OK: enough sentimental crap. Let's hook up VW in our VST system, being Prosoniq's sonicWORX PowerBundle 2.5 which we are testing too at the moment (the review can be found in the review index when we are finished testing). Installation is simple: just drag the VW/VST-file into the VST folder of the hosting application, and you're ready to go.
We take some guitar sounds from an older Roland JV 880, which are not bad in itself, but are "clearly synthesizer" if you get what I mean. I play a little tune, a somewhat screaming solo with a Fender like sound, and record it directly on hard disk using sonicWORX. OK, the testing phrase is ready. I'm not going to MP3 this one on the site, it is just too dumb to listen to, but good enough for the test.
Now, let's have a look what we can do with VW to warm up this sound back to the early 70's. The user interface gives us a bunch of old fashioned knobs we can turn using the mouse. The biggest one gives us "Drive", what happened to be the most important knob on the old amps, at least for me. Drive gives the sound an extra push and life, as you may know. With "Low" and "High" and the according Frequency knobs we fumble around till the color of the driven sound is just like we want it to be: the Fender sounds I admire so much. Result: not 100%, but I can live with it very well. The cold synthesized guitar stored in the JV 880 has come to life and sounds a lot better.
A kind of hidden is a second set of knobs: on the virtual back of the virtual VW case. We DRTFM (don't read the f.... manual) as usual, and therefore discover by pure coincidence that you can click at the words "Vintage Warmer" in the user interface, which causes VW to swap to the backside. Here you find extra settings for -among others- Saturation and Release, the more basic settings so to speak that determine the "reach" by the variations you make in the front user interface. Just like the good old backside knobs on the non-virtual amps. . Here, you can switch between modes the knobs will work for you: circular or linear.
OK, we fool around with the backside
knobs, return to the front interface, and change some settings there
too. This time we use a project we finished some years ago: a rock
song, completely built with JV-880, Roland D50 and Roland U-110.
It sounded pretty good at that time, after being enhanced with some
Waves plugin stuff. But nevertheless was too cold. OK: we import
the 4 years old final mix into sonicWORX, add the VW to the realtime
plug collection, and listen very, very critical to the result that
VW brings us. And yes: the cold final mix gets vintage, gets the
smell of old amps, gets what it had to exist without for 4 years:
good old rock warmth. Very good!.
Technically speaking, VintageWarmer is a digital simulation of an analog-style, multiband compressor, which can be used for brick wall limiting as well. A slick use of overload characteristics makes generating the typical saturation effects of analog tape recorders possible. VW comes as plug-in for both VST and DirectX on PC, and as VST for Mac OS (9, not carbonized for OS X) plus MOTU MAS. A Digidesign RTAS compatible version is in preparation. We tested the Mac version, by the way.
PSP gives these features in the press release:
High quality signal processing algorithms,
Single or multiband signal processing,
Shelf filters for bass and treble frequencies in single-band processing mode,
Control of bass and treble signal components in multiband processing mode,
Accurately calibrated VU and PPM meters with the overload indicators
Library of presets.
PSP is suitable for following every day studio tasks:
Optimizing the density and average signal levels of recordings during mixing or mastering,
Shaping the dynamics of recordings during mixing,
Adding warmth to individual tracks or complete mixes,
Adding analog tape-style compression to individual tracks or complete mixes.
It would be too much to say that VW
is a revolution, but it is a value tool for warming up those cold
remakes of old electric gear we find in most synthesizers. It adds
round dynamics to your recordings, making them sound more saturated,
just like the old analog recorders did. You can also use it to give
flat sounding productions (with e.g. samples) extra boldness and
character. The user interface loooks nicely "old" and
fits the characteristics of this plugin. VW comes with a good manual
in PDF format, which explains all functions and presets in brief
but clear text. A Q&A section gives good general insight in
the situations and circumstances VW can play a role, and how you
should utilize VW.
All reviews in AudioMac.net are written by Peter J. Bloemendaal. All rights reserved.
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