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June 18, 2010

Vuvuzela Killers

Filed under: Plugin — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — audiofanzine @ 8:23 am

How to Filter Out Vuvuzela Noise from FIFA World Cup Games

Let’s face it, unless you are actually in South Africa attending the World Cup and blowing your very own Vuvuzela, you can’t stand the cacophony that’s blaring out of your flat screen TV in the form of a thousand swarming mosquitoes. Luckily, a few plugins have been quickly developed to filter out that so so annoying buzzzzzzzz.

fifa logoYou can imagine my disbelief, Friday night watching the French game opening night of the FIFA World Cup 2010, out on the lawn, on a beautiful summer night, with 100 or so other fans, glaring at a big big screen, with a cool beer in my hand, when suddenly this annoying buzz started pervading my utopia, and never stopped.  First I thought it was a technical error, on the broadcasting station side, or maybe even the projector/mixer that we managed to connect.  Then I thought, as the night progressed, that maybe the beer is getting to my head and there is a swarm of locust about to descend on us like one of the 10 plagues of Egypt.

But no, I asked around, everyone shrugged their shoulders and said: “ah yes, it’s the African plastic trumpet thing”.  What??!! Well, make them stop!  How can we sit through a month of games with this horrible noise in the background.  Sure if I was in the stadium myself, perhaps, a little tipsy, I would think this was the greatest invention to football games, and already start looking into starting a small import business from China.  But I am not.  What are we going to do?  Well, luckily for us, we don’t need to do anything.  Several, enterprising gear manufacturers quickly cooked up some vuvuzela’s noise reduction/filtering plugins, to make it all go away.
Let’s take a look, eh?

Waves’ Vuvuzella Killa

vuvuzela killaWorking in conjunction with a major television broadcaster, Waves say they have crafted a preset processing chain which decreases Vuvuzela noise: The WNS Waves Noise Suppressor and the Q10 Paragraphic Equalizer. Together, they not only minimize Vuvuzela noise, they increase the intelligibility of the game announcers’ play-by-play action and color commentary, Waves assures.

The processing chain for Vuvuzela noise reduction is now available as load-and-use sessions for Pro Tools, Waves MultiRack, and Cubase.

Waves noise reductionparametric eqHow Does it Work?

A combination of dynamic broadband noise suppression and notch filtering are utilized to create the Vuvuzela noise reduction processing chain. Routing schemes and parameter settings were adjusted, contrasted and, compared; multiple instances of each plugin, with different settings, were ultimately used to achieve optimal results, according to Waves.

Yet, the question I would like to pose to Waves is:  With which major broadcaster have you managed to achieve these results?… so I can tune in!

To see more noise reduction solutions see:  Vuvuzela Killers

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June 3, 2009

Waves & Maserati – All Revved Up and Ready to Go!

Waves Tony Maserati Collection: The Test

The Maserati collection represents a meeting of industry titans. Waves, one of the earliest and most enduring audio plug-ins companies, has made its reputation on quality bundles of their own plug-ins such as the Gold, Platinum and Diamond bundles as well as emulations of some of the most respected names in studio hardware from API to SSL. Tony Maserati is a multi-platinum, Grammy winning engineer with mixing credits including Mariah Carey, Destiny’s Child, the Black Eyed Peas, John Legend and Kelly Clarkson. What Waves and Tony Maserati have done is to put together some of Tony’s tried and true combinations of EQ, compression and effects into a simple, intuitive package. Basically, we’re being invited into Tony’s audio world and getting a chance to benefit from his experience in our mixes.

What You Get

The Maserati collection is six plug-ins specifically designed for the primary instruments of most mixes. They are the VX1 for lead and harmony vocals, the ACG for acoustic guitars, the GTi for electric guitars (and horns depending on the preset), the HMX for keyboards, the B72 for bass and finally the DRM for all of the individual drums in a standard studio kit. Atypical of most EQ and compression plug-ins, the Maserati collection also offers built-in effects on each of the six plugs. These effects include reverb and in some instances a delay as well (like on the GTi and VX1). The FX knobs control the overall amount of the effect but in a very general way. On occasion you’re also offered some additional controls like a “Wet” knob(on the HMX) a “Tone” control (on the B72), “Excite” and “Pre Delay” (on the ACG) and even “Vibro” and “Chorus” (on the Gti). Overall, the effects are well thought out, appropriate and sound great.

The Look and Feel

The first thing I noticed about the Tony Maserati collection is that visually it stands apart from a lot of available audio plug-ins in that it’s more fanciful and artistic in its design and doesn’t have a hardware equivalent in the physical gear world. The best description I can give would be to say it looks like a cross between an old wooden radio and the dashboard of some vintage automobile. The way the knobs work and the lights glow has a very comforting, warm look and feel to it. There’s a method to this madness as well: By leaving out actual frequency notations, delay times and almost all numbers, we’re forced (in the best possible way) to use our ears and not our eyes to mix. This is a borderline radical notion these days when we’ve become used to typing 200hz and minus 1.5 into the windows of our EQ plug-ins. By changing our workflow, we’re compelled to listen instead of simply expecting a result that we’ve gotten hundreds of times before.

Now let’s take a closer look…

Conclusion

Overall, I’d have to say the plug-in world is a better place with the Maserati collection in it. And I’m not the only one who feels this way as evidenced by it’s selection for the 2009 Musikmesse International Press Award for best new studio recording effects software. There is absolutely no doubt that each of the six Maserati plug-ins has its own personality and multiple personalities at that. You can think of these plug-ins as the audio equivalent to the Mac OS. In other words, there’s a lot under the hood and you don’t need to know all the details to get great results. The plug-ins are a bit CPU hungry and it was pretty much all my 17” 2.16 Intel Core Duo MacBook Pro could do to keep up with all the plugs at once. That being said, as a go-to spice for a particular job, these plug-ins are exceptional. As Tony Maserati says in his video, every mix is a custom job and if you keep that in mind then using the plug-ins from this collection, they’ll provide you with an exceptional palette for your future mixes. Price: $800 MSRP approx $600 street (the price of a decent mid-level outboard pre amp or compressor).

Pluses:

  • Superb look and feel
  • Unique sound-sculpting approach that makes you use your ears
  • Simple to use with great results that can be achieved quickly
  • The GTi plug-in is exceptional

Drawbacks:

  • A little CPU hungry
  • In certain instances more detailed options for tone control would be helpful
  • A bit pricey

To read the full detailed article see:  Waves Tony Maserati Collection Review

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