PSPaudioware PSP oldTimerMB Honest Review

We recently reviewed PSPaudioware’s amazing plugin bundle that includes the PSP oldTimer and PSP oldTimerME compressors.

Now, let’s look into the PSP oldTimerMB, the multiband edition of the original. It’s a fantastic plugin that gives you even more control over your track’s compression by dividing the signal into highs, mids, and lows.

 

Category
Rating
Summary
Features
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The PSP oldTimerMB has loads of great features which are easy to use. Even if you don’t want to use it as a multiband compressor, it’s worth getting it for the extra controls that aren’t available on the other PSP oldTimer versions.
Sound
⭐⭐⭐⭐
This plugin sounds fantastic and gives you great control over the individual bands. However, when compared to other PSP plugins, it lacks some harsher power.
GUI
⭐⭐⭐⭐
The interface is large but well laid out, with all the controls neatly ordered and easy to use. So if you’re looking for quick results, you won’t have any problem swiftly manipulating the settings.
Value for Money
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The PSP oldTimerMB is more expensive than the classic and Master Edition versions, but with good reason. Aside from being aimed at multiband compression, there are extra controls on each part of the compressor, which can give you excellent results. Well worth the higher cost.

To fully understand how to use this plugin, we’ll start by looking at the interface. It’s much bigger than the PSP oldTimer, with more features, some of which are specific to multiband compressors.

Band Controls

Each band has the traditional compressor functions. These include Attack, Release, Ratio, Compression, and Gain. The Release control has two automatic settings, which will function depending on the input level. Auto 1 is based on the original plugin’s release mode, and Auto 2 is modeled after an analog release mode. You can also set this to Off, giving you the option to set the release manually.

The Ratio knob has a good number of settings, from 1:1 to 10. Having a 1:1 ratio may seem redundant, seeing as the compressor won’t be acting at all, but it’s actually a great addition by PSP. It allows you to pass the signal through the plugin so that it can pick up some of the analog warmth that has been built into its digital circuitry.

Like with the PSP oldTimer, the Compression feature is a simple 0-10 knob, with 10 being the highest compression level. The Gain is similarly straightforward, going from -∞ to 12.

There’s also a gain reduction meter, allowing you to visualize how the compressor is acting. This is especially helpful for beginners who may not fully understand the difference in attack and release times.

Some new features for the multiband version of this plugin are the Width, Solo/Mute, and On/Off/Bypass options. Being able to control the width of the signal is an amazing feature, as you can add some stereo width depending on the band you’re processing. For example, you could keep the lows in mono but give the highs some space on the sides. This is great for drum bus processing so that you can have the kick drum and other lows centered while bringing the highs like the cymbals further out to the sides.

The Solo and Mute toggle allows you to only listen to the band you’re working on or to not hear it at all. This can give you a better idea of how the PSP oldTimerMB influences each band.

At the right end of the plugin, you can turn each band on or bypass it, another great way to understand what’s going on while using the plugin. Finally, the High and Low bands can be turned off completely, disabling the controls. This is handy if you want to avoid any processing whatsoever on each of these bands or to simply use the Middle band as the overall compressor.

Global Controls

As we’ve seen, almost all of the controls so far are common between the three bands. So now, let’s look at the global controls that will influence how the bands work together and the final result of all the functions in tandem.

There are two crossover knobs for manipulating where the bands will meet between the lows and mids and the mids and highs. These crossover points aren’t set to specific frequencies so that you can have more power over the compression that will take effect. For the lows and mids, you can set a frequency between 60Hz and 1.2kHz; on the mids and highs, you can set a crossover between 1.2kHz and 12kHz.

The Order toggle will also influence how sharply these crossover points interact. You can set this to 1st, 2nd, and 4th. 1st gives you gentle slopes, so the bands will affect each other more, while 4th sets the steepest slopes, giving you more separation between them. 

So, for example, if you set the crossover point between the lows and mids at 270Hz and use the 1st slope, the Low band will affect a range of frequencies above 270Hz, and the Middle band will affect a range below 270Hz. However, if you set the toggle to 4th, the range of frequencies above 270Hz will be affected a lot less by the Low band than on 1st. The same goes for the Middle band affecting below 270Hz.

These slopes can make a big difference over having a more general compressed sound or more separated results. Taking a drum bus as an example again, setting the order to 4th can give you a sharper separation between the compression of the kick and the cymbals.

At the bottom of the interface, you have the rest of the controls. As with the PSP oldTimerME, there is a sidechain high-pass filter. However, this edition allows for more control as the maximum frequency is 1000Hz, rather than 600Hz, and it can be changed smoothly rather than in increments. There is also a sidechain link for setting the amount of channel linking of the control signal.

Next is the Mode knob, which allows you to select how each channel is processed. It’s set to stereo as a default, but you can compress just the left signal or just the right, as well as just the middle or just the sides. This can help you achieve greater separation between the different channels. The only downside is that you will need more instances of the plugin to process the opposing channel. For example, you can set the Mode to L and only compress the left channel, then add another PSP oldTimerMB to your chain and set it to R to compress the right channel.

In the center, there’s a simple On/Bypass toggle for enabling or disabling the entire plugin rather than each band. And there’s a link button so each set of knobs can be manipulated simultaneously. For example, with this turned on, all the Ratio knobs will move together, all the Compression knobs will move together, etc. 

Tip: If you prefer not to have this engaged all the time, you can use Ctrl on Windows or Cmd on a Mac as shortcuts for achieving the same result.

There’s a Blend knob for parallel compression, giving you the chance to select a certain level of the dry and wet signals. One of the standout features on the PSP oldTimerME was the separate Dry and Wet knobs, which would have worked well here too. That being said, the Blend is the most common form of achieving this parallel result and works perfectly well.

Next to the Blend knob, there’s a global Output. This allows you to manipulate the overall output gain in case the signal is too low or high after going through the individual band units. There’s also a Balance control so you can pan the compressed signal.

The final feature to mention here is one of the highlights of the whole PSP oldTimer series. The valve emulation is so simple to use and sounds amazing. There’s a switch to toggle the emulation on and off (Valve/Off) and a control for turning up the overall level. It adds fantastic analog-style color to the entire signal, making it easy to have certain instruments stick out in your mix.

That also leads to an idea for a possible change to the system in a future version. The valve emulation affects the entire plugin. It would be interesting to see an edition with individual valve controls for each band.

Processing Options Toolbar

At the bottom of the interface, there’s one more feature to mention. The PSP oldTimerMB is a part of PSPaudioware’s Zero Latency Processing series, making it a fast-acting plugin with minimal CPU usage. However, you can choose to add some latency using the FAT (Frequency Authentication Technique) oversampling controls.

You can set it to 2x for double oversampling with linear phase filters or to 4x for quad oversampling. This option uses finite and infinite response filters.

Presets

As always, we have to mention the presets available on these plugins. The PSP oldTimerMB has a huge array of factory presets designed by PSPaudioware and independent designers. There’s a great selection divided by Application and Designer, and it’s really easy to save your own presets too. You can also copy and paste the settings from one plugin instance to another and A/B test them.

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