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McDSP Royal Mu, Royal Q & MC-3

APB Plug-ins By Sam Inglis
Published April 2021

McDSP MC‑3 multiband compressor.The MC‑3 multiband compressor from McDSP.

McDSP’s unique analogue plug‑in platform continues to grow, with three impressive new processors joining the collection.

Hybrid is hot right now, and lots of people are finding novel ways to integrate analogue processing into computer‑based mixing. The most radical and, to my mind, the most successful is McDSP’s Analog Processing Box or APB platform. To the user, APB processors look and behave almost exactly like conventional plug‑ins. Behind the scenes, however, these plug‑ins are sending your audio down a Thunderbolt cable to be manipulated by a highly sophisticated, configurable array of analogue gain and saturation processors.

Two APB units are currently available, respectively supporting eight or 16 mono channels of processing. These represent a significant investment, but unlike UA’s UAD2 and other digital co‑processing systems, there’s no additional charge for plug‑ins. In other words, all APB plug‑ins are free to all users. That includes the superb Moo X valve‑style mixer that was added to the range last year, and it now includes three new plug‑ins which bring the total number available to 10.

Rebel MC

As already mentioned, the APB’s analogue circuitry is designed for gain control and saturation rather than frequency‑based processing. This has always seemed a sensible decision to me, since compression and ‘analogue warmth’ are widely felt to be areas where digital plug‑ins struggle to compete. However, one of the clever things about the APB format is that the plug‑ins can also incorporate host‑based digital processing, not only at the start and end of the signal path but also in control signals such as compressor side‑chain feeds.

The fruits of this flexibility are obvious in the MC‑3 multiband compressor (shown above), which uses digital filtering to divide the input signal into three frequency bands. These are then sent to separate channels of analogue APB processing to be compressed and saturated, before being recombined on re‑entry to ‘the box’....

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Published April 2021