The Sonic Joy Awards 2008

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The Sonic Joy awards are here again! For those who missed the 2007 edition, it’s a selection of software and hardware products (mostly software this time) released during the last year and mostly tested in our sonic labs.
So, here we go with AudioNewsRoom’s Sonic Joy 2008 awards. And feel free to add yours!


Pro Audio Dsp DSM: DSM stands for Dynamic Spectrum Mapper. No, don’t be scared. This brilliant plug-in is a sort of all-in-one godsend. It can act as limiter, de-esser, helper for poorly recorded takes, and besides these things, it has a unique spectrum capture feature which let you improve your mixes without too much effort. I know, this sounds like the usual marketing pitch but once in a while it’s true. Oh, a great selection of presets too! Before saying “nah, it’s not for me” we definitely recommend downloading the 21 days demo and watching the video tutorials.

SPL Transient Designer: last year almost every software house has released a transient designer plug-in. Not surprisingly, the best emulation comes from those people who manufactured the original Transient Designer hardware. SPL (with the coding help of the well known Brainworx team) entered the plug-in arena with an instant-classic. And it’s just the first of a series (in the meantime they’ve also released an EQ collection, EQ Ranger vol.1, and the intriguing TwinTube).
See also our previous article about SPL plug-ins

Softube Fet Compressor: released just a few days before the end of the year, the FET Compressor is Softube’s take on one of the most famous audio design of all times. Gorgeous tones, easy on the cpu and… a nice couple of VU meters! Especially those not using external DSP solutions should demo this plug, we’re sure many will end up buying it!
See also our previous article about Softube

Vertex DSP MultiInspector: if you just use your ears, well, you can skip this. But if your eyes love those almost-psychedelic spectrum analyzers, they’ll love a Multitrack Spectrum Analysis even more. MultiInspector is actually a well thought and very useful piece of software. The graphic design looks a bit cheap and could be improved, though.

D16 Devastor: maybe not the most exciting GUI in the world, but an overall excellent distorsion device, with a ultra-inviting price point.
See also our previous article about Devastor


SonicCharge Synplant: do you think virtual synths are more or less always the same? You don’t know Synplant, then! Created by the genius mind of Magnus Lidström, Synplant is SonicCharge’s second release (after MicroTonic), and is definitely the most interesting virtual synth we’ve tested in 2008. Try it, even if you hate Al Gore and you don’t love nature, biology and plants.
See also our previous article about Synplant

GForce M-Tron Pro: a classic reborn. It was not easy to add something valuable to the original M-Tron. Well, they made it!
See also our previous article about the M-Tron Pro

Synthogy Upright Pianos: after years of sampled grand pianos, last year we saw the… revenge of the upright. Synthogy Upright pianos is a collection of 4 different pianos (available also as standalone, which can come handy): a modern Yamaha U5 upright, a vintage one (our favourite!), a barroom upright (perfect for honky-tonk lovers), and a tack piano. There’s something for everyone, and as you could expect from these ex-Kurzweil engineers, the package is an excellent mix of quality and reliability (Ivory is still the most stable and reliable piano emulation software engine on the market, and that’s a big plus!).


SonicCouture Balinese Gamelan: we made an exception on this one. Unfortunately it’s not in our possession (yet?), but since these are the Sonic Joy awards, we thought we simply HAD to include this library. From what we’ve heard this is no ordinary stuff. We’re sure you love balinese gamelan, even if you’re never heard this word. The instruments reproduced here are actually the ones that have fascinated Debussy almost two centuries ago, as well as hundreds of modern composers and sound-designers. This is not just a sample library, this is an act of devotion, sonic joy at its core.

Goldbaby TDM 1&2: Goldbaby strikes again with a new marriage of vintage drum machines and tape recording!
See also our previous article about Goldbaby

Realsamples Edition Beurmann: If you’ve ever wanted to play one of those old and precious pianos or harpsichord in a musical instruments museum, well, now you… errm….. can!
See also our previous article about Realsamples


Numerical Sound Hollywood Impulse Responses: Impulse Responses libraries are an essential tool in today’s music production and sound-design. Numerical Sound’s Ernest Cholakis keeps on making inspiring and unique products, and HIR is a must if you’re looking for cinematic and unreal spaces.
See also our previous article about HIR

Acousticas Lexicon 300 & EMT 245: a new brand and the old good challenge: trying to recreate the ambiences of classic devices of the past, like the Lexicon 300 and the EMT 245. Well, hats off, at Acousticas they know what they’re doing. It’s time to streamline your big IR archive, guys. Delete all those average quality IRs you’ve grabbed here and there and make space for these releases, you won’t regret it… and your hd will be happier too!


Uad-2: in this case, saying “much-awaited” is never been so appropriate. After years of rumors, the new version of the most famous audio DSP solution was finally introduced last year. A new chip and several configurations (Solo, Duo, Quad) offering up to 10x the power of the good old Uad-1 card. Now, when for the first threads about the Uad-3?

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