XLN Audio DS-10 Drum Shaper by Diogo C
- Product: DS-10 Drum Shaper
- Developer: XLN Audio
- Formats: VST, AU, AAX plugins for Win/Mac
- DRM: Online activation tool
- Price: $79.95
- Demo: 10-days fully functional
- Website: XLN Audio - DS-10 Drum Shaper
The Scope: Made by the drum-sampling masters at XLN Audio, the DS-10 brings their widely-acknowledged virtual drum-making excellence to the transient shaping department. The DS-10 is a drum-oriented transient shaper bringing the usual attack and release controls but giving it a little extra depth with a third “Mojo” control with distinct modes for kick, snare and bus duties and a soft-clip option for a little harmonic distortion. On top of everything there are three options for the dynamics: classic (pumping), natural and smooth (names says it all). These modes are present regardless of the drum piece or bus choice. All these options are packed into on a clean and easy to use interface, making the DS-10 one fast and efficient tool for any envelope shaping task.
Sound Quality - 5/5: DS-10 not only sounds “correct” but it actually sounds very good. It does from what you expect from a transient shaper and the Mojo control isn’t gimmicky as it might sound and this quite a versatile and useful parameter. Tightness is a really cool trick for dealing with bass drum decay, Body can work out the crack on a snare and Presence can add some good air on the drum bus or master output - Presence might be a little less interesting compared to Tightness and Body, but a cool sounding options nonetheless. The soft clip also sounds good when pushed and I’d encourage everybody to get a bit heavy handed with it for deliberate distortion as it actually works well. Overall this is not only a good sounding plug but one that’s quite enjoyable to play with.
Features - 5/5: The DS-10 tries to drift away from what you expect from a transient shaper i.e. the triad of attack-sustain-gain, and does so with the mojo control and the three dynamics option, which are welcome and interesting options that furthers its depth. It can really do more than just drums i.e. enhance an acoustic guitar pluck with the bus/presence, increase bass sustain with the kick’s tightness mode and so on - there’s some good room for improvisations here and DS-10 is quite versatile for the category.
Ease of use - 5/5: DS-10’s set of controls will be instantly familiar to most users and everything is pretty intuitive here - actually it’s hard to get any easier than this. Dial the attack and sustain, adjust gain and add some extra taste with mojo and maybe push things into soft clip option and that’s pretty much everything you need to do - more often than not you’ll likely be doing even less than that and just nudging the attack and sustain into the right spot. The waveform display provides good visual reference and the soft clip led warns you if things are too hot at the output, which compensates a bit for the lack of metering. In that regard, I’d personally welcome a set of input and output meters and level controls and a preset manager would be a good addition too.
Bang for buck - 4/5: Good value considering the three different modes, the ease of use and the fact that it can be installed on two different computers, there’s some good bang for the buck here. I’d personally price it a little below the MSRP as there is some good competition out there. Nonetheless, if a transient shaper is needed, the DS-10 should be considered and if a drum-oriented transient shaper is wanted then the DS-10 is definitely a must-try.
Click below for a full-size screenshot.