There are times when a standard EQ just doesn’t get it and the mix element doesn’t sit in the mix the right way. Saturators can be very effective, but many times you don’t want to add distortion, just some edge. When that happens, Neold’s BIG AL dual-stage tube saturator might be just the thing you need.
BIG AL is basically a simple Baxandall-style EQ based on a completely novel circuit and authentic NOS components from the 1930s. It’s more than an EQ though as it offers a broad palette of sound flavors flowing from the interactive network within its transformer-coupled pre and power amp.
The original unit was based on an EF9 tube preamp stage (unusual for any time period) followed by an AL4 power pentode and its output transformer, driven hot by the preamp stage. This provides a wide EQ shelf with the frequency knees at 100Hz and 10kHz. Oh, and they also go to Â±11!
The thing is, you can get this nice tube overdrive by using the drive and level controls, coupled with the jumper matrix on the upper left of the plugin. This provides access to the Emphasis Shift, Bass Compensator and Voltage Sag options that are capable of making complex changes to the distortion profile on the fly when inserted.
There’s a Mix control, an On/Off switch, and a big analog-style meter in the center of the decidedly period-looking interface. It’s simple, but for what it does, the plugin doesn’t need much more.
BIG AL isn’t cheap at $249, but it’s also part of the Plugin Alliance’s Mix & Master and Mega Bundles so you can get it at no extra cost if you already have a subscription. There’s a 14 day free trial if you want to check it out, or you can just watch the video below or go the website.