1. Softube Model 72 Synthesizer
The nicest retro sounds may be obtained by using an analog device.
The finest synthesizer sounds were frequently performed through antique machines, sometimes with hundreds of patch connections or knobs to fiddle with. However, the components inside its structure ensured that these sounds were as unique and original as possible, which is an important feature of their distinct tone.
Softube took the initiative to recreate the essence of a real 1972 hardware in good shape, capturing and translating every aspect into this virtual instrument.
- Designed and built with passion
Softube has extensive expertise simulating music gear and has collaborated with hundreds of audio businesses such as Solid State Logic, Tube-Tech, and Weiss Engineering. Model 72 does the same thing by meticulously reproducing every module of this synth to deliver the most realistic feel possible from every small adjustment in any knob or parameter.
- Expansion panel
One of the nicest aspects of a virtual instrument is the new features that may come with it. The “Expansion” tab, for example, allows you to freely adjust individual parameters such as “Doubling” and “Spread.” These two new knobs enable you to have the identical notes you played doubled by another synth and to adjust how much this doubling is spread out in the stereo image.
- Tone generator
The tone generator is the basic core of the synth, where all sounds are created to be subsequently adjusted. You’ll find three oscillators here, two with almost similar output waveforms and a third dedicated to working as an independent modulation oscillator with greater tuning range and slightly varied waveforms, providing modest variation when making new tones.
All of the magic takes place here. This part has a “Master Tune” knob that controls the overall tuning of the Model 72, the “Note Glide” pace, and the modulation mix. As an alternative modulation source, a dedicated LFO can be employed. The modulation wheel acts as an attenuator, fine-tuning the amount of modulation spread, and may also be routed to an oscillator pitch or a specified filter cutoff frequency.
- Amp Room module
The “Amp Room” module is responsible for creating the optimum instrument sound. This thick-sounding filter with “Envelope Follower,” “Cutoff,” “Drive,” and “Resonance” controls can make your guitar, bass, or keyboard sound as funky as ever. “Fast” and “Smooth” are the two settings of the “Envelope Follower.” A dedicated “Mix” knob can assist in balancing the effects and their resulting mixed sound.
- The modules
Model 72’s parts are separated into “Tone Generator,” “Amplifier,” “Filter,” “Envelope,” “Noise and Glide,” “Doubling,” and “Preamp.” All segments are created in the same manner as an actual unit, with identical signal flow. Specific components, such as the “Amplifier” and “Preamp,” offer the true feel necessary to make it sound realistic, flawlessly mimicking each subtlety that makes the frequencies stand out.
- Designed and built with passion
The plugin is available for macOS 10.13 up to 12 (64-bit only) and Windows 10 and 11 (64-bit only). It comes in VST, VST 3, AAX, and AU plugin formats.
Softube’s Model 72 is a great recreation of an instrument that influenced an entire generation of artists and producers, particularly in funk music. With a synthesizer on your side, the possibilities are nearly limitless, and Softube did an excellent job of reproducing virtually old hardware like this synth.
There aren’t many intricate controls, only simple commands that deal with frequency modification like the previous units.
2. Softube Bus Processor
Softube Bus Processor is a plugin designed to add warmth, saturation, and other sonic characteristics to your mix bus or individual tracks.
It includes three separate modules: a saturation module, an EQ module, and a compressor module. Its various compression modes allow for a wide range of control over the sound and can be used to add punch, glue, or control dynamics.
One of the unique features of the compressor module is its Mix knob, which allows you to blend the compressed and uncompressed signals. That can help achieve more subtle compression or blend in some of the original dynamics of the track. Now, let’s understand more of its features.
- Saturation Module
Its saturation module includes four different types, each with a unique flavor: Tape, Tube, Solid State, and Transformer. This module can add analog-style warmth and color to your tracks.
- EQ Module
The EQ module is a 4-band EQ with high and low-pass filters. It includes various filter types, including Baxandall, Pultec, and API. This module provides a wide range of tonal shaping options, allowing you to fine-tune the sound of your mix.
- Compressor Module
The plugin includes various compressor modules: Peak, RMS, Opto, Punch, and Crush. It also controls attack, release, ratio, and makeup gain.
- Individual Module Control
Each module can be used individually or in combination with the others. This provides a flexible approach to processing your tracks and allows you to customize the sound to your needs.
Professional mixing engineers designed a good range of presets, making it easy for you to get started with the plugin and explore different sonic possibilities.
- Intuitive User Interface & Low CPU Usage
It has a user interface that is easy to use and intuitive, with clear labeling and visual feedback for each control. Further, the plugin suits large mixes with multiple tracks and plugins and is optimized for low CPU usage.
Compatible with Mac and Windows operating systems and available in various plugin formats, including VST, VST3, Audio Units, and AAX Native, the plugin is easy to integrate into your existing workflow, regardless of which DAW you use.
The Softube Bus Processor is also compatible with Softube’s Console 1 system, which allows you to control the plugin from a dedicated hardware controller. This can be especially useful for those who prefer a more hands-on approach to mixing.
Overall, the Softube Bus Processor is a powerful tool for adding character and warmth to your mix. Its modular design allows you to use each module individually or together, providing a flexible and customizable approach to processing your tracks.
3. Softube Tape Echoes
Tape Echoes by Softube offers a variety of parameters for you to achieve the perfect tape delay sound you want. You cannot go wrong with it’s great and flexible features and vintage-looking interface. While many delay plugins capture the feel and sound of the analog delay, they still tend to sound too clean. This one manages to capture the feel of old analog delays rather well.
Let’s go straight into the features of this plugin. The first thing you can notice on the interface is the slider with which you can choose the delay time. By switching the switch next to the slider, you can choose between adjusting the delay time with the tempo and milliseconds.
Moving the slider to the far left will leave you only with the dirt effect, which has great usage for drums.
This plugin has up to three echo taps with a tap tempo option if you cannot manage to get exactly what you want with the tempo slider. With replicating the tape effect, this plugin goes as far as having an option to add the tape glitch to the effect. We also have a drive dial that is used to adjust the tape distortion.
Next to the drive, we have analog-looking switches that choose between high-pass and low-pass filters, VU, and stereo imaging options. When the VU is toggled, we will see the VU meter, and when the imaging option is selected, you will be able to adjust between dual mono and standard stereo delay.
The knob in the center is used to adjust to which side the delay should lean on. We can also choose when reverb should occur, pre-echoes or parallel to them.
The dirt option is there to dial how much of a tape effect you want on your delay. You can adjust the presence of this effect by dialing the dry/wet knob on the right. Next to that, you will have an output knob to adjust the volume post effect. Tape echoes have a great reverb effect which, when mixed with the dirt of the tape, sounds great almost on all instruments.
It is available on Windows and macOS in 64-bit VST, VST3, AU, or AAX. The price of this plugin is $99 but keep in mind that Softube often has bundles sale where you can get this plugin for much less.
4. Softube Parallels
If your current production requires massive, big ideas, you must have a trustworthy sonic tool that’s capable of delivering such results. Softube Parallels promises to be such a plugin, providing high-quality waveforms in various shapes, adjustable filters, and awesome effects.
- “Wavescanning” technology
Parallels is a synth plugin that’s constantly looking for the best sounds to fit your needs. The “Dual-Wavescanning” technology behind its algorithms assures that each waveform or sample contains not only the best sonic elements but full monitoring so you can decide yourself what’s best to do with it.
- Elegant design
Dealing with complicated synthesis parameters is not welcoming, even for more experienced producers, if the interface is confusing and polluted. Gladly, that’s not the case with Parallels: all controls are visible, the knobs may glow brilliantly, and you can set the most important parameters very easily.
- Filter types
To get the dynamic aspect of your sample nailed perfectly, a good filtering section is mandatory. To cover this, Parallels feature three filter types that were inspired by great analog modules: a set of three resonant peaks, one low-pass gate, and a state-variable filter.
- Additional presets
The preset manager allows for importing and saving multiple presets, including user-made ones. However, Softube asked sound designer Bjulin to add further 100 sounds that demonstrate what Parallels is capable of doing.
- “Wavescanning” technology
The plugin is available for macOS 10.13 up to 12 (64-bit only) and Windows 10 and 11 (64-bit only). It comes in VST, VST 3, AAX, and AU plugin formats.
Synthesizers can vary greatly in shape and form. They can behave aggressively, lightly, or just be a useful toolkit to include in most of your productions. Parallels get to be more like the last example due to the amount of customization you can apply to your samples and notes.
The futuristic approach towards its functionality makes it a nice tool for cinematic or audacious productions, capable of bearing the most amazing soundscapes you can think of.
5. Softube Opto Compressor
The Softube Opto Compressor is a digital audio plugin designed to emulate the sound and functionality of classic optoelectric compressors from the 1960s.
Opto compressors are known for their smooth and natural compression characteristics, making them ideal for various mixing and mastering applications. It is also considered one of the most accurate and authentic emulations of classic optoelectric compressors.
Other optoelectronic plugins may offer different features or variations on the classic opto compressor sound. For example, some plugins may include additional processing modules or offer more advanced control over the compressor’s behavior. However, the Softube Opto Compressor is often regarded as a go-to plugin for those looking for an authentic and natural opto compressor sound.
- Optical attenuator
One of the key features of the Softube Opto Compressor is its accurate emulation of the T4 optical attenuator, which is the key component in classic optoelectric compressors. This element is responsible for the smooth and natural compression characteristics that opto compressors are known for. The Softube plugin is designed to replicate this behavior as closely as possible.
There is a range of adjustable parameters, including threshold, ratio, attack, release, and makeup gain controls, which allow you to fine-tune the sound of the compressor to suit your needs. The plugin also features a sidechain filter and a mix knob for parallel compression, which provide additional control over the compressor’s behavior.
- Character and mix controls
You get a “Character” knob, which allows you to adjust the overall tone and color of the compressor’s sound. It also includes a “Mix” knob, which provides parallel compression functionality and allows you to blend the compressed and uncompressed signals for greater control over the final sound.
- Program-dependent release
The compressor’s release time is program-dependent, adjusting automatically based on the incoming signal. That helps to ensure that the compressor responds naturally and musically to changes in the audio.
The Softube Opto Compressor is compatible with various digital audio workstations (DAWs) on Windows and macOS platforms, including Pro Tools, Logic Pro X, Cubase, and Ableton Live. It is available in several plugin formats, including VST, VST3, Audio Units, and AAX, allowing it to be used in various setups.
Softube offers a free plugin trial on its website, allowing you to test its compatibility and functionality before purchasing.
Overall, the plugin features an accurate emulation of the T4 optical attenuator, adjustable threshold, ratio, attack, release, makeup gain controls, oversampling, external sidechain input, stereo linking, and a mix knob for parallel compression. It provides a natural and musical optoelectric compression sound, with intuitive controls and additional processing options for flexibility and control.
6. Softube Overstayer M-A-S
A versatile plugin that offers saturation, peak-bending, tone sculpting, and harmonic shaping with high-fidelity details at the power of your fingertip.
The Overstayer Recording Equipment was designed, developed, and built by Jeff Turzo in Los Angeles. With a handmade appeal to it, these units were initially intended for Jeff’s personal use.
As the word got around, he eventually started fabricating more units in 2009. Since then, Overstayer has gathered a very loyal fanbase amongst producers and audio geeks.
This plugin is 100% based on the hardware, offering the same saturation and peak-bending capabilities present on the equipment. You may find this plugin very suitable for adding energy to your tracks, as well as gluing buses and enhancing the quality of your mixes.
- Filter controls
The three switches featuring various boosts or cuts can increase the quality of your signal before it runs through the plugin’s “circuit.” The top button can boost the highs, the middle one can boost the lows, and the last can cut the lows. These quick settings can be conducive to cutting out excessive mud in the low-end or trimming the high frequencies better.
- Dual and 2nd modes
The “Dual” button at the right of your screen enables the second stage in series to the signal path, spreading the load amongst both stages. The result is a complex and lively harmonic character brought to your track. However, the “2nd” mode shifts the circuitry’s response toward more substantial secondary harmonic content, thus brightening your distorted signal in a much more organic method – just like the actual unit would.
- To dry or not to dry
This control underneath the “Mix” button is a feature not so commonly seen: it automatically allows the input to adjust the dry and wet signals’ levels together. This can save you some good hours while trying to balance both signals. Allied with the neighbor “Auto” switch that allows for auto-gain at the output stage, you can tweak your signal in a much more precise way.
- Filter controls
This plugin runs in macOS 10.13 up to 11.6.1 (64-bit only) and Windows 10 (64-bit only). It comes in VST, VST3, AU, and AAX plugin formats.
Softube Overstayer M-A-S does justice to the hardware it’s supposed to mimic. The harmonic richness and overall high level of attention to every control algorithm create a very unique-sounding swiss-army knife that will push the limits of saturation as we know it. The dedicated filtering options and the modes that deal with gain-staging take center stage in this wonderful software.
7. Softube FET Compressor MK 2
The Softube FET Compressor is a software plugin that emulates the sound and characteristics of a classic hardware compressor known for its fast attack time and distinctive distortion characteristics.
The FET compressor was originally developed in the 1960s and was commonly used in recording studios for its ability to add punch and character to a sound. The Softube FET Compressor plugin offers a faithful emulation of the classic hardware unit, with controls for adjusting the input and output levels, attack and release times, and a switch for selecting between “Ratio” and “All” modes.
The “Ratio” mode emulates the original hardware’s fixed ratio settings, while the “All” mode allows variable ratio settings.
- Variable ratio settings
While the original FET compressor hardware had fixed ratio settings, the Softube plugin offers the following ratios: 1:1, 1.5:1, 2:1, 3:1, 4:1, 8:1, 12:1, and 20:1, which gives you great control over your dynamics.
- Sidechain input
A sidechain input allows you to feed an external audio signal to control the compressor’s gain reduction. This can be useful for achieving more precise and dynamic compression effects, such as ducking a music track to make room for a voiceover. In addition, you can also add a filter on the sidechain input.
- Mix knob for parallel compression
In the plugin, you get a mix knob, which allows you to blend the compressed and uncompressed signals. This common technique, parallel compression, can help maintain the natural dynamics of the original signal while still adding some “glue” and punch.
- Simple and intuitive user interface
You get a simple and intuitive user interface resembling the original hardware unit. The controls are clearly labeled and easy to understand, making it a great choice for beginners and experienced users.
- Low CPU usage
The plugin is designed to be lightweight and efficient, with low CPU usage. This means it can be used on multiple tracks and in complex mix sessions without causing performance issues.
- Add interesting character to your sound
You can use the drive/distortion function of the Softube FET Compressor plugin to add warmth, character, and distortion to a signal. It allows users to achieve the same saturation and harmonic distortion that made the original FET compressor hardware popular.
The Softube FET Compressor plugin is available in several plugin formats, including VST, VST3, AU, and AAX. This makes it compatible with most major DAWs, such as Ableton Live, Pro Tools, Logic Pro X, Cubase, and many more, and it works with Windows and macOS operating systems.
In addition, the plugin is also fully compatible with Softube’s hardware controller, Console 1. This allows users to access the plugin’s controls using a physical hardware interface, which can be a more tactile and intuitive way to work.
The Softube FET Compressor plugin is a versatile and flexible tool for achieving classic FET compression sounds in a digital audio workstation. Its variable-ratio settings, sidechain input, mix knob, and intuitive user interface make it a great choice for various applications, from subtle smoothing to heavy pumping effects.
8. Empirical Labs Mike-E Comp By Softube
Plugins that contain different effects and uses inside a single window are awesome and can be the perfect tool for most production styles. It’s nice to have all you’ll need in a single window, which can lead to significantly less CPU power consumption.
Empirical Labs Mike-E Comp was created in collaboration with Dave Derr to simulate the versatility behind the ELI distressor and provide meaningful colorations to your track.
The “Preamp” section offers up to 18dB of gain boost, and it can be used to gain stage your track with the authentic character of a hardware unit. You can even disable the preamp distortion with the “Clean” option, while the “Bad!” indicator will force clipping whenever possible.
One of the main sections of the plugin is called “CompSat,” and is arguably the heart of Mike-E. It works the same way as a distressor, but with additions like a longer attack time and additional emphasis circuit. Of course, the “Drive” knob will add any distortion values promptly, with the nearby LEDs indicating the amount of saturation added to your signal.
The “Emphasis” parameter is divided between three modes: “HF” emphasizes the high frequencies in the saturation circuit, “HF2” does the same but in the entire CompSat circuit, and LF enhances the lower frequencies in the compressor circuit. Switching between these profiles can make the plugin sound warmer and “creamier,” displaying a nice tape-like tone.
- Extended features
As with other Softube plugins, Empirical Labs Mike-E Comp also offers extended features. These can bring nice parameters to complement the already included ones, expanding its functionality and making the overall response of this effect to be much more modern and precise, just like plugins are expected to.
This plugin is available for macOS 10.13 to 12 (64-bit only) and Windows 10 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in VST, VST3, and AU plugin formats.
Softube always brings exciting software that will certainly improve or add character to your tracks. And besides being a recreation of studio equipment, Empirical Labs Mike-E Comp is a nice plugin to have constantly around.
The saturation quality is superb, with subtle nuances that only the genuine or any tube unit could deliver. The different segments are interlinked and behave well if added jointly, making this a versatile and consistent audio-shaping tool.
9. Softube Weiss Compressor/Limiter
Softube’s Weiss Compressor/Limiter is based on the Weiss DS1-MK3 and is a versatile mixing and mastering tool.
This miniaturized version of the original makes for a speedier workflow. The simplified interface tackles the most important parameters of a compressor/limiter in a multi-band approach. The plugin offers Mid-Side and independent channel processing, as well as auto-release and three filter options.
- Three Displays
You can use each mode to control different parameters. The Waveform display shows the gain reduction. Frequency lets you act in band selection mode. Finally, Knee shows the shape of the compressor’s knee.
- Hidden Side-Menu
Here, you can adjust advanced and general parameters, such as knee range, release delay, and sidechaining. You can also enable the dither and select the safety limiter’s mode.
- Auto Release Offset
You can control all three release types from a single knob on the front of the interface. You can also turn off Auto Release and set them all manually on the side menu. The three release types are Average, Fast, and Slow, and when in Auto mode, the proportion between them is controlled by the Fast value.
- Release Delay
This hidden feature works just like the Hold in a gate would. It’s meant to push the beginning of the release further from the transient.
You can use a Low Pass at 3520 Hz or compress just one band with Band Pass mode. For example, in a bass guitar, this would help focus the compression on the instrument’s body while also tackling the lower frequencies.
Character & Sound:
The Weiss Compressor/Limiter is an industry-standard in transparency with utmost transient precision. The filter options will give focus to the compression, while the M/S mode ensures its mastering capabilities. Overall the plugin adds no coloration to your tracks, which lets you add several units while mixing without having to worry about added character.
This plugin is available for macOS 10.12 and newer and Windows 7 and up in VST, AU, and AAX formats.
The Weiss Compressor Limiter, by Softube, is a go-to plugin for its clean sound and simple approach to compression. Using the Auto Release is like driving an automatic car, and the different displays ensure you’re aware of what’s happening to the audio. Meanwhile, the plugin is as invisible as it gets, not getting in the way of your mixing—definitely a worthy addition to your collection.
10. Softube Tape
Tape by Softube brings you three different flavors in a simple and effective plugin to enhance your mixes.
Tape is an excellent option for people who don’t want to get too caught up in tweaking many controls to get what they want. It’ll take you right where you need it to be in just seconds.
With Tape, you can improve an entire mix with just a handful of controls. The UI explains itself, and as for the distribution of its different elements, everything feels accessible and relatively at hand.
- Super simple:
You can literally navigate through the entire plugin in 2 seconds. The graphic interface is optimized for efficiency and sounds good on its own. Great acquisition for beginners and pros, especially for fast results in fast-paced environments.
- Not too much:
Even when taking the amount wheel to the maximum level, the plugin doesn’t break, but rather it adds some very musical distortion and subtleties that enhance your audio. You can quickly adjust some knobs and go back to crystal-clean analog sound even when the input is too hot and distorts aggressively.
- Slide menu:
To the right, we can find more available controls to shape the tone of the distortion. The knobs and how they react are self-explaining, and they’ve included two buttons, “run” and “stop,” to produce a tape stop effect.
- Different flavors:
You can choose between three very different and interesting models with unique characters and tones. Each one of these models is based on separate machines and components. Choose between a swiss reel-to-reel tape machine for a clean balance, a transformer-based machine for richer low-end harmonics, and a British tape machine for better mid-range definition.
Decapitator is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.10 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
Softube’s Tape plugin is undoubtedly one impressively user-friendly tape saturation plugin capable of producing remarkable tape effects to your signal. It’s not too aggressive as a saturator, but this plugin works better as a mix enhancer, which is likely what they’ve made it for in the first place.
It is comfortable to use, but frankly, it can be annoying not to have most controls in plain sight but kept in the displayable sleeve on the right. Nonetheless, this is an absolute killer plugin that can improve the sound of your mixes quite drastically, so make sure to try it out.
11. Softube Vocoder
An inspired approach and a fun-to-use MIDI-controlled vocoder effect.
With Softube sound quality and workflow, Vocoder recreates the experiences of the great vintage equipment of the past. There’s a built-in six-voice carrier synth with MIDI capability, an easy-to-use envelope filter, and an innovative “Freeze” section, too.
This plugin brings authentic vocoder sounds and can be used on a variety of sources, including drums. With a futuristic instrument that has become a nostalgic classic, you can play outside the box live or in the studio.
Vocoder’s vintage tone and ease of use make it ideal for electronic and pop music creation while retaining the old unit’s vibe at the same time.
- True analog feels
The Softube Vocoder plugin is powered by a built-in analog-inspired synthesis engine and outperforms rival emulations of this iconic effect with its warm, textured, three-dimensional sound. With a purpose-built feature set that includes 6-voice polyphony, pitch modulation, and pulse-width modulation, you can quickly fine-tune or completely rearrange your sources.
- Wave selector
The plugin lets you change the carrier’s waveform, which gives you four different-sounding options. Each of the waveforms can be further modulated using the PWM knob below the wave selector. The available waveforms are Sawtooth, Square, Noise, and Pulse.
- Freeze mode
The “Freeze” function, which is uncommon on vocoder plugins, allows you to grab a fragment of a vocal, for example, and generate chopped, DAW-synced rhythms within a track. It also opens up new creative opportunities for musicians and producers aiming to create genre-bending sounds thanks to real-time MIDI control.
- Resynthesis control
This plugin allows you unprecedented control over your vocoded performance’s spectrum response. The analyzer’s bands can be modified independently, or you can use the “Spectral Tilt” control to shift from low to high frequencies quickly. The “Parallel Blend” control blends the dry and wet signals, allowing you to fine-tune or automate the degree of synthetic texture you apply to your source.
- True analog feels
This plugin runs in macOS 10.13 up to 12 (64-bits only) and Windows 10 (64-bits only). It comes in VST, VST3, AU, and AAX plugin formats.
Softube is well recognized for its great hardware and software, including its iconic audio interfaces and preamps. This plugin is an excellent alternative for a vocoder effect, and the amount of fidelity when trying to mimic a vintage, analog unit is enormous.
The sound quality is great, and it actually resembles a lot of the original unit. The “Freeze” control is a good highlight that can be very useful to beatmakers and modern producers who are constantly working with samples and new sounds.
12. Softube Drawmer 1973
Softube is well known for its meticulous models of analog studio hardware, and this emulation of Drawmer Electronics’ 1973, a hardware multiband mastering processor, is no different.
Like the original hardware, this plugin is a FET multiband compressor with three bands. Softube has recreated all of its nuances under license and collaboration with the creator Ivor Drawmer himself. On top of that, they have also added mid/side mode and sidechaining, which weren’t available in the hardware. The resulting plugin is a truly versatile and great-sounding compressor with the unmistakable sonic flavor of the hardware. The crossover slope is fixed and matches the original hardware, resulting in a subtly distinct sound.
- Great Sound
The most significant feature of this plugin is the sound. The Drawmer 1973 uses an emulated FET compressor, which has a peculiar drive to it. The plugin also has a “big” and “air” switch, which respectively adds character to the lows and wide, airy boost to the highs. The mid/side mode also lets you control the stereo field of the track even further by letting you adjust and compress the mid and side independently with a single instance of the plugin. The result is an undeniably clearer and better sound.
- Faithful GUI
The UI of the plugin is very pleasing to look at and easy to use. While there isn’t a modern spectral analyzer to help you visualize the changes you are making, we would argue that the features it provides for quick results render visual analysis unnecessary.
- Global Mix
As this plugin is as much an enhancer as a multiband compressor, the need for a global mix knob becomes paramount. Not to mention this global mix knob could also be used for NY/parallel compression.
- Side Chaining
This feature wasn’t available in the original hardware, but being able to sidechain external audio gives you a whole new set of possibilities. For example, you could use it to tighten some of the low ends of a bass guitar whenever the bass drum hits while keeping the mid and high frequencies free and open.
The Drawmer 1973 is available for Windows 7 and higher at 64-bit and macOS 10.12 or higher at 64-bit. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
In conclusion, if you are looking for a great multiband compressor for mastering and other general sound manipulation, we would highly recommend this plugin for its excellent sound. It definitely brings up clarity in vocals and guitar and tames the boomy low end of acoustic guitars or bass guitars. And you could certainly use it for surgically removing resonance as well, but it’s in giving character and clarity where it absolutely shines.
Softube Transient Shaper
Transient Shaper is suggested because its two processing bands set it apart from similar products.
Using Softube’s Transient Shaper, the user may tailor it to modify only a sound’s high or low frequencies (independently for the Sustain and Punch parameters) while leaving the remainder unmodified. This allows you to crank up the Sustain knob and set the frequency control to Wide on drum overheads. This will simultaneously increase the sustain and boom of the toms while stretching the sound of the room and the cymbals.
- Gain Metering
This plugin’s gain metering shows Punch and Sustain’s overall gain. Thus, the total output gets more accurate settings and avoids using a compressor after the plugin to tame the peaks, which would cancel out the transient-shaping.
- Clip Switch
As you can see, a Clip switch lets you soft start or stop the output clip. Generally, it rounds off the peaks with distortion, but we recommend keeping it on because the company is well-known for its saturation skills, especially in loud punch settings.
It’s a cool addition; it adds crunch to any sound that reaches 0dB and has an LED metering that indicates the Clip when it’s active.
- Dual-Band Functionality
Although this feature is not new, it is a welcome addition. You don’t always want to increase the snap of the sound as much as the total. If you want to remove just the low-end sustain from the kick, for example, you can remove that boomy tail without removing the space of the snare or reverb.
But the functionality of this is much stronger in parallel. If you insert the plugin into an AUX and drive the Punch hard only on highs, you can make the drum buss come back to life with a cool bite.
Similarly, it works to do this on the bass voices as well; for example, if the sustain of the basses has been raised and the punch of the highs has been pulled back in parallel, they can be thickened without adding pops and cracks.
- Punch Control
Transient sliders (Slow/Fast) adjust circuit detection and transient shaping duration. The block diagram also indicates that the Punch detector analyzes stereo signals, and the Sustain detector analyzes two mono signals. If you use high Punch settings on drums, they combine a long or short sustain with greatly enhanced hits, which is good for bringing to life the click of the kick or snap of the snare.
Softube Transient Shaper is available in VST, AAX, and AU formats (32-bit and 64-bit) for Windows 10,8,7 and macOS 10.12 – 10.15.
A transient shaper won’t change how you make up music, but it will improve the quality of your tracks. If you use Softube Transient Shaper with a compressor, it can give you a nice effect. Its dual-band function is very good when you want to fix mix problems, and if you use it in AUX, it becomes an impressive tool.
The price is reasonable, and for those wondering if it’s worth the money, by just considering it’s a tool that can be used on most of your tracks (from vocals, drums, guitar, and bass), it’s worth the money, and this version from the folks at Softube is intuitive and easy to use one.
Are you looking for a premium environment for modular synthesis at a reasonable cost? Read on.
Softube Modular is a very expansive modular synth plugin. It features officially licensed, branded modules from top hardware manufacturers.
Doepfer modules are included in the base package, with Buchla, Intellijel, 4ms, Doepfer, and Mutable Instruments as premium add-ons. The system feels like a proper hardware modular synth setup.
The base package also includes 50 stock modules by Softube, including mixers, sequencers, filters, etc. Furthermore, the plugin features over 400 presets, making it a welcoming experience for beginners and Eurorack masters alike.
- Not Just An Instrument
Surprisingly, Softube Modular also comes with a Modular FX version, which lets you use the intuitive modular system to process your DAW tracks too. You can build unique effect chains featuring compressors, chorus, doubler, distortion, etc., with complex filter routings all in a single plugin instance.
- Integration and Expansion
You can use many of the Softube effect plugins inside Modular as modules. Furthermore, I’ve already mentioned the add-on modules, which are released and expanded regularly. And thanks to Softube’s detailed component-based modeling, each add-on brings a unique flavor to your setup without sounding awkward.
- The Base Package
The Base package includes seven Doepfer modules: A-110-1 VCO, A-108 VCF, A-132-3 Dual VCA, A-140 ADSR, A-118 Noise/Random, A-147 VCLFO, and A-114 Ring Modulator. Furthermore, you’ll also find 50 additional stock modules, including utilities like midi-to-CV/gate, slew, sample & hold, sequencers, and DAW sync. Interestingly, you’ll also find a ROLI Seaboard RISE interface module, which can be handy if you own a ROLI Seaboard.
The plugin is available for Windows 10 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
Softube is a reliable manufacturer of quality plugins, and Modular’s integration with their plugins makes the sonic possibilities near limitless. Furthermore, it’s one of the few modular synth plugins with add-ons.
Note that the Base package is undoubtedly feature-packed and capable of almost any kind of sound design. So, the add-ons are merely for tonal changes and variations.
Softube Weiss EQ1
Softube in collaboration with Weiss Engineering brings us this emulation of the epic mastering EQ “Weiss EQ1”. The Hardware was a best seller in the mid-’90s.
The transparency and accuracy are ideal for mastering situations, which made the hardware unit so popular at its released. Softube’s team looked for a way to recreate all its unique sonic characteristics in the digital world. Adding the possibility to use it as a minimal, dynamic, or as linear phase equalizer.
Being able to see an RTA (real-time analyzer) spectrum with pre and post-processing analysis can help you visualize the changes you are making to the signal. Thanks to this we can control the low and high ends, helping us to make the necessary changes for a clean sound. Let’s see what else this plugin can offer us.
The plug-in offers precision because it has seven identical parametric bands, each with a Q parameter range of 0.2 to 650. It can also operate in modes including high and low shelf, peak, high or low cut, and bypass.
When we are mastering we do not be to make aggressive changes with the processing. This is why the transparency of this plugin and the surgical way with which you can process changes in each band will be of great help when you are enhancing the overall image of the mix.
- Dark Mode:
Softube has dark mode lovers in mind. A performance that undoubtedly helps in the user experience and our eyes.
- 4 Modes:
To work more fully, the EQ 1 plugin has four different modes to view its GUI. If what you want is to see a simplified interface where you can only see the spectrogram and filters, activate the large screen mode. Dynamic and Minimum Phase mode gives you two different ways to set your compression. The linear phase equalizer mode offers us the possibility to create changes in our mixing processes so that the sounds hear so clean.
This plugin is available for macOS 10.13 or higher and Windows 10 or higher and runs on 64-bit only. It runs in VST, AAX, and AU plugin formats.
Excellent if you want your signal to get surgical processing treatment, giving a nice color to the sound. It’s subtle and effective.
The freedom it gives you to tweak and enhance your tracks without being too extreme in mastering is remarkable. Its price is $500, a big difference from its parallel hardware unit, though, pretty expensive for a plugin.
Softube FET Compressor (Original)
Softube is one of the biggest names when it comes to analog emulation and saturation, and their FET Compressor adds even more to the reason.
FET Compressor draws inspiration from the Urei 1176 units with its quick attack and unique ratio parameter with the ‘All’ mode. Furthermore, while sounding every bit as warm and fat as hardware emulations go, Softube still manages to give this plugin a few modern twists. And none of them feels out of place.
Softube’s sleek GUI with the glowing needle meters gives the plugin a modern-day look and added functionalities. For example, it includes a Parallel Inject knob to get parallel/NY compression right from the plugin. Similarly, it also features an external sidechain gain, filters, and a look ahead control.
- The Hardware Sound
All of the fixed ratio settings from the original hardware, including the famous ‘All’ ratio setting, are present in FET Compressor, making it acoustically authentic to the original unit. Furthermore, every plugin stage was emulated separately to ensure the same behavior as the hardware. The result is the sonic warmth reminiscent of the original version of the Urei 1176 but with a low noise floor.
At the bottom right of the plugin, you will find the Detector section. The first knob is the External Side Chain, which lets you control the compressor’s sensitivity to the sidechain input it is receiving. This feature is helpful for taming basslines with the kick or creative uses like synth ducking.
The Detector section also features two filters: a low-cut and a high-cut. They are useful for cleaning up the sound generally. However, since the range of the filters is vast (20 Hz to 2 kHz low-cut and 100 Hz to 20 kHz high-cut), they could be used for targetting a specific frequency range as well.
- Look Ahead
As fast as hardware FET compressors are, the shortest transient peaks still manage to escape their hands. Enter Softube’s ‘Look Ahead’ feature in FET Compressor. It lets the plugin add latency of up to 1 millisecond in your DAW to ensure no peaks get to escape. So, you could actually even use this compressor as a master limiter. Although, make sure you check your True Peak levels externally too.
This plugin is available for Windows 10 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
The deeply emulated transformer components and individual stages make Softube FET Compressor one of the warmest and fattest sounding analog compressor plugins yet. We feel like it would perform exceptionally well on drums, and as for vocals and other instruments, you could add a touch of it to give them some color. However, it’s worth noting that the plugin feels slightly pricey, so we recommend waiting on a sale if you aren’t in a hurry.
Softube Spectral Multiband Resonator
Softube added another popular module to its Modular platform. 4MS licensed and endorsed the virtual SMR, and it emulates the original’s hardware and firmware.
The 4ms Spectral Multiband Resonator is an advanced multiband resonant filter that can do a wide variety of things to audio, including vocoding, remixing songs, harmonizing, outputting spectral data, quantizing music to scales, and ringing like a marimba when plucked or tapped.
The SMR has a central LED ring with a 23-note scale and six resonant bandpass filters surround it. Manually or with a continuous variable, you can quickly sweep all filters throughout their existing note scale. The note scales range from the more common Western and alternate tunings to the more exotic Gamelan and microtonal scales. In addition, the volume of each filter’s output can be adjusted independently using CV.
The filters feature a variety of “tunings,” or configurations, that range from a dozen to twenty different tonalities. There are both microtonal and equal-tempered versions of these. The Bank control on the right of the screen is used to make that choice. However, the Rotate knob in the middle, the Scale knob to the higher right, the Morph knob to the lower right, and the Spread knob to the right govern how the individual pitches are distributed over the various filters.
A wide range of “pitch-colored” filterings and ringings can be created by interacting with these settings. Each filter also features an envelope follower that you may use to modulate the sound by adjusting the envelope of a single channel, either continuously or according to a predetermined scale.
- Additive Synthesis
SMR can function as an oscillator bank in an additive synthesis setup. You can put it to work as a vocoder, phaser, quantizer, stereo widener, CV source, arpeggiator, or sequencer.
In the context of remixing, SMR can be used to isolate and isolate triggers from audio recordings. It has the potential to function as a drum synthesizer, with the ability to trigger offbeat and even beats with a pulse. For further craziness, you can use it as a foundation for multiband compressor patches.
This plugin is available for macOS 10.10 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It comes in VST/RTAS/AU/AAX formats and supports 32 and 64 bit systems.
It includes 75 new presets that can be used for various sounds, effects, and other manipulations. The beauty of this plugin is that you may add more and more SMR modules to increase the depth of the creative process. It’s quite neat, but I’m holding out for the Spherical Wavetable Navigator we saw in the flesh at Superbooth.
Softube Tube-Tech Equalizer MKII
Softube’s Tube-Tech Equalizer MkII combines both of the most famous and praised tube equalizers from the ’50s.
The well-loved Pultec sound has had its heritage preserved by a Danish company called Tube-Tech since the mid-eighties. This plugin is the exact recreation of Tube-Tech’s version of the original Pultecs, put together by Softube in an effort to facilitate the workflow.
The equalizer at the top is called the “Program Equalizer,” as its main focus is dealing with high and low shelves. It skips the midrange almost entirely, although you can broaden the bandwidth at lower KCS values and reach some of the mids. Even so, it has straightforward functions: the knobs to the left, Boost, Atten, and CPS, control the low frequencies up to 100Hz. By increasing the boost and attenuation values together, you get the classic Pultec curve, which is excellent on the bass and kick drum. The Bandwidth, KCS, and right-hand Boost knobs all control the high frequencies, with the Atten and Atten Sel knobs to the upper right dealing with high-frequency attenuation. Clicking the red light bypasses the unit.
The second unit on this plugin handles the mid-range more thoroughly, making the frequency response complete. This is a three-band equalizer but with different controls. The high and low frequencies get a peak, or bell, control, in which you get four frequency options for each and up to 10dB of boost. However, the mids work inversely, making a bell-cut at any of the eleven possible frequencies. The catch here is that the whole equalizer works between 200 and 5000 Hz, making it just a bit wider than the full spectrum’s mid-range. This ensures that you can create peaks and a dip in the midrange and shelving on the lows and highs for the classic Pultec sound when you use both units simultaneously.
Character & Sound:
The reason this tube equalizer has been so coveted for years is its sound. Beyond sounding great at any setting, anything you do makes the processed signal sound round, warm, and full. No other equalizer does that. The fact that this plugin has both the PE1C and ME1B in the same unit emphasizes that feeling and delivers greater tonal control than if it was only one of the two EQs.
The MkII is available as a VST, AU, and AAX plugin for 64-bit only Windows 7 and up and macOS 10.12 and up.
Some classics deserve to live on. That’s what Tube-Tech thought when making their first units, and it’s the same principle behind this astounding emulation by Softube. This plugin sells itself on the original’s history, but it’s not ideal for all mastering situations due to its lack of thorough control.
The EQ curves are particular and sound amazing for their character but render this plugin not as versatile as others on this list. Nevertheless, it’s an amazing tool for mixing, especially for auxiliary bus tracks that you can also use for mastering when the sound is right.
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