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Dynamics (Compressor / Limiter) Plugin by Soundtoys
Devil-Loc - Audio Level Destroyer
Devil-Loc - Audio Level Destroyer
Devil-Loc by Soundtoys is a Virtual Effect Audio Plugin for macOS and Windows. It functions as a VST Plugin, an Audio Units Plugin, a VST 3 Plugin and an AAX Plugin.
Copy Protection
iLok USB Only
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Devil-Loc - Audio Level Destroyer.

Devil-Loc and Devil-Loc Deluxe are a SoundToys twist inspired by the classic Shure Level-Loc. These plug-ins add huge sucking compression, grit, dirt, distortion, and take drums (but try it anywhere) to a wonderful hellish nightmare. It's not for the faint of heart.

Devil-Loc is essentially a distorting compressor but so much more, it's really quite simple but also a bit supernatural. Because the release time of the compression is effected by the input level (like the Level-Loc) it's a bit hard to predict exactly what will happen the first time you work with it. Luckily with just two knobs, you can find the magic spot for your track fairly quickly and you'll be going for that sound more and more.

Don't be fooled by its simple front panel, this plug-in has a lot more cool sounds than you'd expect out of two knobs. Get crushing kick drums, to almost rhythmic level sweeps with the crazing sucking compression, to blitzed out blasting beat loops. Drive it hard and you get straight hardware sounding break-up and drive. It's a devil in disguise, and the devil's in the details, and the devil made us do it and all those other devil references.

To take things beyond the hardware that inspired it and give you even more creative flexibility, Devil-Loc Deluxe adds a "Darkness" control for tone, switchable slow or fast release times and the ability to mix the original back in right on the front panel. The addition of these controls opens up the sonic palette immensely. Dark thundering drums, to driven lo-fi loops, and more, and the mix control saves all that tedious routing and lets you automate mix to keep the Devil from taking over the soul of your tracks. This time, evil is good.

A Bit of History
The Shure M62 Level-Loc was designed by Shure to be a leveling amplifier mostly for mics. The concept was it would keep an even level (locked level) once it hit a certain input so you wouldn't get "fade outs or blasting". It was super simple with only a switch for three "distance" settings based on how far from the mic you were. The M62V upped the control a bit by adding an input level knob. However, the reason it became famous was not because it did a good job of leveling, it may have, but largely thanks to SoundToys user Tchad Blake and his desire to push, abuse, and do deliciously evil things to his tracks. He discovered that pushing the Level-Loc gave you gritty, dirty, unusual compression that made drums gigantic and nasty. Both of which are good things. So SoundToys has taken that concept and dropped it in the simple two control Devil-Loc. Then they've taken it further than the original hardware with the Devil-Loc Deluxe.

Latest User Reviews

Average user rating of 4.00 from 1 review

Reviewed By bduffy [all]
February 8th, 2012
Version reviewed: 1.0.5 on Mac

Note: I was lucky enough to get in on the free-version deal when this was released in 2011. Sadly, the free version doesn't seem to exist anymore, and is now a slightly expensive plug-in. I will base my review off the free version mainly, but I did try out the full version when it was released.

Devil-Loc is an incredible, lo-fi drum compressor/distorter. This has become my go-to plug-in for dirty parallel compression on drums. It's really such a simple plug-in; a small tweak of the parameters and your drums (and basses) will be screaming in glorious agony. I'd say it's destined to be a classic, if it became more widely-known.

The controls are super-simple: basically "CRUSH" = compression, and "CRUNCH" = distortion. It reminds me of CamelPhat Free in many ways, right down to its "instantly sounds good" factor. I find the compressor sounds best below about the "7" mark. The compression gets a little unpredictable when cranked, kind of "ducky", but experimentation should be encouraged with this plug-in. A real selling point is the attack on the compression; it's very spiky, and delivers and instant punch to it that is ideal for drums, and can add real presence to bass lines.

The distortion is wonderful, warm and tube-y, and can really help tracks stand out and sound less "digital". Not much more to add, except to watch out when blending it with the compression.

I would've given this a "10", except for a couple of factors:

  1. There is no output gain control/compensation, so this gets very loud, very easily.

  2. The full version of this plug-in is rather expensive for what you get. The full version only adds a couple more parameters and is $129. I'd have a tough time recommending this to anyone apart from the most moneyed musician. But if you're inclined, you won't regret it!
  3. I've found it to be a little buggy from time to time. I will report this to SoundToys.

But all in all, an amazing plug-in! And I'm sure those of us who were fortunate enough to get the free version will be wringing our hands for eternity as we reside over our warm, trashy parallel compression busses...

Read Review

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