Below you will find my two favorite pieces of gear I picked up in 2016. One is an instrument & the other an effect.
Drum roll please…..
My Favorite Instrument of 2016
The instrument is, hands-down, Exhale by Output. After just a couple sessions with this kontakt instrument I had 6 tracks started that seem like they will lead to finished songs. That is incredible. The ability to generate incredible sounding and unique sounds and loops using modulated and mangled vocals so easily makes me very impressed.
Though, I did also pick up Serum, and I do love me some Serum… 🙂
Get Exhale by Output – PIB/Exhale
For years, vocal instruments have provided a way to portray the sound of a real live singer or choir in a track. In speaking with music makers, Output found the number one frustration with vocal instruments was that nothing was modern, or in line with today’s current records, film scores and sound design. That is the world of EXHALE.
Key Ingredients in the Development of EXHALE:
- Top producers recording real singers (no session musicians) and a choir.
- 25 Sound Designers tweaking for 6 months for the perfect sounds.
- Sounds crafted with endless analog and vintage gear, tape machines, vocoders and more.
- Engine built from the ground up with industry leading modulation, tempo synced FX, pitch shifting and more.
- An immense focus on musicality.
The powerful engine features three distinct modes: Notes for chromatic playing, Loops for looping vocal elements, and Slices for sliced vocal phrases. Quickly find and customize your sound on the Main page using 4 Macro sliders, or dive deep into modulation, mixing and effects on the Engines page. With over 500 presets, many of which include full banks of loops and slices, there’s literally a world of starting points to help you be creative.
My Favorite Audio Effect of 2016
This was a bit harder of a decision. I got a ton of Audio Effects this year and most of them are awesome at what they aim to do for one reason or another. That makes it hard. How do you decide between a reverb and a compressor when they are trying to do different things?
Well, what I did was took stock of what I was using the most. What has found its way into my normal workflow.
The answer? The Tube-Tech Classic Channel Strip by Softube. Specifically the CL-1B Compressor, but when you have a stack with the EQs with it things just end up sounding better. When I need compression I always start with the Tube-Tech. To be honest, I got the gift of being able to use all of Softube’s plugs for a job I did… and I really love them all. Seriously, the output from their devices is outstanding, to say the least!
Get the Tube-Tech Classic Channel Strip – PIB/ClassicStrip
The Classic Channel is not your everyday channel strip, with a surgical equalizer and fast bus compressor. The Classic Channel is a vintage style and warm sounding channel strip put together from the most famous and classic Tube-Tech gear: The “Pultec” equalizer PE 1C, the mid-range equalizer ME 1B and the tube driven opto compressor CL 1B.
With the two Pultec-style equalizers you can shape the sound of a track, a bus or a mix within seconds. The highs sound smooth and gentle, the mid-range airy and focused, and the lows full and fat, almost at any setting. Add the final touch with the CL 1B compressor, versatile but with a distinct personality. Forget about precise and minute tweaks with 0.1 dB read-outs. The Classic Channel is about the good sound, and the way to get there is easy. Just turn the knobs and you’ll see.
Combining the three units in a single plug-in makes adjustments easier, as you will often find that the compressor affects the equalizers and vice versa. By default, the sound passes the equalizers before the compressor, but you can easily put the compressor first with a single switch.