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AES 2013: Slate Digital Virtual Mix Rack

Modular channel strip plug-in

Building upon their excellent reputation for modelling analogue tape, consoles and bus compressors, Slate Digital’s latest product is a new plug-in environment. Virtual Mix Rack is a modular plug-in channel strip that is intended to be used in much the same way as the 500-series system, allowing users to mix and match different modules without opening several plug-in windows. Steven Slate has also claimed that the plug-ins will have zero latency. There are currently limited details available, but when it ships, VMR will come with four standard modules: two equalisers and two compressors. 

The EQs are clearly based on classic Neve and SSL console designs. The first of the two compressors, the FG116 ‘Modern Compressor’ is a model of several VCA-based compression circuits which Slate claim is both punchy and clean. The second compressor, FG401 ‘Vintage Compressor’, is based on a model of the 1176 limiting amplifier, but with a greater degree of control and a modified output transformer characteristic. It’s said to be ideal for vocals, and is similar to the Slate Pro Audio Dragon hardware compressor that we reviewed in July 2010 (http://sosm.ag/jul10-dragon).

As always, Slate Digital are keen to emphasise that their modelling recreates the entire analogue signal path, resulting in a more analogue sound. This modelling includes the subtle harmonics, saturations, phase changes and non-linearities within each circuit, rather than just the EQ curves or compression characteristics. 

Modules can be added and reordered with drag-and-drop simplicity, and individual modules can be bypassed and soloed. Up to eight slots can be used per instance of VMR and further modules are set to be released as paid upgrades after release, including de-essers, exciters, gates and more. Virtual Console Collection users will receive a free update so mixer emulation can be added to the VMR signal chain.

The Virtual Mix Rack should be available early next year.

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