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DB-Force The Amen

Reviewed By codec_spurt [all]
February 10th, 2014
Version reviewed: Win7 on Windows

Ok, made with SynthEdit.

Have we got that out of the way. It just means you might have some problems running multiple instances of it in certain hosts on certain OSs.

I got my share of glitches and crashes. So what?

This thing is amazing. The way you can tweak, the finesse with which you can tweak.

Pretty good patch management. Pretty easy to work with.

It contains all the main slices of the famous Amen break. And from there you can trigger them from midi. When you have your slice lined up like pretty maidens all in a row, you can then play about. A really big selection of ways to fuck your beat up are provided.

One thing that strikes me is how well the actual raw Amen break is provided. It is great. And the controls for tweaking the various parameters are amazing. Velocity, attack, sustain, etc. all provided for.

This should be a paid plugin. Again, donations are in order. Ok so it is Synth Edit. But apart from a bit of crashing when using multiple instances on multi core hosts (which is to be expected) this thing works solid as a rock.

The interface is superbly well laid out. Logical. Nice. Contrast. Familiar.

This plugin was done with love. Any one that knows the Amen break will know this. Not just done with love, but with knowledge. You can make some insane Amen breaks with this quicker than with anything else I can think of. And then tweak them to further insanity.

Why did no one think of this before?

I am going to be donating to this one.

I'm adding it on to my top 10 Free VST you should donate to. Out of everything, this thing must not die. It must live. It must grow. The mind that made it is as sick as the Amen Break itself.

If you thought the Amen Break was a tired and trusted and dusted old thing - think again. This plugin is the next generation of the mutation. You need to live/breath/ Drum and Bass to start with. But if you do, you will download this (it's free) you will become part of the genetic mutation, and you will spread the word. This is the best god damn Amen break machine ever invented.

The Mighty.

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Reviewed By codec_spurt [all]
February 10th, 2014
Version reviewed: Win7 on Windows

Great reviews chaps.

I'll give a quick one of my own.

I don't really have a clue how this thing works, so you should probably stop reading here.

I have however, had some great results using it for typical compression stuff and side-chain pumping stuff. Just be aware that there is a switch to alternate between the native language and English. Might help at some point.

This beauty can be quite hard to dial in. It has a lot of controls. These just give you extra power. Knowing what the typical corresponding knobs on a typical compressor do, might help as well. There is nothing overtly flashy or gimmicky here. It is bread and butter stuff. But what Bread! What Butter.

Even if you were a newbie, you would find your way around.

The best thing about this compressor is that it is free. Find your way about it and save yourself fifty-hundred quid. This guy deserves donations big time.

Did I mention it sounds great. That is like saying the latest Iron smooths clothes straight. Oh well.

Just gonna have to try it eh?

To go back to what I originally said: I don't know how this really works. I knock it up. I twiddle a few knobs. It sounds great or bloody horrible. You pays yer money, yer takes yer choice. It is a lot of fun. It is very tweakable and powerful. And free.

Give this guy a couple of bucks. He more than deserves it.

Oh, and it isn't that hard to learn if yo know a bit about compressors in the first place. Just make sure you have the 'English' switch on, or you might be at a bit of a disadvantage. :-)

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Reviewed By codec_spurt [all]
January 4th, 2014
Version reviewed: 7 on Windows

I've been looking for a plugin like this for ages. Even starting threads about it and having long discussions. And even being recommended this very plugin. And what's worse, actually trying it out.

For some reason it just didn't click with me. It is almost too simple. Maybe I have spent too long learning how to use a dozen different compressors to do what this amazing little plugin can do with a twist of a knob. It clips peaks in an inaudible fashion and gives you masses of headroom back to your mix.

I have seen it on the lists of many respected KVR members, so tonight when I was making a Drum and Bass track with 2 Amen breaks flying full force through two Voxengo Crunchessor Compressors, I thought I would give it another try. Lord knows the last thing that drum track needed was another compressor on top of it or even a limiter. That would have been heavy handed in hindsight. All that was required was GClip at the end of the chain and a slight twist of the 'Clip' knob down to 90 percent. I shaved off a whole 6dB of useless transients that were doing nothing but pushing my master channel into the red. There was absolutely no perceivable drop in volume. This thing is beyond transparent in a way that you would have to really work hard at to achieve with a compressor or limiter, which is how I would have done things in the past.

I feel like such a noob. Such a basic thing and I had NO tool to do this as quickly, simply and efficiently. Not to mention freely. Donations are definitely in order on this one. I downloaded the full pack of VSTs that are available, and so far I'm knocked out by the few I have tried. GStereo and GMonoBass spring to mind. GStereo lets you choose the width for different frequency spectrums and works surprisingly effectively. And GMonoBass worked to tame a growling bass line that fitted perfectly in my track but just had a bit too much stereo width. I just dialed in the frequency for it to split the signal down to mono. A bit like Bass Lane if I remember correctly, but I haven't used that for a very long time.

I bought two Audio Damage plugins and an iZotope plugin today. I bought two Voxengo plugins yesterday including Elephant. None of them have brought a smile to my face the way GClip has. No more going round in circles withe compressors and limiters chasing my own tail. And the best part is that there is a very useful waveform display on GClip which shows you where the peaks are and what reduction is being applied. There is even oversampling too.

This plugin is going to get a whole load of use. I can't believe it has taken me so long to figure this out. Then again, at least I have learned how to use a compressor properly in the meantime. GClip is just such an elegant solution. You might not use it on everything, but for taming wild and errant drum peaks, easily and transparently, I can't think of any other plugin to compare it to. A fully deserved 10/10. Hard to believe no one has reviewed this before. What it does is just so simple. If you are a noob learning about compression and limiting, do yourself a favour and try this out as well. You may find that you don't even need those two other tools.

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Reviewed By codec_spurt [all]
November 6th, 2012
Version reviewed: 1 on Windows

I acquired Distort free of charge with a time-limited offer for registered users. And I have to say it was not really on my radar of things to get. Not least because the name 'Distort' kind of sub-consciously led me to believe that this was mainly a distortion unit, and not the Multi-Fx monster that it really is. Ok let's break down what this FX unit is capable of:

1: Distortion.

2: Equaliser.

3: Compressor.

4: Stereo Widener.

5: Gate.

6: Tempo-synced Lfo.

It has a beautiful modern interface. And in common with Camel Audio's Camelphat - one can dial back in the amount of the whole shebang via a master control knob. I find this often used. Many a time one needs to just hold back a fraction for the desired effect. This may seem a trivial item, but it is surprising how many fx units lack this capability in such an obvious and accessible place. Distort also comes with a wealth of excellent and varied presets. Well what else would you expect of 'Mr.Preset', himself? The first thing I do when I realise I am dealing with a bit of kit that is going to get a lot of use, is to do a few presets myself. This is as much to find out the underlying logic of how to save and where to save to, as it is actually making the presets. I'm happy to report that the saving is logical and straightforward, as is the loading and organisation. Again, this is an area where an otherwise excellent piece of kit can disappoint. Distort does not.

Ok, now a quick run down of my first impressions of the FX modules, one by one. I have been using Distort for some months now and still feel as if I am just scratching the surface, besides, impressions are subjective.

The distortion:

Can range from full-on mangling to warm fuzz-tones beloved of guitarists. With 22 distortion points to dive off from, this is to be expected, but needless to say, the distortion module does not let this FX unit down. Very often, the distortion is just too much and over the top, but that is distortion for you I guess. Once a general 'tone' that you like has been found, there is usually enough control over the parameters available to reach that end point of being totally happy with your sound. As for the sound of the distortion itself, it does a pretty good job of emulating that warm type of distortion found on old valve amps. I would be lying if I said I found it to be exactly the same, but the fact that it does a 'not bad' impression, is a pleasant surprise.

The equaliser:

This actually comes in two parts - one a standard type EQ and the other a standard type Filter. Basic, easy to use for either sonic sculpting or as a tool for getting rid of large bandwidths on the sonic horizon. These are just very powerful and beautifully integrated overall. With a sound effect such as distortion, I suppose they could be seen as necessary, but their inclusion sets the stage for what is shaping up to be a rather quite nifty Multi-FX unit. They are on rotary knobs that you use more by listening than looking.

The compressor:

This is a basic module, but very effective in its simplicity. The fact that it is included, shows what a class act this is turning out to be. If you aren't getting the picture yet that you need not use the distortion portion of this device, then you should certainly start getting your head around it now. As any heavy metal guitarist will tell you, when you really overdrive and distort a real life amp, a kind of compression happens as an inherent artifact of the sound. So, in a way, having a compression section on top of distortion might be seen as superfluous, but in the big picture (that is using this effect for everything but distortion) it is very handy indeed to have. It can be used as a tool to tidy up or control, or as an effect for that good ol' pumping on the drum buss.

The stereo widener:

This imparts a subtle to not so subtle stereo widening of the sound field. I find it works best in subtle amounts. I have tried it on drums to guitars, and it always has a spot where it just does something 'magical' to the sound being worked on. And of course, you want to set it to full-on if you are going to use it in conjunction with the time synced Lfos on offer. More on that later.

The gate:

What a superb addition. This has really saved the day on more than one occasion when a little tidying up was needed. With four parameters to choose from, this is a fully fledged module in its own right. I use this a lot. Gating can be tricky to get right, but this one offers the perfect combination of usability and effectiveness.

Tempo-synced Lfo:

You can route all kinds of things to all kinds of parameters here, all synced to your host via tempo. Say you wanted to do a cliched dub-step wobble bass, why not set the Lfo to trigger the distortion just on the up-rising or down-falling part of the bass line? Or if you have a boring pad, set it to widen the stereo field at every whole note, deciding how long you want it to hold for before reverting back? And you have four of them to play with. You can even set it free-running should you wish. Again, the amount of effect you want can be varied here to taste and the section can be bypassed altogether, should you want to listen to the other FX without the modulation. It is the sort of thing people would ask for if it wasn't included.
There is a MIDI learn (MIDI latch) feature that will be familiar to RP owners. This is very handy if you want to control the modulation of the effects with something other than the inbuilt Lfos.

As for the price, if I had not got it for free then I would happily have paid double the amount it now goes for. Camelphat is the nearest competitor to this and all though they seem to do very similar things on the page, in practice they go about them in very differing ways. Seeing as I already am a Camelphat owner, I would not be able to choose between them. Camelphat is recognised as one of the worlds top go-to plugins for fattening drums. I don't see why Distort could not stand shoulder to shoulder with this other classic. I use this on everything. I use it as a tool. I use it as a creative effect. I use it as a mixture of both at the same time. Very efficient CPU wise, with a decent sized GUI and FIVE effects units rolled into one perfect whole. If you haven't tried it yet, then now would be a good time to give it a go! I rank it up there alongside Camelphat, and that is some mighty praise.........

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