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Products by digitalfishphones

Latest reviews of digitalfishphones products

Dominion
Reviewed By The Chase
May 5, 2018

This was the first useful free transient shaper, and one of the first useful VST transient shapers free or otherwise. It has held-up well.

The saturation comes off a little harsh today, but I still pull this guy out when the signal I'm processing is a little too complex for a traditional compressor.

Read Review

THD
Reviewed By Killvehicle
October 7, 2005

OK I'm not a reviewer on normal days and on bad days I guess I am! Anyway most people surely know this devoloper from Blockfish, Endorphin, or Dominion or any other utility type plugs he had, Since I dont think he is in the business of free plugs anymore, Any way I never tried THD, maybe it was becasue he himself wrote a sort of negative review about this plug saying it could do something subtle or could sound terrible, muddy or god FORBID digital. THis thing is in one word, worthy. I t does what it says on the tin and while it may be subtle in actual sound, unless you push extreemely hard, it makes a big difference in the mix.

I myself play very hard metal/Death Metal, so I may be limited in what this plug can actually do, but I have used on other rock type music and it has performed equally as I would have wanted. In example, while remixing a friends project where only 2 rhythym guitar tracks were recorded (by Sm57). And while these were adequate in technique they lacked in the mix, Since it was fast music and if I brought up the bass guitar too much it would bury the guitars.. Once I tried THD a whole new world opened up and almost by magic, they guitars sat beautifully on top of the bass.. Don't even ask my why it happened, perhaps it almost emulated a phantom tube distant mic, (similar to 2 mic approach to mic'ing guitar cabs), It added a wonderful slight sizzle to the top end that was lacking and EQ would make sound brittle or harsh, and in turn added a subtle but very noticable seperation of bass and guitar. I have used on Vocals as well and as usual I really feel this sounds very tube like, and if thats what you are after then this supplies your needs.
And I read this was his(sascha) first attempt at creating a plug, I think everyones first attempt usually yields some interesting results, and even if this isn't his "best" work, TO me, it is the hidden gem...

As far as interface very simple and straight to the point, you know what to do with it as soon as you open it up..

TO me the sound is warm and very authentic. Although if you use it to much it can almost break up and when it breaks it sounds like a bad tube, SO even in that regard it authentic, Although it usually sounds good used in moderation (i.e less gain, and punch)

Features,, I would say it is a one trick pony since it is basically a saturator, but for the noise freaks out there,, you can get it to make some uncomfortable noise..

I t has a little manual, I didn't read it.

I'll skip support since I dont know if he supports anymore.

Lastly as far as stabilty, every so often I might hear a stray pop or click, but that may be do to the fact it was pushed to hard,, BUt it has never crashed...

Overall if for some reason you havent tried it, do it,, I personally didnt like Blockfish, which is hailed.. But using this plug will have me trying it again in case I missed something the first time,, excellent work and for a saturation device it does what a tube does, not a whole lot in actual SOUND, ,but a world of difference in feel..Read Review

Floorfish
Reviewed By kritikon
July 24, 2005

If any of you haven't downloaded the fishfillets plugins, then do so immediately. They do everyday studio chores with style and character. They are some of the best freebies ever released and are likely to remain classics.

Floorfish isn't just an everyday gate. It can be used for expansion and true gating, but it's also frequency conscious, so it'll do things like de-essing. And it does them extremely well. To be honest, I had it in my plugin folder for a couple of years without ever using it. One day I wanted to gate a really noisy old drum loop, and my normal choice of gate (the one in SX) just didn't cut it. I like the SX one - it's frequency triggered (not frequency conscious). But it often sounds a bit too severe, no matter how you set it...too clinical.

VFM - It's free. It's the quality of many a h/w unit that used to sell in bucketloads too.

Features - As I mentioned, it's not just a plain gate. You could use it on vocals to de-ess; you could use it to gate noise; you could use it to bring down nasty hats that hiss; you could use it to curtail overlong boomy subs to create more space in a loop. Because it's so smooth, you could use it to retain just a little bit of reverb but cut down the tails. You can use it for true expansion.

For anyone that uses drumloops, Floorfish is a must-have. I've used it on vocal samples as well - it won't completely get rid of noise, but it'll reduce the obvious hiss without totally destroying the feel of the vocal - difficult to achieve even close to that with straight Eq.
It barely uses any CPU, so you can slip it into any project easily.

Floorfish is characterised by its smoothness. You can gate out most of the noise, but its envelope is very smooth so you can still retain a little of the drums' ambience etc. And because of the frequency conscious gubbins, you can fine tune it so that to a great degree you can pull down nasty grating hats etc. It won't completely gate them out (no gate can do that), but it will bring them down to a level that sits more easily without lopping of huge amounts of kick subs etc. It's a very versatile gate.

Of course, if you pull the attack right down to zero, it can perform like almost any gate. It'll simply gate out noise in the quiet passages very well. But its the ultra smooth envelope combined with the frequency conscious bit that makes it stand out. It has all the usual controls - envelope attack and release, sensitivity (threshold) and ratio (which is the bit that is basically amount of gating). A useful extra feature is the stereo button, so you can work with either mono or stereo - a surprising amount of FX plugins don't allow that!

The listen button is also useful. Solo the channel you've got it on and press the listen button to hear which frequencies the gate is working on. No readouts as such, but as ever, your ear is the best judge. And thanks to Sascha for realising this and not making the GUI too busy or flashy with needless readouts and meters.

GUI - easy on the eye in monochrome. All the knobs are self-explanatory.

Sound - As I said, it's the smoothness that really appeals. You can do a substanbtial amount of gating without losing too much character of the original material, right up to straight extreme gating.

Presets - not many, but how many presets do you need on such a simple plugin?

Support - none unfortunately. Now Sascha has got himself a proper coding job, he said he won't be supporting these plugins any more...which is a loss to us all, but fear not. This is a very reliable plugin that won't upset your system. It's a few years old but it's rock solid.

I have noticed one drawback though. I can't get any more than 3 instances of it to play in any one project. I don't know why, but it just won't, so if you need multiple gates, you may need to render some down to audio post-processing. It's not that it bumps up the CPU or anything. It might be my system...I use SX2 on an AMD CPU. But it's not a real drawback...as I said, simply render to audio. It's too useful a gate for that minor glitch to put anyone off using it.

Normally I use the SX2 gate for everyday gating, and it's fine for that. I also have an old Behringer 4-channel gate that is great for when using h/w sources, but that too is a pretty bog-standard gate that just gates. I have an old Digitech flagship unit that has gates and noise suppressors in it that does a few more esoteric things, but it still doesn't work quite like Floorfish. Floorfish compares more to something like a Dbx gate. It really brings quality to something as mundane as a gate, which you often don't notice, but on those occasions when you have a noisy or nasty loop that can't be discarded because it has some vital character in it - Floorfish is most likely the tool that will make it fit into a mix without noise and without buggering up the feel of it.

And it's made by the same man who coded Blockfish and Endorphin, so you know it has breeding.Read Review

Dominion
Reviewed By kritikon
January 28, 2004

Another winner from Sascha.

Dominion's an esoteric plugin - well worth the d/l, even though you may not use it all the time. The sort of plugin that tends to be of specialist nature and you'd normally expect only a reputable "name" company to release (with the price tag to match). It's an envelope shaper that allows you to emphasize or reduce the attack and sustain characteristic of whatever you throw at it. So what use is that?
On drums (which is probably what most people use it for) you can emphasize the initial transients (the very quick "hit"). Only one other FX - Transient Designer - springs to mind - and that's a h/w expensive unit... and well-acclaimed too. So what it does is make the drum track sound alot more snappy and in-yer-face. It can give it more energy by emphasizing the first stick hit, which is very important if you've used compressors etc on the drum track - comps usually take away some of the energy and realism of drums even though they increase the overall volume - and most comps will also reduce the high frequencies and sizzle. Dominion lets you put that all back into the drums that have already been compressed - so you get snappy livelier drums that also sound louder after the compression.

Not an obvious effect, but once you play around with it, you'll notice your drum tracks just have that extra little "commercial" sheen to them. You can use all manner of Eq, compressors, limiters etc on drums, but they can often sound dull - Dominion puts some life back into them - especially useful for more accoustic type drums rather than electronic drums.

But the bonus is you can also increase the sustain portion - which in audible terms is similar to what you get with a compressor. Sometimes a comp can only be used so much before it ruins the feel of a drum track, or makes noise too noticeable - so try out Dominion instead of a comp - it may do the job, and you can still boost the attack to get the snap as well as the body.

It doesn't have to be drums - use Dominion to emphasize the attack of accoustic guitar without needing to use bucketloads of Eq to emphasize the picking! Or to bring up the body of a guitar track. Use it to tone down background reverb in a noisy loop or an audio clip that you got wrong but can't rerecord for whatever reason. Use it to take a drumloop further back in the mix, or bring it forward. Use it on kicks even to emphasize the initial click without using mid range Eq boost on a sensitive mix.

Features - the bonus is the added harmonic enhancer and saturation circuit - all of usual Sascha high standard - not overly obvious but just enough to give a little more sheen without being harsh. Will work in stereo or mono, and has his trademark top quality brick wall limiter to really beef up your sound if that's what you want.

Cons - apparently has some P4 denormal issues, but he has a d/l'able fix for that.

Like exciters etc - complicated but just adds the quality extras you can't get normally.Read Review

Blockfish
Reviewed By kritikon
January 27, 2004

It's definitely a character compressor - it adds flavour to your channel. It can be made to be fairly clinical, but it's not crystal clear, nor is it meant to be.

Features - very simple on the front panel - two huge knobs for compression and speed - it really couldn't be any easier than that. You don't have to know what threshold attacks and releases etc do - if you want that level of control then use a different comp, basically. You simply twiddle those 2 knobs until your sound is what you want. There's a stereo button (works in mono if not lit), locut and air (go on...have a guess what they do!), VCA or opto (VCA being a little more severe than opto, and quicker), a "complex" button (more of which later) and a switch to get to the inside panel for more detailed controls.

Documentation - separate d/ls that are an excellent read - well recommended.

Presets - covers all the main bases - guitars, basses, vocals, drums etc - all good presets well programmed to work with the instruments.

Stability - rock solid.

VFM - free. And still competes with expensive commercial comps.

Sound. A character comp - not crystal clear (although can be made to be pretty subtle). It's one that you'd use if you like to impart a distinct flavour to your compressed channel - much closer to analogue comps than most VST dynamics FX out there. With the speed on quickest and on VCA it doesn't let any transients through at all - obviously not how you'd always set up a comp, but good to know it will tame those difficult signals - and with high compression and quick speed, you'll hear more obviously the character of the comp - warm and ever-so-slightly grainy.
The real bonuses are the locut and air buttons - with heavy compression you might get too much bass - locut chops it out nicely, and air adds a great sparkle to those lost high frequencies (which if you didn't know - good h/w comps often lose highs - so it's not a fault - it's the nature of compression) Air is great for bringing accoustic guitars back to life after compression, and using both locut and air definitely helps with drumtracks - it means you can compress more heavily than you naturally might without ruining the nature of the channel.
Inside the panel is the real detail - you can alter the frequencies of the locut and air filters, and many details of the compressor itself to quite drastically alter the nature of the compression - or you can just subtly tweak it to get into some fine perfectionist detail. Often you won't need it, but it makes it very well-spec'ed.

"Complex" - changes it into a dual compressor linked in series. Useful if you want to use it more for groups or even as a master comp - a more subtle compression for each module that lets you compress more heavily with less audible pumping you'd get with just one compressor at the same compression level.

Not a do-everything comp - great for most situations though, full of character and alot more flexible than it first looks.Read Review

Endorphin
Reviewed By kritikon
January 27, 2004

No reviews yet....strange!

I'll be the first, then.

GUI - straightforward and obvious what you're doing. I like it.

Features - lots of them. VCA or opto compression - I rarely use the opto compression, but it definitely has a different flavour to VCA - slower and less obvious but good. VCA compression can tame most severe peaks without noticeable artifacts etc. and it seems to be pretty quick when the attack is minimal. M/S mode - again I rarely use it but no doubt has its uses. A brick wall limiter tacked onto the end with -0.1 dB max output so you can use it either as a comp alone/ comp + limiter/ limiter alone. Saturation circuit that can be used alone or in conjunction with the 3 previous options. All the usual a,r,threshold and gain controls. An output AND input booster. Switching for the high/low sections. Pretty well every function you could want in a comp.

Documentation - Absolutley outstanding! Sascha has a separately downloadable tutorial that is over 1.5MB - well worth reading even if you don't use Endorphin. If you're new to compression etc this is an invaluable help.

Presets - not many (5?) but it gives you enough of an idea as to what it can do. Put it as a master insert then load up preset "Loud and Punchy". It may be heavy-handed but you can't fail to be impressed at what it does to your mix - instant gratification and a many-fold increase in quality of any of even your crappier mixes.

Support - Sascha is working commercially now, so there'll be no more updates, but he used to be very available and supportive. Doesn't really need updates as they're good as is.

VFM Absolutely free and several steps above the standard of the usual freebie. Compares well against expensive commercial offerings.

Stability - Never had a crash. Uses around 5-10% CPU on an Athlon 1.1G 512RAM system. Not a particularly small hit for a comp, but when you hear the quality it more than makes up for it.

Sound - the best bit last. A real stunner. The saturation circuit is very subtle (not one of those overdriven grungy affairs) which adds character but doesn't lose any perceived sound quality - it adds that sparkle and warmth that is felt rather than heard. The compression is what I'd call character rather than clinically clean - possibly you may not like its character, but it's difficult to hate. Not one for absolute crystal clarity if that's what you want. Probably the best single band limiter I've heard - you can push it ridiculously hard and it still sounds clean with no nasty clipping heard, and the bonus is you can switch it in or out. The two comp bands are well chosen - my only wish would be to have adjustable x-over - but it's preset. It's chosen to sit well over an entire mix, and it works very well - you can also boost or cut both bands individual output.

Ideal use - a stunning master comp/limiter, that can also work on channels.

My only essential plugin on EVERY track - competes with several 100s$ mastering suites!Read Review