Review: Blue Cat Audio Dynamics v3.0

Blue Cat Audio

Blue Cat Audio has released quite a number of updates recently, including Mac VST and Audio Unit support for both their commercial and freeware plug-ins.

The latest plug-in to receive a major update is Dynamics, a flexible dynamics processor.

Version 3 introduces new features like mid/side processing, new stereo linking options, additional presets, and lots more.

Dynamics 3.0 key features

  • Full featured dynamics processor: compressor, gate, limiter, expander, waveshaper.
  • Total control over processor and signal: continuous peak/RMS and Opto/VCA modes selection, dry/wet control for parallel compression, input and side chain filters.
  • Stereo or mid-side processing with multiple channels linking options.
  • Post brickwall limiter or waveshaper.
  • Optimal monitoring: real time display dynamics response and input/output envelopes, zooming capability and main compression information can be recorded as automation curves.
  • Up to 4x oversampling for the best sounding quality.
  • Unique and easy side chain compression, ducking, gating, etc.
  • Multiple skins included for optimal user experience.
  • Plugin window transparency management.
  • No latency.

One plug-in, many uses

If you want to get picky you could argue Dynamics actually isn’t actually one plug-in – it includes a stereo and a mono version – but what I am getting at here is the fact that Dynamics is more than just a simple compressor/limiter effect.

Let’s take a look at the main user interface.

Blue Cat Audio Dynamics 3.0
Blue Cat Audio Dynamics 3.0, lots of controls! (click image for full screenshot)

The image above is the default full interface. Blue Cat’s skinning engine also supports the use of custom skins, so you can change both the look & feel, i.e. to only have the controls you need. This way it can look like a limiter, gate, modeler/waveshaper, etc.

Browsing the presets you will find that Dynamics 3.0 is useful for many different applications. Below is an audio snippet featuring some of the presets on the same material (the first 8 measures is the original “dry” sample).

Blue Cat Audio Dynamics 3.0 demo (1.2 MB, 192kbit mp3)

This is just a small selection of presets showcasing what Dynamics is capable of. Blue Cat calls it “the most flexible all-in-one dynamics processor”, which I think is a bold statement, but it sure is a versatile plug-in.

Dynamics 3.0 is available for Windows and Mac (VST/DX/AU) for 95.20 EUR / $127.20 USD.

So what do I think?

Dynamics 3.0 has a lot to offer. Advanced (yet easy to use) side-chain options, innovative real-time MIDI control, detailed monitoring of what’s going on… Sometimes more really is more.

I love the flexibility of this plug-in. While it is lots of fun dialing in some experimental settings, Dynamics also performs really well doing some of the more bread & butter type compression styles.

Although being quite dark, the interface is easy to get around, with controls clearly labeled and grouped in sections (outlined with a blue border). The option to set the opacity of the plug-in is a nice touch. Just make sure to detach the plug-in window or the opacity of your whole application might change as well.

In the end it is the sound that counts though, and I think Dynamics does a great job here. I already have a number of compression/limiter effects, but as with many other effects (and instruments I guess) there is always room for more.

Dynamics 3.0 is perfectly suitable for beginners, as well as advanced users who can’t stop tweaking.

Visit Blue Cat Audio for more information, and make sure to check out the demo for yourself and see how you like it.

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  • Darren

    Come on man, that’s not a review. What does it sound like? How does it behave? Is it fast like an opto compressor, is it warm or transparent when you push it? There are a ridiculous number of compressor plugs on the market, so a little detail is important. No one wants to throw another 100+ bux on a compressor that may only do what all the others do.

  • Jason A. McCall

    I thought that was what he provided the audio sample for…

  • http://rekkerd.org ronnie

    Darren, sorry to disappoint you with the review, which indeed is not very in-depth.

    Dynamics sounds great to my ear. Like I said I find it is incredibly flexible, which to me is a plus because I like to push things and experiment with compression.
    The Opto mode feels pretty fast to me, and the envelope detection can actually be a mix of VCA and Opto, a feature I haven’t seen before.

    You can really push this thing like it’s going to break, nasty yet pleasant distortion. Not sure if I’d call it warm though, but mixing in some Opto smoothes things out, and you can also achieve a really transparent compression. Btw, my favorite compressor is FabFilter’s Pro-C, for your reference.

    Anyway, I find compression plug-ins a bit hard to rate. Some people like apples, others oranges. You really should not rely on my opinion too much because you (and your ears) might be looking for something completely different than me.

    That’s why you should try the demo and see how you like it.

    I know that kind of renders my review obsolete, but hey, I’m just writing what I think about this plug-in. And I have to admit I am no expert on compression anyway, I mainly use my ears to decide what I like and what I don’t.

  • Cheddar Man

    More importantly… that’s why they offer a **Demo version** for you try before you buy!

  • Cheddar Man

    More importantly… That’s the reason Blue-cat offers a -Demo version- for you to try before you buy!

  • http://rekkerd.org ronnie

    Limeflavour did a really nice skin for some Blue Cat plug-ins, including one for Dynamics (stereo version).

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