Airwindows has released Desk, a plug-in to turn your DAW into a real mixing desk.
It goes on every channel, every buss, every output- everywhere- and turns digital math into very clean console sound. +18db headroom. Not a fuzz tone or tape sim. No mud.
Very few things in real life, whether acoustic or electrical, are really mathematically perfect. Air compresses, circuits distort, everything becomes nonlinear- yet DAWs, even ones as nice as Logic, remain entirely linear. That’s great to build on, but it compels people to throw all sorts of tape emulations etc. at the problem.
Desk takes both signal level and slew rate and makes them nonlinear. You could say it warps the reality of your DAW! But unlike tape and distortion effects, Desk is not designed to distort at 0 db. Its headroom is a solid 18 db or so above zero, like a real console- and it isn’t meant to sound great when run into blatant distortion, any more than real consoles do. (Hit a buss hard if you really want the sound of stressed hardware.)
Instead, Desk builds on the lessons learned by the popular freebie Channel, setting up a nonlinearity that is super gentle. If you don’t have really good monitoring, you might not hear any effect from just one copy of Desk in the signal path- nor should you- this isn’t about dirt, it’s about clarity and reality.
Desk is available as an effect plug-in for Mac (AU), priced at $49.99 USD.