Recent news 2024

 

 

 

July 06, 2024

 

 

There is a third DAW available in the studio...

And it's not exactly a small one!

 

 

Logo Steinberg

 

Logo Cubase

 

Steinberg - Cubase Pro 13

 

 

Indeed, I have been working with Logic Pro and its predecessors for about 30 years and for more than 25 years with Pro Tools, why am I suddenly starting to use Cubase Pro as well? I hope I haven't suddenly become a big fan of Cubase, have I? :-)

Since the early days in the 80s and 90s there has been a great rivalry between Logic users and Cubase users and in fact this is still more or less the case today, for example there are very few people who use both Logic Pro and Cubase Pro. I am very clearly a fan of Logic Pro from the very beginning and probably always will be, so the above above about whether I have perhaps suddenly become a fan of Cubase is mainly meant rhetorically.

Although there are many professionals who use Logic Pro or Cubase together with Pro Tools because Pro Tools was originally first and foremost an audio program to which MIDI sequencing was added afterwards, while Logic Pro and Cubase Pro were originally MIDI sequences to which audio was added afterwards. So many professionals use Logic Pro or Cubase Pro to compose and arrange with MIDI data, then convert all the MIDI data to audio files and then go to Pro Tools to mix and finish everything there. And that's how I've been doing it since I can remember and I still do it because Pro Tools is unmatched when it comes to audio mixing.

So why am I suddenly adding Cubase Pro? As already mentioned in the post below on June 22, 2024 installers of AAX plugins for Pro Tools also install AU version for Logic Pro in 99% of cases and usually also a VST and/or VST3 version for Cubase. So I have about as many VST and/or VST3 plugins for Cubase as AU plugins for Logic Pro or AAX plugins for Pro Tools (and that is easily more than 1,000). Then I suddenly realized that this large number of permanently present but unused VST and VST3 plug-ins could be very interesting for Cubase users and I decided to also offer Cubase Pro from now on.

So I have absolutely no intention of dropping Pro Tools or Logic Pro and switching to Cubase Pro or something like that, because that would be very stupid of me after 30 years of working with Logic Pro and its predecessors and 25 years with Pro Tools, because that almost lifelong experience is irreplaceable and very valuable. I also don't plan to suddenly throw myself into Cubase Pro now because I have more than enough experience with DAWs to quickly find my way around Cubase Pro since the basic functions are more or less the same in all DAWs. Cubase Pro is now a third DAW that is available as standard in the studio as an extra service, so customers can easily open their Cubase sessions here and then use all my VST and VST3 plugins and virtual instruments within their familiar Cubase environment. Indeed, I work about 30 years with Logic Pro and its predecessors and more than 25 years with Pro Tools, why am I suddenly adding Cubase Pro? Maybe I have suddenly become a Cubase fan? :-)

And unlike the normal situation where customers here in the studio sometimes learn something about working with Pro Tools or Logic Pro, the roles may now be reversed and I can learn something from customers who come here to work with Cubase :-)

 

 

Btw, I didn't stop at the Cubase Pro 13 purchase:

 

 

A very well-known Steinberg VST3 plugin
for Cubase Pro (and also as AAX and AU plugin)

 

 

Logo Steinberg

 

Logo Cubase

 

Steinberg - HALion 7 - Full version

 

 

HALion 7 is Steinberg's 'Sample and Synthesis Platform' and is comparable to, for example, the KOMPLETE platform from Native Instruments. HALion 7 contains 6 different forms of synthesis including FM, spectral synthesis, virtual analog and granular synthesis, a very extensive sampler, time-stretching, modulation, etc. The full version contains more than 35 GB of samples + 15 instruments + more than 70 effects.

Historically, the Steinberg universe has almost completely passed me by for the simple reason that I have never worked with Cubase + Steinberg is also the inventor of the VST plugins, while Pro Tools historically uses TDM, RTAS and AAX plugins and Logic Pro the standard Apple AU plugins. I was therefore very surprised that the HALion installer now (I don't know since when) also installs an AAX plugin and an AU plugin, making HALion 7 immediately available in Pro Tools and Logic Pro. It was therefore a very simple choice to immediately purchase HALion 7 together with Cubase Pro 13...

 

 

 

 

June 22, 2024

 

 

Adjustments to the website:

 

new pages for the equipment list
with plugins for Pro Tools and Logic Pro

 

 

Logo AAX pluginsLogo AU pluginsLogo VST 3 plugins

 

 

For many years there has been a page on my website with a list of almost all my plugins for Pro Tools, each with an image of the mentioned plugin or plugin bundle. Plugins are indispensable for a DAW and I have always found it very important to know which plugins are available in a studio, hence the extensive list.

Over time, however, 'extensive' started to take on a somewhat extreme form with the listing of more than 900 available plugins, making the page very clumsy. Some time ago I tried to solve this problem by dividing the list alphabetically with separate A • B • C links at the top of the page that allow you to immediately scroll to the desired letter.

But since upgrading to the Apple Mac Pro (2019), I have much more additional native computing power outside the Pro Tools | HDX DSP cards, so I bought a lot of plugins, which made the list even longer + I also bought plugins that do not work exclusively in Pro Tools (AAX Native and AAX DSP plugins) but only in Logic Pro (AU plugins). By the way, installers of AAX plugins for Pro Tools also install AU version for Logic Pro in 99% of cases and usually also a VST and/or VST3 version for Cubase. So of most plugins I have versions as AAX Native plugin + AU plugin + VST and/or VST3 plugin + and some AAX Native plugins I also have as AAX DSP plugin exclusively for use with the Pro Tools | HDX DSP cards.

In summary, the list on the website kept getting longer and longer, leaving me with little choice but to split the list into separate lists per function. I also changed the name of the page from 'Pro Tools plugins' to 'DAW - Plugins' and there you end up with the following division into 5 separate groups:

 

General plugins for mixing en mastering
in stereo and 5.1 surround

 

 

Effects plugins for stereo and 5.1 surround productions

 

 

Plugins for Dolby Atmos Music productions (7.1.2 to 9.1.6)

 

 

Virtual instruments + synthesizers
+ samplers + drum machines

 

 

Virtual guitar amplifiers and effects

 

 

 

On each page there are still separate A • B • C links at the top with which you can immediately scroll to the desired letter, but the letters that do not (yet) contain plugins are now colored gray and are not linked to the respective letter.

And also very important, I have also mentioned it separately on each page:

All plugins listed have permanent licenses that were officially purchased, so no licenses are rented temporarily

There is only one exception and these are the Roland Cloud plugins under 'Virtual instruments' because Roland Cloud does not provide permanent licenses. Here I am very reluctant to join a Roland Cloud Ultimate membership membership because you have little other choice if you want to be able to use the Roland Cloud plugins.

 

 

 

April 24, 2024 (updated on May 23, 2024)

 

 

A new modular digital brain
and a can of fresh memory for the studio

 

 

Logo Apple

 

Apple - Mac Pro (2019)

 

 

Photo Mac Pro (2019)

 

 

In the post below from April 10, 2024, someone who is somewhat familiar with Apple computers could quickly deduce that the 15 dots belong to the housing of a Mac Pro (2019) or a Mac Pro (2023). I had edited the photo below with Photoshop to only include the dot pattern, which was also very beautiful graphically.

 

Photo top front of Apple Mac Pro (2019)

 

Graphic Teaser

 

The Mac Pro (2019) indeed suddenly fell out of the sky on my birthday around 3 am. I watched a YouTube video by Mac Sound Solutions who, like me, works with Pro Tools on an old Mac Pro (Mid 2012) with OpenCore Legacy Patcher to use macOS Ventura. He mentioned in that video that the day before he was able yo buy a new Mac Pro (2019) for USD 2,099.00. This involved a stock sale by Meta (Facebook), which sold several hundred brand new Mac Pro (2019) through an external company, the aluminum casing has the Facebook logo etched in it somewhere. A few days after the video, the price had also risen to USD 3.000,00 because the external company had found out that they were selling out very quickly (the law of supply and demand in full action).

They were sold in the USA, so just shipping and importing a Mac Pro (2019) would be a very expensive undertaking, so I didn't look for it... But suddenly I thought of looking into it at a local website with second hand goods to see if there might be a Mac Pro (2019) for sale there... and suddenly there it was: an Mac Pro (2019) as good as new for... 3.000,00 euro! It was an Intel Xeon 3,2 GHz 16-core processor including 96 GB RAM, 2 additional graphic cards anf 5 TB SDD internal storage, all in as good as new condition (which was actually the case afterwards, see further). That night I immediately informed the seller that I wanted to buy it and the next morning on my birthday I received the confirmation including a signed sales agreement, I couldn't believe my luck.

I was on holiday at the seaside at the time and it wasn't until Sunday April 14 that I was able to pick it up from the seller on my way back home. Everything was in the original packaging, even the anti-static bags for all RAM modules were neatly kept. It was immediately very clear that the seller was in good faith and later I was able to use the serial number to find out that the Mac Pro (2019) was only purchased in February 2022 and is therefore just over 2 years old. But the seller also said that it was only for home use and that he had barely used the Mac Pro (2019) because it does almost everything on a MacBook Pro. And when I opened it for the first time at home, this was also confirmed, there was a little bit of dust on 3 large fans and everything else internally was completely dust-free in a way that you cannot achieve by vacuuming without completely dismantling the computer (which also showed no traces). I also tried to find out how much the Mac Pro (2019) must have cost new and I quickly came to over 20,000.00 euros + considering its almost new condition, 3,000.00 euros was really a very good deal because normally a second-hand Mac Pro (2019) with Intel Xeon 16-core processor (or higher) starts from 5,000.00 euros (without a lot of extra parts as was the case here).

 

Photo Mac Pro (2019)

 

Photo Mac Pro (2019)

 

Last week, step by step and neatly planned, I dismantled my current Mac Pro (Mid 2012) with Digidesign EB7 PCIe Expansion Chassis and migrated everything necessary to the new Mac Pro (2019). The Expansion Chassis housed my 3 Pro Tools HDX cards as shown here :

 

Photo open Digidesign EB7 PCIe Expansion Chassis with 3 Pro Tools HDX cards

 

I was able to transfer these cards very easily to the Mac Pro (2019):

 

Photo open Mac Pro (2019) with with 3 Pro Tools HDX cards

 

Btw, a fun fact: there is no cable in the entire Mac Pro (2019), all parts click and slide together with contacts that touch each other. So the cables you see in the photo above are cables that only serve to connect and/or supply power to the extra installed components to and from the motherboard. And in this YouTube video you can see how a Mac Pro (2019) is technically put together, it is really impressive Apple 'over-engineering'...

An overview of what was installed:

And at the back this looks like this:

 

Photo back side of Mac Pro (2019) with 3 Pro Tools HDX cards

 

For the sake of completeness, this Mac Pro (2019) originally included an Apple Radeon Pro W5700X MPX Module (graphics card) with 16 GB GDDR6 VRAM with 1 HDMI connection and 4 x Thunderbolt 3 connections (I actually paid an extra 100.00 euros for this, so the total price was 3,100.00 euros for everything). But it takes up one and a half times the space of a standard MPX module, which covers a PCIe slot and therefore makes it unusable + that card is really much too powerful for my applications (standard HDMI 1080p). But if necessary, I can still replace 1 or both of the installed Apple Radeon Pro W6600X MPX Modules with 8 GB GDDR6 VRAM with this graphics card.

Furthermore, it also contains an Intel Xeon 3,2 GHz 16-core processor (with Turbo Boost up to 4.4 GHz) and 12 x 8 GB 2,933 MHz DDR4 ECC DIMMs for a total of 96 GB RAM (this can be expanded for this 16-core model to a maximum of 12 x 64 GB = 768 GB)can still be expanded to a maximum of 12 x 64 GB = 768 GB). And it also contains 2 x 512 GB Apple RAM modules for 1 TB of internal SSD storage that is linked to the Apple T2 security chip, this SSD is used to install the macOS and that is currently the most recent macOS Sonoma 14.4.1. In other words, I no longer need OpenCore Legacy Patcher to keep up with macOS.

And it also included a wireless Apple Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad (silver with black keys) and a wireless Magic Mouse 2 (also silver with black), both unopened because the seller was not using them. And I don't plan to do that because I use EditorsKeys AVID Pro Tools keyboards with backlit keys via USB in the studio.

 

Graphic Apple M2 Ultra chip

 

And then of course there is the elephant in the room that I haven't said anything about yet: why didn't I buy a new Mac Pro (2023) with the Apple M2 Ultra processor?

I'll list it briefly:

1) First and foremost the price because a Mac Pro (2023) costs between 8,399.00 euros and 14,579.00 euros, depending on the chosen configuration. But the Mac Pro (2019) cost in 2019 (or more correctly in 2020 because it only came on the market in December 2019) depending on the chosen configuration between 8,000.00 euros and 53,000.00 euros...

2) Even though the Mac Pro (2023) looks exactly the same as a Mac Pro (2019) at first glance, it is much less modular than a Mac Pro (2019), for example you cannot upgrade a processor or upgrade a graphics card (you can't even install the MPX modules of the Mac Pro (2019) in it), no expanding RAM, etc... So the way you configure your Mac Pro (2023) when you purchase it is how it will always be, just as it is the case with a Mac Studio, Mac mini, MacBook Pro, etc... With this Mac Pro (2019) I can still upgrade to an Intel 2.5 GHz 28-core processor (with Turbo Boost up to 4.6 GHz) if desired, maximum 1,5 GB of RAM and as many graphics cards as can physically fit in it.

3) The Apple M2 Ultra processor is of course much more powerful than the Intel Xeon 3,2 GHz 16-core processor in my Mac Pro (2019), but I am a big fan of Pro Tools HDX hardware with AAX-DSP plugins, so I simply don't need all that extra native computing power. My old Mac Pro (Mid 2012) only has an Intel 3.66 GHz 6-core processor and it has never let me down in 13 years. So I think this 16-core will last me a while...

4) If you switch to the Apple Silicon processors such as the M1 and M2, all software must be specifically adapted for use with Apple Silicon and in my case this means that I can no longer use a lot of older software and plugins

5) The Mac Pro (2019) was only replaced by the Mac Pro (2023) in June 2023, so my Mac Pro (2019) was sold new less than a year ago, so it is not that old of a computer + macOS Sonoma still supports it still. But this is of course the big question: how long will Apple continue to support the Mac Pro (2019) (and Intel processors in general)? Because Apple naturally wants everyone to use Macs with Apple Silicon processors. I hope that at least the upcoming macOS will continue to support the Mac Pro (2019) since it was available for purchase new a year ago. But if this is not the case... then I will get back to work with OpenCore Legacy Patcher and I may continue for many years to come, because my old Mac Pro (Mid 2012) currently works fine with macOS Sonoma 14.4.1 via OpenCore Legacy Patcher. and is already 12 years old.

6) And lastly, but I have only known this for a few days now, there are very reliable rumors going around that Apple will continue to offer the Mac Pro with an M4 Extreme processor specially developed for the Mac Pro (the 'M4 Hidra' chip) and this would already be on the market in the second half of 2025. So investing in a Mac Pro with an M2 Ultra processor at new price may not be the smartest thing to do...

In any case, 2 weeks ago I thought I would continue with my old Mac Pro (Mid 2012) and OpenCore Legacy Patcher for a few more years, now I suddenly have a well-developed Mac Pro (2019) that is completely up to date, I can only but very happy with it :-)

 

Addition on May 23, 2024:

I have owned the Mac Pro (2019) for a month now and it really is a beautiful machine! As expected, it is much faster and more powerful than my old Mac Pro (Late 2012), but I have already experienced that the 96 GB RAM it contains will not be sufficient in the long term. Of course this is because with a 16-core processor you can use many more computer programs at the same time (all of which require their own piece of RAM) than with the 6-core processor in my old Mac Pro (Late 2012). But I especially think about the large sample libraries that I have where I can now use many more instruments at the same time than was previously the case and and then the 96 GB of RAM will quickly be filled up.

The Mac Pro (2019) came with 12 x 8 GB DIMM when purchased and it is recommended to install the same DIMMs in all 12 RAM slots for best performance, so these are the possible configurations:

For a Mac Pro (2019) with a 16-core processor, the maximum amount of RAM that can be installed is 768 GB, so only the first 4 options are possible. The larger the DIMM, the more expensive, so I did a cost-benefit analysis which showed that 12 x 32 GB DIMM = 384 GB was the most economical choice + the chance of completely filling 384 GB of RAM is very small for music productions, so 12 x 64 GB = 786 GB would really be way too much.

So as of today there is 386 GB of RAM in my Mac Pro (2019), I think it is now all set and ready for many more years of music enjoyment.

 

Photo Mac Pro (2019)

 

 

 

April 10, 2024

 

 

Today was my birthday...

 

And completely unexpected...

 

A beautiful birthday present fell from the sky...

 

 

 

Graphic Teaser

 

 

 

 

February 09, 2024

 

 

The hardware and software upgrade from
surround 5.1 to Dolby Atmos Music 9.1.6
has been completed!

 

Logo Delta Music Belgium

 

In my post of December 13, 2023 you can read about the hardware monitoring upgrade from surround 5.1 to Dolby Atmos Music 9.1.6 by adding 10 extra Genelec 'The Ones' speakers.

Today I can proudly announce that all software upgrades have been carried out and that the website has been completely adjusted!

But it wasn't the software update that took a lot of time, it was mainly adapting the website in 3 different languages and taking new photos that took a lot of time because I do all of this myself. And this is not so exceptional since I occasionally also design websites, logos and graphic house styles for non-commercial purposes via Delta Graphic Belgium.

Logically, I also adjusted the Delta Music Belgium logo, below you can see the old logo followed by the new logo:

 

 

Logo Delta Music Belgium

 

First and foremost there is the textual change of 'Delta Music Belgium • Pro Tools | HDX Studio' to 'Delta Music Belgium • Dolby Atmos Music Studio'. Although the studio still has the same Pro Tools | HDX Studio is because of the Pro Tools | HDX hardware, nothing was changed other than adding 2 extra Avid HD audio interfaces.

The background of the new logo has been changed from completely white to a color gradient from white to a very soft purple shade, which better highlights the white glittering parts of the original Delta Music logo from 1999. This is that original logo:

 

Graphic logo Delta Music

(more information about the history of the Delta Music logo can be found in my post of July 3, 2006)

 

The soft rounded gray frame around the old logo has been changed to a sharper, more angular version that looks a bit more 3D. At the bottom the frame also has a color gradient, but from gray to gray with a purple tint (the bottom is the shadow side), the right side is pure purple and at the top the frame is completely white (the top is the exposed side). But the top also gives the idea of a color gradient from white to white, but this is an optical illusion due to the color gradient of the background from white to the very soft purple shade.

Many texts have of course been changed on the website, but visually the change in color of the font is of course the most striking. That color is the same color as the very soft purple shade of the background of the new logo, fits nicely with the background of the website and also makes the pages a bit softer to the eye. Because the font color is no longer white, all the white logos used here and there on the website also stand out better, links in texts stand out better and the large titles are also much clearer.

But the most important news is and remains that at Delta Music Belgium you can now mix in Dolby Atmos Music with 9.1.6 listening with 16 real speakers (actually there are 17 because there are 2 subwoofers). For example, there are not many studios in Belgium and certainly not at the project studios because if they mix in Dolby Atmos Music there, this is either with headphones or with a standard Dolby Atmos home theater system... And therefore not with a professional digital 9.1.6 listening consisting of 15 Genelec 'The Ones' speakers with an 'equidistant' layout in which all speakers are placed or suspended at an equal distance from the center of a circle (the listening point) + which is also fully calibrated according to the requirements of Dolby Professional...

More information about Dolby Atmos Music and the technical side of things can be found in the first 3 frequently asked questions and in the equipment lists listed below:

 

 

And some more photos!

 

Photo Control Room center

 

Photo Control Room right

 

Photo Control Room left

 

Btw, I took the opportunity to update all the photos from the studio, you can find them via:

 

 

 

Logo Delta Music Belgium - Grasklokje

 

 

 

January 11, 2024

 

 

New in my synthesizer collection:

 

Logo Behringer

 

Behringer - solina String Ensemble

 

Photo Behringer 2600

 

 

In my post of June 28, 2019 about my purchase of the Behringer Vocoder VC340 you can read that Behringer then made a copy of the Roland VP-330 Vocoder Plus mk2 from 1980, but a bit smaller and more modern (e.g. with MIDI and USB). The Behringer Solina String Ensemble is a similar story because this is a copy of the Eminent Solina String Ensemble from 1974, also better known as the ARP Solina String Ensemble because ARP distributed it in the USA from 1974 to 1981:

 

 

The Behringer Solina String Ensemble, just like the Behringer VC340, is an analog 'stringer' (the VC340 is also a 10-band vocoder) that uses a 'divide-down oscillator' (49 voices) and also a built-in Ensemble effect (chorus). ) for which analog BBD (Bucket Brigade Device) chips are used. Furthermore, there is also a copy of an Electro Harmonix Small Stone phaser and that is not just... (see below). What is clearly not included is a keyboard, because the Behringer Solina String Ensemble is a desktop module that must be controlled via MIDI or USB.

 

 

The original designer Eminent is a Dutch manufacturer of electronic organs. The best-known organ at the time was the Eminent 310 Unique from 1972 and it contained the first version of the analog 'string section' with 'divide-down oscillator' for imitating string instruments and from this the Eminent Solina String Ensemble was later derived :

 

 

However, in the 1970s a Frenchman had the brilliant idea to combine the Eminent 310 Unique organ with an Electro Harmonix Small Stone phaser effect pedal...

 

 

He then made an album in 1976... and another in 1978... and it made him world famous...

 

 

 

The floating string sound on both albums is very typical and unique, which is why Behringer immediately built a Small Stone phaser into the Behringer solina String Ensemble for instant Jean-Michel Jarre 'out of a box'! And this is really true, before you know it you have that typical Jean-Michel Jarre stringer sound that you can dream away to...

And without the Small Stone phaser, you'll be in this movie before you know it:

 

 

Here I of course mainly mean Wendy Carlos's music based on Beethoven's 9th Symphony with a fairly aggressive-sounding Eminent Solina String Ensemble in the leading role.

I have the Behringer solina String Ensemble in the studio for several weeks now and together with the Behringer Vocoder VC340 it forms a nice duo that covers almost the entire spectrum of analog stringers, with those typical timbres from the 70s. you can't find anywhere else than with 'divide-down oscillators'...

Btw, about 5 years ago I had the opportunity to buy an Eminent 310 Unique organ around here, it was in perfect condition and only cost 100.00 euros. Until it turned out that the organ was located on a third floor and weighed more than 100 kg + I also had to move it myself, so I let that pass me by. And you can't just put such a heavy organ aside in the studio, so it wouldn't have been very useful either. By the way, I have also seen them offered for free in the Netherlands, the only requirement is that you always come and pick them up yourself. And then you should know that when Jean-Michel Jarre performs the album 'Oxygene' live, he (read: his technicians) usually brings along about 5-6 of them, of which 4 are always on stage (see the red circles):

 

 

Btw, the image above is the complete instrumentation for the live DVD Jean-Michel Jarre - Oxygene Live in Your Living Room from 2007, a live show with which Jean-Michel Jarre later also toured... For lovers of old analog synthesizers, this video is indispensable because it is literally a museum full of old synthesizers that are on stage and are played completely live!

But there is also a second reason why this video is indispensable, namely because this video is an HD version instead of standard DVD quality, so you can finally watch everything down to the smallest detail! A version that I didn't even know existed until today because I only knew (and have) the DVD version and accidentally found this HD version on YouTube while looking for the DVD version...

 

 

 

 

 

Graphic File Drawer

 

 

 

 

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