Softube is an established and leading software plugin developer based in Sweden, well known for their very good sounding dynamic, eq, and effects plugins. Beside this, Softube have also developed Console 1 – a next generation SSL SL4000E hardware console emulation mixer. Two of their latest releases are Fix Flanger and Doubler – two versatile flanger and rich doubler plugins. So let’s have a look into this two new releases and explore how they work and sound.
What is Fix Flanger and Doubler?
Fix Flanger and Doubler are two separate plugins, dedicated to the sound of classic flanging and doubling effects of the 1960s, and they are emulations of exclusive limited edition hardware developed by Paul Wolff in 1979. Fix Flanger delivers the sound of classic flanging, with extreme control and flexibility. Doubler provides lush chorus and rich textures to vocals and instruments. Both plugins are available as one product, and no separate purchase is needed.
- Fix Flanger delivers the sound of classic flanging, with extreme control and flexibility.
- Fix Doubler provides lush chorus and rich textures to vocals and instruments.
- No USB iLok key required.
- Includes licenses for VST, VST3, Audio Units and AAX Native in 32/64 bit.
- Delivered as digital download.
- Price Tag: USD 149/EUR 114 (excluding sales tax).
Installation is easy and painful all at once. Installation via the Softube installer is flawless and no problem. The only issue is that this installer contains and installs all the available Softube plugins (incl. those from Console 1), and then only activates those you have a licencse for. You are also forced to install VST2, VST3 and AAX versions. Due to this, the space required is about 840 MB on your disk, while the two plugins themselves only need around 49 MB together, leaving you with 800 MB of wasted space. In 2016, there must be a better solution. Hopefully, Softube will change this in future.
Fix Flanger is roughly divided in three sections. The Global Settings section (left side), Auto Sweep section (middle), and Manual Sweep section (right side). The Auto sweep and Manual sweep sections control the flanging effect. Auto Sweep acts more like a regular LFO swept flanger, while Manual Sweep lets you control the flange, just like you would if you had two synchronized tape machines.
Global Settings Section: Several global settings like Delay Polarity, Stereo settings, and the balance between the flanger and the direct signal can be set. Regen sets the amount of delay feedback in use. Full positive or negative regeneration will set the flanger into self oscillation.
Softube Fix Flanger – Regen Sweep +180 To -180:
Auto Sweep Section: This section acts more like a regular LFO. Envelope controls the level of an input signal to affect the flange. A louder input signal will force the delay of the flange towards zero. With Delay Offset, Sweep, and Rate, several parameters of the Flange itself can be controlled. With the Tap button, an own rate of the Flange can be set, and with the Button Tap/4, the current sweep rate gets divided by four.
Softube Fix Flanger – Envelope From OFF To 10:
Softube Fix Flanger – Auto Sweep Tap 2.28ms To Tap/4 0.57ms:
Manual Sweep Section: In VSO Offset Mode, the big VSO knob sets the amount of the delay. The knob fully circled left sets a slow delay, fully right sets a fast one, and in the middle syncs to the song tempo. In VSO Mode, the VSO knob emulates how a VSO knob (Variable Speed Oscillator) works on a tape machine. By having two tape machines, where you vary the speed of one machine while blending both outputs together, you achieve the original Beatles style tape flanging – pretty much an exact reproduction.
Softube Fix Flanger – Manual Sweep VSO Offset Snyc, Slow, Fast:
Doubler is based on the Real Time Auto Doubler AD-2 by Paul Wolff. It was a unique hardware designed to do classic tape-style doubling, but unfortunately never made it into serial production. As Doubler only has ten controls, it is very easy to use, and you obtain very fast and great results doubling vocals or instruments of any kind.
Similar to Fix Flanger, the left side of the interface is dedicated to some globals settings like Mix/Wet balance, stereo settings, and soft bypass. Regen sets the amount of delay feedback. Turning Regen up makes the effect sound fuller, but too much Regen will make it sound “flangy” and hollow (which would be OK if that’s what you’re aiming for). This control is not active when Auto Double is in use.
Softube Fix Doubler – Regen -180 To +180:
The manual is not very clear about the Auto Double Mode, but it seems, to my ears, that there is a slight delay on either the left or right channel by a few milliseconds.
Softube Fix Doubler – Auto Double On Off:
After Auto Double Mode, there are several parameters for the delay and sweep settings. In fact, these parameters are very useful to widen the stereo image of a signal.
Softube Fix Doubler – Doubler On Off:
I have to say that I never heard such a good flanger or a doubler, and those are generally a dime a dozen. The sound of both plugins is amazingly smooth, and the CPU usage is moderate. I would say that Softube have created two serious work-horses in their genres. There are only two things which bother me: the installer and the lack of presets. I am no preset fanatic, but I think they could give a useful idea of how to set up the plugin.
All in all, I have to say that for the asking price, you get two really great sounding and easy to use plugins – they’re pretty high value. I like!