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v6.4 McDSP Channel G

Review:

McDSP Channel G
McDSP Channel G

The Ultimate Console

Channel G delivers the big board sound with unprecedented flexibility and seamless integration with the Avid D-Control and D-Command control surfaces. A TEC Award nominated console-strip style plug-in with expander/gate, compressor/limiter, filters, and EQ sections in three configurations, plus a versatile surround compressor/ limiter.


Highlights

Channel G comes with console modes for music and post application, in addition to modeling modes emulating popular analog mixing desks.

Channel G is 3 plug-ins:

  • G Dynamics – a fully featured console style dynamics section with an Expander/Gate, Compressor/Limiter, and a versatile filter section
  • G Equalizer – a five-band professional grade console style EQ with a versatile filter section
  • G Console – a combination of the G Dynamics and G Equalizer configurations

All Channel G configurations feature calibration modes for music, post production, and models of the world’s most popular analog mixing desks.

Features:

  • Multi-mode filters (high pass, low pass, notch) with selectable slopes of 6 to 24 dB/Oct
  • Full featured Expander/Gate, Compressor/Limiter
  • Five-band EQ with shelving and parametric sections
  • Compressor/Limiter operation pre or post EQ section
  • Analog Saturation Modeling
  • Double precision processing
  • Ultra low latency
  • Mono and stereo

Console Modeling

Channel GBefore we get into some of the finer points of the Channel G plug-in, I am sure the gear craving fanatic in each of you will want to know what was modeled for the Channel G plug-in and how you can access those models.

In the compressor/limiter portion of the Dynamics section, there is a Knee control.  This control varies the transition between uncompressed and compressed portions of the compressor algorithm response. The Knee control in Channel G has 11 pre-programmed positions ranging from hard knee to gentle knee curves. The affect of this control can be viewed in the transfer function plot display. Turning the Knee control fully clockwise reveals some additional control positions modeling specific analog console compressors. Modeled compressor modes in Channel G are named as follows (*):

  • Chan – SSL Channel Compressor
  • Buss – SSL Buss Compressor
  • Brit – Neve 33609C
  • A – Soft and A-Hard – API 225 hard and soft modes

In the EQ section, the EQ modes include McDSP designed ‘Music’ and ‘Post’ settings, along with the following modeled EQ modes (*):

  • E – SSL series E equalizer. Note the control ranges all match the original SSL console, and even the HPF and LPF sections will adjust their ranges to that of the SSL consoles.
  • G – Another popular SSL EQ, the series G, has substantially different shelf shapes than found on the E series.
  • N – based on the AMEK / Neve 9098i console, coupled with the vast library of measurements taken by McDSP.  McDSP has evaluated many original Neve units as well as re-makes. The shelf shapes are very much like the 9098i, while the parametric EQs employ much of the ‘smarts’ McDSP has come to understand about this important lineage of equalizers.
  • A – Think API 550 with 5 bands, more gain, and adjustable filters, and you have the A mode in Channel G EQ configuration. The proportional Q is modeled dead on, while the gain is extended to +/- 18 dB. The Q values track exactly to the originals up to 12 dB, and are then extrapolated to the new 18 dB level.

McDSP has long been known for creating emulations of analog gear, but with the added flexibility of a software product.  Channel G is no exception to this standard, and in addition to the previously mentioned models, it comes with a variety of unique features.

Flow Diagram

Selectable in the G Dynamics and G Console configurations via the ‘GPH’ and ‘SIG’ buttons, the Flow Diagram (press ‘SIG’) shows all signal paths, routing, and inline status of all sections. Key signal flow is also displayed, along with the ‘active’ status of the selected key. When the user selects a key input such as a buss, if there is nothing routed to that buss the key signal path remains unlit. Once signal is routed to the selected key track, the signal path glows to indicate the presence of an actual key signal

Two Filter Sets

Channel G, unlike some of the analog consoles it models, comes with two independent sets of filters – one set for the Dynamics section side chain, and the other for the EQ section.  This capability, coupled with the expander/gate and compressor/limiter selectable side chain inputs – input, side chain, side chain post filter, and output (compressor/limiter only), give the user a variety of signal path choices.  Fortunately all these options are readily displayed in the previously mentioned Flow Diagram.

Having two separate filter sets allows the expander/gate and compressor/limiter to trigger on a selected portion of the frequency spectrum (like the ‘boom’ in the kick drum, or the ‘sss’ in a vocal) using one filter set, while the other available to the audio path for removing low end rumble and high end hiss.

Feed-forward AND Feed-back compression

The compressor/limiter in Channel G is one of the few in the world that allows the user to choose between the input or output of the compressor/limiter. Using the compressed output, often referred to feed-back compression, is found in many vintage compressors such as the API 225 compressor. The more common technique found in modern dynamic range processing is feed-forward compression – the use of the input signal as the compression key. In fact, the API 225 is one of the only compressors (along with Channel G’s compressor/limiter) that allows the user to switch between feed-forward and feed-back compression.

Why should the use of a feed-back compressor be considered then in today’s modern production facilities? This type of compression, while susceptible to pumping or breathing the overall signal level, can be useful in addressing certain dynamic range ‘problems’. For example, suppose you needed to process a lead vocal that has a good deal of dynamic range changes, and is sung in an aggressive style. Heavy compression is needed to limit the maximum signal level, and even the softest of knee shapes does not alleviate the unwanted ‘compressed vocal effect’ thus rendered. Using the compressor output as the key signal, the transition between the compressed and un-compressed signal is minimally different. Because the key signal is already compressed, the compressor will trigger more gently, and possibly produce a more desirable effect.

Limiter

As mentioned above the compressor in Channel G can also be used as a limiter.  To use it as a limiter simply set the Ratio control to 100:1 and adjust the Attack control down to the desired response.  The Attack control can even be set to provide instantaneous (i.e. 1 sample) limiting!  For more advanced and transparent limiting action, check out the ML4000 mastering limiter and multi-band dynamics plug-in.

Digidesign Control Surface Support

Channel G was designed to provide a custom and modeled console experience at the touch of a button.  It also confirms to the control layout of the flagship Digidesign control surfaces including D-Control, D-Control ES, D-Command, and the live sound Venue line’s D-Show and D-Profile.  Using the same control layout onscreen as on the actual control surfaces, the user is able to quickly familiarize and operate the Channel G plug-in from these Digidesign control surfaces.

And while the Channel G control layout is perfectly suited for the Digidesign control surfaces, it also works great with a mouse and keyboard.

System Requirements

McDSP HD and Native plug-ins are compatible with Pro Tools, Logic X, Cubase, Nuendo, Ableton Live, MOTU Digital Performer, Studio One, Sonar, and other DAWs that support AAX, AU, VST and/or VST3 plug-in formats.

McDSP Native plug-ins support AAX Native, AU, VST, and VST3 plug-in formats. McDSP HD plug-ins additionally support the AAX DSP plug-in format, as well as AAX Native, AU, VST, and VST3 plug-in formats. McDSP plug-ins support 10.13.x (High Sierra), 10.14.x (Mojave), 10.15.x (Catalina), 11 (Big Sur), and Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Note: Earlier Mac OS versions 10.10.x (Yosemite), 10.11.x (El Capitan), 10.12.x (Sierra) may work but are not officially supported.

McDSP plug-ins require an iLok2 or iLok3 USB Smart Key, or an iLok License Manager account and an iLok Cloud session for authorization.

McDSP AAX plug-ins support Pro Tools 12.x, 2018.x, 2019.x, and 2020.x or later.

McDSP AU plug-ins support Logic X, Digital Performer, Ableton Live, and other AU compatible DAWs.

McDSP VST and VST3 plug-ins support Cubase 8.x, 9.x, 10.x or later, Nuendo 6.5.x or later, and other VST and VST3 compatible DAWs.

McDSP HD plug-ins also support the VENUE S6L systems.

Note: McDSP is also no longer supporting the VST plug-in format. VST versions of v6 McDSP plug-ins will no longer be updated but remain installed on users’ systems. McDSP VST plug-ins will be removed in a later release.

Authorization

McDSP plug-ins require an iLok2 or iLok3 USB Smart Key, or an iLok License Manager account and an iLok Cloud session for authorization. Latest iLok drivers recommended. iLok Cloud support requires v6.5 or later.

 

Note: Big Sur Support

McDSP is pleased to announce support for Big Sur (Mac OS 11.x) as a free update in 2021 for all v6 customers and APB hardware customers. McDSP’s latest release of AAX Native, AAX DSP, AU, and VST3 plug-ins (v6.8), and APB plug-ins (v1.3), are being qualified on Big Sur, and are available for download at mcdsp.com now.

Note both McDSP plug-in v6.8 and APB plug-in v1.3 releases still support High Sierra (Mac OS 10.13.x), Mojave (Mac OS 10.14.x), and Catalina (Mac OS 10.15.x). Earlier Mac OS versions 10.10.x (Yosemite), 10.11.x (El Capitan), 10.12.x (Sierra) may work but are not officially supported.

McDSP is also no longer supporting the VST plug-in format. VST versions of v6 McDSP plug-ins will no longer be updated but remain installed on users’ systems. McDSP VST plug-ins will be removed in a later release.