The McDSP Channel G plug-in is a TEC Award nominated console-strip style plug-in with expander/gate, compressor/limiter, filters, and EQ sections in three configurations, plus a versatile surround compressor/ limiter. Channel G comes with console modes for music and post application, in addition to modeling modes emulating popular analog mixing desks.
Before we get into some of the finer points of the Channel G plug-in, I am sure the gear craving fanatic in each of you will want to know what was modeled for the Channel G plug-in and how you can access those models.
In the compressor/limiter portion of the Dynamics section, there is a Knee control. This control varies the transition between uncompressed and compressed portions of the compressor algorithm response. The Knee control in Channel G has 11 pre-programmed positions ranging from hard knee to gentle knee curves. The affect of this control can be viewed in the transfer function plot display. Turning the Knee control fully clockwise reveals some additional control positions modeling specific analog console compressors. Modeled compressor modes in Channel G are named as follows (*):
- Chan – SSL Channel Compressor
- Buss – SSL Buss Compressor
- Brit – Neve 33609C
- A – Soft and A-Hard – API 225 hard and soft modes
In the EQ section, the EQ modes include McDSP designed ‘Music’ and ‘Post’ settings, along with the following modeled EQ modes (*):
- E – SSL series E equalizer. Note the control ranges all match the original SSL console, and even the HPF and LPF sections will adjust their ranges to that of the SSL consoles.
- G – Another popular SSL EQ, the series G, has substantially different shelf shapes than found on the E series.
- N – based on the AMEK / Neve 9098i console, coupled with the vast library of measurements taken by McDSP. McDSP has evaluated many original Neve units as well as re-makes. The shelf shapes are very much like the 9098i, while the parametric EQs employ much of the ‘smarts’ McDSP has come to understand about this important lineage of equalizers.
- A – Think API 550 with 5 bands, more gain, and adjustable filters, and you have the A mode in Channel G EQ configuration. The proportional Q is modeled dead on, while the gain is extended to +/- 18 dB. The Q values track exactly to the originals up to 12 dB, and are then extrapolated to the new 18 dB level.
McDSP has long been known for creating emulations of analog gear, but with the added flexibility of a software product. Channel G is no exception to this standard, and in addition to the previously mentioned models, it comes with a variety of unique features.
Selectable in the G Dynamics and G Console configurations via the ‘GPH’ and ‘SIG’ buttons, the Flow Diagram (press ‘SIG’) shows all signal paths, routing, and inline status of all sections. Key signal flow is also displayed, along with the ‘active’ status of the selected key. When the user selects a key input such as a buss, if there is nothing routed to that buss the key signal path remains unlit. Once signal is routed to the selected key track, the signal path glows to indicate the presence of an actual key signal
Two Filter Sets
Channel G, unlike some of the analog consoles it models, comes with two independent sets of filters – one set for the Dynamics section side chain, and the other for the EQ section. This capability, coupled with the expander/gate and compressor/limiter selectable side chain inputs – input, side chain, side chain post filter, and output (compressor/limiter only), give the user a variety of signal path choices. Fortunately all these options are readily displayed in the previously mentioned Flow Diagram.
Having two separate filter sets allows the expander/gate and compressor/limiter to trigger on a selected portion of the frequency spectrum (like the ‘boom’ in the kick drum, or the ‘sss’ in a vocal) using one filter set, while the other available to the audio path for removing low end rumble and high end hiss.
Feed-forward AND Feed-back compression
The compressor/limiter in Channel G is one of the few in the world that allows the user to choose between the input or output of the compressor/limiter. Using the compressed output, often referred to feed-back compression, is found in many vintage compressors such as the API 225 compressor. The more common technique found in modern dynamic range processing is feed-forward compression – the use of the input signal as the compression key. In fact, the API 225 is one of the only compressors (along with Channel G’s compressor/limiter) that allows the user to switch between feed-forward and feed-back compression.
Why should the use of a feed-back compressor be considered then in today’s modern production facilities? This type of compression, while susceptible to pumping or breathing the overall signal level, can be useful in addressing certain dynamic range ‘problems’. For example, suppose you needed to process a lead vocal that has a good deal of dynamic range changes, and is sung in an aggressive style. Heavy compression is needed to limit the maximum signal level, and even the softest of knee shapes does not alleviate the unwanted ‘compressed vocal effect’ thus rendered. Using the compressor output as the key signal, the transition between the compressed and un-compressed signal is minimally different. Because the key signal is already compressed, the compressor will trigger more gently, and possibly produce a more desirable effect.
As mentioned above the compressor in Channel G can also be used as a limiter. To use it as a limiter simply set the Ratio control to 100:1 and adjust the Attack control down to the desired response. The Attack control can even be set to provide instantaneous (i.e. 1 sample) limiting! For more advanced and transparent limiting action, check out the ML4000 mastering limiter and multi-band dynamics plug-in.
Digidesign Control Surface Support
Channel G was designed to provide a custom and modeled console experience at the touch of a button. It also conforms to the control layout of the flagship Digidesign control surfaces including D-Control, D-Control ES, D-Command, and the live sound Venue line’s D-Show and D-Profile. Using the same control layout onscreen as on the actual control surfaces, the user is able to quickly familiarize and operate the Channel G plug-in from these Digidesign control surfaces.
And while the Channel G control layout is perfectly suited for the Digidesign control surfaces, it also supports the Avid S3 and S6 consoles, as well as the VENUE | S3L and VENUE | S6L live sound consoles. And of course Channel G works well with a mouse and keyboard.
*All Trademarks are property of their respective owners. SSL™ is trademark of the Solid State Logic Ltd.; Neve™ is a trademark of AMS Neve; and API 550™ is a trademark of the Automated Processes, Inc. (API). These companies are not affiliated in any way with McDSP, nor do they endorse the Channel G plug-in. The
Trademarks of these companies are used solely for the purpose of describing the sounds produced by the McDSP Channel G plug-in. While Channel G emulates the sounds of these consoles, McDSP makes no representation or warranty that Channel G is identical to or duplicates these consoles.