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Reviewed By multree [read all by] on February 24th, 2020
Version reviewed: 5 on Mac.
Last edited by multree on 24th February 2020.

This is by far my favourite compressor plug-in. It looks good, sounds phenomenal and is very easy to use. The suite has a bunch of compressors but the bus compressor is my favourite. It's especially good on drums and not just as a bus compressor. I also use it heavily on vocals.

Reviewed By multree [read all by] on January 10th, 2006
Version reviewed: 1.4 on Windows
okay due to the guidelines I am not allowed to say "This thing rocks!!!!!!" so I won't... yeah I like to obey me some rules.

I recently started using pro tools again since all my VST hosts were lacking in one or more respect (be it stability, reliability or recording features). with my upgrade to Pro Tools 7 came the Pultec Bundle from Bomb Factory ("hey isn't this about the URS FullTec!" - "Gimme a sec, we'll get to that soon enough")

while this Pultec emulations sounded very good they had a shortcoming... they come in different flavours, and one has to choose if it's the midrange or the top and bottom end that is important right now....

NOW THE FullTec takes a different approach.... it combines the best aspects of different Pultec Flavours and combines them into one big amazing sounding Program EQ.

When working on the bass or the high frequencies you get seperate boost and attenuation controls which means you can use them both at the same time - now why would someone want to do that: well due to the architecure of the Pultecs those two knobs can cause subtle and sweet sounding phase shifts - which means you can get a different sound without changing the volume of the frequencies.

but it's a hard thing to describe it's really the best just to try it... well you'd need an iLok for that, since the demo version needs to be authorized. and while I have absolutely no problem with iLoks some users don't or don't have enough USB slots left.

anyway this beast really sounds wicked... and it looks even better than the BLT (the blue is sooo soothing)

All in all it is one of the smoothest & lushest EQs I have used so far.

It doesn't come with presets so it only gets one point in the category from me, but since it is so fun too use and EQ presets are pretty much worthless anyway it's a minor thing. if you still need some presets I'm happy to share the ones I came & come up with myself (which are in RTAS format btw).

sorry if I sound like a fanboy - I guess I just am. I love my FullTec
Reviewed By multree [read all by] on May 12th, 2005
Version reviewed: 1 on Windows
Okay well, this is my kinda thing: three knobs, fantastic sound & super easy to use.

I got the BLT during the "I'll EQ you in May" promotion and paid only half the price because of that.

well what do you write about an EQ with only three knobs... tell you what if you put it on the master right before a decent limiter, turn the bass and treble up and the volume down a tiny bit... you have an instant-sweet-sound

well there weren't any presets so I gave 1 points in that category... well you wouldn't need presets but I remember people bithching about the lack of presets on one knob compressors (which will be left unnamed)

it's got a Pace copy protection which requires an iLok but that's actually a plus for me since it never crashed my system and it feels more like owning the stuff you buy..

not much else to say.... I love it and wouldn't give it away anymore

oh well one more thing I wanna add... I love the GUI artwork - it's fun to look at and in combination with the sounds it delivers this is a top plug-in for me.... over all I'd give it a 10/10
Reviewed By multree [read all by] on November 12th, 2004
Version reviewed: 1 on Windows
Did you think that Battery or DR008 have been the answer to your question for a good drum sampler? Well guess what - you asked the wrong question! This VST/RTAS/AU/ReWire/DXi/Standalone instrument from fxpansion takes Steinberg’s concept of a virtual drummer (groove agent) to a professional level. The superb sounding 9 GB big, sample content was recorded by Steve Duda (engineer/producer for e.g. NIN & A Perfect Circle) and includes 7 drum kits (from DW, Ayotte, Lucite, Ludwig, Slingerland, Pearl & Leedy) and additional kit pieces (from e.g. Premier, Radio King, Porkpie, Tama, Noble/Cooley & even stuff from unknown manufacturers) with up to 46 velocity layers per hit. Every hit was recorded simultaneously through eleven high class microphones.

Now to have full access to this sample library fxpansion created BFD which is able to adjust the volume of direct-, overhead-, room- & pcm-mics separately. The first sample library to offer control over the room sound was Toontrack's 'Drum kit from hell' (with direct and room mics), but BFD goes way beyond that. You can even move the stereo ambient mics around and spread them. Furthermore you're able to adjust the balance between the snares' top or bottom mic, or the bass drums' inside and outside mic (only the DW bass drum has no second mic - but Steve promised to look into this and maybe add this if possible).

With BFD it's very easy to (re)compile new kits - you just need to click the button corresponding to the kit piece you want to change and choose from a variety of drums or cymbals. While it's not possible, and due to BFD's paradigm of multimiced drums senseless to load your own samples, fxpansion will release expansion packs for BFD in the near future. So, this way even kit pieces that are still missing, like drums played with brushes or mallets, or simply more drum kits to choose from will be available soon.

A feature unique to the BFD is the ability to change the velocity correspondence of each kit piece, so even if you simply create your rhythm tracks in your host's piano roll (midi editor) you can decide at which velocity 'the drum is hit' without changing the velocity of each drawn note. BFD is even smart enough to handle humanization in both timing and velocity, while a relaxed, French looking guy and some kind of robot dude will help you to achieve your aims.

When you're host supports multiple outs you can either use the BFD Stereo (Stereo Master output only), BFD Groups (four stereo outputs - Direct Master, Overhead, Room and PZM) or BFD All (mono out for every kit piece and stereo outs for Overhead, Room and PZM). The last one gives you the freedom to process every kit piece separately, which may become very handy during the mix.

Last but not least BFD offers you an integrated Drummer (the Groove Librarian) who's capable of almost every style you could imagine (again - even if you might find a groove the BFD is not [yet] capable of you can go to the fxpansion forum on www.kvr-vst.com and request it). You can either tell the drummer, by pressing the corresponding key on your midi keyboard, what to play or when; or simply set some guidelines (e.g. a break every fourth bar) and let BFD do the rest. You're of course still able to play it like any other drum sampler via midi notes.

Since BFD uses disk streaming technology you should have a fast computer with enough RAM and an even faster hard drive to benefit from all the features it has to offer. But still it's possible to tweak it that it runs on Laptops with slower hard drives, when using the 'RAM only' option. This way you'll only hear the first seconds of each hit (depending on how much RAM you're able to assign to BFD). I've tested BFD on a Dell Latitude with 1,6 GHz pentium m, 512MB of RAM and a 5.600rpm hard drive - and while composing I used the 'RAM only' function and whenever I was ready to render the track, I just clicked on the 'bounce' button and had a wonderful sounding drum track. Still I think that an option to listen to the Direct Out only, or to reduce the amount of velocity layers in order to lower the disk load while composing, would have been very cool.

All in all this is the best acoustic drum module I've seen. I'm blown away by the sound and the possibilities this monster has to offer. Sadly you can't test it, for its sample library is simply too big to make a downloadable demo possible. But if this got you interested you can go to www.fxpansion.com and download some of the audio demos and maybe take a look at the shockwave demonstration, or you can go to fxpansion's forum on www.kvr-vst.com in order to ask some users about their opinion or maybe listen to songs they've made using the BFD. I am a user and I am addicted. BFD ROCKS !!!
Reviewed By multree [read all by] on December 21st, 2003
Version reviewed: EP-2 on Windows
When I started to record songs on my computer I got myself a version of Emagic's 'Logic Audio'. And with the 5th incarnation of this sequencer, they introduced me into the world of VST Instruments. One of the first VSTi's I got my hands on was the 'EVP73'. This simple and plain copy of a Fender Rhodes E-Piano didn't sound bad but was far away from being a true Rhodes. I even tried the 30 day demo version of its bigger brother the 'EVP88', and liked that even more but still some dirt was missing.

But why am I talking about these VSTi's when the article is about another one ? The answer is pretty simple: if the EVP88 is the EVP73's older brother, then Applied Acoustics Systems' 'Lounge Lizard 2' has to be their father (for it can sound so older & dirtier), their little sister (because it can screech & scratch) and even the lake in front of their house (when sounding crystal clear) at the same time. By the way there is now a crossgrade offer for EVP88 & EVP73 users for $139 - so be shure to check this out.

The sound of the 'Lounge Lizard' is way more than a simple emulation of e-pianos like 'Fender Rhodes' and 'Wurlitzer'. It's possible to make this metallic looking beauty sound like - well - like a soulman's wet dream. And even FX sounds are no problem. Preset names like "a mouse in my head" & "turtle bells" might give you a hint.

The GUI is divided in an e-piano (mallet, fork, pick up & release) and an effect section (wah, phaser, tremolo & delay). The first let's you choose the basic sound you'd like to start from (though with extreme settings you might not need any effects) and the second; the effect section gives you the power to mangle your sound beyond recognition. But as I said, even without the effects the sound is unbelievably good. You can achieve sounds from "mm? I don't see no Rhodes. So where does this sound come from?" to "Which instrument is that?"

One thing though - I would've liked to have this beautiful fx (wah, phaser etc.) as independent plugs. Just like old times where you could use your guitar stomp box with your Rhodes and vice versa. But anyway if you're looking for this true Rhodes / Wurlitzer sound or just want a new toy which inspires you - take a look at this - you'll be amazed. Unfortunately there's no demo version of Lounge Lizard EP-2 on their website, but the mp3 demos should give you a good idea of what this VSTi is capable of.
Reviewed By multree [read all by] on December 21st, 2003
Version reviewed: 3.02 on Windows
Is this what Mary Shelly was writing about in her book 'Frankenstein'? Well words like: modular, physical modelling and builder show a certain affinity to this gothic melodrama. But where Frankenstein was only meant to imitate life, Tassman is capable of a whole lot more. It's able to generate sounds never known to the human ear (okay this may apply to Frankenstein, too). Most VST-musicians may know this way of working from NI's Reaktor, but again Tassman takes a slightly different approach. The interface isn't created from scratch - Tassman falls back on readymade modules which can be connected in various ways in the instrument's builder. Sadly it isn't possible to audition any sounds in the builder, and it's necessary to switch back to the player modus every time.

The 'physical modelling' engine is very interesting and responsible for its organic and realistic nature-like sounds. A modelled flute e.g. which was created in Tassman, sounds more real than most static bread & butter flute samples. Just because physical modelling doesn't describe the sound itself, but the physical circumstances of its emergence. So if you're playing the same note over and anon, it isn't starting from 'zero' again but evolves from where the sound is - at this exact moment.

And even though it's really no big deal to build a new instrument, the over 1000 presets are enough to please even the laziest musician. Instruments like: flutes, congas, marimbas, organs or synth like Moog or the ARP Odyssey are only a few of the available patches and they all sound pretty real. But when you compare the Odyssey preset to the Oddity you'll find a difference in note priority - still the sound comes really close.

So all in all, this is a great tool for sound designers and synth freaks. But $ 449 isn't what I call very cheap, still its versatility and great sounding modules are worth much of it. And for users of Reaktor or Reason, times are really good, since AAS has a very nice crossgrade-offer. There are downloadable versions (Mac/PC) of Tassman on their website for only - and now be prepared to get your wallet out - $ 199, while there's no need to send in your Reaktor CD, dongle or anything else. By the way, the AU upgrade for Tassman (and Lounge Lizzard 2) is free for registered users and can be downloaded from their website, too.
Reviewed By multree [read all by] on December 21st, 2003
Version reviewed: 1.10 on Windows
Everyone knows the Mini Moog, but what about the ARP Odyssey ? Well to be honest I haven't played both in reality but this virtual analogue model of ARP's Odyssey - the GMedia Oddity - sounds delicious. And it not only sounds delicious, it actually looks as if the knobs are meant to keep your breath fresh for a long time (while having only 2 calories each). This black beast with its tic-tac-knobs is a real beauty, and once you've seen the sliders morph from one preset to another (a nice function implemented by the Ohmforce team) you know that you're in love.

Well, back in the days (the Odyssey was built during 1972 - 1978) when people had to choose between the Mini Moog and the ARP Odyssey, some were claiming that the Odyssey was lacking the warm sound of its contender. But having tested this plug-in (and not the black-golden original model 2813) I only can say, that at least this vst monster isn't lacking anything. Still something like polyphony - though the original was mono-/duophonic, too - would have been a nice feature to add.

Although this baby comes with loads of presets (of which you'll get even more when you register) it's main advantage is the ease to program your own. One thing I like the most about the Oddity is the ability to draw some really funky sounds out of it. Now take this statement and the fact that you can actually throw the sliders (the flying sliders function is unique to the Oddity) around, be sure to get some excitement and fun out of playing with this bugger. But see for yourself, get the demo and simply fall in love.
Reviewed By multree [read all by] on December 21st, 2003
Version reviewed: 1.12b5 on Windows.
Last edited by multree on 2nd February 2004.
Now let me start of by saying that this plug-in truly deserves its name. T-RackS is a beast. It looks just like the hardware unit you never had the money to buy and actually sounds like it, too. So be prepared to let the T-RackS add color to your music, for it's far from being sound-neutral. But this particular coloration of the sound is actually very appealing and nice. And even if you're not a fan of subtle valve overdrive, this thing can give you some decent digital distortion.

Though some people nowadays seem to avoid remodelling old vintage gear, because they think it's not very useful to have rotating knobs when you only have a mouse to control these knobs, I think in this case the designer did a wonderful job. The only 'negative' aspect of the GUI is the repeated application of the T-RackS logo, but this of course is due to the fact that one can use each module of this suite on its own. This again is a very nice feature to save CPU load and screen space. A unique and quite useful part of T-RackS is the ability to patch the different modules in a different order (EQ-Comp-Limiter or Comp-EQ-Limiter-Clipper etc.). So this way you're free to use the whole suite and are still able to change a plug-ins (routing) position.

To start off T-RackS offers more than 100 presets. Some presets are changing parameters of every module in the effect chain (suite presets) others are for a specific effect only. The EQ-presets for example are split into FX (telephone, boom box etc.), generic and mastering and all really do what they say. Only the preset browser might need a rework for it's kinda hard to browse thru the different presets, when the scroll button makes movements way to fast. Maybe a scroll bar would be a nice little feature to add.

During my testing of T-RackS I ran into problems with the mono versions of the EQ, Tube-Comp, Multiband-Limiter and Soft-Clipper. Whenever I wanted to apply them to a track (this happened with mono and stereo tracks) the CPU usage jumped to 100%, while the stereo versions were using only 5-10%. So I couldn't use the mono versions at all. But the stereo versions worked quite well on mono tracks, too. Still it would be nice if this bug gets sorted out (and it is with the new version)

So if you're interested in an all-in-one mastering solution, this could be your toy. Maybe a mastering reverb would be cool but as you might know: SIR which is a free impulse reverb which does a pretty decent job there. Compared to other mastering tools like PSP's VintageWarmer, T-RackS adds more of its own color and character to the sound, and has more knobs to tweak (which btw doesn't necessarily make it harder to use). So if you like its sound and if you have enough money, for it’s not the cheapest bunny in the mansion - this could definitely be a good alternative to spending the same amount on two or three days with a good but busy mastering engineer in someone else's studio. And like I said, all in all this is a superb tool
Reviewed By multree [read all by] on December 21st, 2003
Version reviewed: 2.0 on Windows.
Last edited by multree on 21st December 2003.
Firium - the Adobe Photoshop of plugin eq's. What we have here is a linear phase equalizer with the ability to draw the eq curve and process the left and right channel separately, or even oppositional. So you can be sure that your mixes won't suffer from ugly sounding phase distortion. It delivers a sound colour that is very hard to beat, for you won't find it. The processed audio file still sounds so natural and only very extreme settings could change this.

A very helpful and simply unique feature to the Firium is the ability to match the sound of two audio files. First you load the source file (the one with the desired sound) and let Firium analyze its eq curve, then you load the target sound file (which should be manipulated) and let Firium do the same. Once Firium knows the eq curves of both audio files it can slip the source characteristic over the target file. This feature can be very helpful during the master process, when you want to have a consistent sound.

the Firium sounds invisibly awesome and is easy to set up. The documentation is good and extensive, and you won't find a better mastering eq with this sound and functionality (at least this will be a hard task). The little helper has grown up.
Reviewed By multree [read all by] on December 21st, 2003
Version reviewed: 1.01 on Windows
So you are mixing this song, using some dynamics and a reverb. But suddenly your CPU starts to scream at you and your computer reacts very slowly. Well some weeks ago this meant either: get a new computer or upgrade the old one. Now these times have changed. Sequencers like Tracktion and Logic already have a built in freeze function, which renders the used effects into the wave file. Now FX_MAX' fx-freeze offers this tool as a VST wrapper for all the other hosts, too. Even Tracktion users will benefit from this VST, for its approach differs from the built in freeze function.

But how does it work. Well you start a standalone program, browse thru your folders and search for all those VST plugins you'd like to wrap (since it doesn't effect the behaviour or CPU load of your VSTs you might as well wrap all of them). Fx-freeze now creates a new dll file [plugin name (z)] and places them into your plugin folder. Now make some music. If you start to run out of power, open some of your CPU Hogs and click on the little snowflake on the very left. Press play and let the magic begin. If you're using large sample libraries that store the content in your RAM, you should click on the right snowflake which cleans your RAM from the files that are no longer used.

Now the only thing that can stop you from using billions of effects is your hard drive space and speed. But since today’s HD’s are huge and fast this shouldn't be a problem for most of us. Only Laptop users should be careful, because every frozen plugin means another running audio track (in 32bit floating point quality). This is the only weakness of fx-freeze. The built-in freeze functions a la Emagic or RawMaterialSoftware don't increase the disk load or even reduce it (Tracktion merges all frozen tracks into one single audio file).

So if you have a sequencer like Logic you probably won't need this. If you have a freeze function similar to Tracktion's and want to freeze a track but still want to change the volume or position in the mix, this is the tool for you.