31 October 2012

Home Studio: Testing IK Multimedia T-Racks 3 Singles


This entry was already published during August 2009, in my old Spanish version of this blog, I am just revisiting it here.

I am still learning to mix but, while I was viewing the DVDs named "Internal Mixing" of Tischmeyer, I've realized that he was using some plugins very often (with an UAD card): Pulteq EQ-1A, Fairchild 670, LA-2A and 1170.
So, I started to search for information related to such a UAD plugins and, what I've read in several forum is that every DSP card (as UAD or Powercore ones) introduce some important delay, during their processing.

Unfortunately, Pro Tools 8.0 LE is one of the few modern high level DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) software that hasn't automatic compensation of that delay introduced by other devices (as others do, like Nuendo or Sonar, by example). To solve this issue, you should insert one more UAD plugin that allows such a compensation but, Pro Tools users with UAD cards claim about the effectivity of such a solution.

Seeing how expensive those DSP system are, together with their compatible plugins, I've decided to give up this idea. I don't want to put my few money in something so expensive and that seems to create more problems that I currently have.
So, I've resumed my search for other options, cheaper and compatible with Pro Tools and, after reading lots of forums and specialized press, the list of candidates was narrowed to the following:
  • McDSP Plugins, that doesn't accurately model such an outboard gear but, they deliver convincing results.
  • URS Plugins, that are considered as excelent reproducing vintage equipment
  • IK Multimedia T-Racks, surprinsinly having good inputs from relevant people. 
While most of the people had a similar opinion about McDSP or URS plugins, the opinion over T-Racks was more variated.

Previously, I already downloaded some demo versions of T-Racks, even before knowing that they were including emulations of the Pulteq EQP-1A and the Fairchild 670. But, while reading some forums, I knew that there was some interesting offer for this Summer (2009), in a way that you just had to pay for a single T-Racks plugin and you could obtain up to 5 more free plugins and, the price was really interesting: just paying 80$, I could have 5 interesting plugins and, the CSR Hall Reverb plugin as a gift.
  So, I bought the Pulteq EQP-1A plugin and downloaded for free the following ones:

  • Fairchild 670
  • Optocompressor
  • 4-bands compressor-limiter
  • Metering suite
  • CSR Hall Reverb
I have a first impression about each one but, I've concentrated myself more over the Pulteq EQP-1A, the Metering suite and the CSR Hall Reverb.


If you don't have any other plugins with meters, it's a good tool but, it lacks some accuracy. Every meter is easily visible, whitin a compact view (average and peak levels, correlation, stereo image, spectrogram...).
I am missing here the K-System meter (as implemented in RNDigital XL Inspector) but, I can compensate it with the TTL Dynamic Range Meter that, includes also a Mono button that allows you to test the Mono compatibility of your mix.
Well, at least, if was for free!.

Update (August 2009):

Finally, I bought the RNDigital Inspector XL and, it's very clear that the IK Multimedia meter lacks precision. RNDigital Inspector XL can seem very expensive, just being a plugin that the only thing that does is to provide some meters, not processing the sound but, in my opinion, is of great help.
A good plugin with quality meters makes easier the mix, with a better control over the dynamic range and stereo image.

CSR Hall Reverb

Is the typical digital reverberation but, behind the button Advanced, there are a lot of parameters to heavily modify the behavior of the algorithm. You can work with this plugin in a very simple way or as complex as you like. Not a bad reverberation. I still have to go deeper with this one.
A reverberation plugin for FREE!. Welcome!.

Update (August 2009):

After testing several convoluted and digital reverberations, my election is the Reverberation plugin of the Sonnox suite. For me, it covers any kind of reverberation and sounds very natural, much more than any other plugin I've tested till now. For other time-effects, the plugins of Sound Toys work with a high quality sound and, are very efficient CPU-wise.     Pulteq EQP-1!!!

I really don't know how the real outboard unit sounds, since I had never the opportunity to use it but, what I can say is that, for the very first time, I smiled after buying or analyzing a demo plugin.
What came to my mind was: "Pal, this is the kind of things that makes music to sound really professional!".
The Pulteq EQP-1A plugin worked fine in every part where I've tested it. In the master bus, it allows you to get that punch and presence for the drums and, it helps to open the overheads sound, giving a very musical color to the mix.
"This starts to sound like a real disk!", was my sensation, while using it.

In my honest opinion, just this single plugin worthed the purchase but... wait... there is something else there... the Fairchild 670!.

Update (August 2009):

Where I like more this plugin is in the drums bus, if I need to give to it more punch or open the overheads; or in the bass guitar bus, if it sounds muddy or weak and; mainly, in the masterizing chain, to give some warm color to the mix and enhance some frequencies and add some air to the mix.

It works really good cutting unwanted frequencies. By example, I was trying to cut those frequencies below 30 Hz, specially in the bass track, since I had too much energy below 30 Hz, what creates some rumble and weaks the representation of more interesting frequential range. I tested first the Digidesign EQ III (the three, with 1, 3 or 7 bands) and, the cut wasn't so good as I wanted. Finally, I've found that the Pulteq worked way better for this function so, I've inserted it at the beginning of the track to remove the excess of energy below 30Hz and, also at the end, to enhance other fundamental frequencies of the bass guitar.

Fairchild 670

"Do I really need it?". Pro Tools already comes with two plugins called Fairchild 660 and 670 so, I just got the IK Multimedia's one because it was for free so, I wanted to compare it to the Pro Tool's one.
I remember myself testing Pro Tool's Fairchild and, it never convinced me so, I've opened this new plugin with very low expectatives.
Man, once again, I don't know how the real outboard gear sounds but, what I can say is that this plugin is simply awesome!. Is as good as the Pulteq one!.

The combination of the Fairchild and the Pulteq in the main bus is just incredible!. And, for free!.

Update (August 2009):

Still one of my preferred plugins. The Fairchild 670 works really well in guitar tracks, where I like to use it with just an slight compression, without killing the tracks' dynamics, since it adds a nice color and a signature sound that enhances the guitar' sound.

I can use it also in the Master bus, where it helps to "glue" the mix and, where it helps to increase the level to the quietest parts, working overall as some kind of "musical glue".
The Digidesign BF670 plugin destroys a bit the stereo image. By example, I had the guitar panoramized to the left but, after applying the BF670 the guitar sounded very centered and, if I raised the left channel then, some unwanted frequencies appear.
The T-Racks 3 Fairchild 670 has not such a problem and, particularly, the preset "1 dB 670 magic" is really magic inserted at the beginning of the Master chain. The Stereo Image is preserved in way better way.


I've choosed this free plugin because I recalled that it was delivering a good sound, specially on voices, while I was trying the demo version. Late tests confirm it. Is a plugin that adds some color to the sound but, in a very musical way, tasty as the Pulteq and Fairchild do.
Other nice FREE plugin!. I still have to spend more time in this one.
Update (August 2009):

Since I've bought the Sonnox suite, practically every work on dynamics I do, it's being made with Sonnox Dynamics plugin but, that doesn't means that the Optocompressor is useless. I still love this late and, I think it works very well in vocal tracks, where it can add some nice warm.     Classic Multiband Compressor and Limiter

I've choosed this plugin because I have no other Multiband Limiter.
As any Multiband compressor I've tested, it still remains a cryptic mystery to myself. I really don't know how or when to use a Multiband compressor and, every time I try to use them to enhance the mix, I end ruining it.
But, ok. I hope that some day I will be able to valuate what this plugin is able to do. Until then, I have no a firm opinion over this plugin.
But, it was for free, anyway!.

Late, I've realized that there was other compressor that I liked more, during my demo tests but, I wasn't able to remember it: the Classic Compressor.

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