In the era of digital perfection, the music we make tends to lack so-called “vibe” or “analog warmth” that is very much sought after by every music producer and mixer in this modern day. Slate Digital brings exactly these features into the DAW of every music maker in the form of iconic sounds of six legendary mixing consoles. This is the Slate VCC 2.0 review.
- Integrated into Virtual Mix Rack
- A brand new console: Brit 4K E
- Minor refinements for all algorithms
- US-A console has a new, improved bottom end
- Improved RC-Tube algorithm
- Noise Reduction button
- Grouping made easy
- Simplified user interface
Brit 4K E (SSL 4000 ‘E’ –series)
My favorite of the bunch is the Brit 4K E –console. It’s very upfront, energetic and has tons of presence. Great for any kind of music.
Brit 4K G (SSL 4000 ‘E’ –series with G-series upgrades)
The Brit 4K G has a very wide soundstage while having a certain grit that gives it tons of attitude. The 4K is an ideal match if you need some aggression in your mixes.
US A (API)
The US A is shouting “midrange!” This console has a very tight midrange full of excitement. The low end is also very punchy. The US A is a great choice for any midrange-heavy music, such as pop and rock.
Brit N (Neve)
Did someone say bass? Brit N has a huge bottom end that is extremely usable on low-end instruments. It is also a very vibey and sizzling console, though not as snappy and punchy as the SSL or API. Brit N is ideal for fattening up kick drums and bass.
The Trident is a special console, having a bright and wide top end, with a punchy low end. The midrange is slightly “scooped” compared to the lows and highs, which makes for the classic “smiley-face” EQ-curve. The Trident can work wonders on any kind of music.
RC-Tube (50’s Broadcast Tube)
The RC-Tube is probably the most colored of them all, especially heard when driven hard. The distortions and midrange crunch will leave no one in doubt. This is my favorite for vocal processing, before any compression is applied to give the vocal a tone.
VCC 2.0 includes two versions of the same plugin: the Virtual Mixbuss and Virtual Channel. Ideally, the Mixbuss is designed to be used on the master bus, and the Channel on individual tracks and groups.
Some of the features include:
- VU level calibration screw, right below the VU meter, to set the reference level
- Input and output trim knobs which can be linked to compensate for the gain changes
- Console selection knob
- Console Drive –knob which doesn’t affect the output level but adds some character
- Grouping function, letting you assign certain instruments to their own VCC groups
- Noise reduction button – you can disable the modeled console noise
- Group bypass button, bypassing the processing of the selected group
The visuals of VCC 2.0 are very cool and modern-looking, compared to the earlier version. “Look the part, be the part” is a phrase that certainly applies to VCC 2.0, giving the impression that this plugin can introduce some analog vibe into your recordings.
Overall, the visuals are easy to look at and navigate. It’s a breeze to use the plugin.
Engineers and Musicians United
One of the most amazing things about VCC 2.0 engineers and musicians alike will appreciate, is the beautiful distortion it creates when sound is driven hard into the console using the input gain.
Kick drums and snares, for example, will profit from the added punch and pop when overdriven a little bit.
Another creative advantage of VCC 2.0 is the fact that instances can now be stacked easily inside the Virtual Mix Rack, and you don’t need to waste any insert slots of the DAW’s mixer to achieve the same effect. It’s more intuitive this way.
The flexibility offered by creating custom console chains right inside Virtual Mix Rack enables the user to first drive a signal into an SSL, and then finishing off by injecting a hint of smoothness from a Neve. Since the Virtual Mix Rack isn’t limited to VCC only, you could stack any module in your chains, such as (the free!) Revival and Trimmer plugins.
If you decide to purchase some of Slate’s compressors and EQs, you could have a full-on mixing solution right inside the Mix Rack.
If you’re a fan of console sound and appreciate the added depth, energy and “life” they provide in your music, then Slate VCC 2.0 is something to consider. It’s very hard to NOT use it after getting accustomed to it in music production and mixing.
Slate VCC 2.0 is a very special and luxurious plug-in, that certainly isn’t a necessity to make music – but if you want the extra 10% in your mixes, I don’t see why you shouldn’t at least try it out.
Have you used any analog-modeling plugins such as the VCC 2.0? Leave your comments below and let’s discuss analog modeling!