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TECHNOLOGY REVIEW


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McDSP Everything Pack  PLUG-IN COLLECTION


The Everything Pack from McDSP brings together the company’s classic plug-ins with a few added bonuses, writes Alan Branch.


MCDSP HAS a heritage and reputation as a leader in plug- in design and its plug-ins are recommended and endorsed by top engineers worldwide. Founded by ex-Digidesign engineer Colin McDowell, McDSP was one of the first companies to begin modelling vintage hardware as plug-ins started to replace real hardware. The company recently


released an Everything Pack, including every single one of its EQs and compressors bundled into one supreme collection. Plug-in formats are AU, AAX (DSP & Native), TDM, RTAS, and AS, with the new plug-ins currently AAX only (AU formats are coming soon). As the full list would be too


long to cover entirely I have picked one of the classics as well as the newest plug-ins McDSP has added as the subjects of this review.


CLASSIC – 6030 ULTIMATE COMPRESSOR If there is a favourite among McDSP’s offering it has to be the 6030 Ultimate Compressor – a lunchbox-style plug-in featuring a collection of 10 classic compressors modelled and moded by McDSP that range in order of smooth and transparent to aggressive. The list of compressors included are U670, Moo Tube, iComp, Opto-C, Opto-L, British C, OverEZ, SST, 76, FRG 444, and D357, giving you everything from a Fairchild to a Neve. What makes this great is


how it offers a whole bundle of plug-ins within one plug- in. The module selection and easy-to-choose arrangement of them all makes it a fast no- brainer style of applying compression to a track with a single click. Sound-wise, not only has Colin McDowell


46 March 2014


modelled each unit really well but he’s also tweaked them (for example, the attack ballistics of the Fairchild u670 are easier to use). If you’re not sure if an optical or a solid state might work best on a snare or a bass drum, using the Ultimate 6030 is great for quickly hearing the differences between compressors. One added extra is the D357, which is a McDSP design aimed to be an extreme ‘dirty’ compressor with its own ‘Crush’ control that ranges from ‘Some’ to ‘Tons’ – I love Colin’s design humour here.


NEW –6020 ULTIMATE EQ


The same lunchbox-style interface of the 6030 is now filled with 10 EQ modules’, E670, MooQ, iQ, E300/301, British-E, EZ-Q, EQ-76, FRG EEE, and the final E357. Interestingly, McDSP has matched the EQ modules manufacturers with the 6030 compressor list. For example, the E670 matches the U670 compressor in the 6030. This is a Fairchild 664 EQ and a very rare model EQ that I don’t think I’ve ever seen! The 6020 Ultimate is innovative and the list approach of side-by-side EQs makes listening to the different EQ curves fascinating. As you switch through the different models the character changes may provide more mid range or more top end etc… If you’re used to using a certain type of EQ the 6020 will help give you an alternative. Rather than searching for a certain frequency in your standard EQ, especially with a problematic vocal or guitar, it might be better to find an EQ with a suitable character first.


NEW –AE400 ACTIVE EQ The AE400 will automatically vary the EQ gain depending


on the frequency content of the audio, which can be a huge help when dealing with a difficult vocal that is constantly changing over one performance. In a mix I tend to automate a lot of EQ between sections to compensate for this type of problem but it’s a time- consuming process. Using the AE400 made life really simple on a female vocal that was getting quite harsh in the 3k range over a chorus. What’s innovative in the AE400, however, is its external side chains for each EQ band. This opens up many possibilities for shaping audio around another sound such as shaping your mix around the vocal. All EQ bands are overlapping, have a variable Q, and active or fixed gain controls.


NEW –SPC2000 SERIAL/PARALLEL COMPRESSOR


The McDSP SPC2000 is a multi-stage compressor with lots of clever routing options and classic emulations. Stacking compressors is a technique known to many engineers and the combination of compressor types and various threshold settings can lead to some awe-inspiring results. Arranging serial compression and parallel compression is the key, but loading multiple plug-ins and adjusting them all can be tricky.


The SPC2000 is the plug-in


toolbox that aims to make this easier by offering three plug- ins – the SPC202, the SPC303, and the SPC404; two, three, or four stages of compression with a variety of routing options; and dynamic enhancements such as a BITE control, which allows HF content to pass through unaffected. The SPC2000 is once again McDowell cleverly turning compression on its


head and making something that can be awkward into something easier to use but


“Whether you’re pumping your drums for more power or guitars for that wall of sound you have to try the SPC2000.” Alan Branch


still versatile with an emphasis on quality results. So whether you’re pumping your drums for more power or guitars for that wall of sound you have to try the SPC2000. Every rock band in the world will love this!


SUMMARY What’s special about the Everything Pack is not just the clever design by McDSP throughout its plug-in range, but also how now all its equalisers, compressors, virtual tape machines, reverbs, de-essers, noise filters, and


INFORMATION Feature set


• Includes all of McDSP’s equalisers, compressors, virtual tape machines, dynamic processors, and more


• Three new additions in the 6020 Ultimate EQ, SPC2000, and AE400 Active EQ


• AAX DSP & Native, TDM, RTAS, AU, and AS compatible (new plug-ins are currently only AAX)


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versatile FX like the FutzBox are available for one price. The new plug-ins once again display the almost legendary status of McDSP and its clever design and attention to detail with a clear focus on how people actually use plug- ins. I found flipping through the different EQs in the 6020 a truly original way to find the right sound. Likewise McDSP has designed the SPC200 and AE400 to make the time- consuming jobs of clever compression and fine-tuning EQ much easier. For the money it’s an amazing collection – remember, the 6020 and the 6030 provide 10 classic EQs and compressors each! As Colin McDowell would say ‘Hot Dang’, that’s mighty impressive.


THE REVIEWER ALAN BRANCH is a freelance engineer/ producer and ex-member of the On U Sound Crew. His list of credits include Jamiroquai, Beverley Knight, M People, Simply Red, Depeche Mode, Shed 7, Sinead O’Connor, Bjork, and Sade. www.alanbranch.com


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