Vandal v1.104 VST / AU online!

July 21, 2010

Here’s a quick shout that we’ve just put the new version (including the long-awaited Mac demo) online:

Win & Mac Demo (scroll down to the bottom left)
Win & Mac Update

Some stuff added to this version:

Presence control for the class A/B power amp
Presence control for the class A/B power amp

We got a presence knob on the guitar amp, finally. Of course, it only makes sense for the A/B power amp, due to the principle (presence is the output wired back  (phase-inverted & filtered) to the input of the power amp). Just like the real thing, it’s also dependent on the power amp’s overall amplification factor, thereby interacting with the ‘sag’ control. It’s good we designed the amp to be that dynamic, as ‘presence’ enhances that even more 🙂

New 'Vintage Plate Reverb' in the Rack FX section
New ‘Vintage Plate Reverb’ in the Rack FX section.

We then considered adding a plate reverb from algorithms we already had, but we ended up designing one from scratch, while getting lost somewhere in time. We finally came up with the ‘Vintage Plate Reverb’ as a convincing emulation of that tone we all know from the past decades. It somewhat reminds one of those legendary hardware reverbs that weren’t ‘perfect’ at all, in terms of naturalness, but offered a great deal of ‘character’. Now, this one is thick, lush, dense and ‘glues’ greatly with the input signal.
And it’s very light on the CPU (which normally is a contradiction).

Now, download the update (or the demo), have fun & make some rock 🙂


Oh, for those with a tech fetish, here’s the changelog’s blahblah:

————————————————-

v1.104, 2010/07/07

– guitar amp: added presence control to config panel (class A/B mode)
– post-fx: added new effect ‘vintage plate reverb’
– post-fx: units are now on by default when selecting an effect type
– GUI: added global option to switch dynamic window resize off (some hosts have problems here)
– GUI: stomp menus stay visible now in the ‘minimised’ view (all modules collapsed)
– GUI: guitar amp’s config view now stays open when switching scenes or presets
– stomps: improved delay modulation on TimeTunnel
– fixed: some Mac hosts showed wrong window size when re-opening the GUI
– fixed: missing update of selected entries in the cab sim’s menus
– fixed: guitar power amp sometimes turned silent upon scene switching
– Mac VST/AU: drastic CPU load reduction (runs 40-50% faster now)

v1.103, 2010/05/27 (included in Samplitude 11.1 update)

– cabinet sim: added mic 1/2 delay knob (allows for new sound textures and stereo effects)
– cabinet sim: added mic 1/2 on/off button
– added ‘console’ params (in/out/gate/tuner on/tuner mute) to the midi/remote mechanism
– added MIDI activity LED to console
– added UI update when updating params from outside (remote automation or MIDI)
– improved behaviour upon preset switching or host (auto-)save
– improved distortion texture of LaCrema, Halvar, Hellfire, Fuzz stomp
– improved phaser/tremolo stomp
– fixed: various MIDI issues (broken load/save, lost remote assignments)
– fixed: crashes when tweaking stomps (knobs or buttons) in some hosts (Reaper)
– fixed: crashes upon switching scenes via midi
– fixed: broken ‘multiply/blend’ method for remote params
– fixed: LFO on post-fx chorus & flanger wasn’t properly working at fast ‘rate’ settings
– fixed: missing window redraw when changing GUI size in some hosts
– fixed: missing thread safety upon fast post-fx configuration changes

————————————————-

v1.102, 2010/03/31

– fixed: tuner didn’t show cents as numbers below main display
– fixed: loud ‘pop’ with LaCrema stomp

————————————————-

————————————————-

v1.104, 2010/07/07

– guitar amp: added presence control to config panel (class A/B mode)

– post-fx: added new effect ‘vintage plate reverb’

– post-fx: units are now on by default when selecting an effect type

– GUI: added global option to switch dynamic window resize off (some hosts have problems here)

– GUI: stomp menus stay visible now in the ‘minimised’ view (all modules collapsed)

– GUI: guitar amp’s config view now stays open when switching scenes or presets

– stomps: improved delay modulation on TimeTunnel

– fixed: some Mac hosts showed wrong window size when re-opening the GUI

– fixed: missing update of selected entries in the cab sim’s menus

– fixed: guitar power amp sometimes turned silent upon scene switching

– Mac VST/AU: drastic CPU load reduction (runs 40-50% faster now)

v1.103, 2010/05/27 (included in Samplitude 11.1 update)

– cabinet sim: added mic 1/2 delay knob (allows for new sound textures and stereo effects)

– cabinet sim: added mic 1/2 on/off button

– added ‘console’ params (in/out/gate/tuner on/tuner mute) to the midi/remote mechanism

– added MIDI activity LED to console

– added UI update when updating params from outside (remote automation or MIDI)

– improved behaviour upon preset switching or host (auto-)save

– improved distortion texture of LaCrema, Halvar, Hellfire, Fuzz stomp

– improved phaser/tremolo stomp

– fixed: various MIDI issues (broken load/save, lost remote assignments)

– fixed: crashes when tweaking stomps (knobs or buttons) in some hosts (Reaper)

– fixed: crashes upon switching scenes via midi

– fixed: broken ‘multiply/blend’ method for remote params

– fixed: LFO on post-fx chorus & flanger wasn’t properly working at fast ‘rate’ settings

– fixed: missing window redraw when changing GUI size in some hosts

– fixed: missing thread safety upon fast post-fx configuration changes

————————————————-

v1.102, 2010/03/31

– fixed: tuner didn’t show cents as numbers below main display

– fixed: loud ‘pop’ with LaCrema stomp

————————————————-

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Vandal VST / AU: Official website launched

March 31, 2010

We’ve finally managed to launch the new Vandal VST & AU plugin website! 🙂

www.vandalamps.com

While this blog will be kept updated with any non-marketing stuff, such as ongoing development details, vandalamps.com will probably your first point of interest concerning product orders, demo downloads, updates, additional presets and such.

We also have a bunch of audio & video files ready for you to listen to and watch. Within the next weeks/months, we’ll set up more content, providing more presets, additional videos etc.

We’d like to encourage everybody to get in contact with us, especially if you’re using the Vandal plugin and made cool presets or audio/video demos that we could post. If we can find you & Vandal on myspace or youtube, let us know as well. We want vandalamps to be as alive and vital as the plugin itself.
See ya! 🙂


VANDAL AMPS at Musikmesse Frankfurt

March 31, 2009

For those of you visiting the Musikmesse 2009 (April 1 – 4), there’ll be an opportunity to see & hear the coming Vandal software in action.

Come on over at hall 5.1, booth D41.
We’ll supply stuff (axe, 4 string, Midi pedalboard) so that you can test the plugin for yourself. While we won’t have everything up & running at that time, you can freely get your hands on the current development state and have a personal chat with us. We’ll be happy to explain in detail what else can be expected from the finished product and look forward to all kinds of feedback.

See ya 🙂


Bass Amp Redesign & Sound Clips

March 26, 2009

We’ve made some slight changes to Vandal’s bass amplifier recently.
It’s still an all-tube design, coming with 3 tube gain stages in the preamp section and delivering a fat tone through the push/pull pentode power amp stage.
Here’s the new pot layout:

bass_amp02So, we’ve changed the preamp a bit: Now, the signal first enters the first gain stage, then can be shaped via the ‘contour’ knob (kind of loudness / lower mid dip; an interactive / passive filter network), then gets some compression.
The compressor is a FET-based feed-back model, similar to some stomp designs or vintage studio rack gear. It’s ultra-transparent and musical; you can kick it hard and it still doesn’t do strange things.

The ‘drive’ control feeds an extra tube stage for extra harmonics and extra oomph 🙂

The EQ section is a split design: a passive low/high baxandall network followed by an active 2-band mid control. All filter slopes are 6dB/oct, which in our opinion is the best compromise between being versatile and retaining the character of your bass guitar.

Here are some audio clips:

basstest_dry (VANDAL completely disabled. A bit of silly & aimlessly fingered playing)

basstest_vandal (the amp setting from the picture above)

basstest_vandal_chorus (VANDAL’s stomp guitar chorus in front of the amp)

basstest_vandal_tubedrive

Here’s a clip by Dimi, certainly in a more sensible context: 😉

vandalbass


Coming next: Vandal Bass Amp

March 4, 2009

This morning was the birth of Vandal’s 2nd amplifier. The bass amp is currently being added to the plugin’s main architecture. This is how it will look like:

bass_amp01Although it already pops up on the screen (upon choosing it from the ‘amps’ list), there’s currently not much coming out of it. It’s work in progress. Soldering lots of wires here… 😀

The architecture we’ve set up the last couple of weeks allows for ‘amplifier mainframes’, which means a generalized architecture of amps that have to be specified in detail. That was quite a bunch of code lines, lots of coffee and headaches… but now we’re prepared for a new beast 🙂

The bass amp is designed to serve a broad range of players and music styles. It’s an all-tube design, btw., housing a highly-interactive passive filter circuitry. The amount of knobs might appear limited at first sight, but we’re certain this baby becomes at least as versatile as the guitar amp. 😉

We’ll see within the next couple of days. Stay tuned.


Vandal stomp box collection

February 22, 2009

We haven’t had much going on here for a month. During that time, the main architecture of the Vandal software has been developed futher. That’s a lot of stuff under the hood that might be of minor importance for users, but it’s very important for all coming features that we equip this thing with.

One of these features is the ability to deal with user-defined stomps setups. Currently, our arsenal is planned to offer between 18-20 different stomp boxes, of various type and origins. Here are some that are already working:stomps1

The LaCrema Overdrive manages to recreate the famous mild crunch tones associated with famous blues/rock-type pedals, like for instance the TS9.

HALVAR was inspired by the DOD250/308 Distortion/Preamp Booster stomp, which allows to tighten up the signal when doing shred and heavy riff-working, cleaning up the bass & such.

Hellfire is a no-compromise attempt at high-gain sounds, features a classic (passive) tone stack and multiple gain stages. Max gain is ~70dB 🙂

Fuzz has that certain sound: ‘muff’, Jimi, Satisfaction, you name it. A love/hate thing, as usual.

stomps2CHORUS is, well, a chorus. A typical stomp pedal unit, rich, colorful, distinctive, analog.

The phase shifter is pretty unique. Actually a phaser and a tremolo (can be both simultaneously). Allows for subtle washy phasing, wah-type resonating as well as sounding completely ill-psycho-something.

The CheWahWah is pretty traditional; characterful, rich, screaming. A wah like one would expect but is rarely offered in the digital realm.

All stomps incorporating distortion/overdrive are oversampled (4x at 44/48k). We want them to not behave like digital zombies just because you’re doing a bending in the 24th fret… 😉

To do: adding Midi CC to all controls. As with all Vandal knobs/buttons, Midi messages (from pedal boards and such) can be used to drive various units and their parameters. We will explain the concept in detail as soon as the time is right.

Here are some audio snippets of the OD/distortion stomps, courtesy of Dimi Nalbantov:

vandalcrunch

vandalhalvarcrunch

vandalhellfirecrunch (featuring Vandal’s internal delay + reverb)


It’s all about the crunch tone

January 16, 2009

Since a few days, we’ve been tweaking Vandal’s guitar amp tube stages for the ability to deal much better with slight overdrive. That’s a tough one, but I think we’re close to getting that nailed. We’re aware of the fact that delicate, responsive crunch is what divides a good amp from a bad one.

Here’s the current status, a video by Dimi Nalbantov:

What we did is basically fine-tuning the biasing of all affected preamp tubes (2 in ‘classic’ mode, 3 in ‘british hybrid’, 4 in ‘modern high gain’) as well as changing the tube character in particular.
We now have different models of tubes stuffed into the virtual circuits. In some stages we got more or less 12au7 behaviour and 12ax7 tubes when more gain is needed. Apart from ‘mu’ (amplification factor) and characteristics, each tube got implanted its own tonal response. We now got even more degrees of freedom than before, yabbadabbadoo…

It should be audible that we progressed somehow. The whole amp is now more responsive to volume change on the input and reacts a lot nicer on slight overdrive settings. It ‘breathes’ more, hopefully.

We still got stuff to do soundwise… so check back often 🙂