It seems like every few weeks there some new piece of audio software that claims to make your music bigger, louder, deeper, and more badass in every way. Every new plug-in is announced as a “total game changer.”
Like that means something.
When it was released a while back, Steven Slate’s Virtual Console Collection (VCC) was one of those so-called game changing plug-ins. There was SO MUCH HYPE about this product that I was completely put off by the idea of it and tried to ignore it for a while.
VCC is a plug-in that claims to make your mixes sound more analog and to make your DAW react exactly like an analog console. Not only that, but you get a choice of several consoles that you can use in any combination.
Say you wanted your guitars mixed on an SSL, drums on a vintage Neve, bass on a vintage RCA tube console, everything else through a Trident console and finally all those tracks summed through an API. Impossible in real life, but accomplished in a minute with VCC.
Actually VCC is a pair of plug-ins – the channel and the mix bus. Generally you stick the mix bus on the master fader and a channel on every track of your project. You can also use the mix bus plugin on submixes if you prefer.
The channel plug-in models the inputs of the console, while the mix bus plug-in is the summing and main out of the console, and it includes some crosstalk in the algorithm.
You get a choice of five consoles:
—Brit 4K, a 4000 series SSL
—US A, a classic API
—Brit N, a Neve 8048
—Ψ, a Trident 80B
—RC-Tube, a hybrid of two vintage RCA tube broadcast consoles
Each console algorithm is made to match the frequency response and overload reaction of the original console. If you push them hard, the console reacts differently; this is completely unlike what you’re used to mixing digitally. Each console has it’s own sound. It’s not a huge dramatic change, but it makes a noticeable difference.
The interface is really simple and easy to understand right away. For the channel, there is a VU meter at the top, console selection knob, an input trim to tweak + or - 6 dB and a drive control which gives you control over the non-linear saturation with + or - 6 dB. The mix bus plug-in has stereo VU meters, console selection and drive control.
Both plug-ins have a group option which opens up an advanced settings panel for grouped settings. You can have up to eight groups or have channels independent. Grouped plug-ins will have all the controls linked, which makes it really easy to try out different algorithms.