Plugging Into the Alliance
Plugin Alliance is the brainchild of Brainworx CEO Dirk Ulrich. His
company, along with European analog audio equipment manufacturers
SPL, Elysia and Vertigo, began developing software versions of their
outboard hardware processors in 2011. Rather than having each company
host their own servers and websites to sell their respective plugins,
they decided to pool their online resources into one site,
offer a host of plug-ins from dynamics and EQ processors to mastering
tools. And, like some of the other developers we’ve featured in
this column, they offer a few freebies to get customers “in the
door.” These free offerings include two from Brainworx —
Cleansweep and Solo; Elysia’s Niveau Filter; and SPL’s Free
Brainworx Cleansweep is a simple yet effective
high-pass/low-pass filter. It’s just the thing for getting rid of
unwanted high- or low-end audio, sometimes referred to as
If you have a female V/O track, there’s not much point in
reproducing anything below 100 Hz in the mix. You’d just be adding
equipment or room noise. Ditto for anything above, say, 4 kHz on a
bass track. Cleansweep’s virtual joystick control allows quick
selection of not just the frequency of the roll-off, but also the
steepness of the curve. This high-quality filter was taken from their
commercially available pro mastering EQ, bx digital V2.
is a mid/side stereo processor that allows several ways to dissect
and adjust the stereo imaging of an audio signal. Left channel, right
channel, M (L+R) and S (L–R) can all be soloed, and stereo width
can be adjusted. Special care should be taken with this particular
control, as too much can introduce phase issues. As with all such
effects, a little goes a long way.
Niveau Filter is simple. There are only two controls: EQ gain and
EQ frequency. It’s sort of a glorified tone control. Adjusting the
frequency control sets the center frequency around which the process
takes place. Turning the gain control clockwise boosts frequencies
above that center point while simultaneously attenuating those below.
Turning the gain counterclockwise does the opposite. Once I got my
head around that, it was easy to use. On an entire mix, it was easy
to dial in a setting that gave it more punch. Extreme settings have a
similar effect to a high-/low-pass filter, which might come in handy
in the right situations.
SPL Free Ranger is a limited version of their Full Ranger EQ
plugin. Where the Full Ranger is a 10-band graphic EQ, the Free
Ranger is limited to four bands: 40 Hz, 150 Hz, 1.8 kHz and 16 kHz.
It has the ability to store up to four different settings in
short-term memory for comparison. It sounds clean but it’s
obviously intended to get users to purchase the full version.
to these plugins requires free registration with Plugin Alliance.
(Hey, they’ve got to get you on the mailing list somehow!)
Installation and activation are straightforward, and documentation is