50 one-of-a-kind presets for ambient soundscapes, sound design and creative mixing.
While this EZmix pack is called Soundscapes, it might just as well have been Sound Escapes, because that is what it allows you to do: escape the traditional boundaries of composition and allow your creative self to run free, painting with effects, space and time to create all-new landscapes of sound.
The Soundscapes EZmix Pack comes with 50 signal chain presets. It was designed to cater to any creative context that calls for an unorthodox effect, a dwindling echo, a soaring reverb or a richly textured tone – perfect for scores, music beds or any pop, rock or modern audio scene in need of some out-of-the-box ideas.
These presets can be applied to any audio source and, quite frankly, should. The canvas is blank and yours to fill. Start mixing!
Songwriter or producer in need of great-sounding mixes fast? Rikk lays down his top three reasons as to why you should check out EZmix 2.
Mattias Eklund. Umeå, Sweden.
How and when did you discover your passion for music?
At a very early age, I remember listening to Santana’s “Europa” and “Samba Pa Ti” off one of my mom’s mix tapes. I have always been drawn to softer, more ambient and melancholic music – and maybe that came from those two songs? At the age of six, I started listening to Kiss and then my hard rock era began. Bands like Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Accept, W.A.S.P, Yngwie Malmsteen and many more spun regularly on my turntable. After that, it was onto fusion and jazz of all sorts. At the time, a lot of Michael Brecker, Mike Stern, Allan Holdsworth and Pat Metheny – which lead me to discovering John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Keith Jarrett etc. So I went the other way around – backwards in a way! Nowadays, I listen to anything. I have a very broad music taste and I try to discover new music all the time.
Why do you think sound in general fascinated you so much that you pursued a career in this field?
I have always had a huge interest in sound, especially movies and sounds have inspired me throughout my life. My dream was always to make both sound design and instrumental movie soundtrack type of music. I see images when I listen to music. I really wanted everone to care as much about sound and quality as I did. I remember in the mid ‘90s, Fredrik Thordendal and I had this idea that we should rent VHS movies and record a message on the mono track, something like “buy a stereo video, buy a stereo video, buy a stereo video” and have this play throughout the entire movie, so that the people that actually still looked at mono videos would only hear this track, while the people that had stereo videos would hear the normal audio for that VHS. So, we would educate those mono lovers, we thought, haha! We never did it though. I also remember going to the movies and seeing surround for the first time and after that buying a small shitty surround system home, just enjoying seeing movies and listening to everything that was going on sound-wise. It was a huge experience with the sound, almost bigger than the actual movies when seeing it at the cinema. So for me to be in this line of business is very natural, I guess!
What’s the best thing about working with music?
To be inspired and to be able to enter another world where there is no such thing as anxiety or hunger or anything else – music is all that exists. A lot of times, I find myself completely loosing track of time and everything around me when I am in the middle of doing something that has to do with music. I forget to eat – time doesn’t even exist. Then, of course, there is a lot anxiety involved in actually finishing projects and being satisfied. I am never satisfied, but I think this is part of of the driving force when working with something creative that you put your heart and soul into.
What in your collection of instruments and gear is your most prized possession – one you wouldn’t trade for anything?
EVERYTHING!!! Man, it is so hard. I recently got a 1966 Fender XI bass. It’s like a guitar but tuned down one octave with 6 strings. Also, a couple of years ago, I bought a GuitarViol from Togaman. It’s handmade and has six strings, like a cello or viola but with frets and tuned like a guitar (in B). You play it with a bow and it sounds amazing! You can hear it at the end of the “Organic” demo for the Filters & Modulation EZmix Pack (actually the Fender XI is there too. It’s the one that plays the arpeggio chords all through the song). My Eurorack is the best thing that’s happened lately. Before I got it, I didn’t know anything about synths, really. Now I feel like I know a lot because I got completely lost in YouTube land for months, just looking at videos educating myself on the subject.
Walk us through the process of creating a collection of presets like this.
I tend to improvise a lot, no matter what I do. I might record a guitar for a few minutes that I then loop, trying things out with our software. It’s a very advanced program that can do pretty much anything that has to do with effects and routing. Then I just try to be as creative as I can. The hardest part is actually to design what the two rotary knobs in EZmix 2 control. I can assign several properties to each, giving the end-user lots of versatility by simply turning one knob. Sometimes, especially in a pack like this where there are so many parameters you could use, it’s sometimes pretty time-consuming to make these decisions.
You recently also built a home studio centered around a lot of vintage electronics and outboard. Being a sound designer in a very digital age, why do you think you – and many “audio geeks” alike – are still so fascinated with vintage and analogue gear?
To me, it has to do with soul. Analogue gear, especially vintage gear, is unpredictable and I love that! You are never exactly sure what’s going to happen. Even though I do love being able to work fast from a DAW, I also love to turn physical knobs on outboard gear until I get what I want. Best thing is the unpredictability – every time you use a piece of analogue gear, you start over fresh. That’s what is inspiring to me. It’s like these pieces of equipment have a will of their own. For example, the Euroracks I have will never ever sound the same twice. I always make a patch, create something, tear it down and forget it. The next day, I start with something new, always moving in a different direction, a new world. The Eurorack has a million souls. It is so amazing and I am loving every second of playing around with it. Another thing that I love about analogue gear is that it’s hands-on, you reach for a knob physically and it’s not the same as touching a control surface or moving a digital virtual knob with your mouse.
…and on the flip side, what drives you to create digital tools and what is great about this development?
Even though a typewriter might be cool to use for an author of a book, the same author may not like “Tipp-Ex” part of erasing text. I think the first word processor was a huge liberation to writers! The same goes for music production. The computer as a production environment has been a blessing. Loving technology and everything new, I was very early with digital music production. I think I was one of the first in our town to use a computer as a music production tool for audio. I remember using the very first version of SAW. It was four channels and you had to bounce four tracks down to two to be able to use two more and so on – just like the old Tascam portable 244 tape machines (I had a Tascam 246 before I started using the computer). Even though there were a lot of problems with using the computer as an audio production tool (like no realtime preview – you had to select what you wanted to listen to, turn some knobs, hit preview and wait for a minute before you heard anything), I could see the future with it and it was amazing! Shortly after Saw+ came out, then Saw16 (which we actually used in the making of Drumkit From Hell), then Cubase VST – and the future was here. So, what pushed Fredrik and I at the end of the ‘90s to create sound banks for LM4 was to give us the ability to create music faster, without having to go into a studio, thus giving us much more freedom and possibilities to actually write music. And I feel the same way now – the computer is the best tool for so much. The things we can do now are just so far beyond what I thought would be even possible when we started this company almost 20 years ago. More importantly, it’s for everyone, not just a chosen few like back in the day. It is far cheaper to be a music producer/musician/engineer now than it was 20 years ago – and the results are far greater nowadays in so many ways. Of course, there are drawbacks too, things being too perfect, people tend to listen with their eyes instead of their ears and so on, but in the end, we all have to learn what music and production is all about at some point. It has a learning curve now just like it always has had and I feel the trend now is turning towards more awareness about what music is and actually letting the productions and music have soul, even though it is done completely in the computer. Like any great tool, the tools we and many other great software companies are creating really help musicians, producers and engineers around the world to be creative without losing time on technical stuff or trying to find money for a recording budget. They can just create, anytime, anywhere. That is amazing!
What was the thought process behind creating the Soundscapes EZmix Pack?
It’s been a while since I did the Ambient EZmix Pack and since the Soundscapes EZmix Pack is in the same “audio landscape” as that, I wanted to use a few effects that was not available when I did the Ambient pack. So, the Soundscapes pack has some elements and characteristics completely unique compared to the other pack. Other than that, I guess, I always just go into a sort of a flow when I do sound design like this. I don’t think too much, I just react to sounds and try to create something I like sonically. Basically, just being creative with a mindset of making something that will help our customers to be creative and discover new ways of working with sound. That’s always my goal.
What do you hope people will take away from using the it?
The cool thing about EZmix 2 and our EZmix packs on a whole is that I may have created presets on my end that end up completely different when applied in someone else’s context. I may have had a vocal in mind when designing a specific preset and labeled it as such, but if that very setting is applied to, say, a guitar, it’s all of a sudden a completely new landscape of sound that opens up. So, as I mentioned earlier, I hope people get inspired to create and also dare to go beyond my original ideas for the presets. So many cool, unusual and completely unexpected results can come from experimenting with them. I look at these FX-oriented packs that I have done as “audio colors” that can be applied to anything.
Name: Mattias Eklund
Location: Umeå, Sweden.
|Big Pitch Verb||Any||Insert|
|Calming Pitch Verb||Any||Insert|
|Dark Filter Moves||Any||Insert|
|Dark Filter Pitch||Any||Insert|
|Delayed Distorted Verbs||Any||Insert|
|Digital Delay Reverse Reverb||Any||Insert|
|Digital Delay Time Control||Any||Insert|
|Filter Delayed Reverbs||Any||Insert|
|Filter Reverb 1||Any||Insert|
|Filter Reverb 2||Any||Insert|
|Filtered LFO'd Pitch||Any||Insert|
|Filtered Small Plate 1||Any||Insert|
|Filtered Small Plate 2||Any||Insert|
|Flanged Hall Reverse||Any||Insert|
|LFO'd LFOs in Filter||Any||Insert|
|Movement in Pitches 1||Any||Insert|
|Movement in Pitches 2||Any||Insert|
|Normal and Reversed Sides||Any||Insert|
|Pitch Filtered Ambience||Any||Insert|
|Pitch in Hall||Any||Insert|
|Side by Side||Any||Insert|
|Simple Delay Modulation||Any||Insert|
|Soft Reverse Delay||Any||Insert|
|Spring in Long Plate||Any||Insert|
|Spring Shifted Delays||Any||Insert|
|Stereo Reversed Plate Delays||Any||Insert|
|Vibrating Ambience 1||Any||Insert|
|Vibrating Ambience 2||Any||Insert|
|Vibrating Pitch Verb||Any||Insert|
This is an expansion product that requires a working copy of EZmix 2 to operate.