I must admit I’m an old school engineer in that I was brought up trying to avoid distortion at all costs, but that’s not the world we live in today. It’s now pretty common to add texture to a sound by adding distortion and saturation, something that I’ve generally stayed away from in the past. I think I may have to change my thinking after hearing Softube’s new Harmonics saturation processor plugin though.
The Harmonics plugin takes analog-style saturation to a new level with a very easy interface yet with more power over its parameters that you might have seen before in this style of processor. The plugin revolves around 5 different modeled distortion sounds (Solid State, Transformer, Master, Tube and Modern), each with a distinctly different character. Once the type of saturation is selected it can be further varied thanks to Drive (which acts as an amount control) and Character (tone) controls.
There’s also a set of high and low pass filters that can be placed either before or after the distortion, with variable frequency controls and rolloff selections, and a Dry/Wet control along with master Input and Output fader controls. There are some very well-simulated VU meters which can either monitor the signal level or the Total Harmonic Distortion amount, which is a nice touch.
Yet another unique feature is the Dynamic Transient Control (labeled Dynamics) which a rather unique compressor/expander. Turn it to the right and you get more dynamic range without losing the richness of the distortion, and turn it to the left and you add fatness and sustain. There’s a switch to insert this into the signal path as needed.
The Harmonics plugin comes complete with a set of presets from hit mixers Joe Chiccarelli and Howard Willing, although it’s extremely easy to come up with a good sound on your own, unlike many plugins recently available where the presets are necessary at least during the learning period.
The Softube Harmonics saturation processor plugin normally sells for $149 but right now carries an introductory price of just $99. There’s also a free 20 day trial available. It’s also available for use with VST, VST3, Audio Units and AAX Native formats
Check it out on Softube’s page or in the excellent video below.