Softube- Weiss DS1-MK3- Mastering Plug-in
In the constant battle between hardware and software, every passing day brings a new software that really can hold its own.
The Softube Official Weiss DS1-MK3 is a true game changer. It is not an emulation like most plugins but is a line by line code port of the original 9000$ hardware unit and is officially licensed by Daniel Weiss himself.
The original unit is an absolute legend qhen it comes to mastering limiters. The transparency and sound quality that it can deliver have made it a staple tool on numerous hit records since the 90’s. It has been the go-to limiter for some of the leading mastering engineers in the world including 3 time Grammy-winning Bob Katz.
But is the 500$ plugin going to be as solid as its hardware counterpart? Well, it gets pretty damn close. This plugin has been in development by Softube, working in collaboration with Weiss, for almost 3 years. And every bit of code has been ported from the unit to make it as accurate as possible. It has some plugin-only features too, such as the new metering options with waveform views that can show your audio and affected peaks in realtime. It can run at 32bit/192Khz and has a couple of extra algorithms in addition to the original. It also comes with presets from some of the best engineers, including Bob Katz, and the icing on the cake, you can run multiple instances of it!
Using the limiter for the last couple of weeks, it has truly proven to be an unmatched player in the space. It is very clean and transparent. The de-esser is extremely precise and versatile as well. The ability to run multiple instances of it means that you can now use it on drum overheads and sibilant vocal tracks simultaneously. The plugin might be quite steep, coming in at around 500$, but it offers a significant upgrade to the mastering arsenal of any studio.
Slate Digital Audified U73b- Plug-in, Compressor
CLASSIC GERMAN TUBE WARMTH!
Slate Digital has been at the forefront of the digital audio software revolution in recent times. With his Everything Bundle being one of the best deals in the pro audio market. The Audified U73b Compressor is the newest module to arrive, re-released at NAMM this year, it claims to recreate the sound of an old German vari-mu tube broadcast limiter from the 1960’s.
Steven says he first heard the compressor and was blown away by the sound of it and decided to have it integrated into the Slate Virtual Mix Rack. The controls are fairly simple with input, output, compression amount and release time knobs. It also has a switch to go between compression and limiting and another for a HPF. The GUI is unmistakably Slate, with a very familiar design to the other FG series modules.
So how does it sound?
It has an extremely vintage tube tone. It adds an extremely warm and lush blanket to anything it’s been put on. It works great on snares and vocals although you might need to push it quite hard for the desired flavour. The plugin features an adjustable oversampling option. With oversampling enabled, the plugin processing can run at higher sample rates to reduce high-frequency distortion produced by aliasing. This works well, although it can get quite CPU intensive.
All in all, it is a great addition to the VMR module. It adds a vintage arm to the swiss army knife that is VMR. It may be a bit too warm for some and just perfect for others but it’s not something that’s going to work great on everything. Also, there is no way to get it as a standalone unit. So, if you are not a big fan of the VMR module, it might be a bit of a deal breaker.