Slate Digital FG-X is the best software mastering plug-in I've ever used. It's an all-in-one solution for excellent mixes. It sounds REALLY good, is dummy proof, and very useful to the pro or the novice.
Why are people not talking about this plugin more?! I put the Slate Digital FG-X on my drum bus and got knock like no other. Process or chain of effects I've tried that puts punch on drums like this does. Two control tweaks and boom. Or crack. The other chains had a fair amount of back and forth and parameter interaction. I'm revamping my templates to include this in my default sessions.
Slate Digital FGX
Really impressed. I never expected the FGX to do so much when it came to improving the sound of a mix.
The learning curve was pretty quick and the manual had some very helpful advice on getting started.
Both components work as described, the maximizer really does boost the output volume and the compressor is effective and very good quality sound wise. I can't believe this product for the price! Really love having this in my setup.
Switched from Ozone, Waves
There is a bit of a learning curve to this plugin. If you just want to master off of presets alone, this will not do a good job at that. You need to know what you're doing. If you do, this thing opens up a world of possibilities Waves and Ozone mastering plugins simply cannot achieve. And for the money.... Buy it now!
A Simple Solution That SOUNDS Great!!!
I've been using the Slate Digital FG-X plugin for over a year now and couldn't be happier! This thing was designed to do one thing (make your music as loud as it can without distortion) and it does so flawlessly! My use for this is simply to let me (and my clients) here what a mix will sound like after mastering compression. Setting aside the 'loudness' aspect of the plugin, the compression algorithms are second to none. Just using the Level section of the plugin to add some mild transient shaping and compression helps tighten my mixes drastically! I've even found that some mixes sound better… after squashing them to smithereens… *gasp*! I'm not sure what kind of voodoo went into making this plugin but it works better than ANY other Mastering Leveler out there. I've tried Waves L series plugins, iZotope Ozone, and a whole bunch of others. The FG-X is easier to use and better sounding than any of them!
Keep The Life In Your Mixes
As always, Slate Digital does it again! Use this plug in to keep from killing your mixes while mastering. Get all the level you need without the squish! I use this in my studio, running Studio One Pro 2.6.2 on my Mac. You can always have the peace of mind that you're getting an amazing plug-in with Slate Digital. and to top it all off... you don't have to spend a fortune.
Loud, Loud, Loud!
First and Foremost: I love it! Heck... I gave it a full 5 stars.
Secondly: This plug should be used with two things in mind. The first thing is that it's a HOG. If you have a big session with lots of pug-ins, don't just drop this one on the buss. You'll challenge your CPU (or CPU's) to go beyond what it/they can do. The second thing to keep in mind is that this thing is for making stuff "Crazy Loud". If you're mastering a folk band... This might not be the best choice (Although it will work just fine with a more pedestrian setting).
I first discovered this Plug while doing a mastering project that initially seemed like a complete impossibility. The bounces that I got from the studio were already quite loud and compressed significantly. On top of that, there had been a limiter on the bus during mix-down. So... I only had about 4db of dynamic range (6db in some cases) to work with. I tried everything I had with no luck and resigned. I literally said "I can't do anything with this". But... After scouring the internet, I found this thing and took the leap. I figured "If it doesn't work for this project, I'll use it on something else and make my money back".
Well... It worked great! This thing is all about making Loud source material even Louder. It has controls that other "Mastering Processors" don't have because those processors are designed for something else. This thing is designed to make loud music as loud as it can be. That has become clear to me as I've been using it. I do a lot of Hard Rock, Metal, and Hip Hop Mixing and Mastering. All of these styles require "Maximum Loudness". The FG-X brings the "Loudness". "Loudness" to spare!
Here's the deal: You've got a great compressor that's very much like you're favorite "Bus" compressor (33609 or SSL Bus Compressor... Let's say). It sounds great!
Then you have this really well put together limiter with controls you wouldn't have thought of like "Low Punch" and "Detail" which make subtle changes to the way the transients are handled.
The Limiter has a great feature called "Constant Gain Monitoring" that let's you hear what you're doing against the "Dry" signal at the same volume as the "Dry" signal. Fantastic!
Lastly: There's a great meter section that tells you everything you need to know. Awesome! And... On top of all else... There's a dither.
This is a great mastering processor for anyone doing anything. However... If you need to make stuff "LOUD"... This is THE mastering processor for you.
I've been using this plug here at ARC Studios for a few weeks now and it's a great little addition!! Sure I wouldn't use it as my primary mastering tool but it makes for a kool "glue" on a 2-bus or a great reference master for a client! If a client just needs a quick master that sounds awesome, I'll pull out the FG-X and we've got it done in a few short minutes!!! Easy to use and sounds great, highly recommended!
Excellent Mastering Compressor/Limiter!
Beautiful mastering compressor/limiter. It does the job perfectly for my mixes and was worth every penny.
My ONLY critique is that the RMS meter reads about 3-3.5 dB under what it actually is. So, be careful if trying to push for a hotter master that still has a little dynamic range, because you may be squashing your mix more than you think.
Aside from that, Slate Digital really knocked this one out of the park.
One great tool!
I started off needing a tool that I could use to begin mastering my own tracks in my home studio. I usually read a bunch of articles and take online classes to learn this art, and EQ along with Limiting seems to be the norm. Well, this FG-X will take you to the finished product faster than the old method. It does this easily, musically, and actually preserves the good stuff you really want. Awesome! You may need a small bit of EQ here and there, but over all, this is great! Can't wait for the Slate VMR!
Slate Digital FG-X
Great bang for the buck. It comes real close to the glue and tone of a $5,000.00 plus hardware compressor. I like the ability of dialing in on the details of a tone. I have tried a lot of mastering plug ins and the FG-X works best for me. The layout of knobs and ease of a quick dial in is cool. Only issue is the CPU it eats. In the end it is worth it. Check out their other products.
So Far, So Good
Ok, I'm demo'ing this software with my studio setup for 14 days, having not purchased it yet, and thus far I have been pleased. I'll share a few things that I've noticed, particularly since this is a new product, and generally newer products don't get immediate reviews.
First, be aware that this is a CPU hog, big time. I'm talking major load on a computer's processing. When I'm monitoring my system (Mac Pro, 8-core, 12Gig RAM) I notice an immediate 35-40% +/- jump in my system load when I insert this bad boy onto my master track. This plug-in makes Amplitube look like a wimp next to a pro bodybuilder when it comes to CPU drain.
However, this tells me that there is a LOT of processing going on. And you can tell it in the results. I find I can push this plug-in much harder than T-Racks Deluxe without the distortion. I do notice the shaping going on with the individual low and mid-high transients when tweaking the individual knobs. The compressor has a nice touch, too.
I'm not an old school guy, but the immediate thing I notice is the analog character of this plug-in when you're tweaking to get your levels up. And you will get your levels up to that "red-book" level, and then some. I feel like I can push my levels much higher and cleaner with this plug-in than any other plug-in I have. Perhaps it's because of all the processing happening to bring out the transients?
I'm still tweaking and experimenting. I'm not quite sure the price tag is worth it yet, not having access to other plug-ins that have recently come out in the market, but so far I'm inclined to believe so. The guys at Slate Digital have some cool stuff going on. I'm looking forward to demo'ing their vintage channel strip models, and I'm also very interested in Trigger, their drum replacement program.
For those interested, the demo is easy to set up. If you're unsure whether this would be beneficial to you and whether it's worth the price, try it. You'll like it.