These might be the very best freebie plugins you will ever use. What I mean by that is, you will probably go out and buy the commercial versions after you use these. On the other hand, they are so good, you may not have a need for anything more. OK, I am not here to hype someone’s product, just to take an honest look at it and maybe offer some tips or advice. So, enough hyping.
The MJUCjr is modeled after a Vari-Mu type of compressor. A tube is used to attenuate the output. (In the real ones, not the plugin. Look it up!) So it’s like a Fairchild, but without heating your entire studio. Some background: this type of compressor has a slowish, gentle attack. It will not effect transients very much and works well on your mix bus because the compression curve (or “knee”) is soft and gradual.
Klanghelm’s modeling has a very tube-like bump in the low end, but a very digital-like even frequency response the rest of the signal. (Most tubes are going to “do something” around 10k and up.) The harmonics are very “harmonic”! No real tube is going to be this perfectly “colored”, but so what! It sounds really nice, and very controlled.
The DC1A3 does a lot more than what the simple controls would make you think. First of all, it has a very pleasing sound just by sticking it on a channel. The gentle frequency bump in the high-mids can give a well-recorded vocal a little more air without any obvious increase in the “ess-i-ness”. Some reviews of this talk about it’s “character” but I found it pretty clean unless you push things. The Relaxed button really does make it laid back, it just kinds of floats along pulling down the peaks.
And now, the fun one of the group, the IVGI2. I won’t even get into describing the response and THD graphs for the default setting, because no one is ever going to use this on the default setting. But take a look, and you will get an idea of the starting points. There are six controls on here, and about a million different ways you can mess with your sound using them. You will just have to try it out.
Seriously pay attention to the Trim knob, and set you input signal to zero before you do anything with this. Believe me, you will be happier and it will work as intended. The developer (and musician), Tony Frenzel, understands both gain staging, and how analog equipment handles input levels.
You can get all three of these free at klanghelm.com but check out the paid versions as well!