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The Press Desk 4th April 2018 01:04 PM

Ten Most Popular Channel Strip Plug-Ins
 
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Solid State Logic (SSL) analog consoles popularized the "channel strip" concept in the 1980s by including fully featured EQ and dynamics sections on every input channel and since then, channel strips have become an essential part of modern music production by instantly providing the essential "building blocks" of a mix right above the fader. Nowadays there are many excellent plug-ins out there that are not only paying homage to the 'classic' strip designs but also taking them further by introducing exciting new features, so let's dive in and take a look at the ten most popular channel strip plug-ins being discussed right now on Gearslutz:


*All plug-ins on our list are cross-platform (Mac/PC) and compatible with all major AU and VST plug-in hosts.

 Neutron 3 Advanced

iZotope Neutron 3 Advanced


What is it? A 'next-level' channel strip with cutting edge tech including smart frequency analysis and 'artificial intelligence' to aid the mixing process.

Packs: Gate/expander, 8-band fully parametric EQ with HP/LP filters, dynamic EQ option, two compressors with sidechain, exciter, transient shaper, limiter, frequency analyzer with inter-channel masking, automatic setup and much more.

Lacks: Coffee-making capabilities.





 Brainworx bx_console N

Plugin Alliance Brainworx bx_console N


What is it? Emulation of a surprisingly clean-sounding Neve VXS Series console owned by Brainworx founder Dirk Ulrich.

Packs: Gate/expander, 4-band parametric EQ, HP/LP filters, compressor with internal sidechain filter option, noise floor adjustment. 72 individual channels of the desk are available for ultimate realism.

Lacks: Some might say it could use a little more grit and saturation as is expected of most Neve-a-likes.



 ChannelStrip 3

Metric Halo ChannelStrip 3


What is it? The expert audio interface manufactures bring us a precise and flexible channel strip.

Packs: Six fully parametric EQ bands, frequency analyzer (powered by SpectraFoo), a limiter, gate/expander and a compressor with flexible side-chain options.

Lacks: Hardly anything, but an update with better cosmetics wouldn't hurt.



 API Vision Channel Strip Plug-In

Universal Audio API Vision Channel Strip Plug-In


What is it? Some of the best of hardware from API emulated and brought together in a single plug-in.

Packs: The classic 550 equalizer, 225L comp/limiter, gate/expander, LP/HP filters along with an input stage that replicates the acclaimed 212L preamp in all its glory.

Lacks: We wish this had a lighter DSP footprint - you’re going to need lots of those SHARC chips for a larger instance count. With great quality comes great DSP hunger!



 Nectar 2

iZotope Nectar 2


What is it? A one-stop solution for vocal processing.

Packs: 8-band fully parametric EQ, gate, compressor, saturation, pitch correction and multiple effects including reverb.

Lacks: Nothing - hopefully it won’t get abandoned now that Neutron is around.



 Brainworx bx_console E

Plugin Alliance Brainworx bx_console E


What is it? The same Brainworx modelling technology used on the Console N now takes on a legendary SSL analog console.

Packs: Quite literally a 1:1 recreation of the classic E-series channel strip, with the same extras seen on Console N.

Lacks: As with its BX Console siblings the parameter labels are a bit obscure and hard to read depending on your screen size.



 Solid State Logic XL 9000 K-Series for Console 1

Softube Solid State Logic XL 9000 K-Series for Console 1


What is it? Yes, it’s another emulation of the famous SSL channel strip, but this time it comes with a hardware controller!

Packs: The SSL footprint down to the letter, with all the features from the analog consoles, and adding variable harmonic distortion so it can be pushed further.

Lacks: Nothing, and with the recent inclusion of Cubase support Console 1 now works with pretty much every major DAW out there.



 Scheps Omni Channel

Waves Scheps Omni Channel


What is it? A channel strip developed under the guidance of its namesake Grammy®-winning engineer.

Packs: Variable saturation, four fully parametric EQ bands, HP/LP filters, de-esser, compressor with three styles, gate, sidechain, limiter and VU meters.

Lacks: Andrew Scheps' mixing skills are not included. You’ll have to bring your own.



 Cstrip

Airwindows Cstrip


What is it? A nifty plug-in from one of the community’s favourite one-man companies that shows an interesting take on the channel strip concept.

Packs: Three-band equalizer, compressor, gate and micro-delay, all done with Airwindows' unique touch and extremely efficient DSP optimization.

Lacks: No AAX version for Pro Tools.


That's the list! Honourable mentions go to the UAD Neve 88RS, IK Multimedia British Channel and last but not least to SSL's own Duende Channel Strip.

What’s your take on channel strips? Do you like these all-in-one solutions or do you prefer "building your own" out of separate plugins? Are you still enjoying classic designs or would you rather go with feature-rich designs enabled by digital tech? Is the "channel strip of your dreams" still a dream or is it a reality by now? Please share your comments and insights below!

moos_music 30th May 2018 01:46 PM

UAD SSL E-channel rockout

StephenPope 4th June 2018 11:53 PM

Serious oversights:

Eventide Ultrachannel
WaveArts TrackPlug
Voxengo Voxformer


There are certainly 3 on the above list that should be swapped out for these. ;)

stp

audiodistortion 17th July 2018 11:28 AM

UAD API Vision kfhkh

Deleted 2b2d553 20th July 2018 08:10 PM

Acustica SAND, LIME, Amethyst, and the amazing Pink 2, Cream and Water. They will give life to virtual instruments.

bangerlab 21st July 2018 12:21 PM

I tested the Brainworx bx_console E and I can say he's doing his job very well, I was amazed how the sound of the final mix comes. Almost as well as a hardware unit. Who else tried it?

MichaelStAmour 24th July 2018 03:12 AM

Metric Halo Channel Strip 3. All you need as a channel strip.
Of course, not bad to have a couple of other plugins like emulation of pulltech, fairchild etc.
But as a channel strip, it does a great job.

WheelieR 25th July 2018 07:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bangerlab (Post 13430045)
I tested the Brainworx bx_console E and I can say he's doing his job very well, I was amazed how the sound of the final mix comes. Almost as well as a hardware unit. Who else tried it?

I did try the new Bx_SSL 4000E. I mix on SSl everyday and I feel that they nailed the saturation when pushing the Input.
For the rest I'll have to compare it to the desk and maybe post my results in a video so you can all hear what I hear.

RobFish 7th August 2018 09:02 AM

I also really like: TBProaudio - CS-3301, SKnote - Strip3!
And Acustica - Ebony sounds insanekfhkh

Ekidio 25th September 2018 09:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bangerlab (Post 13430045)
I tested the Brainworx bx_console E and I can say he's doing his job very well, I was amazed how the sound of the final mix comes. Almost as well as a hardware unit. Who else tried it?

I agree with You! I bouth this plugin and I can say that this device can works like a hardware outboard strip. I have a Manley Core channel strip but since I bought the brainworx-E, I do not use it.
I plan to sell it on ebay. I think that the voice and quality of the today's plugins correspond to hardware knowledge.

Diogo C 27th September 2018 03:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MichaelStAmour (Post 13434099)
Metric Halo Channel Strip 3. All you need as a channel strip.
Of course, not bad to have a couple of other plugins like emulation of pulltech, fairchild etc.
But as a channel strip, it does a great job.

My first choice too. Very flexible plug-in, I don't like the EQ for boosts but I hardly boost anyway! :cowbell:

RKeefe1032 27th September 2018 03:12 PM

I rarely use a "one plug does all" channel strip but I do place an instant of Nebula AlexB MFC console on each track, internal busses and master. In the future, I do intend to give some of them a closer look including reading the manuals (for once). Picked up the Waves SSL Strip when it was $29 and being one of the oldest around, I wonder how it stacks up today with the newer versions.

Also hope to try my Pink2 after using API consoles for so many years!

brucerothwell 23rd October 2018 07:48 PM

I'm surprised the DDMF TheStrip is overlooked.

outcast_arm 7th November 2018 01:23 PM

I just recently tried the BX Channel Strips, they sound amazing only with Neve Version i think they have to improve the GUI

janomix 7th November 2018 03:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brucerothwell (Post 13587862)
I'm surprised the DDMF TheStrip is overlooked.

Completely agree, DDMF The Strips are awesome, sound warm and solid, I discover about two weeks and this plugin show me that I be wrong with the "standard" like PA SSL 4000, a very overpriced, frustrating, cold and sterile plugin.

Thanks.

Flippy Floppy 7th November 2018 03:49 PM

Metric Halo channel strip 3 jummpp

Ziko123 22nd December 2018 01:21 PM

How can you forget about VMR ? CHannel strip has limitless possibilities,neve into ssl etc.. combination of eq/comp/preamp/saturation ...custom deam one!

Diogo C 24th December 2018 12:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ziko123 (Post 13700006)
How can you forget about VMR ? CHannel strip has limitless possibilities,neve into ssl etc.. combination of eq/comp/preamp/saturation ...custom deam one!

We haven't, it's Gearslutz most popular plug-in.

According to our gear database the VMR is a "multi-effect" plug-in and not a channel strip since it does much more than what is usually associated with channel strips, so there's this technical detail that explains its absence from this list.

Mario-C. 8th September 2019 09:15 PM

I still use Metric Halo's Channel Strip a lot, the compressor is great, and the gate is great too.

Flippy Floppy 8th September 2019 09:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mario-C. (Post 14194006)
I still use Metric Halo's Channel Strip a lot, the compressor is great, and the gate is great too.

Best ever. My go to cs rockout

M_Music 8th September 2019 10:20 PM

Who uses the API Vision channel strip for what?

Mario-C. 9th September 2019 02:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Flippy Floppy (Post 14194055)
Best ever. My go to cs rockout

Yeah, it just works and it sounds fine, I love using the sidechain too, works great.

CBricius 19th July 2020 12:44 AM

Satson CS Summer Deal!!
 
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Hello Channel Strip Lovers!
Sonimus has released a Satson CS Summer Sale for 48 hours!

For those of you who don’t have it, it’s a great opportunity to get a super flexible intuitive and adaptable plugin.

I’m a big fan of channel strips because you get all you need for mixing your tracks in one place. But the Satson CS goes beyond that allowing the customisation of the channel strip with different modules, in the order that you want! Up to 8 modules!
The end result: A tailored SSL channel on every track of your mix. Add great sounding analogue emulation, low CPU usage and zero latency to the equation and you get one of the best sounding channel strip in the market.

Now at $99!

https://sonimus.com/products/satsoncs

bgulian 24th July 2020 04:01 AM

Quote:

Who uses the API Vision channel strip for what?
I do, usually on kick or snare...and 50% of the time I remove it on second listen.i love my 512c but although this plugin does a lot it doesn't live happily in the mix. I have yet to try it as a tracking plugin though.

dickiefunk 24th July 2020 07:22 PM

I've tried most of the above and Waves Scheps Omni Channel has become a goto workhorse! I also use the IK British Channel regularly as well.

poshook 24th July 2020 08:31 PM

In reality the most popular channel strip is Waves Ssl-E strip by a huge margin

CBricius 4th August 2020 11:08 PM

Hey guys!
here is a nice review of the Sonimus Satson CS with audio examples
https://sonimus.com/blog/reviews/not...ies-clone.html
Have you guys tried it? what are your thoughts?