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Harrison MPC Channel Strip

Channel Strip Plug-in By Sam Inglis
Published March 2024

Harrison MPC Channel Strip

Harrison’s console‑derived channel strip plug‑in majors on speed and immediacy.

The channel strip as we know it was arguably invented by Solid State Logic, who added dynamics processing to the EQ that was already ubiquitous on mixing console input channels. The digital revolution took things to a new level, and even modestly priced live‑sound mixers these days have per‑channel compression, expansion/gating, de‑essing and so on in addition to comprehensive EQ. Many software recording packages likewise have extensive processing built into every channel in their virtual mixer, and if they don’t, it’s probably included as an optional plug‑in. So is it worth adding a third‑party channel strip plug‑in to your DAW’s built‑in resources? And if so, should that plug‑in be Harrison’s new MPC Channel Strip?

It’s certainly a plug‑in with pedigree. Harrison’s MPC consoles are super high‑end digital powerhouses targeted at the world of film dubbing, expandable to gazillions of channels and with enough DSP to compute the answer to life, the universe and everything. Every aspect of the feature set, including the channel processing, has been finely tuned through years of feedback from professional users. They are tools designed to do their job as quickly and efficiently as possible, whilst remaining sonically neutral — and now their core processing has been spun out as a plug‑in.

Strip Mining

Authorised using the iLok system and available for all major native formats, the Harrison MPC Channel Strip plug‑in has five basic processing elements. The bulk of the screen real estate is taken up by the equaliser, each of whose eight bands can have shelving, filter, bell, notch or ‘search’ responses. There’s also a separate, dedicated filter section, which features two additional bands that can have either shelving, filter or notch shapes. In the lower half of the window, you’ll find three separate dynamics processors: a compressor, a de‑esser, and a “de‑noiser”, which is actually a frequency‑conscious expander.

Eight EQ bands will usually be more than enough for both filtering and shelf/parametric tasks, but the additional pair of filter/shelf bands is nevertheless useful, not only because they have a wider choice of filter slopes but because the order of MPC Channel Strip’s processing elements can be freely varied. You could, for instance, have the main EQ set post‑compressor, but use the filter section before the dynamics. However, I was a bit surprised to find that there’s no option to switch the filter section into the compressor side‑chain, or use an external key input to trigger the dynamics.

Other than that, the compressor is certainly well specified. The ratio is continuously variable from 1.1:1 up to 100:1, and...

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