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  #1  
Old 03-31-2010, 05:46 AM
BradLyons BradLyons is offline
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Default SLATE DIGITAL plugins mini-review

Yesterday I have the opportunity to test-drive the new mastering plugins by Slate Digital, a new division of Steven Slate that brought you Steven Slate Drums. There are some amazing plugins out there already and there sure will be more to come....but very few have that analog sound because frankly, it's hard to capture. Even then, no amount of software or digital code will ever replace great analog hardware, but that doesn't mean that it still can't sound good. When talking about these new plugins, oh do they sound good! I think they are shipping in about 2-months or so, I can't remember to be honest.

Playing with their FG-X VIRTUAL MASTERING CONSOLE I didn't quite get what I was listening or looking for at first, but then I took a moment to actually think about what I was doing---low and behold, it worked! LOL Seriously though there was this added punch and depth that almost sounded like I was hitting a pair of CL1B's---but I wasn't, and well CLB1B's are what they are for what they are. There are technical reasons for this, but that's best left for them to explain at their website: http://www.slatedigital.com But talking about my experience and what I like/dis-like is the focus here.

There are some impressive peak limiters out there as well as multi-band limiters. I post often about the McDSP ML4000 which is my favorite plugin period, but is (and will still be) my preference for multi-band limiting as well as single-channel limiting during mixing. The peak limiter in the Slate Digital plugin is quite different than most peak limiters sonically in that the more you bring down the threshold, you don't notice more dramatic compression or what I call "squashpression". As we've heard over and over about the loudness wars, I personally blame most of this on those that rely entirely on computer software for mastering instead of investing in good mastering hardware. While software has maid it more attainable, it's also made it so that "anyone can master". With the right tools in a computer-based DAW, you can still achieve amazing results---I'm just saying that the right tools in the wrong hands, well With this plugin, however, it's going to be hard to mess that up! Feeding a good, strong rock mix into the bus and pulling the threshold way down (-10dB) resulted in NO "squashpression" like you'll find on other plugins such as.....oh, I can't say them here. Turning a virtual knob or slider in the plugin is very much like what you'd expect in hardware in that the slightest change has a radical impact on the audio without killing the tonality. There really is a saturated sound that surprised even me, one who loves tube and transformer-based gear. The individual plugins using them on drums was, well in a word, UNBELIEVEAFRICKINCREDIBLE! I love a thumping kick that also has click that will cut through even the thickest of mixes, but the problem with your so-so compressors and many plugins is that over-compressed sound that treats everything the same. Again I don't know the details of how, I do know that on drums you can compress without killing the low end or the mid click. And on snare, it really seems to bring that frequency to life!

I don't remember the pricing, but I urge everyone here that is seriously about great sound to check these out.....

http://www.slatedigital.com/
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  #2  
Old 03-31-2010, 10:43 AM
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Default Re: SLATE DIGITAL plugins mini-review

For my taste too much marketing here!

If I want this, I will go to Gearslutz!
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  #3  
Old 03-31-2010, 01:02 PM
BradLyons BradLyons is offline
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Default Re: SLATE DIGITAL plugins mini-review

No, no marketing here. Look, I have both feet inside the door on the other side of the fence and often learn of major developments, new products, what's going to change, etc weeks, months, and even years in advance. At the same time, I'm a consumer AND a user myself. I have a studio, I do production, I need these same tools---and there are many others out there like me. When I learn of or see something cool that I'm able to discuss that are not under NDA's that others might be interested in, is it that because I'm also a retailer I shouldn't discuss such things? I'm not asking for business or anyone to call me on this, nor was I asked by Slate Digital. Most of us here are audio professionals, some are not. But we come here to gain information, insight, and other useful ideas on how to best hone in our craft for our own clients and musical needs. I absolutely LOVE learning of new gear because I like to use it, try it out, see if it's something I could use myself, etc. This is under the General Discussion forum and it's not a post to buy or anything---it's me, Brad Lyons, providing what I felt was highly useful information because this is going to be released, you'll find posts here asking about it, and we're going to be right to this very point once again. Personally, I don't visit Gearslutz....don't have the time. This is where I hang out online the most, with whatever free time I have (or really, don't have).
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Old 03-31-2010, 03:41 PM
sunburst79 sunburst79 is offline
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Default Re: SLATE DIGITAL plugins mini-review

The murmurings I've heard from the underground tend to indicate that Brads enthusiasm is not misplaced.
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Old 03-31-2010, 08:55 PM
RaySoul RaySoul is offline
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Default Re: SLATE DIGITAL plugins mini-review

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Originally Posted by sunburst79 View Post
The murmurings I've heard from the underground tend to indicate that Brads enthusiasm is not misplaced.
Agreed. Slate is a sharp cat. Lots of talent in his own right. I see him and his companies as major players in the near future...
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Old 04-01-2010, 01:10 AM
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Default Re: SLATE DIGITAL plugins mini-review

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Originally Posted by TCM View Post
For my taste too much marketing here!

If I want this, I will go to Gearslutz!
TCM-
This is the GENERAL DISCUSSION forum.
Brad was discussing, in a general way, some new plugs on the horizon.
And you've got some sort of problem with that?
True, he has taken up valuable space where another "I don't know how to arm a track" question could have gone, but I like hearing about new stuff, as do lots of others.
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Old 04-01-2010, 01:34 AM
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Default Re: SLATE DIGITAL plugins mini-review

Quote:
Originally Posted by BradLyons View Post
Yesterday I have the opportunity to test-drive the new mastering plugins by Slate Digital,
Thanks for the mini-review! I'm looking very forward to these myself, especially Console.

Shane
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  #8  
Old 04-01-2010, 04:41 AM
BradLyons BradLyons is offline
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Default Re: SLATE DIGITAL plugins mini-review

I was fortunate enough to have them leave their hardware Dragon here---but I won't have time to get to it in my own studio to make some audio samples to listen to. I did get a chance to hear it, dang it sounds great....but I want to take it into my own studio to get more intimate with it. You guys are right, they ARE going to be a major player in both software and hardware very very soon. I never saw this coming from them.
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Old 04-01-2010, 08:39 AM
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Default Re: SLATE DIGITAL plugins mini-review

Hey Brad,

I understand your perspective and accept it. Maybe I was a little bit quick to jump to a conclusion. Sorry for that.

I am always grateful for the input of seasoned professionals.

And EJ,

I have no problems with Brad, I was reacting possibly too quickly here, as I know the industry pays people to actively work forums.

Thomas
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  #10  
Old 04-01-2010, 09:23 AM
BradLyons BradLyons is offline
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Default Re: SLATE DIGITAL plugins mini-review

TCM,

No problem
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