bringing mojo back – volume 2

ThrillseekerVBL is an emulation of a vintage broadcast limiter design that follows the classic Variable-Mu design principles from the early 1950s. These tube-based devices were initially used to prevent audio overloads in broadcast transmission by managing sudden level changes in the audio signal. From today’s perspective, and compared to digital dynamic processors, they appear to be rather slow and can be considered more of a gain structure leveler. However, they still shine when it comes to gain riding in a very musical way – they’ve written warmth and mojo all over it.

ThrillseekerVBL is a modded version that not only features basic gain control, but also gives detailed access to both compression behavior and the characteristic of tube circuit saturation effects. Used in subtle doses, this provides the analog magic we so often miss when working in the digital domain while overdriving the circuit achieves much more drastic musical textures as a creative effect.

ThrillseekerVBL offers an incredibly authentic audio transformer simulation that models not only the typical low-frequency harmonic distortion, but also all the frequency- and load-dependent subtleties that occur in a transformer-coupled tube circuit and that contribute to the typical mojo we know and love from the analog classics.

new in version 2

Conceptually, the mkII version has been refined in that the peak limiting itself is no longer the main task but versatile and musically expressive gain control as well as a thrilling saturation experience. The saturation is now an integral part of the compression and is perfectly suited for processing transient-rich material. Both compression and saturation can be individually activated and controlled.

The circuit-related frequency loss in the highs has been almost eliminated and the brilliance control – originally intended just for compensation – can now also perform exciter-like tasks. The bias control has been extended to shape the harmonic spectrum in much greater detail by allowing the contribution of second order harmonics as well as the adjustment of the saturation behavior in the transient area of the signals. The transformer circuit has also been technically revised not only to resolve all the subtleties realistically but also to reproduce an overall tighter sound image.

ThrillseekerVBL has become a real tonebox, able to reproduce a wide range of tonalities. It provides access to the attack and release behavior and all compression controls can also affect the saturation of the signal, even when the compression function is turned off. This allows specific textures of signal saturation to be realized. As with the good old outboard devices, the desired sound colorations can be achieved just by controlling the working range. And if too much of a good thing is used, the DRY/WET control simply shifts down a gear.

To further improve the user experience some additional UI elements have been added giving more visual feedback. Although oversampling has been added, the actual cpu load was significantly reduced thanks to efficient algorithms and assembler code optimizations.

ThrillseekerVBL mkII will be released October 14th for Windows VST in 32 and 64bit as freeware.


  1. Here comes the big one!

    I didn’t mind the old high end loss. VBL was my go-to de-harsher for sources that suffered from ‘digtitis’

    Can’t wait to try.

    Massive thanks for your incredible work Herb.

    • Me too, I actually liked the slight loss of highend in VBL mkI as part of the “box tone” of that unit. In my mixed and Masters I usually cut out some highend anyway, either by using tape emus or doing it manually with EQ.

      Can’t wait to try out the revision. I’m sure it will sound different, but dope in its own right.

  2. You’ve got me so pumped up with the description that I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for all the great plugins you provide.

  3. Hoping this comment goes through as login isn’t clear. I just wanted to relay a tremendous thanks to your brilliant work. I use Variety plugins everyday now and on a current project. We are at a point where we creators MUST (IMHO) give credit and thanks to the incredible engineers/designers who make working with these tools feel like working with paint-brushes or instruments themselves. I especially love my FlavourMTC—–Nope— Never giving this plugin up! Nada Never! A million Thank You’s !!!!

  4. Your work is incredible! Thank you!

  5. The description sounds very enticing, can’t wait to try the new version!

  6. Peter Reynders says:

    My favorite tone color tool, thank you very much

  7. Been using your plugins for years now and just wanted to leave a big thank you!
    I got thrillseeker and density on almost every mix.

  8. my favorite tool, eager to try the new version. Fortunately, all this time I was able to use the 32-bit version, but it was necessary to update to 64. Thanks!!!

  9. What a great plugin. AGAIN! Last development is on par with (or even better than) paid products. Can you please look at CLAP (audio plugin format) to transit your Windows only plugins to the multiplatform future.


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