Eventide On The Plugin Side

Is it just me or does it seem like industry titans, Eventide, are underestimated when it comes to plugins? I belong to a quite a few audio forums and haven’t seen a lot of threads mentioning Eventide plugins. This article intends to shed some light on a few of their most top shelf plugins, including those that I own and use regularly in my tracks.

UltraTap

 

Let’s start out with their most recent release, UltraTap. Derived from their ever-popular guitar stompbox, the H9 Harmonizer, UltraTap is a multi-tap delay line effect capable of a generous range of effects. You can get up to 3 seconds of delay with 1 to 64 taps during that time. Delay taps can either be sync’d to your DAW tempo or done manually. With the TEMPO button set to off, tapping can be used to adjust delay parameter values which will be displayed in milliseconds or Hz. Pre-delay gives you up to 2 seconds before the delay taps start. SPREAD and TAPER knobs allow you to create rhythmic, evolving or swelling type of delays. While SLURM and CHOP knobs give the effect of either smearing the taps or creating glitch types of delay taps. The TAPER knob controls the fade of the taps.

All of the presets from the H9 have been converted over to the plugin along with newly created factory and artist presets, 150 presets in total. UltraTap is available for PC and MAC in VST, AU and AAX Native formats.

DOWNLOAD ULTRATAP

H3000 Factory

 

 

Who can forget the legendary H3000 Ultra-Harmonizer? Well, the H3000 Factory, now available in VST, AU and AAX Native format, is essentially a direct 1-1 version of the original TDM version which has been out for quite a while. The only differences seem to be that the LED meters (top left) are now colored, whereas on the TDM version they’re white, and the keypad had a graphical representation on the TDM version and is now they’re only for aesthetics and have no functionality whatsoever.

That said, this plugin makes just about any audio source sound better. It’s marketed as a harmonizer, but is very adept at doing delays, pitch-shifting, filtering, LFOs, reverbs, envelope following and amplitude modulation. Everything from simple reverbs and delays to off the chart percussive and glitched types of sounds can be achieved. It all depends on how deep you want to delve into the architecture.

The H3000 Factory features an astounding 450 presets including 100 new artist presets and 100 original presets from the H3000. All delays and LFOs can be locked to your DAW tempo. They can also be looped and offer a low pass filter. The filters are selectable band pass, high pass and low pass, with variable Q and can be swept and modulated. At $349, it’s not the most affordable plugin, but is certainly worth the investment. Simply put, this one feature laden plugin could render several of your current plugins obsolete.

GET H3000 FACTORY

2016 Stereo Room

 

The 2016 Stereo Room plug-in is based off of Eventide’s SP2016 rackmount unit released in 1981 and was designed to simulate a great sounding room. The reverb is warm and natural sounding as a whole, but does offer comprehensive controls for easy tailoring of your reverb sound.

As an owner, my favorite parameter is the Position knob which you can use to push the signal to the front or rear of the virtual room. This makes it easier to get things to sit in the mix better. The Diffusion knob is used to add more character to the room, turning it to a high setting can generate interesting textures and really smear the signal. To the far right, the EQ block uses 2 parametric EQ bands, High and Low, to further sculpt the room sound. The high band never sounds piercing, even at high frequencies with the gain turned up moderately. The CPU hit is low, so you have the freedom to use several instances without issue even on computers with meager specs.

The plug-in also features some great hand crafted presets by the likes of Joe Chiccarelli, Dave Pensado and George Massenburg. It’s available for Windows and MAC in 32 and 64 bit versions. Download the demo and try it out.

GET 2016 STEREO ROOM FOR THE BEST PRICE

UltraChannel

 

UltraChannel is a channel-strip plugin that has an input/output section, phase reverse, gate, compressor, O-pressor (an emulation of their hardware O-pressor unit), a 5-band parametric EQ, a micro pitch shift and a stereo delay effect. It also features Eventide’s trademark FlexiPath technology that enables you to reorder the signal paths of the top level components via drag and drop. All of the individual circuits can be turned on/off, which is great for saving CPU cycles.

The compressor features saturation, a de-esser and adjustable knee parameters. Both the compressor and O-pressor offer sidechain and make-up gain controls. Micro Pitch Shift runs in parallel with the stereo delays and the delays can be fed back into any of the other modules. I found this to be a very flexible channel-strip with added features not usually found on channel-strip plugins and use it quite often for various tasks in my mix. I’d like to see the CPU usage improved on it as using more than one instance is immediately noticeable. But all in all, I definitely recommend it.

GET ULTRACHANNEL FOR THE BEST PRICE

Blackhole

Last but not least. One of the most beautiful granular-type reverbs taken from Eventide’s famous Space Reverb pedal. Used on thousands of tracks as a goto reverb for creating a beutifully sounding ambience.

As Eventide describes the plugin: “Most reverbs are earth-bound and constrained by the physics of the real world. Our Blackhole reverb breaks the rules by allowing you to create virtual spaces that could never exist in reality (at least the one we inhabit). At large sizes, its soft attack and lingering, harmonic tails allows it to really shine on guitars, strings and pads. At small sizes those very same qualities can add an angelic sheen to vocals or turn a simple drum track into an otherworldy rhythm section.”

  • Incredibly easy to use with over 50 presets; many created by Eventide artists.
  • Ability to create extremely musical effects useful for highlighting key instruments.
  • Supernatural settings for abstract spatial effects and drones.
  • Subtle settings for ambient washes and track highlighting.
  • Unique “Gravity” control reverses the arrow of time by inverting the reverb’s decay.
  • Kill Switch mutes the input so you only hear the reverb. This makes for some incredible effects when automated.
  • Mix Lock allows for scrolling through presets or settings while keeping the wet/dry mix constant.
  • Fully flexible mono and stereo options. Bring new realms of stereo imaging to mono instruments.
  • Innovative Ribbon and Hot Switch allow for changing any combination of parameters simultaneously

GET EVENTIDE BLACKHOLE FOR THE BEST PRICE

The 8 Best Waves Plugins for Mixing and Producing in 2020

Waves plugins have been an industry standard for a great many years.

The vast majority, if not all, iconic producers use at least a few of the waves plugins in their mixes and they have become industry standard for pop music production.

If you listen to any even slightly commercial music, chances are waves plugins and effects were used to mix and master the track.

So in light of their ongoing sales, we’ve decided to assemble what we believe to be the best waves plugins currently available.

If you’re busy, the table below summarizes our findings:

Name Type / Effect Cost Our Rating
W6 Floating-Band Dynamic EQ Dynamic EQ Currently on Sale- 69.99$ 4.5/5CHECK OFFER
Center Stereo Enhancer Currently on Sale- 49.99$ 4.3/5CHECK OFFER
SSL E-Channel Channel Strip Processor 29.99$ 4.5/5CHECK OFFER
Waves Kramer Master Tape Tape 29.99$ 4.1/5CHECK OFFER
Brauer Motion Circular Auto-Pannel 69.99$ 4.25/5CHECK OFFER
CLA-2A Compressor/Limiter Compressor / Limiter 69.99$ 4.7/5CHECK OFFER
Waves Abbey Road Collection Plugins Bundle Currently on Sale- 269.99$ 4.5/5CHECK OFFER
Waves Abbey Road Collection Plugins Bundle Currently on Sale- 269.99$ 4.9/5CHECK OFFER
Scheps Omni Channel Channel Strip Currently on Sale- 49.99$ 4.8/5CHECK OFFER

Note: The prices described above are as of date of publish and can change.

It’s also worth noting that waves just released their new FLEX program, which allows you to rent-to-own your favorite waves plugins.

This means that instead of paying the full fee upfront, you can choose to pay monthly until you fully own it.

The programs start at 9.99$/month and can be cancelled at any time, so if the price of some of these plugins is prohibitive, definitively check out flex:

It’s a subjective list to be sure, so I invite you to share your best Waves plugins as well in the comments section. Now, in no particular order, here they are:

Waves F6 Floating-Band Dynamic EQ Review- Intuitive EQ for all levels

One of the most recent releases from Waves is the F6 Floating-Band Dynamic EQ. The first thing I noticed about it was the immaculate interface with various parameter knobs along the bottom. But it goes far beyond just being eye candy, this is a truly flexible and high quality dynamic EQ.

Each of its 6 bands can be either a hi/low shelf or bell and have independent controls for frequency band, Q, gain, range, threshold, attack and release.

The range control is unique because it compresses or expands depending on the position of the knob. Turning the knob left will compress the signal, while turning it to the right will expand the signal.

The F6 can be used in either mono, stereo or mid-side mode as well so you could throw it on a bus or even on your master chain.

Personally I wish it had a frequency spectrum, but I guess you can’t have everything. Maybe we’ll see it in a future update perhaps?

At any rate, it’s still a fantastic tool to have at your disposal.

Waves Center Review- A simple solution for a complicated issue

I’ve been using Center on every mix since I bought it. It allows you to enhance the stereo width of your mix by blending the hi-end/low-end levels of your signal between the sides and the center.

You can also blend the transients to the sides or center of your mix to add punch.

Center is a one trick pony, but it’s the best plugin I’ve found for easily adding focus and punch to busses and overall mixes. It’s extremely easy to use and once you start using it, it’ll become an indispensable tool in your arsenal.

Waves SSL E-Channel– A classic SSL Logic 4000 emulator

The iconic SSL E-Channel has been around for as long as I can remember and probably needs no introduction.

A couple of weeks ago I was one of the lucky folks that caught this baby being sold separate from the bundle of plugins it’s normally included in and it was a great find let me tell you.

Based on the Solid State Logic 4000-Series analogue consoles, the SSL E-Channel features the same all-discrete design and Class A, VCA chip as its hardware counterpart.

Additionally it has a 4-band parametric equalization section, Hi Pass/Low Pass Filters and a dynamics section with a compressor/limiter as well as an expander/gate.

The equalization section is based on the Black Knob equalizer developed with celebrated producer, George Martin in 1983. As on the original hardware, the dynamics section can be placed pre or post EQ via the (CH. OUT.) button.

Automatic gain make-up, calculated from the Ratio and Threshold settings, is applied to maintain a steady output level.

Upon trying it out on a drum bus, I noticed a warm analog sound and it gave my drums a noticeable punch which I’ve read the SSL E-Channel is famous for.

The generous number of presets offer a great starting point with contributions from Grammy Award Winning audio engineers and mixing gurus such as Dave Pensado and Chris Lord-Alge.

Here’s a great video from Graham Cochrane showing how to turn your computer into a virtual SSL console by instantiating the E-Channel on every track of your mix:

CLA-2A Compressor/Limiter– The rockers compressor

Another household name for any experienced producer.

The CLA-2A is the compressor of choice for many top notch producers and for good reason.

Works great for bass, guitars, and vocals, though it’s an extremely versatile compressor / limiter. It has a slower release than some of its competitors which gives it its signature sound.

Comes with Chris Lord-Alge’s (Rolling Stones, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, etc) presets. We’d recommend having a look at his Signature Series, which contains 6 great plugins.

Brauer Motion– Auto-panner for the masses

Another recent release from Waves, Brauer Motion is an innovative circular auto-panner that moves an audio signal within the two- or three-dimensional space between the listener and the loudspeaker.

It was created in close cooperation with Grammy Award winning mix engineer, Michael Brauer and combines his signature panning methods with Waves’ plugin engineering expertise.

The whole idea behind this plugin is for the end user to be creative with movement on instruments and vocals in your mixes and there are a generous amount of parameters to achieve this.

The GUI alone makes me want to tweak and see what kind of unusual movement I can get from my synths.

I haven’t gotten a chance to play around with this one yet, but I can tell there are a bunch of creative uses for Brauer Motion.

Here’s a demonstration from Michael Brauer showcasing how this great plugin works along with a few creative tips:

Kramer Master Tape– Vintage tape machine emulator

Kramer Master Tape is an emulation of a rare ¼” reel-to-reel vintage tape machine. I haven’t seen any mention of which tape machine it models, but this plugin is surprisingly flexible and can be used for a variety of tasks.

It has adjustable parameters for wow & flutter, tape speed, bias, flux and noise. You would normally add a plugin like this when you need to eliminate some of the harshness that digital signals generate, making the mix sound cleaner.

While Kramer Master Tape delay excels at that, it also can be used for delay throws, slapback delay and noise saturation.

A good alternative to the Kramer Master Tape is the h delay, which is a great hybrid solution that works great on those old school sounding tracks. Check out the h delay user guide here.

The preamp section on the bottom left of the interface has adjustable knobs for input (RECORD LEVEL) and output (PLAYBACK LEVEL).

These knobs can be linked so that turning one knob will affect the other, so you can really dial in how much signal you want coming in while taming the output level.

Try using this on virtually any channel and go through the presets. Listen to what it does to the signal and tweak to your liking. I’m pretty sure you’ll be pleased with the results.

This is one of the best plugins to achieve a clean mix, and is surprisingly easy to use.

Abbey Road Plugin Collection– The iconic beatles bundle

Lastly, if you’re undecided and looking for a complete solution of plugins, the abbey road studios plugin collection might be what you’re looking for.

It contains emulations of the studios’ REDD and TG12345 consoles, the RS56 Passive EQ, J37 Tape, Reel ADT, the King’s Microphones, and Abbey Road’s echo chambers and reverb plates.

One of the highlight of this pack is the signature signal chain, available with just a few clicks.

As the name suggests, this is a great set of plugins to emulate the classic beatles sound, recorded in Abbey Road.

It’s a bit pricier, but still a great deal when compared to the cost of buying the individual plugins.

There’s also currently a massive sale going on (over 70% off) so definitely worth checking, in our opinion.

Scheps Omni Channel

Legendary engineer Andrew Scheps (Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Adele, Jay Z, Metallica) partnered with Waves to produce a series of plugins, of which the channel strip is probably our favorite.

If you can afford only one plugin, we’d suggest going for this one, as it delivers most of the important elements in the mix- EQ, compression, and gating.

It is comprised of 6 modules:

  1. Pre module- 3 kinds of analog saturation.
  2. Compression module – Choose from 3 compressors: fast, slow and smooth. Plus A Wet/Dry control.
  3. EQ module:  4-band equalizer.
  4. DS2 module.
  5. Gate module: Threshold, attack and release. Plus maximum noise reduction.
  6. Insert slot: Add any extra Waves plugin, including another instance of the Scheps Omni Channel.

Our tip: Use the saturation on the pre-channel to add energy to vocals and leads without adding too much noise to the sound.

Final Thoughts

The above listed plugins are a great starting point to make the most out of the waves eco system for mixing and mastering your tracks.

If you’re interested in trying out waves, head out to their website and start a free trial.

The list is in no way complete and could have also easily included their vocal rider, the j37 tape delay, and their g-master plugin, but we decided to keep this post short and sweet.

Got any more recommendations? Feel free to leave a comment, we’d love to hear them!

Eventide Ultratap – unique delay effect

UltraTap is a unique multi-tap effect capable of rhythmic delays, glitchy reverbs, huge pad-like volume swells and extraordinary modulation. It’s the perfect tool for creating drum fills, vocal choruses, swelling guitar chords and other evolving effects — everything from reversed reverbs to a massed church choir singing a Gregorian chant in Notre-Dame Cathedral!

Ultra Responsive

Think of UltraTap as the mother of all Echoplexes and you won’t be too far off. That’s basically how it operates but with the flexibility to add as many ‘tape-heads’ as you want and expressively control their positions and levels.

Designed for real-time manipulation, UltraTap features The Ribbon, an innovative control which allows you to program two settings for any combination of the controls and seamlessly transition between them.

The programmable HotSwitch allows you to instantly jump to an alternate setting at the push of a button. This combination of controls is intended to bring you as close as possible to the experience of tweaking real hardware.

Features

This unique effect has been ported directly from the award-winning H9 Harmonizer. All of the H9 presets have been converted to work with the plug-in and have been included, as well as newly created factory and artist presets. Now you can use all the delays, reverbs, chorus and modulation effects that guitarists and synth players have grown to love. Best of all, The Ribbon has been optimized for live use with your favorite DAW.

  • Over 150 presets designed to inspire; including artist presets by Chris Carter, Colin Newman, Sasha and many more.
  • Manipulate effects in realtime using The Ribbon to transition seamlessly between two settings of any combination of controls.
  • Using the innovative Slurm control, smear taps together or modulate them to create truly unique reverbs.
  • Create drastic changes in effect and sound by assigning the HotSwitch to an alternate version of the current settings.
  • Use up to 64 taps to create simple repeats or morph delays into chorus and reverb.
  • Speed up or slow down the rhythmic space between taps using the Spread knob.
  • Use the onboard LFOs and envelopes to chop the sound source into stuttered rhythms.
  • Control the stereo image of taps to alternate between hard-panned and mono.
  • Sync the Length and/or Chop LFO speed to the DAW session.
  • Use Mix Lock to scroll through presets while keeping the wet-dry mix constant.
  • Optimized for live use with MIDI control of The Ribbon and Tap Tempo for quick meta control on the fly.

A Brief History of UltraTap

It all started in 1982 with the world’s first rack mount programmable audio processor, the Eventide SP2016, where a flexible 64 tap delay debuted as part of its Factory Program suite. By the late 80’s UltraTap had migrated to the legendary H3000 Harmonizer effects processor and then to the DSP4000 and H8000. Thanks to advances in technology, we were able to include UltraTap in a portable compact form factor, the H9 Harmonizer stompbox. And now UltraTap has come back to the studio via your DAW and FOH environment, where it all began 35 years ago!

GET EVENTIDE ULTRATAP

Best FREE VST Compressors

Compressors are one of the most used audio processors you will ever use in your mix (the other one being EQ).

Despite the fact that they are used almost religiously on virtually every song you hear nowadays, they have historically proven to be enigmatic to the general music production community.

With this article, I will not only list what I believe to be the “Best 5 Free VST Compressors”, but will also describe a few different compressor types and suggested uses for them. We’ll start with the different compressor types and end with the “best of” list.

👉 CHECK OUT THE LATEST DEALS AND DISCOUNTS ON VST PLUGINS AND DAWS

PS: We’ve just published an article containing over 400 free vst plugins, including loads of compressors, check it out for more free vst compressors.

 

Types of Compressors

VCA (Voltage Controlled Amplifier)

The VCA compressor offers several advantages that the others on this list don’t. For starters, hardware VCA compressors don’t require the pricey discrete components needed by other compressors and are normally more affordable as a result. They are quite flexible and able to adapt to various kinds of use case scenarios such as gluing a mix bus together or suppressing transients. The best use for them is with percussive elements because of their fast attack and release.

In addition, VCA compressors are transparent and won’t add color to the sound of the audio signal, but can tend to sound thin. Adjust the release time to smooth out the signal a bit. So for those times when you need to compress, but want to retain the integrity of your audio, this is the compressor you reach for.

Use a VCA compressor to tame peaks on your drum bus and other percussive elements on individual tracks in your mix. Use a longer release time to smooth out the signal if it becomes too harsh. Notable compressors in this category are the SSL G-Series Console Bus Compressor and the DBX 160.

FET (Field Effect Transistor)

FET compressors are well known for adding a distinct character to the sound. If you’re looking for subtlety, this isn’t the compressor you want to use. Because they don’t have a dedicated threshold knob, the compression amount is controlled by the input level. You can then adjust the output knob until the desired sound is achieved. This compressor loves to be driven and will add a rich and warm type of distortion to louder signals passing through it. For this reason, it’s not ideal for use on your mix bus, for mastering or when a transparent signal is desired.

 It also boasts lightning-fast attack and release times which make it ideal for parallel compression, adding punch, or pushing a lead vocal track right to the front of the mix.

Use FET compressor to add punch to drums, vocals and just about any other track that needs a little extra snap to it. Try turning the compressor off by deselecting all of the ratio buttons and insert it on a bus (or even the master chain) to add only the character of it. The most famous FET compressor is most definitely the iconic UREI 1176 Limiting Amplifier.

We haven’t been able to find a good free 1176 compressor plugin, though Minimal System Groups’ Punch Compressor is a pretty good 1176 emulator and will only set you back the price of a cappuccino (well depending on where you live). Check it out below:

Punch Compressor is only available for Windows 32-bit VST. For a more complete solution compatible with mac and windows 32 and 64 bit, check out Comp FET 76 by Arturia, though this will set you back more than a coffee.

Opto (Optical Compressor)

The Opto compressor is slow acting and smooth in contrast to the two previous compressors and offers a more musical type of gain reduction. It is slow, 10 milliseconds attack and seemingly 2-stage release makes it more suitable for use on signals without sudden transient spikes such as strings, guitar and bass. If you want to compress anything naturally and musically, this is the compressor for the task. Newer emulations of optical compressors may have faster response times and with careful adjustments can even be used on drums.

Although optical compressors are very transparent, they do add pumping to low end signals. However, you could use a high pass side chain filter to control this. Optical compressors are more “RMS” style as they work throughout a mix to even out the average levels in a track or complete song.

Use an optical compressor on the mix bus and/or instrument bus to even out the dynamics of an entire song without affecting transients. The most notable compressor in this category is the legendary Teletronix LA-2A.

Now for the best 5 compressor freebies:

Molot by Vladg Sound

Want some serious character to your mix?

Look no further than the Molot compressor. This offers a tube powered type of compression that adds a lot of color to everything and has a massive sound with lots of very useful controls for getting your signal just right.

If you’re a beginner then this isn’t the plugin for you as it can be difficult to dial in the sound you want.

I love the GUI and it comes in 2 flavors: English and Russian. Only the names display differently in the 2 versions, besides that, everything else is exactly the same.

Here is a video from Point Blank showing how to tame this beast:

Molot Compressor is available for Windows 32/64-bit VST & Mac OS X 32/64-bit VST/AU.

TDR Kotelnikov by Tokyo Dawn

This is a fantastic digital wideband dynamics compressor with loads of useful ground-breaking features.

Tokyo Dawn has stated that this model is the original and is not an emulation of any classic hardware design. Kotelnikov uses 64-bit floating point internal processing gives it a transparent high quality sound.

It has individual release control for peak and RMS signals as well as a unique “DELTA” button which allows you to hear the difference between the input and output.

The ultra-fast, compression makes Kotelnikov quite suitable for mastering but can be equally as usable on the mix bus. Check out the demonstration video below: 

TDR Kotelnikov is available for Windows 32/64-bit VST and Mac OS X 32/64-bit VST/AU/AAX.

Density MK III by Variety Of Sound

Density MK III is a character compressor with a VCA color knob on the GUI that allows you to dial in the desired amount of saturation.

It has been out for some time now and has gained lots of recognition for its flexibility and feature set. Different compression settings can be set for both of its 2 channels or the channels can be linked together.

There is an internal/external SC filter option which is optimized to better decouple the subsonic frequencies below 90Hz, a limiter mode, M/S, stereo and mono compression. Turning the “TIMING” knob to P5 or P6 introduces low-end program dependent release time behavior.

The only drawback I could find is that it’s only available in 32-bit for Windows users and doesn’t have support for Mac OS. If you are skeptical about using 32-bit plugins on your system (assuming you’re running a 64-bit system), this is definitely one you might want to reconsider.

Download Density MK III

MJUC jr. by Klanghelm

MJUC jr. is a variable-tube compressor capable of smooth leveling, but also heavy pumping effects.

It has a three-position timing switch to control not only the attack and release times but also the timing of other parts of the circuitry that affect the saturation of the resulting signal.

The GUI is very simple with only 2 knobs, 1 for the amount of compression and the other to adjust the make-up gain.

MJUC jr. is available for Windows 32/64-bit VST and Mac OS X 32/64-bit VST/RTAS/AAX/AU.

Rough Rider 2 by Audio Damage

Described by Audio Damage as a “modern compressor with a bit of ‘vintage’ style bite and a uniquely warm sound”, Rough Rider is not a subtle compressor.

Its suggested use is on your drum bus, synth bass, clean guitar and backing vocals. But honestly, I think it’s best served being used to add punch to drums, but that’s not to say that it’s unusable in any other scenario, it’s just personal preference.

At any rate, when you instantiate Rough Rider on any channel in your mix, you will immediately hear a difference.

Rough Rider is available for Windows 32/64-bit VST and Mac OS X 32/64-bit VST/AU.

And that’s it folks! The plugins listed here are great if you’re not looking to break the bank, but if you do have some extra change, we highly recommend heading over to plugin boutique and checking some of the alternatives.

Softube Tsar-1 – modern classic reverb review

In the world of reverb plugin emulations of classic hardware, it’s always refreshing to find one with superb sound quality that separates itself from the fray.

Softube’s TSAR-1 is a modern take on classic algorithmic reverbs capable of producing everything from vintage plates to Lexicon 224-type halls.

Its True Stereo Algorithm is what sets the TSAR-1 apart enabling it to be useful in mixing and creative situations.

True Stereo Algorithm and Presets

The architecture of the TSAR-1’s True Stereo Algorithm is such that it can process a stereo input as two discrete channels.

This feature enables you to control early reflections and the main reverb tail separately.

Softube describes the TSAR-1 as “alive and vibrant, gentle and dreamy and natural and believable”.

This is because it’s able to add a distinct character to various audio sources. Using the DENSITY slider in the center of the interface allows you to mimic the sound of a variety of vintage reverbs such as EMT plates and halls, Sony Digital Snare and of course the Lexicon 224 among others.

To my ears, the presets sound great on their own and you might find yourself using them without a lot of tweaking, if any at all. They are divided into two sections, modern and vintage. The modern presets are application specific while the vintage presets mimic the sound of vintage reverb units. Names like (Scoring Stage, Vocal Whisper, 224 Room, EMT Plate, etc.) offer you a fantastic starting point from which to dial in your desired sound.

The TSAR-1 isn’t modelled after any particular reverb.

It merely offers you the ability to mimic a variety of classic units.

This distinction is important in the event that you are expecting this to be an emulation because it most certainly is not.

Its powerful modern reverb algorithm heavily contributes to its signature sound and overall sophisticated quality.

It truly surrounds itself around the source material creating the illusion of actually being in that particular stereo space.

The Interface

Softube designed the TSAR-1 with ease of use in mind. Included with the package is the TSAR-1R plugin (more on this later) which has an even smaller set of intuitive controls.

The TSAR-1 has only five sliders (Pre-delay, Time, Density, Tone and High Cut), and 3 knobs (Output Volume, Reverb/Early Reflections and Reverb Mix). There are also a couple switched parameters for Diffusion and Modulation.

The display in the center of the interface shows the current settings for the various parameters. Clicking on any of them will toggle from the current setting to the most recent setting.

Parameters in the display illuminate briefly when either selecting a new preset, moving a slider or knob, or clicking on one of them. This is helpful because you are able to see at a glance, which parameter you are affecting.

You have up to 1 second of Pre-delay and a reverb time range of 150ms – 15 seconds.

By default, each preset is loaded with the Reverb Mix knob set to 100%. Take any sound, instantiate an instance of TSAR-1 and set the Time slider to about 10 seconds, play with the Density and Tone sliders, then bounce that to audio and get an instant unique ambient sample.

The High Cut slider limits the frequencies of both the early reflections and the reverb tail, although it sounds to me as if it affects the reverb tail a bit more. Also worth noting is that although both the TSAR-1 and TSAR-1R plugins support automation, parts of the reverb get muted when parameters change in order to limit noise artifacts. Softube suggests in their pdf manual:

Do not use automation to modulate or gradually change parameters.

A constantly moving parameter can lead to the reverb being muted.” 

Check out the plugin in use:

Tsar-1R

As mentioned earlier, TSAR-1 comes bundled with the TSAR-1R which is has an even more streamlined interface.

It uses the same algorithm as its big brother, but has only 3 reverb parameters and focuses mainly on natural reverberation types.

Pre-delay is limited to 200ms and the Time parameter adjusts an internal pre-delay, the early reflections, diffusion, density and delay time simultaneously.

Tsar-1 Rack Extension for Reason

There’s special version ported to the Rack Extension format. For my eyes it looks much better a rack-mounted device and it is has same great sound and presets and ability to modulate some of its parameters with CV-inputs.

Get Softube Tsar-1 Rack Extension

Conclusion

This is a very lush sounding and flexible reverb. I would have liked to have seen a low cut filter as it’s often necessary to cut the low frequencies of reverb to some degree. It would also be nice to be able to automate parameters without worrying if the processed sound if going to be muted. But all in all, both the TSAR-1 and TSAR-1R are sophisticated units holding true to the standard of high quality products Softube is known for.

Get Softube Tsar-1 for the best price:

BEST DEAL: Get Softube Volume 3 Bunle (Tsar-1 included with 13 other Softube plugins)

Overloud Tapedesk – new Console + Tape Machine Emulation Plugin

Overloud’s TAPEDESK is a tape simulator and a console emulator packed together into a single plugin that replicates the warm tones of an analog mixing workflow.

Simulates three legendary analog consoles

Simulates a 2-inch 24-track tape machine

Recreates the interactions between the console and the tape machine

Offers precise metering of any point in the sound chain

Simulates all of the transformers in the original units

Very low CPU usage: open the plugin on each track of your session

Many presets designed during real mixing sessions

Top 5 Free Reverb Plugins (VST/AU)

Reverb is one of the most widely used effects by audio engineers to give audio signals a sense of space in a mix. Over the years, the quality of free reverb plugins has greatly improved, often rivaling paid plugins.

Though I use many of the paid plugins (including some very expensive like Altiverb and UAD Reverbs) – this nice free  reverb plugins can still find its place in any production. Some of these are Windows compatible only, while few are also available for Mac OS X.

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