Soundtoys VST3 beta (with M1+M2) arrives – here’s a round-up of sound design tips and tricks

Soundtoys VST3 public beta is here, for both macOS and Windows but crucially with Apple Silicon VST3 support on the Mac. And since I use their stuff an embarrassing amount of the time, let’s round up some tips.

I mean, seriously, I do use their stuff a lot. There’s a project that’s not out yet where I really couldn’t have gotten by with the vocal recordings without Soundtoys 5. Wait… I sound like an influencer. (“Hey, guys! I like to smear Decapitator on my face every night before I go to bed at 4AM after messing with the modular to reduce acne and stay looking young!”) That was about right, yeah?

Of course, if you’re a Cubase 12 user with a new Apple Silicon Mac, you may have found yourself very much minus proper support for this plug-in suite. So VST3 with Apple Silicon is especially important for those users in particular.

The public beta is out now – and all Soundtoys software has an unlimited 30-day free trial version, including with the beta, so you can give it a try.

Sign up here:

Now, on to Soundtoys 5 – yeah, again. Some stuff is sort of evergreen.

More impressions and vocal tricks

There are a couple of reasons Soundtoys stuff is one of those go-to sets. A big one that I’ll admit I mostly missed at first is the EffectRack. The advantage here is, working in that suite you can come up with some combined effects that allow you to tweak something to perfection and have quick recall on it. I just edited an interview where a Grammy-nominated producer was talking about surviving sessions in the studio with this (that’s not out yet, hence my secrecy). But this can also frankly be a handy cure for endless tweaking of your own sessions and projects by keeping a starting point. And it also moves between hosts, which is important for some of us.

“Dark reflections,” or as I like to call it “What I do on Tuesday nights.” (This does sound sweet, actually.)

I’m also hugely addicted to Little AlterBoy. It’s deceptively simple, but having the combination of vocal formant, pitch shifting, old-school hard-tune, and a vocoder (which also has MIDI), plus tube-emulating drive is just terrific for

And yeah, if that sounds a lot like a BOSS VT-1, that’s not an accident. The dev team worked on PurePitch TDM, too, as well as the Eventide H3000. So the funny thing is, you can now blow a lot of money on massive toolsets for tuning and vocal sweetening with a bunch of features. Nothing against that – some of those are worth the money for particular cases. But what I find is, Little AlterBoy covers what you want about 90% of the time, and you pay subscription fees for certain (cough) tuning platforms for what really adds up to about 10% of the time. Maybe that’s me – feel free to discuss on comments.

But yeah, Little AlterBoy continues to impress. And it’s fantastic for tuning / formant effects on everything, not just vocals:

The MIDI control on the “robot” mode is in fact not obvious, so it’s worth checking this video:

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Here is an excellent, excellent example of why I enjoy Little Alterboy, MicroShift, and Crystallizer together. And yeah, totally H3000 stuff, but well within reach cost-wise and in a native suite that is very light on modern CPUs (which also means you can get away with using it live / live tracking fairly easily).

This particular chain is fantastic; I’ll be giving this a try tonight, even on some instrumentals. As shared earlier this summer:

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Harmony. This is a more familiar example.

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And also from last month, yes, their octave-down stuff sounds great:

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It sounds enough like the VT-1 that I’ve also wound up stacking up

And yeah, honestly, this sounds way better than some of the new stuff everyone is trying to sell a lot of the time. Just because you can do something new in DSP doesn’t mean you always should. Plus I think because the coloration of this stuff is so appealing, it means that instead of leaning on the plug-in to do something new, you can get creative with your actual material, which is rather the point.

Jamie Lidell is a fan, too, which tells you something if you’ve followed his productions over the years:

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Video tips

Soundtoys did some nice presets and quick-tips last month you can check on their channel. This is fairly EDM-ish in the first example, but the point is that you can use Tremolator not only for what I’d associate it with, tasteful if conventional electric piano effects, but rhythmic modulation, too:

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For more rhythmic effects, and a reminder that you really need to remember to his that “TWEAK” button to take full advantage of these plug-ins:

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See also a bunch of experimental vocal effects. This does almost make me wish for a Soundtoys stompbox.

In case you are wondering what to do with that 30-day trial, Hyperbits did a solid run-down last year:

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Decapitator also gets a tone of press, but you need to actually hear why and how people use it – and Manchester Music did a great, detailed walkthrough. (Hey, something is wrong with the sound of their 808s! Also, what are “drums”?)

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Okay – here’s what it sounds like on the TR-808 – massive, basically:

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Also, yeah, back to Crystallizer – maybe it really needs something other than the faux wood-grain panels and vintage interface, because here’s what it actually sounds like. This is one of those where you do wind up using presets, partly because half the time they sound too recognizable, but one quarter of the time they do something with source material that you didn’t expect at all.

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And some hot rhythmic slicing, also with preset download (click through to the description). They dial this up a little hard so you can hear it, but I think you’ll hear that it is very useful – and a great shortcut to when you need exactly this effect. (Again, that Effect Rack is handy.)

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From a couple of years ago, this is a nice walkthrough of organic modulation:

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Well, whether this was useful to anyone else, it sure was useful to me to get this refresher. This stuff is light enough that you can even play with it on the road.

I swear, I was just going to mention the VST3 beta.

Enjoy; let us know if you’ve got more tricks / tutorials – or other plug-ins you’d like to see.

Field Maneuvers adds Laurel Halo, DMX Krew, more to 2022 line-up

Field Maneuvers has added Laurel Halo, DMX Krew, and more to its 2022 bill.

Last month, the festival announced that it will take place at a secret location two hours north east of London on 2nd – 4th September. Joining Laurel Halo and DMX Krew – as well previously-announced acts including OK Williams, Elena Colombi, Shy One, FAUZIA, Overmono – are Kindred, Flat Earth Mafia, Baby K, Abena, Lewis Lowe and more. Check out the full line-up below.

Self-described as the UK’s best “dirty little rave”, the most recent edition of Field Maneuvers took place in 2019. It was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19 and while originally due to take place in September 2021, was postponed due to the possibility of a government U-turn on restrictions.

This year, the festival’s eighth edition will feature takeovers from a number of collectives including Daytimers, Berlin’s Room 4 Resistance, Touching Bass, Dalston Superstore, Machine and Elena Colombi’s label Osáre! Editions. See the full list of names over on the Field Maneuvers site.

Final tickets are on sale now

700 Bliss share music video for ‘Nothing To Declare’: Watch

700 Bliss, the duo comprising Moor Mother and DJ Haram, have shared the video for new single ‘Nothing to Declare’.

The title track from the pair’s Hyperdub-released debut album – which was DJ Mag’s album of the month for May – is now accompanied by a video directed by Richard R Ross. Watch it below.

Back in May, the Philly DIY stalwarts – who started collaborating back in 2014 – unveiled the the Izzy Campo-directed video for the album’s second single, ‘Bless Grips’

As 700 Bliss, Moor Mother and Haram released their debut, ‘Spa 700’ via Halcyon Veil / Don Giovanni Records in 2018. ‘Nothing to Declare’ was released back in May. Spanning hip-hop, jazz, club music and punk, and featuring guests including Lafawndah, Orion Sun, Muqata’a, Alli Logout, M Téllez, and Ase Manual, it was described by Hyperdub as “a collection of forward-thinking noise rap which ties together hip-hop, raw club music, jazz, a punk ethos and energy, plus some cheeky skits.”

Last year, the poet, musician, activist and artist known as Moor Mother dropped a new album, ‘Black Encyclopedia Of The Air’.

Premiere: Lithe ‘Mainline’

Lithe will release a new EP, ‘Mainline’, via Glasgow/Cork’s Flood label this week. Listen to the title track below. 

The Australian producer, who last appeared on the label with 2020’s ‘Nos’ EP, returns with four more cuts of percussive club music with an alien, industrial edge. Expanding on the hard drum foundations that the label built its name on, Lithe fleshes out the sound’s thunderous, syncopated drums with viscous sub bass and icy melodic shards. ‘Knock’ takes the tempo down to a lurching cyborg stomp, while closer ‘Wikd’ offers the producer’s take on something akin to Robert Hood’s techno minimalism – galloping, hypnotic and hard. 

‘Mainline’ will be released this Friday, 19th August. Pre-order it here.

Lauren Flax: intention is everything

She was also discovering her sexuality. “It was the ninth grade, when I was around 13,” Flax recalls. “I got my first girl crush. I said to myself, ‘Okay, this is going to be the only one’, but that’s when I started figuring out that I was gay. Of course, by my senior year, I was so deeply in the closet and suffering so badly — what a lot of people suffer from when they’re in the closet are suicidal ideations and panic attacks, and that took me out. Everything became very dark for me, because I believed the teachings and I believed my family. I mean, when you’re a kid, you believe your parents, right? I never went to school. My only escape was going home and going to sleep. I don’t know how I graduated.”

Flax didn’t come out to her parents until right after high school. “And of course, that’s when I moved out of my house,” she says. “It was like my relationship with my family was over at that point, and it was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. I moved to Hamtramck in Detroit, into my first apartment — and I found myself.” At one point she found herself delivering pizza to pay the rent. At another, she worked at the vintage clothing and record shop Detroit Threads. She also got a job at Motor Lounge, which in the latter half of the ’90s served as a major hub of the city’s electronic music scene. Flax would later become a resident spinner there — but at the time, she was toiling as a beer-tub girl. At that point, she had little desire to try her hand at the DJing arts, let alone make a career out of it.

“I fought DJing,” she says, “because everybody in Detroit was a DJ, And I was sitting there with my guitar playing Jewel, finger picking, like, ‘I’m just gonna stay me!’ I was very adamant that I wasn’t going to do what everybody was doing — as if what I was doing was very original at the time, anyway.” But fate has a way of intervening. A good friend of Flax, Ian Lowell, had a pair of belt-drive Gemini turntables, the kind with little round knobs for the pitch control, sitting on his carpet. “Ian and I were actually just talking about this,” Flax says. “He’s like, ‘Do you remember when you came over to my house and sat down, and you put two records on — after I had been doing this for months and months, and hadn’t quite gotten it yet — and you played those two records, and everybody got quiet, and you just fucking got it.’

“At that moment, I just felt it,” she continues. “That was it. I got it — I can create something new out of things that exist already. Before then, I just didn’t get how life-changing and how joyful DJing was, to have the ability to create an environment like that. So yeah, I was hooked.”

PinkPantheress and Sam Gellaitry share video for new single, ‘Picture in my mind’: Watch

PinkPantheress and Sam Gellaitry have unveiled the video for their new single, ‘Picture in my mind’.

Off the back of her remix of Drake’s ‘Massive’ and Willow collaboration ‘Where Are You‘, BBC Radio 1 Sound of 2022 winner PinkPantheress has teamed up with Scottish producer Gellaitry for the single Set in a laundromat, its video was directed by Aidan Zamiri. Watch it below.

Speaking about the collaboration, Sam Gellaitry said: “After meeting Pink P for the first time in London last year we decided to schedule a trip for her to come to Scotland and write. I’m so happy with how this one turned out and it was an honour to witness how much of a visionary Pink Pantheress really is. This track will be my summer anthem for now and many many years to come.”

“I went all the way to Stirling Scotland to work with Sam. He is a genius level producer,” added PinkPantheress.

Last week, the Bath-born, London-based artist was named as one of the speakers and workshop leaders of a new academy launched by previous DJ Mag cover star SHERELLE and AIAIAI.

Back in January, she released a remixes package to accompany her 2021 debut mixtape, ‘to hell with it’. AnzLSDXOXO, Flume and Nia Archives were among the contributing artists.

Paul van Dyk announces SHINE trance takeover at Printworks this October

Paul van Dyk has announced a SHINE trance takeover at Printworks this October.

The legendary German DJ and producer will take over the London venue, alongside special guests Ferry Corsten and Aly & Fila, on 7th October. The show marks van Dyk’s biggest SHINE London show to date.

The news comes off the back of the release of van Dyk’s new single, ‘Artefact’. Released on August 12th, the track is a collaboration with UK duo Fuenka. Stream it below. 

van Dyk’s takeover features as part of Printwork’s forthcoming Autumn/Winter series. 19 shows have been confirmed for the club’s latest season to date, including headline events for DJ Snake and Charlotte de Witte, on 23rd and 30th September respectively.

Spotify will also take over the venue on 23rd September, with a line-up that features live sets from DJ Seinfeld, previous DJ Mag North America cover star Aluna, George Riley and Lone, and DJ sets by Maya Jane Coles, ABSOLUTE., Melé and Krystal Klear, among others. Find the full listings, and get access to pre-sale tickets, via Printworks’ website.

A new club from the team behind Printworks is also set to launch in London this October.

Odd Mob delivers proper release of Soulja Boy-sampled original, ‘LEFT TO RIGHT’

Odd Mob delivers proper release of Soulja Boy-sampled original, ‘LEFT TO RIGHT’Odd Mob Press FULL 77

It all started with a video from Dolla Dolla during a snowstorm at Red Rocks. The track in that video belonged to Odd Mob, who had originally shared it through SoundCloud towards the end of 2021. But Dancing Astronaut‘s 2019 Breakout Artist of the Year ultimately redirected the track’s flight path, with Odd Mob seeing an innumerable number of comments about the track ID and ultimately deciding that it deserved a proper release. And Insomniac Records—along with his own imprint, Tinted Records—enabled him do exactly that, with Odd Mob finally delivering “LEFT TO RIGHT” after a summer season that’s been filled with support from the likes of Dom Dolla, John Summit, Alesso, and more.

Pulling a line from Soulja Boy’s iconic 2007 track “Crank That”—with a re-recording of the sample used in the track’s official form—”LEFT TO RIGHT” wasn’t originally intended to be what it inevitably became, with Odd Mob explaining that it was just a “silly bootleg that [he] made on a Twitch stream.” And he saw the Red Rocks clip at the same time everyone else did, which eventually led to countless headlining names in his direct messages requesting a lossless version and the light going off in his head on what needed to happen. As for the track itself, “LEFT TO RIGHT” is finely built around just three syllables from the 2000s classic, with Odd Mob looping it in tandem with a roaring bassline that paints the full picture as to why it rose from being a live set-only weapon into being a full-fledged single that’s only going to exponentially widen its support list.

Featured image: Press

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New Sheffield club, FØRGE, opens in September

A new club, FØRGE, is set to open in Sheffield in September.

Having drip fed a series of teasers via social media in recent weeks, organisers of the new venue officially announced details on August 10th. Based in a former Victorian steel forge on Effingham Road, which looks out across Tinsley Canal, the club will be cashless, run until 6AM, and boasts a Pioneer sound system and an LED lighting rig. Its capacity is yet to be revealed.

As well as promising a “vast programme,” featuring both local and international acts, organisers shared the news alongside details of its launch night. Taking place on September 16th, headliners Dax J, IMOGEN and Boxia will be joined by local acts including alex.aubyn, Chapel Walk, colecta, FEN (1), Porter Brook and STI.

One dead and dozens more injured after stage collapses at Spain’s Medusa Festival

One person has been killed and dozens injured after a stage collapsed at Medusa Festival in Valencia, Spain.

On Saturday, August 13th, a section of the main stage at the annual EDM festival collapsed after high winds exceeded 51 mph. According to a report by the BBC, one man in his 20s died and “at least 40 others” were injured due to the incident. A separate report by Reuters indicated that the regional health authorities said that 32 of the injured attendees were taken to hospital. 

According to the BBC report, eyewitnesses “spoke of a sudden sand storm hitting the festival venue” at around 04:00 local time.

Following the incident, the festival grounds were quickly evacuated and organisers have since canceled the rest of the event, citing the safety of attendees.

“We are completely devastated and saddened at what happened this morning,” wrote the festival’s organisers in a Facebook post, translated from Spanish via Reuters. “At around four in the morning unexpected and violent strong winds destroyed certain areas of the festival, forcing management to make the immediate decision to vacate the concert area to guarantee the safety of attendees, workers and artists.”

Held over six days in the east coast town of Cullera, Medusa’s 2022 line-up included the likes of Steve Aoki, David Guetta, Carl Cox, Amelie Lens and more. Spanish DJ Miguel Serna was performing on stage when the collapse occurred. In an Instagram post seen by Reuters he wrote: “It was a very tense few minutes, I’ve never experienced anything like it before.”

“The tragedy happened just at the end of my session on the main stage, just below it, which was the most affected. It was a few moments of horror. I am still in shock.”