Zplane: Science In The Studio

04 Jul 2017

Zplane was founded in 2000 by Alexander Lerch, Tim Flohrer and Martin Schwerdtfeger with the intention of being a pure business-to-business company. Today, however, Zplane is an organisation of two halves. First and foremost, there’s the academic side. Zplane’s research explores state-of-the-art music processing and analysis technology, such as artifact-free time stretching and pitch shifting. Their music analysis technology extracts high-level musical information from the music signal, like tempo, rhythm, melody and key. Then there’s the commercial side, with plugins like Vielklang, which create natural-sounding harmonies from monophonic sounds, allowing a soloist to become a choir in an instant.

The Zplane team comprises many talented members. As Martin Schwerdtfeger says, “most people on team have a technical background; we have software and electrical engineers, as well as some people with a musical background. We have and had guitar/bass players, drummers, violin players, singers, some of them with years of band experience. We are a small team with a flat hierarchy.”

Zplane’s mission statement is to make “industry leading tech for music and post production”, and Vielklang is a perfect example of that. Schwerdtfeger continues, “Vielklang was our first plug-in we ever released. That was in 2008. During that time we already had most of the technology used within Vielklang available in-house. To my knowledge, at that time there was no other plug-in with a real voice leading choir feature (and actually still there isn't). We decided to enter the plug-in market because until that time we had been solely in the B2B licensing market. In the meantime we have version 2 which was a completely rewrite with a fresh GUI. We recommend to all people who like the LE version of Vielklang to have a deeper look at the full version.”

Zplane have a lot on the horizon. “In 2017 we already have released an update for reTune, our multi-pitch modification tool. MIDI control and microtuning were the main features we added to allow user more individual control over the plug-in. We also released élastiqueAAX for Pro Tools which finally brought our time-stretching engine élastiquePRO to this DAW. We are already working to further integrate the plug-in, making it available as the TCE option in Pro Tools. As for the future, we are currently working on a new version for our loudness metering plug-in which is planned to be released later this year, and we're working on a still secret project that aims at the musical education market.”

Vielklang LE is featured in the Focusrite Plugin Collective in July 2017. Keep your eyes peeled for Zplane’s new developments over at https://www.zplane.de/