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Plugin Updates and New Plugin (Beta)

All of the plugins in aXPlugins suite have been updated with new features, stability, and bug fixes. Here is a summary of the biggest or most interesting changes.

  • All plugins – All plugins can now have their license deactivated so you can move it to another computer. Simply hit the “SSA” logo at the bottom of the GUI and click to deactivate the plugin. If you are using Offline activation you will need to connect to the internet in order to deactivate your plugin.
  • All plugins – the number of activations available per license has increased to 5. One license still covers only a single user.
  • All plugins – the plugins are now installed using installers so you no longer have to copy the files to the plugin folders. All plugins are now automatically installed in the recommended system folders depending on their type (AAX/AU/VST3) and the operating system (Win/Mac).
  • All plugins – the Mac .pkg installers are now Notarized by Apple meaning the plugins should install without any warnings from Gatekeeper on Catalina (macOS 10.15). Please get in touch if you have any issues.
  • aXRotate – Yaw, pitch and roll can now be received via OSC messages. Select your desired port number (double click to enter) and click Connect. Click Show More to see the message format expected by the plugin as well as the incoming messages to your selected port.
  • aXDeesser – Some bug fixes.
  • aXEqualizer – Fixed a bug where changing a filter band at low frequency could cause the plugin to become unstable. Fixed another bug where loading a preset from the DAW would cause the UI markers to become unlinked from the audio.

To get the updated version of your plugin just head over to the Downloads section of your account page.

Please note: Because the updates now use installers, you should manually remove any previous versions of the plugins from you DAW plugin path, especially if you have used custom paths in the past.

New Plugin Beta Release

If you have bought one of the plugin bundles then you will find a beta version of a new plugin with the download from your account – aXLimiter! As the name suggests, this is an Ambisonic limiter with input gain, ceiling, look-ahead and release time (with option for auto).

Anyone who has bought a bundle will get aXLimiter for free when it is officially released.

The display shows the peak across all Ambisonic channels for the output (blue) and the input with gain applied (red). The amount of gain reduction over time is shown in white and in the meter to the bottom right.

I would be very happy to hear your thoughts and experiences using it, especially if you run in to any bugs.

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New Plugin: aXDeesser

Today I am happy to announce a new plugin: aXDeesser. As the name suggests, it is a de-esser made specifically to be used on Ambisonic signals. It is available in VST3 format (Windows and Mac), AAX (Windows and Mac) for Pro Tools | Ultimate, and AudioUnit (Mac).

As with the other plugins in the aX range, the aXDeesser is available in first-order, third-order and seventh-order variations. You can pick the one that fits your needs. The introductory price is 50% of the standard price. It costs 10€ for first-order, 20€ for third-order and 40€ for seventh-order (excluding VAT/sales tax).

You can also get the aXDeesser in the aXBundles. If you have bought any of the bundles in the past then you can head over to the downloads section of your account to get it for free! Just download the latest bundle and you will find the aXDeesser with your other plugins.

Why an Ambisonic De-esser?

Processing Ambisonic signals has to be done carefully to avoid changing or destroying the spatial properties of the sound field, so you need a de-esser that is designed with this in mind.

The aXDeesser also takes advantage of the spatial information provided by Ambisonics to allow you to focus on specific regions of your sound field in order to trigger the de-esser processing, giving you even more control over your processing. Effectively, you use the virtual microphone as a side-chain signal to activate the de-essing processing on the full signal.

Who needs an Ambisonic de-esser?

You can use the aXDeesser on any Ambisonics stream, but it is most useful if you are processing signals recorded with Ambisonic microphones. Anyone working on complete mixes where access to mono-encoded sources are no longer available will also find it useful.

If you have a recording made with a first-order microphone, such as the TetraMic or Sennheiser AMBEO VR mic, then the a1Deesser will fit your needs. The a3Deesser will allow you to de-ess recordings from the OctoMic or Zylia microphone. The a7Deesser is overkill for recordings made with an Ambisonic microphone, but can be used on full mixed scenes or if used creatively.

So, if you have a recording made with an Ambisonic microphone then the aXDeesser is the perfect tool for de-essing. You can tame excessive sibilance, at the same time preserving spatial fidelity.

How does it work?

The plugin has two modules – a virtual microphone and the main de-esser module. The virtual microphone captures a signal that is used to feed the de-esser’s detection algorithm. When the microphone signals activates the de-esser, the processing is applied to the whole sound field.

You can control the direction of the virtual microphone, along with the focus. The focus essentially controls how directive the microphone is, with the maximum directivity depending on the Ambisonic order of the signal received by the plugin. The incoming signal order is shown in the bottom left of the plugin GUI. A focus of 0% gives an omnidirectional microphone response. Focus of 100% gives a cardioid response for a first-order signal and the beam narrows as the input order gets higher. The meter on the left of the GUI shows the level of the virtual microphone signal.

The de-esser has all of the usual controls you would expect to find. You can set the frequency, the bandwidth, level, compression ratio and attack and release times. The meter on the right of the GUI shows the gain reduction being applied to the sibilance band.

Interested?

Does all of that sound like something that could be useful to you? If so, head over to the shop by clicking below. By buying from this website you will be helping support independent development of spatial audio tools. Thanks for your support!

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New Prices and Plugin Updates

It has been a while but now I have plenty of news to share!

New Prices

First up (as you probably saw in the big image at the top!), if you head over to the shop, you will see that all of the plugins have new, lower prices. I think you’ll find them quite attractive. By buying a plugin you will be supporting the independent development of spatial audio tools. The more interest there is in the plugins, the more time I can spend making improvements, adding new features and developing new plugins.

Offline Activation

All plugins can now be used offline. You just need to be connected to the internet the first time you activate the plugin. Then, from that point on you should not need an internet connection to use the plugin. Easy! A lot of users requested this, so I am really glad to be able to release it.

You can finally work with your spatial audio projects on the plane!

Plugin Updates

I am always working to try improve the plugins in any way I can. Here are a few of the improvements:

  • VST to VST3 – The plugins are now available for VST3 instead of VST. VST3 is now the only format supported by Steinberg, so I wanted to make the move early. After polling users, it appears that most are using the VST3-supporting Reaper as their main spatial audio DAW. The VST3 plugins should automatically replace the VST versions in old projects but I cannot guarantee this, so you should not delete the older versions of the plugins that you might need.
  • aXEqualizer
    • improvements to the filter algorithm for less CPU use.
    • GUI now displays the pre- and post-EQ spectrum.
  • Performance improvements – I have added small performance improvements to most of the plugins. This is an ongoing project so I hope to be able to speed things up even more in the future.
  • GUI – All plugins have had the way they display the measurement units updated. These are now included alongside the parameter value, rather than in the label.

Coming Up…

I have a few new plugins coming up of various complexities. One is quite simple and the others are more ambitious and exciting. The simple plugin will be out sooner rather than later. The other will require some beta testing. If getting your hands on some plugins early is something you are interested in, get in touch in the comment section or send me an email.

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aXMeter Updates to Version 1.1.0

aXMeter Ambsionic meter with a third order input signal

Two weeks ago I released the free aXMeter – an Ambisonic level metering plugin. I immediately had several requests for new features that would make it better and have added them to the plugin. aXMeter now in has three parameters (accessible from the “Open Settings” button in the bottom left):

  • Numbering Convention: choose between Ambisonic Channel Number (ACN)
    convention, starting at 0 for the first channel, or ACN + 1, starting at 1.
  • Dynamic Range: Set the minimum value of the meter between -6 dB and -90 dB.
  • Peak Decay Speed: control how quickly the peak marker decays to zero.

If you’ve already downloaded the plugin, go to the Downloads section of your account and download it. If you haven’t downloaded it yet, head over to the web shop and download it for free!

The Summer Sale is continuing, so you can get 20% to 50% discount on all of the plugins in the store. If you do, you’ll be supporting independent development of Ambisonics tools. Thanks!

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New Plugin: aXMeter Ambisonic Meter

aXMeter Ambsionic meter with a third order input signal

It’s time for a new plugin – and it’s free!

The aXMeter is an Ambisonic meter plugin (VST, AAX, AU) that shows the RMS and peak levels for each of the Ambisonic channels up to seventh-order. It’s GUI size varies dynamically depending on the order of the signal it receives. For first- to third-order it shows all of the channels up to third-order. If the input is a higher order it expands to show the new channels.

Just like previous updates, this plugin exists because it was requested by users who thought it would improve their workflow. So, if there is some feature you’d like to see added or a plugin you think would be worth having, get in touch! The more requests a particular feature gets, the faster it gets made.

And the Summer Sale is continuing. There are discounts of 20% to 50% on all of the plugins in the shop. If you purchase something then you’ll be helping to support independent development of spatial audio tools.

If you want to download the free aXMeter head over here.

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aX Ambisonics AAX Release + Sale

There is plenty to get through in this post. There is some big news, so let’s get right to it!

AAX Release – aX Plugins in ProTools

A lot of people have asked for the aX Ambisonics Plugins to be available in AAX format so I’m very happy to release them. At this point they are as a public beta (you can download the demo versions to test on your system) but they have been stable for private beta testers.

Please note that the plugins run on the Ambisonic buses available in Pro Tools Ultimate (formerly HD). Unfortunately, you cannot use them with the standard version of Pro Tools at this point.

Also note that the seventh order a7 Plugins will run in Pro Tools but are limited to third order processing by Pro Tools bus structure. If you work exclusively with Pro Tools, and don’t need VST versions, then you can save money by picking up the a3 Plugins – you won’t benefit from the a7 versions.

Bundle Discounts

You can now buy the full set of 7 plugins in one click as a bundle for a discounted price of 30% less when compared to buying them all individually. You can get them from the online shop here.

Sale Pricing

Until 31st July 2018 there will be at least a 20% discount on all plugin prices. The aXPanner and aXMonitor will continue with the 50% discount. Check out the shop for more details.

Academic Discount

If you plan on using the plugins for academic or educational purposes then the you can get in touch for a discount code for substantial extra discounts.

New Activation System

In order to provide offline activation, and perhaps a subscription payment option, the plugin activation system has been changed. If you are an existing customer you will need to enter the new activation number to the plugins after installing the new updates. This should be available in your account. I will also email out all of the updated serial numbers to ensure everyone gets them. If they are not listed in your account or you need the update before I have a chance to email you, please get in touch

Bug fixes

All formats of the aX Plugins have had a number of improvements to stability and performance under the hood. This won’t change how you use them but should improve the overall experience.

Aside from these performance enhancements, a bug was fixed in the macOS version of the aXMonitor that stopped custom HRTFs loading after they had been processed.

Coming Soon…

I am working on a few new plugins that will be out in the next few months. Some will be simple (and free), while another is shaping up to be something really interesting. Check back here to keep up to date!

In the meantime, if you want to support further development you can purchase the existing plugins at the web shop. Thank you for your support.

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aXMonitor Update: Personalised Binaural with SOFA Support

The aXMonitor plugins are today updated to version 1.3.2. If you have already bought one of the aXMonitor plugins, you can download the update from your account.  You should remove any old versions of the plugin from your system to avoid any conflicts.

Today’s update is all about getting more flexibility and personalisation for binaural rendering of Ambisoinics. This is probably the most requested feature update for any of my plugins, so I am very happy to be able to announce the new feature:

  • Load an HRTF stored in a .SOFA file for custom binaural rendering.

This allows you to produce binaural rendering for up to seventh order Ambisonics with whatever HRTF you want, providing you with the flexibility you need to produce the highest quality spatial audio content possible.

If you aren’t sure why so many people want personal HRTF support, keep reading.

Advantages of Personalised Binaural

Binaural 3D audio can be vastly improved by listening with a personalised HRTF (head related transfer function). It’s the auditory equivalent of wearing someone else’s glasses vs wearing your own. Sure, you can see most of what is going on with someone else’s glass, but you lose detail and precision. Wear your own and everything comes into focus!

With that in mind, the aXMonitor plugins have been updated to allow you to load a custom HRTF that is stored in a .SOFA file. Now you can use your own individual HRTF (if you have it) or one that you know works well for you. Once an HRTF has been loaded it will be available across to all instances of the plugin in other projects.

What is a .SOFA file?

A .SOFA file contains a lot of information about a measured HRTF (though it can be used for other things as well). You can read more about them here.

Where to get custom HRTFs

You can find a curated list of .SOFA databases here. The best thing to do is to try a few of them until you find one that gives you an accurate perception of the sound source directions. Pay particular attention to the elevation and front-back confusions, since these are what personalised HRTFs help most with.

If you want an HRTF that fits your head/ears exactly then your options are bit more limited. Either you can find somewhere, usually an academic research institute, that has an anechoic chamber and the appropriate equipment. Then you put some microphones in your ears and sit still for 20-120 minutes (depending on their system). Once it’s done, you have your HRTF!

But if you don’t fancy going to all of that trouble, there are some options for getting a personalised HRTF more easily. A method by 3D Sound Labs requires only a small number of photographs and they claim good results. Finnish company IDA also offers a similar service.

Get the aXMonitor

So if you like the sound of customised binaural rendering then you can purchase the aXMonitor from my online shop. Doing so will help support independent development of tools for spatial audio.


a1Monitor


a3Monitor


a7Monitor

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50% Discount on aXPanner and aXMonitor

Today I’m having April sale and putting a 50% discount on my Ambisonic panning and decoding plugins for Windows (VST) and MacOS (VST/AU): aXPanner and aXMonitor. This offer runs until the 30th April 2018.

The aXPanner converts mono and stereo signals to YouTube360 compatible AmbiX-format Ambisonics. The aXMonitor decodes these Ambisonic signals to two-channel stereo and binaural (3D audio over headphones) formats to allow easy monitoring. Together they form the essential signal chain for spatial audio and are a great way to get started with Ambisonics.

You can check out my short tutorial on getting started with a basic Ambisonics chain here.

The aXPanner and aXMonitor available for three levels of spatial resolution: first, third and seventh order Ambisonics. Higher orders increases the spatial fidelity of the sound scene.

This 50% discount can be combined with additional 20% bundle discounts for additional savings.

You can read more details about them in my web store :

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o1Panner Updates to a1Panner

The o1Panner is dead. Long live a1Panner!

My first plugin release was a free first order encoder called the o1Panner. Today it gets an update to version 1.0.1 and a new name. Here is a list of the updates:

  • name change from o1Panner to a1Panner to match the naming convention of the rest of the aX Ambisonic Plugins.
  • Unifies the colour scheme with the rest of the a1 Ambisonic Plugins.
  • Removes the JUCE splash screen on first open of the plugin during a session.
  • Now available as an AudioUnit on Mac.
  • 32 bit Windows version available.
  • Mac VST and AU are now Universal Binary.

So, no changes to the features, just added flexibility to where you can use it.

To get the update, go to your Account page and download from the download link available there.

And no changes to the price – it’s still free!


Download a1Panner