Intro

Even if a classic vintage compressor is a classic for a reason, it can sometimes be difficult to use it in a DAW context. Things like proper metering, headroom control, and level matching are features we have become accustomed to use, but they seldom find their place into an authentic vintage compressor plug-ins. The Extended Features is our answer to that – easily accessible panels with many of the modern features you are used to having at hand. Now you don’t need a separate plug-in for LU metering or gain staging, and it becomes very easy to level match the input and output so that you don’t fool yourself with the “louder is better” pitfall we always fall in to.

 

Using Extended Features

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Figure 1. Open the Extended Features by clicking on the icons in the menu row.

Start by opening the extra panels on the sides and at the bottom by clicking the icons in the menu row:

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Input panel containing the input meters and input level control

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Control panel containing some basic audio tools

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Output panel with the output levels and meters

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You can choose to save your preferred panel layout as the default for all new instances of the current plug-in from the Settings menu. Click on one of the “SAVE AS DEFAULT” buttons

Input Panel (Left Side)

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Figure 2. Input meters (peak and RMS). Double click on the meter to enter a value for the Input Volume control.

Not applicable for instrument plug-ins.

The Input Panel contains input meters and an input volume control. If you hover your mouse over the input meter, the Input Volume control is shown, and you can click and drag or scroll to set the input gain. You can also double-click to enter the wanted value.

The Input Meter (as well as the Output Meter) is configurable and can show:

  • Peak meters
  • True Peak meters
  • RMS meters
  • LUFS meters (Momentary, Short and Integrated LU types)

 

Use the Settings menu to select which meters to use. By default, the Peak and RMS meters are shown.

Double-click on the meter to enter a setting for the Input Volume. Click on the LUFS value read-out to reset the LUFS meters.

Control Panel (Bottom Side)

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Figure 3. Control panel with Headroom, High Pass and Phase Invert controls.

The Control Panel contains basic tools for controlling the usage of the plug-in. Currently the following controls are available:

Headroom: Sets the headroom of the plug-in. Lower value means lower headroom, which means that you will hit the plug-in harder. A compressor will compress more, a saturator will distort more, etc.

High Pass: 12 dB/octave high pass filter on input.

Phase Invert: A variable phase invert control on the output. When at its minimum value there is no change to the sound. Increase the control to phase invert frequencies below the cut-off. At its maximum position the entire sound is 180° phase inverted, like a “normal” phase invert button.

All controls can be double-clicked to enter the value manually.

Output Panel (Right Panel)

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Figure 4. Output Panel with Gain Difference Meter and its "SET" button, the True Peak meters, and three LUFS meters. The orange rectangle to the right side of the meters is the LUFS Target Value control.

The Output Panel is just like the Input Panel, but with two additions:

  • Gain Difference Meter
  • LUFS Target Value control

 

Gain Difference Meter

Not applicable for instrument plug-ins. The Gain Difference Meter is used to show the perceived difference in audio level before and after the plug-in. It is very useful if you want to A/B your changes without being fooled by a change in volume. When the meter is above 0 it shows that the plugin has increased the perceived volume.

Set: Click on this button to automatically set the Output Volume so that the Gain Difference Meter shows zero, and there is no perceived difference between the input and output levels.

The Gain Difference Meter uses the K-weighted Short Term LU measurement to measure the perceived audio levels.

 

LUFS Target Value

Only applicable for LU meters. When any of the LU meters are shown, the LUFS Target Value is indicated by an orange rectangle on the right side of the meters. For meter values above the LUFS Target Value, the meter and its value readout will change color from blue to yellow, so that it is easy to see when you are over your desired target.

Most streaming services will automatically adjust the volume of your track to a specific LUFS Target level, so it’s very reasonable to not push your masters harder than that. For example, at the moment Spotify is aiming for a -13 to -15 LUFS loudness with a maximum of -1.0 dB True Peak.

 

Setting a LUFS Target Value will also affect the colors of the LUFS meters on the Input Panel.

To reset the LUFS meters, especially the “Integrated Meter”, click on the value read-out below the meter graphics.

 

settings-menu.jpg

Settings Menu

From the Settings Menu you can decide which meters should be visible, and saving the current layout as default for that plug-in.

 

Input Metering

Peak meter: Set which peak meters should be visible: Off, Peak (default), or True Peak.

Level meter type: Set which level meters should be visible: Off, RMS (default) or LUFS.

LU types: Set which LU meter types to show.

  • Momentary (400 ms).
  • Short (3 s).
  • Integrated (until reset by clicking on the meter read-out below the meter).

 

Output Metering

Gain Difference: Set if Gain Difference Meter should be visible or not: Off, Gain (default).

Peak meter: Set which peak meters should be visible: Off, Peak (default), or True Peak.

Level meter type: Set which level meters should be visible: Off, RMS (default) or LUFS.

LU types: Set which LU meter types to show.

  • Momentary (400 ms).
  • Short (3 s).
  • Integrated (until reset by clicking on the meter read-out below the meter).

 

Window Size

Save the current size as default: Click to open all instances of this plug-in using the current size of the window. All windows can be resized by clicking and dragging in the lower right corner.

Reset size to factory default: Reset the size of the current instance to the 1:1 factory default.

Save current panel layout as default startup layout for all new instances of this plug-in: Use the meter layout and LUFS Target Value for all new instances.

 

Advanced Settings

Use OpenGL graphics (affects all Softube plug-ins, DAW restart required): This feature enables hardware acceleration of the graphics and should always be turned on unless you experience problems with your graphics card. Please note that this really requires a DAW restart.

 

Other

Show value display: Show the parameter name and value in the top row when adjusting a parameter.