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Native Instruments Celebrates Anniversary with KOMPLETE 12

Komplete 12 Ultimate Collector’s Edition

Native Instruments Announce KOMPLETE 12 and More!

Huge updates and new versions of the top products from Native Instruments are on the horizon! Arguably, the most notable is Komplete 12, the latest upgrade to the industry-standard production suite. To celebrate the 15th anniversary of KOMPLETE, Native Instruments is now offering the bundle in four flavors. The flagship is the Collector’s Edition, replete with 150 products, 50 Expansions, the full Symphony Series Collection and almost 100,000 sounds – all on a 900GB Collector’s Edition hard drive. Fans of Native Instruments may already be familiar with the other versions, namely Komplete 12 Ultimate, Komplete 12 (standard) and Komplete Select, but you’re sure to be surprised by some of the new offerings from the popular production bundle!

What’s New?

Included in Komplete 12 is the long-awaited update to the popular wavetable synthesizer Massive with Massive X, which will be available early next year. Another update is Kontakt 6, the industry-standard creative sampler which features new tools for instrument building and fresh libraries in a number of genres. For the first time, Native Instruments have also chosen to include their acclaimed Expansions, sets of sounds, samples, loops and presets curated by genre and developed by top artists and sound designers, offering a quick and focused portal to entirely new worlds of sound. Of course, this is just scratching the surface of the new instruments, FX, samples and expansions, so be sure to explore the links below to find out which version of KOMPLETE 12 is right for you!

When Can I Upgrade?

Of course, if you already have an older version of Komplete, we offer a wide range of affordable upgrade paths to keep you on the cutting edge of this industry-standard production suite. KOMPLETE 12 arrives October 1st, so contact your Westlake Pro Sales Consultant today to pre-order the version best suited to your workflow.

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Explore the NEW Universal Audio Apollo X Series at Westlake Pro!

Apollo X – Available Now

Apollo X

Universal Audio has just announced the Apollo X series, the latest in their line of groundbreaking interfaces! The sleek, Thunderbolt 3 design fuses elite, class-leading conversion with the new HEXA Core processors which offer 50% more DSP than previous Apollos. This allows recording of multiple tracks through UAD’s award-winning plugins with near-zero latency, while the improved connectivity and Surround Sound capabilities cater to an even wider audience than before!

Meet the x6

The Apollo x6 is the newest member of the Apollo family, bridging the gap between the desktop Apollo Twin and the rackmount Apollo x8, x8p and x16. With its HEXA Core processing, dual Unison preamps, best in class elite A/D/A conversion and 16 of UAD’s award-winning plug-ins, the Apollo x6 is the perfect way to get the full Universal Audio experience at an affordable price. Of course, if you ever need more I/O, preamps or DSP in the future, you can easily connect additional Apollo interfaces or UAD Accelerators over a simple Thunderbolt connection. All the new features of the Apollo X series are found in the x6 including the new talkback mic, Surround Sound support (up to 5.1 formats, available Q4 of 2018), +24 dBu selectable operating level and elite-class conversion are all here, making the Apollo x6 a perfect foundation for a professional studio. Whether you’re recording, mixing, mastering or building a post-production suite, the Apollo x6 is sure to impress.

Elite-Class A/D and D/A Conversion

Universal Audio has outdone themselves yet again, with a new elite-class converter design that features a whopping 129 dB of dynamic range and an impressive signal-to-noise ratio of -118 THD+N. The gorgeous clarity and punchy, open tone of Universal Audio’s Apollo line has been heard on countless Grammy winning albums, and the new elite-class 24-bit/192kHz converters and fine-tuned analog circuitry continue the Apollo legacy. The Apollo’s class-leading sound is the perfect blank canvas for shaping your next hit with Universal Audio’s award winning UAD Powered Plug-Ins.

More connectivity for every workflow

The Apollo X series allows for Surround Sound monitor control for formats up to 7.1 (available Q4 2018), with monitor calibration and fold-down capability, bringing the sound and power of the Apollo to the world of post-production. For those integrating the Apollo into an older analog studio, the newly selectable +24 dBu operation will offer easy compatibility with tape machines, mixing consoles, and outboard gear. The new, built-in talkback mic allows instant, open communication between the engineer and the talent. The ability to record the talkback gives you yet another secret weapon for capturing interesting tones or recording quick demos, allowing you to stay creative rather than have to setup a mic during impromptu writing sessions. What’s more, the Apollo x8p now features both line-in and line-outputs on D-Sub connectors, allowing easy access to both the mic and line inputs for simple integration into your patchbay.

HEXA Core Processing: 50% more power than ever before!

The new Apollo X series features 6 SHARC DSP chips in every interface, allowing you to use even more of Universal Audio’s industry-leading UAD-2 plug-ins than any previous Apollo – all at near-zero latency! To get you started, each Apollo X comes with licenses for the Real Time Classics Plus bundle, featuring 16 of Universal Audio’s most popular audio processors which include stellar reproductions of studio legends including Universal Audio’s own LA-2A, two varieties of 1176’s, Pultec EQs, Marshall and Ampeg amp emulations and more. That’s not to mention the exacting preamp emulations activated by the Apollo’s Unison Technology which allows you to record through many of the world’s most sought after preamps. While the Realtime Classics Plus bundle is a great starting point, Westlake Pro offers numerous custom plug-in bundles that you can add-on to the purchase of any Apollo interface or UAD Satellite Accelerators, saving you hundreds of dollars on the award-winning tone, color, character and precision the UAD-2 platform is known for.

Get hands on with Apollo X

If you’re curious to experience the brand new Apollo X line of class-leading audio interfaces in person, be sure to visit our Los Angeles location on Thursday, September 27th for a special Sound Bites event where you’ll be able to get the full Apollo X experience and get special insight as to how it can work alongside many of Universal Audio’s top products. Enjoy exclusive discounts on Universal Audio, a FREE catered lunch and have all your Apollo questions answered by a Universal Audio product specialist, not to mention the chance to win the sleek and portable Arrow interface!

Click HERE to RSVP and get more information on the event!

 

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Celebrate Our Nashville Grand Opening With 36-Month Financing!

To celebrate the Grand Opening of our new Nashville location, we teamed up with some of our top vendors to offer special 36 month deferred-interest financing!

Participating vendors include:

Take this opportunity to meet our experienced sales team and stock your studio with these exclusive Nashville deals!

 

Learn more about our new location >>>

 

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iZotope VocalSynth 2’s New ‘Biovox’ Module: An In-Depth Look

iZotope VocalSynth 2 – Biovox

Along with their new Creative Suite, iZotope recently released the second iteration of their vocal effects plug-in VocalSynth 2, and with it a brand new interface, effects, and a groundbreaking new module called Biovox.

Biovox uses the scientific modeling of a human vocal tract to allow you to manipulate your voice with intelligent and innovative processing.

The Biovox module consists of four main parameters for manipulating your voice: Clarity, Shift, Nasal, and Breath.

  • Clarity allows you to edit the level of intelligibility of your vocals (with 0 being more ambient and 100 being clear and upfront).
  • Shift is used to change the pitch of your vocals from low to high or as I call it — demon to chipmunk.
  • Nasal lets you increase the amount of resonance in your vocals.
  • Lastly, Breath allows you to add air/noise to your vocals. I was instantly reminded of Kavinsky’s Nightcall when I started messing around with the Breath feature. Great, now I have to go cover that song for the 4th time…

 

If you can’t dial in the exact sound that’s in your head with those main parameters don’t worry — VocalSynth 2 gives you plenty of additional parameters to fine-tune under the hood in the Advanced Section!

Advanced View at a Glance

The Vowel section on the left side of Advanced View allows you to blend and accentuate vowel sounds to help aid in the intelligibility of your vocals. No more misheard lyrics! This is one of the more interesting tools within Biovox. It gives you the capability not only to accentuate but to do the opposite — generate unique or subhuman vowel sounds and transform a boring enunciation into something creative.

The Synth section gives you additional presets, or you can sculpt the sound yourself with control over the sound engine’s oscillators, LFO, filter, and pan parameters.

Biovox in Action

Now that you have an understanding of how the new module works, let’s hear some examples! I will start with the raw audio file and tweak it from there using the new Biovox module.

Please Note: All effects heard are from VocalSynth 2 except reverb

Example 1

Example 2

 

Nate VanBuskirk is the songwriting and production force behind Decade Defector — 80’s-style synthwave/synthpop artist on TimeSlave Records.  

Listen to Decade Defector on Spotify, Bandcamp, and more…

Example Song: Flesh and Bone (Decade Defector Remix)

 

Get VocalSynth 2 for only $149 (reg.199) for a limited time!

Or, get VocalSynth 2 along with Iris 2, Trash 2 Expanded, BreakTweaker Expanded, Stutter Edit, DDLY, and Mobius Filter in iZotope Creative Suite — Only $349 (reg.499) for a limited time!

 

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Westlake Pro Nashville – Now Open!

Westlake Pro is growing with a new brick-and-mortar storefront in Nashville, TN. This storefront is in addition to Westlake Pro’s iconic Los Angeles location.

Located in Berry Hill, our neighbors include House of Blues Studios, Addiction Sound, The Trace Horse, Blackbird Studios, and Sputnik Sound.

Stop by and check out our showroom, where everything you’ll see is indicative of what you’d find in a studio designed by Westlake Pro—from the furniture to the recording equipment, to the instruments, to the room acoustics and wiring integration.

Also keep an eye out for our proSESSIONS and SOUNDBITES events series, showcasing the newest tech from top audio brands and presented by award-winning industry giants and product experts. To get an idea of what some of these highly-acclaimed events look like, take a look at some of our recent proSESSIONS in Los Angeles—like our recent event with Genelec and Sylvia Massy. Each proSESSIONS and SOUNDBITES has gear giveaways, exclusive discounts, plus you’ll get to chat one-on-one with some of the biggest names in the industry.

From massive post-production studios to music recording studios, to everyday audio gear, Westlake Pro has Nashville covered.

Chad Evans, executive account manager at Westlake Pro Nashville, has this to say:

“Nashville’s music community has been in need of a full-service pro audio retailer for many years. This is why I’m excited to be a part of the team at Westlake Pro and help bring them into the Nashville market. Westlake’s 50-year history of designing studios and selling equipment is exactly the kind of experience the professionals in Music City deserve.”

Give Chad a call at 615-806-7556 or swing by the store.

Westlake Pro Nashville
515 East Iris Drive

Nashville, TN 37204

Located in the iconic Berry Hill neighborhood.

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Supercharge Your Synths with XLN’s RC-20 Retro Color

The XLN RC-20 Retro Color analog tape saturation plugin is well known for its handiness on the master bus, but have you tried using it on individual instruments?

Today I’m going to walk you through a short demonstration on how you can use this inexpensive and eclectic plugin to breathe life into dull tracks.

Before We Start, Let’s Hear It In Action!

Here’s a Bass sample with and without RC-20 enabled. The first part is with the plugin bypassed. It will be hard to miss when RC-20 kicks in! Afterwards it’s bypassed again, and then enabled again.

Hear how it suddenly becomes more gritty, full, and colorful? That’s the magic of great analog tape saturation! The real benefit of carefully bringing this bass track to life comes when it’s living with a host of other instruments in a master mix. It’s easy for bass tone to get buried; some colorful presence can go a long way in bringing the underlying cadence of your song to life.

Now let’s dive into the specific steps it takes to add this kind of colorful saturation with RC-20:

Give Your Bass Some Gusto

I like to start by choosing a preset, something that’s close to the desired sound. Don’t worry, this isn’t “cheating”! Even many of the pros use presets to get started on an effect. For this synth bass track, I chose “Too Bright?” within RC-20‘s list of presets.

Well to answer XLN’s question, in this case, yes, “Too Bright?” is just a tad too bright for bass. So here’s where a few alterations come into play. You’ll notice in the bottom of the screenshot below that I’ve turned the high-pass filter down a bit to let a lot more low end come through, and added a mild low-pass filter. I’ve also turned down “Distort” and brought up “Space” to give the signal a little movement and some gritty reverb. Lastly I turned “Tone” down just a touch:

Now, in the end, I might listen to this track within the full mix and think it’s a little too lively, in which case I can adjust the wet/dry mix using the “Magnitude” bar at the top right of the plugin. But for now, I’m loving all of that added punchiness!

Bolster Your Brass Pads

Bass is one thing, but something like a brass pad—which sits relatively close to the font of the mix—needs some careful attention. There’s a fine like to walk between a flat, dull horn section or a tinny row of trumpets piercing your eardrums. When hearing the former, one might be tempted to throw on an EQ plug and start dragging up around 2K-10K. And sure, it might be a decent band-aid. But is it really the best tool for the job?

Take a listen to this brass pad track. My use of XLN RC-20 is a tad more subtle here, but you can really hear the track come to life when I flip off the bypass switch around 6 seconds in and again around 15 seconds:

For this effect, I started with the preset “Pad Magic” and made quite a few small adjustments. I turned “Noise” most of the way off (it’s just a white-noise generator simulating tape hiss), I turned “Wobble” off completely, “Distortion” up to around 25%, “Digital” completely off, and “Space” and “Magnetic” I turned up to 35%. I also turned up “Tone” and “Width” and lowered the overall gain just a touch.

“Space” and “Distort” are the two tools here which really liven up this brass pad the most. I want to bring up the highs with saturation (“Distort”) and then turn around and “muddy” up some of the tinny, unpleasant highs that come with it and spread them out in the mix so they aren’t, for lack of a better wording, stabbing our eardrums.

I even ended up putting a separate reverb plugin directly on this track later in the mix to exacerbate that “spreading it out” effect. If you go that route, just make sure to drag your wet/dry controls mostly to the drier side or you’ll end up drowning it in reverb!

Don’t Be Afraid To Experiment

These are just two examples of the many cases in which colorful saturation can bring a track to life. Some other interesting examples I’ve seen include using RC-20 to create parallel saturation on a doubled vocal or even using it to add grittiness or modulation on a reverb or delay send. As with anything else in audio production, anything is possible. So go on and give it a try!

 

Products in this blog post:

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The Closest You Can Get to Analog Recording Without Winding Tape

The Closest You Can Get to Analog Recording Without Winding Tape

If you made it to NAMM 2018, you probably saw Universal Audio’s Analog vs Digital shootout. Audiophiles donned a pair of headphones and pressed a button to listen to an analog compressor or EQ unit, then another button to hear the UAD-2 digital emulation of them with the same settings and source audio. Then you’d press a third “mystery button” and guess which one you were hearing. Each person would hear four different pieces of equipment and their digital counterparts and write down four “mystery button” guesses.

I went through each one and listened carefully before writing down my best guess. I was surprised to find that most of them completely stumped me. I’d listen to all three buttons again. And again—am I hearing an original piece of analog equipment or an imposter?

It turns out I wasn’t the only one feeling a little less confident with my ears than usual. A Universal Audio rep kept a going tally of responses vs. correct answers from the scorecards and the ratio of those told me that, for all intents and purposes, we listeners were practically screaming “WE HAVE NO IDEA!” as we filled out the scorecards.

Now if UA had set up a booth in the mall, I wouldn’t have been as surprised by that result. But there we were, in the biggest pro audio event in the country! Practically everyone in attendance was an audio professional in some capacity. And most of us were stumped. Audio engineers are not typically humble or shy about their opinions of audio quality.

To put it into perspective, this would be like putting a bunch of car guys in a room with a genuine, all-original 1969 Camaro SS and some kind of newly-manufactured clone that costs less than 1/10th of the price. Most would scoff that you’d even think they wouldn’t be able to spot the real thing! But then when you ask them to tell you which is which, some head-scratching begins and there are quite a few wounded egos.

It was quite a clever and convincing hands-on demonstration—and one that worked beautifully. I ordered a Universal Audio Apollo 8p the next week!

Once I sat down with my newly-acquired piece of UA hardware, was blown away all over again when I tried out some of the Unison preamp emulations. Using the same ingenuity that created the UAD-2 signal processing plugins, Universal Audio’s Unison technology manipulates the gain structure, harmonics, and characteristics of the preamps in the actual hardware to emulate vintage microphone preamps with stunning accuracy.

Controllable within the UAD Console, you can set up a Neve 1073, Bill Putnam’s 610A, or a number of other iconic vintage mic preamps, and capture the harmonic qualities that propelled their names into the audio history books. Heck, throw one on each track of your stereo guitar, or different ones for each signal of your drum tracks! Just like any other UAD-2 plugins, you quickly realize the expanded capabilities of your rig when all of the processing power is handled within the interface or other external DSP processor rather than bogging down your computer.

I thought of all these possibilities, and suddenly dropped or reprioritized thousands of dollars on my “must-have” list of studio hardware.

Maybe you’ve already known about all of this for a while, but the barrier-to-entry has remained just outside of reach for your ever-growing audio career.

Well, as they say—the times, they are changing.

With the release of the Universal Audio Arrow, entry into the world of UAD-2 plugins is more affordable than ever.

At just $499, you can get an Arrow interface and 14 incredible UAD-2 plugins!

The Arrow is UA’s newest interface, designed for musicians and engineers on the go, home studios or anywhere you need top-quality audio recordings. It uses the same Unison preamps as its big brother Apollo and features an ultra-fast Thunderbolt 3 connection to your computer. (Note that it requires native Thunderbolt 3 connections, so adapters won’t do the trick).

For 14 UAD-2 plugins—nevermind the Unison preamps and legendary Universal Audio AD/DA conversion in the hardware—well this is a deal that just can’t be beaten

You Get Even More UAD-2 Plugins When You Bundle

With each purchase of an Apollo Thunderbolt Interface, Arrow Thunderbolt Interface, or Satellite DSP Processor, you can bundle more UAD-2 plugins at the time of purchase and choose which ones you want later on. 

With a new Universal Audio user account, you’ll get a 14-day demo of each and every UAD-2 plugin in their entire collection. Since you have 45 days to choose which plugins you want to grab in your bundle, you’ll have plenty of time to try out a bunch of them and find the ones that work best in your own DAW setup.

It can get a little overwhelming (there are tons of awesome plugins in their library!), so we recommend trying them out in groups rather than unlocking 14-day demos for all of them at once.

Below are the UAD-2 plugin bundles that are available for purchase with any Apollo Thunderbolt Interface, Arrow Thunderbolt Interface, or Satellite DSP Processor. Remember, these additional plugins are on top of the plugin bundles that are already included!

 

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Westlake Pro named Avid Audio Dealer of the Year: Worldwide + Americas, 2017

Westlake Pro was just named Avid Audio Dealer of the Year for the third year in a row, so we want to thank you for making this possible.

We take pride in providing our customers with the expert technical support, solution-driven customer service, and absolute best prices on all of the tools they depend on.

Westlake Pro has sold and installed more Avid systems around the world than any other dealer. Our expert staff and superior service, along with absolute best prices, make Westlake Pro the place to go for all of your Avid needs.

If you haven’t considered buying from Westlake Pro, give us a call and see why the industry turns to us for their pro audio equipment needs. We look forward to speaking with you!

323-845-1145
[email protected]
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Congrats to Tracy B. on winning our December Sennheiser MD421-II Giveaway!

Tracy entered our December giveaway contest via the Westlake Pro Facebook page and won a Sennheiser MD421-II Microphone.

Tracy says: 

“Thank you, this is a huge win for me. I appreciate you and your company.” 

Want to win some gear of your own? Make sure to like and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and keep an eye out for our monthly giveaways!

 

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Congrats to Paul D. on winning our November Mackie CR5 Studio Monitors Giveaway!

Paul entered our November giveaway contest via the Westlake Pro Facebook page and won a pair of Mackie CR5BT 5″ Studio Monitors.

Paul says: 

You got to be kidding me!!!! Man I have never won anything. I’m stoked!” 

We’re stoked too, Paul! Enjoy your new speakers.

Want to win some gear of your own? Make sure to like and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and keep an eye out for our monthly giveaways!

 

 

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Avid Releases Pro Tools 2018 Update

At NAMM this week, Avid released its newest iteration of Pro Tools software. Let’s dive in a take a look at some of the new features.

MIDI in Pro Tools Gets an Overhaul

This update will be especially useful for songwriters and producers. It includes retrospective MIDI recording, easier transposing/trimming/velocity changes, and useful shortcuts. Learn more from Avid here:

 

Track Presets Will Be a HUGE Time Saver

My personal favorite addition to Pro Tools with this update is their Track Presets feature. This allows you to save tracks (their settings, plugin chains, even sends) as presets to be recalled in a variety of different ways. You can even create folders to store these presets in for better organization. This could be something like “Vocals Presets, Guitars Presets, Delays Presets, etc.” for example.

Imagine creating a reverb send just by clicking “new send” from the source track, and then choosing one of your reverb track presets to instantly create your favorite reverb chain, including the reverb plugin, EQs, and compressors. Well now you can! How cool is that?! Watch Avid’s Pro Tools Track Presets in action on Avid’s YouTube channel:

 

Updates to Mix View Will Save Space and Enhance User Experience

Avid made some major changes to mix view. The first I’ll cover has to do with playlists and comping. New shortcuts for comping playlists allow us to select one “primary” playlist to send our comps to, which means we can now comp takes in waveform view, quite a space saver when you’re comping takes with multiple tracks such as drums.

Secondly, Avid has added an EQ window similar to Logic’s, with the exception that Avid’s EQ window works with third-party plugins! As someone who bounces back and forth between Avid and Logic, this one jumped out at me. I’ve always thought Logic’s EQ window was a neat feature but that it’s sort-of wasted by its limitation to Logic’s native EQ. Avid did this one right! On top of providing support for third-party plugins, the EQ window in Pro Tools shows all the EQ plugins on the track, combined. So you’re seeing a culmination of your entire signal chain in visual format. Pretty useful stuff. Learn more from Avid:

 

No More iLok! Well… Sort of.

As has been rumored for several months, Pro Tools 2018.1 included support for iLok’s new iLok Cloud. This means Pro Tools 12 and Pro Tools HD no longer require a physical iLok dongle to be present in order to work. As someone who has lamented the loss of a USB port since, well, always, I’m not over-the-moon about iLok Cloud… yet. This was a huge step and we should be thanking Avid for including this capability with Pro Tools moving forward, but unfortunately, we’ll probably be waiting for many of our third-party plugins manufacturers to come around for a while longer. So alas! Depending on the third-party plugins you use, you might be stuck with the iLok dongle a little while longer. That being said, this is certainly still cause for celebration. And on that note and all of the above, thanks to Avid for listening to your user base and working hard to implement all of these incredible new features!

The Big Question: When can we get the new Pro Tools 2018?

Now! As of today you can download the newest version of Pro Tools 12 or Pro Tools HD as part of your Annual Upgrade Subscription or purchase and download it as a new copy:

Avid Pro Tools 12

Avid Pro Tools HD

Need to renew your Pro Tools 12 or Pro Tools HD subscription? Grab them by clicking one of the links below:

Avid Pro Tools 12 Annual Subscription Reinstatement

Avid Pro Tools HD Annual Subscription Reinstatement

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Coming to NAMM 2018? Visit Us at the LaCie Booth for a Special Discount!

If you’re heading to NAMM this week, make sure to stop by and see us at the LaCie booth (Level 2,
Booth #17905). We’ll be hanging out there throughout the week, answering questions and such. We’re offering a special discount on LaCie products if you swing by and ask!

Check out our LaCie products: