Review: Blue Cat Audio Dynamics v3.0
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.
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).
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.