One of the best audiophile players for the Mac is Audirvana Plus. Many, myself included, would say it is the best — period. Audirvana Plus 3 is the newest version of this audiophile software and it is the first to include the ability to play MQA encoded files. But whether you’ll hear a difference is an entirely different matter, as is the question whose interests MQA is set to serve.
The MasterCheck Pro plug-in analyses loudness for audio that is delivered through loudness normalised channels. It helps mastering loudness normalised audio. Nugen Audio came up with MasterCheck Pro because loudness normalised audio makes it crucially important to understand how your music will reach the consumer. If you do not take this into account, there is a good chance that it will not sound as you originally intended.
SpectraLayers started life as a sluggish but innovative spectral analysis app. After Sony took over, it became snappier and was developed further with some much needed functionality. Now, in its fourth generation, SpectraLayers Pro changed hands again. With Magix at the steering wheel, the application has been significantly upgraded again.
Creating virtual system-level devices from apps and audio equipment with Loopback is a breeze.
The Bechstein Digital Grand is an exceptionally versatile instrument and plug-in. Its tonal character is said to be close to the acoustic model. While playing with high polyphony throughout all registers, each note remains clearly defined within the arrangement. The player software frustrates.
Reason has always been about making music and innovative audio tools. With the new version, it becomes easier to create a masterpiece, even if you’ve never learned to read a note. Reason 9 has Players, easier access to editing modes and the ability to edit audio pitch. It comes with the popular Pulsar dual channel LFO — previously only available as a Rack Extension. It has more than 1000 new patches in the Reason Sounds library, including several new ones from sound designers.
The USB MIDI keyboards I’ve tested so far were all spring-loaded and therefore quite light and indifferent to the touch. The Impact LX88+ is an 88-key semi-weighted MIDI keyboard/controller. Its keys are part spring-loaded, part weighted. You instantly feel the difference.
The mother of all synthesisers and the one all others try to beat must be the Moog. Moog, the company, still manufacture the actual synths, which are quite expensive. The Moog Model 15 is a digital recreation of a box the size of a small refrigerator. Now I’ve only heard recordings of music created with a Moog, so I can’t tell you what it sounds like when you’re standing beside the real thing, but I can tell you this: the recordings of the iPad Moog Model 15 app that I made come close to the recordings of the real thing.
NUGEN Audio is well known for its broadcast audio plug-ins and applications. Recently, it released its first batch processor, Audio Management Batch Processor (AMB). This application processes multiple audio files simultaneously. It reports on loudness levels, auto-edits your audio files to make them comply with loudness standards, upmixes audio using the new Halo Upmix algorithm and optionally works with ProRes and MXF files (OP-1a and OP-Atom)
You can buy a 3m microphone cable for €10, but Neumann sells one for €300. Neumann is the German manufacturer whose mics are used in Deutsche Grammophon recordings. The Chord Company doesn’t make microphones, but it knows cables. They make a microphone cable using the same mixture of knowledge, skills and technology as the one they use when making some of the world’s best Hi-Fi audio cables: the Cream cable.