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Renaissance Axx

Renaissance Axx
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Renaissance Axx

For guitar, bass, and other stringed instruments, all-purpose compressors that also have to handle vocals, drums, stereo mixes, and so on—are unnecessarily complex. You would probably just set-and-forget most parameters, and tweak the two or three you actually need.

So, welcome to Renaissance Axx—which optimizes "under the hood" parameters for stringed instruments and similar sounds like plucked synths. The result: Ease of use, with the gorgeous sound of high-end studio compression:

  • Adjust only 3 controls to dial up perfect compression in seconds.
  • Increase sustain with guitar, fullness with bass.
  • Place before amp sims for smooth, creamy distortion.
  • Equally effective with "plucked" synth sounds.
  • Calculates ratio and release time dynamically and automatically.
  • Includes 28 dazzling artist and factory presets.
  • More consistent levels help tracks sit better in any mix.
  • Informative metering speeds up the tweaking process.
  • Choose from light, dark, or legacy skins.
  • Automatic limiting catches occasional peaks.

{See video at top of page}

User Reviews Average user rating of 4.00 from 1 review Add A Review
Renaissance Axx

Reviewed By bduffy [all]
October 7th, 2014
Version reviewed: 9 on Mac

An Underrated Gem

RenAxx fooled many people when it suddenly appeared in the early 00's: it looks simply like a hastily-reskinned RenVox, with the exact same controls. I ignored it for a long time, but I have rediscovered it since then, finding it quite useful for drums, of all things.

The GUI couldn't be simpler; if you can get past the retina-blazing "Tolex" background, it's just a simple threshold/makeup compressor with automatic release control, and a limiter at the output to prevent clipping (just like Renaissance Vox!). The key to the Renaissance compressors' success, I think, is the automatic release parameters, or whatever is going on behind the scenes.

Compression is smooth and transparent, and you can see why this is marketed towards beginners-and-up. There seems to be something about the compression that "fattens" the sound a bit—somewhat reminiscent of Vintage Warmer's release character—that of course works well for guitars, but I have found to be really effective on drums (individual and full busses), and it can make a snare sound fuller, even at higher levels. You can push this thing quite heavily and still retain a good attack characteristics. It's very useful for slapping quickly on an acoustic guitar bus too, say, to gel them together and tame unruly plosives.

All in all, I'd say this is a delightful tool, and when one surveys the plug-in horizon, there are few compressors marketed specifically for guitars, so I think it's a great effect to have at hand when you need it—especially if you're more of a songwriter than an engineer. And if you're put off by its simplicity, just remember: some of the world's most coveted compressors are fixed-ratio/auto-release compressors with simple controls (UREI 1176, anyone? LA2A?), and I think this is a plug-in classic that deserves reappraisal and a higher place in peoples' plugin roster—especially if you got it during a Waves sale, or free with your Waves bundle.

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