- in Production by Bobby Owsinski
New Music Gear Monday: Waves Magma Tube Channel Strip Plugin
One of the things we like about vintage gear is that even though most pieces don’t have a lot of parameters or versatility, there’s a sound that’s undeniably good. In fact, the lack of versatility can often work in your favor as it keeps you out of trouble. I think Waves new Magma Tube Channel Strip plug is a great example of that. It’s rather simple by today’s standards but it’s sound seems to work on everything.
The Magma Tube Channel Strip plugin is divided into four sections. The top left section is dedicated to the signal input, with a large input Drive control, a polarity switch, and a high pass filter with stops at 60 and 110Hz. As with most drive sections, as the input gain is raised, the harmonic distortion increases and the peaks are reduced. There’s also a sensitivity control that looks like an imbedded screw. This controls the headroom, which further influences the behavior of the drive section.
Simple, But Effective
Below the Drive section is a three band EQ, with low and high shelving controls, and a sweepable midrange that goes from 100Hz to 5kHz. The high frequency control has a wide shelf that starts at 2.5 kHz with a range of -14dB to +14dB, but that’s what makes it sound so sweet.
Below that is a Dynamics section that has both an Expander/Gate (chosen by a switch below the Expand control) and a compressor. The compressor has Smash switch below the control that provides a higher ratio, quicker attack, and quicker release when selected. There are also meters for expander/gate and compressor functions.
Finally on the right side theres a fader that controls the level with a range of -48 to +12dB, and a cool looking VU meter. Just like an analog VU meter, this one has a calibration screw so you can set the level to your DAW.
Magma Tube Channel Strip comes with over 450 presets and is on sale for just $29 right now (yes, there’s a trial version). You can find out more details here, or watch the video below.