Most people making music today, whether it be minimal techno or even grunge rock, are working almost exclusively “in the box” and mixing everything down in a purely digital realm inside their computer, even if they have recorded “real instruments” like guitars or vocals the old-fashioned way. Some of this is down to the convenience of using their DAW for mix duties, but let’s face it, the choice usually comes down to cost, which is why the big boys and anyone else who is lucky enough to have the option still prefer to use a large format mixer that costs a ton of cash to buy and even more to keep running. The reason for this is that the analogue circuitry adds colour and depth to the mix, as well as being more fun to use. Slate Digital have come to the rescue of those of us on a budget with their new VCC or Virtual Console Collection, which promises to bring the sound of the big desks into a DAW as a plug-in.
Slate Digital are being very elusive about the mixers they are emulating — probably for legal reasons — but it is safe to say that their Virtual Console Collection provides emulation of some of the most mouth-watering consoles around, namely: Neve, SSL, API and Trident, bringing their distinctive sounds and fatness into the digital domain, as well as the separation and imaging these legendary desks are known for.
IT TAKES TWO
Slate Digital’s VCC collection comes as two plug-ins, a Virtual Channel and Virtual Mix Buss, which gives the choice of using one of five consoles that have been digitally modelled to bring their sound into the world of computer-based DAWs such as Cubase and Logic. The Virtual Channel is used on individual channels to bring the characteristics of the selected console to that particular channel, while the Virtual Mix Buss is designed for use on the master channel to bring the summing sound of the desk selected within the plug-in.
When used correctly, VCC will add punch and fatness and a whole lot of colour, especially when using the Neve emulation. Using the input and drive knobs on VCC will add saturation to sounds and allows engineers to really slam the sound to get the most out of it. While the VCC collection doesn’t include the EQ and Compression found on the consoles it is emulating, it can really add to the feel of mixes and will find lots of fans who are looking to lose the digital sound of their mixes and add some colour and character.
|Ease of Use||8.0|
|Value for Money||8.0|
|Hype||Brings the sound of the big console mixing desk to producers’ creations, using nothing more than a DAW.|
|Gripe||No EQ or compressors from the mixing desks being emulated.|
|Conclusion||Two VST plug-ins to emulate the channels and masters from those large format desks everyone wants but few can afford.|