Massey Plugins has announced the release of Golden Master, a Soft Clipper AAX plug-in for macOS.
Steven Massey says:
People have frequently requested that I develop a soft-clipping plugin such as this one. Though I've committed effort into research-and-development over the years, I was always hesitant to finally release something. Why? Because music is already too darn loud and a soft-clipper can be a dangerous weapon that can rip your sound to shreds.
On the other hand, when used judiciously, a soft-clipper can be a excellent tool for lifting the loudness of your master without damaging the original sense of dynamics.
So, I present to you: Golden Master. Use it lightly. Use it wisely.
A soft-clipper is most useful and most transparent on percussive-centric music (rock, etc.) where the highest peaks of the mix tend to be drums. Golden Master can shave off these fast transients without dramatically increasing audible distortion or pumping-and-breathing your audio.
Golden Master, unlike other soft-clipper plugins, also has a speed control. Reducing the speed transforms it from a soft-clipper into a more traditional analog-like limiter with a fast attack and release time. Reducing the speed will reduce distortion and add more compression flavor at the expense of less reduction.
Reducing the ratio control along with speed further transforms it into something more compressor-like. For limiting the master bus, Steven advises keeping the ratio at maximum. But, when applying Golden Master for creative effect on individual tracks, the ratio control provides a broader palette of color.