With the KD1 saturation effect, McDSP show that their analogue plug‑in system can deliver more than just dynamics processing.
McDSP’s Analog Processing Box has been on the market for more than three years now, and is building up a devoted following among mix engineers in the know. You can read our November 2019 review of the original APB16 for a full overview, but in summary, it’s a fiendishly clever device that takes the concept of digitally controlled analogue to its logical extreme.
The eight‑channel APB8 or 16‑channel APB16 connect to a Mac computer using Thunderbolt, and make their processing available through normal‑looking plug‑in interfaces. This gives the DAW user all the benefits of session recall and plug‑in automation, but the processing itself takes place in the analogue domain. Signal routed to an APB plug‑in gets sent out through a D‑A converter before passing through an array of analogue components, with the various APB plug‑ins configuring the analogue signal path in different ways so as to implement different processing characteristics. All of these are primarily based around manipulating the amplitude of the signal.
The initial tranche of APB plug‑ins were all compressors and limiters, but we’ve always known that the system is also capable of deliberately introducing distortion. Several of the existing plug‑ins have saturation controls that allow the sometimes‑desirable side‑effects of overdriving analogue circuitry to be introduced. Until now, this has always been a secondary function, but with the new KD1 Kinetic Drive, McDSP have placed the APB’s saturation capabilities centre stage.
Like all the other APB plug‑ins so far, KD1 is free to registered owners of the hardware needed to run it, though you’ll need an iLok account to authorise it. Each mono instance uses up one channel of APB processing. The interface presents six rotary controls and three radio buttons. The Drive, Wet level and Dry level controls should need no explanation, and the wet/dry balance can be locked so that you don’t have to remember to reset it each time you load a preset.
The radio buttons are used to select your choice of three distortion circuits. As this is an...