Thrillseeker XTC – behind the scenes

The basic idea to build a VoS style Enhancer/Exciter was already there way earlier but to that time it simply wasn’t doable until my ‘stateful saturation’ approach emerged. Later on and when I asked “how a modern exciter/enhancer should look like“, several concepts were laid out on the drawing board and I knew that with this exciting (sic!) new approach they all would be accomplishable w/o any compromises. Finally, one of them made it into a prototype which led to ThrillseekerXTC.

Old or modern approach?

So, is the audio Enhancer/Exciter just an ancient relict from the days of dull tape recordings or still a valid concept today? In the digital age, technology and production techniques completely changed and of course the production aesthetics did also. Opposed to the old approaches of audio excitation which mostly were focusing on high frequency loss restoration, the demand shifted towards other tasks as well. Presence and definition in the (upper) mid range is the name of the game and getting the low-end right is the key in a modern production. Instrument separation in a busy mix is a tough challenge, also.

What the heck is Mojo?

In some other cases (mostly digital productions) – definition, presence and transparency is all there but at the cost of a rather thin or sterile sounding production. Even worse, the HF department might be exaggerated too much during the processing chain and taming and sweetening is a challenge then. Some of the artifacts that we’ve found in certain analog devices might add tonal qualities described as thick, fat and round by ‘pleasingly degrading’ a sound source. This is what Mojo is all about. Whether that’s some circuit crosstalk, tape flutter or transformer distortion stuff alike.

Why parallel EQ?

Because it’s a proven concept. Even after decades, it’s unsurpassed in lots of domains / applications.

Blue or black?

In case of ThillseekerXTC, this is just a matter of internal gainstaging and the question arises: Why not just add a simple switch but two different plug-in versions? Well, all different directions actually do have different tradeoffs. A simple switch (such as in ThrillseekerLA) does not hold its state during preset switching. Making it more sophisticated to hold its state (the Dry/Wet switch in NastyDLA does this just as an example) does not work reliable in each and every host. And why not add a knob with full control over a huge gain range? The minute you do that, some people start complaining gee, this is so complicated, why do I have to worry about gainstaging with this plugin?

In the meantime, I’m simply enjoying the blue version and just in some rare cases where levels are too low, the black one chimes in. Easy as that.

64bit, anyone?

With the upcoming Flowstone DSP framework, full 64bit support was already hinted in the developer community (see FlowStone 3, VST and x64). As soon as this is available and reliable, VoS plug-ins will be finally updated for 64bit support.

Again, old or modern?



  1. aah… switching to Flowstone 3… tried it and it’s great… I believe it supports also synthmaker .osm files…. so will there be also 64bit versions for older stuff (Density, NastyDLA,…)???

  2. finally updated for 64bit support <=== YES!!!!

  3. Audio Geek says:

    You are the King, Herbert! Thanks very much for your brilliant and ultra stellar Thrillseeker XTC… it’s near the top of my list as “go to’s” and already extremely useful in many mixes. Long live Variety of Sound! Heavy Kudos!!

  4. Herbert, I don’t know if you’re familiar with the format, but is there any chance you might be releasing your plugins as Propellerheads Reason RE (Rack Extensions)?

  5. my experience in unveiling xtc so far…
    it’s ok even to set ‘n forget, without even acting on the gains. what’s important is to notice two things:
    1) the frequency pots are always determining where the distortion is going to be more pronounced (so take care to place it where transients happen, given the following restrictions).
    2) cranking up the drive will erase almost completely the transient management, so basically the most varying and living effect will be found when the needles will move in the mid to upper-mid area (-2/+5).
    as a side effect, being so complex the dynamic relationship between spectral, harmonical and dynamic contents, sometimes I found it easier to think to xtc as to a really smooth compressor. with particular “thrust” filters. I know it’s not, but I found myself bypassing the -2/-3 db glueing compressors almost always up to now. the gentle saturation acts like a 0 time compressor, but the memory recursive system in it allows a smoother riding, leaving out some attack. no punch, no pump, just glue.
    any thoughts on it?
    oh— i’d really like a reduced wow-phasing-fluttering effect to enhance even and transformer distortion..

  6. Old and modern is often the right way.No need to reinvent the wheel to construct a new concept car. Nice job you’ve done.My fav part is AIR enhancement to give that presence and/or air, in a lush way.After all, high fidelity in the sense of perfection is not in the human nature 😀
    More crosstalk, more noise, more wow and flutter, more pumping, more randomness… 😉

  7. I love this plugin great job. Im a huge fan of your work

  8. OMG! 64 bit finally!!

  9. so, 2016 is now, how is 64 bit supporting?)


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  2. […] distorted ones), especially with some chorus. The other trick is to go for the jolly joker, the exciter. These things inject gentle harmonics into the tracks. In other words, they can create the […]

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