It’s always refreshing to review any of the plugins from Plugin Boutique, and in this case, something completely different from what most of us are used to. Open your plugin list, and check how many stereo image manipulation plugins you’ve got. I’ll wait… Maybe a couple? Three at the most? Now, check again and count how many of them can do almost anything you could imagine with the stereo image. Again, I’ll wait… Probably zero, right? Well, the StereoSavage plugin might be one of those plugins you can’t live without once you use it for the first time! Let’s check it out!
The GUI is very much in the style of other Plugin Boutique plugins, like the BigKick plugin, dark, gray interface with yellow indicators. StereSavage’s GUI features five different sections, plus Metering at the end.
The first section is the Effect section, with three different effects, mainly to widen mono sources. Those effects are: “Vox”, which actually pitch shifts one of channels and adds some short delay in time, with then results in somewhat a “chorus” Fx. You can go pretty crazy and detune by one semitone.
Next is the “delay”, which goes up to 40 ms (Haas effect), so, it can even do the “outside the speaker” trick, when using this effect on something really important, like vocals, always be careful to check mono compatibility.
Finally, the last effect in this section is the “expander”, which works pretty much as the Roland Dimension D vintage hardware, you can add a fixed low pass filter using the Warm button.
Each of this effects has an FX amount knob, so you can dial how much FX do you wanna apply. Clever feature indeed.
Next section is the Stereo Adjust with a simple Pan knob, a width knob -which can actually widen your track or mix a lot!-, a rotation knob, and a level correction knob -in most cases, you’ll need to take the level a couple dBs lower when you mess with the width. Also, there’s a pre-function for the pan.
Next, you’ll find an Input Routing with various options and modes, as well with the ability to input just L or R channel, and reverse the phase of each. Modes are stereo, Mono sum -L+R summed in mono- and swap L/R. You can do some clever things with stereo tracks with this section, but, most important, it’s a great tool for monitoring your mixes.
The next section works great with the stereo adjust when you use this plugin for mastering a track, and that’s the Bass Bypass. Probably, you wanna keep your bass and kick right in the center, so, this section works as a filter side chain for the width. Pretty straight forward, you select the frequency and gain, and that portion, will stay on the center. Great tool for mastering purposes.
Finally, you’ll find an LFO which can modulate lots of parameters. The most obvious one is Pan, for creating the auto-pan effect, but, you can also modulate the rotation, the width, the level, for tremolo, maybe, the delay time -for the delay effect – and the size for the expand effect. You’ll find all expected analog waveforms, like sine, triangle, square, saw and random, plus a square+saw waveform. It can be sync’d to host tempo and the speed can go right up to audio rate (30Hz), you can change the phase of the waveform and, of course, the amount is bidirectional, so, you can, in fact, create some crazy effects with this!
Last but not least, there’s a quite handy Metering for checking Input & Output levels and Stereo Field & Phase.
The new StereoSavage plugin work on both PC and MAC based digital audio workstations, being available in 32-bit / 64-bit VST, AudioUnit and AAX plug-in formats.
Well, I’ve got to say, this is the first time I see a plugin that’s so complete for the stereo field. I mean, with this set of tools, you can manipulate pretty much anything you can think of in the stereo image. This is great for mixing and adding dimension to mono tracks, as well as stereo sources. Again, some tools are great for using with busses, and even for mastering purposes. You can go very subtle or very savage. In any case, when messing around with the stereo image, you should definitely check your mixes in mono, for phase problems (and if you go savage, chances are you’ll end up with phase problems!).
I don’t know any other stereo image plugin that’s so complete, so, as I said before, once you try it, you’d probably won’t be able to live without it! So, hey, try it!!!