Thursday, July 11, 2013

ToonTrack EZkeys Essential Pianos Review – The Song Writer’s Piano Friends

I was more than a little ‘jazzed’ when I first heard that Sampling giants, ToonTrack, were adding pianos/keyboards to their industry-leading product line-up. I had already been a more-than-satisfied ToonTrack customer for a couple of years. I rely on various “EZdrummer” modules as my drum sample/construction software of choice. As soon as I’d heard the early release news about the original, ground-breaking “EZkeys Grand” Piano sample library/sequencer, I anticipated that song writers and home producers would be elated with the news. I don’t mean to come across as pretentious, but my assumption was absolutely correct.

The initial release of “EZkeys Grand” created no small ripple in the sampling pool. Not only did “EZkeys Grand” hold up extremely well against its large, multi-gig competitors sound-wise, but it gave something to non-keyboardists that no other competing piano sample library could – built-in midi phrases and song construction tools. ToonTrack serves up first-rate piano sounds, assorted musical styles, transposition, drag n’ drop song construction and an attractive, photo-realistic GUI. The EZkeys line-up will empower novice song-writers and non-keyboardists with professional-grade piano compositional parts, while providing professionals a means of creatively fast-tracking song ideas; quickly and easily.

This review will be an exhaustive inspection of the cross-platform “EZkeys Essential Pianos” collection. This wonderful suite of pianos is comprised of: EZkeys Grand, an impeccably sampled Steinway “Model D”; EZkeys Classic Keyboards, a totally vibe’n set of Wurlitzer “A200” and Rhodes “Mark I” electric pianos; and EZkeys Upright, a harmonically-pleasant, old-time, upright piano. Any one of these packages retails for €139/$179 by itself, with any additional EZkeys library available for only €69/$89. As a bundle, the EZkeys Essential Pianos suite rings in at €249/$325. Just for grins n’ giggles we’ll also get introduced to a truckload of EZkeys midi libraries in the styles of: R&B, Gospel, Jazz, Country, Blues, and Pop.


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SPL DeEsser Review – DeEssser SsuperSstar

Arghhh! The blessed vocal track is just about perfect. The tracking went well, the latest take is free of “pitchiness”, mic placement and EQ are bang on. You apply tasty compression by dialling up your favourite ’76 and 2A just right. That sweet vocal EQ couldn’t be better.

Then your ears are no longer being romanced – they’re raped by one of the recording vocalist’s most lethal foes – sibilance.

. Nasty, in-your-face, brash, piercing SSSsibilance. You try the well regarded VST’s from yesteryear, you try EQing, you try a couple of current payware DeEssing offerings, but then the vocal ‘air’ is lost and the vocal track is very ‘flat’. . . . and at last, you find yourself carefully editing by hand in Wavelab, Sound Forge or Acoustica Premium.

It isn't any fun – editing out plosives and/or sibilance “by hand”. It’s time consuming and can result in audible editing clicks when the resultant editing is processed within your DAW. Sibilance has been the bane of many an engineer’s existence. Actually, nasty, piercing SSSs just plain suck!

Wouldn't it be just wonderful if there were a way to easily remedy sibilance with just one or two knobs, and keep the quality of a vocal track intact?

Guess what!? There is . . .

The $199 SPL DeEsser Collection plug-in can be properly reviewed with one, simple word. “Amazing.” If I were to end this review right now, without typing another letter on the page, the review could be considered complete. This set of powerful, specialized plug-ins is nothing short of amazing. Nevertheless, it’s no fun to be a professional writer and not actually . . . write. *Smile. Stay with me, I promise, I won’t keep you long, but I really am very excited to share my experience and findings about the SPL DeEssers Collection with you. *Quick Note: Until July 15th, 2013, this plug-in is on sale for only $149.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Email Subscriptions Now Offered. Coupon Codes, Giveaways, and "Hot Off The Press" Notifications

Yes, that's right. Reviewer's Revival is now one year old and I have some great news to share with you.

Not only are a lot of the RR readers liking the web site and the reviews, but some of the devs are showing a lot of appreciation to RR readers. Every once in a while, Reviewer's Revival will be offering EXCLUSIVE Coupon Codes, Giveaways, and of course personal notifications when new articles are published. I've been hearing from some of the readers, and they are totally down with this cool, new idea. And yes, EXCLUSIVE means that these will be Giveaways and Coupons that are exclusive to Reviewer's Revival subscribers - these will not be "public" offers.

Sign up today and stay in the loop. No SPAM! NO trading or selling email lists. NO JUNK! Only notifications of the latest REVIEWS, and exclusive COUPON-CODES and occasional Giveaways. If you're interested, pop over to Reviewer's Revival and subscribe on the "Reviewer's Blog" page.

Just wanted to let ya'll know . . .

Thanks & God Bless,
Bro. Charles


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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

EmberTone Shire Whistle Review – Aye, Lad, Tis A Sweet Song!

Of Scottish ancestry, I grew up naught but 100 yards from the Atlantic shoreline in Englishtown, Cape Breton. The plaintive sounds of Celtic instruments always bring a wistful sigh upon me heart and beckons myself home; Embertone’s “Shire Whistle” is just such an instrument. With only a pair of Sennheiser headphones, it fairly addles me into fancying that the scent of salt brine is wafting on the evening air while distant, haunted, echoing cries of Atlantic Gulls are heard off the point, beyond the lighthouse.

The greenery of mountain spruce and tender, meadow moss lie to the south. Amidst the hum of busy bumble-bees, flittering sparrows melodiously call to one another with one happy tune after another. What’s that to be heard just over the crest? Yes, indeed, tis “Shire McGuire” expressing thanks and merriment for yet another day of blessing and growth upon his beloved garden and vale. His wizened fingers dance over the holes of his fondest keepsake; his father’s Irish whistle.

EmberTone captured the essence and charm of this poetic instrument and have lovingly wrapped it for us as a Kontakt sample-set. This blessed little gift may be had for only a wee bit of coin from a trader’s sporran. Tis no more than $20 middle earth dollars.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

XILS-Lab PolyKB II Review – Get Your Analogue On

PolyKB, Diva, SynthMaster, Dune, Predator, Tone2 Saurus, ZT3A+; what do these all have in common? They are each industry-leading soft synths, that’s what. Most of these are not “dedicated” emulations of famous synths from yesteryear – albeit, each of these may certainly be considered a “new” classic. That’s not to say that products such as Dune, Synthmaster, Predator, and etcetera, aren’t extremely well suited to modern dance and electronica.

I would never be so bold as to try determining that any one of them is “The Best” because they are all very good. Of course, it’s generally understood that many synth players typically have a personal favourite or two; one of my absolute personal favourites just so happens to be the PolyKB II. And, this synth just so happens to be an emulation, but it’s not the standard fare – not by a long shot.

Are you one of those who like to visit a developer’s web site and keep “checking out” a favourite plug-in or VSTi? It’s ok to admit it; you’re among friends. *Wry, knowing grin. Long before I actually had PolyKB II in my possession, I would visit the XILS-Lab web site and listen to the remarkable audio samples of this fantabulous synth in action. It has a “vibe”, a sound, a character that is uniquely its own. It’s deep, lush, ‘alive’ and decidedly analogue-sounding. I am excited and more than a little bit happy to bring my review of the astounding PolyKB II to my friends and visitors here on Reviewer’s Revival.

I’m glad you dropped in. Grab a snack and a fresh cup of joe. Please settle in for one more peering investigation of yet another “must have” VA synth. We’ll do ‘er up in good ol’ Reviewer’s Revival style.


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Friday, June 7, 2013

PrecisionSound Gospel Drawbars Review – The Patriarch Hammond!

There have been a few notable Hammond organ sample libraries and VIs (Virtual Instruments) released over the past 10 years. Some of these made us sit up and keenly take notice, whilst others were greeted with yawns of disinterest. I’m excited to present this latest offering from Sweden’s masters of sampling, PrecisionSound – the amazing “Gospel Drawbars”. This ear-tickling sample-set is available in both NI Kontakt and Logic EXS24 formats.

PrecisionSound have been outputting respectable sample sets, in various formats, since 2003 and with each new release, it is obvious that they are honing and refining their sampling processes. When I first loaded this 1 GB sample set into Kontakt 5, I knew immediately that it wasn’t yet another ‘so so’ virtual Hammond wannabe. The depth and richness of ‘believable’ tonewheel sound must be experienced to be understood.

Gospel Drawbars is NOT another B3 sample library; this one is a meticulously-recorded 24 bit/44.1khz digital sample-set of a rare, well-functioning Hammond AB organ (circa 1937). The AB was Hammond’s 2nd offering, and is the direct ancestor of the B3/C3 line. This sample-set is absolutely soaking wet with vibe, character, and vintage-sounding charm. It’s almost too good to be true; the most unique Hammond organ sounds to have ever been heard “in the box” for only $69.


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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

MemoryMoon ME80 Review – Real “Virtual” CS80

Yep! The title of this article is a deliberate phrase of irony and antonymic word play.

But ah’ll tell Yoo wut!” This old-skool Synthedit creation is one of THE MOST authentic-sounding Yamaha CS80 emulation that has ever been made. Yes, I know, there is another famous 64 bit, cross-platform CS80 emu out there, but not for only $40! And may I be so bold as to say that the “other” VSTi doesn’t ‘feel’ as authentic as MemoryMoon’s ME80?

There are those who feel that the fancy-schmancy, eLicensed “other guy” doesn’t exhibit the true-to-form quirkiness and subtle analogue drift of the original hardware.

The CS80 was an expensive unit when it was released in late 1976, costing upwards of $8000, but it could never actually be accused of being “versatile”. It had some very distinct sounds; notably the huge brass and delicate, ambient strings. MemoryMoon’s ME80 is verily dripping with those distinctive tones. ME80 not only emulates the sounds of the original hardware that it is modeled after, but it realistically reproduces the famous polyphonic “aftertouch” which the Yamaha CS80 was so greatly prized for.


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Thursday, May 16, 2013

OverTone FC-70 Review – Fairchild 670, Really?

Many of us are familiar with well-established, somewhat expensive modelled plug-ins that promise authentic Fairchild 670 sound and performance. UAD’s ”Fairchild® 670 Compressor Plug-In” and IK Multimedia’s “Vintage Tube Compressor/Limiter Model 670” are two of the most highly profiled Fairchild emulations that come to mind. OverTone’s recently released FC-70 also promises to be a faithful digital emulation of the famous studio hardware compressor.

A couple of months prior to this article, I reviewed FC-70’s vintage EQ cousin, “PTC-2A”, from Overtone. I was highly impressed with that offering and as soon as I heard that these lads from England were releasing a Fairchild emu, I was more than a little bit eager to give it a keen “going over”.

I was not disappointed. The wait was definitely worth it, and boy, am I ever ‘jacked up’ to bring you in on it and share my findings with you. For the very conservative cost of only £25 of her majesty’s British Sterling Pounds, this amazing performer, from ‘the other side of the Atlantic’, is a definite must-have. At the very least it is a ‘must-try’. I strongly recommend that you download the demo and find out for yourself just how ‘sterling’ this upstart is.
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Sunday, May 12, 2013

TAL U-NO-LX Review – Real Juno 60 Sound In The Box!

Many of us are thankful for Switzerland’s Patrick Kunz and his full line of TAL (Togo Audio Line) virtual synths and plug-ins.

Very thankful.

Many DAWs have been blessed with TAL audio products over the past 6 years. There has been the illustrious TAL-chorus, the reliable, ear-pleasing Tal-Reverb (II and III), the fluid, silky TAL DUB-Delays, and the easy-to-dial in TAL Effects.

While we’re listing the wealth of products that TAL have blessed us with, let’s not omit the worthy VA synths, TAL-Elec7ro, TAL-NoiseMaker and the perennial U-NO-60.

After years of giving his hard work and exemplary programming efforts away for free, Mr. Kunz now offers the FINEST “Roland Juno 60” emulation that has ever been heard ‘In The Box’ for both MAC and PC. Originally slated for a MSRP of $70, TAL made U-NO-LX available for a paltry $17 as a pre-release offer. At present, the RRP is only $40 (USD).

I strongly recommend that interested parties hurry over to the developer’s web site to grab this VSTi now! Once the news gets out about just how “good” this TRUE-modelled VA synth is, I suspect that there will be a whole new generation of synth players who will consider the $70 price tag a small amount to pay.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

IZotope RX 2 Review – Audio Forensics Specialist

To say that IZotope’s RX 2 is a respectable audio restoration suite is a grave understatement. Rather, RX 2 has become one of the most highly regarded speciality software packages available for professional-grade, forensic audio repair and restoration. RX 2 is priced very competitively, ringing in at approximately half the cost of most of its more expensive challengers. -- $349 (RRP). You may be able to find this powerful suite priced even lower at online stores such as or

And yes, it’s available for both 32 and 64 bit MAC *and PC systems.

RX 2 is delivered with a total of five distinct and powerfully effective modules: DeClip, DeClick/DeCrackle, Hum Removal, DeNoising, and Spectral Repair. These are available to the user as both a multi-function, stand-alone application or as individual plug-ins that can be used in any DAW or audio editing host that supports DirectX, RTAS or VST. To lend itself to even greater convenience and effectiveness, the stand-alone RX 2 also includes iZotope’s powerful 4 band linear-phase EQ, gain control with smooth fade in/out, precise stereo imaging and phase correction. Completing the suite, iZotope have outfitted RX2 with a full-featured spectrum analysis tool.

Powerful enough for professional mastering/restoration engineers.

Easy to learn for beginners.

IZotope RX 2 truly is a “Complete Audio Repair” solution.

IZotope RX 2 Review – Audio Forensics Specialist

Friday, May 3, 2013

Rob Papen Predator Review – Roars Like a Lion, Purrs Like a Kitten

Rob Papen’s Predator has become one of the electronic genre’s perennial favourites for its wide breadth of sound types and synth flavours. This dynamic synth is not as easy to pigeon-hole as some of Mr. Papen’s other famous designs. Predator will pounce on its dance-floor prey with the agility of a hungry, West African Lion, or massage your cochlea with its soothing, analog-like purrs.

The two Limited Edition bundles only cost €199 | $239 (USD) apiece.

While Predator may be considered by some to be ‘Bigger Game’, where it is listed at €149/$179 (USD), the astute electronic musician will be duly wary to keep an ear out for it as a very worthy cross-platform all-rounder. This synth is elusive – difficult to trap into any one genre cage. Pred is as capable of emitting piercing, phat leads, as it is to peacefully lay down bedded layers of warm, comforting pads. What’s more, Predator is as likely to be seen prowling on a MAC desktop as on a Windows PC.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

SKnote MatterTone Review – Because Tone Matters!

SKnote’s gentlemanly, unassuming admission into the league of transient shaping is not one that should go unnoticed or be easily overlooked. Rather, this robust, able-bodied dynamics-device merits serious consideration. MatterTone packs quite a whollop for its low, conservative CPU demands. It doesn't hit your pocketbook hard though; it’s priced at only $30 (USD). This plug-in holds up very well under scrutiny. MatterTone can stalwartly occupy the same DAW space as any of its more costly competition without shame or timidity.

Perhaps, dear reader, you're thinking that we already have enough transient shapers on the market to choose from. What makes this variant of transient shaping unique? For starters, it is a “Level-independent” apparatus. Unlike typical compressors, limiters and most envelope shapers, this plug-in does not react according to the amount of channel gain – it responds directly to the audio source. Secondly, MatterTone is truly a multi-band design, providing separate ‘attack’ and ‘release’ controls for each band.

MatterTone takes typical transient shaping, splits it into three separate bands, and hands it back to you, empowered with some serious BAM!

C’mon, gang, let’s get to know this new recruit better, shall we?


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

MeldaProduction’s MDynamicEQ & MAutoDynamicEQ Review – Extreme, Dynamic EQ Power

MeldaProduction have long established themselves as one of the most avant-garde audio plug-in specialists out there. Not only are Melda’s digital wares innovative and feature-rich, but the quality of their products puts them forward, where they need not take a back seat to any competitor. MeldaProduction plug-ins are heard on prolific, professional recordings from all over the globe.

MDynamic & MAutoDynamic EQs are yet another couple  of Melda’s leading-edge “must-haves”. These binary wonders must be experienced to be fully understood! Once an engineer has been spoiled from relying on these astounding “GO TO” EQs, it would be most difficult to resort to any previous fan-favourite.

Yes, they are “that” good.

Priced modestly at €60/$78 (MDynamicEQ) and €120/$156 (MAutoDynamicEQ) , the wise, self-starting engineer who purchases these elaborate compilations of highly optimized DSP code, will be a very blessed individual indeed. Having conducted exhaustive, careful analysis, the lab reports are back. Reviewer’s Revival is very pleased to share the test results with you.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

LVC-Audio ClipShifter 2 Review – Changing the Shape of Things

A recent entry into the plug-in swarm of limiters, transient shapers, saturators, and distortion devices, ClipShifter 2 by LVC-Audio is a keen little handy-dandy “Go Go Gadget Clipper”. When I first chatted with developer, Mr. Matt Witimer, about it, I honestly wasn't quite sure what a “ClipShifter” did. To nutshell it for you, this tidy, cross-platform, native plug-in is a wave-shaping unit that functions like a clipping-style limiter. The sonic characteristics of its clipping/distortion are variable; from hard, brickwall-style clipping, to soft, compressed saturation.

Draw in a deep breath. The cost of this clip shifting goodness is not to be considered by the feint-of-heart. Only the most ardent, full-time professional recording engineer would even begin to entertain the notion of applying for a 2nd mortgage in order to furnish his/her studio with this exorbitantly-priced digital weapon. Are you seated and prepared? ClipShifter costs an overwhelming $1176 (USD). Retract that order and stand down! That was a typo. It should read, $11.76 *Grin.

Ok, comrade reader, fall out! Let’s recon LVC’s sassy, satisfying, insatiable, ClipShifter.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

4Front Technologies’ True Pianos Review – TRUE PIANO Modelling!

In the seemingly never-ending quest for glorious tone, authentic playability, and modest system requirements, many pianists are left disillusioned with many of today’s ITB offerings. Few musicians have either the physical space or the bankroll to actually invest in a baby grand; or even a high-end “Digital Grand”.

Many keyboardists struggle to keep their computers afloat in the sea of multi-gigabyte sample libraries; with each new library promising to deliver finer sound and greater piano realism.

I own a few substantial piano sample libraries, and for the most part, they are all very good. However, they consume a great deal of precious hard drive space, and available system memory. For those who own up-to-date computers housing fast hard drives, and large denominations of blistering-fast RAM, this isn’t as much of a concern . . . ‘ yet’; wait another year or two and maybe the newest sample libraries will be even that much more demanding.

But all is not lost! We can thank God and the good folks at 4Front Technologies for finally making the dream a reality. For the gracious price of only £121.55, or $180 (USD), 4Front’s suite of five modelled pianos is nothing shy of spectacular and splendorous. Furthermore, True Pianos is ‘truly’ multi-platform in that it is available for Windows PC (32 bit & 64 bit), Mac (Intel & PPC), Receptor, and vMachine!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

ValhallaDSP ValhallaRoom Review

Unless you’ve been comatose since 2009, when glimpses of ValhallaDSP were first seen on the DSP horizon, it is very probable that you’ve been aware of Valhalla Plug-ins. It approaches outright comedic lunacy to even contemplate comparing an independently-crafted $50 (USD) reverb plug-in with those costing upwards of FIVE times more.

Nevertheless, this true-stereo, cross-platform, algorithmic reverb plug-in deserves nothing less.


Sound quality.

The resultant reverberation quality heard on audio tracks having been processed with ValhallaRoom is nothing less that breath-taking. And don’t you know, the reverberation decay can be as long as 100

s e c o n d s . . . . . L O N G & O N & O N.

Acon Digital Acoustica 5 Premium GIVEAWAY

Acoustica 5 Premium Giveaway

 Review Revival Giveaway - Win a Copy of Acon Digital's Acoustica 5 Premium!

ABG Head Case Review

“You're traveling to another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of aural creativity; a journey into a nebula of wondrous amplifier simulation whose boundaries are that of imagination. Your next stop...the Tone Stack Zone.

Canada’s innovative brainchild, AcmeBarGig, have recently released the highly-anticipated Head Case into the wild. Head Case is the embodied culmination succeeding three years of deep-level programming, intense research & development, and exhaustive beta testing. Head Case is alone in its nebula. It unanimously has dominion of the sphere it occupies. There isn’t another for it to be aptly compared to. How do you spell ‘unique’? H-E-A-D C-A-S-E!

The $60 sign post is just ahead. Cast off your timidity and join me. If you dare.

Read the FULL review HERE:

PSP PianoVerb 2 Review

One of my absolute favorite types of naturally-occurring ambience is that which happens inside of an old upright-grand piano case. When I was an ankle-biter, I would squirm in behind the old 5ft’ tall, upright grand piano in our living room so I could sing - and make who knows what other awful squawks – ‘into’ the back of the piano. Sometimes I’d stand up on the bench so that I could open the top and yell/sing into it. (some would think I was ‘off-the-noodle’, but I didn’t care . . .)

When I first heard of PSP Audioware’s PianoVerb 2, my attention and interest was immediately all ‘jazzed-up’.

Read the FULL review HERE:
PSP PianoVerb 2 Review - A "Grand" Reverb That's Outta Sight, Man!

Endless Series 3 Review

Endless Series 3 is unique. Difficult as it to categorize, I would label it as a creative filter effect. Its most noteworthy feature, and primary function, is that of the Shepard-Tone generator. (Shepard-tone will be explained shortly.) Endless Series 3 also offers up blue-ribbon modulation effects in the tradition of flanging, ring-modulation, and phasing. ES3 will only require £29.99 GBP ($46 USD) of your earthly, monetary substance.

Read the FULL review HERE:
Endless Series 3 Review - The TONE Illusionist

Voxengo Polysquasher 2 Review

Russian audio-software developer, Voxengo, has been highly-visible on the global audio plug-in radar since a few years now. Voxengo is well-known for producing quality, cross-platform DSP software devices which capably address home/small studio needs for equalization, convolving reverb, modulation, delay/echo, compression, saturation, and etcetera. Polysquasher is purported to be a mastering plug-in - a plug-in that upholds the honourable estate of a studio-grade, mix-glue compressor. It isn’t ‘cheap’, but anyone looking for top-drawer performance on a budget, the $80 (USD) price tag is reasonable.
Read the FULL review HERE:

Blue Cat Audio Liny EQ Pack Review

From Paris, France, Blue Cat Audio has positioned itself as one of the world’s finest craftsmen of cross-platform, higher-end DSP software and frequency analysis tools. Not to be mistaken as eclectic, over-priced fodder, Blue Cat’s audio-software is deservedly held in high regard by professional audio engineers and studio owners as that of ‘blue ribbon’ excellence.

With a MSRP of 119€ or $159(USD), this studio-grade EQ solution is not necessarily one that some home producers would consider ‘affordable’ (read: cheap-software). Blue Cat Audio was founded by Guillaume Jeulin in the pursuit of achieving exceptional software quality and reliability. Blue Cat Audio soft-wares are enlisted and deployed by recording studios, universities, recording schools, home studio owners, and recording engineers; as well as professional and amateur musicians from all over the globe.

Having this precedent established, let’s investigate Blue Cat Audio’s LinyEQ Pack to determine if it upholds that bar of excellence.

Read The FULL review HERE:

Acon Digital Acoustica 5 Premium Review - Major League Quality, Minor League Price

Sound Forge Pro, Sound Forge Audio Studio, Audition, Wavelab, Wavelab Elements, Audacity, Waveosaur, Gold Wave; what to do, what to do? The upper crust of these products requires a deeply indrawn breath, a flush bank account, and a commitment to pro-calibre audio editing. The lower range of available audio editors provides decent audio-editing features that will appease novices or those who only want/need to make simple changes. If the user is not concerned about achieving professional results, or hasn’t a need for pro features, then a freeware or inexpensive audio editor will suffice.

Consider this question . . . .

What if you ‘need’ professional features, but can’t quite bite off the ‘professional’ costs associated with the upper range audio-editing software packages? You take a look in the direction of team Norway. Since 1987, Acon Digital has been diligently refining their powerful, affordable product-line. Heading up the roster is team captain, Acoustica 5 Premium.

With a MSRP of only $119 (USD), it is entirely plausible that Acon Digital’s Acoustica 5 Premium is poised to win gold as THE BEST audio editing software package within its price range. Competing products (in this price range) DO NOT offer the extensive, powerful features that Acoustica 5 Premium provides.

Sound Magic's Neo EQ Review

Ok, ok . . . I gotta start writing. I can’t just keep playing with this plug-in. Why should I get to enjoy myself and play with a plug-in when there’s work to be done? After all, I’m a professional reviewer and there’s a highly respected reputation of impartiality and unbiased reporting at stake here. Can you just come back later, maybe? NO?! Waddaya mean, “NO?!

*Sigh . . . fine then. I’ll write.

This nifty, whiz-bang EQ plug-in is one of the ‘neatest’ VSTs that I’ve loaded up in my DAW since some time.

€49 ($67 USD). Is this so-called “Next Generation” EQ plug-in worth the MSRP?

Read the FULL review HERE:
Sound Magic's Neo EQ Review - Next Gen Pitch Tracking

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Reviewer's Revival has a new online home and is actively being migrated. The new, redesigned site will be live and fully functioning by Feb 29th. *chuckle

Seriously, come visit at the new location; I think you'll like it.

The new Reviewer's Revival Blog site is faster, it works with ALL current browsers, and  it offers a much nicer graphical interface. The existing blog site will not be shutdown nor deleted; however, it is not anticipated that new reviews will be published on it, going forward.

New Reviewer's Revival Blog Site Here.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Xils-Lab Le Masque Delay (1.5) Review – Futuristic Digital Delay

Reviewer’s Log: stardate 19.02.2013

Delivering the quality that one expects from Xils-Lab, and perhaps exceeding those expectations, the recently upgraded Le Masque Delay 1.5 docks itself into your DAW with the grandiose entry of the Starship Enterprise NCC-1701-C. To celebrate the momentous occasion, Xils-Lab are making Le Masque Delay 1.5 available until February 28th, 2013, for only 44€25 ($58). The MSRP will be 59€ ($77) after that stardate. *Wincing at my own flayed attempt to use kool Star-trek-ian terminology.*

By Xils-Lab’s admission:

Le Masque Delay inherits the renowned XILS-lab filters and all the experience accumulated from the making of Virtual Analog synthesizers and audio effects. But, Le Masque Delay can also perform like a regular Delay

Some droids may put Le Masque Delay into the “weird, dude, I don’t know how to work it” category, but remain at your station! I have some relevant logistics data that will keep your attention transfixed for the next few continuum. By the end of this reviewer’s report, you may even engage the internet transporter (known as a web browser) to transport you to the Xils-Lab coordinates for a worry-free cyber transaction.

Why worry-free? No dongles. No C/R challenges. You authorize Le Masque Delay with a personalized license code received via email. The email arrives shortly following the purchase transaction.

To say that Le Masque Delay is an innovative new concept is an understatement. Beware! This review is involved. Those who suffer from A-D-D may need to  . . . . huh? What? Hey! Look over there.

Trekkies will appreciate the style of creative writing that this article is written in. Non-trekkies may not. No, wait! Only Moms, wives and girlfriends fail to appreciate classic sci-fi. "You aren’t a ‘girl’ are you, MR. Worf?!"

Saturday, February 16, 2013

SKnote C165a Review – DBX Compressor Modelling Excellence

If you're a fan of the revered DBX VCA compressor/limiter sound, then the C165a by SKnote is an absolute must-have! As though it were the starring role, featured in a box office opening prelogue, the C165a dramatically impresses us with its with its stylish, visual finesse and sonic supremacy. Higher-priced compression nemeses could be well justified to keep a wary eye on C165a's forward advance into present-day production environments.

SKnote C165a offers at a glance:

1. Built-in side-chain filtering with three bands of internal EQ control.
2. 4x oversampling for pristine audio quality.
3. "Sample aligned" internal Parallel Compression.
4. Impressively accurate modelling of an actual DBX 165a compressor/limiter.
5. Elegant photo-realistic 3D GUI.

I'm an ardent admirer of SKnote plugins. Each and every one of them that I have reviewed has become an integral part of my personal favorite and most-used production toolset; the SKnote C165a included. As a company, SKnote is well-respected and is fast becoming a common name within the home production and semi-professional recording community. For good reason! Excellent quality plugins at extremely affordable prices. Personalized water-marked plugins. No dongles. No Call/Challange Response protection mechanisms. Easy-to-use plugins wrapped in functional, attractive graphical interfaces.

Many full-scale studios enlist only the highest-ticket softwares and tend to overlook less expensive offerings from small developers such as SKnote. Fortunately, we home producers and small studio owners can aquire excellent quality plugins for very affordable rates. Case in point: C165a only costs $29(USD).

Let's charge up some shiny, silver virtual knobs and prepare for the best.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

OverTone PTC-2A Review - Nice Pultec EQP-1A Clone

Let me briefly give you a quick run down on one of my very best-est, favorite-est 'secret ingredient' EQ plugins.

I really like this EQ. It's light on system resources and is just plumb attractive (in an ol' skool, knobby hardware kinda way). I really like the rich, dark blue color. The knobs match the period that the 'real' Pultec EQP-1A originates from, authentically.

It sounds GREAT too!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Kuassa Vermilion Review - Retro, Tube Amp Sim Gold Medalist

Kuassa have recently released one of, if not “the”, finest vintage/retro guitar combo amp sims to have ever been seen and heard “In The Box”. Considering the spectacular quality that this top-shelf plugin delivers, the $39 USD price point is most definitely affordable!

This polished, new guitar amplification simulator is a definite BEST in CLASS product. The vibrant, authentic-sounding, retro tube amp tones that come out of this piece of programming creation are par excellence. Kuassa have released Vermillion in native 32bit & 64bit for Mac and PC.   Bam!

Sit down on your favorite studio stool, and let’s give this boutique combo amp the center stage; shall we?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Many Thanks to Tony Belmont &

I recently had such a wonderful shopping and customer support experience in dealing with Mr. Tony Belmont and that I wanted to give honorable mention.

How many home-producers have desired to have professional top-drawer reverb in the famous Lexicon tradition? Right! There have been thousands n' thousands of us. I saved some hard-earned, shiny shekels, and took the plunge. I'm very thankful that Lexicon reduced their prices so greatly; I'm very thankful that reduce their MVP member prices even further.

Within (3) hours from the time I placed my online order, Mr. Belmont had my order transaction processed and sent me a personalized email with my new Lexicon software/iLok license code. I've dealt with another online audio software merchant, whose prices are very good, but the order processing time would take up to 24 hours or longer.

Visit the PluginDiscounts website. MVP password is: "MVP".

Thursday, January 31, 2013

SplineEQ Review - Definitive Mastering-grade Audio Scalpel

Twenty dollars doesn't net you much these days. More often than not, you haven't enough change left out of a twenty dollar bill, to even tip the pizza delivery guy. If you've ever had to rely on pizza delivery money to earn a few urgent dollars during your high school or college years, you know that it's better to have $25 or $30 for pizza. *wink.

So what can $20 buy, that you will know was very well spent and beneficial? (well, $19 actually) Surely it couldn't be an incredibly powerful, linear-phase, mastering-grade EQ plugin . . . . Could it?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

SKnote VerbTone Review - Plate Reverb a la Deluxe

Looking for "expensive" sounding plate reverb without it costing as much as a typical week's worth of groceries? I have some GREAT news for you! Spending only $20 US dollars will get it done. No dongles required. No call/response protection mechanisms. Within 24 hours of time-of-purchase, a direct download link is sent to your email inbox. Mr. Quinto Sardo concentrates on creating VHQ plugins without spending precious programming efforts on arduous licensing schemes or layers of bothersome piracy protection. The one caveat? No downloadable demo. The plus? SKnote's VerbTone is an excellent, well-modelled Plate reverb plugin.

SKnote StageSpace Review - Affordable, Lush Reverb for Everyone

Firstly, let's get your attention with the extremely affordable price point. $20 US dollars will get this incredibly lush-sounding and immersive ambience effect into your plugin folder. No dongles required. No call/response protection mechanisms. Within 24 hours of time-of-purchase, a direct download link is sent to your email inbox. Mr. Quinto Sardo makes it simple and easy without arduous licensing schemes or layers of bothersome piracy protection. The one caveat? No downloadable demo.

Many home recording enthusiasts and studio professionals anticipate spending much higher prices to facilitate their DAWs with deep, lush, pleasant-sounding reverbs. We read reviews and download demo plugins promising professional grade results with the foreknowledge that it will cost $150 - $250. There are the exceptions – ValhallaRoom excludes itself from that list. Yet, the quest for top-drawer, expensive-sounding ambience effects remains high on most self-starting producers' lists.

I'm very happy to introduce a product that will provide you with that elusive, rich sounding reverb – without requiring you to dine on Mr. Noodles for the next month in order to pay for it. Italian developer, Quinto Sardo, aka, SKnote, has recently unleashed such a component in the heavy weight class - enter StageSpace.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Neo GraphicEQ Review - "Thinking Outside the ITB Box"

Famed piano VST creators, SoundMagic, have uniquely designed and coded one of the most inventive EQs to have come across this reviewer's bench in a long time. With all the recent industry buzz of pseudo multiband compressors/Dynamic EQs, this particular graphic EQ design is very welcome as a worthy and refreshing diversion.