In partnership with brainworx, plug-in developer and distributor Plugin Alliance has released Black Box Analog Design HG-2MS. This version upgrades the original HG-2 plug-in, which emulates a rare and expensive hardware saturation unit. New features include mid/side processing options, as well as additional filters and parameters. I happen to own the HG-2 plug-in and I think it sounds amazing. So it’s nice to see the developers squeezing even more out of the already competent emulation.
Black Box Analog Design HG-2MS
The HG-2 hardware and plug-in employ tube and transformer saturation to add subtle pleasantries like thickness, sheen, presence and punch. Almost any audio passing through these ends up more expensive-sounding. The HG-2MS keeps these properties and homes in on the improvements.
The upgrades start with mid/side processing. You can now add saturation to the middle and sides of your audio tracks in a targeted and independent manner. The Mono Maker feature and Stereo Width control make the HG-2MS even more capable as a mastering tool.
With three switches, you can choose between dark, normal and bright sound coloration. In contrast to the hardware unit, you will also find the Air control to boost frequencies above 10 kHz for a bit of clarity and presence.
For the triode and pentode tube emulation, developer brainworx relies on its proprietary Tolerance Modeling Technology (TMT). The virtual tubes (6U8A and 12AX7) have separate gain controls. You can also decide whether the tubes will work in series or in parallel.
Moreover, the filter section has been completely redesigned. It now offers four filter types as well as the ‘flat’ mode.
Price and availability
Black Box Analog Design HG-2MS is available from Plugin Alliance at an introductory price of USD 249,99 down from USD 329. The plug-in runs under macOS 10.9 to 11.0.1 and Windows 7 or higher in AAX, VST, VST3 and AU formats. A demo version and a PDF user manual are also available on the manufacturer’s website. In addition to the M / S version, you also get separate mono and stereo versions, as well as the original Black Box HG-2 plug-in. There are also presets by established producers such as Josh Gudwin, Michael Brauer, Matt Weiss, and Eric Racy.