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Focusrite/Softube Time and Tone Bundle

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Mix Magazine "Compression And Compressors"

Focusrite/Softube Time and Tone Bundle
 Focusrite/Softube Time and Tone Bundle
In a new partnership with Swedish-based Softube, Focusrite now ships their Scarlett, Saffire, and Clarett interfaces with the Softube Time and Tone bundle. Along with Focusrite's included Red 2 EQ and the Red 3 Compressor plug-ins, Softube's Time and Tone Pack make great set of plug-ins that'll get you well-started with your Focusrite interface for making great sounding recordings and mixes.

Valued at $297 if you were to buy them from Softube, you get the TSAR-1R reverb, Tube Delay, Saturation Knob distortion, and the Drawmer S73 IMP or Intelligent Master Processor.

I have been using TSAR-1R to add just the right amount of ambience and spaciousness to otherwise dry recordings--it works easily with a minimal number of parameters to adjust. TSAR-1R has controls for Reverb Time (RT-60) from 0.2 to 15-seconds; Pre-Delay sets a delay time period of up to 200ms before the start of reverb; and there are three choices of Color or reverb textures: Bright, Neutral and Dark.

- Time/Tone Bundle--  Mouse Over To Pause--iPad and Smart Phone Refresh-- 
Tube Delay is like an old analog tape delay echo unit. You can set it anywhere from tight and short flutter echoes all the way to slap back echoes; I liked that both the direct, delay and feedback paths have overdrive controls. Operating and looking like an old analog "bucket brigade" delay pedal, I was able to get tempo sync'd delays full of character and vibe for electric guitar--no matter what you would use delay on, this is a great and useful delay plug-in to own.

Saturation Knob is the answer to "spanky" clean guitar sounds but don't let that limit your use to only guitars. I add subtle amounts of warmth distortion to main vocal tracks, backing vocals and other instruments. Saturation Knob has just one control knob: more is more and less is less. There is also a three-position switch to constrain the distortion to the high or just the low frequencies or for it to remain Neutral. Neutral worked well for vocals and stereo synth pads while High or Low worked better for guitars and bass tracks.

Softube's Drawmer S73 IMP models the Drawmer 1973 three-band stereo FET compressor. But the Softube S73 abbreviates the number of controls and filter settings of the original hardware unit by arranging collections of presets into three groups of mastering algorithms called Styles. Styles are algorithmic combinations of front panel control settings you might set (in the hardware or a multi-band compressor) to obtain a certain sonic goal for individual tracks, groups of tracks or the entire stereo mix.

The three Styles are: Clean for improving definition of vocals or the entire mix; Bass Control treats problems in the mix's low frequencies; and the Spatial group is for widening the stereo image by bringing out hidden ambience.

I gravitated towards the Clean style for controlling stereo mixes and drum buses. Bass Control will definitely control low frequency rumbling and the Wet/Dry control works well to dial in just the right amount. I liked Spatial for spreading out monaural-sound stereo synth pads and compressing them a little at the same time; it is a great two-in-one tool for this. All three Styles share the Air (on/off) that "opens up" the sound even more if you desire.

The Softube Time and Tome Bundle is free and downloadable with all Focusrite interface purchases made on or after September 1, 2015 to all registered users of Focusrite's Scarlett, Saffire, and Clarett interfaces. More at: www.softube.com/index.php?id=news138.



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