Babelson Audio has released the FD1N and FD3N Tube EQ Saturator plug-ins. They look almost exactly the same as the FD2N Tube EQ, which the company introduced only a few weeks ago. So what’s the difference, and should you get all three of them?
FD1N and FD3N Tube EQ & Saturator plug-ins
While all three EQs / saturators look almost the same, aside from their colours, Babelson Audio says that they use different algorithms. The FD1N is nicknamed “British Edition”, while the FD3N carries the label “U.S.A. Edition”. It doesn’t appear that the EQs have been modeled after any specific British or American pieces of hardware, but Babelson Audio does mention some components that were used for the models:
- FD1N British Edition: EF86 high gain valve, EZ80 rectifier valve
- FD3N U.S.A. Edition: 12AX7 tube, “classic tube”, “warm tube”, “Class A tube”, “vintage tube”, “dirty vintage tube”
Like the FD2N, both new EQs have two bands and emulate a Class-A tube circuit. It’s obvious that these aren’t surgical equalizers for precise adjustments. Instead, they’re meant to add colouration and saturation to audio tracks. The low shelf and high shelf bands offer 20 dB of boost or cut. The low shelf has a range of 20 Hz to 2 kHz, while the high shelf operates from 1 kHz to 5 kHz.
According to Babelson Audio, the input and drive section has been modeled after a Marinair transformer, which adds harmonic distortion to the signal. They recommend using the plug-ins on every track, which they say results in a warm and full overall sound.
So, which one is right for you, or should you get all three of them (including the FD2N Russian Edition)? The best way to find out is to download the free demo versions from the Babelson Audio website. Personally, I would have preferred one plug-in with switchable models to three separate plug-ins. That would make it so much easier to compare them!
Price and compatibility
The Babelson Audio FD1N and FD3N plug-ins are available for Windows 10 and up (64 bit) and macOS 10.10 and up (64 bit). They come in VST, AU and AAX formats and utilize the iLok system for authorization. That means that you’ll need an iLok account to run them.
Both plug-ins (and also the FD2N, as a matter of fact) are now on sale at an introductory price of USD 49 each. The regular price will be USD 69 each. All three plug-ins are also included in the Babelson Audio Creative Bundle, which comprises eight plug-ins and costs USD 200.