Goodhertz Vulf Compressor by joe_04_04
- Plugin: Vulf Compressor
- Developer: Goodhertz (Ghz)
- Formats: AAX 64 Bit, AU 64 bit, on Mac OS X 10.7+ only (at the time of this review)
- Price: 149 USD
- DRM: Online/Offline Activation
- Websites: Goodhertz
The Scope: Vulf is an aggressive compressor that is quick-to-set and is loaded with a slew of tonal options for adding “mojo” to your tracks. Dirty them up with the “LOFI” control, then add some subtle (or obvious) depth with the “WOW” control.
Sound Quality - 5/5: The Vulf compressor is definitely one that deserves its own special place amongst the crowded market of compressors. Vulf comes from a company who is becoming increasingly popular in the audio world for their excellent algorithms and flat/simple graphical user interface designs - Vulf is no deviation from this standard. Vulf allows you to absolutely crush audio tracks or lightly graze them with compression. On drums, you can have huge pumping effects (fast attack/fast release) or get super exaggerated, yet articulate transients that pierce through the mix (slow attack/fast release). In fact, this was one of my most favorite aspects about Vulf, its ability to really carve transients in one of the most aggressive ways I’ve ever heard. While the front panel may lead one to believe that the attack/release times are totally fixed, it only takes a small bit of investigating to find the advanced panel with the extra controls to tweak (refer to my features section for a photo of the advanced section). The amount of transient snap you can get on snares or a drum buss with the attack control set to the slowest is absolutely intense. Another awesome aspect of Vulf is is LOFI section, which seems to add some simple changes, such as filtering, and a bit of more complex changes, such as harmonic distortion and noise. Playing around with control can add some serious vibe to any tracks - vocals, drums, etcetera. You also get a WOW control, which does what you would expect, emulates the ‘speed warbles’ of say a warped vinyl record. The result is a change in pitch, modulating up and down. Another valued aspect is the zero-noise sliders (no zipper sounds). While its sort of a standard to have zero-noise parameters, I still see companies pumping out plugins with all sorts of zipper sounds when you adjust it in real-time. This is not the case for Vulf, or any Ghz products for that matter, which means you can automate the heck out of it, worry free. When it comes to Vulf, though you have a simple GUI that’s easy to use, you have a large array of tonal options that aren’t particularly prevalent in the compressor scene. Subsequently, you have a very unique and beautiful sounding character compressor that stands out.
Ease of Use - 5/5: As with all of their plugins, Vulf utilizes a very modern and forward-thinking approach when designing their plugins GUIs. The entire plugin design is flat, with minimal distractions. You don’t have drop-shadows from three-dimensional knobs or any sense of perceived skeuomorphism, the GUI is entirely flat, clean, and super easy to navigate. The layout of the controls are intuitive also. You have a main panel of controls that allow you to tweak the most used controls quickly, but you also have an advanced panel that allows you to dig further into the background workings of the plugin. You also get a real-time gain reduction graph in the upper right hand side of the plugin, right under the product’s name, that is very handy for double checking what you are hearing with you eyes (use your ears first). The bottom of the main page has a very welcomed dry/wet (Vulf) mix control, which is pretty much a standard in compressors these days, but I still see some developers omitting these, so I’m glad to see that Ghz has included it. The preset manager in Vulf is pretty unique too. The system that allows you to A/B two different presets actually allows you to see two separate instances of the plugin at the same time, so you can see the differences easily. The product is definitely designed with the consumer in mind, making sure that it is entirely easy to use.
Features - 5/5: Vulf has plenty of features to make it tweakable enough for just about anything, but it is not overly convoluted in any way. Here’s a list of the features and functions you get:
- In/Out Gain Parameters
- Compressor control
- Stereo link/unlink modes
- Attack/Release time constants
- WOW control (pitch modulation)
- Mix control for WOW and stereo phase control
- RPM speed for WOW (33.3, 45, 78)
- LOFI control for adding creative character/mojo to the tracks
- Noise volume control
- Crunch control for adding harmonic distortion
- Different types of LOFI types (Analog, 1980s Digital, 1990s Digital)
- Dry/Mix(Vulf) control for parallel processing
- Real-Time Gain Reduction Graph
- Digital Reference Level control sets the internal gain structure of Vulf
- HQ Mode (Oversampling)
- Awesome preset manager
Bang for Buck - 4/5: This is the only place on the review where I’ve docked a point. It is not that I am against paying this price for a plugin, it’s more that there are tons of options in the compressor category now that are all sub 100 dollars. Five to ten years ago, most plugins were well above this price range, but since, a lot of great compressor plugins have come out (lots of great ones) under the 100 price range. With that being said, I DO think Vulf is doing something entirely unique and on its own, it deserves its own category amongst the typical compressors, so the price isn’t a huge deal and I encourage everyone to give it a try, as the workflow is totally refreshing, which helps to make up for the price. Also, check out the company policy section directly below for a way to get additional savings.
Company Policies: Amongst the usual policies that are fairly common and popular with most audio companies, such as a progressive discount on their products (purchasing more products gets you a better deal), there are a few other policies that really stick out to me that deserve some attention in my review. Here are a few cool polices of Goodhertz that I thought were extremely commendable.
The first one pertains to trials. Like the vast majority of plugin developers, you can download 15 day trials of all of their plugins, but where other companies will cut you off on that product after the trial is over, Goodhertz differs:
“All trials automatically reset anytime you make a purchase on the Goodhertz store.”
This is very awesome. Say you grab their entire bundle as a trial one week. A few weeks later, all the plugins expire and you can’t run them anymore. Well, if you decide to purchase a plugin, your trial/demo periods will be reset so you can demo them all again, if you so wish. This seems like an extraordinary policy to me.
The next awesome policy has to do with receiving coupons on their products.
“We occasionally run sales (follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be notified), but we don’t have any educational discounts. That said, we do have something better (& it’s for everyone, not just students). If you post a track on SoundCloud or YouTube (like this), along with the Goodhertz plugin settings somewhere on the page (like this), let us know at music(at)goodhertz.com. If you do, we’ll send you a 50% coupon.”
*This policy is currently in effect during the time of the publishing of this review (10/16/2015).
Company policies are something I usually don’t include in my reviews, but these sort of policies really stick out to me, so I felt the need to write about them. Goodhertz is a very forward-thinking company that deserves some recognition.
Verdict: Vulf is awesome. Previously, I hadn't really investigate much into Ghz products. I didn't have a good reason as to why I didn't, I just felt that all my needs were being covered with what I had, but now that I’ve spent a little time with Vulf, I’m going to be looking into their current catalog of plugins. I’m also going to be watching their releases, because these are all high-quality plugins. The designs may seem a bit abstract to those who are only accustomed to virtual faceplates and three-dimensional knobs, but there is nothing cheap about Ghz designs, they are just entirely clean and free of distraction. Overall, this is a great character plugin. You can reach for it whenever you need to dirty up a source, while simultaneously compressing the dynamic range/enhancing transient. Use this on snare drums and kicks and really get your drums punching through the mix or use it on vocals with the LOFI to mitigate some digital harshness and give it some old-school vibe. Vulf definitely puts a new spin on digital compression.