This plugin is amazing. Since buying it it has helped me achieve better resulting mixes on a few projects.
I only tend to apply about 2-3 dB of the filter to get rid of any harshness and this certainly helps create a more 'analogue' warmth. The solo function is fantastic as it lets you hear exactly what is being removed from the original source.
I don't often write reviews on things but his one deserves it. It's not an 'in your face' effect but if you bypass it you certainy notice the difference. I have tried recreating this effect with various EQ's but it just doesn't compare.
I grabbed it when it was on sale and I have never regretted it. I use it mostly when mastering but I have also used it to tame down the harshness on tracks in projects. One example was doing some post production work for a client's video of a school choir. The audio from the cameras microphone was extremely bright and harsh. This plugin helped tame that source audio sufficiently without losing any of the useful high frequency information.
As their website suggests, grab the software and give it a go for yorself. You may be pleasantly surprised.
I've been doing music production for 25 years, working with tape, digital, you name it. 5 years ago, I focused my business almost exclusively on mastering.
I had just received a New Orleans Jazz Brass Band CD to master when this plug-in came out. Perfect timing! This plug-in was just the thing to smooth the rough edges of the brass section (800 Hz - 5 kHz range) without damaging the tonality. It is also useful for smoothing in the mix context - anything that has that biting, harsh, grainy edge that is so often the downside of digital, especially the prevelent cheap converters, microphones and pre-amps in project studios.
Many of my clients send me mixes that have an excess of digital harshness. Though I had developed ways to smooth out their mixes, the bx_refinement tool is a kind of 'One Stop Shop' for the job; better than any tape emulation, eq, multi-band compressor or other effects I have used for this purpose.
The bx_refinement is not just useful for mastering. If more of my clients used it in their mixes on the harshest tracks, it would make their mixes a lot better and my life a lot easier..
The presence effect is nice too. Just don't overdo the Saturation on tracks that already have a lot of character.
I'm usually cautious when a company claims to have found the magic sauce to make anything taste better. In the past months, I've tried and used a whole lot of tube/tape emulating plug-ins and improved my understanding of saturation a lot. However, so far, I found that it mostly helps make good sorces sound more interesting or shape them into something else. Bad sounding sources continue to sound bad.
And along comes this nice plug-in. So far, for everything I sent through it, it has indeed been an improvement. I would describe the effect as cleaning up the high mids and extending the audible information into the treble end. Interestingly, this also balances the perception of lower mid and bass.
What that means is it will remove annoying characteristics first and then allow you to enhance the remaining signal without sounding artificially excited/enhanced (if you resist the temptation of over doing it). When you bypass it, the original signal will sound unpleasantly resonant in the upper mids and more restricted towards the treble end, as though treated with several low-pass filters with resonance turned up.
So far, I tried it on self-recorded acoustic (one Røde NT5) and electric guitar (classic Strat through Lehle Sunday Driver into FireFace Hi-Z), on vocals, on Logic's drum kits and on a church choir recorded by my dad with a Stereo mic. In all cases, the results were an improvement. Easier to mix in case of the single instruments because there seems to be more space available after treatment with the bx and more up front and more pleasant in case of the stereo recording. So basically, what you'd expect from gentle saturation, with the added benefit of being able to gradually tune out nasty frequencies.
i do wish there was a frequency knob in addition to the intensity knob, but even at its current state, it's a very helpful tool which makes any further processing and the mixing process much easier.