Plug-ins From Russia With Love — The Sequel
     

OldSkoolReverb, A Reverb

In March I looked at four free plug-ins from Russian developer Voxengo — two EQs, a mid/side processor and a spectrum analyzer.

The man behind Voxengo is Aleksey Vaneev. He explained to me why he was offering such fine plug-ins for free: It’s “a good marketing practice that brings website visitors that may later be interested in paid plug-ins.”

At the company’s website, you can find a host of free and paid VST and AU plug-ins for Windows and Mac-based DAWs — from mastering EQs and compressors to tube amp simulators.

As I said in the previous column, these plug-ins are pretty impressive for freebies. So much so that I had to go back for seconds.

This test drive involves four more free offerings. These four don’t provide the surgical tools of the previous bunch, but are more along the lines of effects and other handy “gadgets.”

GO TO SKOOL

First up is the OldSkoolVerb. As the name implies, it’s a good old-fashioned reverb plug-in, reminiscent of a rack mount unit, with the added features of a three-band EQ and high- and low-frequency damping controls.

Tube Amp is a tube amplifier simulator
Operation is fairly straightforward. Select the size of your “space,” adjust the pre-delay (how long it waits to simulate early reflections, longer time implies a larger space), time (how long the effect lasts) and width. The EQ and damping controls can then adjust the overall tonal quality of the reverb signal.

Dry and reverb gain controls adjust the balance of their respective signals. The sound quality is good for a free plug-in. I found the “plate” presets to be the cleanest sounding. As with most reverb plug-ins, a little goes a long way — so don’t get carried away or you’ll have a pile of mush.

SPECIAL SAUCE

Next is the Tube Amp. This tube amp simulator is easy to use and can produce a range of sonic “special sauce” from gentle tube-like compression to a full-on guitar-shredding distortion fest. The factory presets include useful settings to start with, especially the mastering settings. These are surprisingly clean for a plug-in that’s essentially introducing distortion into the mix. It also includes an optional soft-knee limiter on the final output, as well as the ability to handle not just stereo but 5.1 surround signals.

TOUCH ME IN THE MORNING

Third is Stereo Touch, a mid/side encoder that can take a mono signal and effectively create a convincing stereo output. It takes the mono signal and creates two separate outputs, a mid (center) signal and a side (stereo) signal.The side channel is then gain- and delay-adjusted to the desired effect. At extreme settings, a surround effect can even be produced. It takes a bit of experimentation to get the hang of it, and the included factory presets are certainly helpful
The Beeper creates … beeps.
in getting started. Just be sure to check the end result for polarity issues.

BEEP-BEEP!

Finally, the Beeper is a simple, handy tool for inserting a “beep,” noise burst, or even silence at adjustable intervals into an audio mix. This is to prevent theft of sample mixes or other sensitive pieces of digital audio. It can also be used to slate and identify and separate segments of audio such as long interviews. The frequency of the tone, its duration, and the interval are all adjustable. The interval can also be randomized. The plug-in doesn’t otherwise affect the audio, so it’s safe to use on mission-critical material.

As with all Voxengo plug-ins, these all have the ability to load two different presets for A/B comparison, and allow for multiple signal routing options to be programmed into available hot keys. Custom settings can also be saved in addition to the factory presets.

As they say in Russia, “Na zdarovie!”

If you have any plug-in comments or suggestions, Curt can be reached at cyengst@star991.com.

Info: www.voxengo.com/group/free-vst-plugins.


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