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Audified ToneSpot Electric Pro

Electric Guitar Processing Plug-in By Paul White
Published April 2020

Audified ToneSpot Electric Pro

If you've seen reviews of Audified's previous ToneSpot offerings, you'll know that they all follow a similar format. Each one is effectively a kit of easy-to-use tools, comprising several switchable processing sections that have been tweaked to work well with a particular sound source.

ToneSpot Electric Pro, available for Mac (AAX, AU, VST) and Windows (AAX, VST), has been designed with electric guitar in mind — but it isn't, as you might expect, an amp modeller. Rather, it focuses on the studio-processing and effects side of things. It aims to give you the means of improving a recorded electric guitar sound, whether that sound comes from a miked amp, or a hardware or software amp modeller. Separate controls are provided for the input and output levels, along with metering and the option of auto (AGC) level control.

The processing chain starts with a choice of six Voicing presets. Then comes a Character section that offers Vintage, Modern and Natural tonalities, with Bright, Scoop or Lo-Fi variants that can be used in combination. After that, there's a simple Saturation/Boost section with a Mix control, and then the Shaping section, which is a multi-band cut/boost EQ, with each band preset chosen to be relevant to a specific aspect of guitar tone. The six mid bands have switchable frequencies, and these are bracketed by high- and low-cut filters. The controls are named in a way that relates to tone: Boom, Body, Paper, Wood, Steel and Air.

Next comes the Smash section, comprising a compressor with a choice of fast or slow response, a Comp amount control and Make-up gain. A bar-graph meter shows how much gain reduction is taking place and a Mix control facilitates easy parallel compression. Surgery comes next, with two bands of post-compression EQ, with switchable high–Q, variable frequency and adjustable gain per band.

It might seem that there's an awful lot of EQ going on with this plug-in, but guitar sounds are very sensitive to where the EQ is applied in the signal chain (pre- or post-compression, for example), so it makes sense to have these options.

I found ToneSpot Electric to be very effective for the fine-tuning... of electric guitar recordings, particularly those made using modelling plug-ins.

An effects section offers Tremolo, Modulation, Delay and Reverb, each with a choice of three types. The Tremolo has various shapes. Modulation provides a choice of Chorus, Flanger or Phaser. The Delay can be set to Analogue, Digital or Doubler, and there's a Ping–Pong switch too. Reverb can be a Room, Spring or Plate, and has a Colour adjustment control. There are Decay controls for both the Delay and Reverb, and all effects but the Reverb have a Sync-to-host rate option. The four effects each have a further control below them for adjusting Tremolo Depth, Modulation Intensity, Delay Intensity or Reverb Mix, respectively. Finally, appropriately enough, comes the Finalizer section, offering three types of enhancement: Fat, Tight or Smooth, again usable in combination, and with the amount controlled by the Enhancer amount knob.

I found ToneSpot Electric to be very effective for the fine-tuning (and more heavy-handed tweaking) of electric guitar recordings, particularly those made with modelling plug-ins, which can often sound too thin or too muddy, or simply lack character. If using the Saturation, you may need to pull down the top end a touch as you'd normally apply saturation before a speaker emulator, but it can still be effective here if used sparingly.

While there's little that an experienced engineer couldn't set up using individual plug-ins, ToneSpot Electric Pro makes it easy to push your recorded guitar sound in the right direction, and if you don't already have suitable plug-ins, there's plenty to like about the on-board effects here too.

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Published April 2020