The 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, www.plugin-alliance.com.
They 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 Ranger.
The 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 “infrasonics.”
Example: 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.
Brainworx Solo 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.
Elysia Niveau Filter
Elysia’s 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 The 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.
Access 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 included.