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Plug-Ins Made With Love

Tokyo Dawn Records is a small indie label based in Munich. It’s also the home of Tokyo Dawn Labs, where they create their own VST plug-ins, with an emphasis on mastering audio.

Tokyo Dawn Nova Equalizer

Presented here are three free versions of their Nova dynamic EQ, VOS SlickEQ mastering EQ, and Kotelnikov stereo buss compressor. All plug-ins have paid versions, which are relatively inexpensive (each under $100), and add a few more features.

The Nova dynamic EQ is an interesting tool in that it is both an EQ and a compressor. At first blush, the interface looks no different than your garden-variety software parametric EQ. It operates in the same fashion, allowing the user to drag one of four bands into any desired curve. But this plug-in also allows each band to adjust the final loudness based on compression settings like threshold, ratio and make-up gain. The graphic representation of the EQ curve also indicates how much compression is taking place along that curve. It’s a multiband compressor with a twist! It includes sum/difference (M/S) processing, A/B comparison of settings, and an integrated spectrum analyzer.

The VOX SlickEQ has an interface modeled after the vintage Pultec mastering EQs. Its three bands provide variable frequency and gain, with low and high bands offering a choice between slope or notch adjustment. One key feature is the mode selector, which allows users to emulate one of four distinct EQ flavors from German, Russian, British and American designs. Also included are a high-pass filter, output stage adjustments, M/S processing and A/B comparison.

Tokyo Dawn SlickEQ

Tokyo Dawn Kotelnikov Mastering Compressor

The Kotelnikov stereo compressor is a wideband mastering EQ with a extra features for surgically processing a final mix. One standout is the stereo imaging sensitivity adjustment. Where most stereo compressors offer a “link” switch to affect both channels equally, the Kotelnikov makes this stereo linking a variable control. The release control is divided into two separate controls, peak and RMS, allowing for better handling of signal transients. Another handy feature is the Delta button. This allows users to hear the difference between the original and compressed signals. Better put, it lets you hear what the compressor is taking out. Like the others, it includes M/S processing and A/B comparison.

All plug-ins are 32- and 64-bit compatible; and there are Mac versions available. They all come with a decent compliment of presets that serve as good starting points. The interface is clean and intuitive, but each also includes a “help” button. Activating this and mousing over any control brings up a text bubble explaining that control’s function. Short training videos are also available at the website: www.tokyodawn.net/tokyo-dawn-labs.

These are very well executed plug-ins. Happy mastering!

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