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Been using FL 12 for a short while now. Here are my thoughts:
- Before you could not conveniently group inserts into sub busses. Now you can do that on the fly by simply highlighting the inserts and controlling the fader, which is hella awesome. This is perhaps the only best thing about this FL update, and brings FL ever so close upto the league of Cubase and Pro Tools.
- The plugins are categorised according to type, which in my opinion makes it a bit harder to navigate because previous users have to get used to figuring out where the plugins are from the menu in the new setup...
- Before all you had to do was scan for new plugins and just tick the boxes to make them show up in the plugin menu bar. Now you have to apparently "favorite" external plugins (that are not FL) in order for them to even show up in the plugin menu. This is a pretty annoying inconvenience.
- FL Layer, which was a convenient way of saving templates of individual instruments, is hidden. You have to search for it and favorite it in order for it to show up in the plugin menu. Don't even know what Image Line was thinking here...
- There are some some shortcuts you can do with the mouse which sometimes gets in the way when editing MIDI data in the piano roll. For example sometimes when I'm moving a note it suddenly gets "muted". This is pretty annoying as then I have to delete it, create a new note and then place it again. I probably have to read up on these new shortcuts, but ain't nobody got time for that!
- I seem to be using automation a lot more in FL 12 than FL 11. Hence can't comment on whether there are any differences as it seems to work fine for me.
- Most of my plugins don't even fit properly on the screen thanks to my crappy unadjustable screen resolution. This is not FL's fault; I need to get me some dual 17 inch monitors!!
- And finally, there is still no way to fade in/fade out on the fly without having to automate the volume. Coooome ooooon Image Line! >:(
After using Izotope Alloy 2 for a couple of months I'm starting to see its limits. Though being a swiss army knife for mixing, Alloy 2 is EXTREMELY CPU heavy!!!! Just having more than 5 instances of Alloy 2 tends to raise my CPU usage to 60-80%, and I currently have a computer running on an intel i7 2.00 GHz speed with 2 cores, 4 logical processors. Note that this is even the case if I use no VSTs and mix entirely with just .wav audio files! It would seem I have to be more careful how often I use Alloy 2 now so I'm really disappointed because of this. Probably need to upgrade my PC specs, but I won't unless my current one dies, and that will be a while. Welcome to the never ending cycle of PC upgrades...
I had been deciding on upgrading my mixing software for a long time now having outgrown my stock plugins. Waves or Izotope. Both offered amazing possibilities and unparalled control. Even though Waves was offering the Platinum Bundle at a 70% discount not too long ago, in the end I went with Izotope Alloy 2 simply because I liked the sleek and modern interface much better.
Anyway, Alloy 2 really is an awesome mixing plugin I got at a huge discount ($99). It is deceptively simple to use and is basically an all-in-one exciter, EQ, x2 compressors (single and 3 band mutliband), and a limiter. All-in-one is key here because you can't separate the mixing plugins in standalone. But that isn't going to restrict you in any way because you can directly tweak the signal flow in Alloy 2!
Alloy 2 has reduced the number of plugins I have to load up on in each insert drastically hence has made my mixing more fun than ever before. If I had gone with Waves, I would have to load up several plugins which would eat up my RAM and CPU along with any sample libraries loaded up. But with Alloy 2, just insert one per track and you're done! (Its surprisingly quite light on resources.)
Alloy 2 also comes with multiple useful shortcuts that my stock plugins simply don't have. For example, I can undo and redo changes on the fly. Basically this means I can easily compare my changes before and after with multiple tweaks, hence is a hugggge productivity boost. The highly customisable 8 band EQ allows you to solo into frequencies to allow you to quickly pinpoint offending frequencies. The multiband compressor is also amazing - it comes in with an auto dial in feature to pin point the exact bands of the audio signal, making multiband compressing easy as pie. It only comes with 3 bands (lo, mid and hi); and I'm sure UAD or Waves have got superior multiband comps; but for a hobbyist like me, 3 bands is more than enough to satisfy me for a looooong time. The exciter functions similarly to the multiband compressor, allowing you to colour the sound of the signal at different bands - which is extremely handy if you want to surgically sculpt your sound. And finally, the limiter does what it does best. Limit.
In conclusion, I'm really happy with my Alloy 2 purchase. Best investment I ever made and I'm sure to be using this for a long time to come.
I normally really like 8dio's stuff. They sound fantastic out of the box with very little tweaking required. I was fixated on Adagietto for a while and was completely hooked by their demos and tutorials. But when I finally shelled out my money and bought it, I felt I got slapped on the face. 8dio's Adagietto was a complete let down, and a rip off for the price (MSRP: $399). This may come as a shock to you because normally whatever reviews there are online about this library, it has been given extremely high praise for an entry level enemble string library. So let me break down the details:
1) String samples not panned to orchestral seating positions
This was probably the biggest shock to me when I first started playing with this library. For those of you who don't know what I am talking about, this picture shows how strings are panned in the stage: http://i298.photobucket.com/albums/mm260/robbinsrrr/orchestra.jpg
But nope. Whether its ensemble strings or individual sections, it killed me inside to find out that most of the string samples are panned dead centre (but still in stereo). For those of you have atleast some experience in mixing, you should know that you can't just pan things around left and right for orchestral samples if you're aiming to recreate their seating positions in the hall / cathedral / room. If you're a mix wizard, I'm sure you can put in a stereo modeller and reverb to adjust the depth, but you really need something like Virtual Sound Stage to do this for you (if you have an extra $229+). So I'm really not sure whether this issue of the samples not being panned to seating position is a serious bug (that hasn't been addressed in years since this library was released), or 8dio actually expect you to pan them yourself. Because if you listen to 8dio's Adagietto demos and tutorials on Youtube you can hear the violins, violas, cellos and basses are panned to the standard orchestral seating positions...Seriously WTF, 8dio????
2) No control over attack and release
The marcato and bowings patches sound great. But you have no control over their attacks and releases, which essentially means you either have to spend extra effort time stretching these samples or just use them sparingly. Which is a complete shame because the bowed patches are amazing. (They realistically capture the timbral changes of the strings as they are bowed from quiet to loud dynamics, which you simply can't do by automating the volume)
3) This library has a habit of crashing Kontakt and FL Studio
This completely tainted my experience with Adagietto for me. This library seems to have an irritating habit of crashing Kontakt and my DAW (FL Studio 11 / 12) frequently. Even when I'm working with relatively small and RAM friendly templates, Adagietto causes complete meltdown. And these are not just random crashes. These crashes are repeatable and simply running this library and playing something with it for too long crashes it. I have run some pretty big projects using several Kontakt players in the past and didn't face too many crashes. But Adagietto? This thing is completely unusable in FL Studio for an extended period of time.
Though the sound of 8dio's Adagietto is great, this library was an utter disappointment for me. I really wish I could turn back time and NOT buy this library because I simply can't use it at all. Most samples are not panned to orchestral positon, there is no control over attack and release and the library frequently crashes Kontakt in FL Studio. I'm probably an isolated case regarding the library crashing frequently because I know some people who have apparently had a good experience with this. I really don't know why Adagietto crashes, and neither do support (who I have chased up). Maybe its my computer, or maybe its just a badly programmed library. Though this doesn't mean I'm going to stop buying 8dio stuff (because their other products are really good), Adagietto is not worth the price its being sold for.
If you're lucky enough to get Adagietto to work for you without it crashing every few seconds, then great! But otherwise, I'd advise to look at other string libraries for around the same price. Leaving the crashing aside, this library still has some serious bugs that 8dio hasn't patched up yet with an update since its release years ago.
UPDATE (June 2015): Been using this library in a few (unreleased) songs. I guess its not that bad as I reviewed it to be here, but I mainly use the spiccato and bowed patches. Atleast those patches seem to be stable enough when my computer is maxing out on its specs. However, I'm still a bit scared to use the legato patches on big projects. Meh, I never liked legato anyway; too damn tedious to edit them convincingly!
I shall return back when I have something new to show.
But for the time being besides one collab I'm doing on NG, I am currently in self proclaimed exile..
I'm not really the one for doing covers... but while messing around, this particular song took an unexpected and interesting turn... It is a cover of the Super Mario theme, and it may have an animated video accompanied to it when I release it here. ;)
I might migrate to Google sites in the next couple of weeks/months.
Weebly seems to be far too buggy...