19 May 2013

Home Studio: Testing IK Multimedia White-2A and Black-79 plugins


Note: this entry was already published in my old Spanish version of this blog, around June 2011. I am just revisiting it here, with some added info.
Some time ago, IK Multimedia released their plugins for mixing and masterizing, under their series T-Racks. I was lucky with their initial offer and I was able to get all them for a very affordable price.
From all those singles that I've bought, I didn't belive how good the Pulteq EQP-1A and Fairchild 670 emulations worked. I felt immediately payed with just those two plugins. Those two had a magic thing inside.

I cannot compare those two plugins to the real gear, their price is completely out of my budget but, it didn't matter to me, because for the very first time, a couple of plugins draw an smile in my mouth.
But, if I cannot compare those against the real gear, I can still compare those against Digidesign plugins.
Those IK Multimedia's were way better than Digidesign ones, hands down. They were so good!.
So, as soon as I've seen IK Multimedia releasing the White-2A and the Black-79, I had to have them.
As you have probably guess it, the White-2A corresponds to the mythic LA-2A and, the Black-79 to the 1179. A couple of so mythical studio outboard gear as the Pulteq or Fairchild.

In this entry I am commenting my impressions after trying both plugins.

User's manual

Well, this time the user's manual is very short, compared to manuals that come with the rest of T-Racks plugins. In previous manuals, there were way more examples and tricks and trips to help you to get the best of each plugin.
In this case, the information is realy basic and, just reviews controls and what are they for.

But, fortunately, IK Multimedia has some videos demoing the use of such plugins in several instrument tracks and, to the whole mix.

Factory Settings

Like in the rest of T-Racks plugins, there very few factory settings but, all them are really useful and, a very good starting point for your work.

Checking plugins


This LA-2A emulation is softer than the emulation from Digidesing. With Digidesign's version, it was really difficult to get some sweet spot where things started to sound nice.
The IK Multimedia emulation deliver a better sound and, with a broader spectrum, what makes it way easier and quick to set up the plugin to achieve good results.
I've tested it in the several tracks of the drum kit, in its Limiter mode.
Operation is really easy. You just need to set up the peak reduction level (compression), in a way that we can remove the excessive peaks while maintaining dynamics and punch.
Once the compression level is being selected, you roll the gain control to choose the desired output level.
Easy, effective and very musical.

With the Vumeter, you can check the gain reduction level (middle position), the output at line level (-10dB)  or the output at studio level (+4 dBu).

The Limit / Compress switch allows you to use this plugin as a compressor or as a limiter. It works more efficiently as a limiter in highly percussive drums tracks.

Lastly, we can use the plugin in stereo (L/R) or in Center/Side matrix (M/S).

Controls work very smoothly and, allow you to perform very subtle changes. The Digidesign emulation is more stepped and, it's difficult to find notch positions. Also, the resulting sound of the T-Racks' is more musical and presents less "digititis".

This is a great plugin, indeed. Highly recommended.


Same history with the Black-79. I've never achieved a satisfactory result with Digidesign's take of the 1179 but, with the IK Multimedia's one, I've achieved fantastic results in drums and vocal, in just 2 minutes.

I've tested it in the drums bus (after limiting the peaks of each individual track with the White-2A) and, I've used the Black-79 to give a nice compression to the whole drum kit.
The factory setting for drums is a very good starting point and, helped me a lot.
A few adjusts here and there and, the battery started to sound very natural, with the right compression ratio.
I had to readjust the individual levels of each drum part to achieve a good balance in the bus.
Results were really stunning in a very short time. It made me really happy.

In the vocals bus, the results were still more immediate. The factory setting for vocals is really good. Light touches in Input and Output controls and, vocals started to sound perfectly compressed, warm and natural.

Awesome plugin also. Highly recommended.


As I had some points stocked from other purchases, both plugins costed me the price of one, what made me even happier.

I think those two plugins have the same quality as the Pulteq EQP-1A and Fairchild 670 and, that both are awesome tools to mix in-a-box.
As most of T-Racks plugins, are very grateful and, it's really easy to achieve good results.

With the time, I am appreciating every time more the rest of plugins of T-Racks series that, even not specifically based in certain mythic gear, they always deliver musical results and, I find myself using them more and more.

I honestly want to thank IK Multimedia to produce such a quality plugins for a price that is a bargain, compared to the price that the "greats" (Waves, URS, RNDigital,  etc...) establish for equivalent plugins.
I hope they can follow developing other emulations of some other mythical studio gear, as the API 5000 series, or Neve.

Keep up the good job, IK Multimedia!. Congratulations!.


  1. Thanks for providing such a great article, it was excellent and very informative.
    as a first time visitor to your blog I am very impressed.
    thank you :)

    1. Thanks to you, for your attention and comments.


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