These presets come with 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 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. Keep it reasonably close to that for the presets to give you the optimum (and expected) performance.
Important tip: Some of these have separate files for mono and stereo plugins. Using the proper set makes sure the gain staging is correct.
*Important tip: The settings in the pics of the plugins are just defaults, they don’t represent the preset settings in any way.
Presets: PC-MONO-1, PC-STEREO-1, PC-MONO-2, PC-STEREO-2, PC-MONO-3, PC-STEREO-3, PC-STEREO-rhythm
This is one crazy plugin. The presets are more concerned with taming it’s wildness than showing off it’s mangling abilities (plenty of presets that come with it do that).
Mono-1/Stereo-1 use Crystalizer’s unique features to create a reverb sound with a constantly modulating “echoey” tail. Push the Mix more wet to hear it. On drier settings you have a nice reverb with a short duration that sits well in a mix. Mono-2/Stereo-2 is basically the slap version. Put 1 on a vocal and 2 on an acoustic guitar and the combination creates an interest ambience.
Mono-3/Stereo-3 is more like a chamber. Wetter, it has a really unusual echo slapping around the walls. Keep the mix subtle, and you have a chamber without any low-end mud and a very short bounce. Move the Recycle knob from Min to Max to get a “bigger” chamber.
Rhythm is a preset you use on, well, percussion. Try this on a set of congas or hand percussion. Adjust the Mix control to introduce more or less of a low modulating texture that can fill out the sound. It really gives a percussion track some unsual life.
Tip: The Mix control is your friend. If you want to put this on a Aux track and use a send into it, then put that Mix at full wet. But then, you knew that didn’t you?
Presets: PC-MONO-A, PC-STEREO-A, PC-MONO-E, PC-STEREO-E, PC-MONO-N, PC-STEREO-N, PC-MONO-T, PC-STEREO-T, PC-MONO-P, PC-STEREO-P
All of these settings are aiming for preamp-style color rather than overdriven or amp distortion. Decapitator can go there pretty easily, and these settings pull that in. Each of the presets are keeping a consistent gain level along with a consistent frequency response between the five Styles. The frequency response is set with a high and low end rolloff typical of analogue gear. The drive has been set to produce a consistent level as well. The “P” Style has just a touch of distortion (at an input of -18dbfs) which mimics older microphones or preamps. (Or the Culture Vulture it is modeled after.)
Tip: If you want to hear the distortion, then just push up the drive! In fact, push up the drive, and then reduce the Mix to 50% = pretty cool!
Presets: Penny Echo 1, Penny Echo 2, Penny Echo 3
Echo 1 is going to give you an ADT vibe. (ADT is artifical double tracking—google it!) It even has a a bit of an Abbey Road curve going on. (Again, google it.) After all your googling you can come back and hear how this adds some nice doubling without adding any mud or sibilence. Use it to thicken up a vocal. Or on whatever you think sounds good!
Echo 2 will add a nice room ambience with a fairly quick delay. This is a good reverb/delay sound that doesn’t add any clutter to a mix. I like to keep the Mix way down dry, you can push it up but it is meant to be subtle with what it does with that single echo you will hear.
A very subtle doubling is what you will hear with Echo 3, but tucked in there is a touch of reverb that sounds good on vocals or acoustic instruments. You can try it on a bass as well to add some space to the sound without filling it up.
Tip: Definitely play with the Saturation knob, it is somewhat legendary on the Echoboy!
Presets: PC-Console1, PC-CrunchyMic, PC-RoomMic
Want to really add some harmonic old school vibe? Then try these. The Console setting puts all that tube stuff in there, pretending to be an old preamp on the board, and a preamp in the tape machine. The Sie-Q helps adjust the frequency response to match. This is a pretty sweet setting to record (or print those virtual instrument tracks) through.
CrunchyMic turns your microphone into a 60s U-47 with that wonderful distortion creeping in and all the transients getting pushed down. Well, not really a U-47 (unless you are actually using a U-47), but you will find some interesting subtle distortion with this preset.
RoomMic is adding a room reverb/echo to the Console1 preset. This sounds like recording in a space, give it a try and see.
Tip: The EffectRack is just too much fun to play with. If SoundToys only had a more traditional compressor available….
Presets: PC-DOUBLE HI, PC-DOUBLE-LO, PC-FAKEharmony
So, let’s double some tracks. The difference between HI and LO is not in pitch, but in the formant, notice that. You are changing the texture either slightly up or down. I find that the LO preset sounds less phasey as you turn up the Mix knob.
FAKEharmony is a fun little effect to try. Play with the MIX control. There is no actual “harmony” here, just a drone. (Hence, “FAKE.”)
Tip: I don’t play with the pitch at all on here, it is too harsh of a change for me, but your ear may differ!
Presets: PC Shift 1, PC Shift 2, PC Shift 3
Ok, here we go. For your vocal effect pleasure! Shift 2 is more airy than Shift 1, and Shift 3 is really subtle and super useful. I use it in front of a reverb.
And that is all I have to say. Try these. This plugin is a studio superstar. You will never go back. Seriously. The greatest thing since the bread slicing machine.
Tip: Try Shift 1 and Shift 3 in series, one after the other on the same channel. Just saying.
Presets: Penny Overheads
Do you want that kind of washy, swirly sound you sometimes hear on cymbals. Well, here you go. But more than that, try this if you ever use the Glyn Johns drum micing technique. (Yes, here it comes: google it.) Use it on the 2 overhead mics and slightly change the Width knob on each one. Some of the most interesting depth you will ever hear. (I’m giving out a well-kept secret. I mean it’s my secret, not some famous person’s.)
Tip: Play with the width, dude.
Presets: Penny Tap 1, Penny Tap 2, Penny Tap 3, Penny Tap 4
Tap 1 and Tap 2 are going to double a vocal in a clean, subtle way (unless you screw with the mix control – so go ahead). Tap 3 and Tap 4 sound like you sent your sound to a chamber. The presets are configured to be quite subtle, as with most of my stuff. But adjust the Mix or Feedback sliders, and that is where the fun begins. (Remember, the settings are just a starting point!)
Tip: The modulation can really get funky. Really.
Yes, it’s a clean mic preamp. Adjust the BASS control to taste. The plugin drops everything in the 100hz-400hz range by a few decibals and it really gets the muddiness out. (It’s probably why people like this plugin so much.) I have the BASS control set to even it up a little below 100hz.
Presets: PC-BIAS OFF, PC-BIAS ON
Instant preamp. BIAS OFF = no distortion. Can you guess what BIAS ON does?
Presets: PC sieConsole
Something extra! It adds some nice harmonic, and I have leveled the frequency response. You get a little 200hz taken out, and the top end gets rolled off. Sounds very analogue. Well, as much as possible anyways.