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Plugin Alliance SPL Transient Designer Plus

SPL Audio Transient Designer Plus Plug-in

4.75 4.75 out of 5, based on 2 Reviews

Transient Designer Plus! An OG revamped!

28th January 2016

SPL Audio Transient Designer Plus Plug-in by GenuineLuke

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Plugin Alliance SPL Transient Designer Plus

A classic revisited!

I recently got the email from Plugin Alliance with the inquiry to update my beloved Transient Designer to Transient Designer Plus. While I was a little hesitant to part with 50$ for the upgrade, I took the plunge and couldn't be happier.

The new features are great convenience tools that save me time and also help preserve my sounds integrity or lack there of! With the soft limiter built in post output gain, I can save insert space and push my sound harder. The LED display is nice and not too intrusive.

The parallel mix knob is a great feature that although does nothing you can't do via routing, it is awesome to have because it is so accessible! I find myself quickly dialing in sounds faster and spending less time routing kicks/snares etc.

For me the most impressive feature is the Side Chain Filter which can be used to solo a specific element in a loop or mix bus. SPL was very thoughtful when designing this and included a solo feature while you sweep, so you can hone in on a specific sound.

Also there is an ext side chain mode which you can have trigger your sustain and/or attack! I'm going to have too much fun with this feature specifically

One nice thing on top too is the addition of undo and redo which for me is a life saver.

If you already have SPL transient designer I would say upgrading is a no brainer. If you already have a transient shaper or are considering one, take a look at the SPL transient designer Plus!!

Main controls: +/-15dB Attack +/-24 Sustain

(Quick addendum I have found the overall sound to be smoother than the original version of transient designer.)


  • 4
28th February 2016

SPL Audio Transient Designer Plus Plug-in by Funkybot

Plugin Alliance SPL Transient Designer Plus


While the term “game-changer” gets ballyhooed about a lot these days, especially in the pro audio world, real game-changers are few and far between. Most pieces of gear are incremental improvements and/or variations on existing concepts. A better EQ, a better compressor, a new peak limiter design, etc.

I wasn’t there for it (I was in high school at the time), but the release of the original SPL Transient Designer in the mid to late 90’s had to be one of those true game-changing pieces of gear. First off, it literally created a new category of dynamics processing: transient shaping, and even more importantly, it’s no doubt salvaged countless drum tracks in the almost two decades since its release.

There’s been a few officially licensed plugin versions of this hardware already, along with a number of “inspired by” plugins. But just recently, Plugin Alliance and SPL have teamed up to update the Transient Designer plugin and create the Transient Designer Plus. New features include a built-in limiter, mix knob, and side-chain controls allowing you to tweak the detector and even key off an external sidechain (which I honestly haven’t used yet, but it’s nice to know I can).

In Use

Let’s get to it...this thing is a Transient Designer after all, so the first thing any rational human being will do is put it on drums. I pulled up an old track I mixed where the live drums “needed work.” The kick was lacking in oomph, and the snare had a ton of hat bleeding into it, while also lacking punch. This would be the perfect test project for a transient designer because if it could save those tracks, what couldn’t it do?

Revisiting this 9 year old mix, I had originally created a parallel kick track that I reamped, and did another parallel track with the snare directs with some crazy combination of distortion, gating, and compression in the hopes of reinforcing the snare.I didn’t remember doing all that snare processing until I opened the project, but I guess it worked, the band was happy.

Starting the mix over, the first thing I did was add Transient Designer Plus to the kick and snare direct mics. A little bit of attack goes a long way, and too much will create an unnatural, “disembodied transient” type effect. The good news is that if you want to push the effect hard, it’s no problem, as the new Mix knob lets you blend in the effected with the dry signal, and that disembodied transient can sound cool when blended in. This is what I did on the kick and snare direct tracks. On each, the attack was dialed in between 3 and 4 o’clock and the mix backed off a bit. The kick track got some use of the new Sidechain filter to help the detector hone in on the kick versus the bleed. End result: punchy kick and snare. The snare track got the additional use of the built-in limiter to to keep levels out of the red, so this is a really nice addition.

The room mics also got some Transient Designer Plus love in the form of increased sustain. I wanted to bring the body of the room tone up a bit, and that’s exactly what I got. Three instances of this plugin really brought these dull drum tracks to life. I experimented with these on other drums, but honestly, those three instances were plenty. From there, I finished off a new mix and I’m embarrassed by how much better it sounded compared to the old one. Sure, nearly a decade of practice is a lot of the reason why, but having Transient Designer Plus really helped get the foundation right (and quickly I might add).

I’ve since used transient designer to shave some peaks off an acoustic guitar, and make some percussion pop. It’s the kind of thing that can either be put to use in a creative manner, or may be a problem solver.

Sound Quality - 5/5: Sounds great. Does what it’s supposed to.

Ease of Use - 5/5: Couldn’t score this high enough. How much time have I spent trying to tweak the attack envelope of a compressor trying to get the right bit of attack through in relation to the body? How many times have I had to fiddle with using gates to soften the attack of a drum? Transient Designer Plus can do all this and more in three knobs. And that’s assuming you never even get into the sidechain features.

Features - 5/5: With the addition of the limiter, mix, and sidechain options, I’m not sure what else SPL and Plugin Alliance could add to this to make it better. Plus, you’ve got A/B/C/D options, and undo/redo.

Bang for Buck - 4/5: It’s a $200 plugin, which is by no means cheap, so I can’t rate it a 5 out of 5 in this category, but at the same time, I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed with it.


I have some other transient shaping tools, but Transient Designer Plus takes the cake. It’s easy to use, sounds great, and solves problems quickly. These SPL folks really know what they’re doing when it comes to transients. The only barrier to entry here is the $199 USD cost, especially when less expensive options are out there, but I’m not sure any of those other choices are going to sound quite as good as this.

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