Category Archives: Rich Tozzoli

Sonnox Oxford Inflator v3 Plug-In—A Real-World Review

Sonnox Oxford Inflator v3 Plug-In
Sonnox Oxford Inflator v3 Plug-In

While I’ve had this plug-in for years, it has become such a valuable ally in my productions that I made sure to use it on this trip. The Sonnox Oxford Inflator is a multipurpose tool that I used to handle several different tasks. There are only a few controls on it. To begin with, I set the output level to just below 0 dB, which prevents clipping of the track. By engaging the Clip 0 dB button, the input level meter will not rise above 0 dB. From there, I literally assign an Inflator across every single track in the mix (minus the auxes). Think of it like a console strip. I then apply processing or input volume as needed. If I do need some gain on a track, I often turn to the Inflator first in my “console,” and it can provide up to 12 dB of gain.

Roland JU-06A Sound Module: A Real-World Review
Sony C-100 Two-Way Condenser Mic: A Real-World Review
Yamaha EAD10 Drum Module – A Real-World Review

The magic sauce for me is inside the Effect slider. Since I tend to use a lot of strings and percussion in my work, I’ve found that by pushing up the Effect slider, there is a perceived increase in harmonic brightness and clarity without volume or EQ. I would note that the amount of effect seems to be program-dependent, and that strings and percussive hits benefit the most. Overall, the Inflator continues to be a go-to production tool for me and was quite valuable in the islands for its flexibility and sonic prowess.

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Roland JU-06A Sound Module: A Real-World Review

Our review team recently put the Roland JU-06A Sound Module to the test while in the Virgin Islands
Our review team recently put the Roland JU-06A Sound Module to the test while in the Virgin Islands.

Another perfect fit for the “compact” theme, the Roland JU-06A Sound Module was not only a pleasure but a problem-solver for quite a few of the cues we had to deliver. Essentially the sound and control of a Juno 106 in a four-voice compact package, it’s a perfect example of how certain limitations can make some things easier to achieve. Being familiar with the classic single OSC polysynths from the early ’80s, we depended on the Chorus effect that was so loved from those days for thickening and smoothing the different patch settings.

When taking it a step further, we used the pulse width modulation capability to make it sound like a slightly detuned two-OSC polysynth, offering up sweet strings and big pads with swirling filtering and spacey resonance.

Sony C-100 Two-Way Condenser Mic: A Real-World Review
Yamaha EAD10 Drum Module – A Real-World Review
IK Multimedia iLoud MTM Studio Monitors—A Real-World Review

On one dramatic crime-like track, we actually used the JU-06A for every sound. We began with a kick drum, adding in a snare and hi-hat, crash cymbal and toms. Each of these sounds is achieved by blending the OSC with the noise source and simultaneous high- and lowpass filters to get a variety of small and light as well as huge and punchy sounds.

For bass, I used the pulse width modulation via the ENV rather than the LFO so as to mimic the pluck of a bass string that mellowed and got richer as it decayed. From there, we went for an electric piano sound similar to the “No Quarter” tone from Led Zeppelin’s classic song, so we set up the filter mod by the LFO, set the quivering LFO rate, and the vibe was just right. The sub OSC blend added the lower octave when we needed to get the super bottom bass sweeps and pulsing eighth notes that the tracks demanded. The Chord memory function, arpeggiator and hold were so much fun to pepper in and out while synced to MIDI clock that I simply forgot we were only dealing with four voices of polyphony.

The presets were great, but the Roland JU-06A Sound Module is so easy and quick to program, we didn’t need them on this trip. Aside from that, there’s quite a bit under the hood, with 23 parameters accessible via the front control panel. Additionally, the JU-06 will slide into an optional Roland K-25m keyboard unit for easy control.

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Yamaha EAD10 Drum Module – A Real-World Review

The Yamaha EAD10 Drum Module
The Yamaha EAD10 Drum Module

A major theme on our yearly St. John recording trip is portability. We have to squeeze our entire recording rig into our suitcases, so we’re always thinking about how we can get the best sounds out of the smallest equipment. Not surprisingly, recording a full drum set with these restrictions can be tough, so when drummer Ray LeVier told us about Yamaha’s new EAD10, we knew we had to bring it with us and give it a try.

The EAD's drum mic.
The EAD’s drum mic.

EAD10 is a hybrid electronic/acoustic drum recording system that consists of a main unit, sensor unit and optional snare/tom triggers. When it came time to record drums, we clamped the sensor unit—which comprises a stereo pair of mics in an XY configuration and a bass drum trigger—onto the hoop of the kick drum. We connected it, along with the additional triggers, to the main EAD10 unit, ran two quarter-inch cables to our interface, and we were up and running. This was certainly one of the easiest drum setups we’ve ever done, but we still had to answer the most important question: How does this thing sound? The short answer? Great.

IK Multimedia iLoud MTM Studio Monitors—A Real-World Review

Starting with the most basic sounds from this unit, the stereo mic gives an incredibly natural and honest picture of the drum kit. We were all impressed with how well it was able to capture a balanced picture of the drums for such a minimal setup, but we had only scratched the surface of its capabilities.

The EAD's trigger pickup.

We started flipping through some of the 50 included preset scenes, which introduce anything from subtle reverb and compression to wild distortion, flanger and more. If the presets aren’t quite to your liking, you can always tweak them or build your own sound using the 32 built-in reverbs and effects, and save it to the unit. Also included are more than 700 samples that can be blended in with the mic’s signal, opening up a whole other world of sonic possibilities. Whether you want to subtly enhance your kit’s acoustic sound with rock-style samples or completely replace your drums’ sound with 808-style electronic sounds, the EAD10 has you covered. You can also load in your own samples—meaning that the sounds you can get out of the EAD10 are literally limitless.

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

IK Multimedia iLoud MTM Studio Monitors—A Real-World Review

IK Multimedia iLoud MTM Studio Monitors, on location in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
IK Multimedia iLoud MTM Studio Monitors, on location in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Having used IK Multimedia iLoud Micro Monitors on last year’s trip, we wanted to kick the power up this time by turning to the iLoud MTM monitors. With 100 W RMS and 40 Hz–24 kHz frequency response, as well as a built-in 0–20-degree tilting stand for easy positioning, we definitely made the right move. At 5.5 pounds each, the pair is small enough to fit easily in one of our gear suitcases. They are two-way/three-speaker bi-amped with 2 x 3.5-inch polypropylene custom-made mid-woofers and a 1-inch low-distortion, back-chambered silk dome tweeter. Connected via XLR-1/4-inch TRS balanced input, there are buttons for LF Extension (40/50/60 Hz), LF (-3 dB, Flat, +2 dB), HF (-2 dB, Flat, +2 dB), CAL/Preset (Cal, Flat, Desk) and SENS (-10 dBv, +4 dBu). On the rear is the AC power input, power switch, USB port, 1/8-inch ARC mic input, volume control and the bass reflex port.

Universal Audio Apollo x4 Interface: A Real-World Review

Each iLoud MTM monitor speaker includes a small omnidirectional mic that allows you to do a custom calibration; although it’s easy to perform, we honestly did not get to do it. (Stay tuned for an update on that.) While they can be placed horizontally, these speakers have been optimized to work vertically, and by using the included stands, they can be titled from 0 to 20 degrees. Unpacking them from the suitcase, we mounted them to the stands, set the tilt to work without setup, connected the XLR input on the back, and away we went. Since the guys had never heard them before, they were blown away when I started playing a pulsing, bass-heavy synth part.

These speakers not only put out a lot of volume, but they put it out across the spectrum with amazing clarity. The strong spot to me is the way they handle bass, and the port on the back makes it truly sound like there is a subwoofer attached. We used them mercilessly, cranking everything through them, from heavy guitars and huge synth parts to drum impacts and even the drum kit itself. They took everything we threw at them and never blinked once. The reason we didn’t calibrate them is simply because they sounded so good as they were, we just thought “leave it as-is.” I look forward to doing a calibration session soon on them, however. Without hesitation, I can highly recommend these for not just a mobile rig, but virtually anybody’s home studio.

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Universal Audio Apollo x4 Interface: A Real-World Review

 

Universal Audio Apollo x4 Interface
Universal Audio Apollo x4 Interface, on location in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Every mobile session needs a central brain to run the show. On a recent recording trip, it was the Universal Audio Apollo x4—and that was for good reason. We won’t go into every detail of what is included; instead, I’ll talk about how we used it. Connecting to my MacBook Pro via a single Thunderbolt 3 cable, Apollo x4 includes four Unison mic preamps and two Unison Hi-Z instrument inputs. While you can have up to eight channels of additional digital input via optical ADAT/SPDIF input, we kept it simple and just used the four channels and Hi-Z inputs.

PhantomFocus System Studio Monitors Review

We connected one of the two independent headphone outputs to an external headphone amp; we used the second one for the pair of cans worn by whoever was running the laptop. It was very useful to have the Monitor button on the front, enabling access to each of the HP1 and HP2 outputs, so we could quickly change levels with the large rotary knob. By clicking a third time, “Monitor” lights up on the front panel and the rotary knob then controls the two TRS L R monitor outputs on the back, which were connected to our main monitors.

There are a few functions on the X4 that became useful during the sessions. The Preamp button on the front allows easy access to switch between CH1, CH2 and CH3/4, from which you could choose Mic or Line. There’s also a button for 48V phantom and a talkback button, which we didn’t need as we were very close to each other. We did use the dim button during playback to communicate ideas to each other (at a lower volume!).

Where the X4 really shined was during guitar and bass tracking, when we used the Unison features to dial up any number of amps, from the Marshall Plexi Classic to the Ampeg SVT VR (which are both included). Having near-zero latency is critical to me as a player, and the ability to get the feel and sponginess of the amps because they are Unison-enabled made a big difference in the quality of the parts. We also were glad to have quad-core processing because we ran a lot of plug-ins, such as the Lexicon 480L, AMS RMX16, 610B Tube Preamp and the Avalon VT737, which we used on a lot of tracks.

The Apollo X4 was undeniably a critical piece in the production chain, and the ability to have too much power and flexibility in a product with such a small footprint made it one of the stars of the show.

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Privacy Preference Center

Necessary

Advertising

Analytics

Other