Distributed by UnitedPlugins, FireSonic’s FireCharger is another take on the ‘make everything sound a bit better’ concept. It is a parallel processor in that it has a wet/dry control and there are simple controls for adjusting the various enhancement sections. This is no simple exciter, though, as it works at a spectral level, analysing the audio input and then adjusting it to get it close to what the design engineers decided upon as an ideal. FireCharger uses 64‑bit audio processing and can handle any sample rate up to 192kHz, and some even higher. Authorisation is via a personal code.
Supporting all current screen resolutions, including Retina 5K, the GUI is quite straightforward, with control and metering for both the input and output. The manual suggests that in most cases only the Dry/Wet knob will be needed to inject a suitable dose of enhancement, though as not everyone will share the same idea of what’s ‘ideal’, FireSonic have ensured there’s useful scope for user adjustment.
The individual enhancement sections provide a simple means of tine‑tuning the initial result. Charge is the main enhancement control and it relates to FireCharger’s spectral dynamics processing. This appears to work as a parallel compressor that tackles all areas of the spectrum separately, according to their needs. Anodize adjusts the amount of energy added when adjusting the Charge control, akin to adjusting the severity of the compression. Magnetize adds a vintage tube/tape type of saturation, for adding warmth and beefing up bass sounds. That leaves Tone, which is actually a ‘dynamic exciter’, adding brightness to the final sound.
The process certainly adds a lot of density, right across the spectrum.
In use, I found FireCharger to be quite versatile and effective. It can work for mastering‑like enhancement if used sparingly, but I could get much more assertive when treating individual tracks. The process certainly adds a lot of density, right across the spectrum, so setting a suitable wet/dry balance is the key to a good result. The tape emulation works particularly well on bass and drum sounds and, in most cases, balancing the contribution of the three enhancement types is all that’s needed to arrive at the right type of sonic character.
I always approach my experiments with ‘make it better’ plug‑ins with a healthy dose of scepticism, but this one does something interesting. While it would be wrong to consider FireCharger a universal ‘fix anything’ tool, if you simply need to add more energy and weight to a track or mix, it does a good job without the user needing to get too bogged down in technicalities. The only challenge lies in disciplining yourself not to overdo the treatment.