Transient Machines

Questions and discussion about building and using Max for Live devices
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[mja]
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Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 12:39 pm

Transient Machines

Post by [mja] » Tue Nov 01, 2016 10:46 am

Hey everybody,

Surreal Machines has just released a new pack of transient designers for Live.
https://www.ableton.com/en/packs/transient-machines/

Transient Machines is a Max for Live Pack that allows for deep sound-shaping possibilities. Modelled after the transient designers found in professional recording studios, Transient Machines is a versatile tool for reshaping the dynamics of drums, loops, and much more.

We'd be really interested to hear what you think.

[jur]
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Re: Transient Machines

Post by [jur] » Tue Nov 01, 2016 1:13 pm

These are fantastic devices.
Ableton Forum Moderator

Stromkraft
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Re: Transient Machines

Post by Stromkraft » Wed Nov 02, 2016 12:19 am

[mja] wrote:Hey everybody,

Surreal Machines has just released a new pack of transient designers for Live.
https://www.ableton.com/en/packs/transient-machines/

Transient Machines is a Max for Live Pack that allows for deep sound-shaping possibilities. Modelled after the transient designers found in professional recording studios, Transient Machines is a versatile tool for reshaping the dynamics of drums, loops, and much more.

We'd be really interested to hear what you think.
What has it over Waves TransX and Native Instrument Transient Master? Or TransReckon?
Make some music!

[mja]
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 12:39 pm

Re: Transient Machines

Post by [mja] » Wed Nov 02, 2016 12:19 pm

Well, for one both devices have a custom output section with limiter, clipping or maximizer.
They also both fit in the device view. (They are more affordable than those products.)

Crack can blend between the affected signal and the dry signal with a mix knob.

Impact is 1, 2 or 3 bands of adjustable transient shaping. Add in a zero delay feedback saturated EQ, multiband (or single band) saturation with 5 types, adjustable placement of saturation and EQ... etc.

But in my biased opinion, the main thing is the quality of the transient shaping. No fiddling with sensitivity or times. It just works and sounds great.

stkr
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Re: Transient Machines

Post by stkr » Wed Nov 02, 2016 12:58 pm

Hi Stromkraft, apologies for delay in reply.

As I was taking ages to write my reply [mja] made a quicker more to the point (and possibly more useful!) reply. All [mja]’s points ring true, and I agree - these are the compelling features of our devices. And thanks to him as now I don’t have to make them.

But I feel your question was a little more leading so here is a bigger discussion…

It is a very fair question. However, I would not use your word “over”, and I am not in the business of making a sales pitch :-) . The other plugins you mention are all excellent. So, rather I could just tell you something more in depth about the Transient Machines devices and make a few comparisons with other similar plugins.

First of all, we have been working on Transient Machines on and off for almost two years now, and in my research I have pretty much gone through all hardware and software in the field, although I do not know the Waves plugins well as I am not a Waves person.

One of the things that happens in development is taking out ideas. There were times where we had all sorts of different possible devices using our original algorithms and covering a multitude of use cases, but crucially what we wanted to do was make not complex audio-engineer-centric devices but easy to use but still powerful tools for Live music making musicians. I find the Waves plugins needlessly complex in this regard, for example, and the Sonnox plugin is similar, although both brilliant dynamics processors.

“Crack” is very similar to many of the other plugins available, such as the NI plugin. However it also has this ‘Mix’ feature, much like the 2nd version of the SPL plugin, which immediately makes it useful for all sorts of programme material, whereas the NI is killer on drums but not as diverse on other materials (in my humble opinion). Also, both Transient Machines devices have these selectable Dynamics / Output processors which are really versatile for all sorts of different sound design tasks (we hope).

There is an “Impact” preset in the pack called “Impact like Crack.alp”. This loads up Impact as if it is an instantiation of Crack, and is a good example of how you can add elements to Impact for ever greater control. Every addition in Impact is CPU managed, so you only use the CPU required (right down to a single filter in the EQ). As you add ‘bands’ (using “Split”) and modify the ‘Crossover’ filter frequencies, you’ll quickly find that, in a different manner, you have the sonic control of features from the TransReckon such as the ‘Sens’ controls. Although FYI, we have a similar system to this ‘Sens’ idea in prototype already that may one day make it into a future pack update.

In fact the most different is the Elysia hardware ’nvelope 500’, which uses only crossover filters to achieve a brilliant blending of transient shaping. It really is amazing and I encourage you to test the hardware if you can ever get your hands on it; a lot more expensive than Transient Machines though ;) . We also experimented with mixing using crossover filters like this, but felt we could never get it how we wanted it. Again, maybe something we will research more in the future.

So, I hope I have demonstrated that Transient Machines are their own beast, and we know and respect many of the other work done in this area. By the way, if you are a Max builder you may be interested in a couple of excellent threads over on the Cycling ’74 forums about transient detection in Max. Search for Rodrigo Constanzo. I may add to those threads with some of our research when I have the time.

While this post of mine is long, I have only touched a little on the subject. If you want more discussion try contacting us at info@surrealmachines.com and I’ll see if I have time to extend my verbosity.

stkr.

fabrice segura
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Re: Transient Machines

Post by fabrice segura » Wed Nov 02, 2016 8:42 pm

the sound is good,i love this device 8)

braduro
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Re: Transient Machines

Post by braduro » Tue Jan 03, 2017 2:05 pm

How would you compare the Transient Machines in features to the transient shaper in Izotope's Neutrino? I have this, and just gave it a first test run, but thought you all might have some insight from the other end.
I can tell you that on a restarted 2012 2.5ghz MBP with 16g ram running Sierra inside an ableton session with a single track that the single-band VST version of the shaper impacted the CPU load meter by 7% idling, and 8% on a running drum loop (AU version was 6% and 7% respectively), and all three bands came in around 8% without sound passing through and 10% with playback.

Not to forget, that this is at least a 1:1 scale, so that's how much of the screen you'll miss from the interface (although the parameters are visible in device view). And the distortion types on Transient Machines are certainly not lost on me.
Image
Transient Shaper:
3 Global Modes: Precise, Balanced, Loose
3 Contour Shapes: Sharp, Medium, and Smooth
Single or multiband
Crossover frequency auto-learn
Analog (zero-latency) or Hybrid (transparent) crossovers
Individual Transient Shaper plug-in ADVANCED ONLY

stkr
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Re: Transient Machines

Post by stkr » Tue Jan 03, 2017 6:11 pm

Hi James. Thanks for your interest. stkr from Surreal Machines here.

First of all, I would really love to hear other user's opinions about comparisons like this - that would perhaps be more useful to you and others reading this thread. But of course I am here so will reply!...

Neutron is typical of a big all encompassing iZotope beast, in that it is… …awesome :-) So, it will come as no surprise that with Transient Machines we are not looking to ‘compete’ with that. I know you are specifically asking about just their Transient Shaper section, but just thought I’d get that in at the start. Ultimately they have designed theirs to work within that context, so the comparison is slightly different to the smaller plugins @Stromkraft was asking about above.

However, Transient Machines compares very favourably in terms of CPU usage (unlike our Dub Machines pack which we admit can be a little costly, but you gotta pay for sound that good ;) ).

Remember we have two devices - the smaller ‘Crack’ for use on multiple individual tracks, and the larger ‘Impact’ which we envisage as more of a Bus tool. Crack is very cheap - between 1 & 4 % depending on settings needed. Apparently most users find they only need Crack most of the time. Impact actually features many of the tools available in Neutron as a whole, all of which can be turned on or off from a CPU perspective, but with three bands and all tools engaged the CPU should not be any more than your quoted Neutron figures, hopefully less, although not completely sure about your machine.

In Impact the EQ is excellent - similar to the ZDF SVF sections that make up the Simper / Ableton EQ8 - and cleanly automatable. Impact seeks to be very good at it’s surgical job (like Neutron) but because this is Live and Surreal Machines, we’d like to think we left many features open to creative abuse, and are really proud of our quirky extras such as the Distortion types you noted and the fact you can route them and the EQ and many different configurations. And yes, they just use the UI space of a Live device :-)

As I said before, I am not really in the habit of making marketing speak drives for my products. There are lots of great tools out there. But I hope I have at least shed a bit more light on the pack CPU and features.

Cheers,
stkr .

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