SPL Iron mastering compressor plugin from Brainworx

Discussion in 'Mixing, Post-Production, and Effects' started by WindcryMusic, Jan 11, 2019 at 1:45 PM.

  1. WindcryMusic

    WindcryMusic ɹǝqɯǝW ɹoᴉuǝS

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    Anyone else looking at this brand new release from Plugin Alliance?

    I have never had much satisfaction with adding even mild compression to my mix buss, at least on predominantly orchestral material. Out of curiosity I watched a video on SPL Iron yesterday and was quite impressed with the modeling and the technology, but still didn't think it was something my music could benefit much from, based upon my past attempts with mix buss compression. Nonetheless, I decided to install the demo today and tried throwing it onto a little test project I have (nothing special, just something that exercises the orchestra for a few bars), just to see if it could do anything worthwhile for that type of cue.

    Two minutes later I purchased the plugin. Yes, I was (and still am) that impressed. It's literally the first time I've dropped a compressor onto my mix buss and said "ooooh, THAT is why most everyone else seems to feel a bit of mix buss compression is worth doing." To my ears, SPL Iron is just incredibly smooth and transparent, and immediately makes the mix sound bigger and wider somehow, even when volume-matched, but without the usual telltale artifacts of compression. (Maybe this is just a characteristic of vari-mu compressors in general, a type which I have never tried before?)

    Looking forward to spending much more time with SPL Iron this weekend, but just from my limited testing with it today, I believe I've found my new mastering compressor.
     
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  2. sostenuto

    sostenuto Senior Member

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    Got PA e-mail earlier and demos installed. Hope you get some helpful Replies!
    Will be comparing demo with Klanghelm MJUC which has been my vari-mu comp for long time.
    (You likely know MJUC jr is darn nice Freebie ? ))

    https://klanghelm.com/contents/products/MJUC/MJUC.php

    Will be informative to evaluate both.
     
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  3. Nathanael Iversen

    Nathanael Iversen Active Member

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    I use the Vari-Mu style plugin from Slate Digital FG-RED I think they call it. I almost always use it in M/S mode and it is very useful to make things gel. It is rarely doing more than 1dB of compression. It is the last thing I adjust before printing the mix. I can always adjust it so that there is extra magic in just a few minutes. Glad you found something you like. I have been looking at the hardware version of that plugin thinking, I might have to hear that.... But the Manley Vari-Mu with the M/S mastering option is on the list of "true luxury goods that will not help me write any better, but which would do some magic that maybe only I would ever appreciate."
     
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  4. sostenuto

    sostenuto Senior Member

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    UAD Manley Vari-mu on sale for $149.: __ Plugin Alliance _ Iron @ $99. Intro.
    Klanghelm MJUC @ $25.

    Only ones who will 'know' are those who use all three ??? :geek:
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019 at 6:52 PM
  5. Gerhard Westphalen

    Gerhard Westphalen Scoring Mixer

    Curious to know which you've tried.

    It would also be interesting to compare with Acustica's version of it (Coral) which is a lot more expensive. They seem to be highly regarded for their emulations. I just picked up a few on sale and they're nice but they're doing something which I don't like with the depth. There's also a ton of latency (try to move a knob and then see it move a second later) and they're really CPU intensive.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019 at 7:09 PM
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  6. OP
    OP
    WindcryMusic

    WindcryMusic ɹǝqɯǝW ɹoᴉuǝS

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    I haven’t tried anything overly special before - mainly just the compressor built into Logic and a few from NI Komplete (e.g., Solid Tube Series). And Ozone’s Maximizer, which is sort of in the same category (and sounds pretty bad next to IRON).

    I don’t know anything about Coral myself, but the huge thread on another music forum suggests that IRON is coming off well in comparison to it, and that it is also significantly lighter on computer resources.
     
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  7. Henu

    Henu Senior Member

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    229 $ is rather a salty price for a software compressor, but I'm definitely interested.

    I don't use a bus compressor in orchestral music, but my bread and butter mastering one is Kush Audio's Novatron- which is probably the best-sounding software compressor for mastering I've ever used. So I'm curious to find out what this can do what Novatron cannot.
     
  8. Dr.Quest

    Dr.Quest Senior Member

    Where do you see Iron for $99? It's intro price is $229 as far as I can see.
     
  9. Bear Market

    Bear Market Member

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    It is USD 99 if you already own several PA plugins (15 or 20, I don't remember where they draw the line).
     
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  10. OP
    OP
    WindcryMusic

    WindcryMusic ɹǝqɯǝW ɹoᴉuǝS

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    I got it for $99 as well, by combining the intro voucher code (from being on their mailing list) and a separate $50 voucher for January (which I perhaps received because I bought several of their plugins in December … I still have only six of them thus far, so I’m not in the “Heavy Hitters” group which requires the 20 plugins to be owned).

    If it had been $229 I probably wouldn’t have been able to justify the expense either, but I certainly believe that at $99 I got more than my money’s worth.
     
  11. wst3

    wst3 my office these days

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    I used to use a pair of Altec 438 variable Mu compressors strapped together for stereo operation as my 2-mix compressor (back in the days when one had to go to such lengths<G>). It did provide, on some projects, a nice finishing touch. When plugins became a thing I tried several vari-mu style compressors, and none of them worked quite as well - to my ears. Sadly I had retired the console, so it wasn't practical to use the hardware solution.

    Emulations continue to improve, and there are a few out there that sound pretty darned good - again to my ears.

    I've considered the UA Manley Vari-mu, but even on sale I just can't quite justify it. Their original Fairchild does a pretty good job, and at least in my setting I can't hear a big difference between that and the upgraded version, so I haven't bought that yet either. I can't remember what Waves calls their Vari-Mu, but I did not find that one useful (which is odd, Waves usually gets close to the mark, if not spot on.)

    Plugin-Alliance has, for my purposes at least, an excellent track record. And SPL builds really good hardware! I will definitely download and try the SPL Iron, but even at $99 I'm skeptical that it will make a big enough difference.

    These days I use the UA SSL bus compressor most of the time, and while it sounds nothing like a Fairchild 670, I like what it does. When that isn't working for me I try others till I find the right one for the project, or decide that there is no such thing.

    But yeah, Plugin-Alliance has earned my respect. I will give SPL Iron a try - and I kind of hope it is as cool as it should be.
     
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  12. sostenuto

    sostenuto Senior Member

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    :crying: No luv for Klanghelm MJUC …. No M/S, but can this be done using 'free' Voxengo MSED ?

    Only using MJUC jr so far. Not stressing over Eur 24 , but applied to PA _ Iron; brings it down to ~$71.50.
     
  13. Dr.Quest

    Dr.Quest Senior Member

    $125 with my voucher and intro. Tempting but $99 would be better. I have many PA plugins but couldn't buy any during Xmas sales.
     
  14. Living Fossil

    Living Fossil Senior Member

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    Actually, i really like Klanghelm MJUC a lot.
    However, it's more like 3 different compressors in one, since the 3 modes sound quite different.
    It's able to give some nice coloration.
    BTW it's maybe my favorite tool to get rid of that artificial-excited top end in Soundiron's Apocalyptic Percussions by turning the timbre darker (with almost no compression)

    I haven't tried out PiA's Iron yet and probably won't, since i feel pretty covered with compressors.
     
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  15. sostenuto

    sostenuto Senior Member

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    Tend to agree, but not so capable evaluating many subtleties of PA _ IRON. :barefoot:
    This specific video impressed … with the many additional tweak controls.

    https://www.youtube.com/embed/ckPMpcAzgZY?rel=0&autoplay=1&showinfo=0&color=white

    Dunno yet …. ;)
     
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  16. Living Fossil

    Living Fossil Senior Member

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    Yes, it seems to be a great tool.
    However, with many features comes a longer time to get an intuitive feeling of getting the best results, and i doubt that at the moment a compressor is what i need.
    I'm recently exploring different combos of the HG-2, the VSM-3 (both PiA), Elevate (Newfangled/Eventide) and Pi and Phi (Mia Laboratories) for bus duties, and they all come with overwhelming features that also reduce the importance of a compressor which might be a little bit better than all the other compressors that i already have.... ;)
     
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  17. nordicguy

    nordicguy Active Member

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    Hi Living Fossil, I'd be pretty interested to hear you'r finding about Pi and Phi that really caught my attention.
     
  18. Living Fossil

    Living Fossil Senior Member

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    @nordicguy : Pi and Phi has become one my absolute favourite plug ins lately.
    It's like kind of a 12 band Enhancer, that gives you the opportunity to feature quite specific frequency ranges without the downside of an EQ. Which means, it brings out the interesting details in that specific range without also boosting the unwanted parts.
    So far, some of my observations are: On vocals, it's incredible when it comes to feature the top end.

    It's also great on orchestral samples, since it can preserve/feature details without making the samples sound processed/artificial.
    Often, when EQing orchestral samples, i take out some resonance buildups and also some of the top end. With Pi and Phi i can bring back the interesting part of what has been attenuated.

    The twelve band concept makes it easy to feature different bands on different buses.

    Another observation: i would call it's impact on the low end very "round".
    I.e. it's more active on the sustained part of a sound than on the transients.

    A last thing where it shines is when it's put after colouring plug ins (like Phil's cascade, VSM-3 etc, etc). Brings out the coloration without getting a harsh sound.
     
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  19. nordicguy

    nordicguy Active Member

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