Sometimes you run across free things in life that are actually worth paying for. In the world of plug-in effects for manipulating sounds on recordings there are just so many choices that it can be daunting. I have tried a lot of them and usually come away thinking that well, it was free, no harm no foul. With today’s digital recordings there is the need to warm things up as they often become harsh or separate sounding. Older analog tape recordings had a way of naturally compressing and gluing the sound together. I have found that with digital recordings you must find places to apply saturation or distortion, the good kind, to help make records sound fuller.
I came across this plug-in from Variety of Sound called Ferric. It was the 2009 winner of the KVR forum plug-in developer challenge. This is a great plug-in that emulates tape saturation. There is a fast and slow release setting which acts like a compressor as well as saturation and limiting options. I found some of the presets that it has a great starting point. I love to slap it on the drum buss with the preset “Drum Smash” where send all the drum tracks to help glue them together making them sound more like a coherent group. Some tape emulation plug-ins tend to collapse the stereo image somewhat and this doesn’t seem to do that. On occasion I’ve put the “Mix Glue” preset in the mastering chain, especially when I have a sparse musical arrangement that needs a bit fullness or roundness. It kind of takes down some the of edginess. There is no harm in using anything in your arsenal to get the best sound. I’m liking it and plan on using it even more in the future, even if it makes me feel a little guilty because it’s free. Thanks Variety of Sound!