Soundtoys Devil-Loc Deluxe
A crushing, pounding, aggressive compressor for massive drums – Mac/PC VST, AU, AAX
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- In Depth
While we all want to be able to capture clear, clean, and crisp sounds when recording, sometimes we need to get nasty. For huge, mangled drum sounds, sometimes a normal drum mix just won’t cut it, since we’d need a big room, some good room mics, and hopefully some outboard compression. Devil-Loc Deluxe applies limiting in an extreme and unconventional manner for some highly distorted processing. It’s an update of the original Devil-Loc plug-in, with two new knobs that help manage the effect a little bit better.
This plug-in is based upon a much older piece of gear, the Shure Level-Loc M62 Audio Level Controller. This was a brickwall limiter that was originally used on microphone podiums back in the 1960s. It was basically there to prevent clipping and peaks, which were common issues at the time. Eventually, sound engineers realized that it had some interesting uses that were far removed from the original intention behind it. When they pushed it to the max, they found that it added some really intense distortion-like effects without overly increasing gain or making the signal unmanageable. The Devil-Loc is designed to emulate those kinds of unconventional effects, and even builds upon the original hardware by adding additional features that make the effect much subtler (if desired). It has knobs for input level (crunsh), output gain (crunch), post-distortion high-cut (Darkness), a release switch with “fast” and “slow settings”, as well as a dry/wet mix knob.
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The first thing we tried this on was a drum bus. We had a clean, crisp, but honestly somewhat underwhelming drum mix going, and we needed to make it cut through with some intensity. The Devil-Loc fixed that issue easily; it added a ton of power to the mix, and also distorted it in a musically pleasing way. We got into John Bonham territory pretty quickly, a massive, roomy sound with lots of depth. While it could have easily been too drastic of an effect, the Dry/Wet Mix knob allowed us to put just enough of the effect in there to add some serious weight and punch without completely removing the original sound. And the darkness control kept our cymbals in line, without adding too much high-end distortion. It’s arguably even better as a sidechain bus, where you could turn the mix up to 10 and really get nasty, and then simply balance out the dry and wet channels.
We also found it useful on individual tracks. We added it to a snare bottom mic; it added a layer of distortion and saturation that gave some much-needed punch to the overall sound. It’s really nice as a vocal distortion, since it has the mix control and is essentially a limiter. This helps distort the vocal in a very different way than you’d get with a simple saturator. We had some synth tracks that we thought were a bit too clean. Having the crush on max, the crunch on low, and the darkness about halfway, we were able to give it some added low end and midrange that made it chunkier, warmer, and enabled it to cut through the mix.
The Devil-Loc really can add some grit and dirt to just about anything. There’s really not much in the way of limitations here… this plug-in is a really interesting tool that can add character and intensity to just about any signal.
- Limiter effect plug-in that distorts, saturates, and “blows out” a signal
- Based upon the Shure Level-Loc (Model M62 Audio Level Controller), a podium microphone limiter from the late 1960’s that was later utilized for its distortion-like qualities
- Great for creating distorted and massive drum sounds, or for pushing any signal to its limits while maintaining musicality
- Adds cool saturation to vocals, bass, or any other instrument
- Deluxe version’s new Mix and Darkness controls allow for more precise, slightly cleaner effect when necessary
- Crush knob determines overall signal sent to the Devil-Loc circuit; higher values produce more compression and saturation
- Crunch knob determines how much gain is added after limiting, and how hard the output amplifier stage is driven; higher values produce more distortion
- Darkness knob controls the cutoff frequency of the built-in high-cut filter. This is post-distortion and can help rein in heavily distorted signals that add a harsh high end to the track
- Mix knob controls ratio of dry-to-wet signal, allowing you to blend your clean and distorted signals
- Release control has “slow” and “fast” options, which change release time from 1.7 to .85 seconds when normal, and from 22 to 11 seconds when fully saturated; helps keep the limiter in time and add/remove pumping effect
Current Version: 5.2.0
Plug-in Formats (both 32 and 64-bit):
• AAX Native, AAX AudioSuite, VST, and Audio Units (AU)
Supported Sample Rates:
• Minimum: 44.1 kHz, Maximum: 192 kHz
• Operating systems: Mac OS X 10.8 or later; Windows 7 or later
• An internet connection is required at the time of activation.
• Pro Tools (10.3.5 or later), Live, Cubase, Nuendo, Sonar, Logic, Digital Performer
• Click here to view our full list of compatible host applications.
• Free iLok.com account.