What can I say? Love this man’s productions. And with his show at the Chinese Laundry tonight (16th Jan) we here at Heavyweight Bass towers thought it would be great to find out what plugins are currently rocking it for Karl in the studio.
So here we go!!
UAD precision mix buss compressor
This is my favourite buss compressor at the moment. It’s loosely modelled on the renowned SSL G-Series Buss Compressor. Incredibly transparent sounding compressor that I will mainly use on my master buss, or on a group buss. I guess the main function with this guy for me is to ‘glue’ a mix together, or on a drum buss to both act as a glue’er, but also to employ parallel compression to create a bit more aggression and energy on the drums (*NB I will often use Cytomic The Glue for the same function on a drum buss if I want something a bit more aggressive sounding.) and it does a great job at it.
A couple of great key features on this plug are;
1: A wet/dry or ‘mix’ knob, enabling you to dial in a mix of both processed and dry signal. This makes parallel compression a breeze, and truth be told 80% of the time I’m using the Precision Buss compressor, I’m employing some amount of parallel compression, pretty rare that I have the mix knob set to 100%
2: The Sidechain filter is a super handy tool. What this does is enables you to eq/hi-pass filter the signal going to the detector circuit, but not the audio path itself. So if you say have it on your drum buss, and your super stonkin bass heavy kick drum is tripping the compressor to much, you can wind out the filter to say…150-200Hz so the compressor is only reacting to signal above this frequency, enabling to smooth out dynamics of the buss without the kick drum causing excessive pumping.
One main thing I want to point out is that when using this plugin on the master buss, I will have it on there at the beginning of the project, on a subtle setting, and will write and ‘mix into’ the compressor as I go, rather than write and mix a tune and then put it on at the end of the process. I do this because I find it changes the way I will mix down a song, particularly when considering gain structure. Key point to remember here though is that subtlety is key.
Brainworx BX multi band saturator
For those who don’t know what Mid/Side processing is, here is a couple of explanations
Sound On Sound – Creative Mid/Side Processing
Its something I use a lot, and I highly recommend getting your head around it.
So yeh, this plugin is a multiband saturator (2 bands), pretty simple so far.. but what makes things interesting is that you have control on whether you want to process either the mid or the side signal, of each band individually. So for instance if I’m processing a break and I can set the crossover point the for side channels (IE wide bits of the signal) at 500Hz, and then I can saturate everything above 500Hz on the side channels only hence making the break sound a bit bigger and wider. Or conversely, I can just push the mid channel below 300Hz and get everything in the middle under that freq really crunchy, while the top end and sides remain airy and smooth. The possibilities for this type of processing and this plugin are endless and truth be told I’m forever experimenting with what I can get out of it.
Mid side EQing is another game changing EQ technique in my books and I highly recommend checking out the BX Digital_V2 plugin and the concept of M/S processing in general. It’s a head fuck at first, but the technique and the plugin are both insanely powerful.
Fabfilter Volcano 2
This is my go to filter at the moment. Mainly for the fact that I can get results super quick. It’s an insanely powerful filter featuring four independent filters that when combined can get some pretty gnarly results. Honestly, I probably don’t use it to its full potential as Im usually only using 2 filters at the same time, and have been quite lazy in exploring the insane modulation matrix functions this thing has. But what I love most about this filter (and what makes it so quick) is that I can grab the filter points with my mouse and drag them around. Click write/record automation on your DAW and you have super quick filter sweeps/filter effects.
The other great thing about this filter is the option of Eleven different filter characteristics for you HP,BP or LP filter. With characteristic labels like ‘Raw’, ‘Tube’ and ‘Extreme’ you can actually get some really interesting timbral sounds/effects out of the filter, particularly when you push the resonance hard.
Like I said before there is a very powerful mod matrix included in the plug with XY controllers, XLFO, Envelope generator and Envelope follower being assignable to any combination of filters, but I will admit I’ve been lazy in digging deep into that side of the plugin so I’ll you guys explore it for yourselves 😀
You can catch Shockone doing his thing at the Chinese Laundry tonight, Friday 17th January
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