Variety of Sound SlickHDR VSTVariety of Sound just released SlickHDR – a new breed of dynamics processor. It takes the concept of high dynamic range processing (HDR) to audio domain. The UI might indicate it’s some kind multiband compressor but that’s not the case. Consider it as multi-timing compressor. In photography HDR is used to preserve details by combining a series of differently exposed images into one: the picture with the lowest exposure still contains features in the highlights whereas the high key image contains elements in the darker areas.

Applying this to the audio realm means to retain as much detail in dynamics as possible by splitting a signal into “normal”, “micro” and “nano” transients – so to say. In contrary to “standard” compressors that usually act upon the most prominent transients in an incoming signal. Those trade dynamics for punch.

Strongly simplified: if you shape a drumloop with a normal compressor you’re going to loose tiny details for the favor of prominent elements. And even though multiband compressors split a signal into x bands but still, the most prominent transients in each band will always win.

SlickHDR tries to prevent that by looking at a signal in a different way than normal compressors do. It splits it into a network of transients, weights them (controls P1, P2 & P3), treats them seperately and blends everything together with the mojo of stateful saturation.

Why? This approach is aimed at keeping dynamics vital, hence as transparent as possible while adding perceived loudness by adding harmonics through saturation. It’s different by design: instead of distorting the entire signal (or filtered parts of it), SlickHDR’s network of transient circuitry provides meaningful context for the saturation. It’s a bit like adding spice to individual ingredients while you cook vs throwing them all over the ready made dish.

Hope this yields a better understanding in what this plugin does and how it works.

Variety of Sound NastyDLA

Variety of Sounds classic chorus / tape delay simulation NastyDLA is a great free VST. I’ve been frequently using it in my Dub Techno tracks for those special echo duties.

Following his website you could see how he emerged with studying the sound of classic devices to designing his own device.

From his specifications:

  • input stage model including signal coloration and non-linearities (switchable)
  • classic chorus/flanger effect with amount and rate control which automatically adopts to the delay line configuration
  • frequency balancing filter for dead-easy overall tone adjustments in the feedback path
  • two different feedback color modes
  • feedback circuit and control which supports resonance up to self-oscillation
  • standard DSP 12dB high-pass filter
  • custom tape style low-pass filtering
  • sophisticated?tape hiss noise simulation
  • negative or positive pre-delay
  • comprehensive tape dynamics simulation taken from the core of the award winning FerricTDS
  • the dynamics offers a slight audio ducking effect (switchable)
  • two independent delay lines with up to 3sec delay time and sync to host
  • delay time modulation with two different modes
  • additional phase distortion (switchable)

Especially his treatment for the authentic tape hiss noise is getting my applause here, it sounds great and perfect for all your dub techno needs.

NastyDLA available as free VST effect for Windows (32bit).

AD’s Rough Rider is the single channel and free brother of their multiband Pro version which reminds me a bit of Empirical Labs Distressor and its insane nuke compression mode. If you want to kill people with rimshots, burn those drumbusses in hell or just slightly attenuate effects on percussion, Rough Rider is a good one. Available for both: mac & pc.

Although it sounds quite different i think of Density mkII as being the nearest neighbour to UAD’s Fairchild. Capable of glueing a mix in a good way while preserving a good amount of dynamics, you shouldn’t miss it by any means. Last not least it’s free, like all those v.o.s./ex-Bootsie plugins. At the moment available for pc only.

This metering plugin is a little bit odd: it attempts to tell you how much dynamics are available in your mix. If you’re not sure wether you’re already running into overcompression or if you’ve got some headroom leff you can use this as a guide being the last effect in your signal chain. I use to keep my tracks around a DR value of ~9.

Variety of Sound aka Bootsie updates his free mixing EQ BootEQ to version 2, introducing a new UI and advanced signal coloring facilities. The look is just amazing and a major improvement, soundwise i can’t say much else but check it out immediately!

Yeah, i’m kinda late with this one but you know my policy, i don’t write about stuff i didn’t check out myself. Which i just did. What we have here is another fine and well tuned VST by Bootsy . A reverb.

The usual culprit with most software reverbs is that they sound great at certain areas and horribly fail at others. I kinda expected something with a solid quality from Bootsy, since he prooved to know what good sound is all about. Epicverb doesn’t make any difference here. It’s just very convincing at any setting you could try from short drumrooms to looooong tailed ambiences.

So, how come that this one guy hands down gives away all this bloody amazing gear for free? I have no idea, but you better grab it before he’s changing his mind ;)

Download Epicverb (you’ve gotta scroll down a bit)