I knew this was coming. As soon as I received the emails about some new plugins, a few grabbed my attention and I knew I had to test them. As usual though I’m really snowed under at the moment so I thought I’m not in danger. However, jumping from one final mix to another, spiced up with many live broadcasts gave me the possibility to test some new, or new for me plugins.
Plugin Alliance as the prime suspect
I already own and use some their plugins but as an ongoing mission to find my ultimate bus compressor I was intrigued by their Vertigo VSC-2 for some time. Always tried to find different reasons not to try it like it’s expensive, I don’t need another compressor, I’m sure it’s fine but nothing spectacular, etc… And then the day has come. I had a few projects where I was in need of a truly great bus compressor so I thought a little test cannot hurt. As usual, they give a generous 14 day trial which is ample time to really thoroughly test it. The night before my test run started I read a bit about it, watched a few videos online then had a good night sleep.
The next morning I authorised my demo license and started to experiment with it. To be honest within a few minutes I knew I’m in trouble.
It handled the bus duties exceptionally well, without the need to tweak the parameters forever. After some more electronic-rock based stuff I thought it’s time to make it sweat. Opened some really delicate symphonic mix which usually easily make a compressor show it’s weaknesses, instantiated the Vertigo right at the end of the chain and started to tweak a little… and frankly I was floored almost immediately. I could go from really subtle to more aggressive without ruining anything in the mix. The most amazing thing was how subtly it could enhance inner details without exhibiting any damage on the mix itself. The real glue we always looking for, or the real detail enhancer, or the solid guard that gently keep things in shape. It can really be any of these depending on the settings. Further tweaking, obviously, you can achieve extreme result if that’s what you want. It’s splendid how this one plugin can be your subtle bus compressor and one audio-bus down the line another instant can be the really coloured pumping processor.
After I really tried everything on some test mixes, I decided to be brave and use it during a live symphonic-pop show mix to see how fast and effortless to achieve the results I’m after. This is a serious point for me.
If you can make it sound stellar, but it’d need deep, long adjustments, then it’s not a good choice for a broadcast situation. But the Vertigo passed this test too. It really simply just works, on every type of material.
Thanks to the pre-BlackFridays at Plugin Alliance I got the VSC-2 with huge discount. My only problem is, I fell in love with the other Vertigo processor, the VSM-3. And frankly I’m not dare to try their new Neve channelstrip yet…
Besides my new favourites, I’d like to emphasise that I think Plugin Alliance is one of the most future proof, wise investment in the plugin world. Not only they really strive to innovate and come up with new things that sounds fabulous while eating very little CPU power, they’re committed to every serious platform, including AAX DSP, and also never forget the guys with control surfaces. I think this becomes more and more important in the future.