On Pro Tools Expert Podcast 217 my find of the week was the new 6050 channel strip plug in from McDSP. I've made no secret of my appreciation of McDSP's products, If he hadn't found Video Slave 2 by Nonlethal Applications in the same week I think Russ would have wanted this as his find of the week!
McDSP 6050 Video Review
What Do I Like About the 6050?
I said on the podcast that I didn't expect to find the 6050 particularly interesting, especially as I already have the 6030 Ultimate Compressor and the 6020 Ultimate EQ. When I did get hold of it I was pleased to see the new harmonic processors. The three new modules dedicated to distortion are easy to understand and to use: The S671 offers saturation effects and was my favourite of the three. I specifically praised this module for offering exactly the kind of subtle saturation I often use my BAE 1073F for. The BAE is a beautiful unit so this is praise indeed. It is very noticeable how in the last five years plug-ins seem to have cracked distortion type effects which to my ears always sounded "stuck on top of" the sound rather than being part of it. The next two offer progressively more saturation and distortion with the Moo-D being characterised as an overdrive and the D100 offering outright distortion and doing an amazing job of it. This sounds properly angry, no lame fizz here!
McDSP 6050 Expander/Gates
I said on the podcast that I hadn't tried the gates yet and I glad to say this has been addressed. While arguably a utility process which is more about function and control than it is about sound, my recent experience with the UAD 88RS Channel Strip reminded me that gates can sound "good" and the three expander/gates on offer here all present something different while each having their own character.
The EZ G is the most conventional gate as I would recognise it, being functionally very similar to a Drawmer DS201 - the de facto hardware gate. It offers gating with a variable gain reduction range and a hold time in addition to attack and release times and a pair of side chain filters - all very familiar.
The iX offers similar amounts of gain reduction but it exchanges the hold control for a variable ratio (from 1.5:1 to 20:1) making this a downward expander/gate
The FRGX is unusual in that it offers the same facilities as the iX apart from the function of the range control. Instead of offering a range control from 0 to -80dB setting the maximum depth of the downward expansion, the FRGX offers a range control from +24dB to -24dB making this a variable upward/downward expander. This gives access to effects where positive gain is applied to signals but only while they are below the threshold. Cool!
Now who wants to explain the difference between upward expansion and parallel compression?...