Recording - September 2015 - 51

keyboards can have sharp percussive
attacks like drums (think Rhodes or Wurlitzer
electric piano), solid sustain with little or no
distinct attack (think Hammond organ, with
or without percussion tabs), or anywhere in
between (piano or synthesizer).
The top knob is labeled Inst and lists five
possible instrument types: Piano, Rhodes,
Wurli, Organ, and Synth. The Color knob
simply says None, Single, Double, Triple,
and Max. This is a simple "more" selection;
I found I got the nicest results with Triple or
Max on most sound sources (upright piano,
Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Clavinet).
I found that there was a decent but not
perfect correlation between Inst setting
and the actual source; the Piano setting
did sound great on piano, but depending
on many factors in the original recording,
a Rhodes might sound better with the
Rhodes setting in some cases and with
Wurli or Synth in others. The first three settings worked best with a percussive, staccato playing style, bringing up body and
muscle in the notes without dulling the
attacks, while Organ and Synth worked
best for adding presence and heft to sustained parts. Rhodes chordal work, run
through a phaser, was gorgeous on the
Synth setting with Color set to Triple!
I did notice that certain settings were
prone to distortion if the Drive was
pushed even a little bit above unity gain,
particularly on extremely percussive
parts. You get the benefit of the plug-in
even at lower Drive settings; for this plugin, Rob may encourage you to turn it up,
but I think you shouldn't be afraid to turn
it down. It'll still sound great.
M1Limiter Lite
This is a compressor and brickwall limiter intended to go at the very end of your
audio chain, preferably on your Master
bus. It's meant to give you every last iota
of level from your mixes and do so with
relative transparency. In this case, while
the "meter indicates a sweet spot" advice
still holds, you're warned to listen to the
results and not hit the limiter too hard.
The top knob is labeled Style and has
settings for Hip Hop, EDM, Pop, Rock,
and Ballad, similar to those on DrumBuss
Lite. It's much more subtle than the corresponding settings on either of the two
Buss Lite plug-ins, to the point where I
often had trouble hearing tonal differences on certain types of mixes.
The bottom knob is labeled Headroom,
and it's not subtle at all! The settings and
intended uses are:
-0.01 dB ("for HOT digital mixes or CDs"),
-0.30 dB (for creating MP3s "to help
reduce codec distortion during the conversion process"),

-1.0 dB ("If you are sending your song to
iTunes, Apple recommends -1.0 dB of
headroom"),
-3.0 dB ("to allow some extra headroom
for the Mastering Engineer"), and
-4.50 dB ("for TV broadcast... EBU PAL level
only allows maximum peaks at -4.5 db.").
I get what this plug-in is supposed to do,
and it does it almost too well. Turn it up and
you get big, loud, slamming mixes with
effectively no dynamic range at all. If
you're dealing with people who still haven't
learned that the Loudness Wars are over,
this plug-in will produce those kinds of
mixes easily. But I've never met a mastering
engineer who thinks that a brickwalled mix
at -3 dBFS is an appropriate deliverable!
Use this limiter with caution, just to prevent
overs, and set the Headroom conservatively. It's addictively loud, but the potential for
abuse is worrisome.

Parallel Drums
And now for something completely different! Parallel Drums is designed to easily create the famous effect of compressed
drums with a wet/dry mix that blends the
original track's dynamic range with the
slammed timbre of the compressor. A lot
of modern plug-ins have built-in parallel

processing, but if you don't have one (or
even if you do), this plug-in does a bangup job of providing the effect.
The two knobs are labeled Instrument
(All, Kick, Snare, Toms, O/H, and Room)
and Response (Fast, M/F, Medium, M/S,
and Slow). The former controls the tonal
range of the compression effect; All handles a full drum mix, and the other settings
are tuned to the frequency spectrum of the
drum being processed-lows and beater
click for Kick, highs for Overheads, etc.
The Response control produces a wide
range of timbres; Fast settings are tight and
clean, and Slow settings are loose,
punchy, and immense when driven hard.
The settings for individual drums work
well, but I think the most fun is to be had
on drum loops or full mixes. The All setting
is wide and transparent, while the Room
setting produces an interesting tonal twist
that rivets the attention. Fun stuff!
Conclusions
As Paul Vnuk Jr. put it in his original
review of MixBuss Lite: "If this plug-in had
been released ten years ago, it would
have easily been in the $200 to $300
range and offered solid competition for
many of the well-known digital limiter plugins of the day. Nowadays? Hey, it's $19
and does what it says." My findings for
these plug-ins mirror that sentiment. While
you'll probably want something with more
range and control for final mixes of albums
and the like, they're dynamite for web
releases, demos, client copies of scratch
mixes, podcasts, and much more. Speed
and ease of use pay dividends in the working studio, and plug-ins don't get much
faster or easier than these.
These plug-ins won't have the makers of
multi-hundred-dollar software quaking in
their boots, but they sound good and are
fabulously easy to use. They're affordable
enough so that you will probably find one
or two an easy gamble to make. If even one
song comes through punchier, clearer, and
more exciting, while retaining its essential
quality and depth, then the investment will
have been worth it. Rob reports that several
more of these plug-ins are coming soon; we
can't wait to try those out, too.

Delivery: Web download only
Format: VST and AAX for Windows XP or better; VST, AAX, and AU and Mac OS X
10.6 or better. 32- and 64-bit versions are included with each purchase.
Copy protection: user-watermarked download
License: multiple installs on multiple computers, single user
Documentation: online at website
Prices: $19 each; Parallel Drums, $24
More from: Final Mix Software, www.finalmix.biz
RECORDING September 2015

51


http://www.finalmix.biz

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - September 2015

Contents
Recording - September 2015 - Intro
Recording - September 2015 - Cover1
Recording - September 2015 - Cover2
Recording - September 2015 - 1
Recording - September 2015 - 2
Recording - September 2015 - 3
Recording - September 2015 - 4
Recording - September 2015 - 5
Recording - September 2015 - Contents
Recording - September 2015 - 7
Recording - September 2015 - 8
Recording - September 2015 - 9
Recording - September 2015 - 10
Recording - September 2015 - 11
Recording - September 2015 - 12
Recording - September 2015 - 13
Recording - September 2015 - 14
Recording - September 2015 - 15
Recording - September 2015 - 16
Recording - September 2015 - 17
Recording - September 2015 - 18
Recording - September 2015 - 19
Recording - September 2015 - 20
Recording - September 2015 - 21
Recording - September 2015 - 22
Recording - September 2015 - 23
Recording - September 2015 - 24
Recording - September 2015 - 25
Recording - September 2015 - 26
Recording - September 2015 - 27
Recording - September 2015 - 28
Recording - September 2015 - 29
Recording - September 2015 - 30
Recording - September 2015 - 31
Recording - September 2015 - 32
Recording - September 2015 - 33
Recording - September 2015 - 34
Recording - September 2015 - 35
Recording - September 2015 - 36
Recording - September 2015 - 37
Recording - September 2015 - 38
Recording - September 2015 - 39
Recording - September 2015 - 40
Recording - September 2015 - 41
Recording - September 2015 - 42
Recording - September 2015 - 43
Recording - September 2015 - 44
Recording - September 2015 - 45
Recording - September 2015 - 46
Recording - September 2015 - 47
Recording - September 2015 - 48
Recording - September 2015 - 49
Recording - September 2015 - 50
Recording - September 2015 - 51
Recording - September 2015 - 52
Recording - September 2015 - 53
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Recording - September 2015 - 55
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Recording - September 2015 - Cover3
Recording - September 2015 - Cover4
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