THIS THING RULES: Galaxynth

Welcome to another edition of This Thing Rules! This is a really interesting one, as it’s a unique rompler from a small, new company called Heart of Noise, that is quite frankly, unlike anything else I’ve ever played with. GalaXynth is the name of it, and it’s a little hard to review, but very cool and worth checking out.

Before we dig into what makes Galaxynth so unique, check out the demo, “Machine Eyes” which was made all in GalaXynth except for the main drum beat.

Picking out presets is kind of pointless with a product like this, since the goal of GalaXynth really is to experiment. There are presets that I used, and it does come with lots of samples to play with… But its the way in which you mess with and most importantly, combine those samples that creates the sounds that you work with.

Heart of Noise says that GalaXynth is a highly advanced “auditory synthesis” modeled after the human ear. That may sound like a lot to take in but what it comes down to is mixing and morphing any of the 100+ instruments included in very natural and smooth ways. In the simplest of terms, there’s a box that you drag instruments into and depending on where they are on the X/Y axis as well as how close they are to one another changes the sound of the overall instrument you’ve created. It’s as simple as dragging instruments on and seeing how they mesh.

Of course like any good synth, there are further tools at your disposal to further tweak the sound including 7 high quality effects and intuitive performance knobs. The whole thing has very low CPU usage and practically zero load times. I did run into a few crashes though with certain combinations of sounds which was a little disappointing. After mentioning it to the company they pushed out a patch which actually seemed to fix it, so hopefully those crashes don’t raise their heads again, because it’s a fun, unique tool to experiment with.

One other thing about GalaXynth that’s perhaps a little disappointing is that you can’t use your own samples. I suppose the complex nature of making all these sounds mesh together would make that quite hard to plan for, so it’s somewhat understandable. And thankfully, GalaXynth is expandable with Soundbanks that Heart of Noise continues to make available including the Pop Stars Vol. 1, Future House, Classic.FM and Neon Dreams packs. Hopefully they’ll continue to add more. Don’t be scared off though, the initial purchase has enough instrument combinations to really provide a seemingly endless array of possibilities.

GalaXynth is available to buy from Heart of Noise for $99 (there is a free demo available). It’s definitely a product in its own category, but I think it’s different enough to be worth a look.

This Thing Rules: iZotope Neutron

Welcome to a new edition of This Thing Rules! This time we’ll be taking a quick look at iZotope’s NeutronOne of many pieces of software I’ve been meaning to review for some time now.

Before we get into the actual review, or even check out the demo, I wanted to give you a little back-story.  I was recently looking for a certain older track I needed to go back to and edit for a project, and in the process, I found a remix I had started of my own song “Into The Black” from An Unseen Sky. On the companion album, Another Sky I did my first ever remix of my own work, “Forgotten (I Almost Remember Remix).” But I had completely forgotten (get it) that before creating that remix, I had already started on a remix for “Into The Black.” So when I found it just recently, it was a total surprise… And especially a surprise because it was pretty good! Then I had the idea of using it as the demo for iZotope’s Neutron mixing plugin, since it’s not an instrument and is something that needs to be added in the mixing phase, and voila! We’ve got ourselves a new This Thing Rules blog and demo! Here’s the track, “Into The Black (Undiscovered Remix).”

I’d imagine for those of you who actually listen to my albums, that was a pretty cool thing to hear. I know it was for me haha… A long lost remix of one of my more popular older tracks.

So since Neutron is a mixing plugin, we’re not going to go into the creation of the song much, except to say that when I first started the original version of “Into The Black,” it actually started life as a demo for iZotope’s Breaktweaker drum synth. Pretty cool how it’s all come around.

Every DAW comes with a suite of effects for mixing, and if you’ve been making music for a while, you no doubt have a ton of other software that you’ve added to your arsenal over time… Maybe even some of it from iZotope themselves… So why would you want yet another option? Well the promise of Neutron is basically a virtual mixing assistant. The real question is whether or not that virtual assistant works… The answer? Well, I’m not 100% sure yet.

At its core, Neutron is a plugin you can add to an instrument track or a bus and then click a button to make it start “listening” to your music. It will then decide what kind of instrument or music is being played and what should be done to make it sound its best and fit better into the rest of the mix. Surprisingly, it usually not only gets its right, but has some rather impressive results. There are times where it’s way off base, but for the most part, it’s really on point.

Now, that doesn’t mean it’s time to quit your music production school just yet. While some people may look at this as a way of lazily letting the computer do all the work, that’s not at all how I see it. For me, it’s more of a great starting point. Like any preset in a synth, this is like a preset for mixing. Sure, experience might be able to tell me to cut certain frequencies on a guitar with EQ or add some compression on a kick drum… But this is progress and technology creating a new way of doing things, and doing them faster. Not only that, but in my mind, you’re getting the most out of Neutron if you don’t just settle for what it decides to do.

Using Neutron’s decisions as a starting point can be incredibly helpful. Not just in the process of making your music sound its best, but in teaching you where you should be looking to do it yourself. EQ is EQ no matter what software you’re using, and if Neutron decides to adjust your piano in a way that ends up being a really good idea… You’re going to look and say “Oh… THAT’S how you make it sound like that” and remember it for next time whether you’re using Neutron next time or not. And of course, anything Neutron does, you can then adjust from there all within the software with a full featured set of tools.

Now like I said towards the beginning… I’m not quite 100% sure yet whether Neutron as an idea completely works. Partially, that’s because I’m not the best mixer in the world (or composer or masterer or player for that matter, but that’s another story haha)! But even without the wild virtual assistant options, just as a mixing tool, it’s quite full featured and can get you great manual results. What I can tell you for sure though, is that Neutron’s tricks are impressive and I believe definitely a sign of things to come in the future.

Neutron is available from iZotope for $249 and an advanced version that lets you break out each of the separate Equalizer, Compressor, Transient Shaper and Exciter effects as their own plug-ins is available for $349.

David Rosen is an award-winning music composer. He composes original music for films, commercials, jingles, video-games and all other kinds of media projects. He has a vast music library of original tracks available for licensing and is also available for custom compositions. Contact him on theABOUT page for pricing and availability for your next project.

THIS THING RULES: Ample Sound Guitar M & Bass Upright

Welcome to another edition of This Thing Rules! It’s been a long time as I’ve been crazy busy releasing my 3rd album Head Like Fire, but I’ve got almost a dozen products to review and I should hopefully be banging out one after another over the next few months. The first one up is actually two in one, and both of which I used quite a bit on my new album. They also both happen to be from a company I’ve reviewed before. Today I’m reviewing Ample Sound’s Guitar M II and Bass Upright. Lets start out by checking out the original demo I made, “By The Moonlight.”

In “By The Moonlight” the only sounds you’re hearing are these two products from Ample Sound, and drums coming from other software. I have one looping bass line that I created in Ample Sound Bass Upright II and then four different layers of Ample Sound Guitar M II.

Starting with the Bass, this software lets you create a pretty much perfectly realistic sounding upright bass sound. The library was meticulously recorded with 4.26GB of samples taken from every fret of the upright bass. There are 6 articulations – sustain, mute, natural harmonic, hammer on & pull off, legato slide, slide in & out. The bass has a great, smooth sound to it, and of course the software has many features for allowing you to dial in that sound exactly how you need it, as well as quickly switching between those articulations.

The Guitar M II is sampled from the Martin D-41 Acoustic Guitar, and it sounds beautiful. As with their TC II guitar that I reviewed previously, this guitar can sound as real as you want it to as long as you put the time in to play with its features. There’s a tab player that can load in tablature to play for you, and tons of adjustable features to get this to sound like a real guitar. In “By The Moonlight” I am playing some layers with individual notes on the keyboard to create melodies, and some I’m using the Strummer feature to automatically strum chords for me. Strumming also has an extremely natural feel and is fully adjustable to get the exact speed and style you want. For another example of just how realistic this thing can sound, check out this short demo video direct from Ample Sound’s website (I didn’t make this one):

Ample Sound’s Guitar M II and Bass Upright II are both available directly from Ample Sound at http://www.amplesound.net/en/purchase.asp. Guitar M II costs $169 and Upright Bass II costs $149. This company makes a whole host of different kinds of guitars, and their engine makes it very easy to get great sounding results, so really, any of their products are highly recommended.

David Rosen is an award-winning music composer. He composes original music for films, commercials, jingles, video-games and all other kinds of media projects. He has a vast music library of original tracks available for licensing and is also available for custom compositions. Contact him on theABOUT page for pricing and availability for your next project.

This Thing Rules: Revisiting Hive

So here’s something new that I’ve never done. A follow-up This Thing Rules about something I’ve already discussed before. It’s time to revisit u-He’s excellent synth Hive.

After my initial review of Hive (which is a much more in-depth review and I encourage you to check it out if you haven’t already), it became something I’d go to every so often for really nice, juicy synth sounds. But not something I used on a really regular basis. As I started adding more synth-heavy sounds to my new album, Head Like Fire, however, it quickly became my go-to for all things synth. Check out my newest music video, “Butterfly” (created by Tobias Steiner).

“Butterfly” is a song that really came to life thanks to the sounds and features of Hive. It should be pretty obvious to anyone who has used this synth before that that huge arp that takes over the song half way through is from Hive. There are also multiple other instances of Hive, some subtle, and some bigger that come in throughout the track. I’m also using automation on the filters to make the sounds grow and change as the song builds, and the smoothness of this software really lets you do just about anything you can imagine (and all with very low CPU usage).

Hive has a ton of well laid out knobs for adjusting and effecting the sounds you’re using to get things tweaked exactly how you like it. We all have tons of synth VSTs, but I can’t think of one that’s this easy to get results with. And for inspiration, there is a community of people out there making incredible and varied presets that you can load in as simply as dragging files to the Hive folder on your hard-drive. I literally have installed 100s of presets… Maybe even 1000s, all for free. And there are amazing sound designers making paid content packs as well. Those preset starting points not only help you get where you need to be, but can be used like a roadmap to find out how a sound was dialed in so that maybe you’ll know what to mess with when you need to edit a sound. It’s all just incredibly powerful and easy to use.

All of this is to say, if you skipped Hive before, I think it’s definitely worth another look. My review was pretty glowing in the first place, but as I began the finishing stages of building up the songs that would become my new album, I found myself finally returning to Hive and really making use of it in a way I thought I would, but didn’t at first. I’m really glad to have pulled myself back in.

Hive is available from u-He directly for $149.

David Rosen is an award-winning music composer. He composes original music for films, commercials, jingles, video-games and all other kinds of media projects. He has a vast music library of original tracks available for licensing and is also available for custom compositions. Contact him on the ABOUT page for pricing and availability for your next project.

THIS THING RULES: The Riser

Welcome to a new edition of This Thing Rules! This week I’ll be checking out Air Music Technology’s The Riser, which I’ve been using quite a bit on my new album.

Speaking of the new album, I’ve recently gotten really busy what with finishing it up, as well as working on music for a couple of films, so these reviews are going to be coming a little less frequently than I had hoped. But rest assured I’ve got plenty This Thing Rules reviews on the way… As a matter of fact, I’ve got 8 in the works currently!

THIS THING RULES: Ample Guitar TC II

Welcome to another edition of This Thing Rules! This is going to be a slightly different one as I’ll sort of be talking about TWO products this time instead of the usual one. The main review is about Ample Sound’s excellent Ample Guitar TC II, but I’ll also be talking about Jamstik+, a really cool guitar instructional tool that doubles as a MIDI guitar. While I’ll eventually be doing a full review of the Jamstik+, I had just gotten it when I received this new Ample Guitar software, and since their products are setup to quickly and easily use with a MIDI guitar, I figured it would be a great match.

Before diving any further into the review, take a listen to the demo I made called “Stand Up.”

THIS THING RULES: Interstellar for Omnisphere

Welcome to another This Thing Rules! This time we’ll be taking a look at Interstellar for Omnisphere by Subsonic Artz. You may remember my review of Gaia from Subsonic Artz, another Omnisphere expansion pack that I checked out last year. Well they’re back with another collection of beautiful sounds for Omnisphere, and the theme this time is something I think a lot of you will recognize.

Before digging into the review, check out my demo “Another World” which I created entirely with sounds from Interstellar.

THIS THING RULES: Lethal

The This Thing Rules blogs are going to be coming one after another over the next couple months, and today I’m excited to be checking out Lethal, a brand new rompler from Lethal Audio.

Before we jump into the review, make sure to listen to the demo, “The Monster,” which I made entirely in Lethal.

THIS THING RULES: Chromaphone 2

Welcome to another edition of THIS THING RULES! It’s been a little while as I’ve been going back and forth between being sick and busy, sick and busy, sick and busy… But I’ve got 7 of these reviews lined up right now, with 3 that are close enough to finished that I should be able to push them out over the next three weeks… And first up, is this sequel to one of the first products I ever reviewed on THIS THING RULES, Applied Acoustics Systems’ Chromaphone… This is Chromaphone 2!

THIS THING RULES: Ueberschall Guitar Feedback

Welcome to another installment of This Thing Rules! Today’s track is going to feature a lot of feedback and distortion, because I’m taking a look at Guitar Feedback, a new loop collection from Uebershall. This is my first time getting to check out one of their libraries, so it will also be my first time talking about their own sample player, Elastik. Lets dive in by listening to the demo, “Falling.”

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