How to Optimize a Windows Laptop for Low Latency Real Time Audio

Have you ever wished that you could use all your virtual instruments libraries for your keyboards or all these incredible virtual amps from your studio for your guitar or bass on stage?

Make your wish come true, then: most laptops are now powerful enough, and with lightweight host applications such as PatchWork and Axiom, you can load many instrument or effect plug-ins and recall them instantly. Just play them on stage!

Latency / Dropout Issues

So you already have a powerful Windows laptop, plenty of plug-ins, a great host application and you cannot get them to play live properly without getting dropouts (“pops”and “clicks”) all the time, unless the latency is ridiculously high? And the CPU usage is not even a problem?

By default, recent Windows laptops are definitely not configured for low latency audio – they are designed for office work / web browsing and saving batteries. In this tutorial we’ll show you how to optimize your Windows laptop or tablet in order to make it usable for real-time audio.

Using this method on a first generation Surface Book laptop, we were able to reduce the latency from (mediocre) 256 samples with occasional drop-outs (bad!), down to 48 samples without any single drop-out! Continue reading

How To Do Mid/Side Processing With Any Plug-In

The traditional way to manage stereo streams is to use separate left and right channels sources. There is however another way: by recombining these left and right channels, you can actually separate the mid channel (mono or center) from the sides channel (stereo part of the signal).

Mid/Side Stereo

Processing these recombined mid/side channels instead of the traditional left/right stereo pair is called mid/side processing and it can be very convenient because you can apply different effects to the mono (mid) and stereo (sides) parts of the signal.

Many of our audio plug-ins provide a mid/side option, but how can you use this approach with any third party plug-in? Continue reading

Destructor 1.21 and PatchWork 2.11 Released

We have just released new versions of Blue Cat’s Destructor and PatchWork.

 

Blue Cat’s Destructor 1.21 is a maintenance release that fixes an issue appeared with version 1.2. It is highly recommended to update as the sound of the plug-in is impacted by this bug appeared in version 1.2. You can read more details here.

Blue Cat’s PatchWork 2.11 improves presets management and fixes a problem with the VST3 instrument version in Cubase:

Cubase has a bug with VST3 instruments and sets the last loaded preset number after having restored their state (which is not supposed to happen). The impact depends on the implementation, but for our own plug-ins, this used to fully reset the state of the plug-in upon session restore. As of Cubase 9.5 it has still not been fixed, so we have decided to implement a workaround to avoid this problem. As a result, factory presets are not exposed to the host anymore, which is not a big loss anyway!

Legendary Guitar Tones With Blue Cat’s Destructor

Our distortion and amp simulation plug-in, Blue Cat’s Destructor, already includes a handful of factory presets that mimic the tone of famous guitarists (check out the “Guitar Legends” presets category!), but we wanted to take it a step further…

Our friend Hans Van Even has accepted the challenge to reproduce the exact guitar tone of famous guitar licks, using only Blue Cat’s Destructor, and sometimes a delay or reverb, such as Blue cat’s Late Replies, with a single guitar!

Did he succeed? Check out the videos below! We must say we have been pretty impressed… Continue reading

PatchWork 2.1 – What’s New? A Closer Look!

Let’s take a closer look at Blue Cat’s PatchWork 2.1 free update that was released today and explore some of its new features!

25 Built-in Audio Effects

Blue Cat’s PatchWork can now be used as a multi effects processor on its own:

With its new 25 built-in audio effects borrowed from Blue Cat’s Late Replies, you can do a lot of things with PatchWork, without relying on third party plug-ins: it now includes a gate, compressor, ducker, delays, modulation effects, pitch and frequency shifters, a panner, EQ, waveshaper, bit cruasher, mid/side encoder and decoder…

And you can of course mix these effects together with your favorite VST, AU or VST3 plug-ins! Build your own channels strips and share them across multiple DAWs easily!

75 New Effect Presets

With these new built-in effects, we have also included 75 new presets to get you started, including multi-delays, pitch harmonies, channel strips, guitar effect chains…

Zoomable GUI

PatchWork 2.1’s Graphical User Interface (GUI) can now be zoomed in or out (from 70% to 200%), with high resolution vector graphics:

You can now adapt the size of the user interface to your displays. Working far away from the screen? No problem! It will also make your life easier when working on high resolution touch screens with large fingers :-).

Loading PatchWork into PatchWork Made Easier

PatchWork is now available as a built-in effect: you can now load PatchWork into itself and share presets regardless of the plug-in format!

This is just an overview of the new features, you can view the full change list here.

Enjoy!

>discuss this topic in the forum

PatchWork + Destructor + Late Replies – The Ultimate Guitar Combo?

Did you know that as a guitarist, with Blue Cat’s PatchWork as a host application (or plug-in), Blue Cat’s Destructor for the guitar tone and Late Replies for the ambiance and creative effects, you have access to an incredible palette of sounds for your studio work or live gigs? Here are a few examples, using mainly factory presets… Enjoy! Continue reading

Hosted Plug-ins Automation

Did you know that you can use automation to control the plug-ins hosted inside Blue Cat’s PatchWork or MB-7 Mixer V3?

The example below uses PatchWork in Pro Tools 12, but the same applies to the MB-7 Mixer multiband plug-in and any host application that supports automation.

Map Plug-In Parameters

The first step is to select the parameters you want to control from the outside, using the Params Map function, as explained in details in the manual:

Mapping parameters of plug-in hosted in PatchWork

Mapped parameters will appear at the bottom of the PatchWork or MB-7 Mixer GUI, if “Show Assigned Controls” is enabled (icon with 3 knobs in the toolbar):

Mapped Parameters

PatchWork’s parameters called “Control 01” and “Controls 02” are now mapped to the “Drive” and “Mix” parameters of the hosted Destructor plug-in. It means that you can use the PatchWork parameters to change the corresponding plug-in’s parameters and vice versa.

Automate PatchWork Controls

You can now automate the PatchWork controls in Pro Tools (“Control 01” and “Control 02” in this example) – they will control the mapped parameters of the hosted plug-in(s):

Enable automation for the Mapped Parameters in Pro Tools

Record and Replay automation as if the sub-plugin was hosted in Pro Tools.

Enjoy!

VST3 Plug-In ID Changes on Mac

Despite all our efforts, sometimes bugs are not caught before the software is released, and this one has an impact on VST3 users on Mac, so we’d like to share more information about it with you, so that you can avoid major problems. If you are on Windows or do not use VST3, you don’t need to read this!

The Bug

We have noticed a bug on the first release of our VST3 plug-ins that affect the Mac versions: the identifier for the plug-ins (used by host to identify a particular plug-in) were not properly reported to the host on Mac.

The consequence was that the plug-ins inserted in sessions created on Mac would not be reloaded on Windows and vice-versa.

The Fix

We are now progressively releasing new versions of our plug-ins with a fix for the wrong ID on Mac (see impacted products list below). But this means that older sessions will not reload the new versions of the plug-ins, as they are seen by the host as a different plug-in.

How To Open Old Sessions

So here is a way to open older sessions without losing any plug-in data. You can then migrate these sessions quickly to use the new version of the plug-in so that they are future-proof.

The idea is just to install the old and new versions side by side, so that older sessions are reloaded with the older version of the plug-in (which would be missing otherwise). Renaming the old plug-in before installing the new version will do the trick:

Open the VST3 plug-ins directory

Rename old plug-ins (for example with “Legacy” at the end, but do not change the extension (vst3)

If the plug-in has multiple versions (Synth, Dual, Mono etc.), do not forget to rename them all. Once you are done, install the new version. Both should now be available, side by side:

Side by side installation

You can now open the existing sessions: the “legacy” version of the plug-in will be loaded, keeping the sessions unchanged.

How To Migrate to New Versions:

Since you probably do not want to keep both versions side by side forever, you can quickly migrate existing sessions so that they use the new plug-in in the future, instead of the old version:

Open the legacy plug-in in the session and copy its state

Replace the legacy plug-in with the new one and paste the state.

Voila! The old plug-in is replaced by the new one, with the exact same state.

Impacted Products

So far, the plug-ins impacted by this change are the Mac VST3 versions of the following plug-ins:

Other VST3 plug-ins that are not listed above still have the Mac-Windows compatibility issue, except for Blue Cat’s DestructorLate RepliesAxiom and Re-Guitar that were released with the fix from the very first version.