Partner Profile: Exponential Audio

07 Apr 2017

Exponential Audio was incorporated in 2012 and shipped their first plugins (PhoenixVerb and R2) in January of 2013. The portfolio has since expanded to eight plugins, which have found a home in both music production and film/TV post applications.

What’s surprising is that all the technical and aural aspects of Exponential Audio plugins are the responsibility of just one person: Michael Carnes. What’s not surprising is that, prior to Exponential, Carnes was at Lexicon for 25 years as the primary developer for products such as the 960L, PCM96, PCM90 — and all of the plugins. Before that, he developed software used in publishing, speech recognition and medical imaging.

Michael is a musician, and made a living as a guitarist from the late 60s though the mid 70s. “By that time,” he says, “my interests had moved more in the direction of classical music. So I returned to school (Boston) and eventually received an advanced degree in composition. I've had many performances of chamber and orchestral music.”

Michael concedes that maintaining both musical and technical careers is “quite a juggling act”, so his recent focus has been on expanding the Exponential Audio line. Still, he remains active as a recording engineer in and around Salt Lake City, USA.


For Michael, his goals for Exponential Audio are simple: “to provide the best possible audio quality while simplifying work-flow for my users” and “to do my best to run an ethical business and treat customers fairly.” Sounds commendable to us!

The feature of the Focusrite’s Plugin Collective in April 2017 is the R2, which Michael describes as “a character reverb; a reverb that's meant to be heard”. He continues, “the most popular reverbs of the ’80s and ’90s all had audible artifacts because of limitations of the hardware in those days. It turns out that those artifacts — mainly motion in the tail — became a key part of those mixes. That sort of sound imprinted itself in the ears of mix engineers. For them, that's the sound of reverb, whether natural or not! R2 was all about bringing that sort of sound into a modern plugin. Because of its ability to thicken a mix, it's turned out to be a good way to add warmth as a main 'verb or to add a savory tail to instrumental solos.”

Exponential Audio’s newest release, R4, is an advanced character reverb, which expands further in the the realm of vintage sound, adding new dynamic and modulation features that were never part of any previous reverb. Exponential Audio offer R2 customers an upgrade path to R4.

Visit the Plugin Collective home page to find out more.