When preparing the final bits of an upcoming plug-in release, other research and prototyping typically has already been done for other potentially upcoming projects. This usually is the time when the decision is made about the next project and the new plug-in gets outlined and planned in detail. In this case it was around 9 month ago in August 2009 when FerricTDS (our entry for the KVR DC ’09) finally went into the late beta testing stage. Since quite some time I had in my mind to improve the “Nasty” plug-in series package but to that time it had become finally clear that the next step would be to put it into one single and consistent “console strip” style plug-in.
Design and Development
What makes a good console strip? As always, there is no ultimate answer to this question since taste is a highly subjective matter but for my very own, a focused concept and highest audio quality always delights me. Therefore, rather than throwing all the previous “nasty” ingredients together I’ve simply choosen what attracted me the most out of that existing plug-in series and what potentially could made it into a straight and sound concept. It was also clear that there would have to be a way cool new mixing compressor to be included. While some console/channel strip concepts are dedicated to specific tasks such as vocal treatments, NastyVCS focuses on a well-defined set of musical tools for tone and dynamic shaping purposes and they are complementing each other very well. So in the end, some features like Gate or De-esser functionality did not made it into the final design.
When all this was lashed, a very first prototype was assembled plus a very first usage concept. Patrick chimed in then to pick up the rather ugly scribbles and to turn them into nothing less than a real beauty (as always). Fortunately, he typically does not do this overnight and so I had enough time to set up a small beta team and to finish the compressor DSP. All in all this took until December 2009.
While originally planned as a year-end release it finally took some additional four month and this was basically caused by all the attention to detail which had to be spent during those beta cycles. But also we had some rather late feature extensions: The timing options for the compressor were added (and tweaked for another two month) and we decided to add the phase control on top of that. So Patrick had to go back to the drawing board as well and altogether with the beta crew we painstakingly fixed some rather weird host crashes, all the sample rate issues and gory details like parameter naming and sorting. Almost being there, a critical compiler bug caused some more delay where we had to wait on a manufacturer fix. I’ve used that time to complete all the CPU optimizations and some further Assembler tweaks which resulted in a really low CPU profile for the whole plug-in at the end.
Release and Support
Although there was also offered a rapidshare mirror this time, the dropbox traffic limit got busted right after 10 hours or so. I do think that we need a better solution for this for future releases The attention and traffic over the very first weekend kicked the epicVerb release from the throne and all in all NastyVCS had a really, really great coverage all over the net.
Soon after a release typically some new bugs are showing up and the VCS release did not made an exception. Two reported major issues are already confirmed (redraw issues mostly related to Samplitude and the stepping during Filter and EQ adjustments in some hosts) plus some minor stuff. Most of the rather rarely reported issues could not be confirmed until now. Maybe there will be an update just before this summers holiday season but there is no real schedule yet.
An interesting discussion about proper gain-staging in plug-ins and hosts had emerged in the net over some time and some waves now hit the VCS release as well. I’m currently starting some discussions on that topic to get a broader understanding about all the matters but until this gets more evolved it remains behind the curtain.