The second product of the ongoing and very fruitful collaboration with MagicDeathEye is a faithful emulation of their stereo master buss compressor & equalizer. From the description of the hardware: “The stereo compressor is two mono compressor circuits with some extras designed for mastering and buss compression duties. This new version has an added EQ section. There are two (boost only) bands with two frequency selections each. The EQ is worked into the Variable Mu tube gain structure. This means it is not before or after the compression section, it is within it. The EQ circuit is inductor based and has wide curves for giving program material that “little something”. There is also a two frequency low cut for tightening up out of control bass. The boost of the bands can be 5dB or 3dB split between 5 steps. I spent a lot of time shaping this EQ mastering everyday and fine tuning the components on the weekends. It sounds absolutely fabulous.”
So apart from the second channel, which, unlike in its hardware role model, has already been added in the “mono” MDE plugin, we have an added EQ section here, and the compression curve is actually quite different from the mono version. If one would ask about the difference in purpose of the two, the mono compressor would usually go on individual tracks, while the stereo compressor, with its noticeably more gentle compression curve and the additional EQ options, would go on the master buss.
Of course, while trying to stay as close to the hardware as possible sound-wise, we have again taken the liberty to implement some additional goodies in the software plugin: the high frequency EQ can be applied to the full stereo field, the mid or the side signal only. Conversely, for the low frequency range, an optional elliptical filter on the side signal will be very helpful when mastering for vinyl. The amount of harmonic distortion can be varied from 0 to 100 percent, where 50 percent corresponds to the level of the hardware unit. In- and output gain can be linked. Finally, there is an option for 2- or even 4-fold oversampling within the plugin.
Clearly, this magnificent tube compressor is not just a slight variation of the mono model: while effortlessly demonstrating that smooth and musical MagicDeathEye signature sound, it has a different feel to it. The few fortunate people who were already able to score their own build of both the mono and the stereo version (they are hard to come by as Ian is building each and everyone of them by hand) will know what I’m talking about. For the rest of you, now is your chance to compare the two masterpieces in the box.