Saturday, February 20, 2016

Review: JST Finality

Hello and welcome to this week's article!
Today we're reviewing a vst from JST (Joey Sturgis Tones), a line of plugins created by the producer Joey Sturgis, one of the most known modern rock/metal producers in America.

This plugin, Finality, is a Peak Limiter (click here for an in depht article about mixing and mastering with peak limiters), which is basically a compressor modeled after the way they used to make them in the 60s and 70s: with a threshold knob to decide from where to start compressing, an output knob to even out the output with the dry track, and a VU meter to check out the amount of gain reduction going on.

Finality comes in 2 versions: Lite and Advanced.
The Lite version is a streamlined version, more similar to the hardware machines it emulates, that has basically four knobs: threshold, output, input and mix (this one lets you choose the amount of processed signal to be mixed with the dry one).

The Advanced version instead is a much more complete plugin, which takes the lite version and adds many more controls.

Let's take a look at them:
- Hard and soft mode: it changes the way transients are mantained: with soft mode they are preserved more.
- Aggro: it alters the release envelope (obviously there is a release knob too), and it's particularly useful with drums
- Colour: it's a switch that adds some saturation to the signal, to give more life to some weak recording take
- Lookahead: it helps anticipating peaks and attenuating them properly
- Autogain: a switch that sets automatically the makeup gain
- Sidechain: a switch and a knob made to handle sidechain with low end material

When testing this plugin I have been amazed by the sound quality: there are many competitors (some free and some paid) in the peak reduction realm, but this one is particularly good; I have use it on a drum overhead buss in order to tame the snare sound, give more body to the snare and raise the cymbals level, but I have also tried it on a vocals and on a bass track, and it adds a very warm and pleasant saturation.
The plugin can also be driven to pretty extreme settings without generating noise or other problems.
This plugin works very well on single tracks as well as on a mix buss, or as a broadband mastering compressor (although this last one isn't probably its originary purpose).

So far Joey Sturgis has impressed us with his array of plugins, one for each kind (so you don't lose yourself into an ocean of almost identical compressors and equalizers, unlike other producers tend to do), all very effective; a plugin that we'd suggest him to create in the future would be a nice channel strip: a nice parametric eq, gate and compressor (maybe a simple harmonic exciter knob too) all into a very simple interface and with some unique features like the ones that sometimes he adds on his plugins, specific for heavy music: it would be really interesting.

For now, thumbs up!

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