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To start, if you don't know what this gadget is useful for, you can have a look to the translation that Gilles Blais did from an american article.

Magneto is thus a DirectX plugin which is supposed to give back to our digital recordings the warmth of the old tape bands. Who never pushed the vu-meters of a Revox B77 into skarlet red ? Hmmmm ?

To do this, it uses an algorithm which reproduces what happens electrically on the tape heads of a tape-recorder. Good ! So what ? Does it work ? Well, it works !

First, I must say that the interface is superb ! Ok, this isn't useful, but it's always a pleasure to work with a nice thing ! Here, I'm rating 20/20 !

When I read the technical list, I said to myself "it's good for my distorsed guitars" ! Well, here I was disappointed ! Inserting Magneto in a single bench-track of guitar, gives a colour too much decided to this guitar. Thus, first impression : Magneto is not conceived to be used as an insert effect on a single track... Or otherwise, I didn't found with which instrument...

Then, I've tested it as a Master effect... And here, Magneto takes all its dimension. It belongs to those plug-ins which you notice especially the absence ! If you listen to a mix with Magneto activated without knowing this, you won't really notice that the gadget is turned on. Is it a shame ? But if you deactivate it, the difference is cruel ! You turn it on again quickly !

What my ears tell me about ? Only some nice thing ! Wanting to simulate some analogic with some digital has always been delicate. Here, the mark is hit. Magneto gives really a shape, a warmth, and even a soft distorsion to the mix.

Be careful however, like often with DirectX plug-ins, the boy is greedy in CPU ressources, at about 20 % in my case. For Master Effects only, thus !

There's still a big problem left : the price ! Magneto is as much expensive as VST ! And it is not the only one ! I think that it should be understood that purchasing Cubase means Cubase + plugins. A sort of software in kit, so ! But yet, at more than 305 euros, that makes you think. It's a pity because this plug-in is really worth of appearing in the perfect Cubasian's panoply. However, the thing being DirectX, you will be able to use it with a lot of softwares, that amortizes the price...

What are the buttons useful for ?

The Input and the Output ones are useful, as their name indicates, for adjusting the input and output levels. The vu-meter must be close as much as possible to zero, without distorsion, in order to have the best from Magneto.

The Drive is THE button of Magneto. It will determinate the effect extensiveness. It is the only vu-meter which must be pushed into red !

HF Adjust, as for it, is a high frequencies corrector. Its action is very sweet and allows to play with the warmth of the effect.

Arf, of course there is the Tape Speed button which is normally supposed to simulate two different tape speeds... I should getting deaf... The manual tells that the difference in the harmonic content is light... Indeed ! The manual tells also that the result depends on the signal spectrum. I shouldn't have meet the good one !

In short :

  1. As an insert effect, it isn't useful to my own opinion
  2. As a Master effect, Magneto becomes essential
  3. It is a little bit too much greedy in CPU ressources
  4. Those plugins are still too much expensive
  5. The interface is really nice.

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Pascal VALENTIN, on the 09-09-1998

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