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Some of the greatest recordings of all time come from the analogue age, boasting a warm and pleasing sonic character, but how can this be achieved in the digital domain? Simple – use saturation to add harmonics.
Whether you are using a little to add a touch of warmth, or driving the signal hard to create dirty and distorted sounds, saturation plays a key role in every great production.
But not all saturation tools are created equal, and all to often producers find themselves stacking a combination of various saturation plugins, to get the sound they are searching for or control the need.
At SoundSpot® we decided that a one stop shop for saturation was needed, and began developing a plugin that would deliver amazing sound quality and character with all the control you need.
The Halcyon boasts a huge amount of control, allowing you to truly tailor the sound of your harmonic saturation. From smooth tape to warm tube and everything in between, the Halcyon can breath life into your productions and make them sound fantastic.
Sometimes a little visual feedback can be very useful in making the right decisions in your mix, and whilst we are strong advocates of “Trust Your Ears” we also understand that most listening environments in the age of bedroom production will be far from perfect.
We felt that in the case of saturation, being able to see what you are adding and where would be extremely useful to most users, so with that in mind, we developed an analyser that displays a second frequency chart, showing the additional harmonics being added.
Selecting Your Range
You won’t always need to add saturation to the entire spectrum of a sound, so we created a simple and quick way to target an area of the frequency range. Just drag the yellow tabs to where you want the effect to begin and end, it’s that simple.
Quick Start Presets
When you’re in a hurry to complete a mix, the quick templates are just the ticket to get you in the right direction. Just navigate through Drums, Bass, Guitar, Synth and Vocal to get a starting point to speed up your work flow.
Mid/Side & Drive control
So you’ve got the frequency range selected, now it’s time to add the magic. Just turn the drive control up to start adding saturation, then use the mid/side outer ring to obtain the desired balance for the effect.
Attack, Release & Makeup Gain
Saturation is fundamentally compression, and as such the best way to control how it behaves is through attack and release parameters. These controls allow you to create every conceivable kind of saturation you desire. You can even use the Halcyon as a character compressor or a brickwall soft clip limiter, to smooth out vocals or glue sub groups together. You can use the makeup gain control to compensate for the saturation boost if required.
Movement in your production is crucial in order to keep the listener engaged and using the Halcyon LFO to add movement over time to the just the ticket to keep things interesting. The LFO controls only the saturated signal creating a truly unique effect. This effect yields great rewards on drums, as you can use the LFO combined with range to create a distinct groove to your percussive sounds.