With three ways of doing it, does this new plugin deserve to be your first choice when it comes to adding width and scale to signals?
Designed and coded by the Credland Audio for Plugin Boutique, StereoSavage amalgamates a number of useful processes in one VST/AU/AAX plugin, including stereoising of mono signals, and LFO modulation of pan and other parameters. Upon launching it for the first time, you're treated to a quick tour of the GUI - a nice touch that lets you get started without even opening the manual.
Although it's a multipurpose effect, StereoSavage's headline act is the main Effect section, which artificially widens a mono input using one of three different techniques. The Eventide-inspired Vox is mainly intended for use on vocals, although any sound is fair game. It subtly detunes the left and right channels by up to one semitone (adjusted in cents, with your choice of which pitches up and which pitches down) and applies random timing discrepancies between them on a percentage scale capped by 'Loose' at one end and 'Tight' at the other. Delay mode simply holds back one channel in time by up to 4oms, and proves particularly effective on drums, guitars and non-sustained synths. The third mode, Expand, generates a spray of early reflections (very short delays), adjustable for 'room size' from small and tight to very wide. There's also a warm setting for taking the edge off, if required, by blunting the high frequencies. Between them, the three Effect modes present an impressive range of stereoising treatments, from wonderfully natural sounding to overtly processed. The FX Mix know is, of course, a crucial factor in all of this, as you'll generally want to keep the dry signal in the mix.
Time to Adjust
The Stereo Adjust section uses mid/side-related trickery to enable panning of the central content of a stereo signal (whether that's the initial input or the output of the Effect section) using the Rotation knob - just the thing for repositioning reverb-drenched sounds without knocking their ambience off balance, and even, to a limited extent, shifting vocals and instrumentation around within full mixes. Alongside that, the Width control simply balances the mid and side signals, while the Pan knob does what you'd expect and can be placed Pre or post Width, adding extra emphasis to LFO-generated auto-panning in Pre mode.
A thoughtful inclusion is the Bass Bypass function. This brings a high-pass filter into play, keeping everything below the cutoff frequency (which spans 50Hz-8kHz) unprocessed, thus maintaining the central positioning of low-end material. It also includes a Gain knob for adjusting the level of the unprocessed bass in relation to the processede signal.
At the bottom left, the Input Routing panel facilitates independent muting and phase inversion of the Left and Right channels, and offers a choice of regular Stereo, Mono Summing and Swap LR modes; while goniometer and level meters give excellent visual feedback on all your stereo tweakings.
StereoSavageis a neatly packaged stereo manipulation toolbox that packs a lot of functionality into its small franme. It can be sound amazingly natural, bringing mix-ready width to vocals, guitars and others, but it also responds well to being pushed hard and LFO-modulated for more out-there effects. A plugin you'll turn to again and again.
For more dramatic effects treatments, as opposed to naturalistic stereoising, StereoSavage's LFO provides cyclical modulation of all four Stereo Adjust parameters (Rotation, Pan, Width and Level), plus the Effect section's Delay (Delay mode) and Size (Expand mode) controls. It houses a selection of six waveforms - sine, square, triangle, ramp and rhythmic variants on square and ramp - and can be run free (from 0.1Hz up to 30Hz) or synced to host tempo (1/128 to 16 bars). The Phase knob shifts the LFO start point within the waveform, and the Amount control is bipolar, for modulation in either direction.
The LFO ia a great inclusion, taking StereoSavage deeper into sound design territory than it goes by just pushing the other controls to their limits. It seems odd that Vox mode's Detune and Timing parameters aren't in the list of targets though - we certainly wish they were.
- Useful set of processors
- Very natural stereoising
- Resizable GUI
- LFO for modulation
- Bass Bypass
- No Vox mode modulation
With its streamlined interface, impressive ability to stereoise, and its empowering LFO, StereoSavage is a plugin that any producer could find many uses for.