Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor Class A By Brainworx
Mastering Compressor Class A from Shadow Hills and Brainworx will help you get punch and clarity during mastering.
The previous version of this plugin has proven itself among professionals since 2011. Essentially, it emulates the exclusive Shadow Hills compressor produced in only 50 copies. But now we will show you the updated version, which is Mastering Compressor Class A.
All in all, you get Optical and Discrete compressors and the ability to work in different modes. Also, the plugin has three flavors of Output Transformers and, unlike its predecessor, a whole BX module with quite a few feats underneath. Let’s talk about it all in more detail.
- Use Optical And Discrete Compressors
You can use Optical Compressor for dynamics and Discrete for a more punchy effect. The former has only Threshold and Gain controls. As for the second one, it has Attack, Recover (which is a release), and Ratio.
- TMT Modelling System
If you look down, you’ll see a whole module that wasn’t in the previous plugin. In particular, there is the patented Brainworx Tolerance Modeling Technology. This feature will give you twenty flavors of analog compressor sound that you can apply to the right and left channels.
- Switchable Output Transformers
Another great feature is that you can experiment with different flavors of Output Transformers sound. In particular, there are three modes: Nickel, Iron, and Steel. The first will give you more expressive high frequencies, the second will give you the midrange, and the third will give you the low-end.
- Adjust The Headroom
Headroom is another unique feature that this version of the plugin has received. Thanks to it, you can drive more signal to the compressor but simultaneously lower the output and vice versa. You will find this knob in the bottom module.
- Monomaker & Stereo Width
In addition to all this, you can work on the breadth of the stereo picture of your material. The Monomaker and Stereo Width control, also at the bottom, will help. Monomaker lets you concentrate the low frequencies in the middle, and Stereo Width lets you make the sound wider.
- Sidechain And Different Operation Modes
And, of course, the plugin will allow you to implement a Sidechain Filter with a range of operations from 20 to 666 hertz. Besides, you will be able to use this software in Stereo, Dual Mono, and Mid/Side modes, which can also be useful for mastering.
Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor Class A is available for Windows 8 or higher and macOS 10.11 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
Shadow Hills’ Mastering Compressor Class A is a great emulation of a boutique and high-end analog compressor that will come in handy if you’re a professional mastering engineer. You’ll have two types of compressors, the ability to experiment with flavors of transformers and analog sound and a bunch of other useful features to deliver quality results. The only drawback is that this plugin is quite expensive and costs over $300.
Knif Audio Knifonium By Brainworx
The Knifonium synthesizer plug-in is modeled after Knif Audio’s Knifonium hardware synthesizer. The plug-in, created by Brainworx, offers the same features as its hardware counterpart, along with a few additional features to expand on the great tube tone.
The hardware Knifonium is a monophonic, tube synthesizer that offers two VCOs, a 24 dB/Octave ladder filter, a ring modulator, LFO, 2 envelope generators, and a Sample & Hold. The plugin offers the same features along with 8-voice polyphony, an extended keyboard range, quantization control for sample & hold, voice handling controls, mid-side filtering, a unison mode, and a variety of FX created by Brainworx.
You can expect an analog-styled plugin capable of creating warm, smooth pads, edgy FM style tones, and deep, cinematic, and rhythmic pulses. If you would like to hear it for yourself, Plugin Alliance’s SoundCloud page offers 18 short tracks showcasing the plugin’s sound.
- Tolerance Modelling Technology (TMT)
Unlike digital, analog components varying in their ability to function and no two pieces of equipment can perform exactly the same. How far a component sways from the original intended performance value is called tolerance. In order to capture the authenticity of the original hardware, Brainworx have used their patented technology that emulates the the tolerance variations found in analog hardware.
- Selectable Tube Amp Modes
The hardware inspiration uses 26 tubes for amplification and the plugin has been designed to emulate this. And like the hardware counterpart, you have a three-position dial for selecting tube types. The three positions are: triode, pentode, or saturated. Each position adds its own level of tube saturation to color the tone of the sound for warmer or dynamic playing.
- Voice Handling Settings
You will have control over the thickness and range of voices within the voice handling section of the plugin. It offers a four-position dial for selecting the number of voices you’d like to use—one, two, four, or eight voices—and a switch for activating unison mode for thicker tones.
- Mid/Side Processing
For those not familiar, mid/side processing is when the center and the sides of an audio image are processed independently to enhance clarity, dynamics, or depth within a mix. The Knifonium plugin’s filter features an option to apply similar processing to the signal. You will be able to choose whether you’d like to send the mid, side, or both signals through the VCF for shaping.
- Sidechaining Additional Synth Plugins
Additional synth plugins can be sidechained to the Knifonium to act as a CV for modulation. You will be able to connect up to two external sources to modulate either oscillator’s pitch, the filter’s cutoff frequency, or aftertouch.
- Built-In FX Chain
Brainworx have compiled a selection of trimmed down versions of some of their best effects available for you to embellish the plugin’s sound. The effects offered include a BBD-style delay, Mäag AIR BAND® filter, reverb, flanger, blue chorus, metal666 amp simulator, phaser, SPL EQ Ranger, and a wavefolder.
The plugin is available for Windows 8 or higher and macOS 10.11 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2, VST 3, AU, and AAX formats.
Brainworx’s plugin is well made and offers a good software version of a particularly rare hardware synthesizer. The features included expand upon the tonal options well and overall I’d say that this plugin is a welcome addition to anyone’s library. It sounds great and has a wide range of controllable parameters for you to get creative with. In addition, if you’re looking for a synthesizer plugin that emulates the sound of a tube driven analog synth, you’ve found it.
Brainworx bx_console AMEK 9099
The AMEK 9099 is a fantastic mixer based on the highly versatile Amek 9098i. With a limiter, equalizer, noise gate, and exciting GUI, the Channel Strip by Brainworx will create many vintage vibes for any production.
Achieve complete control of the mixing process with an incredibly versatile console emulator; bx_console AMEK 9099 will deliver all the controls needed for any production at your fingertips. AMEK 9099, apart from offering handy and intuitive knobs, also shines any signal with musicality. With massive lows, you can push the mixing plugin for pleasant, smooth changes in the signal.
The plugin has six controls regarding its filters. HPF On and LPF On work intuitively on enabling the low and high-pass filters. HPF x 3 is a modern feature in the plugin that shifts the high-pass filter’s band by a factor of three. An LPF / 3 feature will turn the low-pass filter’s band by a factor of 1 / 3. The HPF works on the 20 Hz – 900 Hz range and an 18 dB slope value. The LPF will present the same dB slope value of the HPF but operate in the 1.5 kHz – 30 kHz range.
AMEK 9099 has a gate, limiter, and a compression section. The most exciting feature in the gate segment is the gate invert, which will enable you to hear the signal parts that the gate would attenuate. Apart from the standard gate controls, the plugin also has a Gate HPF and LPF interaction, activating additional filters on the gate and controlling the cutoff frequency. The Ambiance is an exciting feature in the compression segment that will output the difference between the compressed and input signals.
The plugin features four bands to fill the HF, HMF, LMF, and LF ranges. An HF Sheen function is fascinating for broadening the curve from the steep and widening the HF shelf. Both LMF and HMF can switch from Peak to Notch filtering. An exciting LF control is the LF Glow, which works the same way as the HF Sheen, but focuses on the lower range.
In a mastering segment of the plugin, you will have access to many exciting parameters. V gain is a virtual gain function that adds noise to the signal. A phase control will invert the signal’s polarity. You can also select between seventy-two different channels in the Console Channel Numbers. An exciting fact is that each channel has a unique character. You can also modify the spatial texture with the featured controls in Stereo Mode.
This plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
Brainworx bx_console AMEK 9099 is a complete console emulator that will provide any mix with full dynamics, EQ, and mastering controls. It has parameters for noise gates, compressors, limiters, and many EQ functions.
With an outstanding mastering performance, the plugin also has a role in stereo width and texture by allowing you to operate specific controls related to spatial functionality accurately.
SPL PQ By Brainworx
The newest Plugin Alliance SPL PQ is a five-band parametric EQ based on SPL’s famous mastering hardware.
SPL PQ Mastering Equalizer – Model 2050 has been updated to become the PQ Mastering Equalizer. Their 120 Volt Technology is at the heart of both of these products. Just like its predecessor, PQ is of superior quality.
The five bands can be toggled on or off, and you can select each of the five independently. A circuit like this has yet to be implemented in any equalizer. In addition, thanks to the bypass function, you can switch on or off all channels at once and set the timing for this to happen automatically.
- 120 Volt Technology
These schematics make it easy to see how our 120-volt technology outperforms those that use a lower voltage. Again, the direct association between operating and maximum levels is crucial for the classification: the higher the operational level, the higher the maximum \slevel a circuit can withstand.
Because of this correlation, increasing the operating voltage improves the dynamic range, distortion limit, and signal-to-noise ratio, which are all crucial acoustic and musical factors. The result is a more laid-back and natural sound.
- Auto Listen
When Auto Listen is used, the sound of everything outside of a selected eq band is muffled as long as the frequency or q slider is held down. This lets you hear the impact of a single eq-band based on Its frequency and q. Gain is kept constant during listening.
Tolerance Modeling Software was initially implemented as a set of bx console plugins. It accounts for the tolerances of audio components typically found in audio circuits and provides several channels of analog audio with realistic variations in frequency response, material constants in dynamic parts, etc.
The result is digital music that sounds as close to analog as feasible, even though the L and R channels would react slightly differently, even in a stereo instance.
It’s preferable to have the original and processed signals alternate automatically so that you can evaluate the processed content fairly. Another significant perk is staying in your sweet spot and focusing more on the music while evaluating the processing. The Interval control controls the time before the compressor toggle switches between the raw and processed signals.
The OS requirements for this plugin are Windows 7 or higher for PC and macOS 10.9 or higher for Mac. It comes in VST/RTAS/AU/AAX formats and supports 32 and 64 bit systems.
The SPL PQ is a great, analog EQ that with its ten bands can handle even the most complex of fixes. Q mode’s remarkable proportionality also enables artistic and beneficial alterations. Good quality construction and handling justify the “Made in Germany” label. The PQ is never cheap, but it is always worth the price.
Brainworx bx_limiter True Peak
The bx_limiter TP, by Brainworx, was designed from the ground up with True Peak technology in mind.
The plugin offers straightforward parameters in a comprehensible UI, but it sounds way better than it looks. You can meter both in the input and output signals and solo individual parts of the audio. The balance and correlation meters are beneficial to ensure mono compatibility and the metering section is really precise.
Modern will suit any kind of modern music, while Classic will be great for old-school genres.
Higher values give you a more bass-heavy foundation, creating a huge-sounding foundation, which will benefit most genres.
- Dynamic Range Meter
This helps you determine the density of the track. Numbers below 6dB mean you’re applying too much compression in your mix, making your track sound lifeless.
- Solo Buttons
Here, you can choose which part of the output signal is being monitored. If you choose either the L or R channels, they’ll play in the center unless you click the S.I.P. button, which will make the audio play in its respective position.
This saturation unit adds smooth harmonic distortion to the output signal.
Character & Sound:
Brainworx markets this plugin as “the ultimate mastering limiter,” claiming you can also use it for mixing on individual tracks. Its most impressive feature is the perfect transient clarity and punch, due mostly to the lack of an Attack control. The limiter adapts to the source material in a very musical way, delivering a lot of precision with a pleasing stereo field.
This plugin is available for Windows 7 and up and macOS 10.9 and newer in AAX, AU, and VST formats.
The bx_limiter True Peak is an outstanding plugin that gives the user straightforward controls, while most of the action happens behind the scenes. If it can be considered the best limiter on the market, I’m not sure. But it delivers on its True Peak promise, and that alone makes it a worthy addition to your collection.
The Crispytuner is an uncomplicated but comprehensive tool with three separate modes to engage with and a practical sister plugin that identifies root notes and scales.
Reviews state that the tuned-effect sounds similar to most auto-tuning software; however, a unique musical element adds to the sound, making it desirable for many modern genres of music production.
- Lightning Fast Processing
We know the deal with low latency – it allows you to process data in real-time, so you can use it for live performances due to the instantaneous tuning. However, it’s also helpful when artists are recording in the studio because they can hear the general effects or corrections while they do their takes.
The Crispyscale is a sister plugin by Brainworx, which works hand-in-hand with Crispytuner by identifying notes and scales and sending that information to all instances of it in your session. Some software has this feature already built-in to the interface. However, having an additional plugin to use in tandem isn’t much extra work because it communicates with Crispytuner and automatically applies the information.
- Modes (Simple, Graphical, Advanced)
The simple mode is designed for quick and easy application. It gives you control over the amount of tuning occurring by adjusting the attack time and the note tolerance. There is a filter EQ built-in for pre and post-frequency adjustment. You can use the Advanced Mode if you want additional functions, which gives you access to ‘transition, tightness, correction, and formant control.’ With these, you can further manipulate the vocal to fit the track or recreate harmonies that work in context. You could use the Graphical Mode with the usual extensive features for careful editing through many adjustable parameters for more technical and in-depth correction.
This plugin is available for Windows 7-10 (64 bit) and macOS 10.11 – 11.0.1. It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
Crispytuner is a trusty device for achieving the general auto-tune effect because it adds musical character to the audio, which has proven to be a desirable feature for many producers. Thanks to the well-integrated sister plugin, you can work across your entire session without having to dial in parameters for each instance of the plugin. Along with the quick processing, this device could be a real-time-saver. However, in addition to its efficacy, there is also a more meticulous side to this plugin, making it all the more desirable.
Black Box Analog Design HG-2MS By Brainworx
Adding colorful tube saturation with M/S processing has never been easier and done in a more powerful way than the Black Box HG-2MS does.
Black Box Analog Design is known for developing the critically-acclaimed HG-2 Saturation Processor unit and later a plugin version. After a while, they decided to bring the updated version of this plugin, the HG-2MS.
With the Brainworx Tolerance Modeling Technology™, this plugin showcases the brilliance and imagination of its developers being risen to another new level. The HG-2MS is a mid/side version of its older brother, including More Saturation options and a wider variety of colors with its refreshed filter section. The sonic refinement is at its best here, with more than enough for your everyday needs.
- Brainworx Tolerance Modeling Technology™
This is a brand new technology developed by Brainworx’s team to enhance the authenticity of your productions. It emulates the subtle variations between each module or channel in an actual hardware unit. This is caused by the components and all parts involved in each section. The final result is an organic and characteristic feel to your sound, recreated with this brilliant modeling technology.
- New filter section
Improving its quality from its older brother HG-2, the filter section has been revamped and updated. You have “HighPass,” “BandPass,” “Flat,” “BandStop,” and “LowPass” modes to choose from, with a complete 20Hz-20kHz frequency range in each of them. For instance, this allows you to determine where exactly to set your band-pass filter. As a bonus, the “HighPass” and “LowPass” have a unique control called “Octave” that deals with slope control in 06, 12, 18 24, or 30dB.
- Solo function
This function is a new one, not present in many saturation plugins. Switching the “Solo” button on, you will get the saturation soloed for you to hear better what’s going on there. This allows you to precisely listen to the saturation and how the filters are behaving towards it.
- Brainworx Tolerance Modeling Technology™
This plugin runs in macOS 10.9 to 11 (64-bit only) and Windows 7 to 10 (64-bit only). It comes in VST2, VST3, AU, AAX DSP, and AAX Native plugin formats.
Many producers love and cherish both the HG-2 unit and its plugin counterpart. The HG-2MS brings revamped features, an astonishingly well-made modeling technology, and great tube-like quality saturation with exquisite settings and refined controls on this updated version.
The 12AX7 tubes were modeled with perfection and brought the same aggression and warmth as they would in real life, and even separate gain controls for the virtual 6U8A pentode and triode tubes were included. Definitely one of the more modern and robust options available today.
Knif Audio Soma By Brainworx
More Info & Price (Trial Available)
This passive tube EQ rendition works masterfully in any sound production.
Passive tube EQs are regarded as offering genuine color and warmth to your signal in a characteristic way that differs from parametric or active EQs.
The wider frequency range provided by the “Q adjustment” is one of the reasons why Knif Audio Soma sounds so natural and responsive, directly emulating the behavior of the components involved.
- Four-band EQ
Soma features four frequency bands to adjust freely, and each has similar controls within. For instance, you can set each “Band Gain” value via the top row knobs while the “Band Q-Factor” is set by the middle row knobs, and the “Band Center Frequency” by the bottom row knobs, each affecting a specific band deliberately. Alas, each EQ band can be activated via a dedicated switch.
Each of these aforementioned bands can achieve a total of +-8dB in gain configuration, operating in steps of +-0.5dB from 0 to +-3dB and in 1dB steps from +-3dB to +-8dB. The subtle gain addition is very detailed and can easily add the necessary color and definition to a certain frequency range while retaining the gain in others.
- Frequency Control
Each band’s frequency control is stepped and contains 16 different positions, like “Low Band” (27Hz – 470Hz), “Low Mid Band” (100Hz – 1.8kHz), “High Mid Band” (560Hz – 10kHz), and “High Band” (1.5kHz – 27kHz).
A unique feature included in Soma is the “AutoListen” mode, which lets you focus on a specific band at a time. If a specific Q control or frequency range of an EQ band is selected, everything outside this bandwidth is muted, allowing you to better listen to the effect of a single EQ band in detail.
- TMT technology
Brainworx features its trademark “Tolerance Modeling Technology” once more in this plugin. Originating in their bx_console plugin line, this patented technology seeks to recreate the nuances of each electronic component inside a circuit, responding actively to your signal flow and any adjustments you make. This can be more dynamically expressive and generally consistent simultaneously, bringing a closer experience to owning a real EQ unit.
- Four-band EQ
This plugin is available for macOS 10.11 to 12 (64-bit only) and Windows 8 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in VST2, VST3, AAX, and AU plugin formats.
Brainworx is famous for its hardware renditions, with exquisite attention to detail in every subtle aspect involving an EQ, in this case. Knif Soma reveals the power behind a very sturdy equalizer, containing dedicated frequency alterations down to the level of shaping each slightest bandwidth with maximum possibilities.
Of course, you can always count on ready presets to make it work beautifully, but setting the parameters by yourself is just as captivating to do.
Brainworx bx_masterdesk True Peak
If you need to do fast mastering, Brainworx’s bx_masterdesk True Peak plugin has everything necessary to do it.
If you’re the guy who likes to have just one plugin packed with everything you need, then this product is for you. On the other hand, bx_masterdesk True Peak is also suitable for beginners who want to practice developing their mastering skills. The fact is that thanks to this software you won’t miss important steps.
All in all, this is an all-in-one plugin that will help provide mastering from start to finish. You can adjust the volume and tone and add compression and harmonic distortion. In addition, you’ll have the opportunity to experiment with different flavors of sound. Let’s take a closer look at this.
- Set The Volume
The first necessary tool here is the Volume knob. With it, you can adjust the volume and the Dynamic Range. The latter is indicated by the indicator at the top of the window. Go into the green zone to get a sufficient level.
- Adjust The Foundation
Almost every knob here is numbered. That way, you can easily follow the sequence of operations. Thus, the second control is the Foundation, a tilt EQ that will help you add lows and take away highs, or vice versa.
- Choose The Tone
Remarkably, you can dive even deeper into frequency spectrum tuning. It is the Tone section with controls like on a guitar amplifier. In particular, these are Bass, Mid, Treble, and Presence.
- Gain Reduction
Another important section of the plugin is called Gain Reduction. As you understand, you can glue everything together thanks to compression. In addition, you will have a De-Esser knob, thanks to which you can remove the annoying high frequencies.
- Resonance Filters
A great feature of this software is also the presence of the Resonance Filters section. They help you remove resonances in the lower and higher frequencies. By the way, you will be able to monitor this thanks to the Auto Solo function in the form of a separate button.
- Play With A Several Flavors
On top of all that, you get to play with the flavor of the sound. A button to toggle between Analog and Digital modes will be responsible for this. Each has four TNT Compressor Channels, which also affect the sound.
- Add Distortion
And, of course, another knob will be responsible for adding harmonic distortion. It is the THD control, which is located in the upper right part of the window. Thanks to it, you can make the sound a little fatter and more expressive.
Brainworx bx_masterdesk True Peak is available for Windows 8 or higher and macOS 10.11 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
The bx_masterdesk True Peak plugin from Brainworx is a great plugin that allows you to master from start to finish. You can use it for a quick demo mastering or dial the whole thing to get a more polished sound. It has everything you need, including saturation, tonal adjustment, compressor, and more.
Friedman BE-100 By Brainworx
The Brainworx’s Friedman BE-100 is an actual piece of rock and metal history in an amp sim plugin. It’s got everything you need, both a raging and a singing Plexi sound.
Friedman BE-100 guitar amplifiers have long been legendary because of their rich sound, used in the arsenal of the world’s top rock and metal bands. For example, Alice in Chains, Pink, Bon Jovi, The Cult, and Foo Fighters, to name a couple.
And the nice thing about it is that the Friedman BE-100 plugin perfectly emulates the sound of this piece of guitar gear.
It is a two-channel plugin that emulates the growl of 100 watts, all amplified by EL34 tubes. You will get a punchy and dynamic tone that can cut through the mix. The Clean Channel, on the other hand, lets you get a nice and clean tone where you need it.
Speaking of settings, like in other Brainworx plugins, everything you need for a ready guitar tone is available here, including many impulses.
- Plexi controls
On the front panel of the plugin, you will see all the typical Plexi settings. In addition to the clean and high gain channel switch, you can control Presence, Bass, Middle, Master, Gain, and Clean Volume here. There are also tiny switches that allow you to influence the character of the sound even more. For example, Fat control will thicken up your low-end, C-45 will affect midrange, and Saturation scoops things out.
- FX Rack
As in other Brainworkx plugins, this section contains Noise Gate with settings and Tight and Smooth controls, which stands for the high and low-pass filters. In addition, you get a Delay with tempo tapping and knobs like Feedback and Lo-Fi.
- Recording Chain
The number of built-in impulses in the plugin is enormous. You will find more than a hundred of all kinds of IRs with different combinations of guitar cabinets and microphones. In addition, there is an information window function that tells you what kind of equipment is present in a particular IR.
The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.
If you want the legendary Plexi sound of a Friedman BE-100 guitar amplifier, this plugin will be the perfect solution for you.
You’ll get all the control you need to make it even “on steroids” thanks to the Fat, C-45, and Saturation controls. And over 100 cabinet impulses will send you on a journey to dial the guitar tone that suits you best.
The Braiworx bx_2098 is a high-fidelity plugin emulation of the Rupert-Neve-designed Amek 9098.
Including most of Brainworx’s standard goodies, this plugin thrives on its versatility. The gain controls, reminiscent of 70’s hardware, allow for extra precision and clarity, great for mastering. The M/S mode, exclusive to the plugin version, lets you naturally open the stereo field by reinforcing pressure frequencies.
For extra possibilities, the TMT technology gives you twenty versions of the hardware to choose from.
- Glow & Sheen buttons
Respectively located within the Low-Frequency and High-Frequency sections of the interface, the Glow and Sheen buttons broaden the EQ curve. Both sections have a shelf or peak option that lets you select the frequency you want to boost or cut. Shelf mode gives you a bump on that frequency and extends the rest towards the end of the spectrum, and Peak gives you a bell-like focus on that frequency. What the Glow & Sheen buttons do is simply creating a wider Q for the affected frequency, musically affecting the frequencies around the selected one with a natural slope.
- Gain +-9dB
This feature is present in all four bands of the EQ, and change the amount of possible dB boost and cut you can apply to that band. Instead of the regular +- 18dB of headroom, the button cuts it in half to allow for more precise actions. This is naturally great for mastering since subtler changes are now possible.
- Notch button
This button is present in the Low-Mid and High-Mid sections of the EQ channel. When you press it, the values around the gain knob change, you can now use subtractive EQ, ranging from 0 to -19db. Also, the Q values change and become extra tight. This is great for cutting offending frequencies while mixing.
Character & Sound:
Following the analog hardware’s original intent, this plugin aims to deliver pristine sound quality with enough headroom to avoid unwanted distortion. This gives you a clear sound with a very ingenious character from the plugin. You can, of course, add harmonic distortion by turning the THD knob, but the greatest feature in this plugin is the TMT technology.
Based on the premise that every piece of hardware sounds different than the previous, Brainworx gives you twenty different-sounding emulations. You can pair them any way you want or add up to twenty instances of the plugin in your session, all sounding slightly modified.
This plugin is available in VST, AAX, and AU formats for 64-bit only macOS 10.9 through 11 and Windows 7 through 10.
The bx_2098 is an amazing tool for mastering but also a reliable EQ for mixing. Loads of possible headroom enable you to be as aggressive as needed with boosts and cuts, while the adaptable Qs, in the shape of the Notch, Glow, and Sheen buttons, extend the EQ’s versatility. A great EQ to have around, which can add nice subtle character to your sound.
Maor Appelbaum Mastering & Hendyamps THE OVEN By Brainworx
This creative color box is The Oven by Maor Appelbaum Mastering & Hendyamps, and it produces enticing “fully baked” sounds.
Since its introduction on Plugin Alliance not long ago, THE OVEN has been gaining a strange amount of popularity among the production community and audio engineers. A “Mojo Box” inspired by the Oven’s buttons, as with the hardware, the plugin may add anything from a little hi-fi boost to extreme saturation.
- Tubes And Solid State Combined
THE OVEN is an “out of the box” approach to tonal coloration and it is swiftly gaining adherents among producers, engineers, mixers, mastering engineers, and composers. Featuring a set of controls for easy, creative, and FUN tone adjusting, it combines the best of vintage and modern tube and solid-state designs.
At first glance, THE OVEN’s controls may look a little strange, but rest assured, they’re an intentional design choice. They are made to help you immediately stop thinking technically and start making bold, original decisions. You can use the COOK knob to layer in multiband saturation and tone shaping options, while you can use the three BURNERS to add thick bloom and pentode tube drive.
Turn up the TEMP to push them harder for added color and mojo, or switch to change the voicing and response of the tube circuit. You can quickly bake in new sounds by adjusting the knobs. You don’t have to know these parameters to get a memorable and helpful tone. Follow your preferences and creative instincts, and I guarantee you’ll enjoy the music.
- Analog Flavor
Unlike most equalizers and saturation effects, THE OVEN has its unique flavor. It’s a brightly colored “Mojo Box” with the power to “Cook, Bake & Broil” any audio track or mastering chain. As a result, it will improve the sound quality of your music in various ways, from a slight boost to a blazing boost of energy.
- The Bunsen Switch
Turning on the BUNSEN switch modifies the TOP BURN knob to increase its adjustment range. In the TOP Burner, where it’s crucial to acquire the proper harmonics for the track’s presence in the mix and master, the user is presented with four tonal possibilities.
With the flip of the BUNSEN switch, the Oven is transformed into a lo-fi zone where the signal’s frequency range is reduced, and distortion is ramped up.
The OS requirements for this plugin are Windows 7 or higher for PC and macOS 10.9 or higher for Mac. It comes in VST/RTAS/AU/AAX formats and supports 32 and 64 bit systems.
This plugin is great in that it gives you fine control over the warmth, width, and analog “smoothness” of the tonal characteristics of your program material, which is highly helpful once mastered. Since it’s not just another equalizer, compressor, or saturation effect, this plugin adds a lot of value because it produces a sound you can’t achieve in any other way.
9. SPL Iron By Brainworx
Yet another vari-mu on our list, this compressor packs a massive punch for mastering.
Based on the hardware compressor with the same name, Brainworx’s SPL Iron provides many controls for shaping and toning your sound. In essence, the plugin is a parallel dual-tube compressor, where each audio channel is processed separately.
It results in a transparent and musical sound thanks to different response curves between the two signals. Furthermore, the plugin adds several features that the hardware version does not have.
- 120v Operation
The plugin is an emulation of hardware that runs with 120v of electricity, the highest-ever operating voltage used for audio processing. It results in a hugely higher dynamic range, less noise and distortion, and maximum input levels.
As you know, vari-mu compressors perform based on the input signal. And the plugin provides some detailed controls to adjust how it reacts to the input. It includes the value of the input rectifier and tube bias. In general, the rectifiers change the reaction time of the plugin, whereas the tube bias controls compression level (comparable to the ratio in other compressors).
At the right of each of the channel sections, you will find a knob labeled Side-Chain EQs. It lets you select from six modes of side-chaining ranging from Off, four side-chain filter-presets, and an external side-chain signal. The external side-chain is handy when you want to create the ducking effect in dance music. And you can refer to the manual to learn more about the internal side-chain presets.
- Stereo Features
In addition to being a dual-channel plugin, you can also set the stereo mode to mid/side, which is handy for mastering and balancing your stereo image. The plugin features a bass Mono Maker (with selectable low-pass frequency) and a stereo widener.
SPL Iron is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, AAX, and RTAS formats.
Overall, the plugin is helpful and efficient for processing vocals, bass, strings, and guitars or busses other than full mixes for mastering. The various rectifier and tube bias settings deliver subtle but valuable character changes.
Similarly, the proprietary TMT technology offers multiple plugin channels with accurate component modeling. And finally, you can link the two channels to make editing easier too.
Plugin Alliance Ampeg V-4B By Brainworx
This plugin is a digital emulation of one of the most iconic tube bass heads ever, the Ampeg V-4B, a big powerhouse sound present on many records since introduced in 1971.
Just like the OG version of this amp, the Ampeg V-4B plugin is highly versatile and faithful to the classic Ampeg sound. Simple controls, yet a vast range of timbres, from the famous Ampeg beefy low-end to much more shrill, gritty treble frequencies.
Many bass players have reported that this sounds better and more rounded than an actual Ampeg V-4B plugged in.
Furthermore, you also get access to 65 different Recording Chains that feature well-engineered combos of classic microphones and lots of other emulations of boutique studio gear, running through a Neve VXS72 soundboard console.
- 65 different recordings chains
If you want to record your bass through DI correctly, Brainworx has you covered. The plugin Alliance – Ampeg V-4B comes with a great library of speaker cabinets like the 4X10 SVT410HLF, the 8X10 SVT 810E, and many others, plus another library of microphones, from condensers to dynamics. It also comes with lots of different outboard gear emulations that will help you capture even classier sounds—all of that running through a Neve VXS72 console.
- FX rack for effects
The Alliance Ampeg V-4B plugin offers an FX Rack for additional control of effects, such as a filter control, which has two options, tight, which filters the bottom end spectrum, around 50Hz, and a smooth option, which scoops the top end, about 21 kHz, both of them with a three-way knob, post, pre or off. There’s also a noise gate with threshold and range controls for clearing the frequencies and a horn on/off function for the different cabinets’ emulations.
- Unique mid-frequency control
You get the standard three-band equalization controls, but a particular feature is the switchable midrange-frequency one. The Equalization Midrange knob cuts the mids at 200 Hz or boosts them at 3000 Hz. That is a potent tool for sharpening your tone as much as necessary. It also has three buttons on the upper part of the head, with one in the middle. You can choose between 220 Hz, 800 Hz, or 3000 Hz. And with the other two, you get Ultra-low and Ultra- High controls if you want the sound either way.
The practicality here is impressive. With it, you have the chance to get the sound of one of the most famous bass heads from the ’70s, with just a couple of clicks. It is the exact emulation of the original 1971 model, which is incredibly rare. It is an excellent tool for recording in your home studio with top-level quality, designed and approved by Ampeg itself.
The Alliance Ampeg V-4B plugin is available for Windows 7 through 10 64-bit and macOS 10.9 through 11.0.1 64-bit. And it comes in VST2, VST3 ,AAX DSP, AAX Native, AU, and AAX AudioSuite formats.
The ultimate go-to amp simulator is available today for bass. The traditional consecrated sound of the V-4B tube bass head at the tip of your fingers, ready to go, no matter where you are.
Brainworx ADA Flanger
ADA Flanger is an accurate recreation of the classic A/DA Flanger, one of the first commercially produced flanging effect pedals.
This plugin sounds different from your standard flange plugin because it uses a digital model of a classic analog effect. As the name suggests, it’s based on the classic A/DA Flanger effect that has been around for decades. It has a very musical quality to it. It’s not as aggressive as some other flange plugins, which is good if you want to have more control over the depth and breadth of the effect.
It has three flange modes, you can create some truly unique effects that are nothing short of breathtaking. With its multiple modes, you can quickly go from a subtle, modulated tone to a full-on jet engine effect that will take your mixes to the next level.
- Unique sound:
A/DA Flanger is made after a classic pedal effect of the same name that was particularly famous in the ’80s. The plugin sounds and reacts the same way as both analog pairs, the original from 1979 and the re-issued pedal, making it a great option if you’re aiming for a vintage sound or just trying to add a subtle color to your mixes.
- High delay ratio:
Knowing that most flanger plugins reach up to a 20:1 delay ratio, Brainworks saw a window of opportunity to make their A/DA Flanger stick out by doubling the offer. The plugin reaches up to a 40:1 delay ratio, giving you a broader pallet of entirely new sounds and possibilities that just aren’t possible with a lower ratio.
- More control:
A/DA flanger offers a set of control that allows you to be as precise as you can when adjusting the flanger. It includes a threshold control that works as a gating effect, a “manual” knob that defines the tonal center of the sweep frequency. The range modifies the frequency spectrum of the flange, you can also set the speed, and there’s the Enhance knob, a resonance control capable of adding depth and intensity.
- Exclusive features:
After recreating to the finest detail the sound of the analog pedal, Brainworks didn’t stop and included some cool features of their own. The Wet/Dry Mix control is one of these exclusive features of the plugin, and it allows you to load it as an insert to different elements in the mix and balance how much of the effect you want each time. You can also tempo-sync with your project session and access dual stereo modes, making A/DA a great tool for stereo enhancement.
Supports Windows 7 and higher, Supports macOS 10.9 or higher, runs on 64 bit, and comes in VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.
Brainwork’s ADA Flanger is a meticulous recreation of a fantastic piece of hardware, and it certainly pays its honors. This pedal emulation is a versatile tool that you can use in any situation. I highly recommend using it for film scoring, vocal effects, or even as a guitar pedal.
Brainworx Vertigo VSM-3w
The Vertigo VSM-3 is pure saturation freedom unleashed.
For the people who want to control every aspect of their effect plugin to create a truly unique sound, the Vertigo VSM-3 offers two kinds of analog saturation with a ton of flexibility. In addition, the two saturators can work in parallel as well as serial mode.
The ‘2nd Harmonic Fat Crusher’ is a warm saturator based on tube stages, and the ‘3rd Harmonic Zener Blender’ is a brighter exciter best suited for adding clarity. Each saturator can be set to affect low, mid, or high frequencies or the entire spectrum.
There is also a mid/side mode for both the saturator giving you ultimate control over your spatial image. We particularly liked using the Crusher on the mid while using the Blender to add sparkling air on the side.
- Ultimate Control
The VSM-3 offers complete flexibility over the sound of the exciter, even more so than the original hardware it is based on. There is also a mid/side monitoring feature along with a distortion solo that lets you hear exactly what’s happening with your audio. And on top of that, the two saturators can work in parallel or serial mode.
- Resizable UI
The GUI of this plugin can be scaled up to 150% of its original size. However, we would have liked to see a bigger zoom factor as the tiny font and knobs of the plugin can get very tedious to work.
- Analog Sound
Brainworx is known for its meticulously accurate emulations of hardware units, and the VSM-3 is no different. The sound it generates remains faithful to the original gear, offers some upgraded controls, and still manages to be CPU-friendly.
Character & Sound:
The difference between the two saturators the plugin has is fairly easy to distinguish. One is warmer, and the other is noticeably brighter and sparkly. Used together, you can create a sort of sound reminiscent of the vintage era and yet somehow very contemporary.
The low-frequency enhancements work particularly well for getting punchier kicks. You could also try using the Crusher for adding saturated air to synths and keyboards. For vocals, the Blender works well at adding presence and sheen.
This plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher, both 64-bit. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, AAX, and RTAS formats.
For Universal Audio users, it is also available for UAD-2 hardware and Apollo interfaces.
The sound quality of this plugin is highly commendable. The level of detail and control it offers for a hardware-based plugin is unsurpassed by any other. However, the user interface could be a little overwhelming for an inexperienced producer.
Brainworx Vertigo VSC-2
Modeled after yet another classic unit, the Vertigo VSC-2 by Brainworx is a faithful recreation of the original VCA compressor.
With two voltage-controlled amplifiers per channel, the Vertigo VSC-2 was a staple of bus compression back in 1979. The Brainworx plugin offers a model of the same circuitry and attempts at revisiting the time period when the quad discrete VCA compressor ruled. The prolonged-release times offer vintage dynamic compression, while the Soft mode works as an automatic ratio.
- Dual Mono
The plugin’s two channels offer the ability to use it as a dual mono compressor. The advantage of flipping the switch is a broader and more independent stereo image. That is caused by the two slightly different compressions happening simultaneously. Alternatively, you can use the plugin in stereo with linked parameters.
- Soft Mode
The smallest ratio option is called Soft. Even so, it is not what most of us would think a soft knee and ratio relationship would likely be. In other words, Soft mode enables an automatic variable ratio that increases depending on the input level. That makes it simply impossible to make a ratio mistake since it rides the transients and compresses them accordingly. Short peaks will have a 1:1 compression, while louder ones can go up to 8:1 reduction.
Character & Sound:
The VSC-2 offers very audible compression; therefore, it’s a simple plugin to use and understand. You will know when it’s compressing too much or when you have just found the right amount. Indeed, it sounds “vintage,” but not because it adds distortion.
The plugin has an evident sound signature, which is also a trademark of the VCA circuit, but which is very apparent on this particular plugin. That makes it a great plugin to add compression and coloration to your mixes, busses, or single instruments.
The Vertigo VSC-2 is available for macOS 10.9 and newer and Windows 7 and up as a VST2, VST3, AAX, RTAS, and AU plugin.
As it can range from soft compression to limiting, this VCA compressor offers a little more versatility than the previous ones on this list. The sound signature is apparent but not as harsh as the other plugins, too. In the end, all this makes the VSC-2 a classy unit, desirable for its tone and ease of use. You can’t go wrong with getting it for your collection.
Plugin Alliance Ampeg B-15N By Brainworx
This is another plugin made by Brainworx and another Ampeg emulation. It emulates the circuit of the Motown-famous bass head B-15N made by Ampeg.
If you want the tone of 60s and 70s rock, soul, or funk, this is the plugin for you. It precisely captures the original amp’s dual 6L6-powered circuit as well as its simple, two-band Baxandall EQ. You can use the Volume knob to get either rich, murky tones, perfect for the soul, R&B, and jazz, or turn up the Volume for a fatter, more harmonic field sound.
Ampeg only made approximately 250 units of B-15Ns bass heads, making it one rare and expensive amplifier, but still, there are different versions on the market from other years.
With that in mind, Brainworx decided to insert the knob left to the power control, which lets you choose between two different famous versions of this amp, 1964 one and the 1966 model.
- Two distinct preamp options
You can choose between two different preamps options of preamps, 1964 which has a 25-Watt cathode biased circuit with a soft touch, while 1966 offers a 30-Watt fixed bias circuit, with the mids accentuated and with more headroom. Both are legendary sounds.
- FX Rack for effects
The onboard effects that come with the Ampeg B-15N plugin are significant. They include a Noise Gate, with threshold and range controls, a horn on/off function for the different cabinets’ emulations, and a Tight and a Smooth filter, both with a pre/post knob.
- Power Soak knob
It includes something handy for recording bass, a Power Soak knob. Its function is to reduce the power to the speaker without altering the quality of the harmonic series of an overdriven tone. Doing that allows you to use more distortion on your bass tone without compromising your output signal.
- Baxandall Bass and Treble
Another cool feature is containing a Baxandall Tone control circuit. What it does is that it provides a maximum cut of 10Db at 10kHz, and a boost of also 10dB at 50Hz—providing a true Bass and Treble boost to your output signal.
The plugin Alliance – Ampeg B-15N is available for Windows 7 through 10 64-bit and macOS 10.9 through 11.0.1 64-bit. And it comes in VST2, VST3, AAX DSP, AAX Native, AU, and AAX AudioSuite formats.
In short, the Plugin Alliance – Ampeg B15N is an excellent choice if you are looking for a vintage-sounding amp, with all the organic punchiness that you hear on hit classics from the sixties and seventies.
Brainworx AMEK EQ 200
Based on mastering hardware that Brainworx’s owner Dirk Ulrich loves, this EQ hybridizes and reimagines the studio icons.
The AMEK EQ 200 is an equalizer based on GML 8200 and the classic SONTEC EQs. It’s a dual-channel EQ with five bands with distinct features. While the interface may be frighteningly full of knobs and buttons, the layout is understandable and clear.
You’ll notice that the first row features the gain, the second features the resonance, and the third row has the frequency selectors.
Between the two channels and at the bottom, you will find more controls that let you add all sorts of sound enhancements, making it a competent tool for both mastering and mixing. Let’s talk more about them all.
- Five Bands
Each of the five bands features similar, standard controls. The Q-Factor or the resonance knob lets you adjust how wide/broad or narrow the Q is. Similarly, the lowest and the highest bands also feature shelving modes that you assign using the same knob.
- Filters and Saturation
At the left and right edges of the interface, you will find a low-pass and a high-pass filter. Both of them are set at a 12 dB/oct slope. I would suggest using it in combination with a digital filter with a harder slope a little below the frequency you set in AMEK EQ 200. Similarly, you will find a THD (total harmonic distortion) knob at the bottom right of the interface to add analog saturation to your audio.
Needless to say, the plugin features a set of bands for each channel of stereo audio. However, you can also set them in the mid/side mode. Furthermore, at the bottom left of the interface, you will find two LED displays indicating two adjacent numbers, which are channel numbers of which there are 20. Brainworx claims that each channel has a different character, thanks to TMT. And finally, it features a bass Mono Maker (with selectable low-pass frequency) and a stereo widener.
AMEK EQ 200 is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, AAX, and RTAS formats.
The plugins do not sound much like the hardware they are based on, and it’s no surprise considering that they are hybrids. However, they do have a unique musical tone. And in terms of versatility, the features help make it even more efficient than similar plugins and hardware themselves.
Unfortunately, the huge price tag makes the plugin much less accessible. If you are looking for a mastering EQ plugin, check this post.
Brainworx bx_console SSL 4000 E
This channels strip is based on the revered SSL mixing console and features officially licensed component models.
The SSL 4000 E combines a pair of filters, a compressor, expander/gate, and an EQ in a pleasing interface. Turn on the Analog button at the far right, and you’ll introduce some subtle differences between the two channels of your stereo signal, creating a satisfying analog sound.
Below the Analog switch, you’ll find Random Channel options. Thanks to Brainworx’s TMT feature, each pair of channels you select from the 72 total will have a different character.
And if you are using multiple instances of the plugin across your project, you can click on Random Channel ALL to instantly set each plugin instance to a different pair of channels. It’s a terrific way to get different flavors from the same mix.
- The Filters
SSL 4000 E features two input filters: high-pass and low-pass. The default range for the high-pass is 16 Hz to 350 Hz, but the x3 button lets you extend the range to 48 Hz to 1.05 kHz. Similarly, the low-pass ranges from 22 kHz to 3 kHz, but the /3 button reduces the range to 7.3 kHz-to-1 kHz. You can also assign the filters as side-chain filters for the dynamics processors instead of using the DYN SC button.
The plugin features a compressor and an expander/gate processor. The compressor has an F (fast attack) button, which results in a more aggressive and punchier compression. And it also features a second release to avoid the pumping effect. The mix knob lets you create parallel compression. Next, in the Expander section, you can click on the EXP button to switch to the gate mode. At the bottom of this section, you’ll find an E/G button, which switches between E series and G series dynamics, which have slightly different characters.
The EQ has four bands with two shelves and two peak filters. The EQ also features a switchable Black and Brown emulation with very different sound characters. The Black mode is rather aggressive and suitable for sound design, whereas the Brown mode is much more subtle and appropriate for tone control.
Furthermore, at the bottom of the EQ section, you’ll find a DYN SC and a PRE DYN button. The first button places the EQ within the dynamics side-chain to essentially create a sort of dynamic EQ. And conversely, the PRE DYN button sets the EQ ahead of the dynamic processors instead of the default post-dynamics configuration. The two buttons are mutually exclusive.
SSL 4000 E is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, AAX, and RTAS formats.
If you are a fan of the SSL sound, you would love this plugin. Brainworx’s emulations are some of the most accurate ones, and this plugin is no different.
I love the multiple character choices for both the dynamics section and the EQ/filter section. They make the plugin a little more compliant for any kind of material you can throw at it.
Brainworx bx_rockrack V3
What if we told you that you could get eight different guitar amps from crystal clear to high gain raging monsters in just one plugin? It is bx_rockrack V3 by Brainworx and Plugin Alliance.
The German company Brainworx became popular with its UAD-2 emulation amplifiers of relatively high quality. Not only do their plugins sound like tube amps, but they feel the same when you play them.
The company especially delighted many of their fans with their bx_rockrack software, which includes eight amps and excellent guitar tone capabilities.
The bx_rockrack V3 amp is based on such legendary pieces of equipment as the Marshall JCM 800, ENGL 530 preamp, and Mesa Boogie Record-o-Verb. There is also a custom Brainworx metal amp. Each has its character of a sound, which will fit from jazz to death metal.
In addition, you get 40 impulse responses recorded through Brainworx’s NEVE VXS72 console in Germany.
Like other plugins from this company, it has everything you need to get a finished guitar tone – namely, noise gate, high and low-pass filters, delay, and more.
- Graphic EQ
On the front panel of each amplifier, in addition to the usual knobs, there is also a graphic equalizer. It will allow you to immerse yourself even more into your sound production and sharpen your guitar tone.
- FX Rack
Here you can customize the Noise Gate as you like it. Also available to you is the Delay with tap and tune function for mix, feedback, and lo-fi levels. And high and low-pass filters help bring the sound closer to mix-ready.
- Recording Chain
Implied here is the possibility of choosing different cabs and mics impulses. There are a large number of them per amplifier. For example, Brainworx created an IR based on such famous cabinets as Diezel, Orange, Engl, and many others.
The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.
The bx_rockrack V3 plugin will give you the incredible ability to use different guitar amps in the form of only one software. With them, you can choose everything from clean and crunchy guitar tone to brutal and massive.
What’s unique here will be the high-end pulses of the cabinets and mics. So you’ll have a lot to choose from to get what you need.
Released back in July 2015, the bx_opto by Brainworks is an Opto compressor plugin designed after traditional optical compressors but with a twist in controls to make it highly versatile.
Obviously, most of the Opto compressor plugins, including the ones discussed in this article, are inspired in some way or another by the classic LA-2A compressor; the bx_opto is no exception. The bx_opto is not as simple as the LA-2A in its interface as it offers a few more control knobs as opposed to the simple 2 main control knobs interface offered by the LA-2A.
These knobs offer you more control over the sound design of the compression, which makes this plugin highly versatile. In addition to that, bx_opto has an improved sound design over the LA-2A. For example, it does not add saturation as dramatically as the LA-2A does, making it easier to use for a pleasant punch at slower speeds and exciting urgency for faster speeds.
- Speed Control
The additional Speed control is bx opto’s main selling point. As a result of the peculiarities of the light decay in their level detectors, conventional optical circuits have a fixed release time.
Brainworx broke the analog rules of nature by adding an adjustable release time control. The handbook claims that velocity control has just a little impact on attack time. This gives optical compression access to a completely new realm.
- Side Chaining
With the presence of the ever-popular sidechain filter, low-end pumping from things like pushing bass on turntables is a breeze. It has a full but not full bottom end. This sidechain filter is perhaps one of the more adaptable ones we’ve encountered.
As well as a variable filter with a range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz, it features four distinct filter types: High Pass, Low Pass, and two Band Pass settings. Brainworx has also included the now-ubiquitous “Mix” disc for parallel compression to complete the functionality.
This plugin requires Windows 7 or higher for PC and macOS 10.9 or higher for Mac. It comes in VST/VST3/AU/AAX formats and supports 64-bit devices only.
This game might not be for you if you’re searching for transparent compression, but if you want both personality and adaptability, bx opto might be the right choice. I’m a huge fan of plugin developers that work to stretch the limits of analog conventions and treat digital like the vast, limitless universe it really is. In light of this, the bx opto compressors provide a welcome update to the traditional design and sound fantastic while doing so.
Brainworx bx_digital V3
bx_digital V3 by Brainworx has set the foundations of Mid/Side EQ plugins with its precise set of parametric filters for each of the eleven bands per channel.
Thanks to the precise building of this EQ, you can have accurate boosts and cuts without affecting any neighbor bands, which is perfect for clearing muddy low-mid frequencies, boosting your kick drum and bass, and giving the proper spotlight to vocals.
There are two versions of this plugin. One is designed for individual tracks that exclude Mid/Side processing and other meters. The other is designed for mixing and mastering purposes with all the features needed for precise surgical processes.
- Operation modes
You can process the signal in three ways within bx-digital V3. The most familiar with the majority is the “Left/Right” mode, which outputs dual-mono signals, unlike the “M/S Master” mode that gives you Mid/Side signals perks. The last mode is the “M/S Recording mode,” which allows you to use Mid/Side processing in real-time, so besides using it on the mixing stage, you can also take advantage of it while recording.
- Precise filters
Each section comes with Low-shelf, three Mid-notch, and High-shelf filters to modify each band’s gain, frequency, and Q factor. The High-self filter can go up to 40 kHz, which gives enough air and pure clarity to the mix. One interesting feature about these filters is the global Proportional Q Response mode that will allow you to modify a frequency band without affecting the response of the other bands next to it, giving you precise control and an accurate EQ curve.
- Automatic solo
A considerable differentiator about this plugin is the automatic solo and listen function. When the “Auto-solo” and “Auto-listen” buttons are enabled, you choose if this option will trigger when you modify the gain, Q factor, frequency, or the three of them by selecting one of the options in the dropdown in between these buttons. So if you have this option selected for the frequency knob, the filter that you’re altering will put itself in solo whenever you modify its frequency, making analysis and in-depth listening as easy as it gets.
- Dynamic EQ
An exciting addition is the simple but powerful dynamic EQ applied independently on the mid and side components of the signal. This process is controlled by two knobs in charge of modifying the frequency and the gain, and two selectors: one for choosing between slow and fast reaction, and one for selecting between pre or post-processing. You can get similar behavior to a de-esser by setting a high frequency.
- Independent monitoring
Something unique about bx-digital V3 is that you have two different spectrum analyzers for the mid and side parts of the signal. Some EQ plugins out there can switch between the mid and side monitoring, but here you can watch both of the spectrums simultaneously.
This plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AAX, and AU formats.
The exceptional versatility and features like proportional Q filters and Automatic solo that other EQ plugins often lack denote its reputation as one of the most precise and flexible EQ plugins out there. The mids and sides are adequately separated in its controls and monitoring that it seems like working with two independent EQ modules. Maybe it’s not the most suitable EQ plugin for beginners since the number of parameters displayed is overwhelming and can increase the learning curve.
Brainworx bx_console Focusrite
The bx_console Focusrit, by Brainworx, is a complete recreation of the rare Focusrite console designed by Rupert Neve.
Only ten units of this console were made until Focusrite shut down the production. Now, thanks to TMT technology, you can have 72 channels, which means an entire console, in your studio. You get faithful recreations of the original gate, compressor, de-esser, EQ, and filters, with the addition of a THD control.
- Neve-Designed EQ
The console gives you a parametric four-band EQ designed by the master himself. You get bell controls for the mid frequencies and shelves for the highs and lows. You can bypass any band by pressing the Band In button.
- Two Filter Sections
Just like the original console, this plugin lets you add filters to both the EQ and dynamic sections. The first will roll off frequencies from the top and bottom of the spectrum. The second will focus the compressor on the range you determine.
- Multiplier Controls
You can change the frequency range of both filter sections and the mid-range EQs by engaging the x10, x3, and/or /3 buttons.
This is an added feature. By increasing the value, you’ll add more simulated analog noise.
- Stereo Mode
This affects the TMT engine. By selecting Analog, you’ll use two different channel emulations, one for each side of the stereo field. However, if you choose Digital, you’ll use one emulation for both sides.
This plugin is available for Windows 7 and higher and macOS 10.9 and newer in AAX, AU, and VST formats.
One of the most transparent consoles ever designed has finally received the faithful emulation it deserved. The price is a little hefty – but worth it when you think of the quality it can add to your mixes. No doubt, the bx_console Focusrite will become your go-to channel strip plugin once you add it to your collection.
Brainworx – bx_bassdude
In third place, we got the emulation of one of the most famous amps ever, the Fender Bassman. A legendary amplifier that became industry standard for bass and also guitar tones.
The Fender Bassman was first conceived as a bass amp, but it also gave way to many guitarists’ rigs. Still, the bass in the name stands for what this amp is all about, defined clean vintage tones, full of bass and presence.
The bx_bassdude plugin is directly inspired by one of the most acclaimed versions of this amp, the 1960’s model #6G6-Bor. And Brainworxs did a fantastic job in keeping the plugin sound faithful to this particular model.
The bassdude is one of the only amp plugins that do an A-class work of emulating the warm, clean tone that you get from a tube-based Fender tweed amp like a Blues Deluxe or a Bassman with not much gain on.
- Early 1960’s Fender amp
The practicality of having the sound of a vintage prestige Fender amp accessible just by a plugin is a feature that separates it from any other of its kind. Enhanced by its Impulse / Response technology, the quality of saturation and dynamics is terrific and similar to what you would expect from a tube-driven vintage Fender amp.
- 35 IRs by Dirk Ulrich
As a result of a personal effort of Brainworx’s CEO Dirk Ulrich, these IRs were recorded using several speaker cabinets, nine high-end vintages, and modern microphones, all running through his NEVE VXS72 console of the rarest consoles in existence. Only nine of them exist.
- Exclusive features
Some of the features here are not found in the original amplifier like its onboard effects included here are exclusive. They have a Noise Gate which can be a potent tool for keeping your signal clean, High and a Low pass filters for filtering unwanted high and low frequencies, a lo-fi delay, which is just a modern take on the delay circuit, and a Power amp Simulation to boost even more your bass sound.
The Blackice Beta Gamma Bass Amplifier plugin is available for Windows 7 through 10 64-bit and macOS 10.9 through 11.0.1 64-bit. And it comes in VST2, VST3, AAX DSP, AAX Native, AU, and AAX AudioSuite formats.
A truly classic amp design eternalized in a plugin simple to use and satisfactory also. A wise choice if you’re going for a tube-oriented amplifier style, with the practicality that only a plugin can offer you.
Brainworx Elysia Alpha Compressor
The Alpha Compressor emulates an analog compressor, endorsed by its creators and coded by Brainworx.
At first, the UI can look confusing and off-putting. Even so, these are all precise parameters that together make this one of the best mastering compressors there are. It is not a versatile compressor, per se, but it does what all mastering compressors claim to do. The difference is it does it so elegantly you almost don’t notice it’s there.
- Frequency Selective Compression
The side-chain knobs in this compressor engage the frequency-oriented compression it was designed to do. This allows the Alpha Compressor to work as a de-esser or as a groove emphasizer, depending on the project’s needs.
- Feed Forward
This button changes the order of the side-chain. Disengaged means side-chaining will act after the compressor. Engaged means it will act before the compressor section. Each has a different flavor, with Feed-Forward sounding like there is some kind of extra compression applied.
- Auto Fast
This option is present for both the attack and release parameters individually, on both channels. It uses the adjusted parameters set on the bigger knobs and improves their efficiency by going further. Attack will now be almost instant, and release will change the envelope curve considerably. Perfect for catching high-speed transients and breathing life back into the mix.
This button adds very subtle sound shaping to the compressed signal. It is a slew rate limiter that adds controlled overtones to the sinewave. Brainworx says they decided to make it elusive because of the mastering nature of the plugin.
The Mid/Side processing in the Alpha Compressor stands out for its ability to handle these as unlinked fields. If a mix has a different attack and release, or even tonality on the mid and sides, this plugin can handle it better than any other. The result will be an audibly better master every time.
Character and Sound:
This is a very clean-sounding mastering compressor. The Warm button is very subtle, and Soft Clip can cause excessive distortion. But there are extreme settings that you can use to achieve different yet desirable sounds. A good example is drum subgroup compression.
If you click the two Auto Fast and Feed Forward buttons and lower the threshold, you’ll start hearing the spatial elements a lot more. You can get up to 20db of gain reduction in this extreme mode. This will make the drums sound as if the microphones had been set a little further from the source, which gives a nice natural room effect.
This behemoth is available as VST2, VST3, AAX, and AU for macOS 10.9 and higher and Windows 7 and up, 64-bit only.
This is hardly an ordinary compressor. Its soft, discrete, and transparent approach elevates it to mastering royalty. The price-tag is reasonable, although out of range for a lot of producers. This is one of those plugins that have a special place on any engineer’s wishlist.
The bx_subsynth plugin by Brainworx is a tough one to describe. It works as a subharmonic synthesizer, in the sense that it creates new sub frequencies based on what sound you feed into it, but also a mid/side processor, a powerful resonant highpass filter for more bass, and a distortion unit capable of producing gritty sounds.
- Three subharmonic bands for ultra-thick bass
The bx_subsynth adds new subharmonic frequencies to any sound you feed into it. The trim controls under each of the three subharmonic bands let you choose the input signal feeding into the plugin. Once the white LED is lit, meaning that a healthy signal is fed, you can set 3 different frequencies for the bx_subsynth to focus on. The big Subharmonics knob will increase the volume of each frequency the more you raise it.
- Mid/Side control
Just like most Brainworx products, the bx_subsynth comes with a powerful M/S panel. The mono maker will convert all frequencies under the set one to mono, while the stereo width will widen the rest.
- Give it some Edge!
The Edge panel is a very powerful distortion unit. The two modes, smooth and harsh, can cover all sorts of sonic results, from smooth and rich bass undertones to the grittiest, harshest bass growls. Low and high cut knobs provide further sound shaping control.
- Extra boost with filter
The filter panel is essentially a highpass filter meant to boost your low end through resonance. Set the tight punch frequency value and increase the low-end knob to boost that frequency through the resonant filter.
bx_subsynth is available on Windows 7-10 and Mac OS 10.9-11 in AAX DSP, AAX Native, AU, VST2, VST3 formats.
bx_subsynth is a powerful tool for the modern producer or mixing engineer. It does more than boost bass; it creates sub frequencies that don’t exist.
The subharmonic bands sound excellent and can be used on bass sounds, drums, or even synth leads if you wish to add an extra bass layer. All the added panels provide more support and sound sculpting control, making this powerful engine all the more appealing.
One of bx_stereomaker’s most noticeable features is its mono to stereo signal conversion, which adds authentic spatial presence without compromising original texture.
When a mono signal goes through conversion in bx_stereomaker, it will feature a massive width range for you to adjust. It’s mono-compatible and has a genuine-sounding pseudo-stereo effect. Furthermore, it features channel processing algorithms on any signal’s particular frequency range.
Brainworx bx_stereomaker has proper parameters to balance and control the spatial field. Tone lets you select the slicing frequency between 20 Hz to 2.5 kHz. The hi-damp knob rolls off the higher frequencies spatial effect, particularly frequencies above 5kHz. When operating the Mono-Freq knob, you can determine that frequencies below the knob’s selection remain mono. The stereo expansion adds width.
Some tools bx_stereomaker provides are handy at controlling the output signal. In the Tilt/Pan segment, you can direct the stereo field towards the left or right, adjusting it to their preferences. The pan modes pan the center signal for the left/right bottom of the spatial image. Tilt mode is also a creative panning feature, but it’s not as robust as the pan mode. The output knob controls the loudness intuitively.
The “L <> R” switch swaps the left and right signals before entering the Tilt/Pan segment. The other two buttons are for soloing either the mid-signal, with “Solo M,” or the side-signal, with “Solo S.” The side signal is a representation of bx_stereomaker’s artificially-created stereo information out of the mono source.
This plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
Brainworx b_stereomaker is excellent for mono to stereo conversion, widening the signal by up to 300%. Its exciting parameters efficiently select the frequencies that’ll benefit the most from the plugin’s stereo algorithms. The intuitive interface provides easy monitoring with informative meters and handy switches for analyzing particular signal segments.
The Brainworx BX Tuner from Plugin Alliance is ready to tune your Guitar or Bass and has no latency and uses little CPU power.
To keep your music sounding its best, install the Brainworx bx tuner plugin into a channel or bus. It is a straightforward, simple-to-use chromatic tuner. Bx tuner provides complete chromatic tuning and a few cool features to help you get the most out of your sessions.
While a Ballistic feature eliminates the “nervous needle” effect and enables you to tailor the activity of the LEDs and how rapidly they detect pitch changes, Dim mode provides sound tuning but at a low volume level to protect your hearing. Everyone needs to be tuned in. On your workstation, the bx tuner enables you to accomplish this tastefully and accurately.
With this toggle, the plugin may be disabled or enabled. Find the best plugin parameters, and then use this switch to turn the plugin on or off. The top LEDs of the tuner show a range of around 3 cents or roughly a semitone.
Most of the time, tuning a guitar string near the center LED will be sufficient. However, it would help if you were prepared as long as the center (green) LED is visible in the bigger main LED bar. The main LED bar shows a frequency range of 50 cents around the target note.
The Play switch will show your height instrument while passing the input signal to the output. Since the plugin doesn’t introduce any latency to the audio signal, this patch may be used while it is being played. You’ll hear the input signal at a lower volume when in Dim mode.
By doing this, you avoid having to return and decrease the control room level during tuning while still being able to monitor your sound with the following plugins. The only setting to choose is mute if you want to tune without the sound being audible at the plugin output.
- Ballistics and Reference Pitch
You can select a slower reaction for the tuner LED’s response characteristic. This makes it easier to provide instruments diverse sustain in various circumstances. Through this pull-down menu, the A note’s reference pitch can also be changed to 438 to 442 Hz. This is how the bx tuner may be tuned to the most typical values. 440 Hz is the standard.
This plugin is available for macOS 10.10 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in standalone mode and VST2, AAX, and AU plugin formats.
It offers a few really nice capabilities, such as the ability to MUTE or DIM the output. Unfortunately, tuning can be challenging since it is a fairly solid tuner that doesn’t fly all over the place. The only choice is to show flat, therefore one improvement I’d like to see is the ability to adjust the display to sharp.
Although it’s not a significant problem, it’s worth mentioning, so you are aware before you buy. Overall, it’s a fantastic, affordable, accurate, and latency-free guitar and bass tuner plugin.
Brainworx bx_masterdesk Classic
The bx_masterdesk Classic plugin by Brainworx will give you all the settings you need for fast mastering.
It’s always cool to have an all-in-one tool to help you do everything at once. That way, you don’t have to use different stages for mastering. And it will be especially useful for beginners who don’t have much knowledge and experience yet. The good news is that we have just prepared such a plugin for you.
It is bx_masterdesk Classic from Brainworx, which is a mastering suite. You get to track the dynamic range, add volume and harmonics, and change the tone of the composition. There’s also a built-in limiter. Let’s break it all down in detail.
- Adjust The Volume
On the left, you will see a large knob responsible for the Volume level. At the same time, the VU Meter will show the dynamic range in front of you. So add volume to get the desired value around 7 and 6.
- Change The Foundation
The Foundation knob will be on the opposite side. Essentially, it is a tilt control that will help you adjust the ratio of lows and highs. For example, turn it to the left to get more bass and less treble and vice versa.
- Tone Regulator
There is also a separate control that is responsible for your Tone. You will find it in the bottom right part of the plugin window. Thanks to it, you can make the master darker, or vice versa, lighter. So again, listen to what suits the material best.
- Stereo Enhance
Another wonderful feature laid down here is Stereo Enhance. You will also see this control at the bottom of the plugin. Turn the setting to make your stereo picture wider. But don’t overdo it, as it can probably bring some artifacts.
- Add Some Distortion
As in mixing, mastering also often saturates the audio signal with harmonics. It is done to make it more expressive. In the bx_masterdesk plugin, you will also have this possibility, thanks to the THD knob.
- Output Trim
A wonderful bonus is that this software has a built-in limiter. So you can set your ceiling thanks to the Output Trim control. For example, set the number to -0.3 or -1 dB, so you don’t exceed the limit.
Brainworx bx_masterdesk Classic is available for Windows 8 or higher and macOS 10.11 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
The Brainworx bx_masterdesk Classic plugin is a powerful enough tool to get decent mastering. At least you will have all the settings you need for it: Volume adjustment, Stereo Enhance, Tone, Foundation, THD, and Output Trim. The most important thing here is to learn to use all these parameters wisely and to hear well what they do.
The bx_bluechorus2 plugin by Brainworx brings the sound of a classic modulation effect to your DAW.
The Boss CE-2 is one of the most popular chorus pedals. It was initially released in Japan in the ’80s and has since been heard on hundreds of albums worldwide. The fact is that this unit is elementary to use and provides a rich and fluid tone. Now we’ll talk about a pretty good emulation of this pedal.
bx_bluechorus2 is a relatively similar emulation of this pedal. So again, you get a familiar sound that you can apply to guitars, keys, and other instruments. And, of course, this software completely repeats the set of pedal settings, so applying the effect will be very simple and easy.
- Rate Control
You can get fast sweeps and long wobbles like the original pedal. And that’s thanks to the primary chorus control, called Rate. This knob will be located on the left side of the plugin window.
- Adjust Your Depth
Another crucial control here is Depth. It will determine the amount of chorus in the ratio to your signal. Again, tweak this to your liking to get what you need for creative purposes.
- Mono or Stereo Operation
You can use bx_bluechorus2 in both mono and stereo. The second option would be fantastic to achieve the most incredible fullness of the stereo picture. So, experiment to see what you need.
- Can What the Pedal Can’t
Of course, when thinking about the advantages of the plugin over analog gear, we can think of things like stereo bus processing and automation. So working with this software, you can achieve excellent creative solutions that are hard to get with an actual pedal.
Brainworx bx_bluechorus2 is available for Windows 8 or higher and macOS 10.11 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
bx_bluechorus2 by Brainworx is a very easy-to-use plugin that allows you to quickly apply the sound of the legendary chorus in your DAW. Of course, you only get a few controls, but there are enough possibilities to achieve a quite subtle sounding effect and a pretty extreme one.
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