Kazrog KClip by joe_04_04
- Plugin: KClip
- Developer: Kazrog
- Formats: VST, AU, AAX (32/64 bit) on Mac and PC
- Price: Standard Version - $20 / Pro Version - $60 - with upgrade pricing available for version 1.0 users
- DRM: Personal Copy
- Website: Kazrog
Pro Version Displayed
Updated review for KClip version 2.0 - Edit Date: 08/17/2016
The Scope: Kazrog’s KClip is a clipper plugin that is meant to be used to ‘maximize’ the volume of a mix to commercial levels with extreme transparency. It can also be used to shave transients off of elements in a mix in order to reduce their dynamic range. If abused, KClip is also entirely capable of adding excellent distortion characteristics to a mix or an individual mix element. KClip is straight-forward and simple to use.
Sound Quality - 5/5: KClip boasts that it can transparently increase the volume of mixes (or individual elements in a mix, if you prefer). The developer credits this transparency to his oversampling process, which results in a reduction of audible (in some cases inaudible) aliasing that occurs as a byproduct of the clipping process. In simpler terms, KClip’s aliasing artifacts are much lower than other clipper plugins out there, which subsequently results in cleaner, less ‘cloudy’ sounding mixes. After experimenting with KClip for a bit, I can fully support Kazrog’s claims - this clipper is absolutely phenomenal. KClip has beat out all of my current ‘maximizers’ in terms of increased volume with maintained clarity and punchiness. KClip is able to push my mixes louder and keep my percussive elements punchy. Unlike a limiter, which uses gain reduction to reduce transient peaks, a clipper uses distortion to shave the peak. This distortion that occurs on the transients happens so quickly that it is very transparent and from my personal testing, helps to aid in the punchiness of the percussive elements, versus killing the attack like a limiter would. With all of this being said, it is good to know that every clipper (and limiter if we are talking about ‘maximizers’ in general) has its limits, including KClip. From my experience, KClip will remain clean up until the point that the clipper is not only digging into percussive elements, but starting to get into the sustained elements of a mix (guitars, bass, vocals). At this point, you are pushing it too far and you will most likely start to hear the distortion become more audible. I believe its forte (along with most clippers) is shaving quick transient spikes. All in all, KClip is an extremely excellent sounding clipper and it has already replaced my previous go-to ‘maximizer’ plugin on my master buss in a handful of tracks. I plan to keep using it on future tracks as well.
Ease of Use - 5/5: KClip is extremely easy-to-use. So easy that it almost does not warrant a lengthy paragraph of text. I have adopted Kazrog’s suggested method of using the plugin. Use the gain knob to add volume to your mix. Clipping doesn’t automatically occur - if you have headroom in your mix, the gain will merely raise the volume. Once the material hits 0 dB, clipping will commence. From there, adjust the output until you have little to no spikes hitting your clip meters. If needed, enable ‘The Guard’ button to control the final intersample peaks from clipping. I sometimes find that I don’t need to engage ‘The Guard.’ I’ve been able to find a balance of where I can push the song and set the output to keep the intersample peaks from clipping, but I will often still engage “The Guard” to ensure nothing slips past.
Features - 5/5: KClip only has a small handful of parameters:
- Gain - Adds volume to the source and pushes it into the oversampled clipping process
- Soften - Adjusts between soft and hard clipping - 0 percent = hard, 100 = soft
- Quality - Changes amount of oversampling (CPU load will change depending on this setting)
- Output - Adjusts the volume after the clipping process (intersample peaks may sneak past this setting)
- Guard Button - Enables ‘The Guard,’ which is a secondary clipping process that isn’t oversampled, it is used to catch intersample peaks that are introduced from the oversampled clipping process
- Ceiling - Adjusts the final output of the plugin (nothing will go over this parameter, including intersample peaks).
Version 2.0 Features (highlighted features only available in Pro Version):
- Built-In Bypass - Built in bypass allows for the user to bypass the plugin, without the jump / skip in audio that normally occurs, due to the plugin's latency.
- Inverse Link - Allows the user to push the signal into the clipping process while simultaneously compensating the volume by decreasing the output level. This helps to alleviate volume bias.
- Extensive Metering and Visual Aid- A visual waveform display allows the user to see both the unprocessed signal and the processed signal. Metering also includes Peak, RMS , RMS average. Lastly, the amount at which the signal has been clipped is displayed. This is similar to the gain reduction value in a compressor / limiter.
- Additional clipping modes - In addition to the traditional KClip clipping mode ("Smooth"), you also get "Crisp," "Tube," and "Tape" options.
- Built-in preset manager
- Dry / Wet mix control
- Up to 32x Oversampling in Real Time
- 256x Oversampling Available for Offline Bouncing
Bang for Buck and Verdict - 5/5: Outside of the occasional free clipper that might pop up here and there, KClip is one the cheapest one out there and most definitely is the cleanest and most transparent. I have tested a few other free clippers and never fully enjoyed my mixes going through them, as they introduced much more audible distortion to my ears than KClip. It is my firm belief that KClip is the best clipper plugin I have heard to date - including all paid or free ones that I have tried. For its price point, I think it is one of the best buys a mixing or mastering engineer could make. The standard version alone is phenomenal and offers all you need to get the job of clipping done, but if you want some extra clipping modes, for creative effects, the Pro version is definitely worth the price. I have absolutely no regrets about purchasing this plugin.
Last edited by joe_04_04; 16th August 2016 at 05:09 AM.. Reason: Updated for KClip Version 2.0