Usually, I wait to say things like this, or at least try to be a bit cleverer, but Stereo Savage is IT when it comes to stereo width creation, subtraction, management and control. Period. We are going to get into everything the plug-in has to offer, but I wanted to get that out of the way right off the bat. It has everything from my favorite stereo widening plugs and monitors all wrapped up inside it.
Stereo Savage has 6 distinct sections. Stereo Adjust, Metering, LFO, Effect, Bass Bypass, and Input Routing. Let’s start from the top left and work our way around counter clockwise.
A stereo imager’s goniometer is essential when dealing with stereo width. The phase correlator is fundamental - it’s necessary. Yet, most plugs dealing with the widening of sound don’t have them. You usually have to load a second plug to do the metering for you. Not with Stereo Savage, which has them both built right in!
The goniometer has two settings. A precise pixel producing display and a more general display where the pixels of a given area are averaged and shown as thicker lines. You can switch between the two by clicking the display area.
The phase correlation meter works like any other one. You want to be careful of anything passing to the left, or negative, of zero. This has to do with mono systems and phase cancelation, but that is a whole other tutorial in and of itself. Great to see it featured here though!
There are also in and out level meters to see how much is being added or subtracted to the audio being fed through the device.
This might be considered the “main” module, but don’t let that detract you from the others to come!
Here you have the main width control. With this you can either go full mono or full on -1 phase, which means only stereo signal with nothing in the middle. This can be fun, but can be a bit tricky to deal with in the mastering stage. Usually you will be somewhere between the two extremes.
You also have the choice between pan and rotation. Rotation is like panning, but is made to sound more natural. The level parameter turns up or down the affect audio and acctivating the PRE button will apply the panning before the width processing.
This is where Stereo Savage starts to set itself apart from similar plugs. From here you can add a specified amount of stereo width that can be generated in 1 of 4 ways. Each has its own set of tweakable parameters as well. So it’s like four separate devices in one.
Vox - This uses detuning off the left and right channels as means of creating width. This will work best of vocals or leads. You can adjust how much the signals are detuned from 0 to 100 cents. You also have control over the timing of the delay—loose, tight and everything in between. Finally, you have the option to swap the left and right channels.
This is a much more common way of getting signals to be wider. Here we only have one controller parameter, but I honestly can’t think of what else we might need.
This adds early reelections to the audio signal. It is a “bit like a multi-tap delay”. There is also a “Warm” toggle switch. Which will add a bit of color to some of the delays upper harmonics.
“Splits the sound up into multiple frequency bands and pans those bands left and right. Compared with the other three modes it is exceptionally natural sounding.”
This section allows you to control what is fed into the device. You can solo the left/right channels, swap them, or sum to mono. Summing to mono means taking both the left and the right channels and feeding them into both the left and the right together instead of separated. The ø buttons swap the phase of the L or R channel.
This is another place Stereo Savage excels past other stereo width plugins. The bass bypass allows you to control the lower end of the signal, which is crucial for a good mix. You can either completely cut it out or just trim it back. This is something I used to have to do with a second device.
You have two parameters. There is the frequency crossover point denoted as Hz. Everything below the set frequency will be affected by the Gain parameter.
Yet another option that usual requires a second device. You can add an LFO to some of the parameters - Pan, Rotation, Level, Delay, Width, Size. You have control over the LFO’s shape, rate (synced/time), phase and amount.
This is becoming more common these days, as it should. Stereo Savage can hold two states at once. They you can switch between the two on the fly to see which fits your project best.
There are 33 presets to choose from which are a great place to generate some inspiration and ideas. Last, but not least, you can even scale the plug in. Little things like this really add Stereo Savage’s appeal.
As I stated in the very beginning of this review, I am very pleased with Stereo Savage. It has most, if not all, things I need when dealing with the stereo field and then some. It is all my stereo width plugs wrapped in one. All those options with the visual metering system is just awesome!
The only thing I think would make this plug better is if I could add the LFO to each parameter. As it is right now, I am stuck having to choose one and leave the others unaffected. If I could add the LFO to two or more of the available parameters, it would be great. If I had individual control over each LFO for each parameter that would be the best!
As it is now, I will be using this in each of my projects. Stereo Savage is SAVAGE!
- A True All-in-One Stereo Width Plug-in
- Limited LFO Routing Options
Original source at Ask Audio.