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Embody and Avid Revolutionize Mixing & Mastering on Headphones with Immerse Virtual Studio Plugin

Many of us music producers, mixing, and mastering engineers work in studios that may be less than ideal acoustic environments. Whether for work-from-home, bedroom production, on-the-go mastering, we rely on our headphones for critical monitoring. However, headphones alone don’t give us the full benefit of working in an acoustically-treated listening environment with high-end monitors. Given the growing availability to bedroom producers of affordable, easy to use gear and plugins, the next brick to fall is the access to world-class studios, to audition mixes in amazing sound rooms.

Travel cost and travel time, knowing the right people, and the cost of studio time are barriers that prevent the vast majority of independent artists and mix engineers from having the same monitoring environment as big-name artists. But with the right tools, music producers can virtually be in an iconic studio and give their mixes the benefit of auditioning in a remarkable acoustic space without traveling while only paying a fraction of the cost. Over the last decade, these virtual studio plugins have become very popular for these reasons. However, historically these plugins have not delivered a truly immersive and realistic experience as they often suffer from inside-the-head localization and tonal coloration. The plugins have not kept the promise of making artists feel like they’re sitting in the actual studio.

Immerse Virtual Studio - a plugin which puts you in the sweet spot of any mixing and monitoring environment

When we heard that the folks at Embody have been working on innovative technologies like Personalization, we realized that this was the missing piece of the puzzle in developing virtual studio plugins. Embody’s approach includes an accurate model of how an artist, you, hear. Thus it made perfect sense to partner with Embody to create the perfect virtual studio.

Together with Embody, we offer the Immerse Virtual Studio with Avid so that you can gain all of the benefits of auditioning your mixes in multiple world-class iconic sound studios from the comfort of your home. Immerse Virtual Studio plugin puts you in the sweet spot of iconic sound studios by modeling your unique ear shape using artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms developed by Embody, all directly inside your Pro Tools session – Anywhere. Anytime!

Bringing trusted studio monitoring to home producers and artists on the road on their favorite headphones

What makes Immerse Virtual Studio different from other virtual studio plugins?

The most critical part of a high-quality listening experience is, of course, your ears! “Your ears are as unique as fingerprints, and can be considered an acoustic fingerprint,” explains Dr. Kaushik Sunder, Head of Engineering at Embody. “Modeling these complex ear features or Head-related transfer functions (HRTFs) is extremely critical in rendering an immersive experience that sounds natural and perceived outside the head. However, accurately measuring HRTFs using state-of-the-art methods is a complex and tedious process that is also expensive in compute time and engineering resources. Making a complete HRTF measurement requires a person to sit in an anechoic chamber for several hours.”

Embody has developed a highly optimized artificial intelligence-based technology called Immerse that computes the listeners’ personalized profile or HRTFs in under 30 seconds. Embody built the Immerse engine based on three keystones: 1) delivering natural-sounding spatial sounds, 2) a robust and fast AI-based infrastructure, and 3) an intuitive user design. The result is the most authentic virtual experience for even the most demanding monitoring needs.

Combining precisely measured sound studios with your personalized profile using AI technologies

Combining your Personalized HRTF with measured Studio Acoustics 

Studios are not just spaces but an intimate environment. They carry the traits of the engineers who work in them. The studio’s signature sound is a creation from engineers meticulously selecting the gear and optimizing the setup and acoustics for the type of listening environment they desire. Part of the experience of Embody’s indelible personalization is bringing you the opportunity to explore these studios and find out for yourself in which studio you prefer to work.

To accurately characterize the studio’s sound, the team at Embody carries out detailed measurements of the acoustics of the studio with the help of a binaural dummy head. The secret sauce is that Embody’s algorithms personalize, to your ear shape, the directionally dependent studio reflections. Also, during the measurement, Embody accurately captures the acoustic characteristics of each speaker in the studio. The measurement process maintains the integrity of the signal chain and gear used in the studio.

The studio responses are not only precise, but award-winning engineers and producers from each studio certify the truthful representation of the room all the way from the acoustics, through the signal chain, and to the monitor speakers’ frequency responses.

 

Putting it all together 

The plugin Immerse Virtual Studio with Avid is a culmination of this project. Immerse Virtual Studio puts you in the sweet spot of iconic sound studios by modeling your unique ear shape using AI algorithms and combining it with the precisely measured sound studios’ response. Certified by each studio’s mix/mastering engineer, Immerse delivers an authentic studio mixing experience over headphones never before possible. Besides auditioning in world-class studios, the plugin allows you to select your favorite reference headphone from an exhaustive list.

Immerse Virtual Studio plugin in ProTools

Our partnership with Embody is an essential step in revolutionizing the world of virtual studio plugins for professional workflows in Pro Tools. Together we aim to elevate the experience that Immerse Virtual Studio brings to Pro Tools users, wherever you are doing your mixing and production.

In a nutshell, Immerse Virtual Studio is one plugin with infinite possibilities. We can’t wait to hear what you create! For Pro Tools | Carbon users, a 1-year complimentary license of Immerse Virtual Studio is included in your purchase, which you can redeem here.

You can purchase a lifetime copy of the Immerse Virtual Studio plugin by visiting the Avid Marketplace. To learn more and get a free trial of the Immerse Virtual Studio plugin, please visit embody.co/proaudio/avid.

Gain all of the benefits of auditioning your mixes in multiple world-class studios from the comfort of your favorite headphones. Mixing on Headphones just got Real!

Pro Tools | Carbon

For artists, bands, and producers, Pro Tools | Carbon is a new breed of audio interface—built to capture brilliance.




Arturia’s New Effects and Instrument Bundles — Avid Marketplace Delivers the Legends

Arturia, one of Avid’s most prized and renowned audio developers, keeps on bringing the very best of plugins to AAX. And now, they have multiplied their offering, introducing the powerhouse FX Collection alongside version 7 of V-Collection to deliver their new, essential bundles of vintage effects and virtual keyboards. Best yet, Avid is partnering with Arturia to offer both bundles at incredible prices for a limited time, exclusively on Avid Marketplace.

 

The FX Collection and V-Collection 7 are backed by 20 years of Arturia expertise in modeling and creative feature development. Their “secret sauce” lies in their unrivaled ability to faithfully revive studio classics while injecting game-changing new features, like look-ahead tracking, sidechaining, envelope followers, and advanced tone-shaping  effects that take the plugins to towering new levels. Some of the plugins represent entirely original designs that combine what we all love most about the vintage effects, and from there, they roll out never before seen creative possibilities. This approach is letting countless musicians and producers ignore the limits of analog hardware gear so they can bring us sounds and expressions that have never been created before. Let’s take a look at these two powerhouse bundles.

Greg Chin, Avid Audio Evangelist and Arturia Power User, shows us Arturia’s Power-packed FX Collection and V-Collection 7

Arturia FX Collection

Billed by Arturia as the “Audio Effects You’ll Actually Use,” the new FX Collection is a carefully chosen package of compressors, delays, reverbs, preamps, and filters that combine legendary outboard effects, console components, and pedals with fresh, contemporary features and capabilities, making it an essential tool for the modern producer.  Its 15 new plugins include:

 

  • Compressors:  Control your dynamics with iconic FET, VCA, and vacuum tube outboard. Comp VCA-65, Comp FET-76, and Comp TUBE-STA.
  • Delays: Get creative with saturated tape, lo-fi BBD, and futuristic digital echo. Delay TAPE-201, Delay MEMORY BRIGADE, and Delay ETERNITY.
  • Reverbs: Create and experiment with smooth plate, vibrant spring, and digital reverbs. Rev PLATE-140, Rev SPRING-636, and Rev INTENSITY.
  • Preamps: The “secret weapon” sound of countless pro studios, now in Pro Tools. 1973-PRE, TridA-Pre, and V76-Pre.
  • Filters: Use the defining tone-shaping control of the greatest synths on any sound source. Mini-Filter, M12-Filter, and SEM-Filter.

The new Arturia FX Collection delivers 15 uncompromised effects you’ll actually use

When our team at Avid had the chance to try out the Arturia FX Collection, it didn’t take long for these plugins to become automatic additions to the music we were making.  In a plugin market full of vintage-style effects, the Arturia FX Collection is proving to be a groundbreaking tool across the Pro Tools population, from creative enthusiasts on Pro Tools|First to professionals working on Pro Tools|HDX.  In a word, this collection is a winner, and you can buy it on Avid Marketplace for an unprecedented low price for a limited time.

 

 

GET FX COLLECTION NOW

Arturia V-Collection 7

 Arturia V Collection 7 has arrived, and it eclipses its worthy predecessors with 24 sonically and visually uncompromised emulations of world-renowned keyboards and tons of innovative new features. Each instrument is upgraded with extensive add-ons like polyphony, arpeggiation, more filters and oscillators, integrated amp and effect models, and the full range of automation and MIDI enhancements included with Avid Pro Tools. Use the included Analog Lab for instant access to more than 8,000 presets created by Arturia and their constellation of sound design experts, or dig into each instrument as deeply as you like.

New instruments in V-Collection 7 include Mellotron V, Synthi V, CZ V, Analog Lab 4, and an updated B-3 V2 organ.  The new Mellotron V features all original tapes, and the ability to play your own samples with authentic tape emulation. The Synthi V is a patch pin modular synth now with added modulations, effects, and an updated sequencer. The CZ V adds a fresh flavor of digital synthesis with its razor-sharp sound and sonic flexibility.  Combining 8000+ of the ‘best of’ sounds from V Collection, Analog Lab 4 now features an even easier to use browsing section and a ‘Stage’ view for live performances. The “Multi” mode allows for two instruments to be layered, and all instruments and presets can be mapped.

 

  • Analog Synths:  Unrivaled analog keyboard sound:  Synthi V, Buchla Easel V, Mini V, Matrix-12 V, Prophet V, CS-80 V, SEM V, Jup-8 V, ARP 2600 V, Modular V
  • Digital Instruments:  Innovation from the pioneering days of digital music creation:  CZ V, DX7 V, Synclavier V, CMI V
  • Celebrated Pianos and Keyboards:  History-making hardware  recreated from the ground up: Piano V, Mellotron V, B-3 V, Stage-73 V, Wurli V, Clavinet V,  Farfisa V, Solina V, Vox Continental V

 

 

GET V-COLLECTION 7 NOW

Arturia is constantly meeting with current and prospective users to ask what vintage instruments they want to see reproduced in V-Collection.  The result, once again, is that Arturia has given the music community the keys to the instruments and effects museum and has challenged us to find the limits of what we can create using a set of tools created with love and passion.   Between these instruments and the effects in FX collection,  Arturia is not only breathing new life and potential into this hardware; they are taking it to new levels beyond what their original creators could have ever imagined.

Want to get your hands on these tools?  Avid and Arturia have collaborated to make the price a non-issue. From now until October 6th, you can get them for 50% off on Avid Marketplace.  Just click on one or both of the buttons below and start getting creative!




Defenders of the Audio Realm — Catching up with Mach1’s Founder Dražen Bošnjak

In my work with audio developers over the past 24 years, I’ve rarely encountered an organization that so passionately lives and breathes its mission every day as Mach1 does. Founders Jaqueline and Dražen Bošnjak, a pair of geniuses from New York City, along with their Technical Director Dylan Marcus develop and market the Mach1 Spatial System, Mach1 Spatial (format) and Mach1 Spatial SDK whose flexibility and streamlined workflow are increasingly making it a must-have tool for professionals delivering surround and spatial audio content including app and game developers.

In the Bošnjak’s words: “We are not just looking to the masters of the past but connecting and expanding on their core values and motivations, making sure that we bring ourselves, as craftsmen, into emerging and new mediums. A Renaissance of sound is happening as sound quality is critical for maintaining immersion and our openness to this fundamental change should not create footholds that undermine the craft in service of the technical.” 

We had the chance to sit down with Dražen Bošnjak, Co-Founder of Mach1, who shared the company’s thoughts about the products and future direction of the company and its groundbreaking products.

Ed Gray:  What is the mission of Mach 1 and what’s the story of its founding?

Dražen Bošnjak: Necessity is the Mother of Invention. Early on I started working with a few key directors like Guy Shelmedine, Marco Brambilla, Sam Esmail and Robert Stromberg who started directing VR projects. I wanted the ability to bring cinematic quality and craft into this new medium. My expectations were informed by epic movie soundtracks and soundscapes as well as great music recordings.  I was not satisfied with the options that were available. The crappy “HRTF (filtered) to death” sound and the naked game engine approach were unacceptable. Mach1 was born working on these projects where the director demanded high quality spatial sound as well as complete creative control. The same standards expected in film.

 

EG:  What is the main problem that your solution solves?

DB:  The problem was the lack of a transparent audio format and tools for authoring spatial sound mixes that was easy and intuitive to use as well as the difficulty in creating truly transparent volumetric sound recordings that can be deployed on VR platforms and game engines. Director Robert Stromberg famously said while we collaborated on The Martian VR for 20TH Century Fox that working in VR was equivalent to building an airplane while flying it. Mach1 was born out of the need to do our work on a level that we’d come accustom to in film. Mach1 is a VVB (Virtual Vector based panning system) that preserves professional audio standards and best practices in a medium where quality of sound is critical for maintaining immersion. Mach1 Spatial is a Virtual Vector Based Panning (VVBP) system contained into a single multichannel deliverable through already existing audio containers and codecs, leveraging & preserving traditional audio best practices while enabling full 3DOF interactive spatial sound as well as 6DOF when integrated into a 3D Game Engine. It does not require any audio library or media engine and can function fully on top of any existing audio system/engine. The Mach1 system takes all traditional post-production practices and allows them to be deployed for interactive mediums such as VR, AR, MR and installations. Whether roomscale (6DOF) or 360 videos/cinematic VR (3D0F), the format shares a single vector space that is infinitely scalable and solves creative limits caused by alternatives such as ambisonics or game object audio implementation.

EG: How does the solution interact with Pro Tools?

DB: Mach1 Spatial System supports the AAX plugin format and seamlessly integrates with Pro Tools by taking over 7.1 channel and using it as 8 channel Mach1 Spatial. Using the simple model of a plugin for inputting/panning and a plugin for playingback/monitoring Audio Professionals can design how they want to mix to and from Mach1 Spatial at their own discretion and are free to use this in tandem with any other solution without compromise.

 

EG: How is the solution used together with comparable solutions from other vendors?

DB: The Mach1 Spatial System was carefully developed by/for audio engineers and professionals to simplify spatial and multichannel audio creative control. The plugins themselves have familiar design aspects to traditional stereo and surround mixing practices and expectations, avoiding all the new paradigms and abstract concepts such as spherical harmonics and proprietary effect processes seen in other spatial audio solutions. Once the Mach1 Spatial mix or mixes are made they can be safely distributed in any codec or file container that supports at least mono audio, and can also have support built into any app or project that at a bare minimum supports playing back a mono audio file. This is to ensure that Mach1 Spatial is a tool that can safely be added anywhere and will never prohibit the use of any other audio technology or solution since it does not rely on any proprietary metadata or codec. Agnostic in every respect, lightweight and safe to integrate. Mach1 Spatial acts as a “perfect delivery format”, an audio framework to unify the handling of multichannel  and spatial audio formats/configurations and conversions between them, as well as ability to decode them to stereo (with or without device/head tracking) with full down mix and up mix control without any abstract layers of “encoders” and “decoders”. The framework simplifies spatial/multichannel audio to allow the development of custom multichannel configurations allowing backend development control to speaker configurations and futureproofing any audio needs for consumers in the future and giving anyone control over custom audio pipelines and modernizing post production audio and deliverables as new mediums emerge.

 

EG: How do you see the solution evolving?

DB: Through our work and collaboration with VR/AR and immersive sound producers we have identified new opportunities and features that we will be adding to our software. We are at the very beginning of the spatial sound revolution and this is just a start.

EG: I heard about Avid’s visit to  Mach1 Studio in Tribeca New York.  How did that go?

DB: One of my favorite moments happened when Avid’s Robert Miller and Ozzie Sutherland (who is now at Netflix) brought their “Golden Ears” to demo our Mach1 spatial format. In fact this encapsulates what is great about Avid. They had already brought their Senior Product Designer at the time, Connor Sexton, to vet our software. Sexton commented that we’d created “The most elegant solution for spatial audio” but for Avid the true test were the ‘Golden Ears’. A couple of weeks later seven time Grammy winner, Frank Filipetti a lauded producer, engineer and mixer walked into Mach1 studios. Frank began his career working with Foreigner, KISS, James Taylor, Carly Simon, The Bangles and 10,000 Maniacs and continues working a variety of artists including Barbra Streisand, Ray Charles, Billy Joel, Mariah Carey, Madonna, Elton John, Rod Stewart and Paul McCartney, to name a few. Frank sat down ready to listen to the Mach1 Spatial demo. He put on a pair of headphones with our proprietary IMU duct-taped to the frame and I pushed play on Pro Tools sending our Mach1 Spatial mix through the Mach1 Monitor plugin- controlled in real time by Frank’s head position. I looked over to Frank, he closed his eyes and became very still. He then slowly turned his head around and a huge wide grin came over his face…right then I realized that I might have just experienced my best professional moment ever.

Now, Mach1 has their goodness available for Pro Tools users on Avid Marketplace.  Mach1 Spatial System allows easy to understand spatial & surround mixing utilizing traditional vector panning instead of spherical harmonic or meta object orientated mixing, bringing studio mixing into newer emerging mediums and allowing users to design and control their own audio mixing pipelines.  It offers a power pack of features, including the Mach1 Monitor, Mach1 Panner, and Mach1 Transcoder.  Operating as an AAX plugin suite Mach1 Spatial System works seamlessly to support Mono, Stereo, Quad, LCRS, AFormat Ambisonics, First Order Ambisonics ACNSN3D, and First Order Ambisonics FuMa. The system also offers the Mach1 Video Player that syncs directly to Pro Tools and makes it easier to mix spatial content. Take a deep dive with this Mach1 product overview.

At Avid, we’re honored to work with Jaqueline and Dražen Bošnjak and we can’t wait to see what they bring us next.  In the meantime, the Mach1 Spatial  System deserves to be an automatic purchase for professional immersive content creators and app developers from everywhere. Come to Avid Marketplace and pick up yours!

 

Mach1 Spatial System

Make your mark with Pro Tools

Create music or sound for film/TV and connect with a premier network of artists, producers, and mixers around the world.




George Massenburg Reprises his Groundbreaking Hi-Res EQ for Pro Tools

In his own words: “I perceive myself as being constantly motivated to relearn and rethink new possibilities — technical, artistic and strategic.” The contributions that George Massenburg has made to audio production and to Avid could fill pages on pages. The list begins with his career as a legendary audio engineer and producer and, to the benefit of thousands of Pro Tools users,  the creator of the legendary MDW Hi-Res EQ, now available in a Sixth-generation version, complete with AAX DSP support, on the Avid Store. It comes with some nice surprises that build on its current stature as an automatic purchase for any serious audio professional, and at a highly affordable price—keep reading!  Before I get into that, though, I can’t wait to tell you what a powerful force George has been and remains to all of us.

George Massenburg, Audio Legend and Invaluable Friend of Avid

At age 15, George was already building his audio career, working for both a recording studio and an electronics lab. He went on to study electrical engineering at Johns Hopkins university, then left for Europe to broaden his perspective.  By age 25, he was Chief engineer of Europa Sonar Studios in Paris, and in that same year, he invented the world’s first parametric equalizer, a fundamental advance in modern audio production. Ten years later, he founded George Massenburg Labs, who have given us an extensive range of innovative console automation devices, analog signal processors, microphone preamps and power supplies, all based on his original designs. George has also designed, built and managed several recording studios, including ITI Studios in Huntsville, Maryland and The Complex in Los Angeles. He has contributed acoustical and architectural designs to many other facilities, including Skywalker Sound and The Site in Marin County. Perhaps his most famous room design is at Nashville’s famed Blackbird Studios. Using computer modeling and an elaborate system of wall diffusers, his remarkable room has helped establish the studio as a world class facility.

Blackbird Studios houses one of Massenburg's most spectacular creations

Massenburg’s unparalleled production and engineering credits include  more than two hundred albums with renowned artists including Billy Joel, Dixie Chicks, Earth, Wind and Fire, Lyle Lovett, Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor, Randy Newman, Little Feat, Journey, Toto, Weather Report, Kenny Loggins, Herbie Hancock, Aaron Neville, and Mary Chapin Carpenter.  This tireless and extraordinary work has earned him four GRAMMY® and numerous TEC awards.  An Associate Professor at Montreal’s McGill University, George’s expertise has seen him lecture at UCLA and USC in Los Angeles; Evergreen College in Olympia, Washington; the University of Memphis and MTSU in Tennessee; and at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. In 2009, he received an honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College of Music. As if all of this is not enough, George chairs the AES Technical Council on Studio Practices, serves as a member of the National Recording Preservation Board of the Library of Congress and  as Technical Director of META (the Music Engineering Technical Alliance), a strategic union of music producers and engineers pursuing the highest standards of audio and delivery of music.

Fortunately for Avid, George has been a mentor, advisor and inspiration to our leaders and employees from the very beginnings of Digidesign to the present day.  As one of the first to delve into the new field of AAX DSP development for the hardware-accelerated platform of Pro Tools, George’s MDW Hi-Res EQ continues to set the standard in this category. The EQ boasts unprecedented clarity, smoothness, and excellent high-frequency response that will help you achieve optimal audio definition in your mixes. Version 6 delivers an updated interface and new functionality including:

 

  • Lo and Hi Shelf HiQ on each band
  • EQ display that corresponds to PT’s EQ Curve Display on mixer window
  • Spectrum Display and real time Analyzer Resolution – under preferences, users can select how many data points to use to analyze the audio data. More points = more CPU processing
  • New Band One with 18dB/octave and 24dB/octave high and low pass filters

A Completely New User Interface for MDW Hi-Res EQ Version 6

Here are some videos and tutorial from George showing the MDW Hi-Res EQ Version 6 in action:

Last but not least, the new version is available at a new price that makes it an extraordinary value. Previously $595, the MDW Hi-Res EQ6 is offered as both an AAX DSP and AAX Native version together for $299, with a special upgrade price for owners of MDW Hi-Res EQ5 available from the MDW website. Get it now and let the legendary expertise of George Massenburg power your mix!

 

GET IT NOW!

Make your mark with Pro Tools

Create music or sound for film/TV and connect with a premier network of artists, producers, and mixers around the world.




Avid to Showcase Latest Accessibility Advances in Three Events at NAMM 2020

Avid continues its commitment to bring visually impaired users to the audio and music creation party. We plan to share our latest developments in three separate presentations at the 2020 NAMM Show. Two of these will take place on the Avid Mainstage at stand #15502 in the North Hall and we will also reprise our action-packed panel as part of the TEC Tracks presentations. The events and locations are as follows:

 

  • Accessible Pro Tools and Sibelius on the Mainstage: (Stand #15502 North Hall.  Saturday January 18that 5:00 PM and Sunday, January 19th at 3:30 PM.
  • NAMM Pro Accessibility Panel:  Hall A6, Hilton Anaheim, 4th Floor.  Sunday, January 19th from 11:00 AM to 12:50 PM as part of the TEC Tracks presentations.

On the Avid Stage, you will see what a pair of our leading customers can do with Pro Tools and Sibelius without eyesight. Both Slau Halatyn and Chi Kim, long-time visually impaired advisors and testers of Pro Tools and Sibelius, are creating music everyday using these tools, and without sighted assistance. They are not just skimming the surfaces of Pro Tools and Sibelius; they are working with Pro Tools | HDX systems in professional studios and teaching at leading universities. Both have been instrumental in driving accessible functionality into Avid products.

Ed Gray and Slau Halatyn, Owner, BeSharp Studio

Timothy Adnitt, Director, Music Production, Native Instruments

The mainstage events will be 45-minute panel discussions that provide a look at the excitement that is going on in accessible development for Sibelius and Pro Tools. The usability of Sibelius by visually impaired users has improved dramatically in the past year thanks to a close collaboration with Berklee College of Music. We’ll hear from Sam Butler, Head of Product Management for Sibelius and Chi Kim, Associate Professor of Music at Berklee, about our recent collaboration and plans for the future. Then both will dive into some real-time score creation showing off the latest ways that visually impaired users can take full advantage of this award-winning music composition and notation solution from Avid. Next up will be Slau Halatyn, owner of BeSharp Studios in New York City and a renowned thought leader on usability of Pro Tools by the visually impaired. Slau, together with a team of beta testers and advisors, work year-round to help Avid prioritize our accessibility fixes and improvements and Slau is one of the most enthusiastic and engaging presenters of the latest advances. We’re grateful for the contributions that Chi and Slau continue to make to our ongoing efforts and the best is yet to come.

Sam Butler, Head of Product Management for Sibelius has worked with Berklee College of music to turbocharge its accessibility

Rob Arbittier is a musician, producer and Grammy-recognized engineer. He is also a coder and has been a pioneer in the world of non-visual technology for several decades, dedicating much of his life and career to making music and audio technology accessible for artists including Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles and many others.

Along with the Avid main stage presentations comes the third annual NAMM Pro Accessibility Panel, where Avid joins forces with Native Instruments and with accessibility leaders  from Berklee College of Music,  I See Music (a leading provider of audio technology training for the blind and adaptive technology services), and other presenters in an informal panel discussion with demonstrations of the latest in accessibility for music creation. This nearly two-hour event promises to move quickly and will cover the following:

 

  • Why developers and manufacturers should pursue accessibility and how to tackle it (Timothy Adnitt, Director, Music Production, Native Instruments)
  • Expert demonstrations of leading accessible music creation tools including Avid Pro Tools and Sibelius, Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol, Flo Tools and more (Slau Halatyn, Owner, BeSharp Studios and Chi Kim, Associate Professor, Berklee College of Music)
  • Training and education for visually impaired musicians (Byron Harden, Owner, I See Music)
  • Teaching music creation in academic settings (Chi Kim)
  • Resources for developers and companies beginning the accessibility journey (Ed Gray, Director, Partnering Programs, Avid)
  • New for 2020:  How I worked with Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles to bring music creation to their worlds (Rob Arbittier, Owner, Noisy Neighbors Productions)

Chi Kim, Associate Professor, Berklee College of Music

Byron Harden, Head of I See Music

We look forward to welcoming you to these events and hope you share our enthusiasm for the good that accessible development accomplishes and the new opportunities that it can offer your business.

Make your mark with Pro Tools

Create music or sound for film/TV and connect with a premier network of artists, producers, and mixers around the world.

Express yourself with Sibelius

Create beautiful, captivating scores more quickly than ever before with the world’s best selling notation software.




AES Partner Pavilion — 20 Avid Developers to Show Us What They’ve Got

Customers and friends who visit Avid at the AES Show this year from October 16-18 at the Javits Convention Center in New York (Stand #503) can cross the aisle to the 2019 Avid Audio Partner Pavilion (Stand #504)  and the biggest  display of its kind, ever.   This year’s Partner Pavilion boasts 20 participants, and a visit to AES is not complete without checking every one of them out.  From AAX plugins to solutions that compliment Sibelius, VENUE and Media Composer, the Pavilion is a snapshot of what’s new and what’s next for Avid’s audio production platform.

Check out the exhibitors, an innovative mix of newcomers and veterans, who will join us:

  • Arturia
  • Dolby Laboratories
  • Eventide, Inc.
  • HitMix/Neuratron
  • IHSE GmbH
  • KROTOS Audio, Ltd.
  • McDSP
  • Newfangled Audio
  • NUGEN Audio
  • PACE Anti-Piracy
  • Pro Sound Effects
  • Audio
  • Roland Cloud
  • RTW & Co. GmbH
  • Skytracks
  • Sonnox, Ltd.
  • Source Elements
  • TAC System
  • Townsend labs
  • Wedge Force

Since the advent of the audio developer program in the mid-90’s, our partners have been indispensable in extending our reach and multiplying our development efforts with their certified solutions.   Year after year, they add the incomparable variety that gives color to our platform, taking solutions to market  that are collectively, a “killer feature” for our tools.  The Avid Partner Pavilion offers these companies the most cost-effective way to exhibit, taking advantage of the prime real estate offered by  integrating with our own exhibit.  Here is what some of them have to say:

“Team Roland Cloud is pleased to be a part of the Avid Partner Pavilion at AES 2019. We look forward to sharing our suite of virtual synthesizers, drum machines, and sampled instruments with the vibrant conference community. Drop by our booth and play the TR-808, TR-909, JUNO-106, JUPITER-8, TB-303, JX-3P, SYSTEM-8, and the rest of Roland Cloud. We can’t wait to see you!”

And a reflection from the one and only Fabrice “FAB” DuPont, legendary producer and owner of  Flux Studio’s in New York, and more recently the founder of Process.Audio:  “The AVID Partner Pavilion makes it possible for small developers like us to display our products at AES in an affordable and supportive environment. We definitely would not be there this year if it weren’t for the Pavilion.”   Well, it’s an honor to have you, Fab!

And here’s a note from Chris Townsend, one of Avid’s most admired alumni.  “Before starting Townsend Labs, I worked at Avid for 13 years so I’m delighted to be working closely with Avid again. It’s an honor to be included in the Partner Pavilion this year (our first time). Given Avid’s wide range of industry-standard products, they are one of the most important platforms we support. We added HDX support to our Sphere plug-in, which has made a big difference to our business.”

Make the Avid Partner Pavilion part of your visit to AES and take the time to learn more about these partners and friends of Avid and about the unique and powerful solutions they offer. See you at AES!

Make your mark with Pro Tools

Create music or sound for film/TV and connect with a premier network of artists, producers, and mixers around the world.




For Dialogue Editors, Absentia DX Replaces Repetitive Labor with Machine Learning

The Dialogue Editor did not want to come back for season two, twenty-two more episodes. Between himself and the Supervisor they had spent an estimated 33 days removing Hums, and still there were plenty of Hums left for the Re-Recording Mixer to notch. The production would not correct the onset problem and losing a great Dialogue Editor was and is never an option, so Absentia DX was born.

Our initial goal was to increase our productivity by eliminating Hums without comb filtering, a very common side effect. This was done by machine learning the hum frequencies and then notching them. After we had a working model, we had to decide whether to make this our secret weapon as a Sound Editorial company or share it. That decision took less than a minute, helping the post sound community was and is far more altruistic.

Absentia DX is now two years old and has twice been nominated by the Cinema Audio Society for Outstanding Product – Post Production at both the 54th and 55th Annual CAS Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing.

To celebrate and thank the Cinema Audio Society and our wonderful friends at Avid, Absentia DX will be priced at 50% off until April 30, 2019. toddao.com/avid-promo

Thanks to our product focus and lack of marketing, there is a pretty good chance you know very little or nothing at all about Absentia DX. It was designed by a person (with contributions from his colleagues) that has prepared and supervised dialogue for three hundred plus episodes of television. After the first couple hundred episodes the repetitive manual labor involved in noise reduction becomes readily apparent.

ABDX, as we affectionately call it, was designed to automatically remove obvious defects (hums and ticks) and not harm dialogue. There is zero intent for ABDX to be creative.

Paul Hammond (Dialogue Editor) “Finding fill and matching angles is much easier since room tones are more consistent from take to take, minute to minute. EMI strong will get out musical room noise extremely well. Doppler (Remover) has saved several delicate lines by assisting in the removal of planes and cars.”

Absentia DX saves a couple of hours (or more) of Hum and Tick Removal, whether in the cutting room or on the mix stage. For Editors it smooths out background tones, so angles cut together more easily. Re-Recording mixers notch far fewer tones. Everyone de-ticks fewer snaps and ticks, note that ABDX deticks away from dialogue only.

Tucker Marolf (Picture Editor) “What I love about Absentia DX is how simple and quick it is to isolate dialogue that would otherwise be inaudible or disruptive in a cut and get it to where the dialogue is at the very least, clearer, and in best cases almost completely clean!  It really helps the editorial process to not have to bump on sound during scenes on noisy locations.”

We work year-round to add new features to ABDX. We developed new technology to remove servo motor whirrs and whines from actors’ mechanized costumes, try both Hum Remover EMI (electromagnetic interference) or Intermittent Remover EMI. Doppler Remover does a pretty good job of tracking doppler planes or cars and reducing them. Phase Synchronizer is our latest addition, it will phase iso tracks to a master boom track. Incorporating it into the AAX is taking place now.

Kirby Jinnah (Sound Editor / Mixer) “It is a fast go-to fixer to achieve results that other plug-ins I use can’t accomplish. Simply say bye-bye to those annoying fridge hums in seconds. The broadband noise reduction capabilities are surprisingly capable without touching the human voice.”

Nominated two years in a row by the Cinema Audio Society, it’s a proud achievement for the ABDX team. Our goal is to help people, and the appreciative emails and comments from our peers has provided motivation for us to continue to innovate on their behalf.

Larry Benjamin (Re-Recording Mixer) “Absentia DX simply is the best solution for removal of hums and buzzes.  It does the least amount of damage to the original production sound and can be used as a batch processor or hitting only the dialogue lines needed in AudioSuite.  It’s far more effective than traditional notch filtering or other destructive means of attempting to remove the dozens of frequencies and harmonics involved with this type of noise.”

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The Revolution and Evolution of Virtual Guitarist

UJAM Virtual Guitarist is the latest chapter in a story of a legendary rhythm guitar plugin that broke the rules in its 2002 introduction, then evolved and grew with the backing of some of the most prolific  magicians in digital music creation. The story winds from Malmö, Sweden to Hamburg, Germany, then takes a detour to Daly City, California before heading back to Bremen, Germany. From its inception until now, it remains an essential tool as, in its creators’ words, “the ultimate substitute for no guitar.”

Virtual Guitarist is part of UJAM’s mission to make music creation faster, better and easier than ever before.  Along with its sister products, Virtual Drummer,  Virtual Bassist, and Beatmaker, the plugin has a specific mission that it does exceptionally well.   Virtual Guitarist provides musical foundations that everyone from hobbyists to professionals use to build original, tailored tracks based on four original guitar models.   Complete with a variety of amp models and effects, they offer inspiring rhythmic and melodic textures that are finding their way into more and more music.  You can purchase the individual models or grab the whole bundle for the best value.   Here are the individual products:

 

  • IRON:  For hard and roaring power chords
  • AMBER: Warm and shiny strums
  • SPARKLE: Glamorous and shiny licks
  • SILK: Smooth and classy accompaniments

In a market crowded with virtual instrument plugins, Virtual Guitarist was a standout in its 2002 introduction at Musikmesse Frankfurt, and it has kept its edge.  It was the result of pioneering work done by a small collective of determined and brilliant people, among them some of my favorite former colleagues at Avid. One of them is UJAM founder Peter Gorges, who ran the company Wizoo (which, by the way, stands for “Wizard of Oscillators”). Peter had developed a virtual drum instrument for Steinberg called VST Drum Sessions  and was approached by Sven Bornemark, a bass player from Sweden, who proposed creating a similar product to record and play back guitars (a different challenge as it would not be as readily possible to work with guitar elements as REX files).   Sven hooked up with a brilliant developer named Paul Kellett, who was developing free VST instruments in his spare time and in short order, the group went to Steinberg to demonstrate what they had accomplished.  It was a day to remember, as Virtual Guitarist was set in motion, but the date was September 11, 2001.

Fast-forward to Musikmesse Frankfurt in 2002—Steinberg had already circulated press releases about Virtual Guitarist and the product was panned on the forums.  Peter Gorges said he knew then that they were on to something good! The showing at Musikmesse was the turning point where the concept was displayed live with jaws dropping as people immediately realized the power of Virtual Guitarist and its role as an in-house virtuoso that could help non-guitarists quickly add versatile guitars to their tracks.  Peter Gorges remarks, “I believe Virtual Guitarist did two things for the first time… you could lay down a guitar track using a keyboard in real-time, which was fun too, and even more important, it was real enough to be confused with the real thing. It wasn’t like there hadn’t been attempts to emulate guitar before.” And with that, Virtual Guitarist 1 was on its way to fantastic success and sustained huge sales. Peter found out that half of the users were, in fact, guitarists who relied on it to lay down guitar tracks faster. The other eye-opener was that legendary composers like Hans Zimmer used Virtual Guitarist to lay down musical foundations for their tracks (and Hans Zimmer has no trouble hiring whatever session guitarist he likes)!

Original Steinberg Virtual Guitarist, 2003

As Virtual Guitarist evolved, Peter and his team had developed tons of other synth and sample-based virtual instruments at Wizoo.  They sold a pair of reverbs under the name “WizooVerb,” and offered Latigo and Darbuka, a Latin and Middle Eastern duet of virtual drum instruments that kicked ass.  And as Wizoo was working on this, they operated offices in Bremen and Köln, Germany to develop a sprawling array of synth and sample-based virtual instruments.  As all of this was happening, a company called Avid was on the hunt for an integrated sampler, a virtual drum instrument and an entry-level player plugin to include with Pro Tools. In 2005, Avid acquired Wizoo and renamed them the AIR instrument division (which stood for “Advanced Instrument Research”).

While the AIR virtual Instruments like Structure (an integrated sampler), Strike (a virtual drummer), Hybrid (a cool synth) and Xpand (the entry-level player) helped to differentiate Pro Tools, the notion of a “Virtual Guitarist 3” never got traction within Avid. The company was focused on other priorities and I’m sure that the AIR team was anxious about missing this opportunity.

Screenshot of Steinberg Virtual Guitarist Electric Edition, 2004. The amp sounds were baked into the samples, so things were not quite as flexible!

In 2009, Peter, Paul and the rest of this talented gang had set off on their own to establish the leading virtual instrument provider we know as UJAM. Their mission is as before: to help musicians get musical creation accomplished easily and quickly, without the need for deep engineering skills and without sacrificing an ounce of quality and variety.

While Virtual Guitarist didn’t blossom during the Avid portion of the path, it is great to see it emerge in its new form, with four outstanding guitar emulations built with the greatest attention to modeling and musicality, and with valuable effects on board. The Virtual Bassist and Virtual Drummer instruments are all build in the same spirit and are every bit as musically powerful and fun to use.  They are all for sale today on the Avid Marketplace.

Steinberg Virtual Guitarist Electric Edition, 2004, from the prehistoric times of software in cardboard boxes.

In closing, I want to say that I wish I had the chance to work with Peter, Paul, Wolfram, Axel and others forever.  They were a blast to work with and be with while they were at Avid.  It’s great to see them enjoying success so wide and tall and I can’t wait to see what they do next.

Make your mark with Pro Tools

Create music or sound for film/TV and connect with a premier network of artists, producers, and mixers around the world.




Join the Avid Audio Partner Conference After NAMM 2019

The Audio Partner Conference, hosted by Avid, returns in 2019 for an updated discussion with individuals and companies seeking to develop for the Avid audio platform and grow their businesses.  Set to take place the day after NAMM 2019 in Anaheim, this is a free, all-day event that has been the go-to gathering of the Avid Audio Partner community for more than 15 years.  All registered audio developers are welcome to join us for a day packed with valuable information about our roadmap, developer platforms and paths to connect with Avid customers

Pat from Eventide proudly shows off AAX Plugins with the H9000

Prospective developers can always explore the resources available for free evaluation at the Avid Developer Portal, including the AAX and EUCON Toolkits that have been used to bring thousands of industry-leading AAX effects and virtual instruments to market and to deliver compatibility with Avid control surfaces. Avid provides continually updated documentation and support designed to help our Partners to create, test, market and sell high-quality, fully compatible products for the large and fast-growing community of users of the Avid Artist Suite of creative tools, including more than one million users of the “First” entry-level versions of Avid Pro Tools, Avid Media Composer, and Avid Sibelius.  Partners have access to Avid Marketplace and Avid Link, where their products are instantly available to countless buyers and visitors.  Developers can also work directly with Avid’s global Audio Solutions team to co-promote their products together with Pro Tools, Media Composer, Sibelius and VENUE.

Sound Toys Creating AAX plugins as they do Best in Burlington, Vermont

“The Avid Developer Conference is great because you can have 1:1 conversations about your development concerns with key Avid staff. What’s even better is getting to socialize and share tips with lots of talented developers in one room.”

—Chris Santoro, Sound Toys

The Audio Partner Conference is an annual opportunity to connect with the audio developer community as we look ahead to cooperation in the coming year.  It begins with a recap of the year just completed and provides a private look at our future product plans, including new software and hardware directions and improvements to our developer platform. From there, Avid will give interactive, focused presentations on the following topics, to name a few:

 

  • Overview of the AAX and EUCON Toolkits with focus on SDK improvements and guide to working with the Developer Support organization
  • Analysis of  feedback from a recently conducted AAX Developer Survey
  • Avid Marketplace—how to participate and reach the Avid user community
  • Introducing Avid Link, the new platform to connect artists and the quickest path to the Avid Store
  • Practical advice from Avid’s Solutions Managers on how to show your products to the World
  • Protecting your IP and license management offerings with PACE Anti-Piracy, a sponsor of this event
  • A closer look at developing for AAX DSP, the accelerated platform at the heart of Pro Tools | HDX and VENUE
  • Co-marketing and social promotion together with Avid

“Each year, the Avid Partner Conference is a great way for us to stay up to date with the Avid roadmap, provide feedback and get updates on the AAX SDK, and catch up with our industry friends. I find that it’s always quite productive to meet and discuss these topics in person.”

—Tom Longabaugh, Eventide

Audionamix shows off state-of-the-art vocal separation techniques on AAX

The Audio Partner Conference has become an annual tradition after a hard-working NAMM show, giving our Audio Partner community a chance to connect with Avid product and marketing staff in person, ask technical questions that are of interest to the community, explore marketing and sales opportunities, and interact in ways only possible in an intimate group like this one.  Avid looks forward to hosting this event and meeting with many of the developers who have dedicated themselves to bringing value and color to the Avid platform.  The Audio Partner Conference takes place from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM in Anaheim, a few blocks from the NAMM show.  Those interested in attending can contact us at partners@avid.com.  We hope to see many of you there!

NUGEN demonstrates its award-winning loudness tools for broadcast

Make your mark with Pro Tools

Create music or sound for film/TV and connect with a premier network of artists, producers, and mixers around the world.




Avid to Host 2019 NAMM Pro Accessibility Panel

NAMM 2019 will see the return of the Pro Accessibility Panel hosted by Avid, which offers a fresh look at the excitement taking place in accessible music product creation.  This free one-hour event is part of the TEC Tracks panels and takes  place on Saturday, January 26th from 12:00 Noon to 1:00 PM PST in Grand Ballroom A at the Hilton Anaheim right across from the NAMM Exhibits.

A panel of experts at the 2018 NAMM Pro Accessibility Panel

All who work with audio manufacturers, software developers and music schools, visually impaired musicians and friends are invited to come and learn about the new customers and sales opportunities to be won by making products and services available for blind users and those with other challenges. Companies like Avid, Native Instruments and Samsung are deeply engaged in this development as are educators like Berklee College of Music in Boston and I See Music in Chicago. You will hear from people in these organizations who are directly involved in the work to drive accessibility into their products, and some of the world’s most celebrated blind power users who benefit from this accessibility work to create music —independently and with little or no sighted assistance.

The fresh lineup of panelists for 2019 brings valuable new insights and information. Here is a look at who will join us:

Slau Halatyn, Owner, BeSharp Studios and Pro Tools Accessibility Pioneer

Slau Halatyn, owner of BeSharp Studios in Astoria, Queens, NYC is a music accessibility pioneer who has played a key role in making Pro Tools software usable by visually impaired users.  Slau is one of a team of Pro Tools beta testers who provides critical real-world input that continues to improve support for Pro Tools by Apple VoiceOver and compatibility with Flow Tools, a free product that describes windows and tracks with the detail that enables blind users to turbocharge their work. Slau will show us how he uses Pro Tools every day, editing, mixing and creating with AAX plugins as he works independently on powerful projects using his expanded Pro Tools | HDX system.

Timothy Adnitt, Director of Products, Music Production Software at Native Instruments

Timothy Adnitt joins us from Native Instruments. As Director of Products, Music Production Software, Timothy works with his team to create the high level of accessibility available for the NI Komplete Kontrol system.  He will speak to how Native Instruments looks at the business opportunities unlocked through accessibility development across the Native Instruments range of offerings, and will also be on hand to co-present with another very special guest…

The Legendary Justin Kauflin, Jazz Pianist and Quincy Jones Artist

Tim will pass the torch to the legendary Justin Kauflin, a jazz pianist and Quincy Jones artist who has used NI Komplete Kontrol, Logic Audio and Pro Tools to compose and perform a collection of award-winning music too extensive to list.  His work with mentor Clark Terry was chronicled in the documentary Keep on Keeping On for which Justin composed the soundtrack, and he has since moved on to a prolific relationship with Quincy Jones, more than ten albums on which he’s participated and led, and a multitude of tours and educational events around the world.  He is proof of the musical experiences and careers that are available to blind musicians who ignore apparent limits and discover the accessibility tools and assistance that are increasingly available.

Amy Dickens from Samsung

Another featured presenter, Amy Dickens, joins us from Samsung, where she is doing web developer advocacy for accessibility as she completes her progress towards a Ph.D. in computer science focusing on accessibility in digital musical instruments. A prolific speaker at recent conferences including the JUCE ADC and Audio Mostly, Amy Dickens will focus on strategies for success in making accessibility a first-class citizen on the product roadmap.

Byron Harden, owner and Director of I See Music in Chicago

Byron Harden, owner and Director of I See Music in Chicago will be with us, too.  His school is teaching employable skills to blind and low vision learners and Byron will describe the repeatable “hand over hand” and streaming models that he is offering to blind students in conjunction with San Francisco Lighthouse for the blind and other collaborators.

Sam Butler, Avid

Chi Kim, Berklee College of Music

Sean A. Cummins, InVision Technical

And there is even more to this action-packed event, including a Sibelius demonstration by Avid’s own Sam Butler and Chi Kim, Assistant Professor at Berklee College of Music, and remarks by Sean A. Cummins, Owner of InVision Technical, which has served the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) in several states for over 35 years creating studios for the  visually and physically disabled including veterans pursuing audio and video production careers as they return home from military service. Sean has high expertise on bringing accessibility to levels which make products eligible for sale to government and education customers.

So, whether you are creating products, software or services for music creation or you’re someone who may benefit from these innovations, we hope you will join us on Saturday at NAMM for the Panel.  Come see us at 12:00 Noon in Grand Ballroom A at the Hilton Anaheim!

Make your mark with Pro Tools

Create music or sound for film/TV and connect with a premier network of artists, producers, and mixers around the world.