Macbook Pro

New Apple Macbook Pro and audio plugins

It was the end of the road for my trusty old Macbook Air, which for the last 4 years has done me well as a portable studio solution for when I’m out and about. The computer has helped create and edit over 10,000 sound effects so it’s time she was allowed a rest. One key had fallen off and even through I’d performed a software reset, it had finally started showing signs of age and heavy use.

So I’ve just taken delivery and started using a brand new Macbook Pro and with 16GB of RAM, the unit is proving much faster and more reliable for all my on-the-go editing. I wanted to post this up as a little thank you to all of you who have donated to upgrade, as it’s these upgrades that allow me to save and purchase vital software and hardware updates and equipment to keep zapsplat.com running and free. I also invested in some new plugins for speeding up and improving my audio editing, so I also wanted to share a quick insight into what I have started using.

Waves Soundshifter

I can’t give an in-depth review of this handy plugin yet as I’ve barely skimmed the surface on what it can do, but if you’re looking for an affordable addition to your pitch-shifting arsenal, then this seems like a great choice. I’ve long been a fan of the Waves plugins and when I need one, I always head there first. Waves claim this to be ‘the World’s most advanced pitch-shifting and time-shifting processor’. It’s good, I’ll give them that but as someone who hasn’t really delved too deep into other solutions, I can’t back the claim up. But what the plugin does offer is an easy to use interface with remarkably clean, smooth and useable results. I’m not one to want to spend ages playing around with settings, so the user interface here makes life easy and editing quick.

I’ve not used the time shifting feature yet but this is well worth a look at just $49 (reduced from $149 at the time of writing). check out Waves website for more info.

The following video shows what it is capable of

Waves NS1 Noise Suppressor

It’s not often I get excited about a plugin, but the NS1 Noise Suppressor by Waves is certainly something I was very pleased to discover. It’s an intelligent suppressor designed to recognise noise from good signal and remove it. Traditionally I either use a noise gate or noise reduction software for removing noise. The problem with a noise gate is while it’s great at shutting out noise between the useable or good signal, the noise behind the good signal remains. If I have a particularly noisy recording environment and I want to remove this in the edit, a gate doesn’t work well. In such cases I usually use Adobe Audition’s noise reduction, however I often find this leaves some undesirable artefacts in the remaining audio if used heavily which I also find annoying. I’ve played with other software such as SoundSoap, but when I saw Waves Noise Suppressor at such a low price (again $49 reduced from $149 as of this writing), I just had to give it a go. I was glad I did.

It’s an incredibly simple plugin that allows you to simply use a fader to adjust the level of noise reduction. Simply by moving the fader up for more, or down for less, the plugin does a good job at removing the noise underneath. What I love about this is how well it does it. The resulting audio doesn’t feature as many artefacts as with the previously mentioned plugins and the general quality of the resulting audio is good. If used very heavily there does seem to be some loss of quality, especially at high frequencies, but that is to be expected. I highly recommend you check this out on their website.

I’ve just uploaded loads of new free sound effects so will put up a post with links a little later!

By Alan