Interview: Mike Hosker, Product Manager of SONiVOX

With a large & varied catalogue of music instrument plug-ins, SONiVOX are also known for their cutting-edge software: Twist, Wobble and Vocalizer Pro. We talked with Mike Hosker about their direction.  

Tell us about the background of Sonivox, what you do and what you specialize in?

Musician and sound design/engineer, Jennifer Hruska, founded SONiVOX in 1993 out of Cambridge, Massachusetts. We specialize in the development of software instruments, samples and soundware instruments for music producers, composers and film-scoring talent, as well as traditional musicians. We cover a wide spectrum of music production software tools for the professional and project studio, with a diverse range of solutions from orchestral sound libraries to everyday instruments.

Tell us about some of the plug-ins that Sonivox have created.

We have a pretty large catalog with many of our plug-ins very specific to unique instruments such as our Rickenbacker bass and our Guqin (a traditional Chinese instrument). Each of these instruments are sampled at different velocities and provide extensive sound shaping parameters such as envelopes, filters, reverb and delay. We've managed to keep all of SONiVOX's plug-ins very light on the CPU, while managing a ton of exceptional content under the hood. As mentioned, we have a very large catalog of instruments to choose from, whether it's a string instrument or an orchestral instrument, a really nice grand piano, or something percussive'"we have it all.

"Whether it's a string instrument or an orchestral instrument, a really nice grand piano, or something percussive'"we have it all."

On the more recent end of the catalog, we have Twist, Wobble and Vocalizer Pro, which are aimed at electronic music producers and artists looking to design dynamic, signature sounds with lots of LFO action. So if you are a dance music producer, and you really want to dial in some aggressive electro sounds, you can do that; but if you want to create some lush pads for an ambient track, you can as well.

Vocalizer Pro in action.

Vocalizer Pro in action.

In these instruments we have what's called Intelligent Rhythm Control, which is a feature that allows you to tighten and quantize your playing in real time. If you're not the most accurate player, you can turn this on at different time divisions and play along to your host's clock'"if you're off a bit, it will lock you in. It's very good for easily laying down a lead. Even if you're not a musician, you can quickly play a few notes and get a feel for what it would sound like once you've done some post-MIDI corrections. It can be all done in real time, so it removes the whole step of going in and fixing sloppy MIDI events. For example, if you set IRC to ¼ notes and you're playing very fast, you'll only hear those notes registering in that ¼ note time division. If you've set it at 1/16 notes, you'll get more of an arpeggiated rhythmic sound. It is flexible and powerful. Instead of playing a particular pattern, you're playing what you originally wanted to play.

"Intelligent Rhythm Control allows you to tighten and quantize your playing in real time."

What's also useful is being able to turn it off and on while you're playing in real-time. If you want some humanization while playing a complicated riff, you can retain a 'player'

Rounik is the Executive Editor for Ask.Audio & macProVideo. He's built a crack team of professional musicians and writers to create one of the most visited online resources for news, review, tutorials and interviews for modern musician and producer. As an Apple Certified Trainer for Logic Pro Rounik has taught teachers, professional... Read More

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