While intended for post production work, Audio Ease's new Indoor has some great applications for music production. Let’s take a look at how I like to use it on acoustic and electric guitars.
Indoor is a convolution reverb plug in for OS X and Windows that features 10 t houses and vehicles with over 60 sampled spaces. It features up to 9 reverb channels and will run AAX DSP, AAX Native, Audio Units, and VST.
Briefly, Audio Ease was first in the convolution reverb plug in business with their classic Altiverb, which I have been using since it was first released back in 2001. Convolution reverbs use impulse responses (IRs) recorded in real acoustic spaces around the world, but they also feature classic amplifiers and outboard gear as well. What makes this different from a traditional reverb is that you’re not getting a mathematical recreation of a space, you’re getting the actual space.
Indoor takes this a step further by offering the ability to place the microphone system in any of the 60 offered spaces and 10 locations with the click of a mouse. A special 9 microphone system they created allows for configurations of up to 7.0 + Dolby Atmos Ceiling (top) channels with over 1000 impulse responses. But you can also move the microphone and associated speaker anywhere in any room, change angles, move them in real time with no zipper noise and even open and close doors. Also, the plug in interface is resizable, using the arrows up in the top corner.
The spaces they tracked include domestic interiors such as a restaurant, an empty house, forest bungalow, hotel, log house as well as an auto workshop, yacht, car and RV. While these sound like more post related spaces, which they are, they still have great use for acoustic instruments and cool electric guitar sounds.
For my music production applications, I use Indoor in mono, stereo, or mono to stereo mode. My objective is to give some depth and distance to a dry sound, be it an acoustic guitar or a direct recorded electric track (DI). The ways you can approach this are to either apply Indoor directly to your audio track (mono or mono/stereo) or use it on an AUX track with a bus—preferably in stereo to get the most directional ambience.
It doesn’t get much easier to use. To select an acoustic space, simply use the top left location menu and its related 3D image will appear. On the floor will be dotted egg and square shape areas. The egg represents the microphone and the square the speaker. You run your audio through the speaker and pick it up with the microphone. The mic and speaker can be moved any distance from each other, and you’ll hear the represented audio. You can even open and close doors by clicking on them, and all of these positions and placements represent actual acoustic space recordings. It’s pretty amazing!
Taking it a step further, you can choose between Direct On and Direct Off mode. In Direct On, basically what you see visually is what you hear. If you want your audio source to be heard to the right (in stereo or surround), you can drag the speaker to the right, or move the speaker icon on the Angle Selection GUI with the Recorded Angle switch selected. You will hear the completely natural audio, including associated volume drops.
Direct Off is more traditional, replacing Angle Selection with classic reverb controls including Pre Delay, Reverb Spread and Dry/Wet buttons. I found myself using direct off when I assigned Indoor to an Aux track. I liked using Direct On when assigning it directly to a guitar track.
Both Direct On and Direct Off offer Bass, Treble, Tuning and Decay settings. I like having the Treble setting to make rooms brighter, especially for acoustic guitar sounds.
My first use of Indoor was on an acoustic track. I recorded my Martin 0M28 with a DPA 4006 omni mic and took the built-in Fishman DI as well into a ¼” input. On the DI, I inserted a mono/stereo instance of Indoor, and left the setting on Direct On. Since I wanted the sound of warm wood, I selected the Log House. I then clicked around in the various rooms until I found a sound that I liked, ending up with the mic in the living room and the speaker by the kitchen. It’s a unique experience to quickly click through acoustic spaces hearing what the guitar sounds like in a certain area with different tiles, wood, concrete, etc. Since the IRs are the actual spaces, it sounds much more ‘real’ than a traditions reverb—because it is the actual space.
Turning the speaker in the Angle Selection area, I was able to focus the sound in the stereo field to where I wanted it, mostly right. I used the Tuning to slightly change the room to be less boomy, and also increased a bit of treble. I then turned up the Front Gain and plug in Output a few dBs, to make up for the real world volume drop based on distance. It took a sterile DI track and gave it, depth, warmth and a 3D like feel.
Martin (DI alone):
Martin (Indoor Stereo):
Martin (DI and Indoor):
In another example, I recorded my Guild 12 string with an Earthworks QTC 50 mic and no DI. In order to make the sound bigger in the piece, I decided to duplicate the track and pan it to the right (I only do this on occasion to make tracks sound large). I then inserted a mono Indoor and selected the Empty house. By selecting Direct Off, I then had control over the Wet Dry, which I needed in this instance. Clicking on the bathroom, I then turned the bass down and the treble up to make the sound brighter, also pushing up the Output a bit for more plug in gain. I adjusted the Wet/Dry control to almost fully wet and within seconds had a track that sounded like a miked’ up bathroom. I panned the mic to about 10 o'clock on the left and the Indoor full right, blended in the fader level to taste and had a nice big, wide sounding 12 string.
Guild 12 string (with mic):
Guild 12 string (bathroom):
Guild 12 string (mic and indoor):
Often when tracking electric guitars, I will double the part to make the sound bigger. In this instance, I did double the part, but both were recorded DI using a software amp, so it was way to dry.
To get some depth in the sound, I inserted a mono Indoor onto the right hand doubled track. I selected the Empty House and clicked around the rooms, finding the bathroom to have what I was looking for tone-wise. I chose Direct Off and blended the Dry/Wet to about the middle position, half dry, half room. Once again I kicked up the treble a bit but this time pushing the Decay up higher to give me more bathroom sound. It delivered exactly what I wanted, a cool sense of space to take a boring DI track and give it life.
Indoor is a really cool program on many levels. I've yet to experience another reverb program that lets you click your audio around real acoustic spaces and listen in real time. You can then tweak the space to your liking and manipulate the stereo field. Indoor is a very cool convolution reverb program with obvious post production applications. But it also delivers some great music production options, adding a unique depth and dimension to acoustic and electric guitar tracks.
Electric DI left:
Electric DI with Indoor bathroom:
Electric full mix:
I look forward to the folks at Audio Ease doing a few recording studios and churches for Indoor!
If you click on the burger column in the restaurant, the amp will come out of the ceiling mounted speakers. In the Hotel Room click on the TV it will play out that speaker. Finally, try clicking on the radio in the SUV’s dashboard and send your amp through the radio system!