The kings of dynamic convolution take on producer Mike Dean’s signal chain.
Gainstation is a collaboration between Italian plug‑in developers Acustica Audio and Studio DMI, this time involving producer Mike Dean (Kanye West, Jay Z, Travis Scott, Drake). Described as a “distortion and creative sound mangling device”, it’s Acustica’s first dedicated distortion plug‑in and its aim is to provide a quick and easy tool for adding “power, juice and dimension” to your audio. While Gainstation will be my main focus here, I’ll also consider the lower‑priced Gainstation Boost, a slimmed‑down version that’s based on the same technology.
Gainstation is less fiddly than it might appear at first glance, and after just a few minutes I had a pretty good grasp of all the controls. Still, I recommend reading what’s one of the better manuals I’ve encountered in recent years. The two large knobs on either side of the GUI are input and output level controls — you increase the input to drive the processing chain harder. The processing action begins in the preamp section, which offers you four different flavours of analogue saturation, selected with ‘M’, ‘I’, ‘K’ and ‘E’ buttons. (The producer’s surname is spelled out by similar buttons for the clipper, of which more later.)