Already just after the initial release of the Density compressor plug-in there where lots of discussions in the forums on how to improve some workflow issues and especially the channel routing pad. The latter wasn’t actually that hard to implement but surprisingly it utterly failed in another usability test afterwards. But that was actually just the beginning of the whole mess. As mentioned earlier here I came up a while later in summer 2008 with three different prototypes each of them featuring a whole different approach concerning workflow and mainly the overall handling of stereo and mid/side operation. While working with them I wasn’t 100% convinced and so they did not made it into a beta testbed but straight into the dumpster.
This year I wiped the slate clean again and re-considered the focus and overall design goal of what the mkII version should be and fulfill which then basically turned out to be:
- true stereo resp. mid/side operation
- workflow simplicity
- best of breed: combining proven concepts with modern approaches
- overall readability
and beside that some other aims concerning DSP, sonic qualities and GUI of course (not talking about that here). At the end of the day there appeared a usage concept which does not have that much in common with the initial release anymore but: me is 200% convinced now (and some others as well)!
The major cornerstones of the new concept are:
- dual channel layout with three operation modes: L/R, STEREO (left/right with linked controls) and M/S; this replaces the mixer pad and there is also no serial mode anymore
- the RATIO control has disappeared since the core is now working with a new developed variable transfer curve
- TIMING has been simplified and is available now via six fixed program modes (similar to the Fairchild design)
- as so much folks had requested there is now a variable LINK dial and external sidechain as well
- there is one single switchable sidechain filter specially and new designed for the mkII
- both, limiting and compression mode is offered now
- the metering is way improved and available per channel
- also per channel there is dynamic range control available now
At first I was a little bit sceptic about the benefits of the range control but at the end it turned out to be a real killer feature when working in (true dual channel) M/S mode: Balancing mid/side compression is usually more sophisticated and sometimes difficult to dial in and that’s where the range control really helps to speed things up.