HENRY-Q - GERMANIUM INDUCTOR EQUALIZER
HENRY-Q GERMANIUM INDUCTOR EQUALIZER is part of the brand new MetaWare series of Acqua/Nebula libraries for N4 by SoundDrops. It is essentially an equalizer entirely based on real inductors, and as such it could be described as a 'tone-color' processor, rather than a transparent one. Yet, many different responses can be achieved using its versatile sections; if a cleaner tone is needed, the pre-amp stage (the first offender as far as the aforementioned tone-coloring is concerned) can be bypassed at will.
HENRY-Q includes 2 filters, 4 eq sections and a transformer-coupled germanium stereo pre-amp stage.
• Both the High-Pass and Low-Pass filters have a 12dB/oct. slope with a continuous frequency control; they also display a unique feature, rarely found in other devices: a continuous Resonance control that adjusts the amplitude of an additional peak located near corner frequency, from 0 to a maximum of +3dB. It's a very effective sound-shaping tool.
• The equalizer section includes 4 cells: a Low Frequency shelf, a Lo-Mid and a Hi-Mid bell eq (each with two selectable bandwidths) and finally a High section, switchable between a shelf or bell curve.
• Finally, HENRY-Q's stereo germanium pre-amp stage is essential in producing the typical sound texture of a real inductor equalizer. Its main feature is that its THD-Total Harmonic Distortion value (i.e. its propensity to generate overtones) is heavily dependent on frequency, just like real transformers/inductors do. It's a kind of response that gives weight to the lower range and at the same time makes bass-heavy instruments more present and distinct in a mix, even on smaller speakers. Being sampled in stereo, it subtly widens the soundfield image as well.
MANTIS PWM compressor, the first creation by SoundDrops
MANTIS is part of the MetaWare product line (see below) and models a device that was expressly designed and built with the creation of a N4 library in mind. Its sonic behavior has been especially optimized with a view to produce a program that could replicate all its desiderable musical features, yet without the inevitable drawbacks of the analog realm, such as unwanted distortion, noise, lack of repeatability, etc.
MANTIS PWM compressor is characterized by an extremely wide knee and a uniquely engaging musical action that always seems to 'bounce' along with the signal in an inspiring and complimentary fashion. Mantis can morph from almost invisible all the way to downright sonic abuse. It can act quite fast, since the minimum attack time is 0.1 mSec, still it always seems to mantain a certain musicality with its transparent and forgiving attitude… Unless it is set to “Nuke”, that is. The rightmost position of the Ratio control can produce a negative compression action that in a way reminds the well known All-Buttons-In setting of the 1176-type devices.
MANTIS comes with a streamlined, clear 2D GUI and includes two programs: the regular one, precisely MANTIS, and an external side-chain enabled one, MANTIS_SC. In this case, the sidechain signal must be sent to inputs n. 3 & 4, as is the norm with Acqua/Nebula compressors.
MANTIS started as an experiment just out of technical curiosity, but eventually the way this circuit worked and sounded made it worth of being sampled and offered in a convenient N4 library format.
MANTIS will surely find its place of honor in many mixing and mastering chains.
Fully functioning 30-day trial version available here.
Scrolling down any of these pages you can find the manual in the download section, at the bottom of the page.
Please note: as is the case with all Acqua plug-ins, also trial and commercial versions of Mantis aren't presently compatible.
If you plan to buy Mantis after testing the trial version, you'll have to manually transfer all your settings to the former from the latter. For this reason it is advisable to:
- buy the commercial version before the trial period expires or
- save a screenshot of your settings (or alternatively write them down).
...F for filters ... F for FREE!
HENRY-F - INDUCTOR-BASED RESONANT FILTER
HENRY-F INDUCTOR-BASED RESONANT FILTER is a free offering by SoundDrops, as an introduction to its bigger brother, Henry-Q.
It includes a High Pass and a Low Pass filter which are entirely based on real inductors. Essentially it is the filter section included in HENRY-Q (which in addition includes 2 filters, 4 eq sections and a transformer-coupled germanium stereo pre-amp stage).
Both the High-Pass and Low-Pass filters in HENRY-F have a 12dB/oct. slope with a continuous frequency control; they also display a unique feature, rarely found in other devices: a continuous Resonance control that adjusts the amplitude of an additional peak located near corner frequency, from 0 to a maximum of +3dB. It's a very effective sound-shaping tool.
One of the advantages of Acustica’s technology is that it allows to design and build processors whose realization would be quite impractical in the analogue domain. HENRY-F is a case in point, in that it includes a couple of inductor-based filters which offer a continuous control both for frequency and resonance, with a constant and predictable action throughout the range.
Henry-F is available for free here
Please note: all Acqua libraries released by 3rd party developers such as Henry-Q and Henry-F are loaded as programs inside N4 (formerly known as Nebula4) or N4Player.
The free N4Player can be downloaded here
or, even better, it can be installed through the assistant application Aquarius, available here.
MetaWare – Augmented Reality Acqua Libraries
MetaWare = Beyond the Hard/Software. A series of Acqua/Nebula libraries for N4 by SoundDrops based on an innovative concept. Proprietary hardware processors are specifically conceived, designed and built from the ground up with the creation of N4 libraries in mind.
Great care then is taken during the sampling and deconvolving process. Thanks to Acustica’s innovative technology, each aspect of the device’s behavior (frequency and phase response, harmonic and dynamic action and so on) can be separately sampled and then reassembled in an optimized form. The final outcome is a series of extremely clean and noiseless vectors, as it is easily apparent from the resulting response plots.
This procedure allows the creation of virtual machines that would be plainly impossible (or, at least, extremely unpractical) to build in the real world; a series of consistent and dependable digital processors that yet retain all the great sonic traits of real world analog hardware, down to the tiniest detail.
Handcrafted Acqua/Nebula Libraries
In my childhood years, while playing a toy guitar along a copy of Sgt. Pepper on my turntable, I knew exactly what I wanted to be: I imagined myself as an audio electronic engineer who played some music with his friends in his spare time. Things eventually evolved the other way round. Today I am a teaching and performing acoustic bass player who, in his spare time, still loves to tinker with electronic components, exploring the many ways in which they can beautifully shape any type of music thrown at them.
Few years ago I was lucky enough to meet the guys at Acustica Audio, an innovative Italian software house who are redefining the meaning of the term 'Plug-In' in the digital audio scene.
Their approach is sample-based, to the effect that almost any analogue audio processor can be analyzed, sampled and then digitally replicated by means of an advanced and proprietary form of dynamic convolution.
I was intrigued by this approach, and I knew that, despite my sketchy programming literacy, I could always rely on my pair of ears and my long-standing frequentation with audio electronics in order to achieve something good in this still almost uncharted territory.
Giancarlo Del Sordo, the master mind behind behind the company, asked me to work with them as an external collaborator/sampling expert for a number of Acustica products, such as Honey, Scarlet, Pearl, Emerald, Amethyst, Cobalt, plus several parts of many other plug-ins...
Then, last year Giancarlo conceived a new scheme for 3rd party developers to join the new Acustica marketplace along with their products. I surely didn't want miss such an opportunity, so here I am, at the very beginning this new adventure, hoping to bring some fresh perspective to the table.
I'm going to publish all the news, technical info, usage notes about my libraries in this space, so stay tuned and bookmark this page!