Plug-ins From Russia With Love — The Sequel
In March I looked
at four free plug-ins
from Russian developer Voxengo — two EQs, a mid/side processor and a spectrum
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.
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
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
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.
Tube Amp is a
tube amplifier simulator
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.
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
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
in getting started. Just be sure
to check the end result for polarity issues.
creates … beeps.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.