New Library for Waves Q-clone – The console strip

I have just released a truly exquisite Q-clone library of a 1u rack mounted channel strip. This sampling is the whole stripand Capturers all the finest textural nuances of the hardware so that you will make amazing music in no time. This modern AyPeye flavour of a the ubiquitous vintage console is awesome at giving you a clear focussed mix. This package will make you fall in love with Q-clone all over again.

Get the pack here for now

You can also get it right here Buy with Paypal on this blog

Growing Nebula inventory

We are now up to 28 products. Hopefully reach a hundred by the end of the year. Get your nebula programs here and also your presets for super fast and also high quality mixing

Two new websites launched.

Just in case you may have missed my movements in the last few weeks, I have just launched a new website to sell my book and another for my nebula presets.

My books new website is easy to follow as it is the title of the book…..Blood, sweat and treason

My nebula presets website is equally easy to find. Get your nebula programs and presets here and say hello to a new way of mixing…..Nebula Presets


New website launched

If you have ever downloaded my nebula presets, you may have heard that I have become a third party developer for Acustica Nebula.  This is a fantastic opportunity. I have just launched my new website and it is called

Go on over and have a look. Upgrade your audio experience. All the best


Another free Nebula preset – Valve preamp

Right guys – this one is pretty special IMHO. That’s all I am going to say really. Smooth tubes – gorgeous mid range.

Sampled at high resolution – Provided at 96 khz – enjoy and if you like it let me know.

Why all the free stuff one might ask – what’s the catch you may think. Simply put – my Father is very generous and has taught me to be the same. I am patron of a charity that I support in Zimbabwe. I have been accepted as a third party provider for Acustica and my soon to be released commercial libraries will help support the charity. It also allows me to practice the art of sampling which has a learning curve. Watch this space. More freebies coming as usual.


Get it HERE

Free Mastering tools for Q-clone


Been busy again and added a few free Q-clone presets for your professional use all for FREEEEEEEE!!!!! These are mainly good for adding presence in the high end to tracks. Some do subtle things like add ‘zip’ or ‘fizz’ as I call it while some tighten things a little. Most are easy to hear so experiment with diferent sources. These are really aimed at full mixes as if you add too many in your mix it can get a little too hard – if you have dull stuff then go for it!!!!

Get the package here – Henry_Olonga

Also Check out my free Nebula Distortion presets that add that analog glow to tracks to help get rid of ‘digititus’.

Power Distortion

Henry Olonga’s Commercial libraries for Q-clone

Have fun!!!

New free Nebula Valve Distortion preset


Into the new year with a free new Valve distortion preset. This is the sampling of a compressor that sits on my two buss some of the time. Sampled at 24 bit 96 khz through Prismsound Orpheus, it is a faithful representation of the compressor’s sound IMHO. 10 Kernels so you better have a beefy CPU!!!!! I have not sampled it as a compressor but as a pre. Not the most revered of Comps (T__eL) but gives your digital mixes a nice analog warmth. I replaced the ageing valves with valves from Watford valves. These were deep cryogenically treated and sound awesome on individual tracks and even full mixes for mastering (for adding a nice warm glow). Sampled for use at 0 dbfs – within reason of course. The valves sampled were Phillips Jan 12AX7WA. Nice enhancing to the mid range – slightly forward, it has excellent dynamics and nice oozing lows.A word on the high end. It gives a nice valve sheen but be careful on already bright stuff as it may get frizzy quick. Perfect for dull stuff needing a bit of a lift. Having said that do enjoy this Nebula recreation to help you attain true analog ITB sound.

Depending on your source I am convinced that one instance of valve distortion followed by my Power distortion plugin will make you smile.

Power Distortion

I was selling this in my shop but took it down because I am moving to a new shop soon. You can have it for free as a welcome to 2012 gift. Do give me some feedback.

Get it here Valve distortion

Also try my new FREE Mastering tools for Q-clone – these add presence and tightness to your tracks and work VERY well with the Nebula free presets. Place them at the start of the chain

Free Q-clone presets

For even more control over the colour of your mixes and for quick mixing – consider combining my free Nebula distortion presets with the wonderful curves of Q-clone – I have some libraries that will give you instant mix options with lower CPU usage than just using Nebula exclusively.

Henry Olonga’s libraries for Q-clone

Have fun!!!

Realtime mixing experiences of a Nebula lover …..


This is a small diary of someone who loves using Nebula but hates that it is a CPU hog.

One of the most frustrating experiences with mixing in Nebula is trying to get a real time workflow. My setup comprises a powerful server and workstation. Both identical beasts from 2007 but not prepared to upgrade just for the sake of a plugin. They are choking with full resolution mixing.

The question I ask is this. What value is there to turning down the kernels in Nebula’s master page? The setting is normally at 10 and there is the option to turn that down to clean. Both machines would be set this way prior to mixing. The theory would be that I would be able to then get higher instances with much lower cpu usage. At render time I would then turn kernels up all the way to max. The idea comes about because in Sony Vegas for video – what most folks do edit in a lower resolution but render with full quality settings. Mixing or editing anything at full quality in realtime is always a strain for most programs of this kind – audio and video – especially if heavy compute-intensive plugins are employed.

I understand that mixing is intuitive and that you mix into what you get out of the monitors but the sound with the clean kernels vs the distortion version should quite similar right? Won’t we be just missing a little bit of distortion here and there due to the harmonics? Perhaps not enough to drastically shift the mix? That is what I propose.

This plugin is too good not to use but it modifies my workflow too much to simply enjoy it. By that I mean bouncing tracks all the time to just get the project to keep playing. For me, the last hurdle I have to traverse is getting nebula to play as nice as my other VST plugins without constantly dragging my system to its knees.

I did a quick subjective test here at home clean vs full and the differences existed but were not enough to stop me working. Will keep on trying to go this route over the next few days with reflections and thoughts – it shows promise but still quite a way to go yet. I tell you what it would be good to hear of possible compromises from the experts who use Nebula often. Kind regards. H

Edit – Friday session. With an Alexb console with all kernels enabled on my server one of my eights cores has 35 % usage( Alex’s libraries usually are very high quality sampled at 96 khz.) And I was using FX-teleport by the way. Now by going clean – my one core uses only 14 % . Blimey, but if I may say so myself, that is quite a power saving. Now if it translates to smooth editing then then it may be worth it to avoid the usual start stop nature of Nebula rendering. Again the idea is to edit this way and then the Kernels to full for final render. Testing continues.

Edit – Saturday. Been working on a mix today that I have had in mind to do for a few months. Not really complex at all – Piano, drums, bass, Vocals and a few instruments. And so far so goo. For the first time in my life I can mix in realtime in Sonar X1 using Nebula without having to bounce. More in depth details coming soon. Anyway – for those who are really curious – this is my current computer setup.

I need to mention that all of my work is at 96 khz by the way so I am really pushing the limits of my studio.

DAW -Sonar X1c build 319
Running on Windows 7 64 bit versions
I have two self built tower 3 Ghz intel Xeon workstations running on TYAN motherboards. These are very stable and made for servers and have server memory with error correction as well. These take Dual CPUs(Cloverton CPU) so this gives me 16 cores in total with server. The total power of two computers networked together this way is actually comparable to the top of the line very expensive Dual CPU Intel Xeon server today if one can access all the power available. That is the challenge. The server linked together give similar power to servers costing many thousands. I built my server for £ 800. An i7 based computer makes this a clever way to go. Better to have two or three cheap computers networked than one behemoth that costs an arm and a leg wisdom suggests.
The servers are networked together with 3 Gigabit Ethernet lan cables ( 3 ports teamed together by using Link Aggregation through an HP procurve 1810G-8 – this gives me more bandwith )
Both machines have 16 GBs of RAM each
Installed as well are 4 TC Electronic powercore cards – Two powercore express cards and two PCI-X. This produces a very, very stable setup. I own and still posses the fire wire but it was a waste of time for me. Badly written drivers and too many blue screens of death. I think that with Vienna ensemble pro with all its delay compensation then these DSP solutions may become very useful again.

I am using the server version of Nebula on this occasion. All 3 versions of Nebula are set to Clean in the master page i.e there are no harmonics set. ( As I alluded, I will change this setting once I have finished mixing to full and then do the final bounce ). What in essence this actually does is turn nebula into a plugin like my much loved Q-clone. You will get the curve but not the distortion – so yes you can make a decent mix with decisions that remain more or less in keeping with your decisions. I would need to do repeat this in the three plugin DLLs I use. The local reverb, the local compressor version ( I use this to run eqs and other non long tail libraries ) and finally the server version – you need to leave simple mode and enter guru mode to adjust the server settings locally)

Edit – Saturday afternoon and I am finally finished going through various settings of optimizing the system. I had to go back to basics and check my Nebula xmls to make sure all was well.. 😀 . Hallelujah!!!!! So far so good!!!! I think this may be the way to go for me. I can finally do this thing without bouncing. It means I can get a little more than double the instances with this setup on the server.

I am mixing with other cpu hungry plugins as well which helps with the core balancing such as Q-clone, VSL Panner, Valhalla stuff, Waves, Lexicon and many powercore plugins.

The TC Electronic powercore stuff is invaluable as the quality is excellent with very little cpu strain. I know that they are not being developed for anymore but they are incredible value for mixing now in a hybrid way even though everything is moving towards native CPU processing. Ebay sees some cards going for like just over a hundred bucks now and some have nice plugin licenses too boot. I saw one go unsold for 80 bucks recently. Too bad I have all my slots filled up. This does actually allow me to balance my mixes without relying too heavily on Nebula for everything which is an important consideration. It also allows more cpu to be allocated to Nebula if you get my drift as less is being used on other non essential things. For example the filters of the Sonnox eq are on lots of stuff and the reverbs are high quality too.

For the first time in a LOOOOOOOOOng time while editing, I am not pulling my hair out over the joys of using nebula. It can be a bitter sweat pill to use this plugin. It sounds like no other plugin, emulating the sounds of classic, modern analog and digital hardware with aplomb. I have have observed a bit of a bug with regards to poor core balancing of the Acustica server. One core loads more than the others and when it is near its limits this leads to crackling way before the system is heavily taxed. I have even set the dspbuffer size to full as suggested by Giancarlo but this issue remained. Will watch that as the mix builds up. Also not really happy with the local CPU usage when using the server version either. I am supposed to be saving power and it seems a minimal saving. On previous excursions I have found that FX teleport uses so much less power locally so perhaps some more optimization of the server version can happen. Love the fact that the GUI is local however. Great job on that Gaincarlo. 😉

Assuming this works, why hasn’t someone thought of this before? After all this it may be that the Econo mode on the front page is the same as what I am doing. Not sure what it is for to be honest.

Edit – Saturday evening . Using the server version of Nebula. Problems. We have lots of intermittent dropouts piling up once I add more than five Server plugs. Not a deal breaker so far as I still have plenty of power on the main machine but this is not ideal. Decided that I will use the server machine for all buss work. Seems to hit my local CPU the most if I put one one the master out for example..

Edit Sunday morning – late at night. Well guys I am pleased to say that in spite of the issues this little experiment worked. I was able to get from the start of my mix to its conclusion without dealing with the usual issues surrounding needing a little more power. The mix sounds stellar and I am absolutely over the moon!!!!:D

I am of course working at 24 bit 96 khz with the server running at 20% CPU and the main machine running at 54 % beautifully balanced on the cores. In Soanr by the way and yes it also has the CPU core bug thing going on. It has had it for as long as I can remember. Task manager says that the cores are beautifully balanced but Sonar X1 insists that one core is working harder than the rest. And yes you bet – if that core gets close to max – forget having access to the rest of your ubher expensive CPU power. The system splutters, spits and grinds to a halt eventually. I still cannot believe they haven’t sorted this out after so many years. On a few non-nebula projects this issue is none existent but once I use Nebula – forget it.

4 Nebulas are on the server – doing all the buss work – as stated before – five is a no go. Tape booster, R2R and some drums presets.20 % Total CPU used.

4 Powercore cards that are almost fully loaded. Out of 4 cards 1 is free.

7 Nebulas Non-reverb on main machine doing eq and console duties.

So not a lot going on but I had previously bounced down most of the instruments via Nebula already. 29 Channels in total and managed to even run in realtime as a trial.

I certainly haven’t reached the limits yet but it seems I may not be not be far off and I am annoyed that although I have more power available I cannot access it. I am sure mixing at full res would have been tricky all the same. As an overall observation, it was so much more responsive with the kernel master setting on clean.

So what was the difference if any? Well with all the kernels initiated the whole song just gelled a whole lot more and was obviously warmer and deeper. My Mix decisions were intact however and I would not hesitate to mix this way.

Will try Monday with Reaper and FX teleport which uses up more of my server cpu without the core issue.

One of the first benefits of Reaper is that it allows the parameters of the remote FX of FX teleport to be adjusted locally. Yes it is just sliders but this is atounding. I never knew this was possible. Justin – you are a true programmer. This is such a useful feature as it means that once you have loaded a plugin you can control it locally with your local mouse.

Monday evening update. Finally migrated my project across to Reaper and guess what – it is soooooooooo much better with Nebula. 24 tracks going here at 96 Khz. I am using it with FX teleport and my server has 13 Nebulas loaded. Total CPU is twenty percent and the cores are balanced beautifully. Powercores have 9 DSP chips free. Local CPU is 30 % and there is not a glitch.

In theory I could run 60 instances of Nebula with my server alone in clean mode. WOW. Practice may prove a little less but WOW, WOW, WOW!!!!!!!

Here is a screen shot of my server while using reaper. The Local screen shot is similar but at 30%. ZERO GLITCHES!!!!

Goodbye Sonar. Never again when it comes to final mixing. Smooth editing and boy is Reaper snappy.

Okay I am done testing now. Conclusions. If you have to have realtime performance with Nebula while editing, then these are my suggestions. Don’t try and mix at full resolution in realtime unless you have a super computer with SSDs, the fastest CPU available and oodles of RAM.

Try using Reaper – the snappy editing and the core balancing with glitch free playback makes other daws seem rubbish. To increase the available DSP power for nebula us FX teleport, reamote, VSL Ensemble pro or the server version from Acustica. Add one instance of the server plugin and set it to Clean only in the master page ( Kernels ). Do the same for any local plugins. Restart project. You can find your own middle ground for this. Some may get away with mixing with three kernels for example.YMMV based on how powerful your computer is. Mix in Realtime to your hearts content. Trust me – you probably won’t run out of power any time soon if your server is as powerful as your main computer.

Once finished mixing, Set one instance of the server plugin and any local plugins to Full Resolution in the master page of all your Nebula versions – Kernels setting is 10 ( 9th harmonic ) when at full res. Restart the project and render. Figure out if you are happy – bear in mind that the render with harmonics will sound somewhat smoother, fuller and more 3D depending on your emulations etc so when making mix buss plugin decisions bear that in mind.

Job done. See ya 😀

By the way I have been hesitating to make this move to Reaper myself. Having used Sonar since 1999 I have become somewhat used to using it for most audio editing but the workflow changes they put into Sonar X1 meant I was almost learning a new DAW. So I have just concluded I may as well learn Reaper. Had a licensed copy for a few years and upgraded every time but never had the incentive for the big move. Now that I have seen the power – there is no going back. For mixing I mean. Sonar is still easier for me when it comes to editing midi.

Astounding DSD recordings

Free DSD recordings

I stumbled across this site to find out more about DSD recordings as I have a KORG MR-1000 and my jaw hit the floor. The quality is nothing short of astounding and it sounds like you are in the room where it was all recorded.

Korg Audiogate is the free playback software from korg and it is the best audio player I have ever heard. It is even better than Foobar in my humble opinion. Don’t buy into tens of thousands of pounds on HIFI gear. Just get perhaps a Prismsound Orpheus ( it’s what the pros use top MAKE music ) and this software and you are good to go for the highest quality playback system you can imagine.

Our Zimbabwe 2011 is finally here!!!

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The Live performance is from a few years ago and is not on the single but for your listening pleasure. If you can ignore the bum notes. It was recorded to DSD.

BUY OUR ZIMBABWE now using PAYPAL for only £ 1 [wp_eStore_fancy:product_id:19:end]

This is a 124 MB download.

BUY The Original OUR ZIMBABWE now using PAYPAL for only £ 3 [wp_eStore_fancy:product_id:16:end]

This is a 33 MB download.

Please do not use a download accelerator as this will only cause problems on your end.

I am very excited to release this new version of Our Zimbabwe ten years after the original version captured the hearts of many patriotic Zimbabweans. A lot of hard work went into producing this single and this time around I had the privilege of working with a very talented producer Andy Wright. The mastering was handled by the wonderful skills of Michael Angel a man who did this for no reward but just to lend a helping hand along the way. Thanks to them for doing a sterling job. Andrew Baird had some rehashed arrangement work, Bruce Izzett made an appearance playing the organ and James Watson played electric guitar and ebow.
You will find three files in the download. A flac file which is a 24 bit studio quality file for audiophiles that requires compatible hardware/ software. I recommend Korg’s free Audiogate software if you do not have high end hardware or software and it will use the built in sound card of your computer. I have also included a CD quality mp3 file and finally a sing along file. The Karaoke file is something that many people have been asking me about for years so I have included this so that people can use it to sing at parties, functions etc. please note that it is a mono file and is not suitable for high quality production. Any commercial use is not permitted but I can supply a commercial license on request with a high quality stereo file.
The original version of our Zimbabwe is still available to purchase in mp3 format in my my web store and the skills of Andrew Baird will lead to my releasing some more material in the coming months that I worked on with him recently. Please keep checking my website for updates and follow me on Twitter and Facebook if you wish.
Thanks so much for supporting me by buying my music. Best wishes and please kindly recommend my music to others. God Bless you.
Henry Olonga

Our Zimbawe 2011 full info with website links PDF