Once again, Apogee has teamed up with mixing engineer and producer Bob Clearmountain for a new plug-in. ECS Channel Strip combines analog-inspired equalization, compression, and saturation done the Clearmountain way.
Apogee Symphony ECS Channel Strip
The equalizer is derived from 1970s hardware and is laid out as follows: 3 fixed bands (120Hz, 4kHz, 8kHz), High Pass (20Hz – 300Hz), Lo Shelf (35Hz – 300Hz), Mid Peak (250Hz – 8kHz), High Shelf (4kHz – 16kHz). The High Pass filter can be routed to the equalizer or the sidechain signal to give the compressor an easier time. A Q-switch (peak/shelf) is also available.
The compressor is born out of modern console dynamic processors and comes with Threshold, Ratio, and Dry/Wet controls. Make-up gain is adjusted automatically. Saturation is dialed-in from a single Drive knob. Below it are the Output level control and presets menu.
Compared to more involved channel strip plug-ins, ECS goes for the essentials which is not a bad thing. The number of parameters may be less, but each is tuned by Bob Clearmountain to do what it’s supposed to. That’s one way of doing high quality audio without technical over-complications.
Price and availability
Apogee is selling ECS Channel Strip for USD 99. Rent-to-own is also an option at 14 monthly payments of USD 7. A free trial version is there, but you’ll have to enter bank card information. The plug-in is available in native AU, VST, and AAX formats for Windows and Mac computers. It also works with DSP-equipped Apogee interfaces, coming included with the Apogee Symphony Desktop.