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Reviewed By kritikon [read all by] on 24th July 2005
Version reviewed: 1.1 on Windows.
Last edited by kritikon on 24th July 2005.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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If any of you haven't downloaded the fishfillets plugins, then do so immediately. They do everyday studio chores with style and character. They are some of the best freebies ever released and are likely to remain classics.

Floorfish isn't just an everyday gate. It can be used for expansion and true gating, but it's also frequency conscious, so it'll do things like de-essing. And it does them extremely well. To be honest, I had it in my plugin folder for a couple of years without ever using it. One day I wanted to gate a really noisy old drum loop, and my normal choice of gate (the one in SX) just didn't cut it. I like the SX one - it's frequency triggered (not frequency conscious). But it often sounds a bit too severe, no matter how you set it...too clinical.

VFM - It's free. It's the quality of many a h/w unit that used to sell in bucketloads too.

Features - As I mentioned, it's not just a plain gate. You could use it on vocals to de-ess; you could use it to gate noise; you could use it to bring down nasty hats that hiss; you could use it to curtail overlong boomy subs to create more space in a loop. Because it's so smooth, you could use it to retain just a little bit of reverb but cut down the tails. You can use it for true expansion.

For anyone that uses drumloops, Floorfish is a must-have. I've used it on vocal samples as well - it won't completely get rid of noise, but it'll reduce the obvious hiss without totally destroying the feel of the vocal - difficult to achieve even close to that with straight Eq.
It barely uses any CPU, so you can slip it into any project easily.

Floorfish is characterised by its smoothness. You can gate out most of the noise, but its envelope is very smooth so you can still retain a little of the drums' ambience etc. And because of the frequency conscious gubbins, you can fine tune it so that to a great degree you can pull down nasty grating hats etc. It won't completely gate them out (no gate can do that), but it will bring them down to a level that sits more easily without lopping of huge amounts of kick subs etc. It's a very versatile gate.

Of course, if you pull the attack right down to zero, it can perform like almost any gate. It'll simply gate out noise in the quiet passages very well. But its the ultra smooth envelope combined with the frequency conscious bit that makes it stand out. It has all the usual controls - envelope attack and release, sensitivity (threshold) and ratio (which is the bit that is basically amount of gating). A useful extra feature is the stereo button, so you can work with either mono or stereo - a surprising amount of FX plugins don't allow that!

The listen button is also useful. Solo the channel you've got it on and press the listen button to hear which frequencies the gate is working on. No readouts as such, but as ever, your ear is the best judge. And thanks to Sascha for realising this and not making the GUI too busy or flashy with needless readouts and meters.

GUI - easy on the eye in monochrome. All the knobs are self-explanatory.

Sound - As I said, it's the smoothness that really appeals. You can do a substanbtial amount of gating without losing too much character of the original material, right up to straight extreme gating.

Presets - not many, but how many presets do you need on such a simple plugin?

Support - none unfortunately. Now Sascha has got himself a proper coding job, he said he won't be supporting these plugins any more...which is a loss to us all, but fear not. This is a very reliable plugin that won't upset your system. It's a few years old but it's rock solid.

I have noticed one drawback though. I can't get any more than 3 instances of it to play in any one project. I don't know why, but it just won't, so if you need multiple gates, you may need to render some down to audio post-processing. It's not that it bumps up the CPU or anything. It might be my system...I use SX2 on an AMD CPU. But it's not a real drawback...as I said, simply render to audio. It's too useful a gate for that minor glitch to put anyone off using it.

Normally I use the SX2 gate for everyday gating, and it's fine for that. I also have an old Behringer 4-channel gate that is great for when using h/w sources, but that too is a pretty bog-standard gate that just gates. I have an old Digitech flagship unit that has gates and noise suppressors in it that does a few more esoteric things, but it still doesn't work quite like Floorfish. Floorfish compares more to something like a Dbx gate. It really brings quality to something as mundane as a gate, which you often don't notice, but on those occasions when you have a noisy or nasty loop that can't be discarded because it has some vital character in it - Floorfish is most likely the tool that will make it fit into a mix without noise and without buggering up the feel of it.

And it's made by the same man who coded Blockfish and Endorphin, so you know it has breeding.

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Floorfish

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