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Technology Review: Rockster+Pro Home Studio Recording Software Package
With Rockster+Pro, I was able to infuse a very unique musical color into dry sounds with just my digital audio workstation
By Marios Papasavvas
(more articles from this author)
2009-11-22
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Rockster+Pro is an innovative new home studio recording software package that gives serious home studio musicians an effective and easy to use method of transforming amateur sounding analog tracks into digital tracks that have a professional sound. Created by the new music company Born to Rock, mainly known for its production of guitars and basses made from metal instead of wood, Rockster+Pro is one invention that delivers on its promise.

Most home audio recording equipment is lacking in acoustics and the ability to produce a rich, vibrant sound. Rockster+Pro solves that problem by allowing the artist to choose "one of seven presets or invent their own. A GUI panel provides controls for factory and user presets, reverb time, decay and mix, heat, drive, space and dither. Reverb controls are independently adjustable for reflections from rear, side, ceiling and audience so you can design your own concert hall's size, shape, and liveliness." Another great feature is that Rockster+Pro doesn't work in real time. It analyzes the entire file before processing it, and even gives you a warning of any overages before processing modifications so you can choose to re-record the track if you want to.

With Rockster+Pro, I was able to infuse a very unique musical color into dry sounds with just my digital audio workstation. Using different settings, I managed to make my very own cello-and-piano composition sound like it was in front of me, being played live.

I have worked with various audio editing programs over the past few years, and it has always been a struggle trying to use the software's controls and settings just trying to do something really simple. That's not the deal with Rockster+Pro. You've got a clear and simple panel, 15 controllers, all with values from zero to nine. You can store and recall presets when you find just the effect you need, ranging from just barely noticeable to something entirely different.

Rockster+Pro isn't good just for making your home studio recordings sound "live". Boosted, higher harmonic frequencies and a slightly longer duration for each note of the melody gives any recording sound a much more realistic feel.

I would have liked to be able to use Rockster as a VST plug-in with FL Studio or Cubase and apply its effects in real time before having to save the file each time.

Rockster has 12 knobs (3 groups of 4) that manipulate three aspects of a sound with each one of the aspects maintaining control from a different location -- rear, side, ceiling and audience. The first group (top left four knobs) controls the time delay, the second is for the decay, and the third group is for mixing.

The first example is an upbeat composition using an accordion, guitar and trumpet:

Example 1 - Upbeat Accordion-Guitar-Trumpet by sthprk


And after using preset 2 (screenshot 1):

Example 1 - Upbeat Accordion-Guitar-Trumpet after using preset 2 (screenshot 1) by sthprk

In this example, my audio file already had studio audience recorded, so it was closer to a live performance. But by manipulating it with Rockster+Pro's settings, I was able to create a much clearer sound. As you can see, I used one of the presets provided by the program. Adjustments to the original sound were applied as such: Time delay - rear set to 7, the side to 4, ceiling 3 and audience 2. Decay is set to low levels for all directions – rear 4, side 3, ceiling 2 and audience 2. The way the mixing knobs are set, the "rear" setting receives more amplification – rear 7, side 4, ceiling 3, and audience 2. Heat, drive and space are set to 4, 4 and 5 representing a medium sized venue.

The second example is a slow cello-piano duo I composed using FL studio:
Example 2 - Slow Cello-Piano duo by sthprk


And after using custom settings (screenshot 2):

Example 2 - Slow Cello-Piano duo after using custom settings (screenshot 2) by sthprk

In this example, I had much calmer and low-key instruments (piano and cello). In Greece, we are more used to listening to a cello–piano duo in a smaller venue, with fewer people in the audience. At the same time, however, a smaller venue means a warmer ambience, and fewer instruments get to the audience with a distinctive and clear sound. That means less time delay, even less decay, more heat and less space.

Keeping these thoughts in mind, I tried to virtually create the best live sound possible, with the correct settings.
* Time delay is set to: rear 6, side 3, ceiling 2, and audience 1.
* Decay: rear 3, side 2, ceiling 1, audience 1.
* Mix: rear 6, side 3, ceiling 2, audience 1.
* Heat and drive were set to 6 and space set to 2.

It's pretty obvious by the examples above that Rockster+Pro is what it claims to be. I enjoyed using it, and would recommend it to any artist or musician who does home studio recording.

This post has been added by a staff member of MusicDish, LLC which represents Rockster


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