CRAS and McDSP Plug-ins!

CRAS has had a long-standing relationship with plug-in manufacturer McDSP. In our newly built Studios F and G, we make good use of the Everything Pack from McDSP.

This pack contains all sorts of very useful digital signal processing, including:

  • 6020 Ultimate EQ
  • SPC2000
  • AE400 Active EQ
  • 4020 Retro EQ
  • 4030 Retro Compressor
  • 4040 Retro Limiter
  • 6030 Ultimate Compressor
  • Analog Channel
  • Channel G
  • Channel G Compact
  • CompressorBank
  • DE555
  • FilterBank
  • FutzBox

Recently, some students asked me what my favorite plug-in was.  Although it is really only fair to have a favorite plug-in for a certain application, I said that the McDSP 6020 Ultimate EQ is the one plug-in that always brightens my day, no matter what I use it on.

CRAS Pro Tools Instructor Phil Nichols

If I need something to sound unique, different, but still cool, the FutzBox seems to always come through. It can easily be used to mangle sounds and make tracks lo-fi, but also can simply add some interesting texture when used in moderation. It’s just plain cool. The speaker simulator, lo-fi, and distortion modules are awesome.

FutzBox Plug-ins

  • MC2000
  • ML4000

The ML4000 is a great, musical limiter for sub-mixes, parallel compression, and 2-bus processing. It’s quick and powerful to use.

ML4000 McDSP plugins

  • NF575
  • Revolver

During one of my mix clinics we use several McDSP Plug-Ins on our drum sub mixes. Instead of EQ ing the Kicks we chain the AC 101 Analog Channel into the ML 4000 Limiter. The knee and curve settings allow us to further shape the dynamic envelope of our subs. We also use the 6030 Ultimate Compressor on a snare group. Being able to quickly scroll through all the different compressor settings helps our students develop their ear for the various types of compression.

CRAS Instructor Nancy Scharlau-Murman

We use these plug-ins with our Pro Tools rigs specifically in AAX format, although the plug-ins do come in VST and AU formats as well for use with other DAWs. Our Pro Tools rigs in our new Studios run through SSL AWS consoles, and are really the ideal place to learn more advanced mixing and mastering techniques. Every student who attends CRAS will get a chance to see these plug-ins working in all their glory, not only in mix scenarios, but also in live tracking events.

Anyone who wants permanent plug-ins, plug-ins that won’t end up collecting dust in your plug-in list, should try McDSP. Some plug-ins are initially exciting, but soon shelved in the quest for something better. That won’t happen with McDSP plug-ins. They are plug-ins that you’ll take home to meet the parents.

Revamped from the ground up, we completely redesigned these two studios just for these reasons, taking into account everything from ventilation to airlocks, high quality consoles and of course, high quality plug-ins to finish everything off nicely! Students get to compare hardware signal processing units, such as the Manley Vari-MU and Distressor units, with high quality McDSP plug-ins side by side in these rooms.

I use the McDSP plugs during an Advanced Dynamics Class. I specifically use the SPC303 as an example of multi tier compression. It’s three compressor either in series or in parallel. An example is on a vox, in series. First compressor is set to fast attack and release and nips the highest peaks, the next compressor is set to a bit slower attack and release and the final is compressing the whole track.I also use their Channel G as an example of a software EQ. Finally, I use their McDSP 6030 Ultimate Compressor as an example of opto, FET and VCA compressors. It’s easy to audition all the different styles of compression within one plug in.

CRAS Music Production Instructor  and Manufacturer Liaison Tony Nunes

We are proud to have McDSP be an integral part of our signal flow!

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