ThrillseekerLA mkII released

ThrillseekerLA mkII – bringing mojo back

ThrillseekerLA is an optical stereo compressor optimized for gentle mix bus coloring. It combines smoothest optical compression with vibrant coloration options that deliver a unique box tone in their own right, including thrilling bass and elegant top end void of any harshness in the mids. Its compression not only glues things together effortlessly but also enhances the stereo image by increasing depth and dimension.

10 years after – new in version 2:

  • Technical redesign with advanced opto cell emulation
  • Simplified gainstaging including automatic output gain compensation
  • Streamlined coloring options: Interstage, Tube and Loudness
  • New compress/limit option and reworked sidechain filtering

The mkII update is available for Windows VST in 32 and 64bit as freeware. Download your copy here.

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the beauty of opto-electrical compression – volume 2

When I was looking for a sophisticated stereo compressor for the outboard studio rack a year ago, I was surprised to see how many of the more interesting models now use opto-electric compression technology. Whether transparent or coloring, tube or solid-state amplifiers, transformer or transformerless, even two-channel layouts in mid/side encoding: far advanced compared to all the classic mono replicas.

Optical compressors are usually characterized by their distinct program-dependent compression behavior, mainly based on a physical memory effect in the detector itself. Other subtle nuances are found across the frequency spectrum that affect timing and curve characteristics, creating a complexity that cannot be reduced to simple two-stage controlled release curves, and which is the beauty of opto-electrical compression in its entirety.

Significant audio signal colorations, however, are shaped not by the gain reduction circuitry but by the make-up gain amplifier, whether it is tube or solid-state. Here, the audio transformer also plays an important role in polishing the transients and creating a cohesive sound.

ThrillseekerLA was designed from the beginning in 2012 as a modern stereo compressor with exciting sound coloring possibilities. It is a compressor with authentic opto-electric control behavior in feed-forward circuit topology.

The upcoming mkII update is a technical redesign dedicated solely to improving the sound. It delivers a unique box tone with thrilling bass and elegant top end void of any harshness in the mids. The compression not only glues everything together effortlessly, but also enhances the stereo image by adding depth and dimension.

The release is scheduled for mid-December.

ThrillseekerVBL mkII released

ThrillseekerVBL mkII – bringing mojo back

Even though extensively revised, ThrillseekerVBL remains true to its credo and combines musical gain-riding and thrilling distortion. The mkII version improves both the user experience and its technical implementation, giving more sonic control and a versatile sound. Being able to reproduce quite a range of tonalities now, ThrillseekerVBL has become a true tonebox that can deliver Variable-Mu style tube compression whether soft and mellow or punchy and raw.

The mkII update is available for Windows VST in 32 and 64bit as freeware. Download your copy here.

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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.

TesslaPRO mkIII released

the magic is where the transient happens

The Tessla audio plugin series once started as a reminiscence to classic transformer based circuit designs of the 50s and 60s but without just being a clone stuck in the past. The PRO version has been made for mixing and mastering engineers working in the digital domain but always missing that extra vibe delivered by some highend analog devices.

TesslaPRO brings back the subtle artifacts from the analog right into the digital domain. It sligthly colors the sound, polishes transients and creates depth and dimension in the stereo field to get that cohesive sound we’re after. All the analog goodness in subtle doses: It’s a mixing effect intended to be used here and there, wherever the mix demands it.

The mkIII version is a technical redesign, further refined to capture all those sonic details while reducing audible distortions at the same time. It further blurs the line between compression and saturation and also takes aural perception based effects into account.

Available for Windows VST in 32 and 64bit as freeware. Download your copy here.

next level saturation experience & still missing VoS plugins

The magic is where the transient happens.

Since a year or so I’m not just updating my audio plugin catalog but also focusing on bringing the original Stateful Saturation approach to the next level. That concept was already introduced 2010, embracing the fact that most analog circuit saturation affairs are not static but a frequency and load dependent matter which can be best modeled by describing a system state – hence the name Stateful Saturation.

The updated 2022 revision is now in place and got further refined regarding the handling of audio transient states while reducing audible distortions at the same time. It further blurs the line between compression and saturation and also takes aural perception based effects into account. This was profoundly influenced by working with audio exciters over the recent years but also by deep diving further into the field of psychoacoustics.

This important update was also the reason why I actually did hold back some of the plugin updates, namely TesslaPRO and the Thrillseeker compressors since they heavily rely on that framework. Meanwhile, TesslaPRO has been rewritten based on the framework update already and will be released early September. ThrillseekerLA and VBL are in the making and scheduled for Q4.

In case of VoS plugins not showing up in your VST host

On some Windows installations there are no Visual C++ runtime libraries installed by default anymore. Make sure then to just install that package – for a free and safe download at microsoft.com just lookup “Visual C++ runtime 2013 download”.

some FlavourMTC coverage from the net

Short review from Bedroom Producers Blog – Variety Of Sound Releases FREE FlavourMTC Passive Equalizer Plugin:

Variety of Sound is one of the legendary old-school freeware VST plugin developers, providing top-tier audio software that easily rivals the quality of paid plugins. Their incredible FerricTDS mkII is still my favorite tape saturation plugin.

If you’re looking for mixing and mastering software with a taste of analog hardware, I highly recommend checking out Variety of Sound’s plugins. It is one of the best freeware plugin collections for Windows-based music producers.

Thread over there at gearslutz gearspace –  A completely new plugin after a long streak of redesigned classics:

This sounds like analogue gear. Incredible.

… it’s a big fat lump of ‘ashish dissolved in a bucket filled with two parts honey and one part roasted sesame on a warm Himalayan afternoon. Dip yer finger, don’t forget to lick it and soon not only sesame opens …

epicPLATE released

epicPLATE delivers an authentic recreation of classic plate reverberation. It covers the fast and consistent reverb build up as well as that distinct tonality the plate reverb is known for and still so much beloved today. Its unique reverb diffusion makes it a perfect companion for all kinds of delay effects and a perfect fit not only for vocals and drums.

delivering that unique plate reverb sound

  • Authentic recreation of classic plate reverberation.
  • True stereo reverb processing.
  • Dedicated amplifier stage to glue dry/wet blends together.
  • Lightweight state-of-the-art digital signal processing.

Available for Windows VST in 32 and 64bit as freeware. Download your copy here.

The former epicVerb audio plugin is discontinued.

FlavourMTC “Mixbus Tone Control” released

FlavourMTC follows classic “passive” equalizer designs where the EQ circuits itself are not able to amplify signals but a dedicated amplifier stage takes care of it. Those EQ designs are well known for allowing very transparent frequency changes while their amplifier designs do add some icing on the cake quite often.

mixbus tone control – closest to analog

FlavourMTC implements this by utilizing 1st order shelving filter designs avoiding unwanted resonances and takes advantage of “zero delay” implementations for most accurate higher order filtering and w/o introducing curve warping near Nyquist frequency. The output amplifier stage of the plugin can be calibrated according specific mixing levels, provides a distinct “box tone” and glues everything together. Parts of the plugin are oversampled internally for maximum transparency and sound quality.

Available for Windows VST in 32 and 64bit as freeware. Download your copy here.