Artificial intelligence is a topic on the lips of professionals in almost every creative industry. It’s looked at with fear and excitement in equal measures. The music industry is no exception. Artificial intelligence has been making its way into the architecture of audio plugins for a while, but feels like the past year has been a bit of a watershed with AI plugins becoming mainstream.
In this article we look at some of the best AI infused audio plugins available today. From melody writers to mixing tools we’ve gathered a wide range of tools for you to peruse.
Mawf is an interesting little tool that uses neural networks – a method of artificial intelligence – to reinterpret the tonality of an incoming signal to reimagine it as a different instrument. For example, you could feed a synth melody into morph, and with just a few clicks have turned that synth melody into a natural-sounding trumpet melody.
What’s really cool is that the algorithms inside Mawf can re-interpret any sound you feed it – it doesn’t have to be a traditional instrument. That means you could try morphing rain sounds, foley or even your dog’s bark into an instrument of your choice.
Orb Producer Suite 3 is an AI-infused plugin bundle designed to make writing chord progressions and melodies easy. The four plugins in the Orb Producer Suite 3 (Orb Chords, Orb Melody, Orb Bass and Orb Arpeggio) all use artificial intelligence to generate MIDI.
Orb Chords is a wavetable synth that allows you to generate an unlimited number of original chord progressions. Once the progression has been generated you have the freedom to tweak it as much as you like.
Orb Melody is designed for lead melody creation. Like Orb Chords you can tweak any generated melody however you like.
Orb Bass allows you to create a bassline perfectly suited to your track by analysing the entire harmony of your project.
For that instant feel-good arp vibe look no further than Orb Arpeggio. This AI-powered arpeggio generator can do it all for you, or you can dive into the more complex control and design the arpeggio of your dreams.
iZotope have integrated AI technology into a number of their plugins. Ozone and Vocal Assistant both have AI technology baked in, as does iZotope’s mixing suite Neutron 4.
Neutron 4 is a suite of mixing tools. One of those tools is Assistant View which uses artificial intelligence to create an effect chain made up of the other effects that come in the Neutron 4 bundle
The 'Assistant' view will listen to your track and analyse it. It will automatically detect different instrument types such as guitar, vocals, bass, and drums and then create custom effects chains using its artificial intelligence technology.
Neutron’s Assistant View can also dynamically match the tonality of your track to a reference track – again using AI. Smart hey?
Sistema by guk ai is an artificial intelligence-powered synthesiser that uses its inbuilt algorithms to design synth patches based on a few directions from the user.
To get a patch from Sistema just let it know the category of sound you want to create (e.g. bell, pluck, lead, bass etc. and choose your desired character from a few options.
Sistema then takes this information and uses its AI to generate a totally unique synth patch. If you’re not happy you can generate a new patch using the same inputs – the AI will create a totally new patch each time so you’ll always have fresh sounds.
Sonible has made its name by integrating artificial intelligence into the design of its plugins, and smart:comp 2 is the latest iteration of that.
What makes smart:comp 2 such a strong AI plugin is the fact that it is a fantastic compressor without any of the AI elements. It has a unique but intuitive interface and has the ability to perform spectral compression. Spectral compression is essentially multiband compression on steroids. With spectral compression activated, each part of the spectrum is compressed separately giving a very smooth and tonally balanced signal.
The AI in smart:comp 2 analyses the audio running through it and then compresses depending on a compression profile you select. The compression profiles are trained on hundreds of recordings in order to give the smoothest and cleanest compression sound possible.
What’s in a name? Well, when it comes to Baby Audio TAIP, the answer is the acronym for artificial intelligence.
TAIP is a tape saturation plugin that uses artificial intelligence to add analog warmth and harmonic richness to your audio. Baby Audio fed their algorithm training data of dry audio, and audio processed by various tape machines, teaching the algorithm to identify the differences between the dry and processed audio. Once the AI knows the differences it can apply them to audio being run through TAIP.
TAIP also comes with presets created by some producers who have a very impressive client base. Mark Needman (Fleetwood Mac, Elton John), Max Jaeger (Ariana Grande, Drake) and Cesar Sogbe (Prince, Jennifer Lopez) have all provided presets for TAIP.
The FAST bundle from The Collective (part of the same audio family as Focusrite, Novation and Ampify) is an AI mixing suite designed to give producers fast results so you can save time on mixing and spend more time on making.
The FAST Bundle includes FAST Compressor, FAST Equaliser, FAST Reveal, FAST Verb and FAST Limiter. Each of the plugins within the suite use Sonible’s smart: engine to make informed parameter adjustments to suit your source material.
As with Sonible’s own products, FAST bundle provides many different instrument profiles for you to choose from, allowing the FAST plugins to make mixing decisions based on the audio you’re working with.
Atlas 2 is a sample organiser and drum machine which uses artificial intelligence to match samples together, giving you a lightning fast workflow and allowing you to focus on your creativity.
Atlas 2 analyses your sample collection and organises them in a gorgeous visual map. Types of drum hits are grouped together and within each of those groups, hits with similar characteristics are placed close to one another. All of these groupings are determined by Atlas 2’s AI algorithm analysing and categorising your sample collection.
Build kits within Atlas 2 and speed up this process by adding one or two samples to the kit and then auto-populating the rest of the kit’s pads based on the one-shots you’ve already loaded. You can then sequence a beat using Atlas 2’s in-built sequencer and use the per-sample sample editor to tweak the kit as you like.
Emergent Drums by Audiolab is a unique AI plugin that can generate drum samples for you to use in your tracks. Emergent Drums uses no source recordings to build samples. All drum hits created using Emergent drums are created entirely from scratch using the plugin's artificial intelligence technology.
Of course, the big advantage of using AI-generated drum samples as opposed to traditional drum samples from sample packs is that no one can have the same sample as you. This is a truly novel use for artificial intelligence in music production and one that can have huge benefits for producers looking to carve out their unique sound.
Melody Sauce 2 uses Evabeat’s AI-powered PhraseBuilder Engine to generate melodies and ideas for producers to use in their production.
Melody Sauce 2’s in-built artificial intelligence enables producers to write melodies that fit the rest of the elements in their tracks without having any music production know-how. You can think of it like a personal music production assistant. Its AI engine is trained to write melodies for you in a range of genres such as Hip Hop, Trap, EDM, House & Techno, Pop, Reggaeton, and R&B.
Version 2 of Melody Sauce builds on everything that was great about Melody Sauce 1 with improved algorithms making it able to write even better melodies and phrases.