Channel Strip Plug-Ins

Sep 1, 2009 12:00 PM, By George Petersen

INPUT FLAVORS FOR YOUR DAW

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TC Electronic

Offered as part of the TC Electronic (www.tcelectronic.com) PowerCore 3 software upgrade (now at V. 3.2) for its DSP extension systems — PowerCore PCI mkII, Express, Unplugged, Compact, FireWire, X8 and 6000 models — VoiceStrip is a complete voice-processing channel, with compression, gating, de-essing, dedicated voice EQ and low-cut filter. The EQ and compression are modeled on classic vintage tube hardware, and all of the modules can run simultaneously with stored presets for recalling sounds quickly. The upgrade (for Mac OS 10.4.10 and above, or Windows XP SP2/Vista 32 systems) is free for PowerCore hardware owners.

Universal Audio

Universal Audio (www.uaudio.com) markets an assortment of plug-ins for its UAD-2 Powered Plug-In series DSP systems for laptop and desktop DAWs, with VST, Audio Units and RTAS support for Mac OS Tiger (10.4), Leopard (10.5) and Windows XP/x64, Vista 32/64. The company's current catalog offers three channel strip options; all work with older UAD-1 or the new UAD-2 hardware.

UA's CS-1 Channel Strip is a free download, configured as a single plug-in using a single insert, or the three components (EX-1 EQ/compressor, DM-1 delay modulator and RS-1 Reflection Engine) can be used separately. The EX-1 combines five parametric bands and full-function studio compression. The DM-1 provides stereo chorus, flange, dual-delay and ping-pong effects, with controls for recirculation, HF damping and LFO selection. The RS-1 adds early reflection control with room shape/size controls, forward and reverse gating, and echo/multitap delays.

Designed to emulate a certain high-end British console, the $249 UAD 4K Channel Strip from Universal Audio has models of the 4000 G+ mixer. This plug-in is compatible with UAD-1 and UAD-2 systems, and features Type-E “black knob” equalization and filters, gating (with a “no chatter” mode), versatile compression that ranges from transparent to an aggressive VCA style, and a sidechain function that inserts the EQ or filter bands into the dynamics section.

Officially licensed from AMS-Neve, the $299 Neve 88RS Channel Strip is a Universal Audio-modeled software re-creation of the EQ and dynamics section of the 88 Series large-format analog board. The modules can be placed in any order, including being used to sidechain the EQ to the dynamics section. The EQ is 4-band with parametric midrange control and high- and low-shelving, along with -12dB/octave HF/LF cut filters. Dynamics include compression/limiting and expander/gate, and a global section offers output gain control, bypass switches and a phase-invert switch.

URS

Unique Recording Software (www.ursplugins.com) offers the URS Classic Console Strip Pro with input stages, compressor, sidechainable filters and equalizer (TDM/RTAS/Audio Units/VST, $1,199; Native RTAS/Audio Units/VST, $599) and the URS Classic Console Strip with compressor and equalizer (TDM/RTAS/Audio Units/VST, $399; Native RTAS/Audio Units/VST, $199). All include Mac and WinXP support. The Pro version also has ducking/de-essing, 30 selectable input stage algorithms and 4-band parametric EQ, with a choice of five algorithms for each band. The DSP-efficient standard URS Classic Console Strip has a compressor with digitally re-created transformer input characteristics followed by a feed-forward 1975 VCA gain-reduction amplifier.

Wave Arts

TrackPlug 5 is but a single component of Wave Arts' (wavearts.com) Power Suite 5 ($599 boxed or download), which also includes reverb, peak limiter, multiband dynamics and “panoramic” panning plug-ins. The channel strip features up to 10 bands of 64-bit EQ with choices for parametric, low/high shelf, low/band/highpass or notch filtering. Adaptive RMS/peak detectors reduce undesired low-frequency distortion while comprehensive metering aids in the setup dynamics thresholds. Other features include an adjustable look-ahead delay; soft, medium and hard compressor; and gate characteristics and automation of any control through compatible host applications. Mac requirements include OS 10.4 or later and a host program that supports the Audio Units, MAS, VST or RTAS plug-in architecture. Universal Binary (Mac Intel) support is offered for Audio Units and VST only (no RTAS support). PCs require Windows 2000, XP or Vista and a host program that supports the DirectX, VST or RTAS plug-in architecture.

Waves

AudioTrack from Waves (www.waves.com) is offered in Native ($150) and TDM ($300) versions for Mac or PC, as well as being included in its Mercury, Diamond, Gold and Platinum bundles. This single-step plug-in combines input gain fader, 4-band EQ, compressor/expander, gating, output level fader and metering for input energy (post-EQ), dynamic action and output level with peak hold.






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