A Comprehensive Review of Gain Reduction Deluxe
ProgramMatek presents Gain Reduction Deluxe, a cutting-edge vocal compressor plugin designed to make your audio mixing experience simple, yet highly effective. Developed by the talented team at JST, this VST2, VST3, AU, AAX, and RTAS plugin boasts exceptional sound quality, user-friendly controls, and an affordable price tag.
Unveiling the Creator
Joey Sturgis, renowned for his success as a metal producer and his plugin development arm, Joey Sturgis Tones, is the mastermind behind Gain Reduction Deluxe. Joey’s expertise in the music industry, coupled with his involvement in the URM Academy, has solidified his position as an authority in the field. In fact, my previous review of JST Soar was recently published on Bedroom Producers Blog, highlighting the trustworthiness and reliability of his work.
Versatility and Affordability
While primarily intended for vocal compression, Gain Reduction Deluxe can also be applied to other instruments, providing a gritty compression effect. This powerful plugin boasts an impressive speed and efficiency, allowing you to achieve remarkable results in no time. With a streamlined control scheme, it eliminates unnecessary complexities and streamlines your workflow, bringing your vocals to a mix-ready state effortlessly.
Intuitive User Interface
Feast your eyes on the distinctive GUI of Gain Reduction Deluxe. Resembling an old, worn-out hardware processor, its rugged appearance adds a unique touch to your audio production setup. Complete with masking tape and etched-in labels, this plugin exudes character and charm. However, don’t let its post-apocalyptic visuals deceive you. It offers a straightforward layout with only a few essential controls.
The heart of the interface lies in the VU meter, providing a visual representation of the applied gain reduction. With a simple flip of the on-off switch located in the top left corner, the meter lights up, and the plugin’s distinctive sound character comes alive. Gain Reduction Deluxe is far from a transparent compressor. Its rich saturation and pleasing distortion enhance your audio, leaving a lasting impact on your listeners. Unlike traditional compressors, this plugin doesn’t feature a threshold dial. Instead, the threshold is preset, and you have control over the input level on the top right of the interface. Adjusting the input level determines the intensity of the audio pressed into the threshold.
Mastering the Controls
The “Slay” control functions as the ratio parameter, determining the amount of compression applied. By default, it is set to an aggressive 100%, showcasing the plugin’s remarkable capabilities. Expect outstanding results with just a few adjustments. Additionally, the compressor’s internal signal detector is equipped with a high-pass filter, ensuring it doesn’t react to bass frequencies.
The “Gain” control acts as a make-up gain, expertly amplifying your audio. At the default setting of +27 dB, it delivers astounding clarity while introducing a touch of saturation. Pushing the gain beyond the default position introduces a tasteful distortion that adds character and prominence to your vocals. Metal vocals, in particular, benefit from this feature, as it effortlessly enhances their overall sound with minimal effort.
“Bodied” by Tilt EQ
The “Body” control, a tilt EQ, empowers you to tame overpowering bass frequencies that can occur during compression, especially when a vocalist moves closer to the microphone during the performance. This unique control simultaneously boosts the highs and cuts the lows, resolving the issue in one fell swoop. Notably, the “Body” control shines when applied to clean vocal recordings and significantly improves metal vocals. Its effectiveness was evident when I tested it on a vocal performance with a percussive style. Gentle adjustments to the body control effortlessly brought the vocals under control without sacrificing their punch.
Unleashing the Lofi Effect
For those seeking to add a touch of uniqueness to their audio, the “Lofi” control is your go-to tool. Fear not, this isn’t an overwhelming hiss effect. Instead, it provides a raw quality that complements your audio perfectly. I found the “Lofi” effect particularly useful in a project where the vocalist transitioned from singing to spoken words, creating an awkward contrast. However, by employing the Lofi effect in Gain Reduction Deluxe, I achieved a cohesive sound that seamlessly blended the spoken words into the song. The result was an authentic and captivating performance, enhancing the overall quality of the vocals. Whenever you encounter a vocal part that seems amiss, yet you can’t quite pinpoint the issue, don’t hesitate to experiment with the Lofi effect.
Achieving the Perfect Mix
The “Mix” control grants you ultimate flexibility, allowing you to blend the dry uncompressed signal with the compressed audio. This invaluable feature provides full control over the level of compression, ensuring your vocals retain their natural essence while benefiting from added body and character. A touch of parallel compression can work wonders, elevating your vocals to the next level without compromising their integrity.
The Final Verdict
ProgramMatek proudly endorses JST Gain Reduction Deluxe as the ultimate solution for achieving a warm and full-bodied vocal sound with minimal effort. While it may not offer an extensive range of compression flavors, it excels in its intended purpose. This plugin seamlessly combines compression, saturation, and filtering to deliver outstanding results, especially on vocals.
To summarize, JST Gain Reduction Deluxe offers remarkable value for its reasonable price of $35.40. It delivers precisely what it promises: a straightforward approach to vocal compression, exceptional sound quality, and an iconic visual aesthetic that sets it apart from the crowd. ProgramMatek confidently stands behind this plugin, knowing it will exceed your expectations and elevate your audio production to new heights.
For more information about JST Gain Reduction Deluxe, visit the official ProgramMatek website.