Day after day, our virtual studios get filled out with more and more plug-ins of all kinds : reverb, compressor et other synths come and feed our vital mixer-channels. Most of the time, one has to do with those featured by our sequencer, handy as they can be, because few programers have spent some time creating plug-in strips. You dreamed about it ? Vincent Burel made it come true ! ;o)
Describing the beast
The design is elegant and pleasant. It's original and we shall not complain about having a clean interface rather than the default one supplied with the host sequencer.
The FX part is simple but effective : one parametric EQ (with a setting for medium frequencies from 150 to 4000 Hz) et a complete compressor unit. 3 routing possibilities are offered :
Each one has an on/off switch in case one should be useless for your use. These effects prove to be very musical, a lot more than most freeware available on the internet. I didn't notice (or rather listen to) any bad sound degradation. All this sounds good to me ! :o)
You have access to 3 vu-meters to check all this : IN, OUT and the one in the middle for the compressor. Their reactiveness to volume changes is fast and effective. A small pop-up menu comes along with them that can be set to be permanently visible. It is resizable and it displays the levels for ALL the inserted Striptools ! Clever and very handy.
Of course, you can find an input level potentiometer (-24 / + 24 dB) and a (very) high-headroom fader allowing surgical precision over the output level (- 48 / + 48 dB).
All this makes : 10 toggle switches, 7 pots, 3 vu-meters and one fader ! Phew ! :o)
The beast in action... Well, it appears to be very handy to use : a dialog box appears when moving a pot in order to know where you are (1104.622 Hz for instance !!! ).
The fader and the pots can be controled with your mouse scroll (but without the information boxes) !
CPU usage is insignificant : hardly 30 % with 16 Striptools with all effets and vu-meters engaged on a P III 733. I can easily imagine how comfortable it may be with a brand new machine... ;o)
2 little drawbacks nevertheless : where has the automation possibility disappeared whereas it was available in a prior version of the plug-in ??? And the fact that changing the screen resolution to 1024x768 is compulsory if you want to see the whole strip...but I'm fiddling, because all the parameters are still accessible...
A piece of freeware we'd like to see more often. Vincent Burel seems to have chosen an excelent way to promote his plug-ins by offering fully functional demo versions, very full and turning out to be indispensable at use. After that, you can discover other Striptools, featuring more functionalities and for which you'll have to pay. They have to be discovered with the utmost urgency at http://www.vb-audio.com/.