Audio & music gear reviews

  • Spring Has Sprung
    Review

    Spring Has Sprung - A review of the UAD AKG BX 20 spring reverb plug-in

    08/05/15

    When you think of spring reverb, the sound that probably comes to mind is the “boingy” one associated with guitar amps. For mixing sources like vocals, drums and pianos, you probably wouldn't consider a spring reverb. But the AKG BX 20, which was just released in Universal Audio’s UAD v8.3 software, might just change your mind.

  • Drumming with a Pro
    Review

    Drumming with a Pro - A review of East West ProDrummer

    07/23/15

    The drum instrument market is a crowded one, and already full of excellent choices. East West, a company renowned for its high-quality instruments and sound libraries, has just thrown its hat in the ring with ProDrummer, a new MIDI drum instrument library that runs standalone or as a plug-in on the East West Play platform, and comes with 14,000 MI…

  • Instruments from the Cloud
    Review

    Instruments from the Cloud - A review of the EastWest Composer Cloud subscription service

    06/18/15

    Subscription-based plans are becoming more common for music software. While presumably a good thing for the developers, they’re not necessarily so great for users, who have to pay over and over for a license, and can lose access to the software if they let the subscription lapse, or if the developer goes belly up. That said, one subscription plan …

  • High Caliber
    Review

    High Caliber - Sonarworks Headphone Calibration Review

    06/17/15

    You all know what it's like to finish a mix that sounds amazing on your headphones and then try to show it to your grandma on her hi-fi system, only to discover that it sounds terrible. The mix is completely different: It lacks lows on the chorus but has too much on the verse, the vocals can't be heard. In short, it's awful. Granny is about to dis…

  • A Bird in the Stand
    Review

    A Bird in the Stand - A review of the Blue Microphones Hummingbird

    06/11/15

    A mic with a swiveling capsule is not a new concept, but it isn’t something you typically find in a mic as affordable as the Blue Hummingbird. The swiveling feature is no gimmick — it makes a big difference in mic positioning, both in terms of physically being able to place the mic where you want it, and in the ability to find the best placement f…

  • Advancing the State of the Art
    Review

    Advancing the State of the Art - Review of the Akai Advance 49 Keyboard Controller

    06/01/15

    Imagine a MIDI-controller keyboard that lets you seamlessly switch between virtual instruments from different manufacturers, keeps all your patches together in a single browser, and automatically maps controller information to its knobs and switches.

  • Music in Bloom
    Review

    Music in Bloom - Sensomusic Usine Hollyhock II Review

    05/25/15

    There are lots of software solutions for live performance. Strangely enough, Sensomusic's Usine Hollyhock II doesn't come up on the radar as often as other products. And yet...

  • Another Three from UAD
    Review

    Another Three from UAD - A review of the new plug-ins in Universal Audio UAD 8.1.1 software

    05/14/15

    Universal Audio just released a new version of its software for Apollo and other UAD-2 devices. The release is highlighted by three new plug-ins, including spot-on emulations of the Neve 88RS Channel Strip Collection, the Tube Tech CL-1B Compressor, and the Marshall Plexi Super Lead 1959.

  • Tony Goes Virtual
    Review

    Tony Goes Virtual - A review of SONiVOX Tony Coleman Drums

    04/30/15

    SONiVOX's Tony Coleman Drums (Mac/Win), is a virtual drum plug-in featuring sampled kit sounds from Coleman, who’s played with a who’s who of blues and R&B artists including B.B. King, Bobby Blue Bland, Albert King, Albert Collins, Etta James, James Cotton, and Buddy Guy, among others. The sampling session featured Coleman playing his Mapex kit a…

  • Tighten it Up
    Review

    Tighten it Up - Review of Synchro Arts Revoice Pro 3

    04/22/15

    The folks at Synchro Arts, renowned for their VocAlign software, recently came out with Revoice Pro 3, the latest version of their application that incorporates vocal alignment, pitch correction, doubling and more. We took it for a test drive, and here’s what we found.