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Reviewed By oskroskroskr [read all by] on 25th March 2014
Version reviewed: 7 on Mac
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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This is probably the ugliest compressor ever produced but it's the sound that matters right? The big attraction with this plug is that you can draw the compression on a graph. I'd strongly recommend this to anyone who is new to dynamics. It's a good tool for learning.

As usual Melda provide almost no instructions. To get the graph feature to work click "custom shape". This disables several other knobs on the display, namely threshold, ratio, knee and knee shape, so don't bother turning any of these and disregard their values. Note that you can't maximize to 0db either when using the custom shape.

Another thing to keep in mind, especially if you're new to this - depending on your attack time quite a bit of your transient could be escaping before the graph begins to effect the signal.

The line bouncing back and forth horizontally on the graph represents the input level (post the gain knob). The first bar beneath the graph is volume reduction that occurs during compression. The second bar is output level (post the output gain).

This is also a really good plug for doing expansion or other non standard compression.

Reviewed By oskroskroskr [read all by] on 22nd March 2014
Version reviewed: 32bit on Mac.
Last edited by rosko12 on 27th October 2015.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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The Rocket is a really great all-round compressor. It's one of my favourites. You can use it in just about any situation and quickly dial in the settings you want. The GR meter is one of the best I've come across and the GUI is nice to look at and perfect in size. It also has an "impetus" knob for adding subtle harmonics which is something I don't think I've come across before. If you didn't know already the compressor is modelled on a hardware compressor known as the UA 1176 which was first produced in the late 1960s.

Stillwell makes a big deal about how fast the attack is but generally I don't use it at extremely short attack speeds. However it's nice to know it does go fast if you want it to.

A couple of critcisms and ideas:

Why are the GR / OUT buttons upside down relative to the scale on the actual meter?

The impetus knob is super subtle until right at the far end of the dial. It would be easier to use if the effect was better distributed across the entire dial.

It would save me a few seconds here and there if there was "dry" and "wet" written next to the parallel knob. Generally you would expect dry to be on the left side.

The difference between the ratio buttons is really very subtle. More often than not I find the differences between two ratios completely inaudible but that may be because I use the parallel and input filter quite liberally. Arguably the ratio button concept was more important on the original 1176. That said however, when used aggressively the "all" ratio setting is rather interesting. It sounds quite sexy on a drum kit. Most of the other compressors I've tried can't do this sound. On the Rocket it's only a few clicks away.

Is the oversample x2 or even higher? I'm curious. This is definitely a great feature.

The HP filter on the signal only goes to 200Hz. I usually find that is barely enough.

The compensation slider runs between -20 and +20 decibels. I have no idea why you would want to reduce the volume by 20, and when used on the extreme settings +20 is not enough. In my opinion it would make more sense to run the slider between 0 and 30db.

Thanks Stillwell.


PS: Some more stuff you may like to know before using the Rocket!!.

The impetus knob does literally nothing for precisely the first 50%! (Confirmed by null test). When turned up beyond this it seems to add some higher order odd harmonics, ie 5th and 7th etc etc.

With oversample activated the plug consistently performs 2db louder. It makes it difficult to compare oversample results. It seems to be a bug as the oversample features on other compressors don't do this.

There's a lag on the parallel knob. Can't think why this would be desirable. It may be a bug. If you turn the knob swiftly from one side to the other it takes a second or two for the audio to catch up.

Reviewed By oskroskroskr [read all by] on 31st January 2014
Version reviewed: 9 on Mac
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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There's a lot of different transient shaper plugs out there, but there are two fairly common models that seem to dominate the scene. The two knobs model (adjust the volume of the attack and sustain) or b) the one knob model (it does fat and thin). Clearly Bittersweet falls into the latter category. Sure you can alter the speed and the length of the effect. But generally I find the default does a pretty good job, and you're only likely to gently tweak the settings, if at all. Bittersweet sounds as good or better than other transient shapers I've tried. Those other ones cost money. So the choice seems pretty easy.

Occasionally I've seen this crash my daw for no good reason, otherwise I would have rated it higher.

Reviewed By oskroskroskr [read all by] on 30th January 2014
Version reviewed: 3.1, 2.1 on Mac.
Last edited by rosko12 on 13th April 2014.
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It's free, it looks great and it's got a lot of knobs. For this reason it was one of the first compressor plugs I ever tried out. A couple of years later and I'm still astonished by this thing. Don't think because it's free that it's in some way inferior to a compressor with a huge price tag. This is up there with the most advanced software compressors ever created.

Variable attack envelopes, mid/side effects, high pass on the sidechain, optional warm saturation, knee shape, upsampling and parallel. There really isn't an option left out. It's also the only compressor I've ever seen that has a mid-scoop eq. Not sure why you'd really need one built into the compressor but I've come to like it being there.

One thing it won't do however is a huge squish. Even when I max out the ratio and threshold it remains fairly civilized and only reduces around 20db. But I guess no sensible person would ever really want to do more than that.

Two hints for noobs:

a)The alpha/sigma switch changes the attack shape. Alpha is more standard and sigma lets most of the original signal pass through the attack. No matter how many times I use Molot I still seem to forget which is which.

b) The limiter has two possible routings: "Pre" - compressor -> limiter -> EQ -> Makeup -> Dry Mix, or "Post" - compressor -> EQ -> Makeup -> Dry Mix -> limiter. Don't get confused like I did and wonder why the heck anyone would want to use a limiter before the compressor. To make things worse there is unfortunately a bug on the latest version (3.1) that means the limiter is always set to the "pre" routing. Hopefully we see a fix for this soon.

The only real problem you might have with Molot is that it is in fact too big and versatile for your needs. Sometimes it's simpler to reach for a compressor with just a few knobs.

An inspiring and artful plugin... definitely worth clicking on the donate button...

PS: The VU meter isn't without a few idiosyncrasies! It does a good job of GR but it doesn't read the input very precisely. On the 2.168 version it does a passable job but it certainly isn't reading the peaks and occasionally it reads well above. On the 3.1 version it is considerably worse and often reads way way above. This could be a bug or it could be an alternative approach to modelling. Either way it's not very useful. Thankfully the input meter is something you can easily do without. The GR meter seems to be much more accurate (on both versions). It gets the db acceptably close, bounces in the right places and is very easy to read.

Reviewed By oskroskroskr [read all by] on 16th January 2014
Version reviewed: 1.13 on Mac.
Last edited by rosko12 on 10th September 2014.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Every now and then I feel the urgent need to review a plugin. I can't explain it...

Saturn is one of the best multiband distortions out there. Two others worth mentioning are Kombinat (Audio Damage) and Ohmicide (Ohm Force). With Saturn the big win is the interface. You get the basics real quickly, and some ridiculous sophistication is tucked away just in case you need it.

The default option is just a straight up distortion unit with a dynamic control, post-eq and feedback. You then add however many bands you need. Only problem is you sometimes get a bit confused about what bands you're altering (since you can only see one control set at a time). There's a good range of distortion varieties, sixteen in fact. I wish FF provided a bit more detail about how they calculated each distortion (ie a waveshaper graph). But no I guess that's up to the nerds to try and figure out themselves. You also get a good spectrum analyser - you can move the multiband bars around on the actual analyser which is a big pro.

As with many of the FF plugins you get a standard set of modulation options - in this situation they are well beyond what any sane person could possibly require in a distortion unit. I doubt many people are going to use the LFO's. The follower strikes me as pretty useful however.

What I'd really like to see FF do (by the way) is update the XY pad to include a space where the user can type in a description of the macro. It's a pain in the butt trying to remember what all the sliders do especially when you have sliders connected to sliders.


Here's a couple more things I noticed sometime later...

* There's a further hardclip at 0db, regardless of where you set the input or output, or any other knob. Not sure why this would be desirable. Haven't noticed this on any other FF plugs.

* Saturn seems to be geared towards fairly gentle analog emulations. If you want brutal clipping you can try turning the input up and the output down. Or get a different plug.

* It adds a tiny amount of white noise to everything. Maybe they thought this was more analog. IMO if folks want white noise they can add it themselves.

Reviewed By oskroskroskr [read all by] on 24th December 2013
Version reviewed: 10 on Mac
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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Hi there. Messing around with this a whole bunch today so thought I might treat you to a quick review...

PROS: You can do relatively long delay times, there's a lot of tame plugs out there that won't let you go as long and slow as you want to. The GUI looks good, nice big knobs. When you switch between BPM host and free time (ms) modes, the units of measurement change but the actual time remains the same (makes life faster if you're going for slightly off delays!). Also the "analog tape delay sound" is probably the smoothest I've come across. You know what I mean - the pitch shifts if you change the delay time while it's working. In this way it's a good tool for live jams and feedback loops. The filters are good too, better than most. There's a "mod" function which applies an LFO to the pitch of the delay.

CONS: The ping pong is not a dual stereo ping pong. It just splits the stereo into left and right. Ok, this may be the norm but what's so good about the norm? Why not embrace the deluxe? You also get a couple of "analog" options and a "lofi" switch. This is nice but it's mostly very subtle and if it was up to me I would have tucked these options in some out of the way menu.

VERDICT: H-delay does the basics really well and it doesn't waste your time with a lot of frills you'll almost never use. But there's still room for improvement...

Reviewed By oskroskroskr [read all by] on 9th December 2013
Version reviewed: 2 on Mac
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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This has probably been my go to filter fx plugin for a while now. It's definitely one of the best I've tried. But there's still a lot to be desired.


Good modulation, the envelope follower is pretty solid, although I never use it. The LFO is not necessarily standard, it has some idiosyncrasies, for example you need to use the "balance" control to create a saw but it won't show that on the graph if you do so. You can however trigger the LFO by sending it MIDI which means effectively you can add this onto a synth that doesn't have a complex filter, and send it the same MIDI signal. It's good for dubstep wobbles. If you animate a filter sweep in your track (ie with your daw) you actually get to see the filter move up and down. I don't know but this works for me. Unfortunately the LFOs etc don't make the filters move that would be a nice optional extra.


Why are there only bit pass, LP and HP options? It would be great to get a decent band pass with a variable width, a notch and a bell would be pretty great. Why did they stop at just three filter types? Also there needs to be an optional oversample. At the most extreme values you can hear aliasing on this plug and that's a big design faux-pas. Also what do the different filter "types" actually do? They seem to vary Q values and saturation levels but it would be nice if the instruction pdf or help box actually went into more detail on this. My final criticism is an obvious one: wayyyy too expensive. There are plenty of similiar plugs that go for around a third of the price. (Few have quite as many features as volcano however).

Reviewed By oskroskroskr [read all by] on 25th October 2013
Version reviewed: 10 on Mac
2 of 19 people found this review helpful.
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Alchemy strikes me as a somewhat better version of Absynth. They're both geared towards huge performable soundcapes. Unlike Abysnth you can load in big wave files (ie field recordings). You can then modulate and morph it all together with a bunch of analog sounds and a heap of effects. It would be really great for "ambient noise" artists. You could play a whole set on pretty much one instance of Alchemy.

As far a synthesizing sounds though this is far from the best on the market. The additive, granular and spectral features all feel a little bit like decoration. They only seem good for crunching up the sound and making it more atonal and ambient. I'd probably look elsewhere for leads and basses etc.

I don't really like the grey old GUI that much but I've definitely seen worse out there.

I think Alchemy does something that no other synth does and that's a good thing.

Reviewed By oskroskroskr [read all by] on 25th October 2013
Version reviewed: 4 on Mac
3 of 32 people found this review helpful.
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I've been using Massive for years so it was inevitable that the search for new sounds would eventually lead me to Absynth. After spending a few hours messing around however I can't say that I'm really that impressed. I don't think Absynth does anything that can't already be done faster in other soft synths.

For starters the GUI is pretty darn small and fiddly. Instead of knobs you mostly get digits. Which helps if you're looking for precision, but it means you have to learn the range of each knob before you can get going. The other immediate downer is that the macros are pretty hard to assign and there seems to be fairly arbitrary set of parameters that you can assign.

The "patch" diagram is quite large and versatile. Which means you can use several waveshapers, several filters and several effects all at once. I'm not sure why you would need to do this though. There seems to be more ways to "destroy" the sound rather than sculpt it.

You do get a couple of cool oscillator options like FM, wave morph and fractalize. But I messed around with this for a while and didn't come up with any remarkable sounds.

With Absynth you can (almost) do everything. But generally I think users want specific tools for specific tasks. Not sure how often you need to make huge complex ambient soundscapes that you can perform with a keyboard. It would probably be well suited to making the ambient music for a horror film.

Reviewed By oskroskroskr [read all by] on 10th September 2013
Version reviewed: lion on Mac.
Last edited by rosko12 on 17th February 2017.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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This is another strange beast from Melda! It's actually not a limiter plug at all. In fact it's a saturation plug.

You get an input gain and a threshold control and a variety of curve shapes. The main point seems to be the dedicated harmonic controls. The harmonics are added after the saturation stage. You can crudely imitate analog gear perhaps.

As is typical of Melda the instructions are pretty much non existent and the interface doesn't look too great. I would recommend running this through an analyser for an hour or two until you actually understand the way it's put together. One big plus is that you get a really good bunch of presets with this thing.

It's not a limiter so be warned.