If you can’t afford to mix on a ‘classic British’ analogue console, perhaps because it’s not practical for your workflow, then how can you achieve the same quality level for processing? Some will argue you can’t, while others will argue about which is the best plug-in manufacturer. However, one of the strongest contenders in terms of audio quality is, I believe, Acustica. The company has applied its CORE9 technology to emulate key elements from a certain famous console. The trade-off with using their plug-ins can be high CPU usage and reduced reliability. Enter Acustica’s latest development: SAND FAB4.
Acustica Audio SAND FAB4
SAND is a collection of processing elements very clearly modelled around SSL hardware. The tools include EQ, filters, dynamics and some control signal path processing. Acustica has added its own processing flavour into the mix too, with their ‘ShMod’ attack control for the compressor. This is something we’ve seen in other recent releases, and a feature I really like. In my opinion, this allows a modern mixing approach when using such emulations.
The really new feature here however, is the ‘FAB4’ part of the release. This bundle not only includes the fill channel strip plug-in, but each section of the processing chain can be used as separate instances in your DAW. This allows you to use, say, a single module which means lower CPU load and latency.
I’m sure this plug-in bundle sounds great. Although I haven’t used SAND yet, I’ve been very impressed with the audio quality of their other recent releases. However, as I always mention with nearly any of Acustica’s releases, there is a non-financial price to pay. The demand these plug-ins place on your system is significant. Perhaps this has been addressed in SAND, but in any case I would recommend running the trial to see how your system copes before purchasing. If you have got a powerful system, I suspect you’re likely to be pleasantly surprised.
Acustica are running an introductory offer for the SAND FAB4 bundle at 119.20 EUR instead of the usual 149 EUR. It can be pre-ordered on their website with a free trial available now. Check out the SAND FAB4 webpage for ordering and more information.