St John, USVI (May 19, 2022)—Producer/composer Rich Tozzoli recently headed to St John, USVI, for his annual recording retreat, teaming with keyboardist Bruce MacPherson, engineer Mike Dwyer and bassist Hank Skalka to compose and mix for a variety of TV shows with diverse sound palettes. He’s highlighting some of the key plug-ins they brought along to help get things done.
BLACK BOX ANALOG DESIGN HG-2MS
This is one of those plug-ins I had heard about but hadn’t yet got my hands on. It quickly became one of the stars of the trip. Plugin Alliance’s HG-2MS delivers mono, stereo or Mid/Side modes of analog tube saturation and color. It emulates four different vacuum tube stages, combined in series and parallel circuits, and features a useful filter section with four variable filters and a flat mode. There are separate gain controls for 6U8A triode and pentode tubes, and a Parallel Saturation circuit for the choice of two different 12AX7 tubes. To put it bluntly, it’s the best tube saturator I’ve heard. Either subtly or aggressively, it found its way to guitar, bass, drums, keys, percussion and the master bus. Dialing in the filter section, we even used it after reverbs to drive them. We all liked the Variable Density control to boost both Pentode and Triode, the Air Amount for a little extra top above 10 kHz, and the always useful Parallel Mix for Wet/Dry balance. It’s one of those plug-ins you want to overuse because it just makes everything better.