording - June 2016 - Cover1
Recording - June 2016 - Cover2
Recording - June 2016 - 1
Recording - June 2016 - 2
Recording - June 2016 - 3
Recording - June 2016 - 4
Recording - June 2016 - 5
Recording - June 2016 - Contents
Recording - June 2016 - 7
Recording - June 2016 - 8
Recording - June 2016 - 9
Recording - June 2016 - 10
Recording - June 2016 - 11
Recording - June 2016 - 12
Recording - June 2016 - 13
Recording - June 2016 - 14
Recording - June 2016 - 15
Recording - June 2016 - 16
Recording - June 2016 - 17
Recording - June 2016 - 18
Recording - June 2016 - 19
Recording - June 2016 - 20
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Recording - June 2016 - 28
Recording - June 2016 - 29
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Recording - June 2016 - Cover3
Recording - June 2016 - Cover4
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