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Fix Flanger and Doubler From Softube

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Fix Flanger and Doubler From Softube
 Fix Flanger From Softube
Released by Softube, the new Fix Flanger/Doubler bundle contains two separate plug-in processors for VST, AU, AAX64 Mac and PC hosts. In collaboration with Softube, both are based on 1979 prototype hardware systems designed by Fix's Paul Wolff, a noted designer of audio equipment such as API, Tonelux Designs and now FIX Audio Designs.

The Fix Flanger and Fix Doubler are a good bundle marriage since both are delay-based effects. Both will vary time delays pre and post the timing of the actual signal so the possibilities are awesome.

The Fix Flanger is modeled on a pair of tape recorders running in synchronization whose outputs are mixed together and recorded on a third machine. When the engineer would place a finger on one of the machine's tape reel flange slowing it down very slightly, the swirling, metallic "swooshing" sound would occur. The tape flanging effect was born!

More precision is possible when one of the machine's tape speed is controlled and changed using a variable speed oscillator/amp driving the machine's capstan. The Fix Flanger interface is complete with a large VSO (Variable Speed Oscillator) control to change the speed of one of the two virtual tape recorders modeled.

Fix Doubler From Softube
 Fix Doubler From Softube
I've been using both the Fix Flanger and Fix Doubler throughout my latest mix of a Dance Hall song. The Flanger is great for guitars especially in Stereo mode. Stereo mode on these plug-ins works well as a widener--a phase coherent method to stereoize any mono track. You may insert the plug-in as mono (with less effectiveness), mono-to-stereo or on stereo tracks. It is a remarkable sound treatment anyway you use it.

I carefully set up the Flanger on a rhythm guitar in my mix that was so smooth, it caused the guitar part to melt into the backing track--and that was exactly what I was looking for this song.

The Fix Flanger has one of the most extensive modulation sections for designing very particular flange effects I've seen. Called Auto Sweep, there is the ability to mix the settings of the Envelope (Follower), Sweep (LFO) and Delay Offset or the point in time to start a flange sweep.

There is a Tap button to "tempo tap" in the rate of change plus a "Divide by 4" button to modify--you could tap on the downbeat of every bar and then switch to sweeping every four bars with the Divide by 4 button. However, this feature is not synced to the session's tempo.

I tried the Fix Flanger on a drum mix bus. Since you can flip the polarity of the output relative to the input signal, you can go through zero cancellation just as I would do using two tape machines back in my pre-historic recording studio days. I got beautiful drum flanges easily and, most importantly, repeatable by automating the VSO control and the Wet/Dry control.

The Doubler is awesome in Auto Double mode with the Stereo button pushed on lead vocals. The stereo mode definitely enlarges the "stage" for the singer. I used the Triangle Sweep type (LFO modulator) instead of the Sine--for this singer. Sine pushes the sound towards an old harmonizer or Marshall Time Modulator sound which sounds great too albeit a too electronic for this mix. In this case, Triangle was more subtle and lush sounding.

I set the Mix Ratio control to only 19% for a subtle yet hearable effect. The Mix Ratio control is automatable and I would vary it towards the 50% point when the singer held long notes during the bigger moments of the track. Doing this adds some of the emotional import of vibrato but in a less noticeable way.

I found these settings to provide a very realistic vocal doubling sound without any flanging or pitching. Offset at 3ms, Sweep at 28%, Rate at .23ms and Auto Double mode on. You can vary the Mix control anywhere up to 50-50 for a perfect sounding Automatic Double Tracking effect (ADT).

Generally, a little goes a long way but Doubler works wonders for "pitch ambiguous" vocalists--you can set it anywhere from mellow for my Dance Hall singer to using the Regen control for a very obvious effect in a remix trick. Too much fun!

Fix Flanger and Doubler are available from Softube for $149 as a download. Check

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