I am a huge fan of channel strip-style plugins, and use iZotope’s Alloy 2 daily. Typically, this style of mixing tool can offer a lot of convenient processing within the cost of one plugin. The danger is of course that they require too much CPU usage. In order to keep processing power at a minimum, sometimes the quality can suffer. However, this new CS-3301 by TBProAudio appears to offer two user-defined modes, depending on quality vs available CPU power. With a great GUI, this looks to be one of TBProAudio’s best releases to date.
About the new CS-3301
As seen in the second picture above, the CS-3301 offers a multiband equaliser, high and low pass filters, compressor, gate, saturation, phase invert and an oversampling mode. There are also neat features such as bypass switches, a pre or post switch for the compressor, input and output level controls and a VU meter. It has to be said this is one of the best GUI’s TBProAudio have designed, showing all of these parameters in a clear and concise layout.
Albeit the design looks reasonably analogue influenced, it doesn’t appear that there is any hardware emulating involved here. Although I haven’t tried the plugin myself yet, early reactions suggest that each feature of this plugin sounds clean, but isn’t there to provide character. This is probably a good concept for a useful everyday tool. For character TBProAudio have at least included a saturation control. That’s good to see as a variable parameter rather than an on/off analogue emulation mode.
According to TBProAudio, the CS-3301 is very CPU friendly. This is really important for a plugin that could potentially sit across most channels of your mixes. Early user feedback reports that the 2x oversampling control does increase the performance of the plug-in, especially when using the saturation and equaliser functions, but does eat up more CPU power. To be honest, I think it’s good that TBProAudio have given users the ability to decide how to use the plugin for each element of their mix.
Pricing and Information
Channel strip style plugins typically offer great very for money, and the CS-3301 is no exception. This tremendous amount of processing within one plugin is only 49 EUR + VAT. Without using the oversampling feature, this plugin will bring a lot of control to your mixes without much effort. Check out TBProAudio’s webpage for more information.