These presets come with a few helpful explanations and instructions. They can be used as starting points for your own mix, or as a way of learning more about each plugin. As always, feel free to experiment, the settings and instructions are based on my own workflow and “ear.” I hope you enjoy and they help you make even better music!
Important tip: Penny presets are calibrated for an input signal level of -18dbfs RMS. Or at least I try. Not all of Airwindows have an input control. But these all stay pretty close to in and out at the same level.
Important tip: I only have AU presets, and I’m not even sure how they will interact with whatever DAW you use. (I’m on Digital Performer.) But the screen caps give you the settings, so it should all be pretty easy. Unlike my paid collections, there is only one preset per plugin. (6 total—for free!)
OK, this is not going to have you sounding like Lennon, unless you actually do sound like Lennon. The preset provides a subtle “thickening” effect. I am all about subtlety (check out my other presets if you don’t believe me.)
The headroom control is going to start adding some distortion. A little sounds good with this, and really gives a vintage mic sound. The delay times and levels are set up the way I like them for general use, but of course by tweaking them you can see what the plugin is doing. Chris (and you know this if you are using Airwindows) is a bit of a mad genius, so playing with the controls is always enlightening.
Tip: Try putting 2 or 3 instances of this on an auxillary channel and feed into it. Maybe add a compressor between the instances—it’s great fun.
Iron Oxide 5
This is my very eccentric take on this plugin. I have the high and the low end gently rolling off, no “head bump” and the flutter is reduced from the default setting. The noise level is lower and the input trim is way down to keep the harmonics way down. Why these settings? So you can use this boi on every channel if you want. This plugin has a reputation for being very noticable and kind of “grungey.” I think I took most of that away? Check for yourself.
Tip: Just use this on the 2-bus if you want. Or use ToTape on each channel (I have a preset for that below) and put this setting on the 2-bus. Or do whatever you want…
This is the coolest little reverb. The preset I have here sounds a bit like a vintage chamber, with that Abbey Road curve applied. (Although it isn’t eq-ed as much or at the same frequencies, there is enough control to get rid of the mud and the whispy highs.)
Play with the Dry/Wet control, you can really get a heavy chamber sound if you want. Of course if you put this on an aux send, then push the level all the way to 1 and control the feed going into it. You know what I mean.
Tip: I love the way Chris labels things sometimes. Leave everything as it is, and just tweak the Liveness up and up. Cool, huh? Do the same for the Nonlin slider!
Tip: I mix at 96k. I can’t vouch for how any other sample rates will work with these settings. If you change it, put on some protective gear.
Single Ended Triode
Here is a sweet pre-amp for you. Just pop this in your first effect slot and you have the start of a nice console. Or record through it. Again, this is subtle, but effective!
As close to a flat response rate as you can get, while still maintaining that tape-ish high roll off. (The low end has some taming too.)
If you want a head bump, just start pushing the Fatter control up. Although it’s a bit wider than a real tape machine low end bump, it sounds the same and if anyone can actually hear that nuanced of a difference, well, God bless ‘em.
Tip: The Louder control will drive it. Really. If you push it up carefully based on your source you can hit distortion but we can call it saturation if you are careful enough. (Saturation is distortion, by the way. I really wish people would realize that. There is no “magic” tape machine compression—it’s just clipping gradually!)
Please don’t tell anyone, but this is a secret de-essing and de-harshing plugin. Put this on a vocal or acoustic guitar, for example, and dial in this setting. Then just listen. Adjust the Unbox slider for more or less. Quite sweet. You are basically making something less harsh sounding by using what I can only call “smart harmonics.” Cool deal.
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