LEVERKUSEN, GERMANY: industry-leading pro audio plugins developer Brainworx is proud to announce availability of bx_console E — their trailblazing flagship plugin that pairs a 72-channel emulation of the high-end, hit-making British E Series console complete with comprehensive COMPRESS (compressor/limiter), full-featured EXPAND(expander/ gate), powerful four-band parametric EQ, and wide-ranging (high pass and low pass) FILTERS, together with incredibly flexible signal routing (just like the original console), and much more besides — exclusively from Plugin Alliance.
bx_console E is available for purchase — as an AAX Native & DSP-, AU-, VST2-, and VST3-supporting plugin for Mac OS X (10.8 through 10.12), Windows (7 through 10), and Pro Tools 10.3.10 (or higher) — exclusively from Plugin Alliance typically priced at $299.00 USD. (A fully-functional, 14-day trial is available to anyone registering for a free Plugin Alliance account here )
Note that the proprietary Plugin Alliance Installation Manager means users can select, download, and install only the products and formats needed for their system.
For more in-depth information, including several superb-sounding audio demos, please visit the dedicated bx_console E webpage
Watch Plugin Alliance’s tantalizing trailer for bx_console E here
Watch Plugin Alliance’s teaser trailer for bx_console E here
The bx_console E is based on classic British mixing desks such as the SSL 4000 E. However, it is not a direct emulation as such because Brainworx have added further modifications based on consideration of different EQ revisions, adding additional software functionality and used their patent pending TMT – tolerance modelling technology. This effectively considers the inherent tolerance in electronic components such as capacitors and resistors. If you’ve ever built electronic circuits or used an analogue synth, you’ll probably know that tolerance of components can vary widely from 0.1% up to about 20% which can affect timing circuits such as oscillators and produces differences in sound between two exact same models of the same analogue synth. This means that on analogue mixing equipment no two channels sound exactly the same and it is these variances that TMT simulates. bx_console E has 72 channels – each of which sound slightly different and collectively they (re)produce all the complexity, depth, nuance, and width which high-end analog consoles are held in such high regard for. It is also possible to randomise one channel or all channels for increased variations.
The additional functionality makes bx_console E stand out from being just another SSL strip plug. These include 2 modelled VCAs for the compressor – the original E series and one from the later G series; 2 different EQ modes – the original ‘brown’ and later ‘black’ revision which can be used pre- or post the dynamics section or routed to the dynamics sidechain; an adjustable noise floor to add vintage character along with THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) for extra presence and texture; parallel compression, high pass filtering and a second release time on the compressor; the filter section has x3 and /3 settings which expands the frequency range considerably.
The bx_console E has a great GUI which is clean and easy to use. The top section has presets, copy/paste undo options etc.
The main part of the display is effectively split into three sections. The left hand side has filters at the top with compress / expand beneath.
The middle section is the EQ section
The right hand side has the VU meter, input / output gain, stereo mode and randomise channel options.
For someone like me who is learning new and different mixing techniques, considering the complexities of the plugin it’s very easy to use and get to grips with. There are a number of presets for different instruments – bass, drums, vocals, guitars etc. and whilst very good in their own right, they also provide an excellent starting point for you to further sculpt and fine tune your sound.
My main experience with mixing is using Neutron by iZotope. This has intelligent features and a degree of automation where it can ‘listen’ to a track and suggests settings. The main drawback with this approach is that you can sometimes rely too much on the suggested settings and less on your ear. Conversely, you do sometimes need a reference to ensure that your ears are working along the right lines.
Comparing the two on a drum bus, there was very little if any difference in sound quality, both bx_console E and Neutron are excellent. The track assistant settings in Neutron produced a sound with more top end but this was easily replicated by adjusting the EQ slightly in bx_console E.
Using the two on a bassline, the bx_console E ‘bass synth a’ preset produced a much warmer and more vibrant sounding bass than the track assistant in Neutron. On a synth, the same preset also produced a warmer, more vibrant sound. Clearly you’re not limited to only using the track assistant in Neutron, the suggested settings can be adjusted.
It feels like bx_console E produces a more vibrant analogue sound whilst Neutron produces an ultra modern, tighter more compressed sound. There’s no right or wrong between these two, sometimes one will be more suited to the style of music that you are producing.
In summary, this is a powerful and flexible plugin that can be used as a channel strip or as a mastering tool. It does an excellent job replicating the sounds you’d get from an analogue mixing desk whilst offering additional, useful and essential functionality. It produces more of a classic sound than a modern compressed sound and that’s exactly what Brainworx set out to do. How they’ve packed all of the functionality into an interface that is clean, easy to navigate and simple to use and which produces such an excellent sound is a fantastic achievement. It may also encourage you to dig a bit deeper into techniques to improve your mixes which is never a bad thing.