Channel Strips (e.g., Fat Channel XT) vs. Individual Plug-Ins

VST, AU, etc. plug-in Virtual Effects discussion
mwooten777
KVRer
24 posts since 27 Apr, 2020

Post Wed Sep 16, 2020 4:04 am

I'm not an effects/mixing expert and have a question...why use a channel strip instead of individual plug-ins?

I get a certain degree of convenience, and if the channel strip has everything you want or need, I can see it might make sense. And from what I can tell, Fat Channel XT is a good channel strip option. But if I have Fabfilter EQ, compressor, etc., would it be better to use those?

Thanks for any thoughts you're willing to share...

AGIGA
KVRist
115 posts since 2 May, 2015

Post Wed Sep 16, 2020 4:32 am

A channel strip will help you to mix more with your ears than with your eyes. You will not judge an eq curve on how it looks. As a result you will make bolder EQ moves and get to a competitive sound faster.
On the other hand with the Fabfilter EQ you can get more surgical and f.e. cut offending frequencies.
The same with compressors. Channel strip comps often have more character/vibe as the purely digital ones.
Both have their use.
So, you can use both a channel strip and Fabfilter depending on what the track needs.
Or, just use what you like best and what brings you the best results.
Happy mixing! :phones:

imrae
KVRian
1316 posts since 2 Jul, 2010

Post Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:10 am

AGIGA wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 4:32 am
A channel strip will help you to mix more with your ears than with your eyes. You will not judge an eq curve on how it looks.
Eh? I have channel strip plugins with EQ graphs (e.g. AudioTrack, RenChannel) and EQ plugins without this feedback (e.g. SlickEQ, Luftikus, various Pultec models...)

To the OP I think the key workflow benefit is that it is easier to open one plugin and quickly go back and forth between EQ and compression setting when these are interactive. It's also useful to A/B between setups, or save presets that cover all the channel strip components. And turning up a gate threshold is faster than inserting a gate plugin.

That being said, I don't find they work for me that well. I usually want a particular compression style, and have yet to find a channel strip EQ as useful as SlickEQ GE.

mwooten777
KVRer
24 posts since 27 Apr, 2020

Post Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:28 am

Thanks for the thoughtful replies. Does anyone ever make their own custom "channel strip," using individual plug-ins? Maybe set up as an FX Chain in Studio One?

User avatar
Halonmusic
KVRAF
4322 posts since 13 Nov, 2015 from Norway

Post Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:35 am

mwooten777 wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:28 am
Thanks for the thoughtful replies. Does anyone ever make their own custom "channel strip," using individual plug-ins? Maybe set up as an FX Chain in Studio One?
i have been thinking of doing that actually
EnergyXT3 - Reaper | Roland SH201 - Waldorf Rocket || SoundCloud

fese
KVRian
1420 posts since 14 Sep, 2004 from $HOME

Post Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:39 am

Sometimes it is also that a channel strip plugin tries to emulate the sound of a complete channel strip of an analog console, like e.g. the different SSL consoles (E-series, G-series), so for people who know theses consoles a channel strip might be a good way to quickly get the sound they’re used to (at least in the ballpark).

Apart from that, as already said, it’s mostly personal workflow preference.

Problem of these channel strips is usually the compressor, because it tends to be limited or not really useable for every track. I like the IK SSL channel strips and use the EQ, but the compressor usually works for me on percussive tracks, and e.g. not that much on vocals, so I have to open another plugin anyway.

User avatar
antic604
KVRAF
5899 posts since 4 Jan, 2017 from Warsaw, Poland

Post Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:41 am

I guess using a channel strip helps to finish the job quicker, because usually they have less features (i.e. are limited to just the really important ones) and less (distracting) visual feedback than dedicated tools, so you make your decisions quicker. Also, if you're working on a laptop / single screen, then having all controls in one place helps, because changing gate or filters impacts compressor response, etc. so you have to work on them together.

Fat Channel XT is really great, so are those:
https://www.plugin-alliance.com/en/prod ... 000_e.html (disregard the price, it can be found below $50)
https://www.plugin-alliance.com/en/prod ... eries.html (likewise)
https://www.waves.com/plugins/scheps-omni-channel
https://www.tb-software.com/TBProAudio/cs3301.html
MPC One / A4 Mk1 / OT Mk1 + Bitwig 3 / Reason 11 / Studio One 5 Pro @ Lenovo Y730 15'' i7-8750h
my music - https://soundcloud.com/antic604

AGIGA
KVRist
115 posts since 2 May, 2015

Post Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:48 am

imrae wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:10 am
AGIGA wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 4:32 am
A channel strip will help you to mix more with your ears than with your eyes. You will not judge an eq curve on how it looks.
Eh? I have channel strip plugins with EQ graphs (e.g. AudioTrack, RenChannel) and EQ plugins without this feedback (e.g. SlickEQ, Luftikus, various Pultec models...)

To the OP I think the key workflow benefit is that it is easier to open one plugin and quickly go back and forth between EQ and compression setting when these are interactive. It's also useful to A/B between setups, or save presets that cover all the channel strip components. And turning up a gate threshold is faster than inserting a gate plugin.

That being said, I don't find they work for me that well. I usually want a particular compression style, and have yet to find a channel strip EQ as useful as SlickEQ GE.
And I have neutron 3. He was talking about FatChannel vs. Fabfilter. So let me have my thoughts on the subject and I let you have yours. :tu:

FapFilter
KVRist
459 posts since 29 Oct, 2015 from Jupiter 8

Post Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:49 am

I only use a channel strip (Sonimus Satson CS in my case) simply because i like the quick and intuitive workflow of it's EQ more than stuff like Pro-Q for general / broad tone shaping.
If it wasn't for the fact that it has options for larger GUI sizes and oversampling possibilities, i'd be still using the StoneEQ from the same company, which literally is just the EQ minus the larger GUI & oversampling.

Pro-Q or equivalents for more surgical tasks, as has been mentioned before by another user.
A channel strip for EQ+comp+gate/expander+saturation+mid/side processing, etc. on one GUI, etc = me no need either
For some it is Reaper, for others it is the shittiest looking DAW in the world

GRUMP
KVRian
695 posts since 11 Jun, 2019

Post Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:57 am

You'll probably get lots of Input worth considering. I want to make it short: Try it yourself. Everything Else is subjective. Compare the Results. They will be different. Maybe compare AA Gold/Sand for Example against Farbfilter and try to get close. And watch the Clock, too!

I suggest to have both :|

AGIGA
KVRist
115 posts since 2 May, 2015

Post Wed Sep 16, 2020 6:03 am

mwooten777 wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:28 am
Thanks for the thoughtful replies. Does anyone ever make their own custom "channel strip," using individual plug-ins? Maybe set up as an FX Chain in Studio One?
If a FX chain works for a specific task, i'll save it. This saves a lot of time.

SneakyBeats
KVRist
173 posts since 29 Jun, 2020

Post Wed Sep 16, 2020 6:42 am

Channel strips may have some certain "mojo"..

BUT you can also build your own channel strip, like in Bitwig just nest everything in and set macros and you're good to go.

User avatar
exmatproton
KVRAF
2799 posts since 25 Apr, 2011

Post Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:40 am

AGIGA wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 4:32 am
A channel strip will help you to mix more with your ears than with your eyes. You will not judge an eq curve on how it looks. As a result you will make bolder EQ moves and get to a competitive sound faster.
On the other hand with the Fabfilter EQ you can get more surgical and f.e. cut offending frequencies.
The same with compressors. Channel strip comps often have more character/vibe as the purely digital ones.
Both have their use.
So, you can use both a channel strip and Fabfilter depending on what the track needs.
Or, just use what you like best and what brings you the best results.
Happy mixing! :phones:
Huh? This is nonsense

User avatar
El°HYM
KVRian
509 posts since 21 Nov, 2015

Post Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:44 am

Dont use those too much, yet this one I found useful from time to time:
Image
https://ddmf.eu/thestrip-channel-strip-plugin/
The art of knowing is knowing what to ignore.

AGIGA
KVRist
115 posts since 2 May, 2015

Post Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:50 am

exmatproton wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:40 am
AGIGA wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 4:32 am
A channel strip will help you to mix more with your ears than with your eyes. You will not judge an eq curve on how it looks. As a result you will make bolder EQ moves and get to a competitive sound faster.
On the other hand with the Fabfilter EQ you can get more surgical and f.e. cut offending frequencies.
The same with compressors. Channel strip comps often have more character/vibe as the purely digital ones.
Both have their use.
So, you can use both a channel strip and Fabfilter depending on what the track needs.
Or, just use what you like best and what brings you the best results.
Happy mixing! :phones:
Huh? This is nonsense
Why?

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