The acquisition of UK-based live sound technology company Fourier Audio by digital console pioneer DiGiCo has prompted the announcement of a new industry-changing plug-in platform for live audio. Announced at AES NY 2023, the two manufacturers conducted a joint reveal of the transform.engine, a Dante-connected server designed to run all VST3-native software plugins in a live environment.
Designed as a comprehensive solution for plugin hosting, the transform.engine is easily controlled by a remote Windows or macOS client application. Reducing the need for complex setups, users simply connect to the engine via a standard Ethernet cable, install their plugins, and can begin processing. Housed in a 2RU touring-grade chassis withdual redundant power supplies, the transform.engine is fully compatible with any VST3 plugins for Windows.
The transform.engine can process audio standalone, meaning no computer is required to host the plug-ins. Controlled remotely by a Windows/macOS application, all plug-in user interfaces are relayed over the network, displaying within the app for ultra-low-latency control. Centred around bringing premium DAW-centric software to live and broadcast sound applications, transform.engine gives engineers access to studio-grade processing on a robust platform specifically designed for the complexities and rigors of live productions.
Fourier Audio’s engineering team, helmed by CTO Peter Bridgman, has followed two years of intensive R&D with a recent collaboration through DiGiCo, to deliver a brand new hardware platform for transform.engine. Working closely with the Fourier Audio engineers, DiGiCo Technical Director John Stadius weighs in on the collaboration:
“It has been an exciting challenge for our teams to design a brand-new bespoke hardware platform. The Fourier Audio team reminds me of an early-stage DiGiCo, and that enthusiasm really motivated us all to get it done. I couldn’t be happier with the end result and what it will mean for live sound engineers.”
The transform.engine has been developed from the ground up to deliver the lowest-possible-latency solution on the market for hosting VST3 plugins, whilst keeping the reliability and performance of the server at the forefront of the technology.
Fourier Audio’s patented audio engine provides a rock-solid sandbox with plugins ‘ring-fenced’ from each other for total reliability. Should a plugin crash, all other plugins will be unaffected, and the transform.engine will immediately restart that plugin, quickly restoring settings and the integrity of the mix. Fourier Audio CCO Gareth Owen points out that transform.engine’s dependability will be one of its greatest hallmarks:
“There are a lot of other VST hosting approaches out there, but when you have a theater, arena, or stadium full of people listening to your show, there’s no margin for error. With the backing and support of DiGiCo, which is celebrated for its decades of designing tourable, reliable, and long-lasting hardware, we are building the ultimate plugin solution.”
With live audio workflow integration at its core, the transform.engine aims to put control of plugins directly under the fingers of engineers on their own worksurfaces, starting with DiGiCo mixing consoles. However, as with products from sibling brand KLANG:technologies, the new Fourier Audio system is fully capable of operating in conjunction with virtually any professional digital console on the market.
“We want to offer live sound engineers not just ‘good’ emulations of various studio plugins,” says Fourier Audio CEO Henry Harrod, “but the absolute best-sounding authentic versions of every plugin they might possibly want from the professional recording world. It’s a ‘win-win’ situation for everyone.”
The transform.engine is scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2024.
Visit the Fourier Audio website for more.