Hey guys, it’s occurred to me that we’ve been rather opaque about what we’ve been working on the last couple of years, so in this post I want to give an overview on what has been happening behind the scenes at Venn Audio, and where we are at in terms of product development, the challenges we face and our plans for the near future.
After V-Clip was released, and taking into account the many feature requests from our users, I wanted to focus on making the ‘ultimate’ dynamics plugin, one that could compete with the many other fully featured dynamics plugins out there. What I thought this meant was that we needed to support all kinds of complex workflows, such as multi-band processing, mid side processing, oversampling, multi channel processing and more. Combining all the possible workflow combinations into a standard plugin of buttons and knobs proved a challenging task. So what I decided to do instead was to create a product where users can define their own workflow and fully customise the UX to their needs, which resulted in work on a fully modular ‘everything’ plugin that we decided to call ‘Blobs’, so named because of the workflow of connecting various different ‘blobs’ or audio processing modules together to form the full processing chain.
Naturally such an ambitious project would require a huge amount of work, and what was initially thought of as a several months long project eventually morphed into a several years long project. Nevertheless, a significant amount of work was completed for this project – the basics of a fully modular and fully customisable processing chain was completed, where you could ‘connect anything to anything’, and define all kinds of complex workflows, such as an oversampled container with dry/wet processing connected to multi band splitting connected to mid side waveshaping and dynamics. And what’s more, any combination of blobs could be grouped, saved as a preset, and then simply re-added to the blob workspace as many times as you wanted, allowing for incredible levels of processing depth and modularity. Below is a screenshot demonstrating the plugin, essentially an audio operating system, complete with windows and even a start menu!
But such an ambitious project proved perhaps too ambitious, the work to truly add all the features I’d like to see for a release became increasingly complex, and it seems bad business at this point to deprive customers of more products for so long. In order to try and give back to those customers that have been patiently waiting, we’ve decided to make use of some of the work that has gone into Blobs so far, which brings us to:
Free Suite is a set of plugins based on the work done for blobs, providing some of the blobs as free standalone plugins. The idea is to create a completely free, performant, light weight, resizeable, zero fuss set of cross-platform plugins. And when I say free, I mean no nag screens, no registration, no ads and no analytics, just full freeware. My ultimate aim would be for this suite to become a reference or standard, a set of plugins one might load when in a new production environment or DAW and quickly need all the necessary tools to do a complete mix of a track. Or perhaps as a reference to compare a new plugin to, in terms of performance and sound. The aim for the GUI is to be maximally simple and fully resizeable, and to have the plugins support as many different platforms and formats as possible.
The current line up includes: gain, pan, EQ, clipping (yes Free Clip 2 is coming!!), compression, delay, convolution reverb, test tone and metering. The DSP/back-end is already complete, there’s just a bit more GUI polishing to do. I plan to release an alpha for testers as soon as possible, and I will create a discord server where I will push regular builds of the alpha and seek ongoing feedback, where anyone is welcome to join and give their thoughts.
Note: early alpha screenshots, GUI subject to change.
Free Suite will be our first offering out of the larger framework we have created when working on Blobs, with further commercial releases on the way based on this same framework, including a sequel to V-Clip, a commercial compressor, and oversampling and analysis tools. Stay tuned!