The Eastwest SSL/EW FX Global Suite is a collection of professional audio processing tools for use inside the PLAY 4 software. The SSL audio processing tools provide the superior precision, advanced feature set and legendary tonal characteristics of SSL console products. They are quite simply the easiest way to get your hands on professional tools that will help you achieve professional compositions that sound like a record. The foundations of the SSL collection are adaptations of two SSL console classics; the EQ & Dynamics Channel plug-in provides an EQ & Dynamics processing solution with all the power, precision, flexibility and signature tone of an SSL console channel strip. The legendary Stereo Compressor gives you the classic SSL stereo compressor that brings power and punch to your music without compromising clarity. The Transient Shaper is a 'task specific' carefully selected and lovingly crafted processing tool to create outstanding Drum and Percussion sounds quickly and easily. These SSL audio processing tools are identical to those found in the SSL Duende Native Plug-in suite, for a fraction of the price, limited only to their use within the PLAY 4 software.
The EastWest Reverb in the FX Suite is an expansion of the Reverb in the Player view. It adds some features that are not part of the Player Reverb: (1) A high-pass and low pass filter set, with 2 handles on the graph for modifying the filters visually; (2) A mono button; (3) 726 additional reverb presets that are not available on the Player page Reverb; and (4) A selection of 'true stereo' reverbs that are added only when this FX Suite is installed.
Although the SSL/EW FX Suite is included free for use with selected products after the introduction of PLAY 4; to use the SSL/EW FX Suite with previously released PLAY collections requires an upgrade which can be purchased here. Only one upgrade is required for all PLAY releases, users do not need to purchase the upgrade for each individual PLAY product.
The SSL/EW FX Suite enables users to customize the EastWest/Quantum Leap Instruments and save custom instruments in the Browser menu for recall at any time, with the added convenience of being able to change any parameter in real time.
Included in the FX drawer are:
- Solid State Logic EQ & Dynamics Channel, consisting of:
- Compressor and Noise Gate/Expander
- Solid State Logic Transient Shaper
- Solid State Logic Stereo Compressor
- EastWest Expanded Convolution Reverb
- 726 Additional Reverb Presets
- The specific controls are described in detail after this overview.
To hide the UI for all the plug-ins, click on the X button in the lower right corner. The settings are preserved while the controls are hidden, with the saved values reappearing when they are reopened with the FX button.
SSL's EQ & Dynamics Channel Strip
This passes the signal through 5 separate sections, as described separately in the text below.
EW FX Input
The Power button in the upper-left corner enables the channel strip processing. Turn the Gain knob in the Input Section to control the level of the incoming audio signal. The post-gain signal level is shown in lights to its left. As a rough guide, the '-6' yellow indicator should occasionally come on but the red '0' indicator should remain off. Press the Ø button to invert the phase of the input signal.
EW FX Input
The Output Section is the last step in the processing. The Gain knob controls the audio level of the output signal. Adjust this level last to achieve the loudness of the signal that you want. The same rules for the yellow and red indicator lights apply here as in the Input Section. The S/C Listen button directs the Dynamics Side Chain to the channel output.
EW FX Filter
The Filter controls provide access to two separate kinds of filters. The black knob controls an 18dB/Octave high-pass filter (20Hz to 500Hz). Use it to remove lower frequencies from the audio. The purple knob controls a 12dB/Octave low-pass filter (3kHz to 22kHz). Use it to remove higher frequencies. Turn either knob fully left (marked OUT) to turn that filter off. Turn either one (or both) clockwise to move the filter frequency in from its extremity. You have a choice where to insert the Filters in the audio stream. To place the Filters immediately following the Input control, press the Input button. To switch the Filters into the Dynamics Side Chain, press the Dyn SC button. Note that when the Dyn S/C button is engaged the Input button has no effect.
To use the EQ, switch it into circuit by pressing the EQ In button, which is near the top in the center of the UI for this section.
The EQ section has four bands, each with its own knob color. All bands have gain and frequency control. The low (LF) and high (HF) bands are shelved by default but can be switched to a bell shape (parametric) by pressing the Bell button; the Bell option gives you more control over the exact shape of the EQ curve. The low-mid (LMF) and high-mid (HMF) bands have Q controls (to adjust the sharpness of the modified curve) in addition to what the others have.
This section consists of both Compressor controls and Noise Gate/Expander controls. Both sections work independently but can be operational at the same time, providing sophisticated control of signal levels. The example image of the UI is shown below, after the description of the Compressor.
There are two buttons at the top. The Dyn In button turns on the whole section. The Pre EQ button moves this section before the Equalizer; otherwise, this processing is performed after the Equalizer.
EW-FX CompressorOn the left are 3 blue knobs for controlling the Compressor: Threshold, Release, and Ratio. To activate the Compressor/Limiter, turn the Ratio knob so that its ratio is no longer set at 1:1.
To turn the compressor into a ∞:1 limiter, turn the knob fully to the right.
There is no gain makeup control because the T/HOLD (threshold) knob controls both the level at which gain reduction is introduced and the gain make-up, thus keeping the output level steady regardless of the compression.
The Release knob controls how quickly the level returns to normal after the input level has dropped below the threshold (measured in seconds). The attack time is adjusted automatically to match the audio. To choose a consistently fast attack time, press the Fast Att button.
Turn on the PK button to switch from RMS to Peak signal detection. In normal RMS mode, the compressor reacts to the average signal level and has a soft knee characteristic. When switched to Peak mode, it responds to peak signal level and introduces a hard knee characteristic, resulting in more dramatic compression.
The level of compression being introduced is shown in the left-hand of the two meters in the centre of the Dynamics section.
To activate the Noise Gate/Expander, turn the Range knob so that its range is no longer zero. The green indicators in the right-hand of the two meters in the centre of the Dynamics section show the amount of gain reduction being introduced.
By default, the Noise Gate/Expander section functions as a Gate. To switch to the Ex-pander, press the Exp switch. The Threshold function uses different levels to open the gate to audio and to close it again: the level at which the expander opens is higher than the level at which it closes again. In other words, when the expander is opened, it stays open until the signal level crosses the quieter Close threshold. This is known as hysteresis and is very useful as it allows instruments to decay more naturally. The word "Threshold" normally refers to the Open threshold.
The Hold knob controls the delay before the signal level starts reducing again. The Release knob controls how quickly the level then reduces. Note that the Release knob interacts with the Range knob, which determines the depth of gain reduction. The Attack Time (the time taken for the Expander/Gate to 'recover' once the signal level is above the 'deactivate' threshold) is normally set to 1.5ms per 40dB. Press the Fast Att button to introduce a faster attack time of 100μs per 40dB. This is useful when gating signals with a steep rising edge, such as drums.