TC Electronic has released the Master X HD and Brickwall HD mastering plug-ins. The multi-band dynamics processor and brickwall limiter are based on technology pulled from the company’s System 6000 and Powercore hardware and Finalizer suite. Like the other Icon series plug-ins, Master X HD and Brickwall HD can be combined with optional hardware controllers for a hands-on workflow.
TC Electronic Master X HD and Brickwall HD
After unchaining the four Icon series reverb and delay plug-ins from their hardware controllers in February, TC Electronic is expanding the concept to mastering effects. Master X HD is a 3-band dynamics processor with independent expanders, compressors and limiters for each band. Brickwall HD is just what it says: a brickwall limiter, based on the algorithm that first put brickwalling in the hands of the average producer in the 1990s. Like the rest of the Icon series, the Master X HD and Brickwall HD plug-ins can be used on their own, or you can opt for the “DT” versions, which come with dedicated hardware controllers for your desktop.
The System 6000 and Powercore heritage means that the Master X HD and Brickwall HD plug-ins have roots in algorithms that have been around for quite a while. But let’s not forget: these Finalizer effects have shaped the sound of countless hits over several decades since the 1990s. There’s something about them that just works, which was the key to the Finalizer’s success in the first place. And TC Electronic has of course updated them, for example by including an option to master to the loudness requirements of popular streaming services.
Optional hardware controllers
Most would probably agree that touching a hardware controller is a superior experience to using a mouse. But is the advantage big enough to justify investing in a dedicated controller for a single plug-in, which might become obsolete in a couple of years? That’s something you’ll have to decide for yourself. Let’s put it this way: if the TC effects are your go-to workhorses that you use on every track and come back to every time, the controllers are probably worth it. But if you like to change things around and use whatever you see fit, you might as well skip the hardware and just go for the plug-ins.
Price and compatibility
The TC Electronic Master X HD and Brickwall HD plug-ins are now available from the company’s website. Master X HD costs USD 199, Brickwall HD is USD 149. There’s no word on the price of the controllers yet.
The plug-ins are available for macOS 10.13 or higher and Windows 7 or higher in VST, VST3, AU and AAX formats (64 bit).