Crane Song Phoenix II


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Phoenix II is an update of Crane Song’s suite of TDM plug-ins designed to emulate the unique properties of a magnetic tape machine.

Phoenix II runs both NATIVE and DSP on Avid’s AAX format. Phoenix II uses 32-bit floating point math and has a lower noise floor than the original release.

Designer Dave Hill has crafted this software with the same attention to detail he used to create the electronics for ATR Service’s much-heralded “Aria” discrete tape recorders.

His intimate knowledge of analogue electronics, as well as decades of experience as a recording engineer, has spawned a very useful and musical suite of plug-ins.

The Phoenix II process not only incorporates the nonlinear saturation characteristics created by magnetic tape itself but also includes the interrelation of an analogue tape recorder’s record/reproduce electronics and equalization curves.

Phoenix II is a ground-up application derived from HEDD technology, and specifically engineered and optimized for Avid’s AAX architecture.

Phoenix II has five different tape analog characteristics, The type is selected with a switch for easy comparison between the types, and the brightness is also selected with a switch.

Gold is the position where the colour is approximately flat in frequency response, with Sapphire being a brighter, and Opal being a warmer tonality.

A level control determines the amount of the Phoenix II process integrated into the audio signal, and an input trim determines “how hard you hit the tape.”

Because the DSP process is level dependent, the input level trim control has been improved and an output trim control has been added.

The input trim can also be used to prevent clipping in the rare cases where clipping may be a problem and bringing up the level of a track for an increased amount of colour.

This can be useful on material that is hitting close to or at digital zero and on material that has a low recorded level.

When the input trim and output trim controls are at 0dB, (no change in gain) and no tape process is being added to the sound, the plug-in is bit accurate, meaning the output exactly matches the input.

The Phoenix II contains five separate flavours:

  • Luminescent is the most neutral sounding process of the five.
  • Iridescent has a similar magnetic character, but with a fatter bottom and midrange. This mode is the most similar to the tape knob on HEDD-192.
  • Radiant is characterised by a more aggressive compression curve
  • Dark Essence is even more aggressive. The effect is a colour with a wider frequency range when used on a vocal. Dark Essence can reduce sibilance problems by increasing the apparent loudness of the rest of the signal.
  • Luster starts more gently than the other four processes, but becomes as aggressive as Dark Essence when the process is at full scale.


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