While doing research to set up a stack of plugins for livestreaming, I got a good tip, to make sure that a VST is never fed a clipped signal. You can always make up the gain at the end. So my next thought was, "what about the first plugin?" And I set out in search of a simple, zero-latency limiter to lead the way, protecting the whole pile from mic bumps, glass clinks, sharp curses and the like. Xhip's Limiter does the job, even if I talk directly into the mic or flick the housing, everything stays clean. 1ms attack, 10ms hold, 30ms release, -2db threshhold, 100% ratio, 0% lookahead, and Reaper reports zero on both latency and CPU usage on it.
A great set of effects, the Xhip Limiter and Compressor stood out for me, with me being in search of an easy to use, effective compressor, I tried the two mentioned, I really like the added flexibility of the Xhip Limiter. It can be used as a compressor and yields satisfying results, highly tweak-able. When using slower attack times it seemed better to reduce the look ahead %. From smashing drum loops to moderate compression, this thing is just great. It needs more love.
I just tried the mac alpha version of Xhip effects. These fx are great for unique lofi mangling fsu experiments, as well as making things sound better. Such character and ear-pleasing, useful results. Neat stuff. I look forward to these plugins being guied, along with the xhip synth, which is also very cool-sounding and full of character. I'll be using these a lot. I'm rarely moved to review things, but this collection stood out so much that I wanted to make sure it got the attention it deserved.
Clipper: gives absolutely flat peak to clipped sound, except when OS (oversampling?) turned on, which includes peaks in a somewhat simplified version.
Follower: Filter cutoff follows input very nicely, easy to get settings that produce something cool, like dj scratching fx or transient shaping.
Gate: I was able to get a crispy staccatto sound on a hihat loop, which I was unable to duplicate using ableton's gate without losing some of the hits.
Compressor: Very clean sounding, was not able to get any of the horrible artifacts I can get with a lot of compressors when pushed to their extremes.
Limiter. Sounds cleaner, warmer and more musical than the 20 or so other dynamics plugins I compared it to. I can get some cool volume modulation with the attack and hold controls. I was able to bring out the reverb in a drum loop in a way that sounded smooth and pleasing, as if I had put reverb on a dry drum loop. Not able to duplicate this with other plugins. Amazing.
mDelay: Millisecond delay, up to 1 second. Just about anything you do with the parameters gives really fun results.
Multiplier: Not sure what this does, sounds a little like a cross between frequency modulation and distorting something through a small speaker. The mod control can make it sound a bit like a rotary speaker too.
Phaser: Easy to get sounds that don't hurt your ears with this one, unlike a lot of phasers. You can even create a pleasing pitch warbling effect with it set to 128 stages, rate to about 7hz, and frequency and depth fairly high.
Quantizer: This provides many more possible usable interesting bitcrush/sample redux results than I can get from ableton's redux.
RC filter: LP and HP Multimode filter with different slopes, no resonance. Clean.
Rectifier: Brings amplitude of negative or positive polarity of audio closer to 0. Anything over 50% starts to make the sound thinner, leaving you with harmonics an octave above. At mid settings, I found it helps tame midrange resonances in serum dubstep basses and gives them a flatter sound as if they were somehow produced by another type of synthesis, and they sit in the mix better with noisy drums.
Reverb: Plenty of options, includes delay, rate mod for swirling nightmarish fx, and can also put things in nice spaces from small rooms to the universe.
Ringmod: The depth and sidechain options and ease of use give this an edge over the ringmod in ableton's frequency shifter, although ableton's ringmod has some additional interesting options.
Tremolo: Includes width for autopanning. Very simple. No tempo sync.
Vocal: vocal filter. Sweeping the frequency sounds like a phaser, and sweeping the phoneme around creates some very sweet ohyeahaiyu kinds of sounds.
Just a big shout out to Xhip. I tried the Limiter as a compressor, using a lower ratio, it's a little gem. The look ahead feature needs to be backed off when using slower attack times, otherwise latency is introduced to the sound source. From smashing drums to moderate compression, this thing handles everything, nicely.
Many hosts do support mapping MIDI CCs to parameters and it is always possible to load a plug-in to do the job. It does not make sense to add such features directly in the interest of keeping the plug-ins as simple as possible. Hosts should handle these tasks and may do so from any source, not just 7-bit MIDI but 14-bit and high precision OSC or other sources.