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Process Audio Spicerack Plug-In — A Mix Real-World Review…in the USVI

Recording in the US Virgin Islands, our review team put the Process Audio Spicerack Plug-In to the test.

Process Audio Spicerack — A Mix Real-World Review…in the USVI

Every year, Mix contributors Rich Tozzoli, Mike Dwyer and Bruce MacPherson decamp to St. John, USVI, and temporarily turn a house into a studio where they record TV cues while also testing new equipment and software, resulting in a bevy of Mix Real-World Reviews written in a unique part of the real world.

USVI (May 7, 2024)—While the tagline for the Process Audio Spicerack calls it a “creative distortion” plug-in, it’s so much more than that. It features five distortion algorithms, linear EQ, Console Remote and a Gate. The unique user interface is unlike anything I’ve experienced, yet it works remarkably well in its form and function.

To start, the distortion. Tube, Drive, Amp, Lo-fi and Fuzz offer options on how little, or how much, you want to push your sound. It’s got a large Drive knob, the ability to go Stereo, Mid or Side, and a +18 dB button to really drive the signal. You can also automatically gain-compensate for the added saturation with the AGC button, which will calibrate your audio in real-time to give you optimal performance.

Process Audio Spicerack.
Process Audio Spicerack.

The EQ, which stands vertically, lets you see your sound as you shape it in real-time. You can quickly filter the top, bottom or sides, then tilt it with the Tone knob to go Bright or Dark. Each band is adjustable, and the audio will display in real-time inside the various EQ parameter buttons. Note that you can also switch the order it runs, to have the EQ first or the Drive first. The gate is a surprising bonus, and its ease of use allowed me to tighten up rhythms aggressively or loosely, leading to a lot of cool sonic options. I actually didn’t use the console part, but it allows you to control all your Spicerack instances from a single interface.

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I quickly found myself turning to it for a surprising variety of tasks on the tracks we were creating, from guitar tone and distortion, synth pad EQ and shaping, drum loop/percussion edge, and gating of percussive rhythms. One of my favorite applications was as a bass “amp” on my flatwound bass, putting the EQ before the distortion, carving out the frequencies to get a bit more edge, driving it into the tube section, pushing the Wet Gain up, then using the Wet/Dry Mix to dial it in perfectly for the track at hand. (It’s now one of my go-to presets!) I appreciate the inclusion of the Wet Gain and Dry Wet Mix knob, as well as a Linear Phase option, which speak for themselves. Spicerack is not only a creative tool for shaping and manipulating your tracks, it’s a real time-saver—fast and full of character. We used the s#)$ out of it.