One of the concerns that would-be digital home recordists can have is that, even if they already own a computer, there are still lots of other bits and pieces that need to be bought before they can create anything resembling a ‘studio’. However, thanks to the return of Focusrite’s Hitmaker Expansion bundle, you can now get everything you need in one box.
Hitmaker Expansion is a carefully-compiled bundle of plugins that gives songwriters, producers and other musicians all the software they need to record, mix and master a release-ready track. And, the beauty of it is that it currently comes included with every Focusrite Scarlett (3rd Gen), Clarett+, Clarett USB and Red audio interface registered after 1 October 1 2021.
When you consider that, purchased separately, these plugins would cost you more than $1,300, that’s quite a deal.
Your audio interface, of course, does the crucial job of getting sound in and out of your computer (if you want to record your guitar, bass or vocals, for example, it has you covered), but the inclusion of the Hitmaker Expansion with the aforementioned models means that anyone who buys one gets a whole host of practical and creative tools as well.
There’s Auto-Tune Access, which gives you Antares’ legendary pitch-correction software (and, yes, you can use it to create that effect), and vocalists will also appreciate the inclusion of Relab’s LX480 Essentials, which contains four classic reverbs from NYC’s Hit Factory.
Guitarists, meanwhile, can enjoy the sweet sound of the Marshall Silver Jubilee 2555 amp - a modern take on the classic JCM800. This was developed by Softube, and delivers clean, crunchy and modern high-gain tube sounds with aplomb.
You’re going to be needing some drums as well, of course, and these are provided by XLN Audio’s Addictive Drums 2: Studio Rock Kit, which samples high-end Tama and Pearl drums, and Paiste and Sabian cymbals. There are plenty of built-in grooves to get you started (you can also program your own, of course) along with a suite of effects.
If it’s acoustic and electric pianos you need, look no further than XLN’s Addictive Keys, which puts instruments from Steinway, Yamaha and Rhodes at your disposal. Synth fans, meanwhile, can be satisfied by the Brainworx bx_oberhause, an analogue-modelled replica of a classic American polysynth.
Elsewhere, mixing tools are taken care of by the Bx_console Focusrite SC - an emulation of a classic Focusrite console that contains ISA 110 preamps and a full channel strip (EQ, de-esser, compressor, limiter, gate and expander) - and the Red 2 and 3 Plug-In Suite. This gives you models of multiple classic Focusrite EQs and compressors.
Finally, when it’s time to master your track and give it that final spit and polish, you can call on Brainworx’s bx_masterdesk. This is designed to put high-quality mastering tools into everyone’s hands, and contains intuitive tone controls, a de-esser, a compressor and a limiter.
Find out more about the Hitmaker Expansion, and why it gives you a studio’s worth of gear, on the Focusrite website. The bundle will be automatically added to qualifying Focusrite customer accounts for free.