Plugin Alliance and Black Box Analog Design have announced HG-2, a tube-emulation plugin and the companies' first collaboration.
A turbo-charged digital version of Black Box's high-end analog processor with the same name, HG-2 distinguishes itself from other tube-emulation plugins by using models of four very different-sounding tubes in series and parallel circuits to produce a smorgasbord of tube colorations on full mixes and individual tracks. From gorgeous shimmer and sparkle to midrange-fattening saturation to roaring overdrive, the versatile HG-2 produces the full range of tube sonics that have propelled hit records to the top of the charts and transformed special FX in cinema.
Celebrated mix engineers around the globe regularly use the analog Black Box HG-2 on their mixes to make them sound louder, bigger and punchier at the same peak level. In designing the HG-2 plugin, Brainworx (Plugin Alliance's founding development partner) first worked with Black Box to model the hardware unit's tubes and transformers. They then added a host of powerful digital mods to greatly expand the processor's tonal palette and range of saturation effects.
HG-2's main circuit path includes separate gain controls for emulated 6U8A pentode and triode tubes placed in series between virtual transformers. The plugin's new Density control drives both tubes harder without changing their relative balance or the plugin's output level, adding more girth and mass. A Calibration menu mimics the effect of an internal trim adjustment in the original hardware, instantly modifying the HG-2's high-frequency response to produce Dark, Normal or Bright coloration. A new, continuously variable Air knob adds silvery sparkle and sweetness above 10 kHz. An added Mix control adjusts the HG-2's wet/dry balance, preserving detail and punch on full mixes, drum subgroups and percussion tracks.
HG-2 also features a parallel Saturation circuit, which can be activated to drive the main circuit's pentode and triode tubes to dramatic effect. The Saturation circuit selects one of two virtual 12AX7 tubes—one voiced more aggressively than the other—to add fat tube radiance or scorching overdrive distortion on instrument and vocal tracks. A Saturation Frequency selector adds the generated 12AX7 harmonics to only low or high frequencies or across the entire audio spectrum—great for shaping individual tracks, creative sound design or adding spectrally balanced harmonics to full mixes. A new, continuously variable Input Gain control simultaneously trims gain for all active virtual tube circuits—Saturation, pentode and triode—preserving their relative balance and optimizing headroom at the plugin's output.
The Black Box HG-2 is provided in AAX (native and DSP), VST and AU formats for Mac OS 10.8 or higher and Windows 7 through 10.
Pricing and release TBA.