Cut To The Chase with Black Rooster Audio / André Kirchner

Black Rooster Audio​ ​- André Kirchner (GER)

“2020 is going to be game-changing for me personally and the brand that is Black Rooster Audio ... with lots of great new opportunities, signature series, hardware cooperations, new artists to join the roster and pro audio content, that will make us a first call for sound enthusiasts, beginners and professional mix engineers.”

André Kircher is the Co-Founder and Manager of Black Rooster Audio, an audio plugin company which I like a whole lot. I have no affiliation whatsoever with the company but I want to say that I thoroughly enjoy the plugins that I have of Black Rooster Audio. A lot of it is popular vintage gear, which André and his team make available as software.

Canary - a drum refinement tool

Cypress TT15 - an amp simulation

VHL-3C – a vintage high/low pass filter

If I could mention one particular plugin really quick though: I use their ​VPRE-73​ on a lot of channels as a preamp emulation, when I take on a mixing project. It is one of my absolute go-tos for coloration and it’s very! very! highly! affordable. That said, the whole product pallet is affordable. But VPRE-73 was my intro to Black Rooster Audio and made me a fan. Please check it out.

I came across the idea to Q&A (yes, to Q&A is a verb from now on) André because I realized that Black Rooster Audio has taken an approach to social media, which I find very likable. I got the feeling that there is a real person behind it - and let’s be real here, actual people tend to have real life struggles, plugin-maker or not - and I sympathise with that a lot. I had only little interaction with André before he kindly said yes, but I feel like he’s a great guy and, as strange that might sound to everybody else, that makes me value my products of his company more.

Without further ado, let’s Cut To The Chase...

Let’s cut to the chase...

1.André, would you introduce yourself as brief or as extensively as you like? Where are you from, your age if you would reveal it and what is your educational background? I am from Gotha, a quite small town in East Germany, born 1984. Even though it’s been the cold war and GDR oppressed their people economically and culturally, my dad has been an active musician and my mom loved “Westmusik” – so a broad variety of music has been around me since my early days and ultimately led to my parents inviting me to learn to play drums. I took the chance and it became the love story of my life. I have been practicing and making music ever since and wanted to make a profession out of it. Though, seeing befriended musicians hardly making a living, I decided to combine my passion for music with a professional education as a sound/broadcasting engineer in Düsseldorf. That’s where I first got in touch with programming and DSP software. So, basically I studied drums, mixing and programming, which turned out to be a great fundament to starting a plug-in company, right?

2.Let me ask what I ask every “guest” on here: Which are the first memories that you have of music?

The first thing I clearly remember is listening and singing to Roxette with my mom, back in the 80s.

3. What are your favorite music genres, if you have any?

That’s a hard thing to ask. I don’t really prefer genres over each other, neither do I have a list. The one thing that is important to me, that the song, album or concert is touching me emotionally – through lyrics, instrumentation, arrangement and sound, of course. My childhood and youth, my education, the bands I have been playing with have introduced me to so many great examples of each genre, resulting in such a broad musical spectrum, that in every genre I will find at least something that I can adapt with. For example, the other day I was listening to “Hijo de la luna”, and those changes and the lyrics are really dramatic, and it’s been goosebumps for the whole song. Super intense!

4. You are a drummer, how did you come to pick up the drums and were you a “Dave Grohl type rebel”, drumming away on anything within your reach (pillows and buckets) or did you receive music training?

I did receive training from an early age at our local public music school. My teacher, Ralf Hähnlein, an excellent drummer and accordionist, really inspired me, not only by his deep understanding of music, but by the simplicity of his view on even the most complex standards. Practicing for me always has had a good balance between pain/blockade and relaxation. I don’t remember any substantial crisis, that would have prevented me from playing – that kept me hungry. I have been able to participate in the music school’s orchestra and big band projects, that also gave me practice and self-esteem. And from there I have been able to achieve a lot of goals musically – master classes with Marcus Horn, having my own bands, playing in a military band and studying music.

5. You are a professional software developer in the field of audio engineering. Before we get into developing software and your company, what sparked your interest in the world of audio/music engineering in general?

As mentioned, I wanted to be a musician, but I have also been interested in computer science and technology. From early on, I was wanting to be able to record my own music. Being able to play along my own loops was really something that excited me, years before getting it on at the technical college.

6. Besides running Black Rooster Audio, are you an actual working audio engineer by definition? (Studio owner, recordist, mixing/mastering?)

I don’t really have something like a large studio playground. More like 2-3 desks with audio equipment. And a lot of music making is done mobile, with headphones and programming drums and synths for later recordings. I would the rent a place for the recording itself. But producing music really is somewhat of a hobby, as I am super busy with Black Rooster Audio.

7. What led you to creating audio plugins?

I really wanted to create tools, that I can use by myself and that fulfill my requirements for a great sound and a great user experience.

8. Very generally and for noobs like myself, can you say how a plugin is made?

It depends on the style of plug-in you are trying to create. For example, we are producing plug-ins, that basically are emulations of existing studio hardware. So this comes with analyzing und understanding the schematics, calculating the transformation into the digital domain, creating graphics and combining it all together in a product. Reimund, the main developer has implemented a framework, that would allow us for implementing plug-ins in a more standardized and quick manner, so that we can easily create additional software, while being able to maintain the existing codebase.