Franci Zabukovec is a successful music producer, rock musician, guitarist and software developer for Zabukowski Software and Acustica Audio. We interviewed him to learn more about his software and his thoughts on the new methods in audio processing.
Can you tell us a little bit about NebulaMan and what it does?
My whole life, I was driven and divided at the same time, between my two great passions – music production and software development/programming. NebulaMan is a project, which marked a start of the new era in my career, merging both passions into a huge one. Imagine me developing music software and then using it in my own music production – that’s very exciting, to say at least.
NebulaMan is a simple tool (standalone application for Windows and macOS) for preparing and rendering audio material using the excellent Nebula engine (by Italian company Acustica Audio) before mixing. It slowly became a popular part of the Nebula community and after almost 10 years, it’s still used by many users.
However, NebulaMan was just a start and it’s now a small part of a much bigger story which makes me extremely proud – that’s my collaboration with Acustica Audio as external consultant/software developer, working on the company’s several important projects.
Is NebulaMan more suitable for “on stage” musicians or for studio production?
NebulaMan is not really suitable for stage musicians. It’s being used primarily in music production as a part of the studio mixing/mastering process.
Tell us a bit more about your work for Acustica Audio?
First, it’s worth mentioning another software title which I’ve created some years ago – Nebula Setups. IMO that one was even more popular than NebulaMan and users often demanded that it should be integrated into the Nebula plugin itself, instead of being an external application. That actually happened with Nebula version 4 (N4) and the original application is now a legacy product.
Beside N4, I am also developing a wrapper for misc. plugin formats (VST3, AU, AAX), which is being used in every ACQUA plugin.
Another awesome application I am working on, is a rack oriented mixing platform (console) for Acustica Audio plugins, called M4 (Modula). Application is a result of collaboration between Acustica Audio and Quantica Audio (led by Grammy® Nominated Engineer Luca Pretolesi).
And finally, there is Aquarius Desktop, a fundamental part of the Acustica Audio platform. Handy application, which allows users to comfortably trial, (de)install, authorize etc. their purchased products.
In what direction do you think audio engineering will develop?
I like the fact that the audio software industry started to create products with functionality, which not only tries to emulate “classic, analog” gear and studio environments, but also brings exciting new features to the table – the kind of processing, which is possible only using a computer (AI etc.). In the future, we can expect this kind of products will open completely new directions and developments in audio engineering.
What is your opinion on the new artificial intelligence in audio processing?
AI already plays an important role in audio engineering and I believe that it’ll become even more powerful and prominent in the future. A lot of quality AI based/powered products are released these days – I am using some of them in my music production (for example, Acustica Audio introduced AI based presets in several ACQUA plugins). The power of AI is simply astonishing.
What are you currently working on?
Music production wise, I am working on several pop and rock music projects – for others and myself. On the other side, I am spending most of my resources with Acustica Audio. We are working extensively on several new exciting projects and I can’t wait for you guys to check it out 🙂
How do you combine creating your own music with software development?
First developing and then using the same software product to produce music, is very exciting for sure. When designing and developing software products, I am always trying to satisfy an extremely demanding end-user – myself. I found knowing and understanding both developer and end-user/musician sides of the story one of the most important things in my everyday work. I think I am pretty good at it and will definitely try to follow the path and improve things even more in the future – hope I will see you there 🙂
Where can we follow your work and is there any special project coming out in the near future?
To follow me and my work, please check out these links:
My music stuff:
My software (NebulaMan etc.)
The creators of Nebula